Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Indies Preview Review for September Part 2 of 3

Continuing our three part Indies Review.

See Part 1 here.

Bluewater Productions
Bartholomew of the Scissors #1 By Chad Helder & Daniel Crosier
Spectral Phantasms have invaded our world. These ghostly creatures from another dimension occupy the human brain and endow their host with spectacular paranormal abilities. Private investigator Gordon Watt, long-aware of the spectral phantasms, investigates a bizarre series of scissor-murders. With the help of a powerful psychic named Jessica, Gordon soon discovers a connection between the phantasms and the mystery of a vengeful, undead boy named Bartholomew. But humanity faces a greater threat - the White Blob emerges from the abyss to colonize pockets of human society. Gordon and Jessica must enlist the help of Bartholomew and the hideous power of his Scissor Swarm or face assimilation by the growing colony of the White Blob!
Pages: 32, FC, $3.99
Visit Dan Crosier here
Lee: Assimilation by the White Blob…. These guys might have to work on Names for their bad guys because I’m just not scared of a White Blob. Other than a silly name it sounds interesting enough and the link has some preview art. It’s worth at least the first issue.
Jim: The mood and the coloring of the art work is great in the preview pages, but the actual artwork is still very early looking in his career. This is a book I would need to read the first issue before committing to buying it.

Desperado Publishing
Negative Burn: Very Best from 1993-1998 SC By Various
Negative Burn was an anomaly, merging together genres, pushing boundaries and allowing the top comic book talent in the world an opportunity to experiment and tell stories that they wanted to tell. The biggest stars in the industry (Neil Gaiman, Brian Bolland, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Moebius, P. Craig Russell, etc.) co-existed side-by-side with the next wave of superstars (Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Paul Pope, Jon Cassaday, Frank Quitely, Jeff Smith, Terry Moore, Paul Jenkins, Mike Wieringo, etc.) to produce perhaps the most eccentric anthology title in the history of comics. This volume takes the very best from the first 50 issues of this prestigious anthology and presents them all together here for the first time.
Pages: 200, 7x10, B&W, $19.95
Lee: Negative Burn was one of the great anthology titles of the 90’s. It’s certainly one of the few ever to be around as long as it was. This is a good way to get lots of stories by big name authors-artists trying something new.
Jim: Now this looks to be a hell of a good project. Anthologies by their very nature have strong and weak stories, so a compilation of the best work should be well worth the price of entry.

Disney Press
El Cazador Vol. 01 SC By Chuck Dixon & Steve Epting
In 1687 the pirate captain Blackjack Tom lays siege to a Spanish galleon. All the Spaniards are killed in his broadsides - all save one: the beautiful, aristocratic Donessa. She seizes control of one of Blackjack Tom's ships and rechristens herself Lady Sin, the most bloodthirsty - and comeliest - lady pirate on the high seas! Lady Sin sets sail to rescue her kidnapped mother and brother and searches the seven seas on her quest for vengeance. Collects all six issues of the CrossGen series.
Pages: 144, 7x10, FC, $12.99
Lee: This is a reorder that I know Jim missed. And, I told him it was great and he ignored me. Now I’m telling everyone this is great. This is a fantastic story about pirates. Dixon is a proven author and Epting is one of the best in the industry. A tour-de-force you’ll kick yourself for missing. Or hit yourself with your cane in Jim’s case.
Jim: Yes, Lee likes to be funny. If he is half the man I am at my advanced age, he’ll be twice the man he is now. Wow that was a convoluted insult. It is pretty much a no brainer, Dixon/Epting/Pirates, what’s not to love. How did Disney end up with Cross Gen publishing rights?

Drawn & Quarterly
Burma Chronicles HC By Guy Delisle

After developing his acclaimed style of firsthand reporting with his bestselling graphic novels Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea and Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, Guy Delisle is back with The Burma Chronicles. In this country notorious for its use of concealment and isolation as social control - where scissors-wielding censors monitor the papers, the de facto leader of the opposition has been under decade-long house arrest, insurgent-controlled regions are effectively cut off from the world, and rumor is the most reliable source of current information - he turns his gaze to the everyday for a sense of the big picture. Delisle's renderings take note of almsgiving rituals, daylong power outages, and rampant heroin use in outlying regions, where catastrophic mismanagement and ironhanded rule come up against profound resilience of spirit, and nongovernmental organizations struggle with the risk of co-option by the military junta. The Burma Chronicles is drawn with a minimal line, and interspersed with wordless vignettes and moments of Delisle's distinctive slapstick humor.
Pages: 280, 6x8, B&W, $19.95
Previews here
Lee: Delisle’s other books are very well respected and reviewed so it might be time for me to jump on the band wagon. I’m always curious about life in other countries and this sounds very different from my life now. Most likely after reading this I’ll be glad for the things I have.
Jim: Let me know what you think about it, because the premise sounds great, but the art that I checked out turned me off on the book.

