Archive for August, 2011
In this episode, I answer your stupid questions. They range from comic books, movies, and pet names. Huzzah!
This episode has been brought to you by, 01 Publishing!
Batman Incorporated #8 by Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn
If TRON and Batman had a baby, this cover would be the result. Sure Bats is great at solving crimes in his own city, but what about when it comes to cyberspace? That’s usually Oracle’s domain, so methinks Batman will be needing some help this issue. I love the way the cybernetics slowly creep into the real world, incorporating digital and gritty alleyway. The avatar for Batman is not too shabby either. Love the platinum gold coloring in front, with cooler colors in the back.
X-Men #16 by Jorge Molina & Joe Quinones
Doom! Magneto! Together at last (not in that way, sicko!)! There are several things I admire about this cover; the blue magnetic fields springing forth from Magneto’s hands, his cape encasing the stars and suns, and Doom flying right at the viewer in a rather menacing matter. It all fits together wonderfully, with that classic X-Men logo as the cherry on top. Lots of different shades of blue on this cover, and I absolutely love it! I’ve always wanted to see these two team-up or battle, and something tells me this issue might be the closest thing to making the 12-year old in me thrilled.
Brightest Day Aftermath – The Search For Swamp Thing #3 by David Mack
Want to know how to get me to select your cover? Well done watercolors. David Mack blew me away this week with his gorgeous watercolors depicting Constantine & Swampy, making John look almost angelic yet psychedelic. There’s not much more for me to say about this image, for I find myself getting lost in its beauty upon every glance. I’d like a print of it so I can frame it on my wall. This cover belongs in a (art) museum!
Justice Society of America #54 by Darwyn Cooke
I have a theory about Darwyn Cooke; he is the original man out of time. He accidentally stumbled into a time machine that took him from the Golden Age, and plopped him out in the far-off year 2000! Instead of figuring out how to return to his own era, he picked-up a pencil and just started drawing from where he left off. With this final issue of Justice Society of America, I can think of no one better than Cooke to give this series the grand send-off it deserves. His style and these classic characters go together like apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Absolutely brilliant cover, and hands-down my favorite cover of the week.
In this special episode, we celebrate Kat’s birthday by getting plastered and hitting the record button. We talk about our favorite birthdays, Philip K. Dick, and much more. WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT!
This episode has been brought to you by, 01 Publishing!
No Pick Of The Week, but we have a wonderful art-driven Fast Five! Picks include X-Men: Schism #3 (Marvel), Avengers Academy #18 (Marvel), Fables #108 (Vertigo), Daredevil #2 (Marvel), and Hulk #39 (Marvel).
Egads! Only one weekly video review show remains!
Venom #6 by Tony Moore & John Rauch
The mixing of Spider-Man and the Venom symbiote works perfectly here, leaving the viewer with a beautiful mess on their hands. The blues, reds, and blacks come together with such unity, that it feels like something bizarre yet something familiar all at the same time. Throw in some Japanese school girls, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a party! I’d love to see this cover as a poster. Make it so, Marvel!
X-Men: Schism #3 by Daniel Acuña
Alright, who gave the Putties advanced automatic weaponry? Daniel Acuña is one of my favorite artists because of his unique painted style, so when I saw this cover I simply sat down, and basked in all its glory. Magneto looks menacing, Emma looks firm but dangerous, and Colossus just wants to hit somebody. The lighting is excellent, and appropriately reflects on all the right surfaces. Just looking at this cover you know that the shit’s about to go down, and it has you tingling in anticipation to flip to the inside story. Covers like this one gives Esad Ribic a run for his money.
Fables #108 by Joao Ruas
Doesn’t this cover look peaceful? Doesn’t it make you want to just curl-up with a hot cup of coco and listen to The North Wind tell you a grand tale? I always appreciate the color scheme Ruas uses when it comes to these covers, because everything flows together so smoothly and effortlessly. It’s also the little details I enjoy such as Mr. North’s beard and cloak intertwining with the clouds, making it almost impossible to decide where one ends and the other begins. As usual, Joao Ruas does a top-notch job with these covers.
Marvel Universe vs Wolverine #3 by Jock
Usually when you think of a title with WOLVERINE VS *insert character / group here*, he’s going to be looking like a badass on the cover. You’re paying good money for his name alone, so you come to expect a certain level of cool when it comes to Marvel’s grittiest Canadian. However, with this cover, you get the exact opposite. You get the rare glimpse of Logan at his lowest; really regretting drinking that entire keg of Labatt before going up again the son of the Hulk. Jock’s art has such fantastic movement to it, so you really can feel that punch to the gut as you see Wolverine demonstrating the Reverse Fastball Special. Simple, funny, and stylish; this cover has it all.
In this special episode I interview artist Blair Shedd about his Kickstarter project The Raptor: FPS. Join us as we discuss the inspiration for the comic, his love of Doctor Who, and his time at The Kubert School.
