Author: Johnny Bacardi

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 84

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. I’m way behind, I know. Sorry for the delay. PUNK ROCK JESUS #’s 1-3 (of 6) Script/Art: Sean Murphy DC/Vertigo, $2.99 Murphy, late of Grant Morrison’s Joe the Barbarian (which I still haven’t finished because DC is dragging its feet about getting an softcover collection out there), returns with this ambitious one-man show of a tale which mashes together a whole lot of hot-button topics into a casserole that, at least two issues in, isn’t completely cooked yet but smells awfully nice. PRJ opens with a nice scene- the McKael family: mom, dad, son, saying grace before they eat dinner. Then, dad notices armed gunmen outside and the family springs into action-dad and …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 83

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. BANDETTE Script: Paul Tobin; Art: Colleen Coover THE OCTOBER GIRL Script/Art: Matthew Dow Smith Monkeybrain Comics, downloadable for .99¢ per issue New comics efforts from a brand new collective of sorts called “Monkeybrain Comics“, a digital-only enterprise that assembles many worthy creators at a reasonable price, doing comics of the type that the Big Two are reluctant to publish. A forward looking endeavor, for sure, and one would hope that by offering high-quality stories (another series, unread by me, is written by iZombie and self-exiled former DC scripter Chris Roberson) at a reasonable price, they would/should do quite well. The jury’s still out on that, but aesthetics-wise, at least, I think the new …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 82

Welcome to an even more-overdue than usual Confessions, in which I comment on a number of comics and/or graphic novels and/or trade paperbacks that I have consumed in the interval since the last time you allowed me into your headspace. As you may or may not recall, I’m a graphic designer in my real-world secret identity, and every year about this time I get a big project that commands most of my off-work attention, and it’s certainly been that way for most of May and so far in June. I’m finally done with it now, so I figured I had better get busy and drop a few reviews on all of you…so, let’s do this thing, OK? SAGA #’s 1-3 Script: Brian K. Vaughan, Art: Fiona Staples Image Comics, $2.99@. Vaughan is known, first and foremost, for his long-running Vertigo series Y: The Last Man, which was a big seller for the line in the Aughts; it retains a fanatical following, though in the interest of full disclosure I myself was immune to its charms- …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 81

It’s that time of  the month again…time for another Confessions of a you-know-what, in which I opine on various comics and graphic novel releases in the last month, most of which should be on sale at a comics shop or online retailer in your general vicinity. THE SHADOW #1 Script: Garth Ennis, Art: Dynamite Entertainment; $3.99 So many legacy heroes have been revived in the last decade or so by companies like Dynamite, Moonstone, and others that I suppose it was inevitable that one of them should get around to arguably the most potent and interesting of them all: The Shadow. When it comes to comics, Ol’ “Who Knows What Evil Lurks” has had it pretty good, all things considered– if you overlook the oddball long-underwear Archie Comics version, there was the 70’s DC series, which featured excellent art by Mike Kaluta (whose version in a lot of ways defined the character for everyone for decades after, and remains one of the characters the artist is most associated with), Frank Robbins, and E.R. Cruz as …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 80

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. BABY’S IN BLACK: ASTRID KIRCHHERR, STUART SUTCLIFFE, AND THE BEATLES Script/Art: Arne Bellestorf First Second Books; $24.99 Gosh, I just love it when my interests intersect! There are thousands of stories peripheral to to the Beatles. and very few of them are as poignant as the one of the brief life of original bassist Stu Sutcliffe and his even more short-lived romance with German photographer Astrid Kirchherr. For those of you who may not know the story, Sutcliffe was the first bass player in the early incarnations of what we came to know as the Beatles. John’s friend, and it was at John’s insistence that he be in what was still, at …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie No. 79

Hey, remember when I used to do these things once a week? Neither do I. Anyway, here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. THIEF OF THIEVES #1 Script: Nick Spencer; Art: Shawn Martinbrough, Felix Serrano (color) Image Comics; $2.99 A lot of comics come across as speculative or repurposed movie and TV pitches these days, and this is no exception…but if the execution is there, the secondhand nature of any given project can be transcended and the oh so elusive good comics tag can be applied without reservation. As you can probably guess from that longish buildup, this is such a project. It certainly wears its film-inspired intent proudly, and thanks to its not-so-easy-to-replicate real-world verisimilitude it gives off a …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 78

