Friday, September 07, 2007

Shaun Tan's THE ARRIVAL presents the immigrant experience in a new and fantastic way.

A real gem, I say.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lat is a terrific cartoonist, but TOWN BOY doesn't grip the reader on an emotional level...

Damn shame, that.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hitting the hump... THE LAST CALL offers up the strangest train in recent comics memory...

All aboard!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007


Taking advantage of the long weekend, I get an extra day to run the Blog Extra so here I am on a Monday. Don’t like it? Suck it, fanboy.

Now that I have my grump out of the way, I’m more than happy to talk about a new book hitting the scene from the folks at Image Comics.

MICE TEMPLAR #1 is written and drawn by Bryan Glass and Mike Avon Oeming, and is also one of those projects that has taken its own sweet damned time getting to the shelves of your local comic book store. Set in a long ago society of mice, the story follows a group of younger mice that begin exploring the legends of those who came before them. Now almost forgotten, the Mice Templar were a group of great warriors who eventually came to blows against one another and whose ranks dissipated soon after. But when a new threat rears its head, one mouse discovers that he has a different destiny than he could have imagined, and death comes to take its toll on young and old alike.

So let’s talk about the good stuff that’s here. Oeming uses a far different artistic style here than he uses on books like POWERS, and it’s extremely attractive to the eye. The characters are written with some verve, and exposition, which is a major must for a story like this one, comes across smoothly instead of clunky. The biggest plus around the book, though, is that it has 50 pages of story, in color, for four bucks. Few comics on the stands give you as much for your money as MICE TEMPLAR.

What doesn’t work? Let’s back up for a moment. Oeming first conceptualized the book almost a decade ago. A couple of short stories have appeared in the meantime, but no serious run at telling the tale has been undertaken until now. However, in the meantime another book built on similar myth, MOUSE GUARD, has hit the shelves and been a huge hit. Now, one has nothing to do with the other, but as a creator, I might have given thought to changing my approach in telling my own tale. Honestly, Glass and Oeming are putting together a classic “hero’s journey” here, but nothing about it screams that it has to be mice in the title role. When the biggest battle turns out to be against rats, the rats refer to the mice as “short hairs;” you could make that same difference with cats, when you think about it.

Again, that’s a value judgment about that choice, not about the quality of what’s on the pages of this book. Ultimately, the only real flaw is that the characters, by look, are difficult to tell apart, which is always an issue in any book starring animals. In fact, MOUSE GUARD had the exact same problem. This is a pretty solid effort with some speed bumps, and it’ll be interesting to see how smoothly the creators can roll over them.

Be back here through the week for site updates and/or friend me on MySpace. See you soon!