Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser

Sometimes there are characters you've heard about for quite awhile, and you might have some inkling of what their story is, but you haven't actually read them.  Well, for me there's a lot of that in the reading world.  Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are among them.  Their brief appearance and ignominious demise, or at least representations of them, in Fables had been my only experience of the characters.  Appetizers for The Dark Man didn't give me much about them.

I came across Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola and Al Willaimson and figured I couldn't pass up the opportunity to learns some of Leiber's highly regarded stories, especially with pencils by Mignola and inks by Williamson.  Chaykin's been a bit more hit and miss for me on his original material, but with such well known source material I figured he wouldn't stray far.

He didn't.

These are some great stories.  I can see why they've been so influential with subsequent creators like Chaykin and Mignola.  Leiber has a large world that he's created that has a fully fleshed cast, not just it's titular heroes.  Sword and sorcery owes a lot to Leiber, as well as contemporaries Robert Howard and Michael Moorcock.  There are many similarities among the works of the three men, of course, but each had his own style.

This collection of books published by Dark Horse in 2007 has all 4 of the original miniseries books published in 1991.  Opening with the tragic loss of each man's true love soon after their first meeting, running through their self imposed excile from the city of Lankhmar, and into their later years of separation and divergent life courses, the book lays out a sampler course of the lives of our flawed but essentially hopeful heroes.  It can get a bit disconcerting because there are time breaks between segments, but if you remember Leiber told a lot more stories that aren't presented here, it's much more enjoyable.  Chaykin does fill in the blanks ably with contextual story so that it's not hard to figure out the new point in the characters' lives even without the intervening stories.  Not like the old school text boxes in super hero books but with good story.

Of course, one of the best things about this book is that it's all Mignola art.  At this stage I don't see many things published with Mignola on art.  Lots of story, but not much art.  Hellboy and it's companion series feature artists who hew closely to Mignola's style, but they're not Mignola.

As a bonus, there are 16 pages of Fritz Leiber original writing from Swords and Deviltry at the back of the collection.  It's presented as a preview of Book One of a Dark Horse reproduction of Leiber's original works, but it's a stand alone story in itself called The Snow Women.  It present a differnent first meeting than we see in Ill Met in Lankhmar, but maybe that's because they don't recall the meeting of The Snow Women.  I'd like to read a lot more Leiber to find out, though.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Gerry Conway Interview Kickstarter

Roger Priebe contacted us regarding a Kickstarter project which you can see by clicking this link. Before we could get the post up and running he already reached his goal, but the great thing with these projects are you can still participate and get a copy of the over 3 hour interview with someone who was heavily involved in writing and editing (even editor in chief at Marvel) for awhile. There are only a few days left so get over there and jump in. Also check out the Kickstarter site for a over 8 minute clip of the interview.

For fun we are Roger to answer a few brief questions.

Gerry Conway
Jim: A Gerry Conway interview sounds interesting. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and the project?
Roger: My name is Roger Priebe, and I have been a comic book fan for over 25 years now.  Even more than that, I love the history behind the comic books. I soak up magazines like “Alter Ego” and “Back Issue” like sponges. I can never get enough of the stories behind the comics. And as an independent filmmaker from Cleveland Ohio, I decided to put my two loves together. Why not film a interview of one these comic book legends for a DVD? I mean, just imagine if we had this kind of interview with people like Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster? People like that and those story’s are now gone forever. So I decided something needed to be done!

I’ve had this idea for this style of interview and it was a matter of finding the right person for the first one. And luckily Gerry understood perfectly what this series of interview dvd’s could be. And he gave one of the greatest interviews I have ever seen. Gerry is very open, entertaining, and informative about not only his entire career but the comic book industry in general.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 9 of 9 – Mind Mgmt #7

Mind Mgmt #7 by Matt Kindt is another issue in what has to be one of my favorite series right now. Even better it is a reader friendly jump on point with a brief summary of what has come before that gives a reader all they need to know to jump in.

The short story is Mind Mgmt is a secret organization that has agents with various mind control type powers. From influencing people with ads, influencing decisions, making people fall in love and letters that can kill you to healing almost any injury to yourself. The focus of the story is Meru. She is the young girl who survived Harry Lyme’s (one of the most powerful agents) meltdown when he pushed a city to destroy itself. Mind Mgmt itself was disbanded and now it appears the organization is trying to reform. Meru is a target and Harry Lyme is out to try and rescue her.

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 8 of 9 – Young Avengers #1

Young Avengers #1 by Kieron Gillen writer and art by Jamie McKelvie and Mike (The Answer) Norton was a surprise. While many people were huge fans of Gillen’s run on little Loki the book just never worked for me. After listening to the AR feature on this book that recounted Loki’s history I’m glad I didn’t follow the whole thing as it is a convoluted mess. The net result I believe is Loki is Loki again, just younger. I’m still not sure. Of course after reading this book the flip side is also true as I may one day want to read Gillen’s run on Loki as I’m starting to enjoy Gillen’s writing a little more.

Credit this book with making me more of a Gillen fan. In many ways it is the typical introduce the cast. It starts with Kate Bishop sleeping with Noh-Varr (ex-Captain Marvel, Protector) in space. Skulls attack and she takes off for Earth. We have brief scene with music playing that felt like a nod to Phonogram which was Gillen and McKelvie’s first claim to fame. I never liked Phonogram and believe it was an age thing more than anything else.

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 7 of 9– Winter Solider #14

The Winter Soldier was the swan song for Ed Brubaker at Marvel comics and man talking about going out on a high note, Ed hit a home run. I remember Michael Jordan quit after hitting the winning basket for another NBA championship. Years later he came back and played with the Wizards, I hope Ed stays away, at least from this character because this story is one that could even stand as a great way to let the character exit from his own book and go off stage for a few years.

The art by Butch Guice and Brian Thies was great. I loved all the action scenes and while at times the book is almost too dark it fit the tone of the story. It seems that lately more and more I’m reading a book and I say I want to own that page of art. I blame Lee who was the siren calling to me to get me deeper into buying original art. I owned like five pages and now with lee pushing I must have 15 or maybe 20 pages of art. Anyway the one scene with the Black Widow cart wheeling away from gun shots was a page to own.

The actual story itself was the culmination of the rather long Black Widow hunt. Bucky’s final protégée from his Winter Soldier days had captured her and reprogrammed her against Bucky and Shield. The adventure took its toll on the group.

