Tuesday, October 6, 2015


* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

*****     Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
****      From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
***        Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**         Promethea
*           LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff

1.-24. Essential Godzilla #2 (Marvel, 2006) ***
- originally published in Godzilla #1-24 (Marvel, 1977-79)
Writer: Doug Moench/Artists: Herb Trimpe & friends
A podcast on this book is coming soon.
Toho Productions’ gave Marvel a two-year run with Godzilla and it was bizarre.
Godzilla emerges from an iceberg in Alaska and goes on a rampage. He’s evil for the first three issues, attacking Seattle and San Francisco. But that quickly grows boring, so they make him a sorta good guy (like the Hulk).
Even though he kills thousands of people (even in Marvel’s PG world, there’s no way he couldn’t have wiped out oodles of folk in those cities he destroyed.

Dr Takiguchi, his niece Tamara and annoying grandson Rob create a giant Shogun Warrior-style robot to fight Godzilla.

After that, Godzilla fights alien monsters, battles rustlers, gets shrunk and fights New York sewer rats, then is sent back in time to fight dinosaurs.
Along the way, Godzilla tangles with SHIELD, The Champions, The FF, The Avengers and Devil Dinosaur. It’s weirdly stupid, kinda boring and ends with Godzilla getting written out of Marvel continuity.
At least it means there’s no more Rob, because he’s truly annoying.

25. Vreckless Vrestlers #0 (Vreckless Comics, 2014) **3/4
Writer/artist: Lucasz Kowalczuk
It's in French! Luckily, there's not much dialogue.
26. All-Star Section Eight #4 (DC, 2015) ****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: John McCrea
Garth Ennis really, really, REALLY hates Wonder Woman.
27. Starve #4 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artist ;Danijel Zezelj
28. We Stand On Guard #3 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Steve Skroce
29. Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #5 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
30. Jupiter’s Circle #6 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: Wilfredo Torres (interior); Frank Quitely (cover)
31. Groot #4 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jeff Loveness/Artists: Brian Kesinger (interiors)/Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire (covers)
32. Deadly Class #16 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig

33.-38. JSA Liberty Files: The Whistling Skull #1-6 (DC, 2013) ***½
Writer: B. Clay Moore/Artist: Tony Harris
39. Shogun Warriors #2 (Marvel, 1978) **
Writer: Doug Moench/Artists: Herb Trimpe & Dan Green
40.-44. The Return Of Valkyrie (Eclipse, 1989) **½
- originally published in Airboy #1-5 (Eclipse, 1989)
Writers: Timothy Truman & Chuck Dixon/Artists: Timothy Truman, Tom Yeates, Stan Woch & Will Blyberg (interiors); Timothy Truman, Stan Woch & Dave Stevens (original covers); Jim Steranko (collection cover)
45. The Air Fighters Meet Sgt. Strike Special #1 (Eclipse, 1988) **
Story: Chuck Dixon/Artist: Tom Lyle
46. Target: Airboy #1 (Eclipse, 1988) *
Writer: Don Chin & Chuck Dixon/Artists: Sam Kieth, Sam De La Rosa & Russ Sever
47. Airboy And Mr Monster #1 (Eclipse, 1987) ***
Writer: Michael T. Gilbert/Artists: Michael T. Gilbert & Mark Pacella
48. Airboy Meets the Prowler (Eclipse, 1987) *
Writer: Timothy Truman & Chuck Dixon (with Michael H. Price)/Artists: John K. Snyder III & Graham Nolan

