Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was a very solid week for comics and nice to see a book that actually lived up to an anniversary issue for a change. I remember one of the funniest anniversary issue being Flash #300, where the whole story revolved around the number 300 I believe and fans were asked to count how many times the number showed up. I never did, but hopefully it was not 300 times. The problem I have with people worrying about anniversary issues is it can lead to pacing stories to fit the numbering scheme and not just pace it naturally. I still believe that Steve Rogers is returning in regular continuity Marvel and that Brubaker was told to stretch the story to issue #50. I also believe he would deny that, but if Steve Rogers is back in issue #50 I will probably always believe I was right.

Invincible #50 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Ryan Ottley, Colors Bill Crabtree. Have you ever waited way too long for a book and the anticipation of it has gotten so high that it almost has to disappoint you? Have you ever just felt something was the right thing to have happen to some characters, but since everyone can see it coming a comic company stops it from happening (Nightwing and Babs getting married)? Invincible was worth the wait and what you saw coming actually happened and I just enjoyed the heck out of this book. Robert Kirkman defies convention and writes this book honestly. When we see something that has been set-up over a long period of time instead of pulling something out of left field it happens and as a fan I feel justified in investing all the time and emotion that I put into Invincible. The showdown with Cecil was fantastic. First we get the massive fight scene with Mark is fighting a bunch of Reanimen, then Cecil pulls out his inevitable double cross and we find out he planted a weapon in Invincible’s head. The fight was terrific and Cecil was unwavering in he does what he does to protect the world. I won’t get into the whole thing, but Mark quits and tells Cecil in no uncertain terms to stay away from his family. When Mark goes home he talks to his family and Eve. Then he and Eve step outside and Mark confesses that he loves her and she kisses him back and seals the new romance. So many comics over the years never deliver on what we can see coming as it is logical and makes sense and they switch it up just to switch it up. Now Kirkman will not make any thing easy for Mark, but he delivered the goods on what has come before. Invincible is one of the best darn comic books in the Universe. Then we get extra stories. First up was the Origin of Cecil Steadman by Writer Robert Kirkman, Pencils Ryan Ottley, Inks Cliff Rathburn, Colors Kelsey Shannon. What made this story so great is we see the Cecil was exactly like Mark was when he was younger. He was uncompromising and unwilling to compromise his morals in any situation. The best line was by Cecil’s boss who offered Cecil a way out of jail, saying “you can be the good or you can be the guy who saved the world. They’re not always the same guy.” The best heavies in comics are the ones that believe they are doing the right thing. The second bonus was Science Dog by Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Cory Walker, Colors FCO Plascencia. Science Dog is just a fun character and I was happy to see this partial adventure in this issue. I think Science Dog should get at least a mini-series produced.
Twelve #6 (of 12) – Writer J. Michael Straczynski, Pencils Chris Weston, Inks Garry Leach and Chris Weston, Colors Chris Chuckry. I have to say that almost every issue of this book is at the top of my chart whenever it comes out. The art work is just so damn lush and full of detail, that it is amazing. A simple scene with Richard (The Phantom Reporter) putting his head in his hands dealing with writer’s block was perfect. The final page when Richard puts on his cape, mask and gloves to be the Phantom Reporter again was stunning in the details, down to the creases in the fingers of the gloves as he wraps his hands around his gun. The story is telling an overall story of the characters and is giving us the origin stories of different characters issue by issue. The overall story narrated by Richard lets us see just how out of place these people are, now that they have jumped 60 years ahead. They are an anachronism and you can feel it as you read the story. The origin of Rockman was truly tragic and you could not help but feel sad for this man who in trying to good, lost his family and his mind at the same time he gained his powers. This has been an excellent series and it one of my favorite books this year, if you have skipped this book you have made a mistake.
