Tagged: Brian Wood

Signed Spawn Poster Giveaway – Instagram/Twitter

The much anticipated 250th issue of Spawn finally releases tomorrow and to celebrate the occasion Forbidden Planet’s giving YOU a chance to win a FREE Spawn Resurrection poster signed by Todd McFarlane, Jon Boy and Brian Wood!

Signed Todd McFarlane poster

What you gotta do to enter:

Come to Forbidden Planet on Wednesday 2/4/15, tweet at us (@FPNYC) or tag us on Instagram (#forbiddenplanetnyc) a picture of you in the shop with a copy of Spawn #250 and you’re entered into a drawing to win this:

It’s that simple, albeit only open to those of you who can make it to the shop tomorrow. Creativity won’t increase your chances of winning, but come on, this is for posterity. (My idea? A pic of you buying the book from a ridiculously good-looking cashier!)

One random winner will be picked at 9am on Thursday (2/5/15) morning. Good luck!!!

Please note: This is a promotional poster for Spawn Resurrection #1, that will not feature the originally planned creative team. Also, this poster is by no means Near Mint. Truthfully, it was handled by our supplier rather poorly. It will be presented to the winner in the condition we received it.

But hey, it’s FREE!

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Gift Ideas: Star Wars Holiday Special

A long time ago in a comic book shop far, far away… all your holiday shopping was taken care of in one shot! Just spend a few minutes with me and I’ll fill you with all kinds of great gift ideas for the Sith on your list.

Darth Vader and Son & Vader’s Little Princess – It’s never too late to force your personal interests on your children. Jeffrey Brown’s take on Vader balancing the everyday realities of being a father as well as preparing to be the biggest baddest bad guy in the universe is perfect for fans of all ages.

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Yoda Candy Bowl Holder – This candy bowl holder stands over a foot tall and can hold a whole mess a goodies in it’s dish. Candy Canes, fill this bowl with, you must!

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Han Solo Silicone Tray – Recreate Han Solo’s most memorable moment of defeat in your choice of deliciousness with this 11 inch long silicone tray. Make Han Jello out of Han Solo. Pass on the Carbonite and pass me the carbonated soda!

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Boba Fett Character Apron – Do you know an intergalactic bounty hunter/culinary expert? Than boy do I have the gift for you. Rock this character apron during your next cook out and look just like Boba Fett!

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Star Wars TP Vol 01 In the Shadow of Yavin – Picking up right where A New Hope lets off. From the mind of Brian Wood, creator of DMZ and The Massive comes this brand new Star Wars comic series. Collecting the first six issues this trade paperback is jam packed with tons of outer space ass kicking!

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Darth Vader Giant-Size Action Figure – This deluxe action figure measures a whopping two and a half feet tall, has seven points of articulation and a cloth cape! Doubt this bad boy will even fit under most trees, I mean its like as big as most Ewoks!

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Star Wars ABC & Star Wars 123 – What better way to get your young ones prepared for the real world than with a little help from George Lucas! Use The Force to force your kids to learn.

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Star Wars Frames – The gift for the ultimate Star Wars fan that has everything! A brand new in depth look at individual frames from all 6 epic flicks. This sexy monster of an art book comes in a slipcase which houses two hardcovers, each one covering a different trilogy. Painstaking put together by The Big G himself. No not Godzilla, George Lucas duh!

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Now if you can’t please a Wookie with something on this list you’re probably… well.. there really is no pleasing a Wookie now is there? See you when The Star Wars Holiday Gift Guide Strikes Back!

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I have survived NYCC, also I have bought some comics.

1382380_10152054711929050_1301273322_nI survived New York Comic Con 2013 and all I got was….a butt ton of stuff actually. Roughly $180 worth or stuff. No regrets, YOLO and such, because if I review it, I can write it off come tax time, at least I think I can. I now hope my accountant does not read my articles.

And yes,  I’ve decided to use a photo of my wife as part of my convention recap once again, because I like her Spider-Woman costume and she looks SUPER CUTE next to her most favoritest writer Kelly Sue Deconnick, who’s comics I’ve praised often round these parts. NYCC ’13 was rad overall, as I got to enjoy 2 FXX related panels, heard of the return of Stephanie Brown, watched as Marvel announced a TON of new books with awesome female leads, did some cosplay things (Check me out in the NYCC edition of Time Out New York and the Business Insider) and like I said above, bought stuff. A good time was had by all, especially Visa, so let’s get with the talking of comics.

x-men-6X-men #6 (Marvel)

Brian Wood/ David Lopez

$3.99, 20 pages

REJOICE, AS CAPTAIN MARVEL VOLUME 2 RELAUNCHES IN MARCH 2014 WITH DAVID LOPEZ JOINING THE CREATIVE TEAM! BUT ALSO BE SLIGHTLY UPSET, BECAUSE THAT MEANS HE’S NOT DRAWING THE X-MEN AGAIN ANYTIME SOON.

