Category Archives: Image Comics

Trees: Volume 1: In Shadow by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard

Trees - Volume 1 - In Shadow by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard Title: Trees: Volume 1: In Shadow
Writer: Warren Ellis
Illustrator: Jason Howard
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 978-1632152701
Genre: Comics/Graphic Novels
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

This graphic novel or rather comic had been laying around for a while on my shelf gathering dust. I don’t know what prompted me to pick it up. This came in mail I think two years ago (if memory serves me right) and I read it now. But then again, better late than never.

“Trees: Volume 1: In Shadow” – written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Jason Howard is a science-fiction comic set in the near-future. Before I move on, I must let you know, I absolutely adore such comics. They bring out the best in me and I cannot help but turn the pages till it’s done. Warren Ellis is the doyen when it comes to comics – whether they are about superheroes (mostly they are about superheroes) or sci-fi, he dons the hat, like no other.

So what is “Trees” all about?

It is about a bunch of aliens who have landed on Earth, in the form of what looks like vertical objects – hence they are known as trees. They are spread wide and far and are hundreds of feet tall. No one knows anything about them and they have never moved. They are just there.

Till one day things start changing (which of course I am not telling you) and people in various parts of the world, with different agendas can sense the change. There is Tian, a young painter from a small village who has moved to a “special cultural zone” of an Asian city and he is unsure of his place in the world and what he wants to do.

Cut to Eligia in Italy, whose boyfriend Tito runs a gang and keeps the town of Cefalu under him, till Eligia meets an old man who teaches her how to take care of herself.

Last but not the least is an Arctic research station where Marsh discovers small plants growing next to a tree and this is where is all begins – well almost.

Ellis’s storytelling skills are something else. The plot unravels itself but not all that much. There is always something hidden (after all a series has to be based around it) and something so beautiful to tell. Howard’s illustrations match the story-line to the tee and that’s how a comic should be – the joint effort of the writer and the illustrator. “Trees” is something different altogether that I have read in a while. Thank God, I finally got to it! I cannot wait to start the second volume. From what I hear, even the third one is out!

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Trees: Volume 1

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Sex Criminals: Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

????? Title: Sex Criminals: Volume 1: One Weird Trick
Author: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781607069461
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic
Pages: 128
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I heard of “Sex Criminals” while browsing through Flavorwire and I knew I had to read it. I then realized that I had been living under a rock. The first volume came out in 2014 and I still had not heard of it, forget reading it. “Sex Criminals” is a very unusual kind of graphic novel. I call it unusual because it may not be suited to everyone’s reading taste. It is as the title suggests, all about sex and crime (the crime bit not so much as a directive of all the sex) and I don’t know if too many people in our country will take to both of these very inherent human behavioral tendencies.

Sex Criminals - Image 3

“Sex Criminals” is your classic boy-meets-girl story and at the same time it is way beyond that. Suzie and Jon meet at a party and hit off instantly with both being able to rattle lines from Lolita. They hook up as regular 20-somethings would and then they discover something about each other, which each thought was only special to them – they can literally stop time when they orgasm. To me that is the ultimate way to come (literally of course). The world is deadened. It is as quiet as you want it to be and it is just you and other person and your moment.

Sex Criminals - Image 1

Suzie calls it “the Quiet”. Jon calls it the “Cumworld” (the man versus woman names given are hilarious). This oddity brings them closer than they have ever been to anyone else and rightly so. That is when they think of the idea of robbing banks to save a library from being shut, the library that Suzie works at. This is when they realize that there is more to them and so do the readers.

This book is all about sex. So if you cannot stomach something as natural as this, I recommend that you do not even come close to this book. It is not for you. There are no roles laid out here. There is no agenda. There is only pure and not-forbidden sex which doesn’t need time or place to be enjoyed. It is the kind of sex that gets you in a trance and makes you see the entire world differently. Maybe in all honesty, we need more of this. All of it and more to be candid.

Sex Criminals - Image 2

I could not stop thinking of how much of a sensation would this graphic novel have caused had it released in bookshops in India. What would the reaction be like? Would parents forbid and avert their children’s (teenagers I mean) eyes? Would hypocrisy take over or not? I would be most curious to see how that works out. Anything related to sex in our country and we clamp up everything behind the veil of tradition and culture. This book is the anti-thesis of everything we have ever objected to.

“Sex Criminals” has deep character stories as well which I am sure will be explored in the second volume (which has just released by the way). Who are the Sex Police? What is their role in the book? Why can’t they be a part of the zone? You have to read this graphic novel. It is funny, intelligent, feminist and unapologetic all at the same time. Suzie and Jon are just regular people with regular issues, only a bit more aware of their drive and what it can do to them and the people around them. The comic is beautiful and fantastic. It is obviously one of its kind and I cannot wait to read the second volume.

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