Tagged: Sandman

We got it all on FP Transmissions.

Jeff and Vita rapped about the new releases this week as Javier (of Minimate minute fame) and I slaved over a massive shipment with thousands of awesome comics including Slott’s Silver Surfer and Sandman Overture #2.

Watch us live on our YouTube channel every Tuesday at 4PM, or 4:08, or 4:15 if Google changes the way you log in for the millionth time. You can also join the conversation by following FPTransmissions to your Google+ circles and accepting Hangout invites.

Post to Twitter

I have bought some comics, also eaten wayyy too much candy.

Halloween is a hell of a thing y’all, and this year’s beer and candy diet was not the best plan. Probably should have thought that one out a bit. :: snorts a crushed-up Kit-Kat bar , because YOLO ::: Woo, comics talk time.

Saga #15, Saga Bryan K. Vaughan, Fiona StaplesSaga #15

Brian K Vaughan. Fiona Staples

Image Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

Remember last week when I was complaining about how it’s hard to critique flawless comics. Here were are again, this time with the newest issue of Saga, which I’m sure surprises no one.  Also damn, that cover is hot, despite also being sort of ridiculous if you’re at all familiar with the book’s leads.

Without diving into spoilers, in this issue Staples and BKV introduce a new character, catch us up with several other characters, answer some questions about an alien planet, and end it all with a killer cliffhanger. The later comes as no surprise, because the book ends on a cliffhanger 90% of the time, which results in me cursing 100% of the time. Other norms for this title seen in this issue include Staples’ fantastic art and colors, and BKV’s hilarious and heartful dialogue. Also vulgar at times, which we all know I’m okay with because I love Sex Criminals. Also damn, that ending, really makes one long for the next issue (less than 30 days away, ha ha crap). So yeah, Saga‘s still perfect in case you were wondering.

SANDMAN-OVERTURE-MCKEAN-600x924Sandman Overture #1

Neil Gaiman/ JH Williams III

DC Comics, $4.99, 20 pages

Speaking of incredibly difficult comics to review…..

Let me say something. If you think Overture is going to be your introduction to the Sandman universe, you’re wrong. So wrong even. This book is fan-service in a way, and if you’ve yet to read arguably one of the BEST comics series of all time, this is not for you. You will be lost, even if you wiki it like a sucker-punk.

But let’s say you’re like me and LOVED the original series. Is this book worth $5? I’ll say YES, it most certainly is, but don’t expect a game changer. This is an incredibly DENSE read, because that’s how Neil Gaiman rolls, and it’s kind of slow paced, because again, Neil Gaiman. WHICH IS FINE, BECAUSE HOLY HELL, J.H. WILLIAMS IS REALLY GOOD AT THIS ART THING EVERYONE. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book William’s drawn (yeah I dropped Batwoman 8 issues in, sorry not sorry), and his skill meets Gaiman’s wonderfully trippy script makes for an fantastical end result.

Now is this book worth buying now, or worth holding out for the eventual deluxe hardcover may be a question you have if you’re a hardcore Sandman fan. That’s entirely up to you. Chances are I’ll double dip on this, assuming it’s a good read. Again I REALLY liked issue #1, BUT your mileage may vary. And again, it’s kinda fan service-y, not in a pandering way, but more of a you need to be up on your Sandman lore to get this book way like I said earlier. And who knows,  it may end up not be completely necessary at all by this all said and done, not unlike Before Watchmen (only you know, not scummy). But it’s hard to imagine that will be the case, especially with the quality of the debut issue.

 

X-Men_Battle_of_the_Atom_Vol_1_2_TextlessX-Men Battle of the Atom #2

Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie and like 6 or 7 other dudes.

Marvel, $3.99, 30 pages

You had one job X-team. One job.

Looks like I’m repeating myself again when it comes to reviewing an X-book. Jason Aaron, as well as Brian Wood and Brian Michael Bendis for the epilogues, wrap up a fairly fun X-event. But once again, the art on this event falls apart.

