Category: Daily Planet

Troy’s Toys but with Comics: SEXCASTLE

SexCastleCoverSEXCASTLE

Kyle Starks

Image $15.99

Reviewed by Chris Troy 

“Nurse, this baby was born mean!”

Comics Alliance contributor/upcoming X-men ’92 writer Chris Sims first brought Kyle Starks‘ brilliant SEXCASTLE to my attention via a an article/Kickstartr plug on CA. The panel that sold me on the book is below, edited because language, but the important thing about this page remains unaltered:

Sexcastle03-393x630

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last panel is arguably the best line of comics dialogue in 2015/the last 10 years/since Ben Grimm declared it was “Clobberin’ Time” for the first time.

Once SEXCASTLE was fully funded, Image Comics, who has also given us comics with sex in the title such as SEX and SEX CRIMINALS, picked up the publishing rights, and unleashed Kyle Starks insanely rad comic on the masses last week. It’s a tribute/parody of classic ’80s/90s action films, which is nothing new to comics, but so over the top it feels fresh. Sexcastle definitely pays homage to the works that inspired it, but it also laughs at them, and encourages others to do so as well.

fistburger006SEXCASTLE is the tale of Shane Sexcastle, once the world’s greatest assassin, now an ex-con who ready to start life over in a small town. Of course that sort of plot doesn’t make for the most action packed action comic, so Shane’s vow to give up violence is short lived, and his legacy of brutality* catches up to him once he messes up some locale. This ends in hella punching several characters that bear resemblance to a lot of action film icons, and all of them dying terrible and hilarious deaths. Oh and an actual bear. Sexcastle isn’t exactly the most serious of comics folks.

What Sexcastle is however, is arguably the most quotable comic in some time. The dialogue is a blend of action movies and Chris Onstad‘s Achewood, meaning a lot of dumb things are said in clever and hilarious ways. There’s jokes everywhere in this book, and all of them stick their landing mostly because they’re played straight, and rarely acknowledged. I’m honestly surprised the book isn’t labeled as an action-comedy, but then again I suppose there’s nothing funny about violence. No, that’s a lie, comics violence can be hilarious, especially when GUNCHUCKS are involved.

Sexcastle01Starks’ artwork is simplistic, and honestly that’s for the best. Like I just said, there’s a ton of graphic violence in this book, and this book would probably turn me off to it a bit if it looked too realistic. The cartoony style works in the comic’s favor, as does having the book being printed in black and white with some gray-scaling. Even the hand penned lettering is often hilarious, featuring sound sound effects like ONG-BAK’D, PANTIED, and a bunch of others words I can’t post here.

SEXCASTLE, while chock full of good morals, is definitely not for the children. BUT it’s arguably the best comic release of the year. Yeah, I know, Scott McCloud released something not too long along, and technically this was first released in 2014, BUT MCCLOUD’S FOR NERDS** AND SEXCASTLE DOESN’T ACKNOWLEDGE SUCH LAME CONCEPTS AS TIME! To paraphrase The Simpsons, BUY SEXCASTLE OR GO TO HELL!

 

 

 

*Shout of to the Misfits!

** Not personal Scott McCloud, but this book owns harder than both The Raids and Dredd combined.

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: #BatgirlofBurnside Edition

So in case haven’t sold a large  small portion of your humanity to the internet like I have, you may have missed this week’s Batgirl controversy. The Outhouse has a good summary of the insanity if you care to catch up on it, and I agree with DC‘s  decision to recall the cover. Sadly, there’s a loud internet minority that doesn’t agree with me, but I really don’t give a toss about their whacks opinions.

As fate would have it (“or maybe it’s a CONSPIRACY?!” says that one guy on Facebook no one really likes), not only did this month’s issue of Batgirl drop this week, but the Batgirl: Endgame tie-in issue dropped as well. Since Barbara is once again in the spotlight, I’d figured I’d cover both issues in the column, because it makes or better narrative or something.

batgirlendgame1BG40cover-copy_5488f03771edf2.26063680Batgirl: Endgame #1

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Bengal

Batgirl #40

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Babs Tarr/Maris Wicks 

DC $2.99

Batgirl Endgame wasn’t what I expecting, but delightful none the less. Taking place before the events of Batman #40, but after Batgirl #40, the one shot sees Babs helping out with some evacuating while dealing with the ( HERE LIES SPOILERS) The Joker plague that infected Gotham.

The comic is impressive on 2 major levels. It’s a silent issue of sorts, which ever since G.I. Joe #21, is nothing new, but still an hard feet to pull off. What separate this silent issue from past ones is the clear use of Emojis, thus making it the MOST 2015 of comics. The other things that wow me was the art of Bengal, who has the not easy task of being the first artist to draw something related the series since Babs Tarr. This France-based artist delivers some gorgeous and really expressive art, and successfully manages to tell a emotional story without the use of any dialogue.

The story, by series regulars Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, itself is fairly straight forward, and a tad on the fluff side, but let’s be real, there’s only so much you can do with a editorial mandated tie in. Upside, it’s a simple one-shot (unlike the Death of the Story arc from a few years back), the gets to see Batgirl be a creative and triumphant hero, which is nice when dealing with Joker related stuff. It’s a solid alternative to the pretty grim stuff that’s been going with Batman proper, and shows that Barbara can be triumphant and stay true to her character even in the darkest of situations.

With Batgirl #40 we have a story in a very modern setting with a some retro plot elements. The previous issue gave us the reveal of the first arc’s big bad, and we get it’s origin with this issue. It’s a bit disappointing in my opinion, as SPOILERS a rogue AI based on Batgirl’s brain patterns is something  straight out of Wargames. I do appreciate it being  an analogy for the Batgirl’s ongoing struggle with her identity, but I thought it was a little ham fisted. That being said, I REALLY dug the last few pages of the issue, and I’m hyped to see what June will bring for this title and the upcoming Black Canary title.

 

Even though I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of the book’s plot, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Marius Wicks’ visuals are still gorgeous. Tarr’s facial expressions, beautiful character designs & outfits and brutal yet clean fights scenes combined with Wicks’ crisp colors palette are still the main reason to buy this book. And while Stewart and Brenden Fletcher’s script wasn’t as strong as i’ts been in the past, they do drop some interesting hints about the possible future of some of the cast members.

 

Batgirl #40 is a bit uneven, and Batgirl Endgame is a bit of light read, but I wouldn’t call either comics bad. They’re fun books, with visuals that aren’t afraid to try new things. They both feel fresh, which is appreciated and welcomed, as I rather see comic try and fail then stick to  a proven but tired formula. Batgirl is a book that embraces the changing comic book medium, and that makes it a must read.

