Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dark Horse Previews for April

Lee: Another month and another monster sized outlay of cash. DH has a ton of great books and tpb’s this month so close your eyes if you’re poor.
Thomm: Help, I’m blind!

Matt Kindt (W/A/Cover)
FC, 32 pages, $3.50, One-shot
The most acclaimed graphic novel of 2009 returns! Some episodes from the life of Craig Pressgang were too sensitive even for the pages of 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, but now the full truth of his years as a spy can be told! Lending new meaning to the phrase “hiding in plain sight,” Craig’s missions to Paris, Cairo, and the Philippines make Secret Files an essential companion to the 3 Story graphic novel, as well as a perfect standalone introduction to Matt Kindt’s touching history of the Giant Man. Collects all three Giant Man stories from MySpace Dark Horse Presents.
• Visionary artist Matt Kindt returns to his most beloved creation!
• Includes a preview of Kindt’s new series, Mind MGMT!
• 3 Story is in production as a major film!
Lee: Kindt is just a fantastic creator that continues to impress year after year. I loved the first 3 Story book (see here) and will eagerly get this.
Thomm: I appear to have missed this one entirely. It looks interesting. And considering Lee’s lead-in, $3.50 may be as affordable as I’m going to get out of this post.

Even better, less affordable books below the break…

Monday, January 30, 2012

What’s Left of the New 52 from the DCnU

Week in review be damned. I’m making my move to Florida this coming Friday so this column and the next few will be different so I can write a little bit ahead of the curve. In our sister blog (that no one but me ever writes in) I have bemoaned my complaints of the new DCU. So I decided it would be fun to review what I think of what I still get. I have dropped 18 of the original 52 and I’m still hanging onto 34 titles.
Taking them one at a time my current view of each book.

Action – Grant Morrison and Rags Morales make this a keeper.

Animal Man – Lemire is crafting an odd book, but it is a fascinating character study keeping Buddy as a family man, another good book.

Aquaman – Pretty art, but like too many DC books, where is this book going, what is its reason for being. Close to a drop.

Batgirl – Decent, but it has many holes in it and this is not the Barbara Gordon I loved. As a bat family book it is hard for me to pull the plug, but this book is not a mortal lock.

Batman – A mortal lock, a great book but the best writer in comics right now Scott Snyder.

Batman and Robin – A solid book that I continue to enjoy, Tomasi and Gleason are hitting on all cylinders.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965

And now we reach the last of this back of library books that I kind of liked. The last two, to be seen in coming weeks, were just misery.

Anyway, to the story at hand. Dong Xoai (and don't ask me how to pronounce it) was written by the great Joe Kubert (I should probably make that a capital G, seeing as that's just about his official title now). It's based on the actual mission of Detachment A-342, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 1964-65. It traces a couple of missions in Vietnam just as the war was starting to become wider in scope but still during the time when the mission was to work with local and indigenous fighters who opposed North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. Training for guerilla war as well as manning positions to thwart the Viet Cong's own guerilla war tactics.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man # 678 --A Review

Amazing Spider-Man #678

“I Killed Tomorrow” – Part 1 of 2: Schrödinger’s Catastrophe
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99

Being the second issue in the fiftieth year of the chronicles of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man.

I know. That was a weird introductory sentence, even for me. But you know what? This was a GREAT issue. And it felt momentous too, but not because it was the beginning of the next big story arc – it’s only a two-part story. Rather it was exceptional simply because it was so baggage free and accessible.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Indies Previews For March Part 3 of 3

The last day...

La Mano
Sammy the Mouse Vol. 01 SC by (W/A/C) Zak Sally
Collecting the first 3 issues of the Eisner-nominated cartoonist Zak Sally's acclaimed Ignatz series (originally released through Fantagraphics Books), this low-priced volume presents the new, ongoing format for the story. In addition, Zak Sally himself printed the books on his own offset press, giving this volume a uniquely handsome quality. 104 pgs Zak posted a video explaining what he is up to here. $14.00
Lee: And today we start with the "it's just weird" book of the month. This was originally part of Fantagraphics Ignatz line and since moved to being self published so it has to be good right. As far as I can tell it's about a mouse who drinks to much, sees people and things while drunk, and complains about the pathetic wretched state of his life. Honestly, drunken sots getting into bizarro adventures does sound pretty good.
Gwen: Wow, Lee's description was much better than the solicitation - I think I want to read this now.

