Sunday, July 27, 2014

Epic Beards of Review: CMYK

The bright blue cover staring at me two weeks ago in the comic shop did more than just that. It whispered and beckoned to me with its come hither stare. It seduced me with its four-color blocks. 

The fact that it was a Vertigo title made it even sexier.

I hate to admit this, especially this early in the game: sometimes, I’m not the nerd I purport myself to be. The letters CMYK in those four-color blocks taunted me, but I couldn’t remember why.

My nerdy mojo must be off.

For the uninitiated, CMYK (that is to say [C]yan, [M]agenta, [Y]ellow and [B]lack ) are the four colors that make up the basic building blocks of color comics. You can combine these colors to get just about any hue you want. Vertigo (a mature DC Comics imprint) is known for their quarterlies and one-shots in recent years, and this year they’re making an attempt for these colors to serve as a 
base for their writers and artists.
The “blue” theme works well enough here, though it’s not as solid as some previous installments such as Time Warp and Ghosts. Not to say the offerings this quarter weren’t stellar: they just didn’t fit together solidly. Have no fear, there’re buckets of good things happening here.

There are three “price of fame” pieces that resonate deeply for one reason or another. The book opens up with a pretty gritty ditty about a girl the papers who they’re tagging with the moniker of “Banksy of Murder.” Another visits a washed-up has-been pop starlet making way for new blood. In the third, Madame Bluebeard takes a stab at the old folktale pairing a gay male with a woman to make their Hollywood relationship seem passable. This is by far the funniest offering in the issue, with a realization at the end as to who the narrators are.

Just two tales feel incomplete, or perhaps I’m clamoring for more. One such story, Blue Sundae, is about two British ice cream truck drivers. What starts out as a crazed call in the middle of the night turns into heroes battling supernatural forces beyond their understanding. And did I mention they’re British?

These nine stories showcase the intricacies of pacing within six-to-eight pages and the oomph contained therein to tell a tale. Different writers and artists bring about a deeper storytelling that works hand-in-hand to properly get the job done. These six-to-eight-page stories fit the format of the medium well, and the re-readability makes for a well-spent eight dollars. It can be a pretty hefty sum to pay for a comic, but I’ve not been disappointed yet. 

Very much looking forward to next quarter with [M]agenta.

This review originally appeared in the July 3 issue of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette Showcase.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fairy Tales for Unbelievers

lately I've been having trouble sleeping
not because you snore or he needs to feed
aches and pains they come and go to these old bones
still sometimes I'm afraid to face my dreams

like spinning gold from piles of straw
just got to listen to where you're led
fairy tales for unbelievers
found the needle and I'll thread it 'til I'm dead

a month ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find them
they'll slink on in if you don't watch your back
not going gray, I swear, it's silver
biting at your heels they run in packs


these old eyes are sunk like ghosts
they've seen a lot they'd soon forget
but all that came before is how I came to you
and baby this is as good as it gets

I'm taking this journey
never thought that I'd be on
holding your hand and he in my arm
thankful I don't have to walk alone


Monday, July 7, 2014

Road Song

the open road called to him
the only thing that it could've been
didn't feel like just a whim
old 55 at the highest
needs to find what he's all about
he wants to scream and he wants to shout
leave behind all these aches and doubts
try, tryer, tryest

faith seemed to force his hand
riding cross this blasted land
coming back a changed man
what did you expect?
he had to cry, he had to grieve
he's seen things you would not believe
and soon again he'll have to leave
an another won'drous trek