New Comics Day 10/29/2008

As I get closer to my moving day, I've started to notice that my "cut down to only buying comics that are on my pull list" strategy hasn't worked out very well. Instead, I've been saving money by only eating shitty, cheap food. I'm pretty sure this is my first sign that I have a problem. But, that's ok, because Comics, am I right? This was a good week for pretty good books. And, since I skipped last weeks review due to being sick, I'm going to review every single book I got this week. Let's see the scroll!

This is actually a really frustrating book for me. Part of me wants to hate it, because the writing makes Spider-Man look like a total asshole. I mean, I understand that there's a certain level of humor to the whole situation with this nasty "Greta" lady, but beyond that, half this book is Spider-Man making fun of a crazy lady right to her face. On the other hand, Joe Kelly writes a good Aunt May (not a fan of Chris Bachalo's pencils on her, though). That's not even mentioning the fact that the second half of this book makes up for the shittiness of the first half. We not only get a couple pages of surprisingly actually funny spider-bloopers, and a battle with a new-and-improved Hammerhead.

This book continues to be one of the most fun of the handful of Secret Invasion tie-ins I still pick up. This issue, especially, is particularly awesome. While journeying around with the Skrull Kill Krew, we get a chance to check in on the new Freedom Force, who I seriously hope get their own series, or at least more face time in this book. Not only does this team have former Initiative trainees Hardball, Komodo and Cloud 9 (who are now really badass, all of a sudden), but it also has a hero who is terribly underused, Gravity. Anyways, lots of fighting and skrulls, as you'd expect, but wait until you meet the original Skrull Kill Krew.

This Mitch Breitweiser guy draws an awesome Captain America Riding Atop a Nazi UFO. Oh, by the way, that happens.

I understand that the internet comics community is largely of the opinion that Grant Morrison can do no wrong. I've yet to reach that level of Morrison fanboydom. So, at risk of alienating myself, can I just say this book was only just ok? It follows a young english schoolgirl who runs away from home into a life of crime and drugs, and is a pretty entertaining book. I really love the concept, but it feels like it rushes along way too quickly. The main character often does these little "monologues" where she breaks the 4th wall, which could be fun, if it were more clearly defined of when she was going to stop talking in story and start talking to the audience. Instead, you can only tell that she's talking to you if she's looking at you, which you always realize after you've tried to read the text into the story. And, honestly, the "twist ending" was just bad.

MARVEL 1985 #6
This book, on the other hand, is so damn good. I really like the way Millar and Edwards manage to make this book feel like a movie. This mini series has had such perfect pacing all the way through, and even managed to tie up all the loose ends well. And, well, let's just say the end was enough to bring a tear to your eye. If you were some kind of sissy, I mean.

I'm pretty sure Chris Sims might have died when he read this book. Because, well, it's got Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy in it, see? And, as it were, that's pretty awesome.

Warren Ellis has really managed to put together a storyline that still has me trying to figure out what's going to happen. Normally, when you were 3 issues into a book (that's including issue #0!), and you've still only done a little bit within the books, I start to lose interest. Luckily, this book continues to hook me with the endings. This issue is a good example of that.

A bunch of supermen show up in Metropolis. People are worried. The end.

Bringing The Vanisher, one of my favorite classic X-Men villains, back in the mix? Ok. Killing him off at the end? NOT OK!


Got this from Church.

Your challenge is to write crossover fanfiction combining Step by Step and Teletubbies.
The story should use unplanned pregnancies as a plot device!

Generated by the Terrible Crossover Fanfiction Idea Generator

This is such a good idea.

I'll have some reviews for the weekly books up once I get over this cold.


Project Fanboy Interview with Troy Hickman

Project Fanboy just posted up my most recent interview with writer Troy Hickman. Here is a copy of the interview for all of you to enjoy. Don't forget to check out the Reviews section of Project Fanboy for the latest reviews by myself and the rest of the staff!

Eisner-nominated writer Troy Hickman took a few seconds out of his busy schedule to answer some questions surrounding his recent win of Top Cow's Pilot Season contest, and his upcoming series Twilight Guardian (due out in late 2009).

Ryan Eldridge: The Twilight Guardian seems to be the exact opposite of everything one would expect from a super-hero character. What was the inspiration for the character?

Troy Hickman: Gosh, I hope she's not the exact opposite, or she'll be out there committing crimes! You have a point, though; she doesn't really follow the standard superhero template. Twilight Guardian has some inner urge that drives her to patrol the streets at night, even though she's not necessarily going to encounter Arnim Zola or the Ultra-Humanite (and if she does we'll undoubtedly be getting a cease and desist letter!). The inspiration for her comes from my own sleepless nights walking the streets of suburbia, and from all the quirky but compelling folks I've met along the way.

