Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ANT-MAN DOUBLE PASS GIVEAWAY!


The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world….

Thanks to those tiny, yet heroic folks at Marvel Australia & New Zealand and ANT-MAN in cinemas July 16th, we have 10 Double In Season Passes to give away!

To go into the draw for your chance to win all you need to do is tell us, "What is the best part of being small?"

Terms and Conditions:
Only entries made via the the comments on the Facebook post will be included in the draw.
All entries will go into the All Star Barrel and winners will be drawn at random.
Entries close 6pm Monday the 6th of July and winners will be announced Tuesday the 7th.
Tickets will only be available to pick up from the store and winner must produce photo ID upon pick up. Tickets MUST be picked up no later than a week after the draw. Any remaining tickets after this date will be given away at our discretion to make sure they don't go to waste.

A huge thanks again to Marvel Australia & New Zealand and ANT-MAN in cinemas July 16th.

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR JUNE 30TH


Hey, hey…

Let’s talk book-books for a moment. Skip ahead to the sequentials if you like. 

Here’s a hot tip for all writerly, left-leaning, philosophically-inclined comics readers out there: the most important and creatively-influential non-fiction books you should be reading are published by Semiotext(e). Their catalogue has influenced the recent work of writers like Warren Ellis, Ales Kot and novelist Jeff VanderMeer, whose Area X trilogy of books, all released last year, need to be smashed into your brain ASAP. With Semiotext(e), start with The Coming Insurrection, head into The Administration of Fear and then pick at random as you will (The Soul At Work or Where Art Belongs would be my choice). Your mind will split open like a flowering 
orchid.

I shouldn’t drink and write these intros….



Onward!


COMIC OF THE WEEK : SEX
By Joe Casey & Piotr Kowalski
Published by Image Comics

I can’t remember where I read this, but during his 2000-2002 run writing Detective Comics, Greg Rucka commented that the biggest problem he had in plotting the series was coming up with things for Batman to actually do. Bruce Wayne was never a problem for the writer, which likely explains the “Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” storyline of the period. Joe Casey and Piotr Kowlaski’s Sex takes this idea of featuring the man behind the mask (or the mask behind the man, depending on your view of which is which) and runs with it, giving us The Armored Saint, a superhero who has swapped his costumed adventures for corporate drudgery and, as a result, is forced to come to terms with both his own sexual repression and the very nature of his masculinity and identity. It’s very much, at least in its beginnings, a kinky Bruce Wayne in retirement book.

Despite Sex featuring a Batman-analogue of sorts, it’s perhaps worth noting that obviously Batman himself is not sexless. Whether he’s portrayed as the “hairy chest love god” as Grant Morrison once proclaimed, or the monogamous, but still very sexual, “Boyfriend Bruce” or being forced to conceive a child with the daughter of one of his most dangerous enemies, or being accused by real-world psychiatrists of inappropriate relations with his teen sidekick, or hilariously getting it on with Catwoman in cringe worthy early New 52 books, Bruce’s/Batman’s sexuality has always been apparent, if widely debated and largely off-panel. The bottom line, however, is that Batman doesn’t need to exclusively unbuckle his utility belt to have a good time. Bruce Wayne has long served as a strong sexual outlet for both personas.

Armoured Saint is a different story. He is the ‘80s revisionist superhero as dysfunctional celibate, his relationship with Sex’s Catwoman stand-in, Shadow Lynx, contextualised by intimacy of their rooftop chases and endless duels. His sexuality is expressed solely through the costumed adventures his alter ego had neither the time nor the inclination for.

Fittingly, Saturn City rises around our repressed hero in tight gleaming skyscraper-clusters of steel and glass, blatantly and obviously phallic (yet I can’t find any mention of this in other reviews I’ve read: Calling Dr Freud!), stretching off until the horizon and frequently framed in a worms-eye shot thrusting up to the sky. Seemingly an entire territory of high-rises, Simon, glum and completely unsure of his next step, has stripped himself of his own context within the city and is crisply dawn by Kowlaski in his designer suits struggling to find his new outlet amongst all the rigid towers surrounding him. Initially he appears completely unarousable, moping around high class restaurants, brothels and clubs, at one point watching two female sex workers go at it with such aloofness, one of the offended performers curtly asks if he’s going to start wanking any time soon.

The characters themselves are wonderfully brought to life by Kowalski, whose grounded art features slender, long-limbed characters coated with a slick porn sheen, groomed and proportioned like youthful adult film stars. It’s all luridly coloured by Brad Simpson who gives an ‘80s comic palette a strikingly sleazy overhaul, making images pop off the page like an dirty mag photographed in the overexposed “Vibra-tone” so fetishised by collectors of old filth rags. If that description makes little sense to you, think of Sexassomething like a Nicholas Wendig-Refn film (like Drive) paired with the overly dialogued verbosity of an ‘80s Marvel comic.

Casey is adept at tailoring his stories to their particularly tweaked eras – he’s as at home recreating the alliterative hyperbole of ‘60s-‘70s cosmic comics (seen most notably in his and Tom Scioli’sexcellent Godland) as he is in Sex, where characters are unaware that that the medium has moved on from 1987 without them and word balloons of under thirty-five words are now the norm. If the eighties was the grim ‘n gritty revisionist hero party, Casey makes Sex the grubby, mid-week bad-ecstasy comedown.

Despite the screwing on display, however, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually finding the book arousing. Characters screw as though frozen in time, clinical and posed, voyeuristically photo-snapped, the acts unappealing in their sculptured porniness. Contrast this with, say, the sex in a Gilbert Hernandez comic (whose work is an admitted, if surprising, influence on Casey’s creation of Sex), where generously proportioned characters have at it in all manner of combinations with passion, gusto and, most importantly, motion. Despite the cartooniness of Herdandez’s art in contrast to Kowalski’s, his depictions of sex appear far more human. Kowlaski’s characters, for the most part (there are notable exceptions -- Shadow Lynx and the Robin-esque ex-sidekick Keenan being the most prominent), do it with all the energy, spontaneity and authenticity of Kim Kardashian’s famously dull tape. I suspect this is likely the point. Either way, happy stylistic accident or aesthetic choice, it’s genius.

Clearly, there’s a lot going on in Sex. I’ve barely mentioned any plot at all, of which there is ample, and subtextually it doesn’t end with the revisionist super-sexual exploration. All the characters, heroes and villains alike, are attempting to move on in a seemingly post-superhero world, each with their own kinks and proclivities and each with their own plans. Different readings of the book seem bottomless – the end of heroes in the current rise of Indie SF. The struggles of corporate comics to remain relevant and diverse whilst meeting the most basic needs of monetary survival, it’s all here and for an excellent reading of Sex as Casey’s exploration of his own possible mid-career crisis, check out Luke Geddes’ excellent review at tcj.com.

Sex is a dense, fascinating and lurid read, a comic that doesn’t get anywhere near the attention it deserves. Don’t be fooled by its titillating title, eye-catching and sales-driven in its upfront salaciousness, because Sex is truly a complex piece of comic book business. Three collected editions are currently out, and the world-building and ever-expanding plotlines consistently surprise. To put it bluntly, Sex is good. Really good. Go have some.


WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : NONNA
By Frank Candiloro

Melbourne comics creator Frank Candiloro’s Nonna is coming to print next month but, lucky us, he’s put the whole thing up online first. Huzzah. Over the space of 23 silent pages, Candiloro creates a very real relationship between a little girl and her grandmother and then quite neatly and compassionately explores the grieving process after Nonna’s sudden passing. There are some lovely, clever little visual beats and repeating panels that emphasise just how much Nonna’s absence weighs on the girl as well as the importance of the time they spent together and Candiloro makes the absolute most of the room he’s allowed himself for this project.

Candiloro’s cartooning is simple but detail-filled (his depiction of Brunswick is just spot on) and his adorable characterisation may well cause you to overlook just how skillfully he’s created a narrative about grief. While it may be a little odd to call a story about death “heart-warming,” Nonna is exactly that. Thematically resonant, structurally perfect, super nice to look at and, yes, heart-warming, I look forward to seeing what Nonna looks like once printed. Great stuff, Frank.




COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : THE KING OF COMICS: JACK KIRBY

“He didn’t even want to ink his own work because that wasn’t involved with storytelling,” says Mark Evanier in the first minute of this short little documentary on the titan that was Jack Kirby. What a shame. So many pages marred by sub-par inking, slapdash, let’s-just-erase-this-detail by many who could simply not keep up with the Kirby’s energy, craft and desire to hit that deadline (Joe Sinnott and Mike Royer being notable exceptions to this).

This is a wonderful little two-parter but, like anything on Kirby, it breaks my heart a little.



See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 1st of July



Another Convention weekend comes and goes and we hope everyone had a great time at this year's OZ Comic Con. We had a fantastic time ourselves playing host to a team of local creators as part of our first ALL STAR ARTIST ASSEMBLY. Thank you to all that made it along to join in on the day and special thanks to all the creators, who at such short notice still managed to rally together and help support another one of our ideas. On top of that there was the most recent All Star Women's Comic Book Club meet up, which as always was amazing, while tonight sees the second meet of  The Melbourne LGBT Comic Book Group happening at the Hares and Hyenas in Fitzroy from 6:30, perfectly timed for the little bit of good news from the US the other day. :)

Phew! And we haven't even started on this week's books! Well here you go!

With the cliffhanger of #3, SECRET WARS #4 promises to be a massive smackdown! If ROM Space Knight was kinda your thing back in the day, ONYX #1 IDW's new armoured astrally adventurer is totally for you! Brian K Vaughn's latest outing, WE STAND ON GUARD #1 about a war torn Canada, under siege from US forces drawn by Steve Skroce will have you running for cover once the action starts! AUTUMNLANDS TP VOL 01 TOOTH & CLAW is Kurt Busiek written, stunningly drawn by Ben Dewey,  anthropomorphic magical wielding creature looking to for a savior in the form of a savage human? The last and possible the best of the new printings of Brubaker and Phillips' love song to noir, CRIMINAL TP VOL 06 LAST OF THE INNOCENT hits shelves. While of season break catch up with the further adventures of Marvel Agents by Mark Waid in SHIELD TP VOL 01 PERFECT BULLETS. Musically gifted, rich and famous, beautiful and powerful is all pretty swell until someone's head explodes, the deicide mystery continues in WICKED & DIVINE TP VOL 02 FANDEMONIUM. Gritty murder cases, racial racial inequalities, all in a fantasy world setting of BOOM's latest, SPIRE #1. Following suit on the fantasy front but mixing it with a solid dose of sci fi space opera from the mind of Brandon Graham is 8HOUSE ARCLIGHT #1. SUPREME BLUE ROSE TP will do your head in dealing with the woes of travelling between multiple realities from Warren Ellis and the alluring art Tula Lotay.

Find something else here you just gotta have, let us know and we'll get it sorted.

MARVEL
A-FORCE #2 SWA
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19.1
DARTH VADER #7
DARTH VADER DIRECTORS CUT #1
FUTURE IMPERFECT #2 SWA
GIANT SIZE LITTLE MARVEL AVX #2 SWA
GROOT #2
GUARDIANS TEAM-UP #7
PRINCESS LEIA #5 (OF 5)
RED SKULL #1 (OF 3) SWA
SECRET WARS #4 (OF 8)
SECRET WARS JOURNAL #3 (OF 5) SWA
ULTIMATE END #3 (OF 5) SWA
UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #7
X-TINCTION AGENDA #2 SWA
YEARS OF FUTURE PAST #2 SWA

DC COMICS
ACTION COMICS #42 TEEN TITANS GO VAR ED
BAT MITE #2 (OF 6)
BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT #6
BATMAN BEYOND #2
BIZARRO #2 (OF 6)
DETECTIVE COMICS #42 TEEN TITANS GO VAR ED
FLASH SEASON ZERO #10
GREEN ARROW #42 TEEN TITANS GO VAR ED
GREEN LANTERN #42 TEEN TITANS GO VAR ED
HE MAN THE ETERNITY WAR #7
LOBO #8
MIDNIGHTER #2
MORTAL KOMBAT X #8
OMEGA MEN #2

VERTIGO
AMERICAN VAMPIRE SECOND CYCLE #8
FBP FEDERAL BUREAU OF PHYSICS #22
VERTIGO QUARTERLY SFX #2

BOOM
ADVENTURE TIME #41
ARCADIA #3
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #12
BROKEN WORLD #2 (OF 4)
CLUSTER #5
GIANT DAYS #4
HELP US GREAT WARRIOR #5
SPIRE #1 (OF 8)
UNCLE GRANDPA PIZZA STEVE SPECIAL #1
WOODS #14

DARK HORSE
AGE OF REPTILES ANCIENT EGYPTIANS #2 (OF 4)
ANGEL AND FAITH SEASON 10 #16
BALTIMORE CULT OF THE RED KING #3 (OF 5)
BARB WIRE #1
NEVERBOY #5 (OF 6)
WITCHER FOX CHILDREN #4 (OF 5)

DYNAMITE
BOBS BURGERS ONGOING #1
WILL EISNER SPIRIT #1

IDW
MIAMI VICE REMIX #5 (OF 5)
MICKEY MOUSE #1
MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDS FOREVER #18
ONYX #1 (OF 4)
TMNT NEW ANIMATED ADVENTURES #24
TMNT ONGOING #47
X-FILES SEASON 10 #25
ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS #7

IMAGE
8HOUSE ARCLIGHT #1
AIRBOY #2 (OF 4)
ATHENA IX ONE SHOT
CHEW #50
DEADLY CLASS #14
HUMANS #6
JUPITERS CIRCLE #4
MINIMUM WAGE SO MANY BAD DECISIONS #3 (OF 6)
NAILBITER #14
NO MERCY #4
ODDLY NORMAL #8
OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #10
PUNKS THE COMIC CBLDF SPEC
SATELLITE SAM #15
VALHALLA MAD #2
WE STAND ON GUARD #1
WICKED & DIVINE #12
ZERO #18

