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August 2020

Sit and Spin

William Elliott Whitmore’s My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me

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Song Title: My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me

Single Sentence Singles Review: With eight full-length albums under his belt, Whitmore redefines the mind’s self-destructive ways with refined songwriting, creating a feeling that places you on a stool with a cold beer in front of you… and in a head space that is all too relatable.

Beyond The Track: What’s the song all about? Here is what Whitmore had to say about it.
Our memories and thoughts can be torturous at times. Mark Twain called it the ‘devil’s race track’, when a line of thought and worry goes around and around in a circle inside our brains. Is the mind a separate entity from the body? At what point does it feel as though our brains are actually betraying us?”

And that’s why…

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Trunk Bubbles

Miguel “Mike” Mora

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Name: Miguel “Mike” Mora

Website: Here or Here

1. Favorite character growing up:
Since I was a child, and up to this day: Conan the Barbarian.

2. Favorite character now:
Well, there are a lot of them, and I couldn’t say I have a favorite. It depends on the artist in charge.

3. Your most recent work:
Right now I’m finishing a one-shot story for Neymar Jr. Comics, as part of the INKED series.

4. How would you describe your style?
Dirty! (Laughter) Regardless of the tools, digital or analog, I always end up making a mess. I would say my style is a bit… dark? I don’t know, maybe, but with a cartoonish flavor, so to speak.

5. Is there any particular artist that has inspired you throughout your career?
Uff… many, really too many to tell. You can find some influences in my drawing style, but there are other artists whose style I like, and don’t necessarily influence me directly, from Alfredo Alcalá, Frank Miller, Mignola, Jae Lee, etc. But if I should name a real influence, because of his way of thinking and what he has achieved in life, without a doubt it should be Todd McFarlane.

6. How did you break out in the comic book industry?
In a magazine called Angels edited by R.G.Llarena (Heavy Metal) in the ‘90s.

7. Is there any character from any comic book universe that you like to draw while sketching for warm ups?
Actually, I almost never do sketches and pinups, I go straight to the pages. I like telling stories more than drawing characters for no reason. But well, sometimes you have to adapt, so I push myself to draw a thematic sketch from time to time.

8. Are there any characters or titles you’d like to work on in the future?
Sure, Conan or Spawn. Pretty obvious. (Laughter)

9. What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?
Well, I don’t know if it’s a strength, but I try to focus on storytelling and deliver quality pages. I´m not sure if I’ve managed to do just that yet.

10. You are currently working on The Painted Men mini-series; how would you describe your experience drawing these characters?
It’s been a lot of fun, their stories are action-packed, and filled with monsters – which I love to draw, by the way! And although my style is not realistic, I tried to capture the personality of their comic book counterparts with the references I found of them online.

11. Quick question: Mi and Graine, or Aleks? And why?
Definitely Aleks… because… who doesn’t want to be a masked man with an axe!

12. Can you tell us something about your next comic book projects?
I hope to keep collaborating with more Neymar Jr. Comics stories, and to be able to develop some personal projects that I have been working on. I’m often on the lookout for new projects.

13. What piece of advice would you give to young aspiring artists out there who are considering to make a career in the comic book industry?
Start now! Seriously, start sending submissions to publishers of all sizes. Send out your work to people who are already working in the field and who can give you feedback: artists, editors, colorists, etc. Be always receptive to their recommendations and comments, that way you’ll be able to take your art to the next level. And of course, keep practicing, you never stop learning.

 

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Trunk Gaming

Fortnite: Nexus War

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Fortnite Chapter 2, Season 4: Nexus War

Initial Release Date: August 27, 2020

Developer: Epic Games

Publisher: Epic Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertanment

Designer: Darren Sugg

Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Android, Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS, iOS

Genre: Battle Royale, Survival, Sandbox

Why We’re Playing It: TrunkSpace is filled with pop culture goodness, and it doesn’t get more random and pop culture-esque than watching John Wick, Batman, Deadpool and She Hulk battle it out fist-to-guns while using trending social media dance moves to taunt each other!

