Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blackest Night #8 - A Review

Blackest Night #8 (of 8)

Publisher DC

Writer Geoff Johns

Pencils Ivan Reis

Inks Oclair Albert and Joe Prado

Colors Alex Sinclair

Format 40 pages of story and art

Price $3.99

What a great comic book. This is when super hero comic books are at their best. Johns and Reis hit a grand slam with this book and especially with this ending. It did not re-set the entire DCU, but the repercussions of what has occurred will reverberate throughout the DCU for years to come.

Blackest Night is that rarest of rare creatures, an event series that was good from beginning to end and it had things that happened that will have an actual impact on the DCU and yet did not force itself into every other series or cause disruption to any other series.

The story itself starts out with Sinestro trying to take down Nekron. The two page splash on pages 2 and 3 was a beautiful piece of artwork. I actually stopped reading the book and just looked at the composition of it. In some ways it is just Sinestro versus Nekron, but it is a thing of beauty.

From there we see Sinestro look like he beats Nekron and in fact after Nekron is shredded he just uses another body. You can’t beat death. From there Nekron turns the tables on Sinestro (who is the White Lantern at this point). Hal and company are fighting the Black Lanterns when the mass of reinforcements from Green Lantern Corps show up and join the fray. The two page splash done by Ivan Reis here challenges George Perez for crowd scenes. There are at least 40 distinct characters on this page. Again, it is a thing of beauty.

The action and philosophy is fast and furious from this book. Black Hand says “life is meaningless”, Flash states we give life purpose, Hal tells Nekron that he did not allow the dead who are now alive to come back, that they choose life. As Sinestro has had the white light ripped out of him, Hal and a group of DC heroes who have beaten death become White Lanterns and lead the attack.

I’m not going to get into all that happens for fear of spoiling the surprises that are in store for people, but the book just made me happy and reawakened the pure 12 year old fan in me.
One thing I can talk about is the ending was not given short shrift. Instead we got a decent epilogue which discussed the definition of death in the DCU and planted a ton of seeds for storylines to be played out in the future.

As great as the story and this series has been, it would never had been as good without Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair, Ivan on pencils, Albert and Prado on inks and Sinclair on colors. These guys did the job and then some. The art was breathtaking in scope and an amazing ability to handle the huge battle scenes as well as the quite moments.

Comics work best on an emotional level for me and this one hit the right notes. It felt heroic, it felt like good versus bad, life versus death, hope versus depression and it made me feel like the best is yet to come. Sometimes the good guys win and the bad guys lose and this is one of those moments. What makes it better is you can see all the new storyline possibilities that have been opened up, both for good and bad.

Overall Grade A+ - Right now I cannot think of a better event comic ever done in the history of comics. Crisis on Infinite Earths had further reaching repercussions, but as a cohesive story and event this is far better. This was the best super hero comic of the year by a wide margin.

Archie's Married Life Continues!!!

This is just plain AWESOME!!! I hope I didn't over post, but this was too exciting for a "tweet". It sure is nice when a comic book company gives the readers what they want!

The Web and The Shield – How Not to Launch a Comic Series

The Red Circle books are being cancelled after 10 issues and one Mighty Crusaders special. No matter how you cut it these books have to be considered a failure and right from the jump even someone who is just a fan of the industry could see this was doomed to failure.

The real crime is that Eric Trautmann and Marco Rudy are doing some very cool work on The Shield and Matthew Sturges just got the job writing The Web and it is already canceled.

DC had some great ideas, but ultimately they were setting themselves up for failure. In launching a new line of comics within the DCU they need to take it slow. DC rolled the dice with four one shots by JMS introducing the heroes and setting the stage for them and then launching two $4 books into the marketplace with talent that are not names yet in the industry. Contrast the First Wave launch with Brian Azzarello and Rags Morales.

You had characters the vast majority of the world knew nothing about, $4 books and talent that were not marketable names. Now I believe Eric Trautmann is a rising star at DC and when I see his name on a book I’m looking forward to reading it. At this point I’m probably in the minority as it takes time for most people to recognize a writer. Eric did great work on the JSA/Kobra series and has done some spot work and co-writing with Greg Rucka here and there and he is getting better and better with every effort. If the Shield had any problems on the writing side it was because it was too dense. Eric had so many ideas and trying to convey how the suit and the modern military work that often it slowed down the action side. Marco Rudy on the art did some stunning work, but often his layouts were overly stylized and sacrificed style over storytelling once in awhile, but he is obviously a rising star and could well be another Ivan Reis in the making.

Now on occasion the unknown talent can become known on a book like this but the character was being thrown out as almost a blank slate. JMS had done an opening shot but DC never built even a small fan base for this character before they started up an unlimited series. Add to that burden the $4 price tag and you are swimming against the tide. The backup feature was a good idea that did not work, but to add these to a new launch was again a strike against the book. Getting 10 pages of a character we never really knew before was not enough. Now personally the Inferno backup was enjoyable, but hard to follow in 10 page bites as the story was complex.

