Friday, February 03, 2006

Seth Fisher, Rest in Peace

I'm shocked and saddended by the recent death of artist Seth Fisher, and also some of the callous remarks I've seen on messageboards by people who didn't know who he was, so they felt comfortable making tasteless jokes. I just discovered Fisher on the recent Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan mini-series, and became an instant fan and I now count him in my favorite modern artist list.

I've literally never seen art anything like what he did ANYWHERE, and that goes double for comic books. So much of his art was dreamlike in it's insanity, energy and unique childlike innocence that could be glimpsed just a bit in a weird monster. I have been looking forward so much to his future projects and him becoming a star in this medium, I am heartbroken that the world will never have that opportunity. My heart goes out to his family.

I will be gone for the next few days, and when I get back I will be putting together a tribute entry to Seth Fisher, including lots of his work. If you have any scans that you'd like to contribute, please send them to zombierock@boomspeed.com. It'd be a huge help and I'd really appreciate it.

I hope everyone goes and checks out Big in Japan if you haven't already, besides a great story you'll see incredible artwork that will show you just how much we've lost. I actually made the cover art to issue #1 my wallpaper a few days ago (it was this artwork that brought Fisher to my attention, it was also the first time I've ever bought a comic solely based on the cover artwork) and the coincidence is strange.

Polly & the Pirates: Kickin' it Peg Leg Style!


Polly and the Pirates- #3 out of 6
written & illustrated by Ted Naifeh Published by Oni Press

I'm reading this wonderful new mini-series that I've yet to see anyone talking about, which I think needs to be remedied. So here's the remedy. Halfway through the series and I love almost everything about it- it's sweet, funny, exciting and a refreshing change from a lot of the glossy-but-empty stuff that gets all the press. Read on, click on some pretty pictures and run out and read these books!




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Polly Pringle is a proper young lady who attends and all-girls boarding school run by Miss Lovejoy. She's very polite, well-mannered and ladylike, she trise to be just like her mother- the finest, most beautiful lady ever- who died during Polly's birth. Her best friend Stasia, however, dreams of escaping and having romantic adventures with handsome pirate murderers in exotic locations, and is constantly getting in trouble. After talking Polly into a failed attemptto sneak out, the girls go back to sleep for another uneventful night. It's not to be though- as Polly's bed is SHANGHAIED! (i love that word) right onto a pirate ship! I mean literally, they SHANGHAI! the whole bed!

On board the good ship Titania is a crew of your usual salty-looking pirates, though maybe they're just a little bit older and shorter than most. They mean no harm, however, and a mate named Scrimshaw comes forward to explain things to Polly. She's shocked when she's shown a large portrait of a woman who looks *just* like Polly, though she's dressed as a pirate. She's Meg Malloy, the Pirate Queen, former captain of the Titania, and Scrimshaw says it's her mother! Apparently they need a captain, and the crew won't listen to ol' Scrimy but they will follow the daughter of Meg Malloy. Polly's mother was a proper lady, so this just isn't possible... isn''t it?




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The Story So Far in Issue 3... Last issue ended with Polly getting SHANGHAIED! yet again, this time by the dashing Pirate Prince. He claims the map Meg Malloy had led to a treasure that was stolen from his father, the Pirate King, and he's willing to cut Polly in a little if she can tell him where it is. She turns him down, but after threatening to ruin Polly's perfect reputation to get it, she reluctantly concedes. (How would he ruin her rep? By telling Miss Lovejoy a story of his & Polly's "secret love affair". Dude, the age different between them makes this even creepier...)
She goes back to Scrimshaw (aka Seamus to non-pirates, who's washing the dishes at The Queen Meg pub, to get information.




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It turns out Seamus had the map in a pirate hat given to him by Queen Meg, but lost the hat a few years ago- click on the thumbnail above to see how. Oh, poor solly Seamus. Back to the Pirate Prince, Polly does something she's not proud of that lets her go back to the home and leaves Seamus's future in untrustworthy pirate hands. Will Polly go on with her proper life, or will she rise to the occasion and bravely right the wrong she perpetuated by saving Scrimshaw/Seamus, find the treasure map and become the next Pirate Queen? Only 3 more issues to go...


