Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk Vol. 1

Written and Drawn by Ben Costa

I saw this big-ass, red, sweet looking hardcover show up during the unpacking of stuff at the olde comic shop one sunny Wednesday morning and I was all like, "whaddafudge izat?" Then I was distracted by a bumble bee or something and forgot about it.

A few days later me and the X-Man (see below, brilliant review of Serenity: A Shepard's Tale) were "hanging out" and out of the corner of my eye I see that redness, that round, bald head fleeing from something. The book's sitting on homeboy's backpack. "Hey, I'm trying to read that," I say, though I hadn't thought about the book since I'd seen it that fateful Wednesday morn.

"Well, tough nuts, dawg, that shit is MINE," Xmas replies, not making eye contact.

"Aww, don't be that way."

"You should have thought ahead, my man. I saw this mess in a Previews Magazine three months ago and knew it would be dope." Now he looks at me, and I know he's speaking Truth.

"Is it dope?" I ask sheepishly, begging with my eyes for the table scraps from his bounty of dopeness.

"I dunno." Xmas looks away and brushes at the air with the back of his palm. He won't even look at me! He knows I am like a peasant who couldn't think ahead; he is the proud noble who foresaw this terrible winter. "Take it. You read it."

And from his greatness, from his generosity, I received dopeness. Pang is awesome! The dialogue reads like a modern comedy (think Scott Pilgrim) with the snappiness and the all-the-time wit. But the whole book is CHOCK full of history: history of the Shaolin monks, history of feudal China, history of martial arts, etc and etc. And the words! There are so many effing words in this comic book! I spent days reading it! And couldn't put it down!

And that's not all. Ben Costa's panel work throughout this full color volume borders on brilliant. Like, almost Chris Ware-style good. He doesn't quite have the page room that Ware does, and as a result things can get kind of tricky and confusing, but there is ambition in the layout of this graphic novel. This guy is taking the comedic-historic-fictional-kung-fu comic book in a completely different direction.

And did I mention it's self published? Read!

4.5 out 5 comic shop counter boy beards.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Serenity: the Shepherds Tale

written by-Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon picture boxes by Chris Samnee

Whoah.If yer a Serenity/Firefly fan you have been waiting for this story for years.This one of the best episodes from the brown coat 'verse and it was never even on t.v.! The long anticipated questions are answered.Where does he come from?Why is his knowledge of alliance weaponry so detailed?Why does he have high level Alliance clearance? Why find God in a bowl of soup? (to me God IS soup,but that's a whole post by itself.another time perhaps.) The graphic novel opens with Shepherd's final battle at the Haven mining colony and through a series of flashbacks (Memento style!) the legendary past of Shepherd Book is revealed.This totally delivered on my very high expectations.After the cancellation of Firefly and no more Serenity films forthcoming,this is the character i wanted more of, the most.Written by Zack Whedon (co-writer of Dr.Horrible) from an original story by Joss.Although its not directly written by Joss do not let this dissuade you.Zack nails the character and tone perfectly!I'm gonna start reading his other comic, "Terminator 1984" right now!......oh this is pretty cool.It takes place right at the end of the first movie and Kyle Reese is alive!?!?And some new time traveler and Sarah Conner are gonna break him out of same crazy research facility!?That's pretty awesome.ill definitely pick up the second issue! .....oh, sweet.I guess they're about to bust in this facility and.....oh snap.sorry y'all,i got sidetracked.Terminator '84 is pretty right on though.okay.right.Serenity.You could even read this book without seeing Firefly at all!If you like an awesome morality tales and character driven stories with a protagonist with a haunted past no reason ya wouldn't enjoy this bad lad.

5 outta 5 years of waiting totally worth it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mesmo Delivery

by Rafael Grampa

This is a review of Mesmo Delivery, but also a tirade about one of the best artist/writer/comic-ticians that I've seen in a long time. It's a great book, to be sure. An ex-boxer named Rufo gets a job with Mesmo Delivery delivering packages unknown. He's partnered up with a skinny Elvis impersonator by the name of Sangrecco. What happens next can't be expected or explained, but I assure you it's incredible. Grampa's art stands out. I'm gonna start name dropping, ready? Paul Pope, Geoff Darrow, Frank Quitely, and Nathan Fox. He reminds me all of all these guys in different ways, but has a style all his own. He writes, draws, and colors his own stuff, which is incredible! The layout and panel work are amazing! The way he drives his stories with total design rules. A great comic book is everything working in concert; art, layout, color, lettering, all of it. Rafael Grampa is a master of the comic book medium and should not be missed. Look for him on some mainstream publishers in the near future. Daredevil and Batman are both lookin reeeeeal good, as you can see below.

