Graceland 01/03/13

What a great week for wonderful art in comics. Almost every thing I bought this week had an amazing artist doing their thing that was worth cover price before I even got to the story. Hey! It’s a mostly positive comic round-up, let’s get to it!

Adventure Time With Fiona And Cake #1 (main story) by Natasha Allegri, (backup) by Noelle Stevenson, lettered by Britt Wilson:

“Want me to do that thing you like where I make myself look like a big pile of doo-doo?”

Yet another Adventure Time spin-off comic from Boom! Publishing, which might be a bad thing if they weren’t all so consistently solid.  This one focuses on that gender-swapped episode, and unlike the other tie-in comics, is actually written and drawn by one of the storyboarders (and creator of Fiona and Cake) Natasha Allegri.  It’s actually a nice change of pace to see someone whose main focus is on animation do a full comic, and her prior work leads to a nice bit of authenticity to the characters’ voices (which isn’t to say the other comics don’t). The backup too, by Noelle Stevenson, is very fun, with her trademark fun art. Boom (I’m just going to say it’s the publisher that puts the creative teams together, cause I don’t know. You want to correct me with some right info, let me know) does a great job making these worth your money every month.

Batman Incorperated #6 written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Chris Burnham with 3 pages of guest art by Andres Guinaldo, colored by Nathan Fairbairn, lettered by Dave Sharpe:

“I put the poor to work building the empire of Al Ghul. I provided purpose.”

Grant Morrison does his Morrison-y thing with symbols and themes taking on a 4th, 5th, hell, even 6th level, tying it all together with comics you’ve never read, and giving cool characters cooler things to say. None of that’s a bad thing, but the real star of this comic is the art team of Burnham and Fairbairn which continue to blow every single other penciller/colorist team (yes, even Manapul and Buccellato) out of the dang water. Burnham draws some of the most innovative panel layouts and just stunning panels, and Fairbairn builds on it, making the fight scenes clear even when there’s smoke everywhere. Quick tangent, making action clear in a smokescreen is pretty dang hard, and the fact that Burnham and Fairbairn have just done two issues in a row with that is pretty jaw-dropping. Month in and month out, Batman Inc continues to make every other DC Nu52 comic look like it’s not even trying.

The Flash #15 written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, half of the art by Marcus To and Ryan Winn, the other half by Francis Manapul, colors by Brian Buccellato and Ian Herring, lettering by Carlos Mangual:

“M-Mu-Must have… Flash.”

I dropped this from my subscription list last month, a) because son’s gotta make some cuts if he wants to not be broke, and b) while the art’s gorgeous, I keep forgetting who characters are, even when there’s only 4 or 5 main characters. Plus, the fill-in art, while good, has just decreased the amount of Manapul/Buccellato art I’m getting in my comic. Still, I picked this one up off the shelf because dang, that cover is great, and I am weak. Unfortunately, I’m still going to drop this (for real this time) because while there is some brilliant art in the last 10 pages, I just don’t care about any of the characters.

Fury: My War Gone By written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Goran Parlov, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rob Steen:

“Things like this can bring down governments.”

It almost goes without saying that Ennis is really goddamn good at writing war stories, but coming after a Shadow run that was marred with some really wonky art, or coloring, and of course, Jennifer Blood, Fury is a revelation. It’s going to be an Ennis classic, and its making me really hopeful to see some of his new stuff he has coming out this year. Unfortunately, no matter how good they are, they’re going to be just a little bit worse off without having Parlov and Loughridge on ‘em.  Parlov’s got a style that’s such a perfect match for the stories Ennis wants to tell, and Loughridge is making browns and greens not look like a murky bunch of mud.


Godzilla: Half Century War #4 written and drawn by James Stokoe, color assists by Heather Breckel:

“You think you can just point Godzilla wherever you please and walk away a free man!?!”

This comic. This Comic. This comic is not only the best thing on the shelves, this thing just makes me happy that it exists. Stokoe’s a guy that’s got enough sheer talent for 5 creators, but let’s go step by step, huh? First, the writing is killer: Stokoe’s presented Godzilla as a kind of marker for time, so that each issue, beyond giving us some of that sweet Godzilla action, also shows us Ota dealing with age and how he interacts with Godzilla through the years. Beyond the basic concept of a guy fighting Godzilla for half a century, it makes the comic feel deeper, which combined with Stokoe’s insanely detailed art, makes for a pretty hefty comic. Speaking of the art, holy shit, can Stokoe draw. Beyond just the impressive stylistic things and the massive amount of detail, Stokoe’s got a real gift for knowing how to frame a scene. Ota’ presence in the comics add another nice aspect to the series in that it allows for a great worm’s eye view of the monster fights, making the reader understand how monumental these things are. Normally, that’d be enough for a creator, but Stokoe’s gotta be a great colorist too, so we get his instantly recognizable color palette enriching the entire book. Then, seemingly just to get a full set of comics talent, Stokoe’s a good letterer, with an easily readable style, and sfx that’s just really cool to see on the page. This is a phenomenal comic, and if you’re willfully not reading this, I definitely have very real hate for your existence.

Prophet #32 written and drawn by Simon Roy, lettered by Ed Brisson:

“Above their forgotten homeworld, the Earth Empire gathers.”

Simon Roy takes center stage in yet another comic almost entirely made by one person, and once again, it’s fantastic. Much as Roy’s art has been dazzling me in prior issues, I was a little doubtful that Brandon Graham’s absence would show a bit, but of course I shouldn’t have worried; if I hadn’t been told, I’m not sure if I would have actually realized that Brandon Graham hadn’t written it. It’s a good issue in a series of good issues, so if you’re not buying this comic, then you need to remedy that right up.

Punk Rock Jesus #6 written and drawn by Sean Murphy, lettered by Todd Klein:

“Ah! Nothing like a little riot to get the blood flowing.”

Now that the series is over, I have to say, this was much more restrained then I would have ever thought. I was worried by some of the promotional materials into thinking that this would by an overly preachy atheistic response to similarly over-preachy Christian materials, but that’s really not what the comic’s about at all. It’s less about the dangers of Christian faith specifically, and more about the danger of blind faith in general, and the danger of giving in to mob mentality. Impressively, Murphy puts together a great story with enough different opinions and viewpoints that it’s not nearly as blindly anti-religious as it seemed. Add that to the incredible art (Murphy’s work is so gorgeous in black and white, I doubt even Dave Stewart could make this comic look better) and it’s only a disappointment that he won’t be writing his next book.

Red She-Hulk #61 written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Carlo Pagulayan and Wellington Alves, colored by Val Staples, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Clowes:

“That’s a more existential question than you probably meant it.”

I think I’m about done with this series. Much as I love most of Jeff Parker’s comics, I’m starting to feel like he really needs a great artist on his Hulk comics. Like a lot of other writers I love like Brian Clevinger and Fred Van Lente, most of Parker’s comics are pretty dialogue driven, but when he’s writing Hulk comics, he (understandably) cuts down on that to showcase some Hulk action. Unfortunately, that really doesn’t work for me when its artists like Alves and Pagulayan, both solid workman artists who just don’t wow me.  But hey, I hope Parker gets more work, and I’m still waiting on more Mysterius.

Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-Man #19 written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Sara Pichelli, colored by Justin Ponsor, lettered by VC’s Cory Petit:

“This is your lego fund.”


Graceland 11/21/12

This week, Ziah gives out awards to each comic totally unlike that other place that won awards and is super great. Anyway, Ziah did this because there were a lot of great things out this week, and he didn’t want to only give a best award. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Except turkeys. I guess it’s kind of an unfortunate holiday.

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