Tagged: the woods

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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The Woods/Batman/Paladin Super Signing October 7th at 6pm

October-7th-GifOn October 6th at 7 o’clock, Forbidden Planet is going to have a whole slew of amazing creators in-store. Writer James Tynion IV (The Woods, Batman Eternal) and artist Michael Dialynas ( The Woods) will be here as well as writer Marguerite Bennett (Batgirl, Batman), writer Chris Antzoulis (Paladin) and artist Fabio Valle (Paladin) will all be here to sign copies of their respective books. Woo.

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Troy’s Toys, but With Comics: Rocket Reviews

 

000_4318.jpeg.square-true_maxheight-285_size-285 STK644226Legendary Star Lord/Rocket Raccoon #1

Sam Humphries/Paco Diaz (LSL)/ Skottie Young (RR)

Marvel $3.99 each

In case you somehow missed it, or are still in denial (which yo, I GET), Marvel/Disney has a Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out next month. This usually results in a title reboot, but since the proper GOTG book is only 2 years old, Marvel has decided to go the always questionable spin off route, and give both Peter Quill & Rocket Raccoon books. And given the fact that Rocket Racoon’s preorder numbers were somewhere in the 300k range (100k from Loot Crate), that was an incredible smart move by Marvel.

And what’s the most surprisingly about these titles is how great they are while being so incredibly different. The Legendary Starlord is easily the best Han Solo comic on the market, (sorry not sorry Firefly) until Marvel puts out a proper Han Solo book next year, and Rocket is space adventure under a Chuck Jones filter, (if Daffy Duck was a raccoon that murdered people). Both are great debuts, which is no surprise given the talent involved.

Skottie Young, who’s finally on everyone’s radar thanks to those Young aka Baby Variants that Marvel’s been putting out over the last 2.5 years, is a fantastic fit for Rocket Raccoon. The script is fun, and it’s nice to see Young get a chance to flex his writing muscles for a chance, as the results are very much what I wanted. It’s a super-cartoony looking book, which only proves how diverse and wonderful Marvel’s current crop of artists are, as Rocket #1 ends up being a species swapped Scott Pilgrim of sorts. It’s very loosely tied into the current events of GOTG, making it perfect for new readers not reading Bendis’ book. As far as debuts go,  Rocket’s up there with Ms Marvel with Marvel’s most accessible and fun book launched in 2014.

The Legendary Starlord, by the talented team of Sam Humphries and Paco Diaz, is a little more  rooted in current Marvel continuity, and looks more like a traditional Marvel book, but isn’t any less enjoyable. Humphries’ dialogue is slick, and he balances action, humor and Quill’s tragic past quite nicely. Diaz’s art is slick and clean, making it look a gorgeous looking book. Hopefully Sam and Paco will stick around on this title for awhile, because this take on Starlord is off to a great start.

 

Both Rocket and Starlord are super fun books that are accessible and worth checking out if you’re looking for some fun books to add to your pull list.

 

Woods_003_coverA-620x400The Woods #3

James Tynion IV/ Michael Dialynas

Boom!, $3.99

If case you missed it, I really liked the second issue of the Woods, but found it heavy on the tropes. Luckily, that’s not the case for issue 2.

Issue 3 is very much more in the vein of the 1st issue, which makes for a happy Chris. There’s some horrifying visuals, one involving a weird growth that has more or less confirmed my belief that nature is evil. There’s more character growth that’s shown by actions and not spelled out for the reader which I appreciate. Oh and more Space Bears, which is VERY important to me.

It’s the type of horror comic I want to be reading at the moment, which is a credit to Tynion, Dialynas and BOOM!. The cast is likeable (well most of them at least), the hook is solid, and it looks and reads great. There’s some brutal stuff in it, but nothing that turns me off from reading it. And some really weird things that make sense, given how gonzo the premise is. The Woods is the type of book I expect from Image, but am glad to see a company like BOOM put out. More awesome creator owned books by different publishers is always good for comics.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Superior Trees

Hey Superior Foes of Spider-Man is back this week. Yay, I’m so glad no other Marvel books that I really like are also on hiatus :: breaks out in ugly crying :::

sup foesSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #12

Nick Spence, Steve Lieber, Racelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in on ol’ SUP FOES, due to a month delay and some fill in issues I didn’t care to purchase. But Nick, Steve and Rachel and back, and despite a increase in price, I’m glad to see the once again. Especially with that rocking cover by Ron Wimberly.

