Sunday, February 15, 2015

COMICS READING FOR JANUARY: “Can’t think of a bloody theme for this month”


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

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****     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. Family Favourites Comic Weekly Vol. 1 No. 15 (L. Miller & Sons Ltd, 1954) **
Writers/Artists: various
A bunch of popular American newspaper strips compiled for an English audience: Gasoline Alley, Lil’ Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, etc. Some nice nostalgia.
Writer: J. Torres/Artists: Todd Nauck & Lary Stucker (interior)/Sean Galloway (cover)
2. Oi Oi Oi! #3 (ComicOz, 2015) **¾
Writers/Artists: various
Blog review HERE.
3. Copperhead #5 (Image, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
4. Wild’s End #3 (BOOM!, 2015) ***½
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: INJ Culbard
5. The Fade Out #4 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips 
6. Men Of Wrath #4 (Icon, 2015) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Ron Garney
7. Silver Surfer #8 (Marvel, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Dan Slott/Artist: Michael Allred  
8. Guardians 3000 #4 (Marvel, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: Gerardo Sandoval (interior), Alex Ross (cover)
9. Deadly Class #10 (Image, 2015) ***½
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
10. The Woods #9 (BOOM!, 2015) ***
Writer: James Tynion IV/Artist: Michael Dialynas
11.-14. Future’s End #34-37 (DC, 2014-15) ***¾
Writers/artists: various
15. Black Science #11 (Image, 2015) ***
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Matteo Scalera
This series may have jumped the shark.
16. Miracleman Annual #1 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Joe Queseda (The October Incident: 1966)
Writer: Peter Milligan/Artist: Michael Allred (Seriously Miraculous)
Two new tales (including one that was originally written in the late 80s) and an all-star cast of creators, but this special is lacking...something. It’s very good...just not great. Charging US$5 for it is also damn cheeky.
17. The Multiversity Guidebook (DC, 2015) ****
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: various
Alright, Morrison’s laying some serious groundwork here for DC’s future. This maxiseries is slowly getting interesting.
18. Twisted Tales #1 (Pacific, 1982) *
Writer: Bruce Jones/Artists: various
Was there ever a more overrated horror comic writer than Bruce Jones? Overwrought dialogue, text-heavy boxes that obscured the great art by Richard Corben and friends, and always with bleeding obvious “twist” endings. Not good, despite featuring some lovely Corben art on the cover and inside.
19.-20. Mind MGMT #29-30 (Dark Horse, 2015) ****
Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt
21.-22. Gotham By Midnight #2-3 (DC, 2015) ****½
Writer: Ray Fawkes/Artist: Ben Templesmith
My God! This is a terrific horror series – utterly compelling, yet repellent at the same time. I hope it survives the DC “reimagining” later this year but, somehow, I doubt it.
23.-30. Desolation Jones #1-8 (WildStorm, 2005-07) ****
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artists: JH Williams III (#1-6); Danijel Zezelj (#7-8)
I think Warren Ellis is the most frustrating writer in comics today. He’s immensely talented with more ideas shat out in a day than most other writers have in a lifetime. He has one serious flaw, however...he can’t stay with a comic for long – he fears commitment. The guy has the attention span of a gnat. Seriously, has this guy ever stuck with a mainstream series for more than six issues? The guy jumps onto a comic – infuses it with greatness – then quits. And it’s worst with his creator-owned stuff. The cunt can’t finish ANYTHING. Take Desolation Jones. I read the first issue a while back and thought, “This is great! I must buy the rest of the run. There’s only eight issues, what an awesome maxiseries it must’ve been.” Then I found out it was actually an ongoing series that stopped after eight issues. No problem, I’m sure it was concluded neatly by Ellis, so as not to leave his fans dangling. Well, fuck me I was WRONG! The first six-issue arc – about ex-spook Desolation Jones being hired in LA to find a WW2 vintage porno starring Adolph Hitler – was suitably fucked up. “Five stars, easy,” I thought. Then the second arc kicks in and after two instalments...NOTHING. Ellis stopped doing the series (I assume due to poor sales) and never bothered to return to it. the series was left dangling...like he did with newuniversal...and Fell...and Anna Mercury...and fucking everything else he’s ever done. Fuck you, Ellis! You make me love you and hate you at the same time!
31.-34. Savage Hulk #1-4 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
