Archive for the ‘comics’ Category

Punisher War Zone: the Last Hurrah

January 16, 2009

punisher-wz Punisher War Zone

(6 issues, weekly; Marvel Comics)

Some things were meant to be together: peanut butter and jelly; coffee and cigarettes; Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. That last pair is perhaps my favorite writer/artist team working in comics today. It was about a decade ago when Ennis, hot off the heels of The Preacher, brought back a character that I swore I would never read again. What’s more impressive is that he managed to keep writing it well for all that time since. No, Dillon didn’t do all the art in that time, but I’m glad that he came back for this last hurrah, if this is indeed Ennis’ last take on The Punisher.

For those that haven’t seen Dillon’s work previously, check out The Preacher. This was a great Vertigo series (also written by Ennis), and it is where he mastered the “I am so fucked” facial expressions required for some of Ennis’ less-fortunate characters. I don’t know how to explain why Dillon’s work is so perfect with an Ennis script, other than something about his art captures the subtlety (and the not-so-subtle) of Ennis’ dark humor.

As for Ennis, well, what can you say? He was able to resurrect a character that had long been left alone because it had gotten ridiculous. To briefly go on a tangent, sometimes I honestly think Marvel editors sit in a room and say “Hey, you know that thing we did that made this book really great? Let’s stop doing that!” It pains me to see a new non-Max Punisher series, especially not written by Ennis, trying to bring the character more inside the mainstream Marvel universe. One of the things Ennis got so right about his take on Frank Castle is that he was fighting criminals, not super-villains. Aside from the occasional kicking of Daredevil’s ass, the Punisher has no business being in the same comic with any of the super-heroes. See the recent Punisher-Sentry one-shot thing to see why. It is absurd.

If it were up to me, no one except Garth Ennis would write The Punisher; once Ennis stopped sending scripts, we’d stop publishing it. But hey, it is Marvel after all. You knew they were going to fuck it up eventually. Get your last hurrahs with this weekly (yes, weekly!) mini-series, Punisher War Zone, which is wrapping up next week.

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The Best Comic You Aren’t Reading – Oct. 8, 2008

October 9, 2008

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I Kill Giants #4 (of 7)
by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura

I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this mini-series Image is publishing: I Kill Giants. The story centers around Barbara, a fifth-grader who has problems many fifth graders do: she’s a social outcast; a school bully taunts her; her home is less than thrilling. Oh, and she kills giants.

This series is really impressive. Since we see the story all from Barbara’s imaginative perspective, there is a nice blend of “real” and “fantasy.” It reminds me of some of the great Amy Racecar moments in David Lapham’s Stray Bullets – but, you know, not quite as violent. The story also does a great job of beginning as a quirky, funny tale of a social misfit, and gradually unfolds into a touching, almost-heartbreaking look into how a young girl copes with the problems in her life. It really sneaks up on you, and I have to commend Joe Kelly with perhaps his best writing to-date. I highly recommend picking this up.

Comic Collector Live

April 28, 2008

Over the years I’ve tried a variety of methods to keep up and catalogue my comics, ranging from very advanced to pen and paper. In the end, pen and paper ends up being the most effective for me. I have even tried to build my own XML sheets that will somehow do what I want, but I can never get it sorted out in my head exactly how to pull off what I want. The biggest obstacle, for me, is that I like to have lists of issues I am missing, more so than lists of what I do have. It may not sound like it makes sense, but try looking through hundreds of long boxes at a con during an early morning sale, and you’ll see how much easier it is to have a list of what you need versus what you don’t need. Anyhow, while I still rely on pen and paper, I have been trying out a program that I like; well, I like it more than any of the other programs I’ve tried over the years. It’s Comic Collector Live, a little java-based application. Here is my assessment of it so far:
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Gas Hike Comes to Gotham; Citizens Adjust

March 30, 2008

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After the aardvark

March 20, 2008

Because the guys at my local comic shop (Kingdom Comics) are the coolest in the world, I recently acquired an advance copy of Dave Sim’s latest title, Glamourpuss. And because they are super-cool, I also got an advance copy of his upcoming graphic novel/one-shot, Judenhass. To top it all off, I recently scored some Cerebus issues I am missing on Ebay, bringing me to lacking only about 20 issues of the entire 300-issueglamourpuss epic.
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The Pull List 3/12/08

March 19, 2008

Ok, so I missed posting about last week’s comics, so I’m making up for it here. The official excuse is that I got two teeth pulled, but honestly, I was just too busy. Nevertheless, last week had several great comics hitting the shelves. As for this week, the complete list can be found here. I’ve been saying for years that Diamond should release an RSS feed of their shipping lists, it would make everything so easier. Anyway …
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Meanwhile, at a Clinton rally, it all goes wrong …

March 15, 2008

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The Pull List – 03/05/2008

March 6, 2008

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Echo #1

Following his long running series Strangers In Paradise, Terry Moore’s next book came out this week. It is nothing like SIP, so far; whether or not that is a good or bad thing is up to you. I liked SIP, but I wasn’t crazy about it; that being said, Terry Moore definitely knows how to write a good story and put in it fully developed characters. Echo does not seem like it will be an exception, although it is always hard to tell anything about a comic based on 1 issue, especially the first one. Overall, it’s a good read – even if went by too quickly; however, it doesn’t strike me as the kind of book to attract die-hard faithfuls the way SIP did. It reminds me very much of the Luna Brothers’ work, but not quite as gripping. Perhaps, though, that may be attributed to Moore working on a book long term, versus 10-20 issues. Still, its a decent read, and I’ll give Moore a few more issues until I make a final verdict. Pick it up.

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8
(issue #12)

I finally picked up the back issues of this, and I am really glad I did. If you are not a fan of the show, it probably won’t seem as good as it is; however, if you liked the TV show and followed it, you will really dig this comic. It retains the same quip-driven humor, the great character interaction, and the realistic sympathy and awe old friends like Buffy and a one-eyed Xander could (often surprisingly) evoke in a show about … well, a vampire slayer. But that is exactly why the show worked so well; its best episodes were just as much, if not more, about a girl and her friends dealing with life, rather than vampires and a hellmouth and so forth. The best episodes always had the “monster hunter” aspect as a backdrop, not as an essential narrative element. The comic does the same, and long-time Buffy fans will enjoy the faithful addition to the slayer’s story. As the title suggests, it picks up shortly after the show’s finale; and with creator Whedon himself as head-of-show, you can rest assured it isn’t out to destroy your fond memories of the scoobies. Also good to know is that while it was originally slated to be a small mini-series, I’ve read they have around 50 issues they want to do now! Woohoo!

There were a few other notable items that came out this week: a new issue of Powers and  more New Frontiers stories; I really enjoy Darwyn Cooke’s work with DC characters, they look so right.  And his Wonder Woman is the best.  Anyway, that’s all, skip the rest.