Tagged: Frank Cho

Chris’ Comics: The Totally Awesome Hulk

Totally+Awesome+Hulk+CoverThe Totally Awesome Hulk #4

Greg Pak, Frank Cho, Sonia Oback, Cory Petit

Marvel $3.99

I’ll be honest. as much as I liked Greg Pak‘s past run on the Incredible Hulk/ Incredible Hercules, this new Hulk comic was something that wasn’t on my radar. Nor was it a book I was planning on buying anytime soon if I’m being completely honest, as the Hulk is rarely a character I have much interest in. The only reason why it’s in my possession is because a co-worker bought it strictly for the She-Hulk variant cover, then decided he didn’t want it anymore. I’m not one to say no to free comics, which leads us to this review.

Despite being chapter 4 of a arc which first 3 chapters I didn’t read, I found The Totally Awesome Hulk #4 super accessible. The recap page did a nice job bringing me up to speed, and this happens to be the issue where it’s explained how exactly Amadeus Cho ( whom Pak co-created) became the new Hulk. Why the reasoning behind it is a little hokey, it’s questionable in that fun silver age sort of way, and easy to ignore if you just chalk it to comic book science. There’s also hella monster punching, which is more of my thing.

While I’ve found some of his recent actions in the convention circle sort of immature, I have to admit that Frank Cho’s art in this comic is gorgeous. He’s at home here, as the TOTALLY+AWESOME+HULK+#4+pagescript calls for him to to draw attractive, muscular women thanks to a She-Hulk appearance, as well as a variety of Marvel monsters, something that Cho also excels. His line work is  very clean and iconic, and I love how detailed and expressive it is. There’s a certain bombastic & cinematic flair to Frank’s style, which really help sell the widespread destruction and chaos that one expects in a Hulk comic. Cho is masterfully colored by Sonia Oback, who colors really pop off the page. I can’t recall a Hulk book looking this good in awhile, and it’s a shame that Cho’s off the book after this issue.

Pak’s dialogue isn’t the deepest, but it’s fun as all hell. He manages to channel Hulk troupes such as the struggle between man and monster in fun and creative waves, and the book has a fun, bouncy vibe to it. His dialogue isn’t anything ground-breaking, but it’s certainly delightful, as I have a feeling Pak is holding back a bit to let Cho and Oback’s art take THE-TOTALLY-AWESOME-HULK-#4-4center stage. My only complaint is that Spider-Man Miles Morales’ presence is wasted here, as he hardly has any impact on the story at all. In the writer’s defense, I MAY has missed something that was touched upon in a past issue.

The Totally Awesome Hulk is a fun book with a lot of potential. Part of me wishes that Pak would make the book a little deeper like other legacy heroes such as Sam Wilson, Ms. Marvel or Thor, but I can definitely see the appeal of it being a fun, giant monster book. The cast is super likable, the dialogue is serviceable and the art is great. A pleasant surprise all in all, and while I have no strong desire to start pulling the title, I’ll definitely be checking it out once it’s on Marvel Unlimited.

 

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I have bought some comics, and now I’m taking a vacation

Little bit of news FPNYC Faithful, I’m going to Europe from 9/10-9/20. Meaning I’m not going to be talking comics with y’all for 10 days. Which means you’ll have to go to one of those other hundred websites that talk about Marvel comics, I KNOW, I’N SCARED FOR YOU TOO, BUT SOMETIMES LIFE IS HARD YOU GUYS.

It was a big week for the X-books as the first 2 chapters of “Battle of the Atom” dropped. Originally I was going to sit this one out and wait for the trade, but I’m an addict of sorts, so I figure I might as well pick up the first 2 issues to hold me over to December/January. And I’m glad I did, because they’re really solid. Chapter 1, the Battle of the Atom (Marvel, $3.99, 32 pages) one-shot is written be Brian Michael Bendis and joined by Frank Cho and Stuart Immonen, and Benis and Immonen handled chapter 2 as well over in All New X-men (Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages) . Props to Stuart Immonen who managed to bang out 24 pages between 2 books, as Cho couldn’t finish the BotA one-shot by himself. Regardless of art assists, the books look fantastic, as Cho doesn’t go too cheesecake (something he’s famous for) with part 1, and Stuart remains one of Marvel’s best artists, drawing dynamic page after dynamic page. Bendis isn’t a slouch either, his scripts are action packed, but don’t skimp out on the humor or drama either. BMB juggles the 4 teams quite well, and despite 50 years of X-comics, these books are super accessible.  Both these books are worth the $4, so if you’re not a X-men fan but want to check em out, I wholly encourage you to do so. And yes, unless you’re anti-Bendis or some nonsense, there’s plenty to enjoy if you’re a veteran X-fan too.

In non-X-Men Marvel news, the 3rd issue of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man (Marvel, 20 pages, $2.99) has been released and we’re all better for it. Hawkeye did not drop in August, and chances are we’ll be Hawkguy impaired in September as well, which sucks. SFoSM however has done a great job of filling the Hawkeye-sized hole in my heart, as the 3rd issue of this fantastic issue is comedic delight. Boomerang, our lead for this series,  manages to fill us in on the life of a low-tier Spider-Man villain, gets thrown out of his crew, hits up a meeting for Super Villains anonymous and gets a little revenge on his old “friends” all within 20 pages. Nick Spencer KILLS it with this book, as the humor is fantastic, and he gives Steve Lieber plenty of quality stuff to work with. And Lieber delivers too, as his expert pencils give us excellent visual gags that only enhance Spencer’s jokes. I know there’s no shortage of fantastic books at Marve these days, but Superior Foes is quickly making a name for itself amongst it’s peers, and is one of the most funs books Marvel’s been putting out as of late.