Local #12 (of 12)- Writer Brian Wood, Art Ryan Kelly. I got what I wanted out of this series a happy ending where Megan has finally found a place where she can settle down and call it home. Her Mom left her a house in Vermont and Megan goes to live there and in the process of cleaning it up she is visited by people from her past. As these memories visit her she tries to put her life into perspective. Ultimately she is fine with who she is and understands she would not be the same person she is today without all the experiences she had in her life, both good and bad. This series really changed from being about different places to be totally Megan’s story and I really enjoyed getting to know Megan and was happy to see her life get to a good point. It takes time to get to a point in your life where you are comfortable with who you are. I’m tempted to get the hardcover version so I could read it all at one time, but not quite sure if I will get it.
Locke & Key #5 – Writer Joe Hill, Art Gabriel Rodriquez, Colors Jay Fotos. This series is always near the top of the top of my list with each and every issue. This issue the killer Sam makes it to the key house and attacks the family. Sam has the daughter and older son as hostages, Bode’s mother and uncle locked in a wine cellar and demanding the anywhere key. Except for Bode, I believe no one else is even aware that such a key exists. Sam was summoned to the Key house by he woman in the well. She also has sent Bode to get the key in exchange for her promise that “I will allow Sam to do no more harm to your family this evening.” Bode in his panic seems not to have heard the “this evening” part. This woman is the well is quite a mystery and who and what she is has yet to be revealed. We do know she cannot leave the well building without fading away unless she has the anywhere key. Sam is a murdering psychopath and has already left a trail of bodies just getting to Key house. A month between this issue and next will seem way too long.
Action Comics #866 – Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Gary Frank, Inks Jon Sibal, Colors Brad Anderson. I enjoyed this issue a lot. Ever since Johns and Frank have taken over this series it has been a really strong one again. The first arc with the Legion was so good I have ordered the hard cover and this issue is starting off very well also. Since I have not followed Superman religiously over the years who and what Brainiac is in current continuity was never clear to me. I have to assume that it was an artificial life form; this issue makes it a mystery as it appears a Coluan is the engine for Brianiac. Lee has pointed out that Johns can be gruesome at times and this books opening sequence with Brainiac taking Kandor certainly falls into that category. The art by Franks is always very good and this issue it is apparent that Chris Reeves is Frank’s template for Clark. Where the story does come across as confused is the private life of Clark Kent, it seems like Johns is giving us a lot of the old cast members back and almost doing a soft reset on Clark’s life. It is interesting because I just realized that Clark’s personal life has been very much on the back burner in the last few years. I’m really looking forward to Superman lately with Johns and Frank on this book and James Robinson coming onto to write Superman.
Simon Dark #9 - Writer Steve Niles, Art Scott Hampton, Colors Daniel Vozzo. Simon Dark is a unique book. Scott Hampton’s art with the photoshop effects (or whatever program) really gives this book an atmosphere that I have not seen matched in any other series. If Scott Hampton left the series it would be a totally different book. The same goes for Steve Niles who has a mainstream DCU book that is about demons, imps, a teen-age Frankenstein monster (apparently only one of many) and it all works. This issue we are building to a major confrontation as we find out Rachael has been infected and Simon and his friend are trying to stop the bad guys from bringing over a major demon. A truly singular type of book that is especially odd as it is in the DCU and means we could have super hero guest stars or at least Batman as it is set in Gotham.
Goon #25 – Writer/Artist Eric Powell, Colors Dave Stewart. What a great issue of Goon. We find out that Goon has two choices to leave the town and have a chance of happiness or to stay and only know heartache and misery. Goon packs up his car and is riding out of town with Frankie when the hit the city line they stop. Frankie says “Happiness is for pussies.” and they turn around to try and stop Labrazio. Goon smashes into the barn where Norton is held chapter and has a battle with Labrazio, who is now a demon or something. He takes off and Goon screams after him “The war starts now.” Looks like next issue all of what has been building starts to come to a head. As always Eric Powell’s art is just outstanding. He has such a wonderful style that is his and his alone.
