Category: Comic Reviews

Poetry in Motion

Here’s a poem about the Portland – Seattle bus trip I’m on right now:

Bolt Bus, you smell like booze
I think someone mistook you for a cruise.
You let us travel with free wi-fi,
But half the time it doesn’t work and I want to cry.
The sun is shining outside your windows,
But here I sit inside you, writing poetry, not prose.
Dude, the girl in front of you doesn’t want to talk,
I’m sorry you can’t take a hint, but you gonna walk.
Thank you, bolt bus, for cheap public transportation,
Are we there yet? I have to pee.

Also, a tip from the weekend:
When people tell you to drink a lot of water at a convention, and then volunteers proceed to hand you free water, don’t turn it down, you moron (me).

The Auteur #2- A new effing Auteur. I won’t lie, this is the comic I wish I had made, if I had ever attempted to make a comic. The art is humorously violent; the dialogue is reminiscent of a mental breakdown (maybe epiphany?) on a rampage; and characters are the best type of messed up, the type that have little redeemable characteristics, which is a rarity in any story. The story thus far: pure pandemonium! Our flop of a producer, Nathan T. Rex….holy shit, I’ve read his name so many times that I just realized his name, ugh I am a moron; anyways….Mr. Rex is trying to get his horror film Presidents Day off the ground, and hiring a real serial killer is sure to bring some realism to the project. Too bad he has to get him out of jail first, and make a mockery of the justice system. God bless America.

Solar Man of the Atom #1- Where Frank Barbiere goes, so I go too. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I die (when my hyperbole’s will never be challenged). Picking up another Gold Key mantel under Dynamite, Barbiere brings back a fansinating superhero, Solar Man of the Atom. A physicist who is transformed into nuclear energy is having some problems with his super power and his estranged daughter might the only one who can save his power. This smartly written number one issue is part origin story, part destruction story, and combines the power of hard science with the flexibility of science fiction. Artist Joe Bennett is highly skilled in bringing superheroes to life with a slew of work under both Marvel and DC, but the homage to ‘60s pulp science, Solar’s beginning, lends itself to this book in everyone’s favor. With a lot of history behind the character from Gold Key, to Jim Shooter’s take with Valiant in the ‘90s, and even bouncing to Dark Horse, Barbiere has a lot of material to mine from. But he’s definitely managed to make his characters and the story brand new again.

 

Sex Criminals TPB Vol 1- This book doesn’t really need my help to sell. Judging by the fact that every single issue goes back to the printers around four times, and even 2nd printings of 4th cover printings. It doesn’t end with these two. Two being Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction. These two share a rapport that goes beyond their comics and the internet, and infuses itself in the characters that we as an audience are so rapt to follow to see what sex-capades they get up to in their pursuit of money, acceptance, and maybe a little love. Suzie and Jon are full of wit, and they are ready to hit it…with each other. More than just a funny sex book, these characters are some of the most complex I’ve ever seen on pages, and their special sex-having/time-stopping abilities aren’t their defining characterstics. It’s what creates the story, moves the plot, but there’s a lot of depth under the surface, which is what makes people keep coming back for more. That and brimping. The intense character building and the brimping. (They tell me a detailed explanation of brimping would be inappropriate for publication, so I guess you’ll have to read it to find out)


White Suits #3- Has it been long enough since I last talked about White Suits? If I’m not mentioned this Barbiere and Cypress book on a weekly, nay, daily basis, then I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Mob crime done right. The key to the success in his writing comes from his ability to cut all the stuff that doesn’t matter, and par the story down to the essential scenes that move the story along without page filing fluff. All of the writing necessary to a novel, does not translate into comics, which is why each panel is full of Russian mercenaries, the mysterious White Suits, and our main characters as hostages in Chinatown. Obivously there’s more than happens in between the lines of Toby Cypress’s impressionist and dreamlike work; the action is tightly coiled, and ready to spring at any moment. Cypress and Barbiere perfectly combine the show v. tell conundrum, that can render even the best comic story a humdrum.

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Captain America 2 is the Political Commentary War Movie of Our Generation

If any West Coast readers accidentally read this, maybe they’ll accidentally go to a new show that’s popping up in Portland this weekend. It’s called Linework NW, and it’s a free to the public, one-day show that has been currated by some fine fine Portland folks. There’s also a main opening reception to showcase the highlighted works of Jim Woodring and Michael Deforge. So, if you can travel to the cartoonist mecca this weekend, look up Linework NW and stop on by. Fun for the whole family! Fun! Fun! Fun!

Lumberjanes #1- Lumberjanes reminds me of being a kid, growing up and camping in various Washington State Parks with the Girl Scouts and churchy stuff. Hanging out with pals, making lanyards, watching all the cool kids swim. Alright, so Lumberjanes is probably nothing like my awkward tween camping memories because they do awesome stuff like defeat Yetis, monster wolves and solve mysteries. Headed up by the incessantly charming Noelle Stevenson, and Grace Ellis, with art by Brooke Allen, the new Boom! Box imprint is rolling out its second title (behind the fan fav Midas Touch), with captivating characters and stories that keep reminding you how much fun you’re actually having reading these comics.

Shutter #1- Kate Kristopher’s life is mixed with ancient gods of legend, nest-building urban dinosaurs, and demons on coffee dates, and then things get weird. The daughter of a famed explorer left her fantastical days behind her after a terrible tragedy, but ninja phantasms threaten to pull her back into the thick of things. Joe Keatinge’s a busy man lately, but he and artist/co-creator Leila del Duca have managed to carve out a fantasy/adventure hybrid with modern concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Those concerns just happen to include weird family secrets, loneliness, and an energy spewing metal monopoly man. Actually, those sound like concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Carry on!

Cosplayers One-Shot- It’s not too often Fantagraphics publishes floppies anymore, so when they do I get pumped. Cartoonist Dash Shaw is known for looking at slices of life with an unusual perspective, one that combines and off-beat humor with growing pains. Cosplayers

cosplayers-600x928examines a culture that is now as tied to comic book culture as….ugh, I can’t think of anything clever enough, you know what I mean. Cosplaying is a really big thing now! And the main characters who are aspiring actors and filmmakers decide to use unsuspecting extras in their quest to achieve top cosplaying levels. But they’re just teens, so nothing will go wrong, right?

 

East of West Vol 2 TP

Reminder to all you trade waiters out there that the second volume of one of the most interesting and compelling comic series is out today. Jonathan Hickman’s fantasy/sci-fi western has the cast splintered, and traversing the dystopian America trying to stop the Chosen from completely destroying the world. If you just can’t stand waiting for the next trade to come out after this one, you’re in luck! Issue #11 also drops today.