Oh hai Mark, it’s been awhile.

Released a week about, the latest Invincible collection dropped, collecting the landmark 100th issue of Robert Kirkman/Ryan Ottley‘s fantastic series. I use to buy this title monthly, but decided to go back to trade-waiting when I felt the book was getting a little stale. And I’m glad I do so, because coming back to it after a brief break only made me love this title again. Ryan Ottley is probably my favorite monthly artist on the stands these days, and watching him grow on his book over the year (artistically) has been a treat, as his action bits (and violence) are second to none. And Kirkman is great as well, reminding us all that the joys of a creator owned book mean the status quo can change on the dime. If you’re a fan of super hero books, there’s no excuse not to buy Invincible (unless you don’t like excessive violence, then yeah, I can understand why you may not be reading it). Even with it be being 100 issues deep, there are a ton of collection/omnibus’ in existence that can help you get caught up ASAP. I advice you do so.

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Strip Mind

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

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

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

BUT WAIT

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

WE at Forbidden Planet still love you, Comic Strips!

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

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

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

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

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

KRAZY KAT, George Herriman, Fantagraphics Books

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

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

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

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

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

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Back to School

by Jeff Ayers

“Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out.  And then bring one every ten minutes.”

This past Saturday I was struck by a sudden, sharp, and sobering realization, with lasting ramifications for the next nine months or so.  Y’see, my lady and I had brunch at Petite Abeille in sleepy Tribeca, checked out the Moscow Cats Theatre (featuring 35 cats, 5 clowns, death defying balancing acts and acrobatics, and yes, I’m comfortable admitting that, and yes, moms and dads should take your progeny and everybody you know to see this asap) and braved the amassed hordes of the Canal Street subway to head back uptown for a stroll before my closing shift at the FP.  All on what normally would be a calm, bucolic late summer afternoon in my beloved East Village.  Friendly confines and all that.

The neighborhood was steeped in a kind of pandemonium.

From Houston to 14th, from Ave. B to Broadway, the area surrounding our store was abuzz with so much activity and cacophony so as to only, perhaps, be rivalled by the beach scene in Apocalypse Now.

Now sometimes I can be pretty dense, so I didn’t notice til much later that I’d passed dozens of families carrying furniture, computers, mini-fridges and other such accoutrements on every block.  Didn’t notice the sudden influx of 18-24 year-olds in the neighborhood. Nor the copious amount of hello and farewell hugs. And why the hell we were selling so many posters?  Only later, at work, did it dawn on me…  Of course!  It’s Back to School!

Whether it be NYU, SVA, Pratt, Columbia, New School, Cooper Union, whatever… Welcome back, ladies and gents.  Welcome here, freshmen.  If this is your first visit to the store or FPNYC on the web, know that Forbidden Planet is one of the premiere sellers of comics, collectibles, and Science Fiction stores in the world and has been since 1981.  We ain’t going anywhere, your college student ID nabs you 10% OFF everything in the store [ed. note: we no longer offer this at FP], and we’re in the most happenin’ location in the city.  We also offer a snazzy subscription service for comics, wherein we’ll hold your books for you until you dig up the scratch to buy them.

And sell posters for your dorm.

And that goes for the rest of ya!

New Release Highlights:

Halo Uprising #1- The Eisner Award-winning team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Alex Maleev (Daredevil- 2001-2006) pull a “Dude, we’re gettin’ the band back together!”  for a sequel story to video gaming’s biggest franchise of the early 21st Century, Halo.

Ultimate Spider-Man 100 Project TP– brought to you by The Hero Initiative, a deserving non-profit that bails out comic creators in need; creators who can’t pay medical bills, buy groceries, what have you.  This book collects the fruits of one of the organization’s most creative and successful fund-raising endeavors- a print run of 100 blank-covered Ultimate Spider-Man #100, wherein prominent creators of today would draw their take version of old webhead. Sold as one of a kind collectibles online and at New York Comic-Con and Wizard World Chicago- for up to $6700 apiece- this fabulous, limited artbook collects all 100 covers, featuring Mark Bagley, J. Scott Campbell, Frank Cho, Neil Gaiman, Adam and Andy Kubert, George Pérez, Joe Quesada, John Romita Sr. and Jr., Frank Quitely, JG Jones, and dozens more and features a forward by Stan Lee, who is by no means a creator in need.  Just sayin.

I’m a Lebowski You’re a Lebowski: Life The Big Lebowski and What Have You–  The ultimate fan’s guide to the Coen Brothers cult phenomenon “The Big Lebowski,” with a Foreword by the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges.  I’ve waited for this book for nearly a decade, convinced that no such thing would ever be released.  But thanks to the film’s insatiable fanbase, of which I am an unashamed and rabid member, goodies such as this book and and events like Lebowski Fest (the Star Trek Convention of the 21st Century) are possible. “If you will it, dude, it is no dream.”

Bunnies & Bees– by Mark Ryden.  Beautiful boxed portfolio from Ryden features thirteen 8″ x 10″ prints from the Bunnies & Bees gallery show.  Images include all the paintings, plus some details and drawings from the show. It is a limited numbered edition of 10,000, and includes a certificate of authenticity in addition.  Also in stock: Fushigi Circus, a survey of 55 of Ryden’s most impressive works from past to present.

And to all you wide-eyed freshmen? All you new New Yorkers? My sincerest welcome once again! I hope you enjoy your stay in our fantastic City! Just leave some polite room on the crowded streets for us “townies,” okay? And walk, bike, or use mass transit.

“Now that’s what I call Marine Biology!”
-Jeffy

jeff(AT)fpnyc.com

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