Category: Dark Horse

Chris’ Comics: Lady Killer TPB

2015-01-05-ladykillerLady Killer

Joelle Jones, Jamie S. Rich, Laura Allred

Dark Horse, $17.99

Confession: I love it when artists are credited before writers on comics. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of books I buy currently because I love the writer/writers involved, so I’m not saying this out of spite. But more times than not, an artist is the reason a why I’ll check out a book I’m totally unfamiliar with, and are the deciding factor as to if I will stay with it or not.

On paper, the premise of Lady Killer doesn’t appeal to me much, which is why I initally passed over it. A housewife who’s secretly a hired killer set in the 50s really doesn’t do much for me, either though I’m a fan of books with female leads. But the book was getting some solid buzz, and I eventually reconsidered my stance seeing how good the art was. So yeah, Dark Horse crediting Joelle Jones first on the cover of the Lady Killer trade was a smart move. Jones is an artist I had zero familiarity with coming into this series, but offers a lot to like once you see her work. The best way to describe her art style is Annie Wu (Hawkeye, Black Canary) mashed up with EC Horror comics, as her art on this book is gorgeous, but also extremely gory. Lady Killer is not for those with low tolerances for the ultra violence, so if if the cover disturbs you, you should stay away.

4263831-1+ldyklr+#1+pg+01Those who don’t mind watching  fictional people die violent deaths are in for a treat. Aside from some gorgeous line art from Jones, Laura Allred colors the hell out of this book. Allred goes faux-retro by keeping her palette monotone, which mixes nicely with the splattered inks from Jones, giving the book a gritty, dirty look. I also like the specific shade of red Allred went with (no pun intended), as it’s bold to the point where it’s noticeable, stressing the importance of that color in the book. It’s a very cool visual trick that I dug a lot, and given her past work on such books on FF!, Silver Surfer and iZombie, made her a perfect fit for this book. The artists also deserve credit for keeping the outfits, settings and color scheme very period accurate, going a long well to sell the book’s premise.

I haven’t talked much about Jamie S. Rich, the book’s co-creator and writer. Rich is another creator I’m unfamiliar with, but his work on Lady Killer is  pretty solid. The dialogue is pretty straight forward, feeling slightly restricted, and making the book come off as quiet as time. It feels like he held back on filling the books with character talking in order to let Jones win the audience over with her art. It’s a smart move, as her work is ldyklr2p4stunning, and it makes the dialogue seem all the more important when the characters do speak. I’m also a fan of some of the humor injected into the book, granted it’s pretty dark, the black humor is totally fitting for a book like this. Less is more with Lady Killer, and Rich does hint at some intriguing concepts throughout the book, leaving me wanting to know more about the world, but still satisfied with what I got.

Lady Killer isn’t the most original book you’ll read this year, as several plot points and themes will feel familiar to anyone who’s familiar with Ed Brubaker or Greg Rucka‘s works. But it’s a visually stunning ultra violent ride with a fun, sexy vibe to it as well. It’s a fun mini that tells a complete story, and is definitely worth your time if you want something heavy on the action.



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Chris’ Comics: Zodiac Starforce 1 & 2

28942Zodiac Starforce 1 & 2

Kevina Panetta, Paulina Ganucheau, Savanna Ganucheau

Dark Horse $3.99

I’ll be honest; I initially wrote off Zodiac Starforce, mostly because it really didn’t seem like my thing. I have a passing familiarity with Sailor Moon, and gave it a go plenty of times while growing up, but it was something that never caught my interest the way Dragon Ball Z or Gundam Wing did. I recognize it as an important work that obviously connected with a ton of people globally, but ultimately not my thing, especially when it’s called Sailor Moon Crystal.

My wife on the other hand, is very much a fan of the one they call Sailor Moon. So when she passed the Zodic Starforce banner at the Dark Horse booth during Rose City Comic Con, she made it a point to pick up the first issue. Issue 2 dropped this week, and since my pull list was light, I figured I would read issues 1 and 2 give it a shot.

zodsf1p5Zodiac Starforce has a cool enough concept. The premise is that a bunch of Zodiac related teenage magical girls have been retired for the last 2 years, and have grown slightly apart. However the threats they thought they vanquished have apparently returned, and one of their own life is now endangered. Writer Kevin Panetta masterfully injects a healthy dose of drama and mystery surrounding the plot, casually dropping hints as to what events cause the group to slip apart, all while fleshing out the characters. Sadly some of the dialogue feels stiff and forced sometimes, but never to the point where the book is unreadable. But I REALLY dig the premise, and I hope Panetta continues to flesh out the world and it’s inhabitants more as the mini series continues.

The one area where Zodiac Starforce does suffer sadly is in the visuals. While the colors by Savanna Ganucheau are bright, clean and occasionally psychedelic in cool way, the art by Paulina Ganucheau is more stiff and uneven. I don’t generally mind manga-influence art, I mean have you’ve seen my reviews for Babs Tarr works for crying out loud, but Paulina’s stuff looks more like faux-Anime influence (think Totally Spies, or other mid 2000s cartoon trying to ape anime), with some awkward posing and facial expressions. It improves a bit in issue 2, especially towards the end of the book, so hopefully that trend will ydq1bp7zlbfrrneuqggrcontinue as the book moves forward. But having talented artists like Kevin Wada and Marguerite Sauvage contribute wonderful covers doesn’t help the interior art out at all. It’s also important to recognize that this is her first big comics work, so maybe I could ease up on it a bit.

