Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My wife said I couldn't have sex with an alien...

At my house, when Wife gets busy doing things late at night, it presents the perfect opportunity to watch some mindless entertainment.  I don’t know why but I have a weakness for B rated monster movies.  Last week I was able to find that classic movie SpliceSplice, starring Adrian Brody and some female actors I didn’t recognize, is your basic scientists create genetic creature that is more or less human looking which eventually gets out of the lab and starts killing people. You can see the description here.

Anyway, I’m about an hour in or so when Wife came in to check on me.
- What bad movie are you watching now?
- Some monster movie whose name I can't remember.  It’s actually pretty decent.  On screen, Brody and the creature thing are making googly eyes at each other.

Wife, not really interested as much as curious asks
- So what’s going on?
- Ahh, the usual thing. Scientists make some weird genetic mutation which will eventually go on a rampage of death and destruction.  Now it, which is female, is seducing the scientist.

About this time, Brody and the Creature really start getting into it. We see creatures boobs and while she is riding him she sprouts wings in a… ummm… climactic moment.
- What the!? Is he having sex with that alien? Eeewwww, gross!
- Now hold on. It’s not an alien. It has human DNA so it’s not nearly as gross as it appears.
- What? No, it’s a creepy looking monster with wings.  That's close enough to alien to be alien.  Normal people do not have sex with aliens from outer space.
- Aww come on now, you’re just being narrow minded. It’s really not that big a deal because it’s a human based genetically engineering thingee which makes it ok. There are no aliens in this movie. In fact, it’s kinda exotic if you think about it.
- No it does not make it exotic in any such way. It’s wrong. And let me tell you right now I am not buying a costume with hooves just so you can get your jollies off.
- Hold on now. That’s bestiality and that’s just nasty. This is a cluster of pre-fab cells with a dash of human DNA. That is completely different. And honestly the whole thing is moot because she has small tits anyway. If I am gonna have sex with an alien or a thing with wing then it needs to have either multiple tits or at least one larger than that.

I love my wife a great deal but she does not have what you would call "huge tracts of land".  I love her tits just the way they are but I could tell by her look that I had struck a nerve.  So, pointing to her own chest wife responds with
- Ummmm Hello! Just slightly insulting?

- What, you have nice normal human tits, maybe a wee bit undersized but beautiful.  I'm just saying most aliens have bigger tits than the ones on the screen. 
Wife, insulted and disgusted left the room. 

Hindsight being what it is, I see now that my final comment wasn't the best.  Instead of going with my silly answer I think I would have saved myself an hour of silence if I had gone with one of these comments instead:
1) I should have just kept quiet and agreed that I would never have sex with an alien. That would still have left open the door to genetically modified beings and I should have been happy with that.
2) I should have tried to reason with her and used the geeky Star Trek reference.  Drawing the analogy between Captain Kirk, a horny old dog who chased ever alien with legs, tails, and even tentacles, and the acceptability of interspecies relationship in the distant future..
3) I should have said her tits were bigger and left it at that.

Yeah, I think #3 would have been the best response too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I Read – Nov 29

Ahhh, the holidays! It’s a perfect time to read comics and one of the two prose novels that wife forces me to read each year.  Yep, Wife said this year I had to read at least TWO 'real' books and time is almost up.  Anyone know any really short books with really big letters?  Enough with the chatter, on to what I read.

Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths, (w) John Layman, (a) Alberto Ponticelli, published by IDW
This was the first book that I read this past week because it came so highly recommended from Jim and my LCS Guy. It’s an interesting story because for all intents Godzilla is a supporting character in his own book. But, like zombies and Man-Thing, there is only so much you can do with force-of-nature- type monsters so it comes down to the people interacting with them or with each other.

In this case we have the one good Tokyo detective taking on the ultra powerful crime boss who has corrupted the entire system. He just happens to use Mothra to do it.. which brings Godzilla and lots of other monsters into Toyko and mass destruction occurs.

John Layman, best known for his work on Chew, turns in a decent enough crime story against the backdrop of giant monsters. Ponticelli, best known for his art on Unknown Soldier, is really unsuited for the subject matter. His art looks muddy? Rushed? Sloppy? I am not sure what it is but it didn’t work for me.

Overall, the book suffered from high expectations. With the talent attached to the title I expected something above ordinary.

The other books this month… Cradlegrave, Zombies that ate the World, and in prose No Country for Old Men.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Week in Review – Nov 23

This has been an enormous catch up week for me. Not only have I had some extra time at my real job I have somehow managed to catch up on almost all of my new comic reading. So I’m not limiting myself to what came out last week but to some of the books I enjoyed the most that I read this week regardless of timing. Also I decided to review and comment on some stuff that is off the radar.

Rick Remender is writing one of the best comic books on the market with Uncanny X-Force and issue #17 is just another example. Jerome Opena on art and Dean White on colors seal the deal. Since the first issue this series has been basically one long story about Warren Worthington becoming the new Apocalpyse and the rest of the group’s battle to take him down. I have almost totally sworn off hard cover collections until I pare down what I have, but when they do the Omnibus on this baby, it will be one I will need to own. Often you can see a run on a comic coming together as a definitive or seminal run; like Scott Snyder did with Detective recently and here we have Remender giving us an X-saga for the ages. Not since Grant Morrison’s run on the X-Men has anything out of the X-verse had such power and dynamic story telling. It ties in a covert ops team with Apocalypse, the Age of Apocalypse and Fantomex’s world. Rick is using concepts created by previous writers and blending it together with various artists to create one of the best stories on the stands. I have no clue if everyone is getting out alive or not, but I know one thing, I’m here for the whole saga, which is set to conclude next issue. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Intellectually, I knew the Baltimore County Public Library had a selection of the glorified comic book known as a graphic novel, but I never got around to checking out what they had until recently. I had taken my daughter to the library to work on some research for a Language Arts (formerly known as English) assignment. About half of the selection at the Reisterstown branch is manga, which isn't my thing, but I still found a few things of interest.

