Tag Archives: brandon graham

If I were in Oslo today, I’d go to this…

oslo-comics-expo

(…with apologies to The Comics Reporter)

I’m just getting over my TCAF hangover, but the itch is starting again. And if I were in Norway, I would be making my way to the Oslo Comics Expo. The lineup is insane:

  • Michael Deforge (who also created the poster)
  • Paul Pope
  • Jeff Lemire
  • Luke Pearson
  • Brandon Graham
  • Gabrielle Bell
  • Scott McCloud (Scott McCloud!)

…and some Norwegian and Danish artists with whom I am unfamiliar but will now check out. Check out the roster.

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It’s Wednesday! (January 23, 2013)

harbinger8_lemire

Interesting trend: today’s list of books is dominated by artist/writer types. (Even our leading image – see below to find out who it’s by….if you haven’t already figured it out).

BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #6
minutemen6-dccomicsWritten by: Darwyn Cooke,  Art by: Darwyn Cooke, Cover by: Darwyn Cooke

“You’ll do what I say or I’ll burn this place to the ground and kill every person you know.”

Wrapping up one of the better titles in the Before Watchmen series of books, most of which are pretty strong.

MIND MGMT #7
Writer, art and cover by Matt Kindt

mindmgmt7-darkhorseWe’ve learned some of the secrets of Henry Lyme; now get ready to meet the rest of MIND MGMT, beginning with the Ad Man! With the remains of MIND MGMT on Lyme’s tail, the former spy is forced to seek help from other defectors.

Back following a short hiatus. If you’re not reading this series, you are definitely missing out. It’s difficult to describe this book – a clandestine agency that’s been controlling world events for decades, possibly longer, staffed with operatives who have certain brain-based abilities.  It will mess with your head (no pun intended). If you liked the flavour of Lost or X-Files, you will not be disappointed here.

Dark Horse is calling this a great jumping on point for new readers. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes enjoy falling into a story partway through and trying to figure out what’s going on.

The first collected edition is due in April.

PROPHET #33
prophet33coverStory by: Brandon Graham & Simon Roy, Art By: Simon Roy, Cover By: Fil Barlow

The Prophet clone with the Dolemantle from issues 21-23, New Father Prophet returns to Earth. As Prophet brothers from all over the universe assemble he must prove his worth among their ranks.

Read a preview here.

HARBINGER #8
Writer:
Joshua Dysart, Penciler: Phil Briones, Colorist: Ian Hannin

harbinger8-valiantThe Renegades recruit their newest member – Torque! In a shed in the backwoods of Northern Georgia lives a meek, sequestered teen named John Torkelson. Raised just this side of feral, and on a steady diet of MMA and reality TV, fried catfish and Cheeto pie, he’s a firm believer that women should be seen and not heard (though he really hasn’t met many). But when four strange, super-powered outlaw teenagers suddenly appear in the woods outside his shed, Torkelson’s life takes a turn he could’ve never imagined. Now the boy his poppa called “Stump” is about to become more man than he could’ve ever imagined. But then…what exactly is a “real man”? For that matter, what’s a real hero? Only one thing’s certain, the Renegades are about to get a hell of a lot stronger.

I wasn’t a reader of Valiant when the publisher launched in the 90s, so I’m not terribly familiar with the source material. But I’m completely digging Harbinger and X-O Manowar. Solid writing on both of those. I enjoyed the first arc of Archer and Armstrong. Less excited about the second arc so far, but I’m a few issues behind.

Also worth noting, the amazing image at the top of this post is a variant covers for this issue of Harbinger drawn by one of my favourite comic creators (who also happens to be Canadian and from Toronto).

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Image keeps pumping out quality books

Image, who for the past year have been putting out new books in small waves that have become increasingly stronger in quality, has launched a tsunami of new titles starting this season that shows no signs of slowing down.

 Back in January, they brought us a number of new series including the reboot of one of the year’s best books, Prophet, which John Parker at Comics Alliance calls “the premiere science fiction experience in comics.” More recently, we were introduced to Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson‘s trippy mini-series Happy!

 Starting this month, Image whips up a major storm that will continue to crash down on us into January and possibly beyond.

 

NOWHERE MEN hits shelves this week and is one to watch. It’s a new ongoing written by Image publisher Eric Stephenson. The book follows a popular science supergroup named World Corp with some form of drama/tension at the heart of the story. I’m often on the lookout for something off the wall that is reminiscent of Vertigo’s early days with books like Doom Patrol and The Invisibles but also offers the polish of modern comic storytelling such as Planetary. Hickman’s current ongoing The Manhattan Projects is a good example of that and is another science genre comic which happens to be published by Image. The few pages of preview art for Nowhere Men floating around the Web look great. Nate BellegardeJordie Bellaire and Steve Finch all lend their talent on illustration.

  

POINT OF IMPACT (B&W)

Written by Jay  Faerber and art by Koray Kuranel. A murder mystery intertwined with a love triangle. The cast includes a beautiful corpse, a homicide detective (her friend), a journalist (her husband), a former soldier (her lover). Plus there appears to be some form of a conspiracy. The cover had me doing a double-take. It looked like the opening panel of the story. Whether deliberate or inadvertent, it was clever, and I wish they’d kept it up with the second issue. I’m not familiar with the work of either Fearber (DynamoNoble Causes) or Kuranel. In the back pages, Faerber writes Robert B. Parker was a big influence for him. The story moves quickly, and Kuranel’s black and white artwork is well-suited. I’m enjoying this title more than I was expecting.

