25 April 2006

On The Shelves: 4/26/06

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month.

My weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 4/26/06. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]


American Way #3

Moms Cancer HC, $12.95

Not sure why this is being listed again as it came out about a month back, but it's a great read, with simple but effective artwork and a straightforward but emotionally engaging story. Check out its web site for more info.

Tron #1, $3.50

I remember when Tron, the movie, first came out and the amount of hype behind it that was simply impossible to live up to. Launching with a much lower profile and zero expectations on my part, I'm hoping the comic book version is much more satisfying.

Guy Davis Thugshots Jarcudi The Shiv Shot Glass, $5.99
Guy Davis Thugshots Jimmy The Pipe Shot Glass, $5.99
Guy Davis Thugshots Luckless Louie Shot Glass, $5.99
Guy Davis Thugshots No Nose Dempsey Shot Glass, $5.99

Ha! "Thugshots". I love it!

American Way #3 (Of 8), $2.99
Batman #652, $2.50
Blue Beetle #2, $2.99
Ion #1 (Of 12), $2.99

American Way doesn't seem to have much buzz behind it, does it? I wonder if this is one of those projects DC's marketing people couldn't get a handle on so they just threw it out there with some posters and...well, not much else. It may not be the most original concept, but it's certainly better executed than most of Wildstorm's other projects. Considering John Ridley's one of their higher profile contributors outside of comics, perhaps they're planning a push for the TPB? Or maybe they're waiting for the movie deal? *** Blue Beetle #1 was intriguing enough that I'll pick up #2, but I have to admit to being a bit pessimistic about its long-term prospects. It launched with an impressive 50k copies, though, so it should complete its first arc, maybe its second, before leveling off around Firestorm's pre-Infinite Crisis range and talks of a creative team shakeup ensue. As it is, there's three different artists on the first five issues, so that's not an auspicious beginning. *** I have no plans to pick up Ion, but if I was even vaguely curious, that stupid mask of his would keep me from bothering. Didn't he have a similarly ridiculous mask back in the 90s?

DF Moon Knight #1 Moench Sgn, $19.99

I've never understood the appeal of a comic signed by someone who wasn't involved with it. For the fan/collector or the creator. Yes, Moench created Moon Knight, but he had nothing to do with this new series. Hell, Marvel didn't even bother to send him a copy of Essential Moon Knight!

Godland #10, $2.99

I wonder if Image collects their fee before or after the comics ship? If after, with as many late-shipping titles as they put out -- the majority of them, it seems -- I feel sorry for whomever keeps track of their cash flow.

All New Off Handbook Marvel Universe A To Z #4, $3.99
Black Panther #15, $2.99
Daughters Of The Dragon #4 (Of 6), $2.99
Defenders Indefensible Premiere HC, $19.99
Incredible Hulk #94, $2.99
Iron Man The Inevitable #5 (Of 6), $2.99
Storm #3 (Of 6), $2.99
X-Factor #6, $2.99

Marvel's really been picking my pocket the past few months! At the same time, they're missing several opportunities thanks to ill-advised crossovers that are actively keeping me away from several titles. Not to mention the ones that simply, you know, suck. *** How in the world does the lousy Defenders mini rate a Hardcover with no mainstream creators, a cast of B-list characters (sorry Hulk, but it's true) and an absolutely puerile story? Priced at $20, I'm guessing they're counting on soaking the double-dippers who'll pony up $15 for the softcover six months later. *** Speaking of the Hulk, derivative as it may be, I'm actually enjoying Greg Pak's "Planet Hulk" story so far. If the rumors of an ending involving Thor's return being derailed are true, I'm probably one of the few who are happy about that. The more disconnected this story is from "Civil War" and the rest of Bendis-Millar nonsense in the MU, the better. *** I'm also probably one of the few who won't be missing Ryan Sook on X-Factor. I mean, come on; dude couldn't complete TWO issues before needing a fill-in and ultimately bailing on the series? That's bullshit. Dennis Calero's just fine with me, and hopefully they let him stay on past #12.

Zoom Suit #1, AR

Sometimes too much PR can be a bad thing as Zoom Suit already feels overexposed and underwhelming and I haven't read a single issue yet.

21 April 2006

PANEL: Daredevil #84

Daredevil #84
Art by Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano and Frank D'Armata
Written by Ed Brubaker
April 2006, Marvel

20 April 2006

LINK: Read The Expatriate for Free!

One of several great comics Image publishes that's been hobbled by sporadic and late-shipping issues, The Expatriate is definitely one of my favorites. Check out my review of the second issue, and then hit artist Jason Latour's blog for daily doses of the first four issues...for FREE!!!