MISC
BERLIN #19
BUNKER #12
CAPTAIN CANUCK 2015 ONGOING #2
DOCTOR WHO 12TH #9
FUTURAMA COMICS #75
GRANT MORRISONS 18 DAYS #1
IMPERIUM #6
PLUME V2 #4 (OF 4)
PUPPET MASTER #4
UBER #26
WAR STORIES #10
X-O MANOWAR #38

MAGAZINES
HEAVY METAL #275

TRADES
ABSOLUTE Y THE LAST MAN HC VOL 01
ADVENTURE TIME BANANA GUARD ACADEMY TP VOL 01
AQUAMAN HC VOL 06 MAELSTROM (N52)
AQUAMAN TP VOL 05 SEA OF STORMS
AUTUMNLANDS TP VOL 01 TOOTH & CLAW
AVENGERS TP VOL 06 INFINITE AVENGERS
BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS TP
CRIMINAL TP VOL 06 LAST OF THE INNOCENT
DAMOCLES GN VOL 01 BODYGUARDS
DMZ DELUXE EDITION HC BOOK 04
GFT WONDERLAND TP VOL 07
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY AND X-MEN HC BLACK VORTEX
LAST MAN GN VOL 02 ROYAL CUP
LONE WOLF & CUB OMNIBUS TP VOL 09
MONSTER MOTORS TP
REGULAR SHOW TP VOL 04
RUNAWAYS COMPLETE COLLECTION TP VOL 04
SAVED BY THE BELL TP VOL 01
SHIELD TP VOL 01 PERFECT BULLETS
STAR WARS LEGENDS EPIC COLLECTION TP VOL 01 OLD REPUBLIC
SUPREME BLUE ROSE TP
THOR GOD OF THUNDER HC VOL 02
TRANSFORMERS TP DRIFT EMPIRE OF STONE
WICKED & DIVINE TP VOL 02 FANDEMONIUM

BACK IN STOCK
A-FORCE #1 SWA
BLACK CANARY #1
DEADPOOLS SECRET SECRET WARS #2 (OF 4) SWA
DR FATE #1
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #1
OLD MAN LOGAN #1 SWA
OLD MAN LOGAN #2 SWA
SECRET WARS BATTLEWORLD #1 (OF 4)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR JUNE 23RD



Hi. My dog is on my lap.  It is very difficult to type like this…

If I have my dates right, this coming weekend should be Oz Comic Con Melbourne, and if you click that link and scroll down past the actors and voice actors and cosplay guests, you will find real life actual comics people attending a comics convention. Astounding, I know. Anyway, one of those comics-related-at-comic-con attendees will be Melbourne’s own Tristan Jones, who enjoyed a major milestone last week with the release of Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa (so: many: colons!)  in which he drew the adventures of everyone’s favourite Imperator. As there will likely be no pop culture figure as prominent this year as Furiosa you should go say hi and congratulate him on this massive achievement.

Also, as briefly mentioned last week, We Are Going To Bremen To Be Musicians rounded out my TCAF reading.  Written by Geoff Berner and illustrated and published by Tin Can Forest (Canadians Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek) …Musicians is a beautiful retelling of the Grimm Brothers folktale, The Town Musicians of Bremen, in which an ageing donkey, dog, cat and rooster flee murder at the hands of their respective owners and, on a whim and with no prior experience, head to Bremen with the goal of becoming professional musicians. “Where did the idea come from?” the narration asks us, “No one knows. Where do donkeys usually get their ideas?”

…Musicians is a gorgeous looking and designed book, a hybrid of illustrated storybook and comics, with Tin Can Forest’s sumptuous art, inspired by “forests of Canada, Slavic art, and occult folklore,” difficult to pull your eyes away from. Keen not to be left behind by his collaborators, Berner’s writing bouncily carries the tale along, with plenty of whimsy and a fair bit of sass and the overall effect is one of total dreaminess – perfect for such a story. It’s available through the Tin Can Forest site and, really, I can’t say enough good things about it.


COMIC OF THE WEEK : TRASH MARKET
By Tadao Tsuge
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

From the darkest, most unlikely corners of post-war Japan, various pieces of lost, discarded, broken and destructive humanity have a light shone on their daily struggles in Tadao Tsuge’s Trash Market.  Edited and translated by Ryan Holmberg, Tsuge’s work gets its first, long overdue, English language collection. For six stories created between 1968 and 1972, Trash Market feels remarkably modern, exemplifying the seriousness and artistic progressiveness of much Gekiga (or “dramatic pictures”) of the period which, finally, western audiences can enjoy in ever increasing quantities thanks largely to publisher Drawn and Quarterly’s efforts.

Encountering early Gekiga is like cracking open a particularly evocative time capsule, enabling readers to transport themselves to a Japan struggling to reshape itself into something new, wrestling inter-generationally as westernisation creeps in and the strange split-personality (existing to this day) of a country existing in both past and present became readily apparent. As such, the book is high on melancholy and real-world darkness. In Tsuge’s work, Holmberg writes, “one finds male characters beset by anomie, festering resentment, traumatic memories and unspeakable guilt of the war.” They are the trash of the new Japan, these men, the waste of the old, as bombed down and destroyed as the streets of Tokyo’s “low city” (shitamachi) in which they are forced to live.

The thoroughly contemporary feel to Tsuge’s story structure would seem to spring from his process as much as the modern translation. As described by Holmberg: “He begins drawing with only a rough beginning, middle and end in mind, with no script or breakdowns.” This method of comics creation, likely terrifying to any western comic book editor, lends Tsuge’s work a highly literary short story structure, presenting snippets of lives dependant not necessarily on plot or action but simply on existence itself.  The work of Tsuge and his contemporaries (particularly that of Yoshihiro Tatsumi – please do seek out his Abandon The Old in Tokyo, The Push Cart Man and Other Stories and Good-Bye) have the feel of Dirty Realism about them, easily thirty years before this term was created to define a style of American writing. For Tsuge’s characters, there is no escape from this world, no pivot points in their stories, no respite. There is simply daily existence, a fraction of which we are invited to witness and much of it Tsuge himself experienced in his surprisingly colourful life.

In “Song of Showa,” young Tomeo (based on Tsuge if the essays at book’s end are any indication) witnesses frequent domestic violence and family turmoil. Crammed into a tiny abode, Tomeo’s mother struggles to keep the family together amidst poverty (Tomeo’s two brothers are not being paid for their work), mental illness (Tomeo’s father is violent, traumatised and receives the best of the family’s meals) and the values of old Japan (Tomeo’s Grandfather is violent and cruel, resenting his daughter, his son in law and grandsons). The streets are filled with criminals and prostitutes, yet young Tomeo is still able to snatch some joy from the activity and colour surrounding him despite the misery of his daily life. “Song of Showa” is both a heartbreaking story, refusing to allow Tomeo any respite, and an evocative portrait of “low city” existence.

