On February 12th, starting at 7p.m., Forbidden Planet will have the creative team behind Image comics new hit series EGOS; Stuart Moore and Gus Storms, in-store signing copies of issue #1 and #2. We will ALSO have artist Joe Infurnari in-store to sign copies of his brand spanking new comic releasing that day, Bunker #1. Don’t miss out on getting these gorgeous new comics signed by the lovely folk who made them for you.
A FINAL GOODBYE
Forbidden Planet is my favorite comic book store in New York City, it always has been and hopefully always will. I say “Hopefully” because I hold dislike definitive blanket statements… I mean, the Planet could turn evil and try to replace all of our bones with PVC pipe or candy canes. I surely wouldn’t love them then, would I? Would You? We shall revisit this thought in a moment.
It is with great regret and no small amount of sorrow that I announce this is (probably) my last column for the Forbidden Planet newsletter. I want to thank the Planet for all of their support, and for the tremendous opportunity to entertain you folks. I want to thank the staff, all of my former and current editors for putting up with me and my mad ramblings ( Hi, Morgan!) and above all else I would like to thank the amazing Jeff Ayers for being the best.
Jeff, thank you for all the fun we’ve had and will have in the future. Please continue being the best damn comic book retailer the Earth has ever seen until Amazon kills capitalism as we know it… and then replaces our bones with Candy Canes.
THEN THERE’S YOU PEOPLE
I have never met a single person who has read my columns and who didn’t work at the Planet. Jeff and the others assure me you exist, gentle readers, but I remain skeptical. If you are real, and not just a lie fed to me by my corrupt and filthy handlers at the FP, then I owe you two things; I owe you my gratitude and an explanation.
NOTE TO SELF: Start writing about a Superhero called “Gratidude,” who uses his incredible powers to fly around the world giving respect and gifts to those who deserve wider recognition. Undoubtedly he would break in to all of your homes, my readers, to do as Aretha Franklin suggests and “give you your propers.”
I have never met any of you, but I was mindful of you always. I hope I have provide you with thirty seconds worth of enjoyment, on the subway or toilet, after you have read your sack of comics and are eager for anything else to divert your attention. Frankly, it is mostly out of respect that I am stepping down.
In the eight years since I have been writing this column I have moved four times to four different cities, gotten married, had a kid and shifted between various jobs. As I take on more responsibilities as a father, husband and employer I have less time to devote to comics, and even less time to write about them. I like what I like, and I can recommend that, but you’ve probably heard it from me before. I cannot with confidence tell you what is currently trending, hot or noteworthy. I will not lie and pretend that I do. Not to you.
I respect you, and I always have. A good entertainer cannot do their job if they don’t respect their audience. Always remember that.
OF CANDY CANES AND COMIC BOOKS
I feel that Forbidden Planet is the best shop in town because they, too, respect you. They want the cleanest store, staffed with the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff the City can provide. They want the greatest variety of material, comics or non, for curious customers who wander in just to check the place out. They want you to feel comfortable browsing, asking questions and making requests. They want you to find fun treasures at great prices. They want you to feel satisfied with your selection and eager to return. In short: They want you to have as much fun as you possibly can.
On some level this is true of all comic shops, but it has always been true of the Planet.
Thank you all with warm wishes and tremendous love. Enjoy what you like, and share your enjoyment with others. Always watch the Forbidden Planet website and newsletter for the freshest comics related recommendations and news! I will be remembering you all fondly from my secret cave somewhere in NJ as I coat my skin with Nutella (to prevent the machines from replacing my bones) and await Ragnarok.
A long time ago in a comic book shop far, far away… all your holiday shopping was taken care of in one shot! Just spend a few minutes with me and I’ll fill you with all kinds of great gift ideas for the Sith on your list.
Darth Vader and Son & Vader’s Little Princess – It’s never too late to force your personal interests on your children. Jeffrey Brown’s take on Vader balancing the everyday realities of being a father as well as preparing to be the biggest baddest bad guy in the universe is perfect for fans of all ages.
Yoda Candy Bowl Holder - This candy bowl holder stands over a foot tall and can hold a whole mess a goodies in it’s dish. Candy Canes, fill this bowl with, you must!
Han Solo Silicone Tray – Recreate Han Solo’s most memorable moment of defeat in your choice of deliciousness with this 11 inch long silicone tray. Make Han Jello out of Han Solo. Pass on the Carbonite and pass me the carbonated soda!
Boba Fett Character Apron – Do you know an intergalactic bounty hunter/culinary expert? Than boy do I have the gift for you. Rock this character apron during your next cook out and look just like Boba Fett!
Star Wars TP Vol 01 In the Shadow of Yavin – Picking up right where A New Hope lets off. From the mind of Brian Wood, creator of DMZ and The Massive comes this brand new Star Wars comic series. Collecting the first six issues this trade paperback is jam packed with tons of outer space ass kicking!
