Welcome to the Comics Corner! This week features a little bit of everything for the big cross-over events with Avengers vs. X-Men #9 and Ultimate Spider-Man #13, super heroics in Peter Parker, Spider Man #156.1, World Finest #4 and Earth2 #4. And finally we stray away from the world of the superhero with Sweet Tooth #36, Mondo #3 and Double Jumpers #2! There’s only one way to find out who made to the Top of the Stack and it’s here, inside the Comics Corner!
By Edward Gambichler
The Creep # 0
A former flame gets in touch with you out of the blue via a letter sent to your office, at a private investigations firm, in which she asks you to look into the circumstances surrounding her son’s tragic suicide. Although things did not end well between the two of you, you’d probably sympathize with her plight, swallow your pride, and jump headlong into the case. However, if your Oxel Karnhus, this may not be as simple as it sounds. Karnhus suffers from “acromegaly”, a malfunction of the anterior pituitary gland which results in the overproduction of growth hormones. In most cases, this leads to patients developing oversized facial features ( as in Karnhus’ case ). Despite his reservations about having his former love, Stephanie see him in this state, Karnhus takes the case.
The inspiration for this character comes from an actor by the name of Rondo Hatton. Hatton, who suffered from acromegaly in real life, was a character actor from the 30’s and 40’s. Among his credits was the 1944 film “Sherlock Holmes and the Pearl of Death” where he was cast in the role of a killer known as “The Creeper”. Hatton played variations of this role in several B-movies including 1946’s “House of Horrors”. Hatton played the role of The Creeper in his final film, 1946’s “The Brute Man”. Hatton passed away from a heart attack that year ( due to his acromegalic condition ). In recent years, the late actor has enjoyed a resurgence in the medium of comics. Late artist Dave Stevens made his Creeper character a featured villain in both his “Rocketeer” comic as well as its film adaptation. And now Dark Horse Comics pays tribute to the actor in the new title, “The Creep”.
First off, the artwork. The issue is rendered by Jonathan Case, whose previous credits include “Dear Creature” and “The Green River Killer”. As an artist, I’m always envious of other artists who can achieve a balance between pencils and inks. I hold Case, along with Mike Mignola as a master of the ink quill and anyone looking to improve their understanding of the “white and blacks” of comic book art should look no further than Mr. Case’s panels. Also the color choices are inspired, with scenes set in the past using a warm toned palette of reds and yellows and scenes focusing on Karnhus using cool blues and greys. There are many instances where I buy the latest issue of one of Marvel and DC’s titles and my eyes are bombarded by a “busy” panel, where the action is just over-rendered to the point where the viewer suffers from information overload. I’m usually left with flipping through the book, my eyes darting over the art, just to get to the end of it. That is not the case with this book. With this issue, I’m not “drowning” in the panels but I’m carried away by the “smooth current”.
Now, the writing. This issue was written by John Arcudi, a Dark Horse mainstay whose credits include “B.R.P.D.” as well as “Barb Wire”, “The Mask”, and DC’s “Doom Patrol”. Making a character traditionally viewed as a villainous monster and recasting the character in the central role as the hero is a brilliant twist on the detective genre. Also, despite the film noir aspect of the subject matter, the script doesn’t contain the same heavy-handed dialogue of which you might find if Frank Miller wrote it ( although he did contribute the cover art ). The supporting characters are your normal everyday people. Not femme fatales, nor mobsters or their hitman associates. Ironically, the “heavy” in this issue IS Karnhus.
All in all, a strong start to what will hopefully be a lengthy run. I’m definitely “all in” on this title.
Follow Ed on Twitter @EFG72
Welcome to the Comics Corner! This week is filled with plenty of surprises from the Top of the Stack all the way down to an impromptu rant on the new Star Wars comic from Dark Horse! In between we talk a look at Amazing Spider-Man #690, Aquaman #11, The Flash #11 as well as a pair of Star Wars titles in Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead #4 and Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1. And don’t forget about Super Dinosaur #12 and Venom #21. Who climbed to the Top of the Stack and what do you think about this new Star Wars series? Is it the beginning of the great Expanded Universe reboot? It all awaits you in this week’s Comics Corner!
In this episode you have the usual roaster of Rob from AlternativeMindz, (In Spirit) Jukka from Scrolls of Eternia and Joe from Joe Amato Custom Creations! Follow them on twitter @AltMindz, @ToonJukka and @JoeAmato2!
