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Ken Bruzenak Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

Year of the Artist, Day 342: Howard Chaykin, Part 5 – Dark Horse Presents #1, Satellite Sam #1, and Century West

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Howard Chaykin, and the issues are Dark Horse Presents #1, which was published by Dark Horse and is cover dated April 2011, Satellite Sam #1, which was published by Image and is cover dated July 2013, and Century West, which was published by Image and is cover dated September 2013. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 341: Howard Chaykin, Part 4 – American Flagg! #3

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Howard Chaykin, and the issue is American Flagg! #3, which was published by First Comics and is cover dated December 1983. These scans are from Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! Definitive Collection volume 1, which was co-published by Image and Dynamic Forces in 2008. Enjoy!
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1987 And All That: The Punisher #1-4

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

Punisher1The Punisher #1-4 (Marvel) by Mike Baron, Klaus Janson, James Novak (#1), Ken Bruzenak (#2-4), Carl Potts

I’ve never been crazy about the Punisher. It’s not his morality (or lack thereof) I object to, though admittedly I do prefer it if my superheroes try to avoid using fatal tactics. Although…I guess he’s not a superhero in the strictest sense because he has no powers, but he wears a costume and has a codename and hangs out with lots of other Marvel super-folks, so I think the label still applies. At any rate, what has historically turned me off about the Punisher is that he’s seemed too simple to me, too one-note. Even the Hulk, a literal embodiment of instinctual rage, turns back into Bruce Banner sometimes, and thus has multiple facets to his personality. Frank Castle is always the Punisher and vice versa, his violent hatred for crime never subsiding or even being hidden under the mask of a secret identity. He’s so narrowly and determinedly focused on his personal war, it has never felt to me like he allows for much room for any storytelling beyond locating the next battle, the next villain to slay. I’m sure every creative team finds (or tries to find) their own angle, a way to freshen or expand Castle’s character and world so that he isn’t just the pissed off guy with huge guns all the time. Nonetheless, that’s the way he’s come across whenever I’ve encountered him in the past, and it has consistently failed to capture my interest.

Mike Baron and Klaus Janson’s The Punisher, which marks the first time the character ever had his own ongoing series, somehow manages to play up the single-mindedness I thought I disliked in Castle, yet still be a comicbook I enjoy. A lot of that is Janson, who does all the art from pencils to colors, producing strong work with several breakout panels over the course of these first four issues. Credit where it’s due, though, Baron writes Punisher as a man who’s not necessarily pleased with the life he’s chosen for himself, but commits to it 100% anyway, and that’s an approach I can get into. In his rare moments of self-reflection, Castle points out the same problems I just did above, namely that his life has no room for anything other than fight after fight after fight. He doesn’t exactly struggle with that, but he is at least aware of it, and somehow that tiny bit of acknowledgement, combined with Janson’s visuals, sold me on a hero I’d always avoided before. Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 337: Mike Grell, Part 5 – Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #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 Mike Grell, and the issue is Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1, which was published by DC and is cover dated August 1987. These scans are from the trade paperback, which came out in 1989. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 336: Mike Grell, Part 4 – Jon Sable, Freelance #16

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Mike Grell, and the issue is Jon Sable, Freelance #16, which was published by First Comics and is cover dated September 1984. These scans are from Jon Sable, Freelance Omnibus volume 1, which was published by IDW in July 2010. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 307: Mark Texeira, Part 3 – Megalith #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 Mark Texeira, and the issue is Megalith #1, which was published by Continuity and is cover dated 1989. Enjoy!
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1987 And All That: Strange Tales #1-7

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born.

StrangeTales_1Strange Tales #1-7 (Marvel) by Bill Mantlo (#1-6), Peter Gillis, Bret Blevins (#1-6), Chris Warner (#1-4), Larry Alexander (#5, 7), Terry Shoemaker (#6-7), Al Williamson (#3), Bob Wiacek (#6), Gerry Talaoc (#7), Randy Emberlin, Christie Scheele (#1, 3), Glynis Oliver (#2, 4-6), Paul Becton (#7), Bob Sharen, Ken Bruzenak, Jim Novak (#1-3), Janice Chiang (#4-5, 7), Ken Lopez (#6), Carl Potts

With a book like Strange Tales, where every issue is divided between two different narratives (or any number of narratives, but in this case it’s just the two), you always want some sort of connection to tie the stories together, something to bring unity to the title. Obviously the stories should work individually as well, but it’s nicer when there’s a bond between them, an identity to the series as a whole that fits with each section’s own goals and attitudes. Strange Tales is split evenly every issue between Cloak and Dagger and Dr. Strange, the two titles which it replaced. Because they’re both continuations of previously existing comics, it would be understandable if there wasn’t a ton of cohesion between their respective outlooks or aims. Whether through editorial design, creator collaboration, or sheer dumb luck, though, the two halves of Strange Tales find common ground almost immediately, and continue to examine the same core concept, though still in their own ways, right up through issue #7 where their narratives actually collide and briefly become the same. Both Cloak and Strange wrestle with remaining heroic while sometimes needing to act unheroically, and this struggle quickly becomes the center of Strange Tales. But the two men deal with their shared problem differently and end up in different places because of it, so their stories stand apart even as they come together, thematically and literally. Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 229: Norm Breyfogle, Part 3 – So much BATMAN!!!!

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Norm Breyfogle, and the issues are … well, there’s just so much Batman, I actually separated the post into four parts, just like Our Dread Lord and Master does with Comic Book Legends! Up first: Detective Comics #607, which was published by DC and is cover dated October 1989. Enjoy all the comics!
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Year of the Artist, Day 12: Mike Mignola, Part 2 – Rocket Raccoon #2

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Mike Mignola, and the issue is Rocket Raccoon #2, which was published by Marvel and has a cover date of June 1985. Enjoy!
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Trade paperbacks, older editions, and miscellaneous for July 2013

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“Can you picture what will be / So limitless and free”
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 350: Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #3

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #3, which was published by DC and is cover dated October 1987. This scan is from the trade paperback, which was published in 1989. Enjoy!
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Trade paperbacks, older editions, and miscellaneous for March 2012

And … we’re back! Let’s see what’s what under the cut, shall we?
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