Art by Chris Kohler. Design by Paul Schmitt.
Podcasting, eh? Yep, we are for this newsletter. 2015 has been a good year for this group. Our members and the new admin have made us into a decent place for comic artists. Thanks to the guys and gals contributing work to make this a home for out-standing comics at Deviant Art.
Welcome New Members
24 new artists have joined since last time. Welcome to: ComicStumps, ikoukas, JRXTIN, CattywampusCreations, stephanmeyer, gavinacademy, ButterSkittles, ArtByRiana, Cassie-Drey, edwo, GustavoGarciaArt, AlexisRoyce, contreraschz, jacobhalton, rustypony, OnTheMountainTop, TonyBourne, EverbloomingForest, DrManhattan-VA, ADRIAN9, PenDracoNero, brynjones and koimonster22.
Song featured: "Alcohol" by Gang Green 1986 Taang! Records.
This month we are trying out a new feature here. We've sat down with a prolific East Coast illustrator for a podcast interview. Frankie Washington
talks about his work for Collosal Kaiju Combat
Want to do an interview for your graphic novel? We're doing podcast interviews this Fall and releasing them for January. Contact admin if you'd like to talk with us for next year's newsletter.
New Indie Comic And Book News
This month, we want to focus on one book with a wide arc. We are very happy to present to you - Manifest.
Total chaos descends upon a futuristic world ruled by a cruel god and his super-villain lackeys.OneSheepArmy
aka Riccardo Desini is the artist and writer behind Manifest. His talent at creating realistic reactions and sensitivity in addressing inflammatory situations is superb. There is a strong grasp at displaying the inner emotional states of even the most minor characters in his books that makes a reader fly through each volume.
The series opens up with a small child drifting in a void. The panels progress in this empty black space and the child grows before our eyes into a rather extremely shapely woman. Now, I strongly encourage female readers not to get turned off at this point. Desini's lead character is anything but a pale, jiggling paper puppet of a character.
This is Tessa, known to her world as Thundergirl, one of the only bona fide super-heroes on her planet of super-villains. Her pointed sexuality is essential for three reasons: One, this is a comic. It is not a film or a performance. We need exaggeration here because there is nothing but the visual to work from. This exaggeration also creates a stark contrast to Tessa's character - which is sensitive and wounded by her past.
Raised as the adopted daughter of the worst creature on the world of Manifest, the cruel god Saturn, Tessa has seen vicious things as a one-sided war is waged. This brings us to the second reason for Tessa's physique. The sheer awkwardness of her body (not quite "inflation art" but close) forces each character, including her adopted father, to deal with their reactions to her enormously ample proportions.
This is fascinating. We too are also forced to take up a position on her body. And, if our position is hostile to her body design - how do we reconcile the fact that her interactions are those of realistic woman?
Tessa is her world's only super-hero - Thundergirl. Her story arcs through her childhood and teenage years.
Reason three is the most important of all. Tessa is one of the most sexy beings on her planet of evil super-villains. Wouldn't this make her in constant danger? This establishes an excellent source of tension that runs through the series in the same way that Aeon Flux or Mila Jovovich's Alice from Resident Evil each seem swallowed up by threatening situations. The last thing we as readers want is for the monsters to catch up with our heroine!
Enter a strange interloper known as the Wanderer. He's kind of a hybrid of Marvel's Vision and DC's Dr. Fate. The Wanderer finds Tessa trapped deep in layers of physical and psychic prisons. The child growing at the beginning of issue one is in fact the shrunken consciousness of Thundergirl while her body remains imprisoned in a stasis pod.
The Wanderer, who I strongly suspect is totally in love her, attempts to set her free beginning with her mind. They explore an astral projection of the past where The Wanderer shows Tessa a few brief glimpses of her past. The best part here happens when Tess looks down at her body in shock.
"Why am I showing my boobs?!" she asks incredulously.
"..I look ridiculous and slutty! Heroes are role-models, right? I don't like this one!"
This kind of self-reflective approach is refreshing. As much as I love Milo Manara's art and Powergirl - those characters never question their own image. In Manifest, there is self-consciousness as there would be with in anyone stuffed into a spandex outfit. Here, a more realistic character emerges.
Using a combination of sexual tension and good writing, with a character that goes through believable emotional states (w/super-powers of course) is fascinating.
Issue one to four have minor amounts of nudity and sexual themes. Issue five is the only "R" or adults-only section. In issue five, Tess finds herself the leader of a diverse group of fighters - only to have the monsters finally catch up to her...!
Issues one through six are now available on Comixology