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"Pixu: The Mark of Evil" & "Transhuman"

PIXU: The Mark of Evil

Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos and Fabio Moon (Co-authors and Co-illustrators) Dark Horse Comics (Publisher)

Pixu (pronounced pee-shu) is a little graphic novel full of big scares. The art and story are a collaborative effort by the Eisner Award-winning team of Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos and Fabio Moon, best known for 5 and The Umbrella Academy. The narrative contained within Pixu uses the best elements of Japanese horror to tell a psychologically terrifying story. All of the horror isn’t clearly shown, as crucial information is held back, thus creating a suspenseful sense of foreboding. Many plot questions arise and are simply left unanswered. The horrific answers may be better left unsaid. Subtle nuances in the story permeate the subconscious mind and images of full-blown terror assault the conscious mind much like a Alfred Hitchcock horror film. The black-and-white art is perfect in its simplicity, using subtle grey tones to punctuate and add feeling to the starkness. Pixu is told through the lives of five lonely tenants of an urban apartment building. Feelings of love, hate, fear and anger intertwine, leaving the characters confused as to what may happen next. The tension builds as each of their lives are slowly invaded by a sense of dread and impending doom. Each character is eventually driven mad by an unseen evil that takes advantage of each character’s isolation and unbalanced state of mind. The evil uses each character’s suspicions, mistrust, self-doubt and paranoiac behavior toward each other and the outside world, which all culminates with deadly results. The violence escalates rather quickly as self-preservation becomes a priority. Many of the images are unsettling and creepy as hell. Fans of The Ring and The Grudge will love this book.


By Jonathan Hickman (Author), J.M. Ringuet (Illustrator) Image Comics (Publisher)

Humanism, as it is generally defined, is a belief system that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings who look to science rather than faith as a way of defining their role within the universe. Transhumanism is a newer movement that attempts to expand the parameters of what it means to be considered human; it involves animal life as well as more science-fictional concepts such as artificial intelligence and cyborgs. Transhumanism is all about realizing new kinds of potential for humanity as a species; it handily defines our constant desire to evolve as a species. Sounds good, right? Maybe not. Jonathan Hickman, best known for The Nightly News, continues his acerbic judgment of culture with this text. The brief definitions provided here for transhumanism did not previously take into account the advent of late capitalism; Hickman immediately makes it known to the reader that the involvement of cash will ultimately spoil any real efforts towards betterment that humanity undergoes. Through a series of interviews, the narrator uncovers the story of iPharm and Chimeracorp, two big businesses who attempted to design the “perfect human” by way of shady genetic experimentation. As with many science-fictional endeavors, the story is only interesting because things go very wrong very quickly, through the involvement of venture capitalists and unwitting human and animal test subjects. JM Ringuet illustrates the book in a “documentary style,” with straightforward illustrations and a neutral color palette. As with his other works, Hickman does an excellent job of emphasizing that it is not the desire to improve that creates evil in the world; rather, it is the involvement of human fallacy that pollutes many of our attempts at progress.

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