Tagged: Love & Rockets

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 16: Custodian of the Stolen Plans

So last week was my worst column yet. How do I quantify that? Well I thought it was dumb, everyone else who read it also thought it was dumb, and not many people read it. See? Quality isn’t really subjective. So I’m sad to say that was my last column as a comic journalist. I know some of you were living and dying by my recommendations, and to you loyal readers I apologize. The good news is I’m not leaving the Planet entirely. I spoke to the important so and so’s at FP and they, after much crying and pleading, begged me to stay on in some capacity. Especially with Tyler missing, the loss of dear old me might be too much for the old Planet to take. I can’t go into details about the deal but lets just say I can finally afford that sandwich I’ve had my eye on. So here we go with TRY SOMETHING NEW 2.0. as an advice column for all your pressing social etiquette questions, troubling moral quandaries, and secret relationship dilemnas. So, without further ado-

Dear Matthew,

I love your column. You are my hero but I think there is something wrong with me. Nothing makes me happy anymore. I find myself longing for something old yet new somehow. I want action, but not over the top stupid excitement for the sake of it. I want mystery and adventure. Everywhere I turn things seem ugly and unappealing. Am I going crazy? -Ben S. from Dearborn, Mi.

Ben,

There is nothing wrong with you. You just don’t know what you want. You are aimless. Have you ever checked out Dean Motter’s MISTER X? If you haven’t then you probably should. Motter’s retro futurist character returns in this week’s one shot MISTER X: HARD CANDY. Beautiful Golden Age looking art and gritty detective stories that feel like a cross between The Rocketeer and Blade Runner. There was a time when this is all science fiction did, and Motter would have been among the best at that time. Now sci-fi almost never does this type of story and the genre suffers for it. Pick up a copy of this book and see if it gives your life some meaning little buddy.

Hey Matthew,

You are great. Keep being great. I keep thinking there should be a comic that is a post apocalyptic story ala books like Wasteland or Judge Dredd but involve biblical characters like the Four Horseman in some politically intriguing scenarios. This book would be a mess though unless someone awesome like Jonathan Hickman of Manhattan Projects/Avengers/Ultimates fame helmed it to ensure it was clever and always zigged when I thought it would zag. I was thinking a rising star artist like Nick Dragotta could draw something like this well. A sort of Sean Murphy meets Jock sensibility. All of this would be perfect on a company like Image who keep putting out good series after good series. What do you think of that idea? Pretty good right? – Javier R. from Brooklyn, Ny.

Javier,

That book sounds exactly like EAST OF WEST #1. It comes out this Wednesday. Please think of something more original.

Hello Matthew,

First of all, I love the column. You truly are the voice of a generation. I have a friend who thinks that all comics suck. What should I tell them? Vita A. from L.E.S., NY.

Hi Vita,

Thanks for the kind words. I get that a lot. First of all, are you sure this person is really your friend? It sounds like they are just hanging out with you to try and make you angry. That’s not what friendship is about, keep that in mind. Either way, you should give them JULIO’S DAY which is out today. Originally started in Love & Rockets vol. II but never completed until now, JULIO’S DAY is one of the more easily digestible while still brilliant works by Gilberto Hernandez. There are few folks alive or dead who will end up having either the massive impact or the stunning catalog in comics of either of Los Bros. Hernandez. While JULIO’S DAY may not go down as his most important work because it lacks the impressive scale of the Palomar stuff, it shouldn’t be overlooked. For a man who has found his career making epic sprawling stories, it is humbling and inspiring to see he can do the same thing in small doses as well. Give that to your “friend” and tell them to choke on it.

Hello Matthew,

Do you know what your problem is? – Anna P. from Seattle, Wa.

Anna,

Yup.

Dear Matthew,

Thanks for the column. It saved my life a few times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Anyway, I met this guy at a party recently and he seemed really great. He was really tall and good looking, wearing this psychedelic blue and yellow jumpsuit. He said he was a magician from another dimension and he did all sorts of strange tricks. He had an entourage of strange dwarves, catfaced men, and all sorts of odd characters around him. But then he said he had to leave because his biggest fan was in danger and he had to dimension hop and rescue them from the clutches of his arch nemesis. I don’t like getting in over my head but I really like him and want to see him again. Here’s the thing; I don’t know how to find him now? I am worried he is gone forever!- Rich W. from Long Island, Ny.

