I love Chris Ware. Bit redundant to say so this holiday season with everyone and their sister buying Building Stories, but with so much comic awesomeness that happened in 2012; between Charles Burn’s second installment to his X’ed Out trilogy, The Hive, and Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga…SAGA… It’s too easy for amazing comics to get lost in the stacks, so I’m here to give my somewhere around the number 10 best comics of 2012 that nobody told you about…
Michael DeForge might be the most prolific cartoonist working right now. He pumps more work and at a higher quality that would make any other cartoonist want to quit, or work harder…..no quit thats the correct response. On top of Lose #4 this year you can also see his work in the pages of Adventure Time comics, where he does the backgrounds,variant covers, anthology stories in Nobrow 7 (more on that in a bit) and the newest KUS, not to mention his on going serial Ant Comics, oh and his porn comic that he designs that features work by Johnny Negron, Brandon Graham, and Jillian Tamaki….more on all of them latter too…Bottom line, DeForge has a hand in everything and you’re probably a fan of his already, so read Lose, or Ant comics, or KUS, or Nobrow, or one of the million other things he worked on this year. King of comics 2012 goes to DeForge, no contest.
The Underwater Welder
Did I mention that DeForge is Canadian? Canadians….must be a universal sigh when cartoonist’s who aren’t Canadian talk about them. Jeff Lemire is another cartoonist hailing from The Great White North. Lemire had a full year of releases with Sweet Tooth Volume 4 and 5, the reprinting of his Xeric grant book Lost Dogs and Underwater Welder. Underwater Welder is for lovers of well paced, clear story telling, and the Twilight Zone. Lemire has an economy to his comics, the art is quick yet purposeful in the same manner as the writing, which rewards the reader with a world that they can envelope themselves in. Lemire is an odd school of cartooning, he’s not so deep into independent styled comics as DeForge, but he isn’t mainstream either (though he does write the only two books at DC still worth reading Animal Man, & Frankenstein Agent of Shade ). He’s a cartoonist in love with genre but doesn’t mistake comics to be only that.
Nipper Volume 3
Nipper Volume 3 finally came out! WOOOOOOO! I might be the only American to love Nipper so go buy it and prove my gross presumption wrong. Keeping in theme with brilliant Canadian cartoonists, Nipper volume 3 is the Canadian version of Family Circus, if Family Circus was anything like a real family and not so adorable that even your grandmother finds it lame. Always silent, black and white line work with one beautiful saturation of red dropped into each panel, Doug Wright creates multi-layered story telling, in the most simple yet still incredible complicated drawing. Just go look already, and then come meet me for coffee to talk about it, I’ll be here till next year trying to describe why it’s so effffffing smart.
Diary Comics 4
Dustin Harbin is yet another broken hearted cartoonist, upset that his nationality isn’t Canadian. Diary Comics 4 starts with Dustin talking about how amazing it is to be in attendance at the Doug Wright rewards (the Canadian version of the Eisners), and how he wishes we as American could take comics as seriously as they do. Why can’t we folks? Dustin’s beautifully minimalist drawings deceive readers with their simplicity, when they are really just the right amount of information needed, each mark done with purpose in mind and simply decroative. Go read em’ they’re good. And if your not a fan of memoir, you just like the punching and kicking comics, he did letter Casanova sooo…..I don’t know Matt Fraction wrote Iron Man for like a century right? See the full picture of creators not just the characters you like….
Pope Hat #3
Pope Hat #3 by Ethan Rilly. Rilly is surprise surprise, another Canadian. Pope Hats is technically 3 issues deep but you really only need/want two and three. In Pope Hats Rilly tells the story of Franny, a young law clerk at a massive law firm, picture Wall Street with less Charlie Sheen….okay no Charlie Sheen, just that one part where he gets punched in the face by Michael Douglas… Rilly drawings show traces of his influences but they don’t unhinge the story. You can see traces of Doug Wright’s drapery in the clothing, and bits of Shultz popping up in the rendering of grass and clouds. It’s like a love letter to days past when cartooning was a profession and getting a weekly strip in a newspaper was the dream. Pope Hats narrative shares a similar tone of nostalgia with its drawing, that bitter sweet pain, from an old wound.
Thats the end of Part 1. Part 2 on Sunday 12/23/12.
So here we are at my second column of TRY SOMETHING NEW! already. Wasn’t too pleased with how the the first one came out, 20/20 hindsight and all, but we press on. New comics wait for no man or woman and so this column where I berate you for not buying enough new comics waits for no man or woman. Let’s get right into the berating, shall we?
