Category: Image Comics

Chris’ Comics: Saga #31

tumblr_ntarc9gbIX1u6xizko1_1280Saga #31

Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan

Image $2.99


Hello once again Saga, I’ve too have missed you bunches!

While The Wicked + The Divine has been quite excellent at destroying me emotionally as of late, I’ve missed the pain I can only get from Saga, a type of pain I’ve grown to accept and love to an extent. Oh sure, Paper Girls is also a book that gives me some of that sweet sweet Brian K Vaughan cliffhanger love, but neither that or WicDiv have Ghus, the best character whom I’m mentioned several times before. Yes, tiny seal man/men are very important to me when it comes to comics, which I’m sure is a surprise to absolutely no one.

Saga #31 was a comic I was expecting to love from the get go. What I wasn’t expecting was that Hazel, the book’s narrator, and someone who’s gotten plenty of screen time as a plot point, as this issue’s lead. It’s nice to see an issue through the character’s eye off screen and on, as it freshens up the book a bit. Plus she’s cute as a button, which helps the reader overlooks some of the more tragic elements of this story.

Screen-Shot-2015-11-25-at-11.16.43-AMSo obviously this is another great issue of Saga, that goes without saying. But you may be asking yourself “Hey Chris, aside from Kindergarten shenanigans and the amazing creative team of Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan, two of some of the most creative people currently working in comics, why is this book so great?” That being a mouthful aside, let me tell you why dear readers. For starters, we’re 31 issues in and Saga still manages to surprise me in ways that never insults my intelligence, and shocks comes off as earned, not chills thrills. It’s a book where ultimately no one is safe, and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. That being said, there’s also a ton of emotional moments in this issue thanks to BKV and Staples creating some deep and complex characters, so you’re genuinely invested in their story. Unless of course you’re some sort of soulless monsters who hates well crafted comics, which in that case, congrats, you’re the actual worst.

Saga 31 manages to stay fresh and interesting by introducing 2 new characters. Saga’s known for adding in new character every arc, but 31 introduces a character that demands to be noticed, signifying that they’ll be playing a role in this arc soon. And what I find most intriguing is that this new badass is extremely LGBT+ friendly in a way that has not be represented in the book yet. BKV and Staples have a pretty good track record when it comes to handling under represented queer characters, so I’m excited to see what they do with this new character, knowing that they’re being introduced in a way that fits the story, not as cheap heat. And if that’s not enough to at least peak your curiosity, the book ends on a cliffhanger that once again walks the thin line between being terrible and hilarious. Or it’s intended to be terrible, and I’m just a psychopath who find humor in the wrong thing. Can’t rule either out.

tumblr_nye1hbzRBN1ro3xdro1_1280Having Saga back on the shelves is always an exciting time for me as a comics reader, despite knowing it’s going to end in tear and me cursing the creative team names ( I prefer to yelling VAPLESSSSS instead of yelling their individual names for the record). It remains an inventive title that always manages to entertain while causing me great distress. Yrs, I’m well aware I sound like a mascogist, but trist me, Saga #31 is an excellent comic that you should already be purchasing by now. Assuming you’re of age, and do not plan on reading it in public.


Post to Twitter

Thanksgiving Eve at Forbidden Planet NYC and, While I’m At It, Thanksgiving 2015

76194133395310101 Frank miller new Batman release Forbidden Planet NYC

It’s Tuesday November 24th and we’re at the shop preparing tomorrow’s new comics, graphic novels and toys, like we do on Tuesdays, with our hands plenty full. 

The hard work’s well-worth it though. Traditionally, Thanksgiving Eve is one of my favorite days of the year to be working at Forbidden Planet. Lots of familiar faces come back in through our doors and it’s a pleasure to catch up with old chums. People need little presents for family members or a board game or something similar to occupy the weekend and from my customer service perspective it’s always a treat to recommend stuff that’s going to be enjoyed in such a manner.

And, oh yeah!, comics publishers and many toy manufacturers usually release a crap-ton of great new reading material and toys the day before Thanksgiving in advance of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This year’s no different.

Whether you’re braving the horrors of the NJ Transit or the long flight to Walla Walla or the constant chug of the Staten Island Ferry or the bus to Philly or the subway home to your tiny NYC apartment… Wherever you’re off to, here’s some of this week’s highlighted new releases to get you through the trip.

Have fun! We’re closed on Thanksgiving. Mebbe I’ll see ya tomorrow or Friday?

(Dark Knight 3 pictured above and available 11/25/15)

Saga #31 – New Story Arc! Picks up after trade paperback Volume 5. Don’t forget your coupons and receipt (wink, wink) if ya got ‘em!

Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga #31, forbidden planet NYC


Continue reading

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

PhonogramIG_04-1Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

Common sense would dictate that you shouldn’t jump into a mini-series when it’s halfway over. “But Chris, the cover is a Scott Pilgrim reference, and I love Scott Pilgrim!” That’s cool, I GET that, I too love Scott Pilgrim. And hey, there’s plenty more of references on the inside. BUTTTTTTTTT, chances are if you didn’t read Phonogram: The Singles Club in addition to Scott Pilgrim, this book will confuse the hell out of you, despite it being a very good comic. To say that it’s required reading is an understatement.

