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.
So last week was my worst column yet. How do I quantify that? Well I thought it was dumb, everyone else who read it also thought it was dumb, and not many people read it. See? Quality isn’t really subjective. So I’m sad to say that was my last column as a comic journalist. I know some of you were living and dying by my recommendations, and to you loyal readers I apologize. The good news is I’m not leaving the Planet entirely. I spoke to the important so and so’s at FP and they, after much crying and pleading, begged me to stay on in some capacity. Especially with Tyler missing, the loss of dear old me might be too much for the old Planet to take. I can’t go into details about the deal but lets just say I can finally afford that sandwich I’ve had my eye on. So here we go with TRY SOMETHING NEW 2.0. as an advice column for all your pressing social etiquette questions, troubling moral quandaries, and secret relationship dilemnas. So, without further ado-
I love your column. You are my hero but I think there is something wrong with me. Nothing makes me happy anymore. I find myself longing for something old yet new somehow. I want action, but not over the top stupid excitement for the sake of it. I want mystery and adventure. Everywhere I turn things seem ugly and unappealing. Am I going crazy? -Ben S. from Dearborn, Mi.
There is nothing wrong with you. You just don’t know what you want. You are aimless. Have you ever checked out Dean Motter’s MISTER X? If you haven’t then you probably should. Motter’s retro futurist character returns in this week’s one shot MISTER X: HARD CANDY. Beautiful Golden Age looking art and gritty detective stories that feel like a cross between The Rocketeer and Blade Runner. There was a time when this is all science fiction did, and Motter would have been among the best at that time. Now sci-fi almost never does this type of story and the genre suffers for it. Pick up a copy of this book and see if it gives your life some meaning little buddy.
You are great. Keep being great. I keep thinking there should be a comic that is a post apocalyptic story ala books like Wasteland or Judge Dredd but involve biblical characters like the Four Horseman in some politically intriguing scenarios. This book would be a mess though unless someone awesome like Jonathan Hickman of Manhattan Projects/Avengers/Ultimates fame helmed it to ensure it was clever and always zigged when I thought it would zag. I was thinking a rising star artist like Nick Dragotta could draw something like this well. A sort of Sean Murphy meets Jock sensibility. All of this would be perfect on a company like Image who keep putting out good series after good series. What do you think of that idea? Pretty good right? – Javier R. from Brooklyn, Ny.
That book sounds exactly like EAST OF WEST #1. It comes out this Wednesday. Please think of something more original.
First of all, I love the column. You truly are the voice of a generation. I have a friend who thinks that all comics suck. What should I tell them? Vita A. from L.E.S., NY.
Thanks for the kind words. I get that a lot. First of all, are you sure this person is really your friend? It sounds like they are just hanging out with you to try and make you angry. That’s not what friendship is about, keep that in mind. Either way, you should give them JULIO’S DAY which is out today. Originally started in Love & Rockets vol. II but never completed until now, JULIO’S DAY is one of the more easily digestible while still brilliant works by Gilberto Hernandez. There are few folks alive or dead who will end up having either the massive impact or the stunning catalog in comics of either of Los Bros. Hernandez. While JULIO’S DAY may not go down as his most important work because it lacks the impressive scale of the Palomar stuff, it shouldn’t be overlooked. For a man who has found his career making epic sprawling stories, it is humbling and inspiring to see he can do the same thing in small doses as well. Give that to your “friend” and tell them to choke on it.
Do you know what your problem is? – Anna P. from Seattle, Wa.
Thanks for the column. It saved my life a few times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Anyway, I met this guy at a party recently and he seemed really great. He was really tall and good looking, wearing this psychedelic blue and yellow jumpsuit. He said he was a magician from another dimension and he did all sorts of strange tricks. He had an entourage of strange dwarves, catfaced men, and all sorts of odd characters around him. But then he said he had to leave because his biggest fan was in danger and he had to dimension hop and rescue them from the clutches of his arch nemesis. I don’t like getting in over my head but I really like him and want to see him again. Here’s the thing; I don’t know how to find him now? I am worried he is gone forever!- Rich W. from Long Island, Ny.
Good news/bad news here. The bad news first: none of that happened. You are having a weird flashback and need to sort that out. The good news: What you are describing sounds a lot like the mini-series Zaucer of Zilk. Z.O.Z. was a great and truly bizarre British psychedelic comic and has just been collected as THE COMPLETE ZAUCER OF ZILK. To any of my readers who want to feel like someone dosed them but you don’t want to end up babbling nonsense like crazy Rich over here I would strongly recommend this one. The British comic guys do no holds barred crazy better than anyone else and it is always a fun trip. Bright colors, weirdo plot twists, amazing characters, and only a passing grasp on reality makes for great comics.
Would you like a cashew? -Jean B. from Bronx, Ny.
No thanks. Nuts are gross. Nothing personal.
Great work with the column. Keep it up. I am writing because I’m in a weird situation. There is this person I know who I hang out with just to make them angry. I say things like “all comics suck” just to see what they say. Is this wrong? P.S. You are my favorite writer of all time. – Danny L. from Harlem, Ny
No, this definitely isn’t wrong. The whole point of having friends is to push their boundaries and get under their skin. Friendship should be a caustic and trying affair. Like prolonged exposure to lye, if it isn’t making your skin blister you aren’t doing it right. In the meantime you should read a book. Try B.P.R.D. VAMPIRE #1. It’s a new arc of B.P.R.D. so it will definitely be a fun book and it’s drawn by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon aka the team behind Daytripper aka two of the best artists in comics. Go buy it in secret, read it in private, and tell your friend to she smells funny.
