As promised, I have Flame Con comic reviews! To get everything out a little bit faster I am writing up collected reviews. Today’s review collection will highlight 5 single issue comics I picked up from different creators. These span the gamut for genre, style, and story so there is something here for everyone.
The Closet of Secrets is from Astonishing Queer Tales and created by John Jennison. This first issue was brought to life thanks to Kickstarter and is a black and white horror inspired comic that falls into the narrative style of Tales from the Crypt or The Night Gallery. The Janitor acts as our primary narrator and this mysterious figure is tasked with keeping the hallway of secrets clean. This first issue collects three stories each focused on a topic that ties into being part of the LGBTQ+ population in some capacity. The first of these showcases two young girls and what could happen if a young girl, who was caught trying to kiss her best friend, should return home to her conservative family. The second examines forcing yourself to remain in the closet for religious reasons and how your afterlife might be impacted by keeping your love inside. The final story involves two guys using a spell to find true love and surprising themselves when they summon a former soldier. This ghastly figure, think waterlogged zombie, then reveals his story of lost love. Each of the tales flows together well and The Janitor acts as a strong plot element. The letters from fans(which The Janitor notes are from the future) are also a fun read. The comic does a great job of weaving queer experiences together with the horror genre and the art is well done with plenty of eerie effects.
The second comics, Millennials: You Are Special from Gryphon Knights Comics is a really fun read. With inspiration definitely drawn from The X-Men, this story focuses on millennials who happen to have super powers. These special powers have made them different from the rest of society and parents are even turning in their kids if they just think they might be a millennial. This examination of society and the rise of the idea of the millennial and the dislike placed upon this ambiguous section of society by earlier generations acts as a perfect comic book plot. I was both chuckling at the connections being made to real life with comments happening about college debt and the idea of being special and also just enjoying the action filled plot. The Millennials as a unit work well together and their banter is delightful. This is a comic that anyone who is a millennial or might even be mistaken for a millennial will enjoy. The colors in this book are also exceptionally vibrant.
Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted is a sci-fi comic that I plan on having more coverage of in the future. For this review I am just discussing chapters one and two, which are combined in a physical single issue. Captain Lyla Gryffen was dedicated to the Sovereign Reach, but after they disappeared six months ago and recently reappeared they are now fighting against the agency they once served. Lyla’s dialogue is fantastic and the physical comedy in this book is so well done. I was surprised by a certain scene when Lyla takes out someone who has wronged her, by bringing her green jello as a part of her meal. With a rebellion hoping they will join their cause Lyla goes completely outside of what was planned and takes a ship, the smartest person they know, and the person meant to bring them into the rebellion and plans their own course. I am really looking forward to reading more of this series and if you like Killjoys or Dark Matter, this is a read you’ll love. Ben Khan’s script is great and Bruno Hidalgo’s art and colors brings this story to vivid life.
In the vein of Sailor Moon, at least in my eyes, Magical Boy Basil, is a series that focuses on young Basil who has just moved to a new town and is living in a new house that seems like it might be the sister house to Hill House. After having a strange dream involving a white knight with a magical cat, Basil is surprised to see the boy from his dream in one of his classes. The series includes magicians, sassy animal sidekicks(eventually a platypus appears), and monsters. I enjoyed this first issue and while it is a short read, there is so much more of this book online on the Magical Boy Basil website. Rebeckah Murray’s art is reminiscent of anime and manga and is bright and bubbly, with cute characters and Jill Hackett’s story and colors bring everything to life. If you are looking for something fun you can binge read you need to check this one out.
Signals is a new series from Nika Comics drawn and written by Deandra “Nika” Tan. Mel Song can read minds and while she enjoys chilling in her pjs and watching soap operas, eating instant ramen, and online shopping she is also an investigator. With a new drug on the streets the cops aren’t interested in looking for a woman who appears to have left willingly to go live with her boyfriend. Her friend has come to Mel hoping that she can help her find out what has happened and whether her friend is safe. As a set up issue this comic does a great job of establishing Mel and her case and there is a note that Signals is a queer-friendly crime story with a supernatural twist, which has me excited for future issues. You can find this in print and online, it has a Patreon where you can keep up to date and you can also find this series on Tapas. I am very excited to find out more about this series and to see Mel in action investigating this case.
Next The Bi Line will have even more comics from creators I met at Flame Con and keep an eye out for all of the comics I mentioned this week online, many are on Comixology.