Monday, February 29, 2016

BRIAN POSEHN AUSTRALIAN TOUR DOUBLE PASS GIVEAWAY!


With an extensive (and eclectic) career spanning 20 years, American comedian/actor/writer Brian Posehn is set to head down under in April 2016 for his first Australia tour – following a constant string of shows in the best comedy clubs and rock venues in the US.

He has cemented himself as the king of nerd humor, producing/appearing in culturally relevant podcasts, TV shows and movies throughout his career. He has co-starred in Universal’s feature The Five Year Engagement and in the popular Canadian indie comedy, Lloyd the Conqueror. In recent times, Brian has made guest appearances on popular sitcoms The Big Bang Theory, Guys with Kids and Anger Management. He starred in Comedy Central’s hit show, The Sarah Silverman Program for three seasons, and toured as one of the original members of Comedians of Comedy.

Thanks to the great folks from Nice Events and the Melbourne stop of Brian Posehn's Australian Tour, we have 2 Double Pass to his show at the Corner Hotel on the 15th April to give away!

To go into the draw for your chance to win all you need to do is tell us, "Making appearance all over the place, from The Sarah Silverman Program, to a voice on Adventure Time, to writing Deadpool comics, what is your favourite Brian Posehn role to date?"


SPECIAL NOTE: As this prize is for a specific time and date, please only enter if you can attend the show on the listed date. 

Terms and Conditions:

-Only entries made via 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 7th of March and winners will be announced Tuesday the 8th.
-Winners will be notified how to collect their tickets shortly after the draw.
.

Thanks again to Nice Events and Brian Posehn's Australian Tour in Melbourne on the 15th of April

For more info and ticket sales head to: http://wearenice.com.au/tickets/brianposehn

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR MARCH 1ST


Hi,

I went back to one of my fave childhood comics ever this week, Conan The Barbarian #184 by writer Jim Owsley and the all-star (no pun intended) art team of John Buscema and Ernie Chan. I haven’t read this issue since 1986, when, it was purchased by young pre-pubescent me from Ringwood East newsagency for $1.25.

Inside, Conan battles a madman named Maddoc, who talks to the corpse of his dead beloved and throws giant ninja stars that look like circular saw blades, to a violent and bloody death. It totally holds up. In fact, it’s as demented as I remember it, proof that the comics code really was just pointless exercise in placating the idiotic. 

Anyway, that’s what I did this week…


COMIC OF THE WEEK : THE ARK
By Stephane Levallois
Published By Humanoids

A man in deep sea diving suit drags a massive sea vessel across a crusty, dry desert landscape. Onward he treads, impossibly, under a blazing sun. Another man drives across the plains, searching for the daughters of the wind, who are imprisoned in cages mounted atop towers awaiting freedom and the chance to unleash revenge and environmental chaos. War rages between stilt-walking desert natives and their rifle-wielding enemies who look like they’ve stepped out from WWI. Cathedrals rise from the sand, warriors ride camels 100-foot-tall, a train conductor vainly attempts to blow sand from the tracks his train must travel along. All the while, the diver trudges along, hauling his ark behind him.

Wordless outside of poetic chapter breaks and intros, Stephane Levallois’ The Ark arrived from Humanoids last week, looking like something from the heyday of Metal Hurlant in its silent strangeness, as striking as something by Kent Williams or Jon J Muth in its grey-washed pages and as impressively constructed, from a page mechanics standpoint, as anything you care to put it up against. Make no mistake – this is an artist’s book. From the very first page of the diver’s boot crunching down upon previously virgin clay-crust to its cataclysmic conclusion, The Ark is a book to return to, to study scene by scene its layout and perspective choices and both its visual beauty and efficient use of comics visual language.

Its cinematic feel is likely due to its author having worked in film and advertising. An accomplished director in his own right, Levallois has worked as a concept artist on everything from the last two Harry Potter films to X-Men: Days of Future Past. His imagination is widescreen and dreamlike, as evidenced by so many striking images in The Ark – the burning bodies of the stilt-walkers under a full moon, a biplane hung from the ceiling of the cathedral like a massive crucifix, a zeppelin filled with soldiers passing over the prisons of the daughters of the wind and, of course, the diver with his empty ark, its epic trail becoming a mass grave for the bodies of the war-dead. With its post-apocalyptic desert, elemental fury of its females and foolishness of men and their wars there are odd narrative parallels to the Mad Max movies here as well, but stripped of their genre trappings and concise revenge/action film structures. Imagine George Miller stepped down and was replaced by someone like surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer.

If you like your comics crisp and tight and straightforward, this is likely not the book for you and I wouldn’t blame you for that in the slightest. However, if you enjoy poring over beautiful pages, deciphering their use of symbol and technical construction, The Ark comes highly recommended. I’ve read it through twice now and have barely scratched the surface of its beautiful, flawlessly assembled pages.



WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : BLACK LINES: DODGY PILLS
By Olly Cunningham 

Good Lord. From the highs of cinematic dreaminess to the scungy lows of underground comix all in a single segment. The work of Ireland’s Olly Cunningham will likely never be endorsed by his country’s tourist board but I’m more than happy to do so in its place. A tale of dodgy people with dodgy haircuts doing the titular dodgy pills, Cunningham’s depraved sense of humour and disturbed comix sensibilities make Dodgy Pills a great little read. Filled with bad drug trips, stomach turning sexual activity and the casual punching of an old lady, this one comes with a content warning. It is however funny, clever and a great example of DIY punk rock comics. Cunningham’s gross, clammy characters are Irish urbanity at its most grimly revolting and are easily the most unsavoury people to grace the comics page in a long time, right there with the grinning psychopaths of Joan Cornella’s work and the sick creatures that crawl out of Johnny Ryan’s brain. Good job Olly, you monster, I cannot unsee them now.






COUNTDOWN TO MOZ METAL: HEAVY METAL JUNE 1979

As there is very little variety of content in this June 1979 issue of HM, this will likely be the shortest on of these recaps I’ll do. The postman finally delivered the final chapter of poor Angus McKie’s “So Beautiful and So Dangerous” (yay!) but with the second and final part of Heavy Metal’s “preview” of the Alien adaptation by Goodwin and Simonson wrapping up and the penultimate chapter of Corben and Strnad’s “New Tales of the Arabian Nights” also here, some new blood is clearly needed. Enter “Captain Future,” a kind of golden age SF satire with some simply lovely cartooning by Serge Clerc from a script by someone named Phil Manoeuvre, which may be the single greatest comics writing pseudonym ever, with apologies to Matt Fraction. Unfortunately, Manoeuvre is no Fraction and the script to this lengthy story, broken up over the course of the issue, really doesn’t push anything close to resembling my yes button.

HM is at its best when its SF is artful, psychedelic, transcendental or ribald and hilarious. Of all of those things, “Captain Future” is merely artful – which is actually a great deal more than many comics actually manage, granted, but this fact only heightens the overall disappointment. Clerc’s art, at its finest, resembles Moebius’ “goofy” style, with exaggerated chins and big noses, the style he uses when he was, by and large, farting around or trying to be comical or satirical (as we saw in “The Hitman” a few issues back) Mix that with some Darrowesque Atomic Style and hints of the cartooning of Tardi and you’ve got three titans jamming through one man’s pen. It’s good stuff.

However, as a kind of cheeky Buck Rogers riff, it’s ultimately unengaging at a writing level. A man named Charlie Fyutcher (get it? Yuk-yuk) is transported by mistake into the middle of a galactic war, but his simpering everyman act in the face of alien terror grows old pretty quickly and the gags all just fall flat. It all really does look terrific, with Clerc drawing his ships right down to the individual rivet and his characters’ expressive faces and body language imbue a whole lot of life into a pretty tepid script. How can space pirates and exploding ships and ancient ruins and faux pulp energy by somehow dull? I’m not actually sure, it just is.

But fear not, for next issue features, among other things, an SF psychedelic masterpiece by none other than Neal “I’m Crazy!” Adams and NZ-born illustrator Michael Hinge that will blow your eyeballs from their sockets.




COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : NEMESIS THE WARLOCK BBC TV 1988

Okay, just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder, here’s Tony Robinson from Black Adder and The Worst Jobs in History introducing a segment from a frankly hilarious attempt to make Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill’s Nemesis The Warlock into a stop motion animated movie in 1988.

No, seriously.

For reals.

Would I lie to you?

Look:




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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

New Comics For Wednesday 2nd of March


It's March, people! Let's just let that sink in for a moment...

Ok, let's move on.

Marvel officially starts it's next mini event with AVENGERS STANDOFF ASSAULT ON PLEASANT HILL ALPHA #1 ASO. The Daredevil team of Waid and Samnee reunite to give us high action, spy thrills on BLACK WIDOW #1. Pushing the boundaries of sexual attraction and relationships with a demonic twist, Image's racy new series, DISCIPLINE #1 is definitely not for the weak hearted. Follow the adventures of the heroes on the frontlines of WW2 as told in DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS TP VOL 01 ENLISTED. Powerhouse creative team Geoff Johns and Jim Lee showcase their love of the Man Of Steel in the new collection, SUPERMAN UNCHAINED TP. If superhero-ing wasn't enough of a full time job, BLACK CANARY TP VOL 01 KICKING AND SCREAMING shows sharing a double life with being a rock star can be pretty exciting. Scooby Doo is due for a update in the next few months but before then catch him and The Flash bustin ghosts and speed eating snacks in SCOOBY DOO TEAM UP #15. The 90's are alive and well as is testament to the smash hit success of #0 and now MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #1 this week. ANOTHER CASTLE #1 from ONI isn't just another tale about a princess in distress but more of a story of a leader taking back her homeland, while dealing with incompetent male figures either holding her back or in her way. Second time around, we hope our missing stock of the finale to Brubaker and Philips' Hollywood murder mystery FADE OUT TP VOL 03 actually makes it in this week!

Not too heavy, not to light. This week's shipment is just right. Anything else you spot that you need, just let us know!

MARVEL
A-FORCE #3
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN AND SILK SPIDERFLY EFFECT #1 (OF 4)
AVENGERS STANDOFF ASSAULT ON PLEASANT HILL ALPHA #1 ASO
BLACK WIDOW #1
DARTH VADER #17
DEADPOOL #8
GUARDIANS OF INFINITY #4
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7
MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE CIVIL WAR #1
NEW AVENGERS #7
NOVA #5
OLD MAN LOGAN #3
SPIDER-MAN #2
UNCANNY AVENGERS #6
UNCANNY X-MEN #4
WEB WARRIORS #4

DC COMICS
BATGIRL #49
BATMAN 66 MEETS THE MAN FROM UNCLE #4 (OF 6)
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #22
BATMAN BEYOND #10
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #10
GREEN LANTERN #50
INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FIVE #5
MIDNIGHTER #10
OMEGA MEN #9
SCOOBY DOO TEAM UP #15
SWAMP THING #3 (OF 6)

VERTIGO
SHERIFF OF BABYLON #4 (OF 8)
SURVIVORS CLUB #6
UNFOLLOW #5

BOOM
GIANT DAYS #12
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #1

DARK HORSE
ANGEL AND FAITH SEASON 10 #24
JOE GOLEM OCCULT DETECTIVE #5
LONE WOLF 2100 #3 (OF 4)
PREDATOR LIFE AND DEATH #1 (OF 4)

DYNAMITE
BOBS BURGERS ONGOING #9
TRAIN CALLED LOVE #6 (OF 10)
VAMPIRELLA VOL 3 #1

IMAGE
BEYOND BELIEF #3
DEADLY CLASS #19
DISCIPLINE #1
FUSE #18
PROPHET EARTH WAR #2 (OF 6)
REVIVAL #37
SAINTS #6
VIOLENT #3
WALKING DEAD #152

ONI
ANOTHER CASTLE #1
EXODUS LIFE AFTER #4
RICK & MORTY #11
STUMPTOWN V3 #9

MISC
DOCTOR WHO 11TH YEAR TWO #6
DREAMING EAGLES #3
INTERCEPTOR #3
JOHNNY RED #5 (OF 8)
PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR ELITEST OF ELITE #1 (OF 4)
STREET FIGHTER UNLIMITED #4

TRADES
ART OF CHARLIE CHAN HOCK CHYE REG HC
BLACK CANARY TP VOL 01 KICKING AND SCREAMING
BOBS BURGERS ONGOING VOL 02 WELL DONE
CIVIL WAR NEW AVENGERS TP
COLORING DC TP VOL 01 BATMAN HUSH
COMPLETE WIMMENS COMIX HC BOX SET
CONAN HC VOL 19 XUTHAL OF THE DUSK
DAREDEVIL BY MILLER AND JANSON OMNIBUS HC NEW PTG
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS TP VOL 01 ENLISTED
DISNEY ZOOTOPIA CINESTORY
DOCTOR WHO 9TH HC VOL 01 WEAPONS OF PAST DESTRUCTI
ELEKTRA BY FRANK MILLER OMNIBUS HC NEW PTG
EVIL DEAD 2 BEYOND DEAD BY DAWN TP VOL 01
FADE OUT TP VOL 03
HARLEY QUINN AND POWER GIRL TP
INHUMAN HC
INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR ONE COMPLETE COLL
LUCKY PENNY GN
MIRACLEMAN GAIMAN BUCKINGHAM PREM HC BOOK 01
MISFITS OF AVALON TP VOL 02 THE ILL MADE GUARDIAN
NEW LONE WOLF AND CUB TP VOL 08
PITIFUL HUMAN LIZARD TP VOL 01
RIVERS OF LONDON TP VOL 01 BODY WORK
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED TP
TALES OF HONOR TP VOL 02
THIEF OF THIEVES TP VOL 05
UNCLE SCROOGE PERIL OF PANDORAS BOX TP
WALLY WOOD THUNDER AGENTS ARTIST ED PORTFOLIO ED (C: 0-0-2)

MERCH
DARK KNIGHT RETURNS 30TH ANIV 2 PACK AF

BACK IN STOCK
DEADPOOL #1
DEADPOOL #2
DEADPOOL #3 MOORE 2ND PTG VAR
DEADPOOL #4 HAWTHORNE 2ND PTG VAR
DEADPOOL #5 MOORE 2ND PTG VAR
DEADPOOL #6 KOBLISH 2ND PTG VAR
DEADPOOL #7
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #0 (3RD PTG)

Monday, February 22, 2016

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 1 DVD GIVEAWAY!


Living in the same universe as The Walking Dead, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is a gritty drama that explores the onset of the undead apocalypse through the lens of a fractured family.



Thanks to the Home Entertainment release of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD : SEASON 1, available now on Digital and Blu-Ray and DVD March 2 , we have 5 DVD Sets to give away!

To go into the draw for your chance to win all you need to do is tell us, "The Walkers of Walking Dead get a pretty raw deal. Stay out of their way and they'll leave you alone. So in place of the word FEAR, what other word would you use that might better describe a more peaceful existence with the Dead?"


Terms and Conditions:

Only entries made on the Facebook Page will be included in the draw, then entries will go into the All Star Barrel and winners will be drawn at random.

Entries close 6pm Monday 29th of February and winners will be announced Tuesday the 1st of March. Winners will be notified by Facebook as to when their prizes will be available to be collected. 

Winners must produce photo ID upon pick up. 

Prizes MUST be picked up no later than a week after the draw. 

Any remaining prizes after this date will be given away at our discretion to make sure they don't go to waste.


A huge thanks again to Entertainment One and FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 1 IS AVAILABLE NOW ON DIGITAL. ON BLU-RAY AND DVD MARCH 2!



ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR FEB 23RD


Hi comic bookers!