The titular “Trash Market” is the longest story in the volume and is also clearly drawn from Tsuge’s life. One of numerous odd jobs Tsuge took to support himself during lean times was at a blood bank, where cash was paid to blood donors and hygiene appears to have not been an utmost priority to staff. In fact, Tsuge contracted hepatitis during his stint working at the blood bank, for which he’s treated for to this very day.

“Trash Market” finds a group of petty criminals, Navy vets, former tutors, labourers and burn-outs of all sorts queuing at a blood bank to donate their blood for cash. They pass the time and attempt to ignore the stifling heat by swapping lewd tales of sexual encounters that may or may not be factual, insulting one another and generally keeping each other amused any way they can. Many of these characters have clearly made an occupation out of their visits to the bank, becoming, in essence, professional donors.The interactions of those awaiting their turn is the sole focus of the story and, aside from a brief sequence inside the blood bank itself where a donor flirts with a nurse, the exterior is the story’s sole location.

“Trash Market” is a portrait of those brought low by circumstance and poverty, yet who are able to find humour and warmth in each other’s company. You’ll probably feel like you’re there amongst them, cringing at their jokes and wincing at their actions. All are equal at the blood bank – the tutor, the labourer and everyone in between. A camaraderie borne of equality at the lowest rung of the class ladder exists amongst this misfit crew, and each ekes out as much very literal blood money as health and regulation will allow.

With four more stories of equal merit and fascinating supplementary material included,Trash Market is highly recommended for readers with an interest not just in Japan, but also for those interested in structure and the thoroughly Literary possibilities of the form. It’s also a powerful depiction of a fascinating time in a most fascinating country. Hopefully, further volumes compiling the work of Tsuge’s offbeat social realist are forthcoming. His work does not make for the most superficially enjoyable trip to Comics Japan you’ll ever take, but definitely one of the more eye opening.


WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : FORMAL SWEATPANTS
By Josh Mecouch


For a weekly webcomic featuring short, standalone gag strips, the “funny ha-ha” strike rate of Formal Sweatpants is remarkably high. Mad contributor Josh Mecouch has a warped sense of humour and a healthy streak of goofiness that populates his comics along with thickly-lined, frequently grotesque animal, vegetable and human characters.

Highlights include “Gerard,”“Little Baby Carrot,” “Halloween Party” and “Spider Web” but really, you can’t go too far wrong here. Start with Popular Pants, work your way through and then hit Random. You’ll find it pretty easy to tear through the site’s content and even at its worst it’s still odds on you’ll at least get a smile. As I’ve mentioned before, gag strips are incredibly difficult to pull off regularly but Mecouch may well disagree – there’s an amazing amount of humour packed into Formal Sweatpants and, all in all, he makes it look pretty easy.




COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : INKSTUDS WITH BRANDON GRAHAM

Brandon Graham draws a raccoon in a car. I think that’s all you need to know.



See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 24th of June





What a weekend! Our Back Issue Bonanza Comic Market was great fun and we are keen for another in the future. Now it's time for  Oz Comic Con again this weekend at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The show is featuring all kinds of awesome but if that wasn't enough comic event goodness for you, there is the next All Star Women's Comic Book Club Meet Up on Sunday as well! Plenty happening and to look forward too (including our continuing 20% OFF New Single Comics and Trade Paperbacks Stocktake Sale!) but let's not forget this week's books!

Marvel's Secret Wars mini's roll on with another round of issue ones with the Morrison Xmen era inspired E IS FOR EXTINCTION #1, along with the childhood cartoon classic animated adventures of X-MEN 92 #1 and the overwhelming hordes of AGE OF ULTRON VS MARVEL ZOMBIES #1. GREEN LANTERN THE LOST ARMY #1 continues DC's new series try outs as well as an interest new approach to Batman's sidekick with WE ARE ROBIN #1. Get update with Marvel's smallest hero about to make it to the big screen with the first collection of ANT-MAN TP VOL 01 SECOND CHANCE MAN. The next chapter in Kirkman's epic superhero/space adventure INVINCIBLE TP VOL 21 is in. Find out the true story of history's most misunderstood mad monk with the RASPUTIN TP VOL 01 collection. Check out some sweet tech dino art from Sydney sider, Jon Sommariva in REXODUS TP. BPRD's team of  John Arcudi and James Harren bring to life a demon slaying scarecrow in RUMBLE TP VOL 01 WHAT COLOR OF DARKNESS. Sydner and Jock will have you both whizzing in your pants from fear while making you question you might have made as a parent in WYTCHES TP VOL 01. Also the July PREVIEWS for you to look over in store for books shipping in September!

A solid looking week and if there is anything else we are looking for just let us know!


MARVEL
AGE OF ULTRON VS MARVEL ZOMBIES #1 SWA
ANT-MAN LARGER THAN LIFE #1
BLACK WIDOW #19 SWA
DAREDEVIL #16
E IS FOR EXTINCTION #1 SWA
HOWARD THE DUCK #4
INFINITY GAUNTLET #2 SWA
KORVAC SAGA #1 SWA
LOKI AGENT OF ASGARD #15 SWA
MARVEL UNIVERSE ULT SPIDER-MAN WEB WARRIORS #8
MODOK ASSASSIN #2 (OF 5) SWA
PLANET HULK #2 SWA
PUNISHER #19 SWA
SHIELD #7
UNCANNY AVENGERS #5
WHERE MONSTERS DWELL #2 (OF 5) SWA
X-MEN 92 #1 SWA

DC COMICS
AQUAMAN #41 THE JOKER VAR ED
BATGIRL #41
BATMAN 66 #24
DEATHSTROKE #7 THE JOKER VAR ED
FLASH #41 THE JOKER VAR ED
GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT #6 THE JOKER VAR ED
GRAYSON #9 THE JOKER VAR ED
GREEN LANTERN THE LOST ARMY #1
INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FOUR #4
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 #1
SUPERMAN #41 THE JOKER VAR ED
TEEN TITANS #9 THE JOKER VAR ED
WE ARE ROBIN #1

VERTIGO
EFFIGY #6
SUICIDERS #5

BOOM
ADVENTURE TIME MARCELINE GONE ADRIFT #6
DEEP STATE #7
UFOLOGY #3

DARK HORSE
CONAN THE AVENGER #15
FIGHT CLUB 2 #2
FRANKENSTEIN UNDERGROUND #4 (OF 5)
GRINDHOUSE DRIVE IN BLEED OUT #6 (OF 8)
HALO ESCALATION #19
MULAN REVELATIONS #1 (OF 4)
ORDER OF THE FORGE #3 (OF 3)
PASTAWAYS #4
RESIDENT ALIEN SAM HAIN MYSTERY #2
TOMB RAIDER #17

DYNAMITE
JUNGLE GIRL SEASON 3 #3 (OF 4)

IDW
DONALD DUCK #2
EMPIRE UPRISING #3
GARBAGE PAIL KIDS GROSS ENCOUNTERS (ONE SHOT)
JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS #4
ORPHAN BLACK #5
SKYLANDERS #10 LIGHT IN THE DARK
TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS EYE #42
TRANSFORMERS WINDBLADE COMBINER WARS #4

