ACES WEEKLY Comic Art Magazine sparks digital revolution with its riveting comic book and graphic novel short stories delivered every Monday!
For £1 per week, in any currency, readers get volumes of up to 150 pages in seven weekly parts.
ACES WEEKLY is the seven-card stud of e-comics!
To paraphrase David Lloyd, the idea for the award-winning ACES WEEKLY came down to comics looking better [than paper] with fewer limitations [and myriad possibilities].
In the very first volume of ACES WEEKLY, the gem Valley Of Shadows takes a black and white noir tale down new twisting alleys hereto untraveled.
More on Valley Of Shadows [Plot by David Jackson and David Lloyd, and the Script and Art by David Lloyd] later after we examine the cards, I mean the ACES.
When David Lloyd, co-creator of V For Vendetta and author/artist of Kickback (and a whole lot more), first launched ACES WEEKLY, very few comic books were available in a digital format.
Those that did come in a digital form required the paying of an extra dollar to the paper version, making a $3.99 book $4.99 in your LCS for the same 21 pages of content.
Now e-comics are in the mainstream, but none have the formula of six different works delivered every Monday night in an innovative set of seven serial installments.
At a buck a week, and adding that up, seven pounds for seven weeks of stories, you get 21+ pages for each of the six titles.
That is up to 150 pages, or six or seven comic books, for less than the price of two paper comic books!
Value aside, the proof is in the product, and ACES WEEKLY’s continuous stream of e-comic books are incredible.
The art is mostly in traditional comic form and looks STUNNING on screen!
Just like the serial installments of Superman of old, in the newspaper funny pages, the ACES WEEKLY tales are mostly told on horizontal pages.
The books are, after all, only bound virtually, in Cyberspace.
There is no limitation of the reader having to hold a vertically stapled comic book.
This means that you can read in a more natural line of sight akin to watching a movie on a widescreen, in the theater or at home.
ACES WEEKLY combines different widely appealing genres masterfully.
An omnivorous reader, like myself, loves the funny, the dark, the thrilling, and the wildly creative varying in voices from one comic book to the next.
ACES WEEKLY delivers a smorgasbord of quality each and every week!
Examples of this diversity are evident in the noir classic Valley Of Shadows by David Jackson and David Lloyd, the epic Santa Claus VS the Nazis by Benjamin Dickson and Gavin Mitchell where Santa Claus becomes a prisoner of the Nazis and the elves are enslaved, and then . . . on a planet in the middle of the Andromeda System . . . there is the powerful science-fiction book Dark Utopia by Mark Montague.
You could not ask for a better hand being dealt.
Think about it: Santa must break free of the Nazis to save the elves! What bigger stakes are there?
The art is unique, the writing top-notch, and the creations are made to pop out at you from the screen, no matter where you wish to enjoy the tales.
Each week you look forward to the latest installment of scintillating reading.
And in Volume One, Valley Of Shadows is one hell of a gripping whopper to kick off the experience.
Buddy Chaplin hasn’t got much going for him.
His marriage has failed, he’s in a dead end job, and he’s stopped looking for more.
But life is about to take an unexpected twist….
The art from David Lloyd is full of shadows, emotions, long blacks and stark whites.
The vivid scenes could easily make the silver screen.
The innovative use of comic book panels and art surrounding and behind the panels makes full use of the reader’s eye and the horizontal page layout for incredulity at every turn of the e-page.
The story, dialogue and plot of Valley Of Shadows are intricate, tight, and unique.
Security guard Buddy is dragged into helping someone, committing murder (in defense!), and racing against malicious and resourceful forces to save a stranger’s little girl from a horrible fate.
The villain is a megalomaniac bent on destroying a valley if that is what he needs to do to get an organ donor for his dying son.
And Buddy is just a normal guy who gambles too much, lost his own little girl and wife in a divorce, and gets caught up in a fight he should not be able to win.
The tale is utterly brilliant and it only scratches the surface of all of the ACES WEEKLY offerings.
The art is amazing, the creators on board ACES WEEKLY are extraordinary, like David himself.
