Tagged: Sean Phillips

CRIME! MYSTERY! BOOBED!

I don’t mean to purposefully draw themes from all the comics I want to talk about each week, but there was a glaringly obvious coincidence between a lot of the wonderful books coming out today (provided you’re reading this today. (Well, today is always today, but my current today is different from your current today, unless you’re somehow reading this right now, then our today’s are in fact the same) But I digress). Crime! Mystery! Seeecrets! These are driving forces in almost any fictional series, but feel particularly prevalent right now. It could be because we’re rounding the final corner into fall, where a trench coat, lit fireplace, and foggy streets feel so inviting.

Find a warm coffee shop, sip your London fog, and get comfy with these intriguing reads:

Fatale #17

One of the most highly acclaimed series to come out of the past couple years is Ed Brubaker’s Fatale. Brubaker teams up once again with Sean Phillips, who illustrated their previous award-winning titles Sleeper, Criminal, and Incognito. It’s safe to say that when it comes to the criminal noir genre, they have their sh*t together. Originally published as a 12-issue maxi series, the story blends intense criminal noir with magical realism to bring us the adventures of the ostensibly immortal Josephine as she journeys from the ’30s and upward, running away from gangsters and dark forces alike. The narrative jumps to various perspectives, allowing us to see Jo through different eyes, and occasionally giving us stand-alone stories of other femme fatales in the 1200’s and the old West. There’s a strong sense of classic dames and cigarettes from the plot’s 1930s beginnings, but the inky noir, aided by Phillips’s heavily shadowed art, allows that sense to pervade the story up through modern times. You can catch up by picking up the three TP’s that are currently out, and stop missing out on all the action.

 

Infinity Heist #1

The impending doom of Thanos, and an alien invasion, have Earth’s mightiest heroes scrambling to keep the destruction of Earth at bay. But with their attention elsewhere, Spymaster, and a slew of classic Iron Man baddies, have decided this is the perfect cover to start pulling off heists of epic proportions. Author Frank Tieri has run the gamut on Marvel titles, including New Excalibur, Iron Man, Wolverine, Civil War, and World War Hulk, so he’s no stranger to titles that round-up insanely large teams to do some damage. Tieri, with artist Ramon Bachs, is tapping into the classic heist narrative (duh, you may be thinking, hence the name; suck it, say I) to combine old-school detective and Tony Stark’s classic wit. The focus with this book is the mass villainy that imitates the Oceans 11 (through 13) round-up of characters from the benches who have mad hoop dreams. I.e. Unicorn, Blizzard, Whiplash, Firebrand, Titanium Man, and Whirlwind. I know you’ve been waiting since 1993 to see a mass reunion of these characters.

 

 

Sex Criminals #1

If you’ve been reading these reviews at all, which is obvious that you have, you know that I’m a big fan of Matt Fraction. It seems like he has his hands all over the comic book world like a horny teenager, which makes his newest series all the more auspicious. SEX CRIMINALS! Because I feel like it needs to be shouted. What happens when two people who can stop time by doing the horizontal hokey-pokey meet up for the first time? They rob banks to raise money for a closing library. Obviously. This is definitely a comedy that borrows from modern sex comic films, and but aims to do more than just titillate your funny bone. Chip Zdarsky pulls a look together that speaks to the lighthearted, and cartoony elements of the story, and aides in getting a youthful side across rather than a book that exclusively creates long-legged and big-boobed characters.* So far this book is pegged as an ongoing series, or a long form mini series, depending on how busy Matt gets while he writes every other single comic title that exists. Basically, two funny dudes writing about sex; there’s not much to lose.

