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.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

COMICS READING FOR NOVEMBER: “I’m just an old-school fool”

 

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

2.-3. Kiss Comix #46, #51 (Ediciones La Cupola, 1995) ***
4.-11. El Vibora #169, #180-182, #184, #191, #199-200 (Ediciones La Cupola, 1993-96)
Writers/artists: various
Spanish porn comix that also feature reprints of various US indie classics such as Hate, Love & Rockets and Tank Girl. The Euro-strips range from inept to hot to super-hot to perverse to disturbing. Those wacky furriners! To be honest, I couldn’t really “read” these mags, but some of them provided plenty of entertainment...if you get my drift.

12. DC Special #5 (DC, 1969) ***
Writers: various/Artist: Joe Kubert
A funny, self-effacing meta-look at the live and art of Joe Kubert. With cartoon kid cameos from Andy and Adam.
13. DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #24 (DC, 1982) **½
Writers/artists: various
This is “The House Of Mystery” special, which means lots of lame horror yarns with predictable, dull “twist” endings. The only thing saving this collection is lovely art by the likes of Wally Wood, Alex Toth and Berni Wrightson.
14. Metamorpho #15 (DC, 1967) **½
Writer: Bob Haney/Artists: Sal Trapani & Charles Paris
I’d heard this was DC’s attempt to parody the Fantastic Four’s cosmic storylines – the world-conquering Thunderer is a midget as opposed to the gigantic Galactus – and it certainly has a lot of Stan Lee’s bombastic dialogue and a sequence featuring “Kirby krackle”. The story is kinda lame but wackily enjoyable, especially Haney’s failed attempts to use “hip” lingo. I actually found the various house ads way more fun to read.
15. DC Comics Presents #52 (DC, 1982) **¾
Writer: Paul Kupperberg/Artists: Keith Giffen & Sal Trapani
Superman teams up with the “new” Doom Patrol to combat an outta control Negative Woman and psycho new villain Ambush Bug (!) Yes, before he became a lovable nutjob as scripted by Giffen, Bug was a deranged killer (he murders a politician at a parade in this issue in front of TV cameras for no reason). While the story is pedestrian, I loved Giffen’s in-jokes. There are several large balloons of fictional characters in the parade and if you look carefully you see that Giffen’s slipped in homages to Elfquest, Cerebus and Judge Dredd. I enjoyed that.
16. Superman #20 (DC, 1988) ***
Writer: John Byrne/Artists: John Byrne & Karl Kesel
17.-18. Supergirl #8-9 (DC, 1983) ***
Writer: Paul Kupperberg (Supergirl), Tamsyn O’Flynn (Lois Lane #8), Joey Cavalieri (Lois Lane #9)/Artists: Carmine Infantino & Bob Oksner (Supergirl), Bob Oksner & Dick Giordano (Lois Lane #8), Bob Oksner & Dave Hunt (Lois Lane #9), Gil Kane (covers)
19.-22. Doom Patrol #89, #109, #118, #123 (DC, 1964-73) ****
Writer: Arnold Drake/Artists: Bruno Premiani (interiors), Bob Brown (covers #89, #118, #123), Bruno Premiani (cover #109)
- Doom Patrol #123 originally published in Doom Patrol #95 (DC, 1965)

23. Colder: The Bad Seed #2 (Dark Horse, 2014) ****
Writer: Paul Tobin/Artist: Juan Ferreyra
24. Sundowners #4 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artists: Jim Terry (interior); Chris Brunner (cover)
Intriguing story, but let down by Terry’s mediocre art.
25.-36. Revival #14-25 (Image, 2013-14) ****
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artists: Mike Norton (interior); Jenny Frison (cover)
37. Revival/Chew #1 (Image, 2014) ***½
Revival: Writer: Tim Seeley/Artists: Jim Terry (interior); Chris Brunner (cover)
Chew: Writer: John Layman/Artist: Rob Guillory


38. The Arrival (Lothian, 2006, 2014) *****
Writer/artist: Shaun Tan
Superb stuff by a talented Aussie. Tremendously powerful. 

