Saturday, September 27, 2008

Indies Preview Review for November Part 3 of 3

Wrapping up the indies reviews with Part 3 !

The Hero Initiative
Stan's Soapbox: The Collection SC By Stan Lee & Various
The wit and wisdom of the caliph of comics is on display for all to see in one mighty volume! All of Stan Lee's groundbreaking, legendary Stan's Soapbox columns from 1967 to 1980 are collected for the first time ever! And that's not all! Columns are presented in a historical context, so you can immerse yourself in the flavor of the day, and get a sense what was happening right outside Stan's window when he penned 'em. Some are poignant, some informative, some touching, and some funny. But they're all memorable! Add to that, a bountiful bevy of celebs also write about their most memorable columns, including Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige, X-Men movie producer Tom DeSanto, and a vast variety of great names from the fields of comics, literature, politics and academia. No comics historian will want to miss out on the historical heavyweights contained within this titanic tome!
Pages: 144, 7x10, B&W, $14.99
Lee: I’ve been reading Marvel comics since the 70’s but I can honestly tell you I’ve read five or less of Stan’s soapbox. I can’t believe they are collecting them. Honestly, I wonder about the “historical value” the hype calls it.
Jim: This stuff was never meant to be words for the ages. This was Stan Lee just having fun 95% of the time hyping Marvel books. I would not pay a dime for this.

Hill & Wang
Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography HC By Sabrina Jones

Myth and controversy still swirl around the dramatic figure of Isadora Duncan. The pioneering modern dancer emerged from provincial nineteenth-century America to captivate the cultural capitals of Europe, re-invent dance as a fine art, and leave a trail of scandals in her wake. From her unconventional California girlhood to her tragic death on the French Riviera fifty years later, Duncan's journey was an uncompromising quest for truth, beauty, and freedom. Here Duncan's art and ideas come vividly to life. Each page is a unique dance of words and images, reflecting Duncan's courage, passion, and idealism in a way sure to inspire another generation of admirers.
Pages: 144, 6x9, B&W, $16.95. More about Isadora Duncan here.

Lee: I hate to admit but my collection of biographical comics is quite thin. It’s never been my thing. But, something about this struck my fancy so I did some research and found out that Isadora Duncan was quite the interesting person. She lived from 1878-1927 and made quite the impression. I’ll probably check this out.
Jim: Yawn. Oh I’m sorry just reading about this book put me to sleep. Modern dance is crap and this just sounds like something that I would have no interest in.

IDW Publishing
Fishtown HC By Kevin Colden (W & A & C)
Originally serialized as a weekly webcomic, IDW is proud to collect the entire story into deluxe hardcover form. Inspired by real events, Colden's story explores what led the teens to commit such a heinous crime. Fishtown is an absorbing read that compels the reader to explore a world they hope to never experience. Pages: 120, 6.5 x 10, FC, $19.99 Visit the artist here
Lee: I wonder if the readers get bored with all the true crime picks. I can’t help it if there’s lots of this material in the indie world! The art looks solid and the story sounds great so I’m sold.
Jim: True crime and fictional crime books are great. I mean cop shows abound and we always see crime on the news, it is interesting stuff.

Mohawk Media
Mr. T By Christopher Bunting & J.L. Czerniawski

Armed only with his fists, acumen, and a business card that reads, "Next to God there is no better protector than I," bodyguard Mr. T becomes as renowned as many of his clients. But will even the moniker of "The Greatest Bodyguard in the World!" make any difference when old enemies return and new foes and unseen faces conspire against him? The graphic novel uses its real-life star as a platform to address controversial "hot potato" real-life issues, such as kidnapping, gun crimes, and sex offenders. With his assignments taking him around the world, Mr. T soon becomes embroiled in the center of a complex web of events. This leads to a shocking conclusion, as Mr. T begins to realize that perhaps the true target isn't his clients, but himself! Includes exclusive interviews and a personal introduction by Mr. T himself.
Pages: 128, 7x10, SC, FC, $16.95
Lee: There as demand for this? Seriosuly?
Jim: I pity the fool who don’t think there isn’t a demand for this. Don’t make Mr. T come to your house Lee and have to thump you’re a**.

Why I Killed Peter GN By Alfred & Oliver Ka
Peter was a populist priest. He was cool. He was funny. He was no priest, just a regular guy. It's like I had another uncle. A great one, who laughed, who sang, who tickled. Until he took us for summer camp. Until we were so close, temptation came in the picture. Based on a true story that the writer experienced himself, this graphic novel presents very simply the grey areas in such a situation, how he had tucked the whole episode deep within him but then how his rage and self-pity let it all out and finally revisiting the man when close to death and his coming to grips with his past. This topical and important work, is both moving and sensitively presented.
Pages: 112, 6x9, HC, FC, $18.95. Preview pages here
Lee: I read lots of hype so often I pick things for whatever superficial reason and then try to determine what that reason was later. In this case, as in most cases, it was about art. But, going back and reading the blurb made me realize just how moving this tale could be. I’m not sure if I will get it but if you liked Blankets, with similar themed material, then you should try this.
Jim: Wow this sounds intensely personal and tragic, almost like it was therapy for the creators.

