Tagged: Darwyn Cooke

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

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

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

Bionic Man Vs Bionic Woman #1

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

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

Black Beetle #1 (of 4)

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

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

Harbinger (Ongoing) TP VOL 01 Omega Rising

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

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

One Trick Rip Off Deep Cuts HC

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

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

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Percent of a Watchman

Statistics is fun, let’s try some. 100% of you are reading this sentence….see how that works? 75% of those reading this sentence comprise 3/4ths of my readership. 12% are dying for a drop of 100 proof, which is to say 50% alcohol by volume, meaning that 12% want 50% percent while 88% could care two cents about the whole dang thing.

Now unless you’ve been living in the French Legionnaires for the past week you are aware via the internet (a series of tubes) that the Watchmen Prequel comic books have been green lit. We’ll soon have the adventures of Baby Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre from a variety of creators, none of whom are Dave Gibsons or Alan Moore.

There are only three aspects I want to focus on:

1) THE NUMBERS

This purely financial maneuver by DC, the comics company with the new, boring logo, may lead to some good books. With eight new titles, statistics make it hard for them all to be crap.

I’m very surprised that they had the wherewithal to re-team Brian Azzarello with Lee Bermejo from their fun graphic novel Joker onto a Rorschach book. Azzarello writes engaging crime comics full of losers, tough guys, and snappy banter…and he is the ONLY writer capable of making Rorschach, or his other title The Comedian, worth reading.

I’m THRILLED Adam Hughes will return to sequential art in Dr. Manhattan. I’m less than thrilled that J. M. Straczynski will be penning many of these new titles. Darwyn Cooke was the right guy for a Minutemen book…but let’s look at what they’ve done.

Get the team behind the grittiest crime comics to work on your gritty crime comic. Get the best post-modern, yet nostalgic, team book writer to write your nostalgic post-modern team book. Hire a big name to handle the rest and dole out art to whomever you can. I’m not saying go outside of your comfort zone, DC, I’m just asking you to show your cards a little less.

This is “Moneyball” for comics, a game DC has been playing for some time. They’ll have some hits, they’ll have some creative misses. They’ll make money…but will they burn bridges? Continue reading

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Watchmen 2: Watchpets

By Unkiedev

The internet, Comic Book’s hotter, younger brother, is flapping its gums all over the place about a reported (and only rumored) Watchmen prequel comic book series to be published at DC helmed by the steady hand of Darwyn Cooke.

There are as many questions to ask here as there are cyanide capsules in Adrian Veidt’s purple sports coat pocket…ya’ know, for tying up loose ends. CAN they do this, HOW will they do this, SHOULD they do this, and even HOW CAN they do this? What will Alan Moore say?

Don’t worry about Alan. Alan is comfortable, respected, wealthy, cynical, and will never, ever set his eyeballs on these pages. Worry about the guy in the hot seat here. Worry about Darwyn.

DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, Darwyn Cooke (W/A), DC

Darwyn Cooke is a great illustrator and writer who studied under Bruce Timm during the first Animated Batman show, though rose to prominence with his extremely readable graphic novel DC: The New Frontier. Set in post war America, New Frontier is essentially an Elseworld story to bridge the gap between the Golden and Silver age DC comic book worlds, though with more emphasis on drama, alienation, and historical context.

It looked great and it read great. DC ultimately loved it so much that they gave it the Absolute treatment: collecting it (as well as additional material) into a lovely, gigantic hard bound edition. DC then adapted it into the well received direct-to-DVD movie of the same name.

To say it stood on the shoulders of giants would be extremely kind. A more honest assesment would be to describe it as a pop culture mash-up of THE GOLDEN AGE; the dark but kick ass 1993 DC comic by James Robinson (W) and Paul Smith (A); and JLA: The Nail by Alan Davis. BOTH of these comics are SENSATIONAL, not to be missed comic books one should check out immediately! Continue reading

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SDCC: Eisner Award Winners 2010

The Eisner Awards were presented Friday evening in concurrence with Comic-Con International at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.  Onstage guests included the cast of the imminent Scott Pilgrim film, Thomas Jane, Ben Garant (Reno 911), voice actor Phil Lamarr (Futurama, Samurai Jack). The event was MC’d by Maurice LaMarche (“The Brain,” from Pinky & The Brain and notable veteran of many other cartoons).

There were also some real life comic creators there, presenting awards to their  peers, the likes of which included Chris Claremont, Milo Manara(!), James Robinson, Berkeley Breathed, Peter Bagge, James Sturm, and Jillian Tamaki.

