Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stuff of Legend and Free Comic Book Day

Normally I'm loathe to post press releases, but Stuff of Legend is a great book and only 2 issues long and I would love to see this book succeed for Th3rd World beyond their wildest dreams. Gwen and I loved it and Thomm saw potential in the series (which is akin to most people loving a book).

See our reviews, here, here and here.

The Press Release

Th3rd World Studios launches dark fantasy series The Stuff of Legend on Free Comic Book DayTh3rd World Studios' ( new fantasy series, following the adventures of a band of loyal toys on a mission to save their owner from the clutches of The Boogeyman, is available April 29, 2009 through Diamond Comics Distributors. The first volume of the series will be released bi-monthly with the first issue hitting stands in July. The series has already received high praise from some of the industry's top veterans.

Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Lost) calls The Stuff of Legend, "…some of the loveliest artwork I've seen in a comic book in a long, long time, and a darkly beautiful story to boot."

Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, We3) described the series as, "...a real page-turner. Economical, effective story-telling, with both story and art complimenting each other perfectly, and hinting at something darker. Very involving."

Joe Kelly (Amazing Spider-Man, Deadpool) declares, "I came for the preview, but stayed for the war. "The Stuff of Legend" caught me immediately and much to my surprise utterly refused to let go. The art is fantastic (I'd say "luxurious" if it wouldn't sound too haughty!) and what looks at first blush to be a simple story quickly reveals itself to be layered, emotional, and complex. The characters are painted with austere but revealing strokes, saying more in a few panels than most writers do in an entire issue. By the end of this preview, I didn't just want to get the next issue, I needed to get it, because I found myself concerned about what might happen to them next."

The Story was created and penned by Mike Raicht (Army of Darkness) and Brian Smith, with pencils by newcomer Charles Paul Wilson III. Set during the height of World War II in 1944, The Stuff of Legend follows a group of toys on a grand and sometimes frightening adventure into a realm called The Dark to save their master from every child's worst nightmare -- The Boogeyman."I think when people see Charles' art on this book they will be absolutely blown away", said publisher Michael DeVito. "Raicht and Smitty have done something just as special with this script, taking familiar story elements and making them their own. This story crosses all age barriers. There is something here for everyone, whether you are 13 or 40. "To celebrate the announcement Th3rd World Studios creators will be signing at various locations across the US where FREE preview copies of the first 20+ pages of the book will be available.

The creative team of Stuff of Legend as well as other creators will be signing at these locations:

Mike Raicht (The Stuff of Legend writer)Play the Game Read the Story: Syracuse, NY(

Scott Closter (Space Doubles creator)Comic Encounters: BC, Canada(

Charles Paul Wilson III (The Stuff of Legend artist)Michael DeVito (Th3rd World Studios publisher)

Scott King (DAD! A Documentary Graphic Novel)Captain Blue Hen: Newark, DE(

Brock Heasley (SuperFogeys creator)Heroes: Fresno, CA(

Dwight L. MacPherson (Interagents writer)Mountain Empire Comics: Johnson City, TN(

Keith Dallas (Omega Chase writer, The Flash Companion writer)Fourth World Comics: Smithtown, NY

The Stuff of Legend is a 2 issue series (52 pages per issue, no ads, square bound, $4.99) with the first issue hitting shelves in July. (Diamond Order # MAY091019).

Indies June Part 2

Continued from yesterday..

:01 First Second
Tiny Tyrant Ethelbertosaurus GN by (W) Lewis Trondheim (A) Fabrice Parme
The Tiny Tyrant returns: bigger and better than ever in the new, kid-friendly format! Though he has a handful of advisors, this miniscule monarch is the one who really calls the shots - demanding to see Santa Claus, testing out his new bodyguard, and replacing all the kids in the kingdom with robot doubles of his own royal self! Hilarity and hijinks abound when you enter the world of the Tiny Tyrant. $9.95. Read and excerpt here
Lee: Imagine a small boy having the wealth of Richie Rich, the personality of Bart Simpson, and no authority figure in sight and you have the Tiny Tyrant. You can’t imagine the trouble that he gets into! This very, very good and laugh out loud funny.
Jim: Cute and all, but not the type of stuff that I have an interest in anymore. That is not a condemnation of the book, just a viewpoint for me.

Fantagraphics Books
You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation SC By Fletcher Hanks
Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur. That is, he wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered all of his own stories. He completed an astonishing 48 stories in three years from 1939-1941. As a one-man-cartooning-band, his work packs the wallop of a unique and unified artistic vision. He was a true comics visionary. In the earliest days of the comic book, before censorship, it was anything goes!-and in the tales of Fletcher Hanks, anything went! The superhero Stardust gazes down at evil-doers from space and doles out ice cold slabs of poetic justice with his wizardry. A villain out to kidnap all the heads of state gets turned into a giant head, body, just a head! The jungle protectress, Fantomah, looks like Jean Harlow in a skin-tight black negligee. But when she sees an evil scientist drugging gorillas to become slaves, her head transforms into a flaming skull and she tosses the villain to the gorillas who proceed to graphically tear the guy limb from ragged limb. Although the early comic books were meant for the kiddies, todays mature readers are stunned by their pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem. The first volume of Fletcher Hanks stories, I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! (now in its fourth printing) was an Eisner Award-winning smash hit and a staple on Best of the Year lists. Comics fans were thrilled to come upon a cartoonist of this caliber whom they had never heard of before. Non comics fans who read about the book in The Believer and other journals were stunned to discover an Outsider Artist in comic book form. Edited by cartoonist Paul Karasik, this second volume You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation, collects all of the rest of Hanks comic book work. Thats right... ALL! The 31 tales in this book (more than TWICE as many as in the first), when combined with the first volume, will comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks! $24.99
Jim: The Fletcher Hanks stuff will make you think Morrison’s material is totally coherent, but it has a madness that is just enjoyable.
Lee: These are such great stories! It really is amazing the insanity that was published in the 1950’s. This is easily as good as any underground comix material published today! It’s well worth your investment.

IDW Publishing
Captain Canuck Vol. 01 HC by (W) Richard Comely (A) George Freeman
Canadas first superhero returns! Captain Canuck has influenced Canadian cartoonists for more than 30 years, and now the best-selling opus returns with the first of two beautiful hardcover editions. Volume 1 collects issues #4-10. Hardcover. Full Color. 152 Pages 6.625 x 10.187 $24.99
Jim: Never read Captain Canuck, but I’m very tempted to try out volume #1, but fearful that the material may not be that strong.
Lee: I’m with you, never read the material, but interested in it. The main draw for me is Freeman’s art. He was/is an excellent artist and he did so little comics work that this is the best way to see it. On the other hand, I have little to no expectations for the story.

Leo Pulp GN by (w) Claudo Nizzi (a) Massimo Bonfatti
Leo Pulp lives in the times when detective stories and the tough-guy persona were all the rage. Like hardboiled private investigators in classic noir stories, Pulp has a knack for smelling out the intrigue of 1940s Hollywood, and getting in over his head. TPB Full Color. 300 Pages 6.25 x 8.25o $27.99 See samples of Bonfatti’s art here
Lee: I love Bonfatti’s art. I’ve never seen it before but I love the previews. This looks like it’s going to be fun. It’s interesting too that IDW is starting to reprint Euro comics.
Jim: IDW is fast becoming the new Dark Horse of comics. They have a strong base of license books, but also experiment with a lot of other material. IDW is always a publisher that I look at their solicitations.