Hey Rich,

Good news/bad news here. The bad news first: none of that happened. You are having a weird flashback and need to sort that out. The good news: What you are describing sounds a lot like the mini-series Zaucer of Zilk. Z.O.Z. was a great and truly bizarre British psychedelic comic and has just been collected as THE COMPLETE ZAUCER OF ZILK. To any of my readers who want to feel like someone dosed them but you don’t want to end up babbling nonsense like crazy Rich over here I would strongly recommend this one. The British comic guys do no holds barred crazy better than anyone else and it is always a fun trip. Bright colors, weirdo plot twists, amazing characters, and only a passing grasp on reality makes for great comics.

Hiya Matthew,

Would you like a cashew? -Jean B. from Bronx, Ny.

Jean,

No thanks. Nuts are gross. Nothing personal.

Hey Matthew,

Great work with the column. Keep it up. I am writing because I’m in a weird situation. There is this person I know who I hang out with just to make them angry. I say things like “all comics suck” just to see what they say. Is this wrong? P.S. You are my favorite writer of all time. – Danny L. from Harlem, Ny

Hi Danny,

No, this definitely isn’t wrong. The whole point of having friends is to push their boundaries and get under their skin. Friendship should be a caustic and trying affair. Like prolonged exposure to lye, if it isn’t making your skin blister you aren’t doing it right. In the meantime you should read a book. Try B.P.R.D. VAMPIRE #1. It’s a new arc of B.P.R.D. so it will definitely be a fun book and it’s drawn by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon aka the team behind Daytripper aka two of the best artists in comics. Go buy it in secret, read it in private, and tell your friend to she smells funny.

Hello Matthew,

Love the column so much. You are the greatest mind of our generation. I put you up there with Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Ellison as a defining voice of the American experience. Please don’t ever stop writing. Your words give my life meaning. Also, are there any good X-Men books out this week? Carly R. from Burlington, Vt.

Hi Carly,

Again, thanks for the kind words. Really flattering. Funny you should ask about X-Men books because ALL NEW X-MEN vol. 1 is out this week. I don’t hide my weirdo fondness for the work of Brian Bendis. His work on All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men so far has been the absolute breakout of the Marvel Now relaunch and with good reason. These books fundamentally break down the X-Men to the basics of what the X-Men should be. Add to that actual character arcs and progression and you have what may end up being the best X-Men book in 25 years or more. Bold words but I don’t have to back them up because you can just read the book and see that I’m right. Hope that helps you Carly. Now quit smoking.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 15: Princess Leia Races Home Aboard Her Starship.

Ok, big week here at TRY SOMETHING NEW. It seems a ton of you have been reading my column and taking my advice. Obama released the sales charts for comics last week and it turns out REPTILE MUSEUM by Cody Pickrodt was the best selling comic in the country, selling a whopping 1,288,000 copies in one week. That’s a lot of folding and stapling. Thanks loyal readers. I hope you all enjoyed reading the book as much as I did. I am sure Cody would thank you too if he wasn’t busy orbiting the earth in a newly purchased Soviet space shuttle. Hopefully there is stuff in this weeks column that you can be equally as excited about.

Of course every silver lining comes with a sad old cloud inside it. I am putting this issue of the Weekly Planet together myself for the first time. Turns out it’s not so hard. This is shaved ape territory. That’s not the sad part though. No living person has seen dear sweet Tech Wizard/Milk Carton Model Tyler in over a week. This is hard to talk about but Tyler was getting into weird stuff recently. Stuff you wouldn’t want your parents to see, stuff you would deny to your friends. Comics with no narrative, comics that were just made up of shapes, comics that took place inside large animals, comics about comics even. MoCCA stuff. Real sicko $#!%. Sadly no one at Forbidden Planet heard his cry for help enough to just hand him a copy of Hawkman and slap him in the face once. We have all seen it before. Kid moves to the big city from… I don’t, Canada? Texas? Where the hell was Tyler from? And the big city shows him things he has never imagined. Blexbolex things. Deforge things. Marra things. The first time he saw Pillow Fight it was like watching a puppy come to understand string theory. Soon he is shaving his head, hanging out in offices with british dudes, and … Sorry again. I don’t really know what Tyler does other than edit this steaming pile of journalism. Either way, if you see Tyler out there tell him someone at Forbidden Planet loves him. Tell him to come home before this world ruins him. He had so much to give. I can already feel this is too little too late. Oh well.