Welcome to the first Confessions of 2012! I really meant to have this up two weeks ago, but life sometimes gets in the way of my writing “career” and this was one of those times. Anyway, as always, this is where I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. PROPHET #21 Script: Brandon Graham; Art: Simon Roy Image, $2.99 Don’t really know about this this title’s previous history (it was an early 90’s Rob Liefeld Image/Extreme- which says it all- title, as I understand it), don’t really care. This is a reimagining (and relaunch, continuing the original run’s numbering, which is kinda rare these days) by the monstrously talented Brandon (King City) Graham, script only this time, with Simon Roy (who I was previously unfamiliar with) on art . Graham concocts a scenario in …

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Confessions No. 77: My Favorite Comics of 2011

And now…it’s time for me to get in on the listmania at this special time of the year, and present to you my list of THE BEST COMICS OF 2011!   …best that I have read, that is…   Yes, even though I do peruse a veritable plethora of comics every year, El Guapo, I do not read everything…and thus my list will be woefully incomplete. But, what I can do is let you know what I thought was the best of this past year out of what I did read, and the results will be below. Lest I imply favoritism, I will list them alphabetically. I hope some will surprise you, and by all means please let me know how full of it I am if you so choose. And it goes like this. Batwoman (DC Comics) Ostensibly one of the New 52, but in the works for much longer, we finally got the debut of Kate Kane in 2011. Too bad co-creator Greg Rucka isn’t still on board (I really would have liked to have seen him write …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 73

Here we go again with another CoaCSJ, in which I attempt to enlighten and entertain you in regards to recent comics and graphic novel releases, most of which should be on sale at a comics retailer or online merchant near you, if you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. ZEGAS #1 Writer/Artist: Michel Fiffe Copra Press, $9.95 Michel Fiffe is a talented dude. Not only is he an excellent journalist- his interview with Trevor Von Eeden in the Comics Journal was one of the finest I’ve read not only in that august publication, but pretty much anywhere- but he’s also an outstanding writer and an imaginative artist, and his main project for the last couple of years has been Zegas, which has been appearing serialized at the Act-I-Vate collective website. Zegas, in what appears to be an all-new collection and not reprints of the webcomic, is nominally the story of Emily and Boston Zegas, siblings who live in a world which seems to be set just a few years in the future and one …

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Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 72

Welcome back to Confessions etcetera, in which I write a line or three about recent comics and graphic novel releases, and encourage you to/discourage you from laying your hard-earned money down on same. I know, it’s been another delay for what was originally set up as a (self-imposed) weekly review column. Lots of reasons slash excuses for this, and I won’t bore you with them, but I will say that one reason is that I haven’t really run across very much that I’ve cared to read lately, other than my usual titles which I’ve already discussed at odd times over the last couple of years- especially from the Big Two, from which everything seems to be a spinoff from Flashpoint and Fear Itself, neither of which I’ve been following all that closely. I’ll probably be taking a look at a few of those new 52 #1’s as they come out, so stay tuned for that. Until things shake out a little, though, from here on out I’ll try an every 2 weeks schedule for a little …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 71

Ah me, the hurrier I go the behinder I get, as the saying goes. Welcome back to another tardy edition of Confessions, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: CENTURY: 1969 Script: Alan Moore, Art: Kevin O’Neill Top Shelf, $9.95 At first I thought that Alan Moore had dusted off an old Promethea story and changed the principals to suit his needs; I suppose it’s not quite that, but it’s awfully darn close. Mr. Moore certainly does seem to feel the need to go to his arcane magick well quite often; at least here it’s in the service of…well, if not satire, at perhaps homage though I can’t imagine Moore revering anything but himself. Anyway, and I’m assuming you’re all at least superficially aware of the basic …

So Who is Harry Nilsson, Anyway?

