Tagged: Warren Ellis

Creative Conversation With Matthew Rosenberg

Matthew Rosenberg has been a steadily rising star in comics for the last few years. After acclaimed run for his work on the gorgeous We Can Never Go Home, he broke down more doors over at Marvel with his Civil War II: Kingpin mini-series. The reception of which lead to the ongoing Kingpin series he’s currently got the fourth issue of coming out. He’s a creator who’s worked on almost every side of comics. He’s as versatile and knowledgeable a comics creator as there is and with the debuting Secret Warriors #1 coming out next week, Matthew Rosenberg will shock the world with his first team book amidst the turmoil of Secret Empire.

A former Forbidden Planet comics slinger like yours truly, we talk about the series he learned to read from, when he knew comics was going to be his way in the world, and what to expect from the mix of characters he’s getting to write in Secret Warriors!

MK: Welcome to another Creative Conversation. I am joined today by THE Matthew Rosenberg. Thanks for coming in and talking with me today, sir.

MR: Thanks for having me

MK: One of the questions that’s always fun to jump in with is, do you recall the first comic or run that stuck with you?

MR: Well the first comic I remember ever holding was an issue of Fantastic Four that my brother had. I remember carrying it around with me and just staring at the art, but having no idea what was actually going on. The first run I ever read was [Chris] Claremont’s X-Men. I basically learned to read with those books.

MK: Did you ever figure out what issue of Fantastic Four it was?

MR: No, actually. I’ve gone back and tried, but once I learned to read I was a big Fantastic Four fan, so all those blurred together in my adolescent brain.

MK: I’m in a similar boat with an issue of John Ostrander‘s Suicide Squad.

MR: Yeah. I am 99% sure it was John Byrne stuff. But who can say for sure.

MK: Well, no one can say it wasn’t John Byrne (laughs). You talked about Claremont’s X-Men run as what you learned to read on, is it safe to say that run is one that’s influenced you as a comics creator?

MR: Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that it heavily influenced me as a person. I feel like every issue I read of that book exposed me to new ideas and ways of thinking. A lot of my core beliefs go back to that run. And, obviously, my love of comics comes from there as well.

MK: That’s amazing to have that connection so early on. Did you have any other runs early on that helped you fall deeper in love with the medium?

MR: The Marvel Star Wars and GI Joe books were really important to me. I still have complete runs of both. The Mike Zeck Punisher stuff was major for me. Claremont and [Frank] Miller‘s Wolverine stuff felt insane to me in the best way. And the original TMNT was really mind blowing for me.

MK: Tell me you’ve been begging Marvel to work on a Star Wars book.

MR: Begging is a strong word. But yes. I am begging.

MK: I’d love to see you on a Boba Fett or Han Solo series.

MR: Those books have been amazing though, Jordan and Heather who edit the Marvel Star Wars line do a great job of curating it. They aren’t just letting any old riff-raff in the door, which hurts me as a creator, but makes me so happy as a fan. Yeah. There is so much I want to see. I always joke about how much I want to do a podracing comic with Daniel Warren Johnson on art. But I really want to do a podracing comic with Daniel Warren Johnson on art.

MK: I’d read it! Do you remember when you decided that you weren’t just going to be a fan anymore but that working in comics was what you wanted to do? And was writing always the path you saw for yourself?

MR: Yeah. I was working in music for a while and was just getting really burned out. I love music and hate the industry. At that point in my life, the only other thing I was really passionate about besides music was comics. They were a constant for me for almost my whole life.  So when I just couldn’t take doing music stuff anymore I started thinking more about making comics. I knew I couldn’t draw, but I wanted to be creative. My whole family are writers. My mom, my dad, my uncle, my brother. So, as much as it’s possible, writing is in my DNA. And I just sort of dove in from there, with no real idea what I was doing.

MK: You jumped in though! I mean one of the coolest things about your journey, knowing you as long as I do, is that you’ve seen a lot of different sides of comics that not every creator is familiar with. Can you talk a little bit about how you found your way in and the different aspects you’ve gotten to work on?

MR: Yeah. I’m sort of obsessive about stuff. I like to know how things work. So, I studied all aspects of comics I could. I was reading coloring guides and watching lettering tutorials, tracking down interviews with editors. But then I really wanted to know about things more hands on. I quit my day job and took a job at Forbidden Planet so I could really see how books were bought and sold. It’s so crucial for comic creators to understand their readers and their partners in retail. And it was eye opening. From there, I took a job at a few small publishers just doing whatever I could. Retail outreach. Publicity. Social media. Pre-production. Editing. I don’t ever like asking someone to do something for me, without really knowing what I am asking of them. So all of that was incredibly helpful. And it also helped me build relationships and open doors when I was ready to be making publishable work. Or semi-publishable work.

MK: I’d argue it’s all damn publishable! I mean you’ve been hitting home runs with characters like Kingpin and Rocket Raccoon, and now you’re getting your own team book in Secret Warriors, out on shelves May 10th! You’re really building a home at Marvel it feels like. How did this series come about? Did you go to Marvel with the idea for this team or was it a little more of meeting in the middle?

MR: Well thanks. I hope Marvel fans like what I’m doing. As for Secret Warriors, it’s a bit of a funny story. Wil Moss, who was my original editor on my Kingpin mini-series got put in charge of the Inhumans. I am a big Inhumans fan but a huge fan of Quake. I immediately emailed Wil to say that I had an idea for Quake that I wanted to pitch. I sent in the pitch and Wil was really enthusiastic, but he came back and said, “What if Quake was part of a team? We need a new team book.” And from there it all came together in bits and pieces. I feel really lucky because I love our cast. Ms. Marvel is bar none one of the best books at Marvel right now. Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur has been a favorite of mine since it began. Inferno is a great part of Charles Soule‘s Inhumans run. And obviously Karnak is one of the great Marvel characters. So getting all of these wildly different together it just felt like we had a chance to do something really different and not what folks expect. I’m pretty proud of it.

MK: It’s a very cool mix of characters. What are you excited and hope readers will take away from the first issue on May 10th and from the rest of the first arc?

MR: I really hope people like what we do with the characters. I tried to be really faithful to who they are and what they are about, but we are putting some of them in very new and tough situations. I love them all, and really believe in them, but I want to see them tested. And I hope fans do, too. This book is a little darker and crazier than I think people are expecting. Things are really scary in the Marvel Universe right now, and our Secret Warriors are figuring out the best way to fight back. And that’s not always easy.

MK: Team books like this are always so compelling because of the relationships between teammates. Who do you think would butt heads the most, who might be the wild card, what makes these characters the best fit for this team? If they are.

MR: Well the first part is easy. Quake and Ms. Marvel butt heads the most. Ms. Marvel is a hero through and through. She wants to inspire. She wants to lead by example. And Quake was a spy and a weapon trained by Nick Fury. She knows that sometimes you have to do things that don’t sit right with you because they have to get done. I think Moon Girl is a real wild card. She’s not a team player, per se. She’s smarter than everyone else. And she is really just a kid. As for why they are each the best fit for the team? They aren’t. That’s sort of a real point in the book. They are six characters who are thrust together because of awful circumstances. They each have their own reasons for being there, their own agendas, and their own way of doing things. It’s a stretch to call them a team.

