Tagged: Howard Chaykin

Yet again, comics I have bought

Happy belated 4th of July FPNYC  Faithful, it is disgusting outside, let’s blow up the sun.

Saying I’m a mark for Matt Fraction stuff is like saying that…that’s it’s too hot outside to make comparisons. Any-who, Satellite Sam from Image Comics dropped this past week. Fraction is on word duty obviously, and the art-stuff is provided by legendary creator Howard Chaykin. Chaykin OWNS this book, doing some really impressive panel work and layouts. The fact that it’s black and white also helps the book maintain it’s 1950s vibe, and credit goes to Fraction for dialogue that fits as well. It’s a surprisingly dense read as well, with the debut issue clocking in at 40 pages. For all of you not in the know, “Sam” is a fictional murder-mystery case not unlike the George Reeves story, but with much darker and erotic overtones. Anyone familiar with Chaykin’s past works should not be surprised by this, but if you only know Fraction from his Marvel work, prepare to see a different side of the creator. A overall solid issue, the only down side to it is that it tends to drag in some areas, especially when you compare it to last week’s excellent and shorter issue of Hawkeye. Still for $3.50, it’s hard to dislike this book.

Switching gears, let’s take a look at the other single issue I bought this week. Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake‘s final issue has shipped, and both the wife and I are going to miss this mini-series. Natasha Allegri, the creator of the gender (and species!) swapped Fionna and Cake has created arguably my favorite mini-series of the year, let alone one of the best looking comics to come out in 2013. Allegri’s storyboard background  is evident in this book, which comes across more as a children’s storybook at time more-so than a comic book in terms of layout, and I mean that in a positive way. And props to guest artist Betty Liang for some amazing art in the early pages in the book. Script wise, this book is flawless, characters sound like their animated counterparts, and the story has a lot of depth and warmth to it as well. Fionna and Cake definitely give Carol Danvers a run for her money as the best female leads in a comic as of late, and I’m sure this will not be the last time we’ll see this 2 in the pages of a kaBOOM book. I imagine this thing will look amazing when collected, but this charming mini series deserves to be read immediately, especially if there any young fans of the show in your house. GET ON IT.

The final book I’ll be looking at is the 5th volume of Wolverine and the X-men. Fellow OCD  collectors, as of the 5th trade, the book is now published as a trade paper back, not as a hardcover, which means the prices drops a few bucks and the page count grows. I am okay with this.

After 2 volumes of AvX tie-ins. WaTXM volume 5 is the first collection in the Marvel NOW era…which ultimately means nothing come to think of it. Oh sure there’s a few new mutants and a new instructor, but plot wise it feels more like a 2nd season than a do over, thanks to creators Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw sticking around. Bradshaw gets some assist on the art department by Steve Sanders and David Lopez, two great artist themselves. The 6 issues collected deal with the school expanding, new mutants emerging, FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER’S MURDER CIRCUS, and DATE NIGHT! This book is super fun, and it’s great to get back to the original premise now that the AvX business is dealt with. This book read and looks great collected in trade, and considering you’re saving $6 by buying it in trade, it’s well worth the money if you like X-books that are fun and in the same vein of the early Claremont/Morrison stuff.

That’s all for this week, I only have a few more days to prepare to get excited for Hawkeye again!



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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 5: Rebel Spaceships, Striking From a Hidden Base

I feel like I have been doing this column long enough now that you all must be dying for a behind the scenes peek at how the magic happens. It all starts around 1:30 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning. That’s around 4 hours after I am supposed to have emailed this in to Tyler, our lovely wizard/graphic designer. I sit down in a chair and make up a bunch of stuff about new comics. I then send it to Tyler’s cauldron of spells/email account. He then does some process I don’t understand, blah blah blah, now it looks nice to look at. Then someone does something so that some internet nerds make it a blog post and someone else or maybe the same person does something so that printing nerds make it a newsletter. Viola! And that’s how it works. Same as the New York Times. It’s like Arthur C. Clarke once said to me, “Any sufficiently advanced low level comics journalism/sales pitch is indistinguishable from magic.” Anyway, there is a surprisingly good amount of new stuff on shelves this week and I have wasted a lot of space making jokes that only I will find funny, so let’s get on with it.

