The woods in Sean Ford’s comic Only Skin border a simple, recognizable American town. There’s a post office and a diner. Members of the community amble about, fill up at the local gas station, and nod knowingly at each other on the empty streets. At night, they experience strange dreams and file into council meetings to sound concerns about neighbors who have recently gone missing in the forest. Read more of my piece on Only Skin at PopMatters.
Scene of the Crime isn’t as rich with the noir-ish doses of shadow that would flood Ed Brubaker stories in the years to come, but this late 1990s four-issue DC/Vertigo miniseries in some sense birthed the universe of grifters, drug runners, and unlucky bar flies who populate those scripts. Scene spawned the fertile working relationships between the writer, artist Michael Lark, and Sean Phillips, who was brought in to ink the last three issues. These partnerships have arguably yielded some of the best-received genre offerings in recent history (Criminal, Fatale, Gotham Central, more), and you can trace them all back to this heavy little story. Read more at PopMatters.
Author Stephen King is publishing a new webcomic, but it’s hardly his only contribution to the genre. I wrote about his creative debt to horror comics for PopMatters. Go have a look, and thanks for reading. As always, please share the PopMatters link as you see fit, and visit dominicumile.com for more frequent updates.
It’s an interesting juncture for Matt Hawkins to have conceptualized Think Tank, a new Top Cow comic series that features a character who works for an actual defense contractor. Hawkins’s Dr. Loren has impressed some people with his considerable improvements for drones, the unmanned aerial vehicles that the U.S. Air Force and CIA have been deploying for decades, but have never before been as common a component of our foreign policy than they are in 2012. I wrote about Obama’s drone program and its timely mention in Think Tank for PopMatters.
What might the best-known works of horror have been without the weight of winter? Within a memorable horror story, if low temperatures don’t bring death, they’re almost always the ideal setting for it. I wrote about the role of winter temperatures in a handful of contemporary horror comics for PopMatters. Thanks for reading.
In May of 2003, in a wooded region of Fishtown, Philadelphia that borders the Delaware River, a 15-year-old local girl named Justina Morley baited her then-boyfriend Jason Sweeney away from public view with promises of sex. Instead of an intimate exchange, three other young men sprang from the brush and pounced on Sweeney, swinging a hatchet and a hammer, and throwing big rocks at his face and head. He was beaten to death. I wrote about this murder, the news coverage of it, and a grisly, graphic novelization of it called Fishtown for PopMatters.
Beneath new $1.8 million-dollar surveillance cameras installed to assist the fractured police force in Camden, New Jersey, suburban neighbors flood the city’s popular narcotics market at sixth and York streets, even while the sun shines. The corner marks just one of “perhaps a hundred open air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges in The Nation magazine in late 2010.
I wrote a short preview piece for PopMatters about poverty and crime in Camden, NJ and its place in a new book called Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt from journalist Chris Hedges and reporter/comics artist Joe Sacco. (Note: I’m posting more often at dominicumile.com these days, FYI)