RE: The character herself actually comes from another series you self-published. Why don't you tell our readers a bit about that book and what lead you to bring the character to Top Cow.

TH: Twilight Guardian first appeared in my Tales of the Pathetic Club series, which dealt with people suffering from various manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorders. The series was semi-autobiographical, as I've had some experience with OCD myself. Top Cow was interested in TG some years back when they contacted me about doing my Common Grounds series, but she sat on the shelf for a few years until Pilot Season provided the proper time and opportunity for her to return. The script for the Top Cow version of TG was basically an amalgam of her Pathetic Club appearance and the one-shot spin-off I did with her in 1995, with a bit of new material added, such as the parody comic pages.

RE: One of my favorite characters from the Pathetic Club books was Dr. Stein, any chance we're going to be seeing any of him in this series?

TH: No, probably not in this series, as the Pathetic Club stuff was not included in the Twilight Guardian deal. I would like to eventually do a recreation of it, though, in the same way I've done with Holey Crullers/Common Grounds and Twilight Guardian. I'm proud to say a lot of folks really dug that series, and I think it holds up today. I'd prefer to do it as a creator-owned series, though (my first), if Top Cow or someone else is interested (obviously Twilight Guardian would not be included in the new version).

RE: Let's talk a bit about the contest itself. Twilight Guardian developed quite a large grassroots support movement. Did you ever expect people to connect so well with the character?

TH: No, I can't say that I did. I went into this just being happy to have a new book on the shelves. I figured I'd have a nice one-shot that I could be proud of, and that, heck, maybe would manage NOT to come in last if I were lucky. And then the first week of voting came around, and TG was in third position. Since Top Cow was giving the top TWO books a series, I started thinking maybe it wasn't too crazy to believe I might have a slim chance. So I started beating the bushes something fierce, and I guess it worked.

RE: What do you think caused people to relate to her in the way they did?

TH: I think they possibly see a lot of themselves in her. She's a comic reader herself, and someone who's gone through heartbreak. More than that, though, she's looking for something out there, and I'd guess most of us are doing the same in some way.

RE: Your creative team on this book included artist Reza. Was it difficult collaborating across language barriers?

TH: Well, it wasn't too different, really, as pretty much all the "pro" comics I've done so far have consisted of me writing a script, giving it to my editor, then waiting to see the finished art. I haven't been able to really collaborate much yet, and that's something I'm looking forward to eventually. In the case of TG, though, I'm guessing there may have been some additional issues with communication, especially since my script was probably not the most conventional thing in the world, but we seem to have worked it out. I'm overjoyed with Reza's art.

RE: Artistically, one of my favorite aspects of this book was the inclusion of the snippets from fake silver age books. Are we going to see more Mantelope?

TH: We will if I have anything to say about it. Coming up with those pages was one of my favorite parts of doing this version of TG. As I went through the script, I found myself really looking forward to those pages. We'll definitely be looking at more of TG's comic collection in the mini-series, and I've got some other comic-related plans as well. And who knows? Maybe someday I can do a separate series with the likes of Mantelope, Heatnik, the Flaming Flag, and the rest.

RE: Both Twilight Guardian and your Eisner nominated series Common Grounds are based on books you wrote over ten years ago. In the time between, how much have the characters changed for you?

TH: They've actually changed very little. The scripts for the Common Grounds stories are almost verbatim from the original Holey Crullers versions, and Twilight Guardian is just a more developed version of her mini-comic appearances. The characters in both books have kind of a Silver Age vibe, so perhaps they have something of a timeless quality to them.

RE: Have you ever actually eaten a peanut butter and bologna sandwich?

TH: It's my favorite sandwich, and I've probably eaten a couple thousand of them (is it any wonder I'm the picture of health that I am?).

RE: Lastly, you've hinted that you were planning to take this series in a direction nobody would expect. Just between you, me, and the entire internet, are you at liberty to spill any secrets?

TH: Nope! Seriously, though, I think Twilight Guardian is unlike anything else on the stands right now, and I hope to keep it that way. I'll do my best to entertain the readers, and give them something that'll evoke a laugh and maybe a teary eye or two. I think that's the least we should expect out of our comics, and I'll certainly give it my best shot.

Many thanks again to Troy for taking the time to speak with us. The pilot issue of Twilight Guardian is available for free at Newsarama.