Red Mass for Mars #1 (of 4) – Writer/ Colors Jonathan Hickman, Art Ryan Bodenheim. Jonathan Hickman who has given us Nightly News, Pax Romana and Transhuman is giving us the closest thing to a straight up super hero comic that I think we will every see from him. The setting is a little over 100 years in the future and the narrator is a man who can see the future. The future he has seen coming is the end of the Earth as a great fleet of aliens is coming to trash the planet. Our narrator flies to Mars to ask a Superman like character to save them. The end line of this issue is the powerful hero telling the narrator to “beg”. It is an interesting story so far and the artwork is very strong, but this is one that I believe the whole will be greater then the sum of its parts, because there was so much laid out in this book and it all has to be connected. Plus with Hickman I avoid assuming things as he is usually not straight forward on where he going with his stories. This looks to be another winning book from Mr. Hickman.
Batman Confidential #18 - Writer Fabien Niceza, Art Kevin Maguire, Colors I.L.L. Some stories are just flat out entertaining and that is all that I hope for from some books. Depending on the book and what the book is advertised to be is whether I care if the continuity is “correct or not. This series is about telling good stories set sometime in the past of Batman. I think this arc with the first meeting of Batgirl and Catwoman maybe my favorite arc on this series. The dialogue and the art work make this book work. The constant battle over the Notebook that Barbara “borrowed” from her Dad and then Catwoman stole is out and out fun, with plenty of great art of two beautiful women. A friend did point out that the last shot of last issue the naked Batgirl’s shoulders looked a little too broad and I saw that again in the splash page, but after that all was fine. I enjoyed how they had Babs follow Catwoman into a hedonistic club and had to go in naked and they showed a fight scene at the club and kept it totally clean. This is a well written, well drawn and very entertaining story.
Wonder Woman #21 – Writer Gail Simone, Pencils Aaron Lopresti, Inks Matt Ryan, Colors Brad Anderson. Another good issue, so that is two in a row, but it was an issue that overreached at times and was too fast paced at times. The main story is Diana is now on a quest with Stalker and Beowulf to stop some demon lord called Dgrth from talking over the world. Diana has become lost personally due to her contact with Stalker who has no soul and has caused Wonder Woman to feel like she is losing hers. That plot line is all well and good, but we jump really fast to add Claw into their group (another Barbarian who has a claw due to a demon thing) and have WW end up with her hand being a claw. I’m enjoying this quest and this wonderful use of DC’s old sword and sorcery characters, but I think the story line could have been slowed down a little. The second plot line with Tom now being tasked by Director Steel to spy on his partner Diana Prince, as Steel suspects her of being an Amazon I did not like. Then we have a plot line that I do not even have a clue what it is about, but we had a last page cliffhanger as someone has shown back up on Themyscria and the Queen is concerned that the end is near for their home. I get that Gail is building to a bigger story line, but WW needs to be kept a little more streamlined and I would have enjoyed this story be about the quest and WW dealing with her feeling of being lost, then the sub plots. Aaron Lopresti is proving to be an excellent choice for this book as his WW is book beautiful and a warrior. I hope he is signed on this book for the long haul.
Booster Gold #10 - Writer Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz, Pencils Dan Jurgens, Finishes Norm Rapmund, Colors Hi-Fi. This issue the sh*t hits the fan. Booster Gold is starting to fade out of time as he has unraveled history so badly he has destroyed himself. Rip Hunter has Daniel Carter and his possible future wife helping him try to save Booster Gold, Ted Kord realizes he has to die and jumps in a time machine to try and put things right. We find out Booster’s Dad has been controlled by Mr. Mind and in getting the worm out of his Dad’s brain, they may have killed him. This series is always moving at a fast pace and many of the twists and turns are unexpected. This is a very strong series and highly entertaining.
Fear Agent #21 Hatchet Job Part 5 (of 5) – Writer Rick Remender, Pencils Kieron Dwyer & Jerome Opena, Inks Jerome Opena, Colors Michelle Madsen. This is an enjoyable series, but I have to admit that the long delays between issues have caused me to lose what the heck was going on with this story line. Plus the ending was not an ending of the story, but a cliff hanger that I guess will take us into the next arc where Remender has promised us that the overall story arc that has been building since issue #1 will be revealed. Now that surprised me as I had no clue there had been an overall story arc. Still I love this series and Heath Hudson is the hard luck hero of the series and I’m curious to see what Remender has up his sleeve. I hope that we get this material put out as nice hard cover collection some day as the art is so well done and the series is just a great read, that I want a hard cover and not a trade.
