Tagged: comic

Need I Say More? Yes.

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Go to Comic Arts Brooklyn this Saturday. You’d be an idiot not to. And I mean that. I so badly wish I could be there. Small and independent publishers of comics, art, zines, and minis will be set up in the community center of Mr. Carmel Church with additional programming at The Knitting Factory, both in Williamsburg. Also, it’s effing FREE! Kim Deitch; Renee French; Michael DeForge; David Mazzucchelli; Jeff Smith; Paul (effing) Pope; Tyler (effing) Boss!

Need I say more?! I’m yelling a lot, but I can’t help it! That’s how excited I am this is happening/angry that I can’t go myself. Just don’t disappoint me this weekend. And if anyone wants to buy me B+F by Gregory Benton, I wouldn’t be mad.

I went last year, and it was awesome. Just go already.

Also, buy these comics.

Mars Attacks #3

I talked at a little length last week about another one of Al Ewing’s books, “Mighty Avengers”, but I can’t really help it if the British author is writing stuff that I generally want to read every week. Ewing’s main authorial duties started with the snarling Mega-City street Judge, so it only makes sense that he’d naturally move to combining cyber-punk hyper violence with sci-fi aliens; arguably the species most deserving of a little judgment. There’s a new mob boss in town that’s not from these parts, and it’s up to the brave man and women of the Judge system to take out some big-brained miscreants. These over-the-top franchises are a beautiful match made in space, and have come back in time to save us all from boring comics. Great gangster dialogue, and snapshot art from John McCrea make for lively and fast paced shoot em’ up lazer action. Bonus! They’ve spliced in some classic Mars Attacks trading card-as-panels, which serve to move action along and explain some of the finer points, letting the parts of the story you love (violence, aliens, titillation) go full force.

Manifest Destiny #1

Shock, I’m from the Pacific Northwest, something I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned like a million times since I started writing this. So the idea that someone is going to write a comic about heroes Lewis and Clark is very pleasing to me. We have parks, colleges, streets, cities, and buildings named after these exploring fools; and we take the game Oregon Trail very seriously. But our abiding hero worship of these gentlemen (and ladies like Sacagawea) has room to let in a historical fiction account of the “real” pursuit out west; monster hunting. Under orders of mustachioed President Roosevelt, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark have been charged with ridding the uninhabitable West of dangerous beasts and wild plants, so that the U.S. may fulfill their god-given duty of owning and habitating land that’s already inhabited. Writer Chris Dingess is moving from popular TV spots like Being Human to the sequential form, and we should all give him a warm welcome into the fold by picking up his book. Plus, crazy monsters and political drama? Do I need to spell out how awesome this plot is to you?

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek Khan #2

You KHAAAAAAAN-‘t stop yourself from buying this prequel series! (Don’t judge me for using that extremely outdated Wrath of Khan joke, I’ve owned that movie since it was on a laser-disk, and since laser-disk was actually a thing). Whether you’ve been sucked in by Cumberbatch’s beautifully delicate cheekbones, or you’ve been a fan of Star Trek since there were space whales, you can’t help but want to see how this evil villain powerhouse came into villainy and control during the pesky Eugenics Wars that took place in the near distant early 1990’s, and created augmented supermen. The wars have been referenced in numerous episodes, movies, and written about in Trek novels, but under seasoned author Mike Johnson, and supervised by the Abrams’ Star Trek writer/producer Roberto Orci, this series is definitely for the benefit of movie tie-in. Which is fine by me because I enjoy those movies a lot. So don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned Trekkie, this series exists to explain some background on your favorite villain, and expand the current Trek-timeline. Trekline.

Fearless Defenders #11

Maybe I should have written about this series sooner. Should have put copies of it in the hands of more friends. I don’t want this to be a eulogy of the series, but it is indeed ending next month on issue #12. Not only are we losing a Cullen Bunn title (don’t worry too much though, he’s also writing Helheim, The Sixth Gun, The Damned etc), but we’re losing an ALL FEMALE SUPERHERO TEAM! How?! Why?! All valid questions in this day and age. Did Marvel think that by letting Wood write a lady X-Men book mean they didn’t need two? Did they think that adding a title with a Muslim lady hero mean they met their diversity quota? Both series you should be reading. Le sigh. This series is great, and people should send it out with a last hurrah that it deserves. Very fan driven, supported, and loved. These ladies of Asgard deserve more page time than they’ve been given, but hopefully we’ll see Valkyrie and the rest back in action soon enough.

Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #1

Are you sad that Lock and Key is ending soon? Just in time for the holiday’s comes a new Joe Hill series spun from the pages of his best-selling novel NOS4A2 (clever, right?). I love Hill’s novels, his comics, his grocery lists; everything he writes is engaging and brimming with character development. Christmasland is a place where main spook, Charles Talent Manx III, leaves the children he has drained of their essential life force, and are forced to live in eternal Christmas Day….forever. It sounds like a weird plot, Hill titles are rarely repeats of themselves or day old horror, but his books always prove to reward readers with intensely developed universes and some thought provoking life-philosophy. As well as straight up violence and horror. Can’t leave that out. He’s won an Eisner, been on the NYT’s bestseller list, have films optioned and made from his work, and genuinely wants you to have a good time while you’re reading his word. The art is being done by Charles Paul Wilson, illustrator for “The Stuff of Legend”. And all ages author seems like an unusual choice, but given the vaguely creepy nature of his art, and the spooky children he’ll be working with in this new series, I have nothing but high hopes. Plus! Covers by Gabriel Rodriguez!

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Greg Pak signing Eternal Warrior #1

This Wednesday at Forbidden Planet NYC we’re going to have Greg Pak (Batman, Superman, Red Skull, X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong) will be in store signing copies of his new book from Valiant, Eternal Warrior #1. This is sure to be an awesome new title from an awesome, sort of, not really, kind of, new publisher. I wouldn’t miss this one folks ior you’ll be Eternally kicking yourself for it. One last time thats THIS Wednesday (9/11/13) at 6:30 p.m. New comic book day, new comic book series, new stuff to collect, new series to fall in love with.

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CHOICE AND FREEDOM

In 2002 I self published a comic with some friends entitled “Robots R
Cool, Zombies R Jerks” about the inevitable robot/zombie war we all
know is coming and the frogs who are caught in the middle of it all.
The book was very Mad Magazine, with tons of great jokes, art, and
wacky gross out zombie vs robot carnage. My book was out before IDW’s
Zombies Vs Robots. My book was out before the Walking Dead. I’m still
immensely proud of that work.

We premiered the book at the San Diego Comic Con in 2002. Growing up I
had gone to every comic convention my family would drive me too. As a
“professional” I had attended the Chicago Wizard World in 1998, but
nothing had prepared me for SDCC.

San Diego Comic Con is ridiculously sized, with thousands of attendees
and exhibitors. For anyone who has been to our beloved New York Comic
Con, San Diego is easily twice that size and filled to the brim with
publishers, movie studios, toys, games and every other product you can
think of. This thing is as big as Asgard, and twice as magical.

My friend and I paid for our tickets, lodging and table out of pocket.
We sold 1,000 copies of our comic by hand at the con, making back our
table money but not our flight expenses. We made some friends, and got
featured in Mark Hamil’s Comic Book: The Movie.

It was a wonderful experience, and a true highlight on the small speck
of dust I call my career.

I went back to the SDCC in 2006 as a professional artist seeking work.
I didn’t get any. I did get in a fight with Sergio Aragones regarding
the price of a commission. I did leave the con with my suit cases full
of the most incredible haul of comic con swag you could imagine. I
picked up three original pages of my favorite comic book of all time,
Steve Purcell’s Sam and Max, which I bought personally from Steve
himself. I left with an empty wallet, Art Adams sketchbooks, signed
copies of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls (which was making it’s debut at the
show) and my personal copies of Roger Langridge’s early worked signed
by the man himself in one of his first, early US appearances.

I published more comics, had a great time exhibiting at Moca and the
New York comic cons. I grew as an artist and a writer. From all these
experiences, Jeff Ayers agreed to let me write for the Forbidden
Planet shop blog and newsletter.

I got married. I drew less. I had a baby. My artistic output shrunk to a pea.

On a whim I sent some writing samples to a noted comic book blog which
was looking for reporters. I passed. My first assignment?

You guessed it.

I’m happy to say that I will be attending this year’s San Diego Comic
Con as a freelance reporter for bleedingcool.com. I’ll be doing my
best to get content out to bleedingcool, as well as to you loyal
readers here at the Forbidden Planet. I will also be keeping an eye
out for creative opportunities in order to get back on the horse and
publish more books.

