Archive for March, 2012
In this episode I recap my first wild day at the Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle. Commissions, Adam WarRock, and drinks a plenty gave me this wonderful hangover.
Avengers vs X-Men #0 by Frank Cho & Jason Keith
Alas, the controversial ‘vagina cover’ that we’ve been hearing about since it first appeared in previews. Cho has a history of ‘controversial’ covers, but one man’s ‘controversial’ is another man’s ‘art’, and for me it’s definitely the latter. I mean, let’s focus on the two characters we see; Scarlett Witch, and Hope. Both powerful women, and both have a much larger role to play in this event. I think it’s not only beautiful, but fitting that Cho has wrapped them in a cape that Wanda got in the Georgia O’Keeffe Collection. I think they have that collection available at Sears.
Daredevil #10 by Paolo Rivera
Where to begin with this cover? If it were up to me, Rivera would never leave this title. The way the man understands Daredevil’s vision and way of seeing things is one of the reasons I keep coming back to the title. So much fine detail in this cover, that it reminds me of those paintings you would see back in Middle Ages, framed and hanging on a museum wall somewhere. Rivera does a spectacular job of creating a combination of action and dread as Daredevil is in a fight for his life with the Moleman and his minions underground. Just the simple use of the color red works its own special magic, making the protagonist pop-out at the audience. This cover belongs in a museum!
Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #4 by Francesco Francavilla
First things first before I once again gush about Francavilla; I really like the specks and lines on the cover, making it seem like it’s an artifact from the 1940s. I simply marvel at the illustration of the lion, and the coloring on his face and mane. This cover also makes me laugh, because how can Flash Gordon not notice that gigantic lion to his right?! I almost expect a dialogue balloon to appear with him saying “clever girl” before being eaten alive. Great cover nonetheless!
Secret Avengers #24 by Arthur Adams & Laura Martin
My favorite cover of the week, hands-down. Adams and Martin do a superb job on this cover, making your eyes frantically dash about the image, trying to absorb the entire scene. So many characters, so many colorful costumes, all seeming to have a bone to pick with Captain Britain as they rocket towards the streets of London. Just the small detail of a few characters flying in front of the Secret Avengers logo makes me giddy! With Adams, it’s his line-work that always makes my jaw hit the floor, because he’s consistently amazing with every cover he produces. This one took a while to do I’m sure, but he makes it look like child’s play. Bravo Adams and Martin, my eye-orbs eternally thank you.
The New Deadwardians #1 by Cliff Chiang
A detailed black & white Cliff Chiang image on a mustard yellow background. I think I need a cigarette, and I don’t even smoke! I haven’t a clue what this new series is about, but this cover alone has gotten my undivided attention. Vampires, zombies, and the Victorian Era? I sense a new hit with the cosplayers! I want this image as a poster. I want this image painted on the hood of my car. But most importantly, I want this image on a mustard yellow t-shirt. Make it happen, DC.
Valkyrie Squadron – Anomaly
Written & Illustrated by Jules Rivera
52 Pages, $6.00
Strong female characters. That’s what we need more of in both comics, and webcomics. For too long has the fairer sex been nothing but the girlfriends to our superheroes, or the blonde bimbos that wear skimpy and revealing outfits. They’re never taken seriously, and if they are considered ‘strong’ or empowered, there’s always the one moment of weakness that makes them seem normal and not frightening to those readers who are used to the standard boys club mentality. How does a creator balance that fine line of Feminazi and floozy, creating an entertaining middle-ground? Simple; tell a good story with relatable characters, male or female be damned.
