Three Comics Made Just For Me

17 Dec

This year has been a great one for comics that I like. Being that my tastes skew a little weird, I don’t expect this trend to continue. I am grateful for three releases from this year (actually, one that I only discovered this year) which validate my love for the medium:

Dinosaurs Attack #4

Dinosaurs Attack!

5-issue limited series, IDW

I generally didn’t collect trading cards, I’d buy a pack of Garbage Pail Kids or Wacky Packages and peel all the stickers off their backs and slap them on my dresser. For whatever reason, I collected Dinosaurs Attacks! cards, put out by Topps in 1990 in homage to a series of similarly-gory cards from the 1960s called Mars Attacks! I loved these cards and probably spent fifty bucks collecting the whole set. Later in life, I learned about an aborted comic book series by Eclipse Comics in the 1990s and wondered what might have been. Well, my questions and silent prayers to the Sauroid god have been answered because IDW put out all five issues of Dinosaurs Attack! this year, four of which were previously unreleased.  It won’t win any awards for art or story, but if you like B-grade 1950s sci-fi movies this might scratch that itch. Also, the depictions of dinosaurs attacking in the comic are more gory than on the cards. That scratched my itch.

by Ed Piskor

Hip-Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

Oversized paperback, Fantagraphics

An informal poll of people writing this sentence has shown that 100% want and need a history of hip-hop culture in comic book form. Ed Piskor sensed this need and filled a void in my life that I didn’t even know existed. The printing on hearty, pulp stock, the depictions of Rusell Simmons’ lisp in word-bubble form, there’s so much to love about this book. I actually caught wind of this comic through Piskor’s regular series on boingboing, and when I heard that a print collection was coming I pre-ordered it instantly. That was last March. You could say I was pretty excited about it.

Haunted Horror #7Haunted Horror

Bi-monthly series, hardback collection, Yoe Books

This technically came out last year, but I only heard about it this year, and since this piece is all about my tastes anyway, I added it. It’s somewhat of a boom time for pre-Comics Code comics reprints, with Dark Horse putting out nice collections of Crime Doesn’t Pay and Adventures Into the Unknown (and several others) and reprints of old EC material coming out on a regular basis. Still, thousands of comics have yet to be revealed, and Haunted Horror tries to fill this gap every other month with a selection of early 1950s horror stories from various fly-by-night magazines of varying quality…depending on your definition of quality. You’ll see some of the earliest work by greats like Jack Kirby and Nick Cardiff alongside more forgettable fare by Some Guy and Whatsiz Name, as it was originally presented. And think of the looks you’ll get reading something like this in public!

006 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Comic Books Are Weird

15 Dec

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first of our podcasts “broadcast” from the new site, comicbookery.com! Since I’ve been on a comics tear, I decided to separate my funny book musings to a site separate from my blog, Defending Regicide. So if you’re interested in what Lizzy and I have to say about comic books and all sequential art, make sure to subscribe to comicbookery.com or like our Facebook page.

Things are coming along with the podcast, we get better and more conversational with each episode. This time, we tackle Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a trade collection of comics published in the late 1990s that should not be confused with the movie of the same name–while the movie is derived from the comic property, they took a lot of unwarranted liberties bringing it to the big screen. In a few episodes, I plan on uploading this podcast to iTunes which is when we’ll really go “live” and bring a lot more functionality to the podcast. For now, I post this primarily to get feedback from my friends, family and any other interested parties so I can improve. Check it out, and get back to me in the comments, by e-mail, or through any of the various social media sites you have plucked this podcast from!

Episode 006: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 1

http://www.divshare.com/download/24905547-638

 

Comics I Read, 10/30/13

1 Nov

Hey, I read a bunch of comics this week! Wanna know what I think about ‘em? Read on!

