Tagged: Dark Horse Presents

Sci-fi summer school

To organize your thoughts, to give yourself new ideas, and to think about things a different way, I often try to give myself some thematic perameteres to work in. Often those themes don’t stick because they’re dumb, or don’t actually make sense to people other than myself. But today I made themes and decided to leave them.

What are some writing tips you have?! What themes did you notice this week?! Hunt someone down in the store and aggressively tell him or her your thoughts!

This week’s comics are, dyna-miiiiite!

Magnus: Robot Fighter #3-Fred Van Lente turns it up when he pits human hunter Leeja Clarke against the hostile robots of the future. Her introduction is solid pulp, but her fighting prowess is completely real. She’s punching her way up in life, using her own flesh and blood to take down our hero human. If you thought fighting maleficent metal miscreants was going to be Russell Magnus’s biggest challenge, you thought wrong. (But it was a good effort. I mean, it makes sense to assume that his hardest opponents would be robots. But you’re still wrong. Don’t beat yourself up over it though.)

Solar: Man of the Atom #2-With confusion over who is REALLY the new Solar that was left in the wake of #1, I have to say, if you are confused, why do you care?! It’s a pretty solid character trait of first issues to leave a cliffhanger with the audience going “omg what’s going to happen?!?! So crazy!!” but some people just seemed bummed that solar might not be who they thought he was going to be. But this comic is so good I really have to wonder again, why does it matter?! So the mantel of a solar reboot is being passed to someone else, if it’s written as well as Barbiere probably writes his grocery lists, the new Solar will be sure to impress all audiences. Try on some super science with this spectacular new series!

Flash Gordon #2-Evan Shaner is drawing the ever-loving crap out of Jeff Parker’s take on Flash Gordon. The man from Earth is doing a not so great job at keeping his identity when attempting to save an alien race from being transformed into minions of the nefarious Ming. Classic humor and new adventures make this story just generally fun to read, but the amazing art team kills at making this book fun just to look at. The team will continue hopping through time and space in their overarching quest to defeat Ming the Merciless, and prevent the invasion of Earth.

Game on, with Hick-mon….? I’m so embarrassed now

Manhattan Projects Vol. 4-Just buy it! It’s a part of my top 5 fav series! I don’t want to keep telling you to read it! (yes I do)

East of West #12-War is imminent in the best western, high sci-flyin, cryptic apocalyptic, adventure you cowpoke folk ever did read. But the effort swelling to change the course of the war-horse is the greatest quest for Death’s theistic compatriots.

Firsts and lasts

MPH #1-Mark Millaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar has a gotten tired of violence and is instead writing a new book about self-discovery through meditation. Just kidding. This book is about DRUGS, and MONEY, and going really FAST! When two friends realize that a new street drug will give you super speed abilities, they use it to do anything but help others. Obviously something like that will only get them into trouble; but that’s the least of their worries as long as they’re having fun and stacking cheddar. Coming to you from Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo. I expect a bunch of speed lines.

 Dark horse Presents #36-The series is ending! (only not really) We’ll never see it again! (it’ll be back in July) Nothing will ever be the same! (it will be in a different format though). Full scoop, the current version of DHP you know and love, mainly that it’s 80 pages of awesome, will be going on a diet and getting a little slimmer to fit into a more cost effective model, coming out sometime in July. But that doesn’t mean they skimped on creators for the final (this version) issue. In this corner, we have Mike Mignola! Stan Sakai! And JAIME HERNANDEZ! + a bunch of others. They’ll be wrapping some stories up, starting some new ones, and giving you all around great tales for a great price.

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

Toy-talk next time I swear, but for now I want to talk comics and y’all got to suffer through that first. I’ve bought a few books that warrant discussion, at FPNYC and now I’m going to spend 500 words trying to explain how great they are.

First off, there’s Marvel’s mini-event “The Enemy Within“. One would assume if I were to talk about a Marvel event it would “Age of Ultron”, but I really have very few positive things to say about that. And “Infinity” is something I can wait to be collected before touching, sorry Hickman.

“The Enemy Within”  is a crossover between Kelly Sue Deconnick’s 2 books “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers Assembled“. Both of those titles are books I’m already buying as is, so it really wasn’t a hard sell. The event spins out of recent happenings going down in Carol Danvers’ book, where an old enemy is giving the good Captain hell, and forcing her to fight a ton of her old foes. So Carol calls in some of her mightiest pals to help deal with that.

And it’s such a fun read! You really don’t need to know much going into it, although being caught up on at least “Captain Marvel” helps. It feels like a lost Jim Starlin Avengers story from the 70s at times, and I mean that in a good way. The BIG difference is how KSD writes the cast. The Avengers come off as actual friends, so there’s a nice degree of warmth in the script, as well as some solid humor. The art by Scott Hepburn and Matteo Buffangi gives the story a very fluid and animated look, which I dig a lot. It’s a 5 issue arc, and if you want to read a FUN Avengers book with cast similar to that of the movies, it’s the way to go.

