Friday, September 30, 2011

Arsenic Lullaby - Interview with Creator Douglas Paszkiewicz

So after reading and reviewing Arsenic Lullaby the Devil’s Decade I reached out to the creator/artist/writer Douglas Paszkiewicz to do an interview. Doug’s work is fun and has an edge to it that most comedy is missing. We have become a politically correct society that has no sense of humor; Doug is working to correct that problem.

Jim: Arsenic Lullaby is absolutely brilliant and hilarious, but touches on subjects that most people would not get near, much less make jokes about it. What possessed you to go down the road of serial government baby killers and Zombie Fetuses?

Doug: It wasn't really a conscious effort to go down dark roads.  I just wrote/write stories that I found funny.  Often the content is driven by what I think would be fun to draw for awhile. I drew the witch doctor in my sketchbook and liked the drawing so I found a way to stick him into a story. There is also the problem of keeping things original I try to find elements that haven't been beaten to death already in the form of songs, movies, comics, etc. So after 6000 years of human civilization that really only leaves darker content that other people haven't wanted to fetuses and killing babies. I may come up with a funny story about a working class dad and his wacky neighbor but what's the point? It's either been done or something similar has. So it is really a matter of what my brain latches onto filtered by what has already been strip mined by every story teller before me.

Indies Preview Review for November Part 2 of 2

The end of a short month....

Fantagraphics Books

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #7 by by Michael Kupperman
In this issue Quincy, M.E. makes his comic book debut, struggling through the fantastic landscapes of his own dreams in Quinception, in which St. Peter also gets his own comic book. Snake n Bacon make an appearance in Reservoir Dogs 2, where the gang reunites for another caper. Twain and Einstein deal with some family issues, and a special section of History Comics presents the story of the Kennedy/Nixon debate and the incredible saga of Bertrand DeCoupeur, alias The Scythe! 32 pgs, FC, 6.75 x 9.5 $4.50
Lee: Ok, I’ve read the hype about this for a long time but never picked it up. Then last week Greg starts talking about how Kupperman suddenly has a book out for Marvel. Now I definitely have to see what’s going on with this.
Gwen: I can't say I'm terribly drawn by this as it's a bit hard to tell what it's about. It seems like it could be interesting but I'd need a little more information before picking it up.

GC Press LLC
EC Archives: Haunt of Fear Vol. 01 HC by (W/A) Various
The hauntingly spectacular artwork by legendary comic artists such as Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Jack Kamen, Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, Feldstein, and Kurtzman has been fully restored in this first volume of The Haunt of Fear, which reprints the first six issues, twenty-four stories orinally published in 1950 and 1951. $49.95
Lee: Until we had the guest post a last month, I thought that everyone loved old EC material. I thought it was one of those timeless classic things that everyone appreciated. Guess I was wrong. Oh well, I still love these stories and can’t wait to read them again. This is another excellent collection if you can afford it.
Gwen: Yeah, hard to love the old horror comics from before I was born... actually these are from before my Dad was born! I actually do have a few friends into the older horror comics and while this may not be my cup of tea it looks like a good collection.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Aquaman #1 - A Review

So not so long ago it was big news that DC Comics was going to reboot Aquaman with the a-list creative team of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis.

Then they decided to reboot all their books and offend every woman on the planet, so this got a bit lost in the shuffle. But they’d been promoting this book for a while and even run a major company event running up to its relaunch, so its probably worth a deeper look.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Indies Preview Review for November Part 1 of 2

Gwen: Not too many books to cover this month. But at least there's a cute robot!
Lee: It was a light month. I am not sure if there just wasn't anything all that interesting or just really bad hype. But, there are some really expensive selections just in time for Christmas... well order them with Christmas money.

