Archive for the ‘Opinion’

SHAWN’S FAVORITES OF 2010 :: ONGOING SERIES

January 07, 2011 By: Heroes Online Category: DISCUSS, Opinion

This, the fourth and final category, was definitely the hardest for me to compile. There are so many awesome ongoing series being published right now that it was nigh impossible for me to choose just ten. For the most part the series that I picked are brand, spanking new. I guess those stood out to me the most because they are fresher than longer running ongoing series. Some of the runners-up include House of Mystery, Fables, Zatanna, Buffy, Muppet Show and Fantastic Four. There was no question about what #1 would be, but the rest of them were difficult to rank. I would love to hear what your favorites of 2010 were, so let me know in the comments section!

1 ) Thor The Mighty Avenger

2 ) American Vampire

3 ) Sixth Gun

4 ) iZombie

5 ) Stuff of Legend

6 ) S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marvel)

7 ) Darkwing Duck

8 ) Black Panther The Man Without Fear

9 ) Detective Comics

10 ) Action Comics

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SHAWN’S FAVORITES OF 2010 :: MINI-SERIES

January 07, 2011 By: Heroes Online Category: DISCUSS, Opinion

Hello again and welcome to the third installment of Shawn’s Favorites of 2010! This category is for my favorite mini-series that either began or ended in 2010. There were a ton of minis that just barely made the cut, I’m looking at you Baltimore Plague Ships. There were just too many awesome mini-series that came out last year and it was difficult to choose just 10 that were my favorites. Here are the ones that made the list, ranked in order with #1 being my absolute favorite.

1 ) Daytripper

2 ) Joe The Barbarian

3 ) Marvelous Land of Oz

4 ) Mystery Society

5 ) Avengers Children’s Crusade

6 ) Strange Tales II

7 ) Meta 4

8 ) Strange Science Fantasy

9 ) Heralds

10 ) Cars Adventures of Tow Mater

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SHAWN’S FAVORITES OF 2010 :: ORIGINAL CONTENT TP/HC

January 06, 2011 By: Heroes Online Category: DISCUSS, Opinion

Welcome back to my list of favorites from 2010! This is the category for best comic collection of new material. It could be a trade paperback, a hardcover or a digest-sized book. The only thing is, it has to be all-new material. This was a tough category for me. There were so many awesome books that came out in 2010. If I look back on this in a week or so I might think differently but right now these are my top 10 favorites. Again, I ranked them in order of most-favorite to least-most-favorite. My list is highly debatable so if you disagree with me let me know what your favorites are. Here we go!

1 ) Afrodisiac HC

2 ) Set To Sea HC

3 ) Duncan The Wonder Dog TP

4 ) Loverboy TP/HC

5 ) Crogan’s March HC

6 ) Return of the Dapper Men HC

7 ) Bodyworld HC

8 ) Richard Stark’s Parker The Outfit HC

9 ) Scott Pilgrim vol 6 Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour

10 ) Neil Young’s Greendale HC

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SHAWN’S FAVORITES OF 2010 :: REPRINT TP/HC

January 06, 2011 By: Heroes Online Category: DISCUSS, Opinion

As we say hello to 2011 I am looking back on 2010. This is the first of four posts listing my top 10 favorite comics of 2010. Allow me to clarify things a bit. My top 10 lists are highly subjective and so instead of calling them the best I decided to call them my favorites. Plus, I feel like I haven’t read a lot of the books that would be considered the best of 2010 (like Wilson, X’ed Out and Market Day). I kept my list to books that I bought and I kept the list true to my taste. This category is for my favorite trades or hardcovers that collected previously released material. I included Adam Hughes‘s art book in this category because it does include previously published work and because the Original Content TP/HC category was overflowing with contestants. Each category is ranked in order from most-favorite to least-most-favorite. I really want to hear what your favorites are so please let me know in the comments section!