Some more ordinary books below the break.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What I Read

Not a heavy week, but not a thin one either. So lets take a look at some books, shall we?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Joe Pa

Imaginary Tales, right? Doesn't get much more imaginary than Bowl Subdivision football, where a "National Champion" is crowned each year without any semblance of a playoff system.
But let's talk real world. Joe Pa died on Sunday. While sad, it's made sadder for how things ended for Joe Pa at Penn State. After all, Joe Pa lived a long life and dying is going to reach all of us sooner or later. At the end of a long, happy life is about as much as we can hope. Joe Pa almost reached that, but for the last 3 months.

I hope, but don't expect, that the hoardes who called for his head, and the spineless board at Penn State, take some time to reflect on the reality of how Joe Pa was treated in the last 3 months.

Indies Previews For March Part 2 of 3

Boom! Studios
Tanpopo Collection Vol. 01 HC by (W/A/C) Camilla d' Errico
Celebrated creator Camilla d’Errico delivers a stunning visual journey exploring emotion, self-discovery/innocence and what it means to be human. Tanpopo is superhumanly intelligent and inhumanly emotionless. Attached to a mysterious machine and ruled by her vast knowledge, one day her heart rises up to struggle against her ruling mind. Torn and confused, she now seeks humanity, longing to feel what other humans feel. Each chapter of Tanpopo is inspired by a classic piece of literature or poetry, woven into its own epic story, and contained in this beautiful hardcover edition. $24.99 You can visit d’Errico site here comics.html and the official Tanpopo site here.
Lee: How did Boom! manage to snag this property? It’s a great job because it’s certainly outside of their normal offerings. The usual comments apply, great art and what appears to be a really moving story. The bonus in this case is that d' Errico is a proven creator so we already know it will be good.
Gwen: This looks great! Good move for Boom! The art looks wonderful and I know quite a few people who I'll have to pass this along to.

Another 7 books below the jump... told ya there was lots of good stuff this month.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Post What I Read – Jan 24

I really need to figure out how to get on a regular schedule with this post because it’s been 2 weeks since I last wrote anything. Part of the problem is the general nuttiness of the home life, work, and pure exhaustion. Oh well, I’m back now.

I actually started the month with one of the best feel good, left me happy, books that I have read in a long time. I found happiness in Chip, written and illustrated by Richard Moore, published by Antarctic Press. $15, 128 pgs

Richard Moore is probably best known for his other outstanding series Boneyard from NBM. This is much the same without the innuendo. In short, funny, charming, quirky, and ‘palate cleansing’ after reading some of the doom and gloom that I normally read. You can read the long review here.

Below the break Witchdoctor: Under the Knife, Smurfs Vol 1, Monster Mess and cult favorite Chase by J.H. Williams III

Indies Previews For March Part 1 of 3

Lee: Where did this month go? It seems like Christmas was just last week. And, if this is any indication of what is coming this year start saving your pennies people because there is a ton of very affordable books coming out!
Gwen: Um, yeah, this did sort of blindside me...

Abrams Comicarts
Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson by (W) Will Bingley (A/C) Anthony Hope-Smith
The great American writer, the great American iconoclast, the great American hedonist - however you choose to view him, Hunter S. Thompson remains the high-water mark for all social commentators worldwide, and a truly fearless champion of individual liberties. This is his story, the story of a troubled kid from Louisville who went on to become an international icon. A story that plumbs the darkest depths of American society and charts the now legendary adventures that birthed Gonzo Journalism, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and a lifestyle beyond imagination. $17.95
Lee: I’m sorry but I really don’t understand the appeal of Thompson. That’s not true, intellectually I get it but it just doesn’t resonate with me on a personal level. This looks interesting enough that I might give it a try to see if it explains what I don’t understand.
Gwen: Ugh... Hunter S Thompson. I know my sister got a bit into him but I never really saw the appeal.

Another 7 books below the break!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Week in Review – Jan 18

I wish Lee didn’t have the title what I read this week as I would totally change my weekly column title to that at this point. My move to Florida is coming soon and I will miss some things about my life in Maryland, but I have lived in multiple states so it is just this time I have lived in Maryland for over 15 years and grown perhaps too comfortable. Okay enough maudlin whiny crap let’s hit the comics.