Why? Let LaTour explain it:

Just for the simple fact that we can. Because we made this thing with love and sweat and tears and balls the size of Jupiter.... and we don't think enough of you are reading it. (See we're not completely made of gold, we have ulterior motives :))

We want you to read it. We want you to give it a shot all the way through. And if you enjoy it, we want you to tell people. And if you really enjoy it we want you to buy the last two issues that will be coming along sometime in the next few months. And if you really, really enjoy it we want you to hunt down the back issues... and demand a big fat awesome trade with tons of shit in it, hell name your dog Jack Dexter and your first born Conrad. I think you get the point.

You've got no excuse now. It's going to be out there for you and all thats stopping you is the click of a button. Easier than hitting that button with the burger on it at work. A few pages a day, every weekday for the next couple of months, slowly at first and more at a time as we get closer to the next issue. Just keep reading, because where you think it's headed... it's not.

Along the way I'll probably throw in some commentary about it. Maybe some extras, DVD style. We'll see how it goes.
I don't have a dog, but if I did, I'd consider naming him Jack Dexter because The Expatriate is good comics. So instead, I'm like a low-level crack dealer hitting you off with a lead on a freebie and a clear warning that this is some good shit. Really good.

You'll be curious by the end of the first issue, hooked by the second, and sent for a total loop by the fourth. And that's a money back guarantee! ;-)

18 April 2006

On the Shelves: 4/19/06

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month.

My weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 4/19/06. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]


Dead End: Vol. 4

Mouse Guard 2nd Prtg #1 (Of 6), $3.50

If you missed the first printing, walk, don't run...

Conan #27, $2.99
Conan Book Of Thoth #2 (Of 4), $4.99
Goon #17, $2.99

Odd that Dark Horse would ship both Conan titles in the same week. Did something slip, or is it purposeful? It's Busiek's penultimate issue on the main series, with his successor, Tim Truman, providing the artwork. Still one of the most consistently good comics being published right now, why not download some cool wallpaper to acknowledge it? *** Still haven't checked out The Goon beyond that preview issue a while back. Looks fun, but still hasn't been able to break into my pull list or the top of the list of must-buy TPBs.

Batman Thrillkiller TPB New Ptg, $14.99
Bite Club Vampire Crime Unit #1 (Of 5), $2.99
Ex Machina Special #1 (Of 2), $2.99
JLA Classified #20, $2.99
Man-Bat #1 (Of 5), $2.99
Robin #149, $2.50

I've heard good things about this Thrillkiller TPB, Howard Chaykin's Elseworlds take on the dark knight. It'll get a flip-through. Same for his new Bite Club mini, the first go-round of which was solid, if not terribly compelling stuff. *** I don't know a thing about Man-Bat beyond his Vs. card being one of my favorites from my first deck, yet he's one of those random characters who always seems to catch my eye. Plus, I'm still looking for a Bruce Jones project to really excite me, impressed as I was with him at Wizard World Philly last year. *** Robin #148 was perhaps the biggest surprise from One Year Later so far, in terms of exceeding expectations. It helps that Batgirl is apparently in the mix, too, one of the biggest disappointments of the Infinite Crisis axe.

GI Joe Snake-Eyes Declassified TPB, $18.95

The first disappointment of the new wave of otherwise solid G.I. Joe spinoffs -- not counting the Vs. Transformers stuff, which I have no interest in -- it started off solidly before derailing with a bit of a rushed, clichéd ending.

Doomed Magazine #2, $7.99

This is one of those concepts I usually seem to like the idea of more than the execution, but the first issue was pretty solid, including a short featuring artwork from Supermarket's Kristian Donaldson. For horror fans, I'd say it's recommended.

Avengers & Power Pack Assemble #1 (Of 4), $2.99
Captain America #17, $2.99
Daredevil #84, $2.99
Nextwave Agents Of Hate #4, $2.99
X-Men And Power Pack Power Of X Digest TPB, $6.99

Marvel gets knocked for being too focused on their core line of superheroes, primarily targeting an older fanbase, but credit where due on the Power Pack minis, which sell horribly in the direct market but apparently are doing well in bookstores in digest form. Perfect for elementary school age kids, and humorous entertainment for their parents who long for inoffensive superhero comics to share with them. *** Ed Brubaker and Warren Ellis, along with Peter David and Fabian Nicieza, are writing some of the best stuff Marvel's publishing these days. Hopefully they don't get stretched too thin.

Big Max #1, $2.99

This gets a look urely on the basis of their publishing Revolution on the Planet of the Apes.

Black Coat Call To Arms #1 (Of 4), $2.99

Hunh? I thought they pulled this issue and moved the series to Ape? Speakeasy wouldn't have gone ahead and released this issue anyway to collect on the pre-orders they'd received, would they?

Dead End Vol 4 GN (Of 4), $9.99

I apparently missed Vol. 3 which, according to TokyoPop, was published last September. It took a bit of searching to find it on Amazon, and Midtown has it listed online even though I've checked the shelves for it several times since last summer. It's the only manga I've read more than one volume of so far, as well as being the first one I read at all. No idea what I think about it, though, other than that it's a weird and intriguing story.

