Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy 30th Anniversary Love and Rockets!

This year, the seminal, alternative comic book, Love and Rockets turned 30 years old! That's 30 years of continuous publication in comic and graphic novel formats by creators / cartoonists, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (their older brother Mario also contributes stories and art from time to time)! This first page of art shown here is by Gilbert Hernandez (they also write and draw their own stories). The characters that populate Gilbert Hernandez' stories mostly inhabit a fictional town called Palomar.

This page of art ('actually reviewing this published entry, I'm seeing that blogspot continues to find new ways to mess up my posts, so photos two and three are reversed'- both pages are amongst eleven pages of originals on display at the Artist Spotlight section of Alternate Reality Comics through the end of December) is by Jaime Hernandez and most of his characters live in the fictional town of Huerta (Hoppers).
What is Love and Rockets about? Simply put, it's about everything people go through in a life lived, being kids and teen-agers, falling in love, complex friendships, having sex, getting into trouble, getting old, and dying. Every character within Gilbert and Jaime's Love and Rockets stories are fully developed and while many of their women are of the eye-pooping beuatiful variety, they both draw many varied kinds of people, who are all beautiful in their own ways. Gilbert and Jaime are both masters at telling funny, sad, strange, and poignant stories, illustrated in gorgeous black and white (some of their work has been in color, but they work the black and white with such grace that you'll prefer to see their art this way). The Hernandez brothers' understanding of the possiblities of the comic book medium was fully realized when they made their debut back in 1982, but they somehow have even managed to hone their skills, never stagnating.
This past Saturday, December 1st, Alternate Reality Comics was honored to be one of the Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary Celebration hosts, and I want to again thank everyone who showed up and dished out deserved ego strokes to Gilbert and Jaime! For those of you who haven't already seen my posts about this on my store's facebook, our sale on Love and Rockets comics and graphic novels will be 20% off through the end of the year and we still have some lmited edition 30th anniversary prints left for a mere $15.00 (11x14, suitable for framing)! Seriously, if you've never seen original artwork by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, come on by an give your eyes a treat!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful on Thanksgiving and Everyday

Today being Thanksgiving is a perfect day for me to share with everyone the things that I am thankful for in my life, but the following are things that I am thankful for every day.

Comic books. This may seem like a strange, superficial thing to be the first thing I mention as being thankful for, but besides my almost lifelong love of this medium (since 1975!!), if comic books hadn't entered my life, I wouldn't have the wonderful comic store I've now owned for eighteen years, through which I've met my wife (back in 1995) and many, many friends, both close friends and people I get to see fairly regularly from their visits to my store. 

Kate. I've know Kate since 1995 and we've been married since 1997, so that's fifteen wonderful years this December. I love waking up knowing Kate is my partner in my life, talking to her after our work days, and just getting to share the many experiences (and places) we've had. I also love her family and am grateful that they're in my life. 

My friends. I have close friends and patrons of Alternate Reality Comics that I think of as my friends. I would be a pale shadow of myself in the absence of all of my friends. While I may not remember all of the experiences / exchanges I've had with my friends, all of these life moments have made me who I am today and I hope that in the future there's a way to unlock all of these memories because they would make for a wonderful book or video reel (albeit a rather long one!). I do lament not having more time to spend more time with my friends. I'm thankful for my friends I only see at my store for their visits and dialogues with me and letting me be a part of their lives. 

My cats. I love all animals, but especially cats. Presently we have three cats, Alucard, Moto, and Sky and they all have their own unique character traits, I'd love to be able to exchange brain waves with them for a day to understand things from their perspective. I miss Maleficent and Pixie, two of our cats that died but I'm thankful that we had time together. 

Alternate Reality Comics. I love my store and am so thankful for everyone, past, present and future who have visited my store, talked to me, have come to my events, and are providing great homes to the many wonderful comics and graphic novels that Alternate Reality Comics has had the privilege of stocking. I am so fortunate to have my occupation involve the main passion (comic books) of my life and that I get to share all the wonderful stories and art this medium has with so many friends / people. After eighteen years, I still very much look forward to opening the doors to my store and getting to talk and sell comic books. Uber thanks to everyone who shares my love of these magical things we call comic books, especially to those of you who get their fix at Alternate Reality Comics, and to everyone who has given me generous feedback on the evolution of the store. 

My helper bees at Alternate Reality Comics, who are also great friends of mine, Jim, Paul, and Michelle. Jim has really fine tuned the store in ways that would take way too long for me to enumerate, especially since I moved the store to its present location two and a half years ago. Paul, is the store's Sunday captain and has been with the store for years, and has also been a big part of the character / identity that Alternate Reality Comics has. I call Michelle, my store's resident artist because she's done many projects around the store that have really helped define the visual look of Alternate Reality Comics. I'm also thankful for Ron Horsley, my other store artist, who has over the years drawn many wonderful versions of Epstein, my store mascot, that people can see all around the store. Ron has also designed my website and many other outreach visual things I use to promote the store. 

The comic book industry. HUGE thanks to all of the creative people who make the comics and graphic novels we all love possible. Thanks to everyone else involved in the production of comics, including editors, publishers, printers, and distributors for getting these volumes into my store and into my friend's collections. 

