Tuesday, March 08, 2005


It’s time for your weekly pamphlet update. Or something like that.

Written by Peter David and Drawn by David Lopez
Published by DC

This title grabbed some interesting headlines this week, as Rich Johnston reported that it might be headed to IDW after the next (and final) issue ships from DC. This is happy news if it’s true.

One, IDW is the perfect spot for it. David will be freed of the DC yoke and able to cut loose and write all the disturbing and creepy shit he wants. He’d also be working with one of the best editors in the business in my buddy (and boss) Chris Ryall. And if the book did even half of its DC sales level at IDW, it’d be considered a runaway hit. So I hope this is true. It makes too much sense not to be.

This issue is special for other reasons, though. David and George Perez’ SACHS AND VIOLENS show up in the title for a guest appearance, and that’s a welcome sight, indeed. The lovely bondage model/vigilante Sachs and her lover/photographer/partner-in-ass-kicking Violens have arrived in Bete Noire on the tail of a child pornographer. Of course, this being comics, the obvious team-up is currently avoided, and instead the Angel is set on a course to wipe out Sachs and Violens before they can achieve their goals. Of course, before they can get to that confrontation, the Angel has the opportunity to demonstrate just how poor her mental state is, and to hire herself a male prostitute.

It’s even more fun than it sounds. One thing nagging at me, though: how is the original SACHS AND VIOLENS not in trade paperback? I hope to Hell, if the IDW thing plays out, that Ryall and company are able to rectify that.

Written and Drawn by Josh Howard
Published by Viper Comics

The latest DEAD mini is now running on a speedy downhill course towards its conclusion, as Nara takes a huge step towards confronting Bolabogg’s Earthly manifestation. And what she doesn’t know is that the friends she believes she’s left behind are about to re-involve themselves in her battle.

I was more than a bit critical of the first DEAD series, but as Howard has progressed through the second (and now the third) the saga has really leapt forward in entertaining and provocative ways. Rather than standing pat and treading familiar ground, he’s pushed the characters and their world outward and expanded their playing field in ways that TV and film often have difficulty with. He’s also deepened his mythology and added some welcome complexity.

DEAD isn’t the most perfect comic being published right now, but with each passing issue, it improves, which is really what you want to see out of a comic and its creator. This is Viper’s signature title, and it’s earning its keep.

Written by Mark Andrew Smith and Drawn by Dan Hipp
Published by Image Comics

Speaking of comics that are improving… issue three of this title is a good step forward. The band finds itself off to Hollywood to make their first film, and wacky hijinx follow. There’s work to be found on two different movie sets, and a strange series of attempted murders is plaguing one of them.

Part of the problem with issue two was that it felt like the art and the writing were letting each other down at various points of the story; each showed deficiencies in carrying the other when it was needed. But this problem is much less prevalent here. I think part of that is the nature of the story itself; far fewer “fantastic” elements are present here, allowing each creator to play to their strengths.

I was a bit surprised that the choice was made to make this issue “to be continued,” but I can give it a bit of leeway, as it’s already pretty packed with story and ideas. If it had been decompressed in any way, I would have had to call bullshit. But you can unequivocally get your money’s worth out of the AMAZING JOY BUZZARDS.

Written by Marc Andreyko and Drawn by E.J. Su
Published by Image Comics

This is just good shit. Seriously.

Andreyko is back in the driver’s seat after a terrific one-off from Steve Niles, and he’s standing on the gas from the moment he sees the light turn green. The detective duo is brought into investigating some nasty deaths that appear to be both the work of a gang war… and vampires. And if you don’t believe in vampires, then how do you explain the eighty-year old woman who looks as luscious and young as Shu Qi?

Making this even more top-notch is artist E.J. Su, who is back working in black and white, where his art looks best. He’s been doing some VOLTRON lately, and all that color does him no favors. This guy is severely underrated, a real talent, and I’m pleased to see him get an assignment of this nature. Eric Stephenson of Image told me a few weeks back that CASE FILES was one of the best titles Image publishes, and when the man is right, he’s right.

Written by John Kovalic and Drawn by Christopher Jones
Published by Dork Storm Press

The long delayed issue one has finally arrived! Huzzah!

Seriously, this was due last fall, and originally meant to be a black and white title. However, Kovalic and company changed their minds and went to color, and I’m going to be interested in seeing how that decision plays out.

BLINK is exactly what the title describes: he’s the psychoanalyst to the super, the guy for whom the supers come to talk to when they’re feeling inadequate. This being a Dork Storm title, it’s also a winsomely charming little comedy, and nothing to take too seriously. The script is laid out to make sure the laughs aren’t dumb or insulting; the book works hard to be inviting to the audience, and that’s to the book’s credit.

The color adds a touch more of an “animated” style to Jones’ art, which may be an effort to attract the younger reader, though I’m not sure they’d quite get the book. Still, there’s plenty of stuff for anyone who picks up the book: action, comedy, romance, and existential crises. This is a good reminder that sometimes, comics get made just for the purpose of making fun comics.