Welcome to the inaugural episode of Masters Comic Cast. your hosts are Rob Base (Alternative Mindz) Jukka Issakainen (Scrolls of Eternia) and Joseph Amato (Joe Amato Custom Creations) Follow us on Twitter @AltMindz @ToonJukka and @JoeAmato2
Email us at MastersComicCast@alternativemindz.com
or Email Rob@alternativemindz.com
By Edward Gambichler
The Goon Volume 11
“The Deformed of Body and the Devious of Mind”
When I first began to study comic book illustration, I came across a brilliant artist by the name of Berni Wrightson. I was amazed at, what I thought at the time, was a revolutionary inking style. However, while pursuing Wrightson, I came upon one of his early influences, another artist by the name of Graham Ingels. Ingels, along with Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Frank Frazetta, Johnny Craig, Al Williamson, and Reed Crandall ( to name just a few ) made up a stable of artists which produced work for an imprint known as EC Comics. Owned by legendary and controversial publisher William Gaines, the company specialized in horror, science fiction, as well as crime fiction titles. From out of this company sprang the popular “Tales from the Crypt”, “The Vault of Horror”, “The Haunt of Fear”, as well as “Mad” magazine. The stories contained in these books prompted a psychiatrist by the name Frederic Wertham to write book titled “Seduction of the Innocent” which blamed comic books for most of the juvenile delinquency in 40’s and 50’s era youth. This book in turn led to the creation of the Comics Code. And with that, and no pun intended, the final nail in the coffin of most of the horror titles associated with EC. Since these titles spoke more to my sensibilities at the time than did Superman or Spider-man, I was saddened by the industries lack of good and truly creepy horror stories since then ( and, I’m sorry, no matter how dark he could get……Batman was just not cutting it for me ). That is, til I picked up my first issue of creator Eric Powell’s “The Goon”.
The comic book title centers around a character called the Goon, a grizzled giant of a man who poses as an enforcer for a long dead gangster named Labrazio. The Goon killed Labrazio ( who was hiding out in the carnival the Goon was living in ) when the Goon’s favorite Aunt Lizzie was killed in a crossfire between the police and the gangster. Since then, the Goon has taken over all of Labrazio’s criminal rackets and kept up the illusion that Labrazio is still alive. Unfortunately, for the Goon, the town where his operation is located is continually besieged by supernatural creatures ranging from zombies, vampires, carnival oddities, and the occasional giant squid ( forcing the Goon to take on the role of the town’s protector as well ). He is aided by his best friend and sidekick, Franky ( who the Goon saved from a pack of bullies ).
And with the publication of the collected issues that make up Volume 11, well…I just can’t say enough about this title. First, the artwork. As an artist myself, I usually follow book titles based on the artwork inside and these collected issues are just pure eye dessert. There are few artists who can use black ink with such precision and balance as Eric Powell does in these issues. The only artists who I place in this limited talent pool are Wrightson, Wally Wood, Dave Stevens, Steve Rude, Mike Mignola and, of course, Will Eisner. I’ve scanned through this collection twice already and I cannot find one panel that isn’t a master class in inking style. The drawing style and figurework harken back to the old EC Comics house style as well as Eisner’s spirit with a dash of Jack Kirby’s vitality of movement. And the carefully chosen color palette only enhances the already beautifully rendered panels and doesn’t overpower them. There are a great many artists working in the industry today. However, not many of them have the capacity to breathe this much “Life” in their books as Powell does in these issues.
As far as the writing goes, this collection provides plenty of laugh out loud moments. Powell rips apart and satirizes horror movie and mainstream comic conventions. You will literally piss yourself with Powell’s take on the “Twilight” craze, as well as the prevailing and uninspiring cross hatch inking techniques of todays’s contemporary comic book artists. Eagle-eyed film buffs will also catch references to Dracula director Tod Browning’s controversial film “Freaks”. And as a member of the Communication Workers of America Local 1101, I particularly appreciated Chapter 4’s subject matter dealing with greedy corporations and labor union disputes. If only we had the Goon on our side to prevent us from winding up being among the dreaded “99%”. And with an extra retro cheesecake factor provided by special guest, real life Canadian burlesque performer Roxi D’Lite ( in Chapter 3 ) and you have a book which speaks to every reader’s sensibilities.
