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Comic Review: Mind MGMT #23
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Mind MGMT #23 review header image

Mind MGMT #23
Written by Matt Kindt
Artwork by Matt Kindt
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 25, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99

Issue 23 of Mind MGMT is here to remind you — we are all forgetful sometimes — that this is a series about many things, but focused on Meru; she is the main character, and don’t you forget again.

Unlike when the monk was able to see her as a majestic warrior, the reminder is done differently this time, but the effect is similar. It is easy to get caught up in the other aspects of Matt Kindt’s fascinating, lovely series about miserable people with fantastic and unique mental powers. Powers that contribute to their misery and woe. So a gentle, or ferocious, reminder is needed at times.

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Comic Review: The Last Of Us: American Dreams
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Dark Horse Comics: The Last of Us: American Dreams cover by Julian Totino TedescoThe Last of Us: American Dreams
Trade Paperback
Written by Faith Erin Hicks and Neil Druckmann
Artwork by Faith Erin Hicks
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover by Julian Totino Tedesco
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Cover Price: $16.99

So, The Last of Us: American Dreams, is based on a recent hit video game. This has been happening a lot lately. Like, a lot a lot.
It’s also co-written by Neil Druckmann, who is the writer for the aforementioned video game: The Last of Us. He is the creative director for the game and has written for a few other big budget video games. Now, the story lines of video games have come a long way since Doom, or even Quake. In 1998, when Half-Life was released, it was hailed as a landmark in storytelling in an FPS. Since then, the quality of the story has become more central to the quality of game. You know this, I know this, anyone that is even remotely into gaming knows this, and I don’t need to make this a recent history recap. Still, this smacks of a commercial cash-in, and one that serves only to sell a new action figure, or some such, and eke out a few more dollars from the beleaguered masses. Hooray.

But it isn’t. Not really, anyways. Faith Erin Hicks (Friends With Boys), has been gaining popularity for a bit now, and while I wouldn’t say this is the culmination of that, she isn’t Alan Dean Foster, or a similar warm body contracted for a product tie-in. What she and Drukmann have managed to create is a teenage-rebellion story enmeshed in the post-apocalyptic world of a zombie-infection outbreak.

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Comic Review: Mind MGMT #16
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Dark Horse Comics: Mind MGMT #16 cover by Matt KindtMind MGMT #16
Written by: Matt Kindt
Artwork by: Matt Kindt
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 23, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

In many ways, Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT is a rather haunting look at memory, and the damaging manipulations and gaslighting characters have to contend with from external powers. The first six issues alone stand as one of the more compelling mind-fucks in recent memory (along with being a statement on desperation).

In issue sixteen we get a more thorough telling of Julinae, the woman who killed her family, purportedly, and was the subject of Meru’s first book. Her story has been hinted at on the margins (quite literally, and sorry) and discussed some through the proxy Meru’s own tale, but here she finally gets the spotlight, and like many of the threads introduced, her revelations have a vital importance to the primary story.

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Conversation With GoDs: Reviewing ‘Building Stories’ By Chris Ware
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Building StoriesBuilding Stories
Written by Chris Ware
Illustrated by Chris Ware
Pantheon Books
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Cover Price: $50.00

Oh why, hello there, all of you assumedly beautiful people! So, we’re trying a new little something here at Geeks of Doom by having a conversation between a couple of writers (Peter AKA Cashmere Smoking Jacket & Michael AKA Spartacus!) about certain comic books, projects, and the like. This may be a format you’re familiar with from around the web, or it might be a brand new thing to you. Either way, we hope you enjoy it, and please, leave feedback and suggestions at the bottom of the page; we’d love to hear from you! Also, though it probably won’t burn your retinas or anything, please consider yourself duly warned of the use of adult language below.

So, let’s open up our inaugural chat by talking about the latest release by Chris Ware, a cluster of elements that add up to a thing called Building Stories.

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Comic Review: Ignition, Vol. 1
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Ignition, Vol. 1Ignition Vol. 1
Written by Various
Penciled by Various
Colors by Various
Edited by Andrew DelQuadro
215 Ink
Release Date: Available for Pre-Order
Cover Price: $29.99

So, there’s a review in here, promise, and it’s going to be about the new collection from 215ink called Ignition Vol. 1. The lede is just, as people who call writing a profession say, buried. First, I need a moment to qualify what I mean and give a frame of reference. So, sorry, but: you can always circumvent that by skipping to the end if you’d like.

There’s been something of a renaissance of creator owned content lately, with a bevy of titles being announced from creators like Grant Morrison, Steve Niles, Brian K Vaughan, and other industry heavyweights. Although artistic control has been a high profile issue in the comics world at least since the early 90s -what with the Creator’s Bill of Rights in 1988, and the creation of Image Comics in 1992- the past calendar year has seemed like something of a watershed moment for the publicity and frequency of creator owned projects. Every major publisher, I believe, has an imprint dedicated to these projects, and the whole thing smacks of a cash-in. That sounds cynical.

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Book Review: The Very Frustrated Monster
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The Very Frustrated Monster coverThe Very Frustrated Monster
Written by Andi Green
Illustrations by Andi Green
Monsters in My Head LLC
Release Date: October 25, 2012
Cover Price $14.99

Everyone has bad days. We all recognize this in the abstract, that bad days are a universal experience. However, a bad day is also very personal, a solitary experience that leads us to say such self-centered things like: “why this happening to me” and “it’s not fair,” while rebuffing commiseration from others by declaring “You don’t understand!” We know this isn’t true, because if the rule holds that everyone has bad days, then people understand, but it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.

