Archive for the ‘Staff Picks’
SETH’S PICK :: EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #2: When was the last time any of you saw somebody cosplay as a character who hasn’t even appeared in a published comic? I didn’t think that was even possible until now. Over the past few months I’ve seen more and more pictures of cosplayers bringing Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman to life. That character debuts in this week’s Edge of Spider-verse #2. So why have so many fans taken to this character so quickly?
I’m sure writer Jason Latour’s twist of putting Gwen in the Spidey outfit has something to do with it. People still love Gwen, and the thought of seeing her as a hero and not a victim is a good thing for comics. While Latour does provide some clever narrative skill in this issue, I think the bigger reason so many fans are looking forward to this issue is the brilliant design work of Robbi Rodriguez. Something obviously clicked in Robbi’s design and fans immediately responded, with cosplayers appearing as the character at multiple conventions around the country. I’d be remiss to not mention that my Heroes cohort Rico Renzi provides the fine color art in this issue. Rico and Robbi are frequent collaborators, and if you’ve seen their work on Vertigo’s FBP, you know they complement each other quite well. I’ve been fortunate to see the finished product, and all three guys should take a bow for crafting a wonderful single issue of comics. Don’t be at all surprised if we don’t see a Gwen Stacy: Spider-woman series after the inevitable success of this issue.
RICO’S PICK :: SHOPLIFTER: Michael Cho is an artist whose work I have loved since I first saw his obsessively affectionate drawings of Bruce Lee and Iron Man online in the 90s. I knew immediately this was a man I had things in common with. Cho is mainly known for illustration work with a short comic sneaking out here and there. Shoplifter is his first long form comic and he has written and drawn a beauty. I give it my highest recommendation.
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Great War, Happy Birthday to you! Wow– you’re 100 years young and you still make a difference in our modern lives. There are few events in history that have had more of an historical and cultural impact than WWI. ABOVE THE DREAMLESS DEAD WWI IN POETRY & COMICS is an anthology that selects a number of pieces from the substantial body of poetry that emerged during and after the long bloody conflict. In addition, to the “trench poetry” of Sassoon, Owens, Graves and other great talents of the era, editor Chris Duffy has enlisted some of the finest contemporary comic talents to illustrate these harrowing and powerful poetic works. The roster includes: Stephen Bissette, Eddie Campbell, Lilli Carré, Garth Ennis, Sarah Glidden, Sammy Harkham, Kevin Huizenga, Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen, Peter Kuper, Pat Mills, Anders Nilsen, George Pratt, Carol Tyler and many others. If this book moves you as much as I anticipate, I’d like to also re-confirm my earlier recommendations for other Great War comic material namely Joe Sacco’s ground-breaking panorama, The Great War and Jacques Tardi’s two brilliant WWI graphic novels from Fantagraphics– all of these important books are available from Heroes! Just have Justin point you in the direction of Flanders and remember to wipe your muddy feet!
SETH’S PICK :: THE WRENCHIES GN: In this over 300 page original graphic novel, cartoonist Farel Dalrymple delivers not only his largest book to date, but one that is already being called the finest work of his career thus far. I’ve enjoyed Dalrymple’s past work in Pop Gun War, Delusional and Omega the Unknown, and have heard rumblings about this book for several years. The Wrenchies will certainly have the beautifully detailed artwork we’ve come to expect from the artist, but it’s also receiving attention for its narrative strengths. The story follows a gang of kids who must fight to survive on a planet filled with demons and zombies. It’s a dark and violent story, but one that illustrates the range of Dalrymple’s considerable talents.
In talking about this book on his website, Dalrymple says: “I created the Wrenchies for the misunderstood, the marginalized, the frustrated and fitfully unsatisfied, for people who like trippy fantasy and challenging storytelling and for people who never even read comics. I also mainly made this book for me.” I think that quote encompasses a good many of us. There’s a great deal of soul and craft in this book, and I hope you’ll take some time to enjoy and appreciate it.
ZAQ’S PICK :: DARK TOWER: THE DRAWING OF THREE #1: If you call yourself a Stephen King fan & haven’t read the Dark Tower series you’re a charlatan in my book! But don’t fret Constant Reader, for Marvel, in their infinite wisdom, have given us the comic adaptation of The Dark Tower: The Drawing of Three - The Prisoner! It’s written by veteran writer, Peter David, & penciled by Piotr Kowalski, the greats responsible for MadroX & the art of What If? Age of Ultron, respectively. One of the great things about the Dark Tower series is the genre hopping. It spans everything from Western (obviously), fantasy, sci-fi & even romance! This one has more of sci-fi bent with elements of real world grit. I could go on and on in my clumsy writing style but you should just read it. I’ll think you’re so cool if you do.
JUSTIN’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.
SETH’S PICK :: SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4: When each new issue of Southern Bastards is released, I find myself doing the same thing I did with Jason Aaron’s Scalped: re-reading each issue of that particular story line before enjoying the final chapter. While both books have strong elements of crime fiction within them, the greater similarity is that hold up to multiple readings and remain impressive. Aaron’s reliability as a storyteller is part of Southern Bastards‘ success, but just as key is the quality of the art.
Jason Latour is finally receiving the attention he’s been due as a unique cartoonist in an ever-expanding field of comic book pin up artists. I’ve particularly been impressed with Latour’s ability to convey the mindsets of characters through their facial and body language. This sounds simple, I know, but how many times have you looked at a comic in recent years and every character’s face looks exactly the same? You don’t have that monochromatic wave of expressions in Southern Bastards. In fact, I would argue that you could infer the story’s meaning by simply reading the pictures without the script. Again, that seems like a fairly obvious role of comic book art, but how often do comics actually succeed on that front?
Southern Bastards exemplifies strong literary and visual storytelling, and if you haven’t yet realized what so many of us already have, make sure to pick up the first three issues or the upcoming trade paperback. Oh, and in this issue Earl Tubb fights Coach Boss. It’s set in the South, you see.
RICO’S PICK :: BOB’S BURGERS #1: If the folks making these books can capture the heart and hilarity of the TV show, Bob’s Burgers is going to be a great comic. I’d read a solo Tina Belcher comic honestly. Tina is the daughter of the titular Bob and blossoming into womanhood in the most awkward and wonderful ways possible. I’m a HUGE fan of the show and look forward to checking this out.
JUSTIN’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.
…and JUST SO YOU KNOW the calibre of AWESOME JOKES you’re WILFULLY IGNORING, here’s a favorite bit o’ mine. LIKE YOU CARE.