Comics, Musings

My Comic Project

No, I’m not writing my own comic (although I have had ideas about one… I just don’t think my art is strong enough for that yet…).  I am however doing some art stuff for my home.

I bought two big things to do some art on to hang somewhere in my home eventually and the first one I wanted was to recreate some of my favorite comic cover art.  The first one is probably way too ambitious and I am probably going to tear my hair out over it but I’m at the very least going to try.

I might update you guys as I continue on it but for this first post I figured I would tell you how I am going about turning a comic book cover into a painting big enough to go on my wall.

The cover in question is from the third issue of Low:

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My first step, as I did not want to deface my comic, was to print out a picture of the cover that I could write on.  I then divided up the cover into a grid that I would use to assist me in transfering the image’s size.  (Trust me it super difficult to change the size of something without the grid because it helps keep everything relative to everything else.

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I labelled the grid and measured the size of the board I was tranferring to so that I could use a ruler and mark out a grid exactly like the one on my print out, but a little over three times larger.

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This of course was followed by me sketching out the image, which I am still technically in the profess of doing.  Once that is done I will use clear gesso to seal the board before I begin painting so that it doesn’t deteriorate.  Then come the fun part!  Paint.

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It might look a little like a mess right now, but soon friends I promise it will be something great for me to hang up in my home.

If anyone is interested in the continuation of this process as I work on it, just let me know and I will be glad to show some more pictures.

Just a reminder that this is not my original art, it is someone else’s.  I am not going to be selling this or making prints of it because it is not my art to do so with.  I simply wanted something beautiful to hang in my home.  It will not be a perfect replica because I am not half the artist that Greg Tocchini is but I will do my best.

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Adult, Books, Comics

Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope Review

I promised I would back track a little and do a full review of the first volume of Low when I went to do a review of the second volume and realized I had never actually talked about the first.  Which is a travesty as this comic was my favorite comic of the year!

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Comic Title: Low
Volume Titile: Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope
Collected Issues: 1-6
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Publisher: Image Comics
Page #: 144
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Rating: M for Mature

Just looking at that cover you probably know what drew me to this comic in the first place.  I’m such an art snob when it comes to comics, if the art isn’t appealing to me it often means I can’t keep reading it even if the plot and writing is fine.  There needs to be a balance of both and I have heard people complain about the writing here, that it doesn’t match the art, or that the art is so flashy in order to cover up the fact that the story isn’t very good, and I would like to tell you why that isn’t so.

Now, I know that some people have an issue with how the trajectory of this story takes place.  It is a bit confusing at times, as it skips around in perspective and time and place.  This can make it frustrating to read as it isn’t linear.  However, I would recommend if you are confused to try reading it a little slower.  The comic is extremely well constructed.  You are seeing all of the different points in time and perspectives of one family as they struggle to find a way to save the human race.

This is a dystopian comic that takes place in giant under water cities generations after they were originally built.  The structures are breaking down and running out of resources so most of the people have resorted to living each day like it were their last.  They have lost hope.  However, the main characters in this story have not.  They are going to go on an expedition to the surface to find a probe that has returned to earth saying it has found a planet suitable for living, despite the fact that the air and the water near the surface are toxic.

On top of this, I think the thing that makes a good comic great is the ability for there to be subplots and sub-characters having stories in the background of panels where the main plot takes place.  These can either feed into the main plot later, or simply be little details that really add to the world building.  I think this is one of the greatest strengths of Low.  There are so many interweaving stories, it is able to show so many different ways of coping with the loss of hope, or the sudden realization that there may be hope after all.

If you are a fan of dystopian literature and are looking to get into comics or graphic novels, I would definitely think about picking this one up!  Like I said, it was my favorite comic of last year.

If you want to read my review of the second volume then you can find it here!

I will be back on Friday with a book review, and then something new and special on Saturday!  Get read guys, new things coming our way.

Books, Comics

What I Read in the Fall: Comics Edition or Why I Haven’t Been Reading Comics…

This is not a post wherein I say to you guys.  Guys.  I am no longer interested in looking at art.  I still love comics.  I love them so much.  However my car failed inspection way back in August, right before I was meant to leave for school.

It passed inspection on Monday. (You have no idea how excited I am by the fact that I finally have my car back!)

This meant that unless I bummed a ride with a friend, I had no way of leaving campus while at school, which means I did not visit the comic shop every week, which means I am totally and completely behind on everything.

Now.  I won’t be going back to school and the comic store I usually go to at home is not making me happy about its selection of comics so I might have to make the rounds looking for a new home, so to speak, but I can finally get back to comics.

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There is one comic that I did keep tabs on and that was Low which I reviewed for you guys last week!

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I also picked up the first issue of the second volume of Pretty Deadly (In this stunning variant for The Valkyries), the second issue came out last week so I need to make a trip out to get it soon.