Zodiace Starforce is a book that my wife really digs and I’m warm towards, but would have probably waited for a trade to read. Then again, I’m not exactly the targeted demographic, so your mileage may vary, especially if you’re into Sailor Moon or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But as someone who really digs comparable and excellent works like Lumberjanes, Fresh Romance, and Batgirl, Zodiac Starforce didn’t do much for me, even with some really cool and fun stuff scattered about the first 2 issues.



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Review: Fight Club 2 Issue 1

I know this because I paid $3.99 to know…this? Dang, that almost worked.

4544291-fclub2-1-variant-fc-fnl-b-4x6-e1e1dFight Club 2 #1

Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, Dave Stewart, Nate Piekos

Dark Horse $3.99

The original Fight Club film came out during the point in my life where I was very much an angry white boy in his late teens who loved him some nu-metal. Hot Topic was more than happy to sell all sorts of FC merchandise, the DVD had some sweet features, and I was more than happy to drop my disposable income on all of it. It was a movie I was super into for about 6 months, but quickly distanced myself from when I met other fans who were equally, if not as obnoxious about it as I was.  I’m still found of the movie, my tastes of music remains questionable to this date, but I haven’t give much thought to Fight Club until talks of a sequel emerged.

When Fight Club 2 was announced, I was conflicted at first. On one hand, Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart are one hell of a creative team to be working on any comic. On the other hand, was there a need for a Fight Club 2? I never read the novel (I know, I suck), but I thought the movie wrapped up things quite nicely and didn’t need a follow up. I was hesitant to pick it up, but decided to anyway, because I love my reader(s) and I’m not very good with money. Well that and Cameron Stewart has been killing it over on Batgirl and I genuinely like Palhniuk’s work. At the very worst, I would be out of $4, which I would have blown on a beer or something.

fightclubsequel_page1.0Fight Club 2 #1 is a merciless read. It does very little recap, and assumes everyone is more than familiar with the source material. Of course with a the number 2 in a title, I guess assuming everyone is on the same page is to be expected, but you figured someone would throw a bone to the uninitiated (Decompression comics has ruined me). But props to Palhniuk for not caring about if you’re new or not, he’s obviously here to tell a story, not get new readers. Issue one is a very unique comic. Parts of it feel very immature, and the 19 year old me would have loved the “Me against the world, wake up sheeple, pills are killing us” aspect of this comic, completely unaware of it’s satire or not. Present day Chris is rolling his eyes at it at times,  but it possibly being satire makes this comic extremely fascinating, with some crazy over the top twists that genuinely caught me off guard. Fight Club 2 is super clever at times, or so confident in it’s stupidity that it buys into it’s own hype all too well. I can’t actually tell which scenario plays out when, and that itself is strangely wonderful.

fight-club-2-issue-1-03While the quality of Palahniuk’s writing is subjective, the quality of Cameron Stewart’s art is not. Stewart, alongside letter Nate Piekos, really help the readers realize that Sebastian/Tyler Durden is a bit of a hot mess when it comes to his mental health with some really smart placement of panels, word balloons and sound effects. It’s an incredibly well-crafted comic on the art side of things, and it does wonders for the script. Cameron’s stylistic art looks fantastic, especially when colored by Dave Stewart, much how like the movie was full of pretty people doing awful things. It’s easily worth the price of admission just to bear witness to this team drawing a great looking book and tell the story in such a unique way.

Fight Club 2 is ultimately a comic full of terrible people doing various terrible things. It’s definitely not for everyone (there’s some material from 1999 that doesn’t fly in 2015) and at no point within these 20 pages does it justify it’s existence, aside from the art. That being said, it’s either brilliant satire, or a hot outdated mess, which means it’s not good enough for me to buy on a monthly basis, but it’s something I’ll buy collected to find out. It definitely managed to elicited some emotions from me I haven’t felt in awhile, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.


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REVIEW: The Last of Us: American Dreams

22396The Last of Us: American Dreams

Faith Erin Hicks/Neil Druckman/Rachel Rosenberg

Dark Horse #16.99

Instead of eating up the words count here, I tossed a wall of text up on my tumblr regarding PAX East 2014. So follow the link , read the article, and see how many corgi gif sets I reblogged on the regular.  ( . One of the things I did pick up there was the show exclusive The Last of Us: American Dream hardcover, but the soft cover is available everywhere for about 10 bucks less. So I thought I’d shared my thought on it with the lot of you.

So yeah, The Last of Us, a game I’m fairly certain most of you heard of. It’s one of the best selling, heavily advertised and critically acclaimed games of 2013! Personally, even after waiting for a $20 off retail sale price, I found it a tad overrated, but you guys don’t want to hear about that (unless you do!). You’re here for comics and/or toys talk (one of these days. Maybe) . So let’s take a look at the Last of Us’ comic book tie-in/prequel story, American Dreams.

((NOTE: While I still have to PLAY the “new” single player DLC, I’m like 90% certain that this book take places before that.))

Last-of-Us-Comic-2I usually tend to avoid video game comic tie ins, mostly because they tend to be awful. However, the Internet has informed me that Dark Horse has been doing some good stuff with their’s, and TLOU: The American Dream is co-written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks( Demonology 101, The War at Ellsmere , The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Friends With Boys), Naughty Dog’s  (The game developers) own Neil Druckman, and colorist Rachel Rosenberg. 