What It’s All About: At its core, Fortnite is a battle royale-style shooter, but it has more layers than a never-ending gobstopper! This season Fortnite has teamed up with Marvel to weave the two worlds together in the Nexus War. Marvel has even released a series of crossover covers this month to commemorate the event.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: Just when you think you might be burnt out or over the last season of Fortnite, they go and do something like drop the Avengers right in the middle of their already overflowing roster of playable skins. This season offers up the chance to actually harness not just a power-up but a SUPER power. You can wield Dr. Doom’s gauntlets, Groots bramble shield, Silver Surfer’s board, and more that have yet to be revealed.

Bonus Level: Whether you’re a marvel fan or not, you will enjoy this season, but if you are a Marvel fan… you’re going to enjoy it WAY more, getting to visit locations like Doom’s Domain or the Sentinel Graveyard where you can use their severed arms to blast yourself across the map. Fornite has truly out-Fortnited themselves with this season, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Trunk Bubbles

Top Five Supermen… Who Are Not Clark Kent

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TOP FIVE SUPERMEN… WHO ARE NOT CLARK KENT

About a week ago, the world was taken by storm with the online event of the summer: The DC Fandome, a celebration of all things DC… well ALMOST all things DC, since a certain blue and red superhero was not exactly in the spotlight during the 8+ hours of the event. Sure, the iconic Superman theme by John Williams was used in the welcome video for anyone entering the Hall of Heroes, and the Big Boy Scout appeared here and there during the panels, but nothing else. Yeap, no news about an upcoming Superman movie or a panel about the importance of the very first superhero in history.

So, for this week’s special feature, we decided to pay homage to the Man of Steel in the same way: By remembering some of the most powerful, weirdest, and sometimes, evil supermen… but without Clark Kent. Let’s take a look!

 

5. SUNSTAR

This is one of the most recent additions to the extended family of Superman analogs. Created by Mark Russell and Richard Pace as part of the starring duo of his Second Coming book, published by Ahoy Comics, Sunstar is his world´s greatest superhero, possessing powers that make him look like a god in the eyes of everyone else, including, well… God himself. However, unlike Clark Kent, Sunstar is far from perfect, but quick to resort to action, which is exactly what God was looking for in order to teach his son, Jesus, how a true god should behave in modern times.

Sunstar is then paired with Jesus Christ to patrol the streets and show him the ropes, while dealing with very human issues, like the ordeal of adopting a baby with his girlfriend, since his alien biology won’t allow him and his “Lois Lane” to have a baby of their own.

4. SAMARITAN

Based in Astro City, Asa Martin protects the world as the greatest superhero of all time: The Samaritan, the most powerful member of the Honor Guard. Created by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson for the Astro City series of miniseries and ongoing titles, Samaritan is not exactly a super powerful alien, but a time traveler from the 35th century, a time in which humanity was at the brink of extinction and decide that the only way to fix their present was sending someone back in time to take care of things. Asa was chosen, and upon his arrival in the 20th century, he discovered that now he possessed superhuman abilities, like flying, super strength, energy projection and even dimensional travel.

The very first Astro City story is a beautiful exploration of what it means to be a Superman, the insane amount of work it involves, the loneliness that comes with the responsibility of saving the world, and, paradoxically, the need of being alone for the simple joy of flying. Also, long before DC Comics dedicated an ongoing title to explore what a romantic relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman would be, Busiek and Anderson answered that question through Winged Victory (Astro City’s Wonder Woman analog) and Samaritan in a single issue.

3. OMNIMAN

For years, Nolan Grayson protected the world under the guise of Omniman, the most powerful member of the Guardians of the Globe. Despite his alien origin as a viltrumite, he was able to marry an earth woman, Debbie, and together they conceived their only child, Mark. Once Mark was old enough to understand the truth about his father, Nolan told him about his alien heritage and that, maybe, someday he could develop powers as well. The day came sooner that Nolan expected, as Mark got into puberty, and that was the day the world would change forever. That was the day Invincible was born.

