Saturday, August 30, 2014

Low #2

Well this is pretty decent. I was really worried that this story was going to focus on the two parents and that would be it, but I got lucky! Remender has started in a good direction focusing on the grieving mother and thrusting the story ten years into the future. I can deal with this.

Low has proved to have a very successful start. Image just announced a second printing of issue 2 which will be made available Sept 24th. So if you didn't get a copy last Wednesday, fear not, your run will not be incomplete. 

For one issue, Remender has managed to pack a lot of information in. Once again, beautifully illustrated by Greg Tocchini. It's so whimsical and dreamy. It really does feel like images you would see under water. I should warn you that this particular comic isn't for children and does contain a number of panels depicting the passionate throws one would experience when paying for sex. You'll see but you probably shouldn't let your ten year old read it. I mean you could, but even the futurist parents of the submerged underwater dwelling would probably look down on you for it.

I thought I'd leave you with a little *SPOILER* about issue 3, Stel is going to do something no human has done in a millenia, walk on the surface of the Earth! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Silver Surfer #5

The "tomee" jokes get me every time. Thank you Dan Slott. Although I start going off in my head about Junji Ito's Tome series. Anyway back on topic, I'm always happy after reading Silver Surfer. It's so "everyone" friendly and Dan Slott genuinely makes me giggle. He gives enough of the story in each issue to make your monthly wait worth it. Not a lot of writers can do that. To me, (hehe) it's one of the most difficult things to achieve with a monthly serial. It's such an easy series to dive into, I have been recommending the series to people of all ages who want to get into superhero comics.

This issue explains the strange happenings on Earth at the Greenwood Inn.  It becomes a bit of a Defenders reunion when Hulk and Dr Strange stop by to help solve the mystery. Namor being one of the original Defenders who didn't show up for this issue. I guess he's somewhere with the New Avengers being told what to do by Jonathan Hickman.
I think the best part of this issue, is that it wraps up the story arc nicely while paving the way for a new adventure. I like this that continue seamlessly while still ending certain events with some finality. There is a specific way I like my "monster of the week". So the story could go absolutely anywhere now!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall #2

I wasn't 100% I was going to keep reading this because it appeared that the female character served as a plot device to merely enhance the male characters journey but I decided not to be too judgmental after one volume. Sadly I think that there is just as much fan service in this book as the first one...

I liked the whole idea of a "son of titans" plot. I despise the appearance and personality of the aristocratic Sharle. She is the subject of so much fan service with her distressing little doll act. As a noble she's used to being a pawn to be married off for her family's gain but she's also incredibly useless. They've basically made her as defenseless as possible and so she is quickly left behind the safety of the walls and left out of the story the moment her and the titans son break free of the guilded cage.

I almost want to read the next volume specifically to complain about it. Or maybe they will have a female character worth of the Attack on Titan franchise like many of the awesome female characters of the original series. I guess I'll just have to shrug it off. Good thing volume 13 of the original series is available as of yesterday!

Pop #1 by Copland & Pires

This was on my Royal Jelly list for this week. Despite not being able to walk, I was actually able to grab my Jelly from a comic book store last night! When I got home I started with this one. The cover is incredible. I love the yellow and pink. Dylan Todd did an awesome job. Artist Jason Copland named "Creator to watch for 2014" by  does a throwback to early comics. There is an incredible vintage look to his work here that is just so appealing to me. Despite being a futuristic story about growing and creating celebrity, it has a fantastic timeless quality. It's so refreshing to see something like this from Darkhorse right now.

The story begins with a run-a-way celebrity who just "hatched" you could say. She wasn't ready though and the authorities are looking for her! She luckily run into an unsuspecting male. This is all kind of typical but I think that's the point. Essentially the story makes a satire of modern pop culture, which really isn't all that hard. In a way, pop culture is already grown and cultivated by a series of lead decision makers but they don't happen to be people in test tubes. Well, not that we know of.

I think I'm most sad that this is only going to be four issues long. I really hope that Darkhorse employs Jason Copland a lot more in the future. Darkhorse, this is a really good look for you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Alex & Ada Vol 1

I feel like I already wrote about this book but I went through my articles and didn't see anything. So I thought I'd go ahead and type something up. I ignored this series for quite sometime. Try an entire year then got a press release from Image talking about the trade paper release a earlier in the summer. They sent me a review copy of volume one and it got misplaced under all the other stuff I had to review. Well I got to it over a week ago and forgot to write about it. Honestly, when you read as much as I do in one day sometimes you forget about the books you wanted to write about.

I was surprised by this series. I really thought this would be just another Americanized version of Chobits. There's a whole new angle with this boy meets android-girl sort of love story. In this story Alex turns on Ada's ability to be sentient. He makes that choice where in other stories this was not the case. The story is written by both Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn with Luna illustrated the entire book. The artwork isn't exactly my speed but for something this clean and crisp I actually kinda like it. It's just a little different for me to enjoy a book that looks like this.

