Archive for January, 2011
This month for the Top Shelf selection, I give you Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson. Humor, high school, and being horny; three reasons right there to check it out.
Apparently you ninnies need a spoiler warning from now on, so consider yourself warned! Pick Of The Week goes to Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña for Uncanny X-Force #4 (Marvel). Fast Five picks include Avengers #9 (Marvel), Scalped #45 (Vertigo), Thunderbolts #152 (Marvel), Detective Comics #873 (DC), and Fantastic Four #587 (Marvel).
Heads-up number two; I slightly rant about Marvel’s PR and the Fantastic Four this episode.
Uncanny X-Force #4 by Esad Ribic
So I have just been loving these Esad Ribic covers for the past few issues. The man is a genius with the paint brush, and this cover proves it with all this action going on. I especially love how the lights fit beautifully with the darks, highlighting the good, the bad, and the extremely evil. Doesn’t hurt that it’s such a fantastic series too. Esad Ribic needs to do EVERY Marvel cover as far as I’m concerned, because he’s just that good.
The New York Five #1 by Ryan Kelly & Brian Wood
While Ryan Kelly did do covers and illustrations for Wood’s The New York Four series at MINX, it’s nice to see him doing what he does best; creating spectacular images like this one for comics. The mellow yellow highlighted by the dark red / black blend does a magnificent job leading the eye, and the style allows us to see every detail. Add the skyline of New York City in the background, and you’ve got yourself a real winner on your hands. If I worked at Vertigo, I’d recommend to my bosses that this be turned into a poster. I could easily see this hanging-up on my wall.
Detective Comics #873 by Jock
This is a perfect example of why Jock is such a master of his craft. First of all, he draws a damn good Batman; it’s not your Adam West Batman, or your typical Jim Lee looking dark knight. No no no, Jock gives you the gritty goddamn Batman that kicks ass and takes names. And besides the wonderful simplicity of this cover, I especially like the movement we see. When you take a photo of moving lights at night, you get the cool effect of zig-zagging lights. Jock has captured that perfectly, and even added a lens flare for good measure.
Avengers #9 by John Romita Jr.
John Romita Jr. makes me smile every time I see his art work. It’s not a conventional style, and that’s what I enjoy the most about it. It’s simply quirky and unique in it’s own way, and yet it still works in hooking different audiences. This cover immediately catches your attention with all the pretty colors from the dreaded Infinity Gauntlet, and usually if someone in particular is wearing it, there’s a good reason to have the same expression on your face as our heroes do on this cover. Chaotically divine!
Fables #101 by Joao Ruas
Like many of you, I was upset when I heard James Jean was no longer going to be doing covers for Fables. Who could possibly hold a candle to him? Then comes along Joao Ruas and I find myself asking, “James Jean who?” This cover in particular is very breathtaking to look at, and it’s not just because this is my first time tripping on acid and reading comics. The style is so soft that I’m afraid I’m going to break it just by looking at it! And the colors do a wonderful job blending together in certain areas. You don’t have to be a fan of comics to look at this cover and know beauty when it’s right in front of you. It’s covers like this one that have me thankful for Joao Ruas spending some of his time entertaining us mere mortals.
In this special episode, I’m joined by Nick Kubrick to discuss the Razzie and Oscar nominations. Lots of agreements, lots of disagreements, but one thing is certain; M. Night Shyamalan must be destroyed.
Independent titles rule supreme! Pick Of The Week goes to Ben McCool & Nikki Cook for Memoir #1 (Image). Fast Five picks include G.I. JOE: Cobra #12 (IDW), Hellblazer #275 (Vertigo), Doctor Who #1 (IDW), The Boys #50 (Dynamite), and Locke & Key: Keys To The Kingdom #4 (IDW).
Also, none of the titles this week are under $3!
G.I. JOE: Cobra #12 by Antonio Fuso
First of all, that is one pink cover. And what does a shade of hot pink do? Why, attract your attention of course! After being seduced by the colors, your eyes slowly wander to the top of the comic and see G.I. JOE: Cobra, and instantly you’re intrigued like a young boy seeing a nude woman for the first time. All the main characters in crosshairs with the promise that “and one shall surely die!”, and you start guessing which one. The use of circles in the space provided is just wonderful.
Northlanders #36 by Massimo Carnevale
Every time I see a Northlanders cover by the wonderful Massimo Carnevale, I fall to my knees and weep tears of joy. The man has the kind of talent that you see in modern day museums, and yet, here he is providing covers for comic books and it seems beneath him. He’s like James Jean on the Fables covers; truly spectacular work, and yet, he belongs in the pantheon of artists tiers above what is seen in comics. This cover in particular captures the feeling of dread of the old man in the foreground, as the savage behind him is about the strike. The story inside is actually reflected here on the cover, so that’s a huge plus for not teasing the audience with false promises. Brian Wood better woo the pants off Mr. Carnevale, because he is meant for much greater things.
