Indie Comic Preview – Candles

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

“Hopefully next time we can grab a meal and go unnoticed for once” – Idris

This week I’d like to highlight an exciting new comic due to come out later this month. Candles is a self-contained fantasy graphic novel both written and drawn by Lyndon White. For any of you who picked up a copy of the Little Heroes Comics Anthology #2 you’ll immediately recognise Lyndon’s unique colourful style where each panel is it’s own miniature work of art.

Lyndon’s previous work has covered a full spectrum of genres, available at www.lyndonwhite.com. Lyndon’s art is well suited to both the fantastical such as Candles, horror which he’s worked on extensively before, and bringing out an emotional intensity as seem on Little Heroes. Candles itself promises a fun fantastical adventure, with a simple premise of an overly enthusiastic child learning magic in a sceptical and fearful society which promises characters and their personalities to shine and drive the story.

Generation after generation people are taught one thing, never use magic. The evil Witch has cast a plague known as Dark-bark over the land and one by one, infected villagers are lured into the enchanted forest never to be seen again. As a last resort to save her family, Grace embarks on a quest to steal the Witch’s magic and use it to save her dying village.

Meanwhile, Idris, a flamboyant sorcerer and his talented apprentice Ava, are outcasted from their town and begin to track the source of the Dark-bark. Wolves howl at the night sky and candles begin to glow. The Witch must be stopped at all costs, however, everything is not as it seems. Candles is a full colour fantasy graphic novel, written and illustrated by Lyndon White.

The book is being crowdfunded through Unbound, launching during the Lakes Comic Art Festival and aiming to launch the campaign by the 11th October 2018.

Lyndon has recently finished work on the fantasy, horror mini-series Mandy the Monster Hunter: Legend of the Spindly Man with Hellbound Media, after launching a highly successful Kickstarter in March 2018, for his Call of Cthulhu concertina book.

Candles will be his third graphic novel after Sparks and the Fallen Star, 2016 and The Mind of James Svengal, 2018 (written by Jordan Sam Adams), both of which were published by Blue Fox Comics.

 

Got an indie comic for us to review? Email us at lostlighthouseindie@gmail.com

Anime Review – Children of the Whales

Kii takes a look at some anime!

Children of the Whales is an anime that aired in Japan from October 2017 and launched globally via Netflix in March 2018. The series was directed by Kyōhei Ishiguro (Your lie in April), written by Michiko Yokote (Cowboy Bebop, Saint Seiya, xxxHolic) and animated by J.C.Staff (Food Wars, Excel Saga).

The plot focuses around a young record keeper named Chakuro (voiced by Natsuki Hanae in Japanese and Johnny Yong Bosch in English) who lives on a large moving vessel called The Mud Whale. The Mud Whale has been aimlessly cruising through a giant ocean of sand for the past 100 years and nobody seems to know anything about the world beyond, minus some smaller floating islands they sometimes come across and scavenge from. It’s on one of these islands that they encounter the first human that they’ve seen outside of The Whale. Lykos (Manaka Iwami and Melissa Fahn) is an emotionless child soldier who may know more about The Mud Whale than the inhabitants do.

These inhabitants of The Mud Whale are categorised by those who can use a magic-like art called thymia, the Marked, and those who can’t, the Unmarked. Due to their use of thymia, the Marked lead noticeably shorter lives than their counterparts and rarely make it to their thirties.

Thymia in particular makes this series very interesting to me. It’s like a monkey’s paw of magic and yet it’s also vital for the people’s survival on the sea of sand. I also believe that it makes for some interesting characters; Suoh (Nobunaga Shimazaki and Bryce Papenbrook), an Unmarked who has made it his mission to figure out how to extend the lives of the Marked as he believes their burden to be unfair and Ouni (Yuichiro Umehara and Reba Buhr), a rebel with unusually strong thymia who is locked up in the belly of the ship.