This week we celebrate the 4th of July, the holiday where we Americans
applaud the freedom we so often take for granted. In America you have
the peace and safety to discover your own hopes and dreams, and a
nurturing environment ready to award innovation and hard work.

I want to be a cartoonist. I want make a professional living writing
and drawing funny material for folks who like quality work. It has
been over 11 years since my first trip out west. So much has changed
in that time…but one thing has not:

The comic books of tomorrow are written by the creators of today.

I can’t wait to get a first hand look at the new talents, titles and
techniques that will make the comic of the future sensational! I
promise to bring you all back some great news, rumors, and reports, as
well as the hard hitting comic book journalism you have come to expect
from your ole’ Unkiedev.

Thank you for your continued attention. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Now go watch some fireworks, read some comic books, and do your best
to be YOUR best. You can do it!

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TODAY IS THE BEST DAY.

Not only is it May and it’s 45 degrees outside and raining in New York (shivers of excitement in anticipation of cozy/anxious Twin Peaks watching later), the weather has met in complete conjunction with how it will be on the day that this new book releases at the Brooklyn Book Fest in September…shivers of anticipation and sweaty palms….

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OCCUPY COMICS EVENT

May 22nd marks the public release of the first issue of a wild and fascinating comic collaboration. Occupy Comics #1 will be on shelves and we at Forbidden Planet recommend everyone get it. This is not only a comic that features the likes of Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Marc Andreyko, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, J.M. DeMatteis, Joshua Dysart, Brea Grant, Joe Keatinge, George Krstic, Joseph Michael Linsner, B. Clay Moore, Steve Niles, Laurie Penny, Matt Pizzolo, Steve Rolston, Riley Rossmo, Douglas Rushkoff, Tim Seeley, Simon Spurrier, and Ben Templesmith. It’s not just a time capsule of radical ideas/stories for/about change. And, most importantly, its not just quick way for some people to make quick and easy money like some other comic publishers that shall remain nameless. DC. This is a book about one of the most culturally significant happenings in this country in a long time and whether you agree with its ideals or not makes it no less poignant. So in honor of this achievement in the choice of medium we have decided to peddle we will be having a signing with Dean Haspiel, Ron Wimberly, Ben Templesmith, Ales Kot, and Matt Pizzolo on May 22nd at 6:30pm. Come get your copy and get it signed by all these artists and writers who created something larger than themselves about a movement that was bigger than anyone anticipated.All proceeds from the book’s sales go to current Occupy initiates such as Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt. Read comics that matter.

NOTICE:

ATTENTION ATTENTION!
Ben Templesmith WILL NOT be in attendance on Wednesday’s Signing due to some unavoidable circumstances. Ben however WILL be stopping by to sign copies of Occupy Comics #1 and Ten Grand #1 so we WILL have SIGNED Ben Templesmith comics in abundance just not the person. Our’s and Ben’s sincerest apologies.

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YOU put the I in “COMIC.”

