Author Archive

STAFF PICKS :: THE HUMANS #1 :: NOVEMBER 5, 2014

November 05, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK ::  THE HUMANS #1: When this book was solicited, it appeared to be more of the genre mash-uppery we’ve come to crave from Image Comics. “Planet of the Apes meets Sons of Anarchy” was my small mind’s trifling conclusion. Imagine my surprise when The Humans #1 turned out to encompass a far more broad range of reference points. Steeped in the exploitative iconography of 70s cinema and lacquered (liquored?) with an appropriately underground sensibility, this book’s as entertaining as it is unclassifiable. The back cover by bountiful Benjamin Marra sums things up nicely, and it’s also hand-lettered, which always sends my heart aflutter. Take a bow, Keller/Neely/Collantes…you’ve crafted a thing of gritty beauty.

humans1

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STAFF PICKS :: DMC GN #1 :: OCTOBER 29, 2014

October 28, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: DMC GN #1: DMC is like Marvel’s What If? mashed up with Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree. Set in 80s New York, as hip-hop took root in the streets and branched out into the suburbs, DMC #1 examines what would have happened if Darryl McDaniels opted to become a vigilante superhero instead of an emcee. Upon further consideration, there isn’t a huge gap between superheroing and conscious rap: both strive to change the world around them for the better, usually employing some sort of colorful costume/shtick/moniker. That parallel is at the heart of this particular funnybook.

dmc

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STAFF PICKS :: AVENGERS & X-MEN AXIS #1 & PUNKS THE COMIC #1 :: OCTOBER 8, 2014

October 07, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICKS: AVENGERS & X-MEN AXIS #1: I wasn’t a big Marvel reader in the Heroes Reborn days, and the subsequent emergence of the villain called Onslaught. But when promotional material started showing up for Marvel’s next big event – Axis – featured that iconic armor with the Red Skull’s head peeking out, I was intrigued. It’s been a while since the Red Skull was such a major threat, and Uncanny Avengers (the series that laid the foundation for Axis) has been one of Marvel’s more consistently entertaining titles. So this is an event I actually look forward to with some anticipation. With Rick Remender, one of my favorite writers, at the helm, I know I can count on a certain level of quality.

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PUNKS THE COMIC #1: Speaking of Mr. Remender, my first exposure to the guy was an interview he did with Dog, a character from Punks, in a special that came out in the mid 2ks. The premise is simple: four roommates, Abe Lincoln, Dog, Skull, and Fist, share a domicile and engage in various shenanigans. It’s absurd and hilarious, and the art style Kody Chamberlain employs, an analogue collage approach, suits the subject matter perfectly. Now, Chamberlain and writer Joshua Hale Fialkov unleash new misadventures of this unlikely foursome via Image Comics, and I urge any fan of quality humor comics to give this one a go. Chuckles guaranteed.

punks

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STAFF PICKS :: PROPHET STRIKEFILE #1 :: SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

September 10, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: Uncategorized

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: PROPHET STRIKEFILE #1: I love anything encyclopedic. I can while away days with a few Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universes, or Who’s Who?es, or what-have-you. The cumulative nature of serial fiction – and especially comics – gets so awe-inspiring when everything is condensed down to its most basic summary…something about it compels me. We’ll let the mystery be. Anyway, now Prophet gets the treatment, and with the wild talents of Brandon Graham and Simon Roy at the helm, this little pamphlet o’ factoids is sure to fascinate. And we can all use a scorecard, sometimes.

prophet strikefile

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STAFF PICKS :: GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS #1 :: SEPTEMBER 3, 2014

September 01, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS #1: Ryan Browne sent me some VERY inappropriate pictures. However, they were not sent via cellphone, and they were not unsolicited. Rather, they were contained in his delightfully grotesque book (OGN, as the kids say these days) God Hates Astronauts. Lucky for us mere mortals, Browne has come back down the mountain, and deigned to grace us with an ongoing follow-up from Image Comics. A glorious misappropriation of the superhero genre, I LOL’d more at GHA than I have at 1,000 cat memes. That’s kind of GHA in a nutshell: cat memes, with more punching. And violence. And potty humor. And cool drawings instead of stupid cat pictures. I don’t know, just buy the darn thing! Twice, because it has two covers.

