Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kirby Your Enthusiam 22: Serious reviews time!

A BIG reviews episode beginning with three new(ish) books by Fantagraphics: Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte, The Sincerest Form Of Parody and The Hidden by Richard Sala.

And I wrap up proceedings with a surprisingly positive review of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III (Century): 2009, published by Top Shelf.
It's 24 minutes of extremely positive reviews. So please enjoy.

Marvel Universe Redux

Well, this is interesting. Check it out if you're a fan of those old Marvel Universe handbooks...

The Comics Journal lives...

And it's still as annoying and opinionated as always. God, I've missed reading it. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, ep. 21: When Dann the Mann met Stan the Man!


YES, I'm finally back with a biiiiiiiig wrap-up of the inaugural Oz Comic-Con, held in Melbourne on the weekend of June 30 and July 1. It was a huge two days, where the definite highlights were meeting Marvel legend STAN LEE and, on a more personal level, extraordinary Aussie artist FIL BARLOW (of Zooniverse infamy). The lowlight was the lack of organisation by Oz Comic-Con and its merry band of uninformed, hapless volunteers.
This 31-minute podcast showcases all my thoughts - both good and bad - about the weekend.

Just in case you're wondering who all the voices are, I kick off the podcast with a few brief words of wisdom from Stan Lee himself at his panel on the Saturday.
It's followed by a series of interviews conducted on the Sunday with various Aussie creators: Burger Force writer/director Jackie Ryan; Scarlette Baccini (Zombolette), Fil Barlow (Zooniverse), Ben Hutchings (Walking To Japan) and Milk Shadow Books bossman James Andre; Steve Parke from FEC Comics, publishers of Kranburn (; and Tom Taylor, the writer of The Deep from Gestalt Publishing. It's all interspersed with thoughts from myself. Enjoy!

And please check out the links below to see and buy some great locally made comics and graphic novels.

Monday, July 9, 2012

COMICS READING FOR JUNE: “Who watches the pre-Watchmen?”

* 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 (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*             LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1. Tales From Swafford Creek #1 (Swafford Creek Studios, 2008) ***
Writer/artist: Brent Bowman
2.-5. Courtney Crumrin And The Night Things (Oni Press, 2003) ****
- originally published in Courtney Crumrin And The Night Things #1-4 (Oni Press, 2002)
Writer/artist: Ted Naifeh
6. Silver Comics #1 (Juan Ortiz, 2004) ***½
Writers: Juan Ortiz, Dan Beltran, /Artists: Juan Ortiz, Mark Prudeaux, Vince Musacchia, Chris Roberts Frank Brunner (cover)
7. A Complete Lowlife (Black Eye Books, 1997) ***
Writer/artist: Ed Brubaker
With thanks to Paul Rebec for lending this rare gem to me.
8. Cracked Party Pack #1 (Globe Communication s Corp., 1987) **
Writers/artists: various
I love the classic artwork by John Severin, Bill Ward, etc, but MY GOD this comic is lame! I grew up with Cracked (it was more easily available in newsagencies than Mad), but it really was a second-rate humour mag. What makes this comic even lamer is that it features reprints of a ton of 60s and 70s strips that kids in 1987 just would not understand. Kruschev? Frisbee-mania? Happy Days? Hell, this stuff was outta date in the late 70s.
9. Super Pro K.O.! #2 (Oni Press, 2011) ****¼
Writer/artist: Jarrett Williams
10.-14. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6-10 (Dark Horse, 2012) **¾
Writer: Andrew Chambliss/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Karl Story
The “Will Buffy get an abortion?” storyline was completely undermined by a naff dues ex machine ending that revealed Buffy was actually a robot! Dumb. It’s almost enough to make me quit the series. Almost.
15. The Silver Surfer (Fireside Books/Simon And Schuster, 1978) *
Writer: Stan Lee/Artists: Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott (interior art); Earl Norem (cover)
I bought this original graphic novel ages ago, then decided in January to take it to Oz Comic-Con in Melbourne for Stan Lee to sign. I read it on the plane trip down and...well, it was pretty damn horrible. Kirby’s art is fine in his usual cosmic manner, but Lee’s writing is sub-standard. And the retelling of the Silver Surfer and Galactus’s first visit to Earth is kinda lame. Pity. But at least Stan signed it for me, which was cool.
16.-28. The Sandman Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones (Vertigo, 1996) ****¼
- originally published in Vertigo Jam #1 (Vertigo, 1993), The Sandman #57-69 (Vertigo, 1994-95)
Writer: Neil Gaiman/Artists: various
29.-35. Severed (Image, 2012) ****
- originally published in Severed #1-7 (Image, 2011-12)
Writers: Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft/Artist: Attila Futaki
Coolest name for an artist ever!
35.-39. Criminal Vol. 2: Lawless (Icon, 2007) ****¼
 - originally published in Criminal Vol. 1 #6-10 (Icon, 2007)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
40.-42. Criminal Vol. 3: The Dead And The Dying (Icon, 2008) ****¼
 - originally published in Criminal Vol. 2 #1-3 (Icon, 2008)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
43.-49. The New Avengers Vol. 2 (Marvel, 2011) ***¾
- originally published in The New Avengers #7-13 (Marvel, 2011)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: #7: penciller Stuart Immonen, inker Wade Von Grawbadger; #8: Daniel Acuña (interiors), Mike Deodato (cover); #9-13: Mike Deodato (interior & cover); Howard Chaykin (interior 1959 segments)
Squirrel Girl! 1959 Avengers (different ones)! Howard fuckin’ Chaykin! Awesome!

