Comic Books & Graphic Novels
Posted 11 March 2010 - 10:57 PM
It takes alot of time to do this.
Bet I could get it looking good today if I really wanted to
chase a rabbit down this path.
Enjoy this old flashback.. right here on this very forum!
FOLLOW JAMES EASTMAN on FACEBOOK and TWITTER!
Posted 12 March 2010 - 07:00 PM
Just finished Grandville by Bryan Talbot. Story is Sherlock Holmes-esque in a steampunk setting with nearly all characters played by animals. All much inspired by the caricaturist, J.J. Grandville. Its much better than it sounds (especially if the furries angle appeals to you) and was one of the more engaging GNs Ive read since Asterios Polyp. Plus its hardcover and a nice classy looking book overall (and you get to talk about early 18th century french caricaturists when you leave it out and a girl comes over...check plus).
Visually it was pretty solid and glossy. Animals looked suprisingly cool (theres a great horse drug dealer who looks a bit rogue-punkish with his black leather blinders on) and made for an interesting contrast with the blood and violence that may not be often associated with giant frogs, foxes and badgers. My biggest qualm was that the action (particularly action between large groups) wasn't always presented in the easiest to digest manner and at times was confusing.
Story wise it was solid. Had a alt universe, turn of the century setting with some interesting allusions to 9/11 and a few fun steampunk devices (automatons, steam boiler bikes and carriages, etc). The main character was a hoot as a burly badger with brains and brawn.
Overall a solid 8 out of 10. Went by too fast but will certainly revisit it again.
Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:45 PM
The only two things I disliked about this one were the dust jacket (looks much worse than any panel inside...perhaps I just really dislike the purple) and the speed with which I finished it (2 days). Alas, another Parker book via Cooke is due out this year and it will be on my immediate purchase list.
Currently reading Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth which is cool to look at but is not a lot of fun. I should have known this from the summary but the layout and density of ideas and images was all too powerful. Will post a full review when I get around to finishing it.
Also took a look at Nightly News this afternoon and am impressed with the visuals. Will try to pick that one up soon.
Edited by thebiz, 19 July 2010 - 07:57 PM.
Posted 26 October 2010 - 04:17 PM
On a happy note I found Ex Machina in a curbside box a few weeks back and therefore scored a book I had been wanting to read for free. Its a tale of a NYC engineer who gains powers over machines through an experience with alien materials. Sounds clichéd eh?
However, the superhero part is mostly back story. The real story involves the protagonist giving up his amateur superhero life and running for (and winning) Mayor of NYC. A lot of the fun here involves a slightly alternate universe in which protagonist defeats Michael Bloomberg, decides not not initiate the smoking ban in bars (which Bloomberg did indeed pass), fights unions, considers the city budget in relation to plowing snow from city streets and tries to decide how to deal with issues such as city funded obscene artworks. Its a fun premise that somehow doesn't go far enough in any one direction. Theres is a villain but he's quite a disappointment. Perhaps this series finds its legs in further episodes but I cant see spending my few sheckles to find out.
I caught a quick look at Richard Stark's The Outfit yesterday and it looks fantastic. The next time I'm willing to spend 25 bucks on a book that I will finish in 2 days, thats the one I will get. Oooh, Amazon has it for 17. Maybe for xmas.
And yea Monk, I really like the Hellboy artwork as well. Havent purchased any but I've been perusing it at the local shop. I believe the artist also does something called The Amazing Screw-On Head which you might like as well.
Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:58 AM
The story follows a team of pirates/mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, that smuggles goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia in the early 1990s. Their base of operations is located in the fictional city of Roanapur in Thailand, and they transport goods in the 80-foot (24 m) Elco-type PT boat Black Lagoon.
I totally recommend it.
Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:35 AM
Girl Superheroes always tend to get the short end of the stick. It's nice to see a comic that works to remedy that. (Wonderwoman started out as the Secretary to the JLA)
Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:31 PM
Richard Stark's Parker; The Outfit is as good as I had figured. It lacks the first time newness of The Hunter but makes up for that in differing storytelling styles used to mark different capers (which are all very fun as the author explains the details) and super cool graphic art. These two volumes are my go to sources when someone asks to see why I like graphic novels and the hard covers just add to the class.
I knew nothing of Fear Nothing before opening the cover and even with no expectations it was a huge dissapointment. The story follows a man who cannot be subjected to sunlight (or most electrical lights) without permanent skin damage. Therefore he lives as normal a life as possible during the night hours until his father dies and the town and circumstances he live within take a bizzare turn for the worse.
