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.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Silver Comics Review

Silver Comics 2 from Comics #1-4
Silver Comics; $2.95 each
Writers: Johnny Ortiz, Dan Beltran, Rubén Procopio; Artists: Mark Prudeaux, Vince Musacchia, Alfredo Nunez, Tony Hamad, Lou Rodriguez, Jacob Kurtzberg, Scott Seeto, Bryan Mon, Dan Beltran, Rubén Procopio

In the introduction to “Silver Comics” #1, Keoni Beeyok states, “The hope of Silver Comics is to re-introduce you to stories that run on the fuel of adventure, storytelling, and some good old fashioned artwork.”

The first four issues of this series accomplish this hope in spades. Each issue of “Silver Comics” combines different artistic styles with the sensibilities of classic golden- and silver-age comics. Honestly, most of the silver-age comics I have read, I haven’t enjoyed as much as these issues of “Silver Comics.”

Each issue includes multiple short comics typically serializing the adventures of different ongoing characters. There are also stand-alone stories, pin-ups, and even a prose entry in different issues, but, for the most part, the issues follow a rotating cast of larger-than-life characters.

When creating a new universe of characters with a golden- or silver-age feel, the two biggest mistakes possible are either copying established characters too closely or using a tone that comes off too much like parody. Thankfully the “Silver Comics” characters avoid both of these pitfalls very successfully. The parallels that can be drawn are due only to the fact that there are certain archetypes inherent in the superhero genre, and when the “Silver Comics” characters mirror “brand-name” characters more closely, it can best be described as homage.

The characters that make the most appearances in “Silver Comics” are Sea-Bolt, a hero for the seas; Cloud Buster, a soldier who becomes trapped in the super-strength mega-suit issued by the military; Man-Star, a superman-like character who—to his own horror and his world’s—kills a “peace observer;” The Man Called Santa, yep, that’s THE Santa who ends up battling Satan himself; Chameleon Man, a detective-type homage to Alex Toth; and The End, another detective-type but more on the level of Batman, for example. There are other characters, as well, who have just shown up on a one-time basis (so far, anyway).

The vast majority of the stories are great fun to read, well-written, and well-paced for the serial format. Really the only character that could have been more successful in a one- or two-story arc is The Man Called Santa, which has, after four issues, worn itself out and is falling flat. Characters I’d personally like to see more of are Chameleon Man, Man-Star, Sea-Bolt, The End, and Captain Rescue.

The art is just as enjoyable as the stories. Varying from cartooning to nearly Alex Ross-like realism, the art changes from issue to issue even with the same characters, making the stories even more dynamic and surprising. The art is so skillfully realized, it really should be garnering more attention.

The bottom line is that no matter if you grew up with the silver-age influence or if you’re simply looking for a change of pace, do yourself a favor and pick up “Silver Comics” starting from #1 for a fun, exciting, and enjoyable read.

Bottom Line: A-

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

October Previews Highlights: Erin's Picks

Whew, time flies when you’re busy as hell. Just getting around to my October Previews highlights, but better late than never is what I say.

Pick of the Month:

Scott Pilgrim Volume 3: Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness
Oni Press – pg. 309; $11.95; 176 pgs. B&W
By Bryan Lee O’Malley
I’m seriously behind, because I haven’t read volume two and here’s a solicit already for volume three. Based on volume one alone, though, this book should be great. I just got a big kick out of Scott’s character and the way O’Malley managed to incorporate a video-game mindset into the book. Funny stuff worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Featured Comics:

The Best of The Spirit TP
DC – pg. 92; $14.99; 192 pgs. FC
By Will Eisner
I haven’t read much of the lauded-series “The Spirit” by Will Eisner. So I’m very excited to see that DC is collecting 22 Spirit “sections” in this “best of” format. And the edition is affordable to boot.

One Page Filler Man
Image – pg. 138; $11.99; 140 pgs. B&W
By Jim Mahfood
Mahfood cracks me up – I’ve loved most of his stuff and liked the rest. If the sample pages are any indication, this latest book should find itself in the “loved it” category.

DEMO Collection TP
AiT/Planet Lar – pg. 209; $19.95; 288 pgs. FC
Writer: Brian Wood; Artist: Becky Cloonan
The twelve issues of “DEMO” are together again for the very first time and waiting to be added to your collection. Each issue was so different that some struck more of a chord than others. If you haven’t read the series, I highly recommend doing so, and now’s the perfect time with this collection.

Image Comics Holiday Special 2005
Image – pg. 149; $9.99; 100 pgs. FC
Ah, the classic holiday special rears its snow-laden head again this season. This one looks quite promising with a laundry-list of great creators including Robert Kirkman, Scott Kurtz, Eric Larsen, B. Clay Moore, and Jim Valentino.