First, a moment of sadness and thanks to the great Jeff Lemire who wraps up his brilliant post apocalyptic coming of age story Sweet Tooth this week in SWEET TOOTH #40. If you haven’t ever read Mr. Lemire’s work you should be ashamed. SWEET TOOTH vol.1 is one of the true great joys of comics in the twenty first century. RIYL: SANDMAN, THE ROAD, or Children Of Men.

Also well worth reading no matter your feeling on superhero books, or anything else really, is WONDER WOMAN. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are quietly sitting in their own corner of the DC universe taking one of the most beloved characters in comics history and telling new stories for her that feel exciting, fresh, and look about as good as a comic can look. Matthew Wilson’s coloring on this book will be studied for years to come as the correct way to have coloring not just serve the pencil art, but to make coloring it’s own art. You don’t have to know anything going in, nor do you have to care about the rest of the DC universe. You just have to like good comics. DC is finally putting out WONDER WOMAN vol. 1 & vol. 2 this week. This is about as good as superhero comics get so you should get them. RIYL: Wonder Woman stories on any level, Clash Of The Titans or any modern takes on mythology

DEVIL IS DUE IN DREARY #2 is also out this week. I really loved issue #1 of this series that felt like a perfect cross between the modern western elements of PREACHER and the foreboding tone of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Add to that art that looks like a smoother Howard Chaykin and you have a really well made book. I know this is a book that will fly under most folks radars but that is a real shame. It has just enough uniqueness to make it stand out, just enough familiarity to be relatable, and is good enough to be a classic if people gave it a chance. RIYL: JONAH HEX or any modern westerns, FELL, PREACHER.

EERIE #2 hits shelves as well. I don’t hide my love for anthology comics and EERIE is a classic. Dark Horse’s relaunch of the series is off to a great start with weird short stories from Mike Allred (MADMAN, iZOMBIE, FF), Brian Clevinger (ATOMIC ROBO), and others. If you just want to read some fun & unusual stuff this is a no-brainer. Don’t be the guy or girl in your local comic shop who has to admit “I just like unfun & usual stuff.” RIYL: Old EERIE comics or other EC stuff, TWILIGHT ZONES, feeding your short attention span.

Peter Bagge is one of the modern legends of indie comics for his brilliant series HATE. When there is that much love and respect heaped on ones work it becomes easy for a lot of creators to shrink away from ever doing something substantial again. Fear of the followup or what have you. But Mr. Bagge has dived headfirst into new and brilliant projects one after another. From APOCALPSE NERD to YEAH! to OTHER LIVES his post HATE work has been varied and fun. It’s a different time for comics and it’s hard to get people as excited about a new book as it once was, but Mr. Bagge’s latest series, RESET, is maybe his best work since HATE and, if it were a different time, would be loved and talked about in much the same way. RESET is the story of a man who enters into an experiment that allows him to relive and change choices he’s made from his past. Weirdo stuff ensues. RIYL: Older Bagge stuff like HATE, the modern indie masters like Daniel Clowes or Charles Burns, or the idea of going back in time and messing things up like a creepy Marty McFly.

I don’t have much of an interest in Conan. Never did really. Some things aren’t for everyone. I know why people like it, I get that, it just wasn’t for me. Then Brian Wood wrote the excellent NORTHLANDERS series about badass vikings axing each other and whatnot and I immediately got the appeal. Apparently someone at Dark Horse did too because they snatched Mr. Wood up and put him on their CONAN book. I don’t know if that worked to bring new readers into the fold but it damn well should have. Mr. Wood is great at huge epics (DMZ, NORTHLANDERS), great at telling stories smarter than they need to be (COURIERS, CHANNEL ZERO), and great at working with amazing artists. For the beginning of his run, collected as CONAN vol 13: QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST he continues these trends. A smart Conan story that feels epic and has beautiful work by two of the more consistently interesting artists working today; BECKY CLOONAN (AMERICAN VIRGIN, DEMO vol II) and JAMES HARREN (B.P.R.D.). For those of you who have ever loved Conan and forgotten about it, this is the time to jump back on. And for those of you like me, who never saw the appeal, this is the comic that will make you fall in love with a barbarian with an ax. That’s a good thing.