Just a Note... A nice thing about this series is that the little girl protagonist doesn't WANT adventure. While other girls may be fantasizing about running away and being "naughty", Polly wants none of that- she's a True Blue Good Girl. Usually in adventure stories the little girl is a tomboy just itching for excitement (ala Pippy Longstocking) I doubt this will stand out to anyone else, but ever since I was a little girl I've read hundreds of stories like that. I was a good, quiet little girl who dreamed of adventure but was never really pushy or loudmouthed about it and I never got in trouble, so I could never relate to the smart-mouthed little cookies in literature. Polly is smart and she's no priss, but she's definitely a reluctant heroine and I love that.




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The Art & Content This is an all black & white series, with art that more closely resembles storybooks than comic books. It's really lovely and very cute, and I think the round cleanness of the whole thing will really appeal to children. There's no bad language, violence or sex in this series so it's really for all-ages- and still manages to be very intelligent and not pander to anyone. I'm really happy I picked this series up, and I can't recommend it enough to everyone else.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Superman & Wonder Woman: The Happy Issues!


Contains Spoilers from Infinite Crisis #4
Adventures of Superman #48 This is my last issue of this series as I've decided to drop it, and I must say it was an ace issue to go out on. It seems almost every Big Title book out right now is depressing and focusing on how bad and weak the heroes are, so the fact that this issue centers on how Superman actually IS inspiring and how people can work together in a crisis was a refreshing change.

After Bludhaven was attacked and almost completely destroyed by Chemo, Superman comes to help as he's the only one who can withstand the high toxicity in the air (you know, being an alien and all.) We also get cameos ahoy, including Nightwing, two Green Lanterns, a few Teen Titans and the Huntress. The story is written completely in the style of an article written by Lois Lane, and there is absolutely no dialouge. This works surprisingly well and was a cool idea, the prose really sums up everything that's going on in the panel and the emotions that go along with it. I couldn't help but make comparisons to a few parts to the devastation that followed last years hurricanes from hell, which (in a sad way) gave this stand-alone issue more impact. One thing I really dug in this is a small box that sums up the death tolls in recent disasters in the DC Universe. Helpful, and it really puts the whole Crisis thing in perspective. Here's the stats:
San Diego sinks: 13,700 dead
Gotham Quake: 5,057 dead
Coast City destroyed: 7,000,000 dead
Chemo destroys Bludhaven: 100,068


Even though I'm dropping the title, I've enjoyed the few issues I did read and this one was probably my favorite. Highly recommended if you are at all interested in what Bludhaven looks like now.



Contains Spoilers from Infinite Crisis #3
Wonder Woman #225 After the events of the last few issues, with the OMAC attacks on Paradise Island then the Island actually... dissapearing, this issue was like a breather. A bunch of Goddess, lead by Lady Pallas, have been watching Diana and summon her to apparently have a talk with her. Pallas is pretty angry with Wonder's decision to stay behind with us jerkwad's that don't appreciate her and losing her Amazon paradise. That's a really good question.

After the pow-wow with them Diana returns to Earth to dismiss her OTHER crew- the one that works at the Themyscira House where she's ambassador. Her ideals are very noble in this issue (she does it because she has HOPE!) which is wonderful for the character, but it won't end well. We have one issue left until "One Year Later" and since Diana's been the whipping post through the Crisis, I can only see it get worse. Dammit.

Rant Rant Rant Rant! This issue was a welcome change from the negativity and hero-bashing as of late- and we especially needed it for Wonder Woman. Since the Crisis started she has been by far demonized the most. She's the one that was chosen to be the murderer, and have all her "friends" treat her like a villian even though she was doing nothing wrong. Then it hurts her politcally, and then the OMACS come to Paradise Island, and in order to save the Amazons Diana will never see the Island again. Oh, and she gets her book cancelled. Batman has by far screwed things over the most (it's absically his fault that there IS a Crisis right now) Superman has been mostly a passive whiney baby, but they see fit to act like they're gods and can pass judgement on Wonder Woman for this one event- and she killed a psycho murderer that was controlling Superman's mind. To me, Diana has been the only one out of the Big Three that HAS been a real hero- not to mention she actually IS a Goddess.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Pulls" for January 18

Call me weird, but I always love seeing what everyone buys & reads each week, so I'll share my purchases for the week. It's a HUGE (re: expensive) week for me, I'm just grateful last week was a non-week comic-wise.

I'm not a sit-down-and-read-them-all-in-one-sitting type of person with comics, I usually 'savor' them by reading around two or three a day. That way I feel like I'm getting my moneys worth (hey, I never claimed it made sense) and I get to appreciate the story/art instead of rushing through it.
However I'll try to speed it up so I actually have a reason to update this blog... please leave a comment if there are particular titles you'd like an in-depth review of so I can read & review those first.