Random Encounter Vol 1 TPB, $9.95

This was stupid fun in serial form, though I still have no idea what it was actually about! One of those "game logic" stories all the kids are supposedly reading, I loved the artwork and character designs. If there's some extras included, I may pick it up.

17 April 2006

Review: La Perdida

La Perdida

By Jessica Abel ($19.95; Pantheon Books)

Wow! I missed La Perdida in its serialized form, first hearing of it when the final issue hit the stands last year, but considering it took five years to finish, I'm guessing reading it collected in one impressive tome was for the best. Unlike decompressed superhero comics where "writing for the trade" often implies unnecessary padding, Jessica Abel crams heaping handfuls of story into each chapter of her gripping tale of self-discovery and self-deceit, but they are unquestionably parts of a larger whole; an excellent, completely engaging and essential whole that belongs on every discerning comics fans bookshelf.

Carla, Abel's titular "la perdida" -- lost girl -- is a half-Mexican twenty-something who moves to Mexico City on a whim, looking to get in touch with her Mexican roots by fully immersing herself in the culture, quickly rejecting her fellow American expatriates in favor of two natives who (with a peculiar mix of selfish sincerity) embrace her: Memo, a Communist pseudo-intellectual, and Oscar, his good-looking if somewhat simple-minded friend.

The first three chapters are Carla's story of trying to fit in and find her place in a culture that is completely foreign to her and not always welcoming, despite and in spite of her half-Mexican blood, and Abel does an excellent job of establishing a rather large cast of supporting characters so that in the fourth chapter, when things take a dramatic shift that in lesser hands would qualify as jumping the shark, she's able (no pun intended) to pull it off without derailing everything that's come before. Because she tells the story from Carla's perspective looking back on what happened, the reader is cued into details that Carla herself is missing at the time, so as events unfolded, I found myself cringing at some of her choices while always remaining engaged with her story. When it ended, somewhat abruptly, I found my head spinning a bit, chock full of images and anecdotes from Carla's experience as if she had shared them with me personally over coffee.

Abel's artwork, dense and subtly detailed, took about 15 pages for me to get used to before I was fully drawn into the story, as the back-and-forth prologue and discordant opening sequence forced my eyes to linger on each panel much longer than I'm used to doing. There's also the Spanish-English translation that crowds many of the panels in the first chapter which adds to its density -- and also helps non-Spanish readers, myself included, to further identify with Carla's situation -- but the extra effort is rewarded throughout the story, and it quickly becomes clear why it took five years to finish the story because there's not a single wasted panel in it. Like Blankets, the first long-form (non-superhero) graphic novel to really blow me away, and Black Hole, the most recent one to do so, La Perdida is everything great sequential art should be. (4.5 out of 5 Harvey awards)

[Review originally published by PopCultureShock, 4/17/06]

On the Web: Xavier's School For Gifted Dancers

In the spirit of truly fulfilling our promise to bring you comic randomonia, CBC presents the first installment of On The Web. OTW will bring you the best, and perhaps the worst, video clips the internet has to offer comic fans around the world.

Without further ado, in the tradition of that dancing baby that everyone saw when they first got onto the internet, CBC presents Xavier's School For Gifted Dancers!

LINK: Pull List Propaganda

My new review column, Pull List Propaganda, launches today over at PopCultureShock, wherein I review: Infinite Crisis #6, New Avengers: Illuminati, Moon Knight #1, The New Teen Titans #34, Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #23-24, Supermarket #1-2, La Perdida, Mouse Guard #1, Robotíka #1-2, Super Real #1-2, The Last Island, and The Hunger #1-2.

I think Jon's still working on adding the images, but it's already up and accessible, and since I'm on vacation and heading out to the Mets game tonight to see Pedro win his 200th game and the beginning of the end of the Atlanta Braves' death grip on the NL East, I'm posting the link a little early. Check it out and leave me some comments.

Go Mets!

15 April 2006

PANEL: Teen Titans #34

Teen Titans #34
Art by Tony Daniel, Kevin Conrad, Art Thibert,
Richard & Tanya Horie
Written by Geoff Johns
April 2006, DC

14 April 2006

PANEL: G.I. Joe Sigma 6 #4

G.I. Joe Sigma 6 #4
Art by Chris Lie, Ramanda Kamarga and Rob Ruffolo
Written by Andrew Dabb
March 2006, Devil's Due

12 April 2006

COMMENT: Forest, Trees and Taki Soma

Things that are pissing me off right about now:

1) Tom Spurgeon's unnecessarily snarky and ill-informed commentary yesterday, which includes an ill-timed reference to old rumors about Friends of Lulu, and barely a cursory mention of the actual situation which precipitated the creation of the Empowerment Fund.

