FTLI #59- Zines for Days

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 Edited by, J.T. Yost
Published by, Birdcage Bottom Books
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Comic Releases for April 18th, 2018

A Trip Down Memory Lane

 An article by, Aaron Burton

Non-fiction comics and illustrations are a common part of most of our lives. Many items come with comic strip-style instruction booklets. Airplane seats have comic inserts showing us what to do in the event of an emergency. Though these are very informative, they are not always the most entertaining.

One of my favorite parts of being a lover of indie comics is the access to nonfiction stories. The popular market offers any and all variety of super heroes, villains, and monsters. Though these stories often reflect upon life, they are still embroiled in the fictional realm. I love being able to pick up comic books that are explicitly based in reality. This includes memoirs, biographies, and educational stories.

Before I Forget Vol. 1 is written and drawn by Christopher Bryan Harmon. The book was released on April 11th 2018 and is self-published. Before I Forget is an illustrated memoir told in a slice of life format. This is currently the only book in this series, but the label of "Vol. 1" has me thinking that there is more to come.

Volume one of this series takes a look at a portion of Harmon's childhood in the 1980s and 90s. These stories include many of my favorite parts of childhood. Though I am younger than Harmon I found these stories to be very relatable. Many of us have memories of family camping trips, arcade games, and cable softcore pornography. Though a lot of this book is humorous and lighthearted, the volume ends on the most anxiety-provoking tales I have recently read.

Harmon's visual style is unique and entertaining. While the art style throughout the book is consistent, the formatting does change from story to story. Some pages have classic comic panels while others have more of a freeform approach. These stories still follow a plot but visually look like more of a collage of text and drawings. I loved the diagram of how to make scrambled eggs with cheese. The way Harmon plays with the format gives way to very interesting storytelling.

Before I Forget's coloring is mostly grayscale. However, most pages do have a splash of color to help emphasize certain aspects of the art. My favorite example of this is the colors of the galaxy in story "The Life Cycle of a Star". Harmon recounts a past relationship while comparing it to the birth and death of a star. The colors of the star align with the status of Harmon's relationship.

Before I Forget is well worth the read.  This book is over forty pages long and only costs one dollar. Every page is filled with interesting drawings and insightful narration. The stories made me feel nostalgic and I found myself captivated by Harmon's original style. I hope there is a volume two, especially with the hints and allusions to Harmon's adult life in this first volume.

Before I Forget is available on Comixology. Christopher Bryan Harmon can be reached on Twitter under the handle @old_harmon or through Tumblr. Harmon's other works can be found on Amazon.

FTLI #58- Crystal Wizards, Body Horror, NSFW

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Written by, John Lees
Drawn by, Alex Cormack
Published by, ComixTribe
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Published by, 
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Written & drawn by, Bodie Hartley

Written & drawn by, Higu Rose
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Written & drawn by, William Cardini
Published by Retrofit/Big Planet

Written & drawn by, Shintaro Kago
Published by, Fakku!

 Comic Releases on April 11th, 2018

Diamonds are Good but Meth is Forever

An article by, Aaron Burton

My soon-to-be wife probably loves pigs more than any other animal. We have pig art, pig potholders and pig utensils. I am currently sitting in front of three pig statues while writing this article. Though my love for pigs may not be as intense as hers, I was very excited to see a porcine comic debuting this week.

Meth: The Immortal is written by Kevin Dean Miller and art by Kierston Vande Kraats. There is one issue currently available which premiered on April 4th 2018. The book is published by Millstone Press. Meth: The Immortal is a fantasy adventure based in both folklore and real-life.

Methuselah is a pig who became immortality at the start of human history. He has spent this entire time trying to find his place in the world. He walks the Earth with a herd of other pigs in the wake of human destruction and tragedy. The story takes place in modern-day in the Middle East. Meth and his followers go to war-torn places to feed upon the corpses. This all changes with Meth takes pity on a boy in critical condition.

Much of the book is rooted in Christian lore. Methuselah is named after a character from the Old Testament. There is a section in the book of Genesis which describes the names and ages of the first few generations of humans. In this passage it is revealed that Methuselah lived to be almost 1000 years old. This is a fitting name for an immortal pig.


