Tagged: BPRD

Hellboy Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

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

Mike Mignola Forbidden Planet

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

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 16: Custodian of the Stolen Plans

So last week was my worst column yet. How do I quantify that? Well I thought it was dumb, everyone else who read it also thought it was dumb, and not many people read it. See? Quality isn’t really subjective. So I’m sad to say that was my last column as a comic journalist. I know some of you were living and dying by my recommendations, and to you loyal readers I apologize. The good news is I’m not leaving the Planet entirely. I spoke to the important so and so’s at FP and they, after much crying and pleading, begged me to stay on in some capacity. Especially with Tyler missing, the loss of dear old me might be too much for the old Planet to take. I can’t go into details about the deal but lets just say I can finally afford that sandwich I’ve had my eye on. So here we go with TRY SOMETHING NEW 2.0. as an advice column for all your pressing social etiquette questions, troubling moral quandaries, and secret relationship dilemnas. So, without further ado-

Dear Matthew,

I love your column. You are my hero but I think there is something wrong with me. Nothing makes me happy anymore. I find myself longing for something old yet new somehow. I want action, but not over the top stupid excitement for the sake of it. I want mystery and adventure. Everywhere I turn things seem ugly and unappealing. Am I going crazy? -Ben S. from Dearborn, Mi.

Ben,

There is nothing wrong with you. You just don’t know what you want. You are aimless. Have you ever checked out Dean Motter’s MISTER X? If you haven’t then you probably should. Motter’s retro futurist character returns in this week’s one shot MISTER X: HARD CANDY. Beautiful Golden Age looking art and gritty detective stories that feel like a cross between The Rocketeer and Blade Runner. There was a time when this is all science fiction did, and Motter would have been among the best at that time. Now sci-fi almost never does this type of story and the genre suffers for it. Pick up a copy of this book and see if it gives your life some meaning little buddy.

Hey Matthew,

You are great. Keep being great. I keep thinking there should be a comic that is a post apocalyptic story ala books like Wasteland or Judge Dredd but involve biblical characters like the Four Horseman in some politically intriguing scenarios. This book would be a mess though unless someone awesome like Jonathan Hickman of Manhattan Projects/Avengers/Ultimates fame helmed it to ensure it was clever and always zigged when I thought it would zag. I was thinking a rising star artist like Nick Dragotta could draw something like this well. A sort of Sean Murphy meets Jock sensibility. All of this would be perfect on a company like Image who keep putting out good series after good series. What do you think of that idea? Pretty good right? – Javier R. from Brooklyn, Ny.

Javier,

That book sounds exactly like EAST OF WEST #1. It comes out this Wednesday. Please think of something more original.

Hello Matthew,

First of all, I love the column. You truly are the voice of a generation. I have a friend who thinks that all comics suck. What should I tell them? Vita A. from L.E.S., NY.

Hi Vita,

Thanks for the kind words. I get that a lot. First of all, are you sure this person is really your friend? It sounds like they are just hanging out with you to try and make you angry. That’s not what friendship is about, keep that in mind. Either way, you should give them JULIO’S DAY which is out today. Originally started in Love & Rockets vol. II but never completed until now, JULIO’S DAY is one of the more easily digestible while still brilliant works by Gilberto Hernandez. There are few folks alive or dead who will end up having either the massive impact or the stunning catalog in comics of either of Los Bros. Hernandez. While JULIO’S DAY may not go down as his most important work because it lacks the impressive scale of the Palomar stuff, it shouldn’t be overlooked. For a man who has found his career making epic sprawling stories, it is humbling and inspiring to see he can do the same thing in small doses as well. Give that to your “friend” and tell them to choke on it.

Hello Matthew,

Do you know what your problem is? – Anna P. from Seattle, Wa.

Anna,

Yup.

Dear Matthew,

Thanks for the column. It saved my life a few times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Anyway, I met this guy at a party recently and he seemed really great. He was really tall and good looking, wearing this psychedelic blue and yellow jumpsuit. He said he was a magician from another dimension and he did all sorts of strange tricks. He had an entourage of strange dwarves, catfaced men, and all sorts of odd characters around him. But then he said he had to leave because his biggest fan was in danger and he had to dimension hop and rescue them from the clutches of his arch nemesis. I don’t like getting in over my head but I really like him and want to see him again. Here’s the thing; I don’t know how to find him now? I am worried he is gone forever!- Rich W. from Long Island, Ny.

Hey Rich,

Good news/bad news here. The bad news first: none of that happened. You are having a weird flashback and need to sort that out. The good news: What you are describing sounds a lot like the mini-series Zaucer of Zilk. Z.O.Z. was a great and truly bizarre British psychedelic comic and has just been collected as THE COMPLETE ZAUCER OF ZILK. To any of my readers who want to feel like someone dosed them but you don’t want to end up babbling nonsense like crazy Rich over here I would strongly recommend this one. The British comic guys do no holds barred crazy better than anyone else and it is always a fun trip. Bright colors, weirdo plot twists, amazing characters, and only a passing grasp on reality makes for great comics.

Hiya Matthew,

Would you like a cashew? -Jean B. from Bronx, Ny.

Jean,

No thanks. Nuts are gross. Nothing personal.

