Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Wet Nightmares: a conversation with the editors of erotic horror comics anthology ‘Mirror Mirror II’

October 16, 2017

What are your thoughts around criticisms of erotic horror as a genre that sensationalizes and glorifies violence, or abstracts violence as an idea rather than damage done to real people?

J: In my life I’ve experienced and witnessed enough violence that I don’t consider my feelings about violence to be an abstraction. My experiences are my experiences. My responsibility to write something honest takes priority.

I think we we can be overzealous in condemning creators for making work about trauma – Sean and I are both abuse survivors, but we’re sometimes criticized for insensitivity towards sexual violence and doing harm to survivors in that way. And no doubt many of those critics are survivors too. It’s tiresome to have to produce a resume of trauma to prove you’re allowed to discuss it, and when you do you get it from the other side – from people who think you’re too close to the subject to handle it well. What I’m getting at is that there’s no correct way to deal with violence in art, and what harms one reader can be healing to another. I’d rather give artists the benefit of the doubt.

S: Julia pretty much says it all here. I’ll just add that it goes back to what I said earlier about different approaches within horror – similarly, there are different ways to address and convey the pain and suffering experienced by real people. Certainly my work as a writer and now as an editor is an attempt to do so, with my own pain just for starters. The great power of fantastic fiction of all kinds, perhaps horror most of all, is that it can give voice to everyday feelings, emotions, and experiences the magnitude of which is beyond the ability of everyday language to express.

My partner and co-editor Julia Gfrörer and I spoke to Minh Nguyen about our comics anthology Mirror Mirror II for AQNB. I’m ashamed of myself for not thinking of “Wet Nightmares” sooner.

STC @ NYCC

October 5, 2017

unnamed-2 unnamed-1 unnamedBecause I’m a moron I forgot to promote the ToyFare Magazine 20th Anniversary panel I hosted at the New York Comic Con today on my blogs. Ah well, dozens of people showed up to hear about a magazine that hasn’t been published in years. I got to see old friends and meet guys like Matt Senreich and Tom Root from Robot Chicken who worked there before I did. Rad. (How had I never heard the story about the suicide prank before?)

‘The Punisher’: Everything You Need to Know About Marvel’s Vigilante Antihero

October 4, 2017

Punisher comics have gotten pretty weird over the years
We know what you’re thinking: Gun-toting combat veteran goes kill-crazy against criminals after they murder his family – this concept is pure meat-and-potatoes street-level stuff, right? But we’re talking about superhero comics, folks. After a few decades of near-continuous publication, pretty much every character gets pushed out of his or her comfort zone, and our the Punisher is no exception.

Among his strangest adventures? The Punisher: Purgatory (1998-99), in which the then-dead vigilante was revived to serve as an angelic demon-slayer. The similarly supernatural FrankenCastle arrived a decade later; this knowingly screwball storyline saw the antihero, who had been killed once again, brought back as a Frankenstein-like monster, fighting alongside horror-tinged characters like Morbius the Living Vampire and Man-Thing. (In a word: No.) In 2012, the character got a sci-fi makeover in Space: Punisher – which featured, yes, the Punisher in space, punishing aliens and whatnot.

Years before his character-defining run on the character, Garth Ennis wrote the one-shot Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. The 1995 special chronicles a short, bloody alternate timeline in which Castle’s family gets killed in the crossfire of an X-Men/Avengers battle, leading him to slaughter every single superhero and supervillain in the company’s catalog. He eventually turns the gun on himself. But for sheer WTF-itude, nothing beats 1994’s Archie Meets the Punisher, a crossover between Marvel’s bloodiest antihero and Betty, Veronica, Jughead and the rest of the Riverdale gang. Sure, it’s just a footnote in Punisherology, but crazy stunts like this are exactly what brought Archie back to pop-culture prominence over two decades later. A crossover between the Netflix Punisher show and Riverdale doesn’t sound completely out of the question now, does it?

In anticipation of the upcoming Netflix/Jon Bernthal series, I wrote a guide to the Punisher’s many multimedia incarnations for Rolling Stone. One thing this reminded me is that the showrunner is Steve Lightfoot, who was the Ed Burns to Bryan Fuller’s David Simon on Hannibal. That bodes well.