Robert Kirkman and Corey Walker created Omniman as an obvious Superman knock-off, and during the first few issues of Invincible readers believed that it was a “passing of the torch” type of story, since Omniman dedicated much of his time training Mark in the use of his newfound powers. But everything changed when the Guardians of the Globe were murdered one by one by a mysterious and powerful foe, which turned out to be their friend and longtime ally: Omniman himself!

Then, Omniman revealed the real truth to his son and the readers: the viltrumite race was not a race of protectors but conquerors, and unlike Superman, he was sent to Earth to take over our world in the name of the Viltrumite Empire. Devastated by this shocking revelation, Mark fights his father, but is easily overpowered by a stronger and more seasoned viltrumite warrior. However, when Nolan was about to deliver the finishing blow, some powerful words from the mouth of his son make him change his mind and abandon our planet, leaving a confused and ravaged Mark to ponder if his father ever really loved him.

2. MIRACLEMAN

We are kind of cheating with this one, since Mike Moran is more an analog of another powerful superhero – the World’s Mightiest Mortal formerly known as Captain Marvel – than one of Superman’s, but since the Big Red Cheese himself was in fact a Superman knock off to begin with, we decided to stretch the concept a little bit as well.

Long story short: Captain Marvel was becoming even more popular than Superman back in the day, a fact that started a legal battle that ended up with Fawcet Comics cancelling every Captain Marvel title in the market. The cancellation had a profound impact overseas, particularly in the UK where Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family reprints were some of the top selling titles in the British market. In order to keep sales afloat, the L. Miller & Son publishing company, responsible of said reprints of the Marvel Family books in the UK, commissioned writer/artist Mick Anglo to create a similar superhero and continue the stories as if nothing happened, but under a new name for the character and his extended family: Marvelman, and the Marvelman Family (Kid Marvelman, Young Marvelman, etc.). This stunt lasted almost 10 years, until interest on Marvelman dwindled and all titles were cancelled.

Cue to 1982, when a young Alan Moore revamped the series in the anthology magazine Warrior, picking up the story “in real time” from the date it was originally cancelled. Moore’s vision for the character included a deconstruction of the superhero as a modern myth, riffing on the most ridiculous and whimsical tropes of the genre, like magic words that instead of simply transforming a young man into a grown-up superhero, were then revamped as trigger words for a complicated science fiction, nuclear powered, multidimensional process to grant main character Mick Moran with the powers of a god but the mind of a flawed, but well-intended man. The series was republished in the US by Epic Comics under the name Miracleman in an effort to avoid legal claims from the House of Ideas. Ironically, years and lots of legal battles later, the rights of Miracleman ended up with the very company that pushed Epic to change the name of both the character and title for the US market: Marvel Comics.

1. SUPREME

This is yet another shot at revamping the myth of Superman by Alan Moore, who took over writing duties of this Superman knock off created by Rob Liefield during the most extreme (pun intended) era of superhero comic books with issue #41 of the original series. Under the creative choices of Liefield, Supreme was a very mean, violent and self-righteous version of Superman, but with white hair and a white suit, who even quoted the Bible to justify his actions (make whatever you want out of this).

Moore accepted Liefields’ offer on the condition of having creative freedom to write whatever he wanted, since he considered the title was “not very good”. The result is, perhaps, a collection of some of the best Superman stories without Superman. Since Supreme was not a part of a multimillion dollar franchise, Moore had free reign to craft stories that included a conclave of Supremes from different corners of the multiverse, revisionist continuity to explain the radical change of the book’s tone, science fiction and magical elements that really affected the story’s status quo, commentary on storytelling as a whole and even a heartfelt homage to the King of Comics, Jack Kirby.

Whereas in Miracleman Alan Moore deconstructed the Superman, in Supreme he reconstructed the myth of the Man of Steel and proved that it is possible to tell great stories with the greatest superhero of all.

