Salgood Sam ● Com

Illustrator, Cartoonist & Writer
Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Escher-like – Revolver One feels like a cohesive whole

Revolver OneBeing a simple sole I was pleased to get a thoughtful review from a recent customer who bought the digital Revolver from me.

Rachel Fenton was kind enough to leave a few stars on Good reads as well as posting her thoughts

So I’m most faltered and glad to read this paragraph. Making sure the books hold together well as a whole is a priority for me so glad to hear it reads that way.

Though muted and limited in palette, the art demonstrates a level of skill many comic artists can only aspire to. Perspectives are juxtaposed Escher-like adding to the alter-reality quality of each individual story as well as the collection generally. Revolver One feels like a cohesive whole. 

Thank you very kindly. It’s funny also to me to realize that at 42 now, when I drew those I was thinking about men my current age often.

Pin City Pg 1“The fictions unfold surreally. “Each day he awakes to another dream-like day,” reveals the narrator of “Pin City”. But these are not dreams of optimism; there is little joy to be found either in the text or the art work. What these stories do offer, however, is a looking glass to contemporary North American society where predominantly men above a certain age are caught up in a kind of hinterland between what they imagine life should offer and what the reality of their existence is.”

Yep that’s a pretty strong theme in that collection. I’d like to think that it can be read even more broadly. Not just about men. But that’s certainly true about most of them. I always saw Helpless as being more about the narrators life but the elderly man in that story is quite central. Misplaced was also co authored with the same writer and we reveled in making the child gender ambiguous and watching to see how the bias falls out. But regardless of that aspect universally I’d agree expectations and anxieties and displacement are the crux of those stories, one of the things I wanted to try to talk about. Nice to see it coming out on the other end. I’m still surprised as the first time the lack of Joy is such a strong impression. She’s not the first to note that. But then I suppose this might be a question of perspective?Revolver-137 Hmm, wonder what that says about mine eh? Well we’ll have to make sure there’s some fun stuff in future issues, just not to be totally depressing! I think Misplaced and Wildthings are pretty upbeat though. But check this bit out…

One feature of the layout that really surprised and delighted me, as a reader and aspiring comic artist, is Douglas’ use of tangents to create intense dialogue between the external landscape of the city and the inner or psychological landscape of the protagonist. 
 
What Revolver One demonstrates is that there’s more than one way of looking at something. We can observe society from a distance, objectively, but unless we put ourselves in the position of the protagonist in any of these fictions, we may end up trapped in not so much a dream world as a reality behind glass, unable to escape.
Nice. :)

 I have a authors profile on good reads here, if you add me there i’ll send you a discount code for my digital books!

What Are You Reading? with Salgood Sam

Was invited to write up some books for Robot 6′s regular piece, What Are You Reading?”.

Decided to cover some books by friends that I had just read for awards or had been picking through over the summer. I don’t apologize for being biased.

Tale of Sand‘, ‘Suddenly Something Happened‘, & ‘Traumstadtdenken‘.

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand.

Multi-award winning Art and Adaptation by Royal Academy heavyweight Ramón Pérez.
Award winning packaging by Eric Skillman.
Archaia

Ramón’s a friend, and it’s been inspiring to watch him become deservedly highly sought after. It may be laying it on a little thick calling this book one for the ages, but I just did. I will have no choice but to cop to being bias. But I’m confident you will agree.

A year or so ago it was while loitering around the Toronto studio he shares with the rest of the Academy gang that I first saw pages from this rather brazenly epic realization of a reputedly esoteric rich early script, by one of my all time heroes. The Muppet Man. Mr Fraggle. When he said what the spreads he was inking were for, I think I cursed under my breath for an extended period.

You could already see this was a gorgeous project. Leaning over Ramón’s shoulder when he’s working tends to be routinely rewarding, but all the more so in this case.

Reading the book myself this summer finally was an almost-unadulterated pleasure. I was initially thrown by the strange lettering phenomenon associated with old Melrose Mernly [his friends call him Sven]. But after it reoccurred a couple of times I got it, and recognized it for the bit of fun inventive surrealism it is, an echo of Henson’s own penchant for psychedelic audio phenomenon.

This book is filled with playful formalistic inventions that for me put it on par with Asterios Polyp and the like. I think many are fairly novel, but despite and often because of it, all still a fabulously smoothly reading, rolling, kinetic comic.

A race meant to take 10 minutes to Eagle Mountain takes a wrong turn into a maylay of chaos.

The large wordless sections can be pored over, but I encourage you to read it all at least once, in only the time it takes to get the story point and move on.

The ease at which you can register what has been drawn narrative wise is remarkable. Storytelling as sharp as you will find here, for a story so surreal is an impressive accomplishment. Ramon makes it look easy. I also happen to know it was completed in an impressively short time, too.

This is a jealousy inducing book. His discipline is always impressive, and it’s on full display here. What it brings to a quite recognizably worthy bit of the Henson legacy is worth every cent and minute.

You must read.

Suddenly Something Happened

by Jimmy Beaulieu.
Translated by Kerryann Cochrane
Conundrum Press

Jimmy Beaulieu is the founder of Quebec publishing house Mécanique Générale, and an autobiographical cartoonist with a penchant for romantic angst. This was how I first encountered him.

I think it was at a Comic Jam hosted by Rupert Bottenberg, or a BD festival perhaps. He’s an extremely likable geeky guy who loves pop music, pop art and sexy ladies unabashedly. A fastidious editor and designer and easy maker of many friends.

He and a group of said friends were publishing great inventive self-published B&W comics when I first moved to Montreal. Several were even wordless so I could enjoy them without issue. I really loved checking out their latest stuff, and was always frustrated by my hopelessly poor language skills when it came to reading Jimmy’s auto bio work.

BDANG is a sub imprint of Conundrum Press, a small but prolific Canadian publishing house. Under it publisher and author Andy Brown is translating and publishing several French books

In 2010 one of them was the collection and translation of two of Jimmy’s extended works, Quelques Pelures and Le Moral des Troupes [winner of the 2005 Prix de l'Espoir Québécois], They document his life between the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Additional pages were added to the collection, and Jimmy played with parts of the text of the second part to try to round out the story and smooth out his sophomore spots.

