If any West Coast readers accidentally read this, maybe they’ll accidentally go to a new show that’s popping up in Portland this weekend. It’s called Linework NW, and it’s a free to the public, one-day show that has been currated by some fine fine Portland folks. There’s also a main opening reception to showcase the highlighted works of Jim Woodring and Michael Deforge. So, if you can travel to the cartoonist mecca this weekend, look up Linework NW and stop on by. Fun for the whole family! Fun! Fun! Fun!
Lumberjanes #1- Lumberjanes reminds me of being a kid, growing up and camping in various Washington State Parks with the Girl Scouts and churchy stuff. Hanging out with pals, making lanyards, watching all the cool kids swim. Alright, so Lumberjanes is probably nothing like my awkward tween camping memories because they do awesome stuff like defeat Yetis, monster wolves and solve mysteries. Headed up by the incessantly charming Noelle Stevenson, and Grace Ellis, with art by Brooke Allen, the new Boom! Box imprint is rolling out its second title (behind the fan fav Midas Touch), with captivating characters and stories that keep reminding you how much fun you’re actually having reading these comics.
Shutter #1- Kate Kristopher’s life is mixed with ancient gods of legend, nest-building urban dinosaurs, and demons on coffee dates, and then things get weird. The daughter of a famed explorer left her fantastical days behind her after a terrible tragedy, but ninja phantasms threaten to pull her back into the thick of things. Joe Keatinge’s a busy man lately, but he and artist/co-creator Leila del Duca have managed to carve out a fantasy/adventure hybrid with modern concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Those concerns just happen to include weird family secrets, loneliness, and an energy spewing metal monopoly man. Actually, those sound like concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Carry on!
Cosplayers One-Shot- It’s not too often Fantagraphics publishes floppies anymore, so when they do I get pumped. Cartoonist Dash Shaw is known for looking at slices of life with an unusual perspective, one that combines and off-beat humor with growing pains. Cosplayers
examines a culture that is now as tied to comic book culture as….ugh, I can’t think of anything clever enough, you know what I mean. Cosplaying is a really big thing now! And the main characters who are aspiring actors and filmmakers decide to use unsuspecting extras in their quest to achieve top cosplaying levels. But they’re just teens, so nothing will go wrong, right?
Reminder to all you trade waiters out there that the second volume of one of the most interesting and compelling comic series is out today. Jonathan Hickman’s fantasy/sci-fi western has the cast splintered, and traversing the dystopian America trying to stop the Chosen from completely destroying the world. If you just can’t stand waiting for the next trade to come out after this one, you’re in luck! Issue #11 also drops today.
I feel bad even writing about the next few books, because they really don’t need my help to sell, they’ll probably be the highest selling books of the week, with no help from me. But I’m just so gosh excited that they’re coming out. This week definitely belongs to Marvel:
All New Doop #1- We all know it, he’s you’re favorite X-Men, he’s my favorite X-Men, and now the weird little green guy, Doop, is getting in front of the camera. Doop, created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, has a weird history. A weird, butt-brain, affair having, sometimes voyeuristically inclined, history. The X-Men have always suspected that this soviet mutant creation is possibly the most powerful among them. In his own series he’s poised to take center stage when he gets involved with Kitty Pryde. Also, this mini series ties into the Battle of the Atom, if you follow that kind of thing. Peter Milligan is writing it again, bringing his surreal qualities to the usually-maintain-but-now-looks-pretty-crazy-in-a-cool-way art of Marvel career artist David Lafuente. With covers by Mike Allred!
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1- You know how things go, old comic gets picked up for TV show, we get new comics! Given the success that Netflix has had lately with producing their own content, I am fully on board with the upcoming Iron Fist series. I’m also fully on board with the new series that comes out this week with art AND words by Kaare Andrews. They’re not going all the way back to rehash his origin story, but people unfamiliar with the kung-fu master and possessor of mystical dragon fists, will get a taste of his past, while Andrews engages the future troubles for the hero. I don’t know how closely they’ll tie the Netflix stuff with the new comic stuff, but I’m hoping for an eventual team up with past partner Luke Cage, another Marvel character getting his own screen time. And I’ll admit, I’ll be kinda bummed if there’s no Power Man.
Regrets and Errors:
- I regret that a couple weeks ago I accidentally told you that Sandman Overture #2 was coming out. It’s releasing this week. But given its constantly shifting timeline, I won’t believe that it’s out until it’s in my hands. Editorial regrets the error.
- I also regret how little sleep I’m going to get this next week with Emerald City Comic-Con just on the horizon.
- Matthew Rosenberg will soon regret how many doughnuts I’ll make him eat this week.
