Archive | July, 2011

Comics are better now that Suburbia’s in town.

12 Jul
By Darryl Ayo

Liz Suburbia is an astonishingly accomplished cartoonist. Her work combines the visual look and themes of Jaime Hernandez in the ’80s with the razor sharp wit of Evan Dorkin and the conversational warmth of an old friend.

Right now, Suburbia’s primary project is the arresting webcomic/graphic novel Sacred Heart. I cannot read Sacred Heart without it having some effect on me. It’s an intricately plotted web of teenage relationships, meanderings, horror and angst. Which is frustrating because I can practically see your eyes glazing over right now, but I promise you, I assure you, this one comic is THE truth. Word to Xaime himself.

A few factors work here: the first is that Suburbia is never afraid to put her characters through the wringer. She rips these kids apart. The second is that there is a strong current of empathy that one senses in this comic. And finally, Suburbia ultimately has an appropriately dark sense of humor and knows how to let the air out of the whole thing every now and then.

This “advertisement” and others like it come from her minicomic series Cyanide Milkshake which features gag strips, short stories, punk manifestos, and Sacred Heart side stories. I like Liz’s comics also because there’s always a current of real human emotion or visceral physical experience present in her work. She uses textures on her forms to hint at characters’ minor or superficial imperfections, for example. More than that, I like the way she uses characters’ whole bodies to elicit reader reaction: from sudden violence and gore to sex, to rude and gross drawings, to good old fashioned strong gestures and expressive drawing. All of this with black…and white. She draws with a Sharpie, for god sake. I mean, Jesus. What I’m trying to say is that Liz Suburbia just might be the most talented kid out there. Find her. Buy her comics. Make her rich.


If you’re interested in keeping tabs on her best work, I believe that Sacred Heart updates on Wednesdays, first on her blog and then the main website is updated later. All of the images used in this article are taken from her Cyanide Milkshake minicomics, and I don’t know HOW you’re going to get your hands on those. Good luck, buddy.

Never change, Liz.

(c) Liz Suburbia

Super Tuesday: The Breakfast Club

12 Jul
By Darryl Ayo

The following shouldn’t be my last word on the subject because it is one very near to my heart. Just a few inches away from it, in fact. I’m talking about eating meals. Since the dawn of the non-aggression agreements that we humans call “civilization,” our people have always bonded around meal times. Traditionally, meals are a time of sharing stories and building relationships with our immediate communities (families, friends, tribe). It is a concept so very basic that I almost don’t think I should mention it, but here I am, mentioning it.

Welcome to David Kim’s apartment. Xombi #4, written by John Rozum, cartooned by Frazer Irving. It’s not an overly spectacular storytelling mechanism. A lot of information needs to be unloaded quickly in order to advance the plot. This issue is the chapter in which that information is delivered to the protagonist and to the reader. Most people think “boring,” but I think: “BAGELS!”

If there is a flaw in this breakfast sequence, which provides the frame for most of the issue, it is that there isn’t enough breakfast for my liking. The best thing about sitting around and eating scenes is that you get to draw the characters sitting around and eating. You get to do things with their hands, faces and posture that you usually don’t get to explore in other scenes of an action story.

I’m nit-picking pretty hard right now because I really like Xombi and I enjoyed this particular issue a good deal; so this is just a little hair of a concern for me in contrast to a full-on attack on Rozum and Irving’s storytelling.

Just for the record, I believe that this comic has already had the plug pulled on it. So shame on you, comic readers! But that’s besides the point. Pass the orange juice, please?

Xombi is (c) Milestone Media Partners.

Side note: David Brothers and Gavin Jasper totally pulled this panel for Gavin’s “Week in Panels” column, stealing my thunder. Or, in the words of the panel’s own text: “I beat you to it.”

*shaking fist*


11 Jul
By Darryl Ayo

Madelyn Pryor was a comic character associated with the X-Men comic books. She appeared after Jean Grey’s death and looked a lot like her. Cyclops married her and they had a son together. A bunch of other stuff happened. But the important thing to me is that they got married and had a son.

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How to Write Comics; You’re Doing It Wrong

7 Jul
By Darryl Ayo

Here is my take and personal opinion. When I was first into it, I liked the idea of book-length comics telling one compete story each. But now, I look at regular comic books, superheroes and such and I part ways with all of that stuff. My big problem is that collections are a secondary market. They are collections and by definition, means they are comprised of previously “whole” parts.

My argument is–economic concerns of a given market aside (in this case, comics)–you create for the primary market. If you want a 120 page Superman comic, make a 120-page Superman comic. Don’t make it and send it out in pieces, ransom style. All of these superheroes today–the modern ones are written at 120-page stories, so they should just come to market as such.

However since the publishers prefer to bring these stories to market as 20-page magazines *first*, they should be aiming to put out the best 20-page magazines that they can muster.

X-Factor is (c) Marvel Entertainment

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Out of Office Automated Response

6 Jul
by Kevin Czap

The Rays

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Super Tuesday: A Real Girl

5 Jul
By Darryl Ayo

Discussion of superhero comics is a near-pointless endeavor, yet one which I am magnetically drawn to. One thing about superheroes that I like is that they have a generally wide reach. Another thing is that I never feel quite like I’m dumping on somebody’s personal heart-and-soul when I have a problem with a superhero comic. Discussion is much more open in this genre than in alternative/indie comics, because let’s face it: people aside from other comic creators read superhero comics.


X-Factor # 221: by Peter David and Dennis Calero. Marvel Comics, 2011.

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Happy July 4th, Americans!

4 Jul
By Darryl Ayo


Once upon a time, on this very day, the United States kicked the United Kingdom right the hell out of these here colonies. We celebrate by blowing shit up.





Freestyle Friday: whatever comes to mind

1 Jul
By Darryl Ayo


Man, there’s this lady at my job who says/sings this song every other day. I’ve never heard the song before just now. Figures it’d be the hippity-hop music.

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