Eurocomics Spotlight : David Genchi’s “Castrovalva”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Projects that have complex and circuitous gestation processes and then emerge fully-formed into the world as something entirely other than that which they were originally intended to be are, as you’d expect, a hit-or-miss proposition, but when they hit sometimes they really hit : David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, for instance, famously began on paper as a TV pitch centered around Sherilyn Fenn’s Audrey Horne character from Twin Peaks ditching the Pacific Northwest for the bright lights of Hollywood, while Jack Kirby’s amazingly prescient OMAC evolved from a scuttled re-boot of Captain America that was to be set in the far future. The lesson here being, I suppose, to never let a “course correction” — or even several of them — get you down. If your central conceit is strong enough, it’ll be able to survive many twists and turns before taking its final shape.

Now, we can add to…

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Two From Joey Tepedino : “Star Kisses From The Queen”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

“Just let it go” is easy enough advice to give to anyone who is, as the popular vernacular would have it, going through some shit, but it’s considerably more difficult to follow. And when tragedy has befallen a person, deciding what to let go of becomes all the more impossible to figure out. I have, for instance, known people who got rid of all of any and reminders of an ex after a breakup, only to wish they had something — anything — of theirs back later, while on the other side of the coin, I’ve known people who have lost a loved one who simply can’t bear to part with a single reminder of them, no matter how inconsequential or trivial some of the crap they left behind may seem to the outside observer.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, when it comes to traumatic…

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Two From Joey Tepedino : “The Kingdom Of Rasberry Blue Untitled”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Right off the bat, this ‘zine is wrapped in a pretty thick layer of mystery, beginning with : what, exactly, is its title? Is it called Rasberry Blue? Is it called Rasberry Blue Untitled, given the latter word appears at the bottom of the cover? Or is it, perhaps, Rasberry Blue/Untitled, meaning that it likely contains two stories/strips? It’s a head-scratcher, to be sure, but in the end I settled on the full name cartoonist Joey Tepedino gives it on the insider front cover, The Kingdom Of Rasberry Blue Untitled, since you really can’t lose by picking out the longest of several title “options” on offer. But, really, that’s just the beginning as far as the question marks go.

The year it came out, for instance, is nowhere to be found within — nor is any copyright information whatsoever, And a stickler for grammar such as…

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Two From David Craig : “Brick By Brick”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

The surest sign you’ve hit on a winning idea comes in the form of staying power. Anybody can catch lightning in a bottle, or get a stroke of beginner’s luck or what have you, but longevity — well, that takes some real doing.

While I only have two of them myself (the other being 2019’s Brick Breaks Free, which I just reviewed), the just-released (and self-published) Brick By Brick is actually the fourth collection of strips featuring his anthropomorphic (to a degree, at any rate) Brick character from Toronto’s David Craig, and while logic might dictate that the premise would have worn itself thin by now, I feel it’s my duty to remind you that bricks themselves are, in fact, both thick and sturdy — and it appears the same can be said for Craig’s imagination.

Collecting strips that appeared over the last few years in the pages…

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Two From David Craig : “Brick Breaks Free”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Point one : it seems to me that if there’s one thing that a cartoonist needs if they want to be successful in the short humor strip game, it’s cleverness. I mean, yeah, you’ve gotta be able to draw, and an inherent sense of comic timing helps considerably, but without the added spark that cleverness brings to the equation, more often than not your strips are either going to miss the mark by that small but crucial degree, or else fail to land altogether. And the surest sign that you’re going to be reading a clever strip is if, of course, it has a clever premise. Which brings us to —

Point two : nothing is more utilitarian than a brick, yet they never seen to get the credit they deserve. For instance, last summer we had to re-do the brick walls on our house, and while the whole…

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Zodiac Of The Damned : Amy Brereton’s “Horrorscopes”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I’ve never put too much stock in astrology, myself, but for our purposes here that’s entirely immaterial : I know good art when I see it. And I know that when good art is presented within a strong conceptual framework, then you’ve got yourself the making of a really cool ‘zine. And if there’s one thing Amy Brereton’s self-published Horrorscopes is without question, it’s an exceptionally cool ‘zine indeed.

Getting the particulars out of the way first, it’s an impressive enough physical object in its own right, printed on a satin-finished heavyweight paper stock in gorgeous full color with a sturdy clear vinyl protector over its grimly gorgeous cover, the whole thing spiral-bound for ease of flipping through (it’s also signed, numbered, and dated on the back, published as it is in a limited run of 100 copies) — but “easy” isn’t a word we’ll be applying in any other…

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If I Could Bend Your Ear About “If On Account Of Sunday” —


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

There are mysteries, there are riddles, there are enigmas, and then there are those things that are all three wrapped around each other, as Joe Pesci’s David Ferrie informed us in Oliver Stone’s JFK back in the days when conspiracies were kinda cool and outre and not solely the province of dudes in animal pelts and portly rendering plant workers who have taken it upon themselves to impose their bizarre worldview on the rest of us by storming the halls of congress. I’m not here to talk about MAGA nitwits, though — beyond the extent to which I just did, I guess — I’m here to talk about Lane Yates and Michael R. Muller’s new self-published mini, If On Account Of Sunday, which fits the bill of what Pesci was talking (okay, babbling) about to the proverbial “T.”

Ostensibly based on the Norse myth about the origins of the…

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25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2020


There’s no good way to open this post, so there’s one of my dogs. That’s Cub. We got him in November of 2019 when he was just under 3 months. He was my first puppy and the first male dog I have ever had. That picture is of him about a year later. I didn’t put him that way. I just looked over at the chair and he was sitting like a person, complete with using the armrest. He didn’t even get up to move when I started taking pictures. He sat there as if he were posing for me.