For the cost of less than two paper books a reader can feast on six full length high resolution comics formatted and built for any type of screen, from a Smart TV, to a tablet, or a smartphone.
This reader is subscribing for life, and POWkabam will look to cover at least one of the many tales in each volume going forward.
“ACES WEEKLY Comic Art Magazine Sparks Digital Revolution” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Is your Honor Badge made of C-4? Then you have not earned the Black Badge.
Parts of the top-secret Black Badge Boy Scout manual greets the reader through excerpts sprinkled along the inner and back cover pages.
A regular troop member will recognize the Boys Scouts’ manual’s style, but not believe the contents:
“How you received your Black Badge is privileged information. Guard it with your life.
“-Black Badge Handbook”
A diagram of a Boy Scout uniform containing a pocket lined with solidified sarin gas and marking the Black Badge itself noted as a throwing star, in disguise, will give readers an idea of where the covert team’s members might have to go to survive their incredibly dangerous missions.
BLACK BADGE #1 features a teenage troop possibly as deadly and daring as the Navy Seals.
The art style is unique and grasps the emotions of the troop of characters forced to work together on their first mission with a new member, Willy.
Matt Kindt’s writing is superb, the storyline and world building, and dialogue incredibly realistic and full of surprises.
Tyler Jenkins’ art is utterly gorgeous in its innovation and the colors by Hilary Jenkins are amazing in their subtle detections of mood or setting changes.
What goes down when Willy captures every Boy Scouts badge?
His dad seems to know whom to notify of this feat, and Willy is introduced to an Army-type man and told of one more badge . . . the Black Badge!
And Willy is off with his new troop in hopes to earn this badge . . . in South Korea.
And here the writing takes an immediate hold, as a repulsive bully from a school trip begins to make fun of the four Boy Scouts for their traditional Scout garb.
Little does the bully know that behind the Boy Scout sash there are throwing knives.
Kenny is the leader, Mitz is the short in stature tall in arrow use, and Cliff carries a mean walking stick with its own secrets and almost loses his cool while they are taunted by the bully.
Kenny steers him clear and their canoe is off northward.
Willy is a smart, naïve guy in husky pants, and he wonders if the Black Badge troop has lost a fourth member, which he is replacing.
He tells them of his last badge earned a diving test where he had to lose his gear and trust there would be a cave with air, as he was told.
He is loyal and trusting. He earns the badge.
The Black Badge program takes advantage of the intelligence and age and loyalty of its members.
So the troop crosses the border into North Korea.
Willy sleeps unsoundly when he realizes why he is there: they are sent because they are kids. Kids get lost. Kids are harmless. Kids can get in and get away with it.
The troop marks a village where their mission is to extract a nuclear scientist.
Kenny directs the team: Cliff marks the hut with his electronic laser, and Willy calls in the coordinates.
But then a plane sheds its bomb and an explosion evaporates the village.
As the kids are approached on their exit, they are recognized as frightened Boy Scouts and sent back to South Korea.
Willy questions whether or not they are doing the right thing, but their leader Kenny informs him that “they” tell the troop just enough to go on and the troop has to trust “them.”
The dialogue is freaking kick-ass:
Kenny: “Nobody can do what we can do. No one can go where we can go. This world needs fixing and it sure as heck ain’t the adults who are gonna fix it.”
This is a powerful book!
A big thank you to my LCS Red Shirt Comics owner Josh for his Captain’s Pick of BLACK BADGE #1 – if it was not for him I would have missed out on this sure to be amazing new series.
Go get yours before they sell out!
“BLACK BADGE #1: Boy Scouts Black Ops BOOM!” was written by R.J. Huneke.
The Sandman Universe 1 one-shot is riveting, visually visceral and stimulating, and features impactful storylines that merge for one hell of a tale.
Speaking of hell, Lucifer is in a bad state.
It seems he has a son, though impossible, and while the mysterious son seeks to destroy his father’s new sense of humanity, mortality, and mantra of hope, despite a potential wheel of fate forcing Lucifer to relive his pains over and over, Lucifer is off to find the mother of his child.