This series had an in interesting concept that gave me a real sense of déjà vu. It felt like I was reading the old 1970s series Rampaging Hulk again – the B&W series set in the early 60s that fleshed out the Hulk’s back story from that era and which was retroactively written out of continuity in the 80s. One of the big guest stars in that mag was The Uncanny X-Men, and a later incarnation of that group (c. X-Men #66) guest-star in the first arc of this series. There are also guest appearances from The Abomination and The Leader. It’s a surprisingly pedestrian tale – Davis is a far better artist than writer – but I still got a kick out of seeing the X-Men before they got Claremont’d.
35.-36. The New 52: Future’s End #38-39 (DC, 2015) ***¾
Writers/artists: various
37.-40. The Dead Boy Detectives #1-4 (Vertigo, 2001) ***¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artists: Bryan Talbot & Steve Leialoha (interiors); Dave McKean (covers)
 41. Justice League United #8 (DC, 2015) ***¼
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Neil Edwards, Jay Leisten  Keith Champagne (interior); Andrew Robinson (cover)
Legionnaires! Hooray!
42. Rocket Raccoon #7 (Marvel, 2015) ***¼
Writer: Skottie Young/Artists: Filipe Andrade (interior); Skottie Young (cover)
43.-44. Revival #27-28 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton
45. Thor #172 (Marvel, 1970) **¾
Writer: Stan Lee/Artists: Jack Kirby & Bill Everett
Very pedestrian, by-the-numbers Thor tale about his willingness to sacrifice himself to save the life of that useless Jane Foster. Lovely Kirby art, but this series was so uninspired at this point.    
46. Jupiter’s Legacy #5 (Image, 2015) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Frank Quitely
Not sure I appreciate Millar charging US$5 for his comix now but if he keeps delivering the goods like this issue, then I’ll put up with it. Jupiter’s Legacy wraps up Book One with some real punch and makes me salivate at the thought of Book Two.
47. Justice League #13 (DC, 2015) ***½
Writer: Keith Giffen & JM DeMatteis/Artist: Howard Porter
Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and, now, Ice? And she’s a goddess? I like the direction this comic’s going in and the fact that next issue sees the return of an evil (?) Fire makes it even better.
48. Nailbiter #9 (Image, 2015) ***½
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
49. ShadowShow #3 (IDW, 2015) **
Writers/artists: various
I’ll always be grateful that this series re-sparked my interest in Ray Bradbury, but I give up on this series. It’s pretty ordinary.
50. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (Marvel, 2015) **½
Writer: Ryan North/Artists: Erica Henderson (and cover); Maris Wicks  
Underwhelming – I thought I’d enjoy this first issue more. It feels like Batgirl Lite. I’ll give the series one more issue to win me over, then I’m outta here.  
51.-52. Legendary Star-Lord #7-8 (Marvel, 2015) ***
Writer: Sam Humphries/Artists: Freddie Williams & Paco Diaz (interior); Paco Medina (cover)
This series is spinning its wheels a bit in these issues, setting things up for The Black Vortex crossover event to kick in.
53. SIP Kids #2 (Abstract Studio, 2015) ***
Writer/artist: Terry Moore
Overpriced, sub-Peanuts comedy from the Strangers In Paradise/Rachel Rising creator. I’ll steal any future issues off the net. Fuck Terry Moore.
54. Dark Age: A Collection Of Fantasy Art (Dark Age Productions, 1982) ****
Artists: various
This was one of 20 late 70s/early 80s mags (and a few comics) I picked up for a buck each at Elizabeth’s in Sydney last month. The haul included quite a few fanzines, which I’ll review on the blog at a later date. This high-quality art book really doesn’t count as a comic, but fuggit, I’m adding it to the list. The back cover is a glorious Corben piece I’ve never seen anywhere else. Inside is a ton of sci-fi and fantasy pin-ups and illos by the likes of Jeff Jones, John Severin, Berni Wrightson, Vaughn Bode, Barry Windsor-Smith, Wally Wood, Alex Nino, Michael Kaluta and more! Lovely stuff.
55. Bitch Planet #2 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick/Artist: Valentine De Landro
56. Moon Knight #11 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artists: Greg Smallwood with Giuesppe Camuncoli (Interiors); Declan Shalvey (cover)
57. Batgirl #38 (DC, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher/Artists: Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart
58. Terminal Hero #5 (Dynamite, 2015) ****
Writer: Peter Milligan/Artist: Piotr Kowalski
59. The October Faction #4 (IDW, 2015) ***
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Damien Worm
60. Guardians Of The Galaxy #23 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Valerio Schiti (interior); Christian Ward (cover)
61.-82. Showcase Presents All-Star Comics (DC, 2014) ****
- originally published in All-Star #58-74, DC Special #29, Adventure Comics #461-466 (DC, 1976-79)
Writers: Paul Levitz & friends/Artists: Joe Staton, Wallace Wood & friends
My New Year’s Resolution was to read a DC Showcase or Marvel Essentials book a month and I kicked off with this Showcase volume.

