Tuesday, 26 January 2010
My good pal Big Dave F has been on the Batphone demanding that I let you all know that it's Nerdgasm time again! Aye, imaginary web chums, London's most ripped quiz-master has spent the winter chipping away at the trivia-filled coalface of his mind to provide YOU with the fuel that your fact-hungry brains require to keep warm.
The last event was attended by vast numbers of awkward and slightly socially inept people, and this month's gathering promises to be another beezer wheeze. As ever there will be SF, comic and fantasy questions galore, confused tourists to laugh at, loud music from Robocop and drunk people shouting about Boba Fett's cock. Dave has even spoken of spot-prizes and raffles! Wowzers! What more could you ask for? Beats staying in and watching Dancing on Ice, eh?
It all takes place in the heart of London's dangerous, yet strangely exciting West End this Sunday. As ever, the venue is The Greenman & French Horn pub on St Martins Lane at 7pm. I'll be there, but don't let that put you off. Show your support for the finest example of the Great British Pub Quiz that the capital has to offer and get your arses down there! Remember, you can't spell nerD without a big D*
*Not strictly true.
Monday, 25 January 2010
On entering his house, this delusional youngster proceeded to hack his parents to death, screaming: "Die, gorgon scum!"
Incidentally, (and I apologise for the sheer nerdiness of this), the script for this ad is technically incorrect. Any reader of FF books worth their salt will tell you that you never "turn to page 36" you simply turn to 36.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
A rarity in modern comics: Some good old-fashioned, heavy-handed exposition!
To set the scene: Oa is under attack by Black Lanterns. Mogo the living planet has activated some huge tractor beam thingy in his core which pulls everyone off the surface of Oa into his atmosphere. Then this...
Say what you see!
Scans from Green Lantern Corps #44, March 2010
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Blimey, is it Thursday already? Here's what I'll be ferreting away in the old nerd sack this week...
Unread issues of this are piling up like cigarette butts in Warren Ellis's ashtray. I really must make the effort to catch up. Alright, so it's basically a wank fantasy where Ellis imagines what it would be like if HE was some sort of bastard cross between John Constantine and Jack Carter, but I like it all the same.
Blackest Night Flash #2
I can't remember what happened in part one. It doesn't matter. Basically I'm buying this to see Scott Kolins draw The Flash and The Rogues.
Green Lantern Corps #44
Killowog might not raise any eyebrows in the states, but if you're from the UK, he sounds well dodge. When discussing him I always make sure to put particular emphasis on the O.
Joe The Barbarian #1
Bah! I've been writing a comic script about three horrible kids who find themselves in a magical land behind the toilet in their house. They journey through said land fighting monsters and cussing people's mums. I thought it was coming along quite well, but this is probably going to be fucking brilliant and make me want to tear my bilge up. I shall part with the 75p Vertigo are charging to find out.
Phantom Stranger #42
More Blackest Night guff. Given that it's the Phantom Stranger I imagine that this comic will involve a good amount of mystical claptrap, pseudy dialogue and chin-stroking.
Talking of pseudy dialogue and chin-stroking, it's Starman!
I'm reading Starman in the Omnibuses so this will probably spoil the entire story for me.
Jersey Gods #10
Check out Dan McDaid's process HERE. Read his tweets about snooker and Celebrity Mastermind by adding danmcdaid to your twitlists!
Captain America #602
Missed Reborn, can hardly be bothered with this. Stuff it in the nerd sack anyway.
Doctor Voodoo #4
After cancelling Doctor Voodoo, Marvel are attempting to prevent people from jumping off for the final two issues by rebranding the book as a mini series. I'll buy it because I think it's really good, but I do wish they'd give books like this one a chance to build a little momentum before pulling the plug. I mean I understand that there was a big drop in sales between issues one and two, but five issues? Really? At least give the thing the opportunity to build a bit of buzz.
Very different to the porn mag of the same name.
Also planning on picking up volume eight of Drifting Classroom.
Possibly planning on picking up volume three of Detroit Metal City.
Probably going to wait on the reprint of the second Jack Staff trade - I've been hanging on for Image to reprint this bloody thing and here it is, but I've got a birthday coming up and I might get the missus to buy it for me.
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
To Hackney Oxfam where I purchased a tatty old stack of Fighting Fantasy books. That's my bit for Haiti done then. Phew.
I've decided to try and build a complete run of FF purely from charity shops. No ebay, no secondhand bookshops, just charity. Bring it on. The 15 I nabbed yesterday brings my total to 20. Among the dog-eared haul - this beauty...
