Heroes & Villains: ComiXology’s Crema + Batman: Death in the Family Get Animated

Presently, I have a newly purchased copy of R.E.M.’s Document on my turntable which unseated the previously reigning three week champion of Twin Peaks – Limited Event Series Soundtrack. Sometimes I regret that never cultivated what meager writing skills I have to beef up my music language skills. I’ll just have to settle for my AWARD-WINNING review of Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness that I wrote for my high school newspaper.

It’s been said that I know how to write about comics…Let’s see how that goes.

Johnnie Christmas (W/C)
Dante Luiz (A)
ComiXology Originals

In a previous column (which feels like forever ago but was totally this year) I wrote about Johnnie Christmas and Jack T. Cole’s Tartarus, which is an amazing sci-fi book that you definitely should not sleep on. Issue #4 just hit stands and you should go show your LCS some love by picking up all the back issues.

That being said, Johnnie Christmas has joined my personal pantheon of comics creators whose name warrants an automatic purchase from me. Which is to say, whatever they’re putting out, I’m picking up.

I recently saw on Twitter that Christmas and Luiz’s new book for ComiXology, Crema, was being released digitally through the ComiXology and Kindle apps so, of course, I had to check it out. This would normally be the part of my column where I beat the dead horse of my preference for physical comics BUT ComiXology Originals is actually doing something worthwhile by publishing interesting books by great creators in an easily accessible format.

Check out the blurb:

Esme, a barista, feels invisible, like a ghost…. Also, when Esme drinks too much coffee she actually sees ghosts.

Yara, the elegant heir to a coffee plantation, is always seen, but only has eyes for Esme.

Their world is turned upside down when the strange ghost of an old-world nobleman begs Esme to take his letter from NYC to a haunted coffee farm in Brazil, to reunite him with his lost love of a century ago. Bringing sinister tidings of unrequited love.

Cool stuff, right?

When reading the synopsis it seems like the book could be twice the size of what it actually is. While it’s true that there’s a lot going on in the book, it never feels overstuffed or rushed. Christmas’ dialog paired with Luiz’s artwork make all the characters feel completely real and fleshed out in the space they have. If I were to employ a hackneyed review technique I’d write “My only complaint would be that there’s not MORE of this book to love!”

Also worth noting is the inclusion of some behind the scenes extras such as script pages, art progression, and photographic reference used by Luiz to design the fictional Brazilian town the latter half of the book takes place in.

Crema feels like one of those books that I’ll be returning to from time to time and one that I’ll no doubt be able to take something new from with each subsequent reading. I definitely recommend checking the book out. It’s available for purchase through ComiXology and available to read through ComiXology Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading.

Batman: Death in the Family

Warner Bros. Animation announced via IGN on Tuesday that they would be adapting Batman: Death in the Family with a rather unique approach…as an interactive movie. I will admit that I am intrigued.

Death in the Family was one of those early event comics that was not only the talk of the school yard but also national news. I wasn’t a regular Batman reader at the time, my comics buying habits were mainly whatever I could get off the spinner rack at the local corner store or whatever my mom would get me at the supermarket. However, the attention this book got made it so I only got to hear about it from a friend who had a friend that had a cousin that read it.

The gimmick of the book was that the fate of Robin II (Jason Todd) was left up to the reader. After a merciless beating administered by The Joker and a LOT of dynamite, the reader would have a chance to call one of two 900 numbers to vote on if Robin lived or died. Thanks to the Dial-A-Santa fiasco of a couple Christmases prior, I was not allowed to cast a vote (Let the record show, I would have voted for him to live).

But now, thanks to the advent of interactive media you can play along at home! Robin lives! Robin dies! Robin…a third option? I’m not sure how all this is going to work. Based on the trailer, it looks like the previous animated movie Under The Red Hood is being used as the spine of this new outing with new footage for the various branching options.

Like I said above, I’m intrigued by this gimmick and it could be something fun to play around with. Here’s the trailer:

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