I’ve read it in fits, it’s got scope! Coming in at an impressive 250 pages of comics. It’s hard to read in a sitting, but perfect I think for browsing through on transit or keeping by the throne.

Jimmy adopted early an easy, fast, light-handed style of art, well-suited to a personal journal comic. It evolves visibly over the body of work, going from pleasantly naive to deceptively skillful. He often apologizes for his drawing, but I find it enjoyably expressive and his girls are adorable! Being so often the subject of his attention, this pays off for an appreciative reader. He captures people’s pantomime well. The tones and textures lend themselves to a gauzy soft focused nostalgic story about the coming of age of a shy cartoonist from Quebec City who slowly falls in love with Montreal, and moons over hot cupid-like young mothers and full-figured redheads.

There are many small gems, like one of the short, newer epilogues to act one. An entry titled ‘rocket man’ where Jim shares an internal monologue about waiting for his employer at a book fair in Autumn of 2000. Withdrawing from caffeine and suffering a night of poor sleep, on a day he marks as his 2977th of celibacy! Oh dear. He talks about the city landscape while imagining Mecha Kaiju destroying a Montreal industrial park, then that the underwear models on the billboards are there to distract him from the urban destruction. It’s subtle in execution and quite poignant.

I think one great target audience for this collection would be young adult and romance readers looking for sprawling, ranting, romantic, sometimes silly stories of transplantation. Finding love in lots of the wrong places, but finally one right. Feeling inadequate. Facing death for the first time. Raging over pop culture and ranting about popular culture. And being in love with the making of comics. I also know for a fact at least one American comics editor has confessed to having used this book to seduce a girlfriend.

Jimmy has matured a lot since this early work. You’ll find a lovely recent example of his work in Carré Rouge, a romantic fictional story set around the recent protests in Montreal, published in multiple languages online.

But this early material is still quite charming.

Traumstadtdenken – Comix + Images

By Rupert Bottenberg
Editions Trip

Traumstadtdenken

Rupert and I first met at a comics jam in Montreal in the ‘90s when i worked at Marvel and was chafing at constraints. Another cartoonist friend and I were talking during a NY convention, and he gave me a zine of Rupert’s, saying I should meet him. This is also when I first heard about Comic Jams, spectacular incarnations of which Rupert hosted in a svengali fashion at the time.

You may have noticed a trend in my book selections? Yes, well, it’s what I’ve been reading of late. Catching up on the work of many friends.

The title Traumstadtdenken is a German neologism, meaning “Dream-City-Thinking.” A reference to a painting by Paul Klee, “Traumstadt,” that had a significant impact on Rupert.

The book is a collection of comix, drawings and odds ’n’ ends spanning 10 years stitched together with bits of connective symbolically narrative sequences. My one complaint is that the packaging of the book seems to have been been poorly proofed, with the margin’s feeling too close cropped on some pages for my comfort.

It’s informative to know he also paints highly designed abstract art, collects and fabricates pop art sculptures and toys, and recently has been globe-hopping as a founding member of the breakout art collective EN MASSE which i’ve had the honor of being a guest member of.

Whatever he is drawing on–in a comic, on a wall or canvas–his rendering is always superbly skilled and highly graphically attractive. This book is filled with perfect cartoony chiaroscuro pages that often invite you to project your own meaning or interpretations. Rupert has always been a fan of wordless art that can be read by anyone. Several sequences here are examples of that. He provides rich symbolic visuals that suggest lots of ideas, and are just really fun to look at. There is no attempt to present an over-arching story here, page numbers are consciously dropped. There are times where narrative is very strong, a story can be found with ease. Is even clearly intended. But where words appear, it’s usually to cloud the issue and add new silly twists to things.

When I first saw his work I fell in love with his lines. We’ve shared an appreciation for improvisational doodling and abstraction. I hope more people can discover his work as I have. This collection is an excellent place to start.

You should also check out his webcomic with author Claude Lalumière, Lost Myths.


I publish my own comics Quarterly in Revolver.
$15 for print ~ $2 digital

Reviewed by El Santo – the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Webcomic overlook is really one of the best review sites for the medium though, so i was pretty happy to see Dream Life is the subject of the 42nd review! As an h2g2 fan this has and extra bit of WIN for me.

Did good, got a 4 out of 5!

To answer one critique/question, “Sometimes, though, his focus on the imagery can be detrimental. I felt key details (like character names) were unnecessarily banished to the margins of the blog post. Shouldn’t this information be incorporated in the comic somehow?” – Yes, it just has not happened yet.

This is a totally fair point. As a web comic with one page a week going up, the pacing is slow enough i felt it was a good idea to add some notes. But the story was plotted for a book, where you would get to later pages where people address each other by name in a natural context as fast as you feel inclined to read the pages. It crossed my mind this could be a problem online, but I didn’t want to add cheats to the art itself, hence the notes.

I’d also say it’s actually a very story intense comic but the way i’m building it up, and with what has been posted so far, i can totally see how it would seem the story is secondary at this stage. Hopefully El Santo stays tuned long enough to see it come together. Muchas gracias for the attention Señor!

For some great tips on where to find the best comics on the web go check out his site.

Oh, and here’s the latest page!

PAGE 65 – THE SEEBURG SELECT-O-MATIC

 

And an old funny on RevolveR

More Tainted Love Reviews and Popgun 4

Couple more reviews in for my last wfh job, not too bad!

Dueling Review: Ghostbusters Tainted Love

By: Robot Overlord | February 21st, 2010 -

Ghostbusters’ Winston Zeddemore:

I’m Ready to Believe Him

By Karaoke Fanboy | February 23rd, 2010

Also reviced my copy of Popgun 4 in the mail, nice glossy brick.

Lot of comics to absorb in there, will write about it later when i do, haven’t really had the chance yet.

The Launch party notice was listed on Boing Boing, Found an early review of it here, and D.J. has a press round up posted here.

1692 downlaods

“…fascinatingly unique, with characters that don’t end up feeling stale and stereotypical.”