39. Shadow Show #1 (IDW, 2014) ***¾
Writers: Joe Hill & Jason Ciaramella/Artists: Charles Paul Wilson III & Jeremy Mohler (interior); Gabriel Rodriguez (cover)
40. Gotham By Midnight #1 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Ray Fawkes/Artist: Ben Templesmith
41.-44. Stray Bullets: Killers #5-8 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer/artist: David Lapham
45. Hero Comics 2014 (IDW, 2014) ***¼
Writers/artists: various
46. Avengers #309 (Marvel, 1989) **¾
Writer: John Byrne/Artists: Paul Ryan & Tom Palmer
The Great Lakes Avengers appear in a cameo – this is the only reason why I bought it.
47. Weird Wonder Tales #19 (Marvel, 1976) **¾
Writers/artists: various
A classic monster reprint, but this issue is significant as it reprints the origin of Dr Druid (originally called “Dr Droom”) and Groot (from Tales To Astonish #13). Plus a delightful B. Krigstein-drawn tale called “The Hypnotist” (from Astonishing Tales #47).
48. Dream Police #5 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Sid Kotian
49. Wild’s End #3 (BOOM!, 2014) ***½
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: INJ Culbard
50. The Fade Out #3 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips 
51. Men Of Wrath #2 (Icon, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Ron Garney
52. She-Hulk #10 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Charles Soule/Artists: Javier Pulido (interior); Kevin Wada (cover)
53.-54. Silver Surfer #6-7 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Dan Slott/Artist: Michael Allred  

 
55. Dead Of Night #6 (Marvel, 1974) **½
Writers/Artists: various
My blog and podcast about this comic HERE.

56. Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ***½
Writers: Roger Stern, Stan Lee, Ray Gill/Artists: Paolo Rivera, Bob Oksner [main story]
57. Mystic Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ***
Writer/artist: David Lapham; Juan Doe (cover art) [main story]
58. Daring Mystery 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ****
Writer: David Liss/Artists: Jason Armstrong (interior); Val Staples (cover) [main story]
59. All Winners 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ****
Writer: Karl Kesel/Artists: Steve Uy (interior); Daniel Acuna (cover) [main story]
60. All Select Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ****
Writer: Marc Guggenheim/Artist: Javier Pulido (Blonde Phantom)
Writer/artist: Michael Kupperman (Marvex) [main stories]
61. Marvel Mystery 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ***½
Writer: Tom DeFalco/Artists: Chris Burnham (interior); Paolo Rivera (cover) [main story]
62. USA Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ****
Writer: John Arcudi/Artists: Steve Ellis (interior); Clint Langley (cover) [main story]
63. Captain America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) ****
Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Marcos Martin [main story]
64. Miss America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 2009) **
Writer: Jen Van Meter/Artists: Andy MacDonald (interior); Eaglesham & McCaig (cover) [main story]

65. Virtual Doonesbury by GB Trudeau (Andrews & McMeel, 1996) ****
Apart from the fact that all the computer and internet gags are painfully outdated, this is another fine slice of Doonesbury life. Love me some Duke.
 
66. Legendary Star-Lord #5 (Marvel, 2014) ****
Writer: Sam Humphries/Artists: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco
67. Rocket Raccoon #5 (Marvel, 2014) ****
Writer: Scottie Young/Artists: Jake Parker & Scottie Young (interior); Scottie Young (cover)
68. Batgirl #36 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher/Artists: Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart (interior); Cameron Stewart (cover)
69. Real Heroes #4 (Image, 2014) ***
Writer/artist: Bryan Hitch
70. Velvet #8 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
71.-74. Nightworld #1-4 (Image, 2014) DUD
Writer: Adam McGovern/Artist: Paolo Leandri
I can understand an artist wanting to draw like Jack Kirby, because if you’re gonna ape someone’s style, you might as well crib from the best (right, Ron Frenz?). But why the fuck would you wanna WRITE like Jack Kirby? This is just about the worst comic I’ve read this year and it’s due to the overwrought, hamfisted scripts of McGovern. I know he’s trying to emulate Kirby’s Fourth World stuff, but that was SHIT – nice art, shame about the words. It’s the same here (only much, much less as it’s sub-Kirby, not the real thing). Avoid!

75. Futures End: Justice League United #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Jed Dougherty (interior)/Mike McKone (cover)
76. Futures End: Justice League #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Jed Dougherty (interior); Mike McKone (cover)
Oooooh, 3D covers! An evil Captain Atom! And Legion of Super-Heroes characters everywhere! Niiiiiice.

