Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lost At Sea; Bryan Lee O' Malley

Lost At Sea is a self-contained graphic novel by Scott Pilgrim creator and cartoonist, Bryan Lee O' Malley. It's an early comic book work by O' Malley, but while it's not kinetic or funny as Scott Pilgrim is, it's a great coming of age / where am I going story with great characters.

The central character of Lost At Sea is Raleigh, an eighteen year old gal, who is at the crossroads of where people that age are.

I've heard Lost At Sea described as being emo and I know for some people when they hear something described as being emo, they run screaming, but isn't "emo" short for "emotion" or "emotional" and what's wrong with that? I guess emo can be bad if it's overbearing or forced, but Lost At Sea is neither of these, just a graphic novel you'll be glad to have read.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Driver For The Dead

Driver For The Dead is a new Radical Comics release, written by John Hefferman (writer of Snakes On A Plane, which I haven't seen, but if you didn't like that movie, don't let that deter you from checking out his comic book debut!) and artist Leonardo Manco, that features a tough as nails hearse driver, voodoo, and is just all around one of the best horror comics in recent memory.

Here's a dialogue exchange from Driver For The Dead #1, which will give you an idea of the tone of this comic:

"But the people don't know what monsters really are out there. Don't know what's really waitin' in their backyards, just itchin' to get in. So They all do the dance. The cops shake down the thugs, and the people thank the cops, and don't neither one of them have the first damn idea who the real monsters are. But I do."

"That's dark."

"Dark? Hell, the sun don't even set for another six hours."

As the cover image and interior page from Driver For The Dead, that I have accompanying this entry shows, artist Leonardo Manco (who has done many great comics over the years, but one of my favorite comics he did early in his career was Hellstorm , which he did for Marvel with Warren Ellis) doesn't fool around and every page is as great as what you see here. Driver For The Dead is a three issue mini series, with 56 pages for only $4.99!

Oh and for those of you keeping count, such as my statistics friend, Joel, this Ich Liebe Comics! entry is my official 500 entry (a couple of months ago I thought I was up to 500, but that included drafts I didn't finish and delete)!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Madame Xanadu #25

Madame Xanadu #25 is the second issue of a story arc called "Extra-Sensory", with this chapter titled "Dirty Little Mouth". As with the first chapter of this arc, each issue of "Extra-Sensory" can be read as a great self-contained story, that works for long time readers of this title as well as for someone just picking up Madame Xanadu for the first time.

Each issue of this current Madame Xanadu arc, besides being self-contained, also features a different artist doing each issue. With "Dirty Little Mouth", this month's special Madame Xanadu artist is Laurenn McCubbin (Quit City with Warren Ellis and the graphic novel, Rent Girl), who also colors the issue. This issue is a lot of fun, about a guy who can hear the horrible things people have done (doesn't just the title of this story make you want to pick it up?), but it's the clean, crisp, fine art line of Laurenn McCubbin that makes this story really pop. Laurenn McCubbin has called Las Vegas home for the past few years and I'm happy to have an artist of her caliber in my backyard (and those of you who remember one of Alternate Reality Comics' former Sunday employees, will recognize said person in this issue - who also happens to be married to Laurenn McCubbin).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

this is the future..

One of Alternate Reality Comics' many fine patrons, David Jurvelin (an English teacher here in Las Vegas), went to the big show in San Diego (Comic-Con, of course, as if there's any other big show - grin!), and he stopped by my shop to share with me the swag he got his daughters. All four of his daughters requested the shirts that they are wearing, so you can tell that David is doing a fine parenting job (sincere grin)! His oldest daughter, Emily (the tallest of the four girls), is sporting a nice Green Lantern shirt that isn't visible in this photo, but I also like her Catwomanesque sunglasses (click on photo to enlarge)! At the convention the Stan Lee documentary was screened and Emily and David are in a shot from Stan Lee's visit here in Vegas some three years ago at Comic Oasis (no date yet on when this documentary will be released). Thanks, David and your lovely daughters, for bringing a little bit of Comic-Con directly to me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Revolver: Matt Kindt

Another great new graphic novel I read this morning was Matt Kindt's new book from Vertigo called Revolver. Matt Kindt broke into comics in a big way with his Pistolwhip series of graphic novels, written by Jason Hall, and published by Top Shelf. The past few years, Kindt produced a couple of Super Spy graphic novels and 3 Story The Secret History of Giant Man, but for me, Revolver, ranks up there with the best of his Pistolwhip comics.

