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Wytches Vol 01 and Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special – A Recommendation By Nicholas Finch

To say that I am a fan of Scott Snyder would be an understatement.

As with most teenage boys with a passing knowledge of comic books, Batman was my gateway to the rest of the medium. There are a lot of essays about how the depth of Batman is what makes him so compelling, but if we’re being honest, the main appeal of the character is that he looks cool, and that he managed to get away with dressing like an animal without being labelled as a furry.

That doesn’t mean any Batman story is a good story, however, so it’s a good thing that Scott Snyder’s Batman stories were some of the best. From Court of Owls to Zero Year to Superheavy, Scott Snyder has proven to be adept at a wide variety of genres – but one of his best works ever was his first Batman story, The Black Mirror. Not to be confused with the British Television show where a Prime Minister has sex with a pig (based on a true story, Mister David Cameron), Snyder’s Black Mirror story was a gritty, sinister mystery, with illustrations by Jock and Francesco Francavilla. Some of Snyder’s best stories are when he works with Jock in particular, and it’s that creative team that works on the horror story from Image Comics, Wytches.

The first volume of Wytches was a dark reinterpretation of the classic concept of witches enacting curses on the townspeople around them, turning them into horrifying, ancient monsters – though, like the historical stories of witches themselves, the true monsters tend to be the regular humans involved with them. It’s an excellent and compelling first volume with some wonderful letters from Scott Snyder, and a great behind-the-scenes look at how the comic is made by the artist and colorist.

If the first volume of Wytches was a graphic novel, I suppose that the Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special would be more of a graphic novella. It’s bound like a regular comic, but it’s certainly much bigger than any traditional one, with 13 chapters (12 of which having been previously published in issues of Image +), along with another letter from Scott Snyder, and some fun BTS sketches. It is a prequel/side-story to the original Wytches book, and setup for the second volume, which will be made after Snyder and Jock release their Batman Who Laughs miniseries.

Scott Snyder has always relied rather heavily from first-person narration, and it’s as present here as ever – and while his dialogue is sometimes a bit too verbose, it does a great job of connecting you with the two boys, who serve as the main characters of the story in a setting reminiscent of some Stephen King tales. Every page is absolutely dripping with atmosphere, and while Bad Egg isn’t Scott’s scariest work, the writer and artist manage to make the story tense from start to finish, not making it clear who might make it out of the story.

More than the scare factor of the creatures themselves, Wytches: Bad Egg is about family – and the disturbing reality that not all parents care for their children, which can often be much scarier than literal monsters. The story is about the loss of childhood innocence, and coming to see your parents as people, rather than figures. While it’s a horror story, it’s also a good one for younger teenagers and parents to read, as it serves as a message to them in particular.

What really seals it for me is the letter at the end of the story, actually. It might be a bit of a cheat, seeing as it isn’t part of the actual story, but it’s a heartfelt and upsetting confession by the author, and it paints a picture of exactly why Scott Snyder wrote Bad Egg. If you’re a fan of horror – and more than that, if you’re looking for a dark story about the pretty and ugly sides of family – there’s not much of a better place to go than Wytches.

Barrier by Brain K Vaughan. Reviewed by Nicholas Finch.

Barrier – A Recommendation

By Nicholas Finch

Read Barrier.

…Oh, I guess I should probably say why. Okay, but the first sentence should be the main takeaway here. If you end up reading this comic, then I don’t particularly mind if my supplementary comments weren’t necessary. But if you would like to be convinced, I can do that too!

I’ve often felt that the perception of comic books has always resided in somewhat of a nebulous space between “mainstream entertainment” and “artistic expression”. Like any book or film, a comic can easily cater to either audience – in many ways, comics are one of the best forms to tell a story, as they allow for the high-concept visuals a movie can provide (without the budget), and the introspective narrative a book can provide (but also with pictures, because books are really long and have lots of words).