New Comics Day

New Comics Day was yesterday, and it was another great day for comics! I seem to be noticing that I'm enjoying my comics experience more now that I'm only buying books that I really enjoy. Also, I'm getting pretty fond of doing these reviews on Thursday, instead of Wednesday, so look forward to more of this in the future. So, without further rambling, let's check the list!AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #573
While I readily admit to early speculation that Anti-Venom was the dumbest character concept I'd heard in years, can I just comment on how fucking badass he is? However, I would really love to know what happened between his fight with Venom and his appearance at the end of this issue. Because I'm pretty sure that made no fucking sense. Or did I just miss something?

Of course, the real reason you should be interested in this issue (no offense to the creators) is the special Spider-Man/Stephen Colbert story in the back of the issue. I'm sure nobody expected a golden performance by the characters here, but I really wish it had been a little funnier. Granted, fans of the show will get a lot of chuckles at the inside-jokes,
and Spider-Man even gets a few witty comments that are actually witty. I think it just felt
way too rushed. I would've totally shelled out a few bucks for a full issue story.

To say I grew up a fan of the Ghostbusters is a bit of an understatement. I had all the toys. Even though they (for reasons I've yet to figure out) made Egon blonde. Even though most of the "ghosts" they busted on the TV show (or that came as toys) weren't actually ghosts at all. That didn't matter, because I was an impressionable kid who loved him some Ghostbusters. You could've sneezed into a paper bag and told me it was ectoplasm and I would gladly have paid you for it. Really, it wasn't healthy (mostly due to handling bags of snot). That all changed the day my god damn mother* (Hi Mom!) gave away my Ghostbusters
Firestation playset (and most of my action figures) to charity. After that I moved on to new
and exciting adventures with X-Men action figures and eventually discovered masturbation.
It's been pretty much the same since then. But today, I read this book, and I now have the
strangest urge to buy some snot. Anyone selling?

Just a word of warning to anyone considering buying this book. Not once, in this entire damn story, does Jimmy Olsen turn into a gorilla. In fact, the book has a marked absence of wacky and/or zany things. No mysterious gaining of super powers, no time travel, no slightly disturbing antics by the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club. Is it good? I guess in the only way that a book that doesn't involve Jimmy Olsen turning into a gorilla can be, sure.

This, on the other hand? 100% zany. Seriously, if you're not already reading this, you really need to stop being fucking stupid. This issue not only features Sentry fightin Ursus The Ultra-Bear, but also takes a moment to highlight Truman Capote's long, traumatic history with bears. Yeah, you read that right.


New Comic Book Day 10/08/2008

So, in approximately 1 month, my girlfriend and I will be moving into a new apartment. Unfortunately, that means cutting back on a lot of my extra spending. Which means buying less comics. Really though, it's kind of a good thing, since I tend to buy a lot of books I don't really like, just to keep up with big company-wide events. So, this was my last week to buy books outside of my handful of established favorites. And I'm glad I did, because a few of the books this week have really changed my opinion of what ends up on my finalized pull list. Let's have a look at what I bought this week.


Initially this was one of the books I had decided I was probably going to stop buying. It's been a good series so far, but the character never really lived up to the fantastic way he was written in Cable and Deadpool. This issue is only slightly above par compared to the first two, but the last page was really enough to save it from the chopping block for one more issue. Deadpool versus zombies? Yes, please!


I've been pretty pleased with this Final Crisis event as a whole, but I think I'm done with it and all these little tie-in books. These are the kind of books that I always find myself putting off until last, even though the stories are usually pretty good. I think I'm just tired of company-wide events. This particular issue is definitely not one of the best out there, but I think that's just a matter of personal taste for me. I've never been a huge fan of the Spectre, and the new lady Question really doesn't do it for me.


I think it's safe to say that Matt Fraction has been killing with this series so far. This is currently one of my favorite books on the shelves, so there's no way it's getting the axe from my collection. Not to mention the variant cover (which I've never been one to get too excited about) is absolutely gorgeous. This issue marks the end of a great story arc that (as the story states) really looks to be a turning point in the direction this series is heading.


Best comic of the week. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that Gail Simone is the best writer DC has working for them right now. I've never read her Birds of Prey work, but between this book and her current Wonder Woman run, I can't get enough. This book is cleverly written, and features what is probably the greatest conversation about mexican food that has ever been featured in a comic book. Not to mention that the art (covers especially) is great. I really can't say enough good things about this book. I'm definitely adding this to my pull list.



In addition to all the great content that I've not been posting here lately, I've also recently become the newest staff reviewer over at ProjectFanboy.com. You can head on over and read my review of Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons #4, with more to follow shortly!

But wait, there's more, I'm also the author of a brand-new miniseries coming from Highburn Studios. The story is based in the same universe as their title Tribulations, and is going to be pencilled by Tribulations creator Lyle Pollard. We're still working on getting an inker, colorist, and letterer connected to the book, but we're aiming for a release alongside Tribulations #3 some time after the turn of the year.