Adhouse Books
Heaven All Day SC by (W/A) John Martz
The lives of a lonely factory worker and an abandoned robot become intertwined as the man struggles to complete his life's work - a mysterious contraption that he must keep secret from the outside world. Visit Martz here.  24 pgs, $4.00
Gwen: Oh my gosh that robot is so cute! I'm sold. Seriously though the concept looks really good so I'd be interested even if the robot wasn't adorable.
Lee: I have to agree, this looks great.

Arcana Studio
My Best Friend's a Booger GN by (W/A) Tyler Kirkham (W) Rian Kirkham
Who would have ever thought you could have a booger as your best friend? Well, if your imagination is anything like Skyler Grayson's, the possibilities are endless! At a time when Skyler is feeling really down and all alone, he finds his greatest friend in - you guessed it - a sneeze! $6.95
Lee: As soon as I read the title I knew I had to pick this book. So I picked a winner! Bwah ha ha!!!
Gwen: Ewww. Just, ew.

More picks below the break....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What I read this week...

So, Jim has finally motivated me to discuss all the things that I read the previous week. I've always held out because I don't read nearly the volume of material that he does. Then Thomm pointed out that no reads near the volume he does so here I am...

I read 2 books this week. The Fallen Angel Omnibus and Pinocchio.

The Fallen Angel Omnibus, written by Peter David, illustrated by a couple of artists, published by IDW
This unnumbered omnibus collects the first 21 issues of the IDW series. Not to be confused with the original DC series which was collected in the Volume 0 omnibus, or the Volume 2 omnibus which collects subsequent issues.

Fallen Angel is about well.... a Fallen Angel who lives in the mystical town of Bette Noir. Her son, Jude, who was 2 weeks short of taking his final vows to enter the priesthood, has taken over as Magistrate of the city. And so, in the span of 21 issues you learn the origin of the Angel, watch her son try to manage a city that has a life of it's own, and encounter all sorts of baddies along the way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Week in Review – September 21

The new DCU rules, in fact this week they rule so much that I’ve decided the week in review is all about this week’s number one issues from DC. I think the strangeness of the reboot, and it is a reboot, is wearing off and I’m just enjoying the books for whatever they have to offer. So far I have sampled ever single series and except for Static Shock I will try out issue #2, that book just did not cut it for me. This week the pros and cons and the issues I have with the new DCU are front and center, but it is nice to hear how much this is not only reviving DC, but has had an impact of generating excitement about other comics as well. Hopefully this is the start of a renaissance for comics and not just a short term impact from a marketing gimmick. Also I hope Marvel does not follow suit, as that would be lame.

Batman #1 by Scott Snyder, Greg Cappullo and Jonathan Glapion was a great start and is right now my favorite DC series. Scott just concluded a great run on Detective and for me, defined Dick Grayson as Batman and is now doing the same for Bruce Wayne as Batman. I loved what Grant Morrison did with Batman and I’m enjoying Scott’s work, what a great time to be a Batman fan. This issue reestablishes Batman as the detective and shows us that both Bruce and Batman are going to be an integral part of the book. The first half sets the status quo and starts off with Batman and Dick (disguised as the Joker) shutting down a breakout at Arkham. From there we move to establishing Bruce Wayne as trying to help start a revitalization effort for Gotham and next to a murder mystery with the main suspect being Dick Grayson. This is absolutely no way you could not want to come back for the next issue. Grep Capullo and Jonathan Glapion did a fantastic job on the art. The action, the gadgets, the horror of the murder, everything except for one panel was great. You can see my remarks about that here. Over the years Batman has gone through a lot of changes, but Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams were important to the book and Brubaker and Rucka did some good work on Batman, Grant Morrison breathed new life into the franchise and now we have Scott Snyder who has the potential to be one of the best writers on Batman ever, can’t wait for more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Post At WCS

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

After a few years writing on this blog, I've long since come to the conclusion that I'm insufficiently rabid about comics. Aside from Gwen, who relies on the generosity of Jim, I don't spend anywhere near the kind of coin my cohorts do on comics, trades, and HCs. Even Matthew's limited budget from a couple weeks ago was more than I'm laying out.

