Well, okay, not wrong. I’m never wrong. I’m too dope for that, but more accurately close. Yeah, I’m going with that.
My first instance is here:
We see a phantom-like character appear and only see their silhouette. It’s a spectacular way to establish a character, proving, once again, Ruiz and Wasney are one hell of a combo. But, back to the panel, we see kids run away from this guy.
SEE!?? PURPLE = BAD!
But, then later we see it isn’t a villain, but our hero: John Henry.
Now, if you recall from my previous lesson, which you totally should because it’s dope and share it around to help my blog grow, Henry was one of the good ones. A godlike being that helped form that landscape which civilizations were born.
He actively fought against those in purple.
Why is he purple now? Did he fall? He’s scaring kids now; is he evil? Has our hero finally changed after years of pain?
Yes, but, like before, not exactly.
We see he’s greeted by Sil’at, an enchantress from the looks of it, and it doesn’t take long for tensions to rise.
Then, things go from John Henry to Henry the Giant REAL QUICK!
While I’m gearing up for a fest with long, emotional dialogue with bloody results, I…again was close.
They don’t. No fight. Not so much as a single punch is thrown.
But they do talk.
And THAT is where I was wrong.
And THAT, my FamiLee, is the lesson.
John Henry and Mayke show us that there’s more than one way to end a war and more than one war to fight. Yes, we can say superheroes win the day by beating up the bad guys, but what about the ramifications of those actions? What good does throwing a punch do if you’re walking around with your darkest demons?
What good does cleaning up the world if the one you’re making is worse off?
Henry and Sil’at settle their differences with a cordial conversation and owning up to their mistakes. Henry [Cavill, ha!] could have thrown punches and cause more damage Man of Steel’s ending, but it wouldn’t change a thing.
This was the way. This was the lesson to learn.
I learned that even gods and legends, especially from Greek mythology, come from mortals. If the ones who make the gods are imperfect, so must be their creations.
To admit fault, there has to be fault to begin with.
We create our legends and art reflects our reality.
It’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to be angry, but there’s a time and place for everything and it’s okay to admit fault, especially if it means you can move forward together because, at the end of it all, it doesn’t matter about “good” or “evil”, purple or non — it matters what you do with it.
Purple as I saw it was used for evil, but not here.
John Henry will make a new road for us with more than just his tale of Iron & Magic.
Is Ben gonna be cocky and brash like Sonic? Will he be methodical like Barry Allen or sweet and life loving (…) like Wally West?
Hey and Welcome to the next Lesson.
-by Deandre Moffett & Alejandro Acosta, Francis Llamzon
Being a fan of comics, speedsters are actually at the top of totem pole for me. The Flash, both Barry and Wally (except not so much anymore because Rebirth did that boy dirty), Ultimate Quicksilver, Sonic the Hedgehog – the list goes on.
Whether they were born with it or had greatness thrust upon it, every speedster winds up having their own story that’s interesting to their respective character, so how does Speedstar standout?
Is Ben gonna be cocky and brash like Sonic? Will he be methodical like Barry Allen or sweet and life loving (AND NOT MASS MURDEROUS) like Wally West?
The first thing I notice about this is the art direction. It’s simply and not too busy that makes reading it a nice combination rather than diminishing story for style when it comes to content.
Honestly, it reminds me a lot of Young Justice.
Like Young Justice, it’s friendly to a younger audience but isn’t afraid to tackle more adult/grayer areas and that’s what I like about this most. It’s honesty.
Later on, Ben gets his powers and tries to stop a robbery. Pretty cut and dry, but the conclusion couldn’t be far from it.
Minor spoilers, but when, as it’s his first outing, he there’s a robbery, he tries to take out the criminals and save the day.
And, you know what? This was a damn good choice. Not because it was the hero needing to overcome some great trial or tribulation, but because of the other side of the situation.
They’re not sad, they’re GRATEFUL.
No, Ben didn’t stop the robbery, but, more importantly, NOBODY GOT HURT. He didn’t need to see or do things the way a traditional hero would, but that was perfect. There was never a better situation for an up-and-coming hero to learn other than that.
