Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Revue July 29: Romantically Apocalyptic


Pull Yourself Together And Get Ready For


After you meet Mr. Snippy, you'll never look at a bad day the same way again. His bad days include:
*Homicidal houses
*Insane travelling companions
*Getting tied up in a pink wig, while sober
and oh, yeah. Living through a nuclear winter. Or trying, anyway.
Some days are bad, and some days are Romantically Apocalyptic.

The brain-child of Vitaly S Alexius, the website tells us 'Romantically Apocalyptic was first conceptualized in 2005 as a series of post-apocalyptic paintings on deviantart by Vitaly S Alexius. It was developed into an online graphic novel in 2010 and grew into a surreal, collaborative, multimedia art project that includes: poetry, prose, photography, digital art, music and film.'
The current creative team is:


Art Director:
Vitaly S Alexius

Phototography:
Vitaly S, Oggy B, Chico G, Mabi.

Journal writers:
Vitaly S Alexius, Kaitlin Gossett.

Contributor Artists:
Mabi, Allyssa N / Hatsie, IIDanmrak, Andrey F, Christine Z, Ivan Yakushev, Malin Falch, Caroline H

UK Events Organisers:
Clare Cook, Oggy B

Chief Music Editor:
Oggy B

Ze Intern:
Tina Hoffman

Romantically Apocalyptic can be read at this link  and purchased at this one. Oh, and by the way, this comic's animated. It's definitely a work that takes your brain for a spin.

The Rating

A Topsy Turvy Tour De Force!

The Raves

To begin with, this thing is gorgeous. With its grasp of artistic conventions and its offbeat sense of humor, RA takes you through a cracked looking glass and into some of your weirder dreams. 

Then there's the world building. Tech advanced and human nature did not. Eventually, the inevitable occured: our species decimated itself and the planet. Now the handful of survivors scrounge in the rubble, fight creatures mutated to survive so much better than they can in the wastes, use the bits of tech they're left to scrape a living and dream of other things. But you don't have to look so glum about it!

The characterization is a fascinating and fun exploration of altered states of consciousness and mental process. If Mad Max had sung kids' songs or if Bruce Willis had been on bad Prozac while creating his dire futuristic movies, they would have been a bit like RA. It's a trippy ride through the comforts of delusional thought, gallows humor and friendship in the grimmest of grimdark situations. 
The Captain and Pilot have gone so far down into their own dreams that reality can no longer hurt them.  They set up Christmas parties with skeletons and hold conversations with billboards. To keep the readers in their mindset, the realistic art is regularly broken up with chibi scribbles.
Funnily enough, in their situation this kind of dissociation isn't a terrible idea. If they didn't reinvent the world into something they enjoy living in, they probably wouldn't survive long.
Unfortunately for their 'friend' Charles Snippy, he's still sane. He's relying on sheer stubbornness and weary survival instinct. And he's getting really sick of these nutcases. The contrast between Snippy's dogged and nihilistic sanity and the rosy madness of his companions is disturbing, intriguing, and downright laugh-out-loud funny.

Surreal, silly and terrifying by turns, this is a story worth following.



The Razzes

Er...correction. This is a story worth following when you can. While I enjoy the explorations of altered states of consciousness, at times the story wanders so far into the surreal that it becomes incoherent. This is especially true in the primarily textual sections, which read at times like a narrative and at times like pages from a psych patient's diary. That's interesting for a paragraph, maybe, but it palls very quickly. As a reader I found myself scrolling past these sections, not invested enough to parse them for meaning. But there would be a picture that drew me back into the flow. That's the problem with experimental writing: some experiments blow up.

The Revue

Get some shots or a bowl and give it a read. You'll be glad you did. Allonsy!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Westercon/Malcon Amalgam Revue 2018

As Promised, A MALcon/Westercon Revue!


Over the 4th of July weekend, I attended MALcon 6, which partnered with Westercon 70 this year. Let's just say it was interesting.


 There are few venues with better staff. The Shiny Garden folks went to bat for us at every turn. Whether they were haggling with the hotel. walking the vendor floor to see who needed food ordered or water brought, or checking in with panellists, they did an amazing job on everything.Welllll...almost everything. They could have done a better job getting the word on the con's new date out. The attendance was underwhelming in the extreme. There were a number of musing conversations on the topic, and here were the general thoughts on the cause:
*MAL is usually in August, and a number of usual attendees may be blinking in bewildered dismay come next month.
*The college crowd is out of town, and they make up much of the usual attendance.
*Westercon isn't everyone's cup of tea
*People don't go to cons on the 4th of July, they go camping
*It was a weird start time in the middle of a weird week

Whatever the cause, if you went there for the crowds you were disappointed. But if you were there for the networking, it was a lovely event. Authors and artists, game creators and geeks of all stripes attended and enjoyed. Whether you wanted high tea on the 12th floor Steampunk Dirigible or a good game session in the games room, there was something for everyone.
 