DARK HORSE PRESENTS #19 comes out this week. Is it stupid to call a series that is on issue #19 “something new?” Sort of. But I did it anyway. DARK HORSE PRESENTS is a monthly anthology of short comics, sometimes stand alones and sometimes serialized stories, from a mix of the best creators in comics and the most exciting newcomers. Each month Dark Horse Presents offers you something new, hence it’s inclusion in this column. Ranging from one page absurdity pieces to stunning series beginnings, DHP has something for literally every type of comic fan. Lately anthology books have had trouble finding an audience which is a shame unto itself, but the level of talent and great comics in DHP turns that shame into a tragedy. This month alone features a new story from Matt Kindt’s excellent MIND MGMT, Duane Swierczynski and Eric Nguyen bring back X, and Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Bechko start a giant monster story called STATION TO STATION.
A bunch of issues back DARK HORSE PRESENTS premiered a new series by writer Frank Barbiere called THE WHITE SUITS. I thought it was one of the best introductions to a series I had read in years. Equal parts SIN CITY, 100 BULLETS, & WINTER MEN, that first chapter filled a void in comics that badly needed filling- smart and stylish crime books with a healthy amount of conspiracy. Now THE WHITE SUITS is returning and I couldn’t be more excited. Even if the other stuff in DHP doesn’t interest you, I promise this story is worth the price of admission alone. RIYL: Short stories, great things in small doses, being into cool stuff before everyone else.
NOWHERE MEN #2 Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, & Jordie Bellaire have crafted a really interesting book in NOWHERE MEN. The simple tagline/premise of “What if scientists were our rockstars?” opens the door just enough to make one curious without revealing anything at all. The first issue firmly established Stephenson’s remarkable ability to build interesting worlds and characters all while using some clever narrative tricks. Bellegarde turns in the work of his career so far making pages that are both very effective and visually unique without being hindered by being too “sylized.” And Bellaire is simply one of the best colorists in comics. The book has all the “sciencey” feel of a Jonathan Hickman book, without all of the actual “science.” Other than that is was hard for me to say what the book was about… which I loved.
Since it is a medium that relies on people coming back and paying every month, comics tends to rely on playing it’s cards early and then twisting and turning every month after to keep you interested. It’s feeding the reader just enough so they feel like they paid for a meal, but not enough to that they won’t need to eat again very soon. This works (moderately) well for the industry, but is a terrible hindrance to storytelling as a whole. The NOWHERE MEN team seems to have decided to not care if you “get it” in favor of building a smarter story that unfolds at the pace they want it to. I tend to love comics that are willing to take chances to do better work and that is why I bothered to write this recommendation. If you are a reader who prefers the safe and predictable there are plenty of other books you might want to grab instead. Don’t mind us. We’ll be over in the corner eating weird food, playing with switchblades, getting bad tattoos from sketchy dudes, and reading unpredictable comics. And laughing at you. RIYL: MANHATTAN PROJECTS or TRANSHUMAN, mid-70’s KRAFTWERK, or a weird movie that I am imagining that is a cross between 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and DR. STRANGELOVE.
IRON OR THE WAR AFTER Archaia does a great job of finding comics that are truly breathtaking and original and wouldn’t fit in at any other publisher. IRON OR THE WAR AFTER is the newest example of this. Shane-Michael Vidaurri writes and illustrates this surreal tale about anthropomorphized animals engaging in espionage during a literal Cold War. The subtle, slow pacing and beautiful and delicate watercolors almost guarantee that this book will fly under a lot of people’s radars this year. They also guarantee that those who pick it up will have a new favorite book. RIYL: Watership Down, Beasts Of Burden, or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
COMEBACK #2 I’ll say it right now. Note the time. Ed Brisson is the next superstar writer in comics. If the Big 2 publishers are not already scouting him then their editors are sleeping on the job. His self published series MURDER BOOK is on par with the best comics published in the last 10 years.
COMEBACK is his new book at Image/Shadowline and the first issue made quite an impression on everyone who was lucky enough to find a copy. Gritty crime noir meets slick sci-fi in a “time travel gone wrong” story. Michael Walsh does stunning work in the wheelhouse of folks like Sean Philips or Alex Maleev. That should be all you need to know.
