STAFF PICKS :: SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4 :: SEPTEMBER 3, 2014

August 29, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

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seth_staff_picksSETH’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.SB4

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STAFF PICKS :: LOW #1 :: JULY 30, 2014

July 28, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

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seth_smlSETH’S PICK:: LOW #1: What I won’t do with this recommendation is to go on and on about why I love Rick Remender’s comics. That’s been done already. What I can do is talk about the concept behind this promising new Image comic. The story is set at the bottom of the ocean, where humanity was forced to go after the sun’s enlargement turned the Earth’s surface into an uninhabitable wasteland. While that alone could offer plenty of interesting stories, the twist is that the remnants of humanity receive notice that one of the probes they sent ages ago to discover more suitable planets finally returned. Unfortunately, it returned to that irradiated nightmare that is the Earth’s surface. With a strong writer and a strong concept, there’s plenty to be excited about in this new series. This time around, however, I’m most interested in seeing the work of artist Greg Tocchini. The multitude of sci-fi and fantasy elements here seem ready-made for his work to flourish in, and the preview pages released strongly reflect that. If you need even more Remender comics this week, don’t forget that his other excellent sci-fi series Black Science also returns this week with issue seven and a new story arc. low1

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STAFF PICKS :: DEADLY CLASS TP VOL. 1 :: JULY 16, 2014

July 11, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

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seth_staff_picksSETH’S PICK :: DEADLY CLASS TP VOL. 1:  Rick Remender is a writer who continues to tell entertaining and expansive stories regardless of whether he’s writing creator-owned properties or popular Marvel characters. Continuing their recent trend of affordable debut trade paperback collections, this week you have the opportunity to pick up the first six issues of Remender’s excellent Image title Deadly Class for a mere $9.99.  This series, set in the 1980s, follows a new student at the world’s premiere high school for assassins. It’s wonderfully brought to life by the art of Wesley Craig, who perfectly matches the tone and energy of the writing.  This collection is well worth your attention, and gives you yet another chance to see why so many of us Heroes staffers dig Remender’s impressive body of work. deadlyclass_tp_v1

Bonus Pick: Cap’n Dinosaur One Shot: The latest from the inimitable Shaky Kane is bound to be a fine addition to his fabled catalog of pop culture explosions. Besides the title character, who has one of the great charcter names in recent history, you can likely expect to see an abandoned amusement park, giant insects, monsters, weird killers and/or clowns. If all of those strange entities don’t appear, I’m sure there will be plenty of comparably odd inclusions to entice you.  Shaky Kane is another creator whose work many of us around here love, and hopefully a few of you will give this standalone book a shot. capndinosaur

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STAFF PICKS :: SPREAD #1 :: JULY 09, 2014

July 08, 2014 By: Rico Renzi Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picks rico_staff_picksRICO’S PICK :: SPREAD #1: OK, I’ll be honest, I don’t usually like gory and/or scary stuff. I know a lot of you do though and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this new book by Luther Strode writer Justin Jordan and the very talented art team of Kyle Strahm and Felipe Sobreiro. The short pitch on this book is “Lone Wolf and Cub in a world eaten by John Carpenter’s The Thing”. Spread looks like it’s going to be insane and you can grab issue #1 at Heroes on Wednesday. I don’t think this one will stay on our shelves for very long.

I do have to mention how much I LOVE the logo Strahm created for this book, it’s gross and gorgeous!

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TULA LOTAY SIGNING :: MONDAY, JULY 29TH

July 07, 2014 By: Rico Renzi Category: EVENTS, Store Signings

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We are honored to  welcome Tula Lotay to Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find for her only 2014 scheduled U.S. appearance besides SDCC! Lotay, artist of the Warren Ellis penned Supreme: Blue Rose will be signing copies of this exciting Image Comics #1 at our store on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 12 noon. Plan to spend your lunch break at Heroes that day!

Let us know you’re coming on our Facebook Event page! Tell your friends!

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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).

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STAFF PICKS :: STARLIGHT #3 :: MAY 14, 2014

May 12, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

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seth_staff_picksSETH’S PICK :: STARLIGHT #3: Starlight is yet another fine indicator of the recent resurgence of so many classic pulp elements back into comics. I will admit, though, that it took a little convincing from fellow Heroes staffers Rico and Justin for me to pick this one up. The art was a guaranteed joy from the time the book was announced. Artist Goran Parlov always produces strong and interesting work. My hesitation to pick it up was only rooted in the fact that I’ve historically found the work of writer Mark Millar to be gratuitous on many levels. He’s obviously a talented and versatile creator, I just doubted I’d have much interest in his take on the space opera.

