Month: May 2009

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 5/28

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Note: Due to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States, comic books are being released a day later than usual in North America. So, this week, Thursday is new comic book day.

Dellec #0 – $1.99
By Frank Mastromauro, Vince Hernandez, Micah Gunnel and Rob Stull
12 pages; published by Aspen Entertainment

Sometimes, evil should be afraid. His name is Dellec. A working class family man. A highly skilled metal fabricator. A man who will be forced to risk everything — including his own existence, to purge the world of all its treacherous forms of ill repute. However, what if that evil he seeks to destroy is also the very same force that created him? And what if this being was more than mortal altogether? The blazing fires of damnation reign down upon one man in this epic tale of vengeance, loss, and despair as Dellec attempts to not only battle immortality itself, but also the very perception of faith its strength is built upon. 

A nice and affordable sampler. This new noir sci-fi series is a bit of a departure for this publisher (even if their hype for it is a bit over the top). It looks like a bit of Sin City and a bit of Blade Runner. Here’s a 6-page preview.

Bayou – $14.99
By Jeremy Love
160 pages; published by DC Comics’ Zuda Comics; also available at Amazon.com

“BAYOU, which tackles racism and violence in 1930s Mississippi, is as hypnotic as it is unsettling.” — Wired

The first book from the original webcomics imprint of DC Comics is here! South of the Mason-Dixon Line lies a strange land of gods and monsters; a world parallel to our own, born from centuries of slavery, civil war, and hate.

Lee Wagstaff is the daughter of a black sharecropper in the Depression-era town of Charon, Mississippi. When Lily Westmoreland, her white playmate, is snatched by agents of an evil creature known as Bog, Lee’s father is accused of kidnapping. Lee’s only hope is to follow Lily’s trail into this fantastic and frightening alternate world. Along the way she enlists the help of a benevolent, blues-singing swamp monster called Bayou. Together, Lee and Bayou trek across a hauntingly familiar Southern Neverland, confronting creatures both benign and malevolent, in an effort to rescue Lily and save Lee’s father from being lynched. 

BAYOU VOL. 1 collects the first four chapters of the critically acclaimed webcomic series by Glyph Award nominee Jeremy Love.

This is an imaginative and evocative book really worth checking out. In fact, it’s easy to do so by reading the web-comic version right here (although if you buy the print version, you won’t have to put up with those lame ‘image loading’ faces).

Billboards – $14.99
By Clifford Meth & Dave Gutierrez
88 pages; published by IDW Publishing; also available at Amazon.com

In the not-too-distant future, when every conceivable flat surface is covered by advertising, men and women begin selling the geography of their bodies to the highest corporate bidders. What they don’t know is that the new tattoos have integrated circuits that track every product they use. It’s no big deal until weddings are forbidden based on corporate conflicts of interest. This biting satire by Clifford Meth (Snaked) will tickle the bejezus out of you.

Here in Los Angeles, there’s been a bit of a furor over digital billboards, which people are claiming distract drivers. You can pretty much guarantee that every local politician has a harsh, no-nonsense stance on digital billboards. Since the general impression is that everyone hates them, it’s sort of like taking a tough stance on punching babies in the face: it’s kind of a no-brainer, and feels a bit opportunistic and insincere. I don’t know if any of this is addressed in Billboards, but it looks like a good romp nevertheless.

Power Up – $12.99
By Doug Tennapel
128 pages; published by Image Comics; also available at Amazon.com

From the creator of Earthworm Jim, Creature Tech and Monster Zoo comes the comedic story of Hugh Randolph, a family man down on his luck. He works as a mindless drone at a local printer until he discovers a mysterious video game console that gives him the power to produce endless riches, manipulate his work day, even cheat death.

If you’re like me and have no idea what those first three things are that this guy created, don’t worry about it. The important thing to remember is that Doug Tennapel is very silly and very talented. If you’re interested in laughter, pick this up.

Special Forces – $16.99
By Kyle Baker
200 pages; published by Image Comics; also available at Amazon.com

THE COMIC BOOK THAT ENDED THE IRAQ WAR! 

