Archive | August, 2013

Style Focus On Barry Windsor-Smith

28 Aug


Barry Windsor-Smith was one of the first mainstream comic artists to bring a fine art sensibility to his craft. Starting with his work in the early 1970’s for Marvel, his attention to detail as manifested through his ornate, retro-art deco style and innovative panel layouts announced him as a singularly expressive talent. From his work on the fledging Conan the Barbarian comic to his current book Storyteller, Windsor-Smith has sought to maintain consistently high standards, and now in his late 60’s, feels he is doing his best work ever.

It’s hard to convey the impact his artistry had on the comic book world. Windsor-Smith, along with a few then-contemporary iconoclasts like Neil Adams,  redefined comics in terms of what could and could not be done, laying bare the established conventions of comic book imagery as brutish, trite and fundamentally uninteresting. Some of his strongest work involves no dialog or narration, the story conveyed solely through the sequence of deeply immersive images. His re-envisioning of Conan as a figure of almost feline grace and strength challenged Frank Frazetta’s muscle-bound depictions, and his conception of Robert E. Howard’s pre-historical civilization is invested with a deep sense of narrative space and of the image rendered in its moment of narrative conception. The art of Barry Windsor-Smith is in the image in motion brought to life in the light of the imagination, a phenomena unique to comics in their latent potential for narrative movement. This is where he made his home as an artist.

You can read a remarkably candid review with Barry Windsor-Smith here:

Samples of his art can be found here:

– Gary Lain


Gary Lain is the editor of Caustic Soda. He lives in San Diego, CA. He has published fiction and non-fiction in Fiction International, Review of Contemporary Fiction, American Book Review, Brooklyn Rail, Texas Review, Belphegor, Crash Test, Journal of Experimental Fiction.

Mind MGMT – Comic Book Wednesday

21 Aug


Happy #comicbookwednesday Caustic Soda fans! Dan is hard at work on page 10, laying out pages 11 and 12. Looks like we’ll have our 12-page digital preview done by October. Kickstarter backers will get a super sneak preview! We’ll post some panel shots here as well.


Today, we’re looking at Matt Kindt’s unconventional, arresting and visually incomparable, Mind MGMT. Mind MGMT is graphic narrative at its best and details the exploits of a shadow organization.


The story tracks Meru, a writer, who is investigating a mysterious airline incident where everyone aboard suffers from amnesia and one person missing from the flight manifest is the answer to the phenomena.


I recently picked up the collected trade edition in hard cover and it is a sight to behold. Beautifully bound. Glossy pages. Drool…


Mind MGMT is one of the few comics I wish I had started collecting from the beginning. Some books I simply love consuming in a drought. But binge reading has some draw backs as well. Anticipation loss. Not enough time to get sticky and fall in love with the story telling and characters. To connect with the creator.

Coming late to the party, I realize what an incredible world Kindt has rendered and much of the tertiary narratives are only available in the monthly series. I’m going to jump in now and grab what I can from Villainous Lair. Maybe even locate a Gil Hernandez variant cover of issue 1, though, that might be a little spendy. 

Of course, the book has been optioned and Ridley Scott is a producer.

Who would you have play Meru? I think Aubrey Plaza would make an amazing casting choice. 

I ❤ Darkhorse Comics!

Matz and Jacamon’s The Killer – Comic Book Wednesday

7 Aug


Happy #comicbookwednesday! The Killer by writer Matz and artist Luc Jacamon follows a nameless kill-for-hire assassin in the twilight of his career. I picked up the Omnibus edition at #SDCC while spending hours (and $$$) in the Archaia Entertainment booth.

The protagonist narrates the story as he attempts to collect the debt owed him by his employer. His musings on life and death are fascinating. Admittedly, he prefers silence and distance to complete a job. He also mediates on his own reptilian tendencies and how he fits in with the rest of the human species but these never suffer from sentimentality and he deftly avoids moralizing. It’s this singular focus that keeps The Killer from spiraling into pathos. One can’t help but cheer for the guy. While on ‘one last job’ he begins assessing his life’s work of dealing death when something goes awry. We follow him as he investigates the betrayal.

The art is arresting. Cinematic. Its no wonder David Fincher optioned the story and is currently in pre-production on a filmic version of The Killer. The female characters are exquisitely rendered, vibrant and exotic though mostly one-dimensional with the exception of The Killer’s love interest. An exotic and beguiling beauty he meets while vacationing in South America.

If you love hard-boiled, noir-style narratives, I highly recommend Matz and Jacamon’s The Killer. 

Successfully Funded!

7 Aug

We are thrilled to celebrate a milestone in a creative endeavor in the making for nearly five years. Successfully funding Caustic Soda – A Year Future Narco Romance is as much a victory for us as it is for you, our fans, kickstarter backers, friends, family and new fans. 

In just thirty days we’ve accomplished something difficult and tangible and for that you have our sincerest gratitude. In the next few weeks we’ll be sending out a survey. Please take a look and respond at your earliest convenience, as we’ll need to begin coordinating the production of the rewards. As a backer exclusive, we intend to have the 12-page preview ready by this Fall (‘round Oct) and available for download! 

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