Tagged: David Aja

Chris’ Comics: The Top 4 (and a Hawkguy) Finale

At last, it’s time for my final article for the Daily Planet. Instead of reviews, I’m going to recommend 4 series to you (plus Hawkeye, because we all know that’s coming) that are some of my favorite comics. There’s a few “well duh” choices on the list, but hopefully someone will find a new favorite on this list, or at least think I have excellent tastes in comics.

DCD5297571) Batgirl: Year One (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Marcos Martin) The only way you can buy Batgirl: Year One these days is in a trade packaged with the also great Robin: Year One. But Batgirl: Year One is arguably my favorite story featuring my favorite DC character. It’s a nice re-imagining of her origin from pre New 52 times, from a writer who wrote a good portion of the best Babs Gordon stories in the 90s. Marcos Martin later blew up on books like Spider-Man and Dr. Strange: The Oath, but this is where the Martin hype train officially began. A gorgeous story that does wonders for one of the most iconic superheroes out there, Batgirl: Year One is the one DC story I can’t recommend enough.

DCD4061942) Phonogram: The Singles Club  (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson). While I absolutely adore this team’s work on The Wicked + The Divine and Young Avengers, P:TSC is my next pick, which was the first time Wilson joined Gillen and McKelvie on a creator owned joint. Set over the course of a single night, each issue in this trade tells a different story, focusing on a different character, and occasionally crossing over. My personal favorite of the various stories is the finale, a relatively silent story that focuses on Kid-With-a-Knife, one of the more simplistic but exciting characters in the series. While it’s technically the second part of the Phonogram trilogy, it’s by far the most accessible, and an excellent entry point for Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson’s indie work.

15958246263) The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan). I really wanted to throw a Grant Morrison penned story on this list, but honestly, there’s enough best of/recommendation lists out there featuring his work on All Star Superman, JLA, Doom Patrol, etc. Instead I’ve opted for a comic featuring a character played by Morrison in the My Chemical Romance music videos this comic series is based on/a sequel to. While being familiar with said music videos/album helps. Killjoys is good enough to enjoy on it’s own, thanks to Cloonan’s gorgeous art, and Way’s sensational and kinda out there scripts. While you can make an argument that both creators have stronger work on the market, this is a favorite of mine, and it’s definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of either creators.

07851983934) NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen) Also known as my favorite comic series before Hawkguy was a thing. Warren Ellis’ funniest book to date, in which his team of super hero pirates fight an evil corporation profiting from a war they’ve created. A cult favorite that’s influenced so many books, NEXTWAVE was at one point the weirdest but also one of the best looking books Marvel had ever published thanks to Stuart Immonen’s art. Assuming you haven’t read it, you should, unless you hate nuclear puppies, flesh eating koalas and dragons that wear shorts.

 

 

0785192190Hawkguy) Hawkeye (Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, Matt Hollingsworth, and various) And here it is, my obvious favorite that I’ve never shut up while writing for Forbidden Planet NYC. Hawkeye was a game changer for Marvel, and is easily the best for-hire work Fraction and Aja have done, possibly ever. The creative team makes walking dumpster fire Clint Barton one of the most relatable characters in comics, while making Hawkeye Kate Bishop a break out star. From the Pizza Dog issue to the Sandy relief issue, there’s some many amazing, genre defining comics that show that you can do big 2 comics with an indie comics sensibility. No comic series has affected as much as this book has, and there’s never going to be a time where I won’t recommend it.

And with that, I take my leave. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read my work, my fellow contributors, and the fine folk at Forbidden Planet for giving me a stage over these last years to talk about comics, and toys. I’ve had a blast, and if you care to see what I’m doing post Forbidden Planet, give me a follow on twitter (@theanarchris). Thanks for the memories FPNYC faithful!

 

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Chris’ Comics: Hawkeye #22

4677223-hawkeye2012022_dc11-0Hawkeye #22

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth/Chris Eliopoulos

Marvel, $4.99

::: Inspiring quote and or song lyrics tangentially related to Hawkeye’s ending goes here :::

 

RIGHT?!?! HOW RELEVANT IS THAT?

After various delays, 2014’s hottest comic has finally made it into my hands, with the 2015 hot Marvel price of $4.99. To be fair, it’s double sized, AND ALSO FANTASTIC. It’s also (probably) the last time I’ll be spending $5 on a Marvel comic anytime soon I imagine, but that’s a different rant for a different day.

4633438-h2David Aja, Matt Fraction, Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos’ final issue of Hawkeye sees all the key players reunited in Bed Stuy for the last time. It’s the freshly united Hawkeyes, Clint’s neighbors, and Lucky the Pizza Dog vs the Tracksuit Draculas and the Clown for a brutal, but never too graphic, final throw down. This issue is gorgeous, as David Aja goes to town on the visuals, incorporating so many cool nods to past issues without it being too overboard with the references. We get Aja showing off his full range of talents, making this one of the most impressive issues in the series on a technical level. Re-reading these pages invokes memories of modern awesome ultra-violent action flicks like John Wick, Nightcrawler and Drive, all while maintaining the originality and style Aja is known for. I cringed a few times reading this due to the cast taking some nasty hits, but Aja’s excellent framing and some great use of colors from Hollingsworth never made things too graphic. Eliopoulos’ masterful position of work balloons and font choices really ties the whole package together, as it moves the narrative along without interrupting the art. Marvel deserves a lot of credit for letting this team tell it’s story relatively uninterrupted, despite massive shipping delays. I imagine the collected version of this book are going to look amazing over the coming months.

4633437-h1Hawkeye #22 gives us a relatively quiet Matt Fraction. Oh sure, it’s difficult to tell who contributed what with this issue given both Fraction and Aja being listed as Storytellers instead of writer/artist. But it feels Fraction held back on some dialogue to let Aja go nuts on the action. Which is great, because at this point, exposition and banter would only take away from the experience. Hawkeye was always a low stakes book compared to the rest of the Marvel offerings, but thanks to the talent involved in this book, it feel like the most important thing. Fraction still manages to sneak if a few running gags/reoccurring narrative tricks into this script, but this ultimately feels more like David Aja’s show than Fractions. And another upside to this is that when someone speaks, it feels important. Clint drops 2 Die Hard-esque zingers that work way better thanks to Fraction dialogue restrictions, making less ultimately more.

