When people think of Marvel superheroes, usually the first ones that spring to mind are Spider-Man, Wolverine (or any of the high-profile X-Men), Captain America, the Incredible Hulk or the Punisher. Iron Man didn’t get the same kind of high-profile position until he finally got his own movie, but since then even the casual viewer/reader knows who he is, even if their first visual image is of Robert Downey, Jr.
But with a book like Iron Man: Extremis, one has a chance to experience Iron Man on his home turf: the comics page. Not only that, but one has a chance to see how great an Iron Man comic can be. Continue reading →
I think I’ve mentioned before that Liquid Television was both hugely influential on me and kinda turned out to be an animated version of RAW. And it was Liquid TV where I first saw the work of RAW and, later MAD contributor, Drew Friedman. He had a few “Uncle Louie” shorts, featuring the titular character travelling through the sewers to save on travel expenses. I loved the stippling style of the artwork, the amazingly detailed and photorealistic characters — a mix of the perfectly normal and the strangely grotesque — and the cutout animation. Continue reading →
Fantagraphics is known as much for their work with new and innovative artists as for their archival projects — and for the high quality of both. They recently got the EC Comics license and have been putting out artist-themed compilations like Corpse on the Injun! – but they’ve also put out books that wouldn’t have existed without EC… even though they have no EC content. One of the best of these is Four Color Fear, a collection of horror comics from other publishers attempting to cash in on the popularity of Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Crypt of Terror. And while a lot of these may have been forgotten for a reason, there are still a few gems. Continue reading →
Rick Geary is a wonderful cartoonist known for a lot of things — he’s contributed to National Lampoon and MAD (he’s in the current issue even!), he’s worked with Harvey Pekar on stories for American Splendor, but the thing he’s probably most famous for (at least in comic nerd circles) is his wonderful Treasuries of Victorian Murder and Treasures of XXth Century Murder. These are true crime stories, meticulously researched and illustrated in Geary’s clear line-art style. He’s done Lizzy Borden, Jack the Ripper, and the most recent is Lover’s Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery. Continue reading →
I never thought it’d turn out that I’d be for enforced, mandatory child labor. But then I read Axe Cop, the comic written by a 6-year-old, and drawn by his 30-year-old brother, and honestly, it’s convinced me that we need to get all children from between 4-7 into the comic writin’ mines right now. Sure, Ethan Nicolleclaims that his brother Malachai writes Axe Cop through playing with his older sibling — but either way, I think we need to make sure we get more comics like these. Sorry, Alan Moore, sorry, Grant Morrison, but you’ve been replaced.
Before he gave the world The Dirty Pair, sci-fi author Haruka Takachiho created a space opera series focusing on a team of galactic mercenaries called Crusher Joe. Crushers, the mercenaries in question, would do anything for a client if the price was right. And the titular Joe and his team would frequently find that the jobs they were hired for were much larger than they first appeared. Continue reading →
Every oncein a while, I like to revisit the past to re-examine things I treasure. Sometimes they are things I still have. Sometimes they are only memories. But whatever form they currently hold, they are special because they made huge changes in my life and influenced much of what followed. As for how huge said changes were, well, I wouldn’t learn that until much later.
When one mentions “manga,” to the average passer-by, one is usually met with the question, “what is that?” Mention manga to the average American manga reader, you’ll likely hear mention of such series as Soul Eater or Negima!, or of such high-profile mangaka as Nagai Go or CLAMP. But many of them will likely not know about the sort of underground works that seldom actually make it outside Japan.
This is where AX: Alternative Manga (ISBN 978-1-60309-042-1; $29.95) enters the picture. A 399-page behemoth from Top Shelf Productions, AX is an English-language compilation of alternative manga works taken straight from Japan’s cutting-edge anthology periodical of the same name. Many, if not nearly all, American manga readers will likely not have heard of any of the artists or writers featured in this collection. They would be doing themselves a disservice, however, to not try this collection out; manga is more than just magical girls, large-scale fantasy romps or wacky romantic comedies. Manga can be just as experimental and surreal as American underground comics, and AX has such a selection in spades.