Fewer people are asking that question these days thanks to the 2006 documentary which, against all odds, John Scheinfeld spent several years assembling and which seemed to take even longer before it finally started playing- first at film festivals, then via a most-welcome DVD release last year. Most of the hardcore Nilsson fans watched the DVD months ago, but if you’ve been holding out, Snagfilms.com has made it available for streaming online, for a limited time only. Now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about, if you haven’t already. Harry Nilsson was a lot of things- genius singer-songwriter, Beatle friend, businessman, charismatic hell-raiser of legendary proportions, activist, loving family man- and this documentary manages to touch on all of the varied aspects of the man’s life and legacy. Through interview segments with a host of his surviving friends, collaborators and acquaintances- Richard Perry, Van Dyke Parks, Eric Idle, Jimmy Webb, Terry Gilliam, May Pang, Micky Dolenz, Yoko Ono, widow Una to name but a few- Scheinfeld paints a portrait of a man …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No.70

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 Script: Ed Brubaker; Art: Steve McNiven Marvel Comics; $3.99 DAREDEVIL #1 Script: Mark Waid; Art: Paolo Rivera, Joe Rivera, Marcos Martin Marvel Comics, $3.99 It used to be that a #1 issue meant something. Now, they’re cheap as dirt, a dime a dozen. Change letterers? Relaunch with a #1 issue! The fanmen and women won’t care! It’s rare when a series runs longer than 50 issues without a reboot of some sort. And does that really matter, in the grand scheme of things? Nah. I just felt like doing my best Art Rooney impersonation. So…what we have here, besides a failure to communicate, is two of the latest Marvel …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 69

Here we go again with a long-gestating edition of Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. THE HIDDEN Script/Art: Richard Sala Fantagraphics, $19.99 (scheduled for release in September 2011) Richard Sala’s latest features everything you’ve come to expect from him- gnarly plot, idiosyncratic, easy-to-like art, and quirky horror movie homages; however, rather the some shuddery 30’s style Old Dark House/Ten Little Indians meets Nancy Drew style murder mystery that is his standard M.O., although there are elements of that here, we get what at first appears to be a kind of Five/The World, the Flesh, and the Devil post apocalyptic scenario, with two couples and a mysterious old man wandering through deserted, ruined cities to an ambiguous, and ultimately world-threatening destination. But this being Sala, he can’t resist throwing in …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 68

Hello and welcome to my online comics confessional, in which I attempt to enlighten you about various comic book and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, many of which should still be on sale somewhere near you, be it online or brick and mortar. SNARKED #0 Script/Art: Roger Langridge KaBoom/Boom! Studios, $1 I’m still not sure that I really get what went down when Boom! lost the Disney titles, and I suppose it’s not all that important to me in the grand scheme of things- but one unfortunate result was that The Muppet Show comic, which Langridge was (by most comics blogger accounts) killing on, also ceased to exist. For those wondering what his next project would be, well, wonder no longer- he’s doing Snarked. Rather than the spawn of Henson and Oz, he’s repurposing Lewis Carroll, specifically the Walrus and the Carpenter characters, and this is a one-dollar loss leader designed to get people interested in the latest title for Boom!’s kids imprint. The “snarked” of the title refers to the ruse used by …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 67

Well, hello there! It’s been a while, I know. I’ve had a variety of real world issues taking up my time and attention, including a death in the family and a graphic design project (for- gasp- pay) that wound up taking a LOT more time to complete than I initially thought. So my humblest apologies for the hiatus. I’ll try not to let it become a habit. Wouldn’t you know it, while I was away all hell broke loose in the world of comics thanks to DC’s announcement that they will be relaunching nearly all their titles in the near future, starting over with new #1 issues and new creative teams, for better or worse, as well as providing day-and-date downloads, of interest to those who like to read their comics via iPads and smartphones and such, and certainly this is of more interest to those who can afford these devices than to me, who’s stuck in 2006. Anyway, of the newish series, some are potentially intriguing, like the prospect of a Wonder Woman series …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junky, No. 66

Since we’re dealing, at least at first, with a retro series I figured I’d use the retro spelling…so welcome once more to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junky, in which I wax effusive about a handful of comics and/or graphic novel releases of recent vintage, presumably helping you sort out the wheat from the chaff or something like that when you visit your local comics shop or make out your online order or illegally download…however you choose to mainline your sequential narrative entertainment. ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #1 Script/Art: Various IDW, $3.99 When Dave Stevens’ homage to old-time movie serials and pulp adventure magazines made its debut waaaaay back in 1982 as a back feature in Mike Grell’s Starslayer, of all places, it was like manna from heaven for this old fan of not only Doc Savage, the Shadow and the Avenger pulp paperback reprints, but also the wonderful if short-lived Dennis O’Neil/Mike Kaluta (and friends)/Frank Robbins/E.R. Cruz Shadow for DC and Steve Englehart/Ross Andru/Tom Palmer’s nicely done Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze for Marvel in …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 65