X-Men #6 is proof of why the later sucks, because David is REALLY good at drawing mutants, even when there is a numerous amount of them. At this point in his career, it’s scary to think that he may only get better, because he’s pretty damn good right now. I’m not sure how much of this comic was fully scripted vs. Marvel style, but Lopez’s panels are dynamic, and they deliver the proper drama needed because there are 2 ZOMG! level twists in this book. Also a hilarious scene where a baby floats away in a hamster ball (sorta) and Rachel Grey and Psylocke both being badass. That isn’t to say Brian Wood is a slouch, because chapter 7’s script is a HUGE step up from Chapter 6’s , which is a fine issue, but the stakes are definitely raised in this issue, as secrets are revealed and the plot takes yet another interesting turn. With 3 issues to go, Battle of the Atom continues to deliver thanks to A+ creators like Lopez and Wood, and I’m excited to see how this all wraps up.

 

alwarchie1Afterlife with Archie (Archie Comics)

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa/ Francesco Francavilla

$2.99, 20 pages

 

We now live in a world where the Riverdale Gang must survive the zombie apocalypse. Truly this is the best of times.

I couldn’t tell you what the last time I bought an comic published by Archie was, even though I’ve heard a number of their books in the last few years have been both extremely progressive and good. But then they go release a zombie comic drawn by Francesco Francavilla, and BLAM, bought on day 1. It could be the fact that I love zombies, but it’s probably more of the fact that I love Francavilla’s art, which is the pretty legit, and very much gives off that ol’ EC Horror Comics vibe. It’s great stuff, as Aguirre-Sacasa’s handling of the cast is definitely in-tune with their “canon” voices, but obviously this not the Archie you give to your kids, as this issue ends SPOILER with Zombie Jughead SPOILER. Also it is violent and spooky as hell, a little sexy. Well I think Sabrina is cute and man, now I feel extra creepy for typing that. Perfect for the season. Halloween that is, although the Walking Dead hype at NYCC is also fitting in a way.

Short week is short, but don’t worry, I’ll be back real soon to scream about the return of Hawkeye.

 

 

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I went to Europe, but then I came home to read some comics

The European comic shop scene is weird to me you guys. Between London, Halifax and Paris, I saw no less than a dozen comics shops, some of them named Forbidden Planet even, but man, it’s weird seeing the books I pull be considered imports. It’s also worth noting those shops were kinda fantastic, as there were things in them I was wiling to drop insane amounts of cash on. Also man the dollar sucks in the global sense, which is why I didn’t drop crazyyyyyy money. But if you’re ever in Europe, I encourage y’all to take some times to look at some of the local shops, ESPECIALLY in Paris.

X-Men005portrait_incredible (1)So yeah remember when I said I was going to take a break from the X-books and wait for the oversized hardcover  that was dropping in December? J/K, I BOUGHT CHAPTERS 3 AND 4 BECAUSE I AM WEAK! Zero regrets about that mind you (YOLO), because this event is crazy fun and serves as testament on how strong the X-line is these days. Brian Wood and David Lopez absolutely kill on their chapter (X-men #5, Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages) which should be a suprise to no one. The two had a great run on the X-men last year, and it’s great to see them work their magic once again on Marvel’s mutants. Lopez especially, who’s John Cassadyesque, only with better faces. And Woods, not unlike Bendis, is fantastic at injecting humor throughout the soap opera that is the X-men. As for Uncanny X-men #12 (Chapter 12, also $3.99 and 20 pages), Chris Bachalo and like 4 inkers (Really?!?) rejoin Bendis for a tale that had me drop at least 5 very  audible profanities as I read it. The last 6 pages of this book are insane, and are setting some some great stuff for Chapter 5. Despite my intial concerns about this book, Battle of Atom has pleased me on every level, and I cannot stress how awesome this X-event has been so far. THIS is how events should be done.

Daredevil_Vol_3_31_TextlessMark Waid and Chris Samnee are really doing their best to trying to get me to come up with new ways to praise Daredevil. This current arc, a take on the Trayvon Martin case, covers a LOT in 20 pages, making it a stral for $3. Also everytime Mark Waid writes Hank Pym is a treat, and adding him to DD’s supporting cast was a genius move. And Chris Samnee remains one of the best artists working in the industry today. Don’t let the cover fool you, there’s a lot more going in the pages of Daredevil 31 then it implies (the promised deathtraps are missed though) and you’re a fool if you’re not reading this book. Yes I’ll resort to name calling to get people to buy this title, I am not above doing as such.

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Captain Marvel #16 ($2.99, 20 pages, Marvel) had a very fun cover, but it’s an uneven read. Which is unfortunate, as the book has been very hit or miss as of late. I’m not reading Infinity,and this book is VERY much tied into the event of this mini, so there’s a lot that I just didn’t get. A shame, because there’s some great talent giving KSD a hand with this issue in the form of  Jen Van Meter and Patrick Olliffe. And there’s a lot of strong bits spread through out the issue, as the writers have a great handle on the Avengers featured in this book. But again, if you’re not reading Infinity you’re gonna be lost. At least the 5 months of crossovers comes to an end next issue..before the book takes a small break before the rumor relaunched during ALL NEW MARVEL NOW, or whatever it’s call. Either way, this was probably the worst issue to drop in an otherwise fun run, and hopefully the break will do KSD and Captain Marvel some good.

And with that I’m caught up with my single issues. However, I did read some trades, some manga and there’s a bunch of great books coming out this upcoming week. So I’ll be back real quick (maybe).

