Wednesday, February 10, 2016

COMICS READING FOR JANUARY: “Make Mine Newton!”


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

NEW! HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE GRANT MORRISON SCALE
*****     All-Star Superman, We3
****      New X-Men (the early issues), Batman Inc., Batman & Robin, Dare, Arkham Asylum
***        Zenith, Seven Soldiers
**         Final Crisis, Flex Mentallo
*           Marvel Boy
DUD (or lower) Nameless, later New X-Men and any of his hippy-dippy, pseudo-mystical crap

1. Chum Ashcan Preview (Comix Tribe, 2016) ***¼
Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay/Artist: Sami Kivela
Surf black. Might be worth a look.
2. Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1 (Comix Tribe, 2015) ***¾
Writers: Tyler James & John Lees/Artist: Alex Cormack
Not too shabby. Quite scary in parts, even if the insane villain of the title is a little too Joker-ish for my tastes.
3. Comic Heroes #21 [featuring Sidekick] (Future Publishing, 2013) **½
Writers/artists: various
A nice idea to preview a bunch of current comics, but the selection for this issue didn’t appeal to me.
4. House Of Mystery #6 (Vertigo, 2008) ****
Writer: Matthew Sturges/Artists: Tony Akins & Andrew Pepoy; Luca Rossi
Digital version.
5.-14. House Of Mystery #7-16 (Vertigo, 2009) ****
Writer: Matthew Sturges (with occasional assistance from Bill Willingham)/Artists: Luca Rossi + guest artists
#16 was a glitch. I was supposed to get #6 from Mile High Comics (in fact, it’s marked as such on the plastic bag, but I got the wrong issue. So I had to buy the digital version from Comixology. A really interesting series. I may have to collect the rest of the series.
15. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #5 [Crayon Butchery Variant Cover; b&w interior] (Marvel, 2006) *****
Story: Warren Ellis/Art: Stuart Immonen
God, this was a fun series. I’m totally gonna have to go back and read it again soon. And you can colour in this issue. Awesome!
16. PANIC (Comic Books on Demand, 2015) ***
Writers: Aaron Parker & Nery Romero/Artist: Rory Nielander
A great marketing ploy by Melbourne-based wrestling tag team PANIC – “Jurassic Punk” Syd Parker & “Psycho Cowboy” Benny Factor – which I picked up recently at a Hunter Valley Wrestling show. The story and art aren’t great, but the marketing gimmick is brilliant. And the fact that the story ISN’T about wrestling – it’s a weird sci-fi/western/Tarantino mish-mash – means that it has crossover appeal to non-wrestling fans. Clever.
17.-28. Sidekick #1-12 (Image, 2013-15) ***¾
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Tom Mandrake
29. Trashed by Derf Backderf (Abrams, 2015) ***½
Nowhere near as good as his superb My Friend Dahmer. A bit too preachy about what we throw out while the main personal storyline peters out without a satisfying conclusion.
30.-33. Down #1-4 (Image, 2006) **
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artists: Tony Harris (#1), Cully Hamner (#2-4)
Ellis can write some brilliant bloody comics. He can also write violent, nihilistic shit. Sadly, Down is the latter. He must have shat out the script while on the toilet – it has virtually no plot and is clichéd, nonsensical and stupid.
34.-38. Comix Diary Era March-July (self-published, 2015) ***
Writer/artist: Stratu
Stu continues to relate his day-to-day existence, month by month. It’s both fascinating and mundane and frustrating and poignant...depending on the day.
I think I like the experiment he’s doing a lot. I’m thinking of giving my own diary comix a shot, too, after reading this one. So thanks for the inspiration, Stu.
Details:
8 pages,  11 inches x 8 inches, 3 US /3 Can/ 3 Mex / 3 World. Trades for comix
color cover, B&W inside with some color pages
Stuart Stratu, PO BOX 35 Marrickville NSW 2204 AUSTRALIA
sstratu@gmail.com

http://blackguard23.livejournal.com/

JOHN JACOBS MANIA
35. Starfighters #5 (Landgraphics Publications, 1983) *
Writers: Ken Landgraf & friends/Artists: Ken Landgraf, Willy Blyberg & friends
36. The New Power Stars #1 (Tami Comics, 1989) *
37. The New Partners In Peril #1 (Tami Comics, 1990) *
Writers: John Jacobs & friends/Artists: various
The revival of the Madison Comics line was short-lived, but the fact it happened at all is amazing. Someone needs to track down the guys at Blue Comet Comics who facilitated this brief relationship with John. An in-depth blog on these comics is coming soon.

