Archive for April, 2008

Podcast #003 – We Saw Iron Man!

April 30th, 2008 by Martin

Join us for our third podcast in which we record from an AMC theater while waiting in line for a sneak preview of the new Iron Man film. At the end of the podcast, we also record our impressions after the film, but there are loud spoiler warnings ahead of that in case you don’t want to hear about it before you’ve seen it. (They are relatively minor spoilers, but we do end up discussing and giving our impressions of the final scene in the movie.)

We had a larger cast than usual as we discuss our limited knowledge of Iron Man, the sneak preview, various other movies, LifeLock (identity insurance), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, our final impressions of the movie, and try to answer the burning question: How many costumes has Iron Man worn?

Notes: The podcast also features some musical clips from “Iron Man” by Black Sabath, and what I believe to be a band called Giant Sand covering said classic track. (The latter via Cover Freak.) This is our first real editing job here at Read Comics, so we hope you enjoy it. The speaking portions of this comic were recorded on Marty’s iPhone, which was a gift from his lovely wife and fellow podcaster, Florence. Also, big thanks to everyone we interviewed (badly) in line for the movie. If you’re reading this, leave a comment, cause you were awesome!

Listen to ReadComics Podcast #3 – We Saw Iron Man! (35 min, 16 MB)

Also, go see Iron Man, it was absolutely brilliant!!! (SERIOUSLY!!!!)

Lutefisk Sushi

April 28th, 2008 by Martin

In my “grab bag” at Micro-Con last weekend was a postcard for the opening reception this Friday for Lutefisk Sushi C, which is the third collection of Minnesota comics from our local chapter of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy. I hope to make it down there for a bit, leaving my own games party to do so!

Go read the show details over at the site, because they built their site in flash, so I can’t copy/paste any of the event details out of it, and I’m too lazy to type them all out myself.

UPDATE: Steven Stwalley was kind enough to post the details in a comment, so here they are:

Lutefisk Sushi Volume C Opening
Friday May 2nd, 7PM-10PM
Altered Esthetics (
1224 Quincy St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

He also said “The show will be open all month, with special events during Art-A-Whirl May 16th-18th.” So if you can’t make it this Friday, you can still see the art!

ReadComics Podcast Episode #002

April 27th, 2008 by Martin

Join us for our second podcast, where we discuss Blade, Microcon, podcasting, local comic book authors, Gaylaxicon 2009, Slingshot, Power Pack, 80s TV shows, upcoming comic book movies, free comic book day (& local comic book shops), and the history of our comic book reading.

Listen to Podcast Episode #002 (1:08 hr, 31 MB)

Bizarre New World: Population Explosion

April 26th, 2008 by Martin

This was easily the “top of the stack” comic for me from this last week’s releases. I really loved the first three-issue series, and recommended it to everyone within earshot. This book lived up to those three issues. It was easily as well written and well drawn.

Perhaps the only questionable part of the experience was the format of the comic. This was packaged as a small trade paperback (“prestige format”) rather than a single issue, with a price point of $6.95. The length was probably just that of two issues, or even an especially “thick” single issue. (52 pages, including title, copyright and author’s rant on the back page.) I’m not really meaning to complain, as I was honestly happy to pay it, and especially happy to get the whole story in one package, but it did strike me that this must have been a tough marketing decision.

Read on for some minor spoilers. (But you should really read the first three comics if you haven’t already first.)


Theater Hopper

April 23rd, 2008 by Martin

All these new comics (it’s Wednesday, yay!), but I haven’t had time to read any of them yet.

For some reason, I did find time to get distracted rediscovering Theater Hopper, a simple but awesome webcomic whose unique premise is simply to write about movies in comic form.

I actually first discovered Theater Hopper a little less than two years ago, the first time Florence and Susie and I went to Wizard World Chicago. Tom Brazelton had a booth and was selling copies of Theater Hopper – Year One and this Spoilers T-Shirt, one of which caught my eye through the crowd in that overly-busy convention space, and both of which I happily purchased. I’ll admit that I was mostly attracted to the t-shirt, but that the idea of theater hopper was also quite compelling to me.

