Category: Comic Reviews

Chris’ Comics: Green Arrow #3

GA_Cv3_dsGreen Arrow #3

Benjamin Percy, Juan Ferreyra, Nate Piekos

DC $2.99

As excited as I’ve been for the DC Rebirth titles, I’ve also been extremely wary of the fact that some of the titles ship twice a month. Green Arrow is one of those books, and it’s the first of these double shipping titles to fall victim to the various problems of a comic series coming out twice a month.

Juan Ferreyra joins writer Benjamin Percy for this arc, which sees Green Arrow go on the offensive after being betrayed and left for dead. Meanwhile, Black Canary and John Diggle begin their own separate quests for revenge, unaware that Oliver Queen is still alive. It’s not a bad comic per say, but feels very light, and uninspired. Uninspired as in I’ve definitely read this story before.

Ferreyra’s art is very good in some areas, but it feels like he can’t maintain a consistent style throughout the comic. The book is at its best early on, when Ollie breaks into his own building, which allows Ferreyra to do some cool things with the layouts. And his fight IMG_0130scenes are solid enough, though lacking the dynamic feeling that Otto Schmidt brought to the title. But his female characters look like something you see airbrushed on the side of a van at a KISS concert in Jersey. Yes, I’m aware that is a very specific example.  Also, why this isn’t something that’s only ever been done by this artist, I generally dislike the pencils to color choice, as the lack of ink here makes the art feel rough and unfinished. It also doesn’t help that the colors and lighting are all over the place, making the book glow in some really weird areas.

On the writing sides of thing, Percy isn’t much better this issue. Some of these panels suffer from way too much dialogue, covering up entirely too much of the art. And some of the stuff that comes from the characters mouths is painfully bad. Also a criminal organization called the Ninth Gate lead by a man name Dante isn’t exactly the strongest story-telling. And like I said, above, you’ve read this comic before. The similarities between this story arc and very recent Batman comics like “The Court Of Owls” and “Year Zero” are beginning to pile up. IMG_0131I’m sure they’re not intentional, but it definitely feels repetitive are certain points. And while there’s a chance that it’s just some serious misdirection, setting up Black Canary for the damsel role is someone that irks me intensely.

Green Arrow #3 is a comic that is the very definition of mediocre. There’s some good bits sprinkled about, but also a ton of stiff artwork, just plan bad dialogue and numerous moments of uninspired writing. It’s not enough to drive me away from the title, but it’s disheartening to say the least. Also as someone who plans on supporting the also twice a month shipping Nightwing, it has me worried about how double shipping will affect that book as well.

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Chris’ Comics: Nightwing Rebirth

NTWREB_Cv1-1Nightwing Rebirth

Tim Seeley, Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn

DC $2.99


Nightwing Rebirth is not only the return of Dick Grayson to spandex, but it also reunites writer Tim Seeley with the title character after a brief absence. Seeley, who has spent the last 2+ years co-writing Grayson with Tom King, has done some wonderful things with the character, and wastes no time in saying goodbye to one cast of supporting characters while having Dick returning to the familiar streets of Gotham & the Batman family. Joining Seeley for this one-shot are artists Yanick Paquette and Nathan Farbairn, who are as suited to drawing costumed fisticuffs as Mikel Janin was to drawing sexy spy stuff.

While the bulk of this comic is spent closing one door while opening another, Nightwing Rebirth makes for a terrific read due to relying some great emotional beats Dick Grayson has with the characters he encounters. Longtime fans will enjoy Dick shooting the breeze with Damian, his former Robin, and Bruce Wayne, their mutual father figure. Those who Nightwing-Rebirth-1-spoilers-preview-dc-3know the character from the previous Grayson status quo get to see Dick wrap up his relationship with Spyral, with a hint of things to come with Helena Bertinelli and the Midnighter. And the mega-fans who’ve read everything from Batman and Robin Eternal to We Are Robin finally get some follow up to the Robin Wars crossover, with some Court of Owls related content. It’s a comic that can be easily enjoyed by new fans, but the longer you’ve been following the character, the more you’ll get from it. For me, it’s rewarding to see a light-hearted and “fun” character interact with grumps like Batman and Damian, who lighten up solely due to Grayson’s presence. Also, as someone who’s HYPED for the upcoming Batgirl and the Birds of Prey series, this comic does a fantastic job of setting up the new Huntress. It’s also crazy impressive that the creative team manages to do so much in the span of 20 pages.

