1. comixology:

    A comiXologist Recommends:
    Harris Smith recommends At the Shore #2

    As goofy and loveable as the gang from Scooby-Doo , the central group of misfits in Jim Campbell’s At the Shore #2, from Alternative Comics, finds themselves embroiled in a mystery when their car is stuck on the beach.  Bickering the whole time, they face off against what may or may not be oceanic zombies, which may or may not be the result of the environmental shenanigans of the Midlothian Seaweed Mining Company.  The story unfolds among flashbacks that may or may not be relevant to the story (I’m betting they are) as the characters bicker their way through this ever-evolving adventure.

    At the Shore has its own unique sense of style that sets it apart from many of the other zombie comics out there these days.  It’s certainly a horror story in the grand tradition of “teens stranded somewhere” horror stories, but it’s funny too, yet the humor isn’t overly jokey.  Rather, it arises subtly from the relationships between the characters and their dialogue.  Campbell seems to be referencing young adult mysteries, a la Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the aforementioned Scooby-Doo, yet he’s not afraid to throw in a good zombie head-squashing, suggesting the possibility that things could take a significantly darker turn as the story progresses.  It’s appropriate his art somewhat recalls that of Richard Sala, who operates in a similar arena of humor and horror.  There’s a hint of Bryan Lee O’Malley in there too, as I think fans of Scott Pilgrim and Lost at Sea would feel at home in the world of At the Shore.

    The resulting mesh of conflicting tones and genre bending is delightfully unpredictable and off-kilter, and makes me a really fun read.  Without being overly saccharine or excessively twee, At the Shore is, without a doubt, the most charming zombie comic on the market today.  It’s rewarding read for those of us who enjoy low-key humor and oddball horror.

    [Read At the Shore #2 on comiXology]

    Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

     
  2. smallpresspreviews:

    Felony Comics #1

    by Alex Degen (adactivity), Lale Westvind (lalewestvind), Pete Toms (petetoms), Ben Urkowitz (b-m-f-u) and Karissa Sakumoto (voidpie).  Cover by Ben Marra (traditionalcomics).  Edited by Harris Smith (negativepleasure).

    Published by Negative Pleasure Publications

    Full color crime comics for this modern and horrible world. 

    Published Spring/Summer 2014.

    32 pages, 5.5x8.5

    $6

    Available in print or digital

     
  3. smallpresspreviews:

    Night Burgers #1

    By Victor Kerlow (thankyouvictor), Josh Burggraf (joshburggraf), Josh Freydkis (joshfreydkis), Anthony Meloro (anthonymeloro), Jason Murphy (menutnutnut), Amy Searles (amyofdarkness) and Ken Johnson (ballandcone).  Edited by Harris Smith (negativepleasure).

    Published by Negative Pleasure Publications

    Neon-hued tales of junkie dogs, hungry rabbits, apocalyptic disasters and extrasensory hamburgers, featuring the critically acclaimed Ball & Cone.

    7x10, 24 pages, full color.

    $7

    Published Fall 2014.

    Available now in digital and to pre-order in print.

     
  4. negativepleasure:

    comixology:

    A comiXologist Recommends:
    Harris Smith recommends Luv Sucker #2

    For the past several years, Charles Forsman has been making a name for himself in the comics as world as the writer and artist of books like TEOTFW  and Celebrated Summer, and as the publisher of Oily Comics, a mini-comics imprint through which he publishes his own work, as well as new comics by other indie up-and-comers, including Melissa Mendes, Nick Drnaso, Dane Martin and Ben Urkowitz.  Between his comics, which are by turns heartbreaking, relatable, disturbing, thoughtful, minimal, evocative and occasionally hilarious, and his publishing, Forsman has established himself not only as a substantial emerging voice, but as an asset to the comics community as a whole. 