Editorial regrets all of these, and future errors.
If you notice any errors, keep them to yourselves, but I’ll gladly accept all laud and honor through my twitter. (@ApAnnagator)
Metabarons Genesis Castaka- If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC or LA you could potentially have already seen the new documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”. Whether you’ve seen it or not (and if you haven’t you better be planning on it when it comes to your city or suffer the consequences (or not, listen to your own consciousness ((NO GODS NO MASTERS))). But if you’re looking to get your Jodorowsky fix until that movie, the deluxe hardcover collection of the two French volumes for the Castaka spin-off of the Metabarons series, is now available! The Metabaron’s are the ultimate warriors, renowned throughout the galaxy for their ancient warrior rituals that makes every Metabaron into a cyborg after proving their strength. This prequel explores the world of the Metabaron ancestors, who were anything but the rigid society they became. The Castaka series is illustrated by Das Pastoras, who took over from the original Metabaron artist, Juan Gimenez. Pastoras can have a really gruesome (which I mean in a good way) look to his work, which lends itself very well to the brutal and lawless society that the ancient Metabarons exist in.
Leo Roa- Oh, did you wonder why Juan Gimenez wasn’t working on the Castaka book? Probably because he’s spent the last several years working on his own album (as the French would say), Leo Roa, an intergalactic saga of epic proportions. Journalist Leo Roa finds himself in the middle of an adventure that pits him against aliens, villains, murderers, and time traveling escapades. Gimenez is truly a comic’s master, who blends a Moebius meets Herge style into a sci-fi masterpiece that takes throws satire and humor into a hero’s journey arena. His technical and historical make this book feel familiar, while his attention to detail and creative force turn it into something you’ve never seen before. Recommended for fans of Prophet.
The Undertaking of Lily Chen- (above) Deshi accidentally kills his assholeish, but favored by their parents, older brother. His parents send him on an epic journey to find him a ghost bride, a corpse to bury with his brother’s body so, according to Chinese tradition, he wont have to spend his eternity alone. Set in modern China, Deshi begins his journey to find a recently deceased companion, the best choice is the beautiful Lily Chen, only problem is she’s still quite alive. Author and illustrator, Danica Novgorodoff, paints (literally) an emotional slice of life that’s riddled with complicated family dynamics, selfish desires, and tradition v. modernity. Painted with watercolor on rice paper, and then gone over in ink before being digitally touched up, Novogordoff renders a distinctly unique look to a surreal, but grounded, portrayal of finding meaning on a hopeless journey.
Helheim Vol. 1 TPB- The ultimate Viking fantasy gets its first top-selling collected edition. Take all the Norse mythology you thought you knew from Thor, then make it distinctly darker, witchier, and insanely more evil. Rikard is the undead killing machine that is sewn together with magic and the bodies of the dead, and he’s seeking vengeance against his transgressors. In their own rights, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Joelle Jones are some of the most visceral workers out there, but when you put them together, an unholy union of comic magic is born.
Frank Barbiere is on fire. All his books are different, but they’re all so.stupid.good. Blackout is distinctly more sci-fi than his other work (Five Ghosts and White Suits), as it explores a dark dimension that protagonist, Scott Travers can only access through a special, and mysterious suit. But what he doesn’t know about the history of the suit will only lead him on a journey to outrun the people who are after the suit, and find answers that will save him. This 4-part series is technically a continuation of the original story Barbiere published in Dark Horse Presents issues #24-26. You can totally pick this story up from the number one, but if you want more of the origin story, you can get them from Dark Horse’s digital comic platform for a pretty good deal. The artist of the original series, Michael Kaneshino will be doing the covers for the new stuff, that’ll be drawn by Colin Lorimer!
Jan’s Atomic Heart and other Stories- Simon Roy pulls on my shriveled black heart-strings with stories that are obtuse, original, and out there. That kind of description can be a little off putting to some people, and to those people I ask, “Where’s your desire for delving into the unknown? Your passion and curiosity to explore world’s and stories beyond yourself? Where’s the money Lebowski?” This book collects roughly five years worth of the Vancouver artists work that’s shows the evolution between his early stories from his art school days, to the beautifully designed art we see in Prophet. Oh, did I forget to mention that Simon Roy is one of the primary artists on that book with a million other amazing people? Even if he wasn’t associated with that amazing book, THIS book is amazing, and includes a story for every reader (though the book’s namesake story could have even been published on its own).
All New Ghost Rider #1- Not gonna lie, I really like Tradd Moore, and I will definitely be picking up the first issue of Ghost Rider. I never thought I’d ever write that sentence in my lifetime.