The Shield had good talent and good storytelling in both halves of the book, but no fan base was built by DC. They would have been better served having these characters in the background of the DCU or started each Red Circle character as a mini-series. Finally they needed to put a big name to get a book going. Ask Greg Rucka to come on as co-writer for the first arc, get George Perez to draw the covers or Brian Bolland or something to get the attention of the market. In fact make the books fully returnable for the first 25 issues ordered or something else to give the retailer incentive to stock extra copies. The problem with a new and under the radar book is even if it generates some buzz after a few issues it is too late as the retailers have already abandoned the book.

The Web was even a worse case because Angela Robinson was over her head in writing this story and it went off the rails by issue #2. Sometimes I think the editors need to stand up and tell the writers this is not working, but often it seems the writers are given too much rope or the editor has no clue what they are reading is going the wrong way. No writer is 100% and Angela may wow me on her next project but this series died a horrible death and even bringing in a new writer it was too late to save the book. By pulling the line early it gives DC a chance to rework the concepts and still build on what has come before.

I love these characters and think they can be great adds to the DCU, but maybe start with the team book, or have Batman tracking down Inferno and let Inferno’s story weave through a lot of DC books to generate its own buzz, then do a mini-series and market it to the hilt and back it up with incentives to the retailers.

Also $3 books, don’t go high dollar on middle tier books. And yes it had more pages, but it is the low recognition factor that hurts it, all the general public see is The Shield or The Web is a $4 books and Batman and Robin is $3. DC is trying to develop their mid range books and these are good ones, they just need a lot more planning, stronger editing and some TLC because there was a ton of good work and some really nice concepts thrown out in these books and I hope to see them again. Heck it often takes a few times for the market to notice a book, but DC can do better than they did this time.

I will be curious if Dan Didio gives us his Executive Editor role, who would be next in that slot for the DCU and how will they build the line.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Best and The Rest March 30

I have to avoid the political rant on this column as then we get mired in that discussion and not about last week's books. Of course very few people comment, which is at times disappointing since I know based on hits that we do have readers out there. I'm always interested to hear what other's have to say.


Power Girl #10 – Writer Jimmy Palmiotti& Justin Gray, Art Amanda Conner, Colors Paul Mounts. – I almost have tears in my eyes knowing that this creative team is only on the book for two more issues. I will give the new team a chance, but damn if this is not one of the best books on the stands. I hope DC collects this 12 issue run in a hard cover so I can add it to my collection. From the cover of this book until the final page you are just flat out entertained. The book has humor, characterization, action and builds masterfully on what has come before. The art work is not your standard more photo realistic super hero fare, but is masterfully designed, laid out and rich in its detail and has great ability to convey emotion. This book could be a course in how to do comic books rights. This issue we see Power Girl be saved by Terra from Satanna, we have the kid who is black mailing Power Girl with his photos of her, we see Kara at work, we see her pay off the kid by taking him to a comic store and the great reveal that Terra is not Terra and in fact the Ultra-Humanite has taken over Terra's body. The story and art go hand in hand mixing drama, comedy with big and little moments with equal aplomb.

Nemesis #1 (of 4) - Writer Mark Millar, Art Steve McNiven, Colors Dave McCaig. This book delivers the goods as a fast paced, slam bang, over the top action pack story that grabs hold of you and then never lets you go. Say what you will about Millar but the man has his finger directly on the pulse of a segment of the market that loves the big wow moments and could care about whether or not there is a coherent plot. I'm a harsh critic of Mr. Millar but I have to hand it to him that in the midst of Blackest Night and Siege he manages to have a book that has to be the number one book for the week. No the actual events themselves are not out this week, but of all the books that hit the shelves this week, this was the one I wanted to read first and I bet it is the same for many comic fans. Whether it is morbid curiosity or anticipation if you are a fan, this is the book you need to have read this week to be part of the comic scene. Also remember while Marvel publishes the book and allows the book to use their distribution channel this is for all intents and purposes a self published book. Millar knows how to promote himself which is hugely important in this type of market. Of course having Steve McNiven on the art side doesn't hurt this book at all, as every page looks great and all the action is shown in graphic and gory detail. Steve captures the big moments and conveys the subtle moments with equal aplomb. While I sometimes miss his older style from the Crossgen days I get that this super hero style sells and this book is some of Steve's best work ever. I hope both Mark and Steve make a ton of money selling this to the movies because it makes sense if someone else uses their ideas to make a big time movie that the people who had the idea reap the rewards. See my full review here.

Scalped #36 – Writer Jason Aaron, Artist Davide Furno, Colors Giulia Brusco. Jason takes a bit character Shunka and breaths some depth of character into him. In some ways making Red Crow's tough brute of a character gay has almost become a cliché within the entertainment medium, but still that was just one element of the entire story. Not only did we get a glimpse into the world of being gay for a Native American, we got a glimpse inside of the heart and soul of a background character that has been in the book for quite some time. Shunka was about to walk away from the killing of another gay Native American but had the cab driver stop as he is going to return to the town that killed him. Next issue looks like a typical revenge fantasy, but Jason usually does more than expected in Scalped. What I enjoy is how Jason takes the various players in this drama and makes them three dimensional. This makes the main story line have more of an impact because you have come to know almost every player in this drama. Artist Davide Furno has been my least favorite fill in artist on this book, but his ability has seemed to take a step forward with this job and he is becoming a capable fill in artist for this series. Of course it doesn't hurt that colorist Giulia Brusco is helping.


