Tagged: JM DeMatteis

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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Call Me Stupid

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do.” -Elvis Costello

An anonymous email received in response to last week’s column- wherein I recalled the laughable early 90s art of Rob Liefeld with reverent regards to the schlocky comic stories purveyed at the time, that nevertheless entertained and titillated my imagination, called me out on my apparent disregard for the artists’ efforts. Also his dynamic influence, his success, and his congeniality (none of which did Icall into question, for the record). To paraphrase the gentleman’s missive, for space and language’s sake, “Who the hell do you think you are? What do you know about comics? Have you ever done one yourself? What did Liefeld ever do to you?”

Said email left me flummoxed, frankly. I felt I’d written nothing snarky or vile enough to warrant a disgruntled reader. Aside from pointing out a few gaffes, I was nothing but complimentary and affectionately nostalgic for those dopey books.

As to my credibility in writing about comics, the awesome thing is I get paid for discussing them- I don’t even need to have a license to write about or sell this stuff! It puts food in my kitty-cats’ tummies, and rock and roll in my soul. You and I may not see eye to eye on some things, dear readers, but please keep in mind that most of what appears in these pages is largely informed OPINION, and rarely critique. And there’s very little on this sphere that’ll stop me from discussing this material with you kids. That being said, my email address will conclude this article if any of you punks out there would like to tussle. Or hug via words, whatever the case may be.

No one ever said I could even touch the rim, but that never stopped me from entering the dunk contest.  Let’s put on our Superman outfits and jump from the free-throw line, shall we?

Notable New Releases Week of 3/12/08

Jack Kirby King of the Comics HC It’s finally here (so quit buggin’ me)! The long-delayed hardcover retrospective of Jack “King” Kirby’s artwork from publisher Abrams is in stock and EGADS is it an eyegasm! It’s 224pgs. of bodaciousness! If the over-used and abused term “Know Your Roots” should meaningfully be applied to anything in this jumbled up universe it should apply to this man’s integral contributions to the comics form. No. Integral is too small of a word in this instance, really. It is no stretch to state that without Mr. Kirby’s creations and talent, comics as we know them would not exist. You’d be pursuing your art and entertainments in some other medium, and I’d be writing about tires or gutting fish right now.

Serenity: Better Days #1- Not to diminish the show, nor the comics, nor anything else you like about Buffy, but you can keep it. My Joss Whedon fandom to this point has, for the most part, been Firefly exclusive. The erstwhile television show’s been off the airwaves for a few years now, and I felt its cinematic continuation, Serenity, left much to be desired. Happy happy joy joy, then, that Dark Horse Comics, who does licensed storytelling right, is publishing new adventures in Whedon’s SF/Western series, written by the creator himself!

Justice League International HC Volume 1- Were there a Holy Trinity of a comic book creative team in the 80s it would be Frank Miller, “Uncle” Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley on The Dark Knight Returns. If there were a second, it would be Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire’s classic run on Justice League. This book collects issues #1-7. Better tie your ass to your pelvis. (You know, cuz you’re gonna laugh it off.)

Barefoot Gen Vol. 5 TP- From the publisher… “Cartoonist Keiji Nakazawa was seven years-old and living in Hiroshima in the early days of August 1945 when the city was destroyed by an atomic bomb. Begun in the mid-70s, his Barefoot Gen series of comics is one of the most heavy-duty manga out there; revelatory, thought provoking, very deep, baby. Volume One begins shortly before the bomb was dropped, and ends on the day of the bombing itself. Volume Two, The Day After, tells the story of the day after the atomic bomb was dropped. Volume 3 picks up the story with Gen, his mother and his baby brother searching for a place to rest in the bomb’s aftermath. Volume Four resumes nine days after the bomb, as Gen and his mother continue to struggle for food, shelter, and water amid chaos and vast human suffering. In this new reprint, Gen becomes entangled with black market gangs and faces an internal struggle of honor, ethics, and duty to resolve his and his family’s problems.”

My mother used to tell me I’d never get by on my good looks.
Guess she was wrong.
JEFF
jeff(AT)fpnyc.com

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