Friday, May 31, 2013

A Comic A Day: Vimanarama #1

Published by DC/Vertigo
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Bond

Grant Morrison had just left New X-Men and was about to return to the DC Universe in a big bad way, but first he made a little detour at Vertigo to leave little droppings of awesomeness in the corner of the room. Nearly everyone stepped in We3 and many people are still picking bits of Seaguy out of their shoes, but for the most part, I think Vimanarama went unnoticed. This was a charming little 3-issue miniseries with artist Philip Bond that deserves a lot more attention, in my humble opinion.

Imagine Jack "The King" Kirby taking a swing at Indian dieties, a la The New Gods or The Eternals. Pure imagination collides with ancient tradition to form a coming-of-age tale with a little Arabian Nights sprinkled on top. Ali, the protagonist, must deal with being emotionally cuckolded when his arranged bride-to-be Sofia is revealed to be the reincarnated eternal lover of the Ultra-Hadeen, an immortal hero who has returned to do battle with an ancient evil that Ali himself unleashed. It's a take no prisoners shit-storm from there.
Poor Ali feels like the whole world is against him and even minor background characters like soldiers and cheerleaders reflect this in an almost surreal way. The world really does revolve around him, despite what his family says. Remarkably, even with the end of the world as we know it looming, the series never feels grim. And ultimately, Love is the only solution.

Readers are starved for original ideas and concepts from the Big Two. Morrison would go on to sell a zillion more copies of Batman than he ever would with this, but I implore those who have enjoyed his work with commercial properties to seek this one out. It has the fast pace of Batman Inc. combined with the bright, exciting set pieces of All-Star Superman. It's an underrated gem and you should step in it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Comic A Day: Marvel Premiere #15

Published by Marvel
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Gil Kane & Dick Giordano

Long before Bruce Wayne would trek up the mountain with a certain blue flower and be deemed worthy of the League Of Shadows, there was the story of Danny Rand. The boy who would become the man known as Iron Fist had a pretty brutal origin. No time for The Mark of Zorro I'm afraid. In fact, Iron Fist's origin is so hardcore, his parents are murdered before his eyes during a family mountain climbing expedition. Oh, rich people...

The best part of Iron Fist's debut in this 70's marvel anthology is the perspective granted to the reader. "You are Iron Fist" states the narrator, placing the reader firmly in the kung-fu booties of the lead character. A few more captions like that, and a more impressionable reader is likely to put the mag down and start throwing down with the family dog. Danny Rand has grown up hard in the temple within the disappearing city of K'un Lun and writer Roy Thomas tries his damndest to make every blow feel like a harsh reminder of the hero's journey.

I compared the story to Batman Begins a second ago because it had just dawned on me how similar they seem. Climbing a mountain or other obstacle on the way to enlightenment certainly isn't anything new, but Danny Rand's story seems like Bruce Wayne's own grisly origin on fast-forward.

Danny Rand would go on to choke a dragon (yes, really) and scale a tower of assassins Game Of Death style in the next several issues. His pursuit of the Meachum family and his quest for revenge would make up most of his adventures before pairing up with that bad mamma-jamma Luke Cage just about two years later. A very 70's book with some real Bronze Age trapping sprinkled throughout, readers could always rest assured that evil is just one glowing punch away from the E.R.

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 27: Into Darkness

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Podcast Enterprise. Boldly reviewing a movie everybody else was talking about a week ago. Join Captain Chris, Dr. Evan "Bones" Arnold, and the cold, logical Vulcan ambassador Julie as they pick apart J.J. Abrams second Star Trek feature film.

You can live long and prosper HERE!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Comic A Day: Superman #160

Published by DC
Written by Jeph Loeb
Art by Ed McGuinness

Every night, Superman, the most dangerous criminal on Earth, escapes his cell at Arkham Asylum to harrass bald billionaire Lois Lane. And every night she skirts his advances and plays with his emotions until Earth's greatest champion, Bizarro #1, can drag him baack to the big house. Young James Olsen, better known as Gravedigger Lad, cheers on his hero from the sidelines, hoping to join Bizzaro on his orbiting watchtower and help make the world a better place.

This is the world you will be thrust into if you crack open Superman #160, the first part of the Emporer Joker storyline. A crossover story combining the storytelling might of the entire Superman brain trust at the time, including names like Joe Kelly, J.M. DeMatteis, and Mr. Science himself, Mark Schultz. It starts off as a light romp through a twisted version of the DC universe we all know and love, but a dark secret lies in the Joker's fortress that dramatically changes the tone of the story in the second act. And just how did the Joker become a God-like presence? I'm not telling!

