Tag Archives: Matt Kindt

Faith & The Future of Valiant

Not since Jim Shooter pulled an impressive assemblage of creators together in the early 90’s has Valiant garnered this much attention. And, arguably, never in the company’s history has the acclaim been as well deserved as it is right now. Jody Houser’s Faith series, chronicling the adventures of Zephyr, found itself in many of last year’s best-of lists. And this week, she’s back with a brand new event series, Faith & The Future Force, featuring a team of Valiant heroes from across the timestream. Despite attempting to keep the lowest of profiles following being framed for murder, Faith Herbert can think of only one possible response when being told, “Come with me if you want to save history.” I mean, we’ve all wanted to hear those words, yeah?

And this really underscores the primary appeal of Faith. While generations of comic book superheroes have captured various aspects of human virtue, representing our greatest qualities and most profound aspirations, Faith is one of those rare heroes who truly feels human. She looks like a real person, talks like a real person, and behaves how any one of us fanboys and girls would likely behave if given half the chance to save the city, the world, or, indeed, all of history.

Together with Timewalker and Ank, the dinosaur lady, Faith must skip across time to combat a killer robot who seems to be consuming every action movie catchphrase, while decimating everything else. The book is beautifully illustrated by Stephen Segovia  and Barry Kitson, with vibrant colors by Ulises Arreola, and is another big win for Valiant in 2017.

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Grass Kings

Last week I referenced Jeff Lemire’s afterword to Royal City wherein the prolific creator discusses being inspired by the current Golden Age of Television. I didn’t think of it at the time, probably because comics already has a definitive “Golden Age,” but it’s hard to discount what’s happening in the world of comics lately. The taking-comics-seriously tipping point may have been Spiegelman’s Maus and the British invasion/Vertigo revolution, but it’s been a slow climb to legitimacy since then. No doubt, part of that has been due to the fact that the “less serious” side of comics, the world of superheroes and escapist sci-fi, has taken the entertainment world by storm. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a welcome development, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to live in an era in which my neighborhood theater is pre-selling tickets to a Guardians of the Galaxy blockbuster and Daredevil is a high-budget television show. But this brave new Hollywood has only served to strengthen the unfortunate impression that comic books are synonymous with super-powers.

But I digress. My point is, we could be looking at another Golden Age of Comics, one that has nothing to do with capes & tights, alternate dimensions, or talking animals.

This week, Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins debut Grass Kings #1 from Boom! Studios. If Lemire’s book said Bloodline to me, then this one screams True Detective. The story is set in a trailer park community on the shores of an unnamed lake, a lake that has borne witness, over the centuries, to generations of violence, sacrifice, and upheaval. This is no ordinary community however: “The Grass Kingdom” claims complete autonomy over the rest of the United States, and woe is any rascally kid who risks sneaking in from a neighboring town to spy on those “squatters” on their “stolen land.”

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30 Years of Dark Horse Comics

250px-Dark_Horse_Presents_01In 1986, at the vanguard of the black & white comics boom, Mike Richardson launched Dark Horse Presents #1 and Dark Horse Comics was born. Thirty years later, still publishing from Milwaukie, Oregon, Dark Horse has weathered the rise and fall of hundreds of publishing rivals to stake an impressive claim on comics shop real estate alongside “The Big Two,” as well as fellow upstart independent publisher Image Comics. This Saturday is Dark Horse Comics Day, and comic shops around the around the country will be joining in the celebration.

Although the company’s bread & butter has been its excellent licensed property-based series, such as Aliens, Buffy, and, until recently, Star Wars, there are a wealth of creator-owned gems in the DHC catalog. This weekend, when you’re out perusing the racks, look for some of our favorites.

concConcrete by Paul Chadwick
Chadwick’s Concrete made its debut in that very first Dark Horse Presents, and his short stories appeared in a number of that anthology’s issues over the next few years. These are the stories of -, a political speechwriter whose brain was transplanted into the body of a hulking stone-like giant. The genius of the comic, and the reason it became such an important breakthrough for the medium, is that every story follows a genuinely human response to this one bizarre character development. What would it really be like if you were suddenly seven-feet of near-indestructible alien construct. How would the MaureenConcworld, completely unaccustomed to things like billionaire weapons designers with flying exoskeletons or the unexpected effects of radioactive spiderbites, react? How do you live? How do you love?

Chadwick’s art is some of the most affecting, tender linework you’ll ever see. And the fragile beauty of his brushstroke underscores the guiding premise that we often take for granted our most human of actions and reactions. Speaking of fragility, if you need one collection to get started, check out Concrete, Vol. 3: Fragile Creature, which collects the mini series of the same name, as well as some of his earlier short stories.

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New Comics: Dept. H

IMG_0669In his new series for Dark Horse Comics, MIND MGMT and Super Spy creator Matt Kindt teams up with wife Sharlene to pull the reader under for a fantastic, immersive murder mystery. Dept. H takes place in a deep-sea research station, thousands of miles below the sunlit surface (deptH, get it?) and within the first few pages, I’m already terrified.

I like to think that I have a healthy fear of the open water. I grew up a few miles from the Pacific, and now live even closer. I love the ocean, but it scares the hell out of me. And when special investigator Mia dons her superunderwatersuit and investigates the crime scene, one beautiful Kindtian clue at a time, the culminating image of the floating body absolutely chills me.

IMG_0671I’d like to echo the closing comments in Kindt’s afterword. I’m as guilty as the next guy of waiting until certain series have been collected before purchasing and reading. But let’s help keep those floppies on the comic book shelves, team. We’re in the era of binge-watched Netflix shows and discounted introductory TPBs. I get it. But I also get how valuable it can be to patiently wait for each new installment of an engrossing series, especially when the creators go out of their way to make each installment so individually worthwhile. And, in the case of Dept. H, we’ll be rewarded for swimming along with each successive issue, each day in the life of our main character. Continue reading New Comics: Dept. H