Josh Tierney’s Warm Blood

There is a killer at Greenwood High. His name is Logan Filigree. Who is the killer at Greenwood High?

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Warm Blood is an ongoing web comic by Josh Tierney. It features the art of Saskia Gutekunst, Joysuke, Jane Bak, Naomi Franquiz, Winston Young, Marina Julia, Leiana Nitura, Oliver Pichard, and many others. The story follows Penny in her first year at Greenwood High and a murder that coincidentally occurred the same day.

At a glance, the comic is very overwhelming. Between the constantly changing art style, choppy conversation, and confusing storytelling, the comic takes a little getting used to. Though the story and cast are very compelling, I found it hard to push past the first, few pages. However, after getting used to the complexities of the comic, I found myself itching to find why everyone is so indifferent to the murders.

For the few chapters already published, Warm Blood has a surprising amount of re-readability. There are barely enough clues to make sense of what is going on that I couldn’t help but to go over everything multiple times. There are also an enjoyable amount of pop culture within the dialogue and art. Most surprises come out the most innocent of panels. The amazing character design from Afu Chan, is also worth a mention seeing that the characters are still recognizable across the always changing art style.

With what’s published so far, Warm Blood is definitely worth reading. Though it takes a little something out of you just to get through the first few pages, the payoff of noticing something beyond the foreground is worth the time. You can start reading the web comic here.

Chris Riddell on Neil Gaiman’s Instructions

Chris Riddell, British illustrator and political cartoonist, posted his take on Neil Gaiman’s Instructions earlier this month. The poem, previously published in books including Trigger Warning, Fragile Things, and its own self-titled picture book with illustrations by Charles Vess, is described by Gaiman as “What to do if you find yourself inside a fairy tale.”

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The Instructions’ vagueness may lead readers to consider it as a sort of practical advice for real life, but I’ve found that it is best enjoyed as the fanciful adventure world Gaiman has meant it to be. Besides, I think the ambiguity is part of its charm. I had not seen or read any of the previous interpretations before coming across this one on Facebook, and I very much enjoyed it.

It is hard not to appreciate Chris Riddell’s take on the piece. The delicate lines of his almost-too-minimalistic art, I think, leaves more to the readers’ wonder and improves the overall experience. The hero’s curls- that grows ever wilder throughout the story and draws readers’ eyes to where the focus is at, is testament to smart character design.

Check Chris Riddell’s amazing take on Neil Gaiman’s Instructions and more of his work on his Facebook page. You can also watch a video of Neil Gaiman narrating Instructions on this Youtube video.

Marvel’s X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

Published in 1982, X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills is the fifth of the Marvel Graphic Novel series. Written by Chris Claremont and Illustrated by Brent Anderson, the graphic novel is known for being the basis for X-Men 2003 sequel, X2.

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The X-Men series is no stranger to storylines that deal with discrimination toward mutant and inhumans. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills takes a religious perspective to the matter. Claremont and Anderson has created a tight-knit story in a little over 60 pages that features the struggles our mutant heroes have to face when confronted with a charismatic religious leader determined on eradicating all mutants.

The graphic novel was written over 30 years ago but the implications of prejudice and ignorance against minorities are still very real today. It’s sad to think that even after all the advancements humanity has achieved, this is one matter we can’t move past.

The art and imagery of the novel is very graphic, even by today’s standards. It shows domestic violence, racism, and various counts of theo-semantic imagery but all to outline the sad reality of racism and intolerance.

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills is definitely worth a read. It is one of the many that prove comics as a viable medium in illustrating and addressing the more serious social matters of the world. Though some may claim the story one-sided, it does its job of putting into perspective the implications and consequences of discrimination and inequality. I hope for a future of coexistence where kids would read the novel and find it hard to imagine that such prejudice and hate were ever possible.

Emily Carroll’s The Hole The Fox Did Make

The Hole the Fox Did Make is a 2014 ghost story webcomic by Em Carroll. Emily Carroll is an amazing artist and is one of my favorite storytellers of all time. She is author to several horror webcomics as well as her very own book, Through the woods.

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The Hole the Fox Did Make is a story about atonement to a crime made in the past. The story follows the experiences of Regan with her dreams and what they reveal about her mother’s past. Carroll is amazing at building up a story. She also utilizes many subtle techniques to create amazing atmosphere. One good example in this piece is the way she changes from black to red to convey emotion, time, and voice.

The comic is a relatively short read, but I swear it will stay in your nightmares for the longest time. The art is very detailed without being too overwhelming. The story has an amazing twist that will send chills down your spine with every re-read. It is one of my favorite stories of Em Carroll’s and is certainly worth a read. You can check it out and more of her wonderful work on her website.

DC’s Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is a one-shot graphic novel by writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland. It is a classic story that boldly exhibits the relationship of The Dark Knight and The Clown Prince. Joker is undoubtedly one of the best villains in comics and this novel is one of the best stories he’s in.
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All it takes is one bad day for anyone in the world to crack. The Joker believes in this greatly and he’s determined to prove it to Gotham’s justice system by taking Commissioner Jim Gordon and giving him that one bad day. Enlightened as it is, there are several controversies surrounding the almost 30 year-old graphic novel. There have been several theories about how the book ended and whether Batman really did kill the joker in this story. You can learn more about this controversy from a video from NerdSync.

Though the fans may be on the fence about the ending, it is an undeniably amazing story. The writing is excellent. The Joker’s monologues are very memorable. One of my favorites is the horrifyingly creative, pun-filled speech where he akins Barbara Gordon to an old library book. The art is morbidly detailed in every sense.