Similarly, I don't go out to catch the latest movie based on a comic book, whether it's a super hero book or something in another genre like Road to Perdition. So it was nothing unusual that I didn't see X-Men Origins: Wolverine when it was in theaters a couple years ago. Now it's making the rounds of basic cable, with FX showing it everyday on a recent weekend. Over the course of the weekend I saw the whole movie, albeit not all at once. I've also seen the three X-Men movies that preceded it.

I think the last few weeks of postings have established that I enjoy the X-Men, especially in the era that ran from the mid '70s through the mid '80s. I was off the train by the time the excesses of the '90s rolled around. Now that I've seen this movie, which takes several of its cues from that era, I'm glad I got off when I did, and nothing about the current X-Men is calling me back to read what's happening now.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

John Carter: A Princess of Mars #1 -- A Review

John Carter Warlord of Mars: A Princess of Mars #1 (of 5)
Script: Roger Langridge

Art: Filipe Andrade

Colors: Sunny Gho

Letterers: VC’s Cory Petit

Publisher: Marvel
Price: $2.99
Based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

In order to avoid Thomm’s cross-dressing comment again, I ended up going to the publishing blurb on the last page to get the “official” title. Interestingly to this native of the area, the book was manufactured in Richmond, Virginia by Cadmus Communications. (I wonder if they do tours?) I’ve got to say it’s nice to see a comic printed in the USA for once (good for the economy). However, that doesn’t stop me from getting my Omnibuses, which are printed in China (If it keeps the price down). I can barely afford them as it is and even then it needs to be at a substantial discount (usually 40 to 50 percent off). Just so that comment has any relevance at all, Marvel is putting out an Omni for its 70’s John Carter series. I have all the original issues, but it just might be worth it. The Alan Davis cover is sweet.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Marvel Preview Review for November Part 2 of 2

Continued from yesterday... more sunshine and butterflies from Greg!


Written by David Liss
Penciled by Shawn Martinbrough
Cover by Francesco Francavilla
The Panther Vs. The Kingpin…The Battle Begins! With Daredevil out of Hell’s Kitchen, The Hand’s new leader makes his move for ultimate power. But why is Wilson Fisk targeting Wakandan citizens…and can T’Challa save the one woman who holds the key to unlocking the Kingpin’s plans from the deadly aim of Lady Bullseye and Typhoid Mary? Ever since T’Challa agreed to take over for DD, you knew this war was coming…here it is! 32 PGS./ $2.99
Greg: That is an AWESOME tagline. I hope it stays on all subsequent Black Panther books. 
Lee: Really?  The tag line impressed you?  You are way easier to please than me. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marvel Preview Review for November Part 1 of 2

Lee: Ooohhh, this should be great.  I feel my herma.. himero... my ass hurts already.

Written by Ed Brubaker Pencils / Cover by Butch Guice
The Marvel Universe holds a wake for Bucky Barnes Fear Itself forever altered the life of Captain America, see how! 32 PGS./One-Shot/ $3.99
Written by Matt Fraction
Art / Cover by Salvador Larroca
Tony Stark squares off against Odin! And before it’s all over, Tony’s darkest secret is leaked to the world! Fear In A Bottle? 32 PGS./One-Shot/ $3.99
Written by Matt Fraction
Pencils / Cover by Adam Kubert
Variant Cover by Salvador Larroca
Odin decides the final fate of Asgard…and it will never be the same. The heroes of the Nine Worlds bid farewell to one of their own. Thor No More! 32 PGS./One-Shot/ $3.99
Written by Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction / Christopher Yost
Penciled by Mark Bagley / Paul Pelletier
Cover by Arthur Adams
Sin, Crossbones, and Valkeryie race across the globe in search the missing hammers!
The Secret Avengers guest-star in a battle against Raizo and an army of zombies! 32 PGS. (each)/ $2.99 (each)
Greg: Good god that’s a lot of aftermath. I like all the creative teams involved, but yeesh. Stand out here seems to be Cullen Bunn. He’s been great on the Sixth Gun though. I’m interested to see his take on mainstream superhero stuff.
Lee: People have certainly loved Fear Itself so it makes sense for Marvel to keep the story going.  I agree, Bunn is one to watch. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Post At WCS

