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Jen Keith recommends The Odyssey
Nowadays the word “epic” is overused slang — a shadow of it’s former meaning, much like “awesome” and actually being awe-inspired. Today we go back to the original meaning of epic with Gareth Hinds’ The Odyssey.
Homer’s ancient epic poem, The Odyssey, follows the woes of Odysseus trying to return to his homeland, Ithaca, following the Trojan War while his wife faces scores of suitors greedily feasting upon their livestock and Odysseus’ son’s inheritance. Both hindered and helped by the gods of Olympus and various creatures of myth, Odysseus treks through ten years of adventure and hardship in the hope of returning to his family after battling for ten years prior in Troy.
Gareth Hinds’ (garethhinds) abridged comic adaptation, with no promise to be completely historically accurate (though doing a wonderful job by being well-researched and calling upon multiple versions of the source material), builds the tale with strikingly rich visuals and respect for the original. His use of pencil and watercolor builds a great atmosphere, with airy and colorful illustrations balancing image to word. For those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, color-coded gods ease the reader through the complexity of the cast, and for those sticklers to accuracy, Hinds’ writing takes some creative license as he smoothly transitions from his own representation to direct quotes from various translations.
Hinds is no stranger to creating compelling, faithful, and fresh adaptations of classics such as Romeo and Juliet, King Lear,and Beowulf. If you’re looking for more comics and myth combinations, check out Bacchus for entertaining twists on Greek mythology, or for a Norse fix, try Gods of Asgard and Siegfried.
Whether ensconced in your own journey or taking a breather on the couch, check out The Odyssey to get your awesome epic fix today.
Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and grew up with Greek mythology for bedtime stories so this was right up her alley.
A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Saga Of Doomed Universe
The intertextual exchange between the “universes” of comic book continuity and the “real world” of comics creators and readers has long been a fertile arena for exploration on the four color page. From the 40s and 50s work of Will Eisner and EC Comics , which reflected a creative consciousness of the medium often interwoven with the narrative, to more explicitly self-reflexive works like Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man (and, more recently, The Multiversity) there has long been a fascination with both writers and readers with the liminal space between the eyeball and the page, and the possibility of some link to reality existing within the fantasy.
Scott Reed’s (scottrandalreed) Saga of a Doomed Universe, available through comiXology Submit, is a three part graphic novel that explores this tradition of postmodern reflexivity in a smart, complex and highly entertaining way. On the surface, Saga of a Doomed Universe is a 1980s-styled superhero saga in the fashion of Crisis on Infinite Earths, yet the point of view is not omniscient, or from the perspective of a superhero, but rather an outsider character a has-been hero with a decidedly cynical view on his costumed compatriots. This remove keeps the action from getting too retro or ironic and is aided by the fact that Reed is a really excellent writer, giving his character voice and depth.
Reed’s great writing, clever scenario and era-accurate art (reminiscent of John Romita Sr. would be enough, but Reed adds another layer with the addition of hyper-textual commentary from Burt Colt, the (fictional) writer of the comic-within-a-comic. Colt’s presence provides an entirely separate narrative from what’s happening on the page, yet suggests a link between the fiction world of the comic and his/our reality.
As issue two begins, Dr. Nihilist has killed all the world’s superheroes, save for the series’ narrator, Roy Brannon, formerly known as Super Sleuth, whose only power is a photographic memory. Meanwhile, in the outer narrative, the comic’s author, Burt Colt, is gradually revealing the mystery behind the non-forgotten Saga Comics, involving an industrial accident, a government conspiracy and promises of more apocalyptic revelations to come. Multilayered narrative complexities and Baudrillardian simulation/simulacra dynamics aside, it’s a compelling story, expertly written with tons of mystery and action, welcomed touches of humor and a knowing but unpretentious love of comics that’s sure to engage readers to just about any level they choose to embrace it.
Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.
A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Wayward #1
As frequent anime convention attendees in the late 1990s, my friends and I had a theory that the primary export of Japan was Crazy. With a mix of its own ancient folklore and a hodgepodge of external cultural and religious influences, the collective Japanese imagination seems to constantly produce work that could never have existed anywhere else, and that often seems wild and bizarre to foreign eyes.
Wayward #1’s protagonist, Rori Lane, has one such pair of foreign eyes. Half-Japanese by birth, she begins the story traveling to Japan for the first time, moving there as a young adult to live with her mother and get a fresh start after her parents’ rough divorce. What she experiences on her first night, however, goes well beyond culture shock and jet lag, and deep into the territory of the truly bizarre and supernatural.
Written by Jim Zub (jimzub) and drawn by Steve Cummings, Wayward is a supernatural action/adventure story steeped in Japanese folklore. Just beneath the shadows of Zub & Cummings’ Tokyo is a world of mythical yōkai, mysterious and mischievous monsters of Japanese legend.
The book’s art is a pleasure to view. Cummings’ line art is crisp and dynamic, and the colors (supplied by Zub and John Rauch) make each page really pop. The action sequences are fluid and exciting, and Cummings’ deft hand with facial expressions gives the characters a significant level of depth and relatability.
Wayward #1 also features some great back-matter from Japanese folklore scholar Zack Davisson, including an overview of yōkai mythology throughout Japanese history and a short essay profiling the legendary roots of one of the monsters featured in this issue. It certainly isn’t required reading if you’d rather just focus on the gorgeous action/adventure comic preceding it, but I found all of it really fascinating and informative.
Definitely recommended for fans of supernatural action/adventure stories like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or just anyone who wants to see feral, cat-like Japanese girls tearing into legendary turtle demons. And really, who doesn’t? If the chief export of Japan really is Crazy, then lock me in the nut house because I love this stuff.
and the rest of it for that matter?
Bob’s Burgers Burger Of The Day Contest!
To celebrate the release of Dynamite’s Bob’s Burgers comics, we are asking you to come up with your best Burger Of The Day pun!
Draw your own Burger Board or use this template and come up with your best comics-related Burger of the Day pun! Our favorite entry will win a free digital copy of Bob’s Burgers #1 added to their comiXology library.
The winner will be contacted via tumblr with instructions on how to redeem the prize. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
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Kate Kasenow recommends Bob's Burgers #1
The announcement of any new series comes with a lot of emotions—usually various combinations of trepidation and excitement, but I can tell you from personal experience that the announcement that the hit comedy cartoon, Bob’s Burgers, would be getting a comics adaptation made my day like an infamous Meatsiah burger!
Created by the writers and animators of the cartoon, Bob’s Burgers #1 delights with five brand new short stories about the Belcher family and their non-stop shenanigans. Journey into adventure with the Equestranauts during a glimpse of Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction! Explore the pun-derful creative process of Bob in Burger of the Day Ideas! A dark and terrible secret awaits in Louise’s UnSolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities! Relax and unwind with Letters from Linda! Sing along in Gene Belcher Presents!
The world of Bob’s Burgers jumps from screen to page effortlessly and will have you inappropriately snorting with laughter in no time. My personal fave will probably always be Tina’s deadpan delivery, but a close second is Louise’s passionate conviction—which might not always be right, but is most certainly one hell of a ride.
If you’ve been wondering how you’re going to make it through without any new Bob’s Burgers until October, wonder no more!
Kate Kasenow is a comics artist from Indiana currently living in Manhattan. She works at ComiXology as a Lead Digital Editor and spends most of her spare time re-reading J. R. R. Tolkien.
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