The multi-talented CHERYL GROSS will be appearing Forbidden Planet NYC on Thursday April 3 at 7pm, signing copies of her new illustrated science fiction novel The Z Factor.
The nineteenth century is coming to a close when Hans Kasper Ivan Karp makes it his life mission to relieve the world of sex and gender. Knowing that his goal will take several generations to achieve, Karp invents a new, dominant chromosome known as the Z factor. But not all are excited about his theoretical creation, called the umon species. Accused of being a lunatic and unable to defend his theory, Karp is shunned. Years later, his son, Ivan, is born-the product of artificial insemination. No one realizes what is in store for the world.
It is 2009 when Ivan Karp-who has been called an umon by his parents for as long as he can remember-receives a knock at his door. With his father long gone and human mutations becoming more prominent around the world, Ivan invites in a woman with many questions about the umon race. As he retells his story up to present day, Ivan reflects on his inner conflicts about his true gender and shares details of his homosexual relationship with Aaron Moses. But through their conversation, Ivan makes two startling discoveries: Katherine is his daughter, and Aaron has somehow achieved Karp’s dream-findings that suddenly thrust all of them in the midst of an umon revolution.
In this science fiction thriller, three generations involved in the creation of a hermaphroditic human species must come together in an attempt to bring the umons the one thing they have always wanted: freedom.
Cheryl is a motion graphics artist, painter, illustrator, and a Professor at Pratt Institute.
Forbidden Planet will be hosting a signing with artist Jeff Zornow in celebration of his new comic 68: Rule of War #1 (Image) on the day of its release. Jeff will be on hand from 7:30 to sign and sketch the night away on April 2nd. Blank variant covers of the book will be available, so don’t miss the chance to jump on a great new series and have a personalized cover drawn by the very man who made it. See you then!
Happy Irish day/week, nerds. Hope you didn’t break too many face bones on your way home the other night.
Buffy the Vampire Hunter, Season 10 #1- Being hailed as the season that brings Buffy “back the basics”, this new creative team is breathing new life into old blood. The challenge in continuing such a fan favorite show turned comic that needing your content and characters to feel fresh, without alienating the classic features of the people and plot that brought viewers and readers in in the first place. Editor Scott Allie is now promising a reinvigorated Buffy story that gets the Scoobies back to what they do best, hunt vampires! With new rules and new challenges, this comic proves that there’s still a lot for Buffy and the team to learn about their undead fiends, and re-killing them isn’t just a walk through a graveyard. The writer/artist team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs have migrated from the much loved “Angle and Faith” series, and will take the reins to steer this pony into familiar territory that will feel like brand new Buffy.
James Bond can suck it, because John Cannon is the all American military spy/hunk you’ve always wanted. Cannon is hard and fast! I mean, these comics are hard and fast…Released exclusively through the military publication Overseas Weekly, Wally Wood wrote and drew spy missions, naked women, evil commies, and naked women every week for over two years! Now Fantagraphics is collecting the saga of a brainwashed, CIA killing machine in hardcover anthology that’s historical, violent, and sexy. Without the restrictions of American publishing guidelines, Wood was able to be as unbridled as he wanted to be, and his artful and playful genius of the medium shows in every panel of this book. A bunch of bonus material, including some Ditko, and source material, rounds off this collection staple.
American Vampire: Second Cycle- Hooray! American Vampire is back! Continuing this unintentional vampire theme, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque are unearthing the not-too-long-dead series from Vertigo that travels the ages the eyes of fiendish bloodsuckers. Like a (more) evil Forest Gump. Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet (her sire, for those of you up to date on your vampire lingo) are off on their own; one providing shelter to children, one up to no good. Battles and new baddies loom on the horizon for these protagonists that will eventually bring them back together. This was my introduction to Scott Snyder, and he’s only gotten better as a writer with his other series like The Wake.
Alec Longstreth has been making professional comics and beards since 2002 with his highly acclaimed independent comic, Phase 7. If you’ve ever flipped through one of these beauties, you might have picked up on the adventure story that ran through issues 5-9, Basewood. The adventure tale follows a young man’s journey to rediscover his past with the help of others. Also, wolf dragons! Reprinted in French by L’employé du Moi, Longstreth began an earnest kickstarter to raise funds to print an English version of Basewood as a really nice hardcover that shows off all the detail Longstreth put into his pages. This is kickstarter and comics done right, and this tale of friendship, adventure, and the trials and rewards of growing up have been given a format for all to enjoy.
