Friday, February 08, 2013

Good Books You Probably Aren't Reading

So, after Wednesday's rant, Jim told me I needed to write something positive.  Ick!  But, he had a point.  This isn't about telling you all the things about comics that bore me, this is about trying to get you to read new and better comics.  Over the past week or so I've managed to read some great things so let me share those with you today.

Over the past few weeks I've managed to read Shadow #7-8, Shadow Special #1, the latest OMAC tpb, and Ralph Azham.

You can see what I thought about them below the break

The Shadow
#7, Script: Victor Gischler  Pencils/Inks: Jack Herbert
#8, Script: Victor Gischler, Pencils/inks: Aaron Campbell
I cannot believe how much I am enjoying this series now that Ennis has left.  I know, I know everyone loves everything by Ennis. Well, the first 6 issues he wrote of the Shadow were mailed in fluff and someday, I might even finish issue 6.  I'm not familiar with Gischler but he has done a solid job of making me interested in the Shadow again.  It's solid crime noir with a hint of the supernatural.  Each issue was stand alone and featured plenty of action and suspense.  It's fun without a lot of commitment.

As for the art, Herbert is a discovery!  Wow is he good.  I don't think he's done much with the big two but the man has some chops.  The story flowed well and the people even looked like people.  In this day and age that alone is a miracle.  If you are looking for something fun without a lot of continuity then you will like this.

The Shadow Special #1
Script: Scott Beatty  Pencils/Inks: Roman Cliquet
This was more of a mixed bag because Beatty's story is just ok.  It's nothing great and there are certainly a couple of logical gaps.  It's fine but never gets above that.

BUT, oh la la, have you got to see the art by Roman Cliquet.  He is excellent.  I can see hints of Alan Davis underneath it all with a sprinkling of Cliff Chang, Michael Lark, and other similarly sleek artists.  The boy can draw!  He's had a couple of one shots at the big two, but if this is any indication of his ability he has a future drawing comics.

I also read the O.M.A.C. Vol. 1: Omactivate! (The New 52) written by Dan DiDio, art by Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish, collecting the first 8 issues of the new series.   

It's safe to say there are very few good reviews of this series out there.  I don't know how this read in single issues but I have to say, this was AWESOME collected!  No, seriously it was.    DiDio channeled Kirby perfectly and produced the most Kirby-ish Book since Joe Casey/Tom Scioli's Godland.  This is over the top non-stop action and silliness.  And, not necessarily in that order.  There are so many references to so many Kirby creations that you can't help but love it.  The only thing this compares to is a 70's Marvel book in which there were 22 pgs of action and 4 pges of plot.  This is much the same.  There's just enough going on between the giant fights to keep you interested.   And, to his credit, DiDio does both the good AND the bad Kirby because this is not a perfect book.  There's certainly some clunky dialogue and when the digitized alligators show up you can't help but grown.  But, even this can't stop you from enjoying yourself.

I am sure that much of my enjoyment had to do with Giffen's art.  This is vintage (1976-77) Giffen when he was a Kirby mimic.  He's gotten better as an artist over time but you can't miss all the swiped poses.  It's excellent.

As much as I loved this, canceling the series was probably for the best.  I am not sure this would have survived without Giffen, and there's only so much Kirby stuff even I can take.  But, for 8 shining issues it was perfect.

And finally, the true indie of the lot, Ralph Azham: "Why Would You Lie To Someone You Love?" (Vol. 1) written/illustrated by Lewis Tronheim, 96 pgs, $15, Fantagraphics
I am a die hard Lewis Tronheim fan so this was a buy on sight for me and, as always, I was very happy with this.  This is the story of Ralph.  Ralph is considered an insolent good-for-nothing layabout, a virtual pariah — particularly since he was supposed to be a Chosen One.  The question, maybe he still is the Chosen One?!

This is the first chapter in a longer series but don't let that deter you from reading this.  It's an excellent fantasy adventure story that has all the classic elements.  The hero who isn't always heroic, the slutty girl who just wants to get out of the small village, and a hoarde of barbarians.  What sets this apart is Tronheim's crisp dialogue and subtle characterizations.  Trondheim manages to skate that fine line of making Ralph sarcastic and obnoxious but not to the point that you don't like him.  He also has plenty of twists and turns that keep the story fresh.

I've always liked Tronheim's art but I'm told it isn't for everyone.  It's certainly cartoonish but his skill as a draftsman is incredible.  At the same time, he makes you forget that all the characters are animals.  I'm not sure I can explain it so I'm just including another page.  It's in French but you can determine if you like it.

Anyway, that's all for this week.  Bye-bye!


  1. You're right. I'm not reading any of them.

  2. You should be! At least the Shadow books.

    Trust me, I didn't think anyone could make the Shadow interesting but Gischler did. That's no small feat.

  3. I thought Ennis did a good job and the old DC stuff was certainly fun.

  4. I did at least one OMAC review:

    Did the trade include the extra part from the DC Comics Presents one-shot?

  5. Matthew-

    Ummm... I'm not sure that it had the DC Presents stuff. Maybe, I couldn't tell so I'll have to check.

    The one thing that it left out was the Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #5 part of the crossover. It's sorta an incomplete story but it's such a breezy read anyway it doesn't matter.

  6. I've tried The Shadow at different points over the years. I can enjoy it for a short while, but eventually it runs out of gas.