Month: December 2009

Start 2010 Right

The Magic Meathands bring laughter to New Years Day at M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica!

Start your year right. This big show will magically bring you luck and good fortune for 2010. Don’t miss it!

8 PM on January 1, 2010. Tickets: $10.

Location: 1323-A 3rd Street Prominade, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (alley between 3rd & 4th). Click for directions.

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 12/16

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 December 16 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.

Chimichanga #1 – $3.00
By Eric Powell
32 pages; published by Albatross Exploding Funny Book

Chimichanga, a story fit for youngsters! In Eric Powell’s first creator owned series since The Goon, he brings his off beat humor and unique style to comic readers of all ages! No, this is not a story about a fried Mexican delicacy! This is about a little bearded girl unfortunately called “beard bro” and her escapades with a slightly less than extraordinary traveling circus.

Unfortunately I can’t find a preview of this, but if Eric Powell’s work on The Goon is any indication, this will be a weird delight.

The Engineer: Konstrukt – $9.95
By Brian Churilla & Jeremy Shepherd
136 pages; published by Archaia Comics; available at Amazon.com

An ancient sentient entity is feasting on the very fabric of space and time. Only one man can stop it: The Engineer, last survivor of the destroyed Earth. Utilizing a colossal pipe organ that enables ‘pan-dimensional travel,’ The Engineer pursues the lost components of The Konstrukt, an archaic mechanism that imbues whoever possesses it with the ability to manipulate reality itself, in the hopes of using it to defeat the creature and undo the incalculable damage it has already done. Giant bat creatures, were-crabs, immense rock creatures, amorphous witches and armies of undead abound in this pulpy sci-fi romp for all ages! Collects and completes the ENGINEER series.

Pretty good price for a hardcover collection this size. Another crazy ride that only comics can pull off. There are preview pages at the publisher link above.

Dead Run – $16.99
By Andrew Cosby, Michael Alan Nelson & Francesco Biagini
128 pages; published by Boom! Studios; available at Amazon.com

“All Speed.  No Limits.” The end isn’t near… it’s here. America has become a wasteland, leaving the few cities that remain transformed into impenetrable fortresses. Beyond these walls lies The Zone, a brutal, plague-ravaged landscape stretching from one city to the next, populated by mutants, monsters, and warring factions of survivors driven insane by disease and starvation — only the very brave or the very foolish voluntarily step foot outside the protective confines of the mega-cities. NICK MASTERS just happens to be a little bit of both. Nick’s a driver, the best there is. If you need something picked-up, delivered, or disposed of, Nick’s your man. And he’s all business. But when he fails to deliver an important package to a local crime lord, Nick’s business suddenly becomes very personal. A science fiction action piece in the vein of MAD MAX from the writer of HEXED and FALL OF CTHULHU, Michael Alan Nelson, collaborating for the first time with EUREKA creator Andrew Cosby!

Co-writer Michael Alan Nelson says on his blog, “if [you] like a little snark with your post-apocalyptic stories, this one is for you.” Here’s an 11-page preview.

The Complete Alice in Wonderland – $4.99
By Leah Moore, John Reppion & Erica Awano
48 pages; published by Dynamite Entertainment

“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations!”
Following up on the success of The Complete Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes, Dynamite presents The Complete Alice In Wonderland. For the first time ever Lewis Carroll’s classics, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass with “The Wasp in a Wig,” the “lost chapter” (from the Looking-Glass) are adapted into one complete tale. In this All Ages adaptation, writers John Reppion and Leah Moore are joined by Erica Awano for a 4 issue adventure down the rabbit hole!
This full color series features a massive 40 pages of story and art per issue, all under covers by John Cassaday, who supplies a unique die-cut design for the first issue that is sure to enthrall young and old. Moore and Reppion also provide bonus material such as script pages, annotations and samplings of the original text by Lewis Carroll.

Great way to prepare for the coming movie. Love the art. Check out the 8-page preview at the publisher’s link above.

The Rocketeer – $29.99
By Dave Stevens
144 pages; published by IDW Publishing; available at Amazon.com

The Complete Rocketeer saga is collected into one handsome hardcover volume for the very first time, combining The Rocketeer and The Rocketeer: Cliff’s New York Adventure into one great book. Dave Stevens’ classic adventure strip is set in the 1930s and is an homage to the classic pulp novels of the time. Cliff Secord is a stunt pilot who happens upon a top-secret experimental jet pack and meets adventure head on!