Man, was it was a total palate cleanser to attend The Festival of the Photocopier last weekend or what? It was just beautiful. Town Hall was packed, packed I tells you, with stalls and creators and shoppers and lovers of zines and comics. The atmosphere was welcoming, diverse and, as my wife pointed out, strongly feminist and LGBT friendly. Sure beats the hell out of the days when the culture consisted of a few sad-looking guys sitting around a table. We bought a bunch of stuff but did not take enough money, silly us, and missed out on Chris Gooch’s Curse You Skull Face as a result. Shit. If anyone has a spare, drop me a line. I can’t speak highly enough about Chris’ work. He’s a talent to watch and support. I did get Gooch’s Torn, however, and, well…watch this space for more on that.

Speaking of support, I’m unsure whether or not I’m allowed to talk about it but I may or may not have read the first issue and seen finished inks for the second issue of Tristan Jones’upcoming Aliens: Defiance book for Dark Horse with writer Brian Wood. I may or may not have enjoyed it immensely and may or may not be thrilled that Tristan is working on what’s clearly something of a dream project. He may or may not be producing the art of his life and it may or may not be the strongest start to an Aliens comic book series I can recall since Corben and Arcudi’s Aliens: Alchemy way back when.

By Kentaro Miura
Published Dark Horse

Creator of the beloved manga Berserk, Kentaro Miura’s Giganto Maxia is a hotly anticipated book, finally arriving in shops just last week to bewilder and blow minds with its mix of kaiju, wrestling manoeuvres and infectious sense of the ridiculous. What’s it about? Okay, stay with me here, this might get a bit rocky.

Following a near extinction event, known as The Great Destruction, strange hybrid creatures, entirely new lifeforms and even old mythological beings exist on the planet, jockeying for space alongside the remainder of humanity (Hyus) and hybrid beetle people (Myus). Humanity being humanity, we’ve learned nothing and have created the Empire of Olympus in which we seek to colonise and reclaim the planet. To do so, we’ve enlisted the aid of ancient “Terata” monsters, colloquially known as “Giganto,” to stomp out all opposition and seek out and enslave Hepi, an aspect of Gaia herself, who has embedded itself in a hidden part of the earth, terraforming desert back into lush thriving greenery. Opposing them are an ex-gladiator fond of puro resu moves named Delos, and Prome, a mystic who magically heals Delos’ frequent battle wounds. They may be completely outnumbered and out gunned, but they have a rather giant ace up their collective sleeve in the form of the titan named Gohra.

Ahh, forget it, plot be damned. Giganto Maxia is a just a joyful piece of comics lunacy. Hybrid bug men riding giant winged beetles across desert plains, ginormous flame-spewing squid creatures, cyclopean fertility gods growing into the earth and terraforming it in the process, a goofy loveable warrior hero whose style of fighting is almost entirely suplex-based – there is a visual surprise on virtually every single page. It’s like Miura read Attack on Titan, hurled it across the room in annoyance, rolled up his sleeves, unscrewed a bottle of unfiltered sake and went, “You want bigness? You want monsters? Alright, I’ll give you bigness!” His imagination is boundless, his visual design flawless. His pages are intricate and super-detailed. The world he creates energetic and lovingly constructed, from massive beetle nest villages right down to the scarab helmets his myu warriors wear into final battle. Giganto Maxia is an absolute comics treat. A single-volume of energetic, cinematic and joyful cartooning.

But, honestly, it comes right down to this – if you have no interest in seeing a giant sinewy demigod delivering a brainbuster or a leg drop to an equally giant monolith of a monster that looks like a Japanese demon gone cenobite, you might well be beyond any hope as a comics fan.



WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : MAPS TO THE SUN
By Sloane Leong

Being serialised monthly at Zainab Akhtar’s wonderful Comics and Cola site is Sloane (From Under Mountains) Leong’s “girls’ basketball drama” Maps to The Sun. The stylish first chapter went up earlier this month and it, artistically, sets the tone, introduces its hoop-dreaming lead and her hard-working dad. Thus far looking to be a straight-up, non-speculative, realistic (if dreamy) girls’ sportscomic, Maps to The Sun should be bookmarked by every reader seeking diversity in story, creator and character. I look forward to seeing where this heads.







COUNTDOWN TO MOZ METAL: HEAVY METAL MAY 1979

This is a talent-rich but underwhelming issue in totality, proof that the sum of several excellent parts to not make a single, glorious whole. It’s not entirely the fault of editorial, however, as the final chapter of poor Angus McKie’s “So Beautiful and So Deadly” did not ship to the HM offices in time thanks to a postal strike (or something). It’s a weird thing, in 2016, to look back at the trials and tribulations of publishing past. How terrifying for an international artist like McKie wondering whether or not his art boards would actually survive an overseas journey. The ulcers comics artists must have had back in the day…

No less a talent than Rick Veitch makes an artistic appearance with a single splash page titled, “Born Again” in which naked humans raise nesting birds up to the cosmos which swirls away above. Make whatever meaning you like from that, to me those birds look pretty contented, sitting there all chubby in their nests, so perhaps the obvious “souls taking flight” or some such thing might need a bit of a rethink. Perhaps ultimately, we’re happy here, stuck in our flesh vehicles, no matter how we may long for some sort of transcendence. That’s my rather downer take on it…

Part One of Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin’s adaptation of “Alien” arrives fairly early in this issue (following “…Arabian Nights”). Walt’s in top form, his artwork instantly recognisable yet every character on the page bears a more than passing resemblance to his or her cinematic counterpart. His Tom Skerritt is particularly on point. Plus, just look at that logo!

In place of the missing conclusion to “So Beautiful…” is “Entropics” a story which, according to the editorial, had been kicking around the office for sometime awaiting placement. It’s a curiosity this piece, reading like some underground comic from the period but looking like something Marvel would have happily published. Artist Marshall Rogers is the reason for this, bringing his gorgeously sleek lines to Mark Arnold’s tale of…something…it’s actually not terribly readable, but my god those pages! Rogers’ alien landscapes, bipedal cat creatures, space squids and curling trails of hundreds of floating butterflies are just lovely, which should be unsurprising to anyone familiar with this master’s work. However, also featuring penile extenders and a whole host of silly stuff, it’s little wonder “Entropics” was held over for as long as it was. So pretty. So stupid.

Alias is back with more Only Connectin “Lifestyles” which is the weakest of the three instalments thus far published, but is still an excellent addition to the issue. A society of robots consumed with the need to obtain the latest in “plastomatics,” or face sculptures, goes mad when Kahixe, a leading artist in the field is arrested for “humano-regressive tendencies.” Basically, he’s been working on a full body plastomatic suit fashioned after the human female. As he’s hauled away, some nearby fashionistas can be heard to remark that next year’s styles are trending toward the cubist, the irony here perhaps being that the freaky, avant-garde aspects of much of cubism exists solely because of humanism, the troubled mind of Picasso for instance, and the spontaneous, obviously human trait of simultaneous perspectives. The angular cubist “Fruit Dish” by Braque is no less human than that of Caravaggio, y’know? Or maybe those robots just hate us fleshy ones and that’s all there is to it…

Druillet’s back (yay!) going lo-fi and confining himself to black and white pages and – shock – actual panels, widescreen horizontal panels so in-vogue in 2016 no less. “Dancin’” is not much of a story, centred around a kind of post-apocalyptic rave, but it’s fascinating to see Druillet so restrained after the full colour, widescreen madness of “Gail” and playing by the established “rules” of comics even as, with this widescreen panel use, he’s peering ahead to the layouts that such comics like Injection and Providence use so well – a kind of bridge between the decompressed excess The Authority inspired and the tight, super-confined grids of something like Watchmen.

Ben Katchor’s “A Proposed Architect” rolls along dreamily, as members of The Exterior Street Men’s Club (actually chicken-like creatures wearing dramatic masks) spy a new candidate at a nearby cafĂ© and concoct an apocalyptic scenario based upon the assumed contents of their dapper prospect’s shopping list and innate knowledge of the city. An odd diversion, but a welcome one and certainly a beautifully illustrated one at that.