Hawkeye #22 ends arguably one of the most important runs in comics in some time. This book redefined Marvel (see Marvel Now and it’s various incarnations), gave Matt Fraction’s career a well-deserved shot in the arm, and reminded everyone just how good of an artist David Aja is. It in brought people who usually didn’t read Marvel to the company, and gave people interested in comics thansk to the 2012 Avengers film the perfect entry way. It’s a damn fine comic, arguably my favorite, and I hate to see it over. But I’m glad to have an ending on a high note, and am eager for more content from Fraction and Aja and friends in the future.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Arrow’d

54c2825aaaa9dHawkeye #21

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

I wanted Marvel‘s Hawkeye ongoing back more than anything.  As good as Secret Avengers and Hawkeye vs Deadpool were, what Matt Fraction and David Aja ground breaking series has been doing with Clint Barton and comics in general is hard to replicate. So when the 21st issue of this series was solicited with a 100% guaranteed to ship date, I was excited. I thought I was ready to handle part one of what will be the end of the oft-delayed Fraction/Aja/Matt Hollingsworth run.

3 pages into this issue and those creators made a liar out of me. I was not ready. I was a hot mess of emotions by the time we got the the brutal 19th page of comic, and then I hit page 20 and nearly lost my composure at the shop. It would have been an messy bout of ugly crying, but one that was warranted given everything that goes down.

4360109-hawkeye2012021_int2-1Hawkeye #21 aka, Rio Bravo part 1, begins the battle of Bed Stuy. Clint, Barney and their neighbors battle the Tracksuit Draculas for their apartment building, something that was brewing since issue one. And while it doesn’t sound like the highest of stakes in a Marvel Comic, that doesn’t matter. Hell, if you remember that ol’ Hawkguy is Avenger, you may ask yourself why he just doesn’t call in Iron Man or Thor to help save the day. But that’s all part of the charm of the book. This is suppose to be showing what Hawkeye does on his days off, and bringing in such high-profile characters would do more damage to the book, despite being the more logical choice. Like Clint says, you gotta make your stuff work, and that means not calling in for help ( Luckily for Clint, not everyone believes in that).

4360108-hawkeye2012021_int2-0After 21 issues, what else is there to say about the team of Matt Fraction, David Aja (with assistance from  Raul Allen),  Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos, he types, realizing that’s super cliche of him to say. But it’s true, this team has banged out some amazing work over the course of 20 issues (with some help), and 21 is another fantastic issue. Fraction’s dialogue is so natural, making nods to past events and in-jokes from the series. He doesn’t go crazy with the dialogue with this issue, taking the back seat to the talents that are David Aja and Raul Allen. With Allen helping out with background, Aja is given more time to focus on cramming a year’s worth of art on 20 pages, each with an insane amount of panels with page. Combine that with Hollingsworth limiting his patent for dramatic effect (which works mind you), we get some fantastic art from creators on top of their game.

This team of artists have nothing to prove that this point, given how excellent this series has been.  They just need to end this story, which if word on the street is true, will be done by end of the month. Which means the chance of my being over emotionally in a comics shop this month is good. Hawkeye may have taken it’s sweet time wrapping up, but as it comes closer to the finishing line, it’s hard to sing it praises over the constant delays.

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Review: Hawkeye #19

HAWKEYE2012017_COVHawkeye #19

Matt Fraction/David Aja Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

WARNING: This review will continue spoilers for previous issues of Hawkeye, as well as this one. Read at your own risk.

So yeah, remember back in 2013 when Hawkeye #11 dropped and everyone one was like “WHELP, here’s an Eisner winner in 2014”? And then that happened? Replace #11 with #19 and the year 2015, because it’s going to happen again.

10527365_10100404509314752_8992801137704805022_n-300x160The last time we saw Clint Barton and his brother Barney(back in like…March? Possibly April, it’s been awhile), they were shot up pretty bad by an assassin. This issue is the fallout of said shooting, and we find that Barney can’t walk and Clint’s deaf. The deaf thing (apologies if that’s offensive by the way, I not exactly sure what the correct terminology is to be honest)  by the way is a nice reference to the character’s history, something older fans would know and newer fans are brought up to speed with via flashback early in the issue. This leads to most of the interactions between Clint and Barney being done through sign language, something not seen in a lot of comics, but makes for some rather interesting results given how comics is kinda a visual heavy medium.  Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth being the creative tour de force they are, consulted with specialist Rachel Coleman and Dr. Larry Thomas to ensure that the signing was correct, which leads to David Aja drawing a lot of signing charts. This sort of dedication to detail is why Aja and Fraction win Eisners people.

It’s also not the first time we’ve seen the team experiment with language in comics. There’s the Tracksuit’s “Bro”-usage, and the award winning Pizza Dog issue, in which the story is told via a Dog’s POV. It’s interesting that Hawkeye of all books is the comic experimenting with language in comics.

 

Hawkeye #19 Page 2Aja’s art is stunning. The way the characters “act” and their body language comes across so genuine and real. The guilt and pain Clint carries in the early part of this issue is clearly expressed on his face, as is the anger Barney shows towards his brother stubbornness. Aja even goes as far as to letter some of his own art, and is so skilled at it I couldn’t tell what he contributed and what series regular letterer Chris Eliopoulos did. It’s damn good, and the end result made the delays for this book well worth the dollar increase in price.

As for the story, it’s the typical act 3 of any Western/Action movie you’ve seen. The hero (Clint) is at a lost, buried in guilt and defeat, despite having plenty of people to turn to for help. Hawkguy’s stubbornness has been a theme for most of this book, and it plays off of the plot of issue 17’s Christmas special. And much like that issue, Clint gets some sense knocked into him (literally) and he gets his stuff together, rallies the troops and goes on the offensive. It may be a bit cliche, but Fraction and Aja handle it so well, you can’t help but find yourself pumped up by the end of the issue.

imagesAnd that’s what ultimately makes Hawkeye as good as it is. The Matts and David make you emotionally invested in these characters, so that when they actually get a win, there’s a genuinely sense of happiness the reader gets from the book. It’s an incredible feeling, and speaks a lot about the talent the creative team posses .