Las Vegas. Many of you probably don't know the following, but I haven't always loved Las Vegas. I just moved here originally back in 1980 because I'd lived here for a few years previously and couldn't think of somewhere else to live when my family moved here (nor did I have the means then). It really wasn't until a few years ago, when I was on a trip elsewhere, that I had an epiphany about what a magical place Las Vegas really is. Certainly Las Vegas could still use some improvements, but here's some of the things that I'm thankful for Las Vegas for: The emerging Las Vegas comic book community. We have many great comic book stores now in Las Vegas (and I'm fortunate to be friends with many of them and to have learned from what their stores bring to the greater Las Vegas Valley) and I thank those of you who come to my store with this in mind. For five years now we've had the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival at the Clark County Library and this has been a big big part of the development of the Las Vegas comic community, along with this year's excellent Las Vegas Comic Book Expo, which looks to definitely become a recurring convention for Las Vegas fandom. The Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities, for all of the charitable events they've done at my store and around the valley, their unique ways of molding the Vegas comic community has really been a joy to be a part of. Brieanna and Heath are also great ambassadors of the Vegas comic book community and I look forward to being a part of more of Brieanna's events in the future (we have one coming up in the store Saturday, December 8th). Las Vegas also has a greatly emerging local art scene, with First Friday having celebrated its tenth anniversary a couple of months ago and is getting better and better. Vegas now has many more free events in addition to the big entertainment options people flock to our city to experience as well as many first class restaurants that offer many options (including many vegan choices) and there really are a lot of places that do this at reasonable prices. And while I love the many trees and floral of the Northwest and Northeast, I've come to appreciate and be thankful for the beauty our desert environments have, such as Red Rock, Valley of Fire, and my own little haven for getting out of the city, the Wetlands (which is just off of Tropicana and Boulder Highway, so really isn't out of the city, but if you go there, you'll be in another world). 

Again, thank you to all of my friends for being my friends, to everyone who has visited Alternate Reality Comics, and to everyone who reads Ich Liebe Comics! (I apologize for being really lackluster in my posts here this year, but I'm looking to change this state of things in the near future - part of my reasons involve the changes at blogspot).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alternate upcoming October FUN events!

We've got SOOOO much going on here at Alternate Reality Comics that I want to make a giant post here to give everyone a heads up! I want to firstly thank everyone who comes out to the events at Alternate Reality Comics and to thank you in advance for considering going to the following Alternate Reality Comics October events, when I know that everyone has a lot already going on! I'm going to list these upcoming events in reverse order, just because today is Bizzarro Day (I'm not sure what I mean by that - grin!):

Wednesday, October 31st: Halloween is on New Comics Wednesday! Since Halloween is happening on the same fabulous day of the week that new comics and graphic novels are released, it's mandatory that everyone who comes to Alternate Reality Comics that day, has to be in costume - okay, not really, but if you do come in costume, you'll get three raffle tickets for your chance to win some fabulous prizes, including BIG gift certificates, art prints, graphic novels, and a date with Epstein puppet (well the last item may not be real, unless you want it to be - grin!)! We'll also be having a mini version of Free Comic Book Day, but you'll have to come out to Alternate on Halloween to see what that means! We'll be open from 10am-7pm so you could come early and then come by again right before you and or your little ones go trick or treating!

Sunday, October 28th: Join Alternate Reality Comics and the Vegas comic fan community in celebrating the Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities' 2nd year anniversary at Desert Breeze Park (8275 Spring Mountain Park) from 12-7pm! This sure to be FABULOUS event isn't taking place at Alternate Reality Comics, but it is fully endorsed by us because these Very Awesome Gals have really made the geek / nerd community here in Vegas a force to be reckoned with and a lot of the events they do are done in support of local charitable organizations! I really really hope to see a lot Ich Liebe Comics! blog readers and Alternate Reality Comics' friends at this event and it shouldn't be too cold, but if it is, we'll have the warmth of our big fan community friendship to keep each other warm (grin) - let's show V.A.G.I.N.A. how much we love them for all they do and for being such a FUN group!

Saturday, October 27th: Cosplay Queen of Las Vegas, Brieanna Brock Randall, will be one of the costume designers for what should be one of the biggest Halloween bashes in Las Vegas, at Tommy Rockers (4275 S. Dean Martin Drive), with the fun starting at 8pm. There will be gals and guys in eye candy costumes parading around the joint throughout the night (and everyone's encouraged to come in costume, as there's a $300.00 grand prize for best costume!), great food and drinks, live music, and lots of other entertainment you're not going to get anywhere else for as much fun as you'll have! What costume will I be wearing!?

Saturday, October 27th from 2-5pm at Alternate Reality Comics!: My good friend Ron Horsley will be visiting from Columbus, Ohio, and will be doing debuting his new novel, Sin Gorge, at my store! Sin Gorge will mostly be available as an eBook, but he's going to have some copies available, several of which will be raffle prizes! Besides this being the first novel debut at Alternate Reality Comics, Ron Horsley, the author, has also been my main artist for all of the different versions of Epstein that has colored my store and flyers / postcards for years! Ron is also working on a new 11x17 Epstein print that everyone who comes to this event will get FREE! I hope that a lot of you are able to stop by for Ron Horley's in-store event on this afternoon and will share with him how much his Epstein illustrations have really made Alternate Reality Comics pop! Ron and myself will be plotting our Secret Origin of Epstein comic while he's here, so here's your chance to meet him in person! And there will be FREE snacks and beverages!

