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Rasputin #1 Review

rasputin1 I sometimes think that if you could just harness the kinetic energy that is present in Riley Rossmo’s artwork, we wouldn’t need to look any further for alternate fuel sources because he’d light up the entire country. There are few artists whose work possesses the amount of vivacity that is present in Rossmo’s work. This vibrancy is particularly appropriate in his newest comic, Rasputin, written by Rossmo’s old Proof collaborator, Alex Grecian (with colors by Ivan Plascencia), which tells the story of the seemingly unkillable Russian icon Grigori Rasputin. It is only fitting, then, in a book that is about a man cheating death, that he would be depicted by an artist whose work is brimming with verve and vigor. What I was really impressed with in this first issue was the way that Grecian has enough confidence in the work that, for the most part, after a dramatic opening sequence, he mostly steps out of the way in this first issue and allows Rossmo and Plascencia to go nuts on extended wordless sequences. It makes for a dramatic and unique first issue.
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We Know How You Feel, Mark…

So in today’s Groo vs. Conan #4, the letter column had the following (I did some crude photoshopping to get the end of the letter on to one page, as originally it carried over to the second page)…

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Congrats, Travis.

Deathlok #1 Review

deathlok1 Anyone remember Kiss Kiss Bang Bang? Not the great Robert Downey Jr. movie, but the old Crossgen comic book? It was sadly cut short by the collapse of Crossgen, but the five issues we got were really good. It was written by Tony Bedard with pencils by Mike Perkins. I was thinking of that while reading Deathlok, if only because it reminded me of just how awesome of an action artist Mike Perkins. That’s kind of a silly thought to have, honestly, since Perkins has done some great action comics in the years since (including a stint as the alternate artist with Steve Epting on Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run), so I don’t know why my mind went all the way back to 2004, but I guess you never know what kind of things will trigger a memory in your mind. Unless, of course, your mind is being manipulated by some secretive shadow agency to block out your memories and use you as a killing machine. Which just happens to be the exact plot of Marvel’s new series, Deathlok, by Nathan Edmondson, Mike Perkins and Andy Troy.
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A Town Called Dragon #1 Review

towndragon1The hook behind Judd Winick, Geoff Shaw and Jamie Grant’s new series from Legendary Comics (just as a quick aside – let me just express quickly how happy I was when Bob Schreck returned to comics as the Editor-in-Chief of Legendary COmics, that guy is great. Such an eye for talent) is a pretty simple one – what if dragons existed in our world? Would a small town be able to stand up to such a force? That simple idea makes for a great concept for a comic book, although I wonder if perhaps Winick’s desire to have an extra-sized first issue really ended up working against the story a little bit as the end result was roughly eighteen pages in the front of the comic that dragged on the overall narrative to a certain extent. When things get going, though, Winick, Shaw and Grant make a fine team in establishing the various personalities of this little town called Dragon (nestled just outside of Vail, Colorado) that will carry our story for the rest of this five-issue mini-series.
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Butterfly #1 Review

butterfly1Arash Amel is a successful movie screenwriter and that influence shows up clearly in his concept for the new series from Archaia/Boom!, Butterfly, which is scripted by Marguerite Bennett and drawn by Antonio Fuso and Adam Guzowski. When I mention the movie influence I mean the way that the book seems to be built around its high concept story idea. Butterfly has a great elevator pitch: A woman’s father dies at a young age and she grows up to become a successful spy in a deep cover program where you learn to trust no one. She seemingly gets burned by her agency and is forced to go on the run with only one person there to guide her – the father she believed died twenty years ago! Come on, you could easily imagine seeing that synopsis for a movie right now, right? That’s a fine hook. What interests me about Butterfly, though, is how Bennett goes beyond just that great concept and makes this a unique experience, particularly in the way that she uses a uniquely comic book storytelling device to great effect in the comic.
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Year of the Artist, Day 302: Ted Naifeh, Part 4 – The Gunwitch: Outskirts of Doom #3 and Polly and the Pirates #6

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Ted Naifeh, and the issues are The Gunwitch: Outskirts of Doom #3 and Polly and the Pirates #6, both of which were published by Oni, with the first cover dated August 2001 and the second cover dated June 2006. The first scans are from Nocturnals volume 2: The Dark Forever and Other Tales, which was published by Image in 2009, and the second scans are from the trade paperback, which Oni published in 2006. Enjoy! (Hey, it’s time to break out the Not Safe For Work warning again! Who’da thunk it?)
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Copperhead #2 Review

copperhead2 Just like its inspiration, Deadwood, I imagine that a key part of the appeal of Copperhead will be the slow but sure expansion of the cast of characters in this little alien mining town. This seems evident in the second issue of the series, as we meet the town doctor as well as learn more about the mysterious stranger who showed up at the end of last issue. What’s particularly striking about this second issue is that apparently while issue #1 was written via a detailed script by writer Jay Faerber, this second issue was written “Marvel” style, so that artist Scott Godlewski drew the series based on a more generalized plot by Faerber. What makes that striking is that there doesn’t really seem to be much of a difference between the first two issues as a reader, which shows to me that Faerber and Godlewski are really matching well as a collaborators (a good sign of this was already in the first issue, where apparently Godlweski added in the extra little detail of the Deputy mis-spelling Sheriff on his sign for the incoming sheriff, which I thought was an excellent demonstration of the difference between their two cultures – here was an obviously very smart guy who is still struggling with the language of the people who have conquered his own). Anyhow, let’s take a look at what this new writing arrangement entailed in the second issue of Copperhead…
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The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 Review