Blood River
Image – pg. 135; $7.99; 72 pgs. B&W
Writers: Mike Avon Oeming and Daniel Berman; Artist: Brian Quinn
This smallish GN is touted as based on actual events occurring in the 1970s when four friends plan to leave their small town existence in New Jersey but “find that fate, nature, or some monstrous power has other plans for them.”

Quick Picks:

Dark Horse collects some strips of the online hit comic “Penny Arcade” into a 25-cent print edition (pg. 19; 24 pgs.).

As usual, I’m excited about another issue of DC’s “Solo” coming out (pg. 84; $4.99; 48 pgs.). This series is one of the best DC has issued in a long time. This issue, #8, features the art of Teddy Kristiansen who gets a helping hand from writers Neil Gaiman and Steven T. Seagle. Each issue features a different creator that when left to their own devices showcases even more talent than I expect.

I was lukewarm to the first “season” of “Hard Time” (the six-issue series is available in trade), but started to warm up to it by the end of the series. So, I’m willing to give it a try in season two beginning again from DC, writers Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, and artists Brian Hurtt (the best part of season one) and Steve Bird (pg. 75; $2.50; 32 pgs.).

Neil Kleid and Miguel Montenegro have a new series coming out from Image. “The Intimidators” looks to be a souped-up book about super-heroes (pg. 140; $3.50; 32 pgs.).

“Age of Bronze,” by Eric Shanower, is one of the best comics published. Pick up the two trades, issue 21, and then you’re ready for the new issue coming out in December (Image pg. 152; $3.50; 24 pgs.).

“Thunderhead Underground Falls” GN by Joel Orff looks promising. The book takes place on the coldest night of the year in Duluth, Minnesota (which means freakin’ cold – I’ve been there, take my word for it) when three friends get together to read poetry, which turns into a competition for the affection of an unexpectedly invited girlfriend (Alternative Comics pg. 216; $14.95; 128 pgs.).

SLG has an intriguing little book coming out from Sonny Liew titled “Malinky Robot Bicycle” (pg. 218; $2.95; 48 pgs.).

Two books look good from Archaia Studios – I’m anxious to check out “The Lone and Level Sands” FC GN retelling the book of Exodus through the eyes of Ramses II (from A. David Lewis, mpMann, and Jennifer Rodgers; pg. 227; $17.95; 160 pgs.) and “Robotika” #1 by Alex Sheikman and Joel Chua – a “steampunk sushi samurai western” (pg. 227; $3.95; 32 pgs.).

Ethan Young has the first issue (of three) solicited for “Tails” following “the lives of two cynical, misanthropic, tofu-loving animal activists” in NYC (Bohemian Press pg. 242; $3.95; 40 pgs.).

“Destined for Dizziness” by Souther Salazar is billed as “a gimmick-free, all-ages children’s book” (Buenaventura Press pg. 246; $5.95; 48 pgs.).

One release I’m really looking forward to sampling is “Unruly” #1 “a comix and literary journal” featuring comix and commentary (Dork Storm Press pg. 270; $4.99; 64 pgs.).

Peter David’s “Fallen Angel” makes its return, this time from IDW. I read the first trade and wasn’t sure what all the hype was about, though I would like to read more. Nice to see a book with a following have a breath of new life (pg. 285; $3.99; 32 pgs.).

The “Flying Friar” stand alone will be offered from Speakeasy Comics, Rich Johnston, and Thomas Nachlik. Another book based on a true story, this one involving the supernatural (pg. 317; $4.95; 48 pgs.).

Trade Treatment:

Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon TP
Collects issues 206-213 of Wonder Woman written by Greg Rucka. One of the best arcs in the series so far.
DC – page 85; $19.99; 192 pgs. FC

Fables Vol. 6: Homelands TP
Collects issues 34-41 of Fables including the arc that follows Boy Blue as he returns to the homelands – probably the best arc in the series. If the solicit is correct, this is a bargain price, as well.
Vertigo – page 112; $14.99; 192 pgs. FC

David: The Shepherd’s Song Volume 1 TP
By Royden Lepp with Josh Ray
Though I’ve only read the first issue of this three-issue “volume one” series so far, I still feel confident recommending it. The art is beautiful and the story of King David long before he’s king is excellent material for anyone to start with.
Alias – page 210; $8.99; 72 pgs. FC

Temporary Volume 1 TP
The first collection of Damon Hurd’s and Rick Smith’s intriguing series.
Origin Comics – page 311; $14.95; 152 pgs. B&W