Thankfully, I did give the book a shot, and soon realized that this is a very different kind of story for Millar. It’s full of classic pulp adventure goodness, and clearly reflects his love for the genre. Parlov is excellent as always, but I’d be remiss not to mention how impressed I’ve been with Millar’s character work here. His protagonist, the perfectly named Duke McQueen, did save the universe some four decades ago. After that heroism, he had a fairly mundane life, complete with a wife and kids. But what happens if you had your one adventure, somehow outlive your wife (and usefulness in the eyes of your kids), and in your golden years are called upon to save the universe once again? It’s an ambitious story about aging and adventuring that thus far hasn’t drifted into the excessive tendencies you might expect from Millar. If these two creators keep this up, we might just have a new classic in the making. starlight3

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HEROES REVIEW :: SOUTHERN BASTARDS #1

April 29, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS

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I arrived at Southern Bastards #1 with plenty of high hopes. Jason Aaron has long been one of my favorite writers, with his creator-owned Scalped being one of our great modern crime epics, and his mainstream Marvel work on Wolverine and Wolverine and the X-men being of reliable entertainment and quality. Jason Latour is an artist/neighbor whose work I’ve had a chance to see develop and flourish over the past 8 years. He’s proven himself as an accomplished writer on the creator owned Loose Ends and Marvel’s Winter Soldier, and as an artist on everything from B.P.R.D. to Captain America. Needless to say, I had a lot of expectations riding on this book. sb1

Upon my first reading of Southern Bastards, I quickly realized it was hitting close to home. I’ve lived in Charlotte my entire life. There aren’t many of us who can say that anymore. North Carolina isn’t the South of Southern Bastards’ Craw County, Alabama, but my Dad hails from Jackson, Mississippi, so I’ve got some deep south in my blood. Southern Bastards pulled up some of my memories of Mississippi and made me angry and wistful at the same time. The Mississippi of my memory is quiet and spacious, and seemingly hot all the time.  There’s all kinds of beauty surrounding you, but it’s not always easy to see it, because there’s plenty there to offend and infuriate. It’s an odd juxtaposition, the vast expanse of natural beauty and the racism and violence that occurs within it. It’s all part of what modern southern songwriter Patterson Hood refers to as “The Duality of the Southern Thing,” and it’s always there. Southern Bastards does a better job of encapsulating this duality that just about any comic I’ve ever read. sb2

Aaron and Latour wisely don’t acknowledge this equal parts blessing and curse with a slap-you-in-the-face, didactic approach.  Instead, they use open space and quiet moments to intended effect.  These are storytellers seasoned in Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, William Faulkner, and Flannery O’Conner. They know a little can go a long way. They also know that the South is full of spiritual things that can be as unsettling as they are revelatory. Southern Bastards’ protagonist Earl Tubb sees this all too well in the first issue when he sees a giant tree growing right out of his father’s grave. Earl surmises that it sprouted from the legendary stick that his daddy used to clean up Craw County. It’s quite a sight, but for all the mystery it represents, it’s not necessarily something Earl wants to see. Earl comes back to Craw County for the first time in forty years, and you see in his face that home can be a place full of memories and still somewhere you don’t want to go. It’s like North Carolina writer Thomas Wolfe said: “You can’t go home again.” sb3

When we first meet Earl, he’s been in the big city (Birmingham) for years now, and he quickly realizes why he left his hometown. For all the good memories, there are plenty of things difficult and terrible about Craw County. While the series will surely tell us more about all of these things, it strikes me that it’s not an accident that Aaron and Latour chose Alabama as the locale for their story. Aside from the obvious fact that Aaron hails from the state, it’s worth remembering that Alabama is notable for several things other than football. On the cultural front, Muscle Shoals’ Fame Studios was a place where black and white musicians came together to make some of the most enduring American records, even in the midst of the unrest around them. And then you have Birmingham itself, where the violence of the Civil Rights struggles came to a head in 1963. Southern Bastards seems to be very conscious of so much that makes the South a wonderful and troubling place.