Dark Horse Presents #25 also dropped this past week, and for $8 , you definitely get your money’s worth. There’s 11 stories contained in 80 pages of comics, by some big name talent. Matt Fraction, a writer I’m obviously found of, makes his Dark Horse debut with Christian Ward and gives a nice done in one story focusing on  lost romance and time travel. There’s a GREAT 1 page strip by Emma T Capps, who’s all of 15 year old, a Buffy The Vampire story begins  by series regulars Jane Espenson and Karl Moline, and stories by A-list creators like Fred Van Lente, Freddie Williams III, Phil Winslade, Mike Baron, Steve Rude, Dan Jolley and Leonard Kirk, amongst others. My only complaint with this book is that some of the content is  already in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of their stories, so some of the tales may come across as confusing. Regardless of that, I remain pleased with my purchase.

And because the buzz around it is great, I also picked up the Legend of Luthor Strode, by creators Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore and Felipe Sobreiro. Published by Image Comics’, this book is as awesome as it is violent, which is to say A LOT. It’s “Kick-Ass” meets “Charlies Atlas”, which I know, does not say much about the story, but I’m trying to keep this relatively light on the spoilers. In fact, I’ll go on the record for saying that I liked it a ton better than “Kick-Ass”. For a $15 trade, you could do a lot worst, and this book definitely deserves a spot on your book shelf.

So there you go, a bunch of great books worth your time! Hope you check at some of them, and let me know what you think here, or on twitter. @theanarchris is my handle, and I’m fairly active on there, so all feedback is appreciated.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 24: There’ll Be No Escape For The Princess This Time!

There’s a lot of good comics this week. I know you want to buy the same old ones you always buy because they feel safe and comfortable. I get that. I’m not gonna tell you to not buy the stuff you like. I’m not a jerk. But I do need you to do me a favor. You can do that, right? Sell your kidneys, sell your kids, agree to do illegal stuff for unsavory men, sell your fillings, rob a bank. It’s time to try some new comics. I made a list of which ones you will need to buy if we want this to work out between us. You want this to work, right? You care about me, right? I care about you a lot. You are my favorite reader. I only write this for you. Want me to prove it? I make Tyler put in pretty pictures like this one to make you happy-

OCCUPY COMICS #1 is out this week.  This issue  features political and socially charged short stories by folks like Alan Moore, Mike Allred, David Lloyd, JM DeMatteis, Art Spiegelman, Ben Templesmith, Dean Haspiel, Ales Kot, Ron Wimberly, Molly Crabapple, Charlie Adlard, and a ton more. The book is a benefit for Occupy related initiatives like Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt (google them). Regardless of your personal politics this is a series well worth reading. It offers a ton of interesting viewpoints on a lot of different issues, smart social commentary that cuts across party lines and political aisles. Add to that some stunning artwork and storytelling, and some of the best and brightest in comics doing their best to say something beyond the usual “man punching another man” stories, and this is definitely something everyone who cares about the medium should be buying. Not a lot of comics are going to entertain you this much, inform you this much, and maybe help someone keep their home. Think about that when you choose to buy Red Lanterns instead and wonder why you feel like a husk of a person.

Did I mention that I like DARK HORSE PRESENTS a lot? I do. Issue 24 comes out this week. Congrats on 2 years of putting out the best book no one reads Dark Horse. Among the many great shorts in there, this issue sees the premiere of a new superhero character Blackout. Dark Horse has been doing a great job of getting exciting talent to launch new superhero books that are a fun alternative for those who feel tired of Marvel and DC’s usual fare. X, Ghost, and Black Beetle are among the best superhero books on shelves right now and hopefully Blackout will be joining their ranks. Written by up-and-comer Frank Barbiere, Blackout doesn’t feel like it’s reinventing the wheel, it doesn’t need to. It’s just really good. Barbiere has a knack for playing in genre and doing it better than most and this launch shows him doing that again with ease. Hopefully by this time next year I will be telling you “I told you so” about one of your favorite new series.

Speak of the devil. Mr. Barbiere has clearly been pretty busy. This week also sees the FIVE GHOSTS #3 out. I could write a whole bunch of snarky $#!% about Five Ghosts but I want to give Mr. Barbiere a nice quote for ads and whatnot. Five Ghosts #3 raises the stakes on this already great series in every way. Smart, tense, and beautiful, the best book of the year keeps getting better. Buy Five Ghosts or admit you are fake. Your welcome Frank.

