Tag Archives: comics

Review: MERCY: SHAKE THE WORLD

Mercy-Shake-The-World-Dover-2015

A man of means, with everything to live for, finds himself in a coma. At 54, he’s had a stroke that has left him in limbo. He floats along, out of his body, amused and perplexed by all the fuss still being made over him in hospital. While in limbo, he becomes ever more familiar with an entity of great power. He observes. He gives it a sex and a name, Mercy. He concludes that Mercy is fully self-contained and yet she repeatedly ventures back down to Earth to help. It’s totally altruistic. But why do it?

Written by J.M. DeMatteis, and artwork by Paul Johnson, “Mercy: Shake the World” is the sort of graphic novel that Will Eisner would have appreciated. As was his understanding, since life really begins after 50, many a graphic novel will be created with a more mature and worldly reader in mind. This is just that kind of work. “Mercy” is unafraid to let it all hang out when it comes to asking the big questions and not caring so much for the answers. It’s like we’re somehow past that, so beyond just seeking wisdom here.

Our main character is totally free to see as much of the big picture as he chooses. He doesn’t gorge himself on insight. He’s along for the ride, has all the time in the world. Enlightenment is inevitable. So, he takes it slow and easy. He’ll take Mercy any way it comes.

This is a beautifully rendered work. Johnson’s artwork is in touch with the ethereal just as much as DeMatteis’s script. Nothingness. Emptiness. You can go anywhere from there. From nothing to everything. Graphic novels are a perfect venue with which to ponder and expound upon the metaphysical. And here you have a fine example of just that. Our Everyman, with one foot in our world and the other in the netherworld, is neither hero nor villain. He’s just trying, before too long, to find out what all the fuss is about.

“Mercy: Shake the World,” a 128-page trade paperback in full color, with extras, is published by Dover Publications, and available as of June 17, 2015. Visit our friends at Dover Publications right here. And you can also find “Mercy: Shake the World” at Amazon right here.

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Filed under Comics, Dover Publications, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Will Eisner

Review: HARROW COUNTY #1

Harrow-County-Cullen-Bunn

You need to check out the video that shows you how a page from this comic is created. Tyler Crook is one of the best in the business. You’ll know him from his work on “B.P.R.D.,” a flagship comic from Dark Horse Comics. Now, he does Dark Horse proud with “Harrow County.” This one is a doozy, written by Cullen Bunn, the creator of the smash hit comics series, “The Sixth Gun.”

“Harrow County” is a southern gothic fairy tale. On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Emmy learns that she is somehow connected to the monster-infested woods she has lived nearby all her life. Wow. What more could you ask for, right?

It all began as an uneasy understanding amongst the townspeople to coexist with the witch, Hester Beck. But, once Hester had the town’s children involved in her rites, the tolerance gave way. And, once the rumors piled up about Hester engaged in unnatural acts with hideous creatures in the woods, there was nothing left to do. Kill the witch, that was the solution. And as the fire ate away at her flesh, the witch warned the townspeople that she would return.

Harrow-County-Tyler-Crook

Many years later, cut to Emmy, a young woman haunted by her surroundings. She knows that something’s wrong about Harrow County, just not sure exactly what. The woods. She’ll find the answers in the woods.

This first issue will definitely win you over. Bunn and Crook have mastered the art of the spooky. This thing has taken off. Enjoy. The gap between the inner world and the outer world is paper thin. That sensation of exposing our inner world to the outside, resulting in horror, is what French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan called “glissage.” Harrow County has seen plenty of this. And Emmy is now sure they haven’t seen the last of it. She’s dead sure of it.

“Harrow County #1″ is 32 pages, priced at $3.99, available as of May 13. For more details, visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics, Horror

Review: FERTILITY, published by Centrala

FERTILITY by Gosia Herba and Mikołaj Pasiński

FERTILITY by Gosia Herba and Mikołaj Pasiński

“Fertility” is a beautiful and strange graphic novel by Gosia Herba and Mikołaj Pasiński. The artwork is by Herba and, together, Herba and Pasiński create various work. This book is brought to you by Centrala, publishers of marvelous works from Central Europe.

