Dead Reckoning: THE NIGHT WITCHES, MEN AT SEA, KATUSHA

Panel excerpt from “A Smile of Fortune,” by Joseph Conrad, in Men at Sea

Here are some amazing titles from Dead Reckoning: The Night Witches by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun; Men at Sea by Riff Reb; and Katusha by Wayne Vansant. I am still catching up since being away in New York. So, here we go, we will jump right in. Our first title pairs up two great talents and features a young Russian woman deep in the Nazi fight; our second title is a very compelling collection of comics adaptions of poetic stories about life and work at sea; and our last title brings us back full circle with another brave young Soviet female fighting Nazis. Dead Reckoning is the new comics imprint from the Naval Institute Press and these three titles are only part of the exciting new lineup of books.

Men at Sea by Riff Reb

Men at Sea is one of the most striking collections of short works in comics I’ve seen in some time. Eight short works, including “A Smile of Fortune,” by Joseph Conrad, are adapted into comics by Riff Reb. This is a virtual treasure trove for those who love art, literature, and history. Each tale is interspersed by seven double-page spreads dedicated to extracts from illustrated classics.

The Night Witches by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun

The Night Witches is a very impressive book. The story’s main character is Lieutenant Anna Kharkova, once a naive teenager, who grows into a hardened combat WW II veteran for the Soviet air force. The glory and the pain of war are brought to life by the legendary team of Garth Ennis and Russ Braun.

Katusha, written and drawn by Wayne Vansant

Katusha, written and drawn by Wayne Vansant, is quite an ambitious work and a truly immersive page-turner. This is the story of  Katusha, a young Ukrainian girl who goes on to fight in the major battles between the Soviets and their Nazi invaders. Follow her story and you gain great insight into one of the greatest conflicts in military history. Vansant puts the reader in the driver’s seat for this riveting narrative.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Wayne Vansant

Let’s add one more: a graphic novel adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front by Wayne Vansant. Along with Katusha, this is another remarkable book by one of the leading creators of historical and military graphic novels. This masterful comics adaptation makes for the ideal companion to the novel.

Dead Reckoning, the new comics imprint from the Naval Institute Press, is a welcome addition to the ever-growing world of comics publishers. The quality and dedication is clearly demonstrated in this comics imprint with a bright future. For more details, and how to purchase, go right here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Dead Reckoning, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, History, Military

Review: HOBO MOM by Charles Forsman and Max de Radiguès

HOBO MOM by Charles Forsman and Max de Radiguès

I am a great supporter of alternative comics and the pursuit of excellence in the comics medium. That means sometimes taking a ruler and wrapping the knuckles of a cartoonist during a bit of constructive criticism. And it means celebrating a work when everything goes right as it does in Hobo Mom, by Charles Forsman and Max de Radiguès, published by Fantagraphics. Hobo Mom gets it right by pursuing a line of specificity to its logical conclusion. Just like a finely-executed novel or painting, all the elements fit into place at a resounding level of precision.

This is the story of a woman who can’t settle down. The open road is in her blood and she is willing to pay the price for her unconventional freedom. Charles Forsman presents his most disciplined artwork to date in seamless collaboration with the script by Max de Radiguès. The pacing is impeccable as you follow one extended scene after another. It’s magical how Forsman and de Radiguès balance so much in a relatively short work. At 62 pages, you need to be prepared to pare down to the essentials in order to give the narrative a natural flow. This is undoubtedly achieved as the reader gets a rich experience within a tight framework. Everything needs to count, down to every panel, ever facial expression, every pause. You need to know what to linger on and when to move on.

Page excerpt from HOBO MOM

Take the first four pages. The first page begins with a big panel that depicts an inviting breakfast being prepared on a skillet taking up half the available space. The next four panels convey a happy relationship between father and daughter, a stable domestic scene. With that established, the next three pages have the luxury of lingering over this happy home: dad goes off to work; daughter tidies up; daughter begins her day; daughter finds comfort in the company of a family pet. Now, we’re ready to move on to what is going on with the absent mother. A rhythm has been set up allowing for the alternating of scenes and characters. Will the hobo mom reconnect with her family or is it just not possible? Here is a book that asks the right questions and lets the reader step in. This book is a prime example of what it possible in the comics medium.

Hobo Mom is a 64-page duotone hardcover, published by Fantagraphics.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alt-Comics, Alternative Comics, Charles Forsman, Comics, Fantagraphics, Fantagraphics Books, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Max de Radiguès

Review: LAWNS by Alex Nall

LAWNS by Alex Nall

Lawns, by Alex Nall, published by Kilgore Books, is a small graphic novel that, to my reading, is essentially a parable about the consequences of turning someone into a scapegoat. No one likes Roger. Neighbors condemn him for his unkempt lawn and for his unleashed dog. It seems like a manageable problem but definitely not in this small town. Roger is the town’s Boo Radley. Nall has put together a narrative that follows the election of the town’s mayor. Chuck is running undisputed. However, Carl, a disgruntled and unsavory sort, has mounted a write-in campaign for himself. Oddly enough, Carl makes a few good points but he’s pathetically unqualified. Poor Roger falls somewhere in the middle as a convenient distraction. Overall, I think the story would have been better off had Roger, already having inspired the town’s ire, had been the sole issue in the town’s election. That said, this is an ambitious undertaking and Nall deserves credit.