Do you like pretty stuff? Read GODZILLA: HALF-CENTURY WAR. James Stokoe (pronounced “Stew-Coo-Ooo-Whoa-Eee”) is one of the best artists working in comics right now. Like the beautiful bastard child of Paul Pope, Geof Darrow, and Osamu Tezuka, Stokoe has earned a rabid fanbase by quality of work but not quantity of work. I am pretty sure I will never see a year with 12 issues of his work on the stands. With that understanding you should all view the arrival of a whole trade of his work as a sort of holiday. Skip work, buy some diapers and a lot of chocolate milk, get yourself a massage, and rent a new couch because it’s about to get awesome for you. In case the title didn’t make it clear, this book is Stokoe drawing a giant Japanese (Can they claim ownership of him? Should they?) dragon monster thing while it wrecks stuff. Yeah. It’s awesome.

THE PROPERTY is the new graphic novel from Rutu Modan, author of the brilliant Exit Wounds. If you have never read any of Ms. Modan’s work, her stuff reads like Tintin if Tintin was full of powerfully quiet human drama instead of, ya know, racism. It is economical in both art and storytelling, but the story never feels rushed or shortchanged. This is as elegant as comics get. The Property tells the story of 2 generations of Polish women returning to their homeland to reclaim property seized in the holocaust. As the story progresses both the cause and the meaning of this pilgrimage begin to change for the women and what results is a very touching and humorous story about peoples relationships to each other, their history, and the larger world around them.

It is that time of the week when I tell you to buy some new Image comic #1. This weeks obligatory #1 is THE BOUNCE. Joe Casey has written just about every major superhero worth writing and a lot that aren’t. He always makes books that manage to feel smarter and more fun than his contemporaries. Well now he launches The Bounce which is essentially a stoner version of Spider-Man. If there is one thing you should trust Mr. Casey to do it is both examine and deconstruct superheroes in really intelligent ways all while not letting you realize that is happening. He hides the smart storytelling in the fun. That’s smart. I’m tired. Buy this book.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 18: And Restore Freedom to the Galaxy…

WHERE HAS OUR DEAR SWEET TYLER GONE? HE LOOKS SO TROUBLED.

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I really don’t want to do this this week. This column is going to take some weird turns. Some days I don’t like writing things that don’t make people feel anything so I might just get real creepy and personal. All exposed nerves and open wounds. Awkward as a substitute for interesting. I have abandoned the idea of comics journalism in favor of weird tangents, self aggrandizing, and the occasional comic recommendation. This is a one week special. Next week I will be back to talking about…I guess I kind of do this every week. Anyway, I feel like in my war with Unkie Dev (which he doesn’t know is a thing… but it is a thing) I am fighting the ground war and he is going for a victory through attrition. We battle each week for column space and witticism supremacy (both of which I win… because I am very witty.) and I fight each week’s battle like it is the last. It never is. He has been writing a column that nobody appreciates much longer than I have. This is only my 18th. He is old hat and yelling into the void and his long game is wearing me down. I don’t know how he does it. I can barely muster the energy to be excited about telling you, my last loyal reader, about new comics. But muster I will. I got you this. It’s not much but it’s mustered.

My first review is a twofer. MIND MGMT. Matt Kindt is one of those guys that is hard to pigeon hole. That’s a weird term. Seems sexual in a really gross way but I don’t think it is. Maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m pretty vanilla. Anyway, Matt Kindt’s stuff was too indie to get the action comic persons attention, to actiony to get the indie kids excited. That’s what made him brilliant. Then his buddy Jeff Lemire broke out in a big way doing a very similar thing and opened a lot of doors. Now Matt Kindt is making waves as one of the most exciting writers at DC and soon to be Marvel but the whole time he has had MIND MGMT brewing. This is one of those books that makes other writers stay up late and curse their brains for not being able to perform these sort of narrative acrobatics. Mr. Kindt makes me feel inadequate, and that is about as high praise as I have. His cerebral conspiracy theory book has become one of the hot books of 2013 with the announcement of an upcoming film and back issues being nearly impossible to find. Now you can finally start catching up with a $1 re-release of issue 1 or the first collection in a very nice hardcover. You can either try if for cheap or trust me and dive right in. I vote for trust me. Why would I vote against you trusting me?

Ok. One review down, infinite to go. That one wasn’t so bad. I might have shared a bit too much about my proclivities but at least we got through it and now we are a little closer. It’s your turn to share.

You took to long. I will review X while you think of something uncomfortable to share with me. X #0 is out. It collects all the Dark Horse Presents stuff into one issue. Old superhero book brought back from the dead. Pretty fun. Buy it. End review.