Nothing new in comic books right, oh you are so wrong my friend, so very, very wrong. Wow was Batman #5 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion a revelation. Not only was this an excellent issue showing Batman being defeated by the Court of Owls but the design and layout of the book was genius. Every time I think Snyder has shown us just how amazing of a writer he ups the ante to a whole new level. Scott has ripped the cover off his potential with this performance. This book was so unbelievably well done that it has to be read to be fully enjoyed. Scott after being the pretty much consensus writer of the year has written one of the best single issues of a comic book. Batman is trapped in a maze created by the Court of Owls and has been lost in the maze for days. He is being drugged and slowly he is losing his mind. Bruce is very strong so you know he is fighting against this with ever ounce and fiber of his being. As the story progresses the panel layouts change and we are forced to turn the book this way and that and actually have to read from right to left for two pages. It is disorienting and just when we are as disoriented as Batman, Bruce has a sword rammed through him by Talon, the Owl Court’s man. The reader being as lost as Batman makes the sudden attack even more jarring than ever. An absolutely brilliant piece of comic book work done to perfection. Hats off to Scott, Greg and Jonathan for producing a stellar single issue that stands on its own and yet adds to the continuing story.  If all episodic comic books were this good no sales gimmicks would ever be needed. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rat Catcher

So, the library selections continue. I think I'm going to keep working in order of what I liked among these selections first, finishing up with the couple that were just really bad.

Which means that Rat Catcher, by Andy Diggle and Victore Ibanez is one of the better choices. Hard boiled is definitely a fitting description for this book. The bodies are stacked left and right, and fetuses aren't safe, either.

The Rat Catcher is a legendary mob enforcer, capable of finding and taking out informants who are in FBI protective custody. The story starts with a burning house in West Texas. A man bleeding from the right shoulder stumbles out of the burning house, car jacks a man, and disappears.

FBI Agent Moses Burden comes on the burning house as two local sheriff's deputies stand around waiting for fire fighters to show up. Burden lights a fire under them when he tells them it's an FBI safe house. Burden's partner, Patrick Lynch, may have been at the house when it was set on fire. Lynch was sleeping with one of the other FBI agents guarding a Mexican informant.
Burden is an older, black man with a son in long term medical care from injuries suffered in an accident with a drunk driver. He looks tired.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

DC and Marvel’s Crossover Craftiness

Forget the Big Events, the Crossover has returned! And in the past three weeks, both DC and Marvel have presented us with two excellent examples of how to do them well.

This is just eye-candy, folks. I'm not talking about the stories pictured above this time...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jonah Hex: No Way Back

Next on the library books adventures is Jonah Hex: No Way Back. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti handle the writing and Tony DeZuniga does the art.

What can I say? It's Jonah Hex to the hilt. Anyone who appears to have any kind of connection to Hex ends up in a bad way as Hex continues his bounty hunting. Lots of dying ensues, both from Hex killing bounties, people protecting the bounties, and from people targeting Hex's acquaintances.

No one even has to be close to Hex to get a violent end in this one. A simple bar in a simple town finds its employees tortured and murdered by a Mexican named El Papagayo who's laid a trap for Hex.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keep bringing em back

Both Marvel and DC have their old standbys. These are titles and books that will never go away. With very few exceptions, neither company will cease publishing characters like Captain America, Superman, or Spider-Man. Team books like X-Men, Avengers, or Justice League will always be published in some form.

However, every few years, the companies try to republish books that had their heyday of popularity, but never quite stuck around.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DC Preview Review for March Part 2 of 2

Onto Part 2

ADVANCE SOLICITED • On sale AUGUST 22 • 256 pg, FC, $59.99 US
In these high-flying tales from GREEN LANTERN #48-57, Green Lantern battles the evil of villains Sinestro, Major Disaster and many more!

Jim: I hate that I’m buying this book as I have been swearing off hard cover collections, but this was one of my favorite all time Green Lanterns stories as a kid and the nostalgia is just too much for me to overcome. The silver age material will be pretty much left alone when I do my hard cover sale starting February.
Gwen: Ah, back when there was a Green Lantern firing squad. This cover is fantastic! Especially considering that I'm sure whatever Hal did can't possibly be as awful as what he did as Parallax.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Post At WCS

A rant about what bugs me about the new DCU. Click to read.

