Salvatore Pane

Tag: BOOM! Studios

Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup IX: Art Curators During the French Occupation and Donkey Kong Versus Batman

1. Moving Pictures by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen

I don’t want to say too much about Moving Pictures because I’m going to be reviewing it later this month for The Rumpus. But if you’re one of those high-fa-looting members of the new intelligentsia that believe comics are still all about superheroes, I dare you to read the latest graphic novel from the husband and wife team of Stuart and Kathryn Immonen. I’ve seen much of Stuart’s work penciling Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers and I’m vaguely aware of Kathryn’s Pasty Walker: Hellcat miniseries, but nothing prepared me for Moving Pictures, a story of a dangerous love affair between a Canadian art curator and a Nazi during the French occupation. This book is serious, literary and moving. You need to buy this.  

2. Avengers: Children’s  Crusade #1 written by Allan Heinberg with art from Jim Cheung

Allan Heinberg is best known as executive producer of such shows as Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C and Party of Five, but nerds know him for his thirteen issue run on Young Avengers. If you’ve never read the original series, go pick it up immediately. Heinberg is a master of the teen voice and the high school drama that goes with it. Young Avengers deals with race, legacy, and easily the most interesting, not to mention serious, gay superhero couple in comics. Children’s Crusade is his return to the book and he’s brought with him original collaborator Jim Cheung whose art is spectacular. Marvel’s publishing a glut of Avengers books at the moment, but for my money, this is the one you absolutely must read.

3. Scarlet #1 written by Brian Michael Bendis with art from Alex Maleev

I intentionally know very little about Scarlet. The book came out yesterday, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet and I’ve really tried to avoid all spoilers. But here’s why it makes the list anyway: the creative team. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. BMB is the man who got me back into comics. I stopped reading comics for a decade after the dreadful nineties and it was BMB’s run on Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers that brought me back in. His take on Daredevil with the spectacular Alex Maleev (look at that drawing above) is another must read. And a re-pairing of that  team is more than enough to get me interested in a book about a kickass female assassin. Trust these guys. Trust me.

#4. Action Comics #890 written by Paul Cornell with art from Pete Woods

Paul Cornell is a writer I admire. He’s most famous for scripting episodes of Dr. Who, but I know him best for his run on Captain Britain and the MI-13, you know, the series where Dracula hung out on the moon with Dr. Doom. He’s brilliantly funny and quite dark, which is why I was so happy when DC announced he would be writing a multi-issue arc in Action Comics about Lex Luthor. The first issue does not disappoint. Lex is on the hunt for a Black Lantern Ring. His sidekick? A Lois Lane robot that turns into a gun. Sign me up.

#5. Image/BOOM! Studios Artist Dean Kotz

Look at this. LOOK AT THIS! I hadn’t heard of Dean Kotz before this image (sadly not of a real book) leaked onto the web, but I’ll be following him now. Check out his printed work in Poe and Outlaw Territory.

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Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup VIII: I Am the Terror That Flaps in the Night

1. Darkwing Duck #1 written by Ian Brill with art from James Silvani

In the year 1993, I won a Darkwing Duck trivia contest at my local Blockbuster. The prize: a television. That never made sense to me as obviously I had a TV if I knew so much about Darkwing. Regardless. DW is a touchstone for most kids born in the eighties and the wonderful BOOM! Studios (the folks behind Irredeemable), have brought Drake Mallard back as an ongoing comic. You want to know the best part? Like a Pixar film, the book’s aimed at children and adults alike. The first arc is titled “The Duck Knight Returns”, a play off the Frank Miller classic, and begins with a retired Darkwing working a soul crushing office job in a cubicle he shares with Mega Volt. It’s depressing. It’s awesome. It’s a comic book with Launchpad McQuack. If I haven’t yet convinced you to buy this, then please stop reading this website. You and I have nothing left to say to each other.

