Thursday, May 19, 2022

Eisner's Announced & Man, Do I Love Comics!


Welcome back! Oh my god, so much has happened in comics!  I can honestly say that I have never had more fun reading or collecting comics than I am right now. And honestly, DC Comics and Vault comics are fueling most of that. Okay, maybe Marvel's movies & TV shows as well. A little.

DC Comics, in my humble opinion, is the best it has ever been. They are truly embracing what it means to be a comics publisher and they seem to finally be getting a real grasp on who they want their heroes to be and where they are going. Let me tell you, I am enjoying the ride. 

The introduction of new characters has been done so well and even the old characters seem to be more solidified. The art, holy bajebus! The art! The art in comics right now is the absolute best it has ever been. Cover artists like Artgerm, Jen Bartel, Adam Hughes, and a new personal favorite of mine, Julian Totino Tedesco.

Then, on top of that you've got the actual book artists. Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann, Doc Shaner, Bruno Redondo, Greg Smallwood, Bilquis Every, Yasmine Putri, Phil Jimenez and so many more. I mean, these artists are!

Then these writers! Veterans and fresh blood. Guys like Busiek are at the top of their game, and guys like Tom King and Tom Taylor are really giving us fresh new perspectives. Filling in holes, bringing characters to the fore-front that have been overlooked & evolving characters we love in interesting directions. Some writers, like Cody Ziglar (Spider-Punk) are giving me comics that are insanely fun with a solid anti-fascist message. It's freaking delightful. 

The Eisner Award Nominations just dropped and most of the people I just mentioned are on that list. I would 100% not want to have to vote, but let's just say that I did.  I'm going to give you a run-down on who & why.

Best Short Story. I read two of the stories nominated. 

"Generations", by Daniel Warren Johnson, in Superman: Red & Blue #5 (DC)


"Tap, Tap, Tap," by Larry O'Neil and Jorge Forn├ęs, in Green Arrow 80th Anniversary (DC)

My choice? 

Next up, Best Single Issue/One-Shot

I read 3 of these. 

Marvel's Voices: Identity #1 edited by Darren Shan (Marvel)

Nightwing #87: "Get Grayson," by Tom Taylor & Bruno Redondo (DC)

Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazon, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez (DC)

As much as I appreciate Marvel's attempt it was MEH for me. Marvel really feels like its art & storytelling is aimed at the 12 to 25 crowd, while DC is aiming for the 25 & up crowd. I'm glad they are trying to expand their diversity & storytelling but they are so far behind everyone else. 

Nightwing is amazing. So amazing guys. I've told you this 100 times already, but...and I hate to say this, Wonder Woman wins this one. If you did not pick up Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazon, you really are missing out on an amazing piece of comic book history. The art, the style of storytelling, the absolute need for this book to exist. Right now. It's so important.

Best Continuing Series

I have only read one. 

Nightwing, by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo (DC)

So, because I can't speak to the other books, I pick this one. Let me tell you though, this series, so full of heart. So full of growth. So full of amazing art. The way that Redondo captures emotions on a 2D surface, panel by panel is This team totally deserves it. 

I will say, I have heard tons of buzz over "Something is Killing the Children" by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell'Edera (BOOM! Studios) and they are nominated in this category, too. People have been raving about it. 

Best Limited Series

Here are the nominees I am familiar with:

The Good Asian, by Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi (Image)

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, by Tom King & Bilquis Evely (DC)

Whew. This is...really tough and I only read two of the six nominees. Before I pick my winner, I want to mention that The Many Deaths of Laila Starr, by Ram V and Filipe Andrade (BOOM! Studios) has made a ton of noise. I've heard really good things & I have loved everything I have read by Ram V. If these guys win, they totally deserve it. 

Also, "The Good Asian" is amazing. Please, go pick it up. Read it. Be in awe of it, but I cannot help but vote for the book that spoke to me. Not only the story, but the art.

