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Comic Review: Surface Tension #2 by Jay Gunn

Surface Tension #2 (the second issue in a five-part sci-fi/horror/adventure mini-series created by Jay Gunn and published by Titan Comics) debuted recently, and rather than doing a standard ol’ review, we thought we’d get down to the nitty gritty and address the four questions readers are asking themselves after reading the issue. (Ahoy! Minor spoilers ahead!)

Who is Mystery Memory Man?

Surface-Tension_02_Cover_ALast issue, readers were introduced to Megumi, one of two people who suddenly returned from the sea after coming down with the mysterious “sea sickness” which drove people to the ocean in waves, quite literally. When she resurfaced, she had blue skin and no recollection of what happened.

In this issue, her memories start to come back, including one of her as a child in a hospital following a disaster at a chemical plant. In what was reminiscent of a scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a new, seemingly masked visitor now appears in her memories. Henceforth known as Mystery Memory Man (MMM)*, the stranger warns Meg that her memories are being used against her and ominously states that “everything is connected” before disappearing.

Who is MMM? How is he able to contact Meg through her mind? It seems like he’s trying to help her, but why? He promises they’ll meet again, leaving readers in suspense and yearning to learn more about him and his intentions.

*Truthfully, we don’t even know if it’s a man. Heck, we don’t even know if it’s HUMAN. But for all intents and purposes, we’ll stick with MMM.

What is up with that sea monster?

Issue #2 upped the scare factor by showcasing a gnarly creature that surfaced from the water and crept onto land, blurting out strange, robot-esque phrases like “the flesh needs to be reconnected” and “evolve new flesh.” Visually, he’s frightening with his glowing red eyes and rows of teeth – definitely the thing of nightmares. The sea monster appears to be on a hunt, possibly for Meg and Ryan, and is willing to kill anything in its way. But what is it? Can it change its form? What does it want? All questions I pondered as I read in horror. I predict a game of cat-and-mouse in the issues to follow.

Who is worse: man or the monsters?

Surface_Tension_2_preview2A memory of a disaster at a chemical plant. Humans attacking others out of fear. Armed guards and threats of violence. Fish returning to the water near where the mysterious coral and monsters appear. All of these things are sprinkled throughout the issue, suggesting that while humans are destroying the planet with waste and cruelty, the mysterious coral (and corresponding monsters) might actually be helping the planet. Perhaps the “monsters” aren’t really terrible at all, but rather see mankind as a threat to Earth and are just trying to protect the world?

Sure, 99% of the human population has to go, but isn’t that a small price to pay to preserve an entire planet? While I’m not entirely sure that’s the direction the story will go, I do feel like it has potential to bring up deep issues about mankind, our existence on this planet, and the kind of legacy we’ll leave when we (inevitably) become an endangered species – or worse, go extinct. Worth noting: Surface Tension has been heavily promoted as an “eco-thriller,” but the emphasis on the environment is approached in an interesting way that’s understandable without being off-putting to conservatives/global warming deniers/my dad.


What. Does. It. Mean? This phrase was used in Issue #1 and again in the second and seems to be the major theme of the series, though its significance and meaning isn’t quite clear yet. Is mankind connected to the monsters? Are mankind and the monsters one and the same? What are your predictions, GeekGirl World?

It seems like the first two issues of the series are full of questions, and I can’t wait to read the second half of the series to learn more. Be sure to pick up Surface Tension #2, available at your favorite comic book store now! You can even purchase a hard copy or a digital copy online!

PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
PRICE: $3.99

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Interview: Joanne Arnett, Creator Of Secret Admirer Handmade Cards

47dce2b4896924dc6cdc5bbf8c20867e_largeJoanne Arnett is an artist on a mission to spread love this Valentine’s Day. Her Kickstarter project, Secret Admirer, has already received a huge response with over 500 backers supporting her efforts to bring a little joy from Loveland, OH to their loved ones and secret crushes. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Joanne about art and romance in general.

Ari: When did you first start crafting and making art?

Joanne: I’m one of those kids who always wanted to be an artist. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something

Ari: Do you think handmade papercrafting is becoming a dying art?

Joanne: I visited the SOFA expo in Chicago this fall and there were some great paper/craft based pieces exhibited. Artists are working with the paper in books and maps and making something completely new. The Hansel & Gretel: a shadow theater note book project  currently running on Kickstarter is a beautiful example of contemporary paper craft. I think craft in general is experiencing resurgence and paper is certainly a part of that. So no, I don’t think it’s dying.

Ari: Where do you normally get inspiration from for your art or crafting ideas?

Joanne: I take a lot of inspiration from photography. The process of developing an image is sort of magic, and that experience of seeing an image appear is important to my work. I’m drawn toward awkward and imperfect images, bad yearbook portraits, mug shots, folk and outsider art.

Ari: What advice do you have for others, particularly women, who are interested in art and crafting as more than just a hobby?

Joanne: Get your work out there! You can make the best quilts, sketches, letterpress cards, whatever. But if you don’t get your work out there no one will know and others can’t enjoy it.

Ari: Did you ever expect such a huge response to your Kickstarter idea?

Joanne: Nope. I hoped there would be fifty people who wanted a $5 postcard so the project would be funded, and if things went really crazy well I might be 200% funded. Surprise! The response has been wonderful. I’ve started writing messages and each one makes me smile.  I feel so lucky to be sending out so many lovely notes.

Ari: What do you love most about Valentine’s Day?

Joanne: We should probably all tell those we love that we care about them more often than we do, so I think it’s nice that there is one day of year designated as a time to do just that.

Rogue Gallery Detail

Ari: What would be your idea of the most romantic Valentine’s Day surprise?

Joanne: A bottle of champagne and a handmade card.

Ari: Are you inspired by any romantic movies and what are your favorites?

Joanne: I don’t know if this is really considered a romantic movie, but that moment when Johnny Depp swings past Mary Stewart Masterson’s window in Benny & Joon is just perfect. And I think Lost in Translation is a beautiful love story, although it’s about a different kind of love.

Self Portrait

Ari: What are some other art pieces you are working on?

Joanne: I am currently creating thesis work for a master of fine arts degree at Kent State University. I break apart the materials used in traditional photography, paper becomes cotton yarn and the metals used in light sensitive emulsions become silver wire, and I build portraits by weaving the new materials together. The image is visible when light bounces off the shiny wire, and it disappears as the viewer’s perspective changes. It’s exciting to create art in a way I’ve never seen before.

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