Uncanny X-Men #522 – Okay Kitty Pryde is back, but she can't become solid and they put her in some sort of hyperbolic chamber. She was bought back by Magneto who used his power across light years, read that again light years and then he collapses and the medical staff has him on a table trying to help him. I wanted to try and get back into the X-Men but this type of crap just stops me at the front door. We want Kitty back, okay you have her, but not really as she can't talk and is permanently in a phantom like state. Then the method to bring her back is such a ridiculous extreme use of Magneto's powers that I can't even believe it in a comic book. You want to bring back an old fan give me something I want and at least make it plausible in comic book terms. Certain writers in comics today think anything goes because it is a comic. Cyclops eye blast are not only destructive but when he wishes they can heal, he just never knew it before Emma unlock the part of his brain that was still afraid of his power, the Beast can actually transform to his human form now as the mutation has continued to progress, Bobby can actually become ice and reform if broken, no matter what it is, it is okay because it is just a comic. This destroys any internal logic and instead of making comics fun it disrespects what has been established and what has gone before. Of course this allows writers to pull any damn rabbit out of a hat to fix a problem. In this case Magneto can reach across light years to bring back the missile and X-scientist can hypnotize satellites around the world. The problem with that method is now nothing matters and no internal logic exists and I can never even try and figure out anything when a solution is pulled out of the writer's a**.

Other Books of Note

FVZA #3 (of 3) – I really enjoyed this story and thought David Hine did an outstanding job with the whole concept. I loved the cross and double cross at the end. I hope we get to see more of the FVZA in the future and more of Landra.

Green Lantern #52 – This was a good lead up to next week's Blackest Night #8. Johns has really crafted a great story and I have enjoyed the entire event so far, one book to go.

Justice League The Rise of Arsenal #1 (of 4) – A lot of re-hashing of what I had read in the Rise and Fall Special and even in GA, but all done from Roy's perspective so it give it enough of a difference to be good. A nice start and I'm curious to see where this goes I rooting for Roy to come out of this as the new Green Arrow.

The worst category made an unhappy return this week. I think the X-Men should be so much better then what it is that it just stirs the passion in me. The characters even after almost 50 years still have potential in them but it seems mired in the role of being the outlaw hero type ideal. The other category got short shrift as only a few books made me feel like commenting. Often middle chapters in strong series don't need a comment and some weak books don't need to be raked over the coals for the heck of it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What I’m Getting Wednesday March 31

First a little background information on what is happening with the blog. I’m hopeful that we will see Jamie’s voice added to the blog soon and I have the potential for a sixth voice to be added to the choir. We are looking to make Comics And have two columns per day, at least on weekdays.
The end of the month is usually a killer week for me, but the five week month has spread out everything. I guess I get a little like Pavlov’s dog and hearing the end of the month bell had me looking for more than this short list, but some good stuff is here and a major book hits the stands.

Blackest Night # 8 (of 8) hit the stands this week. This is one of those books that will make me want to run to the store and read it right away. One of the things that Johns has done so well with this story is make it such a huge canvas that it has impacted a lot of the DCU, yet at the same time its impact will be felt profoundly in the GL side of the DCU and in an examination of what life and death mean in the DCU. After this is over the Guardians of the Galaxy are gone as far as I can tell. We now have multiple lantern corps and have hardly touched on where the Indigo Tribe came from. Will Sinestro end up as a White Lantern and finally achieve some sort of redemption or will he succumb to his controlling self? Obviously the heroes that were alive and taken over by black rings make it back, but what about Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Tempest, Damage and many others, do they all come back, just some? What will be the new status quo for Hal, Guy, Kyle and John Stewart? I see this book as having long lasting implications in the GL side of thing and impact the greater DCU in its implications about life and death. It is a hard line to walk making the event big, but not so big as to throw every other storyline that is ongoing into disarray.

The slightly delayed The Creeper by Steve Ditko Hard Cover Collection comes out also. When Ditko left Marvel he went to DC and while the Creeper was short lived it was when Steve was at the absolute height of his artist abilities. The Creeper is an odd character as befits Steve who has always been an enigmatic figure in comics and also a major influence in comics. I don’t know Steve and even people who say they know him I have read are full of crap. I have my doubts about Blake Bell and the book by him I purchased, but I’m so hungry for more about Steve that I read various sources and then try to filter out what may be fluff or pure conjecture. Still this collection is long overdue.