Darth Vader Giant-Size Action Figure – This deluxe action figure measures a whopping two and a half feet tall, has seven points of articulation and a cloth cape! Doubt this bad boy will even fit under most trees, I mean its like as big as most Ewoks!
Star Wars Frames – The gift for the ultimate Star Wars fan that has everything! A brand new in depth look at individual frames from all 6 epic flicks. This sexy monster of an art book comes in a slipcase which houses two hardcovers, each one covering a different trilogy. Painstaking put together by The Big G himself. No not Godzilla, George Lucas duh!
Now if you can’t please a Wookie with something on this list you’re probably… well.. there really is no pleasing a Wookie now is there? See you when The Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide Strikes Back!
One time I stopped for directions at an old lighthouse in Maine. I was on vacation and had lost my way. The kindly old lighthouse keeper, who admittedly was transparent below the waist, gave me directions that wound and rambled and terminated in me climbing down a ladder on an abandoned pier to discover a skeleton crushed under a rotting boat. Turns out the Lighthouse keeper died in a hurricane 20 years ago and just wanted me to bury his body.
When his directions started with “Do yea’ have a shovel abouts ya’?,” I should have known something was up. I never did get to the dang beach.
You and I and everybody we know will probably buy Marvel Infinity #2 this week, but I sure do hope it’s a bit more cohesive and action packed than that sprawling first issue. Let’s cleanse the pallet from that tepid Marvel Infinity cross-over. I’m going to recommend X-Men Battle for the Atom #1 this week. It seems like some good freaky X-fun with lots of twists, turns and excitement. Needless to say, you’ll have to pick up All New X-Men #16 as well to continue the story. Two things the X-folks do well is hook up and fight, and with multiple X-realities merging throughout this storyline, this should be wilder than a booze fueled prom night!
Dark Horse (finally) have The Star Wars #1 out this week, and I can’t be happier! For those not in the know, The Star Wars is an alternate take on the original Star Wars film based entirely on early stage concept art and scripts. There is no Millenium Falcon, No Tattoine, and no Obi Wan Kenobi. Thrill to the adventures of Kane Starkiller, his children/padawans Deak and Annikin and a cast both familiar yet strange.
This week also kicks off DC’s Villain Month, a whole month of villain based stories with fantastically evil new covers! Start with Forever Evil #1, then continue with your favorite baddies throughout whichever titles you chose. For more DC #1 fun, we also get DC vs The Masters of the Universe #1! Two “Can’t miss” books from a company that is doing some impressive stories to match their gimmicks.
WHAT ABOUT THAT GHOST?
Now I just recommended five fun comics to ya’ll, and I do hope you read them. Heck, I’ll recommend two more, while I’m at it. Batman Black and White #1 and Superior Spider Man #17 should be great reads. As should the Harry Potter Series, which if you haven’t read them you really should. OOh! Catch-22 is a fun book! It has lots of neat depressing bits. If you like depressing but impressive reads, you should check out some Kurt Vonnegut. Maybe Slaughterhouse 5?
Recommending is fun!
Right. What about the ghost? Whenever anybody gives you advice, directions, insights or commands: Consider the Source! Why did I listen do that stupid ghost? Probably because I had been snorting pixie stix like a madman…it was vacation after all. IF you want to read any of the above recommendations, you should think about whether I am a reliable taste maker or not.
The answer is yes I am. Do as your told. As Humpty says, “If a doo-doo punk chump points a finger like a stump, you tell them ‘STEP OFF, I’m doing the HUMP.”
Founded in 1993 to publish comics based on The Simpsons, Bongo Comics celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year at this past San Diego Comic Con. On hand to talk about their success were Bongo’s Creative Director Nathan Kane, as well as Terry Delegeane, writer Ian Boothby. and Bill Morrison. Joining them was Chip Duffy, who oversees the Sponge Bob Comics through United Plankton Pictures, to check in with everybody’s favorite damp yellow rectangle. Bongo’s current roster of titles has expanded to include the Simpsons books, Futurama, Sponge Bob Squarepants, Sergio Aragone’s Funnies and Mylo Xyloto. Bongo is a fascinating company. Outside of MAD Magazine, no other publisher is employing such a wide variety of talents. Cartoonists as varied as Jill Thompson, Geoff Darrow, and Gary Gianni have all had a go at either Simpsons or Sponge Bob.