So is the book worth your time? Well yes and no. If you’re going into this comic with little to no idea what the game is about, you might fight yourself a tad disappointed. Aside from a note saying this takes places before the game, there’s nothing that explains why the world our lead Ellie inhabits is the way it is. You’re supposed to know that it’s a post-apocalyptic world devastated by the worst type of fungal/pollen outbreak ever. That’s something kind of crucial to the story.

And again, there really isn’t much of a story to be told. Since it’s a video game tie-in prequel, you’re introduced to a few characters, some who show up in the game, some who are mentioned in it, and that’s it. It sets up the downloadable content which bridges the gap between this comic and the actual game, but again, without any knowledge of the game, you’re going to be disappointed in the narrative.

last-of-us-2But what if you’re a fan of the game and want more from that world. Well then, you’re in luck. Faith Erin Hicks is an EXCELLENT artists, and why her art style is VASTLY different from the game’s, it doesn’t take away from anything. I hate to call it manga-esque, but it kind of it, as in the sense that’s very animated and detailed.  Also hella speedlines, and Ellie is kinda of big-eyed, but it also show you how good Faith Erin Hicks is when it comes to making her characters show any emotions. Hicks does excellent jobs of showing how run down the world (In think thinks takes place in Boston) is, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to showing violence.

lou3p5Dark Horse was wise to pair Hicks’ which Rachel Rosenberg, who I found out colored several X-men books over at Marvel that I really liked. Her colors do an excellent job setting the mood, using light colors for heavily dialogue scenes, bright colors for action sequences,  and darker ones for dramatic ones. It helps set the mood incredibly well.

What this book kind of lacks in narrative certainly makes up for in visuals. The Last of Us: American Dreams, isn’t for anyone, but if you’re a fan of the game and/or of Faith Erin Hicks, it’s definitely worth a read. It definitely reads better as a collection than in single issues, and it does help set the stage for one of the better characters to debut in video game in 2013.

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Hellboy Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Mike Mignola’s signature character this coming Saturday, 3/22/14, is officially Hellboy Day in the comics community and Forbidden Planet NYC will be participating!

Mike Mignola Forbidden Planet

Beginning at 9am we’ll be giving away a few Hellboy themed packages containing comics, posters and other swag as supplies last. We’re also running a sale- 15% OFF all Hellboy/BPRD/Abe Sapien/Lobster Johnson books and comics- through midnight. We’ll also be giving away a copy of Hellboy The First Twenty Years on our Twitter feed.

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Fifth Beatle Singing November 20th

We’re pleased as punch to announce that on Wednesday, November 20th, Vivek J. Tiwary will be signing copies of his new graphic novel- the highly anticipated The Fifth Beatle – right here at Forbidden Planet NYC!

Fifth Beatle Forbidden Planet signing, Vivek Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker, event, Dark Horse Comics

The book, published by Dark Horse and releasing 11/19, has got a TON of buzz about it, with a feature film in the works. Vivek is an award-winning producer, writer, and financier for film, television, theater and music and The Fifth Beatle is his first major comic work as writer/creator… And he’s a swell fella. Heck, he even mentioned FP in his bio…

“Vivek’s earliest childhood memories include browsing the comic book racks at Forbidden Planet with his parents and listening to their Beatles’ records at home.”

NYC area pals, we hope to see you here Wednesday the 20th when the festivities kick off at 6pm. Can’t make it to our event? You can pre-order signed copies by mail!  Standard editions (only $19.99 retail!) can be purchased here and collectors editions can be purchased here.

Follow The Fifth Beatle on Twitter or check out the official website for more.

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GAMMA Signing with Ulises Farinas and Erick Fretias

On Wednesday the 24th of July at Forbidden Planet, artist/writer Ulises Farinas (Catalyst Comix, Transformers: Heart of Darkness, House of Mystery) and Erick Fretias will be in store signing copies of their new book GAMMA from Dark Horse on the day of its release!

You don’t want to miss this one folks, trust us.  It’s going to be crazier than Ulises’ art (which is effin beautiful)! Pre-orders available here.

Hope to see ya then!

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I bought some comics, let me tell you about them.

Toy-talk next time I swear, but for now I want to talk comics and y’all got to suffer through that first. I’ve bought a few books that warrant discussion, at FPNYC and now I’m going to spend 500 words trying to explain how great they are.

First off, there’s Marvel’s mini-event “The Enemy Within“. One would assume if I were to talk about a Marvel event it would “Age of Ultron”, but I really have very few positive things to say about that. And “Infinity” is something I can wait to be collected before touching, sorry Hickman.

“The Enemy Within”  is a crossover between Kelly Sue Deconnick’s 2 books “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers Assembled“. Both of those titles are books I’m already buying as is, so it really wasn’t a hard sell. The event spins out of recent happenings going down in Carol Danvers’ book, where an old enemy is giving the good Captain hell, and forcing her to fight a ton of her old foes. So Carol calls in some of her mightiest pals to help deal with that.