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Duck Puns Edition

howard_the_duck_1_coverHoward The Duck #1

Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

I love the fact that we now live in a world where the box office success of Guardians of the Galaxy means Chip Zdarsky gets to write a Howard the Duck book drawn by Joe Quinones.

Howard the Duck is the latest off-beat Marvel book that’s unsurprisingly amazing. Joe Quinones has been drawing a number of beautiful covers for years, so this book looking as good as it does is expected. And Zdarkseid (Mandatory misspelling of Chip’s pen name=GET) has been one of the funniest dudes in comics as of late, so Howard being a laugh riot also isn’t shocking.

What I wasn’t expecting was this creative team to build a narrative that spans from the original Howard the Duck #1 all the way to the GOTG post credit scene. It’s the opposite of the recently relaunched Ant-Man, embracing Howard’s weird history, not to mention the recently concluded She- Hulk series, yet presenting in a way that easy for new reader to pick up. I would say it’s the best Howard I’ve read since creator Steve Gerber’s last run, but I’m sure there was also a mini series where Howard turned into a MODOK, which is also pretty great.

I can’t ever recall wanting a Howard the Duck series, but now that I have one by this specific creative team I kind of love it. It looks great, it’s funny as hell and there’s enough content in the first issue that warrants a re-read. Howard the Duck #1 is not unlike Squirrel girl#1 where Marvel has given us super hero humor book by some top-self creators. Also if anyone at Marvel is reading this, a Zdarsky-penned “Self-loathing Spider-Man” series is something I want now.

 

portrait_incredibleSpider-Gwen #2

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodrigues/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

I’ll be honest, I was willing to trade wait Spider-Gwen even with the first issue being quite superb. But then Scumbag Matt Murdock made an appearance, and suddenly I was $4 poorer.

Spider-Gwen continues the trend of excellent talking animal comics by Marvel this week, as Spider-Ham plays a unexpected, but none the less important role in this issue, which sees both Stacys deal with their respected Spider-Gwen related problems. Having both Stacys take point this issue gives it a unique perspective, as Father/Daughter relationships are rarely explored in super hero comics. We also get to see more of this reimagined Marvel universe characters, and a background Easter egg promising an interesting take on one Felicia Hardy. In a way it hits a lot of the same beats the first issue did, while continuing to develop the characters and move the story forward. This continues to be Jason Latour‘s finest Marvel work to date, especially with the dialogue sounding and flowing as well as it does.

Visually, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi continue to provide stellar art for this book. Each character is boiled down to a specific characteristic (Murdock’s always sleazy, Frank Castle always looks determined, Spider-Ham is VERY much a pig) under Rodriguez’s skillful line work, and the heavy use of pink and green against the darker backgrounds of this book still make it look slick as hell.

Spider-Gwen #2 is pretty much more of the same of what we got from issue 1, which is fine. The first issue was rad, as was this one. Between this and the newly relaunched Spider-Woman, we have two awesome alternatives to Amazing Spider-Man, with each book offering something fresh and fun.

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Sassy Spies Editions

Yes, yes, I’m well aware Spider-Woman isn’t a spy anymore, but she’s still in Secret Avengers for the next 2 months so it works.

 

635544611181339292-SpiderWoman-coverSpider-Woman #5

Dennis Hopeless/Javier Rodriguez/Alvaro Lopez

Marvel $3.99

NEW STATUS QUO! NEW COSTUME! NEW ARTIST! 5TH ISSUE IN!

Spider-Woman, not unlike Spider-Gwen, is done with Spider-Verse nonsense, done with the Avengers, done with Greg Land, and is hitting the streets with a new mission and a new slick look courtesy of Kris Anka. Writer Dennis Hopeless is now free to tell stories without having to worry about tying into Amazing Spider-Man, and the book’s all the better for it.

 

Land is replaced by former Daredevil colorist/Fill in Artist Javier Rodriguez, who reminds everyone that he can draw and color the hell out of a comic 5 pages into this issue. Rodriquez definitely picked up some tricks coloring Chris Samnee over the years, which explains why is layouts are so good. And of course, the coloring on this book is surreal. The way Rodriquez colors the rain almost make those panels feel 3-D. And man, that new costume looks amazing on Jessica. Inking him is Alvaro Lopez, who knows where to thicken his black lines and where to keep them thin. He’s a fine match for Javier.

 

Hopeless staying aboard on the title is A-O-K with me, as he’s a smart writer with a knack of coming up with unique premises on corporate comic characters. Jessica struggling with going solo is an interesting predicament for a super hero, and it’s a cool challenge for her to overcome. And the addition of Daily Bugle mainstay Phil Urich is neat, and gives Jessica a great character to interact with. Also Hopeless appeals to my loves of the recently completed Superior Foes of Spider-Man and brings in several Z-list Marvel villains for Jessica to harass.

 

Spider-Woman #5 is not unlike the Bab Tarring of Batgirl, which is fine because that was a smart move, and it’s certainly now working for J-Drew.   Between this, Silk and Spider-Gwen, you’d think the comics world would be sick of female Spider-ladies, but not that’s far from the case. Each one of these titles brings something to new to medium, and all of them are good comics.  Spider-Woman #5 is a VERY good comic that should have been a #1. I know the book got a nice sales boost launching and tying into Spider-Verse, but THIS is the debut issue the creators and characters deserve.

 

stk665635Grayson #8

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeromy Cox

DC $2.99

This issue sees the end of season 1 wrapping up, as the book goes on hiatus for 2 months due to DC moving to the west coast and not replacing them with robots like I did (Hence I spell all good like always). In terms of endings, I don’t think this could have been any better.

Issue 8’s cover is pretty spot on, as SPYRAL finds a traitor in it’s ranks, and it’s up to Agent Grayson to save the day. It brings the cast of mostly new characters together in a fun and creative way, and ends on a brutal note. It’s spy comics done right, which has been this creative team’s MO since day 1, so this issue being as great as it is doesn’t come at that much of a surprise. Tom King and Tim Seeley deliver another fine script with some choice dialogue and neat twists, and Mike Janin and Jeromy Cox make the whole thing looks so pretty. Even when things get dark and violent, which says a lot about how I judge beauty.

Issue 8 is an issue that wraps up some plot-lines, starts new ones, and sees one of Dick Grayson’s student name each of his butt cheeks. It’s another great installment of comic that has been a crazy fun ride, and this slight break will make me miss it a ton.

