Sunday, November 2, 2014

COMICS READING FOR OCTOBER: “We don’t need another hero...bear”

* 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. Herobear And The Kid: The Inheritance (BOOM!, 2014) ***
- originally published in Herobear And The Kid #1-5, FCBD Summer Blast 2013 (BOOM!, 2013)
Writer/artist: Mike Kunkel
My 4yo son loves this book because it features clocks and a giant polar bear. I just wish I liked it’s preachy, vaguely Christian sentiments. The animation-style art is very nice.
7. The Multiversity: Society Of Super-Heroes #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story & Walden Wong
Very jumpy, jerky issue...but I think I can see a pattern coming together with this miniseries. Hopefully, next issue will answer a few more questions.
8. Future’s End: Harley Quinn #1 (DC, 2014) ***½
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner/Artist: Chad Hardin
OOOOOH! A 3D, lenticular cover and lots of gratuitous bikini shots of Harley. That was $5.40 well-spent!
9. Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 (Marvel, 2014) ***
Writers: Jason Aaron & Al Ewing/Artists: various
So Angela is Thor’s sister. I worked that out in issue one. A ho-hum end to a less-than-impressive, patchily written and drawn miniseries.
10. Guardians Of The Galaxy #19 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Ed McGuinness & friends
This Original Sin tie-in is actually pretty entertaining. A hogtied Star-Lord continues his story to Gamora about how he and Thanos escaped the Cancerverse, and the final fate of Richard “Nova” Rider”.
11.-16. The Sixth Gun Vol. 6: Not The Bullet, But The Fall (Oni Press, 2014) *****
- originally published in The Sixth Gun #36-41 (Oni Press, 2014)
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artists: Tyler Crook, Brian Hurtt
17.-21. Colder #1-5 (Dark Horse, 2012-13) ****
22. Colder: The Bad Seed #1 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writer: Paul Tobin/Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Very creepy series returns in an even-creepier sequel. Nimble Jack may well be my fave new horror character of the decade. Let’s hope he doesn’t stay dead for too long.
22. The Fade Out #2 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
23. Copperhead #1 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Jay Faerber/Artist: Scott Godlewski
24.-27. Cutter #1-4 (Top Cow/Image, 2014) **
Writers: Robert Napton & Seamus Kevin Fahey/Artist: Christian DiBari (#1-3), Mann House (#4)
Very ordinary serial killer/slasher mystery series that doesn’t really go anywhere and ends abruptly. Oooooh, teenage bullies rape a chick, so her nutcase daughter seeks revenge 20 years later. Yawn! The last issue feels rushed, with a dreaded replacement artist, House, totally destroying the atmosphere built up by DiBari’s creepy artwork in the first three issues. The writing is pedestrian – I think Image needs to walk away from the serial killer theme for a while. That well is now empty.
28. Nailbiter #6 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
29. Guardians 3000 #1 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: Gerardo Sandoval (interior), Alex Ross (cover)
30. Ordinary #2 (Titan, 2014) ***½
Writer: Rob Williams/Artist: D’Israeli
31. King! #2 (Blacklist Studios, 2007) **
Writer: Thomas Hall/Artist: Daniel Bradford
Elvis Presley as a cool monster hunter? I say, “Meh.”
32.-33. Oi Oi Oi! #1-2 (ComicOz, 2014) **½
Writers/artists: various
Read my thoughts on this Aussie anthology HERE.  
34. Sundowners #3 (Dark Horse, 2014) ***½
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Jim Terry (interior); Chris Brunner (cover)
35.-38. Black Science #7-10 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Matteo Scalera
39. Batgirl #35 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers: Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher/Artists: Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart
Batgirl for Gen Me in the twenty-teens? This could be fun, especially with subjects like revenge porn websites getting a run in the revamped series.
40. Adventures Of Superman #17 (DC, 2014) ***¾
Writers: various/Artists: various
The final issue of this old-school take on Superman is lovely – shame the series has been axed. Great to see some lovely Steve Rude art, topped by a classic cover of him teaming with Jack Kirby’s OMAC.
41. Guardians Of The Galaxy #20 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Ed McGuinness & Valerio Schiti, Mark Farmer, Schiti & Mark Morales
Probably the pick of the Original Sin spin-off stories. At least it was a revelation that resolves a long-standing dangling plot line.
42.-43. The Field #3-4 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Ed Brisson/Artist: Simon Roy
Bloody time paradoxes! They’ll get ya every time!

44. Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 (Marvel, 2014) ****½
Gorgeous art, lovely stories. A fun read, topped off by an excellent Alex Ross cover. Bruce Timm’s artwork on Stan Lee’s first-ever yarn (a Captain America short story from 1941) is a gem. Most of exciting of all is a new Alias yarn by Bendis and Gaydos that hints at Jessica Cage’s imminent return as a super-powered PI. I welcome that move!
45.-47. Southern Bastards #3-5 (Image, 2014) ****
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Jason Latour
What a bunch of magnificent bastards. My favourite new ongoing series.
48. Death Rattle #5 (Kitchen Sink, 1986) ***
Writer/artists: various
A mixed bag of a horror anthology. The early 50s Basil Wolverton reprint of “Robot Woman” is a clear highlight.
49.-52. Jupiter’s Legacy #1-4 (Image, 2013-14) ****
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Frank Quitely
Of course, I was asking for trouble with these procrastinating creators. Four issues in 13 months, then nothing since March. Will there ever be a #5? Probably not. Pity.
53. Men Of Wrath #1 (Icon, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Jason Aaron/Artist: Ron Garney
I didn’t think Aaron could write about any bigger bastards than the ones in Southern Bastards. I was wrong. There are some baaaaad bastards in this new series.
54.-56. Deadly Class #6-8 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
57. The Human Fly #1 (Marvel, 1977) **½
Writer: Bill Mantlo/Artist: Le Elias
58. Charlton Premiere #1 (Charlton, 1967) *
Writers/artists: various
I only got this mediocre new superhero showcase for Grass Green’s art on “The Shape”, and even that is a letdown compared to his later work.
59. The Multiversity: The Just (DC, 2014) ***
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Ben Oliver
I have no fucking idea what’s happening. But it looks nice.
60. Starlight #6 (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Goran Parlov
A weirdly good-but-unsatisfying conclusion to this Flash Gordon pisstake. Parlov’s art is beautiful, though.
61. Wild’s End #2 (BOOM!, 2014) ****
Writer: Dan Abnett/Artist: LNJ Culbard
I love this series and its ability to shock me. Killing off one of the major characters in only the second issue? Kudos, Mr Abnett, kudos.
62.-65. She-Hulk #6-9 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Charles Soule/Artists: Ron Wimberly (#6 interior), Javier Pulido (#7-9 interior), Kevin Wada (covers),
#6 was strange, with She-Hulk just letting a fascinating mystery slip through her fingers after she and her staff were nearly killed researching the case. I assume Soule will return to this dangling plotline at a later date. The new storyline about Steve “Captain America” Rogers on civil trial for a 70-year-old murder, with Matt “Daredevil” Murdoch as the prosecuting attorney, is a return to form, and #9 ends on a cool cliffhanger. Can’t wait for the next issue.
66. 13 Coins #1 (Titan, 2014) **
Writers: Martin Brennan & Michael B. Jackson/Artist: Simon Bisley
You know this supernatural horror yarn is all about the artwork when Bisley’s name is listed ahead of the two writers on the cover. That said, his not-his-finest-effort artwork is still head and shoulders the best thing about this by-the-numbers comic. Overall, a bit of a yawn.
67.-69. Protectors Inc. #7-9 (Image, 2014) ***¼
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists: Gordon Purcell & Andrew Pepoy
JMS is weaving a compelling Powers-like murder thriller and I look forward to the series’ conclusion next issue. But Purcell’s art? Goddamn – it’s fucking horrible.