Alex and Ada is currently running on Image Comics. You can buy volume one and then hop right into the singles. Now is a good time since issue 8 was just released and follows in perfect time behind the first trade. I however have decided that this title will be best read through trades so I will be waiting about 6 or 7 months to purchase volume 2.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Royal Jelly: Queen's Top Picks for New Release Day August 27

My top picks of this weeks releases are as follows:

Bodies #2
Pop #1
Low #2 
Saga #22

Trade Paper

Attack on Titan GN #13 

Big titles out for me this week. I am really excited about each of them. Bodies is of particular interest due to the haunting beauty of Tula Lotay's artistic contributions. She writes the story arc which takes place in the distant future and it just so happens to be my favorite era in the story. It's quite surreal which makes it just my style.

Rick Remender's Low opened with a furiously busy and large first issue. I have been dying to know which characters will be the focus of this underwater story. There is also a second printing of the variant cover for issue 1, so you can grab that on Wednesday if you missed it first time around. You should really jump on this series fast and try to keep up because I have a feeling it's going to be all action.

I don't think I have to explain my anticipation for Saga. Most of the comic reading world anticipates each single while wearing their Lying Cat tees.

Writer Curt Pires teams up with artist Jason Copland in a new action packed science fiction series being released by Darkhorse. The premise (taken from the Darkhorse site) "What if the world’s pop stars and celebrities were literally products, grown by the world’s wealthiest (and most depraved) minds—and one of them escaped?" Multiversity listed Curt Pires as "Creator to Watch in 2013" so I'm doing just that.

Finally, the much awaited 13th volume of Attack on Titan. This is the original manga, not the spin-offs. Out of all the manga I read, Attack on Titan is the most famous. Many fan know the anime over the manga, although in this case the manga came first. It isn't always the case despite popular belief.

 This isn't the largest release date for me but I am really excited to get my hands on these titles.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dark Engine #2 *SPOILERS*

I love this cover! It's seriously another framer. Sym is quickly becoming my favorite bad-ass female icon. I desperately want to embrace my inner geek and cosplay her! I gotta find this skull...hmmmm...

This issue holds some surprise. Sym appears to travel through worlds and ages. I dunno if you want to look at it like alternate dimensions, or all taking place on one continuous timeline on Earth but Sym is moving from civilization to civilization. At the beginning of the story she's been taken by some Egyptians mistakenly as the god Ammit, Eater of Hearts. Sym doesn't stay there long though. As her body appears to die, she emerges from the innards of a horse in Norse times. Perhaps soon to be worshiped as a god yet again?

I had to poke artist Jon Bivens last night to ask some questions about where this story is going! I wondered, is Sym going to travel through all kinds of different cultures and civilizations throughout history? Cryptically he answered "Pirates... but maybe not the kind you're thinking of..." So that's all you get for future spoilers!! I wonder if Sym will visit space? hmmm.... space pirates!!!???

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Royal Jelly: Queen's Top Picks for Release Day Aug 20th

Hiya! I got my list of this weeks top picks! These are the items I am most looking forward to that are being released tomorrow.  So let's start with the lists:
Harley Quin #0
The Empty Man #3
Eye of Newt #3
Dark Engine #2
Fade Out # 1
Manifest Destiny #9

Trade Paperbacks 
Attack on Titan: After the Fall vol #2
Lucifer Book Four

So a lot of these you are probably familiar with me reviewing monthly. Manifest Destiny has been a big ticket for me now going on ten months. Action packed, crazy adventure! Always a great cliff hanger. I was very lucky to interview Chris Dingess last month. You can read that interview HERE.

You may have noticed Harley Quinn on that list. DC is releasing a second pressing of the special so if you didn't get it in June, now is your chance. I'll be grabbing a copy because I missed it. The special has an all-star cast with Paul Pope and Sam Kieth thrown in there. Dunno how the heck I missed that one.

Fade Out is a much anticipated new series from Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips which is going to replace Fatal for a lot of people. Fatal having just ended last week. If you're morning the loss of your favorite Brubaker series, like my friend Kelly then you should pick up Fade Out. The variant cover is especially amazing.

Dark Engine I want to mention because it's one of the most exciting new series for myself. I had interviewed artist John Bivens last month. He is one of my favorite artists currently. The first volume screamed of Heavy Metal Magazine and I am going to frame every damn cover. You have to be reading Dark Engine. Check out my interview with Bivens HERE.

Under trades you'll notice the Lucifer Book Four. Vertigo has slowly been re-releasing the Lucifer series in larger collected trades. They're beautifully done and on lovely paper. A little tip, they are substantially cheaper on Indigo right now than anywhere else. You can get the volumes for 20-21 dollars while you'll find them 10 to 15 dollars more in stores. If you are a fan of the Sandman Series and fantastic writer Mike Carey (also writer of terrific Hellblazer) then Lucifer is the next place to go. Especially if you've read your way through the rest of Gaiman's Sandman series and spin-offs.

