Tag Archives: Comic Books

ADC Comic of the Day: AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE

27 Mar

by Orion Tippens

photoWriter: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artists: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics Publications
Start release: 2013 – ongoing
Frequency: monthly, ongoing

Synopsis:

Jughead is hungry…for human flesh?!

Yes. Afterlife with Archie is set in an alternate, less cartoonish continuity of popular Archie comics, where the small town of Riverdale is overrun with a horrific zombie epidemic; after local teenage witch Sabrina casts a necromancy spell in an attempt to revive Jughead’s dog, with unintended consequences. Living death spreads throughout Riverdale, sending America’s favorite teenager, Archie, and his non-infected friends fleeing for their lives. Their youthful life of milkshakes and sock hops is now a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

photo 1Thoughts:

Who would have thought that Archie Comics could be a source for modern horror, suspense, and drama? Yet here we are – and the result is terrifying, brilliant, and fun.

As a fan of horror and comics, I was hooked from the opening page. Not so much for the tired gimmick of zombies; but the attention to what makes the best of this sub-genre wonderful: the stage environment and the players present. We have suspense and supernatural horror mixed with casual social commentary. When done well, any overplayed genre can be made fresh and enjoyable.

Plus, I love the biting and screaming.

photo 2The Continue reading

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Comic of the Day REVIEW: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1

10 Mar

(Another winning write-up by Orion, folks! Do the Doctor Who comics live up to the TV show’s greatness? Does the story’s young-female Doctor Companion function as a Mary Sue for a middle-aged British writer? Are comics readers and DW fans ALL Special Snowflakes? Read on, and find out…)

by Orion Tippens

photo 1ADC Comic of the Day: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1

Writer: Paul Cornell

Pencils: Johnny Broxton

Published by: IDW Publishing

Released: Dec. 2013

Notes: One-shot, self-contained story

STORY:

The Doctor meets…Doctor Who?!

After a mishap send the TARDIS astray, our favorite Time Lord stumbles upon a world most familiar to us readers.

photo 3This is our real world, or as the Doctor puts it; a world of “anti-fiction,” “non-fiction,” and “un-fiction.” Here, all of the exciting moments in the Doctor’s life are passed off through stories, through a fictional TV show called “Doctor Who” staged with special effects. “Doctor Who” is well-received by its huge fandom base, very popular at geek conventions, and a growing oncoming merchandising storm.

The Doctor is Continue reading

Comic of the Day: Shifter

24 Feb

Comics of the Day Review:

photo 2Shifter: Interactive Graphic Novel (for mobile devices, IOS version)

by Orion Tippens

Writer: Brian Haberlin and Brian Holguin

Pencils: Brian Haberlin, Geirrod VanDyke, Kunrons Yap, Chan Hyuk Lee

Letter: Francis Takenaga

Published by: Anomoly Productions

Date released: Jan 23, 2014

Pages: 875 panels of art, appendix text (book is 224 pages)

Rated: 12+

Notes: Also in print as a graphic novel with augmented reality options.

The UAR app for Shifter is a separate app and not a subject for this review. The app reviewed is currently the iOS version (Version 1.0) read on my iPad 2

The following review contains mild spoilers, and focuses on the story and app viewing technology.

photo 1Story:

Shifter is set on an ultra-modern-day planet Earth (after a mysterious prologue, that occurs six months later): we meet Noah Freeman, an everyman centered on his job of drone-controlled environmental data collection. All seems well with his secure job and upcoming engagement, until a casual hiking trip goes very wrong; Noah is thrown down a waterfall by a duo of sinister mystery men, and survives only to stumble upon a portal leading into some strange, other-dimensional plane of existence.