This year’s winners were announced last night. Here’s the full list:
Best Short Story: “Moon 1969: The True Story of the 1969 Moon Launch,” by Michael Kupperman, in Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 (Fantagraphics)
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): The Mire, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)
Best Continuing Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
Best New Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7): Babymouse for President, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 8–12): Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb (kaboom!)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13–17) : A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (FSG)
Best Humor Publication: Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
Best Digital Comic: Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)
Best Anthology: Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
Best Reality-Based Work (tie): Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert (Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney Hyperion); The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, by Frank M. Young and David Lasky (Abrams ComicArts)
Best New Graphic Album: Building Stories, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
Best Adaptation From Another Medium: Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
Best Reprint Graphic Album: King City, by Brandon Graham (TokyoPop/Image)
Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips: Pogo, Vol. 2: Bona Fide Balderdash, by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly and Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books: David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material: Blacksad: Silent Hell, by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material, Asia: Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
Best Writer: Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)
Best Writer/Artist: Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad (Dark Horse), Hawkeye
Best Cover Artist: David Aja (Marvel)
Best Lettering: Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: The Comics Reporter, edited by Tom Spurgeon, www.comicsreporter.com
Best Comics-Related Book: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, by Sean Howe (HarperCollins)
Best Educational/Academic Work: Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass, by Susan E. Kirtley (University Press of Mississippi)
Best Publication Design: Building Stories, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
Hall of Fame: Lee Falk, Al Jaffee, Mort Meskin, Trina Robbins, Spain Rodriguez, Joe Sinnott
Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Russel Roehling
Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Chris Sparks and Team Cul de Sac
Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Book Writing Award: Steve Gerber and Don Rosa
Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award: Challengers Comics + Conversation, Chicago.
Not only is it May and it’s 45 degrees outside and raining in New York (shivers of excitement in anticipation of cozy/anxious Twin Peaks watching later), the weather has met in complete conjunction with how it will be on the day that this new book releases at the Brooklyn Book Fest in September…shivers of anticipation and sweaty palms….
May 22nd marks the public release of the first issue of a wild and fascinating comic collaboration. Occupy Comics #1 will be on shelves and we at Forbidden Planet recommend everyone get it. This is not only a comic that features the likes of Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Marc Andreyko, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, J.M. DeMatteis, Joshua Dysart, Brea Grant, Joe Keatinge, George Krstic, Joseph Michael Linsner, B. Clay Moore, Steve Niles, Laurie Penny, Matt Pizzolo, Steve Rolston, Riley Rossmo, Douglas Rushkoff, Tim Seeley, Simon Spurrier, and Ben Templesmith. It’s not just a time capsule of radical ideas/stories for/about change. And, most importantly, its not just quick way for some people to make quick and easy money like some other comic publishers that shall remain nameless. DC. This is a book about one of the most culturally significant happenings in this country in a long time and whether you agree with its ideals or not makes it no less poignant. So in honor of this achievement in the choice of medium we have decided to peddle we will be having a signing with Dean Haspiel, Ron Wimberly, Ben Templesmith, Ales Kot, and Matt Pizzolo on May 22nd at 6:30pm. Come get your copy and get it signed by all these artists and writers who created something larger than themselves about a movement that was bigger than anyone anticipated.All proceeds from the book’s sales go to current Occupy initiates such as Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt. Read comics that matter.
Ben Templesmith WILL NOT be in attendance on Wednesday’s Signing due to some unavoidable circumstances. Ben however WILL be stopping by to sign copies of Occupy Comics #1 and Ten Grand #1 so we WILL have SIGNED Ben Templesmith comics in abundance just not the person. Our’s and Ben’s sincerest apologies.
Tyler wants me to turn in my new column so he can go home. I have to write it first but he doesn’t know that yet. I don’t really know what to write about though because I mostly wanted to write about myself but Forbidden Planet is less excited about that. So after much arguing and fighting the lovely heads of Forbidden Planet have convinced me not to just rerun last weeks column where I fiercely recommended my book, TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1, which is (still) on shelves now! So I am not going to mention TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1. I am going to talk about a bunch of other books. Books I didn’t write. Books I don’t like as much as TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1.
Oooh. Here is one I can support wholeheartedly! REGULAR SHOW #1 is out this week. Not only is it the very funny comic based on the very funny TV show, but if you are reading this on Wednesday (or have the ability to go back in time) the great Allison Strejlau, artist on The Regular Show comic will be signing at FORBIDDEN PLANET, starting at 6:30. I may bring doughnuts for Allison and maybe she would share with you. I may end up forgetting to bring donuts so don’t make her feel bad if she doesn’t have any to share. Also, the staff at Forbidden Planet tends to get all Gollum-y when there are sweets around so the do-nuts don’t always make it to the signing. (Please don’t go back in time just for the doenuts. That’s not ok.) Anyway, even if you can’t come to the signing buy the book. It is crazy and fun and weird. You could probably use those things in your life.
