Saturday, December 01, 2007



It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with a pile of goodies from those sexy beasts at Dynamite Entertainment. Let’s remedy that, shall we?

EDUARDO RISSO’S TALES OF TERROR is a collection of stories drawn by the great artist and written by his frequent collaborator Carlos Trillo. With eleven stories total, that’s so much gorgeous Risso art that you almost don’t need another reason to pick up the book. However, it turns out that the stories are generally pretty good as well. Most are meant to evoke some of the classic EC work from the 50s, offering a twinge of ironic horror in their denouements. Some, though, prove to have a wicked sense of humor, the best being the third chapter in the collection in which a man whose greatest attribute is his eternal apathy discovers that you can carry certain things beyond the grave after all. But my favorite is the final tale, which dissects the eroding marriage of a class-crossed couple. Again, it has a wonderfully snarky ending, and demonstrates an edge you don’t see enough of in comics these days. I love that Dynamite has been bringing more of Risso’s foreign work to the North American audience; his stuff is so damned good that it shouldn’t be missed. Buy this.

Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello continue their excellent work on the LONE RANGER, with issue 10 bringing the second story arc to a close. This fine closing chapter finds the Ranger wounded and having to test his faith in Tonto. There’s a killer still on the loose, and while the Ranger remains stridently opposed to killing, Tonto has never shared that particular value. He must also balance his own vow against killing against the idea of the justice system’s inability to protect prisoners. While you might normally expect a more action-packed resolution to an arc, the action here moves on a moral level and is shockingly gripping. The Ranger has never been portrayed, character-wise, any better than this, and you have to hope that the next Hollywood incarnation takes its cues from the best western to hit the shelves this decade.

WITCHBLADE: SHADES OF GRAY #4 is written by Leah Moore and John Reppion and drawn by Walter Geovani, and concludes DE’s collaboration on Top Cow’s flagship character. The story got off to a relatively decent start, and the writers seemed to be making a concerted effort to make a solid stab at putting together a non T&A book featuring the character. And even with some diversions along the way, they almost pulled it off. The actual plot required thought and movement, and through three issues, the art was fairly serviceable and never embarrassing (or, frankly, looked like a Top Cow book). Unfortunately, while Moore and Reppion do their best to deliver a tense climax, Geovani’s art just buries it. Bad anatomy, clothing on Sara that makes no sense, impossible spine angles and ass shots- I honestly felt bad for the writers. For the completists only, I’d think.

Finally, a look at Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s THE BOYS #12. I’m not going to address the book’s contents so much; it’s another great issue in what has been a great series. Instead, I’d like to take a moment to disagree with a friend. He took offense to one of the characters in the book using the “N” word, and I get that completely. It’s a horrible word, one that should be expunged from the language. But the character isn’t using the term on Ennis’ behalf- he’s not speaking for Garth. Instead, the character that uses it (a Russian) does so as a bastardization of what he has learned and adsorbed from imported American popular culture. For better or worse, the prevalence of the term, particularly in music, has given the appearance of a cultural acceptance of the word in the United States. That isn’t true, but it is what we’ve put out there. Thus the character’s use of the word acts as a slam against the use of it in any sort of way. I think it shows Ennis as a sharp cultural critic, personally.

That’s it for this week. Friend us on MySpace and make sure you drop by here throughout the week for main site updates.


Friday, November 30, 2007



Chances are, if you like the work of a U.K. born comics writer or artist, they were at some point in their life a big fan of DAN DARE. Some have even taken that appreciation for the character a little further than most; what is Warren Ellis’ MINISTRY OF SPACE but a cynical tribute to the great space pilot? If you are a fan of BBC’s brilliant DOCTOR WHO spin-off TORCHWOOD, you can also see some of Dare in its main character, Captain Jack Harkness. Long a staple of the great comics magazines like EAGLE and 2000AD, Dare now makes his return thanks to longtime fan Sir Richard Branson and his involvement in Virgin Comics.

As written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Gary Erskine, Dare has retired and moved on from Earth’s International Space Fleet, enjoying the quiet splendor of a quaint English village where the pub is lively and the cricket matches amongst the local youth are carried out in the best of sport. But in space, trouble begins to brew- there are ominous signs of Dare’s old nemesis Mekon stirring in the distance. Thus must the Prime Minister, a somewhat corrupted version of Tony Blair, prevail upon Dare’s sympathies for his old home, in the hopes he will once again put on the uniform and fly under his planet’s flag.

DAN DARE reads much like a comic I would have devoured as a young boy. Ennis and Erskine eschew their Vertigo roots and do a very straight-forward and PG take on the character (as they should) and reintroduce him well to a new generation of readers. There’s nothing ponderous or deeply intellectual about any of it; there are space battles, character moments, cool technology, and a scary threat. The very things that capture a reader’s (young or old) heart. Ennis’s script is somewhat cynical, but not overboard, and you never stop seeing the hero beneath Dare’s beaten exterior. And Erskine simplifies his approach to the art; much of his work can be very complex on the page, but his pages here acknowledge how misguided that would be. Of all things, the work must appeal to a younger and newer reader.

Solid debut, and a book that looks to be a solid read for the time to come.

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Friday, and the living's easy...

Elliott returns with a new COMIC CULTURE WARRIOR and addresses a female reader's supposition that Tony STark's character can be saved only by sex at this point.

I also review the noir thriller NARCOLEPTIC SUNDAY, which features a man who wakes up next to his murdered girlfriend. Hard to believe something that crappy didn't happy on a Monday, isn't it?


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Today at The Waiting Room... Vince comes back from vacation with some interesting news: he's back to doing a little bit of comics retail work. What happens when you return to one of your old haunts after a long time away?

Read the new OMNIUM GATHERUM and find out!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hitting the hump... comics get literary with Stephane Heuet's adaptation of Marcel Proust's REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST VOLUME THREE: SWANN IN LOVE PART ONE.

Kinda good, kinda not.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Like a quality indy book? Me, too. One of the better ones over the last couple of years actually began as a minicomic and worked its way up to floppy format. I'm atlking about, of course, Joshua Cotter's excellent SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST.

Issue four, the conclusion, has hit shelves, and my review appears today.


Monday, November 26, 2007