And it’s such a fun read! You really don’t need to know much going into it, although being caught up on at least “Captain Marvel” helps. It feels like a lost Jim Starlin Avengers story from the 70s at times, and I mean that in a good way. The BIG difference is how KSD writes the cast. The Avengers come off as actual friends, so there’s a nice degree of warmth in the script, as well as some solid humor. The art by Scott Hepburn and Matteo Buffangi gives the story a very fluid and animated look, which I dig a lot. It’s a 5 issue arc, and if you want to read a FUN Avengers book with cast similar to that of the movies, it’s the way to go.

Dark Horse Presents #25 also dropped this past week, and for $8 , you definitely get your money’s worth. There’s 11 stories contained in 80 pages of comics, by some big name talent. Matt Fraction, a writer I’m obviously found of, makes his Dark Horse debut with Christian Ward and gives a nice done in one story focusing on  lost romance and time travel. There’s a GREAT 1 page strip by Emma T Capps, who’s all of 15 year old, a Buffy The Vampire story begins  by series regulars Jane Espenson and Karl Moline, and stories by A-list creators like Fred Van Lente, Freddie Williams III, Phil Winslade, Mike Baron, Steve Rude, Dan Jolley and Leonard Kirk, amongst others. My only complaint with this book is that some of the content is  already in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of their stories, so some of the tales may come across as confusing. Regardless of that, I remain pleased with my purchase.

And because the buzz around it is great, I also picked up the Legend of Luthor Strode, by creators Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore and Felipe Sobreiro. Published by Image Comics’, this book is as awesome as it is violent, which is to say A LOT. It’s “Kick-Ass” meets “Charlies Atlas”, which I know, does not say much about the story, but I’m trying to keep this relatively light on the spoilers. In fact, I’ll go on the record for saying that I liked it a ton better than “Kick-Ass”. For a $15 trade, you could do a lot worst, and this book definitely deserves a spot on your book shelf.

So there you go, a bunch of great books worth your time! Hope you check at some of them, and let me know what you think here, or on twitter. @theanarchris is my handle, and I’m fairly active on there, so all feedback is appreciated.

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What I bought at Heroescon, and what you should buy too.

::: Vacuums after a lengthy absence :::

Yo apparently this blog begins and end with me if the lack of updates indicate anything.

So Heroescon obviously has passed once again, and according to this article’s title, I was there. Yes that’s me dressed as Clint Barton with Hawkeye writer Matt Fraction. (No, you cannot touch me now.) My first Heroescon was dope, and SURPRISE, so was this year’s. I got to meet a ton of awesome creators, who’s stuff I’ll be highlighting in this article. Again see the title of this article, this is not a concept that is hard to understand people.

First off is Fraction’s first Fantastic Four collection, which collects the first 3 issues of both the NOW relaunched Fantastic Four and Future Foundation titles, with great art from Mark Bagley and Mike Allred. It’s worth noting that the books are reprinted in the order the series is meant to be read, which makes the narrative flow better in my opinion. ALSO ART BY MARK BAGLEY AND MIKE ALLRED, I CANNOT STRESS HOW AWESOME THIS IS! The 1st trade costs $17 and is well worth it. Yes this is my extremely bias opinion, given how much I love Fraction’s work, but yo, have I’ve ever steered you the reader wrong before?

What, no, you shut you, you are clearly wrong here.

Awesome artist Becky Cloonan was also in attendance an-ah screw it, LOOK ALIVE SUNSHINE! THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS HAS ARRIVED!

I’ll play this straight. Dark Horse has assembled a team that I love. I really dig writer’s Gerard Way’s “Umbrella Academy” stuffs, and yeah, I won’t front, I like My Chemical Romance. As for Becky, she drew the very awesome Demo with Brian Wood, another favorite of mine, so these 2 on a book that ties into my favorite MCR album is a must buy. The book’s debut issue is firing on all cylinders, and you definitely get your $4 worth it. Pick it up on sight.

Chris Sims,  of fame, was a guest in the massive Indie creator section of the con, and I’m a fan of his work I’m also a fan of Street Fighter, and the publisher Udon, which is a really roundabout way of saying that I bought Super Street Fighter Volume 1: The New Generation. This dropped last October apparently, and while I liked it, I’m a little hesitant to recommend it to everyone. As enjoyable as the side stories by Sims and friends are (I don’t want to know you if you can’t get down with a Balrog Vs. Dudley fight), the main story is strictly for fans only. Also the page count is a little weird due to the fact that there’s a lot of sketches/promo art packaged in. It retails for $35, which is kinda steep, but it’s also a over-sized hardcover, so the price is kinda justified if you’re into Street Fighter.

Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel is a book that I’ve been on board with since she wrote 2 issues of Avenging Spider-Man with Carol Danvers in them last year. So while I didn’t actually buy anything from her at Heroescon ( I did do a nice little write up of her Carol Corps panel over at Bleeding Cool, that will not stop me from pushing the 2 Captain Marvel trades currently available. Kelly Sue’s joined by relatively new artists like Dexter Soy and Filipe Andrade, both excellent story tellers in their own rights, as well as the great Emma Rios, who is currently working with KSD on Image’s upcoming “Pretty Deadly”. It’s good super hero stuffs with an easy jumping on point, and for $15 bucks a volume, you really can’t go wrong with this series.

That concludes my brief con report/creators I like plugathon. Next time I’ll be back plugging a dozen or so Play Arts.