Hawkeye seems to be coming to in a end in a few issues, and I’ll be sad to see it go. Aside from it being my favorite comic from one of my favorite creative teams working in comics today, it’s book I can always rely on to being nothing short of amazing. I’ll be sad to see it go, but excite to see how everything wraps up over the upcoming months.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toy, but with Comics: So much Marvel (Belated edition)

Without going into details, life happened. Here’s some reviews:

300px-Secret_Avengers_Vol_3_1Secret Avengers #1

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matt Wilson

Marvel, $3.99

Real talk, I had trouble choosing between covers. Tradd Moore’s was awesome, but Katie Cook’s Avengers Ducks was the cutest thing to ever cute, and it had a M.O.D.O.Duck! I would gladly spend $4 a month reading about Secret Avenger Ducks, please take note Marvel.

I picked this book up for 2 reasons. The first one being my wife REALLY like Spider-Woman, and this appears to be the book to read about J-Drew  with Avengers Assemble wrapping up this month. The 2nd being when the preview pages dropped, this incarnation of the book looked VERY much influenced by the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye book, a title we all know I love.

In the letters section, writer Ales Clot says this is “Michael Bay directs an episode of Breaking Bad as it meets Arrested Development. and it’s full of spies and super heroes.”. And it literally is, (I guess makes it Agents of SHIELD meet Archer), as 4 different stories are interwoven into one narrative. And it works. It’s a fun, slighty-violent read illustrated wonderfully by Michael Walsh. Walsh reminds me a lot of David Aja & Michael Lark (Daredevil, Gotham Central), and is a perfect fit for this title.

I was really excited for this book to drop, and after reading it, I’m happy to say it surpassed my expectations. Fans of Agents of SHIELD, Hawkeye, Avengers Assemble and the new Black Widow series need to get on this title sooner rather than later.

hawkeye17cvrHawkeye #17

Matt Fraction, Chris Eliopoulous, David Aja, Jordie Bellaire

Marvel $2.99

After the crazy cliffhanger dropped in issue 15, the belated issue 17 (let’s not forget 16 shipped before 15!) is an holiday issue. In March. I’d complain, but  Chris Eliopoulous, the series letter, steps up on art duties to tell the tale (OR SHOULD I SAY..TAIL? HM HM HMMM!) of the Winter Friends. And you know what? Like every issue it’s fantastic. Eliopoulous is a amazing artist, and this fun little story has get twist to it, so who cares if it’s Christmas in March right? Also holy crap, look at that cover, it is sweet, also tight. Again, you should be reading this book, and if you’re not, it’s your lose. Also I’m judging you. More so than usual.

Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_TextlessCaptain Marvel #1

Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, Lee Loughridge

Marvel, $3.99

Don’t call it a comeback. No seriously, we’ve only been Captain Marvel less since November, and she’s been in a number of Avenger titles since then. It wasn’t that painful y’all.

But the 2nd volume of Captain Marvel makes an impressive debut. By now, no one’s questioning Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ability to craft a great story with Carol Danvers. She’s arguably the best thing to happen to the character since Chris Claremont brushed her off from some questionable decisions back in the 80s.

David Lopez however, is the Captain Marvel artist we deserve. While there was some serious talent involved in volume 1, the final page of this issue is some next level stuff It’s a great looking book, and sets up the new status quo for Cap Marvel quite nicely. It’s a good jumping on point for new readers, and it justifies a new #1 for returning readers. Between this and the newly launched Ms. Marvel , it’s refreshing to see some great female writers produce fantastic comics, and that Marvel is recognizing that there’s an audience for these stories.

portrait_incredibleSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #9

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $2.99

This is the issues where Boomerang and the Shocker both scheme and attempt to improve their lives. But these guys are super villains, so things do not go according to plan If that’s not worth  your $3, I have no idea what to tell you. Marvel’s best book you’re probably not reading continues to be the best book you’re probably not reading, and I really wish you were. There’s some genuine moments of badassery never seen before in this book, as well as some really strong comedy stuff with amazing timing. This team is so in synch it’s not even funny, only okay, the book is hilarious, never mind that.  The first volume is out in trade, so get on it, get caught up, and buy this comic. Unless you hate good comics. If so, let me tell you what’s going on in “Forever Evil“….

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Shots fired

A few days ago, Image Publisher Eric Stephens more or less called out the greater comics publisher community for reasons I don’t and do agree with. Said speech went down at retailer’s meeting ComicsPRO, and the full details can be seen here.

I agree with Stephens that $5-$8 comics are not the future of the industry. Put those comments regarding licensed books is kind of dickish, especially with the quality of the KaBOOM Cartoon Network books. It’s definitely worth a read though, and again, while I don’t agree with everything Stephens says, he does raise a lot of good points.

QUICK PICKS!

Furious #2

Mind MGMT #19

Tomb Raider #1

Aquaman #28

Lois Lane #1

Wake #6


Black Science #4

Chew #4

Deadly Class #2

Rat Queens #6

Walking Dead #122

Deadpool #24

Mighty Avengers #7

Thunderbolts #22

Uncanny Avengers #17

Wolverine and the X-Men #42

REVIEWS!

 

aa26Avengers Assemble #24

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Warren Ellis/ Matteo Buffangi/ Ruth Redmond

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Matteo Buffangi I want to love you, but you gotta stop drawing Hawkeye with those James Worthy-esque goggles. Or start drawing him riding a snowboard every time he’s on panel. (( Call me Marvel, I have ideas! ))

My nitpicking aside, it’s another fun issue of Spider-Girl teams up with an Avengers. Having Warren Ellis and Kelly Sue Deconnick writing Iron Man is the closest we’ve seen a Robert Downey Jr-esque Iron Man on page for awhile, which I imagine is what a LOT of people want when it comes from the character. And him teaming with Spider-Girl is a fun  follow up to the previous’ issue Wolverine team up. It’s a fun, bright and good looking (sans Hawkgoggles) Avengers book that ramps things up for the book’s end next issue. I’m going to be sad to see it go, as the Ellis/KSD/Buffangi/Redmond team have turned AA into extremely satisfying must-read every month.

