California, Inc. #2 Kickstarter Campaign is Live!

The Kickstarter Campaign for California, Inc. #2 is live! It's the new series I'm editing, written by Arthur Ebuen (The Simpsons, Futurama), art by Dave Law (The Space Odditorium, Thoughtscape 2319, Wolf Punks), letters by Frank Cvetkovic (Blink, Count Crowley, Cyberpunk 2077), which features California seceding from the United States to form a corporate country where every citizen is an employee. The series follows the soldiers and statesmen trying to make the dream work. The campaign features so many cool incentives, including variant covers by Danny Dufford and Conor Hughes, enamel pins, and retailer bundles. Check it out: www.californiainccomic.com


Are You Lost, Little Bunny? by Noemi Vola (Mini Kus! #118)

Noemi Vola has created a sumptuous work that examines questioning your identity, which seems to be an elixir for our times. We exist with overstimulated brains in an oversaturated reality, where there’s way too much stimuli to track, even if we’re not neurodivergent. At times, the visuals of Are You Lost, Little Bunny? appear like garish shouty colors scrawled in markers by the hands of a child, which perfectly captures the aesthetic of our overwhelmed senses. The protagonists are lost emotionally, exhausted by their surroundings, missing their loved ones, feeling isolated and alone, needing a vacation, a respite, a retreat of any kind to a place that feels like home. Vola’s densely packed pages are a visual feast, often times focusing on singular figures with enveloping backgrounds that seem to want to swallow them whole. It’s an immersive experience that culminates, for me, in a 2-page spread with “nobody saves anyone” emblazoned in a sickly ring of pink hearts that pulses and radiates energy outward across the pages. It’s a frightening and bleak message, if we allow ourselves to believe this faulty myth. The follow up warning seems to be the thought that “life is fantastic when you have no feelings,” a reminder of the inherent danger of numbing yourself, because if you’re not feeling, then what’s the point of living in the first place? Noemi Vola delivers a tremendous performance here, proof once again that kus! is consistently my favorite publisher in the world.


Grapefruit by Ana Margarida Matos (Mini Kus! #117)

Grapefruit plays a bit like classic contemporary art, in that the aesthetic seems to recontextualize seemingly disparate found objects and juxtapose them to reveal additional meaning. This tension often found in modern gallery settings appears on the page, with hints of an interactive experience – the book is, in fact, eventually billed as a “book of instructions,” pulling the audience in to be part of the exhibit, not merely observe passively. The tension extends into the comics medium, as Matas seems to be playing with the form, examining how text and images are not actually separate entities, but parts of a whole that push the narrative – just as we must consciously, intentionally inhabit our own narrative in life. This extends again from the theoretical juxtaposition of found objects, to comic book components as an example, to real people as they exist off the page. There’s a line later in the book that seems to hone in on the thesis: “I am the interspace. The gutter.” If you’re reading this review, odds are you may be fairly well-versed in comics parlance; the “gutter” here referring to that liminal space between panels where actions and closure can occur in the mind’s eye of the reader. When Matas proffers “I exist without knowing it,” we can ask ourselves if we’re ever fully, truly, engaged and present in the moment? Are we self-aware about the meaning it provides? Most people are good at recalling the past or anticipating the future, but not as adept at being in the now. At times, it feels like we’re just mindlessly drifting along, bridging one part (the past) to the next (the future), without sensing our role in the present, existing only in that interspace, in the gutter. In that sense, Grapefruit plays like a wake-up call to be physically, emotionally, and intellectually present in whatever you’re currently doing, at each individual moment of engagement.