Friday, October 26th from 6-8pm at Alternate Reality Comics!: Opening reception for the Seduction of the Innocent Artist Spotlight put together by local artist Pj Perez (The Utopian). The Seduction of the Innocent Artist Spotlight will feature art, selected by Pj Perez, from comics and graphic novels, that have been banned over the years in different parts of the country for their "questionable content"and this Artist Spotlight reception will also be our launch celebration for the fifth annual Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival, which is happening on Saturday, November 3rd, at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo, right behind my store!), a FREE mini comics convention, with artists (Gene Ha, being this year's special guest!), panels, and vendors! At the Seduction of the Innocent Artist Spotlight, Pj Perez has created an awesome 11x14 print that will be available for only $5.00, of which all of the proceeds will go to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to help in their battle against future banned sequential art productions and the stores that sell them. Complimentary wine, snacks, and other beverages will also be part of this special Artist Spotlight reception!
And last, but certainly not least (or first really if I was doing this in a chronologically dated fashion - and many of you have also joined this event via the facebook event page I created this past Saturday 'thanks'):

Sunday, October 21st from 2-5pm at Alternate Reality Comics, one of our biggest signings EVER!: Look at this guest list: J.H. Williams III (Batwoman, Promethea, Batman Black Glove, Desolation Jones), James Robinson (of legendary Starman fame, Earth 2, Shade, Golden Age, Justice Society!), Pere Perez (artist on Smallville Season 11, Batgirl, Detective Comics Annual, & many other DC titles), Chris Wisnia (debuting Monstrosis, a new graphic novel featuring Kirbyesque monster action!), & Ales Kot (writer of Wild Children from Image & the upcoming Change, also from Image)! It'll be like a mini-convention! Get some favorite comics signed (some of the artists might even be talked into doing sketches!), raffles for fab prizes, & FREE snacks & beverages! A portion of the events during the event will be donated to Hero Initiative, a non profit organization that helps comic creators in need (but you don't have to buy anything to come out, visit with these great comic creators, & lavish ego strokes upon them!)!
Thanks for reading all of the above and for your consideration in attending any or all of these events (those coming to all of the above events will receive an additional two raffle tickets for our Nevada Day / Halloween, Oct. 31st all day celebration!)!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Las Vegas Comic Expo 2012 recap!

Last weekend, Las Vegas had its first comic convention in almost ten years (two big comic conventions we had in 1996 and 2003 were poorly promoted and organized, thus killing Vegas comic conventions for years), with Charles, Rob, and David Lee's Las Vegas Comic Expo 2012 and it was a RESOUNDING success on EVERY level! When I first talked to Las Vegas Comic Expo founder, Charles Lee months ago, I knew right away that he wasn't a short-term thinker and that he was committed to doing this convention for years to come. Charles has gone to numerous conventions over the years (and is a HUGE comic fan himself!), so he definitely did his homework. Charles and Rob surrounded themselves with a great support team, including Brieanna Brock Randall (who handled the cosplay side of the convention and assembled photographers), Stephanie Payne (who along with her Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities gals and other volunteers really made all the small things come together), Shawn Lane (who handled public relations), Douglas Kline (their website guru),Tatiana Dykes and Mark Walters (talent relations and exhibitor registration), and Jimmy Jay of (director of operations). All of these people and others I'm sure I'm spacing, deserve a HUGE round of applause because last weekend's fun wouldn't have been possible without all of the millions of variables they took care of!

There was a lot of great costumes at Las Vegas Comic Expo 2012 (check out my store's facebook page at Alternate Reality Comics, Las Vegas!, for three photo sets of some other great cosplayers!), great creative talent from comics and screen (especially for a first year convention!), a wonderful varied group of exhibitors, BIG artist alley section, and there was even gaming and panels, so there really was something for everyone at this show! I personally want to thank everyone who stopped by my booth (and even bought things - grin!) and met my new boss, Epstein puppet (made by Phoenix puppeteer, Stacey Rebecca Gordon!), and gave me and my crew (friends, Michelle, Paul, and Ryan, who did a WONDERFUL job helping me with my booth all weekend!) such great feedback on Alternate Reality Comics' booth! I know that everyone I met and talked to (including vendors and the special guests) had nothing but positive things to say about this first year of Las Vegas Comic Expo, and we're all looking forward to Las Vegas Comic Expo 2013 (which will be at the end of September 2013, location undetermined yet - personally I thought the Riviera was great and I think that space has plenty of space for a growing convention)!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shade #12; James Robinson & Gene Ha

The Shade is a twelve issue series, published by DC Comics, that just concluded with an issue written by the series' writer, James Robinson and drawn by Gene Ha. anyone who has read James Robinson's epic Starman comic, now collected in six omnibus editions by DC, were very much looking forward to this Shade maxi-series, as Shade was one of the central characters of that series. As with Starman, with the main artistry of Tony Harris and Peter Snejbjerg, this Shade series also had excellent art by some of the mediums best, such as Darywn Cooke, Jill Thompson, Jarvier Pulido, and Frazer Irving. Shade #12, featured the art of Gene Ha and as you can tell from this title page above, he was the perfect choice to conclude this series with James Robinson. If you're not already familiar with Starman or the Shade, I'm just going to say that James Robinson and his stellar artist collaborators, comics with said characters, is the very definition of EPIC, beautiful sequential art storytelling.

Do yourself a favor and get the Starman collections, the Shade maxi-series, and or the Shade collection when it arrives! And Las Vegas has two treats in store for them relating to this comic, specifically Shade #12, with artist Gene Ha being the top billed guest of honor at this year's Vegas Valley Comic Festival at the Clark County Library, Saturday, November 3rd, and writer James Robinson, will be one of Alternate Reality Comics' special guests Sunday, October 21st (more details on this last tidbit very soon)!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fashion Beast #1; And now for something completely different...