Our lead, disgraced former Mets pitcher turned super villain Boomerang, find himself in a bit of trouble rest  of the Sinister Six ( actually Five). Mostly because he lied/double crossed the lot of them, or if you’re the Shocker, tried killing. So their anger is justified. Can Boomerang lie his way out of this scenario? Yeah probably, but you should still read the damn thing.

This issue is incredibly rewarding to people who’ve been reading SUP FOES since day 1. Lieber & Spencer bring back a few old gags like the double page death trap warehouse ( complete with Stalin Mummies!), super deformed version of the Sinister Six, over exaggerated facial expressions. Steve Lieber’s panel count per page is also impressive, fitting up to 12  in some pages, without the final product being over crowded. And his placement of characters for comedic purposes really helps sell the humor. This book continues to showcase how strong of an story telling Lieber is ( and props to colorist Rachelle Rosenberg for really making this book come to life, especially with the action sequence towards the end of the book).

Nick Spencer deserves his fair amount of praise with what he gets accomplished with this issue. Aside from tripling the amount of characters in a certain team of villains ( Bi-Beast is back!), the Shocker & Hammerhead get  decent amount of spotlight with their connected subplots. It’s really wonderful to see everything come together for a super great read.

As our first massive arc ( and possibly series :/) wraps up, I’m really impressed with this issue of Superior Foes of Spider-Man. It’s a well constructed comic that manages to raise the stakes without sacrificing character development.

Woods_002_CoverThe Woods

James Tynion IV, Micahel Dialynas

BOOM!, $3.99

 

The 2nd issue of the Woods is heavy on the troupes. Evil facility member? Check. Adorable monkey-esque pet character? Check. Creepy ass alien bear…alright that’s kind of new and awesome.

 

As familiar as the 2nd issue of  The Woods is, it’s not any less entertaining than the first issue. The team of students that decided to run off into said the woods find themselves not as prepared they thought they were, and the divide between the Student Council and the school’s facility begins to grow. With all this growing conflict, I’m expecting  a heavy body count by the end of this first arc.

The team of Tynion & Dialynas continue to impress with this issue. The art in this book is stellar and the dialogue remains sharp, and the amazingly brutal cover by artist Ramon K. Perez is as great as it is horrifying. My only complaint is that the massive cast is making some elements of the book seem a little crowded, but considering the type of monsters that occupy this weird alien planet or moon, I’m sure that’s not going to be an issue for much longer.

Despite the sense of familiarity this books gives off at certain points, the Woods is definitely a must read horror title. It’s a little than the previous issue, it’s constructed in a way to build the dread and terror the cast faces while adding on the intrigue. It’s a unique type of horror comics, one that smart without talking over the reader’s head. With only 2 issues under the team’s belt, I’m really impressed with the quality of story the team has told so far.

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Troy’s toys, but with Comics: Strong Debuts, Conquering Queens

Another strong week for comics, with 2 great debuts. I’m excited to talk to y’all about these books, so let’s get to it!

52fcf9c2867f1Cyclops #1

Greg Rucka/Russell Dauterman/Chris Sotomayer

Marvel $3.99

So, a lot of people have been making the same joke on twitter that Cyclops is a bold new concept for Marvel, as it features a positive (and living) father figure in it. I am the MOST jealous of not being the first to make that joke.

As much as I complained about the announcement of this book spoiling “The Trail of Jean Grey”, I absolutely loved this first issue. It’s a cute premise, as the time traveling young Cyclops (or Fryclops if you’re down with Futurama) gets to hang out with his space pirate dad Corsair and his merry band of space pirates. Does this probably put the time-space continuity as risk? Oh definitely, but it’s fun, and it allows Corsair to hang out with a son he never got to meet until he was older, so who cares (Oh right, “our” Cyclops, that was addressed in last week’s Uncanny. Duh.)