The comic book hits of tomorrow are written and drawn by the genius’ of today! I hope each and every one of you out there is creating your own amazing stories to thrill and entertain. Forbidden Planet has an excellent small press section, and there is no reason you books cannot be amongst them.
Until then, dear reader, maybe you’ll check out these other titels?
DREAM TEAM
Image has a brand new title out this week called The Dream Merchant #1, and Dark Horse has The Dream Thief #1 (of 5). Listen, we have GOT to get these two characters together! They might work out a plt for Inception 2.
Joking aside, both look like interesting sci/fi supernatural thrillers. In the Dream Merchant, a young boy has haunting dreams of an alternate timeline which has been erased by sinister forces. His dreams unlock the secrets to getting that reality back, but should he follow them or go back to sleep?
In the Dream Thief, an ancient mask worn by our hero once makes him the conduit for vengeful spirits while he slumbers. Think Poltergeist meets the Mask.
Here’s a helpful piece of advice: If you’re in a comic book and you should find a strange, creepy mask? JUST LEAVE IT ALONE! Same goes for drinking serums in laboratories, or flying in space or trying on any jewelry you find in a treasure chest or tomb.
Speaking of tombs,
MASTER OF HORROR
Edgar Allen Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher #1 (of 2) is a new horror comic out from Richard Corbin and Dark Horse. I don’t know much about the writer on this book…Edgar Allen Poe? What comics has he worked on before? Can anyone tell me if this guy has done any superhero stuff, I’d like to read more of his work. Still, Richard Corbin is one of the best in horror books. If you’ve seen Corbin’s work then you know he’s both cartoony and horrifying, grotesque and fun all at once!
Kinda’ like this next book; John K. Presents Spumco Comic Book HC (34.99) is my NUMBER ONE pick this week! IDW continues their fine work reprinting in large format print classic material from hard to find sources. Spumco Comics is a collection (plus new material!) of the comic works of John K., the animation super star behind Ren and Stimpy. John K. has a unique style, and humor so low-brow people will wonder if you have any brows at all.
THE BIG TWO
DC has the second issue of their He-Man relaunch title (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #2) as well as Justice League #20, and the 30 page, final issue of Sword and Sorcery #8. DC is gearing up for their big summer specials, as well as a few surprises for our pal He-Man!
Marvel is swinging back with Age of Ultron #8, FF#7, and Wolverine and the X-Men #29 amongst others. Both Age of Ultron #8 and the latest Wolvie title are alternate future versions of the current Marvel Universe. Alternate titles are always fun! I suggest you read these now, so when you pick up the Return to the Age of Ultron Universe title Marvel will be publishing in 10 years, you’ll know what’s going on.
STILL DRAWING?
How’s your comic going…you know, the one you’r working on? WHAT? You haven’t started it yet, you’ve been reading my column?! DUDE/M’AME, drop this thing like your butt in a bouncy castle and get working on new comic books!
Don’t forget to clip all the pages of your comic book together with staples. Comics without staples is just a series of nonsensical leaflets which won’t stay together.

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Regular Show Signing!

This Wednesday the 15th at Forbidden Planet, Allison Strejlau will be in store at 6:30 signing copies of Regular Show #1! Allison is the regular monthly artist on this new comic series based off the immensely popular TV show. And if that wasn’t enough, Allison, lovely person that she is, will even be doing sketches! So don’t miss the chance to get your brand new number one signed and drawn on by the artist of what is sure to be one of the hardest books to keep on shelves.

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STICK IN THE MUD OF TIME

The best comedians are often self-loathing, depressed freakazoids.
Eric Powel, writer and artist on The Goon must HATE himself more than
a Slayer fan who has run out of razor blades, because that cat is
putting out the funniest comic book on the stands today.

This week sees TWO Goon books, the new issue of the title (Goon #44,
often delayed but finally here, we promise,) and the most recent
trade, Goon Vol. 12 Them That Raised Us Lament, which collects issues
38-41. If you’ve been looking for a jumping on point, THIS IS IT.
Inside you will find heart-breaking stories of origin, hilarious takes
on the artist’s own commercial prospects as well as great fights,
cars, jokes and stories.

We all have our weaknesses. I know I plug this dang book maybe more
than I should, but it has won five honkin’ Eisners. I apologize if you
hate award winning, hilarious, sad, well-drawn comic books. I’ll stop
trying to push them on you.

THE OPPOSITE

If I have to recommend NON-Eisner winning comics then I can’t
recommend this week’s Adventure Time #13. Adventure Time will win the
2013 Eisner for best kids publication, you see. I’m sorry if that was
a spoiler, but it is not my fault you’re stuck in a linear time
constraint. Still, the new issue drops this week, as does Avatar The
Last Airbender: The Promise, a deluxe edition of past Avatar stories
based on another awesome cartoon.

I suppose I also can’t nominate Deadpool #5, as it will get a
nomination. If Deadpool is ‘gonna fight Zombie Regan in space, don’t
you think you want to check it out?

SEVENTEEN TIMES LUCKY

Action Comics #17, Batwoman #17 and a slew of other #17 books are out
from DC this week, and are well worth the pick-up. On the Marvel tip,
Don’t miss Uncanny X-Men #2, Alpha #1, Superior Spider-Man #4 and
Avengers #6.

This MIGHT NOT be up your alley, but Marvel is relaunching Nova this
week with a brand spanking new #1. Nova will feature prominently into
Marvel’s future movie plans, and this new book will give you a pretty
good idea of what is coming up for the human rocket!

FLOWING JUICES

Image is finishing up the brilliant Grant Morrison’s strange
“gangsters meet magic” limited series, Happy, this week with Happy #4.
Meanwhile, IDW is relaunching GI Joe under the strong writing of Fred
Van Lente with GI JOE #1!

