The Comic Queen

Zip ribbons and word balloons, Wednesday bliss and Previews dreams. If these phrases mean anything to you, then you're in the right place. But if they don't -- hey stick around anyway. You might just like what you see.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Drive Review

Drive GN
Frequency Press; $11.95
Writer: Nate Southard; Artist: Shawn Richter

Drive is all action, with the perfect title. Nearly instantly (page three, to be exact), the story starts to roll when cabbie Brian takes on a fare who puts a gun to his head and tells him “Look straight ahead, put both hands back on the wheel, and DRIVE.” Soon Brian is wrapped up in much more than he can handle or ever expected, and at a break-neck speed.

This isn’t to say that the pace is out of control, though. In fact, that’s what impressed me the most by Southard’s writing. He clearly has a good feel for pace. It would have been easy for an action comic to get rolling too quickly and come to a slamming halt at the end, but Southard manages to avoid this.

For an action comic, especially, he also steers pretty clear of letting his dialogue become too clichéd or hackneyed. Cliché dialogue just pulls a reader right out of the panel and brings awareness that the story is just that—a story. It creates too much distance between the story and the reader. Drive, on the other hand, pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the end. It’s fast paced and relentless, but definitely in a good way. This is overall an enjoyable read, and I expect to see good things to come from Southard.

The most criticism I have for the book is that the art left a lot to be desired for me. Proportions were often off and the characters were almost overdrawn with detail. The panels, however, were easy to follow and didn’t get in the way of the “driving” storyline, something even the most skilled artists sometimes have a difficult time achieving.

Bottom Line: B-

Note: to see more detail, click on images for a better view.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ebay Comic Watch 8/11/05

Here’s the latest installment of Ebay Comic Watch. You can find these particular auctions by pasting the item number in ebay’s search box. Note that the ending times are in PST, so calculate accordingly.

Catwoman: When in Rome #1-6
Bidding was at $2 a bit ago, shipping is $2.99
Item number: 6552829492
Ends Aug-14-05 09:21:55 PDT

Transmetropolitan TPB Lot, Vols. 1-5
Bidding was at $11.50 a bit ago, shipping is $4.00
Item number: 6552014563
Ends Aug-14-05 19:45:48 PDT

Thundercats, a nice lot of 14 comics
Bidding was at $5.99 a bit ago, shipping is $3
Item number: 6552057417
Ends Aug-14-05 22:12:53 PDT

Human Target vol. 1 #1-4, vol. 2 full run #1-21
Though this was recently cancelled, it’s a great series and well worth picking up on ebay – especially at such a great price!
Bidding starts at $1, shipping is $3.25
Item number: 6552258879
Ends Aug-15-05 18:31:11 PDT

Conan Dark Horse series #1-18, with extras
Bidding was at $19.95 a bit ago, shipping is $5
Item number: 6552490533
Ends Aug-16-05 17:43:02 PDT

Unstable Molecules #1-4
Bidding starts at $1.99, shipping is $3.85
Item number: 6552760069
Ends Aug-17-05 23:16:50 PDT

Eightball #1-18
Bidding was at GBP 5.00 a bit ago, international shipping varies
Item number: 6552805337
Ends Aug-21-05 07:16:24 PDT

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

August Previews Highlights: Erin’s Picks

In addition to Kerry’s picks, I’ve got a few of my own.

Pick of the Month:

Jew Gangster: A Father’s Admonition HC
IBooks – pg. 292; $22.95; 128 pgs. B&W
By Joe Kubert
From just the couple small sample pages provided in Previews, Kubert looks to have done a beautiful job with this story following a young man who turns to gangster life even though his father warns him about taking that path. “With the same intensity and detail that he put into ‘Yossel,’ Kubert recreates a time when even the most innocent person was caught up in the dark underbelly of society,” says the solicit.

Featured Comics:

Pyongyang: A Journey to North Korea HC

Drawn & Quarterly – pg. 277; $19.95; 184 pgs. B&W
By Guy Delisle
Nearly making my pick of the month, this GN provides a rare look into the country of North Korea. Delisle presents his observations of the country while living in Pyongyang for two months on a work visa.

Loveless #1
Vertigo – pg. 111; $2.99; 40 pgs. FC
Writer: Brian Azzarello; Artist: Marcelo Frusin
I’m not a fan of the Western, per se, but this new on-going looks amazing. The sample pages are reminiscent of Pia Guerra (Y: The Last Man) or Cliff Chiang (Human Target), and with Azzarello writing the series, this is a very promising addition to the increasingly impressive Vertigo line-up. Set post-Civil War, Wes Cutter is looking for peace after leading a so-far brutal life. His road to peace, traveled with his wife, looks to be just as harsh, though.

Top Shelf Conversations #2
Top Shelf – pg. 364; $4.95; 48 pgs. B&W
By Jeffrey Brown and James Kochalka
I thought issue #1 was an incredible romp through the brains of two artists (Kochalka and Craig Thompson). Now Kochalka returns to take on Jeffrey Brown (one of my favorite creators) in the dueling-pages format of the series exploring art and comics along with, I’m sure, many other subjects.

The Return of the Elephant One-Shot
Adhouse Books – pg. 203; $6; 48 pgs. PC
By Paul Hornschemeier
Described in Previews as an “eerily quiet story of a solitary man and the ulterior motives involved in a visit from a longtime friend of the family.” Hornschemeier is an incredible talent, so I’ll be picking this one-shot up for sure.