Like I said above, Yanick Paquette was the perfect guy to draw this comic. Given his experience from working with Grant Morrison on various Batman comics, and his ability to draw beefcake exceptionally well makes him an all too ideal fit to draw the exploits of Richard Grayson. His backgrounds are stunning as well, and it’s impressive to see him nail the constant change of locations so effortlessly. My only real issue with the art is that Nathan Fairbairn water color-esque coloring feels muted on this book. To be fair though, that could Nightwing-Rebirth-1-spoilers-DC-Comics-Rebirth-4be a result of the book’s printing, and not on the colorist himself. But between the dynamic body langue use to convey emotion during the talking head scenes, to the sprawling layouts of the fight scenes, it’s very hard to speak ill of this book’s art.

As for Tim Seeley,  I think I’ve run out of ways to praise the dude. His take on Nightwing is stellar, as he continues to nail how complex and fascinating the character is. It’s the ideal blend of humor, action and drama that he refined on Grayson and has perfected for this comic.

As a big fan of the character, Nightwing Rebirth justifies the return from spy to spandex. For the first time in awhile, it’s justifies the existence of the Nightwing role, in a way we haven’t seen in years. While I’ll certainly miss Dick’s time as a spy, I’m more than ready to read about him as Nightwing once again.

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Chris’ Comics: All-New X-men Volume 1: Ghosts of Cyclops

61lj1+9Td9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_All-New X-Men Volume 1: Ghosts of Cyclops

Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Nolan Woodard

Marvel $15.99

With the exception of the superb and insanely fun X-Men ’92, I’ve more or less stopped buying X-Men comics on a monthly basis. Between the decidedly darker tones of the current books and creative teams that don’t do much for me, not to mention the absence of several character I really like, I thought issue #600 of the previous volume of Uncanny X-Men would be a fine jumping off point.

With that being said, it seems Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley have made a liar out of me,

All-New X-men Volume 1: Ghosts of Cyclops collects the first 6 issues of the Hopeless/Bagley run, which sees the 4 of the 5 time displaced original X-men join forces with the new Wolverine (formerly X-23),  Genesis (aka Kid Apocalypse) and Oya. Traveling around the world in a T.A.R.D.I.S. inspired Winnebago, this trade sees the team reuniting to deal with the threat of a Cyclops-inspired gang of upstart mutants, as well as the classic X-Villain the Blob. These 6 issues also deal with the young Scott Summers dealing with his legacy, as his older, supposedly deceased, counterpart has done something unforgivable. It’s a wonderful blend of action and drama that the X-men are AllNewXMen2Image2known for, which makes it very appealing for someone who has been reading Uncanny X-men for quite some time now.

Dennis Hopeless being the writer for this title definitely got me to come around on this series. Hopeless wrote the excellent X-Men Season One a few years back, and according to an appearance on the X-men focused podcast Jay and Miles X-plain the X-men, this series is a spiritual sequel to that graphic novel. Hopeless is excellent here. Be it making the Blob a complete badass, or having Bobby Drake struggling with coming out with his sexuality, everything Hopeless puts on the page is great. Granted I’m not the biggest fan of Pickels the Bamf, Hopeless does a good job of giving each and every cast member their own narrative. It’s classic Claremont done in 2016, perfectly balancing the melodramatics with action.

Journeyman artist Mark Bagley wouldn’t have been my first pick to draw a book that features teenagers and X-men, but then again I’m an idiot. Bags years on Ultimate Spider-Man serve him well on this title, as he draws an impressive amount of teens punching, snikting and dialoguing at each other. Bagley on this book remind me a lot of like Alan Davis on early Excalibur- not necessarily the flashiest artist in comics, but a strong story telling you can tell a clean and compelling story with his pencils. Inking Bagely is Andrew Hennessy, with Nolan Woodward on colors. I’m none too familiar with 18301925these creators, but they do great things with Bagley’s pencils. It’s a dynamic art duo that keeps the book looking clean, fresh and vibrant,  and the book looks timeless, which is important given the past meets present premise of this book.

All New X-Men is a surprisingly fun book, even with the baggage from it’s sister books and the Inhumans-related nonsense.. Hopeless has proven his ability to write younger characters again and again over the years, and Mark Bagley is a legendary talent. Their run on All New X-Men is a great start, and I highly recommend this book if you want an X-Men title that’s not too dark, but serious enough to make it incredibly compelling.


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Troy’s Troys But With Comics: Everything is OKAY edition

PREVIOUSLY ON TTBwC: You may remember some of my recent reviews for DC’s Grayson and Batgirl have been either slightly negative, or concern about some of the content. This month, said books are released on the same week, and man I am no longer concerned about either title’s quality.

GRAY_Cv6_543db3662f95c5.33622396Grayson #6

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin/Jeromy Cox

DC $2.99

After 6 issues, 1 Annual and one Editorial Mandatory Tie in Issue, Grayson gets an issues that isn’t a done in one. And man, the cliffhanger is everything I love about this book.

