Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Threat - Stratum Comics (Austin Based)

It actually threatens to be a great book! I'm not goign to spoil any of the story, but I have to say the direction of the first two issues has allowed for a solid vision of the writer's intent as well as promised an exciting (And Interesting) future.

The art work as well as the coloring is far from standard fare for an independent companies title. I was impressed by the coloring specifically, as I have always felt that was one of the hardest jobs, to keep from detracting from the art itself while also adding something because the color exists at all.

My only problem is, I don't enjoy the layout of the book. It feels incredibly cookie cutter with the layout of it's panels. There were many chances to provide dynamic layouts that excited a readers eye and kept their eyes busy with more than just the art and the text. The standard non overlapping rectangles and squares actually detracted from the readability of the comic book for me, but perhaps they will take bigger chances and trend towards something innovative in the future, and even if I continue to find it troublesome, the story is definitely enough to keep me searching for the title!

I reccomend this book. It isn't the heroes you know, nor is it the same old story rehashed. It's new and fresh and I think you will find it worth a read. I would, however, suggest borrowing it from a friend or reading it in the shop to see if you like it. It comes at a steep five dollar price tag, which is slightly understandable for a local publisher, but still a lot of money for a comic book you may be taking a chance on.

For anyone interested, this is Stratum Comics facebook page! Go like them and keep up to date with all of their projects!

Graduate - Comics From Home

First off, this is one of the first comics from the new company Overground Comics. For many years now I have seen John Hughes at his booth at Comicpalooza, and last weekend I showed up to Space City Con and low and behold he is now a part of a new company here in Houston, making the first moves to push a new comic book company towards the ranks of DC and Marvel! Which is great on so many levels. I'm tired of the underground comics scene. I want to see a new big dog rise up and show DC and Marvel that they aren't the only powerhouses in the industry.

Enough of that though. Lets talk about this book.

Written By: John Hughes
Drawn By: Celia Calle

The story is intriguing. It follows Natalie, an invulnerable teenage girl, on her way to be trained to be a hero, and ends with a rather traumatic, in transit, event that leaves her with a strengthened resolve.

I find myself wanting to read the next couple of issue. This is obviously just an opener for what is hopefully a book with more substance and content, but I can't help but find myself displeased with the lack of emotion from the main character. Sure, she shouts and screams when she needs to, but I never get a sense of dread or fear from here (which could be attributable to her invulnerability), but what about the fear for those around her, or any sort of sorrow after events unfold in the book.

I've often felt that the first issue should immediatley form a connection between the reader and the main character. I'm not sure the frst issue has accomplished this at all. She doesn't show very many human qualities/emotions beyond shock, surprise, and a panels worth of determination.

Tracking down subsequent issues of Overground comics is going to be a chore and a puzzle all on it's own, but I can honestly say I will try to keep up with it, just to see if it isn't a slow starter and will be steamrolling after a couple of issues.

The art isn't entirely to my liking. It's edgy, it's different. I can appreciate that alot of people will find it aesthetically pleasing. It feels to me as though each scene is viewed through a slightly warped lense, and the artist was intent on finishing as fast as possible. I would compare it to Ben Templsemith's work (who I am NOT a fan of, but acknowledge his greatness nonetheless).

I am sure plenty of you will enjoy the art. Don't let my own personal preferences push you away from the book.

Stick with me. If I can hunt down more issues and maybe get into contact with the owners and talk with them about their vision for the companies as well as the character, I can shed a brighter light onto this title as well as their others!

 For anyone interested, this is Stratum Comics facebook page! Go like them and keep up to date with all of their projects!

Sidekick, a real world look at a dynamic duo!

First, I'm a huge JMS fan. I'm so much of a fan that if I didn't like his book, I am unsure if I could retain journalistic integrity and post on it anyways. (This hasn't been the case yet) He's just that damn good.

And Sidekick is shaping up to be no less than another huge top seller.