Lucifer’s bar is in shambles, as is his state of mind, his world, and his ravens (all but one at least).
And Dream’s raven (not Lucifer’s) has possibly the best line in the book when referring to Lucifer and his current predicament:
“It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy . . .”
The Sandman Universe 1 has many familiar faces, though Lucien is losing his memory and the Cain and Abel murders are helping to hold back the entire universe of Dreaming from cracking at the seems.
Daniel, Dream of the Endless, is gone.
And Lucien charges the all-knowing raven with finding him to help them save their increasingly brittle dreamscape.
The raven crosses dreams and stories in his search.
Another familiar face the raven flies over is Tim Hunter.
This sharp story sticks out immediately.
Tim’s life as a teenage magician living in the real world offers all kinds of complications.
Getting up late, showing up at school late, and finding your book blank when you go to read aloud in class is scary.
Finding out that your new teacher knows your secret and has plans for your magic is even more alarming.
What Tim does not know, but the raven sees, of course, is that Dr. Rose, with her scarlet scarf, has bloodily murdered Tim’s old teacher in his office with a fountainhead pen to the ear.
The Sandman Universe comes from master storyteller Neil Gaiman whose original work on Sandman has been nothing short of groundbreaking.
He is working with the talented writers of four new titles to come from the Sandman Universe.
The Sandman Universe 1 introduces the overall state of Dream, Daniel, and the Dreaming.
Because the raven knows, he hones in on Daniel in a city dressed as a teenager in Converse All Stars (donning white threads, of course), but he misses him before getting to speak to him.
It was like he had him and could not remember the Dream . . .
The Sandman Universe 1 story is by Neil Gaiman, and Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters write the yarn here as they set up their upcoming titles.
The illustrators of The Sandman Universe 1 are Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara.
Daniel does not want to be found. Has he given up his post as Dream?
At the end of the credits in The Sandman Universe 1 we get a post-credits scene if you will:
The Story Continues In . . .
The Dreaming #1 that comes out on 9/5/18, The House Of Whispers #1 coming out on 9/12/18, Lucifer #1 out 10/17/18, and Books Of Magic #1 released on 10/24/18 (just in time to get your magic up and running before Halloween).
Get ready for a journey through anything and everything dreams car offer and all while the infinite realms possibilities of the Dreamscape are unraveling!
Go grab a copy from your LCS, mine is Red Shirt Comics, before all of the coolest cover variants are gone!
“Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Universe 1 Unravels Dreaming” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Writer: Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque, Dave Stewart
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald: Holmes Falls To Cthulhu CONTAINS SPOILERS
This fantastical detective mystery has so much more than meets the eye going on.
We start at the beginning of the Sherlock Holmes mythos and Holmes meets John Watson in the world of Baker Street looking for a roommate for the London flat.
The tall Holmes is very familiar, as is the shuffling Dr. Watson.
Yet something is eerily different and out of place too.
That said I read the depiction of Watson’s war injury, from a Cthulhu-like kraken while he was at-sea in the Queen’s Army, and I completely failed to notice the near-standard 19th century sea-monster from the hidden depths of the volatile world was, in fact of the tale, a real Cthulhu.
I had entered a vastly darker Lovecraftian world and it had robbed the good doctor of his crack-shot ability by sucking life out of his shoulder.
This would only come back to me, like a splash of cold water on a sleeping face, at the finale of the grand tale.
In the dark mirrored world of H.P. Lovecraft – that is so close to our own and yet so starkly different and dark – the perpetrators of the tales’ main mystery, the prince’s murder, were never caught.
And though Holmes and Watson do uncover and even meet in-person the two wholly ruthless villains, foils of our heroes, one cannot help but wonder if the murderers – the tall actor and the shuffling doctor with his walking stick and his devious ability to wage medical knowledge as a war on anatomy – if they were not the mirror dimension of some H.P. Lovecraft multiverse: an evil Holmes and Watson!
But then that bears its own questions of good and evil and over-simplicity.