Pohadky GN By Pat Shewchuk & Marek Colek
Translated as folk tales or storybook, Pohadky provides a tapestry of interwoven fables and morose, allegorical iconography, bringing a harsh light to the greed, loss, and submission that marks the origins of so many cultural folk tales and legends. Heavily influenced by their respective cultural backgrounds - Colek fascinated with the artistic and narrative elements in the folklore of the Czech Republic, and Shewchuk immersed in the investigation of the symbols and pictography of pre-Christian Ukrainian decorative folk arts - the artists have created a work that balances delicate, richly detailed characters and a sharp but muted visual style, and in the process have created a title that exists as so much more than mere fairy tales.
Pages: 128, 5x8, SC, FC, $12.95
More about the creators at their animation homepage here
Lee: Out of all the books listed this month, I think I’m looking forward to this the most. My grandparents emigrated from eastern block countries so this gives me a chance to hear some of the stories I’m sure they heard growing up. And the art just blows me away.
Jim: Wow, this sounds really fascinating, if you no longer want to use Ambien to go to sleep at night. Okay, I’m being sarcastic, but this is a little too far a field for me and sounds a little on the artsy fartsy side of things.

Exhibit A Press
Tales of Supernatural Law SC By Batton Lash
These trade paperbacks reprint various issues of Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, and other works by Batton Lash. Tales of Supernatural Law has "remastered" pages for several long out-of-print issues. In Sonofawitch, attorneys Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd handle cases for a young man accused of 'hexual harassment,' and an assortment of other supernaturally afflicted clients. Mr. Negativity & Other Tales Of Supernatural Law collects Supernatural Law #31-36 and Mavis #3. Vampire Brat collects eight comics: Mavis #2, Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre #23, and Supernatural Law #24-29.
Pages: 180, 7x10, B&W, $16.95 Visit the official site here
Lee: ToSL reminds me of Usagi Yojimbo is so many ways. It’s a great story that has a cult following that for some inexplicable reason never makes it mainstream. I have this trade and several of the others and I love them all. They are great, humorous send ups of the superheroes we all know and love.
Jim: As much as I kid Lee, he always finds different things to read and many of them, when I give them a chance are very good.

Fantagraphics Books
Petey & Pussy HC By John Kerschbaum

Petey and Pussy, John Kerschbaum's new graphic novel, reads very much like a Loony Tunes cartoon - if all of the anthropomorphic animals were kvetching, balding, foul-mouthed misanthropes. Each character is articulate (and, in fact, can speak directly to humans, well enough to order a beer) but still recognizably have the traits associated with their respective species: Pete, the dog, is happy-go-lucky; Pussy, the cat, is self-centered; and Bernie, the bird, is high-strung and constantly a-twitter. Together, they are the pets of a sweet old lady whose obliviousness to the lunacy unfolding around her is second only to her own hygienic repugnance. The Sisyphean struggles of the characters is brought to the fore - the cat is compelled to try and catch the mouse, the bird struggles to escape his cage - as the trio engage in slapstick adventures that are simultaneously given an edge and made hilarious by a twisted combination of mundane realism and insouciant gross-out humor. Kerschbaum cheerfully includes all the blood and guts that are left out of the cartoons, and lovingly renders his motley crew in a densely textured urban setting. And like the animated cartoons it echoes in an oddly surreal way, when the mayhem dies down, the characters come to the realization that their identities' are defined by the way they relate to the others, and that one's opponent might be one's truest friend when both face a true threat.
Pages: 128, 6 x 9, B&W, $19.99
Previews can be found here and take note, it is foul mouthed so not necessarily for kids.
Lee: Well, there’s not much to say here besides the description “anthropomorphic animals were kvetching, balding, foul-mouthed misanthropes” is pretty accurate. I suggest the previews and you’ll quickly know if this is for you. Oh yeah, I’m getting it.
Jim: Very funny. Not for the sensitive souls among you. But the previews and website shows it to be very funny.

Gemstone Publishing
Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol. 01 SC By Don Rosa
All twelve chapters of Don Rosa's celebrated Eisner Award-winning The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck series, detailing the biography of the World's Richest Duck, are presented in an affordable trade paperback edition! Also available is The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion, presenting the pre-chapters and in-between chapters of Rosa's sprawling epic!
Pages: 256, 7x10, FC, $17.99
Lee: JUST GET IT ALREADY JIM!!!!!!! It’s better written, better structured, and a more entertaining story than both Stupid Invasion and Insane Crisis!
Jim: I understand all of that, but I have enough to read, without getting into the duck stuff.