49. Heavy Metal #276 (Heavy Metal Media, 2015) **
Writers/Artists: various
I haven’t bought a copy of Heavy Metal for some years, but I had to get this ish ’cos of the Jack Kirby article featuring newly recoloured film concept artwork from the late 70s that the King did for Lord Of Light. The art in the feature is great, but the article is kinda meh. Other than that, it’s your usual HM shit: Enki Bilal, some other obscure and arty Euro-wankers plus reprints of Paul Kirchner’s The Bus (arguably the best thing in the issue). I can seriously see why the publishers have hired Grant Morrison to edit this rag in 2016 – it really needs a good shake-up to reclaim its late 70s/early 80s greatness.
50. Avatar Graphic Novel Sampler 2003 (Avatar, 2003) **
Writers/artists: various
51. Silver Surfer #14 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Dan Slott/Artist: Michael Allred
52. Bitch Planet #5 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick /Artist: Valentine De Landro
53.-58. Saga Vol. 5 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Fiona Staples
59. Action Comics #900 (DC, 2011) ***¾
Writers/Artists: various
60. Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two #1 (IDW, 2014) ***
Writer: Douglas Wolk/Artist: Ulises Farinas
61. Captain Canuck #2 (Comely Comix, 1975) DUD
Writers/Artists: various
Godawful Canadian-made comic strip, badly written and draw. Also, there’s a bullshit article in it claiming that movies and TV influence children’s behaviour. It’s really fucking horrible (and badly researched). Fuck this comic.
62. New MGMT #1/Mind MGMT #36 (Dark Horse, 2015) *****
Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt
Very sad to see this great series come to an end. Also, this ends my hard-copy single issue relationship with Dark Horse. Mind MGMT was the only comic I still bought from this company (the rest I get free from the company as digital copies).
63. Foodang #1 (Entity Comics, 1996) ½*
Writer: Michael Duggan/Artists: Michael Duggan & Mike Sagara
A clown as a superhero living with a family of cannibal killers? Not good.
64. The Black Hood #2 (Red Circle, 1983) **
[Black Hood first story] Writer: Gary Cohn/Artist: Pat Boyette
[Black Hood second story] Writer: John Carbonaro & Rich Margopoulos/Artist: Dan Spiegle
[The Fox] Writer/Artist: Alex Toth
Cover Artist: Alex Toth
Toth is great – the rest is typical mediocre Red Circle fare.
65. Tales Of Dread Album (G.T. Ltd, c. Early 1960s) *
Writers/Artists: various
Cheap UK reprint of low-grade sci-fi, horror and western yarns from the USA. The only artist of note that I recognised was Steve Ditko. Some of the stories appear to be abbreviated to fit to space. Not that it matters – they’re all very clich├ęd and lame.
66. Space War #30 (Charlton, 1978) *
Writers/Artists: various
Below-average sci-fi yarns. The only thing that’s notable is that one tale, The Anywhere Machine!, has layouts by Wally Wood, but he must have done just the minimum of pencils, because the art itself is by Tom Sutton and it’s sub-par. Other than that, this comic is completely forgettable.
67. Archer & Armstrong #0 (Valiant, 1992) **
Writers: Bob Layton & Jim Shooter/Artists: Barry Windsor-Smith & Ralph Reese
68. Australian MAD #467 (Next Media, 2011) ***
Writers/Artists: the usual gang of idiots
I popped when I read “How Does Captain America Stack Up Against Other Legendary Captains?” and saw Captain Lou Albano...and he rated better than the other Cap!
69. Supermen Of America #1 (DC, 1999) **
Writer: Stuart Immonen/Artists: various
70. Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales (Dark Horse, 1994) ***½
Writers: various/Artists: various (interiors); Harvey Kurtzman & William Stout (cover)
71.-73. Scatterbrain #1-3 (Dark Horse, 1998) ***
Writers/artists: various
74. Monster Wrestlers In My Pocket Annual 1996 (Egmont Publishing, 1996) *
Writer; Mike Butcher/Artists: Tim Perkins, Leo Brown, Simon Clegg and John Moore
Remember Monsters In My Pocket from the early 90s? Those creepy lil’ toys were kinda cool (even for a guy in his late 20s), so I should have loved Wrestlers In My Pocket when I discovered them while holidaying in the UK in 1995. They were like an English version of Kinnikuman. But somehow they were kinda lame and didn’t last long. This annual was the one attempt I found to cash in on the fad. It’s pretty bad, even by wrestling comics’ low standards.

75. In The Days Of The Mob #1 (DC/Hampshire, 1971) ***½
Writer: Jack Kirby/Artists: Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta. Plus toons by Sergio Aragones
Picked up this holy grail of failed DC comics on special at Comic Kingdom in Sydney a few months back. One of Jack’s better efforts, but the 1920s gangster yarns were a probably bit too obscure for hip 70s kids to appreciate. Pity.
76. Cracked Magazine #171 (Major Magazines, 1980) *
Writers/artists: various
77. Life With Archie #9 (Archie, 2011) *
Writers/artists: various
I only bought this mag because it had articles about Lady Gaga on it. Pretty sad, eh?
78. Anthro #6 (DC, 1969) **
Writer: Howie Post/Artists: Howie Post & Wally Wood
Nice inks by Wally, but the story is pedestrian.
79. Vanguard Illustrated #2 (PC, 1984) *
Writers/artists: various
Only worthwhile for the Dave Stevens cheesecake cover.
80. Twisted Tales #5 (PC, 1983) *½
Writer: Bruce Jones/Artists: various (interior), Richard Corben (cover)

Great stuff from Corben, as usual. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

KYE Ep. 41: "The Terra of it all"

In which I spend half the podcast talking about some of the comics I read in July and August, then spend the second half dissecting "The Judas Contract" storyline from NEW TEEN TITANS in 1982-84. Man, did this story arc suck!!!
Find out why HERE.
Oh...and I couldn't readily find any to quote during the podcast, but below are a few of the "lovable" insults the Titans throw at each other in the comics. Great writing, Marv. CLAP CLAP CLAP

Changeling to Cyborg: "Shut up, rusthead."
Speedy to Kid Flash: "Whoa there, fleet-feet."
Cyborg to Changeling: "Yeah, do that, green-genes."
Terra to Cyborg: "Now yer talkin' my language, rusty."

No, mate...you're not talking the language of ANYONE in the real world.

Speaking of poor writing, here are two more inexplicablly bad plotting elements by writer Marv Wolfman that I forgot to include in the podcast.
* In issue 29, Terra tells Changeling that she's not a Teen Titan and "second, I'm not becoming one." The next issue, they are in her apartment and she reveals her new outfit, saying "So tell me, bozo, am I Titans' material or what?" Wow, that was a sudden change of heart on her part. I mean, we find out later THE REAL REASON why she wants to join the team, but why does she pretend she doesn't want to join in #29? I put it down to Marv being a talentless hack.
* In issue 30, The Brotherhood Of Evil defeat the Titans, then inexplicably let them live, with Phobia saying they have no desire to kill them. When they clash again an issue later, Warp tells the Titans that the Brotherhood have no qualms killing them. Er...slightly contradictory there.
I could find other obnoxious elements, but I think I cover most of the reasons why "The Judas Contract" is an overrated turd in the podcast. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

COMICS READING FOR AUGUST: “A hundred comics without even trying...”