Page excerpt from LAWNS

A hallmark of many a work of alt-comics is that it is all done by hand and basically retains an organic vibe. Nall is certainly aware of that and appears to revel in it. My only quibble is that the drawing, at times, falls short on clarity and consistency. I’m not saying the rendering needs to be worked over in some elaborate way. If you take a look at Charles Forsman’s Hobo Mom, this is quite a compelling short graphic novel, only 62 pages, done in a relatively simple style. Nall seems to want to vary how he depicts the main character, Roger, but the way he goes about it has the potential to lose the reader. And, towards the end, there are some scenes that are a bit rushed. This is not to say that Nall should ever consider losing his expressive line. I do prefer a more sketchy line than one that is way too polished. Sometimes, you just go where you need to go as a cartoonist and let your expressive line evolve as you evolve. I am certainly curious to see what Mr. Nall does next since he’s clearly hungry for a challenge and he’s a capable cartoonist.

Lawns is a 108-page trade paperback, b&w, published by Kilgore Books.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alex Nall, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Kilgore Books

PAX West, PAX Unplugged 2019 Dates Announced

Some more gaming news which is so perfect since part of this news involves my hometown of Seattle. Okay, the following news may very well pertain to you!

PAX West, PAX Unplugged 2019 Dates Announced 

Unplugged Badges Go on Sale May 9, West Badges Later this Month

SEATTLE, Wash. – May 1, 2019 – PAX Unplugged takes over the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia Dec. 6 – 8, 2019 and PAX West returns to Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. Show organizers ReedPOP and Penny Arcade will make PAX Unplugged 2019 badges and exclusive pre-sale merchandise available for purchase beginning May 9. PAX West 2019 badge sales will be available later in the month.

This year’s PAX events have hosted the announcements of numerous highly-anticipated games, including Borderlands 3, Jackbox Party Pack 6, SNK’s Samurai Shodown collection, and more. PAX Unplugged and PAX West will also present a number of surprises allowing gamers to hear about, see, and play new games and other projects before anyone else.

In 2019, PAX Unplugged will once again welcome tens of thousands of tabletop enthusiasts to Philadelphia. Now in its third incarnation, PAX Unplugged will expand with a larger expo hall to accommodate even more of the top names in board, card, and pen-and-paper gaming showing off classic games, new expansions, and exciting unreleased titles. Attendees joining the fun can also expect an epic slate of events featuring enlightening talks with creators, live tabletop gaming shows, and more at what will be the 50th show in PAX’s storied history.

The most-attended gaming event on the West Coast, PAX West is a four-day celebration of gaming culture. PAX West is anchored by massive exhibition halls where attendees have the opportunity to see hundreds of game studios ranging from indie teams to major publishers showcasing new and upcoming titles – many of which are publicly playable for the first time.

On the show floor, PAX West goers can enjoy the PAX Arena, which hosts competitions featuring renowned esports players as well as stars from YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer in the Stream Stars tournament. Fans will also have chances to meet with many of their favorite content creators in autograph signing sessions, engage with industry luminaries in panels, attend concerts, and savor other amazing attractions throughout downtown Seattle.

“When we came up with all this, I don’t think we could ever have imagined putting on 50 of these events and counting,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder, PAX and Penny Arcade. “We can’t wait to welcome the gaming community to our home in Seattle this summer, and to our Winter Lair in Philadelphia this December. We hope you’ll be able to join us.”

The international lineup of PAX shows (West, East, South, Aus, Dev, and Unplugged), produced by ReedPOP in conjunction with Penny Arcade, comprise some of the world’s largest gaming festivals. PAX events connect the industry’s greatest creative minds from across the worlds of both video and tabletop gaming, directly to passionate audiences.

For more updates on PAX West 2019, follow PAX on Twitter and like the Facebook page.

PAX

PAX or Penny Arcade Expo is a festival for gamers to celebrate gaming culture. First held in Seattle in 2004, PAX has nearly doubled in size each successive year, with PAX Prime 2014 selling out of tickets in a matter of minutes. Connecting the world’s leading game publishers with their most avid and influential fans, PAX expanded with a second show in Boston in 2010 and a third in San Antonio in 2015, making it the three largest gaming shows in North America. The first international PAX was held in Melbourne, Australia in 2013. In 2017, Penny Arcade established PAX Unplugged, its first tabletop focused show, held in Philadelphia.

ReedPOP

ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture world. ReedPOP is dedicated to celebrations of popular culture throughout the globe that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) West, East, South, Australia and Unplugged, Emerald City Comicon (ECCC), BookCon, BookExpo, Oz Comic-Con, Comic Con India, Paris Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, ComplexCon and more. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan-based group of professionals uniquely qualified to serve those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, India, and Australia.

Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade is a web comic focused on video games and video game culture, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. With over 3.5 million readers, it is the most popular and longest running gaming web comic online. Penny Arcade is also responsible for the Child’s Play Charity, the Penny Arcade gaming expos (PAX) in Seattle, Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Melbourne, multiple video games based on the brand, and multiple online video series.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, PAX, Penny Arcade, ReedPOP, Seattle, Video, Video Games

Dungeons & Dragons Sourcebook Launches June 18, 2019

Acquisitions Incorporated

Here’s one for all the gamers: Are you a fan of D&D and do you enjoy the antics of the popular webcomic, Penny Arcade? Okay, the answer is clearly yes and the press release below is for you. If you are not familiar with Acquisitions Incorporated, then learn about a very special 224-page Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook:

Acquisitions Incorporated, the official third-party Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook from Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast, brings hilarious fantasy antics straight to players’ homes June 18.