It’s nice to know people are still discovering my last graphic novel, the life span of books sometimes can be short. Therefore Repent! a post rapture graphic novel sold ok at the convention this past weekend for me, and now has 1692 downlaods on legaltorrents.com We recently got another positive shout out on Front Click, a Creative Commons legal torrents listing blog…

“Indeed, “Therefore Repent!” is one of those things that are too good to be true. It’s an awesome graphic novel that has achieved critical and commercial success, yet, it can be read for free! It’s good enough to make you want to buy a copy.”

It’s true, you can read the book for free, and we’d love it if you baught copies for your freinds during the upcoming holidays. See you at word on the street this comic weekend!

Earth 2100 and apocalyptic doomsday scenarios always play well…?

Recently ABC News ran a special report called Earth 2100, imagining possible worst case scenarios for our near future.

The show talked about some heavy stuff and wanted to soften the impact so it featured “graphic novel”-style sequences by Some talented comic artists. A friend, Leland Purvis, was one of the contributors. Also included were Josh Neufeld, Sari Wilson, Joe Infurnari, George O’Connor, And Tim Hamilton.

CBR took the opportunity to do a run down of apocalyptic comics, and Therefore Repent was chosen as one of the 6 tittles chosen, nice!

Six by 6 | Only the end of the world again

Matrix Magazine Review of THEREFORE REPENT!

Montreal’s cool hipster art and lit mag Matrix Magazine reviewed us favorably in issue 80.

The full text is now online here, and added to my big ol’ virtual scrap book on my blog. :)

I like this Vincent guy, will have to track him down and get him a drink…


THEREFORE REPENT! A Post-Rapture Graphic Novel
by Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam
in [ Reviewed in Matrix 80 ]
Read by Vincent Tinguely

The glory of science fiction and fantasy is the “what if?” factor. In Therefore Repent!, the authors gleefully explore one deceptively simple premise: “What if the Rapture actually happened?”

The graphic novel has a fairly obscure geneology, beginning with a comic book originally conceived as the invention of a couple of characters in his previous (non-graphic) novel, An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil. A 24-page comic was conceived and written by Munroe, rendered by Michel Lacombe, and posted online. Having invented the post-Rapture scenario for this project, Munroe was interested in pursuing an expanded narrative about the comic book characters, Raven and Mummy, and the strange world they find themselves in. When Munroe was ready to go ahead with Therefore Repent!, Lacombe was no longer available to do the graphics, but Salgood Sam, who’d collaborated previously with Munroe on other small projects, was eager to take on the task.

The result is a sumptuous feast for the eyes (all in black and white), and a pleasingly complex plot that takes its sweet time in unfolding. Munroe lends the fantastic notion of the Rapture a believable texture by introducing the no-less fantastic “reality” of earthly magic, telepathy, transmigration of souls, inner visions, shape-shifting, prestidigitation, and talking dogs. In a sense, he’s taking on a very real anxiety – that the most powerful military industrial complex on earth is currently controlled by people who believe in fundamentalist quackery – and proposes that the power of such a belief system isn’t as monolithic and indestructable as it might sometimes seem.

Salgood Sam’s drawing skills never flag over the epic sweep of the tale, and he feels free to try any number of innovative framing and sequencing techniques. The characters, bizarre as they might seem – a woman with a bird head and a man who goes about wrapped in bandages like a mummy – become fully-rounded in the course of the story, and even the minor characters feel believable to the reader. The result is a spectacular graphic novel, full of angels, demons and unclassifiable creatures, with a brainy subtext that never interferes with the fun.

Notable Noting

Ted at IDW just sent us some scans of Best American Comics 2008, where Therefore Repent was listed as one of the “Notable” books to read of 2007!

Pretty cool, I’ll have to pick up a copy – looks like it’s worth it anyway, some impressive names in it. :)

More press and reviews here.

Shuffleboil Reviews Therefore Repent!

Been running about madly and forgetting to promote the book, bad max. Ok, got another cool review here by John E. Mitchell, adding it to my big BIG pile of clippings….


The Rapture has provided adventure fodder for those who believe in it – I’m looking at you especially, Tim LeHaye – as well as those who don’t. To the best of my knowledge, though, it’s never been depicted as anything other than exactly what is happening. God has taken all the Christians away to Heaven and the Earth is ruled by the Anti Christ, with the Final Battle soon to follow.

In “Therefore Repent!” Canadian team Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam depict a post-Rapture world where nothing is for certain. The creator turn the bizarre religious belief into a science fiction scenario that has the characters actually searching for explanations beyond the accepted one while still working within the parameters of popular legend we all accept, either with straight face or with conspicuous snickers.

Raven and Mummy are two bohemian performance artists who wander around in their performance costumes. Squatting in an abandoned apartment in a little urban neighborhood, the two become acquainted with their surroundings and the other people left behind. One of the givens of the Rapture is that it would create a world populated mostly by artists and ne’er do wells, at least among the respectable crowds.

Munroe and Salgood also play with the likely post-Rapture psychology in regard to reactionary acting out that provide daily dangers and annoyances to the survivors. The Splitters are a group of people who believe there will be a second Rapture and they have one more chance to follow Jesus. Meanwhile, religious militia with names like “God’s Faithful” roam around spreading dread.

There is one way to read the Bible – that is between the lines and asking simple questions like “Who is God? What’s his story? Why’s he so vague about where he comes from and what he wants?” While “Therefore Repent!” may not be moving down that road exactly, it’s certainly in that spirit.

The story’s conclusion recontextualizes the circumstances of the Apocalypse in an inventive and fun way – oh, yeah, and it’s kind of corny. But good corny. The kind of corny that twists things inside out and lays out some intriguing possibilities as it unfolds. The kind of corny that’s missing from the eye-rolling corny that infects the belief “Therefore Repents!” lampoons.