Speedstar is a great introduction to superhero comics. A newer approach with a safe, albeit refreshing take on an origin story. You’ll pick up beats from other tales, yes, but also are taken on a different path that is welcoming to all newcomers.
Now, this isn’t my first time learning from “Comic Republic” and what they have to offer. I went over their work before for Black Business Month ( https://bit.ly/2seejbV ) and they’ve been on my radar ever since.
I distinctly remember having nothing but positivity for the project. It gave me a sense of hope and even encouragement as I myself still strive for my own voice and I’m happy to say that this was no exception.
We start out by one of the more creative pages I’ve seen in a while with what looks to be a housefire. Now, the inner monologue gives an extra a voice, but what stands out to me is the choice in panel separation.
Rather than regular blocks like we’re used to, the falling debris serves to tell the story and keep the page layout as we’d expect from a comic. It’s a small, but welcome change to the norm that I’d expect nothing less from these guys.
It doesn’t take long for things to pick up speed as we’re introduced to our first hero, Max Speed.
The aura reminds me of Quicksilver from Days of Future Past and, like so, he’s one the best parts of it.
Shortly after the team, formally known as the Extremes, joins in and helps put out the fire, only to see a bigger problem on the horizon.
Wasting no time, we get to see just why it is that they’re a team.
Power Boy takes to the skies and battles the meteor shower outright while Nutech handles the problem as best he can from the ground using his magnetism, leaving Max Speed to evacuate the area.
They move in such syncopation, but still have hiccups in dialogue and overstating their abilities. They’re good, but not pros and, like the product, it shows me growth can come from it and it will get better.
Another thing I want to touch on, especially when comparing from the last project, is the art.
Now, the art is still consistently good and layered as you can tell, but I want to point out some of my favorite parts of the issue.
Guardian Prime lands and the people below are blurred and there’s a bit of motion blur as well to show his descent…
In other words, HA! DOPE!
Max Speed, again, has my attention most because I can see things that I used to do. The bulled effects, to further show his speed is something I used in Photoshop when I was getting my bearings years ago.
Seeing it here in an indie comic within a published continuity with their own following, site AND PHONE APP, it paints a picture BY EXAMPLE without the need of a speech bubble that, in time, maybe I can be up there, too.
LAST THING, THO!?
THEY FINISH THE QUIP!
Once again, Comic Republic never ceases to amaze and I feel like the two things I’ve found are only the start of their works. At the end of their issue, they leave a paper trail for the next step/chapter of this story and it’s from another title.
They plan out stories while crossing over titles and show confidence in their work and light the way for other striving artists.
You don’t have to go to Extreme Measures to be the start of a new Generation.
As someone in his first real relationship, awkward family exchanges and all, (Happy 2 Years, baby), I gotta admit I’m out of my element when it comes to love. Things I learn media, mostly forced sessions of romance in film that is abusive half the time, are rarely as things should be. Also, Jim and Pam’s relationship from The Office got me thinking that could happen to me.
Too bad it did.
Point is, love has expectations, but it rarely is as you think it should be and that’s the best thing about Love University.
Whitmore gives us a side hug and walks us through meeting our protagonist, Lucy Barloc, but it doesn’t really feel like we’re “meeting her” because of the way she’s naturally conveyed.
She goes to a sensitive of sorts to see about her future and that look on her face says it all. We’ve all made it.
Now, normally, I don’t care for a lot of exposition said at the beginning of stories. It’s often that it comes off as an information dump and can be really disengaging, but Whitmore, without any external dialogue or thought boxes, shows why she’s an award-winning writer.
Lucy is alone.
She doesn’t talk to herself or overthink things and she’s meeting someone for the first time. She has to explain herself and what she reveals isn’t just all just surface level stuff, it gives perspective on not what she wants, but who she is.
With that one line, she goes from being a young girl just looking for love and possibly a prince charming to wanting to belong. That goes SO MUCH FURTHER than the superficial expectation of loving someone based on their external appearance.