Lovecraft’s fear was sometimes best induced by building a world that reflected our own but just produced physical monsters to encompass real world troubles.
And in A Study in Emerald the Cthulhu beings are a mystery!
The wild one may have forever maimed Watson and yet the leaders of the world and the Queen Victoria of England Cthulhu has gone ahead and healed Watson upon meeting with the sleuths for hire.
The world has been ruled over by Cthulhu figures for hundreds of years.
The dynamic of pre-WWI era tensions – once called The Great War – are very apparent in the story, just in subtle ways.
As Holmes speaks to Inspector Lestrade of possible motive for the Prince Cthulhu’s murder, he talks in admiration of the anarchists: those who see the powerful Cthulhu leaders are feeding off of humanity’s pain.
And the anarchists feel humans are best left to ourselves, where chaos rains.
In the real world, this was indeed a sentiment shared by anarchists around that time.
And the terrorist-anarchist groups committed violent acts that shaped the world and its tension leading up to the first World War.
Back to the tale: a comically round version of Lestrade is exasperated by Sherlock’s blasphemy.
And Holmes, who seemed to know the Queen Cthulhu of England personally, is clearly sided with the crown’s rule and prosperity, despite his understanding of the motive.
This possibly points to Holmes and Watson as being the villains upholding authoritarianism in the tale, while the terrorizing murderers only committed their evil act out of hope for a cause that even Holmes seems to admire as a noble one, if not misplaced with violence.
The question of the age and the foils of the Cthulhu world Holmes and Watson are best left to our imaginations . . . for now.
Unless, of course, Mr. Gaiman and co. takes us back to this bizarre and riveting world again!
Ask your LCS for a copy of this marvelous hardcover from Dark Horse comics; I know Red Shirt Comics will get you one!
“Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald: Holmes Falls To Cthulhu” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Death of Superman in ominous Man Of Steel 5 cover, alone, had me.
The Brian Michael Bendis Superman mini-series, his first book in his D.C. Comics run, is enveloping, surprising and terribly suspenseful in its first 5 of 6 issues. But that Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair The Man Of Steel 5 cover wrenched at my heart, just as Dan Jurgens’ cover of Superman 75 “The Death Of Superman” did as a kid so many years ago.
Lois cradling Superman in his torn duds, fallen among his seemingly dead enemy, Doomsday, with a tattered red cape flapping in the wind like an American flag gone through a battlefield is iconic.
And this homage in The Man of Steel 5 alludes to rubble and a looming death for Superman and possibly for many others too.
SPOILER ALERT (for Death Of Superman homage in The Man Of Steel issues 1-5)****
Rogul Zaar has been said to have destroyed Krypton, after all, and he is not happy that the son of Jor El escaped his ‘cleansing’ of the universe from the ‘plague’ of the Kryptonian ways.
And so as he, this new menacing and mysterious zealot – though his past as a defender of the universes adds a lot more to his character than mere obsession – mops the proverbial floor with Superman and Supergirl in Metropolis, we learn to fear him.
But at the start of Bendis’ fifth part of the tale, a giant eye peers down at the last Kryptonian city, Kandor.
It is evil.
It is murderous.
And it brings death.
This is right before Rogul Zaar destroys the city of Kandor and its entire people.
Superman and Supergirl are devastated that their promise to un-shrink the last living city of their home planet is dead.
The brilliant artwork in this issue, done by Adam Hughes, Jason Fabok, and Alex Sinclair, is poignant in its depiction of the fury of the battles, the concerned faces realizing the stakes, the ominous flashback, and the ferocity of the situation.
But with Superman’s true home, earth as his major concern, and thus a disadvantage to his human concern f, he takes the heavyweight title fight to space.
And while the Justice League gathers in Metropolis, Zaar goes toe-to-toe with Supes and eventually succeeds in burying him, unconscious, within the surface of the moon.
Wow, this villain is powerful!
The flashbacks of Clark Kent, Lois, and their son Jon speaking to Jor El, who comes from who knows where, to take the descendant of El on a tour of the galaxies is key.