ghabrowne

ghadarrow

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STAFF PICKS :: TALES DESIGNED TH THRIZZLE TP VOL 01 :: AUGUST 27, 2014

August 26, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE TP VOL 01: If you don’t like this comic, I cannot help you. I can maybe pretend to help you, and I may be accommodating and pleasant, but we both know that the thrizzle is gone. That flame is doused. How could I really, truly concern myself with someone who would deprive themselves of the joy and the ecstasy that is Michael Kupperman‘s Tales Designed to Thrizzle? You just hate laughter, don’t you? We have a name for people like you: the Enemy of Fun. That’s right! ENEMY! OF FUN! Go read a Chris Ware comic, you miserablist! GOSH.

thrizzle

…and JUST SO YOU KNOW the calibre of AWESOME JOKES you’re WILFULLY IGNORING, here’s a favorite bit o’ mine. LIKE YOU CARE.

indiangum

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STAFF PICKS :: HIP HOP FAMILY TREE GN VOL 02 :: AUGUST 20, 2014

August 19, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: HIP HOP FAMILY TREE VOL 02: Ed Piskor and Fantagraphics drop the second volume of this exhaustively researched and obsessively detailed history of America’s most misunderstood (and misappropriated) indigenous art form. Like comic books, baseball, and its predecessor jazz, hip-hop is a mode of expression that is undeniably ours, and for better or worse, it has infiltrated the global consciousness. Piskor has revealed himself as an authority on the subject, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see setting pen-to-paper in this pursuit. The treasury format gives the art plenty of room to breathe, while lending an essential old school nostalgia. If you missed out on the opening chapter of this modern masterpiece, worry not…Fantagraphics also offers a new printing of volume one to satisfy your souls. Read up, son!

hiphopfamilytree2

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STAFF PICKS :: DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE HC VOL 05 PHANTOM BLOT :: JULY 16, 2014

July 16, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE HC VOL 05 OUTWITS THE PHANTOM BLOT: Here’s a comic nerd SAT analogy for you: Carl Barks : Donald Duck :: Floyd Gottfredson : Mickey Mouse. Fantagraphics continues their handsome reprints of Gottfredson’s definitive work on Disney’s beloved mascot with this fifth volume. Before he was a ubiquitous shill, Mickey was an adventurer through and through, as these strips testify. Volume five pits Mickey against (arguably) his greatest villain: the Phantom Blot. Actually the creation of Gottfredson himself, the Blot is a brilliant example of minimalist design, evoking menace and mystery, making him a compelling villain indeed. And just wait ‘til you see his unmasking…no spoilers! Great for fans young and young-at-heart, these books are also a keen reminder of the tactile pleasures print media offers.

phantomblot

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STAFF PICKS :: DKW DITKO KIRBY WOOD ONE SHOT :: JULY 02 2014

July 01, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: DKW DITKO KIRBY WOOD ONE SHOT: Hello, Staff Picks, how have you been? Sorry, I’ve been a real jerk. I haven’t called, I didn’t write. HeroesCon had us all hopping…I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Maybe if I offer you this awesome Fantagraphics one shot? Would that help? Cartoonist Sergio Ponchione draws three different stories in the signature styles of those titular titans Steve, Jack, and Wally. It’s a gorgeously designed book, as well, tastefully toned and wrapped in a masterful cover. I know I’ve neglected you, Staff Picks, but can’t we put that all behind us now, and just be together again? Aw, you’re the best. I knew you’d understand.

dkw

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STAFF PICKS :: SOUTHERN BASTARDS #2 :: MAY 28 2014

May 28, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: SOUTHERN BASTARDS #2: When I see the word “southern” in anything, I am immediately skeptical. I’m all too accustomed to our region and citizenry being unfairly pigeonholed as a bunch of unthinking bigot morons. Thankfully, Jasons Aaron and Latour sidestep all that, and craft a tale that’s somewhere between pulp and spiritual. I’m sure nearly every one of you read #1; this is a gentle reminder that #2 needs your attention, as well. Aaron is working the spaces between genres like he did in his acclaimed Vertigo series Scalped, and Latour’s art is a blend of darkness and whimsy in the grand EC tradition (don’t let those colors fool you, I see Kurtzman and Davis both lurking in that line work).

sthbsts

 

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