IMAGE
FADE OUT #7
INVISIBLE REPUBLIC #4
KAPTARA #3
LEGACY OF LUTHER STRODE #2
MATERIAL #2
MYTHIC #2
RASPUTIN #6
SEX #22
SONS OF THE DEVIL #2
SOUTHERN CROSS #4
SPAWN #253
SPREAD #8
THIEF OF THIEVES #29
TITHE #3
WALKING DEAD #143
WAYWARD #9

MISC
ANNIHILATOR #6 (OF 6)
AUTEUR SISTER BAMBI #2
BLACK HOOD #5
EVIL DEAD 2 #1 (OF 3) BEYOND DEAD BY DAWN
HELLBREAK #4
LADY MECHANIKA TABLET OF DESTINIES #3 (OF 6)
NINJAK #4
OLD WOUNDS #3 (OF 4)
PSYCHO BONKERS #2 (OF 5)
RICK & MORTY #3
SPACE RIDERS #3 (OF 4)

MAGAZINES
MARVEL PREVIEWS JULY 2015
PREVIEWS #322 JULY 2015

TRADES
ALL NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA PREM HC VOL 01 HYDRA ASCENDANT
ALL NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA TP FEAR HIM TP
ANT-MAN GIANT-MAN EPIC COLLECTION TP MAN IN ANT HILL
ANT-MAN TP VOL 01 SECOND CHANCE MAN
AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS TP VOL 02 ALIGNMENT EARTH (N52)
ART OF DANIEL CLOWES MODERN CARTOONIST HC
BATMAN & ROBIN HC VOL 06 THE HUNT FOR ROBIN (N52)
BATMAN & ROBIN TP VOL 05 THE BIG BURN (N52)
BOOGER BEARD HC
CHRONICLES OF KING CONAN TP VOL 11 NIGHTMARE
CYCLOPS TP VOL 02 PIRATES LIFE FOR ME
DOCTOR WHO 11TH HC VOL 02 SERVE YOU
DRAGONS RIDERS OF BERK GN VOL 05
FIVE GHOSTS DELUXE ED HC VOL 01
HEDGE KNIGHT JET CITY ED TP VOL 01
HIC HOC JOURNAL OF HUMOR VOL 01 UNITED STATES
HOT POTATOE HC
HOWARD THE DUCK TP VOL 01 COMPLETE COLLECTION
INVINCIBLE TP VOL 21
JIM BUTCHER DRESDEN FILES OMNIBUS TP VOL 01
JUDGE DREDD TP VOL 07
MARVELS AGENT CARTER SEASON ONE DECLASSIFIED SLIPCASE HC
MASSIVE TP VOL 05 RAGNAROK
MAZE RUNNER OFFICAL PRELUDE GN SCORCH TRIAL VOL 01
MIDAS FLESH TP VOL 02
MINIONS DIGEST TP VOL 01
ODD SCHNOZZ & THE ODD SQUAD GN
POKEMON XY GN VOL 03
POSTAL TP VOL 01
PURE PAJAMAS HC
RASPUTIN TP VOL 01
REXODUS TP
RUMBLE TP VOL 01 WHAT COLOR OF DARKNESS
RUSSIAN OLIVE TO RED KING HC
SECRET AVENGERS TP VOL 03 GOD LEVEL
SECRET SIX TP VOL 02
WYTCHES TP VOL 01

MERCH
POP SESAME STREET COOKIE MONSTER VINYL FIG

BACK IN STOCK
CAPTAIN MARVEL AND CAROL CORPS #1 SWA
CHRONONAUTS #4
KANAN #3
LITTLE NEMO RTN TO SLUMBERLAND TP
MAD MAX FURY ROAD NUX & IMMORTAN JOE #1 2ND PTG
NONPLAYER #2 (OF 6)
SECRET WARS JOURNAL #2 (OF 5) SWA
SPIDER-GWEN #1 3RD PTG VAR

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR JUNE 16TH


Comics! You love them! I love them! I run quite long again this week! Forgive me! Hello!

Tell you what, did I make up for last week which was as bereft of comics reading time as a Rob Liefeld book is of properly drawn feet. First up on this binge week, was a belated TCAF celebration as copies of It Will All Hurt #3, Agalma, Frontier #8 and We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians arrived at home from family friend, Torontonian and TCAF regular Amy Lee (thank you, Amy!).

Agalma by Stanley Wany is the most immediately notable of these books, as it resembles the intricate artwork of 2000 AD legend Arthur Ranson but gone totally stream of consciousness bonkers. Published by Montreal’s Editions Trip in a run of what looks to be only 150 copies, I’m not sure how easy it will be to find, but fans of esoteric “difficult” material such as Jodorowsky at his symbolic and multi-layered will find much joy here. Wany created the book over a years long period of intense insomnia, literally letting his subconscious do what it wanted, and the results are startlingly dreamy and abstract. Featuring a woman unable to come to terms with a past trauma plunged into the depths of her subconscious, Agalma will easily reward multiple re-readings for both symbol and meaning. It also deserves a serious psychoanalytic unpacking and hopefully someone does just that. In short - hunt Agalma down before it’s gone.

If you’re one of probably three regular readers of this thing (hi, Dave!), you’ll likely be aware of my love affair with Frontier, as I don’t go two columns without mentioning it. Featuring “Faith In Strangers” by Anna Deflorian, issue #8 keeps my ardour for the title at Pepe LePew levels of ridiculousness. Essentially about a young girl who loses her phone and then sleeps with the guy who finds it, “…Strangers” features odd, deliberately stilted dialogue (“It’s good that your gym card also gives you access to the evening activities”) perfectly matching the aloof, pouting girls Deflorian illustrates with her Charles Forsman gone hipster fashionista cartooning. Man, I love Frontier.

We Are Going to Bremen to Be Musicians, I shall save for the intro to next week, because this is running long already and it is remarkable…It Will All Hurt I will cover in its entirety later too. Pretty sure #1 is out now through Diamond, so if you like lovely, melancholy, dreamy things please do investigate in store.

In addition to the TCAF haul, the second issue of Revengerby Charles Forsman (him again!) showed up from his Oily Comics, complete with Revenger Armory, a limited edition, risographed mini-comic, co-published with Michael(COPRA) Fiffe’s Bergen Street Press. I’ll be featuring Revenger here soon enough (the first issue is in store at All Star right now, don’t wait for me to cover it, just go and get it), but I’ll make special note of the Armory special, which functions as a super cool love letter to Eliot R Brown’s old Punisher Armory specials, which I pray I’m not the only one old enough to not only remember but actually have bought. Covering everything from Revenger’s love of smoke grenades to the origin of her 1950 Mercury Monterey, Revenger Armory is arguably this winter’s coolest little comics accessory.

I also finished Infinite Bowman by Pat Aulisio, which all fans of scratchy, demented alt comics like Prison Pit should seek out as a matter of import. I even got to read the first issues of both Ryan K Lindsay and Owen Gieni’s Negative Space, which is fantastic, and made me very proud of my writerly friend and We Stand On Guard by Brian K Vaughan and Steve Scroce, a review of which I belted out in a stunned haze and will be posted sometime, I’m pretty sure. Provocative stuff that one...probably the most daring anti-war comic since Blazing Combat. I AM DYING TO TALK ABOUT IT.

