Salty Sea Shanty

Tales From the Deep

The Drawn Chorus Collective


Story: Fred Campbell
Art: Abigail Moulder, Alex Moore, Cathy Kwan, Daniel Duncan, Eileen Kwan, Lefki Savvidou, Nadine Scherer, Zanna Allen, Martin Ursel

Now, normally for graphic novels I go to the podcast, but I'm having a small issue with PodOmatic right now soooo I'm going to stick to this format. What is the Drawn Chorus Collective? I'm glad you ask. The DCC is a group of folks with various talents who have joined together to make stories and art in numerous styles to reach a broad audience of not just comic fans, but fans of art in general. This is their first major work, and oh what a work it is!

Cathy Kwan

This book is a collection of short stories with a twist! One night at an old pub on a rickety pier some sailors and various other hardened sea folk are playing some games of chance with one another. An elderly gentleman in a raincoat is unimpressed by their games, so decides to play one of his own. He is going to tell a series of stories, some true and some not. If those listening can guess which is which he will give them a hefty sum of cash. What follows are various fantastic tales of giants, divers, sailors, monsters, whales, and more. 

Martin Ursell

Some of these stories are frightening, some are just fun, and some even have an uplifting quality about them. Campbell's writing is spot on as he works with these artists and we get to see all manner of man from noble to downright despicable. Though the writing shifts a bit to accommodate each style, Campbell captures a clear atmosphere and whimsy brought on by the thought of this salty gentleman telling these stories, and the unique characters that inhabit them.

Nadine Scherer

In an anthology such as this, the art is hard to touch upon, your best bet is looking at the pictures I have included in the post (I'll caption them with the artist). Each of the styles in this book is completely unique. From Martin Ursell we see an almost storybook-esque style that grows more absurd (in a great way) with every panel. Ursell's style is completely different from Nadine Scherer's style which goes for more of a painterly quality, dealing with what lies beneath, letting the reader's imagination wander. Zanna Allen's contribution provides visuals which look like they could be straight out of a sailing guidebook, giving a never before seen reading experience. Meanwhile, Alex Moore goes for a more illustrative, cartooning feel, bringing a little bit of life to the very dark story. Each of the 10 artists in this title brings something extraordinary to the table, and it is very clear that they were all in total understanding with the central theme of the story. To further tie each of these tales in with the rest of the book, there is a relatively common color pallet used from story to story, providing a very cohesive feeling.

Alex Moore

The Drawn Chorus Collective is debuting with one hell of a book, full of enticing subject matter and powerful visuals. With so many stories and varied art styles there is absolutely something for everyone in Tales From the Deep. This team of creators clearly had a vision, and it is so wonderful to see it actualized! Find more info on how to get this book and the Collective at this site!

Daniel Duncan

Getting Freaky

Fedor

Hic & Hoc Publications


Totally by Patt Kelley

NO! This is not about the MMA fighter of the same name! This is a very special comic magazine featuring the famous circus performer, Jojo the Dog Boy! Hic & Hoc Publications is a mircopress comics publisher that puts out some very underfround, very quality comics, and Patt Kelley fits with their brand perfectly. Patt Kelley has been working on some very out of the box comics that have, for the most part, flown under the radar. With this book, I sincerely hope that changes. Check out some other works and incredible art at http://www.pattkelley.com/


As I mentioned earlier, this story features Jojo the Dog Boy, who's real name is Fedor Jeftichew. Essentially, this is a tale of historical fiction which chronicles a romance in the life of Fedor. When the story starts we see a reunion of Fedor and his love interest, Helena. As soon as these characters are introduced, the story bounces back and forth, showing pivotal moments in the couples romantic life including their introduction, possible break up, acceptance, and many many more. Throughout the whole book you will grow to love Helena and Fedor, and you won't be able to help but worry what will end up happening to this chemistry rich duo.


