Reviewed By Taylor Hoffman.
In “Pisces” #2 Kurtis Wiebe and Johnny Christmas dig deeply into the mind of a haunted veteran whose ghosts of war follow him throughout the rest of his fractured life. After reading this issue, it seems clear that all the pain that Dillon Carpenter, our main character, harbors is as existential as directly related to his air-force experience. As we travel through his life in flashback and flash-forward, we’ve already seen how much he’s treated as a villain and a failure by his father, his country, and the mystery woman from the first issue. In this second issue, Wiebe and Christmas take the horrors inside of Dillon’s mind and spreads them onto the pages like the plague.
Story by: Kurtis Wiebe
Art by: Johnnie Christmas
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 5/27/15
The majority of this issue focuses on trust issues: can others trust him, can he trust anyone else, and, most importantly, can he trust himself?
We are thrown into the darkest memories of Carpenter and our eyes can’t help but dwell on his misery in an attempt to understand it all. Christmas draws nightmare demons like thick, black tar with worlds inside each smooth bubble that pops into a puddle of ink. He isn’t alone in his plight and a fellow veteran reassures him that there’s some, albeit very little, help and hope left for them. Both confide their shame and nightmares at a late night diner stop which gives readers a new level of depth to our main character.
There’s a lot to unpack in this scene, but reading it might motivate readers to understand the harsh reality of those who can’t speak out in fear of being silenced completely. Dillon is a survivor of war with no idea how to cope with the guilt through life with more than the simple takes that keep him going day by day, which is a rough routine that sedates, but never satisfies him. In the most lucid moment of his panic attacks, he’s blinded by the sheer violence and extreme loss in his life. We’re seeing his stream of consciousness wildly malfunction and flood with fears.
Wiebe proves he did his research on PTSD and war veterans, which clearly shows in the dynamics of Dillon’s relationships in this issue. It’s a stunning piece to examine, and it’s an opportunity to delve into taboo topics in war without celebrating war itself. It’s hard to articulate the absolute beauty of this issue because reading it is an intensely emotional dive into a mind scared and interrupted by reality. Each reader will find something deeply personal while staring into the starry abyss of death’s secret devils screaming in unison to be freed. Will anyone listen to Dillon when he’s finally in space? Who or what will hear his screams?
Pisces is an unfolding masterpiece that’s pushing the boundaries of comics past a point of ignorance and into a mind of real horror. While it’s only on the second issue, there’s so much ground and space left to explore. Wiebe and Christmas are the perfect team to fill out this grotesque and truly upsetting horror story of silence and mental illness. Dillon’s nightmares are getting worse, but are they just in his head or is there something extraterrestrial in the same form lurking beneath?
“Negative Space” #1 is weird and different, which’ll put some people off while at the same time deeply connecting with others. It almost felt like I was reading a Philip K. Dick novel at times. The brilliantly cerebral story paints a picture of a subtly horrifying dystopia. Corporations controlling people’s lives like giant puppet masters, ruling and influencing the world through staged events. It’s nightmare inducing stuff, that’s a little too close to reality.
WRITTEN BY: Ryan K Lindsay
ART BY: Owen Gieni
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: July 8, 2015
The protagonist, Guy Harris, is struggling with some serious writer’s block when we first meet him. Unbenounced to him his current inability to write has much farther reaching consequences than he could ever imagine. A mysterious organization are monitoring him and his current lack of creative output has thrown a bit of a wrench into their plans. Though they may be mysterious to us readers, they’re hardly shadowy as they’ve got a massive tower with their logo on it as a base.
This organization has enough power to do whatever they need to and they will exercise it to the fullest extent get what they want. That is bad news for the poor and unsuspecting Guy Harris, as they systematically break him down in an attempt to force his writer’s block away. Each fabricated scenario is more cruel than the last as Guy is put through the ringer. We slowly learn bits and pieces about the organization’s motives, although every answer only raises a plethora of questions.
Who’s behind this organization, what do they want, when/where does this story take place, why’s Guys writing so important and how’re they doing what they do? All these and many more are raised but not answered, at least not in a way that’s desirable right now. Don’t take this as a negative though, as it’s one of the book’s most appealing factors.
Intrigue is thick in Negative Space #1, the future of this book interests me greatly. It’s out there, way out there, and it’s not afraid to venture even further out.
Negative Space hits finer comic shops inJuly, but make sure to preorder the book now using code: MAY150012
While companies brand their movies and television shows on food products all the time, usually it’s just a stupid photo on a can of soda.
It’s a rare treat when an character or property is used as the actual product, which is why is was so cool to have things like Pac-Man cereal or Hi-C’s “The Real Ghostbusters”-themed Ecto Cooler. Yes, Ecto Cooler was so awesome that people have created their own recipes to keep the spirit of the fruity drink alive.
Ecto Cooler was such a massive success for the company, so much so that it’s sort of surprising they never attempted to brand another franchise with their juice boxes.