I don’t mind Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen swinging by to draw some of the epilogues, because they all are great artists who make the ending of this book look really good. But the main story by Esad Ribic, and 2 or 3 others dudes? Not so great. It’s sloppy, looks rushed, the characters are extremely off model-looking at times and you couldn’t have chosen artists whose styles clash any more it seems. It once again ruins Aaron’s solid script, which to be honest, could have toned down the snark in some parts.

But yeah, this event is kind of a mixed bag now that it’s all is said and done. Some really cool stuff happens,  including some fun fan servicey stuff for X-readers, and some new plots to work with going into the 2nd year of the Aaron/Bendis/Wood era of X-books. I just wish some of the questions raised were answered now opposed to down the line (if at all!), and that the art delivered in the last 2 chapters.

 

Up next, an advance look at Vaillant’s Comics Unity #1, the end of Captain Marvel volume 1 and LONGSHOT, SAVING THE UNIVERSE!

 

Post to Twitter

TP AND EGG TOSS OLYMPICS!

By this time next week we will all be Trick-or-Treating, giving candy to those who trick-or-treat or reminiscing about Halloween’s past. Well, most of us…there are three exceptions to this rule, and they are the religious, the foreign and the dead. Combos are particularly exempt. Pope John Paul II is EXTREMELY exempt from Halloween.

Every year I advocate giving unwanted comics (age appropriate, mind you) out instead of candy. Do it. It’s good for you, and maybe a few of the kids who nab freebie books will take to it. There’s still time to pick up a few fun Halloween comics for yourself, ya’ know?

We still have a few issues of Marvel Now What #1, this years annual funny book from the house of ideas. Not a bad outing, really! Well worth the read just to see the fantastic art of Jacob Chabot, the Skull Boy Army wonder kid who’s usually pencilling his fingers into stumps over on Sponge Bob Comics.

The best Marvel book for a fun Halloween treat would be EITHER Volume 1 of Essential Ghost Rider or Tomb of Dracula (Both fun titles) or the first two volumes of Marvel Zombies. For serious gang, if you haven’t read the first book of Marvel Zombies you best get to that. Whatever you do, please don’t drop that thun thun thun (AYE!)

Afterlife with Archie was a blast? Did you miss it? Well there’s a second printing on it’s way. Steve Niles begins a run on everybody’s favorite Groovy ghoul buster, Ash Williams, in Dynamite’s Ash and the Army of Darkness. Steve Niles plans on picking up the story right where the original film left off…and that’s great and everything, but that approach has already been sensationally done in the Army of Darkness Ashes 2 Ashes trade paperback! I’ll check out Steve’s new take, but I do urge you all to pick up a copy of Ashes 2 Ashes. Nick Bradshaw’s art is a blast!

THE BIG GUNS

Even if you DID drop that Thun Thun Thun, and I do urge you to take the greatest pains to prevent such a Thuntastrophy from occurring, there are a few books that you will NEED to scoop up this week.

First off is the debut issue of the brand new Sandman Overture #1, the first new Sandman material from Vertigo in quite some time! Neil Gaiman is back to tell a prequel story of Morpheous, the actual Sandman and ruler of the kingdom of Dream. For fans of the original, game changing Sandman series this is a dream come true. For anyone who hasn’t gotten around to reading the Sandman series yet, NOW is a perfect time to start.

NEXT is Dark Horse’s annual anthology of creepy Edgar Allen Poe tales as beautifully adapted by the incomparable Richard Corben. 2013 brings us The Raven and The Red Death. These books are a Halloween highlight year after year, and this time out Mr. Corben is bringing his a game! Everybody knows the Raven, Poe’s trippy treatise on birds mocking our pain, but the Red Death is the real bon bon of the bunch! What happens when you get all of your rich friends into your swanky castle for a masquerade galla, simply so the peasants have time to die of a horrid airborne disease and rid your land of the poor once and for all? Better be sure you’ve invited the grim reaper to your party, because he sure is going to be pissed if he shows up and he’s not on the guest list!

THEN you’ll have to sell some blood, because we still have Adventure Time’s Spooktacular Halloween issue and issue #2 of the snazzy Power Puff Girls comic!