Kettledrummer/Diabolo Edicione
Young Lovecraft GN by (W) José Oliver (A) Batolo Torres
Young Lovecraft, the web comic that took Spain by storm, makes its English language debut in this hilarious graphic novel by José Oliver and Bartolo Torres. Oliver and Torres explore the childhood of H.P. Lovecraft, the genius of literary terror who gave us the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle, and forever changed the landscape modern horror. Join the young Lovecraft on his macabre and comical adventures! $14.95. Go here for a whole bunch of sample strips.
Lee: Speaking of Euro comics, it’s not often a Spanish webcomic makes it to print in America. That alone is enough to make me want to read this. It reminds me of the other daily strip Lio in many ways.
Jim: Since I have started to read Lovecraft's stuff and read about him as an actual person I would stay away from this until I finish reading the "Best of" Anthology that I have started, so it would not color my perception of the man in anyway.

Lapin Factory
When We Fall GN by (W/A) Mr. Clement
Petit Lapin travels through time to collect a spaceship filled with cookie crumbs of broken relationships. Never running out of tragic missions, actions, romance and violence, Lapins space travel finds himself tumbling through human misconnections. When We Fall envelopes these autobiographical fictions in an empty swimming pool of love where unattainability is abundant. (NOTE: Books are hand bound and ship individually bagged with a poster of Astrolapin figure) $18.75 Visit Mr. Clement’s strange little blog here or the official site here
Lee: What a strange little book this is. I’m not sure that I can adequately describe it in the three sentences I’m allowed here. But, take a look at the links. It’s very interesting and completely different from most everything else out there.
Jim: I await your review of this odd offering.

Lawdog Comics
Bring Out Your Dead Vol. 01: It Tolls for Thee GN by (W/A) James Heffron
Cyprus, 1208 CE. Plague has defiled a seaside dominion, and carts filled with the dead rattle through the cobbled streets. With supply lines dwindling, a tyrannical Counts desperation mounts. Worries of plague and provender suddenly give way to new horrors, when loved ones thought lost return - as something else. A farmers daughter, a Templar Knight, an Eastern ambassador, a nun, an executioner - what could call upon such diversity to defend a dying village? Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for thee! $9.95 See a 12 page preview here
Lee: Well, it certainly has a creepy enough cover to be a good horror book. And, what better than zombies and mutants set in medieval times. This has possibilities.
Jim: It does have a certain "charm" to it, doesn't it. A great cover that should draw people in.

Treasury 20th Century Murder Vol. 02: Famous Players HC by (W/A) Rick Geary
Its the early days of Hollywood, movies are just starting to come of their own and gain in popularity. New Stars are made. The movies are still silent but their stars certainly are not, in the scandal sheets. Amidst this new boiling cauldron, William Desmond Taylor, a successful director at the upscale Famous Players Studio is found shot in his home. Could it have been the star Mary Miles Minter or a former butler? But then, what about that strange past Taylor had? $15.95
Lee: I mention Geary’s Treasury of 20th Century Murder books almost as often as I mention the Ducks. But, they’re always good and great to look at. If you are a true crime/history buff then you shouldn’t miss this.
Jim: The first time I got one of Geary's books it took me months to sit down and read it and then I was hooked. The true crime stuff is great and Geary does a superb job.

New Reliable Press
Jan's Atomic Heart by (W/A) Simon Roy
Frankfurt, the far future. Earth recovers from a brief war against Lunar Separatists. Jan, a computer analyst, has been fitted with an old lunar-made body in the aftermath of a brutal car wreck. Fear sets in as similar-style lunar bodies are used in terrorist attacks staged by a rogue group of Lunar Separatists, which leads Jan to believe that he may be an unwilling pawn for a terrorist attack. $5.95 See a 22 page preview here
Lee: This reads really, really well. Apparently this is Roy’s first published work. I’m surprised because the preview reads really, really well. This appears to be an interesting science fiction tale from a bright new talent. Get this and you can say “I knew him when” later.
Jim: This has tons of promise, but really facing an uphill battle in today's market to even get published. This type of book is usually solicited before it is published to see if they get enough orders. I fear it will never see the light of day.

True Loves Vol. 02 GN by (W) Jason Turner, Manien Bothma (A) Jason Turner
Its been one year since True and Zander moved in together and life couldn’t be better. However, there appears to be trouble in paradise as old flames reappear, interests drift and schedules clash. Can love endure or are our heroes headed for disaster? $8.95 See a 25 page preview here
Lee: Usually, relatively new publishers might have one good offering. Or at least one worth taking a chance on. Surprisingly enough, New Reliable Press appears to have two books that are worth looking at. This appears to be a better than average, slice of life, book. The arts slightly cartoony but it fits the story.
Jim: Slice of life Lee loves, slice of life Jim avoids it like the plague.

Poseur Ink
Side B GN by (W/A) Various, CoverArt: Lucy Knisley
Created by veteran and ingenue artists alike, Side B contains over 200 pages of lost lovers, rocking out, spirit guides, ghosts, and dinosaurs - its like an action adventure comic for the music lover in all of us. Including the creative talents of such comic icons as Jeffrey Brown (Clumsy), Brandon Graham (Multiple Wareheads), Ryan Kelly (Local), and Jim Mahfood (Clerks). Whether you’re an audiophile or a comic nerd, this unique and electrifying read will show you how music touches our lives every day as an influential and defining part of every generation, every culture. $22.99
Lee: It’s all about the mythical link between music and comics! But, the artists listed are really, really good so even if you don’t buy the premise it should be pretty to look at.
Jim: Lee and the music comic connection, Jim avoids it like the plague.

Lee: It’s a really light month. There’s still plenty of interesting things but it makes me wonder if things are really going to start slowing down.
Jim:I think things are going to slow down a lot. Between the advent of the e-comic market, Diamond changing its structure and an economic downturn the small press is going to be squeezed harder then ever. To see some of the original and unique stuff that was available before we will have to search the internet as I think more and more stuff will go free first and then find a botique publisher to do a collection down the road.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Buck Rogers # 0 – A Review

Buck Rogers #0

Publisher Dynamite Entertainment

Writer Scott Beatty

Art Carlos Rafael

Colors Carlos Lopez

This book is a textbook in how not to get me interested in your comic. If it was not for my enduring love for the newspaper strip, I think I would not even be trying out issue #1, but issue #0 was only a quarter, but it almost cost Dynamite one reader for the series.

I know this review is late, but remember I was out of town. So in catching up I thought I would take a quick perusal at Dynamite’s great marketing idea of giving us a quick peek at their new series for a quarter.

The story was well written, the art was fine, but it was the end of Buck Rogers’ adventures in the future and not the beginning. Why in the heck would you start off a book telling us the hero’s last adventure?

The cover is a picture of perhaps one of the worst designed costumes ever. It is a straight black jump suit, with the old time pants that bulge out at the thighs and some white stripping. Comparatively speaking the old newspaper strip’s costume is better, the TV show (a very lame but endearing show) had a better space suit and Adam Strange’s space suit beats it by a country mile. It is unimaginative and boring.

Then you open the comic and see a half shaven Buck fighting an incredibly stupid idea for an alien menace, a single cell creature that never evolved past that. So we have giant amoebas who have apparently learned how to build interstellar space crafts. Buck saves the day, but remarks that if it was not for the stimulants his suit is pumping in him he could never keep up the pace. Great, our hero is using drugs to save the day - next you will tell me baseball players use steroids. Buck saves the day but sacrifices himself and he is sent off into some wormhole, rift in space whatever. He leaves behind his daughter who appears almost unmoved (or to be kind disbelieving) over Buck’s possible death.

