Monday, 20 December 2010

What I Got and Why Last Week!

Sweet Tooth #14&16 - It’s all kicking off now! And now that I’ve picked up the issue that I didn’t realise I was missing, it makes a lot more %$*&ing sense! There’s a big ol’ showdown a-happening at the compound and a glut of arses are about to get thoroughly kicked! Verily I doth Proper love this series init bruv.

DC Presents Chase - Ash pointed this out to me in Orbital and I had to pick it up for the J.H. Williams III art. It’s his early stuff, but he’s still a total master of the comics page. No Idea what the book is actually about, aside from the fact that it is set in the DC Universe and has that cool skeleton-in-a-suit guy who was in that Justice Society of America book that I got from a bargain bin in one of those warehouse clearance discount book shops, you know the one. You don’t? I don’t know why I even bother with you! Anyway, looks fun!

As an aside, I want to point out that I’m digging these semi-Trade things that DC are publishing at the minute. It seemed to start with Vertigo Resurrected, but they’re doing them for quite a few mainstream DC titles too now. Essentially they’re three issues’ worth of stories bound as a cross between trade paperback and a comic, reprinting some out of print lesser heard of DC stories that aren’t long enough put into trade paperback format. I think they could do with being a quid or so cheaper, but it’s great to get these obscure stories back in circulation. Which leads me to...

Vertigo Resurrected: The Extremist - I didn’t actually but this, but the upshot of it being released is that the issues I was missing from the original mini series popped up in Orbital’s back issue boxes. I snapped them up for about a quid each. Nice! I’ll not say much about the story now, aside from the fact that it’s about ordinary people and the power of masked anonymity. By Ted McKeever.

V2K: Totems - I picked this up on a whim (it was cheap), it’s a one-shot crossover from 1999/2000 that sees different 90s Vertigo characters meeting up at John Constantine’s Millenium New Year’s Eve bash. Check out the full review what I has done.

Knight and Squire #3 - I don’t know what Action Ash is missing, but I’m loving this series. This issue the Potent Pair take on an evil army of cloned British Monarchs led by Shakespearian villain, Richard III. Sterling.

Jonah Hex - Jonah Hex drawn by Eduardo Risso. EDUARDO ****ING 100BULLETS ****ING RISSO! Yep you know I’m all over that like shit on a blanket (to paraphrase Lord Sugar).

Also I got a bit bored at home and ordered these beauties from Amazon.

Myspace Dark Horse Presents Vol.1 - I know Myspace is like so totally last week yeah? But short comic book stories from a fantastic selection of artists and writers don’t never go out of fashion. Well, maybe fashion was the wrong term, but you get the gist. Featuring bits and pieces from Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Gerrard Way, Joss Whedon, Steve Niles, Guy Davis, Cary Nord, Tony Millionaire, Don Heck, Ron Marz, Rick Remender, Kieron Dwyer and others.

Beyond! - This little Marvel Universe team up mini series slipped under a lot of people’s radars when it came out but seems to be well regarded by those who did actually read it. The creative team is Milestone/Static/Justice League/JLU guru Dwayne McDuffie turning in a rare bit of marvel work and drawn by 2Badguys favourite Scott Kollins, so it should be a treat. Add to that the eclectic cast and the fact that it is a sort of sequel to the original Secret Wars story from the 80s and I’m hoping to find my Marvel Heroes itch well and truly scratched!

Ex Machina Vol.10 - This is it, the final volume of Ex Machina! I have to say that my interest in the series has waned over time but I’m eager to find out how it ends. Written by some guy called Brian K Vaughan, whom I’m led to believe used to be a comics writer?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Werewolf by Night: My collection begins.

Action Ash
On Friday I arrived at Chaos City comics
to find that there were only three titles I wanted to purchase this week.

They were:

Conan: Road of Kings #1 - The new Conan series which continues where the Cimmerian's adventures were left in Conan the Cimmerian.

