Saturday, March 31, 2012

Matthew: Year One (1977) – Celebrating Thirty-Five Years of Collecting Comic Books!

I started collecting comic books 35 years ago this spring and to commemorate this milestone event, I’ll be posting several retrospectives from the glorious year of 1977!  Will it be a weekly event? Monthly?  Who knows?! But I think it’ll be fun (for me anyway).  First up, is my anniversary present to myself: the original opening splash page from Godzilla #8!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lego's and the Bible

And now for something only sorta off topic, let’s talk Lego’s. But not any generic Lego, let’s talk the Lego Bible! Actually, the full title is The Brick Bible, A New Spin On The Old Testament, as told by Brendan Powell Smith, published by Skyhorse Publishing, 8.5 x 11, 272 pgs, $20.

I didn’t even know this existed until Wife brought it home from the book store the other day. She figured it was a good way to have the kids learn more about the Bible. And, oh my goodness have they been learning about the Bible!

To say this isn’t what I expected is an understatement. You can read more below the break.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What I Read This Week – Mar 27

Because of all the indie books I skipped reviews last week, which means this weeks list of books is longer than ever. So, no intro, we’re just getting right to it.

This week I read Catwoman Vol. 1: Trail of the Catwoman, Daredevil Vol 1, Battle Royale Vols 1 / 2, Black Widow: Deadly Origin, and The Incredible Hulk #5

The best of the week by far was Catwoman Vol. 1: Trail of the Catwoman written by Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Darwyn Cooke and Brad Rader, inked by Mike Allred Cameron Stewart, Rick Burchett, published by DC Comics. Collects Selina’s Big Score, backup stories from Detective, and Catwoman #1-9, 336 pgs, $30

It’s Brubaker. It’s Cooke. Was there ever a chance this was gonna be bad? Nope. Since I read, and still have, these in single issues I really just wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered it to be. And, I am happy to report my memories are as good as ever. This is a gritty, noir-superhero pastiche which is as good today as it was 10 years ago. Yep, 10 years. Bottom line, it’s great and deserves a second, or third read. See my long review here

You can see what I of the rest of the books below the break.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Avengers 1959

There was a time when Howard Chaykin was a lure for me to buy a book. I especially like American Century from Vertigo, but at this point I'm finding that Chaykin just doesn't have the same drawing power.

That's meant both figuratively and literally. Where once his art work would be enough for me to check out a book, I find now that it pains me, more often than not. A lot of that is because of the frequent pained expressions on the characters he draws, regardless of whether the circumstance calls for a pained expression. Look at the cover to the first issue of this mini, for instance. Three of the six characters are grimacing. I think they're meant to look fierece, but they look like vampires with bowel problems, especially Sabretooth and Namora.

That sort of thing occurs in the interior art, too. Characters who are supposed to be smirking look like they stubbed their toe. Even smiling the characters look uncomfortable. Something about the corner of the mouth that makes it look like the smile is forced, I think.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Image Previews For May

Lee: Image has been releasing a lot of good titles recently and people are really starting to notice. Now I wonder if they can keep it up. This month they are releasing a stack of new #1’s so we shall see.
Thomm: I’m mostly on their existing offerings, but I did just start with Saga, which, after 1 issue, looks good.

story Jim McCann
art / cover Rodin Esquejo / Sonia Oback
variant cover Rodin Esquejo / Sonia Oback
48 PAGES / FC / $2.99
After Elle Peterssen is mysteriously attacked on a Manhattan subway platform, she is left in a coma, the only clues to her attacker trapped inside her mind. No one knows the identity of the person behind this brutal beating or where they will strike next. In this All-New Ongoing series, everyone is suspect, and no one is innocent. Eisner-winning writer Jim McCann joins Rodin Esquejo (Morning Glories) and Sonia Oback (S.H.I.E.L.D., The Defenders) unite for a psychological thriller that will leave you guessing at every turn!
Lee: This is interesting because it’s certainly outside of the norm. Nary a cape, cowl, or even monster to be seen anywhere. I am not sure that I am sold but an oversized first issue for the same price will at least get me to look.
Thomm: Good premise, outside the usual box of comics topics. Not quite noir, not quite police procedural. Really, interesting to see where it goes.

Five more below the jump.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Catching Up Can be Fun

In my continuing efforts to get back on track with the monthly comics I have succeeded in being caught up with every Marvel series, except the Twelve as the hiatus was so long I decided to wait until I have all four and I can get back into the flow of the story. Independent books I’m actually caught up with again with the exception of the Warlord of Mars books which encompass three of four series all the time. Heck I’m even close on Vertigo with the exception of Unwritten. This means I have actually had the chance to get caught up on some of the DC books. All of this leads me to have a lot of remarks/ impressions on a lot of different titles this week.