It seems Lois may have either gone with their son, or just outright walked out on Clark who may have changed his mind and let their child go off-planet.
The human element of Clark and Superman, written by Bendis, is again remarkable.
Preacher Season 3 circles Jesse back to pure evil: Gran’ma!
What a disappointment the end of Preacher Season 1 was. No Gran’ma.
And Marie L’Angell was missed at the start of the AMC adaptation of the Garth Ennis (writer) and Steve Dillon (art) graphic novel Vertigo series Preacher.
One of TV’s best works, in terms of capturing the spirit of the source material, the amazing acting, and the black insanity strewn perfectly across the lens, has truly been a remarkable series from the outset.
The character growth, from Cassidy’s weighing whether his conscious has business competing with a lust in everything (blood least of all), to the destined Natural Born Killers-esque lovers, Tulip and Jesse, is engrossing.
The crumbling chaos of the world of Preacher is straight from the comic books.
And it is riveting.
But after the first echelon of the show wrapped, I had one disappointment, one major letdown, amongst the incredible job they did: the show’s introduction to the epic Jesse Custer tale was devoid of Gran’ma.
The comic books were the first to carry the same writer-artist power team throughout the entirety of the series.
And their introduction added a lot of Jesse’s backstory living and learning god from the most vile, cruel and ruthless family matriarch imaginable, Gran’ma.
The show has brought a great introduction of the present day Tulip, Cass, and Custer, and now it has circled back to bring the preacher back home . . . to Gran’ma.
Her depiction starts in the shadows.
This is the trait that the great artists Steve Dillon and cover artist Glenn Fabry always struck me with the most.
The stark wrinkles full of wisdom, wickedness and woe.
At first the Gran’ma on-screen seems to be far less of a shrunken head than in the books.
But, like with all of the brilliant design, shots, and carnage in the film, Preacher adds its own touch to the mythos by giving wispy black hair, like a levitating shroud to Gran’ma so she has her own purely evil shadow or veil to add to her power, like some sick talisman.
So far Jesse has not even considered trying the Word against Gran’ma.
In the books he learns, the hard way, that she is resistant to it.
But for now, Gran’ma’s own twisted game of control, dominance, and family will play out at home.
Tulip is alive again thanks to the scraped heel flakes of Tulip’s skin that Gran’ma chews and swallows to start the process of resurrection.
Some of the woman’s tremendous power is alluded to in a flashback showing a very old prisoner, worn and in pain, that escaped Gran’ma’s captivity.
God knows what she harvested from her prisoners.
Or maybe he doesn’t. He has been largely absent until now.
Tulip is almost back to the land of the living when she is told by the creepy dog, God, that she is now his ‘chosen.’
Should we be optimistic?
Looming over them all is the demon incarnate, the quietly snarling and eerily pure evil that is Gran’ma.
To date, the adaptation is simply awesome and on-screen Gran’ma, with her slippery Louisiana accent, does not disappoint!
I cannot wait to watch more!
If you want to read all about it, and cannot wait to learn about the history because you have been locked in your own Gran’ma’s house amongst your daddy’s corpse and gators, then by all means go to your LCS (my local comic shop is Red Shirt Comics) and pick up the Preacher Vertigo comics ASAP!
Sunday is just days away!
“Preacher Season 3 circles Jesse back to pure evil: Gran’ma” was written by R.J. Huneke
“Star Wars Adventures Amazes Readers Of All Ages” sums it up perfectly, and Rey kicks off the book spectacularly.
The newest comic book anthology from IDW, not Marvel Comics (they have the adult-based books), Star Wars Adventures gives the youngest of kids to the grayest of graybeards, alike, something to revel in: an all-out thrill-ride of stories from all over the Star Wars universe made for all Star Wars fans!
The first story arc is about Rey’s exploits before The Force Awakens.
The Jedi to be is thrust into the shady scavenger strife surrounding Jakku’s Niima Outpost, and the array of Star Wars The Force Awakens characters, especially the obscure ones are being revealed.