But not today. Today, a twenty-year-old comic we should all remember as a classic.




COMIC OF THE WEEK : ENIGMA
By Peter Milligan, Duncan Fegredo & Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh
Published by DC/Vertigo

Sometimes I’m amazed by the confluence of little neural connections and real world coincidences that come together to influence thought and memory and action, even on what could be as superficial as your choice of reading material. I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to return to Enigma by Peter Milligan and Decan Fegredo, over twenty years since I last read it as one of the debut books for DC’s Vertigo line. I think I was thinking about diversity in comics and about sexuality in comics and about how a certain superhero archetype – the misfit – has shifted away from the convoluted soap opera capers of The X-Men and into more personal, yet equally impressive works like Deadly Class and They’re Not Like Us and even, at a stretch maybe, something totally “real” and hero-less like Saint Cole and TEOTFW. Then some little nagging memory reminded me that Enigma was doing all of this over two decades back...and somehow it’s kind of been forgotten.

Published in 1993, Enigma was thankfully reprinted in a 2014 collection. It remains a dense and fascinating piece of comics, at once a deconstruction of the super hero (yes, even amongst this well-trod ground), and an examination of memory, repression, freedom, sexuality, creation, metatextuality and reality. That’s an awful lot for eight issues to attempt to string together into a single narrative, but this is a Peter Milligan comic. A lack of ambition has rarely been the man’s problem.

Michael Smith is the typical comic book everyman. His life is so full of repetition and routine that he’s a stifled, repressed mess. In true comics style, however, he’s in for a life-changing shake-up when he encounters The Enigma, his favourite childhood superhero. The problem here is that The Enigma is a fictional character, created in a drugged-out haze by artist Titus Bird over the course of a three issue, crash-and-burn comics series. Compounding the problem, it’s not just The Enigma who’s showing up – his oddball rogues gallery, The Head, The Truth, Envelope Girl and The Interior League, all manifest themselves and begin terrorizing the city in their own unique ways.

Michael suspects that this all might somehow be spilling forth from his own repressed consciousness and, suddenly very much shaken from his everyday drudgery, he hits the road to find Titus Bird. Together, the two men who may or may not be responsible for it all attempt to solve the reality-bending mystery of just who and what is The Enigma. Answers may lie at a farm in rural Arizona where a quarter of a century ago, something truly awful occurred.

The weirdness in Enigma continually ramps up, but never spins out of control, peaking as the nature of creation and subjective individual realities begin to peel away like layers of onion, leading to a conclusion that’s both satisfying and moving and ties up threads in a way that few books of such complexity can manage.

Milligan has a lot of fun even as he weaves this whole narrative together. Highlights include the characters being aware, in issue four, that as there were only three issues of the “original” comic they are treading new ground, and a wonderful omniscient narrator whose reveal on the book’s final pages is as ridiculous as it is logical.

Fegredo’s artistic skill is evident even in this early work, if obviously lacking the refinement and beauty of his recent Hellboy run. Milligan throws a lot into his script that his artist must handle, yet outside of a few overly cramped pages, Fegredo’s more than up for the task. I’ve always been struck by this artist’s skill in drawing hands – his characters all exhibit such natural wristiness that it’s become, for me anyway, a distinctive trait of his work. An odd thing to mention perhaps, but it’s these kinds of nuances that distinguish an artist and go a long way in creating an actual style.

The Enigma himself is as kookily elegant a hero as has ever graced the pages of a pseudo-superhero book. His theatrical mask and garb and flowing hair the perfect outfit for a flamboyant hero of the “real” world. However, Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh’s painterly colours unfortunately appear overly dark and murky here. I don’t have my original issues on hand, so I’m not sure if this has more to do with the method and paper stock of this reprint than the colourist’s palette, but it’s a shame.

The cover copy to the collection notes that Enigma is a “foundational title in the Vertigo line” and you won’t get any disagreement from me. It is, however, more than a little sad that the bravery once exhibited by the once mighty imprint has largely been stripped away. It’s as much the fault of a decreasing readership, I suspect, as it is of the publishers, but it’s a shame that a comic so forward thinking, progressive, transgressive and of particular relevance to comics in 2015, feels like a book from not only an entirely different publisher but an entirely different time. Why no Vertigo PR effort trumpeting this puzzle box of diversity and sexuality seems to exist, I’ve no idea.

As I almost finished reading the book, I received an email from my dad. We’d been hashing a few things out, trying to unearth the roots of a particular disagreement. He signed off his email with this: “Finally, do remember that we all get trapped in the partiality of our own conscious little worlds to the detriment of others.” For such an amazing little slice of “Enigmaness” to occur at the home stretch of my re-engagement with this comics text seems almost beyond coincidence, for if this is not just about the perfect summation of Enigma and also the source of much of life’s strife, I’m not sure what is.


WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : THE LAST TIME I SAW ALBERT
By Claire Connelly

Frankly, there aren’t enough comics about space chimps. Someone should literally start an entire line of comics about simian cosmonauts and I’d read them all with baited breath and cross my fingers for a 124-part crossover as they face some Terrax The Untamed gone cosmic monkey poacher. Maybe it’s just me.

Thankfully, Claire Connelly has clearly heard my pathetic psychic pleas because The Last Time I Saw Albert fits the bill perfectly. Recalling an early Jeff Lemire with a fetish for blue inkwash and zipatone effects, Connelly’s art packs as much cuteness as it does cosmic dread – two of my other favourite things along with space chimps so she’s three for three in my book.

She’s one to watch, this Claire Connelly.





COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : HERMIT! 
By Al Feldstein, Reed Crandall & Al Williamson

Rounding this week out and making it a possible contender for most eclectic bunch of comics material ever lumped together and gushed over, is this awesome four-minute video of “Hermit!” from Harvey Comics’ Alarming Adventures #1 (1962). Written by Al Feldstein, who never met a weird SF tale he couldn’t sink his teeth into, there’s some discrepancy with the art chores listed here as the video cites the masterful Al Williamson as sole artist, but this suggests Williamson inked over Reed Crandall pencils and subsequent Googling proved this correct. In any event, the result is beautiful, lush and combined with a winning moral – victory can come even in the most unlikely of ways – “Hermit!” is yet another vintage gem from three legendary creators.


See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 17th of June



Our 20% OFF New Single Comics and Trade Paperbacks Stocktake Sale has had a great response so far, so it is continuing for now. Get into the store to make sure you don't miss out on some great savings! Also this Sunday, the 21st of June THE ALL STAR BACK ISSUE BONANZA AND COMIC BOOK FAIR is happening! We'll be hosting multiple Back Issue Sellers, with 1000's of comics for you to look through. Make sure to lock it in now!

Before Sunday however, you'll need to make sure you are ready for this week's latest and greatest!