Optimum Wound Comics
King of Nekropolis GN By Danijel Zezelj

Ras Casal is a private detective, haunted by demons and old memories, addicted to drugs and on the verge of complete madness. Casal is hired by Professor Noah to find an old colleague, Theobald Hall, a brilliant computer scientist who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The hunt to find Theobald begins as does a long and terrible descent into personal hells for Ras. His journey into the heart of Nekropolis becomes his last chance at redemption!
Pages: 104, 7x10, SC, B&W, $11.95
Lee: More Zezelj! Optimum Wound is reprinting Zezelj’s early material and it’s fantastic.
Jim: Daniel Zezelj is a fantastic artist and makes such incredible use of spotting blacks and still doing some incredibly detailed work. A true artist and his material is well worth the money.

Rampart Press
Cleburne GN By Justin Murphy, Al Milgrom & J. Brown
During the American Civil War, as Union armies marched deep into Confederate territory, Confederate General Patrick Cleburne advanced a plan to enlist slaves to fight for the South. According to Cleburne's proposal, every African American who served the Confederacy as a soldier would receive freedom upon enlistment. This was a revolutionary concept for its era, and by making his proposal, it sent Cleburne's life spiraling down a perilous road. Set during the critical year of 1864, and culminating in the bloody Battle of Franklin, Cleburne is a tale of unbeatable courage in the face of racism, conspiracy and war.
Pages: 208, SC, FC, $24.95
Lee: Yet another historical graphic novel but more importantly is the return of Al Milgrom! I’ve been a huge Milgrom fan since his days on just about every Marvel title. I’m glad to see him back at work. The story sounds interesting too.
Jim: Now I was never a fan of Al Milgrom. His pencils left me cold and his inking was I think more on par with a Vince Colleta (too heavy and all thick lines). The actual historical event sounds fascinating as I was not aware of this history.

Best of Tharg's Futureshocks SC By Various

Out in the vast reaches of the universe, there are an infinite number of stories waiting to be told. From the lowliest swamp denizens in backwater galaxies to rulers of entire star systems, anything is possible in these twisted tales. Abandon your preconceptions, expect the unexpected and take a trip beyond the edges of the imagination.... Pages: 160, B&W, $26.50
Lee: Tharg’s Futureshocks are 2-3 page shorts with twist endings that orginally appeared in 2000AD. They are mostly notable because many of the early ones were written by Alan Moore. Now I have the Futureshocks by Moore collection but I’m not sure if I want the rest of them.
Jim: Especially for 160 B&W pages for $26.50.

Complete Ro-Busters SC By Pat Mills, Kevin O'Neill, Dave Gibbons, Mike McMahon & Mike Dorey
Together for the first time in one volume are the classic Ro-Buster tales written by 2000AD supremo Pat Mills, with art by some of the biggest names in the industry including Dave Gibbons and Mike McMahon! Marvel at the adventures of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein as they take on some of the toughest jobs in the universe and plan a liberation of the robot slaves!
Pages: 336, B&W, $30.99
Lee: This is a collection of classic Starlord (2000 AD’s competition) British strips. I love this material for the classic art and interesting stories. It’s always fun stuff.
Jim: Some of the 2000 AD material is fantastic and here you are getting a better bang for your dollar with 336 pages for $31.

Sparkplug Comic Books
Hot Breath of War GN By Trevor Alixopulos

The Hot Breath of War takes seemingly unrelated episodes of life during wartime and entwines them into a single narrative. This subtle and well-written novel explores love amid conflict and the seduction of violence itself. Alixopulos displays artistic abilities well beyond his years, and his stories offer some of the most thoughtful insights on the nature of war and its effect on human existence available to comic book readers. His drawings are loose and comfortable but sharp and graphic. The Hot Breath of War is perfect for fans of Joe Sacco or Jules Feiffer but stands as a unique work of graphic art. Pages: 128, 6x8, SC, B&W, $13.00
Visit Trevor here or follow the link to his sketch blog here and his online comix here
Lee: I believe this is a novel with lots of illustrations. Or maybe lots of single panel cartoons with heavier bits of text. Either way it sounds very interesting.
Jim: It does sound fascinating. This is another book I want to page through before I decide if I will buy it.

