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Superhero Friday!

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Now more than ever.

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It’s the American Way, after all.

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

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Superhero Friday!

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My Iron Man oil can–Tony Stark style.

More like "Still $3.99--unless, of course, we decide to add a page or two; then it's $4.99."

More like “Still only $3.99–unless, of course, we decide to add a page or two; then it’s $4.99.  Sucker.”

Thank Rob Halford it’s Superhero Friday Night!

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (11/12)

Grades, grades, grades. Too much of my time awake is spent evaluating others’ attempts at connecting with me. Sometimes I wish I could shut it off. Other times, I knock on wood: if it weren’t for that, I’d have nothing.

  • Resurrectionists #1 (Dark Horse): For the most part, I’ll try anything–well, any comic, anyway–with Fred Van Lente’s name on it.  Hmm.  What if FVL’s name were on wasabi-slathered sushi…or on a ghost pepper…or Dorito-flavored soda…
  • The Bigger Bang #1 (IDW): From the creative team of D.J. Kirkbride and Vassilis Gogtzilas.  Who?  Yeah, I don’t know; but I didn’t know Ken Krekeler and had no idea how much I was going to like Dry Spell, either.  So, there you go.
The Bigger Bang #1

The Bigger Bang #1

  • The October Faction #2 (IDW): Thought the first one was interesting enough.  Sure, Steve Niles has a knack for horror, but it’s artist Damien Worm who has burrowed his way into my brain.
  • Alex + Ada #10 (Image): Love how Luna and Vaughn leave us hanging issue after issue.  Smart storytelling–especially in the quiet moments, in the subtle shifts in the artwork from panel to panel.
Alex + Ada #10

Alex + Ada #10

  • Copperhead #3 (Image): #2 didn’t bite me in the same way #1 did.  Don’t get me wrong: it was good; just wasn’t as transcendent as the first.
  • Drifter #1 (Image): Preview sounds like Heart of DarknessConradical!  Again: We’ll see if Ivan Brandon–another writer with which I’m not familiar–and Nic Klein–who did nice work on Winter Soldier–can bring da gloom.
  • The Fade Out #3 (Image): Honesty: felt like I was fading out a bit while reading #2.  Even though Brubaker and Phillips have certainly earned my loyalty, it may be that I’m sticking around because I’m supposed to–like it’s some cosmic comic rule to read it, especially following the fantastic Fatale.
The Fade Out #3

The Fade Out #3

  • Outcast #5 (Image): The flame is set on low, but it still burns when you touch it. That about covers Outcast.
  • Wytches #2 (Image): I really wish I had more time to give this one the review it deserves. I’ve taken Snyder to task in the past; and this highest of high profile releases comes closest to what we’ve come to expect from the writer of the horror classic Severed. Thing is, it’s still terribly flawed. And it doesn’t help that Aguirre Sacasa and Hack’s Sabrina hit many of the same notes–and hit them more effectively. Funny how we haven’t heard as much about the offering from Archie Comics–the new home of horror–as we have about Wytches. Scary how powerful a spell hype happens to be, no?
Wytches #2

Wytches #2

  • All-New Captain America #1 (Marvel): I hated Remender’s take on Cap. Turns out, his run was tantamount to sabotage–in order to prepare us for this natural evolution of/blasphemous take on the beloved American hero. Damn right I’m gonna buy it! Doesn’t hurt that I’m not so down on Remender of late, thanks to his lovely Low.
All-New Captain America #1

All-New Captain America #1

  • Captain America and The Mighty Avengers #1 (Marvel): Hey: if you’re gonna roll out a new model, you might as well roll it out. Al Ewing got me to believe in Loki, a character I’ve never cared for; I’m figuring that he’ll get me to believe in Sam Wilson as Cap, a character I’ve always loved.
  • Silver Surfer #7 (Marvel): So much fun!  Slott and Allred can do no wrong with the unlikely and unbeatable pair of Norrin Radd and his polka-dotted partner Dawn Greenwood.  Surffice it to say: this is Marvel’s best monthly book.  But you already knew that.
Silver Surfer #7