Zone, the unwitting pawn of a corrupt recruiter, is a mentally disabled soldier. Felony is a three-time loser who enlisted to avoid life in prison. When the rest of their unit is massacred in Baghdad, these brave American teenagers are democracy’s last hope against the villainy of the notorious terrorist known as The Desert Wolf! 

Collects issues SPECIAL FORCES #1-4.

I know, another satire. But Kyle Baker is really good. He’s just an excellent cartoonist, and this has some of his most over-the-top/just-not-right stuff.

My Inner Bimbo – $19.95
By Sam Keith, Josh Hagler & Leigh Dragoon
168 pages; published by Oni Press; also available at Amazon.com

There are two sides to every coin, every story, and every person. No matter how hard you try to hide that second face away, you can never get rid of it. That’s what one man is about to learn when his under-developed feminine side materializes into a very real, bubble gum-chewing bimbo and turns his world upside down!

Sam Kieth’s hauntingly intimate five-issue mini-series, My Inner Bimbo, is collected for the first time!

Sam Keith is another massive talent, and pretty under-appreciated. I guarantee you, this isn’t what you expect from a title and cover like that. Sam Keith is weird, trippy and fascinating. It’s probably not for everyone, but everyone should try it to see – it’ll be really worth it if it is.

T-Minus: The Race to the Moon – $12.99
By Jim Ottaviani, Zander Cannon & Kevin Cannon
128 pages; published by Simon & Schuster; also available at Amazon.com

Question: What happens when you take two global superpowers, dozens of daring pilots, thousands of engineers and scientists, and then point them at the night sky and say “Go!”?

Answer: A SPACE RACE!

The whole world followed the countdown to sending the first men to the moon. T-Minus: The Race to the Moon is the story of the people who made it happen, both in the rockets and behind the scenes.

This is recommended for ages 8-12 and grades 3-7 by Simon & Schuster. I’m pretty terrible at gauging how age-appropriate something is for kids, but this looks good no matter your age.

Greater LA WalkMS 2009

MSwalk09-feetI just got back from a nice long weekend vacation to the Sequoia National Park. Absolutely stunning and wonderfully relaxing. Just what we needed.

While walking along trails weaving around mammoth trees thousands of years old, I was sometimes reminded of the last time Nahleen and I did some heavy walking. 

It’s been about a month since the WalkMS event for Greater Los Angeles. We walked the same path as last year, but the Rose Bowl was much hotter. And of course, the current financial End Times made fundraising more challenging. Despite that, our team still managed to raise $10,000. And where people couldn’t donate, they were inspired to support us in other ways, either by walking with us, walking at local events in their neighborhood, talking about MS to others, or sending encouraging thoughts our way. Everything made a difference.

Like last year, the money we raise will go directly to fighting multiple sclerosis and providing resources to making daily life easier for those with MS.

Once again our friend Rose Kwasnicki and her camera was there with us. Here’s some choice moments.

(Oh and yes, those are Nahleen’s feet at the top picture.)

 

MSwalk09-teamHere is us with the rest of TeamMS. Lots of people came back from last year and we also had some new faces! Great team and great group of people! Kelly Garver (center with the black shirt) was a great captain. Zena Leigh returned with her husband Conor Logan of The Logan

Of course, we weren’t the only people there. 

MSwalk09-crowdHey, down in front! There’s always that guy.

MSwalk09-vipBecause of our mighty fundraising efforts from last year, Nahleen and I were given special VIP passes. This gave us access to a special tent with refreshments, food and, most valuable of all, shade. 

It also made us frighteningly cheery.

MSwalk09-coreynahleenvip… although everyone around us was pretty much ambivalent.

Once we composed ourselves, we were back to the task at hand. Walking!

MSwalk09-nahleenteamwalkWe sure look happy and energetic. Nothing can stop us!

MSwalk09-teambreakOK… so maybe we took a little break. But it wasn’t our fault. It would never have happened if it wasn’t for all that walking. And the hot hotness. And not the sexy kind of hot hotness, but the temperature kind where you get unsexy hot. For further proof, there’s this:

MSwalk09-coreyhot

But we got back on our feet and made it to the finish line!

