Tag Archives: comics

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 10 #11 Review

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 10 #11 (GEORGES JEANTY AND TARIQ HASSAN BIRTHDAY VARIANT COVER)

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 10 #11 (GEORGES JEANTY AND TARIQ HASSAN BIRTHDAY VARIANT COVER)

It’s as if Christos Gage is working from some master plan with how Buffy’s story continues to unfold. For those of you just arriving, we have a sweet spot to jump in. In this new arc, “Love Dares You,” we find Buffy navigating through the rituals of being single and sort of carefree. She even indulges in a round of speed dating. She can’t help but attract the more edgy sort, or poseur edgy. It’s a funny opening scene that sets the tone for much to follow. I’m loving the artwork by Megan Levens, with colors by Dan Jackson. It’s a uniquely cartoony look with an aggressive punch to it.

Buffy is down there in the trenches trying to figure out life. In the current configuration, you have Xander and Spike sharing an apartment. And you have Buffy, Willow, and Dawn sharing an apartment. And then there’s Giles. Only a season ago, who would have ever thought we’d have Giles back as a walking and talking character. Of course, Giles is not exactly where he’d like to be in human form. But you can’t have everything. And, to top it off, you have Buffy and Spike working together again. You have a lot of room to move around with action and characters, perhaps more than ever before. And bubbling in the background is a world …on the verge of magic. That’s got Willow working overtime figuring out the new rules.

If all of this sounds rather involved for new readers, it’s really a very good place to be. You may want to do some binge reading and pick up one or more trade paperbacks collecting previous issues. But, if you’ve been looking for a nice jump into single issues, this is a very good one.

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #11″ is available as of January 21. This is Buffy on a very good track. Pick up your copy today. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.

6 Comments

Filed under Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Comics, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics

Review: TALL TALES FROM THE BADLANDS #3

Cover art by Borja "Borch" Pena; Title Design by Adam Pruett

Cover art by Borja “Borch” Pena; Title Design by Adam Pruett

The great Western writer Max Brand had one of his characters say, “Words is worse’n bullets. You never know what they’ll hit.” That holds doubly true when you’ve got words and pictures telling your story. “Tall Tales from the Badlands #3″ explores the lore of the Wild West in this latest comics anthology published by Black Jack Press.

The stories are written by Mark Wheaton (Dark Horse Comics, horror novelist and screenwriter of “Friday the 13th” and “The Messengers”) Robert Napton (Dynamite, Top Cow), Matt Dembicki (Oni Press, Editor of the Eisner nominated “Trickster”) and Sean Fahey (Digital Webbing Presents, GrayHaven Comics, 215ink, Soaring Penguin Press, DC Comics). There is also have a great collection of artists on this book: Jerry Decaire (Marvel, Moonstone), John Fortune (Blue Water Comics), Ruben Rojas, Franco Cespedes and Ezequiel Rosingana (Blue Water Comics, Soaring Penguin Press). There are five stories collected here. Lettering throughout the book is done by Kel Nuttall, which enhances the book’s beautifully consistent look.

"The Judgment of the People" by Mark Wheaton and Jerry Decaire

“The Judgment of the People” by Mark Wheaton and Jerry Decaire

“The Judgment of the People,” script by Mark Wheaton, art by Jerry Decaire, is a satisfying and spooky tale about justice gained by whatever means necessary. Wonderful pacing. Great build-up. The character of the malicious judge is perfect in his swine-like depiction.

"Apologies" by Sean Fahey and John Fortune

“Apologies” by Sean Fahey and John Fortune

“Apologies,” script by Sean Fahey, art by John Fortune, packs a real punch with a story about a family in dire straits. There’s a delicious tension throughout as we see what looks like an ideal family on a downward spiral.

"Rustlers" by Robert Napton and Franco Cespedes

“Rustlers” by Robert Napton and Franco Cespedes

“Rustlers,” script by Robert Napton, art by Franco Cespedes, is a total knock out. The scope of this comic is very ambitious and lives up to its promising opening panel. With exquisite timing, you get a first-rate train robbing caper. And a fun surprise ending.

"All Mine" by Matt Dembicki and Ezequiel Rosingana

“All Mine” by Matt Dembicki and Ezequiel Rosingana

“All Mine,” script by Matt Dembicki, art by Ezequiel Rosingana, will bring to mind the feverish mania in the movie classic, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Except, this time around, the crazed searching for riches leads to a supernatural connection. Wonderfully concise. Within the span of a few panels, you appreciate a bigger story being suggested and you care about the two main characters.