What is Revolver about? Revolver is a kind of post 9-11 story, a look at how the different decisions we make daily affects our future, and involves alternate realities (so how could I not love this book - grin!). This is a GREAT story, with GREAT characters, and GREAT art (unfortunately, the interior art page I've included here doesn't click to its larger size so please stop by my store when you get a chance, or your neighborhood comic store, to see Matt Kindt's unique art style if you're unfamiliar with his work)!

Revolver has a very interesting kind of duo tone color scheme, has a really nice hardcover presentation, and is only $24.99 for 170 pages. If you have to choose between just getting Eddie Campbell's The Playwright or Matt Kindt's Revolver, well you'd better have a coin on hand because I think it's too hard to choose which one you should get first, but either way you're going to be left with a great graphic novel reading experience.

The Playwright: Eddie Campbell

Yay, I'm getting caught up on my comic reading and this morning I started on a couple of graphic novels that came out in the past two weeks! The Playwright is Eddie Campbell's new graphic novel (with collaborator Daren White) under the Top Shelf / Knockabout banner and it is up there with Eddie Campbell's finest graphic novel productions, such as Fate of The Artist, Three Piece Suit, and The King Canute Crowd (all three of the aforementioned are collection in the excellent Alec The Years Have Pants).

The Playwright is a dark comedy that brings to mind the kind of characters that Daniel Clowes (and to some extent, Chris Ware) does, with the central character, a middle-aged, award-winning playwright, starting at a point in which he sees himself as above all those around him and thus having largely only a negative regard for other people. I don't want to give people the impression that The Playwright is Eddie Campbell just doing an alternative cartoonist type graphic novel, because by the end of The Playwright, you'll see what Eddie Campbell is going for with this book.

The Playwright is a full color, 160 page hardcover graphic novel for only $14.95 and Epstein gives it the full five star Ich Liebe Comics! highly recommended stamp of approval!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Alternate Reality Comics facebook page!

I just wanted to give a heads up to Ich Liebe Comics! readers who aren't also on facebook or haven't been over on facebook in a while, that yesterday I created a facebook page for Alternate Reality Comics. Just go to facebook and in their search field, type "Alternate Reality Comics, Las Vegas!" and you'll be there (I also have a personal facebook page under Ralph Mathieu).

I've been thinking of doing this for some time now to increase awareness of the store so I finally took the plunge. I'd like to suggest that people check out the Alternate Reality Comics, Las Vegas! facebook page and if you think it's too much to follow, then you could easily just remove that page from internet things you follow (I'll try not to be too sad - grin!). I'll still be writing blog entries here on Ich Liebe Comics! because I like this forum for longer pieces, with the facebook page being the place where I post semi-regular short bits about the comics industry & my store.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Neonomicon: Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows

This week, in addition to a little comic convention that's going on in San Diego (grin), a brand spanking new fantastic Alan Moore comic arrived, called Neonomicon. Here's the Ich Liebe Comics! sound-bite description of this comic: Neonomicon is Silence Of The Lambs meets H.P Lovecraft.

In the first issue of Neonomicon we're introduced to federal agents Merril and Gordon, who are investigating some really grizzly murders and there's another character we see a bit of who was the focus of The Courtyard, a short graphic novella (only $7.99) also by Moore & Burrows. I hope to have some more copies of The Courtyard back in at Alternate Reality Comics soon, but readers of Neonomicon won't be confused if they hadn't read The Courtyard first (but The Courtyard is an excellent self contained story).

