Author Archive

STAFF PICKS :: BOHEMIANS GN :: APRIL 16, 2014

April 14, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: BOHEMIANS GN: Being sequestered in the sticks as a teenager, and being something of an inherent weirdo, I took some solace in my creative side, and also developed a healthy fascination with the Beats (i.e. Kerouac, Ginsberg, and my personal favorite, William S. Burroughs). Bohemians promises to chronicle the predecessors of America’s original counter-pop-cultural movement. If this is an area that interests you, I’d also heartily recommend the late Harvey Pekar’s Beats Graphic History (mostly illustrated by Hip Hop Family Tree’s Ed Piskor, among others, but happy hunting…it’s out of print!). Hopefully, Bohemians will take a similar tack to Pekar’s examination, and dispose with the glamorizing of its subject matter. The lives lived under the radar, by their own rules, are easily romanticized with the benefit of hindsight. In all honesty, it’s a lot more squalid than that. Either way, I’m reading.

BOHO

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STAFF PICKS :: FLASH GORDON #1 :: APRIL 9, 2014

April 04, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: FLASH GORDON #1: Fortunately for you, it’s tough to translate singing to type, so you’re spared a lousy, off-key reprise of the Flash Gordon theme song. But rest assured, it will resound throughout the store on Wednesday. Batman 66 scribe Jeff Parker joins forces with Evan Shaner (who drew one of the best one shots ever, last year’s Buddy Cops) to celebrate the 80th anniversary of one of sci-fi’s most enduring icons. It’s not Flash fandom that draws me to this book; rather, I like Parker’s unobtrusive scripting, and Shaner’s clean, crisp art is highly enjoyable in its own right. I expect these gentlemen to turn in a fine adventure of the Man from Earth. Now, off to practice that falsetto…

flash

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STAFF PICKS :: 47 RONIN HC :: MARCH 12, 2014

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

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: 47 RONIN HC: No, this isn’t a movie adaptation; rather, it’s yet another variation on Japan’s “national legend”, which has actual, historical basis. Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson – who has a healthy, long-running fascination with the Land of the Rising Sun and its culture – pens this particular take, with the art deftly handled by Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai.

Currently the Comic Art Professional Society auctioning some great art donated by many industry giants and friends of Stan to help offset health care costs for his ailing wife Sharon. Stan is well-respected in the industry for his dedication to and consistency of craft (he also letters Groo; if that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is). If you’ve never picked up an Usagi book, well, there’s one solid recommendation. 47 Ronin is another. Help a brother out.

47ronin

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STAFF PICKS :: THE AUTEUR #1 :: MARCH 5, 2014

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

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: THE AUTEUR #1: If you’re one of those people who loves comics but loathes their self-imposed limitations, this is a book for you. An unclassifiable offering, writer Rick Spears weaves a mesmerizingly slimy portrayal of La-La Land, while James Callahan crafts art that’s somewhere between John Waters and Geof Darrow. Both Spears and Callahan will be guests at this year’s Heroes Con; pick up The Auteur so you can tell these fine gents what a bang-up job they did.

auteur

 

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STAFF PICKS :: BOJEFFRIES SAGA & INSECT BATH #1 :: FEBRUARY 12, 2014

February 11, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: THE BOJEFFRIES SAGA GN: Alan Moore is a pretty divisive presence in the funnybook sphere nowadays; the only people more vociferous than his fans seem to be his detractors. So I – fish nor foul – often feel a little lonely, being a moderate fan of the guy (i.e. I love his work, could care less about his personality). This book collects some old Warrior strips with Steve Parkhouse (plus a new installment to bring the family’s exploits into the present day). The Bojeffries Saga is billed as a mash-up of the Addams Family and Coronation Street, creepy, quintessentially British, all at once. Anglophiles note.

BOJEFFRIES

BONUS PICK :: INSECT BATH #1: This Fantagraphics anthology had me at the word “insect”. Ever since childhood, bugs have been a consistent fount of fascination. Combined with a healthy appreciation for the horror genre, well, it’s easy to see why I’m losing four bucks to this one. Dig that nutso cover.

INSECTBATH

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STAFF PICKS :: TMNT UTROM EMPIRE #1 :: JANUARY 22, 2014

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

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES UTROM EMPIRE #1: I’m a Turtles guy, and this three issue miniseries fleshes out the plans of warlord Krang and his assistant Baxter Stockman to complete their Technodrome and devastate the Earth. There are enough reference points in that sentence to perk the ears of any Turtles fan, but the real, true reason I’m blathering about this comic book can be boiled down to a single name: Andy Kuhn. This guy is one of the most criminally underrated artists working today. His clean, high contrast style adapts incredibly well to anything he chooses to work on (see his creator-owned Firebreather with Phil Hester, or issue #33 of Secret Avengers he did with Rick Remender to see what I mean). Any time Andy lays pen-to-paper, I’m there; that he’s back on the Turtles only sweetens the deal.