An animated film adaptation of the story was premiered in select theaters on the 25th and 26th of July. The BluRay was released earlier this month. The film is scarily accurate with the graphic novel. In classical Warner Brothers fashion, the animation and the art is fluid.

I highly recommend getting a copy of either the book or the film. Both fans and newcomers to the series are sure enjoy this beautifully written one-shot. It presents an insightful argument about what it is to be insane. It is a relatively short read, but it is one that will never leave you.

Marvel’s Powerless

Earth 40081, as told from the perspective of Dr. William Watts, has become a confusing place since he has awakened from a three-day coma. He recounts vivid dreams he’s had in his coma and it confuses him of what is real and what isn’t.

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Written by Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson and penciled by Michael Gaydos, Powerless is a six issue series that ran from 2004-2005. It tells the story of Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, and Logan but not as you know them. The story is set in a universe where there are no superpowers.

Right away the characters are presented in a way that they are distant from themselves. They act exactly the opposite way the reader expects them to. This awkwardness, at the same time, distances the readers from the main characters. Initially the story plays on the confusion of the reader to create a connection with the protagonist, Dr. Watts.

The series does become more interesting a main conflict and plot is introduced in the succeeding issues. By the fifth issue, however, the story is still partly building up the story; I half-expected the ending to be rushed and unsatisfying. On the contrary, the sixth installment tied up all three characters’ stories well while revealing a fairly surprising twist. The writers used cliffhangers and unexpected twists effectively to pique the interest of any long time Marvel fan.

The art is dark and gritty throughout the series, supporting the deep and high-tension story line. The comic does a great job of solidifying a world where our favorite protagonists existed without their superhuman capabilities. The six-issue read is definitely worth a go. It is something refreshing without being too different from your action-packed usuals.

Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men

As far as superheroes go, I’ve always been a fan of The X-Men. I remember watching several airings of the original X-Men Animated Series and X-Men: Evolution as a kid. The concept of becoming a part of a superhero team was one I would spend my childhood dreaming about.

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As I grew up, my fondness toward the X-Men would subside, but not completely. I would still passively obsess over Marvel video games, or the occasional action figure that would feature them, but that’s as far as it would go.

I primarily blame the inaccessibility of Marvel reading materials before the rise to fame of the MCU, for me missing out on some major X-Men events. Although there are fora and free issues online, I wasn’t able to keep track of my favorite superhero team as closely as would’ve liked.

It wasn’t until recently that I was able to really get into comics. Of the first series I got into was Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men.

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Just like what Kitty Pride’s first panel states, Nothing has changed. Shadowcat returns to the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters as Miss Pryde, Computational Theory Professor and Student Adviser. It feels very familiar to the X-Men I grew up with, without it being exactly the same.

Off the bat, Whedon gives readers that banter-style character and relationship development. It’s always been a treat to behold Whedon’s work. I’ve grown up watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, and I’m sure everyone’s seen the Avengers films. I know I wouldn’t be alone when I say his story telling methods are outstanding. True to his fan boy self, there are more than a few fan service references throughout this series; even way before half of the first issue.

The series was first published in 2004 and I wouldn’t be talking about it if it wasn’t that good. Whedon has an amazing story arc that will reintroduce old fans and new readers to the X-Men. It’s an amazing jumping on point for people who are looking to get into X-Men comic books. It is also a great nostalgic volume for long-time fans of my favorite mutant team. Cassady’s art is just what the doctor’s ordered for this amazing series. His art style is fun but not under-detailed.

Although a bit dated, this is still the series I recommend whenever I get asked about getting into comics.

This Saturday, as with all first Saturdays of May, is Free Comic Book Day. Be sure to check around the web to know which of your local comic book stores will be celebrating the event so you can celebrate with them! There are a lot more to each superhero than what producers can fit into each TV series or film; and if you’ve enjoyed watching them, chances are, you’ll enjoy reading about them as well.

It might seem intimidating and arduous, but there are various ways of getting involved in comic books. There are sites where you can read online copies for free, there are also local store which carry current and past comic book issues, and of course there is a vast community of new as well as veteran readers and collectors who can help you along your way.

This year, I’ll be spending free comic book day at the Alabang branch of Comic Odyssey. Some great on-going series to look out for include, All-New Wolverine, Amazing Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and Extraordinary X-Men.

Tan Jiu (坛九)’s Their Story

Their Story is an on-going manhua by Tan Jiu . The story revolves around Sun Jing, a first year from Second High School and Qui Tong, a second year student from the neighboring South High School.

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Their Story is a light-hearted, slice-of-life web comic about Sun Jing and how she struggles to express her feelings for Qui Tong. The art is amazingly consistent and detailed, and is what actually got me into reading. The story is well-written and irresistibly interesting. I am generally not into yuri and shojoai stories, however, this particular series has got me giggling like a teenage girl.

The manhua, at first glance, may seem like mostly filler strips. However, these are actually subtle development for the characters and their relationships with one another. It allows the readers to feel closer to the characters through the use of the ‘show, don’t tell’ technique. The particular manner of how Tan Jui introduced without dialogue, main characters, Qi Fang and Sun Jing’s friendship on the very first page, continually amazes me.

Their Story excellently demonstrates what most so-called slice-of-life stories fail to emulate. Of course, it can be classified as a love story, but more than that, it is a story about life, and life isn’t all about love. The series has some outstanding comedy sneaked into it. The humor is akin to that of the manga and anime series, Lucky Star.

I have to give proper commendation for yaoi-blcd for translating the series and making it accessible to more people. Props for having translated not only the language, but also the emotion and the comedy of the series successfully.

You can start reading the series on yaoi-blcd’s tumblr or on Dynasty. The series is still on-going so please stay tuned for more and keep supporting the artist and the translators by sharing with your friends.