Spoiler warning; I may have a bit of a bias when it comes to Jules Rivera. I was a fan of her first webcomic Marsh Rocket, so obviously I’m going to follow her on whatever future projects she tackles. Was I extremely pleased that she’s doing more storytelling in the vein of science-fiction? Of course; it’s a no-brainer. If one is talented at telling exciting tales in a certain genre, and sticks to the same medium, what’s not to love? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Much like Marsh Rocket, Rivera stays the course with the format of collecting each chapter into an individual trade, making it easily accessible to those of us who still prefer paper to the high-tech touch-screen format. For sticking with the self-publishing route, Rivera still produces quite the quality product. She should be just as proud of the physical trade as she is the story inside.
So do you like gritty sci-fi action films like Starship Troopers, television shows like Battlestar Galactica, or video games like StarCraft? Those are some of the things I would put together in a blender just to get a slight taste and feel for what Valkyrie Squadron is like. Throw in some romance, a dash of mystery, and a good tablespoon of humor, and OH MY GOD HOW DID YOU JUST DO THAT?! Focusing on a crew of four women battling a war against the evil autodrones, we get introduced to the main players in this first volume collecting all of Chapter One. What seems like a routine rescue mission suddenly becomes something more as their newly acquired cargo seems to attract the attention of the higher-ups. Will everything remain hush-hush, or is the seeds to something bigger down the line? It doesn’t help that a pesky reporter is snooping around looking for “the truth” in this time of war and uncertainty.
As much as I enjoyed the story in this first trade, I went absolutely Ga-Ga over the art and colors. If it’s one thing that Rivera excels above all at, it’s the execution of the illustrations. The female form covered in body armor sends the overpowering message of, “I’m sexy, but I can and will kick your ass if needed.” If we were going to war with our robotic overlords, running around in a silver bikini while firing automatic weapons would not be the practical choice armor-wise, no matter how cool it may look to some. Rivera illustrates a sensible far-off future, where men and women are on a level playing field, and unfortunately Bros are still breeding. And I’m calling it now; hologram ear-pieces will be the must-have item next holiday season.
The great thing about collected webcomics is if you enjoyed what you read, you can go catch-up on the website for free. Same thing if you’re hesitant on purchasing the first volume; read it for free online, then support the creator by forking over some dough. It’s only $6, that’s about the same price as a Marvel comic, only you’re getting a helluva lot more bang for your buck with Valkyrie Squadron! The webcomic updates every Tuesday and Thursday, so there’s no reason to not have it bookmarked in your toolbar. Tell her that Cammy sent ya.
In this special episode I interview the Gentleman Cartoonist himself, Keith Knight! We discuss his Kickstarter project, I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator, his cartooning career, and much more.
Star Trek / Legion of Super-Heroes #6 by Jeffrey Moy
So many pretty things are happening in this cover! I love the dominant purple shadings for each character, and with Saturn Girl in particular, I love the vertical pinkish streaks. The positioning of the trio of powerful women is also ascetically pleasing, with the water color space background so beautifully radical. Finally, it wouldn’t be a sci-fi cover without some USS Enterprise goodness sneaking onto the left! Great cover, and I’ll definitely miss this series.
Rebel Blood #1 by Riley Rossmo
This has to be by far one of the creepiest, most disturbing covers I’ve seen done by Riley Rossmo. And I love every inch of it! The amalgamation of both deer and rotting human carcass is a thing of my nightmares, and for whatever reason having the setting take place at the woods at night makes it even creepier. The discoloration on the skin, the intestines, all painted magnificently on a canvas, judging by the texture. Even though it would freak me out every time I passed by it, I would totally hang this up in my hallway!
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Long Death #2 by Duncan Fegredo
I’m not going to lie; I almost was driven to insanity trying to figure out what painting Duncan Fegredo based this cover on. The positioning of both monster and the body it’s eating was was so familiar, yet I could not for the life of me recall what painting, or artist, was the source. So for twenty minutes I was on Google image search, typing in different keywords and descriptions, when I finally found it: Saturn Devouring His Children by Goya. I kid you not; I’m going to sleep well tonight now that I’ve finally solved the mystery. Oh and by the way Mr. Fegredo, wonderful job!