Silver Surfer #7

  • Thor #2 (Marvel): I liked #1–even if it were a little heavy handed.  Then again, Thor’s necessarily heavy handed, ain’t he–or, well, she?  Going in, we knew what Aaron’s capable of; but this Russell Dauterman’s a revelation!
  • The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #2 (Dynamite): We’ve heard this story before, haven’t we?  Kinda like how this one’s being told.  Maybe it’s the English teacher angle…
  • Evil Empire #7 (BOOM!): This Evil Empire is all good.  #5 was one of my Top 5 Books of September, and Max Bemis isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.  Can’t finish my Evil Empire preview without a view of Jay Shaw’s cover:
Evil Empire #7

Evil Empire #7

  • Holmes vs. Houdini #2 (Dynamite): Oh, why not.  It ain’t a mystery; it ain’t magic–it’s both!
  • Thomas Alsop #6 (BOOM!): Started off really, really well.  We celebrated #2 as one of our favorite books of July.  Since then, there’s been a bit of a drop off; I’m not as giddy about getting it as I was early on.  But, overall, the storytelling’s been fine, and I still dig Thomas a lot.  Gotta hand it to him: he’s got an Manhattan-sized ego–and, boy, does he need it!
  • Wild’s End #3 (BOOM!): I liked #1 enough to try #2–and thank goodness I did!  #2 flew over the boundary for a Sixer–and was one of my favorite books of October.  Never expected to say this: I.N.J. Culbard’s one of my favorite artists!  No, really, he has to be, right?  He’s one half of this mini and one half of 2000AD’s Brass Sun.  Yeah, I love Brass Sun.  Don’t you?
Wild's End #3

Wild’s End #3

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

Derekommendations: Demons and Dreams

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Hey there everyone. Been a while. Read any good comics lately?

As some of you may know, in our real lives we here at I&N are educators (“What’s that?!” you ask, “A comic critiquing website doesn’t pay the bills?!” I know. I’m as surprised as you.) Well this new school year has hit this particular educator like a ton of bricks. (Seriously, if you know any teachers, give them a hug. Or maybe a flask.)

The sad result? You haven’t heard much from me lately. (How do you go on?) But there were two recent titles that I couldn’t let go by without comment and still consider myself a comics scholar, aesthete and general know-it-all. To wit:

Demon #1 (self-published): Award-winning cartoonist Jason Shiga’s (Empire State, Meanwhile) latest features a determined young man with a never-say-die attitude…towards dying. Without giving too much away, the story reads like a gleefully demented version of Groundhog’s Day. Shiga delivers his devilishly black humor with impeccable comic pacing. Originally presented as a daily, serialized webcomic, the story benefits from the more traditional comic book format, as it displays Shiga’s mastery of the page turn for comedic effect. The simplicity of the setting (most of the story takes place in the same room) lends a certain claustrophobia, as events slowly grow ever more surreal. The art, while pleasingly cartoony, has a schematic quality in both style and layout, that brings to mind the ironically understated work of Jason or Chris Ware. This matter-of-fact presentation, given the bleak subject matter, only heightens the awful, laugh-out-loud moments. And of those, there are quite a few. Because, while suicide may not be painless, in Shiga’s manic, twisted hands, it is hilarious.

Demon #1

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1 (IDW): Winsor McCay is one of the greatest artists (not just cartoonists) of the 20th century. His work has inspired everyone from Walt Disney to Maurice Sendak. His seminal achievement is arguably Little Nemo in Slumberland. In newspapers across the country, McCay presented a weekly art nouveau tableau of fantasy, in which Nemo’s dream world came breathtakingly to life. Never had such a wild imagination been rendered with such precise, consummate draftsmanship. At the very dawn of comics McCay set a bar for the medium that has never been surpassed. Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez attempting to revisit this masterwork is then, the most quietly audacious move of the year.