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 17: That Can Save Her People…

Funny story. My column ran long last week and Unkie Dev’s space got cut. Since then I have been wracked with guilt and completely unable to function in my daily life. I am overwrought with worry thinking about all you Unkie Dev Dev-iants who missed his thoughtful words and gentle demeanor. I have completely rethunked my whole column to try and make amends. Also the numerous death threats helped me see the issue more clearly. For this week I am doing a very special, micro-machines man-esque, super speed version of TRY SOMETHING NEW. Without further ado…

THE MASSIVE #1 is being rereleased for $1. Frontrunner for book of the year, Brian Wood does realistic global disaster from the POV of a radical environmental group hunting for a missing boat. There’s nothing like it on shelves and if you like the $1 issue you can buy the whole trade for just a bunch of dollars more. I know nobody wants to hear that this book has some light environmentalism themes so I won’t mention that. People shoot at each other though, you all like that. Read also: DMZ.

SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY. A friend of mine who works at Marvel lent me this and said it was the best Superman book of all time. That’s how good it is. It almost brokered the Marvel/DC peace accords. He was wrong though. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is the best, but this is up there. A surreal tale of a young Clark Kent that will keep you guessing. Kurt Busiek can find the humanity in superheroes better than almost anyone, and Stuart Immonen can draw that just as well. Read also: ASTRO CITY

PUNK ROCK JESUS. Sean Murphy steps out of his own artistic shadow to become a powerhouse writer. The story of a clone of Jesus who quits his reality TV show and fronts a punk band may make you cringe, but Murphy handles it with aplomb. His art, as always, is brilliant. This one may not be for everyone but if it seems interesting to you now you will probably dig it. I think the ratio of people with mohawks in comics to people with mohawks in real life is crazy. This book doesn’t help that. Read also: AMERICAN JESUS vol. 1

MISS FURY #1. It seems like something changed over at Dynamite and their relaunched character books have either been getting much better or people are finally caring about them. Now they launch Miss Fury, a hero who ends up moving through alternate timelines after WWII. She may be lost, she may be crazy, she is definitely angry (Dynamite, call me. I can make this $#!% up all day: 212.473-1576). This book is good too because if you squint you can pretend you are reading Catwoman. Read also: CATWOMAN

MICE TEMPLAR vol. 4 #1. How &*(%!#@ weird is it that there is more than one book about mice with swords? I think it’s absolutely insane. It makes me feel like I am losing my mind. It’s hard to find comics with black characters in them and there are two books with sword wielding mice?!?! Both sword/mice books are good. This one has some great Michael Avon Oeming art. Read also: MOUSE GUARD (obviously…)

THANOS RISING #1. I once went on a long and moderately well received rant about how I think in some ways comic writers are too sheltered. Many just lack crazy life experiences and it shows in their writing. I said something about how I don’t want to read comics from anyone who has never been in handcuffs, or slept with a stranger, or been knocked unconscious, or had a gun pointed at them, or woken up on a strange floor, or seen a dead body, or crashed a car, etc… Rantings of an idiot, but my point remains. I don’t know if Jason Aaron has done any of those things but he sure writes like has. Now he is writing a Thanos origin story. I don’t know who thought a Thanos origin story was necessary but here it is. Read it and everything else Jason Aaron writes. Read also: SCALPED

UBER #0. There’s a lot of Nazi stuff in comics. Nazis are like mice with swords, they’re everywhere. Except in MAUS where the mice aren’t Nazis at all and there are no swords. Confusing. Most of the Nazi stuff I find to be boring and cliché. Heck, this is my second Nazi stuff book of this column, and this column only has stuff I like in it. But Kieron Gillen is a good writer and can take a tired cliché and shake it up enough to make it feel fresh and exciting. His new series finds Nazi superheroes entering the last days of WWII to CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY! Whoa. If that doesn’t excite you you should probably stick to books with mice and swords. Read also: PHONGRAM

HARBINGER WARS #1 is a crossover between Harbinger and Bloodshot. Both of those books are among the better offerings in superheroics right now. This, the first crossover of the Valiant Comics relaunch, is all set to be epic and hopefully gamechanging. If you have been reading both main books then this event is a no-brainer. If you haven’t then I don’t know why you would start here. The trades of both individual series are only $10 each. Start there. Read also: HARBINGER, BLOODSHOT.

50 GIRLS 50. Fantagraphics has been re-releasing old EC stuff in these really nice hardcovers. Now they are taking a shot at Al Williamson’s work. Ranging from sci-fi & fantasy, to horror and crime, this stuff is almost infinitely fun and readable. There are some Ray Bradbury stories in here, as well as some stuff that Frank Frazetta drew. All with great notes on EC and Williamson. This book is equal parts truly classic comics and amazing history lesson. Come for the arts, stay for the smarts. (Again, Fantagraphics, I will write taglines like this for you. I make up stuff this good like every day.) Read also: CORPSE ON THE IMJIN

‘TAIN’T THE MEAT…IT’S THE HUMANITY. I could write about how this is Fantagraphics collection of all of Jack Davis’ Tales From The Crypt stuff but instead I will just direct you to the title. Now I offer the theory that anyone who does not own a book called “’Tain’t The Meat… It’s The Humanity” deserves nothing of value in their lives. This stuff is funny, gross, creepy, and like nothing that has come since, but mostly it just has the single greatest title of all time. Ever. Including the future. Read also: CAME THE DAWN

Well that’s all for me now. I just got a tip from a friendly lady cop I used to run with that a guy matching the description of tech wizard/crazed mole person, Tyler, has been spotted in the abandoned Fulton Fish Market building. I just hope I can get to him before they do. Pray for us.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 15: Princess Leia Races Home Aboard Her Starship.