Top Shelf Productions
Man Who Loved Breasts By Robert Goodin
Meet Stanley, a man who has worked a dead-end job his whole life. While looking for a way out, he has epiphany that the secret to happiness is to make a living doing what you love. And while the title may tell you what he loves most, where his ambitions take him? The back-up stories are equally fun, with George Olavatia: Amputee Fetishist involving a fertility clinic and a man with specialized tastes, and A 21st Century Cartoonist in King Arthur's Court, where we find out how useful a cartoonist would have been in the Middle Ages. A quirky and engaging one-shot comic book by animator (Rugrats) and comics illustrator (McSweeney's) Robert Goodin!
Pages: 32, 6x9, SC, B&W, $4.00 Visit the artist here and previews here
Lee: Like I said, sometimes I pick books because of the art, sometimes because of the content. This is an ART book. Solely picked this because of the art. Yes-sirrrr-eee. Art book. Actually, the art is outstanding. Visit Goodin’s site and see what I mean.
Jim: Sure, it is, sure it is. All for the art. I guess this is Lee breast of the --- er best of the month.

Alter Ego #81
Get ready for Alter Ego's ever-haunted Halloween issue! Behind a new Frank Brunner Man-Thing cover, Richard Arndt throws a spooky spotlight on the late-'60s black-&-white horror comic Web of Horror that featured early work by Brunner, Bernie Wrightson, Jeffrey Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith, Walter Simonson, Dave Cockrum, and Howard Chaykin - plus an interview with Web of Horror editor and award-winning science fiction writer Terry Bisson! Then, an amazing interview by Jim Amash with comics and fine artist Everett Raymond Kintsler! Plus, Roy Thomas' 1971 origin synopsis for the first Man-Thing story, and more of Bob Rozakis on "The Secret History of All-American Comics, Inc."
Magazine $6.95
Lee: I don’t get Altero Ego on a regular basis but I always get the Halloween issue. These are great and I loved every single one. And, Web of Horror is one of the greatest horror magazine every produced. With an outstanding artistic lineup that hasn’t been matched since. Visit ebay and see if you can get a copy because it’s worth it. As for me, I’m going to get this and read about the “behind the scenes”
Jim: Lee is more of the expert on this material as I read very few (hardly ever) magazines on comics.

Back Issue #31
Back Issue salutes the comics and animation career of the late, great, and groundbreaking writer Steve Gerber, beginning with an in-depth look at his most famous creation, Howard the Duck. Plus, "Gerber's Gruesomes" (Marvel horror series such as Man-Thing), Omega the Unknown, "Gerber in the Marvel Universe" (offbeat superhero work, from Defenders to Foolkiller), Crazy! Magazine, Metal Men, Mister Miracle, and the animated television favorite Thundarr the Barbarian. An all-star lineup of comics and cartoon creators pay tribute to Steve Gerber, with art by and commentary from Frank Brunner, Rich Buckler, Gene Colan, Michael Golden, Stan Lee, Paul Levitz, Pablo Marcos, Val Mayerik, Jim Mooney, Martin Pasko, Mike Ploog, Dave Simons, Roger Slifer, Walt Simonson, Ron Wilson, and many, many others. And Howard the Duck turns barbarian in a cover painting by Frank Brunner! (Twomorrows Publishing)
Magazine, $6.95
Lee: As a 70’s Marvel guy, Gerber is one of my favorite writers. I wouldn’t miss this issue for anything.
Jim: This could be the exception to my passsing on most magizines, too often we fail to appreciate someone until after they have died.

Girls and Corpses 2009 Wall Calendar
Get ready for hot Girls and cold Corpses twelve months a year with the Girls and Corpses 2009 Calendar! The perfect gift for your pastor, cellmate, or parents - or even the calendar for your office! It's just that easy when you hang this beautiful glossy calendar on your wall, the perfect gift just in time for Corpsemas! (Rhine Ent) $12.95
Lee: Ummmm… just because.
Jim: I’m sure your wife will understand (LOL).

Illustration Magazine #2 (2nd printing)
This is the first magazine devoted exclusively to the fine art of illustration in America. This spectacular second issue features the art of Norman Saunders (creator of the Mars Attacks! and Wacky Packages cards) in the most in-depth and extensive article ever printed on this artist's work (written by his son, David Saunders). Also featured is the work of Frank Frazetta, Perry Peterson (a prominent and prolific magazine illustrator of the 1950s) and an interview with Russ Cochran on the history of comic art auctions and collecting. Book reviews, a gallery guide, and more round out the issue. Illustration is printed in full color throughout and features dozens of reproductions taken directly from the original art. (Illustration Magazine) (NOTE: See Norman Saunders artbook from Illustration Magazine located in the BOOKS SECTION.) Magazine, $15.00 Visit the site here which also has pdf’s of other issues and lots of previews.
Lee: And, if you ever want to read about ART, then pick this up. Illustration Magazine is a great read. Even if you don’t get this you should visit the site to learn more.
Jim: Again I defer to Lee on this material.

Lee: Overall, a very good month. And I can’t wait to get my new calendar!!!
Jim: There really is never a bad month with the Indies because we have so many publishers and such a wide variety to choose from.

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