MIRROR MIRROR II BOOK RELEASE PARTY @ DESERT ISLAND BROOKLYN

September 24, 2017

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MIRROR MIRROR II
signing and book release party

Thursday, September 28th
7-9pm
Desert Island
540 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY

featuring
Lala Albert
Sean T. Collins
Al Columbia
Gretchen Alice Felker-Martin
Julia Gfrörer
Aidan Koch
Laura Lannes

Also debuting the latest new works from these authors:
-Wet Earth by Lala Albert | Sonatina
-By Monday I’ll Be Floating in the Hudson with the Other Garbage by Laura Lannes | 2dcloud
-No End Will Be Found by Gretchen Alice Felker-Martin | Thuban Press

poster by Laura Lannes

Kirby100

August 28, 2017

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Happy 100th Birthday to Jack Kirby, now and forever the King of Comics.

The Quietus on Mirror Mirror II

August 20, 2017

“The book is an eclectic mix, beautiful and unsettling, with a strong erotic element….Mirror Mirror II is an immensely strong book, full of varied, challenging work that will not disappoint fans of the featured genres. If you come across a copy, I highly recommend picking it up.”

Pete Redrup, The Quietus

Our book Mirror Mirror II has gotten another wonderful review, for which we are very grateful. You can buy the book from our publisher 2dcloud or Amazon.

Support 2dcloud’s Summer 2017 Kickstarter

August 20, 2017

My wonderful publisher 2dcloud is currently conducting a kickstarter for its next round of books, which people who pledge will get before anyone else. Today they suffered a theft of books at a festival they’re attending, so this would be a great day to take the plunge. 2dcloud publishes comics unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Place an order with their kickstarter and see!

Mirror Mirror II @ 2dcloud.com

July 21, 2017

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Our anthology Mirror Mirror II, edited by Julia Gfrörer and myself, is now officially for sale from our publisher, 2dcloud. Click here to order, and see an extensive preview.

Contributors include Lala Albert, Clive Barker, Heather Benjamin, Apolo Cacho, Sean Christensen, Nicole Claveloux, Sean T. Collins, Al Columbia, Dame Darcy, Gretchen Alice Felker-Martin, Noel Freibert, Renee French, Meaghan Garvey, Julia Gfrörer, Simon Hanselmann, Aidan Koch, Laura Lannes, Céline Loup, Uno Moralez, Mou, Jonny Negron, Claude Paradin, Chloe Piene, Josh Simmons, Carol Swain, and Trungles.

Our contributors come from Australia, Brazil, England, France, Mexico, Russia, Wales, and the United States. The youngest is 24. The oldest is 77. The majority are women. They are trans and cis, straight and queer. They make comics, zines, fine art, music, film, literature, and journalism. For our book they made work basted around horror, pornography, the gothic, and the abject. They made dark, vulnerable work that reflects the dark, vulnerable world, in hopes that confronting it moves us toward empathy.

Here’s what people are saying about it:

“This anthology earns that most potent of horror descriptors: it is truly, deeply unsettling.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Mirror Mirror II is troubling and challenging, but it is also rewarding and stunning—a thrilling experience that readers won’t soon forget.” —Shea Hennum, The A.V. Club, “The A.V. Club’s Favorite Comics of 2017 So Far”

“It awakens the long-underused [horror] genre and pushes your fear buttons in ways you could never have anticipated. It’s hard to pick the most memorably mind-devouring portion.” —Abraham Riesman, Vulture, “8 Comics You Need to Read This June”

“The book is an eclectic mix, beautiful and unsettling, with a strong erotic element….Mirror Mirror II is an immensely strong book, full of varied, challenging work that will not disappoint fans of the featured genres. If you come across a copy, I highly recommend picking it up.” —Pete Redrup, The Quietus

“Reading this is like dreaming — though whether you’re immersed in a nightmare or a wet dream is unclear….This book is like a porn stash you’d find in the cupboard of a medieval demon.” —Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic

Mirror Mirror II is at once a frivolous memento mori and an outright challenge to your own personal space.” —Austin Lanari, Comics Bulletin

“High quality smut.” —Will Menaker, Chapo Trap House

“Early contender for best graphic novel of 2017.” —Philippe LeBlanc, Comics Beat

“This is a book that provokes, that pushes and pulls, that strips down to the bone and re-clothes in different flesh any notions you might have about horror, pornography, and abjection. It’s wonderful….I haven’t had a book challenge me this much in a long time.” —Sarah Miller, Sequentialist