Gray Morrow’s back with the first part of his “8 Belles,” individual stories focussing on “individualistic women…unwilling to play a passive role.” Sounds great, Gray, shame your first such woman, Amora, spends half the episode nude. Okay, that’s probably a little unfair as comely Amora does get the drop on some dopey dudes using her feminine wiles, plus it’s Gray Morrow – the art is gorgeous, if a little cramped by squeezing so much story and dialogue into so few pages. Still, those of you with Non-Compliant tattoos will roll your eyeballs at this for sure.

I’m not going to talk about “The Airtight Garage” anymore until the collected Dark Horse edition as I think it reads better in longer page chunks and, really, how many more times can I say how lovely it is. It is really lovely though….

There’s a few other odds and ends here but, really, a little underwhelming considering the mountain of talent involved. Boo.



COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : BACK TO THE GUTTERS EPISODE 1: BEN DEWEY


A month or so back, I featured Jamie S. Rich talking with Mike Allred as part of Rich’s From The Gutters web series. Well, it has returned! Back to The Gutters kicks off with the incredible Ben Dewey, of The Autumnlands with Kurt Busiek, who takes us through not only his artistic process but his journey to full time comics and the dedication and discipline it takes to not only “make it,” but produce the work itself. Inspiring stuff and a wake-up call to everyone who finds excuses not to make their art. What a cool guy. His artistic talent is only matched by his niceness and his musical talent, which is also on full display.




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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

New Comics For Wednesday 24th of February



Excitement! The next All Star Women's Comic Book Club Meet is this Saturday and will be featuring Maggie The Mechanic, with all the details HERE. If you haven't read this month's book but want to attend, don't worry and please come along. The group is always buzzed to meet new members and are very welcoming!
Ummm...which that means it's almost March? The week's of comics are just flying by. But before we get caught up in the passage of time, join us for a fly by of this week's new comic list.

A little late but perhaps timed well with the last Batman V Superman trailer, the next part of DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #3 hits shelves. Miller's not the only legend making a return to DC, this week we have Neal Adams writing and drawing again with SUPERMAN THE COMING OF THE SUPERMEN #1. Who wants to go home and who wants to come with US TO READ STREET FIGHTER X GI JOE #1?! Nicola Scott and Greg Rucka continue their wicca/police drama with the latest BLACK MAGICK #5. The Wicked and The Divine talent of Gillen heads one of the many great underrated recent Secret Wars adventures in the SIEGE BATTLEWORLD TP. We might not be able to understand Wookie but his actions are some of the noblest and sweetest in the Star Wars Universe, just check out STAR WARS TP CHEWBACCA and see. The fresh, fun, yet mature approach to a modern love and relationship story with it's share of the risque, the latest installment SUNSTONE OGN VOL 04 is in this week. Untold tales of a comedy great taken before his time in BELUSHI ON A MISSION FROM GOD.  More of the rare and hard to find early run of BOP is here with BIRDS OF PREY TP VOL 02. Taking a while longer to be released than we first thought, the final part of the Euro hit SNOWPIERCER HC VOL 03 TERMINUS finally arrives. Get your Morrison fix this week with a deluxe collection of two of his short stories in KILL YOUR BOYFRIEND VINAMARAMA DELUXE ED HC. Magic, monsters, mayhem, mystery, mayhem, BPRD's John Arcudi and James Harren's RUMBLE TP VOL 02 A WOE THAT IS MADNESS has it all...did we mention mayhem?  KAIJUMAX TP VOL 01 from Zander Cannon is definitely one of the best comics you didn't read last year. A riff on Monster Island from Godzilla, this is an intense and darkly funny prison tale for wayward titans and their capturers and should not be missed!

All that AND  new PREVIEWS #330 MARCH 2016 to look through, which means be on the look out for our March Previews Album!

Anything else you need help with, be sure to let us know!


MARVEL
ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT AVENGERS #6
ALL NEW INHUMANS #4
ALL NEW X-MEN #5
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.3
ANGELA QUEEN OF HEL #5
ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #5
DAREDEVIL #4
DRAX #4
GUIDEBOOK MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE MARVELS AVENGERS
HERCULES #4
HOWLING COMMANDOS OF SHIELD #5
KANAN #11
KARNAK #2
MARVEL UNIVERSE ULT SPIDER-MAN SPIDER-VERSE #4 (OF 4)
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #4
PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #3
SILK #5
SPIDER-MAN 2099 #7
UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #5
VENOM SPACE KNIGHT #4
X-MEN WORST X-MAN EVER #1 (OF 5)

DC COMICS
AQUAMAN #49 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #21
CYBORG #8 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #3 (OF 8)
DEATHSTROKE #15 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
FLASH #49 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
GRAYSON #17 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
HE MAN THE ETERNITY WAR #15
JUSTICE LEAGUE #48 ADULT COLORING BOOK VAR ED
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 #9
SUICIDE SQUAD MOST WANTED DEADSHOT KATANA #2 (OF 6)
SUPERMAN #49 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
SUPERMAN LOIS AND CLARK #5 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
SUPERMAN THE COMING OF THE SUPERMEN #1 (OF 6)
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN #26 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
TEEN TITANS #17 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
WE ARE ROBIN #9 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED

VERTIGO
ART OPS #5
JACKED #4 (OF 6)
LAST GANG IN TOWN #3 (OF 7)

BOOM
ADVENTURE TIME ICE KING #2
MUNCHKIN #14
VENUS #3
WILDS END ENEMY WITHIN #6 (OF 6)

DARK HORSE
CONAN THE AVENGER #23
DEATH HEAD #6 (OF 6)
FIGHT CLUB 2 #9
HELLBOY & BPRD 1953 BEYOND THE FENCES #1
ITTY BITTY HELLBOY SEARCH FOR THE WERE-JAGUAR #4 (OF 4)
KING CONAN WOLVES BEYOND THE BORDER #3 (OF 4)

DYNAMITE
PATHFINDER HOLLOW MOUNTAIN #4 (OF 6)

IDW
BACK TO THE FUTURE #5 (OF 5)
DANGER GIRL RENEGADE #4 (OF 4)
DIRK GENTLY A SPOON TOO SHORT #1 (OF 5)
GHOSTBUSTERS INTERNATIONAL #2 (OF 4)
HAUNTED LOVE #1
JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS #12
JUDGE DREDD (ONGOING) #3
MAXX MAXXIMIZED #28
ORPHAN BLACK HELSINKI #4 (OF 5)
SKYLANDERS SUPERCHARGERS #5
STAR TREK ONGOING #54
STREET FIGHTER X GI JOE #1 (OF 6)
TMNT ONGOING #55
TRANSFORMERS #50
TRANSFORMERS VS GI JOE #11
WYNONNA EARP #1 (OF 6)

IMAGE
BLACK MAGICK #5
CHEW #55
CRY HAVOC #2
FOUR EYES HEARTS OF FIRE #2 (OF 4)
GODDAMNED #3
IMAGE GIANT SIZED ARTISTS PROOF ED TOKYO GHOST #1 & 2
INVISIBLE REPUBLIC #9
MYTHIC #7
NO MERCY #7
NOWHERE MEN #8
OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #16
PENCIL HEAD #2 (OF 5)
PLUTONA #4 (OF 5)
POSTAL #10
RINGSIDE #4
SAGA #34
SPAWN #261
WAYWARD #14
WOLF #6

VALIANT
BLOODSHOT REBORN #11 
FAITH #2 (OF 4)