77. Nailbiter #7 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
Guest-starring Brian Michael Bendis??? This is actually a lotta fun.
78.-80. Justice League United #5-6, Annual #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writer: Jeff Lemire/Artists: Timothy Green II & Joe Silver (#5 interior); Neil Edwards & Jay Leisten (#6 & Annual interior); Mike McKone (cover #5); Andrew Robinson (cover #6 & Annual)
81. Ordinary #3 (Titan, 2014) ***½
Writer: Rob Williams/Artist: D’Israeli
82. Murky World (Dark Horse, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Richard Corben
Corben!
83.-84. Copperhead #2-3 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
85. Guardians 3000 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: Gerardo Sandoval (interior), Alex Ross (cover)
86. Deep State #1 (BOOM!, 2014) ***
Writer: Justin Jordan/Artist: Ariela Kristantina
87. MPH #4 (Image, 2014) ***½    
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Duncan Fegredo
88.-91. Terminal Hero #1-4 (Dynamite, 2014) ****
Writer: Peter Milligan/Artist: Piotr Kowalski
This is really fucked up.
92. Chesty Sanchez #2 (Antarctic Press, 1996) DUD
Writer: Steve Ross/Artists: Scott Michaud & Jayne Wu
Horrible.
93. Protectors Inc. #10 (Image, 2014) ***
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists: Gordon Purcell & Andrew Pepoy (interior); Ben Templesmith (cover)
So glad this superhero crime series is over. Badly drawn and kinda predictable. You can do better, JMS.
94. Image Firsts: Pretty Deadly #1 (Image, 2013-2014) ½*
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick/Artist: Emma Rios
Pretty awful.
95. Multiversity: Pax Americana (DC, 2014) ****
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Frank Quitely
I have no idea what’s going on but this “tribute” to Watchmen is lovely.
96. Guardians Of The Galaxy #21 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artist: Valerio Schiti
97. Moon Knight #9 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Brian Wood/Artists: Greg Smallwood (interior); Declan Shalvey (cover)
98. Deadly Class #9 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
99. Batman ’66: The Lost Episode (DC, 2014) ****
Writers: Harlan Ellison & Len Wein/Artists: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez & Joe Prado (interior); Alex Ross (cover)
An unused script by Ellison for the 60s Batman TV series finally sees the light of day. Very nice.
100.-102. Batman/Deathblow: After The Fire (DC, 2013) **
- originally published in Batman/Deathblow: After The Fire #1-3 (DC, 2002)
Writer: Brian Azzarello/Artists: Lee Bermejo, Tim Bradstreet & friends
103-104. The October Faction #1-2 (IDW, 2014) ***
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Damien Worm
 

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, ep. 36: "The horror of childhood nostalgia"


YOUR host Dann Lennard is joined once again by his wife Helen as we travel cross-country at Christmas. And what better way to spend our time than discussing this obscure Marvel reprint title from the mid-70s. Why did this mediocre title filled with 50s Atlas horror reprints leave such a lasting impression on my psyche as a boy? Find out in this podcast.
Recorded on December 21, 2014 (my apologies about the poor sound quality - the tape recorder was a tad too close to the air-conditioner).
Check it out HERE.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

COMICS READING FOR OCTOBER: “We don’t need another hero...bear”