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Sit and Spin

Levi Rowan’s Let It Go

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Song Title: Let It Go

Single Sentence Singles Review: Calling something “infectious” may not be the smartest move in 2020, but Levi Rowan is getting us all nostalgic for the word as this latest track is as hot as a fever and is not that easy to shake – unless of course you’re shaking along with the contagious end-of-summer anthem.

Beyond The Track: What’s the song all about? Here is what Rowan had to say about it.

Let It Go is an extremely personal track because it’s basically my origin story. Through multiple instances, I detail negative situations that have influenced me to see the world through an at times frustrating lens. This song was made to lift that off of my shoulders. It’s also a message to everyone not to judge a kid before you know them, it’s really easy to deem someone a bad apple off hearsay before you know what seeds they’ve been grown from. Growing up and trying to find your place in this world is difficult, hopefully, this song will help people take a breath.”

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Sit and Spin

Air Traffic Controller’s Sometimes

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Song Title: Sometimes

Single Sentence Singles Review: More of an always song than a sometimes one, this track from Boston’s Air Traffic Controller is a giddy good time powered by Dave Munro’s velvety vocals and a series of tinny tings that elicit uncontrollable full-body bobs.

Beyond The Track: Although no album has been formally announced yet, this single has been served up to tease an expected 2021 release.

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Listen Up

Jessie Wagner

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After years of touring as a backup vocalist for artists like Lenny Kravitz and Duran Duran, Jessie Wagner is prepared to step into the spotlight with her debut solo album, Shoes Droppin, set for release on October 9 via Wicked Cool Records. But sharing her songwriting point of view with the world also means reflecting on the emotions – good and bad – that inspired her to take this journey.

If I’m being reflective and feel slightly melancholy, then those emotions I put down in song will hit me over the head like a sledgehammer,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “But if I’m in a good place, the songs are more of a reminder that I made it through.”

We recently sat down with Wagner to discuss why writing is a cathartic practice, becoming an artist without walls, and engaging audiences in the middle of a pandemic.

TrunkSpace: Songwriters are at their best when their writing is truthful and saying something. What did you hope to accomplish with your writing when you set out to create what would later become your debut solo album, Shoes Droppin?
Wagner: Some of the songs written for this album came out of the darkest period of my life. I was dealing with a loved one who became completely dependent on me and I became their caretaker. I wasn’t prepared for the responsibility of it all or the conflicting emotions I endured. After I gained a bit of footing, I looked at the songs I had written during that period and decided I needed to put them out in the world. I also had songs that I loved but hadn’t done anything with. So I decided that since I lived through that experience, I was going to put everything I had in to this project and see where it led.

TrunkSpace: Unfortunately, truth can also sometimes hurt. Does pouring so much of yourself into a song or lyric leave you feeling vulnerable, especially when you’ll have to revisit that song – or the emotion that inspired the song – over and over again?
Wagner: It depends on the mood you’re in. If I’m being reflective and feel slightly melancholy, then those emotions I put down in song will hit me over the head like a sledgehammer. But if I’m in a good place, the songs are more of a reminder that I made it through. In a nutshell, sometimes it’s despair and sometimes its triumph.

TrunkSpace: Is writing a form of therapy that helps you work through your own thoughts and emotions? Does completing a song fill a void and raise you up?
Wagner: It can definitely be a cathartic experience. It is harder for me to say the things I need to say when I’m face to face with someone. I will write them a letter or sometimes, it becomes a song. I’ve even woken up out of a dream to write lyrics down. Yes, I find writing, in any form, therapeutic.

TrunkSpace: Listening to music is certainly an escape for us. What do you get writing and performing that you can’t achieve as a listener alone? What does that extra creative bump do for your brain that drifting off to another artist’s album is unable to achieve?
Wagner: When you’re listening to someone else, you might feel like their music is speaking to you, but in the end, that’s someone else’s intent that you are interpreting. When you’re writing, you’re bearing your soul. Someone else can’t do that for you. When you’re on stage, you’re giving a piece of yourself to that audience and it’s so much more intense and personable when it’s your own music. You can connect wholly with this music because it came from you.