MISC
BART SIMPSON COMICS #100
FUTURAMA COMICS #78
GANGES #5
RACHEL RISING #40
STRAYER #2

MAGAZINES
MARVEL PREVIEWS #8 MARCH 2016 EXTRAS
PREVIEWS #330 MARCH 2016

TRADES
ALL NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA TP VOL 01 HYDRA ASCENDANT
AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL TP VOL 02
ARK HC
BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT HC VOL 02
BELUSHI ON A MISSION FROM GOD
BIG KIDS HC
BIRDS OF PREY TP VOL 02
BOY-1 TP
BRAVEST WARRIORS TP VOL 06
CROSSED TP VOL 15
DEADPOOL CLASSIC TP VOL 15 ALL REST
DEATHSTROKE TP VOL 02 GODKILLER
DONALD & MICKEY DISNEY COMICS/STORIES 75TH ANNV COLL TP
DRAGONS DEFENDERS OF BERK GN VOL 01 ENDLESS NIGHT
FOUNDING FATHERS FUNNIES HC
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY AND X-MEN TP BLACK VORTEX
HEAVENLY NOSTRILS CHRONICLE GN VOL 03 UNICORN VS G
HOWARD THE DUCK TP VOL 02 COMPLETE COLLECTION
INUYASHIKI GN VOL 03
IVAR TIMEWALKER TP VOL 03 ENDING HISTORY
KAIJUMAX TP VOL 01
KILL YOUR BOYFRIEND VINAMARAMA DELUXE ED HC
LAST MAN GN VOL 04 CHASE
MARTIAN MANHUNTER TP VOL 01 THE EPIPHANY
MEZOLITH ORIGINAL GN HC VOL 01
NEIL GAIMANS MR HERO GN VOL 01
OCTOPUS PIE TP VOL 01
RUMBLE TP VOL 02 A WOE THAT IS MADNESS
SAM KEITH MAXX ARTIST ED HC
SIEGE BATTLEWORLD TP
SNOWPIERCER HC VOL 03 TERMINUS
SPIDER-VERSE TP
STAR WARS TP CHEWBACCA
SUICIDE RISK TP VOL 06
SUNSTONE OGN VOL 04
THE LAST FALL TP
TRANSFORMERS IDW COLL PHASE 2 HC VOL 03
TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE A NEW MISSION TP
VALHALLA MAD TP

MERCH
BATMAN SYMBOL KNIT BEANIE
GHOSTBUSTERS STAY PUFT APRON & CHEF HAT

BACK IN STOCK
AMERICAN MONSTER #2
SPIDER-MAN DEADPOOL #2

TIPPING POINT HC

Monday, February 15, 2016

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR FEBRUARY 16TH



The world has gone dog mad! what-dog.net has arrived to further distract us from the fact that one day we’re all just going to die and become the stuff of the boring old cosmos again. Don’t mind me, I’m coming off a week in which I had a conversation with the cleaner in my office that literally went like this:

CLEANER: We see each other at the end of each day. Do you know what that means?

CAM: …No…?

CLEANER: We’re watching each other’s lives slip away.

Yeah, try and enjoy dog-ifying yourself after that…


As I am apparently a Dutch Shepherd and my athleticism can no longer be denied and nothing really matters anyway, I’m off to live my dream, join Lucha Underground and become the masked El Nihilisto. Pentagon Jr., I’m coming for YOU, homes!



COMIC OF THE WEEK : MEAN GIRLS CLUB
By Ryan Heshka
Published By NoBrow

Poised to inspire more tattoos than any other comic this year is self-taught Canadian artist Ryan Heshka’s Mean Girl’s Club, which Diamond *finally* shipped last week making me, and you, the last people on earth to read it. Pinky, Wendy, Sweets, Blackie, McQualude and Wanda are as mean as they are lovely and, man, do they ever want to prove it. Meeting up at their ramshackle clubhouse somewhere in the woods, The Mean Girl’s Club chill cocktails with ice cubes made from a captive’s tears, inject venom, worship snakes, do drugs and go on a city-wide rampage, reminding citizens everywhere that girls are totally the meanest. Defy them at your peril, boys – they mount heads to their clubhouse wall as trophies.

Part of NoBrow’s 17x23 project, designed to spotlight “talented young graphic novelists” (last seen in this column with Joe Sparrow’s The Hunter), Heshka’s lovely little book is filled with pages of black, white, grey tones and a near fluorescent, eye-popping pink that make his curvy figures lift up off the page, ready to slap you right in the chops. As listed in Huck magazine, Heshka’s influences are numerous. The obvious ones are easy to pick – old B-Movies, 1950s fashion, Basil Wolverton comics – but an informed love of typography is also an important feature of his work, specifically “hand-created type” which he uses in paintings to achieve “the appearance of a fake magazine or pulp cover.” In Mean Girl’s Club, Heshka’s hand-lettering takes the typed font of old EC comics and sands off its uniformity, keeping the old school, pulp comics aesthetic in his word balloons but making it his own.

There’s so much to love about this – the mayhem, the merkins, the “drug muscles,” the cars, the hair, the Va Voom of these vixens – all capped off with a double page spread of the girls stealing – errr - shopping, a “Dress Up Activity Page,” with various fashions drawn in paper doll style should you feel the need to clip the girls out and dress them in the most killer of outfits.

Comic book, art object, fashion show and all-round example of femininity wild and on the loose, Mean Girls Club is an impactful, eye-catching sequential debut from Heshka, who hopefully can tear himself away from painting long enough to give us a longer, meatier comics project in the near future. OutrĂ© on Elizabeth street has a few Heshka prints on its walls right now, including one of the Mean Girls Club’s founders, Fulvia and Ulva, and this week’s Comics Video is a Mean Girls Club video art piece Heshka created as part of an installation. Go check them out should you need any more convincing.


WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : LIGHTEN UP 
By Ron Wimberly 

Probably the most talked about webcomic of 2015 was Ron Wimberly’s Lighten Up. During a guest slot on Wolverine and The X-Men, Wimberly was asked to lighten the colour of a character’s skin, thus setting off this brilliantly constructed and incredibly thoughtful discussion of race, colour, diversity and comics. Lighten Up was not very well received (or handled) by Marvel Editor in Chief, Axel Alonso, as detailed by Abhay Khosla here (and I would encourage you to make the time to read Abhay’s four-part column in its entirety) but was extremely well received by virtually everyone else. If you didn’t read this last year, here’s your chance to find out why it’s so important and highly regarded.




COUNTDOWN TO MOZ METAL : HEAVY METAL APRIL 1979 

Apparently some film called Alien opened around the time that this, the April 1979 issue of HM was published and, boy, are the editors excited about it. Promising a slew of xenomorph-related material in upcoming issues, HM will bring us the serialised adaptation of the film by the legendary Walter Simonson and Archie Goodwin from next issue and some behind the scenes stuff, models, photos and production designs, in this very issue. Some unused designs by Chris Foss, whose name collectors of ‘70s SF paperbacks and fans of the wonderful doco Jodorowsky’s Dune will recognise, and others are included. Particularly interesting is a design for a space refinery that sort of looks like Marvel’s Asgard gone industrial. There’s also some Moebius costume designs, many of which that look nothing like the final product despite claims that “the illustrations of Moebius were followed closely in actual production.” Such fibbing may be more convincing if the designs of Moebius and actual costumes were not presented side by side for your befuddled consideration.

Enki Bilal flies solo and goes full-colour in “Going Native,” the story of a navigational robot who falls in love with a blue-skinned beauty whose boyfriend comes a-calling with tragic, black comedic results. Lust, Chines stereotypes, opium dens and magic collide in Len Wein and Howard Chaykin’s “Gideon Faust: Warlock at Large.” Chaykin mocks your puny concepts of page layout, eschewing panel borders entirely and giving this fully-painted, 19th century-set effort a thoroughly modern look…well, by 1970s standards. Chaykin adds surrealist elements and blobs and streaks of paint and art nouveau flourishes to yet another tale of love gone awry as poor Faust, like the robot in Bilal’s piece before him, falls for someone he has no business falling for. And just consider, for a moment, that Chaykin and Wein remain active in comics 2016. How incredible is that?

William Burroughs and Joseph Conrad collide in Picotto’s “The Strange Mission,” a perplexing but attractive little number about a colonialist agency attempting to blow up a group of rebels hidden away somewhere in the jungles of Rebel Island. The mission is spectacularly sabotaged, however, as the rebels sink the explosives-laden ship, killing all aboard, by utilising a “type two ambush based on mythical subconscious connections, mental stress and ambivalence.” In other words, they materialised giant iceberg in the middle of a tropical river. I think I’ve just found my new fave super power.