RIYL: NORTHLANDERS, people using swords and stuff on each other, old pulp stories made relevant again.

END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN #1 is out this week. A buddy comedy set around the rapture. Image pumped out more good series debuts in 2012 than most people can afford to read and ETOBAB is their hope for their first big hit of 2013. This book is clearly gunning for the bookshelves of fans of smart and snarky comics and is definitely worth checking out if that is you. Co-writer James Asmus is a rising star over at Marvel but is also doing his time at Image on THIEF OF THIEVES with some nobody named Robert Kirkman. If you look for comics that have some action but really want to make you smirk this should fully be on your radar by now. RIYL: BATTLE POPE, CHEW, or the film Dogma.

My last recommendation is BETA TESTING THE APOCALYPSE. 10ish short stories from Tom Kaczynski that all play with the idea of exploring modern intangible concepts like capitalism or utopia and breaking them down into very tangible and very human stories. These are big ideas made very small and personal. Kaczynki’s style makes all the heavy stuff feel very immersive with out ever feeling oppressive. It is a delicate balancing act, and one that clearly he is comfortable with. BETA TESTING THE APOCALYPSE, like a lot of the Fantagraphics stuff from the last decade, is definitely one of those books that’ll please almost everybody who has the interest to pick it up and for a select few it will become a most cherished and prized possession. RIYL: J.G. Ballard, the more esoteric but personal stuff Fantagraphics puts out, CONCRETE.

Ok. I’m done.

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The Clone Chores

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

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

GOOD FOR YOUR EYES


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

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

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

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Life is Like a Hurricane

With the New York Comic Con behind us, what do we have to fill the thermos of our fickle attention spans? How about some choice graphic novels from this weeks new comics!

DUCK TALES: RIGHTFUL OWNERS, Warren Spector (W),  BOOM! Studios.

Comics is too big a field to make statements like “Comics fans fall into two categories.” Comics fans fall into fifty-quadra-billion categories…almost as many categories as Uncle Scrooge has beautiful golden coins in his money bin. Still, we can point out a simple dichotomy that seems scientifically tested: There are those who believe Carl Barks‘ “Uncle Scrooge” comics are some of the high water marks of genius in our beloved medium, and then there are those who say “Carl WHO?!”

Time after time, kids of all ages revisit the classic Uncle Scrooge comics drawn, written, and conceptualized by the legendary Carl Barks. Even works that stand the test of time like Uncle Scrooge, however, started as periodicals. One unavoidable tag on the toe of classic Scrooge McDuck stories is his imperialistic, western based perspective that the treasures of any other culture, civilization or people was the spoils of whichever civilized duck was clever enough to find it.

Duck Tales: Rightful Owners will be an enlightened, modern look back at Scrooge’s treasure hunting days in which he returns plundered goodies to their native homes. The pedigree of the writers and artists (Warren Spector is the guy behind Wii’s Epic Mickey and artist Leonel Castellani is a big wig over at Marvel’s Super Hero Squad) indicates that this is a labor of love and not just a cheap cash grab.

High concept and high talent can fail pretty hard at filling big shoes…but I’m buying in. Who has three thumbs and loves Scrooge McDuck? THIS guy! Continue reading

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Concrete is back baby!

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

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

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

Oh Lordy! Just buy it already…

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New Comics From Smaller Publishers

by Unkiedev

THE SMALL 5

It used to be easy: the “Big Two” in comic books referred to the two biggest guns in the world of super hero publishing, Marvel and DC. Then the Nineties happened and everybody had to amend the playing field to make room for “The Big Three,” meaning Marvel, DC and the new upstart Image. My favorite publisher is unabashedly Dark Horse, and they often have a strong presence in the marketplace, as well.

Everybody who knows comic books knows these companies. There are a handful of smaller publishers who continue to share a good portion of the spoils while still remaining obscure or seemingly outdated. Let’s take a look at a few of these fellows in “The Small Five.”