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

*****     Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
****      From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
***        Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**         Promethea
*           LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff

1. Transmission Magazine #17 (Hepatitis NSW, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Justin Woolley/Artist: Skye Ogden
Pro wrestling, steroids and safe use of needles to avoid Hep C. Well-written, informative plus nice artwork from one of Gestalt Comics’ finest. A fun lil’ yarn despite the “heavy message” it’s conveying to readers.
2.-7. Ivar, Timewalker #1-6 (Valiant, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: Clayton Henry (interiors)/Raul Allen (main cover)
An extra quarter-star for the final-page shock reveal in the first issue.
And another quarter star for all the time-travelling newbies desperate to kill Hitler, but unable to do so due to bloody time paradoxes.
A very clever series about time travel. Valiant, you surprise me.
8. Cavewoman: Klyde and Meriem (Basement, 2001) ***
Writer: James Robert Smith/Artists: Loston Wallace and Kim DeMulder (interior stories); Tae Kwon, Mike Chen, John Trumbull, Matt Plog and Andy Park (pin-ups); Loston Wallace and Kim DeMulder (cover)

9. Kaijumax #5 (Oni Press, 2015) **
Writer/artist: Zander Cannon
Fuck this series. No more for me and I even wrote to the creator to explain why.

Hi Zander.
I’m not normally a squeamish guy and I certainly don’t have a problem reading comics that push or even disturb me at times (Revival and Southern Bastards spring to mind).
But Kaijumax has overstepped the line for me in issues four and five. Rape isn’t entertainment, even if it’s disguised as oversized monster-on-monster prison shower rape. It’s just unpleasant.
In fact, the past two issues have been nothing but UNPLEASANT and I’ve come to the realisation that Kaijumax isn’t FUN to read anymore.
So I’ll spend my dollars on a comic that I ENJOY reading and don’t dread to pick up. No offence.
Dann Lennard
Sydney, Australia

10.-15. The Sixth Gun Vol. 8: Hell And High Water (Oni Press, 2015) *****
- originally published in The Sixth Gun #42-47 (Oni Press, 2015)
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artist: Brian Hurtt

16. Invader Zim #2 (Oni Press, 2015) ****
Writer: Jhonen Vasquez & Eric Trueheart/Artists: Aaron Alexovich & Megan Lawton
17.-19. The Mysterious Strangers #1-2, 4 (Oni Press, 2013) ***½
Writer: Chris Roberson/Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
I’m a completist. And reread these issues out of sequence to the rest of the miniseries. So sue me.
20. Copperhead #9 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
21. Nailbiter #15 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
22. Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #4 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
23. Southern Bastards #10 (Image, 2015) ****½
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
24. Oh, Killstrike #4 (BOOM!, 2015) ***½
Writer: Max Bemis/Artist: Logan Faerber
A kinda flat, soppy ending to what was an excellent miniseries to this point. Shame.
25. God Hates Astronauts #10 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Ryan Browne/Artists: Jordan Boyd (interior); Ryan Browne (main covers)
26. The Fade Out #8 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips 
27. The Fox #5 (Dark Circle, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid/Artist: Dean Haspiel
28. Revival #32 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton (interior); Jenny Frison (cover)
29. Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #7 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer/artist: David Lapham
Not one of the better entries in this series. Normally I like Amy Racecar issues, but this wasn’t great.
30. Jupiter’s Circle #5 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: Wilfredo Torres (interior); Frank Quitely (cover)
31. Groot #3 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jeff Loveness/Artists: Brian Kesinger (interiors)/Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire (covers)
32. All-Star Section Eight #3 (DC, 2015) ****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: John McCrea
Garth Ennis really, really, REALLY hates Martian Manhunter.
33. Starve #3 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artist ;Danijel Zezelj
34. Airboy #3 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Greg Hinkle
35. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 (Marvel, 2015) *****
Writer: Ryan North/Artist: Erica Henderson
36. Deadly Class #15 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
37. We Stand On Guard #2 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Steve Skroce
38. The Spirit #2 (Dynamite, 2015) ****
Writer: Matt Wagner/Artists: Dan Schkade (interior); Eric Powell (cover)
39. Howard The Duck #5 (Marvel, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Chip Zdarsky/Artist: Joe Quinones, Joe & Paolo Rivera
40. Howard The Human #1 (Marvel, 2015) ***¼
Writer: Skottie Young/Artist: Jim Mahfood
I swore I’d never buy any Secret Wars titles, but I’m a fan of Howard The Duck, and I dig both Young and Mahfood’s previous work. But this one-shot doesn’t quite click and the plot is way too predictable, even if it’s meant to be a jokey noir pisstake.
47.-52. The Intrepids #1-6 (Image, 2011) ***
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe/Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
53. Velvet #11 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
54. Bedlam #9 (Image, 2013) ***
Writer: Nick Spencer/Artists: Ryan Browne (interior); Frazer Irving (cover)
55. Dream Police #7 (Image, 2015) ***¼
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Sid Kotian
56. DC Comics Bombshells #1 (DC, 2015) ***
Writer/Interior artist: Marguerite Bennett/Cover artist: Ant Lucia
Like I’ve said before, making a comic based on a line of figurines is fraught with peril. This first issue is very mediocre.