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Jeff Lemire Debut edition

Welcome to the article where I know I’m going to spell Lemire as “Lemiere” at least twice and not notice it until it’s pointed out in the comments section/Twitter.

Jeff Lemire, who’s had a big week, is a writer who’s stuff I haven’t touched in awhile, but I definitely liked is work in the past. His run on Animal Man was quite good, he did a pre-Flaspoint/New 52 Superboy book that was equally bizarre as it was charming, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of his creator owned stuff. This week, Lemire launches his new Indie book under Image, and relaunches my favorite Marvel comic (that’s yet to be completed).

Descender-01-6b1c3Descender #1

Jeff Lemire/Dustin Nguyen

Image $2.99

Ever since Saga took over comics, Image has had no shortage of comics involving space, children, crime or a combination of all three. Most of those book has also been amazing, so no one complains about it because otherwise the alternative is going back to Spawn or Witchblade.

As every review of Descender will tell you, Sony Pictures ponied up a ton of money to secure the films right to the comic, despite the fact it was still a month away from hitting the stands. Created by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, it is a GORGEOUS looking book, and  it reads like Chris Nolan directing a Pixar movie. If that’s now something you want in your life, I wouldn’t hold you breathe, also welcome to the nightmare that is being me. But yeah, Nguyen’s water colors look great, and Lemire’s writing is spot on. Despite this being another comic about a young boy by Lemire (see Blankets, Superboy, parts of his new Hawwkeye series,  Sweet Tooth), he introduces a weird  cast that’s helps suck you into this world that he’s co-created. It’s a surprisingly charming book, despite some really dark plot points and themes.

I went into Descender with a good feeling, and I ended up liking it a lot more than I was expecting. Robots and space are often my jams when it comes to media, and Descender uses them to tell an exciting new story I’m eager to read more of.

 

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_1_1_TextlessAll-New Hawkeye #1

Jeff Lemire/Ramon Perez/Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Here we have the other great looking Jeff Lemire comic to debut this week. Sadly, I am not as happy with it as I was with Descender.

All-New Hawkeye is not a bad comic, but it just didn’t wow me like the yet to be completed Matt Fraction/David Aja book did. That book had a mission statement from day one (Show what Hawkeye does on his day off). This one starts off mostly set in the past, and cuts to the Hawkeyes doing some avenging in the present. While I appreciate Lemire taking the book in a new direction, it still needs a hook. All I got from it was “Hey, the previous Hawkeye series got Marvel a ton of buzz and acclaim, let’s keep this book going.” Hawkeye volume 1 issue 1 felt like a cool new indie book, where as ANH feels like more like a really good cover band messing up my favorite song. Lemire’s attempt to capture Clint and Kate’s banter is appreciated, but it’s something he needs to work on. It felt colder and nagging than it did humorous and playful.

Visually, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring couldn’t be better replacements for David Aja & Matt Hollingsworth. Perez’s art is the best thing about this book, and his painted illustrations for the flashback material are gorgeous. And when paired with Herring for the modern stuff, we get some solid action scenes, with Herring doing his best to ape Matt Hollingsworth flat color pallet. It works for the most part, because while Perez isn’t as strong as the veteran Aja, Herring’s bold colors help complete the visual experience. All New Hawkeye is a great looking book, and I’m glad Perez and Herring are able to deliver on the art end of things like Aja, Annie Wu and the other Hawkeye volume 1 artists before them.

In the new creative team’s defense, it was an almost impossible task to make me fall in love with this book like I did with the previous volume. Following up to that creative team is a huge  challenge, and they definitely tried to do their best with this issue. I have faith that Lemire can escape Fraction’s shadow sooner rather than later, but I’ll admit, it felt weird to read a Hawkeye comic that I didn’t fall in love with immediately. I hope that’s something that doesn’t happen again.

 

 

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Morgan’s Mini-comic Mayhem* – Sawdust Press Edition

* Not actually written by Morgan

Former FP employee, Morgan Pielli, used to dive into our exhaustive catalog of minis and zines to let you know what was worth reading from the seemingly-daunting indie section. A primer, if you will, of the kind of treasures you’ll find there.

Sadly, Morgan had to return to his home planet town. But we carry on in his totally-not-an-alien name with these reviews. This week we’re focusing on the talented folks at SAWDUST PRESS.

BLOOD ROOT is an ongoing anthology of comic shorts that feels like a fresh take on The Twilight Zone. Each story features a new creative team, with diverse ideas that range anywhere from a family dinner gone wrong to the seeming-safety of a girl’s bedroom all the way to a post-apocalyptic South Korea. There are already three volumes out to read. Take my word, they’re all worth it. But, if you have any doubts, come on by and start with the first story, THE FAMILY THAT EATS TOGETHER by  James Neish and I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a cute little gift for your nature-loving friend, Sawdust’s FIELD GUIDE series is perfect. Sharing some of the adorable intricacies of the DEATHFACE MUSHROOM or the COMMON LEAFBUG as imagined by Shing Yin Khor is a surprisingly effective way to get someone to fall in love with you, or just fall in love with insects yourself, ya big weirdo. And if, let’s say, you fumbled on Valentine’s Day, they might not be a bad way to get yourself outta trouble.

Finally, there’s the CENTER FOR OTHERWORLD SCIENCE, another creation of Shin Yin Khor’s. This time it’s the misadventures of a group of scientists studying the increasingly improbable secrets held beneath our planet’s surface. Unsurprisingly, adorable (albeit giant) bugs factor heavily, as does an ongoing love story between two lady scientists. What could be better? And there’s a whole three comics out already with more on the way.

 

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Petrie @ The Planet – Hello, Goodbye

I’m a bit more melancholy than usual as I write this. Last week, I said goodbye to Forbidden Planet, locked the store and headed back to the home that I’ve had for fifteen years that is no longer my home. As I type this, I sit in an apartment with a heating problem, knowing I can’t just text a friend to see if they want to go grab a drink.

This has me thinking about goodbyes. We bid them, sadly, to our favorite characters from time to time. Yet they’re never really gone from us. Their stories are on our bookshelves and in our comic boxes, long after they are published. From Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen in GOTHAM CENTRAL, to Julia’s beloved Donna Troy in the New Teen Titans collection GRADUATION DAY, to Jean Grey in the DEATH OF PHOENIX; these characters are no longer just flat images on a page — they’re friends. They linger in our hearts.

