Tagged: peter bagge

Name Rank Serial Number

The best comic of last week?  MARS ATTACKS POPEYE.  I don’t mean to give out spoilers, but the Martians lost.  I do hope they fare better this week against KISS.  Maybe with KISS gone IDW will start publishing a Jethro Tull comic book!

IDW Mars Attacks Popeye

ONE of the best comics of last week was Hellboy In Hell #2.  Elegant, creepy and fun, HBinH #2 made up for most of the first issues rambling clunkiness with big pay offs in both direction and character.  I am a crazed Hellboy Fanboy… a Hellfan if you will, though I stopped getting the spinoff title B.P.R.D. some time ago.  One thing that makes Hellboy in Hell so great is Mike Mignola back at the helm of both pencils and writing. The past few years worth of Hellboy books have been drawn (and possibly written) by several artists, including Richard Corben and Duncan Fegredo.  These are great, fun titles and both do amazing jobs carving out their own fingerholds in the Hellboy cliff face.  Hellboy The Wild Hunt was a fun, romp through the woods of Hellboy’s milieu, and a great place to jump on for fans eager to get caught up on Big Red.  This week sees the release of B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Abyss Time #1 of 2, aka B.P.R.D. #103.  I believe that the current storyline focuses on the actual end times playing out on the surface of the Earth and the combined efforts of all concerned to stop it.  What struck me the most, oddly, was the title.  I’m not sure how many issues of Hellboy there have been, but I was struck by a question.  Would Hellboy in Hell #2 sell better or worse if it was just called Hellboy #85?

TITLES AND NUMBERS

Grant Morrison Action Comics #16Superman’s latest periodical hits this week in the form of Action Comics #16, which sounds far more accessible than Superman #2345.  Superman is going to go toe to toe with an evil demonic version of himself from an alternative universe.  Sounds great!  There are so many ways to read comics now, be it through classic single issues, trade paperbacks or even digital downloads.  Comic book names are getting a bit unwieldy simply because the publishers need you to be able to recognize the reprint trades when they hit the shelves later on.  So for example, Superior Spider-Man #1 hits the shelves this week, a guaranteed must buy (unless your boycotting Dan Slott), and I am sure we will see a few issues go down the pike before they’ve branded the book with a subtitle for the sake of trades.  This leads to a bigger thought on what the main draw to a comic is, anyway.  Dark Horse has a new Graphic Novel out collecting Peter Bagge’s recent comic RESET.  There are no titular characters we’re familiar with. Would it have sold better or worse if the book was titled after Bagge’s old indie comic which launched hom to fame?  Should this collection be renamed Peter Bagge’s Hate: Reset?  It’s fun to think about, especially when you take it to the extreme.  Since all comics derive from Superman, and Superman was the inheritor of the work done by the Gaines family on Famous Funnies, I think the most accurate title for this week’s Detective Comics #16 SHOULD be Famous Funnies Staring Superman #167895234, Batman Detective Comics A Death To the Family #16!

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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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A Whale of a Con

San Diego Comic Con is THIS WEEK! While all of the top talents booze, schmooze and chanteuse their way through the biggest pop culture festival in America, the publishing industry that started it all will still be turning out great titles.

Join us this week, here in the hallowed halls of The Forbidden Planet, for the amazing, incredible weekly comic book extravaganza known as “New Comics Wednesday,” a.k.a. “Business As Usual Con, 2012,” which is now in it’s 28th week running!

TOWERING TITLES

Titles premiering the week of SDCC can be astonishing! In 2002, Mike Mignola’s Amazing Screw On Head hit the stands on opening week, and in 2006 it was Alan Moore stealing the show’s thunder with a little slip case bound, three volume set of Lost Girls.

This week?

Image wants the world to know they’re launching a spin off to the once obscure, now high-profile bizarro crime comic CHEW this week with Chew Secret Agent Poyo #1. Will this be the big, big book of the Con? I dunno’, IDW is launching their own #1 with Battle Beasts #1 and I cannot WAIT to read that sucker and find out how they squeaked a narrative into THAT tiny 80’s toyline.

Dark Horse is keeping in the spirit of BAUC 2012 with the latest issue of Buffy Season 9, as well as the latest issue of their continuously impressive neo-horror comic Creepy (#9).

Creepy has been a sleeper title, a blink and you miss it treat where some of comics best established creators in horror and beyond let their scraggly hair down to have a little fun. Monthly horror stories from all sides of the tracks, with contributing talents such as Bernie Wrightson, Kelly Jones, Steve Niles, Peter Bagge, and more!

Dark Horse is adding another monthly horror book on to your pull list this week with the premier of Eerie #1. Will lightning strike twice? I sure hope so!