It is not hard science fiction, it is not endearing as the TV show and it does not have the force of the newspaper strip, whose grand adventures were a space pulp fiction type comic. I have almost convinced myself not to bother with the series at all again, after typing this, but I will still check out issue #1. Maybe I can just ignore this as a bad dream, but I do not want to know how the story ends before it begins. That works in some stories, but it takes all the edge off the series knowing Buck can never be in any real danger in this comic for many years to come after he jumps 500 years ahead.

Overall Grade C – A decently done book, a great introductory price, a horrible way to start a new series.

Dark Avengers #4 – A Review

Dark Avengers #4

Publisher Marvel Comics

Writer Brian Bendis

Art – Mike Deodato

Colors Rain Beredo

Executive Producer Alan Fine

As is becoming my habit I try to pick a “big” book on Wednesday to read and then do a short review on it. Dark Avengers is ostensibly one of Marvel’s biggest books and is certainly the book that forms part of the core of Dark Reign. In many ways it represents what is both good and bad inside the Marvel Universe.

On the good side Marvel knows how to produce a high quality and professionally done comic book. The artists are a big part of the strength of Marvel and this book is proof of that statement. Mike Deodato since changing styles and going to a more photo realistic type style in his work has become a bigger and bigger star for Marvel. This book always looks great and at times Mike gets almost Neal Adamish in his work and for me that is a huge compliment. His layouts are excellent, his action is superb, his expressions are well done and his women are beautiful without being freakish and even the talking heads panels he has to do in illustrating a book scripted by Bendis, are done well.

On the bad side Marvel is charging $4 for a 22 page comic and almost refuses to care about what the fans say and offers nothing extra in exchange. Also on the bad side of the equation is Bendis appears to need an editor, but he is such a huge star at Marvel, it seems they let him write a book anyway he wants, no matter how inane. His use of time travel holds no logic to it and Bendis seems to not care. Maybe he thinks since time travel is pure theoretical crap, he does whatever he wants and doesn’t care if it holds any internal logic. For me it continually takes me out of the story. The other Bendis flaw is everyone sounds alike, so while all of these “Avengers” are the bad guys, the dialogue could almost as easily come out of the real characters’ mouths. Finally the big reveal that the Sentry is still alive and that he scares everyone was just plain stupid. The Sentry is one of Marvel’s biggest mistakes. He was good as the one shot mini-series, he is a mistake being shoved (retro-conned) into the MU. Superman does not work in the MU, whether he is crazy or not.

From a pure marketing perspective though Marvel has garnered enough of my interest that I’m following some of Dark Reign and therefore end up buying a book that I have disliked from a story telling aspect, but love the art. In defense of Bendis, I believe he has a good handle on where to take some of these stories, but his ability to capture a character’s voice and to execute against some of these ideas is lacking. I have thought for a while that Bendis would make a great editor at Marvel, where he provides the framework for the MU and other writers execute against the ideas.

I do worry about Marvel from an overall standpoint because I believe they are setting themselves up to be moving heavily to digital or e-comics. They own 50% of the direct market and if they are successful in migrating a decent percent of their base to digital the impact on many specialty retailers will be devastating, but that is a column for another time.

Overall Grade C – Great art, confused storytelling and some WTF moments.

Side note – I added the Executive Producer credit because I’m not sure when this started to show up, but is smacks of the old “Stan Lee Presents” crap, when someone has a huge ego and they want their name stuck on stuff, just because.

Indies June Part 1

Lee: Wow! This is a really light month. Normally, I’m finding tons and tons of good stuff to look at. But not this month! I’m still hopeful there will be cool stuff, but it’s not as much as usual.
Jim: I wonder if this is just a reflection of the way Diamond has changed their business model and therefore causing many small press people to re-think/ reformat what they are doing.

Aardvark Vanaheim
Cerebus Archive #2 (Zombie & Obama variant) by Dave Sim
A parody of the cover of the second issue of Cerebus, featuring both a Zombie Cerebus-in-Chains and a tribute from Canadas oldest (and most conservative!) comics publisher to Americas history-making President Obama (in Sims glamourpuss photo-realism style) marking the occasion of President Obamas first international trip -- to Canada -- on February 19, 2009. $15.00
Lee: Oh come on! It’s bad enough to have zombie covers but a zombie-Obama cover???? That’s just ridiculous.
Jim: I agree and what the hell is Cerebus Archives? Is Sim reprinting Cerebus as a regular comic or what. I used to enjoy Cerebus but lost track of it over the years. I would not mind seeing a definitive edition of the series, but this smacks of just being crap.

Adhouse Books
Johnny Hiro Vol. 01 SC by (W/A) Fred Chao
Part Action/Adventure, part Sci-Fi, part Romance, Johnny Hiro tells the story of the everyman and the challenges he faces. Challenges like the revenge of a big lizard, or the quest for a lobster, or what can happen when 47 ronin go to the opera. See why the comic was nominated for 4 Eisner Awards and a Russ Manning Award! $14.95 Visit Fred and see some art here there’s also a link to his blog.
Lee: I’m not sure what drew me to this book because it doesn’t sound all that interesting. But, as usual, I did some searches and now I’m totally hooked. This looks like a lot of fun.
Jim: I give Lee credit because by doing these searches and giving us these links you can really make a more informed decision as to whether to buy a book or not and it has certainly cost me a lot of money over the time Lee and I have been doing this.

Arcana Studio
Land of the Lost #1 by (W) Sean OReilly, Tony Lee (A) Various
Rick Marshall, his son Will, and younger daughter Holly are trapped in an alien world inhabited by dinosaurs, monkey-people called Pakuni, and aggressive, humanoid/lizard creatures called Sleestak. The familys struggle to survive and find a way back to their own world continues in this comic book series. Land of the Lost is also a 100 million budget film starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel coming from Universal Studios. $3.95
Lee: I’m surprised that Arcana has this title. With a big budget movie coming out, you would think Boom! or IDW would have the license. I am curious because this is a tv show from my childhood but I wonder if kids today will care.
Jim: I don't care at all. It was after my time, so I never even knew the show, the movie stars Will Ferrell who stopped being funny five seconds after his career started and this movie smells of lamness. Arcana maybe had the comic rights long before the movie ever got made. Arcana is the type of publisher who I worry about surviving in these economocially challenging times.

Archaia Studios Press
Robotika HC by (W/A) Alex Sheikman
Niko, the Steampunk Samurai, is in Her Majestys service. But is he a faithful royal bodyguard, or a for-hire yojimbo? A perfect warrior, or a soulless weapon? Follow Niko on his journey of self-discovery with Uri Bronski and Cherokee Geisha, as the Three Yojimbo discover a world populated by silent samurai, fast talking geisha, deadly mecha-betsushikime, digital djihits, and morphing butterflies. $19.95
Lee: I already have this book. I own some of the original art to this book. I love it! You will too. I just mention it in case you missed it the first time around.
Jim: It really is a great book and Lee introduced me to this book. Alex is a heck of an artist and his story telling ability is getting better and better. Well worth the price of entry.