First up Hellblazer has been a great series again under the scripting of Peter Milligan. This current arc called “Another Season in Hell” has been brilliant. John is as he always is making bets and taking chances on things that he never should. Protecting himself first and foremost and negatively impacting those he says he cares about. Hellblazer is great writing and is telling stories about a flawed man who is not an anti-hero; he is not someone to root for or against, but someone whose story you want to read. John is now at the stage of his life where his regrets weigh heavily on him, but he still does not know how to be anything other than the con artist practitioner of black arts. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Goon #38

When I tell people I read comic books you get all sorts of reactions, few are positive but often the writers find ways to express themselves which are eloquent and very true. My Mom died Feb 17 this year and I wrote and delivered a eulogy, I wish I had included this line from the last book of Goon #38 which was a tribute to Eric Powell (writer/author)'s grand mother who died last year. "When you died I knew there was one less person in the world that really loved me." So true.

Comic Covers Sunday

This week, in honor of the Dark Horse archive Crime Does Not Pay Vol 1, I am showing covers from that classic series.  Even though EC took the fall, CNDP was one of the main culprints for over the top covers that ended in the creation of the Comics Code.  First up...

First up Crime Does Not Pay #24 published November 1942.  It's hard to top a cover in which the bad guy shoves a woman's head onto a burning stove.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Planet of the Apes # 12 – A Review

Planet of the Apes # 12
Writer: Daryl Gregory
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colorist: Darrin Moore
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99

I’ve been singing the praises of this book since issue number one and I’m happy to say that the thrills continue as we close out the third four-part arc, “Children of Fire”. This story is PHENOMENAL and the series continues to be my favorite monthly comic.  I know Betrayal and Exile of the Planet of the Apes (also by BOOM!) have both been getting more buzz lately, but honestly I don’t think either is as exciting as this one. My theory is that the two mini-series are more popular, because it showcases familiar characters like Doctor Zaius.  I’ve got plenty of love for the old orangutan myself, but Daryl and Carlos (who have yet to need fill-in help) have created a whole slew of new characters and (not being as tied down to later continuity) literally ANYTHING can happen at ANY time!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Indies Previews For May Part 3 of 3

Fantagraphics Books
Furry Trap HC by (W/A/C) Josh Simmons
The Furry Trap is a harrowing and genre-bending collection of 11 modern horror short stories that could curl the toes of a corpse. Simmons' stories work on multiple levels: straight horror, black humor, genre satire and assaults against the political correctness of much of our popular culture. His artwork excels in conveying a feeling of dread and claustrophobia, and the stories herein all share an unmistakable and uncompromising commitment to exploring the crossroads of abomination and hilarity. 8x10, 164 pgs, $24.99
Lee: I like horror stories so the cover really grabbed my attention. It's not all that subtle but it's not gorey either. Simmons has been doing indie comics for years so I'm betting this will be pretty good.
Gwen: I have to say the cover grabbed me as well... but the title throws me off a bit. I don't know what I'm supposed to take away from a collection of shorts stories with that title... are they trapping Furries? Or are the traps furry. It is a mystery only to be solved by reading the book I suppose.

And the final six below the break

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guarding the Globe

And now on to the other recently completed mini-series. Anyone who's been reading my List posts knows this isn't going to turn out well.

What makes this all the more disappointing, other than on its own merits (or lack thereof) is that Robert Kirkman has his name attached to it. First on the list, even. Sure, he could just be on there because he created the Invincible/Brit/Astounding Wolf-man universe in which the story occurs. He could have just left the writing to Benito Cereno, who's the other credited writer on the book. But I'm not going to put the failure of this book all on Cereno, even if he did write the whole thing. Kirkman's getting blame, too. You put your name up front on the writer credits, you gets the glory and you gets the shame.

This should be a lot of fun while being a hard hitting superhero story. Everything with Invincible and the other titles Kirkman has inhabiting that universe has done just that. Sure, I didn't care much for the Atom Eve and Rex Splode book. Rex was a tool, and I didn't buy Eve falling for him, but the book did have some good humor and a logical course of action.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Indies Previews For May Part 2 of 3

Archaia Entertainment LLC

Sharaz De HC by (W/A/C) Sergio Toppi
A set of tales inspired by the Arabian Nights by European comics master Sergio Toppi, exploring a barbaric society where the supernatural is the only remedy to injustice, as Sharaz-de, captive to a cruel and despotic king, must each night spin tales to entertain her master and save her head from the executioner. Tales filled with evil spirits, treasures, risk, and danger, but with ever at their center the passions of gods and men. Translated from the original French publication. 9x12, 208 pgs $29.95 You can read a bio of Toppi here. And if you just google Toppi Sharaz De you can see many, many examples of the art in the book.
Lee: Another book by another European grand master is arriving soon at my house. Toppi’s art is just stunning. He’s a pretty good writer too and this is one of his best. I am really, really excited about this.
Gwen: Hopefully this isn't too close to Arabian Nights. It definitely looks as if it's worth giving a shot. The art is gorgeous too.