LIFE IS SHORT

Halloween is special because we get a change to have fun with death, to be who we want to be and to celebrate the spooky and the macabre. Wether it’s props, last minute costume details or just some fun reading, make Forbidden Planet and comics a part of your celebration! Be safe, kids! Don’t eat any razor blade apples.

Post to Twitter

Tomorrow is Going to Be Kinda Ridiculous

I love you, Wednesday, but you’re killing me today.

Saga #15, Saga Bryan K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

We’ve processed another HUGE shipment in the FP vault this week and I’m astounded by how much great stuff we’ve just received… a sizable chunk of which consists of The Sandman Overture #1 and our the new ish of our best-selling comic series, Saga. There’s also Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel’s new comic The Fox, a Halloween issue of Adventure Time, Superior Spidey #20, Fabulous Killjoys, Five Ghosts #6 and a hell’a more single issues.

Avatar Search 3, Gene Yang

PLUS(!) The Death of the Family HC Batman volume 3, Avatar The Search pt. 3, Maria M by Gilbert Hernandez, Rage of Poseidon by Anders Nilsen. AND we forgot to highlight last week’s Dogs of War, illustrated by Nathan Fox.

Whew. That’s only scratching the surface and doesn’t even cover a few pallets of new toys (Ahem, cough cough cough Er, that was formerly a link to Boba Fett from Hasbro’s new Star Wars Black 6″ figure series but you kids subsequently went ape and sold us out the same day). See ya tomorrow.

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 23: We’re Doomed!

Tyler wants me to turn in my new column so he can go home. I have to write it first but he doesn’t know that yet. I don’t really know what to write about though because I mostly wanted to write about myself but Forbidden Planet is less excited about that. So after much arguing and fighting the lovely heads of Forbidden Planet have convinced me not to just rerun last weeks column where I fiercely recommended my book, TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1, which is (still) on shelves now! So I am not going to mention TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1. I am going to talk about a bunch of other books. Books I didn’t write. Books I don’t like as much as TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1.

Oooh. Here is one I can support wholeheartedly! REGULAR SHOW #1 is out this week. Not only is it the very funny comic based on the very funny TV show, but if you are reading this on Wednesday (or have the ability to go back in time) the great Allison Strejlau, artist on The Regular Show comic will be signing at FORBIDDEN PLANET, starting at 6:30. I may bring doughnuts for Allison and maybe she would share with you. I may end up forgetting to bring donuts so don’t make her feel bad if she doesn’t have any to share. Also, the staff at Forbidden Planet tends to get all Gollum-y when there are sweets around so the do-nuts don’t always make it to the signing. (Please don’t go back in time just for the doenuts. That’s not ok.) Anyway, even if you can’t come to the signing buy the book. It is crazy and fun and weird. You could probably use those things in your life.

Forbidden Planet is a New York City comic book store and that is a heavy burden to bare sometimes. The Spirit is from here. Part of Maus take place here. The Avengers are from here. Part of Sandman takes place here. Cecil & Jordan are here. Jacques Tardi called New York his love. DMZ, Ultimatum, Watchmen, and countless other books attacked our city but never destroyed it. Ex Machina is about our mayor. Adrian Tomine sketches people on our subways. Frank Miller accosts poor people on our streets. Steve Ditko monitors all comings and goings from his secret lair. The ghost of Will Eisner haunts every inch of gentrified New York. Marvel is from here. DC is from here. Raw is from here. Valiant is from here. Archie is from here. Abrams is from here. There is an issue of The Authority that takes place in our very store for #$&@ sake. When you talk about New York you better do it with the gravitas it deserves. Charles Soule (27, Swamp Thing) has decided to throw his hat in the ring of New York stories and, thankfully for all involved, he comes out the other side unscathed. STRANGE ATTRACTORS is a beautiful, complex, and amazingly fun book about the mystical, mathematical, and all powerful forces that make up a city and the people who control and channel those forces. Equal parts Ex Machina, Sandman, and Planetary, this is one of those books that people will still be rereading, discussing and trying to better understand 10 years from now. If you want smart love letters to New York you have an awful lot to choose from, but this should be at the top of the heap.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK vol. 1 is out this week. Leinil Yu draws the hulk smashing stuff. That’s all you need to know.

