Tagged: Daredevil

Marvel’s Netflix Heroes Unite In The Defenders #1

The streets of the Marvel Universe have never been safer…right?

So, nobody is surprised that this book is here, right? I mean, we all know that coming later this summer is the next Marvel Netflix TV series called The Defenders. So, of course the House of Ideas is going to release a comic book with the same title and line-up as the show. It’s just good marketing. If you’re psyched for the upcoming small screen offerings then don’t you want to get a sneak peek months early? Thus, Defenders #1 coming out this week on shelves.

Hey, that’s not a knock against Marvel. Putting Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones is not a bad (or new) idea. This is a street level team of heroes who are going to, well, defend the streets against a threat from their pasts who has become something greater than they can presumably beat up on their own. Can this team of TV stars/ex (current) Avengers find a way to coexist in this latest status quo shift at Marvel? It’s been an interesting time for all of these characters in their own solo series, it’s could be a lot of fun to see how they do, or don’t, mix when forced to suit up side by side at this moment in their journeys.

Plus, check out the big name on the credits (couldn’t quite get my “Pulp Fiction” reference to work but I tried!). Brian Michael Bendis has a long history with the majority of these characters. He took the ball from Kevin Smith and ran circles around him with one of the greatest runs of Daredevil EVER. Bendis also created Jessica Jones in Alias and is the current scribe on her self-titled series. He also brought Luke Cage to the forefront through Alias and his seminal New Avengers run. The only one I’m not sure he’s written much for is really Iron Fist, aside from supporting appearances in the aforementioned books that y’all need to read if you haven’t read.

This has mass market appeal written all over it. The juiciness is to see what kind of writing’s inside it or if, like another recently repurposed team moniker (Black Panther & The Crew), the writing will soon be on the wall.

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Creative Conversation: Brandon Montclare

Welcome to a Creative Conversation with comics scribe Brandon Montclare. Today we’ll dish on currently captivating run on Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, his controversial essential reads for newbies to comics, and some of his insane journey from intern, to editor, to writer. Along the way we’ll make pit stops at Tokyo Pop, DC Comics, Vertigo, and discuss some tips for new writers wanting to break into the comic book industry. And of course, we’ll get Brandon’s take on whose faces would be on his personal Mt. Rushmore of comics. Agree? Disagree? Let’s start the process…

MK: I am ready to have our next Creative Conversation with the current co-scribe of Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, THE Brandon Montclare. Thanks for joining me today, sir. Kind of just to ease in, get a little bit of background, do you remember the first comic you purchased, or the first one that stuck with you?

BM: Yeah, no, I never have and people ask me all the time. I’ve thought about it and I’ve thought, okay let me try to reconstruct that “what was my first comic” and truth be told it was Savage Sword of Conan. And I was a little kid, and we had the direct market but about a million stuff you would see on the newsstand and Savage Sword of Conan being magazine size either just by luck of where I lived or because of the actual distribution I couldn’t tell you. It was a little more common.

MK: Do you miss the magazine format?

BM: Yes, very much so. And they were kind of old, kind of before my time even though Savage Sword of Conan lasted for a million years and I was reading it all throughout. But it would  have been “Savage Sword somewhere in the early hundreds and I actually, okay, so I had this one and this was earliest, and you go online to find it. And then I said, “Okay, I know Spider-Man with the black costume was around that time” and Daredevil, I know the covers. Was Marvel Team-Up, I was joking earlier about Starfox before but there was this Marvel Star Fox, this Marvel Team-Up was a book I had and I can’t find anything online about it.

MK: But you know it existed because you owned that comic.

BM: Well yes, because I said I had that and I saw that cover a hundred times. You know what that means? So, and then I should remember what the numbers are and everything else but I don’t. So…

MK: I’m terrible with remembering numbers. I’m like you, I can remember the cover, I can remember the story, but the actual issue number, I’m just not wired that way.

BM: Yeah but I have brothers who are four years older than me. Two of them, they’re twins of each other and there were comic books around and my grandfather, he was a big reader of magazines in general but also comic books and everything else. Because he spent many years at sea. He worked on, for Exxon, he worked on ships, he was an engineer. So it was kind of part of his personality where he would, even though he at that point working was up at Albert Einstein Hospital up in the Bronx, but he kind of still had that mentality where it was, “You’re in port so go buy a bunch of stuff and then take it back to your little room on the ship” so to speak. So he would buy comics and magazines and everything else like that. And the comics at least would filter down.

MK: That’s incredible. The generational passing of the stories. I mean, it’s one of those really special things about comics though.

BM: Yeah, and I don’t know that he even grew up on comics. It was just something where he would, you’d be at sea for a couple of months so he would go and he would just take Time magazine and he would take all the comics, too. And like I said he was a big reader. So there were always piles around. What the first one is I don’t know. But Savage Sword of Conan was a favorite.

MK: Were there any other series growing up that stick with you?

BM: Yeah, you know it was probably a year or two after my, quote-unquote, “first comic” that I was into collecting. I was in grade school, right, so it’s not like you have money to be a real collector but it starts with maybe the issues that you missed that you want to have. I think you’re influenced back then in the 80’s, mid-80’s, with all the advertisements in the books were for back issues. You know what I mean? And collectors are all, “Oh, I want this, that and the other thing.” Oddly enough I don’t know if it was because of Conan or not but Groo was one of my favorite books. That was probably the first run of comics I had. But then there was a lot of Marvel stuff. I liked Spider-Man, all the titles they had like, three titles, right? Web of Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Amazing Spider-Man. I was in full swing when all that pre-Image stuff came out. When like McFarlane Spider-Man and Jim Lee’s X-Men and everything else. But, yeah, so I was a big fan, Mostly Marvel. Some DC also, I liked Green Lantern along with Batman.

MK: So you’re collecting comics as a kid. And you’ve had probably one of the most unique journeys that I can think of, as far as how many different boxes in the comics world you can check off having done. Can you tell people a little bit about your journey.

BM: I mean, I guess I’ve done it all. I was in junior high, so, I don’t know-seventh grade, and selling at local conventions. I grew up near enough to New York City. My father grew up in Manhattan and, uh, but my parents were divorced so, I shouldn’t say that, my father lived in Manhattan. I grew up in Westchester. But even Westchester had a bunch of comic stores. New York had a monthly comic convention. So, since I was eleven or twelve, I was selling every month at the Grady Stern conventions. You know, buying and selling. Making a little bit of money. Then, at nineteen, I opened up a comic book shop. And this would have been in the crash of the early-mid 90’s. So…

MK: So you’re timing was perfect.

BM: Well, I don’t think as a nineteen year-old I could have opened, I did open a shop. I should say there was a shop going out of business and I took over half of it. Which was Alternate Realities up in Scarsdale. Which I always proudly said, “still going strong” but not anymore. They closed up about a year ago.

MK: But it’s a legendary comic shop. If you know comic book stores, you know about Alternate Realities. And they had that documentary on it and everything.

BM: Yeah, yeah yeah! So I was a former employee but, so, yeah, worked at cons, worked at retail, at nineteen it was very cool to be a comic shop owner. In my mid-20’s, I personally didn’t feel it was that cool anymore (laughs). And it was a lot of work, you know. I mean you’re working more than eighty hours a week.

MK: People don’t realize the hours that goes into running a comic book shop.

BM: Yeah, definitely. So, I was married, well I still am married, my wife at the time, and still my wife (laughs) so I have no idea why I’m phrasing it that way.

MK: Congratulations (laughs).

BM: Yeah, there you go. She was relocating for school, she has a Ph. D in chemistry. We’re basically fire and ice on the formal education scale. But she was doing a post-doctorate in California, Cal Tech. It was supposed to be eighteen months, wound up being two and a half years. I’d sold most of my interest in the store. I went back to school. And as part of that I got an internship working at Tokyo Pop. In editorial. Tokyo Pop, infamous, maybe more than famous. They did translations of manga. That was kind of their bread and butter. They had a lot of money coming in and always trying to expand the business. People would literally call up the office or contact the office and say, “Oh, we want to do a cartoon of Fruits Basketor “We want to take Sailor Moon and put her on a lunch box.” Tokyo Pop only had a license to do reprints, right? They didn’t have any merchandising rights. So, the Powers That Be, who were a bunch of lunatics, said “We should start creating comics in the manga style, with creators, and that way we have properties that we can license off.” And they had a bit of a controversy with some of the deals that they gave to creators and I’m not saying that stuff was weird over at Tokyo Pop. A lot of good people worked there, too.