5 more below the break

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Indies Previews For May Part 1 of 3

Lee: Another month, another huge batch of indie books. Lots of different stuff this month too with a larger than normal selection of informational type books.
Gwen: And I'm back. I know you missed me!

:01 First Second
Babys in Black HC by (W/A/C) Arne Bellstorf
Meet The Beatles... right at the beginning of their careers. This high-energy graphic novel provides an intimate peek into the early years of the world's greatest rock band. The fifth Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, falls in love with the beautiful Astrid Kirchherr when she recruits the Beatles for a sensational (and famous) photography session during their time in Hamburg. When the band returns to Liverpool, Sutcliffe stays in Hamburg and becomes engaged to Kirchherr. A year later, his career as a modern artist is cut short when he dies unexpectedly. The book ends as it begins, with Astrid, alone and adrift; but with a note of hope: her life is incomparably richer and more directed thanks to her friendship with the Beatles and her love affair with Sutcliffe. 6x9, 208 pgs, B/W, $24.99 Visit the official site here and read an 11 pg preview here.
Lee: If you are a Beatles fan this is probably a can’t pass it up book. I’m not the biggest Beatles fan so this is pretty much a pass for me even though it does sound interesting.
Gwen: Interesting concept, but as much as I enjoy the Beatle's music I can survive without any extra band stories.

Six more below the break

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coloring Outside the Box and The Overload Factor

So my plan to catch up with my comics is still working to a degree. I’m current on all of my Marvel comics, getting close with the independents and I’m watching the DC and Vertigo piles grow. The good news is how much I have enjoyed the independent side of things. The indies don’t follow the rules of the big two which is refreshing. The overload factor is the last part of this week’s column where I have discovered via my ebay sales and checking out some other things that Marvel and DC have turned trades and hard covers from higher end collections of great series into a market that is so flooded no one cares or values these books anymore.

There are four books I want to mention this week, Thief of Thieves, Lobster Johnson, Saga and Hell Yeah. Three are from Image and one is from Mike Mignola and Dark Horse

Due to the fact that I was backed up I have read three issues of Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand in the span of three weeks. My father would talk about the serials movies where you would see an episode a week and of course TV’s mainstay is the weekly episode. Comics are monthly or longer, but once a week is a great pace and worked very well for this book. Lobster Johnson is a hero from the late thirties and often ends up dealing with the mystical horror elements that run through BPRD. This time the Burning Hand is a creature that is made up of black flame and is destroying parts of the city at the behest of a mobster boss type. What is making this book go from enjoyable to outstanding is the art work of Tonci Zonjic (click to link to his website). I first noticed his work on “Who is Jake Ellis” and fell in love with his clean lines and great story telling. He has made this mini-series of Lobster Johnson my favorite one so far. It is such a pleasant change of pace. I love all the Mignolaverse stuff, but Lobster Johnson stands on its own very well and yet adds to the overall world that Mignola has created with Hellboy and BPRD. Of course having Mike Mignola and John Arcudia as writers does not hurt and wrapping the whole thing up with a Dave Johnson cover and you have a what comics should be, cool cover, great story and beautiful art.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Comic Covers Sundays

Another Sunday, another round of covers.

This week I want to focus on a superhero that was better than most.  Granted he's from the Golden Age so it didn't take much to be better than most.

It's CAT-MAN.  Enjoy... never know when you might see him again on the blog.

The first cover is from  issue #20 with... well I don't think I need to really describe what's going on.  Gotta love pre-code covers!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another Viewpoint on John Carter (of Mars)

Since I was off yesterday, my wife and I took the opportunity the night before to go the movies (because I wouldn’t have to go to bed at my normal 21:45 to get up at 02:45 the next morning.)  The only film I wanted to see was John Carter, despite the epic “FAIL” Jim gave it this past Monday.  Of course, I wanted to further enhance the experience in 3-D IMAX, which amounted to a whopping $33 for the two of us.  Could it have been better?  Yes.  Was it the worst movie I’d ever seen?  Not even close – that honor goes to Russkies (You’ve been warned and I saw it as a free preview!).

