Tagged: Kagan McLeod

Chris’ Comics: Kaptara Volume 1- Fear Not, Tiny Alien

kaptara-vol1tp-cov-webKaptara Volume 1: Feat Not, Tiny Alien

Chip Zdarsky, Kagan McLeod

Image  $9.98

::: Wipes forehead in relief:: Phew, almost went 3 weeks without mentioning a comic written by Chip Zdarsky. Glad I put a stop to that!

2015 was the year Chip Zdarsky went from being Matt Fraction’s chum who drew Sex Criminals, to Chip Zdarsky, Matt Fraction’s chum who draws Sex Criminals as well as plethora of covers, writes Howard the Duck for Marvel, as well as Jughead for Archie. It was the year that saw Zdarsky grow as writer, not just as artist and a guy who favorites a bunch of stuff I say on social media.  And while his work for hire stuff is great, those books didn’t get to show off the Zdarsky brand like Kaptara does.

Kapata, drawn by Kagan McLeod, was original sold as “Gay Saga”  when it was first hitting the stands/being marketed. In reality it’s “Intentionally Gay Masters of the Universe”, which is something I think is fantastic. It stars Keith Kanga, a scientist who’s Kaptara04_Preview_Pageship crash lands on the planet Kaptara, and find out that the Earth is in grave danger. However, Keith isn’t sure if he wants to actually return to Earth, or continue to live among his new acquaintances.

In my defense, art aside, the first issue of the series wasn’t as strong as Chip’s debut on Howard or Jughead. I decided to wait for the trade, which turned out to be my prefered method of reading Kaptara. Once the initial cast/naked shape shifting wizard is introduced, and the plot is establsihed, the book begins to take off, mixing Zdarsky’s trademark humor with some gorgeous work from McLeod.

Kagan’s work on this book is stunning, managing to recreate the Kirby meets Robert E Howard look of He-Man, only taking it to the extreme. McLeod creates such interesting visuals as a Smurf-like race of Mushroom people who are the actual worst, Cat Tanks, oh and like 50 new characters all with names and M.O.s in the span of 2 pages. McLeod is artistic tour de force, and Kaptara’s all the richer for having him attached to the book. His pages are filled with lush colors and wonderfully bizarre characters and setting. McLeod was absolutely stunning on Infinite Kung Fu, and he’s equally wonderful  on this book.

screenshot_2015-05-20-19-07-302I’ve sung Chip’s praises as a writer plenty of times before, but with Kaptara, we get to see his skills as a writer that are more in the vein of Sex Criminals than his work for hire, as he and Kagan have created everything from the ground up. Like I said earlier, the book suffers a little bit early as the cast/plot is established, but once Keith lands on Kaptara, the book really takes off. We get to see Zdarsky’s trademark brand of humor mesh with some interesting character building, letting us see a different side of Chip’s skill sets. It’s some solid work, and shows just how talented Zdarsky is as a writer.

Kaptara Volume 1 includes the first fives issues of the series, a cover gallery,  breakdown of the final 2 pages of issue 5 (this will make sense once you read it!), and autobiography/tale kaptara02_preview_page5-jpgof sexual conquest by Dartor (Prince of Endom!), really making this $9.98 (Chip will NOT be undersold!) package all the more attractive. Overall, Kaptara is a really charming book, well charming for a sci-fi fantasy comedy adventure book with sexist Mushroom folk. I know Image isn’t exactly short on comedy books OR sci-fi comics, but between Kagan McLeod’s psydelic visuals, and Zdarsky’s witty dialogue, Kaptara is a book worth checking out if you haven’t yet.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Memorial Day Lateness

4339743-uxm34Uncanny X-men #34

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

As I’ve said plenty of times in the past, the strongest issues of Brian Michael Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run have been the done in ones. UXM #34  is another done in one, so it’s safe to say you can another positive review from me for this title.

One of the things Bendis did early in his run was set up a cool Mystique Vs Dazzler feud. It’s something I’ve enjoyed because they’re 2 of my favorite mutants, and it’s lead to a cool Kris Anka (who draws this issue) redesign for Dazzler. With the Bendis run coming to an end soon October,  he uses this issue to wrap up that plot up in a satisfying way.

One of the reasons why this issue worked for me was it gave Dazzler some much needed focus and characterization. She joined the team shortly before the Charles Xavier retcon a go-go arc, but was quickly delegated to a background character role. She’s a lead character here, and Bendis gets a lot out of her in 20 pages. It also helps that Bendis get to bounce her off of Maria Hill, a character he co-created and has a massive amount of experience writing. His take on Mystique is also rad, as he handles her with a certain degree of sympathy that makes the character relatable even though she’s a bit of a monster. Aside from the Dazzler & friends related business, we get to  check in on the new students who are currently without a school. Bendis drops some hints that he has some plans for them to be revealed soon, and I’m curious to see what they are. It’s been a bit of a challenge to get new mutants to stick around for an extended period of time, and I’m curious to see if Bendis has any ideas on how to change that with his generation of  “X-kids”.

Kris Anka was the best choice to draw this issue, as he is great at drawing female characters and can convey the proper emotions needed for this story. His body language is really strong, and it shows in this issue, especially since there’s a lot of scenes involving 2 or more character standing/sitting around chatting. Anka’s work is exceptionally clean, and Marte Gracia‘s coloring keep the book looking fresh, giving Anka’s minimalist style a much needed sense of dimension.

