Archive for May, 2015

Invisible Bullying

Posted: May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
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While I think the discussions about bullying over the years have been awesome, I think that there’s one aspect of it that’s not nearly being talked enough about because it’s invisible. That aspect is bullying by omission. With the exception of a few people, that I am still in contact with, I didn’t exactly have the best time as a teenager. I went to an incredibly small high school and, for whatever reason, I was mostly ignored by my peers. I was never invited to parties, asked out on dates, or just asked to hang out with people. I distinctly remember one time when the student lounge was filled with conversation and came to a complete halt when I walked in. This created a self- fulfilling prophecy of sorts. The more I was treated as an outsider, the more I became one. Conversations suddenly became a mine field for me because I thought that the next word that would come out of my mouth would trigger a destruction of a relationship. Along with CP, I have what’s called Non-Verbal Disability. One of the side effects of this is that sometimes I have trouble reading body language. I’m way better at it now, but during that time it was the most horrible game of I Spy ever. It was like reading code. The worst part about it is that I was perfectly fine with it. As an only child, you are naturally comfortable being by yourself. But now that I have a large group of friends that I see often, it’s given me the realization that I felt unworthy as a teenager. Unworthy to be a friend, unworthy to date, unworthy to be myself. I understand that those people that treated me that way (and, from what I learned later, made fun of my disabilities behind my back) are probably different people now, but I can not unstitch that period from my life. So, if you see someone that seems like they’re kind of out of the box, acknowledge them. I’m not saying that you have to constantly be around them, but saying hello or asking them how their day is going can be a huge step in making them feel better about themselves. Even if they don’t pour out their heart to you right then and there, they take that home with them. Because there’s nothing worse than feeling like you don’t matter.

-A.B.

As a life-long comic book fan, I am always trying to get more people interested in this vastly underrated art form. There are many companies and many series to choose from, but here are my top five that are currently on the market.

Wytches-01-f0068
5. WYTCHES by Scott Snyder and Jock

     Scott Snyder has become a bit of a rock star in the comic industry within the past few years. With such greats as American Vampire, Severed, The Wake, and his current run on Batman, he’s shown a huge talent for dark character driven stories. And boy is this one dark. Turning the classic monster archetype of the witch upside down, Wytches is very reminiscent of early Stephen King. A story about what lies in the darkness at the heart of the woods as well as in the family. Jock’s scratchy artwork gives the book a tremendously creepy atmosphere echoing the best horror movies of the 70’s. In your looking for genuine horror in your comics, this is the place to start.

Bastards
4. SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour

Speaking as someone from the south, I looooove stories about how messed up a place it can be. Southern Bastards is about Earl Tubb, an elderly man that returns to his home town in Alabama to make things right. It’s a story of revenge and the dark, dark nature of the south. Jason Aaron impressed me with his run on Wolverine and his current work on Thor is the first time I’ve ever really cared about the character, but the leash is off on this one. Latour’s art is filled with wood-carved faces and deep reds that you’re not quite sure if that’s the color of BBQ sauce or blood on the page. A great character piece that keeps you guessing.

Lazarus_1
3.LAZARUS by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Greg Rucka is one of my favorite writers. A cross between Children of Men and The Godfather, the series takes place in a dystopian future where the world is run by mafia clans. Each clan has a genetically engineered body guard called a “Lazarus.” We follow the journey of the Lazarus of the Carlyle family known as Forever and her path to finding her humanity. Rucka and Lark collaborated before on one of my favorite comics ever, Gotham Central, and they do not disappoint here. The world building is incredible, almost scarily believable and Forever is one of the most well-written female characters I’ve ever come across. An HBO show waiting to happen, Lazarus is one that I eagerly look forward to reading every month.

Snyder
2. BATMAN by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

     A list of comics would not be complete without a superhero series. And it comes to no surprise to my friends that I choose the one with my favorite fictional characters ever in it. From their blockbuster debut with the modern classic Court of the Owls to one of the best Joker stories ever with Death of the Family to one of the best re-tellings of the Dark Knight’s origin with Zero Year, Snyder and Capullo are masters at creating a version of the character that simultaneously celebrates the 75 years of history and carves their own path. I’ve been been a Batman fan all my life and these two are some of the best collaborators he’s ever had.

