Tag Archives: Grant Morrison

It’s Wednesday! (February 20, 2013)

DHPresents21-cover

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #21
Writers: Neil Gaiman, Duane Swierczynski, Geoffrey Thorne, Michael Avon Oeming, Denis Medri, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Michael T. Gilbert, Simon Roy, Jason Wordie, Shannon Wheeler, Shaun Manning

Artists: Michael Avon Oeming, Denis Medri, Gabriel Hardman, Michael T. Gilbert, Simon Roy, Jason Wordie, Shannon Wheeler, Paul Chadwick, Eric Nguyen, Todd Harris, Steve Lieber, Greg Ruth, Andrew Drilon

Neil Gaiman (Sandman, American Gods) teams with Paul Chadwick (Concrete) for “The Day the Saucers Came”!

Plus, three new series debut this month, including work by Simon Roy (Prophet), Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man), and Arcade Boy by Denis Medri!

* Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Alabaster and Michael Avon Oeming’sThe Victories continue!

“Comics’ best kept secret trove of great comics.”—Comic Book Resources

Do you really need any more reason than that to buy this issue? Take another look at that lineup of writers and artists.

Month in, month out this book continues to impress.

HAPPY #4
Story byGrant Morrison, Art byDarick Robertson

image_Happy4_cover

Christmas is here and the bad men are about to open their presents! It’s showdown time but can Nick Sax save the day without Happy to help him – or will he screw this up like everything else? You must not miss the blood-drenched conclusion of our heartwarming Yuletide classic!

Nick Sax is one sad sack of shit. Seriously. For the longest time I was hoping he would come around. But he had the right idea from the start: who listens to a tiny buck-toothed blue unicorn with wings?

Random line while flipping through the book: “He can see me and he says he’s wasted. It’s Santa Claus on drugs, Nick!” (says the blue flying horse)

REVIVAL #7
Story by: Tim Seeley, Art by: Mike Norton

image_revival#7_cover

Dana tracks down a wolf in sheep’s clothing serial killer.  Talk show pundit, Clyde Birch comes to down and all hell breaks loose.  And, those Check boys are up to something nasty.

This series took me completely by surprise. I stacked up a few issues and when I finally got around to reading them, I was hooked. There are some strange, perverse things going on in these pages. I like Norton’s art, although I’m curious how this book would read were it in the hands of someone like a Bill Sienkewicz?


SAGA #10

Story by: Brian K. VaughanArt By: Fiona Staples

Marko and Alana’s long-lost babysitter Izabel finally returns to the fold, but at what cost?

This is, without question, my favourite comic right now with Prophet nipping at its heels. Not much I can say that does it justice, I just wanted an excuse to post this excellent cover.

image_Saga#10_cover

I’ll stop here, but there’s more! I could easily include MIND MGMT #8, and I’m curious about what Valiant has brewing this montH with HARBINGER and X-O MANOWAR, both of which have been surprising me for the better part of this past year with strong writing and art.

That’s all I have time for now!

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It’s Wednesday, time to get Happy!

image-happy3-cover

Lots of great books on shelves this week that will make for some great reading over the holidays. I don’t have time to go through them all now, but here is one that I’m eager to crack open.

HAPPY! (#3 of 4)
Story by Grant MorrisonArt by Darick Robertson

With a day left until Christmas, and time running out for Santa’s innocent victims, Happy the Horse learns what turned Nick Sax from golden cop to broken-down hitman. But can he convince Nick to do the right thing or is it Happy’s turn to face some uncomfortable home truths?

This is one crazy concept and story. For the brief backstory, check out the blurb to issue #1. The book is somewhat disturbing and incredibly violent, if you couldn’t already tell by the picture here, so keep this one away from the kids.

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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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Five books for Read Comics in Public Day

People like to read lists with a round number like five for some reason. So here are four books you can proudly read on Read Comics in Public Day (this year, next year, whenever!) – and one that might be a bit embarrassing. (I’m taking a cue from Underwire and going to be artsy in my choices with a sprinkle of something mainstream.)

ESSEX COUNTRY TRILOGY (Top Shelf Productions)
w/a – Jeff Lemire

What it’s about: Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What could change two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the work of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception?

Essex County is a tremendous achievement” – Darwyn Cooke

Comics at its best. A heartbreaking series of stories about loneliness and loss. Lemire’s sense of pacing and ability to tell a story cannot be overstated.

IT’S A BIRD (Vertigo)
written by Steven T. Seagle
art by  Teddy Kristiansen

What it’s about: A stunning semi-autobiographical story that tells one of the most realistic Superman tales ever — without featuring Superman. Steve’s given the assignment every writer dreams of: to write Superman. Only Steve can’t relate to a Man of Steel — not when his own fears of death haunt him.

“Terrifically wry. . . deep thinking. . . this is something truly different” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, Editor’s Choice

A poignant story. Stumbled upon completely by accident at a used book store. (Is there any better way to discover a book?) Ironically, I read most of this book sitting in a hospital waiting room.

FANTASTIC FOUR: UNSTABLE MOLECULES (Marvel)
w/James Sturm
a/Guy Davis

What it’s about: In 1961, the first issue of FANTASTIC FOUR was drawn and written by the brilliant team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and set a new standard for heroic adventure comics. Few people realize that the Fantastic Four – a family of sci-fi adventurers gifted with amazing powers – was actually based on the lives of real people. As often is the case, real life was as astonishing as fiction. UNSTABLE MOLECULES is a biography that revisits the Fantastic Four’s beginnings with a historian’s eye.

