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Showing posts from October, 2011

SHORT TAKES: Real fears and close calls . . . . .

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CRIMINAL MACABRE: NO PEACE FOR DEAD MEN (Dark Horse)  Story: Steve Niles. Art: Christopher Mitten. Colors: Michelle Madsen. Letters: Nate Piekos of BlambotAs in prior Cal MacDonald tales, the vampires and werewolves do not get along and the banter between them makes for some funny exchanges.  However, they have to work together to bring down Cal, the greatest threat they face as pointed out by a new presence - - Salem, the daughter of the oldest vampire ever (but not named) who wants revenge for Cal’s murdering of her master and pissing on his corpse.  Their new plan is to leave MacDonald alone but kill everyone who comes in contact with him, thereby driving him mad with frustration and pushing him over the edge.  Even his ghoul friend, Mo’Lock, begins to sense that Cal is depressed and trying to isolate himself from the rest of the world.There are plenty of battles and situations in this one-shot issue, including an amusing scenario where Cal resurrects the spirit that inhabits his m…

PREVIEWS: What’s new for Wednesday, October 26, 2011?

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THE VAULT #3 of 3  (Image, October 26 release) Story SAM SARKAR.  Art GARRIE GASTONNY.  Color SAKTI YUWONO.  Cover GARRIE GASTONNY & BAGUS HUTOMOThe story of THE VAULT (so far) wraps up this issue with an ending that leaves us wondering if the creature is dead, down for the count, or just temporarily trapped in the depths of the ocean.   Issue #3 doesn’t dwell long on theories as to whether the grisly winged skeletal creature is a creation of heaven or hell - - it just gets right to the action.  The explorers thought they had escaped the monster and left it on the island, but a dangerous squall threatens to divert their ship right back to land.  Doesn’t matter   -- the creature has stowed away on board (as you might suspect) and proceeds to take out expedition members one at a time - - until it gains enough confidence to attack the entire group in one bloody battle.   The only thing that has a chance at stopping it are some artifacts, the same rod and seal that when removed freed …

BOOKS: a glorious overview of comics’ place in mythology

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SUPERGODS (WHAT MASKED VIGILANTES, MIRACULOUS MUTANTS, AND A SUN GOD FROM SMALLVILLE CAN TEACH US ABOUT BEING HUMAN)  by Grant Morrison  (Spiegel & Grau / Random House)  445 pages, hardcover, July 2011I’m not sure if Morrison intended for that subtitle to be there,  or if it was a last minute add-on by the marketing department.  Regardless of who takes credit for it - - it certainly creates some reader expectations, expectations I’m not sure the book is equal to meeting. What SUPERGODS does succeed in doing is take the reader on a journey through the  history of comic books , focusing on four key periods as defined by Grant Morrison (Golden Age, Silver Age, Dark Age, Renaissance), and selecting critical titles that best represent each period.  For each period, Morrison includes details on how it had an impact on him as well as what stage of his writing career he was in at that particular time. I considered the subtitle of SUPERGODS and considered how I might try to answer it:  “Wh…

Books I Read: DC Universe Legacies

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DC Universe: Legacies HC stands as the last official history of the old DCU. (I asked Len Wein on Twitter if he knew that when he was writing it, and he said "No, though there's something sweet about that in a melancholy way.")

Wein tells the story from the point of view of a young boy in Metropolis' Suicide Slum, who later grows up to be a police officer. Similar to "Marvels"' Phil Sheldon, this gives Paul Lincoln the excuse to be present for major events without seeming contrived. We follow Paul and his family through the decades, with Scott Kolins drawing Lincoln's present-day framing sequence in his painted style.

The book covers from the introduction of the JSA to just before Ted Kord's murder at the beginning of "Infinite Crisis". This isn't a big retcon book; everything plays out pretty much the way it did before. One notable exception: instead of using the version of Superman's first appearence from Mark Waid's &quo…

PREVIEWS: What’s new for Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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ZOMBIES, NINJAS and DUCKSKEY OF Z #1  of 4  (BOOM! Studios)  Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert, writers.  Aaron Kuder, art.  Covers: Nathan Fox and Tony MooreCan there ever be enough Zombie Literature?   Some will say never; while others crave no more after getting their fill.  Me, I’m about 3/4 tank full on zombies right now after watching the Season 1 final episode and Season 2 opener of THE WALKING DEAD on AMC TV and then sampling several zombie movies during their Fear Fest which runs every day  through October.  That just means it’s time to read about them for awhile.  I’ll always welcome another addition to the zombie offerings as long as I receive a good story and/or good art. KEY OF Z starts off promising and looks to deliver  a good story through it’s 4-issue run.  The art is already great, and reason alone to keep an eye on this book.  The style of artist Aaron Kuder is very creative, will remind you a little of Moebius and Quitely, and make you catch your breath with some …

PREVIEWS: What’s New for Wednesday, October 12, 2011?