Mighty Samson #1 - Another Dark Horse revamp. I love the Magnus, Robot Fighter revamp and this looks similar so I think I'm going to love this too.

Chaos War #4 -
I still don't know
what the hell is going on.

The small size of my stack did not bother me however, because I knew
there was something else awaiting me on that cold winter day. A friend of mine, a mister Ian Hine of Dead Universe Comics, had obtained some titles I wanted to get my hands on and dropped them off in a long box at Chaos City. It contained some classic Marvel titles such as Marvel Spotlight #5 (first appearance of Ghost Rider) and Tomb of Dracula #1, but although these were cool, I was interested in something else.
Among the 60's and 70's Marvel wonders were some books I have wanted for a good few years, Marvel Spotlight #2-4 and Werewolf by Night #1!

It's safe to say that Werewolf by Night is one of my favourite comics.
Brilliantly written and beautifully drawn, it is a prime example of the days of Marvel past and a great chapter in Marvel's history. I am extremely happy now that I own these books and cannot wait until I acquire the full collection.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

What I got and why, by the aforementioned unsavoury beast.

Action Ash
I purchased quite a bit this week and after a weekend of drinking, chicken and finding out that my friends all think I'm a potential serial killer and/or sex offender, I'm ready to sit down and talk about comic books.

Flash #7 - This issue is a "rogue profile" which I believe means "filler issue". Could still be good though I suppose.

New Avengers #7 - Be prepared for 24 pages of conversation. It was a nice light read, however, with some amusing moments. In fact, it's probably my favourite issue so far. My favourite part *SPOILER* is a hint that Wolverine and Squirrel Girl, who is hired by Luke Cage and Jessica Jones to be their child's nanny, have a romantic past. Lulz

Knight and Squire #3 - I liked the last one but this series hasn't proven itself entirely to me yet. We'll see how it goes.

Strange Science Fantasy #6 - I have missed most of this series, in fact I only have one other issue apart from this one. This annoys me. I love it, it's brilliant and I'll probs buy it in trade if I can't get hold of the other issues first.

Thor #618 - This run is pretty good so far. This issue is good with some of the best art so far.

Marvel Spotlight #12 - The Son of Satan. I've not read much featuring this character, but what I have read, I have liked. Also he originates from that period in the 70's of Marvel's occult based characters, which I generally seem to enjoy.

Marvel Premiere #26 - I love the Prince of Power, so when I saw this old school offering of his might I just couldn't resist.

Defoe 1666 - Not having read 2000ad for a good few years I hadn't heard of this character before. After seeing this on the shelf I had a flick through and decided this is too up my alley for me not to purchase. So I bought it. Written by 2000ad legend Pat Mills, it follows Titus Defoe, Zombie Hunter General, fighting the undead in 17th century england. Wicked Sick!

As far as my non comic book purchases, I got:

Girl's Generation - Oh: Known in Asia as So Nyuh Shi Dae, this group have been storming the Korean, Chinese and Japanese charts with hits such as Gee and Oh. The album arrived in the post the other day. It's pretty damn good if you like oriental pop music. Oh...just me then?

Municipal Waste - Hazardous Mutation: I wanted to get hold of this for a while and now I finally have it. A great album from the hard partying thrashers, with brilliantly titled songs such as Unleash the Bastards and Terror Shark. Modern Thrash at it's finest.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

I went to Dublin and all I got...

Well How do, folks? I spent last weekend gallivanting around Dublin meeting up with some lovely friends and drinking in some lovely sites. I also managed to get to a comic shop and see what the Craic was there. My friend gave me a little list of the three comic shops in Dublin and I plotted course for the first. Sub City on Exchequer Street. Sadly neither of the other two were open; one was clearly closed down, the other locked up, with the surly chap in the Head shop downstairs telling me that it never really opens. Balls.

