Southern Fried Juxtaposition

An article by, Aaron Burton

Some people will say that all children rebel against their parents. Others will say the children grow up to become their parents. I can see the merit in both of these sentiments. I was a punk rock teenager rebelling against my conservative and religious family. Even though we still don't see eye-to-eye on these topics I do find myself using the mannerisms of different family members.  Nothing is more cringe-worthy than when my mother tells me I did something that reminds her of either my father or stepfather.

Southern Bastards is a gritty and violent tale of corruption in a small Alabama town. The book is  filled with some cliches and truths about the southern United States. We see the obsession with football. Everyone seems to hang out at the same barbecue restaurant. Underneath the sweet tea and carnage we see a man trying to reconcile with his deceased father. The book is a creation of writer Jason Aaron and artist Jason Latour. The series started in 2014 and has amassed sixteen issues with 20 issues lined up thus far. There are currently three trade paperbacks that have been released.

The first volume of this story shows the rise and fall of Earl Tubb. Tubb left home at a young age and never looked back. Now he is an older man going back to his childhood home to clean out his father's belongings. His once quick trip turns into a long stay when he sees how his town has been corrupted by a gang of people from his past. Earl is resentful of his father for what has happened in their lives, but at the same time he finds himself stepping into his father's shoes. This dissonance seems to be the driving motivation for this character. Earl's struggle beautifully displayed in both the writing and artwork. Both Aaron and Latour use their respective styles to juxtapose the characters' pasts with their current predicaments.

Jason Aaron's writing utilizes flashbacks in order to show parallels and differences in Earl's life. The flashbacks are cleverly woven into the story. Sometimes the flashback sequence only lasts one or two panels. These panels often reflect upon the panels directly next to them. This lets the reader quickly draw connections and learn the book's backstory.

Jason Latour's artwork works to enhance Aaron's use of flashbacks. The panels in the main narrative usually have a dull grey or beige palette. Latour uses colors to emphasis certain parts of the artwork. This creates an interesting and dynamic art style for the main plot. The flashbacks are drawn in a warm palette of reds, oranges and yellows. The quick changes in color scheme helps readers follow both the main story and flashbacks. Fans of the movie Memento may find familiarity in this visual structure.

Another interesting use of color schemes can be found in the covers of the issues. The covers are typically representative of what is going on with the main story or who the story will be focusing on.  The majority of the covers are drawn in the red palette found in the story's flashbacks for further cohesion. This shows the two story lines combined into one. The creative team has loyally followed this model with the exception of only two issues.

Southern Bastards offers up an emotional journey about digging up the past. At the same time the book contains much conflict and violence. Aaron and Latour did a great job of balancing the two aspects of this book. On top of all that, readers are treated to a Dixie-fried story filled with the culture found in the southern United States. Southern Bastards definitely hits the spot when it comes to summer reading.

For The Love of Indie #33- Jonesy, Garbage Night, Redneck

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Writer/Artist: Felipe Smith
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Writer: David Kushner
Artist: Koren Shadmi
Publisher: Nation Books
Drew's favorite D&D podcast: The Adventure Zone
Buy a Dungeons and Dragons starter kit here
Buy Rise of the Dungeon Master here

Writer: Donny Cates
Publisher: Image Comics (Skybound)
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Writer/Artist: Liz Prince
Publisher: Silver Sprocket
Buy Coady and the Creepies here
Check out Razorcake here
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Writer/Artist: Matt Lesniewski
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Writer/Artist: Jen Lee
Publisher: Nobrow Press
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Writer: Kevin Panetta
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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Writer/Artist: Anders Nilsen
Preorder Tongues here
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Writer: Sam Humphries
Colors: Mickey Quinn
Publisher: Boom! Box
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Comic Releases on May 25th, 2017

FTLI #32- The Dark Tower, Robin Furth, Plague Doktor

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Writer: David M. Brown
Support the Kickstarter here

A chat with Robin Furth!
Watch The Dark Tower trailer here
Buy The Dark Tower: Concordance here
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Out this week:

Alternate Ancient History

An article by, Aaron Burton

The Roman Empire was one of the most prolific organizations in written human history. The effects of the five hundred year regime can still be felt to this day. The Romans helped make advancements in mathematics and healthcare. Many of their ideas of architecture and infrastructure are still used. The Roman Empire serves as an example of how to run a large-scale society.

Empires don't last for ever. After years of warring the Roman Empire eventually fell to nomadic invaders in 476 CE. One of the major battles during this time was the sack of Rome in the year 410. This attack was led by Alaric I who was the first king of the Visigoths. Though this was not the end of the Roman Empire, this battle was known as the beginning of the end.

X-O Manowar tells the story of Alaric's nephew Aric of Dacia. This comic book has been around since the early nineties and has gone through many iterations. The character was originally created by Jim Shooter and Steve Englehart with art by Bob Layton and Barry Windsor-Smith and was/is published by Valiant Comics. Recently, he X-O Manowar universe restarted. The first issue of the new series premiered in March of 2017. At the time of this article there are currently four issues of the comic released. This version of the comic is written by Matt Kindt with art by Tomas Giorello. The series seems to pick up where the 2012 iteration ended, but serves as a jumping-in point for new readers.

Though the backstory of the series deals with ancient Rome, X-O Manowar serves as a science fiction epic. The great warrior Aric of Dacia is abducted by aliens and sent to new worlds. During his adventures he is constantly met with the same obstacles found in his life on Earth. The Roman/Visigoth rivalry quickly replaces itself with new sets of clashing societies. War and death seem to follow him, and Aric finds himself fighting against oppressive and destructive leaders.

Aric seems war-weary and done with the warrior lifestyle. He trying to live a peaceful life rid of violence and discord. This doesn't last long as he is forced into battle to be cannon fodder for his oppressors. Little time is wasted before we are thrown into the large scale dramatic battles that X-O Manowar fans know and love.

There are many interesting aspects of Giorello's artwork in the X-O Manowar. For example, a lot of the panels are layered over each other. There are moments where elements in an underlying panel are drawn on top of the overlaying panel. This gives the illusion that the panel is sandwiched in between the back ground and the foreground. Elements in the overlaying panels will spill out onto the the underlying panels. There is also a flashback sequence where the art style completely changes. The flashback is told with a more simple and abstract style. Giorello does a great job of utilizing negative space and creates a dream-like atmosphere for this section of the book.

X-O Manowar delivers an interesting blend of science-fiction and alternate history. Readers get to see what happens when a fifth century Visigoth barbarian is thrust into the realm of science fiction. Though Aric now has enough experience to fill a thousand lives he is still very much affected by his time on Earth. The 2017 iteration of X-O Manowar offers a fresh and engaging take on the classic Valiant character.

For The Love of Indie #31- The Chair, Charlie Chan Hock Chye, Prison Pit

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Writer: Caleb Thusat
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A chat with Buddy Beaudoin!
Check out Gentleman Pickle's page here
Preorder Ritual here
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Writer/Artist: Sonny Liew
Check out a bit of Singapore's history here
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Publisher: Image Comics
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Writer/Artist: Luke Pearson
Publisher: Nobrow Press
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Writer: Peter Simeti
Artist: Kevin Christensen
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Watch the movie trailer here
Buy The Chair and more Alterna newsprint issues here

Writer/Artist: Tom Scioli
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Buy American Barbarian here

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Garry Brown
Publisher: Aftershock
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Writer/Artist: Johnny Ryan
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Check out the Prison Pit cartoon here
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Artist: Eryk Donovan
Colorist: Claudia Aguirre
Publisher: Black Mask
Buy Kim & Kim here
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Comic releases on July 5th, 2017

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