(4-issue limited series)

COMEBACK

Written by Ed Brisson and illustrated by Michael Walsh, the first book introduces us to an illegal time travel agency that turns a profit selling its services to families who want to save loved ones. By the end of the issue, we learn someone is out to get them and tension is bubbling just below the surface, preparing to explode. Both script and art are influenced by Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips books like Sleeper and Incognito, which is a really good place to be seek inspiration. Jordie Bellaire on colours has a hand in this title as well.

(5-issue limited series)


MULTIPLE WARHEADS: ALPHABET TO INFINITY

Written and illustrated by Brandon Graham, the mind behind the new incarnation of Prophet, the sci-fi fantasy Multiple Warheads is the essence of its creator. Here’s the summary: ” Sexica and her Werewolf boyfriend Nikoli travel across a sci-fi, fantasy Russia smoking singing cigarettes. Meanwhile the organ hunter Nura is sent out with a severed head and instructions to find its body.” Brandon Graham comics evoke in me the same feeling I get when I read European comic artists. The imagination, narrative and script techniques, not to mention the personality in his style, create such a unique, immersive experience that I lose myself in the book.

 The first issue of this 4-issue mini-series is 48 pages long (and dense) and only $4. Good value for your comic book money. Plus, people have lots of good things to say about this book. If you’re a fan of King City and quite likely Prophet, then you’re already buying this. For the rest of you, if your taste in comics bends toward indie creators or you’re just looking for something that is different and good quality, you can’t go wrong here. Issue #2 just hit shelves, and issue #1 went back for a second printing and is available again now in case you missed out the first time.

 

A few books more you might want to look up:

CLONE – Juan Jose Ryp on art. I really like his look. He has the same qualities I like about Geof DarrowDarick Robertson or Steve Dillon. He’s illustrated a number of books, including Black Summer with Warren Ellis for Avatar, and also Wolverine: The Best There Is with Charlie Huston.

WHERE IS JAKE ELLIS – the follow-up to the 5 issue series Who Is Jake EllisNathan Edmondson writes and Tonci Zonjic on art. (another 5-issue mini-series this go around)

Out this week iBLACKACRE, which is getting some of the most wonderful endorsements in a long time from comic creators whose work I adore. The first issue of Brian Wood‘s new powers mini-series, MARA hits shelves. It features art by Ming Doyle who has this really cool (now completed) Web strip titled The Loneliest Astrounauts  (do yourself a favour and read this one from the start), and, for a third time, Jordie Bellaire. Also CHANGE by Ales Kot and Morgan Jeske. And then in January, we get TODD, THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH that I’m hoping turns out to be a nutty series to make me laugh with ultraviolence and zany comedy. And MaraChange and Todd are all mini-series which makes it easier to commit both money and time.

 

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Tokyopop closes office. Is the golden age of comic books coming to an end?

When I read on ICV2 that Tokyopop was closing it’s U.S. office, my heart sank a little.

The publisher is largely credited with introducing the manga genre/format to North American readers. (Remember Sailor Moon?)

Writes ICV2:

Tokyopop revolutionized the English-language manga business with its “authentic manga” program in 2002, bringing manga to bookstores and comic stores in a left-to-right trade paperback format similar to the  way manga is published in Japan (see “Tokyopop to Publish Manga in Japanese Format”). The new format, coupled with substantial outreach to new customers, especially teen girls in bookstores, brought legions of new fans to manga and comics in North America.

Comics Alliance says about the announcement:

While the company has suffered a number of setbacks over the last few years — including layoffs; the controversial handling of a line of original English language books; and the loss of the lucrative Kodansha licenses — it would seem that the recent bankruptcy of Borders, a critically important manga reseller in the U.S. market, was the final nail in the TOKYOPOP coffin.

Read More: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/04/15/tokyopop-closes-american-office/#ixzz1JeWPLQzu

I’m not a big reader of manga so can’t say I’m really a fan of the publisher like I might of, say, Vertigo. But I’d recently discovered Brandon Graham’s King City (one of their non-manga books), which I’ve come to discover has quite the loyal following among fans and industry talent. I picked up a few of the Image 2010 editions completely by accident while browsing the shelves at 1,000,000 Comix a few weeks ago. The issues I’ve read have brought me much joy.

Unfortunately Tokyopop’s news comes at the same time as Dark Horse Comics, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011, announced layoffs – seven people in total. Without knowing how large is its staff, it’s difficult to gauge the impact. Needless to say, these are slim operations, and based on the Twitter chatter, this was difficult news. And in the case of both companies, there are criticisms of mismanagement.

Nevertheless, this has me a little nervous. There are so many talented people putting out books these days. And yet, I’m not sure for how many more generations this medium is going to be around. The fact that sales of comics are stable at best, usually sliding, does not bode well. Ironically you’ll find more good material on the shelves these days that at any time in the history of the industry. I’ve been telling friends for years that we’re enjoying a golden age in comic books. Is the era coming to an end?

King City is a rare find. There are apparently few copies available. Collected editions are selling for big bucks online. There were some rumours the book was being reprinted for re-release, but that seems unlikely now.

So if you happen across a copy while browsing the comic store shelves, grab it and enjoy. This might be one of the last of its kind.

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