Sunday, April 08, 2007

Independent Preview Review For June Part I

Welcome to what is my favorite regular posting that I do with Lee. The Independent Comic Preview Review. As there is a lot of material, we will probably always break this down into two posts. The second part will be posted on Tuesday or Wednesday. I used to think that I checked out a lot of the independent books, but I was still only skimming the surface. I checked out Oni, IDW, Boom, Devils Due and some other publishers, but I was still missing a fair amount of good material. With Lee's sensibilities being even more skewed to the independents these reviews have enlighten me as to other new material. Of course it is all based on publisher hype, but still you can read between the lines and find a lot of great material.

BOMB #1 – by Steve Mannion

Meet Fearless Dawn, and learn this good girl's origin! Follow her first adventure against the evil Betty, and learn the secrets of Zombie Island. A comic reminiscent of the Golden Age, full of action, monsters, good girls vs. bad girls, and the feel of pulp art. Think Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Mad Magazine! Visit him at
Lee: You probably haven’t heard of Steve Mannion but I have to say that he is one of the nicest indy creators out there. He’s got a Mike Hoffman/Mark Schultz style of art and over the top sensibilities. It’s good fun stuff. NOTE: You should check the website first… Steve does great stuff but he obviously read some undergrounds in his formative years.
Jim: It is funny that Lee picked this book because I would have if he did not. The book looks like a lot of fun and I’m more encouraged then ever to add it to my list based on Lee’s comments on the art work. The tag line of Raiders meets Mad Magazine is a strong selling point also. One to definitely check out.

AVIARY – by Jamie Tanner
Enter the strange world of the Quiet Bird-Man: a world of mysterious corporations, foul-mouthed robots, drunken ghosts, amputee comedians, wealthy simian pornographers, and canine scientists; a world of disasters, murders, and masquerade balls. Jamie Tanner has been slowly weaving this dreamlike and darkly funny tale in various anthologies and mini-comics for the past several years. Now the whole scope that is The Aviary is available in a lush 312-page collection. Visit him at
Lee: Adhouse is one of those publishers that always seems to have good books. Sorta like Top Shelf, D&Q, and Fantagraphics. Because of their reputation, I am willing to take a chance of their books. I don’t really know anything about this but I like Jamie Tanner’s art and read some of his online strips. This definitely has potential.
Jim: It is true that certain publishers seek out a certain type of material. If the publisher’s sensibilities and taste line up with yours it is easier to try something out from them. Also this is where you find truly different voices uncontrolled by editorial mandates and corporate sensibilities. With the right creator, that can be a positive.

SUPERIOR SHOWCASE #2 – by Wicks, Dalrymple & Weiser
A year in the making: a comic that is all about heroes that are super. Featuring the uber-talents of Maris Wicks, Farel Dalrymple and Joey Weiser! Hot-young-star Wicks shows you what superbeings are inside us all! AdHouse-alumn Dalrymple gives us an episode from the adventures of Hollis! Plus, newcomer Weiser shows us the powers of the Tree Frog!
Lee: I mention this because Farel Dalrymple is involved. He created PopGun War for Dark Horse, still available in tpb if you haven’t already gotten it, and a lot of other indy stuff. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do enough art these days so any chance to get work by him is well work checking out.
Jim: I’m unfamiliar with these creators, so I have to with hold any commentary, but at a $2.95 price tag it is easy enough to give this book a look.

Number 2 is always more satisfying! In A Tale of Two Bathrooms, an urgent message has been sent to our hero from an apparent Damsel in Distress. The sinister seductress Lucy Furr beautifully bewitches Stykman into heroically helping her retrieve a particularly precious "item." Watch in amusement as our fledgling Good Guy, along with his enigmatic extraterrestrial sidekick, Al, unwittingly helps a really Bad Girl locate something she's not supposed to have!
Lee: Hee Hee. Toilet humor… hee hee
Jim: Then again the independent comics have much material that amuses five other people and appears worth avoiding.

