After Sampling Alterna Comics – They Might Be The Company We’re Looking For

Alterna Comics ran a 25% off sale over black Friday weekend, so I opted to check them out a lot more than I had in comics shops prior (I’d picked up a couple of issues). I picked up their entire catalogue of books from June – October for about $25, pretty incredible given the giant stack of books I received.

This morning I read through a few of them so I could accurately report my findings on the company.  They’ve been intriguing me as they push a lot of cool creator owned content that looks a little different than your average fare — and then the best part, is their books are $1.50. They’ve done this by just printing on newsprint and not on the fancy paper that most comic companies use these days.

Here’s the first hot take: the reading experience of a comic is not any different being on newsprint. 

The colors bleed a little more and aren’t quite as crisp, but for the most part that doesn’t really impact the book. It didn’t deter my enjoyment at all. Now I don’t think a hyper-realistic style that some of the modern books use would work in this, but for real comic art, it doesn’t pose a problem in the least.

I read through at least the first issue of all of their titles that came out from June – Oct last evening, and I found most of them to be throughly enjoyable. The books are all over the map in terms of content, and what’s advertised has pretty much been what the books are. So if you’re into some more uplifting fun stuff, family friendly, science fiction, horror, post-apocalyptic serious stuff — it’s all there. You can easily pick and choose to your tastes or go through everything like I did because it’s so inexpensive. The covers are pretty accurate in telling you about what style or age range it’s going to be in.

Regardless, here’s my quick takes on what i read:

Adam Wreck – Super fun science fiction. A boy crashes a space ship (hence wreck). Cute characterization, good fun, interesting color schemes, though it is kinda odd  to look at and it  makes the art look a little undetailed. It still works well as a story with a lot of fun elements  from space pirates to giant tentacle creatures. I  read  the whole story, and it was good,  though probably  could have been condensed to 2 issues (there’s a prequel story halfway through issue 3 to round out the content). Enjoyable. B

Amazing Age – This is a story about a kid who drew comic heroes, and eventually re-found his work in high school after everyone had kinda grown out of it. He and two friends are sucked into the comic book, where the world is about to go into an epic battle of good vs. evil. It’s really cute all the way through, and is apparently based off of creations made by the writer when he was a kid. 3 issues are currently out and this really put the fun back in superheroes. A

The Chair – By far the darkest book of the Alterna line. this is really heavy dark horror. Which is very much not my thing, so it makes it a bit hard to judge for me on  that front. The tone of the dialogue and the story are definitely on track. However I have to say — the  layouts and the art make it a bit hard to read. Sometimes the lettering really eats up the page, and the art is sparse on detail and leaves a lot of black background a lot of the time. Tough book. C-

Croak – Strange things in the woods kind of horror. Art was pretty nice, and good for the genre. It  opens up in the first issue into something pretty darn interesting,  but it takes awhile to get there. There wasn’t enough of a hook at the beginning of the issue, though there is  by the end. I  wish over the course of  the series there was a little more of the characterization to make us care about the characters, and some more explanation for events. B-

Lilith Dark –  Pretend time Lilith plays at being hero and has great adventures in her mind She goes down a rabbit hole alice in wonderland style and some really cute hijinx ensue. I’d read this before and it’s what drew Alterna to my attention. A+

Mother Russia – I looked at the cover and conceptually based on what I’d thought, I wasn’t super interested. Seeing black and white inside also scared me, but actually, this might be my favorite Alterna comic. A girl survived a zombie apocalypse in WW2 Russia and teams up with a couple other survivors (including a dog and a baby) to try to survive. My only complaint is I wish there wasn’t swearing in it, as I think it doesn’t add much to the story, including the feel, as the dialogue is supposedly translated from Russian. The dialogue comes off sounding very 2017 at those points which is unfortunate. Still the plot and art and characters are wonderful, I love it.  A

Mr. Crypt – This is off the wall comedy, sorta reminding me of a Frankenstein or Casper the Ghost concept. Crypt’s on the run, cuz no one wants a skeleton around, but when he puts on a top hat and mustache, no one can tell who he really is! He makes friends with a rat. It’s a bit disjointed on the writing end, more like a series of shorts than something super cohesive in the first  issue, and i wish there were a tad more story to it. Silly and fun though, so I cut it some slack. B-