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That is it guys.  There were all those comics I was so excited to start over the summer and the only one I was able to finish was Low.  I hate that.  I might slowly pick up the volumes of those that I abandoned and finish them to see if I want to go back to picking them up monthly.

I don’t have a job currently and that worries me so I will most likely be doing that very very slowly…

We shall see what happens.

In any case, can you guys give me any suggestions for comics that have been coming out that you really enjoy that I might want to look into?

What was your favorite comic from the fall?

I’ll see you guys on Friday with my 2015 Wrap Up!

Adult, Books, Comics

Low: Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us Review

Comic Review!  Woo! It is like I review things … weird.  Also third post in a week… unheard of.  We are getting things back on track.  Going to make blogging a habit.  Going to make reading a habit again as well.

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Series Title: Low
Volume: #2: Before the Dawn Burns Us
Issues Collected: #7-10
Publisher: Image Comics
Page #: 104
Genre: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: M for Mature!

If you were wondering, no, I did not review the first volume of Low, and yes, I know this is a great over sight on my part.  If you haven’t heard of this comic before you should definitely start there because this is a sequential comic and there are plot lines and characters that you will need to know from the first volume.  This is not the case for all comics, but definitely for this one.  This is not to say that this should be a problem because both volumes have been outstanding.  I might do a more in depth review of the first volume soon as well, to make up for my over sight.

TL;DR: Read the First Volume First.  It is Fantastic!

Now, on to the second volume.

My initial feelings?

*pained groan* THE ART IS SO GOOD.  IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS.  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.  I have said, again and again, if Tocchini sold prints I would buy them all.  I need them

Now I have a friend who has said that he doesn’t trust comics whose art is outstanding because often the plots can be over shadowed by this.  This may be true for some comics but I have always found that while this art is painfully gorgeous it only adds to the story being told.  There have been few comics that I feel every brush stroke adds to the story.  Figures in the background having their own plot, or doing things that would eventually show up in the main plot.  The tiniest detail can have great importance.  Some might find it distracting, but for me, it is so important.

As far as the plot goes, I don’t want to spoil the first volume if you haven’t read it.  I have to say that watching the story unfold for characters we haven’t seen for a while was interesting.

The first issue in this volume has one of the most heart breaking endings I have read in a while.  It perfectly embodies what I feel Low does so well.  It shows a post apocalyptic world as it could be in many different forms.  Each of the cities have taken a different aspect of the horrible side of human nature and upon realizing the futility of it all and the mortality of their race have fallen into depravity.  This new city has such an  interesting way of going about it.  Not only is it interesting world building but the world building has shaped the characters.  These worlds are not without consequence.  It isn’t just Remender flaunting his imagination, as I feel is the case with Black Science, the world building is pertinent to the characters and how they live their lives, their beliefs, their morals, it all comes down to where they grew up.

Everything leads into something else.

If you aren’t sold on the art, or perhaps are over sold, know that this story is so well crafted.  Pieces of it are woven together in such a way that I can do nothing but applaud it.  This comic has everything I could want and more.  I am sure that it is my favorite comic of the year and I wish more people would read it.  I have all of the issues and both of the volumes so that I can lend them to people.  Please pick it up if you haven’t already.

I hope those of you who celebrate it have a lovely Christmas Eve tomorrow and I will hopefully have a book review for you guys on Friday.  No guarantees, but I will do my best.

Books, Comics

First Impressions: New Comics Summer 2015

Apparently this is my 200th post on this site, which is exciting.  I have been doing this off and on for a number of years now and the blog has changed a bit, but it still maintains my awkward rambling descriptions rather than anything that is helpful to anyone.

Speaking to that “off and on” comment, TWO POSTS IN ONE WEEK! :O Shock and Awe.

Today I want to tell you guys my thoughts on the new comics I have picked up starting last month, some of these have had two issues out and I will comment on both those, not just the first issue, but some are still single issues until the coming weeks.  If you want to hear my final thoughts on the comics I was reading over the Spring I reviewed them here!  

If this is your first time reading one of my posts, there are a few things you might want to know.  The first is that I very rarely do a plot summary, I prefer to talk about the elements that I liked or disliked and what I feel would compel someone to read them.  If you would like a plot summary however, I always link the Goodreads page to the image you see next to each impression, just click it and you will find a description of the comic in more detail.