1 ) Wednesday Comics HC

2 ) Beasts of Burden HC

3 ) Batwoman Elegy HC

4 ) Muppet Show On the Road TP

5 ) Mouse Guard Legends of the Guard HC

6 ) Simon and Kirby Superheroes HC

7 ) Cover Run The DC Comics Art of Adam Hughes HC

8 ) Cinderella From Fabletown with Love TP

9 ) John Stanley Library Melvin Monster HC vol 2

10 ) Toy Story TP vol 1 Return of Buzz Lightyear

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LOOKING AHEAD :: MARCH 2011 RELEASES

January 04, 2011 By: Heroes Online Category: DISCUSS, Looking Ahead, Opinion

A sampling from the most recent Previews catalog of what looks like a winner in the month of March! All books are available for pre-order at your local shop (that’s us)!

War of the Green Lanterns – Well here it is the next big Green Lantern thing.  A crossover between all three Green Lantern ongoing books: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and Emerald Warriors.  If you’ve been reading any or all of these books since Brightest Day started you can put together what puts the Corps at civil war with one another. If not, this crew is pretty good at catching up the audience for the big story (i.e. Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night).  Day-glo punches will abound!  Pgs 68-70

Jimmy Olsen #1 – This has been a most excellent back-up running in Action Comics the last few months.  With the back-up program kyboshed at DC they’ve done the service of collecting all that material with the unpublished strips here in this nifty 80 page one-shot.  Crazy, quirky, and always ready to swerve delightfully with its cliffhangers, this is a gem to look forward too. Pg 93

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #1Joe Casey, bless his heart, is never afraid to be ambitious and never afraid that he’ll fall short on what he’s trying to say.  Dude has Ben 10 money and therefore carte blanche to make whatever comics he feels like.  With Mike Huddleston (vastly underrated), he takes on the waning years of a former patriotic superhero…like Dark Knight Returns and Captain America, just as violent and with way more sex.  It’ll be fascinating to see what he has to say about America and age among other things. Pg 168

Daniel Clowes’ Mister Wonderful: A Love Story – First serialized in the New York Times Magazine Daniel Clowes’ new story is finally collected here with new pages.  The story centers around your usual hopeless case Clowes protagonist and his blind date and the things they go through on that trying date.  It’s Clowes and if you’ve read Clowes you know what this is going to read like and if you haven’t why not give this a shot?  Pg 303

New Character Parade GNJohnny Ryan is as raw and nasty as comics get. This is a new collection of his gag strips which will surely be as nasty, mean, and on-point in what it is saying as his past material.  I love it. Pg 303

Venom #1 – I’m surprised I am putting this here.  Kudos to Rick Remender for finding a new hook to the character, a black-ops weapon of the extreme variety, and God bless him for putting Tony Moore on it who draws monsters good and junk.  Remender did X-Force right, of all things, so he may be the savior of 90s properties here in the 2010’s. Marvel Pg 1

Fear Itself: Prologue – Comics didn’t hit the 100,000 orders mark a bunch of times this year and so comes the return of the line-wide event.  Ed Brubaker and Scot Eaton are kicking it off with a set-up one-shot set in WWII and about the Red Skull.  Marvel Pg 16

Captain America #615.1/616 – Of the slew of Captain America stuff hitting for the movie and the character’s 70th Anniversary, it’s the main book that appears to have the most interesting material.  #615.1 is another of Marvel’s jumping on point issues with art by the amazing Mitch Breitweiser who was born to draw Cap.  Then #616 is a 104 page monster 70th anniversary spectacular and it appears entirely new material by smorgasbord of really talented folk and a Travis Charest cover that’s so beautiful you’ll cry. Marvel Pgs 22-23

Annihilators #1 – Break it down:  the cosmic universe of Dan Abnett and  Andy Lanning is continuing here in a mini-series that’s half a 22-page story staring the likes of the Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Billy, and Quasar and half a 22-page story starring Rocket Raccoon and Groot (who are awesome).  The book retails for $4.99 and when you break that down into its two halves that’s $2.50 an issue for two very high quality products.  Veerrrrry nice. Marvel Pg. 42

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REVIEW :: OZMA OF OZ #1

December 30, 2010 By: Shawn Daughhetee Category: DISCUSS, Opinion, Reviews

Eric Shanower and Skottie Young have been doing an incredible job of adapting L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. I love the way that they’ve re-imagined the characters making them fresh. Despite the numerous adaptations of the Oz characters, Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Marvelous Land of Oz were full of joy and imagination making them delightfully fun books to read.