 

I feel bad even writing about the next few books, because they really don’t need my help to sell, they’ll probably be the highest selling books of the week, with no help from me. But I’m just so gosh excited that they’re coming out. This week definitely belongs to Marvel:

 

All New Doop #1- We all know it, he’s you’re favorite X-Men, he’s my favorite X-Men, and now the weird little green guy, Doop, is getting in front of the camera. Doop, created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, has a weird history. A weird, butt-brain, affair having, sometimes voyeuristically inclined, history. The X-Men have always suspected that this soviet mutant creation is possibly the most powerful among them. In his own series he’s poised to take center stage when he gets involved with Kitty Pryde. Also, this mini series ties into the Battle of the Atom, if you follow that kind of thing. Peter Milligan is writing it again, bringing his surreal qualities to the usually-maintain-but-now-looks-pretty-crazy-in-a-cool-way art of Marvel career artist David Lafuente. With covers by Mike Allred!

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1- You know how things go, old comic gets picked up for TV show, we get new comics! Given the success that Netflix has had lately with producing their own content, I am fully on board with the upcoming Iron Fist series. I’m also fully on board with the new series that comes out this week with art AND words by Kaare Andrews. They’re not going all the way back to rehash his origin story, but people unfamiliar with the kung-fu master and possessor of mystical dragon fists, will get a taste of his past, while Andrews engages the future troubles for the hero. I don’t know how closely they’ll tie the Netflix stuff with the new comic stuff, but I’m hoping for an eventual team up with past partner Luke Cage, another Marvel character getting his own screen time. And I’ll admit, I’ll be kinda bummed if there’s no Power Man.

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I Regret Nothing

Regrets and Errors:

  • I regret that a couple weeks ago I accidentally told you that Sandman Overture #2 was coming out. It’s releasing this week. But given its constantly shifting timeline, I won’t believe that it’s out until it’s in my hands. Editorial regrets the error.
  • I also regret how little sleep I’m going to get this next week with Emerald City Comic-Con just on the horizon.
  • Matthew Rosenberg will soon regret how many doughnuts I’ll make him eat this week.

Editorial regrets all of these, and future errors.

If you notice any errors, keep them to yourselves, but I’ll gladly accept all laud and honor through my twitter. (@ApAnnagator)

Metabarons Genesis Castaka- If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC or LA you could potentially have already seen the new documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”. Whether you’ve seen it or not (and if you haven’t you better be planning on it when it comes to your city or suffer the consequences (or not, listen to your own consciousness ((NO GODS NO MASTERS))). But if you’re looking to get your Jodorowsky fix until that movie, the deluxe hardcover collection of the two French volumes for the Castaka spin-off of the Metabarons series, is now available! The Metabaron’s are the ultimate warriors, renowned throughout the galaxy for their ancient warrior rituals that makes every Metabaron into a cyborg after proving their strength. This prequel explores the world of the Metabaron ancestors, who were anything but the rigid society they became. The Castaka series is illustrated by Das Pastoras, who took over from the original Metabaron artist, Juan Gimenez. Pastoras can have a really gruesome (which I mean in a good way) look to his work, which lends itself very well to the brutal and lawless society that the ancient Metabarons exist in.

Leo Roa- Oh, did you wonder why Juan Gimenez wasn’t working on the Castaka book? Probably because he’s spent the last several years working on his own album (as the French would say), Leo Roa, an intergalactic saga of epic proportions. Journalist Leo Roa finds himself in the middle of an adventure that pits him against aliens, villains, murderers, and time traveling escapades. Gimenez is truly a comic’s master, who blends a Moebius meets Herge style into a sci-fi masterpiece that takes throws satire and humor into a hero’s journey arena. His technical and historical make this book feel familiar, while his attention to detail and creative force turn it into something you’ve never seen before. Recommended for fans of Prophet.

The Undertaking of Lily Chen- (above) Deshi accidentally kills his assholeish, but favored by their parents, older brother. His parents send him on an epic journey to find him a ghost bride, a corpse to bury with his brother’s body so, according to Chinese tradition, he wont have to spend his eternity alone. Set in modern China, Deshi begins his journey to find a recently deceased companion, the best choice is the beautiful Lily Chen, only problem is she’s still quite alive. Author and illustrator, Danica Novgorodoff, paints (literally) an emotional slice of life that’s riddled with complicated family dynamics, selfish desires, and tradition v. modernity. Painted with watercolor on rice paper, and then gone over in ink before being digitally touched up, Novogordoff renders a distinctly unique look to a surreal, but grounded, portrayal of finding meaning on a hopeless journey.

Helheim Vol. 1 TPB- The ultimate Viking fantasy gets its first top-selling collected edition. Take all the Norse mythology you thought you knew from Thor, then make it distinctly darker, witchier, and insanely more evil. Rikard is the undead killing machine that is sewn together with magic and the bodies of the dead, and he’s seeking vengeance against his transgressors. In their own rights, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Joelle Jones are some of the most visceral workers out there, but when you put them together, an unholy union of comic magic is born.

Blackout #1

Frank Barbiere is on fire. All his books are different, but they’re all so.stupid.good. Blackout is distinctly more sci-fi than his other work (Five Ghosts and White Suits), as it explores a dark dimension that protagonist, Scott Travers can only access through a special, and mysterious suit. But what he doesn’t know about the history of the suit will only lead him on a journey to outrun the people who are after the suit, and find answers that will save him. This 4-part series is technically a continuation of the original story Barbiere published in Dark Horse Presents issues #24-26. You can totally pick this story up from the number one, but if you want more of the origin story, you can get them from Dark Horse’s digital comic platform for a pretty good deal. The artist of the original series, Michael Kaneshino will be doing the covers for the new stuff, that’ll be drawn by Colin Lorimer!

Jan's Atomic HeartJan’s Atomic Heart and other Stories- Simon Roy pulls on my shriveled black heart-strings with stories that are obtuse, original, and out there. That kind of description can be a little off putting to some people, and to those people I ask, “Where’s your desire for delving into the unknown? Your passion and curiosity to explore world’s and stories beyond yourself? Where’s the money Lebowski?” This book collects roughly five years worth of the Vancouver artists work that’s shows the evolution between his early stories from his art school days, to the beautifully designed art we see in Prophet. Oh, did I forget to mention that Simon Roy is one of the primary artists on that book with a million other amazing people?  Even if he wasn’t associated with that amazing book, THIS book is amazing, and includes a story for every reader (though the book’s namesake story could have even been published on its own).

All New Ghost Rider #1- Not gonna lie, I really like Tradd Moore, and I will definitely be picking up the first issue of Ghost Rider. I never thought I’d ever write that sentence in my lifetime.

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Just Hold on. Hold on for one more day.

Happy Irish day/week, nerds. Hope you didn’t break too many face bones on your way home the other night.

Buffy the Vampire Hunter, Season 10 #1- Being hailed as the season that brings Buffy “back the basics”, this new creative team is breathing new life into old blood. The challenge in continuing such a fan favorite show turned comic that needing your content and characters to feel fresh, without alienating the classic features of the people and plot that brought viewers and readers in in the first place. Editor Scott Allie is now promising a reinvigorated Buffy story that gets the Scoobies back to what they do best, hunt vampires! With new rules and new challenges, this comic proves that there’s still a lot for Buffy and the team to learn about their undead fiends, and re-killing them isn’t just a walk through a graveyard. The writer/artist team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs have migrated from the much loved “Angle and Faith” series, and will take the reins to steer this pony into familiar territory that will feel like brand new Buffy.

