Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mother Box gets new tattoos!

For those of you new to Ich Liebe Comics! that don't already know, my car's name is Mother Box (after a Jack Kirby New Gods Fourth World device and because, well look at the shape of my car!). Today she got some new tattoos courtesy of my friend, Evan, from art drawn by another friend, Ron Horsley.
Now I officially have the coolest Scion xb in town (well actually I wish the color of my car was bright yellow or neon green, but those colors weren't available when I bought Mother Box back in November of 2005 - just realized that she's five years old!)!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Adventures of Unemployed Man

A couple of weeks ago, The Adventures of Unemployed Man, a new satirical graphic novel that is great, but I hope it becomes dated in short order. The Adventures of Unemployed Man is written and created by Erich Origen and Gan Golan (they wrote the New York Times bestseller Goodnight Bush) and is drawn by comic giants such as Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch, Michael Netzer, Terry Beatty, Joseph Rubenstein, and Tom Orzechowski, in full color for only $14.99.

The Adventures of Unemployed Man is great for people who have just dabbled in reading comics, but it plays especially well with anyone who has read a lot of superhero comics, with characters such as: Unemployed Man's sidekick, Plan B, Supercharge, Cobra (that health care operation), Plaztik, Kollectus, Free Marketeers, Wonder Mother, and Master of Degrees. Unemployed Man used to be The Ultimatum, but that was before the Firing Squad got to him. The Adventures of Unemployed Man isn't just a collection of cute names, it is a biting satire of the current economic situation and how things have gotten to where they are and even though the subject matter is depressing (especially if you are unemployed or feeling the effects of this bad economy), but it still manages to be entertaining and informative.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture This; Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry is one of my very favorite cartoonists and her 2008 graphic novel, What It Is, was my favorite book of that year. So when I saw that her follow up book, Picture This The Near-Sighted Monkey Book, was coming out this week, to say that I was excited would have been an understatement. Well upon starting to read Picture This last night I was shocked that I didn't immediately love it. I didn't think this was due to my not being in the mood for what Lynda Barry is doing with Picture This, rather part of my initial diminished enjoyment was due to overly inflated expectations of what the follow up to What It Is was going to be and the other part is that Picture This doesn't really have a narrative.

Fortunately I picked up Picture This again this morning and gave it another chance to woo me. Even though I had (and still do to a lesser degree than last night) reservations about Picture This in terms of "story", Lynda Barry's art is as wonderful as it's ever been, especially in glorious color as it is here and in What It Is. Basically Picture This is a sequel / extension of What It Is. What It Is and Picture This can be looked at as being motivational graphic novels for artists and the lapsed artist in all of us.
Picture This is subtitled The Near-Sighted Monkey Book because Picture This features this character, the Near-Sighted Monkey, who is Lynda Barry's new cartoon representation of herself. And even though I wasn't "wowed" by Picture This as I was by What It Is, Picture This is worth the price just for Lynda Barry's charming, kid-like (I say this in a positive way) art, because just to look upon her art can't help but bring a person to a happy place.

Lynda Barry's premise in Picture This (like that of What It Is) is that everyone has an inner artist that wants to be put upon paper, but for most of us, we've abandoned this artistic voice after childhood. Barry postulates that people over think things when approaching a blank piece of paper or canvas, so she suggests just putting pencil (or whichever artist tool you're using) to paper and do some simple stream of consciousness things like drawing circles or making lots of dots. So while Picture This will speak more to people who are looking to re-awaken their artistic self, it's also a great graphic novel that will make you fondly remember artistic things (even "simple" things like coloring or tracing an image) you did as a child that took you to a magical place.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vertigo Resurrected

One of the biggest releases today, in terms of content and value, is Vertigo Resurrected, which costs only $7.99 for 92 pages, featuring stories and art by Brian Bolland, Brian Azzarello, Essad Ribic, Bill Willingham, Garth Ennis, Jim Lee, Steven Seagle, Tim sale, Peter Miligan, Eduardo Risso, Bruce Jones, Bernie Wrightson, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Vertigo Resurrected would be worth the price for half of these creators!

