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 »

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 REVIEW: Joe Hill’s The Cape #4 of 4

The Cape 4Do you have it in you to like a book even when you hate the characters? Not in the sense that you hate how the characters are being portrayed but legitimately hate them ‘as people’? I don’t. I struggle with it all the time. If the main character is an unbearable, I have a tough time picking the book up. It’s like having to deal with the asshole at work. I just give myself a pep talk and mutter, “Let’s get this over with.”

Joe Hill’s The Cape is a great story. Little kid discovers that a ratty old cape seriously gives him the power of flight. He and the cape are separated and as an adult, they’re reunited. It would seem he wasn’t a good guy to begin with, he’s even worse with the extra power. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: February 22nd, 2012 REVIEW: Archie Meets Kiss (Archie Comics #627-630)

Archie Meets KissDo you have any idea how long it’s been since I read an Archie comic? I grew up on those things. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Riverdale: where the teenage girls dress whorish, polygamy is socially acceptable, and you can eat hundreds of cheeseburgers and not get fat. I fell away from Archie and the gang back around the seventh grade. Little did I realize, many years later I would pick them up again when Archie Meets Kiss. Archie and Gene: together at last.

How can you say ‘no’ to that? Well, I could. And did for a the first couple of issues. Then, one day, my local comic shop had all of the Francavilla variant covers available…I do love me some Francavilla. It was the perfect storm. They came home with me that day. They aren’t good but I sure did enjoy them.

I think the most accurate description I can give this story arc is “fun”. You remember Alex Segura (former Publicity Manager at DC), well now he’s Executive Director of Publicity and Marketing at Archie Comics! And he wrote this four-part story!

There are monsters in Riverdale, right? Sure. I guess. Sabrina the Teenage Witch gets together with Archie and the Gang to cast a protection spell…which is a perfectly acceptable thing for high schoolers to be doing in a tree house. Seven teenagers in a tree house! (Holy Cow!) Things go wrong and monsters show up (Including a mopey vampire-since they’re “in” this season). They’re here to drain all the fun out of Riverdale! (Oh no!) With a necklace! (What the hell?) And then Kiss shows up. To fight them. With the power of rock. Yes. Turns out, Kiss are a bunch of dicks! They’re so mean to everyone. (That’s not fun, Kiss. Not. Fun.) Meanwhile, these fun-sucking monsters are turning everyone into mindless zombies (because no brains=no fun…their words, not mine). Our friends are about to get lame-oed, and who saves the day? THE GAY GUY! Kevin. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: February 15th, 2012 REVIEW: Peter Panzerfaust #1

Peter Panzerfaust 1Peter Pan Syndrome. I haz it. Okay, I don’t actually know if you can have it when you’re female-but you get my point. I am also affected in that I love me some Peter Pan. You name it: Disney, Mary Martin, Robin Williams-I’ve seen it and loved it. So with the advent of the first ever Image Expo coming up next week, let’s talk about the latest incarnation of our puer aeternus: Kurtis Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins’ Peter Panzerfaust.

You have the adventurous boy that doesn’t grow up, but what if you threw him into a situation that has robbed millions of children of their childhoods? War. And maybe the Lost Boys aren’t just a rag-tag group of roughians; they’re actually orphans in France during the German attacks in the 1930s. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable situation for a Peter Pan story, right? Right? NO! But it’s awesome that someone thought it was. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: February 6th, 2012 Valentine’s Day Comic Book Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day. Just hearing the words brings an oppressive anxiety. It’s a high-pressure holiday that issues the “If I spend enough money, maybe it’ll just go away” mentality. Now, I don’t know your significant other. Maybe cash is the way to go. But maybe, just maybe, we can go for the romantic route. I am a big fan of channelling feelings through someone else’s words a la mix tape, movie, book, etc. Real feelings are overrated. So why not buy your Valentine a comic? Tell them, “This is how I feel. Read it. Maybe we’ll have something to talk about.”

Don’t actually say that. You’ll kill the mood.

Here are some of my personal favorite romantic stories that prove to the world I’m not actually dead inside: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 REVIEW: Rachel Rising #5

RachelRising5Do you ever come across somebody’s work and think, “This is the ideal medium for what I’m seeing.” It could be a story, an opinion, some artwork, music-it doesn’t really matter. There are some times when you just sit back and realize that the planets have aligned and you’re experiencing the optimum experience. Well, I feel that way about Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising.