And that story was Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. Not only did it speak to me but it was so flippin' nice to see someone take all of Kara Zor-El's history & finally flesh out who she really is. What she really means. You guys that follow along know I am a HUGE Supergirl fan & even though this is a recent (2015) development, I poured myself into the comics. Reading every issue, every story I could get my hands on & it was extremely apparent to me that Tom King had done the same thing. I was happy we saw the same person at the end. Bilquis, the artist on the book, created a timeless look for Kara. It was a nod to her early incarnations but new and fresh. Not a child anymore, but a young woman. You could feel the pain behind her smile. The trauma behind her eyes and the sadness in her tired soul but she still stood tall and strong & beautiful. It truly was my favorite run of any Supergirl ever and something I wished for. Is it profound and life changing? No. More life affirming. It's a book about Hope and holding onto it. And it was beautiful. 

Best New Series

I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read any of the books nominated. I do have the full run of The Human Target, by Tom King and Greg Smallwood (DC) but I haven't gotten to it yet. There's so many good comics!!! 

Best Publication for Early Readers (Up to age 8)

Also, nope. Haven't read. 

Sorry. I'll add a link to the list of nominees at the bottom if you are interested in finding out who is nominated.

Best Publication for Kids (Ages 9 - 12)

I don't have kids, so, yeah, not really in my wheel house. 

Best Publication for Teens

Best Humour Publication

Best Anthology

Best Reality-Based Work

Best Graphic Memoir

Best Graphic Album - New

Best Graphic Album - Reprint

Best Adaptation From Another Medium

Best US Edition of International Material

OMG...there are so many categories. Okay, let's skip all this & just list the one's I have read at least one thing in. 

Best Writer

Kelly Sue DeConnick, Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons Book One (DC)

Ram V, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr (BOOM! Studios), The Swamp Thing (DC), Carnage: Black, White & Blood, Venom (Marvel)

James Tynion IV, House of Slaughter, Something is Killing the Children, Wynd (BOOM! Studios); The Nice House on the Lake, The Joker, Batman, DC PRIDE 2021 (DC); The Department of Truth (Image); Blue Book, Razorblades (Tiny Onion Studios)

Ugh. So hard. Ram V's Swamp Thing was sooooooo good. James did great on Batman & PRIDE. However, Wonder Woman Historia is just something else. Something completely different & elevated, yet primal. So, Kelly Sue get my vote.

And with that, We're going to take a break from this novel length post. I'd like to say I will be back to finish out the list, but let's be honest...

Good luck to all the nominees!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Nightwing 88


Tom Taylor's Nightwing run is one of the best comics I've read in a long time. It's fun, action-packed and absolutely beautiful thanks to Bruno Redondo. Bruno has an amazing ability to really bring emotion across in the facial expressions and body language of 2d page drawn people that, frankly, I've never seen done better. I totally should've shot some images of the pages so I could show you what I mean. I'll try to add some later or maybe next time. 

Bruno's art combined with Tom Taylor's heartfelt storytelling is just nailing all the feels for me. This book is everything I want Superheroes to be. I love that Dick has learned what being a good hero is. What failed before. How sometimes, the legends that came before him failed because their focus was on the wrong thing. It mirrors what we are seeing in our own society. How old systems don't serve the whole but a privileged few and sometimes no one but the system itself. Good systems have been corrupted and some, we learn, have never really been good at all. Dick trying a new approach and it being met with resistance from all sides and how he choses to move forward and who comes to aid in that are really making for a great comic.

Spoiler time.

The Titans showing up in this issue to back Dick was so good. The message about family. Too many of us find ourselves estranged from those who raised us or brought us into this world due to so many things. Empathy, politics, religion, identity, equity, understanding. No one can do it alone and most of us in our 40s have learned that the hard way. It's nice to see that in print. To see a found family so supportive & loving is a beautiful thing. 

Nightwing is such a positive, optimistic book in such a cynical, pessimistic time & that is really what I love about it. That's what I always loved about comics. That feeling that doing better was possible. Somewhere, sometime (the 90s), Superheroes really got depressing. The hope got lost. The "being our best selves & having empathy" just went right off the page. I'm glad it's back. It's good to find it again. It feels like home. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow 7 Review

Issue 7 of Tom King's Supergirl run dropped this week. We have one issue to go. I'm still miffed DC Comics didn't let him have the usual 12 and cut it down to 8. It is what it is. If you aren't reading along, there will be spoilers ahead. If you don't want to have the issue spoiled, please stop reading here.

Okay, still with me? Spoilers are dropping in 3, 2, 1...