The story-lines and creative teams we love come to a halt yet, whatever happens the characters endure. Whether it’s Clark, Steve, Bruce, Tony or Diana they will continue long after we stop collecting and pass our collections on. So, why do we continue reading, collecting, and running to the stores on Wednesdays?

We continue reading because goodbyes are hard. We do this because we’ve grown up with these comics; these people go through the same things we do. They comfort us, look out for us, teach us what it is to be a good person. A hero.

For everything that we bid goodbye to, we say hello to something else. The wonderful thing about creativity is that there is always something new being created. For every time an Avenger falls, there is a character like SPIDER-GWEN to captivate us. For every time a writer like Gail Simone leaves BATGIRL we get another title from them, such as SECRET SIX.

For me, whenever a co-worker goes they have left me something to love. When Vita moved on, she left me RAT QUEENS and PRINCELESS to remember her by. Danny left me CAPTAIN AMERICA, a character I never knew outside of the Avengers. But she gave me a love and appreciation of Cap that has me re-reading WINTER SOLDIER again and again. Drew gave me Mark Waid’s DAREDEVIL, Alec and Val gave me a desire to collect toys and fill my house with them.

And Julia, well, Julia reminds me again and again that the passion we have for these characters should never be hidden but celebrated. She once told me she had to take a minute to compose herself when she saw Donna Troy’s return. She loves Donna and I cannot help but envy how Julia allows herself to smile whenever she tells me about a book that has touched her heart.

The list of my co-workers goes on and on, but they have all left me a better person for knowing them and this article would be far too long if I mentioned everyone by name and extolled their virtues. Let’s just say that the biggest reason I shopped at FP and the very best reason that I loved working there was the passion that each and every employee has for graphic literature. Most of the graphic novels on my shelves were recommended by someone who works at the Planet. Each time I even look at my shelves, I am grateful for my time there.

Most importantly, the customers at Forbidden Planet have left me the joy of knowing them and of, hopefully, helping steer them towards titles, writers and artists. I hope they’ve enjoyed that as much as I have enjoyed them sharing their favorite titles with me.

Since I got permission from them to say their names, I want to thank Ira and Shara for always bringing joy to our faces and lives whenever they came into the store. As I was once the sub box guy and put titles into the boxes, it was a wonderful moment for me when I got to meet Box #223. It was months before we met face to face and I couldn’t help but notice we had similar tastes in books and I was grateful whenever we got a few minutes to chat about the things we’d read, what we enjoyed and even what we didn’t. Box #48 is one of the kindest souls that I have met. When #48 has finished those comics they get packed up and sent to soldiers overseas.

That is what I will miss the most – the kindness and generosity and solidarity that exists at the Planet. The stereotype is that if you lock two geeks in a room they’ll argue about whether Superman or Thor would win in a fight (or, if it were Julia and myself, it would be the battle of the Batgirls, as we both love Barbara, she tells me all about Cass and I try to convince her that Stephanie is kinda cool).

I think that what would really happen if you locked two geeks in a room, though, would be a whole lotta love. And then, when you unlocked the door and let the geeks out, I imagine they’d head out to the nearest con and take pictures with the cosplaying ladies. (Sidenote: Straight guys, this is your advice for the day from your new gay best friend: just politely ask if you can take a picture with the cosplay gal, say thanks and move on. I am available for any other questions you can only ask a GBF. Just send an email to Julia and she’ll forward it to me.)

One last word about goodbyes. This week we said goodbye to Leonard Nimoy. He was an amazing actor and man and I can only say this: Mr. Nimoy, you have given us all so much joy. Thank you. You lived long and, we hope, we gave you as much as you gave us.

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics: Rapid Fire Edition

Here lies Chris Troy, what died of emotions related to Parks and Rec ending.

Aside from the best show wrapping up, hella fine comics dropped this week, including an issue of Secret Avengers I refused to review because it would just be me gushing about how self-aware and insane the issue is. So instead, I’ll talk about these 2 non-Marvel book, in an effort to to distract myself from this Johnny Karate-less future.

WickedDivine_08_300_462The Wicked + The Divine #8

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson

Image $3.50

This may be hyperbole, but this is probably the best use of color in comics I’ve seen in the last 5 years.  Matthew Wilson absolutely delivers the good in Wicked and the Divine #8, in which our lead character attends what can be best described as a “God Rave”.  It’s as psychedelic as one would imagine, and Jamie McKelvie’s simple yet expressive layouts are enhanced tenfold thanks to Wilson’s brilliant colors. This is Wilson’s “Pizza Dog issue” moment, which I mean that he deserves an Eisner for it, and that I’ve made my weekly Matt Fraction reference.

And it’s not like the other contributors are slacking in any capacity. McKelvie is incapable of drawing a bad comic as far as I’m concerned, giving us some really interesting layout and panel placement and Kieron Gillen‘s script and dialogue is wonderful as per usual. But Matthew Wilson really flexes his creative muscles and busts out a Tron meets Andy Warhol color palette, and we the reader are richer for it. The book not only embraces the fact that comics are a strictly visually medium, but it grabs you by the throat and screams it in your face with it high intensity use of color. Of course, you can make an argument that Gillen and McKelvie set up Wilson to deliver such a performance, but I feel his colors make the issue.

Long story short: The Wicked + The Divine #8 is an $3.50 tab of acid that’s well worth the trip. As someone who’s never done acid, I hope that analogy works, because I don’t know any better way to describe this comic.

GOTHAC_Cv5_545d116f223cc7.03502535 Gotham Academy #5

Becky  Cloonan/Brenden Fletcher/Karl Kerschl/Msassyk/Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

If you’re a fan of quirky (And excellent) comics, Gotham Academy #5 is a book you need to read. Aside from always gorgeous visuals from Karl Kerschl and his talented team of colorists (Msassyk and Serge Lapointe ), this month’s installment involves a man bat, a lizard man, hidden tunnels, a school dance, intrigue AND a shout out to one of the best moments of Batman: The Animated Series. Dense doesn’t even begin to cover it, and it’s impressive how much this creative team crams into a single issue month after month.

Gotham Academy continues to use elements of Bat-Lore in interesting and unique ways, and it’s hard not to compare it to Harry Potter or Wolverine and the X-men. But like those works, it’s a fun as hell read, and you can tell Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher are really having a blast working with Kerschl and company. And their fun means a slick looking book with some great character moments, which is all I want from my #TEEN romance, spookums and mystery comics. Granted this month’s issue is heavier in Bat-stuff, literally, than past issue, it’s uses those elements to it’s advantage, so it seem natural, not forced.With the Batline being so good over the last 6 months, it’s hard to claim that Gotham Academy is the best book coming out from DC these days. But man, it’s a discussion worth having.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Troys, But with Comics: Back, with my friend Gwen edition

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK! No for real, don’t, I’ve only been gone for about a week, also I may have used this joke before.

