Month: October 2014

Lost the Plot | Thoughts on Trees

Trees #6 (Image) – I’ve finally come to realize why I’m having so much trouble with this series. It’s perfectly plot-less – there is no obvious (or even discernable) plot that writer Warren Ellis (the comics legend) is working here. It’s not uncommon for an author to hold his cards close to his vest in a suspense story in terms of plot. However, I would say Ellis is playing Texas Hold’em with Trees. And he’s bluffing hard. The concept is cool – well, it seems like it could be really cool, there’s not really been much revealed about it when you really dwell on it. It’s coming out in dribs and drabs. It kind of has that scatter-shot mode of storytelling (that literary fiction and really arty films use) where it’s a collection of mostly disjointed scenes and events that do not necessarily intersect nor culminate into a bigger story pool. I’m also thinking this is Ellis’ most decompressed writing in a good long while (although the little bit I read of his webcomic FreakAngels from …

Third-Party Noir | Thoughts on The Fade Out #2

The Fade Out #2 (Image) – I’m very happy for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips on the success of the sold-out first issue and that others have taken a huge liking to the series. However, for me, I mentioned it with the first issue and now with #2 it’s hit me hard: my number one problem with this book is the third-person narration employed by writer Brubaker. It’s just too distant and contains too much telling. There’s a reason that overly exposition-y style is not en vogue anymore (unless you’re Chris Claremont, Neil Gaiman or Todd McFarlane). For the better part of two decades comics have largely (and wisely) used first-person narration because in a visual medium it keeps the narrative intimate and grounded in character. Watch a movie with third-person voice-over narration and tell me that isn’t off-putting. Prose in a novel is one thing, but if I can see the character(s) then I want them to tell me their story, not an outside/invisible narrator. In contrast, I think the first-person narration is at …

“Pledged Is Pledged” | Thoughts on Wytches #1

Wytches #1 (Image) — I started out as a horror buff pretty early in life thanks to my horror and sci-fi-loving mom. I was weened on 80s horror and later got into suspense and psychological horror in the early 90s before the mid-to-late 90s sullied and soured both genres for a while. Thankfully, there was a nice resurgence in the early-to-mid 2000s that helped redeem the genres. I’m largely talking about film, but also books and some television. As for comics … I believe horror is a tough genre to pull off well in the medium. In late 2011 I  thought Scott Snyder’s (then the “new kid” superstar writer of DC’s main Batman series) throwback horror series Severed made a decent attempt. And so does Wytches here three years later. Since I’m well-watched and well-read in the genre and have even written in it myself with my own fiction, it’s easy for me to be jaded and hard-to-impress. Is Wytches well-written? I suppose so as I couldn’t honestly say it’s badly written. I’d argue that …

1st Issue Fetish | REYN #1 by Symons, Stockman and Little

Saw the ad for this in the backpages of Copperhead #2 (October; Image). It looks hella interesting and has me very intrigued. But I have no other details yet. I’m not even sure if beyond this sneaky advert that it’s been officially (i.e. verbally) announced to the public. All I know is its creative team is Symons, Stockman and Little. Sounds like a law firm. At any rate, I have one simple question for Image Comics: can you PLEASE cease with your mad crusade against my wallet? Sheesh! Reyn #1 will be listed in this month’s solicitations online later this week (and at the end of the month in the November PREVIEWS), and comes out January 2015. Check it out. Available only at the finest comics retailers on this little blue rock.

Just Make Mine Image! Comics, That Is

In light of recent news making the rounds at this year’s New York Comic Con, it’s become apparent that Marvel enjoys going to the well. Often. That should now be common knowledge for those in the know. I won’t even mention the news bits here as it would make me more complicit in their mission than I care to be. However, I must say that given one particular piece of their news, it now seems that their new hobby is to truly spite their fans (likely at the behest of corporate daddy-of-daddies Disney). So, this has given me pause to re-acknowledge the fact that for over a year now (with the exception of reading Cyclops, Daredevil, Hawkeye and Storm via free digital), I’m more than happy to largely NOT be reading, but more importantly NOT be buying any Marvel comics (okay, I had one small slip-up this year when I bought the first issue or two of Warren Ellis’ run on Moon Knight, but, hey, I’m merely human). So, please allow me to reaffirm something. …

“My Dad, the Bill Cosby of Kink” | Thoughts on Sex Criminals #8

Sex Criminals #8 (Image) – SexCrimz never seems to disappoint and it’s undeniably my highest rated series since I’ve started doing the Fetish Favorites here, scoring 5.0 issues more than any other series I read. And it’s never earned a rating lower than 4.0 (out of 5) from me in all its eight issues-so-far run. Just as Velvet is Ed Brubaker writing at his best, Sex Criminals is easily Matt Fraction writing at his very best. Of course, I would be remiss not to mention Chip Zdarsky’s equal contribution to the greatness of this series as its artist (love the way he portrays Suzie Dickson). It’s amazing that despite its rather high concept SexCrimz manages to be a very grounded story thanks to its character-driven qualities. This is enhanced by Fraction’s decision to use multiple first-person narrators. In this issue we also get the internal monologue – and sexual-enlightenment backstory – of new character Robert Rainbow. Speaking of the fellow who maybe could’ve gotten lucky with Suzie, I must say there was a moment there …

In the Courtyard | Thoughts on Rat Queens #8

Rat Queens #8 (Image) — Glad to have one of my absolute favorite series back (after a three month layoff), but sad that it’s a single character issue starring Violet, the Dwarf member of the Queens, dealing with her family’s tradition at the gathering of eight families in the courtyard, as well as her well-groomed beard. Timing for this one-off is odd because the previous storyline is unresolved and judging by future solicits, that story is not over. This is a perfectly serviceable character-driven spotlight issue. However, with the long layoff between #7 & #8, I can’t deny I was a little underwhelmed. For such a delayed issue, it was surprising to see artist/colorist Roc Upchurch’s work not look as good as the previous seven issues. I imagine that plenty of the Rat Queens faithful will recoil at this critique (and I’m usually not one to complain too much about the lateness of comics), but when a series instantly becomes your new favorite, your expectations tend to rise. However, I see no reason why this series …

Comic Book Fetish Favorites – September 2014

In this edition of my monthly reflect on comic reads, I find myself rating two of my favorite writers high in one instance and low in another on their respective pair of titles on the list. Also, when a month fails to deliver new Sex Criminals and Rat Queens issues, the overall rating for the month as a whole is bound to be of a lower average. However, the good news is September did bring new issues of other faves like Lazarus, Velvet and of course Sagacame out regularly when it’s supposed to. Looking at the new metrics I’ve put together for rating, tracking and critically analyzing my monthly reading habits, September was the worst ratings-wise of the five months I’ve been keeping track of this. HOWEVER, it’s also the month with the most reads (21), so who knows how that all shakes down. For contrast, both July and August had seven titles at 4.0 or better. Check out the breakdown for September to see how my birth month compares. 1. Lazarus #11 (Image) 4.5 …