Sunday, July 31, 2011

REVIEW: The Abnormals Special #1

THEY'RE a team of superheroes, but they’re not nice guys...they’re the Abnormals. The first issue sees a creepy assortment of robots, demons and even scarier critters overcome some malevolent ghosts in London’s underground. It’s a portent of evil things to come. Nice artwork and some interesting characterisations by writer/artist: Grant Springford (the man behind another great independent comic I liked, Pest Control).
Anyways, this is a nice start to a promising new series. Check out Grant’s work at

Bad timing

I enjoyed the first issue of The Red Wing (Image) - written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra - about fighter pilots waging a war in time.

It's an interesting concept - pity I read the comic AFTER I read this article that says scientists have proven that time travel is impossible.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, episode 13: "The Dirty Writer"

A RAMBLING discourse this time round. Firstly, I plug the shit out of a bunch of podcasts and websites:
* Mike Pindell's Comic Book Attic (
* Derek Coward's Comic Book Noise (, AND
* Harry Cee's The Next Issue (

Also, The Next Issue has its own Facebook group at!/groups/167476376654249/?ap=1. So does this blog at!/groups/251545944859184/?ap=1.

And a final few plugs to:
* Lone Star Comics (, AND
* (

I think that's the lot. :)

Next, I rave about sci-fi authors, including Philip Jose Farmer and his intriguing Riverworld and Wold Newton family concepts. Finally, I review the first three TPBs of Gail Simone's Secret Six. Flawed but fun reading.

Running time: 46 minutes

Please email me with your thoughts at or contact me on the KYE Facebook group page.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I love Adrienne Curry

THE story of the Queen of Twitter getting booted out of a comics convention due to her too-revealing Aeon Flux outfit is here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SVK (a review by Michael Hier)

SVK by Warren Ellis and D'Israeli.
Published by design studio Berg

"Thomas Woodwind. A man of six feet or so, quite lean, with a good Patrick Stewart-ish skull fuzzed with very short pale hair. Paranoid eyes. Tending to very long black coats, with poacher’s pockets sewn on the inside.. A bluetooth earpiece cupping each ear. Black gloves – no fingerprints, reduction of epithelials."

What sets this noir-ish detective type caper (Ellis describes it as “Franz Kafka’s Bourne Identity”) apart from a normal comic is of course the invisible ink elements and the accompanying SVK torch which allows the reader to view these extra elements. The thing that makes this more than just a gimmick is the very clever way in which this feature is woven directly into the narrative, to say more is too much of a spoiler for anyone who does get their hands on one of these.

The writing is typical Ellis, smart and darkly humorous, the artwork by D'Israeli is clean, crisp and simple printed in black and blue tones and also elements in the invisible ink. Set in a slightly futuristic London this experimental publication can be read on it's own and is a good read as such but when read through with the additional elements revealed by the torch (a slightly larger than credit card sized bit of kit) it takes on a whole new level.

In addition to the main story there is a foreword by William Gibson and short essays by futurist Jamais Cascio and comics expert Paul Gravett, the latter of which I found very interesting.

At £10 plus postage and handling it is not for those with just a passing interest but if you are a fan of Ellis' work and/or want to see something outside the usual scope of comics it is worth getting on the mailing list for the second print run (the first having sold out very quickly indeed. The cost reflects that this is not just a comic but a comic and an object published and distributed in a non-traditional manner, you won't find this in your local comic emporium any time soon.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, episode 12: "Put heading here"

IN WHICH I get my days confused (I recorded this on a Friday, not a Saturday) and give a shout-out to various cool comics podcasts I listen to:
The Comic Book Attic (
And another great resource is The Comics Podcasts Network (

I wrap up this podcast with a tale about my most recent haul from the fantastic Elizabeth's Bookshop in Pitt Street, Sydney. Learn more about this second-hand bookstore at
If you want to tell me about some other comics podcasts I might like, please email me at

Running time: 25 min.

Monday, July 4, 2011

COMICS READING FOR JUNE: “If it’s June it must be Brubaker”

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

*****    Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****       From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***         League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*              WildC.A.T.S.
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1.-12. Sleeper Season One (Wildstorm, 2009) ***¾
- originally published in Sleeper #1-12 (2003-04)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
Goddamn, this was good! Not great – it lost momentum in the middle issues, but a pretty good noir tale (even if it does feature superheroes). If you like Ed's Criminal series, then this is a worthwhile read as well.