For those of you who actually have both those books and currently reading The Immaterial Girl, you are in for a treat! Issue 4 of this mini series focuses on Lloyd, aka Mr Logos and his love/hate relationship with Laura Black, all while playing homage to Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s massive hit comic. Of course it’s done in the most Kieron Gillen way possibly, which means references to Blondie, with some amazing art. This fun done in one is a bit of side story, focusing on some character that have appeared in past volumes of Phonogram, but does not touch upon the the events of T.I.G. much.

PhonogramIG04_Preview_Page2-932x1415So I want to talk about those lovely Scott Pilgrim homages first. What I really dig about team WicDic Phonogram’s tribute to SP is that it’s entirely done through visual cues in the book’s art. Letterer Clayton Cowles, who’s brilliant, uses several font styles found in SP v1: Precious Little Life (I actually have my copy next to me as I typed it to serve as confirmation, look at me, I’M DOING ACTUAL RESEARCH FOR A REVIEW!). Artist Jamie McKelvie frames the opening page exactly the opening page of said book, and like O’Malley’s art, the majority of this book is in black and white. Colorist Matthew Wilson goes the extra distance, giving McKelvie’s black and white art that manga influenced-zine-esque look, while masterfully coloring the pages that allow for color (And there’s a reason for those pages to be in color this issue, which is a story telling technique I love).They could have easily made a “bread make you fat?” joke (No offense Chip and Joe ) and called it a day, but no, they went the extra mile, because they are a gifted bunch.

As for the non-SP influenced content, I really like how Kieron Gillen writes the relationship between Lloyd and Laura. It’s a interesting love/hate relationship, and it PhonogramIG04_Preview_Page3speaks much of Kieron’s talent that he managed to make it so deep and complex in a span of an issue. Additionally, Gillen excels at having a least ONE brilliant phrase per comic and here we’re treated to two that were so good, I actually stood up and cackled a bit. It also helps that Jamie McKelvie’s art is so expressive, so the book looks as good at it sounds when you’re sitting in your living room reading dialogue to your cat. Yeah I do that some times, what of it?!

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4 is a done and one that allows the story to breathe a bit, and shines some light on some fun characters. I enjoyed the hell out of it, and am absolutely loving what this return to Phonogram has given me so far.


Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Goddamned #1

TheGoddamned01-Cvr-ab5f6The Goddamned #1

Jason Aaron, r.m. Guera, Giulia Brusco, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $3.99

With Image Comics putting out new hit IP after new hit IP, comparsions to 90s Vertigo Comics have popped up. For all you younger readers, 90s Vertigo was the business, giving us such excellent comics like Preacher, Sandman, The Invisibles, and some hella fine Hellblazer comics. There were some really groundbreaking titles coming out from the DC imprint, which helped launched the careers of a ton of amazing creators, but what really won over TEEN Chris was the profanity, violence and nudity, aka things I wasn’t seeing in whatever Spider-Clone comic I was buying at the time. TEEN Chris did not have the best logic when it came to buy good comics back then folks, the Joe Kelly Deadpool run aside.

The current Image renaissance has given readers a plethora of wonderful comics, but none of their acclaimed titles really scratched that ultra violence Vertigo itch for me. Oh sure a lot of these titles are arguably better made comics (hi Saga), but sometimes you don’t want 169021_764322_4_1a deep, thought provoking comic. Sometimes you just want blood , profanity and a generous helping of profanity.

Thankfully, two creators who have some Vertigo experience under their belts finally published a book through Image that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The Goddamned is the first creator owned worked by superstar writer Jason Aaron and ultra-talented artist r.m. Guera since they wrapped up their acclaim run on Scalped. The Goddamned is a Conan meets The Old Testament type comic, in which Cain, the “man who invented murder” wanders a forsaken planet not unlike Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. It is a concept that is VERY MUCH my jam,and Jason Aaron should get an award of some sorts just for that bit about Cain inventing murder that I quoted.

The Goddamned is a bizarre high concept book that I was sold on immediately when it was announced this past summer at the Image Expo. It’s been some like 1600 or 1700  years since the fall of Eden, and Cain is forced to walk a truly evil earth as an immortal. This first issue gives us the basic premise, introduces Cain as a lone wolf badass, and gives us a TON of brutal fight scenes. While it’s an extremely violent book, Guera’s style never review-image-comics-the-goddamned-1_1really glorifies it, and the brutality never got to me thanks to his over the top, animated style. It’s very much in the spirit of Marvel’s old Conan the Barbarian comic, only with a hard R rating.

Jason Aaron’s dialogue would do Preacher-era Garth Ennis proud. There’s some choice dialogue that may offend any religious folk, but it absolutely delighted me. Aaron does not attempt to go with any sort of period accuracy for this book, which is fine, because this dude is at his best when he’s telling revenge stories with a violent lead. And I like how he doesn’t try to justify Cain’s past actions as any given point, which makes me wonder if the book will actually have a likable protagonist as any given point.

The Goddamned was a book I was very much hyped for, and it delivered on ever level. The art from r.m. Guera and colorist Giulia Brusco is ugly in the best ways, and Jason Aaron’s dialogue is Dirty Harry cranked up to 11. It’s the type of comic I missed reading, and final page is some Brian K Vaughan level of cliffhanger. If you don’t mind your comics on the violent side, pick up the Goddamned immediately.


Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #16

Wicked+Divine16_Digital-1The Wicked and the Divine #16

Kieron Gillen, Leila Del Duca, Mat Lopes

Image $3.99

Up until this issue, the guest artists attached to the last few issues of WicDiv were all relatively new to me. With issue 15, we get a art team I’m very familiar with, thanks to their excellent work on the Image series Shuttered. Having Leila Del Duca and Mat Lopes come on board to work on this comic is pretty exciting for me, especially when it involves 2 of my favorite characters. This month, the Morrigan and Baphomet are the focus of issue 15, giving us an origin issue that’s very much a (NONE MORE) goth romance story. It’s the perfect story for Del Duca and Lopes, who have plenty of experience in working with young adult characters, and it gives writer Kieron Gillen excuse to make references to LARPing and painting miniatures. It’s also home to by far the MOST Kieron Gillen pun to date, so all of you who’ve blocked/unfollowed Gillen on twitter, be warned.

WickedDivine16_PreviewPageMy love for  Shuttered aside, having Leila Del Duca and Mat Lopes draw and color this issue couldn’t haven been any more perfect. Del Duca’s style is softer, more animated than Jamie McKelvie’s, channeling Babs Tarr in a way while giving WicDiv a more grounded look. I love McKelvie’s art a ton, but it also seems that the dude is incapable of drawing unattractive people. Leila manages to make the demigods very human in their pre-awakened state, and gives the book a cool, indie film look. I’m also a fan of what she does with  the Morrigan and her various looks, resulting in some absolutely stunning imagery.  And Lopes’ manages to perfectly re-create the bright, futuristic colors that Matt Wilson established for us for the present day content, while toning it done and giving us more drab and bleak colors for the flashback material. The final product looks nothing like what the duo do for Shuttered, but is an spectacular looking comic none the less.

In terms of tone, this particular issue feels like a mash up of what Gillen did over on Young Avengers with a dash of Phonograms. It also reminds me of the excellent tumblr_nxoniddzFl1qbolnoo1_1280Becky Cloonan and Brian Woods maxi series Demo, which also focused on young lead characters with supernatural abilities. It’s as nerdy as it is clever, and actually way less soul crushing as the previous installments have been. By doing an origins issue, Kieron Gillen gets to show up as side of the Morrigan and Baphomet that we’ve never seen before. The pun dropping Baphomet ( aka the true face of devil Kieron Gillen) is given some much needed development this issue, making him a way more sympathetic character, and hinting that there’s more to been seen regarding his involvement in the murder of a demigod. Seeing him being a crappy youth with the Morrigan is a bit of treat for me, as I’m a fan of slice of life romance tales. Granted it’s a brief look, it’s a nice change of pace from the usual macabre, soul crushing theatrics we’ve seen as late. Also it’s nice to see him sneak another My Chemical Romance reference in one of his books.

The 3rd volume of Wicked Divine continues to be some fantastic comics. The book has benefited immensely from the done in one origin issues, which have fleshed out the cast while carefully moving the story forward. Having an artist like Lana Del Duca swing by and put her spin on these characters was a fantastic choice, and arguably my favorite guest artist on the book to date.


Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #2

PaperGirls_02-1Paper Girls #2

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

It feels almost pointless to review a book drawn by Cliff Chang, written by Brian K Vaughan, and colored by Matthew Wilson these days. Given the collected works by these 3 creators have product throughout their comics careers, you know the book will be worth your time, and that this trio will bring their A-game to the table. To tell you that Paper Girls is easily worth the $3 should go without saying by now.

What I do want to talk about today is how good this book’s packaging and design is. Letterer Jared K. Fletcher handles the book’s design and it’s quite wonderful. Fletcher kicks the issue off with a phrase in the “alien” language that debuted in the last issue on a page that apparently is also a pull out poster. The book’s back matter, a letters column, and a survey that may or may not get the reader some cool swag and information in the future, is crafted as to match the 80s setting of the book. I love the creative’s team dedication to the single issue format, as if they want the readers to know they’re appreciated for supporting the book on a monthly basis. And I dig the fact that the 3 ads in the back of the issue are for the creator’s others projects, which is a cool way for any new readers to check out some other great comics by the creative team. Team Paper Girls is trying to build a strong community, and I applaud them trying to go about it in such an old school and traditional method.

tumblr_nxaxklv5Gr1s8erfco1_1280Let’s talk about the book’s visuals now. I really like what Cliff Chang and Matt Wilson are doing with the covers. They only use 2-3 colors, but use such an unusual palette that it’s bound to stick out on the shelves. It’s a bold strategy, but effective, and also iconic in a way. The first 2 issues of Paper Girls are designed in such a way that I want to frame them and display them like vinyl record, like some sort of comic book hipster. The interiors are unsurprisingly great. Chang does a fine job of keeping the characters looking period accurate without it ever going too deep into the nostalgia. He and Wilson also absolutely slay when it comes to the weirder elements introduced in this issue, furthering the mystery of what exactly is going on. There’s enough material to make some solid guesses with this small Cleveland suburb, but nothing that’s strong enough to confirm anything yet.

Paper Girls is an incredibly well crafted that can easily double for a celebration of the medium. Vaughan, Chang, Wilson and Fletcher are channeling Steven Spielberg with this book, but in an mature and self aware sort of way. It’s hard to explain, but the book does give off a vibe of 80s cinema, but not in cheesy, lust for the past sort of way. Paper Girls remains a stellar, creator driven comic that is up there with Saga as some of the finest comics being published today. It goes without saying that this book is worth reading immediately, despite the urge to wait for trade. In my opinion, it’s meant to be enjoyed issue by issues, especially with the sort of cliffhangers BKV comics are known for.




Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine

BitchPlanet_vol1-1Bitch Planet Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine

Kelly Sue Deconnick, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson IV, Cris Peter, Clayton Cowles

Image, $9.99

When I reviewed the debut issue of Bitch Planet late last year, I made the claim that this it was the best thing Kelly Sue Deconnick had written to date. I’m a big fan of KSD’s work, but there was something so fresh, so different and high concept about the book that struck a nerve with me in a way her previous comics haven’t. I sadly fell behind on the title due to a move, and several other life-related reasons, but that’s no longer the case! The first trade has hit the shelves, I had read it, and now I will do my best to sell you on it.

If you’re not in the know, Bitch Planet can be described as a twist on exploitation in a 92b603a210042716f7488054742d7551._SX640_QL80_TTD_sci-fi world; in the future women who don’t fit into a super sexist society’s norms are tossed into a space prison known as the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, aka the Bitch Planet. An all women’s prison setting may sound a bit risque, but Kelly Sue and artist  Valentine De Landro are aware of that, and let the reader know that it’s far from the case. Granted the book IS gorgeous, the cast is never sexualized, making it the opposite another popular women in prison series “Orange is the new Black”. Deconnick has gone on the record stating she’s never seen the show, and the content of this trade is proof of that. We’re introduced to a cast of female prisoners that are all bad ass, and face an enemy that views them as less than human. There’s a lot of parallels to today society, and while most of them are taken to the extreme, a lot of the antagonistic character’s actions and dialogue may leave you feeling uneasy. But these ladies are “Non-Compliant”, and are not about to lay down and die.

There’s a lot to like with Bitch Planet, assuming you’re not the type of person who thinks harassing women on the internet is a good use of time. The book is ambitious, as the creative team touches up/comments on all sorts of topics like sexism, body shaming, racism, sports and media corruption… a lot of things really, which is impressive, given that it’s only five issues of content. And like I said, it’s visually stunning. Regular series artist 4540639-penny_rolle-bitch_planet#3Valentine De Landro has a cool grindhouse look to his art that is fitting for the vibe of the reto-future book. I also dig seeing a cast of characters with various body types, which is refreshing, and makes the book feel grounded. I’m also a fan of the clean, Mike Allred-esque work of guest artist Robert Wilson IV, who’s contributions to the done-in-one origin issue of fan-favorite character Penny Rolle are fantastic. Equally important to the visuals of Bitch Planet is colorist Criss Peter, who constantly changes up his style to fit the story. Bitch Planet is as every bit as good looking as it is clever, thanks to this trio of artists.

And I honestly don’t know where to begin with signing praise to Kelly Sue’s contributions to this book. Her dialogue is razor sharp, and it injects so much life into the cast and the world they inhabit. It reads and feels like 100% pure DeConnick; unafraid to go into some dark territory, challenge the readers, and inspire them in ways her past work hasn’t. I loved her Marvel work and her other creator owned book, Pretty Deadly, but those books pale in comparison to what KSD brings to Bitch Planet, and I want more of it immediately.

Bitch Planet is a tremendous comic, one that’s easily worth your time if you want your views challenged. The creative team has created one of the most important comics in the last 5 years in my opinion, and for $10, you’d been foolish to past it up.

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and The Divine #15

TheWickedAndTheDivine_15-1The Wicked & The Divine #15

Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson and Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

The Wicked and the Divine has never been shy about the fact that it’s as much about fans and fandom as is about death. I approve of this sort of examination from the creators’ perspective, as fandom is something rarely discussed in comics aside from the occasional cosplay joke, so to see it explored the way it has been in WicDiv makes the titles one of the most relevant books on the stands, and has made the creative teams a trio of darlings on social media platforms like Tumblr.

Tumblr is a platform that I use sparingly, but one I enjoy a lot. As someone who’s in his early 30s (#KILLME), I feel ancient on the platform, given the average user age is nearly a decade younger, and also the fact that my random dick jokes tend to go over better on Twitter. But I’m well aware that it’s generally the most progressive of all of the social media platform, even though some of those folks are well meaning but still “doing it wrong”. This particular issue of WicDiv touches upon that, making for a fantastic comic featuring a fan favorite character while discussing appreciation vs appropriation.

tumblr_nw81rrxqfQ1rn4nneo3_500Amaterasu was the first goddess we met in WicDiv, yet she’s barely had much exposure since her appearance in that debut issue. Drawing the red-headed goddesses’ tale is Stephanie Hans, who’s worked with writer  Kieron Gillen over on Marvel’s Journey Into Mystery and Angela in the past. She’s a great choice, as there’s something that screams “epic” about Hans’ painted style. Of course I mean epic in the sense of Homer’s Iliad, not as an overused buzzword. It’s a fitting description in my opinion, and a fitting choice of artist, given the fact that it’s about Amaterasu, a goddess who was also featured in a video game Okami, which also had a painted, water brush style as the basis for it’s graphic engine. And since Kieron Gillen use to be a video game journalist for a number of publications, I doubt it’s much of a coincidence! Origins aside, I like how Hans uses the color red in this comic well, as it’s striking when used property. Her character acting is superb, show the cast portraying a number of emotions and looking great while doing so. Hans was the first artist that came to mind when McKelvie’s temporary departure was announced, and seeing her slay on this issue was an absolute treat.

the-wicked-and-the-divine-15-hospitalGillen and Hans have made a really clever comic with this issue of WicDiv. There’s a internet flame war played out as a stereotypical super hero fight that looks great, and gives Amaterasu some need depth Hans’ use of color mixed with Gillen’s sharp dialogue is great here, and it’s Clayton Cowles lettering that really brings the whole thing together. The entire scene is so bombastic and over the top it’s hard not to laugh when you realize why what Amaterasu is doing is so wrong, and the follow up conversation and ending make you incredibly sympathetic towards her.