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 6 of 9 - Before Watchmen Minutemen #6 (of 6)

Darwyn Cooke’s six issue mini-series Before Watchmen Minutemen was a great story. Using Nite Owl’s book about the heroes as the premise for opening up the history of the Minutemen allowed Cooke to craft an amazing tale. I think the ending of this series sealed the deal as this being Cooke’s best work since the New Frontier for DC.

The twist at the end is that Hollis was played by the Comedian into taking down the Hangman. Hindsight being 20/20 I should have realized that Cooke would never make it such a simplistic story. If it had played it out with Nite Owl capturing the child killer and taking Hangman down it would have been a little too clean and cookie cutter and would not have rang as true to the source material.

One of the things I remember taking away from Watchmen that no one was 100% clean. There were good people, but even the good people had flaws. Not so much as feet of clay but just that regardless of the fantastic circumstances they were involved in they are still human.

The Week in Review January 23 Part 5 of 9 – Stumptown #5, Volume 2

Stumptown #5 is the conclusion to the second story of private investigator Dex Parios by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth and Rico Renzi with Matthew Southworth on colors. It was a great story and if I’m any judge of things this book is a true labor of love.

From Greg Rucka’s wonderfully structured story to his essays on why a private eye is an great character to use for stories, the entire series has read like a true graphic novel. Like all great ongoing characters now that we are on the second story of Dex we get a subtle hint of problems to come. People are coming for Dex due to her putting her nose where some believe it does not belong. Bottom line is that I believe this is one of those series that I will have to buy the hard cover collections since I ship all the comics out to others. It is a great series and we are only two novels in.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 4 of 9– The Answer #1

I almost passed on Dark Horse’s new mini-series The Answer by Mike Norton and Dennis Hopeless but Hopeless has done some interesting work with Marvel and Norton has done decent art on some Image books and I said what the hell. I mean if I’m picking up all sorts of new books from the big two just because of familiar characters I should take more chances on new stuff, especially from creators I’m aware of and have enjoyed their work.

So I got The Answer #1 and I’m hooked and I’ll be back for the rest of the series. The one main question I have is why is The Answer a mask with an exclamation point? Of course somehow he will have to be paired off with or fight against The Question or not. Okay I got that goofy stuff out of my system.

All kidding aside the book does a great job and pulling you into the story immediately and then never letting go. By the end of the book I’d be mystified if you did not want to read the next issue which is what you want a first issue to do.

The Week of January 26 in Review Part 3 of 9 - Uncanny Avengers #3

Marvel’s flagship title of Marvel Now, Uncanny Avengers finally got out issue #3 by Rick Remender and John Cassaday. John Cassaday is one heck of a super hero artist and I know that it must be like ripping plating off an armored car for him to turn in pages. I’m guessing he is a perfectionist and that the money he has made allows him to not worry if an editor is screaming at him. This book is showcasing some of his best work in a long time and I think it is only second to his work on Planetary. Of course no one touches Warren Ellis’ ability to write to his artist. Almost every artist who works with Ellis does his best work because Ellis knows how to structure his work to take advantage at what an artist does best. Even more importantly Ellis apparently has an eye for being able to evaluate what each artist does best. For your flagship title you would be hard pressed to have a better artist doing the first arc.

The story itself is darn strange and the entire thing seems to be just setting up what I think will be a long form story with various arcs built in. Remender has cast the Red Skull as the main villain and in order to make him powerful enough he had the Red Skull steal Professor X’s brain. The Red Skull now has the mental powers of Professor X. It is only something that comic book readers could read and accept as anyone outside of comics would just laugh at how the premise is flat out ludicrous. 

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 2 of 9 – FF #3

FF #3 by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred was just fantastic (unintended pun). Until just recently I was not a huge fan of Fraction, but between Hawkeye, Fantastic Four and FF he has won me over. The actual Fantastic Four book is a very Lee/Kirby type of space adventure right now. The Hawkeye book is an almost lyrical look at the life of a street level hero. The FF is insanity.

This issue Johnny Storm comes back in time to the surrogate FF that consists of Ant Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and Darla Deering (Ms. Thing).  This Johnny Storm is many years older, has white hair, is missing a leg and an eye. He tells the tale of how the rest of the crew was destroyed by Doctor Doom, Kang and Annihilus. Oddly there is no mention of what happened to Franklin or Valerie.

The group finds it hard to believe this odd character is who he says he is. They even bring in Wyatt Wingfoot to vouch that Johnny is who he says he is. It was a nice touch hearkening back o some very old continuity. At the end of the story Johnny wants to go after Doom today and Scott’s who daughter was killed by Doom is more than willing to sign up for the idea.

The Week of January 23 in Review Part 1 of 9 - Everything Else

This week it seemed to scream for me to do a series of solo reviews of a bunch of books that I liked. Instead of starting with that portion of the program I thought I would hit a bunch of other books that I read. This is normally my wrap up post, but always good to shake things up on occasion. As with many weeks there are a lot of books that I will be reading later and I did not have a chance to include in the week in review. Monday will be 4 parts and Tuesday will be 5 parts.

Of course before we jump in we have to give you the CosmicComix list and the Midtown Comics listing. Some of the highlights are Invincible #100 (big spoiler at Bleeding Cool), Hawkeye, I Vampire, Batman Inc., and two Before Watchmen books. On one hand I’m sad to see Before Watchmen come to an end on another it is a nice reduction of my list.

Alright, now we can get back to the reviews.

Chew #31 by John Layman and Rob Guillory is the official start of the second half of the story. This continues to be a terrific series. My guess is this book is too dense with all that has gone on before to generate new readers but I’m also guessing no one is jumping off this book. Hopefully via trades and such new readers can still catch up. This issue Tony is burying his sister who died last issue and he is now back on the job with the FDA. Layman gives us more background and sets up the new arc very nicely. Not my best book of the week, but definitively one of the best series on the stands.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #16 by Scott Lobdell, Timothy Green and Wayne Faucher. Not sure what the hell happened to Timothy Green as I used to love his art. The art feels very rushed and looks like crap. The story is a continuation of Teen Titans and I only got this book since it was a Death in the Family tie-in. I really need to stop doing that, missing this book would have been a blessing. This book is a piece of garbage and a waste of money.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Week of January 23 in Review - Preview

This week is coming in nine parts. Eight books just demanded a solo spotlight treatment. I'm starting with a bunch on everything else.