Love the column so much. You are the greatest mind of our generation. I put you up there with Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Ellison as a defining voice of the American experience. Please don’t ever stop writing. Your words give my life meaning. Also, are there any good X-Men books out this week? Carly R. from Burlington, Vt.
Again, thanks for the kind words. Really flattering. Funny you should ask about X-Men books because ALL NEW X-MEN vol. 1 is out this week. I don’t hide my weirdo fondness for the work of Brian Bendis. His work on All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men so far has been the absolute breakout of the Marvel Now relaunch and with good reason. These books fundamentally break down the X-Men to the basics of what the X-Men should be. Add to that actual character arcs and progression and you have what may end up being the best X-Men book in 25 years or more. Bold words but I don’t have to back them up because you can just read the book and see that I’m right. Hope that helps you Carly. Now quit smoking.
I am in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con as I write this. ECCC is the beginning of the 9 months the comics industry affectionately refers to as “Con Season.” 9 month seasons. Not so bright. Comics Industry- ok at making comics, less ok at everything else. Anyway, I flew in on the Forbidden Planet jet on Thursday night. Not the nicest private jet I have ever been on but that’s alright. I was just happy the doors closed all the way and the heat worked.
So after 4 days of intensive comics immersion in the form of announcements, chatting, gossip, snooping, and spying, what have I found out for you all? Comics people really like donuts and beer. I tried to find out other stuff but that’s all anyone really talks about. There was some cool stuff though. I saw a guy cosplay as Leeloo Multipass and that made me question my sexuality and vomit in my mouth at the same time. I saw a a bar fight where one man choked another man for 2 minutes and then both walked away like nothing happened. James Robinson called me Patrick for no discernible reason. I found out if you put Adventure Time on stuff you can probably take Scrooge McDuck style money baths. Someone who clearly doesn’t have parents or friends thought it was a good idea to cosplay as Geordi LaForge in blackface. I guess maybe some of the comic writers and artists are doing new books or redoing old books or something. I wasn’t paying attention to that. I am pretty sure there are comics planned through at least June of this year. After that, who knows?
But let’s talk about this week. Since I’ve been around a ton of comics all weekend and I’ve decided I really like ‘em I am going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. In an attempt to trick you into buying more stuff and save me the effort of thinking up more jokes, we are going to do this rapid fire style. I am going to call out some books than usual that are good, write a sentence or two, and you are going to buy them. Simple and elegant. GO!
REPTILE MUSEUM #1 & #2. Only issue #2 of Reptile Museum just came out, but consulting my trusty comput-o-tron tells me that it is statistically impossible that you read issue #1 so I will review both right now. Published by Ray Ray Books which, for all I know, is either a dude in his parents basement or a division of Newscorp, Reptile Museum is what we call an indie, mini, or self-published comic. This is annoying because technically everything but Marvel and DC are “indie” so that word is meaningless. Sometimes minis are huge so that word is meaningless. And like I said before, I have no idea if Cody Pickrodt published this or Rupert Murdoch, so self-published is a difficult label to use. Either way, Reptile Museum is great. A clever post apocalyptic story that answers questions and creates them at an equal rate. Two issues in and I have no real grasp of the world at all and I love that. A unique dystopian tale, Reptile Museum spends much more time on it’s characters than it does explaining it’s world. We follow as a character reenters the folds of a mysterious organization and shows himself to be a true badass. That’s really it. But it’s great. This is a huge story scaled down and made small and personal. Mysterious and exciting, this book is well worth your support. Buy it now because you may not easily get another chance.
ALL-STAR WESTERN vol.2- WAR OF LORDS AND OWLS. DC’s most consistently great book is All-Star Western. Jonah Hex is a brilliant character, Palmiotti & Gray handle him in a way that makes it almost impossible not to love and loathe him. Someone at editorial decided to make a book that takes place in the 1880′s cross over with Batman and it isn’t horrible and stupid, it’s actually quite fun. The art is great. It’s one of 3 westerns on store shelves. Go buy it.
SLEEPER Omnibus. Ed Brubaker does superhero crime noir comics. A deep cover superhero begins to lose his identity. Do you like stuff like The Departed, Infernal Affairs, or Donnie Brasco? Well this is better. $75 gets you 2 volumes of Sleeper, the Point Blank prequel, and a ton of bonus stuff. There isn’t much more that I can say other than fans of crime, superhero, great writing, or beautiful art must own these books.
Grant Morrison writes 50% crazy nonsense that is almost impenetrable. Then he writes 50% next level brilliance that is untouchable, fun and smart. Sean Murphy is one of the best artists in comics today. They teemed up on JOE THE BARBARIAN to tell the story of a little boy getting lost in his own fantastical mind. It is the best thing either of them has done in many years. These are the best guys in the business doing their best work. Buy the paperback version out this week and lock yourself in a room so you can read though it a few times.
I don’t care about the Rocketeer. Jennifer Connelly isn’t in the comics so 12 year old me doesn’t make adult me buy them. But then Mark Waid goes and does his thing of taking old things, getting rid of the excess, and making them fun again. Then Chris Samnee comes in and does his thing of making comics that are so pretty they make everything else seem like ugly, busy, squiggles. Both men make ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM a must own book for fans of pulp stuff or inventive ways to make action heroes feel fresh and familiar at the same time.