Seeing Superman don his black and chrome costume from the 90's once again might give you pause or even repel you if you're in the camp that didn't care for the Death and Return of Superman arc from years past. Rest assured, this is a crossover event done right. There's a grand character arc within this series and an examination of what sets Superman apart from his contemporaries in the JLA, aside from heat vision and cold breath.

This was truly a great time to be reading the Superman titles. Jeph Loeb and Joe Kelly in particular were a breath of fresh air after some stale storylines in the late 90's. Loeb always writes with a lot of heart and Kelly may be the best dialogue man in the business. I'm lukewarm on the Our Worlds At War stuff that followed, but I'll be holding on to my Emporer Joker for certain.

The Colonel's Picks For May 29th, 2013

Planning to hit your LCS today for the weekly fix? Here are some recommendations from yours truly, the incomparable Col. Reddenbacher!

Adventures Of Superman #1 (DC)

Flying above the Orson Scott Card controversey like the classy superguy he is, Superman's new out-of-continuity adventures have gained a sheperd in the form of Jeff Parker. Parker is a criminally underrated writer whose work for Marvel on books like Agents of Atlas always stimulated the imagination. Under Parker's pen, look for the man of steel to soar to new heights. And who's gonna draw this bad boy? Chris Samnee, artist/genius who has been doing no less than a stellar job with Mark Waid over on Marvel's Daredevil title. I should note however, that this is a digital first series, so you better break out your tablet of smartphone if you wanna read this today. Me? I'll be beaming it directly into my noodle via telepathy! Or I'm just staring at a wall. God save me.

Pirate Eye (Action Labs)

This one-shot special has been dubbed "buccanoir" (get it?) by its creators Josiah Grahn and Carl Yonder. Smitty is a pirate turned P.I. who's trying to find a stolen treasure map and navigate his way through a world of scummy seadogs and assassins. This sounds so hard-boiled you'll have to eat it with a spoon. Bravo to Action Labs for trying out so many new concepts. They seem to really know what they're doing over there.

King Conan: The Hour Of The Dragon #1 (Dark Horse)

CROM! Conan is returning to the silver screen in 2014's The Legend Of Conan, so expect a deluge of new material from Dark Horse over the next year. This six issue miniseries features work from the legendary Tim Truman as well as Tomas Giorello, Jose Villarubia, and Gerald Parel. Adapting one of Robert E. Howard's original King Conan novels into the exciting four-color format should be a breeze for the talent listed, but will they bring their own brand of Hyborian salsa to the party?

The Wake #1 (DC)

Scott Snyder is the white hot author behind DC's current Batmans series as well as the critically acclaimed blood-soaked historical romp American Vampire. Sean Murphy is the visionary artist who teamed wtih Grant Morrison to bring us Joe The Barbarian as well as his kick-ass solo effort Punk Rock Jesus. Now these two titans of the current comics world clash to present The Wake, an aquatic based horror book that looks like a 21st century take on the Creature From the Black Lagoon. Snyder knows how write scary stuff, and Murphy's art can turn from fantastical to horrifying on a dime. This one should be a winner.

Morning Glories #27 (Image)

This issue begins "season two" of Nick Spencer's hit series from Image. After a not-so-long hiatus, the kids of the Morning Glories academy return to inject some much needed angst and drama into your life. There's an array of variant covers from some of today's biggest artists including Jamie McKelvie and Emma Rios. Which cover are you gonna wrap it in?

Captain Universe: The Hero Who Could Be You (Marvel)

This is less of a single issue or one-shot and more of a mini-trade for $7.99. Collecting material from Marvel Spotlight and Web Of Spider-Man as well as a few other appearances, this showcases the cosmic everyman known as Captain Universe. And "everyman" is quite apropos seeing as Captain Universe has no single secret identity! Each Captain Universe has a new civilian persona as the powers pass from body to body. It's the super-powered gift that keeps on giving, just pray it doesn't short out when you're zipping through space. Featuring art by Steve Ditko and many, many others, this looks like a fun alternative and yet a nice companion to the Captain Universe stuff currently occurring in Hickman's Avengers run.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go out and stimulate the economy! And I better not catch you smoking! Don't lie to me!! I can smell it on your hair...


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Comic A Day: She-Hulk #4

Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Juan Bobillo

Dan Slott must feel like a man out of time. He writes what I call, for lack of a better term, old-school Marvel comics. Action, humor, and character moments all in economic proportion to form damn good stories. I use the term ecomonic because a Dan Slott comic is always worth your money. While other authors have embraced decompression, Slott almost seems to rally against it, giving you a 22 (or 20) page complete story.

