Creeping Terror Tales

I originally read these two creepy stories by Sandy Jarrell as a minicomic, but both are now available to read online. The first, Don’t Play, the Game’s Not Safe, is about a bunch of kids trying to scare each other with trance-like games. This story does a fabulous job of realistically capturing kids playing around with the unknown, imagining grisly fates for each other. The art, pacing, expressions, and shading are all great, and the writer knows just when to […]

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Destined Love

Destined Love is a cool little meta-superhero comic set in the late 60s by Sandy Jarrell with Vance Sumner. It blends Astro City-like superhero daily life and real cultural history in the format of a nurse romance. It’s an ambitious project that could go wrong so many ways but doesn’t. Annie meets the superhero Bastion of Freedom while treating one of the people he’s recently saved, and they have dinner together. She’s curious about his relationship with one of his […]

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X-Factor Flashback: #70-89 (1991-1993)

Because I enjoyed the Peter David-written Madrox miniseries, it was recommended that I try his earlier run on X-Factor. He started on X-Factor #70 in September 1991 with the wrapup to some big X-Men crossover. It’s full of lots of chatter, too many guest stars, and showy character bits, as when Wolverine swallows a cigarette instead of extinguishing it. That’s the kind of thing that would normally interrupt a story, but since there’s not really one here, instead, they’re character-defining […]

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The New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy?

Poor Donna Troy. She’s had so many names — Wonder Girl, Troia, Darkstar — costumes, and origins over the years. Somehow, she’s still managed to develop a dedicated fanbase, and The New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy? should have been the retrospective she deserved, leading to more fans discovering her. Unfortunately, the publisher instead decided to use it to plug their next big crossover, as though there weren’t enough comics already tied into that mess. The uncredited introduction begins […]

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Blacksad: Arctic Nation

This gorgeous painted graphic novel uses humanoid animals to create a crime story with all the atmosphere of a classic noir film, complicated by the more modern concerns of racism and hate crimes. Blacksad: Arctic Nation is written by Juan Diaz Canales and illustrated by Juanjo Guarnido. Blacksad is a panther private eye investigating the case of a missing child against a background of color-inspired harassment. A group of white-skinned and -furred animals make up a Nazi-like group that preaches […]

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Tricked

Alex Robinson, author of Box Office Poison, returns with another sprawling graphic novel in Tricked. In 350 pages, he tells of a series of significant events that intertwine the lives of six people: a jaded, creatively blocked rock star; a retailer of sports collectibles who forges autographs; a teenager seeking her biological father; an antisocial music fan with psychological issues; a diner waitress; and a record company office assistant. It’s the comic equivalent of the ensemble independent film. The structure […]

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Banana Sunday

Banana Sunday, written by Root Nibot (aka Paul Tobin) and drawn by Colleen Coover, is the kind of imaginative work that’s perfect for comics. It’s got a creative premise — a girl named Kirby starts at a new school while taking care of three apes — that would be too expensive or ludicrous to do anywhere else, yet it emphasizes internal conflict with sympathetic characters. The emotions are universal, such as young love on a first date or a reporter’s […]

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Mr. Majestic

This collection of large-scale superhero adventures is powered by over-the-top ideas. Joe Casey and co-writer Brian Holguin set their stories across the cosmos, while Ed McGuinness draws a hugely muscled alien-to-look-up-to hero in Mr. Majestic. The first story features Majestic having to hide our solar system from aliens. Desmond, his super-smart boy inventor friend, is only one of the many scientists that help plan a solution to the problem. It’s refreshing to hear, early on, Majestic disavowing the idea that […]

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