Got anything? No? Well keep thinking. I feel like our relationship is becoming more Doctor/Patient and less Mentor/Mentee every day, which is disappointing. I keep sharing things with you that make me agitated if I think about them. I am sharing too much. When I get uncomfortable I can’t maintain eye contact and I constantly look at the door. I’m like a puppy on a dropped leash, always in danger of bolting into traffic. For the rest of this column imagine that I am reading it to you, monotone and drymouthed, but staring at the door the whole time.

They have made Judge Dredd comics in the UK for literally decades and only a handful of Americans ever cared. We are a self involved people at our best. Then they made a big budget nightmare of a movie and the ones that cared ended up caring a little less. Then they made more comics for 15ish years. The attrition of caring continued. Then they made another big action movie but this one was really good. Even less people cared about this movie then cared about the bad one. So, naturally IDW decided it was a really good time to start making Judge Dredd comics in America. My guess is the number of people who care about this book is in the high single digits. This book is some sort of proof of Zeno’s Paradox of heading towards 0 fans. Soon only half of a person will like Judge Dredd in this country. But that is damn shame because it is really good. The British like their sci-fi comics in a very specific way; weird, morally ambiguous, and loaded with layers of nearly impenetrable lore. Americans don’t like any of that. So the American Judge Dredd walks a fine line between faithful and dumbed down. It is tricky to pull off a story about a super violent cop with fascistic tendencies who is also the hero of the story, but Duane Swierczynski does a good job of making it palatable and still off putting, like it should be. If you have been looking for something out of your comfort zone but don’t feel like wading through 20+ years of UK Judge Dredd then start with JUDGE DREDD vol. 1 out this week. Americans have a bad enough reputation as it is in this world, let’s prove we can appreciate good things to our British friends once and for all.

Someone mailed me a pair of index fingers last week. I freaked out. I assumed that Tech Wizard/Human Prey, Tyler, had been taken in by some kindly old stranger only to be met with a few excruciating days of torture and finally the sweet release of death. Tyler was always too trusting. And now his sick captors were trying to lure me into their game. Anyway, I ended up having some DNA tests run though and it turns out the fingers aren’t Tyler’s at all. I totally forgot that I bought them from some weird German dude on ebay because he gave free shipping. Oh well. No idea where Tyler is. I guess I will continue to put the Weekly Planet together myself. Hopefully this time I remember to change the title. I feel like the biggest moron in the whole wide world when I forget to change the titles on my column. The absolute biggest, most worthless moron there ever was.

I think Jay Faerber is a really unappreciated writer in comics. I read the first volume of Noble Causes and hated it in a really fundamental way. I spend a lot of money on stupid stuff to make me feel better about myself temporarily, and rarely does it make me angry but Noble Causes did. Actual anger. Then I read an interview with Faerber where he spoke really well about the point of the book and for some reason I decided to reread it. Turns out he is much smarter than me and the book is really clever. It’s a great pastiche of superhero and soap opera. After that I was hooked on Noble Causes and all his work since then. POINT OF IMPACT is his most recent, a mini series murder mystery that hits all the right notes. Beautiful art by Koray Kuranel adds to the overall moody tone of the book. There are not a lot of crime books on shelves these days so thankfully the ones we do have are worth your time and attention. Once you have read through Criminal, Scalped, Parker, and Murder Book, make sure POINT OF IMPACT is on your buy list.

As I write these words or as you read these very same words something remarkable and tragic is happening. Somewhere, someone is working really hard to tell an amazing, and personal, and beautiful story about love, or sadness, or aspirations, or death. Maybe it’s about injustice, or righting wrongs, or the inherent beauty in honesty. Maybe it’s about betraying the people you love, or watching people you care about suffer, or about the overwhelming power of bringing life into this world. They have the most beautiful and personal and universal book in the world and they just need it to exist. They are working night and day for years on it. They are putting more into this book than any audience has a right to deserve. They are working two jobs to be able to make this book. They are giving up freetime, then hobbies, then passions in order to see this through. Even when they manage to sneak away a few short hours to sleep they lay awake in bed thinking about their book. Dreams become nightmares, nightmares become hauntings. They are haunted night and day by their book. They lose all their money. They lose all their friends. They lose their physical and mental health. They lose the ability to see clearly why they needed money or friends in the first place because the simple burden of the story inside of them is becoming all consuming. It devours everything. Time. Then money. Then relationships. Then their ability to have relationships. Then, most brutally, it devours hope. They lose the ability to remember why they wanted this life. They begin to wonder what they did wrong to be cursed with the burden of this story. They forget the feeling of excitement of trying to get this story out and it simply becomes a tumor that they want so badly to excise. And just like that, the weight of comics breaks them. To create comics they must destroy their love of comics. They must destroy a piece of themselves. And then, when they are at their lowest they walk into a shop to find something, anything to keep them going. And they do find something. They find out that someone made a book about a raccoon soldier from space and his space tree friend. ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT COMPLETE COLLECTION is out now. This book is great. Comics are an awesome and cruel mistress.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 11: The Death Star!