I loved this Justice Society of America series when I was a kid – when I first saw it, Joe Staton was drawing the series and I dug his artwork a lot. Years later, I tracked down earlier issues and marvelled at some of Wally Wood’s finest mainstream work. Even though I have most of the original colour comics, I bought this cheap trade to collect the JSA’s final stories after All-Star folded and they were relegated to Adventure Comics. Those issues are now prohibitively priced (I have no idea why), so this was a very cheap way of completing my collection. As is the case with all 1970s DC and Marvel comics, the writing is overblown and full of clichés (e.g. Power Girl is an aggressive, unpleasant feminist while Wildcat is an out-of-touch, ageing male chauvinist pig). But I love that Superman (who is the original 1940s Superman of Earth Two and, therefore, the FIRST superhero) is regarded as the father of all superheroes – a man who can arrive at a site filled with warring costumed do-gooders and stop them fighting just by his presence alone. It’s fantastic imagery that got me hooked on the JSA for life. If nothing else, pick up this volume to appreciate Wood’s input. He was the inker on All-Star #58-62, then he main artist on All-Star #63-65 (he even co-wrote #65 with Paul Levitz). His final two issues on the series see the JSA take on Vandal Savage in the era of King Arthur, and they’re magnificent. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Kirby Your Enthusiasm ep 37: "I read HOW many comics in 2014????"


COMICS READ in 2013: 807

COMICS READ IN 2014:
JAN. 74
FEB. 89
MAR. 99
APR. 54
MAY 161
JUN. 93
JUL. 105
AUG. 65
SEP. 129
OCT. 96
NOV. 104
DEC. 110
Total comics (including graphic novels) read in 2014: 1179

I READ 807 comics in 2013, but upped my game in 2014 to read a whopping 1179 comics - that's nearly 100 comics a month! Listen to my podcast HERE where I discuss the best and worst that I read last year. Below are my lists.
Cheers, Dann

BEST of 2014:
Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts (Library of America, 2010) *****
Featuring Gods’ Man (1929), Madman’s Drum (1930), Wild Pilgrimage (1932), Prelude to a Million Years (1933), Song Without Words (1936) and Vertigo (1937)

Blue Is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
(Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010, 2013) *****