I think I am more excited about reading Ozma of Oz than I was the previous two stories. I have a particular fondness for this story because of the movie Return to Oz. I rented this a million times from the local video store when I was younger. I watched it recently and it really holds up. Mombi and the Wheelers still freak me out after all these years.

Ozma of Oz #1 started off strong and I know that this book won’t let me down despite my ridiculously high expectations. Young’s art is dynamic and expressive. The characters are bubbling over with life. Shanower’s dialogue and pacing is perfect. This is an impeccably created comic book that is great for old Oz fans or those new to Baum’s world.

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HOLIDAY GIFT SUGGESTIONS :: SUPER HEROES!

December 23, 2010 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Opinion, Reviews

In today’s final holiday gift suggestions blog, I’ll focus on our bread and butter, Super Heroes!  Here are some great suggestions for a variety of heroic fans.

1) Shazam: the Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal

I first heard Chip Kidd talking about this book at this year’s C2E2 Convention in Chicago, and the slideshow he presented got me excited to see the finished product.  Now that’s it’s in the store, it more than lives up to the hype.  Kidd and collaborator Geoff Spear dig deep into the Captain Marvel vaults to give a pictorial history of the character’s merchandise through the years.  Want to see stills from the various black and white Captain Marvel serials?  They’re in here along with items featuring the largely forgotten Hoppy the Flying Marvel Bunny!

2) the Marvel Encyclopedia/the DC Encyclopedia

These are always popular gift suggestions.  Do you have a friend or family member who is just getting into comics and wants to know everything about every character?  These are great ideas for them, as well as longtime super hero fans who want the ultimate in source book material.

3) Wednesday Comics HC

One of the great books published in recent years, the deluxe Wednesday Comics HC collection features every strip from the 12 issue newsprint series along with a couple of unused strips and sketchbook material.  All this and it’s all published in a glorious oversized format.  Who wouldn’t want to see Ryan Sook‘s Kamandi or Karl Kerschl‘s Flash strip in a large bookshelf format?

4) The Simon and Kirby Superheroes/The Best of Simon and Kirby HC

Longtime Heroes friend Steve Saffel worked closely with the legendary Joe Simon to start bringing the many volumes of the Simon and Kirby archives back to the public.  The Best of Simon and Kirby is a great overview of some of the legends classic works before they went on to create so many timeless characters for Marvel and DC.  And The Simon and Kirby Superheroes reminds us just how relevant their early costumed heroes were for their time, and how influential they remain.  These are great books by great people that any fan of comics history should want to include in their library.

5) 75 Years of DC Comics: the Art of Modern Mythmaking by Paul Levitz

If you haven’t seen this coffee-table sized opus from Paul Levitz, you’re in for a treat.  If there’s any person qualified to do a complete examination of DC’s history it’s Levitz, and he more than delivers in what is one of the year’s great studies of comics history.  At over 700 pages in length, this is the ultimate gift idea for any lifelong DC fan.  It’s also large enough to be a hefty weapon, though we don’t encourage that kind of thinking during this or any other time of year.

6) Essentials, Showcases, and Archives!

As a young comic reader I always enjoyed receiving DC Archive editions of classic stories.  While those are still available and ideal for fans of any age, both Marvel and DC have done a great job of continuing their Essential and Showcase lines which are very affordable reprints of renowned tales from past decades.  If you know someone just getting into super hero comics that you’re interested in buying something for, this may be the best and most varied option.

