Tagged: sex criminals

Chris’ Comics: Sex Criminals #14

SexCriminals_14-1Sex Criminals #14

Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.99

Finally, the David Bowie tribute comic no one was asking for!

As someone who’s been championing t3h Sex Crimz since its debut, I’m more than willing to admit that the third arc has not been the smoothest. While the quality really hasn’t dropped much, the delays between issues have definitely made it difficult to remember exactly what has happened during this storyline resulting digging through the old long box. Granted we did get that one issue that wonderfully discussed being asexual, the other 2 issues have been kind of a blur for me.

That being said, issue 14 feels like a return to form. At least in terms of humor, as we get some fantastic jokes this issue. There’s a 4 page gag in which the chums Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky channel Chuck Jones in most chum-like fashion. It’s a play on a gag they used in an earlier issue, but ramped up to the next logical level. The payoff is sexcriminals14-review06_180_277_s_c1incredible and it shows how the creative team successfully dealt with a potential problematic plot point without scrapping it. It also highlights exactly what each creator brings to the table, be it incredible dialogue, or sensational art, and how their bond makes for some fine comics.

And while that particular gag is definitely my favorite thing about this issue, it’s far from the only good thing about Sex Criminals #14. The issue starts off with a really great sequence that showcases how great of an artist/colorist/letter Zdarsky is. The delays in Sex Criminals, while disappointing, are usually the product of Chip trying to cram as much into a single panel as possible. His dedication to his craft is admirable, and we the reader benefit as we’re treated to some fantastic line work, hidden jokes crammed into the smallest of places and some genuinely amazing coloring. I dislike it when my funny books are late, but when the creators are as good as Zdarsky, it certainly makes up for it.

Matt Fraction is okay too, I guess.

That was #JOKES. It’s been months since I’ve been able to enjoy the Notorious M.A.T.T.’s writing, as this issue serves as a fine example of what he’s capable of bringing to that table. Fraction is not unlike Brian K Vaughan in that he excels at that his characters sound sexcriminals14-review07-68677natural when they speak, even though no one can actually talk as perfect like that in the real world. There’s also something so genuinely in the way Fraction writes his characters, and granted maybe some of it also comes from Chip, but the final few pages of the comic read like some of Fraction’s strongest stuff. Sex Criminals is often at its best when it’s grounded in reality, and I really dig how Matt handles the cast and their dialogue in this issue.

Sex Criminals #14 is a great comic. There’s some strong character work from two creators who are known for writing compelling characters in the medium. Sex Criminals is unlike any other comic out there not just because of its plot, but because Matt and Chip are unlike any other creative team currently working in comics.

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Chris’ Comics: Sex Criminals #13

SexCriminals13_CvrSex Criminals #13

Chip Zdarsky, Chip Zdarsky, Chip Zdarsky, Matt Fraction,

Image, $3.50

So it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about ol’ Sex Crimz, be it due to delays, the fact that I’ve written about Fraction and Zdarsky a ton these last few years, and that the current arc has been great, but hard to talk about due to some of the NC-17 content. Luckily, issue 13 changes that, due to an incredible joke, and a important and fantastic discussion about being asexual.

First the joke. For all of you not in the know, The Harvey awards nominated Chip Zdarsky and only Chip for Sex Criminals in their Best Humor Book category. That lead to some things, which you can read about here. But that’s not the end of the story, oh no. Matt Fraction decided to continue to go to bat for his chum, in which you can see on the book’s cover credits. There’s also a page in the middle of the book decided to it, involving the creators in a way I dare not spoil. You can make an argument that it’s a bit excessive, BUT the joke works even if you’re not aware of the team SexCrimz/Harvey Awards beef. Anyone, let’s talk about something with a little more substance now yes?

7c0ead5d861f6ddf87bc041845cbf4d6._SX640_QL80_TTD_Sex Criminals was the first big name comic to discuss modern female sexuality in depth when it debuted, and since then, they’ve always managed to have an issue that’s very intelligent and educational, giving the reader something to think about when they’re done with the comic (aside from the contents in the letter page). This issue, as I said above, we’re introduced to a character who’s asexual. I’m 90% certain neither Matt nor Chip are, so what they do with this issue and this character in fantastic. Alix is a completely believable and fantastic character who’s portrayed in a positive light. Yes she gets some crap for being asexual, but it’s never as the butt of the joke, but more so to show what sort of garbage some people have to endear with in their lives.

I don’t want to make the claim that this is the best issue Chip Zdarsky has drawn to date, but man, there’s a lot to like about Chip’s art here. There’s a gorgeous double spread early on, an interesting and hilarious use of Carl Sagan, some fantastic execution of 16 panel pages, and of course the fine use of Manime, the break out character of the year. Fraction is on point as usual, giving us some really smart, insightful dialogue while slipping in a joke or two. Like Brain K Vaughan, Matt has nailed the flow of comics dialogue, making all his character sound incredibly realistic, even the hard to nail #TEEN characters.

 

Sex Criminals is not unlike this week’s Wicked and the Divine where the theme/topic at hand is both modern and handle incredibly well. Fraction and Zdarsky focus on something I’ve never read about before in comics, and the duo treat the subject matter with the utmost respect, while telling the tale of 2 characters who freeze time after making whoopie. It’s a fantastic issue by two creators on top of their games who are clearly having a ton of fun making comics.

