Posted on: September 18th, 2012 Things I Miss (and Don’t Miss) About Reading Comics

I recently decided to get my act together and go to graduate school. I knew there would be reading. I knew there would be writing. I knew I had to keep my job. So, I figured I would have to cut down on my pull list each week. There wouldn’t be enough time to keep up with all the titles I wanted to read. And I did that. By at least 50%.

Then I actually started school and it turns out…I don’t have time to read them at all. In almost two months time, I think I have managed to get through four single issues. This is not at all what I anticipated. But, in effort to keep my priorities in line, I’ve just succumbed to the notion that comics will have to wait. Do I miss them? God, yes. However, our time apart has also made me realize that comics were causing me some grief.

Things I Don’t Miss About Comics: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: August 15th, 2012 REVIEW: Saga #6

Saga Chapter 6When I first heard about Saga, I wanted to write about it. I didn’t. When the cover art of the first issue was released capturing one of the main characters breastfeeding (causing a handful of people’s heads to explode), I wanted to write something. I did not. When the double-sized first issue came out, I wanted to write about it. I didn’t. Issue after issue went by and I knew I wanted to throw my two cents into the ether. I didn’t. Well here it is! Chapter Six of Saga. Boom.

I am in contact with two very different niches when it comes to the comics community. There’s the group that reads creators’ work. Often times they create comics themselves. They know all about the upcoming books, how they work into current continuity, how the creative teams will change in a few months, etc. Then I talk with the folks that read for characters. They will buy every off-shoot of Batman, because they love Batman. Or they will follow just a handful of books because they grew up with the characters. And like that of a religion, they will pull their books every week and seldom stray from their forged path.

I like both groups of people. They both love comics. They both spend their money in hopes that they will be rewarded with a tale they actually care about. However, their opinions are rarely in compliance. I can tell you, quite honestly, that I have talked to people that genuinely do not like Saga. I am not that person. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: July 25th, 2012 REVIEW: X-Treme X-Men #1

X-Treme-X-MenI’m not big on the space-time continuum. I’ve discussed my reasons before. Because of that, I’m not a fan of multiverses, but it’s just a thing in comics so I carry on. I don’t care for things that label themselves as “Extreme”. It’s just a hang-up of mine that has no real reason.

I picked up X-Treme X-Men #1 today. And it is a story labeling itself extreme with the cute play on words, telling of a problem in the space-time continuum in which the multiverse is falling apart. So I hated it, right? Ah…I didn’t tell you the most important parts. It’s written by Greg Pak. And Dazzler plays a big part. So…no. No, I didn’t hate it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 REVIEW: Captain Marvel #1

Captain Marvel 1 coverI assume if you take on the stance of “I’ll never read a chick comic” you simply do not care how stupid you sound. Nobody can rid you of that stupidity. I can talk until I’m blue in the face and you’ll still be an idiot. Then I’d be an idiot since I was fighting a losing battle to begin with. So if that’s your stance, nothing I’m about to say will change your thought process. Go on back to being a fool.

For the rest of you, let’s talk Captain Marvel #1.

I ranted and raved about Marvel’s inadequacies when it came to female title characters. They didn’t even exist for a while. How can Deadpool carry more titles than all the women of Marvel combined? Didn’t seem right. So, although the numbers are painfully low given their competition’s books, Marvel has not only released a new Carol Danvers title, they’ve announced that Jeff Parker will be offering his talents in writing Betty Ross for Red She-Hulk #58. It’s a start. And if these books will be anything like Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Captain Marvel, it’s going to be a great time to be a Marvel fan again. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: July 11th, 2012 REVIEW: Revival #1

Revival1First I sat with my mouth open. Blinking. I had goosebumps. I got cold. I was wickedly uncomfortable. I was freaked the hell out. Revival by Tim Seeley. Art by Mike Norton.

This book is creepy. Like super creepy. Like I never want to go to Wisconsin creepy. So good.