TMNT UTROM

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STAFF PICKS :: BLACK DYNAMITE #1 & SAVAGE DRAGON ARCHIVES VOL 3 :: JANUARY 15, 2014

January 13, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: BLACK DYNAMITE #1: Black Dynamite has gotten staggering mileage for a cult-spoof introduced a half-decade ago. Some things – pomade, French fries, Blaxploitation – just never go out of style. Writer Brian Ash penned the wonderful (and now evidently rare) Slave Island one shot for Ape Entertainment in 2011; now, IDW is serving up the funky fury, with Ash aided and abetted by Ron Wimberly (!) and Sal Buscema (!!!). This is the first of a four issue series, so sharpen your ninja stars, break out the Nag Champa, and settle in for some quality funnybook entertainment.

BLACK DYNAMITE SHARK

BONUS PICK :: SAVAGE DRAGON ARCHIVES TP VOL 3: Plagued by delays, volume three of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon Archives finally hits the stands. This bargain collection – in the format of Marvel’s Essential and DC’s Showcase trades – is the easiest and most affordable way to catch up on Image’s most underrated ongoing. This volume really drives home how daring Larsen is as a creator; for example, Dragon’s not even the star at the outset! It’s the sensational She-Dragon at that point! This third volume of Archives ramps up the crazy, culminating in the series-shattering issue 75, where everything changed forever. If you’re sick of the spurious changes and relentless retcons of most mainstream superhero mags, Savage Dragon is your safety haven.

SD ARCHIVES VOL 3

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STAFF PICKS :: SUGAR BOOGER #1 :: JANUARY 08, 2014

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

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: SUGAR BOOGER #1: If the title doesn’t say it all, that cover sure does. Potty humor intersects dark comedy in this technicolor travesty courtesy of Kevin Scalzo and Alternative Comics. I don’t know what this pick says about me as a person (and I’m kinda surprised that title wasn’t taken already), but 28 pages of full color glory await anyone daring enough to take the plunge.

sugar booger

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STAFF PICKS :: SAVIORS #1 :: DECEMBER 23, 2013

December 26, 2013 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: SAVIORS #1: It’s a light week this Christmas at the comic book store, with the usual suspects of the Justice League and the Avengers ready to stuff your stockings. But for those of you who like to wander off the beaten path, Saviors is a book that certainly deserves your attention. An unlikely team of fan favorite creators – writer James Robinson and cartoonist J. Bone – craft an interesting tale of small town boredom, fatal acceptance, casual drug use and a weird, alien menace.  Your guide to Passburg is Tomas Ramirez, a prototypical slacker. When his idyllic life suddenly erupts into a bizarre chase, both he and the reader are caught in a literal cliffhanger. James Robinson requires no paltry accolades from a scrub such as I; J. Bone’s art is, as always, a thing of crystalline beauty. A perfect team on a great book, don’t let this gem get lost in the shuffle.

saviors

 

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STAFF PICKS :: WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED #45 & BUZZKILL #4 :: DECEMBER 18, 2013

December 18, 2013 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED #45: I am fascinated by curios. I blame my grandmother, and her dragging me through area Goodwills and the antique shops of Waxhaw on a regular basis. So when a title like “World War 3 Illustrated” crops up in the week’s new offerings, my eyes perk up. The cover only reinforces that curiosity. Upon further investigation, WW3I is a sporadically published political anthology, founded by comic book artists Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman, and painter Christof Kohlhofer. [1] #45′s theme is the afterlife, and the contributor line-up is a cornucopia of names I don’t recognize (with the exception of Mumia Abu-Jamal), but Peter Kuper’s work is always worth a look, and I won’t mind that cover haunting my coffee table for a couple months.

STK624169

HONORABLE MENTION :: BUZZKILL #4: I’m aware the year isn’t over yet (at least not in practice; mentally, that’s another story), but I’m calling Buzzkill superhero book of the year. And it rounds out 2013 nicely with its fourth and final issue this month. The creative team fires with a perfect synergy, and the “high concept” doesn’t interfere with the characterization, or dictate the plot. It’s smart, it’s clever, it’s the kind of thing superhero comics need to do more of: short form, dazzling entertainment. Yes, dazzling. There. I said it.

BUZZKILL4

[1] Wikipedia, yo.

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