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Comics: Once More Unto the Breach

by Dee. 5/20/2016
It's that time of year again, when some comics are free for a day, and when others are held high in recognition of their excellence. May is the month of the international Free Comic Book Day, as well as the announcement of the year's Eisner nominees.

These are the top categories of interest in the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards nominees:

Best Continuing Series:
Giant Days (Boom! Studios)
Invincible (Image)
Silver Surfer (Marvel)
Southern Bastards (Image)

Best Limited Series:
Chrononauts (Image)
The Fade Out (Image)
Lady Killer (Dark Horse)
Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions (Image)
The Spire (Boom! Studios)

Best New Series:
B!tch Planet (Image)
Harrow County (Dark Horse)
Kaijumax (Oni)
Monstress (Image)
Paper Girls (Image)
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel)

Best Writer:
Jason Aaron, Southern Bastards (Image); Men of Wrath (Marvel Icon); Doctor Strange, Star Wars, Thor (Marvel)
John Allison, Giant Days (Boom! Studios/ Boom! Box)
Ed Brubaker, The Fade Out, Velvet, Criminal Special Edition (Image)
Marjorie Liu, Monstress (Image)
G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)

For the full list of nominees, check it out here.

Southern Bastards is about Earl Tubbs, who returns to the small Southern town where he grew up. His arrival stirs up some of the underlying oppressive violence that keeps the God-fearing citizens under the control of Coach Boss, the local high school football coach. Earl is confronted emotionally by the ghosts of his past and physically by the current posse of thugs in his hometown. Southern Bastards is full of piss-'n'-vinegar, barbecue, and football.

I've always liked horror the way I've liked spicy food: something that starts off fairly mild and rises in intensity so that by the time it fully hits you it takes your breath away. Harrow County revolves around Emmy, an almost eighteen year old and the citizens of Harrow County. This series is clearly a Southern gothic, filled with spiritual and supernatural happenings, while maintaining a violent backwater darkness.

The art style is described as watercolor and gouache, which looks like a sketch meeting a watercolor painting, with mostly diluted colors and minimal suggestions of structure. The ink lines are deep and solid, throwing dramatic, defining shadows. The result is something polarizing, dreamlike and uncertain, which enhances the tension of the story. In this way, the discordant combination of storytelling, language and art brings you the anxiety and fear you come to expect from horror stories.

Giant Days is a fun romp of three girls through their early days in college, with plenty of laughs, drama, and awkward relationships past and present. From feral pet pigeons to plague-level colds, Giant Days shows a sophisticated range of storytelling and emotional depth.

The color palette is bright and rich, which compliments the vivid and hectic college experience the three girls encounter. The character design and personalities are so unique to each of our three heroines that if you were to read just the dialogue, you would be able to easily identify the speaker.

I always find that the lists of the Eisner nominees encourages me to reach out and find issues or trades of interesting, compelling new comics, and I would like to pass that on to you.

Happy reading,

Dee

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