There’s so much to enjoy with this issue of WicDiv. For starters it’s the first issue in a while that didn’t devastate me emotionally, so that’s cool. But more importantly Gillen and Hans give Amaterasu a some depth, while showing the reader that’s she’s far from perfect but still likeable. It’s a book that’s visually stunning, really smart, and isn’t afraid to have some fun at the audience’s expense. Stephanie Hans is a welcomed addition to this arc of rotating artists, and I hope to see her revisit the title again down line. But as it stands, this is a perfect done in one issue of WicDiv, and one that should be read immediately based on the level of talent exhibited by the creators alone.


Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Jughead #1 & Papergirls #1

DISCLAIMER: I will go on the record saying that I believe Chip Zdarsky is NICE MAN, but this comic was bought with my own money.

635793458419385897-Jughead-1RegCvrJughead #1

Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson

Archie Comics, $3.99

Jughead joins the ranks of Afterlife with Archie in being one of the 2 Archie books I’ve bought in the last 2 centuries. Much like Afterlife, the creators on this book warranted me at least checking out the first issue, despite not caring much for the lead character. The record will show that obviously I am a fan of Handsome-for-Canada writer Chip Zdarsky‘s output, and I’ve been enjoying Erica Henderson‘s work on the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  I haven’t been keeping up with the relaunched Archie title by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, so I wasn’t sure what this incarnation of Jughead was like, aside from his love of hamburgers, and chances are he wasn’t a zombie.

Jughead #1 turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Well not that much of a surprise, given the fact I just said I’m a big fan of these creators. I just really appreciated how Henderson and Zdarsky they managed to blend the spirit of these classic iconic comic characters while placing them in a modern setting.

Jughead2015_01-5-666x1024Erica Henderson drawing a teen comedy was a genius move on the behalf of Archie. She excels at drawing various body types and expressions, making her a perfect fit for this title. Her acting and costume designs make the book look like it takes place in 2015, and keeps the character recognizable it. Having her ink and color her own works also helps her art look clean and bold, not unlike Fiona Staples work on Archie proper.

And much like being assigned writing duties on Howard the Duck, Chip Zdarsky couldn’t be a better choice for Jughead. In the afterword, Chip goes on the record stating that he’s a huge fan of Jughead and Archie comics, and it shows in the book. His Jughead is very sarcastic and a bit of a slacker, but ultimately very likable. His dialogue is sharp and hilarious, again much like Howard, but a little more reserved, making it still a teen rated book, only because there’s some serious dept to the humor, and a big ol’ reference to a popular and violent fantasy TV show. It makes for a really fun read.

Jughead #1 is another stellar reinvention of a classic Archie character. I really enjoyed this debut issue, but I’m concerned how long the team with stick around what with Squirrel Girl returning soon, and Chip’s various comments to Marvel and Image comics. Hopefully the pair will be around for awhile, as this book is off to a great start.


294389._SX360_QL80_TTD_ Paper Girls #1

Cliff Chiang, Brian K Vaughan, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

Paper Girls #1 was THE comic everyone was talking about at NYCC this year. It’s the first new ongoing writer Brian K Vaughan has launched since Saga, and the first book artist Cliff Chiang has worked on after his Wonder Woman run. It’s been shrouded in secret since it’s announcement, with a premise no one knew much about aside from “suburban paper girls in the late 80s”, with rumors of some sort of bonkers twist to the whole thing. Those rumors were correct to an extent, leading to one of the BEST final page reveals of the year (sorry Invincible Iron Man) in an excellent first issue.

I’ve spoken highly about BKV on this blog multiple times thanks to Saga. Same for colorist Matt Wilson, who’s also working on this book, and is unsurprisingly excellent. Whom I’ve never really talked about around these parts is Cliff Chiang, who’s the perfect artist for a period piece like this. Everything he draws in this debut issue is terrific; the spooky psychedelic dream that kicks this issue off, the character’s body language and dress, and the things related to the twist I dare not spoil. What’s also neat is the subtle but effective reminders that Chiang uses to let the readers know that this whole thing takes place is the 80s, without beating us over the head.  BKV also gets some credit for that, as his “perfect but still natural” dialogue never flirts with nostalgia or worries about being too period accurate. There is one major exception where a homophobic slur is dropped (consider this a trigger warning for the book), but it’s handled pretty well all things considering, as one of the character acknowledges the choice of wording is pretty messed up. It’s good to see that the creative team actually put some thought into that’s word use, instead of just dropping it in the comics and making up excuses for its presence.

Matt Wilson’s colors are gorgeous in this book. He uses a lot of dark blues/purples/pinks for the background, occasionally switching things up to a red or a yellow, and it’s all quite striking. Letter & designer Jared K. Fletcher is the unsung her of the book, contributing some really cool stuff I can’t talk about, but it really sets the book apart from a lot of comics out there. This is a stellar creative team on every level.

I honestly feel the less you know about Paper Girls’ premise, the better you know. What matters is that 4 creators have come together and created a fantastic first issue that’s worth your time and 3 bucks.