MSwalk09-nahleenfinishHere’s Nahleen at the finish line getting her Medallion of Walkery! 

Exhausting yet inspiring. Thank you to everyone who participated in some way. And congratulations to those who walked. Each foot step is bringing us closer to putting multiple sclerosis in its place, and giving hope and strength to those who live with it still.

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 5/20

New Comics! For You!

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out today that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: Having not read these yet, I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, they just might appeal to you.

Johnny Hiro Vol. 1 – $14.95
By Fred Chao
192 pages; published by AdHouse Books; available at Amazon.com

Part action-adventure, SciFi and Romance, Johnny Hiro tells the story of an everyman and the challenges he faces. Challenges like the revenge of a big lizard, the quest for a lobster, or what can happen when 47 ronin go to the opera. See why the comic was nominated for FOUR Eisner Awards and one Russ Manning Award.

Looks like it doesn’t ship to book stores or from Amazon until June, but comic specialty shops should have it this week! Now there’s an incentive!

This silly comic is tons of fun while still maintaining heart. This is a good’un.

Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries – $19.95
By Christopher Mills and Joe Staton
148 pages; published by Ape Entertainment

On the mean streets of Port Nocturne, justice is blonde! This volume collects all 4 issues of the critically acclaimed crime fiction mini-series about a mysterious, gun-toting dame fighting for justice in a dark city drowning in violence and corruption. This volume also includes 2 complete bonus stories, conceptual artwork by Eisner Award-winning artist Joe Staton, and an introduction by the Shamus Award-winning author of Road To Perdition, Max Allan Collins. 

Here’s a Femme Noir mini-site that has plenty of previews, web-comics and other bonus material. Joe Staton has been working in comics since the 1970s and he hasn’t lost any of his skills. Good buy for the Sin City and/or film noir fans in your life.

Clover – $19.95
By CLAMP
512 pages; published by Dark Horse; available at Amazon.com

Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded black ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech future-pulled out of retirement to escort Sue, a mysterious waif, to a destination she alone knows. Sue and Kazuhiko have never met… yet she knows him, having grown up since the age of four with her only human contact two distant voices: that of her elderly “grandma,” General Ko, and of Kazuhiko’s dead girlfriend, Ora. And Sue has been kept in that cage all these years because of what she is, and what the Clover Leaf Project found her to be — a military top secret, and the most dangerous person in the world.

* Clover is a long-out-of-print classic from Japan’s shojo artist supergroup CLAMP!

* Never before available in its original Japanese right-to-left reading orientation, Dark Horse not only brings Clover into English for the first time, but also collects all four of the original volumes into one reasonably priced omnibus, with a brand-new cover design especially for this edition!

Look, I know next to nothing about manga, but this is supposed to be a good one. It was originally published in the late 1990s. It’s got a dystopian steam-punk vibe and stark visualization unique to other work put out by the quartet of artists that collectively use the name CLAMP. 

You’ll Never Know Book One: A Good and Decent Man – $24.99
By C. Tyler 
104 pages; published by Fantagraphics Books; available at Amazon.com

You’ll Never Know is the first graphic novel from C. Tyler (Late Bloomer) and sure to be one of the most acclaimed books of the year. It tells the story of the 50-something author’s relationship with her World War II veteran father, and how his war experience shaped her childhood and affected her relationships in adulthood. “You’ll Never Know” refers not only to the title of her parents’ courtship song from that era, but also to the many challenges the author encountered in uncovering the difficult and painful truths about her Dad’s service — challenges exacerbated by her own tumultuous family life.

You’ll Never Know is Tyler’s first first full-fledged graphic novel (after two volumes of short stories). Unlike many other graphic memoirs which have opted for simple, stylized drawings and limited color or black and white, You’ll Never Know makes full use of Tyler’s virtuosity as a cartoonist: stunningly rendered in detailed inks and subtle watercolors, it plunges the reader headlong into the diverse locales: her father’s wartime experiences and courtship, her own childhood and adolescence, and contemporary life. The unique landscape format, and the lush variety of design choices and rendering techniques, make perusing You’ll Never Know like reading a family album — but one with a strong, compelling, sharply told story.

