|"Look honey, an article on those 'independent comics' our friends are always going on about."|
Nix Comics Quarterly #7
Nix Comics is a small-press publisher, founded by Ken Eppstein back around the year 2010 (with the first-ever issue from the publisher releasing in January of 2011). While it all started with the quarterly that focuses on being a rock and roll-type horror anthology, Nix Comics has branched out into some other genres such as your Western comics or youth-focused stuff. Seeing as how it began with "Nix Comics Quarterly" however I thought it would make sense to review the newest issue that came out a couple months ago in September of this year. True to its stated goal of being equal parts "rock" and "horror", this anthology has many tales involving music and is perhaps not scary enough to give you nightmares, but definitely contains some stories that were a bit spooky. There is a good deal of humor too--not unlike the old EC Comics back in the day the series draws inspiration from, and that helps carry many stories along nicely.
The humor I just mentioned actually plays an integral part in my two favorite stories within this issue of the anthology--"MP3s of Madness" and "Do This For Chuck". "MP3s of Madness" is the first yarn in this comic and kicks things off nicely. Written by Christian Hoffer and illustrated by Derek Stewart it is a post-apocalypse-meets-Cthulu story. Basically, it turns out that low-quality MP3s along with small-sized media players actually opened up another dimension which invaded ours with these squid monsters, and it infected almost everyone except your "purists" who stuck to vinyl, and I assume even CDs. It sounds like a bit of a snobby idea for a horror story--"Oh, those dullards with their crappy sound-quality!"--but has enough of its tongue firmly in-cheek to get away with the concept.
The other piece is written by Nix-owner Ken Eppstein and illustrated by Jess L' Heureux. At first it makes little-to-no sense with these rocker-girls talking about honoring the last wishes of someone named, "Chuck." Well, after debating for a bit and then grabbing some shovels and beer they go out to the graveyard and dig up a body holding a gun, at which point they remove the gun and replace it with a beer with the punchline finally becoming apparent with the name on the tombstone--"Heston". Yes, they went there and made a gag out of Charlton Heston's famous NRA quote about how people could take his rifle from his, "Cold dead hands." It's an incredibly stupid and tasteless joke, and that is probably why I loved it. The incongruity of these teenage girls even knowing who Heston was and digging up his corpse has just the right mix of being a horrifying concept and a hilarious one that for some reason it really work for me.
can do that here as they are a smaller publisher and not found in "Previews". So yeah, good stuff!
4 out of 5 stars.
Northwest Press is a publisher that describes itself as focusing on comic-books that can appeal to an LGBTQ audience, but which makes titles for everyone. Therefore, while many of their comics may deal with LGBTQ themes, a cisgender heterosexual male can still enjoy their output, as a good story is a good story regardless of who within it is gay or straight, just as a bad story is a bad story. Therefore, I am happy to say that the newest issue of "Dash" continues expertly from the strong start of the first issue, which I liked a great deal, and even improves upon it!
I wanted to see a bit more of Dash's background when I read the first issue and learn how he came to be the private eye he is in 1940's Los Angles. That's why I was pleased to see that desire met in this issue which explains why some of the general populace seem to not know he is a gay man, but all the police appear to know. It turns out Dash Malone was a hero cop before it "came out" he was actually a gay man, and as that could actually be prosecuted as a crime back then, he was stripped of all his awards and medals. Not one to be deterred, Dash started-up as a private investigator, but due to the shocking conclusion of the last issue where his on-again, off-again boyfriend "Plink" was murdered Dash now is in an understandably dour mood.
I clearly quite liked the story this issue, but how about the art? I think it was stellar. It continued to capture the mood of the 1940's in its coloring and attention to the details of the era, and it also wonderfully conveyed action. Sometimes in comics it can be tricky to illustrate a fight scene well, but within this issue when Dash and the jerk-detective get to brawling, it only takes about a page-and-a-half of wordless imagery to convey the flowing movement of how Dash is clearly someone not to be trifled with. That is just one bit in the comic, but stands as a good example to how this comic doesn't just tell a good story, but looks good while doing it.
go here too. I recommend you do!
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #89
Broadsword Comics" with his then-girlfriend and now wife, Holly Golightly, and they proceeded to make a comic together. This comic would go on to become equal parts famous and infamous for its strange mixture of feminism, Wicca, and a lot of nudity with just-tame-enough-to-not-be-pornographic sex. That comic's name? Well, in case my header didn't tip you off, "Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose". Yeah, this is the, "enjoyably weird," comic I mentioned.
Compared to other issues of "Tarot" this one is a bit more tame, with only some hints of nudity and raunchy-talk. Instead, this edition of "Tarot" focuses on the titular character and her sister, Raven Hex, attempting to stop a group of Krampus (Krampuses?) from terrorizing the children of the town. A Krampus is a sort of Christmas-Devil who punishes children that aren't nice with beatings or kidnapping them to be taken to his lair and beat-up some more. Anyways, this issue features a bunch of Krampus on their way to a town and how the sisters want to stop them. It's an issue that has almost no "speech bubbles" instead presenting the story with a bunch of text and pictures to break it up--kind of like a strange story-book almost.
|Instead of warming spells to keep your from freezing you could wear more clothes,|
that would ruin one aspect of the comic that makes it popular, though.
Balent found something he enjoys doing with the love of his life, and they make a solid living creating this comic full of raunchy imagery and Wicca that lets them have their cheesecake-art and eat it too. As for this issue itself and its overall quality, the lack of speech bubbles made things a bit harder to follow, and unlike the more zany issues of "Tarot" that pack-in a bunch of absurd ideas, this one was relatively straightforward. Still, it was a pleasant enough read and a comic I recommend if you're into the weirder sort of comics or enjoy discussions of Wicca.
3.5 out of 5 stars.