The works below are linked to either the item on the FPNYC webstore or the winner’s homepage where applicable.

Best Short Story
“Urgent Request,” by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Captain America #601: “Red, White, and Blue-Blood,” by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)

Best Continuing Series
The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)

Best Limited Series or Story Arc
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Best New Series
Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)

Best Publication for Kids
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz hardcover, by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Beasts of Burden, winner Best Painter, Best Publication for Teens
Beasts of Burden, winner Best Painter, Best Publication for Teens

Best Publication for Teens
Beasts of Burden, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

Best Humor Publication
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)

Best Anthology
Popgun, Vol. 3, edited by Mark Andrew Smith, D. J. Kirkbride and Joe Keatinge (Image)

Best Digital Comic
Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart

DCD390415
A Drifting Life, winner Best Reality-Based Work, Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material (Asia)

Best Reality-Based Work
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Adaptation from Another Work
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW Publishing)

Best Graphic Album — New
Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)

Best Graphic Album — Reprint
Absolute Justice, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithewaite (DC Comics)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1, by Berkeley Breathed, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books
The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures deluxe edition, by Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The Photographer, by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material — Asia
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Writer
Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project (Marvel) Criminal, Incognito (Icon)

asterios_polyp
Asterios Polyp, winner Best Writer/Artist, Best Graphic Album, Best Lettering

Best Writer/Artist
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

Best Writer/Artist–Nonfiction
Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan/Holt)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden (Dark Horse); Magic Trixie and the Dragon (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Best Cover Artist
J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

Best Coloring
Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D., The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, Umbrella Academy, Zero Killer (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC Comics); Luna Park (Vertigo)

Best Lettering
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon

Best Comics-Related Book
The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)

Absoloute Justice, winner Best Graphic Album (reprint), Best Publication Design
Absoloute Justice, winner Best Graphic Album (reprint), Best Publication Design

Best Publication Design
Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC Comics)

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award
Vault of Midnight, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Hall of Fame
• Burne Hogarth
• Bob Montana
• Steve Gerber
• Dick Giordano
• Michael Kaluta
• Mort Weisinger

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award
Jeannie Schulz

Bill Finger Award for Achievement in Comic Book Writing
Otto Binder, Gary Friedrich

Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award
Marian Churchland (Beast)

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REVIEW: Richard Stark’s “The Hunter” adapted by Darwyn Cooke.

The Hunter cover by Darwyn Cooke
The Hunter cover by Darwyn Cooke

When this book was first announced at Comic Con International last summer I nearly flipped at this idea. When I got the book in my hands six weeks before the release I flipped again.

If you’re expecting the bright colors and sharp superhero designs that came along with Cooke’s “The New Frontier” and “The Spirit” than you’re going to be shocked because you’re not going to get it. This is so different from that.  It uses two colors (blue and white), has no dialogue for pages upon pages and is a tight 140-page hardcover with maybe three spread pages total.  This design sensibility is directly conducive to the story.

In “The Hunter”, we follow Parker, a gun for hire who has been double-crossed by his wife and partners.  Left for dead, Parker survives and stalks across the country in search of his share of a job and to kill the people who double-crossed him. The story is that simple and displays a cold 1962 New York City and its finite organized crime enterprises that Parker infiltrates with violence that would make Charlie Manson squirm.

The blue pages (similar to the design used by Fabio Moon in the Image Comics series “Casanova”) displays a cold feeling to the story, and the silent pages makes you focus on the tight panels used predominantly in the first section of the book.  By using these tight panel grid pages and no dialogue, Cooke is literally making you see 300 pages of narrative, without dialogue there to hold your hand,  packed into a 140 page hardcover graphic novel.

For those unfamiliar, Richard Stark was an alias of Donald Westlake considered to be one history’s very best mystery writers.  His most popular character, Parker, has been featured in films young and old, and now in graphic novel form.  The character has been personified by Mel Gibson in “Payback” and 1967’s “Point Blank” played by Lee Marvin.  However, this edition notes that the name of the character has never been allowed to be used in the film versions.  Westlake was nominated for an Academy Award for  his screenplay of “The Grifters”. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America named Westlake a Grand Master, the highest honor of that society.  Westlake passed away in late 2008 to many feeling the loss of who was counted as one of the best, if not the best, mystery writer of a generation.

Darwyn Cooke’s stellar adaptation of this book hits stands today, and is worth every one of  your pennies. It can be found on Forbidden Planet USA.com.

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