Besides religion, Meth: The Immortal also tackles the subject of human destruction. Immortality has allowed Methuselah to watch history repeat itself. Since the beginning of time humans have used their ideologies to try to make a perfect world. Every society rises and falls as a new ideologies take hold. Meth has been around this block many times.

Miller's anthropomorphization of Methuselah offers a good balance of human and animal qualities. Being alive for so long has made Methuselah a wise and old soul. However, the pig still enjoys all the normal pig activities like over eating and rooting. This gives Meth a solid personality to help drive the story.

Kierston Vande Kraats' artwork in Meth: The Immortal is pretty great. The book is in grayscale. The panels often play with depth of field. The relationship between the foreground and background is very dynamic. Also, most of the characters and objects are drawn using thick line art. This is often switched up with the use of shading and areas with no outlines. Meth: The Immortal seems to be showing a dark take on immortality. The artwork definitely helps to promote this premise.

  Meth: The Immortal was a fun read that took me by surprise. It provides an interesting new take on one of the world's oldest stories. I also like how it uses human conflict as theme and backdrop. Plus, there are pigs in it which is always great. There are also some extra pages in the back of the issue that show prototype drawings and background information about the book's creation. I found these pages to be very insightful. In the word's of Kevin Miller: "Get Hooked on Meth!"

Meth: The Immortal is available through Comixology and Kevin Miller's website.

Newbies & Rubies

An article by, Aaron Burton

This is embarrassing to admit, but once upon a time I was a noob. Back in my World of Warcraft days my guild gave me the prestigious nickname of "Backpeddler" (BP for short). Though it was in jest, I can't say that I didn't deserve it. During a dungeon I was running from a giant spider while I was waiting for the tank to take threat from me.
Preoccupied with the spider, I didn't realize that I was walking backward toward the boss. This triggered the boss fight and all chaos ensued. However, those were the old days. I have grown and developed into a competent role-playing gamer.

2 Noobs and 1000 Gold is a fantasy-comedy written by Nax with art by Aitor Erana. The book is published by No Lands Productions. Though this story has been around for a few years it was recently released on Comixology. It seems as though these comics are in the process of being translated from Italian. The series spans five issues with two currently available in English.

Zoran is a musketeer-esque rapier wielding swordsman. Memlock is a foul-mouthed and abrasive dwarf. The duo is always on the hunt for adventure and loot. This includes fighting a necromancer's zombie army, giant pig robots, and an elderly fight club. No matter how important the adventure is, the two always find a way to screw something up. They are noobs after all.

2 Noobs and 1000 Gold does not hold back on jokes. The characters find themselves in over-the-top situations. This leads to an unrelenting string of slapstick gags and sarcastic dialogue. Each issue also includes humorous plot twists and turns. Nax and Erana do an excellent job of creating a universe that is ripe for silly antics.

The book's main art style is colorful and over-exaggerated. This blends will the Nax's humorous writing. Erana also takes time to bend and switch up the drawing style. For example, paintings in the story are made up of brush strokes which make them look more like a traditional painting. These panels stick out among the heavy vector-eqsue line art.

2 Noobs and 1000 Gold pokes fun at role-playing games and the fantasy genre in general. The book is filled with plenty of references to fantasy works and video games. My favorite example of this is when Zoran opens his jacket to search his inventory. Among the silly array of items we see that Zoran is in possession of Majora's Mask from The Legend of Zelda.

One of my favorite parts of 2 Noobs and 1000 Gold is how the creators end each issue. The last two pages of the comic include two scrolls. The first scroll is the Loot Register. This acts as a receipt for the protagonist's adventure. We get to see what loot they have earned, which is often diminished due to their mishaps and mistakes. The second scroll is the No Lands Compendium. This document furthers world-building by providing additional back story to the book's minor characters.

I will be keeping my eye out for the English releases of 2 Noobs and 1000 Gold. These books are more than worth their price tag. Each issue is twice as long as a normal comic. The creators pack a lot of story into a single installment. I often compare comic issues to a single episode of a television show. Each issue of 2 Noobs and 1000 Gold feels more like a full-length film.

2 Noobs and 1000 Gold is available through both Comixology and No Land Comics.