I really liked that buying the book meant getting additional snarky commentary about each and every comic printed therein. It’s like director’s commentary, in book form. Tom was also kind enough to draw Jason Voorhees (from Friday the 13th) chasing the main character of the comic (also named Tom) with the caption “Run for your life!” in the inside cover of the book for me.

One really amazing observation is how much better Tom’s art has gotten over the years. When I clicked into the site today (while searching for comic book movies) I almost didn’t recognize it. I recognized the name, however, and went downstairs to find my book to see if it was the same comic I remembered. You can see the improvement just as easily by clicking “First” underneath the current comic. There is promise in those early comics, but nowhere near the skill level, I don’t think.

Anyway, I’ll finish this post this with a quote from the Introduction to Year One:

I’ve met some of the nicest people imaginable through this comic. It’s been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on. I’m no one special. I’m just like you. If you want to start your own web comic, there’s no grand secret to it.

All you need is a little gumption.

I found that particularly inspiring. Then again, I’m no one special. Just like Tom.

Comic Books in the schools

April 23rd, 2008 by Martin

Two links to resources for educators/teachers to use in their classrooms:

Comics In The Lesson Plans

Teaching with Comics Resource Page (at

Also worth linking (and only slightly off topic), my brother John Grider (aka the stencil artist broken crow) was recently interviewed for, which was then picked up by

The First ReadComics Podcast EVER

April 22nd, 2008 by Martin

We finally did it! We finally recorded our first podcast. Download it now to listen to us get completely off topic constantly. It takes us a bit to get warmed up, but there is some comic book stuff in there, really, honest.

The Podcast – Issue 1 (55 min, 25 MB)

Join us as we talk about Superman Confidential, Shia LeBeouf, Adam Among The Gods, Echo, women’s body issues in comics, Iron Man, Ex Machina, bathhouses, going to Wizard World, Secret Invasion, and David Hasselhoff in what could be his best role ever.

Hancock (Superhero Movie)

April 20th, 2008 by Martin

After watching Forbidden Kingdom tonight, I saw a poster for a movie called Hancock with what looked like Will Smith on it. I was drawn to it because it was Will Smith, but the tagline was “There are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there’s Hancock.” Obviously, I needed to do some searching when I got home!

Am I the only person who thinks this movie came out of nowhere?

Watch the trailer: AppleOfficial Site

Here’s a full description (via apple):

There are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there’s Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility – everyone knows that – everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough – as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think – until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock’s greatest challenge yet – and a task that may prove impossible as Ray’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he’s a lost cause.

Apparently there has been some “viral marketing” for this movie also. As far as I can tell, this is not based on a comic book. After watching and reading about it for the last hour, I’m getting super excited to see this movie.


April 18th, 2008 by Martin

Just an extremely short post to link to Neil Gaiman’s store, NeverWear, which has a cute pun-tastic title, but unfortunately a really poor design in terms of finding stuff. They do also have pics of folks wearing the tee-shirts on the NeverWear Blog, which is cool.

I might as well mention that I found this via Neil Gaiman’s blog, which is almost always a good read.

Ex Machina: Tag (Vol. 2)

April 17th, 2008 by Martin

This is just about as good as it gets.

I have liked every bit of Ex Machina that I’ve read so far. I remember after the first TPB I wasn’t so hooked that I had to go read the next one right away, but I liked it well enough. I think I needed some time to digest it, either that, or I just had a ton of other stuff to read at the time. (This is likely, as I always have a ton of stuff on my “to read” shelf.) I waited for almost a year to read this book, and I clearly didn’t know what I was missing!

Now I see that there are six trades out already. I have one more on the shelf downstairs, but assuming that one is as good as this one was, I’m going to have to go get the others sometime in the near future. (Looks like the library has them, so I might just take advantage of that. Yay!)

Anyway, what was it about? This guy, the mayor of NYC, he can talk to machines. I’m not really sure if they talk back to him. We don’t really know. But some fucked up shit happens. And some funny shit happens! It’s all a bit complicated, and I don’t want to spoil it, so just read it, it’s GOOD.