There’s a lot of Image favs coming out this week, and I don’t think I could do them all justice if I tried to write about each, (aka I’m lazy busy!) So here are some titles in handy, tidy, vertical listular format:
Sometimes comics are a participation sport. And sometimes a full contact sport depending on what conventions you’re going to this year. I spent this weekend going to a signing for Tony Millionaire (creator of Maakies and Sock Monkey), and to a fundraiser for a non-profit, ZAPP (Zine Archive and Publishing Project). Even though the PNW is home to a lot of creators, it rains a lot here and sometimes we don’t get out of the house. So when opportunities come your way to hang out with a bunch of other nerds, don’t pass it up!
That’s my free will advice for the week. That and drink plenty of water daily.
47 Ronin Hardcover- Stan Sakai doesn’t just draw rabbit samurai, he draws people samurai! And really well too. The vengeance, the honor, the brotherhood, all epitomized in this graphic retelling of one of Japan’s greatest stories. Painstakingly researched by Mike Richardson and Sakai, they recreate the saga of the 47 ronin who travel for years to avenge their master by seeking out his killers. My favorite movies to power marathon (behind the entirety of the Venture Brothers) are Kurosawa samurai movies, so it wasn’t hard for me to power read this series. The comic is as beautiful, and moving, with touches of humor that fans of the genre can appreciate. Plus, Sakai is one of the best working artists, and soooo nice. Everyone should buy books from nice people like Sakai.
Beasts of Burden Hunters and Gatherers- Bringing back their beloved, Eisner award winning characters, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson return to Burden Hill to defend its citizens from new baddies. (which is apparently a word my computer recognizes now). This series has been around since 2003, and has always been enjoyed in any of its collections of self-titles, Dark Horse Presents, and Hellboy teamups. If you want to get to know the dogs and cats that take up the task of investigating the paranormal activities of their town, this is a perfect starting point for what I’m assuuuuuming will have more issues in the near future!
Stray Bullets: Uber Alles- This book is effing giant. It’s 1200, over-sized pages collecting all five story arcs of David Laphams seminal crime series that started with El Capitan in….um…..(totally not looking this up on wikipedia)…1995! And ran for 40 issues. Like Fatale, the various crime stories span all the way from the ’70-‘90s; they get violent, the characters can be real shit bags, and you want nothing but more. Too bad for us Lapham had to abandon the series in the mid ‘00s , and left a lot of people dangling, until now!
Stray Bullets #41- Whaaaat?! See what I did there? Through Image, Lapham is bringing it back; 32 pages of black and white grit that literally start right where he left off, and finish off the series that’s as satisfying now as it would have been 10 years ago. Maybe more so. We do love a good build up. But it’s a kind of a bummer that it’s the end of an era, so to speak.
Stray Bullets: Killers #1- Syyyyyche! This is all a huge build of to the release of Lapham’s NEW Stray Bullet series. I couldn’t read those 31 pages fast enough. A kid thinks he’s getting innocent kicks by sneaking into the same strip club his dad sneaks into. But when they both recognize someone they shouldn’t, things get dangerous. Young Eli’s world is turned upside down, and everyone’s intentions (though seemingly nefarious) are not fully actualized yet. Though Lapham’s worked on other series over the years, he and his editor/wife kick off this arc with as much gumption as it’s Eisner winning roots.
Magnus: Robot Fighter #1- Continuing this unintended themes of bringing fun titles back to life, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Cory Smith are breathing new life into the 1960’s Russ Manning character, Magnus. Robots have taken over, and seamlessly integrated themselves into humanity. Only Magnus can tell who’s the original and who’s a copy, and it’s up to him to stop the expansion of a machine universe called North Am. It reminds me a little of the Borg storyline from TNG, in which the robots roam the country turning everything they deem as non-essential (nature) into a machine Mecca. Dynamite has done a really good job on shoring up their creative teams to give those Gold Key characters a new home.
Nosferatu Wars- Menton3 creeps me the fuck out. He also has. They’re like the stuff from my nightmares. But I think that’s my fault since I read stuff like his Monocyte, and Ennis’s Crossed before bed. So my nightmares might be a little skewed. But the kings of horror (maybe Princes, I think the title of king belongs to THE King), Steve Niles and Menton3 team up in this series to investigate the heyday of the vampires, the Black Plague. When death abounds, they run the show, except when they begin to turn on each other. Can this hunter species thrive without a common enemy? This one-shot collects their Dark Horse Presents issues of the Nosferatu Wars.
Young Romance 2: The Early Simon and Kirby Romance Comics- Following up the first volume of their reprinted tales of romance, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby practically invented the genre that includes sweeping tales of dramatic fantasy of teen, and young adult romance. Starting soon after the end of WWII, people needed a little bit of a break from war and horror stories, and the softer side of comics blew up. These historical stories have been beautifully re-colored, to let new readers in new generations discover how their grandparents wooed each other.