MK: That’s awesome.That’s just juicy to think about and see how they can coexist, if they can.

MR: Yeah. I think people will be surprised at where things end up. Or not.

MK: I love you bringing up Quake being Nick Fury’s apprentice. I remember it was you in fact who got me to read Jonathan Hickman‘s run on Secret Warriors where that relationship developed.

MR: Yeah. Hickman’s Secret Warriors is one of my all-time favorite comics. The way he has Quake and Fury working together, this troubled family dynamic, is so beautiful and heartbreaking.

MK: Totally agree and now she’s kind of in the Nick Fury role herself.

MR: It is something we are going to go into as the series goes on. Fury is gone and Quake is still very new to all of this. She’s tough and capable, but she never had the chance to grow into it. Fury dropped her in the deep end.

MK: To bring things back around a little as we head into the home stretch. you talked about how your whole family are writers. Why write comics? What is about comics versus say film or T.V. or the stage that sets it apart for you as a creator?

MR: I love all types of writing. People in my family have written novels, essays, movies, T.V. shows, plays, you name it. But for me, comics has always been my love. Everything about it from the worlds and characters, to the the tactile feel of a comic, to comic shops and culture. I find it all energizing and inspiring. That’s what attracted me.

MK: Thank you for that. If you could go back, what advice would you give the Matthew Rosenberg who was just starting out?

MR: Save more money. Sell more of your stuff you don’t need

MK: Fair. Totally fair. Which creators are on your personal Mount Rushmore of Comics?

MR: Oh man. Okay. Brian Michael Bendis. Frank Miller. Brian K. Vaughan, Chris Claremont. The Hernandez Bros., Osamu Tezuka, Charles Schulz. My Mount Rushmore is bigger than the other one. Wait! I want to change my answer

MK: Do you need a lifeline?

MR: I’d put Bill Watterson over Schulz. It’s blasphemy, I know

MK: I don’t know if it’s blasphemy. Calvin & Hobbes can be read at eight and twenty-eight and fifty-eight and mean something incredibly important and different at each age.

MR: True. I think Peanuts works on that level, too, in some ways. But Calvin & Hobbes always felt more like a narrative to me. Peanuts was much more of just moments in time. Oh, and Alan Moore. I’m bad at this

MK: You’re not bad at this, you just need a bigger mountain And last but not least, if you were working in  a shop and someone came up to you saying, “I’ve never read comics before, what should I read first?” What five books would you tell them to pick up?

MR: Y: The Last Man. V For Vendetta. American Splendor. Powers. Love & Rockets.

MK: It’s a good list…It’s a good list.  Well thank you, sir, for taking the time to talk with me today. I can’t wait to read the first issue of Secret Warriors!

MR: Thanks so much for having me.

Make sure you pick up your copy of Secret Warriors #1 coming out next Wednesday, May 10th!

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: The Top 4 (and a Hawkguy) Finale

At last, it’s time for my final article for the Daily Planet. Instead of reviews, I’m going to recommend 4 series to you (plus Hawkeye, because we all know that’s coming) that are some of my favorite comics. There’s a few “well duh” choices on the list, but hopefully someone will find a new favorite on this list, or at least think I have excellent tastes in comics.

DCD5297571) Batgirl: Year One (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Marcos Martin) The only way you can buy Batgirl: Year One these days is in a trade packaged with the also great Robin: Year One. But Batgirl: Year One is arguably my favorite story featuring my favorite DC character. It’s a nice re-imagining of her origin from pre New 52 times, from a writer who wrote a good portion of the best Babs Gordon stories in the 90s. Marcos Martin later blew up on books like Spider-Man and Dr. Strange: The Oath, but this is where the Martin hype train officially began. A gorgeous story that does wonders for one of the most iconic superheroes out there, Batgirl: Year One is the one DC story I can’t recommend enough.

DCD4061942) Phonogram: The Singles Club  (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson). While I absolutely adore this team’s work on The Wicked + The Divine and Young Avengers, P:TSC is my next pick, which was the first time Wilson joined Gillen and McKelvie on a creator owned joint. Set over the course of a single night, each issue in this trade tells a different story, focusing on a different character, and occasionally crossing over. My personal favorite of the various stories is the finale, a relatively silent story that focuses on Kid-With-a-Knife, one of the more simplistic but exciting characters in the series. While it’s technically the second part of the Phonogram trilogy, it’s by far the most accessible, and an excellent entry point for Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson’s indie work.

15958246263) The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan). I really wanted to throw a Grant Morrison penned story on this list, but honestly, there’s enough best of/recommendation lists out there featuring his work on All Star Superman, JLA, Doom Patrol, etc. Instead I’ve opted for a comic featuring a character played by Morrison in the My Chemical Romance music videos this comic series is based on/a sequel to. While being familiar with said music videos/album helps. Killjoys is good enough to enjoy on it’s own, thanks to Cloonan’s gorgeous art, and Way’s sensational and kinda out there scripts. While you can make an argument that both creators have stronger work on the market, this is a favorite of mine, and it’s definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of either creators.

07851983934) NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen) Also known as my favorite comic series before Hawkguy was a thing. Warren Ellis’ funniest book to date, in which his team of super hero pirates fight an evil corporation profiting from a war they’ve created. A cult favorite that’s influenced so many books, NEXTWAVE was at one point the weirdest but also one of the best looking books Marvel had ever published thanks to Stuart Immonen’s art. Assuming you haven’t read it, you should, unless you hate nuclear puppies, flesh eating koalas and dragons that wear shorts.

 

 

0785192190Hawkguy) Hawkeye (Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, Matt Hollingsworth, and various) And here it is, my obvious favorite that I’ve never shut up while writing for Forbidden Planet NYC. Hawkeye was a game changer for Marvel, and is easily the best for-hire work Fraction and Aja have done, possibly ever. The creative team makes walking dumpster fire Clint Barton one of the most relatable characters in comics, while making Hawkeye Kate Bishop a break out star. From the Pizza Dog issue to the Sandy relief issue, there’s some many amazing, genre defining comics that show that you can do big 2 comics with an indie comics sensibility. No comic series has affected as much as this book has, and there’s never going to be a time where I won’t recommend it.

And with that, I take my leave. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read my work, my fellow contributors, and the fine folk at Forbidden Planet for giving me a stage over these last years to talk about comics, and toys. I’ve had a blast, and if you care to see what I’m doing post Forbidden Planet, give me a follow on twitter (@theanarchris). Thanks for the memories FPNYC faithful!