Of the two, Mr. Rodriguez has by far the more difficult task. How does an artist, even one as talented as Rodriguez, interpret the work of the most gifted fabulist ever to hold a pencil, without seeming slavish or paling by comparison? Happily, he seems up to the challenge. While obviously owing much to McCay’s work, Rodriguez introduces a more modern cinematic flair to the proceedings (McCay, for instance, nearly always kept his main characters in mid-range shots, almost never employing close-ups) that may have been influenced by the gorgeous, but structurally flawed, animated movie adaptation of 1989. While nothing can ever quite compare to the original, the artwork here is playful, precise, and candy-colored (hues skillfully provided by Nelson Daniel. McCay, of course, colored the originals.) In other words, it is everything Little Nemo should be. Well, almost. If there is a quibble, it’s that, other than a couple of pages (8 and 9) he doesn’t attempt the kind of innovative panel designs that were so integral to the original. Ah well, room to stretch in future issues.

As for Mr. Shanower’s part, he does a fine job of providing just enough of McCay’s greatest hits for Rodriguez to exploit, while establishing a rhythm that stays true to the original and simultaneously taking advantage of the comic book format. Not a small feat. His best decision however, may have been to not set this in McCay’s world of 1905, nor to try to update the original character for our time. In a small but wise step, he introduces a new Nemo, establishing a fresh start and allowing himself some latitude with the character’s development. It also may make him more relatable to young readers. Because at the end of the day, that’s the point. Shanower and Rodriguez have created that all-too-rare thing: an excellent comic book for children. And if this book introduces the unparalleled wonder of McCay’s masterpiece to a new generation, then that alone is cause for celebration.

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #1

For more about Demon visit www.shigabooks.com

Issues 1 & 2 of Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland are on the shelves now. Grab them while you can!

Yours in Comics,

Derek

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Superhero Friday!

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Celebrating the democratic process, the anniversary of my birth-process, and this Skull-cracking commission from living legend Allen Bellman, er, process.

Capping off a terrific week!

Capping off a terrific week!

I guess that makes me Bucky.

Allen and I ready for battle at NYCC 2014

Check out Mr. Bellman’s impressive résumé–and get your very own commission–here.

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (11/5)

Go ahead: blink a few times; yeah, rub your eyes.  Ain’t gonna change the fact that there are only six books on the big list this week.

  • Velvet #8 (Image): I had thought about dropping out, but #7 drew me back into the fold–back into Brubaker and Epting’s heaven of high-stakes espionage.  Color my faith restored in the spy gods.
  • Tooth & Claw #1 (Image): Kurt Busiek’s so very good at what he does.  Sure, Astro City often reads like a PSA, but it reads exceedingly well.  I mean, what fanboy doesn’t need a little sensitivity training with his Wednesday fix?
Tooth & Claw #1

Tooth & Claw #1

  • Men of Wrath #2 (Image): #1 wasn’t bad.  Started off with a bang, that’s for sure.  Aaron’s voice is unmistakable, though it’s drowned out a bit by Southern Bastards, which is hitting some seriously high notes of late.
Men of Wrath #2

Men of Wrath #2

  • Miracleman #13 (Marvel): I want Moore!  So much Moore!  As I’ve mentioned in the past: this’ll be the best book of the week; it won’t even be close.
Miracleman #13

Miracleman #13

  • Cloaks #3 (BOOM!): Second one wasn’t as good as the first.  Might as well stick it out.  There’s really no reason not to.
  • The Sixth Gun #44 (Oni Press): Stocking up my issues of The Sixth Gun like any survivalist would stock up ammo.  Sad thing is, this Gun’s gonna run out of bullets sooner than later.  That’s probably why I’m in no rush to read ‘em.