2) Heidi MacDonald's total lack of reference to Taki's coming forward, or the creation of the Empowerment Fund, and yet she posts about her "FIGHT!" with Spurgeon over his disparaging comment about Friends of Lulu. (UPDATE: Within minutes of this post, Heidi's comments on the situation went up.)

3) Elayne Riggs' hypocritical Reasons I'm Not Discussing Taki Soma post -- whom in January, when Taki was still unidentified, complained that "I've yet to see one single male comics blogger on my blogroll talk about this subject."

Riggs' post was the straw that broke the camel's back -- among her "reasons" being that she doesn't know Taki, and the same FoL issues Spurgeon referenced -- and I started to comment on her blog when I realized my anger wasn't just over her post, that it had simply crystallized things for me.

Issues with FoL aside, since when does knowing Taki have any bearing on discussing her situation? When she was unidentified, people had plenty to say, Riggs included, but now that she's come forward, she wants to pull back, choosing to stay on the sidelines to "wait-and-see", despite acknowledging the fact that "more light needs to be shone on these situations"?

Who's it going to take to shed that light before others are comfortable with turning on their own spotlights? Be the change you want to see!

Is Taki's taking the brave step of coming forward publicly not enough? She, and the other women who might see her action as the inspiration they need to come forward with their own stories, don't need "best wishes", they need clear, unequivocal support, both in word and deed.

You think the guy who did this isn't sweating out his precarious situation a little more with each blogger he sees talking about this, especially influential ones with influential audiences, like Spurgeon, MacDonald and Riggs? You think he's not relieved a bit by posts like Riggs' that shakes its head in shame while effectively saying she won't be doing anything about it? Or Spurgeon, who didn't even deign it worthy of a specific mention? Or several other bloggers who jumped on the story in the beginning but have so far remained silent since Taki stepped forward.

I can't help but think some of this has to do with knowing, or at least suspecting, the identity of the accused, and that thought disgusts me.

Days like this I recognize the comics industry and its assorted sycophants for the inbred, selfish, small-minded community it really is. And yeah, it may just be a microcosm of the larger world, but that doesn't make it right or something to shrug your shoulders over. In an industry built in large part on the shoulders of idealistic superheroes, it's ironic that many of its members are the equivalent of sniveling, petty criminals who cower in fear at the first sight of danger. (EDIT: I'm talking generally at this point, not about Spurgeon, MacDonald and Riggs.)

NOTE: I don't know Taki beyond my getting involved with the reporting of the story a month or two ago, as she was preparing to come forward and wanted to ensure that we did everything the right way. What I do know is the number of statements from other people she was able to pull together, including her witness and at least three others who've personally witnessed the accused engage in similarly offensive behavior towards women.

11 April 2006

On the Shelves: 4/12/06

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month.

My weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 4/12/06. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]


Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle TPB

Shaolin Cowboy Darrow Cvr #5 (resolicited), $3.50
Shaolin Cowboy Delgado Cvr #5, $3.50

While I'm not reading either of their titles, I like that Burlyman hasn't launched anything new since their well-received debuts. Especially considering the delays both have experienced, the focused, slow and steady approach is the way to go.

Amazing Adventures Of The JLA, $3.99
American Virgin #2, $2.99
Batman Year One Hundred #3 (Of 4), $5.99
Firestorm The Nuclear Man #24, $2.50
Showcase Presents Teen Titans Vol 1 TPB, $16.99

Christopher Priest has such a rabid following, I find myself wanting to like him more than I actually do. Sorta like Brian Wood. I'll give his JLA one-shot a..., er, shot. *** I wasn't really feeling Paul Pope's take on Batman at first, but once I judged it on its own merits, the first two issues were pretty entertaining. The cover price is steep, though, and it's something I'd definitely wait for the trade if not for my discount. *** Firestorm's first OYL issue was solid, but that only gets it back to flip-through status, and its 3rd shot at making my pull list. Three strike rule's in effect, though. *** Old school Teen Titans may be a little too cheesy for even my tastes, but it's the first superhero Showcase that's vaguely interested me, so I may give it a flip-through.

GI Joe Sigma 6 #5, $2.95

I'm sure none of you hip bloggers out there are reading this, and as a result, you totally missed my getting a shout-out in the last issue! (Note to self: post that as a PANEL this weekend.)

Thunder Monkey #1, $2.95

How can you not give something called Thunder Monkey a chance? Maybe when a Google search reveals Dream Bug Productions doesn't have a damn web site? Or even a blog!?!? I mean, come on, work with me here!

Action Philosophers Hate The French, $2.95

Many people have assumed I was French due to "Guy LeCharles", including one particularly idiotic co-worker back in 2003 who got caught up in the whole anti-French, "freedom fries" nonsense. If she weren't so stupid, and in the distant past, I'd buy her a copy of this.