This episode has been brought to you by 01 Publishing!
In this action-packed episode the Pick Of The Week goes to Scott Snyder, Jock & Francesco Francavilla for Detective Comics #881 (DC)! Fast Five picks include Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1 (Dark Horse), Fear Itself #5 (Marvel), American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #3 (Vertigo), PunisherMAX #16 (Marvel), and Hellboy: The Fury #3 (Dark Horse).
Only 2 video reviews remain until the switch to audio!
Frankenstein And The Creatures Of The Unknown #3 by Doug Mahnke
I was not aware this was Doug Mahnke’s art at first. It looked like a mix between Quitely and Rocafort for a split second, but sure enough I can see Manhke’s style shine through. I love the sense of impeding doom on this cover, as the Creatures of the Unknown are surrounded by mechanical mayhem, with no hopes of escaping. The erratic lightning overhead adds a nice effect, and the cover as a whole does a good job of setting the tone for the title.
Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1 by Francesco Francavilla
Just a bell, you may ask? More like a CURSE BELL! Seriously, I would not want to ring this bell, nor hear it ring. Nothing good can come of it. I mean just look at it; it has tattoos like a badass! Bells shouldn’t have tattoos! With this Mignola title returning, it was only a natural fitting to have Francesco Francavilla doing a variant cover for this series, as he usually does for almost every title in the Mignolaverse. The man’s pulpish style is synonymous with the feeling of any Dark Horse book. I much rather prefer his variants to the original covers.
Batman And Robin #26 by Chris Burnham
One name came to mind when I first saw this cover; Seth Fisher. It’s really creepy how much it feels like him, so major props to Chris Burnham for creating an image so wacky, yet so familiar at the same time. While the Eiffel Tower poking Batman in the eye does make me cringe (only because pointy objects in eyes freaks me out), the crumbling of the Boy Wonder is very well executed. So many nods to famous gallery pieces, that this cover itself should be hung in the Louvre.
Batgirl #24 by Dustin Nguyen
A very fitting final farewell cover to such an epic and enjoyable run. Nguyen does a marvelous job incorporating every character that made an appearance in its twenty-four issue life, that it truly is a walk down memory lane. Farewell Stephanie Brown, and thanks for all the memories. You will truly be missed.
In this special episode we discuss the last five episodes of Game of Thrones on HBO. I’m joined once again by Art (Television Division), Matt (Duke of Douche), and Dommy (The House-Dwarf). We recap the episodes, discuss more differences from the books, and decide which Winterfell ice cream flavors will be popular. Spoilers!
This episode has been brought to you by 01 Publishing!
Book Of The Month – August 2011
Written & Illustrated by Jeff Lemire
When one thinks of the country Canada, a few keywords that come to mind may include ‘polite’, ‘friendly’, and ‘hockey’. Some might say they’re a little too polite and friendly. They are right above us after all, sitting on prime location to strike at us if necessary with a Canadian blitzkrieg during a quiet winter evening. The only indication that we were taken over would be socialized medicine and the right to smoke the wacky-tobaccy in peace. But alas, Canada is more than just the prime exporter of maple syrup, Michael J. Fox and snow, it’s also the setting of Jeff Lemire’s imaginary hometown in Essex County in his first major graphic novel of the same name.
My first introduction to Jeff Lemire’s work was in fact Essex County, much like everyone else at the time. I remember listening to an episode of the podcast Around Comics (R.I.P.) where one of the hosts Chris was gushing about it, saying it was so much more than just a story about life on the farm. I mean, how do you try and sell a comic set in that landscape? Especially in an industry dominated by superheroes and events, the little independent guys don’t have any room to rise to the top like the exquisite crème that they are. After finally coming across a copy of the first trade paperback, Tales From The Farm, I was immediately hooked. His art style wasn’t conventional in the least; it was very loose, messy and bold, and I loved every single page because of it. His style was something I had never seen before, and yet it worked so well with the storytelling. The style and the story were a natural pairing. To even try and imagine another artist’s style for the series was ludicrous.
Eventually the Essex County Trilogy hardcover came out collecting all three volumes into one gigantic collection, and I naturally swooped-it up and devoured it all over again. Only this time I was in for a bit of a surprise; the collection had two unreleased stories in the very back along with production materials. I was so happy I cried tears of maple! 512 pages, all black and white, ready to be enjoyed all over again multiple times throughout the year (or maybe a tad-bit more spread out than that). If that wasn’t enough, the gargantuan trade paperback was just released earlier this year as well. It’s not as massive as the Bone trade, but it can still kill a small child just the same.
In the first story, Tales From The Farm, we’re introduced to Essex County and the main characters who live there. Lester, a boy who moves in with his uncle Ken after his mother died, has a big imagination and isn’t into farm life as much as he’s into playing down by the creek and creating his own comic books. His uncle doesn’t know how to connect with the boy, but the one thing that brings them together is their love of hockey. Lester starts hanging with the gas attendant Jimmy Lebeuf down by the creek, and enjoys their imaginary battles against aliens and share a love of comic books. Seeds are planted in this first story, and slowly you start seeing the rich history of the town and its inhabitants. It’s fun trying to connect the dots of who is related to whom, and how far back their family history goes.