Sorry for the sudden disappearance, but I had a move on my hands, which meant, me, my wife, our dumb cat went from Brooklyn to Queens, care of the Tracksuit Bros from Hawkeye. The snow did not make things easier by the by. But I’m back, chock full of new comics to talk about, and I’ll eventually get back to Toy Fair coverage. Give me a week and we should be good*.

 

*Citation needed.

Spider-Gwen-1-Cover-Robbi-Rodriguez-720x1112Spider-Gwen #1

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Spider-Verse is old, busted and bloated, Spider-Gwen is the new hotness.

When Spider-Gwen made her debut back in the Edge of Spider-Verse mini, I thought it was too much of a  (great looking) tease that played it a bit too safe, which sucked for me at the time. Then that particular issue went through several reprintings, giving Gwen that Babs Tarr Batgirl hype, so here we are 4 months later, looking at the relatively Spider-Verse free debut of Spider-Gwen’s ongoing. Editor Nick Lowe credits the fans excitement for the character for  the birth of the book in the debut issue’s letter section, and it’s a good to Marvel to see listening and giving the fandom what they want with this book.

spider_gwen_1_1Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi do some amazing work with this issue. Rodriguez’s layouts and energy put a fresh paint of on this familiar yet different Marvel Universe. His style is the child of the exaggerated expressions you see from Erica Henderson‘s work combined with the sharp lines and “dirt” you see from Sean Murphy.  His line work is loose, and when paired with Rico Renzi’s bright color palette, it makes for a superb visual experience. Between Renzi’s Gwen and Jordie Bellaire’s Moon Knight, Marvel’s making an impressive case for characters to have more white in their costumes. Also, I hope that doesn’t read as a Klan reference. Gwen’s costume grabs your eyes when it’s on the page, and its demands you attention, making it the focus of the panel, despite her positioning within. And the graffiti element leads to some really fascinating use of colors, which looks fantastic in digital. It’s Spider-Man meets Jet Grind/Set Radio, which is my jam, and makes the book worth it for the visuals alone.

Jason Latour‘s script is great too. Now free to tell his own story that’s not limited to a single issue tie in, Latour is free to flesh out Gwen’s world and cast more. His Gwen has her share of bad luck, but it’s way different than the type Peter Parker’s dealt with in his various incarnations. Which is great, because powers aside, Spider-Gwen really feels different from Spider-Man on every level. Additionally, Latour does a nice job of adding several established Marvel characters to the world with some neat twists, obviously planting the seeds for future story. And the situation Gwen’s dad is now faced with is really interesting, not to mention what’s going on with her band mates. It’s a surprisingly dense read for a 20 page comic, even with a cliffhanger ending. The pacing is great, and Latour has really stepped it up from the EoSV one shot.

Spider-Gwen #1 is another great debut from a company that’s been on fire with female lead books as of late. Latour, Rodriguez and Renzi come out swinging with this debut, and I mean that with fists, not webs, ugh, never mind, just buy it, this review has died via wordplay overdose.

 

 

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Petrie @ The Planet: Wonder Woman and Women in Comics

wonderwomanbolland

Wonder Woman saved my life. When I was young (I was not little, weighing in, at my lightest, about 30 pounds heavier than I am now) I was an adopted, multi-racial, overweight child. I was also, not to be politically incorrect, really gay. I thought there was something terribly wrong with me that I didn’t want to play sports or go fishing, but instead wanted to hang out with the girls, play with dolls and read.

Then along came a metal spinner rack at our local convenience store. There was a woman in a red, white, blue and yellow costume holding back a lightning bolt with a rope (“Hera help me stop this lighting before it splits this building in two!”).

I have no idea what drew me to her but, there she was, right in front of me. Back then comics cost .25 cents (Yes, .25 cents!! I’m showing my age, but no more than the crows feet) and fortunately she was there on Saturday mornings with her friends. Her Super Friends.

Then came Lynda Carter. I’ve made no secret of my love affair with Stephen Amell and the passion he and I share, but Lynda was my first crush. I had her poster. I had her puzzle. I had her doll. More importantly as I got a bit older and began to realize why there was a gulf between myself and other boys my age, I also began to realize that Wonder Woman was different as well.

Wonder Woman was a woman in a field of men. She wasn’t a girlfriend or a damsel in dstress. She did the rescuing. She wasn’t the same as me, but she knew what it was like to be different and I always got the feeling she was okay with it. I knew she’d say to me, “It’s okay to be different and I like you BECAUSE of that.”

Unlike Superman or Batman or, even, Captain America who I thought would like me “even though” I was different. To my six or seven year old self, the space between ‘because of’ and ‘in spite of’ meant the world to me. It meant I would have a friend who would help me through the teasing and bad times.

Now, not to be more maudlin, I say none of this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I say this as a lead in to why I love women in comics. From Wonder Woman (I call her Diana. Yeah, we’re on a first name basis. I’m that cool now.) I was lead to Batgirl, Hawkgirl, Wonder Girl, The Wasp, Scarlet Witch (She and Diana and I had coffee the other day. She’s not crazy about how she’s been written recently, but mostly, she’s NOT CRAZY.)

I love that comic book women are more than one trait.  I know in my heart of hearts that Natasha is the toughest Avenger out there, but she’s dying for human connection. Black Canary could take down Batman if needed but she loves life so much she’ll never be a dark knight. Helena Bertinelli is an angry, vengeful creation, but she never gives up trying to make Gotham and herself better. The Wasp is silly, and flighty and the best field leader the Avengers ever had, keeping an arrogant Hercules in check and giving orders to Thor and Iron Man.

I love that comic book women are bad-ass. Diana will give you her hand in peace, but she’ll make it a fist and take you out if you want to cause trouble. I cannot overstate how much you should read the Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman. It’s an epic masterpiece, blessedly free of continuity. Azzarello makes Diana powerful and compassionate, two qualities which people seem to forget are NOT mutually exclusive. (Editor’s note: the Greg Rucka run is worth a look, too, if you can get your hands on it.)

I love that comic book women teach me how to have fun. Paul Dini’s BLACK CANARY/ZATANNA: BLOODSPORT graphic novel came out early last year and it’s fantastic! Two women who wear fishnets better than anyone on the planet (except our co-worker, Dany) and are friends. It’s a comic full of joy. And fisticuffs.