Hello loyal readers. How was your week? Not that anyone asked but I had a good one. Well it was good until Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/6th member of Modest Mouse, Tyler, threatened me. It turns out that some of the links I use on the blog weren’t up to his liking. I think he didn’t like the one linking to him singing a song he wrote about me, but that is conjecture. He is my editor though (ironic since his grasp of grammar is even worse than mine) and that comes with a certain amount of power. Mostly the power to make me look like an idiot… more of an idiot. I, of course, can write stuff that makes him look bad as well. I OBVIOUSLY never ever would , but I could. And that keeps him up at night, sweating through the sheets in his tiny little crib. And thus we have invented the concept of mutually assured blogging destruction. I am Forbidden Planet’s Dr. Strangelove. Tyler is my Dimitri.

In good news I’m not apologizing for anything in this week’s column. I pitched a perfect game with my last column. I’m hoping to keep my streak going and have some great comic recommendations for you all. And yes, all you Unkie Dev fans (or Dev-iants as we call them), I do not consider having my column run long so that Unkie Dev gets bumped a mistake. I consider it good strategy. There’s a plan at work here people. You won’t understand that until it’s too late for you.

I talk a lot about Dark Horse Presents here. Partially it’s because I think it is a great venue for some of the best storytelling in comics and you readers would love it. Mostly it’s because I like it a lot and don’t want it to get canceled. I never claimed this wasn’t self serving. DARK HORSE PRESENTS #21 has more stuff from comic greats like Shannon Wheeler, Duane Swierczynski, and Michael Avon Oeming. I am really excited to see new stuff from the great Simon Roy, artist on the always great Prophet. But the real reason you are probably buying this, and the real reason I don’t have to think of more stuff to say is this- a new story from Paul Chadwick (Concrete) and Neil Gaiman (Neil Gaiman stuff). If that doesn’t mean anything to you there isn’t much more I can say other than you need to read more comics. Start with Concrete and Sandman. Also read Dark Horse Presents.

The point of this column is to suggest (read: pressure) new books for you all to buy. Well I feel like an idiot for suggesting you pick up HELLBLAZER #300, but as the foremost comic journalist in the world I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. As it stands right now Hellblazer is the longest running sequentially numbered book at DC. That might seem like a minor distinction but it feels important. Hellblazer may only “technically” be the longest running book at DC, but it is arguably the best. And now all of that comes to an end with issue #300. DC has canceled the book in favor of a “younger, hipper” book in the regular DCU called Constantine. Apparently young hip people don’t like unique characters with rich history. Either way, buy issue #300 and put it on your nightstand for later while you work your way through the collected editions. (I know you don’t have a nightstand, you just use a bunch of old pizza boxes as furniture.) Hellblazer vol. 1 is about as good as a comic gets and it rarely lets up for the next 290ish issues.

Dynamite has done a real interesting thing the past few years. In their quiet corner of the comics universe they have taken a bunch of old pulp characters most people don’t care about and they started making fresh and exciting books out of them. The Shadow has been one of their flagships in this re-imagining. Well comics never let’s a good thing simply be, so this week sees the release of a new Shadow book, THE SHADOW: YEAR ONE #1. Willfredo Torres does some beautiful pencil work that has both a classic cartoon feel and modern styles all at the same time. And Matt Wagner does a great job of slowly leaking the origin of this 70+ year old character and keeping you guessing. This is a book that is good enough to get you excited about the whole Dynamite line. Get into it.

Remember- Don’t talk about a perfect game while it’s happening. You will jinx it.

HOW DO I KNOW WHO I AM IF I FORGET? is the new self published mini comic from writer/artist Luis Echavarria Uribe. As beautiful as it is disturbing, HDIKWIAIIF? is the story of an obsessive girl trying to figure out who she is and how she relates to the world. Her obsessions are both uncomfortable and somehow comforting all at once. Equal parts outsider art comic story and EC horror book, Mr. Echavarria Uribe crafts a story that twists and turns under you in uncomfortable and exciting ways.  His art can be quite beautiful and, unlike so many self published creators, he has learned to write to his art strengths and draw to his writing strengths. Obviously for most of the people who read this column a self published mini-comic may be far outside their wheelhouse, but this book would be write at home in the collection of anyone who likes reading good comics, regardless of genre or format. Pick it up, support someone who is doing it on their own, and you will be rewarded with one of the best books out so far this year.