I just want to run the copy for LOST VEGAS #1 because either they have my sense of humor exactly and the notes to the editor are brilliantly funny OR someone really didn’t do their job. Either way Jim McCann and Janet Lee made RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN which is probably the most brilliant kids book in recent memory. Lost Vegas isn’t a kids book but it looks like it might be as brilliant. So, without further ado, the weird solicitation text for LOST VEGAS #1- The EISNER AWARD-WINNING team of JIM McCANN?& JANET LEE reunite to create a universe filled with intrigue as one gambler-turned-slave has 24 hours to go all in and pull off the greatest heist the universe has seen. (in this next section, can it be like a brochure, like a different font? If not, italics is cool) WELCOME TO LOST VEGAS! Aboard this luxurious casino-filled traveling space-station you will find the highest stakes games from every corner of every planet, unheard-of winnings, and the greatest attractions anywhere!* (Can the below section be a smaller font size?)*the fine print- those who bet it all and lose must work it off as indentured servants to the casino. Escape is not possible. No one is exempt from these rules.
Joe Casey is a great writer. He can do almost anything with style, heart, and humor. None of that matters because his new Image series is called SEX. He wins. SEX #1 is on shelves now. Buying any other comic instead of SEX makes you look stupid.
Cullen Bunn may be getting famous for his work over at Marvel but if there were any justice in the world he would already have been famous for his brilliant western series SIXTH GUN. He returns with a new series called HELHEIM launching this week. Vikings, the undead, gods, and monsters come together in what may be the most fun book of the year. I was lucky enough to see Joëlle Jones art for HELHEIM #1 this weekend and it is quite clear that Ms. Jones has just launched herself into the top tier of comic artists working today. With an art style that falls somewhere between Luther Strode‘s Tradd Moore and B.P.R.D.’s Tyler Crook but feels completely fresh at the same time, this book is painfully beautiful, which is what you want when you are dealing with swordsfights and beheadings.
I seem to do it every week so here I go to do it again. ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Vol 1 MICHAELANGELO CODE is out now. The Valiant relaunch books are great. Archer & Armstrong is buddy cop stuff done pitch perfect. A “struggling with his faith” teenager and a perpetual screw-up immortal are forced to work together to save the world from a problem that is both somewhat their doing. This isn’t life changing stuff, but it is the kind of comic you might fall in love with. This is super hero stuff that feels fresh. This trade is $9.99. If you read superhero books and someone as smart as me tells you that some of the best new ones are only $9.99 for volume #1 you really should buy it. Valiant are leaving cash on the table in order to offer books like this at “TRY ME!” prices. They believe in their books that much, and that should be enough for you.
Hello loyal readers. How was your week? Not that anyone asked but I had a good one. Well it was good until Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/6th member of Modest Mouse, Tyler, threatened me. It turns out that some of the links I use on the blog weren’t up to his liking. I think he didn’t like the one linking to him singing a song he wrote about me, but that is conjecture. He is my editor though (ironic since his grasp of grammar is even worse than mine) and that comes with a certain amount of power. Mostly the power to make me look like an idiot… more of an idiot. I, of course, can write stuff that makes him look bad as well. I OBVIOUSLY never ever would , but I could. And that keeps him up at night, sweating through the sheets in his tiny little crib. And thus we have invented the concept of mutually assured blogging destruction. I am Forbidden Planet’s Dr. Strangelove. Tyler is my Dimitri.
In good news I’m not apologizing for anything in this week’s column. I pitched a perfect game with my last column. I’m hoping to keep my streak going and have some great comic recommendations for you all. And yes, all you Unkie Dev fans (or Dev-iants as we call them), I do not consider having my column run long so that Unkie Dev gets bumped a mistake. I consider it good strategy. There’s a plan at work here people. You won’t understand that until it’s too late for you.
I talk a lot about Dark Horse Presents here. Partially it’s because I think it is a great venue for some of the best storytelling in comics and you readers would love it. Mostly it’s because I like it a lot and don’t want it to get canceled. I never claimed this wasn’t self serving. DARK HORSE PRESENTS #21 has more stuff from comic greats like Shannon Wheeler, Duane Swierczynski, and Michael Avon Oeming. I am really excited to see new stuff from the great Simon Roy, artist on the always great Prophet. But the real reason you are probably buying this, and the real reason I don’t have to think of more stuff to say is this- a new story from Paul Chadwick (Concrete) and Neil Gaiman (Neil Gaiman stuff). If that doesn’t mean anything to you there isn’t much more I can say other than you need to read more comics. Start with Concrete and Sandman. Also read Dark Horse Presents.
The point of this column is to suggest (read: pressure) new books for you all to buy. Well I feel like an idiot for suggesting you pick up HELLBLAZER #300, but as the foremost comic journalist in the world I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. As it stands right now Hellblazer is the longest running sequentially numbered book at DC. That might seem like a minor distinction but it feels important. Hellblazer may only “technically” be the longest running book at DC, but it is arguably the best. And now all of that comes to an end with issue #300. DC has canceled the book in favor of a “younger, hipper” book in the regular DCU called Constantine. Apparently young hip people don’t like unique characters with rich history. Either way, buy issue #300 and put it on your nightstand for later while you work your way through the collected editions. (I know you don’t have a nightstand, you just use a bunch of old pizza boxes as furniture.) Hellblazer vol. 1 is about as good as a comic gets and it rarely lets up for the next 290ish issues.
