It was my birthday last Friday. Thanks for noticing. All your gifts and well wishes were received in kind, and you can expect thank you cards in the mail within the week. VanCaf happened this past memorial day weekend, and if I was smart I would have said something about it last week. But I’m not smart you see. I’m simply a vessel of firing synapses that causes electrical currents to make my fingers dance across my keyboard in a whirl of creative furry and madness. Much like Amadeus. Yes, I am the Mozart of my generation. It’s my birthday.
Amateurs by Connor Stechschulte– When we forget history we’re doomed to repeat it, but for the butchers in this graphic novella premiere from Massachusetts artist, Connor Stechschulte, the horror of the lack of memory propels them into what is probably the worst day of their lives. As the owners of a butcher shop, they both show up to work one day with no idea how to butcher. Their follies unfold as customers arrive. I mean, imagine if someone asked you right now for pork back strap, would you know how to do it? The mess and problems what would ensue, the torture of your sensibilities and of the animal? The situational humor built out of such an absurd scenario reveals itself to be darker, and much more problematic for everyone involved. Juxtapozed with the framing of a terrible crime on the outset of the story, the black and white crosshatched story is anything but amateur.
Trees #1 By Warren Ellis and Jason Howard-Do you still lie awake at night because Ellis and Templesmith haven’t updated Fell since 2008? This is new series is nothing like Fell, but hopefully the fact that this will be Ellis’s first release on Image since 2008, might ease the pain. Trees. They’re here. Here is Earth. What are trees? Trees are alien intelligence. Intelligence belongs to the trees. Trees see humans as we see trees. Not alive. Not intelligent. Howard, who worked with Ellis before on the web series Scatterlands, usually keeps a tight Super Dinosaur look in his art, but has pushed himself to a new level with this book, borrowing looks from fan favorite artists such as Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis. As a standard writer for decades, Ellis is continuing to prove his relevance in modern comics.
Tanpopo Collection Vol 2 HC by Camilla d’Errico– Like the work that the story of Tanpopo is based on, reading the work calls for careful consideration of the philosophy in play, and to experience the poetry in tandem with the art. Playing off the themes of the German play, Faust, the first volume begins with the titular protagonist, a girl whose existence is dependent on the knowledge given to her by a machine, at the cost of human experience and emotion. She is given the opportunity to experience the pain and joy of humanity upon entering a pact with the devil, which seems like a bad idea, but ultimate knowledge without shared experience is often argued as the absence of existence. Because even the greatest minds of our generation precipice their knowledge on base experience like procreation. Take episode 16 of season three from Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Offspring”, where Data creates a daughter. This series is basically that. With roughly the same amount of Shakespeare. More devil though.
Chew/Revival #1 Layman/Seeley and Guillroy/Norton-I barely know what the word crossover means not coming into comics with a superhero background, that and my debilitating illiteracy, but my interest in the notion was certainly peaked when I heard last February that the teams behind Image comics Chew and Revival were joining forces of awesome to bring a series that follows everyone’s favorite cibopath detective into the rural crime-noir. The zombie crime-time town is the perfect host for Tony Chu and his newest investigation. I’m trying really hard to make a cheese-head/head-cheese joke, but it’s just not happening. I just want everyone to know I tried.
The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor #1 by Mark Waid and Neil Edwards– I’ve googled Gold Key so much in the past few months I’ve started getting targeted ads from Masterlock. Why have I been searching it so much? Because the revivals coming from them have literally rocked my world. I talk about them frequently, but now that one of my favorite occult investigators, (my first fav being Constantine) is getting a revamped series I might as well make it an auto search and send it to my rss feed. (I have no idea if those are real things. How does the internet work?) But Doctor Adam Spektor is like the Geraldo Rivera meets Criss Angel of occult detective work, and his public persona has started to drain on his personal life. But when you’re a TV legend, Wall Street wolf, Internet mogul, tabloid bad boy, master metaphysicist, spiritualist, and monster hunter, what more could you possibly need to make you happy? Comic extraordinaire Mark Waid (Daredevil) dares to find out.