AMBER LOVE 19-OCT-2016 I’ve basically kept my comic book reviews to brief mentions on Twitter to give people things to consider pre-ordering or getting on distribution services. But I’m in the midst of a book project and needed a break. This month’s picks come from Black Mask Studios and Titan Comics/Hard Case Crime.


skeptics comic cover

Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Written by: Tini Howard
Art by: Devaki Neogi
Colored by: Jen Hickman
Lettered by: Aditya Bidikar
Cover by: Devaki Neogi
In Stores: Oct 26, 2016

I’m fascinated by THE SKEPTICS right off the bat. I had read a few pages in a preview and fortunately received a press copy of issue 1 from Black Mask. Devaki Neogi’s art with Jen Hickman’s coloring captivated me immediately. I felt like I was transported to the Cold War era by their fashion, hairstyles, and exceptionally toned palette of earthy colors. Tini Howard sprinkles in some classic sexism of the period in this story about Dr. Santaclara, Maxwell, and Mary.

Mary and Max were convinced by Dr. Santaclara to join a special parapsychology experiment knowing full well that they have no extra-sensory talents. Since the Soviets said they have ESP and telekinetic soldiers, the US wants them too. Mary and Max use trickery to pass the examinations, but they’re out of their elements when given a real assignment: to identify the Soviet soldiers and find out what they know and what skills they have.

Black Mask Studios has been excellent in presenting full functioning non-male characters in other titles. They kept the pace by taking on THE SKEPTICS in their catalog. Mary Selwar is an African-American psychology student during a time when school integration was being forced in jurisdictions. Few women even had the opportunity for college, but Mary is clearly bright with just enough of a sly fox quality to be chosen for Dr. Santaclara’s project.


Peepland cover

Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Christa Faust & Gary Philips
Art by: Andrea Camerini
Colored by: Marco Lesko
Lettered by: Jimmy Betancourt
In Stores: Oct 12, 2016

Set in New York’s Times Square in 1986, PEEPLAND is a noir rife with the glow of neon from the old red light district. Titan Comics partnered with pulp publisher, Hard Case Crime, to debut a new imprint of comics. There are some gorgeous variant covers too if you’re into collecting.

Peep show worker, Roxy Bell, is minding her own business, working her booth when Dirty Dick, a pornography producer, comes storming in to hide a VHS tape. Moments later, Dick is splattered by a train and the police take Roxy in for questioning. The tape is key evidence in the murder of a prep school girl.

The creative team brilliantly takes readers up a roller coast ride to crash them down into a sad story where Roxy is caring for an uncle with AIDS before science knew much about it. Roxy’s relationships with her boyfriend, coworkers, uncle, and even the cops feel a real as can be.


triggerman comic cover

Publisher: Titan Comics
Written by: Matz
Art by: Jef
Translated by: Edward Gauvin
In Stores: Oct 5, 2016

Another collaboration between Titan Comics and the new Hard Case Crime comic team, TRIGGERMAN is based on the work of screenwriter Walter Hill. Set in the 1930s prohibition era, Roy Nash travels through Arizona to gun down a barkeep that owes some Chicago mobsters money. Wannabe starlet Rose Malone witnesses the gun fight and convinces Roy to let her escort him to L.A. Part of the mystery lies behind who masterminded Nash’s escape from prison.

The artwork of Jef shows stunningly intricate details. The buildings, cars, and characters have fine lines of delicate inking. If Alphonse Mucha drew gangsters with guns, this is what it would be like. The sepia color palette for the Arizona scene has all the warm missing from the cold steel palette of the prison scene.

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