Grayson #6 is a return to form for the creative team, as Dick and the Midnighter final get to throwing down mano y spanish word for hand. Well technically this is like the 3rd time they’ve fought in this series, but this one takes up the bulk of the issue for a change. We also get some new insight on the SPYRAL organization and the people who run it, and the reveal of a new big bad, as well as some jokes. Great jokes at that, including at least 2 laugh out loud bits of dialogue.

There are a few deep cuts to both Pre and New 52 comics continuity in this issue, as Tom King and Tim Seeley really come through with this issue. It’s a smart fight book, that perfectly blends weird sciences with a great fight scene, complete with some superb dialogue. And artists Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox continue to amaze, which some really kinetic line work and some outstanding coloring. This book looks as good as it reads, if not better, especially with some of color choice’s Cox uses to really make the fight scenes pop. Especially with the throwdown’s location, the almost psychedelic color pallet has this book almost out Jim Sterankos your average issue of Secret Avengers.

Grayson #6 comes damn close to being a perfect comic. The creative team starts 2015 off on the right foot, and I’m eager to see what a full year of Grayson will bring us.

tumblr_ne60quQzFV1qfd9cso1_1280Batgirl #38

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Babs Tarr/Maris Wicks

DC $2.99

Speaking of A+ plus coloring, Maris Wicks does some really neat stuff with this month’s issue of Batgirl. Wicks has been doing some dynamite work since this creative team took over the title, but the color in this issue really stands out. There’s several scenes, ranging from a confrontation in a alley way to a high speed motorcycle race that really pop thanks to Wicks’ skills.

Great coloring aside, Batgirl #38 finally raises the stakes with the plot, and moves the story in an interesting direction. Batgirl’s new boyfriend doesn’t approve of the vigilante in town, Black Canary doesn’t approve of her heavy social media presence or her behavior, and there’s still a large helping of jerk-ass white boys making Burnside not so great at times. Granted some of these elements may not seem like the boldest and most original, they’re blended together well enough to seem fresh and entertaining, especially given how well Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher write dialogue. Batgirl is very much a book that reads like it takes place in 2015.

Babs Tarr (with Cameron Stewart on breakdowns) is a beast with this issue. She crams pages with a numerous amount of panels (her average is about 7 in this book, where your usual comics is 5-6 at most), which a frightening amount of detail and expression. It’s impressive to see her talents grow with every issue, especially when she’s this new to the medium.

Batgirl #38 is another delightful issue from the creative team, with a cool mystery, fantastic character interaction and slicks visuals. It’s exactly what this book needed after some of the more controversial material from the previous issue.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Here Comes the Squirrel Girl!

Hey remember earlier in the week when I said I was excited to be reading a Squirrel Girl comic in 2015? No? Oh you didn’t read the article? That’s rude. You could have at least lied to me and said yes. R U D E!

Unbeatable-Squirrel-Girl-c9f8dThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

I tend to give Marvel some guff when they drop $5 books and shun the X-books due to movie deal beef, but it’s hard for me to hate them when they green-light a book like this. You know, the type of book that ISN’T tied into an upcoming Marvel movie? The type of book that’s powered by a pair of indie comics darling? The type of book that has a girl that has the proportionate strength of a squirrel. Okay that’s less impressive I guess.

I really haven’t read much Squirrel Girl prior to that one time she yelled at Deadpool a million years ago ( I think 2005? A GLA/Deadpool one shot I believe.), but Ryan North? I love that dude’s run on Adventure Time, as well as the excellent Dinosaurs Comics web comic he’s been doing since forever! Erica Henderson?! I really dug her art on  Monkey Brain’s Subatomic Party Girls, not to mention her Tumblr stuff! Rico Reniz?! I….. ::: googles Rico Renzi:::…okay first time being exposed to his work, but it’s great!

As someone who like funny super hero books, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl gives me everything I want from a humorous spandex book, which sees the title character check into her dorm, thrown down with a classic Marvel villain AND set things up for an insane throw down in the coming issues.  It doesn’t redefine super heroes like Ms Marvel did in 2014, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I wanted a book where Doreen Green dresses up as a squirrel, punches bad bad guys and makes me laugh, and that’s exactly what North, Henderson and Reniz gave me, and them some (see: Doreen’s rad and possibly crazy roommate).

SG-Excuse-meAll the creators involved in this book are in top form with this debut. The script is genuinely hilarious, and features the bottom of the page text North has become famous for (A play on the alt txt gags from his web comic), and Henderon and Reniz’s art is a perfect fit for this book. It’s bright, fluid & expressive, the type of style one who want if this was a Cartoon Network/Disney Channel animated series. It looks great, and is a blast to look at, and Henderson draws some might fine squirrels which is obviously very important for this book. Also shot out to Henderson for a Squirrel Girl that looks like an average person and not another super model. Representation is important y’all.