All of the stories by the creators I've listed above have appeared elsewhere, but this was some time ago and they've never been represented until now, so I'm going to guess that these stories will be new to most people. The only new story, the lead John Constantine story titled Shoot, isn't really new in the sense of just having been recently written and drawn, it's new because it was written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Phil Jimenez years ago, but never saw publication. Shoot was written and drawn and was going to be released as an issue of Hellblazer, but then the Columbine shootings happened and because Ellis and Jimenez' story was about school kids shooting other school kids, DC / Vertigo didn't think it would be a good idea to release that story at that time. Sadly, Shoot isn't dated at all and is definitely a powerful story (no pun intended).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

7 Psychopaths

7 Psychopaths collects the mini-series by Fabien Vehlmann and Sean Phillips that was originally published in France three years ago. The premise is quite simple: Seven men (well one of the seven is a women) are gathered to assassinate Hitler. The first thing that one thinks of when they hear this premise is of the movie Inglorious Basterds, but since 7 Psychopaths was released three years ago, it predates the release of Inglorious Basterds (even though Tarintino worked on Inglorious Basterds for years before it finally hit theaters).

Why are seven crazy people gathered to perform this mission? Well because they're too crazy to think about the odds on being successful. The primary entertainment of 7 Psychopaths (beyond the great art of Sean Phillips, of Criminal fame) is watching (reading) this group come together. Published by Boom! Studios, 7 Psychopaths is in full color for only $9.99 - a better deal you won't find!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival 2010!

The annual Vegas Comic Book Fest, held the first Saturday of November for the last few years, is just three weeks away!! Held at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road - basically right behind Alternate Reality Comics' new location on Maryland & Flamingo) on Saturday, November 6th from 11am-4pm. Attendance is free and so are the panels and movie screening that will be happening throughout the day.

This year, for the first time, local comic creators have banded together to create an anthology comic called Tales From The Boneyard, which will be on sale at the show, with Pj Perez (who spearheaded the production and is a contributor and creator of The Utopian, which he recently completed) and many other of the cartoonists featured within also appearing at the festival. The image here is of course the cover of Tales From The Boneyard, painted by local artist Danny Roberts.

Some of the other comic creators that will be at the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival 2010 are: Keith Knight (K Kronicles and Knight Life), Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze and writer of Marvel's Oz comic books), Ryan Claytor (And Then One Day and other self published comics from his Elephant Eater line of autobiographical comics), the Fillbach Brothers (Roadkill, Werewolves On The Moon Versus Vampires - they also live here in Vegas), and Laurenn McCubbin (another local cartoonist, she recently drew an issue of Madame Xanadu), Derrick, of Comic Oasis (a great comic shop on the Northwest side of Vegas), is bringing in cartoonists Sean Galloway, and Adam Beechen and Ryan Benjamin (the creative team of the new Batman Beyond comic). In addition to Galloway, Beechen, and Benjamin appearing at the Vegas Comic Fest on Saturday, they'll also be at Comic Oasis on Friday, November 5th.

As if the above mentioned guests isn't enough excitement, this year the free movie screenings will be for Tron, Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, and the documentary, Comic Book Literacy, as well as several free anime screenings, free panel discussions and creator spotlights, artist portfolio reviews, creator signings, and this year in addition to the local comic book shops (such as Alternate Reality Comics, natch!) that'll be setting up, there will also be a couple of food trucks that have become really popular.

Closing out the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival 2010, will be a free live performance by Kirby Krackle and as anyone who loves either of their CD releases would tell you, I couldn't think of a better topper for what is sure to be a really fun day! Hope to see all of my wonderful Ich Liebe Comics! readers on Saturday, November 6th at the Clark County Library!

Friday, October 15, 2010

1969 in 2011!