This week, the first issue of Avatar's ten issue adaptation of Alan Moore and Malcolm McClaren's screenplay for a movie that never happened, Fashion Beast, arrived, illustrated by Facundo Percio. Moore and McClaren (manager of the Sex Pistols) wrote Fashion Beast in the early / mid 1980s, but as Antony Johnson's adaptation shows, even with just this first issue, Fashion Beast looks to be one of Alan Moore's finest creations.

In the solicitations and of Fashion Beast, this series is being described as a dark version of Beauty and the Beast, and that works as far as sound-bite descriptions go. Basically, the first issue introduces us to Doll Seguin, a transgender person, who works as a hat-check clerk at an upscale club as well as other characters who are sure to become more intertwined to the larger story as Fashion Beast unfolds. And there's definitely other things on a beneath the surface level going on within this first issue that will make readers want to see how this all comes together. Fashion Beast is truly a comic unlike any other comic being published today.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wizzywig; Ed Piskor

Another great graphic novel that was released a few months ago that I finally got around to reading (working on lots of behind the scenes things for upcoming events here in the Las Vegas comic commmunity and the store) is Ed Piskor's Wizzywig, published by Top Shelf. Wizzywig is based on nine real real-life computer hackers, with the central character, Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle, being a conglomerate of "adventures" those nine hackers actually had.

Ed Piskor's Wizzywig, is a thoroughly engrossing, entertaining graphic novel (300 pages, only $19.95, for another beautifully designed Top Shelf production) that will have you alternating between cheering on the protaginist as he gets away with his hacking schemes and cheering on the law as they catch up to him (depending on how you feel about free acess to information and or how annoyed you become when you end up with a computer virus). You may even learn a thing or twelve, such as the latter section of Wizzywig, in which Kevin, the hacker, now in prison, tells you how you can wash your clothes in the toliet (line the toliet with a trash liner and fill it with sink water) or how you can cook ramen noodles and light your cigarettes with an electrical wire (gplugging it in, but avoid touching the exposed end part of the wire).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Trinity A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb

I finally got around to reading Trinity A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb (it arrived about two months ago) and it was even better than I'd hoped it would be! Trinity is written and drawn by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and as the title suggests, it is a graphic novel exploration of the people and science behind the first atomic bomb.

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, in Trinity's 152 pages, manages to give readers a history lesson of the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, gives a good overview of the science involved with splitting atoms, and does this without making Trinity a chore to read, like history books often can be. Fetter-Vorm also details the period of time during which the atomic bomb was being developed (the latter part of World War II) and shows that the U.S. felt dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the only way that Japan would surrender (more Japanese people had died in incendiary bombing missions on Tokyo before the Trinity test than from both atomic bombs combined, which I hadn't known, but those bombings happened over a period of time). If you don't already have an understanding of the devastating power of this bomb, Trinity will drive this home to you and you'll also marvel at how much work and ingenuity it took to make the Manhattan Project "successful". Another HUGE recommendation from Alternate Reality Comics and Ich Liebe Comics!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Red Diary / The Re(a)d Diary; Teddy Kristiansen & Steven T. Seagle

The Red Diary / The Re(a)d Diary is a new graphic novel originally published in Europe in French and Dutch written and drawn by Teddy Kristiansen. Last week, Image released a new version written by Steven T. Seagle (Seagle has collaborated with Kristiansen in the past including on one of my all time favorite graphic novels, It's A Bird). This graphic novel wasn't re-written by Steven T. Seagle as a means of "fixing" the original work, it's really a long story (that's interestingly detailed within in the liner notes). Actually what Seagle has done is rather unique: he's taken Kristiansen's story and art and made a flip book graphic novel (the first of its kind, I believe) that's also two new stories using Kristiansen's art twice. This sounds like it would be an interesting sequential art experiement even if there wasn't any real content weight to the stories, but here we have a the best of both worlds, as The Red Diary / The Re(a)d Diary is one of the VERY BEST graphic novels I've read all year, with beautiful art, so actually this is a triple treat!

If you're looking for a couple of stories with existential themes set in Europe in the early 1900's (mostly during World War I), you need look no further, The Red Diary / The Re(a)d Diary is a rich graphic novel on so many levels (and only $29.99 for 140 over-sized full color painted pages). HUGE, HUGE, Alternate Reality Comics money back guarantee!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joe Kubert, thanks for your long artist legacy

This afternoon, I read the sad news that sequential art legend, Joe Kubert, has died at the age of 85 after being hospitalized from a brief illness. Joe Kubert had been drawing comics since the early 1940's and is most associated with drawing characters such as SGT. Rock, Haunted Tank, Enemy Ace, Tarzan, Viking Prince, and Hawkman, but even in his 70s and 80 years of age he was working on comics / graphic novels such as Fax from Sarajevo (which he won an Eisner for in 1997), Tor, Yossel: April 19, 1943, and Jew Gangster.
In 1976, Joe Kubert founded his Joe Kubert Art School in Dover, New Jersey (of which such art giants such as John Totleben, Steve Bissette, and Tom Yeates attended) and he taught there alongside his sons Adam and Andy. Joe Kubert has left an artistic legacy that is only matched by Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, and Steve Ditko, and while it is sad that we won't see any new art from his pencils (other than his excellent inks over his son, Andy Kubert's pencils on Before Watchmen Nite Owl), we are left with an enormous body of work from his over seventy (!!) years of artistic contributions to the comic book medium that will continue to inspire and influence people today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Before Watchmen Ozymandias #2; No sophmore slump here!