With the excellent She Hulk and Elektra wrapping up in 2015, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is the perfect book to replace those books. It couldn’t be any more different in terms of tone and style, but it’s still great for all the reasons I just listed above and more.

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Crashing through the night comes a fearful cry – Copra!

Copra_RoundOneCover_LargeCOPRA Round 1

Michel Fiffe

Bergen Street Press $19.99

Every so often a book hits the stands and comics internet blows up. It’s impossible to find in print, so you usually have to either hit up Comixology or wait for the trade and get it that way. See Saga, Sex Criminals, the Walking Dead, basically any “IT” Marvel, DC or Image book that’s dropped over the last 2 years. It’s convient and helps put the book in people’s hands.

copraprev04But that’s not the case today. Not every book has that sort of corporate backing. Some dudes are so DYI you can only buy it at one retailer, or in this case, one retailer and Etsy, because everything from the writing to the actual assembling of the book is handled by one dude.

That book is Copra, by Michel Fiffe. You may remember Fiffe’s name from Marvel’s crazy good All New Ultimates title, but Copra is the book that got everything started for the creator. It’s a parody/homage of the John Ostrander-era Suicide Squad book from DC, where no character was safe and anything could happen. It’s a “Super Hero Revenge” story that was nearly impossible to get your hands on over the last few years, unless you were willing to drop $36 dollars on reprinted compendiums from Bergen Street Comic‘s website, Fiffe’s Etsy store, and if you here on the right day, Forbidden Planet NYC.

At first, Copra may not sound like anything special. The elevator pitch makes the book sound like a cross between the Andy Diggle/Jock reimagining of The Losers and the aforementioned Suicide Squad. And while yes, it does feel very similar to those books (intentionally) as well as several other Marvel and DC characters both popular and obscure, it’s still a VERY good story, and arguably one of the best comics to come out in recent history.

copra01 While the plot is very by the numbers (team of government sponsored bad guys are betrayed by one of their own, now they’re wanted and seek revenge), the execution is everything but not. Fiffe channels some very early Frank Miller with his art, which is impressive considering Miller had some very talented people backing him up. Again, Fiffe handles everything by himself, and does some really neat things with layouts, coloring and inks, resulting is some cool 3d effects and ink-washed explosions. Copra has a very cool old school vibe to it, and it a very impressive tribute to the 80s comic scene.

copra-1-action-sequenceAnd because it’s a dedicated letter to one of the best runs of a DC comics, there’s plenty of cool nods that fans of the Suicide Squad will pick up on. There’s some obvious homages to big-name characters like Deadshot and Amanda Waller,  but then you have some more obscure ones like Dr. Light and Duchess. And in true Suicide Squad fashion, the lot of them get murdered within the 6 issues collected here, so don’t get too attached to any of them.

As someone who’s loved both the classic Suicide Squad run, as well as it’s spiritual sequel in the form of Gail Simone‘s Secret Six, I can’t recommend Copra enough to anyone who digs ultra violent action comics. It’s so indie it hurts, but in a good way. Everything from the binding to the paper choice is charming, and it’s really something special, and completely trippy. It’s easily the best 20 bucks you can spend at the store, assuming you can find a copy.

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“Seconds” is the third comic from creator Bryan Lee O’Malley.

“Seconds” follows Katie, the chef/auteur creator of the best restaurant in the city, Seconds. She started the restaurant with all her friends, who have all since moved onto other ventures while Katie remained. With all her friends gone, she dreams of opening a new restaurant called “Katie’s,” with the excuses that the name fits on the pre-existing marquee of Lucky’s, the dilapidated building she bought to house her new endeavors.

Alright enough synopses, let’s talk formally. Second’s is by far the most well-crafted comic O’Malley has ever put out. The quality of cartooning and world building is top notch, something clearly O’Malley has a knack for as he’s shown us over the course of his career. The inclusion of color at the onset of this project (as opposed to the post coloring of Scott Pilgrim (which is colored by Nathan Fairbairn the same fella who colors this book)) keeps the work from being disconnected, or rather that one of the balls could drop in the perpetual juggling act that is making comics. That formalism aside, Fairbairn is a truly incredible colorist who fits O’Malley’s work like you’re dad’s old flannel you stole from his closet.