 

Post to Twitter

Chris’ Comics: NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. Ultimate collection

51mCJ6NnvVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E., The Ultimate Collection

Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger,  Dave McCraig

Marvel $34.99

It’s rare for me to cover a re-release of material that isn’t too hard to track down, but NEXTWAVE is a rare exception. Originally released in 2005, this 12 issue maxi-series was part parody part…..well okay it was all parody, but even so, it managed to be one of the best super hero books Marvel published around that time, and probably ranks in the top 20 off all time. For a book that Marvel tried sweeping under the rug continuity for a number of reasons, it certainly had it share of influences, as seen as recent as both Secret & Mighty Avengers and helped launched the career of the already talented but underrated at the time Stuart Immonen. Nextwave is arguably my favorite work of writer Warren Ellis, which says a lot, give my love of his massive library of comics material, but there’s some so fun and simple about the book that makes it very appealing to me.

For those of you who sicken me and have not yet read NEXTWAVE, allow me to sell you on the book. NEXTWAVE is the tale of 4 D-list super heroes and the Captain, who was created just for this series, who find out their employers H.A.T.E, is also funded by the same company backing the terrorist group S.I.L.E.N.T. . Our heroes, consisting of Elsa Bloodstone, Machine Man Aaron Stack, Boom-Boom and one time Avengers leader Monica Rambeau, decide to go rogue and put and end to the Beyond corporations doing, only to face some of the weirder elements of the Marvel Universe, both old and original. Their chief antagonist is one Dirk Anger, who’s as you can tell from the name is a Nick Fury stand in with a couple dozen screws loose. He’s kind of the best, but I won’t post any panels featuring him, as I would like any potential new readers to go into this book blind and witness his glory unspoilied.

next-wave-11-001Drawing Nextwave is Stuart Immonen, who would go one to replace Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man after this, and is now drawing Star Wars. This isn’t Immonen’s finest work, as he’s constantly improving as an artist,  but its the first instance of him getting a little more looser and animated with his style. Immonen’s art is none the less perfect for this book, as he captures the insanity that Ellis’ script demands perfectly, giving us everything from Sentiment Broccoli men to X-men dinosaurs. Nextwave’s semi-cartoony look is perfect for the type of story being told, and still holds up after a decade. Inking Immonen is long time his someone who’s inked most of his work over the last few years, Wade Von Grawbadger, who kept the book looking bold and clean, and managing to keep all tiny  details From Immonen’s pencils in. The book was colored by Dave McCraig, who keeps the book looking bright and fun, despite the horror his collaborators induce..

Nextwave-1Warren Ellis’ writing is unmistakable on this title. Everything from the humor, to the violence to the insanity of some of the concepts are SO Warren, that it’s amazing that Marvel let him get away with what he did. The script and dialogue is a nonstop assault on you eyes, tossing out jokes in nearly every other panel or letting the art’s amazing visuals blow your mind. There’s also some genuinely DARK moments towards the end of the run that will catch you off guard, and are resolved in way that would feel lazy with any other writer, but works given what Ellis has established over the previous issues. While NEXTWAVE isn’t as complex as some of Ellis’ creator owned works, allowing him to play with Marvel’s toys for only 12 issues with some set rules also results in some of his finest work.

Before there was a Hawkeye or even an Immortal Iron Fist, NEXTWAVE was proof that some of Marvel’s best material is a result of just letting creators do their own thing. It’s a book that feels a lot like that fantastic Bruce Timm Justice League animated series, only with no name characters and slightly more mature content. If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend it enough, as you can go with without knowing nothing about the characters, and still enjoy the whole thing. It’s a fantastic read that’s aged, quite well, and definitely one of my favorite comics. #RIPSpecialbear

Post to Twitter

Thanks For Noticing

It was my birthday last Friday. Thanks for noticing. All your gifts and well wishes were received in kind, and you can expect thank you cards in the mail within the week. VanCaf happened this past memorial day weekend, and if I was smart I would have said something about it last week. But I’m not smart you see. I’m simply a vessel of firing synapses that causes electrical currents to make my fingers dance across my keyboard in a whirl of creative furry and madness. Much like Amadeus. Yes, I am the Mozart of my generation. It’s my birthday.

Amateurs by Connor Stechschulte– When we forget history we’re doomed to repeat it, but for the butchers in this graphic novella premiere from Massachusetts artist, Connor Stechschulte, the horror of the lack of memory propels them into what is probably the worst day of their lives. As the owners of a butcher shop, they both show up to work one day with no idea how to butcher. Their follies unfold as customers arrive. I mean, imagine if someone asked you right now for pork back strap, would you know how to do it? The mess and problems what would ensue, the torture of your sensibilities and of the animal? The situational humor built out of such an absurd scenario reveals itself to be darker, and much more problematic for everyone involved. Juxtapozed with the framing of a terrible crime on the outset of the story, the black and white crosshatched story is anything but amateur.

Trees #1 By Warren Ellis and Jason Howard-Do you still lie awake at night because Ellis and Templesmith haven’t updated Fell since 2008? This is new series is nothing like Fell, but hopefully the fact that this will be Ellis’s first release on Image since 2008, might ease the pain. Trees. They’re here. Here is Earth. What are trees? Trees are alien intelligence. Intelligence belongs to the trees. Trees see humans as we see trees. Not alive. Not intelligent. Howard, who worked with Ellis before on the web series Scatterlands, usually keeps a tight Super Dinosaur look in his art, but has pushed himself to a new level with this book, borrowing looks from fan favorite artists such as Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis. As a standard writer for decades, Ellis is continuing to prove his relevance in modern comics.

 

Tanpopo Collection Vol 2 HC by Camilla d’Errico– Like the work that the story of Tanpopo is based on, reading the work calls for careful consideration of the philosophy in play, and to experience the poetry in tandem with the art. Playing off the themes of the German play, Faust, the first volume begins with the titular protagonist, a girl whose existence is dependent on the knowledge given to her by a machine, at the cost of human experience and emotion. She is given the opportunity to experience the pain and joy of humanity upon entering a pact with the devil, which seems like a bad idea, but ultimate knowledge without shared experience is often argued as the absence of existence. Because even the greatest minds of our generation precipice their knowledge on base experience like procreation. Take episode 16 of season three from Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Offspring”, where Data creates a daughter. This series is basically that. With roughly the same amount of Shakespeare. More devil though.

 

Chew/Revival #1 Layman/Seeley and Guillroy/Norton-I barely know what the word crossover means not coming into comics with a superhero background, that and my debilitating illiteracy, but my interest in the notion was certainly peaked when I heard last February that the teams behind Image comics Chew and Revival were joining forces of awesome to bring a series that follows everyone’s favorite cibopath detective into the rural crime-noir. The zombie crime-time town is the perfect host for Tony Chu and his newest investigation. I’m trying really hard to make a cheese-head/head-cheese joke, but it’s just not happening. I just want everyone to know I tried.