2. Soccer Comics written and drawn by Steve Gillies

Not only is Steve one of my fellow graduate students, but he also works with me. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve ended up in long, drawn out conversations about comic books that end up making everybody else leave the room (once, famously, he used props to explain Dr. Who’s Tardis to my then girlfriend. She broke up with me seven minutes later). So it delights me to see that Steve is working on his own webcomic. Check it out. It’s about soccer, and people like that now because of the World Cup and the US finally being declared a better country than Algeria. It was a long campaign, guys, but we did it.

3. Amazing Spider-Man #634 written by Joe Kelly with art from Michael Lark

Most people know that my obsession with Spider-Man borders on the insane. I followed him weekly for years during the 90’s and have to say Spider-Man’s better than ever. Aimed 100% at adults, the new thrice-weekly Spidey’s been spectacular ever since it launched in January 2008. But issue #634 marks the beginning of a new six-part storyline, “The Grim Hunt”, in which the Kraven family attempts to resurrect their fallen patriarch. You know who else is there? Kaine. The evil Spider-clone (seen above) from 1993. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN! But seriously, if you have even a passing interest in Spidey, this is the story to read. It’s a landmark arc on the title and the culmination of a project that managed to successfully revamp most of Spidey’s villains (Vulture, you still suck).  And that Michael Lark art? Superb!

4. Gorilla Man #1 written by Jeff Parker with art from Giancarlo Caracuzzo

Hi. Do you see the above image? Ok. I don’t have to sell  you on buying this one. Just look at it.

Let’s move on.

5. Jurassic Park Redemption #1 written by Bob Schreck with art from Nate Van Dyke

Remember Jurassic Park? It’s back! In comics form! Usually, licensed comics are terrible, so I might be careful about picking this one up, but the buzz is good. It follows the two kids from the first movie about ten years later which is a nice connection and nod to the original film. Plus, Frank Miller’s doing covers. That’s pretty impressive comic lineage for a licensed book and proof that the fine folks at IDW are really getting behind this one. Definitely worth picking up the first issue.

Bi-Weekly Comics Friday Roundup VII: Obama, Spawn and Harry Potter Together At Last!!!

I’ve hit a bit of a buying comics lull. During the busiest of weeks, my pull list occasionally balloons into the low twenties (I know; I’m a huge dork). But ever since The Heroic Age started at Marvel, I’ve found myself picking up three books at most, occasionally four. This has less to do with the quality of the comics and more to do with Marvel reshuffling their line and staggering their big releases. I’m still reading a bunch of indie and DC/Vertigo titles, but Marvel definitely makes up the lion’s share of my pull list, and I was definitely reading the majority of their Dark Reign/Siege offerings. In terms of trades, I’m making my way through Daredevil: Born Again. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Man Without Fear, but Frank Miller is making me a believer.

All right, enough procrastination. Let’s talk some comics.

1. Guardians of the Globe #1 written by Robert Kirkman with art from Benito Cereno

I know almost nothing about the Guardians of the Globe. They’re a superhero team in the Invincible Universe created by Robert Kirkman, one of my favorite writers and the scribe behind my beloved Walking Dead. Normally, I wouldn’t check out this book because I do eventually plan on reading Invincible from the beginning. But this stunt is enough to pique my interest. A few months back, Image teased the team lineup including Barack Obama, Spawn, Rick Grimes (the black-and-white protagonist of Walking Dead), and a Harry Potter knock off. Eventually, Image admitted it was all a prank, but now Chris Giarrusso of G-MAN fame is writing a back-up feature in Guardians about the fake team. I’m sold. Barack and Spawn!? Fake Harry Potter!? RICK MOTHERFUCKING GRIMES!!?? This is going to eat my face.

2. Avengers #2 written by Brian Michael Bendis with art from John Romita Jr.

Look at that cover. No, really, LOOK AT THAT COVER! Are you kidding me? Really? It’s so awesome I can barely even focus right now. Look at those evil clowns in the bunny suits! How about the gnomes holding hands with the walking eyeballs!? As for the comic, well, I’m a huge Bendis devotee and John Romita Jr is the closest thing the American comic industry has to royalty. I didn’t fall head over heels in love with the first issue of the new series–I thought Secret Avengers #1 one-upped it–but I’m willing to give the time traveling Kang story another whirl for a cover this gloriously strange.