The last one pick of the week which I'm only sort of excited about, is the spin-off prequel to Attack on Titan called Before the Fall. I am reading it because I've read all the Attack on Titan available but I wasn't head over heels for this one. It's very much written and illustrated the way a typical mass marketed manga traditionally is done. Female characters are over the top doll like and pander to what must be the fantasies of teenage boys. I'm only guessing. Yet I'll read it anyway in hopes that there might be some important and interesting story in there somewhere.

 That's the jelly! What are you most looking forward to?

A Distant Soil Vol 1 & 2 by Colleen Doran

The remastered collection has a lovely
cut out cover of a diamond revealing a
peek at the artwork on the first page.
Wikipedia describes A Distant Soil as "an epic Space Opera" (the melodramatic adventure type not the type that involve music). Melodramatic is a good way to describe this series. It's full of dramatic character interaction and lots of romance. This sci-fi is most known for being one the earliest comic books to contain openly gay characters in lead roles. Over the years people have speculated on the story telling of the book and related it to manga. I agree these thoughts do have some validity. The pacing of this book reminds me greatly of a lot of the shojo I read although I have to say I'm a bigger fan of Angel Sanctuary than A Distant Soil. There's little comparison really other than the slower scenes showing expressing the desires of characters and hinting at ulterior motives and betrayal. I guess that's most manga and opera right there.

Plot-wise this whole book feels as if it was meant for teenagers which is why it reminds me of Shojo. Not to mention all the romance. Originally I wanted to read the book because I was told it was a science fiction story.  It lacks the complexity of explaining technology (technology not being all that important in this book which is why I think it is classified as space opera). The alien technology is mainly powered by crystals. Yes, those damn 80's crystals which I find extremely cheesy. Do not let me mislead you however, this book is cheesy by my standards. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Doran employs a diverse group of people from all kinds of backgrounds as the team who is supposed to save the Ovanans race from its governments genocidal ways.

I did enjoy the stories. I like shojo and things that generally fall into that category. One of my favorite stories to this day is still Escaflowne. I think that if I had read this growing up, I would have been completely in love with it. However the idea of finding gay-character-positive comic books in my home town is hysterically unlikely. We were lucky to find anything that wasn't just Marvel & DC. I'm pretty sure this would have been banned from our only real comic book store back in the 80's and 90's. I'm from a town called Truro which has since been known as the gay capital of Nova Scotia but don't say that around the mayor. He wouldn't let anyone fly the pride flag because he didn't want Truro associated with homosexuality. You mean the homosexuality that's already there? Fuck that guy....anyway....

Recently Image has been re-releasing A Distant Soil in remastered editions. As far as I can tell, only the first two volumes are currently available. Volume 2 came out last August so I think we're due for a remastering of volume 3 now Image! Come on!! Cough it up!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Piles of Books

Is it pathetic that all I want to do is listen to old Pumpkins albums and read comics? Unfortunately for me, I've been laid up the last two weeks unable to go to the gym or do much at all because I'm on crutches. Seems there's some stress fracturing in the bones of my right ankle. Totally sucks so I had to put my gym membership on hold and rest it for a WHILE. Still doing that actually. Start physio next week, getting a bone scan whenever the doctor calls me and eventually I'll be able to ditch the crutches and get back to normal. Until then I am seriously running out of books. I have been reading non stop and playing a little Civ because well, I can't do a whole lot else. Not to mention that depression creeps in when you're immobile. So let's see what have I been reading.. well some of it is obvious based on my reviews but there is a lot I read that I don't write about.

I'll just make a list: 
A Distant Soil
a lot of Berserk
a lot of Batman
Death Note
Buddha series by Osamu Tezuka
Black Science Vol 1
Anamorphosis no Meijuu (The Great Beast Metamorphosis)
Manara Erotica Vol 1
Shade the Changing Man
The Crow

FINALLY : lots of digital submissions that come through my website and countless singles. Currently reading Sam Kieth's My Inner Bimbo despite the incredibly tiny lettering which by the way is the reason I haven't read it previously. It's killing my eyes. FOR SERIAL!!!

I feel like there's a lot missing from that list. There probably is but who knows. Between the digital world and the organic, I have no real concept of everything I've gone through the last few days. It's literally just finish a book and grab another. This is the first time my bedside table has had so little on it. All I have left is the Finder Library which luckily is gigantic. It is nice to finally read older books that I've never had a chance to. However I did miss the Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival yesterday due to not being able to get a ride because let's face it, getting anywhere distance-wise is impossible on crutches. The transit system doesn't help the impaired out much or so I've found. You still are required to walk some distance to even get to a bus stop. Anyway, I didn't make it there so there is no article this year detailing the events. SIGH. I tried to make the best of it. I laid in bed and read with my foot up. OOO I did some arm exercises at the end of the bed. Should I write some articles on all the older stuff I've been reading? Would it be of interest? I dunno.

