A Locke & Key Vol. 1 Review: In Which I Ponder My Credentials As A Comics Fan

(via wikipedia)

One of the hottest comics when I got into the medium was Locke & Key, written by horror author Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. At the time (about four years ago now), it was far enough along in its run that it would have been silly verging on impossible to attempt to find single issues, so when I came into a gift card, I bought the first trade. From the slew of awards it had won or at least been nominated for, and the strong recommendations from both friends and comics personalities whose opinions I trusted, I started to read it expecting to have my socks knocked clean off… and never finished it. This week, it caught my eye from between my Sandmans and my DC Bombshells on the shelf, and I figured, welp, might as well try again.

Time and distance, apparently, do not make the heart grow fonder. Maybe I have bad taste in comics, but I have no idea how this won an Eisner or anything else. Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft did absolutely nothing for me.

Spoilers for the first volume after the jump!

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Into The Woods Vol. 1

I need very little motivation to give a recommended new book a try. Sometimes it’s the plot concept that grabs me; more often than not, someone just says “it has queer people in it” and that’s enough for me. (I’ve ended up trying some terrible books this way; LGBTQ+ representation and quality are not mutually guaranteed.) Combining an author I already know I love with the promise of queer representation, though, is a no-brainer for my ever-growing to-read list. So when I saw that James Tynion IV had written a comic series I’d somehow never heard of, and that it came highly recommended by Bisexual Books, I obviously had to check it out.

Vague spoilers for Vol. 1 of The Woods below the jump.

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Dept. H: You’re Smarter Than Me If You Realized That Looks Like “Depth”

I really need to cut back on my comics. Lately I’ve been scooping up series after series that have been recommended to me by the one guy at my shop, and it’s starting to get a little out of hand. There’s so much good stuff out there, though! From the feel-good roller derby shenanigans of Slam to the artsy and weird world of The Electric Sublime, comics continue to do cool things.

This recommendation spree began with an indie series called Dept. H, which was recommended to me based on my interest in unique art styles like Christian Ward’s in ODY-C. I wasn’t actually in the market for new books at the time—comics cost money—but the premise and art style were so intriguing that I decided to give it a look anyway. And now, at the risk of making some kind of terrible ocean/fish-based pun, I’m hooked.

Some vague spoilers for the series so far (through issue #9) below the jump.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Superheroes in Full Color

As we Americans slog on toward Thanksgiving, it sometimes feels like there isn’t a whole lot to be thankful for this year, what with politics, celebrity deaths, and natural disasters coming one after the other in one big avalanche of awful. Even though Tumblr is often not great as well, I tend to use my malfunctioning blue hellscape of a dashboard as a handy mental escape, particularly this month. So today, I’d like to rec a site I’ve followed on Tumblr for a long time called Superheroes in Full Color.

webcrush picThough we often bemoan the lack of characters of color and works created by people of color in our mainstream media, the fact remains that the content we seek is likely out there somewhere, just sorely under-hyped. Our major franchises are things like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, all universes created by white people and all of which feature few, if any, characters of color. So if you’re the type of person who wants to read a more diverse, inclusive story, where should you start looking for this type of content? Today’s web crush is going to be a handy resource for you.

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Dom Reads: Hyper Force Neo

Dear readers, I cannot stress the importance of conventions enough, as I still have comics from New York Comic Con to talk about! The reason these experiences mean so much to me is that you can simply walk around with the hope that something catches your eye, and Hyper Force Neo definitely fits that bill. The title features a Black main character, a Black author, Jarrett Williams, and an aesthetic that was totally my style (think Steven Universe meets Scott Pilgrim), so I had to give it a shot.

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Dom Reads: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe

I’ve been a fan of the Marvel movies for some time now; they’re usually, at worst, a great visual spectacle. But for me, this never really translated into reading the comics. Superhero comics don’t exactly jump out at me visually, and even when socially inclusive, they typically have borderline impenetrable lore. So when I heard there was a standalone graphic novel for Squirrel Girl, I knew I had to pick it up: even though my knowledge of the character is very limited, I did know she is one of the funnier heroes and has a far above average success rate at defeating the universe’s villains. I had been interested in Squirrel Girl for a while, but wasn’t sure where a good jumping on point would be. Additionally, who wouldn’t want to see one character (other than Thanos) beat up the whole Marvel Universe? I was not let down.

Minor/early story spoilers for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe ahead.

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Rebirth, Rucka, and Redemption: Why You Should Be Reading the New Wonder Woman

For better or worse (mostly for better, from what I can tell), DC has finally laid the grim, poorly structured, and laughably undiverse New 52 to rest, and has started over under the header Rebirth. This sort of reboot to continuity is often a boon for readers looking for a convenient jumping on point, and Rebirth was no exception for me. When I heard that Wonder Woman would be starting over at #1, and more, that Greg Rucka, author of the iconic modern Batwoman story Batwoman: Elegy, would be writing her, I was super hyped. Wonder Woman has suffered any number of woes during the New 52, not least of all a writer/artist duo who didn’t seem to understand that feminism was not a dirty word.

I read the first issue of Wonder Woman Rebirth when it was released in June, before I got a new brickspace job and moved to a different state. Once I finally got settled, priority number one was catching up on the comics I missed during the whole process, and the first point of order of that mission was to acquire the Wonder Women I’d missed in the interim.

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