I was going to write a bunch more stuff but I am tired and for some reason my girlfriend just put Glengarry Glen Ross on so I sort of stopped caring about my job here. Other good stuff out this week includes the long awaited return of Kill Shakespeare. Fans of Fables, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and trying to look more literate than you actually are would do well to pick up KILL SHAKESPEARE: THE TIDE OF BLOOD #1. A mash-up of many of The Bard’s most famous characters, the Kill Shakespeare series is always good fun if you get the references and really odd but still enjoyable I am sure if you don’t. Also worth grabbing is the strange early 90’s British sci-fi series TALES FROM BEYOND SCIENCE, which is finally collected into one hardcover. 8 tales all drawn by British artist and graphic designer Rian Hughes and written by a bevy of great Brit sci-fi scribes including Mark Millar (Kick-Ass). These bizarre short stories explain seemingly unexplainable phenomenon in ways that will make you laugh and feel like someone dosed you. If you like stuff like stuff like Madman or anything zany at all this book should be going home with you. Now go spend your money wisely. And remember kids, Always Be Closing.

How about that. It was funny. It was smart. It used commas in interesting ways. Good books were recommended. A flawless column. And that means back to back perfect games. Give me the Cy Young right now. (1% of you have any idea what I am talking about.)

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TRY SOMETHING NEW CHAPTER 7: Against The Evil Galactic Empire.

(note: This weeks column will be structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure. If you do not understand what a Choose Your Own Adventure story is you should call your parents and ask them why they didn’t give you a better childhood.)

So here we are again. Me at my computer, drinking chocolate milk like an adult. It’s 3 AM. I had a really long day and I don’t want to get into the details. On the bright side I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant next to Peter Scolari. I also thought I recognized the guy sitting on the other side of the room but I realized after dinner that I thought it was Walter Cronkite and I am pretty sure he’s dead. So that was either not him or the craziest celebrity sighting ever. Peter Scolari isn’t dead, right? If he is, you all should check out this Chinese spot on 74th and Amsterdam. It’s like Dawn Of The Dead but with soup dumplings. Anyway, enough about me. What’s going on with you? If you are reading the newsletter in Forbidden Planet please proceed to PARAGRAPH 1. If you are reading the blog on FPNYC.com skip ahead to PARAGRAPH 2. If you are reading the newsletter somewhere outside the store please jump to PARAGRAPH 3.

1. I see. Well, it’s good to see you in Forbidden Planet again. It feels like it’s been a while. Did you see Forbidden Planet’s own technical wizard/artistic muse Tyler yet? He’s here somewhere. He is always in the store. If you find him you should give him a hug. He will act like he doesn’t want you to, but he does. Maybe he’s downstairs. Duck under the rope and look for him in “The Dungeon”. (editor’s note: customers are not allowed to duck under the rope or touch Tyler.) Go on. It’s fine. Never listen to editors, cops, or your parents. The Dungeon is cool. It is full of Abominations and staff members eating halal food. Anyway, thanks for reading this before you do your shopping. You seem like a real savvy customer who wants to TRY SOMETHING NEW. Would you be offended if I made a suggestion? If you want to hear Matthew’s recommendation for you hurl onward to PARAGRAPH 4. If you want to act like a weirdo jerk and not hear his recommendation then slither ahead to PARAGRAPH 9.

2. Oh that’s cool. And hey, thanks for coming to FPNYC.com. There’s so much stuff on the internet. Some folks would have you believe there is too much stuff, but those folks are sociopaths. Either way, it really means a lot to me that you came all the way out here to the middle on internet nowhere to read this of all things. You can’t tell right now, but your dedication to our little blog just made technical wizard/evil henchmen Tyler tear up just now. He is acting like he has something in his eye but he doesn’t. He is an emotional dude. Don’t judge. Anyway, I think it’s really cool that you came here. I know you could be watching that video of the guy teaching the baby wolf how to howl or trying to figure out what Hawkeye from the Avengers would look like if he were a sexy lady. But you have a dedication to seeking out some of the worst comics journalism of all time and I think that is swell. That reminds me, do you know what book you might like? If you don’t know what book you might like and want to find out hop along to PARAGRAPH 6. If you are some freak who somehow already knows all of the books he/she will ever like crawl forward to PARAGRAPH 9.

3. Hey. Sorry to cut you off but I got something to say. I don’t want to be a jerk here but I am a little annoyed. Why would you come into Forbidden Planet, pick up a newsletter, and then wait to read it until you left? How are my book recommendations going to help you now? You can come back in a few days and hope that all the books I’ve recommended aren’t sold out, but I make no guarantees. A lot of people read this newsletter in the store and I am very persuasive. Anyway, I am not mad or anything, just disappointed. Our technical wizard/ jackbooted thug Tyler is really mad though. Next time you come into the store you better hope he isn’t in. Lucky for you, Tyler is almost never in the store. Anyway, I want to prove to you that I’m not mad. I want to recommend a book. Cool? If you want to be cool with Matthew launch yourself over to PARAGRAPH 8. If you don’t want to be cool with Matthew or anyone else creep on to PARAGRAPH 9.

