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Review: Womanthology: Space

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Womanthology, if you haven’t already heard, is a large group of all female creators who put together a huge anthology of work and funded the publication through Kickstarter last year. The fundraising and the book were a huge success, shining a spotlight on many talented ladies in the comics industry, at all levels of accomplishment. After the success if the original anthology, IDW has decide to support a new 5 issue series from Womanthology, starting with Space!

Womanthology: Space offers five short stories from industry talents such as Bonnie Burton, Rachel Deering, Ming Doyle and Alison Ross, just to name a few. Some of these stories I liked better than others, but they were all well thought out and creative. Since each one is very short, I don’t want to say too much in the way of spoilers here, but I will touch lightly on each.

“Waiting for Mr. Roboto” is a cute take on the ‘searching for Mr. Right’ theme and takes place in a space diner. The characters are all either alien or robot. Trixie is a bored waitress hoping for something new and exiting to walk in the door. This was probably one of my favorite stories, simply because it’s easy and light hearted, the artwork simple and clean.

“Dead Again” is a creepy ghost story taking place on a lonely ship, just one man left to keep it afloat. He made a mistake one day and that mistake hasn’t let him rest ever since. I also enjoyed this one for it’s spooky, sci-fi vibe and nicely colored and textured art.

“Scaling Heaven” follows the efforts of American and Chinese astronauts to beat each other to the moon. The art of this story is soft and flowy, layered nicely; I really liked this particular style. I will say, however, the story itself was not my favorite. It just felt a little disjointed and open ended. 

“Princess Plutonia” reads and looks like a silver age comic, very vintage and brightly colored, the story full of fantasy alien names and space creatures battling for survival and love. It’s a super short but entertaining little adventure.

The final story is called “Space Girls” and it’s presented in a web comic style, all black and white, very simplistic. Sort of a silly portrayal of an all female spaceship that encounters a very special sort of alien presence while exploring new planets. There’s not much to say about this one, it’s basic, cartoonish and should make you smile.

All in all, Womanthology: Space is a nice little collection of tales of space exploration, by a mixed pot of creative women making their names in the comic industry. The first Womanthology book was created to benefit a charity called Global Giving Foundation. The new series of books are being created to get some exposure and creative props to the many skilled women in the comics industry. Regardless of the quality and enjoyment you get from these stories, one of those should be reason enough to support Womanthology.

Available now from IDW.

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Review: Monocyte Collected Edition HC

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Written by: Kasra Ghanbari

Art by: Menton3

Review by Melissa Megan

My local comic shop guy messaged me online: “The Monocyte hard cover is here, bagged and ready for you. I thought I should let you know right away, since you’ve been excited for it to come” ‘Excited’ is definitely an understatement here. I admit I don’t frequent my local shop as much as I should, but they know that for the last year I’ve never been late to pick up my latest Monocyte issues. This one, in particular, had me itching to get my hands on it. Nerds in Babeland readers are well aware of my addiction to these comics, as I have reviewed and highly recommended every single one. Creators Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari felt that the horrible grandeur of Monocyte could not be contained in tiny comic book pages, so they brought fans a collected, hardcover edition that is so, so much more than just the story of Monocyte.

Collected edition size comparison to Monocyte single issues

From the minute you turn the book to take in the entire wrap around cover it is obvious that it was created with an incredible love and dedication to the power of Menton3’s art. He’s by far one of the most unique and impressive comic artists of recent years and Monocyte was, I believe, the creation that really got him noticed by readers, art collectors and artists. Within the first few pages of the book I became painfully aware of just how limiting those single issue comic pages had been for Monocyte. All I can compare it to is maybe seeing a film in IMAX for the first time. You have no idea how much you’ve been missing until you see it in all it’s glory, splayed out in giant size images that you can’t help lingering on after you’ve already read the words.