3. Irredeemable #14 written by Mark Waid with art from Diego Barreto

I’ve sung the praises of Irredeemable many times on this blog. I love Mark Waid, and I love his tale of a Superman analogue who has had enough of petty human demands and goes insane, murdering the Justice League and blowing up entire countries. But what I really love is this cover. It says it all, doesn’t it? You take one look at this cover and you know what you’re in store for. God bless you, Mark Waid. And please, if you haven’t read Irredeemable, do yourself a favor and pick up the first trade. It’s only ten bucks!

4. Thor and the Warriors Four #3 written by Alex Zalben with art from Gurihiru

Alez Zalben is hilarious. His comic book review show, appropriately titled Comic Book Club, is awesome and the CBC live show in New York is legendary (I’m dying to see it in person). I wouldn’t have picked this up if it wasn’t for Zalben, but I’m glad I did. He brings his trademark humor to the Thor/Power Pack franchises, and if you’re a bit tired of the doom and gloom of the more mainstream superhero books, Thor and the Warriors Four is the way to go. Let me just put this out there: Baby Beta Ray Bill. Ok. Is that sinking in yet? Go buy this book. And Marvel, please put Zalben on some kind of Short Halloween-esque Spider-Man one-shot.

5. Sweet Tooth #10 written and drawn by Jeff Lemire

I’ve gone back to the well a few times this week, but I just couldn’t resist highlighting Sweet Tooth once again based on this two-page spread. If it looks wonky on your display, I apologize. Just know that Sweet Tooth #10 is one of the trippiest comics I’ve read in forever. The second arc in Jeff Lemire’s opus hasn’t been quite as strong as the first, but the standout moments are so great that they demand readers stick with the series. Again, the first trade is only ten bucks. So if you’re one of those people who complains about not wanting to jump on Spider-Man because it’s in the 600th issue, shut up and go buy Sweet Tooth. You can catch up to ten.

Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup VI: Fozzie Bear Has a Fucked Up Mustache

DC and Marvel have recently relaunched their lines into all new, all different positive directions (Brightest Day and The Heroic Age respectively). What this means is that much of the continuity baggage that’s been lugged around since Identity Crisis and House of M is being momentarily shifted to the side to focus on slightly more reader accessible tales (more so in Marvel’s case than DC). So now is definitely the time to jump on board if you’re curious about superhero comics but feel uncomfortable about diving into part 365 of a never ending storyline.

1. Green Lantern #54 written by Geoff Johns with art from Doug Mahnke

Dex-Starr was once an ordinary space kitten. Then one day, he was summoned into the Red Lantern Corps due to the unusual amount of rage in his heart. Now he lives on Earth with a giant Red Lantern ogre and murders gang members in the underground subway systems of New York City. His powers include acidic blood, super strength, and flight. Notice how he wears his Red Lantern power ring on his tail. You should now be convinced to start buying Green Lantern.

2. Muppet Sherlock Holmes by Unknown

I couldn’t really find any information on this project. The wonderful BOOM Studios just announced it, but they’ve yet to discuss the launch date or the writer or artist on board. I couldn’t care less. Look at Fozzie’s mustache! Where’s that thing growing from? Out of his fur? I’ll be picking this up for sure, and the only mystery I care about is the Case of the Bizarre Facial Hair.

3. Secret Avengers # 1 written by Ed Brubaker with art from Mike Deodato

There’s been a lot of hooplah about the relaunch of the various Avengers titles, and the one that’s got me the most excited is Secret Avengers by the superstar dream team of Brubaker and Deodato. Brubaker is known for his classic, gritty books like Captain America and Criminal, and Deodato’s page layouts in Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts and Bendis’ Dark Avengers have been phenomenal. Pairing the two is a stroke of genius and any team lineup that includes War Machine, Beast, and my favorite Marvel character created this decade (Robert Kirkman’s Irredeemable Ant-Man) is an obvious must read.

4. Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965 written and drawn by Joe Kubert

Dong Xoai is the spiritual successor to Yossel, Joe Kubert’s ambitious reimagining of a WWII-era Jewish ghetto uprising. What links the two together is the art style. Kubert, an industry pro still working well into his 80’s, eschews colors and inks and draws these books in a sketchy, chaotic way aimed at reflecting the madness of war. Dong Xoai is his latest to be drawn in this style and focuses on American advisers during the early days of the Vietnam conflict before the fighting intensified into a full blown war.

5. Deadpool #23 written by Daniel Way with art from Paco Medina

Deadpool is the meta superhero for the 21st century. He’s the only character in the Marvel Universe who knows he exists in a comic book and will frequtnly break the fourth wall to address the reader. Recently, when he ran into Spider-Man, he ended the meeting by telling ol’ webhead that he’d see him later that month in Amazing Spider-Man #613. Daniel Way’s Deadpool is an absolute delight. It’s filled with ridiculous violence that tops any Warner Brothers cartoon and jokes that are actually funny. #23 is the start of a new arc and a perfect jumping on point about Deadpool piloting a robot in Las Vegas and fighting villains attempting to rob casinos. Check it out.

Bi-Weekly Friday Art Roundup

I’m going to momentarily pull myself away from the glory that is March Madness to introduce a new feature I’m working on (in my best Dicky V. impersonation: It’s going to the best, baby!). Bi-Weekly Friday Art Roundup is an opportunity to showcase some of my favorite artists working in the comic industry, as well as hyping The Black List with some unused art and promotional covers. And who better to kick off the inaugural feature than Rafael Albuquerque?

Vertigo released American Vampire #1 this past Wednesday with art by Rafael Albuquerque and scripts from prose writers Scott Snyder and Stephen King. This book’s getting a ton of buzz and for good reason. Although Dark Tower and The Stand have both been adapted into comics by Marvel, this is the first time King’s actually handled scripting chores himself on a comic book. And Scott Snyder’s no slouch either, having written a very well-received short story collection, Voodoo Heart, and an issue of The Torch for Marvel. But Albuquerque’s pencils come close to stealing the show. With settings including the Old West and 1920’s Hollywood, Albuquerque really has a chance to shine here. He’s a master of body language, facial expressions and wonderfully lived-in settings. This is a book to watch.

Mitch Geralds is an artist I hadn’t heard of, but I discovered his work over on Mark Millar’s forums. He’s self-publishing his book Johnny Recon, and from the looks of the art, it’s definitely something I’d be interested in checking out. Geralds seems to be relatively undiscovered so if there’s any comic writers out there looking for a collaborator, consider getting in touch with him.

What kind of promoter would I be if I didn’t take this opportunity to once again show off the artwork of Lamair Nash, one of my collaborators on The Black List forthcoming from Arcana Comics? This guy is a superstar in the making, and I know that both Mark (my co-writer) and I feel incredibly lucky that we found him before he broke into the industry. This is a unused cover from The Black List featuring an early design of Richard Nixon, one of our main characters and heroes. The final Tricky Dick design is slightly different, however (Our Nixon is slightly younger and more buff) so we won’t be able to go use this beautiful cover.

I apologize in advance for how srunched together the art appears, but Night Owls by the Timony Twins is a must read. Published by DC’s webcomic imprint Zuda, the art of Night Owls is remarkable due to its old timey feel and classic/wacky character designs. The juxtaposition of Ernest Baxter and Roscoe the Gargoyle is hilarious and gets a chuckle pretty much on every page. I also love how the art team chose to stick with the traditional grid layout of panels. It really makes the webcomic feel like something transported out of an earlier decade regardless of bizarre subject matter.

Also: it’s free!

If you’re not reading Irredeemable, you ain’t shit. This book is one of the best indies out there and reaffirms why Mark Waid is one of the most talented comic scribes in the biz. The artist, Peter Krause, is also doing phenomenal work, but the cover above was actually done by Paul Azaceta and Dan Panosian. I haven’t heard of either of them, but I’ll definitely be looking for their work in the future after this eye-catching, yet sparse, cover for the final issue of Irredeemable‘s first year.