The most impressive thing (from a cartoonist’s point of view possibly…) may be how well O’Malley pulls off collaboration with three different creators on a book sold by his name alone. Having the drawing assistance of Jason Fischer and letters by the great Dustin Harbin is inspired. All too often, comics fall apart simple because the people collaborating on the project don’t completely synchronize into one vision. Writing can be great, drawing superb, but for whatever reason the people working together just don’t (man motions with both hands coming together with his finger’s interlaced). “Seconds” however does not suffer from this in the slightest. The “O’Malley Studio” syncs up without a stich to be shown despite being able to see the difference in drawing styles of Fischer and O’Malley, or the craftsmanship of Harbin versus the looser brush style of O’Malley.

The characters carry three dimensions though interestingly are not characters we all know. That is to say, they aren’t caricatures, you may know people in your life that are say a “Max or Katie Type,” but they have some many affects to their personality you would forever need to temper the phrase “Oh you’re toooootallly a Katie” with “Except you don’t yadayadayadayada.”


One issue I have with this book, that many disagree with me on, is an inherent issue I find with every comic that is attempting to be “novelistic.” O’Malley has said that he wanted this comic to be more like a book, hence I’m assuming the choice to have it put out by a book publisher as opposed to a comic publisher, though I’m sure distribution and money always play a heavy role. The issue I’m writing about is the extreme use of narration and exposition. The use of text is heavy, with little use of simple pictures being used to tell parts of the story. It falls into a category of comics that almost come off as “Learn How to Read Comics” or “Comics For Normal People.” An example being Alison Bechdel comics, where in the text is so heavy that the pictures rarely have a chance to shine. This argument is not to discredit the amazing and forward thinking work Bechdel and O’Malley both create or the moot argument of “Why Not Just Make It A Prose Book?” These people are cartoonist and they are telling the stories they want to tell in their medium, that’s not the issue. The issue is why not use the pictures More? There is scarcely an action that isn’t also accompanied by text describing what is happening. I can understand O’Malley’s want to be more novelistic in his approach to comics making but find it a lost opportunity to push the his own story-telling style where-in there is not just the surface quality of the picture making and the interesting story he threads for you, but also a more personalized vision of digestion. For the intricate Groundhog’s Day story that “Seconds” is there is little in the way of interesting Visual Story-Telling.


That very personal critique aside, (sorry everyone) Seconds is well worth your time. O’Malley is a supremely talented individual whose work remains consistently strong and consistently gets stronger. Go get Seconds so you cannot wait for his next book.

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Holy moly

My brain is on comic book overload. I’ve been packing, shipping, printing and planning for San Diego Comic Con this week. Traveling with a manual credit card slammer isn’t normal, but for SDCC it is. If you’re going, visit me at booth 1718 for Fantagraphics! But if you’re not going, there’s plenty of comics right where you are! And way less crowded.

100th Anniversary Special #1 The Avengers– Holy fing moly. Besides the fact that Marvel decided to speed up time and pretend that they’ve already been around for 100 years, they’ve also decided to that the best way to celebrate one of their most successful series would be to have James Stokoe headline it with words and art. King of gradients, emperor of hyperlines, and owner of a brain that gives us some of the most original worlds we have ever seen and felt. Stokoe is known for original works like Orc Stain, Wonton Soup, and for the IDW Godzilla series (the good one), but picking up the mantle on familiar characters like Dr. Strange, Rogue and Beta Ray Bill, will definitely give you a different perspective on stories you thought you knew. Besides being set in 2061, the acid trip meets Aztecan atmosphere of a Stokoe Avengers world is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Artist Edition– If the Steranko Artist Edition book released last week was literally too much to handle, then the slightly smaller, but just as fantastic, Mignola Helboy book should be a perfect match for you and all your little monsters. For over 20 years, Mike Mignola has proven himself to be one of the most consistent and visionary artists with his titular, and fan favorite character, Hellboy. Shown in their oversized and rough stages, this book includes the first five issues of Hellboy in Hell, supplemental material, and work from Nextmen, The Corpse, and more. There’s no better way to follow the process and progress of your favorite artists than through their artist edition pages.

Groo vs. Conan #1– What happens when the ultimate parody goes to battle against the barbarian that spawned his arrival? The Mr. Magoo of the warrior sword clashing comic world, Groo has been one of the most successful original characters, created in early ‘80s by Sergio Aragones. But now he’s bumbled his way into battle against the King of Barbarians, Conan, the mightiest fighter. Will they be friend? Foe? Will Groo’s fate be left in the hands of Conan? The four-part miniseries that’s being written by Aragones, and Mark Evanier, and illustrated by Aragones with assist from Tom Yeates, sets out to settle one of the oldest questions to have ever plagued humankind, who would win a fight?