TrunkSpace: Who is Jessie Wagner the artist, and, would the you who first looked to music as a career be surprised by the answer you’re giving today?
Wagner: I don’t think there’s one definable answer for who I am as an artist. I’m someone who just does what I like. I don’t know which box my songs are going to fall in and I don’t want to. I guess I hope I can remain an artist without walls. I enjoy doing so many different types of music and I’m glad that with this project, I was able to express different sides to my writing. I think when I was younger, I tried to stay within a box. The music I wrote was me, but just a sliver. I think now, I’m much more open to trying different things musically.

TrunkSpace: You’ve had a tremendous career in music, fronting Army of the Underdog and touring as a vocalist alongside artists like Lenny Kravitz, Kid Rock and Duran Duran, to name a few. Does Shoes Droppin feel like a new chapter in your journey with music?
Wagner: It’s definitely a debut of a part of Jessie that most people don’t really know. When I’m on tour with another artist, I’m just an extension of that person or group. I think Army of the Underdog paved the way for this album because I was starting to open up with my writing style and with what directions I wanted the songs to go in. And now, here I am with this interesting collection of songs that are honest representations of where I’d like to go.

TrunkSpace: Normally you would tour to support a new album, but that is not something that is possible in every state right now. How do you get the word out for Shoes Droppin when people can’t get out themselves?
Wagner: I guess like every other artist out there trying to navigate the COVID new world order, I’m trying to take advantage of social media as much as I can. I do live stream shows and I try to stay interactive with those that like my music. It’s been extremely challenging to keep people engaged. I hope we’ll find more opportunities to perform in front of people sooner than later.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Wagner: When I finished the album, I just hoped someone would like it and maybe connect with one or two of the songs I had written. When Stevie Van Zandt said he would like to add me to his label, that pretty much exceeded all my expectations. It’s validating when a respected songwriter likes what you’ve done.

TrunkSpace: There are some amazing vocals on Shoes Droppin. Which song – or piece of a song – was the most difficult to “get right” in the studio and why?
Wagner: I think cadence-wise, “Caretaker” was the most difficult. It’s easy to sing into voice notes for a reference. It’s a different story when you’re having to keep time with an instrument! But it became my favorite song on the record.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Wagner: I’ve questioned my career choice so many times. I was an academic in school. I thought I’d be a doctor or a lawyer. But I kept being drawn to the stage. I struggle with self doubt and compare myself to others in this career that have done better and gone farther than me. I’m always asking myself, how much longer will you do this? It’s so hard. But again, something keeps me coming back to the stage. It is a complicated relationship I have. It feels like home when I’m performing, and hell when I can’t find that a next gig. But I’ve come so far and I hope this record and the music I create in the future pushes me even further. I hope 10 years from now, I will have stopped asking myself why and will finally say well-done.

Shoes Droppin drops October 9 on Wicked Cool Records. The single “End of Time” is available now.

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Listen Up

Taylor Ashton’s Skeletons by the Sea

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TrunkSpace Exclusive Premiere
Taylor Ashton’s Skeletons by the Sea

We fell in love with Taylor Ashton’s The Romantic earlier this year and we’re as happy as a seagull at the beach to premiere his latest video for the single, “Skeletons by the Sea.” Pull up a towel, slap on some sunscreen, and let’s discover how the track and video came about from the man himself!

“‘Skeletons by the Sea’ came to me on the beach one day in Brooklyn. I love what the beach does to people. I think you can’t help but become a little childlike, maybe because the ocean is way too big for your mind to understand. I was zoning out and gazing in awe at the beauty of all the different colors and shapes and sizes of bodies laying on the sand. Suddenly it occurred to me that every single person has a skeleton, and that simple realization felt profound. This song is a reverent, unconditional love letter to all bodies. My own, and everyone else’s. We all deserve to hear that our bodies are miraculous and worthy of love and protection, especially in an often jarring, isolated era.