I love that comic book women teach me about the world. G. Willow Wilson’s MS. MARVEL is a revelation. This book is an addictive read. A teenage, Muslim fan-girl gets superpowers and succeeds in becoming like her idols. I look forward to this book every month. It’s fun and touching and beautifully written. It will make the hurt of losing SHE-HULK slightly less. I’m not sure how Charles Soule pitched SHe-Hulk. “She’s a big, green, super hero lawyer! We’ll make her as awesome as Gina Torres in ‘SUITS!’ And we’ll throw in Patsy Walker and a monkey named Hei Hei!!”  There is no way this book should work, but I fell in love with it. As has everyone else. Shulkie, we hope to see you soon.

You should know how awesome Kelly Sue DeConnick is, but in case you haven’t read her books yet, she’s simply an amazing writer who deserves the heaps of praise she’s gotten. If you want trippy, read PRETTY DEADLY. It’s drawn by Emma Rios and despite what some people say it’s not over-hyped. It’s Death’s Daughter as John Wayne in ROOSTER COGBURN written by H.P. Lovecraft. I’ll let that sink in. If you want a more super-hero piece, you’ve got CAPTAIN MARVEL. Whatever she’s writing, Kelly Sue hits it out of the park. If you haven’t read BITCH PLANET, please do. (Editor’s Note: Her run on GHOST is a solid, oft unsung winner, too.)

If I could have dinner with any working comic creators, I think it’d be Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. If you haven’t read EARTH 2, you should. James Robinson builds a world, and Nicola brings it to life. She not only draws beautiful pictures, she tells a story. and when she and Gail did the SECRET SIX? Well, it’s magic. Twisted, creepy, sick magic. And I loved every last second of it.

Babs Tarr on BATGIRL is genius. She does amazing things with this book, not the least of which she manages to dress a super heroine in casual clothes that a woman would actually wear. Gather around and listen to your new gay best friend, straight guys: when picking out clothes for your girlfriend as a present, stay away from using comics as a guideline; I guarantee, you’ll be wrong.

Marguerite Bennett is another writer that you should take notice of. If you didn’t read her recent spy series BUTTERFLY, then run back to the store and get the few autographed copies we have left. She’s about to start co-writing A-FORCE, an all female Avengers squad and the rumors are true, I did a little dance when I heard about this series.

There are a lot of books I want to tell you about with women who are strong and powerful and sexy and all those things in between, but mostly I want to tell you about women who are written as fully fleshed out characters. Grab Mark Waid’s SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT and you’ll know in an instant why Supes fell in love with Lois Lane. Pick up some Marv Wolfman/George Perez NEW TEEN TITANS and you get the fiery Starfire, the reserved Raven and the glorious Donna Troy, or, as I call her, Julia’s wife and eternal love. Get Kurt Busiek’s ASTRO CITY: VICTORY to have the best comic book study of feminism and heroism, where Winged Victory fights to remain the inspiration she is. Grab some BIRDS OF PREY (honesty time: read any pre-New 52 BOP, but post-New 52, stop after the first trade. The first collection is an awesome take on modern-day paranoia in the information age, after that the book gets, well, not as great.)

Read HAWKEYE for Kate Bishop’s attitude. Read HARK A VAGRANT! for Kate Beaton’s humor. Read anything by Greg Rucka for a male writer who simply writes great characters regardless of gender. Read Ed Brubaker’s CATWOMAN for some moral ambiguity.

More than anything else though, I beg and implore and plead with modern dance for you to read some WONDER WOMAN. She’s a multitude of things but, more important than whether she’s a warrior or a diplomat or anything else, she’s the personification of love. And, more than anything else in the world, don’t we need more love? And that’s why I read comics by and about women. Love.

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Sacrifice

LGBT VD (that’s, uh… Valentine’s Day) Picks and More!

It’s February. The month of love, l’amour, passion, romance and sweet kisses. (Editor’s note: and whips and handcuffs and bondage rope and…)

I love Valentine’s Day. Well, actually I love the day after when all the candy goes to 50% off. Valentine’s Day itself I could take or leave, but being single, it gives me a chance to get a little tipsy in public without judgement.

Now, when one thinks of comics, there are epic love stories that span the years. Clark and Lois. Bruce and Selina. Reed and Sue. Scott and Jean and/or Emma.  Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. Dick Grayson and Starfire. Dick Grayson and Helena Bertinelli. Dick Grayson and, well, pretty much everyone of a certain age in the DCU.

Of course the most true and everlasting of love stories is myself and Stephen Amell, star of the tv show ARROW, but since those details are private, I’ll get back to my point. Love abounds in all corners of the world and while Nick is covering one half of those love stories I’ll be giving you some LBGT recommendations. We here at FP have you covered for all the Valentine’s Day gifts you’ll need for the geeks in your life!!

YOUNG AVENGERS has young love with all its angst and trauma and the great ups and downs. There is a hardcover omnibus with all of the recent Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie run and the overarching storyline revolves around WICCAN making a huge magical mistake in order to make his boyfriend, HULKLING, happy. Ah, the things we stupidly do for love when we’re young. It’s a sweet story about love against a cosmic background and if you’ve never read Young Avengers, it’ll make you want more.

Paige Braddock’s JANE’S WORLD and Alison Bechdel’s ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR are must haves for, well, everyone. The absurdities of love and the pitfalls of lust are made universal. I guarantee you will find yourself identifying with more than one character in these amazing (indie) books.

Love doesn’t get more tragic than when I broke up with Christian Bale after he finished up with playing BATMAN and refused to even give me a prop batarang. He cried and cried  when I left and, I assume, eventually moved on, but I digress.

Tragic love in the comics doesn’t get more beautifully rendered than when GREG RUCKA writes about RENEE MONTOYA. If you haven’t read GOTHAM CENTRAL, please do so immediately! There is no way for me to recommend this book enough. It’s everything you love about comics with amazing characterization, gripping stories, stunning art and when combined with BATWOMAN:ELEGY (which, for the record, is flawless!!) shows both sides of a love story that never fails to touch my soul. Also, I’ve gotten to meet Greg Rucka at a bunch of cons and he couldn’t be a kinder, more lovely person.

Now, NORTHSTAR’s wedding always gets props in the Marvel Universe and, don’t get me wrong, as annoying as he is, it’s actually quite nice to see a human side of Jean Paul and how he interacts with Kyle is beautiful. Plus it’s written by MARJORIE LIU and she’s awesome!