There’s more “Only Connect” by Alias (actually Claude Lacroix) and it is tremendous. A fat, pushy archaeologist arrives at a futuristic airport seeking passage to the planet Kraspek. However, Kraspek is in The Forbidden Zone and the methods of transportation there are archaic and dangerous. The archaeologist gets his way, however, and is taken to a departure bay where he will travel “old biotic style.” Diving into a bubble that floats in a pool of viscous liquid, the archaeologist begins his journey, his bubble ship sinking down into the liquid only to emerge as a human baby being squeezed out of his new mother. So good.

Yves Chaland, of last week’s feature comic, Freddy Lombard and the week prior to that in the HM recap, returns with another short and yet another style, which at this point just makes the tragedy of his death all the sadder. “No Love Lost” is set in the Supercity, where seemingly fascistic police crack heads in their hunt for a man named Alex. Alex leaves his lover’s bed and runs into the jungle where a rocketship full of atomic weaponry has crashed. Linda, Alex’s lover, is shocked to find out from police that Alex is in fact a psychopath who wants to blow up the planet just as Alex detonates the weapons. It’s not much a story, sure, but it’s only three pages long and sees Chaland working in an almost Alex Raymond style. Clearly yet another experiment before Chaland got serious with Freddy Lombard, it’s just flawlessly drawn, capping off yet another solid issue.




COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : MEAN GIRLS CLUB 

If you’re a reader who thinks, “Gee, I wish this column would get back to its super-pretentious best,” boy, do I have the video for you! As part of, yes, an art installation in Portland, here’s a piece of mixed media video art by Ryan Heshka based around his excellent Mean Girls Club comic as featured above. It’s wonderfully odd and super cool and even if you’re thinking, “Ew, installation art,” there’s enough pretty girls acting tough and stylish animation to make this recommended viewing. Plus, it’s nice to see artistic promos that aren’t just based around who’s dying this month, or which universe is rebooting next week, both of which, it has been scientifically proven, can cause your comics continuity-caused migraines to throb with just that little bit of extra oomph.




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.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

New Comics For Wednesday 17th of February


Heading toward the finally date of our anniversary period, Feb 20th marks one year open our Queen St location! This also means you still have another week to go into the draw for our $500 Anniversary Gift Voucher Raffle just by spending $50 picking up your weekly books! It's win win! Also on the win side of things is this week's comics, check it out.

What is the mystery behind Marvel next event? AVENGERS STANDOFF WELCOME PLEASANT HILL #1 ASO sets the wheels in motion to finding out. Original Heroes For Hire are back together and it feels so good in the new POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #1. New from Image, SNOWFALL #1 is about a scientist that wages war using the weather as weapons of mass destruction. Continuing the new direction for Barbara Gordon, Babs Tarr delivers another stunning collection in BATGIRL TP VOL 02 FAMILY BUSINESS.  Brubaker and Phillips' 1950's Hollywood murder hit comes to it's pulpy end in FADE OUT TP VOL 03CAPTAIN AMERICA HC WHITE from Loeb and Sale share a tale of the special bond between Bucky and Cap in their original WWII setting. What if the Marvel Civil War never ended? Soule and Yu follow this thought up with CIVIL WAR WARZONES TP. Not one for making friends, this collection give us some of Frank's best tussles with the do gooders of the MU in PUNISHER VS MARVEL UNIVERSE TPAll good monsters go to heaven? Perhaps not, in this rather interesting take on Dante's Inferno in GODZILLA IN HELL TP. Kirkman's ever expanding space odyssey continues to grow in scope in the next chapterINVINCIBLE TP VOL 22. The Wyld Stallyns are back in a couple of different formats this week, firstly in BILL & TED GO TO HELL #1 and the trade collection, BILL & TED MOST TRIUMPHANT RETURN TP VOL 01. Over the top Hollywood productions of the z-grade kind are all the rage in Rick Spears AUTEUR TP VOL 02 SISTER BAMBIKentaro Miura, the legend behind the manga classic Berserk sees his latest project about the future, mutants and genocide released, GIGANTO MAXIA TP. Indie hit and loving tribute to all that was incredible about late 80's comics, collected in one place, REVENGER GN VOL 01

Anything else you need help with from this week's list, just let us know!

MARVEL
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8
AVENGERS STANDOFF WELCOME PLEASANT HILL #1 ASO
CAPTAIN AMERICA SAM WILSON #6
CARNAGE #5
CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #5
DEADPOOL AND CABLE SPLIT SECOND #3 (OF 3)
EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #7
MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE SEASON TWO #16
MAX RIDE #4 (OF 5) ULTIMATE FLIGHT
MIGHTY THOR #4
POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #1
SILVER SURFER #2
SPIDER-WOMAN #4
SQUADRON SUPREME #4
STAR WARS #16
STAR-LORD #4
STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK #3
UNCANNY INHUMANS #5
WEB WARRIORS #4

DC COMICS
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #20
DOCTOR FATE #9
HARLEY QUINN #25  NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FIVE #4
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #9 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
POISON IVY CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH #2 (OF 6)
ROBIN SON OF BATMAN #9 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
SECRET SIX #11
SINESTRO #20 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
SUPERMAN AMERICAN ALIEN #4 (OF 7)
TEEN TITANS GO #14
TITANS HUNT #5 (OF 12) NEAL ADAMS VAR ED
WONDER WOMAN #49 NEAL ADAMS VAR ED

VERTIGO
ASTRO CITY #32
CLEAN ROOM #5
LUCIFER #3
RED THORN #4

BOOM
ADVENTURE TIME #49
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #21
BILL & TED GO TO HELL #1
JIM HENSONS STORYTELLER DRAGONS #3
LUMBERJANES #23
REGULAR SHOW #32

DARK HORSE
BTVS SEASON 10 #24
DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2014 #19
DRAGON AGE MAGEKILLER #3 (OF 5)
STEAM MAN #5 (OF 5)
TOMB RAIDER 2016 #1
USAGI YOJIMBO #152

DYNAMITE
DEVOLUTION #2 (OF 5)
GRUMPY CAT & POKEY #1 (OF 6)
RED SONJA VOL 3 #2

IMAGE
BIRTHRIGHT #14
BITCH PLANET #7
CITIZEN JACK #4
FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS #5
HUCK #4
I HATE FAIRYLAND #5
SEX CRIMINALS #14 KATIE COOK XXX VAR
SNOWFALL #1
STARVE #6
STRAY BULLETS SUNSHINE & ROSES #12
SYMMETRY #3
TITHE #8

ONI
BLOOD FEUD #5 (OF 5)
INVADER ZIM #7

VALIANT
IMPERIUM #13
WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR #4

MISC
AMERICAN MONSTER #2
ARCHIE #6
BETTY & VERONICA COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #241
BLACK HOOD #9
CRICKETS #5
DOCTOR WHO 8TH #4 (OF 5)
HEROES VENGENACE #5 (OF 5)
MAN PLUS #2 (OF 4)
SIMPSONS COMICS #226
SUPERZERO #3
WAKFU #3 (OF 8)
WRAITHBORN #1 (OF 6)

