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Showing posts from March, 2008

Dr. Strange: The Oath

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My dream creative team for a Doctor Strange mini series would be Alan Moore and P. Craig Russell, but since the likelihood of that happening would almost be as amazing as Steve Ditko himself ever working on this character again, Brian K. Vaugan and Marcos Matin's 2006 Doctor Strange The Oath mini series (collected into a nice trade paperback in 2007) is a fine addition to the few great Doctor Strange stories that exist.
Marcos Martin, who also illustrated the excellent Batgirl Year One mini series for DC years ago, was a perfect choice for artist on Doctor Strange The Oath. Actually Marcos Martin has a nice clean, sparse style that would probably be suited for almost any kind of comic book story / character, but in The Oath he wonderfully evokes Ditko, while at the same time channeling David Mazzuccheli (artist on Miller's Batman Year One).

Brian K. Vaughan (Y The Last Man, Ex Machina), in The Oath, wrote a Doctor Strange that was faithful to his previous appearances and added …

Arkham Asylum

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Yesterday I revisited Batman The Killing Joke and I got to thinking about the other great Joker story, Batman Arkham Asylum, by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. So this morning I re-read Arkham Asylum and was a little sad to discover that it isn't as great as I'd remembered it being.

I like Grant Morrison as a writer, actually I mostly like him as an idea person, as he is just overflowing with great ideas. The problem to me with Morrison is that often he has too many great ideas and instead of slowing down his story and exploring his mad ideas and concepts, he just moves on to the next one, examples of this being his long runs on JLA and X-Men (the latter of which was additionally hampered by very late artists so for most of Morrison's run on X-Men artists had to be brought in at the twelve o'clock hour to get the book out). Morrison has said before that he scripts like DC silver age comic book writers and while I can appreciate the "fun and what crazy thing is he g…

The Killing Joke

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Last week saw the release of a hardcover, slightly oversized version of the classic Alan Moore / Brian Bolland 1988 definitive Joker story, Batman The Killing Joke. This edition is newly colored by artist Brian Bolland (see example below with the original page on the left and the newly colored page on the right) and has an added Batman short story that Bolland wrote and drew for Batman Black and White, called An Innocent Guy, that Bolland colored here for the first time. So even if Batman The Killing Joke was poop on a story level (which it isn't), you'd have some of the most amazing art that Bolland's ever done to google over (and the new coloring is the most dramatic improvement I've seen to date with newly colored comics from yesteryear).

Batman The Killing Joke was written by Alan Moore because Brian Bolland wanted to work with him and it's interesting to read in Bolland's closing liner notes to the hardcover that he hasn't since worked with another writ…

Superman, Ali & Close Encounters

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On a wonderful day in 1978 that has to be at the very top of my all time geek out memories, I bought DC's Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali on the same day that I saw Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. At the time I was in high school in Munich, Germany (it wasn't a German school though, as at the time there was U.S. military people living there) and although Close Encounters opened up in the U.S. in 1977, it didn't get to the U.S. overseas theaters until 1978 (that's how I ended up seeing it the same day I bought Superman Vs. Ali, which was released in 1978).

DC's Superman Vs. Ali was published as a 72 page comic in what was called the treasury sized format (it was the size of the original Life magazines or for those of you reading this who aren't that old, basically it was the size of DC's hardcover absolute editions). Superman Vs. Ali was written by Denny O'Neil and fantastically drawn by Neal Adams with Dick Giordano and Terry Austin inking.…

P. Craig Russell, art god

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The other day I was walking past my display racks here at my store and I caught a glimpse of The Art of P. Craig Russell and got to thinking "I can't believe I haven't given this great book and this great artist a big shout out here on my little blog!" P. Craig Russell is easily on my top five of favorite artists of all time and The Art of P. Craig Russell is a template for how art books should be done. This book came out at the end of 2007 and I don't have enough hyperbole within me to convey how excellent The Art of P. Craig Russell is (256 oversized hardcover, published by Desperado). P. Craig Russell guides the reader of his art book through an incredibly comprehensive overview of his 25 plus years working in the comic book medium, with his insights on where he was in his mindspace when creating a particular piece and shows us the evolution and process of his craft.
Most people that are familiar with Russell in this modern age of comics (post 1980), discovered…

Emma

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Emma is a seven volume manga series by Kaoru Mori (actually an eighth volume featuring short side stories will be coming out later) set in Victorian England. Emma, the central character, is a maid who meets and falls in love with William, who is on the opposite side of the social spectrum as he is from a wealthy family. I normally don't gravitate towards period works such as Emma, but one flip through the first volume was all it took for the artwork to make me want to read the story.


Emma is a love story, but it's not contrived, nor does it have cliched characters. Kaoru Mori, the writer, artist, and creator of Emma so beautifully renders England circa the late 1800's that the city and environments in which her characters live are a big part of why Emma comes alive as it does. Reading and looking at Emma reminds me of anime by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, Howl's Moving Castle) and I can think of no higher compliment.

Madman is cool beans!

