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Showing posts from August, 2005

Spellbinders

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Spellbinders is a Marvel mini-series that just concluded this past week. It's written by Mike Carey of Lucifer fame, and drawn by Mike Perkins. This six-issue story, which is titled "Signs and Wonders" introduces us to the true witches that reside in Salem, Massachusettes. The story opens in a library where a pair of teenagers are working a spell, using ancient looking books and talking as if it were the most natural thing to do in the world. And for them, it is. It's part of the life of witches in this ancient town, where there are true-blood witches, wanna-bes and blanks, or non-witches. The cliques of the town are well-established, as can easily be seen by the rivalry and indeed, hostility between the groups at the local high school. But I'm getting ahead of myself, back to the library: one of the boys recites from a book of spells, mockingly, then cries out in terror that something is there. Suddenly, the boy's clothes are on the floor, thousands…

She-Hulk

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I've just finished reading She-Hulk (volume 1): Single Green Female, written by Dan Slott, with art by Juan Bobillo and Paul Pelletier. I have to say, first off, that I wasn't too excited to get this trade. The only reason I did pick it up was because I got it cheap at the Chicago comic convention. Now, that said, I'm glad that I did buy it. Positive word of mouth led to my giving in to its purchase, an investment that I think anyone who's a fan of superheros should indulge. The beginning of the story walks us through a day of She-Hulk at her most typical over-the-top self, partying it up and being all flamboyant in a courtroom. I was rather uninterested in the story at this point, although it did set up the series at the end of the first issue, the hook: a law firm wants She-Hulk to work for them, not as the green-skinned Avenger, but as Jennifer Walters, the brilliant law student. A condition, in fact, to work with the law firm is that she would not turn into …

THINK ABOUT COMICS 3

by Patrick Markfort

Hey, folks. Welcome back to my weekly column here at Comics-And-More. I apologize if this is posted a bit late, as this week I got one of those….whadaya call ‘em…jobs. That’s right…..I’m blaming “The Man.” Anyway, let’s get down to it, shall we?

(Not So) Mini-Reviews (I guess I should mention that possible SPOILERS may lie ahead, although nothing of Hawkeye emerging from Cloak’s cloak level importance)

*Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga, by Frederik L. Schodt: Okay, I haven’t actually finished reading this one yet, but I’m close. And it’s really good. This is the sequel to Schodt’s groundbreaking work, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, which I reviewed last week. Between the time of the first book’s publication and the publication of this 1996 sequel, manga (and anime) had gone from having almost no presence in the United States to becoming a real cultural force, although, as I said last week, nowhere near the publishing juggernaut we know today. Dre…

Upcoming

Since Previews came out yesterday, it's time to highlight some upcoming projects.

Dark Horse:
- Well, the Kellogg'sSugar PopsPete figure was cute...lol

DC:
- All Star Superman #1 - A winning team (Morrison and Quitely) working on this book may intice me to break down and read a Superman title. In fact, it will. Actually, I'm really looking forward to it.

- Manhunter (volume 1): Street Justice - I am really glad to see that they're collecting this new Manhunter series. It's easily one of the best superhero books out there right now. Check out Newsarama's article on DC's Manhunters (and the great buzz this series is creating), with a sequel article about this series specifically and what you've missed in the story thus far. I was really getting worried that they wouldn't collect it, since DC tends to pick and choose titles for trades (wanna check out the fabulous Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters mini-series? Well, you'll have to dig for back issu…

What's going on...

It's been a couple of lacklustre weeks for comics. This coming Wednesday I'm going to be picking up Spellbinders #6 and Previews, but that's about it. Good thing I have plenty of trades left to read from the convention to keep me occupied. I'm in the midst of reading She-Hulk (volume 1) right now.

Next week, according to Diamond's list, I'll be picking up:
- Astonishing X-Men #12 (the final issue of the first "season" of Whedon and Cassaday's excellent series)
- The Grimoire #5 (Speakeasy's fun magic series)
- New Avengers #9
- Runaways #7 (Check out my review of the last story arc)
- Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight #4
- X-Men: Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame #3 (Read my love letter to Kitty and thoughts on the first issue)

Last novel I read: "Mysterious Skin" by Scott Heim
Novel I'm currently reading: "The Mysteries of Udolpho" by Ann Radcliffe
Last comic I read: "Ultimate X-Men #62"
Comic on the top of my pile: "