Spring breezes are helping to loft Therefore Repent! on the wing…

Man did/do i have a lot of spring cleaning to do! Been at it for a week now. almost done though. Feel itchy to start finishing some of the DL pages for act 1. Poked in to panel and pixel just now, John Muth posted me a link for a review on io9.com for Therefore Repent! By Annalee Newitz. Not to sound too stroked but it’s nice reading a review where it feels like the reader has totally got what you hoped you were trying to say. Lots of comments too! That’s cool. :)


Imagine what would happen if all the right-wing Christians suddenly floated up into the sky, and your wiccan lesbian neighbors could suddenly do real magic. That’s the premise of magic realist/scifi/defies description graphic novel Therefore Repent!, written by the awesome scifi author Jim Munroe and drawn beautifully by Salgood Sam. What appeals about Munroe’s post-rapture tale, aside the believable characters in outlandish situations, is the way it serves as a progressive, humane rejoinder to the Christian scifi novels in the Left Behind series, whose premise is almost exactly the same.

Munroe is one of my very favorite scifi writers — he’s the creator of the nanopunk film Infest Wisely (free online!), as well as the author of Everyone in Silico, Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask (free online!), and An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil, the prequel to Therefore Repent! This is his first foray into comics, and he takes to the medium well.

We meet Mummy and Raven, a couple of artists who used to do an act where they dressed up as a mummy and a raven, as they are searching for a home in a world turned upsidown by the rapture of hundreds of thousands of Christians. Those left behind are divided between “splitters,” people who are trying to go as Christian as possible so they’ll be taken up during the Apocalypse (this includes George W. Bush), and people who are happy to live in a world free from Christians. Mummy and Raven are among the latter, and they’ve moved into a cozy squat left abandoned by its raptured inhabitants. Things start to get even more unhinged, however, when angels in military uniforms start machine gunning “sinners,” and dogs start to talk. Plus, ordinary people are starting to develop weird magical powers — one woman can send email by attaching ethernet cables to her piercings, and Raven herself can create birds out of smoke.

As the wiccans, lesbians, and punks start to band together to fight the paramilitary angels, Raven and Mummy start to have relationship difficulties. Mummy is flirting with the cute indie rock girl at the bar down the street, and Raven is keeping her feelings so bottled up that she’s become psychologically stuck. This is the great thing about Munroe’s writing, always: he manages to write weirdly sweet romantic stories set against a backdrop of the apocalypse or some kind of huge technological emergency. Salgood’s drawings manage to be both dark and funny, cute sketches that shade into shadowy gloom, which perfectly harmonizes with the mood of the narrative.

There’s a terrifically great twist ending which despite my love of spoilers I won’t give away. Suffice to say, the story stays consistently surprising and weird, and the message is never a simple “Christianity is stupid” dogma at all. Instead, the point is to be careful about what kind of paradise you wish for. You just might get it.

You can buy all of Munroe’s books, including Therefore Repent, here.

Also a list of stores carrying Therefore Repent! can be found here allong with other online options.

"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammo" takes on new meaning with this one. Highly recommended."

Another cool one for the clipping pile, from playbackstl.com by Byron Kerman


Some readers are never going to pick up Therefore Repent! when they hear about the plot. The graphic novel imagines the biblical Rapture, with the righteous floating up to heaven, and the sinners stuck on a miserable earth roiling with war and suffering. It just sounds too much like it might be the work of a smug Christian author, offering a book-length Jack Chick tract to a general comics readership. Bible camp for the heathens.

Not only is that an erroneous conclusion, it’s a far too simple one. What writer Jim Munroe and artist Salgood Sam have done here is to join mystery, horror, romance, and the lurid excitement of eschatology in a complex tale that manages to be spiritually moving without resorting to organized religion.

We begin with Mummy and Raven, a couple of free spirits wearing the costumes it sounds like they are, as their way of protesting this whole Rapture business. They wander the post-Tribulation streets, squatting in apartments abandoned by the righteous, trying to cook up food without electricity and survive by their wits in a collapsed America. They confab with Jews, Muslims, drinkers, hippies, and “unbelievers” of all stripes, looking for resources, friends, and meaning in a bereft world.

The cover to Therefore Repent. Click for a larger image.Gradually, we witness stranger and stranger doings in this post-Rapture life. Dogs eat the voice boxes of dead people and acquire the power to speak. Some women have the ability to conjure living birds of ash, and cats of dust. The newly pious can walk on water, multiply loaves and fishes, and turn water into wine. Bisexual soldier-angels descend to earth to kill survivors practicing the “dark arts” of divination — levitation, invisibility, and even drumming circles. It’s a mishmash of horrors and wonders that reminded me, with its sheer oddness, of the vibe you get from some Clive Barker stories. Of course, the idea of this particular sick world is only as “new” as the New Testament. I wish I knew more about the Rapture so I could appreciate more here. The genital-less angels, for instance, are a Biblical idea, I understand.

Munroe and Sam convey the action with a deceptively sleepy pace. The practical considerations of what Mummy and Raven should do with their daily surfeit of free time, the bumps in their relationship, and the challenges faced by a few other minor but memorable characters are the meat of the book. We, along with these characters, are waiting for answers. Will there be another, final Rapture? Can the impious yet be saved? Should the stunned non-Christians fight the gun-toting angels of vengeance, or would that be sacrilege? What does anything mean in a world where god has passed judgment, and everyone left is a loser?

The ending is a revelation, in several senses of the term. Let’s just say that the Christians may have been right about how the world will end, but wrong about who’s on either side of the chess board. And the potential for good people to fight their way to salvation — and transformation — in the darkest of times is presented so lovingly, via the delightful couple that is the cosmically tripping Mummy and the defiant Raven (and their talking dog, too), you just marvel at your journey as a reader.

Salgood Sam (the nom de plume of one Max Douglas, spelled backwards, more or less) is a gifted illustrator. His black-and-white drawings are slick like a film storyboard drawn by an exacting crafter. Check out one panel near the end of the book, in which our band of heroes takes out an angel. He falls through the sky upside-down, his huge black wings fluttering helplessly above him on the way down. It’s gorgeous.

It might be a good idea to read Therefore Repent! twice, even. Any confusing plot points at the beginning will be revealed as clever little breadcrumbs.

“Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammo” takes on new meaning with this one. Highly recommended. | Byron Kerman

Junot Diaz thinks Jim’s completely nuts

Got a note about this just before leaving for NY, which was cool; when i told folks like the literary agent i talked to at the con that a Pulitzer Prize winner name dropped my last project they tended to take notice. So yeah, Junot Diaz was interviewed by THIS RECORDING April 10th, and when asked about what he’s reading lately this is what he said…


In terms of genre fiction, are you getting to do any reading for pleasure?