Fables #115 by Joao Ruas
“The unconditional surrender of Germany has just been announced. At midnight tonight, the war is over. Tomorrow you’ll begin the process of looking for survivors of your families. In most cases… you won’t find them. After six long years of murder, victims are being mourned throughout the world. We’ve survived. Many of you have come up to me and thanked me. Thank yourselves. Thank your fearless Stern, and others among you who worried about you and faced death at every moment. I am a member of the Nazi Party. I’m a munitions manufacturer. I’m a profiteer of slave labor. I am… a criminal. At midnight, you’ll be free and I’ll be hunted. I shall remain with you until five minutes after midnight, after which time – and I hope you’ll forgive me – I have to flee.”
-Oskar Schindler, Schindler’s List
Monocyte #3 by Ben Templesmith
My favorite cover of the week, hands-down. The way Templesmith combines each of his strengths (painting, washes, digital) into one image just completely blows my mind, leaves me craving more. Just the wraparound cover layout intrigues me, and I find my eyes taking their sweet time studying every piece of the illustration. Who is this black angel of death, with a bloody sword and a body full of souls? No clue, but my gut tells me to be very afraid. Spectacular stuff, Mr. Templesmith, consider me once again charmed by your never-ending talent.
In this special episode I interview a plethora of talent from Wondercon 2012 in Anaheim! Interviews include Anthony Del Col, Tom Pinchuk, Brian Apodaca, Benny Jordan, Gerimi Burleigh, Michael Alan Nelson, Gabriel Hardman, Shane Houghton, Chris Houghton, Kenny Keil, Sal Abbinanti, and Bill Sienkiewicz.
In this special episode I’m joined by Matt (Duke of Douche), Darcy (The Destroyer), and Dommy (The House Dwarf) to recap Sunday of Wondercon 2012! We gush some more over Christina Strain, I brag about the interviews I snagged, and we leave you with some final thoughts on the convention in Anaheim. EXPLICIT CONTENT & DRUNKEN DEBAUCHERY!
In this special episode I’m joined by Matt (Duke of Douche), Darcy (The Destroyer), Dommy (The House Dwarf) Aaron (MMA Legend), and several others to recap Saturday of Wondercon 2012! Dommy talks a lot, I give great birthday gifts, and it’s St. Patrick’s Day so we’ve been drinking all day! EXPLICIT CONTENT & DRUNKEN DEBAUCHERY!
In this special episode I’m joined by Matt (Duke of Douche), Darcy (The Destroyer), and Dommy (The House Dwarf) to recap Friday of Wondercon 2012! I was the only one of the four that actually went, but that’s beside the point! EXPLICIT CONTENT & DRUNKEN DEBAUCHERY!
Haunt #22 by Nathan Fox
Now that’s what I call a vacation! A margarita in one hand, a katana in the other, all while observing a topless ginger beauty crawling around on all fours over a bed of broken bones. Wait, what?! While the naked woman is very intriguing (as they always are), I found my eye wandering to the landscapes behind all the action. The green hills with freckled patches of red plants pleases me, as do the blue crushed bones in the foreground. So yeah, your eyes definitely get some pleasant stimulation from all the colors and images spread about the cover.
The Unwritten #35 by Yuko Shimizu
What more can I say about Yuko that I haven’t said already? She gives us nothing less than perfection with these covers, that I almost feel the need to induct her into a Cammy’s Favorite Cover Artists Hall Of Fame just to give other artists a chance! But where would the fun in that be? It would prevent me from sharing with you all her utter brilliance when it comes to her brush connecting on a blank canvas. Or in this case, text. Suppose it would form complete sentences if she got cornrows?
Journey Into Mystery #635 by Stephanie Hans
I absolutely love the use of colors in this cover! The fire just explodes right off the page and singes my chin hairs! The swirls really grab my attention as well, so nice use of serpents being incorporated in the battle. As if regular serpents weren’t bad enough, this guy ups the ante with magical serpents! What an absolute prick. I’d love to see this cover as a poster, but I gotta deduct Marvel (not Hans) points due to that annoying banner at the top. Banners; the destroyers of art.
