Humor may seem easy to write, but it is really the opposite. It is not simply a matter of coming up with cute punchlines. There is the extra tricky aspect of pinpointing the right tone. Few things are more painful than forced whimsy. Sometimes the writer comes off as too proud of their cleverness or, at the other end of the spectrum, striving too hard for levity. What is the correct mixture of lowbrow and highbrow? How many puns are too many? Do the jokes aid in expressing character or hinder the development of coherent ones? Plus, there is still the matter of making the reader laugh in the first place. When done right, all these elements blend together, and the humor feels effortless. One example of this type of success can be found in the series Public Relations from Devils Due/1First Comics.
By Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Oh fluff me, Gert’s back.
Gert, the heroine of Skottie Young’s excellent I Hate Fairyland, has a bit of a temper problem. Now considering that she has spent years stuck in the fantastically infuriating realms of Fairyland with little of hope of returning home, frustration is understandable. It is doubly understandable when the reader remembers that she ceased growing a while back, leaving her with an adult mind in a child’s body. So yes, you would be upset as well. Problem is Gert is not too good at the whole anger management thing. She favors a disembowel first, do not bother with any ####### questions later approach. In such a way, she has been cutting a bloody swath through Fairyland and in the process made some questionable decisions. The second arc concluded with her making a spectacularly poor choice which may have doomed not only herself but all of Fairyland. Luckily those consequences have been postponed for a later date, allowing readers more time for enjoying Gert’s twisted, entertaining antics.
By Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland & Sloane Leong
Brandon Graham’s new shared fantasy world 8house continues to expand with the introduction of spin-off title From Under Mountains. After a taste of the more science fiction flavored Kiem, readers are immediately plunged back into a landscape of spellcasting familiar from the Blood House of Arclight. The issue opens with a stunning wordless image, a full-page illustration of hands gracefully moving through space. The surrounding area is largely dark, fingers glowing red in a fire’s glare. Small leaves and flowers drift downwards. The perspective gradually expands over the next couple of pages, building the atmosphere without losing any of the mystery. It is a striking sequence by Sloane Leong, which immediately pulls the reader into a new landscape.
Continue reading Advance Review of From Under Mountains #1
By Emma Rios & Hwei Lim
Mirror is the latest story to spin out of Brandon Graham’s 8house project. 8house is a shared fantasy world where the emphasis is on creativity over connectivity. Graham conceived of the project as way for diverse creators to work together in building fascinating narratives. Indeed, the strongest quality of 8house is providing readers with an immersive experience which prioritizes atmosphere over plot. Stories such as Kiem or From Under Mountains are compelling tales set within vibrant landscapes. They each have a sensibility that is all their own. This week that trend continues with Mirror.
By Claire Gibson. Marian Churchland & Sloane Leong
The debut issue of From Under Mountains dropped readers into an unfamiliar world with little preamble. They were greeted on the first page by arms gracefully invoking a spell. Even after the frame pulled back to reveal the women at work, little more was known about the spell casters or the spectral creature they conjured. What was immediately clear though was that the latest component in Brandon Graham’s 8house project would be a compelling, bewitching read. As the series continued writers Claire Gibson and Marian Churchland filled in more of the details of Karsgate Keep and the people residing within it. #4 continues this process of deepening the scope without losing the mysterious atmosphere which first enchanted readers.
By Skottie Young & Jean-Francis Beaulieu
There comes a time for many creators when they wish to work against expectations. Over the past few years, Skottie Young has steadily built up a reputation as the “cute kids” guy. His first break came illustrating Marvel’s well-received line of Oz comics, which led in turn to steady work producing adorable baby variant covers for the company. These proved popular enough to be spun into their own limited-series, the Secret Wars tie-in Giant-Sized Little AvX. Despite a rather unwieldy title, Young’s AvX book was a delightfully whimsical romp through the Marvel Universe. It was pure fun. This week, Young cycles back around to Oz territory with a riff on children’s fantasy literature. However, as its title suggests, I Hate Fairyland is not a gleeful stroll through sepia-tinged tales of old. Instead, Young has produced a bloodily vicious send-up of the genre. What remains the same is Young’s talent for crafting a fun story. Well, assuming that you regularly laugh at liberal doses of black humor.
Continue reading Review of I Hate Fairyland #1