DC Preview Review for March Part 1 of 2

Jim: So I’m growing tired of DC comics like I never have before. Oh I still love Snyder, Lemire, Tomasi and other people’s work, but my love for the characters has been severely hurt but this re-launch. I no longer have the connection I used to have with my beloved characters. I still believe allowing true change and growth would have been a better way.
Gwen: Honestly I have to agree with Jim. I find my interest flagging with the relaunch.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
1:25 Variant cover by GARY FRANK
1:200 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale MARCH 21 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Now that the team’s origin story is complete, starting with this issue we shift to the present-day Justice League! What has changed? Who has joined the team since? Featuring artwork by Gene Ha, the story also reintroduces the team’s greatest champion: Steve Trevor!
Also starting in this issue: “The Curse of Shazam!” featuring a story by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank! Discover Billy Batson’s place in DC Comics – The New 52 as we reveal his all-new origin story!
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.
Jim: A combo pack – who cares, I don’t want both versions, print please. Well Jim Lee drawing a monthly comic did not even last a year, so let’s switch to Gary Frank. Good luck with that, Frank seems to have the ability to still do a monthly for around four months. Next, for the first modern day story arc they are tackling the whole Shazam thing; please just give me a solid JL adventure. I’m ready to drop this book.
Gwen: I can't remember the last time I really enjoyed the JLA. I may have to go as far back as the Blue Beetle/Booster Gold years.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Week in Review – Jan 11

I have already bored you with multiple reasons while this column is more of what I read this week instead of a week in review and until I get my life back in order it will continue. Football, Mom’s 90th birthday (she had me when she was 60 – do you believe that? – I don’t either) and work and blah, blah, blah has created limited time to read. Joining a book club and trying to finish the “Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet’s Nest” before starting the book club stuff has not helped either. Enough of my excuses let’s get to comics.

First up is Punishermax #21 the penultimate issue of the series with one of the worse comic titles ever created. I thought Garth Ennis had done great work with this version of Frank Castle, but Jason Aaron (writer) has crafted a an equally fantastic take on Frank along with Steve Dillon (artist). This issue Frank dies after finally killing the Kingpin. I heard this series was going to be 36 issues long, but sales and corporate edicts apparently interceded and cut it short, doesn’t matter as it reads fine. I like this Frank because he is from Viet Nam and he is old. Frank is so flawed it is beyond having feet of clay, Frank is inhuman in some ways, but Jason defines it for us in this series. Frank is lost and appears to have had no love in his love and appears incapable of generating any love from within. The war gives Frank a reason to live and the killing of his family allows Frank to have a visible motive to bring the war home. Frank is not evil, as he has a strong moral code, but he is not good either. He is driven, obsessed and lost and sad. Trying to learn how to live what we call a normal live and never succeeded in making it work. This series is ending the only way it should with Frank dying. Next issue is an epilogue. I hope Frank is dead because that makes the story work. Too many comics are confined by maintaining the status quo and the max Universe allows for things to actually happen. I find this type of comic still inspires my passion in comics and capes are becoming less and less of an interest. Pick up the trades and read this series. It is Jason’s second best work (behind Scalped) and goes down as a definitive take on the Punisher character and a series that will be something people can read far into the future as an examination of a man. A character that you can admire and has much to horrify you, Frank Castle – RIP.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spider-man Noir: Eyes Without A Face

Ok, I've got a slew of library books to go through. Most of them I'm less than fond of, which is better than me being less than fond of after having bought them, but I'm going to start with one I liked.

It's somewhat surprising that I like this because I've generally been down on Spider-man of late. Peter Parker is just too whiny for me anymore. But, in David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky, and Carmine di Giandomenico's work, set in 1933, the whining is nowhere to be found. It's a wonderful change.