Among those is Incognegro. I remember Vertigo's ads for the book and seeing it at Cards, Comics and Collectibles, but hadn't gone so far as to puchase it. This was a perfect opportunity to have a look at it.

Set in the US some time after 1918 (not sure how much after 1918, but likely the 1920s because it appears to be the Jazz Age in Harlem), it tells the story of a writer for the New Holland Herald. The Herald is a black owned and operated newspaper out of New York. The writer is Zane Pinchback, who writes under the name Incognegro because he looks white and can go around the south to expose lynchings. Not that he doesn't have some near misses of being caught and found out to be a black man masquerading as a white man in Jim Crow times.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Bionic Man #4 – A Review

Based on a story by Kevin Smith
Script by Kevin Smith with Phil Hester
Art by Jonathan Lau
Colors by Ivan Nunes
Lettering by Simon Bowland
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone! For those of you in the States that just celebrated said holiday, how did you feel after the big meal? Bloated? Sluggish? Lethargic? Gut-busted? The three-letter F-word? Well, I certainly hope not, but chances are some of you are not quite yourselves even two-days out from Turkey Day. It is in your honor that I review the latest issue of The Bionic Man published by Dynamite. Where we to see someone get “Better… Stronger…Faster!”

Friday, November 25, 2011

Indies Preview Review For January Part 3 of 3

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Now back to comics...

Last Gasp
Terminally Illin #1 by (w) Kaylin Andres (a/c) Jon Solo
Slightly cynical, slightly irreverent, and really hilarious, Terminally Illin' is a candid look into the life of a young adult battling cancer, but with a psychedelic-sci-fi twist! The heroine travels inside her own body with her pet battle-kitty, to take on the evil nazi tumors, cancer aliens, and The Tumornator - on a microscopic level, where cancer starts. Entering the world of cancer feels a lot like falling down the rabbit hole, think of Terminally Illin' as a crazy, chemo-induced Alice in Wonderland adventure. $4.95
Lee: Why did I pick this? Well it’s got a chick with a mohawk, a black eye, and two huge… guns. And, she’s riding a cat! What’s not to like? Actually, since the girl on the cat pretty much looks like author Kaylin Andres I betting this is punk rock chick meets real life problem in the form of cancer. AND, even though it doesn’t say it “FOR EVERY COMIC BOOK SOLD, WE'LL GIVE ONE TO A CANCER PATIENT.”
Gwen: .... Wouldn't it be better to donate money to cancer research or something? Either way - interesting idea but the art doesn't appeal to me.

Monster Mess HC by (w/a/c) Lewis Trondheim
The almost normal adventures of an almost ordinary family with a pet monster! Peter and Jean are two kids who discover they can do something incredible - when they draw a monster on paper, it comes to life! First they create a monster named Oko, who jumps off the page and proceeds to make one huge monster mess! There can be only one solution: draw a good monster. That's where Kriss comes in. With three legs, four arms, and ten mouths, can he defeat Oko? Things can only get a whole lot messier! $9.99
Lee: It’s Lewis Trondheim! What’s not to like? I have all of Trondheim’s Dungeon series and a whole bunch of his other stuff too. I guarantee this will not only be a great kids book, it will be a great book for adults too. If you love humor books then you will like this.
Gwen: This looks like a cute book. Of course I wish I could draw monsters and have them come to life. That would be awesome.

Rebellion / 2000AD
Ampney Crucis: Vile Bodies SC by (w) Ian Edginton (a/c) Simon Davis
England, 1928.Lord Ampney Crucis was a dashing, smart, and charming young man, tipped to rise to the top of high society. But then the Great War happened, and a close encounter with an otherworldly entity in No Man's Land drove him temporarily insane. After recovery, he discovered that he had the ability to sense the presence of entities that exist beyond our reality. Now Ampney investigates the rum goings-on that have begun to plague our green and pleasant land. $19.99
Lee: Between Humanoids and Rebellion the amount of Euro material in my collection has grown significantly. Edginton is a solid write and Davis’s art looks interesting. Yes another brit book in the collection for me.
Gwen: Again, the art is turning me off here. Although it does sound like a great pitch for a BBC TV show.

Russ Cochran Company
Sunday Funnies #1
Russ Cochran has been publishing books and portfolios for comic art collectors since 1971. These publications include the Complete EC Library, and now Russ Cochran is pleased to announce the monthly publication of The Sunday Funnies, a 32-page comic section which reprints the best Sunday comic pages from the late 1890s through the 1950s. Each issue will contain 32 full-page Sunday pages, full size (22x16), in full color. These will include Gasoline Alley, Little Nemo, Polly and Her Pals, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Alley Oop, Terry and the Pirates, and many, many more historic Sunday pages, presented in the format that they were originally intended for. The first issue will be a wonderful thing which all comic art aficionados will treasure! $10.00
Lee: On one hand I really, really want to get this. The chance to see the Sunday comics pages full size is really, really tempting. But $10 is a lot of money to spend on this. I enjoyed it when DC did Wednesday Comics but I’m not really sure I want to do it again.
Gwen: Umm, $10 isn't that much money Lee. I mean, I'm certain you make more than I do and $10 isn't a lot of money for me, at lease not for a 32 page color comic book. Not that I'd buy this, just saying.