Love that cover! Sensationally good. The codpiece, eagle, eyepatch and spiked flail would've been metal enough, but to have the geezer riding a sled pulled by two sabretooth tigers?! FUCK YEAH! Break like the wind, baby!
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Some geezer has made a Frankencastle action figure. It's pretty sweet. Have a look
Check out the rest of his homemade man toys HERE
I would buy the Frankencastle one.
Regular readers, (alright mum), will know that I prefer the diddy little Heroclix to the big man toys. I have high hopes that Heroclix will do a Frankencastle and The Legion of Monsters set on the back of Remender and Moore's comic. That would be flipping ACE!
Speaking of Man Toys, my son asked to be tickled by my giant Starro Heroclix the other day. Bless.
Monday, 18 January 2010
I just got back from a nice weekend break in the country and almost missed it.
Why, the most miserable day of the year of course!
Then, get yourself in the mood for the rest of the day by listening to the most depressed character in comics complain about how shit everything is...
Huzzah for The Silver Surfer! Got to love a superhero who gets so maudlin that he has to go for a lie down.
For more bipolar shenanigans, see last year's Blue Monday entry HERE
Scans from Silver Surfer #10, November 1969
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
This is a record for me. Just three comics! Blimey, must be a shit week.
Conan: The Weight of the Crown (One Shot)
Written and drawn by Darick Robertson, this is a 40-page Conan done-in-one for £3, which by today's sickeningly expensive standards is pretty good value.
The two Blackest Night issues were actually very strong, but it'll still be nice to get things back on track with a return to the story proper. I'm in shock that this title has made it as far as issue #12 and can't believe that it'll be around much longer. Enjoy it while you can imaginary web chums!
Invincible Iron Man #22
Iron Man in a coma, I know, I know it's serious.
Err, that's it.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
I read some comics last night. Here's what I thought about them...
Blackest Night #6
At this point in Blackest Night it's become clear that Geoff Johns is more focused on providing his readers with "Fuck yeah!" moments than he is with writing a character-driven story. Thus in this issue we get Barry and Hal outrunning death, a hyper-detailed double page splash of John Stewart being pursued to Earth by a gazillion Black Lanterns, Ganthet strapping on a power ring, and a bunch of established heroes and villains becoming lanterns. There's even a moment when The Atom gets to don his old Sword of The Atom costume - FUCK YEAH!
All that's fine. I can groove on Lex Luthor being an Orange Lantern as much as the next fanboy, but there comes a point where you stop whooping for joy at the cool nerdy stuff and realise that the Fuck Yeah moments have replaced the story itself. Again, that's fine, this is after all a DC event comic not a Samuel Beckett play, it just feels like things are hurtling down a very narrow path with no allowance for interesting character led diversions.
Blackest Night Wonder Woman #2
Ah, I quite enjoyed this. A nice little story that takes place between the panels of Blackest Night #6. Basically, you've got Wonder Woman (possessed again. It's becoming a habit) scrapping with Fish Queen Mera and some other chums before realising that she's all about the love (through some imaginary kiss with Batman) and becoming a Star Sapphire. All utter nonsense, but fairly enjoyable all the same.
Blackest Night Weird Western Tales #71
Not good. Tries to clobber the reader over the head with the aforementioned "Fuck Yeah!" moments, but fails because all of those moments involve characters that nobody cares about. Honestly, is there really anyone out there whooping for joy at the sight of zombie Scalphunter?
It does have a Bill Sienkiewicz cover and the artist (Renato Arlem) does a passable impression of Howard Chaykin, but that's where the good ends. One to line the cat litter tray with I'm afraid.
Jonah Hex #51
OK, so Weird Western Tales did have zombie Jonah Hex, but given that he's got his own monthly book anyway, his appearance really wasn't very exciting. The latest issue of Jonah Hex proper was very good though. I picked it up because I enjoyed the Darwyn Cooke issue so much, but after another strong standalone story I think I'll probably continue to get the book. Bonus Dick Giordano art too. It'd be easy to patronise him by saying he does a great job for a 77-year-old, so let's just say he does a great job full stop. He really does. Alright, so there's not very much to look at in his backgrounds, but he packs a lot of anguish, fear and loathing into his faces.
Sweet Tooth #5
First arc over, and if you didn't read it then I highly recommend that you pick this one up in trade. The last few pages of issue #5 bought a tear to my jaded eye. The preview image for issue #6 had me balling up my fist and wanting to hit the baddies. Now that's a proper "Fuck Yeah!" moment.
