Archive for the Western Comic/Comix Category


LGBTQ: Love is Love Anthology (English)

April 3rd, 2017

On June 12, 2016, in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida a self-loathing, broken man decided that the best way to handle his problems was to take it out on innocent strangers. He hated his ethnicity and his sexuality, so he chose a gay nightclub that served as a refuge for LGBTQ people of color. Instead of taking his own life, he took 49 other people’s. For no goddamn good reason. And, it being America, it was easy for him to get the weapons and ammunition he needed, because we wouldn’t want to regulate that even as much as we regulate driving a car.  

So one more asshole guy got to destroy lives and we got to mourn…again.

 IDW and DC Comics teamed up to create a tribute comic anthology and so Love Is Love was born to raise money for survivors and victims’ families.The 1st print edition sold out quickly, which is testament to the desire to do good so many people have. I picked up a copy of the Digital Edition.

The anthology is beautifully done, with a lot of different perspectives…many of them exceptionally beautifully rendered. 

And it made me so angry I could barely get through it.

Batman was not going to help those kids. Neither was Superman or Wonder Woman. Every time a DC character made an appearance, I wanted to scream. Particularly during a story by Dan fucking Didio, the woman-hating fragile white dude  who had to be pulled from DC panels some years ago because he was so rude to fans, especially to women. What does that say about the horrible wasteful loss of life? What lesson did he learn imagining Batman in rainbow colors, lecturing us on loss? Fuck that so very much.

/Deep breath./

Legitimately, every use of DC characters fell flat as a board for me. Even the exceptionally pretty Batwoman with Gay Pride Flag by Rafael Albuquerque.

It was just all so “Nope.”

That said, there were a lot of genuinely touching stories. The ones that worked, dropped the facade if the superhero tie-in and talked about how heroic it is to be gay and joyful in a world with fragile cowardly assholes with guns.  I particularly like the one-pager by Teddy Tennebaum, Mike Huudleston and Corey Breen that called the bravery it takes – still – to love freely and openly “super-love.”

I was very glad to see openly gay artists like Ed Luce and Paige Braddock included.  I also very much appreciated those well-known straight artists who took the time to portray LGBTQ people, People of color, gay kids and trans kids, at The Pulse itself, rather than stupid Batman. 

Ratings:

Overall – I don’t know what to say. Probably it’s an 8, but it made me so angry I can’t even.

I’m pretty sure I’m not sorry I got this collection and maybe one day I’ll be able to read it without white-hot searing rage.

Send to Kindle




LGBTQ: Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology

April 2nd, 2017

Aw yeah. Last year, Joamette Gil teamed up with a number of creative talents to launch Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology on Kickstarter and I jumped all over that so fast. ^_^

Although I have the PDF, when I saw the print version (both of which are available on Gumroad) yesterday at the MoCCA Arts Festival, I threw even more money at the group. I know I talk about the comics ecosystem a lot here. but the bottom line is that creators cannot eat your admiration. I was glad to back this project, it was my pleasure to buy the book, but it was pure joy to actually read. This scan of the cover does not do it justice – the colors are resonant.

I consumed the whole book on my train ride home, and can’t think of a single story I didn’t like. ^_^ But a few of them had me choked up and one or two even threatened gushy happy tears which is awfully awkward on the train.

Power & Magic is, well, it’s kind of a book I’ve been waiting for. By and about people of color, inclusive in every way, including really lovely stories about gender, ability, mental and physical health. “Fluid,” by Veronica Agrawal was a particularly nice tale about expectations and gender roles. And magic. Multiple ways of looking at multiple traditions, fantasy and real magic, paganism and Santeria, natural and human-made.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before on Okazu, but I’m a pagan, so it was really nice to have a collection about “magic” that wasn’t exclusively about Harry Potter-type wizards. Not that I object to that, but sometimes I’d like to see a little more depth. “Te Perdi” by Maria Llorens and Devaki Neogi and “As The Roots Undo” by Joamette Gil gave me that depth I was looking for.

I also quite liked “Your Heart is an Apple”by Nevedita Sekar which riffed on modern dating and classic fairy tales and had a fucking fantastic ending. And Aatmaja Pandya’s “You’ll Know When It’s Time To Go” spoke to ancient quest stories and their place in our modern searches for acceptance.