57.-60. The Hangman #1, Inferno #1, The Web #1, The Shield #1 (DC, 2009) ***
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists: various
61. The Shield #1 (DC, 2009) ***
The Shield: Writer: Eric Trautmann/Artists: Marco Rudy & Mick Gray (interior)
Inferno: Writer: Brandon Jerwa/Artist: Greg Scott
Francis Manapul (cover)
62. The Mighty Crusaders Special #1 (DC, 2010) **¾
Writers: far too many/Artists: Javi Pina (interior); Stanley “Artgerm” Lau (cover)
My ratings sum up this misguided attempt by DC to relaunch the MLJ/Red Circle/Archie line of superheroes a few years back. Nothing offensive, nothing new and nothing riveting. Just generic superhero pap. To be honest, Dark Circle has made a much better fist of things with the recent relaunch of The Fox and Black Hood.

63.-70. The American Way #1-8 (Wildstorm, 2006) ***¾
Writer: John Ridley/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Karl Story
In 1961, government-sponsored superhero team The American Way get paid to pretend to fight super-villains and stop invasions from outer space as PR stunts to keep Communist Russia scared and a nervous American public reassured. However, the group is torn apart when a black superhero is hired to join them. During the height of American racial tensions, the team is split down the middle between racist southern members and more progressive northern members. Meanwhile, a traitor within their midst – inspired by a serial killer who is secretly paid by the government to “fight” The American Way – is out to permanently destroy the team for his own warped reasons.
This is a really powerful series that almost achieves greatness but falls a little short due to some poor character development and alarmingly unsympathetic cast members.

71. The New Teen Titans #1 (DC, 1980) **½
Writer: Marv Wolfman/Artists: George Perez & Romeo Tanghal (interior); George Perez & Dick Giordano (cover)
72.-87. The New Teen Titans Annual #3-4, The New Teen Titans #26, 28-34, 39-44 (DC, 1982-84) **
Writer: Marv Wolfman/Artists: George Perez & friends
The Judas Contract is surpisingly awful and kinda icky – and it’s pretty much all creepy Marv Wolfman’s fault. I discuss this much talked about-yet-overrated storyline on an upcoming podcast.

88. World’s Finest: Worlds Apart #1 (DC, 1990) **½
Writer: Dave Gibbons/Artists: Steve Rude & Karl Kesel
89. Charlton Arrow #1 (Comicfix, 2014) **¾
Writers/artists: various
A tribute to classic Charlton characters, some tributes written and drawn much better than others. Way overpriced though. Go to www.morttodd.com/charlton if you’re interested.

90. Grey Legacy #0 (The Fragile Elite Studio, 1990) *½
Writer: Wayne Wise/Artist: Fred Wheaton
Teen angst comedy set at a college for supernatural and/or alien creatures. There’s not much I can pick up from this brief taste except that the main heroine appears to be bottomless throughout the comic. That’s a plus. Otherwise, it’s kinda forgettable.
91. Garbage Pail Kids Go To Hollywood (IDW, 2015) -*
Writers/artists: various
I was dared by a friend to pick up a title I’d never read before from the $2 “damaged comic” bin at Kings Comics. So I grabbed this one-shot. Boy, do I regret it. Puerile, stupid stories with gross-out “humour” that isn’t funny. The artwork is shit. Easily the worst comic I’ll read this year.
92.-101. The Goon #30-39 (Dark Horse, 2008-12) ****
Writer/Artist: Eric Powell (except #35 where the writer is Evan Dorkin)
I’m not sure why I gave up on this series – it’s really very good. Funny, dark, violent and brilliantly drawn by Powell. Maybe it’s because the guy took FOUR YEARS to put out 10 issues. Yeah, maybe that’s it. Ya lazy fuck, Powell!

COMICS READING FOR JULY: “Everyone needs a goal” or “How I read 200 comics in a month and almost lost my love of reading comics”

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

*****     Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
****      From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
***        Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**         Promethea
*           LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff


Let’s just say, this wasn’t fucking easy this month. :P

1. The Phoenix #180 (David Fickling Books, 2015) ***
Writers/artists: various
It feels like a looooooooooong time ago, but it was only July 1 when I read a free digital edition of this 32-page publication aimed at 6-12-year-olds, dated June 13, 2015. I thought it was quite cute and clever, and a noble attempt to get kids into the idea of reading the classic-style English weekly anthology comics (which is what I did as a child during the 1970s). I feel certain both my children would love it. But as they prefer hard-copy comics, I doubt I’ll ever buy any for them to read (overseas postage from England would be prohibitive).
Feel free to check it out at www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk/free-digi-phoenix/.