Acquisitions Incorporated is based on the (in)famous D&D campaign popular on Twitch and at PAX events featuring PAX and Penny Arcade’s cofounders, a cast of celebrity guests, and D&D Lead Rules Designer Jeremy Crawford as DM.

Pax West 2018

For the past decade, the renowned retrieval company known as Acquisitions Incorporated has shared their (mis)adventures with hundreds of thousands of attendees at PAX and viewers on Twitch. Dungeon Master Jeremy Crawford (Lead Rules Designer of Dungeons & Dragons) does his best to shepherd the mischief of Penny Arcade and PAX co-founders Jerry Holkins (Omin Dran, Cleric) and Mike Krahulik (Jim Darkmagic, Wizard) as well as a rotating cast of celebrity guests including author Patrick Rothfuss (Viari, Rogue) and gaming icon Morgan Webb (Môrgæn, Ranger).
Now, with the 224-page sourcebook, Dungeon Masters and players alike can experience the uproarious exploits of Acquisitions Incorporated in their own game. New spells, a new race, and introducing character positions mean it’s easier than ever to join the company and take part of this universe. Want to jump in headfirst? The book also includes an adventure module so players can get started right away.

Obviator by Aviv Or

“Being able to give back to the game that I’ve been playing most of my life is incredible,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder of Penny Arcade. “I can’t wait for players to join my friends and I in Acquisitions Incorporated, not just because it’s a book and a world we’re very proud of, but also because my character gets a cut of their earnings.”
For further information, visit Penny Arcade’s official website or follow Penny Arcade on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
For more information on Acquisitions Incorporated, the D&D sourcebook, please go to the official website.
For more information on Acq Inc, please visit the official website.

A Mechanical Beholder Bonanza by Tyler Jacobson

Penny Arcade is a webcomic focused on video games and video game culture, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. With over 3.5 million readers, it is the most popular and longest-running gaming webcomic online. Penny Arcade is also responsible for the Child’s Play Charity, the Penny Arcade gaming expos (PAX) in Seattle, Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Melbourne, multiple video games based on the brand, and multiple online video series.

Leave a comment

Filed under Acquisitions Incorporated, Comics, Dungeons & Dragons, Games, PAX, Penny Arcade, Video Games, Webcomics, Wizards of the Coast

Trumpworld: Barr: Trump would never just say, “Fire Mueller!” Oh, really?

Barr Spins Before Congress

Today, Barr testified/spun before Congress. A perfect example: Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Attorney General William Barr what is it about Trump ordering his White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller (as well as demanding that McGahn lie that Trump had ever asked to fire Mueller)  that is not obstruction of justice. Barr’s response was to spin a picture of Trump, with his brilliant legal mind, requesting a closer look at Mueller’s conflict of interest; and Trump never outright made such a crude demand as saying, “Fire Mueller!” Huh? Which is more likely, that Trump was simply expressing a legal opinion or that he barked out what he wanted? Feinstein followed up with the question: “So, what was the conflict of interest?” Barr never ever answered that question! He proceeded to tap dance byway of speaking on legal theory to run out the clock. And that is just one example of Barr’s technique. Don’t expect Don McGahn to ever get a chance to testify himself. If he does, that would be well worth seeing.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Donald Trump, Editorial Cartoons, Mueller Report, Political Cartoons, politics, Robert Mueller

Review: I WAS THEIR AMERICAN DREAM by Malaka Gharib

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib

I juggle a lot of things. I read a lot of comics, I work on my own comics, and sometimes I’ll get into a zone as I read a comic and not even think of the intended readership. I kid you not, I will read comics that are probably most likely meant for a younger reader and think nothing of it as it fully resonates with me as an adult. That is the case with the current book on my radar, I Was Their American Dream, a graphic memoir by Malaka Gharib, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. This is a delightful read that falls neatly into an all ages category. I sincerely believe that an adult would enjoy this book just as much as a middle school student. With a sincere approach, this graphic memoir will bring to mind Persepolis but it is absolutely on its own quirky wavelength.

This is an immigrant’s story. And I don’t think we will ever have enough of these kind of stories as each is different and unique in its own way. In an ideal world, I think we would all tell our stories of growing up in some sort of graphic memoir. That said, a book like this does not write itself either. Ms. Gharib presents a wonderfully easygoing narrative that makes it all look easy: very conversational prose with an inviting simple and direct drawing style.

Page excerpt from I Was Their American Dream

We are invited to join Gharib in a tale that takes us to the Philippines (mom’s side of family), to Egypt (dad’s side of family), and then makes it way to California. But our journey has only begun. Malaka Gharib comes of age as a mixed race child in a strange land–but things don’t have to be so strange with a little bit of heart, courage, and a wonderful sense of humor. This absolutely speaks to me as a mixed race person. In my case: Anglo on my dad’s side; Mexican on my mom’s side. Gharib has so much to say that anyone can relate to. For example, Gharib brings up the classic question people like to ask someone of mixed race: “What Are You?” It is a question that depends so much on context and tone. It can come from legitimate heart-felt curiosity. It can also be perceived as adding up to an insult or slight. “What Are You?” Indeed. Now, there’s quite a loaded question.

Given the overall tone to this book, how Ms. Gharib is writing with an intended younger readership, I think it’s still valid to say this is fun for any age. As, I’m sure Gharib would agree, there’s something about the quirky content that fits in so well with alternative comics. It’s no surprise to me to find here in her book that Gharib shares numerous happy memories of being involved in the alt-comics/zine scene. That activity has led to Gharib becoming an artist and journalist at NPR. She is the founder of The Runcible Spoon food zine and the cofounder of the D.C. Art Book Fair. That DIY/indie community gets in your blood and can guide, encourage, and inform an artist’s work for a lifetime. It can result in compelling work like this book!

