Tagged: Ben Templesmith

TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 24: There’ll Be No Escape For The Princess This Time!

There’s a lot of good comics this week. I know you want to buy the same old ones you always buy because they feel safe and comfortable. I get that. I’m not gonna tell you to not buy the stuff you like. I’m not a jerk. But I do need you to do me a favor. You can do that, right? Sell your kidneys, sell your kids, agree to do illegal stuff for unsavory men, sell your fillings, rob a bank. It’s time to try some new comics. I made a list of which ones you will need to buy if we want this to work out between us. You want this to work, right? You care about me, right? I care about you a lot. You are my favorite reader. I only write this for you. Want me to prove it? I make Tyler put in pretty pictures like this one to make you happy-

OCCUPY COMICS #1 is out this week.  This issue  features political and socially charged short stories by folks like Alan Moore, Mike Allred, David Lloyd, JM DeMatteis, Art Spiegelman, Ben Templesmith, Dean Haspiel, Ales Kot, Ron Wimberly, Molly Crabapple, Charlie Adlard, and a ton more. The book is a benefit for Occupy related initiatives like Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt (google them). Regardless of your personal politics this is a series well worth reading. It offers a ton of interesting viewpoints on a lot of different issues, smart social commentary that cuts across party lines and political aisles. Add to that some stunning artwork and storytelling, and some of the best and brightest in comics doing their best to say something beyond the usual “man punching another man” stories, and this is definitely something everyone who cares about the medium should be buying. Not a lot of comics are going to entertain you this much, inform you this much, and maybe help someone keep their home. Think about that when you choose to buy Red Lanterns instead and wonder why you feel like a husk of a person.

Did I mention that I like DARK HORSE PRESENTS a lot? I do. Issue 24 comes out this week. Congrats on 2 years of putting out the best book no one reads Dark Horse. Among the many great shorts in there, this issue sees the premiere of a new superhero character Blackout. Dark Horse has been doing a great job of getting exciting talent to launch new superhero books that are a fun alternative for those who feel tired of Marvel and DC’s usual fare. X, Ghost, and Black Beetle are among the best superhero books on shelves right now and hopefully Blackout will be joining their ranks. Written by up-and-comer Frank Barbiere, Blackout doesn’t feel like it’s reinventing the wheel, it doesn’t need to. It’s just really good. Barbiere has a knack for playing in genre and doing it better than most and this launch shows him doing that again with ease. Hopefully by this time next year I will be telling you “I told you so” about one of your favorite new series.

Speak of the devil. Mr. Barbiere has clearly been pretty busy. This week also sees the FIVE GHOSTS #3 out. I could write a whole bunch of snarky $#!% about Five Ghosts but I want to give Mr. Barbiere a nice quote for ads and whatnot. Five Ghosts #3 raises the stakes on this already great series in every way. Smart, tense, and beautiful, the best book of the year keeps getting better. Buy Five Ghosts or admit you are fake. Your welcome Frank.

Do you like pretty stuff? Read GODZILLA: HALF-CENTURY WAR. James Stokoe (pronounced “Stew-Coo-Ooo-Whoa-Eee”) is one of the best artists working in comics right now. Like the beautiful bastard child of Paul Pope, Geof Darrow, and Osamu Tezuka, Stokoe has earned a rabid fanbase by quality of work but not quantity of work. I am pretty sure I will never see a year with 12 issues of his work on the stands. With that understanding you should all view the arrival of a whole trade of his work as a sort of holiday. Skip work, buy some diapers and a lot of chocolate milk, get yourself a massage, and rent a new couch because it’s about to get awesome for you. In case the title didn’t make it clear, this book is Stokoe drawing a giant Japanese (Can they claim ownership of him? Should they?) dragon monster thing while it wrecks stuff. Yeah. It’s awesome.

THE PROPERTY is the new graphic novel from Rutu Modan, author of the brilliant Exit Wounds. If you have never read any of Ms. Modan’s work, her stuff reads like Tintin if Tintin was full of powerfully quiet human drama instead of, ya know, racism. It is economical in both art and storytelling, but the story never feels rushed or shortchanged. This is as elegant as comics get. The Property tells the story of 2 generations of Polish women returning to their homeland to reclaim property seized in the holocaust. As the story progresses both the cause and the meaning of this pilgrimage begin to change for the women and what results is a very touching and humorous story about peoples relationships to each other, their history, and the larger world around them.