2. This Damned Band #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Paul Cornell/Artist: Tony Parker
Spinal Tap meets The Omen. This shows promise.
3. The Tomorrows #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) **¾
Writer: Curt Pires/Artist: Jason Copland
Painfully hip attempt to combine cyber-punk sci-fi with art-punk sensibilities. Falls short.
4. Negative Space #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay/Artist: Owen Gieni
I’m not really sure what I just read, but Gieni’s artwork is quirky. Farel Dalrymple-gorgeously quirky.
5. Death Head #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) ***
Writer: Zack & Nick Keller/Artist: Joanna Estep (interior)/EM Gist (cover)
6. Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) ***¼
Writer: Kevin Panetta/Artist: Paulina Ganucheau
I get these comics for free but I’ll definitely be checking out Negative Space #2 and This Damned Band #2. Death Head didn’t wow me, but I’ll probably check out No. 2 just to see where this mystical serial killer malarkey is leading. I got sent the preview of Zodiac Starforce, which is a manga-style, Captain Planet mash-up, but it slowly grew on me. Might read the next issue even though I’m not the target audience (I assume it’s aimed at teenage girls).
7. Adam.3 #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) ***
Writer/Artist: Scott Kolins
I have no fucking idea what this is about. Is the Tarzan-style dude a future-Adam of Eden fame? Or is he some Kamandi-style protector of some planet? I have no fucking clue.
8. The Eltingville Club #2 (Dark Horse, 2015) ***¾
Writer/Artist: Evan Dorkin
Arguably the most nihilistic take on comics/pop culture fandom ever created. Dorkin is one helluva bitter guy. Talk about biting the hand that feeds him.
9. The Paybacks #1 (Dark Horse, 2015) ****
Writers: Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal/Artist: Geoff Shaw
Super-repomen and a Batman rip-off called Night Knight. Fucking love it!

10.-15. Scott Pilgrim Vols. 1-6 (Oni Press, 2004-10) ****¼
Writer/artist: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Great movie. Great soundtrack. Great fucking comic! For those who don’t know the plot, 23-year-old Canadian slacker Scott must defeat new girlfriend Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends to win the right to date her. Mucho video game ultra-violence and Canadian slacker humour ensues. Just so much fun.

16. Mark Schultz: Various Drawings Vol. 5 (Flesk Publications, 2011) ****
17. Bill Sienkiewicz Sketchbook 2009 (Self-published, 2009) ****
Signed editions scored cheap on eBay. Not bad.

18. C.O.W.L. #11 (Image, 2015) ***
Writers: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel/Artist: Rod Reis
A flat, rushed ending to a promising series cut short by poor sales.
19. Material #1 (Image, 2015) DUD
Writer: Ales Kot/Artist: Will Tempest
Pretentious twaddle.
20. Invader Zim #1 (Oni Press, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jhonen Vasquez/Artists: Aaron Alexovich & Megan Lawton
21.-25. All-Winners Squad: Band Of Heroes #1-5 (Marvel, 2011-12) ***¼
Writer: Paul Jenkins/Artists: Carmine Di Giandomenico (interiors); Mico Suayan & June Chung (covers)
Another interesting series prematurely axed due to poor sales. A damn shame.
26.-28. The Mysterious Strangers #3,5-6 (Oni Press, 2013) ***½
Writer: Chris Roberson/Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
A quirky sci-fi/Mission: Impossible-style 60s comic with some charm. And, hey, it stars an ex-luchador, which can’t be bad, right?
29.-33. The Horror Of Collier County #1-5 (Dark Horse/Maverick, 1999-2000) ****
Writer/artist: Rich Tommaso
A disturbing look into one woman’s battle with mental illness, as seen through the prism of a 50/60s-style horror movie or episode of The Twilight Zone. Unsettling. 
34.-41. The Thing: Project Pegasus (Marvel, 2009) ***¾
- originally published in Marvel Two-In-One #42-43, 53-58 (Marvel, 1978-79)
Writers: Ralph Macchio & Mark Gruenwald/Artists: Sal Buscema, John Byrne, George Perez & friends
I find it hard to read Marvel comics from the 70s – the dialogue was so torturous and the characteris’ personalities were so underdeveloped and shallow. That said, Marvel still had a sense of fun and adventure to its plots and this one is an underrated beaut. The Thing visits a mysterious government facility exploring alternative energy options, initially to visit a captured friend called Wundarr and ends up working there as its security chief. Over several issues he deals with a saboteur and a slew of guest stars including Captain America, Thundra, Black Goliath, Man-Thing and Deathlok. It’s all quite stupid when you read it one hit, but this would’ve been heaps fun to read month by month.
42.-44. Strange Tales (Marvel, 2009-10) ****
Writers/artists: Paul Pope, Molly Crabapple, Peter Bagge, Jhonen Vasquez, Tony Millionaire, Matt Kindt, Stan Sakai, Max Cannon, etc
45.-47. Strange Tales II (Marvel, 2010-11) ****
Writers/artists: Rafael Grampa, Jhonen Vasquez, Jeff Lemire, Farel Dalrymple, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Terry Moore, Harvey Pekar, etc
A hit’n’miss collection of Marvel superhero yarns as interpreted by some of the best indie talent around.
48. Providence #1 (Avatar, 2015) *
Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: Jacen Burrows
Even Moore’s horror books are boring now. Disappointing.
49.-57. Murder Me Dead hardcover (El Capitan, 2002) ****¾
- originally published in Murder Me Dead #1-9 (El Capitan, 2000-01)
Writer/artist: David Lapham
58. The Woods #13 (BOOM!, 2015) **
Writer: James Tynion IV/Artist: Michael Dialynas
I officially give up on this sereies. I don’t know who all the characters are and, worse still, I don’t care what happens to them. And it WON’T END!!! Ack.