Friday, March 16, 2012

DC Preview Review for May Part 2

I told you we would be back.

Art and cover by JAY FABOK
On sale MAY 30 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
• MR. FREEZE is introduced to The New 52!
• What is Mr. Freeze’s relationship to the COURT OF OWLS? Is he an ally – or do they want him dead?
• “NIGHT OF THE OWLS” continues here!

Jim: I have never been a big fan of annuals for years because they were events, themes or almost pure filler. This is the type of annual that I loved as a kid. It was a larger story to spotlight something and often was critical to the main story line or gave us some back story.
Gwen: Mostly I just like the "Night of the Owls" title. I mean, every once in awhile a title actually makes me more interested in a story.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest

Lee keeps poaching my posts, so who knows when this will show up on the blog. It may be after my string of Library posts or it may be in the midst of them. Dude's messin' with my flow. Heh. Like my posts are that organized.

Anyway, it's recently (at the time of this writing) completed mini-series time. I'll start with the good one, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest. Scott Snyder is the creator and writer of American Vampire, the ongoing series, and he writes this story, too. Sean Murphy handles the art.

While the ongoing series largely chronicles Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones, this series follows Felicia Book and Cash McCoogan. Both characters first appeared in the main title, and their history there is relevant to the story here. However, Snyder lets a new reader in on that history in the course of this series so that it's not necessary to have read the ongoing series to understand and enjoy this mini.

Felicia Book is the daughter of a vampire. She's not a vampire but she has some of their abilities, including the handy ability to sense one when it's near her. Of course, they can sense her, too, which is a bit of a detriment at times. She's primarily out to get Skinner Sweet, who turned her father into a vampire.

Cash McCoogan has a slightly different problem related to vampires. Skinner Sweet injected his blood into Cash's wife's abdomen when she was near full term to delivering their son, Gus. This resulted in Gus being a full on vampire. Not the kind like Skinner and Pearl who can hid out amongst humans, either. Gus looks more like a gargoyle. A further element in all this is that Felicia feels guilty about Gus being made a vampire because she might have been able to stop Skinner if she had recognized that was what he was going to do with the syringe containing his blood.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I Read This Week – Mar 13

So, I am a day late this week because I am starting a new job! Nothing fancy, same company, different position and title. Currently I work in the ‘services’ division and tomorrow I will work in the ‘corporate’ division. Normally this isn’t a big deal but my company is fairly large so the two divisions are across town from each other. Such a little distance and the divisions are soooo different… and the crowd screams HOW DIFFERENT ARE THEY? Well, let me tell you..

First, ‘Services’ has a pool. Granted the pool is part of a training facility in which we hope no one drowns but it’s still a pool. ‘Corporate’ tore out ½ the parking spaces in order to build a little picnic area for us to use during lunch hours. It’s actually a nice idea except for the fact that they didn’t put in any trees or shade of any sort so in the summer, by noon the metal seats are too hot to sit on without burning yourself.

Second, ‘Services’ is a wee bit more casual. There is a better chance I will meet someone in jeans carrying a spit cup than someone with a collar. ‘Corporate’ is as corporate does and ties are commonplace.

But the biggest difference is… and y’all knew this was coming… is the bathroom. In ‘Services,’ if you go to the bathroom on the corridor to the training center, occupy stall #3, then use the long handled plunger to pop ceiling tile #4… voila down drops the current issue of Muscle and Fitness. Usually the limited edition bikini special. Oh it’s a fine, fine, fine magazine.

Now, the reading material in ‘Corporate’ is slightly different. In this case you have to go to the second floor, center bathroom. In there you will find a handicapped stall, and located on the metal railing… open to the best article is an issue of Readers Digest. I can’t make stuff this good up.

I am certainly going to miss life in ‘Services.’ Anyway, this week I managed to read The Replacement God, Salvatore: Vol. 2 - An Eventful Crossing, and surprisingly The Hunger Games. You can see what I liked below the break.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DC Preview Review for May Part 1 of 2

Jim: ZZZ…., OMG I have to do another Preview Review. DC is doing little to excite me anymore and more often then not their books are the one I put off reading. Still, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
Gwen: I feel like I only enjoy a very few comic books right now and not many are cape books.

1:25 Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADOOn sale MAY 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
• First issue of an ongoing series from writer JAMES ROBINSON and artist NICOLA SCOTT!
• Who are the heroes of EARTH 2 – and what befell them?
• Starring ALAN SCOTT, JAY GARRICK and many others!
• You may think you know Earth 2…but this is DC Comics – The New 52, where anything can happen!
• Don’t miss the extra-sized debut issue!