For now... my pulls this week- with pointless comments and pretty scans!!


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Marvel Knights 4 #25 & #26 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Valentine Delandro, Batt A great Fantastic Four series that's completely overlooked for some strange reason. I can't get into the "big" F4 book but this title and Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four are a lot of fun and not steeped in confusing continuity crap. #25 starts off a new storyline.
All-Star Superman #2 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely My 2nd most anticipated issue this week (maybe for the month?) I love the idea of starting a Superman series from scratch however you want- and not devoting issues to the backstory EVERYONE knows. Breathtaking artwork, wonderful characterization and an engaging plot makes this one a MUST own.
Action Comics #835 by Gail Simone & John Bryne Simone is one of my favorite writers, and I love what she's done on this title. I usually can't stand Lois Lane, as most writers can't seem to show her being strong willed and independant without being a pushy bitch. Simone's portrayal of her is the first I've liked, and I also dig the relationships she's set-up at The Daily Planet. I'm so sad that her run is ending soon, I'm not a huge fan of Bryne's but the stories have been A+. Last month's return of the Queen of Fables was terrific and some of Simone's best writing to date.


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Batgirl #72 by Andersen Gabrych & Francisco Rodriguez De La Fuente I feel almost betrayed that Batgirl is ending soon, I've been so very loyal and it was always one of my top 5 monthly reads. I can't say I've been thrilled with Cassandra's whole mother search (is it humanly possible to draw it out any longer?!?) but I really enjoyed the short team-up with Mr. Freeze and I'll still miss this title.
Birds of Prey #90 by Gail Simone & Paulo Siqueira + Adam Dekraker Ah, Oracle coming clean to dad and Calculator's continued stalking of her is great- and that's only part of what's going on in this issue. Since Simone also wrote it, I love the current tie-ins with the Villians United mini-series- in addition to the Calc we get fan favorite Deathstroke featured in this ish. They're done just right here and it's actually cohesive.
Ex Machina #17 by Brian K. Vaughan & Tony Harris I just recently discovered this amazing series through the trades, and decided to start here since a brand-new storyline begins this issue. Yep, that's all I got, sorry.
Generation M #3 by Paul Jenkins w/ Roman Bachs I already reviewed this title, so I'll spare you one this week. I'll just say I HATE the cover- I mean, using The Blob is never a good
aesthetic choice, but it's just terrible in every way. Who designed the "House of M" and "Decimation M" logos anyway? Ugly, blah, and ugly.
Infinite Crisis #4 by Geoff Johns, Phil Jimenez & George Perez Everyone else is already talking about this one, huh? Well... I bought the Perez cover, if anyone was interested.
JLA #124 by Bob Harras &
Tom Derenick I hate hate hate hate hate this current "World Without A Justice League" storyline. Every since that hokey spiritual hand holding ceremony kicked it off I have been confused and angered. They get rid of my man Martian Manhunter- and focus on the dull and insipid Manitou Dawn? Who the hell is Manitou Dawn anyway?!? This is heavily connected into the INFINITE CRISIS (the only reason I'm forcing myself through this storyline) and they focus on some dippy character nobody knows or likes? If she turns out to be a savior or ending up a martyr, I'm gonna need a sit down with Mr. Harras.
Manhunter #18 by
Marc Andreyko & Javier Pina w/ Fernando Blanco This series is so awesome. I love the new direction with Manhunter working for Mr. Bones (he was from the JSA books, right?) and all the secrets surrounding the men in her life look like they'll lead up to something killer.
She-Hulk #4 by Dan Slott & Scott Kolins I guess this issue is a sequel to something called "
THE AVENGERS: SEARCH FOR SHE-HULK" according to marvelcomics.com, and I've never even heard of that. I hate it when they do that. But I love you Shulkie, so I'll tough it out. I really dislike Kolins art though, it's too messy for me and Shulkie just doesn't look good in teased-out Dolly Parton hair. Also, she looks constipated on the cover- what's up with that?


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X-Statix Presents Deadgirl by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred My MOST anticipated title this week, month... heck, I've been waiting for this since October! I'm actually still catching up on X-Statix with the trades, so I'm waiting to read this until I gobble those up. Or does it really impact it if I don't? I mean, dude! Doctor Strange is on the cover! This cover definitely wins "Coolest Cover of the Month" from me hands down... You know, I really think my love of Mike Allred's creations is starting to border on obsession, but can you really blame me?