Hermes Press
Buck Rogers in 25th Century Dailies Vol. 01: 1929-1931 HC By Philip Francis Nowlan & Dick
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the first, best, and original science-fiction newspaper strip, has it all - space ships, anti-gravity belts, space pirates, invaders from other worlds, nefarious villains, and, of course, heroes. Comic strip historian Maurice Horn notes that Buck Rogers in the 25th Century "introduced most of the staples of science-fiction plotting" to the American public - as well as to everyone else in the world who read it. Beginning in September 2008, Hermes Press will begin a complete reprint of the ground-breaking newspaper strip in a 9 x 12 landscape format, 2 strips per page. Reprinting over 900 strips, 2 years of the daily strip are presented in Volume One, beginning with the first strip dated January 7, 1929. A special 16-page color section contains an essay on the strip by a leading science-fiction author to place the series in historical perspective together with documentary materials and production artwork. See and experience the thrill and awe of the precursor of Star Trek, Star Wars, and every other science-fiction story to come after!
Pages: 336, 9x12, PC, $39.99
Visit Hermes Press here
Lee: I really, really want this but Hermes Press Star Hawks book was sooooo bad art reproduction wise that I am gun shy. Someone’s going to have to get it and tell me it’s good before I make the plunge.
Jim: See that is a bitter, bitter disappointment, as I really wanted this book. After reading Lee’s remark I will have to hold the book in my hands and check it out before laying down $40 bucks.

IDW Publishing
Locke & Key HC By Joe Hill (W); Gabriel Rodriguez (A & C)
Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder: Locke & Key. Written by Hill and featuring astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all... Locke & Key creator Hill has received the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story, and the Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award-2007, among his growing collection of critical accolades. This collection of Locke & Key, in development as a major motion picture by Dimension Films, features an introduction by Robert Crais, author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels.
Pages: 152, 6.625 x 10.187, FC, $24.99
Lee: This has been a great series so far so I’m sold on adding it to my collection as a hardcover. If you haven’t been reading all along then you get this so you can see what you are missing.
Jim: This is an easy book to order. This has been one of the best written comic books on the market. Both a horror story and a story about a family. Excellent.

Silent Hill Omnibus SC By Scott Ciencin (W) Aadi Salman, Nick Stakal, Ben Templesmith, Shaun Thomas (A) Ashley Wood (C)
Discover the Silent Hill Omnibus, which collects over 400 pages of IDW Silent Hill comic books into one volume. This collection includes Silent Hill: Dying Inside, Silent Hill: Three Bloody Tales, and Silent Hill: Dead/Alive, all written by novelist Scott Ciencin and featuring art by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night) and more!
Pages: 432, 6 x 9, FC, $24.95
Lee: I am really on the fence with this collection. On one hand it’s got great creators but on the other hand I know nothing about the story. It should be a great horror collection but that’s a lot of money if I’m wrong.
Jim: Cheap, cheap, cheap. Go ahead and try it. Then could you loan it to me. Thanks buddy !

Knockabout Comics
Freak Brothers Omnibus SC By Gilbert Shelton
Presenting the definitive collection of the classic underground comic strip that has been published in 15 languages, inspired countless items of merchandise, and racked up worldwide sales of over 40 million copies! The Freak Brothers are timeless clowns, and it's Shelton's mastery of satire and slapstick, silly punchlines, and the traditional simple forms of humor at the heart of these tripped-out cartoons which have kept them fresh and mirthful for 40 years. Soon to be an animated feature film! Pages: 224, 7x10, FC, $35.00
You can get a jist of what it’s like here Only a jist because you can’t reprint much more than that because of content.
Lee: Oh boy oh boy oh boy is this great. If you’ve never read any Underground Comix then you need to start here. These stories are absolutely hilarious. These are as adult as you can get with lots (and lots, and lots more) references to drugs and sex. I already have these reprints once but I’ve long since worn them out so I’ll be getting this.
Jim: Lee’s description is dead on, for whatever reason this material never appealed to me. I will have to revisit it now that I’m older and see if it appeals to me now.

Werewolves: Dead Moon Rising SC By Various

The blood will run red in the dead of night as both horror-fiction and comic book writers alike unite to bring you an unlucky 13 chilling tales of howling horror, just in time for Halloween! With stories by Elaine Bergstrom, Tom DeFalco, Dave Dorman, Clay Griffith, William R. Halliar, C.J. Henderson, David Michelinie, Christopher Mills, Mike Reynolds, Beau Smith, Paul D, Storrie, Dave Ulanski, and Fred Van Lente, and interior illustrations by Ken Wolak and a fang-tastic cover by fan-favorite Dave Dorman, this chilling collection of short stories will keep you cringing under the covers all night long!
Pages: 192, 6x9, B&W, $14.95
Lee: I haven’t read alot of books from Moonstone but this looks like a great anthology. The writers are certainly top notch, hopefully the artists are too. It just makes me wonder when there isn’t a laundry list of artists to match the long list of writers.
Jim: Great looking cover.

Part 3 will be on Thursday if all goes as planned.

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