Box of Bones -- "Tales from the Crypt Meets Black History"

Here's a Kickstarter for a cool graphic novel project by Ayize Jama-Everett, John Jennings, et. al. called Box of Bones, described as "Tales from the Crypt Meets Black History."

When my friend Mark Dery let me know about this project, he wrote, "Jordan Peele remixes Lovecraft? Zora Neale Hurston meets EC Comics? Pulp voodoo in the age of Trump, Black Lives Matter, and white supremacy’s death rattle? I’m guessing all of the above, conjured up by Jama-Everett’s evocative prose and Jennings’s dynamic, Kirbyesque illustrations."

When Black graduate student, Lyndsey, begins her dissertation work on a mysterious box that pops up during the most violent and troubled time in Africana history, she has no idea that her research will lead her on a phantasmagorical journey from West Philadelphia riots to Haitian slave uprisings. Wherever Lyndsey finds someone who has seen the Box, chaos ensues. Soon, even her own sanity falls into question. In the end, Lyndsey will have to decide if she really wants to see what’s inside the Box of Bones.

Described as “Tales from the Crypt Meets Black History,” Box of Bones is a supernatural nightmare tour through some of the most violent and horrific episodes in the African Diaspora.

Volume 1 contains art from John Jennings, Sole Rebel, Damian Duffy, Frances Olivia Liddell-Rodriguez, Tommy Nguyen, Jarmel and Jamal Williams, and Bryan Christopher Moss with covers by Stacey Robinson!!!

Read the rest

Year of the Rabbit: a graphic novel memoir of one family's life under the Khmer Rouge

In 1975, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia after expelling a US puppet regime, surviving a brutal US bombing campaign despite the massive asymmetry between the Cambodian forces and the US military. Tian Veasna was born three days after the Khmer Rouge took power, and spent his formative years in forced labor camps as his family were beaten, starved, tortured and murdered. Today, Veasna is a comics creator living in France, and in Year of the Rabbit, Veasna creates a coherent story out of his family's narratives, giving us a ground-level view of the horrors of the Pol Pot regime, whose campaign of genocide led to the deaths of more than a million people.

Watch the new trailer for Netflix's upcoming "Locke & Key" adaptation

I'm a huge fan of the Locke & Key graphic novel series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Set in the coastal town of Lovecraft, Massachusetts (changed to Matheson, MA for the series), the comics tell the story of the Locke family as they relocate to the family estate, the Keyhouse, following the murder of their father. The grieving kids soon start to discover a series of magical keys that work in conjunction in the house and give them abilities to enter peoples' minds, resurrect the echoes of the past, change their gender, transform into animals, separate their souls from their bodies, and so much more. And of course, it all ties back to an ancient Eldritch horror at the center of this quaint New England town.

I first read the Locke & Key books over Christmas week at my in-laws a few years ago. I burned through the entire series in 2 days, and was utterly emotionally devastated at the end. I remember my mother-in-law turning to my wife and joking, "Your husband has been reading comic books on his iPad and not talking to anyone and now his crying. Are you sure this was a good choice?" Dear reader, it was an excellent choice, because I had the same response when I re-read the series, and when I listened to the full-cast soundscape "audio graphic novel" adaptation of the series.

In other words: I am very much looking forward to this show, which will be on Netflix starting February 7, 2020. Read the rest

After more than a decade, Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg's YA classics The PLAIN Janes are back!

[I adored Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg's YA graphic novels The PLAIN Janes and Janes in Love, which were the defining titles for the late, lamented Minx imprint from DC comics. A decade later, the creators have gotten the rights back and there's a new edition Little, Brown. We're honored to have an exclusive transcript of Cecil and Jim in conversation, discussing the origins of Plain Janes. Make no mistake: this reissue is amazing news, and Plain James is an underappreciated monster of a classic, finally getting another day in the spotlight. If you haven't read it, consider yourself lucky, because you're about to get another chance. -Cory]

Girl on Film: a graphic novel memoir of a life in the arts and the biological basis for memory-formation

Cecil Castellucci (previously) is a polymath artist: YA novelist, comics writer, librettist, rock star; her latest book, Girl on Film, is an extraordinary memoir of her life in the arts, attending New York's School for the Performing Arts (AKA "The Fame School") and being raised by her parents, who are accomplished scientists.

Stargazing: Jen Wang's semi-autobiographical graphic novel for young readers is a complex tale of identity, talent, and loyalty

Jen Wang (previously) is several kinds of excellent comics person: from her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good (a complex and heartfelt take on "manic pixie dream girls") to her award-winning, bestselling, brilliant genderqueer fairy tale The Prince and the Dressmaker, to In Real Life, the middle-grades comic she adapted from my story Anda's Game to the unmissably fantastic annual comics fair she started in LA, she is versatile, smart, compassionate and immensely talented. Now, in her latest, Stargazing, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel for young readers, she brings the action closer to home than ever, and yields up a tale of friendship, identity, talent and loyalty like no other. Read the rest

Revisiting Jonathan Coulton's album/graphic novel "Solid State"

Lou Cabron writes, "Jonathan Coulton re-visited his album/graphic novel 'Solid State' (previously) over the weekend with new comments about how it applies to today's world. 'When I started work on Solid State, the only thing I could really think of that I wanted to say was something like, 'The internet sucks now',' Coulton said in 2017 (in an epilogue to the graphic novel). So what does he think today?" Read the rest

Akira to be re-released in high definition

I love comic books and graphic novels. I'm not ashamed to say that dig me some cartoons. Sadly, I've never been able to get into anime and manga. It's a shame: I know that there are a ton of series available to watch, stream or buy online that I might potentially enjoy. I loved Robotech when I was younger. However, when I re-watched it recently, it didn't hold up for me. Every time I attempt to invest in something new, like Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Alchemist or Bleach, I quickly lose interest. I think it's more about my tastes in entertainment than it is about the medium--there's lots of folks who love anime. I'm just not one of them.