Cannon HC

James Bond can suck it, because John Cannon is the all American military spy/hunk you’ve always wanted. Cannon is hard and fast! I mean, these comics are hard and fast…Released exclusively through the military publication Overseas Weekly, Wally Wood wrote and drew spy missions, naked women, evil commies, and naked women every week for over two years! Now Fantagraphics is collecting the saga of a brainwashed, CIA killing machine in hardcover anthology that’s historical, violent, and sexy. Without the restrictions of American publishing guidelines, Wood was able to be as unbridled as he wanted to be, and his artful and playful genius of the medium shows in every panel of this book. A bunch of bonus material, including some Ditko, and source material, rounds off this collection staple.

American Vampire: Second Cycle- Hooray! American Vampire is back! Continuing this unintentional vampire theme, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque are unearthing the not-too-long-dead series from Vertigo that travels the ages the eyes of fiendish bloodsuckers. Like a (more) evil Forest Gump. Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet (her sire, for those of you up to date on your vampire lingo) are off on their own; one providing shelter to children, one up to no good. Battles and new baddies loom on the horizon for these protagonists that will eventually bring them back together. This was my introduction to Scott Snyder, and he’s only gotten better as a writer with his other series like The Wake.

 

Basewood HC

Alec Longstreth has been making professional comics and beards since 2002 with his highly acclaimed independent comic, Phase 7. If you’ve ever flipped through one of these beauties, you might have picked up on the adventure story that ran through issues 5-9, Basewood. The adventure tale follows a young man’s journey to rediscover his past with the help of others. Also, wolf dragons! Reprinted in French by L’employé du Moi, Longstreth began an earnest kickstarter to raise funds to print an English version of Basewood as a really nice hardcover that shows off all the detail Longstreth put into his pages. This is kickstarter and comics done right, and this tale of friendship, adventure, and the trials and rewards of growing up have been given a format for all to enjoy.

Image Roundup

There’s a lot of Image favs coming out this week, and I don’t think I could do them all justice if I tried to write about each, (aka I’m lazy busy!) So here are some titles in handy, tidy, vertical listular format:

Five Ghosts #10

Prophet #43

Saga TP Vol 3

Sex Criminals #5

Undertow #2

Zero #6

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Day Late and a Dollar Short

Sometimes comics are a participation sport. And sometimes a full contact sport depending on what conventions you’re going to this year. I spent this weekend going to a signing for Tony Millionaire (creator of Maakies and Sock Monkey), and to a fundraiser for a non-profit, ZAPP (Zine Archive and Publishing Project). Even though the PNW is home to a lot of creators, it rains a lot here and sometimes we don’t get out of the house. So when opportunities come your way to hang out with a bunch of other nerds, don’t pass it up!

That’s my free will advice for the week. That and drink plenty of water daily.

47 Ronin Hardcover- Stan Sakai doesn’t just draw rabbit samurai, he draws people samurai! And really well too. The vengeance, the honor, the brotherhood, all epitomized in this graphic retelling of one of Japan’s greatest stories. Painstakingly researched by Mike Richardson and Sakai, they recreate the saga of the 47 ronin who travel for years to avenge their master by seeking out his killers. My favorite movies to power marathon (behind the entirety of the Venture Brothers) are Kurosawa samurai movies, so it wasn’t hard for me to power read this series. The comic is as beautiful, and moving, with touches of humor that fans of the genre can appreciate. Plus, Sakai is one of the best working artists, and soooo nice. Everyone should buy books from nice people like Sakai.

Beasts of Burden Hunters and Gatherers- Bringing back their beloved, Eisner award winning characters, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson return to Burden Hill to defend its citizens from new baddies. (which is apparently a word my computer recognizes now). This series has been around since 2003, and has always been enjoyed in any of its collections of self-titles, Dark Horse Presents, and Hellboy teamups. If you want to get to know the dogs and cats that take up the task of investigating the paranormal activities of their town, this is a perfect starting point for what I’m assuuuuuming will have more issues in the near future!

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Stray Bullets: Uber Alles- This book is effing giant. It’s 1200, over-sized pages collecting all five story arcs of David Laphams seminal crime series that started with El Capitan in….um…..(totally not looking this up on wikipedia)…1995! And ran for 40 issues. Like Fatale, the various crime stories span all the way from the ’70-‘90s; they get violent, the characters can be real shit bags, and you want nothing but more. Too bad for us Lapham had to abandon the series in the mid ‘00s , and left a lot of people dangling, until now!

Stray Bullets #41- Whaaaat?! See what I did there? Through Image, Lapham is bringing it back; 32 pages of black and white grit that literally start right where he left off, and finish off the series that’s as satisfying now as it would have been 10 years ago. Maybe more so. We do love a good build up. But it’s a kind of a bummer that it’s the end of an era, so to speak.
Oh wait!

Stray Bullets: Killers #1- Syyyyyche! This is all a huge build of to the release of Lapham’s NEW Stray Bullet series. I couldn’t read those 31 pages fast enough. A kid thinks he’s getting innocent kicks by sneaking into the same strip club his dad sneaks into. But when they both recognize someone they shouldn’t, things get dangerous. Young Eli’s world is turned upside down, and everyone’s intentions (though seemingly nefarious) are not fully actualized yet. Though Lapham’s worked on other series over the years, he and his editor/wife kick off this arc with as much gumption as it’s Eisner winning roots.

Magnus: Robot Fighter #1- Continuing this unintended themes of bringing fun titles back to life, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Cory Smith are breathing new life into the 1960’s Russ Manning character, Magnus. Robots have taken over, and seamlessly integrated themselves into humanity. Only Magnus can tell who’s the original and who’s a copy, and it’s up to him to stop the expansion of a machine universe called North Am. It reminds me a little of the Borg storyline from TNG, in which the robots roam the country turning everything they deem as non-essential (nature) into a machine Mecca. Dynamite has done a really good job on shoring up their creative teams to give those Gold Key characters a new home.

Nosferatu Wars- Menton3 creeps me the fuck out. He also has. They’re like the stuff from my nightmares. But I think that’s my fault since I read stuff like his Monocyte, and Ennis’s Crossed before bed. So my nightmares might be a little skewed. But the kings of horror (maybe Princes, I think the title of king belongs to THE King), Steve Niles and Menton3 team up in this series to investigate the heyday of the vampires, the Black Plague. When death abounds, they run the show, except when they begin to turn on each other. Can this hunter species thrive without a common enemy? This one-shot collects their Dark Horse Presents issues of the Nosferatu Wars.

