Posts Tagged "supernatural"
A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Boss Snake - Cold Blood, Cold Streets

Gate City’s underbelly is home to more than enough crime lords and cults for a single pulp action hero to take on. Covered in foreboding geometric spot-blacks and brought to life with ink wash textures, this post-WWII setting recalls the first decades of the superhero genre, with all the mobsters, mysticism, and mad science to go with it. But unlike Doc Unknown, the heroic pulp-revivalist adventure comic that introduced Boss Snake, Boss Snake: Cold Blood, Cold Streets turns its snake-eyes on the story’s villain and explores his rise to power.

In Doc Unknown #1, our hero summed up Boss Snake’s life as a brutal rags-to-riches story. But this embellished tale shows that on the road to controlling Gate City’s underworld, Snake lost much more than he could ever gain. Unlike Doc Unknown’s more whimsical adventures, Cold Blood, Cold Streets is a down-to-earth, Depression-era tragedy, with the most fantastical element being Snake’s own reptilian mug. Artist Ryan Cody and writer Fabian Rangel Jr. craft a world that’s out to get Snake, with deep shadows and gritty brush strokes lurking even in the corners of Snake’s happiest moments. The slick, contrast-rich art style couples design sensibilities that recall the time period with contemporary storytelling sophistication. Cody suggests time and place with specific and iconic details, making Gate City feel fully realized with just a few marks of the pen.

Cold Blood, Cold Streets doesn’t set out to reveal that Boss Snake deep down has a heart of gold. Instead, it builds his worldview, showing what happens when a man who’s hardly given a chance has to take everything that life refuses to give him. Boss Snake is a villain you learn to respect, but never forgive.

If you ever wanted to see the dark side of pulp adventure like The Rocketeer and The Spirit, coupled with a classic mob story, look no further than Boss Snake: Cold Blood, Cold Streets. And if you’d rather stick with the high-flying adventure, read about Doc Unknown’s exploits in his own title.

[Pick up Boss Snake - Cold Blood, Cold Streets here!]

For fans of: crime, supernatural

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:
Jonah Chuang recommends The Sandman: Overture #3

Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III’s The Sandman: Overture is the kind of series that you have to sit down and absorb in order to appreciate it fully. The art is mind-blowingly detailed and expansive, and the content of the story is cerebral and rich.

This series is the prequel to the acclaimed original Sandman series from way back in 1991.  In the beginning of that story, the protagonist, Dream of the Endless (the lord, master and literal embodiment of dreams), is returning to Earth, exhausted from a long battle when he is caught in a trap by a mediocre human sorcerer and kept prisoner for a long time, causing all kinds of problems. This story is the story of the epic battle and it so far it has been exactly that: epic.

In the first two issues, Dream encounters his alternate selves and learns of his death and the existence of a “mad star” (like the Sun, but crazy) that’s poised to destroy the universe. As a result, Dream must go stop this star, as, apparently, it is his fault that it’s mad to begin with.

In this issue, Dream goes over to the place where none of the Endless can go and then goes in anyway. Partnered with a giant cat version of yourself, Dream walks through a lawless land of dangerous criminals and murderers looking for answers. The story takes on a fantasy space western feel, which is actually pretty big right now.

J.H. Williams III’s art is nuts, and perfect for this book. There’s no other way to describe it except imagination made physical. There are also a bunch of little familiar nuggets in this story that make you want to go back and read the original series again and rediscover the magic all over again.

[Read The Sandman: Overture #3 on comiXology]

For fans of: fantasy, supernatural, mature content

Jonah Chuang is a Production Coordinator Assistant. He is very much looking forward to seeing the footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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!

For fans of: comedy, horror, supernatural

[Read Zombillenium #2 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:
Mike Isenberg recommends Dark Engine #1

Written by Ryan Burton and illustrated by John Bivens, Dark Engine #1 is a fantastically weird, gory, and beautiful romp through a strange alien world.

The story features a female warrior named Sym, created by alchemists to travel back in time and defeat the evil that plagues them in the past like some sort of berzerk lady Terminator.  But the source of Sym’s power, the alchemical Dark Engine implanted deep within her, is unpredictable, and the outcome of her mission is far from certain.

Issue #1 plunges us directly into the deep end of the strange world that Burton and Bivens have created.  The book introduces the setting and a few characters, but this place is weird, and very little is explained directly to the reader.  Instead we are left to piece together the what, when, and why from context and a few snippets of dialogue.

Between those few dialogue scenes are a number of gorgeously rendered action sequences, mostly concerning Sym cutting her way through dinosaurs and monsters, covering herself with blood and viscera along the way.  Bivens executes these beautifully, with a rough-yet-purposeful brush style that evokes the work of artists like Paul Pope and Nathan Fox.

The near-impenetrable weirdness of Dark Engine’s setting gives it a plapable sense of alienation and danger.  That so little is explained directly to us only serves to make the world feel more real and alive.  Fans of Brandon Graham’s (royalboiler) excellent Prophet revival will feel right at home here.  Dark Engine #1 leaves us with a lot of questions, but it takes us on a wonderfully trippy ride along the way.  Definitely worth checking out!

