Month: November 2009

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 11/25

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

Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of November 25 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: 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.

The Devil’s Handshake: A Basil and Moebius Adventure – $5.95
By Ryan Schifrin, Larry Hama & Adam Archer
48 pages; published by Archaia Comics; available at Amazon.com

Larry Hama, the legendary mastermind behind G.I. Joe, makes his debut at Archaia!

Renowned treasure hunters Alaric Moebius and Basil Fox embark on an adventure that takes them from the deepest jungles of New Guinea to the deserts of Libya in search of a mysterious hidden pyramid that contains the power to end the world! This unforgettable one-shot introduces readers to a terrifying, exciting new world created by Ryan Schifrin!

Publisher Archaia’s official site(s) is a mess right now, so I couldn’t find any listing for this. But, this looks like a fun Indiana Jones-esque adventure comic. Here’s a 7-page preview, along with an interview with the creators.

The Dead: Kingdom of Flies – $15.00
By Alan Grant & Simon Bisley
96 pages; published by Berserker Comics

Britain has fallen prey to a mysterious plague of flesh-crazed zombies. Corpses litter the streets. As far as Derek Wall and his team of firefighters know, their Oxford HQ might be the last bastion of unaffected humanity in the entire country.

But with every day that passes, Derek’s men get weaker, while the zombies grow in ferocity and numbers. It’s only a matter of time before the zombies break in – or the humans break out! Collects issues #1-4 of the smash hit series.

For mature readers, this comic is a pretty hardcore zombie romp. Might be a little tricky getting it in the States. I couldn’t find it on Amazon, but it looks like you should be able to buy it directly from them on their site at the link above, which also has lots of previews.

The Winter Men – $19.99
By Brett Lewis & John Paul Leon
176 pages; published by DC Comics’ WildStorm; available at Amazon.com

In the now-collapsed Soviet Union, the subjects of a Super Hero experiment must pick up the shattered pieces of their lives and carry on. But who – or what – is the deadly threat that’s stalking them all? Collecting THE WINTER MEN #1-5 and the WINTER MEN WINTER SPECIAL.

John Paul Leon is a great artist. This comic has had a long life but it’s won a lot of praise. Be warned, though: It’s not a simple, straightforward super-hero yarn. Here’s a preview to give you a taste.

 

 

Incognito – $18.99
By Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
176 pages; published by Marvel Comics; available at Amazon.com

From the award-winning team that brought you SLEEPER and CRIMINAL comes their strangest and most twisted tale yet — INCOGNITO. Zack is a file clerk in a dead end job… or is he really a super-villain hiding in Witness Protection? As his powers begin to return, our anti-hero’s life begins to unravel in a dark and explosive fashion. INCOGNITO is sexy black comic pulp tale that you’ll never forget! Mature Content.

I like Marvel. I really do. But they don’t make including them in this list very easy. It’s a bit too rare when they release something that truly requires no prior knowledge. Fortunately, this is one of them. Fortunately it’s quite good. Unfortunately it’s not for kids. But the next one fixes that. But, first, here’s a great big preview of Incognito.

Star Comics: All-Star Collection – $19.99
By various
216 pages; published by Marvel Comics; available at Amazon.com

This collection for kids of all ages not only gets four stars, it has Four Stars: Planet Terry! Wally the Wizard! Royal Roy! Top Dog! Space opera, Arthurian-era fantasy, sovereign secrets and canine crimefighting – collected for the first time! Aliens, demons, ghosts, spies and more! Collects Planet Terry #1-2, Top Dog #1-3, Wally the Wizard #1-2, and Royal Roy #1-2.

Marvel delivers again this week with something for kids. These are comics from the ’80s when the publisher had an entire imprint devoted to little tykes. (I’m going to assume it’s some kind of technical glitch that there doesn’t seem to be a listing on Marvel’s site for this release. Marvel’s new release list for the week points here, which is blank. And no mention of it on MarvelKids.com. Great job, everyone. Keep bringing in the new readers. But all is not lost. A second volume is planned for a January release.)