Robotika: For a Few Rubles More Double-Sized #1 & #2 by (W/A) Alex Sheikman
This special double-size issue relaunches the new Robotika series, combining the previously published #1 with the all-new #2! When all youre after is A Few Rubles More, nothing but trouble awaits. Hallucinogenic tadpoles, Black Legion mercenaries, Beppe the Gangster, the Queen, Digital Djhitis, and the Three Yojimbos caught in the middle of two rival gangs and a drug deal gone very bad. Now, just when his fighting skills are needed the most, Niko is confronted with his equal and maybe his even better - the enigmatic Mister Saint Just! $4.99
Jim: At long last the return of Robotika. We will have a review of this issue up on the blog soon. I have really missed this book and I’m looking forward to this saga’s continuation.
Lee: I picked the first HC, Jim picked the on going series. There’s something for everyone. But, this is a great deal, 2 full length comics for $5. You can’t go wrong!

Aspen MLT Inc
Executive Assistant Iris #1 by (W) David Wohl (A) Eduardo Francisco
Aspens blockbuster new series arrives! Secretary. Bodyguard. Assassin. The Executive Assistant is all of the above rolled into one. Shes meticulous, ruthlessly efficient, and completely loyal to her employer. But in the high-stakes web of corporate wealth and power, one young woman, Iris, must decide between her duty-and her own morality. When she soon discovers that the man she serves is even more vicious and depraved than the criminals shes supposed to be protecting him from, her life begins to crumble. Torn between her loyalty and a heavy conscience, she must journey back to the school that created her in an attempt to rediscover her humanity. But is she already too late? With three incredible covers to choose from, get in on the ground floor of this exciting new Aspen series! $2.99
Lee: I need a secretary like this! I’m sorry but of all the ridiculous ideas out there, this has got to be one of the most ridiculous. With all the books that Diamond culled from previews, somehow this survived. What a waste of paper.
Jim: Ha, ha, ha. I don't know this book is so crazy it could be funny in an unintentional way. I sometimes wonder if these type of projects sound better as the people who put them are stoned and then years later they look at it and wonder what they were thinking.

Atomic Book Company
Fart Party Vol. 02 GN by (W/A) Julia Wertz
Julia quits her job and travels from coast to coast, meeting many strangers who will soon become a huge part of her world. When she returns to San Francisco, she wisecracks her way through a mundane minimum wage job and learns to love being single. But when her neighborhood gets increasingly violent, she comes down with a serious case of wanderlust; where should the intrepid indie comic artist head next? $13.95 Who knew! The Fart Party has its own web page here
Lee: There’s so much junk listed in previews that I try to set the bar pretty high to pick books. I try to stay away from the really trashy books. But this book had fart in the title. How can you resist a book with fart in the title. Farts are funny. Just ask my kids. Anyway, I picked it, did some research and what do ya know? It’s pretty good. Follow the link, and you can read lots of samples. Besides the silly title, this is fun slice of life stuff.
Jim: The silly title would actually maybe put off a large part of the potential audience, but Lee LOVES the slice of life stuff, so this was an easy sell to him.

Boom! Studios
Dead Run #1 by (W) Andrew Cosby, Michael Alan Nelson (A) Francesco Biagini
All Speed. No Limits. The end isnt near, its here. America has become a wasteland, leaving the few cities that remain transformed into impenetrable fortresses. Beyond these walls lies The Zone, a brutal, plague-ravaged landscape stretching from one city to the next, populated by mutants, monsters, and warring factions of survivors driven insane by disease and starvation. Only the very brave or the very foolish voluntarily step foot outside the protective confines of the mega-cities. Nick Masters happens to be a little bit of both. Nicks a driver; if you need something picked-up, delivered, or disposed of, Nicks your man - and hes all business. But when he fails to deliver an important package to a local crime lord, Nicks business suddenly becomes very personal! Covers by Eric Canete and Jason Shawn Alexander. $3.99 Visit Biagini’s art blog here
Lee: This is an very old science fiction storyline that’s been done many, many times before. Heck, even Judge Dredd did the “gotta get across the wasteland” schtick. But, I really like Cosby and Nelson’s writing, Biagini’s art looks solid, and Boom has a solid history of providing quality comics. I’m in for the first issue at least.
Jim: I agree, plus BOOM has a lot of trust with me. Many stories have been done before, but if told right they can be entertaining and often that is enough.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep #1 by (W) Phillip K. Dick (A) Steven Dupre
The book that inspired the film Blade Runner comes to BOOM! with backmatter by Warren Ellis! Visionary sci-fi author Philip K. Dicks Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? has been called a masterpiece ahead of its time, even today and served as the basis for the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner. San Francisco lies under a cloud of radioactive dust. The World War killed millions, driving entire species to extinction, and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldnt afford one, companies built incredibly realistic fakes: horses, birds, cats, sheep - even humans. Rick Deckard is an officially sanctioned bounty hunter tasked to find six rogue androids - theyre machines, but look, sound, and think like humans, clever, and most of all, dangerous humans. Rick Deckard, Pris, The Voight-Kampff Test, Nexus 6 androids, the Tyrell Corporation: join BOOM! Studios as the complete novel transplanted into the comic book medium, mixing all new panel-to-panel continuity with the actual text from the novel in an innovative, groundbreaking 24-issue maxi-series experiment illustrated by acclaimed Wolf artist Steven Dupre for the science-fiction publishing event of the year! Covers by Bill Sienkiewicz, Dennis Calero, Moritat, and Scott Keating. $3.99. #1 of 24
Jim: Phillip K. Dick has been so influential on so many stories and movies that have been made that I’m ashamed to say I have read very little of his work, but understand that he often examines what is real and not real. Looking forward to this experiment and hope they have the financial wherewithal to publish all 24 issues.
Lee: I’ve read many of Dick’s novels and they are incredibly hard to adapt into any visual medium. They are very good but Dick plays with perceptions and reality all the time. This sounds very, very interesting. I’m curious to see how they will mix text and panels.

Box Brown Comics
Love Is a Peculiar Type of Thing GN by (W/A) Box Brown
The recipient of a Winter 2009 Xeric Grant, Love Is A Peculiar Type of Thing is a collection of short comics, ranging from 3 to 12 pages in length, focusing on the plight of an average twentysomething named Ben and his girlfriend Ellen. Themes of love, fear, questioning religion, depression, anxiety, and sex are all explored with humor, insight, and understanding. $10.00 Visit Box Brown and see samples here
Lee: I’m always ready to read another award winning comic. I know Jim doesn’t take stock in the awards but I do. And, this looks to be great. It definitely has the themes/feel of artists like Peter Bagge and Ivan Brunetti.
Jim: Awards are meaningless for the most part, so I judge things on their own merit not what some bozo says on a blog - errr never mind. What I do like about awards is that once you read something that a critic or group loved and you like it, then you can at least trust that source to give you an idea if you will like it or not. I used to read Stephen Hunter's reviews of movies in the Baltimore Sunpapers years ago and I could tell from his reviews whether or not it was worth seeing a movie or not. Not that we had the same opinion, but his reviews were so well constructed and consistent that I could decide based on his review of the movie.

D. D. P./Devil's Due Publishing
Olympus #1 by (W) Geoff Johns, Kris Grimminger (A/C) Butch Guice
Chaos ensues as a group of brash archaeology students and a team of ruthless mercenaries are trapped together on the legendary Mount Olympus - a mountain populated by the deadliest monsters known to Greek legend! Managing a tenuous pact with the mercenaries, the students must combine their knowledge of mythology with the mercenaries combat skills as they fight for their lives against the monsters of Olympus! $3.50
Jim: Geoff Johns is involved in this book and I have heard very little about it. I’m curious as to the back story on this series and if Johns wanted it published why wouldn’t DC do it for him.
Lee: This seems old to me. I know I’ve seen art samples all over the web. Guice does a great job on art as always. And, Johns bloodlust is perfect for this kind of story. It should be good.