It is my greatest wish that film-maker David Fincher will procure the funding needed to go ahead and give The Goon the full length cinematic treatment that was hinted at in the teaser trailer released at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con.
Follow Ed on Twitter @EFG72
By Alex Vazquez (follow on Twitter @Net_Lex)
I jumped into this month’s issue of Conan the Barbarian having sadly missed the last one. With that said, there is a lot of exposition, apparently in contrast to the melee of last month’s issue. Love and loyalty is forged, and destinies are foretold.
Brian Wood’s script is absorbing. The characters emotions are well conveyed, making you care for them. His young Conan is less gruff than his older counterpart, but just as charismatic.
Meanwhile, Becky Cloonan and Dave Stewart’s art team creates an appropriately somber mood. Unfortunately, having missed the last issue (where apparently all the action took place) I have yet to see how Ms. Cloonan handles fight scenes.
Hopefully, we can look forward to more ‘sword’ in this sword n’ sorcery tale. Until then enjoy the well written exposition.
By Alex Vazquez
We’re three quarters of the way into our story, and as expected events are coming to a head, as assassins strike and blood-thirsty beasts are unleashed. All the while, our barbarian King has his back to the wall (just the way he likes it).
Timothy Truman’s bells and whistles have added an extra dimension to this retelling of Robert E. Howard’s original story. He follows the REH tradition of displaying Conan during the different eras in his life. More satisfyingly, it feels organic to the mythos.
Tomas Giorello and Jose Villarubia’s artwork has yet to disappoint, the page depicting a certain snake is especially sublime. Moreover, I find the panels juxtaposing between the different points in Conan’s life beautifully subtle.
The last issue can’t get here any sooner. May Mitra deliver it with swiftness!
Follow Alex on Twitter @Net_Lex
By Alex Vazquez
Usagi Yojimbo # 144 presents the satisfying conclusion to the ‘Shoyu’ two-parter. As predicted, the action ramps up and the katanas fly.
As a new reader of this series I find Stan Sakai’s art endearing — it’s like Charles M. Shulz meets Goseki Kojima (Lone Wolf and Cub). There is a lot of swordplay, as one would expect from a series about a Ronin (masterless Samurai). However, don’t expect to see any blood in this kid-friendly series. With that said, Usagi still eff’s up his enemy’s with extreme prejudice.
Mr. Sakai also wraps up the story nicely; the villain gets his comeuppance and Usagi is there to give a fitting one-liner. While this story follows the tropes of a jidaigeki (Japanese historical drama) to a tee, it does so with style and class.
I’m looking forward to what trouble Usagi-san gets into next issue. Until then, pour that soy sauce and enjoy.
Follow Alex on Twitter @Net_Lex
By Robert Greenwood
From Dark Horse Comics:
The classic-era Star Wars adventures conclude in this fifth and final volume of Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago. . . .All your favorite characters are here-Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewie, the droids, and more! With nearly six hundred pages of material, this massive omnibus collects Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #86-#107, their final US-published issues! * Stories from the classic era of the original Star Wars films! Giant 568-page omnibus!
Star Wars Omnibus: A long Time Ago Volume 5 collection finishes up the remainder of the “Marvel” comics run on the Star Wars franchise. It collects issues
86 -107 as if these traded collections of one of the worlds greatest franchises needed to be sold on. First off, to get your tastes buds going, this set houses what some fans would argue as unique in the Star Wars Mythology characters (that would never have existed outside the realm of comics) are all here. The lover affair of Han and Leia continue and we even get Lando acting as cool as the other side of the pillow. Boba Fett and many of the films back characters are also very well represented.
If there is a negative, it would be these collected issues were published in the early 80s and sometimes the art doesn’t resemble the actors themselves. But if that’s a complaint then there’s truly no reason to fret. If you are a die hard Star Wars fan, then you need this trade. If your just finding out about Star Wars, go and grab all the trades and read them with simple enjoyment. On a scale of Alderaan and Death Star this is 7 energy beam blasts out of 10. (and Boom goes Alderaan)
Detail specs: Writer: Various Artist: Various Genre: Star Wars, Science-Fiction, Action/Adventure Publication Date: February 08, 2012 Format: FC, 568 pages, TPB, 6″ x 9″
- Price: $24.99 Age range: 12 ISBN-10: 1-59582-801-X ISBN-13: 978-1-59582-801-9
- Follow Rob on Twitter @AltMindz