You can go your whole life surrounded by friends, family and colleagues, everyone wanting you just the same, but a feeling of wanting to belong can always be there. That’s a self-discovering venture not many can say they’ve taken because, like Lucy, they’re looking to someone else to tell them where they belong.
Lucy wants love from someone else because she feels that’s where she will belong.
Lucy, at her core, wants to matter.
THAT is why this exposition matters.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Like whiplash, you don’t get the “be yourself” speech or “your prince charming is on his way”. You get a no. A straight up NO. There’s more there, but by then I was already hooked not only because of the story, but the implications of what that means.
“True love is forbidden”. It comes off harsh and surprising to say the least, but that’s why I wanna talk about it.
Love is Forbidden, but she never says what KIND of love is forbidden.
The Ancient Greeks define love as 8 different kinds:
Agape – Unconditional Love: Altruistic, selfless and often spiritually loving.
Eros – Romantic Love: Romantic, physical, passionate love
Philia – Affectionate Love: The kind of love you feel for your friends. Platonic.
Philautia – Self-Love: Healthy, self love.
Storage – Familiar Love: Like Philia, but more like parent-child love
Pragma – Enduring Love: Love that has grown and endured over time.
Ludus – Playful Love: Basically the “Honeymoon Phase” of every relationship
Mania – Obsessive Love: Star Wars fans
So…which is it? Is it all of it? Is it implied that all forms are “True Love” and thus all are forbidden or is one more “true” than the others and only it applies?
We later find out that “falling in love” is forbidden. So, is it the act of falling in love or is it love in general or, in this latest context, deep, enthusiasm?
My guess? No matter what the answer is we have to think differently on what it could be. Love has so many different interpretations and, to prove my point, we’re gonna have to look at Frozen.
Won’t lie, when I first saw this film, I was not expecting this. However, a sister can truly love their sister. The film was smart in always leaving out “kiss”, only mentioning it as an example of the act, not the requirement.
Since it’s “forbidden” to love at the school, they’re teaching them how to be fighters.
Love and War are synonymous and Cupid himself is known to carry a bow, even was lonely in mythology. Cupid is known for helping others fall in love…with a weapon.
Personally, I think she’s closer to that “Parallel Line” kind of love, that tragic kind.
Yeah, it’s country, but rock with me for a sec.
This song is quite possibly one of the most tragic love songs I’ve ever heard (I know, right?) and something tells me it’ll play Lucy’s story perfectly.
You said “I love you” to me I don’t know what that means So I froze in my feet People use it too carelessly And I couldn’t believe That you would dive in so deep And you said perfectly Everything I’ve been feeling about you It’s time to break the chains that held me back from you
See, this stanza/verse leads you to believe you have someone, a man in this case, that’s nervous and hasn’t been in love so he doesn’t have that connection but he’ll finally get there – a chance that Lucy, too, could have.
But you’d be wrong.
Take a little bit of my Heart tonight No, I literally don’t mind Just please don’t misplace it And take a little bit of my Heart tonight No, baby be mine now Baby, be mine now Maybe it’s time we put our hearts in a parallel line
This is where all my thoughts are proven.
He wants someone to be his, while he himself is only giving a PIECE of his heart. Of course he wouldn’t mind because he has most of it. If love fails, he’s lost nothing. It’s just a piece, but it’s masqueraded as some grand gesture. (no, seriously, the next verse starts with “I was never the type to put it all on the line”)
But the point I really want to make is in the last line –
If love is truly the matter, why would parallel lines be the thing he chooses?
Parallel lines DON’T TOUCH.
Forever, they’re cursed to run the same course as the other, but never touching. The closest thing to love, but they’ll never really have it.
The best stories are the tragedies.
And that, I feel, is what Lucy may be starting her journey on.
But, hey, even Cupid walked away with a W in the end, see here:
Anyway, back to Love University, I gotta talk about he[art]. (#barz)
There are countless reasons to gush on various panels because not one is wasted and, even without text, you’re given a sense of person.
What I want to point out specifically is this particular shading.
