Showing posts from January, 2011

More Randomizer for January 28, 2010 – new and old

SERENITY: FLOAT OUT  (one-shot, Dark Horse June 2010)  Story by Patton Oswalt. Art by Patric  Reynolds.  Colors by Dave Stewart. Letters by Michael Heisler. Josh Whedon’s late lamented television series FIREFLY was a particular favorite of mine.  So it’s nice to learn that Dark Horse has been publishing some stories based on the series under the banner of SERENITY (also the title of the movie that served as the final episode of the show).   Somehow I missed the earlier issues of SERENITY  and the first trade paperback.  But now it’s in my radar and I also plan to check out the upcoming graphic novel featuring the character Shepherd. Comedian and film/television actor Patton Oswalt does a credible job with this story, as three former associates of Wash ( Washburne - -  the former pilot of the Firefly, who dies in the Serenity film) reminisce and share tales of his exploits,  usually involving quick get-aways and narrow near-misses.   The three short stories are amusing and the ar

The Randomizer - - January 28, 2011 – new Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #513 – 514  (Marvel Comics, February – March 2011)  David Liss, writer. Francesco Francavilla, Artist. Joe Caramagna, Letterer. I thought the premise for this book was interesting.  However, after reading the first two issues I like this book (but don’t love it)  and don’t consider it essential in the same way that I regard the Bendis, Brubaker, and Diggle DAREDEVIL books.   I don’t recall encountering the work of David Liss before, so I’m willing to give him a little time to develop this title.  I’ll keep my eye on it,  but it’s not going on the pull list.                           What Liss seems best at scripting is the one-on-one encounter  and there are numerous examples of that in the first issue:  - - Matt Murdock confiding in T’Challa and asking him to take over protection of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood  - - - and T’Challa welcoming a new start and a chance at redemption and confidence restoration - - - T’’Challa talking about his a

They Said It Better: Race, Gender and The Green Hornet

I've seen Seth Rogen's "Green Hornet", which I enjoyed, but this is one of those cases where I came across a better review before I had a chance to write mine. So, I'll just share a few thoughts and then give you the link. This is a comedy action-adventure, and it stays really close to the line between being too silly and too serious. I think it works because Seth Rogen is the only character trying to be funny, and even that is in character for rich playboy layabout Britt Reid. Jay Chou is terrific as Kato, the brains (and muscle) of the operation, both in and out of costume. My one complaint is that I would have liked to see more martial arts action scenes with him. (But that was my complaint about Bruce Lee in the 60's TV series too, so at least I'm consistent.) Cameron Diaz doesn't have a ton to do as Britt Reid's assistant Lenore, but what she does is great and non-stereotypical for this kind of film. (See below for more about that.) I li

I Know I’m Going BATS - - - Prelude

I did comment earlier (see the archives for the December 20, 2010 blog)  that I would later be exploring Grant Morrison’s run on BATMAN in order to decide for myself  which of two viewpoints is correct.  There is a debate in circulation among comics circles about THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE mini-series:  is Grant goofing on the audience or is Grant producing a great work? To some of you my choice of commentary  - - BATWOMAN , a book not being written by Morrison - - may seem like a classic case of  misdirection.  There’s a reason I’m talking about it now.  I believe I’ve found a connection in a Morrison-scripted book which I’ll write about later. In the meantime this looks to be a beautiful book that I hope has a long run. BATWOMAN #0  (DC Comics, January 2011)  J.H. Williams III writer/artist; W. Haden Blackman co-writer; Amy Reeder artist – Kate sequence; Richard Friend inker; Dave Stewart colorist; Todd Klein letterer. The script is a great re-cap of previous events and Batwo