Continuing on in Ghost Stories, you’re introduced to Lou Lebeuf who is a frail old man suffering from Alzheimer’s, going back and forth from past to present. This volume in particular is fertile with history and hockey, maintaining a perfect balance between the two throughout. Lou remembers fondly playing professionally with his brother Vinnie on the Toronto Grizzlies, until an unexpected love triangle blossoms between Lou, Vinnie, and Vinnie’s girlfriend, causing the brothers to not speak to one another for several decades. It truly is one of the saddest chapters I’ve ever read in comics, and I still feel the tears forming in my eyes when thinking about one panel in particular.
Finally, with The Country Nurse, we follow the daily routine of Nurse Annie, who travels across the county taking care of the patients in need of help. Her own grandmother helped bring orphans from the neighboring county to Essex County back in 1917 after their orphanage burned down one snowy night, further adding to the already rich back story of the place. The events of all three volumes wrap-up quite nicely in this last one, bringing families together, saying good-bye to some old favorites and even introducing a family tree for the reader to see the official history of those involved. From the first volume to the last, you do notice Lemire’s style progressing slow and steady right before your eyes, and yet it blends together quite smoothly for such a quirky style.
I’ll be bold and say Essex County belongs on your bookshelf next to Maus and Persepolis, because it is storytelling at its finest. It’s epic in scope for a graphic novel set in Canadian farm country, but it’s also something you’ll never come across again. If you do, it won’t be as good as this I can guarantee it. It brings me immense joy to see Lemire as a hot-shot writer at DC now, lending his talents to such high profile projects such as Superboy, Animal Man, Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, and my personal favorite, Sweet Tooth. After reading Essex County, you’ll follow Jeff Lemire with such blind loyalty from title to title, publisher to publisher. He will be the Grant Morrison of a new generation, with his stories staying with us for a thousand years. He should be considered royalty in Canada, because he is hands-down my favorite export from that country.
Well played, Canada, well played.
Huzzah and Shazam! Pick Of The Week goes to Gail Simone & J. Calafiore for Secret Six #36 (DC)! Fast Five picks include Batman: Knight of Vengeance #3 (DC), Sweet Tooth #24 (Vertigo), Irredeemable #28 (BOOM! Studios), Flashpoint #4 (DC), and Scalped #51 (Vertigo).
Only 3 episodes of the weekly video reviews remain!
HERO Comics 2011 One Shot by Adam Hughes
I’m ogling this cover in the name of charity, I swear! But seriously, Adam Hughes is one of those very few artists who can get away with drawing nothing but women until the day he dies, and I would have no qualms with that whatsoever. Just looking at this beautiful cover makes you fall in love with this imaginary woman, and you never even caught her name. The one detail that makes me fall in love is her slightly reddish nose. That little attention to detail right there is what makes Hughes an absolute master of his craft. I want to see this cover as a sexy badass SEAL chick getting back from an intense workout, but instead I see the image as a thing of beauty.
Sweet Tooth #24 by Jeff Lemire
Gus on a mountain of skulls is the last thing that comes to mind when I think Sweet Tooth. Where’s his 8-pack abs and sword? If you’re going to be posing on skulls, you’re legally required to be shouting “CROM!” while a scantily-clad slave girl clings to your leg. What does Gus have? Some really depressing-looking balloons. I do love the use of watercolors though, and the details of every bone and ribcage. Reminds you that while the main character is innocent and naive, the harsh realities of the post-apocalyptic landscape are alive and well in this series.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Volume 2 #2 by Dustin Weaver, Sonia Oback & Gerald Parel
While I’m still not 100% certain which character is which (Newton and Tesla?), I was immediately drawn in by the lightning exploding in the erratic formations. Just the pose in the center reminds me of the classic A New Hope look, maybe mixed in with a little TRON. The painted style with splatter effects makes the image as a whole feel complete, and epic all at the same time. While you may find it hard to follow at times, you don’t care because that cover will draw you in for more no matter what.
Irredeemable #28 by Jeffrey Spokes
While I’m not familiar with Spokes’ work, I really enjoy looking at this cover. I thought at first it was a cover by Tim Bradstreet because of the style and look, but Spokes’ ain’t no copycat! His own unique style is very smooth and eerie in this cover, and with a subject like Kaidan who controls ghosts, you need to be. The different shades of red works well, with the striking white hair really drawing your eye. Beautiful cover.
In this special episode I’m joined by Pat Loika (Loikamania!) to discuss two comic book movies that came out this summer. We talk about Captain America: The First Avenger and Cowboys & Aliens. Spoilers!
This episode has been brought to you by 01 Publishing.