MK: How long were you at Tokyo Pop?

BM: I was there probably a little bit more than a year. It seems like a long time because you’re young. But I was an intern and then they hired me as like a freelance editor. Which only meant that [I] kind of had reduced hours which was fine because, as I said, I’d gone back to school.

MK: So you were editing manga for Tokyo Pop while you were also going to school.

BM: Yes.

MK: That’s the best side gig ever.

BM: (Laughs) It’s, well, it’s complicated because you don’t know what you’re going to do with life. You know, my wife has a Ph. D in chemistry so her kind of goal and the plan always was to find an academic position. Tenure track someplace. Which luckily wound up being back in New York, she’s at NYU. But it could have been anywhere. So it’s like, “Oh, I’ll go back to school, I’ll do something, and we’ll see.” I was a terrible student in high school. And my first phase of college. But when I went back I became a very good student. So we had no idea though [whether] we would wind up in College Station, Texas A&M or you might wind up at Syracuse, right, not necessarily the biggest cities in the world. And I had done some writing also for Tokyo Pop. But I wasn’t really thinking of that. So, like I said, I was doing my thing at Tokyo Pop and a lot of these type of businesses have a structure. You know interns would become a freelance editor like me then maybe they would offer you a staff position. And I got offered a staff position right when things were looking like they were about to get bad. So I was one of the, I hate to say rats leaving a sinking ship BUT ended up locating back to New York anyway.

MK: When you got back to New York where did you land?

BM: At DC Comics. I was lucky, I got, well I should say I was offered from Marvel and at DC Comics to be an assistant editor and maybe because I was overqualified more than I was just super brilliant. But both those places were getting hundreds of applications. But I worked for Bob Schreck over at DC Comics. And the reason I took DC, even though I was reading more Marvel stuff growing up was the opportunity to work with Schrek on All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman, with Paul Pope on Batman: Year 100

MK: Just, little known titles that probably no one’s ever heard of (laughs).

BM: And that was stuff and for a short time, when I knew that I was coming in and Bob was transitioning out of it just the regular Bat-office. I didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Because I loved editing. I had done some freelance writing, and a lot of people have a goal of becoming a freelance writer. It wasn’t my goal. I loved editing. A lot of me wishes I could still do it.

MK: What was one of the most rewarding aspects about editing and what was one of the most challenging aspects?

BM: The reward was completely, it’s like, when you’re a kid you want to be an artist, you want to be a writer, whatever you want to do, you want to be the creator. But when you think about it, [being an editor] it’s the ultimate fan position. I mean, I’m a writer, if I’m working on two or three books, which would be a lot for me, but even if you’re the most prolific writer working on four books-

MK: Oh, you mean Jeff Lemire? (Chuckles)

BM: Yeah, there you go (laughs). Maybe more than four, I worked with Jeff, I was the first editor on Sweet Tooth. And that came later. So, you get to work with all these guys, you get to work with a bunch of, you know what I mean, you get to work with artists and writers. And by that point I was into a lot of new people. I mean I gave Shane Davis some of his first jobs, Amy Reeder her first job, Sean Murphy, I kind of worked on his early stuff. Also got to work with Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Michael Kaluta.

MK: You get to work with your heroes and help maybe create some new heroes in the process.

BM: Yeah, so it was like amazing to be an editor. What are the challenges? Generally it’s a nine to five job. Given the opportunity to work freelance there’s that, you don’t have to go to the office everyday. But the challenge at DC was, and it wasn’t unfair, but it’s just kind of the reality of that work, is you’re low man on the totem pole. You’ve got to wait your turn. I had gotten a few books that had gotten approved that I had a hundred percent put together myself. There’s a China Mieville Swamp Thing that never came out…That’s not a secret, it got absorbed back into DC and this was later, towards the end of me being there, it was New 52 spinning out where it was, “Oh, we’re going to bring him downstairs.” And that was a Scott Snyder book. So China had written, I think, it might have been the full scripts on the first ten issues. They certainly had the outlines so they made good by him for his work.

MK: That’s one of those situations I’m always amazed by. It’s learning how many scripts have been written for characters by major creators that’ll never see the light of day. And you’re wondering how it just stays in a drawer.

BM: Yeah, there’s an issue eleven of All-Star Batman that was never drawn. And it was kind of like a standalone Joker story. So there’s a Frank Miller script that was never drawn. And I think part of the reason was, and with good intentions, that Frank and Jim Lee would come back one day, maybe condense it to give it an ending. You know what I mean? That thing was paced for four hundred million issues

MK: If Marvel finally got out Captain America: White and David Lapham finished the initial run on Stray Bullets, I still can have hope for All-Star Batman & Robin.

BM: Yeah, but thinking about that script, if Jim Lee’s only got time to draw one issue then every six issues you’d have to restructure it so that’s something but there’s stuff like that. So at the end of DC I was doing too many books, uh, more than they would let me as an Associate Editor. And at that time Paul [Levitz] had stepped down and there was kind of an interim, they didn’t name the Dan DiDio, Jim Lee double-headed publisher so, it was time to go. So I said, “Okay, I’m not going to give away books that I singlehandedly put together just because I have too many books.”

MK: How did you find the transition from being an editor to being a writer? Did you feel more prepared?

BM: Well, I had done some writing before. At one point you’re mystified by it where you don’t even know how this comes together. It’s probably a lot easier now than it was ten or so years ago because of the internet. I mean obviously the internet was around ten years ago but maybe it’s easier to get scripts and talk with creators with social media kind of demystifying it. So I think a lot of it is that. [As an editor] you’re familiar with scripts, you’re familiar with artists. You know more what does work, what doesn’t work. And if you have a good head on the shoulders coming out of editorial maybe even if you’re not the best writer – And I’m not saying I’m the best writer or the worst or anything else – but I did the stupidest thing imaginable. I left on very good terms, everybody loves me over at DC. I didn’t want to be the guy, because I’d taken so much pride in editing, and a lot of people use that as a stepping stone and are upfront about it, and that’s totally cool. But I loved editing so much, I didn’t want to be the guy that was even perceived as using editing to take a stepping stone to writing. That was half of it. The other half says, “Hey, since I’m going freelance writing, why don’t you give me a couple of books?” I didn’t want to make other people feel like they had to humor me. So my first gig was kind of a cold gig at Marvel. I mean nothing’s cold because everybody knows everybody. But my first gig was at Marvel having no connection to them as a publisher. Like anybody else I had a couple of short things that nobody remembers. The first thing I did wasn’t the first thing that got printed. The first was an eight page back up, it was in Hulk, it was with Korg, who was The Thing, Ben Grimm looking alien from Journey into Mystery #83, the first appearance of Thor. Which Greg [Pak] had been hocking and then brought into continuity. And it’s funny because, in comics, people think, “Oh, I’m going to pitch Hawkman. And it’s going to be such a good idea that they’re going to give me my gig and it’s going to be Hawkman.” Or, “I’ve got the best pitch for Spider-Man and Black Cat, I’m gonna pitch that and they’re going to give me that book.” What happens often, and it’s probably the first half dozen gigs you’re going to get is that an editor likes your stuff and they groom it for you. So they say, “Hey, Brandon, we’re doing eight page back ups for all the supporting characters in Hulk. Do you want to do Korg? Because nobody’s doing Korg.” My answer was literally, “Korg, that’s fantastic! A hundred percent. That’s my favorite.” I had to go look up for Korg was (laughs).

MK: When someone offers you a job, you take the job.

BM: Yeah!

MK: It’s like, “yes, sir, I can build that submarine for you! When’s that check in the mail?”

