For those who read comics “just for the art” I salute you. To those of us who are undiagnosed with ADHD we see comics as a book that we can sit long enough to finish, I say you know me! For normal folks, who see comics as a classic coming together of both a great short story and spectacular art, I say BINGO. I also love comic book covers and to the delight of my local purveyor I buy variants, so artist alley at any convention is like a drug for my pocketbook. The artist alleys are teeming with talent (except for the table with the poop comic book – gross). I enjoy talking to the artists, hearing their backstories, exploring their future projects, and buying initial offerings. [One thing that drives me crazy is liking an artist’s work and trying to go to their website(s) to find more or so someone else can get a copy and not being able to find one; or finding that the website is not up to date with the artist’s current work. Unfortunately this is true for one title I picked up. Fortunately for the other that is not true.]
So I’m at the Baltimore Comic and I see a sign I can’t ignore –Bimf!!! I’ll explain later what the BMIF stands for, but it should suffice that I walked over and took a look at the offerings on the table. One of the comics was entitled Harem displayed a woman with flowers and skulls underfoot. Behind her is a greyish-green ether, which contains a myriad of women’s faces. Her right arm is grasping a blade of some kind with an attacking snake slithering towards some unseen prey. The back cover sets the scene and alludes to a much more complicated and involved mystery only suggested in the first issue. I bought it and took it to my hotel for a quick read before I passed out for the night.
This political season it is possible for both parties to put forward women as nominees for President of the United States (POTUS). The media has made a couple of short run television series advancing that idea over the last few years. There was Commander In Chief with Gina Davis; State of Affairs with Alfre Woodard; and VEEP with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Well Fabrice Sapolsky’s (Edge of Spider-Verse) President Amy A. Cooper is not just smart, but literally has a few surprises up her sleeve or down it – whatever. I often find that some artists have problems with ethnicities other than their own, but not here. Harem is beautifully rendered by Italian artist Leila Leiz and the dialogue is pretty good for a Frenchman – Bimf.
I say pretty good just to tease Fabrice. What brought me to his table was a large yellow sign with Bash Me I’m French! –Bimf! With my interest piqued, I was fortunate to get to talk to him off and on. I initial refused to bash him, but as an American who loves her freedom fries, I just had to – not really. Fabrice did offer that he liked American comics better than the French ones. He indicated that in French comics the point of view made the reader feel more of a spectator. The American style and format seemed to him to better integrate the reader more into the story. Well, I read Harem and feel that Fabrice and Leila did a great job at that, and I really look forward to the next issue, but I hope I don’t have to find him at the 2016 Baltimore Comicon to get it!!!!!
That same night, I read another indy work by Eric Henson (The Perhapanauts: Danger Down Under). So this title posed this question for me – if you lose the war are you still a hero? I came to this as Henson employed Murphy’s Law in a completely believable way for Field Commander Neriah, Earth’s most fearless warrior. You’ll see what I mean soon, but suffice it to say after defeat by an alien race known as the Nomads, she is sent by the High Council of Earth to another plant known as Eden to secure a refuge for the human race. Naturally most things that can go wrong do go wrong and Neriah wakes to find herself crash landed on an alien planet minus her son, Avion.
Henson does a good job introducing the reader to characters without the use of the circular flashback that is so common in first issues. It almost seems natural that her team would enlist a four-eyed native to help them find their way on what may end up being all humans’ last refuge. Most of this issue is set in a cave and many times these stories have a lot of dark frames, with the occasional eyes, and action verbs ala the Adam West Batman – boom, boink, bamf! But colorist Steve Downer sticks to blues with a warm autumn palette that makes what’s waiting in the caves seems almost inviting. This book has a lot going on plot wise and I appreciate that it isn’t all dumped on you in the first issue. Going forward however, I believe that the human race will need to hold out just a little a longer as their heroine fights to find her son. I hope it’s not too late! If you’re interested in picking a copy of Eric Henson’s Eden, you can purchase a copy on his website at www.erichensonart.com.
E. Angel is an engineer and holds a BS in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. She’s a real nerd who loves all things Star Wars and Star Trek, and is an avid gamer. E.Angel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on either game platform as Bunnehs Sister.