Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eye of Newt #2 by Michael Hague

The story of Newt continues on. Together with Morgan Le Fey, he encounters all kinds of mystical creatures. Of course fantasy stories aren't complete without trolls and goblins.  Although, these trolls are nice and helpful. So are the giant talking frogs. Morgan however, is kinda of well.... annoying. Horribly annoying and negative. She really doesn't have any redeeming qualities but she's really strong and knows what she wants. She's just not a real good conversationalist because she's always insulting people. She's forceful, but she knows what she's after.

66 year old Hague has had a very extensive career. Titles he is credited to have illustrated include The Wind in The Willows, The Hobbit, The Wizard of Oz and about 70 more. This is his first graphic novel ever, to be released as a four part mini series. This beautiful story is suitable for children and I think you should go buy it for your kid... like right now.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blood Blokes #4 by Adam Cadwell

I really liked the first three issues of Blood Blokes. In fact I remember giggling as I turned the pages.. or fingered through the pages, I was reading digitally. I much prefer paper but who am I to be picky? Issue four lets the reader in on a secret. Shall I tell you!? No, no I won't, I shant! Poor Vincent doesn't get to know what's really happening so why should you? Maybe if you read the book and then lend it to him... 

This issue of Blood Blokes is a tad on the more serious side. There is more plot actually happening and not a lot of cadaver tea parties. That's all okay though. We needed some big plot development right about now. This is where it gets thick but I'm only left with more questions. 

I am a big fan of back and white comics. Cadwell's work sucks me right in. I know that when a lot of people talk about great black and white comics, they tend to mention Charles Burns. I'm not a huge fan of Charles Burns personally. I find most of his work rather sexist and difficult to read due to how the female characters are treated. I don't feel that way at all about Cadwell's work. The female characters are just as diverse as the male ones. They don't serve as tits and ass for the male characters either. This is important considering a lot of male-centric comics lately, especially in the indie comic world can be a little on the degrading side. If not just flat out offensive. I'm really happy to say that Cadwell's work does not fit into that category. Not to mention, I just plain prefer his artistic style over Charles Burns. 

Check out that cover by the way! I love it! I need issue 5. I don't want to wait. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Manifest Destiny #8

Remember those settlers from the village over-run by man-eating flora? Remember how some women survived? Well one of them turned rapist. Or rather, I should say, attempted rapist. I'm glad he didn't get away with it is all I'll say. I'm glad that so far, Manifest Destiny creators have allowed the women of the story to be strong, important characters. In fact the more I read this story, the more I realize that the only characters who are just and intelligent are the women folk. The men folk are generally stubborn and arrogant which apparently gets them into a lot of bad situations. Let's consider the times though.

Manifest Destiny has been an exciting, fast paced adventure in danger land. Seriously, it's like they're in fucking Australia because like Australia, everything in the Manifest Destiny world can kill you. At least they were somewhat able to deal with the giant frogs from issue 7. You know, sorta. I guess it's good that there are no children in this story since they'd pretty much be dead or turning into that homicidal kid from The Walking Dead. hmmm actually, I kinda wan to see some creepy kids in this story. Can we make that happen?

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Remember how I said that O'Malley would be at Strange Adventures this summer for signing? I didn't lie. With the release of his new book, Strange Adventures announced that O'Malley will be in Halifax on August 2nd. Purchasing the new book Seconds gets you free access to the signing at Strange Adventures. Of course, I got mine. I also made certain to hold on to my copy of the variant cover he did for the first issue of The Wicked and The Divine. By hold onto, I just mean that I didn't file it away in a box yet.

My experience with Seconds was very positive. I think it's by far one of the most unique books to have come out of Canada in a long time. There really isn't much it has in common with Scott Pilgrim besides O'Malley's trademark sense of humor. There are pop culture references that would appeal to my generation. A smattering of video game symbols and Buffy the Vampire Slayer references among other things.
Main character Kate is just turning 30 so that puts her right around my age. (...she gets to be 2 years younger but ya know, who's counting...)

Kate works as a chef at a restaurant called Seconds. She pines for a restaurant to call her very own, while also pining after her ex boyfriend Max. Things get all crazy and time shifty when Kate discovers a present from a little spirit living in the top drawer of her dresser. The present contains one red capped mushroom and notepad labeled mistakes. Inside contain instructions on how to use the gift. Cleverly, you can see that the title Seconds, has a double meaning. Second helpings of lovely food at a restaurant and second chances. I would LOVE to dissect the whole story more accurately for you all but I really don't wish to spoil it.