IDW Preview Review for November

Lee: Another strong month as always from IDW with all sorts of different books in the mix.
Thomm: Hooray, different mix! I’ll be looking for more of that with the demise of Vertigo.

Jack Avarice IS The Courier #1 -2 -3 -4 -5 (of 5)
Chris Madden (w / a / c)
Spies, explosions, voodoo magic, deadly beauties, high-caliber thrills, and high-octane destruction... action-adventure has a brand-new name, and it's JACK AVARICE! The world of spies and intrigue is very much real and lies hidden just below the surface. But when a down-on-his-luck kid who dreams of a life like the movies meets the world's greatest secret agent, he'll discover the reality of spycraft is far deadlier and more explosive than any movie he could imagine—and he now has a starring role! The explosive five-issue miniseries starts here! By Chris Madden, artist on the upcoming Danger Girl series! This special 5-part series is being released weekly on all five Wednesdays in November! FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Lee: I find it interesting that IDW is getting a little bit gimmicky with a 5 week release schedule. That said, after this series Madden is going to work on Danger Girl so it looks like this should appeal to the same audience.
Thomm: Looks like fun, mostly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Thanks to the response generated by my last fistful of reviews I thought I should take some time to more fully explain why the Flash Point storyline bothered me so much. Or, for that matter, why Paul Levitz's take on Shadow Lass hit me the same way.

I am, at heart, a character person. As a writer myself (albeit as a hobby, not a profession) I feel that good, consistent and strong characterization is key to a good character-based story. Sure, you have writers, like many of the modernists (Faulkner and O'Conner to mention two), who use their characters as plot devices. But when you read stories like, O'Conner's A Good Man is Hard to Find) it's obvious that the characters are there to tell the story, not to stand on their own. Also that the core object of the story is to bring up certain ideas to the audience, not to involve them too closely with the characters themselves. Many writers use such techniques. The writers of series, however, should not employ this technique with any frequency.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Week in Review – September 14

The new DCU will continue to dominate this month and specifically this column. That is not to say that the other companies are not out there producing some great books. Heck we had Uncanny X-Force from Marvel, Pigs from Image was a good start, a great end to Green Hornet Year One from Dynamite. Heck Severed #2 was probably the best book of the week so I wrote a solo review over at WCS, click away for that review. It is just in discussing the week that DC has reenergized their own line up of books and per my favorite retail store stirred up interest in comics in general with returning lapsed fans as well as some new faces. As a long time fan I’m always happy to hear that type of news. I can’t wait to see the September sales numbers, I have a feeling DC won the month like they haven’t since the sixties. 

After all of them as an introduction I will start with a book not from DC of course, Criminal Last of the Innocent #4 (of 4). Severed and this book vied for best book of the week and I could argue for either book. Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips great series produced their best story ever. First off, who do I have to kill to own that cover? What a great cover, that just oozes sex, danger and noir. Second these guys are producing great stories and still manage to up their game on their latest installment of Criminal, hats off gentlemen. “Last of the Innocent” wraps up by concluding the story of our “Archie” comic characters. Archie manages to get away with killing Veronica and running off with Betty and the money. Reggie gets killed off in jail and Jughead dies of an overdose set up by Archie. I use the Archie character names because I can never remember who he renamed who except Jughead is Freakout. It is well written and drawn to perfection. These guys are like McCartney and Lennon, Swiss and Cheese and Old Bay and Crabs, a winning combination. If you like your comics hard edged, well written and great art, this is your stop.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Uncanny X-Men 125-128

My trades purchases have finally gotten me close to the singles, but for issues 123-124, so I'm skipping few issues and moving into the hard sought issues that tell the story of Mutant X, aka Proteus. I spent a lot of years as a kid and young adult buying these back issues when I could find them and afford them. It's been a lot cheaper, in inflationary terms, to get the trades of the earliest issues of the new X-Men, but there was a certain element of fun to tracking these down.

