Tagged: Charles Burns

TRY SOMETHING NEW CHAPTER 6: Have Won Their First Victory.

So one of my co-workers today told me that they have no idea what it means when I write “RIYL” in my column. I guess I just thought that was something everyone knew. Seems not to be the case. This is like when I try and talk to my friends about… most of the things I try and talk to my friends about really. Blank stares. A sea of blank stares. An endless, bottomless, oppressive ocean of blank stares. Now I put my actual readership of this column at about 8 people split between the blog and the newsletter. One of those people is my dad for some reason. One is Forbidden Planet’s tech-wizard/dancing machine Tyler, who gently informed me “I only read it because I have to.” Then he thoughtfully added, “Stop mentioning me in your column.” No. Anyway, I now wonder if any of my 6 other readers have understood why every book recommendation ends with a series of letters and a list of other books. Is my writing that disjointed that when I lapse into code and nonsense nobody bats an eye? Either way RIYL stands for “Recommended If You Like.” It’s an acronym. TRY SOMETHING NEW has just taken it’s first step towards becoming educationalish.

Fun Fact: The word “acronym” is, in fact, an acronym. What is a.c.r.o.n.y.m. an a.c.r.o.n.y.m. for? Well you will have to use g.o.o.g.l.e. to find out the answer to that one. On with the show!

Bionic Man Vs Bionic Woman #1

BIONIC MAN VS. BIONIC WOMAN #1. I don’t know anything about this book. Didn’t read it. Didn’t read the BIONIC WOMAN comics that came before it. Didn’t read the BIONIC MAN comics that came before it. Never watched the TV shows those comics are based on. So why am I recommending this book? It was written by a man named Keith Champagne. That is the best, most badass name in all of comics. This guy must get invited to every party in the world. People probably offer him money to sleep with them. I bet Keith Champagne could kill a man on live tv and never be arrested. I bet he owns a submarine. He probably wouldn’t need a spacesuit on the moon. I feel like I got pregnant just talking about him. You know, I used to think Dennis Hopeless was the best name in comics. Boy was I wrong. Go buy Keith Champagne’s book so he gets more writing gigs and we can talk about him more.

R.I.Y.L: I have no idea. Running in slow motion? Track suits? People with robot parts? Men and women fighting each other? No. Recommended if you like Keith Champagne. R.I.Y.L.K.C.

Black Beetle #1 (of 4)

BLACK BEETLE: NO WAY OUT #1 is out this week. Why are there two different comics with color coded beetles as the main character? Because humans as a species are all really close to running out of ideas. That doesn’t change the fact that Black Beetle is a very fun new series from superstar artist and sometimes writer Francesco Francavilla. With an art style that is most at home doing stylish and action packed noir stores, Mr. Francavilla has written a character that easily plays to his strengths. This pulp detective/superhero character has appeared in a few short stories in DARK HORSE PRESENTS that were collected as BLACK BEETLE #0, but now he heads out on his first longer case. If you have no exposure to this Black Beetle yet No Way Out #1 is a great place to jump on. Keith Champagne would want you to.

RIYL: Pulp stuff like THE SHADOW, THE ROCKETEER, or THE SPIDER, new superheroes who feel like old superheroes.