Forbidden Planet is a New York City comic book store and that is a heavy burden to bare sometimes. The Spirit is from here. Part of Maus take place here. The Avengers are from here. Part of Sandman takes place here. Cecil & Jordan are here. Jacques Tardi called New York his love. DMZ, Ultimatum, Watchmen, and countless other books attacked our city but never destroyed it. Ex Machina is about our mayor. Adrian Tomine sketches people on our subways. Frank Miller accosts poor people on our streets. Steve Ditko monitors all comings and goings from his secret lair. The ghost of Will Eisner haunts every inch of gentrified New York. Marvel is from here. DC is from here. Raw is from here. Valiant is from here. Archie is from here. Abrams is from here. There is an issue of The Authority that takes place in our very store for #$&@ sake. When you talk about New York you better do it with the gravitas it deserves. Charles Soule (27, Swamp Thing) has decided to throw his hat in the ring of New York stories and, thankfully for all involved, he comes out the other side unscathed. STRANGE ATTRACTORS is a beautiful, complex, and amazingly fun book about the mystical, mathematical, and all powerful forces that make up a city and the people who control and channel those forces. Equal parts Ex Machina, Sandman, and Planetary, this is one of those books that people will still be rereading, discussing and trying to better understand 10 years from now. If you want smart love letters to New York you have an awful lot to choose from, but this should be at the top of the heap.
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK vol. 1 is out this week. Leinil Yu draws the hulk smashing stuff. That’s all you need to know.
I talk a lot about how good the new Image books are. A lot of people are reading the obvious stuff by the big guys- Fatale, Manhattan Projects, Walking Dead, Saga, etc. Here’s the thing, there are a lot of brilliant books that are flying under your radars and you should be picking them up without a doubt. HOAX HUNTERS vol 2 is out this week. On premise alone this book should be everyone’s favorite. A team of paranormal investigators who use their “Mythbusters” type show to discredit these phenomena while secretly dealing with them off camera. So much fun and about as good an ensemble cast as a comic is likely to have, if you haven’t grabbed HOAX HUNTERS do yourself a favor and pick up both trades this week. It was also just optioned by the suits in Hollywood so, much like Chew, 100 Bullets, and all the other in development tv/movie comics, you should expect everyone to be talking about this one in a few months. Most importantly though Hoax Hunters doesn’t go where you expect it, which is the best praise I can give a book like this.
Image also has their 4th volume of the hilarious and tragic LIL’ DEPRESSED BOY this week. Indie rock, unrequited crushes, and ragdoll of a guy make this book the heir apparent to the Scott Pilgrim throne. LIL’ DEPRESSED BOY is one of those books that will mean the world to a few people and will be missed by most others. You should buy it and see if you are one of those people who it will mean the world to, because being the person who falls in love real hard is always the better person to be.
Completing the trilogy of great Image tpb’s by their up and commers is PETER PANZERFAUST vol. 2. The little book that could, this book looked like it wouldn’t make it past 12 issues when it started, couldn’t find an audience, couldn’t get attention, and then… Something! One of the most talked about books of 2013, this tale of Peter Pan and friends fighting Nazi’s in WWII is a clever idea done well. There is not much more you can ask for out of a book. Smart and good? That should be enough for you.
Lastly, if I can’t talk about my book TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1 (on shelves now) I will talk about the reprint of FIVE GHOSTS #2. That’s right. I am recommending a reprint. Why? I will give you 5 reasons because I am not very clever and the number 5 appears in the name of this book.
- One of the best books of the year, this is just classic pulp adventures, nastiness and all. There’s nothing like it on shelves now and that is sad for us but great for Five Ghosts.
- It is definitely one of the hottest indie books of the last few years. Finding a copy of issue #1 or #2 is becoming a herculean task so get it while you can.
- Issue #3 comes out next week and ups the ante in every way. What was one of the best books of the year is about to become one of the best books of the last 10 years. Get on board now.
- The brand new S.M. Viduarri cover is amazing. It goes perfectly with Chris Mooneyham’s moody and period appropriate interior art and Frank Barbiere’s tense and creepy script.
- I WROTE THE BACKUP STORY!!! Ha! I tricked you! I got you excited about a book I am in without you even knowing it. Buy it for FIVE GHOSTS, stay for my 2 page story that begins here. Or just buy it for my story. I don’t really care. Just buy it. Don’t be a square.
WHERE HAS OUR DEAR SWEET TYLER GONE? HE LOOKS SO TROUBLED.