Zero #9– If you’ve been missing out on this series, this week should give you extra incentive to pick it up. Besides being the first new issue since May, and making it a good jumping on point (though you’re a fool to not pick up the trade), the official word came down last week that Zero is going to get to live on the big screen. Or the small screen. Depends on how big your TV is. There’s a long road from getting signing to production, but it’ll be exciting to see the espionage spy story, that’s really about male rage and the death of the American dream, be played out in a new medium. Ales Kot and his vast team of talents keep readers on their toes by mixing up artists, and dropping in unexpected twists and turns, just like the best spy stories.

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Life After reading this will be better


There’s really only one book that I care about this week. Maybe not the only one I care about, but the only book I really want to talk about. (Mostly because it’s hot and I spent all weekend killing spiders and blowing up pies with fireworks). Alright, you could say I got lazy, but I’ll never be to lazy to sing the eternally lauded praises of

Life After #1 By Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo-It’s a grand premise centered around some matrix-esque themes of being the only one truly awake in the infinite loop of life. But instead of that loop taking place in a computer generated existence, our protagonist finds himself journeying through the clutches of heaven, hell, and every other layer taught to you by your catechism teacher. The high concept of life, death, struggle against the mundane, and you know, saving the world, is back dropped with a snarky Hemmingway as a guide, and first-season-of-Lost questions that get you jacked up to read every issue because you need to know what’s happening! why is this happening?! I’m so curious and excited to find out what’s happening! The expert hands of Fialkov (Bunker, The Ultimates) and somewhat new to the scene, but no less brilliant hands of Gabo, give holy life to a book that is high energy goofy, juxtaposed with serious moments of salvation.  And covers are drawn by Nick Pitarra! (Manhattan Projects) This is a must must must buy! I guess I’ll talk about some other books, lightning round style!

Spread #1-Cthulu monsters, meets zombie reincarnation, meets Lone Wolf and Cub.

Shutter #4-More monsters! Some friend, some foe. But Kate stands her ground!

Grayson #1-I don’t know the last time I mentioned a DC book on this thing, but Tim Seeley (Revival) is writing this back from the dead character in an unexpected way.

Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me TP-This is the final memoir of the esteemed curmudgeon, Harvey Pekar, and a timely one at that. Illustrated by J.T. Waldman, Pekar reflects on growing up in a pro-Israel household, and his gradual realization that the current state has come a long way from the biblical ideal he grew up with. Considering the current resurgence of major conflict in the region, Pekar’s interweaving tale of history and dissatisfaction couldn’t come at a better time for those looking to get a little bit of a history lesson.

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I almost forgot to send this

Anyone do anything cool last week? Doing anything cool this weekend? That’s cool. Hey, no, I figured you were busy. It’s cool. We’ll catch up next week. Oh yeah here’s some comics. Yeah I’ll talk to you later. Say “Hi” to Steve for me!


Twelve Gems-What do you get when you cross Heavy Metal with your high school math composition notebook full of drawings of spaceships and sword-wielding babes? Obviously the answer is Twelve Gems! Originally done around 2010-2012, it’s getting an official release from Fantagraphics and taking the sci-fi world by storm. Follow Furz, Venus, and Dogstar as they travel the universe, unraveling adventures and mysterious while they help Dr. Z retrieve the legendary Twelve Gems of Power. But anyone named Dr. Z is probably not the most trustworthy person in the world (since it’s a few steps below Professor X). Hilarious, eye-catching, and a really fun read. I’ve been waiting about 2 months since I first read it for this book to finally come out so I can shove it in everyone’s faces and make them eat it. I mean read it.


White Suits #4-The conclusion! Will all the answers about the deadly white suits that agent Anderson and former suit Prizrak have been searching, and killing for, finally be answered? Even if it’s not answered, Toby Cypress will still probably knock your socks off with the art that he pulls off in this book. He could just draw a pile of socks and you could probably feel the cotton and smell the stink lines. Always action packed, always inventive. Coupled with Barbiere’s succinct, puply writing, I want these two to make comics until my children’s children are born as wifi ports.

I Am Rosa Parks-Allow me to soapbox for a moment (it’s my column and can do whatever I want). A serious problem is the lack of diversity in children’s books. In formative developmental years when children are mostly visually learning how to read, it’s done in tandem with pictures and words. And when the majority of characters within books are represented by only one race, gender, family structure, etc. we do a lot of harm to what a child grows up thinking is normal v. not normal. Prolific and award winning novelist, comic author, and TV show writer, Brad Meltzer is taking a stab at a line of books that profile American icons that show kids who heroes can be. The first book features Rosa Parks in a lively retelling of her story about standing up to racial segregation in the South; teaching kids to stand up for themselves. Thus endeth the soapbox.


