Saturday, March 03, 2007

Independent Comics Preview Review for May Part II

A slight delay in getting up part two, but Brainiac6 posted on Wonder Woman and Lee and I decided to wait a day. Really encourage people to check out the back half of a preview catalogue or look around more in your local store. Marvel and DC own the market place way too much and they could afford to give up a little of thier market share.


EC ARCHIVES: SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES VOL. 2 HC Creators: by Various Description: Full Color. This second beautiful hardcover volume of Shock SuspenStories reprints issues #7-12, featuring 24 stories in all by an all-star line-up that includes Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, Reed Crandall, Al Williamson, Jack Kamen, George Evans, John Severin, Bill Elder, Jack Davis, Johnny Craig, and Marie Severin 212 pages. (8x11)
Jim: The old EC stuff should be required reading if you are a comic fan and the material gets better later in most of the series as these guys were finding still learning how far they could go. Look at the line up of the talent, Marvel or DC would kill to have all of that type of talent at one company. Also this is a high quality reproduction.
Lee: These are definitely some of the better HC’s out there. I love this new series! Highly recommended.


FLARE ADVENTURES #20 - Full Color. Creators: Dennis Mallonee, Wilson Hill, Mark Propst, Gordon Purcell, Ruben Montecinos, Sam Payne, Avis Nash, J. Adam Walters, Daniel Lauer, & Frank Brunner Description: It's a star-studded line-up in the super-sized, 52-page Flare Adventures #20, featuring classic adventures of Flare and Chrissie Claus, plus the all-new origin of Raven Gold, a new adventure of Commander Fantastic and the All-Girl Hero League, and as a special bonus, an all-new Flare Sunday page by Wilson Hill and Gordon Purcell! 52 pages
Jim: I have no idea if this is a good book or bad fan fiction getting published, but I never understand why if you are going to be a small press book you go toe to toe with the same type of material the big two saturated the market with and let’s face it – do it better.
Lee: This is every fanboys dream. To do superheroes. I wish them luck, but I don’t think they will succeed.
Jim: But they are up to issue #20, so maybe I should read an issue.

COMPLETELY DOOMED SC Creators: Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, David J. Schow, Paul F. Wilson (W), Ashley Wood, Ted McKeever, Kristian Donaldson, Etc. (A); Ashley Wood (C)
Lee: A who’s who of horror writers and artists. 240 pages for $20. This bad boy is all mine! MINE I SAY!!! BWAH HA HA.
Jim: Contrary to published reports to the contrary Lee is actually one the rare werewolf vampires who has been mummified, so his joy at this type of material is understandable.

30 DAYS OF NIGHT: EBEN & STELLA #1 - Full Color. Creators: Steve Niles & Kelly Sue Deconnick (W); Justin Randall (A & C) Description: In the waning moments of 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Stella managed to bring her vampire/husband Eben back from beyond... only he came back hungry. Now, for the first time, see what happened next, in this all-new miniseries that fills in the black gaps between that tale and Return to Barrow. Co-creator Steve Niles and Kelly Sue DeConnick co-write this twisted tale of love, depravity, and hunger, moodily brought to life by artist Justin Randall. 32 pages.
Jim: This series is so much vampire fun, that I can’t believe I missed so much of it until recently and now have pick up all the early stuff in trades. So this story is filling in the blanks from a story still fresh in my mind. If you dig vampire stories at all, then get this book.
Lee: I did pick up the first story in trade. It was very good. With all the positive hype I might have to dig into the trades. Since I have nothing else, I will skip this series and wait for the trade of this too.

STAR TREK KLINGONS: BLOOD WILL TELL #1 - Creators: Scott Tipton (w) David Messina (a); Photo (c) Description: Full Color. How do you say "swift and blinding violence" in Klingon, we asked? Here's your answer! This special variant edition of the debut issue of Klingons: Blood Will Tell presents every word balloon and caption translated into Klingon, courtesy of the Klingon Language Institute and the linguist responsible for developing the Klingon language, Marc Okrand! Here's your chance to get the Klingons' side of the story in their own dialect! Offered with an exclusive Klingon photo cover and an incentive red foil-stamped "Tri-Foil cover, too! 32 pages.
Jim: I mean – come on this just screams – I AM A TOTAL GEEK AND HAVE NO LIFE – ONE DAY I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A DATE, BUT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN – even the 40 year old virgin would not buy the KLINGON LANUAGE VERSION of a comic. There are no KLINGONS!!!!!!!!!! People get a life.
Lee: So you weren’t impressed by the red foil stamped tri fold cover? Is that what you are saying?