5 out 5 harvested human organs

Percy Gloom

by Cathy Malkasian

Cathy Malkasian has made the jump from animation to print!  This woman is responsible for shows like: The Wild Thornberry's, Rugrats, and Aaah! Real Monsters.  A veritable Nickelodeon legend!  Humorous and bewitching at the same time, Percy Gloom is a unique gem of a story. Living with his mother in an unreal world of secret societies, bureaucratic security, and the looming prophecy of the Gloom death-slap that killed his own father, lazy-eyed Percy Gloom fights to overcome the loss of his wife, Lila, to a truth-pointing, lotharian, cult-leader. Approached by his doctor to help protect some special people and given advice by some talking goats, Percy comes to terms with his place in the gloomy world and finds himself reaching enlightenment (literally).  She has done an excellent job transitioning from all-ages television into classy, grown up stories for insightful adults.  The art is beautiful and draws you into Percy's sad existence with ease.

8.5 out of 10 ridiculous product warning labels. 

Also, check out Temperance, her newest book.   Temperance is an eyewitness's account of recovery and awakening. This graphic novel works on two levels. It considers the concepts of violence, stories, and belief, and their place in holding a culture together, slyly echoing contemporary political issues in a nation at a stressful time currently at war with a ubiquitous enemy.  Sagacious and intricate, good shit.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Four Eyes

Written by Joe Kelly
Illustrated by Max Fiumara

Queens, New York 1934.  America struggles in the grip of the Great Depression, and ten-year old Enrico is willing to make any sacrifice to take care of his mother.  Even if it means taking a job in the one place he's forbidden to go...the ring of fire where dragons are trained and fought for cash and glory.

Whaaaaaaaaaa?!  Dragons in the criminal underworld of the Great Depression!?  This book is great!!  It inspires emotions across the spectrum...love, sadness, excitement, fear.  Enrico is the bad-assest little bad-ass ever!  He stands up for his mother with conviction and does everything in (and beyond) his power to be the man of the house.  The story is brimming over with honor, clandestine activities, and heart warming moments.  No spoilers here.  Read this book, and be prepared to beg for more.

9* out of 10 scaly beasts in a ring of fire.

*this book only receives a less than perfect score for leaving me wanting so much more*

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Batman Incorporated

'w-Grant "the concept" Morrison a-Yanick Paquette
Bruce Wayne is back!How?Don't worry about.Why have him dissapear in the first place? Lets not talk about it.Batman, Inc. follows Bruce Wayne resume the mantle of Batman and going on some serious globetrotting.The reason for these international travels? Why, what any good corporate CEO and worlds greatest detective would do........recruit and spread their brand! Thats right y'all,Batman traveling the globe trying to make unified vigilante agency.Think about it......Scandavian Batman!Palau Batman!It's awesome.First stop? Tokyo to battle Lord Death Man! (no seriously)Come, travel the globe with Bruce Wayne and a very uhm lets say....friendly Catwoman as they solve murders and assemble a world wide Bat-police force!
the art is very rad as well,.....Batman's new metal codpiece is really strange and slightly distracting though.
3.5 out of 5 robins

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou
Art by Alecos Papadatos

More entertaining than any comic about the foundational quest in mathematics or logician Bertrand Russel has any right to be.

Twelve out of fourteen brilliant mathematicians made obsolete by computers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


by Doug Tennapel

A boy survives a plane crash and is rescued by a Bigfoot named Flink. They form a close bond by learning about the loss of each other's family members.  Emotions run hot in this one.  It's truly an endearing story of misunderstanding and misinformation.  You might just shed a tear.

All age appropriate.  4 out of 5 sassy quatches.