Fertility-Gosia-Herba-Centrala

Think of one of the darkest tales of folklore you’ve read and then read this. “Fertility” works on a highly uninhibited level. It’s brought to life by Herba’s bold drawing style and held together by a relentless pace. The subdued blue hues running throughout kiss the work with dark grace. Rabbits are being tortured as they fall into endless traps set by the young village women. But the women don’t notice this. They are too caught up in their fertility rites. They know rabbits are synonymous with fertility. And, they believe, that eating their entrails with lead to them birthing baby boys.

Once we’ve witnessed the rabbits’ terror, it’s time to reverse the roles. If the women were callous, the rabbits are beyond heartless. It’s pretty rough stuff but it’s all rendered with poetic fervor. Each panel ratchets up the tension. The rabbits, once in bug-eyed fear, are now the masters. The young women desired fertility, but the rabbits tear that dream to shreds and then some. Herba is completely in touch with sexuality, the macabre, and very dark humor. This content is for mature readers, 18 and up. It’s a powerful work and one you won’t forget.

“Fertility” is a 36-page hardcover published by Centrala. For some of the most unique works in comics, visit our friends at Centrala right here.

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Filed under Centrala, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Horror

Superheroes Summoned to Sell West Los Angeles House

Photo Cred - Pablo Ortega

Photo Cred – Pablo Ortega

If you’re a serious comics collector, have you ever felt the urge to pin up some of your collection to a prominent wall in your home? You know, just so you can enjoy the spectacle? Well, that is exactly what a real estate agent and a production designer did when they set out to create a show stopping wall to enhance a property for sale. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and in the market for a beautiful home in Silicon Beach, then this is especially for you. The home was listed on May 11.

The following press release is enlightening inasmuch as it’s an interesting example of how comics are valued in our society. The memories, the power of myth, it’s all priceless. HGTV’s Matthew Finlason tore into his own personal $10,000 collection of comic books to make this altar to comics happen.

Press release follows:

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Review: TUFF LADIES, published by Centrala

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Tuff Ladies by Till Lukat

What does Belle Starr, Rosa Parks, and Ma Barker have in common? In “Tuff Ladies,” a new work in comics by Till Lukat, they are part of his kaleidoscopic tour of women in history. This is a most unusual book and quite a page-turner. Lukat has assembled 24 portraits of significant women. He calls his choices “remarkable” but, perhaps “colorful” is a better catch-all word. Or maybe “provocative.” It’s a fascinating collection.

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Profile on Ann Boney, Pirate Queen

There is certainly a subversive sensibility at play here. It’s not so much that Lukat is glorifying each and every woman he’s profiled. It’s more like he’s presenting each figure as a compelling character from fiction. Each woman here is depicted in Lukat’s energetic woodcut-like style. Each profile has its own crazy urgency: a bold portrait followed by a brief comic strip and topped off with some brief text.

The most controversial inclusion is Ulrike Meinhof of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, a left-wing terrorist group that committed several murders, kidnappings, bank robberies, and bomb attacks. The overall theme is that all these women made a huge impact. Not all of them are well-known. In fact, Lukat pretty much avoids obvious choices. One of the more poignant ones is for Miep Gies. Thanks to her, the Diary of Anne Frank was kept safe from the Nazis to go on to be known throughout the world.

This book is a treat. It’s a perfect gateway for further exploration. It’s odd, artful, and most refreshing.

“Tuff Ladies” is a 64-page hardcover published by Centrala. For some of the most unique works in comics, visit our friends at Centrala right here.

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Filed under Centrala, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels

Review DC COMICS – THE NEW 52: THE POSTER COLLECTION from Insight Editions

DC Comics - The New 52: The Poster Collection

DC Comics – The New 52: The Poster Collection

This is one colossal book. It’s 40 posters featuring art from the biggest names in the DC Universe. This is “DC Comics – The New 52: The Poster Collection,” published by Insight Editions. All in one place, you get an eye full of iconic cover art from the most popular DC Comics titles since the launch of the New 52 in 2011. The book of posters is 12″ x 16″, priced at $24.99, and proves an excellent collection of contemporary DC Comics artwork.