You’ll Never Know’s release schedule and format emulate those of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library: three beautifully designed, large-format hardcover volumes released annually to complete a trilogy of astonishing breadth, depth, and sensitivity.

“If you want to find out what happened to Willie and Joe after they got home from World War II, You’ll Never Know is the perfect place to start. C. Tyler’s graphic novel, passionately conceived and brilliantly drawn, extends the range of Bill Mauldin to cover the aftershock of the Last Good War on the warriors who fought it and the collateral damage to their families. Not since Catch-22 has anyone probed the secret heart of the Greatest Generation with this kind of raw, icon busting courage.” – Tom Mathews (Our Fathers’ War: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Greatest Generation)

“Her work has the extremely rare quality of genuine, authentic heart.” – R. Crumb

“She understands people with an acuity that is tender, wise and devastating.” – Jim Woodring

I’m really looking forward to this: a graphic memoir and family drama exploring the person we try to present to the world, and reality.

The Photographer: Into war-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders – $29.95
By Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefevre
288 pages; published by First Second Books; available at Amazon.com

In 1986, Afghanistan was torn apart by a war with the Soviet Union. This graphic novel/photo-journal is a record of one reporter’s arduous and dangerous journey through Afghanistan, accompanying the Doctors Without Borders. Didier Lefevre’s photography, paired with the art of Emmanuel Guibert, tells the powerful story of a mission undertaken by men and women dedicated to mending the wounds of war.

I really love the idea of this. Using Didier Lefevre’s actual photographs from the time, Emmanuel Guibert weaves in his own artwork to tell the story of the photographer’s journey through Afghanistan. As that country steps into the headlines again, it’s good to look at such an intimate and personal level of its history. Great for fans of history and photography. If you find yourself watching shows on The History Channel or Discovery Channel, you should love this.

Flinch – $11.95
By various
120 pages; published by Gestalt Publishing; available at Amazon.com

Flinch is a collection of engaging stories by established and emerging creators, all playing on their interpretation of ‘flinch’. From facing the ‘other’ within ourselves, to the tale of a prison inmate discovering what keeps him going, to a handful of stories exploring traditional (and non-traditional) hauntings alike.

With cover art by World Fantasy Award winning Shaun Tan, Flinch features stories from creative collaborations including: UK fantasy author James Barclay & Chris Bolton, Ray Fawkes & Anton McKay, Justin Randall & Chris Bones, International Horror Guild Award winner Terry Dowling & Skye Ogden and many more!

This looks fantastic, and thanks to the contracting comic shop market, this almost didn’t get distributed. Lucky for us, the oversight was corrected. Here’s a trailer with tons of peaks at what’s inside (and cool music).

Arlene’s Heart
By Victoria Frances
80 pages; published by NBM Publishing

The fantasy artist famous for the FAVOLE series of books is back with a metaphor for hope in the shape of a fable where child-like fantasy contrasts with the feeling of isolation and alienation which invades our every day life. Lyrically and suggestively painted, a visual poem of fascinating sensuous gothic beauty. For mature readers.

This eerie fantasy might be a bit abstract and/or racy for some, but others should really dig it.

The Big Book of Barry Ween, Boy Genius
By Judd Winick
360 pages; published by Oni Press; available at Amazon.com

Meet Barry Ween, the smartest living human. What does a ten-year-old boy do with a 350 I.Q.? Anything he wants. Cranky, egotistical, arrogant and foul-mouthed, Barry in general wants to conduct his experiments and be left alone, but it never seems to work out. Hurdles that Barry must outmaneuver range from time warps, to art thieves, to accidentally turning his best friend into a dinosaur.

This massive volume collects all 12 issues of hit series, The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius.

This looks like a kid-friendly comic similar in concept to Cartoon Network’s “Dexter’s Laboratory” or Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and I suppose it is except for the fact that there’s a whole heck of a lot of profanity and more adult humor. Not for kids, but a kick nevertheless.

Special All-Ages Attic! – There are a couple of releases suitable for all-ages this week, which is tragically so rare in modern comics that I thought they deserved their own section. These are great for kids, but all-ages really does mean ALL ages. You’re an age, aren’t you?