* 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.-6. Herobear And The Kid: The Inheritance (BOOM!, 2014) ***
- originally published in Herobear And The Kid #1-5, FCBD Summer Blast 2013 (BOOM!, 2013)
Writer/artist: Mike Kunkel
My 4yo son loves this book because it features clocks and a giant polar bear. I just wish I liked it’s preachy, vaguely Christian sentiments. The animation-style art is very nice.
7. The Multiversity: Society Of Super-Heroes #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story & Walden Wong
Very jumpy, jerky issue...but I think I can see a pattern coming together with this miniseries. Hopefully, next issue will answer a few more questions.
8. Future’s End: Harley Quinn #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner/Artist: Chad Hardin
OOOOOH! A 3D, lenticular cover and lots of gratuitous bikini shots of Harley. That was $5.40 well-spent!
9. Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 (Marvel, 2014) ***
Writers: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing/Artists: various
So Angela is Thor’s sister. I worked that out in issue one. A ho-hum end to a less-than-impressive, patchily written and drawn miniseries.
10. Guardians Of The Galaxy #19 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Ed McGuinness & friends
This Original Sin tie-in is actually pretty entertaining. A hogtied Star-Lord continues his story to Gamora about how he and Thanos escaped the Cancerverse, and the final fate of Richard “Nova” Rider”.
11.-16. 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
17.-21. Colder #1-5 (Dark Horse, 2012-13) ****
22. Colder: The Bad Seed #1 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writer: Paul Tobin/Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Very creepy series returns in an even-creepier sequel. Nimble Jack may well be my fave new horror character of the decade. Let’s hope he doesn’t stay dead for too long.
22. The Fade Out #2 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
23. Copperhead #1 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
24.-27. Cutter #1-4 (Top Cow/Image, 2014) **
Writers: Robert Napton & Seamus Kevin Fahey/Artist: Christian DiBari (#1-3), Mann House (#4)
Very ordinary serial killer/slasher mystery series that doesn’t really go anywhere and ends abruptly. Oooooh, teenage bullies rape a chick, so her nutcase daughter seeks revenge 20 years later. Yawn! The last issue feels rushed, with a dreaded replacement artist, House, totally destroying the atmosphere built up by DiBari’s creepy artwork in the first three issues. The writing is pedestrian – I think Image needs to walk away from the serial killer theme for a while. That well is now empty.
28. Nailbiter #6 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
29. Guardians 3000 #1 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: Gerardo Sandoval (interior), Alex Ross (cover)
30. Ordinary #2 (Titan, 2014) ***½
Writer: Rob Williams/Artist: D’Israeli
31. King! #2 (Blacklist Studios, 2007) **
Writer: Thomas Hall/Artist: Daniel Bradford
Elvis Presley as a cool monster hunter? I say, “Meh.”
32.-33. Oi Oi Oi! #1-2 (ComicOz, 2014) **½
Writers/artists: various
Read my thoughts on this Aussie anthology HERE.  
34. Sundowners #3 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Jim Terry (interior); Chris Brunner (cover)
35.-38. Black Science #7-10 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Matteo Scalera
39. Batgirl #35 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher/Artists: Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart
Batgirl for Gen Me in the twenty-teens? This could be fun, especially with subjects like revenge porn websites getting a run in the revamped series.
40. Adventures Of Superman #17 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers: various/Artists: various
The final issue of this old-school take on Superman is lovely – shame the series has been axed. Great to see some lovely Steve Rude art, topped by a classic cover of him teaming with Jack Kirby’s OMAC.
41. Guardians Of The Galaxy #20 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Ed McGuinness & Valerio Schiti, Mark Farmer, Schiti & Mark Morales
Probably the pick of the Original Sin spin-off stories. At least it was a revelation that resolves a long-standing dangling plot line.
42.-43. The Field #3-4 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Ed Brisson/Artist: Simon Roy
Bloody time paradoxes! They’ll get ya every time!