This issue we start, as usual, with Ruthye continuing the tale of what transpired years in the past when Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, helped her track her father's murderer, Krem, and bring him to justice.  We've seen her fight to get ahead of Krem and his genocidal killing sprees only to come upon planet after planet of slaughtered citizens. 

We've learned of what she truly witnessed as a young teenager whose planet came apart beneath her feet. How she lost everything, more than once, and how that trauma has defined her. 

Now we see her finally catch up to Krem, capture him, only to have to run from every murderous brigand in the universe. Until she doesn't anymore. She places Ruthye on a safe beach with Comet and Krem, who is tightly bound to a tree and blindfolded and gagged. She returns to space to fight the largest collection of ruthless killers ever assembled in one place. 

© DC Comics (N. Scott variant)

I've never read comics by a writer that loves characters like Tom King. Loves them for who they are, not what they want them to be. Understands all the lore that has come before and digs into the parts that so many gloss over because they're uncomfortable or maybe not so bright and cheery. With Supergirl, Tom respects all that Kara Zor-El has been through and gives us insight into why she is who she is. Why she goes by Supergirl. Why she is so kind. Why she can't help but come to Ruthys's aid. 

Will she kill Krem? Even kind people have a line. Everyone does. He certainly deserves it. Is it her place to be the executioner? Is there some part of her that wants revenge or is it that it has all come down to it being her moral obligation to stop such an uncompassionate genocidal psychopath? Or will Ruthye take that burden from her. Kara certainly wouldn't want that for her. Although for Ruthye, it is not such an alien thing, or so she thinks. 

Will this be the event that changes Supergirl into the "Woman of Tomorrow"?

It might be. There has never been more of a justification to end an existence of such a horrid vile person, if one could argue there ever is justification.

I'm afraid all of the beautiful, terrible things Mr. King has shown us about this character will be completely missed by readers being outraged if she does indeed kill Krem. Of course, with King's work, that is often the case. Readers missing the message, depth, and beauty and being outraged at what they feel is unjustified or out of character when it has been so eloquently laid out right in front of them. I don't think that matters much to him & I'm glad. A good story is the goal. 

Mr. King hasn't changed a single thing about Kara Zor-El. He hasn't tried to make her anything that wasn't already there. Several years ago, Gail Simone had asked Twitter, "What comic character would you want your favorite writer to write & why?" and I immediately thought of a Tom King Supergirl. Why? Because of everything he has hit on in the book and how he writes survivors. How he wrote her in one tiny panel in "Heroes In Crisis".

Kara Zor-El isn't just a survivor of a Holocaust. Of Trauma. Of Genocide. She was a WITNESS.

That fucks you up inside. Forever. It informs every choice you make from here on out.  Kara Zor-El is one of the most powerful beings in existence, yet despite everything she's been through and everything she's capable of doing, she chose kindness. Does choosing to kill one genocidal psychopath destroy all of that?  I guess that is one possible question we will get answered. Can someone like Supergirl make a mistake or make this choice and still be looked at as a hero, or does a choice like this destroy everything in her life yet again? 

I'm excited to see what happens. To see how I feel. And I will feel because I have yet to read one of Mr. King's books and not feel. It's good art. 

Speaking of art, Bilquis Evely & Mat Lopes make it all the more powerful with their art & color. It truly is the book I had hoped for when I first wished it into existence. 

Do yourself a favor, go pick it up.

What are your thoughts on this penultimate issue and how do you feel about Supergirl possibly killing Krem in the context of this story? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Jennifer Walters Returns

© Marvel Comics

 During COVID lockdown here in the USA, which sadly lasted like 2 weeks, and will NEVER happen again no matter the circumstances because CAPITALISM, I decided I wanted to help support some of our local businesses. T & I picked 3 or 4 and focused all our spending on them. One of them was a local candy store that makes the most delicious candied, chocolate, caramel & anything you can think of covered apples you have ever had. When we needed a treat, these guys were our go-to. Another place we focused on was our local comic shop. I've lived in places with no comic shop & I really did not want that to happen again. Our shop was pretty progressive about the whole COVID thing, too. They managed to keep their employees by having him available by phone & email a couple days a week & he would send out any books you wanted via USPS. With all the down time, I actually had time to read! And read we did. T & I got a ton of new books.