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BLUE ESTATE #6 OF 12  (Image)  “Point Of No Return” Story by Viktor Kalvachev & Andrew Osborne. Art by Viktor  Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, and Nathan Fox.  Cover by Viktor Kalvachev.All of the loose ends begin to come together in this issue, as we learn more of the connections between the large group of characters in  BLUE ESTATE and how everything in this book in related to everything else (like the social game “Seven Degrees Of Kevin Bacon” played out in an infinite loop).  I could see this storyline continuing for several years.  It’s comforting to learn that there are 12 issues planned (at least for the first volume) so there will actually  be some kind of ending or resolution. It looks like the page one re-cap and character family tree (showing the connections between them) is going to be a regular feature - - and I certainly welcome that. You definitely need help keeping all the balls juggling in the air at the same time – and this helps.    As I read through BLUE ESTATE (one t…

The Randomizer - - October 7, 2011

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SHORT TAKESBRILLIANT  (Marvel/Icon, July 2011)  I wasn’t sure I liked the beginnings of this creator-owned series by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley on the first reading.  I just wasn’t feeling any connection to it and didn’t care much for the characters.  One month later I pick the book up again for a second read  - - while waiting for a troublesome 5-page memo to successfully fax from my home office. The slow progress of the fax actually gave me more time to spend on the book - - and I found myself warming up to BRILLIANT. Even though the principal characters are all younger than my sons  I found myself relating to them a little and ended up feeling that, as a slice of life look at modern college students,  it was pretty accurate. BRILLIANT is grounded in reality, at least for now, and hints (at first) at supernatural or arcane undercurrents within and then opens up to matters of a science-fiction or super-powered nature.  Brainy college students (astrophysics majors, etc) deci…

Thank you, Steve Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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from the official press release . . . . .STEVE JOBS COMIC BOOK BIOGRAPHY TO PAY TRIBUTE TO HIS LEGACY  Steve Jobs was nearly as iconic as his company logo. His legacy is that of an innovator, risk-taker, a visionary and a genius. With his recent passing, BLUEWATER PRODUCTIONS along with PAPERLESS PUBLISHING decided to publish the upcoming special edition biography comic book as an e-book available this week on the NOOK and Kindle.
The standard print issue, announced last June, will be released on schedule in three weeks. In respect for Jobs' lifetime of achievement and his brave fight against pancreatic cancer, BLUEWATER has pledged a portion of the issue's proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
“Jobs' vision and business acumen revolutionized the world,” said writer CW Cooke “Between he and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, you would be hard pressed to find someone with greater influence over how we communicate, interact and do business over the last 30 years.”
STEVE JOBS, F…

PREVIEWS: What’s New for Wednesday, October 5, 2011?

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Several  mini-series I’ve been following have new issues this week:RED SPIKE #5 OF 5  (Image/Benaroya)  Story:  Jeff Cahn.  Art:  Mark Texeira, Salvador Navarro, Ifansyah Noor.  Cover:  Mark Texeira.I thought last month’s cover with it’s imagery of the Lincoln Memorial busting up was dynamic - - - I think the cover to Issue #5 of RED SPIKE actually tops its.  Nice work by Mark Texeira with a subtle tip of the hat to the style of the 1960’s mens’ magazines cover style.  The impact  impression/indentation in the concrete wall is the topper.The first story arc comes to an end here, as we learn that no one leading secret military projects or in the federal government overseeing them is free of corruption (not that any of us are surprised by that!).  Colonel Moyer gets his day in front of the Senate investigating committee on the Red Spike project and bolts out of the hearing in an angry hissy fit.  He’s determined to protect his pet project and go down fighting if he can’t save it, regard…

Comics I Read: DC New 52 Week 4

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I thought the final week of new DC books was a good one. Again, the art is incredible across the board, and I have to shout out to all the colorists as well. A lot of these books rely on a specific color palette to really make the art pop, and the results show there's a lot of thought being put into that.

All-Star Western #1: No matter what Jimmy Palmiotti says, this isn't the same "Jonah Hex" book. It's the same Jonah Hex character, and I liked the addition of the urban Gotham setting, of Amadeus Arkham as the psychologist who finds Hex defies analysis, and the lush art of Moritat ("Elephantmen", "The Spirit"). However, I know of at least one fan of the previous series who didn't like the changes. Personally, I'm looking forward to more, plus the upcoming backups by other great creators. (This is a $3.99 book because it has extra pages.)

Aquaman #1: Really great, and surprisingly subtle. Ivan Reis' art isn't flashy here (though…

DC NEW 52: THE FLASH and GREEN LANTERN

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I have to admit that I’m very pleased with the quality of THE NEW 52 books that I’ve picked up so far.  They haven’t all been favorites - - but there are no duds (and thanks to Jeff’s reviews I also know which books to avoid).  I also recommend both of these books.  I haven’t quite decided yet if I’m going to start following them but I do intend to pick up Issue #2 of both.  So, Mikes’ DC 12 remains the same.  NOTE:  As you might expect, I’ll be revealing some of the storyline in these reviews - - so don’t read this if you don’t want part of your fun spoiled for you.THE FLASH #1  (DC,  9/28/2011 release) Story by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato.  Art by Francis Manapul.  Colors by Brian Buccellato.  Letters by Sal Cipriano.  This particular Flash is Barry Allen, my favorite version.  (Wally West is #2 for me.)  It doesn’t appear to involve many changes from the Old DC version to the New 52, at least so far.  It is cool that we’ll now have more stories to look forward to with Ba…

Comics I Read: Augmented Reality

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"Augmented reality is changing the way we view the world -- or at least the way its users see the world. Picture yourself walking or driving down the street. With augmented-reality displays, which will eventually look much like a normal pair of glasses, informative graphics will appear in your field of view, and audio will coincide with whatever you see."
-- from "How Augmented Reality Works" at HowStuffWorks.com

Augmented reality isn't just science fiction: smartphone apps like Yelp and Google Goggles can scan the view from your phone's camera and superimpose useful text on the images. But of course these comics take the idea to a sci-fi level that doesn't exist yet.


Warren Ellis' SVK: This being a Warren Ellis book, the augmented reality device here is part of a secret government conspiracy. Thomas Woodwind, former spy, is called back in to recover the stolen device which, it turns out, allows the user to literally see others' thoughts. The gimm…