Wonder Woman Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

Wonder Woman Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

If you love The New 52 comics, then this is a perfect companion piece. Here are some samples with the comic book alongside for comparison.

Action Comics Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

Action Comics Poster with issue from comic book for comparison.

And, if you are somehow new to The New 52, this unique book will make an excellent introduction.

New 52 Batgirl Posters

New 52 Batgirl Posters

“DC Comics – The New 52: The Poster Collection” is available as of May 12, 2015. For more details, visit our friends at Insight Editions right here. You can also go here, here, and here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Insight Editions, The New 52

Review: Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal from Insight Editions

Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal

Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal

It’s always a pleasure to share with you items from Insight Editions. Here’s an inventive and useful item for superhero fans, the Wonder Woman Ruled Journal. Before it gives way to blank ruled pages, you get a few pages of Wonder Woman fighting Cheetah. In the midst of battle, she drops her journal with her strategic notes. The rest is yours to fill with your own adventure.

Wonder Woman Journal 1

The cover displays the Wonder Woman logo in silver against a red background with star patterns. The rugged and rubbery texture is reminiscent of a superhero costume. It is 192 pages, measuring 5.25″ x 8.25″. Who wouldn’t enjoy this distinctive journal? This is perfect for anyone on your gift-giving list. And, by the way, there’s a Superman version too!

Wonder Woman Journal 2

Insight Editions is dedicated to creating the very best illustrated books focusing on photography, musics, and pop culture. They are one of my favorite publishers and I look forward to sharing more of their exemplary work with you.

Wonder Woman Journal 3

The Wonder Woman Hardcover Ruled Journal is available as of May 19, 2015.

For more details, visit our friends at Insight Editions right here. You can also visit here, here, and here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Insight Editions, Wonder Woman

Review: Pablo: Art Masters Series

Pablo-Self-Made-Hero-Birmant

To explore the life of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) is to explore the life of a man who left a huge mark on art, so huge a mark that to take him out of the picture would be, well, unthinkable. To better understand the man, we have this new graphic novel, published by SelfMadeHero, simply entitled, “Pablo.”

How better to get a grip on the man behind the legend than to explore his early years. And who better to guide us than the woman in his young life, Fernande Olivier. This is no simple story of love, or friendship, or an artist’s development. This is the great Picasso, after all. However, with Fernande’s help, we get a down to earth look at him. The creators of this graphic novel have placed Fernande in the role she had always aspired to, that of storyteller. Through the script by Julie Birmant and the artwork by Clément Oubrerie, we get one of the most lucid depictions of the life of Picasso, one of the most celebrated and enigmatic of public figures.

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Fernande. Who was this person? Fernande Olivier (born Amélie Lang; 1881–1966) would become a well-known artist’s model and, ultimately, a writer. She was involved with Picasso from 1904 to 1911. She was one of the models for Picasso’s landmark work, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” Picasso would paint her over one hundred times. Fernande’s memoir entitled, “Picasso and his Friends,” was published in 1930. It outraged Picasso and led to her agreeing not to publish any more details about their time together until after their deaths. Without a doubt, Picasso would not be pleased with this new graphic novel. Fernande is not a woman easily impressed with Picasso’s antics. As we see here, she is a veteran of Parisian art circles. And she proves quite a match for him.

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Picasso. The world would know his name. But, as for Fernande, there came a point when she no longer had a place in his life. As his star ascended, she only reminded him of the hard times. Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie depict a career that began in poverty and reached its climax with the advent of cubism and modern art. We see Picasso’s art develop through friendships with poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, the painter Georges Braque, and his great rival Henri Matisse. And all through, arguably, the most fruitful and significant time in his career, there was Fernande.

