A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Low #1
The best science fiction is a measured balance of concept and idea. The concept is the hook, it draws the reader in with its inventiveness. The idea is what gives a good science fiction story resonance. Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run and X-Men all have great sci-fi concepts: a future where apes have evolved beyond humans, a futuristic society that kills off anyone over the age of 30, a group of teenagers born with metahuman abilities. No doubt these clever stories are what initially drew readers and viewers in, but these three concepts have strong ideas behind them that have continued to reverberate with readers for decades: a treatise on evolution and man’s inhumanity to man, an indictment of youth-obsessed culture, an allegory for racial prejudice.
Rick Remender's new comic, Low, has both concept and idea. The concept is overflowing with imagination (would we expect anything less from the creator of Franke-Castle?): in the future, an expanding sun has doomed the human race and driven them underwater, where they live in an encapsulated city besieged by “Road Warrior”-esque pirates and scavengers. The idea, meanwhile, is universal- how do we find hope in the face of the inevitability of death, in this case the knowledge that the sun will soon engulf the Earth? Remender sets this heady existential question, one that’s plagued philosophers from Kirkegaard to Ernest Becker, within an exciting, colorful universe, a world replete with majestic fantasy landscapes and riotous underwater battle sequences. It’s a perfect blend of concept and idea tied together with the vision of a true artist and highlighted with masterfully evocative artwork by Greg Tocchini. High-minded ideas and aristry aside, Remender really knows how to tell a story and this first issue left me genuinely excited, maybe even a little anxious, to find out what happens next.
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 Zombillenium #2
Zombillenium Vol. 2 is finally here! When Vol. 1 came out last summer it totally charmed my socks off, so I was very excited to see Vol. 2 on our release slate for this week.
For the uninitiated, Zombillenium is an absolutely gorgeous graphic novel series from French cartoonist and graphic designer Arthur de Pins. The story centers on a “spooky” themed amusement park, the eponymous Zombillenium, and its highly unusual staff. Park guests are wowed by the zombie make-up, ghostly special-effects, and monster costumes; little do they know that everything in the park is real. After all, why use make-up when you can employ the legitimately undead?
If the set-up sounds a bit hammy, trust me when I say that de Pins’s superb execution lets this book soar high above its premise. The characters are delightful, the writing is snappy and very funny (though you may have to excuse the occasional awkward translation), and did I mention that the art is absolutely gorgeous? Each page was created digitally using Adobe Illustrator and the result is a distinctive, crisp, cartoony style that looks like no other book out there. The characters are all lively and dynamic, the colors all pop; really I could just stare at this book for hours.
Volume 1 introduced us to the characters and the park, while management dealt with declining sales and a labor dispute with the Zombies Union. This new volume keeps the focus on the running of the park, which is now having some trouble with the locals. Employing thousands of undead, while the nearby area suffers double-digit unemployment for the living, will tend to ruffle some feathers. When a couple of local villagers enact a plan to infiltrate and sabotage the park, they’ll find more than they bargained for beneath the rides and cotton-candy machines.
I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s light-hearted with a distinctly dark edge; the characters are charming, the dialogue is witty, and the artwork is stunning. Go check it out!