Sure, we have Peter in non-traditionals Spider-man duds, and Felicia Hardy channeling one of the many incarnations of Selina Kyle, but there are some really creative turns in this noir tale. In fact, the most cliched part is Hardy being a speakeasy operator/madam, sleeping with both Peter and a villain in the story.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Action Comics # 5 – A Review

Action Comics #5

“Rocket Song”
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Jesse Delperdang
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau

“Baby Steps”
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: ChrisCross
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

Since The New 52, Action Comics has been telling the backstory of Superman when he first started operating in Metropolis. It’s supposed to take place approximately five years ago, but that doesn’t really make since, because Justice League is also set “five years ago” and Superman has two different costumes and confidence levels. Obviously, Action precedes Justice League, but by how much who really knows (I don’t think DC has even figured it out yet). Is it six months, a year? Well, it doesn’t really matter for this issue, because now we interrupt the current arc for the backstory’s backstory – two tales of Superman’s parents (both sets). We’ve seen this played out numerous times before (even the cover loudly proclaims “AGAIN”). But, y’know what? It’s still a fascinating tale and we get some interesting new and expanded elements this time around.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Image Previews For March

Thomm: I already know I’m looking forward to some of this. Let’s see what else Lee has picked.
Lee: Maybe we should let you pick some month.  It would be interesting to see how we differ.

story Brian K. Vaughan
art / cover Fiona Staples
48 Pages / FC / M / $2.99
Y: The Last Man writer Brian K. Vaughan returns to comics with red-hot artist Fiona Staples for an all-new Ongoing Series! Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war. The adventure begins in a spectacular Double-Sized First Issue, with forty-four pages of story with no ads for the regular price of just $2.99!
Thomm: And this is one of the ones I had my eye on. Although I really need to go back and re-read it, I greatly enjoyed Y: The Last Man, as well as Vaughan’s Ex Machina and Pride of Baghdad. The art looks great, too.
Lee: If this is as long as it appears it's going to be I am waiting for the trade.  Don't get me wrong, I am eagerly waiting... but waiting just the same.  And kudos to the cover with a breast feeding woman.  Don't see many of those on the stands these days.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Scarlet Spider #1

So a year ago, I didn't think that Marvel would be publishing a book made up of the detritus of the Spider-Clone saga. Let alone that I would enjoy it so much.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dark Horse Previews For March

Lee:  I feel like Dark Horse has been coming on strong this year.  I'm feeling the love this month.
Thomm: In like a lion, out like a lamb. Will March’s previews be fierce or mild?

Joss Whedon (W), Brian K. Vaughan (W), Georges Jeanty (P), Paul Lee (P), Cliff Richards (P), Andy Owens (I), Dave Stewart (C), Michelle Madsen (C), and Jo Chen (Cover)
FC, 304 pages, HC, 8” x 12 3/16”, $29.99
This deluxe, oversized hardcover edition contains the first two arcs of Season 8, plus two one-shots.
After the destruction of the Hellmouth, the Slayers—newly legion—have gotten organized, but it’s not long before new and old enemies begin popping up. Buffy, Xander, Willow, and a very different Dawn are introduced to the season’s big bad, Twilight, and are only beginning to understand the incredible reach of this mysterious threat. Meanwhile, rebel Slayer Faith teams up with Giles to handle a menace on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s a dirty job, and Faith is just the girl to do it!
Lee: I love big oversized collections. If I was a bigger Buffy fan I would think this was really, really cool.
Thomm: I’ve read a few trades of the start of this. It’s following right where the show left off. I’m not convinced of the necessity of it. The show reached a good concluding point. I’m fine with leaving it at that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Read – Jan 9

How would I describe my reading for the past couple of weeks?  Confusing is the best word I have.  The past few weeks have been characterized by books that I didn't understand.

I started with Any Empire, written and illustrated by Nate Powell, published by Top Shelf Productions.  Empire "examines war and violence, and their trickle-down effects on middle America. As a gang of small-town kids find themselves reunited in adulthood, their dark histories collide in a struggle for the future. Any Empire follows three kids in a Southern town as a rash of mysterious turtle mutilations forces each to confront their relationship to their privileged suburban fantasies of violence. Then, after years apart, the three are thrown together again as adults, amid questions of choice and force, belonging and betrayal."

That's the text from Amazon and I'm glad I read that because I wasn't getting that from the book.  To be fair, I was reading this in the Dr's waiting room while my Dad was getting a checkup so the location might not have been the best.  I only made it through 1/2 of the book before I realized I wasn't paying enough attention and switched to playing poker on my phone. 