JUL130649_mHawkeye #15

Matt Fraction/ David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth/Chris Elliopoulous

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Oh god everything hurts and nothing will be okay ever again.

It’s been entirely way too long since we’ve seen the Matt Fraction/ David Aja team on Hawkeye. So while I’m glad to see them back, the ending of this book has me cureled up in a corner weeping. And it’s not a quality thing. Oh no, far from it.

Why I complained about the delays in the book, it’s easy to see why it takes a little longer to come out, and the end result is worth it. The majority of the pages are crammed with perfectly crafted art, enhanced with Matt Hollingsworth’s colors and Chris Ellipoulos‘ word balloons. There’s even so great used of the white between panels. This book works even without Fraction delightful dialogue, and you can easily follow the story without paying attention to the dialogue.

Also, much like Fuse #1, the cover in so well designed and clever that you’ll appreciate it much more once you read the issue.

It’s a brutal issue of Hawkguy, as the brothers Barton learn what the say about good intentions. And the cliffhanger comes with a price , because I don’t think we’re getting any more of Clint’s story until May at the earliest. So yeah, brb, running into the ocean.

gargal2013012dc11jpg-9dbc3f_960wGuardians of the Galaxy #12

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Picehlli/Stuart Immonen/ Wade Grawadger/Justin Ponsor

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Once again, I find myself torn with this crossover. Bendis’ dialogue is not at it’s best, and why there’s some solid pieces here and there, overall it’s fairly average. But visually. Damn, just damn

Sara Pichelli delivers when it comes to several highly emotional scene in this issue. It’s a dialogue heavy issue, with a few powerful moments that Pichelli draws beautifully. Justin Ponsor‘s color definitely deliver, especially when the book shifts from deep space to the Shi’iar home planet.

And while Pichelli not being able to draw the entire book irks me a tad, having Stuart Immonen pitch in is more than fine. He and Von Grawbadger are handling the art for the X-Men side of things anyway, so it works, especially given how talented they are.

These crossover is getting better, so hopefully the last 2 chapters deliver. Bendis has two amazing art team working with him, so hopefully his scripts will perform as well as Sara and Stuart are.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics Best of 2013 List Part 2

In retrospect, a short title would have been nice. Also happy New Year!

Welcome back to me coasting for cash-money. As I said last time, this is the “Matt Fraction Power Hour” portion of the list. Fraction created some amazing comics this past year, which anyone who’s been reading this blog on the regular is well aware of . So here’s 2 of my favorites, which I imagine come to the surprise of no one.

sex-criminals1-fourth-printing3) Sex Criminals

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

Yes, that is the 4th printing cover for Sex Criminals #1, thanks for asking, it’s available 1/8/2013.

Sex Criminals is the best book I never knew I wanted. A surprisingly touching sex-comedy, Fraction and cartoonist/Applebee’s enthusiast Chip Zdarsky have created something special in the span of 3 issues.

I can’t recall the last time we’d had a tasteful (well at some points) look at sex from the female perspective in comics, if at all.  Which is exactly what the first issue does with it’s lead Suzie. It starts off on a tragic foot, followed by some dark comedy shortly after. It’s easily the strongest debut issue of the year, and gives Fraction the chances to stretch some creative muscles he can’t over at Marvel for obvious content-related reasons. Issue #2 deals with the male lead learning to deal with his own sexuality, which isn’t so touching as it is hilarious.

fa71823a0950587e07ebbe33656c6097And then there’s Chip Zdarsky. Given the content on his twitter feed and tumblr, it’s hard to see where Fraction’s madness begins and Zdarsky’s begins, but Matt could not have a better artist attached to this title. Chip’s art is beautiful to look at, and crammed with a ton of hilarious visual jokes. At times there seems to be some sort of competition going in with him and Fraction as to who can do the grossest thing with this book, and the winners are the fan in the end. Unless you’re offended by porn shop humor. Which if so, stay away.

And speaking of fans, the Sex Criminals letter pages of all things are an absolute delightful to read. Matt and Chip are surprisingly candid about discussing their sex lives, as are their readers. A tad perverted yes, but hey this book is called Sex Criminals, what did you expect? Same goes for the intro recap pages, which are just walls of text.

Despite it’s mature content and only having 3 issues out, Sex Criminals was already named Time Magazine’s comic of the year, and topped several other well known publication best of list. And well deserving mind you, because if there’s one book that’s going to top Hawkeye or Saga as the IT book of 2014, it’s going to be Sex Criminals. Which now gives me a lazy segway into book #2….

 

172778002) Hawkeye

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Annie Wu and others (Marvel)

Don’t call it a comeback. Hawkguy’s been here for a year, rocking his peers….and that’s all I got.

I could easily sum up the decision with the words “The Pizza Dog issue” and chances are most comic book readers would understand that reasoning. While Sex Criminals may have the best debut issue of the year, Hawkeye #11 is easily the best single issue of the year for a number of reasons, both on technical and emotional levels. Insert the David Aja/Chris Ware comparison here.

2974126-hawkeye+009-019And obviously this series is not a one trick pony. Scheduling issues aside (the title was delayed a number of times this year sadly), this book has been flawless, even with Aja needing some help on the penciling side of things. But when you have Annie Wu drawing the Kate Bishop side of things, and guys like Francesco Francavilla stepping in to draw and issue or 2, things are more than okay.

And let’s not forget what the creative team behind the Hurricane Sandy issue managed to accomplish in a matter of weeks.

Name dropping talent aside, it’s important to focus what Fraction and friends have accomplished with this character in barley over a year. Using the hype from last year’s Avengers movie, they’ve turn Clint into a complex character, one who’s heavily flawed despite his best intentions. The stakes are low and personal in Hawkeye, and it’s barely tied into the proper Marvel Universe, outside of the occasional Avengers cast member cameo. We also have Kate Bishop, West Coast Avenger, dealing with her own baggage, and the potential for some amazing stories, and the addition of Clint’s brother Barney to the cast. Editor Stephen Wacker is allowing the team to tell small personal stories in a world of Marvels, and the end results of fantastic.

