FTLI #53- Knowledge, Religious Camps, Black Panther

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Written by, Kwanza Osajyefo
Drawn by, Jamal Igle
Published by, Black Mask
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Written & drawn by, Melanie Gillman
Published by, Iron Circus Comics

Compiled by, Sheena C. Howard
Published by, Fulcrum Publishing

Read a comic history of Black Panther
Watch the Black Panther trailer

Comics released on Wednesday, February 21st

Buffalo Blues

An article by, Aaron Burton

Everyone has at least one aspect of their past which haunts them. No one is perfect and our mistakes may take a while for us to emotionally process. We can also be victims of traumatic events or regrettable experiences. Our memories may not always be rosy and this can have great  impacts on our current mindset.

CGI Buffalo is written and drawn by Tom De Geeter. There is currently one issue of the book which was released on February 14th 2018. The book may be considered a dramedy with mystery elements. CGI Buffalo is published by independent music label Marathon of Dope. There is currently one issue of the comic available digitally. It looks as though the first three issues are available through the publisher directly.

Ceegee is an anthropomorphic buffalo who works as a radio host and DJ. Unsure about his past, Ceegee is haunted by night terrors and insomnia. His dreams begin to blend with reality when he receives a cryptic and ominous phone call to his radio show. Is Ceegee beginning an adventure of self-discovery? Or is his paranoia getting the best of him?

Ceegee is an interesting character. His insomnia has him in a constant state of paranoia and irritability. Though he is often cynical and rude to others, the people in his life seem to empathize with what he is going through. Despite his irrationality, Ceegee is surprisingly self-aware and introspective. He wants nothing more than a fresh start. Escaping the past can be difficult when you don't know where to start.

Having only read the first issue, the majority of the plot is still a mystery to me. That said, the mystery is enough to keep me coming back. In this issue we are shown the protagonist in pain and down on his luck. Only time will tell if Ceegee's journey into his past will end up providing him with a better quality of life.

CGI Buffalo makes of a lot of creative choices when it comes to the book's visual representation. Though most of the panels offer flat coloring, many areas and backgrounds use realistic looking textures. This adds a great layer of dynamics to the art. In addition to traditional speech bubbles De Geeter utilizes large blocks of while text on a black background for narration.

CGI Buffalo was my favorite book this week. The book is filled with dark humor and pop culture references. The art style and writing tone remind me of one of my favorite books; Lemire's Sweet Tooth. From what I can tell this is Tom De Geeter and Marathon of Dope's first published comic book. I hope they continue to release more comics.

CGI Buffalo is available through Comixology as well as Marathon of Dope.

Behind the Comic

An article by, Kaila Streichert

This week I sat down and interviewed the multi-talented artist and creator of “Killadelphia”, Brandon “Branny” Mungal. It was a very professional setup over Facetime, on my living room floor, with adequate lighting. I wanted to get behind the comic and discuss, awkwardly, how he got started, his muses, and what keeps him motivated. It was also a test in patience on his end.

K: Hey, so now that it’s taken me over an hour to build up the courage to ask you any questions, what got you into art?

B: Saturday morning cartoons, comic books. Anything that really got my attention.

K: Anything specific?

B: Thundercats, X-Men, Spiderman. Honestly, you could name any cartoon from the 1980’s and I probably watched it.

K: When did you start drawing?

B: Around 1st grade, I think. Anytime I had paper and pencil in my hand.

K: So, were you one of those kids that got into trouble for drawing all over everything?

B: Sometimes. I can definitely recall instances that I would doodle on a test and fail the test itself, but get an A on my drawing.

K: Straight nailin’ that test game then, huh?

B: Absolutely.

K: What goes into your character creation? Obviously, in “Killadelphia”, your protagonists, antagonists, and otherwise, are anthropomorphized and animalistic in nature.

B: I mean, I’ve based characters on pets I’ve had, other people’s pets, I even blend pets and their owners together to create a character. I also create them based on my surroundings and their general vibe. I make a lot of my characters based on people in my life.

K: Are there any comic/graphic novelists or artists you admire?

B: Kevin Smith as a writer. As far as artists, I really admire Peter Chung and Jim Lee as well.

K: What about their work stands out to you?

B: Kevin Smith can make a love story out of anything in a cohesive way. Peter Chung’s work with animation and character design really stand out to me. His different approach to design and proportion made his work attach itself to me at an early age. As far as Jim Lee, his powerful static images reverberate in my brain. His work is very reminiscent of manga and anime, but distinctly his own style.

K: You can definitely see a little manga flavor is some of your work as well.

B: Yeah, I plan on doing a lot more in that style soon.

K: So, you see yourself continuing to create comics after “Killadelphia”?

B: Most definitely! Like I mentioned, I’d like to take a more Japanese approach in respect to the art and formatting in the future.

K: Any ideas in respect to content?

B: Wherever my mind goes, whatever is inspiring me at that moment, will determine the storyline. So, that all depends. I’m also into horror which has influenced “Killadelphia”, but I’d like to do more with that as well. I am already attracted to things that differ from the norm and get extreme or visceral reactions as far as comics go, so I really want to play around with that to a greater degree.