Page excerpt from I Was Their American Dream

I Was Their American Dream is a 160-page trade paperback, fully illustrated, published by Clarkson Potter and available as of April 30, 2019. For more details, and how to purchase, visit Penguin Random House here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alt-Comics, Alternative Comics, Comics, Graphic Memoir, Penguin Random House, Race, Race Relations, Zines

Review: THE BOOK OF WEIRDO, published by Last Gasp Books

The Book of Weirdo

Yes, Virginia, We Do Have Alternative Comics!

With all due respect to any comics scholars who might in the least have any problem with the term, “alternative comics,” let me direct you to a close reading of a new book that covers this very subject and then some, The Book of Weirdo, edited by Jon B. Cooke, and published by Last Gasp Books. Now, if I’d been a precocious and enterprising enough youngster, I might have very well have hopped on the Weirdo bandwagon early on and had my own comics appear within their pages but it was a little bit before my time. That said, what sprung, or solidified, from that time of production (1981 – 1993) is what has been, and continues to be and always will be, known as alternative comics. Alternative to what? Well, obviously, an alternative to the typical mainstream superhero genre just as underground comix was an alternative in the sixties and Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD magazine was an alternative in the early fifties. Today, to simply say, “alternative comics,” remains incredibly useful in navigating the vast comics landscape. Think of it as the distinction between a fine artist (indie cartoonist) and an illustrator (business-oriented/corporate). An artist can travel to both worlds but, don’t forget, that means there are two distinct worlds. Alright then, now let’s take a deep dive into the pages of The Book of Weirdo.

Peter Bagge

What first comes to mind about this book is the familiar format of a yearbook or an in depth documentary. The idea here is to collect and document and interview as much as possible. Cooke has extended interviews with all the major players including founder and editor Robert Crumb and his successor, Peter Bagge. Cooke also has profiles and interviews with just about everyone who ever contributed to the magazine with such notable figures as Dennis Eichhorn, Frank Stack, Pat Moriarity, and Michael Dougan. In fact, I am quite familiar with Mr. Cooke’s methods as I did get to contribute some comics to another of his projects, a tribute to Will Eisner for Comic Book Artist back in 2005. So, what you end up getting in one of these Jon B. Cooke tributes is a treasure trove of observations and a storehouse of information. That all proves essential as we track the journey of Weirdo from San Francisco to Seattle. Once Peter Bagge took over as editor, he took operations up to Seattle, which resulted in some extraordinary comics cross-polination that continues to reverberate to this very day. It has contributed to a hotbed of alt-comics activity in Seattle that connects everything from Fantagraphics to the Dune cartoonist gatherings to the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival.

Alternative Comics – The Seattle Connection

Ironically, given all the time and effort that Mr. Cooke has put into this tribute, he doesn’t always get the most fully cooperative interview subjects, with his main subject, Robert Crumb often proving to be the most contrarian person to interview. But that’s what everyone loves about Crumb, right? He’s not an easy person to pigeonhole. He’s not smooth as silk with slick answers. The beauty of what Cooke does is to keep asking questions and remain open to the answers. That brings me back to the notion of more fully understanding what alternative comics are about. I bring this subject up a lot and I find that, ultimately, alternative comics are alive and well and they emerged from what underground comix set in motion. This is clearly something that fascinates Cooke too and he goes about unpacking the subject as much as he can in this book. For example, he poses the question to Crumb. He asks, “Do you see Weirdo as having helped to launch the alternative comics that came after it?” To which Crumb, at first put off, ends up giving an interesting answer: “I don’t know. Again, it’s a rhetorical question. It’s hard to say whether that would have happened anyway. To me, it was going to happen one way or the other, whether I was there or not, alternative comics was an inevitable thing, y’know? It’s such a part of American culture and comics, and then, all these people who grew up with comics, they were bound to start producing some kind of…And also, as comics lost their importance as a kid’s medium, being replaced by electronic media like TV and video games and all that stuff, it became more of an art medium of self-expression. It was inevitable.”

R. Crumb

So, to be clear, I am telling you that alternative comics are a very real thing. Anyone who is tentative about it is somehow missing the big picture. And, again, I say this with all due respect. Certain folks go into comics and graphic novels these days as more of a stripped-down strategy to succeed in a corporate career. Other folks go into comics and graphic novels solely to explore the possibility of the art form. Those are two very, very, very distinct worlds. And, yes, there is overlap. Some alternative cartoonists manage to crossover to mainstream work. But that certainly doesn’t negate the fact that they come from the alt-comics world. It’s a whole way of looking at comics as art. Now, Weirdo was definitely part of that in its own particular way. At the very same time that Weirdo was active, there was also RAW magazine run by Art Spiegelman and his wife, Françoise Mouly. Here’s where it gets very interesting and sort of funny. Crumb was like Groucho Marx or Woody Allen when it came to preferring straightforward plain speaking. For Crumb, RAW took itself way too seriously. Both Weirdo and RAW were covering similar ground and, in fact, shared some of the same cartoonists. While RAW positioned itself as an art journal, Weirdo was more unabashed and irreverent. A little behind-the-scenes feud was brewing after Spiegelman made some disparaging remark about Weirdo. Crumb had hoped to bring it out into the open and even pursue a mock feud but Speigelman would have nothing to do with it. Whatever their differences, both RAW and Weirdo contributed to the alternative comics scene that continues onward in numerous anthologies, more than at any other time, including Kramers Ergot. While Crumb, himself, might shrug it off, Weirdo can be included as one of the landmarks along the way to today’s alt-comics.