4. I think you might like DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20. It’s one of the great comic anthologies of all time, showcasing amazing legends and exciting up and comers in all genres. Two cool new stories begin in this issue; Michael Avon Oeming‘s dark superhero story THE VICTORIES, and Geoffrey Thorne and Todd Harris‘ intriguing JOURNEYMEN! Josh Williamson‘s great take on the old pulp hero CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT is a great read for anyone who appreciates fun action, which you seem like you do. And this issue also has another installment of one of my favorite new series of 2012- THE WHITE SUITS. Crime and conspiracy stuff done in a fresh and stylized way, THE WHITE SUITS short story makes DARK HORSE PRESENTS worth the cover price alone. Anyway, pick this one up. It’s right over there on the shelf. I’m sure you’ll like it. If you pick up DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20 walk over to the register where one of the register jockeys will ring you up and say “do you want a bag and board for this?” even though it won’t fit in a bag because it is prestige format. THE END. If you choose not to buy DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20 lurk on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

5. The ground you are standing on momentarily groans like an old man before it gives way. You fall for what feels like a lifetime but is only a moment. Mercifully, you stop with a violent splash. You have landed in what seems to be water… maybe. As you look up you can just barely make out the fading sunlight. It’s beautiful, shades of red and orange blend together like a Gauguin. You barely hear tires kick up dirt as your only “friends” drive away. Are they laughing? The water is violently cold, a cold you could have never imagined. It fights its way deep into your muscles, into your bones even. They burn against the cold but it is a losing battle. The pain begins to give way to an almost peacefulness as treading water becomes harder and harder. Hypothermia begins to set in and you find that you now think of yourself in the past tense, “I was so young.” The universe doesn’t care though. THE END.

6. This is what I wanted to show you. It’s DAN THE UNHARMABLE. Have you read the single issues? No? Well that’s fine because this is the first volume of the collection. It’s by David Lapham. You may know him from such disturbing and ultraviolent books as CROSSED, CALIGULA, or FERALS. Or you might know him from a personal favorite of mine, STRAY BULLETS. STRAY BULLETS is one of the smartest and best slice of life/crime/I don’t know what books ever written. It’s LOVE & ROCKETS but with more murder. Lapham has an extraordinary ability to blur lines between the disturbing, the tragic, and the hilarious. DAN THE UNHARMABLE tells the story of an immortal private eye who gets caught up in a very personal case. It is violent, crass, low brow, funny, and exciting. Lapham can pull off this kind of schizophrenic storytelling in ways no one else would think of trying. If any of that interests you grab this and proceed to check out. If you order a copy of DAN THE UNHARMABLE vol 1 sit by your mailbox for a few days until the postman puts it in your hand. Thank your postman. It’s a thankless job. THE END. If you choose not to buy DAN THE UNHARMABLE Vol. 1. scurry on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

7. Her lips graze your neck and you can feel your pulse quicken. Her warm breath on your skin makes your toes tingle. She whispers something you can’t quite make out and your whole body starts to go numb. “Did she just say my real name?!” you think to yourself. Startled, you go to push her away but your legs give out before your hands can respond to your mental commands. You fall to the ground like a hostage dropped out the front door during a botched bank robbery. You hit the ground head first and your neck twists violently but painlessly to the right. The acrid taste of bile creeps up the back of your throat and fills your mouth. You can see part of your body you have never seen before; your back. Sticking straight out like a flag, the syringe she used is clearly visible. She leans down over you and sensually whispers one last sentence to you, “The universe wanted you dead.” No it doesn’t, you wanted to be able to tell her. It just doesn’t care. THE END.

8. So these Marvel Now books have been really great. Strong and smart editorial leadership has managed to put together a lot of really smart and interesting books without abandoning what came before them. THOR, ALL NEW X-MEN, NEW AVENGERS, CAPTAIN MARVEL, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, there are almost too many good Marvel books to name right now. Well two more enter the fold this week with #1 issues. Ron Garney and indie hotshot Sam Humphries launch an all new UNCANNY X-FORCE this week. Mohawk Storm is all you really need to know. Mr. Humphries likes to take his stories down unusual paths and that is just what an X-Force book should do, go where you least expect it. This may not be high on a lot of folks lists, but neither was Rick Remender‘s run on UNCANNY X-FORCE, and that ended up being one of the best Marvel books in 10 years.

