Tagged: Shannon Wheeler

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.)

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Fret-Con

Wolverine #310 hits the stands this week, and with it comes some shocking revelations. Remember when Wolverine cut off Sabertooth’s head in 2007’s Wolverine #55? Well guess what…MAYBE HE DIDN’T!

Hurts, doesn’t it?! Some super villains are just too cool and iconic to leave in the depths of hell to rot. Wolverine #310 plans on telling us HOW Sabertooth survived his amputation/fatal beheading, but for many fans the answer will still smack of betrayal.

Let’s talk ret-cons.

Action Comics #11 also arrives this week, but it promises to be the origin story of the new 52’s version of Superman, the ret-conned version of the Man of Steel. DC also has Before Watchmen Ozymandias #1 with Jae Lee on art duties and Len Wein writing. This is one of the teams I was looking forward to on this project…but now I’m scared! “What might they ret-con?!”

KEEP IT SAFE

Comics are a long game. Sure, we might be miffed at Wolverine #310 for changing things so Sabertooth can return, but are we still mad at the ret-cons we like? Is anybody upset that Magneto lived after being blown up on Asteroid M, or the time when he was revealed to be alive from being cloned? Are we cheesed off that they ret-conned Bruce Wayne to have a friend who became Hush? I for one am happy that Generation X-star Chamber is back to his hollow faced self after all the crazy malarkey with Apocalypse and M Day. Continue reading

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Strip Mind

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

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

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

BUT WAIT

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

WE at Forbidden Planet still love you, Comic Strips!

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

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

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

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

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

KRAZY KAT, George Herriman, Fantagraphics Books

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

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

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

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

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

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The Clone Chores

This has been the easiest column to write of my long career…because I didn’t write it! OR DID I?! No, I did not, but my CLONE did! That’s right, in order to better multitask I have developed a clone-o-matic so that all of my necessary daily tasks (sweeping up the cave, writing my columns, eating, etc.) can be performed while I engage in weightier pursuits…like finally finishing Zelda II: The Adventures of Link. That game is tough!

So let’s just review this document my clone has passed in…we’ll call him CLunkiedev. *Puts on reading glasses, clears throat* Ahem.

GOOD FOR YOUR EYES


Well, I already have to step in to editorialize. Clunkie’s written here “Darhrazz 8” and then a sort of squiggle. Due to me taking this particular clone out of the tank a little early his hands aren’t strictly speaking hands…he can grip but his nailless fingers are sort of boneless and stumpy. I think IT is trying to recommend Dark Horse Presents #8 which, on top of some great new stuff from Brian Wood and Howard Chaykin promises to have a Hellboy B.P.R.D. tie-in story. It’s a good book to cover.

Speaking of which, Clunkiedev has scribbled a sort of moist rectangle with a Superman symbol, the number 6 and a big “X” through it. I think It is as disappointed in the cover to Action Comics #6 as I am…sort of a green and purple blob in which Superman is stuck as though in a Japanese tentacle manga. It reminds me of Clunkie’s forehead…see eyelashes are really hard to clone, and they came out all…never mind. AC #6 has a lousy cover, but I’m sure Grant Morrison’s superlative writing on these Super-books will be top notch.

Two covers that leap off the shelf are Fear Itself The Fearless #8 and The Twelve #9! Fear Itself The Fearless is the spin off series from last summer’s Fear Itself event. Good  Marvel fun. The cover, however, is the best Art Adams has to give! Amazing perspective, detail and poses as only Adams can deliver. Continue reading

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Drama Dairy

In 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Natives of Massachusetts put aside their differences on a cold and dreary Friday in November so they could keep each other company as they waited in line to be the first people through the door at Wal•mart. They new that a Wal•mart wouldn’t be built for another three hundred plus years, but that didn’t matter. On that special day of togetherness, all they cared about was getting the best parking space chronologically possible in order to take advantage of the huge doorbuster sales and savings.

To pass the time, the Natives teased the Pilgrims about their monochromatic wardrobe. The Pilgrims, as always, wore black, as it was slimming. The day became known as Black Friday.

We still celebrate this day of commercial gathering, this annual event of spectacular discounts and companionship today. Eventually we tacked on the previous Thursday as a day of feasting in order to fill ourselves with the calories necessary to get through a grueling day of high impact shopping.

We at Forbidden Planet hope you will join us; your comic book retail family; as we get together like the Americans of old and honor the forward thinking wishes of those visionary pioneers. We wish you the very happiest Black Friday you can have. And just like those best friends of yore; the grim, puritanical Pilgrims and those wacky fun loving Native Americans; we invite you to spend this magical day of togetherness with us.

Our door will be open. Bring a friend! Nobody should be forgotten on this special day.

ON TO BUSINESS

I’d like to tell you to keep a close eye on some great new books this week, such as Oil and Water, the spectacular new graphic novel drawn by Eisner winner Shannon Wheeler (Too-Much-Coffee-Man) which takes a hard and startling look at the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or Fantastic Four #600 which plans on being a high-water book for Marvel events. DC ain’t looking too bad this week with new issues of Batman: The Dark Knight #3, and you’d really have to be a communist to pass up BOOM! Studios Ron Paul #1.

But none of that matters, now. In fact, nothing really matters this week. Not Football, not turkeys, not even the grit and determination of the Wampanoag natives as they struggled under their deerskin slankets, warming their hands and waiting, waiting, waiting.
Nothing else matters except for this: Continue reading

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Comics Gud. Gud Comics, Take Comics Home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Continue reading

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Four Years of The Weekly Planet

The Weekly Planet, FPNYC’s newsletter for in-store customers, celebrated its four year anniversary last week.  Since that first sweltering summer night we hand-copied and stapled a coupla hundred 8×11 sheets of copy paper on which I wrote an impassioned letter to members of our comic book subscription program back in 2006, to that sweltering summer night in 2010 when we brought a file over to our local printer for them to put together, the WP’s been through the rigors of geek retail without missing a week and lived to tell the tale.

That being said I’d like to quickly thank all past and current contributors (especially Devin T. Quin, Mat Kerwin, Matt Desiderio, and Mark Denardo), the various FP staffers who helped lay out issue after issue (esp. Lindsay Johnson and Alice Meichi Li) and all guest contributors (esp. Shannon Wheeler and Julia Wertz).

Though I was remiss in celebrating this anniversary upon issue #208’s publication I’ll be making amends in the coming weeks by posting some of the WP’s best articles and tidbits to Forbidden Planet NYC’s other blog (which, I encourage you to check out regardless).

Here’s to many more years of The Weekly Planet.

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