[Read Dark Engine #1 Here!]

For fans of: sci-fisupernatural, action

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:
Emily Forster recommends The Sleep of Reason

If you’ve been let down by supposedly scary stories that fail to scare, you must read The Sleep of Reason. If you want to read something “different” but nothing so far has been different enough, you must read The Sleep of Reason. If you’re an appreciator of the impressive range of style and vision in comics, you must read The Sleep of Reason. In short, you must read The Sleep of Reason - if you’re feeling brave enough.

This independent horror anthology boasts “No Zombies. No vampires. No werewolves. No familiar solutions… Let us give you something to be afraid of.” They mean it. Each of the 34 creators featured in this book has done their part to remind us that the genre of “horror” means more than just “containing monsters or spooky elements,” and should mean “actually horrifying.” The suspenseful, the gruesome, the psychological, the fantastical, and even the all too real - every flavor of creepiness you can think of has a place in this collection. Each short comic is so different from the next that it might seem odd for them to be in the same book at all, if it weren’t for the same pure relish in the eerie and sinister they all share.

Any anthology of works by so many different contributors tends to have a few great comics mixed in with some not-so-great ones, so I was surprised and delighted to find that every one of these 26 stories is exceptional in its own right. A few of my favorites are “Old Echoes” by Lety R-Z and Stevan Zivadinovic, a classicly creepy tale with a fantastic payoff, “Growth” by Melanie Gillman, which legitimately made me lose my appetite, and “Artifacts” by Evan Dahm, which might be one of the most brilliantly imaginative comics I’ve read all year. Of course, many more than just these stuck with me… including some I kind of wish I could forget.

If your hunger for the weird and the wicked can’t be satisfied by just one book, check out dark fantasy series Locke and Key and collection of Jack Davis’ classics ‘Taint the Meat… It’s the Humanity!  But before you rush off to read The Sleep of Reason, take note that it does contain some pretty disturbing content - whether that’s a warning or an encouragement is up to you.

[Read The Sleep of Reason on comiXology]

For fans of: horror, anthologies, supernatural

Emily Forster is a Digital Editor at ComiXology and a cartoonist. She likes comics about food and fights to the death.

A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends The Life After #1

Is your life bland and repetitive?  Do you find yourself in a monotonous cycle of unsatisfying experiences?  You might be dead.

The Life After—by joshfialkov and Gabo (galvo) —is a comic about a very boring afterlife.  The book itself, however, is anything but.

The book’s protagonist is a man named Jude who seems to be sleepwalking through life.  Every morning he wakes up on his couch, takes a bus through heavy traffic to a mind-numbing job, busses home, and passes out on his couch in front of his TV.  Everything in his world is mildly uncomfortable, unsatisfying, and bland.  And it’s all on an endless loop.

Until one day he gets off his bus early and does something that nobody has done in two thousand years.

It’s hard to say too much about issue #1 without spoiling things.  “Things are not as they seem,” as the cliché goes, and the opening chapter of The Life After is mostly concerned with Jude trying to piece together what’s going on.  The mystery is compelling, though, and the literary figure that turns up towards the end to play Virgil to Jude’s Dante has me excited to see where this series will be headed.

Be warned that this book is dark.  The Life After #1 deals quite a bit with suicide and the experiences that might drive a person to that point.  Some of the scenes are downright grisly.  But if you’re up for a dark, weird, and mysterious supernatural tale, this comic will absolutely scratch that itch.  For a book about the dead, The Life After definitely has some life in it.

[Read The Life After #1 Here!]

For fans of: actionsupernatural

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:
Mike Isenberg recommends The Bargain Vol. 1

It’s New Year’s Eve 1955, and Jackson Connolly owes a debt that’s about to be due.  Ten years ago he made a bargain with a supernatural power; now his life and his soul will be forfeit, unless he can find a way out of the deal before the ball drops on 1956.

The Bargain, by Kara Barrett and J.C. Grande, is a supernatural noir comic that makes its way to us via Kickstarter and comiXology Submit.

Barrett and Grande successfully weave an atmospheric tale of southern horror and supernatural gloom.  In his quest for redemption, Jackson will travel from the swamplands of Louisiana to the burlesque clubs of New Orleans.  Along the way he’ll meet ghosts, witches, hell-hounds, and gods.  Jackson is determined to wheel and deal with all of them, hoping that his wits will be enough to free him of his debt, but he knows that he’s running out of time.

The ticking clock of Jackson’s soul-debt gives the book a palpable sense of doom and desperation that keeps the reader on their toes.  With the stakes so high—it’s not only his life on the line, but also an eternity of hellfire and torment—Jackson thinks he’s prepared to do anything to reach his goal.  But how far will he really go?  And even if he can break the bargain and save his soul, what will be left of it to save?

