Friday, November 21, 2008

Indies Previews Review for January Part 3 of 3

We present the finale for this month's indy review.

Kronos Entertainment
Spy School #3 by Frank Tra & Keith Burns
Things start to heat up as we charge to a head. Spy School classes are taking interesting turns, and just when classes get into a routine, the curriculum switches to the School of Hard Knocks!
Pages: 24, #3 of 4, FC, $3.99
Lee: This is a really tough call. The splash shows hints of greatness but it’s just a splash. It’s easy to draw a splash page and not be able to draw panels. I have been burnt by that far too many times in the past. As always, if only there were some previews… ANYWHERE cause I checked… then I might take a chance. As it stands now, it’s a pass for me.
Jim:It is also issue #3 of 4, so that makes it even easier to pass.

Little Nothings Vol. 02: Prisoner Syndrome GN by Lewis Trondheim
More of the acclaimed comics blog musings of one of the greatest comic artists alive today, author of Dungeon, A.L.I.E.E.E.N., and Mr. O. The Onion called the first collection a hoot and the Washington Post thought them beautifully scribbled strips centering on such existential hiccups as extreme self-doubt, spontaneous superstitions and unjustified paranoia. A collection from his comics blog that expands his palette with full color painting, one can only be awed at Trondheim's uncanny sense of observation and relate to all his experiences closely. You can see a preview of these comics blog entries on NBM's website. Pages: 128, 6x9, SC, FC, $14.95
Lee: This month seems to be filled with lots of ‘vol 2’s’. Because this is a follow up to the outstanding ‘Little Nothings Vol 1’. It’s a great slice of life story about a real cartoonist as he ages. Try this and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Ask Jim, he’s been reading my copy of Vol 1 for 2-3 months now.
Jim: Hey when you lend me a book you always get it back, maybe not in the same calender year but you get it back.

Radical Publishing
Shrapnel #1 by M. Zachary Sherman & Bagus Hutomo
Humanity has a new empire. Our solar system has been colonized and each planet is dominated by the brutal will of the Solar Alliance. All except Venus, the last free colony and final relic of democracy! As Venus and its' people suffer the enforcement of the Alliance, one woman may be able to turn the tide. Samantha Sam Vijaya, a Solar Alliance war veteran and hero, lives on Venus in self-imposed exile, hoping to escape the life she once knew. However, when the skies burn and civil war comes to her doorstep, Sam has no choice but to join the fight. With the freedom of humanity on the brink of extinction, Sam must emerge from exile to destroy the same forces she once led! Created by Mark Long and best-selling science-fiction novelist Nick Sagan (Idlewild). Features covers by Clint Langley, Bruno Werneck, Bai, and Gerhard Moszi.
Pages: 48, #1 of 5, FC, $1.99
Jim: I love the premise and I trust Radical comics so this is a mini-series that I’m looking forward to Radical has produced quality book after quality book.
Lee: It seems to me that Radical is to Sci Fi, what IDW is to horror. And, I think that’s a good game plan. So far, all the offerings have been good. I just hope they don’t fall flat like Virgin did.

Shakara the Assassin SC by Robbie Morrison & Henry Flint
The galaxy is in turmoil. Once a place of peace and order, now a time of terror has descended upon it, with races waging war upon one another unchecked by any authority. Planets, civilizations, even entire star systems face total annihilation or enslavement. But a vengeful figure has emerged from the chaos, striking at targets with a ruthless determination. This alien being calls itself Shakara and it is seemingly bent on wreaking revenge on those responsible for the destruction of its people. The Shakara were thought to be long dead - but retribution is coming from beyond the grave!
Pages: 160, 8x11, SC, FC, $24.99
Lee: When I saw this I was excited, then I did some research and got really excited. From what I can gather, the story is a straight forward revenge tale with ample opportunity for Flint to draw crazy settings, machines, and action scenes. Since, I really like Flint’s art, I am all over this. And, I should note, Rebllion hasn’t let me down yet for good stories.
Jim: Rebellion has this type of material down pat. It is a shame we have note seen much of Flint Henry's art in more mainstream books.

Scholastic Inc.

Tales from Outer Suburbia HC by Shaun Tan
An exchange student who's really an alien; a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape; a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says... These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations by Shaun Tan, author and illustrator of award-winner and New York Times bestseller, The Arrival. Size: 7.25 X 9.5, FC, $19.99
Lee: Tan’s other work, The Arrival, was absolutely fantastic. The Arrival garnered all sorts of praise outside of the comic book media and it was rightfully deserved. I am sure this will be very good too and I look forward to having it on my shelf.
Jim: Just based on the Arrival alone I would buy this book. The Arrival was a beautiful book and totally wordless which actually added to it. This looks to be along those same lines and an easy book to order.

Secret Acres
Fatal Faux Pas GN by Samuel C. Gaskin
Samuel C. Gaskin's first book, a collection of gags, stories and drawings, is aimed directly at the adult reader who can appreciate his playful, often risque riffs on pop culture. The stories and gags in Fatal Faux-Pas invoke Black Sabbath, Klaus Kinski, the cast of Saved by the Bell, Dinosaur Jr., Sun Ra, and Depeche Mode among others. A delirious ambitious mash-up of single-panel gags, strips, and longer form stories, Fatal Faux-Pas is the very definition of youthful exuberance. Visit the artist here and see the weekly strip here
Pages: 96, SC, PC, $10.00
Lee: The art is crude but the stories have potential. This is definitely a work in progress, but I think Gaskin has talent. Now it comes down to, if I want to be the first kid on the block with his stuff or wait until he develops some more.
Jim: I'll wait. I appreciated that artist have growing pains, I don't have to fund their education.