Revival is the story of a small town in rural Wisconsin and a group of dead folks didn’t stay dead. They aren’t zombies, they just brushed themselves off and carried on. Now the local police (and the nation) is trying to deal with all the craziness surrounding this incident. We follow Dana specifically. Police officer in a district where her father happens to be sheriff. Issue one is our introduction to key characters and a feel for the hysteria. It also exposes us to one of the revived. And…um…wow. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: July 4th, 2012 Dear Comics: I’m So Bored of Grit

Angry SpidermanSo here I am. Reading comics. Like I do. And expressing my scattered opinions on stories to my brother. Like I do. And I start noticing a trend. Primarily in the books from Marvel and DC, but that’s just because I read a lot of those.

Why do characters have to be jerks to pretend they’re compelling?

Do they actually need to be that way? Or is it just easy for the writer to create the facade of depth when they’re mean and angry? Let me explain: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: June 14th, 2012 REVIEW: Conan The Barbarian #5

Conan The Barbarian 5 CoverThere’s a good chance that I’m going to reveal a bit too much of my psyche this week. I like extremes in my comics. I like ultra-violent. Or ultra-poetic. Or ultra-sexy. Or just over-the-top fun. This is what I enjoy. Sexy, complex characters surrounded by explosions in a bloody mess while having a good time. And you know what? I found that book. That book is Dark Horse’s Conan The Barbarian and I have gone on record as saying it is one of the sexiest books I’ve ever read.

It starts as Brian Wood’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s Queen of the Black Coast. People like pirates, right? They do. Yo ho ho. Everybody’s got a little part of them that wants to latch onto that devil-may-care attitude. No rules; just you and the sea and a sword. It just has a seductive quality to it. Then there’s blood-lust. That’s a thing. And then there’s sex. Which generally gets high ratings, yeah? Conan is a man who fights his way onto a pirate ship where he falls in love with a pirate queen and they go on murderous, thieving rampages together.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: June 6th, 2012 REVIEW: Creator-Owned Heroes #1

COH TriggerGirl Cover 1Without a doubt, you’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about creator-owned rights and contracts regarding certain…popular title spin-offs this week. Okay, we’ve all got our opinions on the subject but I think we all can agree that what the world needs now is love. Sweet love.

No. That’s not right. Creator-owned comics. Sweet creator-owned comics.

So what better than a book that offers not one but *two* creator-owned stories? But wait! There’s more! It also includes a Neil Gaiman interview! And if you order now, you get editorials and informational articles on the process of making comics! Now how much would you pay?! Hopefully $3.99 or above because that’s how much I expect you to dish out. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: May 23rd, 2012 REVIEW: Mind MGMT #1

Mind MGMT 1How many of the books in your pull list make you think?

Now, I don’t mean books that you *choose* to think. I’m not talking about finding social commentary in an X-book or contemplating sexism in literature and entertainment. I’m talking about books that require thought to make it through the story. How many?

I don’t have many, if at all. Until this week. I really wasn’t ready for it.

I like explosions. I like punching. I like quippy one liners. I like explosions. The average book doesn’t give my brain much trouble. So here I sit, reading Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT from Dark Horse and I think, “Wow, I don’t like this.” And I finished it, but I realized I should have liked it. So I read it again. And it got better. Then I read the margins. And I liked it. Then I read the back-up story and I really liked it. And then I read the letters column and I loved it.

So that’s where we are. Let’s talk about why this book is different than any other book you’re reading: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: May 16th, 2012 REVIEW: Thief of Thieves #4

Thief of Thieves 4Today, kids, we talk about romanticism. Calm down. No flowers and sonnets. Today we talk about true romantics. Those so passionate about their work and ambitions, that they sacrifice their relationships and well-being. There’s a glorified, endearing quality to these folks. They fight every step of the way, chasing whatever dream it is, and almost always we see the sense of loss and regret when they finally realize it isn’t all they thought. In this case, we’re talking a life of crime in Image’s ongoing Thief of Thieves.

I like crime books. Whether it be noir, procedurals, drama or thrillers-I dig it. So I look at a book like Parker: The Hunter, and I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed the brains, not the characters. In fact, a book like that, I absolutely hate the characters. What if you had all the sexy grit of Parker, but you put some heart into it? Now that? That I can get behind. That is what Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, Shawn Martinbrough and Felix Serrano give us here. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: April 25th, 2012 REVIEW: AvX: VS #1

AvX VS 1For reasons unbeknownst to me, I have not been able to get excited about Avengers Vs. X-Men. I mean, I dig The Phoenix. I like fighting. You’d think I’d be sold, right? But I’m not. At all. But I still read Avengers vs. X-men: VS #1 this week. Because I want Jason Aaron and Kathryn Immonen to get money. And I trust them. In all things.