PART 2 Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back From Vacation – A Random Thoughts Post

I’m really bad about taking vacations (ask my ex-wife) and I have not taken an entire week off in about two years, maybe more. I went really unplugged as we had no computer and the reception on my wife’s Iphone was poor, so I never even check e-mails. It was a pleasant change of pace. As I was in Captiva, Florida in a beautiful home we rented with a pool, we had the beach, a giant bed, visits for a day each by my two daughters and in-laws it was a blast and perfect weather. Lee, Gwen and Thomm chipped in to keep the blog going daily and I appreciated that they helped out and we had only one true vacation post yesterday.

The funny thing was I only had two trades and they were read by the time I got off the plane on the flight down. The rest of the week was books. For the uninitiated, books are like comics, in that they convey information and tell stories, but they have no pictures, except on the cover of the book. I know, a wild concept, but they exist and where actually the precursors to comics.

What surprised me is how little I missed comic books and I realize that it would be a lot easier to quit comics then I thought. I’m not saying no to all comics, but I think it would be easy to be a more casual consumer of comics as opposed to the fanatical fan I am today. The point it drove home to me is that there are not as many compelling series out there right now and much of what I read is due to habit more then anything else. I’ll be curious to see what the comic landscape looks like by the end of this year, because if I could quit more easily then I thought I have to think others may be more willing to give up the ghost, especially with the 33% jump in price in a down economy.

One of the books I was reading is a Best of H. P. Lovecraft. I only read three short stories and the introduction, but I really enjoyed the work and now feel bad that I never got around to reading Lovecraft until last week. It is astonishing how much of his work was recognizable from all of the comics and horror stories I have read over the years. His work has been so influential that it is truly amazing he is not recognized as widely as he should be. The introduction by Robert Bloch was excellent and set Lovecraft in a place and time very well. If like me you have not read Lovecraft than you are missing out.

A second book I read was by Bernard Goldberg called “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media”. Now as a Ron Paul supporter I had no real horse in the last Presidential Election, but I could see how the media was throwing bouquets at this man. I wanted to see Goldberg’s (a prominent member of CBS news for years) take on it. It is a very quick read and he points out the Barack would have won anyway in his opinion, but how reporters are losing their credibility by being so blatant about their bias. Even if you disagree with a viewpoint it is often worthwhile to see how the other side thinks. I could have done without the chapter where he interviewed Rush Limbaugh as I find people like Rush and Michael Moore (from the left) to be so one-sided as to be unbelievable. It was a very quick and light read and my donation to the vacation home bookshelves.

The last book I read, that I have 50 pages left to read is a John Carter of Mars trilogy. This was a re-read of Princess of Mars, Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars. Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs is one of my all time favorite books and is one of Gwen’s favorites also. My in-laws asked why would I re-read a book and then I pointed out how many people watch a movie or a TV show more then once and they stated they did not. So I asked them is there anything they enjoy and do more then once and as they love Disney World I equated it to visiting the same theme park they have seen a bunch of times and that you can always find something new in it. The action and adventure is just great in this book and it a non-stop thrill ride and is often as over the top as any action movie you have seen. I would love to see a definitive adaptation of the first three books by Burroughs and now I have to re-read the first few Tarzan books again. If you have never read Burroughs, pick up Princess of Mars, it is a quick read and you will know if ERB is to your taste or not rather fast.

One last note is that you may remember that Lee likes to give us suggestions for his birthday every year and this year as best as possible Gwen and I made Lee’s dream come true. You can see the post here, where he asks for the escort service. Gwen and I got him the business cards to start his business off. I also got him a great book on Dave Stevens that I also own and needs to be reviewed as it is a wonderful book about a fantastic artist, but this gift was something to share. If you meet Lee ask for his business card.

Next week should be more of a normal week and we hope to keep putting up some reviews and commentary and our normal madness. Nice to be back, but I could type this from that house in Captiva just as well if I could just win the lottery.

Monday, April 27, 2009

On Vacation

Jim was on vacation last week.

The picture is where Jim stayed.

As you noticed, Lee, Thomm or Gwen did all the posts in his absence.

The big sluggo got home yesterday but was too lazy to post anything again.

He told me he read books without pictures... traitor.

I probably won't even get any thanks for covering his dead beat heinie today.

More from Jim tomorrow.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Subdued Death

A short story. A short visit.

Death: The High Cost of Living came out in 1993. Written by Neil Gaiman, pencilled by Chris Bachalo and inked by Mark Buckingham, this three issue series featured the ever popular Death, sister of Dream of the Endless in Gaiman's main claim to fame of the time, Sandman. Gaiman also employed another Sandman regular, Mad Hettie, a 250 year old woman who, to all appearances is homeless and crazy. And she is, but she's also pretty knowledgeable about things magical and out of the ordinary.

Anyway, the gist of the story is that for one day in every century Death has to take on a living form so that she doesn't lose empathy with those living creatures she takes at the end of their lives. In this instance she looks pretty much like she always did in Sandman, except not so pale.

The story is told largely through the point of view of a teenage New Yorker named Sexton Furnival. He's one of those kids who thinks he's world wise and life weary. He calls his parents, divorced, of course, by their first names. He thinks there's nothing worth living for and proclaims that he's suicidal.

He isn't. Every time his life is threatened in the course of the story, he works rather hard at not winding up dead. His mother boots him out of the apartment when she goes on a cleaning binge. He, for no apparent reason, is hanging around in a garbage dump when the refrigerator he's standing on topples and pins his legs. Death, who's in human visage and called Didi, frees him and takes him back to her place. She has an entire life history, including all immediate family members being dead in a tragic accident, and is a teen herself.

Mad Hettie, who's a Londoner, knows of Death's one day alive and manages to be in New York on that day to ask Didi to find Mad Hettie's heart, which she'd hidden a hundred or so years ago and now can't find. Didi agrees, despite Mad Hettie threatening Sexton, and Didi and Sexton go off to some late night club. In a city the size of New York, it's some pretty boy with no moral compass that Sexton knows who's the agent of a blind guy who wants to capture Death/Didi to stop her evil. He thinks it's evil that she takes people, which is ironic given his quick readiness to kill in the story.

It's a nice little story. In the end the kid with no moral compass ends up dead, the blind guy loses Death (but faces no consequences for his killing), and Didi dies. Oh, and Mad Hettie gets her heart, only to start looking for a new hiding place.

Can't say there's much character development. Didi's death just means she's back to being Death. Not that one should expect a lot of character growth in Death. She's already just about the only psychologically stable of the Endless. Mad Hettie's a character, in the flamboyant sense, and shouldn't change. The blind guy's kind of a cypher, so there's not much about him that could change. The only person who changes in the story is Sexton, who grows up some. Which is good, because he's more irritating than Timothy Hunter, and that takes some doing.