The Boys #50 by Darick Robertson
Look at the cover of issue one, then look back to issue fifty. Issue one again, then back to issue fifty. What do you notice is missing? Are you serious? Are you as smart as a box of hair?! The obvious answer is Mother’s Milk has a booger sticking out of his left nostril. Kidding. The real answer is that old man in the bottom-right corner ain’t Wee Hughie. For the past fifty issues (if you’ve been following since it began at WildStorm), we’ve known that there was someone on the team before Hughie entered the picture, and something bad happened to him when shit went down with The Seven. Now that his story is finally being revealed, we can easily connect the dots while at the same time enjoy the homage to the first issue of this series. Darick Robertson has done just a kick-ass job on the covers for these past fifty issues, that I raise my pint of Sierra Nevada to him, and tell him to keep going forth and rocking!
Locke & Key: Keys To The Kingdom #4 by Gabriel Rodriguez
Upon examining this cover before reading its contents, you get a sense of dread. Obviously, someone is not going to live to see the next issue! The main thing I like about this cover, as silly as it sounds, is the correct anatomy for the G.I. JOE action figure. Growing up, I personally didn’t own any G.I. JOE toys, but my cousin had a ton of the little buggers, and sure enough there were casualties and sure enough, they looked exactly like the poor guy on this cover when split in half. I also appreciate the key incorporated on the cover, because it usually tells which key is going to make an appearance. Does it always? No, but it sure is cool to mentally catalog another key that’s introduced. It’s all over in fifteen issues, and that makes me a sad panda.
Hellblazer #275 by Simon Bisley
Hellblazer has been such an enjoyable read these past two-hundred and seventy-five issues (Note: I have not read anywhere close to that number), but the cherry on top is definitely Simon Bisley’s covers. If you know the character of John Constantine, you know he’s gritty, foul, and a complete wanker. What better to set the tone for the reader than Bisley’s art? This issue (if you couldn’t guess) focuses on John’s wedding to Epiphany, and it’s no way going to be pretty. Knowing the company John keeps; booze, cigarettes, and other ungodly creeps will be running amok for sure. The decorations seen on the cake are beautiful in their own twisted manner, and definitely deliver the mood of how the reader should be expecting this wedding to turn out. It screams “John doesn’t deserve a girl like Epiphany“, followed by “That prick deserves whatever is thrown at him this issue!” Absolute eye-candy.
In this special episode, it’s me answering more user submitted questions! The topics range from what animated series to buy, my thoughts on the Green Lantern trailer, and much more. Keep those questions coming!
Episode 150! Can you believe it? I’m pretty sure I can. Pick Of The Week goes to Bryan Q. Miller & Pere Perez for Batgirl #17 (DC). Fast Five picks include Heroes For Hire #2 (Marvel), Birds Of Prey #8 (DC), The Infinite Vacation #1 (Image), Black Panther #514 (Marvel), and R.E.B.E.L.S. #24 (DC).
See you all in another 150 episodes!
Birds Of Prey #8 (DC) by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
First off, I’m in love with these DC character icon covers. Even though not every title has the definitive logo for the certain character or team, I’m not going to lose sleep over it or call the DC offices and just breathe heavily into the phone (that was only a one time thing!). Moving on, this cover looks amazing. Stanley Lau presents us with a classic team pose, with beautiful texture and colors for each character. Shiny costumes equals a happy Cammy. When I think of ‘Birds Of Prey‘, Black Canary, Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk always come to mind. Yes, I occasionally forget Oracle is the glue that holds the team together, but she’s still seen on the cover. Does this image tell me anything about what’s happening on the inside? No, and I’m perfectly fine with that. This would make a lovely poster.
Casanova: Gula #1 (Icon) by Fábio Moon
Once again Fábio Moon proves to us that he can do no wrong (well, in my opinion anyway). This cover tells me that the new story-arc of Casanova has started, and that crazy Casanova is back to his wacky inter-dimensional traveling antics! New exciting missions, potential new love interests, all action-packed yet still room for humor. The different shades of blue with little highlights of orange blend together nicely, with the white and lighter blues directing the eye what to focus on. I love how his hair just simply melts into the starry background.
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #514 (Marvel) by Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi
The thing I love about Simone Bianchi’s art is how quickly I can recognize it. So crisp and clean, it quickly captures your undivided attention as your eyes follow every line and tiny detail. The man obviously spent a great deal of time on this cover, and it really shows. Sure, the Black Panther’s current costume isn’t the skin-tight one like we see here, but immediately you know that’s T’Challa on the cover. Dark and intriguing, yet illuminated in all the right places, it makes you giddy to open up the issue as soon as humanly possible!
The Unwritten #21 (Vertigo) by Yuko Shimizu
One word comes to mind upon looking at this cover; ‘adventure’. We see the protagonist clearly ready to do some whale hunting aboard an old vessel, with the look of uncertainty on his face. The earth-tone colors work well together, with the orange-yellowish shirt the only thing that really pops-out at the viewer. Darkened cloudy skies tell us something unpleasant might be on its way, which only intrigues us more. The Asian-influenced style is eye-candy to me, and it’s the sort of thing I could look at all day if given the chance. The covers of Shimizu really need to be collected into one hardcover someday, much like James Jean and his Fables covers collection.