This hard covered edition is printed in color! Brian Lee O'Malley credits his team with their assistance with the illustrations and lettering. You know you're awesome when you get a team. Seriously. I'm not being sarcastic. I wish I had a team of illustrators and letterists to help me pull together my work. I would certainly be able to get it done on time for a change. Wow, I'm rambling again in my article. I'll stop. Everything about this book is adorable from the illustrations to the plot. I'm pretty much in love with all the characters, well maybe not Max. You'll see what I mean. I kinda wish they were big plushies that I could pick up and squeeze. Except don't try to hug the book, because it's hard covered. Also, try to remember to put it on your bedside table before falling asleep at night because it doesn't feel great when it's hulk corners end up in your temple in the middle of the night.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Wicked & The Divine #2 by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

I didn't really like the first issue. We know this. Loved the variant cover of issue 1 but when I read it I was too reminded of the duo's earlier work Phonogram. I don't like the idea of gods being pop stars or pop stars being gods. (or rock stars, or punkers or any sort of musical entertainer & musician). Now I'm a little biased against the idea because I was spent so much time creating music and playing in bands, producing music that I know the bitter truth.

There's no doubt that McKelvie is a talented artist. He's precise and his artwork is refined. His coloring bold and uninhibited.. BUT IT CAN'T SAVE ME! I want to like this comic, I just don't. Not to mention how the main character is absorbed with these gods/musicians and in love with their evil side. I understand that being within the music industry draws you to the darker walks of life, but I never thought that was a good thing! The main character here glorifies the whole uninhibited, and callous behavior of these musical idols.

So far the only point of interest to me is the mystery of who really did blow up that judges head in the first issue. Luci (Lucifer) was taken into custody as being responsible but she swears it wasn't her. Beyond that I suppose I was happy that someone referenced Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think this may be the last issue I buy of this series.

The Drifting Classroom vol 1 by Kazuo Umezu

You may remember my review of The Cat-Eyed Boy. It consisted of two large volumes printed by Viz and were created by Japanese manga author & artist Kazuo Umezu. The Drifting Classroom was originally published in 1972 and in 1974 won the 20th Shogakukan Manga Award in the general category. It has received much acclaim over the years and even made it as a movie or two. I had never read it but as a lover of horror and psychological thrillers, I knew I had to get my hands on this series. So I ordered it online because let's face it, this wasn't going to be sitting on the shelf of any of my local comic book stores.

This story is about an entire school that appears to have been transported to another location and perhaps another dimension. The students and staff look out their windows to a barren wasteland and not a shred of their town anywhere else to be found. To make matters worse, leaving the school grounds means certain death. None of the people within the school have a concept of what is happening. Their phone lines are dead and the electricity is gone. As far as anyone can tell, the rest of the world has simply, disappeared.

As with Umezu's other work, there is a lot of child abuse. Children are slapped by adults who can't seems to control them in any mature way. There's even a scene where a teacher cuts his own child with a piece of glass. Even though the situation these people are faced with is chilling and their future uncertain, it's the interaction between characters that remains more disturbing. Umezu brings out the worst in human nature. It's as if none of his characters possess the ability to control their emotions in any situation. Although most people can control their mouths in the face of outrage, or worse, Umezu's characters cannot. It's only when they stop for self reflection much after the fact, that the characters become more dimensional and real. At first you just think everyone is nuts, extremely self-centered and unbalanced.

It's safe to say that mystery of The Drifting Classroom has captured me and I must order the rest of the series.... STAT! If you've read everything from Ito and need a replacement, check out Umezu. He's not Ito but he has his own way of pushing your suspense buttons.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cap'N Dinosaur by KEK-W, Shaky Kane and Komikraft

Another fun and colorful throw back from Shaky Kane. WARNING. This comic contains absolute silliness!! The Superhero team consists of Honey Moon and Cap'n Dinosaur! Yeah that really doesn't explain much does it. Well their powers are even more in the realm of the unexplained. Honey Moon's mysterious powers are linked to the lunar cycle.. and you know what else is linked to the lunar cycle... Cap'N Dinosaur has the power to enable his dino brain which apparently craves raw meat. So raw that he just wants to eat people who are walking around alive...

In an interview with Geeks Unleashed, Shaky Kane admits that he took Cap'n Dinosaur from a couple shorts he wrote over 15 years ago.

You'll notice a lot of familiar looking characters from the advertisements that were in comics and magazines you read as a kid. Well I suppose that depends on your age. Remember sending away for sea monkey's in the mail? Remember little do-dads with your favorite monsters on them? The Wolfman, Frankenstein monster, and Sputnik?? lol.

Besides Shaky Kane, you'll find the other credits a bit more difficult to track down. KEK-W is also known as Nigel Long. I really have only been able to find information on him through a page online about 2000AD writers. He is credited in over 70 issues. As for Komikraft I got tired of digging. Yeah I know I get lazy sometimes.

I'm a really big fan of these one-shots from Shaky Kane. His work makes me smile. We all know how much I loved his last one-shot That's Because You're A Robot. I only hope he continues to generate them as regularly as he has. At the back of this issue is a preview to the next comics coming from Shaky. It's called The Beef and I can't wait.

For more awesome information and art from Shaky Kane please visit http://www.shakykane.com/