Wow.  Maybe–just maybe–I’ll find some time to write something.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (10/29)

A man can assess only so many theses.  (That sounds even funnier–dirtier?–than it reads.  Go ‘head: try it out.)  This is my official break from the action.

  • The Massive #28 (Dark Horse): I am ready.  (More like I’ve accepted that which I cannot change.)
  • Mind MGMT #27 (Dark Horse): Something creepy about that plucky first immortal, no?  Yeah, that’s a fella I want to party with!  What have we learned?  If anything, I’d say it’s “Let your guide–your field guide–be your conscience.”  Oh, and did I happen to mention I went to NYCC and got this:
You're allowed to be jealous.

You’re allowed to be jealous.

  • Wonder Woman #35 (DC): Wow.  Can’t believe it: it’s the end–made menacingly clear by an emerging Poseidon on the bloody final splash.  Gonna miss ya, girl.
Wonder Woman #35

Wonder Woman #35

  • Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #2 (IDW): #1 was one of our Top 5 Books of August.  Talk about hitting all of the right notes.  Kudos to Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez for capturing the spirit of visionary Winsor McKay.  Can’t look past Nelson Daniel’s crisp colors, either.
  • Low #4 (Image): My God.  How low can I go?  Through #3, I’m liking this a lot more than I expected to.  (That’s right: I, the Rick Remender hater, am not hating this.)  If I’m being fair, Low‘s much better than the somewhat similar The Wake, which–inexplicably–earned a lot of critical praise over the past year or so.  Sure, there are some agonizingly sappy moments throughout; but all together the book works–especially thanks to Greg Tocchini’s beautiful artwork.
Low #4

Low #4

  • Saga #24 (Image): Back to form after a little letdown.
  • Southern Bastards #5 (Image): Yeah, hi.  #3.  Wow.  Certainly didn’t expect that.  Like a knife in the ribs, no?  Damn fine ribs.  Finer knife.
Southern Bastards #5

Southern Bastards #5

  • All-New X-Men #33 (Marvel): Ultimately, do I care?
  • Archer & Armstrong #25 (Valiant): Anniversary issue time!  You know what that means: it means I probably won’t read it all the way through despite paying a premium for it, you know, because of, oooooh, all of the names attached to it.  Come to think of it, I haven’t read through a single Valiant #25.
  • Brass Sun #6 (2000AD): This has been very good.  I loved the beginning of #4; I really loved the end of #5.  What a twist, eh?  I mean, literaturally!  Chalk Captain Beatrice up as one of my favorite characters.  A salty one, she is!  Edginton and Culbard are hitting some high notes here.
Brass Sun #6

Brass Sun #6

  • The Bunker #7 (Oni Press): #6 was another strong issue with some of Joe Infurnari’s best work to date–as evidenced by a particularly hot campfire-faced splash.  Smokin’!
  • Rachel Rising #29 (Abstract Studio): Isn’t getting any better.  In fact, Rachel’s been falling for several issues now.  Not sure there’s any hope left.  (In fact, the only reason I’ll be getting it is out of obligation; see: I haven’t taken it off of my pull-list yet.)
  • Über #19 (Avatar): As of last week, I can no longer say that Über‘s my favorite Gillen book.  Don’t get me wrong: it’s still plenty good.  Thing is, the latest issue of The Wicked & The Divine just so happens to be that good.  Effing brilliant is what it is.  So, yeah, I just needed to get that out.
  • War Stories #2 (Avatar): All is right with the world: Ennis has gone back to war.
War Stories #2

War Stories #2

All right.  Time to get my hands on some more theses.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

Superhero Friday!

Found this faded–and uncannily marked-down–mutant tee hanging on a rack amongst a bunch of regular priced humani-tees.

 

"Ha!  I found it on clearance!" he laughed X-Maniacally.

“Ha! I found it on clearance!” he laughed X-Maniacally.

OK, it’s true: my tee search always begins with my interfacing with Cerebro before heading out to the store.