Anyway, the art is fantastic and the theme of violence is certainly there.  The message was coming through but I wasn't paying enough attention to the details or the symbolism to really understand what was happening.  I will come back to this but it needs to be a happy, cheery day because the material is a little dark and depressing.

Then I went onto Bubbles and Gondola, written and illustrated by Renaud Dillies, published by NBM.  Bubbles is "a fairy tale about solitude and awakening the creative spirit."  Bubbles was just utterly fantastic.

More books and more about Bubbles below the break.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Week in Review – Jan 4

The week in review is still struggling to be the actual week’s worth of books that I have purchased and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. A little bit of behind the scenes stuff from my personal life is that in August of last year we (my wife and I) sold our home in Maryland. Since then we have been in the midst of moving to Florida on our own dime. This meant my wife needed to find a new job and she moved to Florida before I did and we have been living off the kind graces of my in-laws for places to live (as they have domiciles in Florida and Maryland). So I have been essentially homeless as the vast majority of our stuff is in PODs. During this time our beloved dog Kiki had to be put down due to bone cancer, I had a grandson born Connor Jacob McLaughlin the son of Dallas and Jamie (my daughter) McLaughlin and a busy as all get out work schedule. I have also re-discovered the joys of prose and have switch from mainly drinking beer to red wines. My own job is portable and my company is going to allow me to work from home and we should be all set up in our new housing by February of this year. So the week in review is more of what I have managed to read in review.

Speaking of prose books I have read a very short book which has caused me to think even harder than ever about lying in any way shape or form, the book is called appropriately enough, Lying by Sam Harris. It cost $2 for a download on Kindle or whatever and I believe you can get it as a PDF file. While I have always considered myself relatively honest (but who doesn’t) this book has made me push the envelope even further making even a white lie something that I would now shy away from in almost any form. When I was in my late forties I read a book called Buddhism Plain and Simple and it caused me to re-think a lot of things and I think actually changed who I was or at least how I approached my life. Lying is still settling into my mind but I believe it is having an impact on how I approach my life. It is rare that something can do that for me and I highly recommend you spend $2 and read Lying, it is very short and won’t take much of your time, but could at least give you something to think about. I actually purchased the book for 4 people who I’m close too and asked them to read it when they got a chance.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Unfortunate Placement

In Captain America #6 we have this page side by side with this ad. Plus have to love Agent 13's outfit, it should be considered okay for business casual workplaces.

It struck me as very funny since Cap is having nightmares, don't think you want to be giving those dreams to your child.

New Post At WCS

A rant about what bugs me about Marvel. Click to read.

Captain America #6 – A Review

Captain America (2011) #6

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99

In Jim’s Dec 21st Week In Review (posted 12-26), he said Marvel was insane for publishing two issues of Captain America in one week (#5 & 6). I was in hearty agreement with him at the time, but now that I’ve read both issues back-to-back I have to say it was not only sane, but also an extremely necessary move.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Best of 2011

I'm the last in line for this week's theme, so it's entirely possible someone else will have picked the same thing, but not likely for the same reason.

After much thought, I'm picking the New 52 as the best of 2011. I only read a fraction of what came out in this magnum of number one issues in September, and only 1 issue of any of the books for any of the big players (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, JLA). I don't budget like Mr Deep Pockets (you know who I mean), who bought all 52 first issues. As a result, it can easily be argued that at least half of the 52 titles are ought but crap. I wouldn't know.

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Best of 2011

Looking back I realize this year was fairly different from the previous year for me because I drifted away from the memoir, slice of life stuff.  This year there was so much Euro material out there that I was really drawn back into the science fiction and fantasy story lines.

My favorite publisher in 2011 was Humanoids.  Much to my local stores chagrin, I think I actually ordered every single book they solicited this year.   Yes, even the ridiculously expensive ones that I picked in the monthly indie previews.  While not every one was a winner, I experienced so many new stories and styles of art that I loved it.  Second place has to go to Fantagraphics for continuing to publish the best comix out there, and third goes to IDW for making sure I still had a full plate of classic stuff and horror books too.

