Welcome to the Arktoons weekly roundup. Bounding Into Comics’ weekly look at the best, the brightest, the funniest, and this week the darkest that Arkhaven Comics has to offer.
Arktoons has been up for a month now so the narratives on the Arkhaven titles have developed and plots have started to advance past the introduction phase. We are starting to see where these stories are going.
Urban fantasy is frequently thought of as a relatively new genre. That it only started gaining ground in the late eighties and early nineties with the works of Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, and Terri Windling.
Urban Fantasy certainly made its presence felt in the Vertigo titles of the 1990s. But at the time it was viewed as having limited market appeal. Just something for the Goths, Sand-heads, and emo-kids in black trench coats.
Perhaps it was a bit more niche in those days, but those days came crashing to an end with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Potterverse took urban fantasy mainstream in such a big way that it’s as universal to Millennials and Zoomers as the Lord of the Rings is to previous generations.
The thing is it isn’t too hard to find examples of Urban Fantasy back in the 1940s, in the John Thunstone stores by Manly Wade Wellman. Or in John W. Campbell’s other pulp magazine; Unknown. In fact, it should be remembered that when Bram Stoker published Dracula it was a contemporary story.
And speaking of Vampires, it’s time to look back on Arktoons second most popular title, Midnight’s War by Vox Day.
Everybody gets so wrapped around the axle about Lorenzo “the Magnificent” (self-awarded title BTW) that they tend to forget that it was Cosimo who put the De Medici on the map.
He was the one that built the family’s banking empire. Cosimo was brilliant at regulating the flow of wealth in Europe. So, there was no real reason he would be less able now that wealth flows red.
Sometimes the old-fashioned way really is the best.
I find it a little funny how popular a destination for the supernatural my old hometown of Chicago is supposed to be. Though it does make a certain degree of sense, for a big chunk of the 19th century Chicago was effectively, the outer capital of the United States.
A city at the mouth of a frontier is a city that acts as a border to the unknown. The Windy City is the town where Resurrection Mary hitches rides on Archer Avenue and the statue of Inez comes to life in thunderstorms, dancing like a little girl through the tombstones of Graceland Cemetery, and where the Lone Pumpman swings on his makeshift noose from the top of the Water Tower.
And it’s where Will Caligan’s Gun Ghoul seeks justice when justice has been hidden away. Gun Ghoul takes place in a Chicago where the supernatural is just another way to get whacked. And where the cops have learned to adjust.
Chicago is also where the bullet holes on Holy Name Cathedral refuse to accept any patching since the day Hymie Weiss got clipped out by Big Al, John Dillinger’s ghost is occasionally seen in the alley behind the Biograph Theater, and dogs get skittery when they go near a grassy lot on Clark Street that used to be a garage. The place where Capone’s boys tapped out their Valentine’s Day love letter to Bugs Moran’s North Siders, on their Chicago Typewriters.
If you haven’t read Chicago Typewriter, now is the time to change that. This comic is fantastic. It’s bold, it’s creepy and it’s amazing. It’s like a cross between Sandman and Harry Dresden. I can’t recommend this book enough.
The otherworldly dark fantasy mix set against the familiar sights of the Windy City combines to create a world where a firebird is merely an unusual find, denizens of the underworld are literally that, and a flying car is merely rather stylish.
If you haven’t kicked the tires on any of Arktoons’ titles yet then you should be taking this one for a test drive.
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That’s it for this week’s Arktoon’s round-up.
See you next week.