comic books

You should be reading this: The Infinite Vacation

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The Infinite Vacation Synopsis

This is Mark (below). Marks your average run of the mill nice guy. His life pretty much sucks, he hates his job, he’s perpetually in a funk, he’s not great with the ladies and he’s got a serious addiction to “The Infinite Vacation”. What is the infinite vacation you ask? Well my dear friend, not only is it a widely popular cell phone app and portal to every possible eventuality you could imagine, but it’s also the title of Nick Spencer and Christian Wards fantastic hardcover graphic novel (release on 7/10). The Infinite Vacation tells the story of Mark’s quest to find himself, in a sea of infinite realities. With the possibility of vacationing to alternate dimensions at a whim, Mark’s escape from his own reality results in him constantly visiting other Marks, discovering different renditions of himself, had events in his life been slightly altered. After racking up enough frequent vacation points, Mark becomes one of the biggest users of the app.

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As the story progresses, Mark misses an opportunity with a beautiful girl at a coffee shop, who ends up being a Deadender (someone who believes in a life without the infinite vacation), thus planting the seed that eventually leads him to take hold of his own life. In a strange turn of events, Mark soon meets three of his other selves who make him aware that many of the other Marks are being killed off. We find that his constant vacationing has caught the watchful eye of the infinite vacation corporation and Marks story begins to unravel;  revealing a much larger conspiracy pitting him at the center of a multidimensional collapse where he is forced to make the most important decision of his life. This decision will not only change Mark forever but life itself.

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 The Infinite Vacation Overall

Though this book took what felt like forever to wrap up, fans of the infinite vacation were surely rewarded with its closing. This is probably one of the most astounding books i have ever read. It has pushed the medium in ways that many other comics haven’t in years. Very rarely do a writer and artist work in such perfect harmony as they do here. Nick Spencer’s writing is comical and light-hearted at times, but he injects a dark and cynical edge that comes as a welcomed surprise later on in the book. Christian Ward’s art is hands down jaw dropping from page to page. The frame layouts are beautiful and often times do not adhere to any kind of concrete structure, leaving each page more like a canvas than a strip. His use of color is fresh and breathtaking. With what seems like hundreds of patterns and textures, he crafts beautifully trippy, trans-dimensional landscapes and overlays. Bob Ross’s head would’ve surely exploded were he to gaze upon this work. They’ve even inserted commercial advertisements for the infinite vacation product within the comic. With great quotes like “Go anywhere. Be anything. The Infinite Vacation”. The ideas herein are well expressed, executed, and presented beautifully. The Infinite Vacation has so much to offer in terms of thought-provoking storytelling, that I don’t know one person i wouldn’t recommend this book too. This is a must read!

 

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You should be reading this: EAST OF WEST

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This past March, Image comics released what i believe to be one of the most anticipated new series of 2013 – East of West. In my opinion, this may be one of the coolest and strongest first issues I’ve ever read! Jonathon Hickman’s dystopian western apocalypse, takes you to an alternate dimension where US history has been greatly altered. With each panel, Dragotta leads you down an in-depth and violently complex rabbit hole, forcing the reader to question more and more as you move forward. The incredible attention to detail is astounding, as each panel compliments and establishes each character extremely well. The story opens with the three horsemen rising from some kind of strange burial ground. The lone phrase “The dream is over”, lays alone on the first page, while “And then the world will follow” serves as great foreshadowing to this epic. As you progress, historical allusions to civil war era – end of the world prophecy, major battles, and what resulted in the creation of “Seven Nations of America”, paint a new picture of the United States.  The story soon flashes forward to 2064, where the three horseman are fully grown, bad ass, and ready to raise hell. Our western quest for the apocalypse begins.

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I can’t give too much away because the beauty of this book is discovering it’s intricacies for yourself. I would HIGHLY recommend picking it up as it is an ongoing story and you’ll be addicted to it after the first issue. This is definitely something your going to want to add to your weekly pull list. Never before have we really seen the post apocalyptic genre take this kind of angle, and i couldn’t be happier to see where Hickman and Dragotta take us. This book is bound to have many memorable characters and i can already see many parallels the creators may have taken influence from (Garth Ennis’ – Preacher). East of West is a gritty, ruthless, take no prisoners tale that will hopefully deliver the end of the world to us with a bloody smile on our faces.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We at the DK lounge would like to wish everyone a happy and safe thanksgiving!

