Comments Off | Posted: February 6th, 2013 | Filed under: What I've Been Watching, Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: steven soderbergh
Steven Soderbergh is, in my mind, the perfect director, someone who wants to explore genre and the medium in such a way that he’s sometimes invisible (second unit on The Hunger Games? What?), sometimes front and center (weird indie films like Bubble and the gleefully subversive Magic Mike), but always there. He’s a man who enjoys the work and the final product alike. Reading interviews with him always makes me excited about creating things, and that’s rare nowadays. His sense of perspective and lack of ego when talking about his box-office failures (especially Haywire, which I loved but the audience thought was poison) is also inspiring. The fact that he’s opting to stop making films while he’s still at the top of his game and move on to new challenges only makes me admire (and maybe hate) him a bit more.
I’m going to miss going to see two or three of his movies every year, but with such a varied back catalogue (including an HBO series I completely forgot existed), I’ll be able to revisit and re-appraise his work for the rest of my life without ever getting bored. Thanks, Soderbergh.
Comments Off | Posted: April 15th, 2009 | Filed under: Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: owen linders
The first time I saw Owen Linders’s character Ethan The Man Child at the LCS I call home, I immediately wanted to know who this guy was who was making these prints, and how I could get in touch with him. The visceral reaction I had to Owen’s work reminded me a lot of the first time I saw Jeff Lemire’s art in Stray Dogs, and I have the feeling that I’m seeing the first twitches of life someone who’s going to go places. You can check out Owen’s blog for more information and art.
Comments Off | Posted: March 31st, 2009 | Filed under: Outbound Linkage, Wild Enthusiasm
With the economy as it is, there’s been little to celebrate lately. Fortunately Jon Adams doesn’t believe in things like the economy, or money, or really anything made out of paper. But he does believe in celebrations, and that’s why he’s throwing a party devoid of paper invitations. Instead, the invitations are just these words on a computer screen. Your computer screen, probably, which is where the party will take place.
April 1st marks the one-year anniversary of Jon Adams’ Eisner-nominated Truth Serum in its webcomic format. To celebrate, the weekly comic will temporarily become a daily with each strip rendered by a guest artist. Those lending their varied and inimitable talents include J. Chris Campbell, Al Columbia, Dave Johnson, Sean Murphy, and Rob Walton.
Please join us and some other people on computers around the world for a week-long celebration, beginning April 1st. It all happens at citycyclops.com
Comments Off | Posted: March 24th, 2009 | Filed under: Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: jeff lemire, sweet tooth
Congratuations to Jeff Lemire for not only putting out a new OGN through Vertigo, but getting a new ongoing series, Sweet Tooth
, written and drawn by him with coloring by Jose Villarubia, with a first issue that will only set you back a buck. You can read more about it on his blog.
7 Comments | Posted: March 10th, 2009 | Filed under: Thinking About Comics, Thinking About Movies, What I've Been Reading, Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: el gorgo, jersey gods, marvel comics, secret invasion, Star Trek
The second issue of El Gorgo has been printed and is waiting for your Paypal information. Sure, you could read it in its entirety for free, but I honestly think these guys deserve your pocket change for actually printing a comic about a gorilla luchadore and making it much better than it actually had to be to keep me entertained.
A second printing of the first issue of Glenn Brunswick and Dan McDaid’s Jersey Gods is hitting stands this week. I’ve been promising them a letter of comment for some time but I am quite wary of doing this as I’m afraid it’d wind up being one of those unabashed “Oh my god like you guys are so good and Glenn’s script is super-witty and sweetly romantic while managing to capture the cosmic bigness of the gods in the story and that Dan McDaid, boy, he can draw real good and when are you guys going to start a fan club with a button set and a newsletter I’d be the first member” sort of things, but suffice it to say that if your local shop has a copy of #1 and #2 in stock on Wednesday, you’d find yourself a better human being if you deigned to spend money on these books. You’ll notice them by their fine covers by Mike Allred and Darwyn Cooke, two gentlemen that you may have heard of.
I got the trade for Secret Invasion because I remembered liking bits and pieces of it in single issues while being put off by the way the series hung together as a periodical. I can’t help feeling that is comes off as being really sparse despite having quite a lot of talking and punching. I read the entire 8-issue series in about an hour and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Am I alone in thinking that there’s no real depth to the work and that thematically, it’s pretty barren? Yeah, there’s plenty of rah-rah Marvel Fan Moments that I genuinely enjoyed (Maria Hill versus Jarvis on the Helicarrier in a sequence that should have been in one issue instead of spread across three, Nick Fury stone-cold shooting aliens in the face) but it left me cold in the end, feeling like a means to an end instead of a story in its own right.
That said, that Thunderbolts crossover trade was a lot of fun, mostly because I enjoy Norman Osborne vamping it up and being all arched eyebrows and hissed commands when he’s not in the public eye.