Graphically, this one is bad. You would think this storyline could be easily paired with an interesting style (heavy shadows, explosive light, maybe even just black and white) but the characters look bloated and badly composed and the scenery lacks anything interesting to make you think this wasn't just a cut rate money grab. Finally the story starts to get interesting in the last section of part one but then simply ends without any payoff. Generally my understanding of graphic novels is that they tie together the individual storylines into something that can stand on its own. That is not the case here. And as the visuals failed to grab me and the ending pissed me off, I guess I'll be leaving this story in limbo.
I used an xmas gift card last night to purchase several more titles (The Filth, Dylan Dog, Nightly News, Transmetropolitan, Incognito, Hellboy) so hopefully I will have more to say in the coming months.
Edited by thebiz, 26 January 2011 - 03:57 PM.
Posted 27 January 2011 - 04:48 PM
Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:45 AM
In our cynical age, anti-heros are the only types of heros we care to read about and The Nightly News has them in spades. Only these anti-heros evolve through many stages, from principled intellectuals to brainwashed cult doofuses to the last free man, back to anti hero and finally to plain old villian (and Im talking about a single character in this case). And all the while the author is throwing in his own thoughts on the proceedings and assuring us that hey, don't blame the messenger, he's a law abiding citizen who only practices sex in the missionary position and posseses a Costco card. But then our fearless author evolves as well, into a rough sex asshole who considers the morality of 2nd amendment remedies. Par for the course.
All of this (specifically a war - well more like a safari - on journalists and the globalization of an uncaring world) plays out to excellent graphic arts that look something like a heroin tinged homage to Target ads. Pupils (the eyeball kind..though the student kind are more prevalent) are few and far between, heads exploding from sniper fire simply tear apart without the mess. Its cohesive and excellent like some ultra slick corporate presentation (yea, irony).
Theres some serious words that are easy to identify with here (hate your job/life? Do something!), similar to Fight Club perhaps, but in the end Hickman brings it all back to where it came. Hey its a comic book asshole. Dont go killing anybody over it.
Posted 10 February 2011 - 02:51 PM
Posted 10 February 2011 - 04:31 PM
Damocles (http://multimedia.fn...82800143705.jpg) by Joël Callède - Alain Henriet
Excellent drawings and great storytelling, a near future action series about a group of bodyguards for hire:
Nico (http://multimedia.fn...82505009153.jpg) by Philippe Berthe - Fred Duval
SF comic set in an alternate sixties where society made a huge technological leap after a UFO crashed in Roswell.
Drawn in the style of the Line Clare:
I really love this one, with its beautiful heroine and playful storytelling it keeps reminding me why I love to read comics.
Fans of The Count of Monte Christo, should give the French series Dantés a look. It's a modernized retelling of the classic tale set in the world of bankers and money traders: http://livre.fnac.co...ierre-Boisserie
And I'm eagerly awaiting the German edition of the newest Yoko Tsuno adventure:
As usual, I advice you to pick up a copy of that series if you get the chance.
Although I do have to admit that Leloups drawing style is now missing some of it's old perfection Yoko is simply to lovely a character not to recommend it anyways.
-Unknown newspaper critic.
Posted 10 February 2011 - 05:11 PM
One of my favorite architecture and art blogs (bldgblog) just ran a pretty cool interview with Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, that delves into everything from visual inspiration to using Apes in comics ("Something I always say is: monkeys always work...I think it’s the absurdity of it") to Lovecraftian men in suits and shuttered windows. An interesting read from one of the more interesting visual comic artists.
Interesting interview. Thanks for the link!
Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:34 PM
On the negative side, the graphics fail to keep up with the ideas lacking detail or even a distinctive style and the paper quality, cover and binding feel cheap. Overall its a good read with more volume and ideas than most graphic novels. Memorable and recommended but not raving.
Posted 18 February 2011 - 08:42 PM
The 5 tales included here make for a rather thick and extended read but also make it a bit hard to travel on the subway with. My biggest critique is the lack of context. Theres nothing included to explain the history of this Italian comic, here for the first time in English. Eh, I suppose thats what the internet is for. - 7/10
Incognito by Ed Brubaker - Remember the end of Goodfellas where Ray Liotta's character looks into the camera thinking about how crappy it is to be normal before going back inside his house? Thats where Incognito picks up, only here, the Liotta character was a criminal with superhuman powers who now takes drugs to have his powers muted and works as a file clerk. Dabbling in other illicit drugs to alleviate his bordom, our hero/villian finds his powers returning and finds he enjoys beating hell from people who tend to deserve it (though he still despises "the innocent"). It is a solid story that shines bright primarily because of the Pulp Noir visuals from Sean Phillips.
Nothing particularly new here (didnt keep me thinking after I finished it like The Filth or even Dylan Dog) but it is very professional in all aspects (story, visuals, the physical book) and its a very enjoyable read.
