Tagged: Twilight Zone

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 5: Rebel Spaceships, Striking From a Hidden Base

I feel like I have been doing this column long enough now that you all must be dying for a behind the scenes peek at how the magic happens. It all starts around 1:30 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning. That’s around 4 hours after I am supposed to have emailed this in to Tyler, our lovely wizard/graphic designer. I sit down in a chair and make up a bunch of stuff about new comics. I then send it to Tyler’s cauldron of spells/email account. He then does some process I don’t understand, blah blah blah, now it looks nice to look at. Then someone does something so that some internet nerds make it a blog post and someone else or maybe the same person does something so that printing nerds make it a newsletter. Viola! And that’s how it works. Same as the New York Times. It’s like Arthur C. Clarke once said to me, “Any sufficiently advanced low level comics journalism/sales pitch is indistinguishable from magic.” Anyway, there is a surprisingly good amount of new stuff on shelves this week and I have wasted a lot of space making jokes that only I will find funny, so let’s get on with it.

First, a moment of sadness and thanks to the great Jeff Lemire who wraps up his brilliant post apocalyptic coming of age story Sweet Tooth this week in SWEET TOOTH #40. If you haven’t ever read Mr. Lemire’s work you should be ashamed. SWEET TOOTH vol.1 is one of the true great joys of comics in the twenty first century. RIYL: SANDMAN, THE ROAD, or Children Of Men.

Also well worth reading no matter your feeling on superhero books, or anything else really, is WONDER WOMAN. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are quietly sitting in their own corner of the DC universe taking one of the most beloved characters in comics history and telling new stories for her that feel exciting, fresh, and look about as good as a comic can look. Matthew Wilson’s coloring on this book will be studied for years to come as the correct way to have coloring not just serve the pencil art, but to make coloring it’s own art. You don’t have to know anything going in, nor do you have to care about the rest of the DC universe. You just have to like good comics. DC is finally putting out WONDER WOMAN vol. 1 & vol. 2 this week. This is about as good as superhero comics get so you should get them. RIYL: Wonder Woman stories on any level, Clash Of The Titans or any modern takes on mythology

DEVIL IS DUE IN DREARY #2 is also out this week. I really loved issue #1 of this series that felt like a perfect cross between the modern western elements of PREACHER and the foreboding tone of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Add to that art that looks like a smoother Howard Chaykin and you have a really well made book. I know this is a book that will fly under most folks radars but that is a real shame. It has just enough uniqueness to make it stand out, just enough familiarity to be relatable, and is good enough to be a classic if people gave it a chance. RIYL: JONAH HEX or any modern westerns, FELL, PREACHER.

EERIE #2 hits shelves as well. I don’t hide my love for anthology comics and EERIE is a classic. Dark Horse’s relaunch of the series is off to a great start with weird short stories from Mike Allred (MADMAN, iZOMBIE, FF), Brian Clevinger (ATOMIC ROBO), and others. If you just want to read some fun & unusual stuff this is a no-brainer. Don’t be the guy or girl in your local comic shop who has to admit “I just like unfun & usual stuff.” RIYL: Old EERIE comics or other EC stuff, TWILIGHT ZONES, feeding your short attention span.

Peter Bagge is one of the modern legends of indie comics for his brilliant series HATE. When there is that much love and respect heaped on ones work it becomes easy for a lot of creators to shrink away from ever doing something substantial again. Fear of the followup or what have you. But Mr. Bagge has dived headfirst into new and brilliant projects one after another. From APOCALPSE NERD to YEAH! to OTHER LIVES his post HATE work has been varied and fun. It’s a different time for comics and it’s hard to get people as excited about a new book as it once was, but Mr. Bagge’s latest series, RESET, is maybe his best work since HATE and, if it were a different time, would be loved and talked about in much the same way. RESET is the story of a man who enters into an experiment that allows him to relive and change choices he’s made from his past. Weirdo stuff ensues. RIYL: Older Bagge stuff like HATE, the modern indie masters like Daniel Clowes or Charles Burns, or the idea of going back in time and messing things up like a creepy Marty McFly.

I don’t have much of an interest in Conan. Never did really. Some things aren’t for everyone. I know why people like it, I get that, it just wasn’t for me. Then Brian Wood wrote the excellent NORTHLANDERS series about badass vikings axing each other and whatnot and I immediately got the appeal. Apparently someone at Dark Horse did too because they snatched Mr. Wood up and put him on their CONAN book. I don’t know if that worked to bring new readers into the fold but it damn well should have. Mr. Wood is great at huge epics (DMZ, NORTHLANDERS), great at telling stories smarter than they need to be (COURIERS, CHANNEL ZERO), and great at working with amazing artists. For the beginning of his run, collected as CONAN vol 13: QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST he continues these trends. A smart Conan story that feels epic and has beautiful work by two of the more consistently interesting artists working today; BECKY CLOONAN (AMERICAN VIRGIN, DEMO vol II) and JAMES HARREN (B.P.R.D.). For those of you who have ever loved Conan and forgotten about it, this is the time to jump back on. And for those of you like me, who never saw the appeal, this is the comic that will make you fall in love with a barbarian with an ax. That’s a good thing.

RIYL: NORTHLANDERS, people using swords and stuff on each other, old pulp stories made relevant again.

END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN #1 is out this week. A buddy comedy set around the rapture. Image pumped out more good series debuts in 2012 than most people can afford to read and ETOBAB is their hope for their first big hit of 2013. This book is clearly gunning for the bookshelves of fans of smart and snarky comics and is definitely worth checking out if that is you. Co-writer James Asmus is a rising star over at Marvel but is also doing his time at Image on THIEF OF THIEVES with some nobody named Robert Kirkman. If you look for comics that have some action but really want to make you smirk this should fully be on your radar by now. RIYL: BATTLE POPE, CHEW, or the film Dogma.

