Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Indies Preview Review for December Part 1 of 3

Lee: There’s a good mix between new stuff, historic stuff, and available again stuff this month. There’s lots to look forward too.
Jim: Blah, blah, blah, let’s get into it and see if there is anything good in the pile this month.

Jazz: Cool Birth One-Shot by Gary Scott Beatty
It's a jazz club murder mystery, with art based on 1950s album cover design! From the martini crowd at the uptown piano bars to the whiskey cats at downtown's Skylarks, piano man Dean Fontessa had thought he'd seen it all. But when he agrees to beat chops with the local pounders about a nixed out gabriel, he finds the jazz crowd takes care of its own, dig? A Xeric Foundation grant winner, now in full-color! Visit Beatty here
Pages: 24, FC, $3.99
Lee: There certainly seems to be a growing trend between music and comics. I think the influence has always been there but it’s becoming more and more recognized. In this case, Beatty is drawing influence from old jazz album covers. If you’ve never seen 1950’s jazz album covers your missing a treat. They are excellent to say the least and influenced many artists of today. This should be a visual treat if Beatty can pull it off. Visit Jim Flora here to see one of the artistic greats of the era.
Jim: Okay just let me say right here and now there is not this “connection” between music and comics. There is a created connection and this cool vibe crap, where people give us the sound track that they listened to while they wrote the comic. So that means what I was listening too when my children were conceived makes that an integral part of their lives. It sounds and stinks like b*llsh*t to me. Do comics about music or musicians that is fine, but there is not this mystical connection between the two. That is just new age mumbo gumbo.

War at Ellsmere SC by Faith Erin Hicks

Jun is the newest scholarship student at the prestigious Ellsmere Girls' Boarding School - but to a lot of the privileged rich girls, scholarship student is just code for charity case. Fortunately, Jun has an ally in the quirky Cassie, who tells her legends of a beautiful creature that lives in the forest outside of the school. Between queen bees and mythical beasts, Jun has quite the school year ahead of her! Visit Hicks here
Pages: 144, B&W, $12.95
Lee: In terms of art, Hicks has a great website and I liked lots of what I saw. In terms of story, this sounds like a fun little adventure. I’m not sure I can say more than it just looks and sounds like fun.
Jim: The artwork is okay and if the guy makes a living off of this stuff, then he is doing well for himself and perhaps better then he deserves. This sounds like a children’s book and more a young girl’s children book and maybe fine for that bracket, but nothing I would want to read. I wasn’t cranky when I started my remarks, but I certainly starting to think I must be with my opening remarks so far.

Red Star: Sword of Lies Vol. 01 SC by Christian Gossett
The saga marches on in a beautiful oversized format that collects the first three Sword of Lies annuals into a massive 200-page epic! With unforgettable pencils by multiple Eisner nominated Christian Gossett, and extraordinary digital painting by the world famous Weta Workshop New Zealand, this graphic novel resumes the adventures of the Skyfurnace Konstantinov, and takes readers back to the very origin story of the world of The Red Star. This collector's must-have trade paperback chronicles the tragic romance between Imbohl, the father of the Revolution, and the Goddess Pravda, whose power led him to renowned glory. Visit the Red Star site here
Pages: 200, 9x12, FC, $34.95
Lee: I’ve always liked this series. It’s been around forever and had a very strong following at one time. I just mention in case you missed it the first time.
Jim: Now this is a pick I can live with. Of course the hype is not giving us enough of even a hint of what the story is, but the cover certainly sets a good standard.

Absolution #0 by Christos Gage & Roberto Viacava
Super-star writer Christos Gage gets to cuts loose with his first series at Avatar with a seven issue epic that kicks off here with a specially priced #0! John Dusk is a man of honor. He has been fighting crime inside the rules of the law. He respects the laws he's been sworn to uphold. But day after day, bringing in the same scum, and watching the revolving door of justice, there comes a time when a man is pushed too far. When you're bound by rules that the bad guys ignore, when the criminals are going free, when the worst kind of man is loosed on the world, when do you finally take a stand? Where do you draw the line between being the good guy, and getting the job done - for good? Absolution is the story of masked heroes pushed to the brink, standing on their own, and against their best friends. Sometimes, a man just needs killing. This first chapter of the story features a standard cover by Jacen Burrows and a Wraparound cover by Juan Jose Ryp.
Pages: 16, #1 of 6, FC, $1.99
Lee: Gage goes to Avatar. I didn’t see this coming. Avatar certainly seems to be positioning itself as a great place for creators to go try new stuff. Now most of the stuff published through Avatar is hyper violent so I wonder how extreme this title will be.
Jim: Avatar needed to start producing books by other creators and I’m happy to see Christos Gage get a shot. He has been Marvel’s fill in writer and seems to get all the assignments to cover for Marvel when they need help, but never gets a series. He was the Wildstorm go to guy often also; I have been looking for a break out book from Gage and this maybe it.