Harbinger (Ongoing) TP VOL 01 Omega Rising

HARBINGER vol 1. OMEGA RISING. I am a big supporter of Valiant. They took a bunch of dead properties that only a few diehard fans cared about and brought them back to life in a big way last year. Rather than going out and spending a ton of money on big names who would do rush jobs on their properties, Valiant spent wisely. They got not the biggest names, but some of the best names, to thoughtfully and carefully bring their books to life. ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, X-O MANOWAR, & BLOODSHOT were some of the best superhero titles released last year, with writers like Fred Van Lente (HERCULES, COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS), Robert Venditti (SURROGATES, THE HOMELAND DIRECTIVE), Duane Swierczynski (PUNISHER, CABLE), (if they were smart they would hire Keith Champagne) making a smart and coherent universe for these characters. Fun, nice looking, and a good starting points without alienating old fans, the relaunch was well planned across the board. But the book that got me most excited, the book that shot my interest through the roof, was HARBINGER. Like a dark and cynical, yet compassionate take on the X-Men, Harbinger is the story of a superpowered teen who must learn to control his powers while others seek to use him for their own gains. This idea should be intriguing for any fan of capes comics, but I cared because Valiant went out and hired Joshua Dysart. Far from a household name but he should be, Mr. Dysart is probably best known for his run on SWAMP THING or writing the Neil Young comic that I didn’t read. But Mr. Dysart also wrote my favorite comic of the last 5 years, one of my favorite stories of all time actually, UNKNOWN SOLDIER. If you haven’t read UNKNOWN SOLDIER you are missing out on one of the great graphic narratives of our lifetime. I use a lot of hyperbole in this column but I kind of think that last sentence was true. It is hard for me to put into words how compelling and beautiful UNKNOWN SOLDIER is. HARBINGER, while no UNKNOWN SOLIDER, is however one of the best superhero setups we have seen in a long time and a reason to visit comic shops every month. Valiant are continuing their wonderful commitment to get people excited about their books by making this collection of the first 5 issues only $10. They are challenging you not to read it, daring you to continue to read the same old stuff when there is newer, better, and cheaper. Don’t let Valiant make you look like an idiot. Buy HARBINGER vol. 1 today. Or this week at least.

RIYL: The more personal X-MEN stories, MORNING GLORIES, or RISING STARS.

One Trick Rip Off Deep Cuts HC

ONE TRICK RIP-OFF. Paul Pope is one of those artists who has reached a level of success which means he doesn’t have to put out a lot of work and it only increases peoples excitement. There are a few folks operating in this class now; Geoff Darrow, Ashley Wood, Darwyn Cooke, Charles Burns, folks like that. Paul Pope definitely leads the pack though. Sure they do things here and there from time to time, a shirt, a magazine cover, a short story, but a new book is a cause for serious celebration and excitement. Well Paul Pope has a new book this week. ONE TRICK RIP-OFF. And here’s the thing. It’s not even a new book and I am disturbingly excited. Originally it was published as short stories in DARK HORSE PRESENTS and later collected in the mid 90’s, but this is the first time this story has been printed in color, and the first time it has been available at an affordable price in more than a decade. Containing the whole story, plus over 150 pages of other shorts, art, and rarities from Mr. Pope, this book is a no-brainer for people who want to study the work of one of the pioneers of modern comic visuals. Mr. Pope is a true badass in the comics world today and he rarely sticks his head out long enough for us to get work from him. Also, not as cool a name as Keith Champagne, but Paul Pope is a pretty awesome guy name. Grab this one while you can.

R.I.Y.L: Great art that is also really cool. Cooler than you or me.

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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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Coming This Tuesday- Charles Burns The Hive

Our graphic novel pick of the week forthcoming? THE HIVE.

Charles Burns Hive Black Hole El Borbah X'ed Out Xed

From the creator of Black Hole, the second part of a new epic masterpiece of graphic horror in brilliant, vivid color. Much has happened since we last saw Doug, the Tintin-like hero from X’ed Out. Confessing his past to an unidentified woman, Doug struggles to recall the mysterious incident that left his life shattered, an incident that may have involved his disturbed and now-absent girlfriend, Sarah, and her menacing ex-boyfriend. Doug warily seeks answers in a nightmarish alternate world that is a distorted mirror of our own, where he is a lowly employee that carts supplies around the Hive.

When Charles Burns releases a new book, the very ground should tremble, and humanity cower in awe.

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Stock Alert- Charles Burns Echo Running Low

Cut Up Drawings Echo Charles BurnsA 36 page booklet by Charles Burns of process sketches drawn for his book Black Hole.  …Sketches of beautiful teenagers and pus-ridden mutations.  Fascinating for artists interested in process.  From the artist: “What is this? I took a bunch of pencil drawings from my comic Black Hole and taped them together and xeroxed them to make this book. When I “pencil” my comics I work in layers on sheets of tracing paper and build the drawings up by slowly refining and fixing them. Sometimes I get what I want in one or two tries, but that’s rare…”

Guts printed on an opaque natural paper, cover printed on translucent vellum stock. Hand-bound with black linen thread. All copies signed and numbered! Edition of 400.

We have VERY few of these left, and at that low a print-run I can easily say once they’re gone they’re gone with impunity.  Order yours online from Forbidden Planet NYC here or come by the shop and check it out SOON!