 

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New and Recommended – New Comic Book Day September 16th 2015

Here’s a a simple listing of personally recommended or otherwise notable new stuff available at Forbidden Planet NYC in-store and online for the week of 9/16/15.

DC-Collectibles-Arkham-Knight-761941326788

 

Batman Arkham Knight Action Figure – DC Collectibles

After a long delay (the other figures from this first wave of Arkham Knight figures have been out for months) we finally receive the game’s big big baddie. Don’t blow his identity to me- I haven’t played it yet!

Scott Snyder Joker Endgame Batman Death

Batman HC Vol 07 Endgame – Scott Snyder (w), Greg Capullo (a)

The Joker is back in these stories from BATMAN #35-40! For years, The Joker has regarded Batman with a sick, twisted love. But now, the Clown Prince of Crime is done playing. He’s going to kill Batman. And he’s going to do it using those whom Batman loves the most: the Justice League. The Joker returns to Gotham City with a deadlier agenda than ever before, using every tool at his disposal to finally kill the Dark Knight. That includes turning Batman’s allies against him in the bloodiest brawl that he’s ever had to survive.

One of the most anticipated, exciting and buzzed-about Bat-storylines in years.

Continue reading

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #42 & Sex Criminals #11

STK674518Sex Criminals #11

Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.99 (or $4.69 for the XXX variant, which you should not open in public or your place of work.)

 

After a number of crazy delays, Sex Criminals returns to the stands, and we are richer for the experience. Fraction and Zdarsky give us a new character in this issue, and said character seem like a nice new person who loves their mother a bunch. Oh and they also have freaky sex powers, what a world. Issue 11 also changes the location for the book, which is revealed in a hilarious montage one would expect from the genius of Chip Zdarsky. And while we’ve seen plenty of quality Chippage as a late from both Kaptara and Howard the Duck during the Sex Crimz hiatus, having a comic he drew just feels right. Mostly because he’s co-created some incredible endurable characters I’ve missed, but also because NO ONE does sight gags and easter eggs as well as him. It’s incredible how much humor he can pack into the background of these books, never overcrowding them and distracting readers from what we’re suppose to be focusing on with the narrative.

As someone who’s met and talked to Chip and writer Matt Fraction a number of times over the past year and a half ( no restraining order yet, whooo), it’s freaky how much this books feels like an extension of their friendship. There’s a bit where Fraction breaks the forth wall and explains why there text there instead of dialogue (due to Chip’s talents ironically), and it feels like something he would be screaming about during a panel. It’s hilarious and it shows how confident and comfortable these two creators are with each other. Fraction’s words as still sharp as ever, blending pop culture jabs and jokes with engaging dialogue. His characters read very realistic, despite you know, the whole freezing time thing.

Sex Criminals‘ return is a mostly talking heads issue which pushes the plot forward a bit. The biggest reveal is hilarious, and it’s nice to see the book return hitting the floor running. This book being as good as it is surprises no one, and I’m glad to have it back.

BG_Cv42 Batgirl #42

Babs Tarr/Brenden Fletcher/Cameron Stewart/Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

 Batgirl #42 sees artists Jake Wyatt & Michel LaCombe helping Babs Tarr with breakdowns. On one hand this is good, because Wyatt’s style is a little tighter than Tarr’s giving the book a look similar to when Cameron Stewart was assisting Babs. However, it loses some of the energy she brought to the book last issue with her dynamic layouts. Oh sure, we only got an issue with her working alone on the book, but I really like the results, and was hoping for more. The book still looks great though, so don’t expect any sort of dip in quality on the art end. There’s still a lot of energy to these pages, and Serge Lapointe‘s bright colors are fantastic. And Tarr’s Burnside is great, full of energy and sexy and confident Batgirl dealing with a new Batman and the new 52 incarnation of Livewire.

Batgirl #42 is a comic I dug a lot. The premise is neat: An experiencde Batgirl teaming up with a inexperienced Batman who’s also her dad is something new, and a fun exploration of the daughter/father superhero dynamic. Writers Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher having Babs take point in their battle against Livewire makes a ton of sense given how she’s slightly more experience with dealing with super-crazies directly than her dad it, and it does so without making the Jim Gordon Batman look inept. The pacing is great, and the balance between time spend on Barbara as a grad student and as Batgirl is appreciated. Plus the team brings back a great supporting character from the Gail Simone run of this book, and ends the book on happy little cliffhanger. Batgirl remains a refreshing and fun book, with great visuals and a pleasant blend of drama and action.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Secret Criminals Edition? Yeah I guess that works

I would read a book called Secret Criminals FYI.

SECAVN2014012CVR-659x1000Secret Avengers #12

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel/$3.99

Secret Avengers #12 can be best described as “Nextwave meets True Detective“, which is the best description for any comic, and I don’t care if you disagree with me.

I love it when Marvel has a book that features fairly iconic characters and allows it to operate under the radar. Like MODOK drunk texting Deadpool (complete with the use of the word “Bae”), or Hawkeye dropping the phrase “Resident Terrorist Sex Horror Advisor”, which is something we’ll probably not be hearing in a movie anytime soon. There’s also a killer gag involving ring tones, which only proves that I’m a big fan of phone-based jokes apparently. It makes for a fun read, and it’s nice that not everything has be average Disney XD viewer friendly.