This is far more than a relationship story, as it is also a story of personal acceptance and growth. Kelley has a tremendously smart plan for showing how these characters evolve throughout the tale and by the end of the book, we see characters very different from those met in the first flashback. Helena starts as a child but as she growes we get to witness her blossom into a women of individuality, to the point that she herself become a "freak" by getting coated in tattoos, which was very strange for people to see in the 1800s. Fedor evolves as well, as he tries to indoctrinate himself into a life of normalcy, primarily and preferably without changing his physical appearance. The only constant as Kelley's changes continue throughout the story is the powerful relationship of this team, which anchors the reader in the obtuse title.


Kelley's illustrations are very unique. I mean.... go to that website above and see for yourself. The style is very sketchy and sacrifices some background detail to give further attention to the deep character moments, which many other comic artists can have difficulty with, I've noticed. The facial expressions are small slights in the mouth or the eye that aren't insanely detailed but still showcase a whole range of emotions very clearly Where Kelley particularly shines is with the small details of the two main characters. Fedor has hair all over his body and looking at it you can understand exactly how it feels when Helena touches him. Various markings show the density of his unique physiology. In the case of Helena, it is clear that decisive planning and placement was paramount in figuring out which tattoos go where and keeping those locations consistent from panel to panel. Lastly I would like to point out the paper and the panel colors. The paper is a glossy but has a tea stained color to it while the panels have darker, sepia toned color schemes, all of which comes together to give the feel that you are looking at a collection of photos, though for this story a collection of moments may be a more apt description.


Fedor is a highly stylized comic that has a look completely it's own and features two individuals who will resound in you for quite a while. Also, there are a couple blurbs which give you some nonfictional history on Fedor himself. With visuals that showcase life, unique characters from a subject matter people are always curious about, and powerful dialogue that feels real, Patt Kelley succeeds on all fronts with this book. Now, this book had a pretty small print run but it is still available from the Hic and Hoc store. This comic came out on August 5th.


The King of Chaos!

King #1 (of 5)


Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Deron Bennett

Coming COMPLETELY out of left field this past week was King by Jet City Comics! Who is this publisher? Well it's the relatively new graphic novel/comics imprint of Amazon.com. Primarily producing digital content, we now see titles getting physically printed... which I love. This here book is written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, who has worked on Elk's Run (I podcasted about it... check it out), I Vampire, The Bunker, Devilers, Punks, The Life After, I could go on and on. He has his twisted chaotic (in a good way) writing style teamed with the art of Bernard Chang who has previously worked on Green Lantern Corps, Demon Knights (very underrated series), DC Universe Presents, Supergirl, some older Valiant titles, and a whole bunch more. 


This title tells the story of King, a young man in a deadly world. However, this isn't a tale of him struggling to survive. This is a tale of him being an employee searching for the fabled "Seed of Life" for his reptilian boss. On his way to work we get acquainted with the various folks he has to associate with such as Greek gods corrupted by aliens, basketball loving dinosaurs, Mad Max-esque anthropomorphic animals, mecha karate bears, and some just plain rude monsters. Some of these creatures are friendly while others would like to wipe out the human race, which as far as King knows consists only of himself. As he journeys to find the Seed of Life, he wonders if this will be another wild goose chase or if this task has something far greater in store for him.


Fialkov does it again and it is brilliant! What is "it"? He created a world that exists only to engross the reader and produce a unique story. Instead of making a main character with a ton of human weakness we are given a character that is not only likable but just plain badass. I mean c'mon, he uses a "City of Los Angeles" sign as a shield! That he uses offensively! King just handles himself with this enjoyable confidence that, if replaced with fear and not written by someone with these writing talents, would have given that feeling of "stranger in a strange place" that we have seen a million times. The narratives provide story with out overdoing exposition. Each text box is spoken by King, giving you a sense of his attitude very early in the story in a humorous and unexpected way. The dialogue is quippy and clever while the reason why the world got so messed up is ambiguous enough where Fialkov has free range to build and build. It's not the easiest thing to explain, but this book is genius, you HAVE to check it out. It's a post apocalyptic story where the world is just as lively as it was before it was destroyed.