Luba and Her Family-The newest Love and Rockets collection from Gilbert Hernandez’s half of the dynamic comic duo’s decades sprawling family saga. This volume obviously focuses on the life of Luba, her sisters, moving to the states, and their ensuing family dramas, and joys. Volume 10 of the Love and Rockets library bids farewell to the town of Palomar as Luba and her family emigrate to the United States and make new lives for themselves. The L&R Library is the most comprehensive collection of the series, and I don’t need to tell you how important these artists are to the universe of comics, you just need to know it’s out!


The Field #3-The past two issues, and the first half of this one, have mostly been car chases and gun battles between groups that are all after this one guy. For completely unexplained reasons! Until nooooow! I was happy just enjoying the shit out of this comic even if everything was a mystery. The crazy characters, the idiomatic language, and beautifully rendered trekkie knockoffs. In fact, the reveal of why all these crazy groups are after The Source, reminds me quite a bit of a certain time looped TNG episode…Whether or not it’s inspired from that, this book gets better and better with every issue; art, story, violence, everything (and it already started out pretty great). Brisson and Roy are unstoppable Canadian comic book war machines, powerhouses, hockey fiends? I’m just assuming.


Wonton Soup COLLECTION-James Stokoe’s Wonton Soup worked its way into my hands when it was first released in 2007. I was still in high school, and don’t think I was ready to handle the Technicolor, hyper-lined art, that has become the signature Stokoe look. And by couldn’t handle, I mean it did severe brain damage to me because after that I just wanted all of the comic books. Thankfully since then he gained some traction with books like Orc-Stain and Godzilla: Half Century War. In Wonton Soup, a champion chef turned space trucker gave up fame and fortune for reasons unknown, but has to pull out his greatest knife skills when he gets into trouble and finds himself in a cook off to end all cook off’s. Originally put out in two volumes, the first when went out of print a few years ago, depriving new generations of reprobates from having good comics. FINALLY Oni has put them into one big beautiful book to put you into maximum comic overdrive.

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Look what i did!

Yikes, there’s a lot of heavy hitters out this week. From old to new. Indie to mainstream. Black and white to two-tone, to hyper-color. There’s something for everyone this month. Stop hating and get with the program!

Ritual Three: Vile Decay- It can seem blasé (read: lazy) to say that someone is an “exciting” artist. What does that really mean? Are they doing something new or different? Does the art itself illicit an excited energy? Are you so excited when you see something new by that artist that you want to vomit? If you’re talking about anything by Malachi Ward, the answer is yes to all of the above. Known for working on the Brandon Graham mega-project, Prophet, and for the notoriety gained from The Scout put out by Study Group Comics (which is seriously one of the best independent publishers in the business. you can read their stuff online for free. do it. you’d be an f’in fool not to). This new stand-alone sci-fi weaves together a grandmother’s recollection to her grandson about how the world simply went bad. Ward’s settings and characters are gracefully drawn, with an element of Charles Burn’s other (but still similar) worldly eeriness. I’m getting a little comics hyphy just thinking of it being in my hands this time next week. And if you’re in the NYC area, he’ll be attending a release party at Bergen Street Comics on June 25th, so you can gush in person!

Judgment Day Joe Orlando is often lauded as the nicest man in comics. He’s been passed for a while, so I can neither confirm nor deny this praise. But what I can tell you is that his technical skill, editing abilities, breadth of work throughout the industry’s formative years, and the subsequent influence that he left on everyone that ever picked up one of his comics, is true to the core. Anything of his you can find is worth a look, but Fantagraphics has included his EC work, some of the first professional comics stories he did. Most of the stories in this collection are scripted by Al Feldstein, and they highlight Orlando’s most prolific sci-fi stories; including the titular story that spoke out against the racism of the early ‘50s in which these stories were published. Orlando is true comic book history, and his work is legendary.


Amazing World of Gumball #1- Truth time, I’ve never watched Gumball. It’s been on Cartoon Network for about 5 years, and I’ve had no TV for about 6, so there’s that. But it’s new form just had comic book life breathed into it by Frank Gibson (who I’ve written about previously for his work on Baby Fiona and Cake, and Tiny Kitten Teeth), and one of my all time favorite web cartoonists, Tyson Hesse. He does this little thing called Boxer Hockey, and when I started reading it about two years ago I never thought I would get so emotional about a stupid little comic about a group of friends who play a field hockey type game in their underwear, essentially using frogs as pucks. But I did get emotional, and I still read certain panels that make me misty eyed. Whether it’s Nickelodeon studio work, or little cartoons of his poodle on twitter, no one has made cute cartoons that have had as much of an influence on me than Hesse has.  Sometimes you follow an artist to whatever project they work on, whatever the story is, and Hesse is one of those artists.

