Archive for the 'awesome' Category

22
Jan
09

Ex Machina #40

Script by Brian K. Vaughan Pencils by Tony Harris

The fact that Ex Machina has a mere ten issues and one special left to it’s run makes me nervous on a monthly basis. In a medium where we know the JLA will never really be killed off or end a finite series seems so alien. As Vaughan’s previous series, Y The Last Man, was winding down readers all over the country were slowly forced to confront the hard truth: the book is going to end and it’s going to end on Vaughan’s preplanned terms. Much like Y, Ex Machina is a work of staggering genius, a work that builds upon the propensity of Alan Moore and the character work of Harvey Pekar while maintaining a real sense of early 1960’s Marvel mythology. I haven’t read anything about Stan Lee reading the series but I could only imagine that he’d enjoy it thoroughly.

The concept of Ex Machina is fairly simple; it’s about New York and anything Brian K. Vaughan sees as New Yorkish. It becomes more complicated from there. Mitchell Hundred, a civil engineer, has half of his face blown off by a strange glowing device near the Brooklyn Bridge and upon regaining consciousness, can talk to and control every machine he is in a close vicinity to. He becomes the world’s first superhero, inspired by DC heroes and Superman. He later retires from being a superhero, realizing he’s changing nothing, runs for mayor of New York City and wins.

By making comic heroes a very real fiction in Ex Machina BKV has begun a dialogue in the book about comics themselves, which is what this stand alone issue is all about. Thus far the only single issue story among tightly-plotted five issue story arcs counting down to the 50th issue, this issue seems immediately special and it certainly is. In the issue Mitchell Hundred decides he wants to make a memoir in the form of a graphic novel and two of the people who audition for him are Brian K. Vaughan and, yes, Tony Harris. The portrayal of Vaughan is especially interesting in this issue as a kind of frightened, neurotic writer who is scared of looking like an idiot while the very laid back and impressive Harris hits on secretaries and generally enjoys himself while in Gracie Mansion. Vaughan’s interview in the comic is an interesting one, a dissection of his loyalty to New York, how he hasn’t been able to leave it since September 11th, an event that has been integral to both the plot of Ex Machina and the life of Mitch Hundred and his former alter ego, The Great Machine. This issue appears to be very much about Vaughan and New York, though it’s not done in a way where Vaughan is celebrating himself, instead he seems to be celebrating his faults and weaknesses. And his love of NYC.

The idea of meta-fiction isn’t new by any means, during the second year of Fantastic Four Jack Kirby and Stan Lee has the FF meet them in their studio and it’s not nearly as subtle or meaningful. Reading it last year in the great Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1 was a fantastic treat but it borders on crass and is a definite walk into the jokey and goofy world of Lee’s absolutely non-serious writing. Vaughan does a much better of walking that fine line between telling a story about the characters that are based on you and telling a story celebrating you by showing just how great you think you are. But of course, there’s that whole bit about standing on the shoulders of giants. Because of his love

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21
Jan
09

Green Lantern #36

Sometimes I think about quitting superhero comics and just reading good indie stuff and human interest stuff and focusing more on reading traditional novels, devouring some classics in my spare time. Then I see things like this:

and I say, “ah, fuck it. Tolstoy can wait”

The complete mindfuck of the green lantern books has been that a year ago after the epic that was essentially empire strikes back of Geoff Johns’ GL trilogy ended, the final page basically said “oh, in 2009 the dead will rise, create their own army and go to war with all of the living. your loved ones are not safe.”

and so it goes on and on and the different corps are established and armies are built, strongholds are made, the book of Oa is rewritten and slowly and surely with major character development and fantastic art and action, we get to march towards mount fucking doom with Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis.

If you aren’t reading green lantern you are fucking with destiny.

21
Sep
08

shameless self-promotion

hey, I’m selling stuff on Ebay to try to pay my rent and generally be more economically powerful.

if you know some emo kids who don’t know that emo means electric guitars, I’m selling 15 Bright Eyes CDs.

Right Here

If you like Cosmic Police enforcing the universe and sometimes getting to sit back and have a beer, I’m selling 3 Green Lantern books

All three Green Lantern Corps trade paperbacks

If you like zombies, bad ass suspense writing and really good characterization, I’m selling five Walking Dead trade paperbacks

The first 30 issues collected in five trades

If you like Joss Whedon or Brian K. Vaughan, I’m selling Whedon’s entire run and some of Vaughan’s work on Runaways

Runaways Volume 2 issues 19-30

if you like the Justice League or Brad Meltzer(whose book I was pimping just last month), I’m selling a whole bunch of Justice League comics by him and Dwayne McDuffie and right now it’s dirt cheap.

JLA comics are good for you

or if you like Warren Ellis, fucked up science fiction or horror comics, I’m selling two Strange Killings books

9 issues collected in two books

Feel free to pass that info on to anyone you know who is a nerd.  The auctions end around midnight tomorrow and I’m trying to bank enough money off of ebay sellings to pay this month’s rent.

12
Sep
08

Important news about the lord

Arthur Suydam, the fantastic artist and only good thing about Marvel Zombies(sorry Kirkman and Phillips, I like your other work), has completed a new cover for Alternacomics rerelease of Jesus Hates Zombies, their first anthology of Jesus and his zombie fighting adventures. This release should come out in time to coincide with the release of the second anthology, which is supposed to feature a time traveling werewolf slaying Abraham Lincoln.

If you have any sense at all, you’ve shit your pants from excitement.