 

 

So there you have it, 600 words of Matt Fraction flatterly. Which means next time we’ll see #1 right? Right? I think that’s how counting works.

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I have bought some comi-SHUT UP HAWKEYE’S BACK!

This is where my usually hilarious intro paragraph goes, but I don’t got the time for that today. Hawk-talk time is now!

 

HAWKEYE2012013_COVHawkeye #13

Matt Fraction/ David Aja

Marvel Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

David $%$#ing Aja y’all.

As someone who’s given up drawing some time ago, I can only imagine the frustration that results in reading this issue/series if you want to draw comics for a living. David Aja, who’s almost reinvented himself for this book, returns after a brief hiatus, and shows us why this title won an Eisner and a Harvey for art in the same year. Using 9 panel pages (his idea, as I’ve asked  him as such  on the Twitter), Aja and Fraction finally reveal what Clint Barton’s been up to after the events in issue 9, filling in some the blanks and raising new questions. There’s some emotional stuff going down, as Clint’s life seems to be falling apart around him, due to the choices (both good and bad) that’s he’s made throughout the series.

Matt Fraction also does his share of heavy lifting in a relatively action free issue. His dialogue is pitch perfect, as you can tell his Hawkguy is obviously going through a rough patch, and Clint knows things aren’t going to get better anytime soon. Fraction’s Hawkeye is a very human one, despite rolling with the Avengers and 2 of his super powered exes showing up. Hawkguy’s little corner of the Marvel Universe is very dark right now, and it’s fascinating to see how Clint is going to get himself back on his feet. Marvel’s best book not-named Daredevil continues to amaze, and I cannot stress how great of a read it is.

 

a_x_13_cover_by_davidyardin-d6d1pajA+X #13

Gerry Duggan/David Yardin & Howard Chaykin

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Once again I’m talking about A+X and once again Cyclops is featured in the title. Look I bought other issues without Cyclops in them. Like 5 of them. So I’m only semi-bias. #prspin

A+X #13 is a weird read, and I mean that in a good way. Instead of there being 2 done in one stories, we get a done in one by the legendary Howard Chaykin, and then the first chapter of a 6 part story by Duggan and Yardin. Duggan’s tale revolves around a really obscure early 2000s Alan Davis (or Claremont. I forget) X-storyline involving Skrulls, and is injected with the humor he’s known for from his current run on Deadpool. He doesn’t shy away from the fact that Cyclops and Cap still hate each other, so if you want to see a story where Cyclops attacks Captain America with a frying pan, this is the book. David Yardin handles the art duties, and it’s not the best drawn book out there, but it’s solid. It’s very Neal Adams’ influenced, and his Cyclops is actually really solid, so I imagine with only improves over time. The 2 enemies forced to work together story is nothing new, but it can be fun when used right. Hopefully this will be one of those stories, because the 1st chapter implies that it has the right tools to be.

The Emma Frost/ Black Widow Chaykin B-story is a little bit risque, and actually super funny at times. It’s weird seeing Chaykin’s art in color after reading Satellite Sam, but Edgar Delgado does some really interesting stuff with it, and I dig it, particularly when it comes to the coloring of Emma and Widow’s lips. Which sounds weird I know, but it really stands outs to me. It’s not an incredibly deep read, but it’s fun, which is all I ask for. Your mileage may vary with this book, but as someone who like the majority if the characters and creators involved, I liked it.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_13Uncanny X-men #13

Brian Michael Bendis & Chris Bachalo

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

There is a plethora of X-man on X-man violence in this book, and I am okay with this. It means Chris Bachalo can flex some creative muscles and go H.A.M. with the fight scenes, and he does. Big Swords, mutant powers and falling Deadpools make for a great throwdown, and the half-dozen inkers assigned to Bachalo work much better this time around. He’s probably one of the best “Widescreen” artists working in comics now, as his fights scenes are kinetic as hell, especially with Magik in particular.

That’s not to say that Bendis doesn’t contribute anything, because he does, as the last few pages unofficially tie-in both into Age of Ultron and this week’s Superior Spider-Man quite nicely. It leads to a nice little twist, which explains/spoils some stuff that’s been solicited as of late. I’m also really digging of the unexplained “History” related to the future X-men, which will hopefully be delve into more sometime down the line, because these little teases are KILLING me. And once again Bendis and Bachalo end the book with a final page that is beyond badass. Battle of the Atom continues to be everything I love about the X-men crammed into a super fun event.

And that wraps us this Marvel heavy week. Next time, I hope you like creator owned books, because I’m tired of yelling at y’all to support them. That and hell of  a pair debut on Wednesday.

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I have bought some comics, and some of them have won awards!

San Diego Comic Con is going down, and I am not there, but in hot-ass Brooklyn instead. Part of me is jealous of the dozen or so people I know who are in attendance, but then I realize it would cost me at least a grand for a hotel, flight and badge. Also Twitter enables me to follow the big announcements, sans the 30 second previews or what have you attached to them, so there’s that. It is a collection of mix feelings that happens annually, which I’ve yet to get over.

Oh look  Avengers: Age of Ultron is the sequel to the Avengers film. Huh, I guess Thanos is Act 3? :: shrugs ::

Anywho, the Eisners went down on Friday night, and several ( well, more like 4) books I pull took home awards. David Aja, artist on Hawkeye, took was awarded 2 of the industries’ highest achievements, AND HEY , LOOK, VOLUME 2 OF HAWKEYE IS AVAILABLE TO BUY, HOW WEIRD IS THAT TIMING?!