If you’re not familiar with Charles Burns’ work I highly recommend you get on that ASAP.  His Black Hole is one of the great masterpieces of graphic fiction.

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Charles Burns’ Best American Comics Lineup.

bac

Woo, this is a doozy.  The last one I bought was Harvey Pekar’s edition, but I’m going to have to dive into this version. Check out this lineup, reported by the Comics Reporter:

* “Shh!” Tim Hensley, MOME
* “Justin M. Damiano,” Daniel Clowes, The Book Of Other People
* “Artist Vs. Artisan,” Peter Bagge, Apocalypse Nerd
* Various Strips, Kaz, Underworld
* “Hillbillys ‘R’ Dumb,” Doug Allen, Hotwire
* “Why I Only Write About Myself,” Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Comic Art
* “Our Beloved Tape Dispenser,” Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, The New Yorker
* “Indian Spirit Twain & Einstein,” Michael Kupperman, Tales Designed To Thrizzle
* “Spirit Duplicator,” Dan Zettwoch, Comic Art
* “The Company,” Matt Broersma, excerpted from Insomnia
* “Shortcomings,” Adrian Tomine, excerpted from Shortcomings
* “Over Easy,” Mimi Pond, excerpted from www.mimipond.com
* “Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@#*!!,” Art Spiegelman, Virginia Quarterly Review
* “Cruddy,” Ron Rege Jr., Against Pain
* “When I Was Eleven,” Gabrielle Bell, Lucky
* “Gropius in ‘Ring Tones’,” Tim Hensley, MOME
* “Dal Tokyo,” Gary Panter, Riddim
* Various Shorts, Ben Katchor, Metropolis
* Various Shorts, Jerry Moriarty, Comic Art
* “Mosfet Warlock and the Mechlin Men,” CF, Powr Mastrs
* Various Shorts, David Sandlin, Hotwire
* “The Galactic Funnels,” Dash Shaw, MOME
* “Berlin,” Jason Lutes, excerpted from Berlin
* Various Strips, Tony Millionaire, Maakies With The Wrinkled Knees
* “Black Death,” Sammy Harkham, Crickets
* “Jordan W. Lint,” Chris Ware, Virginia Quarterly Review
* “Fuzz & Pluck In Splitsville,” Ted Stearn, excerpted from Fuzz & Pluck in Splitsville
* “Freaks,” Laura Park, Superior Showcase
* “Skim,” Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, excerpted from Skim
* “Antoinette,” Koren Shadmi, Blurred Vision
* “Glenn Ganges In Pulverize,” Kevin Huizenga, Ganges
* “Jillian In The Argument,” Tim Hensley, MOME
* “5:45 AM,” Al Columbia, MOME
* “Papa,” Gilbert Hernandez, Love and Rockets
* excerpt from “The Hand That Feeds,” Anders Nilsen, Big Questions
* “Hope Gropius,” Tim Hensley, MOME

Happy to see Michael Kupperman in there amongst the rest of the MOME people.  Regardless, this is looking good. For other editions of Best American Comics click here.

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When Writers Attack!

by Jeff Ayers

Further proving this writer’s hypothesis that damn near  everyone involved in the pop arts these days wants to be associated with comics & geek culture, an onslaught of prose novelists are releasing comics in the near future, led by this week’s Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures #1 from Laurell K.Hamilton.  Other recent medium-hoppers of note include espionage/suspense  writers Greg Rucka (52, Whiteout) and Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis, Justice League), as well as fantasists Raymond E. Feist, Tad Williams, and Orson Scott Card.  Movie and TV personalities are also jumping aboard as director Reggie Huddlin, Lost producer Damon Lindelof, Buffy creator Joss Whedon, and Allan Heinberg of The OC are all writing comics, too.

While this trend is anything but new, the sheer number of projects granted to these fledging comic authors is daunting to say the least.  One wonders if the job pool for established comic writers will soon be shallower by way of  this new wave, regardless of the former’s prior successes, their knowledge of the medium, and their ability to make a deadline.  Indeed, many of these newer ongoing projects from “outside” writers are plagued by release dates not met and rush-jobs churned out on account of the writer’s other, more profitable, obligations.  However, as long as their comics maintain a consistent level of quality and punctuality they are worth note.

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