“Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear –
not absence of fear”
Greetings from the desert fellow CBSI members. It’s been a bit since the last Blood Bank column, but I assure you I have one worthy. In lieu of the all the new readers of the website, this column speaks to up and coming creators and or new comics that need to be read. However, they don't necessarily have the marketing campaign to let the masses know of these gems, hence new blood, which goes to the Blood Bank.
As kids, we had a fascination with our superheroes that made us want to emulate them in every capacity. The cool kids like us would put on capes and set off for our own adventures. At times, this would lead to places of potential danger such as sewer drains, fields of fruit, forests, etc. In my youth I remember caves which I had no business entering, but was drawn to almost as if a moth to a flame. The thoughts of an “adventure” within and the unknown made for a conjuring of emotions fed by countless movies I ingested such as ET, Flash Gordon, Superman, The Neverending Story, Goonies, etc. What if I could be my own hero, what if I could create something cool and unique? The gear was in tow, I just needed the courage…
These ideas and thoughts of grandeur all of us have played out during our childhood whether internal or for the world to see. This is why games such as Legend of Zelda are so near and dear to our hearts. The ironic piece is the simplistic nature of the game. Guy has sword, goes into caves and dungeons on his path to save Hyrule and Zelda from the evil Gannon. Yet it’s the uniqueness within that world in which we find brilliance. The interactions with friends, enemies, bosses, and puzzles.
What about if there was a comic that provided some of these same nostalgic feelings? That made you reminisce on those days and as a kid searching for an adventure beyond the trip to 7-Eleven, candy stores, or your local school. Well Brian Middleton, Jr. has done just that with his amazing piece of art – Wulfborne! I am going to dissect this comic without spoiling too much, but giving you reasons to read this work! Let’s get started…
The creator of Wulfborne Brian Middleton, Jr. is a husband, father of two beautiful daughters and the proud owner of six cats that keep him very busy at home. In addition, he has been creating comics or stories for the better part of his life. In 2015 he put out his first self-published work, Adventures in Isme. He followed this up with titles like Xiat, Wander and Fanghold. In looking at Brian’s influences its best that I let him tell you his thoughts: “There are three stories that influence me most as a storyteller, The Time Quartet by Madeleine L'Engle, The Kilkenny Series by Louis L'Amour and The Legend of Zelda series as a whole. I'm drawn to stories of lone riders out to do the right thing going up against impossible odds. Even better if they are up against some sort of internal struggle at the same time!”
As far as comic creators and influencers, I am sure you will recognize these names. Here is Brian in his own words again “Matteo Scalera is always blowing my mind with his work. I'm really enjoying Dylan Burnett's as a creator as well. Also two guys who are on the way up and crushing it, Nate Xopher and Kevin Hilliker”
Now let’s take a look into the story itself. Wulfborne is a courageous soul whom is haunted by hearing the voice of his love, Luna. “Come to me, and I will heal your broken heart” she says over and over again. With this he is lead into a dark underworld filled with unique creatures and action storylines that grab you from the get go.
As the story progresses, we see a glimpse into what peril potentially lies ahead. The reader meets a creature who had the very ability that gave him his greatness, taken away by a looming presence. Many of the panels emotions are done without using any dialogue whatsoever which is a credit to Brian’s craft. The tension is palpable, the characters come alive in both personality and in their distinctive appearance.
The idea of black and white colors play perfectly into this story, as some of this world is more shrouded in secrecy. It's what we can’t fully see that plays with our minds. This gives you the reader the opportunity to come up with your own evaluation of exactly what’s going on within the panels.
It harks back to what I was saying at the beginning of this piece the, “adventure” in which we all would go on in some capacity. Anyone imagine their own Goonie quest?! That’s what makes up our imagination, and fires up the creative juices flowing in our heads.
We all love comics for different reasons, however there is a central theme involving fantasy, mystery, and the creation of different worlds that keep us entrenched in this medium.
Those of you that are Variant fans, there are two available. The first one below is a 400 print run from directly from the Scout store. The other is a store variant from The Comics Vault located in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
In closing, I highly recommend picking up this comic. It’s a fun ride, and really does a great job of setting things up for what’s coming next in our adventure. Scout Comics continues to put out quality material. Brian Middleton Jr’s Wulfborne follows that same path. Surprise yourself and pick up a copy from your local LCS this week! Then go out and find you own cave to explore, you never know what you will find on the other side…
A penny for your thoughts…