Friday, September 24, 2004

Week Eight

Short and sweet this week as the real world is beating furiously on my door. I'm 99% sure I'm blowing off SPX -- I've turned in my list of what I would have picked up to a friend who'll be going, who shall also pick up anything that he feels may interest me.

My own personal shopper. I've truly arrived.

We've got a repeat winner this week, because apparently only Logan wanted or needed Brit. And that actually works out great because I haven't gotten around to sending him last week's swag. But note, Mr. Polk, you have to sit out the next few... Look for details below on the next give-away from my mighty stack.

Here's what left the stack this week, and where it's going:

In the Shadow of No Towers (Spiegelman): For such a hefty, beautiful book, this was really light reading in every sense of the word. The classic comic strip reprints in the latter half make it a keeper tho...

Persepolis 2 (Satrapi): Every bit as interesting to me as the first collection. Is there to be a third? I'm going to be selling the set on eBay, not as an indication of my enjoyment of them, but more that I really don't feel the need to re-read, loan out, or smarten up my shelf.

The Bible Eden (Giffen, Elliott, Hampton): I could go for the whole Bible done this way, and now I wish I'd picked up Bisley's stab at God's best-seller during San Diego. I don't know what I'm doing with this yet...

Bad Mojo (Harms, Morris): This wasn't very good -- what's with that ending, am I missing a page? -- though the art was very nice. Anyway, judge for yourself. You want it, it's yours.


100 Bullets: Samurai TPB: Two separate stories spread over 6 issues (3 apiece) and I have no idea what either one was about or how they fit into the story as a whole. Wonderful art from Risso, and a crackling script from Azz, but I'm out of the loop on this one. It's gone...

Smax HC (Moore, Cannon): Picked this up to replace my floppies. A wonderful mini-series from my favorite of the ABC titles (and when I say that, most people exclaim, "But what about League...?" to which I posit that League is its own thing, and not part of the Tom Strong, Promethea, Top 10 universe of titles...

Illustration #11 (various): It's all about the men in this issue. Or rather, all about the men who drew the sexy, sexy chicks for the trashy, trashy novels of their day. Good stuff. Heading to my upstairs rack with the other mags of its caliber. Still working on getting that sub.

And of course, the usual smattering of floppies: Astonishing X-Men #5: The best stuff since Morrison, that's for sure - but what an ugly cover; Wanted #5 and 6: I don't think I ever read #3, and barely remember #'s 1 and 2. Not sure any of that makes a difference. Competent, but not terribly bright; Strange #1: Competent, but unnecessary; Avengers #502: Stiff as a board, and I'm not talking about Hawkeye! ; Ultimate FF #11: It took them the whole issue just to crash the fantasti-car; Madrox #1: that covers? It's ripping off a Sleeper cover, right? Competent, but mostly unnecessary; FF #518: Galactus is coming! Galactus is coming! DD #64: I'm not sure where else he can go, but this remains one of my favorite monthly Marvels; Ultimate Nightmare #2: I sense a big fight coming on. Maybe by issue #4? All of these are taking the express train out of my life...

Here's the unread stack as it stands today:

Batman in the '80s TPB (various): Ahh the eighties. I was doing a lot of things back then, many of them illegal, but reading Batman wasn't one of them. Let's see if I was missing anything...

Sinister Dexter (various): This 2000AD stuff is all new to me, just hope I don't get a backlog going like I got doing with the Humanoids releases. Oi!

Wonder Woman: Down to Earth TPB (Rucka, Johnson): Haven't read the singles, and see the fan reaction is mixed. We'll see...

Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer (Moorcock, Simonson): I have a soft spot for Mr. Moorcock and this character (I never read Conan novels, I read Elric novels during my formative years), so I'm anticipating a moderate level of enjoyment here.

Essential Iron Fist (Claremont, Byrne): I'm about halfway through, tho to be honest, I'm doing a fair amount of skimming. In light of all the Bryne-talk going around this week, I have to say that no matter what the man says or does in this stage of his career, his early Marvel art still holds up in general and makes this book in particular.

Essential Super Villain Team Up (Various): I'm about 1/4 in. This is getting a skim more than a thorough read-through.

Second Help-ing (Kurtzman, various): No movement.

The Unorthodox Corpse (Brown): No movement.

Invincible: Eight is Enough TPB (Kirkman, Walker): No movement

The White Lama (Jodorowsky, Bess): No movement.

Deicide #1: Path of the Dead (Portella/Pastoras): No movement.

Townscapes (Chrisitn/Bilal): No Movement.

The Horde (Baranko): No Movement.

The Hollow Ground (Schuiten)): No Movement.

Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 3 TPB (Byrne, Wolfman): No movement.

The Fortress of Solitude (Lethem): No movement.

Comics Prose (various): No movement.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind 3,4, 5, 6, 7 (Miyazaki): No movement.

