For the Love of Indie #35- Audubon, Moonstruck, My Pretty Vampire

Download this episode here or on iTunes!

Artist: Mark dos Santos
Buy Lark's Killer here

Writer/Artist: Katie Skelly
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Buy more of Katie Skelly's books here
Buy My Pretty Vampire here

Writer: Grace Ellis
Artist: Shae Beagle
Publisher: Image Comics
Buy Moonstruck here

Writer/Artist: Natasha Alterici
Letters: Rachel Deering
Publisher: Vault Comics
Buy Heathen vol. 1 here

Writer: Ben Kahn
Artist: Bruno Hidalgo
Publisher: Scout Comics
Buy Heavenly Blue here

Writer: Tevis Thompson
Artist: David Hellman
What is a Second Quest?
Read Tevis Thompson's Saving Zelda
Buy Second Quest here

Writer/Artist: Carey Pietsch
Buy other Carey Pietsch titles here
Buy Connection Lost here

Artist: Jeremie Royer
Publisher: Nobrow Press
Who is James Audubon?
Check out Audubon's Birds of America
Buy Audubon here

Comic Releases for August 30th, 2017

Conspiracies in Currency: The Black Monday Murders

Article by, Aaron Burton

Occult-based conspiracy theories have often surrounded the highest levels of American business and government. The are many people who are willing to believe there is a spiritual component to our country’s upper crust. The wealthy are willing to do anything to keep their power. These tactics may even include the utilization of other worldly forces. Many theorists believe that signs of these paranormal dealings can be seen in the art and architecture of government and financial institutions. Whether it be the Freemasons, the Illuminati, or just plain old devil worshippers, the powers that be hide their symbols in plain sight.

One of the most commonly discussed symbols is the Eye of Providence found on America’s currency. This symbol shows an eye surrounded by a triangle. The origin of this symbol seems to date back to the Renaissance. It was often used as a symbol of God’s Trinity in the Catholic Faith. Since then, the Freemason’s have taken the symbol on as their own. Even though they deny any deeper meaning there are still many conspiracy theorists that believe the Eye of Providence is the all-seeing-eye of a totalitarian shadow government.

What separates conspiracy theories from regular scholars is the use of assumptions and leaps of faith in their logic. If you look at the lines of logic in a conspiracy theory, there is usually one (or multiple) assumptions made that will cause the argument to fall short. This does not even include the common use of the straw man logical fallacy seen in many theories. One of the most common flaws found in conspiracy theories is the idea that large groups of people can perfectly control the flow of information and keep secrets. This has been shown to not be true time and time again, especially since the advent of the internet. That said, wouldn’t it be interesting to live in a world where “old money” was created through the use of paranormal meddling?

The Black Monday Murders is a comic book written by Jonathan Hickman of East of West fame. The art is done by Tomm Coker. The book is released under Image comics. The first issue came out on August 10th 2016. At the time of this article there are currently six issues of the comic released, with the first four issues released as a trade paperback. There are currently two more issues available for preorder, with the second volume of the trade paperback coming this November. The book has been described as a “crypto-noir” which combines cryptological and film-noir elements. This is a fitting description as the story revolves around a gumshoe attempting to decipher the codes and rituals of the wealthy.

Theodore Dumas is a detective trying to solve a very bizarre murder. The case begins to unravel as Dumas continues to find clues linking the murder to Caina-Kankrin, one of America’s oldest financial institutions. This proves to be the most dangerous and interesting case in Dumas’ career as he finds himself thrown into the world of occult-linked bankers and brokers. Will Theodore be able to piece together the story of what makes the world’s aristocrats so wealthy and powerful?

Fans of Jonathan Hickman are already aware of how commanding and captivating his writing style can be. The Black Monday Murders is no exception. Hickman provides readers with powerful drama and gripping mystery. The characters speak in a level of eloquence typically reserved for playwrights. That said, what is a comic book but a play told through pictures? The book is filled with twists and turns that is sure to keep you turning the pages.

The presentation of the book is astounding. The story is told through a combination of classic comic book panels, forum posts, memos and documents. This keeps the story compelling as the readers are allowed to see the story from many angles. One of the most interesting aspects of The Black Monday Murders is the documents. Most of the documents in the book are redacted. Having certain lines of the documents blacked out adds to the mystery of the story. Hickman and Coker play with this concept by using the non-redacted words to their advantage. For example, a whole paragraph will be redacted except for five words from completely different sentences. These words will then form their own sentence which gives insight into the story.

