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!