Posts Tagged "comixologist recommends"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Monster & Madman 

Jack the Ripper was in the headlines again last week, with claims surfacing of new DNA evidence pinning the 1888 London murder spree on Polish barber Aaron Kosminski.  Writer Steve Niles (arcaneimages) and artist Damien Worm, however, have another theory.

Monster & Madman tells the tale of Frankenstein’s monster, following the events of Mary Shelley’s classic novel.  Rather than burn himself to death on Victor Frankenstein’s funeral pyre, as he told the novel’s narrator he would, the monster decides to continue his life—as wretched as it is—and finds passage from the Arctic on a ship bound for Norway.

The monster eventually makes his way to London in 1888, just as a string of grisly murders is beginning to terrify the populace.  There he strikes a deal with mortician John Moore; if the monster allows Moore to examine him and discover the secrets of Victor Frankenstein’s work, Moore will grant the monster what Victor denied him: the creation of a companion to ease his loneliness.

Of course, Moore has his own secrets and motives, and his source for female body parts may not be the generous local hospital as he claims.

Steve Niles’ writing is in turns eerie and melancholy, matching Shelley’s original text in terms of both writing style as well as his characterization of the monster.

What makes Monster & Madman really shine, however, is definitely Damien Worm’s gorgeously grotesque artwork.  Worm’s moody collages of ink, paint, and newspaper clippings set a perfect tone for this creepy tale, and work wonderfully in letting the viewer see the world through the monster’s borrowed, reanimated eyes.

For fans of the Shelley’s classic novel, or of dark and moody horror in general, Monster & Madman is highly recommended.

[Read Monster & Madman on comiXology]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of First Law Of Mad Science.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, Tesla and Edison

A comiXologist Recommends:
Kate Kasenow recommends Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller has a deep and rich history which has only been enhanced by the current incarnations published by BOOM! Archaia. This newest addition to the series is an attempt at a more focused collection of material, one that exceeds all expectations the audience may have. When one hears a title like ‘Witches,’ certain imagery comes to mind—usually of the Halloweenish variety—but the first issue of The Storyteller: Witches, this cliché is laid to rest deftly by the gorgeous illustrations and fantastic tale spun by S. M. Vidaurri (smvidaurri).

The story includes familiar elements of old stories as well as new and shining details to entice the reader throughout. What truly stands out, however, are Vidaurri’s unique watercolor paintings that portray his story perfectly. Every inch of the image is well-crafted and delivered especially the lettering, which brings to mind ancient illuminated texts. Together, the words and images tell a tale of loss and the strength that can be forged by it. There are enchanted forests, royalty, magical creatures, quests, and a witch of course! Will the princess be able to save the day or will she be outwitted by the mysterious Lord of the Forest?

There’s so much to love about this first issue, I can hardly wait to see what they come up with for the next!

[Read Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #1 here!]    

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.


A comiXologist Recommends:
Michael Crowe recommends Oddly Normal #1

Oddly Normal #1, written and illustrated by otisframpton, is a delightful tale for all ages. This inaugural issue introduces us to a young girl named Oddly. The daughter of a witch and a mortal, life is not easy for this half-ling. Torn between two worlds, Oddly struggles to fit in, both at school and at home.

Otis Frampton’s writing is simple and approachable for young readers. Drawing from his own life experiences while growing up, the book manages to capture the angst many juveniles feel as they come into their own. Often times it can feel as if no one understands you - not even members of your own family. The script channels this awkward time in a child’s life with equal parts heart and wit. Frampton likes to reference works that have come before his, in subtle ways, drawing on the shared mythology of the supernatural creatures he plans to explore. Future issues promise to delve deep into the mystical world he’s only yet hinted at.

Frampton’s care and eye for detail extend to his vibrant illustrations. Each panel bursts with little things that flesh out the world or hint at stories still untold. The character designs are unique, well defined, and approachable for young readers. Every page sizzles with rich colors and detailed backgrounds. Even rain soaked scenes seem to buzz with energy.

Like any good young adult story, this one sets out to instill life lessons while dishing out plenty of action and adventure. With Halloween just around the corner, this book is the perfect way to kick off the fall season!

[Read Oddly Normal #1 on comiXology]

Michael Crowe works on the digital assets/launch team by day and writes comics and prose by night. He’s an avid consumer of comics and all things sci-fi.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Gotham Central #1: Special Edition

It’s the middle of summer in Gotham City, and Detectives Driver and Fields are chasing a final, desperate lead in a kidnapping case. But this last door unexpectedly leads to Mr. Freeze, who promptly murders Fields to send a message to the GCPD. The Major Crimes Unit scrambles to take Freeze down, and Detective Driver resolves to get justice for his partner before night falls and the Batman gets involved.

 In Gotham Central, writers Greg Rucka (ruckawriter) and Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark present a new perspective on the Batman mythos, setting a gritty police procedural in the crossfire of the Dark Knight’s crusade. Though this critically-acclaimed 2003 series is not coming back for an encore, DC is rereleasing Gotham Central #1 as a special edition tie-in to the new Gotham TV-series.

The ways Gotham Central intersects with the greater world of Batman help elevate it to a masterful series. Batman exists as whispers and as a constant reminder of police failures, while his rogues range from distractions who get in the way of important police work to frightening forces to be reckoned with. The MCU’s head-to-head encounters with costumed villains are rare and effectively scary, as the detectives must put their wits against deadly superhuman powers.

