The Comic Queen

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Single-Panel Reviews: Baron Von Donut, Zombie Tales, Jew Gangster

Baron Von Donut from http://www.arseniclullabies.comThe Thousand Deaths of Baron Von Donut
Arsenic Lullaby Publishing $2.99
By Douglas Paszkiewicz
Spoiler Warning: Baron Von Donut doesn’t actually die a thousand times. There. I said it. I ruined the whole comic for you in one sentence. Kidding, kidding.
The comic actually includes a collection of short comic tales (anywhere from one to five pages long), a few of which feature Baron Von Donut – a grown-man-sized plain donut who wears a top hat, drinks quite a bit, and has a delightfully dry sense of humor. The rest of the stories focus on a variety of characters, from aliens and scientists to robots and regular Joes. This comic is one of the best I’ve just happened upon in a long time. It cracked me up with its subdued humor, and I highly recommend it.
Bottom line: A-

Zombie Tales: Oblivion
Boom! Studios $6.99
Writers: John Rogers, Michael Alan Nelson, Mark Waid, Andrew Cosby, Keith Giffen, Johanna Stokes; Artists: Tom Fowler, Andy Kuhn, Mark Badger, Benjamin Roman, Ron Lim, Keith Giffen.
As with most anthologies, some stories were better than others, but as a whole this book was a solid compilation of short zombie comics. They varied from drama to action to comedy, and were a nicely paced mix of the three. The book began with an intriguing take on the plight of zombies in the cold north of Canada in “Momento Mori.” The next comic “Riot Grrl” was an action story – the plot wasn’t as interesting to me as the art by Andy Kuhn. Good stuff. The next two stories were a couple of my favorites of the group. Mark Waid and Mark Badger made a nice team on “Luther” – a drama following a small group who pass their lives after the apocalypse cleaning up zombie corpses. A gruesomely funny “I, Zombie” was next – I don’t think I’ve seen Benjamin Roman’s work before (on art), and I really enjoyed it. The last two stories were less interesting for me, but like I said, overall, this was a good book – there’s something in there for most readers.
Bottom line: B+

Zombie Tales: Death Valley #1
Boom! Studios $6.99
Story: Andrew Cosby; Writer: Johanna Stokes; Penciller and Inker: Rhoald Marcellus; Colorist: Arif Priyanto
A group of high schoolers in “the Valley” manage to inadvertently miss a worldwide zombie-inducing weather phenomenon by getting locked in their school’s bomb shelter. When they get out they’re shocked to find their families and friends are all gone; though more shocked to discover no one’s missing – they’re just zombies now. The art is good, and the coloring bold. I liked this first issue pretty well – it’s got a lot going for it; though I think younger audiences – middle school, high school age -- would enjoy the comic even more.
Bottom line: B

Jew Gangster
iBooks $22.95 HC
By Joe Kubert
In his latest graphic novel, Kubert paints a picture of the life of Ruby Kaplan, a young man in 1930s Brooklyn who is tired of seeing his family live hand to mouth on his father’s “honest” income. Determined to live comfortably no matter how he earns his money, and how much his father admonishes him, Ruby falls in with the Jew gangsters of the neighborhood and apprentices with one of the gang leaders. I thought the plot was interesting and had much potential, and the art was mostly very high quality, as you might expect from Kubert. The problem I had with this book was that it lacked a real emotional pull. I couldn’t get into the characters or feel moved by their plights. The book kept me at a cool distance instead of pulling me into it. I can’t pinpoint any big flaws with the book, just as I can’t pinpoint any incredible highlights. This was a good read but was missing a real soul.
Bottom line: B

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