It's good writing. Good art. The always excellent lettering of Todd Klein. It doesn't jump out at you but makes for a good short story. It can be read as a stand alone tale with no knowledge of the Sandman mythos, though there are little bits of reference to that mythos for those in the know. It fits well in the larger body of work Gaiman created with the ground breaking Sandman. Definitely a keeper. And, if you want to buy the individual issues, you can find them at Lone Star Comics, evidently. There's also a trade, but unless you're getting a deal off the $12.99 cover price, you're probably better off with the individual issues.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fistful of Reviews: Belated

Well Jim's back soon so you will all be freed from mine, Lee's and Thomm's clutches soon enough. In the meantime I've actually managed to squeeze a few comic book reviews in this week :)

Echo #11 (Abstract Studio)

While this was another enjoyable issue of Echo I feel as if we're getting to the point in the story where something has to give. Hopefully Dillon will finally figure out that Annie is still around (kind of) and tied to the suit. I hope that Julie will finally kick the evil hobo's butt. Don't get me wrong, a lot happened this issue - I'm just hoping that next issue will make a major leap in plot after this one's buildup (not to mention the cliffhanger ending).

Locke&Key #4 (IDW)

I really love this series. I've actually been passing these books off to my boss's little brother who is a voracious reader. He's been enjoying them as well and it's always nice to share good stories with others. I'm interested to see what the consequences of removing things from your head are.

Superman: WoNK #2 (DC)

Okay, I know Zod is evil and stuff, but really, if you're trying to pretend to be a good guys you don't take a large group of counter hostages and threaten to slaughter them all. Also, the idea of Supes as a military man is just sad - we all know he won't kill anyone so somehow I think following orders is going to become a bit of a problem.

B.P.R.D. The Black Goddess #4 (Dark Horse)

This mini series is moving along well. I'm glad we were finally given the back story on why Liz was kidnapped in the first place. Either way it seems as if the world is only going to continue to be ripped to pieces.

House of Mystery #12 (Vertigo)

Hopefully Harry's little side trip with Fig's father will begin to explain what going on with him. It's being hinted that he's not a real person - whatever that means. There was also the beginnings of a plot to get to Fig within the house. This series keeps getting weirder but somehow that just makes it more enjoyable.

Hexed #4 (BOOM!)

This was a wonderful mini-series. Lucifer is an intriguing character. For a magic using hexed thief she's written realistically - I feel that I actually know her as I read through the story. I rarely see girls written this well. I hope there's a follow up to this series. I'd really like to know what happens to Lucifer next.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Stuff of Legend - Review

The Stuff of Legend
Publisher Th3rd World Studios

Writers Mike Raicht & Brian Smith

Pencils Charles Paul Wilson III

Colors Mike DeVito & Jon Conkling

My first impression on reading this book was that I should have made time to read it sooner. Jim and Thomm did their reviews a week ago but I just got around to reading this fantastic story.

There is little narration at the opening of the book which was a good choice. The bedtime setting does several things for the reader. First of all it draws attention to the simple yet nostalgic pencil work. It's almost a shame that the art will be colored because I'm afraid it will lose some of the more intricate pencil work in the process. Of course the color work on the cover is gorgeous so I probably have nothing to worry about :) As someone who has been through many art classes I am impressed by the shading as it has a soft quality that serves to lull you into the storybook environment. I especially enjoyed the smooth way the artist conveys movement, specifically in the battle scenes. The second effect the bedroom setting creates is a setting which many of us are familiar with (if not from personal experience than from movies and such). By starting everything out at nighttime in the children's bedroom one is reminded of bedtime stories. In evoking that involuntary memory the writer places us in the mindset to experience a bedtime story. He brings us back to childhood which in turn allows us to accept talking stuffed animals going off to fight the boogeyman.

Now that we've been recalled into the realm of childhood stories the characters begin to develop. I've enjoyed reading about the characters that have been introduced so far. I'm especially intrigued by the Princess and the forgotten Native American warriors that seemingly refuse to fight when they see her in the fray. I also like the Jack in a box - even if he's a bit creepy.

I think the thing that really sold me on this story was the idea of the Dark, the place the toys must venture in order to save the Boy from the boogeyman. The idea of a realm of bitter and forgotten toys was a great one. I especially liked how the toys were transformed to become more "real" once they entered the Dark. The teddy bear becomes and actual bear for one and the circumstances give the artist the chance to draw some interesting scenes.

A+ Overall I'd recommend this book to most anyone. I'll have to read the final version to see if I'll recommend it as an all ages book as Mike stated in an earlier comment that some of the violent scenes had been toned down. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this book and would urge our readers to go try this story out on FCBD!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

STARSTRUCK: A Benefit for "Gentleman Gene" Colan

We receive lots of mail at Comics And... and we try to pass along the best news & events on to our readers. This is one such event.

On August 15, 2009, the off-Broadway science-fiction comedy StarStruck by Elaine Lee, Susan Norfleet Lee, and Dale Place, basis for the 1980’s comic book series by Elaine Lee and Michael Wm. Kaluta (who provided set and costume designs for the original production), will be presented for the first time in 25 years as an audio theatre-style live reading at the famed Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, CA.

Proceeds will help pay the medical bills of comics legend Gene Colan, the bills stemming from his bout with liver failure in 2007 and 2008. Colan is best known for his distinctive artwork on such titles as "Iron Man," "Daredevil," "Batman," and "Tomb of Dracula" (from which the character Blade was introduced).

Play it by Ear Productions, an audio theatre company in Pacific Grove, CA, will produce the event under the direction of Producing Director Lance Roger Axt. “I’m absolutely ecstatic that this is finally going to happen; speaking as both a longtime comics fan and a theatre artist, I’ve wanted to do something with this play for over a decade.

"And helping Gene and Adrienne Colan is an added bonus; they are two great people, and I’m more than happy to lend a hand.”

Tickets are only $12.00. The reading will employ pre-recorded sound effects and live effects performed by a team of foley artists, coupled with composer Dwight Dixon’s music from the original production.

There will also be a silent auction of wines, out-of-print hardcover comic collections, and rare rock concert posters from the Fillmore Auditorium (donated from Mr. Axt's personal collection). Your MC for the evening will be Steve "Citizen" Kane, the rock and roll doctor of the original KAZU in Pacific Grove.

The reading also serves a second purpose: to test the timing of the piece before a live audience, which will ultimately serve a subsequent studio recording:

A StarStruck radio series is in development, the first piece being an audio adaptation of the off-Broadway comedy, to be recorded in Maine.

The series will be produced by the new AudioComics production company (co-founders Lance Roger Axt, Dan Bernard, and the voice of "Bob the Builder," William Dufris), who will be working directly with Lee and Kaluta on both the adaptation and on several new StarStruck pieces written specifically for the medium of audio.

On the cusp of the benefit reading, an equally exciting announcement is to come regarding the StarStruck comic series’ return to print. Truly, 2009 is the year of the Female Freedom Fighters! UP THE BRIGADES!

Visit The Henry Miller Library is here

Visit Play it by Ear Productions is here

Visit AudioComics (forthcoming) here

The event is still a couple of months away but this gives you plenty of time to book airplane tickers if you need them. Gene Colan is one of the masters and has influenced many of todays artists. Any help you can provide is always appreciated.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sights, Sounds, and other Hand Motions

It goes without say that my house is an endless array of sights and sounds. There is always something exciting being said or being discovered. But that’s ok when the sights and sounds take place at home. When they take place in public, it’s an entirely different story.

Today’s story starts at church on Easter Sunday. The kids are actually doing a great job sitting still and being well behaved. Specifically, Boy was entertaining himself by reading the songbook. Since the print is so small, he’s following the words along with his middle finger. If you don’t have children, all young people like to point with their longest finger which, as luck would have it, just happens to be the middle finger. And we all know what an extended middle finger means. Just in case you don’t, it isn’t nice. My wife and I worked long and hard to switch his pointing finger to his index finger.