Yes, time once more for CoaCSJ, in which I take a paragraph or three and review recent comics and graphic novel releases, most of which should be on sale at a comics shop or online merchant near you. FLASHPOINT #1 Script: Geoff Johns; Art: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope DC Comics; $3.99 Well, here we go again with another universe-changing mega crossover series! I suppose the Big Two are convinced it’s the only way to drum up interest in their offerings, so we may as well stop bitching about them. This one uses the whole Flash mythos as its springboard, unsurprising since it is Geoff Johns at the helm, after all. We join Barry Allen who wakes up literally in another reality, a “Mirror, Mirror” or It’s A Wonderful Life –style scenario in which he has no powers and none of his chums in the superhero community know who he is, either. One upside: his mom is alive. One of many downsides: his wife Iris doesn’t know him. Also: Wonder Woman and Aquaman are battling each …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 64

Hello and welcome to my online comics confessional, in which I attempt to enlighten you about various comic book and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, many of which should still be on sale somewhere near you, be it online or brick and mortar.  SUICIDE GIRLS #1 Plot: Steve Niles, Missy Suicide, Brea Grant; Script: Grant; Art: David Hahn and Cameron Stewart IDW, $3.99 Anybody who follows pop culture-ish stuff and has spent ten minutes on the Internet is probably aware of the Suicide Girls website, in which attractive alternachicas get to fly their freak flag for all to see and even more if you pay and subscribe. I suppose it was inevitable that at some point it would occur to someone that they could branch out into other fields of endeavor, and convinced the other someones that comics (unsurprising because there’s a lot of overlap in the Venn diagrams of their audiences) would be a good medium to try. Here we have the results- and they’re better than you might think. Set in some sort …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, Number 63

Welcome back for another CoaCSJ, in which I opine upon (that almost looks like a palindrome, doesn’t it?) recent comics and graphic novel releases, most of which should either be on sale, or soon will be, at discriminating retail outlets nation-, nay, world-wide. ACTION COMICS #900 Script/Art: Various DC Comics, $5.99 Gee, for someone that’s mostly indifferent to Superman and his world, I sure do find myself writing about this title a lot, don’t I? Double-sized anniversary issue with not only the finale to Paul Cornell’s ongoing Luthor storyline, but a handful of short stories and pinups by various creators rounding out the package, and at least one of them is of superior quality…just not the one you may be thinking about. No, while the story that’s grabbing all the attention and generating the buzz that drug me back, reluctantly, to check out yet again what people are going on about, is the somewhat out-of-the blue David Goyer-scripted tale in which Superman decides to fly in and support a peaceful protest in Tehran, and when …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 62

This one’s way overdue, I know, so I’ll skip the preamble and proceed with the amble. ANYA’S GHOST Script/Art: Vera Brosgol First Second Books, $19.99;  Available June 7; preorder from Amazon When I first got on the Internet about a thousand years ago, one of the first things I did was start looking for websites that featured illustrators…because I’m just inquisitive like that, I guess. Then, porn. But I digress. I like looking at art, plain and simple. It’s the frustrated artist in me. One of the first non-established comics pro webpages I found was that of Miss Brosgol, way back in 2002; her work just blew me away with its open, playful figure drawings and clever ideas. I’ve watched her career progress ever since, even commissioned a little art from her from time to time (she’s super nice and affordable, too), and have observed her style grow and change via outlets such as the Flight collections as well the influence made evident through her paying work in animation. This is her first published book, and …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 61

Hello and welcome back to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine upon assorted comics and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, and you read and presumably decide if I’m full of hooey or not, and then go (preferably) buy. And it goes like this. CARBON GREY #’s 1,2 Script: Hoang Nguyen, Paul Gardner; Art: Khari Evans, Kinsun Loh, Nguyen Image Comics, $2.99 I doubt the creators were aware of Sucker Punch while they began work on this in 2002, but upon first glance, that’s what immediately came to my ever-looking-for-comparisons mind. Of course, it’s not really all that similar, other than the whole bad-ass killer babes aspect, but I suspect I’m not the only one that thought that. Fortunately, this is interesting enough on its own terms to make such comparisons superfluous. It seems to be taking place in some alternate reality World War I era in which Kaisers rule and bucket-helmeted soldiers fight in filthy trenches. The Grey Sisters (the aforemetioned badass killer babes) have been tasked with defending the Kaiser for decades; and the …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 60