Warlord of Mars #16 by Joe Jusko
I think my months-long dry spell is finally catching up to me, for this is the second cover this week that involves a topless woman. Again, nothing wrong with the female form, but it’s the other things on this cover that really seduce me. First of all, the whole image being seen as a vision is spectacular, as the whole scenario flows smoothly from his eyes like smoke from a fire. Then there’s the use of warm and cool colors, differentiating what’s going on through the eyes of the beholder. Finally, the use of negative space creeping-up along the sides, focusing on just the front and center. Usually covers from Dynamite Entertainment tend to be dark horses in this covers race, but I gotta say this is my favorite cover of the week. It’s just so enchanting, that I can’t stop looking at it.
Book Of The Month – March 2012
Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Raulo Caceres
When I first started reading comics and was learning of the different publishers, I came to the quick understanding that Avatar Press did not screw around with its content. I was also under the impression that Warren Ellis either co-founded Avatar, or owned stock in the company, because his name was on almost every title. Avatar opens its doors to comic book creators, giving them no restrictions on what they can or cannot create. It’s like a small floating utopia in the comics industry, where creators don’t have to worry about their ideas being smacked-down by editors, and there’s an endless supply of Johnnie Walker Black Label from the portal in the closet.
It was about the time Black Summer was coming out that I really started to take note of the different series Avatar was publishing. It felt like Warren Ellis in particular was in his element when writing at Avatar, producing some of his best stories in my opinion. Being the superstar writer that he is, there’s a reason he’s paired with some of the best artistic talent in the industry project after project. So ever since I fell head-over-heels in love with Black Summer, I made it a personal mission of mine to follow whatever new series or mini-series he was producing specifically at Avatar; the comic publisher that makes Ennis’ The Boys look tame on a daily basis. Let’s just say Warren hasn’t let me down with his imaginative stories yet, and I don’t foresee that happening any time soon.
Upon first hearing the title of his new series, Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island, it was already a must-buy for me right then and there. Learning that it contained bits of steampunk during the Victorian Era, and I just knew it was going to be the next big thing with steampunk cosplayers at the conventions that summer. Little did I know I would be waiting the span of a year for all four issues to eventually come out. However, that’s the nice thing about trade paperbacks and being able to read the entire thing in one sitting; you completely get lost in the brilliance of the story and art, and forget all your original woes.
Like I mentioned before, Captain Swing takes place in London around 1830. At that time, the Metropolitan Police Force was just being developed, and we follow newly-minted Peeler Charlie Gravel as he starts having regrets of the society he once knew. All in course of two nights he chases after a Spring-Heeled Jack (who may or may not have killed a fellow officer), gets in the middle of gunfights, and witnesses strange and incredulous sights. Any sane man would hit-up the pub immediately. Charlie Gravel on the other hand, wants to get to the bottom of things. The dashing Captain Swing goes by many names and aliases, and if the civilians want to believe he’s also known as the one and only Spring-Heeled Jack, by all means let them. Discovering how determined Charlie Gravel is in capturing him however, Captain Swing decides to let him join his merry electrical band for a night before sending him on his way.
Captain Swing’s of the mind that knowledge should be free, and it should be made available to everyone. Thanks to science and electricity it’s entirely possible to educate the masses, which is why every member of his crew are taught how things work, so they too can one day pass along their knowledge. Because of this, certain forces are at work to make sure Captain Swing’s vision never comes to fruition, and will do almost anything to stop it. With Charlie’s help, Captain Swing just might be able to bring their society out of the dark ages, and into the light.