I've been digging a lot of different artists recently. I just started really falling in love with the work of Tony Sandoval who has a book soon to be released called Doomboy vol 1. It's about a lonely boy obsessed with metal who is actually a rock god. I'm falling in love with Sandoval's artwork. Is it any wonder ?? It's beautiful and creepy at the same time. I'm all over the place lately. Maybe bits of bone are getting into my blood stream...

Work by Tony Sandoval

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shutter #5

The more Shutter I read, the more Shutter I need to read. Shutter is one of the few series that I actually feel satisfied with after each single. Sometimes I feel cheated after reading a single, as if didn't contain any actual story or developments but Shutter always gives you something to make you feel full. With issue five we finally we get to meet one of the siblings. That's right! Don't forget there are siblings PLURAL. We don't know how many there are. More interesting is that we finally get to find out what happened to Kate's father!

Art-wise, I think this is my favorite issue. I suppose that's because of the last few panels. They're so exciting! Not to mention the crazy tentacles. At least I guess that's the best way to describe them.. and look at me, I'm giving it all away!

I was trying to dissect what I like about the story so much. I guess what keeps me reading is that I actually really like the main character. It's sort of a first for me. I generally dislike main characters but I like Kate because she's trying to move on with her life. Or so she thought she had. Her past keeps chasing after her and she's not having it.She left behind all her adventure ways and made a new life for herself. I respect that. I suppose her attitude also appeals to me as well. Her resistance to being drawn back into the environment she obviously has negative feelings about. I can relate. I bet a lot of people can. Plus, she's really bad-ass. I think Shutter might be the first comic I've read where the hero spends the majority of it in a cast and sling. HA! I think that's pretty brilliant actually, who does that?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Batman Earth One

I can't say the name Batman in my house or it turns into a back and forth argument of which one of us is Batman. Sometime Chris reads to me and does the voices when my eyes are tired. Let's face it, I read ALL day. I like his Lt Gordon. Anyway, I read Earth One to myself last night and drooled over the panels. So lovely. Gary Frank's artwork caught my eye initially and with the trade release yesterday I was like "oh hell I'll grab this".  The original release happened back in July of 2012. It got to #9 on the New York Times Best Selling Hardcover Graphic Book list so the trade paper of course says "New York Times Best Seller" on the top.

I don't want to spoil the plot so I won't get into it much. This is basically a new origins story. DC intended to start a series of re-imagined origin stories for the DC universe under the title of Earth One. They started with Superman which I've been told to ignore. Apparently it's gawd awful but it's fine because I've never been one to read Superman. If I recall, the only Superman comics I read were a few random issues when I was very young. Maybe ten or eleven at me grandmothers house.

This story shows us a grittier Alfred and a fairly gritty Gordon. Sadly, daughter Barbara plays the part of the damsel in distress to serial killer The Birthday Boy but there is a little hint, hint that she begins to develop Batgirl. So at least there's something to look forward to if the sequel actually gets pushed out in 2015. It's already been once delayed. Originally it was due 2013 but something went array there. Perhaps other projects merely got in the way.

In the end I just keep comparing this to Frank Miller's Year One. Nothing really stands up to that however this is still worth a read just so you can drool over the artwork.

Starlight #5

I've been waiting for this! Patiently anticipating and following Goran's facebook posts as he slips panels out. Serious tease. We didn't get a Starlight in July but Mark and Goran made it worth the wait with issue five. I can't spoil it...even though I want to but things are picking up and Duke is full of the confidence he needs to take on the Brotean. He slays some pretty sick mermen too. teehee..

With this issue we have variant covers by Tommy Lee Edwards and Rob Liefeld. I have to say that I'm not a fan of the Liefeld cover. Duke's whole body has been stretched to take up more of the page. Not liking the typical Liefeld jawline either. So you can guess which cover I grabbed! Edwards' cover is 'oh so' lovely and haunting. Normally I'm all about lots of pencil lines but this is just so striking. I really enjoy the sharp edges which make both characters look formidable. Despite a lot of the criticism I've directed at variant covers over the years I actually like variant covers. I enjoy them when they are done by people like Sam Kieth mostly HA! Who would you like to see a Starlight variant cover from ? If he were alive, I think it would be amazing to have something from Frank Frazetta but we all know that's not going to happen. Alive or dead, who would you pick?
Liefeld's Duke
(obviously stolen from the CBR page)

I would like to stress how amazing Goran Parlov's work actually is. It's soo fantastic that if he wasn't illustrating Starlight, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. As far as Millar is concerned, he's a good writer but everything he publishes isn't automatically gold. Starlight reuses a lot of classic science fiction stories and plot devices. There's not a lot new there but Goran's work makes this story stand out from other comics. He actually makes this story new and exciting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stumptown #1: The Case of the King of Clubs

Written by Greg Rucka
Drawn by Justin Greenwood
Colored by Ryan Hill
Lettered by Crank!