This is not at all to downplay the quality of writing that Kasra Ghanbari brings to Monocyte, which is the backbone of the book. He writes like he’s carving mythology in to a modern world, building characters and events on each other with unflinching grace and balance. The story is complex and requires your full attention, but if you allow yourself to be present in it, you will not be disappointed with the reward. I will stop gushing about how much I absolutely love Monocyte because as I promised, this collection is so much more than just the story of Monocyte.

art by Chris Newman

The Monocyte Collected Edition is a 224 page hardcover book. It contains the entirety of the original Monocyte story, plus the previously digital only prequel. The book also offers over 60 pages of new content, including a gallery of Menton3’s conceptual and design work for Monocyte, plus a very impressive guest artist gallery. Creepy little child demons by sculptor and fine artist Scott Radke. Sexy, gothic pinups by Alberto Ruiz. Fluid, surreal digital art by Chris Newman. Even some bad ass metal sculpted Monocyte head pieces by Tim Roosen. The book is literally stuffed with so much breathtaking art. One of my personal favorite pieces is a super goulish, almost 3D painting by David Stoupakis that I haven’t been able to stop looking at.

art by Aaron Ryan

The Monocyte Collected Edition is not only a magnificent representation of one of the best comics to be released in the past year, but it’s a guaranteed brag book for your collection. Set this book down on your coffee table (be careful not to spill on it!) and there’s no way someone won’t pick it up and get sucked in. Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari are up to huge things this year (44FLOOD, anyone?), but Monocyte is the beginning of their magical union and one that every self respecting comic book reader should experience. if you’re a Menton3 fan or just a Monocyte fan, this book is a must own. MUST OWN. Not maybe. Get it now and bask in it’s awesome power of pure, artistic unicorn blood voodoo. Get it HERE.

 

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Channel Zero, The Complete Collection

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Back in 1997, an art school student named Brian Wood (Generation X, DMZ, Demo) published a 5 issue series called Channel Zero, intended to be part of his final project for graduation. He was angry about New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani enforcing his freedom restrictive ‘Clean Act’.  As Brian Wood will tell you himself in one of many footnotes included ” I feel a strong sense of pride that Channel Zero still exists in print today. I’ll never be able to recapture that same creative moment I had working on this book.” He admits it’s a relic of the times, but not completely irrelevant in today’s atmosphere of conservative backlash against media, art, film and video games.

In addition to getting a gem of a look at the roots of Brian Wood’s future comic success, Channel Zero The Complete Collection also includes a prequel story illustrated by Becky Cloonan (Demo, East Coast Rising, Wolves) and represents the pair’s first time working together. The artwork all throughout this collection is raw and sharp. It’s minimalist, no fancy scrollwork or elaborate shading, no colors. What it lacks in fancy it makes up for in texture and heavy mood. The setting of Channel Zero relies on the reader feeling restricted, contained, a little on edge watching all the freedoms of America being washed away under power hungry political sewage. 

Channel Zero is about the loss of rights in a future America drowning in mindless consumerism. It’s also the story of Jennie 2.5, an art student who embarks on a commitment to fight the repression through hacking, cutting-edge media manipulation, and eventually befriending international rebels and supporters. This series presents a super unique view of the comic genre through heavy graphic arts techniques and touches on real world fears of politics, police aggression and commercial absorption of self expression.

The Channel Zero Complete Collection  includes the original series, the prequel graphic novel Jennie One, the best of Public Domain design books, years worth of extras, rarities, short stories and unused art. Throw in a great introduction by Warren Ellis and you’ve got a must-own collection. 

“For all its black and white somber mien, Channel Zero is, to me, one of the most uplifting comics of the nineties. Channel Zero is about winning. It’s about learning how to give a shit again, about finding ways to make things better. It’s about anger as a positive force of creation. It’s about your right to not have to live in the world they’ve built for you.” -Warren Ellis

If you’ve enjoyed Channel Zero in the past, this collection is a fantastic way to display it and share it with someone who hasn’t been there yet. If you’re new to Channel Zero , take my word for it and pick this collection up, as it’s best enjoyed in it’s entirety. And collected editions are pretty on the bookshelf.

Available now from Dark Horse Comics.

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