K: So, I am sure I will think of at least a dozen poignant, well thought out questions after this, but for now thank you for your time.

B: Absolutely. Any time.

*Edited for clarity and not at all to make the interviewer sound like she knew what she was doing.

Check out Branny’s work on his Instagram (brannytattoos), and be sure to read his comic “Killadelphia”, which you can purchase here. While you’re at it, buy some of his merch over here as well!

FTLI #52- Senior Love, Angry Cupids, Wrong Doings

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Collected by, Nadia Shammas
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Written & drawn by, Sebastian Chow
The story of a cat in space

Written & adapted by, Damien Duffy
Drawn by, John Jennings
Original novel by, Octavia E. Butler
Published by, Abrams
Buy the novel
Buy the comic

Written by, Justin Jordan
Drawn by, Donal Delay
Published by, Image Comics

Written by, Kwanza Osajyefo
Drawn by, Jennifer Johnson
Published by, Black Mask
Buy Black

Written by, Garth Matthams
Drawn by, Kenan Hallilovic
Check out Witch Creek Road
Read Witch Creek Road

Written by, Tony Medina
Illustrated by, Stacey Robinson & John Jennings
Published by, Tu Books
Buy I Am Alfonso Jones

Written by, Tee Franklin
Drawn by, Jenn St-Onge
Published by, Image Comics
Buy Bingo Love

Comic releases for February 14th, 2018

Literal Spinal Tap

An article by, Aaron Burton

There is an interesting relationship between technology and science fiction. Technology is always changing and improving. Since much of science fiction  features advanced or futuristic technology the genre must adapt to our current technological state. Many science fiction stories of the past contain technology that currently exists. Modern stories must innovate as technology develops. Since the emergence of augmented and virtual reality we have been looking for new and better ways to interface with computer technology. Alongside this research we are also seeing creators offer their takes on their relationship between technology and human biology.

BioPunks is written by Royce Adkins. The art is done by Brandon Grezbien. The book is published by Royce Comics and currently has two issues. This is a new series with the first issue premiering in January 2018. BioPunks is a science fiction action comic.

BioPunks centers around three main characters: Nya, Kaden and Otto. Each character possesses unique powers due to being subjects in an experiment named The Restore Program. A mysterious force called The Advent is looking to take out our three protagonists.

Each of the first two issues introduce one of the main characters. The first issue focuses on Nya, and the second issue focuses on Kaden. So far their stories take place on a very small scale. We to get to see snippets of the characters' lives up close. There is not a lot of world building so far, but I feel that is a good thing. One of the most gripping aspects of BioPunks is the mystery surrounding the plot. We have only received bits of information about this story's universe, but that makes every scene and speech bubble that much more important. The comic's website even has the unknown character's blacked out until their issue drops.

As evident on the covers, each character has a piece of technology attached to their spine. The pieces seem to be metal and often glow purple. This seems to be the source or control of their powers. So for there has been very little interaction or discussion of the spinal attachments. I am sure we will learn more about them as we learn more about The Restore Program.

Grezbien's art in BioPunks is creative and unique. The comic starts off as mostly white. Only the characters are colored in grey scale. One of my favorite panels in the first issue involves Nya setting a down a plate where all the food is white. As the stories get more intense, more and more colors start to pop in. This is a great way to add intensity and importance to specific panels. The fonts used for the lettering in BioPunks also helps add to the story's immersion. For example, loud noises are shown in a paintbrush or calligraphy style script.

I'm hooked. In the upcoming months we will get to meet Otto and learn more about the story's universe. The mystery in the writing combined with the unique artwork creates a solid foundation for this book to build upon. I can't wait to continue to unfold the story of BioPunks.

You can check out BioPunks in their webstore.

FTLI #51- Burlesque, 100 Candles, Whit Taylor!

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Check out more books from Birdcage Bottom Books
Back the Kickstarter

Written & drawn by, Daniel McCloskey
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Drawn by, Rian Hughes
Published by, Image Comics

Written by, Francesca Lyn
Drawn by, Sally Cantirino

Written & drawn by, Amber Benson, R. John Bernales, Joe Casey, Chynna Clugston, Kieron Dwyer, Jay Faerber, Matt Fraction, Steven Griffen, Mike Hawthorne, Phil Hester, Mike Huddleston, Antony Johnston, Robert Kirkman, Steve Lieber, Jim Mahfood, Jamie McKelvie, B. Clay Moore, Scott Morse, Mike Norton, Jeff Parker, Jamie S. Rich, Mark Ricketts, Matt Roberts, Steve Rolston, Eric Stephenson, J. Torres & Andi Watson.
Published by, Image Comics

A chat with cartoonist Whit Taylor!
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Written by, Matthew Erman
Drawn by, Lisa Sterle
Published by, Scout Comics

Written & drawn by, Ben Passmore
Watch the animated short

Published by, Dark Horse

Releases on February 7th, 2018