And Rey is every bit as resourceful, bold, and kick-ass a young woman before she found the Skywalker lightsaber, as she was in the The Force Awakens.
The book’s creative work by writer Cavan Scott and artist Derek Charm is innovative and intriguing.
Charm’s artwork is a unique menagerie of style!
The 2-D cartoon-like look on the surface holds a lot of detail in each panel: the faces are full of emotion, the armor is glinting in the light of Jakku’s suns, and in the shadows of Obi-wan Kenobi’s robes and beard.
Scott’s writing is top notch.
He brings familiar voices to light, as well as giving further interest, accents, and local colloquialisms to the myriad characters of the Outer Rim and the remnants of the Republic.
Star Wars Adventures ^^SPOILER ALERT^^
Scale a desert-claimed crashed Empire ship, and get immediately thrust into not just a struggle to eat, but a struggle to survive an ambushing attempt from rival scavengers!
This is fun, high-paced Star Wars storytelling.
Our favorite lump of an enormous alien, Unkar Plutt, is a key to the new Rey tale in this premier Star Wars Adventures Issue #1 and the books to follow.
He is kidnapped for his role in selling parts of a droid of interest to some dark and unsavory mystery marauders.
When Rey realizes Plutt’s protection of her has left her open to being attacked, robbed, and possibly killed by her scavenger competition, the stakes are raised and she stands fearless and daring, fighting for her keep.
With Plutt out of his hut sitting atop the heaped throne of junk, another crime boss comes in to the Niima Outpost to take over the trade.
Meanwhile, Plutt is not revealing anything about the mystery droid, and as this tale’s first part closes, Rey is seen in her dwelling with its head.
The shorter story of the book is one of Obi-wan Kenobi, at his favorite diner, as he works to help out a familiar friend who has been the target of a thief.
Star Wars Adventures #1 gives readers of all ages epic tales and unlimited possibilities from the mythic George Lucas universe of yore.
”Star Wars Adventures Amazes Readers Of All Ages” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Be sure to head down to your local comic shop for Star Wars Adventures #1 and the many different and brilliant covers, including the awesome variant (see picture above) starring Rey that this writer picked up at Red Shirt Comics in downtown Port Jefferson – where there is now an “All Ages” section dedicated to the best stories for folks of any number of birthdays under their lightsaber belts.
“Graphic Novel Peepland ’s Bloodstained Mystery Oozes 80’s NYC” by R.J. Huneke is the last part in a series unveiling both a New York Comic Con interview with the creators as well as a review of the gritty Hard Case Crime graphic novel TPB that was released on August 1, 2017.
Peepland is a page-turner that leaves delicious grime under your fingernails!
The book by Christa Faust (Author), Gary Phillips (co-author), and Andrea Camerini (Illustrator) is 128 pages of mayhem in 1980’s Manhattan.*
Peepland’s beauty lies in the eerily entangled corruption that clings to a New York murder merging 40’s gangster noir with 80’s NYC for a historically bound bloodbath.
The protagonist is a complex and intriguing character, a peep booth worker named Roxy Belle, and she is an unwilling participant in the murder mystery at the thick of the plot.
She has the kindness, craftiness, and nastiness (including willing to do some pee porn promos for a favor or two) to make this tale sexy, thrilling and innovative.
Such insight into the underworld living upworld in the heart of 80’s Midtown is the brainchild of Christa Faust and the help of her editor and the founder of Hard Case Crime Charles Ardai who partnered with Titan Comics for the comic book.
We were fortunate to receive an interview at New York Comic Con 2016 with none other than these two talented people.
R.H.: “How do you get the female perspective from a peepbooth?”
C.F.: “I grew up in the city . . . I have a vagina and I once worked in the peepbooths. So double-chromosome easy-peasy; write what you know.”
That is simple enough.
As a pornographer’s latest tape is bestowed upon Roxy during her shift, she goes home and finds a surprising strangling at the end of the video that is spit out of her VCR.
Later she learns that after dropping off the tape and fleeing her booth, porno filmmaker Dirty Dick is snuffed out in the subway.
