Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Tue
09
Jul

Zoetrope Introduces Thumbelina to Grimm Fairy Tale Universe with 2019 Swimsuit Edition

GFT Swimsuit Edition 2019

Gather round, children, while grandpa tells you about this thing comics used to do way back in the 1990s called Swimsuit Editions. Taking a page from Sports Illustrated, these annual books were a showcase for artists new and established to show off what they could do with the company's character by giving them the chance to do a full page shot of them at their sexiest. Marvel did it. Image did it. Omaha the Cat Dancer did it, and she was usually naked in her book so this was a step up in wardrobe. (Don't just take our word for it. ComicVine has a pretty good collection of these gems.)

Tue
02
Jul

Charlie's Angels vs. The Bionic Woman a Brilliant Idea, Poorly Executed

Charlie's Angels vs. Bionic Woman

When it comes to licensed properties, Dynamite Comics is the king, having had success with MARS ATTACKS, VAMPIRELLA, RED SONJA, THE EVIL DEAD, and many others.

But for whatever reason, CHARLIE'S ANGELS is cursed.

The first miniseries was something less than a train wreck. A train wreck, because it was a horrible mess; something less than because even a train wreck will keep your attention.

Now there's what should be a sure-fire hit--the collision of two potentially great licensed properties. Collision is the write word because, once again, train wreck. But I have to try it, because it's CHARLIE'S ANGELS VS. THE BIONIC WOMAN. Not "meets," but "versus." Which basically pits three well-trained fighters against a superpowered heroine who has fought off small armies.

Sat
29
Jun

Not All Parody is Created Equal. Trump's Titans Volume One

Trumps Titans

"You want superheroes? I'm a superhero. People tell me all the time, 'President Trump, you're better than a superhero because you're real.' I should have a comic book. It would be the best selling comic book of all time, believe me."

    -- not an actual @realDonaldTrump tweet

Since the advent of mass printing and cartooning, Presidents have found themselves lampooned through the form of the comic. In more recent decades, presidents have found themselves appearing in the comic books, either devoted to them as biographies, doing guest appearances in a famous supehero's title, or being the questionable hero of a parody, such as Solson Publications's REAGAN'S RAIDERS, which saw the Reagan administration turned into super-soldiers to take down South American drug cartels.

Fri
28
Jun

Sina Grace Spills the Tea About Marvel's Handling of Gay Superheroes

Iceman and writer Sina Grace

Sina Grace has been a focal point controversy within the comics community. Not for unprofessional behavior or for unethical crowdfunding efforts, as is de rigeur for the troublemakers these days. No, the attention on Grace has been solely because he is a gay man, writing a gay character, who just happens to be one of Marvel Comics' oldest mutants: Bobby Drake, Iceman.

Fri
28
Jun

Absolute's White Widow Absolute Fun, with Concerns

Born out of a Kickstarter crowdfunding effort, WHITE WIDOW is the creation of Jamie Tyndall and Benny R. Powell, and puts a sexy superheroine front-and-center of the action. Gabrielle Garcia has just learned she was born with a fatal disease, and that her parents arrested the disease using experimental technology from the government think tank where they worked. But when the cure began to fade, another unique treatment was applied. Only this time, her parents got caught and her father was murdered before her eyes -- but not until after injecting her with some special nanites to bond with the white widow spider DNA that had already been spliced into her physiognomy.

The result: Part Philip Wylie's Gladiator, part Marvel's Carnage, part Spider-Man. In fact, lots of Spider-Man, right down to the sticking to walls, spinning of webs, and spider symbol on the front and back of her nanotech / spider-silk armor.

Fri
28
Jun

When Spectre Needs a Detective, There Will Be Blood

Batman Detective 1006

Detective Jim Corrigan is the human host for the Spirit of Vengeance known as The Spectre. But that's a secret that someone has figured out, and they've enacted a horrific, bloody plan to separate the ghost from the host, and hiding him where the supernatural spirit cannot find him.

You would think that when one "good guy" needs the help of another "good guy," it's a simple matter. That's not the case when The Spectre is involved. Because Spectre operates on a different plain, and reports to a higher authority. So when Batman visits the scene of the crime, he finds an abbatoir of death -- a dead police and the several bodies Spectre left behind that allowed the villains to steal away Corrigan. This is not the kind of "justice" Batman can get behind.

Tue
25
Jun

With a Bullet: Cave Comics Wins with The No. Ones #1

The No Ones 1 Cave Comics

I've never heard of Cave Comics (although I've been in a few comics caves in my travels around the country). But I have heard of Jim Krueger, from the mesmerizing job he did for Marvel on EARTH X. So when my friendly neighborhood comics guy at Cosmic Comics in Belleville suggested I check out THE NO. ONES #1, I was instantly intrigued. I expected Krueger to deliver a multi-layered mystery with a mixture of distinct personalities, and I was not disappointed. Well-Bee's washed-out inks and colors gave the superhero series a gloomy tone that helped establish the mood of the story going forward.

