Dean Haspiel’s Heart-Shaped Hole reviews


My new Billy Dogma magazine, HEART-SHAPED HOLE received some really nice reviews and I thought I would share some excerpts here:

“The stories collected in Heart-Shaped Hole all deal with the cataclysmic impact of emotions and relationships in Billy’s hometown Trip City where he and his opponent and ally in love, Jane Legit, battle it out and bond as allies. Their mysterious magnetic connection to the fate of their town, where wars in love mean destruction for the populace and harmony means peaceful prosperity, is akin to magic realism, or perhaps a permeable relationship between the realm of the subconscious and the consciously experienced world.”

“You’ll experience quite a range of themes that cluster around the more imposing structure of action, struggle, and attraction, such as the role of technology in altering a sense of identity, the relationship between the individual and society, the impact and influence of the subconscious on our lives and actions, and preserving a sense of wonder in our existence. It’s an immensely rewarding read, deeply honest and wildly imaginative.”

–Hannah Means-Shannon, Bleeding Cool

Read the entire review here:

“In an interview from the ‘Men Without Fear’ documentary from the “Daredevil” DVD, Frank Miller talked briefly about his thoughts behind introducing Elektra during his run on the title. “Why wouldn’t these people be operatic in their romance,” he asked, “the way they are in their combat? These people bring down buildings with their passion; that’s what they do with their fights.” While not every superhero romance has to be elevated to Wagnerian proportions, there’s something in the DNA of superhero comics that gives all creators working in it the license to go bigger-than-life at any moment. And there’s a lot of superhero DNA in Billy Dogma. But creator Dean Haspiel (who grew up on the comics of Miller, Kirby, Chaykin, Simonson, Byrne, and the like) splices it with the autobio gene to give us personal storytelling expressing itself as dynamically as I’m sure it felt to him as he lived it.”

“The stories themselves primarily follow Billy Dogma and Jane Legit; their love and relationship cranked up to an 11 so loud even Miller would be proud. Nothing evokes passion more than walking around with a literal hole where your heart would be if it hadn’t been ripped out of your chest from a break-up. But Haspiel doesn’t load his characters or stories down like Miller does in almost all of his work; Dogma and Legit still have a snap like cool kids in love, not a snap like bones being broken. There’s a charm and a zing to this material, even though done bit-by-bit over almost a decade, that keeps tropes and slang done to death by other creators still effective here.”

–Greg Matiasevich, Multiversity Comics

Read the entire review here:

“Dean Haspiel’s Billy Dogma tends toward symphonies, long-form emo-stential epics that go the distance and let out cries of love at operatic pitch, but Heart-Shaped Hole is like a collection of the series’ hit singles, yet no one says uncoupled for long. The entries in this book have appeared online, in other creators’ anthologies, even as a standalone poster-comic, and now they, what the hell, come together.

Billy is the pillar of strength who knows he’s soft inside, the iconic solitary hero who understands it’s foolish to go it alone. His facing page is Jane Legit, a modern Aphrodite to his Bacchus; they are the superlative masculine and feminine principles, but only as one can they get the upper hand-in-hand; I once said somewhere that Haspiel has done for sex what Jack Kirby did for violence, and while most superbeing stories are about conflict, Billy Dogma is about convergence, the explosions that pull us together not fling us apart.

Billy and Jane’s elemental encounters set the temperature of whole cities and planets around them; their silhouettes are tectonic profiles, each other’s puzzle-piece, setting the world in place or multiplying its mystery. Orbits collide and stars and planets spin around our heads, and Haspiel has the inhabitants say the first things that come into theirs; sex as a trance of intensified awareness, a leap of unlikely connections made, is captured in the retinal scripture of his characters’ free-associative erotic poetry-slammin’; image immerses us in things mere description is insufficient to express and even in his text Haspiel catches the vantage-point of higher-dimensional understanding crashing into our consciousness from the corner of the frame.

These are hieroglyphics of collective memory, visual shorthand and verbal cues for things we have to learn we knew all along, in Haspiel’s chiseled and sinuous symbols and his hormonal washes and slashing sunrises of blood-reds and baking yellows, theatrical gels from the magic lantern of life-force. It’s not the bullet that kills you, it’s the heart.”

–Adam McGovern, Comic Critique

Read the entire review here:

“Dean Haspiel draws a love story that feels larger-than-life with Heart-Shaped Hole, a collection of occasionally adolescent, always action-packed vignettes featuring Billy Dogma and Jane Legit. Billy and Jane don’t just feel, they express emotions so big they sweep entire cities, and there’s a wonderful visual metaphor to each of Haspiel’s stories (in particular, the heart-shaped hole that drives Billy to sadness after he and Jane temporarily split up). Billy and Jane aren’t the type of lovers who just let things go, but instead they “sweat ecstasy” and cause laser beams to fire from their eyes.”

–David Pepose, Newsarama

Read the entire review here:



PS — you can only buy Heart-Shaped Hole personally from me at comix events.

Tim O’Shea asked about my new Billy Dogma comic, HEART-SHAPED HOLE, at Robot 6:

“Heart-Shaped Hole will not be distributed in stores nor digitally and you can only get it personally by visiting me at any of the comix shows I attend. Heart-Shaped Hole is a 21st century olive branch meant to initiate an intimate, one-on-one experience between the reader and author. Too many published stories that I work on get distributed to places and people that I never get to meet and/or share a response with. Sure, social networking teases at some parlays, and positive reviews are nice, but I miss physical and spirited discussions with people who care more about story than the perceived “collectors item” value of a sealed comic book. I sometimes curate/host and take-part in semi-regular salons because I seek the energy of live and spontaneous participation. Heart-Shaped Hole is meant to bring back the very thing that is missing from my laptop and smart phone: human contact.”


About hdeditions

HANG DAI Editions was founded in NYC by Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, and Seth Kushner over their mutual dedication to comix art. The imprint focuses on limited edition comix, graphic novels, and art books, with an emphasis on personal interaction at events, conventions, and signings.
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