Color of Life: In by Will McPhail

I think I experienced a bit of synesthesia while reading In by Will McPhail.

The book is largely done in sketch-like black and white, the characters little more than outlines on a white background, except for moments when Nick, the main character, experiences real human connection. As soon as he makes that connection, the pages burst into fully painted, dynamic scenes, and I oftentimes felt like I could hear the sounds of crashing waves or the swell of some imaginary film score in my head. It made the whole thing quite extraordinary.

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Not Much There: Fangs by Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is best known for her Sarah’s Scribbles web comics, where a big-eyed, spiky-haired version of herself deals with introversion, anxiety, and the vagaries of modern life in a humorous, relatable way. Those strips are the exact sort of thing that people love to share on social media.

When I heard about her new book, Fangs, I was intrigued because it sounded so different from her oftentimes silly work in Sarah’s Scribbles.

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Relatable Urchins: Nancy by Olivia Jaimes

Sluggo is Lit

I’ve never read any of the classic Nancy comics, but her look is iconic. I feel like I could identify a Nancy comic from across the room by the shape of Nancy’s head alone. The fact that those comics were ubiquitous enough to become iconic but passé enough that I’d never read any of them is a fascinating contradiction.

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Modernized Space Girl: Barbarella, Volume 1

First, some caveats about this review of the new Barbarella comic written by Mike Carey: I’ve never seen the Jane Fonda movie, so I watched the trailer to get a feel for it because it felt like a necessary entry point.

I also read the first volume of the classic comics by Jean-Claude Forest so that I’d have a baseline to compare against the rebooted series. From a writing standpoint, I’d say that the two versions of Barbarella are on close to equal footing, but the art in the modern version just does not do the character justice.

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Infinitely French: Infinity 8, Volume 1

If I didn’t already know that Infinity 8 is a French comic, reading it would make that crystal clear. It has a French feel about it, from the art reminiscent of Moebius, to the laconic dialogue scenes, to (most tellingly) the glimpse of casual nudity and the protagonist who wears a skin-tight spacesuit straight out of 1950s pinup illustrations.

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Insert Gritty Reboot: Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie

Maybe Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie would have resonated for me a bit more if I’d ever read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. Instead, I’ve only ever seen their cover illustrations and imagined the sort of squeaky-clean peril they might get themselves into. I think, though, that I still wouldn’t have gotten much from this too-serious gritty reimagining of the classic teen mysteries.

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Glitterbomb: Red Carpet Bomb

Glitterbomb, Volume 1: Red Carpet Written by: Jim Zub Line Art by: Djibril Morissette-Phan Colors by: K. Michael Russell Published: March 7th 2017 Publisher: Image Comics Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Horror, Satire Format: Paperback Length: 136 pages I’ve lived in Los Angeles for just over three and a half years now, so obviously that means I … Read more

Suburban Weirdness, Circa 1988: Paper Girls, Vol 1

Paper Girls feels like a forgotten 1980s adventure that piles on the subversive twists. They don’t make movies like that anymore, let alone ones this weird. I think the technical term here is “box office poison,” and yet I’d love to see Paper Girls up on the big screen. It begs for the kind of lovingly nostalgic adaptation that could only work with modern special effects and sensibilities.

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