Monday, April 23, 2012

Wendigo vs Werejaguar, or, Pick of the Week - April 18, 2012

B.P.R.D. The Long Death #3
Story: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art: James Harren
Colors: Dave Stewart

Sure, comics are a great medium for things like plot, pacing and character development. Good comics excel in these areas. But comics are also a great medium for bloody, knock-down-drag-out brawls between vicious, kick-ass monsters.

The thing that makes B.P.R.D. The Long Death #3 special is it shows that these things are not mutually exclusive.

When was the last time you saw two crazy monsters tear each other apart while completely understanding and empathizing with where they’re coming from?

The Wendigo is the soul of a good, family man who’s wrongly locked in a prison meant for the souls of murderers. Captain Daimo/Werejaguar is unable to come to terms with a horrible act he committed in the past.

They’ve both been tortured and tormented and have finally reached the point where they have nothing left to lose.

When they collide in this comic, the fight is one for the ages.

Artist James Harren’s pacing is perfect. Each panel is a critical beat in the rhythm of this brawl. In poorly drawn comic book fights, muddled panels and bad pacing make it hard to follow exactly what’s going on. Here, the clean panels show you every bite, rip and drop (in this case more like gush) of blood.

But it’s the beats between those moments we’re shown that really make a difference. The gathering of strength before the strike. The exhale of breath after the jaws let go. Colorist Dave Stewart alternates between backgrounds of a deep blue night sky during these quieter moments and a bright, fiery orange when the beasts collide.

You feel every punch, throat bite and neck stab. I found myself imagining the sounds of the battle (and not only during the well placed “ROOOOOOOOOAAAAARRR” from the Werejaguar to break the silence toward the end of the fight).

When all the dust settles, the outcome hits home for Johann, who's been growing on me more and more since B.P.R.D. Russia, which makes the somber end to this comic that much harder to swallow.

Great characters. Better fight. Comics!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Comics Conspiracy, or, How a Critical Look at My Collection Uncovered a Dark Secret

Why do the letters A-D make up nearly three-quarters 
of my comic book collection? Read on, O frantic one...

Smoke-filled backrooms, shadowy handshakes set to the tune of sinister laughter and The Man pulling the wool over the eyes of the huddled masses. Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?

Well, grab a bag of popcorn and cuddle up with your childhood teddy bear because and I’ve got a conspiracy theory the size of a 125-year-old sturgeon.

Sitting on my dining room table is a cardboard long box full of every comic book I’ve purchased over the past two years. They’re neatly organized in alphabetical order by title. When filing away a few weeks worth of comics recently I noticed something very suspicious: The letters A-D make up nearly three-quarters of my collection.


How could this be? Out of 24 inches of comics, how do the first four letters of the alphabet take up 14 inches of real estate?

Here’s my theory: In all of the comic book shops I’ve ever been to, the racks of new comics are alphabetized by series title and (here’s the kicker) the letter A is usually the closest to the door, or, the first thing you see when you walk inside. As a customer, it’s only natural that I begin perusing the racks at The Avengers and work my way down to Zatanna.

The evil publishers know this and title their series’ accordingly. They know that as the lowly customer makes that long walk down the racks, picking up whatever grabs their attention, they’ll be more likely to think twice about the last book they pick up than the first.

Closed circuit to Mr. Fancy-Pants-Publisher: I am onto you. I refuse to spend another day as a slave to your alphabetical trickery. From this point forward I’m starting at X-Men and working my way back to Batman. Take that!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Covers of the Week - April 11, 2012

Deadpool #53
Cover: Dave Johnson

Ya see, Deadpool here has this pesky healing factor that won't allow him die, but he's made up his mind to do just that, as this cover conveys less than subtly. I love it.

Lobster Johnson - The Burning Hand #4
Cover: Dave Johnson

The last couple issues of this story have been a blast after getting off to a bit of a slow start. Things hit the fan in this penultimate issue, which includes the following two one-liners: "The only thing you'll find here tonight is justice!" and "Feel the claw!" It doesn't get much better than that. 

Dave Johnson's mastery of the comic book cover and his versatility are as evident as ever this week. The second hardcover edition of 100 Bullets also came out this week, which for my money is Dave Johnson at his best.

Batman Incorporated Vol. 1 Deluxe Hardcover
Cover: J. H. Williams III

While I haven't read much Batman Incorporated, this cover does a great job conveying the basic premise of the series, which deals with the Caped Crusader expanding his reach far beyond Gotham. I've always been a fan of Batman's old, gray costume and I like the contrast of the black cape in front of the bright flags.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Looking Forward: America's Got Powers #1

America's Got Powers #1 (of 6)
Story: Jonathan Ross
Art: Bryan Hitch

Let's face it. If super powers really did exist, so would this show. I love this concept for its simplicity and accessibility.

Here's the solicitation from the publisher, Image Comics:

Welcome to AMERICA’S GOT POWERS! It’s the biggest TV show on Earth, where the chance to win fame, fortune and get laid are dangled in front of a generation of super-powered teens. All they have to do is WIN. Who is the fastest, the strongest or the greatest? Who survives? Young Tommy Watt’s dreams of being the greatest hero of them all might just be shattered when the greatest show on the planet begins to reveal its dark heart.

Hard to not be a little interested based on that alone, right? I'll follow up and let you all know what I think. Hopefully the anticipation won't be too great and you'll be able to sleep between now and then.