DMZ: Friendly Fire

April 16th, 2008 by Martin

I didn’t like this as much as the previous DMZ I’d read. I think it was because (I’m a bit surprised to say) it was less about the characters than the previous stories. Interesting and varied characters have been a big part of what I liked most about this comic. Even in the end, when I minded it less, (and read three issues on the bus to work this morning in quick succession), I still didn’t like it as much as early DMZ, though I liked it better than the beginning of the book.

For those who aren’t familiar, DMZ is about a post-succession United States. Or maybe a mid-succession. Basically, a bunch of people didn’t like the way the war was going, and they didn’t like the way their country was being run, and they decided to take over. But really, all that is just background painting for the stories that have been lovingly rendered in the foreground, that is, the lives of people living on manhattan island… or as it’s known in the book, the DMZ.

So yeah, interesting premise. Political, but it (refreshingly) doesn’t seem to beat you over the head with it. (Usually this means the book more or less agrees with my leanings, or I’d have noticed and gotten pissed about it. Either that, or I’m just a numbscull.) But it’s not the premise that keeps you entertained. It’s not even the setting, which, while it’s totally interesting to see what they do with a war torn New York, takes a distant second to the fascinating characters that have chosen to stay and live in the DMZ.

This book–not so much about the characters. There are only something like three new characters, and they are clearly only present to further this particular story, and none of them seem interesting enough to bring back in future issues. There is one development that happens toward the end of the book that I won’t spoil just in case there are DMZ readers reading this. Otherwise, the story is pretty much all about our hero, Matty Roth, doing what he’s allegedly been doing from the beginning, that is, tracking down a story. This mostly means he’s interviewing witnesses to a tragic event that happened in the beginning of the revolution. These witnesses are either not all that interesting, or they are characters we’ve met in previous issues, (and were more interesting then).

I don’t know, DMZ: Friendly Fire is still worth reading, especially if you’ve already been fascinated by the earlier DMZ, but I think these issues definitely represent a slump in the franchise.

Have you read it? What do you think?

Spirit #11

April 15th, 2008 by jason

I’m catching up on back issues, and just read Spirit #11, from last October.

Great comic, and great rendition of a gay couple….up until the end when one of the gay characters dies heroically. He saves the city, literally, but is fatally shot just beforehand. The part that bothered me, however, is that earlier in the issue, we met his partner, who was left at home, waiting for his husband to come back, not knowing that he never would. The issue ends with Denny Colt looking up and seeing Ellen, knowing that everything is going to be all right. But it isn’t going to be, not for everyone. Cooke’s writing does touch on this, in that Colt narrates the story, saying that every death caused by the villain is his own fault, since he created the villain. I guess this just adds some more blood to his hands.

I’m kind of at odds with the comic. I liked it, I enjoyed it, it had positive gay characters, including the one who saved the day, but I’m a little peeved that it seems inconsiderate in the way that so much is inconsiderate. In the literal sense of the word, it doesn’t consider that part of the story. Granted, there are only so many pages, but in the face of Denny and Ellen being happy, I can’t help but think of the offscreen grief of the husband soon to get that terrible visit from the authorities.

Locke & Key #1

April 14th, 2008 by Martin

I guess I caught the re-print on this one, and judging by the announcement over on artist Gabriel Rodriguez’s blog that Locke & Key #2 has sold out too, I’d better try and remember to find a copy of the second issue next time I’m in the source, before they’re all gone.

Anyway, this an interesting story about a seemingly fairly normal kid who ends up in a really fucked up situation. It’s more or less told from his perspective, but his younger sister and brother are also around at the time, and lets just say there is murder and most likely rape. It’s brutal in a way that feels pretty real, and somehow the overtones that there may be more to the story than we are already shown are borderline disappointing because they pull us away from that feeling, and into the more detached realm of fantasy-based horror. We get a jumble of these “clues” toward the end of the book, and then there is this text at the bottom of the last page of the book: “WeLCoMe To LoVeCRaFT ~Chapter One~”.

The story is told in a jump-cut kind of way that had me a little confused the first time I noticed it, but once I realized we were getting “before and after” scenes, it was no problem, and it definitely enhanced the rest of the story telling.