Uncanny X-men 34 is another fine single issue that tell a story within 20 pages and will warrant an immediate re-read. It’s not the best this run has seen, but it’s definitely worth the price of admission if you’ve been enjoying this incarnation of X-men

Kaptara_02Kapatara #2

Chip Zdarsky/Kagan McLeod

Image, $3.50

Kaptara #2 is a fine comic, but I’ll be honest: the art is wasted on the monthly format. Artist Kagan McLeod‘s work is so good, it begs to be put in one of those oversize albums (Hardcovers as their known as in the States) the European market gets because they appreciate the medium better. This  absolutely bizarre but incredible looking take on the Masters of the Universe universe deserves an over-sized hardcover at the very least. McLeod’s art, especially his character designs, are hard to describe properly. They’re extremely odd, but are flowing with creativity that it’s worth admiring. Everything from the body language, to the layouts to the environments are so unique, and have just the right amount of comedy to remind you that this is not exactly the most serious book. The best way to describe it would be those old  Sunday morning newspaper strips with a modern Adult Swim twist.

Writer Chip Zdarsky‘s second efforts on this book are a improvement from the previous issue. The main character Keith is given some much needed drive, and the characters from the previous issue also get their fair share of development. Chip and Kagan also introduce several new characters that are also as equally amusing and well designed, expanding the cast quite a bit. Now that the general premise is explained, Chip gets a little more room to breath, and the book benefits greatly from it.

Kaptara #2 is insanity on paper, but also gorgeous. It’s unpredictable, hilarious and something genuinely unique, which something both the readers and the industry benefits from.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics: Yet more Image debut editions

Kaptara-coverKaptara #1

Chip Zdarsky/Kagan McLeod

Image $3.50

KAPTARA: The comic where you come for Chip Zdarsky’s action figure fan fiction but stay for the gorgeous art by Infinite Kung Fu’s Kagan McLeod….as well as for the insanity of Churp’s action figure fan fiction.

“When Kaptara was first announced, I didn’t know what to make of it except for GAY SAGA will read many a comic journalist review of this book. I may be paraphrasing, but it did honestly feel like Zdarsky and McLeod were relatively tight lipped about the book until its release. Which I’m fine with, I don’t need the damn thing spoiled and dissected before it comes out (see: Avengers: Age of Ultron).

That being said, Kaptara isn’t as strong script wise as Howard the Duck was. Our main lead isn’t exactly the most likable, which I’m fine with, as I dig flawed main characters. That being said, not much of the supporting cast has much to going on either, so it’s kind of a drag in that department. It does pick up once things are planet-side, and once the series’ premise is explained a bit more, Kaptara’s cast and narrative  get FAR more interesting. It also helps that McLeod gets to flex his artistic muscles a bit more as the book progresses, giving us the goods and forests made of MURDER!

Kagan McLeod’s art is the reason you should buy this book. While Zdarsky may not be at his strongest in the premiere, Kagan certainly is, and it shows in the art. It’s equal parts Ryan Ottley and Sean Murphy, but with a European-esque vibe to it, making it entirely trippy, but unique. This is especially true once the book is set on Kaptara, where we’re treated to some really well executed action scenes and wonderfully odd character designs.

Kaptara is a fun comic oozing with potential. Now that Chip is done with introductions, I’m sure the script side of things will only improve, all while Kagan’s art will continue to impress and amaze.

STK666093Beyond Belief #1

Ben Acker/Ben Blacker/Phil Hester/Eric Gapstur/Mauricio Wallace/Marshall Dillon

Image, $3.50

CLINK!

Let’s be honest for a section: comics adaptions of other mediums tend to have a spotty track record. Not everything can be Mark Waid and the Dodsons on a Star Wars book, because not every property is Star Wars, and not every comics writer can be Waid. HOWEVER, some mediums lend themselves better to comics, which is exactly the case with The Thrilling Adventure Hour’s Beyond Belief Image comic debut.

Translating the popular podcast done in an old timey radio to a comic is something THA creator’s Ben Acker and Ben Blacker have done before with Arcadia Press to much success. Now with Image, they get to tell episode length stories in comics, enlisting veteran artist Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur and Ande Parks to tell the tale of Frank and Sadie Doyle. For those not in the know, the Doyles are an upper class couple who deal with spooky ghosts and their ilk, usually highly intoxicated. That is literally my #SQUADGOAL FYI.

With the Bens on board, the book sounds like an extended episode of the podcast, which is great for a fan like myself. Phil Hester’s art is also welcomed, as his work is clean is smooth and crisp, capturing both the humor and horror elements of Beyond Belief perfectly. It’s enhanced greatly by Gapstur and Parks inks, which are heavy on the shadowing but not to the point of saturation, but on a comfortable enough level that it blends perfectly with Marshall Dillion’s colors.

Beyond Belief #1 does an excellent job of introducing people not familiar with the Doyles to the TAH hour with a nice back up explaining how Frank and Sadie met. It’s incredibly new reader friendly, and fans of Beyond Belief should dig it as well. It’s a fun horror comic that isn’t too spooky, but not silly enough not to be compelling. It’s highly welcomed if your looking for something a little more off beat.

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