Case in point: She-Hulk #4. The title character's personal drama and her relationship with Pug somehow find time to advance, even with a guest-starring role by the show-stealing Spider-Man. She-Hulk, as an attorney for super-types, finds herself aiding the webslinger as he looks to sue his public nemesis J. Jonah Jameson for slander. Yep, it seems years of accusations of being a "menace to society" have tied a knot in Peter Parker's webs and he's had it. One minor detail derails his case, but I won't spoil it here.

Then there's the Scorpion. Dopey Mac Gargan (can you believe this guy was once a P.I.?) and Alistair Smythe make an appearance as well, wreaking havoc right in front of the courthouse during Jolly Jonah's trial. Spidey and Jen (that's She-Hulk by the way) make a comedic duo for the ages under Slott's pen, and Spidey's explanation for why he thinks Jameson hates him so much was such a funny and inappropriate line I laughed out loud. How many times have you ever actually laughed OUT LOUD at a comic book?

It's been a few years since the ink was still warm on this issue and Mr. Slott has carved quite a niche for himself within the Marvel bullpen as the main Spider-Man writer since then. Even when incorperating events like Spider-Island and the Doc Ock brain switch scenario, he still manages to satisfy his readers and make character the most important aspect of his stories. Not bad for the guy who once wrote Ren & Stimpy stories for Marvel back in the 90's.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gatsby: The Rise and Fall of the American Dream in Cinema

"You are always surrounded by lovers,
And you are never as broke as you seem,
I still think I fought for the right side,
But it was never this cold in my dreams" - Franz Nicolay

(Spoiler filled as I drift off into exposition)

 When I first picked up a copy of "The Great Gatsby" I have to confess that I didn't particularly care for it. Maybe a part of that was because I was annoyed at the concept of "required reading". Anyway, as sanctimonious as that sounds, I found myself thinking that I didn't have a particular reason as to just why that was. At the time I didn't have any answers.

But now, separating myself nine years from my initial reading of it, and after viewing Baz Luhrmann's spectacle a couple times, I know. It isn't because the story is bad, or the characters fail to be compelling, but there is simply something so crushing about Gatsby's story. To date I've only been moved to tears in a theater twice. The first was viewing L' Miserables, and the second, watching The Great Gatsby. Why should you watch this, even if you hate the book? Because when you get right down to it, anyone can identify with the themes present, as they are woven directly into the quintessential fabric of American myth.

What is Gatsby really about? It is quest of identification and distinction in a land of ever shifting classes and hierarchies. Gatsby is the Horatio Alger creation myth of the self-made man incarnate. A man who can 'rise above' his common station and become something more, greater than what he is. It is about the recklessness of youth. Jay Gatsby may have been James Gatz, a "Mr. Nobody from Nowhere." But that doesn't matter. He's left his roots far, far, behind, and his life is guided by his destiny. Led on only by his will and his dreams, he reaches-and oversteps. 

Luhrmann's take on Fitzgerald's novel isn't the first in cinema. There is the well known 1974 version starring Robert Redford as Gatsby, and two other films in 1949 and '26 respectively. I haven't seen either of these two older films, and only watched the 1974 film long ago so there isn't much I can say about it. However, watching Luhrmann's decadent, heavily stylized New York come alive with all the glamor that the decade of excess had to offer inserted me right into the story as a viewer. Taking the point of view of Nick Carraway, who provides voice-overs from a sanitarium where he eventually types "The Great Gatsby" up as a way of therapy takes a little getting used too, but ultimately is an 'everyman' point of view where we can watch the action unfold on screen.

The greatest complaint that most viewers have is the soundtrack. Admittedly, it is a little odd to hear tracks like "No Church in the Wild" done by Jay Z and Kanye West but the 1920s is one of those decades that as a whole in the collective memory of the United States is viewed through a lens of nostalgia, and has been for many, many years. It seems fitting then, with the re-imaging of the decade on screen, that modern viewers look back at the past not with a roller piano providing the soundtrack, but with modern artists at the helm.

The party scenes at Gatsby's are orgiastic, bacchanal affairs that truly bring to light the age of opulence and displays with vulgarity the wealth and garishness of an age that very few living Americans can yet recall. And I rollicked and thrived seeing all the exaggerated camera angles, sweeping style, glittering burning hordes of shining faces. I watched the scene twice and still found new things to look at every time. I'm sure that further viewings will net the same result. Still, it is at the most tense point in the film that Luhrmann's skill as a director shows through.