Iron Man Demon In A Bottle TPB, $24.99
Son Of M #5 (Of 6), $2.99
Thunderbolts #101, $2.99

Now here's some nostalgia I can get into, an alcoholic Tony Stark. I barely remember the story arc, but I do recognize its place in the canon and I'm curious about how it holds up. *** Sticking with Son of M through the end but I'm going to be really pissed if Magneto gets his powers back. Which means, of course, that I AM going to be really pissed since we all know there is no way Magneto is staying de-powered. Professor X, on the other hand, I'm not so sure about. *** I hope Nicieza doesn't lose steam now that his initial Thunderbolts storyline has more or less wrapped up. It's one of Marvel's most consistently entertaining ongoings.

Revolution On The Planet Of The Apes #1 (Of 6) (AA), $3.98

I'm thinking maybe they resolicited the first issue to take advantage of the fancy PotA DVD set that was just released: Planet of the Apes - The Ultimate DVD Collection - With Ape Head Packaging. (Ape Head Packaging?!?!) If so, smart move, though it would have been nicer if the TPB was already out and could have appeared on Amazon as a "buy together" deal instead of King Kong, which is a pretty lazy pairing on their part. If I didn't already own all of the movies and the TV series separately, I'd totally snatch this new set up, though I have no idea where I'd find 1564 minutes to watch it all! (But WTF, "Ape Head Packaging"?!?!)

Write Now #12, $6.95

Always a good read, TwoMorrows publishes some of the best comics magazines out there, covering stuff the comics internet doesn't already have nailed down.

10 April 2006

LINK: Sexual Assault Follow-up

Ronée Garcia Bourgeois follows up on her story from a few months back about a sexual assault at a comics convention that led to some serious behind-the-scenes dustups that found us fighting off complaints of libel from one innocent bystander; the guilty successfully hiding behind a ill-conceived bigger (but in actuality, significantly smaller) picture; and the victim hitting roadblock after roadblock in her quest for legal recourse.

What A Girl Wants #24 - The Rest Of the Story!

Back in December, I first told you about an alleged sexual assault that occurred at a comic convention and expressed my own personal feelings on the subject as I tend to do. Since then I have learned to be a bit more politically correct and all that crap but I do not apologize for bringing the topic up, for saying what I think or for being a passionate person for women’s rights.

However, at the time, the victim was not ready to come public and wanted to handle the situation the right way and through the proper channels, which I applaud her for of course… I then promised not to publicly speak of it again until SHE was ready to tell it herself.

Well. She’s ready.

Let me introduce you to Taki Soma, an extremely talented artist and a brave woman.
When this story first came out, I was only peripherally aware of the details, trusting Ronée's grasp of the story and the facts around it, while remaining completely, and purposefully, unaware of whom the victim or accused were. When Taki was preparing to come forward, having exhausted all legal means available to her, I got more directly involved because of the aforementioned (and totally empty) threats of a libel lawsuit and how potentially big the story might be.

The end result, where Taki has now come forward but not yet named the accused was a tough compromise for her, and the necessity of it burned in my gut as, having read the supporting statements from several others attesting, firsthand, to the low moral character of the accused, I wanted to pay him a visit and beat the shit out of him myself. And I don't even know Taki personally. I do have a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a mother, though -- not to mention several close female friends who are, effectively, my sisters -- and the thought of any one of them dealing with what Taki went through kills me, both the assault itself and its emotionally draining aftermath as she fought to do the right thing and seek out help instead of remaining quiet, allowing him the opportunity to do what he did to someone else. Again.

The brand new Friends of Lulu Empowerment Fund is a great first step to helping Taki and other women deal with the aftermath of situations like this and I wholeheartedly support their efforts, but I also want to see the spineless men in the industry who stood on the sidelines when this story first came out -- the ones who knew about this guy and his reputation, and stayed silent because, for them, it wasn't that big a deal, or there was more to lose than gain -- I want to see them stand up now and publicly declare their support for Taki and for the Fund, and to let HIM know that he dodged a bullet this time, but that from here on out he's being watched, and the next time he disrespects a woman in any manner, he can kiss his career goodbye.

08 April 2006

PANEL: Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi
June 2004, Pantheon (reprint edition)

07 April 2006

PANEL: Mom's Cancer

Mom's Cancer
By Brian Fies
March 2006, Image (Harry N. Abrams)

06 April 2006

LINK: Establishing Shots #7

My latest column is up at PopCultureShock, a month late and on a completely different subject than I'd originally intended -- NY Comic-Con is kind of a dead topic now -- but worth reading nonetheless!