Someone is erasing that video.
Roxy does not know who the murderer is or why they are wiping out anyone tied to the flick.
But what is a very well connected real estate mogul’s son to do when he might be implicated?
The world crafted in Peepland is its own badass character.
The writing is top-notch and with the art matches the stunning clarity with which the greasy alleys and shadows contrast the neon lights of Times Square in the 80’s. The air is stuffy with exhaust and cigarette smoke, and the bangs of gunshots go off at random twists and quakes as the plot unfolds.
The white versus black racism, even in New York, is palpably disgusting, and accurately adds an unease that was felt in the city at the time.
This affects the story and the poor characters caught within, for none are wholly unscathed in such a story as this.
You may be thinking: where do NYC’s punk haircuts, perms, and thongs (hiked way over the hips!) get off attempting to spawn a noir crime thriller sans the razor-sharp suits, tommy guns, and fedoras?
Well this book perfectly merges the 40’s noir age of gangster to the 1980’s NYC.
The web of crime and organized crime outfits, from the smallest pimps, hookers, peep booth operators to the corrupt cops, either detectives on the take from a Mafioso or detectives trying to sell out to the highest bidder mirror, in a kind if circus-mirror-way that works, the Al Capone days of Chicago.
The long gone New York age is brought to life again.
Is the Mayor’s office in on it? . . . Maybe . . .
It becomes quickly apparent that noir was meant for the mid-1980’s New York City era and Faust delivers it in spades.
R.H.: “What was your inspiration for PEEPLAND?”
C.F.: “It was mostly just because . . . you know being a fellow New Yorker it’s so different now.”
R.H.: “The way that is was, the city.”
C.F.: “That’s never coming back . . . and I wanted to tell that story [of NYC] in a visual medium, because you can tell people what it was like, but if you can show them, it’s more visceral, it’s grittier, it’s more true.”
And the tale of Peepland could not be more ‘’visceral’ and pointed, as cops use any excuse to grab an African American male, a minor, and accuse him of rape and murder of the white victim in the park.
The depth of the corruption is staggering in its ferocity, as is the massive body count stemming from constant plot twists, from blowjobs turned wrong to shocking melees enveloping any and all characters in a variety of guns and knives as only the 80’s could do it.
R.H.: “What I loved is that the historicism is there. I love the 80’s perms [for example].”
And at this point Charles breaks in.
C.A.: “This person,” he says with a smile and playfully accusing point to Christa, ‘was the police person, policing in acronyms.”
C.F.: “I was the G-string Nazi – I was like ‘hike that aaaall the way up to be here,” she says pointing to high over her hip.
C.A.: “What were the buildings, what were the posters, what were [the] hairstyles, ads, shoes . . . what were the characters?”
Yes, the “Thriller” jacket is present and yes there were peep booths, and XXX video stores by the dozen in Times Square during the 80’s.
If you do not believe the history, view the photographs Christa includes at the end of the graphic novel.
Without giving away too much, this tale spins faster and harder building up and up and up to a furious conclusion coinciding with the countdown on New Year’s Eve at The Deuce, Times Square.
Ask your local comic shop if they have the hardcover trade graphic novel, or grab one here.
Nothing expected happens in Peepland, and it is truly wicked and wonderful.
“Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini Interview” by R.J. Huneke is the first in a series of articles resulting from our interviews with the creators at New York Comic Con 2017 and discusses the classic mystery graphic novel from Hard Case Crime and Titan Comics.
Cover Art By Robert McGinnis
Based on facts and questions surrounding Harry Houdini’s bizarre death in 1926, Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is an imbued look into a female private detective taking on a whopper of a first case from long-time Houdini friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The vibrant history, the tenacious protagonist Minky Woodcock, and the stunning aspects of the art make this book a classic.
Impactful surprises, intricate looks into character personalities, and a fully-fledged and almost surreal world is built to exude the many mysteries of the day.
*The following MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS for Minky Woodcock ISSUE 1*
Renowned artist Cynthia von Buhler had me on page one of Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini.