This is the story that really sets the stage for the Phoenix Saga's conclusion about a year after this arc starts. The various elements of the X-Men realize they all survived the battle with Magneto in the Savage Land, though Xavier's still out in space with Lilandra.

One of the great things about these old issues is that there were always plenty of flash backs to fill you in on what you missed. It seems redundant when reading all of the story at once, but for a medium then not counting on trades for people to get the whole story, it was a nice thing to provide for your audience, which may have missed an issue or two.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Severed #2 – A Review

On WCS our sister blog

Hypothesis Testing on pre-BIG TIME Amazing Spider-Man

Back to school makes this household busy, busy, busy and my paying job has been extra intense lately too. So, I've had zilch time to prepare anything and the one book I thought I could write about...someone else got to it first (Greg did a magnificent job, didn't he?). So, we're going with an old standby, the understudy, if you will: The dreaded (or long anticipated) BUFFER POST! Even as I update the preamble, I'm still hoping I can pull something else together...if I don't pass out from exhaustion first. It's been in the queue for several months now (I wonder what the Vegas odds were on me ever using it...). I hope it still reads well. Spider-Island hasn't driven me off Amazing Spider-Man... yet. Although, having everyone mutate into bizarre spider-creatures is starting to go over the line. I never liked it when Spidey "Hulked" out either. Enjoy, I hope...

Friday, September 16, 2011

DC Preview Review for November Part 2 of 2

The excitement continues, no really it is exciting. Ok it is a little bit of a drag since we are still dealing with too much of the unknown.

On sale NOVEMBER 30 • 32 pg, 1 of 6, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
One of the most critically acclaimed series of the past year returns with a new #1 issue that serves as a great jumping-on point for new readers!
What kind of people willingly become Super Heroes, knowing that their powers will eventually kill them? That’s the question this new 6-part miniseries will explore as the team must face off against the Warlord and his Subterraneans! Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Ultimate X-Men) teams with rising star Wes Craig for a twisted= tale of super heroics, espionage, and action!
Jim: The best series by Nick Spencer, so I was jazzed to hear that his Marvel exclusive allows him to continue writing this series. I hope this is just the first of a series of mini-series about the Thunder Agents.
Gwen: Mmm, I'll have to take Jim's word on this one.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daredevil #1-3

Daredevil #1-3

This is how superhero comics should be.

Every single writer making superhero comics today should read these three issues.

THIS is how you launch a new comic. THIS is how you start a new creative team’s run. THIS is how you change directions on a long running character. THIS is the kind of comic book I want to read.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DC Preview Review for November Part 1 of 2

Jim: Well as I type this I have read the first issues of 25% of the new DCU and it is just a weird experience at this point. Since DC has made that dramatic shift I have decide to revert the format back to the older style of pick and then comment. I’m still looking for a new way to do this.
Gwen: I've only read JL of the new stuff so far but more should be in my mailbox later today!