Peanuts: Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Kit – $14.95
By Charles M. Schulz
48 pages; published by Running Press; available at Amazon.com

Celebrate the holiday season with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang by displaying your very own Christmas tree! Complete with a shiny ornament to dangle from its branches and Linus’s blanket to wrap around the base, this little tree and storybook will inspire all to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Not quite comics, but this is too cute to pass up. This storybook supposedly comes with a pathetic Christmas tree as seen in the classic Peanuts animated special. We’re probably going to buy one to add to our annual holiday decorations.

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 11/18

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

Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of November 18 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: 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.

Nola #1 – $3.99
By Chris Gorak, Pierluigi Cothran & Damian Couceiro
32 pages; published by Boom! Studios

After cheating death, Nola Thomas wakes up alone in a deserted New Orleans hospital. Bruised, broken, and badly burned, she emerges from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina with one thing on her mind… revenge. From Chris Gorak, the writer/director of the critically-acclaimed film, Right at Your Door!

This is actually the first I’ve heard of this, but it seems like a decent and accessible high concept, even if the title is a bit heavy-handed. (New Orleans, LA; get it?) I’m kind of surprised we haven’t seen a lot more stories with this setting, as it’s certainly a potent moment in American history to explore. Here’s a preview.

Victorian Undead #1 – $2.99
By Ian Edginton & Davide Fabbri
32 pages; published by DC Comics’ WildStorm

‘Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.’ Those are the words of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective, yet even he finds his skills tested to their limit as he and his erstwhile comrade Dr. John Watson are confronted with the most extraordinary case of their career – the dead are returning to life!

Can a plague of Biblical proportions be far behind for Victorian London? And who – or what – is behind the resurrection of these ravenous revenants? From renowned writer Ian Edginton (STORMWATCH: PHD) and acclaimed international artist Davide Fabbri (Star Wars) comes the first chapter in an incredible new 6-issue Sherlock Holmes adventure! Featuring a cover by original Walking Dead artist Tony Moore!

Yes, that’s right, it’s Sherlock Holmes vs. zombies! Zombie comics have become their own cottage industry over the last 6 years or so. It’s sometimes hit and miss but Ian Edginton is an underrated writer who has a great handle on this time period. Should be fun. Here are the first 6 pages in PDF.

Drone #1 – $3.50
By Scott Chitwood & Randy Kintz
32 pages; published by Red 5 Comics

In the near future, the United States transforms warfare by testing lethal remote-controlled robotic drones on the front lines. To the world’s other powers, the technology is something to be coveted and stolen. To a group of stateside fun-loving hackers, it is the ultimate video game.

Who wouldn’t want to be a killer robot? Three kids get their chance. Here’s a 5-page preview.

As you might’ve noticed, I usually focus on graphic novels and other larger comic publications. This time I decided to do just single issues, or “pamphlets” as they are increasingly being called. They’re still the cheapest and fastest way to get a quick dose of entertainment.

 

Graphic NYC wants you to Dig Comics!

Graphic NYC‘s Christopher Irving writes a great review of Dig Comics as part of his For The Love Of Comics series. He was there for our recent screening at Jim Hanley’s Universe.

Dig Comics is ambitious, positive, and full of pep.

Read the whole thing!

Magic Meathands debut at Westside Comedy Theater Dec. 4

Next Friday, December 4, 8 PM, improv comedy group the The Magic Meathands and I will make our Santa Monica debut at the Westside Comedy Theater! Tickets are $10. And you’ll also get to see improv groups The Waterbrains and Mission IMPROVable, and variety show Comedy Collision!

If you can’t make our Thursday night shows or want to see us bigger and better than ever, this is your chance!

