Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Comics Day

Gak! Another week of posting just comics! I must be busy or something. Or drunk or something. Or busy staying drunk or something.

JLA Classified
Green Lantern
Astonishing X-Men

Why do I even still buy comics? It must be for the art. Why else would I pay good money for Astonishing X-Men? Nice as Cassiday is, there are alot of pointless repeated panels in there. Here's the joke, on pages where there is heavy dialogue, there are minimal panels, when there is clearly enough room to fit even the big balloons into one panel. What is that? Storytelling? Cinematic? Decompression? Lazy? As more and more of the Showcase books and Marvel masterworks come out, the more I'm reminded of how much they used to pack it in. Of course alot of it's dated, but damn if they don't have shit going on left and right. Makes Astonishing X-Men look like more of an indulgence, which I can't actually say is a bad thing. Though with the proliferation of the form to breed the desirable trade I don't know if it's for the better.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Comics Day

Nothing terribly exciting, but at least they're pretty.

Red Sonja
Danger Girl: Back in Black
Action Comics

This month's Action Comics has an impressive list of guest artists, and I always have been a sucker for Dan Jurgens' Superman.

She-Hulk is always a fun read but it's hard for me to get over the art. Bobillo isn't bad, exactly, it's just too cutesy for my tastes on the Jade Giantess. I much preferred Paul Pellitier when he was filling in, I'd like to have him back. And the covers... people just gotta stop giving covers to Greg Horn. Please.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Comics Recap

Gun Candy #2
This book is exactly as its title describes, it's just candy. It's super vilolent, exploitively sexy, it's like the creators were just one drink away from doing outright fanboy porn. The thing is, it's so damn well drawn. There is some crazy, and I mean crazy gunplay and action sequences, and the crisp and clean linework of Brian Stelfreeze is matched only by his keen eye for composition. The book is in black and white so you get to enjoy these lines to the fullest, there is grayscale work but the tones are kept simple as to not be distracting. The story plays out in a way that I guess was inevitable, but it's alot of fun to look at. It's a real guilty pleasure.

The second half of the book is another episode of "The Ride," which is okay. The art by Phil Noto is pretty keen.

Hawkman #49
Once more some good art and a good story, and an "ending" to this chapter in Hawman and Hawkgirl's career. A very sci-fi Butch and Sundance going out, tying into the omnipresent Infinite Crisis galactic shabang. This is a last issue of sorts, since when we see it next the book will be renamed "Hawkgirl" but remain with current issue numbering. I normally wouldn't pay it much mind except for the new creative team: Walt Simonson and Howard Chaykin!

Aside: that cover image above? It was clearly colored for RGB, those are "screen" greens. you just cant reproduce those greens in print without a neon ink, if even then. The actual printed cover is green, but not like that. Seeing as it's just the one color, I don't know why they didn't just print it with a spot ink. The colors on the inside are nice, tho, especially on the paper stock they use. it's a bright newsprint that soaks up the ink real good, whereas it would not have come out as well on gloss. Alot of other books think they can use gloss paper to "make it nicer," but I'm thinking colorists are rarely made aware of this to adjust their work accordingly. Printing is a fickle art.

Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special
Shame on you, DC, SHAME! This was a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT, and it just boils my blood. The story somewhat continues from the miniseries and Hawkman books, I don't know why it's not just issue #7 instead of a "Special." It's anything but special. Sure Gibbons continues the story as the galactic shit hits the fan, clueing in some other events you may not be aware of if you're not reading every single IC tie-in. And yes, Reis continues to pack his pages full of cosmic nuttiness that I've come to know and love, albeit with more than your standard share of inkers.

But the colors? Ugh. There are a couple different ways to place blame here, but blame on individuals is rarely constructive. From what I can tell, the book was rushed. It was very late getting to color and it could not be completed in order to meet the book's schedule. That is, and this is important, it could not be completed to the standards set by previous issues. And that's where you lose me. Editorially, this is a huge mistake. DC is basically saying all they care about is getting the book out on time regardless of quality. I raved and raved about the miniseries, because it was one hell of a comic. Rann-Thanagar War was presented so well initially, I just can't imagine what possessed them to put out the Special the way they did (at a $5 pricepoint, no less). Has anyone else seen this book? Am I crazy? There is a decent first page, and then a mishmash of what are referred to in the biz as flats, grads, and god-awful glows. Were the decision up to me, I would have printed the damn thing in black and white, no foolin'.