The song was finished after the onset of the pandemic, so Alec (production/flute), Louis (drums/bass), and Akie (piano) sent in their parts and I recorded my vocals and Rachael’s backgrounds at home.

For the video, I shot a little bit of new footage, and I also used a few slow-mo shots I’ve taken over the years not knowing what I’d use them for, but about 80% of the clips were kindly sent to me by friends or fans who responded to a cryptic Instagram story I posted.

My wife and I live in Brooklyn, but for the moment we’re back in Canada where I’m from, and this entire video was conceived and produced during our 14-day self isolation period when we entered the country. To make a green screen, I hung up a lime green tent I found in the closet of the place we’re renting, and quarantine led me to discovering some other homespun ways to approximate some other old movie tricks, including the analog process of shooting old movie title cards. I animated the lyrics by moving them around with my hands or by filming them through some water in the bottom of a clear dish to create a rippling effect. I also enjoyed slipping in a few sneaky movie references…”

Check out the video below and buy the single here!

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Listen Up

Suit of Lights

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From the pop-punk band The Fiendz in the late ‘80s to the power-pop quartet The Rosenbergs more than a decade later, Joe Darone has been deep in the trenches of the music scene since the age of 15, a number that is a common thread when looking at his musical career in 2020. He’s now 15 years into his solo project, Suit of Lights, and prepared to release his fifth album, Hide and Seek, this Friday. And with so much writing and recording under his belt, he’s not taking any of it for granted, especially this year.

On the one hand, the pandemic added another layer of chaos into the mix but at the same time, it gave me some perspective,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “How can I stress out over a vinyl pressing when 800,000 people have died?”

We recently sat down with Darone to discuss nurturing the unexpected, creating an album of games, and why he may be sitting down with the latest Lemon Twigs album right now.

TrunkSpace: You’re now 15 years into your Suit of Lights journey. Has your creative point of view changed with the project from when you started it in 2005 to where you are now in 2020? Do you view the project differently than you did when it began?
Darone: From the get-go I let the listener know that they can expect the unexpected. My favorite artists have a range of moods and styles, so it never gets boring.

TrunkSpace: No one is closer to the Suit of Lights music than you are. Sonically, what do YOU hear as the biggest differences between your self-titled debut and your latest release, Hide and Seek?
Darone: The new album is a bit lighter thematically, which definitely translated to the music. The arrangements are a bit more complex and playful. I leaned heavily into the 60s pop influence, it’s even a little psychedelic at times. I played a lot more on keys than any of the previous albums.

TrunkSpace: People can change a lot in 15 years. Lyrically, are you writing about different subject matters now than you were when you first started the project? Do you feel like your approach to sharing what you have to say has changed at all?
Darone: Well, the first album was pretty dark, sort of a meditation on death. My father had passed away and I wrote “Goodbye Silk City,” which became the first finished song and kinda set the tone for the album. In contrast, Hide and Seek is an album of games and I intentionally set out to treat the whole process as play-time.

TrunkSpace: We love a good lyric here at TrunkSpace. What’s a favorite of yours from Hide and Seek and why are you proud of that particular snippet?
Darone: The title track is about the nature of existence, which reflects my personal philosophy. The lyrics go: “The Great Pretender thinks he’s you and I. And all the creatures in the sea and sky. In this way, he sets out for an adventure. The joyous, frightening and terrible. Know that these are only dreams. A fantasy and fiction. A child’s play of heroes in action. And when he wakes up they disappear. Playing hide and seek forever and ever.”

TrunkSpace: The album is due to drop August 28. What kind of emotions do you juggle with when releasing new material to the masses, and is the experience different this time around given that the entire world, essentially, has ground to a halt?
Darone: A normal release involves a bunch of moving parts and it’s bit of work. On the one hand, the pandemic added another layer of chaos into the mix but at the same time, it gave me some perspective. How can I stress out over a vinyl pressing when 800,000 people have died?