Back by popular demand? Greg Rucka's private eye Dex is back in a new series. I am afraid that I haven't read the previous adventures of Dex Parios. I've become a fan of Rucka's only recently after reading the first two volumes of Lazarus. I'm not really the type to involve myself in private eye stories. They rarely appeal to me, but Rucka captures my attention in the same way he did with Lazarus, through realistic characters and good scripting. He always leaves a little cliff hanger at the end of an issue and Stumptown is no different.

In the past Mathew Southworth had illustrated Stumptown. This story arc is illustrated by Justin Greenwood and colored by Ryan Hill. The artwork isn't typically appealing to me but the characters are easily identifiable which is important to me. Sometimes I'll be reading along in a book and if the characters are too similar in appearance I'll lose the story. I'm looking at you manga! Well, not all manga, but a large portion of it.

Oni Press has yet to release information on how you can pre-order this single but I'll be sure to let you know when I find out :) Keep your eyes peeled.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Buddha Vol 2 Osamu Tezuka

It's become apparent to me that if I want to finish reading this saga, I'm going to have to inquire at my local library. It is now impossible for me to get the paper back editions of this series. I managed to get 1 & 2 a little while back but my constant search online has turned up, SOLD OUT, OUT OF PRINT and then things like "you can have it but you're going to pay over 100 dollars for this paper back" and NO.

I love Osamu Tezuka's work, despite the fact that many of his hokes are not acceptable these days, as they are poking fun at race, size, and sexuality. Many of the his jokes operate on stereotypes. That being said, Tezuka was a very forward thinker for his time. He wrote characters who were different than just the average male hero. Women could be heroes, and characters could be gay. Princess Knight is a shining example of a hero who was born of two genders. A gender bender adventure. I have yet to read Twin Knights which is the sequel to the Princess Knight saga. Again, you have to consider when the book was written. This was considered very progressive, by today's standards probably not so much. For instance, if I thrust the book into the hands of some people I know today and didn't mention where or when it was written, they would probably be very upset by the book.

Buddha is a retelling of Buddha's life from his early beginnings as Prince Siddhartha. Well it starts before he's even born but any-who. Buddha received the Eisner award in 2004 and 2005 for Best US Edition of Foreign Material. The editions which are sort of currently available (if you can find them) are mirrored printings of Tezuka's work and read left to right. Most of the American printings of his work is left to right which kinda makes me sad. I would rather read them as they were intended to be read, right to left.

Don't you hate it when you have an unfinished series on your book shelf?? It bothers me just looking at it. Where am I going to get the rest of this series? UGH.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Royal Jelly : Queen's top picks for release day August 13th

Variant Cover by Tommy Lee Edwards
(did you know there is also a Liefeld cover?)
I thought I might start posting about release day. In particular the titles I am most looking forward to and intend to pick up. I bet some weeks this could turn into a rather lengthy article but I intend to keep it brief and merely discuss a few things and why I am choosing them.

This week's list is a doozey. There are plenty of items I'd love to pick up but one only has so much money to blow on printed paper. This Wednesday I will be grabbing the following:

Dark Ages #1
I Feel Sick #2
Shutter #5
Starlight #5
Walking Dead 130

Hardcover GN:
Megalex (my review)
The People Inside (my review)

Batman Earth One

I'm torn on the Batman trade. I always thought to myself that I'd leave that series to read in trade format but I'm not even sure I'm that interested now. I figure I'll flip through it and then decide. Any thoughts? Moving on, Megalex is being reprinted by Humanoid. It sold out fast first time around so now is your chance to get it quick! I've already read it of course and The People Inside by Ray Fawkes who is Canadian and you might actually recognize his name if you read the new Constantine series.

As for singles, these are all going to be new to me except for I Feel Sick #2 which is a reprinting of a short story that Jhonen Vasquez put out over ten years ago. I only read it in TP format so I'm happy to buy the singles even if they are a whopping $5.95 a piece. Starlight #5 is one I've been anticipating for a while. It's a big late as we didn't get one in July *cries* but we're in store for something great as Goran has mentioned via facebook.

Finally I wanted to mention Dark Ages #1. This one caught my eye because it's creators are Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard. Culbard's work has been attracting much of my attention lately. His covers always draw me in. He's been around for a while but only really shown up for me earlier this year as an artist of interest.

So that's the jelly. What are you looking to grab!?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Spread #2 by Justin Jordan & Kyle Strahm

At the distributor level, bother issues 1 and 2 have sold out! It's easy to sell out of a first issue but it happens less often that people come back for that second issue. Some people forget a month later, and some people just feel "meh". It's nice to see things have a strong start. I hope it keeps up the momentum.