 
44. Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 (Marvel, 2014) ****½
Gorgeous art, lovely stories. A fun read, topped off by an excellent Alex Ross cover. Bruce Timm’s artwork on Stan Lee’s first-ever yarn (a Captain America short story from 1941) is a gem. Most of exciting of all is a new Alias yarn by Bendis and Gaydos that hints at Jessica Cage’s imminent return as a super-powered PI. I welcome that move!
45.-47. Southern Bastards #3-5 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
What a bunch of magnificent bastards. My favourite new ongoing series.
48. Death Rattle #5 (Kitchen Sink, 1986) ***
Writer/artists: various
A mixed bag of a horror anthology. The early 50s Basil Wolverton reprint of “Robot Woman” is a clear highlight.
49.-52. Jupiter’s Legacy #1-4 (Image, 2013-14) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Frank Quitely
Of course, I was asking for trouble with these procrastinating creators. Four issues in 13 months, then nothing since March. Will there ever be a #5? Probably not. Pity.
53. Men Of Wrath #1 (Icon, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Ron Garney
I didn’t think Aaron could write about any bigger bastards than the ones in Southern Bastards. I was wrong. There are some baaaaad bastards in this new series.
54.-56. Deadly Class #6-8 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
57. The Human Fly #1 (Marvel, 1977) **½
Writer: Bill Mantlo/Artist: Le Elias
58. Charlton Premiere #1 (Charlton, 1967) *
Writers/artists: various
I only got this mediocre new superhero showcase for Grass Green’s art on “The Shape”, and even that is a letdown compared to his later work.
59. The Multiversity: The Just (DC, 2014) ***
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Ben Oliver
I have no fucking idea what’s happening. But it looks nice.
60. Starlight #6 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Goran Parlov
A weirdly good-but-unsatisfying conclusion to this Flash Gordon pisstake. Parlov’s art is beautiful, though.
61. Wild’s End #2 (BOOM!, 2014) ****
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: LNJ Culbard
I love this series and its ability to shock me. Killing off one of the major characters in only the second issue? Kudos, Mr Abnett, kudos.
62.-65. She-Hulk #6-9 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Charles Soule/Artists: Ron Wimberly (#6 interior), Javier Pulido (#7-9 interior), Kevin Wada (covers),
#6 was strange, with She-Hulk just letting a fascinating mystery slip through her fingers after she and her staff were nearly killed researching the case. I assume Soule will return to this dangling plotline at a later date. The new storyline about Steve “Captain America” Rogers on civil trial for a 70-year-old murder, with Matt “Daredevil” Murdoch as the prosecuting attorney, is a return to form, and #9 ends on a cool cliffhanger. Can’t wait for the next issue.
66. 13 Coins #1 (Titan, 2014) **
Writers: Martin Brennan & Michael B. Jackson/Artist: Simon Bisley
You know this supernatural horror yarn is all about the artwork when Bisley’s name is listed ahead of the two writers on the cover. That said, his not-his-finest-effort artwork is still head and shoulders the best thing about this by-the-numbers comic. Overall, a bit of a yawn.
67.-69. Protectors Inc. #7-9 (Image, 2014) ***¼
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists: Gordon Purcell & Andrew Pepoy
JMS is weaving a compelling Powers-like murder thriller and I look forward to the series’ conclusion next issue. But Purcell’s art? Goddamn – it’s fucking horrible.


70.-74. Ballistic #1-5 (Black Mask, 2013-14) ***
Writer: Adam Egypt Mortimer/Artist: Darick Robertson
Cronenberg meets William Burroughs. I have no idea what this series was on about, but it was an insane trip.
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
Knowing Hill, I didn’t expect a happy ending to this excellent series, and we didn’t get one...not quite. Bode’s return from the grave felt like a cop-out at first. Then again, the Locke family have gone through so much pain and anguish during this series that I can forgive Hill this one indulgence. All in all, a very satisfying – if bittersweet – end to an excellent series.
82. Nowhere Men #6 (Image, 2013) ***½
Writer: Eric Stephenson/Artist: Nate Bellegarde
Scientists as rock stars? What a fascinating concept. I enjoyed this unique take on the Beatles, but somehow forgot to read the final issue. I’ve rectified that oversight now.
83. Trees #2 (Image, 2014) **
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artist: Jason Howard
Proof positive that not everything Ellis writes is good. This is just dull.
84. Monster Menace #1 (Marvel, 1993) **½
Writers/artists: various
A reprint of classic 50s monster tales with art by Kirby, Ditko, etc, plus a new Kyle Baker cover.
85.-86. Legendary Star-Lord #3-4 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Sam Humphries/Artists: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco (#3), Freddie Williams II (#4)
87.-88. Rocket Raccoon #3-4 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer/artist: Skottie Young
89.-91. Moon Knight #6-8 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writers: Warren Ellis (#6), Brian Wood (#7-8)/Artists: Declan Shalvey (#6), Greg Smallwood (#7-8)
Sad to see Ellis leave this new series (not surprised, but sad all the same). But Wood seems to have picked up the reins nicely, keeping Ellis’s reinvention of the schizophrenic superhero going, but adding a few little twists and making the series ongoing rather than stand-alone tales. I’ll stick with this title a while longer.
92. Velvet #6 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
93. Duostar Racers #1 (IDW, 2008) *
Writer/artist: Ashley Wood
Is there anyone more pretentious than this Aussie “artist”? Nice drawings, mate, but not great. Crap writer. And has he ever finished ANYTHING? This was supposed to be the first of a two-part series about drug-crazed illegal racing drivers. Where’s part two, ya lazy cunt?! Too busy creating and selling uber-expensive dollies in Singapore, eh?
94. Cap’n Dinosaur (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Kek-W/Artist: Shaky Kane
I have no idea how these one-shots get off the ground and who buys them...but I’m glad they’re out there. Insane mash-ups/“tributes” to classic 50s and 60s superhero and horror comics. I dig them.
95. The Book Of Ants (Artisan, 1998) **¾
Writer: Darren Aronofsky/Artist: Edward Ross Flynn
A strange reimagining of movie director Aronofsky’s Pi, featuring lots of ants and Flynn’s evocative artwork.
96. The Fountain (Vertigo, 2005) **¾
Writer: Darren Aronofsky/Artist: Kent Williams
Beautifully drawn-but-confusing tale set simultaneously in the past, present and future. It’s about cancer and immortality. Beyond that, I have no real idea. Apparently, it got turned into a film. Did anyone see it?

