Graceland- 10/31/12

Happy Halloween! This is a short week, a) because I was broke, and b) because not a whole lot came out. Was any of it good? Let’s find out!

Ghosts (One-Shot Anthology) Side Note: Normally in a big week, I’d hit the anthology as a total piece, but since it’s a small week, I’m gonna do each story on its own.

The Night After I Took the Data Entry Job I Was Visited by My Own Ghost written by Al Ewing, drawn by Rufus Dayglo, colored by Chris Chuckry:

“I no longer recognized his smile as my own.”

Al Ewing is a writer I’ve been hearing about a lot lately, and this story is a good indication of why; Ewing’s got a nice style (at least in this story and from comics internet gossip), funny, with a strong high-concept. The art’s nice, with great motion and attention to detail. This is a strong start to the comic so far! What’s next?

The Dead Boy Detectives in Run Ragged Part One (wait, what? Part one?) The Isle of Dogs written by Toby Litt, laid-out by Mark Buckingham, finished (drawn) by Victor Santos, colored by Lee Loughridge:

“Welcome to the Isle of Dogs Ragged School!”

This, on the other hand, bugs me to no end. I’ve not read The Sandman in years, and have even less memory of the Dead Boy Detectives it introduced, and even if I were, and, following that, I was ecstatic at the idea of seeing them in comics again (written by another writer I’ve never heard of), I can’t imagine buying this $7.99 anthology and getting a part one of a story. Guys, just do a one-shot of their own if these characters are that popular. As for the story itself, it is fine, I suppose. There’s no real introduction to these characters, and too many of the pages are used to set-up the story (that will be continued), but the art is nice. I wonder how this Victor Santos guy draws without Buckingham doing layouts, which could mean anything, really. It’s a pretty vague term, especially when some of the faces and panels are distinctly Buckingham-esque.

Wallflower written by Cecil Castellucci, drawn by Amy Reeder:

“But no matter how far we roam… the heart always haunts.”

The Boy and the Old Man by Joe Kubert:

“But the old man stands up. He has been a warrior, and will walk, rather than be carried, his last steps.”

Joe Kubert’s last work, and my, he was a talent. I realize that’s a bit stating the obvious, but this story, fully penciled and ready to be inked is brilliant in showing a creator’s work mid-way though the process.

A Bowl of Red written by Neil Kleid, drawn by John McCrea, colored by Andrew Elder:

“What the lady’s sayin’, pal, is that you’re talkin’ to the experts. The gurus. The goddamn Chilite.”

That pun up there made me laugh my ass off (They’re chili judges). I’m gonna have to keep my eye out for more stuff from Neil Kleid, even if it’s easy to make a great comic when John “The Master of Disaster” McCrea is drawing. Still, it’s a fun story, and I always appreciate a joke story taken farther than a one-page gag (see above). Good stuff.

Bride written by Mary H. K. Choi, drawn by Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning, colored by Andrew Dalhouse:

“It’s a gleeful thing to have a wife to lose.”

I didn’t care for this one. Don’t google what a Prince Albert is. I regret doing so.

Treasure Lost written by Paul Pope and David Lapham, drawn by Paul Pope, colored by Lovern Kindzierski:

“I wish I could have shown ye the stars.”

WHO CARES WHAT THIS COMIC’S WORDS SAY, PAUL MOTHERFUCKING POPE DREW IT.

The Dark Lady written and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez, colored by Lee Loughridge:

“That’s a pretty nice thing to do, you know?”

I’ve unfortunately not read Love and Rockets yet, so this is my first real story by a Hernandez brother, and I can definitely see why they’re so well revered. The pacing of the dialogue and the art makes the ending of the story a surprise, despite being a pretty common trope. It’s skillful work. I’m going to have to check out Love and Rockets real soon.

Ghost-For-Hire written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Jeff Lemire, colored by Jose Villarrubia:

“Ghosts can’t be weathermen.”

Lemme set the scene for you a bit: I turn the page to this story, and see two glorious pages of Jeff Lemire art, no credits in sight, and then I flip it over, and BAM! Fuckin’ Geoff Johns is credited as writer. I felt like I got swindled. And look, I’ll admit Johns has his strengths: he’s really great at ideas! He’s just absolutely awful at a follow-through that I have any interest in reading. Take this: a Ghost-For-Hire. That’s a pretty interesting idea, there’s a lot of interesting paths that story could take, and Johns ignores all of them, opting instead to focus on some bad siblings that want their inheritance. DO THEY GET THEIR COME-UPPANCE? I WONDER. It’s boring, but the nice thing is that if you take out all the word balloons, the story is way better, as Lemire’s art is good enough to show the whole story silently.

Final Words on the Anthology

I’d say buy it, there’s a lot of great art, and even when the story’s not the best, the art is usually so gorgeous you don’t even care. It was definitely worth my 8 bucks.

Happy #2 written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Darrick Robertson, colored by Richard P. Clark:

“I’ve got nothing up my sleeve and nothing but luck on my side tonight.”

Ultimate Spider-Man #16.1 written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by David Marquez, colored by Justin Ponsor:

“This country almost collapsed in civil war and none of you have anything interesting to write about?”

Guuuuhhh. This is the worst Bendis comic I’ve read in a long time, and keep in mind, I read all of AvX. Ok, let’s hit the good first: David Marquez is back! I missed him. What I didn’t miss is Betty Brant being an unlikable skuzz-bag who is apparently the journalistic equivalent of You-Know-Who from That Comics Site that I won’t mention because otherwise he’ll show up in the comments section like the goddamn devil. Anyway, she’s horrible, and most of all, stupid! SO STUPID. Ok, MINOR SPOILER, she thinks Miles’ dad is the new Spider-Man, which is just the dumbest. A plot point in the issue is that they have footage of the new Spider-Man (who’s 12, by the way), so you’d think she’d be able to look at a body type and see the difference between a full-grown adult male and the new Spider-Man. It’s bafflingly stupid, and it only makes me regret buying this comic more. I love the art and the characters, I just wish Bendis could step his game up just a little bit.

SPACE JAM OF THE WEEK

Wolverine and the X-Men #19 written by Jason Aaron, drawn by Nick Bradshaw and Walden Wong, colored by Laura Martin:

“How liberal is your policy on shooting children in the face with hypodermic needles?”

I always try to write about a Jason Aaron comic, and then end up scrapping the few sentences I have. Part of this is that almost all his comics have a clear sensibility behind them, which means that once I struck out the first time, I had a tough time finding the right words for any others. Anyway, Aaron is hilarious, I always have a tough time picking which quote to use, and in this comic, he’s included: Puck (THE BEST), Swarm (The NAZI MADE OF BEES), Dr. Nemesis (quoted above), Gorilla-Man (Also the best), Jack Russell (Werewolf by Night, Gym Teacher by day!), and Fat Cobra (The best as well). If he included Prowler and Arcade, this would be the best marvel comic all year. Nick Bradshaw’s art is great; as better writers than me have pointed out, it’s like Art Adams with more round lines, less detail, and the ability to make comics on a semi-monthly basis, so he’s great.

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That’s it for this week. Anything I missed that was excellent? Was there some sort of big news recently? People keep talking about Star Wars as if it’s relevant for the first time in 30 years…

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