Establishing Shots #7: It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp
You Gotta Love 'em or Leave 'em Alone

I want to get back to how I felt the first time I read Batman as a kid, or Skyscrapers of the Midwest as an adult -- that sense of unequivocal joy that comes from reading a story well-told, with characters who stick with you long after the comic is put away. Back to pimping my favorite comics -- whether that's Elk's Run or Son of Vulcan -- in the hopes of inspiring at least one other person to read them. Back to reading engaging coverage of comics I may have missed the first time around, piquing my interest and convincing me to check something new out -- like Alex Robinson's Box Office Poison or Corey Lewis' Sharknife.

Back to appreciating comics for being the amazingly flexible art form it is, offering the ability to tell stories ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, the mainstream to the niche; and back to appreciating the privilege it is to have the opportunity to write about them, not simply out of obligation, but out of sincere passion.
I also announce my still unnamed review column -- where's the suggestions, opinionated blogiverse? -- and officially introduce Kevin as our Managing Editor. Go, read, comment!

05 April 2006

Ye Olde Comick Booke Meme

From Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge, via Chris @ 2 Guys...

Hypothetical situation: Due to diminished readership and rising paper costs, it has been decided only fifteen comic titles will be published from this day forward. You have been charged with the decisions of which titles shall be printed and what creative teams will be assigned to them...

What fifteen comic books will we find on the racks next month and who will be the creative teams behind them?
This is kind of tough since I still tend to favor characters over creators -- except in the case of creator-owned series, which I've excluded from this wish list -- but here's what my mash-up publisher's slate would look like:

Adam Strange, written by Andy Diggle, art by Pascual Ferry
--Their mini-series, before the ending was waylaid by Infinite Crisis, was one of the best superhero space operas I'd read in a long while. I'd love to see it return as an ongoing, full supporting cast intact.

Batman, written and art by Matt Wagner
--Batman and the Monster Men has been great, and I'd love to see Wagner on Batman on a regular basis.

Gotham Central, written by Lawrence Block, art by Michael Lark
--Lawrence Block is my favorite mystery/detective novelist, and paired with Lark, Gotham Central would be even better than it was.

Jonah Hex, written by Phil Hester, art by Nick Stakal
--Loved their team-up in Western Tales of Terror a while back, and Hex could use a little indie jolt.

Suicide Squad, written by Greg Rucka, art by Georges Jeanty
--I like Rucka's novels more than most of his recent comics work, but I think Suicide Squad would be right in his wheelhouse. Jeanty's clean pencils and ability to handle large casts will be a perfect complement.

Teen Titans, written by Scott Beatty, art by Keron Grant
--Beatty has a great handle on sidekicks, and Grant's manga stylings grew on me over the course of their Son of Vulcan mini-series and would be perfect for attracting fans of the cartoon.

Astonishing X-Men, written by Fabian Nicieza, art by Steve McNiven
--You gotta have the mutants represented, and I love what Nicieza's doing on the Thunderbolts. McNiven's one of the few fan favorite artists I really dig, and did a good job with a large cast on his New Avengers stint.

Captain America, written by Ed Brubaker, art by Sean Phillips
--Brubaker has made me a fan of the only character I've ever been less interested in than Superman, and re-teaming him with Phillips would give this series the perfect visual tone.

Heroes for Hire, written by Reginald Hudlin, art by Jamal Igle
--Hudlin does the fun stuff well, so I'd love to see his take on Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Daughters of the Dragon, holding it down in NYC. Igle knows how to draw black people in more than two variations, so he'd be a perfect match.

Moon Knight, written by Doug Moench and Charlie Huston, art by Bill Sienkiewicz
--Old school meets new school, as drawn by Moon Knight's definitive artist.

Power Pack, written by Marc Sumerak, art by Gurihiru
--Something for the kids, and Nickelodeon, but fun enough for all ages. Must include the Franklin Richards backup stories.

X-Factor, written by Peter David, art by Kano
--You need the darker side of the mutant world to balance out the more fun Astonishing, and PAD's Madrox is too good a character to let go.

Conan, written by Kurt Busiek, art by Cary Nord
--Licenses are a must, especially when they're good, and this is a good series.

G.I. Joe: America's Elite!, written by Joe Casey, art by Stefano Caselli

Micronauts, written by Rick Remender, art by Tony Moore
--Fear Agent has been a lot of fun, so I'd love to see these two let loose on the Microverse.

LINK: Isotope Legal Download Fest

A Week-Long Celebration of the Future of Comics
w/ Previews from Oni, Top Shelf, AdHouse & More

In celebration of the overwhelming response to their offering all of their exclusive sneak peeks of upcoming books, the Isotope is doing something a little special as they lead up to the Alternative Press Expo and the awarding of the 2006 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics this weekend... and that's a week-long Legal Download Fest featuring books from the fine folks at Oni Press, Top Shelf, Silent Devil Productions, Boom! Entertainment, and AdHouse Books.

All week long, only at the Isotope!