The Bastion are the city's superheroes. They're more than just heroes, however. They're role models with a carefully cultivated public persona and canny marketing. Their brand is valuable, in both social and physical currency.

Tue
25
Jun

Animal Rights Activists Get Their Own Heroes with Black Mask's Lab Raider

Lab Raider 1

Sarah and Jeanette have a calling. They are animal rights activists, willing to take things up a notch if it comes to hurting people in their pursuit of zoological justice.

The main story sees the pair breaking into an animal experimentation lab. We don't know why they experiment on animals. We learn they've recently begun to develop weapons for the government -- "Military contract from the new administration. You know." -- but whether they were a drug facility or something else isn't really important and extraneous to the fact that animals are being hurt. Let's assume it's for funsies.

As Sarah and Jeanette make their way through the facility -- conveniently left unsecured by an insider friend -- we are shown bits of their life through flashbacks. Which gets more confusing when the flashback has a flashback. Suffice it to say we are shown that they have had deadly run-ins with hunters, and have used seduction to trap and beat seal hunters for information.

Mon
24
Jun

Scout Comics Modernizes the Passion Play with CRUCIFIED

Crucified 1 from Scout Comics

There have been many times I've been tempted to write a modern take on the life of Jesus Nazareth. What's stopped me isn't the sheer audacity of the idea but rather the complexity of the world-building that would ensue from not having had that two-thousand-year-old touchstone upon which to hinge history. What year would it be, and what would the calendar be based on? Would the founding of America be much different if it were not for the search for religious freedoms?

Tue
18
Jun

Floppy Cop an Arresting Book of Bizarre Humor for Adults

Floppy Cop 2

I had heard of FLOPPY COP through social media, and writer Dan Dougherty. I've seen Dougherty's work before, and own some of it, so I was already predisposed to checking it out. Then when the first issue broke the top 500 in sales, for a relatively unknown indie press (Source Point Press), I was decidedly impressed.

So when I was making my comic stop at Cosmic Comics, and saw FLOPPY COP #2 on the shelf, I picked it up and added it to my stack. I also showed the cover to my son, reminding him that Dougherty was the artist who drew the Little Archie sketch hanging in his room, and that I'd let him read this after I had done this review.

At this point, I'm sure Mr. Dougherty is looking at his screen shouting, "No! Stop!"

Tue
18
Jun

Crossoverload: Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica Might be a License Too Far?

RS and Vampi meet B and V 2

Crossovers are great. Intercompany crossovers are even greater, because they are more rare (or used to be). Superman and Spider-Man was an epic event. (Batman vs The Hulk was my favorite, although less memorable.)

But the characters who seem to have the lead in the intercompany crossover department has to be the gang from Riverdale High. Archie and his pals and gals have run into The Punisher, Predator, and Batman '66, and Betty and Veronica have had their run-ins with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. So good on them!

They keep the crossover spirit alive with this event at Dynamite Comics -- RED SONJA AND VAMPIRELLA MEET BETTY AND VERONICA. It's more than just a mouthful of a title, it's potentially a plot overload.

Mon
17
Jun

DCeased Breathes New Life into Superhorror Genre

When I first heard about the DCEASED concept, the immediate callback was to the Marvel Zombies issues that saw the company's super-characters turned into creatures of the undead. But an appropriate amount of time has passed so that this doesn't seem derivative and, I have to admit, the name is deucedly clever.

The conceit of DCEASED is that Darkseid has finally found the other half of the anti-life equation, buried in Cyborg's programming. But getting it out might kill Cyborg, and destroy his chances at obtaining the equation. So Darkseid summons Death personified in the form of the Black Racer, to keep him from taking Cyborg. But by introducing Death into the equation, he corrupts it, and the modified anti-life equation destroys Darkseid and all of Apokalips as his zombied body releases Omega energy from the core of the planet.

Mon
17
Jun

Event Leviathin: The Real Mystery is, Who Are These Characters?

Event Leviathin 1

So I've just finished reading EVENT LEVIATHIN #1 -- and boy, are my logic processors tired.

Boiled down to its core, Brian Michael Bendis's grand design is a "mad bomber" story, utilizing technology that doesn't leave behind any clues other than the massive destruction and the aforementioned lack of clues. We open with Batman sneaking into the ruins of the darn-near-just demolished ARGUS facilities to investigate, only to find he's not the only investigator there. Not first responders or CSI teams or DHS agents. Him in the dark, because that's how a Batman story works. The bodies are skeletons, because the energy was just efficient enough to detroy tissue but not so hot as to shatter bones. And who does he find waiting inside but Lois Lane, who snuck in all on her own.

And she's holding a gun on him. And she keeps it trained on him for far too long.

The dialogue exchanged between them does not, unfortunately, improve anywhere else in the book.