REX LIBRIS SC - B&W. Creators: James Turner

Description: The astonishing story of the incomparable Rex Libris, Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library, and his unending struggle against the forces of ignorance and darkness. Rex travels to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in search of overdue books. Wearing his super thick bottle glasses, and armed with an arsenal of high technology weapons, he strikes fear into recalcitrant borrowers, and can take on virtually any foe, from zombies to renegade literary characters. 176 pages
Lee: So last month, I talked all about this book and this month they issue the trade. Why get single issues when you can get a whole big batch of issues all at once!
Jim: And when it comes to the trade versus monthly smaller press books almost scream wait for the trade even more because of sporadic publishing schedules. Of course if you don’t buy the monthlies it may not last until they can publish a trade.

KILLER VOL. 1 HC Creators: Matz & Luc Jacamon Description: A brutal, bloody, and stylish noir story of a professional assassin lost in a world without a moral compass, this is a case study of a man alone, armed to the teeth, and slowly losing his mind. Collects the first four issues of the ten-issue series!
Lee: If you aren’t reading this you should be. Easily one of the best comics on the shelves these days. AND a fancy hardcover collection coming. I can’t wait.
Jim: These is a really nice almost crime noir type of feeling to it. The artwork is very clean and strong and the story draws you into the mind of an assassin for hire. Fantastic stuff.

Jim Smith, co-creator of Ren and Stimpy and The Ripping Friends, presents this 64-page extravaganza featuring the Mighty Chestaclese, a massive barabarian from a long forgotten age. This tome reveals rare sketches, Chestaclese comic pages, storyboards, sexy figure studies, muscle bound barbarians, notorious villains, never-before-seen concept art, and more. Also featured are sketches from Weekend Pussy Hunt, The Ripping Friends, and hilarious celebrity caricatures. Check out for previews and more
Lee: Well, if you aren’t familiar with Ren & Stimpy then you are in for quite a treat. If you are familiar with Ren & Stimpy this is what they would look like without censors… Yes, yes this is a collection of crap so Jim Smith can make a buck but unfortunately there isn’t any other way to get any material from him. Visit his site for a sample.
Jim: Ren & Stimpy (the first six episodes I believe) were comic genius. It was shortly after that the the creative control was removed from the guy who started it and it was watered down. My facts may be skewed, but I almost positive there was studio interference after a few shows. I think I’ll stick with the cartoons for this creator.

BLACK SUMMER #0 - [0 of 7] by Warren Ellis & Juan Jose Ryp

This summer, the world goes black as Warren Ellis unveils his all-new super-powered heroes and villains epic that promises to be the biggest event of 2007! 16 pages.
Lee: If you aren’t familiar with this concept your must have your head in a hole in the ground. Basically, Superhero kills President. This outta cause a nice controversy when it gets started.
Jim: Can’t wait for this book. Ellis taking the super hero concept into his own little world with no company mandates to bother him. If this had been when Ellis was younger I might have worried about it being self absorbent drek, but Ellis has been pure genius lately and I’m anticipating a fun ride. BUY IT!

FRANK MILLER'S ROBOCOP SC - Frank Miller & Juan Jose Ryp
Frank Miller's original Robocop epic is finally available in one massive tome collecting all nine issues of the series! Robocop was one of the truly great bits of movie and pop culture magic from the 80's, and Frank Miller wanted to deliver a masterpiece with his original movie script, but Hollywood massively edited his work. In full-on action, the Robocop story is told as Frank Miller always intended, composed straight from the master's original writings and scripts! The vast majority of Miller's insane ideas, vicious black humor, and robotic mayhem never made it to the screen, but every last bit is finally unleashed in this series! 216 pages.
Lee: One on hand its Frank Miller. On the other hand its Robocop. On one hand it’s the superdetailed art of Juan Jose Ryp. On the other hand it’s Robocop. Your guess is as good as mine but on one hand it may be good. On the other hand… it’s still Robocop.
Jim: I think its Robocop wins (or is the case of this book being a loser). I have never really enjoyed the Robocop concept beyond the first movie.