I’ve have been reading tremendously. I’m sort of recovering from book-novel-whatever… right now, I’m reading this book called THEREFORE REPENT! (Laughs)

Does it have an exclamation mark at the end?

YES! YES!

What’s it about?

It’s completely nuts. Of course you haven’t heard of it. It’s by a guy named Jim Monroe and it’s put out by a small press. It’s a book about what if the rapture actually happened, and that’s all I’m gonna tell you.


Cool. Much thanks to Junot! So I’m going to have to go find some of his work and have a look, I’m told he’s an amazing author, as the Pulitzer would tend to suggest.

Therefore Repent & the NYCC

Hey all, some nice stuff for the clip pile here; stumbled across this a bit late, Comic News Insider featured the book on their weekly top three list when it came out in January. This is a clip from Episode 125 – Tue, 29 January 2008!

I’m Going to be at the upcoming New York Comic Con – April 18-20, 2008!

I’ll be joining my pod cast collaborators Charlito and Mr. Phill at the ISR table, and doing an hour or so of sketches and signings at the Image table too.

Also i’ve confirmed with Vito, I’m booked to do a singing for Therefore Repent! on the 21st the Monday after the con with my co-creator on Sea of Red, Rick Remender (Fear Agent) and Tony Moore (Walking Dead) @ Jim Hanley’s Universe downtown store in New York City [map]! If your in town i hope you can make it out to the store.

Also really look forward to meeting the guys, Tony did some awesome work on my covers for Sea of Red, I’ve worked with both of them but i haven’t met either of them in the flesh so it’s going to be cool to actually encounter the real people! Hope it goes well :)

Time TBA

and last…

And we got a nice short blurb in the March 2008 issue of Rue Mourge!

Therefore Repent!: It’s a little late, isn’t it?

Another one on the digital surf this morning, quite enjoyed this for my morning coffee, found it really articulate and of course very flattering. It’s by Chicago blogger Matthew Brady [not Mat of Newsarama], a regular contributer to Indie Pulp, ComiPress & Comics Bulletin


Therefore Repent!: It’s a little late, isn’t it?
By Matthew Brady :) posted March 20, 2008

Therefore Repent!
Written by Jim Munroe
Art by Salgood Sam

So, that “rapture” part of Christian mythology is kind of disturbing, isn’t it (I mean, aside from all the other disturbing stuff in the Bible)? Everybody good (with the definition of “good” meaning you agree to say God exists, or whatever) gets sucked up into the sky, leaving everybody else behind, rejected, ignored, and pretty much left to kill each other and rot in hell. Good times! Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam explore a post-rapture world in this freaky graphic novel, and it’s a weird, ugly place. For some reason, people seem to have developed magical abilities, and an army of angels outfitted in combat gear is going around killing anybody who practices this “witchcraft”. Swell! In the middle of all this are a young couple known only as Mummy and Raven, so called because he wears bandages all over his body and she wears a bird mask over her head. They wander into one of the suburbs of Chicago (but not as far out in the boondocks as the place where I live) and take up residence, getting to know the people in the neighborhood, including a Korean kid who runs his family liquor store, the owner of a local bar, and a couple lesbians who run an interdimensional communications business called “She-mail”. Also, their dog starts talking, and Raven starts developing strange ash-controlling powers. Who knows what’s going on with this strange world.

So it’s a fascinating, rich world that Munroe and Sam have created, but I did find it a bit hard to follow at times. A lot of the story is left up to the reader to infer, or references events and relationships that we don’t see. Part of this might be due to the fact that the book is a sort of sequel to Munroe’s novel An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil (which began life as a series of faux blog posts, which are still online). Munroe also did a sort of prequel comic with artist Michel Lacomb (also viewable online). So it’s not a completely standalone work, but I was able to follow it well enough, especially when it all came together for a very satisfying ending.

But really, I found the best part of the book to be Salgood Sam’s art. I’ve seen his work before on the Image vampire-pirate series Sea of Red, but I didn’t think too much of it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t especially distinctive or interesting to me either. But here, he’s working on a whole new level, sumptuously detailing dingy environments, expressive characters, and fantastical creatures. Being a sort of Chicago native, I loved seeing his work with cityscapes (and his depiction of the infamous “bean” sculpture in Millenium Park):

His depictions of animals are also great; the dog, who is a fairly major character, is expressive and even emotive while not seeming cartoony or anthropomorphized. He also comes up with some great layouts, like this dynamic shot of angels deploying:

And I even find the “less-readable” layouts fascinating:

017

There are at least three different scenes sort of melting into each other there, and I’m not sure how it all works, but it’s so well put-together, I keep coming back to it. I especially like the thick, but not oppressive, shading, which adds a nice texture to everything. The character work is pretty great too; I love the girl’s expression in this bit: It makes for a funny/sad scene, and those nicely-defined and -detailed characters make for a good, human grounding to Munroe’s crazy world. Finally, I wanted to point out one last bit that wowed me, in which Raven and Mummy have a shared vision that takes the form of the drawings in Mummy’s notebook: It’s an effective shift from Sam’s normal pencil-shaded style, and the sudden “open-ness” of the art is striking and effective. Nice.

So, yeah, I definitely dug this book. Any perceived storytelling deficiencies that I felt while reading were assuaged by the excellent ending, and the exquisite artwork (and well-drawn characters and fully-realized world) kept me going until then. It makes for a really good book, and I definitely recommend it to anybody who is interested in something a little bit outside the mainstream. Good job, guys.

Thanks Matthew!

Art Blog By Bob says Laughed Behind

My mindless minions of borrowed spiders coughed this up this morning, a great Review by Bob, on his blog! I really liked this one…


Laughed Behind

originally published [with art] on March 20, 2008 by Bob


Both scarier and funnier than a library full of only Left Behind novels, Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam’s Therefore Repent!: A Post-Rapture Graphic Novel asks the disturbing question: “What if the religious right… are actually right?” Set in a post-rapture world, when Heaven’s non-elect are left behind to pick up the pieces after the “chosen” have ascended to their just rewards, Therefore Repent! imagines a world in which magical powers become commonplace and the same pre-rapture biases and prejudices rule the day.