Young Romance 2: The Early Simon and Kirby Romance Comics- Following up the first volume of their reprinted tales of romance, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby practically invented the genre that includes sweeping tales of dramatic fantasy of teen, and young adult romance. Starting soon after the end of WWII, people needed a little bit of a break from war and horror stories, and the softer side of comics blew up. These historical stories have been beautifully re-colored, to let new readers in new generations discover how their grandparents wooed each other.YR097

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Drunk in Loooove

Nothing else matters to me this week other than comics, because Oni Press’s, “The Auteur” is finally coming out. So I’ll just cut to the chase:

 

Auteur #1

AUTEUR-1-PGS-2-3

I’ve been so excited for this comic to come out, and waiting so long, I don’t know what to say. It’s already left me speechless. This is one of those books you read with your friends and loudly say, “Did you see this?! OMG?!”. Synopses: washed up Hollywood producer, T. Rex, is trying to find salvation (and his next big hit) in a strip club, and in the bottom of a bottle of glue. It sounds outrageous (because it is), and pretty crude (it is), but the brilliance of Rick Spears and James Callahan is that every bit of naughty in this book, doesn’t feel trite, or overdone, or unnecessary. The acid trips, the stripper nuns, even swearing, is all smartly used to build the dirty and contrived Hollywood we all secretly hope that is it. And like the great “in-you-face” comics before it, there’s a point to the psychedelic madness. They manage to make commentary on celebrity/consumer/tabloid culture while not beating you over the head with anything but an amazing comic book. If it sounds like I’m overselling this book, I’m not. Nothing I say could be enough unless you’re buying it every issue for yourself and everyone you care about.

 

Evil Empire #1

Stories that revolve around a dystopian society typically start in the middle of the story. The baddies are established, and we’re trying to figure out how to take them out. Max Bemis (author is Polarity) wants to go back, way back, and figure out why those evil organizations you love to hate (i.e. The Matrix, Star Wars, frat houses) become powerful world leaders with an agenda attached to no morality. With an ear to the ground, and platform to stand on, rapper Reese finds herself in the middle of the opposition battle against powers that be, leading the people who still maintain a shred of humanity against a pure grasp for power. It’s one part dystopian sci-fi mixed with one part horror, with Ransom Getty handling the action-filled art with superhero style, which makes the this (estimated) 16 issue series moving and dynamic.

 

Grindhouse Doors Open at Midnight #6

Grindhouse_5

Alex de Campi wraps up the ‘Bride of Blood’ arc in this blood bath series, giving us the best example of violent revenge in comics. Previously! On “Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight; Bride of Blood Part II” (aka the longest title ever) Branwyn’s world is left in ruins after an attack on her wedding party by wood reavers leaves her family and wedding party slaughtered. Now, taking up her fallen brother’s armor, Branwyn vows to take down those who have destroyed her world. Frederica Manfredi’s art is just this side of cartoon, which makes the violence seem all the more…violent, I guess. Set with a medieval winter background, the bloodshed stands in stark contrast to its setting, but still captures the ‘70s exploitation cinematic feel that these comics are emulating. But that’s not to say these are storyboard comics! The two issue arc format Campi uses for this series is perfect. Such action. Many violence. Very revenge.

 

Quantum and Woody Goat #0

Vincent Van Goat finally gets to step into the limelight, and recieve the recognition he so wildly deserves. Quantum and Woody is already a pretty humorous story, but this one is all goat jokes all the time. And goats are historically way funnier than people.

 

Nijigahara Holograph HC

Without exaggerating, this might be the most important manga to come out stateside this year. Delivering eye-painfully beautiful art, Inio Asano (Solanin) weaves a mind-fuck of a classic horror story of murder, growing up, monsters that live in sewers, and an end of world prediction. The pain of being an outcast, growing up, and the relationships with foster with people all play an undertone that makes the supernatural monsters feel even more terrifying. But this story is a puzzle; told in an un-chronological order, the somewhat Lynchian characters are only pieces of their full selves we get throughout the book. And believe me when I say multiple readings are required to put everything together. Though the more time you spend with this book, the richer the symbolism becomes. It’s not meant for a quick read, because like if you sped read a bunch of Sylvia Plath, things get heavy. That said I did read this in like 3 hours because I couldn’t put it down.

 

 

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On February 5th New Comics, From Someone in Seattle

Super Bowl XLVIII chamion SeahawksBy the time you’re reading this, I’m either in a perpetual state of bummed because the Seahawks just lost, or I’ll still be insanely pumped on their crushing win over the Broncos. I’d be vastly underestimating the atmosphere in Seattle right now if I said it wasn’t a big deal, and an infectious one at that. That’s all I’ll say about sports.

On to comic talk…. I’ve got nothing. These are comics and you should buy them.
(Honorable mention books that I talk about them all the time but want to remind you that they have new issues: Judge Dredd: Mega City #2, Catalyst Comix #8, Archer and Armstrong #0.1)

Liz Prince Alone ForeverAlone Forever by Liz Prince
Just in time for Valentine’s day, Liz Prince has collected a book of her popular online series that brings you joy, laughter, sadness, and other emotions. Okay, I sound less than enthused, but that’s only because I can so scarily relate to the perils of modern romance in the OkCupid age. Prince draws characters that are fun, funny, and engaging; who are more about figuring themselves out in a comedic, self-deprecating way, than figuring out how to “catch the cute boy”. Online romance, punk jams, bearded alternative boys. Yep, sounds like my life.

Drawn Quarterly Ant ColonyAnt Colony by Michael DeForge
You’re an idiot if you’re not reading DeForge yet. I hate to be that honest but it’s true. [not really -ed.] He’s been putting out stuff with various magazines like Study Group, and The Believer, online, and independent publishing. His first collected book came out last year in Very Casual, and it’s very good. Scholars like to freak out over him, pegging him as everything from the next Clowes, to Burns, to Ware, but really…he’s just the next DeForge. Oh yeah, his Drawn and Quarterly debut is about the impending war between the black ants and the red ants of a singular ant colony; a microcosm of the destruction of civilization, but an exploration of the human condition, handled with humor, sensitivity, and insight that is rare in any medium but the best. And this is the best. I want to be reading it right now (and then sleeping with it under my pillow so I can osmosis all the feels you’ll feel when reading this).