THE BIG TWO

Rumors are already spoiling Marvel’s thunder, as many of the big announcements The House of Ideas plans to reveal are already common knowledge online. Rumors such as a wide spread relaunch of several big name titles, such as X-Men and Avengers, with new creators, costumes, and rosters. While not launching at the same time, most of these new books will start over with new #1 numbers on their cover.

Now where did they get that idea, I wonder? Continue reading

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Strip Mind

Comic books are the result of some Steve Rogers / Captain America level experimentations. The puny, pre-war weakling that was Daily Comic strips kept trying to be a media darling, but the big mean bully named Radio kept punching him in a nearby alley.

THEN, Max Gaines, hoping for the literal, financial translation of his name, put the scrawny yet scrappy comic strip into his miraculous machine. With bangs, flashes and steam the insignificant nerd was TRANSFORMED into Comic Books!

That’s exactly what happened. In this metaphor the super smart scientist who designed the Captain America machine, previously played by “Tony Stark’s Dad,” is played by the commercial viability of Superman.

BUT WAIT

Like a Zombie-Ghost creature scratching the outside of a window looking into a happy house, Comic Strips are STILL AROUND! BOOOOOOO! While comic books have fun winning awards, poor comic strips have to hang out in newspapers hoping someone pays them any attention.

WE at Forbidden Planet still love you, Comic Strips!

Some great, readily available comic strip collections here at the Planet include “Good-Girl” artist Frank Cho’s beloved Liberty Meadows, a relationship comic that combines/steals the formula from Berke Breathed’s SENSATIONAL Bloom County with the cheesecake of Al Capp’s Li’l Abner. Boy, Bloom County and Li’l Abner…now THOSE were some awesome comic strips.

The Planet has a pretty good compliment of Chuck Schultz’ Peanuts, WELL worth the read, as well as the brilliant work of Tony Millionaire, creator of MaakiesDrinky Crow, Dark Horse’s Sock Monkey, and more!

TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN CUTIE ISLAND, (W/A) Shannon Wheeler, BOOM!

Shannon Wheeler puts out comic strips you could set your watch too. Dependable, funny, smart, and surprising, Too Much Coffee Man is a slacker 90’s comic done right. Fans of Peter Bagge’s work should love it…but then they probably already know about it.

KIDS: If you like counter-culture, beat poetry, snark, coffee, espresso, irony, German white chocolate with almonds or low expectations, you should check out this new collection of TMCM! You should probably check out Peter Bagge’s comic Buddy while you’re at it, too.

KRAZY KAT, George Herriman, Fantagraphics Books

Some folks are going to argue that Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo has more artistic OOMPH, yet I would argue that the people who would say that are stupid, tree eating bunny killers!

Krazy Kat is beautiful, strange and endlessly absurd. It is NOT for everyone, but if you want to experience the best of the best, READ HERE!

SO THERE YA’ GO, KIDS! Why not take some of your hard earned money and explore the other types of comic art the Planet has to offer. If you need any assistance our kind and courteous staff will be happy to shove some fun comic strip books into your shopping bags.

NEXT WEEK: Nutrition and Comics, or “Which comics should I buy for reasons of entertainment and necessity if I plan on getting stuck beneath a pile of rubble with nothing but comics to eat and read till’ I’m rescued?”

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

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Comics Gud. Gud Comics, Take Comics Home.

You are in luck, my friend, as there are so many AMAZING comic books out this week that you could probably buy one at random and still get somethin’ snazzy! Still, my job as a Forbidden Planet columnist is to provide you with some professional perspective to guide the dart of your paycheck towards that big red bulls-eye of a great read.  Please consider the following:

Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus, Shannon Wheeler (W/A), Dark Horse

Back in my day “Hipster” was called “Grunge” and there were several great comics out detailing the finer points of Grunge anthropology. Peter Bagge’s brilliant “Buddy” and “Hate” comics spring to mind, as does Shannon Wheeler’s Too Much Coffee Man.

Too Much Coffee Man is the café culture’s zeitgeist, an armchair super hero who worries about the universe’s gestalt while sipping mocha with his friends Too Much Expresso Man and Too Much German White Chocolate With Almonds Girl. Yes, really.

They don’t fight much crime, but they do ponder their place in the vast quandary that is human existence…and it’s really flippin’ funny! The TMCM Omnibus from Dark Horse collects a snot load of this good stuff for a cheap-oh price! Pick this book up and drop it on your lavatory cistern for easy retro-cool credibility.

Secret Society of Super Villains HC, Various (W/A), DC

When you’re done feeling all erudite and superior after that last book, bring it back to basics with this collection of Super-villains punching brightly colored dufi in their collected bread baskets!

Secret Society of Super Villains HC is a gorgeous, full color reprint edition of silver age comics featuring silly DC villains trying their darndest to get the upper hand on their good-guy foils. It will be weird, it will be stupid, it will be silly…but it sure won’t be boring!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Continue reading

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Wilson, By Daniel Clowes

…is out today.  It’s kind of a big deal.  You should pick it up.

