False Positive, an ongoing collection of short stories by Mike Walton, came recommended to me by a friend who described them as chilling vignettes of mystery and horror akin to the twilight-zone. As it turns out, when it comes to horror and surprise twists, Walton pulls no punches as these brief scenes will thrill and terrify you, not only twisting the knife, but throwing it from a completely unseen angle as well.
Unlike the friendly, brighteyed afterlife seen in Helvetica, Judecca by Noora Heikkilä and co-written by Jonathan Meecham shows a dim and dangerous land populated by lost souls, fish-faced men, frightening psychopomps, and intimidating supernatural creatures, caught in the thralls of lust and fear, and all of them reaching out for each other through the stagnant monotony of the mist.
Continuing with our Halloween countdown, here’s a fun look at the afterlife brought to us by the vivid imagination of J.N. Wiedle. Part Halloweentown, part Pleasantville, the world of Helvetica is full of bright colors and strange characters; a place where, nestled in an uncontested bureacracy, mysteries and questions abound. The fact that it’s a world populated by the dead in the form of sentient skeletons only adds to the whimsical and delightfully creepy feel of this comic!
So we are slowly but surely entering Fall, and with it come all of my favorite things. Changing leaves, pumpkin flavored drinks, warm sweaters, and best of all HALLOWEEN. In honor of the approaching holiday (THE BEST HOLIDAY in my opinion) I’m going to spend the next 6 weeks reviewing comics that deal with the paranormal, otherworldly, and downright scary.
Now this comic truly needs no introduction, but I’m giving one anyway. It’s been requested several times, and though it already has an improbably large fanbase, but it would be downright wrong to do a Halloween Countdown without including a review of this short-lived, well-loved work of art.
Hanna is Not a Boy’s Name (or HiNaBN), by the prolific Tessa Stone, centers on the often zany, sometimes bloody, and constantly dangerous adventures of Hanna Falk Cross, a self-styled paranormal investigator, and his recently acquired zombie sidekick. A visual feast teaming with outlandish characters and good old fashioned monsters, Ms. Stone’s comic constantly toes the thin line between comedy and horror, sandwiching witty banter and quoted Queen lyrics in between strange and morbid curiosities, but always does so with the utmost style.
I was putzing around this morning in my pajamas, as I am prone to do, trying to choose between three different comics I’d considered reviewing this week.
Then, by chance, I happened upon a link and became completely arrested by O Human Star.
A stunning, emotional interpretation of science fiction, O Human Star, written and drawn by Blue Delliquanti, looks at a near-futuristic world populated by hyper-advanced sentient robots through the eyes of an unconventional family, and the love story that birthed a new era of technology. Presented with gorgeous artwork, fascinating characters, and fantastic individuality, O Human Star has, in less than a day, become one of my top favorite picks in sci-fi webcomics.
I have a special affinity in my heart for mob stories, and while this one might not be the most famous webcomic about gangsters on the net (yes yes Lackadaisy is coming, hold your horses), Fishbones recently grabbed my attention with its stylish art and endearing characters.
Fishbones, written by Jisuk Cho and drawn by Yuki S., is the story of Ferris Levinstein, a hapless and sarcastic high school student, and his wealthy and mysterious best friend Demos Giorgetti. Close friends since childhood, Ferris and Demos attempt to weather the worst even as their lives become increasingly complicated and dangerous as they are both swept deeper into the intrigue surrounding the Giorgetti family business.
Nimona is a relatively new comic by Noelle Stevenson, also known as gingerhaze on tumblr, that straddles the genres of fantasy and superhero fiction in a way that is both new and fresh. Focusing on the exploits of registered supervillain Balister Blackheart and his newly acquired sidekick, the brash and plucky Nimona for whom the story is named, Ms. Stevenson’s comic is a fun and clever experiment in world-building, with clever dialogue and a charmingly unique style.
I noticed I’d been doing a lot of “gushing” reviews lately, that is to say reviewing comics that I consider personal favorites without offering up much in the way of criticism. In light of this, I’ve decided to review a comic that I am definitely critical of, but one that I have at times enjoyed:
Boxer Hockey, by Tyson Hesse is a sports comic about the fictional pastime of the same name, a kind of free-for-all rugby match played entirely in undergarments and using genetically engineered rubber frogs for balls. The comic, much like the sport, is irreverent, over the top, and at times a little cringe worthy, but it has garnered a loyal fanbase and is a good example of how a comic can make great strides in both artistic and narrative style over the course of its run.
Many of my art friends will tell you that food illustration is a tricky and intimidating subject. Visually how to do you transcribe the full experience of a dish, the smell, taste, texture, presentation, without attempting photorealism or becoming trapped within conventional illustration methods? In many cases the food looks awkward, the food’s allure is lost and unappetizing to the reader.
However, Sauceome (rhymes with awesome), by Sarah Becan suffers from NONE of these problems, and is perhaps one of the best food blogs I’ve seen.
A combination of memoir, recipe, body confidence, and food appreciation blog, Sauceome will entice you with adorable people, emotional honesty and warmth, and deliciously hunger-inducing illustrations.
As bleak as the name sounds, Darwin Carmichael Is Going To Hell is a charming and whimsical tale about a man plagued by horrible karma in a world where the afterlife is not only a real concern, it’s an inevitability. A sort of modern comedy of divine proportions, this is a comic about jobs, friendship, dating, no to mention manticore pet-ownership, and offers a fresh, fantastical take on the age old question: How can you best spend the time you are given?