To keep this spoiler free, I can tell you that things go to shit pretty quickly and the people of the Mud Whale are thrust into a world that they don’t understand, let alone are prepared for. I found the themes of the conflict unique as the benefits of using emotions vs erasing them to ensure that they don’t get in the way are explored. The secrets of the Mud Whale itself are also intricate and enticing.

The series contains twelve episodes but I would have preferred if it was longer. There are some moments that end up feeling a touch rushed and the story had points that I wish could have been expanded upon in more detail. It seems that the series wants to develop into a second season but this has yet to be confirmed. I would definitely like to see more from this anime as I still have questions and  want aspects of the story to be opened up.

My slightly personal and a little picky gripe is that whilst the opening cinematics are nice, the theme is weak. The song is ‘Sono Sake E’ by RIRIKO, I listened to the full song instead of just the section for the opening and I don’t really know why the section they chose was used. The song in its entirety is pretty nice and has some nice instrumentals whereas the opening focuses repeatedly on some long held notes. It was, without a doubt, the most I’ve used the skip intro button on Netflix.

Opening theme aside, I would absolutely recommend Children of the Whales if you’re looking for something new to watch. It’s not a feel good anime as some parts are a little harrowing, however, it’s very hopeful. The action is good, the animation is lovely and I felt the concept was unique and attention grabbing. Give it a watch and let me know what you think!

Comic Review – Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Locks are magic. Doors are magic. I am magic” – Merlin

Time for Marvel to start cashing in on the positive reception to Doctor Strange! There were two new Doctor Strange comics released this week, and I picked up Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1:

  • Writer – Robbie Thompson
  • Penciler – Javier Rodriguez
  • Inker – Alvaro Lopez
  • Colourist – Jordie Bellaire
  • Letterer – VC’s Joe Caramagna
  • Cover – Rafael Albuquerque and John Rauch
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Cover art by Albuquerque & Rauch

I picked this of the two new issues this week largely due to the cover. The intense feel to it and promise of a range of diverse characters appealed to me. The plot is kicked off by Merlin, as a fan of the King Arthur tales I’m always happy to see the classic sorcerer/magician pitch in. After setting things up with the King of the Britons he turns up to “recruit” Stephen Strange. The set up promises an epic battle across time, bringing in every Sorcerer Supreme from across the ages (including Isaac Newton, apparently?). I’m sure as always Marvel will brush over the majority of any obvious plot holes or paradoxes created.

The comic feels a little reminiscent and the first issue of Jason Aaron’s current Doctor Strange run where they reintroduce him, his powers (if limited for now) and his struggle against the magic forces of evil. Especially how so few people are able to tell what he does or even see the battles he rages. As someone reading the main Doctor Strange comic it’s good to see the continuity held up with the main series.

 

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Art by Rodriguez, Lopez. Bellaire & Caramagna

The art is vibrant and intense throughout. There are plenty of large panels packed full of action and Bellaire’s colours shine through. Caramagna’s lettering does a skillful job of leading the reader through the larger of these spreads, especially a wonderfully depicted page of Merlin and Doctor Strange travelling through time. The Forgotten is given an appropriately distorted set of speech bubbles and letters to help it feel as corrupted and evil as it should, and the overall design is both freaky and great.

So many Sorcerer Supremes though, of course means there are a hell of a lot of hands. Clearly it’s time to review them. What I appreciate is how each character’s hands help communicate their personality, Merlin is wise, Doctor Strange somehow both in control and out of his depth at the same time, and the Ancient One full of himself and cocky (makes a lot of sense in context). Thanks to this the hand drawing skills are scoring well, especially when they’re so large at times. 8.75/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

I wasn’t sure when I picked this up if I’d stick to it for the long run. After reading it I will be, I very much enjoyed it. As for downsides, the battle at the end feels a little unsatisfactory where it’s left, it would have been nice to have more of this though the issue did have to accommodate a fair bit of set up as well which took up panel space.