In the wake of hurricane sandy we do have a lot to be thankful for, and we cant express how thankful we are for you guys! Thanks for all the continued support and check back soon for more fun reviews and photos!

Coming soon:

  • Lone Survivor Review
  • Borderlands 2 review
  • Braid review
  • Pumpkin Beers!
  • Metal Gear time line
  • The Strange Talent of Luthor Strode
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Alex Sanchez to Release Web based Mad Max Comic

This years NY Comic Con was a blast and I was fortunate enough to run into Ironhed comic artist Alex Sanchez. Set up at his artist alley table was a ton of his brilliant art work for purchase. Sanchez is known for his work on comics like  Tales of the VampiresStar Wars: The Old RepublicFleshdigger, and Batman: Jokers Asylum. His artwork is uncanny and he’s done tons of work for DCMarvelTop CowIDW, and Dark Horse. Sanchez had revealed that he has been working on a web based Mad Max comic which should be dropping sometime soon. Being a huge Mad Max/Road Warrior fan, this could not be more exciting! I’m a huge sucker for post apocalyptic fiction and can’t wait till this comes out. Here’s a few images from Alex’s collection!

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Comic Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Science fiction is constantly pushing the limits of our imagination, forcing us to question the paths in which human progress and ingenuity will take us. However, very rarely in history do many works reach levels of such philosophical, social, and emotional depth  that they force us to look not only inside ourselves, but at our society as a whole, and to the core of what makes us human. Philip k Dick‘s work has always brought these things to light, pushing fans to think outside the box and really see the truth through the smoke and mirrors.

Synopsis (spoiler alert):

I recently picked up BOOM studios release of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, which is a verbatim translation of the book but in graphic novel form. Tony Parker‘s dark renderings of Dicks dystopian-noir future, immerse the reader in a world where massive corporate structures reduce the average person to ants, and technological perseverance has outgrown whats left of a post “World War Terminus” planet Earth. Many people have left earth for off world colonies and as an incentive for emigrating, have been given an android companion. Those left on earth live in the remaining city filth, which often does not see sunlight due to toxic clouds that fill the skies almost all of the time. In this future people utilize machines called “mood organs” which allow them to punch in any kind of emotions they wish, for any number of feelings or situations they could be in. Many are reliant on these machines and have forgotten how to really feel, as the world has degraded around them, leaving little in the way of personal happiness.

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Bounty hunter Rick Deckard awakes to an argument with his wife about her use of her mood organ because she frequently punches in negative emotions like sadness and depression. This has put a strain on their relationship and Rick protests against using the machine. He leaves to go up to his hover car parked roof where his neighbor and him discuss the value and status of owning a real life animal. Many animals are extinct due to the ash left by world war terminus; and since humans have grown a intense sentiment for their companionship. Rick fantasizes about owning a real life sheep some day and will stop at nothing to feel the attachment that comes with a living animal. He leaves for work and is surprised as to what he finds when he gets there.

Upon his arrival Rick Deckard finds that he is now responsible to retire 6 rogue “Nexus 6” androids, which have apparently escaped from an off world colony and have attempted to settle in San Francisco. Rick is to administer the Voight-Kampff test on them, which is a test involving a series of questions to determine empathy, a trait that androids lack. Rick is assigned the task of retiring the androids because his senior officer Dave Holden, was attacked while giving the Voight-Kampff to one and is in a hospital recuperating. Rick sees this hunt as a chance to get enough money to finally afford a living sheep, which he is constantly researching in his Sydney’s catalog. This begins Deckards 24 hr manhunt to find the androids and….himself. On his journey, Deckard finds that the androids have integrated themselves into many aspects of society already and that the nexus 6 is the closest thing to a human he has ever seen.  He eventually catches up with them and learns a lot more about himself then he ever had imagined.