Ok, big week here at TRY SOMETHING NEW. It seems a ton of you have been reading my column and taking my advice. Obama released the sales charts for comics last week and it turns out REPTILE MUSEUM by Cody Pickrodt was the best selling comic in the country, selling a whopping 1,288,000 copies in one week. That’s a lot of folding and stapling. Thanks loyal readers. I hope you all enjoyed reading the book as much as I did. I am sure Cody would thank you too if he wasn’t busy orbiting the earth in a newly purchased Soviet space shuttle. Hopefully there is stuff in this weeks column that you can be equally as excited about.

Of course every silver lining comes with a sad old cloud inside it. I am putting this issue of the Weekly Planet together myself for the first time. Turns out it’s not so hard. This is shaved ape territory. That’s not the sad part though. No living person has seen dear sweet Tech Wizard/Milk Carton Model Tyler in over a week. This is hard to talk about but Tyler was getting into weird stuff recently. Stuff you wouldn’t want your parents to see, stuff you would deny to your friends. Comics with no narrative, comics that were just made up of shapes, comics that took place inside large animals, comics about comics even. MoCCA stuff. Real sicko $#!%. Sadly no one at Forbidden Planet heard his cry for help enough to just hand him a copy of Hawkman and slap him in the face once. We have all seen it before. Kid moves to the big city from… I don’t, Canada? Texas? Where the hell was Tyler from? And the big city shows him things he has never imagined. Blexbolex things. Deforge things. Marra things. The first time he saw Pillow Fight it was like watching a puppy come to understand string theory. Soon he is shaving his head, hanging out in offices with british dudes, and … Sorry again. I don’t really know what Tyler does other than edit this steaming pile of journalism. Either way, if you see Tyler out there tell him someone at Forbidden Planet loves him. Tell him to come home before this world ruins him. He had so much to give. I can already feel this is too little too late. Oh well.

Image came out swinging pretty hard in 2012, firmly staking their claim as the innovative mainstream publisher. Books like Saga, Manhattan Projects, Fatale, Mind The Gap, Prophet, and King City were among the best books to come out last year. Well Image is feeling the pressure to top all that clearly. Books like End Times, Nowhere Men, Sex, and Great Pacific are all causing a lot of buzz and are well worth your time. But no book has generated the buzz or the praise of FIVE GHOSTS #1. The Five Ghosts team (Team 5G is what no one is calling them) is signing/signed at Forbidden Planet this Wednesday, (and what a fine looking and charming group of young men) depending on when you read this. A great classic pulp adventure with big ideas and breathtaking art, FIVE GHOSTS feels just like what you imagined all comics should be like when you were 10. An Indiana Jones type meets the great literary characters of the past 200 years in a supernatural thriller as drawn by a cross between Milo Manara and Wally Wood. That was probably too nice, but still, really fun book. Make sure to grab a copy so you can see what everyone else is already talking about.

While we are on the subject of Image and the signing on Wednesday, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE comes out this week and Bob Fingerman will/was also signing on Wednesday. If you aren’t familiar with Minimum Wage then you should probably stop reading this and just buy the book right now, which is a fully remastered collection of the old stuff with new bonus material. Bob Fingerman is a true classic cartoonist in every sense of the word. He has had work in everything from Cracked to Screw, High Times to Heavy Metal. He has done children’s comics (the excellent Recess Pieces), and porno comics (the also excellent Skinheads In Love), and turtle comics (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). But for many of his fans and admirers his pseudo autobiographical comic Minimum Wage is his true crowning achievement. Underemployed twenty-something characters try to find their places, get by, and fill their days in this book that in many ways feels like the sibling to books like Love & Rockets and American Splendor. Slice of life storytelling that is character driven and vital, while never losing sight of what makes indie comics fun.

Another of my favorite books of the last year finally lands in collected format this week, Brian Wood‘s brilliant environmentalist post apocalyptic drama, THE MASSIVE. Part insane naval action thriller, part end of the world disaster story, all framed around a disappeared freighter. Wood does his usual great job of making simple ideas seem thrilling and fresh, and then populating them with great characters. In many ways The Massive is the spiritual successor if not actual sequel to his amazing NYC modern civil war series DMZ. With a story that jumps smartly and easily from one mind blowing locale to another, The Massive doesn’t read like anything else on shelves. I don’t know if Wood is great at research or the best bull$#!% artist in comics but it doesn’t matter. His work feels authentic and topical, while never getting bogged down in stupid stuff like “science” and “facts.” While never quite overt, it is nice to see a major comic address climate change and environmentalism in a serious and smart way. This and Joe Harris’ Great Pacific are working hard to bring important issues back to mainstream comics and that is a very good thing. Mr. Wood’s whole career is filled with work from some of the most exciting artists working. From his old books with amazing talents like Becky Cloonan, Ryan Kelly, and Toby Cypress, to more recent fair where he has introduced the masses to artistic geniuses like Riccardo Burchielli, Fiona Staples, Shawn Martinbrough, and Nathan Fox, Wood may have the best taste of any writer in comics. He hasn’t slowed down at all in recent years, doing books with folks like James Harren and Ming Doyle, and now Garry Brown on The Massive. Garry Brown’s art makes The Massive a book that should be in every single smart person’s read list. I have known Garry’s work for a while and been counting the days until he became a superstar. I have a feeling that this time is now. There aren’t a lot of people in comics who can make 2 page spreads of the ocean seem beautiful, scary, or even worth looking at, but Garry does it effortlessly issue after issue. In short, a smart, exciting, and refreshing book that is also beautiful. Stop spending money on the stupid stuff you spend money on and give this book a chance.