What does a Sidekick do when his whole life becomes meaningless? His Hero and leader is dead. He has no money, and he's stuck with the guilt of not saving the life of his great friend. Apparently he turns to hookers and booze while desperately trying to kick start (literally) his career or find another champion of justice to cling to.

However, by the end of the first issue, there are some new opportunities that definitely give our imaginations an interesting avenue to meander down.

Pick it up and read it. It will not disappoint.

"Villains Month" or "Watch DC Eff everyone over Month"

Honestly. The jokes on all of us. Nobody but DC will win during Villains month.

So they've replaced ALL of the main titles and are instead introducing a villain taking over said title. Very cool idea. Lets make it just a bit cooler. They are going to make all of the villain titles 3-D and look pretty deggum slick.

Now, lets allow comic book shops around the world to take pre-orders on these 3D titles and then, well after that, inform everyone that DC will be deciding how many 3D comics each store will be getting. Not the distributors... Diamond doesn't have a say in this. DC is laying down the law.

And suddenly the stores have to somehow deal with the fact that their customers may not be getting what they preordered, which inevitably will cause the stores to take blame as opposed to DC. Let's twist the knife a bit more... DC has made sure that 2D first prints will be available to all of the stores to fill the rest of their orders. So all of those people who are collecting these 3D comics can suddenly tell their store that they have no interest in the 2D comic and now the store is left holding the bag on a bunch of comics that nobody wants, because it  was NEVER what they ordered to begin with.

There are so many tiny consequences to this that can land comic book stores in trouble. I'm not even going to go into it.

I'll just wrap up in saying that apparently DC is taking on the Evil facade this month in the office to help support their comic book!

This Comic is TEN TIMES betters than a knife to the eye!

   No, really... You may be thinking. A whole lot of things are better than a knife to the eye!? Why would I have anything to do with this if it's only ten times better?

And you would be wrong! Visiting the In Laws, going to the doctor, all of those come in around 5 times better than ANY eye gouging. More importantly, if you read this comic, you will consistently be able to mock many of it's characters as THEY suffer said eye knifing. What's better than watching someone else getting something you don't want!?

But really folks. This comic has been running for a good long while now and it's been widely enjoyed by alot of people, but it's going to break huge soon. And that's straight from my Comic Book dealers mouth and I agree with him completely. This book has just been waiting in the wings, growing it's fan base. If you don't jump on now, chances are you will have a hard time hunting down some of the more important pieces of the Goon collection such as the Fancy Pants editions, or even the miniatures.

Beyond the collectibility of this series however, lies the pure joy it can bring an individual. I won't lie. The story itself is not Shakespearean, but it has moments of hitting you in the feels while the Goon is busy kicking someone else in their feels.

This book provides that warm fuzzy feeling of watching the wierd and the grotesque not only lose, but get berated and humiliated all at the same time by a huge, cuddly yet ugly, mobster and his psychotic sidekick who play Robin Hood in a town where you would find the Oblongs living.

The violence is beautiful people! Beautiful!

The ONLY problem... you need to be able to deal with the front of this runs art. It becomes quite impressive later when they transition to watercolors, but for awhile you will have to deal with a bit less than stellar artistry, but I promise you it's worth it!

Not to mention they got backed on Kickstarter for "The Goon" movie! You don't want to go to the movie blind (due to a knife in the eye or otherwise). So you NEEED to read these comics.

Besides, Eric Powell is an amazing man and he deserves your time.

...and when you are done you come back here and tell me Buzzard isn't just the baddest mamojama in the swamp!!!

Check out the Kickstarter for some info on the film!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Sound of Silence

...isn't a sign of me not writing. In fact after going to Space City Con, I've got many small publisher comics to read and reviews as well as some art to post and some general Con rants!

Updates soon! Be sure to tune in!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Good Time to Get Into Comics

Starting in November, DC Comics is going to begin reprinting Titles. All of them will be 64 Pages and will contain content from their Trade Paperback. This isn't really anything new. They've republished comics constantly throughout the years so anybody could get their hands on them. Except this time they have changed the cost.