Green Lantern Corps #25 - Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Patrick Gleason, Ins Drew Geraci, Colors Guy Major. This issue we get an origin story of the Black Mercy plant. Who knew the black mercy plant has an origin and it was actually a nice comic book origin type of thing. Mother Mercy is actually the planet and she had a dying alien crash on her planet and for reasons she does not know herself she took a more mobile form and went to aid the alien. She discovered she could produce a state of bliss and helped to ease the pain of the alien as he died. She decided to be fruitful and multiply and then sent her children out across the universe. The new Mongol came to her and changed the plants from bliss to fear producing. This chapter ends with Mongul showing up and throwing black mercy plants to attach to all the Lanterns. Next issue is the finale for this arc and should be a good one. GL Corps is an entertaining series and has gotten better under Peter Tomasi.
Night & Fog #1 (of 4) – Story Alex Leung, Script Alex Leung & Matthew Bradford, Art Roberto Castro, Colors JM Ringuet. This was a pleasant surprise. I think the book benefited from my low expectations as the premise was okay, but it was not absolutely blowing me away. Also I like trying out new publishers, and this is the first thing from Studio 407 that caught my eye. First off the art was well done. I’m not sure who dictated the layout of the book, but I can bet you a few bucks that the artist was not clamoring for 11, 9, and 16 panel pages. Given how much back story they were trying to get into this book, I give the artist high marks for pulling off 95% of it or more. The colorist (whom we know as the artist of Sparks and Transhuman) must have had a hell of a job also. Even the letter must have been worn out. They should have streamlined the story a little or lengthen the first issue. The story from a picture standpoint was easy enough to follow, but the actual story had a few glitches here and there. Essentially the first issue sets up the story line. It appears a super secret military laboratory intent on making better soldiers (a super solider) is caught up in an explosion and the experimental drugs are released causing the scientist to mutate into a monster and perhaps the surrounding town is infected with the gas also. The security chief is a Colonel and appears to be a single Dad, whose three kids are stuck home alone as all hell is breaking loose on the secret military base. There are a few more elements, but the story could have been streamlined a little to make it a better read. Sometimes the lack of a strong editor makes it easy for small press / self publishers to be too self-indulgent. I’m coming across a little harsh, but bottom line I enjoyed this first issue and have signed up for the whole mini-series. It was a good effort and shows great potential, which means these guys, can easily go from good to very good or even better. Plus I’ll be looking for Studio 407 to try other titles from in the future.
Screamland #4 (of 5) – Writer Harold Sipe, Art Hector Casanova, Additional Colors by Steve Snover. The hype was pushing that this is their gay issue and they were very proud of it. For me it was an enjoyable issue as Count Dracula is apparently gay, but has been hiding it for years since it would have been a big negative for him in old time Hollywood. In reality I’m sure if the world had known Rock Hudson was gay, he would have never been accepted as a romantic lead in all those movies over the years and may well have been black balled from making any movies in that timeframe. But what I did not get is what great statement they were making about being gay. I guess I would like to know what a reader who is gay thought of the issue as for me it was just a well done story giving us the history of the last of our monsters to set up the last issue which should be about all of them getting together again. Screamland has been a great way of seeing all of our favorite movie monsters as real people and see where they have been for all of these years.