I will look for the next in this series and report back. The well crafted art, and quite excellent story have me hooked and wanting more.

Microcon Comic Book Convention

April 11th, 2008 by Martin

I’ve been to this for a few years now. Microcon, as with most, or possibly even all comic book conventions, is really just a giant comic book sale. There will be tons of “dealers” who have their wares for sale. There will also be tables set up with artists who also have their books for sale, (or sometimes not), but who will usually be happy to sign their stuff for you. If you haven’t been to something like this before, it’s pretty fun if you like looking through bins of comic books, or meeting comic book creators.

SUNDAY APRIL 27, 2008 – 10AM TO 4PM
1621 RANDALL AVE – ST. PAUL, MN 55108

Adam Among Gods

April 10th, 2008 by Martin

Adam Among the GodsI have to say that I really enjoyed this one-off single issue comic. I wish everyone could have the experience I had reading this. I picked it up in the shop, read the first couple of pages, and the premise was interesting enough to bring home with me. Basically, Adam is the first genetically modified human, grown in a vat, and considered by these future humans to be the first of their kind. Because the generations that came after Adam never die. They don’t get sick, and they don’t have genetic “defects”. It’s basically a utopian society, and everyone is beautiful, because nobody is flawed. This was all I knew when I brought the comic home and opened up to where I left off. We hadn’t yet seen Adam, our narrator.

Extremely mild spoiler after the link:

Serenity: Better Days Issue 2 of 3

April 9th, 2008 by florence

Serenity Better Days Issue 2My cup runneth over. New Buffy and Angel comics last week, new Serenity comic this week.

This issue of Serenity was a nearly stand-alone story within a small 3 issue arc. Most of the pages display the fantasies of each character, sharing what they say they would do if they were rich and could presumably change their renegade semi-criminal lives. Now we all know that they are living this way, in the fringes with each other as a makeshift family, for their own reasons and most could have have found other options. Some crewmembers never fess up, and some are full of it, but all are highly amusing.

The art is in my favorite style; vivid watercolors with realistic likenesses of the actors I adore. I was surprised to see complaints about the photorealistic style from one of the letter column contributors, although I guess I can see their point. This does not allow as much individual artistic interpretation, and I have seen instances of this style backfiring- clearly trying to be recreations of a real person’s face, but missing the mark and instead becoming a constant distraction. In this case, however, I feel like I am in the room with people I know well. I recognize not only their faces, but their movements and voice patterns. I am able to simultaneously immerse myself and admire the beautiful images before me.

Next month will bring the conclusion on this arc, but there is a promise of another 3 issue arc by the end of the year, this time focusing on Shepherd Book and revealing more about his past.

Warren Ellis Roundup

April 8th, 2008 by Martin

Gravel #2How does Warren Ellis write so freekin’ much?!

First off, I read Gravel #2, and it wasn’t terrible! It didn’t really have much in the way of plot development or story, but it was pretty, and there were ghost-horses and spilled brains! (Literally, brains. Brains are a bit too graphic me for some reason. The blood I didn’t really mind, the the brains? Yeesh.) So yeah, if you’re not a fan of man on stallion action, then maybe this isn’t the book for you. There were about six pages of ghost-horse chasing Gravel, while he flips and jumps and gets hit and finally finds his special ghost-shooting gun. It’s cool, but not super cool.

The latest issue of Freak Angels, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic. Awesome art and a compelling story. My only qualm with the series thus far is that we’ve got a lot of characters we’ve now been introduced to, and I’m not sure whether the plot is really moving along at all. We have some notion of the “bad guy”, an outcast Freak Angel, but otherwise we’re really just getting glimpses into the lives of the characters so far.

I do have to wonder whether the comic is supposed to generate revenue at some point, or what the goal is exactly here. There aren’t any ads thus far, but the site does seem to have some affiliation with Avatar, since the about page links to Avatar’s flickr stream. (Incidentally, there is lots of cool stuff on that flickr stream, I’ve added it as a contact.)