Here, Noah finds himself conversing with a sentient, spherical device. With that, he discovers a power within his surroundings to travel back to select times and places, but only through a choice of collected creatures and persons. Many specimens are extinct, and are of different sizes and personalities. One is human – a female Celtic warrior – with whom he develops a friendship. As a possessor of each specimen, he also shares its experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Such new explorations are exciting for Noah, but he seeks out a way to revisit to his old life. But he discovers himself wanted for murder – and a grand conspiracy behind it all. Now, he must use these new powers to set his original life right… Continue reading

ADC Comic(s) of the Day: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-30

12 Feb

Orion Tippens

All Day Comics

photo 1Comics of the Day Review:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-30

Writer: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

Pencils: Kevin Eastman and Ross Campbell

Published by: IDW Publishing

Notes: Current single monthly issues of an ongoing series, a separate re-imagined continuity to the more widely known TV series and movies.

Story:

In the countryside of Northampton, Massachusetts, our Ninja Turtles and their master Splinter find themselves in desperate need of recovery, both physically and emotionally, after a difficult battle with their nemesis the Shredder. Helping them along are their human friends, Casey Jones and April O’Neill – who provides shelter in her parents’ farmhouse.

photo 2The Turtles engage in the simple life, and must bond once again as brothers. However, complications happen with Leonardo’s developing PTSD, resulting from brainwashing by the Shredder. Add an unwelcome stowaway: Alopex, a mutant fox and former ally to the Foot Clan. Meanwhile, April uncovers her own family secrets, adding to and expanding the Turtles’ origin. And a mystical connection develops through Tang Shen, the spirit mother to our Turtles. All may never be the same again for our Heroes in a Half Shell.

My thoughts:

I engaged in reading the latest issues after admiring the magnificent covers, and connecting back to my childhood nostalgia. I had yet to read the previous issues, but I’d heard good reviews of the overall run. This fresh arc also seemed like a good jumping-on point. Also, the synopsis was Continue reading

Quote of the Day: Ed Brubaker on superheroes

17 Dec

by Mike Hansen

From Point Blank #1 (the prelude to Sleeper) – click to make bigger:

Ed Brubaker quote

I love it when comics mix genres. Ed Brubaker’s blend of crime and superheroes in Sleeper and Incognito is a blast. His murder/revenge story in Captain America was easily the best thing about Marvel’s Civil War event a few years back. (I’m still woefully behind on new comics, but what I’ve read of his horror/crime series Fatale has been amazing so far…)

I read The Big Lie

16 Dec

by Mike Hansen

The Big Lie coverOkay, things are going to get political for a minute here.

I thought today’s report that a major paper owned by the King of Right-Wing America (Rupert Murdoch) advocates one of the major arguments of the Joker of Left-Wing America (Michael Moore) in his film Fahrenheit 9/11 – that there is compelling evidence that the Bush administration ensured that a number of Saudis and bin Laden relatives were safely escorted out of the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks – made today a good time to talk about a comic book that makes me really uncomfortable.

There are few comics that I’ve been truly embarrassed to have bought (Holy Terror being chief among them), but Rick Veitch’s The Big Lie comes closer than most. It came out in September 2011, “commemorating” the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by advocating an already-debunked conspiracy theory that explosives helped bring down three World Trade Center buildings.

The Big Lie p13

The best conspiracies mix in plenty of truth to sound more convincing…

Julian Darius at Sequart has already written what I consider the definitive review of this work, so click over there and check it out. Then check out these cool pages of outtakes from The Big Lie on Rick Veitch’s website.

What makes me so squirmy about The Big Lie is Continue reading

Upgrade or Downgrade? Black Orchid Deluxe hardcover

4 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Black Orchid Deluxe HCI hadn’t intended to do another Up-or-Down so soon, but I’ve gotten several requests for more, and since they’re easier to do as I’m organizing my comics and cleaning up my place, why not?

As I’ve mentioned, in the late 1980s-early 1990s DC Comics was on to something truly special. Few publishers at the time were turning out classic after classic (Dark Horse is the only one that comes to mind) and, though I was too young to appreciate it at the time, DC proved beyond a doubt that comics post-Watchmen/Maus/Dark Knight Returns were validated as true literature.