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cowboys, Cops and Ex-Mutants

I finally got around to reading Jonah Hex #3, and this is definitely one of my top 3 titles to be released in the past year. Hex is a classic character, but you don't have to know anything about his past (I sure as hell don't) to enjoy this series- especially since each issue is a whole self-contained story. Hex is drawn as a facially deformed Clint Eastwood, which fits the feel of the series like a well-worn cowboy hat. It has influences from both American and spaghetti westerns, which gives it a really international feeling even though it's set in the west. Hex has manners and is a true gentlemen even though he's a notorious bounty hunter, and the way he sometimes speaks to people he likes or respects reminds me of the best dialouge in Louis L'amour novels.

It's bloody as hell and doesn't mince words, and Hex is a great anti-hero: he'll track down the bad guys to avenge their victims, but he'll also kill without blinking if the person was asking for it. Call me sadistic, but I'm so tired of so many heroes letting a serial killing villian live no matter WHAT they do (The Joker probably pissing me off the most) so this series really satisfies my bloodlust. You can jump into this series at anytime with no background knowledge needed, so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series to everyone (except small children and people that don't like cool stuff.)

I'm not really a big Marvel person, though I don't judge what I read based on the company that releases it. That's just plain foolishness. DC just attracts me more, they have all my favorite characters (Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn... getting the picture yet?) and most of their stuff has a bit more maturity in my eyes. Thanks in part to my wonderful online subscription guys (shout out to Comics My Way!) who send me free comics in each mailing, I've been digging some Marvel stuff. I didn't follow House of M at all- Infinite Crisis has been sucking up my comic dollar already- but I've really enjoyed these first two issues of Generation M. It takes place after whatever the hell took away all the mutants... "muntantacity" (hey, it's a word now) and follows a regular woman who writes a column about mutants at an NYC paper. She's an alcoholic and has personal problems up to her chin, but she cleans herself up enough to cover the personal stories of mutants whose whole lives have been altered by the wipeout. The column becomes a smash hit and she's at the top of the world until she's given an anonymous manilla envelope filled with horrific photos of murders of former-mutants, with the words "Not Enough Died" at each crime scene. Creepy.

The plot is intriuging and interesting, and the mystery is sustained well by the deep characterization we're given of our heroine right away. The scene in issue #2 where she interviews a sad hooker who's now lost nearly all her business because she used to be a mutant with a power to bewitch men... it's such a depressing, harshly realistic scene that I still find myself thinking about it. I've never been able to get into the X-Men- save for the movies- so I'm very surprised by how much I'm loving this series. Since my beloved Gotham Central is ending next month, this makes a nice stand-in for gritty, "real people in a super-powered world" book.

Speaking of Gotham Central- what the hell? * Spoilers ahead, I'm already breaking my rules, I'm sorry but I gotta rant! * I was so, so sad when I heard Greg Rucka decided to end it, as it was a really original idea that was executed in a way very appealing to the more mature reader. Think "The Shield" or "NYPD Blue" if they took place in Gotham and had to deal with supervillians and keeping Batman from muscling in on all their cases. But in #38 they killed one of the main characters- a personal favorite who was one of the few sane, ethical cops on the force. The way they were demonizing her I was sure lesbian wild cannon Renee Montoya was going to get the big kiss-off, but no, it was her too-good-to-be-true partner.

Over time we've seen in bits how evil and corrupt fellow officer Jim Corrigan was- but seeing him torture and murder a fellow officer because he knew and saw too much- was actually hard for me to stomach. Next to what Black Mask did to Selina Kyle's sister & brother-in-law early in the current Catwoman series (which I direct to all people who call Black Mask a weak villian- damn) this scene had the most emotional impact on me. In last weeks issue #39, when the widow came in to talk to Renee I actually felt my chest tighten a bit. Rucka did such a great job of making him a whole character who loved his family, and the great job Kano/Gaudiano did to convey the expression of hopelessness and loss on her face just really sent it right home. After tearing down Detective Montoya and then killing her partner in cold blood... I'm no longer upset about this series ending. I'm just haven't enjoyed reading it for a few issues now. I just wish Rucka would have chosen a less heartbreaking ending for this groundbreaking series.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shulkie, Horror Icons and Unions