LOOPER, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, MINORITY REPORT, INCEPTION, I am sure that Mr. Brisson is already tiring of the comparisons, but there is something inherently cinematic in the way he tells a story. It’s crime for people who are bored with crime, sci-fi for people who are sick of sci-fi. COMEBACK would easily make my Top 10 comics of the year list if I didn’t think Top 10 lists were demeaning and obnoxious. You should go ahead and buy this book now so that when it inevitably becomes a hit movie you can say “the book was way better” and other annoying but true things. RIYL: CRIMINAL, INCOGNITO, or other stuff by Ed Brubaker, Movies by Christopher Nolan that don’t involve a growling dude dressed like a huge flying rodent, Philip K. Dick.
That’s all the room I have. Thanks for taking the time to read this stuff. Please don’t hold it against these great books that I am sort of obnoxious and don’t take this very seriously. Even if none of this stuff grabbed you, remember to try something new. It’s good for you. Stay tuned for my “Top 10 Best Comics of ’12” next week.
Noku Apparellax Brand Event: featuring the debut of Noku Tondra, author HCJ and artist Gammera13 of the upcoming Noku: Ground Zero comic book series, color artist ODDBALL of YouTube cartoon Noku’s Galaxy Adventures, Noku’s Random Riddles contest, free giveaways, and other Noku-centric exclusives.
Coming to Forbidden Planet NYC on Nov. 24th from 5-9 PM. Click here for a full list of Noku apparel currently available.
NYCC was a thing that has happened! To about 116,000 people if the numbers are correct. That is a lot of people! Like 9,000 short of SDCC a lot! But very few of them write for FPNYC. Which explains why you’re all stuck listening to my story.
Despite the construction going on….everywhere in and around the Javitis, and the insane crowds of people (which to be honest, is nothing new for NYCC Saturdays) there on the weekend, I had a blast at NYCC once again. I got to check out some awesome new games coming out over the next couple of months, look at the various action figure prototypes scattered across the exhibitor’s hall (No sign of Hasbro, but Square-Enix had a ton of dope toys on display, varying in degrees of want), hit up a few panels, did some cosplaying, and spent a ton of time in the awesome “new” Artist Alley, talking up creators. To namedrop some names (because I can dammit!), I got sketches from Jarrett Williams (Super Pro KO), Katie Cook (Gronk, AvX Vs, the upcoming My Little Ponies series), signatures from the likes of Chris Claremont (A ton of X-men books), Kieron Gillien (Phonograms, Journey into Mystery) and Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Uncanny Avengers). In addition to usual swag I pick up, this year I actually dropped some cash and got myself a commission from Ryan Ottley (Invincible) of my favorite X-woman Emma Frost, and he was cool enough to throw in a sketch of Mark Grayson himself. Oh and I had a run in with Stan Lee, which lead to an interesting article on Bleeding Cool (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/10/16/getting-stan-lee-a-chair-a-confession-from-nyc/).
If you’ve never been to NYCC, I severely recommend hitting up NYCC next year, which is almost a San Diego Comic Con-sized event, only one where comics still matter (but the weather is slightly worse and there’s no hotels/food place near by). Even if Chevy and Craftsman have booths there. Any day but Saturday is a good day to go, unless you’re really into panels involving TV and movies. That seems to be the big day for those sorts of announcements.
With NYCC passed and no big shows until 2012, it’s time to shift the focus back onto toys. For now at least, I’m capitable of going off on tangents at any given time. A new release we got in recently is the 3 wave of the “new” Marvel Universe line, which seems massive, because it’s chock full of variants and repaints. USAgent is a repainted Bucky Cap from Wave 1. X-Force Deadpool is a mass re-released of a rare Toy’s R Us exclusive Deadpool figures from 2 years back. Characters like Punisher and Danii Moonstar has body variants with Mystique and Blade, who come with different weapons and head sculpts. The Doctor Doom figure is mostly new, but comes with a Future Foundation influence repaint. Iron Man (not sure which version of the Armor it is, the Googles say it’s Neo-Classic. No idea what that means) seems to be an all new figure, and the only one that doesn’t come with a variant or is a pre-existing repaint. The trade off is that he also doesn’t come with any accessories, which is beat.
Hasbro managed to turn a 6 figure set into an 8 figure one (not counting the variant Deadpool and Doom figures), with some clever repaints. It’s kind of a dick move, but at least we’re getting some love for the more obscure characters. I’m referring to Moonstar BTW, certainly not Iron Man. But yeah, they go for $22 a pop so if you want em, come get em!
New York Asian Film Festival, Japan Society, Subway Cinema News, and Forbidden Planet NYC want to give YOU a chance to see one of three awesome films!
Send an email (with the name of the movie you would like to see in the subject line!!) to
by June 24th!