Long considered a classic, the Rocketeer has been out of print for years. Now, with the blessing and full cooperation of the Dave Stevens estate, the Rocketeer will be collected as one book and with ALL-NEW COLORING by Laura Martin (who was Dave Stevens choice to recolor the series)

Whether you’ve seen the 1991 movie or not, this is worth getting. The original source material was a comic book character that was sporadically published throughout the 1980s and ’90s. This is the first time it has ever been reprinted in one place. In addition to this $30 version, there’s also a fancier/more expensive ($75) Deluxe Edition, which is printed larger (8″ x 12″) and has an extra 100 pages of Dave Stevens’ pin-ups, sketches and other preliminary artwork. Here’s a look at the deluxe version at the blog of IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall.

P.T.A. Night – $12.99
By Jeremy R. Scott
32 pages; published by Image Comics’ Silverline; available at Amazon.com

It’s the creepiest PTA Night ever when the lunch lady’s soup comes alive, the janitor turns into a werewolf, and the old graveyard that the school was built over brings the dead back to life! More humorous than frightening – a treat for kids of all ages!

Silent double-page illustrations tell the tale of the Austintown Middle School on the eve of one of its monthly PTA meetings. At the beginning everything seems normal, with teachers and parents meeting in the auditorium, a janitor mopping the halls, a lunch lady cleaning the pots and pans from earlier in the day, etc. But things will quickly change, and the night will get very strange as the lunch lady’s soup comes alive and begins preparing lunch all on its own, a full moon shines through the clouds, turning the janitor into a werewolf, and a science fair project in the science lab makes contact with a UFO! The old graveyard that the school was built over brings the dead back to life, and the tenants make their way to the PTA meeting!

Very cute and very fun book. Here’s a 4-page preview at Jeremy R. Scott’s blog. This has a very clever use of the comic page, where each 2-page spread is a bi-section of the school. As you make your way through the book, you see the amusing chaos break out in different rooms. I thought this was released by earlier this year, so I’m not sure why it’s popped up on the new release list again, or why the writer/artist Jeremy R. Scott only recently got copies himself to sell. So I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but it looks like it’s out now, so go get it! You can also buy a signed copy straight from Jeremy R. Scott right here. And there’s also the great website PTAnight.com.

Kidnapped – $14.99
By Robert Louis Stevenson, Roy Thomas & Mario Gully
128 pages; published by Marvel Comics; available at Amazon.com

A STOLEN INHERITANCE! ABDUCTION AT SEA! AN UNSOLVED MURDER: These are the elements that Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, wove together in Kidnapped, his novel set upon the ocean and in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands in the middle of the 18th century. Young David Balfour tries to claim his rightful inheritance from a treacherous uncle determined not to share it—and is kidnapped aboard a ship bound for the American colonies, where he’ll be delivered into slavery. He escapes in the company of a dynamic Scottish rebel named Alan Breck Stewart, and the two of them forge a powerful and memorable friendship—fighting all foes side by side, and triumphing in the end.

Marvel Comics has been doing these classic novel adaptations for a few years now. I’ve never really heard much feedback on whether they’re any good, but I thought I’d point it out because I think it’s a good publishing program, in concept. Roy Thomas is an old Marvel warhorse. He was the first person that wasn’t Stan Lee to handle their characters on any significant level, and became Marvel’s editor-in-chief for much of the 1970s. Here’s a 6-page preview, which certainly seems decent enough.

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 12/9/09

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 December 9 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.

Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories – $24.95
By Carol Swain
200 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

Collecting over thirty short stories by London-based writer/artist Carol Swain, Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories is Swain’s first career-spanning retrospective! The “graphic lit” love children of Gabriel García Márquez and Raymond Carver, Swain’s comics first appeared in the late 1980s, and she has since contributed to over twenty anthologies across the globe. Her introspective, boldly executed, and visually unique works are peppered with magical realism, autobiography, and tenacious punk attitudes. While Swain’s tales cover a wide range of emotions, politics, and societal ills, they are all tied together with an art style that is universally appealing and undeniably unique. Two brand-new color stories, created for this hardcover volume, are featured in a special color section. Alan Moore describes Carol Swain’s work as “dark and full of life, like soil . . . a perfect example of what modern comics are capable of if they only try.”

* “Carol Swain has one of the most unique and compelling styles in comics.” –Time

* “The Raymond Carver of British comics.” –Time Out

That cover might look placid, but don’t think this work doesn’t have any punch. Here’s a preview of remembering a disturbing dream of endless pregnancy.