One of Shiny Garden Events' greatest strengths is in their balancing of fun and responsible fiction, and this year was no exception. With panels like So Charming, Not Creepy and Artists & Moral Responsibility, the panels kept us on our toes in the ethical department, while panels like Weird Astronomy kept us laughing and building Blanket Forts was pure delight. The con is particularly marketed as a literary one, so panels like The Second Digital Age, Understanding Amazon, Marketing 101 and Characters are a Who, Not A What were fascinating and useful for indie authors. I myself was on a few panels: Overcoming Creative Fears (you never really leave them behind, you just tame them, and that's okay) and Religion in Fiction Outside the Western World were my particular favorites. I was able to sit with the lovely Stant Litore, writer of powerful Islamic spacefaring tales, and Amalie Howard , young adult and historical romance author, to discuss tales with our audience. In said panel, we did put together a Reading Outside the Western World list of books and comics. Need something to read? Click here for some ideas!
I did a little more vending this year...and maaaybe spent a little too much cash on lovely stuff...maaaybe... here's a sample of the lovelies on offer.
My non-comic work on the right and Nonir with their work through Wandering Jotun on the left.
Wandering Jotun is a place for all geeky pagans, go check it out! 

The fun and fast-paced work of Travis Heermann

The rocking Veronica Callisto selling her books, Starfish And Coffee and Diary of A Mad Black Witch

A sample of Ian Healy's wonderful writing. 

The lovely offerings of Revive Gifts

The Kimberlys, also known as Kimberly Kennedy and Kimberly Keane. Get ready for fun with these literate ladies, their books rock.



Dylan Edwards with some of his kickass queer-positive comics.

More queer friendly stuff with Out In Colorado


The con may have been smaller than expected, but it was well worth the time. Here's to even more fun and more conversations next year!


Friday, July 6, 2018

WesterCon Ho!

No Posts This Weekend Dear Readers, I'm off to


Read A Review Of The Con Sunday! (If I don't fall asleep first)


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday Revue June 24: Witchy

You Are Opening The Door To New Worlds...Brace Yourself And Tie Back Your Hair For


Power is a double edged blade. It can give you the life you dream of...or take it away. And you have no choice in the matter.
....or do you?
This is the question in Hyalin, where power in moderation is a blessing, and immoderate power a deadly curse. In this deadly world, one teenager refuses to accept the choices she is allowed, and makes her own way. This is the story of Nyneve: coward, hero, rebel, runaway. What you see depends on where you stand.
The creation of Ariel Ries, Witchy can be read at this link.

The Rating

Superb magical abilities

The Raves

With an art style reminiscent of Secret of Kells, the first thing Witchy will catch is your eye.

The color scheme is well-chosen and vibrant, capturing the feel of times and places in an almost impressionistic fashion. Stylistically reminiscent of watercolor and animation both, it's a well-crafted treat for the eye. The world building is gorgeously done: you feel you could walk into the crowd scenes. 

The second thing Witchy will attract is your curiosity. We are dropped right into the thick of a world riven with strifes and prejudices of its own creation, formed through its own history. Well paced and nicely laid out, the story draws you into the pathos of events: characters torn between loyalty to country and devotion to family, between personal safety and personal autonomy, between hopes for the future and wounds of the past. The comic dances nimbly past many pitfalls of trope and stereotype, never quite giving you what you expected but always showing you a character who you can relate to on some level (including a few characters who you shudder to find yourself understanding.)
And then Witchy will capture your heart. This is a story of stubborn hope in the face of overwhelming odds. It's a story of devotion to your loved ones and integrity in the face of all the world's demands to conform.  Witchy manages to explore themes of personal strength, identity, autonomy and personal decision perfectly: without preaching or creating situations that feel forced, it creates storylines that lets us see the many facets of characters' identities and truly explore the idea that diversity is a culture's strength. The weakness in one member of a society should complement the strength in another. When we laud only some strengths and only some ways of being, we soon become dangerously out of balance. The issue of how to be authentic in an unbalanced society is explored in beautiful detail here.

The Razzes

I have only one complaint. Ariel, please stop apologizing every time you have to take a break on Witchy! Reading your comments, I rather feel like giving you a hug. You have nothing to apologize for. Your readers understand: this work is time consuming and life is busy. Nobody can fault you for taking breaks! Take care of yourself and the art will be better for it. 

The Revue

This is a must read, for all ages. It's one you'll visit again and again.