Wormdye GN by Eamon Espey
Wormdye is a collection of interwoven tales that deftly illustrate the fever-pitched anxiety of modern life. With locales as varied as the River Styx, the Vatican, the island of Aegina, and the Mitchell Corn Palace, Wormdye follows Marco, Tommy and others as they engage in the human struggle - work, religion, death and human sacrifice. Bleak and darkly funny, Wormdye uses myths and iconographic visuals to evoke a world-view that is both absorbing and upsetting, tragic and triumphant. See the Wormdye weekly here, Visit the official page here and click Comix, for other stories. Pages: 128, SC, B&W, $13.00
Lee: Yep, this is big X - comiX. I like the art and the underground sensibilities. Not for the meek or mild but if you’re sick of superheroes and want a change of pace, this is a good place to start.
Jim: You know I like to think that I have a wide range in taste, but Lee likes a lot of things that do not float my boat.

Sparkplug Comic Books
Inkweed SC by Chris Wright
A compendium of comics and drawings by Chris Wright, this volume showcases Wright's idiosyncratic drawing style, and multi-layered narrative voice. In its brutality, and its compassion, the world of Inkweed displays the author's determination to create an aesthetic capable of disseminating an entire worldview. The book has loads of great drawing and whacked out stories, in a very European vein. Visit Chris Wright here and previews of here. Pages: 152, 5x8, SC. B&W, $16.00
Lee: From the previews, I would go with the “whacked out” description. But there’s a certain appeal here that I can’t describe. I’ve read the previews and I keep looking at it and seeing new things. As an alternative comic this looks very appealing.
Jim: I think Lee is starting to tip over into that side of things that he no longer is in the world with the rest of us. It is like when critics all love a movie, that no one else likes.

Back Issue #32
Back Issue downloads comics' "Tech, Data, and Hardware," beginning with The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, courtesy of Eliot R. Brown (who also relives Mighty Marvel Moments of the '70s and '80s), while Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, and Bob Greenberger discuss the origins of DC's Who's Who, and Alex Saviuk, Joe Staton, and Ethan Van Sciver compare notes on "Drawing Green Lantern: Then and Now." Also: an Ed Hannigan Art Gallery, an in-depth history of ROM: Spaceknight, the story of Bill Mantlo, Dial H for Hero, Superhero Costumes, Richie Rich's Inventions, and Who's Who entries for Bob Rozakis' AA Comics heroes! And you techies and Spider-Man fans will love Back Issue's Spider-Mobile schematic cover by Eliot Brown and Dusty Abell! Pages: 100, Magazine, $6.95
Lee: My inner nerd just loves this! I always liked the tech issues and how Marvel/DC tried to make sense of all the silly gadgets and locations. Besides that, a discussion about how DC’s Who’s Who came about! I can’t wait to get this.
Jim: Of course you can't, your an engineer you can't help yourself. This stuff bores me to tears.

DC Superhero Figurine Collection Magazine: Superman #2
Meet the greatest heroes and villains of the DC Universe! Fully authorized figurines with a fact-filled magazine make this series a must-have for comic fans everywhere! Handcrafted and painted, each figurine presents the ultimate representation of DC's classic characters. Each magazine accompanying the figurine provides detailed history and background on the featured characters, including a look at the character's classic stories. Each magazine is filled with stunning artwork pulled straight from the very best DC comics. Characters available are Batman (#1), Superman (#2), The Joker (#3), Donna Troy (#22), The Spectre (#23), and Creeper (#24) Pages: 20, Magazine (w/Figurine), $14.00
Classic Marvel Figurine Collection Magazine: Warlock #90
Fully authorized figurines, teamed up with an amazing magazine put this series in a super-league of its own! The hand-painted lead figurines are sculpted by master craftsmen and based on original pieces of Marvel artwork. Measuring 3 1/2-4 tall, each figurine is individually numbered, comes stamped with the Marvel official logo, and comes packaged in its own box. The magazine accompanying each figurine will provide a detailed history and background on the featured character, including exclusive images and interviews. The fabulous characters featured this month are The Absorbing Man (#88), Guardian (#89), and Adam Warlock (#90)!
Pages: 20, Magazine (w/Figurine), $12.00
Lee: Why is the DC lead figure $14 but the Marvel one is $12? That makes no sense. Personally, I buy these so I can suck on the lead. And, when I consider it a double bonus when you get lucky with a lead figure soaked in Red Dye #2, such as Warlock. The Buzz man! THE BUZZ is incredible.
Jim: This stuff has no interest for me whatsoever. And Lee's comment answers a lot of questions.

Lee: As always, a very good month. Not to much French stuff this month but Rebellion hooked my up with cool British comics. AND, Second printing of Ducks!!! Super Cool.
Jim: A few good things, my favorite is the reprint of the golden age Superman something I will have to get and read right away. I still wish more people would check out stuff from the smaller press companies and see all the different ways words and pictures can tell any story.


  1. Engineers rule!!

    Back Issue is always an outstanding publication. I just got the Gerber tribute issue today. It and Jack Kirby Collector are my version of Jim's HC collection. I keep getting them, but I never seem to have time to read them.

  2. Matthew-

    Me too. I love Back Issue and TCJ but I never seem to finish them all. But I still love them.

  3. Flint Henry is not Henry Flint, Jim. They're two completely different artists....

  4. Bob - And believe it or not at one time I knew that - my mistake.