This is Issue 7 of Comics Squee. Each month our podcast panelists, their true identifies known only to their trusted valets, squee about the comic books, graphic novels, and general sequential art geekery that excites them.
I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. Joining me are regular squeesters: John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at john-W-oliver-DOT-com ; and April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls meetup in San Diego.
JM Perkins, aka John, author of the action-horror novel CHEMO: How I Learned to Kill and fellow podcaster. Incidentally, John was raised as a survivalist. So if the zombie apocalypse, or rise of the anti-christ, happens this issue we are in good hands.
This issue of Comics Squee we’ve got: an all ages video game parody featuring heroic little sisters ; a creator owned crime comic ; a relationship literally haunted by the ghosts of the past ; and a young readers comic reinventing super heroes.
We rolled two D6 (size-sided dice) to see who goes first and Chriss won.
Chriss: Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G.
This is a fun all ages comic that collects Book One of the webcomic Cucumber Quest. So, imagine your typical fantasy adventure game. The epic hero is chosen and defeats the terrible evil that has arisen. Yay good guys! But then someone else plays the game. And then someone else. What would that be like for the people in the world of the game?
Cucumber starts with that premise. The Dreamside is setup like an old school adventure game with a Doughnut Kingdom starting zone. The twist is that the main character, Cucumber, doesn’t want to be an epic hero. He wants to go to wizard school and even has a stick-with-a-star-on-top wand. His little sister, Almond, really wants to be an epic hero, though. Shenanigans ensue.
We felt like there should be chiptunes playing on each page of the graphic novel.Important things in the dialog are even highlighted with colored text like in a game. The best part is when the characters call the world on it’s BS. “If you’re the guardian of Dreamside why can’t you save us?”
It’s very fun, with just the right touch of silly.
John W. Oliver: A Criminal series by Ed Brubaker (writer) and Sean Phillips (art)
John is a big fan of Ed Brubaker’s crime comic Criminal. He describes it as being in the same crime pulp vein as Frank Miller’s Sin City but more refined. And the characters, instead of being dead at the end like in Sin City, end up up with a fate worse then death. Things always go wrong and there’s no sugar coating or glamorization of a life of crime.
One of the things that regular squeester John likes about Criminal is that a character that’s a background character in one book will be the main character in the next. That there’s a world continuity. For instance, the main character of the first volume, Coward shows up in the second book, Lawless, vouching for the lead.
Sean Phillips’ art is great as well, gritty but realistic. And the color sticks to a narrow palette that keeps the noir vibe going.
April: Festering Romance by Renee Lott
This is a book that Chriss recommended and loaned to April. It’s about a couple literally haunted by the ghosts of their pasts. The main character is an art student and she lives with the ghost of her childhood friend who died when they were 8. He’s aged along with her, so he’s an adult ghost instead of a kid. She gets setup with someone she kind of likes from one of her classes, and he turns out to be living with the ghost of his ex-girlfriend.
April was of two minds on Festering Romance. It has a cartoony style that’s manga influenced and Renee gets a lot of expression out of her characters, which is impressive with how simplistic the art is. On the other hand she felt like the relationship between the main characters wasn’t really developed since the focus was all on the ghosts. Chriss felt that wasn’t a detraction since the book’s really about resolving the emotional baggage represented by the ghosts and the romance is just set dressing.
John “JM” Perkins: Battling Boy by Paul Pope
John described Paul Pope’s Battling Boy as Thor meets Kirby’s New Gods. And we looked at the art we agreed that it has that epic vibe and feel. Battling Boy is a member of a godlike people who send their kids off to have adventures as their coming of age ceremony. So the main character’s dad sends him off to this town where monsters are kidnapping kids. The city was defended by a Rocketeer-like science hero who has recently died, leaving his daughter all of his monster fighting tools.
Battling Boy has t-shirts that he gets his powers from, which we all agreed was really cool. Pope’s art is nice and he plays with perspective. He also does his lettering, though, and April wasn’t certain how easy a time she’d have reading the comic.
Incidentally, Battling Boy keeps his shirts and credit card in an apartment which his god parents setup for him. Which led us to wonder about where Superman gets his stuff. Chriss wondered if Superman has a magical girl transformation in the New 52 now that phone booths are obsolete.
We took a break to thank our media hosting sponsor, Greta C.
Question Time: Can You Name 5 Plant Themed Comic Characters?
The answer is yes. Yes we can. This is the quickest Question Time we’ve had yet and the podcast devolved into delightful silliness. Here are the characters we came up with…
- Bob The Angry Flower
- El Seed, from The Tick
- Poison Ivy
- Swamp Thing
- Man Thing
- Floronic Man (Swamp Thing villian)
- Black Orchid
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next
The first trade volume of Sixth Gun by Comics Squee favorite Cullen Bunn, with artist Brian Hurtt.
Regular squeester John Oliver is looking forward to the next story arc in Cullen Bunn’s Helheim series. He enjoyed the first tight 6 issue arc, but felt that all the female characters were negative. It’s a story about witches battling for supremacy using viking villagers as pawns and you can only have so many characters so he can understand the decisions. But that’s why he’s looking forward to seeing how things develop with the next installment.
What else but more My Little Pony action. In November 2013 IDW announced the art team for their new My Little Pony: Friendship is Forever series, which will be a team-up book coming out January 2014. This sparked a rousing pie versus cake discussion.
The next Earth 2 book from DC. His recommendation encouraged our resident John to check out the series himself.