This is a book that provides a fresh new look at Paris, the capital of the art world at the turn of the 20th century. Julie Birmant gives a nod to younger readers by including such terms and phrases as “awesome” and “kill me now” in the dialogue. It’s not overdone and adds a contemporary feel to the action. For the most part, the narrative is straightforward and peppered with intriguing bits of insight. Here, for instance, is a description of the first time that Fernande saw Picasso’s studio: “I still remember the smell: a mixture of wet dog, oil, dust and tobacco…the smell of work.”

This is a very honest and beautiful work. It will appeal to all ages from teen on up. It’s a frank look at the artist’s life and just goes to show that even the great Picasso had to start somewhere and he did not do it alone. In many ways, it’s the very same path that any young artist takes today, including the revelations from reading Rimbaud. Picasso lived that life long before Millennials and this book does a wonderful job of bridging that gap. The young Picasso is made quite relatable and would fit right in any coffee shop today.

“Pablo” is a 344-page trade paperback, published by SelfMadeHero. It is available as of May 5, 2015. For more details, visit our friends at SelfMadeHero right here. You can also find it at Amazon right here.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Comics, France, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Modern Art, Pablo Picasso, Paris, SelfMadeHero

Review: AMICULUS: A SECRET HISTORY: VOL. I: ROMA AETERNA

Amiculus-Travis-Horseman

“Amiculus: A Secret History: Vol. I: Roma Aeterna” is the first in a trilogy about the fall of the Roman empire. Not the decline, we go straight to the fall. And at the epicenter, so it would have seemed, was the boy king, Romulus, the last emperor of the west. As far as boy kings go, he was as inept and childish as they come and was easily manipulated by his overseer, the Magister. In this issue, we get to see the Magister make minced meat out of Romulus and anyone who proved to hinder the precarious western front of the Roman empire.

Creator and writer Travis Horseman does a wonderful job of bringing history to life. His narrative, along with the sharp artwork of Giancarlo Caracuzzo, reminds me of the historical graphic novels of Wayne Vansant. There’s that same urgency in the lines drawn along with a mission to get it right. In this case, Horseman is not attempting to organize actual facts. He is filling in the blanks to a nearly nonexistent story about the real Romulus. And to further propel the story, he has created the shadowy figure of Amiculus, a supernatural entity that controls events behind the scenes. It’s not quite clear what powers he has but it’s clear he’s feared and omnipresent.

Amiculus-Romulus

Rome was not built in a day nor did fall in one day. However, some days are more fateful than others like when Romulus ceased to reign in A.D. 476. Our story begins in March, A.D. 538. The armies of Justinian, the emperor of Constantinople, have retaken what was left of the Roman Empire. Procopius of Caesarea, is a historian embedded with the army to record events. He’s our narrator. Once Rome is secure, he sets out to find out why Romulus disappeared from the picture some sixty years prior. Of course, the boy king, if he should still be alive, would have quite a story to tell. For the meantime, Procopius has the next best thing, a book that outlines the last days of Romulus’s reign as written by Romulus himself.

You can see that Horseman and Caracuzzo are having a whale of a good time with this comic. I’m glad this title can be added to the noteworthy work being created in comics. Let me tell you one thing, and I’ll gladly say it again, if I hear or read one more person chirp that comics aren’t for kids anymore, I’ll slap them silly. Here, pick up a copy of Amiculus, and you can clearly see yet another example of the mighty power of the comics medium. Those who continue to use the lame catch phrase “Comics aren’t for kids anymore” are hiding under a rock. They have chosen to hide under that rock. Amiculus lives somewhere in the region of an “all-ages” comic. Not totally since, gosh darn it, there is some mature content. However, it boils down to PG-13 fare: mild language, relatively mild violence. Hey, it’s the fall of Rome. There will be some blood and some swearing. So, yeah, from teens on up.

