graphic novel

All posts tagged graphic novel

Wes Craven: A Horror Legend Lost

Published September 1, 2015 by vfdpixie
Wes Craven 1939-2015

Wes Craven 1939-2015

 

If you haven’t heard by now, the horror community is mourning the loss of another horror icon:  director/writer/producer extraordinaire, Mr.Wes Craven.  He mastered the tongue-in-cheek horror and produced some of my favourite “B” movies like Wishmaster (1997) and Feast (2007), but he is of course know for bringing to life some of the most memorable horror icons in recent history.

Starting with the rape-revenge horror The Last House on the Left (1972), a twisted and brutal cult favourite to The Hills Have Eyes (1977) showcasing a vicious cannibal family that would terrorize a desert roadway for 2 films plus their remakes, Craven’s vision would carry on to a not-so-well received version of Swamp Thing (1982) and then finally to the king of horror (in my eyes) Freddy Krueger of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Like Dracula’s fangs and black cape, nightmare-dwelling Freddy Krueger’s clawed glove, striped sweater and tatty fedora has become such an iconic image.  Ask anyone on the street who those items belong to, and you’ll most definitely get a resounding “Freddy Krueger!”.  I was 14 years old when the film came out, and my love for the franchise has grown from teenage horror fan-girl glee to a deep appreciation for his writing and direction.  Craven combined nightmares and teenage angst with intelligence and schtick to create a mythology that set a precedent for horror to come.

Our favourite villain Freddy Krueger

Our favourite villain Freddy Krueger

 

His brilliance would carry on to many other films, directing a then unknown Mitch Pileggi (of X-Files fame) in Shocker (1989), Eddie Murphy and Angela Bassett in  Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) as well as the underrated thriller The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), and writing and directing another of my favourites, The People Under the Stairs (1991); but his next set of films would cast a critical eye on horror tropes in such a clever way.  The top-grossing Scream (1996) and its franchise would become another blockbuster winner, and Craven’s vision took it to the next level of cult fandom.  It revived the horror movie yet again, and gave us another go-to Halloween costume with the creepy Scream killer, Ghostface.

Slasher of the 90's-Ghostface

Slasher of the 90’s-Ghostface

 

Craven gained a huge following and was greatly respected within the horror nerd and teen set because he had his finger on the pulse of what horror fans wanted; crushing the idea that horror had no charm or intelligence by mastering what others dismissed.  He was also a mentor to many of his peers and had a knack for casting actors such as Neve Campbell, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund that would make or revive their careers.

And speaking of charm, it seemed as if all his colleagues and friends could attest to his lovely nature.  Looking at his pictures, and following his Twitter feed, you didn’t have to know him personally to see he was a kind man who loved his craft and his fans.  It is incredible to see the heartbroken horror community and their outpouring of grief, admiration and love for his films and accomplishments, as well as support for those close to him.  I think I can speak for horror fans everywhere when I say that I am truly saddened by his passing and send out the deepest condolences to his family, friends and peers over this terrible loss.

Check out his official website for synopsis of his films and details on his career.

http://www.wescraven.com

I am also consoled a little by knowing that he collaborated on a 5 part comic series with my favourite comic writer Steve Niles called Coming of Rage.  Check out the details here.

 

*Wes Craven died of brain cancer at the age of 76.  I think cancer is the real monster here.  It’s insidious and preys upon unsuspecting victims; finally attacking with gusto.  It has taken many people close to me, including my father, and brain cancer recently took a wonderful, no-nonsense, teddy bear of a man named Dwayne who was one of the kindest souls I’ll ever meet, so I thought I would list a few organizations you might want to support:

Canadian Cancer Society:

www.cancer.ca

American Cancer Society:

http://www.cancer.org/

Stand Up 2 Cancer-celebrity driven charity that still gains a lot of press for cancer research

http://www.standup2cancer.ca/

 

The Red Cross-cancer patients use blood services more than we think.

http://www.redcross.ca/

 

Look Good Feel Better-an organization that helps women being treated for cancer take care of their beauty needs.

http://lgfb.ca/en/

Dark Moon: A Musical Sci-Fi Comic Trip into The Unknown

Published January 27, 2015 by vfdpixie

DarkMoon_Gallery01

Dark Moon by Freematik (2014)

Art by Benedick Bana

Dark Moon is an otherworldly comic book experience.  Created by Tom Freeman, a.k.a Freematik, a California-based artist/producer, this indie sci-fi horror comic will take you on a musical space journey.

In 2067 after an asteroid collision with Earth, seven survivors led by Dante, a theoretical physicist, find themselves teleported to a mysterious moon to escape the aftermath.  They are thrown into survival mode as this moon is not yet explored and there is only speculation whether it can support life.  Soon after their arrival on the moon, danger sets in as terrifying alien life forms show up as their greeting party.