Wilson_Daniel_Clowes

In his all-new graphic novel, one of the leading cartoonists of our time, Daniel Clowes, creates a thoroughly engaging, complex and fascinating character study of the modern egotist, outspoken and oblivious to the world around him.

Working in a single-page-gag format and drawing in a spectrum of styles, the cartoonist of Ghost World gives us his funniest and most deeply affecting novel to date. Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner, loves his dog and possibly no one else. After his father dies, Wilson sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption.

Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family – a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire. Wilson is Clowes’ first all-new graphic novel that has not been serialized and is being presented in book form for the first time.

New books from Daniel Clowes and Peter Bagge (Other Lives) in the same month?  I had to check the calendar to make sure this wasn’t 1995.  Once I finished with that dopey endeavor I learned to accept that we comic fans are simply blessed this April 2010 and got on with enjoying new work by two of the great cartoonists of all time.

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Everbody is Stupid Except for Peter Bagge

Fantagraphics has just published a new collection of comics from “Hate” creator Peter Bagge: Everybody is Stupid Except for Me. Originally appearing in the pages of Reason- a 40ish year old Libertarian magazine with a circulation that hovers around the sixty thousand mark- the work reprinted here runs the gamut of observations from the Seattle-based cartoonist and eviscerates causehaeds, the media, malls, bums, trains, politicians, celebrities and even his fellow Libertarians alike.

estefm

Please be aware that these cartoons appeared between the roller coaster years of 2001-2008 (though that’s not to say we aren’t still strapped in), and should be viewed less like the reactionary ramblings of some political cartoonists that cropped up in that period and considered more as social commentary documented in comics form. Keep in mind that whether you agree with Bagge’s views or not, his cartooning prowess is the real spectacle to behold here. A welcome alternative (and in some ways an antidote) to the shrill talking head Punditocracy of Fox News and CNBC in comics form.

bagge

I was a big fan of the “Hate” single issues when they ran in the nineties, and despite having recommended his stuff countless times in the NYC Forbidden Planet store, for some reason or another Mr. Bagge fell off my favorite cartoonists list, the subsequent Annuals sitting towards the bottom of the never ending reading list. Dunno why. Guess I forgot how dense his work can be irrespective of panel size and how very few of his peers can display such social vitriol with such sarcastic, humorous vigor. Or I forgot how the distinct expressions and body language of his rubbery characters can emote more than hormonally charged teenagers on crank. Either way that was pretty dumb of me and he’s once again ascended to the top of the pile.

Here Bagge’s at his finest depicting the stupid crap that spews out of the mouths of otherwise presumably intelligent beings. Among my faves: Fascists Have Feelings Too (“What’s so evil about trains running on time?”), Ex-Pats Say the Darndest Things (“…the people here exhibit a deep spirituality that is non-existent back home.”) and Taking Out Arnold (“…Twins is practically an ad for genetic engineering!”).

Above all else, Everybody is Stupid Except for Me showcases a comics artist who remains at the top his craft. Almost a decade’s worth of work years removed from that which he’s most recognized for, yet still relevant, still angry, still funny, and still cartooning about the whole mess with aplomb.

Finally, let me just take a moment to say that there are very few cartoonists on this planet who incorporate the “arrows pointing at something funny, or with self-mockery for their lack of being able to draw something” well enough to use this overdone and despicably cliched technique ever again. In fact only three come to mind: Robert Crumb, Evan Dorkin, and Peter Bagge. Everyone else: STOP IT RIGHT NOW. If you absolutely have to point at something cute in your drawings (and you probably don’t), remember: sparingly, people, sparingly.

sports

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When Writers Attack!

by Jeff Ayers

Further proving this writer’s hypothesis that damn near  everyone involved in the pop arts these days wants to be associated with comics & geek culture, an onslaught of prose novelists are releasing comics in the near future, led by this week’s Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures #1 from Laurell K.Hamilton.  Other recent medium-hoppers of note include espionage/suspense  writers Greg Rucka (52, Whiteout) and Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis, Justice League), as well as fantasists Raymond E. Feist, Tad Williams, and Orson Scott Card.  Movie and TV personalities are also jumping aboard as director Reggie Huddlin, Lost producer Damon Lindelof, Buffy creator Joss Whedon, and Allan Heinberg of The OC are all writing comics, too.

While this trend is anything but new, the sheer number of projects granted to these fledging comic authors is daunting to say the least.  One wonders if the job pool for established comic writers will soon be shallower by way of  this new wave, regardless of the former’s prior successes, their knowledge of the medium, and their ability to make a deadline.  Indeed, many of these newer ongoing projects from “outside” writers are plagued by release dates not met and rush-jobs churned out on account of the writer’s other, more profitable, obligations.  However, as long as their comics maintain a consistent level of quality and punctuality they are worth note.

Continue reading

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