Hey Matthew,

Great work with the column. Keep it up. I am writing because I’m in a weird situation. There is this person I know who I hang out with just to make them angry. I say things like “all comics suck” just to see what they say. Is this wrong? P.S. You are my favorite writer of all time. – Danny L. from Harlem, Ny

Hi Danny,

No, this definitely isn’t wrong. The whole point of having friends is to push their boundaries and get under their skin. Friendship should be a caustic and trying affair. Like prolonged exposure to lye, if it isn’t making your skin blister you aren’t doing it right. In the meantime you should read a book. Try B.P.R.D. VAMPIRE #1. It’s a new arc of B.P.R.D. so it will definitely be a fun book and it’s drawn by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon aka the team behind Daytripper aka two of the best artists in comics. Go buy it in secret, read it in private, and tell your friend to she smells funny.

Hello Matthew,

Love the column so much. You are the greatest mind of our generation. I put you up there with Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Ellison as a defining voice of the American experience. Please don’t ever stop writing. Your words give my life meaning. Also, are there any good X-Men books out this week? Carly R. from Burlington, Vt.

Hi Carly,

Again, thanks for the kind words. Really flattering. Funny you should ask about X-Men books because ALL NEW X-MEN vol. 1 is out this week. I don’t hide my weirdo fondness for the work of Brian Bendis. His work on All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men so far has been the absolute breakout of the Marvel Now relaunch and with good reason. These books fundamentally break down the X-Men to the basics of what the X-Men should be. Add to that actual character arcs and progression and you have what may end up being the best X-Men book in 25 years or more. Bold words but I don’t have to back them up because you can just read the book and see that I’m right. Hope that helps you Carly. Now quit smoking.

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 14: Pursued By The Empire’s Sinister Agents!

Hey lucky readers, I am back from the great state of Seattle in time to phone it in from my apartment. And what a phoning it in this will be. Last week’s column was brutal because I was jetlagged, sleep deprived, and over-comic’d (It’s a real thing. Look it up. Happened to millions of people in the mid-90’s.) This weeks column will be brutal because I am not a great writer and have been coasting on my mediocre sense of humor far too long. One important thing of note; dozens of readers wrote to ask why I didn’t mention Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Razor Enthusiast, Tyler, last week. Sally from Barrie, Ontario asked if it was because I was in Seattle and he was “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s a good guess Sally, but no. When I travel I always carry a picture of Tyler in a heart shaped locket I wear around my neck at all times. He is never out of sight or mind. Tragically the reason I didn’t mention Tyler is much more dark and sinister. Tyler is on a journey now and I don’t think I have the strength to save him. Poor Tyler. Anyway folks, let’s find out what is happening in comics, shall we?

http://www.fpusadailyplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Maximum-Ghosts-Matt-D-Edition-1.jpg

Managed to get an advanced copy of FIVE GHOSTS last week. Issue #1 makes it an easy frontrunner for book of the year. Chris Mooneyham’s art is stunning, Franke Barbiere’s writing never misses a beat. This is a full tilt pulp adventure like comics hasn’t seen in a long time. Think Indiana Jones meets League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I almost guarantee this book will be a huge hit and fan favorite for the year, the buzz is crazy and the book surpasses it. Unfortunately for you all the book isn’t out this week but fortunately for you all it comes out very soon. Not just that but Forbidden Planet is hosting a signing for the book on IMAGE COMICS PREMIERE NIGHT, Wednesday, March 20th. Bob Fingerman will also be there signing his brilliant new collection, MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE. And there will be awesome special guests. And maybe a cake or something. Probably not. But great comics should make it worth your time. Mark your calenders and set aside some dollars. Not all of them though because you need to buy some books this week too.

BUDDY COPS #1 is actually out this week. Doc Shaner may be the next superstar artist in comics. He has a smart take on the updated retro style of current superstars like David Aja and Chris Samnee. In short, he draws really pretty. Nate Cosby used to edit for Marvel where he focused on the good but under loved all ages books. He has since moved on to doing fun books like Cow Boy and Pigs. Buddy Cops is like Axe Cop if you want to read absurd cops stories but instead of being written by children it is written by childish men. There is a character named Uranus. Either you find that funny or you should buy something else. I like Uranus.

BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL vol 26. My bet is that most of you don’t read manga. That’s cool. I was dumb once too. Here’s the thing, don’t dismiss the cultural output of an entire nation, especially when the nation loves comics as much as Japan does. And especially especially when they make such good comics. Blade Of The Immortal is one of the craziest and most badass things humans have ever made. A shamed samurai cursed with immortality must kill 1,000 evil men in order to be allowed to age and die. Awesome, right? Well volume 26 is probably not the one I would start with, but that’s the one that’s out this week. Go read volume 1 and see if you like it. If you like reading about dudes getting dismembered, bloodworms, and really detailed portraits of feudal Japan as much as I do then you should love it. Come for the bloodworms, stay for the guilt.

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi make awesome comics like Hellboy, BPRD, and Lobster Johnson. (Fun Fact: John Arcudi used to work at Forbidden Planet. The store probably still owes him like 2000 hours of overtime from like 25 years ago. Good luck getting that John, we’re pulling for ya.) Every book Mignola and Arcudi have worked on has been, at worst, well worth your time. When these guys are off they are still better than 99% of the field. (Fun Fact: I met Mike Mignola recently and acted like a big idiot. He was pretty cool though. Firm handshake.) Now they have teamed up with the great Jason Latour to introduce SLEDGEHAMMER 44. A man in a giant metal suits who fights nazis. That’s pretty much all you should need to know. (Fun Fact: umm… I don’t have any fun Jason Latour facts. umm… Latour is French for “The Tour.” Useful info.)