I also want to stand up for “The Whisperer” by Ariann Hokoki, which is a parable about mental health and healing and love that was one of those stories that brought tears to my eyes. 

“The Shop That Never Stays” by Gabrielle Robinson and Hannah Lavarte was fabulous. “Deaf Together” by fydbac is an absolutely gorgeous silent comic. And honestly, there were no stories that weren’t a pleasure to read. I feel like I must apologize to anyone I haven’t mentioned specifically, though, because really, every story was uniquely excellent.

Ratings:

Overall – 9

Can you tell I loved this book? I did. It made me actively happy to read this collection. I hope you’ll feel the same way and pick it up on Gumroad, in PDF or softcover print version.

(I don’t doubt that they magicked the fuck out of this book, by the way. And good for them if they did.)

 

Send to Kindle




Western Comic: Satellite Falling, Issues 1-3

March 17th, 2017

Satellite Falling, written by Steve Horton and illustrated by Stephen Thompson felt very much like The Fifth Element, starring a lesbian character, without the kind of satisfying ending that that film provided.

We begin by being introduced to Lilly (hah), the only human on a satellite full of aliens, whose job is bounty hunter, or whatever she needs to do. Lilly comes already burdened with a tragic love affair when we meet her. 

She is hired by the police…more specifically, by the police chief for whom she does contract work, to help uncover a organization that…blah blah blah. The details are as unimportant in this story as in any other “watch the cool bounty hunter beat up people” sci-fi story ever. I mean really, the point of this book is watching the cool bounty hunter, no one really cares about the details of the evil organization.

We are told – and shown – the species-ism that is supposed to stand-in for racism, without any context. In fact, I found it pretty tasteless that we are forced to watch a lynching of an alien, without any narrative around the scene other than “oh look, they are so xenophobic.”  Lilly, we are repeatedly told, is the only human left on the satellite. Why? What happened? We don’t know, except that humans left because of that species-ism.

Lilly uses holographic masking to appear as various species but is wholly human. Her police chief boss, not averse to coercion, uses their ability to shift forms to have sex with Lilly as a female. Again, as no ideological or sociological context is applied to the scene, I could not help but read it as a bunch of guys thinking lesbians are Man LiteTM, and therefore wrote Lilly the same way they would a male protagonist. On the one hand, it’s freeing, knowing that neither the Chief nor Lilly have any emotional baggage about this, on the other hand, it’s also calls Lilly’s obsession about her former lover into some kind of icky question. Like, weren’t you not moving on a second ago? Or is that only for internal expository monologue and actually you have sex all the time? It’s hard to understand Lilly, and the narrative is too busy having her be one-liner funny and kick ass to ever really bother trying. This mess is also why I would not call this comic a LGBTQ comic. It has a lesbian protagonist, but is not particularly about her.

The end of Volume 3 is a big ole’ cliffhanger and, really, I should totally be the audience for this comic (badass lesbian bounty hunter),  but as the big reveal is so horribly boringly obvious and then is presented as a low-key reveal, I find myself not all that interested. Also, I’m tad annoyed by Amazon Kindle/Comixlogy’s bundle of the first three issues of the series, without any sign of issues 4 and 5, which are currently TBD for 8 months.

The high point of the series is definitely Thompson’s art which was both artistic and easy to follow and Lisa Jackson’s coloring which wasn’t the super-saturated colors I find so difficult to cope with. Looking at Satellite Falling was the best part. If only the story had built the world with the same fervor it had Lilly talking to her dead lover.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 6 Couldawouldashoulda
Characters – 7 The alien bartender was my favorite character. He was all the stereotypes and I liked him anyway
Service – 7 It was actually a nice sex scene, except for the fact that it was coercive
Lesbian – 10 You know what was actually lesbian? Lilly’s obsession with Eva. THAT was lesbian.

Overall – 7

If the other two issues show up in the universe, I’m not opposed to reading them, but I’m not losing sleep if I don’t.

Send to Kindle




LGBTQ: Oath, An Anthology of New (Queer) Heroes

January 29th, 2017

I’m horribly backlogged on the books I backed on Kickstarter in 2016. Today I’m going to take a look at Oath, An Anthology of New (Queer) Heroes

Created by a lineup of talented creators, this book is a fully diverse anthology that takes a look at the stories of people who are or have become, heroes and whose gender, sexuality, race and body size do not in any way negatively affect their ability to function as heroes.

