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Halloween Man: Hallowtide, by Drew Edwards and Lucio Inzunza

The world of Drew Edwards' Halloween Man is, despite it supernatural flavor and horror pedigree, very down-to-earth. Opponents are dispatched with physical weapons, often of the melee variety, and generally have at least one bloody bite taken out of them by the hero. When greater powers do appear, they may be mysterious, but they're not exactly revered. The mystic who made Solomon Hitch into the titular hero, Morlack, is such a greater power, as well as a lush, a slob, and an all-around horse's rear.
While Solomon and Lucy do the heavy lifting of dispatching Spring Heeled Jack, whose powers flow from a source similar to Halloween Man’s, the engrossing part of this Samhain story is the embroidering of the universe in which it’s set. While it’s a small window into Morlak’s lengthy past, it helps round out the enigmatic and frustrating character by  adding a few data points about just where his line between right and wrong is drawn, as well as a better idea where his moral co…

A Year on the Strida Evo 3

When I resolved to rationalize and expand my bicycle stable, I realized that my trusty, elegant commuter and reliable little folding bike would have to go. Ivy Mike was a lightly modified 2011 Novara Fusion that met all my on-road needs in style. However, when he was in the shop, or I needed to be flexible with my transportation plans, it was Nightbeat, a 2014 Novara FlyBy that took up the slack. In order to make room for a folding mountain bike and a folding road bike to explore the many trails in Austin and the many long organized rides around Austin respectively, the roles of my two steed would have to be met by a single new bike.
What folds small for logistical flexibility, has multiple internal gears, disc brakes for wet stopping, fenders, and can mount panniers? I'd been pining after the Tern Verge S8i for some time, but at $2,100, it was simply more than I was willing to spend. I examined its features and picked what I could reasonably compromise on. Hydraulic discs were n…

Lucy Chaplin: Science Starlet, by Drew Edwards, April Guadiana, Evan Quiring, and Paul Tuma

When a superhero title spawns a spin-off, it can usually be expected that the loyal sidekick or even a prominent rival will be the one taking the spotlight. Always exploring new perspectives on traditional tropes, the new special from Drew Edwards' perennial action horror series focuses not on one of his paranormally super-powered friends, but on Lucy Chaplin, nominally his girlfriend, but in the world of Solar City, a personality far better-known and admired than her half-dead hunk.

As a whole, the book has a zippy silver age feel to it, featuring a solo adventure with a new threat our heroine is uniquely suited to battle, a fourth-wall-breaking expository piece about Lucy’s professional life & interests, and an in-universe magazine interview with the science starlet herself.

The villain of the first piece, Lucy Chaplin vs the Sons of Samson, is the contemporary strain of toxic masculinity personified, which is to say, the sort of thing a woman like Lucy would deal with daily…

Halloween Man vs The Invisible Man, by Drew Edwards and Sergio Calvet

The second entry in Drew Edwards’ series of Halloween Man specials, Halloween Man versus The Invisible Man melds emotional realism with the titillating and the fantastical to create a gritty and satisfying adventure. Solar City’s fetish community has been rocked by a series of unexplained deaths when the grand dame of the scene, Claudette, comes to visit her old frenemy Lucy Chaplin, or more precisely, Lucy’s beau, Solomon Hitch. Our hero is reluctant to engage in this sort of heroism; while he’s commonly called upon to thwart the ghastly and creepy, the problem is a mystery, and he’s no detective. While comic book heroes often express token reluctance in order to build suspense, it can usually be chalked up to a gruff misanthropic streak or false humility; in this case, Solomon is genuinely out of his depth and has good reason to defer, only taking the case out of a sense of solidarity with a subculture that is marginalized and sensationalized by the media in the same way he is.
The t…

Ride: An Urban Cycling Overview

As part of Bike Month, and a few days ahead of National Bike to Work Day, I gave a presentation focused on best practices for transportation cycling and aimed at allying misgivings potential bike commuters might have about giving the pedal life a try.

Halloween Man Christmas Special, by Drew Edwards, James Figueiredo, and Kevin Richardson

Fred Rogers counseled that, in times of tragedy, one should always look for the helpers as evidence that all goodness is not lost, nor in vain. Drew Edwards’ Solomon Hitch and Dr. Lucy Chaplin are just such heroes. As Halloween Man, Solomon doesn’t patrol the streets fighting crime, journey toward a goal or away from danger, or planet-hop in search of adventure. He’s beholden to no overarching mission, working in service of no agenda more elaborate than fixing the problem at hand. Lucy’s science may be a bit on the mad side, but it’s usually on the problem-solving end of things rather than stirring them up. Trouble seems to find them, delivered either directly by the troublemakers themselves or by those desperate enough to turn to Solar City’s creepiest and brightest for help. Fairy Tale, the first story in The Halloween Man Christmas Special (available, for now, exclusively on comiXology), finds Halloween Man called to the bedside of the freshly departed Max Kilgour, only to be set on…

I Am Alfonso Jones, by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings

The public’s current awareness of dubious law enforcement killings of black Americans seems to date from Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, and the rise of Black Lives Matter in the ensuing protests. Medina’s story synthesizes the details of about a half-dozen of these tragedies into the vessel of Alfonso Jones, and uses the journeys of his shade to unlock a greater, longer, sadder history than most are aware of. Set to play the Old Hamlet in a hip-hop inflected high school production of Shakespeare’s play, Alfonso Jones is killed by a security guard who claimed to mistake the suit hanger in the teen’s hand for a gun. Instead of playing a ghost, he becomes one himself. The severed threads of his life – the crush he was shopping with and about to confess his feelings to, the soon-to-be-released incarcerated father he’d never met, and his friends and frenemies at school – carry on in various ways as he watches his name become famous around the world even as it’s dragged throug…