For those of you unfamiliar with Neonomicon artist, Jacen Burrows, he has a style akin to Geoff Darrow (Hard Boiled, Big Guy & Rusty) and has also illustrated many comics for Avatar Comics, including Chronicles of Wormwood, Crossed, and 303 (all of which were written by Garth Ennis). Burrows has a very clean line, a highly imaginative style, and is pretty prolific.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

goodbye, Pixy

Early Monday morning, Kate and I had to say goodbye to Pixy, a cat we've had for two years. She was about six or seven years when we adopted her, so she sadly only lived eight or nine years. A few months ago we felt a lump towards her left back leg so we took her in to our vet and they did a biopsy and told us she had a malignant tumor. The tumor was so advanced in her system that the odds of a successful surgery to remove it weren't very good and she would have needed a lot of chemo. So we decided that rather than put Pixy through all of that pain, we decided that we'd just try to make her time with us as comfortable as possible for her.

Pixy had been shaved where they did the biopsy on her tumor and she had to get periodic deep cleanings of her wound (in addition to the daily cleanings of the wound that Kate gave her) and she had to wear a cone all the time so that she wouldn't lick or bite that area. We were also given an antibiotic that we had to give her daily and some pain medication, of which she was resistant to no matter what form they were given in. Up until this past week, we (mostly Kate, while I held her) were mostly successful in making her take her antibiotic and pain medication and she ate some food, even though not with as much zeal as when she was healthy. This past week though, Pixy totally resisted our efforts to give her her medication, just throwing it up and ate very very little, tried to just lay in hiding places, and wasn't very responsive at all. When I would pick her up to help Kate try to give her the medicine, she was so frail that I thought she would break.

Pixy, like Malificent, our white haired cat that died over two years ago, was a cat that would have liked to have been an only cat, as she didn't like other animals, but she liked people.

Although Pixy liked people, she mostly just kept to herself and wasn't usually a lap kitty, nor would she hang out in our bedroom or bed while we slept like our other two cats do. So it was a treat for us when Pixy would come up to Kate and myself as she did her in this photo and the one below.

Actually, the last few months of her life, Pixie became more affectionate and would fairly regularly have some quality time with me, so her being gone is harder because it seems like we were becoming better buddies.

This is one of Kate and my favorite photos of Pixy - we call it: "Pixy's ready for her close up." Before Pixy's tumor, she was a champion eater. Our cats have a little bowl of dry food upstairs and downstairs that they can nibble on throughout the day, but once in the morning and at night when we get home, they each get a little plate of a portion of wet canned food. That was the favorite part of Pixy's day and before the tumor just diminished her strength and appetite, she would wolf down her wet food and muscle in on what our other two cats didn't finish of theirs. I'll miss Pixy allowing us to be in her presence and watching her take lounging around to new heights.

Scott Pilgrim midnight vol 6 release a SMASHING success!

Just look at how happy these fine people are, and just wait until they get to actually read Scott Pilgrim vol.6!

More happy people awaiting their chance to finish purchasing Scott Pilgrim vol.6 and be the first on their blocks to read said conclusion to a great series all around!

Based on sales of previous volumes of Scott Pilgrim at my store, I knew that a lot of people were anxiously awaiting volume six, but by my early estimates, I had at least double the turnout then I was expecting. I only have a very small handful of copies left and expect to sell out of them tomorrow (Tuesday), for a supply that I thought I'd have for a few weeks! Hopefully I can get a rush reorder processed to arrive before the weekend as I barely had enough to last the event (and I would have been very sad if people who came weren't able to get a copy).

The guy with the "face" is Alex, (who used to work my shop on Sundays), this must be why his wife, artist Laurenn McCubbin, loves him so!

Seriously, HUGE thanks to everyone who showed up and made the midnight release of Scott Pilgrim vol.6 such a fun, roaring success! Also big big thanks to Jim, for all of his help (especially in the hectic register / sales portion of the 12:01am vol. 6 release), and thanks to my friends Michelle Irish (who went above and beyond!) and Paul Tompkins for their unsolicited help, which really made things run as smoothly as they did. I'm happy that the vegan donuts from Ronald's Donuts were such a big hit and I found quite a few early good homes for my special print that Ron Horsley did of Scott Pilgrim & Epstein!