This experience is the premise of The Very Frustrated Monster, latest in the series of WorryWoo monsters books by Andi Green. Each book in the series follow a different WorryWoo creature with a particular emotional problem, like confusion or insecurity.

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Comics Review: Ménage à Bughouse
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Menage a BughouseMénage à Bughouse
Written by Stephen Lafler
Art by Stephen Lafler
CO2 Comics
Release Date: June 4, 2012
Cover Price: $39.99 HC; $24.99 TPB

Steve Lafler spent twelve years (1992-2004) writing Bughouse, during which he explores so much of the characters and the world, that it can be tough to encapsulate. The book follows the virtuosic Jimmy Watts and the other members of his band, Bughouse, as they rise through Bugtown’s (read: NYC) music scene during the jazz and ragtime explosions. Now, all three of the Bughouse stories – Bughouse, Baja, and Scallywags – are collected in this new omnibus from CO2 comics. Although he initially wanted to deal with the intertwinement of drug culture and the music scene, he also wants the book to be fun, and so the stories are light and breezy.

The way that Lafler deals with drug abuse is actually pretty unique in its own right. Everyone is almost laughably blunt about drugs in the book. Some sample lines of dialogue…

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Comic Review: Fatima: The Blood Spinners #4
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Fatima: The Blood Spinners #4Fatima: The Blood Spinners #4
Story and Art by Gilbert Hernandez
Edited by Diana Schutz
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 19, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

So, have YOU been reading Fatima by Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets)? No seriously, have you been following this madcap adventure through space, time, and zombies? I know that zombie storylines have been spreading in pop-culture like… a plague that is unrelated to zombies. Let’s just say its spreading like a Contagion. I don’t actually think it’s necessary or wise to list off all the zombie-related media out there right now. I mean, really: when Brad Pitt is the lead in the $125 million dollar adaptation of a highly acclaimed zombie novel by the son of Mel Brooks, I think it’s possible to say that a saturation point has arrived. That The Walking Dead is a best-selling ongoing comic, and the most popular show on a cable channel that Mad Men also calls home, AND apparently has certain character prologues being novelized, means I think we can throw out ‘possible’ and replace it with ‘redundant’. When I feel confident that I can mention the zombie preparation campaign by the CDC without linking to it because I’m positive everyone and their unborn (zombie, obviously) children have heard of it already, well that’s just straight tautological. Wait, so why read this mini-series, which closes this month? Oh right, because its awesome.

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Comic Review: The Cape: 1969 #3
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The Cape: 1969 #3The Cape: 1969 #3
Written by Jason Ciaramella
Art by Nelson Daniel
Lettering by Shawn Lee
Editorial Assist by Christopher Schraff
Edited by Chris Ryall
Creative Consultant Joe Hill
Inspired by the Short Story “The Cape” by Joe Hill
IDW Publishing
Release Date: September 12, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

And so here we are at The Cape: 1969 #3, the power is in Captain Chase’s hands, and with two issues to go, the only question remaining is: how will he use it and how far will he go? For anyone not reading The Cape: 1969, it follows a medevac pilot in Vietnam who just so happens to be the father of Eric and Nicky, the brothers from The Cape. He finds himself in a bad situation, against a sadistic Vietcong troop commander, and then some Weird War Tales stuff happens.

Writer Jason Ciaramella is committed to making this a rather believable war story with superpowers instead of a story about superpowers that just so happen to take place in a historical setting; or at least a good war script with superpowers. Artist Nelson Daniel is a great companion to this project. His drawings aren’t ‘gritty’, but certainly show enough ability to make a war story, and are actually quite refreshing in contrast. Meanwhile, his use of colors remains top notch. His palette of ruddy browns, greens, and oranges complement the dark tone of the story; he also has a special knack for making grotesque violence distinct with blazing reds saturating the backdrops enough to bleed through the page. The use of screen tones is a little obtrusive here, without giving the book the vintage charm I think he’s going for, but it’s not a big deal.

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Comic Review: Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit
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Criminal Macabre: The Iron SpiritCriminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit
Story by Steve Niles
Art and Lettering by Scott Morse
Edited by Scott Allie and Daniel Chabon
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 12, 2012
Cover Price: $19.99

Writer Steve Niles may have had greater success with works like 30 Days of Night, but it’s the embittered hunter of the supernatural demons, Cal McDonald, that is his iconic character and the one Niles has continually returned to for 22 years. And, after all this time, it seems as though Cal is having a bit of an existential crisis with his current predicament.

Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit takes a little excursion from the main narrative of the series – the war between man and seemingly every supernatural monster ever dreamed – to do a one-shot detective story. When the book opens, Cal is trying to come to grips with his recent… undeath. The bad is that he can’t sleep, he has no blood, and his hands are kind of cold and clammy; the good is he can still drink and smoke (and do both without the adverse health effects, I assume, so: bonus?) and has picked up the ability to sense other members of the undead. I’m sure Niles will explore it further, but whatever rules he has for the undead, the message seems to be that there is no relief from life in undeath. Or, as Cal put it: “I seemed pretty much like myself, just dead and tooling around like before.” The mechanics of being undead are perhaps the most interesting thing about this comic, and I don’t mean that as a backhanded insult. It’s the kind of thing that keeps Cal compelling beyond the mysteries he’s trying to solve.

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