I talk a lot about how good the new Image books are. A lot of people are reading the obvious stuff by the big guys- Fatale, Manhattan Projects, Walking Dead, Saga, etc. Here’s the thing, there are a lot of brilliant books that are flying under your radars and you should be picking them up without a doubt. HOAX HUNTERS vol 2 is out this week. On premise alone this book should be everyone’s favorite. A team of paranormal investigators who use their “Mythbusters” type show to discredit these phenomena while secretly dealing with them off camera. So much fun and about as good an ensemble cast as a comic is likely to have, if you haven’t grabbed HOAX HUNTERS do yourself a favor and pick up both trades this week. It was also just optioned by the suits in Hollywood so, much like Chew, 100 Bullets, and all the other in development tv/movie comics, you should expect everyone to be talking about this one in a few months. Most importantly though Hoax Hunters doesn’t go where you expect it, which is the best praise I can give a book like this.

Image also has their 4th volume of the hilarious and tragic LIL’ DEPRESSED BOY this week. Indie rock, unrequited crushes, and ragdoll of a guy make this book the heir apparent to the Scott Pilgrim throne. LIL’ DEPRESSED BOY is one of those books that will mean the world to a few people and will be missed by most others. You should buy it and see if you are one of those people who it will mean the world to, because being the person who falls in love real hard is always the better person to be.

Completing the trilogy of great Image tpb’s by their up and commers is PETER PANZERFAUST vol. 2. The little book that could, this book looked like it wouldn’t make it past 12 issues when it started, couldn’t find an audience, couldn’t get attention, and then… Something! One of the most talked about books of 2013, this tale of Peter Pan and friends fighting Nazi’s in WWII is a clever idea done well. There is not much more you can ask for out of a book. Smart and good? That should be enough for you.

Lastly, if I can’t talk about my book TWELVE REASONS TO DIE #1 (on shelves now) I will talk about the reprint of FIVE GHOSTS #2. That’s right. I am recommending a reprint. Why? I will give you 5 reasons because I am not very clever and the number 5 appears in the name of this book.

  1. One of the best books of the year, this is just classic pulp adventures, nastiness and all. There’s nothing like it on shelves now and that is sad for us but great for Five Ghosts.
  2. It is definitely one of the hottest indie books of the last few years. Finding a copy of issue #1 or #2 is becoming a herculean task so get it while you can.
  3. Issue #3 comes out next week and ups the ante in every way. What was one of the best books of the year is about to become one of the best books of the last 10 years. Get on board now.
  4. The brand new S.M. Viduarri cover is amazing. It goes perfectly with Chris Mooneyham’s moody and period appropriate interior art and Frank Barbiere’s tense and creepy script.
  5. I WROTE THE BACKUP STORY!!! Ha! I tricked you! I got you excited about a book I am in without you even knowing it. Buy it for FIVE GHOSTS, stay for my 2 page story that begins here. Or just buy it for my story. I don’t really care.  Just buy it. Don’t be a square.

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 11: The Death Star!

Hello loyal readers. How was your week? Not that anyone asked but I had a good one. Well it was good until Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/6th member of Modest Mouse, Tyler, threatened me. It turns out that some of the links I use on the blog weren’t up to his liking. I think he didn’t like the one linking to him singing a song he wrote about me, but that is conjecture. He is my editor though (ironic since his grasp of grammar is even worse than mine) and that comes with a certain amount of power. Mostly the power to make me look like an idiot… more of an idiot. I, of course, can write stuff that makes him look bad as well. I OBVIOUSLY never ever would , but I could. And that keeps him up at night, sweating through the sheets in his tiny little crib. And thus we have invented the concept of mutually assured blogging destruction. I am Forbidden Planet’s Dr. Strangelove. Tyler is my Dimitri.

In good news I’m not apologizing for anything in this week’s column. I pitched a perfect game with my last column. I’m hoping to keep my streak going and have some great comic recommendations for you all. And yes, all you Unkie Dev fans (or Dev-iants as we call them), I do not consider having my column run long so that Unkie Dev gets bumped a mistake. I consider it good strategy. There’s a plan at work here people. You won’t understand that until it’s too late for you.