This is Tony & Teresa and their beloved doggie, all three of whom came all the way from way across town (and they have to get up early like many who showed up tonight / this morning) - they were the first winners (of three prizes I had in my raffles) of a framed two-sided Scott Pilgrim movie poster. Tony is also holding the event print, of which I still have some left at the store for the low price of $7.00 on heavy stock paper (I'm such a shameless capitalist, sorry!).

In addition to the the great mix of people who shared my exiting Scott Pilgrim vol.6 midnight release with me at Alternate Reality Comics (and Dylan Todd for his great Scott Pilgrim music mix!) and my helper lads and lass, I'd like to also give a gigantic hug to Scott Pilgrim creator, Bryan O'Malley, for writing and drawing these highly entertaining, kinetic, and funny graphic novels, that inspire such enthusiasm in his fans.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vol.6 - midnight release, Monday, July 19th!

Ich Liebe Comics! readers who are also facebook friends of mine (and if you're not already, just look me up - Ralph Mathieu, and I'd be happy to friend you), already have seen several posts over there about Alternate Reality Comics midnight release party for Scott Pilgrim vol.6. I wanted to also post that info here for those of you who choose not to do the facebook thang and haven't seen my in store signage. So here's what you need to know:

Monday, from 10pm-1am, July 19th, Alternate Reality Comics will be having a celebration of the release of Scott Pilgrim vol.6, with a store wide 20% off sale on all purchases, with Scott Pilgrim vol.6 going on sale at 12:01am. There's going to be free vegan donuts, a couple of free raffles for uber cool prizes (including a color piece of original art by Evan Dorkin of Milk and Cheese and a two-sided Scott Pilgrim movie poster!), and the debut of the first ever Epstein team-up print (by my store artist, Ron Horsley) featuring Epstein & Scott Pilgrim! And there's going to be a special Scott Pilgrim music mix provided by one of the many discriminating patrons of Alternate Reality Comics, Dylan Todd!

You don't have to already be a fan of the excellent Scott Pilgrim series to come on by Alternate Reality Comics from 10pm-1am, July, 19th, but with the sale I'm having, I'm thinking that this would be a great time to see what all the Scott Pilgrim excitement is about (and the movie, which looks fun, comes out August 13th)! And you know you're curious about what vegan donuts taste like!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Speed dating some great comics from the past two weeks...

Wow, there's been a LOT of really great comics out these past two weeks! There's been so many that I'm still getting caught up on reading all the ones I put aside and this week some great looking graphic novels (Revolver by Matt Kindt, Fractured Fables from Image, and The Playwright by Eddie Campbell) came out so they're in my reading que also.

I've already written about how excellent Scarlet by Bendis & Maleev and Batman Odyssey by Neal Adams are (in two separate blog entries last week) that came out last week, so I'm not going to cover them again (except I kinda just did - grin). All of the following comics are ones I've read and solidly endorse with the Alternate Reality Comics and Ich Liebe Comics! seal of approval. As I've mentioned, I've still got some comics to read from this week and last week, so I'm not going to talk about them here in this entry and there are also other comics that came out in the past two weeks that I either don't normally read, weren't very good (so I don't want to talk about them here, because I just want to give a shout out to what I thought were the best of what's come out), or are titles that I've overlooked in the plethora of releases.

