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Hugh Likes Comics: Crowded Vol. 3

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Crowded Vol. 3: Cutting-Edge Desolation
Written by Christopher Sebela
Drawn by Ro Stein & Ted Brandt
Colored by Triona Farrell & Diana Sousa
Lettered by Cardinal Rae
Published by Image Comics

Crowded Vol. 3 Cover

The Skinny: The Near-Future Dystopian Mayhem reaches its finale.
Crowded is one of the comics of recent years that floored me with how of the moment it was. Originally published as a monthly series in 2018, The pandemic and resultant shortages shifted the last volume from a monthly comic to a graphic novel format, but it has been worth the wait.Charlie Ellison, human disaster and the famous $3 Million Dollar girl, may have made the last mistake of her life. Having fired her bodyguard Vita after a brief but passionate fling, she’s now being defended by Circe, the assassin who has been following the pair since the beginning of their disastrous road trip. But with the organizers of the assassination campaign against her in her sights, will she turn the tables on them, or will Vita, not to mention everyone else in America, get to her first?The final act of Crowded continues with the elements that made the first two volumes such a joy to read. The over-the top characters and setting remain horrifyingly engaging. From a drone-army of weekend warriors to a a staggering number of wrecked self-driving cars to a queer utopia in Oklahoma City of all places, the trail of destruction crosses the U.S. as the story rushes towards its conclusion.Sebela’s writing is as sharp and incisive as ever, with all the shouting and explosions pierced with quiet scenes of actual depth and emotion that caught me off guard.Stein and Brandt continue to impress with their skills on art. Aided by Triona Farrell and Diana Sousa on colorist duties. Their skill at facial expressions in particular is a driver of the story, and if you go in thinking how many ways could they possibly have to draw Vita looking angry, it’s an impressive list.While I would’ve liked to have been able to pick this book up monthly from my local shop, I’m glad we got this final volume, which is a very satisfying conclusion. While new readers should start with volume one, I highly recommend this series. You can order digital or print editions from the your local bookstore or comics shop!

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Everyday Drabbles #667: The Runner

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The Runner is the ghost of Machine City. Everyone has a second-hand story of a friend or a cousin meeting the one spanner in The Corp’s mighty works.
He hacks a bioterminal to distribute free medicine here and diverts trucks full of SecForce thugs away from a housing protest there. He’s an urban legend, both everywhere and nowhere.
The Chief Policing Officer appears regularly on the feeds insisting that The Runner doesn’t exist. But the work continues.
High above, the boy jumps from catwalk to catwalk, knowing the value of being born without tackers in a city of electronic eyes.

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Everyday Drabbles #663: The City

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The City expanded in all directions like a crystal. Glass, chrome, and circuitry expanded in every direction.
In most parts of The City, you couldn’t see the sun. In some places, you could barely tell which way was up.
She’d been born there, and it was all she had ever known. It was a billion-limbed organism that consumed and screamed and polluted: The Infant of the Beast, chewing up people. But it was not all there was.
As she rose into the sky, she felt a thrill of anticipation. She would crack The City’s shell, and show them the truth.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Hugh Likes Comics: Crowded

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Crowded Vol 1: Soft Apocalypse
Written by Christopher Sebela
Drawn by Ro Stein and Ted Brandt
Colored by Triona Farrell
Published by Image Comics

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The Skinny: A contract bodyguard has her work cut out for her protecting her latest client from crowdfunded assassins.

In a future where anything can be crowd funded, and the gig economy has taken over, even assassinations can be crowdfunded. But when wild girl Charlie’s finds herself with a million-dollar bounty on her head, her only hope may lie in bodyguard for hire Vita. If they don’t kill each other, anyway.
Equal parts action movie, dystopian thriller, and buddy comedy, Crowded is a wild ride.But the character work is what really sets the writing apart. Sebela delivers a lot of depth to these characters with very simple strokes. He takes stock tropes like the world-weary bodyguard and transforms them into deep, complex characters that you come to care about. Even the villain of the arc, slimy livestereaming assassin Trotter, is if not sympathetic, complicated in his motivations.
Stein’s art, with inking by Brandt, is expressive, bold and easy to follow. Farrell’s colors are a mix of glaring digital neons and the grays and browns of urban decay. The art really sells the story, which walks a fine line between goofy action and cyberpunk horror.
Crowded juxtaposes over the top action sequences with the very real cyberpunk horrors of a rising gig economy, omnipresent digital surveillance, and collapsing American infrastructure. As ridiculous as it all seems, it is a frighteningly plausible near future.
Crowded: Soft Apocalypse collects the first six issues of the comic, and is available from Comixology, the usual digital retailers, or your local comics shop.
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Book Announcement: The City (Now in Print and Wattpad!)

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So I probably should have done this BEFORE Balticon, but I’ve got a book out! In print and everything! And you can read it a whole bunch of different ways! “The City: A Story in 140 Characters” has appeared in blog and ebook format, and now a revised edition is available on Wattpad and even in print! Check it out below and enjoy a drabble novella of action, greed, and cyberpunk zombies!

The City-final-5

“O’Donnell builds a world both enticing and unsettling…The City remains full of surprises at every turn.”
—JRD Skinner, “Flashpulp”

WELCOME TO THE CITY…

The City is a place beyond the real world. Created and controlled by the titanic Midas Corporation, The hyper-realistic virtual environment is the capital of an empire without borders, outside the reach of terrestrial law enforcement.
When controlling interest in the company is sold to a mysterious new player, The City breaks down, trapping millions inside. It falls to the Daytrippers, teenage hackers and rebels who don’t play by Midas’ rules, to save The City, and the world.

A drabble novella told from over a hundred different points of view, The City is like no place you’ve ever seen before.

Amazon

Wattpad