SHINY BEASTS SC - Creators: by Veitch, Bissette, & Moore Description: Full Color. Another spell-binding showcase of Rick Veitch's innovative Epic Magazine stories that seared the minds of a generation of Marvelites. These nine fully-painted fantasy shorts create unimagined worlds that entertain, enlighten, shock, and horrify. Completely remastered from the original art, this deluxe companion volume to Abraxas and The Earthman also includes: Love Doesn't Last Forever (written by Alan Moore) and Monkey See (with S.R. Bissette). 84 pages. (10x8) Publisher Rating: MATURE THEMES.
Jim: This looks really cool, but 84 pages for $17, means I have to pass.
Lee: WIMP! Suck it up. Pay the money and get the book. Yes, it’s pricey but the only way to see this material. And, as I own those original Epic’s can vouch that the stories are good. Worth the investment.


FOREVER NUTS: THE EARLY YEARS OF MUTT & JEFF HC by Budd Fisher & Jeff Lindenblatt
Lee: WARNING, this is gonna be long because, sadly, I know my audience. The first thing that entered everyone’s mind when they saw this selection was, Who? Wha? Which was quickly followed by Why should I care? Am I close?

Anyway, Mutt & Jeff was (and is):• The first truly popular and successful daily newspaper strip.• The first strip to establish the Monday-through-Saturday schedule that daily strips follow today.• The first ongoing strip to produce political sequences (when Jeff ran for President in 1908).• The first comic strip adapted into a successful series of animated cartoons.• The first strip to make its creator rich and famous.• One of the first strips to become part of the English language (fordecades, people nicknamed any pairing of a tall man and a short man“Mutt and Jeff”).• One of the first strips to launch a flood of merchandising.• One of the first strips to appear in comic books (it appeared on the cover of Famous Funnies #1 in 1933) and one of the longest-lasting (the characters appeared regularly in comic books from 1939 to 1965).• One of the longest running strips of all time (currently distributed by Universal Press Syndicate).

From a historical perspective, this is a must have. From a comic book perspective, I feel the same way because it is of such importance to the history of comics. My only complaint, … why publish at 8 x 6.5? The Peanuts and Dick Tracy collections are 9.5 x 7

Jim: Yeah, but history can be boring and this looks like a pass for me. Maybe when I’m as old as Lee I will want to read this also.

TREASURY OF VICTORIAN MURDER VOL. 9: THE BLOODY BENDERS HC – by Rick Geary Description: In this next volume, Geary takes us out to the Wild West and the just opened up prairies of Kansas. Out on a deserted stretch of road linking newly forming towns, a mysterious family stakes a claim and builds an inn for weary visitors. Soon, reports multiply of disappearances around that area. Generally, those who disappeared had plenty of cash on them. A delicious tale of a gruesome family fronted by a beguiling lass who led their victims on!
Lee: If you have never read any other Victorian Murder series you don’t know what you are missing. Gruesome TRUE tales of murder! What more could a person ask for. Rick Geary is a fantastic artist who emerged from the Undergrounds and National Lampoon. These are great stories about true facts. Always fascinating.
Jim: Lee, you must let me borrow one of these so I can sample what it is like.

Lee: Off Topic note: I find it interesting that people white wash the 1800’s and early 1900’s into being this nice place to live. People say “Sure there was crime but there weren’t serial killers and baby snatchers like there are today.” Wow, oh wow are people misguided. The only difference between the Ted Bundy’s of today and the Ted Bundy’s of yesteryear (Frank and Jesse James anyone???) is the media coverage. And media coverage is a whole ‘nother topic. This series is a great balance to show that there were people just as twisted then as now.
Jim: Lee, even as cynical as I am about today, I know that yesterday was no better. We always like to glamorize the past. I really enjoy comics that give us information as well as entertain, Action Philosophers being one of my favorite books is a prime example of that type of material.


DAMNED VOL. 1: THREE DAYS DEAD SC – by Brian Hurtt & Cullen Bunn
Lee: I’ve heard to many good things not to get this, but as always… why the digest? Oh well. I’m still getting it.
Jim: Maybe this will read better as a trade, but I have been following the monthlies issues and it has been a hard road to just finish getting all five issues. Ask Brainic6 if she has liked them and hell she may mail the issues to you.
Lee: I thought you were the one who really liked this???? Huummmm. I wonder who I did hear the series was good from then?


COMPLETE JACK KIRBY VOL. 4: 1947 SC – by Jack Kirby & Joe Simon
Lee: These are great books for the Kirby historian. Classic golden age stories and all with Kirby art. My Kirby slavishness doesn’t start until his work in the early-mid 50’s. I will pass but just because I already have Kirby reprints from his work in this timeframe.
Jim: I love Jack also, but with all of his Marvel work that I have and I’m getting his Fourth World stuff, I also have enough Kirby work to satisfy my desire for his work. I ‘m just happy that Marvel has reprinted a lot of the Monster books from the Atlas era, because Kirby, Ditko and Ayers had some great stuff in those books.