Freakangels Vol. 01 HC by Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield
Warren Ellis' hugely popular web comic, Freakangels, is here, collected in print for the first time in this gorgeous, full-color trade paperback! The first arc of the ongoing, post-apocalyptic saga is a must-have for fans of the online series, or a perfect starting point for new readers! Twenty-three years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment. Six years later, the world ended. This is the story of what happened next. So welcome to Whitechapel, some years from now, just barely above ground in a flooded England, where a clan of eleven strange people with purple eyes - the Freakangels - have carved out some sort of a life for themselves. A life that starts to show big cracks when a girl called Alice from Manchester turns up with a shotgun and a grievance, having met the lost, prodigal last Freakangel, who had very different ideas about what they should do with themselves and this flooded future England. Because the Freakangels have a big secret - something very bad is their fault. Ellis' ongoing story of a flooded London is beautifully illustrated in jaw-dropping detail by Paul Duffield, and every page is as much a work of art as it is a compelling and multi-layered story. This first collection is also available as a Hardcover edition with an all-new cover by series artist Paul Duffield that is limited to just 2,000 copies, and a ultra-special Dual Signed Hardcover with a different cover, and each copy is signed by both Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield, which is limited to only 1,000 copies!
Pages: 144, 7x10, FC, $27.99
Lee: I know this started as a web comic but this tpb/hc was really a foregone conclusion. Ellis sells too many copies of whatever print material he releases for it not to happen. Which is perfect for someone like me who hasn’t read the web comic.
Jim: This is a great marketing strategy to try out also. Give away a comic for free on a weekly basis on the web with some high octane talent behind it and then sell the trade. Use whatever ads etc. to try and finance the project or at least provide some offset against cost and recoup your investment and make a buck with the sales of a trade. I can guarantee you that the rest of the industry wants to know if this works or not.

Warren Ellis' Frankenstein's Womb GN by Warren Ellis & Marek Oleksicki
The newest addition to Warren Ellis' Apparat line of original graphic novels has arrived! 1816 was called The Year Without A Summer. In the weird darkness of that July's volcanic winter, Mary Wollestonecraft Godwin began writing Frankenstein on the shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. But that is not where Frankenstein began. It began a few months earlier when, en route through Germany to Switzerland, Mary, her future husband Percy Shelley, and her stepsister Clair Clairmont approached a strange castle. Castle Frankenstein, some one hundred years earlier, had been home to Johann Conrad Dippel, whose experiments included the independent invention of nitroglycerin, a distillation of the elixir of life - and the transfer of a live soul into an awful accretion of human body parts. Mary never spoke of having entered the real Castle Frankenstein, stark on its hilltop south of Darmstadt. But she did. And she was never the same again - because something was haunting that tower, and Mary met it there. Fear, death and alchemy - the modern age is created here, in lost moments in a ruined castle on a day never recorded. Following up the huge successes of Crecy and Aetheric Mechanics, Ellis turns his spark of mad genius to bring us a fantastical tale in this all new original graphic novel illustrated in atmospheric perfection by newcomer Marek Oleksicki. Pages: 48, 7x10, SC, B&W, $6.99
Jim: Warren’s personal publisher is certainly getting a lot of material out of Ellis and most of it is Ellis best stuff. This is certainly on my list.
Lee: I like most of Ellis’s stuff and I’m sure this is good but I need to get something besides Ellis. I can get Freakangels and have enough for this month.

