Monday, July 20, 2015

COMICS READING FOR JUNE: “Unputdownable”


* 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. 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.