Updates and Such

Sorry for being absent for so long. I didn’t know if I was going to stick to this thing when I first started it, and I kinda dropped the ball. In my defense, I’ve been working a few projects over the last month or so (one of them including a manuscript for a potentially ridiculous book).

Things don’t seem to be winding down anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a moment to praise over and bitch about comic-related news and whathaveyou.

So let’s do this bullet point style:

  • Fuck Suicide Squad. It wasn’t the garbage fire that BvS was, but it was insultingly bland and could have easily been the DC Expanded Universe’s chance to fix its bullshit.
  • Speaking of DCEU, that Wonder Woman trailer looks fucking rad.
  • JLA…not so much.
  • Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are teaming up for a new comic series called Moonshine. This excites me very, very much.
  • I picked up Alan Moore’s new novel, Jerusalem. It’s heavy and could easily kill a toddler if you dropped it on said toddler’s head. I’ll be ready to get up in its guts once I finish a few other books ahead of it. The girth of this tome doesn’t really bother me too much. After all, I did read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. But don’t expect any feedback anytime soon. That fucker’ll take some time.
  • Speaking of Alan Moore. He’s retiring from comics! What? I mean, I guess that’s fine. The man doesn’t really owe us anything else.
  • So Frank Miller’s TDK3: The Master Race is running 9 issues. Great. Guess I’ll have to wait longer to buy the trade.
  • Fuck that Watchmen hardback individual issue thing DC is releasing.
  • I’m finally getting around to reading Kell Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios’ Pretty Deadly and I love it to pieces. Sometimes it’s okay to show up late to the party because the pretty girl is there waiting for you no matter what.
  • I read Alan Moore’s Crossed + 100. I dug it. Not much more than that. There were some really cool ideas but Moore does horror best when his subject matter is rooted in the occult.
  • Luke Cage is coming! Get pumped!

I think that’s about it. I’m still contributing to http://www.boundingintocomics.com from time to time but not with the same frequency I once was. 

Until next time: Kill your TV. Read comics.

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Quick Rant

I try to avoid comments sections on pop culture sites like the fucking plague. Often times there seems to be disconnect between what people read and what the writer intended to convey to their audience. This causes chaos (sometimes racist, sexist chaos), and it does nothing to change someone’s opinion, which, if we’re being frank, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Who gives a shit if an Internet blogger actually liked Batman V. Superman (I mean, they’re wrong, but whatevs)? Why would any intelligent reader get riled up by clickbait?

The answer is that…we’re human. We love the things we love and when someone is mean to those things, we often try to defend them, and sometimes taking up arms is a petty and fruitless endeavor.

I’m writing about this because I have recently fallen into the dark pit of comments. On a rather popular comic book site, I saw a thread that simply read “Alan Moore or Jack Kirby?” I chuckled at how silly this fragmented sentence was and immediately had to see what people were saying. I was actually sort of taken aback. There seemed to be no solid argument for either side. People were referencing comics by both creators and what they meant to the commenters, personally, and in some cases how much they impacted comics themselves.

I immediately wanted to write a post schooling these knuckleheads. I mean, there is a right answer here. And that answer is: Both. Moore has cited Kirby as one of his biggest influences, and both men have created important work that changed the comic landscape at different periods in time. I suppose you could say you there would be no Moore if there were no Kirby, but that’s a huge leap. Ultimately asking a question like it would be like asking, who is a better front man, James Brown or Mick Jagger? They both rule, but certainly one was influenced by the other.

But what do I know? I’m just another asshole on the Internet. I guess the moral of the story is just read more comics and don’t argue about who is the greatest creator of all time. Eventually we’ll get another Jack Kirby and another Alan Moore and another Stan Lee (j/k).

Tagged , ,

The work of Brian Azzarello Part 2 FUNSIZE reviews

Let’s get into it:

spaceman-comic

Spaceman (2011-2012)

This is a weird one that a lot of folks did not seem to enjoy. I recall being in the monitory in my gaggle of comic buddies when it came to praising Spaceman. I actually thought this miniseries was a well thought out story with some really great ideas. I don’t remember Azzarello ever tackling science fiction before (as long as you don’t count Superman) and I thought he pretty much knocked it out of the park. The characters were great. The unreliable timeline was compelling. I only wish this book had lasted longer.