(I was going to call this Kids Korner, but I don’t want anyone to think they can’t read either of these because they are legally considered an adult.)

Gary the Pirate
By Scott Christian Sava and Tracy Bailey
112 pages; published by IDW Publishing; available at Amazon.com

Thirteen-year-old Judy is so sick of boys and their immature ways. One night… Judy meets a boy unlike any she’s ever seen. A real live pirate! But Gary isn’t after girls… he’s after treasure. Judy offers to help this hapless pirate and they embark on an adventure of a lifetime. 

Scott Christian Sava has a series of graphic novels targeted for younger readers. This one is specifically meant for younger girls (age 8-12) but this looks to be a cute story for anyone. Here’s a mini-site from Sava’s Blue Dream Studios, which includes a look at some of the pages.

G-Man Volume 1: Learning To Fly
By Chris Giarrusso
96 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

From the creator of the sold-out MINI-MARVELS digests comes the first G-MAN digest! Writer/artist CHRIS GIARRUSSO continues his signature Mini Marvels brand of comics with G-Man and his pals, the next wave of all-new kid super-heroes! 

Collects the sold-out G-Man one-shot, the G-Man Christmas story, an extensive collection of COMIC BITS comic strips and more!

I have the G-Man one-shot and it’s a lot of fun. Really funny and clever cartooning. Don’t worry about the Mini-Marvels and all other references in the blurb, all you need to know is in the book – a kid becomes a super-hero in a world full of kid super-heroes, and hijinks ensue.

Reminder: Improv silliness tonight

Just a reminder that I will be featured in tonight’s Magic Meathands show! I hope you can make it.

It’s tonight at 8 PM at The Spot Cafe & Lounge, 4455 Overland Ave., Culver City, 90230. (You’d think I’d have the address memorized by now, but I still have to look it up.)

Tickets: $5.00

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 5/13/09

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out today that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: Having not read these yet, I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, they just might appeal to you.

Unthinkable #1 – $3.99
By Mark Sable and Julian Totino Tedesco
~32 pages; published by Boom! Studios

They’ve been hired to think the UNTHINKABLE. But what happens when the unthinkable actually happens? After 9-11, best-selling author Alan Ripley joins a government think tank consisting of the most imaginative minds in diverse fields. Their job? Think of nightmare scenarios and crippling terrorist attacks so the government can safeguard against them. But what happens when the think tank folds, and the attacks start to happen? Find out in this new mini-series from hot writer Mark (TWO-FACE YEAR ONE, CYBORG) Sable and rising talent Julian Totino Tedesco.

This seems ripe for a movie adaptation, but the original source material almost always has a bit more bite to it. In these types of potentially controversial stories, that’s usually the case even more so.

Applegeeks Volume 1: Freshman Year – $14.95
By Ananth Panagariya and Mohammad F. Haque
184 pages; published by Dark Horse; available at Amazon.com

Jayce, an introspective writer, and Hawk, an excitable artist and inventor, have unofficially taken up residence in the home of sweet and thoughtful Alice and hard-drinking, hard-smoking, hard-hitting Gina. The foursome’s busy trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, and how the heck to fit their college classes in around marathon video-game sessions, visits to the comic shop, and offbeat road trips, but when Hawk gets fed up with constantly striking out with women and decides to create the perfect girlfriend in his basement lab, passing classes suddenly becomes the least of the group’s worries! If Hawk’s project is a success, will his creation be content with being the perfect girlfriend, or will she have dreams of her own? And… uh… how many more things is she going to blow up?

* Dark Horse Comics is proud to bring the hit webcomic Applegeeks (applegeeks.com) off of the net and into print! Our first volume, Applegeeks: Freshman Year, will include the first two years’ worth of Applegeeks comics, as well as extensive creator commentary, a pinup gallery, and lots of other great bonus material.
* Applegeeks.com receives an average of 250,000 unique visitors a month, and over 1,000,000 page views a month!
* This popular webcomic will appeal to fans of Megatokyo, Penny Arcade, Mac Hall, and PvP.

Looks like a fun read. Probably reads best to a younger audience. Dark Horse recommends 14+ which sounds about right.