7) Popular Modern Collections in TP and HC

Maybe you’re trying to buy something for something you know who likes comics but has gotten away from them in recent years.  Why not think about getting a trade paperback of some of the most popular stories and crossovers?  For the Marvel fan try Civil War, Siege, World War Hulk, X-men: Messiah Complex, X-men: Second Coming, for DC fans try Blackest Night and it’s related crossover collections, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Identity Crisis, Brightest Day, or any of the great Grant Morrison Batman collections.

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HOLIDAY GIFT SUGGESTIONS :: ART BOOKS

December 22, 2010 By: Matt Knapik Category: DISCUSS, Opinion, Reviews

Today’s gift giving suggestions cater to the fans of comic book art.  The following art books would be a welcome addition to many collectors libraries.

1.) The Art of Brian Bolland

Fans of Mr. Bolland are treated to an incredibly in depth career retrospective. This weighty, decades spanning volume is loaded with informative essays and gorgeous fantasy and superhero art brought to life by one of Britain’s top illustrators.

2.) The Art of P. Craig Russell

P. Craig Russell’s illustrations have a very unique, dreamlike quality to them. Fans will enjoy pouring over Russell’s lush, intricately detailed illustrations in a nice, large format. Readers are treated to samples of artwork from such varied sources as sketchbook pages, album covers/compact disc inserts and independent published work.

3.) Telling Stories: The Comic Art of Frank Frazetta

Not quite an art book, but worthy of mentioning among them. Legions of fans and artistic-followers will tell you Fritz was THE TRUTH! There truly was nothing this man could not do when it came to illustration. This handsome, slip cased volume contains a wide sampling of work realized during the lone decade he spent drafting comics. Anyone who possesses the gift of sight will delight in being gifted such a wonderful book!

4.) Centifolia – Sketchbook Illustrations of Stuart Immonen

When is an art book not an art book? When its a published sketchbook! Stuart gives fans an intimate look at one of the most important pieces of artistic exercise equipment – the sketchbook. Remarkably, he only recently began keeping one of his own. This compact volume is a neat way to see what a mainstream superhero illustrator works on for fun.

5.) The Art of Hellboy – Mike Mignola

How can so much black ink on a page look so incredibly interesting and so full of depth? It’s not always what is seen that is so scary but what is sensed. Mignola is a master creature creator with a delightfully twisted sense of humor. Its not an easy task to repulse and entrance a viewer within the same image. See how he does it on every page of this nice, over sized volume.


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HOLIDAY GIFT SUGGESTIONS :: INDIE AND GENRE BOOKS

December 21, 2010 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Opinion, Reviews

Happy Holidays, everyone!  In today’s installment of our ‘Holiday Gift Suggestions’ I’ll go over a few of the Indie and Genre books that would make great gifts for any discerning comic fan.

1) Xenozoic Complete Collection TP

How can I talk about great genre books this year and not mention this book?  Xenozoic collects Mark Schultz‘s classic Xenozoic Tales, complete with cadillacs, dinosaurs, guns, adventuring men, and beautiful women.  This is a perfect gift for the action-loving comic reader, and more than deserves a place in anyone’s comic library.

2) What It Is

While this isn’t a new publication, it’s worth reminding people about this holiday season.  With this book, writer/illustrator Lynda Barry created what could rightly be called the best comic-themed text book to be published since Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics.  This book isn’t quite a ‘how to’ book, but goes into the process of how one discovers and refines their artistic tendencies over time.  Plus, there are thought-provoking exercises that aren’t unlike the Artist’s Way books.  Beyond What It Is, if you know someone who already read and enjoyed that, don’t forget that Barry’s most recent book Picture This is also available at Heroes.

