Posted tagged ‘Image’

Godland: Far Beyond the Bang

April 29, 2010

Joe Casey and Tom Scioli start moving towards a conclusion in the latest volume of their Jack Kirby homage, Godland.  

It’s a fantastic book, but this one hardly makes for a useful starting point.  Casey tries, but the story so far recap is so long and in such a small font that I dare anyone to read it without going cross-eyed by the end.  But if you’ve been with the book all along this book is pretty damn rewarding.  

Friedrich Nickelhead and his army of super-villains decimiate the US congress and start the beginings of mainstreaming their villain-culture ideas.  Adam Archer tracks down his missing sister on the other side of the universe and gets caught in a cosmic conflict with a godlike nihilist.  And then nuclear winter begins to set in on Earth.  

Casey doesn’t quite manage to juggle it all properly, but then Kirby never did either in his prime, and this book in particular feels like it came straight out of the King’s Fourth World.  Granted that’s partly because of a fairly blatant New Gods reference, but still.  Which pretty much makes it a foregone conclusion that I would love this book, but I can see others not being so taken with it.

Review: Power Up

June 8, 2009

I just realized that this is the first Doug Tennapel book in about a year.  The year before he realeased three (granted one of them was older material).  I’ve missed him.

So, Power Up is a fairly straight forward gimmick story.  Hugh is a wannabe game designer working at a copy shop while putting the finishing touches on his first proposal (Earthdog Jim in a nice semi-autobiographical touch).  One day he comes across a magical video game console that grants him various video game power ups that he can use in his daily life.  Throughout the story he gets extra lives, shields, invisibility, and lots of gold coins; causing much trouble to ensue.

As is the case with many of Tennapel’s books, this is a morality play.  Also as is the case with all of of his books, it’s very good.  He has one of the most unique styles in all of comics, both in his art and his writing.  He probably has the heaviest line of any artist working today, while in neat oposition having some of the sparsist dialogue of any writer.

Power Up is another great example of one of the greats at work.

So Much for Professionalism

February 12, 2009

So the poster from two days ago is now being sent out to both of the local high schools, and I am forever more doomed to be known as that guy with the cat ears.  What did I get myself in to? 🙂

Review: Godland: Amplified Now!

January 3, 2009

Joe Casey and Tom Scioli’s Jack Kirby on amphetamines epic continues in the latest volume of Godland.  And this is the craziest collection yet.  Las Vegas is victimized as part of a phallic plot to destroy the Earth, butler turned super-villain Freidrich Nickelhead opens a a hotel on the Sunset Strip, and Adam Archer’s estranged sister returns to Earth and accidentally upsets reality.  Oh and then there are the half-gorilla prostitutes.

Casey’s always had an amazing imagination, but here is where it’s really on full display.  This is one of the best things he’s done, and there’s still more to come.

Keeping Current with Comics

August 30, 2008

Yesterday I tried to remove whatever collection development credentials people thought I had.  But I did say that the one area of particular expertise I might actually possess is in comics.  So I figured I’d take a shot and do a batch of brief write ups on current comics libraries should be aware of.

Secret Invasion: For the past decade at least the Summer has been the time for large scale comics events and crossovers.  Actually for the past few years the events have all kind of blended together to the extent that some fans are complaining of event overload.  Secret Invasion is Marvel’s entry this year, and it concerns an alien invasion of shape shifters who have been posing undetected as some of Marvel’s most well known characters (in some cases for quite some time).  The book has received decent reviews overall and I’ve been enjoying it, but there are accessibility issues for those who haven’t been following the last few years worth of Marvel stories.  In the end it will probably prove more significant for the effect it has on the Marvel line to come than for the story itself.

Final Crisis: Final Crisis is DC’s answer to Secret Invasion.  It’s being marketed as the day evil won.  The writer on this one is Grant Morrison, a personal favorite but someone who’s more eccentric writing tendencies don’t always lead to clearly told stories.  Final Crisis has also suffered from poor editorial control (the story did not match up with many of the details from the books that led into it, including the death of a major character).  Again I fear it’s going to become essential reading because of its effects (notably the return of the Silver-Age Flash, Barry Allen) and not because of its own merits.

Final Crisis: the Legion of Three Worlds: The Legion of Three Worlds is a pseudo-spin-off of Final Crisis (because the worlds Final Crisis are in the title), and so far it’s shaping up to be far superior to its parent book.  The story, crafted by the workhorse Geoff Johns and drawn by George Perez at the top of his game, is an attempt to redefine the Legion of Superheroes, one of DC’s best loved but most muddled books.  Early reviews have uniformly praised the book and it is becoming a series I am greatly looking forward to the ending of.

