Never Ever Land

The Wendy Project


Writer/Creator: Melissa Jane Osborne
Art/Colors/Letters/Cover: Veronica Fish

Another day another instant classic from Emet. This one takes one of my favorite tales and adds a new spin. Melissa Jane Osborne is relatively new to the comics writing scene but is in no way new to the scripting scene due to her time at the Stella Adler Studio as well as multiple theatre festivals she has worked at. Art for this title is by Veronica Fish, who has also provided her painterly illustrations to Pirates of Mars, Challenger, Frankenstein 1921 and even the new Archie. You can check out her art at http://www.veronicafish.com/


Wendy and her two brothers, Michael and John, are travelling one evening when tragedy strikes and the car careens into a nearby lake. Before losing consciousness, Wendy sees a shadowy figure grab Michael, and wisp him off into the air. When she wakes, no one will believe her story, thinking it is a result of the trauma, and assuming that Michael drowned. John was also effected by the tragedy, now apparently mute. The more Wendy tries to convince others of what she saw, she is given a journal with the thought that writing things down will rid her of these "delusions". As Wendy begins to question the events herself, she begins to see the world around her transform as individuals in her life begin to appear as colorful fantasy characters, though they are acting the same. Even more curious is the voice in the back of her head commanding, "Wendy... Come with us..."


Osborne show a confidence in this story by not explaining the concept of Neverland and the Peter Pan mythos to her audience. There is an understanding that everyone knows the general gist of the property and with that comes a freedom to tell a story that isn't tied down by already known exposition. Wendy and John are characters that we all think of in a specific way, especially when remembered against the Disney classic, but when Osborne adds the subject of delusions and Neverland as a coping mechanism there is a whole other side to these kids. As Wendy tries to come to terms with what she saw and make sense of it, she has interactions with her parents which shows her childlike innocence as well as the type of relationship she has with both her mother and her father. Narration is told using a combination of journal entries and Wendy's current thoughts for an enjoyable to read account of what has happened and what is currently going on. All in all, this story is a very smooth read with just a hint of sadness and a whole lot of introspective into a girl unable to fully understand what she is seeing.


Good LORD is this a beautiful book! From panel to panel we see Fish's illustrations combine with Osborne's text to produce a work of art. Osborne's cartooning of individual actions give a comprehensive look at the motives of the characters as each cast member has their own specific body language. Similar to the Kansas to Oz color explosion we have seen before, the images or "delusions" which we witness through Wendy's eyes create swirls of color to make these fantasy characters even more fantastical. That being said, the black and white panels have more than their fair share of charm, a lot of which comes from Fish's understanding of facial expressions and contours. Every single character has a tremendous amount of detail that stays consistent throughout the issue. There is not a freckle, eye brow, or lip that isn't one hundred percent appropriate for each character and even when some of them are veiled in shadow their are defining lines over their individual bone structures. Really masterful stuff.


What we have here is a classic case of "Why aren't you reading this?! You should be reading this! Pick this up now!" Fans of the classic J. M. Barrie with enjoy this respectful, more young adult look at a classic story while new people will get the chance to witness beautiful art and a compelling mystery. If you want to get in on the ground floor of an instant hit, then pick it up at Emet Comics' site!


Botanical Space!

Helena Rose: An Intergalactic Fairytale


Publisher: Emet Comics
Writer: E.O. Levendorf
Art/Letters: Sonia Liao
Colors: Veronica Fish

Those of you that are die hard Music City Comic fans or have ever spoken with me know that I am always a big promoter of a larger female presence within the comics industry. Those same fans ALSO know that I interviewed Maytal Gilboa a while back (check out my iTunes feed) and she gave the down low on her publication which aims to bring more female creators into the spotlight. Recently I was given this stunning gem and I can say with full certainty that there is a great level of clout in this company as well as a dedication to Emet's mission statement.