The rest of DC is a mixed bag with Adventure Comics #9, Detective Comics #863, Gotham City Sirens #10, Justice League of America #43, Justice Society of America #37, Outsiders #28, Web #7 and Wonder Woman #42. Vertigo delivers Madame Xanadu #21 and Wildstorm brings Astro City The Dark Age Book Four #3 (of 4). Of all of these books I love Madame Xanadu. Matt Wagner has been telling great stories about her and I have a crush on Amy Reeder Handley’s art on this book. It is flat out some of the best art being published in comics. It has a fluidity to it that is just beautiful and the lines are so clean it is just stunning work. Of course I shouldn’t overlook Richard Friend who is inking the work and allowing Amy’s work to shine.

My Marvel list for this week was darn close to being non-existent with only Fantastic Four #577, Realm of Kings Inhumans #5 (of 5) and X-Men Second Coming #1. Years ago the X-Men were one of my favorites. The Roy Thomas and Neal Adams issues were possibly the best comic on the stands. Once the book was cancelled and then revived we got a bunch of new characters and the Claremont/Byrne era, but for many years only the Grant Morrison run has really caught my attention. I tired Uncanny last week and that was a dismal failure and why I’m checking out Second Coming the amount of chapters that Marvel wants me to buy is a pretty big commitment especially given how disappointed I have been in the X-verse. If this issue is good I will continue on, if not I will skipping this mini-event.

The other category brings one book closer to its end as Sword #23 is the penultimate issue of the series. It is funny because while I have enjoyed the series I have actually become less and less of a fan of the Luna Brothers, yet still curious about their work. I think they need to hire an artist to work on top of their layouts and designs. We also have what is my last regular book I get from Zenoscope ending with Escape from Wonderland #6 (of 6). Their good girl stuff went from fun to boring, the Wonderland trilogy went from very good, to good and this last part has been okay. We also get Cowboy Ninja Viking #5, Incorruptible #4 and GI Joe Cobra II #3, which is no longer a mini-series and has been given unlimited series status, which is great news as I love GI Joe Cobra.

I told you it was a small week for me, but I won’t complain that much as it gives me more time to read the many, many other things I have in my house to read. Plus when I read other stuff the rest of the crew at Comics And often benefits when I mail stuff on.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some News About Comics And

Just so everyone knows we have added some new contributors to the site. I have a stated goal of trying to do two posts Monday to Friday and then one on Saturday and Sunday. If we can do even more then that so much the better. We will always have a new post daily.

So welcome aboard Jamie and Greg.

Jamie grew up in a comic book store in New Jersey (as did Gwen) and both are my daughters.

Greg is a fellow Cosmic Comics Conversation Panelist and is part of the next generation that I always like to see in comics.

I have also added e-mail addresses for each blogger on the sidebar so if you want to contact a columnist directly you can.

IF YOU WANT YOU STUFF REVIEWED SEND IT TO and I will forward onto our crew and hopefully someone will take the time to do a review.

Thanks for your attention and we hope to make the site more entertaining as the year progresses. Google has some new stuff for blogger that I want to test out and maybe get a fresh look to our site.

Ex Occultus: The Seal of Solomon Review

The folks at Saint James Comics are nothing if not hopeful. Though I didn't like the previous submission of Ex Occultus much, they've submitted the second issue for review, too. Despite it being free reading for me, this has to be the last time I take the time to read it.

If memory serves, my main conclusion on reading the first issue was that it was essentially fan work, much in need of editing. Unfortunately, that hasn't changed with the second issue. Important story elements just pop up out of nowhere, the pacing is really in need of help, and the voices of the characters just don't create a lasting impression. I can say the art, by James Emmett, is a bit better, but as a story guy, it's not nearly enough to overcome the shortcomings of the story.
Our intrepid leads remain the adventurer Francis Wakefield and his boy toy, Hollander, who seems to have no first name. From the comic itself, they remain cyphers; however, the web site at has some short web comics featuring the two characters and also gives more background on them. As a reader of the comics, submitted for review no less, this character information ought to be somewhere between the covers of the paper publications. I recommend checking out the short web stories, though. If you like those, you'll like the longer publications.

Wakefield and Hollander are in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1874. This is one of two historical oddities in the writing. Bulgaria wasn't a country in 1874. In fact, it didn't gain independence from the Ottoman Empire until 1878, after Russian help in a brief war in 1877. And, no, I didn't know this stuff off the top of my head. I looked it up because I did know enough to question the independence of any of the current Balkan countries at that point in time. Considering there was a failed nationalist uprising in Bulgaria in 1876, there could have been a great story idea pulled from all this, but none of that happens in this story.

Instead, the story is of the pursuit of a legendary ring of King Solomon, which is the second historical oddity, though this one's as much or more a religious oddity. The ring is supposed to have been created at the behest of King Solomon so that he could speak directly to G-d, as it would be written by observant Jews. The thing is, Solomon had a pretty direct line to G-d already. What would he need with a ring to facilitate it? And then there's the part of the story that says there was a flaw in making the ring so that it communicated with hell instead. Judaisim isn't really clear on the hell business and the levels of demons that Christianity has developed. Stranger still, the ring allows the wearer to summon and order around demons, whicih is a lot more than just communicating. Makes me wonder if it would have allowed the wearer to summon angels or G-d if it had worked properly (which is a great religious conundrum - would G-d allow the creation of a device that allowed a man to control G-d? Is such a thing even possible?).