Soaring Penguin
Undertow GN by (w/a/c) Ellen Lindner
Set amidst the chaos of a 1950s summer weekend on Coney Island, Undertow tells the story of Rhonda, a girl overwhelmed by events beyond her control - her mother's alcoholism, her best friend's death by drowning - and now a social worker who's intent on making it all better. “Beautifully drawn in a sinuous, sharp style, Lindner's characters are unforgettable...” Jessica Abel (La Perdida, Artbabe). $19.99
Lee: And this month’s slice-o-life pick is Undertow. It has all the elements to be a great story and I’m betting the bright colors on the cover hide a serious story underneath.
Gwen: Okay, this book does look like it has the potential to be an excellent story. I'd be curious to read a few reviews.

Lee: Overall this was a pretty good month. The picks were a little down from normal but the books were really good.
Gwen: Hope everyone had a good holiday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


Thanks for stopping by.  No comic books today because of the holiday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I just saw this today and it was AWESOME!!!

Indies Preview Review For January Part 2 of 3

Part 2 and the last comic book talk until after Thanksgiving.

D. E./Dynamite Entertainment
Dreadstar Omnibus SC by (w/a/c) Jim Starlin
Jim Starlin's Dreadstar is now available in the Omnibus format! The first and complete arc (made up of the first 12 issues) from Starlin's epic saga is collected in one place! The pages in this new edition have been produced by digitally scanning from the original film! Also featuring the original covers and character art! Dreadstar features the adventures of Vanth Dreadstar and his crew! Dreadstar, the last survivor of the destroyed Milky Way Galaxy, found himself transported to the Empirical Galaxy! There, recruited by the sorcerer Syzygy Darklock, Dreadstar helped bring an end to a two-hundred-year-old war between the corrupt Monarchy and the fanatical Instrumentality. Containing close to 400 pages of story, art and more! $29.99
Lee: After Captain Marvel and Warlock this is Starlin’s best work. Dreadstar is a perfectly executed space adventure with plenty of action and adventure. If you haven’t tried it before, this is a nice inexpensive way to do it.
Gwen: I've never read this material but I've enjoyed other work by Jim Starlin so I'd be willing to try it out.

Drawn & Quarterly
Goliath HC by (w/a/c) Tom Gauld
Goliath of Gath isn't much of a fighter. Given half a choice, he would pick admin work over patrolling in a heartbeat, to say nothing of his distaste for engaging in combat. Nonetheless, at the behest of the king he finds himself issuing a twice-daily challenge to the Israelites. Day after day he reluctantly repeats his speech, and the isolation of this duty gives him the chance to banter with his shield-bearer and reflect on the beauty of his surroundings. This is the story of David and Goliath as seen from Goliath's side of the Valley of Elah. Goliath's battle is simultaneously tragic and bleakly funny, as bureaucracy pervades even this most mythic of figures. $19.95
Lee: This sounds really, really good. There is a certain irony in painting Goliath as a peace loving paper pusher.
Gwen: Interesting, but I can't say I care much for the David and Goliath story anyway. As far as the "bad-guy" perspective I'd recommend Thomas Garner's Grendel. Although it's not a comic book.

Fantagraphics Books
Is That All There Is? HC by (w/a/c) Joost Swarte
Fantagraphics proudly presents the first English-language collection of this Dutch master! Joost Swarte revitalized European alternative comics in the 1970s with a series of satirical, elegant and beautifully drawn short stories. Is That All There Is? will collect virtually all of his alternative comics work from 1972 with great pains taken to match Swarte's superb coloring. His techniques include watercolor, retro duotones and a fiendishly clever use of Zip-a-Tone screens. $35.00 You can read a brief bio here or visit his site here.
Lee: Everyone knows I am an art guy and it doesn’t get any better than this. Swarte art is unlike anything in America and is just… just… mind blowingly good.
Gwen: I'll take Lee's word on this one as I'm more of a story person.

Heavy Metal Magazine
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Vol. 01 of 03 by (w) Michael Mendheim (a/c) Simon Bisley
When sinister forces trigger a dark prophecy, warrior Adam Cahill must travel to Hell itself to stop the Four Horsemen from destroying the Earth. Only with the help of three corrupt souls, chosen by Divinity, can he prevent the End of Days. $14.95
Lee: Bisley drawing the horsemen of the apocalypse? I don’t think there was ever a better pairing of artist and storyline. Actually the story is going to be irrelevant because the art is gonna be great.
Gwen: Story is never irrelevant sir. Even with gallery art the artist is trying to convey some sort of message or story =P

Humanoids Inc
Whispers in the Walls GN by (w) David Munoz (a/c) Tirso
A gothic tale of horror from David Muñoz (co-writer of Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone film) and artist Tirso. Czechoslovakia, 1949. What Evil lurks within the walls of an ancient Children's Infirmary? After the murder of her parents Sarah, a young orphan, is about to discover just that. This complete story collects issues #1-4, plus the unpublished final two issues as well as bonus artwork. $19.95
Lee: This is easy buy for me because I have pretty much loved everything by Humanoids in the last year. That’s not true, there was one book that was just ok, whereas most of the others have been very good to excellent.
Gwen: I find the concept to be intriguing but I am not familiar with the earlier work. Excellent title though, if nothing else. It gives off a good creepy story vibe.