Stray Bullets: Über Alles Edition (Image, 2014) *****
- originally published in Stray Bullets #1-41 (El Capitan, 1995-2005, 2014)
Writer/artist: David Lapham
Stray Bullets: Killers #1-3 (Image, 2014) *****
Writer/artist: David Lapham

Rachel Rising Vol. 1: The Shadow Of Death (Abstract Studio, 2012) ****½
- originally published in Rachel Rising #1-6 (Abstract Studio, 2011-12)
Writer/artist: Terry Moore
Rachel Rising #7-25 (Abstract Studio, 2012) *****
Writer/artist: Terry Moore

Miracleman #1 (Marvel, 2014) *****
- originally published in various comics (1954, 1956, 1982, 1985)
Writer: Mick Anglo/Artist: don Lawrence, Mick Anglo (1954, 1956)
Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: Garry Leach (1982, 1985)
Miracleman #2 (Marvel, 2014) *****
- originally published in various comics (1954, 1955, 1982, 1985)
Writer: Mick Anglo/Artist: Don Lawrence, Mick Anglo (1954, 1955)
Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: Garry Leach (1982, 1985)
Miracleman #3 (Marvel, 2014) *****
Writer: Alan Moore/Artists: Alan Davis & Garry Leach
Miracleman #4 (Marvel, 2014) *****
- originally published in various comics (1983, 1984, 1989)
Writer: Alan Moore/Artists: Garry Leach, Alan Davis
Miracleman #5-6 (Marvel, 2014) *****
- originally published in various comics (1954-55, 1983)
Writers: Alan Moore, Mick Anglo/Artists: Garry Leach, Alan Davis, John Ridgway, Mick Anglo, Don Lawrence

The Spirit #4-5, 9 (Kitchen Sink Comix, 1984-85) *****
Writer/Artist: Will Eisner & friends

Death (Vertigo, 2014) *****
- originally published in a bunch of different comics (Vertigo, 1989-2003) 
Writer: Neil Gaiman/Artists: Dave McKean & many others

Andre The Giant: Life And Legend (First Second, 2014) *****
Writer/artist: Box Brown

Maximum Minimum Wage (Image, 2013) *****
- originally published in Minimum Wage Book One, Minimum Wage #1-10 (Fantagraphics, 1995-99)
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
Minimum Wage #1 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
Minimum Wage #2 (Image, 2014) ****½
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
Read a forthcoming blog at for my thoughts on this excellent comic. 
Minimum Wage #3 (Image, 2014) ****½
Writer/artist: Bob Fingerman
Minimum Wage #4 (Image, 2014) *****
Writer/Artist: Bob Fingerman
Minimum Wage #5 (Image, 2014) *****
Writer/Artist: Bob Fingerman
Minimum Wage #6 (Image, 2014) ****½
Writer/Artist: Bob Fingerman

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Frank Quitely (DC, 2014) *****
- some pieces originally published as Batman: Scottish Connection (writer: Alan Grant, 1998); The Kingdom: Offspring #1 (writer: Mark Waid, 1999); Batman And Robin #1-3 (writer: Grant Morrison, 2009), The Sandman: Endless Nights (writer: Neil Gaiman, 2003); The Invisibles Vol. 3 #1 (writer: Grant Morrison, 2000)

Tom Of Finland: The Complete Kake Comics (Taschen, 2014) *****
- originally published in Kake #1-26 (various publishers, 1968-86)
Writer/artist: Tom of Finland


Sweet Tooth #1-25, Vols 5&6 (Vertigo, 2009-13) *****
- originally published in Sweet Tooth #1-40 (Vertigo, 2009-13)
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Jeff Lemire & friends

The Arrival (Lothian, 2006, 2014) *****
Writer/artist: Shaun Tan

The Graveyard Book Vol. 1 (Bloomsbury, 2014) *****
Writer: Neil Gaiman (novel), P. Craig Russell (adaptation)/Artists: P. Craig Russell & friends
The Graveyard Book Vol. 2 (Bloomsbury, 2014) *****
Writer: Neil Gaiman (novel), P. Craig Russell (adaptation)/Artists: P. Craig Russell & friends