It is that time of the week when I tell you to buy some new Image comic #1. This weeks obligatory #1 is THE BOUNCE. Joe Casey has written just about every major superhero worth writing and a lot that aren’t. He always makes books that manage to feel smarter and more fun than his contemporaries. Well now he launches The Bounce which is essentially a stoner version of Spider-Man. If there is one thing you should trust Mr. Casey to do it is both examine and deconstruct superheroes in really intelligent ways all while not letting you realize that is happening. He hides the smart storytelling in the fun. That’s smart. I’m tired. Buy this book.

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May 22nd marks the public release of the first issue of a wild and fascinating comic collaboration. Occupy Comics #1 will be on shelves and we at Forbidden Planet recommend everyone get it. This is not only a comic that features the likes of Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Marc Andreyko, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, J.M. DeMatteis, Joshua Dysart, Brea Grant, Joe Keatinge, George Krstic, Joseph Michael Linsner, B. Clay Moore, Steve Niles, Laurie Penny, Matt Pizzolo, Steve Rolston, Riley Rossmo, Douglas Rushkoff, Tim Seeley, Simon Spurrier, and Ben Templesmith. It’s not just a time capsule of radical ideas/stories for/about change. And, most importantly, its not just quick way for some people to make quick and easy money like some other comic publishers that shall remain nameless. DC. This is a book about one of the most culturally significant happenings in this country in a long time and whether you agree with its ideals or not makes it no less poignant. So in honor of this achievement in the choice of medium we have decided to peddle we will be having a signing with Dean Haspiel, Ron Wimberly, Ben Templesmith, Ales Kot, and Matt Pizzolo on May 22nd at 6:30pm. Come get your copy and get it signed by all these artists and writers who created something larger than themselves about a movement that was bigger than anyone anticipated.All proceeds from the book’s sales go to current Occupy initiates such as Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt. Read comics that matter.


Ben Templesmith WILL NOT be in attendance on Wednesday’s Signing due to some unavoidable circumstances. Ben however WILL be stopping by to sign copies of Occupy Comics #1 and Ten Grand #1 so we WILL have SIGNED Ben Templesmith comics in abundance just not the person. Our’s and Ben’s sincerest apologies.

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They Found our New York Comic-Con Footage

What happened was true… One of the most bizarre and brutal films in NYCC history…This is the movie that is just as real, just as close, just as terrifying as being there…Even if one of them survives, what will be left?

After you stop screaming, you’ll start talking about it.

SPECIAL thanks go out to Ben Templesmith, Dan Parent, Paolo Rivera, Tim Seeley, Joe Silver, Joe Koch, Greg Lamberson, Sean Von Gorman, Josh Frankel, Justin Rice, Rich Wojcicki et al.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 9: Rebel Spies Managed To Steal Secret Plans…

I am writing this column a day earlier than I usually do in hopes that with more time it will be better written and better researched. Weird thing is I didn’t do any more research and I am not sure why I would be a better writer at 3AM on a Saturday than I am at 3AM on a Sunday. Let’s chalk this one up to pointless planning and once again celebrate procrastination.

The one exciting thing about this week’s column is it’s my 9th. My final single digits column. So sad. To celebrate I will be rewarding 9 lucky readers with a no expenses paid date with Forbidden Planet’s resident Shipping Monster/Skinny Pants-Wearer, Ben. You thought I was going to offer up Tech Wizard/Baby Eagle, Tyler, didn’t you? Here’s the thing. Tyler reads this column. He has to. Hi Tyler. He would edit this part out before you all ever got close to hand feeding him the baby shrimp he eats for every meal. I am pretty sure Ben does not read this and I am very sure he can’t stop it before it comes out, hence my contest offering him up as a prize. Good luck everyone. May the best 9 men or women win. Anyway, there are a lot of good books out this week and I ran out of jokes in mid January so let’s get on with the show, shall we?