I'm going to start off my speed dating / sound bite shout outs of great comics from the last two weeks with J. Michael Stracznski (JMS) and Eddy Barrows Superman #701, which is their first issue of Superman going on a walkabout across the U.S. to get in touch with his humanity. Superman #701 has Superman mingling amongst the people of Philadelphia, and this is some really great human interest writing (and yes, Superman does use his powers in this issue, he just doesn't fight any super villains) - great start and I'm happy to have a really good Superman title to read! Another great JMS title that he's been writing for a while now is The Brave and the Bold, with the new issue (#35) featuring The Inferior Five and The Legion of Substitute-Heroes. This was another great pairing of odd DC characters that had some smart writing, and was funny, with great art by Jesus Saiz.
The creative team of Young Avengers (Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung) reunites with Avengers Children's Crusade and this is an exceptionally good new Avengers title (well really the Young Avengers) and the focus of this title will deal with where the Scarlet Witch is. Another good new Avengers title is Avengers Academy by Christos Gage & Mike McKone (issue #2 came out this week) and this tile is really like Marvel's version of DC's Teen Titans, except it's really good. I'd say that Avengers Children's Crusade and Avengers Academy are two of the best of the too many new Avengers titles that are out there right now, but the other ones are pretty solid also, which makes choosing which ones to buy really difficult. Also in the category of over-exposure are the characters Spider-Man and Wolverine, but I really enjoyed the second issue of Jason Aaron (who writes the excellent Punishermax) & Adam Kubert's Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine , which is turning out to be a really good out of continuity story (I'm going to have to reread the first issue because I didn't remember liking that one as much so I may have been in a funky mood).

On the non super hero comic front the past two weeks there were also several delights. Chris Roberson & Muke Allred's third issue of i, Zombie is still fleshing out where this title is going, but it's a joy to look at and I still think that it'll be one of Vertigo's better title once it finds its groove. I'm sad that I didn't have time to do a special blog entry on this weeks Daytripper #8 (as I've done with every other issue), but this title is still gets put on the top of my reading list and hasn't disappointed yet (nor do I expect the last two issues to be any less great). Unwritten (of which #15 came out this week), like Daytripper, has yet to disappoint and anyone who liked what Mike Carey & Peter Gross did with their Lucifer title for Vertigo, will LOVE what they're doing on Unwritten! Two great single issue Vertigo comics that came out last week were Unknown Soldier #21 and Madame Xanadu #24, which can be read without a person having read those titles before and serve as great intros to those two consistently great titles.

Other great left-of-center titles that came out recently include the very odd, Bulletproof Coffin, by David Hine & Shaky Kane (there's two issues out so far) - I'm not even going to try to describe this comic, I'll just say that if you like Mike Allred's Madman and Paul Grist's Jack Staff, multiple what those comics are about by at least twenty and you've got Bulletproof Coffin! Garth Ennis & Oscar Jimenez continue the wacky adventures of the son of Satan in Chroncles of Wormwood The Last Battle #4 and a great new crime fiction comic set in New Orleans came out from Image this week called, Sweets, written and drawn by Kody Chamberlain. Terry Moore's Echo, about a woman whose skin gets grafted with a super strong alloy, had a new issue arrive and this series, like Jeff Smith's Rasl, just gets smarter and smarter.

The Fantastic Four comic has been the best that this title has been in a long time with writer Jonathan Hickman, but last week's Fantastic Four Annual #32 written by Joe Hearne and featuring some of Bryan Hitch's best art in some time, was also very, very great (it's a Johnny Storm / Human Torch centric story)! Brightest Day continues to entertain, even though it's not as all out as Blackest Night was, and the Brightest Day Atom Special that came out last week, written by Jeff Lemire (Essex County) was a really well done, smart (there's that word again) Atom story, of which there haven't been very many. The new Tom Strong mini series by Peter Hogan & Chris Sprouse (two issues out), easily ranks amongst the best Alan Moore Tom Strong comics and it's great to see these characters again. Mark Waid's Irredeemable, about a super hero gone villain, is on its 15th issue and still very much amonsgt Waid's best work (and he's written a good superhero comic or two in his day - grin). Jim Shooter and artist Dennis Callero come out with their version of a very good Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen) comic, with their Doctor Solar Man of the Atom reworking, totally examining what having powers on an almost infinite level would mean (first issue out this week from Dark Horse). Jane Weidlin (singer and cutie from the Go-Gos) and Bill Morrison's first issue of Lady Robotika colors the shelves this week and it's a lot of fun and I think will be one of the most overlooked titles on most comic book stores shelves (sadly). Lastly, for my dear Ich Liebe Comics! readers, I submit Comic Book Guy The Comic Book, by Ian Boothby & John Delaney, a very funny comic with lots of in-jokes for long time super hero comic readers, featuring The Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, of course.