    His latest is Luv Sucker, a low-key, slow burn take on the vampire genre (as the cover says, “file under: teen/blood/vampire/heartache”), published by Oily.  Luv Sucker, the first two issues of which are now available via comiXology Submit, follows Natasha, a seemingly normal teenaged girl who, depressed after a breakup, is attacked by a coven of nerdy classmates claiming to be vampires.  Natasha is incredulous at first, but then starts noticing weird changes in herself.  Is she actually becoming a vampire, or is she just the victim of the adolescent hormones?

    Eschewing the melodramatic posturing of a lot of contemporary teen genre media, as well as the seemingly omnipresent “chosen one” narrative, Forsman grounds his story in a very recognizable landscape of teenage disaffection, favoring the kind of episodic, slice-of-life moments that served him so well in TEOTFW, underplaying the horror and fantasy elements.  Instead, he gives the reader a story, setting and characters that are believable and easy to relate to.  Luv Sucker is smart and challenging, narratively adventurous, but it’s also unpretentious and an engaging, entertaining read.  Charles Forsman once again shows us what a creator with a voice and a vision is capable of.  I can’t wait for issue three..

    [Pick up Luv Sucker #2 here!]

    Harris Smith is a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology. 

    sometimes my job is really cool, like when i get to write about how awesome charlesforsman's new comic Luv Sucker is, and then also get to name drop nickdrnaso, danemartin and b-m-f-u

     
  5. comixology:

    A comiXologist Recommends:
    Harris Smith recommends Saga Of Doomed Universe

    The intertextual exchange between the “universes” of comic book continuity and the “real world” of comics creators and readers has long been a fertile arena for exploration on the four color page.  From the 40s and 50s work of Will Eisner and EC Comics , which reflected a creative consciousness of the medium often interwoven with the narrative, to more explicitly self-reflexive works like Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man (and, more recently, The Multiversity) there has long been a fascination with both writers and readers with the liminal space between the eyeball and the page, and the possibility of some link to reality existing within the fantasy.

    Scott Reed’s (scottrandalreedSaga of a Doomed Universe, available through comiXology Submit,  is a three part graphic novel that explores this tradition of postmodern reflexivity in a smart, complex and highly entertaining way.  On the surface, Saga of a Doomed Universe is a 1980s-styled superhero saga in the fashion of Crisis on Infinite Earths, yet the point of view is not omniscient, or from the perspective of a superhero, but rather an outsider character  a has-been hero with a decidedly cynical view on his costumed compatriots.  This remove keeps the action from getting too retro or ironic and is aided by the fact that Reed is a really excellent writer, giving his character voice and depth.

    Reed’s great writing, clever scenario and era-accurate art (reminiscent of  John Romita Sr. would be enough, but Reed adds another layer with the addition of hyper-textual commentary from Burt Colt, the (fictional) writer of the comic-within-a-comic. Colt’s presence provides an entirely separate narrative from what’s happening on the page, yet suggests a link between the fiction world of the comic and his/our reality.

    As issue two begins, Dr. Nihilist has killed all the world’s superheroes, save for the series’ narrator, Roy Brannon, formerly known as Super Sleuth, whose only power is a photographic memory.  Meanwhile, in the outer narrative, the comic’s author, Burt Colt, is gradually revealing the mystery behind the non-forgotten Saga Comics, involving an industrial accident, a government conspiracy and promises of more apocalyptic revelations to come.  Multilayered narrative complexities and Baudrillardian simulation/simulacra dynamics aside, it’s a compelling story, expertly written with tons of mystery and action, welcomed touches of humor and a knowing but unpretentious love of comics that’s sure to engage readers to just about any level they choose to embrace it.

    [Pick up Saga of a Doomed Universe here!]

    Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

     
  6. comixology:

    A comiXologist Recommends:
    Harris Smith recommends The Fade Out #1

    From Criminal to Gotham Central to Fatale, there’s no disputing that Ed Brubaker is one of the modern masters of crime fiction.  The strength of his work derives from a keen synthesis of his influences, particularly 30’s-60’s hardboiled crime novels and film noir, combined with a streak of imaginative originality.  In Gotham Central, for example, he crafted an expertly written Ed McBain-styled police procedural and grafted it into the ongoing continuity of the DC superhero universe.  Fatale began like a Dashiell Hammet-influenced detective story, combined with an element of Lovecraftian  horror, then spun both ideas off in a variety of unexpected directions.  A significant factor in Brubaker’s appeal is that his influences are primarily stylistic, he doesn’t bog the reader down with excessive references or in-jokes, but rather uses his understanding of genre to capture its spirit, in the service of some often highly original storytelling.

    In his latest, The Fade Out, from Image, Brubaker recalls the Hollywood-set noir of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place (originally a novel by Dorothy Hughes, later a film by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart) and The Big Knife (originally a Clifford Odets play, later a film by Robert Aldrich), as well as the non-crime desperation of Tinseltown-themed stories like The Day of the Locust (both Nathaniel West’s novel and John Schlesinger’s film, one of my personal all-time favorites) and Kenneth Anger’s salacious non-fiction Hollywood Babylon.  Like these classics, Brubaker casts a cynical eye on the glamor of the movie world and focuses on the corruption and decadence underneath.  Taking place in 1948, The Fade Out focuses on Charlie Parish, a seemingly burnt out screenwriter who awakens from a night of blackout drinking to discover he may or may not be implicated in a murder.  Along the way, Brubaker evokes Pearl Harbor, the Hollywood blacklist and other heady elements that ground the story in historical reality.  Tonally, The Fade Out expertly builds, in just the first issue, from uneasiness to dread to suspense and ends satisfyingly on a low-key cliffhanger that left me anxious to find out what could possibly come next.

    If you’re a fan of Brubaker, you already know what kind of magic there is to be found here.  If you’re new to his work, this fresh, smart, exciting new series is a great opportunity to get onboard. 

    [Read The Fade Out #1 on comiXology]

    Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

     
  7. comixology:

    A comiXologist Recommends:
    Harris Smith recommends Sensation Comics #1

    Wonder Woman has always been kind of the odd girl out in DC’s Big Three.  There’s no denying that she’s a great character, but writers have always seemed to have a hard time figuring out exactly what to do with her.  The immediate appeal of Superman, rooted in his overarching sense of All-American goodness and epic-scale adventures, and Batman, defined by his moody stoicism and hardboiled urban crime milieu, are far easier to pin down than the mythological roots of Wonder Woman, or her conception as a proto-feminist super-heroine by psychologist William Moulton Marston in 1941

    Over the years, Wonder Woman has gone through many iterations.  In her earliest stories, she frequently aided the US Army against the Axis during World War 2. Later, in the 1960’s, she gave up her superpowers and learned martial arts, running a mod clothing boutique while also working as a spy. In the 80’s, George Perez’s reboot returned to her mythological roots, and largely defined the character through Brian Azzarello’s New 52 reboot.

    It stands to reason such an elusive, yet powerful, character would be well-served by an anthology series, something that lets different artists and writers evoke their own visions of who Wonder Woman is and what she does without necessarily being beholden to ongoing continuity.  After the success of their Digital First series Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman, DC has wisely chosen this path with their newest Digital First, Sensation Comics.

    The first issue kicks things off with a literal bang as Wonder Woman takes on the villains of Gotham City after the Bat-Family is massacred in an explosion.  Penned and illustrated by two of DC’s top creators, Gail Simone (gailsimone) and Ethan Van Sciver, Sensation Comics #1 is full of breathless, exhilarating action.  In just 20 pages, Wonder Woman takes on the Joker, Two-Face, the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Penguin and even Man-Bat.  It’s a thrilling start to what promises to be an exciting run of diverse and imaginative takes on a true feminist icon and one of the all-time greats of comic book heroism!

    [Read Sensation Comics #1 on comiXology]

    For fans of: female leads, superheroes

    Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.

     
  8. negativepleasure:

    There’s a comic called Dip and I’m in it

     
  9. negativepleasure:

    Practice

     
  10. negativepleasure:

    Making an effort