Cold Heat #2 & 4
BJ and Frank Santoro, writers/artists
PictureBox, Inc., 2006/2007
24 pages each
Originally written I don’t remember when for WizardUniverse.com’s Thursday Morning Quarterback feature
COLD HEAT #2
The deliberately crude art style of this indier-than-indie miniseries will no doubt turn many readers of Big Two comics off. That’s a damn shame, because BJ and Santoro have created a unique and addictive hybrid of thrilling sci-fi murder mystery and drugged-up punk-rock coming-of-age tale. Continuing the story of a high school girl named Castle who’s reeling from the death of the lead singer of her favorite band and from getting dumped and fired simultaneously by the CEO of the company she was interning at, this issue introduces the man who’ll doubtlessly be the series’ big bad: Senator Wastmor. In his crazed search for the ‘killer’ of his dirtbag son—i.e. whoever provided him the drugs he O.D.’d on, at a party where Castle was the last person to see him alive—he’s the perfect portrait of the power-crazed politician: He mouths platitudes about how ‘the war on illegal drugs and underage drinking is now at its own D-Day’ on TV, while spewing obscenities and violent threats against the kids of Castle’s hometown when the camera’s off. Meanwhile, the pink-and-blue art nails the feeling of being really, really messed up as Castle takes way too many pills and gets embroiled ever deeper in the strange events befalling her town. If you can put aside your preconceptions and track down this comic, you’re in for a treat.
COLD HEAT #4
Like a 6-year-old trying to describe the awesomeness of Space Mountain at Disney World, this indie tale of sex, drugs, rock, conspiracies and alien abductions draws its strength from the contrast between the epic nature of its subject matter and the childlike way it’s presented. With its simple pink and blue color scheme and deliberately lo-fi linework, this issue’s revelation of presumed-dead rock singer Joel Cannon’s ‘2001’-style contact with extraterrestrial beings has a purity that makes up for its lack of detail, making its mystical vistas as powerful as those of any mainstream artist.