For a critical look at issue 1, please see my review here. Spread continues to be action packed in this second issue. You can believe what you see on the cover! It will not mislead you. I have mixed emotions about the crazy slave women with the lactating breasts. It's obvious she had lost her baby either to the elements or perhaps if was taken away from her sold by one of the slavers. At any rate, there she is conveniently enough.

Let me state right here that I'm a big fan of this artwork. I love the style and although the coloring is absolutely different from my usual favs, I'd love to see him do something on Prophet. I really enjoy his character design. During hostile invasion, we're not all beautiful ha! Certainly no one in this story looks their best, well except for one person but you'll see him on page one.

I'm going to continue to read Spread. I'm anxious to see where it goes. I know a lot of movies pop into my head, Mad Max and Waterworld to name a few, but maybe this story is really about to blow up. Let's see.

Lost Comics Kickstarter: Bring Back Brok Windsor

It's sad to think that great comics from any decade could disappear and be forgotten in the age of the internet. Luckily for us there are people like comic book historian Hope Nicholson who work to keep that from happening. She has already successfully reprinted the tales of female comic book super hero Nelvana and next on her list is Brok Windsor. Brok Windsor is a doctor, adventurer, giant and he has been lost since 1946.

If Nicholson's Kickstarter is successful, this will be the first reprinting of Canadian comic book hero Brok Windsor and his adventures! Brok was created by Vancouver based publisher Maple Leaf Comics by a man named John Stables. Brok is one of the shining examples of comic book art during the golden age of comics.

Brok Windsor is first a medical doctor who discovers a strange new world in the Canadian wilderness. A hidden place called Chaqua. He meets a race of advanced aboriginal giants! We all know what a fan of science fiction and fantasy I am. Some of my favorite stories begin with a citizen on boring old Earth then thrust into a new alien-esq world!

This is a project I give my full attention to. As a Canadian, I feel it is imperative that we keep whatever we can of our publishing history. I'm happy that there are historians like Nicholson who see the importance of historic comics and have spearheaded ambitious projects like this one, to keep the stories alive in our hands. Please check out the Kickstarter Page and read more information about Brok Windsor and Nicholson's last successful reprinting of Nelvana of The Northern Lights.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Feel Sick: A Book About A Girl by Jhonen Vasquez

Slave Labor Graphics are kind enough to do a reprinting of I Feel Sick. I haven't read this in at least ten years. I had to look up the original release date because I couldn't remember. It was originally released in 1999, I feel very old today.... I had read the trade paper which I had borrow from a friend not long after that.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Jhonen Vasquez is the mastermind behind Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Animation lovers may know him better as the creator of Invader Zim. Excuse me while I go sing the Doom Song. Alright, I'm done. So if you're in Canada like me, then you just paid (or are about to) a whopping $5.95 for this reprinted issue. If it makes you feel better, the cover is printed on glossy 80 pound cover paper. The inside is nice and glossy as well. So it's not like you're paying six bucks for a piece of mass produced crap from Marvel that's liable to disintegrate in the next five minutes. It's even complete with a Filler Bunny story at the end! I have actually had Filler Bunny tattooed to me for about 12 years lol. Also, it may interest you to know that yesterday marked the release of The Collected Work of Filler Bunny in paper back! (I got mine already).

The story is spin-off about Devi who you'll remember from the Johnny stories. She's the cynical gothic sort who's social life is lacking. She's an artist haunted by a painting she was attempting to complete. A self portrait you see. Remind you of anything Oscar Wilde-esq? Like everything that comes from Vasquez it's funny. It's also heavily critical of the goth scene which may apply less to today's youth but it certainly spoke to me as 1999, I was in grade 11. God, that really doesn't seem that long ago. Here I am still sitting in my room reading comics. Although this time, it's not a room in my parents basement. It's the second floor of a condo so you know, I guess things eventually get better. Don't tell Devi that though, she's busy talking to that creepy doll painting. You'll see.

Megalex by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Fred Beltran

An entire planet's population is controlled by the manipulation of genes. All natural impulses and remnants of nature are suppressed both within the human body and on the face of the planet. The animals and trees forced to the outer edges of civilization. Very little of the natural world remains, except what hides and waits for it's rebirth. A group of rebels join forces with the natural world to take on the Megalex.

A beautiful, hard cover edition of Megalex in it's entirety, is to be released by Humanoids on August 13th. Previously published in three volumes, this will be the first complete edition. Despite how I feel about the artwork, which you will read directly below this, I will be getting my copy of this Jodorowsky masterpiece. I suspect you should as well because you don't know science fiction until you've read Jodorowsky's science fiction.

Let's be frank, I am not a huge fan of the artwork. Beltran had left his brush behind for this project and went full on computer. The first 50 pages especially displease me as far as characters go. However I fell completely in love with the backgrounds. Beltran is famous for largely breasted pin-up girls. All the women despite the very old in the story, are about to topple over because of the weight on their chests. One could try and say that this is a result of genetic breeding. After all, the men seem to be physically endowed with muscles upon creation.... let's just leave it at that shall we?