This time around, guess that makes me Professor X-Marks-the-Spot.

Who are you wearing today?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (10/22)

I’m so depressingly behind in my reading.  I can barely think about what’s bound for my bad this week.  Ugh.

  • Colder: Bad Seed #1 (Dark Horse): I had the hots for Colder through the first two issues; yeah, I sweated over Juan Ferreyra’s gorgeous artwork, which remained at a high degree through the rest of the series.  I cooled to the story, however, as the series made its way to its ultimate frozend.  Based on that, maybe I should let it go, let it go…
  • Bodies #4 (DC/Vertigo): Issue #3 was an improvement over a #2 that struggled to live up to the promise of #1.  The transitions–the all-important transitions amongst the four time periods–are becoming more intense.
  • Catwoman #35 (DC): Big fan of Garry Brown.  No other reason why I’d bother.
Catwoman #35

Catwoman #35

  • Dead Boy Detectives #10 (DC/Vertigo): A solid read.  This arc isn’t blowing me away, but I’m still very much interested in the goings-on.
  • Multiversity: The Just #1 (DC): Let’s be honest: I’d buy Multiversity: The Feces.
  • Superman #35 (DC): This is the Superman we’ve been waiting for.
Superman #35

Superman #35

  • Lazarus #12 (Image): Rucka and Lark have yet to disappoint.  Thus far, we’ve enjoyed eleven issues of top-notch storytelling; and they’ve given us every reason to expect another–and another…
  • Sheltered #12 (Image): Close to the end now.  Good thing, too: as much as I wanted to know how the story ends, I’m not sure if I would’ve stuck around if there were another, say, twelve issues to go.
  • Starlight #6 (Image): At this point, I’m still wishing upon Starlight #1, hoping Millar’ll recapture the magic.  He’s not going to recapture the magic, is he?
  • Stray Bullets #8 (Image): Can’t say I liked #7 as much as I did #6.  I really liked #6–enough to name it one of our Top 5 Books of August.  (You did catch that, right?)  I don’t know: things were too…convenient, I suppose.  Can’t knock the end, though.  (See what I did there?)  Oh, David, you ambiguous bastard.  You’re the Raymond Carver of comics!
Stray Bullets: Killers #8

Stray Bullets: Killers #8

  • The Wicked & The Divine #5 (Image): Has been divinely wicked!  #3 won me over and #4 did nothing to change my mind.  Regarding Gillen: I’m finding that I can no longer say, “Sure, but Über…”; and the team of McKelvie and Wilson is doing a terrific job of bringing out the pop gods’ star power.
  • Zero #11 (Image): Out of nowhere, really, Ales Kot has delivered back-to-back issues that make the most of a minimalist writing approach–thanks to the maximum efforts put in by artists Tonci Zonjic and Michael Gaydos.  They spoke to us so much that we named them–#9 and #10–our #1 books of July and August.  An amazing feat, indeed!
Zero #11

Zero #11

  • Crossed Special 2014 (Avatar): Credit the all-star panel at NYCC–comprised of series creator Garth Ennis, Si Spurrier, Kieron Gillen, Justin Jordan, and Avatar’s president William Christensen–for sparking my interest.  I’m going to try this–an installment by Jordan–and then jump into the trades.
Crossed Special 2014

Crossed Special 2014

  • The Delinquents #3 (Valiant): Hasn’t been as much fun as I hoped it’d be.  Feels a bit forced, doesn’t it?  Certainly hasn’t delivered what A&A and Q&W delivered on their own.
  • Southern Dog #2 (Action Labs/Danger Zone): The first issue was pretty heavy handed.  Perhaps if it were let off its leash…  Isn’t that what being in the danger zone is all about?  Credit–blame?–Dry Spell for raising the bar for this Action Labs imprint.
  • Stumptown Vol. 3 #2 (Oni Press): I didn’t like anything about #1.  Rucka’s earned my attention, however.  He didn’t come through with Veil, but I’d be a fool to give up after such a meticulous set up–even if it was boring as all get out.
  • The Twilight Zone #9 (Dynamite): Straczynski’s been in the zone–as evidenced by the way he wrapped up the Diana Westby arc.
The Twilight Zone #9

The Twilight Zone #9

Avery’s Pick of the Week:

  • Bee and Puppycat #5 (BOOM!): Duh.
Bee and Puppycat #5

Bee and Puppycat #5

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

What’s I&N Store (10/15)

I’ve got the post-New York Comic Con blues.  Time to power up.