Below we have covers for some of the everything else and the covers for all of the solo spotlights.

Every thing else includes:

Comic Covers Sunday: Superboy '94

Newer DC fanboys always comment on how Wally West was the only Flash for them.  Same goes for the dude who replaced Hal Jorndan whatever his name was.  All of this is very interesting when you think about it because no one ever complains about the many, many Robins that Batman has had.  Bats just changes'em out and we all go on.  Another character that no one ever seems to care about is Superboy.  For me, Superboy '94 is the only one that counts. 

Superboy #1, February 1994
Pencils: Tom Grummett
Inks: Karl Kesel
It's not his first appearance but it's a pretty good cover as covers go.  Nothing spectacular but it didn't need to be.

4 more below the break

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trying to Figure Out the Marvel NOW! Reading Chronology

I don’t think I’ve purchased this many current Marvel titles in decades!  And since the NOW jumping on point, I can definitely sense the broader coherent universe.  Of course I realize that Marvel has been having their books tie into events for years now, but the neat thing is that there is no real big event (yet) as the glue – just a lot of titles that read really well by themselves but are obviously connected together.  But how exactly or more appropriately when?  It certainly has nothing to do with the shipping schedule! So come along with me on my journey down the logic train as I try to fit (everything I’ve read) together in sequence.  It will be an abridged study (not all books and I’m not touching all of those future Hickman-ish preview images) and some of my conclusions could be way off base, but I think it’ll be fun – mainly because one of the major determining factors I’ll be basing my assumptions on are appearance changes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Indies Previews for March Part 3 of 3

Finally, the conclusion.
Little Brown And Company
Cats of Tanglewood Forest HC
by (w) Charles De Lint (a/c) Charles Vess
The magic is all around you, if only you open your eyes. Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills - until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures to find a way to make things right. In this whimsical, original folktale, a young girl's journey becomes an enchanting coming-of-age story about magic, friendship, and the courage to shape one's own destiny. 288 pgs, FC, 6x8, $17.99
Lee: In summary, this is 288 pages of Charles Vess artwork. Need I say more?
Thomm: Kitten Quest? A small criticism of the promo, even though it’s a frequently used trope. If a person is shaping her own destiny, then it’s not a destiny.

6 more below the break and then we are done!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Indies Previews for March Part 2 of 3

Continued from yesterday.

Drawn And Quarterly
Kitaro GN by (w/a/c) Shigeru Mizuki
Meet one of Japan's most popular characters of all time - the one-eyed monster boy Kitaro. He's just like any other boy, except for a few small differences: he only has one eye, his hair is as an antenna that senses paranormal activity, his geta sandals are jet-powered, and he can blend in to his surroundings like a chameleon. Oh, and he's a three hundred and fifty year old yokai (spirit monster). With all the offbeat humor of an Addams Family story, Kitaro is a light-hearted romp where the bad guys always get what's coming to them. Kitaro is bestselling manga-ka Shigeru Mizuki's most famous creation. The Kitaro series was inspired by a kamishibai or paper theatre entitled Kitaro of the Graveyard. Mizuki's series was created in 1959, and first appeared in Shonen comics magazine for boys, but quickly became a cultural landmark for young and old alike. Kitaro inspired half a dozen TV shows, plus numerous video games and films, and its cultural importance cannot be overstated. Presented to North American audiences for the first time in this lavish format, Mizuki's photo-realist landscapes and cartoony characters blend the eerie with the comic. 432 pgs, PC, 6.5x8.75, $24.95 See a long preview here
Lee: I was gonna pass on this until I realized that Mizuki wrote Nonnonba (see long review here). Nonnonba was sooooo good it made this book a buy on sight. It didn’t hurt the previews looked great too.
Thomm: This looks great. It reminds me of Native American trickster stories of Raven or Wolf. Love this kind of cultural stuff.

6 more below!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Indies Previews for March Part 1 of 3

Lee: I found out something interesting this week. Thomm doesn’t look at the covers when he comments on books! How can he not? I basically pick based on cover alone which means it’s a big part of my decision/commenting process. But, to each his own… even if said process is all messed up.
: I look at the cover if it seems relevant. Otherwise, I’m going with the promo blurb. Art guy versus story guy, once again.

:01 First Second
Olympians Vol. 05: Poseidon, Earth Shaker GN by (w/a/c) George O'connor
In the next volume of Olympians, author and artist George O'Connor turns the spotlight on that most mysterious and misunderstood of the Greek gods, Poseidon: Earth Shaker. Thrill to such famous stories as Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus and Polyphemos, and the founding of Athens - and learn how the tempestuous Poseidon became the King of the Seas. 80 pgs, FC, 7.5x10, $9.99
Lee: These books are great and I can’t believe wait for the next one. Actually, I’ll have to tell the kids because they have devoured every one. If you, or your kids, like Greek myths then this is not to be missed.
Thomm: Love the Greek myths, and I know all the stories in this book, so I’m not so likely to get it. I like the new twist on Greek myth going on in Azzarello’s Wonder Woman for my Greek myth stories these days. And that has really creative depictions of the gods, too. This one has a Poseidon who looks like Lobo in a loin cloth.

7 More below the break

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Week of January 16 in Review Part 4 of 4 – 4 From Everyone Else

To wrap the review of this week I have 4 books from 4 different publishers. One of the best things about comics today is that while the big two still dominate the charts, many other publishers have a lot of great books coming out and often have the best books coming out. The highest sales do not mean it is the best book, just the most supported or best marketed book.

First up is Saga #9 from Image by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. The success of this title has been nothing short of phenomenal. Vaughn’s name was a draw but the momentum of the series has been fantastic. I keep hearing about multiple print runs and sell outs. Heck Ebay is going nuts on this book apparently. This issue was a great spotlight on The Will the freelance assassin who is after Alana and Marko. It starts with a brief fantasy sequence, goes to Gwendolyn (Marko’s ex-girlfirend) joining with The Will. Next the two of them save the young girl who is a forced sex slave and then they begin the pursuit of Alana and Marko. The series is infused with a good story that focuses on the cast and has fun with creating a cast of alien creatures that would make the Star Wars bar scene envious. The one problem that I have with the series is remembering the names of the cast. As with many writers today they almost refuse to have the characters use each other’s name. I know it is not a natural speech pattern but when you follow as many books as I do you it is appreciated. At least I have Wikipedia (the made up encyclopedia) as most books have a page and I can refresh my memory of their names. A truly enjoyable series and one that deserves the accolades it has received.