BM: Absolutely. And I got Simon Bisley to do it since I worked with him when he was on Hellblazer. I was the guy that said let’s put him on covers. Which isn’t a brilliant move. Right? I mean Simon certainly had done covers before he’d done any for me. But-

MK: Still a good get.

BM: Yeah. What came out first but that I wrote second was, there was a crossover called Chaos War, which was with Hercules and there was a bad guy in that called the Chaos King. And I got to do the Chaos King one-shot and it wound up being over-sized…They wanted to feature the bad guy who had to speak in haiku? In all appearances. And I said, “Well that’s fine if he’s like the mysterious guy,” cause he had this God-like power cosmic level. So I said, “Well, that’s fine if he’s the guy behind the star that Hercules hears, he can hear it in haiku. But if you want to have an actual story with him, how often does he have to talk in haiku?” I sent that letter in. And it’s technically my second gig so I’m trying to be very nice saying, “What if I, I’ll give him a voice obviously that fits a cosmic entity but maybe I can just punctuate it with haiku. Like maybe he’ll start in a different voice and then when makes a big point he’ll do it in haiku.” I wondered if we could get away with that and I got a response that said, “No, he always speaks in haiku.” So I had to make a thirty page story with a guy speaking in haiku. Luckily, he’s a cosmic entity so I broke it up so that it was different people bouncing it off of him. But, when the actual, if Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak are reading, they should cover their eyes right now, because when Chaos War came out, Chaos King, he wasn’t talking in haiku in every scene. So it’s like, “Thanks, thanks a lot.” (laughs) They tried that for a day and decided “not.”

MK: And it was your day.

BM: Exactly.

MK: When you were an editor and you were getting a pitch, were there certain things you looked for fundamentally? In terms of formatting or the types of pitches? What advice would you give to someone writing their first pitch?

BM: Unfortunately, editors are different…You want to tailor something to an editor and you want to tailor it to your strengths. I always try to not get hung up on format. I always thought it was crazy, you’d say, “Give me a pitch in the form you think is strongest” but the editor wants it a certain way. So, some editors will give out, if not an outline, “Here’s the pitch that I got that’s the perfect form, use this.” And sometimes that’s the demands of the publisher they’re at because it has to cycle through certain things. But, obviously you want to keep it short. Because these things happen in stages. A lot of places can’t take unsolicited pitches anyway. So you have to have a relationship. A lot of the gigs are going to come in. I did have to give a pitch on the story of what Korg was going to do (laughs). I mean it was eight pages so it probably didn’t take me too long. This is the least sexy answer. You’re probably going to be in a relationship with them if you’re pitching anything now. And they’ll tell you what they need. But personally, shorter is always better. Because things will change so much anyway. And if you have something you believe in, think of it this way, your editor believes in you but if you got the assistant, like I was, he’s got to convince a lot of people above him. You almost don’t want to have too much information in it because that generates more questions.

MK: The more information you give, the more opportunities you’re giving someone to poke holes in it and you’re not necessarily in the room to talk it through.

BM: Exactly. So you don’t want to get too married to your pitch. The process of rewriting and going through the team it’s going to be so different anyway. To me, you want to sell yourself. Because the editor’s going to have an easier time selling the talent than the pitch.

MK: See, that’s brilliant. That’s, brilliant. I don’t know what you mean that’s not a sexy answer.

BM: Well people want a formula. And that, you’ll be forgiven for being a little bit overenthusiastic, you hope (laughs). Because everyone’s excited and everyone in comics was the person who at one point wanted to be in comics. So hopefully they’re forgiving.

MK: Also, if you catch them on a bad day…

BM: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. And some people will be jerks, that’s going to happen, to0. But you know, you have to make it happen.

MK: Switching gears a bit, and thank you again for very generously taking the time to do this. Your Mount. Rushmore of comics, who would go on there?

BM: I read the first installment and I was thinking about this question. So, for me, all I could think about was who should be on the actual Mount Rushmore of comics. And then I realized, well, I have to also make this somewhat controversial. Alright. So that I thought of and then I forgot everyone. Well, first you got to put Stan Lee. Because Stan Lee doesn’t get enough credit. Well, okay he gets a lot of credit, but people ask, “Oh, does he deserve so much credit?” I’m a big fan of Stan Lee. I don’t know about his business dealings. I don’t know about his personal dealings…I’m sure he’s taken credit from a lot o people. But he’s kind of the guy that made comics what it is, I think. And not by his writing and maybe not by his editorial acumen, maybe it is, I don’t know, but just by being the hawker. Neal Adams has to be on there. Frank Miller has to be on there. Neal Adams because just such an influential artist but also did more for creators rights which I also think translates to in a lot of ways creative freedom and people being able to do their best work, which I think more than everybody else combined. Frank Miller because he did everything in my mind. He was a writer, he was an artist, jumped into Hollywood and was able to sell himself there. Well, if you put Stan Lee on there I guess you have to put Jack Kirby on. And then I think about wanting to create controversy and then people are going to think I hate Jack Kirby, I love Jack Kirby. I do a Kirby book! So I’d almost throw Todd McFarlane on there just to drive people crazy. And I say that completely seriously though.

MK: McFarlane revolutionized the business. You can’t argue that. Whether you think it was for the better or worse, or what you think of what he’s become now and what he was then. But you can’t deny his contribution.

BM: He was a popular artist and people [still] dig his stuff. And not for an artist but for his contribution to the business. So my personal Mount Rushmore is, I’ll give you four guys I like and it’ll change down the road. I’m a big Sergio Aragones fan, and these are just guys who influenced me and I like. I’m a big Larry Stroman fan because Alien Legion was the first book I really liked. And that stuff totally holds up now…Amy Reeder and Frank Quitely on there, too. I worked with them, too.

MK: I might put Amy Reeder in the top five of everything. And I hope she’s going to read this.

BM: She is a world class artist that I’ve gotten to work with a lot. Having sat next to her at dozens of conventions, the list of people that seek her out to tell her, “How do you do that, you’re amazing?” From Bill Sienkiewicz, to Frank Quitely, to Adam Hughes or lots of artists in between. I mean, she’s that good.

MK: And you guys have worked together, on Madame Xanadu you were an editor, you selected her for a competition at Tokyo Pop-

BM: That’s true.

MK: And then you’ve got Rocket Girl that you created together. And now you’ve got Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. What makes you the yin to each other’s yang?

BM: It’s just cause it works. Friendship and working with friends, I think, is underrated. I hired Amy, I gave her her first gig at Tokyo Pop. It was a contest. And she won it fair and square, I was the judge on one of them. We would take the top ten entries and make a little anthology out of them. I thought she was really talented. I was then leaving Tokyo Pop si I never got to stick around and work with her directly. I always wanted to work with her so I got her the Madame Xanadu gig at Vertigo. Which was a lot of fun to work on. And you know, as an editor you take a lot of credit for hiring somebody but they’ve got to make you look good. If I put her in the batter’s box, she’s got to hit out of the park or at least try to get on base and she hit it out of the park again and again and again. We had a really good relationship And when she was a little bit burnt out after Batwoman and leaving DC it was, let’s just do a quick project I don’t even want to think about it. Which became the Halloween Even one-shot which was very successful. And then we said, “Hey, we should do more of this.” So we tried something longer which was Rocket Girl. We decided we’d do five issues and see how it does. Who knew ten issues would take four years. In a way it hasn’t been a tremendous amount of pages but some of that is it takes a lot of time for Amy to do what she does.

MK: Sure, comics can take a long time to make.

BM: So Rocket Girl was a lot of fun. Rocket Girl opened the door to Moon Girl literarlly when Marvel said, “We want you to do something at Marvel like you guys do with Rocket Girl.” Amy wasn’t sure if she’d be able to draw that but she’s a great writer. And really doesn’t get enough credit for it.

MK: You had already seen her chops as a writer.