Transmetropolitan; Back on the Streets by Warren Ellis - A futuristic Hunter S. Thompson fights the power under some other name. Frenetic and occasionally fun but it is a character played first in Thompson's books (and by Thompson himself) and then cinematically by Johnny Depp in Leaving Las Vegas and the act got a bit tired. I ended up finding the city and the setting more interesting than the character with its religious convention/carnivals, screaming sounds and violent goings ons. Not without merit but Im not sure I'd dole out more cash on the series. 6.5/10
Hellboy; Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola - Less smartassy, more badassy than the movies that it spawned. Particularly good to see Abe Sapien without the nebbish Niles (David Hyde Pierce) persona. Looks marvelous with Mike Migolas distinctive style and cool, sparse but creepy setpieces. A bit thin (finished in about an hour) but a good bit of fun. 7.5/10
Posted 05 March 2011 - 06:37 PM
~Beaty Beaks :54:
Posted 13 April 2011 - 02:21 AM
Additionally, the art by Ben Templesmith has a Calvin and Hobbes snorting coke off a toilet seat in hell vibe going for it. Rough strokes, occasionaly smeared across the frame and colored with ghostly textures from a well used blackboard. Toss in a photoshop-esque effect which blows out what little brightly lit spots there are and it all works crazy good to add to the macabre feel of the stories (Templesmith also inked the 30 Days of Night series which has a very similar eerie look).
I was very dissapointed to find that Ellis hadnt touched the series in three years but there is rumor of him having scripted some new issues recently. I hope so.
Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:03 PM
Fingerprints by Will Dinski - Super short (I finished this in about 20 minutes) tale of plastic surgery and talking heads features some amazingly vapid characters and rough sketch visuals but ends up being strangely amusing and memorable. Didn't change my life but I did ponder adapting this in Iclone.
Scalped Volume 1; Indian Country by Jason Aaron - The word gritty comes up a lot in reviews of this series about crime, poverty and corruption on an indian reservation, but grainy visuals (not a distinct face in the bunch), characters that have a hard time clawing past their own cliches and a cliffhanger ending did not win me over. No part 2 for me thanks.
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec - Rough and ready female french reporter Adele Blanc Sec battles pterror..er... pterodactyls and jewel thiefs in 1910 Paris. Originally created in 1972 by French Artist Jaques Tardi, the detailed visuals reminded me of Toni Sarg's city illustrations and are the highlight here amongst a crazy ultra convoluted plot that dares you to follow along or seemingly even care. I didn't connect with the story but its lovely to look at and interesting to see comics from another time and another place. Mildly interested in seeing the big budget 2010 french film directed by Luc Besson
6.5 - 10
Edited by thebiz, 10 May 2011 - 03:47 PM.
Posted 29 July 2011 - 03:15 PM
Visually nearly every frame is sketched in black pen. It seems rudimentary at first but ends up feeding the dark and nasty scenes, and they are pretty much all dark and nasty.
The story is excellent, though a bit confusing as there are many characters and the subplots don't always make immediate sense. This is not a whodunnit (the film by contrast is just that). Moore introduces us to the Gull/Ripper character, shows us his life trajectory and puts us in his head during each of the horrific killings. He spends a chapter laying out his mad reasoning in an excellent gothic tour through Londons most evil locations (many of them churches or chapels) and he spends an entire chapter on the gruesome act of killing the last victim. Its almost too much at times.
Then there is the policeman who sits around sullen and often complaining about the state of things (sometimes right, sometimes not so much). He doesn't necessarily unmask The Ripper so much as fall into his living room. Definitely not the Johnny Depp hero character. That's because Moore's Hero is the Ripper. As is said in many reviews and in the novel itself, the Ripper Killings embodied the end of the century and the entrance into a new one kicking and screaming. For good or for bad, Gull (the ripper) is what keeps you reading.
From Hell is mammoth, clocking in at over 500 pages with two appendices in the back. Not easy to bring along on train rides but such is life. I've said it before but I'm not a big fan of laying out 25 bucks and finishing the book in a day or two. This one took me a couple of weeks, though admittedly I wasn't churning through the pages at breakneck speed. And that's the gist here. It has some spectacular moments (Gull/Ripper's visions of the future send shivers up your spine), is super smart and brilliantly constructed (when you hit the end and end up at the beginning you just smile) but its not incredibly fun, at least not the same kind of fun that had me ripping through the Dark Night Returns or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen #1. Still it should be read and is crazy memorable.
Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:01 PM
Its all very colorful and fun to look at (Kevin Oneil's illustrations are wonderful) but is missing the rollicking adventures of Episode 1 and 2. Still, its nice to see Mina in a gogo dress and it concludes with an excellently nihilistic 1970s punk scene.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users