The Week of January 16 in Review Part 3 of 4 – Simply Marvelous x 4

Once I fall behind on my weekly reading it takes forever to catch up. This week I did not get around to everything once again but these 4 from Marvel I found to be worthy of commentary. It is amazing how many different Marvel books I’m getting now. The Marvel Now stuff has been a great shake up in the status quo and is producing some excellent story lines. While I will never get the true change I want I can get some interesting stories and solid entertainment.

First up is the much maligned (at least comments I have read) Captain America series by Rick Remender, John Romita and Klaus Janson. The third issue has Cap finding out that Zola has grafted some sort of machine into Cap’s chest and Zola is now part of Cap. Remender is truly giving us a madcap Kirby type of story. Also he is mixing in parts of Steve Rogers early childhood and parts of Zola’s past from pre-WWII Germany. Each character is being given additional depth into whom there were which reflects on who they are today. With the one year jump in the time line Remender is playing out the story of Cap being stranded in Dimension Z trying to protect the little boy he rescued from Zola’s lab. Dimenson Z is its own world and Cap is now mixing it up with a monstrous native tribe that alternatively goes from trying to kill him, to saving him, to trying to kill him. The grand reveal of Zola being imbedded in Cap’s chest was odd as how would anyone not notice for a year that part of your chest is now a metal plate. I know it was under his skin, but you would notice something this large. Even comic book logic has to pass muster. The radical departure from a more noir type of Captain America to the pseudo science fiction Jack Kirby approach is very jarring, but at this point I’m enjoying the ride. I have a lot of questions about how or if Remender can make this a true change to the status quo. Since Captain America has had no true status quo before or ever had a private life it is easy to change nothing to something. Still I believe that they will not say that Cap has been out of the MU for all of this time. At the end of the adventure he steps back out of the train like he left only moments before. For Sharon it will be minutes or hours for Cap it will be years. That type of thing can be allowed within the MU.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Week of January 16 in Review Part 2 of 4 – Deathstroke #16 and What I Hate The DCU

Let’s start with the review of Deathstroke #16 by Justin (Legend of Luthor Strode) Jordan, Edgar Salazar and Scott Hanna. It was a decent book. The man who would not die was killed by his own hand. Deathstroke figured out that only the bad guy could kill himself. Deathstroke set it up where the people of the country over throw the dictator and he is shown to be beatable as long as you keep beating him. The people line up to continue to mutilate him. Even though he can’t die he can suffer unlimited torture. In the end he accepts Deathstroke’s offer and kills himself. The story has a neat twist and was good in showing off Deathstroke as a successful assassin, master planner and top level fighter. Not the greatest story but Jordan’s best DCU work to date. The art was a little super hero generic, but as I said in Part 1 the new DCU has a base similarity in too much of the art right now and the overly designed costume of Deathstroke is a joke.

Jordan’s other work is Team 7, a book I dropped because it is a writer’s nightmare. Team 7 is a book with a mission to fill in back story for the new DCU which is a shifting quagmire. It also has too many characters and is burdened by a heavy handed editorial direction (IMO).

Why I hate the new DCU is no mystery because I harp on it all the time. Deathstroke and Batgirl brought it to renewed light. I’m slowly coming to the realization that while I have not let go of who I think these characters are, DC has let go. I need to get off their island if I don’t like it.

A big problem is no one is who I think they are.

The Week of January 16 in Review Part 1 of 4– Bat, Bat, Bat – Death of the Family

The week begins with the three part of Death of the Family that came out from DC.  DC is a bitter disappointment to me of late. I truly loved the DC universe and characters and I would dearly want that love to be returned. Instead I feel like I’m a drug addict who can’t kick a habit even when I know it is bad for me.

Oh crap, I’m getting ahead of myself, jumping straight into the deep end. First I need to provide you with links to next week’s book with the Cosmic Comix’s link and the Midtown Comics link. The former is my store that I do mail order with since I have moved. I love their site and like a quick look at the list. I also use Midtown comics’ list to check on a title that I’m unfamiliar with as I can see all the solicitation details which often causes me to add a book or drop a book based on the actual contents. Next week includes Mind Mgmt, Stumptown, Battlefields, a new book Answer, Deadpool Killustrated (I just have to read this), Uncanny Avengers, BW Minutemen and Wonder Woman. It looks to be a great week.

Okay back to the books, Batman #16 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion was good. I think that Scott Snyder is DC’s best writer and I love most of his work. His run on Batman has certainly been epic but somehow it keeps falling a little bit short. To be fair I expect nothing less than excellence from Scott’s work so I have the bar set very high. In Detective I thought Scott had a few missteps when he started his run but by the end of the story line “The Black Mirror” was one of the best Batman story done in decades. It rivaled the work of O’Neil and Adams. Scott’s Batman has been good but I feel it has not hit the high water mark yet. Don’t get me wrong this is the best cape and cowl book coming out of the new DCU but I still have some issues. The Court of Owls book went too far by having a heretofore unknown brother of Bruce be the Court of Owls main assassin. True they pulled back from that idea, but it was left hanging as a remote possibility. Also in the Court of Owls Batman ended up fighting in an Iron Man type armor. Granted given what was going on it almost felt needed, but that was not my version of Batman. It felt more like the old fifties and sixties style Batman where he is closer to being a true super human as opposed to a heroic man.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Week of January 16 in Review - The Preview

Once again this week will be presented in four parts and I will give my view on the following books and deliver yet another blistering diatribe on why the new DCU is a bitter disappointment to me.

 Part 1

Comic Covers Sunday: Lloyd Llewellyn

Continuing the theme if indie creators, this week I wanted to look at the early works of another master.  In this case, I wanted to see what Dan Clowes, of Ghost World fame did before he was huge.

All covers are pencils/inks by: Daniel Clowes

Lloyd Llewellyn #1, April 1986
If this doesn't epitomize indie comics of the 80's I don't know what does.  I love the clutter plus the obvious reference to early mad magazines.  Gotta love stick figure robots too.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wolverine Gets Punked: All-New X-Men #006 & Avenging Spider-Man #016 – Two Reviews

Since it worked so well last week, let’s jump right into the review.  As always, there will be SPOILERS!