BM: Yeah, so we’ve co-written for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, this is not a secret, she’s leaving with issue nineteen. And she did her part, she also did covers and designs. Amy can pick up the phone and call ten different publishers and get twenty different offers for covers. It was for her because Rocket Girl wasn’t coming out on the shelf as often so if she was going to do a cover, she should do one on something she was writing. Then it became a comfort level, her not growing up on the Marvel and DC stuff, working with me.

MK: Okay, now for the few people reading this that haven’t read Moon Girl yet, how would you describe the title?

BM: Well, it’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Devil Dinosaur is an old Kirby dinsoaur that went out eating other dinosaurs and sometimes some cave men. Marvel came to us and said, “Hey, give us some ideas of what you can do.” And we wanted some obscure characters so it started with Devil Dinosaur but when it went to Moon Girl, she gave us something creatively to get excited for. So if you look at my files on computer it went from Devil Dinosaur, to Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl, to Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Whereas it is really, with all due to respect to Devil Dinosaur it’s really a book about Moon Girl. She is a nine year-old super smart engineer, inventor, scientist, who doesn’t get any recognition. She’s still in public school and doesn’t get why the world around her isn’t respecting how smart she is. Over the course of now eighteen issues going strong, Marvel, and this is an idea we pitched to them that they picked up on, Marvel has named her the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. But she’s still a kid, she still has challenges of getting along in the world. And Devil Dinosaur has become a buddy comedy, where maybe it’s her with the least smartest person in the Marvel Universe. But it’s a person who doesn’t judge her, that’s very faithful, that she can rely in, and in her entire life she hasn’t had that. And they form a bond.

MK: Right now, in recognition of her new status, she’s in the midst of the story arc, “The Smartest There Is” that’s getting ready to wrap up. She’s rubbed shoulders with X-Men, Hulk, Doctor Strange, can you give our readers a tease of what to expect from the final chapter of this epic adventure?

BM: Yeah, sure. What’s coming up is, this was really a coming out party for Moon Girl. It’s one thing to say she’s the smartest person, it’s another thing to show it. So how do you show it? With someone that’s always been isolated let’s show her meet all the heavy hitters. It was Hulk and then Thing, and then Iron Heart, and Dr. Strange, and most recently the X-Men. Issue eighteen is called, “Full Moon” and it’s a battle royale versus a mysterious Doctor Doom that doesn’t seem to match any of the other Doctor Dooms in Marvel right now. It will also have a pretty big reveal of Moon Girl’s powers, that she switches brains with Devil Dinosaur and some other cool stuff coming up. It’s been kind of the opening trilogy, I mean it is the third arc. But issues one through eighteen is in a lot of ways the first arc. And it’s going to kind of leave her, where she started as a nobody, now she’ll have a defined place in the Marvel Universe. The next arc after that will actually take a step back and just focuses on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. I don’t want to spoil it too much but there’s a secret mission they have to do.

MK: No spoilers, I hate spoilers. If people want the secrets revealed they should come down to Forbidden Planet and pick up what is, I say unabashedly, one of the best books from the House of Ideas.

BM: That’s right.

MK: Okay, last questions. For someone who maybe has never read a comic book before. If you were running a store today and somebody walked in, what five stories would you tell them to read?

BM: Okay, I worked in a store and all my reads are wrong! I say, don’t read Watchmen, that’s something people should read later, it’s too confusing but people read Watchmen and love it. I say, “Sandman’s great but start with the second trade.” Which they actually used to do (laughs). But people seem to just want it all. And it’s funny having worked on both All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin, another fire and ice, All-Star Superman is great, and it won all the awards, but All-Star Batman & Robin might be a little more, accessible? I don’t know, do you have to love and be familiar with comics to read All-Star Superman? I do not know. But, Saga, you can pick it up and read it right away. So that’s number one. I think, Dark Knight Returns doesn’t get enough credit, because people always want to try to get cute and say, “Oh, you should do Year One instead.” Year One’s a perfectly good story but I’m going to put that classic on there. See I got to be contrary and do all weird stuff.

MK: Do it! You got three more.

BM: Daytripper, which I edited. I worked on a lot of great books, some of which I was just lucky enough to be sitting there when Bob Schreck landed them or Karen Burger landed them. Daytripper might be the best thing I ever worked on. And I think everyone can read it. It’s got an interesting form, it shows you what comics can do.

MK: I agree.

BM: I teach a class, too, so I should be a little bit more up on this stuff. You know, keeping it new also, Ms. Marvel, I think is as good as advertised and it’s a great book. And for the last one, because it’s obscure but great, Dial H For Hero by China Mieville and that’ll bring us full circle. I don’t know if those are essential but those are five oddball ones. Ask me again in five minutes, I’ll give you five new ones.  

 

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Sin City, Here Comes ELEKTRA #1

It’s going to be a hot time in the old town tonight…

Marvel’s been building their own mini-universe within the Daredevil section of 616. Broadly titled “Running With The Devil” there’s a trio of titles to go along with old hornhead. Earlier this month we previewed the on-target Bullseye #1. We followed it up by highlighting the comeback of Wilson Fisk in Kingpin #1 (written by Forbidden Planet’s former master of the hand sell, Matthew Rosenberg). Now, we cap off this trifecta with Marvel’s deadliest assassin! Odds are this series is going to be killer.

Elektra‘s had quite a past. What with dying a few times, having been the head of the Hand, her epic love story with a certain pointy-headed blind vigilante, and at one point being the highest paid assassin in the world. If you were carrying all that baggage where would you go to get away from it all? Vegas, baby! Surely no one will notice her amidst all the neon and ulterior motives. Of course, can a former ninja assassin really expect to escape all of her history of violence when a new player wants to get in on the game? Welcome to the table: Arcade!

If you wanted some further Marvel Netflix U crossover then boy have you got it with this book. Not only is it a new adventure for the character after her television debut in the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil but it’s written by newcomer Matt Owens. Get it? You don’t get it. Okay, Matt Owens is a television writer who worked on Marvel’s Luke Cage and even had a couple episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This marks Matt Owens’ first foray into comics after a career on the small screen and internships under Cully Hammer and Brian Starfleeze. Plus, it’s got art by Juan Cabal, so Owens has plenty of muscle to tell the first story entitled, “Casino Battle Royale.”

This new comic book day, Elektra’s changing the rules. Wanna play?

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LONG LIVE WILSON FISK IN KINGPIN #1

Long Live The Kingpin!

After his comeback in the acclaimed Civil War II: Kingpin mini-series, Wilson Fisk is getting this new ongoing title from Marvel. Be here at the start as Fisk begins building a brand-new empire! Unfortunately, building – or rebuilding – Rome didn’t happen in a day and Fisk has all kinds of roadblocks in his way.

First off, he’s got an image problem. All Fisk wants, so he says, is to be atop an industrial empire that extends its reach worldwide, but when you’re known as a giant in New York’s criminal community you have to change hearts not just break bones. Fortunately, Fisk has a plan in Matthew Rosenberg (Civil War II: Kingpin, Rocket Raccoon, We Can Never Go Home) and Ben Torres’ (Knight Watchmen) new series from Marvel Comics hitting Forbidden Planet’s shelves this week!

Fisk hires Sarah Dewey, a journalist with no other options, as his public relations agent. She expects to have to write the press releases and arrange interviews with the media but creating a paragon of virtue out of a former criminal mastermind will not be as easy as it seems (wait, that doesn’t seem easy at all, does it?). Being drawn into a world of ambition and greed, where the lines blur between right and wrong, where trust is weakness and betrayal is common, what lines will she cross to achieve her own goals?

For fans of shows like House of Cards and Breaking Bad, turn your eyes to Kingpin #1 as the start of Wilson Fisk’s next epic saga begins NOW!

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BULLSEYE #1 Hits The Mark!

bullseye_2017_1.sized

This New Comic Book Day we take aim at Marvel’s most unpredictable assassin.