Welcome back to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, my little bully pulpit from which I cast aspersions on a choice selection of recent comics and graphic novel releases that most likely are on sale somewhere near you, be it meatspace or cyberspace. NONPLAYER #1 Script/Art: Nate Simpson Image Comics, $2.99 I’m afraid I was never much of a gamer- when I was a teen, Pong and Space Invaders arcade games were new- though I did play a lot of early Nintendo games with my son, who was (and still is) really into that sort of thing. These days, if I do sit down and play something, it’s usually a sports game like Madden; I just don’t have the time or patience to get involved in the fantasy role-playing, wander-around-and-battle-things type games. So I suppose that automatically puts me at a disadvantage when discussing the relatively recent spate of comics series that use and reference gaming as a jumping-off point for their plots; although I do get the basic idea, I’m sure that there are …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 59

Hello and welcome once more to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I make with the opinions and stuff and junk on comics and graphic novels I’ve perused in the interval since the last CoaCSJ, most of which should be on sale at a brick-and-mortar shop or online merchant near you. BUTCHER BAKER THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER #1 Script: Joe Casey; Art: Mike Huddleston Image Comics, $2.99 This first popped up on reader radar via a late-2010 series of memorable teaser ads, which alternated rude with crude and offered proof that the Frank Miller Aesthetic (as expressed in, oh, Elektra: Assassin, to name the most obvious precursor) was alive and well. Looks like another spy/political thriller sendup, of course filtered through the Super Hero Comic Book prism, and if you don’t mind that chocolate in your peanut butter, then there’s much to like in this spirited entry. The titular figure, an oversized and oversexed Brock Samson type (actually, he reminds me of Master of Kung Fu‘s Black Jack Tarr) that seems to be a cross between Marshall …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 58

Hello and welcome once again to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine on various recently released publications of the sequential graphic nature, some of which may be sitting on the rack at a comics shop, or awaiting the click of a button on some online merchant’s web page, near you. If you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. CLIVE BARKER’S HELLRAISER #1 Script: Clive Barker, Christopher Monfette; Art: Leo Manco Boom! Studios, $3.99 First time I became aware of Clive Barker’s work, it was thanks to Stephen King’s famous “I have seen the future of horror…” quote. At the time (mid-80’s), since I was deeply into King’s series of now-seminal horror fiction, I took his word as gospel since I hadn’t quite gotten all jaded and cynical and stuff. I went out and tracked down a paperback copy of Barker’s first Books of Blood, which featured “The Hellbound Heart”, which of course eventually became better known as the inspiration for the Hellraiser film, and was quite impressed by the imagination …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No.57

Welcome to a overdue, mostly rushed, and special been-under-the-weather edition of Confessions, which will this week be made up of one longish and a bunch of shortish takes on various comics that I’ve read in the last few days. This is necessitated mostly because I didn’t have much time (or, to be honest, energy) to read the one or two things I did have that would be worthy of longer reviews. Mostly, these will be a bunch of DC’s, it looks like…just the way the ball bounced this time. Shall we? XOMBI #1 Script: John Rozum; Art: Fraser Irving. DC Comics, $2.99 (holding that line!) The first Xombi series came and went as part of the Milestone imprint joint publishing effort, under the aegis of DC Comics, waaaay back in 1993. To my discredit, I did not have much interest in this new endeavor, designed to establish a line of minority characters, when it first came out…not because I didn’t want to read about minority characters, far from it, but just because there didn’t seem …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 56

Welcome back to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I give you the skinny, the straight dope, the 411 (and other out-of-date slang terms) on comics and graphic novels of recent vintage, which will be, are, or have been on sale at a brick-and-mortar or online merchant near you. Gonna be a kinda Top Shelf-centric edition this time out. GINGERBREAD GIRL Script: Paul Tobin; Art: Colleen Coover Top Shelf, $12.95 (Release date May 2011) Everybody loves Colleen Coover, and for good reason- she has an open, appealing art style that looks great no matter what she chooses to illustrate, regardless of what she’s been asked to draw. Casual-looking, but really tight when you look closely. Also, she’s very proficient; the Net is full of her sketches and color illos, most of it done on a daily basis, and she’s always contributing to this or that blog. In short, she seems to be one of the really cool and most talented people of the Comics Internet. Now that she’s done all-ages comics as well …