Heroes & Villans: Lemire & Hester’s Family Tree, Kindt & Smith’s Folklords

Wednesday already? It feels like I’ve just finished last week’s Heroes & Villains…let that be a lesson you: New Comic Book Day is unstoppable.

Before we get into it, a small confession. I am falling behind on my weekly reading! I’ve got a stack of unread books that is rapidly growing and not enough hours in the day with which to read them! A good problem to have, I suppose. Over the next couple of columns, you can expect some ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) entries in this column as I get to them.

Now, let’s see what’s new:

Family TreeFamily Tree #1
Jeff Lemire (W)
Phil Hester (A)
Image Comics

One day, Jeff Lemire is going to put out a book that I don’t like…but that’s not going to be today. I also feel like one day Jeff Lemire is going to write and/or draw every comic on my pull list and that day is coming soon. I’m not complaining about that, I just think it’s an eventuality. 

Anyways, Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester dive into some good old fashioned body horror in the first issue of Family Tree on stands today and it is a doozy. It’s also a book that drives home that rashes are seldom a good thing especially when they’re the first sign of turning into a tree. It’s always great seeing Hester’s art and the stuff he turns in for this book made me squirm.

The book takes places in a small Maine town in 1997 evoking some serious Stephen King vibes with its setting. I’m not sure how having the story set 22 years ago is going to affect the overall plot of the book, but I’m curious to see how it all plays out. It’s also exceedingly weird to think of 1997 as over two decades ago because that still feels like recent memory for me. I don’t know if I’m ready for the wave of 90’s nostalgia that’s sure to be on the way. 

Family Tree is another worthy entry into Lemire and Hester’s respective bodies of work and if you’ve enjoyed their stuff in the pas this is one that isn’t to be missed.

Folklords cover.jpgFolklords #1
Matt Kindt (W)
Matt Smith (A)
BOOM! Studios.

For someone who claims not to be a fan of the Fantasy genre, I sure have read A LOT of fantasy books this last year. So, maybe I am a fan? At the very least I’ll say that my general opinion on the genre is evolving. 

Fantasy as a genre is full of standard tropes, most of them involving questing. Always going to a PLACE for a THING, having to throw a ring in a volcano and so forth. It can get a bit stale if I’m being honest. Mercifully,  Folklords was a breath of fresh air (as hack-y as that sounds) because it flips the script and the hero of this tale inhabits a fantasy world but is plagued by visions of our world which compels him to set out on an adventure to find out just what lies beyond his village.

As far as concepts go, Matt Kindt has turned in a winner with this one and Matt Smith’s art is great. I like seeing Smith doing something other than Hellboy that still retains some of the same flavour (the troll ferryman was a particular favourite of mine from this issue). 

It’s probably not a mistake that the books title Folklords so closely mirrors folklore and I have a sneaking suspicion that the connection between the two elements is going to be explored. I’ve long assumed comic books to be the natural progression of folk tales and anything that digs into that aspect of storytelling has my attention.

Disney+

As I write this I’m about 12 hours past my initial viewing of The Mandalorian and, I don’t know, maybe an hour past my SECOND viewing of it. I can’t be expected to behave rationally when I’m given unlimited access to NEW Star Wars stuff. I should be commended for not having it on a continuous loop here in my office.

I had initially written that I was surprised the app rollout had gone as smoothly as it did. Well, the problem with writing something several hours before sunrise is that the rest of the country hadn’t woken up and attempted to log on to Disney+ yet. Later that day I managed to catch more than a few stories about the issues users were having trying to access the streaming service.

A friend of mine had texted me asking if I had gotten it to work and I responded with a link to my review. Because how dare he not follow all of my comings and goings on social media (please like, share, and subscribe to validate my existence). It was then that I realized that the Disney+ launch was just like any other hotly anticipated product launch. There will be problems, there will be flaws, and there will be yet another edit to Star Wars: A New Hope. I have to imagine that part of the deal to sell Star Wars to Disney stipulated that George Lucas can drop in any time he wants to special-special-special edition the Original Trilogy films. 

We’re at the dawn of the Steaming Wars right now and as a survivor of the Cola Wars of the 1980s, I’m not sure I can stand another one. I’m not sure society can stand another one. Personally, Netflix is my main ride-or-die streaming service of choice. I often forget I have Amazon Prime (it’s just kind of…there and the user interface makes me remember why I’ve forgotten it). That leaves DC Universe, CBS All Access, and Disney+, all of which I subscribe to on a purely as-needed basis because none of them can justify their existence beyond the one or two shows watch. I will say, out of all of them Disney+ makes the best case for sticking around due to the insane size of their library.

Well, I’m off to watch the 1986 Disney classic Mr Boogedy.

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