I really don’t want to do this this week. This column is going to take some weird turns. Some days I don’t like writing things that don’t make people feel anything so I might just get real creepy and personal. All exposed nerves and open wounds. Awkward as a substitute for interesting. I have abandoned the idea of comics journalism in favor of weird tangents, self aggrandizing, and the occasional comic recommendation. This is a one week special. Next week I will be back to talking about…I guess I kind of do this every week. Anyway, I feel like in my war with Unkie Dev (which he doesn’t know is a thing… but it is a thing) I am fighting the ground war and he is going for a victory through attrition. We battle each week for column space and witticism supremacy (both of which I win… because I am very witty.) and I fight each week’s battle like it is the last. It never is. He has been writing a column that nobody appreciates much longer than I have. This is only my 18th. He is old hat and yelling into the void and his long game is wearing me down. I don’t know how he does it. I can barely muster the energy to be excited about telling you, my last loyal reader, about new comics. But muster I will. I got you this. It’s not much but it’s mustered.
My first review is a twofer. MIND MGMT. Matt Kindt is one of those guys that is hard to pigeon hole. That’s a weird term. Seems sexual in a really gross way but I don’t think it is. Maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m pretty vanilla. Anyway, Matt Kindt’s stuff was too indie to get the action comic persons attention, to actiony to get the indie kids excited. That’s what made him brilliant. Then his buddy Jeff Lemire broke out in a big way doing a very similar thing and opened a lot of doors. Now Matt Kindt is making waves as one of the most exciting writers at DC and soon to be Marvel but the whole time he has had MIND MGMT brewing. This is one of those books that makes other writers stay up late and curse their brains for not being able to perform these sort of narrative acrobatics. Mr. Kindt makes me feel inadequate, and that is about as high praise as I have. His cerebral conspiracy theory book has become one of the hot books of 2013 with the announcement of an upcoming film and back issues being nearly impossible to find. Now you can finally start catching up with a $1 re-release of issue 1 or the first collection in a very nice hardcover. You can either try if for cheap or trust me and dive right in. I vote for trust me. Why would I vote against you trusting me?
Ok. One review down, infinite to go. That one wasn’t so bad. I might have shared a bit too much about my proclivities but at least we got through it and now we are a little closer. It’s your turn to share.
You took to long. I will review X while you think of something uncomfortable to share with me. X #0 is out. It collects all the Dark Horse Presents stuff into one issue. Old superhero book brought back from the dead. Pretty fun. Buy it. End review.
Got anything? No? Well keep thinking. I feel like our relationship is becoming more Doctor/Patient and less Mentor/Mentee every day, which is disappointing. I keep sharing things with you that make me agitated if I think about them. I am sharing too much. When I get uncomfortable I can’t maintain eye contact and I constantly look at the door. I’m like a puppy on a dropped leash, always in danger of bolting into traffic. For the rest of this column imagine that I am reading it to you, monotone and drymouthed, but staring at the door the whole time.
They have made Judge Dredd comics in the UK for literally decades and only a handful of Americans ever cared. We are a self involved people at our best. Then they made a big budget nightmare of a movie and the ones that cared ended up caring a little less. Then they made more comics for 15ish years. The attrition of caring continued. Then they made another big action movie but this one was really good. Even less people cared about this movie then cared about the bad one. So, naturally IDW decided it was a really good time to start making Judge Dredd comics in America. My guess is the number of people who care about this book is in the high single digits. This book is some sort of proof of Zeno’s Paradox of heading towards 0 fans. Soon only half of a person will like Judge Dredd in this country. But that is damn shame because it is really good. The British like their sci-fi comics in a very specific way; weird, morally ambiguous, and loaded with layers of nearly impenetrable lore. Americans don’t like any of that. So the American Judge Dredd walks a fine line between faithful and dumbed down. It is tricky to pull off a story about a super violent cop with fascistic tendencies who is also the hero of the story, but Duane Swierczynski does a good job of making it palatable and still off putting, like it should be. If you have been looking for something out of your comfort zone but don’t feel like wading through 20+ years of UK Judge Dredd then start with JUDGE DREDD vol. 1 out this week. Americans have a bad enough reputation as it is in this world, let’s prove we can appreciate good things to our British friends once and for all.
Someone mailed me a pair of index fingers last week. I freaked out. I assumed that Tech Wizard/Human Prey, Tyler, had been taken in by some kindly old stranger only to be met with a few excruciating days of torture and finally the sweet release of death. Tyler was always too trusting. And now his sick captors were trying to lure me into their game. Anyway, I ended up having some DNA tests run though and it turns out the fingers aren’t Tyler’s at all. I totally forgot that I bought them from some weird German dude on ebay because he gave free shipping. Oh well. No idea where Tyler is. I guess I will continue to put the Weekly Planet together myself. Hopefully this time I remember to change the title. I feel like the biggest moron in the whole wide world when I forget to change the titles on my column. The absolute biggest, most worthless moron there ever was.