Madrox

Madrox: Multiple Choice is a trade paperback by Peter David and Pablo Raimondi, about Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man of the X-Men universe. I'd been meaning to check this out for awhile, because I loved the art whenever I'd flip through the book at the store. Upon closer examination, that inital response holds true: the art is great. Every once in awhile legs looked a little disproportioned with the rest of the bodies, but that's a minor gripe, as I only really noticed it in one panel before I started watching for it. The trade collects the complete five-issue run of the mini-series, following Madrox as he starts up his private eye agency and gets into crime noir trouble. The series reminded me vaguely of Alias, just because of the atmosphere and the private eye bit, but any further similarities really end there. Alias is obviously a superior work. That's not to say this wasn't great though, because it really is! I think they did some really neat things wit…

Dampyr

IDW is publishing trades of a long-running European horror title called Dampyr. I read the first trade and I was extremely impressed with the series. It had great atmosphere and mood, was genuinely creepy, and had a good story. The setting is an abandoned town during World War II, where vampires have wreaked havoc. Some soldiers that are being stationed there find out what's been going on and call on a local dampyr, half-human, half-vampire, who has really been taking advantage of the superstitious people in the area and performing bogus rites to rid them of their "vampire" problems. I actually did some research of folklore vampires and this had a lot of those elements within the story. Some sort of sickness would spread throughout a community and people would blame it on the recently deceased having been a vampire, and is now terrorizing his old neighbors. The thing is, the people would be kind of right in their assessment, as the person who had died first was us…

THINK ABOUT COMICS 2

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of my column, Think About Comics, here at Comics-and-More. This week, I’ve broken the column down into two parts: “Mini-Reviews,” where I briefly provide opinions on some of the comics I’ve read recently, and “Around the Internet,” where I will highlight some interesting comics-related items I’ve come across on the world wide web. First up, the reviews!

Reviews:
House of M # 1-5, by Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Tim Townsend, and Frank D’Armata: This is probably the best written series of it’s kind that Marvel has published, although I suppose that’s damning it with faint praise. I’m not generally a fan of big company wide crossover/event driven comics of this nature, but I do find myself enjoying this series, despite some weak points. It’s not deserving of the hype Marvel has surrounded it with, but nor is it deserving of the scorn with which certain segments of fandom have greeted it. I like the world that Bendis and his artistic co…

Shiver In the Dark & Gimoles

I haven't read much for trades since I last posted, having been drawn into Scott Heim's "Mysterious Skin" novel so absolutely, but I have manged to read a few single issues to talk about...

"Shiver In the Dark #1" - This was written and drawn by Stuart Sayger. I got this from him down artist alley at the convention a few weeks ago. He was a really nice guy, and a talented one, as well. "Shiver In the Dark" is really a beautiful book that you can tell great care was invested. Very artfully, tastefully laid out with only a few minor things to complain about (some blurry panels, depicting action - a trick I don't much care for).

"Gimoles #1" - Okay, this is just the sappiest, crappiest piece of junk I've read in years. Actually, I couldn't even finish it it was so bad. And I'm one to like cute all-ages works! This just went too far, citing every Disney cliche it could get its grubby little hands on, trying for ultra-cut…

Usagi Yojimbo

I finally read Stan Sagai's "Usagi Yojimbo," book one. I don't know why there was a point in my past where I picked this up and put it down after a quick flip-through of the book. It was really great. I think delving into manga and other forms of comics art that I don't see in superhero comics just kind of changed my boundaries for what I like a bit, without my really noticing it. When I saw this at the convention and picked it up, it looked fine, and it was. And upon closer inspection, the art is really more than great. Sagai's shading, detailed backgrounds and cartooning all come together to make a really gorgeous work. The story is pretty much a series of short stories that follow Usagi on his adventures through a continuity that sees recurring characters. There's not much to it, but it does have an epic feel and I'm glad I had the chance to experience it.

THINK ABOUT COMICS

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of a new weekly column here at Comics-And-More, “Think About Comics.” My name is Patrick Markfort, a former reviewer for Alan David Doane’s Comic Book Galaxy, and longtime comics fan. I am the “Patrick” some of you may have seen David refer to here at Comics-And-More, and my name may also be familiar to you from various comics message board postings, although I doubt it.

So, what is “Think About Comics” all about? Well, every Friday I’ll be bringing you my thoughts about comics. Topics may include analyses of industry trends, or related subjects such as movies adapted from comics, but for the most part I am interested in engaging comics themselves. For example, you’re more likely to find me discussing the merits of the art and writing of Marvel’s House of M series than in criticizing the dubious promotional efforts attached to it. I really appreciate those bloggers who are able to seriously and articulately engage the medium, and that is what I h…

Necromancer and Of Bitter Souls - Early Reviews!

Since I had the opportunity to pick these comics up at the Chicago comic convention, I thought it was a prime opportunity to give fair warning to any readers thinking about picking these titles up what to expect.