As a great mystery and a gateway to history, “Amiculus: A Secret History” is a worthwhile read with colorful characters, intriguing elements, and one wild tale to tell. It will be fun to see how the story unfolds in the rest of the trilogy. For more details, visit the official Amiculus website right here.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, History

Review: FIGHT CLUB 2 #1

Cover Artist: David Mack

Cover Artist: David Mack

Chuck Palahniuk writes the sequel to Fight Club as a comic book. There has to be something highly ironic about that. What would Tyler Durden think? In this case, it works. Palahniuk doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. He just needs to show up. We’re picking up where we left off. Project Mayhem is history. After all the outrageous events from the hugely popular novel and movie, we find our main characters trying to live a normal life. Ah, and there’s the rub. Imagine it’s ten years later and Marla Singer has married Tyler Durden. Oh, he goes by “Sebastian” now and is very low-key.

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A quick refresh, if you saw the movie years ago: The characters played by Helena Bonham Carter and Edward Norton got married! And they’ve got a kid now who is very disturbed. And Marla is quite dissatisfied, to say the least, with a docile and settled Tyler, er, Sebastian. If it weren’t for the pills, well, Sebastian might lose control. He might even go back to being the crazed man Marla once knew. And that’s okay with Marla.

This first issue sets the stage with a hot streak of conflict carried down the line by Marla. Artist Cameron Stewart nails the look of a woman on the verge of a breakdown. We see Marla twist and turn as she hungers for excitement only to see a neutered Tyler/Sebastian. Where’s the sex? The violence? The mayhem? Desperately, Marla tries to relive the old days by visiting support groups. One she seems to like is a group for those with Progeria Syndrome, severe aging. Marla tries her best but it’s just not the same.

It would have been very tempting to have gotten Cameron Stewart to go ahead with directly depicting the stars who made these characters such icons. Sure, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Edward Norton back with Helena Bonham Carter as they collide with Brad Pitt. That said, Stewart provides us with the next best thing. Marla may be his best out of the three of his takes on the characters. And the other two hold their own. Nothing like a woman scorned. This first issue belongs to Marla.

Of course, that’s not to say we’re not also seeing some pretty crazy stuff going on once Marla has done her part to light the fuse. No doubt, if you’re a fan of the novel and/or movie, or even if you’re completely new to all this, FIGHT CLUB 2 will appeal to you with its lively and quirky action.

So, like I say, Palahniuk is not reinventing the wheel. He was ahead of his time with the original Fight Club and we’ve all been catching up since then. Crazed consumer culture, a twisted value system, a mass of humanity all insular and selfish, it’s all on a high boil now. Fight Club 2 is on a high boil indeed.

FIGHT CLUB 2 #1 is a 32-page comic book, priced at $3.99, and is available as of May 27, 2015. For more details, visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here. Also be sure to visit the official FIGHT CLUB 2 website and the official Chuck Palahniuk fansite right here.

Also of interest:

Fight-Club-Free-Comic-Book-Day

The FIGHT CLUB 2 experience takes off on May 2 with a special Free Comic Book Day promotion you won’t want to miss. On Saturday May 2nd, Dark Horse Comics will debut one of the most anticipated comic book and literary events of the year with a FIGHT CLUB 2 story written by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling novelist Chuck Palahniuk, illustrated by Eisner Award winning artist Cameron Stewart and colored by award winning Dave Stewart. The Dark Horse Comics Free Comic Book Day Sampler includes a 14-page story that adapts the ending of the FIGHT CLUB novel (which fans will recall is different than the ending of the acclaimed film) and leads into the upcoming Dark Horse Comics FIGHT CLUB 2 comic book series. The first issue of FIGHT CLUB 2 will be available at comics shops, select book stores and digitally via the Dark Horse digital store and app on May 27th.

Dark Horse Comics has encouraged fans to further contribute to the mayhem with a guerilla marketing campaign utilizing the phrases “Tyler Durden Lives” and “Rize or Die” in order to win Easton Press limited, leather-bound editions of Palahniuk’s novels BEAUTIFUL YOU, FIGHT CLUB and SURVIVOR. Fans are encouraged to e-mail their photos and letters using the phrases “Tyler Durden Lives” and “Rize or Die” to: projectmayhem@darkhorse.com.

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Filed under Chuck Palahniuk, Comics, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics