Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where were you when the first issue of East of West came out!?

 Okay, I'm going to do my roll call of some of the great stash of new comics out today on New Comics Wednesday, but first I want to put on my hyperbole hat and tell everyone how AWESOME the first issue of East of West is!:

I've been a fan of writer, Jonathan Hickman since he first came on the scene as he's a great thinking outside of the box writer with some BIG ideas. Most comic book readers probably know him from his Fantastic Four, FF, SHIELD, Avengers Now, and New Avengers, but he also does a great Image monthly called The Manhattan Projects, that shows that the creation of the atomic bomb was just a cover for what the great minds working on that project were really cooking up.

Here's the sound bite description of East of West: a Sci- Fi western featuring the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who are looking to kill the President (a future President). I was excited about this title when I first heard about it and my expectations for this title were met on every page, I was getting the same thrill I got when I read the first issue of Preacher by Garth Ennis and the better Grant Morrison comics that weren't just weird for weird's sake (not that there's anything really wrong with that kind of story, I just want something else with my weird). 

East of West wouldn't be half as great as it is without the fantastic art of Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin's colors, which makes Dragotta's art look better than it ever has  (Dragotta has worked with Hickman on Fantastic Four and FF previously).

I ordered what I think / thought will be a good supply of the first issue of East of West #1, and talked it up when I first had it on club sheet three months ago (in bold type, with the creative team next to the title listing, which means this is a title I think has a great chance to take off). As often happens when I put out the quarterly new club sheet reserve sheet for Alternate Reality Comics, not that many people sign up for new titles, even ones by creators they've liked on other titles. I do understand that there's a sea of titles to choose from and a lot of people want to pick up the first issue before committing to the series, but when I have less than a third of the amount of people signed up for a new title than the amount I've ordered, well when a title like East of West comes along with the buzz it's going to get, those shelf copies are going to be gobbled up pretty rapidly. Anyway, I should have enough to last for at least a week (people have been signing up for this title after my order was placed so the copies I (and other stores) have could go faster than that. But there will be second, third, and collection printings if people don't get on board right away. Sorry this section of my hyperbole blog entry went on long, I just wanted to give people a look at what goes on behind the scenes with new titles that are selling out.

And now back to the New Comics Wednesday title tease (and this week is one of those week's where you just want to mainline all of the titles at once because there's so many great ones!): The third fab issue of Young Avengers (probably my early favorite of the new Marvel Now titles), the 
 second first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, the third Age of Ultron, Batman Incorporated (the follow up to last month's sad issue), Aquaman, Flash, FF, Fantastic Four, Superior Spider-Man, Uncanny Avengers, Fatale, Unwritten, The Massive, Luthor Stode, Morbius, and Powers! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

When David Lost His Voice; Judith Vamistendael

 Judith Vamistendael is a Belgian cartoonist who also illustrates children's books. When David Lost His Voice was originally published in two volumes in Europe, but now there's this one wonderful 270 page full color hardcover, published by Self Made Hero.

I'm not sure if When David Lost His Voice is a true story, but it sadly could be and whether or not it is true or not, When David Lost His Voice is just a beautifully sad account of David, who gets cancer and  the women in his life and how they're all trying to deal with this reality.  Although When David Lost His Voice, even being 270 pages long, doesn't take very long to read, it is a book you'll want to revisit, share with others, and take time to slow down the animated quality that Judith Vamistendael brings to every page.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Initiates; Etienne Davodeau

 This new graphic novel, The Initiates, written and drawn by Etienne Davodeau, will certainly make my top five graphic novels of 2013! The subtitle of The Initiates is "A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs", which also serves as the best description of what this graphic novel is about. 

 Etienne Davodeau, the cartoonist / creator of The Initiates, decides that it would be interesting for is friend, Richard Levy, a wine-maker, and himself to both become familiar with each other's life passion and vocation. They don't trade jobs, although Etienne works with Richard in his vineyards to get a better understanding of what goes into wine-making. Obviously, it would be much more difficult for Richard, who is unfamiliar with the artform that we call comics to just immerse himself into the creative process of making a sequential art production, so he gets his schooling of this medium through Etienne giving him graphic novels to read, taking him to a printer, going to comic festivals, and meeting cartoonists. 

I don't know that much about wine, but do like to drink it from time to time (although my preferred adult beverage is beer, like a good hefeweizen, Blue Moon, or Samuel Adams). From reading The Initiates, I now have a better understanding of how wine gets from the vine to the glass and even if you have no interest in drinking wine, after reading about the processes that Richard Leroy goes through to make his wine, you'll get an appreciation of all the variables that goes into wine-making. And for those of you who like wine or know someone who likes wine, but don't have much of an understanding of the alternative / European comic scene, The Initiates gives one a good exploration of that side of that part of the sequential art world. This beautifully designed 267 page hardcover is highly recommended in every respect by Ich Liebe Comics! and Alternate Reality Comics! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Big Plans; Aron Nels Steinke

 Looking for something on the alternative side that scratches the itch between new comics / graphic novels by Joe Matt (Peep Show, Paying For It) and Adrian Tomie (Optic Nerve, Summer Blonde)? Well you need look no further than this new handsome graphic novel collection of Aron Nels Steinke's Big Plans mini comic of the same name.

Big Plans is a nice fat graphic novel very nicely designed, basically a voyeuristic look at some of the cartoonists' "adventures", such as getting ready to board an airplane and suspecting that one of his fellow passengers may be a terrorist, playing video games, and getting to go to the Academy Awards ceremony (and getting really drunk while there and trying to hit on some of the actresses) because a friend has an extra ticket. On the surface, some of you may be thinking, how can this make for entertaining reading? Admittedly, slice of life stories, such as Big Plans, aren't for everyone, especially if you're looking for escape from the "real" world, but for people who like autobiographical comics, such as American Splendor or Eightball, Big Plans will click with you and Aron Nels Steinke's line work is really crisp and services Steinke's stories really well. Big Plans is published by Bridge City Comics, a comic store owned by Michael Ring up in Portland, Oregon, and I'd also recommend visiting his store if you're up in that area.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Adventures of Superhero Girl; Faith Erin Hicks - yay!

 Long time readers of Ich Liebe Comics! know that one of my favorite graphic novels from a few years ago is Zombie Calling by Canadian cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks, a funny, different kind of zombie story (of which I always have in stock at Alternate Reality Comics). Well I'm happy to report that Faith Erin Hicks has another wonderful graphic novel out, called The Adventures of Superhero Girl, published in glorious hardcover full color by Dark Horse!

The Adventures of Superhero Girl is a great all ages alternative graphic novel with the main character, a mostly average girl, who just happens to have some super powers. Superhero Girl yearns for an arch nemesis, but instead has to deal with characters like a guy who calls himself the Marshmallow Menace, who throws marshmallows and trying to get out of the shadow of her brother, who is a popular superhero. If you like Bryan  Lee O' Malley's Scott Pilgrim, you'll like The Adventures of Superhero Girl because Faith Erin Hick's art and humor are evocative of that other Canadian comic / graphic novel import without being derivative (and I just noticed they both have three names, so maybe that's another key to their great cartooning - grin!).