But this book isn’t all jokes mind you. Spider-Woman and Maria Hill find themselves in a bit of a pickle, and their interactions ring true to their characters. Ales Kot‘s Maria Hill is a no-excuses workaholic, and she bounces off his equally determined but more sarcastic Spider-Woman quite nicely. We also have Kot writing Black Widow and Lady Bullseye in a cosmic horror setting, which is something I didn’t know I wanted, but glad I’m now have. These character interactions are a key part of which I enjoy this title so much, as Kot has a gift for dialogue. His jokes hit hard, and there’s so much subtext in some throw away lines that it warrants multiple re-readings. It’s a smart book wrapped in some crazy circumstances, beautifully illustrated by Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson.

Secret Avengers remains one of the craziest and surreal books Marvel’s been putting out for the last year. If this is the final incarnation of this book, I’ll be glad, because it will be an hard act to follow up on.

SEXCRIMINALS_10Sex Criminals #10

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky #10

Image $3.50

Chip Zdarsky draws hella genitals in this issue, be warned if you’re squeamish. Also if you’re squeamish, what’s wrong with you, Sex Crimz is not for you.

A Tinder’s worth of crotch pics (or Grinder I suppose) aside, this is another brilliant installment of Sex Criminals. Writer Matt Fraction has never shyed away from discussing the importance of mental help, and he’s handling of Jon seeing a therapist is nothing short of inspiring. Sex Criminals has always managed to channel genuine human emotion despite it’s lewd premise, and this issue is proof of how good it can be.

Chip Zdarsky is a funny dude, no one is surprised by this statement. But ol’ Zdarkseid manages to use sound effects in a particular way this issue that had my dying as I read it. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but if it is, it’s fantastic. His timing and structure couldn’t be any better for setting up these little sound effect gags, and the use of all lowercase letter had me dawing as well as loling. And yeah, I just used “Daw” and “Lol” as actions, what of it?

There’s also  a bit in this issue that is very Scott Pilgrim esque, only with a lot more genital talk. I didn’t think I could love this series anymore than I have bee, but(t) here we are. Also is you think the last 200 words were mastubatory, let me make you aware of the fact that Hawkeye drops next week and it will get worse.

 

 

 

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Save Big on Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord Action Figures and More

Today’s Daily Deals are four of our best-selling items! These prices are ludicrously low, but hurry- you only have today, Friday the 9th, to take advantage of ’em.

Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord AF… ($30) $11.99

Walking Sead Walker Bungee

Walking Dead TV AF Series 6 Bungee Walker… ($18) $6.99

Sex Criminals TP Vol. 01… ($10) $3.99

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TP Vol. 01… ($18) $6.99

*Forbidden Planet’s DAILY DEALS are updated every morning. Prices are valid in-store til the shop concludes its business day (10pm or 12am, depending on the day) and online for roughly 24 hours. Prices are valid while in-stock supply lasts.

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What I dug in 2014 finale: Creator Owned Comics

This is me saving the best for last. While both Marvel and DC had solid years creatively (and sales wise I imagine, but I don’t have those numbers at my hands), the number of quality creator owned comics that dropped this past year was astonishing. Today will be the day I focus on those quality books, which is why I’ve titled this article as such.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverImage Comics had arguably it’s bet year to date in 2014. Aside from “older” on-goings like The Walking Dead, Saga, Invincible, Umbral, Rat Queens, and Sex Criminals (as well as the end of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Fatale), we saw the debut of  a number of excellent new comics. Such books like the often discussed The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, Fuse ( Antony Johnston, Justin Greenwood) Shutter ( Joe Keatinge, Leila Del Duca, Owen Gieni, Ed Brisson), Bitch Planet ( Kelly Sue Deconnick, Valentine Del Landro) among a dozen others all debuted within the last 12 months, which is impressive to say the least. Image continues to be the premiere comics company for creator owned books, luring some of the top creators from Marvel and DC (see Scott Snyder, Mark Millar, Rick Remender) to put out some of their best work of their careers without having to use corporate owned IPs. Image put out some of my favorite comics of the past year, all without having to resort to crossovers and $5 gimmick books.

boombox_lumberjanes_002_aBut Image wasn’t the only comic company to have a good year with creator owned comics. BOOM Studios produced some top notched horror comics with James Tylion IV with The Woods and Memetic. Their BOOM BOX! imprint also had the debut of the excellent Lumberjanes comics, arguably one of the best all ages comics on the stands The book by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen and Maarta Laiho was originally announced as a 8 issue mini series, but it’s well deserved popularity got it bumped up to an on-going and is constantly delightful and visually stunning. Oni Press published Charles Soule & Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s sci-fi drama Letter 44, a book that deserves more hype and discussion, and the books Charles Bunn’s put out through the company has been nothing short of great.  And while not exactly creator owned, Valiant Comics continues to impress, with some best under the radar super hero/action books being put out on a monthly basis.

51kMcl9F-rL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_And finally, two of 2014’s biggest releases, creator owned or otherwise, weren’t even from traditional comics publishers. Seconds, by Scott Pilgrim‘s Bryan Lee O Malley, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll saw print this year, and both are must reads in my opinion. While Seconds may  not be made into a movie by Edgar Wright any time soon, it’s a phenomenal comic that feels like a Miyazaki movie meant for the Scott Pilgrim crowd. Through the Woods is by far the creepiest comic I’ve read in years, as Emily Carroll delivers some genuine terror with her work, which blends horror with folk tales. I can’t recommend either enough.