75.-81. Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega (IDW, 2014) *****
- originally published in Locke & Key: Alpha #1-5 & Locke & Key: Omega #1-2 (IDW, 2012-13)
Writer: Joe Hill/Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez

The Sixth Gun Vol. 6: Not The Bullet, But The Fall (Oni Press, 2014) *****
- originally published in The Sixth Gun #36-41 (Oni Press, 2014)
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artists: Tyler Crook, Brian Hurtt



WORST:
Image Firsts: Low #1 (Image, 2014) DUD
Writer: Rick Remender/Aritst: Greg Tocchini

Chesty Sanchez #2 (Antarctic Press, 1996) DUD
Writer: Steve Ross/Artists: Scott Michaud & Jayne Wu

Arrow Special Edition #1 (DC, 2012) DUD
Writers: too many/Artist: Omar Francia

East Meets West #1 (Innovation, 1990) -*****
Writer: Paul Power/Artist: Paul Power & friends

Saturday, February 7, 2015

COMICS READING FOR DECEMBER: “Mind over matter”


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

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****     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.-22. Mind MGMT #7-28 (Dark Horse, 2013-14) ****½
Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt
23. Teen Titans Go! #32 (DC, 2006) ***
Writer: J. Torres/Artists: Todd Nauck & Lary Stucker (interior)/Sean Galloway (cover)
This issue has a wrestling theme, so I bought it. Rrrrrrrasssssslin’!
24. Superman Adventures #41 (DC, 2000) ***½
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: various (interior); Mike Manley & Terry Austin (cover)
Fluffy, kid-friendly stuff, but it’s novel to see Millar write “nice” comics, and the various artists (including Darwyn Cooke) do a nice job of emulating the animated look while keeping their original styles.
25. Dark Horse Presents #4 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writers/artists: various
I get my Dark Horse comics and trade free from the company, but I’m still choosy about what I read. I only checked out this uneven anthology for THE MIGHTY CHAPTER 1 (Story and inks by Keith Champagne, pencils by Leonard Kirk) and some new gag strips by Evan Dorkin.

COMIXOLOGY
26. Epochalypse #1 (Legendary, 2014) ****
Writer: Jonathan Henesey/Artist: Shane Davis
27.-28. And Then Emily Was Gone #1-2 (Comix Tribe, 2014) ***½ 
Writer: John Lees/Artist: Iain Laurie
29. Justice League Beyond 2.0 #1 (DC, 2013) ***½
Writer: Christos N. Gage/Artist: Iban Coello (interior); Khary Randolph (cover)

OVER AND OUT
30. SIP Kids #1 (Abstract Studios, 2014) ***
Writer/artist: Terry Moore
Alright Peanuts-style reimagining of the Strangers In Paradise cast, but like so many things by Mr Moore...OVERPRICED.
31.-35. Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick (Image, 2014) **
- originally published in Sex Criminals #1-5 (Image, 2013-14)
Writer: Matt Fraction/Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Kinda rude, but like so many things by Mr Fraction...OVERRATED
36.-37. Revenge #2-3 (Image, 2014) **¾
Writer: Jonathan Ross/Artist: Ian Churchill
Stupidly violent but a tad...OVERWROUGHT.
38.-39. Sex #6-7 (Image, 2013) **¼
Writer: Joe Casey/Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Who knew SEX and SUPERHEROES could be boring. Only in the hands of Joe Casey. And, like many things by Mr Casey, I’m...OVER HIM.
40.-45. Saga Vol. 4 (Image, 2014) ****½
- originally published in Saga #19-24 (Image 2014)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Fiona Staples
Finally! Someone shows you can produce a mature, funny, moving, violent, compelling, exciting story – and have loads of SEX in it – without it being juvenile crap. Like every Saga trade that I read...OVER TOO SOON.