Now, I've got to finish my preparations for this Monday night's midnight release party at Alternate Reality Comics for the concluding volume of Scott Pilgrim (vol. 6), which will be Monday, July 19th from 10pm -1am (with Scott Pilgrim vol. 6 going on sale at 12:01am) - I'm gonna have a HUGE store-wide sale, vegan donuts, a raffle for some really cool swag, and an awesome print by my artist friend, Ron Horsley, featuring Scott Pilgrim teaming up with Eptein for the first time (and hopefully I'll be able to catch up on my other comic / graphic novel reading this weekend also)!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wonder Woman tattoo 3.0!

I decided to celebrate Wonder Woman's new costume, which debuted a couple of weeks ago, by getting my third tattoo, of Wonder Woman, in her glorious "old school" costume.

This amazing tattoo is from the Darwyn Cooke illo on the spine of the Absolute New Frontier. As with the Promethea tatto and Big Barda tattoo I have, this Wonder Woman tattoo is by the amazing Dirk Vermin of Pussykat Tattoo (he and his shop won best tat shop a couple of weeks ago in the Las Vegas Weekly and there's something like 200 tattoo shops in town!). Dirk tweaked her arms and golden lasso a bit to fit on my leg and he added the boots (I wanted her 1970's boots), which wasn't in Cooke's original drawing.

My Wonder Woman tattoo only took Dirk two hours, of which I'm glad because I thought it would take at least three and a half hours. It hurt like someone was drilling fat needles into my leg (grin!), and was especially painful on the parts of my leg which don't have much skin before hitting the bone. But "no pain, no gain" and I couldn't be happier with the finished results! Now for the next weekish / ten days I get to have a swollen leg and get nervous about the scabbing healing process.

And Wonder Woman's new costume is kinda lame, but like new Coke / old Coke DC needs to mix things up from time to time, this shall pass and her comic will match my leg in about a year or so (and how cool would it be if Darwyn Cooke drew some issues when that costuem returns!?)! I'm going to have to get a future tattoo that says my legs are "property of DC Comics"!

Harvey Pekar died this morning

More sad news for everyone who loves great alternative comics today as American Splendor writer / creator, Harvey Pekar died in the early morning hours. I haven't had my internet turned on the past several hours because I actually had a lot of behind the scenes work to do and didn't want to get distracted by the internet. So I didn't hear about his death until about an hour ago, when my friend Rick called me and asked if I'd heard. I actually am shocked, because Kate and I just saw Harvey Pekar (and Alison Bechdel) at the Clark County Library not even three months ago and he seemed as well as a person who is 70 and had fought cancer could be. I haven't heard what the cause of death was, but damn, that was fast - sure he was 70, but 70 isn't really that old. Harvey seemed to be about the best spirits that I'd ever seen him in and he seemed charged about a couple of books he was getting ready to write that I'm selfishly sad that I now won't be able to read).

Harvey Pekar's death will leave a huge void in the alternative comics scene and he's going to be missed by the many cartoonists he's inspired and those of us that loved his down to earth, intelligent writing. Harvey Pekar's leaves as his legacy the reality that comic books could tell true stories about real people (such as himself, his biggest go to subject) that were every bit as fascinating as fictional characters (and for my money even more so).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Superman Secret Identiy

Superman Secret Identity originally came out in 2004 from DC Comics as a four issue prestige format mini-series written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Stuart Immonen. A trade paperback version of Superman Secret Identity also came out in 2004, but somehow despite excellent reviews and a great reception to this book when it first came out, it is no longer in print. Because it is out of print, people who want to buy it are having to pay in the neighborhood of $55.00 - $65.00 for their own copy, but recently, Alternate Reality Comics bent the fabric of time and procured some copies which I'm selling at the cover price of $19.99, just because I want these books to find great homes!