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The newest issue of Madman came out this week (issue #7) and it's quite the visual treat. This issue is the concluding chapter in the Madman Goes to Space arc and even if you've never picked up an issue of Madman before, take a look at this issue as it's done entirely without dialogue and is one of the best silent comics I've ever "read". Another great single issue to look at for those of you new to Madman is issue #3 (of the new series) as it is another great art showcase, with Allred telling the whole issue by apeing (emulating) the art styles of dozens of artists including Gene Colan, Steve Bissite, Hal Foster, Jack Kirby, Dick Sprang, Walter Simonson, John Byrne, Will Eisner, and too many more to list, all in a single 24 page comic that works as a wonderful homage to great artists from today and yesteryear.

Mike Allred has been writing and drawing Madman since 1992 (taking off from working on the character from time to time though over the years to work on…

Judenhass preview

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No spoilers following:

Yesterday comic book stores everywhere received an advance preview edition of Dave Sim's Judenhass (German term for Jew hatred), his Holocaust book which will ship to stores in May. I know I've already talked once about this book when it was first announced, but I wanted to give another heads up for people to go to their local comic book store and ask to look at the preview.

Judenhass is every bit as powerful and moving as I anticipated it being. On one level it could be said that it would be hard to tell a story about the Holocaust with that story not being powerful and resonating with the reader (and I'd agree), but I also agree with Dave Sim's opening statement in which he says: "Every creative person should consider doing a work addressing the Shoah (Jewish term for the Holocaust)." I don't think that there's enough stories already about the Holocaust because the more such stories are told, hopefully the hatred some people hav…

Malificent

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Malificent, our cat that we've had for ten years, died of kidney failure today. Malificent first came into our lives in 1998 when we lived at our condo we have by the store. Just about every day after I'd come home from work, Malificent (we just called her kitty then) would come up to greet me and she did this for almost a year before we even put out water and food for her. We started putting out water and food for her outside our condo because even though we thought she belonged to someone in the neighborhood we thought that a little more food wouldn't hurt her. Her age was estimated by a vet shortly after we took her with us to our new home as being about four, so she lived until about the age of fourteen.
It wasn't until almost two years that we determined that Malificent didn't belong to anyone around our condo's neighborhood (she never had a collar) so when we moved we decided that we'd bring her with us. Our condo was too small to have her stay inside …

Barb & First Friday

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Last night at First Friday (Las Vegas' downtown arts gathering held the first friday of every month), my friend Barbara (Barb) Rollins presented some paintings from a series she calls Unfinished (they certainly don't look unfinished) that was hosted by the Blue Sky Yoga gallery at the Arts Factory (107 E. Charleston).


This is my favorite of Barb's pieces that I have seen - it's called Driftwood and she did this when she was 17.



One of Barb's more recent pieces that she did at the end of last year as a gift to her yoga instructer. I've known Barb for years and until she showed me this piece last year, I had know idea that she had this artistic prowess! This piece obviously isn't for sale, but all of the other pieces on display are and for crazy low prices. They'll be up the whole month of March at the Arts Factory so I'd recommend swinging by!

Kirby: King of Comics

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This week saw the debut of Mark Evanier's Jack Kirby artbook / biography Kirby: King Of Comics and it's a must for everyone who loves dynamic art and for those who want to know more about Jack Kirby, his life and his role in basically creating the superhero comic in the U.S. Kirby: King Of Comics, is a beautiful 220 page hardcover book that serves as a great overview of Jack Kirby's comic art from the 1930's through th 1990's. While Kirby: King Of Comics is also a biography of Jack Kirby, written by the person who knew Jack better than anyone other than Jack's wife Rosalind (Roz), it's not the exhaustive biography that Evanier has said is still a few years away. In addition to having a plethora of color examples of Jack Kirby's art, Kirby: King Of Comics also reproduces many pages of black and white examples showcasing the raw power of Kirby's pencil work.

Again, while Kirby: King Of Comics is more of a wonderful showcase of Kirby's art spanning …

Venture Brothers

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Having just finished The Venture Brothers Season Two, I can say with no qualifications that for the two of you out there that haven't checked out The Venture Brothers, there's no time like the present (unless you have no time because of all the great comic books you're reading - grin!).

The Venture Brothers is a very funny cartoon series that has aired on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming for two seasons (both available on DVD, with the third season airing in June 2008). While The Venture Brothers are mostly an homage to the classic cartoon series Jonny Quest, the show parodies everything from the Fantastic Four to Scooby Do, and is full of all kinds of nudge, nudge, wink, winks that span the pop culture landscape (but not getting the references won't get in the way of your enjoyment of the show). There's funny villain names like Phantom Limb, Sgt. Hatred, The Guild of Calamitious Intent, Molotov Cocktease, and Dr. Girlfriend (a curvy female character…

Sarah Conner...

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Last night Fox aired the last two episodes of The Sarah Conner Chronicles otherwise known as the Terminator television series. I'm sure it'll be back because from what I've heard, Sarah Conner has done very well (because of the writer strike, which recently ended, it's unknown when new episodes will appear though).

From the very first two hour premiere, The Sarah Conner Chronicles has been what I think is the best action packed, engaging and sometimes even thought provoking, riviting genre show on television (I still hold Pushing Daisies as best new show though). Any show that has time travel as a big part of its reason for existence normally gets big points taken off from me (mostly I wouldn't even watch such a show) because I hate the concept of time travel as it's ripe with so many paradoxes. Even though The Sarah Conner Chronicles very premise involves time travel, it manages to do so in a way that doesn't seem convoluted or confusing (although I'm …