Of course, one of the joys of having a blog is having an accurate record of everything you read in the previous year. Or semi accurate at least. I have a list of 67 books that I read over the past year that doesn’t include the ones I read prior to July. I can figure it out but it’s just too much effort right now and I figure that 67 is large enough sample size to pick a best of from.

Below the break, I separate all 67 books in a couple of catagories...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2011 - Gwen

Ever since I took a new job as a teacher I've had little to know time for "just for fun" reading. Comic books at least have the merit of being quick reads so I have managed to squeeze in some reading time here and there.

My favorite comic book stuff for 2011 as follows:

Batgirl - before the new 52

Not that I don't like Babs as Batgirl traditionally but I would have embraced the move more wholeheartedly if they hadn't finally gotten Batgirl right after so many years and then wiped away Stephanie Brown underneath the cape with the DC relaunch. I had a lot of fun with Stephanie as Batgirl. I felt that not only had DC finally found a good place for Stephanie but they had also made Batgirl a fun and interesting character again. I don't have anything against Cassie but I could never relate to her the way I did to Babs when I was a kid. Stephanie was easy to relate to and I started to love reading Batgirl again because of her. I think because of this I've found it difficult to fully embrace Barbra Gordon back under the cape after all these years. I think that's it's a shame that we saw so very little of Stephanie as Batgirl.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Best of 2011 (Matthew’s Picks)

It’s funny. Lee told all of us that it was time for our annual Best of Lists, but searching the blog archives, I didn’t see that we’ve ever each done one before, other than Jim of course. And although Thomm has already queued up his list (to be posted Saturday), I’m not going to peak at it ahead of time to see how he set up his categories. So, it’s likely going to be a free-for-all this week, with Top 10 lists, Oscar nominees, etc. Anyway, here’s my picks for 2011 (format subject to change in ensuing years).

Monday, January 02, 2012

2011The Year in Review

So Lee has been driving the blog as taskmaster and has commanded that a year in review be done. I’m curious to see if any of this rather disjointed and opinionated bunch will follow through, but since I stared this puppy lo those many years ago and was taskmaster for a long time I know being the big cheese is not always easy.

All years when looked at in retrospect have a lot happening. I sold my house, in the middle of a move to Florida, lost my beloved dog and have a new grandson as of December 22, 2011 Connor Jacob McLaughlin. Of course I don’t think Lee wants the Christmas letter that people send out he wanted more of a year in review of what happened in the comic book world.

The big things are Joe Quesada and Dan Didio are both kicked upstairs and we officially have Alex Alonso and Bob Harras running the day to day show and that impact is going to felt slowly over the coming months and years since their predecessors did not leave their influence will take more time to be visible.

Of course the biggest event of 2011 was the new DCU. The unprecedented re-launching of the entire DCU that culminating with 52 brand new series and temporary put DC on top of the sales charts. We are only on month 4 and while I have dropped 15 of the titles to date, that means I’m still reading 37 series from the DCU which is a good sign. I’m unconvinced this was needed and also not convinced it was a great idea. While the short term marketing gimmick worked like any gimmick it can only be played out for a short period of time.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The List - December 2011

Righty-o. Another short turn around month, but I 'll do the best I can to get something worthwhile written up here. I don't think I mentioned it as official policy, but I'm not putting trades and such on The List. It's just the singles, and the other stuff will get write-ups as warranted. So, in addition to this month's singles, I read trades for Sweet Tooth, Loveless, 100 Bullets, Kill Shakespeare, Love and Rockets, and Essex County. Gotta love half price sales.

On to the show.

1. Spaceman 3 - The more I read of this limited series, the more I love it. Azzarello's dialog alone is a joy. He's taking English as we know it and moving it into a possible evolution, or devolution, in a future of maybe 100 years distance. Then there are the references to the banalities of our own pop culture as well as the vast quantity of literal garbage we produce, now objects of possible treasure. And that doesn't even get into the meat of the story of Orson and Tara, rescuer and and kidnap victim, each carrying baggage that keeps them from coming forward with her rescue. Now we have a former astronaut crewmate of Orson's coming into the picture and complicating matters. Well, not yet, but that appears likely. Risso's art is really capturing this future composed of our junk, giving the whole thing the right atmosphere of discarded objects, living and inanimate.