I could forgive some of that in the storytelling, but it's the languid pacing of the thing that's really a killer. It starts with 6 pages of conversation. It has a brief several pages of chasing the guy who has the ring and then fighting the demons he summons (who are defeated with weapons that aren't explained in the text but rather in what amount to endnotes), but then it ends up with another 8 pages of exposition. It pulls in a character to take away and rehabilitate the guy who had the ring without any information about who this new character is (until you get to the endnotes). The guy with the ring vacillates from scared, to combatitive, to pleading. He seems to be under the influence of the ring, a la Lord of the Rings, but strangely needs a page from an otherwise disappeared text to operate it. Amusingly, it doesn't seem to matter what page of the text, but just any page will do to allow him to summon demons. For all we know, he had the bibliography page to the text and no instructions.

Oh, and someone needs to tell Robert James Russell, the writer, that having one of your leads quip that attacking crows might want their feathers back only makes the character look stupid when the page previous it was established that the leads were wearing eagle feathers. Of course, the same character looks equally stupid when he asks his partner if they're prepared for any demonic attacks, only to later reveal that he's already carrying two weapons he knows to be useful in fighting demons. Did he just forget about the ammunition he used for the shotgun in his hands?

I like small press publications. Really. But, as I said the last time I looked at Ex Occultus, editing, editing, editing. Its value can't be underappreciated. I don't have an editor, and look how that turns out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paul J. Salamoff Interview – Writer of Logan’s Run: Last Day from Bluewater Comics Part 1 of 3

Thanks to Jim for suggesting that I contact Paul about an interview following his comment on my review of Logan's Run: Last Day #1. It took a little while for me to get some questions together, but when we finally got around to it we really went to town. I hope you like the results. This interview was conducted by e-mail via an ever-growing Word file between 2010 Mar 20 and Mar 23.

Matthew: I certainly want to get into some personal background information, but let’s jump right into talking about the Logan’s Run: Last Day project first.

I understand that this is the first of three 6-part mini-series adapting the William Nolan novels, correct?

Paul: Actually, It’s four 6-part series. I just started writing the 2nd Series called LOGAN’S RUN: AFTERMATH

Matthew: Great! I’m glad to hear that there’s another chapter. Will there be any publishing break between each series or can I plan to see it every month in my pull box for the next two years?

Paul: As of now there will be no break between the first and second series (AFTERMATH#1 starts in July). We will see how my schedule is after series two. Though I would like to just keep chugging ahead full steam.

Matthew: What’s your history with the Logan character (novel, movie, comic, or TV show)? Also, what’s the #1 thing you did or didn’t like about the movie?

Paul: I’ve been a fan of LOGAN’S RUN since I was 6 years old and saw it as a double bill with STAR WARS at a drive-in Theater in Cape Cod, MA. I’ve seen the movie at least 30 times and have read the first book at least 3 times (if not more at this point). I vaguely remember the TV series.

I happen to like the idea that there is no Sanctuary in the movie. In the book Sanctuary is a space station revolving the Earth. I was able to have my cake and eat it too in the comic, Sanctuary is still a real location but it’s not what is expected and ultimately Sanctuary’s a state of mind (I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that).

Matthew: I’m really anxious to see how you work that out.


Matthew: For those of us (like me) that have only seen the 1976 movie or the TV show, where do the novels take us that the movie didn’t? If that won’t give too much away…I want to be surprised as the story unfolds.

Paul: There’s many similarities, but also as many differences. Ultimately both the movie and the book are about redemption, but Logan’s journey in the book takes him on a longer quest and through some more unusual locales. And like I mentioned above, Sanctuary exists as a physical location in the novel.

Matthew: I know you’ve been given some leeway to add some elements of your own, so I’ve just got to know…the black facemask…is that an original concept from the novel or was that your idea?

Paul: The facemask was 100% William F Nolan’s idea. He felt that was really missing from the movie, that the DS men were faceless killers. I loved it, because it really re-enforced thematic elements that I wanted to explore and let’s face it, it’s pretty darn cool!

Matthew: I really liked how the black facemask in the comic seemed to be a similar design to the white facemasks that the Carousel participants wear in the film. I’m not sure this memory is 100% accurate, but I’m pretty sure that when I was wearing my Logan’s Run Sandman costume for Halloween, I had a black (rip-off) Star Wars stormtrooper helmet to go with it, never realizing that the two actually went together until now.

Paul: The Carousel masks in the movie are just plain ‘ol hockey masks, these new DS Operative Helmets are more akin to a stormtrooper helmet.

Matthew: What sort of things are you adding? Are they primarily updates to be futuristic based on the technology of today (rather than when the novel was written) or are you also modifying the pacing, plot, and/or characterization to work better in a comic?