I feel like a moron telling you to read HAWKEYE Vol. 1: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON. It’s one of the best books Marvel has done in years. Beautiful, funny, exciting, and innovative. It is David Aja and Matt Fraction doing the work of their respective careers. HAWKEYE is a line in the sand. You can either buy it or be the reason we don’t get to have nice things.

I remember reading Ben Katchor‘s brilliant JULIUS KNIPL strips that ran in The New York Press in the early ’90s I think. I bet you thought I was much younger than that, huh? I just write with childlike whimsy and grammar. Always bizarre, his oddly compelling characters made it less of a favorite read and more of a compulsion. Mr. Katchor always puts forward interesting and thought provoking work. HAND-DRYING IN AMERICA is his latest, a meditation on place, property, and possessions. His insights and wit offset the pervasive feeling of wrongness that he illuminates so eerily well. This is a book for those who notice they feel out of place or out of touch with their world.

Maybe the best book you aren’t reading this year is THE END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN by Rem Broo, Jim Festante, and James Asmus. The perfect mix of Chew‘s dark humor and Preacher‘s tongue in cheek religious and cultural satire, TETOB&B is both clever social commentary and laugh out loud absurdity. TETOB&B #3 comes out this week (with a brilliant cover by Juan Doe), but you should be able to track down issues 1 & 2 pretty easily. Image puts out a lot of new books every months, but few have the heart and personality of this one.

That about does it for me. I’m going to go listen to Lungfish and read BULLETPROOF COFFIN until I pass out. Make sure to come to the FP/IMAGE party next Wednesday and wear something nice. Maybe bring cupcakes. I am sure we will forget.

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 13: To Destroy An Entire Planet!

I am in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con as I write this. ECCC is the beginning of the 9 months the comics industry affectionately refers to as “Con Season.” 9 month seasons. Not so bright. Comics Industry- ok at making comics, less ok at everything else. Anyway, I flew in on the Forbidden Planet jet on Thursday night. Not the nicest private jet I have ever been on but that’s alright. I was just happy the doors closed all the way and the heat worked.

So after 4 days of intensive comics immersion in the form of announcements, chatting, gossip, snooping, and spying, what have I found out for you all? Comics people really like donuts and beer. I tried to find out other stuff but that’s all anyone really talks about. There was some cool stuff though. I saw a guy cosplay as Leeloo Multipass and that made me question my sexuality and vomit in my mouth at the same time. I saw a a bar fight where one man choked another man for 2 minutes and then both walked away like nothing happened. James Robinson called me Patrick for no discernible reason. I found out if you put Adventure Time on stuff you can probably take Scrooge McDuck style money baths. Someone who clearly doesn’t have parents or friends thought it was a good idea to cosplay as Geordi LaForge in blackface. I guess maybe some of the comic writers and artists are doing new books or redoing old books or something. I wasn’t paying attention to that. I am pretty sure there are comics planned through at least June of this year. After that, who knows?

But let’s talk about this week. Since I’ve been around a ton of comics all weekend and I’ve decided I really like ’em I am going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. In an attempt to trick you into buying more stuff and save me the effort of thinking up more jokes, we are going to do this rapid fire style. I am going to call out some books than usual that are good, write a sentence or two, and you are going to buy them. Simple and elegant. GO!

REPTILE MUSEUM #1 & #2. Only issue #2 of Reptile Museum just came out, but consulting my trusty comput-o-tron tells me that it is statistically impossible that you read issue #1 so I will review both right now. Published by Ray Ray Books which, for all I know, is either a dude in his parents basement or a division of Newscorp, Reptile Museum is what we call an indie, mini, or self-published comic. This is annoying because technically everything but Marvel and DC are “indie” so that word is meaningless. Sometimes minis are huge so that word is meaningless. And like I said before, I have no idea if Cody Pickrodt published this or Rupert Murdoch, so self-published is a difficult label to use. Either way, Reptile Museum is great. A clever post apocalyptic story that answers questions and creates them at an equal rate. Two issues in and I have no real grasp of the world at all and I love that. A unique dystopian tale, Reptile Museum spends much more time on it’s characters than it does explaining it’s world. We follow as a character reenters the folds of a mysterious organization and shows himself to be a true badass. That’s really it. But it’s great. This is a huge story scaled down and made small and personal. Mysterious and exciting, this book is well worth your support. Buy it now because you may not easily get another chance.

ALL-STAR WESTERN vol.2- WAR OF LORDS AND OWLS. DC’s most consistently great book is All-Star Western. Jonah Hex is a brilliant character, Palmiotti & Gray handle him in a way that makes it almost impossible not to love and loathe him. Someone at editorial decided to make a book that takes place in the 1880’s cross over with Batman and it isn’t horrible and stupid, it’s actually quite fun. The art is great. It’s one of 3 westerns on store shelves. Go buy it.

SLEEPER Omnibus. Ed Brubaker does superhero crime noir comics. A deep cover superhero begins to lose his identity. Do you like stuff like The Departed, Infernal Affairs, or Donnie Brasco? Well this is better. $75 gets you 2 volumes of Sleeper, the Point Blank prequel, and a ton of bonus stuff. There isn’t much more that I can say other than fans of crime, superhero, great writing, or beautiful art must own these books.