Ron Turner and Last Gasp

The Book of Weirdo is a stunningly beautiful book, an essential guide to understanding the various veins connecting underground comix and today’s burgeoning alternative comics.

The Book of Weirdo: A Retrospective of R. Crumb’s Legendary Humor Comics Anthology, is a beautiful 288-page hardcover, fully illustrated, available as of May 1, 2019, published by Last Gasp Books.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alt-Comics, Alternative Comics, Art Spiegelman, Comics, Comix, Comix Scene, Last Gasp, Robert Crumb, Underground Comics, Underground Comix, Weirdo magazine

Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame

It’s Endgame time!

If you’re a Marvel Comics fan, or just about anyone game for some fun entertainment, it is hard to resist heading out to see the latest, and final, Avengers movie as we’ve come to know them. Last? Hey, it isn’t called Endgame for nothing! Now, let’s be honest, the Marvel franchise’s ideal audience, those most susceptible to having a mind-blowing experience from this movie, are way younger than my average reader. It’s kids who most love and most relate to this–as well it should be. Sure, without a heck of a lot of mature and professional adults, there would be no Marvel franchise but, at its heart, this is primarily kid-friendly fare. That said, there’s no shame in being a kid at heart and I definitely found that to be the case last night. What’s more, fueled by the Disney-Marvel powerhouse of pop storytelling, what is essentially magnificent entertainment excess manages to strike enough chords to not only satisfy hard-core fans but also those looking for some humanity with their popcorn. In fact, Marvel has proven time and time again to have a golden touch when it comes to character development.

A new Hulk among the interesting tweaks in new and final Avengers flick.

Without an end, we can’t fully appreciate the whole. With a satisfying and well constructed ending, we can often forgive any shortcomings along the way and we can take a satisfying pause before the next big thing. That’s how it works for regular comic book readers as they follow a certain story arc through a series of issues to its end. And that is what regular moviegoers have come to see ever since the current Marvel Comics franchise has been in existence. This Avengers movie rounds out a ten-year reign for Marvel Comics on the big screen. Never before has a mainstream audience been provided with so much of the narrative, full of all the nerdy and arcane details, that was once the sole domain of the comic book reading experience. Even the relatively obscure animated features based on comics books did not go as deep. All that said, with this Avengers movie, a mass audience gets to experience the bittersweet sting of finality. Yes, it should be no spoiler here, some stuff happens in this movie that is very, very final.

Among the very nerdy but usually quite delightful things you find in this movie that is a staple of comic books is something that subverts your expectations. The best example of that is what happens to The Hulk. It is right in the spirit of Marvel’s traditionally dry humor. The Hulk is no longer the aggressive out-of-control brute we’re so familiar with. Nope, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) has been tinkering with his perpetual recipe for disaster and has managed to combine the best of both worlds! Now, he’s turned himself into a hybrid: the enormous strength of The Hulk has morphed with the brilliant mind of Bruce Banner! He’s now a kinder and gentler Hulk who can now discern what is the most efficient way to dispatch of a supervillain without wreaking havoc in his wake each and every time. There’s also a very funny makeover going on with Thor but I will let you find out about that on your own.

Again, the big takeaway here is that all things must come to an end–well, at least, for now. Avengers: Endgame, the fourth and final Avengers superhero movie, is the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which launched in 2008 with Iron Man. Those films have now eclipsed $19 billion in worldwide box office. The timing to bring the Avengers leg of the franchise as we’ve known it to a close could not be any better. We’ve had some true heroes here among actors, everyone from Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper to Josh Brolin. Box office records for Avengers: Endgame show a stunning $350 million in North America and $1.2 billion worldwide. It could not have been planned ahead for any better. If all the time and effort involved in getting this franchise right was used for something else, well, the results would likely be just as stunning. You can fill in the blank however you please. A cure for… Or and end to… Now, that’s a mind-blowing proposition.

4 Comments

Filed under Comics, Disney, Marvel Comics, Movie Reviews

2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Nominees Announced

 

Alex de Campi

Excitement is in the air as nominees are rejoicing over being part of this year’s Eisner Awards for Comics Excellence. The Eisner is the equivalent to The Oscar in the comics industry. The awards are presented every year at Comic-Con International: San Diego. This year’s ceremony is Friday, July 19, 2019. The official list has just been released and you can see it here or just look down below. A good amount of alternative comics and big publishers made the list with a big lead for Image Comics and D.C. Comics. As noted above, Alex de Campi received multiple nominations, as did Tom King.

Noah Van Sciver

Judges for this year are comics journalist Chris Arrant (Newsarama), academic/author Jared Gardner (Ohio State University), librarian Traci Glass (Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Oregon), retailer Jenn Haines (The Dragon, Guelph and Milton, Ontario, Canada), reviewer Steven Howearth (Pop Culture Maven), and comics creator Jimmie Robinson (CyberZone, Amanda & Gunn, Bomb Girl).

Nate Powell

The official SDCC statement follows:

Image and DC received the most nominations: Image with 19 (plus 11 shared), and DC with 17 (plus 7 shared). Image swept the Best New Series category, with all six nominees (including Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl’s Isola, up for 2 other categories as well). Also strong for Image are Steven Seagle’s Get Naked anthology (3 nominations), Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (2 nominations), and the Alex de Campi–edited Twisted Romance (2 nominations plus 1 shared). For DC, Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle is up for 4 nods, Eternity Girl has 2 nominations plus 1 shared, MAD and Exit Stage Left have 2, and Batman is nominated in Best Continuing Series plus several shared categories.