One of my earliest flirtations with anime was Akira. I was maybe 13, at the time. An arthouse theatre in the town I grew up in was playing it. I was drawn to the poster: Shotaro Kaneda astride his badass ride, holding what I thought looked like a bazooka. I bought the ticket and took the ride. I was way too young (or maybe too dense?) to be able to follow what the hell was going on. A few years later, I discovered the Akira manga, translated into English. I gave them a go. Better, but I still preferred Green Lantern. Also, I'm pretty sure that all the mutant blob weirdness gave me nightmares.

But hey, maybe it's high time to give it another try.

From io9:

Announced yesterday evening at Otomo’s panel at Anime Expo, Akira will be reborn across two different initiatives: first, an ultra-HD remastering of the original movie, which is set to release on blu-ray in Japan on April 24, 2020, with a western release coming at a later date (interestingly timed, given that Warner Bros.

Read the rest

Man-Eaters Volume Two: Fleshing out the world where girls turn into lethal werepanthers when they get their periods

Volume One of Man-Eaters, Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk's scathing, hilarious, brilliant comic about girls who turn into man-eating werepanthers when they get their periods, is the best comic I read in 2019, and Volume Two, just published by Image comics, continues the brilliance with a set of design-fiction-y fake ads and other collateral that straddle the line between a serious piece of science fictional world-building and Switfian satire. Read the rest

Dennis the Menace in Hawaii, Cartoonist Kayfabe Commentary

Dennis in Hawaii by Alan Wiseman and Fred Toole

One of the most popular comics in American history gets the Kayfabe book club treatment with Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli.

In 1958, Pines and Hank Ketcham sent the Dennis the Menace comic book crew to Hawaii to research a 100 page Dennis the Menace special. The resulting comic book went on to phenomenal success and 9 printings over the subsequent decade.

Jaime Hernandez and Dan Clowes both sing its praises. What makes this comic book so special and how does it look 60 years later? Join us to find out!

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel Read the rest

"A Fire Story": a moving, beautiful memoir of the Calistoga wildfire in comics form

In 2017, cartoonist Brian Fies lost his northern California home in the Calistoga wildfires; in the days after, working with the cheap art supplies he was able to get from a surviving big box store, he drew A Fire Story, a strip about how he and his wife barely managed to escape their home ahead of the blaze, and about life after everything you own (and everything your neighbors own) is reduced to ash and slag. The strip went viral, and in the months after, Fies adapted it into a deeply moving, beautiful book. Read the rest

Cartoonist Kayfabe on Wizard Magazine issue 19, March 1993

Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg continue to dissect the turbulent comic book speculator boom on the 1990s while looking through antique copies of Wizard Magazine.

Some of this issues contents:

* Jack Kirby comes back to comics via his line of Topps Comics * Palmer's Picks. Rick Veitch *Jae Lee's Youngblood Strikefile is on the horizon! * Larry Hama's origin story * Mike Mignola talks about drawing the Topps adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula * Dave Sim writes an issue of Spawn

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest

Man-Eaters: Handmaid's Tale meets Cat People in a comic where girls turn into man-eating were-panthers when they get their periods

Man-Eaters Volume 1 collects the first four issues of the Image comic by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk (and friends) and it's insanely great: the premise is that America's patriarchy has been given a huge boost by a mutant strait of toxoplasmosis that is benign for most carriers, but turns adolescent girls into unstoppable were-panthers that crave human flesh when they get their first periods. Read the rest

Jeff "Sweet Tooth" Lemire's new horror comic Gideon Falls is spooky af

Jeff Lemire can do weird-spooky (see, e.g., his Twilight Zonish graphic novel Underwater Welder) and he can do gripping (see his amazing, post-apocalyptic Sweet Tooth), but in his newest graphic novel from Image Comics, Gideon Falls, he shows that he can do spooky-verging-on-terrifying, with a tale of supernatural mystery that combines avant-garde graphic treatments with outstanding writing to create a genuine tale of terror. Read the rest

Calexit: a fractured California, where militias and the DHS battle the resistance in Trump's future America

The first time I encountered Matteo Pizzolo, Amancay Nahuelpan and Tyler Boss's comic Calexit, I was skeptical: California separating from the USA is an incredibly stupid idea, predicated on innumerable misconceptions (including the idea that the state that gave us Nixon, Reagan, and Schwarzenegger is uniformly progressive, and also the idea that "the world's sixth largest economy" wouldn't radically contract the instant it lost access to the rest of the country, including the Atlantic Ocean). But when I found the first Calexit collection on the recommended table at the 100% reliable LA comic shop Secret Headquarters, I decided to give it a chance. Read the rest

Paper Girls 5: fate and free will (and dinosaurs and monsters)

For two years now, Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang have been knocking my socks off with their Paper Girls graphic novel, a mysterious, all-girl, Stranger-Things-esque romp through 1980s pop culture, time travel, conspiracies, clones, paradoxes, and you know, all that amazing coming-of-age/friendship-is-magic jazz. Now, the pair have released the fifth collection, and it's a doozy. Read the rest

To do in LA this Saturday: I'm speaking at the Pasadena Loves YA festival!

Angelenos! Bring your teens to the Pasadena Loves YA festival this Saturday; I'm chairing a panel on graphic novels with Mairghread Scott and Tillie Walden; other panels and events go on all day, from 11-4PM, at the Central Branch of Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena CA 91101. Admission is free! Read the rest

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