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Diesel #1

4741654-diesel_001_main_hesseDiesel #1

Tyson Hesse

Boom/Boom! Box, $3.99

Writer/Artist Tyson Hesse is a creator I’m familiar with from his late webcomic Boxer Hockey, but I was sold on this new mini series, Diesel, the minute the preview art hit the internet. Completely missing out on his run on The Amazing World of Gumball, it’s nice to see Hesse’s art improve so much since the last installment of Boxer Hockey. Diesel #1 is a gorgeous book, just one that’s a little light on content.

Diesel tells the tale of Dee Diesel, who’s apparently the heir to a awesome airship that also doubles as a small mobile community. The book reads like a Miyazaki movie, only less whimsical and more sarcastic and comical. The majority of the book introduces us to the cast of the book, and a hint of backstory, but mostly focuses on Dee. Dee is a fun lead, and a lot of the humor associated with her is solid, but she also reads a lot like the cliche bratty lead who’s got a gift but is also kind of a pain due to her over confidence. Diesel wears a lot of it’s influences on it’s sleeves, and while the premise is near and a lot of the jokes land, it also feels very familiar.

That being said, the book looks great. Tyson Hesse, with help from Mariel Cartwight, create a fun world with characters who are very expressive and animated. The character’s “acting” go a long well to help sell the jokes, and the visuals are very clean and fluid. The art really does a lot for this book, making it an entertaining read.

I understand that first issues are difficult to nail, so I hope this promising start improves with it’s next issue. Diesel is a great looking and funny book, it’s just a little light on the story. With the cast now introduced, I expect great things from future installment. It’s a cool all ages book with some charm, and fan of The Legend of Korra and Japanese role playing video games ought to check it out.

Phonogram_vol3_02-1Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #3

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image, $3.99

Jamie McKelvie y’all.

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #2 is the comic Jamie McKelvie drew “for real” this past week and my god, it’s gorgeous. Given arguably the MOST Kieron Gillen script in some time, McKelvie not only draws fantastic looking characters with gorgeous outfits, but also pays homages to 2 iconic music videos in this issue and completely nails it. His character’s acting is flawless, perfectly capturing the look and energy the 2 videos he pays homage to, but also puts his own feels to it. It’s incredibly good looking, and impressive how he can change his style mid book and then go back to his default setting with no problem. And as someone who’s read the previous installment of Phonograns, I’m amused of how we get to see David Kohl aged and become more Gillen-esque in appearance with every passing volume.

Helping Jamie set the mood as per usual is colorist Matthew Wilson, who’s also having an amazing week. If killing it on WicDiv wasn’t enough for Mr Wilson, he also changes up his palettes multiple times in this comic, and it all looks terrific in the end. Same with letter Clayton Cowles, who swaps up the fonts to help differentiate the narrators. This may be Kieron Gillen’s semi-autobiographical story about critics, but the artists are clearly having a blast telling this story, having the freedom to experiment with their styles as they see fit.

Phonograms: TIG isn’t any more accessible than the first issue, but you don’t have to be in the loop to appreciate how good this book it. It’s brilliant even if you don’t get the references without the help of glossary, which I am grateful for. Plus the gorgeous back up illustrated by Jamaica Dyer is worth your time and money. It’s certainly not a book for everyone, the the 2nd issue of The Immaterial Girl is a terrific experience for the target audience.

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #14

tumblr_inline_nueywojFWZ1r77eon_540The Wicked and the Divine #14

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson

Image, $3.99

If team WicDiv were dinosaurs, they would all be Raptors, because this team is all a bunch of clever girls.

…somewhere out there, a version of this joke that actually works exists, and I really wish I had access to it.

 The Wicked and the Divine #14 is part TV clip show, part remix album, all Saga-levels of shock, heartbeat and revelations. Using the Tron/Daft Punk inspired demigod Woden as a lead, we finally learn who set up Lucifer back at the end of the 1st issue, and that this particular dem-god is a bit of a scumbag. He’s aware of that fact by the way, but Woden does not particularly care of what others think of him.

The-Wicked-and-The-Divine-14-2-940x1442WicDiv artist and co-creator Jamie McKelvie is the credited penciler for this issue, and while that’s technically correct, it’s also a tad misleading. While every page of this book is in fact drawn by McKelvie, the vast majority of the content is recycled. A lot of it is actually old art from previous issues remixed by colorist Matthew Wilson, with some retouches by him and McKelvie. It sounds lazy, but seeing it in action will make you realize that it’s actually really freaking clever, as the new colors and words by Kieron Gillen give these scenes entirely new meanings. It’s actually brilliant, and explained how McKelvie managed to work on WicDiv and a new issue of Phonograms Volume 3 in the same month. And while McKevlie isn’t exactly the first artist to attempt this, he’s the first one to pull it off in quite some time.