Flaming Carrot Collected Vol. 01 HC (limited) by Bob Burden & Various
Flaming Carrot, Man Of Mystery returns! Road Hogs from Outer Space! Death gets drunk! The Artless Dodger rides a lawnmower down a stairs and over people like it was a surfboard! Sponge Boy is kidnapped by the Bandit Moons! Flaming Carrot runs with the skeletons to the land of lost buttons! This volume collects the early first issues of the long out-of-print, surrealist superhero series that was one of the top selling cult classics of the 1980's and spawned the movie Mystery Men. Added features for this edition include new 10-page Flaming Carrot story, a forward by Dave Sim, the first appearance of three new superheroes, and a special surprise that will be found nowhere else! Limited to 850 hardbound, signed and numbered copies. Visit Burden here
Pages: 128, B&W, $49.95
Lee: I’m hard pressed to pay $50 for a 128 collection. Granted its a limited edition, signed and numbered blah blah but still. That’s an awful lot of money for Flaming Carrot. I think I’ll stick to the tpb that I got off ebay for a lot less.
Jim: Limited to 850 and hoping they can sell 400 I guess. Way too much for this product and it feels like it is ripping off its hard core fans (which is not Lee or myself).

Remnant #1 by Stephen Baldwin, Andrew Cosby, Caleb Monroe & Julian Totino Tedesco
Actor Stephen Baldwin and writer Andrew Cosby (creator of Sci-Fi Channel's Eureka) unleash The Remnant at BOOM! Studios! When natural disasters erupt around the world and people start to vanish, CIA agent David Sacker is pulled into a dangerous mystery that will challenge everything he knows about reality! Featuring sensational interior art by hot newcomer artist Julian Totino Tedesco and covers by Paul Azaceta and Julian Totino Tedesco.
Pages: 24, #1 of 4, $ 3.99
Jim: At the BOOM panel both Ross Ritchie and Mark Waid acknowledge that another series idea by a name actor was a roll your eyes event, but that the concept blew them away and Andrew Cosby is coming in to write the book. With that as background and reading the premise I’m willing to give this book a shot.
Lee: I like that Boom! keeps offering fresh ideas. The Hollywood star name doesn’t influence me one way or the other but the idea sounds intriguing.

Last One SC by J.M. Dematteis & Dan Sweetman
Collecting the out-of-print Vertigo series! Myrwann is the last of the immortals, driven by a need to help save lost souls. From his home in New York's East Village, he takes in the lonely, the abused, or the forgotten, healing them when he can - but at what cost to himself? By award-winning writer J.M. DeMatteis (Hero Squared, Justice League, Moonshadow)!
Pages: 192, 6x9, FC, $ 24.99
Lee: I wonder how Boom! got the rights to reprint early Vertigo material? That’s very interesting! Maybe someone else will start getting some of the other rights too. I don’t remember too much about this series but it sounds good. Dematteis’s work during this period was very hit or miss for me but it was always interesting.
Jim: I believe that the creator’s retain a lot more of their rights for Vertigo material, as long as it is not a DC property. So Sandman and Madam Xanadu are DC names, but material like Last One is the creator’s to keep or at least revert back to them after a while. I could be totally wrong, but I think I’m at least partially correct.

Seekers Into the Mystery Vol. 01 SC by J.M. Dematteis, Glenn Barr & Jon J. Muth
Collecting the first five issues of the out-of-print Vertigo series! Angels and aliens, faeries and demons, alternate realities and multiple personalities. Once Lucas Hart would have laughed at these things, but when this cynical, burned-out screenwriter's repressed memories of the past invade his present, Hart's vision of reality is completely shattered. Now he's on a quest to find the Magician whose legacy of mystery and hope might move the human race to the next level. Created by Eisner Award-winning writer J.M. DeMatteis, with art by Glenn Barr and Jon J. Muth. Join them for a journey into the mysteries of the human spirit that you won't soon forget!
Pages: 128, 6x9, FC, $ 15.99
Lee: On the other hand, this work from Dematteis left me cold. It could have been because I was really into superheroes at the time and this was more an examinations life and death. Throw in some religious overtones and it was way too much for me to handle. I’ll dig out the issues I do have and see how they far under re-read before committing to this trade.
Jim: DeMatteis’ work can be very introspective. His Spectre tale when Hal Jordan was the Spectre was very different. At times his work takes on a ethereal quality that loses me on a monthly book. I bet his stuff reads better as a collection.

Join us tomorrow for the second part of our monthly journey through the indies.

No comments:

Post a Comment