04 April 2006

LINK: Moench and Huston talk Moon Knight

It's like one of the best Marvel Team-Ups ever, and I'm totally jealous that ComicFoundry got it instead of me:


There's a lot of great back-and-forth between the two of them, and Moench provides some interesting background on the original Moon Knight series, including sales figures from its canary-in-the-coal-mine shift to a direct market-only series, and insight into Bill Sienkiewicz' development from a Neal Adams clone to the signature style he's known for today. The conversation kicks off with a really awkward moment that reflects really badly on Marvel:

MOENCH: You know what? I got a phone call yesterday from a guy who was saying he was just in a comic shop and he saw one of those giant black-and-white phone books, "The Essential Moon Knight." Do you guys know about that?

HUSTON: I’ve got it right here, man.

MOENCH: You’re kidding.


MOENCH: When did that come out?

HUSTON: January or February.

MOENCH: They didn’t send me a copy!

HUSTON: They didn’t send me a copy either. I had to go down and pay for it myself as well. They don’t send shit, man.

MOENCH: Oh, the sent me copies of "the Essential Ghost Rider," for christ’s sake. C’mon.
C'mon, indeed! That's really lame. I'm just thankful it's Huston penning the new series and not Bendis or, god forbid, Millar. It'd be amazing to see Moench do an Annual, especially if they got Sienkiewicz to draw it, though I wouldn't hold my breath. I mean, not sending him a copy of Essential Moon Knight? Makes me wonder how royalties work on those things...

LINK: Marvel Writer's Meeting

Chris, of 2 guys buying comics, is f'n hilarious!

Fly On The Wall, Vol. 2: Marvel Writer's Meeting
SETTING: Ritzy hotel room in Manhattan
PLAYERS: Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker


JQ: Anyway, Mark, how's the Civil War coming along?

MM: Oh, it's great. Really great. Lots of superheroes, you know.

ALL: (silence)

JQ: (looks expectantly at Millar) Yeah, but how's the story?

MM: Oh, it's great. Writes itself, you know. Superhero Registration Act and all, you know.

EB: How is that different than the Mutant Registration Act?

JQ: Ed, please. You're not helping.

EB: I just want to know---

MM: I can handle this, Joe. It's different because it's not just mutants this time!

ALL: (silence)
Chris pulls no punches, while nicely absolving Brubaker of any guilt -- notice how Bru got away from DC right before the Infinite Crisis crossover-by-committee clusterfuck kicked into high gear, and how his Marvel titles are some of the best stuff they're publishing right now? -- and effectively offers an on-point overview of the current state of the Marvel Universe. With loads of snark, of course.

The finanical sites need to pick this up for their MVL feeds.

On The Shelves: 4/5/06

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month.

Here's my weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 4/5/06. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]


Revolution On The Planet Of The Apes #3

Superior Showcase #1, $2.95

The follow-up to last year's FCBD standout, Superior Showcase #0 (which was a spinoff of the unfortunately out-of-print Project: Superior), AdHouse presents another trio of quirky tales featuring "heroes that are super." My favorite this time around is Mike Dawson's bittersweet "Ace-Face vs. The Target", starring Ace-Face, the Mod with the Metal Arms. Check out his web site for a sneak peek at Freddie and Me, "the epic story of my lifelong obsession with the rock band Queen." Queen was the first band I ever saw in concert, way back in 1980 when The Game was released and Another One Bites the Dust was my favorite song. The Game was my first LP, and the concert tickets were freebies I got through a summer science program I was in, so it goes without saying that I'll be checking out Freddie and Me. Who says nostalgia is dead?

Emo Boy #6, $2.95
Little Scrowlie #13, $2.95
Next Exit #8, $2.95

I'm not really SLG's target market -- despite 15 Minutes and Vaistron -- but I love a good fight, and SLG Editor-in-Chief Jennifer de Guzman vs. Punk Planet has been an interesting, if rather one-sided, dustup.

Batman And The Monster Men #6 (Of 6), $3.50
Detective Comics #818, $2.50
Ex Machina #19, $2.99
Hellblazer Papa Midnite TPB, $12.99
Infinite Crisis #6 (Of 7), $3.99
Jonah Hex #6, $2.99
Teen Titans #34, $2.50

So far, One Year Later has kind of fizzled for me, not generating any significant interest in anything new beyond some of the Bat-family becoming readable again, and the pleasant, if somewhat flawed, surprise of Blue Beetle #1. Having it kick off before the end of Infinite Crisis has also lessened my interest in that story, too, as whatever affect it may have on the DCU is muted somewhat by knowing all the major players are back in play one year later. I mean, does anybody really think Superman is going to stay de-powered? And does anybody really care that Super-clone is dead? It's that sense of "meh" that's keeping Jonah Hex on my pull list.

GI Joe Americas Elite #10, $2.95

Chugging along monthly with solid storytelling and perfectly complementary artwork. It may not be pushing comix forward, but it's a solid read that I look forward to each month.