New Deadwardians TP

There are a few publishers in the world that have such an amazing vision, such a unique and well cultivated sensibility, that their brand can be trusted without question, their logo on a book jacket is basically a greenlight for smart readers. Vertigo has always been at the forefront of those publishers. Sandman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Preacher, V For Vendetta, 100 Bullets, Transmetropolitan, Invisibles, Scalped, Y The Last Man, DMZ, Sweet Tooth, Fables, Unknown Soldier, and tons more. That list alone is sort of breathtaking. Unfortunately for everyone who likes good stuff, Vertigo has fallen on a bit of hard times. Long running books are being moved to DC, books that traditionally would be Vertigo titles are being lost to other publishers, and worst of all, books are being overlooked. NEW DEADWARDIANS is one of those titles. Smart, fun, social commentary on gender and class struggle as told through a society of zombies, vampires, and humans, trying to survive together in post-Victorian England, New Deadwardians is the kind of book that would have been a must have for savvy comic fans 10 years ago. I miss those days of great books getting attention.

RIYL: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the works of Jonathan Swift, the Buffy-verse.

Dia De Los Muertos #1

It’s always an exciting thing when you find an artist you can fall in love with and watch their work grow over time. Riley Rossmo is one of those artists for me. Falling stylistically between folks like Ashley Wood, Ben Templesmith, and Fiona Staples, Rossmo’s work is both unique and somehow familiar. Having honed his craft on books like Cowboy Ninja Viking, Green Wake, Proof, and Bedlam, Rossmo has once again put together a new project that looks like it may be his best work yet. DIA DE LOS MUERTOS is a short anthology series with a great concept, 9 good writers contribute horror stories about the Mexican Day Of The Dead for Rossmo to illustrate. Greatness ensues. The 1st issue of this 3 issue series is out this week and well worth the attention of anyone looking for the next great comic artist.

RIYL: The old Vertigo Anthologies, Creepy or Eerie, artists putting on a workshop for you.

Snapshot #1

Andy Diggle has written a lot of comics. Jock has drawn a lot of comics. Together they made brilliant comics like Green Arrow: Year One and The Losers. This week they are finally brought together again for the first issue of their “wrong time, wrong place” crime thriller SNAPSHOT. It came out in Judge Dredd Megazine in the UK but British people don’t always share their stuff with us well  so Image is re-releasing it for us stateside. Man, I’m so happy we had that revolution. If you have never read any of their stuff get ready for fast paced, gritty, clever, and beautiful. If you have then I’m sure you’re already buying this one.

RIYL: Criminal, Rear Window, Stray Bullets.

Zed A Cosmic Tale TP

I guess the story that everybody talks about with ZED is that it was Michael Gagne’s labor of love for 11 years. That is an awfully long time to work on a book. It would be heartbreaking if it was bad. Luckily for all of us ZED is pretty brilliant. This seemingly whimsical tale of an adorable alien turns very dark and brutal when the fate of his planet is thrust upon him. When I was young the stuff for kids that I actually cared about was upsetting, traumatic, and wonderful. Bambi, The Seventh Seal, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Pinocchio, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Beetlejuice, The Witches, Lord Of The Flies, and on and on forever. That is something kids and YA entertainment has lost these days, the idea that it’s ok to be harrowing and terrifying. ZED has that perfect mix of innocence and brutality that makes it feel substantial enough for kids and adults to fall in love with. This is how classics are made.

RIYL: Bone, Wall-E, Lilo & Stitch.

Harbinger #0

I suppose a journalist should be impartial and have objectivity. I get that. Luckily, what I do is pretty far from journalism in most regards. Mostly I just tell you to buy stuff and you ignore me and buy Green Lantern. So with that first test failed I can move past and journalistic aspirations and put it out there that I have very little objectivity. There are comic creators who I like. I value their work and I pull for it to be successful. Luckily 99% of the time (maybe more like 87%) I am pulling for these creators because they are good and deserve to have readers. Joshua Dysart is one of those creators. I buy everything the guy writes. Remember a few weeks ago when I got real weird and preachy on how good Unknown Soldier is and how good his Harbinger vol. 1 is? Well now I am doing it again because I can. HARBINGER #0 is out this week. An origin story following the rise of the mysterious Toyo Harada, this issue is a great jumping on point for anyone who wants to read one of the best superhero books on shelves today. It’s nice looking, smart, and it isn’t something you have read 100 times before. Just do it.