The conclusion on Friday, now go and eat lots of Turkey!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Indies Preview Review For January Part 1 of 3

Lee: There isn't as much as usual this month but the books that are being solicited are really strong. That's good because my budget has been crushed lately.
Gwen: Hah, I feel you on tight budgets!

:01 First Second
Silence of Our Friends GN by (w) Mark Long (a/c) Nate Powell
As the civil rights struggle heats up in Texas, two families - one white, one black - find common ground. This semi-autobiographical tale is set in 1967 Texas, against the backdrop of the fight for civil rights. A white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood in the suburbs and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston's color line, overcoming humiliation, degradation, and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman. $16.99
Lee: First Second publishes is one of the best small publishers out there. The subject matter alone is very, very interesting but the fact that FS is publishing makes me think this will be a winner. If you like history and human interest then this is an easy buy.
Gwen: Texas is a scary place. Well, maybe not but that's how it seems sometimes! Seriously though, I agree with Lee - it looks like this will be a good read.

Olympians Vol. 04: Hade's Lord of Dead GN by (w/a) George O'Connor
Hades: Lord of the Dead tells the story of the great God of the Underworld and one of the most famous of all Greek myths: Hades' abduction of Persephone and her mother's revenge. Be prepared to see a new side of Persephone in this dynamic adaptation of the story of the creation of the seasons. O'Connor's vibrant, kinetic art brings ancient tales to undeniable life in a perfect fusion of super-hero aesthetics and ancient Greek mythology. $9.99
Lee: I met O’Connor at Balti-Con last year and picked up the first three books in this series. I can tell you they are great and the kids will tell you they are great. A fantastic read that will suck you right in! Perfect for kids and adults alike.
Gwen: Oh my gosh, this is awesome. I want it! I am a huge fan of mythology and my husband would probably get a kick out of this as well. The art looks great and I am definitely attracted to the subject matter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Week in Review – Nov 16

The death of the monthly periodical is not only a foregone conclusion, in some ways it has already occurred. There are a few reasons I think this is true. This is not to say that the monthly periodical will totally die, but that it will never be anything more than a small niche market item along the lines of vinyl records. Yes, Molly/Con we did listen to a thing called a record that spun on a thing called a turntable.

First off DC touted their new line as the end of decompressed storytelling and nothing could be further from the truth. I have two books I want to talk about in detail this week from DC and Justice League #3 is the model of a decompressed story, but I’m jumping ahead. None of the books have told a complete story yet and only a few books have really had any sort of actual story point conclusions. This becomes so glaring because by starting over 52 titles at the same time all the books are in the middle of storylines. Normally, like with Marvel right now, some books are finishing an arc, some are in the middle and some are beginning new arcs. All DC books are now in the middle. It is fast becoming obvious that it is easier to read things as collected editions. You get a better read of the story when read in chunks that now always seem to have to be in more than 22 page bites. That and the stories of the massive amount of returns and the incredibly rapid decline in sales from the first issues to the third issues show that DC’s marketing gimmick was that, a gimmick whose true impact has yet to be gauged. To me this is evidence that you are never going to generate a true new readership by dishing out prologues or opening chapters in a longer story to an ADD audience that wants an espresso instead of a coffee and drinks a red bull over a coke. 

Second was my talking with Lee about the recent hard cover collection of 100 Bullets. He said that is was a great read and that he picked up on so much more of the story but reading so many issues back to back. The writer constructed a story that told smaller stories over a few issues but was building to a larger overall story. Reading this as a monthly periodical the story often fell apart for me as I read so many different books and can’t hold onto all the minuet details a writer maybe imparting. Heck, trying to remember all the damn character names is a stretch. I’m looking forward to the re-read of the book though, because I know it is more of a novel. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birds of Prey vol 2, 1-13

I read a couple of the trades of the original series after listening to Jim talk about how wonderful Simone's work was on the series, and I'd read her fantastic work on Secret Six, too, so when this series re-launched I figured it was a good place to start. Of course, along came the new 52, and that was the end of that. In fact, this makes two books by Simone that appear to have reached a premature end because of the new DCU. While that's been a sore point for me with Secret Six, not so much for Birds of Prey.

In fact, I didn't continue with Birds of Prey to its end. Simone's last issue was 13, and that's where I stopped, though it went on a couple more. Even with Simone at the helm I never had as much fondness for this as Secret Six.

The cast for this run consisted of Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, Hawk, and Dove. It made for a very pretty cast, with the exception of Hawk, who just appears insane most of the time. The book suffers from the modern comics scourge of a too langorous pace. It's a dernier cri we could do without.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The M*A*S*H Song Is Wrong: It’s Not “Painless”, It’s Senseless

“Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone” – from Fire and Rain by James Taylor

Well, it wasn’t “yesterday”; it was this past Monday when I learned that my brother’s best friend from childhood through high school had died unexpectedly at age 47. I couldn’t go down to the Memorial Service, because it was being held that evening back home in central Virginia, three to four hours away (or more depending on D.C. traffic). So, I didn’t find out how he died until a few days later – Suicide. Even today (Thursday) I learned even more details that add to this tragedy – He wasn’t found for four days! My brother hadn’t been in contact with him for 20 years, so it was probably much longer since I’d seen him myself. But still I remember him well: his laugh, his Jupiter Jones physique (when he was a kid), his peanut butter allergy (the first I’d ever heard about), his accomplished piano playing, and his comic books.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marvel Preview Review For January Part 2 of 2

Finishing up an intellectually stunted conversation about Marvel's latest solicitations.