Pirates in the Heartland Vol 1: Clay Wilson If Joe Orlando and his contemporaries set precedence’s for the future of superhero and action comics, S. Clay Wilson is without a doubt a parallel of that mark in the alternative comics world. R. Crumb, who is cited as every other alt cartoonists main influence, lists Wilson himself as his great comix influence and contemporary. Hailing from the middle of nowhere, sometimes called Nebraska, Wilson ended up in San Francisco after an army stint, and quickly unleashed the underground art scene with his wild dreams and nightmares of gore, sex, body parts and general bedlam. This first of three hardcover volumes attempts to catalog his comics that appeared in publications like Zap, Pork, Insect Fear, and Arcade Magazine. Part biography, part retrospective, part collected chronicles of a comic legend, this is a huge undertaking that pays off in every way you could expect, and a million ways you couldn’t. Stay tuned.

New Avengers Annual #1– There’s a lot of simple reasons to pick this book up. Frank Barbiere is writing it. Marco Rudy is doing the art. And it’s all about DR. STRANGE! Everyone’s favorite world-saving, evil magic slaying, sorcerer is staring in his own book. He’s heading back to his Himalayan roots to help some techno-monks (the name of my new hip-hop crew) defeat an evil they summoned that’s beyond their control. It’s oversized Dr. Strange, I think that’s all you really need to know…

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What we do is secret… unless you watch the Tuesday Transmission.

Javier of Mini-Mate Minute fame joins me for a full episode.

“Can you see it? No wait, can you see it?”

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I Hope This Isn’t Late

Hope everyone had fun at BookCon/Book Expo. Was Chaucer there? He’s pretty great. If you’re Northwest local, the Olympia Comics Fest is this weekend in our state capitol, with special guest Charles Burns! He’s pretty great too.

The Superannuated Man #1– Ted McKeever would never be accused of making stories that weren’t unusual. His last series from Image, Miniature Jesus was premised on a crucifix that becomes sentient and leads the alcoholic pastor of a small church down a path of supernatural recovery. This new book, The Superannuated Man, is no less bizarre. The coastal town of Blackwater is overrun with mutated creatures who speak with heavy Scottish-like accents, often eat each other, and at the very least and really really concerned with the one person who appears to have not mutated, but is probably losing his mind. McKeever stabs into the peculiar without exposition, and the reader follows closely behind, with all senses alert, not knowing exactly what they’ll find on the journey.

Big Trouble in Little China #1– The legend of Jack Burton is alive and well in one of my most anticipated cult movie-turned comic book releases of the year. What’s almost better than the fact that we’ll be able to read more stories about everyone’s favorite truck driver as he navigates the supernatural and with super kung-fu through San Fran Chinatown trying to help his friends Wang Chi and Miao Yin actually tie the knot. So it’s pretty much a straight up sequel from the movie. But the best part is the creative team. Eric Powell and Brian Churilla! These are some straight up pros of the highest caliber, with books like The Goon and D.B. Cooper under their respective belts. The film’s director, John Carpenter, consulted with Powell on the script, ensuring that the new series will have the same Pork Chop Express vibe everyone loves.

Princess Ugg #1Continuing the solid list of highly anticipated number one issues coming out this week, is a new series by Ted Naifeh, author and artist of the acclaimed and well-loved series, Courtney Crumrin. Princess UGG! She’s not like other princesses. Swords instead of scepters, wielding axes instead of ladies in waiting, and a trusty mammoth instead of a pony. The Princess Academy of Atraesca won’t know how to handle Princess Ülga of Grimmeria. An exciting new teen book from Oni Press that makes me laugh and root for Ülga every time I read it. This princess ain’t nothin to mess with.

Nailbiter #2– I think I was lazy the week this first issue came out, and didn’t write about it. But after reading the second issue I’m glad I waited to endorse reading this, because it got even better. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re no strangers to the lore that something about our constant overcast (it’s sunny right now), damp dreariness (it’s like 75 degrees), and frazzled caffeine nerves (no comment), are the perfect hotbed concoction for serial killer primordial ooze. And while I can’t deny that a fair number of people who decided to take up the serial mantel were either born here, or spent considerable time here, doesn’t mean that we all have pillows made out of human hair. But the permeable myth has festered in the town of Buckaroo, Oregon, which has played home to nearly a dozen killers. When one detective goes missing in the town, his partner is determined to uncover the secret to why this town spawns some horrific butchers.

Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two #5They say all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately that’s true for everyone’s favorite high energy Dredd story of whirl-wind of crime fighting, monster slaying, and where the camera’s are constantly rolling. The conflagration of Dredd’s West Coast-best coast investigation into covert corruption have led us to LAW-CON, where you’ll see the most egos packed into one room outside of San Diego comic-con. This event will put our hero through the gauntlet one last time. Will he ever make it back home to the peaceful, serene, Mega-City One?

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