Sub City is a small shop, oddly reminiscent of Gosh! or Comics Showcase (RIP) when it was still on Neal Street. Sub City was pretty damn poor for new releases (I didn't find one book I wanted – this could be due to snow induced lack of delivery though, I didn't ask but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) I did manage to pick up #2 of Hellblazer: City of Demons, which I missed last month, which was a stroke. Where Sub City excels is the extensive selection of Graphic Novels and trades, they had pretty much all a seasoned pro or an adventurous newbie could want. Having to save money for cigs, gigs and lock-ins (which went rather well indeed thanks for asking) I didn't go nuts but could well have; their Trades clearance sale was particularly enticing, and on the subject of bargains, they had a marvellous selection of discounted books, recent and old. It would have been rude not to, so I picked up a 1 Euro grab-bag enticed by the Marvel UK title visible. Little did I know the horrors I would unleash...

Grab Bag A Go Go!

Warheads #6 & 7 (Marvel UK)
When I were a wee lad in the early ‘90s there used to be a real selection of anthology books for the UK market. There was 2000AD and Judge Dredd the Megazaine obviously, and others like, Toxic (violent), Crisis (righteous) and two from Dark Horse; Aliens (reprints of their US mini series’) and an odd tittle called Total Carnage, which reprinted Grendel: War Child, The Mask, Batman vs Predator, and the Army of Darkness film adaptation (I loved that magazine hard). I’ll halt my digression there and save it for a later post, but one of my favourite UK anthologies was Marvel UK's Overkill. Overkill had a few strips per issue and featured stories set in the periphery of the Marvel Universe, characters like Death’s Head II, Motormouth & Killpower, Hell’s Angel, Black Axe and Warheads (all as X-Treeeeeme! as they sound). Each strip had its own monthly printed in the states in the standard US format, which were released to varying degrees of indifference.

The Warheads were clearly -lets be charitable- inspired by the Space Marines in Aliens, but instead of dicking around in space getting killed by Xenomorphs, they dick around other dimensions getting killed by Warhammer 40,000 Rejects. At the behest of the shadowy Masons-stand-in cabal that is the MysTech board, they jump from world to world with their sass-mouths Liefeld guns and high mortality rate. In these nigh-incomprehensible issues a bunch of characters get massacred, some have a fight with Death’s Head II, some try to kill an off-model Mephisto (Spoiler: They fail), a talking gun has an identity crisis and starts talking like a Madam from the deep south and others do... I dunno, other stuff. There’s even an upside down Silver Surfer cameo. It’s a fun old romp, and I did genuinely enjoy the issues but I have to say they weren't as good as I remember. I will maintain though that these characters are ripe for a revamp. A Tigon Liger-led Exiles team anyone? Oh sod you then.

Shadowman (Valiant) Anyone remember Night Man? From Valiant? Valiant? Anyone? He had a cross-over with Aerosmith? The band Aerosmith? Now you're just being obstinate. Anyway, my words can not even begin to do justice to this '90s anti-hero, so instead I'll treat you to this scan of the final page. Oh yeah, check out the November Rain hair and brooding. So strong, yet so sensitive, a warrior and a poet. How did this ever cancelled?

Gross Point Presents #11: Mystery Meat (DC)
With a sub heading like "He turns into a monster at the touch of a pretty girl!" I was expecting something fun, but sadly this sounds a lot better than it looks. Not much to say about it other than it doesn't seem to live up to the promise of the premise and that I have never heard of this series in my life. The art is very much not to my taste. I would even go so far as to say that it's a big bag o' shite.

Team Youngblood #9 (Image)
Listen up kiddies and I'll tell ye of a time when industry hack Rob Liefeld's creator-owned super-team Youngblood was popular enough to have not one, but two ongoing spin-off series; Youngblood: Strike File, and this little wonder, Team Youngblood! Team Youngblood, as far as I understand is the more internationally active branch of Youngblood, who were US based... I think, but to be honest this issue is set in the states and from what I gather from the opening page roster shots, this issue of 'Team Youngblood' focuses almost entirely on characters from Youngblood, the parent title.