Unwritten #1 – $1.00
By Mike Carey & Peter Gross
40 pages; published by DC Comics/Vertigo

Everyone’s read the Tommy Taylor books, the popular series of novels turned pop culture phenomenon about a boy wizard’s adventures. And everyone knows about Tom Taylor, the boy the novels were based on, whose life was so overshadowed by his Dad’s fictional epic that Tom’s become a lame Z-level celebrity at best and a human viral marketing tool at worst.

But what if the resemblance goes even deeper? What if Tom is the boy-wizard of the books made flesh? And if that sounds crazy, why is it bringing him into the crosshairs of an ancient faction that has never been named in any book or text?

To discover the truth about himself, Tom must search through all the places in history where fiction and reality have intersected. And in the process, he’ll learn more about that unwritten cabal and the plot they’re at the center of –– a plot that spans all of literature from the first clay tablets to the gothic castles where Frankenstein was conceived to the self-adjusting stories of the internet.

A conspiracy mystery a la The Da Vinci Code, THE UNWRITTEN is the eagerly anticipated reunion of Mike Carey (X-Men, HELLBLAZER) and Peter Gross (FABLES, Chosen) – the team behind the multiple Eisner-nominated LUCIFER. Acclaimed artist Yuko Shimizu (SANDMAN: DREAM HUNTERS) joins the duo on covers, and the series kicks off with a 4-issue opening storyarc with the extra-sized 40-page debut promo-priced at only $1.00!

Obviously Tommy Taylor is Harry Potter (if Harry Potter had a real-life counterpart), but what’s really intriguing is the exploration beyond that. Mike Carey and Peter Gross are a pretty reliable duo. I have high hopes for this.

From The Ashes #1 – $3.99
By Bob Fingerman
~32 pages; published by IDW Publishing

From the man who brought us the comical miseries of Minimum Wage comes a surprisingly perky take on Armageddon and a new spin on the old autobiographical comics genre: The Speculative Memoir! Bob Fingerman and his wife Michele find out the apocalypse isn’t the end of the world in this hip satirical survival romp through Manhattan’s ruins. Think The Road, only funny!

This should be pretty silly.

(On a side-note, I’m glad to be able to put a number of actual comic books on this list this week. Typically I lean heavier on graphic novels, since they tend to be more easily read on their own, without tons of back story, set-up and explanation.)

I Kill Giants – $15.99
By Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura
184 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

Barbara Thorson, a girl battling monsters both real and imagined, kicks butt, takes names, and faces her greatest fear in the bittersweet coming-of-age story called “Best Indy Book of 2008” by IGN. AICN says “a great mini full of eccentricity, humor and humanity that I not only highly recommend, but hope to see get some well deserved attention come Eisner time.”

From what I’ve seen of this, it looks both weird and fantastic. Another one I’m really looking forward to reading myself.

Tumbling After

Saw a screening of Tumbling After Saturday afternoon. It’s a feature film produced by Yuri Lowenthal (who also wrote the screenplay) and Tara Platt’s Monkey Kingdom Productions. It was delightfully creepy, weird and unpredictable with Mark Swenson and Kim Rowe as Jack and Jill, respectively. Here’s the trailer:

They’re working on a DVD release, so hopefully you’ll be able to see this yourself soon.

An Extra Helping of Improv

You need more Improv in your diet!

Fortunately for you there are two extra meaty servings made just for you!

Sure, you can see me as a featured member of the Magic Meathands improv comedy troupe next Thursday, May 14, at 8:00 PM, at The Spot Cafe & Lounge, 4466 Overland Ave., Culver City 90230, for $5. You bet you can!

But wait, there’s more!

You can also see me & the Magic Meathands tomorrow night, May 7! Same time, same place, same price.

And if that isn’t enough, you can also me & the Magic Meathands this Saturday night, May 9. Same place and time (The Spot Cafe & Lounge, 4466 Overland Ave., Culver City 90230, at 8:00 PM) but it’s for FREE!

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 5/6/09

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this Wednesday (tomorrow) that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: Having not read these yet (’cause this isn’t Wednesday), I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, they just might appeal to you.