At the end of the day? I still don’t care. And yet, all that aside, I liked this book. It made me laugh. Curve ball: I didn’t laugh at Jason Aaron’s story as much as I did Kathryn Immonen’s. Let me elaborate. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: April 18th, 2012 REVIEW: The Shadow #1

The Shadow 1-John CassadayI’ve got a weird fascination with vintage things. Old clothes, home decor, cook books, people-I love it all. So, naturally, my favorite kind of music is of the older persuasion. We have an AM radio station here in Colorado called 1430 KEZW. In the evenings they run “When Radio Was”. It’s basically just a radio show that plays old-time radio dramas and comedies. That was my first introduction to The Shadow. No, Alec Baldwin wasn’t first. I didn’t read any of the pulp fiction. I just know Orson Welles and Agnes Moorehead. And let me tell you, I dig the radio show. And then Garth Ennis walked in.

We all know how much I love Garth Ennis, yes? Trust me, I do. But let’s just say that he’s a wee bit darker than the writers of 1930s radio programming. Shall we set my nostalgia aside for a moment?

Conceptually speaking, I really like the premise of The Shadow #1. We’re waist-deep in a Japanese/Chinese turf war in New York. The Shadow’s doing his thing: killing ne’er do wells, being spooky, knowing stuff. And his alter-ego Lamont Cranston is being charming and annoyingly prophetic-like he does. His sassy, female ‘love’ interest Margo Lane is being sassy and sexy-like she does. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: March 28th, 2012 REVIEW: Lady Mechanika #0 (4th Printing)

Lady Mechanika 0 Cover AThe feeling you get when you’ve read an awesome book? Pretty great. It’s the sort of validation we need when we get involved in this hobby. That feeling you get when you realize this book has been around a while and you’ve never even heard about it? Just terrible. Where I have I been? Why didn’t I know about this? Why didn’t past-me buy this book? I had that feeling today with Lady Mechanika #0 from Aspen Comics.

Here’s something: I don’t read a lot of Aspen Comics. So, by that token, I don’t know about a lot of books from Aspen Comics. I picked up Lady Mechanika #0 today simply because it was shelved right next to Atomic Robo and the cover was beautiful. That’s me. Judging books by their covers since 1985. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 Womanthology: Watch and Learn

Womanthology Space OngoingThis past weekend at WonderCon, IDW Publishing announced that they would be launching a new ongoing series as a “spin-off” from a Kickstarter project known as ‘Womanthology’. People? This is huge.

During the record-breaking funding of the Kickstarter project, Womanthology produced a large amount of criticism. Why do we need a collection of stories from women? Why is this a thing? Let me tell you, I supported the project right away. And now, after reading the anthology, I can tell you-we did need it. Let’s table the debate on women in comics right now, okay? Anytime, you want to discuss it, I’d be happy to do so. I want to talk about another reason why this project was so important to comics: Womanthology showed us all the power of an idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: March 8th, 2012 REVIEW: The Defenders #4

Defenders 4 FractionToday I’d like to talk about the role of narration. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Buckle up, Buttercup. We’re doing this.

Look back at Golden Age comics (hell, some Silver Age comics too). Every single panel was spelled out. Our narrator held our hands through every step of the way. They didn’t need to. They just assumed readers are dumb (some are…obviously.) And then, the prototypical narrator got kicked out. Replaced by intelligent panel layouts, effective dialogue and movement within the art. I believe, just by reading my generic synopsis of the history of comics, you can tell which I prefer. But then, I run across proper narration. The kind that guides the story instead of dragging it along. I love that narrator. The omniscient commentator. So rarely used correctly.

And then a book like The Defenders comes along. And shakes up my world. Have you read this book? Do you have any idea how much great narrating is done here? Numerous narrators. All at once. Coherent narration. Read the rest of this entry »