“A thought-provoking, richly entertaining collection from some of the most exciting comic artists working today. A must read for fans of the horrific and perverse.” —Bryan Cogman, Game of Thrones

“An impressive collection of beautiful depictions of grotesque things and grotesque depictions of beautiful things.” —Alan Resnick, Unedited Footage of a Bear / This House Has People in It

“Editors Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer have assembled an exquisitely creepy and seductive new collection of comics with Mirror Mirror II. From Uno Moralez’s pixelated noirs to Dame Darcy’s ornate Gothic ghost stories, the wide range of horror here is fantastic, as characters creep and fuck in the shadows of unimaginable darkness throughout. It’s certainly the perfect, freaky anthology for you, your lover, and all the demons in your mind.” —Hazel Cills, MTV News / Jezebel

Mirror Mirror II invites the most innovative creators working in the form today and proves just how expansive the pornographic and gothic can be, encapsulating the pop cultural, fantastical, and realistic in one fell swoop.” —Rachel Davies, Rookie / The Comics Journal

I am so proud of this book and hope you enjoy it. 

The A.V. Club’s favorite comics of 2017 so far

June 30, 2017

Mirror Mirror II (2dcloud), anthology

As with any anthology, Mirror Mirror II features some entries that will leave more of an impression than others, but the totality of the work presented is both haunting and astounding. Collecting comics, prose, and illustrative work from such luminaries as Clive Barker and Al Columbia, as well as work by younger authors like Céline Loup and Trungles, editors Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer have curated quite the book. The theme unifying all of these pieces is the convergence of the erotic and the macabre—some works being more explicit than others—but that may be the only commonality between them. Each one offers a striking aesthetic vision. And though some will resonate more deeply than others—which works stand out will most certainly depend on the reader—they accumulate to form an impressive volume. An enormity of spectacle is brought to bear on exploring the commingling of the pleasurable with the painful, the fantastic with the nightmarish, and the result is a series of truly shocking and often deeply moving images. Mirror Mirror II is troubling and challenging, but it is also rewarding and stunning—a thrilling experience that readers won’t soon forget. [Shea Hennum]

I’m proud to say that the AV Club selected Mirror Mirror II as one of its favorite comics of the year so far.  The reviews for this book have been just wonderful.

MIRROR MIRROR II @ Amazon

June 24, 2017

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Mirror Mirror II is now available for purchase at Amazon. It’s already shipped, and people have already received their copies. You can order it from Amazon, or pre-order it from our publisher 2dcloud — copies will ship soon.

I’m so glad this book is in the world for you.

8 Comics You Need to Read This June

June 14, 2017

Mirror Mirror II by various (2dcloud)

There was a time when you could rely on comic books for bone-deep terror — the early-1950s was the heyday of horror tales produced by publishers like EC Comics. Alas, that heyday was cut short by a moral panic and a subsequent regime of censorship, and horror comics never quite recovered as a phenomenon. Thank goodness, then, for Mirror Mirror II, a new collection of short horror pieces edited by Sean T. Collins (who is a contributor to Vulture) and Julia Gfrörer. It awakens the long-underused genre and pushes your fear buttons in ways you could never have anticipated. It’s hard to pick the most memorably mind-devouring portion: Is it cartoonist Mou’s tale of a guy who one day finds himself painfully ejaculating letters that spell out a set of cryptic sentences? Or filmmaker Clive Barker’s painted vignettes of savaged and distorted human figures? Or Al Columbia’s unnerving single-panel depictions of old-timey cartoon characters engaging in unspeakable acts? Open wide and decide for yourself.

Abraham Riesman included our book MIRROR MIRROR II in his list of the month’s must-read comics for Vulture. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to get it one way or the other — retail or online — either at the very end of the month or the very beginning of July. I can’t wait till you all can see it.

Tiny Pages Made of Ashes 5/19/17: MIRROR MIRROR II

June 14, 2017

When I was younger, I practiced vipassana meditation.  Unlike my current zen habit of ‘just-sitting’, vipassana asked me to contemplate the true nature of reality by focusing on certain images that would help bring me closer to truth. One of the pertinent images that drove the Buddha towards the path of enlightenment was that of a corpse. But when you haven’t really seen a corpse that wasn’t pumped full of embalming fluid and dressed up for you, there is some serious detachment from what it really means to see inside of Death. Still, I think those hours spent drumming up morbid-but-hollow imagery were the closest I had ever gotten to actually thinking about The Abject.  And I would argue it is only about as close as a S.I. swimsuit cover could take you to thinking about the truly erotic.