Score: 8.75 Q’Uiven’s out of 10

Comic Review – Seven to Eternity #1 (Image Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

As if to swiftly fill the hole left by Tokyo Ghost ending a few weeks ago, Rick Remender is back with another new series in the form of Seven to Eternity from Image Comics, reuniting with his long-time collaborator Jerome Opeña on art duties, with Matt Hollingsworth providing colours and lettering from Rus Wooton. As a big fan of Fear Agent I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now, so seemed an obvious choice for review this week.

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Cover by Opeña & Hollingsworth

Seven to Eternity takes place in the Kingdom of Zhal, where the ruthless and terrifying tyrant The God of Whispers (also known as the Mud King) has, after a long and devastating war, nearly secured his absolute dominion over the land. By inciting fear and hatred, by turning others against their friends and allies, he has taken control and even made those who stand against him pariahs rather than heroes. Zebadiah Osidis was one such man, and rather than hear the Mud King’s offer and bend his knee to him, he took his family far away. Years later, the Mud King has sent his agents to deal with Zebadiah, and while he sticks to his principles and refuses to hear the offer, his now adult son Adam, thinking of his own young family and the threat to them, travels across Zhal and through the dying embers of the war to hear The God of Whispers out.

Zhal is a high-fantasy world of magic rather than technology, and the entire team here has quickly established an incredibly rich world. The nature and design of how it all works together is stunning, and again really shows a creative team working so well together. This is a dense and heavy story that is unforgiving, but well worth the effort to get into. Seven to Eternity is cinematic in scope, which is clear from even the cover. Remender’s characters are as always, fascinating studies into individuals whose obsession or devotion to their ideals may very well be their undoing. Zebadiah is uncompromising in his principles, and by refusing to bend on them he turned his family into hated outcasts. Adam may not do the same, but his choices may well end up even more dangerous for everyone. The complex characters, a legitimately terrifying villain, and strong dialogue round off a great start to the story.

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Art by Opeña & Hollingsworth

The art is the best work I’ve seen from Opeña to date. The visuals are utterly gorgeous, the action sequences insanely detailed, and the way the magic in this world works is just mesmerising. The double page splash of Adam seeing the city is almost criminally good. I don’t know what was going on in it, but my god was it pretty. Matt Hollingsworth’s colours are an excellent edition to the art, often bringing almost a glow to the backgrounds, while infusing the action with an intense vibrancy. The lettering from Wooton in this book is particularly strong too, never intruding on the art but guiding through the pages with a perfect flow.

What is clear in Seven to Eternity is that this is a truly collaborative affair, and everyone involved is pulling in some of the best work of their careers. It’s a dense, intriguing high fantasy epic that I genuinely can’t wait to read more of, and you should definitely be checking this out. Pick it up at your LCS or digitally now.

Score: 9 Mud Hounds out of 10

 

Total Reroll: Episode 31 – Maccath the Red

Welcome to Season 2 of Total Reroll, our Dungeons and Dragons podcast! Adam has been playing some some good old fashioned D&D with some friends in London, except it isn’t old fashioned because it’s 5th edition. After finishing ‘Hoard of the Dragon Queen’, we’ve moved on with the same characters to ‘Rise of Tiamat’, the second part of the Tyranny of Dragons storyline. You can find a mega-post of all of the Season 1 content here.

The gang is on the Sea of Moving Ice to find Maccath the Red, a warlock who may know something about the drake’s horn, a powerful magical artifact that the dragon cult may use in their bid to raise the five headed dragon queen Tiamat. Red, Ravoprax, Eldo, Carnicula, Artin, Dariah and Nausicaa arrived at the iceberg Oyaviggaton, her last known location, where some ice hunters tried to poison them. They find out that a dragon dwells in the iceberg, holding the hunters and Maccath as prisoners. So the group heads on in to see what they can do about that!