Dave Lapham (W) Kyle Baker (A/C)
• Deadpool’s got a price on his head. And Agent X is about to cash in!
• Featuring the triumphant return of Crazy Inez, Deadpool’s sane-again, insane-again girlfriend!
32 PGS./ $3.99
Lee: OMG! This is just like my house except instead of a dude it’s my wife and instead of bullets it’s all sorts of bitchy words and instead of a newspaper it’s a comic book… but other than that it’s the EXACT SAME THING!
Greg:  Ummm...

More below the break...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marvel Preview Review For January Part 1 of 2

Lee:  I hate to do this but I have to give Greg some credit.  He's right.  There isn't any point complaining about some of Marvel's more insane policies.  It isn't the fault of the writers and artists they are saddled with insipid business decisions.  So, the only thing left is to make fun of unintentionally funny covers.  But, beyond that there really are some good books out there which I am excited about.  But first... stupidity!


Mark Waid (W) • Emma Rios (A)
Cover By Humberto Ramos
Variant Cover By Lee Bermejo
• Spider-Man and Daredevil team up – Part One!
• When Black Cat is arrested, Matt Murdock is the only lawyer who will touch her (her case… we mean).
• The next great love triangle of the Marvel Universe begins!
32 PGS./ $3.99
Lee: Look at Daredevil’s face, either one of two things just happened: (a) some super bad guy showed up and is threatening to destroy the Slums of not the universe and DD is really pissed off or (b) while confronting ordinary muggers, Spidey went for juvenile humor and farted. Since Waid is writing happy DD, I’m thinking that DD is saying “Dude, really? Did you just fart????
Greg:  Who cares!? Daredevil has been AMAZING. Its probably the best comic being published this year, period, full stop. I'm totally down for this.

More below the break...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I Read – Nov 16

It started out as another really light reading week due to schedule conflicts but then the incredible happened. I had an anniversary! That’s right I’ve officially been married forever. Can you guess my wife’s gift to me? Silence. Ohhh it was sooooo sweet and I used to read far too many books. It was awesome. Best gift ever. Anyway, on to what I read.

Bouncer, One Armed Gun Slinger, (w) Alexandro Jodorowsky, (a) Francois Boucq, published by Humanoids.
I always find it ironic that Europeans write stories about the American west. I understand the attraction for Americians because it’s part of our history but I’m not sure what the draw is for Europeans. No matter what the reason, Jodorowsky writes a very good story. Don’t get me wrong, it had it’s fair share of clichés but what do you expect from a western? A very enjoyable read.  You can read my long review here.

The other books this month… Hellspawn the Complete Collection, Next Men Premiere Edition Volume 1, and Chaykin’s Shadow from 1986.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

IDW Preview Review For January

Lee: Now this is rarity, there isn’t much for me from IDW this month. Usually I love everything but it’s very light this month.
Thomm: I can do light. Of course, if you’re into the licensed stuff, IDW always has plenty of that.

Womanthology Heroic HC
Annie Nocenti, Anya Martin, Barbara Kesel, Kimberly Komatsu, Gail Simone, Trina Robbins, Samantha Newark, and many more (w) Camille dErrico, Renae DeLiz, Ming Doyle, Colleen Doran, Fiona Staples, Stephanie Buscema, and more (a) various (c) 
Womanthology is a large-scale anthology showcasing the works of women in comics. It is created entirely by over 140 women of all experience levels, from young girls who love to create comics all the way up to top industry professionals. All of the short stories will center around our theme for this volume; Heroic. There will also be features, such as Professional How-Tos, a Kids/Teens section showcasing their works and giving tips, as well as a section dedicated to some Iconic female comic creators of the past, such as Nell Brinkley, and much more. Profits of this book will go towards the Charities of $50.00
Lee: I think this is a great idea but wow-oh-wow is this expensive. At half this price I would have jumped at this if only to buy it for Girl. But at $50, I have to hesitate. I think it will be good but I am not sure I am going to make the investment.
Thomm: Sure seems like it’s being priced out of its intended market. It’s not like young girls interested in comics are noted for their deep pockets. That’s middle aged men, and it looks like it’s too much for even a spendthrift like you. By the way, “Womanthology”? Really? It’s not like the root is “Manthology”. It’s “anthology”, a word that comes from a Greek word meaning gathering of flowers. It has nothing to do with gender. Cutesy at the expense of sense.

There's more after the break...

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Week in Review – Nov 9

I get hostile sometimes. Not sure why, but right now my life is in the midst of a move and we had to put my dog down recently and my work is super busy, so I’m hostile and comics aren’t making it much better. This week is a prime example of some of the things that are bothering me in comics.

First off in general the new DCU is just not gelling with me. By starting over everything and starting over every series but two in the middle of the time this universe started we have every single book having the same problem. Who are these characters in relationship to who they used to be and what is or what is not canon? Also for all their talk of no decompressed story telling I don’t think a single comic has given us a complete story yet. It is one thing to follow 40 different stories when you have a base to work with, it is another to try and not only follow 40 new stories, but start in the middle of the damn story. The big surge DC has will fade rapidly and in my local store the drop off has been fast. This should have been the DCU style ultimate universe and they should have maintained their other line with the books that were doing good. At the end of the day good creators make good comics and stunts are ephemeral things.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ignorant or Malicious?