Trinity #2 - Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis. Back-up Story Writers Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, Pencils Tom Dereniuck, Inks Wayne Faucher, Colors Allen Passalaqua. Well this book is 2 for 2 with me. The first half of the book was very simple showing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all facing off against these menaces that seem to appear out of nowhere. As they each defeated them in their own fashion, we find out Morgan Le Fay Was testing them. Stating they may well serve as keystones to Universal power. It was a very straight forward super hero type stuff that was well written and allowed us to see Bagley show off what he can do in a super hero action scene. It ends with Batman getting a JLA alarm stating John Stewart is knocked out and needs help. The back-up story provides us with how John Stewart ended up being beaten by a big purple alien with a little sidekick. Right now it all a lot of mystery of what is going on and how it will all relate, but it has my interest and appears to be a nice self contained story. Trinity has moved into my first read position since it is a good read and a weekly book. I was ready to give up the weekly book thing, but this is too good to pass up on so far.
Doktor Sleepless #7 – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Ivan Rodriquez, Colors Greg Waller. I keep wavering on this book as to whether continue it or not. This issue was a good one. I think this is a book that really builds on what has come before. I particular enjoyed the use of the some of the tech that Ellis has sprinkled so freely throughout this book and it interesting to think that people will have technological enhancements in their bodies in the future. I’m not sure where he is taking us with Sleepless as this issue we find that according to a blood sample taken he is not John Reinhardt. Of course with this entire bizarre tech, who knows what can be controlled or manipulated. After issue #8, which supposedly wraps up the first arc, I will have to evaluate if I want to continue this series or not. If yes, then it might be a better series to get as a trade as this appears to be better read as a whole.
BPRD War on Frogs – Writer John Arcudi, Pencils Herb Trimpe, Inks Guy Davis, Colors Dave Stewart. A very enjoyable little one and done issue of BPRD, following up on the first frogs apparently introduced in the Hellboy Universe. As I love this material, but I am not steeped in the intimate knowledge of every single thing that has happened I’m sure I’m missing some of the poignancy that this story was emanating. The first two frogs were the sons of this woman and they were still guarding her corpse. Roger managed to take them out and kill them, but he felt bad as they were not posing any threat to mankind. A nice little story set in the recent past of the BPRD continuity and artwork by the great Herb Trimpe. I have to say that Guy Davis is listed as the inker, but my guess was they wanted him over Trimpe’s pencils to keep the BPRD material having a similar feel to it. So while Herb is credited it feels more like a Trimpe/Davis production. This was a solid and enjoyable issue and another fine addition to the growing library of material that is the HU.
Fall of Cthulhu #13 – Writer Michael Alan Nelson, Art Mateus Santolouco, Eduardo Medeiros. This was a good issue, but very much had what I refer to as middle chapter syndrome. Middle chapter syndrome is a chapter that advances the plot, but has no real hook and is all set up for what is coming next. As Sheriff Dirk was off in Dreamland dealing with the giant bizarre harlot to find out where the Grey Man’s ceremonial knife was, I thought we might get a little more horror then we did this issue. We do know the Sheriff paid a price, we don’t know what. We did she Lucifer get the knife and escape from Arkham’s house. We ended with her taking the Sherrif to a place to try and destroy the knife and it ended there. This has been a very good arc, but like I said this was a middle chapter. I’m really coming to appreciate the art from Mateous Santolouco it is clean and has a fluid quality to it. I’m looking forward to the next issue and the conclusion of this arc.
Newuniversal Shockfront #2 (0f 6) – Writer Warren Ellis, Pencils Steve Kurth, Inks Andrew Hennessy, Colors Chris Chuckry. It is really issue #8 (of 12) and damn is this thing slow moving. Warren is just setting the table for the New Universe and that is about it. I mean the entire issue only two things really happen. The first is we find out that there are a lot more people manifesting powers then just the five or six who have been introduced and two the government is out to kill them. I’m too deep into this series to drop it, but I probably should. Steve Kurth is a little off in his artwork, but I did notice he likes to have everybody’s necks bent at odd angles, he would be awesome doing Zombies, but it comes off uneven in this series. I’m getting to the point where I believe Ellis should almost be an editor or the editor-in-chief at Marvel comics (or DC comics). He has some terrific ideas and concepts, but his pacing has become really slow. I sometimes think that he knows he is not in anything for the long haul, so he has two or three story ideas for something, tells it and gets out. While often entertaining, with continuing characters I prefer someone in for the longer haul. Still if Warren sets the new universe up well enough it could be fun to watch some other writers to play in the rebuilt sandbox.