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor #1 by Mark Waid and Neil Edwards– I’ve googled Gold Key so much in the past few months I’ve started getting targeted ads from Masterlock. Why have I been searching it so much? Because the revivals coming from them have literally rocked my world. I talk about them frequently, but now that one of my favorite occult investigators, (my first fav being Constantine) is getting a revamped series I might as well make it an auto search and send it to my rss feed. (I have no idea if those are real things. How does the internet work?) But Doctor Adam Spektor is like the Geraldo Rivera meets Criss Angel of occult detective work, and his public persona has started to drain on his personal life. But when you’re a TV legend, Wall Street wolf, Internet mogul, tabloid bad boy, master metaphysicist, spiritualist, and monster hunter, what more could you possibly need to make you happy? Comic extraordinaire Mark Waid (Daredevil) dares to find out.

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, But With Comics SPRINGGGGGG!

Oh sure, it’s super grey outside at the moment, but spring is finally here! It’s in the 40s, the cat is growling at birds it can’t get at and I get to be mad at the Yankees in real time in 2 days. I’ll gladly take subpar baseball over snow any day.

Before we get into comics, let me state that the first Rat Queens collection dropped this past week, and it is excellent. I usually try to stay on top of new Image debuts, but this one missed my radar somehow. So I dropped the $10 and bought the first trade and am more than pleased with it. I’ll try to do a proper review during the week, but this book is buy on site great.

OTHER BOOKS WHAT SHIPPED THAT YOU MAY LIKE:

Empowered Special #6

Furious #3

Might MGMT #20

Tomb Raider #2

Adventures of Superman #11

Aquaman #29

Sandman Overture #2

Wake #7

Legends of Red Sonja #5

Rocky and Bullwinkle #1

Deadly Class #3

Fatale #21

Sex #12

Walking Dead #124

All New Ghost Rider #12

Amazing X-men #5

Deadpool #26

Superior Spider-Man #30

Bravest Warriors #18

Hacktivist #3

 

REVIEWS

portrait_incredibleAll New X-men 24/Guardian of the Galaxy 13

Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Sara Pichelli/David Marquez

Marvel $3.99

Note- All New X-men 24 shipped 2 weeks ago.

Despite my problems with the earlier chapters of this crossover, the final 2 chapters of “The Trial of Jean Grey” were very much what I wanted from this event. Heavy on the action, some genuinely excellent interactions between the 2 casts and amazing visuals by Immonen, Pichelli and Marquez make this the type of crossover I wanted to read.

That being said, this mini-event still has some problems. The announcement of the new young Cyclops on-going series really spoils the impact of the last 3 pages, which is a shame. Also despite this being a crossover, it really felt more like an X-event guest starring the Guardians. Maybe something from this event will affect this title more down the road, but chances are I won’t be reading GoTG to see it play out. And truth be told, this could have done in 4 issues, opposed to 6.

The Trial of Jean Grey wasn’t the worst thing I read in recent history, but All New X-men really tired from back to back crossovers. There’s been more than enough new ideas and concepts introduced in this book that need to be fleshed out more. Hopefully with the next few issues can get the book back to being as good as it was when it first debuted, otherwise I’m dropping it.

avengers_assemble__25_by_zurdom-d71ie6xAvengers Assemble 25

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Neil Edwards/ Raffaele Ienco

Marvel $3.99

Nothing detracts from one’s enjoyment of a comics more than bad art, which brings us to the final issue of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Avengers Assemble run. It’s a shame, because the script and dialogue written by KSD and Warren Ellis is fun, clever, and puts a nice little bow on this run. Sadly, it’s ruined by 3 different artists, who are very different stylistically. The usually relibale Matteo Buffagni’s pencils look rush and overly-simplistic, as does Neil Edwards, who’s Bryan Hitch-esque art couldn’t be any more different than Matteo’s. Raffaele Ienco‘s art is easily the best, but he only draws the final 2 pages. A shame, as DeConnick and Ellis deserved better for their final issue.

 

1000093043Hawkeye 18

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99

Well that escalated quickly!

Kate Bishop’s California adventure has taken a turn for the worse in issue 18, as we finally learn more about the mysterious cat food man.  It’s a brutal issue, as Annie Wu really steps up her visual game. Her art on this book has been nothing short of great, but Wu really out does herself in this issue, especially in the facial expression area.

Aside from looking great, Hawkguy 18 touches upon some seed planted earlier in the book, as the story arc becomes full circle. Once again, Kate finds herself in scenario that’s entirely on her, which was the type of thing she left NYC to avoid. Seeing her Clint Barton-free life parallel Clint’s  has been really funny so far, but that red in their collected ledgers (GET IT, IT’S AN AVENGERS REFERENCES!) is beginning to cost people their lives. It’s fun to see Matt Fraction bring everything full circle, in what will probably result in one hell of a showdown in a few issues.

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Shots fired

A few days ago, Image Publisher Eric Stephens more or less called out the greater comics publisher community for reasons I don’t and do agree with. Said speech went down at retailer’s meeting ComicsPRO, and the full details can be seen here.

I agree with Stephens that $5-$8 comics are not the future of the industry. Put those comments regarding licensed books is kind of dickish, especially with the quality of the KaBOOM Cartoon Network books. It’s definitely worth a read though, and again, while I don’t agree with everything Stephens says, he does raise a lot of good points.

QUICK PICKS!

Furious #2

Mind MGMT #19

Tomb Raider #1

Aquaman #28

Lois Lane #1

Wake #6


Black Science #4

Chew #4

Deadly Class #2

Rat Queens #6

Walking Dead #122

Deadpool #24

Mighty Avengers #7

Thunderbolts #22

Uncanny Avengers #17

Wolverine and the X-Men #42

REVIEWS!

 

aa26Avengers Assemble #24

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Warren Ellis/ Matteo Buffangi/ Ruth Redmond

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Matteo Buffangi I want to love you, but you gotta stop drawing Hawkeye with those James Worthy-esque goggles. Or start drawing him riding a snowboard every time he’s on panel. (( Call me Marvel, I have ideas! ))

My nitpicking aside, it’s another fun issue of Spider-Girl teams up with an Avengers. Having Warren Ellis and Kelly Sue Deconnick writing Iron Man is the closest we’ve seen a Robert Downey Jr-esque Iron Man on page for awhile, which I imagine is what a LOT of people want when it comes from the character. And him teaming with Spider-Girl is a fun  follow up to the previous’ issue Wolverine team up. It’s a fun, bright and good looking (sans Hawkgoggles) Avengers book that ramps things up for the book’s end next issue. I’m going to be sad to see it go, as the Ellis/KSD/Buffangi/Redmond team have turned AA into extremely satisfying must-read every month.

JUL130649_mHawkeye #15

Matt Fraction/ David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth/Chris Elliopoulous

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Oh god everything hurts and nothing will be okay ever again.

It’s been entirely way too long since we’ve seen the Matt Fraction/ David Aja team on Hawkeye. So while I’m glad to see them back, the ending of this book has me cureled up in a corner weeping. And it’s not a quality thing. Oh no, far from it.

Why I complained about the delays in the book, it’s easy to see why it takes a little longer to come out, and the end result is worth it. The majority of the pages are crammed with perfectly crafted art, enhanced with Matt Hollingsworth’s colors and Chris Ellipoulos‘ word balloons. There’s even so great used of the white between panels. This book works even without Fraction delightful dialogue, and you can easily follow the story without paying attention to the dialogue.

