Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Favorite Comics of 2011

2011 was an interesting year for comic books. DC Comics decided to reboot their entire line. Marvel seemed to be bogged down under the underwhelming "Fear Itself" mini-series and its effects. Image stood out with several strong mini-series and creator-owned works. I was opened up to two overseas publishers, Nobrow Press and Blank Slate Books.

The year in comics has been a satisfying one. I found myself constantly adding new series to my pull & hold, consistently reading positive reviews for recent graphic novels and various collections, or discovering older comics and trades through various means (usually too much web-surfing at work). However briefly, here are some of my favorite books from 2011:

Favorite Limited Series
The Rocketeer from IDW

This four issue, anthology style series captured the essence of Dave Steven's original Rocketeer work and featured contributions by John Cassaday, Mike Allred, Geof Darrow, and Mike Mignola, among others, with covers by Alex Ross. Each issue showcased several self-contained stories, pinups, and recreations of Steven's original work.

Favorite Original Graphic Novel
Paying for It from Drawn & Quarterly

Chester Brown's Paying for It is an honest look at Brown's awkward sex life, eventually leading to his use of companion services, his discovery of prostitutes as people, and his friends negative reactions to his new lifestyle. The book is challenging and thought provoking, leaving me wondering about my own position on the sex-for-money industry still.

Favorite "Old" Book
Far Arden from Top Shelf Productions

There are so many comics coming out each week, that it's easy to over look books which have been on the shelf for a while. As an avid comic reader, I'm always seeking out stories, creators, and comics, whether it's based on critical response, creator favorites, or a friend's recommendation. Another option is simply taking a chance. When Top Shelf Comix held a clearance sale last summer, I purchased several books I was interested in as well as a few books that just looked neat. Far Arden (2009) is one of the latter. Kevin Cannon's swashbuckling adventure book has a great cartoon style, intriguing characters, and a gut-wrenching conclusion. It was a fun, swift read and my only regret is that it took me so long to read it.

Favorite Single Issue (Indie Press)
The New Ghost from Nobrow Press

This short story follows a ghost come to terms with his newfound surroundings...as a ghost. The comic features great color and nice texture (I like it when a book feels different). The tale is austere and that makes it beautiful.

Favorite Single Issue (Mainstream)

Secret Avengers #16-21 from Marvel Comics

Technically not one single stand alone issue, but ever since Warren Ellis took over the Secret Avengers, it's been one of the best Marvel titles published in 2011. Elllis crafted sci-tech stories with a revolving stable of artists which perfectly encapsulated one-off missions for Steve Rogers' shadow operation.

Favorite Ongoing Series
Uncanny X-Force from Marvel Comics

Rick Remender made his mark on the Marvel Universe with his seven-part "The Dark Angel Saga" and the revelations the story arc brought forth. Wolverine and his clandestine group of mercenary mutants travel to the Age of Apocalypse in an attempt to stop the second coming of Apocalypse. This after Fantomex assassinated the would be boy clone of En Sabah Nur. Only then to discover that Fantomex generated a clone of Apocalypse in an attempt to break the murderous predisposition of the first mutant. This sounds confusing, but Remender has a knack for adding dense layers that all make sense. Add to this the beautiful art of Jerome Opena (who took over for the equally talented Esad Ribic), and Uncanny X-Force was the must read book of 2011.

Favorite Comic of the Year
Everything We Miss from Nobrow Press

Luke Pearson's three-color comic is only 38 pages, but it's a powerful, saddening look at the final days of a relationship, the mistakes couples make, and regret felt when romance ends. Pearson's story is one part Clowes, one part Hornschemeier - surreal yet heart wrenching just the same. His art is crisp and detailed; its realism is what really defines the comic as painstakingly lifelike.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pull & Hold

Fantastic Four 602, FF 14, Flash 5, Green Lantern: The New Guardians 5, Justice League 5, Mighty Thor 10, Secret Avengers 21.1, Sixth Gun 18, and Ultimates 6

Also picking up:

I Swallowed the Key to My Heart, by Liz Prinze (Microcosm)
In the comic I Swallowed the Key to My Heart, Liz Prince pursues a crush on a bearded gentleman while simultaneously pining for an ex. She flirts using the age-old tactics of teasing and hat stealing, with mixed results. Liz also ends up fighting with other girls for his attention, and rebuffing the advances of an unwanted suitor, all at the same time. It's a total boy-crazy funfest set in a snowy small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. The drama!

A.D.D. (Vertigo)
The Adolescent Demo Division are the world's luckiest teen gamers. Raised from birth to test media, appear on reality TV and enjoy the fruits of corporate culture, the squad develop special abilities that make them the envy of the world – and a grave concern to their keepers.

One by one, they "graduate" to new levels that are not what they seem. But their heightened abilities can only take them so far as the ultimate search for their birth families leads to an inconceivably harrowing discovery.

Written by Douglas Rushkoff, world-renowned media theorist, Frontline TV correspondent and author (Ecstasy Club, Media Virus and Program or Be Programmed, TESTAMENT), with full color art by Goran Sudzuka and Jose Marzan Jr. (Y: THE LAST MAN).

All comics are available at Star Clipper

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Cosmic Return!

"This Is It! Spidey Goes Cosmic"

2012 is the year everything ends, so why not begin this blog again?

After ignoring this blog for the most part of 2011 (showing remarkable consistency posting at least 205 entries 2008 through 2010), I've decided to make attempts at regular updates.

Features will include posts on comics and movies, as usual, but with slight variations:
  • Cool Covers brings you my favorite comic book covers from my own personal collection every Monday
  • Off the Shelf returns periodically, when I've read a sizable amount of graphic novels
  • Let's All Go to the Lobby will once again showcase my inability to write about movies in a critical fashion
  • Pull & Hold will showcase the new release comics I plan to pick up each week. I'll also feature potential purchases in trade paperbacks, graphic novels, or other appealing collectibles. I hope to include brief (one sentence) reviews of comics from the prior week
  • Capsule Movie Reviews (title pending) will chronicle my attempt to watch at least four movies a week, then succinctly reviewing those films in a 'good, bad, and ugly' format
  • Comic Series Reviews is an attempt to read a complete comic series, usually 50 issues or so in duration, and present a similar 'good, bad, and ugly' review
  • Short Film Friday shares a short film or two each week. Pieces will be narrative fiction, music videos, promotional spots, or abstract creations (this feature essentially replaces Wednesday Filler)
  • Trailer Tuesday is a spotlight on trailers for upcoming releases of films in theaters or DVD, as well as comic books or graphic novels given the trailer treatment.

Occasionally, I hope to post entries in the "What Shapes A Young Brian Spath?" series. This weekend, I plan to finish entries for 2011 best of movies and comics. Stay tuned!

Pull & Hold

Avengers 21, Batman 5, Daredevil 8, Green Lantern Corps 5, Moon Knight 9, Ultimate Spider-Man 6, Uncanny X-Force 20, and Venom 12.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pull & Hold

Amazing Spider-Man 677; Batwoman 5; Captain America 7; Demon Knight 5; Green Lantern 5; Incredible Hulk 4; Invincible 87; Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand 1 (pictured left); New Avengers 20; Reed Gunther 7; Scarlet Spider 1; Secret Avengers 21; Strange Talent of Luther Strode 4; and Wolverine 300.

Monday, January 9, 2012