46. Bitch Planet #1 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick/Artist: Valentine De Landro
A women-in-prison riff from a feminist perspective? Sure, I’ll roll with that...especially as there are loads of tits in it.
47. Southern Bastards #6 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
48. Copperhead #4 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
49. All Crime Comics #3 (ArtOfFiction.com, 2014) ***
Writer(s): The Art Of Fiction/Artists: Brad Rader, Jeff Snow (interiors); Bruce Timm (cover)
Glad to see these modern crime noir tales sold at an affordable price to a bigger market. They were waaaaaay overpriced if you tried to purchase the originals direct from their website. Anyway, I enjoyed this issue.
50. Image Firsts: Low #1 (Image, 2014) DUD
Writer: Rick Remender/Aritst: Greg Tocchini
Genuine, “I don’t give a shit” sci-fi crap. Muddily illustrated by Tocchini, haphazardly written by a slumming Remender. Bleh. Remender can do – and is doing – so much better.
51. Image Firsts: Outcast #1 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Robert Kirkman/Artist: Paul Azaceta
A better-than-average introduction to this Exorcist-style supernatural horror tale. I’m intrigued enough by the $1.50 I plunked down to now spring for the first trade.
52. Image Firsts: The Wicked & The Divine #1 (Image, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Kieron Gillen/Artist: Jamie McKelvie
This Image Firsts concept is pretty cool. Throw down a small amount of money and check out some titles that you didn’t grab the first time around. I may grab the first trade of this Gods-among-us series, too. Then again, I may not.

53. The CDLDF Presents Liberty Annual 2014 (Image, 2014) **½
Writers/artists: various
All very righteous. All very noble. I’m glad I donated money to a good cause, but this kinda bored me.
54. Nailbiter #8 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
55. Shadowshow #2 (IDW, 2014) ***
Writers/artists: various
Having now read the original book this series is based on, I’ve come to realise that it ISN’T VERY GOOD. The Neil Gaiman adaptation is probably the weakest Gaiman story I’ve ever read – and it’s still the highlight of this “tribute” to Ray Bradbury.
56.-60. Pop Gun War #1-5 (Absence Of Ink Comic Press, 2002) ****
Writer/artist: Farel Dalrymple
Farel is one of my favourite artists so I was thrilled to track down his first published (self-published) work. How sad it was then to learn that this wasn’t a five-issue miniseries but an ill-fated ongoing series. Which means that nothing is resolved by the end of issue five. Frustrating as this quirky series filled with magic realism showed such great promise. An angel fallen to Earth, a boy flying courtesy of stolen wings, a giant man, an evil puppeteer, a devilish manipulator and a homeless man who is greater than he seems living and interacting in a grimy city. Yep, real promise...shame it didn’t come together in the end.
61. Many Happy Returns (About Comics, 2008) ***
Writers/artists: various
A schizo indie comic mainly designed to promote Happy Harbor Comics, a Canadian comic shop, and its bland mascot Licensable Bear. The strips featuring the bear are pretty horrible, but the comic redeems itself with two gems, featuring the first Journey strip in decades, written and drawn by Bill Messner-Loebs, plus a new Crossfire tale, written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Dan Spiegle. They almost make up for Licensable Bear. Almost.
62.-76. The New 52: Future’s End (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers/artists: various
77. The October Faction #3 (IDW, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Damien Worm
78. American Splendor #2 (Vertigo, 2006) ***½
Writer: Harvey Pekar/Artists: various
It has art by Corben!
79.-81. The Auteur #3-5 (Oni Press, 2014) ***
Writer: Rick Spears/Artist: James Callahan
Showed promise but this violent, blackly humorous look at Hollywood ran out of steam by the fifth issue.
82.-86. The Woods #4-8 (BOOM!, 2014) ***¼
Writer: James Tynion IV/Aritst: Michael Dialynas
87.-90. Justice League 3000 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writers: Keith Giffen & JM DeMatteis/Artist: Howard Porter
Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are back! BWAH-hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!
91.-94. Caper #1-4 (DC, 2003-04) ****
Writer: Judd Winick/Artist: Farel Dalrymple
Gorgeously written and drawn tale of 1920s gangster revenge and redemption. A really strong start to this maxiseries. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, even though Farel left after issue #4.
95. Wild’s End #4 (BOOM!, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: LNJ Culbard
96. Moon Knight #10 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Brian Wood/Artists: Greg Smallwood with Giuesppe Camuncoli (Interiors); Declan Shalvey (cover)
97. 70 Years of Marvel Comics Frame Art (Marvel, 2009) **¾
Artists: various
98. Rocket Raccoon #6 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Skottie Young/Artists: Jake Parker (interior); Skottie Young (cover)
99. Guardians Of The Galaxy #22 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Valerio Schiti & David Lopez
100. Guardians Of The Galaxy Annual #1 (Marvel, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Frank Cho
101. Guardians 3000 #3 (Marvel, 2015) ****
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artists: Gerardo Sandoval (interior); Alex Ross (cover)
102. Legendary Star-Lord #6 (Marvel, 2015) ***½
Writer: Sam Humphries/Artists: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco
103. Marvel 100th Anniversary: The Avengers #1 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer/artist: James Stokoe
104.-105. The United States of Murder Inc. #4-5 (Icon, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
106. Men Of Wrath (Icon, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Ron Garney
107: The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures (DC, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Cameron Stewart
As a standalone issue, I really enjoyed Thunderworld. And Morrison’s overall story arc is slowly coming together, so I hope this means things are only gonna get better from here for The Multiversity.
108. The Flash #30 (DC, 2014) **¾
Writer: Robert Venditti/Artist: Van Jensen
A pretty ordinary issue in an uninspired series. I only have this because I’m friends with Anton Emdin, who drew the MAD Magazine-inspired variant cover of Gorilla Grodd. I won an autographed copy of the issue in an online comp, so that’s why I have it. Overall, though, The Flash was pretty dull.