OI VEY! A review of new Aussie comic "Oi! Oi! Oi" #1&2



CONGRATS to Aussie anthology OI OI OI! to getting its second issue onto local newsstands, a rare feat for any comic - let alone an Australian title - in 2014.
My question is: WHO THE FUG IS BUYING IT...apart from me, that is?
Oi Oi Oi! - a terrible name for a comic, by the way - is published by ComicOz, the imprint of Queenslander Nat Karmichael, who's also published classic collections of John Dixon's Air Hawk and Monty Wedd's Ned Kelly newspaper strips.
There's certainly nothing wrong with the anthology's intent: to showcase the best Aussie talent around... Of course, quality is subjective and I've found both issues uneven.

Oi Oi Oi! #1 (published in June) had strong contributions from Tony Thorne, Glen Le Lievre and Dillon Naylor, plus a fine cover from MAD artist Anton Emdin.
Other efforts are not so good, most notably a monster/sci-fi yarn by SCAR Studios (Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr). These guys have been pumping out the same sexually violent gore for 30 years without a hint of irony or growth .
I thought their contribution was inappropriate for a newsstand magazine situated next to more kid-friendly comics such as Scooby-Doo and The Simpsons. They also made Oi Oi Oi! look dated. SCAR's piece is easily the weakest thing in the first issue.

Oi Oi Oi! #2 (on sale now) is an improvement over the first issue. Having an all-women's issue is a welcome touch, while the addition of some colour pages helps make Caitlin Major and Scarlette Baccini's stories the strongest contributions. Again, the overall quality is patchy and, without wanting to sound too prudish, I question the amount of nudity and sex featured in a comic that's being sold in the children's section of newsagencies. Also, $7.95 seems a steep price for an indie B&W Aussie anthology comic. You'd be hard-pressed to get comics geeks paying that much at their local comic shop, let alone parents forking it over for their kids at a newssstand.

In summary, Oi Oi Oi! is a noble effort and worthy of your support.
But are noble efforts enough in 2014 to get people's support? I don't think so.


REVIEW: 22 Panels (That Always Work) @ Kinokuniya, Sydney


FANS of Wally Wood, Australian cartoonists and free champagne were in attendance at the launch of the 22 Panels exhibition at Kinokuniya Books in Sydney's CBD last Thursday night.
I drank far too much reasonably priced Australian sparkling wine, but it didn't diminish my enthusiasm for the pieces I sw.
The exhibition showcases 22 original panels from some of our finest pop culture artists, celebrating Wood's legendary cheat sheet/advice to aspiring artists titled "Wally Wood's 22 Panels Taht Always Work!!"
Brilliant talent such as Anton Emdin, Frantz Kantor, David Blumenstein, Dave Follett, Bruce Mutard, Glen Le Lievre and Glenn Lumsden provide their own take on Wally's panels. (And there isn't a weak piece in the collection.)
For comic book fans with a sense of history (and a love of local artists), it's a fun exhibition and it's open to the public until November 15. Check it out at The Wedge Gallery, Kinokuniya, Level 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney.
Get more info about it at

Sunday, October 12, 2014

COMICS READING FOR SEPTEMBER: “Totally not gay...well, a bit”



* 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.-26. Tom Of Finland: The Complete Kake Comics (Taschen, 2014) *****
- originally published in Kake #1-26 (various publishers, 1968-86)
Writer/artist: Tom of Finland
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying Tom’s artistic talent and his single-minded...er, vision. Luckily, I’m secure enough in my sexuality to appreciate Kake (pronounced “Cocky”) and his wordless adventures. This is a beautifully produced book, as you’d expect from Taschen.