Where else but Canada could such a work come from? First published by No Media Kings in Canada and now brought to America by IDW Publishing, Therefore Repent! takes aim at the fundamentalist foibles of the American Christian Right with withering satire. When “Dubya Almighty,” as one character calls him, appears on a television news broadcast to discuss his post-rapture tour of the Red States, Bush spins wildly in response to the question of why he himself has been left behind. When Bush refers to the faux Jesus beside him as “Mr. Christ,” it’s laugh out loud funny as well as cry in your pillow sad, especially if you’re an American surrounded by the consequences of conservative “religion.”

One good aspect of the post-rapture world is the availability of good housing vacated by the chosen. Raven and Mummy, the two main characters of Therefore Repent!, find themselves a new home in the chaos of the aftermath (above). Although basic services are spotty at best, a number of “splitters,” those who believe in a second round of rapture to pick up those who needed to atone during the “tribulation” period before ascending, keep hope alive and the wheels of society turning to a degree. Munroe and Maxim Douglas (Salgood Sam’s real name) create a credible incredible world of “radical splitters” performing the miracles of Jesus, talking dogs, and sibylesque figures who replace e-mail with “she-mail.” Like Milton’s Lucifer in the early sections of Paradise Lost, this depiction of “evil” seems infinitely more interesting and fun than the world of the holy rollers. If you’d “rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints,” post-rapture Earth and America seems not so bad, at least for a while. Douglas’ edgy, almost grimy black and white images compose the perfect atmosphere for this magical realm set in all too familiar places.

Unfortunately, the powers of religious bigotry remain strong after the rapture, and perhaps even gain strength in the vacuum of legitimate authority. Military figures with angels’ wings (above) wreck vengeance on the unfaithful practicing “black” magic. Militiamen calling themselves “God’s Faithful” decide who lives and dies based on their personal creed. In these passages, Munroe and Douglas reveal the roots of the destructive tendencies of the Christian Right in America and their ties to other wings of conservatism such as the militia movement and just how deep those roots go. Of course, Therefore Repent! is fantasy, but only in fantasy can you find the license to connect the dots in such profound and illuminating ways. Therefore Repent! is social commentary disguised as fantasy literature. “It’s just a comic book,” they say, allowing these ideas to get under the radar in a way that more mainstream media no longer provides.

Therefore Repent! begins by quoting the Bible passage from which the title is taken. “Therefore repent!” says Revelations 2:16. “If you do not, I will come to you soon and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” In Therefore Repent!, Munroe and Douglas use the “sword” of their mouth and pen to fight against those crippling America under the weight of their right-wing prejudices codified in religious language. Those who need to repent are not the sinners but the “saints” who have taken their country down a very strange and twisted path leading to the violence of illegitimate wars and legitimized torture. In Therefore Repent!, we receive a valuable Bible lesson that questions the nature of what it is to be God’s chosen and who has the right to do the choosing.

Read About Comics reviews Therefore Repent!

Got a couple reviews this week and a mention in a pod cast, going to stick to this, the best by Greg McElhatton for the clippings pile here. I’ve had my art compared to Farel Dalrymple’s before, i always take it as a complement, he’s an excellent artist…


It’s very strange when you’re reading a graphic novel and feel like it was formed by an entirely different set of creators. In some ways it’s a little unfair to do so to the actual creators, almost like you aren’t giving them their fair credit. None the less, if you’d asked me who’d created Therefore Repent!, I’d have probably guessed Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple (who coincidentally really are collaborators on Marvel’s Omega the Unknown revival). I’d like to assure Jim Monroe and Salgood Sam, however, that such a comparison really isn’t a bad thing at all.

The Rapture came, and billions of people rose up into the sky to go to Heaven. Now, the rest of the world is in chaos, some claiming this to be a time of tribulation with a second chance at salvation eminent, others just trying to survive as best they can. With an army of angels trying to purge the world of survivors, and strange powers manifesting left and right, can Mummy and Raven find a way to just live in peace?

Monroe’s story reminded me a lot of Lethem’s early novels, with its fantastical events and ever-shifting status quo being presented almost matter-of-factly to the reader. This isn’t the sort of story where characters spend half their time continually gawking at their situation, but instead just move on as if it’s part of their lives these days–which of course it is. The end result is that as a reader, I never felt like I was being condescended or talked down to, and picked up the sensation that this was somehow a very real world that I was getting a glimpse into. The setup for Therefore Repent! is clever, in both how Munroe imagines what the remaining infrastructure would look like, but more so in the changes in humanity. This is the sort of setting I could easily see sustaining a long series of stories if Munroe chose, dipping into different locations and lives all over the globe. As it is, I feel like there’s still so much more that could be told about the book’s existing cast. There’s a lot in their past left nebulous, and it’s the arrival of Mummy and Raven into a neighborhood of Chicago that not only asks questions of all the supporting cast but of them as well. Likewise, some parts of the story itself are never really explained; the actions of some characters are left blank, which can be frustrating to anyone who is expecting everything to be explained or wrapped up neatly.

The art in Therefore Repent! is a lush, thick-inked creation. I really love the way that Sam illustrates an urban sprawl, with its streets and buildings and alleyways. It’s a wonderfully full art style, and in some ways I think it’s more effective here as pure black and white versus the red-tinged art of Sea of Red. Here, the darker color against a white background carries a stronger visual weight, and that’s especially important when Sam draws the fantastical elements of Therefore Repent!. Because they’re so different, they need to really stand out and pop off the page at the reader, and that’s exactly what happens. My only one complaint is that some of the more action-oriented scenes came off as a little muddled and hard to follow–I can’t help but feel that they don’t really play to Sam’s strengths as an artist. Fortunately, they’re a very small part of the greater whole. I do wonder if the smaller dimensions of the book, which normally works well in compacting Sam’s art, somehow worked against him there.