Other  publishers with multiple nominations include IDW (10 plus 2 shared), Lion Forge (10), First Second (9 plus 1 shared), Marvel (7 plus 5 shared), Dark Horse (7 plus 3 shared), BOOM!(5 plus 1 shared), Drawn & Quarterly (5), and Gallery 13 (3 plus 2 shared). Six companies had 3 nominees: Beehive Books, Ohio State University Press, TwoMorrows, VIZ Media, and WEBTOON. Eight companies have 2 nominations each, and another 30 companies or individuals have 1 nomination each.

In addition to Isola, Mister Miracle, and Get Naked, titles with the most nominations include two books from Lion Forge/Magnetic Press, with 3 each: Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval (Best Publication for Teens, Best Writer/Artist, Best Painter) and A Sea of Love by Wilfrid Lupano and Grégory Panaccione (Best U.S. Edition of International Material, Best Painter, and Best Publication Design).

The creator with the most nominations is Tom King with 5: Best Short Story (from DC’s Swamp Thing Winter Special), Best Continuing Series (Batman), Best Limited Series (Mister Miracle), Best Graphic Album­–Reprint (The Vision hardcover), and Best Writer. Two creators have 4 nominations each: Alex de Campi (Best Graphic Album–New: Bad Girls, Best Anthology: Twisted Romance, Best Writer, Best Letterer) and Jeff Lemire (Best Single Issue: Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise, Best Continuing Series: Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Best New Series: Gideon Falls, Best Writer). Creators with 3 nominations are Karl Kerschl (Best New Series, Best Penciller/Inker, Best Cover Artist for Isola), Grégory Panaccione (Best U.S. Edition of International Material, Best Painter, and Best Publication Design for A Sea of Love), and Tony Sandoval (Best Publication for Teens, Best Writer/Artist, Best Painter for Watersnakes).

Eleven individuals are nominated for 2 Eisners: John Allison,  Emily Carroll, Nick Drnaso, Mitch Gerads, Sonny Liew, Carolyn Nowak, Sean Phillips, Nate Powell, Mark Russell, Noah van Sciver, and Jen Wang.

Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available at www.eisnervote.com. All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 14. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 19 at a gala awards ceremony at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. Jackie Estrada is the Eisner Awards Administrator.

Best Short Story

  • “Get Naked in Barcelona,” by Steven T. Seagle and Emei Olivia Burrell, in Get Naked (Image)
  • “The Ghastlygun Tinies,” by Matt Cohen and Marc Palm, in MAD magazine #4 (DC)
  • “Here I Am,” by Shaun Tan, in I Feel Machine (SelfMadeHero)
  • “Life During Interesting Times,” by Mike Dawson (The Nib), https://thenib.com/greatest-generation-interesting-times
  • “Supply Chains,” by Peter and Maria Hoey, in Coin-Op #7 (Coin-Op Books)
  • “The Talk of the Saints,” by Tom King and Jason Fabok, in Swamp Thing Winter Special (DC)

Best Single Issue/One-Shot
  • Beneath the Dead Oak Tree, by Emily Carroll (ShortBox)
  • Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise, by Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox (Dark Horse)
  • No Better Words, by Carolyn Nowak (Silver Sprocket)
  • Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310, by Chip Zdarsky (Marvel)
  • The Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against the Devils In Suits, by Arabson, translated by James Robinson (IHQ Studio/ Image)

Best Continuing Series
  • Batman, by Tom King et al. (DC)
  • Black Hammer: Age of Doom, by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, and Rich Tommaso (Dark Horse)
  • Gasolina, by Sean Mackiewicz and Niko Walter (Skybound/Image)
  • Giant Days, by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Julaa Madrigal (BOOM! Box)
  • The Immortal Hulk, by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and Ruy José (Marvel)
  • Runaways, by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka (Marvel)

Best Limited Series
  • Batman: White Knight, by Sean Murphy (DC)
  • Eternity Girl, by Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew (Vertigo/DC)
  • Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, by Mark Russell, Mike Feehan, and Mark Morales (DC)
  • Mister Miracle, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC)
  • X-Men: Grand Design: Second Genesis, by Ed Piskor (Marvel)

Best New Series
  • Bitter Root, by David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Green (Image)
  • Crowded, by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt (Image)
  • Gideon Falls, by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Image)
  • Isola, by Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl (Image)
  • Man-Eaters, by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk (Image)
  • Skyward, by Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
  • Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer, by James Kochalka (Top Shelf/IDW)
  • Petals, by Gustavo Borges (KaBOOM!)
  • Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths, by Graham Annable (First Second)
  • This Is a Taco! By Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley (CubHouse/Lion Forge)
  • Tiger Vs. Nightmare, by Emily Tetri (First Second)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12)
  • Aquicorn Cove, by Katie O’Neill (Oni)
  • Be Prepared, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
  • The Cardboard Kingdom, by Chad Sell (Knopf/Random House Children’s Books)
  • Crush, by Svetlana Chmakova (JY/Yen Press)
  • The Divided Earth, by Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13–17)
  • All Summer Long, by Hope Larson (Farrar Straus Giroux)
  • Gumballs, by Erin Nations (Top Shelf/IDW)
  • Middlewest, by Skottie Young and Jorge Corona (Image)
  • Norroway, Book 1: The Black Bull of Norroway, by Cat Seaton and Kit Seaton (Image)
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang (First Second)
  • Watersnakes, by Tony Sandoval, translated by Lucas Marangon (Magnetic/Lion Forge)