Coker’s art style for The Black Monday Murders is very dark and shadowy. He definitely took the noir style of the story to heart. Many of the pages look like they were printed using old copier technology. The pages are littered with dark splotches, streaks and even the occasional piece of hair. The page style is reminiscent of teachers using the overhead projector in grade school. This adds a layer of depth to the story as the readers are often looking at old documents. The page blemishes also add additional darkness which adds to the noir tone of the story.

Hickman and Coker come together to make a powerhouse of a comic book. I found myself reading the pages so frantically that I had to force myself to slow down and savor every panel. The first trade paperback comes in at about two hundred and fifty pages, and every last one of them kept me mesmerized. People say it is hard to wait a week for a new episode of a television show. The Black Monday Murders is an exercise in how hard it can be to wait an entire month for a new issue of a comic book.

Monsters On The Underground Railroad

An article by, Aaron Burton

Most of us should be familiar with story of the famous abolitionist known as Harriet Tubman. For those who may need some refreshing, she was one of the most prolific activists in 1800s America. She helped numerous slaves escape to freedom through the use of anti-slave sanctuary and assistance from fellow activists. This network of freedom fighters ultimately became known as The Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman helped fuel the movement that put America on seemingly never-ending path to treat all Americans as equals.

Imagine there was a paranormal element to the colonial slave trade. Slave masters and traders have enlisted the services of vampires and other mythological creatures in order to maintain the status quo. The monstrosity of slavery is no longer figurative. The rulers are literally monsters.  In a world such as this, there is only one person that can help the oppressed find their way to freedom. This person comes in the form of a katana-wielding, smart-mouthed assassin known as Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer is written by David Crownson with art and lettering by Courtland L. Ellis. The book is published by Victory Comics and was funded through Kickstarter. It is self-described as "Django Unchained meets Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Mad Max: Fury Road". For the unfamiliar this can be translated into "abolitionist antihero meets monster fighter meets apocalyptic Darwinism". There is one issue currently released at the time of this article.

I was expecting Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer to be a more dark and serious story. The plot is a retelling of one of the most shameful aspects of early America. I figured that colonial slavery paired with monsters would naturally create a more dramatic atmosphere. I found myself with the proverbial 'egg on my face' as I read through a witty and humorous introduction to this new series. Crownson found a way to take a serious historical subject and turn its on its head to create a very exciting and entertaining issue.

Ellis' art style is refreshing to say the least. The characters are drawn in a cartoon style which reminded me of modern Disney animated films. The color palette used is mostly made up of shades of brown and grey with other colors being muted. The prominently featured color is a bright red. The color is used to bring emphasis to certain aspects of the book, such as Harriet's bandanna or the vampire's eyes. This is an incredibly clever use of coloring. Human blood seems to be red, whereas vampire blood is a dull grey. The saturated red helps bring an exciting pop to the comic's visual representation that also provides meaning and context to the story.

I cannot wait to continue following the story in this book. The first issue was an amazingly fun and exciting read. This was an exciting departure from the high-tension and serious racial discussions that have been in the spotlight of America's political arena. Crownson shows that it is possible to have a story that provides social commentary without sacrificing humor. The first issue ends in a cliffhanger that leaves readers wanting more. The quick-witted personality of Harriet Tubman provides readers with an alluring main character. Only time will tell where these new series will take us.

For The Love of Indie #34- Shit & Piss, Magical Girl Apocalypse, Your Black Friend

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Writer: Brian Spinney
Artist: Robin Keijzer
Back the Kickstarter here

Writer/Artist: Steven Ingram
Publisher: Blurred Line Comics
Buy The Saddest Whale here

Writer/Artist: Tyler Landry
Buy Shit & Piss here

Writer/Artist: Gemma Correll
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Buy Worrier's Guide to Life here

Writer/Artist: Ben Passmore
Publisher: Silver Sprocket
Buy Your Black Friend here

Writer/Artist: Thom Zahler
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Buy Time & Vine #1 here

Writer/Artist: Kentaro Sato
Publisher: Seven Seas
Buy Magical Girl Apocalypse here

Writer/Artist: Virva E. Auvinen
Find out more about Alchemy here
Buy White As The Jasmine Flower here

Writer/Artist: Mark Kalesniko
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Buy Mail Order Bride here

Releases for August 9, 2017