Monday, December 9, 2013

COMICS READING FOR NOVEMBER: “Why the fuck did I buy these? (part 2)”

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

*****     Watchmen, Miracleman, V For Vendetta
****      From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Fashion Beast, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (first two series)
***        Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**         Promethea
*           LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD (or lower) any of his non-comics stuff 

1.-6. Strange Science Fantasy #1-6 (IDW, 2010) ***¾
Writer/artist: Scott Morse
I bought this ’cos it looked funky, then didn’t bother reading the miniseries till now. However, I read the first issue in about three minutes and thought, “Holy fuck! IDW has ripped me off for another US$3.99. But as I read these arthouse, surreal takes on trashy 50s sci-fi/monster flicks, I really got into Morse’s mindset and what he was building. By the time I reached issue six – which neatly wraps up what takes place in the previous five issues – I was sold on Strange Science Fantasy. Morse is a mad genius force to be reckoned with in this industry.
7.-8. The Mighty Thor #411-412 (Marvel, 1989) **
Writers: Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz/Artists: Frenz & Joe Sinnott
9.-14. The New Warriors #1-6 (Marvel, 1990) **
Writer: Fabian Nicieza/Artits: Mark Bagley & Al Williamson (inker, #1-2) & Larry Mahlstedt (inker, #3-6)
I bought this ’cos I read somewhere that The New Warriors (who debuted in Thor #411-412) was a forgotten gem in late 80s/early 90s mainstream comics. They lied. It’s very ordinary. And Night Thrasher may well be the worst-named, worst-conceived “dark” superhero ever vomited out of the Marvel machine.
15. The Raven And The Red Death (Dark Horse, 2013) ****
Writer/artist: Richard Corben
It’s fucking Corben!
16. NewUniversal: Conquerer (Marvel, 2008) ***¼
Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artist: Eric Nguyen
I bought this ’cos I’m a completist and I wanted every issue in the botched relaunch of Marvel’s New Universe. I didn’t mind this one though, set in 2689BC. Very Conan.
17. Star Brand #1 (Marvel/New Universe, 1986) **¾
Writer: Jim Shooter/Artists: John Romita Jr & Al Williamson
I had to get this to see what all the fuss was about (the only New Universe title I bought at the time was the very ordinary Merc). It’s OK, but I can see why the “more realistic” line of titles failed. Characters like Star Brand just doesn’t capture your imagination like Spider-Man or X-Men did.

18.-22. The Life And Times Of Savior 28 #1-5 (IDW, 2009) ***¾
Writer: JM DeMatteis/Artist: Mike Cavallaro
I bought this miniseries ’cos I’m a mark for any fresh take on the superhero mythos. In this grim tale, a gung-ho Superman-style hero with drinking and mental problems has a change of heart after 9/11 and becomes a pacifist. But being a smug, shallow prick he doesn’t really know how to do it and blunders his way into becoming Public Enemy No. 1. His erratic behaviour leads to the US Government sanctioning his assassination at the hands of his former sidekick. That’s all in the first issue. Subsequent issues go back in time to show how everything unfurled. DeMatteis is still one of the best writers in the biz. I enjoyed this quite a bit.
23. Messages In A Bottle by B. Krigstein (Fantagraphics, 2013) *****
24. Setting The Standard: Comics by Alex Toth: 1952-1954 (Fantagraphics, 2011) *****
It’s fucking Krigstein and it’s fucking Toth, OK? I discuss these tremendous books in detail on my latest podcast at

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, ep. 29: "Unsung Masters of Comic Book Art"

 IN WHICH I focus on two great comic artists of the past - Bernard Krigstein and Alex Toth - while reviewing the excellent Fantagraphics books, Messages In A Bottle: Comic Book Stories by B. Krigstein (2013) and Setting The Standard: Comics By Alex Toth 1952-1954 (2011).
Enjoy 17min & 25sec of hoarse comic book chat.