It's been a little while since I went off on something political, but that time has come again. Given the gnatish attention span of the media, this may already be passe by the time it goes up, but I have yet to see anyone address the more serious issue that's come to my attention.

Herman Cain, GOP candidate for POTUS, is a popular candidate at the moment. In fact, he's been ahead of the likely eventual nominee, Mitt Romney in several polls, straw or scientific, among GOP voters. Since the beginning of November, he's been beset with accusations of sexual harrassment dating to the late '90s, which he denies. The fact that at least two of these claims were settled is no evidence that the harrassment actually occurred, any more than the most recent alleged victim stepping forward with Gloria Allred by her side means that her accusations are without merit. Did he harrass at least 4 women? Who knows?

What's much more disturbing is the results of an ABC News/Washington Post poll of GOP voters during the first week of November. Most didn't believe the accusations against Cain. No big deal there. What's interesting is that they went beyond not believing the charges against Cain and into the realm of women, or at least women's dignity, having no value whatsoever.

"Most Republicans dismiss the allegations as 'not serious,' and seven in 10 say such reports do not make any difference when it comes to picking a candidate."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Batman: The Brave and the Bold # 12 – A Review

Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Ethen Beavers

Colorist: Guy Major

Letterer: Dezi Sienty

Cover: Rick Burchett, Dan Davis and Gabe Eltaeb
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

One of the things that have kept me coming back month after month on this title is the consistency of the creative team. Each issue has been written by Sholly Fisch and illustrated by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis. The art is in the animated style of the cartoon it’s based on, but I find that Rick and Dan come up with some wonderful ways to help tell each story, which I’ve commented on in the past. However, this issue and last issue had a guest artist and I was seriously thinking about jettisoning the title because of it (fickle consumer that I am – I finally dropped Marvel Adventures Super Heroes once I learned Paul Tobin was off the book). But one of the benefits of the animated style is that a new or fill-in artist can easily step-in without too much of a change. So, while I’m interested in how Rick and Dan may have handled Sholly’s script (their cover is awesome), I have no reservations about praising Ethen’s effort, because this book was GREAT!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Superheroes in Suits

So, the other week Boy needed something to read. He has just finished the latest Percy Jackson book so he was pestering me for a comic book. I needed something cool that a young boy would love. I also needed something long because he tends to read fast. I decided it was time to break out the big guns. The classic guns. One of the best series ever guns. That's right, I gave him the Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D by none other than Jim Steranko masterworks. It doesn't get any more classic that that.

He wasn’t too sure at first but once he started he tore through both Masterworks in a week. Actually it was a weekend but he kept them for a week so he could memorize everything. Needless to say that he loved it.

Which brings us to yesterday. The family was upstairs and the kids were getting ready for bed when Boy came up to me and started with... "Dad I was looking at your pile of books..."

OOOHHHH boy, Boy had been digging through the stack of books next to my bed again. I knew this was potentially disastrous because, besides the nice normal superhero stuff, things like Crumb's Mr. Natural was mixed in amongst the rest. So I'm bracing myself as he continues .."And I think I saw Nick Fury on the cover of a comic book."

That was a huge sigh of relief because he was talking about Avengers:1959 and he was right. "Yep, that was Nick Fury. Why?"

"Why was he wearing a suit? You can't fight Hydra in a suit. The Satan's Claw would kill him in a second. And I think there were zombies on the cover too. You can’t kill zombies or fight Hydra in a suit. That's just dumb. "

And he wandered off mumbling how dumb suits on superheroes were.

Its hard to argue with logic like that.  I am raising such a good little nerd!

DC Preview Review For January Part 2 of 2

Jim: Let’s get back to the regular books and see if there anything worth commenting on. I think I will pick on marginal books that I may drop to at least point out what I find as flaws in the new DCU. Books already dropped are not eligible for picking.
Gwen: Wait, why do we have a second into? You know I'm awful at finding something to say for these :(
Written by DAN JURGENS

On sale JANUARY 4
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
The JLI has one last chance to stop the alien powerhouse known as Peraxxus before he and his SignalMen bring about the end of the world. Will the team be able to work together, or will they bear the responsibility for Earth’s destruction?

Jim: On one hand I miss some to the old DCU continuity, but on the other hand if you are going to blow everything up, why do a super hero group book by the numbers. Don’t get me wrong, it is professional and in general a well done book, just not creating any buzz or striking me as anything new.
Gwen: Ah the world of comics, where the Earth is on the brink of destruction everyday!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

So what’s wrong with Marvel?

When Disney bought Marvel there was a prevailing feeling of slight dread in the fandom community. Is the man going to overpower our comics? Are we going to get corporate direction on how our comics are put together? Sure we all knew from Warner Brothers owning DC that large corporations weren’t the end of the world, but still, Disney owning Wolverine?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

DC Preview Review For January Part 1 of 2

Jim: So the new 52 has done pretty well with me so far as I’m reading the third issues at this point and I have only dropped six titles. They are Static Shock, Men of War, Hawk and Dove, Captain Atom, Savage Hawkman and Fury of Firestorm. I’m still not 100% sold on a lot of these series and the odd familiarity and yet strangeness still keeps bothering me. Plus I have no clue how the new DCU fits together. All in all I guess I’m happy with it, but my connection to these characters is not as strong as it used to be.
Gwen: I never know what to say for these introductions. *Drumroll* And now here's your DC solicitations, with your hosts, Jim and Gwen!