Sucker_Bait_FantagraphicsSucker Bait and Other Stories by Graham Ingels
The first story from this new EC collected book by Fantagraphics is about a guy who keeps lying to his girlfriend of 15 years about going fishing every weekend, and why he wont marry her. Some fun stuff in the middle happens and she ends up mounting him on the wall like one of his trophy fish he kept bringing her. Awesome. I love the absurdity of a woman stuffing and mounting a grown man on the wall. It’s not even possible, but it’s amazing to imagine. Ingels is the master of horror; his zombies have influenced the like of Romero and other goulish artists for generations to come. The stories are classic, and what a lot of pop culture jokes are based off of. So if you want to actually get people’s references instead of just laughing along in confusion, pick up all the EC books that you can! (Zero Hour is another one that’s out this week for all you Sci Fi nerds (me)).

msmarvel1Ms. Marvel #1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
I don’t want to boil this comic down to the first topic of conversation that’s brought up when discussing this comic, but it’s hard to do when Marvel reintroduces Ms. Marvel with a Pakistani-American, Muslim, female character. On the outset, reactionary folks might be critical to the simple fact that Marvel is trying to cram as many underrepresented groups into a comic as possible, but that’s how shit gets started. Anyone should be able to feel like they can be a superhero (if they’re born with/have powers bestowed upon them) no matter who you are. A lot of the early issue will be the basics of an origin story; who is Kamala Kahn? There’s a lot of reasons to pick this book up: curiosity, amazing art, a classic character. The bottom line is, for the sake of expanding the superhero genre, buy this book. (And for the sake of the Internet, please refrain from flaming the book for reasons other than its artistic and storytelling merit).

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Yet Again, Snow.

I’m writing this while the Seahawks are winning the NFC championship game, and even in my quiet neighborhood I can hear my neighbors yelling and fireworks being set off. Or people are rioting and looting, which would be way more fun. But if we get too crazy, they might have to send a lawman up here to care of all our post-football crime. I wonder if there’s any type of West Coast police enforcer that could handle and entire city rioting….?

Dredd01

Judge Dredd Mega City Two #1

Oh man, I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this release since the first pages started to surface like 3 months ago. I’ve even been waiting weeks to write this silly write-up on it because I’m so excited for people to read it. The West Coast gets their judgment day when Dredd is sent the Cali-forni-way, and is left to tackle a sprawling 5,000 square mile Mega City Two.  Each neighorhood has its own laws, and Dredd is left with no time to figure out the new rules. Writer Douglas Wolk is a Judge Dredd historian by his own right, and never forgets the tongue-in-cheek humor that makes Dredd such a great character. The subtle humor is driven home by fan favorite artist, Ulises Farinas. He creates a chaotic city that is full of traffic, people, traffic, and enough background signage to make you feel like there’s a second comic happening in background. If you’re not convinced by my description (if you’re not, we’re not friends anymore) check out the preview pages posted on Comics Alliance. You’re a fool if you don’t buy this comic, creep.

 

Deadly Class #1

Do you guys remember the show “Clone High”? It was an awesome cartoon comedy that parodied shows like Dawson’s Creek, but with the angsty, horny, teenage clones of famous people from history like Abe Lincoln, Joan of Ark, and Mahatma Gandhi. My point is that this new comic from Rick Rememder reminds me of that show; that show was awesome, thus logic dictates that his new comic will be awesome. The main character, Mark Lopez, goes to a high school that is designed to train the descendants of the world’s top assassins and crime families. Combine highly skilled killers, mid-‘80s underground culture, and way-too-intense teenage emotions and this book spells DRAAAMA. Remender is on a Rick roll, that is for certain.

 

Midas Flesh #2

Ryan North is known around these Seattle parts for his syndicated comic strip, Dinosaur Comics, that runs in our weekly alternative newspaper, The Stranger. So when I found out North was going to be doing a “kids comic” (Adventure Time), I was a little surprised, but never disappointed. But then more and more people begin to take his humor seriously (is that an oxymoron?) Anywho, his new series, Midas Flesh, is everything I want a monthly comic from North to be: slightly philosophical, hilarious dialogue, sci-fi, and a dinosaur that’s a doctor. Awesome. This journey is just getting started, but it’s already entertaining the entire way.

Umbral #3

The creative team of Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten  (Wasteland) should be enough to drag anyone into this dark fantasy book. Magic is outlawed in this world because it messes with everyone’s lives, and invites bad things. Rascal, a thief, witness the murder of the King and Queen by some freaky demons. But their magic is incomplete, and Rascal realizes the bottle of mist around her neck is what the demons need to finish their magic incantation. There’s a lot of cool fantasy art, a lot of murder, and freaky demons (aforementioned).

 

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Best For Last

The last comic books of 2013 have GOT to be the best, right? I mean, these are the comics the industry has been leading up too this entire time. Logically, all comic books up till now were just practice to get these last titles as kick-ass as they can get, no?

6a00d83451f25369e20168e4d11f26970c-800wiBUG JUICE

Dark Horse has a new David “Stray Bullets” Lapham that could be excellent. Juice Squeezers #1 is the first in a four issue miniseries (i.e. pitch for a movie Lapham wants to sell) about a group of tweens who fight giant bugs. At the risk of sounding psycho, Lapham writes brutal action better than almost anyone. If the man wants to do a treaties on “Hunger Games meets Eight Legged Freaks,” I’m on board.

FUN FACT: Did you know the original title for “Eight Legged Freaks” was “Arach Attack,” but since the release date was 2002 and we had just gone to war in Iraq, the title was changed for marketing purposes? What’s that, you say? “What the heck is Eight Legged Freaks,” you ask?

MORE FUN FACTS: DID YOU KNOW there was once a David Arquette/Scarlet Johansen killer spider movie called “Eight Legged Freaks?” WHAT? WHO’S DAVID ARQUETTE?! AGHH!!

Another must have is The Star Wars #0, the companion comic to Dark Horse’s eight issue adaptation of George Lucas’ original script for his later films. This promises to be a cornucopia of rare art and behind the scenes glimpses into one of the most talked about projects of the past year.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the original title for Star Wars was “Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress but with WWII Dogfight Footage?”

DIRECT CURRENTS

DC has a few noteworthy titles, including Damian Son of Batman #3, The rerelease of the VERY GOOD Batman/Judge Dredd crossover and Catwoman #26. I mean Batwoman #26. Wait, they’re both out this week? I really do hope the latest issue of Batwoman #26 is just the issue of Catwoman #26 with all the “Cs” changed into “Bs.” I hope Biller Brob is in it!

Dead Boy Detectives #1 is out from Vertigo this week, so pony up Sandman Completists and comic book speculators.

FUN FACT: Did you know there are millions of bacteria on your hands at any given moment? Think how many bacteria there are on that copy of Dead Boy Detectives! WOWWEE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Marvel had some really weird titles this year…Age of Ultron, Infinity, War of the Atom…It was all space fights and time travel and robot uprisings. Guardians of the Galaxy #10 and New Avengers #13 both hit the shelves this week, maybe they will help me make sense of it all.

FUN FACT: Did you know that these titles probably AREN’T the best books of 2013? I was just hoping, is all. They seem like super nice comic books, however. I know linear time doesn’t necessitate progression. I just get confused sometimes when I forget to take my medication.

Wait, when was the last time I took my Medication. OH NO?! I haven’t taken it for three weeks? When’s the next full moon? RIGHT NOW?

JEEPERS! I’m a WEREWOLF! Happy New Years, everybody! AH-OOOOoooooOOOOoooo!

