Saturday, May 07, 2005


There are two comics shops in Tempe. I decided to check both of them out and see how they were handling the big day.

Shop one: fuck all happening. 12:30pm.

Shop two: fuck all happening. 12:45pm.

Did pick up some of the free comics that I didn't get from publishers. Some amazing stuff, really. A new OWLY story. COMIC FESTIVAL, the Canadian artist showcase. RONIN HOOD. SUPERIOR SHOWCASE. THE ADVENTURES OF PAUL. Even the BETTY AND VERONICA book was lots of fun. But local turnout sucked ass, so no one is going to see these great books.

This was your Free Comic Book day report.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Luna Brothers

Shouldn't they be film stars with that name?

Anyway, the increasingly fine Comic Foundry has an interview with the Lunas running right now. It's worth it just for the preview art for GIRLS that accompanies the piece. Interesting that they chose the pages of their male lead having a wank and cleaning up after himself, hmm?


Sunday, May 01, 2005


It’s simple, really. Kirkman is a terrific writer, a guy who makes some truly gonzo entertainment.

As long as he owns it, that is.

Kirkman came to some prominence with his first creator-owned comic, the wonderfully blasphemous BATTLE POPE. That led him to Image Comics, where he’s currently writing two titles: INVINCIBLE and THE WALKING DEAD. That led him to Marvel, where he’s written titles such as CAPTAIN AMERICA, JUBILEE, FANTASTIC FOUR: FOES, and MARVEL TEAM-UP.

Stop yourself from yawning through that last sentence. I dare you.

Kirkman’s a young writer, and I certainly don’t begrudge him going out and increasing his fame and the amount of dollars in his pocket, but the gap in the quality level between his personal stuff and his work-for-hire stuff is staggering. His Marvel work suggests a deeply cynical response to it on a reader’s level; reading the titles brings a near revulsion. The inability to get excited about those books could, quite frankly, induce a pandemic of apathy in any fan of quality comics. And believe me: I read JUBILEE (at first).

On the flip side, INVINCIBLE and WALKING DEAD remain two of the most genuinely exciting books on the market, and two of the best creator-owned works currently being published. They’re books wherein anything can happen, there’s a constant sense of change and exploration, and they consistently engage me with every issue.

INVINCIBLE 21, 22 and the 0 issue have arrived over the last six weeks or so, and they’re really terrific. Kirkman has worked hard and managed to create a really interested hybrid of a superhero comic: take one part Lee/Ditko SPIDER-MAN and mix it with one part SAVAGE DRAGON, and you have INVINCIBLE. Essentially, the strong emotional core of teenage angst and romance is intertwined with Erik Larsen’s freakshow mélange of monsters and assorted odd characters. These three issues have plenty of action and plot movement, but their heart is the relationship between Mark (Invincible) and his girlfriend Amber, who has come to believe that his perpetual absences and excuses mean that he’s a drug dealer. Their confrontation, and his revealing of his secret identity, is the basis of the zero issue. In this $.50 priced book, Kirkman has his lead recap the book to date, which has the dual effect of letting Amber in on Mark’s secret life, but also makes the book much more new-reader friendly. It also leads to a momentous and mature choice for where Mark is headed next with his life.

Balancing the wonderful, brightly colored world of INVINCIBLE is THE WALKING DEAD. DEAD is a dark, bleak look at a world in the throes of a different Armageddon: an unknown plague has raised the dead, and zombies are walking the Earth in search of fresh, live food. The book follows a small band of survivors, led by a cop who missed the first month of the plague because he was recovering from being shot in the line of duty. The book isn’t so much about the zombies, though they are a brutal background presence. Instead, WALKING DEAD works as a different horror story: the creation of a new society, a new rule of civilization in the face of the collapse of the old one.

Issues 17 and 18 complete the latest arc, and they’re a stark example of this type of tale. When one of the survivors turns out to be a serial killer, Rick is forced to go against popular opinion and makes the unilateral decision to hang the perpetrator. Of course, nothing is ever quite that simple, and the resulting story is sad and gut wrenching. There’s so much depth of character, and such unpredictability to the plot, that you can never be even the slightest bit sure where the book is going.

This summer sees BATTLE POPE re-released, this time in color, and I’m hoping it finds the sick, twisted, depraved audience it deserves. It’s Kirkman in his rawest form, but I suspect that those brave enough to sample it and have a sense of humor about it will really enjoy it. And maybe, just maybe, some of those Marvel readers will trickle over and help Kirkman’s sales on the books that represent his best work