I survived the abomination that was Doomsday Clock #1 by the slimmest of margins, and with that in the rear view mirror, it’s time to take a look at stuff that arrived at my LCS or via the USPS this week that I actually liked —
The fifth and latest self-published issue of Alex Graham’s magazine-sized solo series Cosmic BE-ING (yes, that’s how you spell it), originally solicited for Winter 2016, is finally here, and to say that this lady is one of the most intriguing cartoonists in the small press scene these days is an understatement of quasi-criminal proportions. Graham’s juxtaposition of the otherworldly and the mundane is meticulously delineated by means of painfully intricate “head-trip” designs and a keen eye for everyday observation. No one else is even trying to do the sort of comics Graham does; she truly exists in a sub-genre unto herself. This time out the third installment of her long-form strip “Angloid” takes center stage, as protagonist Angela Lloyd falls behind on her rent and struggles in ways both comical and poignant to make ends meet without completely compromising her much-vaunted (to herself, at any rate) artistic integrity. Singularly brilliant stuff, more than worth the $7.00 cover price. Get it from John Porcellino’s Spit And A Half or from Graham directly at http://cosmicbeing.storenvy.com/
Cash Grab! is an amazing mix-n’-match selection of miscellany from the mind of the great Aaron Lange — portraiture, sketches, discarded strips, gags, old stuff, new stuff — it’s tough to predict what’s going to be on the next page, but you know it’s going to be something interesting, hilarious, disturbing, disgusting, or maybe even gorgeous. Hell, it’s often most, even all, of these things in combination. Lange’s in the process of relocating from Philly back to Cleveland — let’s hope and pray his creative output only increases once he’s back in his old stomping grounds. You can (and by all means should) get all six issues of this ‘zine for the bargain price of $25.00 from https://thecomixcompany.ecrater.com/
I’m always curious to see what Marvel and DC do with Jack Kirby characters and concepts that have been sitting on the shelf for awhile — usually to my regret. But, sucker that I am, I keep coming back, and there’s literally no way I’m gonna pass on a new Etrigan series, even if I should. Fortunately, writer Andrew Constant, penciler Brad Walker, and inker Andrew Hennessy serve up something more than a bit interesting in the first chapter of new six-parter The Demon : Hell Is Earth, which sees Jason Blood hiding out from his other self out in the middle of Death Valley — and at the bottom of a Jack Daniel’s bottle. A nuclear explosion might (okay, does) change his plans, though, as does an approaching Madame Xanadu, who’s now apparently a Harley rider. Constant’s script is briskly-paced, his characterization is fairly solid (if revisionist), and the premise seems kinda cool. The Walker/Hennessy art is big, bold, brash, dynamic, and has some nice Kirby-esque touches, like squaring off Etrigan’s fingers. I’ll probably stick with this one all the way through.
For whatever reason, Tim Seeley always seems to do his best work at Vertigo, and if the standard of this first issue is kept up, the same will be true for Imaginary Fiends, his new mini-series done in collaboration with artist Stephen Molnar. Rolling with the premise that childhood “imaginary” friends are quite real, but only visible to a select few, a traumatized and incarcerated Minnesota teen finds herself recruited by the FBI to join up with a paranormal-esque unit that investigates crimes committed by these other-dimensional entities — one of whom, to her chagrin, is joined with to at the hip. This is the kind of old-school Vertigo horror story that grabs you from the word go and reels you in page by page, scene by scene, “reveal” by “reveal.” Molnar’s art is smartly constructed, realistic with just enough of the wispy and ethereal, and his character design for ghoulish apparition Peachpit Polly is brilliant in its simplicity. Special “props” also go out to colorist Quinton Winter, who did an amazing job on Clean Room, and does the same here.
I think that should be more than enough to keep you (assuming there is a “you” out there that puts any stock in this weekly opining of mine) busy for the time being — next week’s a “fifth week,” which means that the output from the major publishers is going to be rather minimal, but I should still have plenty to talk about thanks to a few packages headed my way that’ll be showing up at my doorstep any day here. See you back here in seven days!