He’s baaaaaack! Daredevil? Beat him. Elektra? Killed her. Hawkeye? Psh! Avenger? Did it, done it, owned it (okay, so technically he was a Dark Avenger but nobody told him that). And those were the paid jobs.What’s next for Marvel’s most unpredictable assassin? Writer Ed Brisson (The Violent, Batman & Robin Eternal, Secret Wars: Battleworld) and artist Guillermo Sanna (Deadpool, Straightjacket, Daredevil) are ready to unleash the villain in South America where he crosses path with a drug cartel that, to quote Brisson from an interview on Marvel.com, “…makes Pablo Escobar look like Mr. Rogers.” Ever wonder what a master marksman and methodical madman does with his free time? One guess? Not cat videos on YouTube.

BULLSEYE #1 marks the return of the most feared assassin in the Marvel Universe. With a gritty crime writer penning the direction for this crazy man’s insane new adventures and a Spanish artist who revels in frenetic action handling the images, the pages promise to be intense. If you’ve been looking for your next action fix with a morally absent centerpiece then congratulations this is going to be the comic for you!

Plus, Bulleye’s co-creator and legendary comic scribe Marv Wolfman writes a special back up story with artist Alec Morgan! What does Bullseye want with the mafia’s most sensitive information? How far will he go to get what he wants?

This is a first issue that can be classified as: Can’t Miss! Yeah, I did…

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Saturday June 13th 2015- Greetings, Well Wishes and Daily Deals

FPNYC Forbidden Planet Comics Yoda The Warriors Window DisplayHappy Saturday from your pals at Forbidden Planet NYC! There’s some really swell new stuffs in stock this week, we’ve got a ton of great Marvel GNs on sale in-store, and we’re open ’til midnight. Have a good one!

Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s today’s DAILY DEALS:

Batman Superman HC Vol 03 Second Chance… ($23) $9.99

The Bunker TP Vol 01… ($20) $10.99

Daredevil by Miller and Janson TP Vol 03… ($30) $9.99

Escape From New Yoke Snake Plissken in Jacket Reaction Figure… ($10) $4.99

*Forbidden Planet’s DAILY DEALS are updated every morning. Prices are valid in-store til the shop concludes its business day (10pm or 12am, depending on the day) and online for roughly 24 hours. Prices are valid while in-stock supply lasts.

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Troy’s Toys, only with Comics: Deviants and Devils

sketch1363126429539THIS WEEK IN RANT: I really wish FOX (and to a lesser extent Sony) would stop riding the coattails of Marvel Studios whenever they announced something. I’m sure we’re all excited about that new Guardians of the Galaxy (starring Bert Macklin, Agent of S.P.A.C.E.!) trailer, and man, FOX has no business releasing that Fantastic Four casting announcing (I‘m cool with the new Human Torch BTW, but the rest of that cast? Ehhhh, not so much. Just like the old, also awful, F4 movies! ). Nor did Sony, attempting to get some attention with  revealing the new Harry Osborn Goblin ( Sony’s now 0-2 in the department by the way). At this point, studious need to get on Disney/Marvel’s level , or just the rights go back to them. (Art Source: Dunno, Googled)

BOOKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:

Strain the Fall #8

Animal Man #28

Justice League #28

Wonder Woman #28

Fables #138

Bad Ass #2

Undertow #1

Amazing X-Men #4

Marvel Knights Hulk #3

Adventure Time #25

Quantum & Woody #8

 

REVIEWS:

uxm17Uncanny X-men #17

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

DID YOU KNOW: There are 2 snow-themed covered X-men theme books this week! Both are really neat, and house some really awesome comics instead of them , but I only bought Uncanny X-men, so you’re gonna have to deal with me talking about that today. Unnecessary intro over.

What I like about Uncanny’s  penciler/colorist Chris Bachalo is that he’s always evolving as an artist and not afraid to try something new with his art. This issue of UXM has the majority of the pages of the panel drawn diagonal, occasionally bleeding into the accompanying pages. Aside from looking great (thanks to the help of  3 inkers), it helps express the sense of confusion and panic the X-kids are giving off, which makes a ton of sense with the scenario they’re currently facing.

And props for Bendis, Bachalo and company for setting this book in an relativity new environment seldom used in the Marvel Universe. The plot is nothing new for an X-Men book, but new characters in a newish environment makes it really fresh, and for a fun read, especially for those of us who read the previous volume of Uncanny X-men. Bachalo really goes above and beyond with the background colors of this book, helping to hammer across the alien feel and look of the environment.

A fun read with a new mystery introduced and the possibility of a cast member leaving the book for the foreseeable future, Uncanny has really surpassed All New in terms of quality. It’s another done in one that has me really pleased with the direction this book has taken as of late.

3592047-daredevil_36_coverDaredevil #36

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Page six of the final issue of the third volume of Daredevil may be my favorite page of the year. Oh sure we’re only in February, but Chris Samnee gives me things I didn’t know I wanted, and now am a little sad that I probably won’t be getting again anytime soon.

For the most part, this is another great issue of Daredevil. It looks great, has some clever bits in it, wraps up most of the remaining plot lines of volume 3 and sets things up nicely for the 4th volume of Daredevil (with the same creative team, no worries there.). This status quo is really changed for ol’ Hornhead, and if anyone can pull off what’s in store for DD, it’s Waid, Samnee, and Rodriguez.

I do have a problem with how easily everything was wrapped up with Daredevil’s current opponents though. The 5 page fight scene, while looking great, seems a bit rush from a narrative stand point. I would have preferred the book taking a month off if it meant this book had a few extra pages to work with.

That being said, it’s a solid ending to the 3rd volume of this series. Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez and a few other creative-type folks have been telling some fantastic stories over the past 2 years, and I’m really excited too see what they’ll be doing come volume 4 (even though it’s going to cost a dollar more to do so).

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: A Return to Form

DID YOU KNOW: Apartment hunting in New York City is THE PITS FPNYC Faithful.

My personal problems aside, it was a really good week for comics! Shall I give you the details of the goodness? I think I shall!

UNCX2013016-71482-1-15891-300x461Uncanny X-men #16

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo. Tim Townsend and others

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Several weeks ago, Marvel announced Magneto would be getting his own on-going series in 2014, which means that first volume will be out in time for Days of Future Past. Snark aside, Cullen Bunn was named as the head writer of said series, meaning Brian Michael Bendis and friends would have to write Erik out of Uncanny somehow.

This is the exit issue, and DAMN, it’s a impressive goodbye. An excellent done in one, we get to see Magneto unleashed, lashing his frustrations out on Madipoor, as Bendis resolves a few plot lines while setting up Magneto’s new series. It’s a lot to juggle, but Bendis manages to balance all of the plot lines and the result is arguably the most bad ass Magneto seen in some time.  This is the bar scene from X-Men First Class spread across 20 pages, and the results are glorious.

magneto-1Uncanny is at it’s best when Chris Bachalo is drawing and coloring it, and this issue is no different, if not the best. Bachalo does some really neat things with the classic Magneto wave, even if Mags is look more Walter White than Jack Kirby these days. And his choice for setting scenes with certain colors that dominant each one is a good look. It’s another great issue for this creative team, who seem flawless with these last few stories.

dd35_bgDaredevil #35

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of flawless, Chris Samnee returns to Daredevil this month, and he’s brought Elektra with him. Elektra is a character I’ve never really cared for when Frank Miller isn’t around, but Samnee draws her with a certain energy and composure that’s so good, it’s hard to not like her. Samnee’s skill doesn’t stop at her though, as there’s an extraordinary display of how Daredevil’s powers work that I’ve attached to show how powerful of a storyteller Samnee is. And with Javier Rodriguez back on colors, this book remains as beautiful as ever.

bsae-1-16-13-11And with this being the next to last issue of Daredevil volume 3,  Mark Waid goes all out with twists, raising the stakes more than ever. There’s also a HUGE shout out to Brian Bendis/Alex Makeev‘s legendary run, that leads to one hell of a cliffhanger. It sets the stage nicely for the upcoming volume 4, which promises a number of changes for Daredevil, all while proving how good this creative team is together.