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GO TEAM VENTURE! The Venture Brothers is back on the air after 3 long years! Austensibly a parody of Johnny Quest, the Venture Brothers has grown into a touching story about people with extraordinary abilities failing in ordinary ways. Packed with nerds, super-hero wannabies and other marginal social pariahs, the Venture Brothers is about US, viewed through the mirror of the pop culture we love.

There is LOTS to celebrate with the Ventures back on! Forbidden Planet has a decent amount of Venture Brothers action figures, shirts, bobbleheads and other assorted merch. Don’t see what your looking for? Have any of our talented staff help you find it…or draw it for you! SURE! Wanna’ see Brock Sampson fight Empowered in the new (amazing) Empowered Special #4 out from Dark Horse this week? Just bring up your copy, add on a few extra bucks and DEMAND a Forbidden Planeteer draw Brock Sampson into the action with a sharpy.
THAT’S the kind of extra mile I’ve just committed our unwitting staff too. WARNING: Artistic abilities may vary

While we reel with the memories of last Sunday’s season premier and patiently await this Sunday’s new episode, let’s check out the following comics, available now, which are either great substitutes or inspiring source materials.
You should own The Complete Tick for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is written and mostly drawn by Ben Edlund. Ben is the current writer for Supernatural, but was an Angel writer and Joss Wheedon collaborator. Did you know that Edlund is also the only other human being to get a writing credit on The Venture Brothers besides Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer?
TRUE! Edlund wrote “Viva De Los Muertos,” as well as having story credits on “Careers in Science” and “Guess Who’s Coming to States Dinner?” This is because A) he’s great, but also B) Jackson Publick, a.k.a. Chris Mccullogh took over writing duties on the Tick comic once Ben left to work on the first Tick TV show. Chris wrote The Tick Karma Tornado (It’s…ok.) as well as wrote some GREAT episodes of both the Tick cartoon and live action shows.
Venture fans who DO NOT know the Tick origins of Jackson Publick’s career owe it to themselves to check it out! Also, I think Doc was Edlund’s roommate at College. It gets incestuous, I know.
For a bright, happy version of what the Venture Universe could look like, one should check out Tom Strong from Alan Moore and artist Chris Sprouse. Tom Strong is a semi-forgotten title, having been overshadowed both by Moore’s previous work and subsequent. As part of the ABC line of comics, Tom was the centerpiece, yet couldn’t compete with Top 10 and Promethia, the more interesting titles it shared a spotlight with.
Tom Strong is, like Rusty Venture, a super-scientist, born of scientific parents…only Tom is amazing at it. Where Rusty “Doc” Venture has a spindly robot handed down from his father which never seems to work right, Tom has a cool Victorian robot butler that half runs on steam. Where Doc has two sons who resent him and his life choices, Tom has a beautiful daughter, excited to follow in his footsteps.
Tom Strong is everything Rusty will never be, a beloved science hero with great hair and a working jetpack. Tom’s adventures are thrilling, new and exciting, and will remind you of the Venture Brothers for how DISsimilar they really are.
And do read Top 10 and Promethia. They are required.

Maybe you have a favorite show that’s NOT the Venture Brothers. Silly. Maybe they do make a comic out of it, or maybe they don’t. Next time you write a comics column, you should recommend it, and swell books like it…till then you should watch the Venture Brothers. Not just because I told you too…but because I told you too and I have a taser.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 24: There’ll Be No Escape For The Princess This Time!

There’s a lot of good comics this week. I know you want to buy the same old ones you always buy because they feel safe and comfortable. I get that. I’m not gonna tell you to not buy the stuff you like. I’m not a jerk. But I do need you to do me a favor. You can do that, right? Sell your kidneys, sell your kids, agree to do illegal stuff for unsavory men, sell your fillings, rob a bank. It’s time to try some new comics. I made a list of which ones you will need to buy if we want this to work out between us. You want this to work, right? You care about me, right? I care about you a lot. You are my favorite reader. I only write this for you. Want me to prove it? I make Tyler put in pretty pictures like this one to make you happy-

OCCUPY COMICS #1 is out this week.  This issue  features political and socially charged short stories by folks like Alan Moore, Mike Allred, David Lloyd, JM DeMatteis, Art Spiegelman, Ben Templesmith, Dean Haspiel, Ales Kot, Ron Wimberly, Molly Crabapple, Charlie Adlard, and a ton more. The book is a benefit for Occupy related initiatives like Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt (google them). Regardless of your personal politics this is a series well worth reading. It offers a ton of interesting viewpoints on a lot of different issues, smart social commentary that cuts across party lines and political aisles. Add to that some stunning artwork and storytelling, and some of the best and brightest in comics doing their best to say something beyond the usual “man punching another man” stories, and this is definitely something everyone who cares about the medium should be buying. Not a lot of comics are going to entertain you this much, inform you this much, and maybe help someone keep their home. Think about that when you choose to buy Red Lanterns instead and wonder why you feel like a husk of a person.

Did I mention that I like DARK HORSE PRESENTS a lot? I do. Issue 24 comes out this week. Congrats on 2 years of putting out the best book no one reads Dark Horse. Among the many great shorts in there, this issue sees the premiere of a new superhero character Blackout. Dark Horse has been doing a great job of getting exciting talent to launch new superhero books that are a fun alternative for those who feel tired of Marvel and DC’s usual fare. X, Ghost, and Black Beetle are among the best superhero books on shelves right now and hopefully Blackout will be joining their ranks. Written by up-and-comer Frank Barbiere, Blackout doesn’t feel like it’s reinventing the wheel, it doesn’t need to. It’s just really good. Barbiere has a knack for playing in genre and doing it better than most and this launch shows him doing that again with ease. Hopefully by this time next year I will be telling you “I told you so” about one of your favorite new series.