Final Grade: A-

81AdpOUKDHL

Superman: For Tomorrow (2004 -2005)

This one felt like a cash-grab. I don’t direct that toward the creators. No, no, no. That missile is aimed steadily at DC. Jim Lee was hot off of Batman: Hush and this book felt like the publisher wanted to simply capitalize on having such a superstar artist in their ranks. It’s not godawful, but fuck me, it ain’t great. I will say that the scene where Superman basically threatens the Earth was fantastic. Otherwise, this is a forgettable comic, and it makes me sad.

Final Grade: C-

4017778-0052506367-Befor

Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach (2012)

You know what. It’s fine. Not great, not terrible. Just fine. Move along.

Final Grade: Whatever.

Joker_graphic_novel_Cover

Joker (2008)

Goddammit, I really wanted to love this book. I remember picking the hardback up after the Dark Knight was released. Again, this sort of felt like DC just cashing in on an already established story. There were some interesting aspects to Joker, but overall, the book was more grotesque (which I’m not against, mind you) than compelling. However, the strip club scene is this graphic novel was great. It was absolutely disgusting, but great (see? I’m not a prude).

Final Grade: C+

4965018-02-variant

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2015 – present)

To say this series thus far has been a mixed bag would be a gross understatement. Every time Azzarello and Miller and Co. seem to add something worthwhile to the Dark Knight Universe, things just up and stall the fuck out. Look, so far, this comic is leaps and bounds better that Frank Miller’s abysmal The Dark Knight Strikes Back, but that ain’t saying much. Getting your scrotum pierced with a batarang would be a better time than rereading that fucking nightmare. Maybe Azzarello’s writing is helping elevate what should be a complete goddamn train wreck.

Final Grade: Who fucking knows?

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Who’s Afraid of Alan Moore?

Me. I mean the guy does scare me a little.

fromhell_cover_lg

Many years ago, I picked up Moore’s magnum opus about Jack the Ripper, From Hell, with the intentions to crush it like a brittle robin’s egg with my fierce comic-consuming eyes, but unlike my experience with some of his other work, this book bit back. Hard.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t find any of Moore’s other work challenging (shit, you need a working knowledge of turn of the century Victorian pop culture to get half the references in most of it), but they were always rather easy to navigate. But From Hell fucked my world up. It was dense, horrifying, and exhausting to read, and I don’t mean that as an insult.

hawksmoor

*First date.*

I chewed my way through about 150 pages of the trade until I set it down for something else (I have a bad habit of that). I had all the best intentions to finish it up, but never did.

The book was eventually lent out to a co-worker who was talking about the shitty film adaptation with Johnny Depp when I said, “hey, did you know that movie was based on a comic?” I then launched into my whole “more people should read comics and stop wasting their time with shitty TV shows and bad movies.” Johnny-Depp-in-Frederick-Abberline-From-Hell-Movie-Wallpapers

*Fuck you, you beautiful idiot.*

In retrospect, pontificating about the glory of comic books to a non-reader should have never been punctuated with handing them a copy of From Hell. It was too much comic for them. Hell, it was too much for me.

Now, about six years later, I have purchased a new copy of From Hell and I am two issues (or chapters if you fancy) away from finishing it, and let me tell you: it might be the best thing Alan Moore has ever written.

I was going to wait until I was done with the book before I wrote anything about it, but unless this comic drops the ball in it’s final act, which I know it DOES NOT, this tome is one of the greats, not just in comics, but in historical fiction.

But it’s not just Moore’s writing the elevates this comic to the stratosphere: Eddie Campbell’s art is stellar, evoking the era via Victorian style newspaper cartoons. It’s amazing and renders the Whitechaple Murders in graphic detail.