Best Humor Publication
  • Get Naked, by Steven T. Seagle et al. (Image)
  • Giant Days, by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Julia Madrigal (BOOM! Box)
  • MAD magazine, edited by Bill Morrison (DC)
  • A Perfect Failure: Fanta Bukowski 3, by Noah Van Sciver (Fantagraphics)
  • Woman World, by Aminder Dhaliwal (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Anthology
  • Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed the World, edited by Shelly Bond (Black Crown/IDW)
  • Puerto Rico Strong, edited by Marco Lopez, Desiree Rodriguez, Hazel Newlevant, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz (Lion Forge)
  • Twisted Romance, edited by Alex de Campi (Image)
  • Where We Live: A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas, edited by Will Dennis, curated by J. H. Williams III and Wendy Wright-Williams (Image)

Best Reality-Based Work
  • All the Answers: A Graphic Memoir, by Michael Kupperman (Gallery 13)
  • All the Sad Songs, by Summer Pierre (Retrofit/Big Planet)
  • Is This Guy For Real? The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman, by Box Brown (First Second)
  • Monk! by Youssef Daoudi (First Second)
  • One Dirty Tree, by Noah Van Sciver (Uncivilized Books)

Best Graphic Album—New
  • Bad Girls, by Alex de Campi and Victor Santos (Gallery 13)
  • Come Again, by Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)
  • Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 1, by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman (DC)
  • Homunculus, by Joe Sparrow (ShortBox)
  • My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
  • Sabrina, by Nick Drnaso (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint
  • Berlin, by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Girl Town, by Carolyn Nowak (Top Shelf/IDW)
  • Upgrade Soul, by Ezra Claytan Daniels (Lion Forge)
  • The Vision hardcover, by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Michael Walsh (Marvel)
  • Young Frances, by Hartley Lin (AdHouse Books)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
  • Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky (Pantheon)
  • “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, in Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection, adapted by Junji Ito, translated by Jocelyne Allen (VIZ Media)
  • Out in the Open by Jesús Carraso, adapted by Javi Rey, translated by Lawrence Schimel (SelfMadeHero)
  • Speak: The Graphic Novel, by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (Farrar Straus Giroux)
  • To Build a Fire: Based on Jack London’s Classic Story, by Chabouté (Gallery 13)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
  • About Betty’s Boobby Vero Cazot and Julie Rocheleau, translated by Edward Gauvin (Archaia/BOOM!)
  • Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, by Pénélope Bagieu (First Second)
  • Herakles Book 1, by Edouard Cour, translated by Jeremy Melloul (Magnetic/Lion Forge)
  • Niourk, by Stefan Wul and Olivier Vatine, translated by Brandon Kander and Diana Schutz (Dark Horse)
  • A Sea of Love, by Wilfrid Lupano and Grégory Panaccione (Magnetic/Lion Forge)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
  • Abara: Complete Deluxe Edition, by Tsutomu Nihei, translated by Sheldon Drzka (VIZ Media)
  • Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction, by Inio Asano, translated by John Werry (VIZ Media)
  • Laid-Back Camp, by Afro, translated by Amber Tamosaitis (Yen Press)
  • My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, by Nie Jun, translated by Edward Gauvin (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
  • Tokyo Tarareba Girls, by Akiko Higashimura (Kodansha)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips
  • Pogo, vol. 5: Out of This World At Home, by Walt Kelly, edited by Mark Evanier and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
  • Sky Masters of the Space Force: The Complete Sunday Strips in Color (1959–1960), by Jack Kirby, Wally Wood et al., edited by Ferran Delgado (Amigo Comics)
  • Star Wars: Classic Newspaper Strips, vol. 3, by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson, edited by Dean Mullaney (Library of American Comics/IDW)
  • The Temple of Silence: Forgotten Words and Worlds of Herbert Crowley, by Justin Duerr (Beehive Books
  • Thimble Theatre and the Pre-Popeye Comics of E. C. Segar, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
  • Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition, edited by Paul Levitz (DC)
  • Bill Sienkiewicz’s Mutants and Moon Knights… And Assassins… Artifact Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
  • Dirty Plotte: The Complete Julie Doucet (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Madman Quarter Century Shindig, by Mike Allred, edited by Chris Ryall (IDW)
  • Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise Gallery Edition, edited by Joseph Melchior and Bob Chapman (Abstract Studio/Graphitti Designs)
  • Will Eisner’s A Contract with God: Curator’s Collection, edited by John Lind (Kitchen Sink/Dark Horse)

Best Writer
  • Alex de Campi, Bad Girls (Gallery 13); Twisted Romance (Image)
  • Tom King, Batman, Mister Miracle, Heroes in Crisis, Swamp Thing Winter Special (DC)
  • Jeff Lemire, Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Doctor Star & the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, Quantum Age (Dark Horse); Descender, Gideon Falls, Royal City (Image)
  • Mark Russell, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound, Lex Luthor/Porky Pig (DC); Lone Ranger (Dynamite)
  • Kelly Thompson, Nancy Drew (Dynamite); Hawkeye, Jessica Jones, Mr. & Mrs. X, Rogue & Gambit, Uncanny X-Men, West Coast Avengers (Marvel)
  • Chip Zdarsky, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Two-in-One (Marvel)

