Marian Churchland

Arclight 4 (January 2017)

Arclight #4Yeah, Brandon Graham really doesn’t know how to wrap up a comic, does he? Arclight meanders to a finish of sorts, with almost no content this issue. Churchland’s art is lovely, but it’s all over the place. Not enough information is the big problem. It’s decompressed storytelling or something. The Brandon Graham version. And it’s over too soon. There’s not enough of a finish here.

CREDITS

Writer, Brandon Graham; artist and colorist, Marian Churchland; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

Arclight 3 (November 2016)

Arclight #3Arclight isn’t just back, Arclight is back and pretty great. There’s a lot of content, thanks to how Marian Churchland paces and composes the art. And Brandon Graham’s terse exposition is fantastic. It feels magical and dangerous and big. Churchland’s art is perfect for big, empty, and dangerous. Graham’s strange organic, magic creatures are imaginative and always used measuredly. It’s almost reassuring in its excellence.

CREDITS

Writer, Brandon Graham; artist and colorist, Marian Churchland; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

From Under Mountains 1 (September 2015)

From Under Mountains #1I like Sloane Leong’s art. I really do. She’s got a great way of doing movement, whether characters or environmental. And her expressions are fantastic.

But I’m not sure about From Under Mountains. It’s fantasy, or at least full of fantasy gobbledygook names–the comic comes to life when it’s actual fantasy, something about a maleficent spirit (gorgeous movement from Leong on those parts)–but the rest of it is boring.

The protagonist is a princess who has no rights, no power. Her brother gets to do all these exciting things, she just has to get married off. Her dad’s a jerk. Her brother’s sympathetic but he’s deceiving the father too for something else so he doesn’t get involved. And besides the spirit, there are enemies attacking their palace.

The “story” is okay. It’s Claire Gibson’s script. It’s way too obvious, all of the time. Leong’s art helps Mountains get through, but there’s just nothing there. It’s too slight.

CREDITS

Writers, Marian Churchland and Claire Gibson; artist, Sloane Leong; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

8house 2 (August 2015)

8house #2: ArclightIt’s another good issue of 8house. Graham fans–especially of Prophet–will find the organic technology somewhat familiar, but with Churchland’s art welcome instead of off-putting. Churchland’s art–with her focus on expression, implied movement and landscapes–make the story feel magical. Even when it’s dangerous, possibly gross or scary. It’s gentle.

And Graham doesn’t get particularly gross. He tells a straightforward story. Arclight and the magician lady are in some trouble. Meanwhile, in a floating city ship (made from some kind of animal), Arclight’s former lady doesn’t much like the lord of the city ship. It’s a royal drama. Instead of taking place in the Middle Ages, however, it takes place in some sci-fi world.

But a lot of the issue is just Churchland’s art. The visible hesitation in some of the lines just makes it all the better. Every panel is so thoughtful.

Really impressive comic.

CREDITS

Arclight, Part Two; writer, Brandon Graham; artist, Marian Churchland; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

Island 1 (July 2015)

Island #1Island is an anthology series. I didn’t realize it was an anthology series with multiple creators and stories per issue. It feels like Dark Horse Presents, actually. Maybe a bit more indie, but basically it’s DHP. And being the new DHP is fine because the new DHP hasn’t done it.

There are three stories–one from Emma Rios, one from Brandon Graham (who’s also the editor of Island) and one from Ludroe. They’re all open-minded so they can continue. Two of them are all right. Ludroe’s skating thing isn’t my cup of tea. There’s no writing to it (besides alleycats being a gang of talking cats), no constraint.

Rios’s story is okay. The sci-fi setting being background to the characters is nice and some of the art’s good (not the action though).

Graham’s story is craziness and wonderfulness. He gloriously trumps continuity and expectation with ambition and exploration.

CREDITS

Contributors, Marian Churchland, Emma Rios, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Brandon Graham and Ludroe; publisher, Image Comics.

8house 1 (June 2015)

8house: Arclight #1First part of the story and it’s clear Arclight is going to be something else. There’s something so human about it–when the magician (or witch) sits down to read a book with her recently resurrected goose? It’s a calm moment for the mysterious character. She’s royalty on a strange world (artist Marian Churchland does a gorgeous job of the place, desolate but full of life) and has apparently lost her humanity through some magical tragedy.

Writer Brandon Graham never gives too much away and, given the format (8house is an anthology book, Arclight has a limited number of issues), maybe he never will. With that mix of fantasy and mundane and the visual pacing of the comic, Arclight is a mysterious thing. That mystery is part of the pleasure of reading it.

Given Graham and Churchland’s skills, Arclight will always be an interesting, worthwhile read; but it’s good too.

CREDITS

Arclight, Part One; writer, Brandon Graham; artist, Marian Churchland; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

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