Grant Morrison writes 50% crazy nonsense that is almost impenetrable. Then he writes 50% next level brilliance that is untouchable, fun and smart. Sean Murphy is one of the best artists in comics today. They teemed up on JOE THE BARBARIAN to tell the story of a little boy getting lost in his own fantastical mind. It is the best thing either of them has done in many years. These are the best guys in the business doing their best work. Buy the paperback version out this week and lock yourself in a room so you can read though it a few times.

I don’t care about the Rocketeer. Jennifer Connelly isn’t in the comics so 12 year old me doesn’t make adult me buy them. But then Mark Waid goes and does his thing of taking old things, getting rid of the excess, and making them fun again. Then Chris Samnee comes in and does his thing of making comics that are so pretty they make everything else seem like ugly, busy, squiggles. Both men make ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM a must own book for fans of pulp stuff or inventive ways to make action heroes feel fresh and familiar at the same time.

I just want to run the copy for LOST VEGAS #1 because either they have my sense of humor exactly and the notes to the editor are brilliantly funny OR someone really didn’t do their job. Either way Jim McCann and Janet Lee made RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN which is probably the most brilliant kids book in recent memory. Lost Vegas isn’t a kids book but it looks like it might be as brilliant. So, without further ado, the weird solicitation text for LOST VEGAS #1- The EISNER AWARD-WINNING team of JIM McCANN?& JANET LEE reunite to create a universe filled with intrigue as one gambler-turned-slave has 24 hours to go all in and pull off the greatest heist the universe has seen. (in this next section, can it be like a brochure, like a different font? If not, italics is cool) WELCOME TO LOST VEGAS! Aboard this luxurious casino-filled traveling space-station you will find the highest stakes games from every corner of every planet, unheard-of winnings, and the greatest attractions anywhere!* (Can the below section be a smaller font size?)*the fine print- those who bet it all and lose must work it off as indentured servants to the casino. Escape is not possible. No one is exempt from these rules.

Joe Casey is a great writer. He can do almost anything with style, heart, and humor. None of that matters because his new Image series is called SEX. He wins. SEX #1 is on shelves now. Buying any other comic instead of SEX makes you look stupid.

Cullen Bunn may be getting famous for his work over at Marvel but if there were any justice in the world he would already have been famous for his brilliant western series SIXTH GUN. He returns with a new series called HELHEIM launching this week. Vikings, the undead, gods, and monsters come together in what may be the most fun book of the year. I was lucky enough to see Joëlle Jones art for HELHEIM #1 this weekend and it is quite clear that Ms. Jones has just launched herself into the top tier of comic artists working today. With an art style that falls somewhere between Luther Strode‘s Tradd Moore and B.P.R.D.’s Tyler Crook but feels completely fresh at the same time, this book is painfully beautiful, which is what you want when you are dealing with swordsfights and beheadings.

I seem to do it every week so here I go to do it again. ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Vol 1 MICHAELANGELO CODE is out now. The Valiant relaunch books are great. Archer & Armstrong is buddy cop stuff done pitch perfect. A “struggling with his faith” teenager and a perpetual screw-up immortal are forced to work together to save the world from a problem that is both somewhat their doing. This isn’t life changing stuff, but it is the kind of comic you might fall in love with. This is super hero stuff that feels fresh. This trade is $9.99. If you read superhero books and someone as smart as me tells you that some of the best new ones are only $9.99 for volume #1 you really should buy it. Valiant are leaving cash on the table in order to offer books like this at “TRY ME!” prices. They believe in their books that much, and that should be enough for you.

OK, I wrote the last 2 paragraphs while snoring. I am going to go to sleep and regret not cosplaying as Spoonman or Niles Crane.

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 10: To The Empire’s Ultimate Weapon!

Sometimes people in positions of power royally #@$% things up. I’ve never had the amazing opportunity to do this before, but this new year has been all about new experiences for me. After 9 brutal weeks of spending 20 minutes a week writing semi-nonsense about new comics in this column I think we can all agree I now wield a remarkably frightening amount of power in this world. And what did I do with my power? With great power comes human trafficking. I offered up Forbidden Planet’s poor basement dweller/demerit collector Ben to you all like he was some sort of man-shaped cookie… Which he sort of is. Poor, sweet Ben. 9 “lucky” contest winners got to take Ben on a date this past week. Poor, sweet, gentle Ben. And what did you, the loyal readers of TRY SOMETHING NEW, do? I legally can’t go into all the details but suffice it to say that Ben will never be the same. Good job readers. My power and your depravity royally #@$% this up. No more contests for at least 2 weeks. Poor, sweet, gentle, exsanguinated Ben needs to rest and regenerate around 4 pints of blood… and an eye. How long does that take?

These double digit columns are rough. Now I’m onto my second apology/retraction of the week. Last week I suggested you pick up Mr. Diggle & Mr. Jock‘s Snapshot #1 from Image. I just wrote “Mr. Jock.” Huh. Anyway, I pointed out that is was a newly colored update of the UK version. Well if you bought the book you might have noticed that the colors they used are both the color black and the color white. There aren’t even ink washes. And if you didn’t buy the book, what the hell? Buy the stuff I recommend. C’mon. I went back and edited that part out of last weeks blog post because this is the 21st century and information is supposed to be fluid and temporary. But for those of you who read the newsletter, you Guttenberg-ites, you are all stuck with what we used to refer to as “mistakes” but what we now refer to as “artifacts of non verified information.” I would feel bad for lying to all of you print readers but in a way I feel like it’s social Darwinism. You get bad information, it slows you down, and a lion eats you. The comic reading herd begins to move faster and make better choices. Malthus smiles from his grave. Sucks to be you. So anyway, yeah I sort of $#!% the bed on that one. You see I don’t get sent many preview versions of books (You hear that marketing/pr folks? Sort your stuff out.) so I go off what I can. What I saw was the black & white stuff and I was told the great colorist Lee Loughridge was going to be adding more colors beyond black & white. Mr. Loughridge is a great colorist and I met him at a party once and we talked about hardcore bands for 5 minutes so he’s basically the coolest guy working in comics right now. Either way, he didn’t color the book. Don’t know what happened. Like most reputable news outlets I get my news from various disreputable news outlets. They said it would be colored. It wasn’t. So there you have it. Either way the book is really good and worth your time. Stop being such a prude and read black & white comics. It’s better for your eyes. (No. It probably isn’t.)

Atomic Robo TP VOL 07 Flying She-Devils of the Pacific

Onto the parade of new books. When Mike Mignola created Hellboy in 19XX (too lazy to google that) there was a weird byproduct that I don’t think anyone could have predicted. The “monster/freak as adventurer/government agent” genre is certainly weirdly specific and probably only exists in western comics. You got the Hellboy spinoff monster cops book B.P.R.D., and new series like Yeti cop book Proof, monster cop book Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E., other Yeti cop book Footprints, and robot adventurer (cop) book Atomic Robo. The weird thing is that all of these books are pretty good. It is a premise that lends itself well to big exciting stories. Personally I have a real soft spot for Atomic Robo and was really glad to see ATOMIC ROBO vol 7.: ATOMIC ROBO AND THE FLYING SHE-DEVILS OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC out this week. Atomic Robo manages to differentiate itself from the crowd by maintaining a serious amount of fun at all times. If Hollywood people were smarter Atomic Robo would be a successful film or cartoon franchise already. (Do they make cartoons in Hollywood?) Equal parts Hellboy and Indiana Jones, Atomic Robo is one of the few ongoing (pretty much) all ages books of any real worth and is a real treasure. Before you pass over the book because it is kid friendly let me remind you that you are reading the newsletter/blog of a comic shop. You are, by definition, at least 60% manchild or womanchild depending on your genitals. Stop being pretentious and read something fun.

You remember 2007? I don’t really. I looked online and it seems almost nothing really happened that year. Some Marvel character probably died. The Loch Ness monster was caught. George Clinton was president. That Battles record that came out was really good. I discovered basketball shorts. 7/11 perfected making “chicken” nuggets out of Loch Ness Monster meat. The U.S. became the first country to use giant robots in actual combat. I meant to see Michael Clayton. Forbidden Planet’s Executive Director of Web Development, Halal food, & Mini-Comics, Tyler, was born. I had my first milkshake with pieces of cake in it and I refused to believe it was as gross as it actually is. Crazy all the stuff you can find out on the internet, huh? All of that stuff was ok but the one really interesting thing the whole year was that Vasilis Lolos released his super weirdo comic Last Call. Did you miss it? Well it’s about… I don’t really know what it’s about. Some dudes get on a train that is magical or demonic or metaphorical. Not sure. Then lots of weird stuff happens. Well now it’s 2013. Cake shakes ARE gross, basketball shorts are out in favor of smart ties and v-neck sweaters, I probably still won’t watch Michael Clayton, and Tyler is 5 years old and makes more money than me. Also, Mr. Lolos has released LAST CALL vol. 2. There is a lot of killing, some playing with relativity, and lots of “train as metaphor for _____”. In short, the book is pretty awesome. Another of the up and comers making western comics with strong Manga influence, LAST CALL vol. 2 feels like the freaky offspring of Scott Pilgrim, Prophet, and Orc Stain. If you have been digging the work of people like Giannis Milogiannis (some folks just have dope names), James Harren, Brandon Graham, or James Stokoe, this book should be a no-brainer for you. Remember; if you just read vol. 2 and don’t bother to track down vol. 1 first you haven’t earned your sense of confusion.

Powers Bureau #1

Let’s talk about Powers for a minute. Michael Avon Oeming draws it. It looks like he puts more thought into each panel than most cartoonists put into their careers. That’s cool. Good look, Mike. But I am, in some shameful misuse of the word, a writer. I like words. Words are sexy to me. Words are the things I use to both mock and lie to the people around me, and that gives me most of the joy I get in this world. People who use words well are better than people who don’t in my world. Now let’s talk about Brian Michael Bendis. But let’s talk about him via me. I had a shameful period in my life where I didn’t care about comics more than I care about everything else. I was into other stuff and comics just weren’t doing it for me. The thrill had faded years ago, like the shine on so many foil covers. Artists turned writers had abused me and left me bitter and broken. If I did hard drugs this would be my opium years. I was aimless, vacant, distant bordering on ethereal, and almost always nodding off in the back of that cockfighting place on Mott Street. Then someone came to me and saved me. They handed me POWERS vol. 1: WHO KILLED RETRO GIRL? It was an epiphany. It was a chance to see a world I once loved through virgin eyes again. It would have been cool for the sake of this story if the person who handed me that book was Brian Michael Bendis himself, but it wasn’t. I don’t know him. He probably doesn’t hang out at cockfights (“probably” is a strong word.). It was a creepy Gollum-like man in a comic shop that shall not be named who gave me the book. Anyway, I read it and I felt something. Brian Michael Bendis writes dialogue not like the way people talk, he writes it better. It’s idealized dialogue. It’s conversation, perfected. I can’t explain how important his dialogue and the way it forms his characters is to me. In my love of writing I have stopped and obsessed on folks like David Mamet, Elmore Leonard, Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, and Whit Stillman for periods of my life. But here is where I say the crazy thing that gets me hate mail. None of them do for me what Bendis does. Bendis made me realize that comics are supposed to be better than all the other mediums. It is the best of all the worlds.

The Powers premise, police procedural in a superhero world, is so simple yet so perfect. This is the chocolate and peanut butter of comics. And the things Bendis does within the book, they were a revelation at the time and can still give you a jolt if you let them; the talking head panels, the multiple interwoven arcs, the focus on the relationships of characters, and lets not forgot the monkey sex issue (google it). All of this was eye opening for me (and most of the comics industry it would seem). The man brought me out of my smoky backroom cockfighting ring and into the less smoky but equally sketchy comic shop once again. Powers is my moment of clarity. I knew I wanted to give myself wholly to comics after I read it and I knew I would follow Mr. Bendis until the day he writes his final panel description. Sadly, Powers has come to an end. And like Lazarus, frozen yogurt shops in New York, and noisy indie rock, Powers has returned from the dead better than ever. POWERS BUREAU #1 comes out on Wednesday. I would say buy it but I might buy all of them and give them out in Port Authority to lost souls and wayward Aaron Sorkin fans. They have nothing left anymore.

Uncanny X-Men #1 Now

Hey, did you read that last paragraph? Did you like it? Don’t care. This awkward obsessing train rolls on. So… Brian Michael Bendis. I don’t expect all people to like his work. I get that he can be polarizing. He occasionally sacrifices old characterization continuity to serve story and people like their weird old continuity baggage. He pushed the medium forward and there always have to be people who push back. Sometimes his female characters are treated like second class citizens… (I don’t have a funny quip for that one. It’s a bummer.) He is good and most people don’t like good things. I get all that. But for me this new Bendis era of X-Men is about as exciting as comics gets. The X-Men were my childhood obsession, and smart comics are my adult obsession. This week childhood me and adult me meet up for a very excited 22 pages as Brian Michael Bendis begins writing UNCANNY X-MEN #1. His All New X-Men is the standout book of the very excellent Marvel Now! relaunch. Now his “X-Men on the run” team gets their own book, harkening back to the mutants as outlaws origins of the characters. The recent evolution of Cyclops, from preppy milquetoast, to his “heavy is the head that wears the crown” version, to his current radicalization, is one of the best things either of the Big 2 has done with one of their characters ever. This is actual growth and development. This is art. It is sad, hard to read sometimes, and compelling as hell. My guess? When all is said and done Mr. Bendis does the best X-Men book of the last 25 years. Get it now and watch the X-Men take their place once again as the most exciting team in comics.

Well it’s time to go. You have new books to buy and it’s my turn to irrigate Ben’s eye socket and I have to find out if my attorney appealed Mr. Bendis’ restraining order yet. Wish us both luck.

Post to Twitter

Name Rank Serial Number

The best comic of last week?  MARS ATTACKS POPEYE.  I don’t mean to give out spoilers, but the Martians lost.  I do hope they fare better this week against KISS.  Maybe with KISS gone IDW will start publishing a Jethro Tull comic book!

IDW Mars Attacks Popeye

ONE of the best comics of last week was Hellboy In Hell #2.  Elegant, creepy and fun, HBinH #2 made up for most of the first issues rambling clunkiness with big pay offs in both direction and character.  I am a crazed Hellboy Fanboy… a Hellfan if you will, though I stopped getting the spinoff title B.P.R.D. some time ago.  One thing that makes Hellboy in Hell so great is Mike Mignola back at the helm of both pencils and writing. The past few years worth of Hellboy books have been drawn (and possibly written) by several artists, including Richard Corben and Duncan Fegredo.  These are great, fun titles and both do amazing jobs carving out their own fingerholds in the Hellboy cliff face.  Hellboy The Wild Hunt was a fun, romp through the woods of Hellboy’s milieu, and a great place to jump on for fans eager to get caught up on Big Red.  This week sees the release of B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Abyss Time #1 of 2, aka B.P.R.D. #103.  I believe that the current storyline focuses on the actual end times playing out on the surface of the Earth and the combined efforts of all concerned to stop it.  What struck me the most, oddly, was the title.  I’m not sure how many issues of Hellboy there have been, but I was struck by a question.  Would Hellboy in Hell #2 sell better or worse if it was just called Hellboy #85?

TITLES AND NUMBERS

Grant Morrison Action Comics #16Superman’s latest periodical hits this week in the form of Action Comics #16, which sounds far more accessible than Superman #2345.  Superman is going to go toe to toe with an evil demonic version of himself from an alternative universe.  Sounds great!  There are so many ways to read comics now, be it through classic single issues, trade paperbacks or even digital downloads.  Comic book names are getting a bit unwieldy simply because the publishers need you to be able to recognize the reprint trades when they hit the shelves later on.  So for example, Superior Spider-Man #1 hits the shelves this week, a guaranteed must buy (unless your boycotting Dan Slott), and I am sure we will see a few issues go down the pike before they’ve branded the book with a subtitle for the sake of trades.  This leads to a bigger thought on what the main draw to a comic is, anyway.  Dark Horse has a new Graphic Novel out collecting Peter Bagge’s recent comic RESET.  There are no titular characters we’re familiar with. Would it have sold better or worse if the book was titled after Bagge’s old indie comic which launched hom to fame?  Should this collection be renamed Peter Bagge’s Hate: Reset?  It’s fun to think about, especially when you take it to the extreme.  Since all comics derive from Superman, and Superman was the inheritor of the work done by the Gaines family on Famous Funnies, I think the most accurate title for this week’s Detective Comics #16 SHOULD be Famous Funnies Staring Superman #167895234, Batman Detective Comics A Death To the Family #16!

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 5: Rebel Spaceships, Striking From a Hidden Base

I feel like I have been doing this column long enough now that you all must be dying for a behind the scenes peek at how the magic happens. It all starts around 1:30 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning. That’s around 4 hours after I am supposed to have emailed this in to Tyler, our lovely wizard/graphic designer. I sit down in a chair and make up a bunch of stuff about new comics. I then send it to Tyler’s cauldron of spells/email account. He then does some process I don’t understand, blah blah blah, now it looks nice to look at. Then someone does something so that some internet nerds make it a blog post and someone else or maybe the same person does something so that printing nerds make it a newsletter. Viola! And that’s how it works. Same as the New York Times. It’s like Arthur C. Clarke once said to me, “Any sufficiently advanced low level comics journalism/sales pitch is indistinguishable from magic.” Anyway, there is a surprisingly good amount of new stuff on shelves this week and I have wasted a lot of space making jokes that only I will find funny, so let’s get on with it.

First, a moment of sadness and thanks to the great Jeff Lemire who wraps up his brilliant post apocalyptic coming of age story Sweet Tooth this week in SWEET TOOTH #40. If you haven’t ever read Mr. Lemire’s work you should be ashamed. SWEET TOOTH vol.1 is one of the true great joys of comics in the twenty first century. RIYL: SANDMAN, THE ROAD, or Children Of Men.

Also well worth reading no matter your feeling on superhero books, or anything else really, is WONDER WOMAN. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are quietly sitting in their own corner of the DC universe taking one of the most beloved characters in comics history and telling new stories for her that feel exciting, fresh, and look about as good as a comic can look. Matthew Wilson’s coloring on this book will be studied for years to come as the correct way to have coloring not just serve the pencil art, but to make coloring it’s own art. You don’t have to know anything going in, nor do you have to care about the rest of the DC universe. You just have to like good comics. DC is finally putting out WONDER WOMAN vol. 1 & vol. 2 this week. This is about as good as superhero comics get so you should get them. RIYL: Wonder Woman stories on any level, Clash Of The Titans or any modern takes on mythology

DEVIL IS DUE IN DREARY #2 is also out this week. I really loved issue #1 of this series that felt like a perfect cross between the modern western elements of PREACHER and the foreboding tone of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Add to that art that looks like a smoother Howard Chaykin and you have a really well made book. I know this is a book that will fly under most folks radars but that is a real shame. It has just enough uniqueness to make it stand out, just enough familiarity to be relatable, and is good enough to be a classic if people gave it a chance. RIYL: JONAH HEX or any modern westerns, FELL, PREACHER.

EERIE #2 hits shelves as well. I don’t hide my love for anthology comics and EERIE is a classic. Dark Horse’s relaunch of the series is off to a great start with weird short stories from Mike Allred (MADMAN, iZOMBIE, FF), Brian Clevinger (ATOMIC ROBO), and others. If you just want to read some fun & unusual stuff this is a no-brainer. Don’t be the guy or girl in your local comic shop who has to admit “I just like unfun & usual stuff.” RIYL: Old EERIE comics or other EC stuff, TWILIGHT ZONES, feeding your short attention span.

Peter Bagge is one of the modern legends of indie comics for his brilliant series HATE. When there is that much love and respect heaped on ones work it becomes easy for a lot of creators to shrink away from ever doing something substantial again. Fear of the followup or what have you. But Mr. Bagge has dived headfirst into new and brilliant projects one after another. From APOCALPSE NERD to YEAH! to OTHER LIVES his post HATE work has been varied and fun. It’s a different time for comics and it’s hard to get people as excited about a new book as it once was, but Mr. Bagge’s latest series, RESET, is maybe his best work since HATE and, if it were a different time, would be loved and talked about in much the same way. RESET is the story of a man who enters into an experiment that allows him to relive and change choices he’s made from his past. Weirdo stuff ensues. RIYL: Older Bagge stuff like HATE, the modern indie masters like Daniel Clowes or Charles Burns, or the idea of going back in time and messing things up like a creepy Marty McFly.