Also, much like Fuse #1, the cover in so well designed and clever that you’ll appreciate it much more once you read the issue.

It’s a brutal issue of Hawkguy, as the brothers Barton learn what the say about good intentions. And the cliffhanger comes with a price , because I don’t think we’re getting any more of Clint’s story until May at the earliest. So yeah, brb, running into the ocean.

gargal2013012dc11jpg-9dbc3f_960wGuardians of the Galaxy #12

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Picehlli/Stuart Immonen/ Wade Grawadger/Justin Ponsor

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Once again, I find myself torn with this crossover. Bendis’ dialogue is not at it’s best, and why there’s some solid pieces here and there, overall it’s fairly average. But visually. Damn, just damn

Sara Pichelli delivers when it comes to several highly emotional scene in this issue. It’s a dialogue heavy issue, with a few powerful moments that Pichelli draws beautifully. Justin Ponsor‘s color definitely deliver, especially when the book shifts from deep space to the Shi’iar home planet.

And while Pichelli not being able to draw the entire book irks me a tad, having Stuart Immonen pitch in is more than fine. He and Von Grawbadger are handling the art for the X-Men side of things anyway, so it works, especially given how talented they are.

These crossover is getting better, so hopefully the last 2 chapters deliver. Bendis has two amazing art team working with him, so hopefully his scripts will perform as well as Sara and Stuart are.

 

 

 

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Cats on Cats Baby

Upon writing cats on cats I realize that there’s several ways in which that can be taken.

Whelp, Imma keep it, because I hope people’s mind won’t go directly to the gutter (HAH!) and more importantly, I’m lazy. So fingers crossed

With that out of the way, I’m going to change the format up a bit this week, as this is 2014, and that sounds like a thing you should do in a semi-new year. Aside from the 2-4 books I usually review (4 this week!), I’ll name drop/highlight a few other books of note you may want to check out every week  because….reasons?

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES THIS WEEK:

Furious #1, Dredd: Underbelly #1, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1, Adventures of Superman #9, Batman and Robin Annual #2, Fables #137, Bad Ass #1, Black Science #3, Five Weapons #6, Invincible #108, Inhumanity #2, Uncanny Avengers #16, Uber #9, WWE SuperStars #2

REVIEWS:

kaboom_bravest_warriors_annual_001_bBravest Warriors: CATBUG 2014 Annual #1

Kate Leth/Coleman/Monica Ray/Sloane Leong

KaBOOM Studios/$4.99/30 pages

 

As someone who’s a big fan of Cartoon Hangover’s Bravest Warrior, as well as the comics coming out of KaBOOM Studios’, the Catbug Annual was a no-brainer for me. The breakout star of the hit Youtube series is very appealing to me(Yes, of course I own a Catbug t-shirt), and seeing a bunch of awesome indie creators craft tales starring Catbug is a good way to me to give someone $5.

Kate Leth, a KaBOOM & Comics Alliance regular, leads the annual off with a cute 8 page 879fa9244676f0e419af12c64dda780estory that has said Bug that is also a Cat covering the alpahabet. Sloanne Leong also puts a Catbug twist on a familiar story, and her slightly off-model take on the cast works for me. Coleman Engle‘s story is a tad weak compared to the other stories in the annual, but the art reeks of charm, and the colors are fantastic, so it’s all good. Monica Ray‘s story really captures the feel and the look of the show the best, mixing the type of cute and horror you expect from Bravest Warriors. I dug it a ton.

My only beef with this annual is the price point, as it’s not even a double sized issue for $5. Then again I am old, and remember that $5 use to get you a lot more comic for that price. Regardless of my old man problem, the Catbug Annual is a delight for all age reader/fans of the show, and I urge you to buy the hell out of it.

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol_3_11.NOW_TextlessGuardian of the Galaxy #11.NOW

Brian Micahel Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Justin Ponder

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

As someone who was a big fan of the DnA-era Cosmic Marvel, I’ve accepted that  Brian Michael Bendis‘ take on cosmic Marvel is a different beast. And seeing how I’m really digging Bendis’ take on the X-titles he’s writing, I went into the 2nd chapter (the cover says part 1 for some reason) of the Trial of Jean Grey with an open mind.

Sadly, the book is kind of a mess on the narrative side of things. Bendis attempts to play catch up with any potential new readers who’ve come over from the X-neighborhood (S’up), while progressing the story he’s been telling for nearly a year now. Sadly that’s a lot to cover in 20 pages, and it doesn’t mesh as well as it should in the end. Which is a problem with crossovers and event-tie ins, something BOTH titles are coming from.

Luckily for everyone, Sara Pichelli is on art duties, so the book looks fantastic. And with the introduction/catch up done, hopefully the next installment on the GOTG side of things will be an improvement. But if you’re like me and not a completionist/ buying Guardians on the regular, you can skip this issue.

marvel-avengers-assemble-issue-23inh Avengers Assemble #23.INH

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffangi/Nolan Woodward

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

I could read snarky Avengers team up forever Marvel, please take note.

Spider-Girl’s quest continues on this month, this time seeing her teamed her up the the omni-present Wolverine. Ol’ Bubsnikt is at his best when he’s cranky and forced to team up with teenagers (See: The last 40 years of X-men comics), and with KSD and Warren Ellis on writing duties, it’s no surprise how much this book is as drenched is banter and snark. It’s a solid and dense read, and Matteo Buffangi & Nolan Woodward do a fine job on art duties (with no assists this month, yay), providing slick, fluid, and bright visuals. It’s a shame that the book is ending in March, as it’s been a delightful read post-Infinity.

Saga-18Saga #18

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

Maybe you’re not hip to Tumblr. Maybe the term “Feels” is foreign to you. Allow me to help! “Feels” is shorthand for “Feelings”  that you may get from a comic, video game, or overrated niche genre show (#shotsfired). With that being said, I now fully expect everyone to know what I mean when I say Saga #18 had me DROWNING in feels.

The final chapter of what will make up the 3rd volume of Saga is flawless. It’s rare for me to actually choke up in response to the contents of a comic book (Grant Morrison writing Superman aside), but there were several moments in this book that gave me the wibbles. It’s a beatiful book, and THE comic to be ready right now. Several plotlines are resolved, 2 characters fates are revealed, and there are confrontations and answers a plenty. Both Vaughan and Staples are on top of their respective games, and it’s hard to imagine this book being as good as it is with any other creators involved.

The only downside to Saga is that we’re not getting another issue until probably May, which is brutal, given how this book ends. But at least it’s a clean break, and has me excited for the future.

That wraps up this week. Next week, THE most important mainstream comic of 2014 drops, and Steve Lieber returns to Superior Foes of Spider-Man. GET HYPED, ALSO GO HAWKS!

-Chris Troy writes weekly for Forbidden Planet NYC, and can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr @theanarchris

Post to Twitter

Troy Toy’s But With Comics: Very fill in. Such Rush. Wow.