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10
Sep
08

Wintastic sale going on at Top Cow until Friday

Right now Top Cow, fine purveyor of graphic novels and occasional comic books, is having a great sale on a large section of their graphic novels.  Many of their books are $3, which is a serious steal.  I think it ends Friday, so you should get over there and get some deals.  Both of Jeremy Tinder’s books are on sale and Matt Kindt’s 2 Sisters book is half price.  Matt Kindt writes amazingly touching retro spy graphic novels, in case you didn’t know.

And you can grab Alex Robinson’s newest book for a slight discount.  It’s a fantastic read by a gifted human interest cartoonist/writer.  I’ll probably be buying this, which has come highly recommended by my local comic shop owner:

There are even some deals on Alan Moore’s books

I plan on putting a serious dent in my bank account this weekend.  you should too.

29
Aug
08

Wolverine #68: Old Man Logan Part 3 of 8

Written by Mark Millar

Art by Steve McNiven

Reuniting the Civil War creative team, this eight issue run on Wolverine has been so good that I’m actually willing to buy an X-Men spin-off book and not only like it, but rant about it, pass it out among friends and generally try to pimp it to all decent human beings(sorry John McCain).  Taking place 50 years in the future when, by undisclosed events, a small handful of supervillains have conquered earth, killed all of the superheroes and essentially displaced humanity into small regions across the glob, a pacifist Wolverine and a supposedly blind Hawkeye run drugs across the country to pay the Hulk’s offspring the rent they owe them for living on their land.  But it’s so much bigger than that.

“No one knows what happened on the night the heroes fell. All we know is that they disappeared and evil triumphed and the bad guys have been calling the shots ever since. What happened to Wolverine is the biggest mystery of them all. Some say they hurt him like no one ever hurt before. Others say he just grew tired of all the fighting and retired to a simpler life. Either way he hasn’t raised his voice or popped his claws in fifty years. His old friends would barely recognize him now.”

Millar, a crazy Scottish bastard, is a top form here and in only three issues has created a new, unexplored landscape and small cast of characters so fascinating that it’s impossible to put down.  Millar has done for Wolverine what the Kirkman achieves in Walking Dead; making the monthly wait for a new issue painfully suspenseful.  Something that’s interesting is that, although the current journey across America with the two main characters talking and having short form adventures, what’s truly interesting is watching the past 50 years unfold as the days slowly proceed into the future.  For anyone craving dystopia, this is exactly where you want to be.

The idea here is that you have this pacifist who loves his family and doesn’t want to fight and his best friend is dragging him into a situation where ultimately he’ll have to fight, to pop his claws and kill some people.  Through the story Millar also creates a mythology that the X-Men comics of the 1990’s did a great job of capturing, building on the reverse formula that Chris Claremont used, which was to tell a story set in a possible future where everything has gone wrong.  Millar turns the tables and sets up a future where everything is already wrong but we don’t know why, we have to hang on and watch the situations unfold, situations that are not inherently based in the past, but slowly elude to them, crafting a past we never knew.  With this method he is incredibly successful. The series is slowly building to either an early resolution followed by some kind of serious self-reflection and conflict situation or, the scenario I’d prefer – following in the footsteps of Garth Ennis’ Saint of Killers one-shot in which the violent man makes good, starts a family and loses his family.  And then he kills everything that ever breathes at him.

Also – an evil Spider-Girl beheading a blinged out 50 Cent version of the Kingpin, virtually every superhero is dead and you get the feeling nothing is going to work out.

29
Aug
08

X-Men Origins: Jean Grey One-Shot

 

Written by Sean McKeever

Art by Mike Mayhew

 

In the first of hopefully several(at least enough to spotlight the original 60’s line-up, which would make a half dozen or so issues, which would essentially quantify an average mini-series anyway, which would also collect quite nicely into a trade paperback or even perhaps a hardcover) card stock single issue stories recounting the initial discovery of a character’s manifestation of power, McKeever and Mayhew seriously deliver in a way that completely shocked me.

McKeever is a capable writer with a familiar name, though I cannot initially recall any of his previous work, I assume he’s been published by both of the majors and is likely to have assembled some mass of independent work.  I’ll certainly be looking for more from him because, when coupled with a talented artist like Mike Mayhew, he assembles one hell of a book.  Clocking around 40 pages of painted art and sequential story, the initial display of a young Jean Grey being shocked by her psionic manifestation, leading to mental problems and eventually an intervention and invitation to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters by the man himself.  Though the script doesn’t defy any medium standards, he does a good job guiding the book along.  I feel bad for him though, because no matter how good he’s writing here, the literary aspect of the book is bound to be overshadowed by Mike Mayhew’s intensely beautiful brushes.  Hence:

The first three quarters of the book are a refreshing departure from the typical superhero antics commonly found in x-men comics; spandex clad action shots rife with explosions and typically unexciting action sequences.  It is here that Mayhew owns the page in it’s entirety with people who dress like people, actual human beings in pants and shirts and sweaters and from this very first page, the realism of the story is grounded immediately.  

 

I can’t help but compare this to Alex Ross’ work, though there are stark differences, I would rank this on par with him.  I’ve always been a huge Ross fan, as my constant pimping of Project Superpowers proves, but I can honestly say that this is the pay off of Ross’ contribution to sequential storytelling; influencing others to follow in his footsteps with high quality brushwork realism, showing artists that it’s possible to sell comics and produce high quality art at the same time.  For this, I hope this book sells a shitload.

These realistic physical portrayals set the tone for the book quite well, but they also lead up to the last few pages featuring the young x-men in costumes which, due to undersaturation(a serious rarity) you actually get excited when they break out the spandex and start destroying things.

I look forward with hungry eyes and great anticipation for more from this team.