Hello! This is S&F’s own Geekomancer, Mike Underwood, back again to talk about more comics outside the supers genre. Today, I’m going to talk about one classic and a couple of more recent up-and-coming comics.
One of the new offerings from Vertigo following the departure of long-time executive editor Karen Berger, Hinterkind (Writer: Ian Edginton, Artist: Franceso Trifogli) is pitched as The Inverse Fables. In this world, Faerie creatures have returned and overthrown humanity, who now live in small enclaves hidden away, like Angus and Prosper’s group, which has ironically holed up in Central Park. When their closest human neighbors in Albany stop responding to communications, Angus and Prosper head out to investigate, but they quickly discover that the gone-wild world they know is only the tip of the iceberg, and that the changes occurring in Angus might signal something much more dangerous.
Hinterkind is lovingly colored by Cris Peter, and the art by Trifogli is considered and stylish, giving the world a strong look which excels when unleashed on the creature design. We see not only Angus & Prosper’s perspective, but those of various Fae factions, as we discover that the Fae are far from unified.
Since the series has only just begun, it’s a great time to hop on board and get in on the ground floor of this promising fantasy series.
Talking about non-supers SF/F comics and not mentioning The Sandman is a geek heresy, so I’m going to talk about this one sooner rather than later.
Much has been written about Sandman, and for good reason. It’s the project that launched the career of international bestselling writer Neil Gaiman, and is widely beloved. It allowed for the showcasing of a variety of amazing artists, including Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, Michael Zulli, and more.
The Sandman begins with a crossover into the supers world, but the majority of the story is not about superheroes and does not speak to the supers genre. Therefore, I’m including it here. Principally the story of Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, who is one of the Endless — immortal incarnations that govern central facets of life (Death, Dream, Destruction, Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium). Morpheus is enchanted by humanity, and much of the series, and many of its most memorable story arcs, follow Morpheus’ interest in humanity, from working with William Shakespeare in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to checking in with an immortal man (Robert Gadling) once a century.
The Sandman is rich with mythology, legend, and other folkloric influences, and displays an aesthetic range from the gothic to the wondrous to the brooding to the poignant. The series introduced a perky goth version of Death, who has loomed large in popular culture as a contrast to the Hooded Scythe-bearing Grim Reaper.
Often included on ‘If you just read X many graphic novels, read this’ lists, The Sandman has earned its spot in comics history, and is worth re-visiting if you haven’t read it in a while. The new graphic novels and absolute editions include re-touched colors, which makes a big difference in places. Plus, you might want to do a re-read since the prequel series, The Sandman: Overture, is coming out now.
Described by one of the co-creators as “LOST meets Runaways,” Morning Glories steps into big, and somewhat fraught, shoes, and is excelling so far. Following a half-dozen teenagers all born on the same day who are whisked away to The Morning Glories Academy, the series is replete with mystery, interpersonal drama, and reveal after reveal, playing very effectively with the same narrative use of flashbacks that helps earn it the LOST comp. Since the series is ongoing, I don’t know if the creators (Nick Spenser and Joe Eisma) will be able to pull off a better ending than the much-maligned finale of LOST, but the ride so far is entertaining, with intriguing characterization of the leads, each of whom has far more going on than their demeanor would indicate, and Joe Eisma’s art, which is expressive and realistic without approaching photorealism, with fresh colors and cinematic panel structuring.
This Eisner-Nominated series has been making waves in the industry, and is definitely worth investigation, especially if you enjoy YA fantasy and/or thrillers.