The second volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century, titled 1969, will be out in 1969. The extra time for production is needed to find only the best LSD tabs for inclusion with every copy, so remember to put this title on your pull and hold lists at your favorite comic book store (Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas, cough, cough, nudge, nudge, wink, wink!)!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Superior #1; Millar & Yu

I just got done reading one of this week's best new comic book releases, Mark Millar and Leinel Yu's Superior #1. Actually this was my second reading of Superior #1 because, yes, it is that good. Superior is another creator owned title from Mark Millar (Kick Ass and Nemesis) for Marvel's Icon line, but while Superior has some "language" it doesn't have any of the shock value elements of most of Mark Millar's other comic book work (and this is not me saying there's anything especially wrong with comics with shock value elements, just that Millar is able to tell other kinds of stories).

All one needs to know about what Superior is, is that it is Mark Millar's updating of the Superman and Captain Marvel characters in a "real" world scenario. This is one of those titles that I'm sure that anyone who reads the first issue will definitely be eagerly awaiting the following issues!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alternate Reality Comics - new sign & window decor!

After some huge turbulence with the first sign company I went through, I, just in time fired that company (Signs West) and went with a friend of mine, Evan, who did up the window perfs (they're like vehicle wraps) and Valley Signs & Lighting for my big lighted sign up top (with huge Epstein). Thanks to my artist / friend Ron Horsley (who also designed my website and provides other cool art for my store) for) the cool versions of Epstein (that's the name of Alternate Reality Comics' mascot) and to Evan, Camila, Michelle Irish, and Paul for installing my window perfs on a very long Sunday! Double thanks to Michelle for recommending Valley Signs for my other exterior sign - I couldn't be happier with how it looks! I hope Ich Liebe Comics! readers and present and future visitors of Alternate Reality Comics also approve! Please click on photo image to enlarge the photo, or better yet, stop by in the near future if you haven't already done so because I believe you won't get a true sense of how great these signs look until you've seen them in person!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Brightest Day #11

Although a lot of my favorite comics / graphic novels to read are of the non superhero variety, there really is a lot of good superhero comics out these days. One of the very best is Brightest Day, with the last two issues being especially good. I think the last two issues of Brightest Day (issues #10 and #11) are as good as they are because they don't try to feature too many characters, but at the same time there's a lot going on and really has a forward momentum that isn't just spinning its wheels or is just page after page of story padding.

If you count Brightest Day, there are four Green Lantern titles: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and Green Lantern Emerald Warriors. I often say that there shouldn't be this many titles for one character or group of similar characters, but the Green Lantern titles are one of those exception to the rule, in that they are all very good, with top notch creative talent.

Just a look at these three pages and cover from Brightest Day #11, should show anyone who loves great epic superhero comics, that Brightest Day is just a fantastic looking book.

If you've dropped Brightest Day from the comics you've picked up on a regular basis, I can understand that with the sea of titles out there tough choices have to be made, I just think you may want to look at Brightest Day again and give that hard cut to another title that you're maybe just getting out of inertia. And there's a couple of double page spreads in Brightest Day #11 that I haven't reproduced here that just have to be seen!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

i zombie #6 & Metalocalypse Dethklok - two fun new comics!

The newest i zombie (#6) is a really fun self-contained issue that works as a good story unto itself, not requiring anyone to have read any preceding issues and works as a good issue to try i zombie again if you've left the title. I've enjoyed i zombie since the beginning, but it doesn't really have much of the forward momentum that I thought it would. I do think it will read better in collected form, but I'm such a big fan of Michael Allred's art that I do wish i zombie was doing better than it is.

i zombie #6 is titled I, Were-Terrier and is a great origin story / spin off of the werewolf lore. I'd recommend trying out this issue of i zombie and if it does nothing for you, then i zombie just isn't going to be the comic book for you.
Another fun comic that came out yesterday was the first issue of Metalocalypse Dethklok, published by Dark Horse. Dethklok is a very funny Adult Swim cartoon and the comic, like last years, Goon / Dethklok comic, does a great job of bringing the humor of the show to paper. This first issue is self-contained, but I'm happy to report that there'll be three more issues. And Dr. Rockzo, the cocaine-loving clown makes an appearance and I know all of my wonderful Ich Liebe Comics! readers love cocaine-loving clowns!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Richard Stark's Parker The Outfit; Darwyn Cooke