38. Guardians Of Infinity #1 (Marvel, 2016) ***½
Writers: Dan Abnett, Jason Latour/Artists: Carlo Barberi & Walden Wong; Jim Cheung & John Dell
I got this free with my Marvel Collectors Corps Guardians Of The Galaxy box. The first story features both Guardians 3000 and Guardians 1000 (!). The second features The Thing revisiting his pro wrestling shtick in outer space. Not bad. I’ll wait for the trade.
39-43. We Can Never Go Home Vol. 1 (Black Mask, 2015) ****
Writers: Matthew Rosenberg & Patrinck Kindlon/Artists: Josh Hood & Brian Level (interior); Michael Walsh (cover)
Superhero/crime noir/X-Files mash-up. Me like.

THE SLOW DEATH OF MY STANDING ORDER AT KINGS CONTINUES
44.-45. Nailbiter #18-19 (Image, 2015-16) ***½
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
46. All Star Section Eight #6 (DC, 2016) ****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: John McCrea
The bleakest, darkest ending to a mainstream superhero title that you’ll ever read.
47. Revival #35 (Image, 2015) ***
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton
I’m lost. For the love of God, just end this series.
48.-49. Dark Corridor #5-6 (Image, 2015) ****¼
Writer/Artist: Rich Tommaso
50-51. Invader Zim #5-6 (Oni Press, 2015) ****½
Issue #5 Writer: Jhonen Vasquez/Artists: Aaron Alexovich & Megan Wucinick
Issue #6 Writer/Artist: KC Green
52. We Stand On Guard #6 (Image, 2015) ***¾
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Steve Skroce
Do wars really end that quickly and utterly? A slightly low-key, vaguely unsatisfactory ending to an otherwise-great miniseries.
53.-54. Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #10-11 (Image, 2015) *****
Writer/artist: David Lapham
55. Hellcat! #1 (Marvel, 2016) ****
Writer: Kate Leth/Artist: Brittney L. Williams
I picked up a damaged copy cheap at Kings. It’s cool in that Unbeatable Squirrel Girl way, so it’ll probably only last 12 issues. Still, I liked its quirky camp humour a lot and will pick up the trade.
56. Marvel: The Hip-Hop Covers Sampler (Marvel, 2016) ****
Writers/artists: various
Why the hell not?
57. Nameless #6 (Image, 2015) DUD
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Chris Burnham
Unfathomable, tedious, odious, needlessly gory shite of the highest order. Morrison disappears up his own anus once again. Avoid.
58. Will Eisner’s The Spirit #6 (Dynamite, 2015) ****
Writer: Matt Wagner/Artist: Dan Schkade (interior); Eric Powell (cover)

59.-60. Freaks #3-4 (Monster Comics, 1992) ****½
Writer: Jim Woodring/Artist: F. Solano Lopez

61.-66. The Sixth Gun: Dust To Death (Oni Press, 2015) ***½
- originally published in The Sixth Gun: Valley Of Death #1-3 and The Sixth Gun: Dust To Dust (Oni Press, 2015)
The Sixth Gun: Valley Of Death: Writer: Brian Hurtt/Artist: AC Zamudio
The Sixth Gun: Dust To Dust: Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artist: Tyler Crook
Prequel miniseries that flesh out the main series. Not essential, but fun reads for aficionados.
67.-72. Power Girl #7-12 (DC, 2010) ****
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti/Artist: Amanda Conner
73.-78. Power Girl: Bomb Squad (DC, 2011) ****
- originally published in Power Girl #13-18 (DC, 2010-11)
Writer: Judd Winick/Artist: Sami Basri
79.-83. Kaptara Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien (Image, 2015) *****
- originally published in Kaptara #1-5 (Image, 2015)
Writer: Chip Zdarsky/Artist: Kagan McLeod
A perverse, camp sci-fi reinterpretation/pisstake of He-Man and...The Smurfs? Brilliance!

MAKE MINE NEWTON!
84.-87. Special Team-Up (Newton, 1976)
88.-91. Newton Four In One (Newton, 1976)
92. The Invincible Iron Man #2 (Newton, 1976)
93.-94. The Avengers #8, #12 (Newton, 1975)
95. The Mighty Thor #1 (Newton, 1976)
96. The Amazing Spider-Man (Newton, 1975)
97.-105. The Fantastic Four #1-9 (Newton, 1975) ALL TITLES ARE **
Writers: Stan Lee and friends/Artists: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and friends

Colour posters! T-shirt iron-on transfers! Swapcards! Newton’s el cheapo reprints of 60s Marvel comics were a huge part of my childhood. In reality, the Melbourne-based company, run by media magnate Maxwell Newton, only lasted from 1975-76 before collapsing in financial ruin. My podcast review of Daniel Best’s exhaustively researched Newton Comics: The Amazing Rise And Spectacular Fall will be out soon.

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