Tagged: Geof Darrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ADVENTURE!

There’s just too much comics news to keep up with. I’m still trying to unravel threads from the NYCC, and the next thing I learn is I missed out on news from the SDCC! Did you know that Oni Comics is going to collect Scott C.’s AMAZING webcomic Double Fine Action Comics, starting in April of 2013? And they’re also going to be printing R. Stevens’ Diesel Sweeties? YOU KNEW? Why doesn’t anybody tell me?!

Still, this makes perfect sense. Sometimes trends can only be identified in hindsight, and sometimes we are walking in the middle of a trend and cannot see the forest for the trees. Double Fine Action Comics falls right into the very modern trend of Adventure!

SUPER ADVENTURE

In the Adventure genre, archetypal characters have never-ending, fantastic adventures across genre lines. These characters often become blasé about the mind-blowing nature of their deeds and accomplishments.

Obviously, the clearest example is the cartoon show Adventure Time, which also has a spectacular comic book out this week. Adventure Time #9 captures this spirit well, and is almost as awesome as the show… I say almost because it is a pretty awesome show to have to try and out-awesome.

Another book on the shelves this week that does a fine job with this concept is Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine, a pulp mag printing stirring prose with illustrations from today’s top talents all centered around heart-stomping ADVENTURE!

After their success with The Matrix movies, the Wachowskis a.k.a. Andy and Lana Wachowski funded a small comic book label which printed some dang fine comics. One of these was Shaolin Cowboy, written and drawn (as only he can) by Matrix concept designer Geof Darrow.

Darrow is a master, plain and simple, layering ultra-violence with ridiculous minute detail. In his robot smash-‘em-up epic, The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, he will depict the nastiest, snarling monster-punching in a building and find a way to render every re-bar, every eviscerated victim and every pigeon flying off of the collapsing roof of said condemned structure.

Shaolin Cowboy was nuts, one of the most bizarre and intense action comics of all time. In Shaolin Cowboy, a silent Asian in flannel shirt and sandals wields twin katanas as he slices his way through countless thugs. These slay-rides are usually narrated by his talking mule.

What makes these books particularly mind-blowing is the characters. In Shaolin Cowboy, the cowboy might easily kill 50-100 flunky thugs in one issue, yet each and every single one of them will be uniquely rendered with their own peculiar dress code, grooming habits and quirks.

“UNKIEDEV, have you been sniffing white-out out of a corpse’s navel? ADVENTURE as a genre?” you may ask. “How is this different from this week’s Avengers #32, Amazing Spider-Man #696 or Superman #13?”

The biggest difference is setting. These stories almost always take place in alternate worlds, post-apocalyptic futures or featureless landscapes unrecognizable as our own.

NEXT WEEK: We’ll learn more about the new VS genre. Until then, go buy Superman #13… someone dies in it!

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More musings from Unkiedev, Earth’s own sidekick, can be read at unkiedev.blogspot.com

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Segmentation of the Innocent

I had a whole column planned this week about “The Complete History of Earwigs in Comics,” but as my agent pointed out, emphatically and with much passion, “Readers don’t like earwigs.” There’s no accounting for taste. To sum up the article in brief: “there aren’t many.”

We must note the passing of Ralph McQuarrie and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, two of the finest concept illustrators ever to raise pen to paper.  The Forbidden Planet keeps a pretty good stock in movie art books, concept art and other illustrative tomes of nifty drawings. Help yourself get over these sad passings by reminiscing with friends over some collections of their finer stuff.

They say famous people die in threes…I wonder if concept artists count as famous? If they do then H. R. Giger and Geoff Darrow better look both ways before they cross the street. There’s not that many famous concept artists left!

THIS WEEK

Buffy Season 9 #7 hits the shelves when we see print. YEARS ago a new Buffy would have been Earth shattering news, but it seems the ardor has cooled. I might pick this one up…it promises to have Spike and “Big Changes for our Slayer.”

I have NEVER plugged an Aspen book in my life, but I’m intrigued by the premise of Dead Man’s Run, which has a reprint of #2 and a new #3 out this week.  In Dead Man’s Run a cartographer dies and goes to Hell to find the afterlife is like a fiery, maximum-security prison. Dead set on a jail-break, our “hero” is trolling hell to find the toughest dead scofflaws to assist his scheme.  Sure, sounds fun! Continue reading

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