::: Puts on his king of the segues crown :::

Volume 2, in a word,  is amazing. Aside from the fantastic Pizza Dog issue, it also collects 2 of my favorite single issues, #6 (The Christmas issue) and #7 (the Hurricane Sandy issue). This trade is also BRUTAL, as the party is over for ol’ Hawkguy, as his actions from Volume 1 begin to catch up to him, and things are a lot worst for Clint by the time the trade ends. Matt Fraction continues to weave a wonderful narrative, and the always amazing David Aja is joined by talented artists like Annie Wu, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm and Francesco Francavilla. I think we’re all aware how much I like this book, and encase we’re not, there’s an annual dropping next week that I will definitely talk about in great detail.

Moving onto more recent single issue releases, Adventure Time #18 dropped this past week, and is another book that took home an Eisner. With good reason mind you, it’s easily the best all ages book on the market, with Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb all doing an excellent job capturing the feel and the look of the show. This issue is one of the densest issues to date, and fair warning, there’s a lot of callbacks to the newer episodes in the series. So if you’re not caught-up, you may be a little lost. It also ends on a hell of a cliffhanger, one that is equal parts disgusting, horrifying and a even little funny if you’re a sociopath like me. The back up by Rachel Edidin and Kel McDonald is also a delight, with McDonald’s art giving the AT cast a unique look, and Edidin’s story ends on amusing twist. Adventure Time remains a great, funny book, and is one of the few books I don’t mind pay $4 for.

Speaking of $4 books :: points to crown :: both Avengers Assemble #17 and All New X-men #14 have dropped, and these are both books that live and die by their artists. The AA/Captain Marvel crossover “The Enemy Within” is now almost over, and the AA chapters are easily the weakest, thanks to some unsatisfying art by Matteo Buffangi and Pepe Larraz. Which is a shame, because Kelly Sue Deconnick’s script is fine, and there’s a ton of stuff that goes down this issue. But it’s ultimately ruined by some less than stellar pencils, which is a shame, because we’ve seen how much a KSD script can shine with the right creator with the earlier issues of this run, not to mention Captain Marvel. Hopefully the whole thing will read better collectively, but if not, at least I have Barry Kitson to look forward to in the near future. Kelly Sue deserves better honestly, given how well she handles these characters, ranging from the A-listers to some more obscure guest stars. respecting their proper “voices” and making it a fun engaging read. Hopefully someone at Marvel will recognize that sooner that later.

Meanwhile, Stuart Immonen is INCREDIBLE over in All New X, as a mostly fight issue wraps up the 2nd chapter of this book. I know it’s not fair to compare this book to AA, especially when Brian Michael Bendis and Immonen work so well together, but it’s hard to ignore the difference in quality between the 2 books. All New X-men blends the required action and drama the franchise is known so well with Bendis’ great sense of comedic timing, and the final result is wonderful. Hell, even the Uncanny Avengers come off a light more delightful here than their own book. While Bendis’ Uncanny has been hit or miss at times, All New is probably the biggest surprise for me out of Marvel Now in terms of personal enjoyment.

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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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Hawkeye Volume 1 Review: A Guy, a girl and a pizza dog

Hawkeye : My Life as a Weapon

Written by: Matt Fraction

Art by: David Aja, Javier Pulido, Alan Davis

Collects Hawkeye (2012) 1-5, Young Avengers Presents 6

Published by: Marvel Comics, retail price $16.99

A great creative team can get me to read any book on the stand, despite what characters are involved. Case in point, I could have not given any less of a damn about the Young Avengers in the past, but then Marvel NOW tossed Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie on the title, and I haven’t missed an issue yet. Having a creative team you like work on a character you love however, is one of the best things you can ask for as a comics fan, and I’m a pretty big Hawkeye fan.

While the last time Fraction/Aja worked together on a book ( Immortal Iron Fist) was fantastic, both contributor’s have stepped up their game for the Marvel on-going “Hawkeye” series, which the first collected edition just dropped. The premise is simple: What does the most human Avenger do during his  time off? Obviously get into a ton of trouble, because this is a comic book, and violence & drama sell. Clint ends up trading blows with his Landlord and his Bros (Bros), an evil version of Cirque De Soleil and eventually, a collection of Marvel’s nastiest gangsters, spies, and thugs for a mission of sorts for S.H.I.E.L.D.. Barton also has to deal with himself, and the series of poor life choices he makes. And when he’s not, he’s usually hanging around his neighbors in Brooklyn, allowing Fractions and friend to do some nice character building.

There’s also a dog who eats pizza named Lucky, that both I and Tumblr are very fond of.

And even though the book is called “Hawkeye”, Clint’s not the sole start of the title. Kate Bishop, also Hawkeye, is the straight man to Clint, despite being 11-12 years younger than him. Fraction does a great job making her a polar opposite to Clint, but every so often will drop a reminder that she’s 18, and all the baggage that goes with that age. Also props  to the artists’ attached to the collection that do a fine job of drawing her at her proper age, and even giving her a cool new redesign. She’s a much of a main character as Clint is, only not as much of a mess. And if you’re not familiar with Kate was a character (a shame, Young Avengers volume 3 is great), Marvel did a solid and included a Fraction penned-one shot where both Hawkguys meet for the first time.

I’ve praised the writing a lot so far, but David Aja and Javier Pulido deserve a ton of props for the art in this book. Like Chris Samsee on Daredevil (also edited by Steve Whacker!), this book has a very European art book vibe to it, which works even as a street level Marvel title. Both artists do some amazing work, and 12-13 panels per page is something not uncommon in the series. The art does the script justice and it shows what kind of magic results from creators bringing their A game to a title .

I’ve given Hawkeye a ton of praise on this site before, and it’s deserved. And I’m not the only one. The book has gone through several reprintings for each issues, and it’s up for a number of Eisner’s this year. For $17, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be reading this book right now.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 14: Pursued By The Empire’s Sinister Agents!