Thanks for reading and good night. And sleep well sweet Tyler. Wherever you find yourself tonight.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 12: An Armored Space Station With Enough Power.

The reviews are in! I was told this week that my column is mostly me “talking about yourself  for 2 pages and then recommending a book.” While technically that is more of a synopsis than a review, the point still stands. I talk a lot about myself in this thing. There is a good reason for that though. I am a weirdo recluse who reads too many comics and can’t relate well to other people. I tend to wall off my emotions for fear of burdening others with my problems and I put on a big, farcical parody show of my own existence so that people will like me. I do this by talking about myself too much. My only real friend in life is Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Fresh Eater, Tyler, who I think hates me. I don’t value my own ideas and opinions so I try and build myself up into this larger than life character that is always trying to keep people entertained. This is why I have and how I rationalize having a column when I feel this deep rooted personal inadequacy. It’s a shell game, a distraction, using humor and long-winded anecdotes to keep people at arms length so they can’t realize that I don’t really have anything of substance to offer them. Thanks for bringing that up. Your criticism (synopsis) has been taken to heart. So this week we are going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. I am just going to write about some comics and remove myself from the dialogue entirely. I am bringing the integrity back to this column, this store, and comics journalism everywhere. I apologize for all the minutes of your life I have wasted with my sad, self aggrandizing charade and I hope you, my loyal-ish readers, will appreciate the new format.

First review: FIVE WEAPONS is a new 5 issue monthly comic book mini-series. FIVE WEAPONS is published by Image Comics Inc. FIVE WEAPONS is written by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is pencilled by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is colored by Paul Little. FIVE WEAPONS is lettered by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is 32 pages, including ad materials. FIVE WEAPONS is full color, printed on 70 lb. low gloss stock with self cover. FIVE WEAPONS is rated T for Teen. FIVE WEAPONS is the story of a boy who is not properly equipped yet still attends a school for deadly assassins. FIVE WEAPONS is a spinoff of Jimmie Robinson’s semi-popular BOMB QUEEN series. In recent years Image Comics Inc., the publisher of FIVE WEAPONS, has had a higher than average success, rated against other independent comic publishers over the same period, of launching new intellectual property. Often times first printings of Image Comics Inc. #1 issues sell out at the distribution level and yield an average appreciation of 221% on the secondary market within a fiscal year. It is speculated that Image Comics Inc.’s sellout issues and surrounding media attention are, in part, based on the companies refusal to print overstock beyond the initial orders placed by Diamond Comics Distribution LLC at time of F.O.C. This leads to what some analysts deem to be an artificial scarcity that could be creating a “false” appreciation in value. The sustainability of that appreciation outside of the “speculation bubble” is based, in large part, on the intellectual properties options being picked up for development in a secondary medium. At the time of this writing FIVE WEAPONS has not been announced to have been optioned. Image Comics Inc. has recently stated that they are changing their policies in regards to overstock printing. How this will affect the secondary market for upcoming titles remains to be seen. Consumers looking to purchase a new story about superpowered assassins or looking to invest in a new property with sizable fiscal growth potential would do well to purchase FIVE WEAPONS #1 on or near Wednesday, February 27th.

Blaaaaaah. Barf. Snooze. The new format sucks. Integrity be damned. Actually just talking about books is boring. Sorry. We are going back to the old format of me talking about me talking about books. Sorry if it bums you out anonymous reader, but I don’t get paid to do this so I am beholden to no one but myself. Say it with me crust punks on St. Marks Place who only come to Forbidden Planet to try to charge their cell phones- “No gods! No Masters!” I might up the ante here and talk about me talking about me talking about books. I may already be doing that. We are getting meta here. I might pull a Grant Morrison and start making appearances in the comics in my columns. I might start lying about what the comics are about. I might start reviewing books that only exist in my head. Next week’s column is going to be called TRY SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT NOW NOR EVER WILL EXIST. It will serve no purpose other than to amuse me and abuse you, disloyal reader. And when I see you stop reading it in disgust in the store I will match your disgust with my own and I will follow you home and read it out loud to you until you beg me to stop, until you vomit. Who is the narcissistic self obsessed weirdo now, huh? Ok. Now let’s get back to sort of talking about comics.

Alan Moore has two new books out this week. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen spinoff NEMO and the re-release of photo/literary biography of famed occultist/comic writer Steve Moore, UNEARTHING. Buy both of them or don’t tell people you like comics.