Celebrate the release of Return To Nuke ‘Em High Part 1 on blu-ray and DVD. Meet Director Lloyd Kaufmam as well as the cast and crew, right here at FPNYC! Get your Tromabillia signed for free! Really what more could you ask for?
Nothing else matters to me this week other than comics, because Oni Press’s, “The Auteur” is finally coming out. So I’ll just cut to the chase:
I’ve been so excited for this comic to come out, and waiting so long, I don’t know what to say. It’s already left me speechless. This is one of those books you read with your friends and loudly say, “Did you see this?! OMG?!”. Synopses: washed up Hollywood producer, T. Rex, is trying to find salvation (and his next big hit) in a strip club, and in the bottom of a bottle of glue. It sounds outrageous (because it is), and pretty crude (it is), but the brilliance of Rick Spears and James Callahan is that every bit of naughty in this book, doesn’t feel trite, or overdone, or unnecessary. The acid trips, the stripper nuns, even swearing, is all smartly used to build the dirty and contrived Hollywood we all secretly hope that is it. And like the great “in-you-face” comics before it, there’s a point to the psychedelic madness. They manage to make commentary on celebrity/consumer/tabloid culture while not beating you over the head with anything but an amazing comic book. If it sounds like I’m overselling this book, I’m not. Nothing I say could be enough unless you’re buying it every issue for yourself and everyone you care about.
Stories that revolve around a dystopian society typically start in the middle of the story. The baddies are established, and we’re trying to figure out how to take them out. Max Bemis (author is Polarity) wants to go back, way back, and figure out why those evil organizations you love to hate (i.e. The Matrix, Star Wars, frat houses) become powerful world leaders with an agenda attached to no morality. With an ear to the ground, and platform to stand on, rapper Reese finds herself in the middle of the opposition battle against powers that be, leading the people who still maintain a shred of humanity against a pure grasp for power. It’s one part dystopian sci-fi mixed with one part horror, with Ransom Getty handling the action-filled art with superhero style, which makes the this (estimated) 16 issue series moving and dynamic.
Alex de Campi wraps up the ‘Bride of Blood’ arc in this blood bath series, giving us the best example of violent revenge in comics. Previously! On “Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight; Bride of Blood Part II” (aka the longest title ever) Branwyn’s world is left in ruins after an attack on her wedding party by wood reavers leaves her family and wedding party slaughtered. Now, taking up her fallen brother’s armor, Branwyn vows to take down those who have destroyed her world. Frederica Manfredi’s art is just this side of cartoon, which makes the violence seem all the more…violent, I guess. Set with a medieval winter background, the bloodshed stands in stark contrast to its setting, but still captures the ‘70s exploitation cinematic feel that these comics are emulating. But that’s not to say these are storyboard comics! The two issue arc format Campi uses for this series is perfect. Such action. Many violence. Very revenge.
Vincent Van Goat finally gets to step into the limelight, and recieve the recognition he so wildly deserves. Quantum and Woody is already a pretty humorous story, but this one is all goat jokes all the time. And goats are historically way funnier than people.
Nijigahara Holograph HC
Without exaggerating, this might be the most important manga to come out stateside this year. Delivering eye-painfully beautiful art, Inio Asano (Solanin) weaves a mind-fuck of a classic horror story of murder, growing up, monsters that live in sewers, and an end of world prediction. The pain of being an outcast, growing up, and the relationships with foster with people all play an undertone that makes the supernatural monsters feel even more terrifying. But this story is a puzzle; told in an un-chronological order, the somewhat Lynchian characters are only pieces of their full selves we get throughout the book. And believe me when I say multiple readings are required to put everything together. Though the more time you spend with this book, the richer the symbolism becomes. It’s not meant for a quick read, because like if you sped read a bunch of Sylvia Plath, things get heavy. That said I did read this in like 3 hours because I couldn’t put it down.
Sometimes my little black heart overwhelmingly swells with joy over the future of comics. You discover a new artist, read a new book, or see a small community pull together so quickly (because we never leave our computers) to support creators and fans. It just warms me all over to see how fast the story of the Bill Mantlo, creator of Rocket the Raccoon, and his medical trials spread; resulting in the increased awareness of an important author in the history of Marvel, and a mass fundraising to help offset the continued healthcare that he’ll require for the rest of his life. It was a tragic story that touched a lot of people, and some beautiful things have come from it.
That’s enough bleeding heart. How awesome was White Suits? Pulp noir that gave you just enough information to intrigue and not lose you, but is still holding all the important cards close to the chest. And normally I can’t get enough of that hyper-detailed artwork, but Cypress’s impressionist style fits this book like a bloody glove. Love it.