I think Jay Faerber is a really unappreciated writer in comics. I read the first volume of Noble Causes and hated it in a really fundamental way. I spend a lot of money on stupid stuff to make me feel better about myself temporarily, and rarely does it make me angry but Noble Causes did. Actual anger. Then I read an interview with Faerber where he spoke really well about the point of the book and for some reason I decided to reread it. Turns out he is much smarter than me and the book is really clever. It’s a great pastiche of superhero and soap opera. After that I was hooked on Noble Causes and all his work since then. POINT OF IMPACT is his most recent, a mini series murder mystery that hits all the right notes. Beautiful art by Koray Kuranel adds to the overall moody tone of the book. There are not a lot of crime books on shelves these days so thankfully the ones we do have are worth your time and attention. Once you have read through Criminal, Scalped, Parker, and Murder Book, make sure POINT OF IMPACT is on your buy list.
As I write these words or as you read these very same words something remarkable and tragic is happening. Somewhere, someone is working really hard to tell an amazing, and personal, and beautiful story about love, or sadness, or aspirations, or death. Maybe it’s about injustice, or righting wrongs, or the inherent beauty in honesty. Maybe it’s about betraying the people you love, or watching people you care about suffer, or about the overwhelming power of bringing life into this world. They have the most beautiful and personal and universal book in the world and they just need it to exist. They are working night and day for years on it. They are putting more into this book than any audience has a right to deserve. They are working two jobs to be able to make this book. They are giving up freetime, then hobbies, then passions in order to see this through. Even when they manage to sneak away a few short hours to sleep they lay awake in bed thinking about their book. Dreams become nightmares, nightmares become hauntings. They are haunted night and day by their book. They lose all their money. They lose all their friends. They lose their physical and mental health. They lose the ability to see clearly why they needed money or friends in the first place because the simple burden of the story inside of them is becoming all consuming. It devours everything. Time. Then money. Then relationships. Then their ability to have relationships. Then, most brutally, it devours hope. They lose the ability to remember why they wanted this life. They begin to wonder what they did wrong to be cursed with the burden of this story. They forget the feeling of excitement of trying to get this story out and it simply becomes a tumor that they want so badly to excise. And just like that, the weight of comics breaks them. To create comics they must destroy their love of comics. They must destroy a piece of themselves. And then, when they are at their lowest they walk into a shop to find something, anything to keep them going. And they do find something. They find out that someone made a book about a raccoon soldier from space and his space tree friend. ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT COMPLETE COLLECTION is out now. This book is great. Comics are an awesome and cruel mistress.
Funny story. My column ran long last week and Unkie Dev’s space got cut. Since then I have been wracked with guilt and completely unable to function in my daily life. I am overwrought with worry thinking about all you Unkie Dev Dev-iants who missed his thoughtful words and gentle demeanor. I have completely rethunked my whole column to try and make amends. Also the numerous death threats helped me see the issue more clearly. For this week I am doing a very special, micro-machines man-esque, super speed version of TRY SOMETHING NEW. Without further ado…
THE MASSIVE #1 is being rereleased for $1. Frontrunner for book of the year, Brian Wood does realistic global disaster from the POV of a radical environmental group hunting for a missing boat. There’s nothing like it on shelves and if you like the $1 issue you can buy the whole trade for just a bunch of dollars more. I know nobody wants to hear that this book has some light environmentalism themes so I won’t mention that. People shoot at each other though, you all like that. Read also: DMZ.
SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY. A friend of mine who works at Marvel lent me this and said it was the best Superman book of all time. That’s how good it is. It almost brokered the Marvel/DC peace accords. He was wrong though. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is the best, but this is up there. A surreal tale of a young Clark Kent that will keep you guessing. Kurt Busiek can find the humanity in superheroes better than almost anyone, and Stuart Immonen can draw that just as well. Read also: ASTRO CITY
PUNK ROCK JESUS. Sean Murphy steps out of his own artistic shadow to become a powerhouse writer. The story of a clone of Jesus who quits his reality TV show and fronts a punk band may make you cringe, but Murphy handles it with aplomb. His art, as always, is brilliant. This one may not be for everyone but if it seems interesting to you now you will probably dig it. I think the ratio of people with mohawks in comics to people with mohawks in real life is crazy. This book doesn’t help that. Read also: AMERICAN JESUS vol. 1
MISS FURY #1. It seems like something changed over at Dynamite and their relaunched character books have either been getting much better or people are finally caring about them. Now they launch Miss Fury, a hero who ends up moving through alternate timelines after WWII. She may be lost, she may be crazy, she is definitely angry (Dynamite, call me. I can make this $#!% up all day: 212.473-1576). This book is good too because if you squint you can pretend you are reading Catwoman. Read also: CATWOMAN