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The Unbearable Lightness of X-Being

One of the biggest themes in the Marvel X-Men universe at the moment is the rift between founding member Cyclops and best selling Canadian bad-boy Wolverine. Their rivalry, previously limited to girls and respect, changed tone under the X-Men “Schism” storyline. Cyclops, an X-man since his teenage years, believed that students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters were defacto soldiers in the X-Men army, and further argued that this was always Xavier’s intention. Wolverine felt otherwise.

Fighting ensued. As happens in an X-Story, Cyclops goes crazy with the power of the Phoenix and kills Professor X before freeing himself from the Phoenix’s corrupting influence. Even though they have all seen Xavier die and come back at least three times, and even though it could have been worse (I mean, Jean Gray killed a whole planet while possessed by Phoenix, so I’d say Earth got off pretty easy there,) Scott’s actions put him in dutch with his fellow mutants. NOW…

 

The coinage of mainstream comic books is violence, which has an ultimate resolution. The problem with this, from a dramatic standpoint, appears when the finale isn’t as final as you would have like. In other words, “Why should I care about who dies in a comic book when they’re just going to come back again?”

 

HMMMMM…

 

Amazing X-Men #1 hits the stands this week, and we should all be excited for multiple reasons. A brand new, spanking “#1″ issue of an X-Title! Ed McGuinness is drawing the X-men again! Nightcrawler is making his come back to the good ole’ Marvel 616! Thrills, chills, spills, big time action and top shelf fun!

 

Ah, but here’s the rub; Amazing X-Men will reintroduce Nightcrawler, arguable one of the more iconic and popular current Ex-X-Men, back into the story…after being dead for only three years. Keep in mind that comics, especially Marvel comics, do NOT take place on any real timeline. Kurt Wagner has been dead since 2010, but it might have only been a year, maybe less to the people living in the stories.

 

HOW did Kurt die? He died teleporting Hope Summer to safety in a noble sacrifice…which ultimately meant nothing as two (real-time) years later Wolverine did his best to kill her in order to stop her from merging with the Phoenix. Yes, the same Wolverine who had a falling out with Cyclops because he thought putting children in harms way, even when serving a greater good, was morally wrong.

 

The theme of “Noble death” should sound familiar to long time X-Readers. Colossus died, sacrificing himself to destroy the Legacy Virus, only to come back from death at the beginning of Joss Whedon’s X-Run. Ironic, really, as Whedon himself kills Kitty Pryde, the X-Woman known as Shadowcat, in a self sacrificing gesture. Needless to say, she’s alive right now, too.

 

TEETER TOTTER

 

Currently Cyclops is on a mission to punish those who would dare hurt Mutant kind…which often takes the form of him hurting other Mutants trying to stop him from hurting other Mutants. The big sticking point is what to do with the time traveling, alternate reality versions of the founding X-Men, who want to go back in time and prevent our timeline from ever happening. Let’s review:

 

Every member of the X-Men, a group which believes they are genetically superior to humans, though philosophically dedicated to living with them equally, has either died, returned from death or has seen a team member or loved one reborn. They are currently split into factions, fighting with each other, trying to figure out the best way to stop each other from dying and creating world threatening apocalypses. Got it? GOOD! HERE comes the important part…

 

Amazing X-Men is going to be just that…Amazing. It will be Amazing for all the reasons I mentioned previously, and for all of the blatant, mind hurting logical flaws the X-Tales continue to propagate.

 

X-Men comics are not based on “Making Sense.” The X-Men are the greatest comic book soap opera going, with a history spanning multiple realities and endless timelines. I hope Kurt Wagner, a staunch Catholic, comes back to life through Buddhist reincarnation, mistakenly marries his own dimension hopping daughter from an alternate timeline (Yes, she exists) and they both fall back in time while giving birth to their new son…WOLVERINE!

 

Pick up Amazing X-Men, and let your mind go. You don’t buy an X-Book for logic, kids. You buy an X-book to watch brightly clad weirdoes make the least amount of sense they possibly can.

 

 

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I have bought some comics, also eaten wayyy too much candy.

Halloween is a hell of a thing y’all, and this year’s beer and candy diet was not the best plan. Probably should have thought that one out a bit. :: snorts a crushed-up Kit-Kat bar , because YOLO ::: Woo, comics talk time.

Saga #15, Saga Bryan K. Vaughan, Fiona StaplesSaga #15

Brian K Vaughan. Fiona Staples

Image Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

Remember last week when I was complaining about how it’s hard to critique flawless comics. Here were are again, this time with the newest issue of Saga, which I’m sure surprises no one.  Also damn, that cover is hot, despite also being sort of ridiculous if you’re at all familiar with the book’s leads.

Without diving into spoilers, in this issue Staples and BKV introduce a new character, catch us up with several other characters, answer some questions about an alien planet, and end it all with a killer cliffhanger. The later comes as no surprise, because the book ends on a cliffhanger 90% of the time, which results in me cursing 100% of the time. Other norms for this title seen in this issue include Staples’ fantastic art and colors, and BKV’s hilarious and heartful dialogue. Also vulgar at times, which we all know I’m okay with because I love Sex Criminals. Also damn, that ending, really makes one long for the next issue (less than 30 days away, ha ha crap). So yeah, Saga‘s still perfect in case you were wondering.

SANDMAN-OVERTURE-MCKEAN-600x924Sandman Overture #1

Neil Gaiman/ JH Williams III

DC Comics, $4.99, 20 pages

Speaking of incredibly difficult comics to review…..

Let me say something. If you think Overture is going to be your introduction to the Sandman universe, you’re wrong. So wrong even. This book is fan-service in a way, and if you’ve yet to read arguably one of the BEST comics series of all time, this is not for you. You will be lost, even if you wiki it like a sucker-punk.

But let’s say you’re like me and LOVED the original series. Is this book worth $5? I’ll say YES, it most certainly is, but don’t expect a game changer. This is an incredibly DENSE read, because that’s how Neil Gaiman rolls, and it’s kind of slow paced, because again, Neil Gaiman. WHICH IS FINE, BECAUSE HOLY HELL, J.H. WILLIAMS IS REALLY GOOD AT THIS ART THING EVERYONE. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book William’s drawn (yeah I dropped Batwoman 8 issues in, sorry not sorry), and his skill meets Gaiman’s wonderfully trippy script makes for an fantastical end result.

Now is this book worth buying now, or worth holding out for the eventual deluxe hardcover may be a question you have if you’re a hardcore Sandman fan. That’s entirely up to you. Chances are I’ll double dip on this, assuming it’s a good read. Again I REALLY liked issue #1, BUT your mileage may vary. And again, it’s kinda fan service-y, not in a pandering way, but more of a you need to be up on your Sandman lore to get this book way like I said earlier. And who knows,  it may end up not be completely necessary at all by this all said and done, not unlike Before Watchmen (only you know, not scummy). But it’s hard to imagine that will be the case, especially with the quality of the debut issue.

 

X-Men_Battle_of_the_Atom_Vol_1_2_TextlessX-Men Battle of the Atom #2

Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie and like 6 or 7 other dudes.