Ace Attorney (Japan, 2012) – Takashi Miike brings one of the world’s most popular Gameboy and Nintendo DS games to the big screen and it’s all about…lawyers? Prepare to have your mind blown by this mashup of The Practice and The Avengers!
Love Strikes (Japan, 2012) – based on a wildly successful manga and anime series, it’s all about an unassuming young man who suddenly hits one of those strange streaks when girls find him wildly appealing. Star Masami Nagasawa will attend the screenings.
GYO (Japan 2012) – Who would have thought the apocalypse would come in the form of bio-mechanical fart-propelled mutant zombie fish that spontaneously sprout spindly mechanical legs? Who else but the famed horror manga artist Junji Ito, the psycho genius behind such impossibly off-kilter creations as Tomie and Uzumaki? GYO is the first animated feature adapted from one of the creep master’s twisted tales.
Click here for more information about these great films, and all of the films that are part of the 2012 New York Asian Film Festival.
Email LockOut@fpnyc.com to enter our raffle to win a chance to see Luc Besson’s new sci fi film “LOCKOUT!”
Prize pack includes a pair of run of engagement passes
(passes begin on Monday 4/23), a t-shirt, & more!
Starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace and set in the near future,
LOCKOUT follows a falsely convicted ex- government agent (Pearce),
whose one chance at obtaining freedom lies in the dangerous mission
of rescuing the President’s daughter (Grace) from rioting convicts at
an outer space maximum security prison.
Forbidden Planet is excited to partner with Variance Films and Well Go USA to offer 3 pairs of tickets to see “Let The Bullets Fly!”
Just email email@example.com by February 28th for your chance to win!!
1920’s China is a lawless land. Corrupt government officials buy and sell their positions, while marauding gangs of bandits roam the countryside. One of the most feared is the Mah-jongg Gang, led by the infamous and hyper-intelligent Pocky Zhang (Jiang Wen, In The Heat of the Sun).
Zhang and his gang execute a routine train robbery, but find the train doesn’t contain any silver, just a petty con artist, Tang (Ge You). Tang is on his way to Goose Town, where he’s bought himself a position as governor- which he plans to use to bilk as much as he can from the citizens as he can before moving on to the next town. Desperate to survive, Tang convinces Zhang that if he will spare him, Zhang can assume the position of Governor instead… and with Tang as his counselor, he can make more money in a month than a he could in a year’s worth of train robberies. Zhang, intrigued and looking for a break from the road, accepts.
They arrive at Goose Town, but find that the entire town is already firmly under the iron rule of the wealthy Master Huang (Chow Yun Fat, The Killer, Hard Boiled), whose charming exterior conceals a ruthless, conniving crime lord. Huang and Zhang immediately sense the threat the other poses, and begin an escalating series of hyper-violent (and often hilarious) mind-games, while the devious Tang tries to play both sides.
The stakes quickly rise to ludicrous proportions in masterfully vicious action-comedy filled with Machiavellian double- and triple-crosses, razor-sharp wordplay, and hundreds of thousands of bullets. The rare international comedy that translates perfectly, China’s highest-grossing domestic film of all time will have you laughing and cringing, often at the same time.
By Devin T. Quin
With suitcase nukes and the proliferation of biological weapons, there’s a fairly good chance humanity could wipe itself out within, oh, say the next 48 hours. Should you be lucky enough to survive the coming biohazards and mutant attacks that follow, it shall fall unto you to rebuild our once great civilization.
The post-apocalyptic job market is understandably bleak. Mailman, outback scavenger or gyro pilot will be the best positions John Q. Public could hope for. Not you, however! By memorizing these five simple steps you will have the ability to draw comicdom’s favorite funster, the Amazing, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, making you the new Walt Disney/Leonardo Da Vinci of the radiated dawn. Continue reading
By Devin T. Quin
Apart from the summer of 2008 when Iron-Man was (briefly and strangely) the king of cool, Batman is the A-#1 comic-book bad boy that every living creature on Earth wants to be. Even actual bats! FUN FACT: do you know why the Dinosaurs went extinct? They all committed suicide when they found out it would be another few 100-million years before they could read “The Dark Knight Returns.”
Unfortunately very few of us will ever get to actually BE Batman, and the responsibility of wearing the famed cape and cowl of Gotham’s resident demigod takes its toll on those who do. For example, after filming “Batman and Robin” George Clooney was so Bat-Guano in the cabeza he lent his voice talents to South Park to play a gay dog, and after “Batman Returns” poor Michael Keaton was never heard from again.
No, better to live out our intrinsic need to be The Bat through art therapy. That’s right: in just five easy steps YOU TOO can draw Batman! Continue reading