Therefore Repent! was a nice surprise for me as a reader–a book full of enough ideas to fill up an entire series, and with a beautiful illustration style in the narrative. Add in an unpredictable (but good) ending and lots of little surprises along the way and the end result is a book that would make me definitely seek out further collaborations between Munroe and Sam. I might have confused their synergy with other creators in the past, but I certainly won’t make that mistake again.

Therefore Repent! Review on the Comics Reporter and news of good sales!

Good news, i’ve been talking with a variety of shops to compile the list, and a good number have been telling me they are selling out of their first cautious orders and reordering, in some cases quite a lot!

So here’s hoping that’s reflected in the next few months from Diamond, we moved about half the run in the first month, so if this keeps up, maybe we can clear out the first run in the next two.

A few managers have really taken to advocating it; heard that the Manhattan Jim Hanley’s Universe is nearly sold out in part due to the guy i talked to there pushing it [sorry, was so pleased with the good news you were giving me I forgot to ask your name! get that when I talk with you next] and my old friend George Rizock in Windsor at the Rogues Gallery Comics Shop has moved 30 and has another 30 on order! Thanks man! So it seems the book is finding a good reception.

I’ve also made some arrangements to be in NY for the April NYCC, and it looks like some kind of signing is going to happen, I’ll post details on that soon as it’s settled.

So a good day, and not too tempered by this, a qualified review from Tom Spurgeon here on his site. Not bad, i really appreciated the thoughtful consideration he gave it and some of his observations of Jim’s writing and my art were very faltering.


“Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam’s Therefore Repent! bills itself as “a post-Rapture graphic novel.” This is obviously a reference to the story’s plot, which details the lives among those left behind when a number of Christian believers around the world ascend into heaven via a scenario that seems to prove the popular Christian Right public prophecy to be 100 percent true. It could also be a joke about this being the kind of book that would come out after such an event, in the same way that a few books and plays wrestled with 9/11 either directly or indirectly in a manner that placed the book within that specific historical context, or even a reference to the Rapture as a series of beliefs by millennial-obsessed Christians that many have processed and come to a different set of conclusions. I think there are elements to all three, and as a tribute to the sturdy, focused quality of the dark fantasy in the book, multiple interpretation aren’t only possible they’re kind of the point.”

“The most affecting part of the book shows their daily routine as they deal with the strain on their affection and the general breakdown of society that followed the departure of the various believers.”

“Munroe’s strengths as a writer seem to come through most overtly in this section: his way of delineating Mummy and Raven’s relationship through incidental moments rather than explication, and the way he uses fantasy to craft a large metaphor about widespread, post-event trauma, such as the feelings of rootlessness, fear and desire to function on a very basic level (staying home, watching the news, going out for food only) that enveloped a lot of people after 9/11.”

“Salgood Sam’s work proves mostly strong throughout. There are moments of visual sumptuousness that should keep the reader’s attention, and those readers who feel an artist should draw everything and not drop backgrounds or atmosphere for a lighter workload or to emphasize certain foregrounded actions should be pleased with the pages placed in front of them here.”

But he goes on to sight some issues with it, and seems to have been not totally taken with it on the whole. It’s an ok review but he wasn’t totally into it. And the last somewhat back handed praise their about the backgrounds, you know, I pretty regularly dropped the backgrounds to do just both those things. Never to the point of loosing the sense of place i felt, but he makes it sound as though I was exhaustive in my background art! I don’t know about that, not by my standards.

It’s been interesting, the different reactions the books getting.

More mainstream folks seem to totally go for it, and some are taking it as an Indy version of the sort of book Grant Morrison would do, which in mainstream circles is high praise.

Indy and literary people are often having a mixed reaction. Mostly good, near everyone has liked the story at least – But a good number seem to not be sure how to take the way we handled stuff, some more so than others and in some cases i can’t help but think they are thinking too hard about some things. And some are just not keen on my detailed representational art, or how I mix some of the cartoony stuff in there with that as in the case with Tom.

On this, for myself I like the verity of texture mixing things up brings to a book, I’m not into the notion that the art style needs to be homogeneous. And while I don’t think it was Tom’s issue, some seem to simply dislike that I’m not keeping to an certain Indy, or literary look for the art. Oh well.

Many seem to be wrestling with what we ‘Intended’ with the story a lot.

Like Tom’s note that

“it could also be that the artists are overtly making a case for diversion over significance in narrative art.”

That was a bit odd to me. I don’t think we had intended to make such a case.

But if one were to be made, i don’t think those are mutually exclusive goals. We were working on a medium length graphic novel, 160 pages, that lets you tell a lot of story but not so much that you can go crazy, at least not the way I or Jim wanted to tell it. Which was to emphasize the quite moments, the time of small things over grand things. Or at least that’s what I got from Jim’s script and his choices there in.

That was something I had always liked in his books, so I took that idea and added my own two bits along those lines to it. In my breaking down of the script and layouts, I reduced the action sequences to minimal staccato hits, bam bam bam sequences of events to try to capture the way those moments in life fly – and yet I gave the most physical space on the page to that stuff, big splashes and large panels – so you could get lost in the frozen seconds of time. Get a distended feeling of short moments of time moving like molasses.

On the other hand I took the quite stuff and gave it multiple panels, pages, beats, to stretch it as much as I could. I wanted those moments to be as significant as they needed to be, each in their own way.

The story is both commentary on big questions of how people deal with traumatic events, and each other in their wake. And it’s a fantasy adventure, a lark, at the same time.

I don’t think we thought we needed to make a case for that, it seems that both are things the medium can do, and at the same time even.

I was talking tonight with a fellow creator via email, and I think I agree with him, that if we’re getting a mixed and even off put reaction from some of the folks who take stuff supper seriously, it means your doing something right. And one thing is true. I was hoping it would be hard to peg. Seems we have made a slightly difficult book! :) Be nice if every one loved it but I’m liking the mixed reviews we sometimes get.

Therefore Repent! in RAZORCAKE

Jim sent me a clipping from RAZORCAKE, a non-profit music magazine dedicated to supporting independent music culture [and comics it seems too! :) ]. Nice review by Keith Rosson.


Therefore, Repent! (A Post-Rapture Graphic Novel)
By Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam, 164 pgs.