Anna Mercury #1Finally, I also just read Anna Mercury #1, and damn if it wasn’t awesome. This book was swashbucklingly spectacular. We basically get thrown into a steampunk-like world where there are magneticly powered space ships that fly to the moon. Anna Mercury herself is a red-haired firebrand secret-agent type who is clearly not afraid to break a few eggs to crack the case. We even glimpse her mission control in the comic’s last page, which makes us wonder where exactly Anna is at this time.

As with these other comics, I felt a little let down that more didn’t happen in this issue. We did get introduced to a so-far-so-intriguing world, but we got left with a big cliff-hanger, and not much else. I wonder if the answer to my initial question is that Ellis is stretching himself pretty thin. He can write a bunch of comics each month because each one is really only a few pages of story, with a bunch of filler thrown in for good measure. Don’t get me wrong, none of these are all filler, but all of them felt a bit padded to some degree. Surprisingly, the one that felt the least like it was padded was the one without any page-length constraints whatsoever. If you haven’t started reading Freak Angel yet, now’s as good a time as any to get started!

Young Avengers Presents: Wiccan and Speed

April 7th, 2008 by Michael

I had intended to write a review of Young Avengers Presents #3: Wiccan an Speed but then came across a review posted at a slightly lesser known site called Newsarama and thought it summed up my thoughts nicely. So instead of going to all the trouble, I thought I’d post the link here. The part that makes the review so notable is that it addresses the handling of two young gay males and their relationship.  Instead of a full review here, I’ll comment on a few things I found funny:

1. Do you really think that Hulkling hangs out with his boyfriend all the time as big and green?  I would think that he would “unhulk” at those times.  Unless Wiccan really digs it.

2. Does anyone else find it creepy that Hulkling can transform into a carbon copy of his boyfriend?  Next time someone tells Wiccan to go fuck himself, he really can.

3. Master Pandemonium (Master P) now resides as a depressed slob in Cresskill, NJ?  He really does reside in hell.

4.  Do you think New Jersey gets sick of being the butt of the country’s jokes?  I bet it and Iowa have a support group.

Also at the same Newsarama page, there’s another review of Kick Ass that touches on another offensive part that Jason and Marty missed in their commentary. It’s worth a read.

Anyway, here’s the link:

Just make sure you come back here when you’re done!

Secret Invasion #1 (minor spoilers discussed)

April 6th, 2008 by Michael

It ain’t a secret anymore.

Apparently it’s been four years in the making.  We were hit with the opening salvo a year ago in the form of an Skrully Electra.  And now it’s here.  What has been a really satisfying slow build up has now exploded into an intense, in-your-face declaration of war.  I enjoyed the first issue, but at the same time, I kinda wish we could go back to the prelude.

Part of the reason for this is that the title Secret Invasion is a bit of a misnomer.  It really isn’t a secret anymore…it’s a full out invasion.  While Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Reed Richards are investigating why the Skrulls are invisible to any detection powers, SHEILD tracks a Skrull transport that crash-lands in the Savage Land, and Iron Man’s Avengers go to investigate.  Except Luke Cage’s team of renegade Avengers decide to steal their Quinjet so they can get there first.  This delays Iron Man’s team all of three minutes and they have a stand off in front of the transport.  Then all hell breaks loose as the Skrulls attack at several strategic locations across the globe, each with a cultish “He loves you” mantra.

I had to read this twice to decide if it was a good issue or not.  What I liked about the months leading up the event (dubbed Secret Invasion: The Infiltration) the suspense of not knowing who was a Skrull and who wasn’t, how long they’ve been masquerading as our heroes, how long they’ve been here, how many there are, and what happened to the heroes they’ve replaced.  Those questions are quickly tossed out the window, and while we are not given the answers, they’re replaced with a flurry of battles, double crosses, and surprise reveals (and some not all that surprising).  I felt it was too much for the introductory issue of the event.  Despite all this, it was fun if a bit rushed.  I still really don’t like Leinil Yu’s artwork…the lines are too heavy, the proportions off, the action sequences are sloppy, and his females all look like Aunt May on Halloween.  Look at the attack on the Black Widow…probably one of the most sloppy representations of Spidey’s webs that I’ve ever seen.