Secret Wars new titles role on with a bunch of new number 1's to check out such as RUNAWAYS #1, the nasty Marvel Universe version of the Justice League in SQUADRON SINISTER #1 and CSI with the Gods of Thunder in THORS #1. DC also has it's share of exciting new titles on the list with Rockstar vigilante BLACK CANARY #1, a new cinematic JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 thanks to Bryan Hitch and what if a teenage girl became President of the United States in PREZ #1. Local lad, Tristan Jones unleashes the comic based on the most exciting action hero character of the last ten years with MAD MAX FURY ROAD FURIOSA #1. Couple that title with the release of Image's EMPTY ZONE #1 by Jason Shawn Alexander and you should have your fill of heroines from a dystopic future sorted. The Turtles favourite couple feature in their own new mini, TMNT CASEY & APRIL #1. Crime fighting, mystery solving and dealing with homework what is instore for this inspired group of investigative teens in GOTHAM ACADEMY TP VOL 01. Thank to the popularity of the TV show, folks are chomping at the bit for FLASH HC VOL 06 OUT OF TIME.

Anything else you might be after from this week, just let us know!

MARVEL
ARMOR WARS #2 SWA
BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD #4 (OF 5)
BUCKY BARNES WINTER SOLDIER #9
DARTH VADER DIRECTORS CUT #1
DEADPOOLS SECRET SECRET WARS #2 (OF 4) SWA
DEATHLOK #9
GEORGE ROMEROS EMPIRE OF DEAD ACT THREE #3 (OF 5)
MAGNETO #19 SWA
MOON KNIGHT #16
MS MARVEL #16 SWA
OLD MAN LOGAN #2 SWA
RUNAWAYS #1 SWA
SQUADRON SINISTER #1 SWA
STAR WARS DIRECTORS CUT #1
THORS #1 SWA

DC COMICS
BLACK CANARY #1
DOOMED #1
DR FATE #1
HARLEY QUINN & POWER GIRL #1 (OF 6)
INFINITE CRISIS FIGHT FOR THE MULTIVERSE #12
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 THE JOKER VAR ED
MAD MAGAZINE #534
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #1
PREZ #1 (OF 12)
ROBIN SON OF BATMAN #1
SECRET SIX #3 THE JOKER VAR ED
SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #11
SINESTRO #12 THE JOKER VAR ED
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN #18 THE JOKER VAR ED
TEEN TITANS GO #10
WONDER WOMAN #41 THE JOKER VAR ED

VERTIGO
ASTRO CITY #24
KITCHEN #8 (OF 8)
MAD MAX FURY ROAD FURIOSA #1

BOOM
BURNING FIELDS #5
CLARENCE #1 (OF 4)
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK #7
FICTION #1 (OF 4)
GIANT DAYS #4
HEXED #11
LUMBERJANES #15
OH KILLSTRIKE #2 (OF 4)
REGULAR SHOW #24
SONS OF ANARCHY #22

DARK HORSE
ARCHIE VS PREDATOR #3
BPRD HELL ON EARTH #132
BTVS SEASON 10 #16
DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2014 #11
EI8HT #5 (OF 5)
GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #6
MIND MGMT #34
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES #1 BULLY FOR YOU
SHAPER #4 (OF 5)
STRAIN NIGHT ETERNAL #10
USAGI YOJIMBO #146

DYNAMITE
KING JUNGLE JIM #4 (OF 4)
KING MANDRAKE MAGICIAN #2 (OF 4)
PATHFINDER ORIGINS #5 (OF 6)
PS BLACKCROSS #4 (OF 6)
SWORDS OF SORROW THORIS ADLER #1 (OF 3)

IDW
GHOSTBUSTERS GET REAL #1 (OF 4)
OCTOBER FACTION #8
STAR TREK ONGOING #46
TMNT CASEY & APRIL #1 (OF 4)
TRANSFORMERS #42 COMBINER WARS

IMAGE
ALEX + ADA #15
ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE #1
EMPTY ZONE #1
GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS #9
LAZARUS #17
LOW #7
MANIFEST DESTINY #15
REVIVAL #30
RUNLOVEKILL #3
SECRET IDENTITIES #5
SOUTHERN BASTARDS #9
STRAY BULLETS SUNSHINE & ROSES #5
SURFACE #3
TALES OF HONOR BRED TO KILL #1
TECH JACKET #10
TREES #10
VALHALLA MAD #2

MISC
BLOODSHOT REBORN #3
DOCTOR WHO 9TH #2 (OF 5)
IVAR TIMEWALKER #6
KAIJUMAX #3
LETTER 44 #17
MEGA MAN #50
MINIONS #1 (OF 4)
PRINCELESS BE YOURSELF #1 (OF 4)
ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES FAITH NO MORE MR BUNGLE
SIMPSONS COMICS #221
STUMPTOWN V3 #6
X-O MANOWAR #37

TRADES
AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL TP VOL 01
AMAZING X-MEN TP VOL 03 ONCE AND FUTURE JUGGERNAUT
ANNA BANANA & CHOCOLATE EXPLOSION YR GN
ANNIHILATION CONQUEST OMNIBUS HC
AVENGERS TIME RUNS OUT PREM HC VOL 04
AW YEAH COMICS TP VOL 02 TIME FOR ADVENTURE
BEYOND THE WESTERN DEEP GN
BLACK CANARY AND ZATANNA BLOODSPELL TP
BRAIN CAMP GN
CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION TP STREETS OF POISON
CAPTAIN AMERICA MIGHTY AVENGERS TP VOL 01 OPEN FOR BUSINESS
CLOCKWORK ANGELS TP
COLDER TP VOL 02 BAD SEED
COMPLETE EIGHTBALL HC BOX SET ISSUES 1 - 18
DEATHSTROKE TP VOL 01 GODS OF WAR (N52)
DOGS AND WATER DEFINITIVE ED HC
DRIFTER TP VOL 01 OUT OF THE NIGHT (MR)
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ABRAXIS WREN OF EBERRON TP
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN HC
FANTASTIC FOUR TP VOL 04 END IS FOUREVER
FILM NOIR 101 HC POSTERS FROM 1940 - 1950
FLASH HC VOL 06 OUT OF TIME
GHOSTED TP VOL 04 GHOST TOWN
GOTHAM ACADEMY TP VOL 01 (N52)
HE MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE TP VOL 05
LITTLE NEMO RTN TO SLUMBERLAND TP
ME LIKES YOU VERY MUCH GN
MERCY THOMPSON HOPCROSS JILLY HC
NUTMEG TP VOL 01
RAGE OF POSEIDON HC
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS TP VOL 06 LOST & FOUND (N52)
REDHAND DLX HC
SONS OF ANARCHY TP VOL 03
SPIDER-WOMAN TP VOL 01 SPIDER-VERSE
STAR TREK NEW VISIONS TP VOL 02
USAGI YOJIMBO TP VOL 29 TWO HUNDRED JIZO
X-MEN TP HUNT FOR PROFESSOR X

MERCH
DC COMICS NEW 52 HARLEY QUINN ACTION FIGURE

BACK IN STOCK
BATMAN BEYOND #1

NIMONA GN

Thursday, June 11, 2015

ALL STAR LEGENDS Presents: FABLES TP VOL 1


Next month brings with it the final issue/volume of 14+ Eisner award winning Fables from creator Bill Willingham and a host of incredible artists. In honour of this 13 year epic it’s the perfect time for you to either check out the series, or to get someone else on board with the first volume. Before we get to our thoughts on the series we were fortunate enough to have the creator of Fables, Bill Willingham record few words for all of us!