  • Dark Horse Presents 2014 #3 (Dark Horse): Buying it for Brenden McCarthy’s story.  Anything that reminds of The Zaucer of Zilkone of our favorite books of 2012–is OK in my bag.
  • Veil #5 (Dark Horse): This has been a loyalty buy.  Rucka’s earned my business; but if I’m being honest, I’m glad this one’s done.
  • Batman and Robin #35 (DC):  Hasn’t been good of late.  The Future’s End tie-in, for instance, was pretty terrible.  My aforementioned loyalty is being tested–but could easily be resurrected with a single solid issue.  Here’s hoping.

 

Batman and Robin #35

Batman and Robin #35

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39 (IDW): TMNT has been good for a while now.  It was really good for a stretch, but now it’s not so much really as it is just good–which is, well, good, but maybe not good enough for me to keep shelling out four bucks a month.
  • Daredevil #9 (Marvel): #8 was a treBendis return to form!  The Purple Man and his Purple kids were convincing as horrifying antagonists–particularly the latter, with their frighteningly adolescent impulse control.  It’s the Children of the Scorn!  This month brings another great cover from Chris Samnee:
Daredevil #9

Daredevil #9

  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #7 (Marvel): Figured that the Axis crossover would spell doom for Loki.  In the end, #6 wasn’t so terrible; in fact, the end of #6 was a smart play.  I guess I’m doomed to another issue.
  • Magneto #11 (Marvel): Magneto vs. the Red Skull, who just so happens to have Professor X’s telepathic powers?  Yes, please!  Guess I’m not really so down on the Axis crossover after all.
Magneto #11

Magneto #11

  • Ms. Marvel #9 (Marvel): Despite a playful case of Lockjaw, I’m no longer feeling rabid for Ms. Marvel.  Oh, it was bound to happen.
  • Uncanny X-Men #27 (Marvel): Has felt forced of late.  Sad considering that I was really getting into it.  My hope is that the transition out of Original Sin has been made and we can carry on.  God knows I want to be psyched about Cyclops!  Maybe this ish’ll act as my pep rally with Bachalo as the head cheerleader.
Uncanny X-Men #27

Uncanny X-Men #27

  • The Last Broadcast #6 (Archaia/BOOM!): Hasn’t hit the high note struck by #2 but has still been quite good.  I’m a little dubious about the cliffhanger offered up at the end of #5.  Even still, I’m hopeful that Andre Sirangelo and Gabriel Iumazark have another trick or two up their sleeves.
The Last Broadcast #6

The Last Broadcast #6

  • The Life After #4 (Oni Press): Hemingway as Virgil: clever.  Jude as a mash-up of Dante, Truman Burbank, and Jesus: strained; Christ, it seems like they’re acting at cross purposes.  Know what I want?  I want this issue to erase any doubts.  Thing is, if it doesn’t, that’ll be three–and then you can call me Thomas.
  • Magnus: Robot Fighter #7 (Dynamite): It’s been a solid read.  Sure, it ain’t Van Lente at his best, but it’s still worth the space in my bag.
  • The Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead #3 (Oni Press): Stockpiling the mini alongside the ongoing.  Comes from my having come to the Gun through trades.
  • Wild’s End #2 (BOOM!): Fun anthropomorphic fare with an overriding sense of dread.  A fable for our time from Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard.
Wild's End #2

Wild’s End #2

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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