"Just tell him the truth," Gatsby demands of Daisy, "you never loved him -- and it's all wiped out forever." This request is terrible, and required. It isn't enough for Gatsby that Daisy now loves him and wants to leave Tom, he needs to have never lost her at all. The last five years between them being nothing but a bump in the road. This request, so cruel and terrible a gesture is where the line is ultimately drawn.

"Oh, you want too much!" Daisy cries before breaking down into tears. Gatsby has selfishly pursued his dreams without thought or care to other people or their wants and desires. His 'purity' and 'incorruptibility' become his undoing. This lesson that we often learn so early in life that our desires must be tempered with the wants and needs of others is a necessary one to ensure that the human world remains just that - humane. In the glory of narcissistic youth, we cast this aside until we make the mistakes necessary that we learn this lesson. Gatsby gets no such chance. He is blinded by his "extraordinary gift for hope", a belief in boundless opportunity and self-creation beyond the bounds that would place us under the thumbs of the Tom Buchanan's of the world. Gatsby believed in Gatsby just as we would like to believed in and understood, just as I believe in this film.   

A Comic A Day: Batman #491

Published by DC Comics

Written by Doug Moench

Art by Jim Aparo & Adrienne Roy

1993 was not a great year to be a costumed crimefighter. With Superman "dead" and his sales briefly skyrocketing, DC comics saw fit to try a similar stunt with another flagship character, Batman. The man-mountain Bane would soon unleash the denizens of Arkham Asylum on an already weary Gotham City, forcing Batman and his sparse allies to fight a gauntlet of career criminals and psychopaths. Wrapped up in a broken Bat-symbol motif, this epic storyline would go by the name Knightfall. Batman #491 is a prologue to this event.

Bane and his cronies are making waves from the get-go. After making the Gotham City PD look like chumps and stealing enough armaments to fight a small war, the steroid powered luchador and his henchmen (the less-inspired Zombie, Trogg, and Bird) set their sights on Arkham Asylum. Batman is naturally caught in the middle and is perpetually one step behind Bane, thanks in part to the wild card known as the Joker. Batman is helpless in stopping the escapees and the gauntlet is thrown. Already showing signs of fatigue, Batman has a long night ahead of him and all hell is about to break loose.

I remember being six years old and practically pumping my fist as Bane wrecked shop on the police and wrangled control of the Gotham underworld away from the usual schitzos. The stakes were much higher then, when I was still oblivious to marketing gimmicks and shoddy, decompressed storytelling. This was the start of an action epic I would read again and again every year well into my teens and even led to me purchasing the trade collections years after that.

With so much fan ire earned by the annual event cycle of mainstream superhero comics, I have to share a little chuckle with myself. I might turn up my nose at the Trinity Wars of today, but it was the Knightfalls of yesterday that made me a lifelong comic book fan and at that critical point in my young development, somehow kept me coming back for more.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 26: The Tarnished Bronze Age Of Superman

With the Man Of Steel film looming on the horizon, Chris and Evan continue to record a commentary track on Superman's 75 year history. This episode, we peek in on Superman during the Bronze Age of comics. Kryptonite goes bye-bye, space tyrants engage in dick measuring, and Clark Kent gets a new job.

You can listen to it HERE! Up, Up, & Away!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Colonel's Picks For May 22nd, 2013

Hello, Club faithful! This is a genuinely exciting week of comic book releases for your very own Colonel Reddenbacher. One soon-to-be legendary DC run comes to an end, while another begins. And in the distance, new titles from smaller publishers begin to stalk the old guard like young lions. It's that rare week when you can feel the face of comics changing.

Green Lantern #20 (DC)

It seems like only yesterday, Hal Jordon ditched his green robe for a green ring and returned not only to the land of the living, but to the forefront of the DC universe. Writer Geoff Johns tenure on the Green Lantern title will certainly go down in history as a prime example of the kind of worldbuilding and brand management that can occur within mainstream superhero comics. Not many writers are fortunate enough to have a good long run on a book like this, and it'll be a tough act to follow, to say the least. This issue wraps up the "Wrath of the First Lantern" arc and will be double-sized. It includes artwork from Doug Mahnke and Ethan Van Sciver, the latter of which bgan this whole affair with Johns in the Green Lantern: Rebirth series over seven years ago. This will be my last GL book for a while, and it will be a blast to sit down and re-read this entire run all over again.