Marvel, $3.99, 30 pages

You had one job X-team. One job.

Looks like I’m repeating myself again when it comes to reviewing an X-book. Jason Aaron, as well as Brian Wood and Brian Michael Bendis for the epilogues, wrap up a fairly fun X-event. But once again, the art on this event falls apart.

I don’t mind Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen swinging by to draw some of the epilogues, because they all are great artists who make the ending of this book look really good. But the main story by Esad Ribic, and 2 or 3 others dudes? Not so great. It’s sloppy, looks rushed, the characters are extremely off model-looking at times and you couldn’t have chosen artists whose styles clash any more it seems. It once again ruins Aaron’s solid script, which to be honest, could have toned down the snark in some parts.

But yeah, this event is kind of a mixed bag now that it’s all is said and done. Some really cool stuff happens,  including some fun fan servicey stuff for X-readers, and some new plots to work with going into the 2nd year of the Aaron/Bendis/Wood era of X-books. I just wish some of the questions raised were answered now opposed to down the line (if at all!), and that the art delivered in the last 2 chapters.

 

Up next, an advance look at Vaillant’s Comics Unity #1, the end of Captain Marvel volume 1 and LONGSHOT, SAVING THE UNIVERSE!

 

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On “New School” Color

 

NewSchoolMainThis idea of color as something other than coding is nothing new, and since the days of Frank Santoro’s “Sirk” and even earlier with Françoise Mouly’s and Spiegleman’s RAW Magazine, cartoonists have been figuring out ways around the limited printing technology we’ve had at hand. Without delving in too deep with the history of its induction, and the restrictions that were placed upon it by the technology of the time, color in comics has come a long way. So much so that it’s no longer has to be a simple device to differentiate between characters and objects, it now has the opportunity to be something more.

tumblr_mpmkrf0BjO1qza6muo5_500Dash Shaw’s latest book New School is a prime example of this. If you haven’t picked this book up yet you’re doing yourself a disservice. New School, apart from being a deftly crafted work of mostly fiction, Dash uses color like no other comic every really has. Spreading shapes and patterns full of different color underneath his black line art, sometimes covering the page and other times intersecting across panels, leaving some space blank and other parts full of vibrant patterns, there is a unique abstraction that happens. The experience of it is jarring at first, as a reader automatically can’t help but wonder what the artist’s intention is with this approach to applying color. But as you progress through the narrative (the narrative being presented in a expedient manner) you stop questioning why the color is the way it is and let it do what it was intended for.

 

Dash is setting up color to be like an orchestra. A counter melody to the black and white line work that is the “guts” of the story. The story itself is presented clearly in what Dash calls his “dumb line, a term he said to have come from David Mazzucchelli, to describe a line whose quality is unsure of what it is representing. If the book had been printed in just black and white the reader would understand it without the color, so in not having the story hinge on the color component of the comic, Dash is afforded the opportunity to experiment. This goers back to the Dash’s idea of the orchestra. The line work is the guts of the song, but the color is that rich counter melody that brings a fullness to it’s sound. Instances of bright and vibrant color’s being like cymbal crashes and allowing the intensity of the color (or lack of it) act like new-school-6-630x418crescendos and decrescendos, adding to the complexity of the story/song. He visual shows these layers, as the physical quality of the pages with color show the obviousness of the separation of the line work and the color, like two instruments in a band. Think Henry Rollins barking vocals vs. Greg Ginn’s guitar, two parts of one whole.

For brevities sake, I won’t take about the physical quality of the painted color, or the mark making, or the way that the patterns Dash would paint in the page reflect in terms of iconography, shapes in the guts of the page, thus heightening the emotional quality of the what’s already taking place at that moment in the stories time. Those are things that can only come from spending some time with New School, and I think it behooves any comic’s enthusiast to do so. But I would be woefully dismayed to not talk about how Dash has introduced a digestible abstraction to a medium which (for the most part) is about clarity.

new-school-22-630x408

Will Eisner said that in being a cartoonist you are not afforded the same spontaneity that say a painter has. Apart from the literally thousands of successful comics that prove this contention wrong, Eisner would still have been right if he amended that statement with “in a classical story telling sense.” That is until New School. Dash has opened up the possibility of how in juxtaposing abstract shapes of color and patterning against clear and concise black and white storytelling, that you can breathe the life force that is spontaneity into a medium whose normal working methods are as anal retentive as a Klingon (sorry I didn’t have a better joke).

This, whatever you want to call it, barely scratches the surface of what Dash accomplishes in New School, but hopefully imparts some idea of the next level thinking that is available in this book. So go buy it. Preferable here.

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Anna Reviews Stuff

Holy moly. This time next week I’ll be back in my beloved second city, New York City. For NYCC! I’m going to hug everyone at Forbidden Planet so hard they won’t know what hit them. I might just actually hit people instead. Either way, there’s a solid amount of talent going to NYCC that don’t normally make it to very many conventions, like: Joe Mad! Paul Pope, David Lloyd, and Ramona Fradon (whaaat?!). Personally, I’ll be holding it down with the awesome ladies and gents of Oni Press (booth 1844!), so you should come and say, “Heeeeey”, just like that.

I’m super pumped! Also pumped about comics this week (and every week)!

(I should cut back on parentheses)

 

Shaolin Cowboy #1

darrow-shaolin-spidey

Shaolin Cowboy; Geoff Darrow; ongoing. Three awesome things to read in tandem. The classic, and fan-favorite, kung-fu fighting cowboy returns to Dark Horse this week with a new and on-going story. It’s an easy spot to drop in if it’s your first time venturing into the wild, chainsaw-wielding West, but it also has everything the tried and true fans of Darrow’s hyper violence want out of the series. In case you missed that, yes, chainsaw-wielding. I read an interview in which someone asked Darrow about why he liked to draw them so much, and he replied by saying he wasn’t sure where the fascination came from, he just liked to draw them, oh but wait, my uncle did sever his leg with a chainsaw when I was younger.  Regardless of the chainsaw origin, there’s never been anything more right than an outlawed Shaolin monk who fights badies that are after the bounty placed on his head. Am I sufficiently making it clear to you how awesome this series is? So good to have you back old friend.

 

Popeye Classics #15

Oh, you thought I only like to talk about super violent action books? I have a soft spot for the classics, and feel it pertinent that people know your parents/grandparents/self(?) had a few things right with these timeless comics. And thanks to the publishers at IDW, cartoonist Bug Sagendorf is finally being recognized for his work, and held up alongside the greats like Carl Barks (Donald Duck), and John Stanley (Little Lulu). Sagendorf did Popeye comics for almost 20 years, and in that time developed a comedy style that still makes me laugh every time I read them. If this is the first time you’re picking up a Popeye Classic, you don’t really have to worry about a plot of who’s good, who’s evil, what interstellar space race is trying to destroy the planet, you just have to try to get this into the hands of youngsters to set them straight on a long and happy life of comics reading/appreciating/loving.