Green Lantern: Another Geoff Johns book.  Johns relaunched Green Lantern a number of years ago now, bringing back classic ring bearer Hal Jordan and focusing on crafting a true mythology for the character.  Having succeeded at his initial goals he has worked to steadily up the ante on the action in the story.  Last year he gave us the Sinestro Corps War, in which a Universe wide battle broke out involving most of the villains from the biggest events in DC history.  Since that time he’s been steadily building to The Blackest Night, a story which probably has more buzz going for it than anything in comics at the moment (including the 2 current events).  Keep an eye out for it.

Batman: RIP: In a similar bit of character redefinition, Grant Morrison has been steadily working on a deconstructionist take on Batman for awhile now.  His run has met with mixed reviews so far, albeit with a few standouts to date (the League of Heroes collaboration with J.H. Williams was one of my favorite comics last year).  But the culmination of his approach to the character is in the current story arch, in which Bruce Wayne suffers a massive psychological break and all of the events that led to the creation of the Batman are thoroughly reexamined.  It’s been a riveting story and it seems pretty certain that the Batman coming out of it will be different than the one that went in to it.

The Punisher: Garth Ennis has just wrapped up what has been by far the best take on the Punisher in the character’s history.  Make no mistakes this is an adult comic, in which the Punisher is portrayed as a near mythical force of nature.  It it grim, it is tightly plotted, the art is gorgeous, and it left me never wanting to read another Punisher comic because everything else can’t help but come across as a disappointment after this.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8: Exactly what it sounds like.  Joss Whedon has reassembled a large portion of his writing staff from the classic show along with a number of comics writers with tv writing experience and has crafting a follow up season.  And it’s really good.  If you were a fan of the show or know someone who was make sure to pick up this book as it has lost none of what made the Buffy great to begin with.

The Umbrella Academy: Easily the most enjoyable comic last year.  My Chemical Romance’s front man Gerard Way has crafted an entirely original take on superhero comics (or is that dysfunctional family stories).  The art from Gabriel Ba is perfectly suited to the material (I don’t know of anyone else who could nail something like a robot zombie Gustave Eifle with such wild abandon).  The sequel launches next year.

Criminal: Criminal is a show case for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to tell the sort of crime stories they love.  Besides the story each issue (which have consistently been the most well crafted comic of each month) the comics contain a wealth of interviews, reviews, and letter columns concerning the history of the crime genre.  The book is nearly as good as a reference resource as it is for the stories.

Collections: The last few years have been a great time for collected editions.  Bookstores and libraries have opened up to nicely bound editions and the major publishers have been doing a great job of dusting off their back catalogs.  A few archival projects are of particular note.  DC has been republishing some great hardcover editions of James Robinson’s Starman, Grant Morrison’s JLA, and everything Jack Kirby did for them in the 70’s (The Fourth World Omnibus’ have a place of honor on my bookshelves).  Some other recent highlight are Image’s collections of Mike Allred’s Madman, Oni’s new editions of Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country, and another personal favorite, Marvel’s recently released omnibus edition of Howard the Duck (which really is an essential read, albeit a pricey one).

Review: Scud the Disposable Assassin

August 10, 2008

Writing partners Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon have an incredible resume for a couple of guys who elicit absolutly no name recognition with anyone.  However, their collaborations are pretty well known.  They gained attention early on with the now classic D&D based short, “Summoner Geeks”:

Next the worked with Ben Stiller, Owen WIlson and Jack Black on the best tv pilot to never be picked up for a series, “Heat Vision and Jack”:

More recently the two have scripted the film Monster House, and are co-creators of the Sarah Silverman Program (on which Scrab also plays the role of “Mini” Coffee).

And along the way the two also created a 24 issue comic that Image has finally collected in Scud the Disposable Assassin: the Whole Shebang.  The story is about a robotic assassin purchased from a vending machine who is programed to self-destruct upon completing his assignment (killing a part squid, part whatever junk was lying around at the time, horsewoman of the apocalypse named Jeff).  However, Scud quickly decides that he doesn’t want to blow up so he is forced to keep finding ways to incapacitate Jeff instead.  Whenever Jeff is out of the way he goes off on his own adventures with his companion Drywall (an incredibly emmotive interdimensional filing system inside a zipper covered sack) and encounters mobsters, time traveling horses, Voodoo Ben Franklin, the head of Jane Mansfield and God.

The book is alot of fun and really showcases an imagination run wild.  About the only fault with it is that the art occasionally a little hard to follow.  Although the reason for that is primarily because of the frantic sort of energy displayed on each page so I can’t really put it down that much.  And the design work on many of the creatures is brilliant.  There’s not a single image of Drywall in the entire book that doesn’t ellicit a smile from me.  It’s just a shame that with their television and film careers this is probably the only comic work we’ll be seeing from Schrab and Harmon.