All-New X-Men #006
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:   David Marquez
Color Artist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 (including “FREE” digital copy)

Falling in love again
Never wanted to
What am I to do
Can't help it

Written by Frederick Hollander & Sammy Lerner
© 1930 Famous Music Corp (ASCAP)

I’m in love with the X-Men again!  I don’t think I’ve enjoyed an X-book so much since Paul Smith left the title back in the mid-eighties.  This book is wonderful and it has cemented itself as not only my favorite Marvel NOW series, but my favorite current ongoing series as well.  David Marquez starts his three-issue stint on the title to give Stuart Immonen a breather and the art quality did not drop a notch!  This issue was rumored to be emblazoned with “NOW2” on the cover, but apparently that was only on the Diamond invoices.  It’s just as well, because we’re really still clicking along with the story.  No part one of six here, just ongoing continuous goodness.  I’m already hoping we get at least a hundred issues on the book.  I know Bendis can do it, even if I did skip his Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers comics.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Channel Evil – An Interview with Writer Alan Grant

First off I want to thank Alan Grant for agreeing to do this interview. Alan’s work spans decades and includes Judge Dredd, Judge Anderson, Batman, Outcast and many, many other comics. Alan is one of only a handful of writers whose work is as vibrant today as it was when he started.

In doing some research for the interview I stumbled upon this interview of Alan by Andy Diggle. It is a great interview giving a good history on the breadth and depth of Alan’s career. Granted it is from 2004, but any Alan Grant fan should enjoy it. Just click here.

Alan Grant
Jim: Alan, before getting into Channel Evil, can you give a little background of your extensive history in the comic’s medium?
Alan: When Pat Mills and John Wagner were working on ideas and stories for a new science fiction comic (which would become 2000AD), they were unable to meet their existing writing commitments and asked me if I’d like to take over writing Tarzan comics for continental distribution (excluding the UK). While visiting the Tarzan publisher in London, I paid a visit to the 2000AD offices...and left an hour later with a job as sub-editor. I stayed for a couple of years,  and got to know all of the contributors - Ezquerra, Bolland, McMahon, Dave Gibbons, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy etc. But I’m far from being a team worker so I left to become a freelance writer.
John Wagner fell ill about this time, and asked if I’d like to become his co-writer on a number of series...the birth of our 10-year writing partnership. We did Judge Dredd, RoboHunter, Strontium Dog, Hell-Trekkers, Bad City Blue and many others for 2000AD, as well as series such as Doomlord, Computer Warrior and The Fists of Danny Pyke for Eagle, and various other stories for Scream, Roy of the Rovers and any other comic which would employ us.
We had a call from DC’s Denny o’Neil offering us a trial two-issue run on Batman, and although John left after half a dozen issues (the trial was successful, but John was never a fan of American comics) I continued on the various Batman titles (Detective Comics, Batman Monthly, Shadow of the Bat) for around 10 years. For DC I also wrote The Demon, LEGION 89 and Lobo on a regular basis. I did some work for Marvel - the RoboCop comic series, a Silver Surfer story and other odd bits here and there - an Incredible Hulk story, for instance. And for Dark Horse I wrote many of the Terminator mini-series.
Meanwhile, John and I continued to work together on some stories - we created The Bogie Man, which is still (as far as I’m aware) the best-selling independent title ever published in the UK.
I wrote an Evil Ernie series for Boom! Studios, and worked on Jeremiah Harm with my old Lobo pal Keith Giffen. More recently I’ve written The Loxleys and the War of 1812 graphic novel for Renegade of Canada, who have also released Tales of the Buddha (before he was enlightened) as an e-book...and, indeed, Channel Evil.
I’ve written around a dozen novels - mainly based on superheroes - as well as contributing to half-a-dozen short story anthologies. I wrote the Action Man “Robot Attak” movie, a movie version of Dominator (with Tony Luke), and a few others which remain unmade.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

DC Preview Reviews For March and April – It Really Is You – You’ve Changed

Jim: So I decided that I need to get more current with the DC Preview Reviews since the April solicitations just came out I figured might us well tackle both months. Plus I hate what DC is doing right now. I’m concerned that the group of characters that I really loved at one point are being abused and misused.

Where Marvel seems to be coming to the table with book after book after book with a plan of attack and a one or two year plan for stories or a story, DC is constantly changing on the fly. Announcing Gail Simone on and off Batgirl, announcing creators and pulling them before they even get started and other head scratching decisions is driving me away from the books. The cancellation of I, Vampire was a bleak announcement. Joshua Fialkov says he got to write his ending which is a good thing, but it smacks of DC not supporting critical favorites like they used to do. Heck the trade sales were off the charts, so it must have been making money.

In April the Vertigo offering was down to Unwritten, the two Fable titles and the last issue of Saucer Country. Vertigo was a big part of what I got from DC and with that and Before Watchmen off the table it is almost down to Snyder and Lemire books being all I want or care to read. I will still follow some stuff here and there but my hope that DC will turn this around has faded. Instead of turning it around I believe that it is going down the toilet.

Shawn: I was always a huge Vertigo supporter, but even with the Snyder and Lemire books coming out this year, I think the imprint's days are numbered. I am hoping DC offers Fialkov more books, and Sorrentino is partially illustrating the last issue of I,Vampire. Perhaps Fialkov will spin some of the characters out of that title into a new book. I'll be honest, I like Lemire and Fawkes, but Fialkov would have been my choice for Justice League Dark. But if they don't give him anymore work, that's ok. Dynamite and Marvel already have. 

I was turned off by the last minute creative shuffling, and I have been less than enthusiastic about many of their announcements lately. Ending Hellblazer? Gah. With all due respect to the work Lemire has been doing in JLD, that guy is not Constantine. Especially after that horrible Zero Issue. After the Simone fiasco it really does seem like the Powers-That-Be are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares

Hoo-rah!  Dracula makes an appearance in Scott Snyder's excellent Vertigo series.  Ok, not exactly an appearance.  We never do see him in the series.  But his malevolent presence sure is felt.