But Gotham Central would be a great comic even without the looming shadow of the Bat. Cases and personal dramas naturally weave in and out of each other, giving the series an exciting rhythm in which story beats click together where you least expect them. The MCU struggles to deal with regular crime while supervillainy lurks around every corner, and all they have are their loud personalities and richly-developed relationships to pull them through each crisis. The MCU’s greatest strengths are also the story’s: Gotham Central provides a richer ensemble cast than most superhero titles, letting side-characters like Renee Montoya and Capt. Maggie Sawyer shine. Every scene of the MCU coming together suggests real interpersonal relationships and a strong history, putting a soul in standard cop drama scenarios.

If the Gotham TV-series ends up half as good as Gotham Central, it would be a force to be reckoned with. Revisit Gotham Central with 99-cent digital issues all this week!

[Pick up Gotham Central #1: Special Edition here!]

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.

A comiXologist Recommends:
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 JulietKing 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.

[Pick up The Odyssey here!]

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 (scottrandalreedSaga 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.

[Pick up Saga of a Doomed Universe here!]

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.

[Read Wayward #1 Here!]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, TESLA AND EDISON

A comiXologist Recommends:
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!

[Pick up Bob’s Burgers #1 here!]

For fans of: comedy, action, mystery, musicals, and burgers

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.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends The Fade Out #1

From Criminal to Gotham Central to Fatale, there’s no disputing that Ed Brubaker is one of the modern masters of crime fiction.  The strength of his work derives from a keen synthesis of his influences, particularly 30’s-60’s hardboiled crime novels and film noir, combined with a streak of imaginative originality.  In Gotham Central, for example, he crafted an expertly written Ed McBain-styled police procedural and grafted it into the ongoing continuity of the DC superhero universe.  Fatale began like a Dashiell Hammet-influenced detective story, combined with an element of Lovecraftian  horror, then spun both ideas off in a variety of unexpected directions.  A significant factor in Brubaker’s appeal is that his influences are primarily stylistic, he doesn’t bog the reader down with excessive references or in-jokes, but rather uses his understanding of genre to capture its spirit, in the service of some often highly original storytelling.

In his latest, The Fade Out, from Image, Brubaker recalls the Hollywood-set noir of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place (originally a novel by Dorothy Hughes, later a film by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart) and The Big Knife (originally a Clifford Odets play, later a film by Robert Aldrich), as well as the non-crime desperation of Tinseltown-themed stories like The Day of the Locust (both Nathaniel West’s novel and John Schlesinger’s film, one of my personal all-time favorites) and Kenneth Anger’s salacious non-fiction Hollywood Babylon.  Like these classics, Brubaker casts a cynical eye on the glamor of the movie world and focuses on the corruption and decadence underneath.  Taking place in 1948, The Fade Out focuses on Charlie Parish, a seemingly burnt out screenwriter who awakens from a night of blackout drinking to discover he may or may not be implicated in a murder.  Along the way, Brubaker evokes Pearl Harbor, the Hollywood blacklist and other heady elements that ground the story in historical reality.  Tonally, The Fade Out expertly builds, in just the first issue, from uneasiness to dread to suspense and ends satisfyingly on a low-key cliffhanger that left me anxious to find out what could possibly come next.

If you’re a fan of Brubaker, you already know what kind of magic there is to be found here.  If you’re new to his work, this fresh, smart, exciting new series is a great opportunity to get onboard. 

[Read The Fade Out #1 on comiXology]

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 Bandette #8

Whimsical and charming, gentlewoman thief Bandette is sure to steal your heart.

Written by Paul Tobin and drawn by his wife Colleen Coover (colleencoover), Bandette is a lighthearted crime tale about a young French girl who also happens to be the world’s greatest thief.

Bandette is cheerful and irreverent, never without a smile on her face and a joke on her tongue, even in the most deadly of circumstances.  This gleeful sense of fun permeates the whole series, and it’s hard not to smile along with Bandette as she “liberates” great works of art from the villains that covet them.

The last few issues have seen Bandette in a friendly competition with rival thief Monsieur, racing to pilfer a list of prized cultural artifacts belonging to criminal mastermind Absinthe.  Absinthe, meanwhile, has enlisted all the resources of his criminal enterprise FINIS to a singular task: kill Bandette.  Issue #8 sees things really start to heat up as Monsieur, Bandette, police inspector Belgique, Absinthe, and the dread assassin Il Tredici all converge on FINIS headquarters at the same time.

Coover has an airy, cartoony style, gorgeously watercolored, that sets the tone of the book perfectly.  Above all else, Bandette (the character as well as the book itself) is determined to have fun, and it’s clear on each page that Coover and Tobin have had a blast as well.

The Eisners nominated Bandette for four awards in 2013; Tobin and Coover ended up taking home the prize for Best Digital Comic.  It was well deserved; this is a wonderful read.  And at just 0.99 per issue, you really have no excuse not to check it out for yourself!

[Read Bandette # 8 Here!]

Mike Isenberg is an Associate Production Coordinator at comiXology, and the co-writer of FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE.  He lives in Harlem with his cats, TESLA AND EDISON