Category Archives: Jeff Parker

Review: METEOR MEN by Jeff Parker, Sandy Jarrell, & Kevin Volo

The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of Alden Baylor.

The ideal graphic novel expresses one elegant theme over the span of about 100 pages and leaves the reader invigorated. METEOR MEN is such an example. Boy meets space alien. This is a story that turns that trope on its head over the course of a mix of realism and the supernatural. Jeff Parker (Batman ’66, Future Quest) writes a script with his distinctive quirky worldview. Sandy Jarrell (Batman ’66, Unfair) provides artwork that responds right back to Parker’s offbeat style. And Kevin Volo (Rex Zombie Killer, Max & Thorne) provides colors in step with this moody, enigmatic, and totally riveting tale.

Panel excerpt from METEOR MEN

If and when the aliens do descend from the skies, they won’t be anything like in the movies. They will be something totally out of the realm of our experience. That is a key point in any number of sci-fi tales. And that doesn’t stop Parker, like the seasoned pro that he is, from going in there and telling us his version. So, we begin with Alden Baylor, a teenager who already has much on his mind prior to any alien invasion. The kid is sitting pretty on an estate he’s inherited. Alden’s parents died in a car crash and his uncle is his guardian. So, Alden makes for an ideal young princely sort, complete with a common touch, not fully aware of his high station in life. He’s sensitive and gentle and will prove to make a great representative for us humans.

Page excerpt from METEOR MEN

We come to see that an alien race has descended all over Earth via a meteor shower. Among all the potential human connections that could have been made everywhere from Moscow to Timbuktu, the only one that takes hold is the one between Alden and the space creature that crash landed on his property. Alden’s alien friend is melancholy and mysterious. But, push comes to shove, and this guy is potentially dangerous–all for the sake of protecting Alden. Deeper into our tale, Alden learns far more than he ever imagined he would ever know not only about extraterrestrial life but about the very essence of existence.

Among alt-comics, there are basically two fronts: the more low-key comics that rely upon a niche audience; and the more vibrant comics that reach out to a wider readership. METEOR MAN is a vibrant comic. Of course, the hope is that any truly worthwhile comic finds readers even if it is essentially a labor of love. I see METEOR MAN as one of those “labor of love” projects that catches on with casual as well as seasoned readers of comics. Word of mouth has boosted its visibility and it has received good press, including a glowing review from WIRED MAGAZINE. I’m happy to add my praise.

METEOR MEN by Jeff Parker, Sandy Jarrell, & Kevin Volo

METEOR MAN is a 128-page full cover trade paperback. For more details, visit Oni Press right here. Order it through Amazon right here.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Jeff Parker, Oni Press, Sci-Fi, science fiction, Young Adult

BUCKO Review

“Bucko” is a webcomic-turned-graphic novel powered by the energetic talents of its artist, Erika Moen, and its writer, Jeff Parker. The beauty of this screwball comedy murder mystery is how it remains fresh and feels spontaneous up to the end. If you caught this comic while it was a red hot web sensation, you’ll want to get the book just released by Dark Horse Comics that adds some new things to the plot and does a fun and impressive job of giving you all the bonus features you could want. There is a cute and insightful ongoing commentary running at the bottom of most pages and there’s also plenty of witty observations in between acts. So, what happens in “Bucko”? Well, it seems like just about everything!

If this episodic comedy involving youthful misadventures makes you think of the cast of “Friends,” well, don’t. But the characters in “Bucko” can sure be friendly! The first few pages lead the reader to believe that stories about hormones run wild will dominate the comic. But there’s more going on here. As Jeff Parker explains in one of the book’s intermission observations, one of the aims of the comic was to not get predictable and not have readers just hanging on for the naughty bits. It’s a delicate balance. For a story to have authority, to really be a story, all the elements will need to follow a coherent tone. There needs to be a structure in place, an engine that keeps events and characters moving. As Parker puts it, “tone is everything.”

That said, the reader wants to be entertained and that’s the bottom line. Things move fast in this comic. It is a tight script that, for a webcomic, resembles more the best in television and not a clunky comic strip from yesteryear. Rich Richardson wakes up to a classic “morning after” scene. He is naked. He has had sex with someone new. He doesn’t know where he is at first. And then, bam! he realizes he has to get up and leave for an important meeting just minutes away! His partner from last night emerges, Gypsy Bouvier, and she’s still groggy too. All she can think to call the new boy in her life is, “Bucko.” Gyp fits Bucko up with one of her blouses and finds a tie from her roommate/lover to add to his look. Roommate/lover? There’s no time to ask questions! Bucko must rush to make it in time to a job interview so he can pay his rent.

Erika Moen has a delightful light touch to her drawing style. Her autobio comics, “DAR!” show the reader a very open and uninhibited person. Moen is comfortable with any topic, anything from sex to farts is fair game. That’s the spirit! Her chemistry with Parker is undeniable. Jeff Parker, you may know, is just as in love with the offbeat. Among a stellar roster of works, including comics scripts for X-Men and the Avengers, is one wacky adventure that Jeff did with Tom Fowler called, “Mysterius The Unfathomable,” which is required reading. In that story, eccentricity prevails. And so it does in “Bucko.”

In many ways, “Bucko” is all about the journey. Boy meets girl. Girl loses boy. And then…maybe…girl and boy find each other again. And, in between, we have steampunk Makers, Juggalos, Suicide Girls, meth heads, top hats and absinthe. With the journey, comes the right mix of attitude. It was during the start of the “Bucko” webcomic that the hit television show, “Portlandia” began to air. Okay, both are set in Portland and have a high hipster factor. Do you see any conflict with that? Actually no, the more the merrier. As Parker points out in the book, “While we shared a lot of things on a Venn diagram, we became conscious of staying distinct from the show.” In that regard, “Bucko,” is definitely in its own world.

“Bucko” is a 136-page hard cover, 8″ x 8″, and is $19.99. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics. And, if you’re in Seattle on October 20, come out and meet Erika Moen and Jeff Parker at Comics Dungeon.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Erika Moen, graphic novels, Jeff Parker, Webcomics

ERIKA MOEN AT COMICS DUNGEON, SATURDAY, JAN 21, 2012

Well, a little snow, even a lot of snow, doesn’t stop Comics Dungeon from opening for business. Just checked in with the store, and customers are grateful that the comics shop is open. If you’re in Seattle, you know what excellent service you can expect from them. And, mark your calendar, because this upcoming Saturday, January 21, from 1-4pm, cartoonist Erika Moen, known for her DAR comics, will be in for a signing. The press release follows:

Our celebration of the store’s 20th Anniversary continues as we host creator Erica Moen on Saturday 21st!

Erika Moen is a comic artist and illustrator working in Portland, OR as a member of Periscope Studio. She’s best known for her award winning self-published comic series, DAR!, A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary that explorers her life, career, and relationships. She is also currently working on the webcomic Bucko, a Comical-Murder Mystery with writer Jeff Parker.

Check out more at her website http://erikamoen.com/, and check out Bucko at thttp://www.buckocomic.com/

Erika will be at the Comics Dungeon signing copies of her books and other material from 1-4pm on Saturday the 21st! RSVP on Facebook

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Filed under Comics, Comics Dungeon, Jeff Parker, Seattle