Salvatore Pane

Tag: Jaime Castro

Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup V: In Which Spider-Man and Wolverine Go Back In Time to Fight the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs

A lot of big name comics have come out in the last few weeks including the end of Siege (the conclusion to Marvel’s seven years in the making event run dating back to House of M) and Brightest Day (DC’s fourth attempt at a (practically) weekly series). I loved Brightest Day #0 and 1 but found myself more drawn to the kookier books which most likely speaks to my tastes as a comic book reader. So, without any further adieu, let’s talk some comics.

1. The Nightly News written and drawn by Jonathan Hickman

I bought The Nightly News completely on a whim for ten bucks. I was at the Free Comic Book Day Event in Scranton where Comics on the Green, the best comic store in NEPA, had a sale on graphic novels. I love Hickman’s work on SHIELD and Secret Warriors, so I figured I’d take a look at some of his indie credits. The Nightly News is the first book I’ve seen from Hickman that he actually drew, and holy crap was I blown away. His complete disregard for the traditional grid layout and reliance on graphic design makes Nightly News something that needs to be seen to be believed. The book just exudes cool, and it’s really smart too. It even includes a reading list in the back with entries from Noam Chomsky and Dan Kennedy. Definitely worth a pick-up, especially if you think comics ends and begins with Clark Kent.

2. Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #1 written by Jason Aaron with art from Adam Kubert

This is the type of book that makes me keep reading superhero comics, a book so goofy, so downright ridiculous that it can only exist in comic book form and still be played straight without irony. The very first page of Astonishing opens on Peter Parker and Wolverine who have been trapped in the prehistoric ages for months. Wolverine commands an army of missing links; Spidey studies bugs in solitude. Then the asteroid that wipes out the dinosaurs shows up in the sky. What are Spider-Man and Wolverine going to do about it? I have no idea, but I guarantee I’ll be sticking with this limited series.

3. The Walking Dead #71 written by Robert Kirkman with art from Charlie Adlard

For those of you unaware, The Walking Dead is the most consistently great indie book on the stands. No matter what the state of superhero comics, I can always depend on any given month’s issue of Walking Dead to deliver. #71 is no different. Rick and his gang of post-apocalyptic survivors have stumbled onto an unspoiled gated development outside of DC run by a bunch of upper-class yuppies pretending the zombie infestation isn’t really happening. As always, the true creepiness in the book comes from the human characters. Issue 71 doesn’t even feature a single zombie. Instead, we witness the growth of Carl, Rick’s young son pictured in the cover, and how he is completely unable to relate to children after everything he’s been through (seeing firsthand his mother and newborn sister getting blown away by a shotgun, strangling a young child to death, almost being raped, etc. etc.). This is one of the darkest comics I’ve ever read, and any fan of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road absolutely must check it out from the very beginning.

4. The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 written by Grant Morrison with art from Chris Sprouse

This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned a comic before reading it, but the build-up to this series has been so good that I couldn’t resist. Two years ago, the DC mega-crossover Final Crisis ended with Bruce Wayne deposited in prehistoric times to live with cavemen and dinosaurs (hmm… this is turning into a running theme). Since then, we’ve been treated to amazing stories where Dick Grayson, the original Robin, has had to fill in as Batman. But now, we’re finally going to see what brings Bats back to the DC Universe proper. And since it’s Grant Morrison doing writing chores, I would safely assume that this book is going to be all kinds of crazy. A definite pick-up to be sure.

5. Unpublished artist Jaime Castro

This is the final character sketch I’ll post from collaborator Jaime Castro, but hot damn, this is my favorite piece of concept art I’ve ever received from an artist I’m working with.  Jaime knocked this drawing of Dr. Boston out of the park, and Mark Kleman (my co-writer) and I, cannot wait to get the full comic back from Montgomery X. Chesterfield, Gentleman of the 22nd Century. More details to come.

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Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup IV: Archie Meets the Punisher

I’ve decided to change this feature around a bit, as I’ve realized I don’t have the vocabulary necessary to talk about visual art in new and compelling ways every two weeks.  But I can talk about words, and I can talk about writers, so instead of “Bi-Weekly Friday Art Roundup”, I now christen this segment “Bi-Weekly Friday Comics Roundup”. Let us begin!

1. Umbrella Academy vol. 1 Apocalypse Suite written by Gerard Way with art from Gabriel Ba

I talked about this while discussing reading material on the way to AWP, but it’s so outstanding that it has to be mentioned again. A month or so back I did a top ten list of comics best suited for the literary inclined. This should be on there. Dense, madcap, and framed in the straight-on wide angle style of Wes Anderson, Way and Ba give us a twisted mashup of The Royal Tenenbaums and the X-Men. The best recommendation I can give for this book is that one of my friends–a woman who is certainly not a regular comic reader by any means–devoured this collection in its entirety on the plane.  An absolute must buy.

2. Punisher #16 written by Rick Remender with art from Tony Moore

The Punisher hasn’t been a character I’ve cared about since I was a kid. Sure, a younger, more vulnerable Sal enjoyed Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe and Archie Meets the Punisher, but I’ve found that I just don’t connect with his grim and gritty tales in the way I did when I listened to Slipknot and Korn. This changed with Remender and Moore’s latest arc on the title, “Frankencastle”, in which the Punisher is brutally murdered and resurrected as a Frankenstein-esque monster that has to defend an underground city of sentient beasts. Ok. Go back and reread that last sentence. How are you not reading this?