*Apparently ‘legged’ is a grammatically correct term, but ‘boobed’ is not. Interesting…

 

Sin Titulo HC

Finally. Finally, finally, finally. Cameron Stewart’s beautiful web series, Sin Titulo, is finally getting a print release from Dark Horse. One that stays true to its web origins in terms of format, but offers readers the ability to shove this book in their friends hands and make them read it if they haven’t because they should be reading this book. Phew, there. On the outset, this book is about Alex’s journey to discover the importance of a mysterious blonde woman found in the photos that belonged to his grandfather. The journey takes him unexpectedly down a rabbit hole that is filled with shady people, ghostly haunts, and a murder charge. Described as noir fantasy, Stewart employs slightly surreal instances, served between realistic moments that make us question what we just read, but except these moments as disorientating fact. Such a psychological journey is made that much more haunting through the minimally colored tones, and expert use of negative space. The world of Sin Titulo is engaging, and Stewart urges to pull you straight down the rabbit hole with Alex.

 

Criminal Macabre: Eyes of Frankenstein #1

It’s hard to imagine this scenario happening: 30 Days of Night runs for 10 years on IDW; Criminal Macabre’s main character, Cal McDonald, appears off and on since 1990 mainly with Dark Horse and later with IDW; IDW allows author Steve Niles to kill off the 30 Days series in a publisher crossover battle between Cal and the vampire Eben Olemaun, culminating in a new Criminal Macabre ongoing series called ‘Eyes of Frankenstein’, that will continue Cal’s life post battle, which will be put out by Dark Horse. Hard to imagine, but it all happened. And I, for one, am so glad it did. Cal is an occult detective that drinks too much, does too many drugs, and seems to never really get it together, except when he’s kicking ass by solving paranormal cases. Eben has left Cal broken physically and mentally, and this news series follows Cal trying to slowly pull himself together, or at least pull himself out of the bottle. One of the things that will help him achieve that is his newest case. Frankenstein’s monster has lost his eyesight, due to a new disease that has ghouls falling ill and dropping deader than before. The new series brings back favorites from the universe, and introduces new faces promising to aid Cal in his search for healing and truth. Featuring art by “Wasteland’s” Christopher Mitten, this mini-series is the perfect introduction to your new favorite world of crime, drugs, and ghouls.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 13: To Destroy An Entire Planet!

I am in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con as I write this. ECCC is the beginning of the 9 months the comics industry affectionately refers to as “Con Season.” 9 month seasons. Not so bright. Comics Industry- ok at making comics, less ok at everything else. Anyway, I flew in on the Forbidden Planet jet on Thursday night. Not the nicest private jet I have ever been on but that’s alright. I was just happy the doors closed all the way and the heat worked.

So after 4 days of intensive comics immersion in the form of announcements, chatting, gossip, snooping, and spying, what have I found out for you all? Comics people really like donuts and beer. I tried to find out other stuff but that’s all anyone really talks about. There was some cool stuff though. I saw a guy cosplay as Leeloo Multipass and that made me question my sexuality and vomit in my mouth at the same time. I saw a a bar fight where one man choked another man for 2 minutes and then both walked away like nothing happened. James Robinson called me Patrick for no discernible reason. I found out if you put Adventure Time on stuff you can probably take Scrooge McDuck style money baths. Someone who clearly doesn’t have parents or friends thought it was a good idea to cosplay as Geordi LaForge in blackface. I guess maybe some of the comic writers and artists are doing new books or redoing old books or something. I wasn’t paying attention to that. I am pretty sure there are comics planned through at least June of this year. After that, who knows?

But let’s talk about this week. Since I’ve been around a ton of comics all weekend and I’ve decided I really like ’em I am going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. In an attempt to trick you into buying more stuff and save me the effort of thinking up more jokes, we are going to do this rapid fire style. I am going to call out some books than usual that are good, write a sentence or two, and you are going to buy them. Simple and elegant. GO!