Another in the series telling more about the Vassals of the Morning Star and Felicia Book, this miniseries is certainly as good as its predecessor, Survival of the Fittest.  Actually, I'd say it's better.

Felicia now lives in Paris with Gus, her adopted son who she has cured of vampirism with an experimental serum.  Agent Hobbes, quite possibly the most aptly named fictional character ever, is sitting at an outdoor cafe in London, 1954 when a damnably perky American, sweater tied around his shoulders and all, plops down at his table.  Tommy Glass is the possessed agent of Dracula, who's been prisoner of the VMS in one of the pillars of a London bridge for over 50 years.  As he's talking to Hobbes vampires are breaking out Dracula, or more specifically, the coffin containing Dracula where he's been held and deprived of blood all that time.

Hobbes manages to escape the carngage at the bridge and reach Paris to enlist Felicia's help.  The vampires are supposed to have reached a deal with the Soviets for the coffin to be taken to Moscow but the double cross is on.  The vampires instead take the coffin themselves.  Felicia and Hobbes, with Gus in tow, wind up allied with a vampires who are of a different species than Dracula's minions.

In fact, there's a lot of new information as well as a great story here.  We learn Hobbes' history and how the Carpathian breed of vampire came to be, Dracula being their sire.  Turns out Gus wasn't cured by the serum, either.  It just surpressed his vampirism.  Dracula being out in the world and having the ability to control all Carpathians caused Gus to try to kill Hobbes at one point, but for the most part he's free of Dracula's influence.

I love the wide catalog of vampires that Snyder's created in this and the main American Vampire series.  There's a lot of new ideas he's brought to the vampire genre, and fortunately none of them involved sparkling skin and fetid romance stories.  Although, if anyone could make that genre of vampire story interesting, I'd bet on Snyder.  By the end of the miniseries Felicia is back in the VMS fold.  Looks like Gus will soon be one of their top agents, too.

I only had two quibbles with the story.  The one I can explain myself.  The story lays out that Dracula can control any Carpathian, but he controls Gus at one point.  Gus was injected with vampire blood when he was in utero, but that blood was American Vampire blood, not Carpathian.  I presume that because the Carpathian's were the original source of the American breed there's enough of the Carpathian in Gus that Dracula could weild some incomplete influence. 

More puzzling was Gus's age.  Hobbes says right in the first issue that it's been 15 years since Felicia took Gus from the VMS.  That was my calculation, too, because Survival of the Fittest took place in 1939.  That would mean that Gus is a minimum of 15 years old, more likely 16 or 17 because he wasn't an infant in 1939.  Despite that he's portrayed as an elementary age kid, at most 10 years old, and more likely 8.  Now, maybe his aging is somehow retarted by his vampirism, but it's never stated in the course of the story.  Hopefully the next installment will explain it.  Maybe we'll have a young man Gus in swinging 1960s San Francisco or something.  Whatever it is, I'll be anticipating it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Week of January 9 in Review Part 4of 4 – The Not So Elite Eight

Perhaps an unfair titling of this part as it really is just everything else that I read. Again this week with the 4 football games on my time was limited. It was another 30 book week, so many did not get read. Some of these were good, some were fun and one was none.

Let’s start with the one book that I thought was horrible this week and one I should have skipped and that is Action Comics #16. This is Grant Morrison at his maddest and most insane. He has multiple time lines and multiple plots and his run on Action is coming to a conclusion. Sadly he lost me a few issues ago. Grant likes to challenge his readers and I believe most of his work demands a closer reading then I have time to give them. Also Grant’s books, at times, fail in being cohesive as chapters and work best as a graphic novel format. I actually sense a great story in the mix of his Action comics run and may pick up the collected works. DC’s new demand of making it monthly no matter what means Rags Morales does not get to be the artist of record and the fill in art is not as strong as Rags. DC needs to let Grant do a story and pick a great artist and not release the story until it is done. I have heard no buzz on this book at all though and that gives me pause as I know others will devote more time to reading his work. If it was epic I would have thought I may have seen evidence of positive reviews. At this point it appears Grant is pulling away from super hero work and this maybe one of his swan songs on the genre. Maybe when the run is on sale I can get the trades or hard covers. The bottom line is as a solo issue I found it to be confusing, convoluted and an impossible read.

Next up is Thunderbolts #3 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. General Thaddeus (Red Hulk) Ross’ group of cutthroats and assassins banded together to right wrongs in the world. The best part of the book was (SPOLIERS) the Punisher putting a bullet to the head of the Leader. Ross was charging up the Leader for information he needed and had convinced Deadpool this is not a bad idea. Deadpool said the Punisher wouldn’t care and he was right. It was an awesome ending and so in character for Frank Castle, it made the book.

The Week in Review Part 3 of 4 – 4 Books That Know Where They Are Going

Different comics give me different impressions as to planning. Some books have a clue what they are going and how to get there. Chew was planned as a 60 issue series, Sweet Tooth was a complete story, many series meander. The unlimited nature of some series create a problem in that the demands of producing a monthly book causes a writer to just start producing stories and the book loses focus and direction. I have recently re-read the first 30 books of the Namor series by John Byrne. The book started off strong and then Byrne layered in various plots and tried to wrap up some old Iron Fist stories. By the time I get to the early Jae Lee art issues I no longer cared about a story that had gotten lost. If I was an editor I would ask for a five year plan or at least what your first three story arcs are for a series, just to make sure the book had a sense of direction. These four books seem to have gotten it right.

First up is Walking Dead #106 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard. My guess is that Kirkman had no clue where he was going long term with this book when it started. This was an independent endeavor and the chances of this type of book making it this long were essentially zero. As the book garnered success I believe that Kirkman started to get an idea where the story was going. This to me is a classic case of the characters writing themselves. The consistency of one writer handling a book (and the creator owned aspect of same) allows the book to find its own beat and rhythm. I think once Kirkman got a handle on the characters each story sort of presents itself. The book gained a direction as our lives gain a direction due to our experiences. The current story line certainly seems to give credence to that idea. Carl went off half cocked to take out Negan. In this issue he is both still a child and still the bad ass. Negan is a megalomaniac who likes Carl but must put him in his place. Rick is a fighter and only has his son to keep his tenuous hold on his sanity in check. This issue those elements lead Rick to go after Negan and Negan to do something to Carl. The meeting of Rick and Negan at the end leaves us with the cliff hanger of what happened to Carl. I may not know what happens next, but Kirkman does and he will let the story tell itself. This is a great way of doing an unlimited series. As a writer you put the characters in different situations and let the story tell itself (in a sense). I feel like Walking Dead has gotten that type of rhythm and Kirkman has an idea what each next story beat maybe but allows the characters to dictate the pace.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Week of January 9 in Review – Part 2 of 4 – 2 Beginnings, 2 Middles and an End.