I primarily pull comics from Image, because they have been on a roll releasing comics that are not only beautiful but have really interesting unique stories.  Here are a few of the Image comics I pulled in the past couple months:

There are two comics that I have pulled that started their comic run in June:

Title: Pisces
Writer: Kurtis J. Weibe
Artist: Johnnie Christmas
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Based on the first two issues of this comic I have to say that it is a bit confusing to read and that is intentional.  I feel like this might be one that you wait to read in the trade so that you have the whole story.  It isn’t necessarily a bad thing for me as a comic reader, a lot of the time that endears a comic to me, but for some, they may not like this comic weekly simply because its not linear.  You can’t read panel by panel, page by page and understand the whole story.  On top of that, this is a really heart-breakingly violent and graphic comic.  Heartbreaking in that through that first comic I was completely invested in Dillon and his struggle but if you aren’t a fan of gratuitous violence then you might want to avoid this comic.  There is a lot of blood and muck.

Who is this for: People who like science fiction.  People who like books that tell stories through flashback rather than single strain standard plot progression.  People who like to read something for the atmosphere rather than the traditional plot arc.

Title: Injection
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

This is one of those comics that just drops you in somewhere near the middle of a story, or even, I am beginning to suspect, toward the end of a story.  It can be a bit jarring, but it also lends itself to the mystery genre.  We see the remnants of something gone wrong, we see snippets of what it was like before the fallout, and we see how those involved are trying to live after the fact.  I was really pulled in to the first issue, I wanted to know more about these characters and this world.

Who is this for: This is for a reader who longs to see what happens after the story, because this very much feels like a story after the story.  People who have traveled to England, of which I am not one but the landscapes and setting is very much there and it might add insight that even I don’t have, finally but most importantly, for people who love sassy female hackers, because sassy female hacker, what more do you need?

There are two comics that are starting new arcs but have been ongoing for a while that I continue to read:

Title: Low
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

I cannot speak highly enough about Low.  If you haven’t read the first arc it is out in trade now, please go pick that up.  It is such a lovely story.  On top of that I want to cover the world in Greg Tocchini’s art.  If I could buy all of the prints of his I would buy ALL OF THE PRINTS and wallpaper every surface I possibly could with it.  This is the seventh issue, and is the beginning of a new arc.  We are dropped into a different set of people than those we were following in the first arc.  As of right now, I’m not sure whether the new character will cross paths with the main characters of the last story or if this is a new story in the same world, in any case, I am excited for it, I can’t wait.

Who is this for: EVERYONE! No, but seriously, if you like dystopian worlds then Low in general is a really good take on that, and this issue in particular looks at some more of those elements in here.  If you love art and color then you NEED to pick this up, it is sooooooo beautiful, I can’t stress this enough. I take it back, it is for sure for EVERYONE. That means you, person who has never read a comic or graphic novel before. Go pick up the first volume of Low and give it a try, you will be surprised how much you like it. (A note: This comic is rated M for Mature, so when I say everyone, it is everyone who is old enough, or has permission, for this… I would roughly say 14+ but there is a lot of sex so, reader’s discretion)

Title: Southern Bastards
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jason Latour
Genre: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction

I really like this comic, but I don’t love it in the same way that I love Low.  Low is a comic that I want to throw at everyone, Southern Bastards is a comic that I like but recognize that not everyone else will like it.  The story is not particularly exciting, in fact it is rather dull.  It is a bit violent, but sparingly.  The pacing of the story is also quite slow, but all of that combines to create this really deep and interesting atmosphere.  The art is a bit uncomfortable which some people will be turned off of, I know that there are definitely some art styles that will prevent me from reading a comic even if people rave about the story, so the art is a bit touchy as well.  I really love stories set in the south.  I love the creepy atmosphere that this comic gives off. I know that it isn’t for everyone one, but it might be for someone, so I wanted to talk about it.  There are actually two volumes out that follow two different characters in this town, one being an old man returning to his hometown to clear out his father’s house, the other being the tale of how the football coach made the football team when he was in high school.  This comic starts a new arc and I’m excited to see what insight it lends.

Who is this for: People who love atmosphere, people who love stories set in the south, and people who love series that follow a characters arc to learn about them and their motives rather than one continuous story (the story of a town and the people in that town rather than one direct narrative).

When it comes to THE BIG TWO publishers I like to say that I wouldn’t choose either really, I feel like a lot of the comics coming out of DC and Marvel had grown a bit stale.  However growing up I read comics from both and I do still really love the characters, I just am sad that I don’t want to read their stories as much any more.

When it comes to coming out with new, interesting stories I have to give that award to DC:

Title: Gotham by Midnight
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Genre: Paranormal

I like to describe this series as The X-Files for Batman fans.  It revolves around this department in the GCPD (Gotham City Police Department) who work specifically on reports that are or appear to be (are.) supernatural in nature.  This is issue number 6 which is the start of a new arc, again you can get the first volume in trade if you want to catch up.  This series has a new artist, starting with this comic, and I actually like it a lot better.  I wasn’t particularly upset about the old art style, but it wasn’t my favorite, the new artist is a lot cleaner.  I like it.  The colors in this particular issue are also really beautiful to me.  I’m just happy with where this is going.  I was always in love with the story but now I’m in love with the art as well, rather than just accepting of it.