Sat
15
Jun

Talking Peter Cannon with Kieron Gillen

When we reviewed the first issue of Dynamite Comis' take on PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT, we were taken aback by what we read. Was this a WATCHMEN derivative? Did Kieron Gillen think people wouldn't catch on? By the end of that issue, it became clear that things were muddier than we thought (if that makes sense), and the second issue had us hooked. This was something different, something that was far more metacomic than it was supehero adventure.

When the fifth and final issue came out, we were certain that the whole thing was a reaction to what WATCHMEN had brought us, and how it had changed the industry.

Fri
14
Jun

Superman #12 - A Beautiful Family Reunion

Another wonderful chapter in Brian Michael Bendis' run on Superman. He's truly building something wonderful for the Superman family that we've never seen done before.

***Spoilers Ahead***

As Rogol Zaar continues to be a thorn in his side, Superman is trying to make sense of everything happening. The mystery behind his father, the truth about the destruction of his home planet, and why General Zod is working with the Kryptonian killing Zaar.

Wed
12
Jun

Steampunk Terrorism Clear and Present Danger in Latest Newbury and Hobbes Adventure from Titan

Newbury & Hobbes: The Undying

Sir Maurice Newbury and Veronica Hobbes are special agents to the Queen who specialize in the outre. Their world may seem to be another steampunk genre adventure, but it is much, much more than that. It's as though the best Victorian-era Doctor Who episodes were used as the backdrop for the forerunners of Jonathan Steed and Emma Peel.

Our saga opens with Sir Maurice and Miss Hobbes in a street brawl, battling masked cultists. But these are no mere anarchists, for behind their masks lies a gruesome discover -- they are a mesh of man and machine, operated on by some mad genius who has advanced science and stunted ethics.

Tue
11
Jun

Red Sonja Battles a Chaos God in Birth of the She-Devil

Red Sonja Birth of a She Devil 1

I'm familiar with Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith's creation, Red Sonja. But it's a passing familiarity. I recognize the character, I've read a few issues in my life. But there are years of story that I have not read, an entire mythology that I do not know.

Fortunately, I don't need to know any of that with RED SONJA: BIRTH OF THE SHE-DEVIL. Narrated by Ozzyus, the warrior who found and raised the red-haired little girl who grew up to be the scourge of despots, this tale from Luke Lieberman finds a somewhat younger Sonja on a quest to find a childhood friend, Shashana, who has been taken by Raka the Forsaken. To do what she has to do, Sonja is presented as a mix of ruthless and beguiling, strong and nubile. She dispatches warriors with ease, whether in combat or by drinking them under the table, and it would be a challenge to find a rendition of Red Sonja anywhere in comics sexier than the way Sergio Davila portrays her in this issue.

Tue
04
Jun

Bettie Page Unbound Brilliant Cross-Title Marketing for Dynamite

Bettie Page Unbound 1 Dynamite Comics Royle

It's another Number One issue for Bettie Page from David Avallone and Julius Ohta. And yes, it's continuing the Lovecraftian tale of Secret Agent Bettie Page, who stands against the elder gods and ancient aliens, but it's a new chapter, a new theme, and thus deserving of a new starting point. (Really, the BETTIE PAGE books have all just been standalone reads of a larger arc anyway.)

BETTIE PAGE UNBOUND is something altogether different. That is, it continues the ongoing adventure of Bettie and friends trying to stop Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep from entering our realm, but this time the creative team has an entirely new angle: a dimension-hopping Bettie who winds up in the form of a different adventurer with each hop. In this issue, she's Bettie the Page, chain-mail bikini warrior of Hyperborea.

Yes, Hyperborea. Bettie is a bad-ass, sword-wielding warrior, aka Red Sonja, a property currently under license to Dynamite.

Mon
03
Jun

A Superhero President Replaced by The Donald Who Laughs in Keenspot's Adult Satire

The Donald Who Laughs 1 Keenspot

John Barron and Shawn Remulac aren't the first to jump on the presidential parody train, certainly not this administration. But they are certainly doing what they can to milk the satire out of politics and comics as they approach Donald Trump with the raunchy eye of lampoonists. 

Hot on the heels of TRUMP'S TITANS, the Keenspot creators introduce THE DONALD WHO LAUGHS, a dark version of Donald Trump [insert obvious political jab here] who has, with his daughter, Darkvanka, kidnapped the real President and First Daughter so that they can take their place. As President, this evil Donald Trump [insert reflexive coughing fit here if needed] can muck about with the direction of the country while his daughter complains about how boring Jared is as she impersonates Ivanka. 

Wed
29
May

Thunderbolt Claps Back at Watchmen in Final Issue

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt 5

PETER CANNON, THUNDERBOLT wraps up its story arc with this fifth issue, whereupon the titular character takes on the titular character. It's Peter Cannon vs. Peter Cannon, but really it's more Charleston Thunderbolt takes on Watchmen's Ozymandias. But there's more going on here than simple homage from Kieron Gilen and Caspar Wijngaard.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Comics