3. X-Force #26 written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost with art from Mike Choi

Like the Punisher, I haven’t really enjoyed X-Men since Chris Claremont and Jim Lee relaunched the title. I was about 8 years old. But the latest X-Crossover, “Second Coming”, has returned the title back to form. The macro-story involves the return of a mutant savior from the future with Rob Liefeld creation Cable. But on the micro-level, “Second Coming” is a popcorn action story about faith, humanity, and whether or not the ends justify the means. If you’re curious about the current state of the X-Men, start with the “Second Coming” one-shot. If not, try Joss Whedon’s Astonishing.

4. Artist Shintaro Kago

Scott McCloud (have you guys read Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics? If not, run out to the local comic shop and purchase them both immediately) recently blogged about an awesome manga artist who hasn’t been published much in America. His name is Shintaro Kago, and while some of his art is NSFW, it’s very clear that the way he totally breaks the conventions of the comic page makes him an absolute master. I haven’t seen much from this guy, but this page alone makes me want to track down those anthologies McCloud mentioned.

Bi-Weekly Friday Art Roundup III: Galactus, Hamlet, Tony Stark

Bi-Weekly Friday Art Roundup is a feature I’m using to promote some unsung talents in the comic world. Each installment will look at five different books with artists working at varying levels of the industry, be it the indies, unpublished work, or even superhero fare for the Big Two. And of course, there’s always my covert goal of hyping my own comic book projects. So with the introduction out of the way, let’s get started.

1. Unpublished Artist Jaime Castro

With the script for The Black List graphic novel completed, co-writer Mark Kleman and I had to find a new artist to collaborate with while Lamair Nash finished his pages. For those of you who don’t know, graphic novel publishing is much different than literary fiction and more in line with creative nonfiction. We pitched to Arcana with a 22 page sample. They accepted. Now they want 110 pages. That’s going to take Lamair a long time.

In the meantime, we discovered Jaime Castro on the Millarworld forums (seriously, that place is a treasure trove of talented artists looking for writers).  We checked out his DeviantArt profile, and this is the page that made me fall in love. Besides the fact that Jaime’s art involves a superhero team fighting Nazis (awesome, right?), he also draws a dinosaur capable of reading. Look at him! Isn’t that just the perfect dinosaur? And he gets so excited about what he’s reading that he has to show it to his friend. What’s going on in his dino-brain? I definitely want to know. And when Mark and I saw this we knew Jamie would be perfect for our upcoming short, Montgomery X. Chesterfield, Gentleman of the 22nd Century.

2. Kill Shakespeare #1 written by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col with art from Andy Belanger

I don’t know Andy Belanger, but I’ll definitely remember the name after Kill Shakespeare #1. For those unaware of the concept, Kill Shakespeare is mash-up set halfway through the events of Hamlet when the titular character is returning home to confront his uncle. He meets the Three Witches from Macbeth and teams up with Richard III. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, check out the art by Belanger. It invokes the king and queen time period without devolving into Holy Grail camp, which is a serious concern in a property as insane as this one.  Like my list from a month or so back, this is a good one to get non-comic readers interested in the medium.

3. SHIELD #1 written by Jonathan Hickman with art from Dustin Weaver

Click on the above image to view it in full resolution; it’s the only way to do it justice. Again, I’ve never heard of Dustin Weaver, but where has he been all my life? Jonathan Hickman is one of my favorite Marvel writers. He takes this universe seriously, and that’s painfully obvious from this debut issue in which Leonardo da Vinci stands revealed as a member of SHIELD, the peace keeping force in the Marvel U.  Weaver is asked to draw a ridiculous amount of meta-insanity, and he does so with considerable skill. Just look at the above example of Galileo battling Galactus the World Eater in 1582 Rome! How can you not buy this book!?

4. The Black List written by Salvatore Pane and Mark Kleman with art from Lamair Nash

This is the super top-secret, NEVER BEFORE REVEALED, unfinished first page of The Black List graphic novel! It’s not a deleted pitch page or cover, like the other stuff I’ve uploaded. This is the real deal, just waiting to be inked, lettered and collected into the final volume. We just received this from Lamair Nash a few days ago, and it’s really hard to describe the amazing experience of dreaming up a scene in your head and then having a talented artist render it on the page. Also, holy crap, has Nash improved or what? I always thought the man had chops, but this is outstanding. I cannot wait to see the finished project.

5. Iron Man: Noir #1 written by Scott Snyder with art from Manuel Garcia

Longtime readers know that I am a Scott Snyder disciple. I blogged about American Vampire before it was the indie darling it’s become, and I am a big fan of his excellent prose short story collection, Voodoo Heart.  That being said, I love his take on Iron Man in a noir setting. Marvel’s Noir line reimagines their major characters as gritty 1930’s analogues more at home in The Maltese Falcon than Batman and Robin. Most of these titles have been hit or miss, but Snyder’s take has earned rave reviews so far. And Manuel Garcia is turning in career defining work here, people. I couldn’t find a decent picture of his noir-inspired take on Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor, but it really has to be seen to be believed. If you’re excited about the upcoming film, pick this up as an alternative universe primer on the one-and-only Tony Stark.