How Loathsome

The cover of How Loathsome features an attractive, androgynous figure naked from the waist up with arms wrapped around him/herself. S/he’s wearing black PVC pants, suggesting fetish culture, and appears to be comforting or protecting him/herself from prying gazes. It’s a great summation of the material contained within. The stories by Ted Naifeh and Tristan Crane explore queer life, drug use, goth clubs, and gender experimentation in San Francisco. In the first chapter, Catherine, the narrator, meets Chloe, a “tall […]

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Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight

Before Gotham Central, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark worked together on the mystery Scene of the Crime. Jack Herriman is a private eye hired by a woman to find her missing younger sister, who may have become involved with a strange commune-like group. Both she and Jack turn out to have father issues in common; when he was a teenager, Jack was raised by his uncle, a crime scene photographer who helps out on cases. Now, he’s fallen into something […]

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Dead West

The team behind the critically praised Teenagers From Mars, writer Rick Spears and artist Rob G., return with a zombie Western, Dead West. While the men of a Native American tribe are out hunting, a group of whites massacre their village to enforce their claim to the property. A young brave survives and years later takes his revenge on the town, Lazarus, built on the site. Through a ritual sacrifice, he raises the town’s dead, an unthinking mob of zombies […]

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Online Comic Fandom in 1995

At the Spring 1995 American Culture Assocation / Popular Culture Association national meeting, I presented on the state of online comic fandom using the following paper as a basis. The big three areas at the time were Usenet, CompuServe, and AOL (mainly DC’s then-exclusive content). Times have changed, ten years later, as the centers of online comic fandom (such as they are) have moved today to blogs, web boards, and invite-only mailing lists. This, by the way, was my last […]

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Teenagers From Mars

Mars is your typical Southern town. One group of kids are digging up a coffin. When they find a sword, they wind up reenacting fight scenes from Star Wars. Another guy’s ripping off the copy shop with the aid of an underutilized employee. They get away with it because the boss is convinced the kid’s on drugs; aren’t all teens? At the local Mallmart, an employee’s getting chewed out for selling a kid a comic with too much violence; who […]

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Alichino Volume 1

I picked up Alichino because I saw a preview, and I was astounded by the beauty of the art by Kouyu Shurei. Stunning, graceful figures stare piercingly at the reader, accompanied by a menacing owl. Alichino are gorgeous beings who can grant wishes at the cost of the requester’s soul. They’re lovely demons, drawn to misery and deep desires. A girl, seeking one to save her brother’s life, mistakes Tsugiri for one because of his beauty. He’s not, but he […]

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Sgt. Rock’s Combat Tales

Sgt. Rock’s Combat Tales provides a compact look at a once-popular, now-mostly-forgotten genre: the war comic. These classics from the late 50s were written by Robert Kanigher with art by Joe Kubert, Jerry Grandenetti, Irv Novick, and Russ Heath. The digest-sized book opens with Rock’s “origin story”, a tale of who he was (a boxer) and his determination, the quality that defined him as a person and a soldier. Other stories deal with what it’s like to be a grunt […]

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Fell and Cheaper Comics

Ian Brill interviews Warren Ellis on Fell‘s format for Publishers Weekly. The book is unusual, 16 pages of single-issue comic story + 8 pages of supporting material for $2 US. It’s something of a breakthrough in giving fans what they’ve said for years they wanted — a cheaper, satisfying read — and more Image comics will be following its model in the coming year. Retailers should also be pleased that this format is real competition for those “waiting for the […]

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