Showing posts from January, 2009

The Presidents of the United States

This week IDW released a great looking book by artist Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Wormwood, and Welcome To Hoxford) called The Presidents Of The United States.
All 44 U.S. Presidents are included all the way through to President Obama. Alongside every excellent artistic rendering by Templesmith are facts pertaining to each President.
Included is a great quote by Theodore Roosevelt: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

Art of Paul Duffield

This week Avatar released a nice inexpensive ($3.99), comic art book, called The Art of Paul Duffield, showcasing Freakangels artist, Paul Duffield's art (of course). Pages and pages of lovely images.

I'd have to say that Paul Duffield has quicky become one of my favorite artists. His style reminds me of Josh Middleton, but Duffield does great work and does it on a regular basis (I understand that not all artists can produce on a nine to five schedule, but there are some artists whose work you see so infrequently that makes us art lovers go through withdrawals).

I don't know what Paul Duffield has done before being the artist for Freakangels, but as more and more people discover him, he's going to be quite the hot ticket. He's been doing Freakangels online with writer Warren Ellis (six pages every week!) and a couple of months ago, Avatar released the first print volume of Freakangels, of which I already gave a huge thumbs up to in a blog entry last year.

Final Crisis? What Crisis?

No Spoilers following:

Bah. So Final Crisis #7 came out yesterday and while reading it I was still confused as to what was going on and how this matters to the rest of the DC universe. I would have been okay with this event series if it was entertaining in its own right like Superman Red Son, but there was just too many things going on without any one of those story elements having any frame of reference for the reader as to why they should care. Really the whole series has been a chore to read. Grant Morrison (the writer), often has too many ideas that he introduces in any one of his stories without fleshing out those ideas before going on to his next big idea (for good Morrison stories check out All Star Superman, Filth, Animal Man, and Doom Patrol. I guess I'm just not taking the right drugs (actually the only drug I'm ingesting is caffeine).

The art in this last issue by Doug Mahnke was mostly good (I'm guessing that because he was brought in at the twelve o clock hour …

Tears Of The Desert

Tears Of The Desert A Memoir of Survival In Darfur is, as anyone who knows anything about what's happening in Darfur, a powerful non-fiction novel about the horrors people living in that region of Africa are experiencing. Halima Bashir (with journalist Damien Lewis), the author of Tears Of The Desert, lived in Darfur up until she was able to escape in 2006. Bashir recounts her life as a little girl growing up in a happy, loving family in Darfur, excelling in school (just going to school was a major difficulty), and the horrors that she had gone through (both physically and mentally) before she was miraculasly able to escape.

I'd first heard about Tears Of The Desert (which was first released in early or mid 2008) about a month ago while watching the Today Show one morning. Over the next couple of weeks I tried to find it at local book stores, but after not finding it (and asking for it by name) in four big box book stores, I ordered it from Amazon. I mention this because I thin…

Ruins & other good comics this week

This week I liked a higher percentage of the superhero comics that I read than I have in some time.

Ruins is a new edition of the long out-of-print Warren Ellis two-issue comic written in 1995 and is the dark, evil opposite of Kurt Busiek's Marvels. Ruins features a lot of Marvel superhero characters, except instead of becoming characters with great powers, the "accidents" that made them the characters they are in the regular Marvel universe, here everything gets twisted with horrible results (but is demented fun to read). This new edition is an affordable $4.99 for 80 pages, but I wish Marvel would have made a nicer production with this re-release of Ruins that is more worthy of its contents.
This week's Superman Batman annual is written by Len Wein (who wrote lots of great fun comics for Marvel and DC in the 1970's and 1980's) with art by Chris Batista, and inks by Mick Gray and Jack Jadson. This is just your basic textbook example of a highly enjoyable self…

President Obama!

Today is surely an historic day for the United States and I couldn't be more elated with the promise that is the Obama era. Although I've followed politics for as long as I can remember, the Presidential election of 2008 was only the third I'd voted in (because I only became an American citizen in 1997). I and many others I know or have heard of, have never felt as passionate about one of our Presidential candidates as we have about Barack Obama. With President Obama I feel that our country will truly be on the path to real change happening for more of this countries' people.
So good night and good riddance to this incredible blight on the U.S. that Bush and his crew has been - I still can't believe that he was elected TWICE.

As I and many others have said, change isn't going to happen overnight, but with President Obama, that new day is not only going to happen, its roots are here now, as people all over the world, young and old, from all walks of life, see th…

Parade (with fireworks)

Parade (with fireworks) is a graphic novel (actually a graphic novelette as it's "only" 64 pages in length) written and drawn by Mike Cavallaro. I only wish that Parade (with fireworks) was longer, but it's still a very rich, mostly true story about a family in Italy that takes place in the early 20th Century during a period of Socialist and Fascist party divisions.

Mike Cavallaro's art evokes that of Seth (It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken - one of my very favorite graphic novels) and that's not a bad style to emulate in my book. Cavallaro also does the coloring and even though I like black and white comics, color is an important part of this book and the story would be greatly diminished if the coloring wasn't as strong an element as it is in Parade (with fireworks).

even Spidey has to go

Is this the greatest piece of merchandising ever or what!? Yesterday, Cooper, a customer and friend, gifted me with this, which he said he'd gotten at some Japanese store. I was busy yesterday with it being new comics day so I only thanked him profusely for this great addition to my store, but I was unable to ask him more about the store from which he'd gotten this before he had to leave.

Seriously, how did this get licensed from Marvel!? Actually nowhere on the packaging is there any copyright stating that this is a Marvel character, even though they also use an illustrated image of Spider-Man. On the packaging, in English, this is called a "Toilet Shaking Toys", even though it's a head bobber. So as if it's not odd enough to have a toy of Spidey on the loo (except maybe it could be used to potty train small kids), this "toy" also bobs its head back and forth (it's solar or light powered so as long as the lights are on his head rocks back and fo…

Stories shape the world...

So I'm re-reading Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run (collected in six trade paperbacks) and I wanted to share a passage that illustrates why I exalt Moore as much I do (this is from the second collection):

"There are people. There are stories. The people think they shape the stories, but the reverse is often closer to the truth. Stories shape the world. They exist independently of people, and in places quite devoid of man, there may yet be mythologies. The glaciers have their legends. The ocean bed entertains its own romances."

I think in some ways that passage is a precursor to Moore's concept of Idea Space that he introduced in his run on Supreme (a terrible Superman copy book that Rob Liefeld created which Moore made into an enjoyable homage to the Superman comics of the 1950's and 1960's). Stories and ideas aren't real in the tangible sense like physical objects (unless they are published in books or some other medium), but as Moore put words to, stories…

Alan Moore on Sale!

Okay, so Alan Moore really isn't on sale, but here at my store, Alternate Reality Comics (in Las Vegas, Nevada, not Las Vegas, New Mexico), all Alan Moore graphic novels are on sale for 20% off for the entire month of January!

So as we all gear up for the Watchmen movie, now is the perfect time to try out some Alan Moore books that you haven't read, like Promethea (five amazing volumes), A Small Killing, Yuggoth Cultures, and Hypothetical Lizard.

Everyone already knows that Batman: The Killing Joke is the definitive Joker story, but maybe you know someone who liked the Dark Knight movie that hasn't read this.

Alan Moore's Swamp Thing was the first book he did for the U.S. and while it was (and is) highly regarded by those who have read it (six volumes), I think that Moore's Swamp Thing isn't as celebrated as it should be. I think this is because when people see the Swamp Thing books they just think of the bad movies or can't imagine how a title called Swamp Th…