Artist Raulo Caceres does a wonderful job bringing that dark and gritty tone of London in the 1830s, detailing every plank of wood to every stray strand of electricity. The action sequences were so much fun and exciting that I had to go back and re-read several sections throughout! I’ll forever have that last page from issue one burned into my mind; a pissed-off Captain Swing shouting “Fuck the law!” as he knocks out Charlie Gravel on his flying boat. Caceres was the one who did Ellis’ Crecy back in the day too, so it’s obvious why they make a good pairing.
If I had to describe this series to you, I’d say it’s like Peter Pan meets Nikola Tesla. While it’s electricity that keeps their ships afloat in the English sky and bullets consistently buzzing, I wouldn’t classify it as Steampunk in nature. That genre might immediately come to mind because of the setting and time period, but steam isn’t the substance they use. If you want Warren Ellis’ take on steampunk, do yourself a favor and checkout FreakAngels. With Captain Swing it’s an electrifying adventure that only Warren Ellis is capable of writing. Add in the magnificent woodcarving style of Raulo Caceres, and you’ve got yourself one mighty fine read on your hands.
I thought for sure there would be a second volume continuing the adventures, but alas, it seems to be only a one-time thing for now. Looking at the progress of Anna Mercury 2, maybe it’s good thing they’re only sticking to one volume. And to be perfectly honest, I’m surprised the cosplaying community hasn’t stumbled upon this goldmine yet; to create Captain Swing’s entire outfit would be a guaranteed First Place trophy at any Masquerade.
Pick it up today; you won’t regret it.
In this episode I’m joined by Benjamin Grimm to discuss the movie Fanboys. Originally we were going to discuss The Human Centipede 2, but ran into technical difficulties. So instead we talk about Star Wars vs Star Trek, if Episodes I-III do exist or not, and much more.
First things first; RIP Moebius. Pick Of The Week goes to Scott Snyder & Yanick Paquette for Swamp Thing #7 (DC). Fast Five picks include Avengers Academy #27 (Marvel), Fairest #1 (Vertigo), Action Comics #7 (DC), Sweet Tooth #31 (Vertigo), and The Manhattan Projects (Image). Spoilers!
Fatale #3 by Sean Phillips
This cover is just another fine example of Sean Phillips at his best. You have the haggard and serious character front and center, as a fiery explosion engulfs everything else on the cover. Brilliant use of washes and colors, and you just know this issue you’re about to read will definitely be action-packed. The slanted placement of the guy in such a stylized way really brings that extra taste of dramatics to this wonderful cover.
The Manhattan Projects #1 by Jonathan Hickman
I couldn’t find a website that would verify it, but I’m 1,000% certain Jonathan Hickman did the cover. His simplistic designs (and love of circles) are a staple with his style, and instantly I can recognize a Hickman cover. Hell, I did an entire paper on the man a few years ago in a graphic design course! And yet, I’m still hesitant. Boldly going forward with my assumptions, I must say this cover does a great job intriguing you. The hybrid figure and a brief synopsis are all I need, but let’s face it; you had me at the very beginning with ‘Hickman’.
Fairest #1 by Adam Hughes
When Adam Hughes does a cover, Adam Hughes does a cover. And a wrap-around cover, no less! What is this, Christmas AND my birthday?! With all that gushing being gushed and onto a more serious note, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hughes illustrate an ugly woman. I don’t think it’s in his DNA to ever do so. He couldn’t even if he tried! With a title like Fairest highlighting the adventures of Fables‘ finest (and fairest), it’s a perfect fit for Adam Hughes to be involved with this cover. He does a fantastic job distinguishing one maiden from another, with their various quirks and features. This is the poster you need not only for your bedroom, but for that one Fables fan you have in your life (and face it, we all have that one person).
In this episode I’m joined once again by Art (Fourth Wall Comics Podcast) and Matt (Lord of Winterfell) to discuss episodes 8-10 of the second season of The Walking Dead on AMC. We discuss Nebraska, Triggerfinger, and 18 Miles Out. Spoilers!