Yet I also find it’s pretty hard to get even a die-hard comic book movie fan to commit to some of the comics, or to see teachers introduce comic books within their education curriculum. Usually, the two biggest exceptions to this rule are Watchmen and Maus, which are widely considered to be some of the most acclaimed and popular graphic novels of all time. Usually, most people who have even a passing knowledge of comics will either know or have read one of the two.

If that’s the case, Barrier should be their immediate next read. It’s that good.

Put simply, Barrier is a 5-issue series from Image Comics, created by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente. It’s about an American farmer (Liddy) and a Mexican immigrant (Oscar), learning to work together after being kidnapped by aliens. The story is told in predominantly two languages: English and Spanish, and the book makes NO attempts to teach you Spanish. To understand the story of Oscar, you simply have to rely on the artwork, letting the visuals tell the story of this man’s journey from Mexico, to America, to space. For Spanish-speaking people, the same would go for Liddy – being bilingual is not necessary whatsoever, though that would provide an interesting experience in itself.

More specifically, Barrier is a perfect primer for comic books because, like Maus and Watchmen, it displays and expands on ideas of what you can do in a visual medium from page to page. No name is more appropriate than “Barrier”: in equal measure, it refers to the barrier between countries, the barrier between planets, the barrier between panels, and the ever-present language barrier. This comic is also rather unique, in that it was published physically this year, but was made before the USA 2016 election, where immigration discourse was pushed to the front of public political discussion. It’s a good reminder that whether or not we hear about certain issues in the world, they still persist, and it’s important that we keep thinking about them, even when the media doesn’t give them attention.

Barrier is also unique in that it is printed horizontally, giving each panel a very cinematic feel to it. The book is surprisingly high-concept, and a lot of similarities could be drawn to the movie Arrival – between the language barrier to the abstract designs of the aliens. Currently, Barrier will only be printed physically in its five individual comics… which I personally don’t believe will be the case for long, but there’s currently no evidence to suggest they will be out in a singular trade any time soon.

Barrier is an absolute masterclass in how to stretch the creative boundaries of what comic books can accomplish. While the story is centred on American and Mexican relations, the messages of the book can and should resonate with all of its readers. Get it while you still can and recommend it to everyone: not only do people need to read a story like this to understand its important political statement, but it is also a prime example towards any skeptics you might know of what comics can do to meet the creative ambitions of movies and books – and even surpass them.

Greenlight Comics will be closed on Anzac Day (Wed 25th). Lest we forget.

100th Comic Shipment!

Today marks our 100th shipment of comics!

We are stoked to have supplied everyone with comics every week since we have been open!

That’s 13.5 tonnes of reading goodness.

A huge thank you to all our customers that have made it possible to achieve this milestone.

We love you all,
Dan, Mark, Nick, Ross, Sarah.

Easter Opening Hours

Top 30 Xmas Graphic Novel Gift Ideas

Got a human friend that’s into movies, TV, reading, art or video games? Do you need to acquire an Xmas pressy for these hard to buy for humans? Fear not, GRAPHIC NOVELS are the answer! Lucky for you we have created a list of the the top 30 graphic novels organised into genre.

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Xmas Gift Registry at Greenlight Comics

Who has a gift registry? We do!
If all your loved ones whine that you are too hard to buy for, we got your back!
Come into the shop and ask for a gift registry form, wander around the shop and make a list. Check it twice!
When one of your loved ones comes in, we’ll let them know exactly the books you want.
Sorted!

And if you can’t come in, use our online form
Double Sorted!

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52 review

If you’re at all familiar with the DC comics landscape of the last decade, the number 52 will have some meaning to you. With a little research, you’ll eventually end up discovering the eponymous 2006-2007 limited series. On paper 52 seems like madness. The plan was simple: DC would bring together five of the best creators in the business and they would publish a weekly coming for one year. It was an audacious plan and the mere fact that each and every issue shipped on time would make 52 a singular triumph. It is, consequently, very easy to forget that hiding in the history lesson is a truly fantastic story.

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