image comics

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: Five Ghosts

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Five Ghosts Synopsis:

If you haven’t heard about Five Ghosts’ yet, then you may – A) be in a coma, B) be living in Lancaster Pennsylvania with the Amish, or C) a rotting corpse with super aids. For the rest of us who remain clear of stds and among the living – this Kickstarter comic book project has been a beautifully stylized and engaging, short run masterpiece. Recently picked up by Image comics, its the brain child of Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, Five Ghosts takes us on an adventure that can only be compared to that of Indiana Jones or Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. It’s mystical tone is dark and the artwork carries the look and feel of an aged horror comic from the 1950′s. The stories main character Fabian Gray is a treasure hunter for hire, who comes across a strange artifact called “The Dreamstone” which ends up granting him the powers of 5 literary ghosts. Armed with the ghostly abilities of Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi, and Dracula; Fabian Gray packs an advanced arsenal of skills which we have never seen in comics before. The first issue of Five Ghost’s introduces us to Fabian and his use of these different abilities. It is almost as if when he calls upon them, he becomes them for these moments of complete badassery; His actions mirrored with each ghost by his side. This makes for some incredible visuals that are really well executed given the overall “aged horror” aesthetic of the book.

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Along his path to adventure and enlightenment, Fabian Gray battles some pretty intense foes – Nazi’s, ancient spider cults, pirates, giant spiders, and of course, the ghosts within himself. The spirits that haunt Fabian often chatter to him, letting him know that he is not a suitable vessel for their power. Fabian struggles to control the ghosts that inhabit his body. From time to time, he unleashes the unrelenting power of Dracula’s ghost. With his mind overcome with power, Fabian turns into a brutal killer with no conscience, and a blood thirsty appetite for destruction. The power of the stone, though endless and all-encompassing, does comes with a heavy price, and Fabian soon finds that his body and soul are being torn apart. He must find a way to survive the parasitic and powerful grip of the dreamstone, while keeping it out of the hands of those who wish to use it for their own oppressive means.

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 Overall:

Five Ghosts is an epic adventure tale that luckily made it into the public eye despite barely breaking it’s Kickstarter pledge goal. This passion project has surely impressed a lot of comic book fans so far and i cant wait to see how this one wraps up! You’ll still be able to start from the beginning of this one, as they’ve already done second printings of the 1st and 2nd issues. Issue 4 of Five Ghosts should be hitting the shelves sometime in late June or early July.

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.

The Walking Dead Issue #100

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All i can say is “Holy fucking shit!?”……The walking dead series has been ongoing for quite some time now and i can’t believe that it has come this far! Robert Kirkman continues to deliver some of the best emotional story telling in the modern comic book medium today. This epic tale of the zombie apocalypse has taken us through many hills and valleys and to hell and back again. I’ve only really had deep connections with a hand full of comic book characters (silver surfer/swamp thing/constantine to name a few) where i completely understood their perspective/outlook and feel the pain as they feel it. Its insane that the walking dead has triggered this emotional reaction and has frequently made waves inside the hearts of myself and readers around the world. Kirkman makes you fall in love with every character and when they pass you feel as though your losing a piece of yourself. But it doesn’t end there….You almost feel worse for the people who have to continue on without that character in their life. As people cling so deeply to one another in such dire times their loss would be devastating.

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I feel as though Kirkman is preparing us for the apocalypse, almost as if to force the reader to tap into the innate “survival of the fittest” part of the human psyche. In this grim world death is a way of life. Survival forces you to keep your distance from the ones you care about most, for it will only make you and the group weaker. We are all however, subject of the human condition. Kirkman is teaching us to let go of everything we thought about what it is to be human, and to become re-acquainted with the part of us that got us where we are today. It would seem things are getting harder and harder for the survivors and that their world is getting even more ugly than they would’ve imagined. All they can really do is try and adapt while retaining their humanity. Rick and his survivors are a drop in the bucket for hope and to return to the way life was. This is important because there is more to human beings then just survival (culture, arts, ideology, progress), and if we are to leave anything behind as a species for future generations or even outer worldly anthropologists to discover then it is important to show that human beings lived with compassion, and were not just bloody savages.

The last 4-5 issues of this series have really turned me back on to the walking dead story. Though i am sad to see one of my favorite survivors go (rip), i am now re-addicted to the franchise and cant wait to see what happens next! If you haven’t read the walking dead yet, i recommend picking up the compendiums online. You can get them for fairly cheap and you will not be disappointed. Issue to issue it will deliver everything from drama, philosophy, sex, violence, politics, great social commentary, and of course …. zombies! TWD has it all…end of story..

In celebration of the release of issue 100 of TWD here’s a look at some of the awesome covers for the issue.