Advance Comics Preview: Shine A Light On MOONSTONE

In a cluttered comics marketplace, this May 2011 Moonstone will be hoping  to draw some additional attention to its line of licensed characters with a three book cross-over mini-series, as well as a collaboration with another company’s popular character, and a revival of  a long out of print indie comics classic. Leading off in May will be PHASES OF THE MOON, a three-issue budget-priced ($2.50 each) color comics  flip-book featuring six Moonstone titles.  The story line spans several decades and involves a serial killer who may also be a time-traveler. PHASES OF THE MOON #1  - DOMINO LADY / THE SPIDER  is written by Steven L. Frank with art by Remy Mokhtar and Bill McKay.  PHASES OF THE MOON #2 – HONEY WEST / KOLCHAK is by writer Mark Rahner and artists Glen Fernandez and Matt Hebb.  PHASES OF THE MOON #3 – SHEENA / CAPTAIN ACTION wraps it all up by writer Steven L. Frank with art by Nathan Stockman and Glen Fernandez. Moonstone’s creepy humor title meets Image’s hig

Grabs from the Top Shelf - - - NIGHT ANIMALS

NIGHT ANIMALS  (Top Shelf Productions, March 2011 release date) Writer / Artist Brecht Evens.  48 pages  $7.95 Last year, Top Shelf expanded their line to include a number of acclaimed Swedish works.  In 2011, they bring us some more European craft with NIGHT ANIMALS by Belgian cartoonist Brecht Evens – originally published in Belgium as NACHTDIEREN in 2007. I was attracted to this book because there is no dialogue or captions  -- so no need to worry if the translation is a good one.  NIGHT ANIMALS contains two short stories told solely with pictures - - and what fantastic imagery is contained inside!   It’s a real dose of  psychedelic power and brought back memories of some of the classic trippy underground comic books I enjoyed as a 1970’s college student.   It’s a quick read and I suspect you’ll do what I did after I finished it again.  I started over from the beginning and took more time to savor the art - - and it rewarded me a second time with many things I failed to notice o

RADICAL: CRIME doesn’t pay - - - but it’s cheap to read

HOLLOW POINT / DAMAGED FLIP BOOK  (Radical Comics Premiere $1.00, Mature Readers, December 2010)              HOLLOW POINT Created by Ron L. Brinkerhoff. Written by David Hine. Illustrated by Elia Bonetti. Paints by Ong Chew Peng.  (12 page preview) Tamas Gaspar cover. The credits page synopsis does more to cover what HOLLOW POINT will be about than the 12 page preview does:  “After surviving a near fatal gunshot wound to the head, a notorious assassin realizes that the bullet meant to kill him has opened up a third eye into the spirit realm.  Tortured by his own blood-soaked legacy, he is given a rare chance at redemption by avenging the ghosts of victims past, with the dead as his new employer . . . “ What the preview does instead, and does very effectively, is present part of the prequel to this transformation, revealing some of the introspection that made the assassin (never identified by name yet) take pity and hesitate to complete the kill on his present assignment, perh

Today is Girl Genius Day

I don't think I've ever mentioned them here before, but Phil & Kaja Foglio have been among the best writer/cartoonists in the business for decades. (Old-time D&D fans will remember their "What's New" comic strip in Dragon magazine.) Details linked below about the event they've set up to promote their wonderful (and free) webcomic "Girl Genius". Today is Girl Genius Day | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment


ABATTOIR #2 of 6  (December 2010, Radical Comics  - - Mature Readers)  Created by Darren Lynn Bousman. Concept by Michael Peterson. Written by Rob Levin & Troy Peteri.  Illustrated by Bing Cansino and Rodell Noora. Coloring by Andrei Pervukhin & Drazenka Kimpel.  Cover by Tae Young Choi. While not as horrific in its imagery as Issue #1, this books continues to disturb with its unsettling tale of a world unraveling for struggling real estate agent and distraught husband/father Richard Ashwalt. The skeletal and creepy Jebediah Crone who wanted to purchase the home where a recent massacre was committed won’t abandon his mission, even worming his way into Ashwalt’s home via a ruse and ingratiating himself to his young daughter.   The real estate agency over-rules Richard’s objections and sells the home to Crone.   Richard enlists the help of Patrick, another realtor, to investigate Crone and finds he has a history of buying properties where murder/suicides have occurred. W

The Cape (Mondays, NBC)