Final word: it’s a good, if not great, opening that makes me intrigued for the rest of the series.

Kick Ass #2

April 6th, 2008 by Martin

Kick-Ass #2I just caught up on Kick-Ass. This comic should be called Ass Kicked, based on how often the main character gets beat up. I didn’t really think either issue was particularly awesome, but on the other hand, I was compelled to keep reading. I have to admit that I don’t particularly empathize with the main character or anything, but I do think it’s an interesting premise.

Jason clued us in to the controversy about the use of gay labels used in a negative context, unfortunately AFTER I’d already purchased these issues. Basically, my take on it was that if “bad guys” had used the terms demeaningly, then you could at least have that as an excuse, but it’s the main character who calls some spray painters “homos”, (and then proceeds to get beat up by them, which was not, I didn’t think, supposed to feel vindicating in the context of the book). This slander doesn’t appear again in the second issue, but, in protest, I will not be buying any more Kick-Ass issues. on WordPress 2.5!

April 6th, 2008 by Martin

I just upgraded wordpress to the latest version, which was a relatively major upgrade. Things look different on the admin side! So for all of you readers who are also contributors, look out! I’m curious what everyone thinks of the changes. The file uploader is supposed to be totally different now, so I’ll find out in a minute here whether that’s better.

Transhuman #1, Jonathan Hickman

April 5th, 2008 by Martin

Transhuman #1 CoverI picked this up knowing full well I had a couple of other Hickman comics at home sitting, waiting to be read. But I’m a real sucker for the concept of transhumanism. I wanted to see what this was about. I probably would have picked it up without Hickman’s name attached to it, and, after opening up the first page and finding that it was written as a documentary from the future, well, that was hook line and sinker.

I haven’t really done a whole lot of trolling the interwebz for other comic book reviewers. I didn’t actually mean to at all, but I decided to check out, which is Jonathan Hickman’s site, and seems to get a lot of prominent placement in his books. It was rather disappointing, mostly because there really wasn’t any art over there to speak of. Just a blog and bio, press links, and some teasers for his work. There was also a conspicuously crossed out link in the nav labeled “Store”. I know I wouldn’t mind a tee shirt with the Red Mass for Mars logo on it, and I haven’t even read the damn thing yet.

Anyway, long story short is that I ended up following some of his links and then reading a bunch more reviews (mostly ones I found from the image messageboard thread on the subject. Here are my two favorites (and newest google reader subscriptions): Comics Should be Good, (hysterical review of Drain, also included, don’t miss it), and Occasional Superhero, which endeared me because I mostly agreed with everything Chris Lamb had to say, and I rather wished I could just copy that review and paste it into this one.

Graphic Adaptations of Fantasy Novels

April 4th, 2008 by jason

The Hedge Knight, TPBMy friend and fellow author on here, Mike, has been after me to read George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” novels for some time now, and I haven’t shown much interest. I’ve found that I’m not really a fan of high fantasy that much, preferring the humourous fantasy novels of Pratchett. I’ll even admit that I didn’t really enjoy the Lord of the Rings movies. Much like Matt Fraction’s opinion, if you put an elf on a horse, I’m falling asleep. Oddly enough, I remember enjoying reading the Dragonlance novels as a teenager; I wonder what I would think if I picked one up now.

While doing my regular perusal of the graphic novels section at the library, I came across The Hedge Knight, co-produced by the Dabel Brothers and Marvel, along with Raymond Feist’s Magician: Apprentice Vol. 1. I figured that I’d give them a shot, and if I wasn’t into it after the first issue of the collections, I’d just return them unfinished. Colour me surprised. Both The Hedge Knight and Magician: Apprentice were very enjoyable, with the former not really having any true fantasy elements, and instead being more a tale of knights, heraldry, and tournaments. The latter was closer to what I think of as high fantasy, with wizards, firedrakes, and trolls, adding in the regency of the medieval era. Having not read the originals, I can’t speak to how well they were adapted, but the stories were compelling in their own right. There was adventure, humour (though not the broad humour of Pratchett), both were about young heroes in the making.