I talk a lot about Dark Horse Presents here. Partially it’s because I think it is a great venue for some of the best storytelling in comics and you readers would love it. Mostly it’s because I like it a lot and don’t want it to get canceled. I never claimed this wasn’t self serving. DARK HORSE PRESENTS #21 has more stuff from comic greats like Shannon Wheeler, Duane Swierczynski, and Michael Avon Oeming. I am really excited to see new stuff from the great Simon Roy, artist on the always great Prophet. But the real reason you are probably buying this, and the real reason I don’t have to think of more stuff to say is this- a new story from Paul Chadwick (Concrete) and Neil Gaiman (Neil Gaiman stuff). If that doesn’t mean anything to you there isn’t much more I can say other than you need to read more comics. Start with Concrete and Sandman. Also read Dark Horse Presents.

The point of this column is to suggest (read: pressure) new books for you all to buy. Well I feel like an idiot for suggesting you pick up HELLBLAZER #300, but as the foremost comic journalist in the world I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. As it stands right now Hellblazer is the longest running sequentially numbered book at DC. That might seem like a minor distinction but it feels important. Hellblazer may only “technically” be the longest running book at DC, but it is arguably the best. And now all of that comes to an end with issue #300. DC has canceled the book in favor of a “younger, hipper” book in the regular DCU called Constantine. Apparently young hip people don’t like unique characters with rich history. Either way, buy issue #300 and put it on your nightstand for later while you work your way through the collected editions. (I know you don’t have a nightstand, you just use a bunch of old pizza boxes as furniture.) Hellblazer vol. 1 is about as good as a comic gets and it rarely lets up for the next 290ish issues.

Dynamite has done a real interesting thing the past few years. In their quiet corner of the comics universe they have taken a bunch of old pulp characters most people don’t care about and they started making fresh and exciting books out of them. The Shadow has been one of their flagships in this re-imagining. Well comics never let’s a good thing simply be, so this week sees the release of a new Shadow book, THE SHADOW: YEAR ONE #1. Willfredo Torres does some beautiful pencil work that has both a classic cartoon feel and modern styles all at the same time. And Matt Wagner does a great job of slowly leaking the origin of this 70+ year old character and keeping you guessing. This is a book that is good enough to get you excited about the whole Dynamite line. Get into it.

Remember- Don’t talk about a perfect game while it’s happening. You will jinx it.

HOW DO I KNOW WHO I AM IF I FORGET? is the new self published mini comic from writer/artist Luis Echavarria Uribe. As beautiful as it is disturbing, HDIKWIAIIF? is the story of an obsessive girl trying to figure out who she is and how she relates to the world. Her obsessions are both uncomfortable and somehow comforting all at once. Equal parts outsider art comic story and EC horror book, Mr. Echavarria Uribe crafts a story that twists and turns under you in uncomfortable and exciting ways.  His art can be quite beautiful and, unlike so many self published creators, he has learned to write to his art strengths and draw to his writing strengths. Obviously for most of the people who read this column a self published mini-comic may be far outside their wheelhouse, but this book would be write at home in the collection of anyone who likes reading good comics, regardless of genre or format. Pick it up, support someone who is doing it on their own, and you will be rewarded with one of the best books out so far this year.

I was going to write a bunch more stuff but I am tired and for some reason my girlfriend just put Glengarry Glen Ross on so I sort of stopped caring about my job here. Other good stuff out this week includes the long awaited return of Kill Shakespeare. Fans of Fables, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and trying to look more literate than you actually are would do well to pick up KILL SHAKESPEARE: THE TIDE OF BLOOD #1. A mash-up of many of The Bard’s most famous characters, the Kill Shakespeare series is always good fun if you get the references and really odd but still enjoyable I am sure if you don’t. Also worth grabbing is the strange early 90’s British sci-fi series TALES FROM BEYOND SCIENCE, which is finally collected into one hardcover. 8 tales all drawn by British artist and graphic designer Rian Hughes and written by a bevy of great Brit sci-fi scribes including Mark Millar (Kick-Ass). These bizarre short stories explain seemingly unexplainable phenomenon in ways that will make you laugh and feel like someone dosed you. If you like stuff like stuff like Madman or anything zany at all this book should be going home with you. Now go spend your money wisely. And remember kids, Always Be Closing.

