Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
We are still recovering from Emerald City Con here– that show clobbered us. On top of the sheer exhaustion we came down with a raging case of post-con crud (thankfully, that’s all it was; there was a measles scare that same weekend where Patient Zero was running all over downtown Seattle infecting everyone, resulting in this news release that made us extra-paranoid for a day or so, even though we’d all had our shots.)
Anyway, we’re still kind of limping around in our pajamas and sniffling and living on cough drops, so the big con report is going to have to wait until next week. But I did want to call your attention to a couple of cool things that came in the mail over the last couple of days.
First of all, Titan Comics sent the collected It Came! volume one and it just made me really happy.
This book is, as one would imagine, a loving send-up of the great old SF giant-monster films of the fifties and sixties, and the tone is letter-perfect throughout.
What I love about it is that it’s not just funny but it’s funny in such an affectionate, knowledgeable way. No one writes a deadlier parody of something than a true fan with a sense of humor about the stuff and creator Dan Boultwood doesn’t miss a step.
The book is essentially a complete re-creation of the fifties B-movie experience, with fake ads, a “trailer” strip for the next arc (“Lost Valley of the Lost!”) and even “intermission” pages where the narrative is interrupted with a a happy cigarette box encouraging theatergoers to go have a smoke in the lobby, just like the old animated intermission bumpers you used to get at the movies. It’s just plain fun and I heartily approve of fun comics. It’s $19.99 for the hardcover which is a little on the high side, but it’s a really nice hardcover with lots of extras.
Titan Comics has also put out Monster Massacre II, and I find it to be a considerable improvement over the first volume.
Of course, the cover is still a little embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as the first one. So there’s that, I guess. I suppose I can’t fault them for knowing the market. It just annoys me because the packaging leads one to believe that it’s just another bunch of arrested-adolescent, Heavy Metal-type T&A fantasy, and the Monster Massacre anthologies are considerably better than that.
This particular volume is the combined product of Imaginary Friends and STELLAR Labs studios, both based in Asia, and as such I don’t really know a lot of the names here. There’s a huge manga influence over a lot of the stuff, but I also can see echoes of Frazetta, Steranko, Richard Corben… it’s got something for everyone.
It’s definitely ‘mature audiences’ material, but quite a bit of it is genuinely mature. There’s actual stories happening around all the unclad ladies and dinosaurs and sword battles and so on… although there’s plenty of that stuff too.
But what I like are the just plain bizarre entries like Reza Ilyasa’s “Hell-o-Kitty.”
Or the antic humor of Rhoald Marcellus and W.H. Rauf’s “Carpe DIEm.”
This will set you back $22.99 retail, which seems reasonable to me for an all-original anthology of almost 200 pages of mostly-cool stuff collected in hardcover, but you can find this book for considerably less on Amazon or from other online dealers. Shop around.
And the third book Titan sent me was the collected Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol, Stuart Jennett’s magnificent love letter to every awesome Ray Harryhausen adventure film and Joe Kubert war comic ever made. This series is what we all wished for from DC’s “The War that Time Forgot” but never quite got.
The blurb itself was enough to sell me on it– When the Allies and Nazis develop time-diving technology that could see the Second World War derailed by creatures from the Cretaceous, only the Sarge and his band of misfit soldiers can save the future – by saving history! Dinosaurs! Giant crocodiles! Albert Einstein with a machinegun! All that barely scratches the surface of this astounding, fully-painted pulp spectacular!
But in addition to that it’s also a clever time-travel story with all the twists, turns, and paradoxes any SF fan could wish for. I loved it. $19.99 retail for the hardcover collecting all five issues of the mini-series, plus a nice intro from Mr. Jernnett and some fun extras. But, again, you can do yourself some good by shopping around a little online.
So that’s three for three from me for Titan this week– well, two-and-a-half, I guess, though I expect anthologies like Monster Massacre to be uneven and I liked most of what was in there. At any rate, it was nice to have these around to distract me from my sore throat and sniffles.
That’s about all I can manage, so it’s back to bed for me. Back next week with the full Emerald City Con report and lots of pictures, I promise. See you then.
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