Just by looking at the particular shading, you can tell the leaves above them are shattered and not completely blocking out the sun like they could have from window. They’re outside and those are leaves and I LOVE THAT.
Love University applies interesting twists to tried and true concepts while laying the groundwork for further issues to come. As someone whose avenue isn’t romance, this is approachable to anyone who just wants a newer, cooler step into that realm with things that may be more than what they seem.
Love U belongs in your reading list; you’re gonna learn to love it.
You can find the official site, and first issue, : https://gumroad.com/evoluzionepublishing , Official twitters: @alli_whitmore , @CarolaBorelli , @JustinBirch , @Marcel_Dupree , & @EvoluzionPub Facebook: facebook.com/evoluzionepublishing , Instagram: instagram.com/evoluzionepublishing
Well, that’s all for now. So, until I find love using Brian McKnight’s steps or Chris Brown has me on a remix, I’ll see you for the next lesson.
Let me see what this is all abo—
I’m thinking it’ll be a nice, new title to read, but I GET HIT WITH GENIUS ARTISTRY!
Hey and Welcome to the next Lesson.
MINE TO AVENGE: BOOK OF LAYLA #1
-by Robert Jeffrey II, Matteo Illuminati & Loris Ravina
This title is
a bit different from my previous ones. Someone, @Marcel_Dupree on Twitter, came
to me asking if I’d look at certain titles and this one was on the list, so,
thanks, Marcel. I got you, bro. Let me see what this is all abo—
Look, man, I know this is my first issue requested, but I’m about to not do this going forward. I’m thinking it’ll be a nice, new title to read, but I GET HIT WITH GENIUS ARTISTRY!
I can’t go any further without commenting on the art, specifically in this page/panels.
the accuracy. The sun is setting and its angle paints the whole setting in a
peachy, red color, but the tiniest bits of planned imperfections is what draws
Here in the
corners, you can see splotches of paint drops (or ink?), like it’s given a
literal touch of “paint” to the scenery. It pops out more and given the vibe we’re
given of the bottom panels, it’s like the creator itself didn’t have time for perfect
We see here, she’s
[Leah] in a rush, looking back like something is chasing her and the paint/ink
blotches added to the atmosphere.
SPEAKING OF ATMOSPHERE,
Look at the
windows! Major props and kudos to the artist because not only will you see that
spectacular showcasing of the angle on the walls, there’s TWO. Given that the residence is at an angle, the windows on the
walls would ABSOLUTLEY give off that specific look.
Lastly, [my bad, there’s a lot to unpack here] we see Leah running and, if you notice, there’s less and less light on each panel, like she’s trying to escape the darkness.
Now, I’m of the subscription of thought that darkness in and of itself isn’t something to fear…but, nah, fam, if I saw THIS coming for me, I’d be bookin’ it, too.
Now, if you think I’m giving away a lot of plot, out of fear of spoilers, I’m not.
This is only the first page.
Before I move on completely, I do want to point out one specific panel – without context, and a little play with lighting and colors, the artists give us this little nugget. As opposed to a man with a hat, at a certain angle, he becomes…
Y’all ain’t slick. That was dope and you know it!
that got me was I didn’t know exactly how to approach this issue as I knew
nothing about it and wanted to go in blind. What comes off as a supernatural, historical
piece gets flipped on its head when we’re greeted to this:
So, it’s a
futuristic setting? Okay. No problem, I can dig it.
I know I’ve gushed
a LOT about the art, but the writing shouldn’t be underestimated, either.
In so many
comics nowadays, we see dialogue that just doesn’t work or that it’s trying to emulate how they thing people
of the story should sound.
We’re introduced to two other characters, Travis and Prya, two may-or-may-not-be siblings on this journey. Now, instead of constant “lil’ bro” and “sis” talk, because that’s how all siblings talk, I guess, we just get straight to it in something that’s relevant and natural.
Now, just given a subtle clue, I think they’re already trained fighters just by one specific shot.