2014 was a terrific year for comic. There may have been some dumb stuff that went down with some professionals and publishers, but the amount of good that came from the industry easily triumphs the bad. I’m eager to see what 2015 offers, what with us being a few short days from Image Expo, the release of Squirrel Girl, and whatever DC has up their sleeves once the company is united in California.

 

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Troy’s Troys, but with Tiny Pink Books: Just the Tips

just_the_tips-cov1corJust the Tips

Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

Image, $12.99, RATED M/Mature

I grew up with an aunt who loved having small little humor books for her coffee table. A bunch of them contained content that I didn’t get at the time, nor should have been looking at to begin with, but the jokes I did get were pretty funny, I guess. So to see the guys behind Sex Criminals do something in that vein with their new book, Just the Tips, brings up some weird nostalgia in me. More importantly though, it makes me laugh quite hard, and I wish I phrased all of this better, hashtag yikes.

Just the Tips, for those of you not in the know, is a mix of new and older material from Sex Crimz, and on paper is a book in which Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky help you be better at sexy times. There’s nothing in this book that affects the narrative in the proper Sex Criminals comic, so if you’re expecting that sort of thing, you may be slightly disappointed. Speaking of disappointing, I was talking to your lady friend and-I’m sorry, I’ll stop.

Tips02That being said, if you’re just here for laughs and questionable imagery, you’re fine. Sure you’ll fine some letters and SEX TIPS from the generally excellent reader’s letters column reprinted here, but none of the smart  and thoughtful ones. It the gross and funny ones, don’t worry you won’t actually learn anything, which is all a part of the joke anyway.

Aside from the reprinted Sex Tips, positions and letters, Matt and Chip gifted the reader with a bunch of erotica, pick-up lines, dirty talk, and my personal favorite movie reviews of sex parody movies that they’ve created. Oh and the entire things kicks off with an introduction from the President himself of the Unite States himself, Barack Obama. Yeah, I’m surprised they got him for this book too, but Chip and Matt are pretty popular these days.

Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction telling terrible, dirty jokes, is the selling point of this book, and it’s the main reason it works out so well. Their personalities and humor have made them 2 of the most in-demand and beloved creators currently in comics, so them spending 92 pages making dick jokes is the type of book that would only work for them. Well them and Howard Chakyin, but that’s a difference talk for another day.

tips-panelDesign wise, Just The Tips is simplistic, but attractive, mostly consisting of float 2 color pages. A lot of black and pink, ensuring that this book looks like a sex toy, which I’m sure is intentional. Any of Zdarsky’s art that appears in here isn’t as refined as what appears in Sex Criminals proper, but it’s still charming in it own special way. Well  as charming as the topic can be. Be prepared to have the solar system ruined for you half way through this book.

Over the last year Sex Criminals has proven to be one of the most unconventional successes in comics, with it’s original premise, and it’s honest and hilarious look at sex. Just The Tips isn’t as thought provoking or insightful, but it isn’t meant to be. It’s 92 pages of adult humor and apologies, and the perfect thing to make for awkward conversation if read in public. I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a Brimper, or know someone who’s down with Brimping.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Feel Good Inc.

 

Hell of a week y’all. Talking comics today is a welcome distraction after everything we’ve see go down over the last couple of days

 

STK644079All New X-Men #30

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

 

Call it a breather issue. Much like Chris Claremont before him, Brian Michael Bendis uses this issue of All New to do some character building, with Angel taking X-23 out on the town, Emma Frost beginning Jean Grey’s training and Kitty Pryde taking a holographic phone call from her kinda boyfriend Peter Quill. It’s a very cute script, and it’s something needed to cleanse the palette after all that time travel shenanigans.

 

With the previous issue seeing the departure of series regular artist Stuart Immonen (who’s stick around to handle this book’s cover), Bendis is joined by his former Guardians of the Galaxy artist Sara Pichelli. Immonen is a difficult artist to follow up to, but Pichelli, who has some experience drawing these characters, makes a strong debut. For a mostly taking heads issue, Pichelli’s facial expressions and body language really sells the book, especially with the few pages that are dialogue free. The one area she actually surpasses Immonen in is having this cast look like teenagers, something Stuart struggled with, especially when their older counterparts were also on the page. She’s a welcomed addition to this book, and I’m excited to see her draw more of it.

 

My only real beef with this issue is that the final page’s cliffhanger is tied into the last 2 issues of Uncanny X-men , and will probably play out over there instead of this book. If you’re like me and buy both Bendis X-books this isn’t much of an problem, but those not may be disappointed to have to track down a pair of issue that shipped before this one. Ultimately, I dug the hell out of this comic. It was cute, good looking and chock full of fun moments. These sort of one offs are appreciated, and it’s a nice break before another famous Bendis/Pichelli shows up next month.

 

 

sexcriminals_07Sex Criminals #7

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

The letters section for this issue alone is worth the $3.50. There I just saved you 2 minutes of reading.

Oh you stuck around! Really? Did you not read what I wrote above? Oh you want more reasons? Yeah okay sure, I suppose I can help you there.

Sex Criminals is probably my wife’s favorite comic not called Saga. Which means my wife has great taste in both comics and men. But the opening sequence of this book really impressed her this week, as there’s something that Suzie, our female lead, is suffering from that my wife knew all too well. It’s a testament to both Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, who managed to hit the symptoms of said problem dead on, despite being dudes. It’s also a reason why this book is such a hit.