Winner of the 2004 Eisner Award for best limited series.

A post-modern tale (comic or otherwise) at its best. If ever a series deserved an award, this is it. Another discovery from the “reduced” bin, and yet such a brilliant book.

Be forewarned: there are no super powers in this story. But, like the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comics, this is still very much about family. Each of the characters remain true to their name – Sue, the invisible housewife; Johnny, the fiery teenager; Ben, the emotional rock –  except maybe for Reed who is a cold, genius and much sought-after scientist but far from fantastic when it comes the people closest in his life. This book could be dissected in an English class, or on this blog, but it’s more fun if you discover the gems hidden within on your own. (Then post your thoughts. We’d love to hear them.)

CLYDE FANS (D+Q)
by Seth

What it’s about: After one more disastrous attempt at selling their father’s fan manufacturing company, Simon returns defeated and unsure of what he’ll do next. Even after studying manuals on the art of selling, he still can’t seem to clinch that final deal. In the eyes of his brother Abraham, he is a failure. Seth brilliantly explores the complex and fascinating relationship of the two brothers behind Clyde Fans.

Aggregated ratings on Good Read give Clyde Fans a 3.7 stars.  Personally, I think it deserves more.

A sad story of a lonely man. Clyde Fans is a contemporary version of Death of a Salesman. A brilliantly tale told in two time periods. The story examines the burden of maintaing a father’s legacy and the cruel march of progress. You’ll squirm following the exploits of Abraham, possibly the world’s worst salesman.

NEW X-MEN (Marvel)
w/Grant Morrison
a/various

What it’s about: Sixteen million mutants dead… and that was just the beginning! In one bold stroke, writer Grant Morrison propelled the X-Men into the 21st century – masterminding a challenging new direction for Marvel’s mutant heroes that began with the destruction of Genosha and never let up. Regarded as the most innovative thinker of the current comic-book renaissance, Morrison proceeded to turn the mutant-hero genre on its ear.

Too many accolades to list here. But if you want a good review, check out this article from Pop Matters.

When I got back into comics a few years ago, comic publishers were just catching on to the omnibus format, and this is probably the first one I read: the entire Grant Morrison run on X-Men. Well, needless to say it was (and is) mind-blowing. I’ve always enjoyed Morrison’s work. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but he introduces really interesting new characters in his books, and give characters proper motivation (which I desperately crave in stories) for their actions via solid plot or emotional developments. In short, he actually writes good comics.

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Comic flash reviews: Batman, X-Factor, Punisher, Incognito, Fantastic Four

Some recent reviews and recommendations culled from Silver Snail Kin’s “Off The Rack”:

Batman #687 – I would suggest reading this “Batman Reborn” book before reading last week’s “Batman & Robin”. W-Judd Winick and A-Ed Benes put the cowl on Bruce Wayne’s successor to start a new chapter in the life of the Dark Knight.

Issue #1 of B&R was great: a fun adventure story that recalls an earlier (more innocent?) Batman era. It’s at the total opposite end of the spectrum from Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s violent and dark Joker, which I read recently. I like what’s being planned for the series based on that one-page “preview” at the end of the book (the return of the Red Hood?! – awesome). Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely rank among my top comic creators team-up.

X-Factor #44 – I want to find out who the big brain Madrox is looking for and who Cortex is. They are not one and the same seeing as how they are separated by 80 years. Plus what Monet’s going to do to Cortex once she’s free of him/her. W-Peter David knows how to keep me reading.

X-Factor is one of those books that’s hot and cold for me. I don’t follow any of the X books (I’m trying the latest New Mutants series having been a big fan growing up, but am already bored by issue #2). I haven’t read this title since issue #24 mostly because, while I really enjoy the build-up in David’s stories, the big reveal/climax often falls flat.

Incognito #4 – W-Ed Brubaker and A-Sean Phillips’s gritty super powers book makes a great replacement for the absent “Powers”.

Good, solid book. I enjoyed Criminal more, but that one is very difficult to top in my books. Incognito is definitely worth a look. Villains are often the more interesting characters in stories, mostly because they’re flawed. I have a longer review of this series in the works.

Punisher #6 – I’m glad this less explicit book is on the racks for those times when my delicate constitution doesn’t want to read a Punisher book with all the frakking dregs from the gutter. W-Rick Remender and A-Tan Eng Huat have given Frank a whole new slew of super villains to tackle.

The most recent Punisher book I’ve read was Naked Kill.  What a gruesome book. I needed a shower after reading that one.  I really dig Rick Remender’s stuff; his run on All-New Atom was refreshing and the sort of thing I like to see in Fantastic Four, so I might check out this book.

Mysterius the Unfathomable #6 – All the nutty stuff that W-Jeff Parker and A-Tom Fowler put in the previous issues mix together in this thrilling finale.

I know very little about this title except that the book calls to me every month from the shelves, but for whatever reason, I haven’t yet picked it up. I’m also intrigued by Madame Xanadu. Looking for recommendations on either book. Am considering picking up the trade once collected.

Fantastic Four #562 to #567 – W-Mark Millar and A-Bryan Hitch are doing some kooky things with Marvel’s first family and it sure is fun. Valeria taking after her father is cute and I like her blog. The current Dr. Doom storyline has put this book back on the must read list.

I picked up a few issues at the start of the Millar-Hitch run. My favourite FF stories are the big spaced-out, sci-fi romps, and I liked the ideas the duo were throwing around (an alternate Earth built in a different dimension to house humanity once our planet’s been destroyed), but I wasn’t compelled to keep reading after the fourth issue.

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