I am going to cram a three-fer of Marvel books into one paragraph. Why? 2 reasons. 1. When I post my reviews of Marvel books Marvel staff don’t ever tweet or post about it. They are too busy “complaining” about Bleeding Cool talking about their books to bother to support small blogs of large comic book stores (not bitter). 2. But these books are something new from Marvel though so I should be covering them and you should be giving them a chance. The compromise? Less column space. First up- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Oh WTF Marvel?!? What the Holy #&<@ is that? Use whole numbers!). Guardians is a funny one. A few years ago Marvel couldn’t pay you to give a $#!% about their “cosmic” books even though they were, for the most part, very good. Then they decided to make a Guardians Of The Galaxy movie so they pumped a lot of money into telling you you like Guardians Of The Galaxy and you believed them. Lucky of all of us the new book is really good. Successful cultural brainwashing! 2. ULTIMATE X-MEN #23 (A whole number! Yay!) Ultimate X-Men has been a Bermuda triangle for brilliant comic writers for years. Bendis, Millar, Vaughan, Kirkman, Carey, etc have all done some of their worst work there. For some reason Brian Wood didn’t notice this and launches his brand new arc this week. It isn’t just the best Ultimate X-Men has been, this is some of the smartest stuff Marvel has published in years. Read it. 3. X-TREME X-MEN Vol. 1: XAVIER MUST DIE. Marvel’s EXILES book was a brilliant and fun way to turn nobody characters into compelling leads. It worked well because the throw-away nature of the characters meant that the stakes always felt higher and the characters and writing reflected that. Marvel basically relaunched EXILES but wanted a much worse name that reminded us of awful 90’s comics, Mountain Dew, and rollerblading. Hence; X-TREME X-Men. Despite their best efforts to make something unappealing this book is quite fun. If it goes on long enough and writer Greg Pak is allowed to cut loose and chart his own course this book could be something worth really cherishing. It is off to a great start.

BART SIMPSON #80. The shocking “The Death of Bart” storyline wraps up in this issue with a brutal and heartbreaking conclusion. Bongo has done a great job of making Bart’s descent into the murky underworld of Springfield’s drug and human trafficking rings feel visceral, frightening, and most of all compelling. Bart is a real character pushed too far and the things he has had to do, while not morally acceptable, are understandable to the reader. He has made himself a pariah, but he has also made himself the last honest man. Much like Hamlet, when you started reading The Death of Bart arc you knew it had to end with his murder, but it doesn’t make it any less harrowing. When Bart finally meets his end the tragedy of the moment comes with something else, a palpable sense of relief that a life lived too hard can finally come to rest. Like the gun barrel he slowly puts in his mouth, we as readers are now participants in a crime that is equal parts heinous and catharticly beautiful. And, in Bart’s passing, Springfield itself dies a little too. When his limp body, battered, broken, and abused, is pulled from the river, for the first time in years we see Bart as the child he always should have been but never could be. And as the stonefaced residents watch Marge breaking down and clawing at her own skin, each resident of Springfield knows their role in the death of a boy who never stood a chance. Bart has always worked well as a metaphor for the working classes struggle to define itself and for America’s ability to cannibalize it’s own young for the sake of some poorly defined idea of progress. In that, the death of the last boy in Springfield, USA is the death of us all. A beautiful and tragic conclusion to one of the great cartoons of all time. Ay Caramba, Bart. Ay Caramba.

Valiant‘s stunningly good relaunch continues with BLOODSHOT Vol. 1: SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE. An inverse of Captain America, Bloodshot is the story of a government super soldier program gone horribly wrong. The Valiant books are as smart and pretty as almost anything at the Big 2, but the fresh characters give the stories a chance to cut loose and provide twists and turns you won’t see coming. X-O Manowar and Harbinger have already released their first trades and are fast becoming fan favorites for the superhero set and I expect Bloodshot to follow suit. For anyone who feels like some of their “people punching people” books have started to become stale, Valiant is trying really hard to give you a fresh alternative. And at $9.99 for the collection why wouldn’t you buy it?

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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.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 3: In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Third column. I am coming out of my sophomoric slump with an all star one this week. The only problem is that the comic industry basically takes the last week of December off meaning that there are less than 10 mainstream comics releasing. I’m not going to resort to recommending comics that I don’t believe in 100% (actually like 80% but you get the point) just to fill space so I’m going to resort to recommending books that don’t really fit the “TRY SOMETHING NEW” criteria. That’s called integrity folks. It’s not just a great metal band from Cleveland.

Before I move on to books that need your attention I would like to give a nod to Dan Slott and the Spider-Man team for wrapping up Amazing Spider-Man this week in an interesting and different direction. Mr. Slott and the Spider-Man crew have put out a really great book for a few years, consistently among the best superhero books on the shelf. Every time they try and push the story forward, evolve the character, or even just do something compelling they meet with a great deal of resistance from folks who want their superhero books to be a never changing constant in their lives. I am not sure what drives a person to want to read the same thing year in and year out, but my thanks to the Spider-Man team for not giving in to them. These are stories not security blankets. The curtain goes up, we meet a character, the curtain goes down and that character is somehow different. That is how stortytelling is supposed to work. Anyway, buy SPIDER-MAN #700 and celebrate the end of an era.