Gaze upon this cover - surely this is one of the most striking images / covers of the year! Those of you who have gotten Before Watchmen Ozymadias #1 already know that this is one of the most beautifully drawn comics currently being produced. Artist Jae Lee is going to be hard pressed to top the art he's doing on this series and the coloring by June Chung beautifuly complements the clean line work on display here. In Ozymandias #2, as with the first issue, Jae Lee draws deftly designed pages that simultaneously works as great eye candy while also showing that you don't have to just employ square or rectangular panels to show a great sequence of visual events.

The Before Watchmen Ozymandias writer, Len Wein, with the second issue (of six), continues to show the progression of Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) as he embraces his second life as a costumed crime fighter and this comic is a joy to read and look at. Before Watchmen Ozymandias #2 will be at finer comic stores (including Alternate Reality Comics - grin!), tomorrow, Wednesday, August 8th!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me; Harvey Pekar & J. T. Waldman

Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me is Harvey Pekar's last graphic novel and it seems to me to be a good bookend to the auto / biographical comics (American Splendor) and graphic novels he's written since the early 1970s. I certainly wish this wasn't Pekar's last graphic novel, but this book like his Cleveland, which was released a couple of months ago, were two works I heard him talk about when he and Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, Are You My Mother?) spoke at a presentation at the Clark County Library back in April of 2010 and when he died just three months later (July of 2010), I thought we'd not see these books, so I'm glad these two Harvey Pekar graphic novels were completed before his death.

Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me is Harvey Pekar's examination of the Jewish people's continuing struggle with their occupation of Israel as their state, expecially their continuing conflicts with their neighbors, Palestine. Harvey Pekar was raised in a Jewish family, but he fairly early on in his life, didn't see the Jewish state of Israel to be their land claim right as all (or a majority) of Jewish people do. Throughout Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, Harvey Pekar and artist J. T. Waldman present a historical lineage of the Jewish people and the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, as well as a record of Pekar's personal history growing up Jewish and how he developed his differences. Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me presents different sides of the Israel and Palestine and Jewish perspectives that I've not been exposed to previously and I'd guess even a lot of Jewish people aren't aware of the history outlined in this graphic novel.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Song of Roland; Michel Rabagliati

The 2009 multiple award-winning graphic novel, Paul a Quebec, has finally been released in the U.S., newly titled, The Song of Roland (which I think is a better title). The Song of Roland is written and drawn by Michel Rabagliati and is a beautiful sequential art narrative about Roland's life and death, that is sad, but at the same time shows a great life lived of a person (Roland) who gave a lot to his family in many ways and was given much in return. The Song of Roland isn't sappy or emotionally manipulative in any way, rather it just resonates as an honest portrait of a close-knit family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wild Children

Last week, a pleasant surprise of a comic came out from Image called, Wild Children, by Ales Kot, Riley Rossmo, Gregory Wright, and Clayton Cowles. This is one of those comics that is better to just experience for yourself rather than being told what it is about, the only thing I'm going to say about it is it is a kind of call to action. I'd also like to share the following quote that starts off Wild Children: "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." Mark Twain - And a line one of the characters says within Wild Children: "Did you ever think how the comics in your house are just like ecosystems at different ocean depths?"
Wild Children, a one shot 58 page comic for only $7.99, ask for it by name!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A great week to be a Darwyn Cooke fan!

This week the third Parker novel has been adapted by master cartoonist Darwyn Cooke, called The Score, and as with his other Parker adaptations, The Hunter and The Outfit, you won't find a better crime fiction sequential art production.
The Parker novels / graphic novels were written by Donald Westlake under the psuedonym, Richard Stark, and they are about a master con man, Parker, who doesn't suffer fools or hair-brained schemes. That's really all you need to know going into any of the Parker novels / graphic novels, with the newest Cooke adaptation, The Score being about a heist of an entire small town (do things go wrong, with all of the variables involved with such a big plan? - well I'm not going to say, of course!).

Also this week from writer, artist, colorist, Darwyn Cooke, we get the second issue of Before Watchmen Minutemen #2 and if you read the first issue, you already were eagerly awaiting the following issues, but if not, check out the interior page (which is the second image here in this entry, blogger is acting up and not importing images in the correct order) for an example of a cartoonist at the top of his craft! Both issues of Cooke's Minutemen have enough content and cartooning skills per issue to fill three normal comics!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Before Watchmen Ozmandias; Len Wein & Jae Lee!

Okay, I'm going to sound like a broken record here, but Before Watchmen Ozymandias, by Len Wein and Jae Lee and June Chung is another top notch sequential art production (so that makes five out of five Before Watchmen first issues that are amongst the finest comics out there today)! Truthfully, I was a little concerned with how good the writing by Len Wein on Ozymandias would be, because while I've loved his superhero comic book writing since the 1970's, I don't recall any particular story that he did that had any real weight, beyond just being entertaining (and I don't mean this as a slight because there's nothing wrong with just being a consistently entertaining writer). I'm happy to report that from page one of Before Watchmen Ozymadias #1, Len Wein proves he's more than up to the task of writing characters and stories within the Watchmen world. This first issue beautifully sets the groundwork for exploring Ozmandias' past and what makes him tick (pun probably intended - grin!) and I'm glad that this Before Watchmen mini series will be six issues in length (most of the other ones are just four issues long).