Anyways, I apologize for the lists being even later this year than last. I don’t even have the high number of movies as an excuse this time around as I fell short of 2019’s number of films, which is 1,266. I only saw 919 of them last year. Things just kept coming up that cut into the time it takes to comb through the movies and compile the lists.

The rules are the same as in previous years with one exception. I am going to start linking to reviews of these movies if I can find any that have been written by one of our contributors here on Through the Shattered Lens.

Here are the normal rules:

  1. There is no particular order to the films in these lists. They either made it, or they didn’t.
  2. These lists do not necessarily have films that came out in 2020. These are films that I saw for the first time in 2020. In fact, none of these films are from 2020.
  3. The gems list are films that don’t make the best list, but I want to put a spotlight on them.
  4. If you disagree with any of my choices. Good! I want people to form their own opinions and think for themselves. But if you care to share those opinions, then be nice about it.
The China Syndrome (1979, dir. James Bridges)

Best:

  1. Dunkirk (2017)
  2. Silence (2016)
  3. The Cassandra Crossing (1976)
  4. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
  5. Shin Godzilla (2016)
  6. Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)
  7. Kuroneko (1968)
  8. After The Storm (2016)
  9. Green Book (2018)
  10. Knives Out (2019)
  11. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
  12. The Big Sick (2017)
  13. Too Late For Tears (1949)
  14. First Reformed (2017)
  15. Fences (2016)
  16. The Red House (1947)
  17. Gaslight (1940)
  18. The Poseidon Adventure (1972) – Lisa’s Review and Gary’s Review
  19. Detroit (2017)
  20. A Ghost Story (2017)
  21. American Made (2017)
  22. The China Syndrome (1979)
  23. Underfire: The Untold Story Of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro (2016)
  24. Kedi (2016)
  25. Shazam! (2019)

Worst:

  1. Shelter (2014)
  2. Another Nine & A Half Weeks (1997)
  3. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009)
  4. The Assignment (2016)
  5. Dracula 3000 (2004)
  6. Scales: A Mermaid Tale (2017)
  7. The Net 2.0 (2006)
  8. Butterfly (1981)
  9. God, Sex & Apple Pie (1998)
  10. Costa Rican Summer (2010)
  11. The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
  12. Beaks: The Movie (1987)
  13. Diary Of A Whimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017)
  14. Gremlin (2017)
  15. Below Her Mouth (2016)
  16. Grindin’ (2007)
  17. Kickboxing Academy (1997)
  18. Chairman Of The Board (1998)
  19. Ghosts Can’t Do It (1989)
  20. A Firehouse Christmas (2016)
  21. Private Lessons (1981)
  22. Beyond The Poseidon Adventure (1979)
  23. Curse Of Bigfoot (1975)
  24. Hail Caesar (1994)
  25. House Shark (2017)
Hard Ticket To Hawaii (1987, dir. Andy Sidaris)

Gems:

  1. Rage (1995)
  2. Mirrors (1985)
  3. Hercules (1983)
  4. The Adventures Of Hercules (1985)
  5. What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? (1970)
  6. Jane And The Lost City (1987)
  7. Gone In 60 Seconds (1974)
  8. Nemesis (1992)
  9. American Kickboxer 2 (1993)
  10. Blood & Concrete (1991)
  11. Back To Back (1996)
  12. American Ninja 5 (1993)
  13. Model By Day (1994)
  14. Flowers In The Attic (1987)
  15. Killer Workout (1987)
  16. Safe House (1998)
  17. To All A Good Night (1980)
  18. Lisa (1989)
  19. The Chase (1946)
  20. Tarzan In Manhattan (1989)
  21. Hard Ticket To Hawaii (1987)
  22. David And Lisa (1962)
  23. The Student Nurses (1970)
  24. Voyage Of The Rock Aliens (1984)
  25. Backstage (1988)
Hard Ticket To Hawaii (1987, dir. Andy Sidaris)

Four Color Apocalypse 2020 Year In Review : Top 10 Original Graphic Novels


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

And so we’ve arrived at the final “best of” list of 2020, the Top 10 Original Graphic Novels, which basically just means full-length original works specifically designed as such, or put perhaps more simply : self-contained graphic novels that weren’t serialized anywhere, in print or online, previously. Let’s not waste any time —

10. Desperate Pleasures By M.S. Harkness (Uncivilized) – Not so much a sequel to Harkness’ earlier Tinderella as a response to it — the party’s over, welcome to the hangover that is adulthood without a road map. Illustrated in a breathtaking array of styles and told in a manner both frank and expressive, this is the contemporary memoir against which all others will be judged for the next few years.

9. The Puerto Rican War By John Vasquez Mejias (Self-Published) – Hey, fair is fair : my Top 10 Single Issues list featured a couple of comics…

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Four Color Apocalypse 2020 Year In Review : Top 10 Contemporary Collections


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Moving right along with our next-to-last “best of” list, we come to the Top 10 Contemporary Collections of 2020. Simply put, this category is devoted to collected editions of work originally published, either physically or digitally, since the year 2000, including Manga, webcomics, and Eurocomics. In practice, though, I’ll be honest and admit it’s all fairly recent stuff. Read on and you’ll see what I mean —

10. Inappropriate By Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized) – How the hell spoiled are we these days, anyway? The modern master of disarmingly frank autobio released one of her strongest collections to date and it seemed as though it hardly got a mention in critical circles. Like the Hernandez brothers, Bell’s work is so consistently good that I fear we as readers take it for granted. We shouldn’t — this is a book to be downright thankful for.

9. Snake Creek By Drew Lerman (Self-Published)…

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