The beginnings are Star Wars #1 and Superior Spider-Man #1. Neither is true beginning but a new #1 demarking an event or new chapters.

Let’s start with Superior Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman and yes there are SPOILERS. In fact why should I rehash the plotline as Matthew covered it so well on Saturday as you can see by clicking here. What I wanted to talk about was the marketing job and the planning that went in to how Marvel is handling Potto ®Parker. In the first issue we see that Peter is a “ghost in the machine” for Potto Parker. Peter is still “alive” and he is the guiding hand that is making sure Potto ® Parker does not cross the line. From the jump we know that the end of the story is Peter regaining full control of his body. This immediately saves the series from many fans of the book jumping off because who wants to read a book about the ultimate bad guy perhaps gaining some sort of redemption. Doctor Octopus was not just a bad guy, he was a villain. Of course Magneto has switched sides, so who knows. Still I think Marvel was concerned that they needed to make sure Peter Parker fans were not going to think he was actually “comic book” dead for even an instant. Now the game becomes how long before Peter gets full control and how badly does Peter’s reputation and status got hurt by the actions of Potto? We already have seen the ads that the Avengers will fire him and you have to assume the ruthless nature of Superior Spider-Man is the reason. I also foresee Peter’s friends abandoning him as Potto will seem as rude and obnoxious and will turn off those friendships. The story now becomes the good guy is possessed and the bad guy screws up his life. Then the good guy gets back his life and now has to repair/explain what happened. I’m curious to see if Wolverine is as unforgiving to Peter as he was to Scott Summers.  The book has my interest enough to buy a few more issues, but we need to see some good twists and turns and things I was not expecting to keep me on the series, otherwise I will await the announcement of Peter being back and check that story out.

The Week of January 9 in Review Part 1 of 4 - Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth #1 (of 4)

Okay so this week I’m starting off reviewing what will be next week’s best book. On occasion we get offered the opportunity to read books prior to being published. As time is a precious commodity I usually never bother to read these. Other times much of the work is coming from smaller publishers and many times it is people who are just getting started. That means the work is often not polished and has limited appeal. Something caught my eye with this book and I’m glad I read it as this will most likely be the best book coming out next week. And next week includes the newest Batman, All New X-Men and Saga in the mix, so that is high praise indeed. In fact to see next week’s list you can click here for the quick list or here for the detailed listing.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth #1 (of 4) is offered by Image comics and is written by Ken Kristensen with art by MK (Air) Perker.

The official description is This series, a collision of comedy, sex, and violence, follows the misadventures of America's most dysfunctional family as they go head-to-severed head with an Oprah-loving ax murderer, a cult-crazy soap opera star, and a neo-Nazi prison gang.”

The official first issue description is “Todd wants desperately to make friends, but every kid he approaches winds up decapitated. Or worse. Meanwhile, Todd's mother is on a mission to get even with her husband who she believes is having an affair.”

What I found as I read the book that this was simply put one of the funniest, much touching, smartest, over the top pieces of entertainment mixed with some social commentary I have read in a very long time. It is Mad Magazine meets Psycho as a heartwarming tale of a young boy facing life.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Week of January 9 in Review - Preview - 4 Parts coming Monday and Tuesday

In which we discuss the following books.

Comic Covers Sunday: Yeah!

The big two are always looking for new and "innovative" ways to get girls back into comics.  In the late 90's, Peter Bagge, of Hate! fame, wanted to write a comic that would appeal to his young daughter.  He roped Gilbert Hernandez, of Love and Rockets fame together they created Yeah!

All covers are pencils/inks by: Gilbert Hernandez

Yeah #1, October 1999
The premise was simple enough, a girl rock band is super popular in outer space, not so much on their home planet Earth.  Think Josie and the Pussycats... with a little edge.  As much as Bagge tried to tame it down, it's more tween... late tween... than anything else.

See the rest below the break

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #1 – A Review

For a change of pace, let’s jump right into the review.  As always, there will be SPOILERS!

Superior Spider-Man #001

Writer:  Dan Slott
Artist:   Ryan Stegman
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 (including “FREE” digital copy)

This was an enjoyable first issue, but I did have some quibbles about it. Potto® Parker visits the grave of Otto Octavius.  The tombstone is really weathered and the dandelion laden grass is growing tall around it.  Sounds like an accurate depiction of a cemetery doesn’t it?  Sure, if the death of Otto occurred years ago instead of the day after Christmas.  Oh, I get it.  This must be the tombstone from his first death back in the mid-nineties! Because I tell you, someone is probably still conducting the autopsy on his deteriorated body after ASM #700.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Disturbing.  Not because it's soaked in gore, though the cover might lead you to that conclusion.  This is disturbing because Kevin Colden, writer and artist, is telling a story about an actual event that occurred in a section of Philadelphia called Fishtown.

In fact, the Philadelphia setting is what drew me to buy this book.  Well, that and the deep discount on the price.  This makes two weeks in a row of high quality books from IDW that I've located on the cheap.  Not doing any service to IDW's bottom line, though more likely a disservice to the bottom line of Cards, Comics and Collectibles, but my wallet and my reading pleasure are benefiting.

Colden starts with this quote from Jean-Paul Sartre: "It disturbs me no more to find men base, unjust, or selfish than to see apes mischievous, wolves savage, or the vulture ravenous."  If that's not a hint about the low territory we're entering, I don't know what is.

Colden tells the story from the perspective of police interviews of four young people.  They are three boys and a girl, all late teens, high school age.  Through the intereviews he brings out the story of murder until it circles back to arrests and interviews.

It's no surprise that these four have killed an acquaintance/friend.  The story is about how they reached that point, their rationalizations for their actions, and how they carried out the murder with absolutely no thought about consequences for themselves or anyone else.  Of course they have no idea the effort it takes to kill someone using blunt objects.  Of course they suck at covering up their involvement in the murder.  What they excel at is pushing blame away from their individual decisions and onto their cohorts.