Akaneiro #1 (Dark Horse)

Ever see a cover image in a solicitation that just grabs you? That is the only explanation I have for my recent interest in this three issue mini from Dark Horse. That beautifully rendered image of a warrior Red Riding Hood has been haunting my dreams and creeping into my imagination on a daily basis since this little series was first announced. Video game personality American McGee is credited with the concept, while the creator credits go to writer Justin Aclin and the art team of Vasilis Lolos and Shu Yan. I fondly remember American McGee's take on the Alice In Wonderland mythos, which made for a creepy-cool video game.

The Deep Sea (Dark Horse)

Originally appearing in the anthology title Dark Horse Presents, this one-shot is a compilation of the The Deep Sea chapters by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and art by Tony Akins and Paul Mounts. Palmiotti and Gray are a writing team to be reckoned with, churning out great stories in DC's All-Star Western on a monthly basis. Their stories always have a clear narrative and a script that actually works in tandem with the art. As for the art, Tony Akins's deatiled pencils combined with Paul mounts solid inks should produce nothing short of a beautiful comic book. Besides, it's a one-shot story for $2.99! No Commitment! What have you got to lose?

Half-Past Danger #1 (IDW)

DAMES. DINOSAURS. DANGER. Those are first three words of the solicitaion copy for this comic. I can't get enough of any of those ingredients actually. Half-Past Danger is a six-issue miniseries debuting from IDW this month combining WW2 action and intrigue with Jurassic Park shennanigans. It's the kind of cutesy genre mash-up we've seen a thousand times, but that won't stop me from buying it a thousand more. This is by Stephen Mooney, who's pulling a one-man-band on this project. Give it a looksie at your comic shop this week.

The Bounce #1 (Image)

It's a new #1 issue from Image with Joe Casey's name on the cover, so you know it's worth buying. I've always likened Casey to America's Grant Morrison, but I fear that comparison might offend him or undermine what he's trying to do in his comics work. David Messina is on the art chores for this book, by the way. The Bounce is a slacker hero for this generation on a feel-good ultimate mission. I got a little high just writing that. Anyhoo, when Image puts out a new #1 you buy it. Just pretend it says Marvel NOW! on the cover. That should aid in your transition.

Green Team #1 (DC)

Teen Trillionaires running rampant in the DCU? Pissing off Batman and the Justice League? This sounds like fun, if only they get a good creative team...Oh, Art Baltazar and Ig Guara? Okay, okay, but this will never sell on its own, it needs a cover that really stand out from the pack. Oh, I see there's a cover from Amanda Conner. Huh. Well, congrats DC! You have created the perfect comic book, in theory anyway. I guess I can put down my picket sign and stop lamenting the loss of Superman Family Adventures. Shit. I forgot what it feels like to be happy.

I'll be a happy boy when after I hit up my LCS today. But meanwhile, what are you reading? Hmm? Out there on the interwebs..?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Evilest of Deads

Actually, I was more terrified by Arsenic and Old Lace.

Greetings boils and ghouls! I finally got around to watching the new Evil Dead movie just recently, so I figured who better than to give my thoughts on the putrid piece of work than your horrid horror host? Let's get right down to coffin tacks, shall we?

Now while I am a huge fan of the original Evil Dead trilogy, and I usually despise remakes (and their ugly cousins, spinoffs) I went into this movie with an open mind. I hadn't seen the trailers nor the billing or anything, so I had no expectations of what it was going to be other than the title. I'm not going to give this film a thumbs up or thumbs down, I'm just going to give my own spoiler-freeish thoughts on Evil Dead, and you can judge for yourself whether or not it's worth watching.

The biggest thing I loved about this movie is the total and utter lack of CGI. Everything was traditional special-effects done in the Tom Savini vein of making things that splatter, goo and ooze look like actual splattering, oozing, gooey things. After the glut of CGI that horror has had to deal with in the past decade, it was a welcome feeling to see someone get hit with a real deal tangible effect. This movie is a gore-fest. It's excessive and over the top with everything, you want to see something, anything gush out of a human actor? In this movie, you'll get it in spades.

Love gore? You'll like this. It's no Dead Alive, but it's pretty close. The only other thing that I really enjoyed is that they didn't have anyone reprise the role of Ash. Bruce Campbell *is* Ash, just like Bruce Springsteen is the Boss and Bruce Wayne is Batman. An attempt to replace Ash in this film would have caused people to shun it like some kind of red-headed stepchild with an overbite.