Saga
1. SAGA by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Brian K. Vaughn planted himself among the best writers in comics with his legendary Y: The Last Man series. When it’s all said and done, he may have topped it with Saga. Marko and Alana are lovers from two alien planets at war. After giving birth to a child of both races, they go on the run from the law and find out what being a family truly means. Probably the most inventive Sci-Fi story since Star Wars, Saga is an incredibly mixture of of one of the best writers and one of the best artists in the industry. It’s beautiful, profane, hilarious, and heart breaking. With twenty-six issues in and no end in sight, Saga is the prime example of what monthly comics can be.

Well, there you have it. With the exception of Batman, all of these books come from Image. A creator-owned company that has been putting out the best stuff in the market. If any of these look interesting to you, be sure to check out your local comic shop and find out more. I hope this list encourages you to dive in to the wonderful world of comics!
-A.B.

clive-barker

I’ve only recently become familiar with the work of Clive Barker over the past couple of years. And once I was bitten, I fell head over heels. From masterpieces in horror  like The Books of Blood and The Hellbound Heart. To masterpieces in fantasy like Weaveworld and Imajica. To masterpieces in children’s literature like The Thief of Always and Abarat, Barker has such an astounding imagination and commitment to his vision that he has created a genre that is simply his.

His directed such great films as Hellraiser (based on Hellbound) and Nightbreed (based on a novel of his called Cabal) and has even become a fantastic painter. Today sees the release of his latest novel, The Scarlet Gospels, squaring off two of his best known characters (the Hell Priest commonly referred to as “Pinhead” and supernatural detective Harry D’amour) in a battle across the landscape of Hell. At age 62, Barker is one of the few artists that never seems to slow down. An artist filled with the need to create and a towering inspiration for me.

-A.B.

I think the most important time in our lives to read is when we are children. The stories, especially books, that we consume when we’re young shapes us as who we are as adults. There’s also this certain magical feeling that you get when you’re reading a book as a kid that you don’t have as an adult. As if the book was specifically written for you.  For me, they were Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, and The Giver.  I’m curious, what were your favorite books growing up? Answer below!

-A.B.

We live in an increasingly DIY culture and yet I see a strange stigma being held against self-published authors such as myself. If you were a musician and you created your own album, you’d be able to promote said album in nightclubs, small concerts, etc. If you are an independent filmmaker, you are able to submit your film to festivals, local theaters, etc. But if you’re a self-published author, there is very little to no chance that you’d be able to promote your book in big box book stores or festivals along side traditionally published books. They claim that the reason why is because self-published books are, by and large, lacking in quality than traditionally published books. I think that view point is completely invalid once you consider the fact that Twilight and  50 Shades of Grey got through their gates. Books are not some high art that are only reserved for intellectuals. Just like film, music, and TV, books are vessels for storytelling.

-A.B.

A Request.

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Hello, people of WordPress! I’m a writer currently seeking representation. So, if you see any stories or chapters you like on here, please share them with others. Every time someone likes something on here, it really boosts my inspiration to keep going. So, I really do appreciate it. You guys rock!
-A.B.

Pan

Like most kids, Peter Pan was one of my favorite stories growing up. From the Disney movie, to Hook, to the Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby versions, the story of the Boy Who Never Grew Up always stuck with me. It was only until high school that I read the original J.M. Barrie novel.  What I discovered there was a Neverland that was far deeper than the one that I had previously come to known. Peter is one of the most complex heroes in fiction. He represents not just the innocence and joy of childhood, but the anger, selfishness, and lack of empathy that comes with it as well. Captain Hook is watered down for many versions. He is usually portrayed as comedic villain, but the real Hook is a gentleman pirate that attacks Peter psychologically. Forcing him to confront his own mentality. There are many versions of the story,  but none of them can hold a candle to the original novel about imagination, childhood, and death.
-A.B.