A little over ten years ago, I had one of Punk Planet’s “DIY Files” tacked up over my desk. I stared at it religiously, nightly, every time I sat down to Work or answer mail.

It was titled “How to Write a Novel,” and was written by Jim Munroe. He’d written one himself and gotten it picked up, I believe, by HarperCollins. A few years later, he’d grown pretty firmly disillusioned with the mainstream publishing industry and has remained entrenched in the DIY publishing world ever since. So, I finished my novel and yeah, it was a piece of garbage, entirely unpublishable and probably more cathartic than anything else. Point is, Munroe was a punk who had walked down that path before me and had given me–if not a working blueprint on how to write a decent book–at least the impetus and inspiration to follow through and keep working even when the words weren’t coming well. So it’s great to see him still kicking around and, more importantly, successfully tackling the graphic novel format.

I really don’t want to give too much of the plot away, as much of the joy of reading this thing comes from the fact that things get increasingly weird as the chapters go on. I will say that the story begins in an apparently post-Rapture world; hundreds of thousands of people have literally floated from the earth and disappeared, ascending into the sky. Jesus Christ is campaigning with George Bush–solely, of course, in red states. Angels (dressed in Vietnam-era fatigues and carrying M-16s) are systematically attempting to wipe out the remaining inhabitants of earth and facing resistance. Within the story, there are talking dogs, gay angels, resurrected homeless men, cyber-psychic lesbians, bikers that turn water into wine, a woman who turns ash into attack-birds, invisible Korean convenience store owners, and more. Like I said, I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but apart from the terrific pace of the story and Salgood Sam’s gorgeous artwork, it’s this attention to detail and bizarre bending of reality
that makes Therefore. Repent’ such a blast to pore over.

Salgood Sam (dude’s real name is Max Douglas–it’s backwards, get it?) has worked on titles for Marvel, DC, and Image, as well as a host of indie tines and comics; his work is somewhat suggestive of Derek Hess, but is much more refined. His sense of perspective and value is top-notch–as far as I can tell, his illustrations must be a mix of brushwork, charcoal, pencil, and ink washes. Absolutely gorgeous stuff. Munroe’s gotten the pacing of the story down tight and every chapter’s got a cliffhanger that kept me turning pages–I read Therefore, Repent! in one sitting and still find myself thumbing through it well after the fact.

All told, this one’s a keeper; the ending ties everything together nicely, but it’s one fuck of a weird ride before you get there. -Keith Rosson (No Media Kings, 10 Trellanock Ave., Toronto ON, M1C 5135, Canada)

lasvegasweekly.com thinks Jack Chick would not approve

One more for the clipping pile! LV weekly no less, cool!
Our book has made it to the city of sin! ;)

Original link: “A very different sort of comics tract about the Rapture”

January 31, 2008
By J. Caleb Mozzocco [personal blog]

When a huge swath of the world’s population suddenly rises bodily into the sky, disappearing into the heavens, it’s popularly assumed that the Rapture has occurred, and that those Christians who believed in it were right all along. Writer Jim Munroe and artist Salgood Sam’s new graphic novel Therefore Repent! (IDW Publishing) is set in this post-Rapture world, focusing on those who are–ahem–left behind.

I hear there’s a real market for books about people left behind.

[max:Rimshot! ba-tish! he he.]

Munroe and Sam’s leads are a weird-looking couple who answer to the names Mummy and Raven; he wraps himself in gauze bandages like a mummy, and she wears a raven mask that covers her whole head. A half-hearted reason for this is given at one-point-they were at a Burning Man-like arts festival when the Rapture happened, and kept their costumes on from then on to commemorate the event-but I think they just make for more interesting character designs for Sam to draw dressed like that.

[max: well yes and no, they are more interesting like that, but...]

We follow them as they arrive in Chicago and try to start a new life there. Writer Munroe seems to have grossly overestimated the number of Christians who actually believe in a physical Rapture, as Chicago is apparently depopulated to the point where there are plenty of nice apartments around for squatting purposes.

[max: true, but for fiction, it depends on who's numbers you use when you start out on your literalists' take on the idea ;) ]

The existential questions such an apocalyptic situation would raise are built into the setting, often in rather incidental ways (the press conference in which the president offers a rationale for why he’s still on Earth is amusing), and hang over the narrative, an unspoken conflict informing all the other conflicts.

Among these are the one between Raven and Mummy, whose love for each other was tested in a way that is a testament to its incredible strength, but also leaves a lingering resentment.

In their new neighborhood, they seem to quickly be drifting apart and are soon on the verge of breaking up. Apparently, the Rapture was only the beginning of the weird things going on, as dogs begin talking, magic becomes real and fairly easy to practice and squadrons of angels patrol the cities machine-gunning down sinners.

The story is rather oddly paced, turning from a serious slice of post-apocalyptic life focusing on a sprawling cast into something of a fantasy action piece in the second to last chapter, but it has a few killer twists at the end that turn the whole story on its head, and seem well worth waiting for (one twist, in particular, forgives what seems like lazy research at certain points).

Sam’s highly textured black-and-white art serves the script well, and he’s able to sell people mutated by magic just as easily as the everyday feel of bars, shops and street corners.

And hey, isn’t it nice to see a comic book about the end of the world that doesn’t involve zombies?

Not bad, not bad at all and if his blog post is any indication we got him thinking so that’s cool. The “lazy research” was kind of the point on our behalf, but i think he got our intention in the end. Hate to disappoint him though, there are a few zombies in the story. :)

Realms of Fantasy thinks were ingenious and sharply intelligent….

We just got a write up in the fantasy mag, ‘Realms of Fantasy’. very short, but i liked it….


Therefore Repent!, Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam, IDW Publishing.

This first foray into graphic novels by the indie innovator Jim Munroe, with able assistance from the illustrator, features a war with angels, bird-headed men, and, after a Rapture-like catastrophe, the appearance of magic on Earth.

The main characters, Raven and Mummy, must navigate this new world while also dealing with more personal issues.

The art is extraordinarily fluid and the storyline ingenious and sharply intelligent.

“ingenious and sharply intelligent” :)


Massive 60pg peek at the book here – Order it here, or here or at your local comic book shop!