STOP FORGETTING TO REMEMBER GN - Full Color. Creators: Peter Kuper Description: Based on Peter Kuper's real life, Stop Forgetting to Remember is the autobiography of Walter Kurtz, a semi-famous cartoonist who looks parenthood straight in the face - and sees his youthful, carefree days begin to evaporate. 208 pages. Visit
Lee: Kruper is an awesome artist. All you need to know is that he does spy vs spy for Mad magazine. This just looks really interesting to me. My kids are still young enough that I clearly remember when my wife announced she was pregnant and it dawned on me I was going to be a parent. Honestly, I like this because I wonder how other people handled it.
Jim: Just ask me Lee I’ll tell you how we handled it. Being a parent is a surreal experience being the most rewarding and insanely underappreciated thing one can do in life. Of course achieving genetic immortality is a goal worth pursuing. Sounds like it could be an really fun book to read and compare notes with.

Boom Studios
Enigma Cipher #2
Jim: The first part of this 2 part story was so well done and immediately grabbed me and brought me into the story, but the delay between one and two have been killer. Still this is a story about the WWII Engima code and how people today deciphered something and now have all been killed but one girl. A really great sotry. Pick up Number 1 and then get this book when it comes out.
Lee: I know you really like Boom and they do great stuff. Could be worth an investigation. When is Boom going to start trading stuff????

FOUNDATION #1 - [1 of 5 ] Full Color. Creators: Rozum, Chamberlain, & Azaceta Description: History shows that in the 1500s, Nostradamus' three volumes of prophesies were best-sellers, making him a rich man. But what the world doesn't know is he took his vast treasure trove of riches and invested them in creating a foundation to prevent his prophesies from occurring. This secret team still functions today, using Nostradamus' published and unpublished tomes to predict threats to worldwide security! In the vein of The X-Files, but with a 24-like spin! 24 pages.
Jim: This looks like it could be really good. Take an overblown piece of history that has an air of mystery about it, add in a little conspiracy theory and mix it in a blender with covert ops and you get either a well written enjoyable piece of fiction or total crap. I hoping for enjoyable fiction as I have ordered this book.
Lee: It’s interesting the market that Boom is trying to corner… more of the spy/mystery/conspiracy theory where IDW went horror. You’ll have to let me know how this is.

ELVIS ROAD HC – by Xavier Robel & Helge Reumann
Elvis Road unfolds into a 25 foot long infectiously joyful & amazingly beautiful cartoon landscape in which Hieronymus Bosch meets Richard Scary (a paradoxical mix of terrifying social commentary and cartooning fun!) Xavier Robel and Helge Reumann devoted almost an entire year to their collaboration on Elvis Road and the result is a single drawing that reveals a world overflowing with hundreds of mini-narratives with armed maniacs, rampaging crowds, chaotic policemen, overflowing hospitals, a tree-house of women, a forest of literal tree-huggers, and hordes of shoppers. The book features the most frenzied, inspired, and dense drawing you've ever seen: 8,433 characters, 3,546 vehicles, 1,847 buildings, 763 cartoon icons, 526 corporate billboards, 189 religious figures, 25 parade floats, 1 super-dildo, a junkyard purgatory, a porno strip-mall, and more. . .In its broadest strokes and finest details, Elvis Road delights, baffles, and provokes. 23 pages. (12x9) Visit and

Lee: Did you read the description, seriously, this is one long page. I am looking at the picture and wondering how the heck you read this. And the size… 12x9??? That’s HUGE. My curiosity is so piqued.
Jim: Go ahead Lee spend the $25, I dare you. It sounds interesting enough, but no way I would buy this thing.

MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST WAR COMICS - B&W. Creators: Kendall, Toth, Glanzman, & Kubert
A unique, comprehensive collection of gripping stories set in twentieth century battlegrounds selected from classic magazines such as Blazing Combat and Commando. Some 30 thrilling, graphic, war stories are brought together here in a mix of classic strips from the likes of Sam Glanzman, Alex Toth, and Joe Kubert, graphic shorts by Ted Rall and Joe Sacco, and great new pieces by as yet little-known hands. To date this is the only multi-sourced collection on the market - previous anthologies and book reprint collections all rely on single sources, mainly the big-name comic publishers. Kendall has selected from classic mags like the bi-monthly Blazing Combat (1970s) and the ongoing Commando, plus individual collections like Sam Glanzman's Marvel and many smaller, top-quality publications. And the wartime settings range all the way from both world wars through Korea and the Vietnam War, to today's Middle East. 512 pages, 5x7, $14.
Lee: I really, really don’t know what to make of this. At 512 pages, it’s basically an essential (essentially an essential?). At $14 it’s an essential. At 5x7 it’s manga sized. I really really really think this is interesting but the binding will never hold at 500 pages and small size. The art will reproduce like crap, remember Blazing Combat was a magazine! So, why should you buy this? Because unfortunately there isn’t any other way to get this material.
Jim: I understand your point about no where else to get this material, but $14 is still too much for a format that won’t last more then two months before it falls about. Also the art maybe unreadable at that size.

AVRIL LAVIGNE'S MAKE 5 WISHES VOL. 1 SC by Joshua Dysart & Camilla D'Errico Teenager Hana feels like a nobody: she has no friends, blah blah blah… hype hype hype… yadda yadda yadda… and her life will never be the same! 208 pages.
Lee: Ummm, isn’t Dysart the same guy who wrote Violent Messiahs? You know that comic about a serial killer or something? Isn’t he the guy who wrote the latest Swamp Thing series with all the monsters and nastiness? And now he’s writing Avril Lavigne comics. Huuummm. Makes perfect sense to me.
Jim: A writer has to work and if this pays the bills so be it. Plus if I’m a writer I would hate to be pigeoned hole as someone who can only writer such and such type of stories. Still it is an odd leap.

Description: The premiere Red Sonja Statue sold out from Dynamite Select, and is now a highly sought-after collector's item! Now, fans and retailers should not miss this opportunity to add a piece of Red Sonja's 35th Anniversary history to their collection - and what a piece! Featuring the first ever 3-D reproduction of Michael Turner's cover to Red Sonja #1, this incredible statue stands 13 tall, and a whopping 11.5 wide and 13 long! This statue is Huge! Strictly limited, order yours today! Each "Artist's Proof Edition" features a special limitation and certificate of authenticity, signed by artist Michael Turner! $499
Jim: Yes for only $500 you can have a statue of a chick in a chain mail bra with a dead snake at her feet. Display this in your hall way to impress all the women you bring home.
Lee: You seriously want me to comment on this?… oh no you don’t.

RAISE THE DEAD #4 (2-COVER SET) Covers by Arthur Suydam and Sean Phillips.
Lee: Won't be getting this series but I really like the zombie Nirvana cover. That's cool.
Jim: I have two Zombie books that I follow – 30 Days of Night and Walking Dead. Both are very enjoyable, but I can only handle so many Zombies and this is off my list also.

ROBERT KURTZMAN'S BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE RAGE #1 – by Kurtzman, Bisson, ThompsonA four issue prequel to the new Robert Kurtzman (director of Wes Craven's Wishmaster, Dimension's Buried Alive) horror film, The Rage. Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) reprises his movie role as the maniacal Dr. V, hellbent on bringing the world to it's knees by infecting it with his Rage serum and transforming all of mankind into mutated, murderous monsters! 32 pages.
Lee: I’m all for new publishers but do we need another group that is horror exclusive? Maybe Fangoria will bring its magazine reader fanbase over into comics but somehow I think the audiences are closer than one might imagine.
Jim: Plus it is a prequel to a movie that will make $20 million if they are lucky. The fanbase is so limited that I can not imagine this book will be a success.