Image came out swinging pretty hard in 2012, firmly staking their claim as the innovative mainstream publisher. Books like Saga, Manhattan Projects, Fatale, Mind The Gap, Prophet, and King City were among the best books to come out last year. Well Image is feeling the pressure to top all that clearly. Books like End Times, Nowhere Men, Sex, and Great Pacific are all causing a lot of buzz and are well worth your time. But no book has generated the buzz or the praise of FIVE GHOSTS #1. The Five Ghosts team (Team 5G is what no one is calling them) is signing/signed at Forbidden Planet this Wednesday, (and what a fine looking and charming group of young men) depending on when you read this. A great classic pulp adventure with big ideas and breathtaking art, FIVE GHOSTS feels just like what you imagined all comics should be like when you were 10. An Indiana Jones type meets the great literary characters of the past 200 years in a supernatural thriller as drawn by a cross between Milo Manara and Wally Wood. That was probably too nice, but still, really fun book. Make sure to grab a copy so you can see what everyone else is already talking about.

While we are on the subject of Image and the signing on Wednesday, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE comes out this week and Bob Fingerman will/was also signing on Wednesday. If you aren’t familiar with Minimum Wage then you should probably stop reading this and just buy the book right now, which is a fully remastered collection of the old stuff with new bonus material. Bob Fingerman is a true classic cartoonist in every sense of the word. He has had work in everything from Cracked to Screw, High Times to Heavy Metal. He has done children’s comics (the excellent Recess Pieces), and porno comics (the also excellent Skinheads In Love), and turtle comics (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). But for many of his fans and admirers his pseudo autobiographical comic Minimum Wage is his true crowning achievement. Underemployed twenty-something characters try to find their places, get by, and fill their days in this book that in many ways feels like the sibling to books like Love & Rockets and American Splendor. Slice of life storytelling that is character driven and vital, while never losing sight of what makes indie comics fun.

Another of my favorite books of the last year finally lands in collected format this week, Brian Wood‘s brilliant environmentalist post apocalyptic drama, THE MASSIVE. Part insane naval action thriller, part end of the world disaster story, all framed around a disappeared freighter. Wood does his usual great job of making simple ideas seem thrilling and fresh, and then populating them with great characters. In many ways The Massive is the spiritual successor if not actual sequel to his amazing NYC modern civil war series DMZ. With a story that jumps smartly and easily from one mind blowing locale to another, The Massive doesn’t read like anything else on shelves. I don’t know if Wood is great at research or the best bull$#!% artist in comics but it doesn’t matter. His work feels authentic and topical, while never getting bogged down in stupid stuff like “science” and “facts.” While never quite overt, it is nice to see a major comic address climate change and environmentalism in a serious and smart way. This and Joe Harris’ Great Pacific are working hard to bring important issues back to mainstream comics and that is a very good thing. Mr. Wood’s whole career is filled with work from some of the most exciting artists working. From his old books with amazing talents like Becky Cloonan, Ryan Kelly, and Toby Cypress, to more recent fair where he has introduced the masses to artistic geniuses like Riccardo Burchielli, Fiona Staples, Shawn Martinbrough, and Nathan Fox, Wood may have the best taste of any writer in comics. He hasn’t slowed down at all in recent years, doing books with folks like James Harren and Ming Doyle, and now Garry Brown on The Massive. Garry Brown’s art makes The Massive a book that should be in every single smart person’s read list. I have known Garry’s work for a while and been counting the days until he became a superstar. I have a feeling that this time is now. There aren’t a lot of people in comics who can make 2 page spreads of the ocean seem beautiful, scary, or even worth looking at, but Garry does it effortlessly issue after issue. In short, a smart, exciting, and refreshing book that is also beautiful. Stop spending money on the stupid stuff you spend money on and give this book a chance.

Thanks for reading and good night. And sleep well sweet Tyler. Wherever you find yourself tonight.

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