MICE TEMPLAR vol. 4 #1. How &*(%!#@ weird is it that there is more than one book about mice with swords? I think it’s absolutely insane. It makes me feel like I am losing my mind. It’s hard to find comics with black characters in them and there are two books with sword wielding mice?!?! Both sword/mice books are good. This one has some great Michael Avon Oeming art. Read also: MOUSE GUARD (obviously…)
THANOS RISING #1. I once went on a long and moderately well received rant about how I think in some ways comic writers are too sheltered. Many just lack crazy life experiences and it shows in their writing. I said something about how I don’t want to read comics from anyone who has never been in handcuffs, or slept with a stranger, or been knocked unconscious, or had a gun pointed at them, or woken up on a strange floor, or seen a dead body, or crashed a car, etc… Rantings of an idiot, but my point remains. I don’t know if Jason Aaron has done any of those things but he sure writes like has. Now he is writing a Thanos origin story. I don’t know who thought a Thanos origin story was necessary but here it is. Read it and everything else Jason Aaron writes. Read also: SCALPED
UBER #0. There’s a lot of Nazi stuff in comics. Nazis are like mice with swords, they’re everywhere. Except in MAUS where the mice aren’t Nazis at all and there are no swords. Confusing. Most of the Nazi stuff I find to be boring and cliché. Heck, this is my second Nazi stuff book of this column, and this column only has stuff I like in it. But Kieron Gillen is a good writer and can take a tired cliché and shake it up enough to make it feel fresh and exciting. His new series finds Nazi superheroes entering the last days of WWII to CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY! Whoa. If that doesn’t excite you you should probably stick to books with mice and swords. Read also: PHONGRAM
HARBINGER WARS #1 is a crossover between Harbinger and Bloodshot. Both of those books are among the better offerings in superheroics right now. This, the first crossover of the Valiant Comics relaunch, is all set to be epic and hopefully gamechanging. If you have been reading both main books then this event is a no-brainer. If you haven’t then I don’t know why you would start here. The trades of both individual series are only $10 each. Start there. Read also: HARBINGER, BLOODSHOT.
50 GIRLS 50. Fantagraphics has been re-releasing old EC stuff in these really nice hardcovers. Now they are taking a shot at Al Williamson’s work. Ranging from sci-fi & fantasy, to horror and crime, this stuff is almost infinitely fun and readable. There are some Ray Bradbury stories in here, as well as some stuff that Frank Frazetta drew. All with great notes on EC and Williamson. This book is equal parts truly classic comics and amazing history lesson. Come for the arts, stay for the smarts. (Again, Fantagraphics, I will write taglines like this for you. I make up stuff this good like every day.) Read also: CORPSE ON THE IMJIN
‘TAIN’T THE MEAT…IT’S THE HUMANITY. I could write about how this is Fantagraphics collection of all of Jack Davis’ Tales From The Crypt stuff but instead I will just direct you to the title. Now I offer the theory that anyone who does not own a book called “’Tain’t The Meat… It’s The Humanity” deserves nothing of value in their lives. This stuff is funny, gross, creepy, and like nothing that has come since, but mostly it just has the single greatest title of all time. Ever. Including the future. Read also: CAME THE DAWN
Well that’s all for me now. I just got a tip from a friendly lady cop I used to run with that a guy matching the description of tech wizard/crazed mole person, Tyler, has been spotted in the abandoned Fulton Fish Market building. I just hope I can get to him before they do. Pray for us.
So last week was my worst column yet. How do I quantify that? Well I thought it was dumb, everyone else who read it also thought it was dumb, and not many people read it. See? Quality isn’t really subjective. So I’m sad to say that was my last column as a comic journalist. I know some of you were living and dying by my recommendations, and to you loyal readers I apologize. The good news is I’m not leaving the Planet entirely. I spoke to the important so and so’s at FP and they, after much crying and pleading, begged me to stay on in some capacity. Especially with Tyler missing, the loss of dear old me might be too much for the old Planet to take. I can’t go into details about the deal but lets just say I can finally afford that sandwich I’ve had my eye on. So here we go with TRY SOMETHING NEW 2.0. as an advice column for all your pressing social etiquette questions, troubling moral quandaries, and secret relationship dilemnas. So, without further ado-
I love your column. You are my hero but I think there is something wrong with me. Nothing makes me happy anymore. I find myself longing for something old yet new somehow. I want action, but not over the top stupid excitement for the sake of it. I want mystery and adventure. Everywhere I turn things seem ugly and unappealing. Am I going crazy? -Ben S. from Dearborn, Mi.
There is nothing wrong with you. You just don’t know what you want. You are aimless. Have you ever checked out Dean Motter’s MISTER X? If you haven’t then you probably should. Motter’s retro futurist character returns in this week’s one shot MISTER X: HARD CANDY. Beautiful Golden Age looking art and gritty detective stories that feel like a cross between The Rocketeer and Blade Runner. There was a time when this is all science fiction did, and Motter would have been among the best at that time. Now sci-fi almost never does this type of story and the genre suffers for it. Pick up a copy of this book and see if it gives your life some meaning little buddy.