It's not a sad story because a young man, or nearly young man, died.  That is sad, and the impact on his family isn't ignored.  The tragic aspect is the utter disgust that you'll feel for the perpetrators.  Colden tells the story so well that you can hope that there's some redeeming quality to these four.  It's their back stories we learn.  They're not unusual people, for good or ill.  And yet they reach the decision that's devoid of empathy for another person.  Sartre may not have been disturbed by this story (and we'll never know), but I was.  I consider that successful storytelling by Colden.

Adding to the bleak picture are the actual pictures.  Colden uses only two colors.  Most things are colored with a shade of pale yellow.  Only blood shows up in any other color, and even that's a pale red.  It lends a washed out feel to the story that's in keeping with the depressed community and even more depressed lives of the protagonists.  Colden has great perspective in his art and employs the interviews of the suspects par excellence.  The deadpan expressions through so much of the interviews, with the occasional dumbfounded or dismayed.  Some come to more of a realization of their end circumstances than others, and Colden has that well displayed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Phoenix Without Ashes

I had to do some background search on this one.  When I finished reading I had the distinct feeling that there was a lot more to be said, so if there was more out there, I wanted to make a note.  Well, there's more, but not in comic form.

Another of my deeply discounted sale purchases at Cards, Comics and Collectibles, the name Harlan Ellison made it an easy buy.  You'd think the full title of Harlan Ellison's Phoenix Without Ashes might mean someone else wrote it, but Ellison did pen it.  It's just that the origin of the work was in 1973.

Published by IDW in 2010, this four issue mini-series, collected in one hard cover here, has the feel of a lot of sci-fi from the '70s.  The protagonist is named Devin.  He's a young man in love with Rachel, who's supposed to marry Devin's friend Garth, though Rachel and Garth are just friends.  Rachel loves Devin, too.  It's a family thing.  See, in the society they inhabit a community leader in communication with a god/computer determines who will marry who.  The community thinks the leader is getting his orders from the god/computer, but the leader is programming the decisions himself.  Devin's a troublemaker who questions authority, so he's not going to be allowed to marry his love.  It's all very Puritan, right down to how the people dress and the agrarian economy (not resembling Amish as I read on another site).

Trying to escape the authorities, Devin stumbles on a hatch and falls in.  Turns out his community is one of many spheres attached to a large ship called The ARK.  Devin finds that crew members on this ship are dead from some accident but a helpful computer that gives him some of the ship's history.  It's enough that he realizes that there are a lots of other spheres and that each one was set up to preserve a way of human life and culture when some calamity was imminent that would destroy the Earth.  Some hundreds of years ago the accident that killed the command crew occurred, leaving the ship without pilots.  Presumably, most of the other spheres' inhabitants have lost the knowledge that they're on a ship, just like Devin's community did.

Devin returns to his community, gets caught, and is supposed to be executed but escapes with Rachel, out of the sphere and back into the corridors of the ship.  Garth sees where they go and lets them escape.

Now, in 1973 Ellison was part of a production that created a Canadian Television show called Starlost.  Ellison won awards for his script of the pilot, but the production was such a mess that he left before the first episode, which altered his script quite a bit, aired.  The show ran for 16 episodes, so there's a lot more story out there, and if you want to search it, you can find a good bit of summary in Wikipedia. 

Near as I can tell, only the part of the story represented by this collection is Ellison's work, so even though I enjoyed this book, there's nothing more out there to further the story that's the same level of quality.  Ellison has elements of The Crucible, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Lost in Space wrapped in his story, but more than enough that's new and interesting that I'd like to see a lot more.  This is a starting point to a much larger story, though I don't know if Ellison has any intention of telling anything more.

As for the art, Alan Robinson is the man behind the high quality pictures here, with coloring by Kote Carvajal.  Robinson uses a heavy line and heavy inks.  In fact, if you like Gabriel Rodriguez's art in Locke & Key, you'll like Robinson's art here.  If art could be separated at birth, these two would qualify.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

IDW Previews for March

Lee: After a slow December, the previews are really picking up. As always there’s lots to like.
Thomm: And lots to be ambivalent about.

Judge Dredd: Year One #1
Matt Smith (w) • Simon Coleby (a) • Greg Staples (c)
“The Long Hard Road” begins here! In an all-new adventure from Joe Dredd’s early days as a Mega City-One Judge, writer (and Eagle-award-winning 2000 AD Editor) Matt Smith presents a tale where “all the young juves, carry the news,” only in this case, the news is delivered with a lethal blow!
Lee: And let the flooding of the stands begin. I love Dredd more than most but two books in one month is a little much, even for me. I’ll check this out because I love Coleby’s art but I don’t know how long I am going to stay.
Thomm: Have a nice visit. Not a Dredd fan so this has no appeal to me.

So Judge Dredd didn't do it for Thomm... see how well I was able to sell Thomm on more books below the break.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Week of January 2 in Review – Part 4 of 4 - An Opinion - Gail Simone Comic Book Geekdom’s Goddess

I often think my last name should be Jim Contrarian as opposed to Jim Martin. The reason is that once I see everyone lining up on one side of an issue I’m inherently suspicious and prefer to look at the other side. 

Now in the main comic websites I visit it appears that Gail Simone is a heroine in her own right and a living and breathing comic book goddess whose writing stands up there with Stan Lee, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Gardner Fox, Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder. This has been proven by DC’s great reversal of rehiring her after kicking her off Batgirl, because that book has been universally praised as the best thing ever written, oh wait it hasn’t.

As with my diatribe on Hawkeye, let me make it clear that I like Gail Simone’s work on many books and I’m a supporter of her and Jim Califore’s Kickstarter project. It is just that I do not think Batgirl has been a very good book and I thought her run on Wonder Woman was very, very mixed and ultimately unreadable.

Gail first impressed me with her work on Birds of Prey. She took over a concept that Chuck Dixon had started and done a great job with it. She had such a great handle on Oracle, Black Canary and the rest that the series become her signature book and most readers forgot that someone else even started the concept.

Next I loved her Secret Six work, one of the best books of its ilk. Her and Jim Califore (mainly) absolutely rocked this book. The interplay between the bad guys was so well done that you started to love Catman, Deadshot and all the rest. In fact the arc with Catman having his son kidnapped was one of the best stories done that year.