New beginnings, new endings and fine continuations make this one
swankaroonie week to be a comic book fan! I hope you all did your
taxes, because your going to need that refund check in order to get
all the great books coming out in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned
to Forbidden Planet for all there is to know about the latest Action
Figures, Manga, Comics and MORE!

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 4: It Is a Period of Civil War

It’s a new year. What better time to set new resolutions, try new things, and, most importantly read new comics. That’s where I come in. Other holidays have their mascosts; Santas and bunnies and…turkeys… and cherubs I guess… And now me. I am the Ghost of Good Comics That Will Be Canceled if You Don’t Read Them. I am your Jacob Marley. I am your conscience. Now I am going to bully you into trying a new comic you will love. You’re welcome.

Let’s start it off with the basics. You probably like comics because they are great. You probably like Spider-Man because he is amazing (or superior). You probably should be trying a new book because that is a moral imperative. While Dan Slott and co. make you wait for the debut of their new SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, Marvel newcomer Joe Keatinge gives one of Spidey’s most fun pseudo-villains a series of his own. MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE #1 comes out today. Mr. Keatinge has been working on comics for years but has really made a name for himself in the past year with Image books like HELL YEAH! and GLORY. Morbius on the other hand has been kicking around the Marvel Universe for decades while rarely getting his proper due. He is an interesting character and Mr. Keatinge is an interesting writer, making this one a no brainer for the superhero set. These last 10 years have seen the big 2 companies face a nearly impossible battle of trying to diversify their titles. Great characters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Secret Six, Sentry, OMAC, and tons more have withered on shelves because readers won’t branch out. If you have ever been in a comic shop and said to yourself “why does every book have “BAT” or “SUPER” or “X” or “AVENGERS” in the title?” the answer is that you won’t buy books like Morbius. Do us all a favor and give an interesting book a chance. Or wait patiently for Marvel to make a book called X-Avengers. RIYL: SPIDER-MAN, GLORY, or any new characters ever getting books at the big 2.

Blackacre #2

BLACK ACRE #1 was an interesting idea. Private, walled-off cities that weathered an apocalypse and now stand on the brink of collapse in the wastelands of America. Well, BLACK ACRE #2 hits this week. Comics is a difficult medium because it is episodic so it requires a series to open with a bang and really grab you. Some of the classic ones can do it on page one. Some of the others take a full 22 pages. Here’s the thing, BLACK ACRE never grabbed me like that at all. It is smart, well written, has a great setting, and nice art. It doesn’t have that hook though. It feels a lot like a movie, a whole lot of setup that seems like it is building towards something, but it isn’t there in the opening. It is hard to quantify why though. I put down issue #1 fully entertained and satisfied, but not at all curious. Now a month has passed and I find myself pretty excited for #2. And I think that is what BLACK ACRE has and why it shines. It isn’t playing a lot of the games other books are playing. It does it’s own thing and it’s clever enough to know that should be enough to keep you coming back. And here is the book I thought I had forgotten, worming it’s way to the top of my pile. RIYL: Smart dystopian sci-fi like JUDGE DREDD or WASTELAND, or near future action stuff like DMZ, or films like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

Fatale TP VOL 02 Devils BusinessFATALE vol. 2: THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS comes out this week. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have spent a few years chipping away at the title of best creative team in comics. They pretty much have it in the bag but they want to put a bunch of FATALE out to make everyone else look stupid. In the realm of crime writers Brubaker now stands nearly alone in terms of quality. And in the realm of noir-ish cartoonists Phillips has very few challengers. After SLEEPER, and CRIMINAL, and INCOGNITO, these two have done some of the best crime comics ever made. FATALE is their crime comic cum Lovecraft. It’s Cthulu noir. It is better than everything else and if you didn’t buy the first one you made a horrible mistake. Buy the second one with the first one now. This book gets all the recommendations I have to give. RIYL: Crime. Horror. Good things.

47 Ronin #2 of (5)47 RONIN #2 is also out now. Mike Richardson is the founder of Dark Horse comics and has done more to raise the quality of comics than everybody but a very select few. Stan Sakai has been drawing and writing USAGI YOJIMBO for 2+ decades. The legend of the 47 Ronin is one of the most beloved and badass legends in all of human existence. Richardson & Sakai are teaming up to do a very authentic and faithful retelling of this story and it is really entertaining. Most importantly they are taking a hundreds of years old legend and making it feel relevant and fresh. Unless you read a lot of manga a book like this will be like a slap in the face, in the best possible way. Best part of all, it looks like USAGI YOJIMBO with humans… and that is just weird fun. RIYL: USAGI YOJIMBO, manga like LONE WOLF & CUB, BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, or SAMURAI EXECUTIONER, and classic tales on the level of Homer or Brother’s Grimm.