In Fables you’re introduced to characters in a new light, from Prince Charming, Cinderella and Ozma of Oz to Pinocchio and Little Boy Blue, as they live hidden in the middle of New York after being driven from their respective Homelands by The Adversary. The first book in the series introduces to the key characters of Fables as Bigby (Big Bad) Wolf investigates the murder of Snow White’s sister Rose Red.



Bill Willingham reinvents and expands upon the legends and folk tales you know and love in to a thrilling epic captured perfectly by Lan Medina in this first volume, with the art of Mark Buckingham taking over from the second volume onwards, with a slew of guest artists appearing throughout the run and spin offs, and don’t forget the covers by James Jean and Joao Ruas!

An inspired and epic tale dealing with characters we already know and love is perfect for new readers of comics or just someone keen to lose themselves in this 22 volume journey.


As always the ALL STAR LEGEND will be available to 30 days (or until stock sells out) at the discounted price. As this will be limited stock promotion there is strictly “no holds” on the legend. The early bird catches the comic. No further discount applies to the book as there is a big chance the comic will already be cheaper than the US cover price! The discount also only applies to the volumes listed, not the entire set of trades.

If you have any questions, you know where to ask them. You can buy the legend from this Wednesday 10th of June.

All Star Legends. The legendary titles of the highest recommendation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR JUNE 9TH


Hi there, friends.

My week was long on drudgery, short on comics, which is the worst kind of week when you think about it. Here’s hoping yours had more four-colour magic in it than mine. The good news is I found four pages of crumpled notes for a silent story set in an “origami battle bar” I drunkenly scrawled down in a pub one day probably five years ago and it’s actually relatively legible and not unamusing. If anyone out there has some time and a lot of inclination to draw it, gimme a yell and I’ll write it up all proper-like. Yep, I’ll take my triumphs where I can this week – scrunched up at the bottom of my bag…


COMIC OF THE WEEK : THE KURDLES
By Robert Goodin
Published by Fantagraphics

If you’re perhaps slightly overwhelmed and mind-clogged by the sprawling, universe ending/mashing output of the Big Two right now and feel the need for a bit of a chill out session, man, do I have the funnybook decongestant for you. Simple, funny, imagination-packed and requiring no Battleworld maps or Pre-Crisis/Crisis/Post-Crisis timeline spreadsheets is the palate-cleansing The Kurdles by Robert Goodin. *

On a rainy night, a spoiled child thoughtlessly tosses a Teddy Bear named Sally from a moving car. Sally, resourceful and brave, picks herself up out of a pile of mud and makes her way into the woods. Things get worse for her from there, until she ends up just outside of a mysterious place called Kurdleton and befriends a unicorn, a scarecrow, a dog and an odd creature that constantly changes colour named Pentapus.

So begins The Kurdles, a fun and adorable adventure that will likely win over even the most jaded of readers. Publisher Fantagraphics ballsily compares the book to both Jeff Smith’s Bone and Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge, but it actually proves a fair comparison. The Kurdles feels just as at home in the company of those All Ages comic titans as Sally does with her new friends in Kurdleton.

Goodin, an animator whose credits include Duckman and American Dad, brings a sure sense of character design and a love of sumptuous watercolours to The Kurdlesand the book bursts with individuality and cuddliness as a result. Sally, with her little dress and stumpy Teddy Bear limbs is just adorable, but she’s far from a show-stealer – each and every character is given his, her or its own personality, voice and moment to shine over the course of the comic’s fifty-odd pages. Hijinks and attitude abound in the interactions of this bouncy little crew and when the treehouse that Sally’s new friends reside in (beautifully introduced over a striking double-page spread) becomes afflicted with a hair-growth disease, this odd little team has to act fast to find a cure before their home, now a distinctive character in its own right, literally grows legs and walks away.

This hardcover, album-sized book is a virtual charm factory and a more welcome and pleasantly short diversion from both your day and the intricacies of mainstream event comics I can’t imagine.** This volume feels very much like an introduction to further adventures (just who, for example, is Schleb Rohan?) and hopefully this hunch proves correct, for a return to this distinct, fun group of fast friends, ever sweet even as they bicker with one another, can’t come soon enough.

Home renovation has never looked as colourful, enjoyable or charming as it does in The Kurdles, despite what Channel 9 might tell you, so give your poor brain a moment’s break from trying to remember what actually happened in Inferno or a two-decade old issue of Thor that’s suddenly relevant again,*** and join The Kurdles in their straight forward, lovely, goofy adventures.


* As a forty-year-old man who started reading Marvel at the age of 5 (no, really), I actually am very impressed with what I’ve seen of Secret Wars. I swear I’m not being snarky and taking a shot, I have a lot of love for the MU and all its obtuse wee corners.

** No, really. I bought Sleepwalker. Off the shelf. In the newsagent.

***Look, my dream is to write Werewolf By Nightand Ka-Zar, okay? I swear…



WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : SUPER MARIO BROS
By James Harvey

Perhaps there’s something wrong with me, but if there’s one thing I’m growing to love it’s comics that explore the existential crisis that video game characters would experience if the Sisyphus-like nature of their existence was actually known to them. Complete this task. Die. Repeat. Get to next task (maybe). Die. Start again. Die. Repeat. Thankfully, I don’t think I’m alone here and I suspect that’s why things like Edge of Tomorrow and Source Code resonated as much as they did at the cinema – it’s very easy for us to feel empathy for characters to have to, repeatedly, begin again from scratch. As our “quests” are blocked and thwarted on a daily basis, so are theirs.

Anyway, James Harvey’s Super Mario Bros is yet another fine example of not only the above but also the wonder of the scrolling webcomic. As I’ve mentioned before, comic space-time becomes weirdly fluid when a creator uses a scroll effectively, bridging the gap between comics and animation with no need for Flash effects.

To say too much more would be disservice to this blackly humorous short, but Harvey (Masterplasty, Zygote) mixes it up here wonderfully, going from light-hearted and cartoony to full blown psychedelic meltdown impressively quickly.




COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : TIT FOR TAT (DAVID B., KAGAN MCLEOD, PAUL POPE, SAMUEL HITI, FREDERIK PEETERS)

I was going to try and find something Battling Boy related to tie into the All Age goodness of The Kurdles, but in my Paul Pope search I stumbled upon this video and sat there open-mouthed for most of its run time.

David B., Kagan McLeod, Paul Pope, Samuel Hiti and Frederik Peeters jam on a picture in France. It’s thirteen minutes of inky amazingness. How could it not be included?



See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.