Saturday, April 02, 2005

Starting some weekly reviews

I know that this blog has pretty much been sitting silent for a while, but I STILL like the idea of it, so I'm going to drop reviews in of the first batch of comics I read weekly, and maybe some trade paperbacks as I read them. I will be posting them elsewhere as well, but I think this will be a good place to get things moving:

Flash 220: Geoff Johns can do stuff I really like in JSA, but why does this book always feel like it's falling just short of being good? This issue was all set-up to let us get to to know Flash's Rogue's Gallery AGAIN.

Pulse #8: I know it's trendy to bash Bendis, but this issue was the best I read this week. Jessica Jones is offerend a LOT of money to join Hydra, and with just a simple conversation, Hydra is interesting. Don't know where the story is going, but it's leaves the questions there in such a way that I want to know more.

Outsiders 22: Issue long fight scene tying up plot threads and showing that Infinite Crisis has been in the planning for quite a while...or Winick is good at mkaing it seem like his stories have a point. Either way, a perfectly average super-hero comic.

Spectacular Spider-Man 26: I think I would have enjoied fucking a toxic waste barrel more than the "Gwen Stacy's Kids" stories. I hope this stuff gets shoved in the same box as the Spider-Clone, Gwen's Clone and The Rocket Racer, never to be opened again.

Astonishing X-Men: A transition issue in the story, and while it wasn't BAD, it seemed like it was all exposition, and very little of the snappy Whedon dialogue that usually brings the book above average.

Legion of Super-Heroes 4: More world building, and a fill-in artist already. Still, Waid keeps things going with smart dialogue and a nice twist. So far, I'm liking this Legion re-boot.

Secret War 4: With this book being quarterly, it's not holding together all that well for me. It's also moving pretty damn slow to be wrapping up next issue. I can't judge it singularly, but will have to wait and read it all at once.

Fantastic Four 524: The last issue by Waid and Wieringo, and it's pretty clear that they both love these characters. A nice tribute to the characters with a very "Silver Age" plot.

Countdown: Meh. The entire plot structure seems like it was copied directly from Identity Crisis #1, where we spend an entire issue learning about a character, just to see them die, so that the death has more impact. Most fanboys will be loving this, but I just saw it as very lazy writing, and I really expected better for Johns and Rucka.
Review by Cory!! at 1:16 pm
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Saturday, January 17, 2004
The Basil Wolverton Reader

The new trade paperback "The Basil Wolverton Reader" shipped this week, and while it may be hard for people to find in most comics stores, it is one of the few Golden Age books that can be read by modern audiences for entertainment instead of history or nostalgia. Wolverton is best known for his "grotesque" style that he developed in the late 40's and 50's, his work for MAD and later his covers for DC's "Plop", but little is available of his early humor work.

This book reprints a nice bunch of "Powerhouse Pepper" stories and other scattered short stories, as well as one page gag strips (which are a dead form in comics). The stories are wonderful, with an art style that seems as fresh now as it must have then. The stories themselves are just setups for funny situations and visual humor, with jokes on signs (a technique later used by MAD's Bill Elder) and odd rhymes that add to the off-kilter humor of the stories. Humor comics are a dying art, and the ones now all seem like they have to have a "meaning" behind their humor, but these stories just exist to give the reader a laugh. There is also a sense of improvisation and spontanious creation on each page, a kind of energy that is hard to capture on a static page.

The other thing that struck me as I read the book was how much Wolverton's early style reminded me of R. Crumb's early comics work. While I have never read Crumb saying that he was influenced by Wolverton (he usually cites MAD and the Disney comics as his early influences), it seems to me that Crumb drew a lot of his layout and figure style from either Wolverton or artists who used Wolverton's style.

The only problem I have with the book are how they are put together. For a $25 "reader" it would have been a good idea to list where the stories are reprinted from, a history of Wolverton and an overview of his career, as this is a good introduction to the artist's work.

Review by Cory!! at 5:11 pm
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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
And now that sales figures for December are in, a few thoughts.

My first post isn't so much a review, but a quick pointer at the sales figures for the month of December. I'll be posting some graphic novel reviews when things in my life even out a bit, but just looking at the numbers, I have a few observations:

1602 started at the 175,000 level and has dropped to around 120,000, still good numbers for a comic that is $3.50 a pop. Add to that the expected trade paperback sales when it is available in bookstores and the people who bought American Gods can find it, Marvel has made itself a big payday. Not bad for Neil either, since his single comic sales were never all that great (the best selling issue of Sandman, sold during the boom when X-Men was selling 450K) was 75,000. So his doing work for Marvel was NOT the slam dunk everyone thought it would be.

Superman/Batman is the highest selling non-Marvel comic, and it looks like DC wants to keep it that way by bringing in "Hot artists" with Michael Turner.

3 Issues of Uncanny shipped in December? No wonder they all looked like crap.

The highest non-Marvel/DC comic was Mark Millar's book at Image followed by a Transformer comic.

The #300 book sold almost 1500, making this one of the better sales months in comics, as previous months have had the #300 comic selling as low as 800 copies.

Review by Cory!! at 4:15 pm
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The Basil Wolverton Reader
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
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