Mike Miller’s art in The Hedge Knight conveys broad-shouldered knights quite well, although everyone seems to have a very youthful appearance, even the older men. Brett Booth’s art for the first three issues of Magician: Apprentice also worked for me, better than his similar work for Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures, also from Marvel and the Dabel Brothers. Booth draws pretty men. Extremely pretty men. Painfully pretty men, but likewise his representation of Anita makes her look less like an executioner and more like an ingenue. That same innocence works very well on Pug, the young student magician. The last three issues were drawn by Ryan Stegman, who is billed in the back as an “emerging artist”. I didn’t dilike his art, but the transition between the two styles was jarring, particularly since the transition took place during a cliffhanger. His character designs are so different that it’s hard to think of them as the same people. The linework is also much thicker than Booth’s making the transition that much harder.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty PleasuresNot exactly fantasy, but still by Marvel and the Dabels, Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures didn’t keep me as entertained as the other two collections, but I had read the original work years ago. It seemed pretty faithful, in that I’m still not sure if Hamilton is writing a romance, a horror, or a detective novel. Art is by Booth, as I said above, and he draws incredibly sexy male vampires. Long and lanky with cascades of hair, I’d say he’d be an ideal candidate for the Queeries category of “Best Non-Queer Artist Who Draws Awesome Male Asses”, but he generally draws more front views than rear.

After reading these collections, I’d like to think that I’m more inclined to read the original works, but I have a feeling that I’m more likely to read more graphic adaptations than check out the text only versions. Maybe if I get that Kindle, I’d load one up on it, but I can’t see myself carrying one of Martin’s tomes with me. As far as sequels to these collections, I know that the Anita Blake series is being continued, but with the Dabel Brothers being split from Marvel, I’d imagine the future of the other series is more unsure. I believe Marvel retained the rights to the licenses so I guess it’s all up to how sales figures worked for Marvel.

Angel #6, Buffy #13

April 4th, 2008 by florence

Buffy 13It is difficult to come up with new things to say about Joss’s new Buffy and Angel comics that exist within cannon. They are good. He is awesome. Everyone should read them.

And now there’s going to be a new Spike spin off based out of the latest Angel world. I love me some Spike.

That is all.

Insane Jane #1

April 3rd, 2008 by Martin

Insane Jane #1This was an impulse buy while comic shopping this week. I basically read the whole thing after picking it up, not because it was short or anything, but because it drew me in right away, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted it until I got to the end.

I liked the art right away. Florence had picked it up, and thought it looked too “cartoony”. I don’t mind cartoons, and this book is not really all that cartoon-ish anyway. The art is a bit bubbly, I guess, with everything drawn in thick lines. And the coloring is obviously computer-applied, with solid colors or gradients mostly, but it looks good anyway! I guess what I liked most about the art was how it was all in black and white, with the exception of the main character (Jane). This was probably meant to indicate that it was a “memory”, but I still liked it stylistically.

The story was good. Interesting. Basically a girl decides she wants to be a superhero because she realizes she really likes helping people. She’s a bit of a flibbertigibbet, but otherwise doesn’t seem terribly insane. I’m not sure where they’re going to go with it, and that is appealing in some ways.

Welcome to Tranquility #7-12

April 1st, 2008 by Martin

Welcome to Tranquility #7This, the second arc in the Welcome to Tranquility series was, I felt, easier to read than the first arc. Probably this was just some amount of familiarity with the milieu and characters. We return, of course, to the town of tranquility, a sort of retirement home for old superheros and supervillians.

The arc did a decent job of turning my expectations about which characters were bad and which were good head-over-heels, which I remember being true of the first arc also. Each individual comic told a piece of the overall plot, and I think each one also had a story at the end that was basically tangential or semi-related. The thing is, I doubt I would have liked these nearly as much if I hadn’t had the whole arc sitting in front of me to burn through in one sitting. The story that is dolled out is meager from issue to issue, and unfortunately, there are too many characters to really get attached to anybody in particular. Maybe the main sheriff girl, but even her I wasn’t super fond of or anything.

All in all, it was a satisfying conclusion, and worth a read. The first set were released in TPB, so I’d assume these will also be eventually.