Special Thanksgiving Improv Show

This Thursday the Magic Meathands will be performing to homeless and underprivileged families at the Ultimate Vision Church in Inglewood at noon. Before, during and after our shenanigans, the church will be serving Thanksgiving dinners to families in need.

I’m honored and excited to be part of this show. Unfortunately that means our normal Thursday night show will not be happening this week. But we’ll be back at The Spot in Culver City next Thursday at 8 pm.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 11/11

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

Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of November 11 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: 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.

Pope Hats #1 – $4.00
By Ethan Rilly
32 pages; published by AdHouse Books

Pope Hats follows the trials of a young woman named Frances Scarland, whose social circle mainly consists of an alcoholic actress and an inept ghost named Saarsgard. The comic is an engaging slice-of-life story about young people navigating their own daily shortcomings.

Pope Hats was the winner of a 2008 Xeric Foundation Grant. An earlier mini-comic version of the story was shortlisted for the 2008 Doug Wright Awards in the category of Best Emerging Talent.

Here’s a preview, sadly only 1 page. Looks pretty enjoyable, though. I wish I had an inept ghost in my life.

Blood Song: A Silent Ballad – $19.95
By Eric Drooker
312 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

American Book Award winner Eric Drooker brings his second graphic novel — the visually bold and politically charged Blood Song: A Silent Ballad — to Dark Horse in a brand-new second edition!

Consisting mainly of full-page images, spreads, and diptychs, Blood Song is a wordless, full-color tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and the need for that spirit to make itself heard. A young girl travels from her war-torn island to a busy metropolis, from lush jungles to cold concrete and steel, and finds something that eludes most denizens of bustling, noisy, wasteful cities: love.

* This second edition of Blood Song includes a new cover and completely rescanned and remastered interiors.

* If you are unfamiliar with the work of Eric Drooker, go to drooker.com.

We featured the first edition of this book in our documentary Dig Comics, so we’re very excited to see it back in print. This is beautiful work. Here’s a 3-page preview.

Luna Park – $24.99
By Kevin Baker & Danijel Zezelj
160 pages; published by DC Comics’ Vertigo Books; available at Amazon.com

‘The most satisfying story I’ve read – in any medium – in years. Perhaps the greatest work of one of America’s greatest writers.’ – Darin Strauss (Chang and Eng)

‘Frightening, beautiful and compelling to the very last panel.’ – Denise Mina (HELLBLAZER, Slip of the Knife)

New York Times bestselling author Kevin Baker (Dreamland) writes his first original graphic novel, with internationally acclaimed artist Danijel Zezelj.

Alik Strelnikov lives in the shadow of Coney Island, a world of silenced rides and rusting amusement parks that mock his dreams of becoming a hero. Ten years ago, he traded a brutal existence in the Russian army for the promise of America only to become an enforcer in the Brooklyn mob. Now, he chases his ghosts with all he has left: booze, heroin and his lover, Marina, part-time prostitute and full-time fortune teller.

The only way the two of them can escape their miserable fates hinges on a desperate plan that will put them between warring mobs and span a century, from contemporary Coney Island to the Russia of the Second Chechen War to spellbinding 1910s New York.

Mixing historical novel, immigrant fiction and crime thriller, LUNA PARK marks Kevin Baker’s return to Coney Island, the setting of his critically beloved Dreamland and features breathtaking art by Danijel Zezelj (LOVELESS) with to-die-for colors by Dave Stewart (DC: THE NEW FRONTIER).

This has been getting a lot of press, mostly because of Kevin Baker’s prominence in the book world. Crossing over from writing novels to writing graphic novels isn’t always smooth. It’s a different language requiring a different skill set. But the reviews have been pretty favorable. This looks like a good one. Here’s a great big 12-page preview (although the reader is a bit cumbersome).