BUT I LIKE IT HC by Joe Sacco
Follow award-winning cartoon journalist Joe Sacco on one of the most dangerous beats of all: rock 'n' roll! The centerpiece of the book is an expanded version of "In the Company of Long Hair," the early '90s graphic novelette Sacco created on the subject of his raucous European tour with the punk band, the Miracle Workers. Long Hair appears here for the first time in an expanded version with an added 15-page section of his original sketches and notes from the time, and a bound-in CD featuring an excerpt from the Miracle Workers' live shows - including a blasting version of the Iggy Pop classic, I Got a Right. As for the rest of the book: Sacco turns his pitiless pen on all strata of Rock 'n' Roll, from old rockers (two stories on the Rolling Stones) to new; from salacious gossip to how-to (Woodstock in your Own Home); from portraits of typical rock creatures (Record Producer, The Musician Who Wanted to Save the World, The Rock Journalist) to self-deprecating autobiographical stories. 120 pages. (7x10).
Lee: Joe Sacco is a name well known to the indy world. From “Safe Area Gorazde” to “Palestine: In The Gaza Strip,” he has done some amazing things. Add that to my love of the punk subculture and this is gonna be a winner. Just in case, has a great profile of the man.
Jim: I have to give Lee carte blanche on this recommendation as his work is unknown to me.

Mome is quickly earning a reputation as one of the premiere literary anthologies on the market, and the only one comprised entirely of comics. In this eighth volume: the concluding chapter of Lewis Trondheim's At Loose Ends; a blindingly bizarre Mome debut from a gent named Joe Kimball; contributions from Mome regular and 2006 Eisner Award Most Promising Newcomer nominee Jonathan Bennett; Sophie Crumb; Kurt Wolfgang; and the graphical/textual stylings of newcomer Ray Fenwick. Mome represents the height of sophistication and talent in the world of comic art today. 120 pages. (7x9)
Lee: I love indy hype. With mainstream hype you get “THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PAGE IN COMIC BOOK HISTORY. E-V-E-R!!!!” With indy hype, you get this… “Mome represents the height of sophistication and talent” Talk about pandering to your audiences snobbishness. As always, looks interesting.
Jim: And I love Lee’s comment, it is pandering to their audience and they have hooked Lee. Still the hype does sound almost like a Monthy Python skit mocking something very officious. I can pass on this one.

Noted fantasy and comic artist Simon Bisley presents this collection of paintings and illustrations depicting key moments in the life of Christ, with quotes accompanying each illustration. This trade paperback edition features Annunciation as its new cover. 128 pages. (9x12)
Lee: Simon Bisley does the Bible. There is something so wrong with that combination, yet something so right. The book is huge, 9x12, and probably absolutely fabulous to look at.
Jim: So wrong, yet so right. Bisley artwork is incredible and it will be interesting to see it laid out against the Bible.

STAR HAWKS THE COMPLETE SERIES HC - Partial Color. Creators: Ron Goulart & Gil Kane

Description: First premiering in national newspaper syndication in 1977, Star Hawks combined the talents of renowned science-fiction writer Ron Goulart and famed comic artist Gil Kane. Star Hawks: The Complete Series collects all 1,244 original black-and-white daily and full-color Sunday strips of this action-packed sci-fi classic, reprinted in continuity, complete with a comprehensive essay by Ron Goulart, plus numerous examples of original artwork showcasing Gil Kane's composition methods. Limited to 1,000 copies, the hardcover edition features special endpapers, a deluxe dustjacket, and an original plate signed and numbered by Ron Goulart. 344 pages. (9x12)
Lee: I mention this because Star Hawks is such and incredible series. It had great scripts by Goulart and great art by Gil Kane. AND, Kane did both pencils and inks at the height of his career. For a sci fi strip it doesn’t get any better than this. BUT, Hermes did such a crappy job publishing this it kills me. All the strips are reduced in size. So much so, the art tends to smear. I know HP did this prior to the latest wave of strip reprints so maybe they’ll go back to press and give it the treatment it deserves. It’s better than nothing but it deserves more.
Jim: I was set to possibly order it until Lee’s remarks about how it is published. For my taste I prefer higher quality reproductions.

ZEMBLA VOL. 1 SC – by Oneta, Formosa, & Kubert
Raised by lions deep in the jungles of the Western African Republic of Karunda, Zembla has the power to converse with the beasts of the jungle and has sworn to preserve the ecological sanctity of his adopted land. 284 pages. ( 5x8)
Lee: And with all the embarrassing fanboy covers out there… this one is for the ladies.
Jim: ………………..okay Lee.

