Thursday, November 25, 2004

Comics 11/24/2004

Here are this week's books in the order they came out of the bag.

Writers on Comics Scriptwriting 2
The Amazing Spider-Man #514
Powers #6
Ultimate Elektra #4
Ultimate Fantastic Four #13
Frank Ironwine #1
Green Lantern Rebirth #2
Black Widow #3
Cerebus Book Sixteen: The Last Day

Reviews to follow.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Boneyard Volume Three Richard Moore

I can't say enough good things about this book. The art is solid. The characters are well delineated and lots of fun. There's a story and it holds everything together, but the book is really about the people and their interactions.

In a nutshell, Michael Paris has inherited a Graveyard in the town of Raven's Hollow. The boneyard, as it's known locally, is inhabited by monsters. Paris sides with the monsters against the townfolk who want to clean them out. There's also a small matter of the Devil who wants to get his hands on the graveyard for reasons unknown. The heart of the book though is the relationship between Paris and Abby, a sexy little vampire who happens to be over 2000 years old. Sound like a horor book? Not really. There's lots of comedy and the art is is stylized and cartoony.

If you like your Universal movie monsters and a good laugh along with a huge helping of pure charm, I highly recommend you take a look at Boneyard. Volumes one two and three are all in print and available from NBM Publishing on their web site.


Woverine #20-22 Millar, Romita Jr. and Janson

It been a while, but Wolverine is finally back. Millar and company have really nailed what the character is all about. This run of issues reminds me a lot of the original Chris Claremont and Frank Miller Wolverine mini series, minus the pretentious over done narration. Oh, come on. I loved that series and it still holds up okay, but it was very pretentious even back in the early '80swhen pretentious overwritten comics were the norm. Try re-reading it now. For every great character bit or set action piece you also have to put up with, "My name is Wolverine. I'm the best at what I do, only what I do isn't very nice." Ugh.

Millar also does the Wolverine internal monologue/narration thing, but it's not nearly as overblown here and it actually has a fuction in the story. Through the internal conversation we see Wolverine's conflict with the programming the Hand has pumped into his head versus his own motivations. It's still a contrivance, but it doesn't bother me as much as it usually does in comics.

This is also the first time in long time I really feel and see just how good Wolverine is at his job. For so long we've been told over and over how good he is. Millar and Romita Jr. are showing us. Speaking of John RomitaJr., the art is beautiful, dynamic and visceral. Klaus Janson does a great job finishing the art. The pages really flow.

The star of the show really is the writing here, though. In three issues Millar has brought Wolverine back to his roots while giving him a more contemorary feel. He's also made the Fantastic Four more interesting than they've been in years. Great take on the family dynamic and the outside world's view of super-heroes. Sue is just plain scary here and I really buy it. Other writes have played the "Sue Richards is the most powerful and dangerous member of the FF" before, but Millar pulls it off.

More reasons to read these books. Nick Fury. Hydra. The Hand. Elektra. Mark Millar is really mucking with the Marvel Universe here and the result in a much more intersting place visit.

Comics 11/17/2004

This week's book in the order they came out of the bag.

Ultimate Spider-Man #69
The Pulse #6
Fantastic Four #520
Books of Magick:Life During Wartime #5
Wolverine #20-22
Stray Bullets #35
Captain America #1
Bonyard Volume3

Reviews to follow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Disney Buys Crossgen

So the word is out. Disney, through it's Cal Publishing subsidiary, has bought Crossgen. Apparently the biggest prize was J.M DeMatties and Mike Ploog's Abadazad. Since Abadazad was a creator owned series Disney cut a separate deal with DeMatties and Ploog to secure ownership rights to the property along with whatever contractual obligations DeMatties and Ploog had to Crossgen and vice-a-versa.

I don't know how to feel about this deal. The characters and concepts in the Crossgen library that Disney likes will certainly get far wider distribution than possible in the current comic direct market. On the other hand, many of the other Crossgen titles will probably be shelved, never to be seen again. Those properties might have found a home at a comic publisher who would have been happy with low to mid level sales and kept those books out there for fans to read. Disney just doesn't work like that. Marginally producing properties go away. Does that sound like executive speak? That's how they talk.