I'm not sure why he chose this particular day to revert to old habits, but Boy decided to use his middle finger to read. It was fine until he turned to me, middle finger extended towards the heavens, and said, “Where are we Dad?”

Let me remind you, it’s Easter Sunday. The pews are absolutely packed with people, and my son is saying ‘hi’ with his middle finger. That finger was fully extended and rigid as a popsicle. There wasn’t any way the little old lady behind us missed it.

So, I quietly said, “We’re on the next page. Please, put your hand down.”

Because he never misses an opportunity to question something, Boy says, “Why?” And, because he’s waiting for an answer, he freezes in position. That includes freezing his hand with the fully extended finger.

Sensing disaster, I hoped to end the situation with my Dad voice, “Just put your hand down.”

But, Boy’s curiosity was stronger than my Dad voice. It’s like he knew that I couldn’t do anything to him in the middle of church. Boy raised his extended middle finger up as high as he could so he could show me he wasn’t doing anything wrong and asked, “What’s wrong? I’m just pointing.”

Oddly enough, having a tiny little finger in your face doesn’t help your patience any. “PUT YOUR HAND DOWN.” I hissed.

“I don’t understand, is there something wrong with what I’m doing?” The little hand, with the still extended middle, is now waving in the air like a flower in a strong breeze.

When I hear the Grandmother in the pew behind us snicker, I realize that once again, I have lost the battle to small child.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marvel Preview Review For June Part 2 of 2

Continued from yesterday...

Written by DANIEL WAY Penciled by PACO MEDINA
Okay, that was...unexpected. Bullseye has learned some new tricks since the last time they met! But now it's Deadpool's turn to go on the offensive...and there's nobody more offensive than Deadpool! 32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: This is how you start a new day! Another Dark Reign tie in! This makes it 23 books… and counting because apparently the pain will never end. And, lots do the math, add the 2, carry the 47… adds up to aproximately $82.77 so far for Dark Reign books only.
Jim: And another Dark Reign book I can totally pass on after reading the last couple of Deadpool books this is a pass.

Disturbing visions plucked from the malignant mind of Norman Osborn lead the intrepid Agents to the darkest depths of the Atlantic Ocean, where Namora must have words with her infamous cousin - The Sub-Mariner! What happens next shocks her team, who must prepare to say goodbye to their aquatic avenger! 32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: Now this is an odd duck. It talks about Norman Osborn so it must be Dark Reign. But it’s really stretching to include it. I leave the total to Jim. In/out? You’re call.
Jim: In. It is a Dark Reign book, but it has enough of its own stuff to survive long after Dark Reign is over.

Lee: Look! It’s the only book NOT tied into Dark Reign. Then again, it’s so bad no one is reading it.
Jim: At least this book finished, what the hell happened to The Twelve. I have to assume it is JMS as I have seen very little work from him.

50/50 Cover by ALEX ROSS
Where were you when Captain America died? It's the anniversary of the day Steve Rogers was killed, a day of reflection and mourning in the Marvel U...a time to look back on the things Steve did and what he stood for... or is this issue actually the beginning of the most wicked plot twist since issue 25? Yeah, actually it's both. Plus, contributions from Cap creators past and present, including a very special essay by Joe Simon, a classic story from Cap's Golden Age, a full gallery of 600 Cap covers, and more anniversary shenanigans than you can shake a shield at!
104 PGS./New and Reprints/$4.99
Lee: Where was I? Seriously? Where was I when Cap died? Actually, I took the afternoon off from work, went to the comic store, bought all the copies of Cap’s death, loaded them on ebay and made a million dollars from foolish speculators. This is worse than the Superman “memorial” issue. Blah!
Jim: I also get tired of Marvel pulling numbering out of their a** so they can get a big number on the book. If the series was not continuously published I don’t think it really counts. It smells a lot like Steve Rogers I so coming back and he will be the person to take down Norman Osborne. Then Marvel will miss Dark Reign because it is easy to write bad people then good.

Cover by LUKE ROSS
A milestone 600th issue is worthy of a special issue of SPOTLIGHT no matter what the title. But when it's CAPTAIN AMERICA? We're gonna rock and roll with a SPOTLIGHT that's full of as much red, white and blue shield-slingin' surprises as we can! First up is an exclusive interview with the creative team ushering in this august occasion: Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice and Luke Ross -- three luminaries who have been letting their Cap flags fly! On top of that, we'll have coverage of some of the great Cap artists of all time, including 600th-issue cover artists Steve Epting and Alex Ross. We promise you'll be just as thrilled to read this as we will be to put it together! Remember: Cap's history is America's history! So join the SPOTLIGHT team as we take a look back and to the future with America's most patriotic hero!
32 PGS./$2.99
Jim: These spotlight books are just Marvel trying to rape their fans.
Lee: Ya know… it’s hard to come up with a response to that. I’m.. ummm.. yeah. What you said. Mostly what you said at least.

Featuring CAPTAIN AMERICA, the Sentinel of Liberty, in the then & now! In the Now, he faces the hyper-technological might of Hydra! In the then, he battles the disgusting (and frankly, ugly) menace of P.R.O.D.O.K.! 32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: Prodok? Seriously? Prodok? Marvel has scrapped the ideas barrel so dry that the best they can come up with is Prodok?
Jim: All I hear when Lee keeps saying Prodok is “playoffs”, “Playoffs” from the Coors Light commercial with Jim Mora that will leave in infamy forever now.

Written by GREG PAK
50/50 Covers by ED MCGUINNESS
We know what you've been waiting for. And it's finally come. Get ready for the Marvel Universe's most monumental clash this side of WORLD WAR HULK as the savage son meets his father's fists, Green Goliaths smash, and the puny humans of Planet Earth learn the meaning of HULK! VERSUS! SKAAR! 40 PGS./$3.99
Lee: Does Bendis know that Marvel is making plans for OTHER world shattering events behind his back? I’m sure Bendis’s ego was damaged by World War Hulk the first time. I wonder how he’ll like WWHulk II?
Jim: I still feel like Greg Pak got screwed because he had (I read somewhere) a triology in mind with the Hulk and after WW Hulk Marvel gave the character to Loeb and he has ruined the book unless you are a five year old child and like comics with huge panels of people smashing each other.

WAR OF KINGS #4 (of 6) - 32 PGS./$3.99
WAR OF KINGS: ASCENSION #3 (of 4) - 32 PGS./$3.99
NOVA #26
32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: See, this is how you run a simple crossover. Only five titles, fairly self contained, and a ‘spine’ title to tie it all together. So now, we can expect crossovers in the Marvel Universe titles every year too! Why let me, the consumer, buy one title and enjoy that when you, Mr. Big Corporation, can force me to buy six titles to get the same story. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Jim: With the bulk of this “event” being written by Abnett and Lanning it is a very strong story so far. It has flaws here and there, but Abnett and Lanning always entertain and produce solid comics.

Written by MATT FRACTION Pencils & Cover by GREG LAND
"Sisterhood" We will let this image speak for itself! Part 4 (of 4).
32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: Thank goodness Marvel let the cover speak for itself. Otherwise they might have to say something like “HEY KIDS! Look, it’s another Greg Land cover full of nip shots, and chicks without underwear! First person to send us a letter that correctly identifies the stripper Greg used as a model wins a free social disease!” Yeah, I’m glad they let the cover speak for itself.
Jim: Maybe it is like the new greeting cards that have a sound chip in it and when Marvel said the cover speaks for itself it will really talk when you pick it up. It will say “Oh look Phoenix is back because we ran out of any new ideas 20 years ago, so buy this book you sad pathetic loser.”