HOT MEXICAN LOVE COMICS 2007 – by Albert Calleros & Ira Sherak
With more amour than ever before! It's gonna be a caliente summer as everyone's favorite Latin-themed comic anthology sets fire to the shelves! With all new stories and artwork for 2007. Once again brought to you by the best-looking cartoonists working in Primetime TV animation. Voted Best Bang for your Buck by Tijuana Comics Quarterly. Featured artists productions include: The Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Avatar, Drawn Together, Invader Zim, and many more! 56 pages. (8x11)
Lee: How can you say no to Hot Mexican Love!!!! It’s an anthology. It’s got good stories and bad stories but it’s a ton of fun… correction, Hot Mexican Love 2006 was a ton of fun! I assume this will be too.
Jim: This is just another example of illegal immigrants bringing this country to ruination. No more Hot Mexican Loving until they get a Visa!

RICHARD MATHESON'S I AM LEGEND SC - B&W. Creators: Steve Niles (w); Elman Brown (a)

Description: Richard Matheson's classic novel of fear and vampirism-the tale of the last human on an Earth overrun by the undead-is going to be a major motion picture starring Will Smith this Winter. But if you want to see an illustrated version of Matheson's story as he originally wrote it, writer Steve Niles and artist Elman Brown deliver a faithful and terrifying adaptation. This special new printing comes complete with a new cover, too. 244 pages.
Lee: This is one of my all time favorite stories and one of the greatest post apocolyse vampire stories ever. This is indeed a faithful adaption and a great addition to any collection. This is even better because the original 4 issue series is darn near impossible to find. Of course, I have all the issues... but that's because I'm good like that.
Jim: This is a great story and I loved the book, so I will have to sign up to buy this one.

BRATPACK SC - B&W. Creators: Rick Veitch
Description: Veitch's no-holds-barred dissection of the hoary old sidekick phenomena is as harrowing as it is hilarious; subversively subtle yet completely over the top. Bratpack is an edgy and unforgettable dance macabre. Introduction by Neil Gaiman. (7x10)
Lee: I really think this is one of the first superhero deconstructionist comics ever made. To describe this as grim and gritty doesn’t do it justice. Great stuff.
Jim: I should probably re-read this material, because when I first read it I didn’t like it. The reason is (as Lee points out) this was one of the first deconstructionist series done and it was a turn off for my tastes at the time, now I would probably think it is tame in comparison.

COLLECTED TOUPYDOOPS SC - B&W. Creators: Kevin McShane

Description: Collecting the first five issues of Toupydoops, plus exclusive bonus material all under one sexy spine, The Collected Toupydoops Volume 1 officially destroys all of your excuses not to read one of the most critically acclaimed new series of 2006! 180 pages.
Lee: If Rusty loves it… it must be good. Kinda like getting a positive review from the Savage Critic. It just doesn’t happen.
Jim: This book blows chunks. Rusty and his reviewer Shawn both love it, but it has to be your cup of tea to like it. For me it was indulgent and self absorbed tripe.

Part 2 hopefully on Tuesday.


  1. StarHwaks... one of the most disappointing trades I ever got.

    Hot Mexican Love... sounds like someone needs some hot mexican love!!!

    Toupydopops... So, um, you... ah didn't like it????

  2. BratPack... may be more brutal than you remember. It's is Veitch being excessive as always. Still good though.

  3. Toupydopops made Rusty and Shawn laugh, it made me just bored and unimpressed.

    Bratpack could be more brutal then I remember because I know Veitch is someone who can surprise me with how far he is willing to go.

  4. What, no MasterCard acceptable for the Mexicans? How about American Express?

  5. I would rather look at women in skimpy clothing than a naked man wrestling with a monkey. =P

    Loved your remarks on parenthood, Jim, good description.

    Re: the Red Sonja statue - even if a man's girlfriend didn't care about having a statue of a woman in a chain-mail bikini sitting around, the fact that he has a girlfriend means he would not have $500 to spend on it. ;)