 

 

 

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_21_TextlessAll New X-men #21

Brian Michael Bendis/Brandon Peterson/Brent Anderson/Israel Silva

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Here’s some irony for you. Last issue I slammed ANX for throwing in a guest artist who’s style really didn’t mesh the lead artist on this issue. Here this happens again, and this time it’s wonderful.

In my defense, and with no disrespect to said artist, it’s Brent Anderson this time around, adding another chapter to the legendary X-story “God loves, Man kills.” that ties directly to the story Bendis is telling. It’s a neat flashblack, and having Anderson draw it only makes it cooler to long term X-men fans.

Brandon Peterson handles the rest of the book, and it looks great. A tad dark, but it takes place in one of those secret remote evil bases so that makes sense. He works well with the action heavy script, and overall did a good job filling in for Stuart Immonen.

All New was nothing special this month, but it’s still a solid comic. The current arc’s purpose was to introduce X-23 onto the team and it did just that, nothing more, nothing less. It was a fun little arc, and….it’s back to crossovers next week. Whelp.

 

 

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Troy Toy’s But With Comics: Very fill in. Such Rush. Wow.

This is the last big release week in 2013, and man, it ended on kind of a downer comics-wise. 4 out of the 5 Marvel books I pulled had more than 1 artist attached to them, and the one with the correctly solicited team still involved a guest artist. Also Saga was kind of brutal. I suppose some explanations are needed.

dd34Daredevil #34

Mark Waid/Javier Rodriguez/Alvardo Lopez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages.

Javier Rodriguez came out swinging this week, which is exactly what Daredevil needed after the less than stellar art from last issue. He was a more than adequate fill-in for regular series artist Chris Samnee last time around, but man, Javier really stepped up his game since then  and it leads to some very strong framing sequences and panels in this issue. It’s a very Marcus Martin meets Annie Wu style, especially when it comes to facial expressions and body language. Add strong inks from Alvardo Lopez, with Javier coloring himself, you get a very strong final product. Mark Waid, remains flawless when it comes to dialogue, which surprises no one. This current arc of Daredevil has been impressive, mixing current headlines with obscure Marvel horror, and it’s hard to think who else but Waid could have pulled it off. This was easily the best book Marvel released this week, although it did some strong competition.

marvel-avengers-assemble-issue-22inhAvengers Assemble 22.INH

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Paco Diaz/Nolan Woodward

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

You can tell Warren Ellis has come aboard a title when the books starts off with “There are thing of yours I would very much like inside of me.”

That’s not a complaint mind you. Ellis works well with series regular Kelly Sue Deconnick, although the book feels a little more snarky and adult than usual. It’s still a delightful read, as it’s easiest the most fun and humorous Avengers book on the market. This Inhumanity tie-in arc started off on a great foot and the addition of Ellis has only made things better, especially since this story calls back to previous

The only downside to this issue is that Paco Diaz, the other artist attached to this title does not mesh well with Mattero Buffangi. I like Diaz a lot from his work on Daniel Way’s Deadpool, put his pages stick out like a sore thumb, despite Nolan Woodward’s excellent work on the colors. Still not a bad issue, it’s just stinks that some lesser art takes away from the final product. Speaking of which…

ANXMEN2012020-DC11-LR-e6953_latest_photosAll New X-men #20

Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar,Brandon Peterson, Israel Silva, Marte Gracia

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

See above? Repeat that, but replace the names. Asrar and Peterson are both fine artists, but their styles could not be anymore different. And it doesn’t help that some of Asrar’s pages look extremely rushed, and both artists have their own separate colorists. It’s not a bad comic, but it’s certainly not as good as the book has been. Also ignore that cover, nothing like that even comes close to happening. Again, another good comic ruined by rushed art, something Marvel has excelled at this past week.

::: Also see Longshot saves the Marvel Universe #4 sadly 🙁 :::

saga-17-web-72Saga #17

Brian K Vaughn, Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

This is Saga’s Red Wedding issue. Or it’s Walking Dead midseason finale if that first reference doesn’t make sense to you. It’s the type of issue that has people screaming about their feels on Tumblr, because oh god, it hurts, and chances are it’s not going to get better next issue.

BKV and Staples has been carefully crafting this moment since the 3rd volume began. It’s been pretty light on the action, focusing on building characters and relationships, all while the volume 2 cliffhanger remained mostly ignored, not falling into place until the last 2 issues. And then previous issues’ cliffhanger drops, and it turns out to be a massive swerve and GUH, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD Y’ALL, ALTHOUGH IT’S ALL FOR THE WRONG REASONS, GAH!

So yeah, Saga’s still great, but MANNNNNNN, it hurts y’all. It hurts.

I still need to read Pretty Deadly #3, but what I saw I liked. So it’s fairly safe to seem it’s pull-worthy. And with that, that wraps up my 2013 pulls. The next 2 weeks are extremely light on comics, so I have something else in store. Plus maybe I’ll look at some new toys. Who knows, but happy holidays regardless FPNYC Faithful.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: The one where I met Warren Ellis

photo (8)First and foremost, a big thank you to Warren Ellis for coming out to past Friday (as seen here with my friend Sean). It was the first time in FOREVER since he’s had a signing in NYC, and it was super-great to meet one of my favorite writers. I picked up his Avengers OGN too , so expect to see a review on that quite soon, but today shall be dedicated to what dropped this past Wednesday.

 

 

xme14Uncanny X-men #14

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Let’s start off this review by noting that the solicit for this issue has nothing to do with what was actually published. And that’s a great thing because this is by far the best issue of Brian Bendis’ run on Uncanny X-men to date. The plot focuses on Benjamin Deeds, one of the new mutants to pop up post-AvX, and Emma Frost, who decides to take the young male under his wing.

At first this book feels like Bendis and Chris Bachalo riffing on “The Graduate”, but that’s slowly disproven once the pair hit up Atlantic City and hijinks ensue. Bendis is on-point with this issue, as we get a ton of development with young Benjamin, fleshing out one of the newest X-men, in addition to getting to see a side of Emma Frost we haven’t gotten to seen in awhile. Bachalo and his plethora of inkers are great as usual, and the training montage in the beginning of the book looks fantastic. This was a strong month for what’s usually the weaker of the 2 Bendis X-books, and I hope this sort of quality sticks around.

Sex Criminals #3

sexcriminals3-coverMatt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

I always feel a little weird when googling Sex Criminals images….

The third issue of Fraction/Zdarsky’s mature readers only series continues to be a laugh riot from cover to cover, which is exactly what I need from this book. I don’t think there’s another book out there that actually makes me as excited to read both the recap page and the letter column like Sex Criminals does.  That’s not to say the rest of the book is a bore, because that’s not the case at all. Chip and Matt do a fantastic job of telling an all-too human story about sex and dating, despite the crazy time-freezing/sex police plot elements.

Anyone familiar with Fraction’s Casanova series knows that the dude loves music and that sort of passion sometimes bleeds into the narrative. It happens twice in this issue of Sex Criminals, the 2nd time leading to the comics musical number of the year. It’s hilarious and even a little bit sexy thanks to Zdarsky’s amazing art.

I’d probably go as far as to claim Sex Criminals is probably the most emotional comic not called Saga being published these days. This is the comic perfect for 2013, combining indie comic style with mainstream presentation and hype. It’s also probably my favorite book being published thanks to this amazing 3rd issue, so there’s that.

Daredevil  #33

 

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Jason Copland

 

$2.99, Marvel, 20 pages

 

Daredevil_33_CoverDaredevil has been going strong for awhile, so when something slips up, it hits twice as hard. Jason Copland, who’s not a bad artist, is certainly not on the same level as Chris Samnee, the guy he’s filling in for, and it certainly shows in this issue. The art doesn’t feel as polished as his work on “Kill All Monsters”, feeling rough and unfinished in some parts. To be fair, it may not be all on Copland, and there could be editorial things factoring in here.

That being said, Mark Waid still continues to be the modern legend we all know him as. The book’s script is fine, and it raises a question or two about the mental state of this post-Shadowland Daredevil, which has been an on and off again subplot ever since Waid relaunched the series.