13. Secret Avengers #12 (Marvel, 2011) ***
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artists: Will Conrad & Mike Deodato
A strangely unsatisfying ending to Brubaker’s run (which he’d kicked into high gear with the Max Fury/Shang-Chi storyline. Mysterious immortal hero-turned-villain John Steele was also a nice addition, but his “origin” in #11-12 lacked oomph. I hope Warren Ellis has more fun with him when he starts his run on this title in a few issues.

14.-19. Incognito #1-6 (Icon, 2008-09) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
20.-24. Incognito: Bad Influences #1-5 (Icon, 2010-11) ***¼
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
While I loved, loved, LOVED the first miniseries (the idea of a vicious supercrim forced into witness protection and having to spend his life with “normals” was a cool concept), the second miniseries fell flat. Ed stated he didn’t know where Bad Influences was heading – he wrote it on the fly as an experiment in writing...and it shows. I’m sure there’ll be a third instalment, but I’m a bit worried it’s just gonna wind up as a nastier rehash of Daredevil vs Kingpin in prison from a few years back. I guess we’ll find out.

25.-48. Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark Omnibus Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2009) ***¾
- originally published in Daredevil #82-105 (Marvel, 2006-09)
Starts out strong with the “Daredevil in prison” storyline. Foggy Nelson dies? Holy fuck! That blew me away – pity it was a big work. But the series went downhill for a bit with the “Daredevil in Europe storyline, but it all kicked back into top gear for the “Daredevil vs Mr Fear” arc and ended with an absolutely gut-wrenching final couple of issues. Great stuff.

49. Captain America #600 (Marvel, 2009) ***¾
Writers: Ed Brubaker & friends/Artists:  Butch Guice & friends
Steve’s alive? Hooray! Nice back-up tales, too and the 1940s-era reprint is one I haven’t read before. Good stuff.

50.-55. Captain America: Reborn (Marvel, 2010) **¾
- originally published in Captain America: Reborn #1-6 (Marvel, 2009-10)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artists: Bryan Hitch & Butch Guice
Strangely disappointing. While it was nice to see Steve Rogers return, Ed did it in a pretty lame way. And I still don’t quite get why the Red Skull wanted to send Rogers back in time. Why not just kill the fucker stone fucking dead? And the end sequence of the two Captain Americas fighting a giant Red Skull was just ridiculous. Still, I liked that Skull’s daughter, Sin, now looks like him courtesy of a nasty explosion.
56.-73. Daredevil by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano Omnibus Vol. 2 (Marvel, 2010) ***¾
- originally published in Daredevil #105-119, #500, Annual #1 and Daredevil: Blood Of The Tarantula (Marvel, 2008-10)
Daredevil’s wife is insane, but shit just keeps getting worse for Daredevil in Brubaker’s second half of his legendary run. Lady Bullseye (which could have been a stupid Bullseye rip-off, but kinda works), Black Tarantula, Dakota North and the return of The Owl AND The Kingpin. This is a fitting conclusion to the series and the final issue’s denouement is a shocker. All in all, after reading this 100+ issue run by Bendis and Brubaker I have to say, Daredevil is the LAST guy I’d have as a friend, relative or lover. You’re just gonna wind up dead, insane or mind-fucked.

74.-79. Daredevil: Father (Marvel, 2006) ***
- originally published in Daredevil: Father (2004-06)
Writer: Joe Quesada/Artists: Joe Quesada, Danny Miki & Richard Isanove
It’s nice that Joe dedicated this book to his dad, but y’think his old man would’ve been happier with a tale less clich├ęd and derivative? What you have is another tired serial killer yarn while Joe does his best to ape Frank Miller (covers, certain splash pages) and Rob Liefeld. The wacky new Latino supergroup, The Santerians, thrown into the mix are kinda interesting, but the rest of the tale is meh. Only read this if you score it cheap (or, like me, it’s a lender from a friend. Thanks, Matt!).

80. THB #4 (Horse Comics, 1995) **½
Story/art: Paul Pope
This was a nice rare find from Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Pitt St, Sydney. I adore Pope’s artwork, but goddamn! He’s a pretentious motherfucker.