In addition to UNCANNY X-FORCE #1, this week sees YOUNG AVENGERS #1. Most people don’t know this because most people didn’t read it but Allan Heinberg‘s YOUNG AVENGERS series was absolutely brilliant. It was a great idea grounded in very smart, very human characters. If Marvel played their cards right that book should have been the hit that Brian K. Vaughan‘s RUNAWAYS was, but they didn’t and it wasn’t. Well now Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, known separately for doing all sorts of really good stuff but known together as the team behind the brilliant and shamefully underloved PHONOGRAM are reuniting to make the Young Avengers count. There are a ton of great characters to fall in love with here and both of these guys excel at really good down to earth storytelling. And both Gillen and McKelvie are British indie rock dudes so hopefully they will throw in some references to The Arctic Monkeys or Caves or Chvrches or chip butty or stab vests or 56 Up or something else Americans don’t understand. I am excited to see a new young Marvel team act like a bunch of chavs. I hope someone calls Captain America a geezer. $5 says they throw in a reference to Ziggy Stardust before issue 6. That stuff is like their bible. If you want to go back to the store and buy copies of UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 & YOUNG AVENGERS #1 do so soon. Forbidden Planet are keeping some copies warm, but it’s cold out there. Hurry, hurry, super scurry! THE END. If you choose not to buy either of these books mosey on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

9. “Well it doesn’t seem like I have anything I can offer you. I tried to be nice. I tried to be helpful. I recommended cool new books. You seem uninterested. You seem like something is bothering you. Oh well. I hope you have a great life though.” With that your time with TRY SOMETHING NEW comes to an end. You can read on and find out if Unkie Dev still likes Hellboy a lot. You can go even further still and find out if that other guy still likes incomprehensible Japanese robot toys. But you won’t. Your ennui pushes you out the door. You need to walk. You wander for hours only to find yourself in a deserted part of town. Nearly deserted. You think you are being followed now but you can’t be sure. You duck into an alley to get away or maybe it’s just to clear your head. Why would someone be after you? You decide to stay in the alley just to catch your breath. You are safe. No one wants to hurt you. A misguided feeling of relief washes over. You decide to make the most of the alley and look into some people’s windows because, well, because you’re not a good person. As you look into a dingy studio apartment you catch a reflection in the window of a crazed, half starved man looming behind you. All at once three things enter your head. The first is “Was that tech wizard/escaped mental patient Tyler?” The second is “Was that a brick in his hand?” And the last thing to enter your head is the aforementioned brick. As you bleed to death in the backstreets of Anytown USA you finally understand that neither Tyler nor the universe ever cared about you. You realize that you wasted a great opportunity. You realize you should have TRIED SOMETHING NEW. THE END.

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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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The Weekly Pulse Special – Interview with Frank Barbiere of THE WHITE SUITS

Another special webcast! Dan’s got an exclusive interview with Frank Barbiere, writer of THE WHITE SUITS. He and artist Luke Radl will be in-store on April 18th to sign copies of DARK HORSE PRESENTS #11, where their story debuts!

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The Weekly Pulse – White Suits/Dark Horse Presents #11 Signing!

So much to cover today! Tons of number ones, including Secrets and Alabaster, not  to mention the anticipated Saga #2! But wait! we have a special guest today: writer Frank Barbiere, whose newest comic will be featured in the upcoming Dark Horse Presents #11! he’s got some picks of his own to share with you all, and he’s got the deets on the upcoming signing featuring him and artist Luke Radl!

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White Suits Lunchtime Signing

Wednesday, April 18th, come by Forbidden Planet NYC and catch writer Frank Barbiere and artist Luke Radl in-store, defacing copies of  Dark Horse Presents #11 with their signatures and sketches from 1pm – 2:30pm.

DHP #11 features the introduction of  their creation “The White Suits.”

Here’s a preview, and the publisher’s copy:

Meet the killers known as the White Suits, who have left their bloody fingerprints throughout modern history. When a young girl encounters one of the Suits during a mob deal gone wrong, she is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever-or end it!

There’s also an interview with them over at Comic Book Resources that goes into further detail.

And don’t forget… come on by the shop for a special Wednesday lunchtime signing.  April 18th, 1:00pm.   See ya then!

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The Clone Chores

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

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

GOOD FOR YOUR EYES


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

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

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

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Concrete is back baby!

Fact: Paul Chadwick’s Concrete is one of my favorite comics.

Fiction: Buying Dark Horse Presents #1 (which features an all new COLOR Concrete story) will make you as cool as me.

O.K. so it may not make you as cool as me, but it is packed from cover to cover with amazing comicy stuff by Richard Corben, Frank Miller, Harlan Ellison, Howard Chaykin, Neal Adams, and more.

Oh Lordy! Just buy it already…

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