TRADES
12 REASONS WHY I LOVE HER 10TH ANNV ED HC
ADVENTURES IN CARTOONING CHARACTERS IN ACTION SC
ADVENTURES IN CARTOONING SC
AMERICAN VAMPIRE HC VOL 08
AUTEUR TP VOL 02 SISTER BAMBI
AVENGERS TIME RUNS OUT TP VOL 04
BARB WIRE TP VOL 01 STEEL HARBOR BLUES
BAT MITE TP
BATGIRL TP VOL 02 FAMILY BUSINESS
BATMAN NOIR THE BLACK MIRROR HC
BILL & TED MOST TRIUMPHANT RETURN TP VOL 01
BROKEN MOON TP VOL 01 WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE
CAPTAIN AMERICA HC WHITE
CATWOMAN TP VOL 07 INHERITANCE
CIVIL WAR WARZONES TP
CREEPS GN VOL 01 NIGHT OF FRANKENFROGS
DC COMICS GUIDE TO CREATING COMICS SC
DC COMICS GUIDE TO WRITING COMICS SC
DOOM PATROL TP BOOK 01
DOOMED TP
DREAMWORKS HOME COLLECTION TP VOL 01
E IS FOR EXTINCTION WARZONES TP
FADE OUT TP VOL 03
GIGANTO MAXIA TP
GODZILLA IN HELL TP
GOON LIBRARY HC VOL 02
HOGARTH DRAWING DYNAMIC HANDS NEW PTG
HOGARTH DRAWING THE HUMAN HEAD SC NEW PTG
HOGARTH DYNAMIC FIGURE DRAWING NEW PTG
HOGARTH DYNAMIC WRINKLES & DRAPERY NEW PTG
INVINCIBLE TP VOL 22
JUDGE DREDD DEAD ZONE TP
MAKE COMICS LIKE THE PROS SC
MAKING COMICS STORYTELLING SECRETS SC NEW PTG
MIDNIGHTER TP VOL 01 OUT
PUKE FORCE HC
PUNISHER VS MARVEL UNIVERSE TP
REVENGER GN VOL 01
ROBOCOP DEAD OR ALIVE TP VOL 02
STAN LEE HOW TO WRITE COMICS SC
WORDS FOR PICTURES ART & BUSINESS OF WRITING COMIC
X-MEN GAMBIT TP COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 01
X-TINCTION AGENDA WARZONES TP

MERCH
BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT MYSTERY MINIS
BATMAN MAGIC 8-BALL
DAREDEVIL SYMBOL KNIT BEANIE
IRON FIST SYMBOL KNIT BEANIE
POP MARVEL DEADPOOL THUMBS UP VINYL FIG
POP MARVEL DEADPOOL TWO SWORDS VINYL FIG

BACK IN STOCK
BATMAN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 (OF 6)  2ND PTG
BATMAN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #2 (OF 6) 2ND PTG
DARTH VADER #13 BROOKS 2ND PTG VAR VDWN
DARTH VADER #14 BROOKS 2ND PTG VAR VDWN
DARTH VADER #15 BROOKS 2ND PTG VAR VDWN
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #6
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #0
MONSTRESS #2 2ND PTG
MONSTRESS #3
NOVA #4
OLD MAN LOGAN #2
PAPER GIRLS #1
PAPER GIRLS #2
PAPER GIRLS #3
PAPER GIRLS #4
STAR WARS #14 BROOKS 2ND PTG VAR VDWN
SWAMP THING #2 (OF 6)

TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #2 FRANK CHO 2ND PTG VAR

Monday, February 8, 2016

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR FEBRUARY 9TH


Hi there, romanticals peeps.

What a Valentine’s weekend it’s shaping up to be for lovers of comical books! Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier runs from Feb 11-14, with the zine fair at Melbourne Town Hall held on Valentine’s day itself. The very day before, Saturday Feb 13, pop into All Star for I Heart Comics featuring the launch of new comics by locals Frank Candiloro, Alisha Jade, Ive Sorocuk, Alex Clark and Fred Atkins. Good line up, that. In hunting down that last date, I also discovered that the All Star Women’s Comic Book Club are going to look at Jaime Hernandez’s all-time-no-question-capital-‘c’-Classic, Maggie The Mechanic on Feb 27. Good grief. The group, from all reports, is beyond friendly and inclusive, so if I were either female-you and had any interest in the work of one of the true masters of the form, I’d mark that in your calendar and get down there. Jaime friends would be the best friends, I imagine. 

Ah, comics. Nothing says I love you like the sexy, alchemical mix of pictures and words on paper.

*swooooooonnnnnnnnn*


COMIC OF THE WEEK : FREDDY LOMBARD
By Yves Chaland
Published By Humanoids

If nothing else, the collected Freddy Lombard is a beautiful example of just how far artistic perfectionists can push themselves. French creator Yves Chaland, an immensely driven and gifted artist, clearly sets himself an artistic goal from page one of Freddy’s first adventure, “The Will of Godfrey of Bouillon,” and hones his vision over the course of four subsequent Lombard books all created between 1984-1989 until his tragic, untimely death at the age of just thirty.

Just from looking at his work (see last week’s Heavy Metal recap for more on this) it’s clear that as well as being a highly playful artist, Chaland was restless. He had an ability to alter his style so radically, often within the confines of a single page of his more experimental pieces, yet a fondness for the work of Belgian artists like Herge, Tillieux, Franquin and Jije informs the meatiest of his own work, the Freddy Lombard tales collected in their entirety by Humanoids. Here, the ligne claire (or clear line) seen most notably in the work of Herge, is seemingly obsessed over. Over the course of the books, lovely inky swipes are stripped back and refined, characters features sharpen, the world they exist in pulls into greater focus and detail. The artistic and narrative evolution of the series is remarkable.

Freddy, Dina and Sweep are an interesting mix of unlikeable layabout, gypsy and adventurer. Constantly scrambling for money or food or shelter, this trio of shiftless dropouts constantly find trouble, danger and adventure as a result of their desperation and loyalty to one another. Set in the 1950s, the tone of Tintin is immediately apparent, not just in Freddy’s blond quiff and tan trench coat, but in the gang’s globetrotting mysteries finding ancient artefacts, “cutting edge” science, states of intoxication and fisticuffs. Freddy’s final adventure, “F.52,” quite obviously pays homage to Herge’s “Flight 714,” (everyone’s favourite Tintin, right?) with F.52, Chaland’s experimental plane, bound for Melbourne instead of Herge taking Tintin to Sydney aboard his troubled vessel.

It’s not all quite so romantic, however, as the problematic “The Elephant Graveyard” makes abundantly clear. On the hunt for an original photographic plate, Freddy and co. wind up in Africa, where, in keeping with the style that informs the work, Africans are by and large presented in fairly racist caricature (think Tintin in the Congo – the book excised from ongoing publication). On the surface, clearly a terrible aesthetic decision. However, in his afterword, Jean-Luc Fromental writes “The racist caricatures of the old masters are examined here under a harsh, unblinking light.” Is Chaland adding a dollop of poison to his otherwise sentimental appropriation of his heroes’ styles? Perhaps reminding us that for all its cosy warmth, nostalgia also has its dark hidden cracks? Judging by how other characters of colour are treated in the series, it would seem so. At one point, Freddy is manhandled and beaten by a black doorman who takes justifiable offence at an offhand, casually racist comment Freddy makes and in (probably my favourite) story, “The Comet of Carthage,” Freddy falls in love with a beautiful, intelligent and sophisticated Tunisian named Alaia, who is the unfortunate muse of a demented artist. If the idea of such caricature being used at all causes offence, I completely understand and respect your opinion. However, I would ask for some attempt to appreciate context and subtext before declaring your outrage, as many a reviewer has already done from my cursory search online.

Moving from Italy to Hungary, “Holiday in Budapest” sees Freddy and Sweep laying about in Venice while Dina tutors a young lad in Latin and then sees the gang caught up at the heart of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Heavy stuff for a Tintin homage. The selfishness of Freddy and Sweep is brilliantly highlighted by young Lazlo, Dina’s student, who just wants to return home to Budapest to help overthrow the Stalinist Hungarian People’s Republic. Lazlo, political and driven even as a child, can’t countenance the “lazy bourgeois” existence he and his mother have in Venice while his home still suffers. Lazlo runs away and Freddy and Sweep, very quickly and sensing much financial reward in the journey, begin driving Lazlo across Europe. Dina’s character is rounded out nicely here as well. While always strong in her own right, she’s frequently a hanger-on, lovelorn over Freddy not reciprocating her romantic feelings. In “Holiday In Budapest,” she’s given extra warmth and bravery, becoming the first truly sympathetic character of the group in the process.