My two favorite stories were Theo Nicol Lorenz’ story “Lunch Break” in which two people with secrets learn to trust and love one another – a theme that repeated throughout the book and Lee and Ty Blauersouth’s “Safe House” which broke age barriers as well and had a truly joyful ending.

“The Fourth Option” by Adriana Ferguson and K. Van Dam actually made me laugh out loud with it’s quirky “information assimilant” who makes packets with key information, including her name. 

And Jenn St-Onge’s No Sugar was a tale that would be familiar to any manga fan of magical girl stories.

As one might expect (and for me, desire) in an anthology, the art styles are varied, but I’m going to  say that the story telling as tighter then usual for an anthology. Especially one that has such a broad overarching topic as “Heroes.” I don’t think any of the stories left me feeling as if anything wwas missing and almost all of them felt scripted exactly as they needed to be – enough to tell the story, not too much to preach, not too little to leave us wondering what as going on.

Ratings:

Overall – 9

As Kickstarter anthologies go, Oath was one of the best I have read. Oath is available digitally on the Oath shop or softcover in print.

 

Send to Kindle




Western Comic: DC Bombshells, Guest Review by Jen Yoko

January 18th, 2017

It’s Guest Review Wednesday and today we have a double fistful of joy at introducing you to a new Guest Reviewer, but long-time friend of Yuricon  and Okazu (and me!) Jen Yoko! I am ecstatic as heck that Jen has brought us her look at a book that I’ve heard a lot of good things about. Please offer her your undivided attention. The podium is yours, Jen. ^_^

Have you ever wondered what WWII would be like without our iconic male super hero protagonists? No? Why would you? I’m sure it has never crossed your mind. It has never crossed mine.

In DC Bombshells all of our favorite heroines from the DC universe have taken arms to help fight in the war against the Nazis.

When you begin reading the first issue, you are introduced to a 1940’s version of Batwoman. You see her dressed in a baseball outfit similar to what you would have seen in that time period.  The artwork made me feel that I was watching an old 1940’s film. From the way she speaks to her mannerisms, I became immediately reminded of the old films that I would watch with my family on Turner Classic Movies as a child.

Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, is still a lesbian in this universe and is living with Maggie Sawyer, her lover. They didn’t change or hide anything because of the time period. Instead the writers took a different turn. She blends in.  Which to me I found strange, frightening and refreshing.  When Amanda Waller visits Kate, she immediately recruits her into the Bombshells. This is where the story takes off.

You begin to see the journey of not just Kate Kane but almost EVERY FEMALE in the DC universe. It begins with Wonder Woman and how she helped fight alongside the USA, then shifts to Super Girl and Star Girl, to Catwoman, Harely Quinn and Poison Ivy along with so many more!  Each story fits smoothly into each other and does not falter, even in later chapters. I’m not saying every single story is gold, but you want to know what happens to each character and what sisterhood and connection they make with each other. They are now sisters in arms.

War, no matter how you slice it is still horrible, even in a fictional world. In this DC comic I was swept away by something I honestly only considered as pin-up piece in a comic shop. The stories are refreshing and empowering . It imparts a little something for everyone. It is easy to purchase and is available on Amazon or at any comic book shop.

Ratings:

Art – 7 It varies from chapter to chapter depending on the story but it makes the comic that much stronger. There are also several tasteful pin up girl images of each character.

Story – 8 It’s riddled with diversity and adventures that don’t overwhelm you. Not your typical save the day stories.

Characters – 8 Each character is from a different country and some have different accents. You fall in love with old characters with a new twist.

Yuri – 8 There are a several relationships in this book that took me by surprise. Batwoman isn’t the only leading lady of love. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are a couple along side a few other female characters that I was unfamiliar with.

Service – 8

Overall – 8 DC comics went out of their way for once to make our leading ladies truly shine. You finally see what you have wanted to see in an all female action comic that has been made in North America. With a market overflowing with male leads this makes you wonder why their aren’t more stories of women like this in US comics? I wish I could have read this as a teen growing up. It’s inspiring. 

Erica here: Well…wow! I’ve added it to my Amazon cart, along with Love is Love, the DC and IDW tribute to the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Thanks, Jen, you just sold  a book! ^_^

Send to Kindle