I am a huge horror movie fan, I used to read every issue of Fangoria and dream of Argento. So naturally it'd follow that I'm obsessed with the Evil Dead trilogy and Re-Animator. So when Army of Darkness vs. The Re-Animator was announced I was... kinda skeptical. As much as I've wanted to love them, I've been underwhelmed by Dynamite Entertainment's Army of Darkness miniseries (and of course the nerd complaint of using the title of the most mainstream film of the trilogy when the story usually follows Evil Dead 2 the most.) They seem to focus mostly on the art- which IS great- but the stories are usually thin and full of second rate Ash-isms. But I've really been digging this team-up with ole' Herbert West, the story is interesting, creepy as hell and the brand-new secondary characters are actually well fleshed out and interesting. In issue #3 Ash and two people that claim to be "followers" of his (playing on the story that Ash is legendary to many, and he knows nothing about it) trying to get out of an insane asylum that's been, um, deadite-ized. It's a lot of fun and I'm actually looking forward to see how it ends. Just... please, can we cut down on the variant covers? Yes they're nice, but they'd be just as nice as pin-ups in the back of the comic.

She-Hulk #3, which is her 100th issue when combined with her "Savage" and "Sensational" series from the 80's. To celebrate, we have almost every major Marvel character in a cameo talking about how she's impacted their lives. Why? Well if you've been reading the lastest series, Shulkie's broken some time traveling laws and has a trial to decide whether or not she'll be erased from ALL CONTINUITY! There's lots of in-jokes for longtime readers of titles such as The Avengers and Fantastic Four, and while I collect the issues of both series She-Hulk's appeared in- I'm not a longtime Marvel reader, so most of the jokes went over my head. But Dan Slott still makes the story accessible and funny for everyone, bless him. We also get a ton of different artists illustrating this, my personal favorite being ERIC POWELL, who does my favorite modern comic THE GOON. In this super-packed issue we also get issues #1 of both The Savage She-Hulk (which is her origin story) and The Sensational She-Hulk.

This series is getting great buzz but I think most people assume something called "she-hulk" will be a stupid waste of time, which is a shame. Dan Slott is also one of my new favorite writers in this medium, he's hilarious and full of pop culture references while at the same time making really unique stories full of richly made characters. He's also behind the brand new The Thing series, which is just as funny and as topical as Shulkie's. It's on issue #2, so you still have time to get caught up on both of these ace series!

Oh, and the lastest ish of The Goon was perfect. After a backstory issue and the 25 cent origin story, I've been itchin' for a new adventure, and we got a great self-contained one. Using union bureaucracy to fight zombies is a funny and fresh idea in comics, and it's made even funnier for the fact that it'd most likely get down to signing contracts if there was ever a zombie problem in real life. The letters column was extra-long and extra-extra-insane however, filled with porn stars and letters from people like Frank Darabont ranting about what a jerk Eric Powell is. If you're not reading this book... then you're just wrong.

For the holidays I got mucho gift certificates, which I basically blew all on trade paperbacks. Ones I've recently finished and highly recommend are Manhunter: Street Justice (an intelligent and very adult series), Superman: True Brit (a fun look at what if that krytonian baby landed in England, with great jabs at the rabid tabloids over there) and The Amazing Joy Buzzards Vol. 1. AJB is a pretty weird, quirky series that's an acquired taste, but once you get one it's quickly addictive.

Well that's all for now, since nobody is reading this I'm keeping it skimpy for now. Thanks for reading me, me. You're a real trouper, and I love what you've done with your hair!

You Know You Needed Another Comic Book Blog...

Hello, I'm yet another nobody on the vast space of the interweb adding to the pile of comic book-centered blogs. I know, I'm excited too! My focus will mostly be positive, I read comic books because I love them... they make me happy. Sure there's lots of crap, but almost every online comic source is already focused on that. I'd like to share the weekly comics I dug and why I dug them, and do the same for trade paperbacks regardless of when they were released.

Who am I? You can call me Steph, I'm 22 and I live in Las Vegas, NV. I did not grow up reading comics, save for the occasional Betty and Veronica. I discovered the world of "adult" comics when I was about 15 in the great shops they had in downtown Albuquerque near the university. There I discovered still favorites such as Bone, Strangers in Paradise, A Touch of Silver, Yeah!, Love and Rockets and Action Girl. I took a break for a few years and got into them big time in 2005. I love quirky indie stuff, I love superheroes, I love anything that is well done and sincere. I have pretty eclectic tastes so hopefully I'll have something for everyone at this here blog.

I hope you'll bookmark me and visit often, I'll be doing all I can to make reading this worth your while and at least a little different from every other comic blog out there. Happy reading, and watch out for papercuts! Oh and if you ever want to link this to your blog- I'll be grateful forever and return the favor.