Scrimshaw – This book gets a lot of promos on the web and in their advertisements. It’s a future where the world went through an apocalypse and came out the other side, and some strange stuff is happening. I’ve only read the first issue, but it didn’t give me quite enough meat as to what’s going on in the geo-political sense for me to hook into it. The art is a bit confusing and overdrawn, which makes it a tad hard to read. Interesting world, and I’ll keep reading but not my favorite so far.  C

Tresspasser  – Another one I wasn’t so sure I was going to be interested  in based  on  the cover. Nice art, again  maybe  one of the nicer of Alterna’s  but it looked to have a kinda darker tone to it  (and I like lighter tones). The tresspasser, spoilers, is an alien who shows up. It’s pretty decompressed but dang I’m interested in this story. It’s kinda creepy horror but  not shock-dark. Pacing is a bit decompressed and slow is the only qualm with it. Great characters. A-

Wicked Righteous – Interesting Post apocalypse where a bunch of adults seem to have died from a virus. The first issue was interesting and I like the characters introduced, but I still don’t quite get the world, it needed a little more definition to those world building elements for understanding. Could be fixed in future issues but it needed more of a grounding for the first here regardless. Art is one of the better for Alterna’s work. We’ll see how this proceeds. B

 

As you can tell, the whole line has interesting points to it, and as I said the tone and style were all over the map so it’s a bit harder to judge based on what an Alterna book should look like, so I focused on storytelling elements. I’ll probably continue to pick up their whole line going forward cuz it’s like $6 a month to get 4 books or so, which is ridiculous, and I like what they’re doing.

If you like my thoughts on storytelling, you’ll probably enjoy my book, For Steam And Country. Check it out here.

The Last Crusade: On Compassion and Life

I read an article over at The Federalist today by writer Mary Vought. She brought a very personal argument on letting children have the right to live, as the New Yorker brought forth an article  by  a woman who wished she aborted her child.

Additionally, as a pro-life Christian, you can imagine the frustration I felt when reading a mother lamenting the missed opportunity to abort her sick child. As one would imagine, I had an overwhelming desire to write a response that would refute every single one of her points, making a fool of her arguments and calling into question her credibility as mother and provider for her son.

But, as I read her story a second and a third time, I began to relate to her on the one item we could probably agree on—the fact that having a child with a severe illness is scary. For her, this fear seems to have manifested into anger. She writes about mothers (like me) who choose to give birth to a CF child, “The women who willingly made choices that were never presented to me and chose a child’s suffering: Sometimes I hate them. I also hate the women who were supposed to care for me. I hate the faceless people at the lab.”

The way our culture has been set up, we worship death. Our materialism has gone so far that there are women out there who would rather kill their children than love and support them through good times or bad. This needs to change, and it starts with Christians speaking out on life. God is life as surely as any of His other qualities. Being made in His image, even corrupted by this world is something we should treasure.

As a Christian, my faith teaches me instead that every disabled child bears the same marks of his or her Creator in whose image they are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” meaning with an intent and the Creator’s seal of satisfaction. And every disability has a purpose.

In the Bible, Jesus’ disciples ask him who bears the responsibility for the blindness of a man they pass by. Jesus responds, “It is was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” That man’s blindness had a purpose, and it was to reveal the glory of God.

My daughter’s CF has a purpose—that the works of a sovereign God may be displayed someway and somehow. Time will tell. I suspect that conviction will prompt the same emotions in Gann that her conviction did in me. But is there a higher view of disability? Perhaps amidst all the pain and the sorrow, never to be minimized, that comes with enduring a disability, there can also be the hope and comfort that when the God of the universe created my daughter he pronounced his handiwork good and purposeful.

Mary says it better than I do. Difficult situations and conditions have an additional purpose — it gives us reminders to engage in prayer. Prayer is the most powerful tool in our lives and especially in our death-worshipping society, we need more of it. Paul told us to pray without ceasing, to live our entire lives as a prayer to the Lord God, and the best thing we can do for our children, even through their infirmities, do the same. God loves the sick and the weak, the way Jesus lived his live shows that. Let us do the same.

Cirsova 2018 Kickstarter Is Live

If you’ve been around a bit, you’ve probably seen me gush about Cirsova Magazine. I probably shouldn’t say it’s my favorite short fiction magazine, as StoryHack and Astounding Frontiers actually bought stories from me… but let’s just say it’s one of my top three :).

Regardless, when a new Cirsova issue comes out, I read it immediately all the way through. They’ve got some of the best action/adventure stories out there and each issue has gotten better than the last.

My review of Issue 5: http://delarroz.com/?p=851

My review of Issue 6: http://delarroz.com/?p=1367

My interview with editor P. Alexander from early last year: http://delarroz.com/?p=389

“m particularly excited about Issue #7 because they have a story from Dominika Lein, who you also might have seen me gushing about these last several months.

I’ve already backed this, of course, and I highly recommend you do as well. I know I promote a lot of content I see, but this is how we reshape culture by stopping buying our habitual products and supporting something great. Check it out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1161542777/cirsova-2018-spring-summer-subscription

Monday Livestream: PJ Media’s Megan Fox On Fighting Big Tech and Fake News!

Journalist Megan Fox has had a lot of trouble ever since here work’s been prominently featured on Drudge Report or by Rush Limbaugh. She’s been suspended on twitter multiple times, had her youtube content demonetized, all because she’s a journalist with “wrongthink”. Big Tech is becoming an even bigger big censor, and so we’re going to brainstorm what needs to be done and have some fun along the way.

For those who don’t know Megan’s work, she’s the journalist who helped me break #Comicsgate. Probably the most important voice in the media right now.

The livestream will be Monday at 8:30 PST. You won’t want to miss this.

 

Update: She was just locked out AGAIN today over a completely innocuous and truthful tweet: 

Periscope – CB Cebulski

One of my better periscopes, this morning worth watching: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1lPKqpRNbyWxb

Alternatively it will be up on my YouTube channel shortly. Do Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrGNYo4n2qT9z52qtevon4Q

And while you’re subscribing, I’m about to do a pretty epic giveaway on my mailing list in the next couple weeks. You’ll probably want to be on there. I’ve got 3,000+ subscribers and have never used it but it’s high time I change that 🙂 Mailchimp is apparently down right now but check back later if it’s not resolved shortly: http://delarroz.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=3c0d4761bf596db6605e25975

Book Review: Dangerous Gamers

I don’t usually review too many non-fic books here (well I did Scott Adams), but I just read  Dangerous Gamers: The Commentariat and it’s war against video games, imagination and fun. I have to say this is probably the most poignant and relevant analysis of our culture and it’s direction I’ve ever read.

It goes into depth on the armchair-quarterback social media outrage, it’s effect on entertainment news and its effect on culture itself. the main thing the book taught me which I’d never thought of before, is pop culture works we consider “political” actually have little to do with politics. I’ll let you read to figure out why, but it’s an extremely interesting hypothesis.

People try to find outrage in everything now, and it’s based on identity of the creators more than the actual content of the messages of the entertainment itself. It’s so ridiculous, and though this book just got me thinking about it anew, the detailed, logical perspective it takes actually made me take a step back to look at the global trends.

It’s heavy, and it’s a little on the long side for the premise, but it’s worth the time if only to open up your mind to what the commentariat class is doing, and how it’s ruining everything for everyone.

https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Gamers-Commentariat-against-imagination-ebook/dp/B071W99VMZ/

 

 

Wonder Woman Page A Fake

My bad, I should have verified the info before posting but it turns out that last WW quote was not real from the book.

This was edited:

This is the real:

Mistakes happen, and we’re definitely so used to seeing it it’s easy to jump at these things that sound exactly like they would be in a comic. Fortunately, it appears DC has some standards.

The Last Crusade: Superseding Nationalism

This  morning I read a lecture from a Catholic-American artist, speaking of art and culture in the context of the overall health of mankind. Naturally, he finds the current neo-Babelism of the globalists to be something troubling, but what’s interesting is he takes a step back in the conflict between nationalism and globalism and finds something more important, and something eternal:

“As much as I lament that these knots and spirals would not be found in a church nowadays except as an expression of Irishness, I lament more that a church nowadays is likely to contain no artwork at all. We are living in a time comparable to the iconoclastic crises; contempt for tradition and sacred art is encountered at all levels of the Church.