REPTILE MUSEUM #1 & #2. Only issue #2 of Reptile Museum just came out, but consulting my trusty comput-o-tron tells me that it is statistically impossible that you read issue #1 so I will review both right now. Published by Ray Ray Books which, for all I know, is either a dude in his parents basement or a division of Newscorp, Reptile Museum is what we call an indie, mini, or self-published comic. This is annoying because technically everything but Marvel and DC are “indie” so that word is meaningless. Sometimes minis are huge so that word is meaningless. And like I said before, I have no idea if Cody Pickrodt published this or Rupert Murdoch, so self-published is a difficult label to use. Either way, Reptile Museum is great. A clever post apocalyptic story that answers questions and creates them at an equal rate. Two issues in and I have no real grasp of the world at all and I love that. A unique dystopian tale, Reptile Museum spends much more time on it’s characters than it does explaining it’s world. We follow as a character reenters the folds of a mysterious organization and shows himself to be a true badass. That’s really it. But it’s great. This is a huge story scaled down and made small and personal. Mysterious and exciting, this book is well worth your support. Buy it now because you may not easily get another chance.

ALL-STAR WESTERN vol.2- WAR OF LORDS AND OWLS. DC’s most consistently great book is All-Star Western. Jonah Hex is a brilliant character, Palmiotti & Gray handle him in a way that makes it almost impossible not to love and loathe him. Someone at editorial decided to make a book that takes place in the 1880’s cross over with Batman and it isn’t horrible and stupid, it’s actually quite fun. The art is great. It’s one of 3 westerns on store shelves. Go buy it.

SLEEPER Omnibus. Ed Brubaker does superhero crime noir comics. A deep cover superhero begins to lose his identity. Do you like stuff like The Departed, Infernal Affairs, or Donnie Brasco? Well this is better. $75 gets you 2 volumes of Sleeper, the Point Blank prequel, and a ton of bonus stuff. There isn’t much more that I can say other than fans of crime, superhero, great writing, or beautiful art must own these books.

Grant Morrison writes 50% crazy nonsense that is almost impenetrable. Then he writes 50% next level brilliance that is untouchable, fun and smart. Sean Murphy is one of the best artists in comics today. They teemed up on JOE THE BARBARIAN to tell the story of a little boy getting lost in his own fantastical mind. It is the best thing either of them has done in many years. These are the best guys in the business doing their best work. Buy the paperback version out this week and lock yourself in a room so you can read though it a few times.

I don’t care about the Rocketeer. Jennifer Connelly isn’t in the comics so 12 year old me doesn’t make adult me buy them. But then Mark Waid goes and does his thing of taking old things, getting rid of the excess, and making them fun again. Then Chris Samnee comes in and does his thing of making comics that are so pretty they make everything else seem like ugly, busy, squiggles. Both men make ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM a must own book for fans of pulp stuff or inventive ways to make action heroes feel fresh and familiar at the same time.

I just want to run the copy for LOST VEGAS #1 because either they have my sense of humor exactly and the notes to the editor are brilliantly funny OR someone really didn’t do their job. Either way Jim McCann and Janet Lee made RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN which is probably the most brilliant kids book in recent memory. Lost Vegas isn’t a kids book but it looks like it might be as brilliant. So, without further ado, the weird solicitation text for LOST VEGAS #1- The EISNER AWARD-WINNING team of JIM McCANN?& JANET LEE reunite to create a universe filled with intrigue as one gambler-turned-slave has 24 hours to go all in and pull off the greatest heist the universe has seen. (in this next section, can it be like a brochure, like a different font? If not, italics is cool) WELCOME TO LOST VEGAS! Aboard this luxurious casino-filled traveling space-station you will find the highest stakes games from every corner of every planet, unheard-of winnings, and the greatest attractions anywhere!* (Can the below section be a smaller font size?)*the fine print- those who bet it all and lose must work it off as indentured servants to the casino. Escape is not possible. No one is exempt from these rules.

Joe Casey is a great writer. He can do almost anything with style, heart, and humor. None of that matters because his new Image series is called SEX. He wins. SEX #1 is on shelves now. Buying any other comic instead of SEX makes you look stupid.