Guess who ALSO has a glint like that in their eye? And if he was trained, so must she have been.
touchdown and are about to start the mission when Prya finds out his AI is
Not one step
missed and not beat skipped. The dialogue flows naturally and you don’t get too
much of a sense of MCU humor where moments are setup just for one-line
Then it kicks
it up to high gear (without giving too much away) in an action set piece that’s…
Bay Boys II’s intro mixed with Vanhelsing. Now, I’m just gonna point
out on…or a couple, specific shots to prove a point.
Weapon of choice? Sword. Guess who ALSO uses a swor—lemme stop.
Can’t forget about Prya. She’s the one that…Set It Off.
I like this
panel because it’s that brief moment right before everything shuts down. That look
of surprise one gets right before death, before they can even register what
happened. She’s impressive like that.
Mine to Avenge is a title that I can’t wait to see what comes next.
It supplements great writing, an intriguing idea with supernatural and mystery elements with a pretty bow of futurism on top while not pandering to any kind of crowd by mentioning our characters’ race.
And, you know what? I like that.
No superhero needs to justify being White or their race, why should we?
I say that to say, like Mine to Avenge, it’s okay to be different and genuine. I can’t put Mine to Avenge in a genre “box”, of sorts. It’s got elements of horror, supernatural, mystery, sci-fi, and Black (another box for us to fit in, awesome…) all in one, but never sacrifices any one portion of it for another.
It’s okay to be you and like multiple things, so long as it’s genuine.
To support and read more of this work, you can find the official site, and first issue, : https://gumroad.com/evoluzionepublishing , Official twitters: @SYNCHRKJ , @Marcel_Dupree , @EvoluzionePub & @matt_llluminati , Facebook: facebook.com/evoluzionepublishing , Instagram: instagram.com/evoluzionepublishing
And, another big thank you to Marcel for pointing me in this direction. I’ll be happy to get the word out, brother.
all for now. So, until Ryan Drummond or Jaleel White come back as Sonic or people
stop asking Chadwick Boseman to say “Wakanda Forever”, I’ll see you for the
Quick question, have you ever seen the trailer to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”?
THAT’S WHAT ROUTE 3 REMINDS ME OF!
Hey and Welcome to the next Lesson.
ROUTE 3 #1
Robert Jeffrey II & Sean Damien Hill
question, have you ever seen the trailer to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”?
slow and, in spite of its black-and-white times of filming, actually rather,
mostly pleasant. Hitchcock doesn’t waste any time trying to scare the viewer;
he’s probably the furthest thing from it. He’s calm, collected and well
dressed. Everything is fine…
Until he speaks.
He talks about the film, but cuts himself off before giving too much away. Not about the murders, mind you, but about the context of them. The detail.
By leaving out key elements to scenes, your interest is piqued until you just have to see what he’s talking about.
THAT’S WHAT ROUTE 3 REMINDS ME OF!
It starts out calm, if not almost cliché opening of army men on their way to handle a hostile situation with someone with powers. With the way comic book films have dominated the box office in the past decade, it isn’t anything you haven’t seen before.
Don’t get me
wrong, the art is great. You get a sense of energy forming around him, but you
can’t place whether it’s fire or smoke, giving a newer layer of intrigue.
doesn’t even speak, giving him a stoic vibe that shrouds him in further
fine, until this happens.
Wait, hold on.
There’s…another? Who is he?
Where did he come from? How did they not know about him?
Doesn’t stop there.
So, hold up,
he can speak!? So, what is he
saying!!? What is it!?
THEN – !
We cut to this. Just a kid. Chilling in the morning. Then you’re left wondering what happened? What was the other guy? What’s the power? What is going on?
And the story just keeps going, knowing GOOD AND WELL what it did.
And it goes
on and on like this throughout the WHOLE issue. You get something you’re
interested in and it maliciously continues on knowing it’s got your interest
held hostage and not in a click-bait-y way, but you really want to keep reading
to see where it will go.
At the risk of minor spoilers, you get one last nugget dropped and it’s this:
DUDE! WHO IS HE!?
WHERE DID HE COME FROM?