Red Ten #1 (of 10)

RED TEN #1. A new take on Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, this is a superhero revenge and murder mystery from the folks at upstart publisher Comixtribe. The big guys in superhero comics like to borrow liberally from the great stories of western culture and act like it’s theirs, and here Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano do the same only these guys believe in their work enough to site their influences openly and know that RED TEN still stands up on it’s own. Basically self published, put together because they care and believe the story is good and matters, and fought and hustled all the way on to comic shop shelves, this book is nothing if not a product of pure passion. Reward the creators who are fighting hard to get their stories out there for you. Pick up RED TEN and let them know that you appreciate it. RIYL: Whodunnit style superhero mysteries like BATMAN: HUSH, high stakes superhero events like SECRET WARS, or fans of BATTLE ROYALE style mayhem.

Country Ass Whuppin Tornado Relief One ShotCOUNTRY ASS-WHUPPIN’ is an awesomely named new anthology from the usually quite good folks at 12-Gauge Comics. This single issue is full of a variety of weird and fun tales by some of the better southern gentlemen & lady creators in comics. Jason Aaron (SCALPED, WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, THE HULK), Cully Hamner (R.E.D., DETECTIVE COMICS, GREEN LANTERN), Rebekah Isaacs (ANGEL & FAITH, DV8, HACK/SLASH), and a bunch more all throw down solid stories. Best part of the whole thing? Proceeds are donated to the Red Cross tornado relief fund. You get good comics by great creators and help people in the process. It is quite possible if that doesn’t interest you that you may be a bad person. Think about it. RIYL: DARK HORSE PRESENTS, the Vertigo anthology books, helping people in need.

And that’s it for me. I am sure there is a lot of other good stuff worth grabbing this week, just make sure you get something. Happy new year. Love, GGCTWBCYDRT

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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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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 2: A Long Time Ago

So here we are at my second column of TRY SOMETHING NEW! already. Wasn’t too pleased with how the the first one came out, 20/20 hindsight and all, but we press on. New comics wait for no man or woman and so this column where I berate you for not buying enough new comics waits for no man or woman. Let’s get right into the berating, shall we?

Geoff Darrow

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #19 comes out this week. Is it stupid to call a series that is on issue #19 “something new?” Sort of. But I did it anyway. DARK HORSE PRESENTS is a monthly anthology of short comics, sometimes stand alones and sometimes serialized stories, from a mix of the best creators in comics and the most exciting newcomers. Each month Dark Horse Presents offers you something new, hence it’s inclusion in this column. Ranging from one page absurdity pieces to stunning series beginnings, DHP has something for literally every type of comic fan. Lately anthology books have had trouble finding an audience which is a shame unto itself, but the level of talent and great comics in DHP turns that shame into a tragedy. This month alone features a new story from Matt Kindt’s excellent MIND MGMT, Duane Swierczynski and Eric Nguyen bring back X, and Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Bechko start a giant monster story called STATION TO STATION.

A bunch of issues back DARK HORSE PRESENTS premiered a new series by writer Frank Barbiere called THE WHITE SUITS. I thought it was one of the best introductions to a series I had read in years. Equal parts SIN CITY, 100 BULLETS, & WINTER MEN, that first chapter filled a void in comics that badly needed filling- smart and stylish crime books with a healthy amount of conspiracy. Now THE WHITE SUITS is returning and I couldn’t be more excited. Even if the other stuff in DHP doesn’t interest you, I promise this story is worth the price of admission alone. RIYL: Short stories, great things in small doses, being into cool stuff before everyone else.

Nowhere Men #2

NOWHERE MEN #2 Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, & Jordie Bellaire have crafted a really interesting book in NOWHERE MEN. The simple tagline/premise of “What if scientists were our rockstars?” opens the door just enough to make one curious without revealing anything at all. The first issue firmly established Stephenson’s remarkable ability to build interesting worlds and characters all while using some clever narrative tricks. Bellegarde turns in the work of his career so far making pages that are both very effective and visually unique without being hindered by being too “sylized.” And Bellaire is simply one of the best colorists in comics. The book has all the “sciencey” feel of a Jonathan Hickman book, without all of the actual “science.” Other than that is was hard for me to say what the book was about… which I loved.