3) Acme Novelty Library vol. 20 HC

Chris Ware is the ultimate comic book formalist/historian who manages to continually push his own creative limits with each new volume of Acme.  Volume 20 is Ware at his most cinematic as each page of the book represents a single year in the life of the formerly secondary character Jordan Lint.  You want to see an artist at the top of his game continue to push his own artistic boundaries?  Turn to Acme Novelty Library to see how that’s done on a consistently entertaining basis.

4)  James Sturm’s America: Gods, Gold, and Golems HC

Here’s another older collection that bears another mention. James Sturm is a much respected comic creator and educator, and this handsome hardcover collects three of his most appreciated works.  Though the book maintains an earnest historical tone, it’s very much a series of three entertaining pieces that should appeal to fans of the American past.

5) Parker: the Outfit

There are a plethora of reasons why Darwyn Cooke regularly finds his works in almost everyone’s ‘best of the year’ lists. This second book in a series of Richard Stark’s Parker adaptations finds Cooke continuing to draw upon his animation background to great effect, while doing an even better job of boiling down noir to its most basic and essential elements.

6) Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Ever wonder why comics don’t include more elements of math and philosophy?  Okay, even if you’ve never wondered that, this book will at least give you evidence that such an undertaking can be worthwhile. European creators Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou do a superb job of telling the story of philosopher Bertrand Russell and his perilous search for the absolute truth found in math and philosophy.  Though that might initially seem like a heady topic for a comic book to tackle, the creators make it as fun as it is educating.  If you like comics that make you think, look no further than this great sleeper book.


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REVIEW :: DETECTIVE COMICS #871

November 29, 2010 By: Heroes Online Category: DISCUSS, Opinion, Reviews

This issue debuts the new creative team of Scott Snyder (American Vampire), Jock (The Losers) and Francesco Francavilla (the upcoming Black Panther: The Man Without Fear) on the Commissioner Gordon back-up.   I’ve personally been anticipating this book very much since the announcement of this line-up.  Their first issue delivered in full on that anticipation.

Snyder is most effective in his characterization.  The two key scenes of this book are two different conversations with Commissioner Gordon; one between Gordon and Dick Grayson, the other between Gordon and Grayson as Batman.  They have two completely different tonalities.  In the first Gordon is the dominant player; he’s respectful of Grayson as a former Police Officer but also exercises a dry backhanded attitude because he was also the punk who used to date his daughter.  That Grayson takes these slight barbs in cool stride is a nice touch.  The second conversation with Batman has them on equal footing.  It also works in contrast with the established relationship between Bruce Wayne’s Batman.

“I suppose I’m not used to it yet”

“Used to what?”

“To you still being there when I look up.”

The only complaint I would have is that the mystery didn’t really grab me.  It was fine but I have less interest in the next plot development than I do the next dialogue exchange.  Also I think the opener would’ve been more effective without the narrative caption monologue.  It doesn’t quite sync up properly with the imagery to create an effective metaphor.  Again, the character work and sharp dialogue more than make up for these faults.

So too does Jock’s artwork.  Moody, minimalist and jagged, it reminds me of early Sean Phillips and Ashley Wood, as well as latter Moon Knight/early New Mutants-era Bill SienkiewiczDavid Baron uses a simple palette and gradients only slightly.  It doesn’t overpower the work but, in fact, completes it.

The Commissioner Gordon back-up is superb as well.  It contextualizes an element of the main story in a clever way.  What astounded me was how it used a piece of Gordon’s history.  I won’t spoil it but, how did nobody think of this before?  Francavilla is in the contemporary school of artists like Chris Samnee and Gabriel Hardman, a sort of neo-classical school of art.  You can tell he likes his Alex Raymond, Milton Caniff, and Alex Toth.  Francavilla also did his own coloring for this.  It falls in line with the coloring in the lead but with less gloss.  Kind of reminded me of the coloring in Criminal, which is a high compliment.  The only complaint here is that there is a sequence that flashes between the present and a memory but I missed it in the first read because the color cues weren’t distinct enough.  A minor quibble however.

Atmospheric and intelligent, an excellent start for this title’s new direction.

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