RIYL: Morning Glories, Rising Stars, old X-Men books.

Well that concludes our 9th column together. Here’s to the next 9, may they be as sweet as our tears and as bitter as our dreams. Now to pick the 9 winners of the 1st ever weekly “Take Ben To Eat And See Where It Goes” contest. If you see a big $$$ at the bottom of this page  it means you are a winner! Drop by Forbidden Planet with donuts, lamb & rice (no salad), or Dos Toros to collect your prize.


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LOOK AT THIS: Ben Templesmith’s Wolverine.

Ben Templesmith's Wolverine

We’re big fans of Ben Templesmith here.  He does a frequent thing at his blog, where he’ll post a bit of art and describe his process with it.  If you’re a budding artist I don’t think I could recommend a better site.  Also, its probably the best source to see all things Choker.

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So It’s Thursday, It’s Holiday Week New Release Day. And It’s Huge.


pr3Process Recess 3 Acclaimed and uber-popular Fables cover artist James Jean’s new artbook from AdHouse arrived this week.  Copies of the book adorn the counters at FP NYC and when I first saw them this morning I thought I was looking at a Soccer score.  PR3, Brazil 0.  However, it is not.  In fact, it’s a dead-sexy hardcover collecting sketches, experimental paintings, and photographs of his methods and workstations.  It is, essentially, an exploration of the artist’s process.  More so than the previous two volumes in this series which, by the way, now command a ridiculous price in the aftermarket. And though I’m not nearly as big a fan as  some are (I know this… I’ve dealt with the horde of Jean fans for years now.  They are frothing, insatiable, and multitudinous.) I do recognize genius books from talented individuals.  This is right near the top of the list.


The John Stanley Library:  Nancy Vol 01 HC–  The first of D&Q’s gorgeous hardcovers collecting the adventures of Nancy and Sluggo by John Stanley.  One of the most revered kids’ cartoonists of all time and known primarily as the artist behind Little Lulu, Mr. Stanley’s Nancy work is playful, mischievous, and hilarious.  And ya gotta love Sluggo! Collects comics from the issues #146-150, originally published by Dell in 1957-1958.


dcd400467Dead Space Extraction One-Shot– Anthony Johnston(w), Ben Templesmith(a).  I’ve not played the video game this comic’s based on, but damn ya gotta dig this.  Creepy space station, claustrophobia, and monsters, and, Ben Templesmith!!!!!!!! What’s not to love? It’s horror.  It’s SF.  It’s totally today, yet tremendously timeless! Boffo, Lenny.  Socko, Lenny.

That’s right.  Eight exclamation points for Ben Templesmith.

The Art of Tony Millionaire– Long delayed, yet eagerly (to put it mildly) anticipated, Dark Horse’s new hardcover is a phenomenal retrospective of the Maakies and Sock Monkey astist’s work.  Featured are drawings from childhood to present, an introduction by Elvis Costello, full story reprints, an overview of pin-ups and other commercial work, and anecdotal insight by the man himself.  Any fan of Tony’s can spot a Millionaire drawing a mile away.  He is one of the most distinct, singular voices to ever work in the medium.  And he’s a pretty fun dude. From the man what brought us Drinky Crow:

tony2On my fortieth birthday I finally realized I was an alcoholic.  I decided to moderate my drinking by limiting myself to only beer and wine.  At my birthday party I guzzled four bottles of Merlot.  My friends and I tried to get a taxicab to take us from Brooklyn into Manhattan, but there were five of us and the taxi driver would only take four.  Enraged, I crawled on top of the cab and started screaming through the windshield.  My friends clambered out of the cab and the taxi driver took off, me atop.  When we got up to about 30 mph I had to make a decision.  Jump off now, or wait until he got up to 60.  So I jumped, ripping my pants from hip to cuff, badly cutting my leg.  No bones broken, I went to bed.  Thereafter, I decide to limit myself to only beer.


This book… highest possible recommendation.