Salvation Run #7 (of 7) – Writer Matthew Sturges, Pencils Sean Chen, Inks Walden Wong, Colors John Kalisz & Tom Chu. I’m a little ambivalent about the end of this series. The long delay certainly hurt it as the time lag got so bad we saw everyone popping back up on planet Earth anyway. The tragic situation the Martian Manhunter was left in has already been made worse as he has been killed in Final Crisis #1 and the ending did little to change any of the status quo. Still it was an entertaining series and had a nice ending with Luthor using six of the villains for a power source to fuel his Stargate (which call it what you will, but it was a Stargate). I guess I would have to say it filled the bill of being an entertaining look to see how the bad guys would act if forced to live together, but this is not a series I would look to pick up as a trade.
Skarr Son of Hulk #1 – Writer Greg Pak, Art Ron Garney, Colors Paul Mounts. First off I the “Son of” stuff is always a bad connotation for me. I remember many many moons ago that the movie Spartacus did a “Son of Spartacus” sequel which I believe stunk up every theatre it was in. Years before that didn’t they do a “Son of Kong” which was a total disaster. I’m sure there were more and this “Son of” looks to be almost as bad. The good part was Ron Garney’s art. I love Ron’s work and it seems that his work is still improving and I like that as an artist he has not decided to live on his laurels, but continues to push himself. It seems like he is inking all of his own work and it gets better and better as time goes by. The bad part is the premise is weak, with Hulk’s wife dying act to shoot the egg growing in here and her old power will protect it. Apparently these alien children have rapid growth and in no time Skarr is a young man. The planet has all sorts of dangers and is only somewhat reminiscent of the planet Hulk left. The end part is Skarr is a little older with a group of people and he looks a lot like his mother’s side. A bad guy vaporizes him and then a page or two later a Hulk like Skarr appears ready to clobber the bad guy. Greg Pak was writing an enjoyable Hulk and maybe this book will get better. I think a double sized opening issue would have helped sell me more on the character. It is a shame that Pak and Garney are on this book and the real Hulk is being ruined by Loeb and McGuiness. I’ll give it one more issue to make me want to sign up for this title.
Iron Man Legacy of Doom #3 (of 4)- Story David Micheline and Bob Layton, Writer David Micheline, Pencils Ron Lim, Inks Bob Layton, Colors Chris Sotomayor. First I have to say that Ron Lim is a busy guy right now with this and the Rann / Thanagar being penciled by him and I’m enjoying his work more then ever. He has a nice clean line and does super hero stuff very well. I may not nominate Ron for best artist of the year, but I always enjoy his work. The story is fine, but David and Bob appear to have written this story ten/twenty years ago. It is a nice story and certainly all age friendly, but misses the mark a little for me as a more modern comic. Every book does not have to have a dark edge, but Merlin called Tony, Tones and Dude and dressed up in some sort of old time Swiss garb or something was not working. I guess the bottom line on this book is it is a pleasant time trip that feels like a comic that I missed reading from that time.
Green Arrow Black Canary #9 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Mike Norton, Inks Wayne Faucher, Colors David Baron. This series is going down the charts with me. Since Connor has been kidnapped it has felt like the story has been dragging its feet. Also given the gravity of what has happened to Connor, the overall light hearted tone to this issue seemed a little awkward. This issue Plastic Man tries to recall what happened to him and finally offers to help in the search for Conner. Meanwhile Speedy and Dodger have been captured by the League of Assassins. As GA and crew go off to see why Speedy has not checked in, Batman shows up in the last panel to help. This series suffers from comparison to itself. The last few issues of Green Arrow and first five to six issues of this series were so good and so fast paced it was insane. It is like Winick took his foot off the gas causing the series to slow way down and therefore it feels like he is padding the length of this story.