 

Damian: Son of Batman #1

Written and Drawn by Andy Kubert

I never really had the tight connection with Damian Wayne that others seem to have. I think he’s an okay character, but since Batman already has about a skillion members of his Bat-Family, I wasn’t too broken up about his untimely death. I figured DC would bring him back eventually some way, some how, and I guess that’s happened with this miniseries penned and drawn by Andy Kubert. Unfortunately, I’m not really sure what happened in this comic book. Batman dies at the very beginning, and Damian seeks vengeance…by traipsing all over the place and talking like some weird jock. Then he goes to a confessional where the priest seems to know him personally? I dunno. The art is okay, if uneven, but the story isn’t really compelling. I’ll give this another shot in a month.

Dinosaurs Attack! #4

Written by Gary Gerani

Drawn by Earl Norem

I might be one of a hundred people worldwide checking this comic out, and I love it. I collected the [i]Dinosaurs Attack![/i] trading cards in the early 1990s and always wanted to see this comic adaptation come to completion. It’s like watching a crappy 1950s sci-fi movie, in comic book form. The painted scenes of dinosaur attacks are way gorier and more disturbing than the trading cards they’re based upon. The story is stupid but the writing is okay. One thing I do hear about this comic is that the art is great, but it’s really not. It’s competent, which is all it needs to be since it’s just dinosaurs eating people. I can’t exactly recommend this comic, but I think it’s great!

Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1

Written by Matt Kindt

Drawn by Brett Booth

Another set-up issue for the [i]Forever Evil[/i] tie-ins and the [i]Forever Evil[/i] story arc as a whole. Steve Trevor has woken up to a world under siege, and has to get A.R.G.U.S. (a governmental agency to liason with superheroes) back on line. But first, President Obama wants to speak with him! Barack wants him to get the band back together–or some group of superheroes up to dealing with the established threat. Give the guy a minute, Obama! He was going to get around to it eventually. A ghostly Dr. Light shows up at the end as a cliffhanger. This may be the [i]Forever Evil[/i] tie-in I don’t read, I’m not too interested in these government-derived super teams. Everyone is always being pricks to everyone else.

Nightwing Annual #1

Written by Kyle Higgins

Drawn by Jason Masters

I follow [i]Nightwing[/i] in trades, and I’m not entirely sure why. Kyle Higgins does a great job in giving Dick Grayson his own voice, and this issue where he has a tête-à-tête with Barbara Gordon is really good. Unfortunately, for an annual issue, not a lot happens. They kind of swing around Gotham solving a mystery while talking about their failed relationship. There’s a touching bit at the end I won’t spoil, but I will spoil the fact that Nightwing has a polaroid of him and Batgirl on their “first date,” where they clobbered a bunch of bad guys in a warehouse. Why does he have this incriminating picture? This is almost as bad as Superman’s 1950s era Fortress of Solitude, where he had a room containing statues of him, Batman and Robin and their secret identities in some innocuous room. You should even have a picture like that, Dick, it’s just common sense.

Sandman: Overture #1

Written by Neil Gaiman

Drawn by JH Williams

If you read the original Sandman series from the 1990s, then you’ll love this and have likely already read it. If you didn’t read the original Sandman series from the 1990s, turn off your computer now and go read it. JH Williams art is just masterful and perfect for the story, which is a bit of a prequel to the original story. So, so great. A must-read.

Superior Spider-Man #20

Written by Dan Slott

Drawn by Ryan Stegman

Man, I love this book so much. This isn’t action-packed, but a lot of seeds are sown for future events. We’re seeing Spider-Ock start to crack at the seams, which was expected. But Dan Slott is just a masterful comic book writer, great with pacing and timing and juggling disparate story lines. Plus, you get to see Spider-Man kick Black Cat in the ribs. I think this might be a good issue to jump on the series, if you’re so inclined, but there is a ton of back story that might muddle things up. The crux of it is that Dr. Octopus sets up his own company for the first time, and more people are starting to figure out that something’s not right with Ol’ Webhead. Why isn’t this comic weekly?! Or better yet, daily?!!

