September Mourning and Top Cow join forces
Dazzler. Chris Gaines. Captain EO.
There are two things these three characters have in common.
1) Regardless of whether you love or hate them, you probably have STRONG opinions about them.
2) They were all birthed from the idea: What if Comics, Live-Action, and Music joined forces to create something NEW?
September Mourning is the latest attempt at this often ill-fated formula.
Veteran comics creator Marc Silvestri, joining forces with Grammy winning Engineer Emily Lazar, have created a multi-media concept called “September Mourning”. She’s a comic book character; a Reaper of the souls of the dead and damned.
She’s also the front woman for a “real world” melodic Heavy Metal band. Emily Lazar is painted up to look like the character she co-created with Silvestri, and she’s scream-singing her heart out in several theatrical music videos (watchable on Youtube), complete with scenes from the comic book woven in.
The Story Is Rushed
The music, band, and videos are appropriately full of dramatis and dripping with gothic power, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss. Let’s talk comics.
The final collected run of “September Mourning” consists of the four issues of the story, released over the past couple years. 4 issues is not a lot to complete a story; most modern Trades consist of around 6, and the narrative does suffer accordingly.
The exposition is rushed to the point of September’s backstory before becoming a reaper literally being dismissed as unimportant. This doesn’t do a whole lot in the name of making us care about this brand new character.
Issue One is even narrated by a secondary character, who is not well served by writer Mariah McCourts’ attempts at modern day teenage slang. Indeed, this problem permeates the entire series, as the various characters struggle to find personal, original voices, and instead seem to all revert to either “Good”, “Evil”, “Cool”, or some position on a Venn Diagram of the three. The dialogue and thought boxes all feel a few decades behind their release date. If you long for the comics of the 80’s and 90’s, this series might be exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re more into modernist takes and relevant stories, however, maybe not so much.
It may be unfair to make this criticism in a series of 4 issues, but it feels lacking in emotional weight. This is exactly the problem that the aforementioned Captain EO faced, and September Mourning even shares a remarkably similar closing act. It may be that Multi-media concepts like this are doomed to be trapped in this format of moderately fulfilling popcorn content.
Sumeyye Kesgin’s art, alongside Betsy Golden’s vibrant colors, is the high point for me; dynamic and full of life (in this tale of death) , with clear and concise choices. It feels, at times, like a slightly more reserved Chris Bachalo, taking chances to be wild and distinct, although moments of awkward stiffness turn up from time to time in the attempt to be something artistically singular.
September Mourning isn’t going to knock down any walls, or spurn a multi-million dollar toyline or a blockbuster film, but if you enjoy the fast-paced, light, and no-nonsense comics of the late 20th century, it will at the least sate those nostalgic cravings while offering a taste of something new.
Bottom line: fun for the casual reader, not worth the time for a comics devotee.
How did we rate September Mourning? 2.5 Sodas
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Raised by Johnny Cash and Kermit the Frog
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