The biggest problem this movie suffers from is that I didn't give two shits about what happened to the characters. I know that horror films aren't exactly known for A-list acting, but having wooden delivery and poorly thought out characters with questionable motivations/reasons for doing stuff at best does not help. Usually, there is at least one person that you find yourself caring about and rooting for to survive until the end. And if you don't have someone like that, then you've got a really bad-ass antagonist that you want to see wreck shop. The problem being is that Evil Dead doesn't have either of these things. No Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees, and nobody that you care about. Evil Dead, has...well...a book. And unless the Necronomicron is going to sprout arms and legs and start hatcheting people in the face, color me uninterested.

Another big problem with the movie is a total lack of tension. The original Evil Dead had some comic breaks, but it was extremely nerve-wracking. This has nothing. There was exactly one time where I jumped just a little bit. Just enough for me to mistake picking a wedgie out of my musty old robes. What starts out with a lot of potential quickly devolves into how much gross out effects can we cram into a film? Trust me, there are a plenty. If you are faint of heart, don't see this movie.  

Frede Alvarez (the director) does try to play tribute to Sam Raimi's camerawork. The infamous crashing through the woods scene is recreated, but it lacks any of the tension. It feels overly polished, and without the recklessness that Raimi managed to capture. Instead of getting a POV shot of the big bad rushing down the protagonist, it feels exactly like what it is - a camera gliding through the woods quickly.

In short, it's a pretty average modern horror flick with buckets of gore in it. It is instantly forgettable, because of the bland characters, lousy pacing, and mediocre camera work. You might enjoy it if you have a thing for splatter effects and gore scenes, but I doubt this movie is going to make it on your annual rotation list come Halloween.

One lack bone to pick ghouls: Stick around for the end of the credits for something that will tickle your tooth-rot!

Stay Creepy,

Evan 'Eerie' Arnold.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 25: It Came From The Longbox!

Just like the King of Pop once said, "this is it!" This episode concludes our ongoing discussion on Horror comics, complete with Evan's review of the Evil Dead remake and a trip to Mr. Arnold's back issue archives in search of some quality horror comics!

You can listen to or download the episode HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 24: Tony Stark Saves Christmas

The Summer movie season kicks off with Iron Man 3 and the Club Of Heroes are on tap to review the shit out of it! We cover it all, from Tony's damaged goods to the master of misdirection men call the Mandarin! Buckle up, Shellheads!

You can listen to or download the episode HERE.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Colonel's Picks For May 15th. 2013

This week it's Cylons, Starbucks, and Whistling Skulls! Here are the Colonel's picks, brought to you by planet Earth's own Col. Orville Reddenbacher.

Battlestar Galactica #1 (Dynamite)

Apparently, this year is the 35th anniversary of the original BSG tv series, and Dynamite isn;t missing a beat, releasing a new series set in the classic continuity of the old show. Of course, who else but Alex Ross could provide an eye-catching cover for this premiere issue? The interior art by Cezar Razek doesn't look too shabby either. And did I mention the writing team of the cosmically empowered Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning? Those guys know how to write good sci-fi! This looks like a complete package, so I'm down for the first arc at least.

Regular Show #1 (Boom)

The newest entry to join the KaBoom! kids line at Boom studios is an adaptation of another hit Cartoon Network series. The Adventure Time comics have been a blast, and if the quality we saw there id indicitive of what we may see here, I'm all on board for a Regular Show comic, even having never watched a single episode. This debut issue features the work of K.C. Green, Allison Strejlau, Nick Edwards, and many others as well as variant covers from some of comic's indy darlings.

JSA: The Whistling Skull #6 (DC)

This series has been a hoot, but all good things, as they say, must come to an end. With the proud lineage of the Whistling Skull at stake (as well as thousands of innocents), can the sixth Skull save the day. B. Clay Moore and Tony Harris bring this historical steampunk-ish romp to an end. This series has made me yearn for the old Justice Society and feel even more bitterness toward DC's new "Earth-2". Not that James Robinson and Nicola Scott aren't doing a bang-up job, but the nostalgic streak in me won't let go.

Doomsday .1 #1 (IDW)

John Byrne continues to produce new material through IDW and this old-school fan of 80's comics is pleased as punch. Byrne has been experimenting with various genres and storytelling styles in each of these projects, proving he not only "still has it" but in fact he never "lost it". In this series, a group of astronauts aboard a space station bear witness to Earth's destruction by a powerful solar flare. Can they make it home and pick up the pieces?