Superior Spider-Man Team Up Special #1

Written by Michael Costa

Drawn by Michael Dialynas and Alexander Lozano

This is part three of Arms of the Octopus, I must have missed parts one and two. Consequently, I was pretty lost. The art was nice, and Spider-Man’s characterization was good, but I was too clueless about the story to adequately review it.

Swamp Thing Annual #2

Written by Chris Sprouse

Drawn by Javier Pina

I really love Swamp Thing under the pen of Chris Sprouse. He’s faithful to the history of the character while lending it his own rather strong-headed voice. In fact, that’s what this annual is about: Swamp Thing’s determination to be his own, er, thing, and not follow in the footsteps of previous incarnations of the avatar of the Green. We get a little more clarity on what the Green looks like–a bit like bucolic English countryside, really–and meet a few other interesting avatars of the Green. Plus, we get to see the space Swamp Thing from Alan Moore’s My Blue Heaven, an issue from his classic run on Swamp Thing. This is one of the best and most consistent comics coming from the big two publishers today. Buy it.

002 Ganthet’s Tale – Comic Books Are Weird

24 Oct

Here’s the second podcast Lizzy and I did, about Ganthet’s Tale by Larry Niven and John Byrne. It’s a notable graphic novel in that it begins the story of the Green Lantern Guardian named Ganthet, who became a big player during Geoff John’s Darkest Night and subsequent Green Lantern stories. We hope you enjoy, and let us know what you think!

 

002 Ganthet’s Tale

http://www.divshare.com/download/24420370-ce1

001 Batman: Gothic – Comic Books Are Weird

24 Oct

Here’s the first podcast Lizzy and I recorded, and it sounds that way. We discuss Grant Morrison and Klaus Jansen’s Batman: Gothic, one of my favorite trade collections from way back when. Hope you enjoy, let us know what you think!

001 Batman: Gothic

http://www.divshare.com/download/24393231-166

Comics I Read, 10/23/13

24 Oct

Hi, my name is Reggie and I read a bunch of comics that came out yesterday. Here’s what I think of ‘em:

All-Star Western #24

Written by Palmiotti & Gray

Drawn by Moritat

Until DC’s new 52, I never gave a damn for the Western genre. Movies, books, comics, just never cottoned to it. I began reading All-Star Western when the first trade collection came out, and I was immediately hooked. This is less a story of the Old West–particularly now that the main hero, Jonah Hex, has traveled through time to the present day–and more a commentary on current events and social mores. In this book alone, Hex goes from a court case in Gotham City where he’s defended by Bruce Wayne’s lawyers, to a bar in Phoenix, Arizona, to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to retrieve six figures worth of raw gold, to the Burning Man festival held in the Arizona desert (though the book calls it a “weirdo sex party,” I assume to avoid weirdo sex lawsuits.) This book is a lot of fun and you’ll likely chuckle a few times at Jonah Hex’s dialogue and displacement. Can’t recommend this book enough, you should be reading it.

Daredevil #32

Written by Mark Waid

Drawn by Chris Samnee

Daredevil is far and away my favorite comic book currently, and this issue did not disappoint. This issue begins with Matt Murdock on the offensive against the cabal of goofball assassins known as Sons of the Serpent. After questioning some members of the group and getting some technical assistance from the mysterious Dr. Strange, Matt heads West to Blue Hills, Kentucky in search of a secret tome known as “Darkhold.” Instead, he finds a lynch mob chasing…Universal Studios monsters? Not exactly, but there’s a mummy, a couple of Frankenstein’s monsters, and what looks to be a female vampire. I won’t spoil the ending, but I did spoil the reveal of these creatures. They’re featured on the front cover, though, and if you came and checked out this review before reading the comic, or if the comic isn’t already on your regular list, then you’re probably stupid and this spoiler review is the least of the hurdles life will present going forward.