Narratively the most complex of the Lombard adventures, “Holiday in Budapest” reads like an epic with Chaland somehow still peppering in a gag here and there even as the city becomes a warzone, still somehow beautiful in Chaland’s slick, precise lines.

Style atome (atom, or atomic, style) informs the design of Chaland’sexperimental F.52 plane. Painted in red and white, which may give you flashbacks to the rocket from Tintin’s Destination Moon, the science fiction sensibilities of Chaland’s artistic heroes  are resurrected here in sleek retro-futuristic curves. Classism, espionage, sexual harassment and terrible parenting collide in this final Lombard tale, in which Chaland’s art has arguably never looked so lovely, climaxing with a car driving off the loading dock of the plane, plummeting down into the ocean in what Fromental remarks was “a terrible premonition” of the accident that would cruelly take Chaland’s life at such a young age.

The weight of this knowledge will hang over a reading the collected Freddy Lombard. You’ll shake your head over the mastery of the composition of any given page, the beauty of the waves Chaland has drawn, or the war-torn Budapest, or the sunny beauty of Naples, or…anything really and remember that this is a man who obsessively pursued a goal with passion and talent and died well before he could have possibly been satisfied even if his readers well and truly were.

Freddy Lombard is more than just a comics collection. It’s an artistic journey, a re-creation of a style of art that, for many years, became unfashionable. It’s beautiful and confronting and complex. Self-aware but never smug. I encourage you to read it from start to finish and follow, as I did, Chaland’s remarkable refinement of his aesthetic goal. As young as he left us, at least we have this sizeable, stylish testament to the breadth of his talent and his love of the form to return to again and again.




WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : A VALENTINE FROM DRACULA 
By Lee Gatlin 

Four great panels from Lee Gatlin this week, as Dracula gives his valentine a card, and totally blows looking cool in the process. Try and be a bit smoother with your loved one, eh?






COUNTDOWN TO MOZ METAL: HEAVY METAL MARCH 1979 

Before we begin, I’d like to quickly mention this blog post by the team at Heavy Metal on what it considers to be the pretty dire state of 2015 best of comics lists. Look, I hate a bunch of stuff too, we all do, but I’m not going to get mad at critics, or readers, for liking it. A publisher commenting in this manner does not come off as punk rock. At best, it comes off as sour grapes. At worst, it makes HM as an entity quite unlikeable. What’s most irritating about this blog post however, and I do encourage you to read it, is the cherry picking from the periodical’s long history to beef up its own reputation, critical taste and publishing pedigree.

The post mentions having published the indisputable greats, then namedrops them (Moebius, Druillet, Kirchner and others), and this is what constitutes their frame of reference for what is “good.” No mention is made, however, about the dire, and I mean *dire*, selection of material the periodical has frequently run in the, oh I don’t know, thirty-plus years since those legends were first published—I am thrilled I won’t be writing this part of the column long enough to cover the ‘90s-‘00s. Adding to the insult, the current owners of the company were in no way shape or form responsible for publishing those incredible creators in the first place. The Metal Hurlant team in France and National Lampoon team in the U.S. were. It’s bullshit like this that hurts comics. You want to make a top ten list, guys? Raise your overall standards. I don’t call this thing “Countdown to Moz Metal” for nothing.

Anyway, it’s March 1979 and the author of that blog post was likely in diapers. We open the cover and there’s Ted Nugent in pink flares and a headband. “In Ted Nugent’s hands, a guitar becomes a deadly weapon,” reads the copy for this ad flogging Nugent’s “Weekend Warriors” LP. Ted fires multiple projectiles from his double-barrelled guitar, gurning like a psycho off his meds, assassinating his very own audience (one assumes – they or their bullet-ridden corpses are not pictured). Considering the madness of his hunting show, in which Nugent once gleefully killed 496 pigs in 48 hrs, it’s both a fitting image and sign of things to come, if a rather odd way to market an album.

“A Mass For The Dead” by Jean-Claude Pertuze deserves special mention from this issue, as it’s a beautiful little story with the ring of folklore about it. Drawn in a fittingly “etchy” style reminiscent of old bookplate illustrations, the story features an old widow, awoken at night by tolling church bells. Fearing she’s missed mass, she hurries to the church only to find it full of a congregation of spirits listening to a sermon by an equally ghostly priest. As the offering plate is passed around, the poor widow realises she has no coin to give and drops her wedding ring in its place. The ghosts then fade, and morning comes. The widow is found dead, summoned as it was her time. Pertuze’s sound effect lettering is lovely, organic and shapely – I’m curious to see the original French version with his lettering all through the piece, no offense to John Workman who provides a typically great look to the translation. I miss hand-lettering quite a bit. It’s becoming a lost art in comics, particularly mainstream comics, and “Mass for The Dead,” with its scrolling “Dong Ding Dong” of the tolling bell and sharp “Ping” of the widow’s ring hitting the collection plate are perfect examples of how comics are becoming sadly less organic as the process becomes ever more computerised. There are notable exceptions, of course, to my gross generalisation – Dustin Harbin, Michel Fiffe and even Russ Wooten, who seems particularly determined to make each of his projects as artfully distinct as possible (I love the Deadly Class lettering, for example).

Part Two of “Star Crown” is also here and the clumsy prose by John Pocsik got a pass from me last issue, but its terrible fan-fic stench can no longer be ignored no matter how hard accompanying illustrations by the legendary Gil Kane attempt to waft it away. Clumsy, awkward, utterly forgettable stuff. And I’m trying to be nice.

“Exterminator 17” spins into near theology for its conclusion, as the very nature of androids themselves is debated:

“Help me liberate the androids,” Exterminator 17 pleads to his captor.

“Impossible! They are absolutely the worst,” comes the reply, “Matter born of matter.”

“You are wrong…they are born of the spirit of man, which is good.”

Huh. It’s a compelling argument, Exterminator 17, but given your name, we’d have to think about that one for a bit. Anyway, Bilal’s art is stunning as always and Dionnet works overtime on his dialogue and pacing, bringing this baby in for an unfortunately rushed landing, which seems to be the curse of many an HM classic.

It’s fascinating to see Chantal Montellier show some real sympathy to a male character in “1996” as she presents us with a truly dystopic ending for her “1996.” Montellier gives her readers a government operating on men, civilising them in the “Center for Ideological Re-education” that turns humans into virtually identical lobotomised clones. It’s pretty Clockwork Orange, really, and an intriguing end for a series that once featured such loaded material as men shooting women in the streets as sport.

“Rastaskoy” by Malskoy keeps the A Clockwork Orange vibes continuing, as a gang of well-groomed street thugs, one of whom resembles this particular era’s David Bowie actually, with their own far out Natsat-esque slang (“Well, old buddies, at last the time has come for us to skag the ganglions of these bastards!”) prepare to launch a weaponised assault on a religious group of “rags.” Malskoy’s scratchy, realistic pencils recall old Warren zines or Marvel horror mags, and “Rastaskoy” is a nice little slice of strangeness, even if its influences are a little too obviously perched on its sleeve.

Alfred Bester’s 1957 classic, “The Stars My Destination ” begins its comics adaptation here as well, with none other than Howard Chaykin handling the art chores. Chaykin seems hell-bent on ridding these frequently lifeless prose adaptations of any stillness, providing not just sumptuously coloured art, but also incredibly striking layouts, breaking up the monotony of typed text-illustration-repeat that we find so often in these attempts at cross-medium transplantation. For once the art takes centre stage over blocks of typed text, with Chaykin making the text work around his illustrations and design, not vice versa. This is a striking, clever treatment of the source material that set the bar pretty high for any subsequent attempts. Awesome work.



COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : 50 DEGRES NORD – EXPO YVES CHALAND: EMISSION DU 20/09/10 

Walk with me, will you, around this cute little gallery and let’s stare at the art of Yves Chaland together. Who’s that woman speaking French? I have no idea either. Let’s just ignore her and focus on all this lovely drawing…





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.