Anyways, new stuff!
Loving Dead HC-Originally published in France under the title, “Fragile”, this undead love story from Italian artist Stefano Raffaele tugs at your heartstrings and your dangling zombie ligaments. In the near future, almost everyone is (un)dead, but that doesn’t mean love is. Those who remain among the living have decided to destroy the zombie population, and forced any that stand in their way on the run, and into hiding. Walking stiffs, Alan and Lynn, have fallen in love, and realized that it’s more beautiful to watch the world, and themselves, rot and decay together. Raffaele, who’s done work over the years for Marvel, DC and Darkhorse in addition to his Metal Hurlant stories, has the perfect artistic combination of beautiful and dirty to illustrate the fascinatingly engaging and destructive power of love.
Megagogo Vol. 1- In an effort to not over state the plot of this book, it’s a Power Ranger-Kaijumashup against the KKK in monster ridden Atlanta! Adding another fabulous book to their teen (but still really enjoyable to adults because let’s face it we’re all a bunch of giant children) line, Oni has again tapped Wook-Jin Clark to publish this three volume series that puts an awkward teen, an idiot and an immortal being inside of a giant robot. And naturally in Atlanta, the greatest enemy of the robot is the Klu Klux Klan. Clark, who’s from the South, wanted to give the book a realism element as well as a regional one, that makes this story distinctly Southern. With some of the best sequential story telling I’ve seen in a long time, this humorous book makes the action flow like water, with perfectly placed dialogue. Who wouldn’t want to see evil idiots get beat up?
Ballistic #4- I don’t want to say that people have publisher bias, but if this book had been put out by saaaaay, Image, I probably wouldn’t even be talking about it because everyone would be reading it. Well, everyone who likes violent-psychedelic-crime-f’d up futuristic-comics (with juuuuust a hint of cheesy buddy-cop action), drawn by Darick Robertson and written by Adam Egypt Mortimer. Mostly known for his independent film work, Mortimer took a broken neck head-dive into the deep end of crazy comics, and teamed up with the veritable hands that helped create the revered comic world of Transmetropolitan. Obviously the two book share some similar elements, but whereas Spider Jerusalem was too smart for his, and everyone else’s own good, Butch (the main character of Ballistic), kind of needs to get his head out of his ass sometimes. It doesn’t help that his partner is literally a foul-mouthed gun that can attach itself to Butch while they try to take down major crime. This book is madness actualized, and required reading for anyone who likes a taste (or mouthful) of hyper-violence.
Henry and Glen Forever and Ever #4- This is the greatest love story ever, between the esteemed musicians Henry Rollins and Glen Danzig, and this is the last installment of their serialized love. Published by Microcosm Publishing in Portland, these mini-comics have been bringing people years of manly fanfic joy. Three new stories by Tom Neely, Johnny Ryan, Noah Van Sciver, and Keenan Keller include: giant lizards, their loveable Satan worshiping neighbors, Hall and Oates, and Glen’s mother! What do these music gods love more than protein powder and working out? Each other.
Other good things to buy: The Wake, Sheltered, Samurai Jack, Mind Mgmt, Manhattan Projects, Hawkeye, Deadly Class, Chew. Man, this is a solid new comic week!
It’s early (right now), and I’m tired (always) because I haven’t had enough of the devil’s brew (coffee). There’s not a lot of comics news to talk about right now… Toy Fair happened? Lego’s have been having a good week? I don’t know why I’m posing these as questions, they’re factual statements. (?)
It’s safe so say that since the release of the wildly popular, and critically acclaimed, series “Five Ghosts”, everyone’s been waiting with baited breath to see what project writer Frank Barbiere was going to be putting out next. You can kill the dramatics because “White Suits” is here! Torn from the pages of a past Dark Horse Presents issue, this four part miniseries expands on the world of a group of white suited assassins who went underground after the Cold War, only to reappear in New York City to take down various mob baddies. Us, and the FBI, are all wondering who these mysterious cats are, and what it is they want from their crimes. Artist Toby Cypress creates a raw and dreamlike world that let’s you think your getting closer to an answer, when really everything is just slipping from your grasp. These have pulp-mystery in their blood, and like Five Ghosts, you’ll want to read this issue over and over to get every beautifully gory detail.