Dynamite has done a real interesting thing the past few years. In their quiet corner of the comics universe they have taken a bunch of old pulp characters most people don’t care about and they started making fresh and exciting books out of them. The Shadow has been one of their flagships in this re-imagining. Well comics never let’s a good thing simply be, so this week sees the release of a new Shadow book, THE SHADOW: YEAR ONE #1. Willfredo Torres does some beautiful pencil work that has both a classic cartoon feel and modern styles all at the same time. And Matt Wagner does a great job of slowly leaking the origin of this 70+ year old character and keeping you guessing. This is a book that is good enough to get you excited about the whole Dynamite line. Get into it.
Remember- Don’t talk about a perfect game while it’s happening. You will jinx it.
HOW DO I KNOW WHO I AM IF I FORGET? is the new self published mini comic from writer/artist Luis Echavarria Uribe. As beautiful as it is disturbing, HDIKWIAIIF? is the story of an obsessive girl trying to figure out who she is and how she relates to the world. Her obsessions are both uncomfortable and somehow comforting all at once. Equal parts outsider art comic story and EC horror book, Mr. Echavarria Uribe crafts a story that twists and turns under you in uncomfortable and exciting ways. His art can be quite beautiful and, unlike so many self published creators, he has learned to write to his art strengths and draw to his writing strengths. Obviously for most of the people who read this column a self published mini-comic may be far outside their wheelhouse, but this book would be write at home in the collection of anyone who likes reading good comics, regardless of genre or format. Pick it up, support someone who is doing it on their own, and you will be rewarded with one of the best books out so far this year.
I was going to write a bunch more stuff but I am tired and for some reason my girlfriend just put Glengarry Glen Ross on so I sort of stopped caring about my job here. Other good stuff out this week includes the long awaited return of Kill Shakespeare. Fans of Fables, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and trying to look more literate than you actually are would do well to pick up KILL SHAKESPEARE: THE TIDE OF BLOOD #1. A mash-up of many of The Bard’s most famous characters, the Kill Shakespeare series is always good fun if you get the references and really odd but still enjoyable I am sure if you don’t. Also worth grabbing is the strange early 90′s British sci-fi series TALES FROM BEYOND SCIENCE, which is finally collected into one hardcover. 8 tales all drawn by British artist and graphic designer Rian Hughes and written by a bevy of great Brit sci-fi scribes including Mark Millar (Kick-Ass). These bizarre short stories explain seemingly unexplainable phenomenon in ways that will make you laugh and feel like someone dosed you. If you like stuff like stuff like Madman or anything zany at all this book should be going home with you. Now go spend your money wisely. And remember kids, Always Be Closing.
How about that. It was funny. It was smart. It used commas in interesting ways. Good books were recommended. A flawless column. And that means back to back perfect games. Give me the Cy Young right now. (1% of you have any idea what I am talking about.)
I suppose a 2013 preview list should not be written 14 days into year, but I did a lot of traveling over the holidays, and acquired several video games of worth. If anything, SEGA should be held responsible for pushing “Anarchy Reigns” back to this week.
Anywho, 2012 was a shockingly awesome year for collectibles, so hopefully 2013 will continue the trend. We’re a month away from Toy Fair, and 2 months away from c2e2, so some comics and toys new is light. “Some” being the key world here. There’s some things announced in 2012 that still haven’t seen the light yet, so I’ll talk about those!
I’ve poked a ton of fun at DC this past year (for good reasons), but there is some hope for them to acquire some of my cash-money in 2013. First off, Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Justice League Dark) is taking over “Green Arrow”, which may have cool results. Given the success of “Arrow” on the CW, DC should have a book that’s readable for potential new readers. That and Lemire has put out some great stuff for DC. Lemire’s Rotworld-buddy Scott Snyder has 2 new books coming out from DC as well: a Vertigo maxi-series called “The Wake” with my boy Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus) and a new Superman title with Jim Lee, which I’m fairly certain will be called “Man of Steel” (SYNERGY). Nice to see DC trying to step up as Marvel NOW is in full effect.
Speaking of the House of Ideas, A NEW UNCANNY X-MEN STARTS IN 2013! YES I KNOW THIS IS THE SECOND TIME WE’VE GOTTEN A NEW UNCANNY X-MEN #1 IN 2 YEARS. BUT CHRIS BACHALO IS DRAWING IT! AND FRAZER IRVING TOO! HOPEFULLY CAPSLOCK AND CONVEY HOW EXCITED I AM! (Bendis is on writing duties, which hey cool, but man, those artists). Marvel actually has like hojillion new books announced so far: a new Uncanny X-force, Young Avengers, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, and like 3 other books there’s teasing at. And “Age of Ultron” starting this March. And Superior Spider-Man started this past week, so there’s that too.
2013 looks great for the non Big 2 companies too! Dark Horse has Hellboy in Hell rolling on, a Brian Woods’ penned “Star Wars” series, and something I stupid excited for- Gerald Way (My Chemical Romance) and Becky Cloonan’s long awaited “Fabulous Livse of the Killjoys”, launching this Free Comic Day. Image has new series/mini-series being launched like Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Kieron Giellen, and Paul Pope. I’m fairly certain that’s only the tip of the iceberg though. Not to mention Robert Kirkman’s “Invincible” hits #100 this month.