I love Alan Moore, and I want so badly for all his work to be this good. This book is a reminder as to why I was so disappointed in Providence Act 1.

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

When Kirkman is king.

I’ve liked The Walking Dead for quite some time, and on occasion, I’ve loved it. I remember first getting into TWD and wanting to read more from the guy who was writing it. I liked Robert Kirkman’s plotting and some of his dialogue was sharp as a cat’s dick in his modern zombie epic, but I was kind of disappointed when I ventured into some of his other work. I wasn’t impressed with the Invincible (I know that comic has a fan base just as devout, if not more so, than the one connected to TWD, but it never really grabbed me), and I found Battlepope funny at times, but nothing spectacular.

But now, I think Robert Kirkman has created the best comic of his career thus far with OutcastFor the first time I truly love a Kirkman book. No, seriously. I don’t really have any gripes with this series so far. Now, maybe if this thing overstays its welcome, I’ll be singing a different tune. But for now, the 18 issues that have been released are stellar.

Hell, this fucking thing has even spawned a damn good TV show, one that’s far better than AMC’s hit or miss adaptation of The Walking Dead.

Kirkman has written something that isn’t for everyone, and it’s great. There is certainly a niche audience for Outcast, and as long as things don’t get fucked up along the way, this series will join the great horror comic pantheon, joining the ranks of From HellLocke & Key, and Blackhole. 

Keep it up, Kirkman. Right now, you’re fucking killing it.

The work of Brian Azzarello Part 1 FUNSIZE REVIEWS

Even if Alan Moore would shun me for doing so, I’m finally getting around to reading some of the Before Watchmen titles, namely The Comedian and Rorschach mini-series, both of which were penned by one of my favorite writers in the graphic medium, Mr. Brian Azzarello. So I figured it’d be fun to touch on some of the books from his career that have made a lasting impression on me, good or bad. Here we go:

c994939ae13acc4ea270ffb7dc81686c

Loveless (2005 – 2008)

Fuck, I loved this book. I was really bummed when DC/Vertigo pulled the plug on it. And they did it right when what started out as a western comic about assholes doing asshole things to each other was evolving into a vast, century-spanning epic about America (which would basically be a historical comic about assholes doing asshole things to each other). This comic is pretty much what Quentin Tarantino is trying to do in his movies now a days. Loveless holds up a mirror to American history’s ugly mug and makes it take a long, hard look at the horrors hiding behind its visage.

Final Grade: A-

641850-100b98p01

100 Bullets (1999 – 2009)

For ten years, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso created one of the greatest crime stories ever told. This comic is staggering in its execution (pun totally intended). Every single character is well-realized. The dialogue pops with authenticity, and the stories the series tells range from insanely intimate to monstrously epic in scale. There is no stone unturned in 100 Bullets. This is one of my go-to recommendations for my friends who don’t read comics. I tell them that if this doesn’t do it for them, I’m not sure what will (maybe Preacher?).

Final Grade: fuckin’ A+

el-diablo-2001-s-1-2-3-4-complete-set-brian-azzarello-vertigo0

El Diablo (2001)

This mini-series felt like a dry run for Loveless. There are certainly some cool elements in this comic, but ultimately it just feels bland. What made things worse for me, is that I read it after reading Loveless. I can only assume it would have had more of an impact on me if I had read it before. Oh, well. All’s fair in loveless and war (thank you, thank you; I’ll be here all week).

Final Grade: D+

Batman_Broken_City_TP

Batman: Broken City (2003-2004)

You know, some people shit on this comic, and I can understand why. Killer Croc is a pimp with some sort of crazy psoriasis; The Riddler is a car thief; things are not what they should be. But that’s what I dug about it. Teaming up with Risso again, Azzarello pretty much gave Detective Comics the 100 Bullets treatment and didn’t give a fuck about continuity or staying true the already established Gotham. They knew you were familar with these characters, but why not try a little something different with them?