There’s a phrase applied to music that says “always serve the song.” It refers to the idea of pushing your ego out of the way in a performance and letting the song’s inherent soul be revealed to the audience. Though a different medium entirely, Aaron and Latour clearly serve the song in Southern Bastards, and it’s one that will get stuck in your head if you let it. This is a comic of deft storytelling and uncommon soul. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

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STAFF PICKS :: SOVEREIGN #2 :: APRIL 23, 2014

April 22, 2014 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

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seth_staff_picksSETH’S PICK :: SOVEREIGN #2: Many readers have only recently realized that Image Comics is putting out some of the highest quality comics on the stands.  But for every runaway hit that sells out immediately (think Black Science), there are others with a slower burning fuse of public awareness.  Sovereign may fall into that latter category, but I’m here to let you know that it’s a new series well worth your time and money.  In the first issue, creators Chris Roberson and Paul Maybury establish a range of themes and possibilities.  There are obvious fantasy elements present, namely in the book’s inclusion of a healthy amount of magic and the undead, but those are all balanced with strong characters amid societies rife with civil unrest.  I’ve seen the book regaled as a story existing in the vein of Game of Thrones, and there may well be some truth to that.  This is, however, a story that was born for the comics medium, and Maybury’s always impressive cartooning eloquently reminds us of that.  Sovereign is a comic with endless potential, and may just be yet another long running and entertaining series for Image. sov2

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STAFF PICKS :: APRIL 23, 2014

April 21, 2014 By: Justin Crouse Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picksjustin_staff_picksJUSTIN’S PICK :: Some weeks, doing a staff pick can be pretty tough. I mean, I know there are homeless and starving people in the world, but do THEY have to sift a SINGLE comic book – out of hundreds – to highlight on a weekly basis? NO. Clearly, my plight is underrated. Taking a cue from our man Phil, I’m just going to babble about a few things that’ve struck my fancy of late. We’ll call this the Southern Variation, since that’s an appropriately nerdy in-joke one out of ten of you will understand.

First of all, Uncanny Avengers. This is my favorite Marvel comic going right now (but it better watch its back, She-Hulk’s creeping up fast). Rick Remender packs more into a single issue than most writers manage to squeeze into a trade paperback. The pacing can be pretty glacial, and he wanders off on a lot of tangents, but man, are they good tangents. Remender is one of those guys that really understands the synthesis of plot and characterization, and how crucial that alchemy is to comics. Too many of his contemporaries seem to sacrifice one for the other, and it makes for some pretty boring and/or predictable comics. Of course, having Daniel Acuña illustrate your scripts is never collateral damage, and this guy’s stuff just gets better and better. I liken his artistic development to whittling: the more he shaves off, the more beauty is revealed. Uncanny Avengers #16 is part two of a big denouement for the series – Avenge the Earth – and even though the involvement of Kang makes any incident inherently undoable, it’s about the trip, not the destination.

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If you’d like to take a different trip, why not visit the fantastical land featured in Chris Roberson and Paul Maybury’s new Image sword and sorcery series, Sovereign? Issue two is out this week; #1 teased just enough to really whet the imagination.  Understandably, it concerned itself more with exposition and conceptualizing, but hinted at broad enough conflicts to fuel this title for some time. The focus is split between a few different classes: religious, royal, and warrior, and an underlying sense of dread informs the whole issue. This is an obvious choice for fans of Saga or Game of Thrones, and the art! Paul Maybury is consistently overlooked as a reliable and deft storyteller. The guy deserves more eyes on his stuff. Provide a pair, won’t you?

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Lastly, my generation will not permit the publication of a Simpsons one-shot without at least a passing remark. After the likes of Mr. Burns, Professor Frink, and even Lisa Simpson have proven to be shining solo stars, who could warrant the treatment next? Moe Szyslak? Bumblebee Man? The Captial City Goofball? Close, but no cigar! It’s the one, the only…DUFFMAN! That’s right, Springfield’s resident swill shill is ready for Spring Break with an issue of his very own comics magazine! What shenanigans may ensue are anyone’s guess, but here’s hoping the Seven Duffs show up (“Surly only looks after one guy: Surly.”). I suppose for this particular issue, we’ll have to move back to the former genre rack residency…but then again, what 80s kid didn’t adore Spuds MacKenzie? Alas, those were different, heady times.

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Welp, that’s the top of the heap for me this week. Good night, and good luck. See you in the funnypages. Etc.

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