Cullen Bunn may be getting famous for his work over at Marvel but if there were any justice in the world he would already have been famous for his brilliant western series SIXTH GUN. He returns with a new series called HELHEIM launching this week. Vikings, the undead, gods, and monsters come together in what may be the most fun book of the year. I was lucky enough to see Joëlle Jones art for HELHEIM #1 this weekend and it is quite clear that Ms. Jones has just launched herself into the top tier of comic artists working today. With an art style that falls somewhere between Luther Strode‘s Tradd Moore and B.P.R.D.’s Tyler Crook but feels completely fresh at the same time, this book is painfully beautiful, which is what you want when you are dealing with swordsfights and beheadings.

I seem to do it every week so here I go to do it again. ARCHER & ARMSTRONG Vol 1 MICHAELANGELO CODE is out now. The Valiant relaunch books are great. Archer & Armstrong is buddy cop stuff done pitch perfect. A “struggling with his faith” teenager and a perpetual screw-up immortal are forced to work together to save the world from a problem that is both somewhat their doing. This isn’t life changing stuff, but it is the kind of comic you might fall in love with. This is super hero stuff that feels fresh. This trade is $9.99. If you read superhero books and someone as smart as me tells you that some of the best new ones are only $9.99 for volume #1 you really should buy it. Valiant are leaving cash on the table in order to offer books like this at “TRY ME!” prices. They believe in their books that much, and that should be enough for you.

OK, I wrote the last 2 paragraphs while snoring. I am going to go to sleep and regret not cosplaying as Spoonman or Niles Crane.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 4: It Is a Period of Civil War

It’s a new year. What better time to set new resolutions, try new things, and, most importantly read new comics. That’s where I come in. Other holidays have their mascosts; Santas and bunnies and…turkeys… and cherubs I guess… And now me. I am the Ghost of Good Comics That Will Be Canceled if You Don’t Read Them. I am your Jacob Marley. I am your conscience. Now I am going to bully you into trying a new comic you will love. You’re welcome.

Let’s start it off with the basics. You probably like comics because they are great. You probably like Spider-Man because he is amazing (or superior). You probably should be trying a new book because that is a moral imperative. While Dan Slott and co. make you wait for the debut of their new SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, Marvel newcomer Joe Keatinge gives one of Spidey’s most fun pseudo-villains a series of his own. MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE #1 comes out today. Mr. Keatinge has been working on comics for years but has really made a name for himself in the past year with Image books like HELL YEAH! and GLORY. Morbius on the other hand has been kicking around the Marvel Universe for decades while rarely getting his proper due. He is an interesting character and Mr. Keatinge is an interesting writer, making this one a no brainer for the superhero set. These last 10 years have seen the big 2 companies face a nearly impossible battle of trying to diversify their titles. Great characters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Secret Six, Sentry, OMAC, and tons more have withered on shelves because readers won’t branch out. If you have ever been in a comic shop and said to yourself “why does every book have “BAT” or “SUPER” or “X” or “AVENGERS” in the title?” the answer is that you won’t buy books like Morbius. Do us all a favor and give an interesting book a chance. Or wait patiently for Marvel to make a book called X-Avengers. RIYL: SPIDER-MAN, GLORY, or any new characters ever getting books at the big 2.

Blackacre #2

BLACK ACRE #1 was an interesting idea. Private, walled-off cities that weathered an apocalypse and now stand on the brink of collapse in the wastelands of America. Well, BLACK ACRE #2 hits this week. Comics is a difficult medium because it is episodic so it requires a series to open with a bang and really grab you. Some of the classic ones can do it on page one. Some of the others take a full 22 pages. Here’s the thing, BLACK ACRE never grabbed me like that at all. It is smart, well written, has a great setting, and nice art. It doesn’t have that hook though. It feels a lot like a movie, a whole lot of setup that seems like it is building towards something, but it isn’t there in the opening. It is hard to quantify why though. I put down issue #1 fully entertained and satisfied, but not at all curious. Now a month has passed and I find myself pretty excited for #2. And I think that is what BLACK ACRE has and why it shines. It isn’t playing a lot of the games other books are playing. It does it’s own thing and it’s clever enough to know that should be enough to keep you coming back. And here is the book I thought I had forgotten, worming it’s way to the top of my pile. RIYL: Smart dystopian sci-fi like JUDGE DREDD or WASTELAND, or near future action stuff like DMZ, or films like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