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Alongside the story of Deckard is that of J.R Isidore, who is a “special”, someone genetically damaged and unfit to leave earth and emigrate  to the off world colony. He lives alone in an abandoned apartment complex and is in constant use of his “Empathy Box”, which allows him to completely immerse himself in the pain and struggle of Wilber Mercer. Upon use of the Empathy box, ones mind is transported, along with thousands of other users, into the mind and body of Wilber Mercer. Mercer is an old man, constantly climbing a mountain and having rocks thrown at him. This is a very real experience for those using the empathy box and any pain inflicted by rocks is actually done to them in the real world. This shared mutual pain and struggle has created somewhat of a religious cult called Mercerism. Those who follow Mercer believe in his existence and the idea that no matter how bad things are, you are never alone and that their are others out there like you who feel the way you do. At the same time throughout the story their is an opposing television icon called Buster Friendly who is most likely an android, as his show runs for 23 hours a day and is only off for one hour. Buster Friendly is the force of anti-Mercerism but provides hours of entertainment for those willing to watch. He ends up exposing/debunking Mercerism on live television in a grand announcement which is televised worldwide. Isidore’s loneliess turns into a desperate friendship with android Pris, who uses J.R’s apartment as a hideout for her and the rest of her android comrades. The escaped androids believe that Mercerism is a hoax and discredit Isidore’s beliefs leaving him empty.

Thoughts:

This book was also made into a Ridley Scott film titled “Blade Runner” in 1982, starring Harrison Ford, which received critical acclaim from fans of the book as well as general fans of science fiction. I personally think that the message the book attempts to convey, is not as directly portrayed in the film. The book really emphasizes Deckards aloneness, emptiness, and his questions on the morality of what it means to be human. Many other aspects involving the two major religious themes in the book (Buster Friendly and that of Mercerism) are lost in the movie. Many more things also happen in the book that develop these ideas more thoroughly, while also painting a deeper picture of Deckards inner turmoil, and the desperate cling to empathy to retain his humanity. Deckard questions if he is any different then the androids he is hunting.

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One thing that i found interesting about Dicks character Buster friendly is the channel that one must dial in to view him: 888. In the bible the number of man is 5, the devil 6, and god 7. As i was reading this i wondered if this was Philip K Dicks way of telling us that television is the next religion. Television provides people with an escape from their everyday life by creating dramatic fantasies. It allows them to relate to something imaginary and be controlled and influenced by pixels of light. In a post apocalyptic future where everything has gone to hell, it is not hard to believe that humans would yearn for an escape as simple as this, and we see Buster Friendly’s influence in his discredit of Mercerism.

Overall, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a masterful work and deserves every bit of credit that it gets. This story leaves the reader with many questions of their own and i believe that any writer that can make his audience question what makes them human, well they’ve done their job. If you haven’t read this book pick it up!

Thank you PKD.

Comic Review: Sweet Tooth

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Vertigo has had many amazingly gritty and off-beat titles through the years; Hellblazer, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, and V for Vendetta to name a few. The stories they put out push the boundaries of the comic book medium and create worlds we would never get the chance to experience without the talented writers they have on board. One newer release that i believe has become highly embraced by the comic book community is Sweet Tooth, written by Jeff Lemire (Animal man, Jonah Hex, Superboy).

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Sweet Tooth is a post-apocalyptic story about a boy named Gus who lives with his father in a cabin in the woods. The interesting thing about Gus is that he was born with antlers and thus opens the main mystery. Since he can remember, it has only been him and his father and that is all he knows. His father is a religious man who tells him that the world outside of the woods is dead and that there are evil people there who will harm him. Unfortunately, his father’s lunacy is not far from the truth, and we find ourselves in a torn world where people scavenged for food and survival of the fittest is king. This new world has become stricken with a plague that has wiped out most of the human population and many remaining survivors attempt to find out the cause. Eventually, Gus’s father passes from the plague, leaving him with his fathers journal alone to face the world; Gus’s curiosity of the land beyond the woods fascinates him, despite his fathers warnings of the evils that exist. His curiosity is cut short by the presence of a few men who attempt to capture Gus, they are slain by a man named Jeppard, whose sordid past has made him cold to the horrors of the new world. Jeppard deems Gus “Sweet tooth” for his candy obsession, and offers to take him along and protect him in the world outside the woods. Thus begins Gus’s journey through the wasteland and a long quest to find out what caused the plauge, where he came from, and who is Jeppard? The story takes tons of twists and turns, with a healthy amount of violent realism, and a lot of quirkiness to follow which makes it a really unique book.

Sweet Tooth is a fantastic piece of post apocalyptic fiction and fans of the genre can definitely appreciate the spin that Lemire has put on the genre. Where the story is going, I can only imagine what will happen next!

Check out issue #1 of sweet tooth here!