Today at The Journal, we've got dw on Yuichi Yokoyama's Iceland, which was released by Retrofit Comics last year. It's an excellent comic, and dw's review gets right into the meat.
Elements of his aesthetic - acutely distinctive character designs, aggressive contrast between black and white (with artfully-deployed dots and grays), busy layouts that bulge uncomfortably against the edges of the claustrophobic pages - push any given narrative moment or representational image distressingly close to the point of abstraction. Trying to grasp the deceptively simple narrative induces tension and unease, reflecting emotions that afflict the characters to varying degrees.
A solidly influential comics figure sent a list of demands for coverage within days of me taking on this little role here, and one of those was that The Journal get around to talking in more detail about Retrofit's development over the last few years--it's not a bad idea, and maybe by outing it here I'll move it to the top of my to-do list, placing it one spot above "convince my wife to go see that Clint Eastwood movie with me."
It didn't seem right to ignore the release of Black Panther this weekend, considering how much I've been enjoying that Kendrick Lamar album. Don't get me wrong--it's still a Marvel movie that includes a slow motion flip over a car and a speaking role for that ridiculous ham they usually cover with motion capture dots, so I'm not holding out a lot of hope. But it's also absolutely plausible that Ryan Coogler--the man who realized that the beating heart of a sports movie is the workout montage, so why not include one that is 45 minutes long--has come up with something that even Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose ambitions don't seem to extend beyond the heroes of his 9th grade social studies class, can't turn into another leaden monologue on truth & justice. But hey: this is the COMICS Journal, we're not part of the Disney Marketing Arm quite yet.
SO: Back in 2010, Marvel Comics released an overpriced hardcover collection of Don McGregor's run on Black Panther, which contained the story "Panther's Rage". At that time, comics critic David Brothers and I teamed up to write about that story, why we liked it, what we thought it said about super-heroes, and Black Panther in general. We've repurposed those pieces into one article, which you can read on your phone while you wait in the line to watch Michael B. Jordan convince you to renew your gym membership. Ladies and gentleman: Fear of A Black Panther.