This story is made unique by the soundtrack created specifically to enhance the reader’s experience.  Each of the 20 tracks make scenes in the comic all the more intense as the action unfolds.  And this soundtrack is, as the kids say, DOPE!!  D-O-P-E, DOPE!  I am biased as I love electronic music, so I really dig this melding of hip hop and trippy, dark electronic soundscapes that create a true sci-fi mood.  My top picks are:

Dark Moon Theme

When Fear Sparks In Your Heart featuring Mad Shad and Lokey

Alien Invasion

The Creatures Attack

Trapped featuring Agent 216

Synthetic Intelligence and This Dark Moon featuring Myka 9

The vocals give you insight to what the mindset of the characters may be and what they may be feeling, and the production is top-notch.  There are also some additional sounds available to enhance the main soundtrack.  What Freematik hopes is that you follow along with the music and encourages you to create your own playlist to fully experience the comic.

Benedick Bana’s slick and beautiful artwork creates an almost 3 dimensional feel, making the action jump off the page with accents of blue and red amidst the dark extraterrestrial landscapes.  The aliens will also float your boat if you are a monster fanatic like me-they are imposing, toothy and vicious.

The first issue of Dark Moon is quite the cliffhanger.  It left me wanting to know more about Dante, the survivors and the moon they have landed on.  While the intention is for the soundtrack to be the primary storytelling device here, I hope the following issues will delve deeper into the characters; who they are and their motivations by using more in-depth, natural dialogue between them, better overall writing and perhaps the use of caption boxes as a narrative guide, as well as more great music for this 4 part multimedia vision.

A print version will soon be available, but you can download the comic here at http://www.darkmooncomic.com where they are offering the full first issue AND soundtrack for a mere $2.95, and there is a really cool “motion book” of the story here:

http://freematik.deviantart.com/art/Dark-Moon-Issue-1-Transported-to-a-Dark-Moon-491512045

and a bandcamp link where you can also purchase the entire soundtrack and comic download plus the additional sounds:

https://darkmooncomic.bandcamp.com/

Check it out!

Graphic Novel Memetic and the Meme of Destruction

Published January 24, 2015 by vfdpixie

memetic

Memetic issues 1-3, BOOM!Studios, 2014

Writer: by James Tynion IV

Artist: Eryk Donovan

I grew up with rotary dial phones that were soon replaced with push button faces. Next came the portable, brick-sized cell phones you could carry on a purse strap.  Fast forward to this day and age, and the cell phone and tablet are now basically pocket-sized computers that help run our lives and keep us connected in a zillion ways through texts, messaging, websites and apps.  I have always been a bit of a gadget nut, and I love to see what those crazy kids come up with next, but sometimes it can be overwhelming with all the über-connectedness and social media.  It seems that you need to check in to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and any other social media outlet du jour frequently to stay up to date, in the know, and valid.  It is a job unto itself, and some take it very seriously.  What if these very same outlets were the harbingers of an apocalyptic event?  What if you had access to an image literally everywhere you looked, and what if that image wheedled its way into your brain to ultimately self-destruct?  This is the premise of Memetic, a 3 part graphic novel that will make you think twice about the power of modern communication.

memetic2

Aaron Sumner is college student who is having boy troubles.  He is on the verge of breaking up with his boyfriend Ryan when a meme of a happy sloth, the “Good Times Sloth”, becomes viral in a matter of minutes.  After seeing this benign, cutesy image the viewer is overcome with a sense of euphoria and well-being.  Unfortunately, the meme is lost on Aaron because he has ocular and hearing impairments that prevents him from getting the full effect of the picture.  His friends, indeed everyone in town, is talking about the image, and Aaron begins to feel uneasy about the fervour.  He isn’t the only one.  Retired Colonel Marcus Shaw is worried by the lightning fast euphoria and frenzy associated with the phenomenon, and calls on his former intelligence colleague Barbara Xiang to look into it since he suffers from macular degeneration and has very little sight left.  The euphoria takes a sinister turn when 12 hours after seeing the image, the viewer goes berserk, tearing anyone at arm’s length limb from limb.  What follows is a dark, cautionary tale about an image that ends the world in just 3 days.

 

memetic3

Creator and writer James Tynion IV brings us a scary take on how things could end literally in the blink of an eye.  He uses some great, non-traditional characters to tell his modern tale of doom, and the story travels with the same speed as you would imagine the meme to reach millions; fast and unforgiving to anyone that sees it.  He points out how chilling it is to be at the mercy of relentless information, how a shared experience may unify in the worst way possible, and how being an outsider could both save you and put you in doom’s way at the same time.  This literal representation of what a meme is, how it spreads, mutates and has the potential to be a thing of destruction, does a great job scaring the crap out of this reader.

Eryk Donovan’s frenetic illustrations create a real sense of chaos and destruction, in fact, just flipping through the pages will leave you unsettled even before you start reading the story.  Don’t skip the last pages of the 3 volumes where you’ll find mock Facebook and Tumblr pages that provide info on each character, and the last issue has a great section where Tynion and Donovan interview each other.

Being connected in cyberspace is a given in this age of technological advancement, but if you have ever questioned its immediacy and effects on society at large, Memetic will certainly give you a horror, sci-fi take on a familiar internet and social occurrence and maybe get us to shut off the phone, laptop or tablet…but just for a couple of hours.

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