How about that. It was funny. It was smart. It used commas in interesting ways. Good books were recommended. A flawless column. And that means back to back perfect games. Give me the Cy Young right now. (1% of you have any idea what I am talking about.)

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 9: Rebel Spies Managed To Steal Secret Plans…

I am writing this column a day earlier than I usually do in hopes that with more time it will be better written and better researched. Weird thing is I didn’t do any more research and I am not sure why I would be a better writer at 3AM on a Saturday than I am at 3AM on a Sunday. Let’s chalk this one up to pointless planning and once again celebrate procrastination.

The one exciting thing about this week’s column is it’s my 9th. My final single digits column. So sad. To celebrate I will be rewarding 9 lucky readers with a no expenses paid date with Forbidden Planet’s resident Shipping Monster/Skinny Pants-Wearer, Ben. You thought I was going to offer up Tech Wizard/Baby Eagle, Tyler, didn’t you? Here’s the thing. Tyler reads this column. He has to. Hi Tyler. He would edit this part out before you all ever got close to hand feeding him the baby shrimp he eats for every meal. I am pretty sure Ben does not read this and I am very sure he can’t stop it before it comes out, hence my contest offering him up as a prize. Good luck everyone. May the best 9 men or women win. Anyway, there are a lot of good books out this week and I ran out of jokes in mid January so let’s get on with the show, shall we?

New Deadwardians TP

There are a few publishers in the world that have such an amazing vision, such a unique and well cultivated sensibility, that their brand can be trusted without question, their logo on a book jacket is basically a greenlight for smart readers. Vertigo has always been at the forefront of those publishers. Sandman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Preacher, V For Vendetta, 100 Bullets, Transmetropolitan, Invisibles, Scalped, Y The Last Man, DMZ, Sweet Tooth, Fables, Unknown Soldier, and tons more. That list alone is sort of breathtaking. Unfortunately for everyone who likes good stuff, Vertigo has fallen on a bit of hard times. Long running books are being moved to DC, books that traditionally would be Vertigo titles are being lost to other publishers, and worst of all, books are being overlooked. NEW DEADWARDIANS is one of those titles. Smart, fun, social commentary on gender and class struggle as told through a society of zombies, vampires, and humans, trying to survive together in post-Victorian England, New Deadwardians is the kind of book that would have been a must have for savvy comic fans 10 years ago. I miss those days of great books getting attention.

RIYL: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the works of Jonathan Swift, the Buffy-verse.

Dia De Los Muertos #1

It’s always an exciting thing when you find an artist you can fall in love with and watch their work grow over time. Riley Rossmo is one of those artists for me. Falling stylistically between folks like Ashley Wood, Ben Templesmith, and Fiona Staples, Rossmo’s work is both unique and somehow familiar. Having honed his craft on books like Cowboy Ninja Viking, Green Wake, Proof, and Bedlam, Rossmo has once again put together a new project that looks like it may be his best work yet. DIA DE LOS MUERTOS is a short anthology series with a great concept, 9 good writers contribute horror stories about the Mexican Day Of The Dead for Rossmo to illustrate. Greatness ensues. The 1st issue of this 3 issue series is out this week and well worth the attention of anyone looking for the next great comic artist.

RIYL: The old Vertigo Anthologies, Creepy or Eerie, artists putting on a workshop for you.

Snapshot #1

Andy Diggle has written a lot of comics. Jock has drawn a lot of comics. Together they made brilliant comics like Green Arrow: Year One and The Losers. This week they are finally brought together again for the first issue of their “wrong time, wrong place” crime thriller SNAPSHOT. It came out in Judge Dredd Megazine in the UK but British people don’t always share their stuff with us well  so Image is re-releasing it for us stateside. Man, I’m so happy we had that revolution. If you have never read any of their stuff get ready for fast paced, gritty, clever, and beautiful. If you have then I’m sure you’re already buying this one.