Helena Rose tells the story of... Helena Rose! A young woman who has to wear a helmet due to her severe "allergies". The rebellious youth and her family live on the lush, botanical planet of Flora in the area known as the Floridian Ring. The citizens of this planet all have a roses within their upper abdomen which denotes their lifespan. Helena soon discovers that what she thought to be severe allergies is actually a fatal defect as her rose has fewer petals than everyone else. In other words, she will be dying soon. Her family has found a peculiar medicine man who says he has a cure, but it will come at great cost. Helena will not let her affliction destroy her family, but she has no intention of dying either... Perhaps a remnant from a long lost relative will help.

Levendorf provides a charming protagonist that doesn't let her situation drag her into the depths of depression. Even though the situation may seem hopeless, Helena still pulls fun out of every situation and holds a steadfast determination to get out of this problem. Joining Helena for the issue is her affluent and excentric family. Each member is lavish but enjoyable and when it comes down to it, only want wants best for Helena, regardless of the consequences. As this first, very story filled issue continues, we see Helena make incredibly difficult choices that will effect her and her loved ones in a big way. This main protagonist is, for all intents and purposes, a child. However, Levendorf gives her such an enormous presence with mature decisions to be made and mysteries much larger than herself to solve, all of which will suck the reader in and demand further attention.


Also demanding further attention is the art of Sonia Liao. Her storybook style provides a fresh take on the sci-fi genre. It's almost like an early 1900s character model with a few sci-fi twists tying the story, genre, and art together in a beautiful package. We also get to see a number of the machines and weaponry present in this futuristic society, each with it's own use and just far enough outside the box where it is believable in this world while not detracting from the characters or environments. Speaking of environments, the plant life plays such an enormous part to this world, and with it comes a good level of whimsy. The lush environments represent a world rich in color and substance with plenty to look at. When those environments are combined with these unique and extravagant characters, there is a prominence which is very apparent on each page. I'd also like to mention the airy colors of Veronica Fish, who uses light, pastel tones to further portray the paradisaical city.


As a foray into the world of Emet Comics, you can't go wrong with Helena Rose. Whether a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, or just gorgeous visuals, this is the way to go. Levendorf and Liao are presenting the overture of a grand space opera, and you can get a front row seat. Pick up this comic RIGHT HERE! Oh, and check out Sonia Liao's webcomic, Zaen Well.


Action! Skeletons! Swords!

Haircut


by, Sara Goetter

Ya know, I always feel like there is a large saturation of fantasy stories in novels and comics. I must confess, normally the genre doesn't quite grab me. However, this year at Topatocon I had the pleasure of meeting the very personable Sara Goetter, and picked up this little one-and-done gem. To see more of Goetter's fun (and occasionaly dark) style and stories, visit sgoetter.com.


Haircut features the knight, B, and the princess she is protecting/freeing, Mildred. As soon as the story begins we get retold of a battle with a magic rock troll, the result of which was B having to cut off Mildred's long hair, hence the title of the book. From there, the duo gets confronted by an army of skeletons pouring out of the ground led by none other than Mildred's father... the KING! With extremely powerful force working against B, will she make it out alive? Will Mildred be forced to return to the castle? More importantly... will her hair grow back?! Well YOU can find out by clicking that link in the first paragraph and seeing for yourself.


Goetter takes a less is more approach to this story which benefits the comic as a whole. Clearly a master of context clues, she gives us a lot of the information we need as to why B and Mildred are together, what their relationship is, who they are running from, and much more. She also has a knack for creating palpable connections between characters. As soon as we are introduced to B and Mildred there is a definite magnetism beneath their already strong friendship, and even in this relatively short story there is a satisfying development as the tale progresses. Lastly, I'd like to mention the dialogue being used here. Both protagonists use a vernacular that is very modern but still has roots in the fantasy genre, mixed with a very contemporary wit making for two humorous and likable characters.


The art style portrayed in this book is just as enjoyable as the characters! Each character (at least the human ones) have large eyes and angular noses, the King's and Mildred's noses actually match almost perfectly. I'm assuming that was intentional, and I dig it. Going back to the subject of context, through her Goetter's character models she makes it very clear what each character's role is, and even if the words were taken out the story and these characters would still be easy to understand simply through the illustrations. The style in this book uses dark outlines and then slightly lighter linework for everything inside of whichever object is displayed. There is a subtlety to the aforementioned lighter linework that adds a nice little touch to each panel. One of the really cool effects used in this comic is the King's use of taking over a body. Basically, the King is speaking through/fighting with one of his soldiers. Goetter illustrates this by alternating panels between the King in the castle and the body in the battle in way that produces perfect cohesion and understanding of the situation. In all of the comics on Goetter's website, it is clear that she has her own unique look, but it is how she uses her style as a method for even better story telling that is impressive.