A Kidnapped Santa Claus – $14.99
By L. Frank Baum & Alex Robinson
72 pages; published by It Books; available at Amazon.com

Santa Claus lives in the Laughing Valley. On one side of the Valley is the mighty Forest of Burzee, home of the fairies. At the other side stands a terrible mountain that contains the caves of the daemons: Selfishness, Envy, Hatred, and Repentance. The daemons, thinking they have great cause to dislike old Santa, enact a treacherous plan on Christmas Eve. Then, with Santa curiously absent, only Santa’s magical friends can save Christmas!

This comic adaptation retells the classic Christmas tale of adventure and danger by L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz.

Something for the whole family during the holiday season. The story was originally published in 1904 and appears here in comic form courtesy of the talented cartoonist Alex Robinson. Here’s a healthy preview.

The Ghoul #1 – $3.99
By Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson
32 pages; published by IDW Publishing

When Los Angeles Detective Lieutenant Lloyd Klimpt finds himself in the middle of a Hollywood mystery that falls way outside the norm, he knows he’s going to need a different kind of help than he’s used to. He finds it in the bizarre form of The Ghoul, a monstrous investigator with a reputation for solving the world’s weirdest crimes.

Written and created by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), with art by industry legend Bernie Wrightson. Also included is an illustrated prose story by Niles.

Bernie Wrightson is so good. A little post-Halloween detective tale for you. Check out this preview.

Beast – $15.99
By Marian Churchland
152 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

The first full-length solo work of MARIAN CHURCHLAND, artist of ELEPHANTMEN # 18-20, and Conan: Trophy.

Colette, a young sculptor looking for work, finds a job with a mysterious client who wants her to carve his portrait out of marble. The client turns out to be a shadowy creature, and the block of marble, she discovers, has a long history that threatens to engulf her entirely.

There’s a nice elegance to this art, but don’t mistake that for being timid, as the heavy blacks for the shadowy creature show. I’m intrigued. There’s a preview at the publisher link above.

The Year of Loving Dangerously – $18.95
By Ted Rall & Pablo G. Callejo
128 pages; published by NBM Publishing; available at Amazon.com

It’s the 80’s and Ted is in college in New York City and slipping. His pranks, lack of focus, and restlessness get him kicked out of school.

Unable to find a job, rejected by his parents, he’s on the verge of suicide. Instead he finds comfort in the arms of many women he meets casually and puts up a front for. It may sound like an ideal grift but the toll is much higher than one may imagine.

Between acidly funny and disturbingly real, Rall pours out his guts on a hard turning point in his life.

Political cartoonist Ted Rall turns to autobiography, and makes the interesting choice of having someone else handle the art. If you don’t know Ted Rall from Tony Randall, I wouldn’t worry about it. The description above tells you all you need to know. Here’s a preview.

Nylon Road: A Graphic Memoir of Coming of Age in Iran – $16.99
By Parsua Bashi
128 pages; published by St. Martin’s Press; available at Amazon.com

In the tradition of graphic memoirs such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, comes the story of a young Iranian woman’s struggles with growing up under Shiite Law, her journey into adulthood, and the daughter whom she had to leave behind when she left Iran. NYLON ROAD is a window into the soul of a culture that we are still struggling to understand.  Beautifully told, poignant, this is a powerful work about the necessity of freedom.

Persepolis is pretty lofty company but it’s a worthy topic to address. The entire first chapter can be seen here as a PDF.

Your Brad Link of the Day – Trampoline to the X-TREME

Here’s Olivier Lemieux training on the best trampoline wall for Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion. Wait, that’s not the link, that’s just background info. The link is this video here:

The stoic gangsta look at the beginning and end are a bit much, but this looks way fun! Crazy impressive acrobatics. Check out the camera angle at around the 2:50 mark.

Your Brad Link of the Day is provided to me by my friend Brad Beacom via Google’s Gmail chat. It may or may not actually occur on a daily basis. You may or may not have already seen it. (But in those instances, some classics are worth revisiting.) You may or may not find some enjoyment in it. Essentially, I take no responsibility for anything.