Kurt Busiek is most known as one of the finest craftsmen of superhero comics that he's done for years at Marvel and DC (most notably The Avengers for Marvel) and Stuart Immonen has is also mostly associated with great DC superhero comics (Superman) and Ultimate Spider-Man and The New Avengers for Marvel.

For my dollar, Superman Secret Identity is the best comic book Busiek and Immonen have done to date (yes, even better than Busiek's rock solid Astro City). Superman Secret Identity isn't really a Superman story set in the regular DC continuity, rather it is a story set in our "real" world about a normal, non-powered boy whose parents named him Clark Kent, so every year on his birthday and at Christmas everyone gets him Superman items. Well one day he wakes up and...

Yup, this is another one of those comics / graphic novels that the less you know about what's it's all about going into reading it, the better off your reading experience will be. Superman Secret Identity is the graphic novel that plays well with people who like superhero comics and those who don't usually gravitate towards the cape subsection of this medium.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Batman Odyssey; Neal Adams

Originally I was going to write a blog entry this morning about Batman Odyssey along with my entry on the excellent Scarlet (entry below this one), but wisely decided that they both deserved their own spotlight. Neal Adams, with his hyper realistic style, was the artist in the early 1970's who brought the Batman character out of the campy phase of the Adam West television Batman show of the 1960s. When Neal Adams draws a comic, you're pretty much guaranteed a great visual sequential eyefest, but as he is also writing Batman Odyssey, I was a little concerned that his Batman would be dated and not resonate with today's comic readers. I'm happy to report that not only is Batman Odyssey not dated, it would be the best superhero comic of the week if Scarlet hadn't been released the same day (actually Scarlet doesn't even count as a superhero comic because she doesn't have super powers, so...).

Batman Odysessy (which is a six issue mini series) isn't in regular continuity, rather it is a Batman year one type of story and should appeal to anyone just looking for a great Batman (and Robin) comic book that isn't reliant on several different titles to get a complete story. I'm always happy when artistic giants of yesteryear (especially those who haven't done much in the way of comic book work in years) are still capable of producing a work like Batman Odyssey that is sure to create a new legion of Neal Adams fans.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Scarlet; Bendis & Maleev - SUPERB!

Scarlet is the new creator owned comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev and having just read the first issue, I want to beg everyone to run, not walk, to your favorite comic book store (which is hopefully Alternate Reality Comics - grin) and pick this title up! I haven't been this excited about a new comic, since Promethea debuted some years ago.

When I first heard about the concept behind Scarlet, that the central character, Scarlet, was going to take an activist approach to fixing this broken world and that this title would break the forth wall (meaning the characters talk to us, the readers), this became a title I was anxiously awaiting to start. Breaking the fourth wall as a story device is my favorite kind of story and having this coupled with a story that based on what Scarlet #1 delivered, looks like it's going to have some real substance beyond just being entertaining (which it also very much is), just has me wanting to scream from the rooftops to let everyone know that they should get Scarlet!

Just based on reading Scarlet #1, I can tell you that this is going to be one of the of the most unique comics being produced today and I'm sure it'll be at least as good (but even just based on the first issue, I'm going to say this has the making of being Bendis' best book ever) as Bendis and Maleev's four year run on Daredevil, Bendis's Powers, or my favorite Bendis comic, Alias. Additionally, while I think Bendis has written many many entertaining comics, like the aforementioned, Scarlet is a totally different book from anything he's ever written and people are going to be really surprised after they read Scarlet #1.

Before hearing what Scarlet was going to be about, I thought Bendis and Maleev's new creator owned title would just be their attempt to do a book like Mark Millar's highly successful Kick Ass, which is a really really fun ride of a comic, but at the end of the day isn't anything more than that (not that there's anything wrong with that), so now I'm going to use this blog, Ich Liebe Comics!, to apologize to Bendis for this silly assumption on my part. I can't wait to talk to people about Scarlet and really think that everyone who reads Scarlet #1 will be back for the rest of the series and will be telling their friends about what Bendis and Maleev have got going on in this book. If Scarlet doesn't find an audience and have a long run, I'm going to be really sad about the state of this medium and the expectations of today's comic readers, but I'm really optimistic that Scarlet is going to get the wildfire word of mouth it deserves. Sorry for all of this hyperbole, but I am confident that when people read Scarlet, they'll see that Bendis and Maleev are really on to something different here.