And not to leave it off the list KaBOOM’s “Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake” mini-series has started this month and it is pretty damn great. You go buy now.
Like I said earlier, details for 2013 toys are still kind of scarce, and we’ll have more info next month. HOWEVER, we should have another wave of both Marvel Universe and Legends dropping this month, featuring the likes of Nova, Hercules, Red She-Hulk, Iron Fist and several more characters more familiar to the public at large. We’ll also see the return of the Marvel Universe 3-packs, consisting of the likes of the West Coast Avengers, the Inhumans, 80s era Uncanny X-men, and the now disbanded Uncanny X-Men Extinction team. Also I imagine we’ll see some toylines based on Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World.
Non-Marvel toys of interest coming out in 2013 consist of a whole slew of Superman (and probably Batman) toys from Mattel and DC, a Kid Icarus figma from Max Factory (I AM EXCITE), a butt-ton of various -Arts figures from Bandai (Gundam, Dragon Ball, Pokemon,) and like seven trillion new Square Enix Playarts Kai figures from the millions of licenses they have. I’m not kidding, Square dropped like 2 new PA Kai figures this past month alone. More on those next week.
2013 is shaping up to be a pretty dope year for collectibles and comics. As for me, I got some cool stuff lined up that I can’t talk about, but will shamelessly plug when I can. Convention-wise, you can stalk me at PAX East, c2e2, Heroescon and New York Comic Con this year, and on twitter @theanarCHris if you want to troll me and disagree with me over everything. FUN FOR ALL!
I would like to start this article off by “publicly” thanking those friends of mine who purchased a plethora of games via Steam for me this past Christmas. You’re given me an excuse to continue half-assing it via “Best of” articles.
2011 wasn’t a bad year for comics, but 2012 seems to be one for the records. We’ve had comic movies dominate the box-office for awhile, but nothing performed as well as Disney/Marvel’s Avengers film, shattering records globally. Marvel also found great success with Avengers vs X-men sales, which lead into the Marvel NOW! initiative, which has been pretty swell so far. DC saw a ton a creative/editorial problems, but dominated sales for most of the year. Image released a ton of new creator-own series, many to critical acclaim and solid sales, while the Walking Dead solid well, and dominated TV ratings. Overall comics sales have increased, and it seems 2012 is ending on a high note in terms of comics news. It’s good times all around, and now it’s time to celebrate the best of best of 2012.
It’s been awhile since a non-Buffy licensed comic book sold well and made comics news headlines, but 2012 saw at least 2 series based on licensed promises deliver quality and profit. My wife pulls both kaBOOM’s “Adventure Time” and IDW’s “My Little Pony” on-going series, and for good reasons-they’re really good. Both companies have assembled all-star creative teams consisting of web/indy-comics creators who obviously love these properties, and deliver some genuinely good all-age comics. And sales have shown that the shows respected fandoms are embracing these books, given how well their sold. Both series are worth picking up, assuming you can find them on shelves!
DC did an excellent job of trying to get me to not read their books in 2012, as they did a fine job on shitting on a lot of creators and characters I like and respect, but I’m not above admitting they released some fine books -Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Saucer Country, American Vampire, The Unwritten and Hellblazer were all solid comics. But in terms of being the best, the Dark Knight stands above them all, as Snyder/Capullo’s Batman was ridiculously good. A treat on every level, it’s one of the best book available on the market, not to mention one of the most disturbing. Snyder’s future “Wake” partner-in-crime Sean Murphy also debuted “Punk Rock Jesus” in 2012, and it’s a visual trip. The writing’s solid too, don’t get me wrong, Murphy is putting out one of the best-looking books out there. If you’re not pulling the single issues, make sure to buy the eventual trade day 1.
I’m gonna go ahead and give Image my nod as best publisher for 2012 and 2013. It kills me that the book I’m going to name as my pick of year doesn’t come from Image, especially with the year they had. Robert Kirkman had 3 great books on the market, the Rob Liefield’s Extreme “relaunch” produced some amazing books like “Prophet” and “Glory”, and there were great break-out hits like “Mind the Gap” and anything written by Johnathan Hickman. But for me at least, it came down to Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips’ Noir-Lovercraft series “Fatale”, which sales warranted it to go from a mini to an on-going and Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ “Saga”, which is amazing. No seriously, amazing is the only way to describe this book and do it justice. I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
But in the end, I’m going with Marvel’s Hawkeye, but Matt Fraction and David Aja (and Javier Puidos). Not only is it Marvel’s best book, it’s arguably the best book on the market. Everyone brings their A game to this title, which is super accessible thanks to little to no continuity concerns, and each story only being a issue to 2 long. While Staples’ art is incredible, Aja is also doing some career defining work, and doing some panel work unmatched by anyone else in the business today. You can totally make a valid argument for Saga, being the book of the year, and it would be hard to argue otherwise, but Hawkeye oozes so much charm it isn’t even funny. Right Clint?
Enjoy the rest of 2012 FP Faithful! I’ll be back next week to pimp out some stuff you can’t buy anywhere yet! THANKS PREVIEW POSTS!