Best Writer/Artist
  • Sophie Campbell, Wet Moon (Oni)
  • Nick Drnaso, Sabrina (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • David Lapham, Lodger (Black Crown/IDW); Stray Bullets (Image)
  • Nate Powell, Come Again (Top Shelf/IDW)
  • Tony Sandoval, Watersnakes (Magnetic/Lion Forge)
  • Jen Wang, The Prince and the Dressmaker (First Second)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
  • Matías BergaraCoda (BOOM!)
  • Mitch Gerads, Mister Miracle (DC)
  • Karl Kerschl, Isola (Image)
  • Sonny Liew, Eternity Girl (Vertigo/DC)
  • Sean Phillips, Kill or Be Killed, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (Image)
  • Yanick Paquette, Wonder Woman Earth One, vol. 2 (DC)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
  • Lee Bermejo, Batman: Damned (DC)
  • Carita Lupatelli, Izuna Book 2 (Humanoids)
  • Dustin Nguyen, Descender (Image)
  • Gregory Panaccione, A Sea of Love (Magnetic/Lion Forge)
  • Tony Sandoval, Watersnakes (Magnetic/Lion Forge)

Best Cover Artist (for multiple covers)
  • Jen Bartel, Blackbird (Image); Submerged (Vault)
  • Nick Derington, Mister Miracle (DC)
  • Karl Kerschl, Isola (Image)
  • Joshua Middleton, Batgirl and Aquaman variants (DC)
  • Julian Tedesco, Hawkeye, Life of Captain Marvel (Marvel)

Best Coloring
  • Jordie Bellaire, Batgirl, Batman (DC); The Divided Earth (First Second); Days of Hate, Dead Hand, Head Lopper, Redlands (Image); Shuri, Doctor Strange (Marvel)
  • Tamra Bonvillain, Alien 3 (Dark Horse); Batman, Doom Patrol (DC); Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Multiple Man (Marvel)
  • Nathan Fairbairn, Batman, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman Earth One, vol. 2 (DC); Die!Die!Die! (Image)
  • Matt Hollingsworth, Batman: White Knight (DC): Seven to Eternity, Wytches (Image)
  • Matt Wilson, Black Cloud, Paper Girls, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); The Mighty Thor, Runaways (Marvel)

Best Lettering
  • David Aja, Seeds (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
  • Jim Campbell, BreathlessCalexit, Gravetrancers, Snap Flash Hustle, Survival FetishThe Wilds (Black Mask); AbbottAlice: Dream to Dream, Black Badge, CluelessCodaFenceFireflyGiant DaysGrass Kings, Lumberjanes: The Infernal CompassLow Road WestSparrowhawk (BOOM); Angelic (Image); Wasted Space (Vault)
  • Alex de Campi, Bad Girls (Gallery 13); Twisted Romance (Image)
  • Jared Fletcher, Batman: Damned (DC); The Gravediggers Union, Moonshine, Paper Girls, Southern Bastards (Image)
  • Todd Klein— Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald (Dark Horse); Batman: White Night (DC); Eternity Girl, Books of Magic (Vertigo/DC); The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest (Top Shelf/IDW)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
  • Back Issue, edited by Michael Eury (TwoMorrows)
  • The Columbus Scribbler, edited by Brian Canini, columbusscribbler.com
  • Comicosity, edited by Aaron Long and Matt Santori,  www.comicosity.com
  • LAAB Magazine #0: Dark Matter, edited by Ronald Wimberley and Josh O’Neill (Beehive Books)
  • PanelxPanel magazine, edited by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, panelxpanel.com

Best Comics-Related Book
  • Comic Book Implosion: An Oral History of DC Comics Circa 1978, by Keith Dallas and John Wells (TwoMorrows)
  • Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists, by Martha H. Kennedy (University Press of Mississippi)
  • The League of Regrettable Sidekicks, by Jon Morris (Quirk Books)
  • Mike Grell: Life Is Drawing Without an Eraser, by Dewey Cassell with Jeff Messer (TwoMorrows)
  • Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography—Beyond the Fantasy, by Florent Gorges, translated by Laure Dupont and Annie Gullion (Dark Horse)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work
  • Between Pen and Pixel: Comics, Materiality, and the Book of the Future, by Aaron Kashtan (Ohio State University Press)
  • Breaking the Frames: Populism and Prestige in Comics Studies, by Marc Singer (University of Texas Press)
  • The Goat-Getters: Jack Johnson, the Fight of the Century, and How a Bunch of Raucous Cartoonists Reinvented Comics, by Eddie Campbell (Library of American Comics/IDW/Ohio State University Press)
  • Incorrigibles and Innocents, by Lara Saguisag (Rutgers Univeristy Press)
  • Sweet Little C*nt: The Graphic Work of Julie Doucet, by Anne Elizabeth Moore (Uncivilized Books)

Best Publication Design
  • A Sea of Love, designed by Wilfrid Lupano, Grégory Panaccione, and Mike Kennedy (Magnetic/Lion Forge)
  • The Stan Lee Story Collector’s Edition, designed by Josh Baker (Taschen)
  • The Temple of Silence: Forgotten Worlds of Herbert Crowley, designed by Paul Kepple and Max Vandenberg (Beehive Books)
  • Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise Gallery Edition, designed by Josh Beatman/Brainchild Studios/NYC (Abstract Studio/Graphitti Designs)
  • Will Eisner’s A Contract with God: Curator’s Collection, designed by John Lind (Kitchen Sink/Dark Horse)

Best Digital Comic

Best Webcomic

Leave a comment

Filed under Cartoonists, Comic-Con, Comics, Eisner Awards, San Diego Comic-Con