"Where The Heart Is" by Sean Fahey and Ruben Rojas with Kel Nuttal

“Where The Heart Is” by Sean Fahey and Ruben Rojas

“Where the Heart Is,” script by Sean Fahey, art by Ruben Rojas, takes the cake with a really inventive twist on what happens when a homesteader family develops cold feet about living in the wilderness.

“Tall Tales from the Badlands #3″ is one of the smoothest comics anthologies I’ve read. It is distinctive in how well it keeps to its thematic vision. It is quite a polished and professional book. Also included is a set of fun pin-up art by Mauro Reifschneider, Crash Landen, and Adrian Bago Gonzalez. This is a 52-page comic priced at only $3.99 for print and $1.99 for digital.

“Tall Tales from the Badlands #3″ is available in print from Indy Planet. And in digital from DriveThru Comics and My Digital Comics. Visit our friends at Black Jack Press right here.

1 Comment

Filed under Black Jack Press, Comics, Sean Fahey, Westerns

Seattle Focus: Emerald City Comicon (March 27-29, 2015) Embarks on First Year with ReedPOP

Emerald-City-Comicon-Seattle

There has been a lot of buzz lately over Emerald City Comicon’s acquisition by pop culture events organization ReedPOP, a subsidiary of Reed Exhibitions. You can read Paul Constant’s report at The Stranger right here. Constant deems ECCC as “just the right size and not too super-intense. The comics professionals at the show always enjoy themselves, and so their interactions with the fans tend to be looser and more fun.” Now, there is no truly accurate basis for this but anyone can appreciate the enthusiasm behind such a remark. New York is New York. Seattle is Seattle. And so on. Each convention, large or small, offers its own unique dynamic. And, certainly, ECCC has its vibe.

According to The Stranger’s article on the sale of ECCC, its owner and staff will be retained by ReedPOP to act as consultants for all its comics conventions around the world. ReedPOP already runs such prestigious conventions like New York Comic Con. ReedPOP is, without a doubt, huge but they say they want to listen to any feedback. In April of 2014, it had to deal with controversy leading up to the first annual BookCon in New York which ReedPOP was responsible for. There was a panel of writers entitled, “Blockbuster Reads: Meet the Kids Authors That Dazzle” which touted an “unprecedented, power-packed panel” of the “world’s biggest children’s authors.” The panel of writers: Daniel Handler, Jeff Kinney, James Patterson, and Rick Riordan. All middle-aged upscale white guys. Moments after the news hit, the backlash ensued with leaders in the book industry crying foul on social media over the lack of diversity. And ReedPOP did indeed listen and responded with a panel on diversity.

For ECCC, it should be calm and steady waters ahead. Seattle is such a great location as we love our high and low culture from movies and television, to books, to games, and, of course, comics. We have more comic shops than some larger cities. We have more comics creators than some larger cities. ECCC definitely has an ideal location.

Talent headlining ECCC for 2015: Amanda Tapping. John Wesley Shipp. Dante Basco. Karen Allen. Clark Gregg. Anthony Mackie. Kevin Eastman. Gina Torres. LeVar Burton. Grant Imahara. Stan Lee. Emerald City Comicon is being held at the Washington State Convention Center on March 27-29, 2015. For more information, visit ECCC right here.

1 Comment

Filed under Bookcon, Books, Comics, Emerald City Comicon, New York City, New York Comic Con, Paul Constant, ReedPOP, Seattle, The Stranger

Review: Star Wars (2015-) #1

Star-Wars-01-2015-Marvel-Comics

Star Wars returns to Marvel Comics with “Star Wars #1.” That pretty much sets the tone right there, doesn’t it? We start with solid cover art by John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Uncanny Avengers), who also does the art inside. Written by Jason Aaron (Original Sin, Thor: God of Thunder), this is something of a starting off point as we find the original Star Wars gang running through familiar terrain with plenty of fun twists and turns. The Death Star has been destroyed. The Rebel Alliance is gearing up for a mother of all battles against the Empire with Darth Vader and the Emperor personifying evil. You get the picture. Of course, we love a good familiar story and, when it comes to Star Wars, indeed, we can’t seem to ever get enough. This first issue does not let anyone down. It’s really a credit to everyone involved. As C-3PO says, in a brief moment of calm, “I have a very good feeling about this.”

“Star Wars #1″ is available now. Visit our friends at Marvel Comics right here.