Daytripper #1 – $2.99
By Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon
32 pages; published by DC Comics’ Vertigo

They were two of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 100 stars to watch. They’ve won multiple Eisners and have worked with the top names of comics and pop culture from Joss Whedon (Sugar Shock) and Mike Mignola (BPRD: 1947) to Gerard Way (Umbrella Academy) and Matt Fraction (Casanova).

Now, Brazilian wonder twins Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are back writing and drawing in a hauntingly lyrical series set in their native Brazil. With DAYTRIPPER, they follow in the tradition of Craig Thompson, Paul Pope and David Mazzucchelli – cartoonists at the top of their game making comics about the quiet moments that ask big questions.

Brás de Oliva Domingos is an obituary writer with a famous father, a career he hates, and tons of questions. How does a person become a successful writer? How does a man get out of his father’s shadow? But those concerns will dwarf the surprise he’ll find in the first issue – a twist both he and readers will never see coming, which will grow into a mystery about the meaning of life itself.

I love that cover. Such cool imagery. And that’s just the beginning. Here’s a preview to soak in.

I Hate Gallant Girl – $12.99
By Jim Valentino, Kristen Simon, Kat Cahill & Seth Damoose
104 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

Renée Tempête might just be the most talented super-hero of her generation. But when a buxom blonde with no actual super-powers wins the coveted title of Gallant Girl over her, Renée must learn what it takes to be a real hero rather than a bitter wannabe.

I think this might actually be from the previous week but I don’t mind if you don’t. A fun super-hero tale. Here’s the book’s official website, which includes the Facebook fan page. Here’s a 5-page preview.

The Return of King Doug – $14.95
By Greg Erb, Jason Oremland & Wook-Jin Clark
184 pages; published by Oni Press; available at Amazon.com

Twenty-five years ago the Kingdom of Valdonia was under siege by an army of darkness. The magical forces of good only had one hope — a chosen one destined to lead them to victory.

Douglas Peterson was that hero.

Only he wasn’t. He was an 8-year-old boy from Earth scared out of his mind! The frightened boy turned tail and skedaddled, hoping to never see his childhood wonderland again. Now as an adult, Doug is about to learn that his adventure in Valdonia was only beginning and that there are some things you can never run away from.

On April Fools Day 2008, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Ben Stiller’s production company and DreamWorks were going to produce a movie adaptation of this graphic novel. The weird part was that this graphic novel didn’t seem to exist. No one had ever heard of the thing. It turns out it did exist, it just hadn’t been released yet. And now it has just in time for holiday shopping. The Amazon.com link above has a 6-page preview.

The Vietnam Journal, Book One: Indian Country – $17.99
By Don Lomax
140 pages; published by Transfuzion Publishing; available at Amazon.com

Finally, the acclaimed series from Don Lomax, nominated for a Harvey Award, will be presented in a series of graphic novels collecting the entire series. Vietnam Journal is a look at the Vietnam War through the eyes of a war journalist as it chronicles the lives and events of soldiers on the front line during the Vietnam War. Picked by Entertainment Weekly as “a graphic novel you should own” and recommended by the Military History Book Club, Vietnam Journal is written and drawn by Don Lomax, a Vietnam War veteran.

I know what you’re thinking. “Finally”? I’ve never even heard of this. Truthfully, neither had I. The original comic book series ran for 16 issues across 4 years starting in 1987. It was published by small press comics publisher Apple Comics, now mostly forgotten by modern readers. (It has no connection to Apple Computers or Apple Records.) There’s an 8-page preview at the publisher link above, along with a lot of enthusiastic reviews. Many people consider this among the best war comics ever made.

Kind of a small week, but a nice variety.

Your Brad Link of the Day – Family Chthulu

I would pay good money to get this prank-published in newspapers across the country.

Click the link above or the image for a closer look.

This is from at least 2005 but it’s a classic that gets revisited every now and then. Actual artist unknown. I might pass out if I ever found out Bill Keane actually drew this.

Your Brad Link of the Day is provided to me by my friend Brad Beacom via Google 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.

Your Brad Link of the Day – WebStrip condones Superhero Cougar

The web-strip Evil, Inc. by Brad J. Guigar had an amusing strip for December 11, which kicked off a new story line currently running.

My Google Chat conversation with Brad reacting to the comic:

me:  Heh.

Brad:  Yes. Just – heh.
But remember, that’s one letter better than eh.

Truer words were never typed. Click on the image or the link above to read the entire comic.

