I used to work in a camera store with a young lady who sometimes told stories about a ghost she slept with.
As she described the encounters, it became clear to all of us who worked in the store that the “ghost” in the stories matched the exact physical description of her boyfriend; and that she was recounting, for some reason, sexual encounters with him that would have been quite normal if she hadn’t presented them as dates with a spirit.
To this day, I have no idea why she told these stories – although I suspect it was her way of talking about safe sex, of verbalizing sexual thoughts through a layer of fiction. .
Ghosts – or at least ghost stories – give us a unique opportunity to rationalize what we can’t (or don’t want to) explain, from a shock in the night to a bang in the dark. In our stories, they take any form that serves a purpose; and even when of no use at the time, it seems that ghost stories always end with the unfinished business of a spirit contributing to the needs of the living.
I thought about this coworker and the need her stories might have filled while reading one of this week’s most intriguing comic book releases, which involves an artist begging to be haunted. Thanks to Phoenix Comics for helping sort through the many new stuff this week, only some of which involve finicky minds.
The introduction to this paperback explains that it started out as a critique of Star Trek politics, but author Magdalene Visaggio found it too controversial until she pivoted to focus on the story of a character’s self-discovery in a setting that is clearly Trek. -inspired without being entirely counterfeit. Perhaps Lost on planet earth could have benefited from a little more time baking in the story oven; As it stands, the book still sometimes looks like a controversy instead of a plot. But that doesn’t make her a totally unpleasant read, especially when she asks her most intriguing questions about the inescapable links between science and colonization. We often think that curiosity, learning and space exploration are unassailable good; but who can explore and who is left behind? What happens to these new lives and new civilizations once they are researched? These tough questions are asked – and not fully answered – as our characters embark on more personal journeys of self-discovery, asking an entirely different set of questions about how best to live an authentic life. Is this story personal or political? It is, in fragments, both; but it is rare for one focus to illuminate the other.
Note: 🚀🚀🚀 (3/5)
Writer: Madeleine Visaggio. Illustrator: Claudio Aguirre. Letterer: Zakk Saam from IBD. Publisher: Joe Corallo. Designer: Tim Daniel.
Not only is it a book with, for the majority of its pages, a single character who speaks for himself; but it is also almost entirely contained in a single house. A single-character bottle episode is the redder of the red flags, but The me you love in the dark is a good start to a dark, meditative story about how, when we are alone with our thoughts, our thoughts can become a character in their own right. A frustrated artist struggles to compose a new work after renting a house that she was promised is haunted. Plagued with artistic blockages and a morbid drinking habit, she finds herself begging for any reluctant ghosts that might be present to torture her to creative fulfillment. What she might not realize is that she is doing painstaking work to torture herself. “Artist running on empty” is a good first part of a premise, and “a ghost with an unknown agenda steps in” is an intriguing twist; but this twist comes so late in this first issue that some readers may find themselves turning forward to find the part where the action begins.
Note: 👻👻👻 (3/5)
Story: Skottie Young. Drawing: Jorge Corona. Colors: Jean-François Beaulieu. Lettering: Nake Piekos from Blambot. 3D modeling: David Stoll. Editors: Joel Enos & Went Wagenschutz. Production Artist: Deanna Phelps.
A richly illustrated story told with love, Amelia Erroway is just as delicious as the best Pixar movies. It’s a world of steampunk airships and massive flying beasts, where the maiden of a wealthy commander longs to break free from the strict confines of her military life and embark on her own aerial adventures. Our hero Amelia is both courageous and reckless – a dangerous combination, especially when combined with her father’s desire to overprotect his daughter. (Her reasons for worry make more sense and become more complex as we learn more about the family’s past.) When a storm causes her father’s ship to run aground, Amelia sees an opportunity: she flies the ship and heads into a dangerous time, almost dying before she is rescued by a family of rambling explorers and adventurers living deep in an uncharted jungle. This is where Amelia discovers the freedom she has always sought, as well as the responsibilities to others that come with her. A captivating adventure on every page, Amelia Erroway is perfectly punctuated by rising cloak and sword scenes mixed with a tender family drama. The book is aimed at children ages 8 to 12, but it is likely to be a great joy to readers far beyond this range. I can’t wait to give a copy to all the kids I know.
Rating: 🔧🔧🔧🔧🔧 (5/5)
History and art: Betsy Peterschmidt.
There’s a whole slew of promising Issue 1s this week, and a few more commercial paperbacks: The Next Episode of The adventure zonegraphic novel by, The crystal kingdom, is back in stock at Phoenix. A new series with a provocative title Not all robots begins, concerning human dependence on unreliable mechanical work. And there’s another Future Dystopia landing this week, titled We promised utopia. Fans of Rick and morty will want to investigate a new series called Trover saves the universe. DC brings us a new Joker series it appears to be a murder mystery readers are urged to solve. In Lucky devil, an exorcism gone awry leaves an ordinary man with demonic powers, which he harnesses to muster an unexpected audience. And there is a new book by someone named Paul Constant about a comedian named “Snelson”, I wonder what it is.