Something is out there . . . Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
I read about the end of the world a lot. I’ve been through every kind of fictional apocalypse you can probably think of, and, naturally, I’m always looking for something new and inventive to survive. So, the description for Josh Malerman’s Bird Box on Goodreads immediately caught my eye. A post-apocalyptic world where you have to somehow avoid SEEING THINGS seemed absolutely impossible. It invites more than a little serious contemplation about survival logistics . . . assuming, of course, you don’t just give up before you even start.
Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics! In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to take a moment to stop and smell the roses. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their very personal "Love Letters" with our readers, addressed to the ones that they adore the most.
Dearest Dr. Bishop,
How many ways do I love you, Walter Bishop? There are an infinite number of reasons multiplied by an infinite number alternate Walters in parallel universes. There are positive qualities and negative qualities, all blending together to make you one of the most complex, endlessly delightful, maddeningly frustrating, achingly vulnerable, frighteningly dangerous characters in all of TV.
“What would you give for your art . . . ?”
“I’d give my life.”
This pronouncement sets the stage for the story of David Smith, the titular character of The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. A struggling artist, passionate about not compromising his artistic ideals, and adamantly committed to keeping the promises he has made to himself and others, we join David’s story as he has a classic crossroads encounter with Death. David is given the ability to manipulate matter with his bare hands, letting him sculpt whatever he imagines. The price? He only has 200 more days to live.
When we last visited The Rage in Volume One: Zombie Generation (See my review here.), our main character Amina had a surprising run-in with her estranged husband Fred and was well on her way to locating her infected son, Theo. In Volume Two, we continue to explore Amina’s quest, as well as delve a bit more deeply into this couple’s recent history and the events that have caused their separation.
I am a die-hard, life-long, can’t-get-enough-of-it Stephen King fan. The Stand and the Dark Tower series sit proudly in my list of all-time favorite books ever. He can’t write a book that’s too long for me, or with too many characters, or with too outrageous a plot. Even in my least favorite examples, I still always find some element worthy of turning the pages to the gritty end.
I picked up Eye of Newt, because I was immediately in love with the artwork, and the subject matter and story seemed to hold a lot of promise to my Tolkien-fantasy-loving sensibilities. I liked the idea of such a young protagonist. The world-building promised a rich tableau of characters, creatures, and magical locations.
What if the end of the world weren’t cast in somber tones . . . gritty greys and blacks, filled with dust and mud? What if it weren’t defined by the chaotic dismantling of social order? What if there were still beautiful sunsets, pristine beaches, flowers, butterflies, and chirping birds? What if it came with an orderly community center and a plan for sustaining agricultural viability?
The challenge with your main character being a murdering psychopath is all about giving your audience a reason to want to be in their head for a couple hundred pages without slitting their wrists. You can do that by creating a small shelf of understanding for their throat-slitting tendencies, as in the case of the criminal-targeting Dexter. Or by telling a sympathetic backstory, filled with the kind of traumatic abuse that shapes the very worst among us, such as *insert horror movie franchise villain here.* In Beverly Kills, however, we get a straight-up serial killer worthy of American Psycho without any shading or excuses.
If you peruse my lists of books on Goodreads, you will immediately see a distinct preference for genre. If the world is ending, I’m reading about it. This list is heavily influenced by the Apocalypse, and certainly by Science Fiction in general, but I’m pretty pleased with the variety I managed to work in this year.
I’m going to cheat a bit in limiting myself to 10 items for this list. I’ve found it impossible to list a number of items without also including their various prequels, sequels, and so forth. I’m a firm believer in consuming the whole story!
These were my favorite reads from 2014, and I hope I inspire you to pick a few of them up.
“In a world where every living thing is forced to become mechanical, the authorities punish those who resist the transformation . . . all wonder about the real reason for the changes.” --AoSComic.com
My first and most lasting reaction to Archaeologists of Shadows was to the quality of artwork found in every page of the series. From beginning to end, the world of Archaeologists of Shadows is a Steampunk, Blade Runner, Matrix-inspired dreamscape, illustrated by Patricio Clarey in absolutely stunning detail. Reading the series took me a significant amount time, simply because I lingered for so long over every page.