I read the first issue of Rachel Rising and did not like it. I couldn’t figure out why. And it drove me nuts. I tried to pick it apart and figure out what turned me off. Couldn’t do it. I just knew it made me uncomfortable. So I read the second. Same thing. Read the third. Read the fourth. Read the fifth. Cannot wait for the sixth. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: January 23rd, 2012 HELL YEAH – An interview with Joe Keatinge

[interviewed by Curt Pires}
Joe, 2012 is looking to be a big year for you. You’ve got two projects (GLORY, HELL YEAH) coming out in the next couple of months here. For viewers who maybe aren’t up to date,  Tell us a bit about these projects. Why should we be excited?

You’ve mentioned before, that Hell Yeah is sort of this idea in your head that has been percolating for about 20 years now, tell us a bit about that. What is the Untold history of HELL YEAH?

Hell Yeah #1

I don’t remember how I started reading comics. There’s pictures of me two years old with comics around. They were just always there. However, once Image came along I got inspired to make them not just something I did as a reader, but as a creator. I drew in sketchbooks constantly, making my own comics with my own superheroes who were largely versions of Image heroes. The main character started off as an awful parody of the Maxx, called Faxx, and over time it turned into this superhero doing every day stuff. I got really fascinated by the idea of superheroes doing more than just saving cats out of trees, as the Image characters didn’t adhere to any of the same rules the Marvel and DC guys did. Eventually over time it gave me the idea to do this series, then called Zero Crisis, which eventually turned into a one-act play I wrote, director & co-starred while in college. Then eventually I started actually working in comics, which lead to working at Image, which lead to Erik Larsen & Eric Stephenson really pushing me to write, which lead to me trying to do Hell Yeah with another artist, which was a pretty horrible failure, which lead to me thinking it was dead, which lead to me working on PopGun, which lead to me meeting Andre, which lead to me seeing he was pretty much the perfect person on Earth to collaborate with in terms of style and what comics he dug. All this brought us here and now. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: January 18th, 2012 REVIEW: Legion of Monsters #4 of 4

LOM4Hey, you! You looking all sad and morose in the corner! Do you want to have fun? Do you say to yourself, “Man, my life would be infinitely better if there were more monsters in it.” Do you? Are your reading habits confined to the big name superheroes? Have you felt the desire to branch out into the fringe characters that offer a change of pace? Well, do I have the comic for you!

Marvel’s Legion of Monsters by Dennis Hopeless with art by Juan Doe. Before I continue, can we take a moment to admire THESE names? I mean, they aren’t nearly as fun to say as Tradd Moore but hell, they’re poetic. Okay-serious business now: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: January 16th, 2012 ADVANCED REVIEW: Glory #23 by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell

GLORY 23

Joe Keatinge , Ross Campbell

‘ONCE AND FUTURE,’ Part One

EXTREME’S ORIGINAL WARRIOR GODDESS RETURNS! After missing for almost a decade, Glory’s whereabouts are uncovered by a lone reporter, but the globe-spanning conspiracy keeping her hidden from humanity could make her return more dangerous than anyone ever anticipated! This first issue of an brand-new saga written by Eisner & Harvey-award winner JOE KEATINGE and illustrated by Wet Moon and Shadoweyes creator ROSS CAMPBELL sets up Glory’s future by expanding on her past in a way promising to shock long-time fans and excite all-new readers!

[Reviewed by Curt Pires] Glory tells the story of Gloriana Demeter.  A child of two worlds, she finds herself torn between her mother’s people and her father’s, who are at war.  If you’ve seen the few preview pages of the issue floating around you’ve no doubt been clued into this element of the story.

What you are probably not aware of  is the awesome direction that Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell take this story after these initial pages.  I don’t want to spoil this for any potential readers, but suffice to say : you are in for a treat.  The story takes a tone ,particularly in the second half of the issue that owes more to Stieg Larsons’ “ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” than to any particular brand of the capes and tights variety.  Keatinge and Campbell manage to set up a mystery here that not only pulls the reader in,  but sets the stage for the foreseeable future.

In a manner not only do the creators serve to not only build up Glory as a character, and the extreme universe as a viable one, but they shatter the very notion of it only pages later.   This is a book that takes your expectations and your prejudices about what a Rob Liefield created character is, what an Extreme book is,  and forces you to toss them out the window in the best possible way.