Volume 1 is a self-contained story, but it leaves room for more to follow.  The world that Barrett and Grande have created is fascinating and I hope there’s a Volume 2 in the works.  For fans of atmospheric supernatural noir stories like Hellblazer or Ten Grand, I can definitely recommend checking out The Bargain.

[Read The Bargain Vol. 1 Here!]

For fans of: action, noir, supernatural

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:
Michael Crowe recommends Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman #1

In Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman #1, writer Tom Ward and artist Luke Parker (la-parker-illustration) expertly handle a fictionalized take on the historical person, Joseph Merrick. Merrick first came to prominence in the 1880s as a human curiosity known as “The Elephant Man.” From an early age Merrick exhibited growth abnormalities which became progressively worse over time. Large bony growths spread across his body enlarging and deforming his right arm, both his feet and his head. Disowned by his family and unable to find traditional ways to support himself, Merrick was forced to exhibit his afflictions to make a living.

This first issue throws us into the midst of Merrick’s life as a human oddity, exploring the kind of rejection and abuse he experienced during his short and difficult life. But beneath this rather straight retelling of history lurks a dark story of mystery and the occult. The book is drawn in a style that pays homage to Mike Mignola, writer/creator of Hellboy. Not only does this choice set the tone of the larger narrative that is yet to come, it also draws interesting parallels between Merrick and Hellboy.

Ward and Parker work seamlessly to create a book that is both gorgeous and well researched. They are able to delicately weave together fact and fiction, creating a something that is respectful of Joseph Merrick. In the story, Merrick is able to not only retain, but also affirm, his own humanity and self worth despite the cruelty often inflicted on him by society. For this reason the reader is able to see Merrick as a hero unlike so many people in his time who saw him as, at best, a freak. 

[Read Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman on comiXology]

For fans of: Biography, Supernatural

Michael Crowe works in digital assets/launch by day and writes science fiction stories/fights crime by night. 

A comiXologist Recommends - MANGA EDITION:
Harris Smith recommends Death Note

Manga is hitting comiXology in a big way this week with the addition of Viz to our slate of publishers.  Among the first wave of titles are several popular favorites (Dragon Ball Z, Naruto) and cult classics (Nana, One-Punch Man).  Falling squarely in the middle is Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note.  Originally published from 2003 to 2006, Death Note became something of a media phenomenon in Japan, inspiring a novel, a video game, an Anime series and three live action feature films.

Odd but eminently readable, Death Note tells the story of Light, a bored teenager who discovers a book that allows him to cause the death of anyone whose name and face he knows.   The book belongs to Ryuk, one of the most remarkably designed demons in comics history, a hulking gothic-glam monstrosity who looks like a cross between Liberatore’s Ranx and Steve Ditko’s The Creeper.  Rather than try to get his Death book back, Ryuk views Light’s murderous schemes with a kind of bemused ambivalence.

Rather than veer into familiar teen horror, nerd revenge territory, Death Note is fairly epic in scope, as Light, mad with his newfound power, uses the book to attempt to rid the world of evil, not out of altruism, but in order to recreate the world as a Utopia with himself as “the god of the new world.”  This imaginative grandiosity is a big part of Death Note’s appeal.  The story is daring and unpredictable, sometimes absurd and humorous, other times stark and frightening.  Death Note is a fast-paced, fascinating example of the heights of creativity Manga has to offer.

[Read Death Note on comiXology]

For fans of: horror, supernatural

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 Big Trouble in Little China #1

John Carpenter's film formula is one that a lot of comic creators could learn from.  His flicks tend to take cheesy B-movie premises, and then execute them with high production values, a talented cast, a good script, and a clear love of the source material; the end result is usually a film that replaces cheese with charm while still reveling in everything that was just plain fun and exciting about the original idea.

It’s a formula that translates so well to comics that many of Carpenter’s movies have actually felt like comic books.  Chief among these has to be 1986’s zany supernatural martial-arts action flick Big Trouble in Little China. Apparently someone at BOOM! must have thought so as well, as they’ve just released issue #1 of a new comic based on that film.

Big Trouble In Little China #1—written by Carpenter & Eric Powell with art by Brian Churilla (brianchurilla)—picks up exactly where the movie left off 28 years ago; page one actually opens with protagonist Jack Burton’s closing monologue from the film.

If you haven’t seen the film, no need to worry; everything you need to know is explained as the comic progresses.  But also, why haven’t you seen the film?  Go see it.  It’s hilariously fun.  And the same sort of fun comes across on every page of this comic.  Jack Burton (played by Kurt Russell in the film) is a charmingly bumbling hero, putting on a tough facade to hide the fact that he’s terrified, inept, and in way over his head.

This book really does everything right.  The characters, the art, the humor, the action, and the dialogue all join together for an incredibly fun read.  Even if you haven’t seen the film, I can totally recommend this comic.  And if you’re a fan of the movie, you need to pick this up.

[Read Big Trouble in Little China #1]

For fans of: action, supernatural, martial arts, Kurt Russell

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