Paul: I feel like I’ve brought a very updated cinematic approach to the story and streamlined it quite a bit. I have retained most of the elements from the first book and some elements from the second book (LOGAN’S WORLD) and weaved a new narrative. I also feel like I’ve updated the characters a little and strengthened their motivations. One way I was able to do this was by really delving into Logan’s past so you see how and why he became who he was. At the beginning of the comic, Logan is not a nice guy and this gave me a very clear course for his eventual redemption. Nolan, Jason Brock and myself also crafted a newly revised “Future History” that tries to make it clear how society got to this point. That is something I’m personally very proud of, because it has logic to it.

Matthew: How was the artist selected for this project? You guys seem to work so well together --The pacing of issue #1 was incredible. Do you write out detailed scripts or do you and the artist collaborate the “Marvel Way”?

Paul: Daniel Gete’s artwork is amazing. He was chosen by Darren G. Davis at Bluewater and what a great decision that was. As far as how Daniel and I work, I provide him with a pretty detailed script, but it’s made clear that’s it’s only a guideline for him. 9 times out of 10 he’s typically drawing how I imagined it in my head, but he has full authority by me to change things up if he feels it’s necessary and there are times that he’ll take something I’ve written and turn it on its head creating an incredible look and feel that just absolutely blows me away. I love the way he breaks frames and his POV on some scenes is genius. I’m lucky to have such a great artist onboard.

Matthew: You know, I’m really glad to hear this. I was afraid that the creative process might have been one-sided. Please tell me that Daniel’s on-board for all four mini-series! Can you ask if he’s interested in selling any of his original art? Will you try to purchase some for yourself?

Paul: I would love Daniel to do all four series, but it all depends on his schedule and availability. Because of the rigorous timetable there is a different artist doing Issue#5, but then Daniel is finishing up the series with Issue#6. This is no slight on the new artist (I have not seen his art yet) but it would have been great for Daniel to do all 6, but it’s just not physically possible and stay on schedule.

I don’t know if he does (or can) sell any of the Logan art. I believe it would be the property of Bluewater comics.

Matthew: How did you get involved in the project? Did you bring Logan’s Run to Bluewater or did Bluewater bring you to the project? Did Boom Studios’ graphic telling of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep have any influence on producing this story now or was it already “in the works”? Are there plans to collect each mini-series or should we make sure we get the “floppies”?

Paul: I had been writing for Bluewater for a good half a year when Darren got the license for LOGAN. He just flat out offered it to me and when I regained consciousness, I accepted. What an amazing opportunity this is and the ability to work alongside William F. Nolan, one of the greatest and most influential science-fiction authors of all time. Well, that’s priceless. Boom Studios’ Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is an entirely different animal than Logan. From what I understand it is a 100% faithful adaptation of the prose, more akin to an illustrated book than a comic book interpretation. Logan is a reboot of sorts using the original source material as a jumping off point.

There are plans to release all four series as Trade Paperbacks a few months after each series wraps up, but with that said we do hope you will support the floppies.
Matthew: No problem there, I’ll be getting the single-issues and you’re tempting me to get the trades now too.

Paul: I understand there’s going to be a few cool surprises with the Trade Paperback editions. I don’t think I’m at liberty to discuss them, but one is a new foreword written for the edition by a famous sci-fi author (not William F. Nolan).

Come back next week for Part 2.

Meanwhile get your local comic shop to backorder issue 1 for you and remember issue 2 should be out this Wednesday, March 31st!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Indies Preview Review for April Part 3 of 3

Image Comics
Godland: Celestial Ed. Vol. 02 HC by (W) Joe Casey (A) Tom Scioli
Finally, the wait is over! Book Two in the Eisner Award-nominated Celestial Editions is here! See how the greatest cosmic superhero epic of our time was taken to even higher levels of surreal splendor! See Commander Adam Archer, Maxim, Basil Cronus, Nickelhead and more in all their oversized glory! Is there any other book that delivers the Savage Sting and the secret of the Infinity Tower? Not in this universe! Where else are you going to see Lucky in all of his glory? Only GØDLAND has the pure, storytelling power to scratch the greatest itch you ever had! Collects GØDLAND #13-24, plus tons of cosmic-powered extras! 360 pages, FC, $34.99
Jim: I never got into this series, but I have heard a lot of positive things about it.
Lee: This is Casey at his weirdest and best. I've always felt that Casey was hit or miss as a writer, but his hits were always so good that I keep coming back for more. This is very, very good... and strange. The oversized hc is the best way to read the series.

Sam & Twitch: Writer #1 by (W) Luca Blengino (A) Luca Erbetta & Fabio Bono
New Crime Fiction Mini-Series Shipping Bi-Weekly! A top-notch creative team from Italy spins a hard-boiled crime fiction tale from the boroughs of NYC! Part One: Incipit In Media
In the dead of winter, with a snowstorm looming, a routine homicide investigation has a literary twist. A suspected drug dealer is found dead and naked, with what seems to be part of a larger story written all over his body. Detectives Sam Burke and Twitch Williams, along with graphologist Charlotte Garland, have to discover the truth, but the case, like the weather, can only get worse? #1 of 4, $2.99
Lee: I definitely have a soft spot for S&T because of Bendis’s run on the title. It was just before he moved to Marvel and still some of his strongest work. Bi-weekly is impressive if they can pull it off but I wish I knew more about the creative team. I’ll look at it on the racks before I make a final decision.
Jim: I have an aversion to almost anything associated with Todd McFarlane, but one day I want to read the Bendis Sam & Twitch stuff.