On the writing side of things Joe Keatinge turns in a strong script , with solid pacing,  believable dialogue , and control over pacing that serves to draw the reader in and effectively convey the story.  This is a book that is definitely substantial in content, but never overwhelming. Simply put, you get your moneys worth of content.   As well as  being a great jumping on point for new readers the story  remains respectful and tuned into fans of the earlier run of this character, referencing the characters past stories , and also featuring a cameo by Extreme staple SUPREME.

Artistically, Ross Campbell delivers a refreshing take on the character of Glory and her world .  Ross actually has a really interesting European sensibility to his work that lovers of art will appreciate. Characters have distinct facial features, mass, and shape , which in an age of bodacious carbon copy women and steroid abusing hero’s  is much appreciated.

If the goal of The Extreme relaunch is (as Imagine it is) to bring in new readers , tell interesting stories that can stand on their own , and push creative boundaries, you can chalk this one in the win column.  Glory 23 is a fun ,meaty, read.  But more importantly a coming out party for the creative talents that are Keatinge and Campbell.

Writing 4.5 , Art 4

Glory 23  hits the shelves Febuary 15th 2012 for the price of 2.99. You can reserve a copy now by using this code : DEC110469 , at your local comic shop.

Curt Pires is a writer based out of Calgary Alberta Canada. When he isn’t contributing to da squid he can be found writing comics,  binge drinking coffee, maintaining his stache,  or watching COMMUNITY.  Connect with him on twitter : @CurtPires

Posted on: January 11th, 2012 REVIEW: The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #4

TSTO Luther Strode 4If you want to know the truth, I do these posts completely for my own benefit. I, personally, don’t even read reviews. I read tweets primarily. That’s right, there’s actually someone out there that sees your self-promoting tweets and says, “Yeah, what the hell. I’ll read that.” Then there are podcasts and the scattered sage wisdom of my friends and family. But let’s say that you do actually read reviews before you buy. (You pansy) Let’s say you patrol the blogs to find a good book. If you do that, chances are you’ve already heard about The Strange Talent of Luther Strode. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: December 28th, 2011 Top Books of 2011 That I Didn’t Read

Brad Meltzers DecodedI wanted to call this post: Top Books of 2011 That I Wish I Had Kept Up On Instead Of Watching Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. I didn’t. Because…that would be a long title. But that’s essentially what this list is about.

I can’t tell you what the greatest books of 2011 are. You probably have completely different tastes than I do. You may love the books I hate, so even “Worst Of” lists are dumb. So what do I have left? Books that I enjoyed but stopped reading because I get too damned distracted on Wednesday nights when Brad Meltzer is throwing conspiracies in my face over on The History Channel. Brad, you’re doubling my “To Read” pile. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: December 21st, 2011 REVIEW: Six Guns #3

Six Guns 3 CoverEverybody’s forever complaining about remakes. Come up with something original. Remakes are just lazy storytelling. You’re ruining the originals. Blah blah blah. You know what I say to them? Psbbbbbbt. That, boys and girls, was the textual interpretation of me blowing a raspberry. (Stop it) You’ve got to remake movies and books and comics and music. You have to, if you want to keep the stories alive.

I know people that won’t watch movies that are in black and white. Even if they’re classics, they won’t do it. Those people are dumb, but the fact is: they exist. Not everyone will search through the back issues of golden/silver/bronze age comics. Some find those stories obsolete. Of course, they’re wrong; but, again, they exist.

Now I must insist that all remakes and reproductions are made out of respect and love for the original/source material. That’s the only way I can support this trend. I don’t want your favorite book or movie or whatever to be bastardized just for the easy generation of funds. Is that what’s happening? Sure. But I’d like there to be some heart behind it. Where can you find such an occurrence? Andy Diggle and Davide Gianfelice’s Six Guns. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: December 16th, 2011 INTERVIEW: Nathan Edmondson Talks ‘The Activity’

Interviewed by Curt Pires. Read the advanced review of THE ACTIVITY #1 here.

the-activity-1

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today Nathan. First off lets talk about your brand new book that hits the shelves December 21st . THE ACTIVITY. What was the inception of the project ? How did this concept enter your idea space? Having read the first issue, this strikes me as sort of a niche of comic, and style of story telling that isn’t really touched on much: Espionage comics.

First off, for the most part, THE ACTIVITY is not an espionage book. There will be issues that are espionage-like, but on the whole it is an action thriller in the vein of MODERN WARFARE, with some MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE in there. The idea came from reading about the real group INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT ACTIVITY, and realizing that there was nothing like this book–a grounded, realistic action/team/military thriller out there in comics (and has never really been).

Read the rest of this entry »