This week I’m gonna provide you with a buffet of black comics from horror to historical fiction, to sate your pallet and expand your options.
One Nation: Safe House
Written by Jason Reeves, art by Deon De Lange & Luis Guerrero
133 Art gives us military-grade superheroics with this “found footage” installment of the sure-to-be epic series. Here we’re behind the eyes of a camera as it changes hands during the Gulf War. Panels are done in a sort of Cloverfield style, complete with shaky frames and abrupt jump cuts. I was surprised that this could be done well in a comic and it reminds me of Brian Michael Bendis’ use of individual character interviews in the New Avengers, which come straight from reality TV.
I liked this issue quite a bit because the “found footage” format makes for great mythbuilding material. If you want to create an air of mystery around a hero who wants to remain anonymous, it makes sense to have him capturing footage of himself, similar to how Batman used to confiscate any footage of himself.
The art remains top-notch even in this format — not losing a step — and the colors are still entirely complementary to the pencils. Check this out at 133 Art.com and keep an eye out for this imprint.
Orison vol. 1
Written by Bradley Golden, art by Matt Santorelli, lettering by Chris Allen
I love H.P. Lovecraft-style horror, so when I picked up a copy of Orison I was presently surprised at the remote mountain setting because that reminded me of At the Mountains of Madness and John Carpenter’s The Thing.
This comic opens with a team of mountain climbers excavating a frozen cavern only to lose radio contact with their base camp. A gruesome blood bath and the hunt for answers follow.
The story starts off fast-paced but makes the mistake of slowing down for the sake of establishing characters. I love character development more than any element of storytelling; however, the scenes chosen to do that take the reader outside of the original story.
The art in the first half the comic seems purposefully unpleasing and grotesque — similar to the first issue of Sandman — in order to establish the horror tone of the comic. The next two chapters switch to a more mainstream style which works for the continuation of the issue but could have been better.
What I enjoy about this comic is the tone set in the first chapter, I wasn’t completely scared but the element of suspense was definitely present. You can pick this comic up at Second Sight Studios
Sons of Fate Vol. 1
Written, created, illustrated and lettered by Jean-Paul Deshong
Very few people know this about me, but when I was young I wanted to be a Samurai. I purchased a Shinai, studied Kendo and read the Hagakure, so I was overjoyed to see this comic, about an African boy who becomes a samurai, called Sons of Fate.
The story opens up with a group of samurai retainers fending off bandits before a shipwreck occurs that kills all but one of them. This lone survivor washes up on the shores of Nigeria in west Africa, where a young boy drags him to shore. From here the scene jumps to the samurai’s family back in Japan, where his son practices to follow in his father’s footsteps. The son shows some resentment towards the absent patriarch though he knows his father’s duty is first to their country and then to his family. Throughout the story the samurai trains the child who saved his life in the way of the sword until they are parted and the boy has to go out into the world.
What I liked about this comic was how well-researched the code of Bushido and Samurai traditions were, there were little things here like preparedness for death that let me know some study went into this. The problem I had was that the Nigerian people in the story, who are of the Yoruba clan, seemed as if they
had no fighting culture of their own. That simply isn’t true.
The art isn’t amazing but I always have respect for a creator who does everything on his own.
You can pick this up this comic at Blackberryjuice.net.