RIYL: Criminal, Rear Window, Stray Bullets.

Zed A Cosmic Tale TP

I guess the story that everybody talks about with ZED is that it was Michael Gagne’s labor of love for 11 years. That is an awfully long time to work on a book. It would be heartbreaking if it was bad. Luckily for all of us ZED is pretty brilliant. This seemingly whimsical tale of an adorable alien turns very dark and brutal when the fate of his planet is thrust upon him. When I was young the stuff for kids that I actually cared about was upsetting, traumatic, and wonderful. Bambi, The Seventh Seal, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Pinocchio, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Beetlejuice, The Witches, Lord Of The Flies, and on and on forever. That is something kids and YA entertainment has lost these days, the idea that it’s ok to be harrowing and terrifying. ZED has that perfect mix of innocence and brutality that makes it feel substantial enough for kids and adults to fall in love with. This is how classics are made.

RIYL: Bone, Wall-E, Lilo & Stitch.

Harbinger #0

I suppose a journalist should be impartial and have objectivity. I get that. Luckily, what I do is pretty far from journalism in most regards. Mostly I just tell you to buy stuff and you ignore me and buy Green Lantern. So with that first test failed I can move past and journalistic aspirations and put it out there that I have very little objectivity. There are comic creators who I like. I value their work and I pull for it to be successful. Luckily 99% of the time (maybe more like 87%) I am pulling for these creators because they are good and deserve to have readers. Joshua Dysart is one of those creators. I buy everything the guy writes. Remember a few weeks ago when I got real weird and preachy on how good Unknown Soldier is and how good his Harbinger vol. 1 is? Well now I am doing it again because I can. HARBINGER #0 is out this week. An origin story following the rise of the mysterious Toyo Harada, this issue is a great jumping on point for anyone who wants to read one of the best superhero books on shelves today. It’s nice looking, smart, and it isn’t something you have read 100 times before. Just do it.

RIYL: Morning Glories, Rising Stars, old X-Men books.

Well that concludes our 9th column together. Here’s to the next 9, may they be as sweet as our tears and as bitter as our dreams. Now to pick the 9 winners of the 1st ever weekly “Take Ben To Eat And See Where It Goes” contest. If you see a big $$$ at the bottom of this page  it means you are a winner! Drop by Forbidden Planet with donuts, lamb & rice (no salad), or Dos Toros to collect your prize.

$$$

Post to Twitter

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.

Post to Twitter

Hollywood Comicide

COMICS AND MOVIES

The line between comic book continuity and Hollywood has never been thinner, and both fan communities are adding fuel to the fire! The success of The Avengers movie has cemented another five solid years of comic book films, and that is only on Marvel’s slate. DC is SURE to throw their hat into the ring, either updating Batman in four years (ala Amazing Spider-Man) or finally getting off their keisters and making that Justice League movie everybody’s been waiting for.

MEANWHILE, indie comics both large and small continue to be a goldmine speculation business for producers. WHAT will be the next Walking Dead, and how can you be on the ground floor?

Here’s a quick guide to a few properties you might want to start reading…not only are they great comics, they could end up as big business blockbusters! Let’s start with the obvious and wind our way down to the obscure:

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

A great deal of people REALLY want you to like the T.M.N.T. in 2013. There are multiple television, toy and films being developed by several different entertainment conglomerates, all agreeing that, since the turtles were a huge runaway moneymaker once, it surely MUST happen again, right?

IDW’s current run of Turtle comics have been ALL RIGHT as far as these things go. The beautiful Turtle Archive book the same company has been publishing in deluxe hardcover have been a blast, too! Are the turtles books great? Well, they’re pretty darn good, and frankly, they are a refreshing breath of creative fresh air…since no one knew (at the time) this was going to be big business, the creators could throw ANY old thing in there.

BONE

Bone is one of those comics which must seem ancient to anyone born after it was created in the 90’s. Creator Jeff Smith and former publisher Scholastic have often toyed with turning BONE into a big screen blockbuster, and with good reason; Bone has already seen successful toys, video games, and multiple multi-volume printings.

