Friday, May 29, 2009

New Comics Delay

Oh, look! It's something else about Green Lantern!

Green Lantern
Conan: Cimmeria TBP

The odd (if somewhat interesting) tale of the Orange Lantern continues, with no small shortage of "things happening." Honestly I wonder if they didn't somehow need to stretch this one out longer than it had to be to get more ancillary books lined up for Blackest Night... And if I wonder it, I'm sure someone else is wondering it. Add what could be considered a decent familiarity of backstage comics, it's probably more the case than not. Oh, that DC editorial sure is a card. GL frequent penciller Ivan Reis is on break and missed, here filled in by Philip Tan. I can't say I'm as enthusiastic about the style, but it's a good fit for the story and you can't say he isn't giving it his best shot.

And I sure do like those collected Conan Trades. "Cimmeria" is the official start to volume two of Dark Horse comics series, and stylistically is quite a departure from the previous. That's not to say they've skimped on art at all, featuring both Thomás Giorello and Richard Corben. With colors by José Villarrubia, no less, and chapter breaks by Frank Cho. Tim Truman, a fine artist in his own right, wrote the tail end of the first volume with and following Busiek, now having taken the reigns completely. His steadfast love of Howard's original material shows, continuing a great legacy of Conan in comics.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Green Lantern, et alia

Greg Hatcher of Comics Should be Good (via CBR) has a groovy rundown on the various incarnations of the Green Lantern comic-- from the original golden age incarnation to now. Funny thing is he uses GL as an example of a series that has gone through a multitude of reboots and restarts, ever searching to bump itself up in the marketplace. Even funnier that Green Lantern is all the rage in the DCU since the Sinestro Corps Wars, and now the cornerstone of DCU-wide event Blackest night. Everyone gets their turn, I guess.

It occurs to me how much I've been with Green Lantern thru the good and bad (at times sooo bad). It's kind of ridiculous how many of those comics are in my possession.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blazing Combat

Blazing Combat, a new hardcover collection from Fantagraphics, showcases some truly fantastic work from a multitude of comics greats. I often describe work from this era as "When people knew how to draw." Not that I think artists today can't draw, there is just a instantly recognizable level of draftsmanship found in artists from generations past. The schooling was different, the training, the market.. subtle factors that produced what I find to be remarkable art.

The collection itself is sharp as a tack, presenting a variety of hard-boiled war stories from a short lived 1965 comic series, all written by the venerable Archie Goodwin. Fantagraphics really packages it nicely, I've included some samples below but trust me when I say the reproduction in the book itself is much cleaner than the scans I got-- had a little trouble with moiré from the fine duotone and zipatone in the art.

Click the title link above to hit the Fantagraphics site page and download a PDF sample if you want to see more. And also to get yourself a copy of the book!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Comics Day

Groovy books and the beginning of a sad, sad end.

Green Lantern Corps
Young Liars
LOEG 1910
Ultimates 3

WOE IS ME!! Young Liars has been cancelled, with author Lapham asked to prematurely wrap up within the next two issues. DAMMIT! I wonder if every one reading this would take two friends to the comics store and pick up an issue each... prolly couldn't turn it around. Seriously this has been one of the best books of the past year. As thankful as I am to have what we got, I'm extra sad to see it go. Sadder still that such an amazing book couldn't find the audience it needed to thrive.

It was with a shakey hand that I picked up the softcover collection of Ultimates 3. The story is some of Loeb's most cringeworthy, if only for being such a divergent path to what Mark Millar had done in the previous two volumes. The essence of the widescreen theatrics is somewhat retained, yet is so very different. The reason it's a pickup is that it's incredibly hard to ignore a whole book's worth of new art by Joe Madueira, which is equalled (if not surpassed) by the digital paintwork of Christian Lichtner. This collection seems to have fared better in terms of color reproduction that was mostly too saturated and heavily printed on the individual issues. While generally it does still print on the darker side, the package seems to have come together nicely on the whole. It's not hard to look at.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1910 was a long time coming. And it looks to be longer still for all three volumes to come out, which I've heard as far out as 2011. Few things, however, are as enjoyable with such a wait. This new book *(technically volume 3) is also the first away from DC/WildStorm/ABC, now in the capable hands of Top Shelf Productions via Knockabout Comics. Production-wise the book appears solid-- a tight, squarebound, matte-cover with nice interior stock. Prints a little dark, tho :-P

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Comics Day

More like cool comics day!

Blackest Night 0
Power Girl (!)
Fin Fang Four Return (!)
Pherone (!!)
Seaweed (!!!)

I do not pay much attention to things like Free Comic Book Day, because the last thing I need is more comics. So little attention did I pay that I wasn't even aware of DC's giveaway kicking off Green Lantern's Blackest Night. And then it goes flying ever-so-freely off the counter disappearing for good. Luckily one of the few perks of my hobby is being recognized as a regular Green Lantern reader at the local comics shop, and the fine folks at Austin Books were able to mysteriously produce an issue as if from the very mists of Brigadoon. Score.

Ah, but the primo offering form DC this week is actually Power Girl #1. I was torn in buying the issue or waiting for the trade, but in the end the art by Amanda Conner won out. Silly me will probably buy the trade, too, so much do I love her work. I even bought Conner's cover, even tho the variant Adam Hughes cover is very, very nice.

What a surprise! Marvel follows up one of their best one-shots (from "Marvel Monsters" a ways back) with Fin Fang Four Return! Aw man, that Rodger Langridge art is too sweet. The book is funny as all get out, and kind of says a lot towards the kind of book from Marvel that I'll actually purchase these days.

An unexpected treat is Viktor Kalvachev's hardcover Pherone, collecting his stories first run in Heavy Metal. This book is slick as all get out, Kalvachev's amazing art being the number one point of sale. His work is a distillation of the visceral black and white punch of Frank Miller, the dynamics of Howard Chaykin, and the refined discipline of Brian Stelfreeze. The content itself is hard-hitting noir with dames and dirtbags throughout. Goergeous book.

Finally, this week I picked up one of the most amazing books I've seen in a long long time. Seaweed, by animator and character designer par excellence Ben Balistreri. It's a wonderfully oversized 12"x15" hardcover that makes the crisp, animated art style a joy to look at. The story follows Captain Seaweed on a high adventure over the salty seas, with a broad cast of characters that are, well... cool. It's personal work like this that really shines a light on how bland the vast majority of commercial offerings are in both visuals and content. If the main story isn't enough, a fair portion of the book's back end shows Balistreri's working process, providing wonderful insight into such a large project's trepidations among raw artistic talent. Thankfully Balestreri's blog notes another volume is in the works, so I hope this first one receives the sales and recognition it deserves. Seaweed is just plain great, and gets my highest recommendation.