On sale MARCH 28
384 pg, FC, 7.0625” x 10.875”, $29.99 US
Comic-book legend Grant Morrison (ACTION COMICS) joins forces with top artists including Andy Kubert (FLASHPOINT), J.H. Williams III (BATWOMAN) and Tony S. Daniel (DETECTIVE COMICS) in this new hardcover collecting BATMAN #655-658, 663-669 and 672-675!
First, Batman receives the greatest shock of his life when he discovers that he has a son. And sparks fly when the new addition to the Batfamily is introduced to Robin, the Boy Wonder. Which young hero will carry on the legacy as Gotham City’s protector?
Then, Batman and a group of global heroes face a killer on a mysterious island, and Batman relives an adventure in the life of young Bruce Wayne: the hunt for his parents’ killer.

Jim: I’m starting off this month backwards by doing the back end of the solicitations first. The reason is it plays into a problem I have with the reset button being hit so hard by DC. I was really into the Batman stuff and it feels like it was changed a fair amount. It was changed enough that my desire to have this material in a high end hard cover has been diminished. I wonder what this type of change does to the back end trade market.
Gwen: I can't say I was terribly interested in this before so the new 52 hasn't impacted my opinion that much. I love Batman and all but I'm just not a big Morrison fan - although it should read much better as a trade.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What I read last week... Nov 8

Two weeks ago, I managed to read about one and three quarters books which is why I only talked about the Colossal Collection of Action Poses. This week was a return to form as I read a ton of single issues (many thanks to Jim for sharing… except for one I need to send back because it’s polluting my house) and some trades.

Two weeks ago, the week of half trades!
I started The Show Must Go On, (w/a) Roger Langridge, published by Boom!
This was really, really good and the only reason I didn’t finish it is because it’s dense. It has lots of panels and I was reading late at night due to far too many family commitments. Dense panels put me right to sleep so I went with quantity over quality. It has all the trade mark Langridge humor with more snark and jokes geared towards adults. Very Good. 

I ended the week with Dreadstar the Beginning, (w/a) Jim Starlin, published by Dynamite Entertainment.
This collected the earliest appearances of Vanth Dreadstar and the beginnings of Starlin’s second magnum opus, Dreadstar. It has painted art by Starlin which, for the most part, is a treat. It has a solid storyline and plenty of action. But I still only made it through the first of three stories. It’s a beautiful hc with excellent reproduction but somewhere along the way I got bored. It wasn’t the story as much as it was me. I’ve read so much Starlin over the years that I felt I knew the story 2 pages in. If you haven’t read it then it’s Very Good, if you’ve read everything by Starlin in the past 10 years then you need to decide if your shelf can handle another book.

This week was another massive blast of books. In trades, I read…

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Week in Review – Nov 2

In general comics have been decent, but little has been great. This week has solidified one opinion in my mind that for me the writer is more important than any other part of the comic book process. The art and coloring are also important, but without a good story I could care less about the book. Right now in my opinion the best writer in comics is Scott Snyder. His work is consistently of a high quality and coherent. Next up is Jeff Lemire who tells an engaging story in every type of genre. Grant Morrison and Ed Brubaker are also strong candidates, but have had some inconsistencies in material. Of course Grant has to win overall right now as the body of his work is enormous. You would think that means I going to mention their work and I’m not even bringing up Snyder or Lemire’s books this week, although I strongly recommend Swamp Thing, American Vampire, Animal Man and Sweet Tooth which all came out last week and were good to great books. It was just in reading their material I was struck how a book with their name means good story telling. All of these issues were middle chapters, but moved the plot forward and left you wanting to read the next chapter.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

New Post At WCS

New Post at WCS

Six Guns #1 - A Review

One of the things that makes mainstream superhero comics so attractive to their readers is the concept of a shared universe. We like the idea that a kid with spider powers can exist in the same world as a spirit of vengeance who drives around on a flaming Harley, and when done correctly, it can be fun to see how they all work together.

Six Guns is an example of the kind of book that takes advantage of that kind of shared universe.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #673: Spider-Island Epilogue – A Review (and Rant)

Finishing well is better than starting well and it can even help all the problems along the way to be forgotten or at least they become less important. (It reminds me of Ezekiel 18:21-23.) Spider-Island had both its strong points and it’s weak points, but for the most part it ended well. This good vibe started toward the end of last issue, where Peter saves the city using millions of tiny Octobots to cure everyone from their monstrously mutated spider forms (a VERY weak point). Our friend Shawn expounded on this in his review for our local comic shop and I agree with him that this positive turnaround can be attributed primarily to one person: Mary Jane.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Colossal Collection of Action Poses

And this week for something completely different I read a book on how to become an artist. Well, actually not how to become an artist but how to become a better artist. This week I read, looked at, and attempted to use Colossal Collection of Action Poses by Buddy Scalera.

Over the years I’ve come to dislike the concept of photo reference. The problem for me is there has been a tendency for artists to copy photos making their art look very static and dull. Shame on me! I knew that many of the EC artists posed for each other during the 50’s but I’d forgotten that photo references are one of the best ways to insure your work as an artist has the best feel to it.