50. Sour Candy Comics #1 (Lucky Stone Press, 1995) **¾
Writer/artist: Riel Aarons
51. Guard Dawgs #2 (Cosmic Barn Publishing, 2010) **¾
Writer/artist: Gary Gibeaut
52. Hot Mexican Love Comics #1 (self-published, early 2000s?) **½
The above three comics were self-published and you gets what you pays for: some good, some bad, some indifferent. HMLC features stories and art by animators who were involved with a bunch of mainstream TV cartoons like Duckman, Johnny Quest, Ren & Stimpy, Rugrats, The Simpsons, Rocko’s Modern Life and more. It’s surprisingly uneven in quality. Even more surprising, the mag is still published on an annual basis.

53. My Name Is Mud (Incognito Comics, 1994) ***
Writer/artist: Brian Denham
This is a four-page comic-con preview featuring a superhero called Mud. Denham’s art looks nice – he’s probably best known nowadays for the pin-up work he does for Antarctic Press. There was an actual first issue of this mag published, which I’ve bought and will be reading soon.
54.-56. Fury: My War Gone By (Marvel, 2012) ****½
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Goran Parlov
Ennis writes the best war comics around. Just ’cos this features Nick Fury doesn’t change the fact it’s more war comic than superhero yarn. Good stuff.
57.-61. Avengers 1959 (Marvel) ***½
Writer/artist: Howard Chaykin
62.-65. Rocketeer Adventures #1-4 (IDW, 2011) ****
Writers/artists: various
62.-65. Rocketeer Adventures 2 #1-3 (IDW, 2011) ****¼
Writers/artists: various
Awesome covers by  Darwyn Cooke!
66. Mars Attacks #1 (IDW, 2012) ***½
Writer: John Layman/Artist: John McCrea
A trashy good read and I love the old Mars Attacks! trading card cover, but I ain’t buying all 55 in the set.
67. Extermination #1 (BOOM!, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artist: Jeffrey Edwards
Can’t argue with the one buck price tag – and it’s an interesting premise: what if tropes of Batman and the Joker were forced to work together in the wake of an alien invasion? A promising start.
68. Suicide Girls #4 (IDW, 2011) **
Writers: Steve Niles, Missy Suicide, Brea and Zane Grant/Artist: Cameron Stewart
Nice art, shame about the shit script. Too many cooks and all that...
69. Mystery In Space #1 (Vertigo, 2012) ***
Writers/artists: various
70. Super Crooks #3 (Icon, 2012) ****¼
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Leinil Yu
71. Supreme #64 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Erik Larsen/Artist: Larsen & Cory Hamscher
And now we’re back to the old Supreme. Aaaaaaand I’m done.
72. 3 Story: Secret Files Of The Giant Man (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½
Writer/artist: Matt Kindt
73. Grace Randolph’s Supurbia #3 (BOOM!, 2012) ***½
Writer: Grace Randolph/Artist: Russell Dauterman
74. The Secret Service #2 (Icon, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Dave Gibbons
75. Hell Yeah #3 (Image, 2012) *** ¼
Writer: Joe Keatinge/Artist: Andre Szymanowicz
76. Fatale #5 (Image, 2012) ****¼
Writer: Ed Brubabker/Artist: Sean Phillips
77. One Year In Indiana (self-published,2008) ***½
Writer/artist: Kurt Dinse   
78. Comeback Kings #2 (Ardden, 2011) **¾
Writers: Matt Sullivan and Gabe Guarente/Artist: Ethan Young
79. Epic Kill #1 (Image, 2012) **
Writer/artist: Raffaele Ienco
Boring and needlessly violent. I won’t be buying any more issues.
80. The Avengefuls #1 (BOOM!, 2012) **¾
Writer: Rich Johnston /Artist: Joshua ovey
81. Mondo #2 (Image, 2012) **¾
Writer/artist: Ted McKeever
82. Loose Ends #3 (12-Gauge Comics, 2011) ***¾ 
Writer: Jason Latour/Artist: Chris Brunner
83. America’s Got Powers #2 (Image, 2012) ***½
Writer: Jonathan Ross/Artist: Bryan Hitch
84. Mudman #2 (Image, 2012) **
Writer/artist: Paul Grist
85.-86. Ragemoor #3-4 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***
Writer: Jan Strnad/Artist: Richard Corben
87.-88. Dial H #1-2 (DC, 2012) ***½
Writer: China Miéville/Artist: Mateus Santolouco (interiors), Brian Bolland (covers)
89. Creator-Owned Heroes #1 (Image, 2012) ***
Writers: Steve Niles (American Muscle), Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray (Trigger Girl 6)/Artists: Kevin Mellon (American Muscle), Phil Noto (Trigger Girl 6)
I bought this for the Neil Gaiman interview.
90. Hero Comics 2012 (IDW, 2012) ***
Writers/artists: various
All for a good cause for the Hero Initiative, but this is a patchy comic. However, there’s added poignancy from the piece written by down-and-out 90s writer Robert Washington, who died just after this mag was published.
91. Deadpool Max X-mas Special #1 (Marvel, 2012) **¾
Writer: David Lapham/Artists: Dve Lapham, Kyle Baker and Shawn Crystal

92. Minutemen #1 (DC, 2012) ***½
Writer/artist: Darwyn Cooke
93. Silk Spectre #1 (DC, 2012) ****
Writer: Darwyn Cooke/Artist: Amanda Conner
94. Comedian #1 (DC, 2012) ****¼
Writer: Brian Azzarello/Artist: JG Jones
95. Nite Owl #1 (DC, 2012) ****
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
Reviews coming in an upcoming podcast.