No spoilers following:

Darwyn Cooke returns with another Richard Stark Parker novel adaptation, this one titled The Outfit. Published by IDW in a handsome hardcover volume, like Cooke's previous Parker adaptation, The Hunter, The Outfit is just more of Darwyn Cooke showing off what an amazing sequential art storyteller he is.

As I started to read The Outfit, I'm thinking to myself "What if this isn't as good as The Hunter?", but that question / doubt is quickly thrown out the door because The Outfit is even better than The Hunter (how is that even possible?)! One doesn't even have to read The Hunter to get into the world of Parker, but you'll want to after reading The Outfit if you haven't already. Richard Stark and Darwyn Cooke's Parker is just top shelf crime fiction and anyone who does the quickest of page turns to see what Cooke does with his art, will appreciate right away that this Darwyn Cooke is a cartoonist at the top of his game. Darwyn Cooke is one of those creators who make other comic book writer / artists ask how does he do what he does so seemingly easily?

Seriously, make sure that The Outfit is the last book you read if you buy more than one comic or graphic novel, because everything else will just be anti-climatic. As you're reading The Outfit, you'll find yourself asking "How can this get any better?" and page after page it just does.

Monday, October 4, 2010

De: Tales; Moon & Ba

As regualur readers of Ich Liebe Comics! this past year already know, I've been really enjoying Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba's Vertigo series Daytripper, so when this new edition of De: Tales (which I hadn't read when it originally came out years ago) was solicited I was eagerly awaiting reading some of their earlier work. De: Tales was originally published as a softcover volume in 2006, but a couple of weeks ago, Dark Horse produced a new hardcover version (with the cover art directly on the hardcover, not on a silly dust jacket like most hardcovers).
De: Tales is a collection of twelve short stories (well really eleven as one story gets two versions) with Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba both handling the writing and alternating on the art. I think that I didn't read De: Tales when it first came out because usually short story collections have way more misses than hits, but now, having read De: Tales, I can say that there are no duds in this book. If you've enjoyed Daytripper and the themes that Moon and Ba explored within that series (and just great people stories), you'll enjoy De: Tales.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans; Rick Geary

Rick Geary has written several biographical graphic novels over the past twenty or so years in addition to several Treasury of 20th Century Murder graphic novels, of which The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans is his most recent one. Rick Geary's cartooning and narrative voice are unlike just about anything else being done in the comic book medium and all of his graphic novels are excellent.
In The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans, Geary examines the serial killing that happened mostly to grocers in New Orleans in the early part of the 1900s. I'm going to apologize by admitting that I don't have any praise to lavish upon Rick Geary that hasn't already been said or written about him, but I did want to write an Ich Liebe Comics! entry to give a heads up for one of this medium's greatest storytellers - and they make great entryway graphic novels to that person in your life that thinks comics are just of the superhero variety.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sandman The Dream Hunters; P. Craig Russell

This week, the softcover trade paperback edition of P. Craig Russell's comic book, sequential adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano's Sandman The Dream Hunters arrived to brighten up comic book and book stores shelves everywhere. The original Sandman The Dream hunters was a prose novella written by Neil Gaiman, with page illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano and was published in 1999.

P. Craig Russell first illustrated a Neil Gaiman story with the 50th issue of Sandman, and has gone on to do many comic book adaptations of Gaiman's work, with Coraline being one of the other more recent ones. As I've mentioned several times here on Ich Liebe Comics!, P. Craig Russell is one of my very favorite artists and Sandman The Dream Hunters is another fine example by this superlative artist. If you've never read Sandman, The Dream Hunters would serve as a great introduction to the kind of story Gaiman tells with Sandman.