Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Indies Preview Review for April Part 1 of 3

Lee: This is the part of the month I love the most. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy making fun of all the Marvel books but this is my comics bread and butter. And there is a slew of good stuff this month.
Jim: And over the years we have been doing this together Lee has cost me lots of money, but has gotten me to read a lot of things I may have missed without his prodding.

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics
Captain Long Ears GN by (W/A) Diana Thung
Eight-year-old Michael has lost his father, and his mother has thrown herself into work to avoid her grief. For his birthday tradition, Michael heads to the theme park accompanied only by his imaginary friend, a gorilla named Jam, and they embark on exciting adventures. By the time Michael's mother realizes that her son is missing, he has been seriously injured by the park's violent elephant. However, the accident causes Michael and his mother learn to come to terms with Michael's father's death. $12.95Diana Thung’s webcomic August Moon is here and her website with art samples here.
Lee: When I first looked at the cover I was convinced this was a kiddie book, but after reading the hype, I see I was wrong. This appears to be a nice study about grief and loss. And, if it compares to her webcomic (which was also very good) then this is a winner. The art appears to be influenced by TekkonKinKreet which is always a plus too.
Jim: I can see it is dealing with adults themes, but it still is not pulling me in.

Ape Entertainment
Shrek #1 by (W) Arie Kaplan, Scott Shaw (A) Various
Shrek and Donkey are constantly fighting over the toy surprises in the cereal box. Thanks to a contest and buying the millionth box of Ye Olde Crunchypants Cereal, Shrek and Donkey are off to visit the Cereal Factory - let the adventure begin! This issue also features a special 4-page back-up story by comic book legend Scott Shaw! #1 of 4, $3.95
Lee: Ape E- is really starting to grow and getting the Shrek license is pretty good for a small company like this. Granted it’s only 4 issues but still! I wonder if Ape isn’t following the Boom! business model?
Jim: I seriously doubt it. Ape does not appear well financed or structured at all. BOOM struggled when it was first starting but once Mosher and Waid came on board they started to get their act together, Ape has a long way to go. Why did Shrek sign up with them?

Archaia Entertainment LLC
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #1 by (W/A) Jeremy Bastian, Alex Sheikman, Ted Naifeh, David Petersen
Inside the June Alley Inn, located in the western mouse city of Barkstone, mice gather to tell tales, each trying to outdo the other. A competition, of sorts, begins. The rules: Every story must contain one truth, one lie, and have never been told in that tavern before. Legends of the Guard is a new Mouse Guard anthology series with artists and storytellers handpicked by creator David Petersen. #1 of 4, $3.50
Lee: I loves me some Mouse Guard and this sounds like a great way to expand the Mouse universe. Not to mention, a solid group of artists lead by Alex Sheikman, a favorite here at ComicsAnd.
Jim: A part of me is nervous to see this product leave Petersen's hands, but I'm sure the creators involved love this material also and I second Lee's remark about Alex, I always look forward to his work.

Boom! Studios
7 Psychopaths #1 by (W) Fabien Vehlmann (A) Sean Phillips
From Criminal co-conspirator Sean Phillips! 7 men, 1 impossible mission - assassinate Hitler! With World War II in full swing, there's only one-way to draw the war to a quick end: kill Hitler. But who would be insane enough to try? Joshua Goldschmidt knows just the men to do it. Insane? Psychotic? Mad? Call them what you will, but the seven psychopaths are now the only hope the world has! In the vein of Inglorious Basterds, with art by the critically acclaimed Sean Phillips. $3.99
Lee: Boom! is doing a great job of bringing in the talent! Another book with Sean Phillips art? I’m sold. Nazi’s and attempts on Hitler’s life? I’m definitely in.
Jim: Count me in also. I LOVE THIS CONCEPT and add into it Sean Phillips art and this is a no-brainer.

Tag Omnibus SC by (W) Keith Giffen (A) Kody Chamberlain, Chee
Collected together for the first time in one oversized trade of zombiefied thrills, BOOM! Studios presents Keith Giffen's critically acclaimed Tag and its sequel Tag: Cursed in a giant-sized omnibus. When an average Joe strolls down the street, a random stranger tags him, handing off an ancient curse. He literally begins to die - and rot - seeing his body begin to decompose before his very eyes. Cursed, he must either surrender, or find the next victim to tag! $24.99
Lee: I’ve never read this but I remember it having lots of good buzz when it was originally released. A cheap, phone book omnibus like this is a perfect way for me to catch up.
Jim: I loved this material and will be more then happy to have it in a one volume edition.

Del Rey Manga
Moyasimon Vol. 02 GN by (W/A) Masayuki Ishikawa
Tadayasu is going to need more than his ability to see germs with the naked eye to survive the university's spectacular Spring Festival. Only great perseverance and a bit of luck will get him through a harrowing competition. $10.99
Lee: So, on the surface this is about a kid going to college. The very odd little twist is he sees germs. And the germs just happen to be drawn like happy little doodles. Of course, before poo-poohing the ‘see bugs’ superpower, think how advantageous it can be! For instance, noticing the e-coli hanging around the picnic baskets! Or the not so fun, like the ones that are near dead bodies. Everything I read says this is a odd ball (even by Japanese standards) little manga that’s lots of fun. And, yes, I’ll tell you how it is later.
Jim: I'm poo-poohing this idea and will await your review, hopefully on this website.

Dragonfish Comics
Legacy GN by (W) Andrew McGinn (A) David Neitzke
Do you hate newspaper comic strips? The ones that never die? So did Chas Brown. Then his father died and he inherited a newspaper comic strip. The really cute kind. The kind Grandma likes. But Chas Brown, an indie comic book artist with dreams of his own, has a way to get out of it. He's going to get Simple Pleasures, America's most beloved comic strip cancelled in the most unconventional manner. 96 pages, $10.95 Andrew McGinn can be found here and a couple previews too
Lee: As a regular reader of new and old newspaper strips, I cannot even begin to tell you how much this appeals to me. I am so sick of Hagar, and Peanuts, and Blondie… all of the legacy strips! I have the feeling that Indie sensibilities will be crushing the feel-goodie-ness of Charlie Brown in this one.
Jim: I think this is a great idea and love the premise. Bill Watterson and Berke Breathed are two of my heroes because they never farm out their strips.

Drawn & Quarterly
Catland Empire GN by (W/A) Keith Jones
Catland Empire melds the sensibility of a Philip K. Dick novel with a Saturday morning cartoon. There will exist a future world where human beings have become empty husks stripped of all memory when it comes to things like how to have fun and play games, or so says Mr. Space to his associate Mr. Time. What follows is a tangled web of psychedelic science fiction blending anti-consumerist politics and intergalactic liaisons between cats and dogs - bitter enemies kept secret from each other to avoid a planetary race war. 184 pages, $29.95. There a five page preview here but better previews here.
Lee: This looks like a whacked out comic and I mean that as a compliment. D&Q is a quality publisher so I know this should be good. And what’s not to love about psychedelic cat comics?
Jim: Nothing at all, nothing at all. All sarcasm aside this sounds like a heck of a story. If Jones can pull off Dick meets Saturday Morning Cartoons, this could be a great read.

And that's all for today! Part 2 tomorrow

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