Romance Without Tears (various): No movement.

No More Shaves (Greenberger): No movement.

Playboy: 50 Years of the Cartoons (various): No movement.

The Future Dictionary of America (various): No Movement. Kerry/Edwards in '04!

The Tomb (Weir/DeFilippis/Mitten): No movement.

The Kid Firechief (Steven Weissman): No movement.

The Last American (Grant/McMahon/Wagner): No movement.

The Ballad of Halo Jones Books 1, 2 and 3 (Moore/Gibson): Mo movement.

Stranger Than Fiction (Chuck Palahniuk): Ugh...

Exterminator 17 (Bilal/Dionnet)/Gods in Chaos (Bilal): No movement.

The Incal 1, 2 (Moebius/Jodorwsky): No movement.

Found (Rothbart): No movement.

Lone Wolf and Cub #3,4 (Koike/Kojima): No movement.

Joseph Rybandt has been working "professionally" in the comics "business" for close to 14 years. He lives in the mountains of Northern PA with his wife, daughter and companion Cosmo. His thoughts and opinions are, mercifully, his own.

Monday, September 20, 2004


This is a very special column for me. Because these are the last minis I have left to review from the San Diego Comic-Con. Yay!

Written by Chris Grumprich and Drawn by Jason Rainey
Published by Arctic Star Studios

This is a quiet little tale about a man stuck in a boring office job with a large imagination. The lead character, an accountant, is saddled with tracking down some missing funds, and he let’s his thoughts run wild, pretending he’s a Sam Spade style gumshoe helping a damsel in distress, rather than his tightly buttoned down female boss. It’s nothing deeply original, but it’s drawn nicely, produced well, and an entertaining eight pages. Grade: B

Written and Drawn by Porter McDonald
Available at Cow Punch

This is truly a mini comic. Printed at 3x5, McDonald takes actual photographs and draws over and doctors them to create four panel gags. It’s a nifty idea, and although it isn’t executed brilliantly on every page, I found it well worth my time and I admired the effort involved. It gave me another idea for how to do minis of my own someday, assuming I ever find that extra ten hours in a day. Grade: B+

Written and Drawn by Thom Zahler
Published by Maerkle Press

Zahler was selling this preview to his second RAIDER graphic novel, and reading it, I would guess that I have really missed something, because this is very good. The story, pacing, and art all grabbed me and had me enthralled. RAIDER is an espionage tale, and yet also a mystery. Two things I like. It also has interesting characters, some well-scripted dialogue, and attitude to spare. I’m going to have to dig up the graphic novels and review them over in my MoviePoopShoot column. Grade: A

Written and Drawn by Paul Horn
Available at Cool Jerk

This was another strong mini I found at the con. Horn is a former syndicated cartoonist, and this strip, born while he was in college, was his baby. COOL JERK is a well-drawn, clever, and quite funny little strip. Horn comes from the same school of thought that begat comics folks like Martin Wagner, Judd Winick, and Frank Cho. He ought to think about getting more ambitious with this stuff. Grade: A-

Written and Drawn by Ken and Maggie Wright
Available from Ken Wright Online

I reviewed issues 1-3 of this little lark of a book last Spring. BA is the story of a hottie super agent charged with protecting the beach from madmen like Banana Bob. The gloves she wears can produce any weapon she needs from thin air at the sound of her voice. Wright draws in an “animated” style, and BIKINI AUTOMATIC is generally a hoot. This issue actually makes an excellent case against the concept of the nude beach as part of its fun. The Wrights seem to understand that this is the perfect format for BA, as trying to push it further would weaken the concept; smart folks. Grade: B+

Written by Joshua Williamson and Drawn by Jacob Glaser
Published by Big Boss Comics

This eight-page mini is a tease for what is apparently an upcoming ongoing series or graphic novel. Displaying some rough art that appears as though it will be quite lovely when finished, there’s enough here to tantalize the palate for more of the story. On the downside, in these eight pages, we never actually see or meet the GENTLEMAN ZOMBIE. Kinda odd. It’s difficult to say whether or not the final product will be a winner, but this is a decent enough start. Could have used eight more pages, though, even if it was only sketches that showed a bit more about the lead character. Grade: B-

Written by Joshua Williamson and Drawn by Vicente Navarrete
Published by Big Boss Comics

This is a stronger effort from Williamson that brings a lot more story to the table. The main character is not only a teen superhero, he’s also the son of the President of the United States… his Mother. We get to see the character fight a battle, deal with school pressures like bullies and nasty administrators, plus face up to his White House handlers. The concept may sound hokey, but it has a lot of appeal to a wider audience, and I think larger doses would go down quite well. Backgrounds aren’t what Navarrete does best, but on a mini, that isn’t as much of a factor. Grade: B+

If you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go spike a football.