I love Chris Ware. Bit redundant to say so this holiday season with everyone and their sister buying Building Stories, but with so much comic awesomeness that happened in 2012; between Charles Burn’s second installment to his X’ed Out trilogy, The Hive, and Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga…SAGA… It’s too easy for amazing comics to get lost in the stacks, so I’m here to give my somewhere around the number 10 best comics of 2012 that nobody told you about…
Michael DeForge might be the most prolific cartoonist working right now. He pumps more work and at a higher quality that would make any other cartoonist want to quit, or work harder…..no quit thats the correct response. On top of Lose #4 this year you can also see his work in the pages of Adventure Time comics, where he does the backgrounds,variant covers, anthology stories in Nobrow 7 (more on that in a bit) and the newest KUS, not to mention his on going serial Ant Comics, oh and his porn comic that he designs that features work by Johnny Negron, Brandon Graham, and Jillian Tamaki….more on all of them latter too…Bottom line, DeForge has a hand in everything and you’re probably a fan of his already, so read Lose, or Ant comics, or KUS, or Nobrow, or one of the million other things he worked on this year. King of comics 2012 goes to DeForge, no contest.
The Underwater Welder
Did I mention that DeForge is Canadian? Canadians….must be a universal sigh when cartoonist’s who aren’t Canadian talk about them. Jeff Lemire is another cartoonist hailing from The Great White North. Lemire had a full year of releases with Sweet Tooth Volume 4 and 5, the reprinting of his Xeric grant book Lost Dogs and Underwater Welder. Underwater Welder is for lovers of well paced, clear story telling, and the Twilight Zone. Lemire has an economy to his comics, the art is quick yet purposeful in the same manner as the writing, which rewards the reader with a world that they can envelope themselves in. Lemire is an odd school of cartooning, he’s not so deep into independent styled comics as DeForge, but he isn’t mainstream either (though he does write the only two books at DC still worth reading Animal Man, & Frankenstein Agent of Shade ). He’s a cartoonist in love with genre but doesn’t mistake comics to be only that.
Nipper Volume 3
Nipper Volume 3 finally came out! WOOOOOOO! I might be the only American to love Nipper so go buy it and prove my gross presumption wrong. Keeping in theme with brilliant Canadian cartoonists, Nipper volume 3 is the Canadian version of Family Circus, if Family Circus was anything like a real family and not so adorable that even your grandmother finds it lame. Always silent, black and white line work with one beautiful saturation of red dropped into each panel, Doug Wright creates multi-layered story telling, in the most simple yet still incredible complicated drawing. Just go look already, and then come meet me for coffee to talk about it, I’ll be here till next year trying to describe why it’s so effffffing smart.
Diary Comics 4
Dustin Harbin is yet another broken hearted cartoonist, upset that his nationality isn’t Canadian. Diary Comics 4 starts with Dustin talking about how amazing it is to be in attendance at the Doug Wright rewards (the Canadian version of the Eisners), and how he wishes we as American could take comics as seriously as they do. Why can’t we folks? Dustin’s beautifully minimalist drawings deceive readers with their simplicity, when they are really just the right amount of information needed, each mark done with purpose in mind and simply decroative. Go read em’ they’re good. And if your not a fan of memoir, you just like the punching and kicking comics, he did letter Casanova sooo…..I don’t know Matt Fraction wrote Iron Man for like a century right? See the full picture of creators not just the characters you like….
Pope Hat #3
Pope Hat #3 by Ethan Rilly. Rilly is surprise surprise, another Canadian. Pope Hats is technically 3 issues deep but you really only need/want two and three. In Pope Hats Rilly tells the story of Franny, a young law clerk at a massive law firm, picture Wall Street with less Charlie Sheen….okay no Charlie Sheen, just that one part where he gets punched in the face by Michael Douglas… Rilly drawings show traces of his influences but they don’t unhinge the story. You can see traces of Doug Wright’s drapery in the clothing, and bits of Shultz popping up in the rendering of grass and clouds. It’s like a love letter to days past when cartooning was a profession and getting a weekly strip in a newspaper was the dream. Pope Hats narrative shares a similar tone of nostalgia with its drawing, that bitter sweet pain, from an old wound.
Thats the end of Part 1. Part 2 on Sunday 12/23/12.
Two days before humanity faces the Rapture or enters The Supercontext or, most likely, just plain wakes up to another Friday morning (EST, Greenwich Mean Time +2:00 if you’re in Botswana… your results may vary) we face another New Comic Wednesday!!!
Here’s the full list of what Forbidden Planet NYC will be offering. Highlights include Saga #8, All New X-Men #4, Avengers #2, Captain America #2, Django Unchained #1, FF #2, Happy #3, and a whole slew of other worthy works.
While I’m at it, why not link to my Graphic Novel pick of the week… The new Archaia printing of Jeremy Bastain’s suh-weeeeeet Cursed Pirate Girl.
This could be your last New Comic Day on this plane of existence. Or not. Either way, enjoy the hell out of it!
Every week I look forward to being mugged by an invisible assailant right in plain view of others. I have always found this gentleman thief, though thorough, to be fair. Maybe you’ve been robbed blind by this same perp. Its name is Wednesday, a.k.a. “New Comics Day.” I like this perp.
Some people do not…and by people I mean “Satan.” He has decided that this New Comics Day will be complicated by evil and external forces. Storms, Floods, Rat Plagues and Halloween stand between you and giving us your money this Wednesday!