The first thing anyone who just casually flips through Before Watchmen Ozymandias will notice about this comic is how beautiful the art and coloring is. Those already familiar with Jae Lee's art over the years, especially on his Inhumans maxi series and his Dark Tower adaptations, already know what a master artist Jae Lee is. But with Before Watchmen Ozmandias #1, Jae Lee has turned up his artistic prowess up considerably and a HUGE part of how great this comic looks is due to the increadibly lush coloring by June Chung (I think this is the first time she's colored Jae Lee's art). Seriously, Jae Lee's art and June Chung's coloring has a beauty on par with the sequential art lyricism of P. Craig Russell and J.H. William III's art and like with these aforementioned artists, Jae Lee always looks for diffierent approaches to conventional comic book story-telling and layout. Before Watchmen Ozmandias #1 gets the Ich Liebe Comics! HIGHEST recommendation!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Before Watchmen Nite Owl #1 - Another HUGE WOW!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 27th, the first issue of J. Michael Stracznski and Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert's Before Watchmen Nite Owl #1 will adorn the racks of Alternate Reality Comics (and finer comic book stores everywhere)! For some strange reason, Nite Owl was the Before Watchmen that I was least looking forward to, but right away at page one, J. Michael Stracznski, shows that he thoroughly knows this character (and other Watchmen characters who appear within the first issue) and his love for Moore and Gibbon's Watchmen shines through on every page. This is definitely a textbook example of how to write a first issue that will have everyone who reads it coming back for the remaining three issues! The real star on Before Watchmen Nite Owl #1 for me is Joe Kubert, who inks his son, Andy Kubert's pencils. Not to disrespect Andy Kubert's artistic talents, but I've always favored Papa Joe Kubert's art, so I was happy to see that Nite Owl #1 totally looks like a Joe Kubert drawn comic! Joe Kubert is 86 (!!) years old, but he's still very much a dynamic artist that can outdraw any ten artists (at least)! Before Watchmen Nite Owl #1, joins the other three Before Watchmen titles that have been released thus far, Minutemen, Silk Spectre, and The Comedian, as money back guarantee titles! I can't wait for the second issue of Nite Owl, but next week's Before Watchmen Ozymandias, with art by Jae Lee (!!) is sure to be another must have! This is truly one of the most exciting times to be a comic book fan in all the years I've been reading comics (since 1975!)!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Arizona Artists Event, next Saturday, June 30th!

Next Saturday June 30th, here at Alternate Reality Comics, from 3-7pm, we'll be hosting several great artists from Arizona, along with Las Vegas' Queen of Cosplay, Brieanna Brock (who's also a designer, model, coordinator and MC of many local events)! During the Alternate Reality Comics portion of this weekend (Saturday, June 30th from 3-7pm) we'll have fun raffle prizes and free beverages and snacks!

The fun starts the night before at Buffalo Wild Wings (190 West Craig) from 8:30-midnight, where they will be having a Drink n Draw (actually you'd don't have to do either of those to come out and visit!) meet up! And this fun weekend continues into Sunday July 1st at Maximum Comics (520 South Marks St. in Henderson, down from the Sunset Station) from 1-7pm! So you have three times to meet these artists, purchase art and prints from them and have what we guarantee will be a weekend you won't forget (and if you come to all three of the weekend's meeting spots, you'll triple your fun!)! We hope many of Ich Liebe Comics! readers and the Las Vegas comics community will come out to show these Arizona artists how strong the Vegas comics / cosplay community is!

Here's the facebook event page detail of the weekend, with the artists from Arizona who will be here:

June 29 at 8:00pm until July 1 at 5:00pm

Las Vegas is about to have Bohn Fever again!

Come with us on a road trip (or just come hang out if you're already a Vegas local!) and get to know us as we invade your city, your body, your mind. Heading up with yours truly, are some of Arizona's greatest locals:

Jeff Pina

Mickey Chaney

April Reyna

Big Chris

Anthony Delaney

and Shelby Robertson

Not to forget the Las Vegas Siren herself, Brieanna Brock. Starting on June 29th, you can start hanging out with us for the Drink & Draw happening at Buffalo Wild Wings, followed up by back to back store signings on June 30th, Alternate Reality Comics, and on July 1st, appearing at Maximum Comics.

I will have all new prints, sketch cards, and not to forget an all new exciting issue of Elvatron Chronicles!

We would all really love to have you come up, come over and sinning with us in Sin City. Further information below. And remember, folks: Support your local artists and local comic shops!

June 29th Drink & Draw: Buffalo Wild Wings (8:30pm - Midnight) 190 W Craig Rd Las Vegas, NV

June 30th Alternate Reality Comics (3:00pm - 7:00pm) 4110 S Maryland Parkway Las Vegas, NV

July 1st Maximum Comics (1:00pm - 5:00pm) 520 S Marks St Henderson, NV.

If anyone who reads this knows how to make paragraph breaks on this blog and could let me know, I'd appreciate that (I used to be able to do paragraph breaks and when I'm prepping the entry it looks the way I want it to, but when I actually post and view, everything now runs together). Thanks!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Massive; Brian Wood & Kristian Donaldson

The Massive is Brian Wood's new series from Dark Horse Comics, beautifully drawn by Kristian Donaldson and colored by the always fabulous, Dave Stewart (who used to be in that 1980's band the Eurythmics - grin). What is The Massive about? The Massive takes place in our future, in which most of the planet Earth has been devastated by ecological / environmental disasters. The crew of the Kapital, a group of proactive environmentalists, are looking for their missing sister ship, The Massive, while also pondering what to do in a world as shell shocked as Earth has become, when they themselves feel like they've failed our planet. Anyone who has read Brian Wood comics such as Northlanders, DMZ, and Local, knows that a Brian Wood comic will be one of the most unique comics being published, populated with rich characters and high levels of intrigue, and The Massive, with just its first issue and its strong world building foundations, is really strong out of the gate, so if you're looking to break up your superhero reading, The Massive could very well be your go to new favorite title.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #1; Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Conner