 

Issue 7 is a return to form for Sex Criminals. Not that issues 5 or 6 were bad, but they were heavier on the serious side. This one is chocked full of humor, including the use of a word that makes me giggle every time I read/hear it because I am 12. There’s even a bit of action and suspense too, making it a nice balanced read.

 

I’ve already sung Fraction’s praises plenty of times in the past between this book and Hawkeye, so I’m gonna talk Chip Zdarsky for a bit. First off, that cover. Extremely sharp and a very cool design. Zdarsky’s always been a bit experimental with the covers, and the results are great. But this is kinda next level for the ol Chipper, and I hope it continues. Then there’s in the interiors. I had to re-read some sections and few times just to catch all the gags hidden in the background. It’s a shame that some of this Easter eggs and gags are sacrificed for word balloons, but it’s nice to see Chip put so much effort into something a lot of people not named Matt Fraction aren’t going to see.

 

Sex Criminals seven is the result of 2 creators having a blast creating a comic. Which is great for the reader, because the ends results are stupendous. Combined with a first-class letters column that’s as insightful and hilarious as the interior, Sex Criminals #7 is another can’t miss comic from Fraction and Zdarsky.

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics Belated Edition part 2

wicked-and-divine-620x400The Wicked + The Divine #1

 Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson

Image, $3.50

Despite not being familiar with half the bands mentioned in the comic, I REALLY dug Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s 2 installments of Phonograms. And now that they’re done with their 14 issue run of Kate Bishop an her cosplay friends ( aka Young Avengers),  the pair have returned to Creator Owned Comics with Wicked + The Divine.

 

W+ t D is the tale of reincarnated gods and pop stars. So yeah it’s A LOT like Phonograms in a way, at least in concept.  Hey even Gillen admits that’s in his letter at the end of the issue, but the actual execution of the material makes all the difference. Unlike the casters that cling to the shadows in Phonograms, these gods are out there in public, letting the world know that they’re out there and operating on another level.

 

Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson are arguably 2 of my favorite artist/colorists working in comics today, and they are absolutely divine (HAR HAR) in this kick off issue. McKelvie’s line work is fabulous, and his facial expressions and the emotion he can get his characters to convey are all top notch, as usual. But it’s Matt Wilson who’s really upped his game here. Between the results of what happens when Luci snaps her fingers and how the character’s makeup and eye liner looks, it’s hard to name a colorist as skilled as Wilson working in comics today.

 

As for writer Kieron Gillen, he’s nothing short than brilliant. His dialogue is sharp, giving each of the characters a distinct voice that makes them stand out a bit. And while the plot is fairly straight forward, it’s incredibly engaging and ends on a solid cliffhanger. This is Gillen at his strongest, and it’s something that readers benefit from.

 

Wicked + The Divine is a stellar debut by one of the best creative teams with a working relationship in comics today. Anyone who loved Phonograms & Young Avengers, or was stupid enough to skip over them, needs to read this book immediately.

 

3898273-sex+criminals+02Sex Criminals #6

 Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

Sex Crims is back, in what is arguably the most Matt Fraction issue to date. What the means is that there’s a lot of self depreciation,  paranoia and some bleakness to this issue. Not exactly what you’re expecting from a sex comedy, but something that only helps the narrative and help flesh (HAR HAR 2) out the characters.

 

On the joys of Sex Crims that while it’s an extremely lewd funny book, it’s also incredibly honest and smart. This issue really shows that, as Jon, our male lead steps into the spotlight. Despite being a man who poops in plotted plants and freezes time every time he climaxes, he’s also a man suffering from most realistic difficulties, that help make his easier to sympathize with.

 

This issue isn’t all doom and gloom tho. While Chip  Zdarsky can sell the more dramatic bits of comic with the greatest of ease, he’s also a gifted cartoonist who can hide a ton of jokes hidden in the panels. At this weekend at Heroescon, Fraction described the process as MAD magazine esque and there’s no better description of it.The letter column remains something crucial to one’s enjoyment of Sex Criminals. It’s a fascinating look at what kind of community has been built around this book, and is something genuinely enjoyable.

I’m glad to have Sex Criminals back, and I’m curious as to what direction the book is taking with this volume seemingly focusing on Jon.

 

300px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_22Uncanny X-Men #22

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

 

Gah. This issue comes so close to be a perfect end to the X-Men Vs SHIELD arc, but it hampered by a guest colorist who’s style is lighter than what we usually get with Chris Bachalo. It clashes with Bachalo & Tim Townsend’s (and like 4 other dudes) heavy black style, and does not compliment it as well as it should.

 

It’s a real shame, because everything else about this issue is great. We finally get some answers to some long brewing questions, and 2 other characters get a nice return to form. It’s a rewarding book for long time readers, and it definitely sets up the potential for some cool stories for the future.

 

As for the reveal as to who has been sending Sentinels after Cyclops’ renegade X-Men, it works in terms of the actual identity. The execution is a bit lacking, as the motive for said villains is a tad lacking. Of course Brian Michael Bendis could be planning to touch upon that in a future issue, it’s just a little weak at this moment.

 

Overall the X-Men Vs SHIELD story arc was a fun little romp.  Nothing ground breaking, but a fun story that looked great and read well. A shame about the colors in that final issue, but overall a good time.