"Killer of Killers"

this is a book about a japanese snow monkey that gets possessed by the soul of an assassin. and then, he fights bullseye. Dude, he is a monkey that shoots guns , outsmarts bad guys, wears a suit and SHOOTS GUNS WITH HIS FEET!! do you love shit like this?

well i certainly do.


this book is also totally violent! YAYeah!!

Superman: Earth One

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Shane Davis

Let's do a thought experiment: you are Superman. You're twenty year old, moving from Smallville to Metropolis, the Big City, for the first time. You're still wet behind the ears, kind of a hayseed, but still, you know, fucking Superman. And you know this. The big question: do you become the world's first superhero, and also the world's biggest freak show, or do you use your superpowers to get rich and get laid? Quite a pickle. And you should make up your mind, because there's an alien invasion in like, twenty minutes and they are super-pissed about something...

I really like this book. Released as a hardcover from comic book super-scribe J. Michael Straczynski (The Twelve, Babylon 5), Superman: Earth One is officially the hot-shit of the minute. The second printing was announced before the first even hit the streets and that first run is nowhere to be seen, sold out as soon as it materialized. And there's good reason for that. Many attempts have been made by many writers to bring Superhero X "into the twenty-first century." The results of these endeavors are generally mixed, typically erring on the side of pandering. References to Twitter and Facebook, after all, aren't gonna cut it. But Superman: Earth One feels contemporary without resorting to these kinds of ploys. I could go on about Clark Kent as a metaphor for our culture in the new century--brimming with possibility but also directionless, a little vain, probably dangerous--but my co-bloggers would make me eat no end of shit for this.

More than anything, S:EO reaffirmed what working in a comic shop has made inescapably clear over the past few years: there are no bad superheroes, only bad writers. Even the most well-worn, cliche ridden funny-book characters can seem relevant and interesting in the hands of a proper wordsmith. And you can't get much more worn than old Supes.

Plus there's a pretty good giant-robot fight in the third act.

7 out of 8 iPods streaming YouTube videos of Justin Bieber.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


mc - David Hine
on the beat - Shaky Kane

"Someone once wrote that the moon is a balloon. They were wrong. It is, in fact, a pockmarked skull. A skull that gazes down in baleful disapproval of our nocturnal activities." -Destroyovski 1967

This book is a trip down the bunnyhole of pseudo comic history that force feeds you dopeness. The layout and design of this book has Boner city written all over it. Its the story of this regular schmoe (he's a good dude) Steve Newman who has a wife and (creepy) kids that wouldn't notice if he never came home. He's got a terrible job that he doesn't mind doing...and a love for old comics. Golden Nuggets comics. Comics created by "the creators". By the end of number one he has found the suit of one of his favorite characters, The Coffin Fly, and who knew(?) it fits fucking perfect. He dons it and (time?) travels to crazy places and teams up with crazy awesome heroes...but is it a dream? What happens when these far out dreams bleed into reality?? This is a 6 part comic and part six is about to come out. They have ill bonus shit like dope fake ads for the old timey books that are all on topic and beautiful. EVEN THE (new)OLD COMICS THEMSELVES ARE IN THERE! There's no lame ass ads in these...none. No ufc dudes in their undies or the ruining of a story arc with a mountain dew ad with skateboarding in it. Nope, its like they actually fucking care.



I'm giving it an 8 babes to every dude at a dance party, and i know you like those odds ;)

Rambo 3.5

by Jim Rugg

You won't find this comic on many shelves, but if you see it on ours you should certainly purchase it.  100% Bro-tastic!  John Rambo + George Bush = one of a kind action.  Big guns, big muscles, big plans!  Jim Rugg delivers an awesome punch of machismo to the face of every Rambo fan.  Buy it.  Love it.  Tell your friends.

Burying Sandwiches

by Rob Sato

This is the story of a girl's tumultuous, lifelong relationship with food.  Janice Takeda doesn't care much for it.  From a very young age she has struggled with the idea of eating.  The whole process sickened her and by the age of nine she had decided to never eat again...UNTIL, the ghosts appeared.  They took care of her food for her, and she quite enjoyed their company.  One day, in the middle of a tirade about proper etiquette, she was overtaken by the urge to devour these critters.  And, no surprise to her, they were delicious!  The illustration is superb with heavy black ink and meticulous attention to detail.  This book is, hands down, my favorite comic ever.  I have recommended it countless times, complete with a money back guarantee, and a copy has never been returned.  It's absolutely delightful.