Since it is a medium that relies on people coming back and paying every month, comics tends to rely on playing it’s cards early and then twisting and turning every month after to keep you interested. It’s feeding the reader just enough so they feel like they paid for a meal, but not enough to that they won’t need to eat again very soon. This works (moderately) well for the industry, but is a terrible hindrance to storytelling as a whole. The NOWHERE MEN team seems to have decided to not care if you “get it” in favor of building a smarter story that unfolds at the pace they want it to. I tend to love comics that are willing to take chances to do better work and that is why I bothered to write this recommendation. If you are a reader who prefers the safe and predictable there are plenty of other books you might want to grab instead. Don’t mind us. We’ll be over in the corner eating weird food, playing with switchblades, getting bad tattoos from sketchy dudes, and reading unpredictable comics. And laughing at you. RIYL: MANHATTAN PROJECTS or TRANSHUMAN, mid-70’s KRAFTWERK, or a weird movie that I am imagining that is a cross between 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and DR. STRANGELOVE.

Iron or the Waar After

IRON OR THE WAR AFTER Archaia does a great job of finding comics that are truly breathtaking and original and wouldn’t fit in at any other publisher. IRON OR THE WAR AFTER is the newest example of this. Shane-Michael Vidaurri writes and illustrates this surreal tale about anthropomorphized animals engaging in espionage during a literal Cold War. The subtle, slow pacing and beautiful and delicate watercolors almost guarantee that this book will fly under a lot of people’s radars this year. They also guarantee that those who pick it up will have a new favorite book. RIYL: Watership Down, Beasts Of Burden, or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Comeback #2

COMEBACK #2 I’ll say it right now. Note the time. Ed Brisson is the next superstar writer in comics. If the Big 2 publishers are not already scouting him then their editors are sleeping on the job. His self published series MURDER BOOK is on par with the best comics published in the last 10 years.

COMEBACK is his new book at Image/Shadowline and the first issue made quite an impression on everyone who was lucky enough to find a copy. Gritty crime noir meets slick sci-fi in a “time travel gone wrong” story. Michael Walsh does stunning work in the wheelhouse of folks like Sean Philips or Alex Maleev. That should be all you need to know.

LOOPER, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, MINORITY REPORT, INCEPTION, I am sure that Mr. Brisson is already tiring of the comparisons, but there is something inherently cinematic in the way he tells a story. It’s crime for people who are bored with crime, sci-fi for people who are sick of sci-fi. COMEBACK would easily make my Top 10 comics of the year list if I didn’t think Top 10 lists were demeaning and obnoxious. You should go ahead and buy this book now so that when it inevitably becomes a hit movie you can say “the book was way better” and other annoying but true things. RIYL: CRIMINAL, INCOGNITO, or other stuff by Ed Brubaker, Movies by Christopher Nolan that don’t involve a growling dude dressed like a huge flying rodent, Philip K. Dick.

That’s all the room I have. Thanks for taking the time to read this stuff. Please don’t hold it against these great books that I am sort of obnoxious and don’t take this very seriously. Even if none of this stuff grabbed you, remember to try something new. It’s good for you. Stay tuned for my “Top 10 Best Comics of ’12” next week.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 1: A New Hope