 

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Eisners X Image part 1: Sex Criminals

The Eisners are kinda like the Academy Awards of comics, but the key difference is that I kind of care about them (Suck it Oscar!) . Image, a company whose output I’ve been loving for the last few years, was nominated for 20 awards, including 4 out of the 5 best on going series noms (that 5th man? Marvel’s Hawkguy, thus proving I am right about everything!)

Since I’ve already recently spoken about Rat Queens in great detail, I figured I’d spend some time over the next few weeks preaching about some other fantastic Eisner nominated series. So if you wanted to pick up East of West, Saga, Sex Criminals or Pretty Deadly but were waiting for the Chris Troy nod of approval, you’re in luck. We’re starting this thing off with a personal favorite of mine, Sex Criminals, nominated for best new series, best continuing series, and a best writer nod for Matt Fraction! So now that I’ve knocked off 150 word, let’s get to the Brimp,.er,…Sex Crim talk, focusing on the recently released first volume of the hit series!

sex-criminals-vol-01-releasesSex Criminals volume 1 

Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky

Image $9.99

+5 to me for not starting this discussion off with “Let’s talk about Sex Criminals baby“. Proud of myself for the restraint shown there, great hustle Chris.

As a dude who reads A LOT of Marvel on a weekly basis, I can confidentially say there’s not a lot of things the publisher offers that aren’t related to dudes in costumes punching each other. And even if we include stuff like the MAX titles, not a lot of their comics, nor DC’s, actually cover topics like sex and dating without tossing in a Wolverine or Deadpool somewhere. Those topics are SEVERELY overlooked in comics, and if they are, it’s usually not in the best or adult manner.

1600d25dc8012d796418a60fd6061011Which is one of the best things about Sex Criminals It’s an earnest and hilarious look at the world of dating and  relationships (as well as sexy times). Sure the main characters freeze time every time they climax to rob banks (hence the title), BUT their relationship is depicted in a super realistic and enjoyable manner  thanks to creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.

I’ve spoken highly of Fraction in the past, as I am a big fan of his clever dialogue and his ability to write flawed, all too human characters (see Hawkeye, Iron Man, Casanova). But I honestly feel that Sex Criminals works as well as it does thanks to Chip Zdarsky’s visuals. His cartoonist background (or is that background as a cartoonist? My grammar is shit folks) helps makes Sex Criminals stand out on the shelves, as his characters actually look human.  All different body types inhibit the semi-realistic world Fraction and Zdarsky created, which again, acknowledges the human element of this book that really won me over. And because they’re so human, it only makes them THAT much more easier to relate to, and helps sell the humor with some really well drawn facial expressions and body language. It’s also use of colors and special effects ( or whatever the correct term of lightening is for comics, again I am GREAT at this!) is really interesting, and only helps to improve the visuals.

sDEAqnYThe humor, by the way, is phenomenal. While R-rated sex comedies usually do well in the box office, there was little to no comics alternative prior to Sex Criminals, at least at the scale of recognition  and relevance Image, Fraction and Zdarsky can offer. Some of it is quite vulgar, some of it surprisingly dark, but a lot of it works because it’s sometime we can all relate to. That and the panels are crammed with hidden jokes and easter eggs, like Sexual Gary, who’s due for his own t shirt this summer!

It’s also one of the first comics to offer a musical sans actual music, which is impressive and hilarious. I’ve included a page from it to the left as evidence.

sexcriminals01-21If you’ve chosen to go the trade route over the singles, be warned that you’ll be missing out on some hilarious recaps and an amazing letter’s page, which I believe is being published separately later this year. You do get some extras though, like a collection of variant covers and some content that you have to see for yourself to understand/believe.

In a country where sexual education is lacking at best, Sex Criminals does a lot to be educational as well as sex positive. Again, it’s something so new and refreshing that you have to respect if even if you don’t like it. Easily one of my favorite books out there today, Sex Criminals is a title worthy of the hype. Pick it up immediately and see how right I am about that. #humblebrimp

– Chris Troy doesn’t actually profit from Sex Criminals sales, but he’ll praise it like he does. Find him on twitter @theanarchris

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Poetry in Motion

Here’s a poem about the Portland – Seattle bus trip I’m on right now:

Bolt Bus, you smell like booze
I think someone mistook you for a cruise.
You let us travel with free wi-fi,
But half the time it doesn’t work and I want to cry.
The sun is shining outside your windows,
But here I sit inside you, writing poetry, not prose.
Dude, the girl in front of you doesn’t want to talk,
I’m sorry you can’t take a hint, but you gonna walk.
Thank you, bolt bus, for cheap public transportation,
Are we there yet? I have to pee.

Also, a tip from the weekend:
When people tell you to drink a lot of water at a convention, and then volunteers proceed to hand you free water, don’t turn it down, you moron (me).

The Auteur #2– A new effing Auteur. I won’t lie, this is the comic I wish I had made, if I had ever attempted to make a comic. The art is humorously violent; the dialogue is reminiscent of a mental breakdown (maybe epiphany?) on a rampage; and characters are the best type of messed up, the type that have little redeemable characteristics, which is a rarity in any story. The story thus far: pure pandemonium! Our flop of a producer, Nathan T. Rex….holy shit, I’ve read his name so many times that I just realized his name, ugh I am a moron; anyways….Mr. Rex is trying to get his horror film Presidents Day off the ground, and hiring a real serial killer is sure to bring some realism to the project. Too bad he has to get him out of jail first, and make a mockery of the justice system. God bless America.