FF #13

Written by Matt Fraction and Lee Allred

Drawn by Mike Allread

This is the second issue since Lee Allred has taken over writing duties from Matt Fraction (though he is using Fraction’s notes), and it’s still as enjoyable and weird as ever. The basic story is that Ant-Man rescues everyone from danger by shrinking them down and hiding them among the fibers of Impossible Man’s shorts, then brings everyone to Uath the Watcher’s house where he pretend-bullies Uath into letting the gang stay. Of course, about a zillion things happen in between and during all of this, and if I had to lodge a complaint about the book, it’s that FF is often too dense with…stuff. Still, it’s a laugh-a-minute and Mike Allred’s art is awesome! For that reason alone, you should be reading this, but fair warning: best read with a healthy understanding of the Marvel Universe and general continuity.

Justice League #24

Written by Geoff Johns

Drawn by Ivan Reis

More from the Forever Evil event coursing through much of the DC Universe. Here, we learn Ultraman’s origin which is darkly funny. This helps us understand why he chooses to fly to the Daily Planet building in Metropolis and be a huge dick to everyone. He beats the crap out of Jimmy Olsen and slaps Lois Lane around a little, then Black Adam shows up to fight Ultraman. This was a solid issue, but of course if you’re not interested in Forever Evil, this won’t change your mind or make a whole lot of sense to you.

Justice League Dark #24

Written by J. M. Matteis

Drawn by Mikel Janin

I’m going to miss Jeff Lemire on this book, I think he really saved this title and [i]Green Arrow[/i] from mediocrity. Matteis does a good job settling into the role here, though, despite an overabundance of words. This title centers mainly on John Constantine, who finds himself saved by the House of Mystery following the events of [i]Trinity War.[/i] He learns about the true nature of evil, which isn’t exactly profound but is interesting in that it refutes the continuity-held belief that all evil initially issued from Pandora’s Box. Constantine has a lot of trippy guilt dreams, only to find he was tied up by Night Nurse while he was out. Justice League Dark has been one of my favorite comics since Lemire took over, and based on this I see no reason to stop the music now.

Larfleeze #4

Written by Keith Giffen

Drawn by Tyler Kirkham

Sigh. Keith Giffen’s Ambush Bug was one of my most favorite titles as a kid, and I liked Justice League International a lot. I want to like Larfleeze more than I actually do. It’s just not that funny. It tries to be funny, and maybe that’s the problem. A variety of things happen in this issue, but if you haven’t been reading it to this point, I don’t see why you’d bother now. I think it ends with issue #6 anyway.

Marvel Now What? #1

Written and Drawn by Various

This is hysterical. I love that Marvel can poke fun at themselves and their…extra-Avengers tendencies. This will only be funny or relevant to those familiar with Marvel comics continuity and current story practices, but is worth checking out just for to see Captain America get catfished.

Superior Spider-Man Team Up #5

Written by Christopher Yost

Drawn by Marco Checchetto

You probably don’t know this yet, but I love Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man. This title ties into that one, and provides a nice little fix in between double-shipped issues. Here we see why Spider-Ock has been collecting members of the Sinister Six: so he can mind control them and turn them into the crime-fighting Superior Six! It doesn’t go well, and they get their asses handed to them by the Wrecking Crew, of all crews, but Spider-Ock does foil their plans to steal…some piece of machinery from Alchemax. This series is very good, and if you’re not philosophically against Superior Spider-Man you should check it out. If you love Superior Spider-Man like I do, then you’re already checking it out!

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #4

Written by Peter Hogan

Drawn by Chris Sprouse

I was a real big fan of America’s Best Comics’ [i]Tom Strong[/i] series and its spin-offs as written by Alan Moore. I wouldn’t expect this to be as good…and it isn’t. Nothing really bad to say about the comic, it’s just sort of dull, which is quite a feat when you’ve got all manner of unique and bizarre heroes flitting about. On paper, a story about genetic mutants and space aliens saving a trucker’s caravan from unruly bikers should be amazing. But actually drawn and printed on paper, it turns out to be rather boring. This series goes on for six issues, but I probably won’t bother with the last two. It’s a fun comic, in that there aren’t several scenes of child murder and rape throughout, but it’s not a fun comic in the sense of actually enjoying a comic on its own merits.

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