Let me repeat myself for effect. One Buck buys you 64 pages of story and related content of some of the greatest stories ever told! Sandman, V for Vendetta, and even Batman. And that is only what they are starting out with.

No, they won't be worth a plug nickel when it comes to collecting value, but you get to read them without paying 20 dollars for a Trade Paper Back. You can shove them in your back pocket for later. You can stuff them in a back for car rides and not worry about them getting bent. This is a chance to be a kid again for all of the veteran collectors, and a chance for kids to read comic books without worrying about damaging their 4-5 dollar investment!

Maybe I'm just a little too excited about this, but I feel like DC is doing something right for a change that will benefit the readers instead of bleeding us dry and scaring away potential Bat-Friends.

A Gay or Bisexual Peter Parker? Horrible Idea.

Ok. So this all starts with Andrew Garfield apparently asking his director why Spider-Man can't be gay or bisexual. After this question, apparently a fan posed this very question to Stan Lee and he seemed pretty shocked at the possibility of the movie having that possibility...

You know what... I don't blame him. It's stupid, and I don't feel that way because it has something to do with homosexuality. Be who you want to be. To do anything less is foolish!

I have a serious problem with most special interest groups. Chalk it up to the belief that racism, gender discrimination, and the hatred of a persons sexual orientation are all fueled by said special interest groups.

I see Al Sharpton and cringe because the man makes a living off making white people hate him and making everyone else think it's because of his race and not his mouth.

I see the Gay community blasting Chic-Fil-A and causing problems for it's employees who (99% of) have absolutely zero ability to decide that the companies money won't be spent on anti hate campaigns. I'm pretty sure that method of attack just made some people hate the gay special interest group because they made their lives hell for a few days there, not because they are gay.

I watch the feminist movement day in and day out talk about white male privilege and tell MEN, not individuals but a blanketing men, that they will never know the hardships of a female yet last I checked there are men out there getting crapped on by America as well, and I bet they aren't going to feel much sympathy for the cause of feminism as they are being told they don't have it as bad as women.

And you know. All three of these issues... are HUGE issues. Racism, Gay Rights, Women's Rights. They ALL need to be addressed. But not by a special interest group. Those war mongers profit on these issues. Why would they want them to go away?

All of this ranting side, this is the reason I don't want Spider-Man to be gay or bisexual. He never has been. To do so would come across as (and probably be) an attempt to enlist Spider-Man in a crusade for gay rights in a way that will cause that much more division.

People are going to be upset with the Gay community for changing cannon and ruining Spider-Man (straight or not). Gay people are going to be upset by those people protesting the fact, and suddenly you've made enemies of people by using Spider-Man. Seriously... how crazy is that!?

If we change his history and then present it to the world, Spider-Man will be a point of contention around the world. He is meant to inspire us all and bring people together shouting "Go Gettem Spidey!", regardless of his sexual orientation. But you can't go writing fiction and say that Martin Luther King was white without pissing off a whole lot of people. You can't create a play that Shaun B. Anthony was a women's right activist of great renown without causing an uproar.

I don't want my childhood to be used as a weapon by hate mongers of any sexual orientation or persuasion.

If you need there to be a gay Spider Man, don't make him Peter Parker. It's simple. They didn't make Peter Parker black when they wanted a new black Spider-Man. They killed Peter off and brought in Miles Morales (By the way, read this series. It's amazingly good!). That still won't stop people from raising some ruckus, but at least people are going to feel as though a special interest group is assimilating their childhood memories for their own personal agenda.

***And if you don't believe that changing Spider-Man's past can cause an uproar, please do some Googling on "Spider-Man - A Brand New Day" and tell me you don't believe that Joe Quesada would have been lynched if the right people had seen him on the street after that? And if they are willing to flip out over THAT... imagine when it's a political issue.***

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The one title you NEED to read from the beginning!