Download this episode (right click and save)

Here is the map of the first level of the iceberg, including the library and Maccath’s room

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And one of the lower cave we spent ages looking for the dragon in

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If you have any feedback email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk, tweet us @lost_lighthouse or get in touch via our Facebook! Subscribe to the podcast feed or on itunes, and feel free to share or retweet too! Fancy supporting Total Reroll and The Lost Lighthouse? Check out our completely optional, pay-what-you-want Paypal donation page!

Our intro and outro music is ‘Acid Splash’ by Rich Thomson, and our “adverts” are provided by Anthony Walsh.

Enjoy!

Comic Review – Doctor Strange #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“So now I walk alone through the nameless reaches of the netherworld. Each day weirder than the last. Each new challenge liable to end with my doom or damnation or final descent into screaming madness. But you know what? I’d be lying like hell if I said I didn’t love this.” – Doctor Strange

Warning: minor spoilers.

While Adam struggles to maintain his sanity with his thesis, I’ll be stepping in to have a go at the weekly comic book review! And boy was I spoilt for choice this week! Marvel are getting into their ‘All New All Different’ series with a load of new issue #1s, designed for people to jump in on and become hooked. It certainly worked on me… Today I’ll be reviewing Doctor Strange #1, written by Jason Aaron and pencils and colours by Chris Bachalo, with inks from Tim Townsend, Al Vey and Mark Irwin, and letters from Cory Petit. This is one of the comics there’s been a bit of fuss and hype about in certain parts of the internet. Partially because Benedict Cumberbatch has taken up the role for the MCU and partially because the Sorcerer Supreme has been depicted wielding a massive axe along with his magic. This can only be a fun development.

Anyway, onto the main review. I picked this up only having a rough knowledge of Doctor Strange: He’s the Avenger with magical powers who isn’t the Scarlet Witch. That was about it. And considering the massive expansive history behind nearly every Marvel character it could have been easy for this comic to be impenetrable to new readers. But no, the first page is one of the best openings I’ve seen in a first issue for a comic book (Saga would also stand out… for very different reasons…), it gives you a narration from Doctor Strange with the background decorated with panels from his old comics. These panels are unedited so they have that cool vintage comic look about them. You get a good feel for the type of guy Steven Strange is and an overview of his backstory. Oh, and unlike Doctor Fate for DC Doctor Strange is an actual Doctor.

doc strange 2The art style naturally shifts to a more modern tone right away, Chris Bachalo’s art is top quality as you’d expect, although you rarely see the character eyes in the way they’re drawn! The story itself is pure set up, the migration before the storm as we see Strange deal with a variety of supernatural entities. We also get a feel for his place in society, unlike say Captain America he walks down the street and nobody takes notice. At least until he appears to start talking to himself and shuffling/moving in a weird way, then people just avoid him or are weirded out by him. Actually, if you see him doing that he’s likely going toe to toe with some big horrible magical nasty that feeds on our souls, but he’s treated like a crazy drunk. He makes the point that he isn’t surprised by this, and in fact if you see a drunk or a homeless person talking to themselves, give them a bit of cash, they could actually be saving you from soul devouring monsters!

We also get a look at his magical allies, his supernatural hang out bar and a feel for how magic works in this world (warning for anyone wanting to give it a go: you’ll need to drown a lot of bunnies! This is the price you don’t see Harry Potter pay on screen…)

Finally, we get an epilogue that sets up the direction of the rest of the series. Which looks very cool.

If you’re a long-time fan of Doctor Strange though, I could see this being a bit of a slow comic. It’s designed to get the new readers in and there’s a lot of getting to know the Doctor, who long term fans of course already do. That being said, it’s a very good set up and I’m sure will rock as a series, so read it anyway!

Final Verdict

Well done Marvel, I’m hooked. I’ll be following this series and if you want to get hyped for the upcoming film, like Doctor Strange or just want a superhero with more magic and less muscles then this is perfect for you!

Final Score – 9 Psyche Leeches out of 10!