Sea of Red Slipcase Collection
By (W) Rick Remender & Kieron Dwyer (A) Kieron Dwyer
The year is 1533. Deckhand, Marco Esperanza's shipping vessel is sunk in the dead of night leaving him, the sole survivor, left adrift in the Red Sea. His prayers are answered when a strange ship impossibly cuts through the night fog saving him a watery grave. However, his elation soon turns to horror when he discovers he has been brought aboard the dread pirate ship, The Black Galleon. There is more to Captain Lesser Blackthroat and his evil crew than mere piracy, these men are damned -- these men are vampire. The year is 2004. Since being turned undead by Blackthroat, Marco has spent the past 400 years tied to the bow of a sunken vessel, clinging to unlife in the dark, briny, deep. His confinement at the bottom of the sea ends when film director Joel Cameron's submarine discovers him while location scouting. Hungry to film a live vampire battle, Cameron agrees to aid Marco in seeking out the eternal monsters responsible his fate that he might have his revenge. Collects Sea Of Red, Vol. 1-3 Warning: May Not Be Suitable For All Ages $39.99 NOTE: Limited to 1000 copies. Allocations may occur.
Lee: First, to comment on the slipcase, I think it’s a cool idea. It’s a nice way to keep you tpb’s from getting beat up too much. Then again, how much are they going to get beat up on a shelf. As for the story, I have these books already and they’re pretty good. If you like Remender’s work, then you’ll like this.
Jim: I usually enjoy Remender's work and had missed this stuff, sounds like a nice way to try it out and after I read it and if I don't like it I will mail it off to someone.

Oni Press Inc.
Mondo Urbano GN by (W/A) Rafael Albuquerque, Mateus Santolouco, Eduardo Medeiros
Rafael Albuquerque (artist of Vertigo's new American Vampire series) joins Eduardo Medeiros (Mad) and Mateus Santolouco (Wolverine) for a riotous new graphic novel series! Told through a series of vignettes, Mondo Urbano takes readers on a gritty and exciting ride through a world of sex, drugs, and rock n roll. $11.99
Lee: Is it me or does it seem like Oni is publishing less and less frequently these days. Their offerings seem to be getting slimmer and slimmer. But the things they are offering, such as this, sound great.
Jim: Wow Lee enjoying a music comic mash up, who would have thunk it. Oni does has a very slim publishing schedule which is a shame and most of what they publish is very good.

Titan Publishing
Darkies Mob HC by (W) John Wagner (A) Mike Western
Gathered in a complete uncensored collection, this is the original, hardhitting war comic story from the pen of Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner. In the hellish, humid jungles of Burma, renegade Captain Joe Darkie leads a rag-tag squad of British soldiers behind Japanese lines, transforming them into the brutal Darkie's Mob. His squad faced hardship, horror and vicious combat at every turn, as their Captain's mania threatened to engulf them all. How many will die before his bloodlust is finally sated? $19.95. Visit the Mob fanpage, with some art, here
Jim: When I read in the back of Battlefields that Ennis enjoyed this (I believe) then my decision was made to check this out. Of course the title will have some screaming politically incorrect, but who cares.
Lee: Darkie's Mob is collected from the British comic "Battle" which is roughly equivalent to Our Army At War. Except that it's bloodier. I'm always up for a good war story and this sounds like a great one. I'm sold.

Top Shelf Productions
BB Wolf & 3 Lps HC by (W) J.D. Arnold (A) Rich Koslowski
Set in the Mississippi Delta of the 1920s, B.B. Wolf & The 3 LP's is a classic story of racial injustice, murder, revenge, and music, all told through the re-telling of a timeless fairy tale. A farmer and family man by day, blues musician by night, B.B.'s life seemed simple. But this fragile peace comes crashing down when the LP's decide to take his land by any means possible. When all is lost, B.B. lashes out, setting into motion acts of revenge that only a big bad wolf could unleash. $12.95. The official BB Wolf site is here, and the previews are here.
Jim: This book screams Lee and screams for me to pass.
Lee: I think it's late, your tired, and just saying no now. I'm not sure who JD Arnold is but I sure as heck know who Koslowski is.... and he's great! Koslowski is a master story teller, great artist, and creator of one of my all time favorite books "Three Fingers." If his name is attached to this, that's good enough for me. Doesn't hurt that Top Shelf is publishing this. You are missing out.