I decided I would pick books about heroes that had always been in the back of my mind. Heroes I didn't know, but had always wanted to get to know. I started with Power Girl. Power Girl is a different version of Supergirl & it seemed like a natural place to start since I was really into the character at the moment. 

The next hero I chose was She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters. People call her Jen. I can't believe I had never read She-Hulk. It was soooooo good, you guys. I read this one, to start: She-Hulk  and I loved it so much. I grabbed more. So, to say I have been looking forward to the new run is an understatement. Today was the day. She-Hulk #1 dropped into my local comic shop and I managed to snag two different covers by two of my fav cover artists. ArtGerm and Adam Hughes. Sadly, there was no Jen Bartel cover to be found. Ebay, I'll be seeing you later. 

It was fun. Clearly a bit of a character change from the usually feel of She-Hulk, but one that fits with Charles Soule's run and I suspect will tie in nicely with Tatiana Maslany's version in the new Marvel TV series coming to Disney+. It was a nice start. I'm hoping we get a little more depth. The big fight scene ended hilariously & I felt it in my soul. I will definitely pick up issue #2. 

How about you? Any heroes you've always wanted to jump in and learn about but just never had the time?  Let me know in the comments. 

Thursday, January 06, 2022

New Comic Book Day Haul for Jan. 5, 2021

 It's a new week of freshly printed comics and I picked up a few Marvel comics this week as well as my regular DC bunch. I haven't bought any Marvel since Spider-woman #16 last year. They just seem to be a little less with it than DC right now. The stories are all over the place & a little 90's trope-y and just not grabbing my interest. That's for another time though. Let's look at what I got in the haul.

The World of Krypton #2, Justice League Incarnate #3, Crush and Lobo #8, One-Star Squadron #2, Marjorie Finnegan, Temporal Criminal #8, Superman: Son of Kal-El #6, Dark Knights of Steel #3, Elektra #1, and Black Widow #13.

Whew! So, I am actively reading World of Krypton, Superman, One-Star Squad, & Dark Knights of Steel. The other DC comics I am saving up to read in a binge. I'll review them when I do that. Marjorie Finnegan is my wife's pick. I haven't read those, not sure if I will. I do usually like Garth Ennis though. Well, I liked his Ghost Rider run. Honestly, that's all I've read by him. Wasn't in on the Preacher stuff he wrote. I hear it's good. I did read both Marvel titles already. Let's start with those today.

© Marvel Comics

Elektra: Balck, White & Blood #1. Elektra was someone I met in comics at a very young age through my interest in Daredevil. Daredevil was something I picked up at garage sales, thrift or antique stores, etc. I think she was in some of my Wolverines as well. I liked her. She was a bad ass assassin with a tortured past. I was excited to see them give her a new run. I was excited until I opened the book. 

© Marvel Comics

Rape is sort of frowned on in mainstream DC and Marvel comics nowadays. (Thank the gods) However, there are writers and artists that find ways to get as close as possible sometimes. This felt like that. That image is page one. I kid you not. So, what I thought was a comic about my bad ass assassin lady, turned out to be a very gory, unnecessary, juvenile pile of garbage. Hey, I get it. It's a comic with BLOOD in the title. She's an assassin. And not necessarily a "good" person, but this...this was just...crap. It didn't add anything to her character at all. The book was broken into three stories and not a single one of them even slightly interesting. Spoilers here. In the first story she dies by being burned to death. In the second story she kills an "innocent" kid and in the last story, they basically kill her to death with swords, knives, anything you can use to stab or poke or penetrate. If I didn't know better, I'd think this team really hates women. I will definitely not be picking up issue 2. Gross. 

Now, that said, Black Widow #13 sort of rocked. It was quite the opposite. Black Widow I met the same way. Through Daredevil comics. I loved her instantly. I never really felt like the MCU movies did her justice, although the Black Widow stand alone movie did an alright job. ScarJo would never be my casting choice, but she didn't do a bad job with it. I was entertained. 

