Saturday, April 2, 2016

COMICS READING FOR MARCH: “The horror...the horror...”


* 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 And 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.-8. The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (DC, 2010) ****½
- originally published in The Sandman #1-8 (DC, 1988-89)
Writer: Neil Gaiman/Artists: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III (interiors); Dave McKean (covers)
9.-20. The Walking Dead Vols. 1-2 (Image, 2004) ***½
- originally published in The Walking Dead #1-12 (Image, 2003-04)
Writer: Robert Kirkman/Artists: Tony Moore (#1-6), Charlie Adlard (#7-12)
I had a first print copy of The Walking Dead #1 back in 2003. Do you know how much it’s worth now at Lone Star (mycomicshop.com)? $20,000. TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! Fuck my life. I stopped buying this series after #25 and sold the lot for $25 on eBay. Fuck my life! I got sick of the torture porn and the never-ending bleakness. TWD was (and still is by all accounts) fucking depressing. Basiclaly, everyone’s gonna die and become zombies – nothing can save them. Rick is fucked up. God knows if any of the original support cast are still alive. Even if they were I’d never recognise them because Adlard is arguably the worst artist in the world. But I rebought the first 12 issues as trades a few years back and I just reread them in one hit. Kinow what? The early issues weren’t too bad. Pity Kirkman’s into torture porn. Fuck that guy. And, still, fuck my life.
21.-26. Bad Planet Vol. 1 (Raw Studios, 2010) ***
- originally published in Bad Planet #1-6 (Image, 2005-08)
Writers: Thomas Jane and Steve Niles/Artists: James Daly III, Lewis LaRosa, Tim Bradstreet and Dave Kendall (interiors); Basil Gogos (cover); Dave Stevens, Berni Wrightson, etc (other art)
27.-31. Chew Vol. 2: International Flavor (Image, 2010) ***¾
- Chew #6-10 (Image, 2009-10)
Writer; John Layman/Artist: Rob Guillory
32. Nailbiter #20 (Image, 2016) ***¾
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Hendeson
33.-36. Marvel Zombies 3 #1-5 (Marvel, 2008-09) ***¾
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: Kev Walker (interior); Greg Land (cover)
37.-40. Marvel Zombies 4 #1-5 (Marvel, 2009) ***¾
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: Kev Walker (interior); Greg Land (cover) 
41.-45. Marvel Zombies Return #1-5 (Marvel, 2009) ***½
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: various (interior); Arthur Suydam (cover) 
46.-50. Marvel Zombies 5 #1-5 (Marvel, 2010) *****
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: various
51. Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution #1 (Marvel, 2010) ***
Writer: Karl Kesel/Artists: various
52.-56. Marvel Zombies Supreme #1-5 (Marvel, 2011) ***½
Writer: Frank Marraffino/Artists: Fernando Blanco and Jason Paz (interior); Michael Komarck (covers)
57.-61. Zombies Christmas Carol #1-5 (Marvel, 2011) **¾
Writers: Charles Dickens and Jim McCann/Artists: David Baldeon and friends (interior); Michael Kaluta (covers)
62.-66. Marvel Zombies Destroy! #1-5 (Marvel, 2012) ***
Writers: Frank Marraffino (#1-2); Peter David (#3-5)/Artists: Mirco Pierfederici (#1-2, #4-5 interior); Al Barrionuevo and Rick Magyar (#3 interior); Mike Del Mundo (covers)
67.-78. Black Hole (Jonathan Cape, 2005) ****¾
- originally published in Black Hole #1-12 (Fantagraphics, 1995-2004)
Writer/Artist: Charles Burns
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79.-83. Tokyo Ghost Vol. 1: The Atomic Garden (Image, 2016) ***¾
- originally published in Tokyo Ghost #1-5 (Image, 2015-16)
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Sean Murphy
84.-85. Stratu’s Diary Comix Nov.-Dec. 2015 (self-published, 2015) ***
Writer/artist: Stratu
Stratu’s epic diary is completed! And he’s inspired me to do my own comic in 2016. Wish me luck!

DIGITAL COMIX!
86.-91. Epochalypse #1-6 (Legendary Comics, 2014-15) ***
Writer: Jonathan Henesey/Artists: Shane Davis (#1-6 interior), Pete Woods (#6 interior); Shane Davis (#1 cover), Steve Mannion (#2 cover), Dave Johnson (#3-6 covers)
This series – about a time catastrophe that saw 600 years of history compressed into one time period – had a really strong start as time cops hunted down citizens who held anachronistic objects that could jeopardise the world’s fragile state. But the series dropped in quality as the issues continued and various sub-plots arose that only muddied the central storyline. The last two issues were confusing and unsatisfying .Henesy clearly plotted this series to run more than six issues, but #7 hasn’t surfaced in more than a year so I suspect Epocalypse is...ahem, history.