Who is this for: People who like/liked The X-Files.  People who love comics that take place in Superhero Universe without Superheroes actually in the main cast, People who like Horror Suspense or Crime shows on Television at the moment. Yes. Good.

There are two comics from DC that are starting this summer that I picked up:

Title: Midnighter
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: ACO
Genre: Superhero

I haven’t been reading very many Super Hero comics as of late, I simply haven’t been infatuated with them but here is what I have to say about Midnighter. GAY SUPERHERO.  I have made an acceptation for my no superhero love when it comes to representation in comics.  I am happy to say that this isn’t just a vote for more representation in comic books, it is also genuinely good on its own.  Midnighter seems to have all of the characteristics that I really love about Deadpool (Shock, crossing the streams, how dare I mention a Marvel character) and Red Hood and even a little bit of Batman in there.  If you like any of those comics then I highly recommend checking this out.  Plus the covers remind me of old hollywood movie posters and I kind of love the style its giving off.

Who is this for: People who like superheroes who aren’t squimish about killing people. People who like superheroes with secret identities. People who are all for more representation in comic books not just in the side cast, but headlining comics!

Title: Black Canary
Writer: Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Annie Wu
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Genre: Superhero

Again I pulled this because I want to see more leading ladies in comics, not meant for ladies, but just being badass in their own right and boy does this fit the bill.  If you have been reading Spider-Gwen (again I’m crossing the streams, I’m sorry) then you might want to pick this book up.  I really love seeing Black Canary as a rock star, it just makes sense to me.  I also really love the tiny little guitarist named Ditto who has yet to speak but is definitely the most adorable tiny guitarist in comics currently.  I like that this story seems to be less about a superhero moonlighting as a musician and more about a musician who moonlights as a superhero.  It is good.  I loved it.  So pleasantly surprised.

Who is this for: Everyone who loves bad-ass lady types.  Everyone who likes the concept of “the daily lives” of superheroes.  Anyone who likes the idea of tiny guitarists which really should be everyone.  If you read it for anything read it for Ditto!

When it comes to Marvel, yes I am still reading Spider-Gwen and yes I am still reading Silk as well, but I don’t really have anything new to say about them.  I like the stories, I find them appealing, but compared to some of the other comics that I really love or was surprised by, they are about what I expect at the moment.  The one Marvel comic that is surprising to me is:

Title: Runaways
Writer: Noelle Stevenson
Artist: Sanford Greene
Genre: Teen Superhero Team

Read this comic! If you like Lumberjanes, this is written by the same writer. If you like Gotham Academy (DAMN ME I JUST CAN’T STOP. CAN’T STOP. WON’T STOP) then this has the same kids in a boarding school feel.  I have always been a fan of Marvel’s stories but I haven’t been in love with many, or really any of their currently running characters.  I love the characters in this book.  I think this is a really great thing that Noelle Stevenson is bringing to this comic.  It has everything.  Good characters, good story, good art.  Triple threat right here.  If you haven’t picked this up yet, please get your hands on a copy.  I also have to say that the character you would think to be the least useful is surprisingly the most useful in the first two issues and I really love that.  It reminds me of Death of the Family era Teen Titans ( 😛 ).

Who is this for: People who like Lumberjanes, Gotham Academy, or Teen Titans.  People who like comics with teams of superheroes and their dynamics.  People who like stories set in schools for the gifted.  Above all else this comic is just plain fun, pick it up.

Alright, I think I have it all now.  These are the comics I’ve pulled this season and what I think of their first (few) issues.  Let me know if you are reading any of these and what you think about them and let me know if there is another comic I really should pick up and haven’t yet!

I have a book club video from two weeks ago to post on Friday so there will actually be THREE POSTS THIS WEEK. It must be the apocalypse. It must, it must, it must.

 

 

Adult, Books, Musings

Currently Reading Comics a Tweet Saga

Even though I have been clearly neglecting my blog this semester it is because I am in deep when it comes to school work.  I’m learning Chinese and playing catch up because I started with second semester Chinese rather than first semester Chinese.  I might be an idiot but I’m learning quickly, at least hopefully I am.

I have still been tweeting about the books I plan on reading and the comics I’ve been keeping track of so if you need updates or mini review, by all means follow me.

Also there will be a Special Spring Break episode of Bibliomancy where Taylor and I discuss Kelly Link’s new collection of short stories so look forward to that.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about doing more video reviews, making Bibliomancy into a Podcast and maybe starting up another podcast with Taylor wherein we discuss topical things like comics, movies, literature, and K-pop.  All my great loves in one place.

There will be things to post here.  I swear it.

I don’t know when exactly I will talk to you next, but I’m not done here.  I love it and I will keep up with it.