Friday, February 3, 2012

The State of The Death-Ray


We haven't updated Death-Ray Ozone in a while (sorry!), but I wanted to put something here to let you know that we're both still alive and blogging.

Over the course of the last couple of months, I've found myself fairly burnt out on the usual superhero comics that we tend to cover here at Death-Ray Ozone, so I decided to take a little bit of a break to explore what else is out there.  I'm still following a few superhero books, of course, but ever since December, I guess, I've been gradually cutting them out of my weekly routine, and replacing them with a bunch of books and mini-comics and creators that had previously only existed on the fringes of my comics-reading consciousness.  It's exciting, and it's a roundabout way of introducing what's basically just going to be a "here's some stuff I've been into lately" capsule-style review post, so, hey:

Here's some stuff I've been into lately that you should probably check out sometime:

Forming by Jesse Moynihan
This was probably the best thing that I'd read in all of 2011.  I picked up a copy of the print version of Jesse Moynihan's webcomic "Forming" at BCGF, and I fell in love with this book.  It's a sci-fi/spiritual creation myth told with bright colors, casual vulgarities, and meaningful scoops of violence.  Jesse Moynihan makes the exact comics I want to see in the world.  Be sure to check out "Cosmic River" as well for further examples of the comics I want in the world.

The comics of Michael DeForge
This dude knows how to make a comicbook.  Check out his series "Lose" and all the other anthology things he's been in.  He's doing this thing with his comics where he's fucking around with his styles, trying to figure out what works best as he goes along, and it's a thrill to watch each page sort of unfold into something so warmly bizarre.  It's like remembering the painful parts of your life with equal parts whimsy and body-horror.

As far as the independent comics creators and publishing goes, I've surmised that CF is probably the punkest dude in the scene.  CF is the kind of creator that makes things with his hands.  These comics people all do, but CF makes comics with warts and gnarled teeth out for everyone to see, making things as they come, the urgency of the idea coming through each line on the page.  CF's "POWR MASTRS" series is a good place to get a look at the energy that this guy has.  It's got a sort of futuristic fantasy type of tone to it, but the real magic of the series is that you really feel like you've been dropped right into the middle of this world.  You've got questions and you feel a little sick from the trip, sure, but more than anything, you're along for the ride.

The comics of Ryan Cecil Smith
Ryan Cecil Smith is making some of the most exciting and enjoyable mini-comics out there and they all look so pretty and precious, like delicate little comicbook gems, filled with space action fun and humor.  I'm talking about his "SF" series and the accompanying "SF Supplementary Files," of course.  Ryan Cecil Smith has made an excellent scifi adventure that just revels in the overexposed tropes of the genre to such a point where it goes beyond a level of parody to reveal instead a (mostly) unironic enthusiasm for the genre.  It's most especially clear that Smith loves these genre comics when he's doing straight-up retellings of manga classics (Check out "Two Eyes of the Beautiful" and "SF Supplementary File #2A-C."), and I think that's what I like most about his work: that his excitement and love for these stories sits there on the risographed print, inviting you in to see all the good that Smith sees in stories about space cops and murderous, beauty-obsessed film queens.  He also scores bonus points for printing out his own publication of Epictetus's "The Enchiridion," because, you know, why not print out your own publication of Epictetus's "The Enchiridion?"

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