Jim: Wait, can it be, can my heart be beating with excitement? Has my beloved JSA being given a second chance at life? WTF, the cover has different version of DC’s Trinity. Oh and look at the marketing hype, this is the new DCU anything can happen. Which means, they have kept the names and any history we think we know is suspect, back to sleep, false alarm everyone.
Gwen: You know why I enjoy this new DC stuff less and less? Because they are rewriting entire characters (characters that I like by the way) and often dropping some of my favorite stuff about the character. The only thing that's still there is the name. Kind of like why I'm pissed about Disney's awful John Carter movie. Of course I may be a bit biased at the moment.

Monday, March 12, 2012

John Carter Fail and What’s Wrong With The Big Two

The idea of any sort of week in review is a distant memory and perhaps is a faint hope for the future. Instead I’m going more with more of the impressions from comics and in this case related fields that occurred to me during the week.

Saturday follower blogger and my daughter, Gwen, went to see John Carter along with Andre, her husband. All three of us had read the book Princess of Mars, myself many times and Gwen innumerable times. When Gwen and Jamie (my daughter, also) were younger I would often read to them. Everything from children’s books, comic books, made up plays with their stuffed animals and what we would call a chapter book. The one book I remember vividly reading to them was Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. More famously know for Tarzan, but the first three Mars books are perhaps his best work. John Carter is an immortal warrior, who does not even remember his origins and after mysteriously being whisked away to Mars finds his one and only true love in a war torn world of Mars. A planet inhabited by many fantastic races and one fighting over limited resources. John Carter is a man who is an honorable warrior. He does not fear death and will kill people if the situation calls for it, but he is honorable and a trustworthy friend and a fearsome enemy. The Princess of Mars is a family favorite so to hear a big budget picture was being made caused great anticipation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Comic Covers Sundays

We here at ComicsAnd... have officially declared Sunday a day of rest!  But it doesn't mean we don't have something for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday is now old covers day.  Today I wanted to showcase come classic Charlton covers.  Charlton died many, many years ago but it generated some truly stellar covers.

First up... A classic from Tom Sutton.  Sutton did alot of work for Marvel but it was here at Charlton that he really out did himself.  He wasn't paid as well but he was given lots of creative freedom which shows on this cover from the mid 70's.  Perfectly creepy keeping in theme with the title.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

12 Reasons Why I Love Her OGN – A Review

By Jamie S. Rich & Joëlle Jones
Lettering by Douglas E. Sherwood
Publisher: Oni Press, Inc. (October 2006)
Price: $14.99 ($7.50 Whiz Bang)

Boy, my local comic shop’s weekly whiz bang has been impossible to resist lately and I’ve purchased three trades in the last two weeks at 40 to 50% off.  It’s funny how different books jump out at you as the long boxes get less full.  What drew my eye this past Wednesday, I didn’t even notice last week.  I guess it’s the romantic in me, but I couldn’t resist picking up the OGN, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her.  I nearly devoured the whole thing in one reading and I guess you could describe it as a cross between When Harry Met Sally and Pulp Fiction (only without the violence).

Friday, March 09, 2012

Ultimate Spider-Man the series, Coming Soon

In the not too distant future, Marvel will be putting out their second high profile animated project in Ultimate Spider-Man. Alongside Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it is going to form a block on Disney XD to create a Marvel animation block. It faces a few hurdles out of the gate.

The first, to me, is the looming specter of Batman: The Animated Series. Largely, due to their association with Warner Brothers, DC have had the better of the animated series over the years. Batman, Superman, Teen Titans, Batman: the Brave and the Bold. However, Batman looms large over all them. Not only was it exceptionally well done, but it was iconic. Bruce Timm’s art and Paul Dini’s writing have defined how a lot of those characters are viewed. Forget Harley Quinn, look at Mr. Freeze. This was a character who NO ONE remembered until the Animated Series used him and now he’s firmly in Batman’s second tier of villains. Batman was so successful and so iconic that it has cast a long shadow over other comic book cartoons, even the other DCAU stuff pales in comparison.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The List - February 2012

You know, Thursday's not shaping up to be any better for getting this done than Sunday. May even be worse, what with the last Wednesday falling the day before the first Thursday. In theory, April should be better for the March post, but we'll see. Into the fray.

1. Spaceman 4 - This is just a great book. The fact that it has a set end point at issue 9 helps because I have an anticipation that builds to a defined point, rather than just carrying on with an unlimited series and never being quite sure when or if an end point will be reached. Anyway, Azzarello has crafted a superb universe for this story. His Waterworld existence for the down and out, while the hoi poloi continue to live in luxury, and star on reality TV, apparently, is just the base for the story of Orson, former Spaceman and genetic experiment. The flashbacks to Orson's days as a Spaceman are informative and central to how the character is who he is now. Hell, I'd read it just for the dialog alone. If you liked how the characters spoke in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, this is a story for you.

