Tagged: Charles Soule

Molly Jackson: City Love

Cover Photo Strange Attractors

I’m tired of the big two. Frankly, the latest controversies have burned me out on them. I’d rather talk about the exciting news happening in indie comics, which is such an interesting and varied world unto itself. A favorite graphic novel of mine, Strange Attractors by Charles Soule, is getting new life as a limited series run (available today!) thanks to Boom! Studios. You make recognize him from his work on Daredevil, Star Wars, Death of Wolverine, or even She-Hulk, but before all of that, he was doing amazing creator-owned work.

The very basic premise of Strange Attractors is how chaos math can predict events over a period of time. Main characters Dr. Brownfield and Heller Wilson use this math to help keep New York City running. It’s a regularly used trope that New York City runs on its own clock. This story proves that true with mathematical equations and complexity maps.

StrangeAttractors_001_A_MainOriginally released as a graphic novel in 2013 by Archaia, Strange Attractors is being broken up and rereleased as a limited series event. Since there are plenty of fans like myself who read it on the first go-around, they have enticed us back with an additional story about Dr. Brownfield in his youth, titled Antithesis. I know that a big reason this was released is Soule’s skyward climb in popularity. But to see his indie, and in my opinion best, works getting attention is wonderful.

Almost three years to the day, I attended the Strange Attractors release party with fellow ComicMix columnist Joe Corallo. By this time I had seen the complexity maps grow and change over the past two years at conventions and had the story pitched to me a couple times. Excitement couldn’t stop me, and I had made a point to share that enthusiasm with Joe and any friends I could show it too.

By now, you might be wondering why Strange Attractors deserves your attention. In a nutshell, this is such a unique story. The use of math (that normal goes of most people’s heads) should be a negative but it works so seamlessly that it may almost reinvigorate your interest in math! But the real draw to this story is how at its core, this is really a love story with New York City.

In most stories involving New York City, the city is just a backdrop for the story or gets destroyed. But in this tale, New York City is a character in itself. While the city doesn’t have any actual lines, the character development is there through the motions of the protagonists. Soule doesn’t breathe life into New York City; he just uncovers how it was alive all along. To see the city that I love given life is so touching and wonderful.

This is a story that feels great to read. If you like math, New York City, amazing art, the coolest looking maps you would ever see, or just want something new to read, check out Strange Attractors. I believe anyone would find this story as wonderful as I do.

Comics Reviews (June 17th, 2015)

Comics Reviews (June 17th, 2015)

Old Man Logan #2

Well this went off the rails fast. After a first issue long on potential, this is a chain of scenes, all of them interrupted before anything interesting is allowed to happen so that Logan can be dragged to some new potentially interesting scene that won’t play out. Sorrentino’s art is very pretty, but it’s unclear as all hell, and Bendis is in his “let the artist do most of the storytelling” mode, a mode he puzzlingly only ever takes when working with abstract and hard to follow artists, as opposed to when he’s working with Bagley or someone who draws pages so that you can tell what’s going on.

Blackcross #4

A rarity: a Warren Ellis book I’m just not digging at all. None of the characters stand out to me, I don’t know the superheroes being referenced, and this is mostly vague implications in search of a plot for me. Not only do I not remember what’s going on month to month, in the three hours between reading it and writing this review I’ve already forgotten most of this book.

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #13

The plot advances, and there are some very good Eleventh Doctor monologues, but this is a resolutely average issue of this comic. Still, we’re into the “I actually enjoyed reading this” segment of the list.

Stumptown #6

The start of a new arc. I’m not entirely sold – the start was awkward as we have to sit through an explanation of civet coffee, which is on the one hand something that probably does need exposition and on the other feels a bit cliche and overdone. Still, Stumptown is a PI book, not a mystery book, so the setup isn’t the interesting part, and this has enough funny bits to be an entertaining way to spend five minutes, albeit a bit steep at $3.99. But what comics aren’t these days.

Thors #1

A Thor cop book. Aaron proves good at writing this, which is nice – he’s hit and miss for me, to say the least. But the procedural suits him, apparently, and the sheer absurdity of it wrings out a smile at least one every few pages. Throg, in particular, is a delight to see. And with the last page, it even gives a sense that this will matter when we get back to the main Thor book. The only pity is having to go back to that book eventually, really.

Ms. Marvel #16

Wilson makes the smart decision to keep this focused on Kamala and on her plots, picking up heavily from the last arc. The final page is promising. It is in places predictable, but this book always has been – its charm is its ability to find new spins and perspectives on things. Such as a school/refugee center defended by weird turquoise monster things created by Loki. (“To be pwned by Loki is a great honor,” one says, in the week’s best line.) As I said, I have low hopes for these Last Days books, but this is quite good.

Lazarus #17

Rucka returns to his strengths in many ways here: political intrigue, well-done female characters, and a general sense of things kicking off. Not a jumping on point, I suspect, only because there’s a lot of worldbuilding already done and this doesn’t necessarily sell its own stakes well. But it’s exactly what one wants out of a creator-owned Rucka book.

Trees #10

The indiscipline of this book remains considerable. In one plot, it’s utterly unclear what the main character is doing. In the other, nothing seems to happen. The cliffhanger is not one. But at this point these are all clear stylistic choices, and despite long since having lost the plot on this series this issue picked up and read well. Love the bits about the NYPD in the first half. This remains one of the most daring books on the market, and I’m glad that Ellis is content to use the magnitude and guaranteed sales of his name to recklessly fuck with people.

Originally published on PhilipSandifer.com.

Molly Jackson: Comic Signings – The Great Connector

Last month, I was going through a pile of old comics. At the time I was getting ready for a signing, and looking for an issue of Incredible Hulk #1 for writer Jason Aaron to sign for me. While I was going through my many piles, I found some gems I had forgotten about, including some signed issues.

You are probably wondering how I could forget about my gems. Since I am lucky enough to live in NYC, I spend a large amount of time and money going to every comic book signing I could. I had a variety of reasons for going. Some events I went to because of the book, some for the creative team and some just because I had nothing better to do. What’s $4 for an issue just to hang out with cool people for an hour or four?

Doing this, I’ve met great people who became good friends and exposed myself to amazing writers and artists. I’ve found a plethora of new series to read and collect. In fact, a chunk of my favorite graphic novels are ones I bought at a signing or comic panel event.

I can’t express how grateful I am for all the people I’ve bonded with during a five-hour outdoor wait in 30-degree weather for a comic book signing. I enjoy the time spent waiting on line, arguing with people about a character arc or TV show. I’ve argued and joked with people without knowing their name! I’ve done food runs for strangers and trusted my new best friends to watch my spot in line for a potty break. I’ve even huddled together with strangers for warmth under an umbrella.

And then, finally getting to meet the person we were all waiting for! Most of the time, I know their work but on occasion, I’ve had to fake my excitement. Still, that’s how I have met writers and artists that I love now. Like going to an panel and signing for a little know writer named Scott Snyder or one I attended for artist Amy Reeder. And there was a time at a con that I hung out with a then-little known writer, Charles Soule, just chatting about his graphic novel. By going to almost everything I could, I met and supported people throughout different points in their careers. You never know who you are going to meet.

I don’t get to go to as many signing or comic events now, due to my day job. Still, I try to go when I can, and especially to the ones I don’t know much about. It’s a great way to learn about new series. That’s how I get to find gems in my collection like Saga #1 signed by Brian K. Vaughn I found. (Yeah, I can’t believe I forgot about it either.) So, go and check out the signings in your area. You never know if you are going to meet the next big star or your next best friend.