It’s also Fantagraphics Thursday, in which it seems the publisher decides to release its entire fall catalog at once:

hypnotwistLove and Rockets New Stories no.2–  Jaime & Gilbert’s now annual morsel of terrific featuring four brand new stories.  Of particular note is Beto’s silent story HYPNOTWIST, surreal and David Lynch-ish in feel and IMHO reminiscent of his Vertigo book Sloth.  It’s absolutely wild.  There’s also two installments of Jaime’s Ti-Girls Adventures, which is just plain fun comicking.  The whole package makes one wish for more than one L&R per year, but Hey!  Better one a year than none at all.


Rock Candy: The Artwork of Femke Hiemstra–  Pop Surrealism mistress Hiemsta gets the Fanta tratment, with a smart little beautifully designed hardcover covering her burgeoning, yet impressive career.

The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book–  Ach!!!  Too many books… Not read this one yet, ashamed to admit.   Look for words about Joe Daly’s new book in a future installment of From the Coffee Table of Jeff Ayers, a planned column of thoughts and reviews of books that have lingered in my apartment well past my initial procurement of them.  Looks good, though.


West Coast Blues–  Really kick ass crime story (an adaptation of a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette) adapted by french cartoonist Jacques Tardi, of whom Ed Brubaker of Criminal fame has this to say:

Tardi brings a rough and gritty reality and an existential strangeness that makes his crime stories different than anyone else’s. I’ll read anything he draws.

And there ya have it.

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Life–  By Bruce Paley(w) and Carol Swain(a).  A memoir.  Let’s let Fanta’s pics do the talkin’ here:



allAll and Sundry, Uncollected Work 2004-2009–  And finally, a super neato collection of the Mother Come Home author Paul Hornschmeier’s commercial work, cover illustrations, guest strips, sketches, and an odball story or two.  I’d like to reprint Paul’s “A Brief Overview of Our Champion” from The Tick’s 20th Anniversary Special, collected in this book.  Let’s see what I can rustle up… Look for an update.  It’ll be worth the watch.  It’s kinda great.

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SDCC: “Choker” announced.

"Choker" promotional image by Ben Templesmith.
"Choker" promotional image by Ben Templesmith.

Man, have I been waiting with baited breath for this announcement for what seems like forever.  Well, almost a year, really.  Yesterday, the Bens, (those being Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith) announced they will be bringing “Choker” to Image Comics.

Ben (McCool) has to be one of the most creative and likable guys I know in New York City, and being the fiance to The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald has probably had some stellar guidance in getting his first original work off the ground.  Here’s what “Choker” is all about, from Ben’s words :

BEN MCCOOL: I guess I’d better lay down the disclaimers, then: language used is dastardly goings-on are repellent, and the characters are so lewd you’ll feel like only an industrial-strength jet wash will be able to rinse your tarnished conscience clean. Put simply, we’re hoping to give Bill O’Reilly a Rush Limbaugh-resembling hernia.

Okay, okay, it’s not all depravation. In a nutshell, it’s a hard boiled noir fable set on an unconventional backdrop: Johnny “Choker” Jackson, an ex-Shotgun City police detective who lives in his own rendition of hell. His case of Alien Hand Syndrome has manifested into the most psychotic entity on the planet, he’s stuck working at a deadbeat detective agency, and he’s engaged in a squalid and involuntary amour with an otherworldly creature that dwells beneath his bathtub. That, believe it or not, is just for starters.

But there’s prospective light at the end of the tunnel: a high-profile con Johnny once put behind bars is at large, and not even the city’s elite has been able to track the sleazebag down. The police department has offered Johnny a deal: put the rogue back in his below regulation-sized cell and he’s got a job for life. However, it comes at a price, and it’s one nobody will see coming. But if you want something, and want it real bad, what would you be willing to do to get it?

There’s a great interview with the Bens discussing the new work, and more promotional images.  A “Choker” short story can be seen in “Liberty Comics #2” coming in the Fall.

To be candid, this is easily the book that I am most looking forward to coming out of the con, having talked about it with Mr. McCool while the Pittsburgh Steelers were making their run to the Super Bowl.  Congratulations to you guys.

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