Halt and Catch Fire creator and showrunner Christopher Cantwell has a new comic called She Could Fly. The story begins in very familiar territory for a comic — in a world like our own, a young woman gains the power of flight — but the premise immediately goes south when the woman explodes in midair. Nobody knows who she is or how she could fly or why she exploded. Internet conspiracy theories sprout overnight like so many blackberry bushes.
Luna, the star of She Could Fly, is obsessed with the flying woman. In the second issue of the book, which came out yesterday, Luna's guidance counselor says "I want you to give this flying woman a rest." Luna doesn't listen to her — and for some reason, the guidance counselor has the head of a cat and a human body.
Luna, it seems, is hallucinating. She imagines demons attacking her. She imagines becoming a demon (sample dialogue: "I AM EVIL! I AM EVIL! I AM EVIL! I AM EVIL!") and she keeps digging deeper into the story of the flying woman. Meanwhile, a moustachioed rogue agent is also looking for the truth. The up-and-coming cartoonist Martin Morazzo renders Luna's reality with a high level of detail, making it even harder to tell the difference between what's real and what's fictional in Luna's world. Halfway through She Could Fly, I can't tell you what the book's about. But I can tell you that it's going somewhere interesting.
Speaking of second issues, the second issue of Chew artist Rob Guillory's new book Farmhand was published yesterday. Where She Could Fly continues to complicate the psychological layering of the series by obfuscating the narrative, Farmhand introduces characters and tensions with a refreshing directness.
Farmhand is the ultimate body horror comic: it's about a scientist who figures out how to grow new human body parts on trees. The technology, at first, seems like a godsend. In the second issue, a disfigured woman grafts a plant-based nose onto her face. But everything is more than a little creepy: a bush full of human hands isn't exactly a comforting image.
Guillory is setting up Farmhand to be a drama between an estranged son and his father. (The family tree jokes write themselves.) But there's also some fascinating depictions of addiction and recovery, as well as more than a little economic anxiety. It's the details here that make Farmhand so enjoyable. Even though Guillory is great at getting to the point in a hurry, he understands that we have to take the long way around a story every now and again.