Comics

Places, Everyone: Exclusive Preview of "Larfleeze #3"

If you've missed out on the first two issues of Larfleeze, not to worry. Well, maybe worry a bit. Maybe go out and go find them, because you've really missed out on a secret treat.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

If you've missed out on the first two issues of Larfleeze, not to worry… well, maybe worry a bit. Maybe go out and go find them, because you've really missed out on a secret treat. But if you're worried about picking up with issue #3, not to worry. There's an easy introduction to the current dilemma faced by our not-quite-so-intrepid protagonist, by way of (of all things, if you can imagine), postures, poses, places really.

The introduction comes at the end of opening sequence of the issue (which tells the backstory of a new power player to the series), and the masterclass crafting of Scott Kolins is clear to be seen in the artwork. Page four is a singularly beautiful page, with dynamic artwork deeply reminiscent of the legendary Jack Kirby the "King" of comics. The similarity is not by accident, Kolins' work is clearly an homage to one of the few comics giants we can all claim as our hero.

To top it all, this isn't merely an homage, but a sophisticated drama ostensibly engineered by happenstance. The Wanderer towers over Stargrave (yes, that Stargrave, if you can reach back into continuity to recall one of the villains of Paul Levitz's legendary run on Legion of Super-Heroes), and in so doing utterly diminishes his serene victory over Larfleeze, the unparalleled exemplar of greed in the DCU. Foregrounded and nearest us on the panel, from our worms-eye view, Larfleeze lies unconscious, visually, nothing more than a footnote in his own comicbook. Sitting calmly beside Larfleeze, looming serenely as the paragon of the evil mastermind is wont to, is Stargrave. The moment is the conclusion to the previous issue, but also the overture to the next few pages. Because hovering above Stargrave, towering above him, is the Wanderer. She dwarfs Stargrave in such a way as to disrupt his victory, his acquired manner. He seems to cower and cringe in her presence. And there's a delicious disparity between the serenity of his words, and the physicality of his posture. This is perhaps the most compelling introduction possible. A drama is about to unfold, places everyone.

But as masterful as Kolins' artwork might be, the real drama isn't Larfleeze at all. But the drama of comics itself, of perpetual fiction. Some time ago now, Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis worked together on an altogether different book, one very far removed from the space opera they now find themselves writing together. It was a radical reinterpretation of a cherished DC classic, and for a little bit more than half a decade it seemed to be the only thing worth reading in mainstream superhero comics. But all good things must come to an end, and Giffen and DeMatteis' partnership on this series did too. The real drama here, even on Kolins' beautifully rendered page, is the drama of whether or not Giffen and DeMatteis can start again. On an entirely new project and effect the same magic. And this is the real drama at hand because the nature of perpetual fiction always places everyone at the very beginning of something great, and never at the end.

It's maybe not on the same scale, because, as Bob Dylan reminds us, things have changed. But one look at this page and all the others in Larfleeze and you know that that old magic is back. Please enjoy our exclusive preview of Larfleeze #3, "Of Gods and Butlers!"

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

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