70.-74. Ballistic #1-5 (Black Mask, 2013-14) ***
Writer: Adam Egypt Mortimer/Artist: Darick Robertson
Cronenberg meets William Burroughs. I have no idea what this series was on about, but it was an insane trip.
75.-81. Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega (IDW, 2014) *****
- originally published in Locke & Key: Alpha #1-5 & Locke & Key: Omega #1-2 (IDW, 2012-13)
Writer: Joe Hill/Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Knowing Hill, I didn’t expect a happy ending to this excellent series, and we didn’t get one...not quite. Bode’s return from the grave felt like a cop-out at first. Then again, the Locke family have gone through so much pain and anguish during this series that I can forgive Hill this one indulgence. All in all, a very satisfying – if bittersweet – end to an excellent series.
82. Nowhere Men #6 (Image, 2013) ***½
Writer: Eric Stephenson/Artist: Nate Bellegarde
Scientists as rock stars? What a fascinating concept. I enjoyed this unique take on the Beatles, but somehow forgot to read the final issue. I’ve rectified that oversight now.
83. Trees #2 (Image, 2014) **
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artist: Jason Howard
Proof positive that not everything Ellis writes is good. This is just dull.
84. Monster Menace #1 (Marvel, 1993) **½
Writers/artists: various
A reprint of classic 50s monster tales with art by Kirby, Ditko, etc, plus a new Kyle Baker cover.
85.-86. Legendary Star-Lord #3-4 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writer: Sam Humphries/Artists: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco (#3), Freddie Williams II (#4)
87.-88. Rocket Raccoon #3-4 (Marvel, 2014) ***¾
Writer/artist: Skottie Young
89.-91. Moon Knight #6-8 (Marvel, 2014) ***½
Writers: Warren Ellis (#6), Brian Wood (#7-8)/Artists: Declan Shalvey (#6), Greg Smallwood (#7-8)
Sad to see Ellis leave this new series (not surprised, but sad all the same). But Wood seems to have picked up the reins nicely, keeping Ellis’s reinvention of the schizophrenic superhero going, but adding a few little twists and making the series ongoing rather than stand-alone tales. I’ll stick with this title a while longer.
92. Velvet #6 (Image, 2014) ***¾
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
93. Duostar Racers #1 (IDW, 2008) *
Writer/artist: Ashley Wood
Is there anyone more pretentious than this Aussie “artist”? Nice drawings, mate, but not great. Crap writer. And has he ever finished ANYTHING? This was supposed to be the first of a two-part series about drug-crazed illegal racing drivers. Where’s part two, ya lazy cunt?! Too busy creating and selling uber-expensive dollies in Singapore, eh?
94. Cap’n Dinosaur (Image, 2014) ***½
Writer: Kek-W/Artist: Shaky Kane
I have no idea how these one-shots get off the ground and who buys them...but I’m glad they’re out there. Insane mash-ups/“tributes” to classic 50s and 60s superhero and horror comics. I dig them.
95. The Book Of Ants (Artisan, 1998) **¾
Writer: Darren Aronofsky/Artist: Edward Ross Flynn
A strange reimagining of movie director Aronofsky’s Pi, featuring lots of ants and Flynn’s evocative artwork.
96. The Fountain (Vertigo, 2005) **¾
Writer: Darren Aronofsky/Artist: Kent Williams
Beautifully drawn-but-confusing tale set simultaneously in the past, present and future. It’s about cancer and immortality. Beyond that, I have no real idea. Apparently, it got turned into a film. Did anyone see it?

OI VEY! A review of new Aussie comic "Oi! Oi! Oi" #1&2

CONGRATS to Aussie anthology OI OI OI! to getting its second issue onto local newsstands, a rare feat for any comic - let alone an Australian title - in 2014.
My question is: WHO THE FUG IS BUYING IT...apart from me, that is?
Oi Oi Oi! - a terrible name for a comic, by the way - is published by ComicOz, the imprint of Queenslander Nat Karmichael, who's also published classic collections of John Dixon's Air Hawk and Monty Wedd's Ned Kelly newspaper strips.
There's certainly nothing wrong with the anthology's intent: to showcase the best Aussie talent around... Of course, quality is subjective and I've found both issues uneven.

Oi Oi Oi! #1 (published in June) had strong contributions from Tony Thorne, Glen Le Lievre and Dillon Naylor, plus a fine cover from MAD artist Anton Emdin.
Other efforts are not so good, most notably a monster/sci-fi yarn by SCAR Studios (Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr). These guys have been pumping out the same sexually violent gore for 30 years without a hint of irony or growth .
I thought their contribution was inappropriate for a newsstand magazine situated next to more kid-friendly comics such as Scooby-Doo and The Simpsons. They also made Oi Oi Oi! look dated. SCAR's piece is easily the weakest thing in the first issue.

Oi Oi Oi! #2 (on sale now) is an improvement over the first issue. Having an all-women's issue is a welcome touch, while the addition of some colour pages helps make Caitlin Major and Scarlette Baccini's stories the strongest contributions. Again, the overall quality is patchy and, without wanting to sound too prudish, I question the amount of nudity and sex featured in a comic that's being sold in the children's section of newsagencies. Also, $7.95 seems a steep price for an indie B&W Aussie anthology comic. You'd be hard-pressed to get comics geeks paying that much at their local comic shop, let alone parents forking it over for their kids at a newssstand.

In summary, Oi Oi Oi! is a noble effort and worthy of your support.
But are noble efforts enough in 2014 to get people's support? I don't think so.

REVIEW: 22 Panels (That Always Work) @ Kinokuniya, Sydney

FANS of Wally Wood, Australian cartoonists and free champagne were in attendance at the launch of the 22 Panels exhibition at Kinokuniya Books in Sydney's CBD last Thursday night.
I drank far too much reasonably priced Australian sparkling wine, but it didn't diminish my enthusiasm for the pieces I sw.
The exhibition showcases 22 original panels from some of our finest pop culture artists, celebrating Wood's legendary cheat sheet/advice to aspiring artists titled "Wally Wood's 22 Panels Taht Always Work!!"
Brilliant talent such as Anton Emdin, Frantz Kantor, David Blumenstein, Dave Follett, Bruce Mutard, Glen Le Lievre and Glenn Lumsden provide their own take on Wally's panels. (And there isn't a weak piece in the collection.)
For comic book fans with a sense of history (and a love of local artists), it's a fun exhibition and it's open to the public until November 15. Check it out at The Wedge Gallery, Kinokuniya, Level 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney.
Get more info about it at