Solar Man of the Atom #1– Where Frank Barbiere goes, so I go too. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I die (when my hyperbole’s will never be challenged). Picking up another Gold Key mantel under Dynamite, Barbiere brings back a fansinating superhero, Solar Man of the Atom. A physicist who is transformed into nuclear energy is having some problems with his super power and his estranged daughter might the only one who can save his power. This smartly written number one issue is part origin story, part destruction story, and combines the power of hard science with the flexibility of science fiction. Artist Joe Bennett is highly skilled in bringing superheroes to life with a slew of work under both Marvel and DC, but the homage to ‘60s pulp science, Solar’s beginning, lends itself to this book in everyone’s favor. With a lot of history behind the character from Gold Key, to Jim Shooter’s take with Valiant in the ‘90s, and even bouncing to Dark Horse, Barbiere has a lot of material to mine from. But he’s definitely managed to make his characters and the story brand new again.

 

Sex Criminals TPB Vol 1– This book doesn’t really need my help to sell. Judging by the fact that every single issue goes back to the printers around four times, and even 2nd printings of 4th cover printings. It doesn’t end with these two. Two being Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction. These two share a rapport that goes beyond their comics and the internet, and infuses itself in the characters that we as an audience are so rapt to follow to see what sex-capades they get up to in their pursuit of money, acceptance, and maybe a little love. Suzie and Jon are full of wit, and they are ready to hit it…with each other. More than just a funny sex book, these characters are some of the most complex I’ve ever seen on pages, and their special sex-having/time-stopping abilities aren’t their defining characterstics. It’s what creates the story, moves the plot, but there’s a lot of depth under the surface, which is what makes people keep coming back for more. That and brimping. The intense character building and the brimping. (They tell me a detailed explanation of brimping would be inappropriate for publication, so I guess you’ll have to read it to find out)


White Suits #3– Has it been long enough since I last talked about White Suits? If I’m not mentioned this Barbiere and Cypress book on a weekly, nay, daily basis, then I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Mob crime done right. The key to the success in his writing comes from his ability to cut all the stuff that doesn’t matter, and par the story down to the essential scenes that move the story along without page filing fluff. All of the writing necessary to a novel, does not translate into comics, which is why each panel is full of Russian mercenaries, the mysterious White Suits, and our main characters as hostages in Chinatown. Obivously there’s more than happens in between the lines of Toby Cypress’s impressionist and dreamlike work; the action is tightly coiled, and ready to spring at any moment. Cypress and Barbiere perfectly combine the show v. tell conundrum, that can render even the best comic story a humdrum.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics : Uncanny Sex Marvels

Once again, I am extremely too proud of that title.

Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:

Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1

Witcher #1

Animal Man #29

Superman Unchained #6

Wonder Woman #29

American Vampire Second Cycle #1

Bad Ass #3

Samurai Jack #6

Fuse #2

Lazarus #7

Rocket Girl #4

Daredevil Vol 4 #1

Iron Man #23.Now

Thor God of Thunder #20

Adventure Time #26

Sixth Gun #39

WWE Superstars #3

Shadowman #15

X-O Manowar #23

REVIEWS!

 

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_19.NOW_TextlessUncanny X-Men 19.NOW

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

FACT: That pet variant is both frightening and terrifying, stay the fresh hell away from it.

It’s UMX Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (part 1), despite the fact that neither group appear on panel together at any given point. THAT BENDIS DECOMPRESSION LYFE Y’ALL!

What we get is the reveal of Dazzler’s fate (it’s super icky!), S.H.I.E.L.D. grilling a former X-man, and Scott’s team versus a whole bunch of new Sentinels! Which is still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but has nothing to do with that cover. Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers are all in fine form, with some really cool Sentinel redesigns, some sick looking spells from Magik, and what is probably an intentional horrible new costume for Goldballs. Yes he’s a thing. Yes, that name is definitely intentionally horrible.

Bendis and company don’t do anything ground-breaking with this issue, but they seem to be setting up a fun little story that will hopefully wrap up several yet to be addressed plot points the book has set up in it’s first year. It’s off to a good start, I just hope it delivers, as this book has been on a hot streak as of late and I’d hate to see it end with this arc.

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-10.09.55-PM-424x400Sex Criminals #5

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50

This issue starts off with a MATURE READERS ONLY recap poem. And with that, I officially forgive Matt and Chip for the delays the book has been facing.

Issue 5 officially wraps up the first volume of Sex Crim, changing the book’s status quo a bit. Nothing too big though, as this book is called Sex Criminals for a reason after all.

Also the whole “pooping in the plant thing” is explained, which I was surprised that it would be at all. Had it pegged as a one-note gag at best, but there’s a deeper meaning behind it. “Deeper” is a relative term by the way.