The heart of this new six-issue miniseries from Image is a political drama. Set in the cultural pith of Atlantis, writer Steve Orlando and artist Artyom Trakhanov have recreated modern societal dramas of hyper-consumerism, political complacency on part of the citizens, and governmental conspiracy in a newer and wetter world. Redum Anshargal found himself a victim at the hands of this superpower government, and begins his mission of recruiting people out of their contentment, and hunt the elusive Amphibian, hoping to discover the mystery’s of those crazy air-breathers! But let’s take a second to talk about Trakhanov’s art. He’s a virtual unknown in English speaking countries, because his only work is a Russian web-comic. Orlando, who used to live in Russia, is fluent in his language and was able to connect with Trakhanov via the Internet, and they begin a beautiful working relationship to create one of the most creative books this year. Very Ray Harryhausen inspired monsters and nautical adventuring, with inventive ways of exploring how the legend of Atlantis works beyond “oh, it’s just fantasy”. The added sci-fi element pushes this book out of a typical genre piece; watch as this monster-pulp makes a huge splash.
This is a given. I’ve written about Zero pretty consistently since it’s release. It’s Ales Kot’s best work, and even though there’s a rotating artistic team, every person has brought something unique to this soon-to-be-classic, spy story. Edward Zero has lived, breathed, and killed his missions his entire life, with no remorse. But operation by operation, Zero’s disillusionment with the only world he’s ever known begins him on a slow decent to uncovering the truth of his world. But this exposure has potentially dire consequences that are only alluded to and teased out. We have to wait with anticipation to see how Edward’s actions possibly bring about the end of the world.
Remember how I said Barbiere’s first rendition of White Suits was in an issue of Presents? Seriously, you don’t remember? I wrote about it like 500 words ago. Anyway, if you want to know about the best-kept secret in comics’ previews, it’s in these pages. There are 80 pages of ad-free comics from people like Brian Churilla, Dean Motter, Brendon McCarthy, Jamie Rich, and more. It’s a great resource for finding old classics, and the next great story. This issue has an amazing line-up, but I gotta ask, Dark Horse, where the ladies at? Fix the problem by buying it, and demanding more!
In my opinion, the X-Files can do no wrong. In film and in comics, they’ve built up a world in which anything they do it possible and accepted by readers, and is the reason that X-Files crossovers are so fantastic. So when you mix fan favorite sidekicks, like the Lone Gunmen, with classic ninja turtles, I don’t really think anything can go wrong. Other than the fact that they’re teaming up to help stop the end of the world from a deadly virus that they learned about through correspondence they received from the future. That could potentially go wrong. But when you have people like Ed Brisson, Michael Walsh, and Jordie Bellaire as your creative team, even if the world does end, you’ll probably have a good time reading about it.
By now everybody know that we have a signing this coming Wednesday with Dan Goldman for his new collection Red Light Properties, but we just sweetened the pot. Not only will we have Mr. Goldman here in the flesh at 7 p.m. to sign his beautiful new book, we are also going to have FRED VAN LENTE and PERE PEREZ on hand to sign copies of Archer and Armstrong # 0.2014! Yes, somehow we made Wednesdays even better.
On February 12th, starting at 7p.m., Forbidden Planet will have the creative team behind Image comics new hit series EGOS; Stuart Moore and Gus Storms, in-store signing copies of issue #1 and #2. We will ALSO have artist Joe Infurnari in-store to sign copies of his brand spanking new comic releasing that day, Bunker #1. Don’t miss out on getting these gorgeous new comics signed by the lovely folk who made them for you.
A FINAL GOODBYE
Forbidden Planet is my favorite comic book store in New York City, it always has been and hopefully always will. I say “Hopefully” because I hold dislike definitive blanket statements… I mean, the Planet could turn evil and try to replace all of our bones with PVC pipe or candy canes. I surely wouldn’t love them then, would I? Would You? We shall revisit this thought in a moment.
It is with great regret and no small amount of sorrow that I announce this is (probably) my last column for the Forbidden Planet newsletter. I want to thank the Planet for all of their support, and for the tremendous opportunity to entertain you folks. I want to thank the staff, all of my former and current editors for putting up with me and my mad ramblings ( Hi, Morgan!) and above all else I would like to thank the amazing Jeff Ayers for being the best.
Jeff, thank you for all the fun we’ve had and will have in the future. Please continue being the best damn comic book retailer the Earth has ever seen until Amazon kills capitalism as we know it… and then replaces our bones with Candy Canes.
THEN THERE’S YOU PEOPLE
I have never met a single person who has read my columns and who didn’t work at the Planet. Jeff and the others assure me you exist, gentle readers, but I remain skeptical. If you are real, and not just a lie fed to me by my corrupt and filthy handlers at the FP, then I owe you two things; I owe you my gratitude and an explanation.