Speak of the devil. Mr. Barbiere has clearly been pretty busy. This week also sees the FIVE GHOSTS #3 out. I could write a whole bunch of snarky $#!% about Five Ghosts but I want to give Mr. Barbiere a nice quote for ads and whatnot. Five Ghosts #3 raises the stakes on this already great series in every way. Smart, tense, and beautiful, the best book of the year keeps getting better. Buy Five Ghosts or admit you are fake. Your welcome Frank.

Do you like pretty stuff? Read GODZILLA: HALF-CENTURY WAR. James Stokoe (pronounced “Stew-Coo-Ooo-Whoa-Eee”) is one of the best artists working in comics right now. Like the beautiful bastard child of Paul Pope, Geof Darrow, and Osamu Tezuka, Stokoe has earned a rabid fanbase by quality of work but not quantity of work. I am pretty sure I will never see a year with 12 issues of his work on the stands. With that understanding you should all view the arrival of a whole trade of his work as a sort of holiday. Skip work, buy some diapers and a lot of chocolate milk, get yourself a massage, and rent a new couch because it’s about to get awesome for you. In case the title didn’t make it clear, this book is Stokoe drawing a giant Japanese (Can they claim ownership of him? Should they?) dragon monster thing while it wrecks stuff. Yeah. It’s awesome.

THE PROPERTY is the new graphic novel from Rutu Modan, author of the brilliant Exit Wounds. If you have never read any of Ms. Modan’s work, her stuff reads like Tintin if Tintin was full of powerfully quiet human drama instead of, ya know, racism. It is economical in both art and storytelling, but the story never feels rushed or shortchanged. This is as elegant as comics get. The Property tells the story of 2 generations of Polish women returning to their homeland to reclaim property seized in the holocaust. As the story progresses both the cause and the meaning of this pilgrimage begin to change for the women and what results is a very touching and humorous story about peoples relationships to each other, their history, and the larger world around them.

It is that time of the week when I tell you to buy some new Image comic #1. This weeks obligatory #1 is THE BOUNCE. Joe Casey has written just about every major superhero worth writing and a lot that aren’t. He always makes books that manage to feel smarter and more fun than his contemporaries. Well now he launches The Bounce which is essentially a stoner version of Spider-Man. If there is one thing you should trust Mr. Casey to do it is both examine and deconstruct superheroes in really intelligent ways all while not letting you realize that is happening. He hides the smart storytelling in the fun. That’s smart. I’m tired. Buy this book.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 18: And Restore Freedom to the Galaxy…



I really don’t want to do this this week. This column is going to take some weird turns. Some days I don’t like writing things that don’t make people feel anything so I might just get real creepy and personal. All exposed nerves and open wounds. Awkward as a substitute for interesting. I have abandoned the idea of comics journalism in favor of weird tangents, self aggrandizing, and the occasional comic recommendation. This is a one week special. Next week I will be back to talking about…I guess I kind of do this every week. Anyway, I feel like in my war with Unkie Dev (which he doesn’t know is a thing… but it is a thing) I am fighting the ground war and he is going for a victory through attrition. We battle each week for column space and witticism supremacy (both of which I win… because I am very witty.) and I fight each week’s battle like it is the last. It never is. He has been writing a column that nobody appreciates much longer than I have. This is only my 18th. He is old hat and yelling into the void and his long game is wearing me down. I don’t know how he does it. I can barely muster the energy to be excited about telling you, my last loyal reader, about new comics. But muster I will. I got you this. It’s not much but it’s mustered.

My first review is a twofer. MIND MGMT. Matt Kindt is one of those guys that is hard to pigeon hole. That’s a weird term. Seems sexual in a really gross way but I don’t think it is. Maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m pretty vanilla. Anyway, Matt Kindt’s stuff was too indie to get the action comic persons attention, to actiony to get the indie kids excited. That’s what made him brilliant. Then his buddy Jeff Lemire broke out in a big way doing a very similar thing and opened a lot of doors. Now Matt Kindt is making waves as one of the most exciting writers at DC and soon to be Marvel but the whole time he has had MIND MGMT brewing. This is one of those books that makes other writers stay up late and curse their brains for not being able to perform these sort of narrative acrobatics. Mr. Kindt makes me feel inadequate, and that is about as high praise as I have. His cerebral conspiracy theory book has become one of the hot books of 2013 with the announcement of an upcoming film and back issues being nearly impossible to find. Now you can finally start catching up with a $1 re-release of issue 1 or the first collection in a very nice hardcover. You can either try if for cheap or trust me and dive right in. I vote for trust me. Why would I vote against you trusting me?

Ok. One review down, infinite to go. That one wasn’t so bad. I might have shared a bit too much about my proclivities but at least we got through it and now we are a little closer. It’s your turn to share.

You took to long. I will review X while you think of something uncomfortable to share with me. X #0 is out. It collects all the Dark Horse Presents stuff into one issue. Old superhero book brought back from the dead. Pretty fun. Buy it. End review.