Sunset City GN
AiT/Planet Lar – pg. 210; $9.95; 80 pgs. B&W
By Rob Osborne
Another solid bet is the combo of Rob Osborne and AiT/Planet Lar. In this graphic novel (which, by the way, is even less expensive than the usually reasonably priced GNs from the publisher), Osborne tells of Frank McDonald, a retirement community member who decides one day to come out of retirement and “takes life by the balls.”

Quick Picks:
Dark Horse will reissue The Goon #1 in a new edition for just 25 cents. This off-beat comic has been hit or miss for me personally—some issues I love, some not so much—but the comic is well worth a try for a quarter (pg. 28; $0.25; 32 pgs.).

Steve Niles pens this three-part prestige-format Batman tale titled “Batman: Gotham County Line” (DC; pg. 57; $5.99; 48 pgs.). The sample pages with art by Scott Hampton sold me on this story, though I’m not sure why DC likes to release three-part prestige-format titles, when they could just issue them as one GN. Oh well.

A 64-page “Tomorrow Stories Special" #1 is being released along with “Tomorrow Stories Book Two TP” from Wildstorm. Alan Moore, Steve Moore, Kevin Nowlan, Hilary Barta, Rick Veitch, and Melinda Gebble team up for these imaginative anthologies (pg. 108; $6.99 & $17.99; 64 pgs. & 160 pgs.).

I still need to read the first “Amazing Joy Buzzards” series, but since Kerry’s been raving about it, I feel comfortable recommending the new second series, issue #1 coming out in October (Image; pg. 134; $2.99; 32 pgs.).

Steve Niles shows up again in Previews with “The Lonely Tombstone” from Image Comics, which is a one-shot following Darla and her new friend, a tombstone (pg. 140; $5.99; 32 pgs.).

I’m just going to have to quote from Previews for the comic "Mr. Night" from SLG, Glen Dakin, and Phil Elliott: “The Enemy of Mankind takes a holiday in Greece, holds a discourse on love and human relationships, meets Pythagoras and discovers that no man is a triangle.” See what I mean? (pg. 222; $2.95; 24 pgs.).

“Lookit! Volume 1: A Cheese Related Mishap” GN looks like a silly and fun book featuring cartoon-like art and nonsensical circumstances (Don’t Eat Any Bugs Productions; pg. 276; $8.95; 96 pgs.).

As usual, Fantagraphics has more than a few promising offerings this month. One of which is “Acme Novelty Library #16” by Chris Ware (pg. 284; $15.95; 64 pgs. FC) and another is “Beg the Question” GN by Bob Fingerman (pg. 284; $16.95; 248 pgs.). The latter follows a 20-something couple in 1990s NYC.

Xeric-winner Alex Cahill is the creator of this one-shot “Something So Familiar” (New Radio Comics; pg. 317; $4; 48 pgs.). The wordless comic tells of a man driven to suicide, who jumps off a building and discovers he can fly.

Never forget to check the Books section of Previews, as there is usually a gem or two back there. This month one of the gems is “Animus,” a storybook by Emmy Award-winning animator Seonna Hong. Using paintings and “animated popup elements,” the book follows a little girl (pg. 400; $25; 34 pgs.).

Trade Treatment:

Catwoman: When in Rome
A collection of the gorgeous mini-series by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
DC – page 63; $19.99; 160 pgs.

Vertigo: First Offenses TP
Vertigo follows up their “First Taste” budget sampler trade with this new volume collecting “The Invisibles” #1, “Fables” #1, “Preacher” #1, “Sandman Mystery Theatre” #1, and “The Sandman Presents: Lucifer” #1.
Vertigo – page 119; $4.99; 168 pgs.

24-Hour Comics Day: Highlights 2005 TP
The best of 24-Hour Comics Day is showcased in this tome of a TP.
About Comics – page 199; $24.95; 496 pgs.

The Collected Sequential HC
The out-of-print seven-issue series “Sequential” by Paul Hornschemeier is collected in hardcover form.
Adhouse Books – page 203; $25; 256 pgs.

The Complete EC Picto-Fiction Library Set
This is the final component of “The Complete EC Library” and collects the series “Shock Illustrated,” Terror Illustrated,” “Crime Illustrated,” and “Confessions Illustrated.”
Gemstone Publishing – page 287; $150; set of four HC books in slipcase.

Elk’s Run
By Joshua Hale Fialkov, Nel Tuazon, and Scott Keating, this book collects the first three issues of the rare indie book of the same name.
Speakeasy Comics – page 325; $7.99; 80 pgs.

Friday, August 05, 2005

August Previews: Kerry's Picks

I didn't have enough time to take a close look at Previews this month, but I wanted to post my top two comic book picks.

Paris #1
pg. 222; Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics; $2.95; 24 pages

Andi Watson and Simon Gane bring us a four-part story about two young women living in Paris. Set in the 1950s, Juliet and Deborah study art and yearn to experience the Bohemian lifestyle. I sign up for everything that Andi Watson works on, so of course I'll be picking this one up. I'm looking forward to the setting, since Watson's stories are usually set in the present day. Also, I'm eager to see what Gane brings to the table.

She-Hulk 2 #1
Marvel Previews book; Marvel Comics; $2.99; 24 pages

Finally! I was very sad when this series ended as it was one of my favorites last year. I hope more people pick up the book and it is given a chance, like Runaways, to succeed. Season one was such a fun ride and I don't see why two will be different. The whole team is back for more super-hero court and She-Hulk goodness.

To read my top two graphic novel picks, please check out Bookshelf Comics.