I’ve really been dragging my feet on Stranger Things lately. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to get around to watching season 3, and I’ve utterly failed to keep up to date on the latest comics. I’d just about given up trying to catch up when Stranger Things: Zombie Boys caught my attention. Its small scale reminded me of the tight scope of the first season I’d originally fell in love with, and I decided to give it a chance.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about my favorite fictional universes - about what science fiction specifically means to me. It might be because the Skywalker saga came to an end, and that was one of the big stories that first captured my imagination when I was no older then 6. There’s Ray Bradbury, the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra, Alejandro Jodorowsky, to name a few. Amidst those few and far between, one name from recent years continues to find space in my mind, and that is the words and worlds of Matt Kindt.
I've spent a lifetime skittering along the edges of the Magic: The Gathering franchise. Just about everyone I known has carried a deck with them at one time or another, and I’ve dabbled with the lore on more than one occasion. In the past, I’ve bounced off of it because of the sheer size and complexity of that lore, but recently I’ve been doing a bit of reading up on the franchise and decided I wanted to give it another try. As luck would have it, Magic: The Gathering - Chandra seemed like the opportunity to do just that.
America is widely considered an odd place to live, especially to those who don't live within its borders. Undiscovered Country ups the ante with a speculative, future version of the United States that has locked off its borders, both figuratively and literally, with a massive wall that has made the land a black box, with no information about it going in or out.
Oof, wow. Issue 9 of Grek Pak and Giannis Milonogiannis’ Ronin Island is particularly heartbreaking. They begin the issue with a flashback, reminding us of Hana’s background. She’s the daughter of a poor Korean farmer living on a secluded island with a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean people and cultures. 20 years prior, the Great Wind swept across the land and killed almost everything in its path, except for the people on the island. As much as they are supposed to be a community, living and thriving together, racism and classism still exist. Hana takes the brunt of both, but she’s reminded by an elder that she has her place and will be the one to make it better.
Several years after Emmy left Harrow County, her dearest friend Bernice Anderson had been left as a protector, making sure that the local haints (weird creatures that haunt the local forest) are all in check and that the townsfolk are happy and healthy. After years of peace, however, a strange song is being sung at night, and the ghosts of the dead are returning and seem just as confused as the townsfolk. The song is also bringing back some pretty monstrous creations.
For Jeff Lemire, the world of Black Hammer is an open canvas. He wants to write a Punisher comic but doesn’t want to work for Marvel? So, he writes Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy. With his spin-off series, Lemire has explored everything from the Golden Age of superheroes in Spiral City to future sci-fi worlds, the multi-verse, the WWII era, to the present day. Skulldigger is about as close to present day as we can get.