Titans #3 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Joe Benitez, Inks Victor Llamas, Sandra Hope, Derek Fridolfs & Joe Weems. Colors Edgar Delgado. I’m just about to drop this book. When Judd was first starting to write books I thought he was very hit or miss. Then his work on Green Arrow and the Outsiders made me think he was starting to put it all together and that one day maybe he would generate that seminal run. This book is two steps backwards in my opinion. The characterization on these guys feels wrong and not just because the emotions of lust, envy and rage were being focused on them; it has been off from the jump. It does not feel like these characters at all and oddly enough Judd did a good job with Nightwing in the Outsiders series. Next is Cyborg flying around as a torso in a little hover chair. This truly makes him half a man and makes him seem too much to be a cripple as opposed to a man who has overcome all the odds to still be a man no matter how many mechanical enhancements. Last and not Judd’s fault, is the art. Joe Benitez took over after issue #1 and we have Starfire as Beyonce or something and Donna is also constantly in posing as a sexy model mode. It just all feels really wrong. Still Judd has earned creditability so I will hang in for another issue or two, but this book is sliding towards an early cancellation.

That puts another week to bed and no one got cancelled after last week when I canned two books. Judd Winick had a bad week with me as his two books both ended up being liner for a bird cage.

A side note: I’m worried about Archaia Studios Press as I read they are “reorganizing” and looking for another investor to come in. There are a lot of there titles I have been waiting for and now it feels very iffy if they will ever see the light of day.

Here is the official press announcement off their website:

ASP ANNOUNCES COMPANY RESTRUCTURINGCo-publisher Aki Liao to leave company; will also strive to correct and improve company’s scheduling delays

Kearny, NJ -- May 21, 2008 -- It’s been a busy couple of years here at Archaia Studios Press as the company has produced a growing catalog of award-winning and critically acclaimed comic books and graphic novels. But ASP has also run into a few growing pains along the way---as does any new publishing company---and today must announce that it must take a moment to restructure following the decision of Aki Liao, ASP’s co-publisher, to step back from an ongoing role at the company for personal reasons.
“Mark and I started ASP Comics as a hobby business in classic ‘two-guys-in-a-garage’ fashion, and that hobby business has grown well beyond its initial size and scope. In fact, well beyond my expectations,” said Aki Liao. “Along the way, we’ve built up a line of comic books and graphic novels of the highest quality. It’s been an amazing ride, and I enjoyed meeting a lot of wonderful people along the way, especially the talented group of creators that I’ve had the good fortune to work with. It is with a sad heart that I depart as I’m no longer able to give the company the kind of commitment it requires and wish everyone at ASP the best for the future.”
Ken Light, an investment banker at the DAK Group specializing in small to mid-size company divestitures, sales, and acquisitions, will be assisting ASP in the search for an outside investor or strategic partner to acquire Aki’s stake in the company.
As part of the reorganization, the company will also take the opportunity to address internally the publishing delays that have plagued it of late to ensure a smooth schedule that satisfies not only its own standards but also that of its creators and the expectations of fans and retailers.
“Our growth in the last year has clearly strained our workflow capacity,” said ASP co-publisher Mark Smylie. “Lateness has historically been a problem with many creator-driven and creator-owned titles, but our own workflow issues have exacerbated the situation. We are as frustrated with our struggle to get books out on time as, I’m sure, are our readers, and we want to make sure we come out of the reorganization with a better workflow and solicitation process model. So while there will be some further delays in the release of recently solicited titles as we restructure, we also want to make sure we emerge in the next few months from our reorganization with a release schedule that we can hit on a regular basis, as guaranteed as possible. We can only ask that our many supporters, retailers and fans alike, be patient with us during this time.”
All ASP titles are available worldwide at finer comic book shops, bookstores, amazon.com, the ASP Store at Indie Press Revolution (
www.indiepressrevolution.com) and electronically at DriveThruComics.com. ARTESIA is now available at WOWIO.com, with other ASP titles to follow.

Hope it all works out as this company has some terrific products including Robotika, Mouse Guard and Killer to name three.

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