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Saturday, 9 January 2010
Top little strip that. I scanned it from a 1985 Judge Dredd Collection, a compendium of strips that appeared in The Daily Star. There are four of these collections in that huge 2000AD haul I inherited, and I'm really enjoying dipping in to them. Most of the short stories are written by John Wagner, they are all drawn by the criminally underrated Ron Smith.
If you've got any interest in Judge Dredd you'll want to read these stories, but I can't believe that many people have seen them. Even as a callow youth I remember finding it odd that Judge Dredd appeared in a downmarket rag like The Star. I mean, The Daily Star?! Come on! If I wanted to jack off, there were always abandoned porn mags to be found in the street (ah those heady pre-internet days), so I didn't need to buy the paper to look at naked ladies, and I wasn't about to part with money earmarked for jawbreakers, chips and proper comics just so I could read an 11-panel Dredd story. Consequently, I missed out on these treasures altogether. Now that I'm discovering them, I'm finding out just how good they are. Honestly, they're very different to the Dredd stories we know from 2000AD, more a guide to Mega-City One than anything else. Dredd does feature (obviously) but his job is usually to deliver a moral soundbite at the end of each story. Nope, the city is the star here and it's rarely looked better. I'd love to see a new omnibus style collection of these underappreciated strips.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
To Gosh, where the crew were battling to get this week's snow delayed delivery on the shelves before the lunchtime rush. So happy was I to see new comics that I snaffled up ALL the maybes on my shopping list, making this a pretty heavy week by my standards. Obviously, once I'd returned home and emptied the nerd sack, I ignored the good stuff and went straight to Siege #1. Meh, it was OK, better than I expected actually. The setup is just a rehash of the setup for Civil War, but the rest of the story was engaging enough and the Copiel art was quite nice. Hideous filler in the back though: a Joe Quesada recap of the last seven years which amounted to little more than an ad for a bunch of trades, and some shitty minutes from a meeting between Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers which included a terrible misprint (they printed one page twice and missed out the one they were meant to include). Hardly enough to justify the $3.99 price tag is it, eh?
The new Walking Dead trade was, of course, ACE! Another complete WTF?! job. They're always grim, but this one clobbers you over the head within five pages. It's the classic Walking Dead trick: moment of hope followed by horrific happening. Works every time.
Haven't had a chance to read anything else. I can tell you that I did pick up a spiffing hardcover collection of Ted McKeever's Eddy Current in the sale. I bought all the issues when they came out in the late 80s, but they perished in the great Brighton wallpaper disaster of 1995, so I was delighted to see this collection at 50% off. It's my second foray into The Gosh sale. There's some fantastic stuff in there. New trades are being added all the time and they're all half price. If you're in the West End, you MUST check it out. Oh, and if you happen to have a taste, (and the budget), for high end silver and bronze age back issues, check out the cracking selection of DC comics on the wall opposite the counter. There are some lovely issues up there, all purchased from the personal collection of comic collecting celeb Paul Gambaccini who, (handy segue, handy segue), recently appeared on Celebrity Mastermind answering questions on DC comics (LINK HERE). Just imagine, you can buy his cast off comics and then wave them at your computer screen as you try to beat his score. Magic!
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Rumour is there won't be any new comics to buy on Thursday. See for yourself.
Appalling news, I'm sure you'll agree.
No matter, I've made a shopping list anyway. Here it is...
The titles in the question mark are possibles. Might pick up one or two of them, might not bother with any, might get the lot. That's just the kind of crazy off-the-cuff way I roll these days. I read The Siege Cabal one shot thing a few weeks ago and fucking hated it. Absolute pile of muddy looking bilge, so it was. Took about ten minutes to read. Ten unenjoyable minutes at that. Why would I give the series proper a crack then? Dunno. I'm mildly excited by the idea that it's going to spell the end of this whole ridiculous Asgard in the midwest bollocks and usher in the return of a proper Avengers comic. No doubt the journey to that point will be deadly dull though.
Really enjoyed Jonah Hex #50, but then it was a Darwyn Cooke special and this isn't, so there's no guarantee that it will be any good. More cowboys (dead ones this time) in Weird Western Tales a Blackest Night one shot written by Dan DiDidio, who (oddly enough) is a decent writer if his Wednesday Comics Metal-Men effort was anything to go by. Should be a laugh. I quite like cowboys, they're this year's vikings dont'cha know?
That's the stuff I might buy then. As for the stuff which, (snow permitting), I'll definitely be shoving in my sack, only one stand-out really - new Walking Dead trade. It'll be read within half an hour of me getting it home cos it's fucking ACE! Oh yes.