This is the last big release week in 2013, and man, it ended on kind of a downer comics-wise. 4 out of the 5 Marvel books I pulled had more than 1 artist attached to them, and the one with the correctly solicited team still involved a guest artist. Also Saga was kind of brutal. I suppose some explanations are needed.

dd34Daredevil #34

Mark Waid/Javier Rodriguez/Alvardo Lopez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages.

Javier Rodriguez came out swinging this week, which is exactly what Daredevil needed after the less than stellar art from last issue. He was a more than adequate fill-in for regular series artist Chris Samnee last time around, but man, Javier really stepped up his game since then  and it leads to some very strong framing sequences and panels in this issue. It’s a very Marcus Martin meets Annie Wu style, especially when it comes to facial expressions and body language. Add strong inks from Alvardo Lopez, with Javier coloring himself, you get a very strong final product. Mark Waid, remains flawless when it comes to dialogue, which surprises no one. This current arc of Daredevil has been impressive, mixing current headlines with obscure Marvel horror, and it’s hard to think who else but Waid could have pulled it off. This was easily the best book Marvel released this week, although it did some strong competition.

marvel-avengers-assemble-issue-22inhAvengers Assemble 22.INH

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Paco Diaz/Nolan Woodward

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

You can tell Warren Ellis has come aboard a title when the books starts off with “There are thing of yours I would very much like inside of me.”

That’s not a complaint mind you. Ellis works well with series regular Kelly Sue Deconnick, although the book feels a little more snarky and adult than usual. It’s still a delightful read, as it’s easiest the most fun and humorous Avengers book on the market. This Inhumanity tie-in arc started off on a great foot and the addition of Ellis has only made things better, especially since this story calls back to previous

The only downside to this issue is that Paco Diaz, the other artist attached to this title does not mesh well with Mattero Buffangi. I like Diaz a lot from his work on Daniel Way’s Deadpool, put his pages stick out like a sore thumb, despite Nolan Woodward’s excellent work on the colors. Still not a bad issue, it’s just stinks that some lesser art takes away from the final product. Speaking of which…

ANXMEN2012020-DC11-LR-e6953_latest_photosAll New X-men #20

Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar,Brandon Peterson, Israel Silva, Marte Gracia

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

See above? Repeat that, but replace the names. Asrar and Peterson are both fine artists, but their styles could not be anymore different. And it doesn’t help that some of Asrar’s pages look extremely rushed, and both artists have their own separate colorists. It’s not a bad comic, but it’s certainly not as good as the book has been. Also ignore that cover, nothing like that even comes close to happening. Again, another good comic ruined by rushed art, something Marvel has excelled at this past week.

::: Also see Longshot saves the Marvel Universe #4 sadly 🙁 :::

saga-17-web-72Saga #17

Brian K Vaughn, Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

This is Saga’s Red Wedding issue. Or it’s Walking Dead midseason finale if that first reference doesn’t make sense to you. It’s the type of issue that has people screaming about their feels on Tumblr, because oh god, it hurts, and chances are it’s not going to get better next issue.

BKV and Staples has been carefully crafting this moment since the 3rd volume began. It’s been pretty light on the action, focusing on building characters and relationships, all while the volume 2 cliffhanger remained mostly ignored, not falling into place until the last 2 issues. And then previous issues’ cliffhanger drops, and it turns out to be a massive swerve and GUH, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD Y’ALL, ALTHOUGH IT’S ALL FOR THE WRONG REASONS, GAH!

So yeah, Saga’s still great, but MANNNNNNN, it hurts y’all. It hurts.

I still need to read Pretty Deadly #3, but what I saw I liked. So it’s fairly safe to seem it’s pull-worthy. And with that, that wraps up my 2013 pulls. The next 2 weeks are extremely light on comics, so I have something else in store. Plus maybe I’ll look at some new toys. Who knows, but happy holidays regardless FPNYC Faithful.

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: The one where I met Warren Ellis

photo (8)First and foremost, a big thank you to Warren Ellis for coming out to past Friday (as seen here with my friend Sean). It was the first time in FOREVER since he’s had a signing in NYC, and it was super-great to meet one of my favorite writers. I picked up his Avengers OGN too , so expect to see a review on that quite soon, but today shall be dedicated to what dropped this past Wednesday.

 

 

xme14Uncanny X-men #14

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Let’s start off this review by noting that the solicit for this issue has nothing to do with what was actually published. And that’s a great thing because this is by far the best issue of Brian Bendis’ run on Uncanny X-men to date. The plot focuses on Benjamin Deeds, one of the new mutants to pop up post-AvX, and Emma Frost, who decides to take the young male under his wing.

At first this book feels like Bendis and Chris Bachalo riffing on “The Graduate”, but that’s slowly disproven once the pair hit up Atlantic City and hijinks ensue. Bendis is on-point with this issue, as we get a ton of development with young Benjamin, fleshing out one of the newest X-men, in addition to getting to see a side of Emma Frost we haven’t gotten to seen in awhile. Bachalo and his plethora of inkers are great as usual, and the training montage in the beginning of the book looks fantastic. This was a strong month for what’s usually the weaker of the 2 Bendis X-books, and I hope this sort of quality sticks around.

Sex Criminals #3

sexcriminals3-coverMatt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages

I always feel a little weird when googling Sex Criminals images….

The third issue of Fraction/Zdarsky’s mature readers only series continues to be a laugh riot from cover to cover, which is exactly what I need from this book. I don’t think there’s another book out there that actually makes me as excited to read both the recap page and the letter column like Sex Criminals does.  That’s not to say the rest of the book is a bore, because that’s not the case at all. Chip and Matt do a fantastic job of telling an all-too human story about sex and dating, despite the crazy time-freezing/sex police plot elements.

Anyone familiar with Fraction’s Casanova series knows that the dude loves music and that sort of passion sometimes bleeds into the narrative. It happens twice in this issue of Sex Criminals, the 2nd time leading to the comics musical number of the year. It’s hilarious and even a little bit sexy thanks to Zdarsky’s amazing art.

I’d probably go as far as to claim Sex Criminals is probably the most emotional comic not called Saga being published these days. This is the comic perfect for 2013, combining indie comic style with mainstream presentation and hype. It’s also probably my favorite book being published thanks to this amazing 3rd issue, so there’s that.

Daredevil  #33

 

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Jason Copland

 

$2.99, Marvel, 20 pages

 

Daredevil_33_CoverDaredevil has been going strong for awhile, so when something slips up, it hits twice as hard. Jason Copland, who’s not a bad artist, is certainly not on the same level as Chris Samnee, the guy he’s filling in for, and it certainly shows in this issue. The art doesn’t feel as polished as his work on “Kill All Monsters”, feeling rough and unfinished in some parts. To be fair, it may not be all on Copland, and there could be editorial things factoring in here.

That being said, Mark Waid still continues to be the modern legend we all know him as. The book’s script is fine, and it raises a question or two about the mental state of this post-Shadowland Daredevil, which has been an on and off again subplot ever since Waid relaunched the series.