Public Enemy Volume 1 – $22.99
By Chuck D. & Adam Wallenta
Published by American Mule Entertainment

A must have for any true Public Enemy fan! 

To the general population, PUBLIC ENEMY is a world-famous, pioneering, revolutionary, HIP-HOP band that have toured the globe, selling hit records for over twenty years. Unbeknownst to most though, they are also members of a secret, global network of freedom fighters called the Underground Railroad, that help those in need and fight injustice, corruption and oppression wherever it may surface. 

In this first story-arc, collecting the first five issues of the hit series, our heroes must face an enemy unlike anything they have ever experienced. The evil Executives and their New World Order are about to unleash their master plan for world domination. Before they can succeed though, they must eliminate a young boy named Vincent who holds the key to their ultimate secret weapon. Unfortunately for the Executives, Vincent is a Public Enemy fan and he has sought out their help to expose the evil plans of the Executives. In a desperate attempt to destroy their enemies, the Executives devise a plan that will eliminate Vincent, Public Enemy and their Underground Railroad allies in one clean swoop as they set out to take over the world.

In this epic battle for peace and justice Public Enemy and the Underground Railroad fight for their lives and the freedom of the world, as they are torn apart, imprisoned and hunted down by the government in a desperate fight for their lives.

A hip-hop group as super-heroes? Sure, why not? It worked for KISS. (Uh, not that KISS is hip-hop.) Truth be told this type of crossover attempt in comics rarely works but there have been a couple of fairly favorable reviews. Plus its co-written by the group’s lead rapper Chuck D, which is kind of an unusual level of involvement for this sort of thing. So if you or someone you know likes their music, it might be a fun thing to check out.

walledinWalled In – $16.95
By Roger Mincheff & Denis Calero
136 pages; published by Ape Entertainment

The origin story of Malastraza, the brilliant, yet disturbed architect and sociopath in the upcoming feature film Walled In, starring Mischa Barton. In this chilling graphic novel of love, betrayal, and obsession the roots of his madness first take hold. From his humble beginnings as a precocious honor student in a Paris Academy, to his tutelage in the dark arts of occult architecture, Malastraza learns that many of the secrets upon which civilizations are built have been drenched in blood. When he is betrayed by his mentor and the woman he loves, Malastraza’s obsession to create the perfect structure leads him down a dark path where victims must be sacrificed in service of his grand vision. 

Another popular crossover angle in comics: the comic book tie-in to a new TV show, movie, video game or what-have-you. In this case the comic ties into a direct-to-DVD film, which itself is based on the French novel Les Emmurés (translated to The Trapped] by Serge Brussolo. As above, the results tend to be mixed depending on the source material and the creators involved in the adaptation, but for horror fans out there, this could be worth checking out, even if the movie isn’t getting the best reviews. At the very least, there’s some appropriately moody artwork to enjoy based on this online sample. (I’m not sure, but it looks like this can be read on its own without having seen the movie first.)

Plan 9 From Outer Space Strikes Again – $3.99
By Chad Helder, Darren G. Davis & Giovanni P. Timpano
28 pages; published by Bluewater Productions

Rated one of the worst films ever, Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space continues as Bluewater and Legend Films tell the story of what happens after the film! Fifty years after the alien invasion unleashed the unspeakable horror of Plan 9, a corrupt team of government scientists reactivate the zombie horde in order to lure the aliens back to Earth! Their sinister plan: steal the most hideous weapon known to intergalactic intelligence. Only conspiracy theorist, Eugene, and his mother, a former professional wrestler, can expose the shadowy agenda of the government as they fight off the growing zombie horde. This time, a new alien force invades Earth: the revolutionary followers of the martyred Eros. Eugene and his mother join forces with the last remaining heroes of a corrupt government. Together, they must thwart Plan 9 once again, with all life in the universe hanging in the balance!

Well this is just silly. I guess the goal would be to be as bad as the movie? Morbid curiosity I guess, but I imagine fans of Ed Wood ought to get a kick out of this. (OK this kind of breaks my rule for this list of not having read or seen anything else but it was such an oddity I had to mention it.)