Galactus
I have been asked a few times in the past if I wanted to write something for the Weekly Planet or the Forbidden Planet blog. I always politely or at least semi-politely declined. But now here I am with my first installment of TRY SOMETHING NEW! What changed? Hard to say. I didn’t have anything to say before? I was too busy before? I didn’t want to bother fixing my weird grammar and punctuation before (that hasn’t changed, I just stopped caring)? All of that is partially true, but moreover I found a purpose. Every week comic publishers, editors, artists, writers, and the whole industry pump out a bunch of brilliant new comics. And then the tiny community that is comic readership passes these books over in favor of what is familiar and safe. That is the antithesis of art, the opposite of the human nature we should all strive for, and it’s boring. You wouldn’t watch the same movie over and over again. You wouldn’t eat the same meal every single day. Stop feeding your brain the same food week after week. There are an awful lot of people out there doing their part to make great comics for you to enjoy. I decided to chip in and yell at you to go try them. This is my small contribution. You don’t have to take my advice, but do yourself a favor and pick up something you haven’t tried before this week. Your brain and the comics industry will thank you.
On to my suggestions.
FEAR AGENT Library Vol. 1. Before he was Marvel’s rising star and writer on their flagship book UNCANNY AVENGERS, young Rick Remender was toiling away in the trenches of small work for hire and creator owned comics as both a penciler, inker, and writer. FEAR AGENT is really the book that put him on the map as a writer for a lot of people though. A wild sci-fi story about one of the last humans in the universe, this book showcases Remender’s amazing ability to go from insane humor to wild action to brutal heartbreak at the drop of a hat. Fear Agent readers will also notice Remender’s ability to find and work with some of the best in the business before they are household names. This volume alone contains art from Tony Moore, Francesco Francavilla, and Jerome Opena among others. Collecting the first half of FEAR AGENT in one nice hardcover, this volume is long overdue. Personally I loved the individual trade paperbacks which were all named after classic hardcore albums, but since those are mostly out of print you should just go ahead and buy this version. RIYL: UNCANNY X-FORCE, PROPHET, GALAXY QUEST.Image

CHANGE #1. Earlier this year Ales Kot debuted as a comic writer worth noticing with his bizarre tale of drugs and school shootings, Wild Children. Change is his follow up title and has created a lot curiosity of what he is capable of. Following a struggling screenwriter, a millionaire rapper, and maybe an alien, Change seems to be both a love letter and a condemnation of the city of Los Angeles. Morgan Jeske’s art is beautiful and fits in with this new breed of rising indie comic stars like Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, and Giannis Milogiannis.A lot of people have been comparing Kot’s work to early Grant Morrison. It is way too early to make that comparison in some ways, but Kot is definitely following a path Morrison laid out. It should be fun to see where he takes it. RIYL: THE INVISIBLES, The work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the films of Greg Araki.Tim Seeley

REVIVAL Vol.1 You’re Among Friends. The have been calling Revival a horror-noir for a while. It isn’t . I don’t know why they were doing that. I guess it sounds cool. Regardless, this book is a great small town murder mystery that involves the dead coming back to life. Anything else I will tell you will probably ruin the book for you. Tim Seeley makes a book called HACK SLASH that you may have heard of. Mike Norton has drawn awesome stuff like THE RUNAWAYS, QUEEN & COUNTRY, BATTLEPUG, and IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS. It’s full of weird twists and nasty moments. If that’s your thing buy this now and see why comic shops can’t keep the book on shelves. RIYL: CRIMINAL MACABRE, FARGO, FATALE. ValientAlso worth noting this month is the incredibly good X-O MANOWAR series from Valiant Comics that was just published in a $10 paperback, and almost all of the MARVEL NOW titles. Marvel’s editors have done an amazing job of lining up great creative teams with fresh stories and characters who fit them well. It is the best stuff Marvel has done in years almost across the board. Show them some love.
That’s it for my suggestions. Thanks for taking the time and I hope you enjoyed reading them. I feel like I should tell you to get in touch with feedback but that isn’t actually something I want. I recommend good books and you take them or leave them. This isn’t a two way street. If you are cool with that I will be here next week trying to get you entertained again. If not, I am sure Unkie Dev would love for you to call him up at all hours and chat about comics.

— Matthew R

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How to Create Cool Comic Book Characters

Comic books are all the rage, and tomorrow’s star of the printed page will be the next big thing on the silver screen! Yep, Hollywood money is whipping up every able-bodied creator into a creative tizzy. WHO will create the next Iron Man, Batman and Jonah Hex so that they can be watered down into unrecognizable action figure grade silhouettes of themselves for a feckless public to mass consume?

Maybe YOU!

But classic comic book characters like Constantine, The Mystery Men and Tank Girl don’t just bubble up out of the ground like some sort of addictive, mind controlling white food substitute, they (unfortunately) have to be thought up in the minds of human beings, those rotten jerks.

“Ah dangit!” you weakly bleat. “I’m barely a human being as it is. How the heck am I supposed to come up with a new comic book character with warmth, foibles and features…especially when I only want to do so to enjoy the contemporary financial windfall that comic books are (supposedly) enjoying?”

Well, the real question, sir or madam is “Do you want a little cheese to go with that whine?”

Never fear, peasants. Unkiedev is here to tell you what to think. Follow these simple steps and you too can create legendary comic book characters! Continue reading

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