Hey lucky readers, I am back from the great state of Seattle in time to phone it in from my apartment. And what a phoning it in this will be. Last week’s column was brutal because I was jetlagged, sleep deprived, and over-comic’d (It’s a real thing. Look it up. Happened to millions of people in the mid-90’s.) This weeks column will be brutal because I am not a great writer and have been coasting on my mediocre sense of humor far too long. One important thing of note; dozens of readers wrote to ask why I didn’t mention Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Razor Enthusiast, Tyler, last week. Sally from Barrie, Ontario asked if it was because I was in Seattle and he was “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s a good guess Sally, but no. When I travel I always carry a picture of Tyler in a heart shaped locket I wear around my neck at all times. He is never out of sight or mind. Tragically the reason I didn’t mention Tyler is much more dark and sinister. Tyler is on a journey now and I don’t think I have the strength to save him. Poor Tyler. Anyway folks, let’s find out what is happening in comics, shall we?

http://www.fpusadailyplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Maximum-Ghosts-Matt-D-Edition-1.jpg

Managed to get an advanced copy of FIVE GHOSTS last week. Issue #1 makes it an easy frontrunner for book of the year. Chris Mooneyham’s art is stunning, Franke Barbiere’s writing never misses a beat. This is a full tilt pulp adventure like comics hasn’t seen in a long time. Think Indiana Jones meets League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I almost guarantee this book will be a huge hit and fan favorite for the year, the buzz is crazy and the book surpasses it. Unfortunately for you all the book isn’t out this week but fortunately for you all it comes out very soon. Not just that but Forbidden Planet is hosting a signing for the book on IMAGE COMICS PREMIERE NIGHT, Wednesday, March 20th. Bob Fingerman will also be there signing his brilliant new collection, MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE. And there will be awesome special guests. And maybe a cake or something. Probably not. But great comics should make it worth your time. Mark your calenders and set aside some dollars. Not all of them though because you need to buy some books this week too.

BUDDY COPS #1 is actually out this week. Doc Shaner may be the next superstar artist in comics. He has a smart take on the updated retro style of current superstars like David Aja and Chris Samnee. In short, he draws really pretty. Nate Cosby used to edit for Marvel where he focused on the good but under loved all ages books. He has since moved on to doing fun books like Cow Boy and Pigs. Buddy Cops is like Axe Cop if you want to read absurd cops stories but instead of being written by children it is written by childish men. There is a character named Uranus. Either you find that funny or you should buy something else. I like Uranus.

BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL vol 26. My bet is that most of you don’t read manga. That’s cool. I was dumb once too. Here’s the thing, don’t dismiss the cultural output of an entire nation, especially when the nation loves comics as much as Japan does. And especially especially when they make such good comics. Blade Of The Immortal is one of the craziest and most badass things humans have ever made. A shamed samurai cursed with immortality must kill 1,000 evil men in order to be allowed to age and die. Awesome, right? Well volume 26 is probably not the one I would start with, but that’s the one that’s out this week. Go read volume 1 and see if you like it. If you like reading about dudes getting dismembered, bloodworms, and really detailed portraits of feudal Japan as much as I do then you should love it. Come for the bloodworms, stay for the guilt.

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi make awesome comics like Hellboy, BPRD, and Lobster Johnson. (Fun Fact: John Arcudi used to work at Forbidden Planet. The store probably still owes him like 2000 hours of overtime from like 25 years ago. Good luck getting that John, we’re pulling for ya.) Every book Mignola and Arcudi have worked on has been, at worst, well worth your time. When these guys are off they are still better than 99% of the field. (Fun Fact: I met Mike Mignola recently and acted like a big idiot. He was pretty cool though. Firm handshake.) Now they have teamed up with the great Jason Latour to introduce SLEDGEHAMMER 44. A man in a giant metal suits who fights nazis. That’s pretty much all you should need to know. (Fun Fact: umm… I don’t have any fun Jason Latour facts. umm… Latour is French for “The Tour.” Useful info.)

I feel like a moron telling you to read HAWKEYE Vol. 1: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON. It’s one of the best books Marvel has done in years. Beautiful, funny, exciting, and innovative. It is David Aja and Matt Fraction doing the work of their respective careers. HAWKEYE is a line in the sand. You can either buy it or be the reason we don’t get to have nice things.

I remember reading Ben Katchor‘s brilliant JULIUS KNIPL strips that ran in The New York Press in the early ’90s I think. I bet you thought I was much younger than that, huh? I just write with childlike whimsy and grammar. Always bizarre, his oddly compelling characters made it less of a favorite read and more of a compulsion. Mr. Katchor always puts forward interesting and thought provoking work. HAND-DRYING IN AMERICA is his latest, a meditation on place, property, and possessions. His insights and wit offset the pervasive feeling of wrongness that he illuminates so eerily well. This is a book for those who notice they feel out of place or out of touch with their world.

Maybe the best book you aren’t reading this year is THE END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN by Rem Broo, Jim Festante, and James Asmus. The perfect mix of Chew‘s dark humor and Preacher‘s tongue in cheek religious and cultural satire, TETOB&B is both clever social commentary and laugh out loud absurdity. TETOB&B #3 comes out this week (with a brilliant cover by Juan Doe), but you should be able to track down issues 1 & 2 pretty easily. Image puts out a lot of new books every months, but few have the heart and personality of this one.

That about does it for me. I’m going to go listen to Lungfish and read BULLETPROOF COFFIN until I pass out. Make sure to come to the FP/IMAGE party next Wednesday and wear something nice. Maybe bring cupcakes. I am sure we will forget.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 8: During The Battle…

Greetings from Ice Station Zebra. For all you people out there who check the spines of your comics to make sure they don’t have creases or whatever it is you are looking for please note that Forbidden Planet is now refrigerated to ensure that your books stay extra fresh. No more rotten book smell! Anyway, about my column this week; I don’t know how many of you have peaked early in life but it is a terrible feeling. I’m pretty sure that last week’s column is as good as this column is ever going to get. I don’t know if you saw it but it was pretty great. There was a whole Choose Your Own Adventure type thing and I made lots of jokes about killing you. I don’t think I can top it and I am coming to terms with that. This is my Godfather III. I am just going through the motions here. But there is a ray of hope in this trainwreck of a column.

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!

