MORE HIDDEN TREASURES: Recent books worth looking for


THE DEEP SEA one-shot (Dark Horse, May 2013) Jimmy Palmiotti + Justin Gray, story. Tony Akins, art. Paul Mounts, colors. Bill Tortolini, letters.


The year was 1958, during an unofficial descent by bathysphere into the Mariana Trench.  An accident occurs, and the bathysphere and its occupants are lost in the depths of the trench until a recovery mission succeeds in current time.  The occupants are miraculously alive and have spent fifty-five years without aging.  Sea monsters appear.

There is a large amount of exposition here in order to set the scene and tell the story properly. The art is still captivating in spite of there being many panels where characters are just talking.  And the colors and lettering really highlight this book very well.  I’m reminded of some of the good early 1950’s – 1960’s science fiction movies as well as the better issues of DC’s SEA DEVILS title.

This story was serialized in the pages of DARK HORSE PRESENTS and is presented in one complete form here.  It’s an interesting premise and a good set-up that is obviously a “pilot” of sorts for a potential mini-series or a continuing monthly title.  THE DEEP SEA is a solid read, and definitely whets the appetite for more.

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HALF PAST DANGER #1 (IDW, May 2013) Created, written and drawn by Stephen Mooney.   HALF PAST DANGER #2 (IDW, June 2013) Created, written and drawn by Stephen Mooney. Colors by Jordie Bellaire.

Stephen Mooney knows how to script a classic pulp tale.  He also knows how best to illustrate this via a six and eight panel page with the occasional half-page and full-page panel at appropriate moments.  He is apparently a well-schooled student of the classic adventure yarn (via print and film) and knows how to  create iconic characters as well as build suspense and keep his readers turning the pages.  Stephen Mooney is a resident of Ireland and has been working as a professional artist in comics, animation and gaming for ten years.  I don’t know anything of his previous work, but Mooney is a major talent worth watching and a great coup for Chris Ryall and IDW to sign him up.

The setting is circa 1943, and World War II in the South Pacific.  However, this is a South Pacific island not infested with Japanese soldiers as expected.  It has been occupied by Nazi forces, as a small squad of Allied soldiers led by our hero Staff Sergeant Tommy “Irish” Flynn soon discover.  They also discover dinosaurs!  Flynn later encounters Huntington-Moss (a mysterious and sultry British agent), Captain John Noble (a burly Marine) and Ishikawa Minamoto (a Japanese ally with serious martial arts skills) . All of these characters have traits that make then endearing and likeable.  They pull him back to the island to help get some answers on the Nazis and dinosaurs.  HALF PAST DANGER is a classic pulp adventure serial with modern day story-telling sensibilities.  Issues #1 and #2 have reportedly been sold out at the distributor level.  Check your local comic store now and ask about re-orders.  Find a copy for yourself and don’t be left out.

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QUANTUM AND WOODY on the web . . . . . .

Leading up to the official July 10 release date for QUANTUM AND WOODY #1 curious readers can view a one-page weekly web comic with exclusive content.  IGN, the gaming and entertainment website, has partnered with Valiant Comics to present Quantum And Woody Weekly, a free web comic that will run for six consecutive weeks beginning May 29, 2013.

QUANTUM AND WOODY was originally created for Valiant/Acclaim by Christopher Priest and M.D. Bright and is being re-booted by writer James Asmus and artist Tom Fowler, who also worked together on the web comic.

Q & W

I’ve read the first three installments and they are funny and true to the spirit of the original. I f you are ready for some irrelevant, goofy satire on superheroes this may be a book you will want to check out. The web comic gives you an opportunity to preview it.  Go to . . .

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SIX-GUN GORILLA #1 of 6  (Boom! Studios, June 2013)  Created & written by Simon Spurrier. Art by Jeff Stokely.

This is high adventure of the most creative kind on an incredibly weird world that’s part of a wacky universe.  SIX-GUN GORILLA is a wondrous blend of diverse elements that would fit nicely in-between all the other off-beat science-fiction and fantasy themed serialized stories that flavor HEAVY METAL magazine - - except that it comes courtesy of BOOM! Studios and lacks the X-rated sex that also spices that magazine.  Who needs the sex when the story is this intriguing, anyway?  (Maybe the sex will come later.)

Creator Simon Spurrier described his work to Bleeding Cool magazine as  a “science-fiction western” and that’s an appropriate starting point.  The title character, a massive gorilla with huge guns, doesn’t actually get much panel time in Issue #1 but certainly makes the most of it.  So far he’s pretty cool (and not goofy) but not the most interesting character.  That would be the person we know only as Blue-3425, and we watch his battleground activities on an ancient desert world the same time that the lazy couch-potato Earthlings amuse themselves with this extreme reality television.  That is courtesy of a psychic tumor surgically implanted into Blue-3425’s head that allows the folks back home to experience everything live just as he does, including his anticipated violent and intentional death. Cheap thrills, indeed!

Blue-3425 is a part of the battle force known as Expendables, Earthlings with either suicidal tendencies or terminally ill who decide to get exterminated this way in order to get a big paycheck for their heirs in return for public access to the thrill of defeat and the agony of death.  They are assigned to the front lines (obviously) and take the brunt of the opponent’s attack while the regular soldiers advance behind them.  There is much more in this detail-packed first issue like giant armored turtles that act as battle transports, a huge mutated ox with the speed of a freight train, brain bombs, choirshot, the Blistergate, a rebel force that might actually be sympathetic, and deserters on both sides who become bandits that then plunder on either side.  It’s a world where guns and explosives don’t work, just clockwork and pneumatics.  So how does Six-Gun Gorilla have guns that fire?  Guess I need to get the next issue for more explanations.  Wow.


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