109. Batgirl #37 (DC, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher/Artists: Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart
110. Justice League United #7 (DC, 2015) ***½
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Neil Edwards & Jay Leisten with Keith Champagne 

I’m collecting these series, but an extra incentive was grabbing the ones with variant covers by Darwyn Cooke. Gorgeous artwork.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

COMICS REVIEW: Oi Oi Oi! #3 (ComicOz, 2015)




MORE noble intentions from editor Nat Carmichael with his brave local anthology, but this is yet another hit’n’miss issue.
It starts well with a striking  wrap-around cover by David Follett who, until very recently, was a long-time contributor to People magazine (where I’m news editor).
Inside, the best contribution by a country mile is a fun colour sci-fi piece written by Mark Hobby and drawn by Ben Michael Byrne (creator of the underrated Kranburn).
The other strips are pretty forgettable – a couple of them commit the worst sin of all, being serials in a quarterly publication. Ain’t nobody got time to follow a quarterly serial, yo.
Again, I question who Oi Oi Oi! is aiming for? It’s a relatively literate, adult comic being sold among the kids’ comics in newsagencies. It’s mostly B&W. Some of the strips are throwaway one-panel gags (the kind you’d find in old men’s mags); others are just mediocre page-fillers.
A new issue is due in April and I hope it comes out. But unless something happens to shake up the present format, I don’t see Oi Oi Oi! having a long-term future in what is an extremely difficult marketplace.
Especially as Nat himself writes on his blog that sales on the first issue "came to 552 copies (of a 5000 print run). You don't need me to do the maths for you. That's 11% sold. Totally disappointing. But one I resolved to share with you."
Yep, unless something dramatic happens, I foresee a grim future for this anthology. And that's a real shame.