That being said, I think ALPHA FLIGHT by GREG PAK and FRED VAN LENTE might be even better. It’s the very beginning of NORTHSTAR and Kyle’s relationship and it’s more than worth the read.

STRANGERS IN PARADISE has Katchoo and Francine in the longest love story in comics on record, and, I won’t tell you if it ends well or not, but I will say that it’s worth the ride.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we all have those characters that we crush on. Julia has Donna Troy. Justin has Hobgoblin (don’t ask, we all think it’s weird) and I have Catman (Editor’s note: Yes, because that’s the height of normalcy).

Now, since the first two mini-series of the SECRET SIX are collected in one volume and here today, I’m going to recommend this. I think once you read it, you’ll understand why I have actually read Catman fan-fiction. This book has great storytelling, fantastic art and a Parademon who has a crush on a clown, so it’s safe to say you’ve never read anything like it. I want you all to pick up this book and buy it. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s an actual love story you won’t see coming. In addition to loving Greg Rucka, I freely admit to loving GAIL SIMONE as well. I can honestly say I’ve never read a book of hers that hasn’t made me laugh, made me think and made me gasp, often all at the same time. Yes, I have a little crush on Gail, too.

If straight up romance for the LGBT community isn’t your thing then let’s think outside of the box for all your Valentine needs and gifts. This week, we have Wally Wood’s TORRID ROMANCE on sale today. I have been known to spend a lot of time at cons pouring over the back issues of romance comics, so I enjoy a little camp with my romance. It doesn’t get much campier than Wally Wood.

Now, if your significant other is a fan of toys, then BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Pops are on their way and they’re adorable. Also, we have MALEFICENT (the Hot Toy, not the real one) and if you get it for your lady friend, take a hint from your new gay best friend, guys. Don’t tell your girlfriend that she reminds you of Maleficent. Big mistake. Trust me on this.

Matt D. has a Valentine’s blu-ray for your romantic evening in. It’s FRANKENHOOKER and, yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. When a man loses his lady love, well, he’ll do anything to bring her back. It’s, perhaps, not as torrid as Torrid Romance, but it certainly involves more body parts and needle and thread.

Alec will be picking up the LIVING DEAD DOLL Kiss of Death Kissing Booth for his lady love. There’s a morbid joke in there somewhere, but I’m just going to assume that his Valentine’s Day will be totally un-romantic and creepy. I’m not judging, just saying.

We have your gift needs covered here at the Planet, no matter the holiday or who you’re buying for. And remember, psychologists agree that the best way to avoid the stress of gift buying is to buy yourself a little treat at the same time.

And if you’re here on Valentine’s Day, wish our Valentine a happy birthday. Bonus points if you can guess where his name came from.

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tonypepper

Finally, romance for straight people. Nick’s Valentine’s Day Picks

Comics may be known for the BIFF! POW! ZAP! sort of dire situations our heroes face most of the time. But this week, let’s talk about the other place where heroes get hit–their hearts. (Editor’s note: Except for Vision, who is heart-free in ’93)

The obvious choice of a love story on the shelves right now is Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staple’s SAGA. If your biggest problem with ROMEO & JULIET when you read it in high school was that it wasn’t set in outer space and with way more nudity/violence/spaceship battles, I have extremely good news for you. Marko and Alana’s story will break your heart and make you laugh, often in the same panel. And there’s not one, not two, not even three, but a whopping four trades worth of story already out there to read.

Meanwhile, Jaime Hernandez put one more milestone in the life of his protagonist, Maggie the erstwhile Mechanic, with his graphic novel THE LOVE BUNGLERS. Following Maggie from her earliest heartbreaks through midlife compromises into a middle age of peace, The Love Bunglers feels like the moment that Jaime has been building to for the last thirty years with his LOVE & ROCKETS tales, and it’s truly a book to treasure.

If you’re looking for something futuristic without all manner of alien life forms, check out Jeff Lemire’s latest mindbender. TRILLIUM is a love story where one of the heroes is a scientist in the 30th century trying to save mankind, and the other is a young man who’s just returned from World War I. A true experiment in narrative, form, and a surge forward in Lemire’s artistic style, this book will keep you chewing on it for days.

For more of a flight of fancy, pick up Bill Willingham’s FABLES. Currently wrapping up it’s 130+ issue run, Fables features many bitter romances (e.g. Bluebear + Rose Red, Prince Charming + Everyone), but it also tells the story of Bigby Wolf and Snow White, two unlikely lovers who find a nobility in each other that the rest of Fabletown seems to lack. Fair warning: If you pick up the first trade of Fables, you might just have to come in and get the next 19.

There are plenty of manga out there specifically focusing on romantic plots, some zany (I DON’T LIKE YOU AT ALL BIG BROTHER!), some very down to earth (WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY?), but my personal favorite is the major subplot in AKIRA of cycle-gang-leader Kaneda winning over the affections of revolutionary Kei.

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson is one of the all-time greats of comic book memoir, telling the story of young Craig and his discovery of love with Raina among harsh winters and harsh losses with his brother Phil. The entire book is done in a stark black and white, with intricate splashes that will take you by surprise. It’ll be sure to bring a tear to your eye, but fear not: you’ll be smiling through it all. (Editor’s note: This makes me miss my teeth…)

Of course, there’s the indie darling of the last year, Matt Fraction and Chips Zdarsky’s SEX CRIMINALS. I don’t know what I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said; it’s the funniest book on the shelves and it touches on issues of sex positivity, heinous corporate assholes who want to close down the library, poopin’ at work, and the awkward magic that is a sexual relationship. It’s a cool 10 bucks for the first trade.

Last but not least, my own personal favorite relationship in superhero comics (sorry, Reed and Sue): Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. In my opinion, this relationship hit its stride in Fraction’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN run. It was here that Tony and Pepper admitted they had feelings for each other, Tony made Pepper her R.E.S.C.U.E. suit, and they weathered a lot of personal and professional storms. It was a relationship that felt real, and not as dreamlike as it tends to be for a relationship in comics.

Like the man says, Love is All Around, you just have to know where to look.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Squirrels and Seals Edition

saga-25-wraparound-cover-b8d91Saga #25

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

Yay, Saga‘s back, time for another comic to destroy me emotionally yet again!

I kid, because as far as Saga goes, Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples produce an entertaining comic that doesn’t make everything hurt this time around. If anything, it sets up the 5th volume of the series quite nicely, and uses the 3 month vacation to age the book in real time.