Somehow this issue, though not without some perverse charms, manages to be worse than expected. I never like to jump on a hate-wagon (this is a lie), but Good Lord this is bad! I think this deserves post of its own. Every criticism anyone has levelled at Rob Liefeld's 'art style' (pronounced 'hyperactive ineptitude') is painfully apparent here:

Nonsensical Plot? Check
Poor Anatomy? Check
Character designs ripped off from Marvel? Check
Inconsistent costuming? Check
Lack of realistic 'acting'? Check
Inconsistent Hair? Check
Even worse anatomy? Check
Lack of feet? Check
Ridiculously-spined women? Check
Weird weird weird haircuts? Check
Gigantic implausibly hanging tits? Check
Excessive 'detail' lines to disguise technical failings? Check
Total inability to draw normal street clothes? Check
Only 2 facial expressions? Check
Obscenely large guns? Check
With square barrels? Check
Pouches? Oh hell check!

I really could go on all week, but I'll stop there.

And Finally...

When I got back I picked up the latest issues of iZombe, American Vampire and Sweet Tooth. All of which were chuffing good. Also I got the unsavoury beast that is Action Ash to pick me up a copy of Taskmaster #4. I hope it’s not soiled when it arrives.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

A miniature essay/rant about mobile comics

Action Ash

Since the late thirties, when publishers realised that comic books could be so much more than reprints of popular newspaper strips, the medium of comic books has remained fairly unchanged. That is until recently, with what could be the mediums greatest change just on the horizon.

Obviously comic books have always been mobile. With soft paper covers they can be carried around and read while commuting or at lunch time. I myself read them on the bus all the time, but would having a comic on some kind of mobile device be more convenient?

Converging with mobile media would indeed make it convenient for a lot of people to read comics. Readers who were not able to get to a comic shop could simply download the content for a price and the medium could be brought to a wider audience, especially if available in multiple languages.

There is also a novelty aspect to mobile comics. The idea of reading a comic digitally, on a mobile phone seems to excite some comic fans; however the reality is often less pleasing. Reading something that was designed to be read page by page can be tiresome to read panel by panel on a tiny screen. This is where the iPad comes in handy, with its much bigger screen. It seems a lot more enjoyable reading a comic on such a device, but in my opinion, still preferable to read an actual comic. So why bother with mobile comics at all?

The problem lies with the fact that the medium wasn’t designed to be read in this fashion. There needs to be a re-design, a re-formatting of content, for comics to be fully accepted on mobile devices. There are huge design issues when it comes to displaying comics on a mobile device, such as layout, composition, perception of story and established mood, which just haven’t been taken into account.

The key to the design of a truly great mobile comic is to figure out a whole new and inventive way of telling stories in comic book form that is specific to screens. The future of mobile comics depends on a yet to be discovered format that will take the medium in a completely new direction.

Friday, 3 December 2010

What I got and Why

Action Ash
Yo, yo, you turkeys. While Valhallahan is boogying on over to Ireland for the weekend, I'm left here with coursework to write and fish to monger. Oh, and I have a cold too. I needs me some escapism, and what better form could it take than a couple of films and a selection of this week's funny books.

Heroes for Hire #1 - Following on from all that Shadowland jazz and looking pretty sick on a flick through, there's no reason why I shouldn't buy it really. Just hope it's as good as it looks.

Shadowland #5 - The conclusion to the street level, ninja noir, epic is here. Time for DD to bow down and get what's coming to him.

Taskmaster #4 - Last issue! I'm sad to see this go. I think I could quite happily read an ongoing of this every month.

Batwoman #0 - Saw Valhallahan's review and took the recommendation. Simple as that.

On the non comic book side of the spectrum, I recently picked up the new special edition release of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Including an extra 25 mins of footage that, up until two years ago, was thought lost. You can now watch it as German audiences would have seen it in 1927. Super geil!

So Long Suckers!

I'm off to Dublin for the weekend.

So long suckers!