I really like the plot. Jodorowsky is famous for his science fiction especially within the world of comics. I count myself lucky anytime his work is translated to English. Megalex was originally written for the creator of Akira, or so it says in the lovely Afterword at the back of the book. It was 1993 that Jodorowsky began writing the pieces that became what is now Megalex. The artistry took years to complete with Beltran finishing volume one sometime in 1998, volume two in April of 2002 and roughly six years later he finished the final installment. All this and more detail can be found in the Afterword which is an excellent addition to the book. It really puts the whole saga into perspective. The creation of Megalex itself is a saga and August 13th it can be yours to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lazarus Vol 2

I wanna scream! Seriously. I got so absorbed in this damn TP that I became enraged when it was over. It grips me like the first 10 volumes of The Walking Dead had. Addicted and I want more. I had decided after volume 1 that this is a series best left to binge reading. I think that for me at least, picking up singles would ultimately ruin the experience. I was discussing this with my friend Kelly and she feels that not much happens in one single of Lazarus. She's right. Not much happens that's apparent. It all builds up to this final climactic explosion! Really, both volumes kinda ended with an impact. heh. The man-made kind.

ANYWAY, I am so sad that there isn't going to be another trade for such a long time that I'm not certain what to do. Singles, trades? Singes, trades? How do you decide? When your favorite series is a monthly single but you got in after the first trade came out, where do you go from there? No seriously, I'm asking!!

For the reasons in the first paragraph, I'm going to attempt to wait out volume three. I dunno if I am going to make it. 

Low #1 by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini

Another big title for the win from Rick Remender. Everyone is always yacking about Black Science but I feel as thought Low has a much stronger start. The story begins with a family living deep in a city in the depths of the ocean. They look for a place to send their civilization out of a dying Earth. Technology is very advanced and hope lies with a large mobile suit (but much smaller than say Gundum lol). The children are destined to pilot the helm which is only made mobile by the DNA of the Caine family. Things get bad and interesting when the two girls go out with the family for the first time, outside of the protection of the city.

 I really dunno who the story is going to aim it's focus. On the children or the adults? I feel as thought the story will jump into the future in the next issue. That's where I want it to go. I really don't want the story to focus on the mother and father of the family. I feel as though that's the most likely direction however.

I'm really happy with the artwork. Kelly Thompson of CBR complained that the art was too busy at times. I think we both know that busy isn't something that I see as a failing. Take for example my favorite artists? Sam Kieth for one was quite detailed in his hay day. One of the things I always loved about his work. There's also the issue that Thompson has neglected to notice, artist Tocchini's "busyness" for lack of better description, accentuates the enclosed spaces that the family is living in by being thousands of leagues under the sea. What Thompson is perceiving as busy and has labeled a shortcoming within the panels, I interpret as an expert illustrator communicating the severity of this small, enclosed habitat.  I believe this also illustrates the closeness of the family which Remender has also made obvious in the script.

All in all, I'm much more excited about this than Black Science despite seeing some similarities -such as the whole family angle. I'm not big on the Spielburg family's stick together, "big happy ending" thing, so I'm hoping that we got some real tragedy coming up. Aren't I awful?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sandman: Overture #3

Yeay new character!! It's about time Morpheus had a traveling companion that isn't a piece of his own personality. In this highly anticipated third issue (we waited long enough for it), we get to meet an alien character who ends up traveling with Morpheus and the cat, which is apparently also Morpheus. The first two issues we read had Morpheus flung to the other side of the universe while his soul/brain/personality was splintered into a hundred fragments.

This is one of the few Vertigo titles I've been following as of late. Sadly there hasn't been too many titles from the once prolific label, to draw my attention. That being said, I always attempt to get into whatever hits the shelves. This has to be the most beautiful Sandman to date. Although I've always been partial to The first 4 issues due to Sam Kieth's talents, I have to say that Overture is visually stunning. It fits the whole flung across the universe plot as one would expect to see magnificent spectacles in the unknown. I wish my dreams were so vivid and pretty. I would probably spend my lifetime in sleep. I sort of already do that though. Mostly however, I'm just dreaming about zombies. Having a big cat to ride on the back of would be pretty bad ass though. I could kill a lot of zombies...

What do you think of Morpheus' new companion? I really enjoy that the character is a female and young! More often than not, the people Morpheus interacts with are adults. I think it's an interesting change of pace.

Monday, August 4, 2014

New title from Vertigo: Bodies #1

New from Vertigo this week was Bodies #1. I got excited about it when I saw Tula Lotay's name on the cover. I wrote a review on the first issue of Supreme Blue Rose last week. She was the illustrator of the ambitious project which was unfortunately now written by my favorite writer.