JOIN THE CARAVAN OF LOVE
I receive free Aussie comics every week courtesy of caravanofcomics.com, but I haven’t reviewed any of them, so here are my brief thoughts on a slab that I read the other day.

92. If You Follow Me On Instagram by Andrew Fulton (self-published, 20??) **½
Four-in-one panels that evaporate as you read them. Some panels are profound, others not so much.
93. Legend Of The White Stag by Alex E. Clark (self-published, 2013) **¾
Cute lil’ horror tale about a mermaid in a creek in what I assume is rural Australia.
94. Lars The Last Viking Goes To The End Of The World by Matt Taylor (self-published, 2011) **¾
Nice art, but the story about a death metal-playing lonely viking was too cutesy and a bit lame.
95. If A Tree Falls by Nic Lawson (self-published, 20??) ***½
A short, sweet tale about a lumberjack who has a change of heart.
96. Inscapes by Safdar Ahmed (self-published, 2015) ***¾
A powerful collection of strips and drawings detailing the frustrations of a Muslim dealing with getting hammered by the destructive actions of Islamic terrorists on one side and Islamophobes who seek to blame ALL Muslims for the actions of a few extremists. Powerful, thought-provoking material. From the website: “Safdar is a Sydney-based comic artist, academic and co-founder of Refugee Art Project, for which he conducts art workshops with refugees and asylum seekers. In 2015, Safdar won a Walkley Award in the artwork category for his documentary webcomic, Villawood: Notes From An Immigration Detention Centre.
97. Judee by Lachlan Conn (self-published, 2015) ****
Beautifully surreal comic about a giant cavewoman. Very Crumbesque/Weirdo comic-style artwork. An unexpected gem.
98. Imagined Mysteries by Anthony Woodward (self-published, 2015) ****
The death of Leonard Nimoy is the starting point of Anthony’s thoughtful look at religious intolerance, man’s inability to see the bigger picture and what Mr Spock represented to humanity. Strangely moving, powerful comix.
99. Combat Trousers by Jonathan King (self-published, 2015) **¾
Just silly stuff from this NZ creator. A war yarn where a pair of trousers leads a platoon.
100. Not Quite Right by AzzaMcKazza (self-published, 201?) ***½
Wacky, well-drawn humour strips. I liked it a lot.
101. Darkest Night #1 (Siberian Productions, 2012) **¼
Writer/artist: Hayden Fryer
Poorly written, amateurishly drawn romance comic that’s the first in a trilogy, apparently. I’ll skip the next two instalments, I think.

102. Lucha Underground: Rey Mysterio #1 (El Rey Network, 2016) ***
Writers: Justin Ortiz, Christopher DeJoseph, Fabian Rangel Jr/Artist: AC Osorio
103. Lucha Underground: Mil Muerte #1 (El Rey Network, 2016) ***
Writers: Justin Ortiz, Christopher DeJoseph, Fabian Rangel Jr/Artists: Tony Gregori (interior); AC Osorio (cover)

104. Howard The Duck: The Newspaper Strips Vol. 1 (self-published, 2016) ***
- originally published daily by Marvel, 1977
Writer: Steve Gerber/Artist: Gene Colan
The first chapter of the are HTD newspaper strip can be found at http://bronzeageofblogs.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/howard-duck-newspaper-strip-pop-syke.html. I saved the high-res JPEGs and laid them out into an 18-page zine that I then printed out. You can read the first chapter at the blog and you can contact me at danhelen@idx.com.au and I’ll send you a copy of my zine (with colour front cover featuring rare fan-commissioned art by Val Mayerik).
To learn more about Howard’s strip and its troubled short life (it ended in 1978 and didn’t appear in many newspapers at all), check out http://nemsworld.com/howard/.

105. -106. Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades Of The World’s Greatest Comics by Les Daniels (Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1991) ****
- features the following strips: “Vengeance!”, Sub-Mariner #35 (Marvel, 1954); “Duel To The Death With The Vulture!”, The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (Marvel, 1963); “This Man...This Monster!”, Fantastic Four #51 (Marvel, 1966); Wolverine in “The Hunter” (technically unpublished, 1987)
Writers: Bill Everett, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont/Artists: Bill Everett, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott; Marshall Rogers and Randy Emberlin
I’ll have an upcoming podcast reviewing Les’s book, along with his other book looking at 60 years of DC Comics.


107.-108. I Am A Hero Omnibus 1 (Dark Horse, 2016) ****
Writer/artist: Kengo Hanazawa
- originally published in I Am A Hero Vols. 1 and 2 (Shogakukan, 2009)

Zombie manga! I’m so glad this got sent to me. I’ll discuss it more in my next podcast. J


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