This goes beyond disappointment, this goes to management. If Infinite Crisis is supposed to be this gigantic landmark, universe defining event, there is an artistic responsibility to readers to deliver the best your company has to offer. As IC goes on, this appears to me to be something DC isn't fully up to task on. In the IC book itself you have a haggard Phil Jimenez inked by anyone available, and in the "special" tie in issue you have the introduction of DC's self proclaimed "major new direction" for Green Lantern Kyle Rayner: the official introduction of his Ion persona. Am I going to remember these books for the stories or the shortcomings? With Rann-Thanagar War Special, what will be remembered most? The discovery of Earth-Prime Superboy causing the planets of Rann and Thanagar to collide? The death of Alan Scot's daughter Jade? The debut of Ion? Or... the shoddy coloring that was so sub-par I felt like returning the book.

It's just a comic, yes, but publishers have a responsibility to live up to their own standards.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

What a Difference a Crisis Makes

Power Girl, DC Direct 2001:

Power Girl, DC Direct 2006:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

New Comics Day

Three comics and a nice surprise!

Modern Masters: Arthur Adams (!!!)

I didn't even know that this was the last issue of JLA. That's kind of a big deal. Sure they are going to relaunch the title again, I scrambled around the web to discover it will be called "Justice League of America" all spelled out. So once again for DC, one step forward, two steps back.

But Joy of Joys! The excellent Modern Masters series returns with a spotlight on Art Adams! Undeniably my all-time favorite comics artist. I think I may have a complete collection of his works, maybe an odd issue or two missing that I just don't know about. This MM issue may point out a few holes in my collection! I also cherish several pieces of original art that I've gottent from Mr. Adams over the years, had I the finances I would own much, much more.

To say Art Adams is an influence artistically is an understatement, not just for me personally but for the comics artist community as a whole. No one ever really matched the man himself, Bachalo comes close but has wandered into his own realm of visuals-- still those latest X-Men issues show alot of Adams' flair. Luckily, tho not often enough, Adams still draws! Most recently for ABC's Tom Strong's Teriffic Tales spinoff, Jonni Future. All I can hope is that there is more to come, because I will be there. Art Adams is one of those rare artists who's work makes you wish he drew everything.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Digital Illin'

Saturday + Photoshop x Wacom =

Friday, February 03, 2006

Infinite Marketing

In this month's issue of Playboy, in the "On the Scene" section:

Crisis Management
Just when you thought you'd outgrown the world of caped men who fly around in tights

If you haven't noticed, the world today is in a state of crisis. Terrorism, mistrust of government, Brad and Jen-- it's a mess. Who can save the day? Superman, naturally. Vaunted comic-book publisher DC Comics' new seven-issue miniseries Infinite Crisis offers a new take on good and evil more in accord with our times, when the lines between them are not so clearly drawn. Written by fan favorite Geoff Jones and illustrated by Phil Jimenez (pictured left is cover art for issue #4, which hits stands this month), the series features nearly 400 characters from the publisher's superhuman pantheon in an epic battle that reshapes their fictional universe. Primarily the story interweaves the plotlines of DC's holy trinity: Batman, Superman, and the superendowed Wonder Woman. "For me it's about showing the audience-- if they've forgotten or don't know-- why Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are such great heroes," says Johns. "To do that across the board with the entire DC Universe, you have to ask, What does it mean to be a hero? That's really the theme." And Johns isn't joking around. By the end of the series, some of his beloved heroes will kick the superbucket.

A lofty synopsis, though as we're actually halfway through the series and have yet to see heroes in the making, I'm not exactly holding my breath. But I won't discount that there are three issues left, and alot can happen in three issues. Can they wow us still? I mean really wow us?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New Comics Day

A mish-mosh of random titles, but all good as far as I can tell.

IC Special: Rann-Thanagar War
ABC A-Z: Terra Obscura/Splash Brannigan
Green Lantern
Red Sonja
Y the Last Man

A double dose of Yanick Paquette this week, who's work I absolutely adore. I read he signed exclusive with Marvel, which saddens me somewhat, but I don't know what he's going to work on. I don't see an immediate match of what characters would suit him best at Marvel with their current art and story direction, I just don't. The Ultimates? X-Men? This Civil War thing?

There is an issue with the IC special for Rann-Thanagar War, one readily apparent when casually flipping through the book. I'll note it in detail in my next round of reviews because that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. That dog will not hunt.