Thieves & Kings #48, $3.50

I bought the Vol. I TPB a while back but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Certainly seems right up my alley, though. Anyone out there reading it want to pimp it?

Dark Mists Bumper Edition, $4.95

This collects the first two issues originally published by AP Comics, but the 3rd issue came out a few weeks ago so it's awkward timing. Nevertheless, it's a pretty good read and was a smart pick-up for Markosia, as the eventual TPB should have a solid shelf life. If #3 is still on the shelf at your LCBS, they're both worth picking up before then.

Moon Knight #1, $2.99
Moon Knight Finch Sketch Variant #1, $2.99
Young Avengers #11, $2.99

Finally, Moon Knight Returns. Fuck yeah! Already read the first issue via PDF and Huston does a great job setting the table while Finch pulls off his best work yet. Still not a fan, but credit where due. And I'll be killing comics by picking up the cover price variant, too! I'm going to miss Young Avengers when it's on hiatus, but it's been shipping so sporadically lately that I might not even notice!

Revolution On The Planet Of The Apes #3 (Of 6), $3.95

I love what these guys are doing with this series and hope it sells well enough that they can do more with it. One of the few indies that really give a bang for your buck as the higher cover price is balanced by meaty extras.

Writers On Comics Scriptwriting SC (New Ptg), $16.95

This is an excellent read for both comics fans and aspiring writers, and was one of the first comic Books I read when I started buying comics again. It was the Grant Morrison interview that led to an Invisibles TPB being my first exposure to his work and tainted my opinion ever since. Not sure what the "New Ptg" includes, but Amazon still has what appears to be the first printing at a nice discount.

Prism Comics Lgbt Guide To Comics Magazine 2006, $5.95

I'm a fan of demographic marketing as I recognize the desire to see familiar representations of life in my escapist fantasy, so I'm curious to see what falls under Prism's umbrella, and how accessible it is to a hetero reader. EDIT: Just realized this might read as somewhat contradictory, or simply confusing. What I meant was, while I am a fan of demographic marketing, I always find it interesting to see just how targeted a particular thing is and whether or not there's any appeal beyond its target audience. ie: Crash was clearly targeted at an urban audience (some have cynically argued specifically at the Hollywood audience who would be voting in the Oscars), but its subject matter wasn't so esoteric as to be completely inaccessible to a broader audience. Brokeback Mountain, on the other hand, attempted to market itself as a "universal love story" in order to overcome its perception as "the gay cowboy" movie and reach a broader audience. Ironically, in doing so, it may have won the battle at the box office only to lose the war at the Oscars.

03 April 2006

PopCultureShock Update #513f

Slowly but surely, I'm getting back on track over there. A huge help in that regard was finally finding a managing editor, Kevin MacDonald, who saw my posting on The Engine and endured a grueling interview process that included publicly, and intelligently, talking comics while drinking in an Irish pub. Equally important, though, is that he's actually a production editor by day, working for one of the major publishing houses here in the City. He'll be taking over coordinating and editing approx. 60% of our columns, while I finally turn my attention to getting our reviews up to snuff. Yay, Kevin!

Speaking of reviews, Johnny Bacardi has worked out nicely -- check out his latest Revue, now running on 1st Mondays -- and I'm planning to join him with my own monthly review column, starting in two weeks. (Suggestions for the column's name? Winner will get something comic-related!) I've also moved Greg Burgas' Comics You Should Own feature to the 2nd and 4th Monday slots, so now Mondays will once again always feature reviews. Standalone reviews are the next thing to figure out, but they will be limited to OGNs and TPBs.

Beyond reviews, once Kevin has his sea legs, I plan to jump back into doing interviews and features again, with a ridiculous backlog of people and comics I want to cover. Free Comic Book Day looms on the horizon and I'm debating whether or not I want to do another marathon review of everything being released. Last year's coverage was a case of biting off more than I could chew and resulted in multiple 3am nights! It was fun, though, and I discovered several gems because of it, so it'll be hard to resist this year.

Finally, on the relaunch/redesign front, there's nothing new to report. Work continues behind the scenes to make sure when it goes live, it's actually ready to go live.

PS: Had the pleasure of meeting Johanna Draper Carlson last week, and she is as nice and straightforward in person as she is on comicsworthreading.com. At one point, she asked about PCS, and why I do what I do for free, and I told her it's basically to keep the writing juices flowing until the day I have the time to devote my energies to my own writing. It's a lot easier to bang out a review of something than it is to carve out a couple of hours a day dedicated to my own fiction writing. That said, there's days -- like last Friday, perhaps -- where I question the sanity of it. Figuring out a way this weekend to work it into my taxes certainly helped. This year, I just need to figure out a way to make it come out profitably!

02 April 2006

PANEL: Jova's Harvest #3

Jova's Harvest #3
By Steve Uy
March 2006, Arcana Studio