© Marvel Comics (Adam Hughes cover)

Kelly Thompson wrote issue #13 and I think she's written the 12 previous ones. It was solid and very Black Widow. Luckily it was also the transition issue from the last arc to the new arc. One thing Marvel does well is the page one recap. If you haven't kept up, they give you a great little synopsis on page one so you know what the hell is going on and you can jump right in. I wish DC would adopt that. It helps a ton. We meet a character that apparently is going to be the main villain for Nat in the upcoming arc. We meet him in her past. I absolutely loved the art in this book. It made it feel old, like a flashback, but still felt fresh. Nat was in the old gray popped collar suit and it was just some solid writing, lots of action and great art. There was lots of gore in this one, too, but it made sense & didn't seem overly gratuitous. I will be looking for the trade paperback of 1-12 of the run and will probably pick up #14. Bonus score of the Adam Hughes cover. 

Well, that's all I've read so far. I'll review as I go. Probably drop the One-Star Squadron, World of Krypton, Superman and Dark Knights of Steel review this weekend. 

What did you pick up this week? Anything that you think is a must read? Thoughts on Elektra? Leave me a comment! Thanks.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

New Flash Gordon Art

 I absolutely love the movie Flash Gordon. The 1980 movie is a one hour and fifty one minute amusement park ride of a rock opera. It it, as I often describe it, the absolute perfect B movie. Sam Jones is the himbo hero we all needed and MaxVon Sydow the perfect villain. Prince Vultan and Prince Baron? Both so sexy in their own ways. Prince Vultun, the hawkman, made me long for a DC Hawkman movie that I still have yet to see. Hopefully the "Black Adam" film will fulfill part of that. All of this is just to let you know that Sideshow Collectibles have a brand spanking new piece of artwork for sale that is "Flash Gordon" themed. You are welcome. Here's the link: Flash Gordon Art

© Sideshow Collectibles

Monday, January 03, 2022

Comics and the Holidays

(Last weeks comic haul)

Happy New Year, kids. Hope you made it through and that you got something you wanted. Even if all you wanted was a hug. 

It was another year of T & I just hunkering down and staying put. We got quite a bit accomplished though. She got some great writing/reading/cleaning done & I managed to clean my art room pretty well and set up the home gym. Now we can row, bike & lift in the warmth of home, instead of out in the cold, cold, garage or at the COVID-filled gym. My abs are sore as I write this.

We did celebrate Solstice and burned the Yule or Juul log and sing our merry song over the firepit and Santa did find his way inside to leave gifts again. Thanks, Santa! Neither of us opted for alcohol over the firepit this year. I think our alcohol years might be in the past. I'm fine with that. I get why people drink wine now. Or scotch. It's sipping old people alcohol. LOL

I got some fun stuff this holiday. Books, comics, clothes, a cup warmer, one of those deep muscle massagers & even a Supergirl action figure. 

(Look! Krypto & Streaky!)

(I'm on chapter 5. I'll review once I'm finished.)

(It's a hoodie.)

Look at that hoodie! As I've stated numerous times, I am absolutely enamored with Lena Luthor from the CW Supergirl series. At the end of the series she started her own Foundation and the tree of life/world/knowledge was her logo. Already being a tree of life/world/knowledge fan, (thanks Gilgamesh) I was very excited to get this hoodie and am wearing it today. It happens to also be Katie McGrath's birthday today. She's the actress that brought Lena to life and into my heart. Happy Birthday, Katie. Don't tell anyone though, guys. It's a secret. For real. 

(I got both #17 & #18)

Pretty happy that Santa stuffed my stocking with the Raven/Supergirl Brave & the Bold comics 17 & 18 by Marv Wolfman. Gotta love Marv. And look at that weird bodiless head jutting onto the page on the cover! What is that even about?! Guess I'll have to read it. 

Did you see that comic haul photo up top? I'll be reviewing some of those coming up. Especially the Echolands and Human Target. I snagged a Firestorm 1982 #1 and a Hawkman 1986 #1 from my local shop. I loved both these runs so much as a kid. I'm really happy I came across the #1's. 
Hawkman had Hawkwoman (not to be confused with Hawkgirl), and boy did I love me some Shiera. I loved Carter and Shiera's relationship. In fact, it might have influenced the kind of relationship I wanted in the future. Firestorm was just such a cool concept to me and it's still one of my favorite costumes. That flame on his head, too. He's quintessentially 80's. Who were some of your favorite non-A list heroes as a kid? Let me know in the comments. 

Happy 2022, folks.