Haircut is an enjoyable and surprising journey into the realm of fantasy. With some fun twists and turns as well as an overall open minded tone, it's hard not to love this duo. This is a one shot, but here's to hoping there will be much more, as there is clearly a lot of opportunity for more adventures! This comic is only $5 and can be purchased with some super awesome video game inspired prints at http://sgoetter.storenvy.com/. Get you some!


He Has Risen!

Escape From Jesus Island

Wisdumb Productions



Writer: Shawn French
Artist: Mortimer Glum
Letters: Peeter Parkker
Editor: Shawn Greenleaf

Well folks, October is upon us. Spirit of Halloween is back at the mall and the time to read horror comics is nigh! Now I know what you're thinking, "Drew, there are so many great horror comics! What should I read?!" Well, let's dig a bit deeper than your typical horror stories and dive head first into Escape From Jesus Island, a creator owned title that instead of simply venturing outside of the box, rips out of it and burns what's left. I'm going to say my piece, but afterwards go to the site http://jesusisland.com/ for additional info and the ability to pick up the issues


EfJI tells the stories of multiple groups of individuals with one goal in mind. Finding Jesus. The nails from Jesus's original crucifixion have been discovered, and a DNA research company known as Regen Labs wants to use the genetic make up to breed another Jesus. We're talking walking on water, healing afflictions, every miracle we know Jesus to perform. The trials have proven to be disastrous, as all that has come out of the testing are mutated monstrosities, many of which are no longer capable of human thought, simply living as primal cannibals. Regen isn't the only organization aware of Jesus's DNA, as the Vatican is also on the island, seeking the only man who can cure a very influential religious figure of his illness. This isn't simply a matter of organization vs. organization however, as some of the mutants possess some unique abilities, and have decided to amass forces of their own.


French has created a tale which gives an extreme feeling of isolation as all of these violent factions are stuck on this research island in the middle of the sea, with nothing but a feeling of malice as a constant. Each group has their own archetypes such as the brawler, the tactician, the wild card, etc. but all the same French is able to provide character interactions and personality that insure no one is simply an employee/soldier. Another big success is writing that is over the top but isn't overly vilifying to religion. In many ways, shows more of a negative to science and how destructive it can be if done in greedy haste and without proper monitoring. In most forms of media, we have seen sci-fi, horror, and religious stories, but this series manages to combine each of those genres in a way that makes the sci-fi seem somewhat realistic, the horror apparent and dangerous, and the theology far from overbearing. Essentially, the three genres are melded seamlessly, and result is a comic successful on numerous levels.


As far as art goes, Glum understood the target audience of this story, and provided digital imagery to set the tone just right. Right off the bat we get to see some of his versatility as an artist by seeing the whole creative team drawn as if they were actual characters in this story. The art decides to completely shock the reader by starting with simple "high school kids exploring something creepy" imagery that immediately clashes with the sordid nature of the Regen Labs facility. Once that happens and the bodies start to pile up it is a serious upswing for the glory of Glum's gore. Pairing well with French's ability to give each character a distinct voice, Glum gives the cast a distinct look. No one looks the same ranging from the mutants to the more human occupiers of the island. This is a very visually stimulating series between the violence, mutants, action, and (admittedly) attractive female character models, but as many artists would end up with a story that is far too busy, Glum pulls off a style that is fun to look at and enjoyably gut wrenching.


Escape From Jesus Island pushes the envelope in a refreshingly new way that will not hesitate to make you a little uncomfortable, but undoubtedly curious about the horrors to come. Shawn French, Mortimer Glum, and the rest of the creative team have an aesthetic that they are working hard to develop, and with these first 3 issues they're off to a great start! The issues of this book are available for purchase here, each for a reasonable $3.99. Give it a look! 'Tis the season!