Let’s talk creative team yes? So we all know that Greg Rucka is an amazing writer yes? So it comes as no surprise that the writing in this issue is strong. Rucka draws from his own experience as of father, and the result is a more realistic and earnest script, despite the present of aliens and mutants. It makes for a good read in the end, and I’m glad Rucka is handling it.

Art Wise, I have no prior experience with SPACE ARTIST Russell Dauterman (What, that’s his title on the credits page credits him as), But I dig his stuff. It reminds me a lot of Chris Burnham but a little more controlled. His teenage Cyclops looks like an actual teenager, which is nice, because this book stresses that Scott’s 16 a lot. Also his space pirates are all various degrees of sexy, even Final Fantasy knock off Korvus.

An excellent, endearing, character driven comic, the first issue of Cyclops is delight. I really didn’t expect to end up liking it as much as I did, even with my permi-Scott boner, but I’m certainly glad this book is as good as it is.

TheWoods1cvrThe Woods #1

Jame Tynion IV/Michael Dialynas

Boom! $3.99

This is the 2nd comic I’ve read in the last month where teenagers ( #TEENS) end up in a SPOOKY FOREST that’s been published but Boom. But much like “The Lumberjanes”, this is an excellent debut. Unlike the ‘Janes, this is not an all aged affair.

And much like Cyclops’ artist, I have no experience with the creators involved in “The Woods” what sold me on it was the concept. A Milwaukee high school is teleported (for a lack of better words) to a spooky forest, and things go south from there. I don’t want to say much more than that, but it’s creepy and weird, and I love it.

One of the things I really like about James Tynion IV’s script is the fact that the teenagers (who make up most of the cast) actually sound like teenagers, not small adults. A lot of comics don’t get that right, and it takes me out of the narrative a bit. Here, everyone sounds natural, and it totally works, even when the crazier elements of the plots are introduced.

Michael Dialynas is a great fit for the book. He’s very Faith Erin Hicks/Guy Davis-esque, and can sell both the humor and horror elements. Balancing that sort of thing can be tricky, but Dialynas pulls it off well. Jason Gonzalez’s colors also help a lot too, really helping Tynion and Dialynas set the scene for their tale of cosmic horror. There’s some really cool atmosphere in this book, and the use of purples and blues in the 2nd half of the book is great.

 

“Great” also sums up The Woods debut. It’s a cool premise with a fantastic excecution. I cannot recommend this first issue enough.

 

RatQueens06-CoverA-285071_321x214Rat Queens #6

Kurtis J Wiebe/Roc Upchurch

Image $3.50

I’ll be honest, I initially was going to skip over Rat Queens #6 because I prefer reading this book in trade. However, after flipping through the first few pages at the shop, I was more than impressed with what I saw and decided that I couldn’t wait for trade. I needed it NOW.

Wiebe and Upchurch really stepped up their game with this issue. Now that the cast has been properly introduced and the first arc is over, we’re introduced to 2 big reveals in this issue, and now I’m DYING to see how they’re going to pay off. Especially with Roc Upchurch handling the visuals, because holy hell, this book looks amazing. The first few pages show how wonderful his panel layouts and body language is, and it’s something that’s constantly great throughout the book.  And Kurtis Wiebe‘s dialogue is doing a fine job of fleshing out the Queens, their supporting cast and the world around them. There’s some extremely touching moments, as well as 2 that are absolutely horrific. This book is flawless overall.

Image’s comic game has been strong for awhile, as I’ve said as much in the past, but I’m impressed on how their books continue and continue to improve. Rat Queens is arguably my favorite non-Matt Fraction penned series on the market, and if you give it a chance, I’m sure it will be your’s as well.

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May 7th Mega Signing

The-Woods-Mega-SigningMay 7th had so many awesome releases we couldn’t decided who to have a signing with, so we’re doing everybody. Come down to Forbidden Planet and get you copy of Vertigo’s  CMYK Anthology and In the Dark signed by a slew of amazing creators.and James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal) will also be on hand to sign his brand new series The Woods. And if that wasn’t enough the man, the legend Larry Hama will also be here in the flesh. Don’t miss out folks.

 

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