Also amusing is the timing of when he sent me this link. I was reading yesterday’s news of Marvel Comics’ condescendingly-titled yet well-meaning Girl Comics anthology planned to celebrate Women’s History Month in March 2010. (If you dare, read the comments under that article.)

I’m sure someone could make an extremely clever observation about the juxtaposition of these two items and what they say about women in comics. On a day with more sleep, I might even attempt to be that person. But I think I’ll let them speak for themselves. Juxtapose away, items!

Your Brad Link of the Day is provided to me by my friend Brad Beacom via Google 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.
Also, thanks for your PhotoShop magic, Brad.

New Graphic Novels, Comic Books for You – 12/3/09

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 December 3 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.

A Very Zombie Christmas – $3.50
By Fred Perry, Joe Wight & David Hutchison
32 pages; published by Antarctic Press

We wish you a scary Christmas and a happy new fear!

Remember that classic holiday film about what the world would’ve been like if someone had never been alive? Well, this isn’t quite the same… This winter, the weather outside isn’t the only thing that’s frightful!

The wrong sort of holidays spirits are on the loose as zombies roam the streets, spreading their own gift that keeps on giving. You’d better watch out…

Three short stories of yuletide horror. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the holidays. Here’s a 13-page preview of Joe Wight’s story. Good lookin’ stuff!

Unthinkable – $19.99
By Mark Sable & Julian Totino Tedesco
128 pages; published by Boom! Studios; available at Amazon.com

They’ve been hired to think the UNTHINKABLE. But what happens when the unthinable 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?

I can’t believe this has already been released. It seems like only yesterday the first issue of this mini-series came out. Anyway, great high concept, compelling premise, solid art. Here are links to 10-page previews from writer Mark Sable’s blog, which includes some comments from him about the story.

365 Samurai and a Few Bowls of Rice – $16.95
By J. P. Kalonji
392 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

J. P. Kalonji wields a clean, street-informed style to deliver a tale that glistens with blood and drama, yet is ultimately uplifting. Nearly four hundred pages long, this graphic novel employs full-page panels to tell the story of an Edo-era swordsman’s quest for survival and enlightenment. When Ningen leaves his dojo at the request of his master — to travel the world and grow as a swordsman — he embarks on a journey that becomes a metaphor for the cycle of life and every human’s possibility for spiritual growth.

* Collaborating with such international clients as Wyclef Jean, Amnesty International, Thrasher, and Burton snowboards, illustrator J. P. Kalonji has begun to enchant the world with his energetic art style. Now he’s ready to make a splash with his English-language graphic-novel debut!

* This engaging, nearly 400-page tale draws comparisons to both Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal and Jeff Smith’s Bone.

I can definitely see Jeff Smith’s influence. Great choices in framing and pacing make this feel like a Kurosawa film. Check out this big ol’ 33-page preview.

One Model Nation – $17.99
By Courtney Taylor & Jim Rugg
144 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

In Germany 1977, music is violence.

As the country is still shattered from the devastation of war, the youth fight back against a repressed nation with their only figurehead of this violent, well dressed revolution to be a band later forever lost in time, Das Model.

Dandy Warhols frontman COURTNEY TAYLOR and Street Angel illustrator JIM RUGG bring you the complete story of Das Model, revealing just how they kick started the revolution that revitalized a country and mysteriously disappeared without a trace only months later.

I’m a little unclear as to whether this is completely non-fiction or if this is about an actual German band from the ’70s. “Das Model” is the name of a song from the electronic band Kraftwerk. That’s about the extent of any real world connections I could find with the power of Google. Anyone with hipper music knowledge have any info? Regardless, check out this 6-page preview to see how good this looks.

Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary – $29.00
By Justin Green
64 pages; published by McSweeney’s; available at Amazon.com

A lost classic of underground cartooning, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is Justin Green’s autobiographical portrayal of his struggle with religion and his own neuroses. Binky Brown is a young Catholic battling all the usual problems of adolescence—puberty, parents, and the fear that the strange ray of energy emanating from his private parts will strike a picture of the Virgin Mary. Deeply confessional, with artwork that veers wildly between formalist and hallucinogenic, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is the controversial masterpiece that invented the autobiographical graphic novel.

Following the original 1972 publication of this, Justin Green’s “neuroses” were reportedly diagnosed as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Art Spiegelman has said that without this publication, his own Pulitzer-winning Maus would have never happened. Spiegelman writes an introduction in this re-release. Publisher’s Weekly has a great article on Binky Brown. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any previews.