Creator and Writer : Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley

I'm not even going to try to break down the current comics and try to snag a reader in the middle of this incredible comic. It wouldn't begin to do the comic justice.

Kirkman is either a genius, or he's sold his soul to the devil for the ability to turn old hat into the next big thing. And with Ottley backing him up, the artwork is always going to be impressive and stunning.

Imagine Superman as a kid, except Jor-El came with him and started his own life on Earth as a super hero. Superman grows up as a kid knowing about super powers and finally when he gets use of his powers he finds out his father has killed the Justice League and is preparing the planet for domination by Kryptonians as a breeding grounds.

That's where this all starts!!! He doesn't take but an issue or two to show you the name of the game and then he delves right into the hard choices and bloody battles. Mark Grayson, Invincible, never gets a moments rest from the very second he gets his powers up until the must recent issue. If it's not dealing with the next universe ending incident, it's trying to manage his schoolwork or his social life.

If you are a fan of Smallville the television show, you cannot lose by reading this series! If you weren't a fan, you STILL won't lose because only a portion of the framework is there (boy grows up into a man with super powers). Invincible will NOT dissapoint.

Now, a warning for some of you. This is a... it's a downright bloody book. No punches are pulled. You will see organs and blood and graphic violence. It's not every single page, but Ottley and Kirkman want to get the point across about what is at stake in some of the fights. They also tackle some of the issues we all deal with in life. This comic really does have it all.

Trust me. You will come to love Invincible and his entire universe! (Especially Robot)

Justice League of America #6 (Trinity War #2)

Comic: Justice League of America  #6 (Trinity War #2)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Inker/Penciller: Doug Mahnke

So, this is obviously a bit of a suspense builder book. It has a few decent action scenes as it gives a tiny glimpse of how the JL is supposed to be effective versus the JLA, but honestly it seems like it only serves to introduce the Question into the whole mix and to have people standing around gawking and commenting about "Superman could never do this!!"

The writing doesn't have a chance to shine as it's mostly just a few screamed words and then phrase after slightly changed phrase of "But he doesn't kill". Once the ball gets rolling I feel we will see a lot more meaningful and memorable dialogue as well as story, but this issue simply didn't have it beyond a few scenes with Wonder Woman as she roped in Justice League Dark (Which I'm all in support of, because I'm a huge Constantine fan and you can never have enough screwing people over for the greater good in your comics).

I really wish they had opened up on each other more. I really do enjoy watching fights that don't normally occur, and seeing Martian Manhunter having his way with Superman makes me feel happy that at least somebody out there realizes that MM has ALL of the same powers as Superman AND more, so he should easily be the match of Superman in any given confrontation. Obviously there are variables that can come into play, but too often people simply say Superman is better than everyone.... just not the case.

Well, hopefully I'll have more to talk about as the Trinity Wars progress. I'm sure this is just a building block to something better, so we should all be in store for some good reading! 

Justice League #22 (Trinity War #1) *Spoilers at the bottom*

Comic: Justice League #22 (Trinity War #1)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Cover/Penciller: Ivan Reis
Colorist/Cover: Rod Reis
Inker: Oclair Albert

I'll be honest. When I heard where DC was going with the Trinity War I cringed inside. I'm a huge fan of mythology and to watch what I was sure was about to be the butchering of one of the things I loved BY another of the things I loved was going to bother me immensely (I can nerd rage with the best of them).

Having made my way through the first issue, I have to say I am intrigued. They've set the basic stage for Pandora and her myth in a prelude, so they jump right into the thick of it with this issue. It starts out completely disjointed and disconnected, but the story is brought together and a bit of light is shown on what exactly how the "Trinity War" is going to be started.

I mean, they've never really needed a good reason to make a bunch of super heroes fight eachother. (Please see AvX and the waste of time that was for an example) However, tension has been built well before this issue, and they've made a point of being blatant about the Justice League of America being designed specifically for the task of defeated the Justice League. So, we knew it was coming... but how do you spark off a fight between two teams that want the same thing ultimately? This issue will definitely give you a hint.