Usually, we here at Forbidden Planet are Pro-Satan, or at least Satan-ambivalent. This time, the big S has gone too far. This Wednesday, we need you to be very brave and come on back to the Forbidden Planet. We need you to shop for comics for Christ. Or for Satan. Whatever, we just want to make sure you get your comics. [Editor's note: This post was obviously written before we had to shut down for a week due to storm-related power outages. Sorry about that. Clearly Satan won this round.]
YEAH, WHAT ABOUT COMICS?
After 73 years, someone has finally figured out how to stop Superman. In this week’s Action Comics Annual #1, not only do we get to stare at Superman’s crotch and wish it was red, we also get to see the showdown between Superman and Kryptonite Man! There have been SEVERAL Kryptonite Men over the years, some with sleeves and some without. This NEW, Post Crisis, Post New 52 Kryptonite Man has not only NO SLEEVES, but no ARMS! BWA-HA-HA! He has some sort of Kryptonite arms! AH! SCARY!
Speaking of scary, Steve “30 Days of Night” Niles and the AMAZING Glenn Fabry have a new horror comic out this week from DC called Lot 13! It sounds great! THAT will really show Satan who’s boss! Jesus wants you to buy blood-puking horror comics! Jesus also wants you to buy Masters of the Universe: Origins of Skeletor #1 this Wednesday, too. Or Satan does. I forget…hum.
We better pick up as many horror comics as we can in order to play the field. I’ll be picking up the latest Ghostbusters Ongoing #14, then Vampirella #24, Happy #2 and, uhm, New Mutants #50…those are horror comics, right?
There is positively no storm, nor flood, nor rat plague that could keep me from Happy #2, A + X #1 or Ultimate Spider-Man 2 #18.
And no amount of Trick or Treaters is going to prevent me from picking up T-Shirts, figures, trade paperbacks and spectacular comics. As a matter of fact, neither Hurricane Sandy, Jesus/Satan, Rat Plagues, nor apathy will stop me from getting my butt to the Forbidden Planet and letting that perfect thief, Wednesday, from picking my pocket!
NEXT WEEK: Rebuilding New York City after Hurricane Sandy using only the lessons we can glean from comic books.
More musings from Unkiedev, Earth’s own sidekick, can be read at unkiedev.blogspot.com
New York Comic Con, like a vestigial tail, is now behind us. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones on the Con floor and know firsthand of the amazing announcements, projects and previews which just went down. I’ve heard the Evil Dead remake footage was impressive. I hear both Brian Michael Bendis and Iron Man will be joining Guardians of the Galaxy, that Dan Slott is changing Spider-Man for 2013, that the ATMs didn’t work, that the cosplay was top-notch and the LEGO was cool.
Above all else, the biggest stories, surprises and revelations were almost all Comic BOOK based. SDCC is great, but SDCC is to comics as Playboy is to articles. The New York Comic Con remains a very hands-on, fans-on comic book show.
HOW ‘BOUT COMICS?
This week, DC is launching their new “The Cheetah” super-villainess in Justice League #13. Traditionally, The Cheetah has been a crazy lady who dresses up in a catsuit and harasses Wonder Woman due to her being empowered by Jungle Cat Gods or some such. In the new 52, The Cheetah is poised to get a real chance at iconic super villain stardom!
I think the new angle is that The Cheetah is an empowered Amazon, much like Wonder Woman herself, but that she was pushed off of a building by Christopher Walken and was brought back to life by cats.
Sounds strange, I know… No stranger, however, than The Zaucer of Zilk #1, a weird new Image book with some British talents behind it. Image is still one of the best creator-owned American comics publishers, so it is no surprise that some UK talents would take advantage of the free atmosphere to work out a book that sounds completely bonkers.
The Zaucer of Zilk centers around a wizard traveling through realities with his assistants trying to save multiple realities, but with a bunch of “Zs” thrown in for extra weirdness. It all comes off as a tribute to the classic Dr. Strange tales of the ‘60s. SOUNDS GOOD!
Speaking of nostalgia, Image is also hoping you’ll take a ride on a Cyberforce reboot. Once Image’s top seller, Cyberforce harkens back to a time when it was cool to have a team whose superpowers included “having as much metal on your costume as super-humanly possible” and “whatever the X-Men are doing, only more extreme.” AH, the ‘90s!
It’s getting hard to tell what is happening between the lines of publisher, online publisher, digital comics and print comics. This reboot of a once-huge Image comic was funded by fan donations through Kickstarter to Silvestri’s “Top Cow” studio. Image is acting as printer and distributor for a comic funded through the internet, famous ‘cause of print.
Boy, there sure are some great books out this week! IDW has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2012 #1, which achieves “Must Have” status in my book as it’ll be written and drawn by Kevin Eastman. Fans of the AVENGERS movie will want to check out THANOS Son of Titan #1 (or just go buy any of the many copies of Infinity Gauntlet available at Forbidden Planet) in order to get an idea of who that purple alien guy at the end of the movie was.
AND let’s all have a good chuckle with those wacky funsters, the Marvel Zombies, in the sure-to-be-classic holiday one-shot, the Marvel Zombies Halloween Special #1! Yay!
More musings from Unkiedev, Earth’s own sidekick, can be read at unkiedev.blogspot.com
The New York Comic Con is BACK, ushering in the reminder that New York is the center of the publishing world. The NYCC has the BEST artists’ alley, the best small press books and the best collection of Yankees hats of any comic book con on Earth.
You do know that I, Unkiedev, am a psychic man with vast knowledge of the future. Would you like me to highlight a few super spiffy revelations coming out of NYCC BEFORE the actual event?