59.-70. Avengers/Invaders #1-12 (Marvel/Dynamite, 2008-09) ***¼
Writers: Alex Ross & Jim Kruger/Artists: Steve Sadowski & friends (interiors)/Alex Ross (covers)
Beautiful covers are the major highlight of this quirky series that sees a displaced Invaders visit the modern Marvel Universe post-Civil War. There’s everyone here from the Red Skull to Ultron to evil SHIELD LMDs to modern Sub-Mariner duking it out with junior Sub-Mariner. Ultimately, it leads to nothing except the unnecessary revival of Toro, but at least it’s fun and pretty to look at.
71. Captain America: Who Won’t Wield The Shield? (Marvel, 2010) **¾
Writers/artists: various
Marvel doesn’t do satire well and this tie-in anthology with Captain America: Reborn just isn’t very funny...even with Brendan McCarthy’s artwork and a guest appearance from Forbush Man.
72. Copperhead #8 (Image, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
73.-76. Angel And The Ape #1-4 (DC, 1991) DUD
Writer: Phil Foglio/Artists: Phil Foglio & Keith Wilson
For a comedy miniseries this post-Crisis revival of an old 60s title is short on laughs and long on implied bestiality and demeaning portrayals of women. Overall, a big BLEH from me.
77.-98. Doom Patrol #1-22 (DC, 2009-11) ***¼
Doom Patrol: Writer: Keith Giffen/Artists: Matthew Clark & friends
Metal Men: Writers: Keith Giffen & JMDeMatteis/Artist: Kevin Maguire
Giffen’s attempt to repair the damage from John Byrne’s previous incarnation partially succeeds. It takes a while but this series was coming together...until The New 52 initiative killed it.
Much more fun was the Metal Men back-up feature in #1-7. The old Justice League (of 80s fame) team seem to be really enjoying their reunion.

99. JLA/JSA Secret Files & Origins #1 (DC, 2003) ***½
Writers/artists: various
100.-120. JSA #41-58 (DC, 2002-04); Hawkman #23-25 (DC, 2004) ****
Writers: David Goyer & Geoff Johns/Artists: Leonard Kirk & friends
This is the oldest comics I had in my collection in the sense that I’d never got around to reading them. I mean, 13 years is a long time. Not sure how I drifted away from JSA. I think I got sidetracked with life and the issues started piling up. After a while I had 20+ comics sitting there and I’d lost interest in the series. When a personal crisis hit in late 2003/early 2004 I made a decision at that time to cut waaaaay back on my standing order at Kings Comics. JSA was an easy cut at that point. Four years later, the JSA got rebooted, then a few years after they were retconned out of existence by the New 52. These decade-old comics gathering dust in my spare room seemed even less relevant than before.
However, in my attempt to reach my 200-comics goal, I decided to tackle them...and I’m glad I did. This was always a fun series with characters I really liked (I was a sucker for JSA in the 70s, Infinity Inc. and All-Star Squadron back in the 80s, too). The culmination of this run is the Black Reign storyline in both JSA and Hawkman, which leads to a big showdown between the JSA (and Hawkman) against Black Adam and his team of reformed super-villains and conflicted superheroes (including Atom Smasher) after they’ve violently liberated the African nation of Kahndaq (which is Black Adam’s homeland). Should heroes kill if it serves the greater need? The assassination of Kobra is an effective shock moment. This is a pretty powerful question and Johns (who was handling both books solo at this stage) is pretty much at his peak as a writer. Great stuff.
121.-123. Kaijumax #2-4 (Oni Press, 2015) **
Writer/artist: Zander Cannon
Whoa! This comic just took a turn for the worst. A so-called monster mash-up of Godzilla movies and prison flicks just went into decidedly Oz territory with #4. Our oversized hero gets RAPED in the shower? Er......this isn’t a fun read anymore.
124-125. Nailbiter #13-14 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
126. Chrononauts #4 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Sean Murphy
127. Southern Bastards #9 (Image, 2015) ****½
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
128. God Hates Astronauts #9 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Ryan Browne/Artists: Jordan Boyd (interior); Ryan Browne (main covers)
129-130. The Fade Out #6-7 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips 
131-132. The Fox #3-4 (Dark Circle, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid/Artist: Dean Haspiel
133-134. Revival #30-31 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton (interior); Jenny Frison (cover)
135-136. Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #5-6 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: David Lapham
137-138. Mind MGMT #34-35 (Dark Horse, 2015) ****
Writer/artist: Matt Kindt
139. Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #3 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
140-141. Jupiter’s Circle #3-4 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: Wilfredo Torres (interior); Frank Quitely (cover)
142-143. The Black Hood #4-5 (Dark Circle Comics, 2015) ***¼
Writer: Duane Swierczynski/Artist: Michael Gaydos
A flat ending to what was a promising series. Could have been so much better.
144-145. Black Science #15-16 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Matteo Scalera
146-148. Secret Identities #4-6 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writers: Jay Faerber & Brian Joines/Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
149-150. Groot #1-2 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jeff Loveness/Artists: Brian Kesinger (interiors)/Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire (covers)
151.-155. Ame-Comi Girls Vol. 1 (DC, 2013) **
- originally published in Ame-Comi Girls #1-5 (DC, 2012-13)
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray/Artists: various
Comics based on a figurine line is a bad basis for a comic. This title was pretty ordinary...although I’m sure there were fanboys who masturbated like crazy over this title. Me? I got the trade free from a mate. Still had a wank, though.
156-161. They’re Not Like Us Vol. 1: Black Holes For The Young (Image, 2015) ****½
- originally published in They’re Not Like Us #1-6 (Image, 2015)
Writer: Eric Stephenson/Artist: Simon Gane
A fascinating take on the superhero mythos. What if the X-Men were a bunch of selfish, nihilistic thugs who stole from and beat the shit out of innocents without conscious and without fear of the consequences? It’s chilling stuff.
162.-167. JSA: Strange Adventures (DC, 2010) ***¼
- originally published in JSA: Strange Adventures #1-6 (DC, 2004-05)
Writer: Kevin J. Anderson/Artists: Barry Kitson & Gary Erskine (interiors); John Watson (covers)
168.-186. Air Vols. 2-4 (Vertigo, 2009-11) ***¼
- originally published in Air #6-24 (Vertigo, 2009-10)
Writer: G. Willow Wilson/Artist; MK Perker
187-189. The Ghoul: Treasury Edition (IDW, 2014) **½
- originally published in The Ghoul #1-3 (IDW, 2009)
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Bernie Wrightson
Bernie’s artwork is nice in B&W and in an oversized format, but you can see he’s not the same Bernie of 40 years ago (and understandably so). As for Niles’ writing, this is pedestrian horror material. 
190-191. All-Star Section Eight #1-2 (DC, 2015) ****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: John McCrea)
Garth Ennis really, really, REALLY hates superheroes.
192.-193. Starve #1-2 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artist ;Danijel Zezelj
Cooking and comics – what a tasty fucking combination.
194.-195. Airboy #1-2 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Greg Hinkle
The greatest comic revival EVER. The greatest meta comic ever. This is arguably the best comic of the decade!

