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What I'm Reading

Harrow County
(2015 Dark Horse) #1

Here is yet another win for Dark Horse!

A farmer's livestock have been stricken with some kind of malady. Is it because a witch he helped kill years before has come back?

The farmer's daughter, Emmy, has vivid dreams and even believes a blighted oak tree sometimes whispers to her.

Could Emmy be the witch who vowed vengeance against the townsfolk who killed her? And, if she is, what will the neighbors do about it?

Cullen Bunn's writing is crisp and truly evokes an earlier time in the 20th century. And, Tyler Crook's art appears to be water colors that work very well with the story.

The quote on the cover from Mike Mignola says it all: "A rare thing - both wonderfully charming and genuinely disturbing."

Get this issue!

(posted May 18, 2015)

 5 Questions with... 
Creator Mark Wm Teel

1) On what project are you currently working?

I’ve been writing and illustrating a neo-noir comic book called "The Pack Rat," as well as a companion series called "The Pawn Shop Detective." At first, the two stories don’t appear to have any sort of connection until the reader gets further along and begins to realize that they share a larger universe. At some point, they will temporarily merge. It’s like a couple of Phillip Marlow stories that take place within the geek subculture. I’d like to release them together as sort of a two-volume set titled "Red Herring No. 23." In the meantime, each issue so far can be viewed at my website

I also have a comic workshop that I’ve slowly been developing. I call it Kidonia INK. It was originally a working title but it just kind of stuck. I have the rare opportunity to foster young people in their love of creating comics at the peak of their creativity. I’ve been selecting students to participate for the summer session, and actually have a duo that is in the process of developing a role playing game. 

2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?

I wish I’d been the one to create "Adventure Time." Pendleton Ward is pure genius. As for actual print comics, I find inspiration in the works of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Kim Deitch, Sam Kieth, Crumb, Chris Ware, etc. Their storytelling is every bit as fascinating as their artwork. Illustrators like Jack Davis, Oliver Jeffers, Sergio Aragones, and Ralph Steadman will always be a huge influence on me. 

3) How did you get into the comic book field?

I was obsessed with comics at an early age and eventually spent my high school days drawing one-page gag strips about my friends and teachers. After high school, I half-heartedly pursued this but really only for lack-of-ambition in doing anything else. Eventually I enrolled in graphic design school, where my world opened up. Here, I was exposed to all different types of art and philosophies. I got back into comics when I realized that I had so many stories to tell, but lacked the time, patience and finances to turn them into written stories or films. Graphic design didn’t quite work out for me and I went back to earn my teaching certificate and this led me to my current position in Kansas City, KS. Around this same time I started drawing an autobiographical comic book called "The Colorblind Art Teacher" because, well, that’s what I am. I’d been reading a lot of the Beat writers and decided to try a stream of consciousness thing. I looked at guys like John Porcellino, James Kochalka, and Jeff Brown and appreciated the way they just poured their experiences out into sketchbooks and then published them. Aside from the print books, I set a goal to have a weekly web comic for at least a year. I’m glad I did it but it was hard, coming up with something fresh every week. And being a teacher is every bit as time consuming and stressful as they say, so I get much more accomplished during the summer. 

4) On which title would you most like to work and why?

I don’t really like to draw licensed characters unless it’s a one-time thing or as a favor or homage. However, I would never pass up the opportunity to draw variant covers. Like Scotty Young or Sam Kieth. Draw other people’s characters as a single work of art and then leave the inside to somebody else. I use my time at Comic Con to draw characters that I wouldn’t normally draw, but only as a challenge to myself to see how I can spin them. I love drawing Ben Grimm and the Hulk, but I wouldn’t want to do a whole book about them. Also, I’m a decent writer but would prefer not to do that so I always welcome written stories by others, so long as it allows me to do my thing.

5) On what project will you be working next?

Last year, I developed a comic book called "Middle Child Syndrome." So far, I’ve only produced “issue #1”—but there’s “variants” of it that are designed specifically for age groups (K-1, 2-3 and 4-5) and both genders. I write and draw the “blue” version and my niece writes the “pink” version while I illustrate it. So overall there are six versions of each issue. Has that kind of thing been done before? Anyway, my goal is to have a new batch of issues finished every year by spring, so I’ll be getting started on “issue #2” this summer. 

I also need to finish up the most recent "The Colorblind Art Teacher" (#4) because it’s been sitting there for the better part of six years and is about ¾ finished. I’m also collaborating with a writer friend of mine who I’ve known since high school and has literally been my partner in crime on a few occasions. The details are not ready to be discussed but there is going to be a Kickstarter campaign that I have no doubt will exceed its goal. That’s the thing I’m most excited about right now. 

For more of Mark Wm Teel's work, go here, here, and here.

(posted May 18, 2015)

Indie Corner

Grace #1

This is an excellent title!

Grace is selected to reclaim lost souls after she almost dies by being shot seven times (for reasons still unknown).

In return for her service to Heaven(?), she is granted enhanced physical abilities.

The story is a bit of a cross between the TV show “Reaper” and Dynamite Comics’ “Jennifer Blood.”

The storytelling is brisk and the pages just fly by. There are a lot of quiet frames and they add a layer of depth to the comic book.

Creator C.W. Thayer is the whole package – he not only created the character and story, he wrote and illustrated it.

So, what’s next for Grace? Stay tuned by going here
and here
and here

(posted May 18, 2015)