Recommended comics for April

It’s been awhile since I wrote about comics, here are a few quickies:

Magical Beatdown Vol. 1 by Jenn Woodall

This riso minicomic is the perfect read for all those times you’ve been catcalled and harassed in public and walked away seething. It’s 28 pages of pulpy pink mahou shoujo vengeance: a little Sailor Moon, a little Tarantino. Available at Woodall’s online store or at the upcoming TCAF.

Internet Murder Revenge Fantasy by merritt kopas and friends

IMRF features prose by kopas paired with visual interpretations by a number of great comic artists like Sam Alden, Michael Deforge, Jane Mai, maré odomo, etc. While this patchwork approach gives the comic a choppy feel, kopas’ distinctive voice is cohesive throughout. Using a self-distancing second person voice, IMRF’s narrator recounts the experience of constructing alternate identities through online communities in the 90s before the rise of social media. This evokes a sense of nostalgia, as if the comic is excavating a lost, pre-social media world where your online presence could be radically divorced from your IRL self; you could be anyone in this environment of defunct operating systems and dated anime references. But IMRF is not a celebration of freedom found in cyberpunk culture and discussion forums – much of the comic grapples with how the narrator’s desire to control their identity and place in society is just as frustrated and painful online as it is offline. I would have preferred reading IMRF with a more unified visual style, but as it stands, if you’re not familiar with the artists it features, it’s a great intro to their distinctive styles. You can grab a digital copy here.

Island edited by Brandon Graham and Emma Ross

Island is a comic anthology published by a Canadian editorial team and published with Image. It features a mix of short comics and some longer ones serialized over multiple issues. Most of Island’s comics lean toward speculative/scifi/fantasy stories and are narrative driven.

I’ve been following Ancestor by Malachi Ward and Matt Sheean, a scifi tale about The Service (in the middle photo), which is basically a system of apps that function directly in your brain, and the delusions/visions of Patrick Whiteside, one of the developers of The Service. It’s an engaging comic that raises many questions about how technology affects our understanding of identity, the mind, etc.

Island’s also introduced me to a number of great artists that fall outside the publications/publishers I usually read, including Dilraj Mann, whose short comic, Queue, I could easily picture in kuš! (probably one of my favourite comics anthologies) and that perfectly captures the experience of clubbing:


Love these panels; you can practically feel the bass slamming into you

I picked up my copies of Island at The Beguiling.