The definitive proof of this issue comes from another comic that had some fun at this comic expense, and completely reworking it to Wid Div #14’s advantage. For all of you not reading Sex Criminals, there was a bit in the 2nd volume which poked fun at 2 of the WicDiv characters in that special Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky way. Kieron, Jamie and Matt fire back at the SexCrimz team buy making that joke canon, taking Chip’s art and reworking it, stripping away any relation it had to the event in Sex Criminals, and giving it a completely haunting narrative delivered by Woden. In a way the team is taking the hide road with it’s use, but it’s also a testament to the team that they managed to rework a joke a like that.

tumblr_nufxm5M9v71qhppfvo1_1280Speaking of haunting, Kieron Gillen’s voice for Woden is down right creepy. While his ambitions are relatively low key, he’s written as SUCH a scumbag you’ll love to hate him real quick. Gillen had some impressive work on super villains over at Marvel, so what he does with Woden isn’t exactly the biggest surprise, but with Woden we have a different type of villain. His goals and motives are very realistic, so while there’s some degree of reliability with the character, he’s also a massive scum lord when it comes to his actions and logic. It makes for an incredibly  compelling character to read, even if you’re rooting for him to fail.

Wicked and the Divine #14 will have fans talking feverishly for the next 30 days. Between the big reveal and the experimental story telling, there’s a lot to take in with this very satisfying installment.

Post to Twitter

Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang Paper Girls Signing at Forbidden Planet NYC

Brian K Vaughan Cliff Chiang Image Comics Signing Forbidden Planet NYC

FPNYC is pleased to announce that writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang will be stopping by the shop on Thursday, October 8th from 8-10pm for a special signing for their new comic PAPER GIRLS.

SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN launches a brand-new ONGOING SERIES with superstar Wonder Woman artist CLIFF CHIANG! In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure, starting with a spectacular DOUBLE-SIZED FIRST ISSUE for the regular price of just $2.99! 
Gonna be another special night at The Planet!

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Wytches Volume 1

wytchesvol1_hirescoverWytches Volume 1

Scott Snyder/ Jock/ Matt Hollingsworth/ Clem Robins

Image $9.99


For those who’ve been reading my material for awhile, you may recall me writing about Wytches last year when the first issue debuted. It was a great read, but something I could ultimately wait on to be collected, since my comics budget only allows for a set amount of comics per month. I’m glad I did, because aside from reading as one big story, I’m sure the wait between months would have drove me insane.

Wytches is a Stephen King-esque tale by the acclaimed team of Scott Snyder and Jock, whom I know from the excellent Batman: The Black Mirror. Joining them is acclaimed colorist Matt Hollingsworth and letter Clem Robins. This collaboration leads to an comic that’s absolutely horrifying, but also genuinely amazing. The story takes place in a small remote town in New Hampshire, with a family of 3 with their share of secrets.Not to be outdone, the town of Litchfield also has it’s own secret, in the form of the Wytches, an ancient evil which can make your dreams come true for a price. Needless to say, the two cross paths and a number of bad things happen. Yes I know that’s not exactly the most detailed description, but I want to keep this thing light on spoilers.

Wytches_04-1As someone who was introduced to Jock’s work on the excellent Losers, I’m not entirely sure if this is his first journey into the horror genre. If it indeed is, whoever decided to put him on a horror book is a genius. His art is perfect for this time of story, mixing realistic looking characters with some horrifying designs for the Wytches. The book has a tight, claustrophobic feel to it, and it’s more than appropriate. And the build up to actually seeing what the wytches look like is handled so well, making it all the more scarier when you finally get to see them in up close. There’s some brutal stuff in here, which a lot of sick moments involving things twisting and contorting themselves in ways they shouldn’t. What I’m saying is that if you don’t like ultra violence and grotesque moments, maybe stay away from this book.  It also has a dark, slickly look thanks to Hollingsworth colors. I’m not sure exactly how to describe the filter he used for Wytches, but it makes the book look diseased, making me really unclean and kind of uneasy while reading it. You know, the sort of thing absolutely perfect for this type of book. These two give us some brutal and wicked imagery, making this book a frightening, yet strangely good looking head. I also like the choice of Robin’s jagged fonts, give the book a sense of urgency, keeping the reader on their toes at all times. In addition to that, the more bombastic sound effects uses for the Wytches themselves will send a chill down you spine.

wytches1bSnyder himself is no stranger to horror, weaving all sorts of supernatural elements into his current Batman run, not to mention his previous Image mini-series Severed. Here he’s channeling Stephen King to the fullest, giving the readers a brutal read, with some clever twists both in the narrative and on familiar horror tropes. The dialogue in Wytches is perfect, and the horror feels all too real. Scott makes his leads very likable, so every twist and secret revealed feels like a massive betrayal to the reader. The pacing is spot on as well, building moment to the explosive conclusion, which would either be a solid ending for this story, or be a really good set up for a sequel of sorts.


Wytches is a horror comic overflowing with concepts and lore. Snyder, Jock and Hollingsworth drop a lot on the reader, warranting multiple re-reads, and even include all the back end material from the single issues. For those not in the know, those sort of extras are usually dropped from the $10 trades, so it only makes the complete package all the more attracted. For $10, Wytches is a hard book to resist. It’s gripping complete story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and will haunt you for day. The book  channels a lot of horror movie troupes, yet gives you a fresh and original terror in the end. Buy on sight if you’re into scary comics, because I imagine it’s going to be hard to find once Halloween grows closer. It’s a horror book that embraces the medium to the fullest, something I have seen since Locke and Key.



Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #1

STK680389Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #1

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

Phonograms has a special place in my heart. I bought both previous collected volumes of the series directly from creators Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson several years ago, and I’ve made it a point to re-read the 2nd volume at least once a year ever since. I’ve been asking Gillen about the long teased 3rd volume at conventions as far back as 2012, and I’m beyond thrilled that it’s finally here.