2 Scalped 56 - In a large way, this book follows Spaceman in having the benefit of an end point, as the final issue at 60 is fast approaching. Shunka's really gone, Red Crow's really in jail awaiting trial on murder, and Nitz is partying like it's 1999. The jump forward closer to Red Crow's trial was something of a surprise. I think it worked very well. Catcher's still missing, sort of, but Bad Horse appears to have given up that hunt in favor of happiness with a woman we met previously who's an activist for the Lakota. Unfortunately, Carol seems to have been unaware of that and is surprised when she stumbles upon it as she seeks out Bad Horse for a heart to heart. Four more issues to wrap it all up. Should be great.

3. Atomic Robo: The Ghost of Station X 5 - Yep. It's definitely a trend. Another series with a defined end point. Of course, Atomic Robo has been aught but a series of defined end series, and that's worked very well each time. I was honestly surprised by the end to this one. The reveal of who or what is the villain in this piece caught me totally unawares, though in hindsight there were plenty of clues. The bit of maudlin about the demise of the villain was interesting, as was the teaser of the villain's continued survival, possibly in a new form. It takes the elements of the Marvel comics I read in the late '70s that always showed the supposedly dead villain sneaking off somewhere, except there's a bit more believability to this villain's survival than so many of those of old.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

IDW Previews for May

Lee: Another strong month from IDW but that is no surprise. A couple of new comics and a selection of great reprints are in store for you.

Thomm: Where’s Transformers?

Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #1
Steve Niles (w) • Bernie Wrightson (a & c)
Few works by comic-book artists have earned the universal acclaim and reverence that Bernie Wrightson's illustrated version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein was met with upon its original release in 1983.
Nearly 30 years later, Wrightson returns to his passion project with a comic series that picks up at the end of the classic novel, hailed as one of the greatest horror stories of all time. Frequent Wrightson collaborator Steve Niles provides the script for this epic, decades in the making.
While appearing to be in black and white, each page was scanned in color to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art, showing off the exquisitely detailed brush work of one of the greatest living artists in comics today.
Each issue will also include supplemental materials, including interviews, essays and a serialization of the original prose story by Shelley. B&W • 32 pages • $3.99
Lee: The real question is do I even bother to get this in single issue format? I know it will be collected in some fancy, high end hc format which I will want. So I highly recommend this to the rest of you but I am waiting for the fancy collection.
Thomm: I’ll wait, too. I’d like to know if the story is any good. I know the art will be.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Post What I Read – Mar 6

Usually I am so busy that I don’t have a much time to read. Between the wife and kids all asking for some quality time, unless I am “stopped up” which requires me to sit for longer than normal it’s all I can do to get to one book a week. I was really worried that I wouldn’t have anything to talk about this week until Sunday night.

Sunday night is date night at our house. It’s a standing appointment between Wife and I to spend some “quality time” together - - wink wink nudge nudge. For those that have kids, you know what I am talking about. For those without kids…. You just wait.

ANYWAY, we had gotten ready for bed and, like always, I got there first. It’s my job to make sure the sheets are warm for Wife. So I was laying there eagerly anticipating her arrival when the bathroom door swung open and there she was in all her shining beauty. And yes, it’s still amazing. So I gaze into her eyes, and slowly work my way down… looking at every inch because it is fine. Oh yes it is… and then I got to her feet which were covered in heavy, fleece lined, black socks.

So, in my deepest Barry White voice: Ooh baby, you are looking goo-ooooo-ooood tonight.
Wife, walking slowly around the room before getting into bed: Why thank you.
Lee: I like the black socks too. Very sexy.
Wife, with a deep sigh: Must you? And for the record, all the important parts are naked.
Lee, leaning in for a kiss: That is very, very true but if that were were really the case shouldn’t you be wearing a hat?

Needless to say I unexpectedly had some extra time to read so I got to read Strange Adventures, The Unexpected, and Tag Vol 1 tpb. You can see what I liked below the break.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Catch Up Game

The Entire Pile
The Marvel Pile
How do you catch up once you have fallen behind in your reading? That was the problem I was facing as I reviewed an incredible large stack of comics from multiple weeks. My hectic schedule has left me with the task of trying to get my life back into order.  I was faced with a stack of new books that will take me a few weeks (couple months?) to get to the point where I can do a week in review column for Monday. So I tackled the problem like any good slightly OCD collector would I broke it down into multiple piles of books.