Scarlet #1 gets the Ich Liebe Comics! and Alternate Reality Comics highest recommendations! Also for anyone who isn't familiar with Alex Maleev's art, you're going to have a new favorite artist after reading Scarlet #1!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Madame Xanadu #24

Madame Xanadu, published by Vertio / DC Comics is a consistently good comic written by Matt Wagner and mostly drawn by Amy Reeder Hadley. Madame Xanadu doesn't always feature the title character as the main character in the story, so in that respect it's like Neil Gaiman's Sandman. The newest issue, like the next several issues, is a self contained story that is a great jumping on point for new readers as it doesn't require you to know anything about the Madame Xanadu character (basically she's a sorceress), just that you like well crafted stories.

Madame Xanadu #24 is illustrated and colored by new-comer Marley Zarcone, and with a style that evokes Becky Cloonan, this is an artist to watch. This issue is titled Extra-Sensory, is set in 1963, and features as the main character, Rosalyn, who develops an ability to see horrific things that are about to happen to people. This is a very creepy story and Matt Wagner also uses the setting, with its pre - U.S. Civil Rights (late 1960's) period, to great effect. This is a home run comic, like last week's Unknown Soldier #21, which was a great self-contained single issue history of the AK-47 automatic rifle). There are already two trade collections of Madame Xanadu, with the second one being entirely illustrated by Madame Xanadu visual creator Mike Kaluta (who unfortunately rarely does interior sequential art).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Batwoman Elegy & a note about my absence here of late...

Ah, my dear Ich Liebe Comics! blog and dear Ich Liebe Comics! blog readers, how I've missed you! It's been just over two weeks since my last entry and my lack of having posted any new entries since then isn't for lack of interest on my part or for lack of things such as great comics or graphic novels that have come out in the past two weeks (because there have been many!) to blog about, rather life just had other plans for me. More about that after the following public service announcement...
Batwoman Elegy is of course, the new hardcover collection of Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III excellent Batwoman arc that ran in Detective Comics for seven issues. Anyone who's read Queen & Country and Whiteout by Greg Rucka already know he writes great strong female characters, so of course his Batwoman was going to be great, but the real star of the Rucka / Williams III collaboration is artist J.H. Williams III (Promethea, Chase, Seven Soldiers), who just keeps reinventing his artistic prowess (and it was fantastic when he first came on the comic book scene). The Batwoman Elegy collection is an over-sized hardcover, which allows J.H. Williams III's art to really pop - this book is the definition of the Alternate Reality Comics money-back guarantee - one of those books that will just have you waiting on the edge of your seat for J.H's return to the character (which isn't scheduled yet, but he'll be co-writing it this time as well).

Okay, now that I've stated the obvious in regards to J.H.'s art again, I'm going to get into why I've been blog absent of late. Basically there's changes afoot that will be happening at Alternate Reality Comics (one of which people will see right away as they visit this week) within the very near future. I like to think that these changes in the store will make my lovely patrons and visitors become more endeared to Alternate Reality Comics, but of course I'd like to hear everyone's feedback regarding those changes. I hate to be one of those internet teases talking about upcoming projects, but I just want to let all of my Ich Liebe Comics! blog readers know that prepping for these store changes has made me put the blog on the back burner for the last couple of weeks (the longest I've gone without posting since I started this blog), but now I should be back in the groove and actually I've got what I think is a great idea for me doing even more blog entries (sorry for yet another tease, but seriously it's just around the corner), so I hope that my upcoming Ich Liebe Comics! followers and casual readers will make room in your busy schedules to continue reading Ich Liebe Comics!

Thanks as always to all of you Ich Liebe Comics! readers and those of you who've shopped and chatted with me at Alternate Reality Comics - I love you all and that's not just the wine that I'm drinking while writing this talking!