That being said, if you’ve never read Phonogram before, this is not the book to jump on with. Gillen has said the series is always been a mixture of self-indulgence and autobiographical, and that’s very much the case with the first issue of The Immaterial Girl. Gillen points out that this issue is probably the most read single issue of Phonograms to date, which is ironic to me, because I honestly think you need to read The Singles Club (volume 2) at the very least to get a basic idea what’s going on with this book.

759ad8c5-f0a0-4de9-812b-189563614783-bestSizeAvailableAs someone who’s read both volumes, I was very pleased with what I got, despite it feeling weird to be reading this book in a single issue format. The Immaterial Girl’s lead is Emily (or possibly Claire, it’s complicated to explain without getting into spoiler territory), who got obsessed with music videos at an early age, and struck some sort of deal with a magical deity. In case you’re not in the know, music is a type of literal magic in the world of Phonograms, and mucking with it tends to lead to bad times.

Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson skills have come a long way since the last installment of Phonograms, so this book looking as good as it does doesn’t come as surprise at all. While it’s been cool to see McKelvie delve into super heroes over the last few year, seeing him draw an urban fantasy book like this just feels right to me. Wilson has always killed on whatever he’s colored, but him working with Jamie usually results in the best things from the both of them. What I found interesting about this collaboration is that for the most part it’s actually pretty straight forward & traditional story telling, versus some of the more experimental stuff that we’ve seen from the pair on Young Avengers and The Wicked + The Divine. That is until we hit the final 2 pages of this book, where McKelvie completely changes his style to channel a iconic music video. It’s incredible, caught me completely off guard, despite it being something set up early in the book.

tumblr_nsxedorfil1qav783o1_1280As for the words, as I said earlier, this is Kieron Gillen at his most Grant Morrison. He assumes everyone is operating on the same level as he is, with little disregard for those who aren’t. I love it when creators expect readers to get on their level, as the comics that result from those expectations are generally excellent. In Gillen’s defense, he does include a glossary at the end of the issue to explain some locations and bands he name drops in this comic, BUT it doesnt cover everything and everyone. BUT if you’re caught up to Phonograms at this point, you should be able to enjoy this book well enough, even with it being VERY much part autobiography. Letterer Clayton Cowles is put to task this issue, but he absolutely delivers, and does some cool things with the narration boxes that falls together nicely towards the end of the book. Cowles, along with Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sarah Gordon contribute to some fun and brief B-stories at the end of the issue, which are cool little additions to this comic.

The first issue of The Immaterial Girl is a incredibly well crafted comics that’s for serious Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson/Cowles fans only. I adored it, but I imagine not everyone is going to spend some time of Spotify researching the bands name dropped in this game. But if you’ve read Rue Britannia and The Singles Club, get on it ASAP, unless you’re waiting for the trade or some junk.




Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #13

tumblr_noly220GkL1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #13

Kieron Gillen, Tula Lotay, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson

Image $3.50

Here Kieron Gillen returns to bad bad devil 666 man status.

Wick Div #13, drawn by the wonderful Tula Lotay, is a harsh reminder that this book is a tragedy. When the premise for this issue was first announced, I thought to myself “Oh cool, we’re going to have something fun and fanservice-ly, because the F%#$ing Tara running gag will get explained”. NOPE, turns out I was wrong about my initial theory and apparently forget that Gillen is capable of making me feel things that hurt so good.

WicDiv13_Preview_PagePeople who are triggered by harassment, bullying  and behavior related to those things should be warned going into this issue.  Tara, the never seen before goddess, is a beautiful woman who has been sexually harassed since the age of 11, and continues to catch guff from awful people even today. Seeing her face in person will make you adores her, but she’s feels it’s a bit of a cheat, and the love she gets isn’t truly deserved. She’s tired of skating by on looks alone, but any attempt to cover up her face only ends poorly for the character. Tara’s tale is a sad one, and  Gillen/McKelive/Wilson add insult to injury by ending this issue a pretty grim joke. Needless to say, I loved this issue, but it’s a bit of a bummer.

Lotay’s art is gorgeous, and is drawn in a style completely different than anything that comes before her on this book. She’s more traditional comics, channeling Michael Gaydos and Alex Maleev in her art, but also giving us a bright color palette which we’re used to from usual series colorist Matthew Wilson. The art feels dirtier and sketchier than what we’re used to, but it works for this issue, serving as a reflection of the brutality we witness in this issue.

WD13_guitarThere’s 2 things that Kieron Gillen does in this issue that I absolutely adore, despite it also being the worst. First and foremost is the narration style. The issue is narrated by Tara via a letter, and I thought it was a really cool way of telling a story. Kieron’s dialogue is very fresh and natural, and this narration technique made me really sympathetic towards the character. The other thing that I like that’s quite terrible is the use from Twitter harassment in this issue. As someone who witnessed Twitter being awful first hand when Gamergame went live (in before a parade of UM actually), the stuff Kieron writes in this issue is the worst, but rings true. And that stuff of authenticity does wonders for me, even though, again, it’s terrible.

The Wicked + The Divine highlights the tragedy of fame while deepening the mystery surrounding one of the character’s actions. It pulls no punches, and it’s a harsh reminder that fame doesn’t solve all problems. Kieron Gillen and Tula Lotay managed to tell a heart breaking tale for a character we just met, and made it hurt me like she was around the previous 12 issues. It’s a testament to both these creators talents, and it really made me thing on how to interact with people on the internet in the future.



Post to Twitter