NOTE TO SELF: Start writing about a Superhero called “Gratidude,” who uses his incredible powers to fly around the world giving respect and gifts to those who deserve wider recognition. Undoubtedly he would break in to all of your homes, my readers, to do as Aretha Franklin suggests and “give you your propers.”
I have never met any of you, but I was mindful of you always. I hope I have provide you with thirty seconds worth of enjoyment, on the subway or toilet, after you have read your sack of comics and are eager for anything else to divert your attention. Frankly, it is mostly out of respect that I am stepping down.
In the eight years since I have been writing this column I have moved four times to four different cities, gotten married, had a kid and shifted between various jobs. As I take on more responsibilities as a father, husband and employer I have less time to devote to comics, and even less time to write about them. I like what I like, and I can recommend that, but you’ve probably heard it from me before. I cannot with confidence tell you what is currently trending, hot or noteworthy. I will not lie and pretend that I do. Not to you.
I respect you, and I always have. A good entertainer cannot do their job if they don’t respect their audience. Always remember that.
OF CANDY CANES AND COMIC BOOKS
I feel that Forbidden Planet is the best shop in town because they, too, respect you. They want the cleanest store, staffed with the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff the City can provide. They want the greatest variety of material, comics or non, for curious customers who wander in just to check the place out. They want you to feel comfortable browsing, asking questions and making requests. They want you to find fun treasures at great prices. They want you to feel satisfied with your selection and eager to return. In short: They want you to have as much fun as you possibly can.
On some level this is true of all comic shops, but it has always been true of the Planet.
Thank you all with warm wishes and tremendous love. Enjoy what you like, and share your enjoyment with others. Always watch the Forbidden Planet website and newsletter for the freshest comics related recommendations and news! I will be remembering you all fondly from my secret cave somewhere in NJ as I coat my skin with Nutella (to prevent the machines from replacing my bones) and await Ragnarok.
I’m writing this while the Seahawks are winning the NFC championship game, and even in my quiet neighborhood I can hear my neighbors yelling and fireworks being set off. Or people are rioting and looting, which would be way more fun. But if we get too crazy, they might have to send a lawman up here to care of all our post-football crime. I wonder if there’s any type of West Coast police enforcer that could handle and entire city rioting….?
Oh man, I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this release since the first pages started to surface like 3 months ago. I’ve even been waiting weeks to write this silly write-up on it because I’m so excited for people to read it. The West Coast gets their judgment day when Dredd is sent the Cali-forni-way, and is left to tackle a sprawling 5,000 square mile Mega City Two. Each neighorhood has its own laws, and Dredd is left with no time to figure out the new rules. Writer Douglas Wolk is a Judge Dredd historian by his own right, and never forgets the tongue-in-cheek humor that makes Dredd such a great character. The subtle humor is driven home by fan favorite artist, Ulises Farinas. He creates a chaotic city that is full of traffic, people, traffic, and enough background signage to make you feel like there’s a second comic happening in background. If you’re not convinced by my description (if you’re not, we’re not friends anymore) check out the preview pages posted on Comics Alliance. You’re a fool if you don’t buy this comic, creep.
Do you guys remember the show “Clone High”? It was an awesome cartoon comedy that parodied shows like Dawson’s Creek, but with the angsty, horny, teenage clones of famous people from history like Abe Lincoln, Joan of Ark, and Mahatma Gandhi. My point is that this new comic from Rick Rememder reminds me of that show; that show was awesome, thus logic dictates that his new comic will be awesome. The main character, Mark Lopez, goes to a high school that is designed to train the descendants of the world’s top assassins and crime families. Combine highly skilled killers, mid-‘80s underground culture, and way-too-intense teenage emotions and this book spells DRAAAMA. Remender is on a Rick roll, that is for certain.
Ryan North is known around these Seattle parts for his syndicated comic strip, Dinosaur Comics, that runs in our weekly alternative newspaper, The Stranger. So when I found out North was going to be doing a “kids comic” (Adventure Time), I was a little surprised, but never disappointed. But then more and more people begin to take his humor seriously (is that an oxymoron?) Anywho, his new series, Midas Flesh, is everything I want a monthly comic from North to be: slightly philosophical, hilarious dialogue, sci-fi, and a dinosaur that’s a doctor. Awesome. This journey is just getting started, but it’s already entertaining the entire way.
The creative team of Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten (Wasteland) should be enough to drag anyone into this dark fantasy book. Magic is outlawed in this world because it messes with everyone’s lives, and invites bad things. Rascal, a thief, witness the murder of the King and Queen by some freaky demons. But their magic is incomplete, and Rascal realizes the bottle of mist around her neck is what the demons need to finish their magic incantation. There’s a lot of cool fantasy art, a lot of murder, and freaky demons (aforementioned).