Man, that new Star Trek trailer, huh? Sure is something, isn’t it?
19 Comments | Posted: January 19th, 2009 | Filed under: Wild Enthusiasm
SEAGUY: THE SLAVES OF MICKEY EYE #1
Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by Cameron Stewart
In 2008 alone, superstar writer Grant Morrison killed Batman, put the entire DC Universe through its FINAL CRISIS and concluded the unanimously beloved ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. But what does a writer whoâ€™s written every significant Super Hero do when he can create any Super Hero he wants? The answer, of course, is SEAGUY! Morrison (THE INVISIBLES) rejoins original SEAGUY artist Cameron Stewart (SEVEN SOLDIERS) in an all-new adventure starring the cult-favorite character!
In Seaguyâ€™s cartoon future world, everyone is a Super Hero and no one dies. Itâ€™s absolutely perfect…Or is it? In this follow-up to the cult 2004 miniseries, Seaguy resurfaces with a sinister new partner, a hatred of the sea and a rebel restlessness he canâ€™t explain. Why are Doc Hero and his ex-archenemy Silvan Niltoid, the Alien from Planet Earth, whispering strange equations? Why is Death so useless? And can that really be the ghost of Chubby Da Choona mumbling uncanny warnings and dire prophecies of ultimate catastrophe?
When the grotesque powers lurking behind the corporation known as Mickey Eye and the Happy Group attempt to erase Seaguyâ€™s entire existence, can he possibly get it together in time to save a world so far gone it canâ€™t even imagine the horror lying in wait? Find out here in Morrisonâ€™s own personal reframing of the Super Hero concept for the 21st century.
On sale April 1 â€¢ 1 of 3 â€¢ 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US â€¢ MATURE READERS
1 Comment | Posted: December 4th, 2008 | Filed under: Meta, Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: adhouse, alan moore, brian wood, darwyn cooke, dave gibbons, dororo, farel dalrymple, jonathan lethem, local, omega the unknown, osamu tezuka, ryan kelly, scott morse, sean phillips, takehiko inoue, vagabond, watching the watchmen, watchmen
While Spurgeon, as usual, provides just about the most comprehensive guide to shopping for comic book fans, I thought I’d throw a few coins into that bucket and offer up an even ten items that came out this year, are relatively easy to find and should be (hopefully) be just outside of the norm for most comics buyers. While I think things like the Garth Ennis Punisher omnibus are fantastic, it’s unlikely that someone who really, really wouldn’t want it would just get it themselves or just outright say “Yes, please get me this massive book about a dude that kills dudes” to you over breakfast.
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Watching The Watchmen by Dave Gibbons
The new hardcover edition of the venerable king of metafictional looks at “real world” superheroes is basically a tiny homunculus of the core of the Absolute Edition of the book, with John Higgin’s touched-up color and art that looks sharper than ever. It’d be a nice thing to give to someone who’s already a fan but has either lost or worn out their original copy. Amazon also has the paperback edition at a very nice price, if you didn’t feel like splashing the $30 or so that I’ve seen the $40 retail hardcover go for.
I was initially skeptical towards what I saw as Dave Gibbons’s blatant cash-grab in the wake of the film, but the final Watching The Watchmen tome is a very nicely-produced look at the process behind the series. Chip Kidd does his usual nice job with the presentation, working with Mike Essl and Dan Scudamore’s photographs show off the texture of the art beautifully. It’s not essential, but one of the things I like about holidays is that they give you the chance to give people gifts they wouldn’t necessarily buy. There’s a direct market edition from Diamond Comics Distributors that you’ll likely have to special order through your shop that features a different dust jacket, some additional pages, and some portfolio-style cards based on the original art.
Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! by Scott Morse
Notes Over Yonder by Scott Morse
Morse may be better known nowadays as one of Pixar’s team of designers and artists, but his comics have been drifting just under most readers’ radar for the last few years. These are his two newest books, both of whom were distributed by Adhouse, my favorite record-label-disguised-as-a-comics-publisher. Notes Over Yonder is a small squarebound book with pretty straightforward pair of tales that work with music and a sense of isolation, reflecting each other as they build their own allegories. It’s a nice piece of work, really, but seems a bit empty compared to the other pick.
Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!, on the other hand is a more personal work, exploring the life of the artist as creator, citizen of the world, and father. It’s a pretty stunning work that I’ve read twice since receiving last week and plan on diving into again. The oversized format allows Morse to expand and contract his more-lush-than-usual art in tune with the themes and even those unfamiliar with his work will soon understand why he uses a tiger to represent himself on-page.
Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly
Omega The Unknown by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple
At first glance, nothing could be more dissimilar than Brian Wood’s look at a dozen years in a restless young woman’s life and Jonathan Lethem’s retelling of a Marvel Universe oddity, but both books touch on the theme of isolation, intentional and not and would be perfect for the more thoughtful readers you know. The Oni hardcover edition of Local is a Very Nice Object, with a size akin to one of those oversized hardcover collections that Marvel puts together and lots of extras, reproduced on high-quality paper with a handsome paper over board cover and silver ink on the spine. It’s a well thought-out, beautifully illustrated comics series that gets a reproduction that’s up to the material.
Omega The Unknown is a funny, literate look at a neglected character created by the late, great Steve Gerber. It manages to update the original story’s strange blend of superheroics and psychotropic monologues without seeming and with the help of Farel Darymple’s scratchy, organic art, the entire effort comes off as a distinctly human endeavor, something I’ve not seen a lot in the Marvel Universe of late.
Blast of Silence
Monsters and Madmen
With sleeves designed by Sean Phillips and Darwyn Cooke, this pair of Criterion DVD releases is a slam-dunk for the fan who likes either artist and has exhausted their comics repertoire for the time being. Blast of Silence is a lean piece of film noir that makes up for its low budget with careful craftsmanship. A fantastically downbeat narration underscores the story of Frank Bono, a hit man who’s going through some trying times. Fans of Criminal can see why Phillips was picked for the box art: movies like Blast of Silence inform his work on the title.
The four movies in the Monsters and Madmen box set are drive-in fodder, low budget science fiction and horror pieces that have more style than their peers. It’s easy to see why Cooke agreed to do the art for this: four period design experiments that revolve around each film’s title and content. I leaned more towards the junk science-fiction of First Man Into Space and The Atomic Submarine, but the horror Boris Karloff double feature of Corridors of Blood and The Haunted Strangler is nothing to sneeze at. The journeyman director Robert Day helmed three of the pictures and it’s a nice snapshot of the genre B-picture era.
Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue
Dororo by Osamu Tezuka
It’s hard to imagine two pieces of samurai fiction that are as different than Inoue’s meticulously-drawn, deliberately paced reimagining of the Mushashi Miyamoto story and Tezuka’s cartoonish, mile-a-minute Dororo, but both got lovely rereleases this year. Vagabond (which I believe is still being printed in its traditional format) began to be republished in the VIZBIG format that combines three of the previously-released volumes into one oversized book with extra color art and sketches, a better value for shelf space and for the wallet. The larger format works greatly in the book’s favor, as Inoue’s detail and background could be pored over for hours and the opening salvo of the projected 10-volume series feels that much more epic. For $20, I can’t imagine a more substantial gift to a manga or samurai fan.
It honestly took me the first forty or fifty pages of the first volume of Tezuka’s Dororo to get it, but I just finished the second last night and am fully invested. There’s a reason Tezuka’s so revered, and his varied oeuvre can give almost any comics reader an entry point into his unique combination of melodrama, goofy exaggeration, and perfectly-timed moments of quiet amongst the Carl Barks-like (Barksian?) hullabaloo of each story. As there’s only three books, it’s an easy set for anybody to complete, and Vertical’s design is, as always, sublime.
There’s lots more out there that I think is worth looking out for, but I wanted this list to be manageable for readers and myself. If you’re still not quite sold anything, you might want to check out my Reviews (where I’m reminded that the Joker graphic novel would be a nice adjunct to that Dark Knight DVD) and What I’ve Been Reading categories. Good luck with your holiday shopping!
3 Comments | Posted: October 23rd, 2008 | Filed under: Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: boom studios, michael alan nelson
Michael Alan Nelson talks to Shaun Manning at CBR about his new series, Hexed
, coming out through BOOM! in the next few months. There’s also 8 pages of art from Emma Rios and Chris Peter. I’ve read the entire first issue and very much enjoyed it. Nelson’s one of the exceptions to my “No Horror” rule because he really gets what makes things tick. He’s a really interesting guy to talk about process with because it’s so intuitive to him that he’ll say something brilliant but obvious to him, pause, and go “Oh, wow, that’s kind of smart, isn’t it?” The book’s in the current Previews
, and I think you can still order the first issue.
2 Comments | Posted: October 7th, 2008 | Filed under: Wild Enthusiasm | Tags: brat pack, rick veitch
It’s a few months before it’s in Previews
– the February edition for books shipping in April – but I’m already banging the pot with a spoon and telling everyone that they’ll want to order the new hardcover edition of Rick Veitch’s seminal Brat Pack
, featuring the original series with sketches, the original proposal that Veitch made to DC Comics, and other assorted odds and sods, filling out the package nicely. I can’t recommend the book highly enough – it’s the sort of underappreciated-by-the-masses piece that served as a vanguard for titles like The Boys
, shocking to this day.