Bubblegum enlightenment.

In her foreword to Mirror Mirror II, Felker-Martin asks readers like me to consider horror on a continuum with the erotic; this realm—the realm of The Abject—weaves through our humanity; from our sexuality, to the desires we bury, and back through to the very fragility of our flesh and what that means for us as everyday creatures.  More than bubblegum enlightenment, this sets up a spectrum of artwork that acts as what anthology editor and contributor Julia Gfrörer calls on a recent Process Party podcast, a “sublime ritual of degradation.”

And while my girlfriend probably isn’t thrilled about the idea of watching Hellraiser, Mirror Mirror II brought at least one more person to the altar of fiction which rends flesh. Prior to this anthology, my interest in horror media generally was almost exactly ZERO.  Felker-Martin’s prognosis for the reader gave me pause: “What you’re about to read will hurt you.” Why in the fuck would I want that?

[…]

In writing this review, I first attempted to sum things up as best I could about the kind of work Mirror Mirror II is; but so many of the individual works themselves reached out and grabbed me in particular ways that I felt compelled to say something about each one.And this just kept happening.

There’s still more work to talk about, from Carol Swain (shit, one of my favorite comics in the book was hers!), Al Columbia(!), Noel Freibert, Dame Darcy(!!), Mou, Uno Moralez, a murderer’s row of Clive Barker illustrations(!!!!!), a piece authored by co-editor Collins, and more.  But any omissions certainly won’t haunt me as much as the work itself.

While words like “degradation” and “abject” don’t follow a straight line to “empathy” either in a thesaurus or in the minds of many people, there is obviously a broadening of perspective that comes when you are rendered vulnerable.  And you cannot will yourself into vulnerability.  Alone, you can only conjure decay once you are already no longer living and breathing.  While you can still feel and fuck and fear, you must be led by a dark muse to a fetid clearing where a more communal sense of perversion and violation crawls between your toes.  You must peer at what lies just beyond.

You must hurt.

This is the beginning and end of an absolutely extraordinary review of our book MIRROR MIRROR II by Comics Bulletin’s Austin Lanari. In between he goes in-depth on contributions by Laura Lannes, Sean Christensen, Aidan Koch, Josh Simmons, Trungles, Julia Gfrörer, and Meaghan Garvey, and basically exceeds my wildest expectations about readers getting it. I’m so grateful.

The Indulgence of an Anthology of Erotic and Horror Comics

May 17, 2017

Great horror is the pursuit of meaning through defilement, a conscious and inquisitive violation of the mind, the body, the beloved, the home; the concentric circles of security that comprise our lives. Great porn proceeds from a similar root, grappling with that which delights and with that which abases in the context of their inextricability. There is no division between the shame that ignites desire and the desire itself, just as there is no division between love and the fear of death.

So begins Gretchen Alice Felker-Martin’s foreword to Mirror Mirror II, the second annual collection of horror and erotic comics from indie publisher 2dcloud. In this volume, editors Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer curate a murderer’s row of alt-comic talent. Anthologies tend to wobble in quality from one story to the next, but the work here bottoms out at vivid and frequently reaches greatness. Empowered to grasp as deeply as they please into the darkest possibilities of their imaginations, these artists merge Felker-Martin’s ideas of great horror and great porn into a chimera of hideousness so lovingly detailed that it becomes beautiful.

[…]

Though plenty of the stories delve into explicit violence or sex (or both), or into outright body horror, others instead seek to insinuate anxiety in the reader’s gut — that floating chill you get when you sense that something is off, even if you can’t articulate what it is. It’s the instinctual reaction to the slime and drip from wounds and orifices, juxtaposed with the allure of naked bodies and pleasured genitals. This book is like a porn stash you’d find in the cupboard of a medieval demon. It feels truly forbidden, and reading it induces an exquisite sense of deviance.