Again, this isn’t a bad issue, but I’ve been spoiled by the bar Waid, Samnee and Javier Rodriguez have set. So unless you’re a Mike Allred level talent filling in, I’m bound to be disappointed when that level isn’t met.

Longshot_Saves_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_1_2_TextlessLongshot Saves the Marvel Universe

Christopher Hastings/Jacopo Caramagna

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Really wish I knew what was up with my borders getting all messed up with this article.

The 2nd issue of Longshot’s mini, raises the stakes a bit, and it way more action packed than issue 1. Hastings being good at writing cool action pieces is no surprise, given what’s happened over the years with Doctor McNinja, and the book continues to deliver with the trademark over the top humor he’s know for. Caramamagna’s visuals are a treat too, as his art continues to be very fluid, and animated. It’s great to see a self-contained, light-hearted mini series not tied into major events coming out from Marvel, something that’s becoming rarer and rarer over the years.   It’s definitely worth reading if you want a fun read without having to know every bit of detail of a character.

 

 

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Here I have bought some comics. A lot of comics actually.

All heat, no jokes, once again y’all!

Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_37Wolverine and the X-men #37

Jason Aaron/ Giuseppe Camuncoli/ Andrew Currie

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Chapter 9 of the Battle of Atom crossover is such a pain to review on some level. On the script end of things, it’s a fine book, as Aaron delivers on several fronts. If I was discussing this book on the quality of it’s script alone, I’d say it was fantastic. But visually this art in this issue isn’t very good. The book credits Camuncoli as the penciller, and Currie as the finisher. What that means exactly, I don’t know, but it results in some less than great visuals when all is said and done. The art seems very rushed, which is unfortunate, because this event has been fantastic so far in that department, and it seem odd that Camuncoli, a veteran of the 2x a month shipping Spider-books, couldn’t deliver. Because man, this is an ugly book  and it rarely, if ever, matches the standard of Aaron’s script. Hopefully this is more of a mistep than an indication of what the final chapter will be like, because it would suck and blow if the final chapter of this event was as poorly drawn as this one was.

sex-criminals

Sex Criminals #2

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

When the first issue of #SEXCRIMINALS dropped, I thought it was a very good issue, but it was not at all what I expecting given the contents of the creator’s tweets. It was great, but more 16 Candles than the 40 Year Old Virgin, which I did not see coming. Issue #2 is probably the funniest and vulgar comic I’ve read in years, starting from a page to page recap on the first page to a very candid and HILARIOUS letter page, ending with a picture of Fraction getting a nipple pierce in Toronto sex club. This book is not afraid to be an adult comic, and it’s all the better for it. Fraction writes 2 very human leads with a strange and funny power and Chip Zdarsky’s visual gags are gut-busting. His day job as a Canadian magazine/newspaper (I forget) cartoonish is on full display here, and the product is better for it. This was easily the best book I read this week, and I can’t recommend Sex Criminals enough if you’re A) 17 or older B) Not easily offended C) A little bit of a pervert.

comics-velvet-1Velvet #1

Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

Before I discuss my problem with Velvet, let start by saying how GREAT this book looks. Steve Epting’s, with Elizabeth Breitweiser on colors, art is some next level stuff, as Velvet is easily one of the best looking comics in an already strong stable of artists over at Image. That being said, the Brubaker-snob in me feels this script is VERY by the books, especially after reading his other excellent creator owned series Fatale, and his modern-classic run on Captain America. While it’s an original concept, it feels a bit like an unused Black Widow script at times.  Of course your enjoyment may vary, because you may not be a Bru-snob like myself. And it’s by no means a bad comic. I’m just a little let down is all, and maybe a  little spoiled by Fatale. It’s definitely work a look if you’re a Brubaker/espionage fan though, even with a ton of great Image books already flooding the market.

dd32_bgDaredevil #32

Mark Waid/ Chris Samnee

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of books that are hard to review, here’s Daredevil. Is Mark Waid one of the best writer still working in the industry? Yup. Is Chris Samnee somehow doing new things with his art, reaching Bruce Timm’s level of quality in some panels/pages. Hell, even the sound effects are used cleverly (not sure if that’s Samnee or VC’s Joe Carmagna) and are super fun. Again, this is brief, but that’s because this book remains flawless. Unless you hate great comics, y’all need to be reading Daredevil. I’m tired of trying to come up with new ways of trying to say how great this book is.

4pd1logoPretty Deadly #1

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Emma Rios

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

As anyone whose read this column before can tell you, I’ve never had a problem admitting the fact that I’m a HUGE fan of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s writing. AND DAMN, KSD’s creator owned book’s debut comes out swinging, with Emma Rios’ best work to date, making this book a visual tour-de-force. A fantasy-western with a female lead, Pretty Deadly’s debut may not exactly be the most straightforward read, but it’s the one of the best look books to debut this year. Rios’ work is both dynamic and trippy, and it’s fun just to stare at her panel work and layouts in this book without reading any dialogue. Her character designs are pretty great, and it’s a shame that we don’t see our lead until the final page of this issue, because Ginny’s possibly the coolest new character of 2013 I.M.O, at least on a visual level.

KSD’s script is sharp, even if it’s a little abstract at time. Her work here is VERY different from her Captain Marvel scripts, aside from the fact that both books have some kick ass female leads. But it’s still fantastic, making Pretty Deadly a must read, especially with Jordie Bellaire’s colors completely the package, making this one of the best looking takes on the wild west in some time. In a white-male heavy industry, books like Pretty Deadly are rare , but definitely needed and welcomed. Arguably one of most important launches of the fall, and it delivers. Buy on sight, assuming it’s still in stock.

Tune in next time for…THE END OF BATTLE OF ATOM! SAGA! AND BECAUSE WE ALL DEMANDED IT, THE RETURN OF NEIL GAIMAN’S SANDMAN!

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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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I have bought some comics, and man, Chris Samnee is really good at drawing

I’m not sure about all of you guys, but I’m the type of comics enthusiast who’s active on twitter. And not in the sense where I spew e-hate at Ben Affleck for signing on to play Batman (although I did retweet about a dozen or so jokes of various degrees of hilarity.) I prefer using twitter to give props to my favorite creators, because that is the type of thing you should be doing on twitter. Example: Daredevil #30 dropped this week (Marvel Comics, $2.99, 20 pages). Chris Samnee, Eisner winner for 2 years in a row, returned to the book after  a 2 issue leave and MAN, he absolutely killed it on this issue. I went on twitter immediately to praise Samnee and he was cool enough to say thanks by the way. But yeah, issue #30 is great. As you can tell by the fantastic cover, the Silver Surfer is in town, and Samnee proceeds to draw the hell out of him, DD and this issue. There’s a double spread that screams poster/print/desktop background. It’s great stuff. Mark Waid isn’t exactly a slouch either, building off of the cliff hanger from the last issue to make DD’s life more problematic and delivering another fantastic story with Chris. Javier Rodriguez‘s color also make this book pop, and I doubt Samnee’s art would look as good as it does with another colorist. A done in one done right, Daredevil #30 is another fantastic issue in a run that can do no wrong.

My other Marvel pull for this week is Avengers Assemble #18 (Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages), an issue where a Kelly Sue Deconnick script got a much needed shot in the visuals department thanks to veteran artists Barry Kitson.  Kitson is a huge improvement over some of the artists we’ve seen as of late on the book, and I really hope he sticks around. The issue is the 1st of a 2 part Infinity tie-in, and it’s definitely a solid read, and the type of tie-in you can appreciate without reading (or understanding) the core mini. The book returns to it’s Spider-Woman heavy focus, exploring Jessica’s mind set post event in Hawkeye and the recently concluded Enemy Within crossover. Deconnick has a great handle on J-Drew; she’s a heavily flawed character, but still very down to earth and fun to read. While a few bits of the issue could have done with a little more continuity explanation, and Kitson manages to draw Thor’s costume a few different ways throughout the script, AA #18 is still a fun read.