This sentiment translates to all the classic, all-ages comics that are being published right now: Nancy, Peanuts, Little Lulu, Donald Duck. They’re all fantastically funny, heartfelt, and surprisingly relevant.

Realistic-Popeye

Rocket Girl #1

If I had a pick of the week, this would be my pick of the week. The plot line itself might make your head explode, so take precautions while reading this: a teenage girl who fights for space police in a high-tech version of 2013 travels back in time to gritty 1986 New York City to investigate the conglomerate, Quintum Mechanics for time crime. Along the way she discovers alternate realities! Utopias v. rampant crime! Landline phones! This uber-successful Kickstarter project from writer Brandon Montclare and fan-favorite artist Amy Reeder, turned Image project, has been teasing fans for months with back page ads that look like they’re ripped from 1986. If you’re a fan of the tough ‘80s action movie female characters that used to be so prevalent in classics like Predator 2, Robocop, and Terminator, then Rocket Girl will not disappoint. Amy Reeder’s world building, highly saturated colors, and eye for detail (particularly for fashion, especially if you remember their Halloween special last year, Halloween Eve), is essential in telling this period piece story. A teenage police officer, who travels time, and wears a jetpack is pretty essential too.

 

Archer and Armstrong #14

A Valiant reboot of a solid buddy-team comics appears to be their strong suit, and I for one am not complaining. If you’re unaware of the basic plot, let me catch you up: Archer was raised to respect and love his family, who in turned trained him to fight a great evil that threatens his family and their beliefs. That evil turns out to be the constantly old, and constantly drunk, Armstrong. But instead of killing him, Archer realizes that he may have been lied to his entire life, and that his parents are really a part of an age-old organization called the Sect, that has its claws in every religious and government body in the world. This new arc is a solid jumping on point as the various factions that make up the Sect are tired of each other, and a massive civil war is about to be unleashed. It’s no surprise who the only two people are that can stop them are, but we have no idea how! These books are easy to read, easy to get into, and never disappointing in action or comedy. Valiant really tries to remember that comics really are the best medium for one-liners, and they don’t hold back.

 

There’s fortunately, a ton of other stuff I want to pimp this week, but for the sake of my laziness, I’m going to condense them into a Halloween/Fall package of awesome:

Coffin Hill #1 is the newest addition to the Vertigo family. There’s something about New England that makes authors want to write truly F’d up novels and comics, and novelist Caitlin Kittredge upholds that maker with a story about a cop, Eve Coffin, forced into early retirement who makes her way back to her hometown. Only to discover that a night of drugs, drinking, witchcraft, and murder 10 years ago has left a lingering impression in the woods, and her dark past is seeking revenge. Art by Inaki Miranda (Fables!)! Creepy Comics #14 Good gravy there are so many people working on this issue: Ray Fawkes, Dan Braun, Peter Bagge, Matthew Southworth, Tomm Coker, Tim Seeley, David Palumbo. My job is done, you’re probably already reading this now, aren’t you? More convincing? It’s only $3.99 and 40 pages long! Lucifer TP Vol 2 I don’t talk about collections that often, but if you didn’t get a chance to read the Sandman spinoff, Lucifer, before it went out of print, then there is little to zero time to waste when it comes to picking this up. The Satan that people love to hate is building his own Garden of Eden, and playing, well, God? This is some of Mike Carey’s best work, and the density of these books makes them worth every penny, and every page.

 

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CON BONANZA!

Maybe you’re going to the New York Comic Con this weekend, maybe you aren’t. IF you AREN’T, then I am sorry. I’m not either. Forbidden Planet is available to soften the blow with the very best in comic, manga, games, books, t-shirts, magazines and more! Why not pick up IDW’s Mars Attacks Judge Dredd #2, or Shoalin Cowboy #1 from Dark Horse to pick up the spirits! If your eyes like a safer faire, dive into X-Men #6, Deadpool #18 or DC’s Astro City #5 and Superman Wonder Woman #1?

 

But if you ARE going? Here’s a fun treat!

 

Unkiedev’s New York Comic Con Scavenger Hunt 2013!

 

“WOW, a fun scavenger hunt I can go on with my friends at the con?” That’s right, anonymous stranger!  Take a picture of each of these items, post them to facebook or instagram with the #unkiedev and I’ll send the winner a fabulous prize. Really, the point is NOT the fabulous prize (I mean, I’ve seen it…it’s ok.) but the fun you’ll have tearing through the convention like a lunatic experiencing the con like a sugar fueled lab rat!

 

25. PHOTO OF COSPLAY FROM THE NEW DOCTOR WHO.

Yep, the rumors are true, they’ve found several new episodes of Doctor Who lost to time in an Ethiopian garage. With the amount of showy Whovians about, and with this being the first big Comic Con since the episodes became digitally available, some cleaver cosplaying tardis rider will dress up as one of these new, obscure characters from the lost episodes. Get their photo online first and YOU could have your own viral photo!

 

24. PHOTO OF A STORM TROOPER AT THE URINAL.

I bet they even miss the bowl.

 

23.  PHOTO OF ROGAN JOSH OF MOD HERO.

Mod Hero is the sensational design label of comic book art featuring bold colors and a classic, space age design. They are the hard yet glorious labor of the brilliant ROGAN JOSH, artist extraordinaire. Do make your way to Josh’s booth, #1577, where a veritable paradise of comic inspired prints awaits your approval. Bring him this write-up regarding his unstoppable awesomeness and I’m SURE he’ll laugh. There you go, YOU made somebody happy today! Good for you!

 

MOD HERO! Come for the scavenger hunt, stay for the Hawkgirl pinup!

 

22.  A COPY OF THE CHUCKLING WHATSIT

Halloween is fast approaching, and this is one of Unkiedev’s TOP RECOMMENDED creepy books to surl up with in front of a fire. Richard Sala’s bizarre twists and spooky turns are playful yet deadly, cute  but disturbing. An investigator looks into the hand crafted keepsakes of a former serial killer who would braid his victims hair and skin into small, laughing dolls.

 

The Comic Con IS still about comics, you know?! It’s a great place to track down fun back issues and obscure graphic novels you might not be able to fins anywhere else. Chuckling Whatsit belongs on the book shelf of any lover of macabre tales and haunted doings.

 

21. A HUGE PILE OF FREE CON SWAG

 

We all know that whoever dies with the biggest pile of free Comic Con swag wins, right? It’s as true in this scavenger hunt as it is in real life. NOTE: Forbidden Planet is not legally responsible for wrongful death in the case of any fatalities as a result of this scavenger hunt.

 

20. PHOTO OF ELEKRTA KISSIG BIG DADDY FROM BIOSHOCK

 

Won’t you help out a girl with daddy issues?

 

ENJOY

 

There’s more where that came from, and you’ll just have to visit the rarely updated unkiedev.com to find the rest of your New York Comic Con 2013 scavenger hunt items! Thanks for playing, and no matter if you are or aren’t attending the con this weekend, make sure you have a great weekend!

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