Dan Schindel wrote a rave review for Mirror Mirror II, the comics anthology Julia Gfrörer and I co-edited and contributed to, for Hyperallergic. You can pre-order it from Amazon or directly from our publisher 2dcloud, which also has an extensive preview up. We can’t wait for you to see it!

FLASH FORWARD

April 10, 2017

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FLASH FORWARD by me and Jonny Negron. Final 10 copies. $8. First come first served. Click here and note your mailing address.

STC & MMII @ MoCCA

April 1, 2017

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Some pics from Day One of MoCCA Fest 2017 in New York, where me and the MIRROR MIRROR II crew (that’s Laura Lannes, Lala Albert, Julia Gfrörer, and me in the middle picture) sold and signed the book. I had to leave early due to illness but I hope to be back tomorrow and I hope to see you there if i am! Either way, the kickstarter for MMII and the rest of our publisher 2dcloud’s spring lineup is entering its final hours. Now’s your chance to snap up the whole line for a pittance, but whether or not you order the books, of course every bit donated helps!

Our Kickstarter is fully funded!

March 30, 2017

cover by Julia Gfrörer

Thanks to everyone who pitched in or spread the word. It means so much to us! Now our beautiful book just needs to find its way into your hands. Order today!

Bad at Sports Sunday Comics with Julia Gfrörer

March 30, 2017

Max Morris: Your most recent project is co-editing Mirror Mirror II with Sean T. Collins, which is set to be released by 2D Cloud for their Spring 2017 collection. To my knowledge, this is the first anthology of comics work you’ve edited, but please let me know if I am incorrect. How was your experience of putting this book together?

Julia Gfrörer: It certainly deepened my empathy for people who regularly curate anthologies—it’s a lot of work, like herding cats. But it was also really a pleasure to work on, and gave me and Sean an opportunity to hone our vision of what matters most to us in art, writing, and comics. We’re honored to be able to work with so many incredible artists, many of whom are already well-known but have very different audiences, and get new eyes on their work.

Julia spoke to Max Morris at Bad at Sports about Mirror Mirror II, which you can purchase via our Kickstarter.

Interview: Sean T. Collins

March 30, 2017

First off: wow! I haven’t had a book challenge me this much in a long time, in the sense that it tapped into some deep desires that I most often prefer to keep in the back rather than the forefront of my mind. Is this an effect that you were hoping to have on your readers?

Since I take that all as very high praise indeed, I suppose the answer is yes, it’s exactly the effect we were hoping to have. Julia and I share a lot of things—in addition to co-editing Mirror Mirror II, we live together and have a family as well—and one of them is the belief that when done right, dark and difficult work can push the reader in the direction of empathy. And our conviction is that it’s precisely by forcing the reader—and the artist, too—to confront parts of both the world and their own minds that they’d perhaps otherwise ignore or prefer to remain hidden that this kind of work makes real empathy possible. Instead of coming away reassured that you and the artist are in a sort of Good People Club where you agree that Behavior A is bad and Behavior B is good and aren’t we all enlightened to think so… I dunno, you can coast on that kind of work, you know what I mean? It lets you off the hook—again, meaning both the creator and the audience here. So in that sense we hope that the comics and art in Mirror Mirror II keep you on that hook, and I’m glad to hear it seems to have turned out that way for you.

I talked to Sarah Miller at Sequentialist about Mirror Mirror II, which you can order via our Kickstarter.

Interview: Sean T. Collins Talks Mirror Mirror II, 2D Cloud and their Kickstarter

March 30, 2017

Rob: There are so many awesome horror comics. It’s one of my favorite genres, too. What makes comics such a great art form for horror?

Sean:  That’s a tough question for me, because a lot of what people think of when they think of “horror comics” don’t move or frighten me at all. Mirror Mirror II is basically a who’s who of the artists who have scared us–Al Columbia, Uno Moralez, Renee French, Josh Simmons, and Julia too. Have you ever watched a horror movie, gotten to a really intensely scary part, and then been unable to resist rewinding and watching again? I definitely have, and I think the best horror comics make that compulsive instinct to face what frightens and disgusts us easy to give in to. You control the speed at which you pass through the images, so when something really sinks its claws into you, it’s entirely up to you how fast you pull those claws back out by turning the page.

I spoke to Rob McGonigal at Panel Patter about Mirror Mirror II, the horror comics and art anthology I co-edited with Julia Gfrörer. The kickstarter where you can order the book is right here.