Thanks to The-Holidaz Blog we can now imagine a world with various Hi-C juice boxes themed with horror icons. John Squires dug up the following images that were created and shared multiple times back in 2013, and are still floating around the site’s Facebook page. The really cool blog created three series, one of which imagines Hi-C themed after the Universal Monsters Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolfman, Dracula and more!
Check out all of the boxes below, with some of the highlights being Rosemary’s Berry, Evil RedHannibal Nectar and of course Grape White.
Even though Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook is overhyped, it’s still a fabulous movie with a iconic new villain.
The Babadook character is so popular it’s starting to cross over into pop culture, although it never has nearly the same impact as The Human Centipede.
Still, there’s all sorts of cool costume tutorials and art being shared, such the case with this incredibly realistic and creepy digital piece created by Conzpiracy on Deviant Art.
In The Babadook, a single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
Between the infamous “book” and the Babdook, this film will easily gain cult status.
Blood moon, total lunar eclipse, Samhain (Halloween), and Sabrina’s 16th birthday. It’s a perfect night for a witch baptism…a perfect evening for a young Sabrina to get in bed with Satan. But before the ritual can be complete, our cute little blonde witch must deal with some boyfriend issues…because frankly, Harvey’s in deep shit.
WRITTEN BY: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
ART BY: Robert Hack
PUBLISHER: Archie Comics
RELEASE: May 27, 2015
“Sabrina” issue #3 focuses on the most important night of her life in two distinct ways, her human Sweet 16 and her inhuman baptism. The comic starts off with a quickly paced and fascinating flashback “field trip” to the woods where Aunts Hilda and Zelda continue their witch schooling with 11-year-old Sabrina. I loved this scene particularly because in their schooling, they mention real Salem witch trials, even going so far as to teach the comic’s readers a bit about an actual historical figure, Giles Corey, a man accused of witchcraft during the trials and pressed to death. This was a very nice touch on the part of writer Aguirre-Sacasa. It added a sense of realism I wasn’t expecting. And when realism is paired with a book like “Sabrina,” it’s only more haunting in the end.
Before the witch trials, witch babies were baptized at infancy, after the witch trials however, the rules were changed. A witch needed to be of an appropriate age to understand the decision to be baptized and accept the Dark Lord’s “gift” –fully embracing their witchhood…this age is 16. Sabrina can actually choose to live as a mortal because of her mother being mortal, something her father made sure of, so she has a unique and difficult decision ahead of her: go to the pep rally, celebrate her birthday with her hot boyfriend, get it on with her hot boyfriend…you know, the normal teenage shit we think is the most important thing that will ever happen in our life, OR…sign her name in Satan’s book, becoming a full witch and forgoing many of those epic teenage pleasures and hardships.
On the day before Sabrina’s 16th birthday, Halloween, and a lunar eclipse, Sabrina has just been informed by her new drama teacher, Madame Satan (see issue #2) that she and her dreamy love, Harvey, will be the leads in Bye, Bye, Birdie. When she presents the news to Harvey, he suggests celebrating, then proceeds to pressure Sabrina into going all the way with him on her birthday. He pulls all the classic lines as Sabrina tells him “no” over and over. Which pretty much makes me want to cut his dick off. But regardless of what Sabrina wants, she continues to say no because there must be “no defilement” before a young witch’s 16th birthday. They must be pure for Satan (one of the most ironic things I’ve every typed).
Madame Satan (in teacher form) pops up here and there with her crow familiar who spies on Sabrina, causing trouble all over the place. Specifically, she sees to it that Harvey doubts his relationship with Sabrina and manipulates him into seeking out Sabrina in the dark woods on the night of her baptism.
Like I said, deep shit.
As usual, the creators of “Sabrina” completely nail it. One of the truly wonderful aspects of this comic is that both the witch plot and the growing-up-as-an-everyday-high-school-student plot are hyper-realistic, dark, and challenging. Because Sabrina’s human side of things is written so genuine and deft, it makes the supernatural side of things feel just as real. One might think there would be a stark juxtaposition, but instead, the entire story blends flawlessly into a truly haunting and believable comic.
One of the most obvious things I’ll say in this review is how stunning Hack’s art is. We’ve long praised Hack in the comic community for his intensely gorgeous art, but good lord, he does something entirely unique with “Sabrina” that makes it almost impossible to tear your eyes from each page. The colors are calm and somewhat muted, but within each panel there’s a pop of brightness, usually red, usually lips, something to give the page a bit of sexuality and danger.
This combination of creators has delivered yet again. They’ve given us so much in one issue without confusing us or rushing the story. And so I ask…are you reading this dark matter?
I guess because of the holiday, the news has been insanely slow. So, instead of sitting on my ass I figured I may as well share with you this fantastic piece of art I discovered over on reddit.
RearNakedChode is behind the 18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas that shows Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street in all of his glory.
It’s seriously a stunning piece of work I would be proud to hang on my wall – as long as it’s not in my kitchen.