The DC Pile
The Indies Pile
One stack is Marvel, one DC, one Indies and a stack for Vertigo. Now the Vertigo stack is much larger than it should be as I keep up with almost every book but I decided to let Unwritten build up as they are releasing the book bi-monthly and I thought I would let the story arc end before reading it (a buying the floopy version of waiting for the trade). 

The Vertgo Pile
After that I had then decide what to read. I was backed up on the X stuff and decided to read those books next and then the Avengers. I’m heavily debating skipping Avengers versus X-Men. Often don’t want to feel totally out of the loop with a company, so I on the fence and will get one or two issues of the series. This week I read all of the X and Avengers material. The plan from here is to continue to attack the piles by various segments. Catch up on the two Hulk books (one issue each), read the other Marvel books except the issues of Twelve. Then maybe all Vertigo except Unwritten, make sure I only have issues number six of DC as the sevens are coming out this week. The Indies pile is one to mix in as I read the other stuff. The trick from here for the next few weeks is to make sure that as I get in new books I read what I have already caught up with as a priority. That way eventually I will catch up.

Sunday, March 04, 2012


A Blast from About one year ago. Daytripper is a great series and well worth getting the trade. Thomm's Review one more time.

I don't claim to be fully versed in the great literature of the Western world. I've read Shakespeare, Twain, Dante, Doyle, Dickens, Poe, and lots of other dead white guys, but by no means all the pantheon. I've read even less of the more modern writers such as Oates, Miller, Hemmingway, and Roth. In fact, I rather like the crime novel explorations of society of Lehane, Mosley, Hillerman, and Pelecanos better. Laura Lippman even more so.

The List every month it was out. Here's the long and short of the whole story.

Bras de Oliva Domingos is the star of this life story. The linear telling is that he is the son of a famous Brazilian writer. He's born during a blackout, which his mother tells him makes him special because the power came back on just in time for his birth. He spends his youthful summers at a ranch owned by his grandparents. He befriends Jorge while at college, forming a close bond. After college, the two of them tour around Brazil, expending youthful wanderlust. Jorge is a photographer while Bras isn't quite sure what he's about, though he wants to write.

He meets a woman on the trip and falls in love. She moves in with him but seven years later they have an ugly breakup. But, shortly thereafter while in a grocery store, he meets the woman who'll become his wife.

Sunday Posts

Just an editorial note, Sundays will not always have a new post. Maybe we will re-post an old post sometimes just for fun. But there maybe blank Sundays since we are finding our schedules are making it difficult at time to do a new post seven days a week.

Thanks for your understanding.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Bionic Man #7 – A Review

Based on a story by Kevin Smith
Script by Kevin Smith with Phil Hester
Art by Jonathan Lau
Colors by Ivan Nunes
Lettering by Simon Bowland
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99

Every month the Dynamite Dispatches text page highlights a few stellar on-line reviews of their titles.  However, it looks like they don’t know Comics And… exists, since they seem to have missed my glowing review of issue #4 back around Thanksgiving. (I realize it’s probably better for their marketing to spotlight the latest number one issues instead.)  While I’m certainly not going to pimp my stuff to them (you can though), I’m also not going to stop talking about this series.  It’s FANTASTIC and the latest issue was chocked full of more AWESOMENESS!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Dark Horse Previews for May

Lee: Wheee, after a drought where there wasn’t much appealing from DH they are on fire again. The past few months are great and I am expecting more of the same.
Thomm: Like a kid in a candy store, this one.

Juan Díaz Canales (W) and Juanjo Guarnido (A/Cover)
FC, 96 pages, $19.99, 8 3/8" x 10 7/8"
Detective John Blacksad returns, with a new case that takes him to a 1950s New Orleans filled with hot jazz and cold-blooded murder! Hired to discover the fate of a celebrated pianist, Blacksad finds his most dangerous mystery yet in the midst of drugs, voodoo, the rollicking atmosphere of Mardi Gras, and the dark underbelly that it hides! Features an extensive making-of section, with tons of prelim sketches and watercolor studies.  2011 Eisner and Harvey Award-winner!  Read a review of the first album here
Lee: I loved the first Blacksad album so I am really excited about this. It looks awesome… again. Actually, I already know it’s awesome because I saw this material when I was in France. I couldn’t read it all but the pictures are just as pretty as they were last time.
Thomm: I’m not at all familiar with the work but it looks really good. Noir’s a great starting point.

More books below the break

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mega Library II

Programming Note: I'm the Thursday guy now. Yesterday being Wednesday and the last day of the month, there's no chance of The List getting done for today. Tune in at this time next week.