The Colossal Collection contains lots of photos of both men and women in various poses. There are action shots like flying, jumping, punching, and pushing. There are shots of people using weapons including knives, guns, and even bows. There are people in everyday clothes and people getting dressed and undressed. Basically there is a photo for just about everything. But that isn’t what makes this book so special.

This book is special because it's more than just a book of photos. It's an actual tutorial on how to use photo references given by some of the best artists in the business. There are demo’s/tutorials by Mitch Breitweiser, Rafael Kayanan, Matt Haley, Jamal Igle, Terry Moore, Michael Oeming, Josh Howard, and Paul Chadwick to name a few.

Each artist uses one or more of the photos to create a simple piece. While using the photo the artist also talks about his technique for making a drawing. For example, Kayanan uses a photo to create an alien warrior. He walks through his process from rough sketch, to refined pencil sketch, creates tones, then scanning, then working in photo shop! It’s a 5 page, 9 step sequence that walks you through the process.

In comparison, Ingle walks you through a six step process showing you how to combine six pictures into one giant piece. Terry Moore talks about how to read a photo and understand the information within it. Oeming even talks about tracing. Yes, tracing!

The diversity of the artists represented is a real benefit to the book also. Seeing how Oeming and Howard, whose artistic styles can be called ‘cartoony,’ contrasted to Greg Land’s style creates a perfect contrast in techniques. The various artists and discussions show how photo references can be applied to any artistic style.

I would recommend this book for mid level artists because there is an expectation that you have a basic understanding of anatomy and perspective.  Overall, this is a book that any artist could use over and over again and I highly recommend it.

Visit Buddy Scalera's Comic Book School here and see all the other cool books he has.
You can buy the book from Amazon here.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The List

I think I've fairly well winnowed the readable from the worth spending money to read among the new DCU titles, but that still leaves quite a few. I'm considering adding I...Vampire, too. As it turns out, and not too surprisingly, it's mostly the lesser knowns that have garnered my attention. Still not as good as the Vertigo offerings, but a good start for this now DC world. And all Marvel's one title I'm getting is doing is irritating me.

1. Invincible 83 - This is one of those watershed issues where Kirkman does something irrevocable to someone. The fact that it features Magmaniac and Thether Tyrant, to of the greatest B, maybe C, level villains ever sells it that much more. Prior to this these two have been largely tangential characters, somewhat laughable in their inability to succeed in crime or legal activity. There's always been a bit of undercurrent of homoeroticism to their relationship, with the triangle completed by whatever relationship Tether Tyrant has with his alien symbiote. Now, with a major change in their relationship, and a major change in Tether Tyrant's powers, it looks like Kirkman, Ottley and Rathburn have something interesting in mind. Looking forward to seeing just what.

2. Scalped 53 - This is one of the few books where I'm looking forward to an ending. It has to have one to work, and it certainly seems to be approaching. Curiously, I find myself rooting for Sheriff Karnow. He and Officer Falls Down are the only people who are trying to do what their job description says they're supposed to be doing, especially when it comes to law enforcement in this book. Dash is more occupied with revenge on Catcher than building a case against Red Crow. Nitz is, as always, obsessed by his own revenge against Red Crow, to the point of sacrificing a guy who is trying to do his job right. In the midst of all that, Shunka has put himself in a position where he's not supported by Red Crow and is targeted by Rath. All coming to a head.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Image Previews for January

Lee: Maybe the month won’t be so bad this month after all. Image has a bunch of great comics but no crushing hc’s this month. Thank goodness.

Thomm: Image has some good stuff, though I’m admittedly primarily a buyer of the Kirkman work.

story Ed Brubaker
art / cover Sean Phillips
colors Dave Stewart
32 PAGES / FC / $3.50
Guns! Sex! Secret Cults! And Monsters! A reporter in 2012 stumbles on a secret that leads him down the darkest path imaginable… to a seductive woman who’s been on the run since 1935, a mobster who may be an immortal demon monster, and the stories of all the doomed men who’ve been caught in their decades-long struggle. Fatale blends noir and horror to tell a riveting epic unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Lee: I’m to the point where I see Brubaker and Phillips name on a book and it’s a must buy. Have these two done anything bad in the last 5 years? If they have I can’t think of it. I’m sold.
Thomm: I like the premise and the talent involved. Looks like a good something to check out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dark Horse Previews for January

Lee: This is shaping up to be a budget busting month because DH has a ton of good stuff this month.
Thomm: Wait, you have a budget? Doesn’t the money flow like water at your house?

Hermann (W/A)
FC, 64 pages, 8" x 11", $15.99
The masterpiece by Belgian comics creator Hermann is available in English for the first time! A misanthropic European expatriate, Dario Ferrer, acts as guardian of a Tanzanian wildlife preserve. Accompanied by Charlotte, a naive European journalist, Ferrer discovers a village under fire from mysterious agents of the foreign-backed government. Ferrer and Charlotte must fight not only to protect the preserve, but to expose government corruption—and survive to see another day. From award-winning creator and international bestseller Hermann! Gorgeous watercolor art and a fast-paced, violent story!
Lee: Hermann is one of the grandmasters of Euro comics so I am sold. He’s been writing/drawing forever and I am confident this will be good. Before you scoff, you might remember the Showtime television series, Jeremiah, adapted from Hermann’s comic of the same name.
Thomm: I never saw the show but read quite a few of the Jeremiah comics. Really good work. I’m curious as to what era this story is set, and the page count is a bit low for $16, but quite tempting.