My last recommendation is BETA TESTING THE APOCALYPSE. 10ish short stories from Tom Kaczynski that all play with the idea of exploring modern intangible concepts like capitalism or utopia and breaking them down into very tangible and very human stories. These are big ideas made very small and personal. Kaczynki’s style makes all the heavy stuff feel very immersive with out ever feeling oppressive. It is a delicate balancing act, and one that clearly he is comfortable with. BETA TESTING THE APOCALYPSE, like a lot of the Fantagraphics stuff from the last decade, is definitely one of those books that’ll please almost everybody who has the interest to pick it up and for a select few it will become a most cherished and prized possession. RIYL: J.G. Ballard, the more esoteric but personal stuff Fantagraphics puts out, CONCRETE.

Ok. I’m done.

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Saturday Nightmares This Weekend!!!

This weekend at the Sheraton Meadowlands in East Rutherford New Jersey Saturday Nightmares returns!  I went last year and it was one of the best convention experiences I’ve ever had.

Worth checking out for The Twilight Zone marathon on the big screen alone.

One of my favorite parts of the Saturday Nightmares convention is the focus on actual film screenings.  So many conventions really blow this.  I’m personally looking forward to seeing The Birds on the big screen with an intro by Tippi Hedren and Q&A moderated by one of the most engaging personalities in the genre Roy Frumkes!

But I’m most excited about meeting Debra Gordon, who was in one of my all time favorite movies Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh.

Here are the details one more time…

Saturday Nightmare Horror and Sci-Fi Expo

June 2–5, 2011

Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel
2 Meadowlands Plaza
East Rutherford, NJ 07073

See you there!

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Matt Jones Multiverse

Fans of Wolverine, Stephen Hawking and Black Flag make sure to mark your calendar’s for Matt Jones Multiverse!

Matt is a good friend of mine (and a great customer for that matter) and this is his first solo art exhibit at the Freight + Volume gallery so I want everyone to make an effort to check it out.   Observing his art is like taking a trip into the Twilight Zone, if it was created by Stan Lee.  When I first met Matt his enthusiasm for comics and honest personality made him one of my favorite new faces to see in the shop.  He’s a total Wolverine nut and we have a mutual love of Black Flag so it was an instant friendship.

Matt Jones is now represented by Freight + Volume in New York.

MULTIVERSE, his debut solo exhibition with the gallery, opens March 31, 2011 with a reception-celebration from 6-8PM that night. MULTIVERSE runs through May 7, 2011.

FREIGHT + VOLUME
530 W. 24th St.
New York, NY
10011
PHONE: 212 691 7700

If you stop by FP we are giving away some pretty sweet posters for the show (while supplies last, obviously) so come on down and pick one up.

Oh, and go to the show… bub!

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Adios 2010, Hola 2011

Happy New Year!  2010’s gone- out with a hectic bang on my end of the screen- and I finally have Time Enough at Last to wish you a most agreeable 2011.

Speaking of which, why not relax with a Twilight Zone marathon today?  It’s a time-honored New Year’s tradition on local television here in NYC, now continued nationally on SyFy.  As synonymous with January 1st as any bowl game.

At least for us, the geeky.

However you choose to spend it I hope you enjoy.

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British SciFi vs American SciFi.

Torchwood: Children of Earth poster
Torchwood: Children of Earth poster

Over the weekend, Graeme McMillan over at io9.com had an interesting story that got me thinking about the differences between American science fiction and British science fiction television.

I can’t agree with any argument that disses Blake’s Seven while holding Quantum Leap up as an ideal of good science fiction – but there’s a certain ring of truth to it, nonetheless… For all of British TV’s genre successes, whether they’re Primeval, Being Human or even Jekyll, there’s always something weirdly… apologetic about them. It’s not just a question of budget and ill-conceived special effects – although, yes, that as well – but almost as if they can’t quite conjure up enough abandon to let themselves not be slightly embarrassed and/or arch about the whole thing.

For me, the difference has always been similar to the DC vs Marvel Universe argument.  British Sci Fi tv has always been fun, whimsical and adventurous, and American sci fi television has always played in real world themes but in fantastic settings. This is probably why the Fox attempted revival of “Doctor Who” in 1996 didn’t work. It was trying to put a character in American Science Fiction, making him half human and all of that business which, so far, I think hasn’t even been touched by the hugely successful British restart.  And I love the revival, I get hives thinking about a new episode its so good and so fun.

Where American Science Fiction, like Marvel, puts you in a fantastic setting but works in themes that are very much the real world with real people concerns. You know, literally, “Your Universe” as Marvel pushes.  “The Twilight Zone” literally started this thought process, and it continued to today with “Battlestar Galactica.”  The idea behind American Science Fiction plays with things that are reminiscent of today’s issues but putting it in a fantastic setting.

Where British, like DC, just puts it in a fantastic, completely unrealistic setting and just gets more and more fantastic and out there.  I mean the season ender of “Doctor Who” season four was the TARDIS towing multiple planets back to their original locations. Sorry, that just can’t be done in American television without being totally laughable.

Though apparently where these two roads meet is in “Torchwood.” According to some of the early reviews of the Children of Earth miniseries that aired in the UK this past week shows a combination of these two thoughts. I guess, I’ll just have to wait with baited breath until it airs on BBC America on July 20th.

Also, for the record, I’m a Doctor Who guy over Star Trek.

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