Again, this isn’t a bad issue, but I’ve been spoiled by the bar Waid, Samnee and Javier Rodriguez have set. So unless you’re a Mike Allred level talent filling in, I’m bound to be disappointed when that level isn’t met.

Longshot_Saves_the_Marvel_Universe_Vol_1_2_TextlessLongshot Saves the Marvel Universe

Christopher Hastings/Jacopo Caramagna

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Really wish I knew what was up with my borders getting all messed up with this article.

The 2nd issue of Longshot’s mini, raises the stakes a bit, and it way more action packed than issue 1. Hastings being good at writing cool action pieces is no surprise, given what’s happened over the years with Doctor McNinja, and the book continues to deliver with the trademark over the top humor he’s know for. Caramamagna’s visuals are a treat too, as his art continues to be very fluid, and animated. It’s great to see a self-contained, light-hearted mini series not tied into major events coming out from Marvel, something that’s becoming rarer and rarer over the years.   It’s definitely worth reading if you want a fun read without having to know every bit of detail of a character.

 

 

Post to Twitter

Girding Our Loins

Not much going on at The Planet this week… just THREE bodacious in-store events and one 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!

3PM Tuesday November 19th

suicidegirlsblackheartburlesqueMeet the Suicide Girls from the Blackheart Burlesque tour tomorrow afternoon! They’ll be signing copies of their new book HARD GIRLS, SOFT LIGHT and we’ll be giving away a pair of tickets for their show at The Gramercy Theatre.

 

6pm Wednesday November 20th

wEBFifth-Beatle-SigningWriter/producer Vivek Tiwary will be signing copies of his new graphic novel- The Fifth Beatle – at Forbidden Planet NYC. Signed copies ARE available for mail order as of this posting, so jump on that. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the book and (straight up, no hyperbole) it’s SUPERB. It’s also one of the prettiest books you will ever buy, should you choose to do so.

6pm Friday November 22nd

Warren Ellis event signing Forbidden Planet New York City NYCWarren Ellis signing. If I was the kind of jerk who wrote crap like “Nuff said” I would write “Nuff said” regarding our Warren Ellis event. No offense intended to the beloved writers, artists, singers, magicians, freakshow performers, internationally famous rock bands- what have you- who rocked Forbidden Planet events in 2013, but THIS WILL BE OUR BIGGEST SIGNING OF THE YEAR.

Saturday November 23rd

doctor-who-50th-anniversarySome silly SF program on BBC celebrates its 50th anniversary with a global simulcast of “The Day of the Doctor.” We’ve got plans for something special to mark the occasion, and will announce them later this week. Watch this space, join our mailing list, follow us on Twitter, like us, wash, rinse, repeat.

Post to Twitter

Warren Ellis(!) Signing at Forbidden Planet NYC November 22nd

Warren Ellis event signing Forbidden Planet New York City NYCTo the droves and droves of Warren’s fans this pretty much speaks for itself, but if you’re unfamiliar with his work, well, GET ON THAT.  Or see below for his bio and a brief overview. You can also click here for a full list of the prolific writer’s books currently available from Forbidden Planet NYC.

Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN.  The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013.  His GRAVEL books are in development for film at Legendary Pictures, with Tim Miller attached to direct.  IRON MAN 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel IRON MAN: EXTREMIS. He’s also written extensively for VICE, WIRED UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and is co-writing a video project called WASTELANDERS with Joss Whedon. Warren Ellis is currently working on a non-fiction book about the future of the city for Farrar Giroux Straus. His newest publication is the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR, from FSG Originals.

A documentary about his work, CAPTURED GHOSTS, was released in 2012.

Recognitions include the NUIG Literary and Debating Society’s President’s Medal for service to freedom of speech, the EAGLE AWARDS Roll Of Honour for lifetime achievement in the field of comics & graphic novels, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2010, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and the International Horror Guild Award for illustrated narrative.

Warren Ellis lives outside London, on the south-east coast of England, in case he needs to make a quick getaway.

On a personal note, Mr. Ellis is one of my favorite authors and I’m beyond blown away that he’s coming to FPNYC. Looking forward to a memorable night!

*ATTN: We will NOT be able to accommodate advance orders for signed books for this event, either by mail or for in-store pick up. Mr. Ellis will be signing on a first come, first served basis for in-store customers only. Thanks for understanding.

Post to Twitter

Valentine’s Day Shopping Help Part 1 FPNYC 2013 Bestsellers

Valen’s Day is coming up, and for those of you still stuck for a gift for the geek in your life (and for those of you interested in Forbidden Planet sales… stalkers) here’s a quick rundown of what’s hot and popular in the shop so far this year.  The following are FPNYC’s best-selling items in terms of quantity for their respective departments for the dates covering January 1st through February 10th, 2013.

Follow the links for more details.  Who knows?  Mebbe something on the list below will inspire you.

Graphic Novels

  1. Saga Volume 1
  2. Adventure Time Volume 1
  3. Fables Volume 18
  4. Walking Dead Volume 1
  5. One Trick Ripoff/Deep Cuts HC

boom volume 1 tp adventure time

Art Books and Novels

  1. Legend of Zelda Hyrule Historia HC
  2. World War Z TP
  3. Walking Dead TP Rise of the Governor
  4. Marvel Encyclopedia HC
  5. Gun Machine HC

Blind Box/Box Toys

  1. Star Wars Angry Birds Mystery Bags Wave 1
  2. Dunny Series 2012
  3. Persona 4: The Animation GCC Mini-Figures
  4. Tokidoki Unicorn Blind Box Series 1 (temporarily unavailable)
  5. Living Dead Doll Blind Box Series 2

mystery bags toys

Other Gifty Stuff

  1. MtG Gatecrash Booster Packs
  2. Doctor Who Disappearing Tardis Mug
  3. Heroclix Amazing Spider-Man Boosters
  4. Marvel Select Barbarian Hulk
  5. Doctor Who TARDIS Tin Tote Gift Set
  6. Oh! And anything Sailor Moon!

Doctor Who SDCC Tardis tin tote gift set Biff Pow

…Just a small sampling of what we have to offer, but hopefully this list will plant some seeds and be of some service.  Whatever you do this February 14th, and no matter with whom you spend it (even if you’re flying solo), have fun and enjoy!

Post to Twitter

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 8: During The Battle…

Greetings from Ice Station Zebra. For all you people out there who check the spines of your comics to make sure they don’t have creases or whatever it is you are looking for please note that Forbidden Planet is now refrigerated to ensure that your books stay extra fresh. No more rotten book smell! Anyway, about my column this week; I don’t know how many of you have peaked early in life but it is a terrible feeling. I’m pretty sure that last week’s column is as good as this column is ever going to get. I don’t know if you saw it but it was pretty great. There was a whole Choose Your Own Adventure type thing and I made lots of jokes about killing you. I don’t think I can top it and I am coming to terms with that. This is my Godfather III. I am just going through the motions here. But there is a ray of hope in this trainwreck of a column.