Well, that’s not necessarily true. Wednesday January 30th is my birthday. If you are reading this on another day then today is not, in fact, my birthday. But if you are reading this on Wednesday then HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Feel free to order yourself a piece of cake at dinner, sing me a song, and then eat it (the cake, not the song). So while I clearly have nothing to talk about in this column I thought, “I have done enough for my readers so far. Maybe too much. It’s time they do something for me.” So that is the theme of this week’s column. Stuff you can get me. A birthday wish list. Just so you know what you are up against, Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Actual Wizard Tyler got me a self portrait he painted. It’s 10’x10′, based on Botticelli’s “The Birth Of Venus”, and creepy as hell. I am hanging it above my bed so I remember to never sleep. But you should feel free to get me stuff that isn’t nightmare stuff.

MY BIRTHDAY WISH LIST:

For starters I always like cash. Any amount is fine, but if it’s under $10 it’s kind of rude. Feel free to stop by Forbidden Planet and leave cash with any of the register jockeys for me. There is a 50/50 shot I will get it. They aren’t the most trustworthy lot. I would also take Forbidden Planet gift cards. That isn’t going to pay my rent or buy me chocolate milk but it doesn’t hurt. RIYL: Capitalism. Buying stuff. Goods and services.

Global Frequency TP

You know what you could get me? GLOBAL FREQUENCY. Warren Ellis & a team of great artists come together to do single issue standalone sci-fi spy stories. A 21st century reimagining of stuff like Bond or Mission: Impossible, these stories focus more on fast paced and sometimes socially conscious thriller than they do on things like character. Originally released by Wildstorm in 2004, this book is finally back in print now. Ellis is a comic writing genius, but if you have never read his stuff this isn’t where I would start. Luckily for us, I already read Transmetropolitan, The Authority, & Nextwave so feel free to buy me this. RIYL: Queen & Country, Channel Zero, or 80’s and 90’s Bond films.

Hawkeye #7

I don’t think I would be causing much controversy among those paying attention if I pointed out that Matt Fraction & David Aja‘s HAWKEYE is the best book at Marvel right now. Sure Thor, and All New X-Men, and Punisher War Zone, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Daredevil are all putting up a good fight, but it’s sort of hopeless. Hawkguy feels fresh and relevant, smart and fun in a way that most comics don’t begin to approach. It is style AND substance. I hope every single person at Marvel (and DC) is noticing the bar is being raised each month. Issue #7 gives it an extra nudge. With 2 short stories about a massive hurricane hitting the Northeast, Hawkeye #7 manages to be topical while still being a book about everybody’s 6th favorite Avenger. On top of all this, Mr. Fraction is donating his salary from this issue to hurricane Sandy relief efforts. If you don’t know how comics tend to work, his salary is based on royalties from sales. Meaning that each issue you buy helps Sandy victims who are still desperately in need. So yes, by all means go give money to Occupy Sandy, but reward yourself with a copy of this book and keep the charity going. (And while you are at it, reward Mr. Fraction for being a class act by picking up his other series like Casanova or Five Fists Of Science.) And since it’s my birthday go ahead and buy me an issue as well. RIYL: helping people in need, near perfect superhero comics, Immortal Iron Fist, the idea of a Bryan Lee O’Malley and Chris Ware teaming up on an action book.

Tales Designed To Thrizzle HC Vol 02

First an anecdote. At a comic convention last year I bought an issue of TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE from Michael Kupperman and he signed it to me. I later gave the issue to my lovely ladyfriend, Alethea, as a gift. Giving someone else your stuff and acting like you got it for them is considered “not proper gift giving etiquette” by squares, teachers, and cops. Now, Matthew and Alethea contain some of the same letters but she can recognize that they are not the same name. It took her a whole 6+ months to notice that the book was inscribed to me instead of her but when she did… whoo boy was that fun. Anyway, in terms of funny comics going on right now there are not a ton of great options. Even if there were though, TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE Vol. 2 would stand head and shoulders above the competition. Volume 1 of TDTR was among the funniest things I have ever read. I easily put it alongside works like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy or Calvin & Hobbes in terms of books I can revisit and still completely lose myself in over and over again. Michael Kupperman’s absurdest strips that range from the adventures of historical figures Twain & Einstein, to buddy cop duo Snake N’ Bacon, and the history of sex blimps, all peppered with old timey fake comic ads for odd products are nothing if not bafflingly weird and compelling. If you are at all a fan of the absurd in any form I would urge you to read this book. And since I only have volume 1 you can get me this as a great gift. RIYL: The anything goes spirit of old Mad Magazine, the fast paced boundary pushing humor of stuff like Monty Python, Kids In The Hall, Airplane! or Amazon Women On The Moon.

7 Miles a Second HC

7 MILES A SECOND. Painter, musician, photographer, filmmaker, writer, and activist, David Wojnarowicz was a key figure in the underground New York City art scene of the 1980’s. Often times having strong homo-erotic subtext, his work pushed cultural boundaries, continues to inspire new generations of artists today, and invoked the wrath of the christian right. After a lengthy court case, Mr. Wojnarawicz earned a hard fought victory against the loathsome Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association who sought to defund the National Endowment for the Arts. This single legal struggle did more for artists and artist rights in this country than most people can comprehend. By 1992 Mr. Wojnarowicz sadly lost his battle with AIDS. 7 Miles A Second was completed by his collaborator on the book, James Romberger, and published by Vertigo posthumously in 1996. Now it is back in print for the first time and is well worth your attention. Wojnarowicz autobiographical tales start you with his life as a child prostitute, onto his teenage years on the street, through his time has an HIV+ man, and onto his inevitable (at the time) conclusion. The stories serve as beautiful and brutal snapshots of a brilliant life lived too hard and extinguished too soon. It is not too much to say that we all owe a great cultural debt to Mr. Wojnarowicz and picking up this book and trying to understanding his life is a good first step toward understanding that debt. RIYL: Maus, American Splendor, or artists having the right and the ability to make a living in this country.

Well, that was a super depressing note to end on. Sorry about that. Anyway, I’m going to go because there are a lot of good books to read this week and you are still freaking out from all that sugar in the birthday cake. Even if you don’t want to buy me these or any other books you can still get me a present; you can go look at the comics on the shelves and promise to try something new.

Awww. What a sweet moment. Now if you excuse me I am going to go warm up by Tauntaun-ing one of Forbidden Planet’s managers and sleeping nestled in their gross guts.

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