Fatale TP VOL 02 Devils BusinessFATALE vol. 2: THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS comes out this week. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have spent a few years chipping away at the title of best creative team in comics. They pretty much have it in the bag but they want to put a bunch of FATALE out to make everyone else look stupid. In the realm of crime writers Brubaker now stands nearly alone in terms of quality. And in the realm of noir-ish cartoonists Phillips has very few challengers. After SLEEPER, and CRIMINAL, and INCOGNITO, these two have done some of the best crime comics ever made. FATALE is their crime comic cum Lovecraft. It’s Cthulu noir. It is better than everything else and if you didn’t buy the first one you made a horrible mistake. Buy the second one with the first one now. This book gets all the recommendations I have to give. RIYL: Crime. Horror. Good things.

47 Ronin #2 of (5)47 RONIN #2 is also out now. Mike Richardson is the founder of Dark Horse comics and has done more to raise the quality of comics than everybody but a very select few. Stan Sakai has been drawing and writing USAGI YOJIMBO for 2+ decades. The legend of the 47 Ronin is one of the most beloved and badass legends in all of human existence. Richardson & Sakai are teaming up to do a very authentic and faithful retelling of this story and it is really entertaining. Most importantly they are taking a hundreds of years old legend and making it feel relevant and fresh. Unless you read a lot of manga a book like this will be like a slap in the face, in the best possible way. Best part of all, it looks like USAGI YOJIMBO with humans… and that is just weird fun. RIYL: USAGI YOJIMBO, manga like LONE WOLF & CUB, BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, or SAMURAI EXECUTIONER, and classic tales on the level of Homer or Brother’s Grimm.

Red Ten #1 (of 10)

RED TEN #1. A new take on Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, this is a superhero revenge and murder mystery from the folks at upstart publisher Comixtribe. The big guys in superhero comics like to borrow liberally from the great stories of western culture and act like it’s theirs, and here Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano do the same only these guys believe in their work enough to site their influences openly and know that RED TEN still stands up on it’s own. Basically self published, put together because they care and believe the story is good and matters, and fought and hustled all the way on to comic shop shelves, this book is nothing if not a product of pure passion. Reward the creators who are fighting hard to get their stories out there for you. Pick up RED TEN and let them know that you appreciate it. RIYL: Whodunnit style superhero mysteries like BATMAN: HUSH, high stakes superhero events like SECRET WARS, or fans of BATTLE ROYALE style mayhem.

Country Ass Whuppin Tornado Relief One ShotCOUNTRY ASS-WHUPPIN’ is an awesomely named new anthology from the usually quite good folks at 12-Gauge Comics. This single issue is full of a variety of weird and fun tales by some of the better southern gentlemen & lady creators in comics. Jason Aaron (SCALPED, WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, THE HULK), Cully Hamner (R.E.D., DETECTIVE COMICS, GREEN LANTERN), Rebekah Isaacs (ANGEL & FAITH, DV8, HACK/SLASH), and a bunch more all throw down solid stories. Best part of the whole thing? Proceeds are donated to the Red Cross tornado relief fund. You get good comics by great creators and help people in the process. It is quite possible if that doesn’t interest you that you may be a bad person. Think about it. RIYL: DARK HORSE PRESENTS, the Vertigo anthology books, helping people in need.

And that’s it for me. I am sure there is a lot of other good stuff worth grabbing this week, just make sure you get something. Happy new year. Love, GGCTWBCYDRT

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