So, "The Cape". Pretty much the most generic superhero name possible, and a premise to match. Did it manage to rise above? Not really. But I kind of loved the first hour anyway, where everyone plays their parts just the tiniest bit over the top. Not enough to be ridiculous; the performances come off sincere instead of cynical just enough to add a little bit of wit and charm to the proceedings. Fictional "Palm City" is unreal and abstract enough to sustain the idea that the city leaders are considering letting the Ark corporation, secretly run by supervillian Chess (of course), privatize the police department. I like that the first hour doesn't waste a lot of time getting our hero, Vince Faraday, framed for Chess' crimes and off the grid training with the Carnival of Crime (!) to establish his new identity as the hero of his son's favorite comic. Lead actor David Lyons is earnest, if a bit bland, and needs to take American accent lessons from Hugh Laurie

COMICS BIZ NEWS: RADICAL update from the NY Times

Radical Comics, a new company just two years old, is continuing to grow - - with renewed emphasis on developing movie properties as well as branching out into China/Asia.  The movie direction explains in part to me why they have been associated with so many screen-writers, directors and actors in their various books (their emphasis is on limited series rather than regular monthly titles).   They’ve apparently taken  a little heat for that movie connection from critics, but as long as the quality of the work is good it shouldn’t matter.  I’ve been largely impressed by most everything I’ve picked up from Radical.  I’d also be likely to see the film adaptations of at least 3 of the 5 announced movie properties in development. You can read a short profile on the company plus an update on current activities right from the front section of the New York Times business section right here:

NEWS for 2011: Make some room on your TOP SHELF

  JANUARY 09, 2011:  Top Shelf Comix has announced its entire 2011 line-up of books and graphic novels - - and it’s impressive.   Last year, Top Shelf  introduced some acclaimed Swedish comics to the English-speaking world.  What will they be doing this year? You can view the entire line-up for 2011 at their website here: Among the many upcoming titles that I’ll be looking forward to are new editions of Jeff Lemire’s ESSEX COUNTY in January and Alan Moore’s FROM HELL in February.    Top Shelf features an award winning Belgium writer/artist in March with NIGHT ANIMALS  (to be reviewed here later) and the long-awaited next installment in Alan Moore’s LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN in CENTURY II in Ju

GREEN HORNET: plenty to buzz about

The amount of Green Hornet material currently available through Dynamite Entertainment is staggering - - they might as well put the “franchise” tag on him - - I think there are more Green Hornet titles and spin-offs than there are books featuring Spider-Man at Marvel. All those books look interesting, but there are way more than I have the time,  inclination, and/or budget to consider picking up.  I’ve been sticking with GREEN HORNET solely, the flagship title, and I haven’t regretted that for a moment. GREEN HORNET #11 (Dynamite 2010)   “Idols Part One: Los Hijos De La Muerte”                GREEN HORNET #12 (Dynamite 2011)  “Idols Part Two: Unmasked” Written by Phil Hester.  Pencils by Jonathan Lau.  Colors by Ivan Nunes.  Letters by Troy Peteri.    More variant covers than you can imagine by Alex Ross, Phil Hester, Jonathan Lau.  Now that the adaptation of the first rejected Green Hornet film script by Kevin Smith has played itself out in the first ten issues of GREEN HORN

Sleeper title of the year? SUPERBOY continues to delight!

SUPERBOY #3 (DC Comics, March 2011)  “The New Adventures Of Psionic Lad, Part One”.  Jeff Lemire writer. Pier Gallo artist. Jamie Grant colorist. John J. Hill letterer . One of the reasons I like Jeff Lemire’s run on SUPERBOY so far is that he incorporates small town sensibilities and atmosphere into a book about an all-powerful super hero.  Also, he’s writing about the Conner Kent version of Superboy, and not young Clark Kent.  Connor has issues related to his origins as a Superman/Lex Luthor DNA clone and his proper role in the universe.  He retreated to the more laid back life in Smallville and the advise and counsel of Ma Kent - -  but life is far from simple.  It seems like the world is bringing its problems right to Connor, and he feels responsible for what’s happening in Smallville as a result. The town of Smallville has certainly taken it’s licks.  In Issue #1 the Parasite left a trail of devastation behind him as he maneuvered through the fields and countryside.  Old Mi

