Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kiiii-yaaah!!

Originally, this post was going to be a better-late-than-never pull list, but since there are only a couple of titles I'm definitely picking up this week (Green Lantern #46 and Unknown Soldier #12) ... well, it seemed kind of silly to call it a "list."

But there are a couple of other comics that are calling out to me this week, namely the Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu one-shot and the Justice League of America 80-Page Giant. Both feature old favorites, and it'll come down to taking a look at both of them in the shop before I can decide on either one. But since the Shang-Chi title reminded me of this incredibly awesome house ad ...


I think you can tell which way I'm leaning, Grasshopper.

What are you picking up this week?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Items! Of! Interest!

You know who can't be stopped? Well, yeah, Godzilla, but y'know who else? Kevin Church, the Internet's cheeriest comics and pop culture blogger who also happens to be a damn fine comic creator in his own right.

If you follow GCP regularly (or semi-regularly, as the case may be, and if so, why is that the case, jerk?!), you already know I'm a fan of The Rack and its limited series spin-off Lydia. This time Church is doing something a bit different with She Died in Terrebone, a crime/mystery strip he's writing, with art by T.J. Kirsch. There are four prelude strips that do a nice job of setting the story's tone and introducing the main characters, as well as giving readers a feel for Kirsch's appropriately rangy artwork, and the first story arc is already two strips in — get in on the story before all the other kids laugh at you.

As if that wasn't enough, Church is also partnering with artist Ming Doyle on another new humor strip called The Loneliest Astronauts, launching tomorrow! The premise sounds great, well-suited to Church's shank-to-the-kidney style of humor, and I can't wait to see Doyle's sketchy take on the trappings of life in outer space.

...

Behold! The Batman sketches of Eliza Gauger!


Are you man enough to handle the most disturbing Underoos ever?!?

...

Finally, I'm not doing this comic justice with a blurb but I wanted to make sure I mentioned Underground — by writer Jeff Parker and artist Steve Lieber — and how you should be reading the hell out of it.

Underground is a crime story involving dirty land developers, Native American concerns, park rangers with hearts of gold and, of course, a cave that serves as a character in its own right. Parker is writing a script that smolders with the kind of menace only greedy, amoral and all-t00-human characters can bring, and Lieber delivers the knowing touch for depicting nature and realistic facial expressions that helped make Whiteout famous.

My only gripe would be the coloring by Ron Chan, which seemed rushed or blocky in places throughout the first issue. This could just be a matter of bad registration off the press, and it certainly isn't enough to take away from what is shaping up to be a winning comic.

If you haven't read it yet there are previews of issues #1 and #2 at the Web site, and you can also download a black-and-white version of the full first issue there — so get to it!

The Monday Fly: Maybe if I try to cut its power ... ?

THE HUMAN FLY
ALSO PITIES YOU,
FLYING ROBOT
BIRD-THING.




Panel from The Human Fly #3
Bill Mantlo, writer; Lee Elias, artist; Don Perlin, inker

The Human Fly has more pity than Mr. T.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: Detective Comics #857 and an unanswered Question

Believe it or not, this blog is still active — let's talk comics!

In particular, let's talk about Detective Comics #857. I've got a problem with the current incarnation of 'Tec, now featuring an updated Kate Kane as Batwoman. The concept behind the four-part "Elegy" storyline (which wraps up with this issue) is pretty derivative on the face of it. A tough-talking ass-kicker in a cowl is chasing a white-faced, murderous looney who is trying to release a deadly poison into Gotham City; sound familiar?

But that's not my problem. My problem is actually that, in spite of it featuring a Batwoman presented as a cookie-cutter, female version of the original guy with pointy ears, I really, really like it. The story is muscular and dangerous; unlike the ever-prepared Batman, the reader gets the sense Batwoman could lose and the bad guys might actually win this time. Her nemesis, a fairly obvious Joker analog (with a bit of Mad Hatter in the mix) called Alice is sadistically and charmingly nuts, and is one of the few new Bat-family villains I've liked enough to want to see again. (Rucka also manages to use her to make the whole Crime Bible/religion thing interesting for a change.)

That update I mentioned — Kate is the military daughter of an Army colonel who helps her in the field — works pretty well, and becomes a vital plot point in this issue. Writer Greg Rucka gives readers a believable Batwoman, and I'm looking forward to finding out more about how she got there.

But the real star of the show is artist JH Williams III, who seems to be determined to single-handedly dragging comic book layout and design forward. His chilly, nearly sculpted artwork is framed — but barely contained — by panels that take the shape of thunderbolts and misty, melting boxes that fan out across the page like a dreamy, bare-knuckled tarot deck. It is impressive, it's imaginative and it's simply beautiful. It takes me longer to read an issue of Detective than most other comics, and that's mostly because I just pore over every panel.

Detective Comics also comes with The Question as a back-up feature, and it's also written by Rucka, with art by Cully Hamner. Unfortunately there isn't much to say about this one. Rucka seems to be phoning it in, and while I loved Hamner on Blue Beetle I just can't get into his work here. I've never been much of a fan of Renee Montoya as the Question, and the work here drags the character down where it should be lifting her up.

You can check out a preview of both Detective Comics #857 and the back-up Question feature right here — and then let me know what you think in the comments!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Monday Fly: Progress

THE HUMAN FLY
CAN DIG IT.



Panel from The Human Fly #19
Bill Mantlo, writer; Lee Elias, artist
; Ricardo Villamonte, inker

Friday, September 18, 2009

Adventures in Sound — Part 10



Panel from Atomic Robo: The Dogs of War #2

Hey! This is my 500th post!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I've been a bad blogger

I'm sorry about the on-and-off schedule posting has apparently been on lately — between work and busy evenings, I haven't been updating as frequently as I'd like. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon, and I appreciate your patience. Yes, YOU — 'cause you're awesome.

So we're good, right?


Damn!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Monday Fly: Fantastic!

THE HUMAN FLY
BELIEVES IN BROMANCE.



Panel from The Human Fly #1
Bill Mantlo, writer; Lee Elias, artist

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Felonious thunk!

It's been a while since I've taken part in the storied slugfest known as Friday Night Fights, so I figured this first round was no time to play nice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a fighter so tough her name alone is a serious crime:


Kyle Baker is one of my favorite creators, and his work on the knife-edged satire Special Forces should be required reading because really war is hell — even if you're a scantily clad, ass-kicking soldier called Felony.


Panel from Special Forces #2
Kyle Baker, writer and artist


Don't call it a comeback — I been here for years!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ugh


via io9

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Monday Fly: Oh, my!

THE HUMAN FLY HAS BEEN WORKING HIS GLUTES.


Panel from The Human Fly #12
Bill Mantlo, writer; Lee Elias, artist; Frank Springer, inker

Friday, September 4, 2009

Adventures in Sound — Part 9




Click for full (sound) effect!

Panel from Batman and Robin #3

Artist: Frank Quitely