Week 2 of the Before Watchmen releases brings us the first issue of Silk Spectre written by Darwyn Cooke (who writes and draws Minutemen) and Amanda Conner. This was an absolute delight, with Amanda Conner also bringing the best artwork she's EVER done and she has always been a great artist with a lot of range. Just look at the range of character facial expressions on this page and and tell me this isn't an artist on the top of her craft! Seriously, everyone is bringing their A game to these titles! Money back guarantee (this comes out tomorrow, Wednesday, June 13th)!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Before Watchmen Minutemen #1; Darwyn Cooke

I want to start off this entry by just cutting to the chase: Before Watchmen Minutemen #1, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke is fantastic and was even better than I hoped it would be! Seriously, if you had any doubts about how a Watchmen comic would be sans Alan Moore, well just read Minutemen #1 and your concerns will be addressed. I'm going to say that if you don't like Minutemen #1, then this isn't the comic for you (and it's a money back guarantee comic at Alternate Reality Comics!). For those of you who aren't familiar with Darwyn Cooke, he wrote and drew the excellent Justice League story set in the 1960's, New Frontier, has adopted two Richard Stark Hunter crime fiction novels into two excellent graphic novels from IDW (with a third one scheduled for release in July), and did Batman Ego, which was a great Batman year one story. What is Before Watchmen, specifically Minutemen? Before Watchmen is exactly what it sounds like, stories that take place before Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's legendary Watchmen comic / graphic novel from 1986. Watchmen, is of course the pinnacle example of how to write (and draw) a comic book with superheroes and how the presence of said superheroes would entirely change the world. Watchmen is also one of the very best written comics ever, one that is so multi-layered that every time you re-read it, you'll find new amazing things you didn't notice on previous readings. There are many people who would argue that Watchmen is such a complete work that doing any other stories is akin to Citizen Kane having prequels. That's a good argument, but if you really want to see what an A list line up of comic book creators can do with these characters and the Watchmen world, well the seven different mini series that comprise Before Watchmen (three of them are six issues, four of them will be four issues in length) will be your ticket to fine fine comics if Minutemen is any indication of what's to come.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Batman: Death By Design

Batman: Death By Design is a new hardcover graphic novel (with its release being tomorrow, Wednesday, May 31st) written by award winning graphics designer, Chip Kidd and illustrated by Dave Taylor. There's another new hardcover Batman graphic novel coming out in July (Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank), but I'm glad that DC released Batman: Death By Design before that book because Batman: Death By Design definitely should not be overlooked!
Just look at this lush interior page from Batman: Death By Design as drawn by Dave Taylor, doesn't it evoke the artistic beauty of Moebius!? Well this entire graphic novel is a visual delight, with a story by Chip Kidd that features Batman in a 1930s setting that some may call an Elseworlds narrative (meaning it doesn't take place in "regular" DC Universe continuity). This is a very different kind of Batman story with the Gotham architecture factoring in heavily in the plot, but no less thrilling and a couple of Batman's rogue's gallery show up to great effect. Batman: Death By Design is an over-sized 105 page beautiful graphic novel with very interesting color work (also done by artist, Dave Taylor) for a mere $24.99!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are You My Mother?; Alison Bechdel

The most anticipated graphic novel of the year has arrived! Said graphic novel is Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, her first new long form sequential art memoir since her highly acclaimed Fun Home (which is mostly about her father, who was a closeted homosexual, and how it was growing up within a family that owned a funeral home) back in 2006. Having finished reading Are You My Mother? this past Sunday, I'm here to tell you that Alison Bechdel's new graphic novel memoir, which is mostly about her relationship with her mother, is every bit as excellent as Fun Home.
One of the reasons for the long interim between Fun Home and Are You My Mother? is, if I could be permitted to speculate, Alison Bechdel's wrestling with her relationship with her mother and how to best convey their divisions in a graphic novel memoir (additionally, while Bechdel's cartooning art style is very appealing to the eye, drawing is something that is a VERY long process for her). Another large aspect of Are You My Mother? is Alison Bechdel's sessions with therapists she's gone to and an examination of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott.
Are You My Mother? does have odd traces of humor throughout, but ultimately, Are You My Mother? is Alison Bechdel's highly personal account of the difficulty her and her mother have relating to each other. While reading and upon finishing Are You My Mother?, you'll think about your own relationship with your mother, and while reflecting upon this isn't always as rewarding as you'd like, Are You My Mother? may very well help you better process your relationship with your mother as well as being a rich, engrossing look into Alison Bechdel and her mother's relationship. I give Are You My Mother? Ich Liebe Comics! highest recommendation (and I'll have more copies of Fun Home in next week)!

Friday, May 11, 2012

FCBD 2012: WOW pt.3!