Avengers: The Enemy Within #1 (Marvel)

Kelly Sue DeConnick's Captain Marvel series is gearing up for a summer crossover with the DeConnick's other Marvel Universe title, Avengers Assemble. This one-shot will get all the pieces on the board for what should be a doozy. Every story in Captain Marvel so far has really gotten down to the core of the character and watching her triumphs and tragedies unfold has been a real treat. Basically, while everyone has been talking about Hawkeye and Daredevil, this was also going on. Scott Hepburn provides the art chores for this issue, which should be a good "jumping-on point" (starting to hate that term) for new readers as well as the Carol Danvers faithful.

Alter Ego #116 (Two Morrows)

This issue of fan-favorite publication Alter Ego is a tribute to the late, great Joe Kubert who passed away just last year. Inside is a collection of interviews with some of his many collaborators as well as the man himself. From Sgt. Rock to Jew Gangster, and everything in between, this is the chronicle of one of the greats. Alter Ego is always an entertaining and satisfying read, but this issue in particular struck a chord with me, so it gets Colonel's Pick status for this week.

That's some solid comics! The Colonel nary can discover such a stack on a Wednesday afternoon! And let me plug away one more time for our podcast, an audio production that's sure to be all the rage sooner than later. Why not be the guy who liked it "before it was cool"? Download an episode today!


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 23: Two-Fisted Zombies

With the superheroes of our youth employing more and more extreme tactics, how will the desensitized masses enjoy a thrill in the modern age of comics? Evan and Chris continue their discussion on horror comics right on through to recent hits like The Walking Dead. Also, horror movie chit-chat with Julie!

You can listen to or download the episode HERE.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 22: Julie Explains It All

Titty Patrol vs. Dick Army!
Fringe vs. Batman!
Knitting vs. Crocheting!

Welcome to a very special episode of The Club Of Heroes!!

You can listen to or download the episode HERE.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Colonel's Picks For May 8th, 2013

Hey Heroes! This week, it's Kung Fu, crime drama, and the Dark Knight like you've never seen him before. Without further ado, here's the popcorn overlord's picks for this week:

Paying For It (Drawn & Quarterly)

Chester Brown's controversial graphic novel about being a "John" was the talk of the walk back in 2011, and now it's available in a new edition if you missed it the first time. Seeing as this blog was not yet a thing two years ago, this old Colonel has decided to spare a few words about it now. With the Trinity War and the Infinity stuff coming up the pike this summer, they'll be plenty of superhero chatter in the coming weeks and I'd hate to overlook some of the great stuff happening left of center. Paying For It is one such project, a graphic novel depiction of the way one interacts with sex workers, from scary back alley rendevous to online hook-ups complete with Paypal transactions. A fascinating and thought provoking read to say the least.

Twelve Reasons To Die #1 (Black Mask Comics)

As a wise man once said, Wu Tang Clan ain't nothin' to f*** with! Ghostface Killah and the RZA have always branched out into other mediums besides music, and this is their stab at comic book writing. Featuring art by Breno Tamura, Christopher Mitten, and others, 12 Reasons to Die is the story of a vengeful street-saavy soul who wants to hunt down the twelve Mafia Dons responsible for his murder. The plot sounds cookie cutter, but really, what doesn't nowadays? The variety of art styles provide a nice blend of action and drama with a definent manga influence in the storytelling.

Batman: Death By Design TPB (DC)

Similar to Paying For It, this was released previously in hardcover format. Now that a less expensive softcover version is now available, it's time to gush about Chip Kidd and Dave Taylor's love letter to golden age Batman and urban architecture. Chip Kidd is the design genius behind the Bat-Manga collection and the Shazam retrospective published a few years ago and in this volume, he's doing the writing chores. Dave Taylor is an artist extraordinaire who spends this volume returning the dark knight detective to his pulp roots. If a bare-bones, low-tech Batman in a period piece setting sounds fascinating to you, it's worth going out of your way to pick up this graphic novel.

Chin Music #1 (Image)

Steve Niles and Tony Harris doing a crime comic with a supernatural twist? I'm there! The man known only as "Shaw" is on the run from forces unseen and lost in time. Landing in prohibition era Chicago, Shaw becomes embroiled in a war between the law and the spirit world. Fans of 30 Days of Night and DC's Starman should take note of this one. It's definently a different flavor than the 12 Reasons To Die book I mentioned above, but it's a damn good flavor. This is one of those titles that sells itself on the creative team alone.

Avengers #11 (Marvel)

Things are coming to a head in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers saga leading up to this summers Infinity event. This issue focuses on the man with the deadly hands, Shang Chi, as he leads a group of Avengers on a mission to China. I was beaming when Hickman put Shang Chi on the Avengers roster, as he is one character that doesn't get enough love in my opinion. His last appearance I recall was during Dan Slott's Spider-Island story and that didn't exactly set my world on fire. Let's see if Hickman and artist Mike Deodato can breath some new life into Marvel's Kung Fu master.