Bodies is a combined effort between four artists and one writer. Si Spencer writes a murder mystery that spans four different time periods, all different circumstances, different investigators but with one very important catch; it's the same body in all four periods. Pretty neat hun!?!? Each time period is illustrated by a separate artist dedicated to that era. 2014 by Meghan Hetrick, 1890 by Dean Ormston, 2050 by Tula Lotay, and 1940 by Phil Winslade. My two favorites being Dean Ormston and Tula Lotay. I'm a little bias, you may remember Ormston from Judge Dread and The Sandman series. SQUEAL. I don't squeal a whole lot, just over things that excite me, like my favorite artists and creators.

This is going to be an 8 issue mini series. It's about time Vertigo grabbed my attention again in a big way. I was drowning in a sea of amazing Image titles and lost my way from my roots almost entirely. I was just waiting for Vertigo to do something amazing. Not that what they're putting out is all bad. Not at all, but like I said, when comparing to the creator owned titles of Image, Vertigo got buried. You should see my bedside table! Well, you can't because it's covered in books and singles. I'm excited about this one. What a great concept with so many talented people on it. Can't wait for issue 2.

Clive Barker's Nightbreed #3

I've been really enjoying this series from Boom. This issue has another dazzling cover. A haunting figure holding a chalice with bloodied fingers. You don't know quite what it's all about at first and then you read. It's here that the story really takes on a new life. The best quote I can pull is the last line. "Fate is a strange thing, a 'demon' can give birth to the divine and 'divinity' can birth a demon."

I've been trying with some difficulty lately, to conduct a review without spilling the beans. I don't like leaking spoilers but sometimes its necessary in order to properly dissect how I feel about a piece. So please excuse my occasional leaking. Parts of this issue reminded me of a season of Dexter due to the whole evil preacher. There was also an evil preacher in Buffy but he was really proud of being evil. There was no delusion about that guy. This preacher seems to have a great deal of delusion. It's fantastic. I love a complex homicidal maniac. Well, I like them in comics... You know what I mean.

I do hope there are a lot more people reading this than I know about. I'm sad that I don't hear much mention of the book. It happens though. The comic book world is a lot more saturated than it once was and yes, Marvel and DC still rule the market for the most part. Boom has some amazing titles coming up. Don't forget to grab your Nigthbreeds.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Art Monster Issues 1, 2 & 3 by Jeremy Holt & Francesca Ciregia

Jeremy Holt was one of the first people I ever interviewed for this blog. I've read a lot of his work since. This is my favorite of Holt's stories to date. It's unique in design and the plot is breath of fresh air from all the post-apocalyptic drudgery that everyone else is coughing up right now. Did I mention I'm sick of all that? Ciregia's black and white panels fits the tone of this story. I love black and white illustrations in indie comics. Anything that belongs in or around the horror vein is typically something I want to see done in black and white, if I'm supposed to take it seriously. For me, it really allows the heart of the story to shine through. I'm not being bamboozeled by a barrage of photoshop and manga studio gradients or swatches. (personal pet peeve? those fucking sun flares).

Art Monster is a creative take on the typical reanimated corpse story. It's not a story about zombies eating up everyone ( at least not yet), and it's not about making a new girlfriend out of the parts of dead hotties (yes I've seen that story). This is about creating art through reanimated corpses. Brilliant! I don't want to spoil the plot for you because it's too fun a ride. I encourage everyone to hit up Comixology and see for yourself. Art Monster issue 3 is now available on Comixology as of Wednesday. SPLURGE on the amazing deal of .99 cents an issue! It's more than worth it. Check out some of the art below!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Red Sonja #0 by Gail Simone & Noah Salonga

I decided it was the perfect time for me to get back into Red Sonja. I read a lot of the stuff that came out in the 80's which would have been put out by Marvel. A lot of the stuff involving Conan. Gail Simone started writing Red Sonja for Dynamite last summer and I sorta missed out. I didn't have Simone's work on my radar until semi recently when my friend Kelly began telling me about how much she enjoyed Birds of Prey. So this week when Dynamite put out Gail Simone's Red Sonja #0, I figured it was the right time to jump into her work. After reading this mini story, I'd really like to go back and check out the last year of Simone's Sonja. 

I'm not a big fan of the inside art work though which is disappointing. The cover art for this issue was done by Gabriel Hardman and I don't feel too badly about it. I like the strong lines, Sonja's hair and her sword looks bad-ass with that gradient of blood going on. Inside art made me sigh. I can deal with it but it feels so mediocre. Noah Salonga has some incredible penciling/inking but whoever was responsible for the coloring made me sad. TEAR. It may have been Salonga, I tried to filter through the credit. In any case, I'd rather see Salonga's work without color if it's going to end up looking like this. 

The story however had me giggling. It starts out with a grieving husband morning the loss of Sonja who has passed. I won't give away the plot but it was a fun one. Drunk'n debauchery generally gets me giggling. It was nice to read something a little lighthearted considering my typical reads are morbid and generally grotesque. Remember to grab this one while your out. The story makes us for my distaste for the art.