27.-40. Fatale #12-24 (Image, 2013-14) ***¾
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
Hardly the most satisfying ending in the world (almost predictable), but still a lot of fun on the journey to the finale.

41. The Graveyard Book Vol. 1 (Bloomsbury, 2014) *****
Writer: Neil Gaiman (novel), P. Craig Russell (adaptation)/Artists: P. Craig Russell & friends
My "6yo forever" daughter loves this faithful adaptation. I do, too. We both can't wait for volume two.

42. Wild’s End #1 (BOOM!, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: INJ Culbard
43. MPH #3 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Duncan Fegredo
44. Velvet #7 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting


45.-47. Original Sin #6-8 (Marvel, 2014) ***¼
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Mike Deodato (interior), Julian Totino Tedesco (cover)
48.-50. Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man #.3.2-3.4 (Marvel, 2014) ****
Writers: Mark Waid & Kieron Gillen/Artists: Luke Ross (interiors), JG Jones (covers)
51.-53. Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5.2-5.4 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writers: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing/Artists: Lee Garbett, Simone Bianchi & friends (interiors); Dale Keown, Simone Bianchi (covers)  
54.-55. Original Sins #4-5 (Marvel, 2014) ****
Writers/artists: various
The core series ended with a whimper, not a bang. So Fury was some kinda intergalactic cop who helped The Watcher commit suicide? Erm...okaaaaay.
The two spin-offs had their moments, with the Hulk vs Iron Man mini the superior series.
But the surprise package was Original Sins, featuring a quirky Young Avengers story, plus fascinating short tales featuring some strong writing.

56. Wolverine: Bloodlust (Marvel, 1990) ***
Writers/artists: Alan Davis & Paul Neary
57.-64. Futures End #11-18 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers/artists: various
65. The Sundowners #2 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artists: Jim Terry (interior), Chris Brunner with Rico Renzi (cover)


66.-105. 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
106.-110. Nailbiter #1-5 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
Listen to my podcast about Nailbiter and Sweet Tooth HERE.

111.-116. Justice League Beyond: In Gods We Trust (DC, 2014) ***¾
- originally published in Justice League Beyond Digital Chapters #17-25, Superman Beyond Digital Chapters #11-20 (DC, 2013)
Writers/artists: various

117. Void (Titan, 2014) ***
Writer: Herik Hanna/Artist: Sean Phillips
I worked out the “twist” ending to this sci-fi/horror yarn on the first page. Hackneyed Hanna sucks huge sweaty black balls as a writer. But at least Phillips’ art is nicely gruesome.
118.-121. Marvel Adventures: The Avengers: Thor And Captain America (Marvel, 2011) ***
- first published in Super Heroes #13-16 (Marvel, 2008-09)
Writers/artists: various

122.-123. Fil Barlow’s Rex Vectar & Fil Barlow’s Zooniverse (Zoonitoons, 1986, 1992, 2013) ****
Writer/artist: Fil Barlow
I’m a sucker for this amazing Aussie artist’s work. These booklets, featuring some reprinted work from decades earlier, are a lovely taster of the new work to come (hopefully soon). Hurry up, Fil! While we're waiting, check out his website HERE.

124. Get Lost #1 (NCG, 1987) **¾
- originally published in Get Lost #1 (Mikecross Publications, 1954)
Writers/artists: Ross Andru, Mike Esposito & friends; Paul Gulacy (cover artist)
A B&W reprint of a sub-Mad rip-off from the 50s. Mediocre.
125. World’s Worst Comics Awards #1 (Kitchen Sink Comix, 1990) ***
Writer: James. I. Schumeister/Artist: Rich Larson
126.-129. Deathmatch Vol. 3 (BOOM!, 2014) ***
- originally published in Deathmatch #9-12 (BOOM!, 2013)
Writer: Paul Jenkins/Artist: Carlos Magno
What a disappointing ending to an extremely promising series. A convoluted, rabbits-pulled-out-of-their-arses deus ex machine resolution. Just a mess. It really left a bitter taste in my mouth.