Rock solid 10 out of 10.


by Benjamin

A beautifully illustrated story of selfish teen angst.  Orange is a teenager that's having a hard time making the transition from girl to woman.  Everything is fake.  Nothing matters.  The story opens with her standing on the edge of a rooftop with suicide note in hand.  We then backtrack to get some history on her situation, finally coming back to the opening in the end.  Benjamin generally works in digital painting using a pen with a graphics tablet and image editing software.  Whatever he's doing, it looks fantastic!  The story is mildly irritating, as most teenagers can be.  The lush art and the cuteness of the main character make it forgivable.  And, lets be realistic, being a teenager really isn't easy.

25 oranges out of a bushel

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dragon Puncher

by James Kochalka

An all-ages funfest!  With clever use of photos and illustration, this book delivers satisfaction.  Meet the Dragon Puncher, a cute but ruthless kitty in an armored battle suit, dedicated to defeating dangerous dragons wherever they may be. The Dragon Puncher and his would-be sidekick Spoony-E (a fuzzy little fellow armed with a wooden spoon) confront a gigantic, drooling dragon and have a ridiculous, hilarious brawl.   The balance of words to pictures will appeal to even the most ADD of readers.  Jump on it, kemo sabe.

Enjoyment factor alone gives this book 10 out of 10 toes.

Dungeons and Dragons #1

Written by John Rogers
Art by Andrea Di Vito

I felt hopeful reading it, being a huge fan of the animated television series and a player of the game (way back when, and hopefully again in the near future). The cover art appealed to me more than the interior art.  The illustration is a little too polished for my taste, I need some grime on my adventurers.  The story is on point.  It contains all the classic elements of a fantasy adventure story; the witty warrior, the snooty elf, the arrogant dwarf, the cute and lovable thief, and the sexy magic user.  Will this combination of scoundrels find the origin of the zombies invading their town?!  Their interactions are comical and the action is high.  The cliffhanger ending invites the reader back for another issue.  Will I take the bait?

Overall, I'd give it 6 out of 10 eyes on a Beholder.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cassanova Relaunch

Written by Matt Fraction
Pencils by Gabriel Ba

So. In the nether reaches of time (2006), before they were two of the biggest names in the comic book industry, Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba made this incredibly sweet book called Casanova. It's about a secret agent (sort of) who (basically) slips into an alternate universe full of blackmail, double/triple agents, and weird, pan-sexual monsters (among other things). There was shooting and sexing and time traveling and so on. I read the hell out of this book.

Fast forward a couple of years. Casanova runs for 14 issues under the banner of Image Comics before it is shit-canned. What was planned as a seven story-arc series was cut short at two. And the Sadness ensued. Do independent minded books stand a chance in this work-a-day world? Is there no room for the weird? For the pan-sexual monsters?

But then...hope!
Marvel comics picked up Casanova under their "Icon" imprint and began republishing the series, from issue #1, earlier this year. The new edition is fully re-colored and features occasional extra content from Ba's brother and collaborator Fabio Moon. All 14 parts of the original series will be released on a monthly basis; four have been released so far. When the original run is complete, the creators plan to pick the series back up for the much anticipated third volume, comprising new issues 15-21.

"But what is the point?" you might ask. Here's the point: it seems to me that because this printing was toted as a "relaunch," Casanova might have slipped under the radar of those who didn't read it the first time around. And that is crying shame. Go snag Casanova #1 from your local comic book shop. You will be hooked. Get on board for this kick-ass monthly book that, lucky for us, was brought back to life by smart people. It'll be like we live in an alternate universe where Casanova was never canceled in the first place...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unknown Soldier #25

Written by Joshua Dysart
Pencils by Alberto Ponticelli

Vertigo's relaunch of Unknown Solider ended today with issue number 25. It was an unbelievable banger of a comic book. Though DC cancelled the series unilaterally, Dysart wrapped that shit up with the best story arc yet and I heard that Ponticelli literally drew his ass off. He is without ass. He left all of it on the pages of Unknown Solider #25.

For my money, this series has been the best thing coming out in single issues for the past two years. If you haven't checked this one out yet, do yourself a favor and scoop up the first trade paperback collecting issues #1-6.