While I could point out how BKV & Staples continue to produce the best comic on the market with the greatest of ease, I much rather point out that tiny seal person Ghüs has joined the cast on the regular, and I’m clearly thrilled about that. Also I’m saying this now guys, if something bad happens to him I will drop this book and cry myself to death. Tiny seals with accents are one of my jams, and I need a Lucky the Pizza Dog type pledge that this little fellow won’t be killed off.

Seal deals ( kill me) aside, issue 25 is pretty great on ever level. Fiona Staples art is incredible, and it’s cool to see her experiment with colors at the beginning of the book, as well as later one when there’s a need for much yellow. We’re also treated to more wonderfully bizarre characters designs, a thing that I am a fan of.

BKV makes great use of the large cast in new surroundings, fleshing them out in tiny, clever ways. Vaughan has a way of making even the evilest of his characters sympathetic, as if you need more proof of his talents. He also teases several things that will be happening in the nearest future, so I may have to go ahead and take that nothing hurts statement back soon.

A quieter return than what we’re use too, Saga #25 is a delight start for the story’s next chapter. I’m excited to have my heart broken again and again over the next few months.

portrait_incredibleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Note: While there is some Iron Man related shenanigans in this issue, there is zero surfing in this comic. The cover is full of LIES.

But that’s okay. After a super delightful debut issue, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 continues to impress. Doreen attempts to join some college clubs, talk to a meghunk, oh and break into Stark Tower to stea  borrow an Iron Man suit so she can go to the moon and punch Galactus. Aka cementing it’s legacy as the best new Marvel comic of 2016.

Erica Henderson continues to impress me with every page of this comic. Her facial expressions  and body language really add an extra shot of comedic value to Ryan North‘s hilarious dialogue,  showing off how in sync these two creators are. It’s a dialogue heavy issue that lives and dies by it’s jokes, and luckily for us the reader, North and Henderson nails each and every one of them. Rico Renzi completes the package, making Henderson’s art crisp and bold, like a fine animation-esque quality salad. That’s a valid comparison yes?

Failed analogies aside, Squirrel Girl is rad and you should buy it to support fun and good looking comics. It’s a great read that super self contained, and the chances of a purple planet eater getting punched in the face remain high.

 

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Five Questions with Forbidden Planet: Dan Slott!

One of the nice things about comics is that the people who write and draw ‘em are just as likely to show up at Forbidden Planet on a Wednesday to pick up their stack as anyone else.

And that’s when we strike!

For our inaugural Five Questions, John Petrie thwipped Spidey writer, Dan Slott to the wall and made him talk. Then there was some awkward, upside-down makey-outies, but that’s neither here nor there, except to say, “We’re all very sorry, Dan.”

On to the questions!

Forbidden Planet: Who would win in a creepy laugh contest: Green Goblin, Hobgoblin or the Joker?

Dan Slott: Now that Norman Osborn’s had the Goblin Serum removed from his system? Sadly, no contest. Joker.

FP: Since we all love cosplayers, what’s the one character you’ve never personally seen cosplayed that would make you smile?

DS: Spider-UK. I’m going to a show in London this summer, so fingers crossed.

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FP: So, chaos magic, does it exist or not?

DS: Totally exists. We confirmed that during my run of MIGHTY AVENGERS.

FP: Would you rather live in a world without any flavor ice cream or a world without movie popcorn?

DS: Without movie popcorn. Couldn’t live in a world without ice cream.

FP: If you could have dinner with any comic book character (they’re paying), who would it be and why?

DS: Spider-Man. And I’d pay. Would just want to apologize for the hell I’ve put him through in the past… and… will be putting him through in the future.

FP: If you could write a series with any character (or characters) who don’t currently appear in a Marvel book, who would they be?

DS: Indiana Jones, Doctor Who, and Batman.

Thanks again, Dan! And keep an eye out — there will be more FIVE QUESTIONS WITH FORBIDDEN PLANET featuring your favorite comic creators coming soon!

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Arrow’d

54c2825aaaa9dHawkeye #21

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

I wanted Marvel‘s Hawkeye ongoing back more than anything.  As good as Secret Avengers and Hawkeye vs Deadpool were, what Matt Fraction and David Aja ground breaking series has been doing with Clint Barton and comics in general is hard to replicate. So when the 21st issue of this series was solicited with a 100% guaranteed to ship date, I was excited. I thought I was ready to handle part one of what will be the end of the oft-delayed Fraction/Aja/Matt Hollingsworth run.

3 pages into this issue and those creators made a liar out of me. I was not ready. I was a hot mess of emotions by the time we got the the brutal 19th page of comic, and then I hit page 20 and nearly lost my composure at the shop. It would have been an messy bout of ugly crying, but one that was warranted given everything that goes down.

4360109-hawkeye2012021_int2-1Hawkeye #21 aka, Rio Bravo part 1, begins the battle of Bed Stuy. Clint, Barney and their neighbors battle the Tracksuit Draculas for their apartment building, something that was brewing since issue one. And while it doesn’t sound like the highest of stakes in a Marvel Comic, that doesn’t matter. Hell, if you remember that ol’ Hawkguy is Avenger, you may ask yourself why he just doesn’t call in Iron Man or Thor to help save the day. But that’s all part of the charm of the book. This is suppose to be showing what Hawkeye does on his days off, and bringing in such high-profile characters would do more damage to the book, despite being the more logical choice. Like Clint says, you gotta make your stuff work, and that means not calling in for help ( Luckily for Clint, not everyone believes in that).

4360108-hawkeye2012021_int2-0After 21 issues, what else is there to say about the team of Matt Fraction, David Aja (with assistance from  Raul Allen),  Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos, he types, realizing that’s super cliche of him to say. But it’s true, this team has banged out some amazing work over the course of 20 issues (with some help), and 21 is another fantastic issue. Fraction’s dialogue is so natural, making nods to past events and in-jokes from the series. He doesn’t go crazy with the dialogue with this issue, taking the back seat to the talents that are David Aja and Raul Allen. With Allen helping out with background, Aja is given more time to focus on cramming a year’s worth of art on 20 pages, each with an insane amount of panels with page. Combine that with Hollingsworth limiting his patent for dramatic effect (which works mind you), we get some fantastic art from creators on top of their game.

This team of artists have nothing to prove that this point, given how excellent this series has been.  They just need to end this story, which if word on the street is true, will be done by end of the month. Which means the chance of my being over emotionally in a comics shop this month is good. Hawkeye may have taken it’s sweet time wrapping up, but as it comes closer to the finishing line, it’s hard to sing it praises over the constant delays.

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