The graphic novel’s first page has two panels: one remarkable overhead shot of Minky at a typewriter CLICK clicking away in a letter to Agatha Christie about their meeting at Minky’s mother’s funeral, which takes up all of the left side of the page, and the sub-panel to the right tying two images top-to-bottom of the funeral and furthering along the letter telling of Ms. Christie knowing Benedick Woodcock, a private investigator and Minky’s father.
The character of Minky is already established as both ambitious and a member of an interesting family and family business.
The sound of the writing implement, the scarlet locks of Minky’s hair, down to her red nails on the keys in such a stark close-up and unique angle are vivid and intriguing, while on the sub-panel a subdued brown and black coloring scheme goes back in the past to the early twentieth century and a sad and poignant funeral.
The art is utterly spell-binding and unique as it emanates the Roaring Twenties and the young woman who graces the next pages with a trench coat, a hint of bare leg, and a flask in her hand, as she still grieves for her lost mother, which had a great impact on her life.
Minky is not content to be a private detective’s secretary (her father’s request) when she can be one herself.
A case presents itself in her father’s absence, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wants Minky to investigate Harry Houdini, and she smartly says that she can take the case without arousing suspicion, which her father – a well-known P.I. – might very well attract.
Doyle aks Minky to join him for a séance with world renowned Margery, who he says is “adept at manifesting spirit ectoplasm from her orifices.”
This is historically accurate, and it is portrayed with all the zeal that a talented nude spiritualist can bring to a séance for society’s high rollers.
What is overlying all of this . . . a piece of tragic history:
On Halloween of all days, October 31, 1926, Harry Houdini died of very mysterious and suspicious circumstances, and though this is not touched on in the first issue, I suspect Ms. von Buhler’s tale does so as it progresses.
The rich depth of Minky and the portrayal of famed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are posed, depicted and brought to life through an innovative use of art that is invigorating.
I succinctly asked artist Cynthia von Buhler about this:
R.J.H. – ‘I love your style [in this book].’
C.V.B. – ‘I’m doing more drawing it and ink [on paper] and color on the computer . . . this is my drawing style.’
Cynthia added that she was lucky to have Pearls Daily to model for the character of Minky.
C.V.B. – ‘She’s [Pearls is] great because she’s posing . . . she’s like that all the time.’
And with that Pearls, donning her detective’s trenchcoat did a little twist of her leg in a pose on the floor of New York Comic Con after the Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini signing.
Pearls Daily’s acting abilities helped to give life to the vivacious rendition of Minky Woodcock that Cynthia von Buhler puts on the page masterfully, and you can see it from panel to panel throughout the piece as Minky struts into the ritzy home for the séance, as she deftly grasps a martini glass, and as she flees the scene in a tight and curvilinear dress.
What is Minky running from exactly? Her mother’s ghost?
Well I leave that to you, the reader, to find out!
Get down to your local comic book shop and pick up this book, it just came out this week, before it sells out forever.
I will be scouring my LCS, Red Shirt Comics, for whatever variant covers are left on the shelf.
And check out all of the beautiful cover variants. The alternatives are stark in contrast from Charles Ardai’s photograph of Pearls Daily as Minky, to Cynthia von Buhler’s cover, to David Mack’s portrait, and last but not least to a legend that Cynthia spoke on with reverence:
C.V.B. – This cover [she said holding up the cover bearing Margery] is by Robert McGinnis . . . he’s ninety years old and he’s doing this style of painting for years in the James Bond movie posters . . . and it’s such an honor for him to do this cover.
All of the covers are unique and excellent views of the book, and the Robert McGinnis cover seems to pull you to it, as though it were magnetic.
The biggest qualm with this issue is that there is not enough Houdini (though he does pass through a wall briefly). But he is almost certainly lurking not far from Minky’s investigation in the future pages to come.
The hardcover graphic novel for Minky Woodcock is soon to be held!
And in the meantime check out the evidence and real history that was used in creating Minky Woodcock’s tussle with Houdini, Doyle, and the séance craziness of the time at minkywoodcock.com.