1 Comment

Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Marvel Comics, Star Wars

Review: Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift #1 (of 6)

Marceline-Vampire-Queen-Adrift-Boom-Studios

Marceline is having a really tough time in her latest series, “Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift.” In the first issue, she just can’t seem to write songs worth a hoot when she used to know greatness. And, to make things worse, she’s really harsh on Jake. Hey, the guy was turned into a human (human/dog?) target for frustration as Marceline vents, disparaging nachos and everything Jake, and Finn, hold dear. It’s really time for Marceline to go off somewhere and chill out. But this is Marceline The Vampire Queen so it’s not going to be easy. Written by Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie) and drawn by indie talent Carey Pietsch, this is quite an epic story we see unfold.

It turns out that Marceline is so out of control angry that she’s stirred up some serious bad mojo. She’s got the whole kingdom of Ooo upset and that puts Princess Bubblegum in quite an awkward position. Marce and Bubblegum are pals, right? Marceline’s belligerence forces the princess to respond but she overdoes it by casting Marceline into deep space. And now our story really takes off as Princess Bubblegum must rescue Marceline. The art and writing are fun and zippy. Compositions are nicely balanced. It’s really fun to follow to the last page.

“Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift #1″ is available as of January 14, 2015. For more details, visit our friends at BOOM! Studios right here.

4 Comments

Filed under Adventure Time, Boom! Studios, Comics, Comics Reviews, Marceline The Vampire Queen

Comics in 2015: Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1

From "Wonder Woman: Earth One," art by Yanick Paquette

From “Wonder Woman: Earth One,” art by Yanick Paquette

It was this time last year that I posted about looking forward to Grant Morrison’s “Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince.” Well, now it would seem to be an even better deal as that story will join forces with Earth One, an ongoing series of graphic novels published by DC Comics which retells the earliest adventures of various DC Comics characters. These stories give each character a freshening up on their origin story and on an alternate Earth so that it is free from, as they say in the comics biz, “continuity restraints.” That means that these stories don’t have to answer to what has already been sort of set in stone in the official DC universe. So, it’s like maybe a dream and it never happened, or maybe it did, but probably not. In the end, a good story should result.

Earth One titles slated for 2015:

Superman: Earth One, Volume 1-2 and Volume 3 will be released February 10, 2015.
Batman: Earth One, Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be released May 12, 2015.
Teen Titans: Earth One, Volume 1 to be released in 2015.
Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1, originally slated for a Summer 2014 release, now slated for 2015.

The Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novel will be well worth the wait, with Grant Morrison finally tackling his first full-length Wonder Woman story and with art by the wonderful Yanick Paquette, who has worked with Morrison on “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” and “Seven Soldiers of Victory.” For more details, visit our friends at DC Comics right here.

3 Comments

Filed under Comics, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Grant Morrison, Wonder Woman

Le Cagibi and L.B. Cole at Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, January 10, 2015

"Black Light: The World of L.B. Cole," published by Fantagraphics Books

“Black Light: The World of L.B. Cole,” published by Fantagraphics Books

If you are in Seattle this weekend, get yourself over to Georgetown and the monthly Art Attack. Then go right over to the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. This Saturday, you have two special treats at Fantagraphics. You can enjoy a slide show lecture on L.B. Cole, the all-time great artist of proto-psychedelic comic book covers. And, there will be a workshop conducted by visiting artists from Le Cagibi, an engraving studio in Lilli, France. This all takes place on January 10, from 6 to 9 pm. Visit our friends at Fantagraphics right here. More details follow:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Fantagraphics Books, Georgetown Art Attack, Seattle

Review: ‘Here’ by Richard McGuire

Here-Pantheon-Random-House

What if that snarky comment that you thought was so clever was preserved forever, and not on some server, but in the very room that you first gave thought to it? What if every thought, every act, everything, in that room, were saved forever, beyond deletion? That is what this graphic novel is about. “Here,” by Richard McGuire, invites you to observe one particular spot through hundreds of thousands of years. Often, we see that spot as a room, a living room, in a house. But, at other times, it’s wide open to the forces of nature, both in the past and in the future.

Considering that all of time is fair game for this story, with all the vast possibilities, we do spend a considerable amount of time, a relatively brief speck of time, in a room. It’s that space, when it once was a room, that would seem to be significant. We relate to a room best, especially one in or around our own time. The ability to dwell, just dwell, in a room is the cornerstone of civilization. And the last one hundred years or so have been a golden age for room dwellers. That’s the lifespan of our main character, a living room. It helps to anchor us, being in a relatively familiar room. In this narrative, we observe a cast of characters also anchored, biding their time, wasting their time, anchored by conformity, domesticity, and convenience. What is anyone really doing? They’re dwelling.