I don’t have much of an interest in Conan. Never did really. Some things aren’t for everyone. I know why people like it, I get that, it just wasn’t for me. Then Brian Wood wrote the excellent NORTHLANDERS series about badass vikings axing each other and whatnot and I immediately got the appeal. Apparently someone at Dark Horse did too because they snatched Mr. Wood up and put him on their CONAN book. I don’t know if that worked to bring new readers into the fold but it damn well should have. Mr. Wood is great at huge epics (DMZ, NORTHLANDERS), great at telling stories smarter than they need to be (COURIERS, CHANNEL ZERO), and great at working with amazing artists. For the beginning of his run, collected as CONAN vol 13: QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST he continues these trends. A smart Conan story that feels epic and has beautiful work by two of the more consistently interesting artists working today; BECKY CLOONAN (AMERICAN VIRGIN, DEMO vol II) and JAMES HARREN (B.P.R.D.). For those of you who have ever loved Conan and forgotten about it, this is the time to jump back on. And for those of you like me, who never saw the appeal, this is the comic that will make you fall in love with a barbarian with an ax. That’s a good thing.

RIYL: NORTHLANDERS, people using swords and stuff on each other, old pulp stories made relevant again.

END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN #1 is out this week. A buddy comedy set around the rapture. Image pumped out more good series debuts in 2012 than most people can afford to read and ETOBAB is their hope for their first big hit of 2013. This book is clearly gunning for the bookshelves of fans of smart and snarky comics and is definitely worth checking out if that is you. Co-writer James Asmus is a rising star over at Marvel but is also doing his time at Image on THIEF OF THIEVES with some nobody named Robert Kirkman. If you look for comics that have some action but really want to make you smirk this should fully be on your radar by now. RIYL: BATTLE POPE, CHEW, or the film Dogma.

My last recommendation is BETA TESTING THE APOCALYPSE. 10ish short stories from Tom Kaczynski that all play with the idea of exploring modern intangible concepts like capitalism or utopia and breaking them down into very tangible and very human stories. These are big ideas made very small and personal. Kaczynki’s style makes all the heavy stuff feel very immersive with out ever feeling oppressive. It is a delicate balancing act, and one that clearly he is comfortable with. BETA TESTING THE APOCALYPSE, like a lot of the Fantagraphics stuff from the last decade, is definitely one of those books that’ll please almost everybody who has the interest to pick it up and for a select few it will become a most cherished and prized possession. RIYL: J.G. Ballard, the more esoteric but personal stuff Fantagraphics puts out, CONCRETE.

Ok. I’m done.

Post to Twitter

Graphic Novels And Comics In A Crisis

Things in my cave are GREAT, thanks! I’ve taken care of that horrible bear, found a few new non-poisonous mushrooms and even got a girlfriend …although she might just be a hallucination, a side-effect from one of the mushrooms. Girls are translucent, aren’t they?

It all makes me think back on the crazy days of yore, when each of my columns would start with me chased by possums or set aflame by spiteful wood elves. Ha. Good times.

COMICS

A must buy this week is Dark Horse’s collection of short stories, De: Tales by brothers Gabriel Ba’ and Fabio Moon. 112 pages of the two brightest new talents in comics going bananas with creativity. You loved them on Umbrella Academy and B.P.R.D., now see the good stuff they’ve been keeping for themselves. Speaking of these super-stars, they’re over at Marvel now with partner Matt Fraction on their CRAZY book Casanova, relaunching this week with a new #1!

Hmmm. My cave seems to be filling up with some water. I wonder if the toilet’s backed up. NO, that can’t be it, I don’t have one… Continue reading

Post to Twitter

New Comics Lack Some Luster

Last week I raged against the oncoming storm that is the Yogi Bear 3D CGI movie. A good friend and blogger, a.k.a. “Jim” of jimsmash.blogspot.com pointed out one of the posters for said celluloid turkey and the rather, awkward catch phrase it employs.

“Good things come in Bears.”

No, I did not make that up. Man this movie gives me the creeps.

CREEPS

Speaking of which, Dark Horse has a brand new arch in the ongoing saga of Hellboy’s ex-co-workers over at the B.P.R.D. It seems that Abe Sapien and the gang have been placed under U.N. jurisprudence and will have to fight red tape as well as monsters. Check out the battle between paperwork and the monsters it protects in this week’s B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth- New World #1… and buy Buzzard #3 while you’re at it! Continue reading

Post to Twitter

New Comic Releases: #1 Comic Issues

There’s two businesses to Comic Books. In one, artists and writers try (And mind you I did say TRY) to draw, write and create the most amazing, spectacular sequential story they possibly can. On a monthly title, surpassing past successes can be a daunting challenge.

In the SECOND comic book biz, lawyers and business people have to turn a buck on these colorful pieces of stapled papers. If you thought CREATING comic books is hard, you really ought to try publishing sometime!

Fortunately for publishers there’s a “Never-Fails” tactic to the game of sell, a fool proof way to bilk a sucker for his $2.99! Today friends I will let you in on a little secret called “The #1 Issue!”

ISSUE AT HAND

Lets say you know nothing of comic books, or are getting into them for the first time.  Chances are you will buy NOTHING Dark Horse has on the shelves this week. It isn’t the fault of the material. The incredible manga Gunsmith Cats Burst Vol. 5 and Hellboy sister title B.P.R.D. King of Fear #4 both ship from Dark Horse this week and BOTH are on my pull list… but you’ll notice neither of them is a #1.

Maybe that’s why Dark Horse doesn’t sell as much as DC. DC has TWO #1s this week: Doc Savage #1 and The Flash #1, each with variant covers! Who knows what the shelf life of the Doc Savage title will be, but that #1 issue will probably outsell Adventure Comics #10, even though this latter will have ZOD, a gentleman famous for his kneeling desires being punched by that dreamboat Connor Kent. Continue reading

Post to Twitter