TrunkSpace: Normally you would tour to support a new release, but that is not something that is possible in every state right now. How has promoting the upcoming album changed? How do you get the word out when people can’t get out themselves?
Darone: I guess it was around April, we were discussing the prospect of a release date and campaign for the album. I definitely wanted it out this year, since the last album came out four years ago. So we’re just hoping for the best! So far it’s being covered pretty well in both online and print magazines. It’s also being serviced to College Radio.

TrunkSpace: If someone sat down to listen to Hide and Seek front to back, what would they learn about you both as an artist and as a person?
Darone: That’s actually my ideal scenario, ‘cuz I’m an album guy. I like to sit down in front of a turntable, and read along with the lyrics. The Lemon Twigs just released a new album, and I can’t wait to sit down with that. Anyway, to answer your question – I think you’ll get a really good sense of my musical taste, personal philosophy, and sense of adventure.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the album?
Darone: I’m proud of the fact that I’m still here, still sticking to my guns, still taking chances.

TrunkSpace: Youve been involved in music for a long time now. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give young Joe who was first starting out as a musician if you could whisper into his ear?
Darone: I’d tell him to take piano and voice lessons.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Darone: No. I’m actually fascinated by time travel, but I think seeing my own future would create all sorts of problems. You can set out to change an event in time and wind up causing it.

Hide and Seek is available this Friday.

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Trunk Bubbles

Review: Big Girls #1

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GOING BIG WITH JASON HOWARD: BIG GIRLS #1

Story and Art: Jason Howard
Letters: Fonografiks
Published By: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

We, comic book fans are no stranger to certain “rituals”, unique to our geekdom, such as keeping and treasuring hundreds of pollybaged floppies in long boxes – all of which might or might not be read ever again – or getting multiple copies of our favorite books in a myriad of formats. But perhaps, one of the most enjoyable of those rituals is picking up a #1 issue of a book we’ve never heard of before at our friendly LCS (Local Comicbook Shop). And it gets even better when said #1 issue is as good as the debut of BIG GIRLS, the first solo project of renowned artist Jason Howard (Trees, Astounding Wolfman).

Released a couple of weeks back by Image Comics, Big Girls is set sometime in the future, years after an incident – of which we only get a few clues in this first issue – detonated a genetic disease that affected both men and women alike, but with a big (pun intended) twist: men could grow into giant, kaiju-like, mindless monsters, while women simply grew several stories high, retaining their intelligence and human appearance.

While not every human is affected by this mysterious disease, this situation is already part of the culture and everyday life of this world´s society. Pregnancy registration became mandatory, in order to monitor any potential anomaly, and safe zones were put in place for regular citizens to live in. However, constant male monster attacks call for a special team dedicated to fight them back and keep people safe. A team of – wait for it – BIG GIRLS.

Although this is Jason’s first project as a full author, and despite carrying a good heap of exposition in the first issue, the book flows with a comfortable rhythm through the panels, using every available page to tell the story. And when I say every available page, I really mean it: even the usual credit page in almost every Image book is used as an establishing shot to kick start the story.

Jason is doing every part of the artwork: layouts, pencils, inks and colors, helped only by Fonografiks with the lettering. His art in BIG GIRLS has much more in common with his previous work in Trees than with his other longest-running book in Image Comics: Astounding Wolfman. Like in Trees, his inks are rougher and edgier, and he uses crosshatching to add depth to both characters and backgrounds. To some readers this stylistic choice could make them think that the artwork is a bit “dirty”, but it fits nicely with the world the characters live in and the situations they have to face on a daily basis.

His composition and storytelling are very clear and easy to follow, and his character’s designs allows the reader to fully identify who´s who in the panels. Manga and anime aficionados will immediately recognize certain influences in the creatures ‘design, the clothes and equipment of Ember –our main character so far- and the composition of certain shots, used both in classic franchises such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and modern day favorites like Attack On Titan.

All in all, BIG GIRLS # 1 is a solid debut for a new regular series, and I strongly recommend you to grab a copy at your friendly LCS or digital comic store of your choosing (Comixology, Google Play and Apple Books).

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