You are great. Keep being great. I keep thinking there should be a comic that is a post apocalyptic story ala books like Wasteland or Judge Dredd but involve biblical characters like the Four Horseman in some politically intriguing scenarios. This book would be a mess though unless someone awesome like Jonathan Hickman of Manhattan Projects/Avengers/Ultimates fame helmed it to ensure it was clever and always zigged when I thought it would zag. I was thinking a rising star artist like Nick Dragotta could draw something like this well. A sort of Sean Murphy meets Jock sensibility. All of this would be perfect on a company like Image who keep putting out good series after good series. What do you think of that idea? Pretty good right? – Javier R. from Brooklyn, Ny.
That book sounds exactly like EAST OF WEST #1. It comes out this Wednesday. Please think of something more original.
First of all, I love the column. You truly are the voice of a generation. I have a friend who thinks that all comics suck. What should I tell them? Vita A. from L.E.S., NY.
Thanks for the kind words. I get that a lot. First of all, are you sure this person is really your friend? It sounds like they are just hanging out with you to try and make you angry. That’s not what friendship is about, keep that in mind. Either way, you should give them JULIO’S DAY which is out today. Originally started in Love & Rockets vol. II but never completed until now, JULIO’S DAY is one of the more easily digestible while still brilliant works by Gilberto Hernandez. There are few folks alive or dead who will end up having either the massive impact or the stunning catalog in comics of either of Los Bros. Hernandez. While JULIO’S DAY may not go down as his most important work because it lacks the impressive scale of the Palomar stuff, it shouldn’t be overlooked. For a man who has found his career making epic sprawling stories, it is humbling and inspiring to see he can do the same thing in small doses as well. Give that to your “friend” and tell them to choke on it.
Do you know what your problem is? – Anna P. from Seattle, Wa.
Thanks for the column. It saved my life a few times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Anyway, I met this guy at a party recently and he seemed really great. He was really tall and good looking, wearing this psychedelic blue and yellow jumpsuit. He said he was a magician from another dimension and he did all sorts of strange tricks. He had an entourage of strange dwarves, catfaced men, and all sorts of odd characters around him. But then he said he had to leave because his biggest fan was in danger and he had to dimension hop and rescue them from the clutches of his arch nemesis. I don’t like getting in over my head but I really like him and want to see him again. Here’s the thing; I don’t know how to find him now? I am worried he is gone forever!- Rich W. from Long Island, Ny.
Good news/bad news here. The bad news first: none of that happened. You are having a weird flashback and need to sort that out. The good news: What you are describing sounds a lot like the mini-series Zaucer of Zilk. Z.O.Z. was a great and truly bizarre British psychedelic comic and has just been collected as THE COMPLETE ZAUCER OF ZILK. To any of my readers who want to feel like someone dosed them but you don’t want to end up babbling nonsense like crazy Rich over here I would strongly recommend this one. The British comic guys do no holds barred crazy better than anyone else and it is always a fun trip. Bright colors, weirdo plot twists, amazing characters, and only a passing grasp on reality makes for great comics.
Would you like a cashew? -Jean B. from Bronx, Ny.
No thanks. Nuts are gross. Nothing personal.
Great work with the column. Keep it up. I am writing because I’m in a weird situation. There is this person I know who I hang out with just to make them angry. I say things like “all comics suck” just to see what they say. Is this wrong? P.S. You are my favorite writer of all time. – Danny L. from Harlem, Ny
No, this definitely isn’t wrong. The whole point of having friends is to push their boundaries and get under their skin. Friendship should be a caustic and trying affair. Like prolonged exposure to lye, if it isn’t making your skin blister you aren’t doing it right. In the meantime you should read a book. Try B.P.R.D. VAMPIRE #1. It’s a new arc of B.P.R.D. so it will definitely be a fun book and it’s drawn by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon aka the team behind Daytripper aka two of the best artists in comics. Go buy it in secret, read it in private, and tell your friend to she smells funny.
Love the column so much. You are the greatest mind of our generation. I put you up there with Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Ellison as a defining voice of the American experience. Please don’t ever stop writing. Your words give my life meaning. Also, are there any good X-Men books out this week? Carly R. from Burlington, Vt.
Again, thanks for the kind words. Really flattering. Funny you should ask about X-Men books because ALL NEW X-MEN vol. 1 is out this week. I don’t hide my weirdo fondness for the work of Brian Bendis. His work on All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men so far has been the absolute breakout of the Marvel Now relaunch and with good reason. These books fundamentally break down the X-Men to the basics of what the X-Men should be. Add to that actual character arcs and progression and you have what may end up being the best X-Men book in 25 years or more. Bold words but I don’t have to back them up because you can just read the book and see that I’m right. Hope that helps you Carly. Now quit smoking.