Of the handful of new titles this week, the only thing that really caught my eye as “try something new” material is Brian Wood & Ming Doyle’s MARA #1 from Image. Brian Wood has long been a favorite of mine for, at worst doing interesting and unique books (COURIERS, NEW YORK 4), and at his best being among the top writers in comics (DMZ, NORTHLANDERS, LOCAL). With his new series from Dark Horse, THE MASSIVE, easily making the best books of the year list, and his work on ULTIMATE X-MEN quickly becoming one of the best runs that book has ever had, I was very excited for MARA. Mr. Wood is good for nothing if not keeping you guessing, and MARA certainly does that in spades. A dystopian tale about the world’s most famous female volleyball player. I don’t think I need to really say anything else. Either that interests you or it doesn’t. Personally I love reading something I have never read before and this easily falls into that category. In a year of weird premised comic books, a 20+ year old story by Alan Moore takes the cake (FASHION BEAST) but MARA certainly gave it a run for it’s money. RIYL: Brian Wood’s more “out there” dystopian work, the volleyball scenes in Top Gun, or sci-fi that doesn’t “feel” sci-fi.

On to things that didn’t come out this week but you should pick up. Anders Nilsen is one of the great indie comic creators to emerge in the last decade. Everything he touches has a deeply personal and intimate feel and this allows the stories he choose to tell to be both wildly unique and relatable. His epic BIG QUESTIONS is a must read for the “lit” comics set and deserves it’s place on shelves alongside other modern classics that start with “B” like BLANKETS, BLACK HOLE, BUILDING STORIES, and BORING, DAVID. But Mr. Nilsen’s most personal work has also been the one that was the hardest to get for years, DON’T GO WHERE I CAN’T FOLLOW. Finally back in print, DGWICF is bar none one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories I have ever read. Using journal entries, photos, postcards, and comics, Mr. Nilsen recounts the love he shared with his fiancee, Cheryl Weaver. You follow their tale through vacations and young love, her getting sick with cancer, her hospitalization, and, heartbreakingly, through her memorial. This book is an amazing tribute to the love shared between two people and the fragility of the human experience. RIYL: Crying.

SAUCER COUNTRY is the new ongoing series by a couple of the more interesting creators in comics from one of the best publishers. Paul Cornell (Dr. Who tv show, BATMAN & ROBIN, CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI-13, etc)), Ryan Kelly (BOOKS OF MAGIC, DMZ, etc) have put together a great political alien abduction series that is as smart as it is fun. Equal parts X-Files, EX MACHINA, and The Manchurian Candidate, this book is worth picking up if you are a fan of any of that stuff. RIYL: All the stuff I just mentioned. Come on, pay attention.

My final recommendation of recent stuff that is worth grabbing is MARK TWAIN WAS RIGHT. The always excellent Microcosm Publishing releases this collection of comic journalism about the 2001 Cincinnati riots. Dan P. Moore recounts through personal experience and interviews the days leading up to and after the police shooting of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed black teenager. MTWR tells the story of the riots and civil disobedience from a perspective we are rarely are offered, the community itself. The Cincinnati riots are a major moment in recent American history and the roots and causes of the anger and sadness that took over that city for days deserve your attention as much as anything on a comic store shelf. It’s one of those rare instances where comics aren’t just telling this important story better than other media, comics is the only one telling it. Support a unique voice, support a worthwhile book, and get yourself a great book all at the same time. RIYL: Comics journalism by folks like Joe Sacco, Ted Rall, or Guy Delisle.

That’s it for my my third column. Can you tell I wrote this one when I was extra tired? I can. As always, thanks for reading. And to those of you who do, thanks for supporting new books and new ideas in comics.

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June 13th 2012 Picks of the Week

If you follow our Twitter feed or like us on Facebook you may know by now that our colleague Javier Rodriguez can’t stop gushing about this week’s issue of Batman (found here).  Like, will not stop.

Me, I’m all over Brian Wood’s new project, The Massive.

brian wood the massive #1 dark horse

Here’s the premise:

In a post-war, post-crash, post-disaster, post-everything world, the environmental-action trawler Kapital scours the earth’s oceans for its mysteriously missing sister ship, The Massive. Captain Callum Israel, a man who has dedicated his life to the ocean, now must ask himself-as our planet dies-what it means to be an environmentalist after the world’s ended. Callum and his crew will come up against pirates, rebels, murderers, and thieves as they struggle to remain noble toward their cause. Can you save a planet that’s already doomed?

To quote Derek Jeter from a dopey car commercial, minus the marbles in my mouth, “You should really check it out.”

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Empowered Strikes Back!

WE INTERUPT OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED COLUMN FOR A BRIEF, FANTASTIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Adam Warren’s AMAZING good girl comic book, Empowered is back this week with volume 7! Forbidden Planet has copies of the previous volumes for folks to get caught up on, and we HIGHLY recommend that you do. Empowered is a Tootsie Pop of human behavior; On the surface it is the continuous adventures of a scantily clad super heroine who just wants to earn respect; though she finds herself perpetually abducted, disrobed, and tied to chairs. Below that teeth-rotting candy coating of distracting sugar is a deep, chocolaty center of frailty, insight, and nuance.