Moreover, contemporary secular society is decidedly antitraditional. Those who mass-produce and peddle its culture profit by arousing the desire for novelty; things that are made to endure or to live with can only be sold once. Its music and art exist primarily as electronic simulacra. These can be sent across the world within seconds; bound to no particular place, they go to every nation and move them toward sameness. I do not know if such things can properly be called culture; I do not know if they can even properly be called things. A similar movement toward a postnational world is made in political and economic matters. The rules of national sovereignty are reduced to legal fictions, just as the marks of cultural identity are overwritten or erased.

Unsurprisingly, this provokes a reaction. All over the world, people are concerned to protect their self-determination and cultural identity from foreign influences, from invasive ways that are not theirs. That is to say, that are not theirs as Frenchmen or Englishmen or Germans or Americans. In such a time, when nationalism provides the motive to preserve tradition, and postnationalism the motive to destroy it, it seems that anyone who is a traditionalist in matters of religion or culture or art should and must be a nationalist as well.

The curious thing, however, is that in the history of Christianity, nationalism is not an especially traditional idea. A distinction between nations certainly is as ancient as the Tower of Babel, where the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries. But the idea that nationhood be the foremost way for a man to understand his identity, his place in history and in the world, began in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The choice presented between nationalism and postnationalism is a false dilemma; there is older way, and that is what is actually expressed in works of art such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and Chartres Cathedral. It is the idea of Christendom: that a man should understand his place in history and in the world not foremost as a member of a particular nation, but rather as a member of the universal Church. This is the way that once was maintained by the Church, and that naturally would be yet, were it not for the failure of its institutional authorities to stand fast, and hold to the traditions they have learned. Perhaps artists can take up the task, if churchmen will not, of reviving this magnanimous idea.

This idea of Christendom does not destroy the particular genii of nations, but neither does it provoke them to battle against each other. It rather establishes principles by which they may together praise the same God. Moreover, it establishes principles by which the Christian tradition may withstand foreign influences; not by barring them entry, but by converting them to its same sacred end, by staking upon whatever is true or good or beautiful in them a legitimate claim. “

He is right that our identities must first and foremost be our eternal citizenship, that of  the Kingdom of Heaven, and also that we should remember the context of our lives and purpose in these end times. What’s great about our heavenly citizenships, is that we may carry dual citizenships with our Earthly nations. Christ in his time on this Earth gave his ministry to one people, the people of Israel, though his focus was on the eternal birth of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Likewise he urged his followers not to be at odds with Rome, within the bounds Paul created most of his ministry.

I don’t think this is implying nationalism is wrong by any means, and I think it’s important tool to fight the neo-Babelists, but we do have to remember our priorities lay beyond it.

 

Happy Crusade Day

On this day, November 27th 1095, Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade, ordering European Christians to retake the Holy Land from the barbaric Islamic forces that had captured it. He coined probably the most important phrase in history outside of the teachings of Christ Himself, “Deus Vult!”

Celebrate this day by committing to join the Last Crusade, something science fiction author and Christian philosopher John C. Wright has put together in order to encourage us to fight for what’s right and true, in an effort to preserve western civilization and further the Kingdom of Heaven’s reach into this world. John’s stated three main points of attack are some of the most crucial things we must do as Christendom in these last days:

First, to restore the Constitution of United States, as this nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, is the sole nation in history whose founding was entirely in keeping with the Christian principle that all men are created in the image and likeness of God. This nation is born of a social covenant of men related, not by blood nor race but only by likemindedness, a brotherhood of the spirit.

Second, to restore Chivalry to men, as without the warlike yet courteous spirit unique to the Christian soldier of ages past, no man can be a true man, no wife can love and serve a true husband, no child be reared by a true father.

Third, to restore Christ to the hearts of men, and throw the godless, the impious, the heathen and the atheist from the halls of power. A Christian commonwealth can tolerate a non-Christian minority if the minority can and will abide by the civilized standard of Christian decency, monogamy, honor and honesty in business dealings, and so on.

God’s Kingdom is not something to be won by being passive. We must actively work together to restore the Church. There is no other way.