Time for another visit to the Baltimore County Public Library, Reisterstown Branch. I'm still reading too many to do these things individually again, but rather than the random order of the last mega post, I'm going to work on an order of preference this time. We do love lists, after all.

Moving Pictures is by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen. I've seen their names throughout the years but couldn't tell you anything else they worked on. Still, it had a nice, intriguing cover. Sometimes that works. This was a wonderful story. The protagonist is a young American woman in Paris, working at the Louvre when the Germans invade in 1940. She's helping to hide art from the Germans but at the same time enters a relationship with the German in charge of cataloging the art. Torn allegiances or simple dalliances? It has the heavy atmosphere of the Nazi occupation but a lot of light moments, too. Her relationship with another American woman of considerably less nerve, and her more playful relationship with a Frenchman with whom she's working, add depth to the story. This was an excellent find.

Finder: Voice, on the other hand, is a little less of a find. I have read a few things by Carla Speed McNeil, mostly in the pages of Dark Horse Presents. I gather that Finder is her major work, published initially on line. Reading Voice, it feels like a story set in a larger sci-fi universe that McNeil has created, but I felt like I might be missing some nuances because I hadn't read the prior stories. The story in Voice reads like a debauched French royal court set in a sci-fi world. Various houses of superior and inferior lineage populate this world, with those who have no membership in one of the houses doomed to a life of low level drudgery. The hero of the story is a young woman seeking entry into one of the top houses, to which her mother belongs. It's not gauranteed by lineage. Applicants have to make a cut, which, in the case of this house, means a sort of beauty pagent. There's also a ring that's been passed down for generations that's somehow necessary. That ring goes missing and a lot of the story is about her search for it. I can't say I understood everything that was going on. I think a number of the characters have appeared in other stories and have a background and interaction history that I don't know. I doesn't help that there's a sexual neutrality tendency to the house the hero is trying to enter. Male and female gets lost at times.

Daredevil: Noir was a selection based on hype from other readers and my own enjoyment of the Miller and Mazzucchelli eras on Daredevil. It didn't disappoint. Considering how noir those Miller and Mazzucchelli stories were, it didn't take much to re-work Daredevil into a Depression era tale. I was surprised by how much I liked that the ninja aspects of Daredevil were left aside. Obviously, ninja wasn't a well known quantity in Depression era NYC, so that makes sense, but I'd been so used to that in modern Daredevil, I was quite interested in how Daredevil's story would be shaped without it. No radiation, either, in Murdock getting his super human abilities. I was less enchanted with the somewhat obvious turn in changing Bullseye and didn't believe for an instant in Murdock's professed love of a woman who walked into Foggy's office. It was a trope of the old noir stories that the PI would fall for the dangerous dame, but most of those stories were built on initial lust that might turn to love as the relationship developed. Murdock's supposed to have skipped lust and jumped right to love, I know not why.

Then there's Batman: Hush. I've seen and heard people slamming this story for quite a while. I read the Detective Comics Hush story where Tommy masquerades as the apparently dead Bruce Wayne. Those stories were ok, but nothing to write home about. I figured I'd subject myself to the original stories to see if that made the Detective stories any more illuminating. Having read this story, I don't discern the need to add Tommy to Bruce's origin story. Was the yin/yang really necessary? Do we need a story about a guy who had wealthy parents and was friends with Bruce as a kid, but instead of worshipping his parents and being deeply upset when they are killed by a robber, hates his parents and tries to kill them? It's heavy handed. Worse, other than that basic outline, I can't remember anything about the story, a month after having read it. Definitely could have been bettter. Didn't add anything to the later Hush stories, either. Those could have happened entirely in isolation from this story.

And now the low end of the bunch. Every now and then I read something from Garth Ennis. I don't know why. Maybe it's the infrequency. I must be so good at putting the last thing I read out of my mind that I try again. This is how I ended up reading Crossed. All I got out of it was a lesser The Walking Dead. Instead of dead returned to life, the living are transformed into pychopaths interested in nothing but killing and raping. They start with those who aren't crossed but move onto others who are crossed if they run out of uncrossed (noncrossed?). Like The Walking Dead, the ragged survivors are on the run and many fall prey. Ennis amps the violence, which is a neat trick considering what goes on in The Walking Dead, but also amps the sex. Ok, not really sex. He amps the rape. Plenty of that. No sex between consenting adults. At least zombies don't rape. All they do is kill. This book is so derivative that one of the survivors in their midst turns out to be a serial killer. Hell, look at that cover. It even apes The Walking Dead's trade covers. Just goes to show, having color in the story doesn't necessarily make it better. I'll take the black and white The Walking Dead over Crossed any day.