But how is the comic? Continue reading

Post to Twitter

NYCC Wrap-up/Recap!

by Chris Troy

::: Coughs for several minutes before vomiting up several organs of varying importance:::

Once again, New York Comic Con has come and gone, this time giving me a case of the death, along with a ton of freebies, like posters, shirts and comics that I would never buy. The con was awesome and if you want a recap of what I did that doesn’t involve toys, I suggest you check out the article I typed up for BleedingCool.com, which can be found right here: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/10/18/cosplaying-with-seth-green-chris-troys-nycc/

As for toy news from NYCC that you should care about:

– Next year’s Avengers toyline will have figures in-scale with Marvel Universe/ Marvel Movie figures as well as Marvel Legends sized figures. (3.5″ and 6″ to those unfamiliar with what the hell I’m talking about) On display were Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Hulk, & Loki for both lines, in addition to Black Widow, Thor, and Nick Fury for the 3.5″ figures.)

-The 2nd wave of the returning Marvel Legends line will consist of Big Time Spider-Man, Daken, Madam Hydra, Fantomex, Bucky, Captain America, Madam Masaque, Thunderball, and Build-a-Figure Arnim Zola. As good as the Avenger figures looks, these looks amazing, and I will end up buying WAY too many of them.

-DC Direct & Mattel both had “Arkham City”-based figures on display. Mattel’s will be 2-packs, and will feature characters like Harley Quinn, Robin, Batman, and the Joker. DC Direct, is making single cared figures of Batman and  literally ALL his villains from the game, as well as oversized deluxe characters from the first game like Venom-Joker, Killer Croc, & Bane. Also Catwoman, who I guess we can consider an alley at this point.

-Square Enix also had Arkham Asylum figures on display, Batman and the Joker of course. Also, photos of an armored Batman & Harley Quinn. In addition to these, there were Halo Play Arts Kai, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which we just got in!), Serrah from Final Fantasy 13-2, as well as fully painted prototypes of the new Street Fighter 4 line, consisting of Ryu, Chun-Li, Akuma, and Cammy. Without a doubt, these are the BEST looking Street Fighter figures to date, so expect me to rave about Cammy when she drops in 2012. Continue reading

Post to Twitter

There’s a Starman Waiting in the Sky

by Michael Bramley

Waiting for an omnibus is strange. Sometimes you can wait for ages and then two come out at once. In this case, I’m referring to the most recent hardcover volumes of Saga of the Swamp Thing and Starman. Like everyone else, I’ve been hearing the hype about Swamp Thing for around two decades, but Starman seemed to pass me by somehow until they started releasing them in this format. Continue reading

Post to Twitter

LOOKEE! for the 14th of October, 2010

Unca Grant as one angry, frilly-shirted badass vs. My Chemical Romance

Redemption:  The sequel to one of the most ambitious SF cinema flops of all time is expected to become one of the biggest films of all time.

What’s happening to my special purpose?  Action Flick Chick as The Baroness NYCC

Vanity: Jeff Ayers on Jeff Ayers’ job. 26 minutes of me pontificating upon the vagaries of NYC comic retail on the hottest day in recorded NYC history. In reality I know the difference between Detective Comics #27 and #37 and tensile and tactile.  Saw a doctor and got rid of it.

Lord loves a workin’ man:  Grant Morrison on Twitter.

When you’re rich and famous you’ll send me a postcard:  Thank you, Messrs. Gaiman and McKean for all the conversation pieces you’ve provided me throughout the years.  Thank you DC for changing The Sandman’s trade dress all old-timey and shit.

Don’t trust whitey:  Comics cover price = $2.99?

Post to Twitter

Happy Fourth of July!

by Dustin Nguyen
by Dustin Nguyen

Just wanted to take a second and post hoping that each and everyone of you readers out there are having a lovely Fourth. Here in New York City, the climate is a perfect 70 degrees and it seems like virtually half the town has taken off to other places so its not so crowded.  Thank God for that.

If you are like me this weekend with no plans, do yourself a favor and distract yourself with video from Neil Gaiman’s talk at the 92nd Street Y celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his “Sandman” series.

Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Sandman at the 92nd Street Y, NYC.

Post to Twitter