Something I really like about Sex Crim is that is requires re-reads. These are due to Chip Zdarsky putting a ton of work into his panels, and hiding all sorts of disgusting and awesome jokes everywhere. Do they further the narrative? No. Did I laugh out loud several times reading this issue? Yes. Maus this book ain’t, and it never claimed to be. Issue 5 feels a little slow in terms of development, but it’s definitely a book worth buying. The hiatus until June may kill me (HYPERBOLE!)

portrait_incredible (1)Captain Marvel #2

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

On paper, this opening pages of Ms Marvel sound like a horror book. A mysterious fog blows into Jersey City and a young girl becomes a shape shifting freak as black helicopters circle Manhattan. It’s not until a transformation gag kicks in 4 pages deep does the book remind us this is a spandex affair.

That’s not a bad thing by the way. After an incredibly strong debut issue, Wilson, Alphona and friends deliver a great follow up issue, as Kamala tries to figure out what exactly she’s turned into, and springs into action for the first time. Also family drama. It’s an fun read, with some really clever use of faith interwoven into the narrative. Plus some “be careful for what you wish for” type stuff, going back to my opening statement about how this book feels kind of feels like a horror title in the beginning.

With gorgeous visuals from Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring and some incredibly endearing dialogue from G. Willow Wilson (and a sharp cover by Jamie McKelve), Ms Marvel is shaping up to be a can’t miss title from the House of Ideas.  With Saga on hiatus on May, this may be THE book to be reading in 2014.

 

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics- The Sexy Start of the New Year

So the Image Expo 2014 has come and gone and man, screw them. I have a limited budget for comics stuff because living in  New York isn’t cheap, and they go and announce like 3 or 4 books I don’t have the budget for, but from creators I REALLY like. So that sucks for my bank account, but great for me…..spiritually I suppose? I dunno, but if you want to get caught up on what went down, go check our friends at Bleeding Cool and Comics Alliance for details, interviews and pictures.

Now that the holidays (and MAGfest 2014, wooo) has passed, comics have began shipping normally once again. Which means no more waxing poetically over books I really liked in 2013, and back to discussing new comics.

sex-criminals-4-web-72Sex Criminals #4

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages, plus letters from pervs

Haha, J/K, I’m just going to talk more about Matt Fraction comics to start off the year!

I want to say this is the issue where guff gets real, but this also a comic where Chip Zdarsky draws a pizza vagina in the letters section. Another fine reason as to why this book is Time’s Comic Book of 2013.

sex-criminals1-fourth-printingBut yeah, shit gets real in this surprising dense 4th issue. Fraction and Zdarsky get a lot done in the span of 20 pages, and not all of it are butt sex jokes and funny named pornos. I mean yeah, those are there, but there are also times of serious business too. It’s a lot more like the first issue where tragedy and humor are perfectly mixed, only there’s more drama and action ( like there was any shortage of that in this book, HIYYOOOOOO) this time around. And hey, we even get some questions answered! And no worries, the intro page remains hilarious (good luck trying to read that one out loud), and the letter page….well like I said, pizza vagina, so the same as usual.

Sex Criminals was one of the most refreshing reads of 2013, also known as the year of Luigi,  and it starts off 2014 strong. I’m super excited for the conclusion of the first arc next month, and you all can look forward to me suffering from withdrawal as the book goes on a brief hiatus after that.

Also hey, we got that 4th printing cover in stock (pictured above), which I’m still laughing about. There’s also the upcoming 4th printing, but for a 2nd time cover coming in a few weeks, because people are dumb and didn’t pre-order this book the first time around, or just really like odd-photoshopped covers. I’m obviously in the later category.

 

STK629100All New Marvel Now Point One

A lot of people. No serious, a lot of people worked on this comic, look at the credits page, it’s the last page in the book and see how right I am!

Marvel, $5.99, 52 pages

Marvel did one of these last year that I didn’t care much for, with the exception of the Mike Allred Ant-Man story ….written by Matt Fraction (whomp whomp whompppp).

Marvel was definitely aiming for the Tumblr crowd with this book, which is fine, because it’s still good without pandering for “Likes”/”Faves”/”Reblogs”.  My personal highlight is the G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona Ms. Marvel story. While the character was announced a few months back, the only appearance she’s made so far was at the end of the the first volume of the current Captain Marvel book. Here we get to see what she’s made of, and it’s a very fun read, as it’s a fresh take on the super powered teenager story, that’s a tad self aware, careful not to cater to stereotypes, and shows some cool uses of the lead’s power set. Additional props to Ian Herring’s colors which really make the story pop.

Allred’s back this year, with Dan Slott with a Silver Surfer story that’s all sorts of great. Mike Allred is at his best when he’s channeling Jack Kirby, so seeing him take to the cosmos is a real delight for me. Also it’s been some time since I’ve seen Dan Slott write something not Spider-Man-related, so seeing him flex those muscles again is fun. And speaking of good looking books, Phil Noto’s Black Widow story is a visual tour de force. Nate Edmondson and Clayton Cowles are great on words and colors, don’t get me wrong, but this story is Noto’s show, and he excels are delivering some fantastic visuals. The  Al Ewing/Lee Garbett Loki story that bookends this title is fun and the James Robinson/Steve Pugh All New Invaders story shows potential. The Avengers story wasn’t that bad either, but I’ve seen better from Rags Morale, although Nick Spencer delivers on the script end. . But for $7 bucks, I can’t complain, as the title served it’s purpose. It’s successfully gotten me excited about a bunch of titles Marvel’s publishing, although I’ll probably only be only buying one of them monthly.

Alright I talked about 2 comics for a long time today. I’ll be back to review the first volume of The Wake real soon!

 

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