Otherwise, last issue of The Mighty and Gigantic. More post-apocalyptic deer-boy shenanigans in Sweet Tooth and a bit of Conan, which is always nice. Oh and another issue of House of Mystery to read - I'm just the 12 issues behind now - clearly I'm locked into a hoarding pattern with this one. Time to catch up or get out I think.
Monday, 4 January 2010
Walt Simonson: WARNING! Don't go into or open the group "WE'RE AGAINST THE 4.99 A MONTH CHARGE FOR FACEBOOK FROM JUNE 30TH 2010" ... It has a VICIOUS VIRUS in a link that opens unstoppable windows with horrific images of humans in states of mutilation.
Unstoppable windows with horrific images of humans in states of mutilation!?
That's no virus. It's Ragnarok baby! RAGNAROK!
Unstoppable windows with horrific images of humans in states of mutilation!?
That's no virus. It's Ragnarok baby! RAGNAROK!
Friday, 1 January 2010
And so, being an insufferable bore who refuses to stop shouting into the ether about stuff very few other people want to listen to, I plod on into year four of this bilge filled bloggery. When the fuck will I learn, eh?
Given that it's New Year, I was going to compile one of those end of year/decade things that everyone else seems to have been doing over the last few weeks, but then it dawned on me that I really can't remember what I was reading last January, let alone ten bloody years ago, so I knocked the idea on the head.
I can tell you that I enjoyed the comics of Rick Remender last year. I was quite upset when he announced that he was chucking in all his creator owned books to go and work for Marvel, but it turns out that Doctor Voodoo and The Punisher are as brilliantly bonkers as anything he's done at Image or Dark Horse, so I needn't have worried. Besides, he's still knocking out the odd non-Marvel project...
Issue #1 of The Last Days of American Crime there. I read it this afternoon and it's very, very good. How about that for a cover, eh? Pulp to the max! This is a beautiful package, printed on high quality paper and running to 48 pages of story with some bonus sketch material thrown in. Square bound, with a card stock cover, it's a trade in all but name, and at $4.99 it represents superb value.
We've already seen that Remender loves to mess with genres, the conventions that govern them and the archetypes who populate them. He's provided us with new angles on everything from monster movies (Gigantic) to super-heroes (The End League), horror (XXX Zombies) and classic SF comics (Fear Agent). Here he's tackling crime, giving us his take on the classic heist movie, complete with a cast of characters who'll be familiar to every fan of criminal noir flicks.
Don't let that put you off though. Yes, we've seen the damaged femme fatale and the grizzled old criminal planning one last heist before, and yes, the sense of inevitable failure is one which will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a heist movie. But it's obvious that Remender is playing with our ideas of what makes a heist story, presenting us with familiar characters so that he can fuck with those preconceptions further down the line.
At least I imagine that's what he's doing. Even if it isn't, it's clear that this is going to be a different kind of crime book, because the big hook with this story is that the characters are planning their heist in a near-future world where the American government is about to transmit a brain-controlling signal which will make it impossible for anyone to break the law! How's about that for subverting the traditional crime caper?
In this environment, a good percentage of the population have lost the plot, getting every illegal impulse out of their system before the big switch-off. This then, is a story told against a backdrop of crime infested car-lots and dangerous looking bars where burglary, mugging and prostitution are as much a part of the scenery as the buildings and cars that populate the city streets. It's a tale infused with a sense of decay and danger; a vivid and frightening world brilliantly realised by Remender and given life by artist Greg Tocchini.
A brief bit of internet research reveals that Tocchini is no newcomer to comics, but I have to admit that I'd never heard of him before I picked up The Last Days of American Crime. Sad really, because he's so good that I can't believe he isn't already a massive name. It must be slightly daunting to draw a book where Alex Maleev has turned in a bona fide Grade A cover, but it's testament to Tocchini that his interiors more than match what Maleev has done on the front of the book.
It's beautiful painted stuff, done in watercolours that remind me of Bill Sienkiewicz or Jon J Muth, and presented in layouts that are very clever. The book kicks off with a series of panels that zoom out from the protagonists eyeball and into the hell of crime-infested America. From then on we're treated to a series of unusual and very cinematic looking shots that place us above, below and in the midst of the action. It makes for deeply involving visual story-telling which complements the rhythm of Remender's script perfectly.
All in all great stuff then. What you get from this first issue is a glossy intro to a potentially excellent crime caper, brought to you by two creators working in perfect synthesis. A nice comic to kick off the New Year with and, on this evidence, one that's going to be hard to top in the next twelve months.