Having artists sketching for people is always a fun time, so I was glad that (from left to right) my friends, Rick Tucker (all the way from Florida for the second year in a row!), Warren Wucinich (who is coloring the Courtney Crumin comics and graphic novels that just started coming out!), Sam Gorrie (she's also Warren's art studio mate and works as a caricaturist down on Fremont Street), and Brice Gilgens (he's going to be one of the featured artists at the next RAW Event at the Royal House on Thursday, May 24th - check out his facebook page for more info) could be part of the day. At the far right in the Thor costume, is Kit Kendall (Brice's gal!).
Sam and Warren!
A FUN Wonder Woman illo by Sam Gorrie!
Here's Tigra holding a cool Tigra sketch that Brice Gilgens did for her!
Julian Shimp (on the right), with a friend of his, holding their finely rendered drawings that Rick Tucker did for them! I'd like to give another HUGE thanks to the artists, Rick, Warren, Brice, and Sam for staying beyond their scheduled time and making so many people happy, to Zena aka Olive Oyl and my wife Kate and Christie for their tremendous greeting and raffle help, and to my other friends / worker bees, Paul, Jim, and Michelle, for their outstanding efforts keeping the rest of the store run as smoothly as it did last Saturday!! FCBD 2012 wouldn't have been possible without all of the creators and production people of the FCBD titles, the Diamond Comic Distributors staff who made sure the trains ran on time, and the grandmaster of Free Comic Book Day himself, Joe Field (of Flying Color Comics in Concord, California), who invented this day eleven years ago (!!), so a HUGE tip of my hat in thanks to all of you! And none of these aforementioned thank yous would be possible were it not for the awesome friends / patrons that Alternate Reality Comics has that came out last Saturday and again, I'd like to thank you all for making my store part of your FCBD 2012 celebration!

FCBD 2012: WOW pt. 2!

Kit Kendall (here in costume as a lovely Thor) has been part of Alternate Reality Comics' FCBD celebrations for the last two years now and has been at many of our events as Harley Quinn. This year Kit debuted her new Thor costume and it was a BIG crowd pleaser! My friend Jason (and friend to all of the greater Las Vegas comic book community) also dressed as another alternate reality Thor (grin), so along with Kit's Thor, there was a lot of power at Alternate Reality Comics for FCBD 2012!
Dave Jurvelin's always awesome daughters! Dave is growing his daughters up right (grin!), in addition to being a high school teacher (and swim coach) in his spare time when he's not the big Las Vegas comic book fan he is (grin)!
Another photo of my friend Zena, rocking her Olive Oyl, alongside Sam Gorrie as Wonder Woman! Sam was also one of the local artists that drew for people last Saturday!
Great local artist, Damien Drake, seen here as a Skrull Wolverine, with Regina, and her daughter, Tigra! When Skrull Wolvie came into my store last Saturday, I had no idea that he was Damien (sorry to blow your secret identity, Damien!)! Besides the three of them coming in such fantastic costumes, Damien gifted me one of his paintings that was part of the Artist Spotlight section of Alternate Reality Comics a few months ago (I'll be hanging this here at the store to share with everyone)! Two other friends of Kate and I, Tony and Theresa, came by for FCBD 2012 with their Arizona artist friend, David Rabbitte, who gifted me and Kate with two beautiful Star Wars prints (I have an awesome color drawing he did of Epstein as Captain America he did for me a couple of years ago here at the store also)! I am very fortunate indeed to have so many great friends who share my passion for comics!
Here we have a couple of two of the BEST Captain America's you'll see anywhere! Heath Randall is one half of Vegas' uber fans / comic power couple (his lovely wife, Brieanna Brock Randall, who is also the queen of cosplay in Las Vegas, was very disappointed that she couldn't make it this past Saturday, so you'll have to see her debut her Batwoman costume in two weeks at the Phoenix Con!)! I've got a LOT more photos from FCBD 2012 on my Alternate Reality Comics, Las Vegas! facebook page, so I hope you'll check those out if you haven't already seen them! Please check out the entry below for part three of my FCBD 2012 entries (and part one is, of course, above) in which you'll see some art from the artists I had out. Ugh, well the order isn't as described it above and I'd like to apologize for the lack of paragraph breaks as blogger isn't working as it has previously.

FCBD 2012: BIG WOW pt. 1!

Free Comic Book Day gets bigger every year and this years' 11th annual one was no exception, other than that the increase from last year was even bigger than any year to year increase previously! The first Saturday is always such a busy day in Vegas, with so many other events going on, so I'm especially grateful to EVERYONE who came out to Alternate Reality Comics FCBD celebrations (especially as Vegas has so many great comic book stores!)! I had soooo many great friends / worker bees helping me out here last Saturday, including Kate and our friend, Christie (seen here in her lovely Star Trek uniform)!
SO many peoples came in all day to get some great FREE comics, sketches from local artists (and a visiting Florida artist / friend), and just bask in the fun that FCBD is!
The real Fantastic Four! Huge thanks to the Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities for helping make the fun atmosphere at Alternate Reality Comics even funner (?)!
As I said above, I have great friends, who are also great worker bees, such as Jim and Michelle, who took care of people on the main deck of the store, and Paul, who helped people with their FREE comic selections all day!
My good friends, Rick and Zena, who sadly for me live all the way in Florida, were in town for a few days and graciously helped out. Zena, along with Kate and Christie, took it upon herself to greet people as they entered Alternate Reality Comics and made sure they got raffle tickets for tickets we had to give away for the upcoming Las Vegas Comic Expo and Batman Live! I was happily surprised when Zena told me she was going to be Olive Oyl (Popeye's gal, of course!)! We also had the Sausagefest Food Truck out for a few hours and I'd like to say that their veggie sausage with roasted pineapples and onions was uber delicious! Part two and three of my FCBD 2012 entries continues below, with more photos of people who came in costume and an entry on the artists that were sketching for many happy people (the blog template I use here only allows five photos per entry, that's why this is in three parts). Again, sorry that these three entries aren't in the right order, blogger is being weird - thanks for reading Ich Liebe Comics!