Greetings from Cartoonia SC
Twelve modern European cartoonists gathered objects of inspiration from each others' homelands (such as architectural styles, animal species, car models, traditional folk products, and mythological beings). Then each artist created a comic story set in their chosen country. What emerged is a completely new, trans-national entity. $20.00 See previews here.
Jim: Yeah it just sounds so, so like a bunch of gobblely gook new age crap to me.
Lee: Take a look at the previews and you will instantly know if this book is for you or not. Personally, it's for me. I love the indie scene and I really love indie art. This compilation will be full of things that I like and dislike but that's what I'm looking for. I'm sold.

Moving Pictures GN by (W) Kathryn Immonen (A) Stuart Immonen
During World War II the Nazis pillaged much of Europe's great art collections. Museum curator Ila Gardner and SS officer Rolf Hauptmann are forced by circumstances to play out an awkward and dangerous relationship in a public power struggle. Moving Pictures unfolds along two timelines which collide with the revelation of a terrible secret, an enigmatic decision that not many would make, and the realization that sometimes the only choice left is the refusal to choose. $14.95 A 12 page preview here.
Jim: This is a must buy for me. Stuart on art and his wife has proven a capable writer and I love the premise.
Lee: For me too. This is such an easy sell and I'm sure it'll get lots of hype at the release date gets closer. The Immonen's are very, very talented and I'm sure this won't disappoint.

Zip Comics
Schizophrenic One-Shot by (W) Josh Frankel (A) Toby Cypress
Sam C. Howe is just your average 20-something living in the big city. He has a crappy job, a run-down apartment, and a crazy roommate, but, Sam has a secret. Sam is a schizophrenic, but all of his hallucinations become real. Assuming the identity of a super-powered being called Uberman, Sam will take on the evil villian group known as the 7 Virtues, but find that the war going on inside his head may be for the wrong reasons! $3.99, illustrated by Toby Cypress, who can be found here who previously drew “Killing Girl" which can be found here, A preview of Schizophrenic here and the official site here.
Jim: Sounds like a decent premise but Cypress' art in Killing Girl was just short of atrocious in my view.
Lee: What??? no no no, the art was very good. The color may have stretched credibility but the art was good. I guess this comes down to if you like Cypress's art or not. I do so I'm willing to give it a try.

Lee: This has been another great month. Between reprints of older books and shiney new things, I'm going to have a month packed with good reads.
Jim: Sigh, Lee has cost me more money this month, but with material that should be worthwhile.

A Fistful of Reviews

Devil # 2 (Dark Horse)

The story for this book has a zombie-ish type apocalypse feel to it. So I have to say the plot itself hasn't drawn me in all that much as nothings struck me as new or unique thus far. It is well written but the plot itself is not enough to hold my attention. The art however... wow. Absolutely hypnotic. I was mesmerized (and yet horrified by some of the imagery). Amazing. The color work was also gorgeous. It was hard to not just stare.

Echo #20 (Abstract Studios)

As always I love this comic book. I love how Terry Moore keeps the story moving and allows his characters to change and grow. The art is great too and this is just a solid book that I would recommend to just about anyone. It's nice to have a comic out there that never fails to be an enjoyable read.

Fables #93 (Vertigo)

That was certainly a tricky decision for Flycatcher. It was also an interesting argument made by Trusty John. Does someone's nature override their responsibility for their actions? I'd have to say no in regards to human beings at least. Humans (usually - people with mental instability sometimes cannot control their actions - there are always exceptions) have the ability to make choices - free will and all - and thus have the power to overcome their nature. In Fly's case he was dealing with a goblin and as goblins are, as far as I can say, fictional, it is hard to evaluate the dilemma Fly faces. On one hand if someone swears to abide by the King's Law they have willingly put themselves under the rulings of the King's law - and murder is murder. However the defendant was clearly unaware that what he did was wrong. As such Fly's decision to banish him was the best solution I could come up with as it was the first such incident and from here on out the other goblins should consider themselves warned.

American Vampire #1 (Vertigo)

Good start. This is an interesting premise in the first place - I've never read anything before that's crossed the vampire and cowboy genre (although I'm sure there's material out there). I actually enjoyed the first part of the comic more than the second part as I find myself drawn into Pearl's story more than the story of Skinner Sweet (which is a terrible if not appropriate name for the character). I can't wait to get the next issue!

Supergirl #33 (DC)

I'm a sucker for any comic guest starring the Legion. Beyond that point, this issue was a bit too fast paced - it didn't stand on it's own very well and I'm weirded out by Kara kissing Mon'el. This issue was just a way of moving everyone along to the next phase of Last Stand.

Locke&Key: Crown of Shadows #4 (IDW)

This book is awesome :) Kinsey is pretty cool using her flashlight to escape from the shadows but honestly Tyler was really the hero of this issue. He stood up to the shadow's questioning and even manages to take the fight to them when Kinsey and Bode run into trouble. I guess we'll find out next issue how his tactics actually impact the fight.

House of Mystery #23 (Vertigo)

I, like Fig, find myself missing Harry. I'm sure this story line is going somewhere but I'm beginning to lose interest as Strawberry is just creepy and I don't care much what happens to him. I felt really bad for the dead guy though. Getting eaten by a Troll is a terrible way to go.