As far as the deal for Abadazad goes, I wish DeMatties and Ploog the best of luck with the book. I enjoyed the issues that made it out and I hope to see more of the series. It's a great opportunity for them to get the book out to a much wider audience, but also a risk. I hope they have an option to get Abdazad back if Disney is not happy with it's performance and decides to put the property to bed. That sort of thing happens all too often with multi-media entertainment corportations. I know DeMatties has been living with Abadazad for many years and I'd hate to see him lose control of it.

I've just read this post back and it sounds a bit down. I don't mean for it to be. I really do hope that everyone associated with this deal does well by it. Crossgen put out some great books and I'd like to see them continue to entertain for a long time to come. I'm just grumpy today. Take what I say with a grain of salt. After all, how often do creative people get screwed by big corporations. Oops, there I go again.


Monday, November 15, 2004

The Pro Hard Cover Edition - Ennis and Conner


You should buy this. It's funny.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Ocean #2 - Ellis, Sprouse, Strory and Mayor

This book is shaping up nicely. Lots of nice big pretty pictures to look at courtesy of Chris Sprouse and company, but still plenty of story to move it along nicely. It doesn't feel as decompressed as some of Warren Ellis' more recent books, but that could just be me. Maybe I'm getting used to it.

The story, set around 100 years in the future, revolves around a space station in orbit about the Jovian moon Europa and what the crew have discovered there. The United Nations has sent out a Weapons Inspector to investigate the situation. We're seeing the story from his perspective so far.

I'm enjoying the individual issues, but I think this is one to pick up in as a collected trade. It's probably going to make for a satisfying single sitting read when it's done and the talent on the book almost guarentees that Image will collect it. The only question will be how long it takes them to get around to it.

Comics 11/10/2004

Here are this weeks books in the order they came out of the bag.

Syphons Grapic Novel/Trade Paperback
Ocean #2
The Invincible Ironman #1
the Gray Area #3
Fables #31
Colonia #11
Challengers of the Unknown #6
The Pro Hard Cover Edition
Absolute Planetary Book One

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Originals- Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons black and white graphic novel is a beautiful thing. He has brought all of his considerable talent as a storyteller to bear and it shows. The art is crisp and beautifully finished and Gibbons makes great use of the black and white format to create simple page layouts that are nontheless dynamic and often frenetic. The storytelling and pacing are, as always with Gibbons work, essentially flawless.

These reasons alone should be enough to get people to go out and buy the book. It was the main reason I picked it up, but I was very pleasently surprised by the quality of the the writing. Most people don't usually think of Dave Gibbons as a writer, though he has done his fair share. I was one of those. I'll admit that I approached the book with a bit of trepidation. I knew it would be beautifully drawn and I've always had a soft spot for the mod design sensibilty, but I wasn't expecting great writing. This is great writing.

Gibbons has gone far past the superficial visual sense of the mod movement and created characters who exemplify what the movement was really about. Again, like his page layouts, he keeps the form of the story simple and clear, but in the details everything is there. The need to belong, searching for an identity, losing yourself in that identity and the general stupidity teenagers. I was stupid at that age and these characters are no different. They think they are immortal and they live that way.

As much as I admire the work Dave Gibbons has done until now, I think this book might be the one that defines his career. I'm certain that it's a graphic novel that will talked about for years to come. Go out and buy it. Read it.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Incredibles

I was going to write a review of this film, but Heidi over at The Beat did such an awesome one that I'm just sending you over there.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

Astonishing X-Men #6 Whedon and Cassady

This is the way X-Men should be. I took me a few issues to warm up to it. There were bits I liked in the first couple of issues, Kitty's exchange with Emma in issue #1 being a prime example, but I wasn't sure if it was going to develop into something that would last. After reading this latest issue I think it's safe to say there is something very shiny going on here. Whedon has laid the groundwork in these first six issue for what looks like a long run on the series. He's set up the big bad and I'm betting it's not the obvious choice. Kitty's in rare form, Peter's back, Wolverine is acting like Wolverine again, I finally am starting to like Scott again and Emma's a skanky psychic ho and I like her that way. Here's hoping Whedon takes his time and doesn't wrap up the story line too quickly.

Comics 11/03/2004

In the order they came out of the bag.

Ulitimate Spider-Man #68
Soulsearchers and Company #68
Astonishing X-Men #6
Ultimate Fantastic Four #4
the Question #1
Frankenstein Mobster #6
Thieves and Kings #45
Y The Last Man #28
The Originals

Reviews to follow.