Chang's art style aids the world King inhabits by providing lush, overgrown, desecrated environments of the world that was mixed with some new "architecture" which allows for an even more mind blowing experience. Character wise we see King, who has a lightly colored style all to himself and gets outfitted with the aforementioned sign strapped to his back, all around he looks how he reads... badass. Then we see the other creatures of the world, or more specifically, LA. While some creatures are being obnoxious, violent ne'er-do-wells others are trying to just live their lives in the same way people did before this world became what it is. We see different... things... driving cars, going to work, wearing clothes, reading the paper etc etc. The set dressing is also something that should be noted as it adds to the somewhat goofy, fun yet dangerous environments with large array of skulls, weaponry, and other signs of struggle. Last thing I would like to mention is Chang's layouts. The layouts in this story create a perfect flow that in many ways suggests a reading speed and allows for a more powerful look at the action.


This publication, physically, is pretty dang new, and this titles proves the quality that it will be producing We have here one of those rare stories that is in a vast and deadly land scape that walks the careful middle ground between being too ridiculous and being too serious with ease. Fialkov, Chang and the rest of the team are off to a great start. With an impossible way of knowing what's going to happen next, I anxiously await the second issue. This book, as I said earlier, came out about a week ago (8/5) and costs only $2.99!




Meanwhile, On Kickstarter...


Remember that time I showcased some cool Kickstarter projects? Well I do! That was months ago though, and now there are even more great projects to fund! Allow me to tell you about some of them:

Home- Forgotten Places Remebered


Judging from this campaign, it is quite obvious that Anja Uhren loves story and the craftsmenship that goes into creating books. Home gives her the opportunity to share that love, as she creates a piece of art in book form while telling the story of a young woman who has had countless homes, and how taxing it is to sift through the memories of them. This coming of age story is binded into a form that has numerous twists and turns (literally) and uses comic panels as well as prose to tell an important tale. The art has an incredibly sketchy quality and the visuals seem powerful in a droll fashion. There are numerous incentives that will bring the reader closer to the story, and judging from the images and brief synopsis given, the quality of the project couldn't possibly be in question! This book has actually reached it's goal but will still be available for the next week. Here's a link to check it out!

Tenko King Vol. One: A New Leaf


Behind many great adventures, there is a great creator. This particular adventure is created by Tavis Maiden who tells the story of a 10 year old boy named Flip who decides to explore the vast world he lives in. During his travels he encounters creatures, magic, dungeons, and some new pals. The campaign guarantees that the reader will have the opportunity to truly grow with these characters, which is sure to provide an enriching, all ages reading experience. All of the art is very illustrative and totally in color! This seems like such an appropriate format for this story, now being collected after it had been previously distributed digitally. If you're looking for a new story filled with rewarding enchantment, then help fund this volume. You can check it out here!

Blood & Gourd #2: Escape From Henderson Farm


I've said it once and I'll say it one million times more: you have to get behind this comic. I was imediately enthralled with the story as soon as I read it, pick it up and you'll see why. With the instant charm of B horror movies and action that doesn't quit, this story is really something to behold. I actually spoke to the creators, Jenz K. Lund and D.H. Shultis on the podcast a while back (episode 11- Through the Woods, to be precise) and they really know what they want and are working to get it! This comic is published by the brand new publisher Dead Peasant, and if you like body horror, Halloween, dark humor, and murderous vegetables then you can't go wrong! Plus their are a bunch of incentives that make it easy to get issue #1 as well. Check this campaign out here!

After the Gold Rush


After the Gold Rush, by Miles Greb and his exceedingly talented team, brings atheism and an entirely fresh take to the sci-fi genre. The story is bringing a new look to the future, and offers us a tale of appreciated optimism as opposed to the usual dystopia we are used to seeing in futuristic stories. I have been waiting for this for months now, after being entrances by the exceptional promotional art. Most of the story has been kept a mystery, with Greb providing only snippets or poems to give the reader a clue as to what's coming up. For some other info, check out my podcast on Nimona for an interview. You can also find out more about this project at it's site. The project actually posts TODAY! I will make sure to put a link here a little later. 

Those are only a few of a huge selection of deserving books that can be brought to life by YOU! You really need to go to Kickstarter and see for yourself, as there are numerous quality tales just waiting to get out in the world. Go on and search around! I have no doubt you will find something exciting.