Final Grade: B

WW_Cv8_sadjfhkgsdf792361

Wonder Woman (2011 – 2014)

Goddammit, was Azzarello’s run on this book amazing. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if Brian’s departure from Wonder Woman was the reason DC decided to bail on the New 52 and hit the reset button again. I mean, besides Jeff Lemire’s tenure as Animal Man writer and Scott Snyder & Capullo’s Batman, I don’t think there was another title with such a high caliber among the New 52. Azzarello took a character that the entire world was familiar with and injected her story with a brand new mythos, one that worked well in the grand scheme of the DC universe and produced a cast of great supporting characters to root for. This book is fantastic. I was never a big WW fan before this, and I don’t know if I ever will be again. Azzarello may have ruined the character for me by being too damn good at writing her.

Final Grade: A

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bounding into Comics

Hey guys, I’ve been writing reviews for Bounding into Comics. Check them out here. Enjoy.

I’m currently reading From Hell and I wanted to know what you favorite Alan Moore comic is (and please don’t say Watchmen a bunch of times). Let me know in the comments.

Tagged ,

Preacher Episode 3

So while this episode sort of pumped the brakes on the batshit craziness, I still really enjoyed it. I felt like the tone from the first two episodes was pretty much consistent in this episode, and each character had some time to shine.

Jesse showing Cassidy how “The Word” works was inspired and made me laugh my ass off. It did a great job of making you believe that these two will eventually become best buds (then, of course, Cassidy says they are later, which felt a little unnecessary).

preacher_3

*Bros.*

Tulip getting out of the speeding ticket was also really enjoyable. The fact that her plan B was to shoot that fool in the face just goes to show you that she’s the most dangerous person on the show.

Jesse other demonstration of “The Word” on Mr. Fuckboy Supreme Donny  was great, too. I really wanted him to tell that prick to pull the trigger, but Jesse’s display of restraint made the whole scene a little more believable.

Derek-Wilson-in-Preacher-Season-1-Episode-3

*Fuck this guy.*

I was hoping they would continue with the little Saint of Killer openings. I feel like that would have been an amazing way to lead up to his introduction to the Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy. He’s such an important part of the Preacher mythos, and I just really want to see more of him. I don’t know how close they’ll follow his story from the comics in the show. I kind of doubt they’ll take it to the extreme, almost cartoonish levels the comic did.

But the big standout for me in this episode was the very brief cameo of Herr Starr.

f29b737aa436be4fc662875dfac36ded

*Yes, please.*

Holy shit, you guys. I hope they bring this character to the forefront in the show soon. Next to Cassidy, this guy is my favorite character (and definitely my favorite antagonist) from the comics.

So what did you guys things about episode 3?

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Contract Blues FLASHBACK!

So about 10 years ago I wrote a crime comic called Contract Blues . I was really proud of it and sent it to several publishers, all of which rejected it. I was doing some digging in the ol’ hard drive and came across the individual page files and I thought it would be fun to share them here. I don’t think you can get this any other way anymore. I sold out of the hard copies ages ago, and the digital distributor who was selling it may have screwed me and my artist, the disgustingly talented Lee O’Connor (No, seriously, that dude is amazing; check out his stuff).

Unfortunately without securing a publisher and a solid distributor, the project died. Lee had the layouts for issue two done (they looked fucking amazing) and I had the first five or so issues scripted and ready to roll. But money, work schedules, and just life in general got in the way of completing what I think would have been a really cool pulpy, action, crime, comedy comic book. But hey, I’m biased. This is one of those things I worked on in my twenties and really wished I had finished. I had so much fun working on this project, and if I win the lottery tomorrow, the first thing I would do is pay Lee to be my personal art monkey and crank out the 24 issues I had planned.

But without further ado. Here is Contract Blues #1. I hope you like it.

contractblues_01_01

contractblues_01_02

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

X-Men stuff.

Hey guys, check out this op-ed I wrote about the X-Men movies for http://www.boundingintocomics.com

I don’t say “fuck” in it, but I still think it’s pretty okay.

xmenapocalypseimax

 

Tagged , , , ,
Advertisements