The Infinite Vacation #1 (Image) by Christian Ward
Very few artists are truly exceptional with water colors. Christian Ward is definitely one of them, for the man has mastered his craft. It reminds me so much of his earlier series Olympus, only unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of that story, just his art. Much like the actual story, there are several different Mark’s seen on the cover, with the one in the center the only one colored-in completely. The other Mark’s supply that cool phasing feeling, and the colors range from warms to cools, making you feel calm for some unknown reason. It really pops at you, this cover. I’d like to see this one as a poster as well.
In this special episode, I’m joined once again by Art (Television Division) to discuss the Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol episode. Spoilers!
First review show of 2011, and it’s jam-packed with good picks! Pick Of The Week goes to Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Miguel Sepulveda for The Thanos Imperative: Devastation (Marvel). Fast Five picks include Sweet Tooth #17 (Vertigo), Avengers: The Childrens Crusade #4 (Marvel), Earp: Saints For Sinners #1 (Radical), She-Hulks #3 (Marvel), and Who Is Jake Ellis? #1 (Image).
I’m a little rusty from the break, but it feels good to be back!
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas
Written by Gerard Way
Art by Gabriel Ba
Another January, and another Umbrella Academy book is the pick of the month. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a little obsessed with this series. I like starting off the new year with a selection that makes me smile from ear to ear, and no other series tickles me pinker than The Umbrella Academy.
In this second volume, Dallas, we see the aftermath of the White Violin’s rampage from Apocalypse Suite, and once again the team is disbanded. Space Boy is more like the Pillsbury Doughboy, The Rumor is left speechless by her deranged and amnesiac sister, the Séance is now a celebrity, Kraken is the only member trying to fight crime, and Number Five is down on his luck at the race track. Not exactly the team we fell in love with. After being visited by a small army of Temps Aeternalis agents, things get set in motion for Number Five, then eventually the whole team as well.
This volume is packed with back story of Number Five, and how he became the ultimate killing machine we see today. He was labeled an anomaly, and used by the Temps Aeternalis to travel throughout time and correcting mistakes in the time stream. When it eventually comes to assassinating JFK in 1963, his older self rebels. Because of this, JFK goes on being president for eight years, Hargreeves acquires nuclear missiles from him, and eventually the world is destroyed because of it. It is extremely important for Number Five to go back in time to finish the job, and the rest of the team is forced to get involved.
Whether it is the past, present, or future, Gabriel Ba is able to execute the pages flawlessly. This time around, he even took over for illustrating the covers as well. From the breathtaking landscapes of Vietnam, to the office at the end of time, he continues to bring us amazing visuals that only his art style is capable of delivering for a series like this. Add a dash of Dave Stewart once again on colors, and it’s eye candy of the highest caliber.
While I patiently wait for the third volume, Hotel Oblivion, it gives me endless time and pleasure to relive such wonderful storytelling by Gerard Way. I think with the completion of this volume, he finally earned the much-deserved respect from the pickiest of comic book fans. He is one of us, and he’s not one of these blow-hard musicians trying to make a quick buck that we’ve seen examples of time and time again. Yes, Hotel Oblivion is currently on hiatus due to My Chemical Romance touring, but after delivering to us two absolutely spectacular volumes so far, I will gladly wait patiently for the next one. It’s not like he’s going to pull a Warren Ellis and take an eternity to deliver on something he started years ago, right? Right?
The best thing going for this series is that it’s a lot like Hellboy; anyone can pick up any volume, and still have a great reading experience. You don’t need years of continuity to enjoy it, for it is easily accessible to comic readers of young and old. While waiting for the third volume in 2011, why not treat yourself with the first two this month? Where else can you get red licorice vines and instant Armageddon?
Nowhere else in comics, I can assure you.
In this special episode, I’m joined by Nic, Teddy & Ben to discuss all things TRON; TRON, TRON: BETRAYAL, and TRON: LEGACY. Spoilers!
In this 2010 wrap-up, I discuss my favorite writers, artists, series, story arc, single issue, and graphic novel.
Best Writers – Robert Kirkman, Scott Snyder, Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon, Geoff Johns, Bryan Q. Miller Best
Artists – Amanda Conner, Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon, Gabriel Hardman, Tommy Lee Edwards, Gabriel Rodriguez
Best Series – Green Lantern (DC), Scalped (Vertigo), Strange Tales II (Marvel), CHEW (Image), Daytripper (Vertigo)
Single Issue – Hellboy in Mexico (Dark Horse)
Story Arc – The Flash #1-6 “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues”
Graphic Novel – Super F*ckers
Don’t agree with my picks? Complain about how wrong I am on the forum!