drmirage1The original concept of Doctor Mirage was a rather novel one, as two paranormal investigators get caught up in a situation that ends up with one of them (Doctor Mirage) essentially dead, but still tethered to his living wife. So how do you go about continuing a marriage when one of half of the couple is now a ghost? That was a strong hook for the series, although the original The Second Life of Doctor Mirage series petered out a bit after a good beginning and then really fell apart once the original creators, Bob Layton and Bernard Chang, left the series about a year into it. The new Valiant take on Doctor Mirage is a similar idea, with a significant twist in both plot and how it is approached. Now the “Doctor Mirage” in The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage is the wife and rather than just being able to talk to her dead husband, she can talk to dead people…EXCEPT her dead husband. And while the original series took a sort of lighthearted look at the whole thing (with relationship issues being the driving force of the series) the new take is a good deal darker. Jen Van Meter, Roberto De La Torre and Dave Baron take on the character in a new mini-series from Valiant Comics that opens with an evocative and delightfully dark and moody first issue that gets to the heart of just who Shan Fong (Doctor Mirage) is and what kind of creepy adventures we can expect to see from her going forward.
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Committed: Why I Can’t Get Excited About Comic Book Screen Adaptations

102914_greenlanternYour interpretation of Batman isn’t the same as mine, and neither is your idea of the Flash, Green Arrow, or John Constantine. We all read different comic books, and from those we each build our own impression of our favorite comic book characters. I’m very fond of the collage of impressions of these characters which has combined in my experience to build a complete portrait of each of them. Yet I am still expected to enjoy and become invested in the way these characters are being depicted on television and in movies.

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Year of the Artist, Day 301: Ted Naifeh, Part 3 – GloomCookie #1

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Ted Naifeh, and the issue is GloomCookie #1, which was published by SLG and is cover dated June 1999. Enjoy!
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Doctors OGN Review

doctorsOne of the great pleasures of being a comic book fan is that comic books are not, in and of themselves, a genre, so being a big comic book reader means that you’re opening yourself up to a wide variety of possible subject materials. Granted, a whole ton of it is superhero related, but there are plenty of other types of works out there and often you don’t know exactly what you’re getting until you “step into” the book, as it were. That was the case for me with Dash Shaw’s stunningly original graphic novel, Doctors, and the greatness of this work just solidifies for me how great it is to be a comic book fan. Doctors is a philosophical examination about the very nature of life and death through the lenses of a science fiction drama. Besides being a powerful and poignant story, Shaw’s artwork is imaginative and willing to explore new ways of affecting the senses of the reader.
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Surprise! Marvel Just Blew Up the Internet

I say this not as a criticism, as it’s all good to me, but it is pretty surprising that Marvel decided to just abruptly drop a number of major bombshells all at once today. I know it is a response to DC’s announcements, but I figured Marvel would wait for some big event to announce of all these big pieces of news. Still, these are some awesome announcements!
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Copperhead #1 Review

copperhead1Writing period pieces is always an interesting exercise in deciding WHEN to set your story, since you have the benefit of finding the ideal period with the most dramatic impact. David Milch was lucky that Deadwood had a built-in timeline, of sorts, in that Seth Bullock and Wild Bill Hicock both arrived in Deadwood in 1876 and the whole town burned down in 1879, so that gave him a perfect period in which to set his show (sadly, we never actually got to the town burning down before the show was canceled). So that’s a real blessing with something like Jay Faerber’s new western, Copperhead, in that since it is set in the distant future, Faerber can just CREATE a great time period to set his story and that’s exactly what he did. Copperhead is set in the aftermath of a great space war where the humans have defeated the aliens but now they all have to live together and this being outer space, the idea of the “frontier” takes on a whole new meaning. However, as evoked so ably in this comic, was being out on the frontier of the American West really all that different from being on a whole other planet? Weren’t you just as isolated and just as on your own? Faerber explores these ideas and more in this compelling new series with artwork by Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley.
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Year of the Artist, Day 300: Ted Naifeh, Part 2 – Comics’ Greatest World: Steel Harbor #2 and Dark Horse Comics #14

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Ted Naifeh, and the issues are Comics’ Greatest World: Steel Harbor #2 and Dark Horse Comics #14, which were published by Dark Horse and are cover dated August and October 1993. Enjoy!
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She Has No Head! – Superheroine Halloween Costumes, Minor Tragedies of our Time!

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Least flattering cut out EVER. Seriously, don’t try this at home unless you’re Emma Frost and you live in a comic book.

I love Halloween. It’s easily my favorite holiday. Christmas is a close second thanks to all the nostalgia (my parents do an epic warm Christmas). But there’s so much pressure on Christmas (just like New Years) that it can start to feel like obligation more than celebration and even I grow weary of the music and everything that comes with it which seems to creep into our lives earlier and earlier each year.

But Halloween never gets aggressive or greedy. It just hangs back being awesome. Go out and have the night of your life, or just hang back and eat chocolate and watch scary movies. Both are completely acceptable.

So it bums me out every year, especially the last five or so when superheroes have become so popular and mainstream to see so many lazy superhero costumes and since this is a column about women in comics we’ll focus on the superheroine costumes especially. The “super sexy” versions of costumes (that were already reasonably high on the sexy to begin with) get pretty tedious too, but my beef is not with costumes that are “too sexy” my beef is with costumes that are lazy as all get out or worse, don’t make a lick of goddamn sense (and not in the good way that things sometimes don’t make sense). Here are a few that really ticked me off in my hunt this year…

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