A More Colorful Review – BashBack

Overview

When the world decides to beat down on the Queer community, the Queer community punches back. In this series full of violence, sex, language, and angry queers you better watch who you decide is worth a beating because they just might punch back.

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This week we will be looking at Issue #0 of BashBack. A comic about a Queer Mafia written by Lawrence Gullo and Kelsey Hercs, with art from Fyodor Pavlov. This is an indie comic in the purest sense so if you’d like to get your hands on a copy after the review you can by their tumblr as they have recently done a Kickstarter to do the first physical prints of their comic.

Writing

The plot of the story is very much about showing and possible bleeding off some of the anger the Queer community has. When you are constantly attacked, degraded, and disregarded for who you are its really hard not to be pissed off and wanting to do something. In this series the writers focus that into a story about the Queer community protecting and providing for their own even if it means going outside of the law to do it. They are a Queer Mafia, a buffer between the hate groups and their people. It is really a very compelling story even if some of it comes off as extreme I believe that fits write in with the writers point for the series. All of the story elements pull you further into the world and you feel the justification, and perhaps the justice, behind the characters actions.

Screenshot 2016-05-26 14.54.17Man does this series have alot of characters! And its only Issue #0. Now while not all of them get fleshed out in this issue you get enough a feel for them both through the art, and their interactions with the main players of this issue to really make me believe there is alot there the writers can explore in future issues. Heck even what I consider to be the 5 characters this issue put in the spotlight already have alot of background and identity baked right into them. The way the talk, they manner they go about protecting people, their interactions with each other all of it serves to make you feel like these are fully realized people. Really interested to see how they make this work for them down the line.

Art

In contrast to the brightly down cover they’ve opted for purely black and white art inside. Which seems very strange at first but makes sense. They are trying to invoke that gritty feel that was achieved by other media left in black and white. The series is reaching back into the media knowledge of mafia and trying to put that to use to help us slide into the story line. Considering its all in black in white it is rather beautifully done, they don’t lose details because of it. Their characters are all still distinguishable and come with their own unique details that stay consistent through out. So of the club scenes or those with a lot of background art do seem to meld together because of this choice though.

The lettering feels a bit like maybe they left that for last in the production pipeline. Bash-Back-John-Doran-Beating-660x1001
Spelling mistakes, places where the lettering goes outside of the speech bubbles making it hard to read, and weird ordering of those speech bubbles make a few parts way more confusing then they would have been. For the most part that’s really the only things that added confusion to this series for me. They even used a very generic font throughout it that while readable didn’t really feel like it fit in the universe they were building. I think they very much need to polish and buckle down on lettering for their issues moving forward.

Diversity

This series does a great job with this. A large portion of the queer spectrum is represented, multiple races are shown in the forefront, and body types vary. With this only being Issue #0 of the series I very much look forward to seeing how they keep up this pace moving forward. The main character is dealing with being trans in a world that is actively hostile against him, but seems to hold his own after finally finding a ‘family’ that accepts him. I really hope they take the time to explore all of the potential pressure points the queer community has that they have seem to set up for in this first issue.

Overall

I think this will be a really interesting series to keep an eye on. They’ve set themselves up with a fantastic cast of characters, a really interesting universe, and a foe of bigotry that could take an endless number of shapes without having the story lines become boring and repetitive. I do think there is room for improvement and polish with the lettering and probably even with maintaining details in larger scenes. But this series really does kick the major leaguers in the balls with its daring.

Metric Breakdown

Art: 7/10 [Lends itself to story, so details lost]

Lettering: 5/10 [Spelling errors, outside bubbles]

Writing: 8/10 [Huge character cast, lots of potential]

Diversity: 8.5/10 [Great show so far, lets see what they do with it]

Overall: 7.13/10

A More Colorful Review – Kim & Kim

Reviewed by JustKay

Overview

Ladies kicking major butt, space chases and adventures, weird villains, shape shifting octopuses. What else do you need?

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Review

Next on the docket for the ‘A More Colorful Review’ column is “Kim & Kim” written by Magdalene Visaggio, art by Eva Cabrera, published by Black Mask Studios. Now that I’ve settled you in lets jump right into the good stuff.

Writing

To say the writing and plot is a little disjointed and jarring would be an understatement. Its definitely unique, action packed and fast paced but it comes across more like a hyper kid with a fully realized story that they dropped into a blender. There are micro stories within an over arching plot that also has its own little off shoot arches. The quality of writing is pretty up there as far as fleshed out characters, fully realized motivations, and a real handle on this ridiculously expansive universe (technically multiverses and multi-dimensions) . But I feel like it was put together in a drug induced state as I made my way through it.

kim-kim-1-11Our two main characters are freaking awesome though, despite the short comings of the story telling. One packs what I guess is the series’ version of an AK-47 and the other bashes people with fists and an electric guitar. Not only that but we even see how fleshed out each of them are throughout the shit storm that is the plot of Issues #1-4. They are both out on their own trying to make it without the support of their family for various reasons, both stemming from not fitting the mold their parents want them to. These two are rich and deep if you pay attention to the small things that are said and shown. So much potential for so many amazing moments as long as the action cyclone doesn’t obscure it all.

Art

The art style for the series very much fits the zany insane things that tends to happen. It lends itself very well to the story and brings to life the ridiculous situations these two end up in without coming off as super cartoony. My biggest complaint is that at least in my print edition some of the pages came off as very slightly distorted in that sense that they blew up a smaller image of the page to fit a standard A4 size. The shading and highlighting is a little funky in that they don’t actually seem to add any depth to the pictures, otherwise the color is gorgeous.

Lettering is definitely professional and I appreciate the little touch of adding intonation to what the characters are saying by bolding the words that they are putting emphasis on. It adds a whole lot more sass and sarcasm then you realize until its presented to you. This creates an even more filled out sense of the characters as well as they all have their own way of speaking that isn’t forced to be shown through some visual butchering of a dialect. Still it is in that most basic of comic book fonts that you find everywhere but I guess tried and true works sometimes.

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**NOTE THIS SECTION CONTAINS AT LEAST ONE SPOILER**

I mean this comic series hits alot of high points as far as diversity. The main and sub characters are almost 50/50 split on white to POC, one sub character is gay while one main character is Bi, the other man character is trans. It talks about platonic relationships without sex but doesn’t hide that its alright to want and talk about those things as well. The only dig I can really see against the series is that everyone seems to be the same body type. That kind of standard ‘every story character ever is fit’ universe with the only exception being background characters and the occasional villain.

Overall

If you love interesting characters, zaney action packed adventure, and whirlwind stories then you’ll love this series. The art and lettering work well to help convey and move the story along while providing you with extra insight into the characters themselves. And the writer uses the artist’s ability to tell a crazy story, that while sometimes hard to follow, is a fun read none the less.

Metric Breakdown

Art: 7/10 [Lends itself to story, some blurred mishaps]

Lettering: 8/10 [Shows intonation, well done]

Writing: 7/10 [Enjoyable, but confusing at times]

Diversity: 8/10 [Awesome rep, lacking body types]

Overall: 7.5/10