Good writing check! GREAT art, check! Incredible characters and hilarious humor? You KNOW that’s a check! Empowered Vol. 7 is out THIS week, with previous volumes available HERE at the Forbidden Planet! We now return you to your regularly scheduled column, already in progress-

FEED RESUMES IN 3,2,1-

-because I couldn’t reach the tweezers. NOW I’m stuck inside of an igloo with no means of escape, but at least I’m not dressed as a pretzel any longer. True story.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39 drops this week, as does the Batman Annual, and while BOTH look great, only one re-introduces Mr. Freeze into the new 52 Universe. Buy them both to see which one.

I’ve been loving the new Nickelodeon “Avatar, the Legend of Korra” cartoon, but new adventures of my favorites from Avatar, The Last Airbender” are very welcome into my igloo! Dark Horse has volume 2 of Avatar, The Promise, which features Ang and Toph rescuing metal benders from rogue Fire Nation tribes on the brink of War!

Angel and Faith #10 also hits the shelves, and speaking of TV shows:

Channel Zero Complete Collection, Brian Wood with Becky Cloonan, Dark Horse Continue reading

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The Weekly Pulse – Drive Your Enemies Before You

Lots to look at today! A couple more number sixes trickled out in the form of Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Frankenstein, and Suicide Squad. Plus more of everyone’s favorite enmouthed Merc and enlobstered Johnson! Most exciting of all, a new Conan book from Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood! Throw is some Dark Matter, Scarlet Spider, Memorial, The Strain, and Thief of Thieves, (editor’s note: currently sold out.  New stock shipping march 14th) and you have a busy week of comics reading!

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The Clone Chores

This has been the easiest column to write of my long career…because I didn’t write it! OR DID I?! No, I did not, but my CLONE did! That’s right, in order to better multitask I have developed a clone-o-matic so that all of my necessary daily tasks (sweeping up the cave, writing my columns, eating, etc.) can be performed while I engage in weightier pursuits…like finally finishing Zelda II: The Adventures of Link. That game is tough!

So let’s just review this document my clone has passed in…we’ll call him CLunkiedev. *Puts on reading glasses, clears throat* Ahem.

GOOD FOR YOUR EYES


Well, I already have to step in to editorialize. Clunkie’s written here “Darhrazz 8” and then a sort of squiggle. Due to me taking this particular clone out of the tank a little early his hands aren’t strictly speaking hands…he can grip but his nailless fingers are sort of boneless and stumpy. I think IT is trying to recommend Dark Horse Presents #8 which, on top of some great new stuff from Brian Wood and Howard Chaykin promises to have a Hellboy B.P.R.D. tie-in story. It’s a good book to cover.

Speaking of which, Clunkiedev has scribbled a sort of moist rectangle with a Superman symbol, the number 6 and a big “X” through it. I think It is as disappointed in the cover to Action Comics #6 as I am…sort of a green and purple blob in which Superman is stuck as though in a Japanese tentacle manga. It reminds me of Clunkie’s forehead…see eyelashes are really hard to clone, and they came out all…never mind. AC #6 has a lousy cover, but I’m sure Grant Morrison’s superlative writing on these Super-books will be top notch.

Two covers that leap off the shelf are Fear Itself The Fearless #8 and The Twelve #9! Fear Itself The Fearless is the spin off series from last summer’s Fear Itself event. Good  Marvel fun. The cover, however, is the best Art Adams has to give! Amazing perspective, detail and poses as only Adams can deliver. Continue reading

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Unkiedev’s Amazing Stuff #1

Unkiedev’s Amazing Stuff

Why haven’t I thought of this before? You guys must be super bored of reading my crumble-down, old timey column of words, thoughts, and comic book related highlights. THAT is why the Flash went to an alternative universe and got a glimpse at an ALL NEW, ALL DIFFERENT Unkiedev. A glimpse so startling that we have REBOOTED the entire Unkiedev’s Amazing Stuff universe!

No longer do I live in a smelly cave and constantly get assailed by ghouls, mummies, and woodland creatures! NOW I’m a sexy alien cat burglar who wears purple lingerie and totally makes-out with Batman! That is, when I’m not living in a smelly cave, getting goofed on by mummies and bears and crap.

THREE’S A CROWD

In fact there’s a bear in my cave now. He’s going on and on about how excited he is about Action Comics #3 and Detective Comics #3. I can see his point…Grant Morrison on Superman is never a book to skip, plus Batman is going to fight a villain who makes dolls out of his victim’s skin. Fun for all ages!

Still, I’m more interested in a number 2 book this week.

SUPERNATURAL #2, Brian Wood (W), Grant Bond (A), DC Comics

NOT part of the 52 that I’m aware of, though DC is pretty creative with its retcons. Supernatural is the DC published comic book based on the TV show of the same name. This is the third miniseries written about the show, all of which are sanctioned by the show’s creators and considered in-continuity stories.

Supernatural is good ole’ fun, the tale of roving monster hunters hanging out in bars, getting into fights with each other and the forces of evil. In this new miniseries, younger brother Sam is off in Scotland entangled in two sticky wickets, these being Monsters and Women.

S’good, fun stuff. Forbidden Planet might just have a few issues of #1 kicking around if you ask nicely. Or they might not. What do I know, I live in a cave! Continue reading

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