Since the return of Alita, the titular Battle Angel, and her eclectic group of friends, we’ve been treated to a series with a few interesting ideas and a large number of lumbering, slow-moving expanses of non-story overstuffed with oddball characters and fighting so excessive it actually ground the plot to a complete halt several times. The overlong fighting tournament that literally conquered the series and even left out the main character for entire volumes at a time made Last Order considerably less enjoyable and, at times, actually something of a chore to wade through. Usually it was interrupted by either equally overlong flashbacks focusing on characters we the audience were not terribly invested in, or by long, rambling monologues or strings of dialogue that didn’t really seem to be going anywhere. It wasn’t like the original Battle Angel Alita series that had pulled so many of us in back in the day. Continue reading
I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that Fantagraphics is reading my mind about collections to publish. After reading the excellent Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead by Rick Meyerowitz about the National Lampoon — featuring some of the best work from the main contributors — I’d been hooked on the couple of Nuts strips by Gahan Wilson they reprinted. And, sure enough, in 2011, Fantagraphics released a brand new collection of ALL the Nuts strips in a gorgeous volume. Continue reading
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
It might be a little odd to have an Art Spiegelman book that doesn’t have a whole lot of comix, and mostly essays, but it works. Comix, Essays, Graphics and Scraps: From Maus to Now to Maus to Now is a catalog published by RAW Books to go along with a travelling exhibition from the late 1990s of Spiegelman’s work. There’re a few examples of his comix, but most of those are from Breakdowns or Maus; the really interesting thing is the collection of sketches showing how he worked — doing drafts of each individual Maus panel and showing his process for that project. 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
Some time ago, I reviewed a naughty little animated film on Kittysneezes entitled The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, an exercise in excess written and directed by Rob Zombie. While it may seem like this movie was nothing more than a mature-themed parody of horror films and superhero cartoons, it was in fact an adaptation of some equally excessive comics.
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 Nicolle claims 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.
Image via Wikipedia
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.