I am a new convert to horror. I was firmly in my comics, SF, SpecFic, fantasy bag for decades until I read Tananarive Due’s My Soul to Keep. After that, I was all in… on horror literature. However, so-called ‘horror comics’ weren’t scary to me. Not even a little. And as a comic fan, it was disappointing. That was then. Now, there are tons of wonderful horror books that speak to my cultural and aesthetic specificity. There’s Image’s Killadelphia and Bitter Root, which just had a huge announcement. And Vault Comics is doing it big.Continue reading “‘Box of Bones,’ An Endorsement”
Every single time there is a “best of” list of comics and graphic novels, it’s almost inevitable that most of these lists are going to look a little similar. You’re going to see Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns on there, Moore and Gibbons Watchmen; (very deserving of a spot in the top 20) Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. In writing this, I reviewed fifteen lists and this plays out, with some new additions like Robert Kirkman’s Invincible and Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina; and the more seemingly odder choices like, say, Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. And at some point, we’re going to have to talk about why there are so many damn men dominating these lists.Continue reading “In Praise of ‘ElfQuest’”
Afrofuturism is having a moment. First posited by journalist Mark Dery in the early 1990s, Afrofuturism is now a full-blown social, cultural, psychological, technological, and aesthetic movement. And never has this movement, this moment, been more fully realized than in Tim Fielder’s magnum opus, Infinitum. To call it a graphic novel would be to undercut it’s value. It is an enterprise of speculative cultural cartography.Continue reading “An Endorsement: Tim Fielder’s ‘Infinitum’”
The Harlem Renaissance. Black life. Root work. Jazz. Diesel Funk (shout out to Tim Fielder) Monsters and monster hunting. Family. Action. Challenging of gender stereotypes. Camaraderie. Mysterious villains. A world adjacent to the world of the normals. Bitter Root delivers all this, and more. It also asks some very good questions.
One of the problems I’ve always had with horror and horror-adjacent material is that very few things are more frightening than being Black in the world. If we can’t be safe in Kroger’s, in church, being stopped by police, walking with our loved ones, going to school, where can we be safe? This book tackles this head on, without flinching, without apology.
Before we get into the rest of my full endorsement of Midnight Taxi Tango, I feel the need to ask a question: What kind of Ouija board does author Daniel José Older have access to? Is he somehow hotline blingin’ with the underworld? The way he writes about the dead, the half-dead, the preternatural and the politics that govern them — it reads more like dictation than creation. There are some genuinely creepy scenes in MTT. Skin crawling, looking over your shoulder, peering into shadows to see who is there, creepy. Other scenes are damn frightening. Let me put it to you this way: weaponized ghosts of babies who are hungry and out to devour you. Borderline nightmare stuff. What really works about this novel, and the “Bone Street Rumba” series as a whole, is that none of the scares are cheap. Every scare is legitimate. Every scare is necessary to the tale. This is evidence of Older’s mastery of his narrative.