ARCHIE

You know who they are, but what you don’t know is they still move titles. This week they have Betty and Veronica Double Digest #182, as well as Sonic the Hedgehog #214 and Veronica #201. Look out, Deadpool, Veronica could give you a run for the money as far as titles per week goes!

See, parents will always buy Archie comics for their kids, especially daughters. These titles are selling because they fill a niche no one else wants to touch: dependable all ages, all gendered comics, a.k.a. cheap family entertainment.

Archie and friends are doing fine! Continue reading

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Books of Interest Releasing 9/30/09

16326Umbrella Academy vol 02: Dallas TP– A fractured team gets thrust into new adventure involving a plot to kill JFK.  An FP bestseller, The Umbrella Academy maintains the vibrant cool of volume one with Dallas well.  Written by Gerard Way (lead singer of My Chemical Romance and a former guest of FP and an overall swell fella) with glorious art by Gabriel Ba (Casanova), who never disappoints.

prisonpitPrison Pit– Yaaaaaaaaaay!  New Johnny Ryan comics!  This time we’re served an original graphic novel from the Angry Youth Comix maestro, a hyper violent and darkly comical tale of intergalactic bloodbath as protagonist CF is thrust into the Prison Pit.  Powered by Johnny’s brilliant sense of humor (more heaping handfuls of gross blech than you can imagine, more offensive imagery than socially acceptable), this book is billed as a mishmash of influences- WWE, video games, Gary Panter’s Jimbo, and the Berserk manga.  I like to think of it as R. Crumb draws Tim Vigil’s Faust, minus the draftsmanship.  Recommended.

Buffy Season 8 Volume 5–  So I guess I’ll be seeing legions upon legions of Buffy fans this week in Forbidden Planet.  Okay then.  See ya then.

25000cov25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom– Alan Moore, he of  Lost Girls fame, contributes to this book examining centuries of smut, pornography, and filth.  Terrific.  While definitely not for all tastes, nor ages for that matter, the book posits that “the success and vibrancy of a society relates to its permissiveness in sexual matters,”and examines human history in that context.  Says Moore, “Sexually progressive cultures gave us literature, philosophy, civilization and the rest, while sexually restrictive cultures gave us the Dark Ages and the Holocaust.” It’s a pretty interesting tome, Especially if you like da nasty.

John McClane sketch from artist Steve Thompson's blog.
John McClane sketch from artist Stephen Thompson’s blog.

Die Hard #1– What? Come on, okay?  Die Hard’s my favorite Christmas movie and even I, on occasion, should be allowed to let go of snobbery and pretension long enough to enjoy big dumb fun.  Which brings us to this here comic book, chronicling  John McClane’s rookie tour with the NYPD in 1976.  Written by Howard Chaykin, a veteran of tough, grizzled action/crime stories, with art by Stephen Thopmson (Moonstone’s Buckaroo Banzai, Presidential Material: John McCain).

Sleeper Season Two TP–  Stop reading if you’ve heard my spiel about Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ masterpiece.  Okay, now that they’re gone, you simply MUST read Sleeper.  It contains zero moral value, and that’s fantastic. Secret agent Holden Carver is under deep, deep cover in THE underground criminal organization what’s got their hands in everything with seemingly no way out.  Why would he want to get out anyway, when evil’s so damn sexy?  It’s an amazingly well-executed story and if you have enjoyed these creators’ other series Criminal and Incognito you’ll more than dig this.

abproAbsolute Promethea Vol. 01– One of our favorite Alan Moore books gets the gussied-up Absolute treatment from DC/Wildstorm.  There are precious few other things you can drop a hundred bucks on.  Anyone got a hundred bucks I can borrow?

Bad Dog #3– You may want to wait for the trade on this title due to its erratic schedule, but if you’re stalwart enough to jump on board or you’ve been following it all along you’ll know that Joe Kelly’s romp is one irreverent delight after another.  Best comic featuring a Werewolf bounty hunter ever.

And that’s just the tip of the bookshelf.  Have a good Wednesday, folks.

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