Let’s do this! Revealing the future Op, Op, Op, Op, Gangnam Style!
IDW will announce a HUGE January crossover between some of their biggest licensed properties and Mars Attacks! Everybody’s favorite dog-kicking dome heads will be taking on the Transformers, the Ghostbusters, Popeye, KISS (of all people) and the Zombies Vs. Robots universes. THIS WILL BE GOOD.
One does wonder why they will not be taking on GI Joe, Dr Who or Star Trek, some of IDW’s other big IPs. A personal favorite would be to see Mars Attack TANK GIRL, the punk pugilist who drinks first and asks questions never, or those heroes in a half shell, the Teenage Mutant something somethings.
‘Twould be cool. I AM looking forward to this crossover MORE than their previous cross-company events, such as the zombie invasion and Lovecraft invasions. I am HOPING Transformers will give a little bit of love to Cosmos, the green UFO Autobot who is big on heart and small on screen time.
MEANWHILE, Dark Horse will announce a new comic from Umbrella Academy creator Gerard Way and Becky Cloonan called The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. It looks like a thrill kill comic featuring a boy band in leather, and promises to be as ‘90s as Kurt Cobain eating a Chocodile.
Still, Forbidden Planet will be a pretty cool place during the con, too! DC picked the right week to publish Batman #13, as this latest issue of the Caped Crusader’s exploits features the Joker returning to Gotham in his New 52 debut! Get your copy at the Planet and suspiciously leave it half hanging out of your book bag as you walk the con floor. Folks will be able to tell you are a discerning comics buyer of unimpeachable taste.
Dark Horse has a huge new anthology comic called Once Upon a Time Machine, which looks super good and will be featuring new work from Brandon Graham of King City fame…but anthologies can be hit or miss. Let’s get the buzz from the con floor and then pick this one up!
I’ll have to think about it…I mean, I might need that money to buy all the variant covers to the new Red She-Hulk and Uncanny Avengers books hitting the shelves this week!
THIS WEEK IS GOING TO BE A BLAST for comic fans, both at the NYCC and outside looking in! Be here at Forbidden Planet for anything and absolutely everything comics-related!
More musings from Unkiedev, Earth’s own sidekick, can be read at unkiedev.blogspot.com
Got 28 minutes of your life to spend on Matt and I talking new arrivals, Happy #1, Space Punisher, crappy old Image Comics, movies, Star Trek the Next generation, comic cons, Mark Hamill and Corvette Summer? Like hearing me say “um?” Have I got a video for you!
Sorry if it’s a little dark this week. Better light next time. Oh, and there’s a slight technical glitch (about 8 seconds) when we start talking about Happy #1. Stick with it.
Next LIVE broadcast is Friday the 28th at 7pm.
Every character has a cycle of ups and downs, from times when they are ultra-hot and popular to times when they are forgotten, underused and unloved. Take for example this week’s reprint of DC’s Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich. THIS is a fun, nasty little book from back in the day when Lobo was the main man in comics, a “take no prisoners” crazy man who would kill anyone, anywhere, for any reason.
This role of “funny, crazy killer” is currently being filled by Deadpool (whom I think, for the first time in forever, DOESN’T appear on the cover of a single Marvel comic this week), but can you imagine a time a few years down the line when The Merc with the Mouth will seem hokey, old and dated?
When characters get to the bottom of the pile they become “Cult Favorites,” and some weird changes can take place.
DC has many more #0 issues from their new 52 line out this week, including Aquaman #0 and Red Lanterns #0. For many, Aquaman is the ultimate cult character, the plucky lord of the undersea who isn’t cool enough for the mainstream but commands the love of millions none the less. Red Lanterns has one of my favorite NEW cult characters, Dex-Starr, the adorable blood vomiting blue kitty cat of destruction!
IDW is the company built on giving some of our favorite characters from yesteryear a home! This week they have two new Joe books (G.I. Joe #182 and Snake-Eyes Ongoing #17) guaranteed to please the devoted followers of America’s daring, highly-trained special missions force. Top that off with new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Popeye, Magic: The Gathering, Transformers and John Byrne’s Next Men?! YOU GO, IDW!
You best believe I’ll be checking out the latest issue of Marvel’s Secret Avengers #31! It’s going to feature more STILT GIRL, the amazing new cult character so original that she is just Stilt Man (the obscure, dead Spider-Man and Daredevil villain who is just a bank robber on giant metal stilts) but now as a girl! IF we can sell out the entire run then we’ll be one step closer to getting that Stilt Man ongoing title we’ve been waiting for…so who cares that he’s dead?! We’ll just get Stilt Girl gender reassignment surgery and we’re in business!
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #16 is a safe title to check out for some fun, as we see what happens in a world which has elected a very high profile super-hero to the highest office in the land. There’s no way THAT could go wrong!
What a great week for comics! All our favorite cult (and not so cult) characters, PLUS a new issue of The Goon and a brand new book from Grant Morrison! Happy #1 hits the shelves from Image, and although the copy says it’s about a detective and a magic blue horse I couldn’t care less…it’s a new Grant Morrison book!
Some of us follow cult characters, some of us cult writers!
NEXT WEEK: We gear up for the fast approaching NEW YORK COMIC CON and probably prank phone call Steve Ditko!
More musings from Unkiedev, Earth’s own sidekick, can be read at unkiedev.blogspot.com