Comics I Read: Last Lightning Round

Last batch of unrehearsed remarks before you all get sick of me. (Too late, I know.) Detective Comics 867-872: David Hine's "Impostor Joker" story in #867-870 didn't do much for me, though props as always to Scott McDaniel. I'm liking Scott Snyder & Jock's first two issues better, although I'm a little bothered by a cover built by Oracle being so easily punctured but maybe there'll be an explanation of that by stories end. However, the Commissioner Gordon backups with art by noir master Francesco Francavilla are brilliant and worth the price of admission all by themselves. Daken: Dark Wolverine 1-4: I was starting to get bored with this, and then the FF show up in #4 written very well and Daken is both charming to them and utterly manipulative. Then we're left with the promise of a future confrontation with Captain America. Well played, Way & Liu. I'm hooked again for now. Doom Patrol 12-17: Another of my top 5 DC books. In cur

Program Note: Young Justice premiere

Some of you told me you missed the "Young Justice" pilot movie when it first aired, so I just wanted to quickly note that the weekly series starts its run tonight at 7pm on Cartoon Network. The pilot movie is rerunning as two separate episodes this week and next, so you haven't missed anything.

Lapham lurks here: Some barbaric fare - - - I sure don’t hate this!

  KULL THE HATE WITCH #1 (November 2010) #2 (December 2010)  Dark Horse Comics. Created by Robert E. Howard. Script: David Lapham. Pencils: Gabriel Guzman. Inks: Mariano Taibo. Colors: Dan Jackson. Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt.  Covers pictured here are by Tom Fleming. When I’m in the mood for reading some rollicking adventure story, just pure action/adrenaline, I can usually count on a CONAN or RED SONYA book to take care of my cravings.  So when I saw that the highly versatile (and dark) writer David Lapham would be scripting a Kull mini-series for Dark Horse  I knew I had to read it. KULL THE HATE WITCH doesn’t disappoint.  It’s my absolute favorite sword and sorcery book at the present moment.  Anybody who is familiar with the work of David Lapham might think that a barbarian setting is just the place to put his horrific and gory inclinations into play.   As I normally approach his stories with delighted but grisly apprehension - - I hav

The Randomizer - - - January 05, 2010

Some of the reasons I keep going to a local comic store on a regular basis versus online shopping, etc. is to scratch that itch to see the new books on the same day they are released, to scan the covers and take a quick peek inside (and often be surprised by the purchase that rewards my impulse),  also for  the camaraderie - - to hear the fan talk and shop talk and participate as well . . and one more thing - - to get the occasional ‘free at your local comics shop” previews that publishers frequently ship out, like . . . . . . . DECEMBER 2010  SNEAK PEEKS #1  (Marvel One-Shot, February 2011 cover date) - - and I apologize for writing about this in January.  featuring short previews of . . . . HEROES FOR HIRE #1 Only the first three pages of Issue #1 are featured but it answers a lot of questions about this book. We quickly learn that Misty Knight has set herself up as a sort of “Oracle”, communicating with a number of heroes and setting up their assignments - - here it’s The Falc

A Story I Wish Everyone Would Read: PHOENIX WITHOUT ASHES

  HARLAN ELLISON’S PHOENIX WITHOUT ASHES #1 – 4 (IDW 2010)  Written by Harlan Ellison, Art by Alan Robinson, Colors by Kote Carvajal, Letters by Robbie Robbins.      (NOTE: IDW on December 16, 2010 announced plans for a hardcover edition of the graphic novel with a release date yet to be determined.) I wish I could meet someone as they explore science fiction literature for the first time, someone looking for a few recommended works, or a list of ten or more short stories and novels to begin their readings with. PHOENIX WITHOUT ASHES would be right among the top choices on my list of best science fiction works of all time  - - - it’s a great example of the power of imagination as well as the ability of the genre to stimulate thought and shape opinions on socially important issues.   The four issue mini-series is a perfect format to adapt this great work to comics.  Having the original author, Harlan Ellison, write the script for re-introducing the story is an absolutely divine