That's a swell stack of comics, friends! remember to check back on the regular for new episodes of the Club Of Heroes podcast (there's a new episode every couple of days ya'll) and other random musings from our contributors!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 21: Freaky/Naughty

From Kolchak to Vampirella, Evan and Chris leave no stone unturned in their search for quality horror and suspense. This episode, our heroes focus on the creepy and eerie periodicals of the Bronze Age of Comics! As the horror genre bounces back after the setbacks of the Comics Code Authority, the sordid becomes sensual as terror goes topless! Check it out or I'll keep rambling!!

You can listen to or download the episode HERE!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Club Of Heroes Podcast Episode 20: Danzig, Doyle, & Team Venture

Return of the Bullpen! Evan talks about seeing Danzig and we give a once-over to his comic book Jaguar God. Also, movie news and chit-chat! And then the gang has a religious experience while talking about the return of the Venture Bros.

You can listen to or download the episode HERE!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Colonel's Picks For May 1st 2013

Welcome back, comic lovers! Man, that last seven days just flew by. I'm just finishing up the stack from last week and it's already time to re-up on the four color dope I call comic books. Here's what jumped out at me this week...

Mister X: Eviction #1 (Dark Horse)

Once again, Dean Motter's pulp noir creation Mister X gets top billing on the Colonel's list of picks for this week. This is a three issue miniseries of brand new material from Motter and artist Hamid Bahrami. In addition to the main story, which features Mister X trying to quell a full scale riot brought on by the city's signature psychitecture, there's also a seperate stand alone story in this issue. More bang for my buck is always a good way to entice me, thank you Dark Horse!

The Movement #1 (DC)

The tagline reads, "They were the super-powered disenfranchised -- Now they're the voice of the people!" The Movement is a new DC concept from the minds and hands of Gail Simone and Freddie Williams. Now I'm a Simone-aholic, so this was already a 'buy' for me, but to see Freddie Williams on the art gets me even more juiced for a new series like this. Simone has a near flawless track record as a writer even when editorial seems to be working against her, so I can't see how DC could possibly mess this one up. Let's just hope this finds and audience because both companies need some new characters and concepts now more than ever if they want to keep the Colonel's attention. Also, this series will be running side by side with The Green Team book coming soon from Art & Franco, so they may be sharing some characters and crossing over a bit.

The Black Bat #1 (Dynamite)

Dynamite is at it once again, reviving another long lost hero from the Golden Age of comics. Not too long ago, I featured the return of Miss Fury on this very segment of our fine blog and I'll shine that spotlight over in Dynamite's corner once again with the release of a new Black Bat. He may bear a slight resemblance to a certain caped crusader, but this two-fisted crimebuster has a little of that edge the Dark Knight has been lacking since he abandoned his fuscia gloves and pistol. Writer Brian Buccellato (of DC's The Flash) and artist Ronan Cliquet bring D.A. Tony Quinn and his cowled alter ego back to life.

Ten Grand #1 (Image)

This week marks the return of Joe's Comics, a long defunct imprint within Image where writer extraordinaire J. Micheal Straczynski can help fellow creators get their rocks off in a creator-owned setting. Ten Grand is the first of a group of miniseries that will span many different genres and storytelling flavors. This one looks like a crime drama with a supernatural twist. JMS teams with artist Ben Templesmith to present the story of a mob enforcer named Joe who is ressurected over and over again, cherishing his few and far between moments of sweet release to be with the woman he loved but lost.

Iron Man: The Coming Of The Melter (Marvel)

The Marvel cinematic universe enters Phase Two with the release of Iron Man 3 later this week, so expect lots of one-shots and reprints featuring the armored avenger over the next few weeks. This one shot contains a new story by Christos Gage and Ron Lim. Mr. Gage is a very underrated talent in this Colonel's opinion and it'll be fun to see what kind of story he whips up without having to tie-in to Age of Ultron or anything like that. Ron Lim was a big name in the 1990's, having drawn the latter half of the the classic Infinity Gauntlet miniseries as well as many issues of Silver Surfer. Now that I dwell on it, this may actually be a throwback tale of sorts, to a pre-Extremis Iron Man and his supporting cast.

Good gravy, that's a fine stack of comics. While on your way to the LCS, I'd suggest the soothing tones of the Club Of Heroes podcast to get you in the mood. The boys here at my blog put on a fine show for your enjoyment, so download an episode today!