63- Journeys, Addiction, Urban Legends

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 Written & drawn by, Megan Rose Gedris
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Written & drawn by, Ben Sea
Published by, Retrofit/Big Planet

 Written & drawn by, CF
Published by, Fantagraphics (originally Picturebox)

 Written & drawn by, Sakae Esuno
Published by, Tokyopop

 Written & drawn by, Bernie McGovern
Published by, Hic & Hoc Publications

Comic Releases for May 23rd, 2018

Possession and Demons and Zombies, Oh My!

An article by, Aaron Iara

I was upset to learn that the Nintendo Switch rerelease of Dark Souls was delayed. I never owned a PS3 and my Xbox 360 is in disrepair. Though I own the second and third installments of the game I have never got to play the original. In order to scratch this itch, I fired up my PS4 and have playing Dark Souls 3 this week. For those of you who are curious, I am running the game as a glass-canon sorcerer.

Though I am not a religious person I do enjoy fiction based in religious lore. The pious and devout have created some of the most frightening folklore creatures. Since these beings are used as spiritual metaphors they are often reflections of the flaws of humanity. This allows creators to spin some of the bleakest tales and create unsettling works of art.

The Book of Luka is written by Brian Dorsey. The art is by Ethan Claunch. There is currently one issue of the book which premiered on May 16 2018. The book is published by Mountaineer West Productions. The Book of Luka is a post-apocalypse adventure story based in Christian mythology.

The world has ended. A war between angels and demons has left our planet in shambles. Only a few humans have survived. Many of them were possessed by demonic spirits. Others were torn apart by one of the many horrors invading the Earth. The story centers around Luka and Harold who are patrolling the landscape. Their survival is constantly challenged as they battle otherworldly forces.

The Book of Luka jumps right into the action. Though the first issue offers little exposition, the witty dialogue and violence give a great starting point for the plot. Instead of giving a lot of back story, Dorsey and Claunch decided to show the reader how this universe works. In a single battle, Luka and Harold get to experience one of every type of monster described in the book's introduction.

Claunch's art in The Book of Luka is nothing short of awesome. The character designs are creepy and brutal. This book has some of my all-time favorite illustrations of water and sky. Claunch has a real knack for changing up the backgrounds based on the writing. As the plot gets more intense, smoke fills the area and the sky changes. Many of the action panels have monochrome backgrounds. This draws our attention to the characters and enhances their actions. One of my favorite panels involves Luka firing his weapon. The bullet spills out of the panel onto the page. The Book of Luka looks as apocalyptic as it feels.

This book feels very short, in a good way. Though this issue has a standard length of twenty-two pages I felt that the reading experience flew by. This serves as a testament to how immersive and entertaining it was to read The Book of Luka. The book has clever characters, scary monsters, and great action. The art not only depicts the scenes, but also excels at capturing the tone of the writing. I look forward for further issues of this comic.

The Book of Luka is available through Comixology. The comic, along with Dorsey's other works, is also available through Mountaineer West Productions.

62- Parasites, Punks, Life Cycles

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Written & drawn by, Kristyna Baczynski

 Written & drawn by, Josh Simmons
Published by, Fantagraphics
Buy Black River

 Written & drawn by, Sam Grinberg
Buy Scumburbia

Written & drawn by, Adam Yeater
Buy Bad Host

Comic releases for May 16th, 2018

It's Almost Joon

An article by, Aaron Iara

I recently had the pleasure of being able to marry my best friend. Even though our ceremony and reception were simple, and we DIY'd almost everything, we still had to so much to do. The last two weeks have been extremely stressful. As much fun as it was, I am happy to get back into the swing of things and discuss some comic books with you all. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love post-apocalypse and dystopian fiction. There is just something satisfying about watching the world come back to life after crumbling. Humanity always seems to put the petty things aside to deal with the overarching issue of survival. Of course there is conflict, but rebuilding society breaks everything down to the core philosophical elements.

Joon is written and drawn by Kelsey Kasperski. There is currently one issue which premiered this week (May 9 2018). The book is self published. Joon is a science fiction adventure story with a leading lady and plenty of comedy.

Joon is a junker/scrapper trying to get by in a technologically advanced post-apocalypse world. Humans are now an endangered species, and Joon is rejected by her fellow humans. Her best friend is a seeker bot by the name of Six. Not only is Six a sarcastic jokester, they are also obsessed with kittens and The Golden Girls. These two characters are trying to live their lives until Joon is teleported to a random location that kicks off the story.

I will admit, I was not expecting this book to be all that funny. Based on the cover and synopsis, I was expecting a serious sci-fi drama. The joke is on me for making assumptions. I was extremely delighted with the consistent and lighthearted humor in this book. Many humorous books use the plot as a method for setting up jokes. This often causes the overall story to suffer. Even though there is only one issue, Joon does not seem to be following this path. Joon has a good balance between humor and plot development. The dialogue is witty and often silly. Six reminds me of other childish AI found in media, such as Gir from Invader Zim or Claptrap from Borderlands.

I decided to read Joon because the cover caught my eye while I was browsing the new releases. I was not disappointed. Kasperski's art is stellar, especially when it comes to coloring. I love the way the colors blend together. Though the wasteland setting lends itself to a lot of brown and grey, there are a lot of vibrant colors in this book. The skylines offer beautiful blends of pastels. Every character has a little pop to them.

Joon has a lot of awesome character designs. Specifically, I love the mysterious character that shows up toward the end of the issue. They ride a motorcycle that seems to be powered by a strange purple liquid. The character wears a helmet which only has a dark slit for the eye holes. They brandish a very long curved sword. I don't know much about this character yet, but they are really cool looking. I was happy to see that the issue ends on a full-page picture of them.

Overall, Joon was a fun read. Though the full plot has yet to be revealed (like most first issues), the jokes and action made for an entertaining comic book experience. The art is great and the attention to color detail makes this book super immersive. I was not familiar with Kasperski before reading Joon, but I can now say I am a fan. 

Joon is available on Comixology. News about the book can be found on Instagram at @joonbook.

Kelsey Kasperski is also an excellent tattoo artist. Their work can be found on Instagram at @kasperstattoos.

61- Birds, Space, William Cardini

You can download this episode on Google Play, iTunes, or here!

Written & drawn by, John Tucker 
Read Bald

Written & drawn by, Jesse Lonergan
Buy Hedra

Written & drawn by, Alexander Utkin
Published by, Nobrow Press
What is Gamayun?


 A chat with William Cardini
Visit Will's Hypercastle

Comic releases on May 2nd, 2018