"Of Bitter Souls #1" is published by Speakeasy, written by Chuck Satterlee and drawn by Norm Breyfogle. It's a story of superheroes who hunt monsters. In the first issue, we're introduced to four individuals as they save a crowd from a band of vampires. The art is decent here: nothing too extraordinary, boring character designs. Pretty mediocre in that regard. The writing follows suit, as the story shares nothing interesting. It's a basic introduction story, and a bland one at that, as the superheroes fight the dullest portrayals of vampires I've read in recent years, amid a series of flashbacks that shows each superhero three years prior. Each of the superheroes had a sketchy past, involved in illegal activities, and are surely chosen by the…

Comic-con Sunday panels

So, the final day of the Wizard World Comic-con has passed. I attended two panels this time: Vertigo and Tokyopop, both of whom had plenty of announcements. A couple of things caught my interest that I plan to check out. At Vertigo, a new mini by Brian K. Vaughan about lions that escaped from a bombed zoo in the middle east. It sounded really neat, told from the view point of the lions. There was also some talk of the new series Testament and Fables: 1,001 Nights of Snowfall and the Sloth original GN by Gilbert Hernandez, all of which have been mentioned at previous cons, but sound cool. The Exterminators sounds like a neat new series, a mini about NY exterminators, as does a new mini-series about a virgin who reexamines his choices as his fiancee dies (as he's Catholic and wanted to wait till married to have sex). I wish I could recall the name of the series, but I don't see it at Newsarama or anything yet. Frank Quitely does the cover, so when you see a man on a gia…

Wizard World Chicago

I went to Wizard World this weekend. Still am going, actually, as I have Sunday to attend yet. It's less spectacular than it's been in the past. I think it has more to do with my tastes in comics changing more than anything. It's kind of sad that nearly every panel is Marvel or DC, the retailers are selling back issues of the same... Ugh. It's just frustrating. I love Marvel and DC and all, but I kind of want a little something more. I want to discover something else. Anyways, I was a big Crossgen fan and I can really feel the absence. It makes me a little sad to see the trades in all of those 1/2 off boxes, and Crossgen just had a way of creating excitement at the cons, with their big booth and hype. I just miss the alternative to the usual. It's the same thing at every retailer's booth. Oh well. At least they passed on the wrestling ring this year (small favors). So, what panels did I attend? Well, I missed the Cup 'o Joe and Bendis panels…

Runaways: True Believers

"Runaways" volume two began with the storyline "True Believers," which just wrapped up with issue six. The second volume of the series is doing really well in the direct market, given its previous cancellation. But with the digest trades of the series, a following was roused to partake in the adventures of Brian K. Vaughan's runaways, a following that wasn't going to wait around for the next collection, as there was a long enough hiatus period between volume one's cancellation and volume two's start. Yep, eager hands snatched up the "Runaways" with the new volume. But how does it fare in comparison, after the first volume resolved most of the plot threads? Surprisingly well, actually. Shedding its initial hook with the new volume, the runaways returned with a story that begins in time travel. Ah, yes. One of the kids has returned from a distant future to warn them of danger. A danger that they must act upon quickly to erradicate a…

Lullaby: Wisdom Seeker

The trade for "Lullaby: Wisdom Seeker" hits stores tomorrow. Should you buy it? You decide for yourself. The story is a slow progression of bringing all of the characters of the story together by the end for a big, explosive battle. The characters are from fairy tales: Alice from wonderland, Pinocchio, the Pied Piper, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. They begin in three separate groups after a brief scene where Alice is in the regular world and is involved in a car crash. The story scrolls ahead years to where Alice is the Queen of Heart's right hand, and is venturing off to Oz, as all of the other characters eventually do (Little Red Riding Hood's group is searching for her grandmother, while Pinocchio's group would bring him to see the Wizard). The character designs are all well done, I believe. Alice is in her regular blue get-up with a pink whip that resembles a flamingo, the Cheshire Cat following her around, riddles aplenty. Pinocchio is a wooden boy,…

They Came Back

I had the opportunity to watch the French film "They Came Back" this week, and was truly impressed with what I saw. Top-notch acting and cinematography make for not only an interesting film, but a beautiful one, as well. And although it is a zombie movie, it isn't your typical one, as the people who come back are more like the people they left as, just a little...off. This film investigates what we do with these zombies who have reentered life. Where do we put them? Where do they fit in society? Different scenarios are explored with this movie, all of which are engaging and emotional. "They Came Back" warrants the attention of anyone looking for that really good zombie movie, or really good movie, in general. Just don't expect brain-eating and gore in this one.