Boris Karloff: Tales of Mystery Archives – $49.95
By a whole host of talented folks
256 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

A circus performer terrorized by mysterious powers from beyond… a jade idol of a monkey that carries a curse on a South Pacific island drives a man to the brink of madness… an art gallery haunted by paintings that come to life at night… a dictator who sees enemies around every corner, but who can’t see the threat right before his eyes.

For nearly twenty years, the comic-book series Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery wove stories of intrigue, suspense, and macabre drama. Hosted by renowned actor Boris Karloff, the comic featured contributions from some of comics history’s most well-known creators: Alex Toth, Joe Orlando (EC artist and editor), Mike Sekowsky (Justice League of America artist), Frank Thorne, José Luis García-López, Arnold Drake, Len Wein (co-creator of Swamp Thing and Wolverine), Al Williamson, Jerry Robinson (creator of the Joker), Dan Spiegle, and many others.

* Originally published by Gold Key and unavailable for three decades, more than thirty spine-chilling stories are compiled in a new collection.

* Features a new introduction by Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara Karloff.

Classic old horror tales. A bit pricy but I bet it’s worth it.

The Eternal Smile: Three Stories – $16.95
By Gene Luen Yang & Derek Kirk Kim
176 pages; published by First Second Books; available at Amazon.com

A fantastical adventure through the worlds we live in and the worlds we create.

From two masters of the graphic novel — Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference and Other Stories) come three magical tales – 

The story of a prince who defeats his greatest enemy only to discover that maybe his world is not what it had seemed.

The story of a frog who finds that just being a frog might be the way to go.

The story of a women who receives an e-mail from Prince Henry of Nigeria asking for a loan to help save his family – and gives it to him.

With vivid artwork and moving writing, Derek Kirk Kim and Gene Luen Yang test the boundaries between fantasy and reality, exploring the ways that the world of the imagination can affect real life. 

These two award-winning creators produce great work, so this is kind of a no-brainer. If you can only buy one from this list, this is the one I would suggest you flip through first to see if it appeals to you. And it probably will. As an extra incentive, here’s a quick glimpse at this release, by way of a video by Derek Kirk Kim’s thankless assistant.

Oliver Twist – $14.99
By Charles Dickens, David Cerquiera & Philippe Chanoinat
64 pages; published by IDW Publishing; available at Amazon.com

Oliver Twist is the story of a young orphan who is subjected to ill-treatment in institutions in Victorian England. He falls into the clutches of the ghastly Fain and comes into contact with the seediest parts of London. The adventures of young Oliver are a story of fear, poverty and the darkness of the human soul.

This is the second book in a series of classic novel-to-comic adaptations this publisher has started to release. 64 pages seems a bit tight to adapt a 300+ page book, but I’d give it a try.

Pherone – $24.99
By Viktor Kalvachev, Patrick Baggatta & Jim Sink
104 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

Following Eve, a dangerously seductive woman on the edge of her sanity, PHERONE weaves a dark storyline filled with espionage, mystery, and suspense. Armed with a killer body and a killer’s mind, the femme fatale must hunt down clues to rediscover her own troubled past, bringing violence and danger to anyone who crosses her path.

The art looks pretty stunning. Hopefully the story matches, as this could be a great suspense/thriller. Not for kids, though.

Featured with the Magic Meathands – 5/14

In case you were wondering (and I’m sure you were), I’m still appearing (nearly) weekly with the improv comedy troupe the Magic Meathands every Thursday night, 8 PM, at The Spot Café & Lounge, 4455 Overland Ave., Culver City. Tickets are $5.

Yes, weekly comedy made up for you right on the spot at The Spot!

Every month or so I’m a featured player, which basically means I’m allowed to hog the stage. My next show as a featured player is Thursday, May 14, 8 PM. Tickets are still $5.

Also, every second Saturday of the month is the Student Medley show, which is when the students of the Magic Meathands company get to showcase what they’ve learned and also perform with us Meathands. So if you can’t make Thursday nights, this is another great way to see the wackiness. The next one is this Saturday, May 9, 8 PM. Tickets are $0 (free).

Hope to see you at The Spot!