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!

Well, that’s not necessarily true. Wednesday January 30th is my birthday. If you are reading this on another day then today is not, in fact, my birthday. But if you are reading this on Wednesday then HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Feel free to order yourself a piece of cake at dinner, sing me a song, and then eat it (the cake, not the song). So while I clearly have nothing to talk about in this column I thought, “I have done enough for my readers so far. Maybe too much. It’s time they do something for me.” So that is the theme of this week’s column. Stuff you can get me. A birthday wish list. Just so you know what you are up against, Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Actual Wizard Tyler got me a self portrait he painted. It’s 10’x10′, based on Botticelli’s “The Birth Of Venus”, and creepy as hell. I am hanging it above my bed so I remember to never sleep. But you should feel free to get me stuff that isn’t nightmare stuff.

MY BIRTHDAY WISH LIST:

For starters I always like cash. Any amount is fine, but if it’s under $10 it’s kind of rude. Feel free to stop by Forbidden Planet and leave cash with any of the register jockeys for me. There is a 50/50 shot I will get it. They aren’t the most trustworthy lot. I would also take Forbidden Planet gift cards. That isn’t going to pay my rent or buy me chocolate milk but it doesn’t hurt. RIYL: Capitalism. Buying stuff. Goods and services.

Global Frequency TP

You know what you could get me? GLOBAL FREQUENCY. Warren Ellis & a team of great artists come together to do single issue standalone sci-fi spy stories. A 21st century reimagining of stuff like Bond or Mission: Impossible, these stories focus more on fast paced and sometimes socially conscious thriller than they do on things like character. Originally released by Wildstorm in 2004, this book is finally back in print now. Ellis is a comic writing genius, but if you have never read his stuff this isn’t where I would start. Luckily for us, I already read Transmetropolitan, The Authority, & Nextwave so feel free to buy me this. RIYL: Queen & Country, Channel Zero, or 80’s and 90’s Bond films.

Hawkeye #7

I don’t think I would be causing much controversy among those paying attention if I pointed out that Matt Fraction & David Aja‘s HAWKEYE is the best book at Marvel right now. Sure Thor, and All New X-Men, and Punisher War Zone, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Daredevil are all putting up a good fight, but it’s sort of hopeless. Hawkguy feels fresh and relevant, smart and fun in a way that most comics don’t begin to approach. It is style AND substance. I hope every single person at Marvel (and DC) is noticing the bar is being raised each month. Issue #7 gives it an extra nudge. With 2 short stories about a massive hurricane hitting the Northeast, Hawkeye #7 manages to be topical while still being a book about everybody’s 6th favorite Avenger. On top of all this, Mr. Fraction is donating his salary from this issue to hurricane Sandy relief efforts. If you don’t know how comics tend to work, his salary is based on royalties from sales. Meaning that each issue you buy helps Sandy victims who are still desperately in need. So yes, by all means go give money to Occupy Sandy, but reward yourself with a copy of this book and keep the charity going. (And while you are at it, reward Mr. Fraction for being a class act by picking up his other series like Casanova or Five Fists Of Science.) And since it’s my birthday go ahead and buy me an issue as well. RIYL: helping people in need, near perfect superhero comics, Immortal Iron Fist, the idea of a Bryan Lee O’Malley and Chris Ware teaming up on an action book.

Tales Designed To Thrizzle HC Vol 02

First an anecdote. At a comic convention last year I bought an issue of TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE from Michael Kupperman and he signed it to me. I later gave the issue to my lovely ladyfriend, Alethea, as a gift. Giving someone else your stuff and acting like you got it for them is considered “not proper gift giving etiquette” by squares, teachers, and cops. Now, Matthew and Alethea contain some of the same letters but she can recognize that they are not the same name. It took her a whole 6+ months to notice that the book was inscribed to me instead of her but when she did… whoo boy was that fun. Anyway, in terms of funny comics going on right now there are not a ton of great options. Even if there were though, TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE Vol. 2 would stand head and shoulders above the competition. Volume 1 of TDTR was among the funniest things I have ever read. I easily put it alongside works like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy or Calvin & Hobbes in terms of books I can revisit and still completely lose myself in over and over again. Michael Kupperman’s absurdest strips that range from the adventures of historical figures Twain & Einstein, to buddy cop duo Snake N’ Bacon, and the history of sex blimps, all peppered with old timey fake comic ads for odd products are nothing if not bafflingly weird and compelling. If you are at all a fan of the absurd in any form I would urge you to read this book. And since I only have volume 1 you can get me this as a great gift. RIYL: The anything goes spirit of old Mad Magazine, the fast paced boundary pushing humor of stuff like Monty Python, Kids In The Hall, Airplane! or Amazon Women On The Moon.

7 Miles a Second HC

7 MILES A SECOND. Painter, musician, photographer, filmmaker, writer, and activist, David Wojnarowicz was a key figure in the underground New York City art scene of the 1980’s. Often times having strong homo-erotic subtext, his work pushed cultural boundaries, continues to inspire new generations of artists today, and invoked the wrath of the christian right. After a lengthy court case, Mr. Wojnarawicz earned a hard fought victory against the loathsome Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association who sought to defund the National Endowment for the Arts. This single legal struggle did more for artists and artist rights in this country than most people can comprehend. By 1992 Mr. Wojnarowicz sadly lost his battle with AIDS. 7 Miles A Second was completed by his collaborator on the book, James Romberger, and published by Vertigo posthumously in 1996. Now it is back in print for the first time and is well worth your attention. Wojnarowicz autobiographical tales start you with his life as a child prostitute, onto his teenage years on the street, through his time has an HIV+ man, and onto his inevitable (at the time) conclusion. The stories serve as beautiful and brutal snapshots of a brilliant life lived too hard and extinguished too soon. It is not too much to say that we all owe a great cultural debt to Mr. Wojnarowicz and picking up this book and trying to understanding his life is a good first step toward understanding that debt. RIYL: Maus, American Splendor, or artists having the right and the ability to make a living in this country.

Well, that was a super depressing note to end on. Sorry about that. Anyway, I’m going to go because there are a lot of good books to read this week and you are still freaking out from all that sugar in the birthday cake. Even if you don’t want to buy me these or any other books you can still get me a present; you can go look at the comics on the shelves and promise to try something new.

Awww. What a sweet moment. Now if you excuse me I am going to go warm up by Tauntaun-ing one of Forbidden Planet’s managers and sleeping nestled in their gross guts.

Post to Twitter

Warren Ellis Fantastic Four #1

Since FF#1 came out this week I figured why not tell you about Warren Ellis’ design your own Fantastic Four #1 cover challenge.  Well I guess there’s not much to it… Warren Ellis’ has an online thingie (bare with me I’m still new to this whole internet stuff) called Whitechapel where he interacts with fans in interesting ways, like this FF thing (no, not that FF Thing).

Here are a few personal favorites…

And how could I not love this beauty.

Thanks Warren for keeping things awesome, why don’t you all buy Nextwave to show him your appreciation.

Post to Twitter