Jason Sanford

I'll take this lighthearted version of fantasy any day over the rest of a too-serious-for-its-own-good genre that has long since worn out its welcome.


Publisher: NBM Publishing
Length: 96
Writer: Writer and Artist: Richard Moore
Price: $9.95
Item Type: Comic

A Cure for Fantasy Fatigue

Call it fantasy fatigue. After 12 hours of the extended Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, five Harry Potter novels (with each successive novel seeming to double in size), and endless fantasy knockoffs such as Eragon, the new best-selling novel started by author Christopher Paolini when he was only 15, I am growing seriously tired of fantasy.

Not that I haven't enjoyed most of these fantasies. The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are so successful precisely because they are at the top of their respective fantasy forms. After all, the genre is rooted in teenage angst and that familiar sense of growing up, leaving our families, and going out into the larger world. After a few years in the real world, people begin to ask, "Is this it? Is this all there is to the world?" This is where successful works, like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, step in. They provide the illusion that there is more to the world than we see in our day-to-day lives.

No, what is wearing me out about the fantasy genre is its solemn seriousness. At some point the endless battles with evil over all-important rings or the fate of the world grow a little old. You just want to yell, "Stop. Lighten Up. Life isn't always this grim and serious!"

All of which brings me to Boneyard, a hilarious fantasy comic book by Richard Moore. Boneyard is the story of Michael Paris, a down-on-his-luck young man who has just inherited the Raven's Hollow Boneyard from his dead grandfather. ("You actually call your cemetery a boneyard?" he asks the town's mayor upon first seeing the place, to which the mayor responds, "You'd prefer corpse farm?")

Along with ownership of the boneyard comes a resident horror-show community: a 1950s James Dean version of a werewolf in shades and leather jacket, a cockney-accented witch whose only facial feature is an oversized nose, a talking skeleton who is a sex addict, and a cute vampire named Abbey. Paris also finds out in short order that there's a serious down side to cemetery ownership — the devil wants the place and he'll stop at nothing to get it.

While this might sound like a B-level fantasy setup — complete with apocalyptic, fate-of-humanity overtones — Moore turns the comic into much more by keeping it from ever being too serious. For example, when the devil plots the downfall of humanity, his plan naturally depends on gaining control of Paris's cemetery. His bold step to bring about the end of the world: Send in the IRS to audit Paris. (Now why hasn't Lord Voldemort tried doing that to Harry Potter?)

But even as Moore's writing throws witty joke after joke at the reader, the main reason that Boneyard has created such a loyal fan base is because of the attention that he gives to his characters. Aside from the conflict with the devil, the plot focuses on Paris's developing relationship with the vampiress Abbey. While "I'm in love with a vampire" stories have been done to death (so to speak), Moore's attention to characterization and his perfect balance between sexual innuendo, tension, and romantic interest keeps the reader interested in where this budding relationship is going.

Another draw is Moore's unique style of detailed black and white drawings. Not only has his artwork shown remarkable growth over the course of the series, but his ability to render individual faces with his art makes him something of a rarity among comic artists.

Boneyard doesn't pretend to be great literature with a deep meaning. However, by being true to his own characters and writing, Moore creates one of the best comic books out there — a comic that leaves a good feeling inside after you finish reading each issue. I'll take this lighthearted version of fantasy any day over the rest of a too-serious-for-its-own-good genre that has long since worn out its welcome.


The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.