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:25 Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
1:200 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale NOVEMBER 16 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
The superstar team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee continue to make history as they unleash the amazing Amazon, Wonder Woman, who joins the battle against a bizarre threat! And the not-yet World’s Greatest Heroes need all the help they can get!
Jim: So DC has very little new this month since they just re-launched 52 titles 2 months ago, this leaves us with picking the third issues of some books. Also Gwen hasn’t had a chance to read any of the number ones yet (except JL), so this maybe a little odd. JL started off okay, but it seems like each issue is adding a new player and the sixth issue will be the big fight that makes the heroes decide to get together as a group. It is a very paint by numbers approach.
Gwen: I was unimpressed with the first issue of this book. Honestly, my favorite version of what I think of as the "core" JL (Supes, Batman, WW, GL, Flash, Martian Manhunter ect) is the animated version. It had a similar opening but was more fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Fistful of Reviews

Flash Point #5 (DC)

Ok, as far as big reveals this was kind of sad. I mean, the only thing I really enjoyed about this was that Batman got a letter from his Dad which was kind of sweet. Also that Batman told Barry he would have tried to do the same thing if he had the power to change the past - mostly because we all know that's exactly what Batman would do. But I've read Flash for a long time and Barry's mother's death was never something that seemed central to the character. I mean sure, for Batman it's the whole reason for the man he is today - his parents death being so catastrophic that it shaped the whole course of his life. But I never got that from Barry so I guess we're supposed to buy the whole "I found out the Reverse Flash killed my mom" being traumatizing enough that Flash is willing to alter the whole timeline to got back and save her. Thomas Wayne Batman killing Reverse Flash was the highpoint of this book.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Week in Review – September 7

DC will dominate the entire month and rightfully so, their gambit will be an interesting one to watch as it unfolds over the coming months. Some of my preliminary views can be seen on the sister blog Why Comics Suck. As always we provide a hyperlink for free. 

The thing that is staying with me regarding the DCU is how strange it feels. I don’t have a feel for what is going on and the entire DCU feels like I ran into an ex-girl friend after 10 years. She is not fat or disgusting, she is just different and the chemistry we once had is so totally gone that the attraction I once had to her seems foreign. I guess I’m not sure if I want to date the new DCU yet. We ran into each other and have now facebooked each other and have plans to meet for coffee or drinks soon. Not sure how this will play out. 

What I read about it was that we would be jumping in five years after the Justice League formed. That means almost every hero has less history then before. Jim Gordon seems younger. It appears Batgirl was never oracle. I think Batman maybe facing the Joker for the first time. Is Alfred a hologram? Ollie is a young punk, apparently ripped from Smallville. Booster Gold appears to be the same as he was before.  Animal Man is spot on the same character. Hawk and Dove appear to have been de-aged greatly, which makes her and Deadman a little May/December thing. Swamp Thing’s history now rivals Supergirl and Hawkman pre-Flashpoint. Each book seems to be handling some of the characters slightly differently. Of course I have no real read on Superman since we have no clue how he goes from the wild child of Metropolis to the greatest hero in the world. All of which is why my reading from this week with DC was just strange. It was jumping into new situations but still reading cues from what I think I know, but I know it may not be right anymore. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Marvel Masterworks vol 24

Right, well, we're back to classic Uncanny X-Men. I enjoyed the other 2 volumes that covered Giant Size X-Men 1 through Uncanny X-Men 110 so much that I actually splurged and bought this one at cover price. When I started on this ride through these old tales I hadn't read I was a bit concerned I'd be in it for the nostalgia more than anything else, but the quality of the stories has really held up.

This collection actually includes two issues, 114 and 116, that I've read previously. In its entirety it's issues 111-121, which takes me close to the more sustained run I have that started with 125. In fact, my gap is down to 123 and 124. Of course, 114 and 116 were issues I'd picked up in the old 3 for 50 cents packs where the covers had been ripped off the issues. As a result, this trade is the first I'm seeing those covers in my hands. I do remember the covers from other publications or ads, especially 114 with its somber "The Day the X-Men Died".

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Selecting the Pull List Roster


This past weekend in addition to watching the thrilling Baltimore Grand Prix on TV (mainly because I was fantasizing about going that fast on the city streets), I also updated my pull list for my local comic shop. With all the new titles coming out, I have to say it was brutally hard, but I finally finished it and I hope I made some wise choices. Only time will tell.

The selection process went something like this…