Lee: I mention this just to point out to people that these exist. These books are great ways to read some of Judge Dredd’s greatest stories. Nice trades.
Jim: True. I keep hoping for a reprinting in a high quality book that covers the Brian Bolland era.


DEATH AND THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE #1 - [ of 4] Full Color. Creators: Patrick, Se7Enhedd, & Ringuet Description: Someone has stolen something very valuable from Death, and he will do almost anything, go almost anywhere, and make a deal with almost anyone to get it back! This sequel to one of 2006's best books follows Death and his horse as he chases a man who won't die through the body-laced badlands and revenge-driven towns of the West.
Lee: Another indie that may be worth looking at. And, for once you won’t see me complain about the price! 64 pages for $2.99, even my cheapskate habits can afford this. Looks pretty too. Check out the samples,
Jim: Now that is a bargain!


Lee: Jim always complains about having a monkey on his back! The comic gods have heard and responded with this collection.
Jim: Hey, our possible antecedents deserve a little love and this book fills the bill.


WILL EISNER'S CONTRACT WITH GOD TRILOGY HC - Will Eisner Description: A Contract with God, originally published in 1978, was the first graphic novel. Along with A Life Force and Dropsie Avenue, they laid the track for such seminal works as Maus and Persepolis. Set during the Great Depression, this literary trilogy, assembled in one volume for the first time, presents a treasure house of now near-mythic stories that fictionally illustrate the bittersweet tenement life of Eisner's youth. With nearly two dozen new illustrations and a revealing new foreword, this book ultimately tells the epic story of life, death, and resurrection while exploring man's fractious relationship with an all-too-vengeful God.
Lee: This collects the original graphic novels, A Contract with God, A Life Force and Dropsie Avenue. A Contract with God, originally published in 1978, was the first graphic novel. Unless you read the latest stories about “Rhymes with Lust” being the first graphic novel. Either way, this is seminal work that belongs on every collectors shelf. Great art and great writing from an acknowledged master of the medium. When you order this be sure to get the companion HC “New Yorks” which contains Eisner’s other GN’s. 500 plus pages of excellent material! You can’t go wrong.
Jim: Sad to say I do not own this material, but it is my list of things that I must add to my collect of hard cover and trades.
Lee: With all the HC’s and trades you own you don’t have any of this material???? Comic book HEATHEN. That’s you.

KINGS IN DISGUISE SC – by James Vance & Dan Burr
Description: Hailed as one of the top 100 comics of all time before graphic novels became a phenomenon, Kings In Disguise now resurfaces as a classic. In the Great Depression, Freddie Bloch finds himself homeless and adrift amid the Detroit riots and violent anti-communist mobs of Depression in America. Introduction by Alan Moore.
Lee: Another graphic novel, like Eisner’s work, that falls into the “should read” category. This was originally published in 1988 and won multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards. Will I personally like it? I don’t know, but sometimes you have to read things just because.
Jim: Lee, can’t disagree, but while Eisner’s stuff will get to my bookshelf one day, this will not (unless you read it and convince me otherwise).

IRON MAIDEN: PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 7-INCH ACTION FIGURE - Description: Celebrate over 25 years of metal madness with legendary Maiden mascot Eddie in this new figure based on some of the band's most popular album covers. Phantom of the Opera Eddie, based on the classic single artwork, comes complete with pipe organ and base.
Lee: AND, for the Iron Maiden reader of the blog. No names of course, but know who you are Jeff!!!! This classic screams (Ha hA HA, screams!!! Get it!!! ) to be brought home!
Jim: The heavy metal scene was not my bag – it just wasn’t that groovy man.


SNAKEWOMAN #10 - Creators: by Wells, Shinde, & Kumar Description: Full Color. With the villainous Harker and the LAPD hunting her, Jessica Peterson must choose between fulfilling her destiny as the Snake Woman or salvaging what's left of her humanity. Don't miss the issue that upsets Harker's master plan and changes the status quo of the 68 forever! 32 pages.
Jim: I have not read all of the Virgin comics offerings, but of the five or six titles I have sampled, this is a keeper. A very unique story and it has a very sharp edge to it. Not for the faint of heart as she is a killer, but done very well so far.
Lee: I just don’t know. The art looks pretty but is it really any good? There are only so many indies I can support and new company offerings make me skittish. This after I picked Rex Libris… I know I know. But, still, I don’t know why but I’m not sold on Virgin.
Jim: Not being sold on Virgin begs for a comeback line, but I will so some restraint.
That wraps up the independent comics review and wraps up all the May Previews Reviews.

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