And finally, here’s my look at the third volume of Fatale (Image Comics, $14.99, 128 pages). Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip’s excellent noir meets Lovercraft series was a monthly pull of mine, but I decided to go with trade waiting with the 3rd volume, as it’s a series of one shots that I feel read better collected, even sans the cool articles only available in single issues. This done in ones take place before the first 10 issues of the series, telling stories of the mysterious Jo and expanding the series lore a ton. Phillips and Bru are at their finest, and it’s cool to see them tackle settings that they usually don’t  deal with. This is a great intro for new reader, and it explains a ton of things for older readers. Fatale’s buzz has died out a bit thanks to the constant barrage of new series launching at Image, not to mention the hype associated with Saga and the Walking Dead, but it deserves to be read in some format. It has a fantastic premise, and a great execution, and is arguably one of the best books Image is publishing today!

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I have bought some comics, one of them is called Hawkeye.

Before we get into the reviews, I just wanna give a thank you shout-out to Loran/Solphie, who’s time at FPNYC has come to an end. I wish her all the luck out in California, and thank her for her many years of writing about giant robots for us.

So a book I forgot to mention last week that’s worth your time is The Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer ( Morning Glories, Secret Avengers) and Steve Lieber ( Hawkeye, Underground), which a cool update of the ” Blank Foes of Spider-Man” mini series from the 90s. One of things I liked about this book was the fact that Spencer made sure to point out that these guys are STILL villains in the debut issue, and that’s something that isn’t going to change. There’s shades of a Brubaker crime book in this issue, but make no mistake, Spencer does not shy away from the fact that this book takes place in the Marvel Universe. The script is great for a debut issue, introducing this cast of B & C-list Spider-villains and throws in a few neat plot twists along the way. It’s also insanely funny at times, which makes the villains a tad more likeable, even though some of that humor is DARK. Lieber’s art is fantastic, and his style is very much in the vein of Aja on Hawkeye and Samsee on Daredevil. SFoSM is  the type of quirky book that Marvel’s been famous for as of late, and it’s a welcome addition to the already strong Spider-Man family of books.

Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend return to Uncanny X-Men this week, and I couldn’t be happier. Frazier Irving is a hell of an artist, but Bachalo owns the visual end of thisbook, and issue 10 is proof of this. Bachalo is an artist I usually associate with big-booming splash pages and double spread, but here he’s channeling his inner Steranko, with a dash of J.H Williams, and gives us some interesting panel work and layouts, not to mention some great use of white space. And his Magik is THE BEST, no one denies this. His pencils and Townsend’s inks stands over even better than to his own coloring, giving the final product an awesome look worthy of one of Marvel’s flagship titles. It kind of makes me wish Uncanny was bi-monthly, so that Bachalo wouldn’t need a guest artist every other arc. Bendis bounces back from the last arc strong as well, giving us a surprisingly dense script with some great character development. Despite the deceiving cover (a Bendis trademark), Uncanny X-Men is a great read, and I’m really curious as to how things are going to play out.

The crown jewels of Steve Wacker’s line of Marvel books both shipped this past week, and Daredevil and Hawkeye this month have a lot more in common than just an editor.  Both books are missing the artists usually associated with the title, but neither of them suffer for it. DD’s colorist Javier Rodriguez takes over for Chris Samsee as a guest artist for this arc, and while he’s not as gifted as Samsee is, the book still looks great. Mark Waid has written a nice little 1st chapter in a 2 parter that’s not an intense as the previous arc, but still a fantastic read, and a ton of fun (which is kind of a given looking at that cover). Then again Waid hasn’t written a bad issue yet on this book, so this come as no surprise really.

Meanwhile over in Hawkeye, Francesco Francavilla returns to help Matt Fraction introduce a new supporting cast member to the book, not to mention setting the record for the use of “Bro” and “Seriously in a single panel. I know the former may not sound impressive if you’re not reading the book, but I assure you, it is. Francavilla was done no favors having to follow up Aja’s amazing Pizza Dog issue, but he delivers in spades, telling a excellent story that blends tragedy, action and humor. While this issue isn’t as groundbreaking as the last one on technical or storytelling level, which is a bit of an unfair comparison, it STILL is one of the best book on the stands, getting the 2nd year of the book off to a great start.  (( Also worth noting is that the 2nd collection just dropped 2, which y’all need to get on.) This was definitely a Marvel-heavy pull week,  but it doesn’t matter to me who’s publishing what when the books are so good.

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Once again I have bought some comics, let me tell you about them.

The BEST comics weeks are the ones that you walk into the shop and realize that you can’t possibly afford to buy all the books you want. Or you could, but  you shouldn’t. It usually a sign that the industry is doing something right, or that you need a better job, or the comics industry’s shipping schedule needs to do a better job of meeting my very specific needs. Why yes, I am a diva. So a special shout-out to Young Avengers, Fatale and the Wake, 3 books that I really dig, but that not being bought in trade, not unlike “Wolverine and the X-men“. So where does that leave us?

Let’s start off with a pair of Brian Bendis penned X-books, All-New X-men and Uncanny X-men. First and foremost these books look great. Stuart Immonen and friends keep All-New looking fresh and expressive, giving Bendis plenty to work with. And you really can’t do any better than Frazer Irving for an artist on Uncanny when you’re telling an story involving Limbo and demons. Believe it or not it actually helps to good when it comes to a medium like comics (SHOCKING REVEAL), and these X-books very much succeed on that level here.

However, they couldn’t be any different on a script level. All-New’s is great. Fun read, choke full of characters with unique voices and Bendis has GREAT moment with Kitty Pryde reacting to something that happened in Uncanny Avengers not too long ago. Well worth the $4. Uncanny X-men…kinda mediocre. The book feels lost, as big reveals and twists don’t carry the omph they need thanks to some not so great dialogue choices made by Bendis. If you’re torn on the two, go with All-New, and hope Uncanny reads better in trade.

This week was a very good week for Marvel editor Stephen Whacker, as both Daredevil #27 and Hawkeye #11 hit the stands, and were the type of books that wins Eisners. Both Mark Waid and Matt Fraction did great jobs on the words & plot department for these books, but it was their artists, Chris Samnee and David Aja respectively, who really elevated these books above the majority of the titles on the stands. Samnee is a master story teller, as there’s a moment that happens about halfway through that book that kicks of a series of pages that are impossible NOT to get pumped up for. As someone who didn’t even start off as the main artist on this title, Chris has definitely left his mark on it, making it one of the best looking books on the market month after month.

As for Hawkeye…I honestly don’t know what else there’s left to say about the title. I’ve been a fan of the book since it was announced. I’ve sung it’s praises with every issues released. Hell, I even read this issue 3 weeks in advance, and I was still excited for 11. And you know what? It’s honestly the BEST comic to come out this year. Aja tells a murder mystery from a dog’s P.O.V. and it’s great! There’s action, drama, romance, humor and if you’ve been paying attention to this book, the last 3 pages will hit you like a ton of bricks.  For $3, I can’t recommend a better book.

I CAN HOWEVER, OFFER SOMETHING THAT IS PRETTY GREAT AT THE SAME COST! Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, 2 veteran creators who have made many a fine comic over the years, have Lazarus #1 on the stands, and holy butts, is solid as hell. I love debut issues that stand on their own, and if this was a done and one I’d be pleased as punch. HOWEVER IT’S A ON-GOING, SO I’M THRILLED. Without going into details, it’s very much a crime story with a sci-fi background, and also violent as hell. But I’m in. Rucka’s great, Lark is fantastic on both art and letters and Santi Arcas is fantastic on covers. All for $3. Image have been firing on all cylinders when it’s come to fantastic new series, and this book isn’t any different. GET ON IT THIS BOOK NOW, IT IS THE NEW FATAL, IT THE THE NEW SAGA, AND IT WILL PROBABLY BE SOLD OUT BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, OPPS!

So all in all a great comics. This upcoming week has “Satellite Sam” debuting from Image, and the Fionna and Cake mini-series wrapping up, plus I’ll be spending some time looking at the 5th volume of Wolveirne and the X-men. COMICS FOR EVERYONE Y’ALL!

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