In a way, this issue of Dept.H is the beginning of the next story arc in what is an ongoing murder mystery series that is both microscopic and macroscopic, personal and world changing. At the end of issue #18, Matt Kindt left us with a big question mark. Mia - our investigator and daughter of the murdered genius scientist who put together not only the underwater scientific base, but the crew on board it - found herself in a small capsule at the bottom of the ocean with no power and very little oxygen. With her is the remaining crew, one of which may have killed her father. It’s one of those resting moments, where a story plateaus for a moment. In this case, it was quiet…claustrophobic. It ended a section of the story in a way that spelled oblivion.
I think we often lose track of comics that came out in the early 1950s. It wasn’t a great time for superheroes, the medium’s most enduring genre, and historically the publications themselves get drowned out in the story of Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent and the firestorm it provoked. At the center of that fascinating story – the controversies and hearings that gave way to the Comics Code – was Bill Gaines and EC Comics, a highly successful publisher of (at the time) horror and crime stories, in particular. Gaines fought against the censorship ultimately imposed by the Comics Code, not just because it meant that many of the books EC published would have to be scrapped – though that was true – but because the censorship was bad for the medium and the goal of telling more mature, involved stories. Gaines lost that fight, and in 1955, the year after the Comics Code Authority banished horror and crime comics (and, really, anything remotely objectionable) to the ether, EC tried to rebound with its New Direction line.
The Grass Kingdom is a place where people who don’t fit into society - or don’t want to fit - go to live. It’s a haven, a promised land. This has the potential to attract a lot of different types of folks: people who are running; people who are hiding; people who aren’t exactly on the up and up. Like murderers.
Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook twist a knife in Issue #26 of Harrow County. With the horror, they have brought a wave of melancholy, and when characters begin to lose the things they care about, they become desperate, throwing the chances of victory off ever so slightly. As powerful as many of the characters are in this book, wisdom eludes them. As capable as Emmy is, she is still only an 18-year-old. Imagine trying to figure out who you are while grappling with the powers of a witch - the power to befriend the creatures of the woods, here called haints, the power to create life from the mud of the earth - and then dealing with a family of dimension-hopping gods that want to do away with you.
What if your feline had a weekly column to answer a question? How do you think your cat would answer? Written and illustrated by Charles Brubaker, Ask a Cat (2017, Smallbug Press) was sparked by the “ask a character” format. In his introduction, Brubaker explains that although he was working on a comic featuring a witch at the time, he arbitrarily decided to use a cat to answer questions he solicited on a message board. He debuted Ask a Cat on his tumblr account in December 2014, and in 2015, Brubaker bundled the comic strips he had drawn into a mini book to sell at convention. From his initial thought of just drawing a few comic strips, suddenly, his quirky comic strip had a future on GoComics! Now, two years later, a new Ask a Cat strip appears each Sunday, and it has become his main project.
Fighting American #1 is an exciting start to a very colorful series that brings us back to "simpler times" and then places us right in the forefront of the future. It's quite fascinating to look at just what we are getting with this series. Writer Gordon Rennie and artist Duke Mighten join forces to not only place us in the center of an amazing series but give us a great introduction to all the different characters. This series will likely become larger than life with time.