And, then it ends. It ends knowing it placed enough nuggets that, if you’re paying attention, will fester and grow into a purchase of their next issue and, man…
It’s a damn clever plan!
Route 3 starts off in action and leaves you
with wanting more. If you’re looking for a newer approach to comics, this will
take you down the right route.
Even if you
think you know where something is going, stick with it. You owe it to yourself
to see things through to the end and, who knows? You may just learn something
What do you get when you mix the social issues of today and past, the technological advancements of Wakanda and the futuristic touch of a Cyberpunk Sci-Fi with time travel?
I…don’t even know.
And that’s the realest compliment I can give it.
-by Roosevelt Pitt Jr, Alexander
Malyshev & Xong Bros
What do you get when you mix the social issues of today and
past, the technological advancements of Wakanda and the futuristic touch of a
Cyberpunk Sci-Fi with time travel?
I…don’t even know.
And that’s the realest compliment I can give it.
Reading Blackout, I’m given so many vibrant panels, witty
dialogue, action that’s on par with the newest triple-A studio games and vibes
that should be clashing, but mesh well at every turn.
For something called Blackout, the array of colors and
saturations is astounding, but something tells me there’s more to that.
Initial impressions give me a futuristic utopia of sorts
where more people of color are out in possibly different roles in society. You
get an impression here there are vacationers, stewardesses and security and not
one hint of a hassle.
I imagine living in Salem, you’d probably get used to its settings, but I can’t look away. There’s technology the likes of which top sci-fi artists could be envious of, but as we go on, there’s hints of a fantasy elements, as well.
Thanks to Brother’s spear, he’s able to see those who’ve passed as they walk around invisible to those not able to see them. There’s a lot going on in this panel so I’ll try to put it all into words:
From the light of the spear, you get a sense of radiant light that shines omnidirectionally as shone by the lighting in the peaks of the fabrics of his arms.
From that same light, though, you can see it line perfectly up on the building as if it’s a projector, something you’d see with sci-fi technology, not regular light like you would a light bulb which leads me to wonder if it’s more than just mythical light or if it’s got tech in it, too.
You can see a head’s up display [HUD] from this same light which could explain it and, as it’s not coming from Richard, who we find out is the “tech” guy, it’s probably from the spear.
Also, you see the dead walking around as it displays its power, possibly playing into the “go into the light” when referring to death.
MAN, there’s a lot to unpack and the issue refuses to slow
Since I’m in the topic of aesthetics, can we just TALK ABOUT THIS FOR A SECOND?
Previously when I spoke on Tephlon Funk! (https://bit.ly/2ps623b), I spoke on how two
different styles coming together could end drastically making the tone
disjointed and unenjoyable. Even talked about Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer (https://bit.ly/2Om4VdJ) having chibi moments
like Teen Titans.
This is just another example of greatness coming together.
Imani has features of anime while on the same panel we have what we consider regular comic art, with sci-fi tech AND spirits all in that small portion of a panel AND ALSO, notice the change in dialogue boxes that signifies more tech-y sounding dialogue rather than normal language.
Not one portion of the panel looks out of place and my kudos goes out to the creators.
The biggest point of interest for me, though, is the
explanation of Blackout and while I won’t spoil it because I feel that
revelation is worth the price of issue alone, I will point to THIS panel.
It’s not the massive array of information on screens. It isn’t the kaleidoscope of colors to look at. It’s this.
See it yet? How about now?
The tiniest pixels on the screen were placed there to put in further detail on the screen. For context, this is Justice League from DC Comics.
You get a sense of technology being all around Cyborg, true, but it’s always seen with a pattern overlayed over the drawing, hence the checkerboard designs. The art is superb, but you really only get a sense of him looking at screens given the context of the scene, not the art itself.
Another instance is here where they are looking at a screen, but it’s just a blank box.
No disrespect, but when it comes to Blackout, they went the
extra mile and it needs to be shared. Like I told Beserat at Etan Comics,
Blackout didn’t have to do that, but they did.
This is a title you can’t miss. Blackout is definitely one that needs more light shed on it.