196.-198. Oh, Killstrike #1-3 (BOOM!, 2015) ****½
Writer: Max Bemis/Artist: Logan Faerber
Beautifully skewering Rob Liefeld, Alan Moore and all those lame superheroes with big guns and bigger pockets from the 90s. Brilliant stuff.
199.-200. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6-7 (Marvel, 2015) *****
Writer: Ryan North/Artist: Erica Henderson
201. Nameless #4 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Chris Burnham
202-203. Deadly Class #13-14 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
204. Silver Surfer #12 (Marvel, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Dan Slott/Artist: Michael Allred
This series is still around and that’s cool.
205. We Stand On Guard #1 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Steve Skroce
America invades Canada over water rights? Fucking A! This new series is awesome.
206. The Spirit #1 (Dynamite, 2015) ****
Writer: Matt Wagner/Artists: Dan Schkade (interior); Eric Powell (cover)
A nice debut for this reboot of The Spirit, even if the main character doesn’t actually appear in this issue. They’ve gone back to the original 1940s setting, which I think is crucial for The Spirit to succeed, I think. I have hope for this series.
207. Howard The Duck #4 Marvel, 2015) ****¼
Writer: Chip Zdarsky/Artist: Joe Quinones & Joe Rivera
208. Strange Fruit #1 (BOOM!, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Waid/Artist: JG Jones
A helluva new book about the American South, racism and a Nubian God descending from the stars. This should be good.

209. Convergence: Crime Syndicate #2 (DC, 2015) *
210. Convergence: World’s Finest #2 (DC, 2015) *
Writers/artists: various

I swore I’d never buy any of these DC titles during this stupid “event”. But I picked up these two comics in the Kings’ remainder bin because they were “damaged” for two bux apiece. Plus they featured two of my fave classic groups of characters, the Crime Syndicate and the Seven Soldiers Of Victory. And y’know what? They both sucked! It was nice to see the characters again, but the storyline went nowhere and signified nothing. Who fucking cares, DC? Who cares anymore?

Monday, July 20, 2015


* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

*****     Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
****      From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
***        Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**         Promethea
*           LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff

1. Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #2 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
2. Sticky Nonsense (Square Peg, 2012) *****
Writer/Artist: John Ken Mortensen
Post-it notes seem so innocent, but not in the hands of this Danish artist, who creates tiny horrific images torn from the nightmares of Maurice Sendak and HP Lovecraft.
3. Delusional (AdHouse Books, 2013) *****
Writer/Artist: Farel Dalrymple
Assorted bibs and bobs from my favourite alternative artist. Delightfully unsettling.
4. Sauce Or Mustard? (Angus and Robertson, 1951) ****
Writer/Artist: Emile Mercier
One of Australia’s most idiosyncratic comic book artists of the 1940s became a regular newspaper gag cartoon writer in the 1950s. While his art is great, some of the jokes don’t translate well to my 21st century tastes. I scored this book cheap in a second-hand store near Albury-Wodonga, which makes me pretty happy.
5. Everything Is Teeth (Knopf, 2015) ****
Writer: Evie Wyld/Artist: Joe Sumner
A poignant reminisce about summers in Australia and the fear of sharks. And also what a dick “shark hunter” Vic Hislop was.
6.-37. Irredeemable Vols. 3-10 (BOOM!, 2009-12) ****¾
- originally published in Irredeemable #9-37, Irredeemable Special #1, Incorruptible #25-26 (BOOM!, 2009-12)
Writer: Mark Waid/Artists: Diego Barreto, Peter Krause & friends
38. Doc Weird’s Thrill Book! #2 (Pure Imagination, 1987) **
Writers/Artists: Wally Wood & friends
Late 1940s/early 1950s sci-fi and war reprints from smaller publishing houses. The fact that it features early Wood art is the only thing to recommend this comic.
39.-46. Incorruptible Vols. 2 & 3 (BOOM!, 2010) ****
- originally published in Incorruptible #5-12 (BOOM!, 2010)
Writer: Mark Waid/Artists: Horatio Domingues & Juan Castro (Vol. 2); Horatio Domingues & Juan Castro & Michael Babinski, Marcio Takara (Vol. 3)
The flipside to Irredeemable sees Max Damage, one of the world’s worst super-villains turn good when faced with true evil in The Plutonian. It’s an intriguing tale about redemption and trying to do the right thing after years of NOT doing the right thing, but there’s something icky about cheering on a guy who was shagging an underage sidekick for years. Ewwwwww.
Also, having read Irredeemable, this series feels vaguely irrelevant now. I doubt I’ll pick up the last four volumes.

47. Totentanz (self-published, 2012-15) *****
Writer/artist: Marcel Ruijters
48. #takedown (Pikitia Press, 2015) ****½
Writer/artist: David Blumenstein
49. Good Dog Whiskey (self-published, 2014) ***¼
Writer/artist: K. Kobi
Reviews HERE.

50. The Standard #1 (Comix Tribe, 2013) ***½
Writer: John Lees/Artist: Jonathan Rector
Yet another “gritty” take on the superhero genre, but at least this one shows promise. The Standard was the first superhero, but when he retired, his sidekick took over the role. Now, The Standard is a reality TV star, endorsing perfumes and anything else on offer. And then he gets killed. Will the original Standard return to find his killer? Like I said, intriguing. Scottish-born Lees wrote the creepy and excellent And Then Emily Was Gone, so I have high hopes for this series. Rector’s art is patchy, depending on who he’s swiping from, but I’m here for the story, not the artwork. I’m tempted to contribute to Lees’ Kickstarter project and buy the swish hardcover version of the series.
51. Attack On Titan #1 (Kodansha Comics, 2010) ****
Writer/artist: Hajime Isayama
52.-56. The Sixth Gun: Days Of the Dead (Oni Press, 2015) ****
- originally published in The Sixth Gun: Days Of the Dead #1-5 (Oni Press, 2015)
Writers: Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt/Artist: Mike Norton
57.-62. Wytches Vol. 1 (Image, 2015) *****
- originally published in Wytches #1-6 (Image, 2015)
Writer: Scott Snyder/Artist: Jock
63. Comix Book #1 (Marvel/Curtis, 1974) **½
Writers/artists: various
64. Jeremy Brood: Relativity (Fantagor Press, 1982) ****
Writers: Jan Strnad & Richard Corben/Artists: Richard Corben (w/- Stan Dresser)
An extremely rare limited-edition hardcover fell into my possession for next to nix, so I finally reread this flawed sci-fi tale for the first time in 33 years. Love the art, but the story is unfinished, which is an amazing rip-off. A truncated conclusion appeared in Fantagor Presents years later. One day I’ll be able to afford to find out how this tale ends.
65.-66. Freaks #1-2 (Monster Comics, 1992) *****
Writer: Jim Woodring/Artist: F. Solano Lopez
A pitch-perfect adaptation of Tod Browning’s classic horror film. Beautifully illustrated by Lopez. Just about perfect.
67.-71. House Of Mystery Vol. 1: Room & Boredom (Vertigo, 2008) ****½
Writers: Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham/Artists: Luca Rossi & friends
72.-74. RASL Vol. 1: The Drift (Cartoon Books, 2008) ***½
- originally published in RASL #1-3 (Cartoon Books, 2008)
Writer/artist: Jeff Smith
Another classic Rachel Rising-style indie comic – great story, great art...took me 10 minutes to read three comics. I’m glad I picked this up for only $2.50 on eBay. I would’ve been pissed if I’d paid full price for this book.
75. Action Comics #591 (DC, 1987) ***½
Writer: John Byrne/Artists: John Byrne & Keith Williams

Classic Byrne work as he continued his innovative reinvention of Superman into a pretty cool character. Guest-starring the Legion Of Super-Heroes, Krypto and Superboy??? 

Wytches...extremely nasty.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kirby gets heavy

ART by Jack Kirby first commissioned by the CIA (!) in 1979 has finally been coloured and will appear in an upcoming issue of HEAVY METAL. Full story at:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

KYE ep. 40: The lost art of comics zines

IN WHICH I talk about comics zines, including some classic ones from the 1970s and early 80s that I picked up for a buck apiece at Elizabeth's Bookshop on Pitt Street, Sydney.
I then segue into a review of the more notorious mid-90s comics zine/magazine Subliminal Tattoos, published by the infamous Robet Dupree (aka "KOOL Man"). Lots of sleazy commentary for your aural enjoyment.
You can download the 30-minute podcast HERE.