Here-Richard-McGuire-Random-House

It’s the little things that count, we are told. But it’s the big things that really get our attention, once a myriad of little things have taken place. Little. Big. Lives are made up of both. As McGuire observes, there sure are a lot of little moments. Even the big moments aren’t so big. We see a lot of accidents take place among the characters. Accidental moments that go off with a bang. A man slips from his chair. Another man falls from a ladder. The biggest incident seems to be a man struggling to breathe, perhaps having a stroke. In all that time, that space has one noteworthy moment, a visit from Benjamin Franklin. And that, my friend, is life, in a random little space, and is par for the course.

McGuire finds the compelling within what seems quite the opposite. A random little space, what does it really matter? Ah, well, humans have loved and lost and lived over many generations upon this stage. And, if you observe the flickering images long enough, you find patterns and you find something of a story, a universal struggle. McGuire’s style is wonderfully lean, low-key, and pared down. It has as much to do with comics and it does with painting, easily evoking the world of Alex Katz, peopled with lost souls floating along in the suburbs. In the end, though, it’s all about comics as the interplay among panels heats up and we learn all sorts of things all from the vantage point of one spot somewhere in New England.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is impressive about this book is that McGuire took a clever concept and fully followed through. As you open up the first pages, you know what may follow. Will he pull it off? I mean, look, he’s set up a premise, a room with a year in the caption box above. Is he going to really take us for a ride and have the years change in interesting ways and have us see that space in interesting ways? Yes! That is what McGuire accomplishes. And, if that’s not enough for you, then you’re one cold snarky so-and-so. The premise is ambitious and the vision is sincere. These are not things to take lightly.

The idea is that McGuire has taken us on a new kind of ride. That was the goal when this graphic novel was first just a six-page work of comics in 1989, in “Raw” magazine, volume 2, number 1. That was certainly a postmodernist shot in the arm for comics. “Here” articulated an intriguing storytelling tool with how it arranged a number of panels on a page all taking place at different times. Of course, it’s not completely new. Comics, after all, by its very nature, involves panels playing with the notion of time. Still, McGuire was introducing something new into the comics landscape. He was offering up some original ideas on points of view. He was also playing with tempo. And, he was most certainly fascinated with the quotidian, an almost morbid fascination with the minutiae of life. It was something new and in step with a rising sensibility to celebrate the mundane and everyday. His particular take on things would be taken into other directions by Chris Ware.

“Here” is a beautiful realization of an intriguing concept. It is a pleasure to read.

“Here” is a 304-page full-color hardcover, published by Pantheon Books, an imprint of Random House. You can purchase it at Amazon right here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chris Ware, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Pantheon Books, Random House, Richard McGuire, Time Travel

Review: STAR TREK: NEW ADVENTURES VOL. 1

Star-Trek-New-Adventures-IDW-Vol-1

IDW Publishing has got the comics industry in quite a buzz regarding its acquisition of Top Shelf Productions, a relatively smaller comics publisher. So, what makes IDW special? Well, they do seem to have a geeky love for comics. And that leads to stuff like this collection of Star Trek stories. This is an IDW speciality so let that tell you something about IDW.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, IDW Publishing, Star Trek, Top Shelf Productions

Review: ‘Magpie, Magpie’ by Matt Huynh

Magpie-Magpie-Matt-Huynh

Can you ever force someone to love you? No, but that’s never stopped anyone from trying. This question is handled in a grand gothic manner in “Magpie, Magpie,” a webcomic now available in print, by Matt Huynh.

Magpie-Matt-Huynh-comics

Matt Huynh provides a good honest expressive line throughout this multi-tiered dreamy tale of love on the run, running towards and away from itself. This is dream logic run amok. It’s wading into a Faulknerian swampland. And it’s fun, of course. It’s best to read through a couple of times and just let yourself get lost in it. A father is frantically running to find and connect with his young daughter while he’s also hashing out his precarious relationship with his girlfriend. Meanwhile, a persistent suitor has his eyes on the same girlfriend. All of this is rendered in a vibrant gestural style evoking the madness at play.

Matt-Huynh-webcomics-2014

This is the sort of work that I most easily relate to. It’s poetic, experimental, and open-ended. The sense of spontaneity that Huynh achieves with his sumi ink is pretty solid. I think there are some awkward passages and stilted depictions but that’s alright. Overall, Huynh leads the eye to interesting sidesteps and detours. As a webcomic, he adds some fun tweaks: there are scenes that fade in and out and magpies that actually flutter in the wind. It will be interesting to see what Huynh does when he attempts a more substantial larger scale work. That, I don’t doubt, will require tightening up in places. As for this short audacious piece, it hits the mark in pleasing ways.

Be sure to visit Matt Huynh and check out his compelling illustrations and comics right here.

2 Comments

Filed under Comics, Illustration, Webcomics