Got anything? No? Well keep thinking. I feel like our relationship is becoming more Doctor/Patient and less Mentor/Mentee every day, which is disappointing. I keep sharing things with you that make me agitated if I think about them. I am sharing too much. When I get uncomfortable I can’t maintain eye contact and I constantly look at the door. I’m like a puppy on a dropped leash, always in danger of bolting into traffic. For the rest of this column imagine that I am reading it to you, monotone and drymouthed, but staring at the door the whole time.

They have made Judge Dredd comics in the UK for literally decades and only a handful of Americans ever cared. We are a self involved people at our best. Then they made a big budget nightmare of a movie and the ones that cared ended up caring a little less. Then they made more comics for 15ish years. The attrition of caring continued. Then they made another big action movie but this one was really good. Even less people cared about this movie then cared about the bad one. So, naturally IDW decided it was a really good time to start making Judge Dredd comics in America. My guess is the number of people who care about this book is in the high single digits. This book is some sort of proof of Zeno’s Paradox of heading towards 0 fans. Soon only half of a person will like Judge Dredd in this country. But that is damn shame because it is really good. The British like their sci-fi comics in a very specific way; weird, morally ambiguous, and loaded with layers of nearly impenetrable lore. Americans don’t like any of that. So the American Judge Dredd walks a fine line between faithful and dumbed down. It is tricky to pull off a story about a super violent cop with fascistic tendencies who is also the hero of the story, but Duane Swierczynski does a good job of making it palatable and still off putting, like it should be. If you have been looking for something out of your comfort zone but don’t feel like wading through 20+ years of UK Judge Dredd then start with JUDGE DREDD vol. 1 out this week. Americans have a bad enough reputation as it is in this world, let’s prove we can appreciate good things to our British friends once and for all.

Someone mailed me a pair of index fingers last week. I freaked out. I assumed that Tech Wizard/Human Prey, Tyler, had been taken in by some kindly old stranger only to be met with a few excruciating days of torture and finally the sweet release of death. Tyler was always too trusting. And now his sick captors were trying to lure me into their game. Anyway, I ended up having some DNA tests run though and it turns out the fingers aren’t Tyler’s at all. I totally forgot that I bought them from some weird German dude on ebay because he gave free shipping. Oh well. No idea where Tyler is. I guess I will continue to put the Weekly Planet together myself. Hopefully this time I remember to change the title. I feel like the biggest moron in the whole wide world when I forget to change the titles on my column. The absolute biggest, most worthless moron there ever was.

I think Jay Faerber is a really unappreciated writer in comics. I read the first volume of Noble Causes and hated it in a really fundamental way. I spend a lot of money on stupid stuff to make me feel better about myself temporarily, and rarely does it make me angry but Noble Causes did. Actual anger. Then I read an interview with Faerber where he spoke really well about the point of the book and for some reason I decided to reread it. Turns out he is much smarter than me and the book is really clever. It’s a great pastiche of superhero and soap opera. After that I was hooked on Noble Causes and all his work since then. POINT OF IMPACT is his most recent, a mini series murder mystery that hits all the right notes. Beautiful art by Koray Kuranel adds to the overall moody tone of the book. There are not a lot of crime books on shelves these days so thankfully the ones we do have are worth your time and attention. Once you have read through Criminal, Scalped, Parker, and Murder Book, make sure POINT OF IMPACT is on your buy list.

As I write these words or as you read these very same words something remarkable and tragic is happening. Somewhere, someone is working really hard to tell an amazing, and personal, and beautiful story about love, or sadness, or aspirations, or death. Maybe it’s about injustice, or righting wrongs, or the inherent beauty in honesty. Maybe it’s about betraying the people you love, or watching people you care about suffer, or about the overwhelming power of bringing life into this world. They have the most beautiful and personal and universal book in the world and they just need it to exist. They are working night and day for years on it. They are putting more into this book than any audience has a right to deserve. They are working two jobs to be able to make this book. They are giving up freetime, then hobbies, then passions in order to see this through. Even when they manage to sneak away a few short hours to sleep they lay awake in bed thinking about their book. Dreams become nightmares, nightmares become hauntings. They are haunted night and day by their book. They lose all their money. They lose all their friends. They lose their physical and mental health. They lose the ability to see clearly why they needed money or friends in the first place because the simple burden of the story inside of them is becoming all consuming. It devours everything. Time. Then money. Then relationships. Then their ability to have relationships. Then, most brutally, it devours hope. They lose the ability to remember why they wanted this life. They begin to wonder what they did wrong to be cursed with the burden of this story. They forget the feeling of excitement of trying to get this story out and it simply becomes a tumor that they want so badly to excise. And just like that, the weight of comics breaks them. To create comics they must destroy their love of comics. They must destroy a piece of themselves. And then, when they are at their lowest they walk into a shop to find something, anything to keep them going. And they do find something. They find out that someone made a book about a raccoon soldier from space and his space tree friend. ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT COMPLETE COLLECTION is out now. This book is great. Comics are an awesome and cruel mistress.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 17: That Can Save Her People…

Funny story. My column ran long last week and Unkie Dev’s space got cut. Since then I have been wracked with guilt and completely unable to function in my daily life. I am overwrought with worry thinking about all you Unkie Dev Dev-iants who missed his thoughtful words and gentle demeanor. I have completely rethunked my whole column to try and make amends. Also the numerous death threats helped me see the issue more clearly. For this week I am doing a very special, micro-machines man-esque, super speed version of TRY SOMETHING NEW. Without further ado…

THE MASSIVE #1 is being rereleased for $1. Frontrunner for book of the year, Brian Wood does realistic global disaster from the POV of a radical environmental group hunting for a missing boat. There’s nothing like it on shelves and if you like the $1 issue you can buy the whole trade for just a bunch of dollars more. I know nobody wants to hear that this book has some light environmentalism themes so I won’t mention that. People shoot at each other though, you all like that. Read also: DMZ.

SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY. A friend of mine who works at Marvel lent me this and said it was the best Superman book of all time. That’s how good it is. It almost brokered the Marvel/DC peace accords. He was wrong though. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is the best, but this is up there. A surreal tale of a young Clark Kent that will keep you guessing. Kurt Busiek can find the humanity in superheroes better than almost anyone, and Stuart Immonen can draw that just as well. Read also: ASTRO CITY

PUNK ROCK JESUS. Sean Murphy steps out of his own artistic shadow to become a powerhouse writer. The story of a clone of Jesus who quits his reality TV show and fronts a punk band may make you cringe, but Murphy handles it with aplomb. His art, as always, is brilliant. This one may not be for everyone but if it seems interesting to you now you will probably dig it. I think the ratio of people with mohawks in comics to people with mohawks in real life is crazy. This book doesn’t help that. Read also: AMERICAN JESUS vol. 1

MISS FURY #1. It seems like something changed over at Dynamite and their relaunched character books have either been getting much better or people are finally caring about them. Now they launch Miss Fury, a hero who ends up moving through alternate timelines after WWII. She may be lost, she may be crazy, she is definitely angry (Dynamite, call me. I can make this $#!% up all day: 212.473-1576). This book is good too because if you squint you can pretend you are reading Catwoman. Read also: CATWOMAN

MICE TEMPLAR vol. 4 #1. How &*(%!#@ weird is it that there is more than one book about mice with swords? I think it’s absolutely insane. It makes me feel like I am losing my mind. It’s hard to find comics with black characters in them and there are two books with sword wielding mice?!?! Both sword/mice books are good. This one has some great Michael Avon Oeming art. Read also: MOUSE GUARD (obviously…)

THANOS RISING #1. I once went on a long and moderately well received rant about how I think in some ways comic writers are too sheltered. Many just lack crazy life experiences and it shows in their writing. I said something about how I don’t want to read comics from anyone who has never been in handcuffs, or slept with a stranger, or been knocked unconscious, or had a gun pointed at them, or woken up on a strange floor, or seen a dead body, or crashed a car, etc… Rantings of an idiot, but my point remains. I don’t know if Jason Aaron has done any of those things but he sure writes like has. Now he is writing a Thanos origin story. I don’t know who thought a Thanos origin story was necessary but here it is. Read it and everything else Jason Aaron writes. Read also: SCALPED

UBER #0. There’s a lot of Nazi stuff in comics. Nazis are like mice with swords, they’re everywhere. Except in MAUS where the mice aren’t Nazis at all and there are no swords. Confusing. Most of the Nazi stuff I find to be boring and cliché. Heck, this is my second Nazi stuff book of this column, and this column only has stuff I like in it. But Kieron Gillen is a good writer and can take a tired cliché and shake it up enough to make it feel fresh and exciting. His new series finds Nazi superheroes entering the last days of WWII to CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY! Whoa. If that doesn’t excite you you should probably stick to books with mice and swords. Read also: PHONGRAM

HARBINGER WARS #1 is a crossover between Harbinger and Bloodshot. Both of those books are among the better offerings in superheroics right now. This, the first crossover of the Valiant Comics relaunch, is all set to be epic and hopefully gamechanging. If you have been reading both main books then this event is a no-brainer. If you haven’t then I don’t know why you would start here. The trades of both individual series are only $10 each. Start there. Read also: HARBINGER, BLOODSHOT.

50 GIRLS 50. Fantagraphics has been re-releasing old EC stuff in these really nice hardcovers. Now they are taking a shot at Al Williamson’s work. Ranging from sci-fi & fantasy, to horror and crime, this stuff is almost infinitely fun and readable. There are some Ray Bradbury stories in here, as well as some stuff that Frank Frazetta drew. All with great notes on EC and Williamson. This book is equal parts truly classic comics and amazing history lesson. Come for the arts, stay for the smarts. (Again, Fantagraphics, I will write taglines like this for you. I make up stuff this good like every day.) Read also: CORPSE ON THE IMJIN

‘TAIN’T THE MEAT…IT’S THE HUMANITY. I could write about how this is Fantagraphics collection of all of Jack Davis’ Tales From The Crypt stuff but instead I will just direct you to the title. Now I offer the theory that anyone who does not own a book called “’Tain’t The Meat… It’s The Humanity” deserves nothing of value in their lives. This stuff is funny, gross, creepy, and like nothing that has come since, but mostly it just has the single greatest title of all time. Ever. Including the future. Read also: CAME THE DAWN

Well that’s all for me now. I just got a tip from a friendly lady cop I used to run with that a guy matching the description of tech wizard/crazed mole person, Tyler, has been spotted in the abandoned Fulton Fish Market building. I just hope I can get to him before they do. Pray for us.

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