"The Origins of the Species" As the X-Men reel from the return of one of the greatest X-Ladies, Beast and Angel take the X-Club back to 1906 to investigate the origins of the mutant species as we know it. See the earliest stages of the Hellfire Club and the very first Sentinel ever! This story is not to be missed! 48 PGS./$3.99
Lee: WTH is a 80s variant cover? For that matter wth is a 90s variant cover? Is it any different from all the other variant covers?
Jim: It is just another way to do variant covers. I had my comic store that last time variants were in vogue and I’m sad to see how successful variants have become again, it is really a sad thing.

"MESSIAH WAR, PART 6" 32 PGS./$2.99
Pencils & 50/50 Variant Cover by CLAYTON CRAIN
50/50 Cover by KAARE ANDREWS
"MESSIAH WAR" Part 7 (of 7)
32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: I just casually mention this because there are no less then three crossover currently going on in the Marvel U. There’s Dark Reign, 23 books, for the Avengers U. There’s War of Kings, 5 books, for the Cosmic heroes. And Messiah War, 2 books, for the X-people. What? Only 2 books in the crossover? Someone f**ked that up. In fact, I bet that someone got laid off because of this snafu. Only 2 books in a crossover. That’s lost revenue!
Jim: Heads will roll – a cross-over event with only two titles! Lee is right someone has to go.

"RETURN OF LEGION" One of the most dangerous X-Villains of all time is back and he's targeted the New Mutants. Last time Legion reared his head, he created the Age of Apocalypse. Do Cannonball, Karma, Magma, Moonstar and Magik have much hope of stopping him now? Part 2 (of 4)
32 PGS./$2.99
Lee: Because the Age of Apocalypse was such a good story, let’s revisit it. Maybe, with a little luck, Rob Liefeld will come back to help the reboot.
Jim: Again with the whole theme of we are the House of Old Ideas, come inside and we will also give you re-treads instead of new tires at the Marvel Tire Shop.

The original X-Men have left the building, and their replacements have arrived! How will Cyclops cope with the next generation of mutants, far more powerful and far less careful? Find out in this giant-sized special, featuring untold tales from the X-Men's pasts! The 8-year-old Storm enters the deadly Museum of Set! Banshee clashes with the hordes of Irish myth! Nightcrawler fights alongside his circus family! Colossus battles to save his friends in Siberia! And at long last, Wolverine reveals his slice-your-heart-and-hope-to-die true origin in 'The Man from S.N.I.K.T.'!
40 PGS./One-Shot/$3.99
Lee: WHEEE More pointless history for Wolverine. Wait, it’s pointless history for all the characters. Can’t anyone tell a story that’s *GASP* set in today??? Apparently not.
Jim: I was enjoying the X-Men First Class, but now they have taken what was a cute idea and sort of a stand alone book and trying to milk it until the teats on the cow run dry.

When a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent gets a hold of Hank Pym's new Ant-Man suit, you know the Marvel Universe is in trouble. He's not concerned with saving the world or helping others. He's concerned with getting through the day and getting a leg up on life. He's not going to use his powers responsibly, he's going to use them for the betterment of himself. He's Ant-Man, a new "hero" for the modern world. But it also costs money to be on the run from the law. Luckily, Damage Control is on the lookout for someone who can safely sift through rubble for survivors. Don't worry, though - he'll still have plenty of time to spy on the ladies like the despicable human-being that he is. Collecting IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #1-12.
272 PGS./$34.99
Lee: This is a trade that I wonder about. The series is 3-4 yrs old and only lasted 12 issues. How good can it be if it was cancelled after 12 issues? But, I seem to remember it getting better
Jim: Not worth $35, that is for damn sure.

Teen teams are nothing new, but only one super-group got started at age twelve and under! Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie Power prove you're never too young to save the universe when they use the powers they received from one alien race to foil the schemes of another, the dreaded Snarks! Back on Earth, they meet another new archenemy, General Carmody, a mutantphobe so confused he even targets heroes who AREN'T mutants! Guest-starring Spider-Man, Cloak and Dagger, and Henry Peter Gyrich of Initiative infamy! Collecting POWER PACK #1-10.
256 PGS./$29.99
Lee: This is another book that really piques my interest. Mostly because I have younger children and I think this would be appropriate. I remember the original series being pretty good, and the fact that it’s about a family of superheroes doesn’t hurt either. I just might get this if only for something to give to my kids.
Jim: The original series would be a great book for your kids and if memory serves it was a well done book and highly entertaining.

Penciled/Cover by DAVE HOOVER
Old soldiers never die -- they just wear themselves out! To Super-Patriot, Cap's a rival. To Americop, he's a relic. But newcomer vigilantes are the least of the Sentinel of Liberty's concerns when Cap learns his enhanced physique is shutting down on him! His choice: retire from action or die in it. But while masterminds devise and dead villains rise, that's no choice at all for the Living Legend! Can Cap's friends dissuade him from setting the world's safety above his own? Featuring Giant-Man, the Falcon and the Black Widow! Collecting CAPTAIN AMERICA #425-430. 160 PGS./$19.99
Jim: Why is this being published? Was their some reason?
Lee: This .. THIS is being published as an example of how NOT to do comics. That’s the only explanation I have. Because there were truly awful comic books. I believe this was when Cap got his Iron Man armor. Bad bad bad comics.

Written by BOB LAYTON
Penciled/Covers by BOB LAYTON
Collecting HERCULES: PRINCE OF POWER (1982) #1-4 and HERCULES: PRINCE OF POWER (1984) #1-4. 200 PGS./$ 29.99
Lee: Just a simple comment, I believe I can buy the original issues for $1 each and my local store would be glad to get rid of them. But, why do that when I can spend $30 on the hc? I have both series, and I remember liking them but I’m not sure I need a $30 hc.
Jim: Not for $30. I remember these are fun series, but not worthy of a hard cover and not worth $30, when I could get the actual books somewhere for a song.

256 PGS./$24.99
Lee: To wrap up the month, the FIRST Dark Reign tpb! This is 256 pages of Dark Reign goodness. In case you weren’t keep track, this is ABOVE and BEYOND the 23 books this month alone. So, add $25 to the approximate $80 spent and with tax… Dark Reign cost $100 this month. Not bad considering you haven’t read ANY OTHER BOOK! In conclusion.. wow. All I can say is wow.
Jim: Dark Reign actually is called Bendis rules the Marvel Universe as this guy has influenced more Marvel books then any other writer in a long time. If Joe Q. steps down, Bendis might us well take over the rest of the line and be in charge.

Lee: I can't believe how many books Marvel is releasing every month. And, even worse, I can't believe how interconnected they all are. It's almost impossible to buy a single issue and get a complete story. It's just as impossible to find a book that stands on it's own. Well, there was Iron Fist but that's now canceled.
Jim: Marvel is putting out so many products that it is all DC or any other company can do to just maintain their market share. As an ex-auditor (my first career) one of the things you would look for in a business to make sure it is a going concern is to make sure that they are not dependent on one provider for too much of their income. Marvel owns every comic store in America and they are aggressively trying to move their audience to digital delivery. I’m glad I’m out of the comic business.