I can honestly say I am looking forward to reading more into the Trinity Wars. If anything watching the good guys fight each other while making witty banter (Thanks Geoff Johns) is always a bit of a treat if not overdone!

As for the art, The Reis brothers are amazing together. Ivan conveys emotion and action into his art that provides solid feelings of tension as well as emotion without ever needing a word said while Rod makes each page pop out at you without being a blob of color or losing a character in the background. Mr. Albert's work with shadows is also a huge boon to both the artist and inker by providing the stark contrast from the colorful costumes of our favorites like Wonder Woman and Superman.

******************************SPOILERS BELOW***********************************

Alright, nuts and bolts. In this issue we find out that a group called the Secret Society is orchestrating the war between the super heroes. We also get to watch Madame Xanadu die (for how long, who knows) because of it. The tension builds throughout the comic until Shazam, trying to be the good guy he is decides to head to the political hotspot of Kahndaq to scatter the ashes of Adam across the land as a means of laying him to rest.

Well, the poor kid apparently can't do anything right because Superman and the JL decide they are going to have to go there and attack him while he's being attacked by Khandaq forces, which does give us a heart warming image of Shazam popping the big blue boyscout on the jaw. (Really, this is great image #1 of this issue).

Shortly after the JLA shows up, obviously intent upon stopping the Justice League and trying to paint them as bad guys so as to sway public opinion away from them. They've brought a new weapon (Doctor Light) who actually seems like a really nice guy along because he can neutralize Firestorm.... what they didn't realize was that he would also be able to neutralize Superman to....

Ok. Hold on. Dr. light is touted as being an INCREDIBLY intelligent scientist, so much so that he knows Firestorms powers better than Firestorm. So how is it a piece of widely known fact, that Superman is charged on solar power (It's brought up multiple times in earlier issues of the New 52), manages to escape the notice of the super scientist who's power is to absorb solar energy? .... I can suspend my belief. I do it constantly to read comics, but man I need at least a little bit of consistency ok? At least we won't have that kinda issue arise with Doctor Light again for a little bit.

Because after Doctor Light accidentally "pops" because he absorbed too much of Superman's power.... Superman introduces Light to his laser vision at point blank range and we are left with the incredibly headless Dr. Light.

We also get a glimpse of the fact that The Outsider is behind some of the machinations (at least) of the Secret Society. That would account for two of the trinity of sin, though the Question of who the third is hardly remains seeing as the comic book industry just can't seem to keep a secret for crap!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hey there True Believers. No...

Howdy Sports Fans! Nyet.

Ladies and Gentleman, We... Are... Live! Newp.

Apparently every last bit of originality has been squeezed from my body in the process of simply creating this G+ account and it's subsequent blog, so all of you will just have to continue reading without a clever and witty catchphrase to keep you coming back to the blog.

So, I'm Colt. I've been reading comics and flexing my nerd since I can remember. I've got boxes of Magic Cards, Comic Books, Comic Cards, Toys and just about every else geeky from the 90's that you can imagine locked away in my own home as well as my parents. I don't mention this to brag, but to lend myself an iota of street cred in the hopes that you may eventually lend my words a certain amount of respect.

Really, I just want people to pick up a comic book. If something I say can accomplish that fact, this whole endeavor is a win in my book!

That's my gig here. I'm going to review comic books. I'll have some friends post reviews every now and again as well, but primarily it will be little ole' me pumping out a few paragraphs telling you why you should pick up a specific title, or why you should make a small altar to Cthulu and burn a given title in sacrifice hoping that the author will be devoured by that which shall not be named... Either way.

Beyond that I will be running my mouth about industry news and how I generally feel about said news, or simply posting a ton of interesting (by my standards) information that has to do with Comic Books, Conventions, Authors, Artists, and other Geeky and Nerdy randomness!

Well... thanks for getting this far. Stick with me and I'm sure we can find you a new title to pick up, if not some artist and writer names to keep an eye out for!