One of DC’s earliest projects to demonstrate this was 1988’s Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, one of their first U.S.-published comics works (along with The Sandman). A strange, short tale about unintended consequences and beauty in a violent world, Black Orchid was the first story to reveal the sophistication of Gaiman’s later self-contained works (his early Sandman stories were strange, cliffhanger- and superhero-populated affairs) and McKean’s sense of story-as-design he later applied to Arkham Asylum and Cages.

Black Orchid TPB 1st printing

The 1993 trade paperback (1st printing). Note the DC logo blotching an otherwise beautiful cover.

THE GOOD: The 2012 oversized Deluxe hardcover edition of Black Orchid is Continue reading

Upgrade or Downgrade? Animal Man Omnibus

2 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Animal Man OmnibusOkay, this is gonna be a quick one, since I’ve been away… I’ve been recovering from a rather inconvenient surgery (minor skin cancer, fortunately quite curable), so apologies for my infrequent posting over the last few months. One of the few things I’ve been able to do easily over the past several weeks has been to FINALLY organize my comics collection, so expect a lot more stuff in the near future. Onward!

The Animal Man Omnibus is 99% perfect. The story contents remain an essential touchstone for mainstream comics’ transition to more mature and deconstructionist material, and made Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, All-Star Superman, New X-Men, Doom Patrol, Batman, JLA, etc.) one of comics’ biggest names. (John Byrne did a fun, goofy take on a main character that knows it’s a fictional comic-book character in Sensational She-Hulk, which was published at about the same time as this Animal Man material – but Byrne’s mastery of old-school, 1960s/70s-inspired comics storytelling hasn’t received the same accolades as Morrison’s innovations.)

Secret Origins #39 cover

A missing Animal Man piece that’s finally been reprinted.

THE GOOD: This book features Grant Morrison’s entire run on Animal Man, including Animal Man #1-26 and a story from Secret Origins #39. Morrison took a ridiculous character (a guy in orange tights who gains the powers of animals) and built the perfect story around him, one that breaks down the entire idea of the role of superhero stories. The story is a must-read for anyone who appreciates a mature take on the frankly immature superhero concept, and has a permanent place in comics history.

Extras include all Continue reading

A Very Special Thor Poster

6 Nov

by Mike Hansen

Seen in China:

Thor The Dark World chinese poster

They look adorable together, don’t they?

Source

Upgrade or Downgrade? Hellblazer: Original Sins

19 Sep

by Mike Hansen

Hellblazer: Original Sins (1st printing)

Hellblazer: Original Sins (1st & 2nd DC Comics printing)

Occasionally, I’ll buy more than one edition of a graphic novel. Sometimes it’s by accident (which is surprisingly easy when one has thousands of books!); sometimes it’s because the newer one looks like a better version…

After a big move five months ago, I’ve finally gotten around to organizing my comics again, and I’ve discovered a LOT of duplicate material in some of my books. So as a Public Service, I thought I’d share what I know, so you can make a more informed decision on which books to buy. I’m a giver.

I’m starting with DC/Vertigo’s Hellblazer books, as I’ve managed to amass most of them over the last 21 years. It’s one of the best horror comics series of all time, so if all you care about is whether it’s good the answer is YES. Hugely imaginative, massively influential, the stories of John Constantine remain as potent today as they did when they were first published over the last 26 years. Even the character’s creator, Alan Moore, has praised the work of writers Jamie Delano and Brian Azzarello on the series, despite his general hatred of DC Comics.

the 1993 Warner Books edition

1993 Warner Books edition

(It’s a shame that DC decided to incorporate its “mature” characters back into its New 52 superhero line. If only DC knew how to properly manage its intellectual property and branding, instead of taking an “all or nothing” approach to its company-owned material, draining the life and power out of ideas that now fall far short of their potential. I’m grateful that a large enough audience exists for the “real” John Constantine so the Hellblazer stories can continue to be reprinted.)

I’ve given DC Comics a hard time a lot lately (because, let’s face it, that company has done a shit-ton of stupid things in public in the last few years – hell, in the last few weeks), but the company hasn’t survived for over 75 years by being stupid all the time. The DC of today doesn’t Continue reading

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