Author: Johnny Bacardi

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 55

Time once more for CoaCSJ, in which I opine upon a handful of recent comics and graphic novel releases, most of which should be just a comics shop visit or internet button click away. AXE COP: BAD GUY EARTH #1 Script: Malachi Nicolle; Art: Ethan Nicolle Dark Horse, $3.50 Everyone, at least internet everyone (and yes, maybe limited to people I follow on Twitter- @j_bacardi, if you’d like to follow me), is talking about this series like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, toilet paper, indoor plumbing or previous internet darling Atomic Robo. Me, I smelled another tempest in a teapot, so I thought I’d see for myself. The very F*CK YEAH! AIRWOLF! title of the thing- AXE COP! more AWESOME than pirates, ninjas and Hipster Ariel put together!- triggers my kneejerk tendency to recoil when presented with things that are overwhelmingly popular- took me decades to work up a taste for Kiss, believe me- but really, I shouldn’t judge it like that before reading it. The first thing I noticed about it was …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 54

Time once more for 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. KING CONAN: THE SCARLET CITADEL #1 of 4 Script: Timothy Truman; Art: Tomas Giorello, Jose Villarrubia Dark Horse Comics; $3.50 Conan and I (the Barbarian, not the talk show host) go back a ways- I bought the occasional issue as a preteen back when Marvel first brought us the illustrated adventures of Robert Howard’s most well-known creation, beginning with #4; I, like most young fanboys, loved Barry Smith’s increasingly-assured and oh-so-decorative art, especially those who remembered his not-so-polished beginnings as a Kirby imitator pre-Barbarian. Roy Thomas was cool with me too a the time, having dug his sadly aborted X-Men with Neal Adams, as well as his Avengers. Eventually, Smith added a Windsor hyphen …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 53

Yep, time once more for Confessions of a you-know what, in which I opine on various releases of recent vintage, which can be found in the comics shop or online merchant of your choice, if you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. 21: THE STORY OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE Script/Art: Wilfred Santiago Fantagraphics Books, $22.99 (Release date March 2011) I’ve been a baseball fan since I was a child; at the age of 9, on a whim, I bought a digest-sized paperback guide to the Major Leagues at a Bowling Green drug store. I read about every team and their players, and soon found out who the good teams and not-so-good teams were. Even better, the back cover printed every logo from every team, and this fascinated the hell out of me and my budding young artist’s eye. The team that interested me most was the Cincinnati Reds, with their running baseball-head guy superimposed over a wishbone “C”. I became a fan of the Reds and by extension got to follow them during what …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 52

Yes, here we go again with another thrilling chapter of Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I spend a paragraph or three inflicting my opinions on comics and graphic novels of recent vintage upon all of you who care to read them. You may notice that this is later than usual; in the past I’ve tried to keep a Wednesday posting schedule. By putting these up on Thursday, though, this gives me a chance to write about comics which came out the previous day, rather than ones which came out the week before. It’s that little touch of something extra that I like to do, because we here at Popdose care about you, our faithful readers. So what do I do this week? I lead with a comic that came out on the 2nd of February. Oh well- as always, I’m a work in progress. LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL #1 Script: Paul Levitz; Art: Keith Giffen, John Dell, Scott Koblish DC Comics, $4.99 I’ve been an on-again, off-again Legion of Super-Heroes reader for …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 51

Time once more for another Confessions, in which I write a line or six or seven about newish releases of the comics and graphic novel type, hopefully still on sale somewhere convenient to you. Kind of a light slate this time out; it’s been a hectic week. I’ll try to do mo’ better next time. THE NEW YORK FIVE #1 Script: Brian Wood; Art: Ryan Kelly DC Comics; $2.99 Every time I read and/or review a Brian Wood-scripted work, I am always confronted with my own personal Brian Wood Work Conundrum. I have tons of respect for his stuff- he’s extremely smart, extraordinarily talented (both as a writer and as an artist), and remarkably proficient. His is a body of work (Couriers, Local, DEMO, Northlanders, DMZ to name a few) which can take its place alongside the best of pretty much any creator of the last twenty years. Yet, for me personally, there’s something about his characters and their mindsets that keeps me at arms’ length. More often as not, a Brian Wood protagonist’s motivations …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 50

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. THE SPIRIT #10 Script: David Hine; Art: Moritat DC Comics, $2.99 I read the first issue of this, DC’s latest attempt to sell us Will Eisner’s most memorable character, and reviewed it several months ago. As I recall, I liked it OK but wasn’t compelled to follow up on it, nor was I particularly drawn to the other “First Wave” titles either, though I thought they were, for the most part, handled well. However, after a long period of overlooking The Spirit, my admittedly flighty attention was captured by the minimal, but really striking, Jose Ladronn cover to this issue that you see at left- Denny Colt, against a stark white background, …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 49

Hello, bonjour. bienvenue, konnichiwa (or konbanwa) and welcome to the latest in a series of review columns covering comics, graphic novels and other assorted effluvia of a graphic and/or sequential nature which I like to refer to by the whimsical appellation of Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie. This is my little bully pulpit (albeit one in which you’re allowed to shout back at me via the handy comments system below), in which I inflict my opinions and observations about recent releases of the above nature, some of which may even still be available at a brick-and-mortar or online merchant near you. To wit: VISION MACHINE Script: Greg Pak; Art: R.B. Silva, Alexandre Palomaro, “Dym” Pak Man Productions, Free to download at VisionMachine.net Mr. Pak, who has been employed by Marvel Comics for quite a few years now and has contributed, or collaborated on, several noteworthy works of comics goodness, including but not limited to co-writing the recent Incredible Hercules and an outstanding, as well as overlooked, take on Jim Starlin’s version of the Adam …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 48

Time once more for 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. MOTEL ART IMPROVEMENT SERVICE Script/Art: Jason Little Dark Horse Originals, $19.99 One of the first webcomics (or to be more accurate, comics published serially on the Web for future collection), I ever read online was Little’s Shutterbug Follies. It assayed the adventures of a young redheaded teenage girl nicknamed “Bee”, (short for “Bee-Jin”, we’re reminded here- she’s part Chinese) who worked at a one-hour photo lab in Manhattan, and whose overarching curiosity got her in a world of trouble with some unsavory people. This sequel picks up at a later date, with little mention of the events of Follies; one previous character has a reoccurring comic relief role, but that’s pretty much it. …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 47

It’s a new year, and time for the return of Confessions of  Comics Shop you-know-what, 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 UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN Script/Art: Aaron Renier First Second, $13.99 This one’s been out a while; apologies for the tardiness of the review but it took me a while to get this one finished! Better late than never, eh? Anyway, I liked Renier’s anthropomorphic Scooby-gang story Spiral Bound when it came out back in 2005 under the auspices of Top Shelf, and was wondering what, if anything, he was going to do next. And here it is, a sprawling Treasure Island-like adventure, full of British Navy guys and pirates and supernatural monsters and magical skulls made from supernatural monster spit and pirates, like a particularly wigged-out made-for-TV 1950’s Walt …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 46: Best of 2010 Edition

Yep, like the title says, it’s time for me to do that list-making thing that we internet pundits do so love to do. And, as I always have done on my own sadly neglected blog, I feel I must preface this list with a disclaimer. The following entries are in no way intended to be the be-all and end-all absolute best comics and/or graphic novels of the past calendar year. There are many, many fine, worthy and worthwhile publications both physical and on the World Wide Internet that I did not have the opportunity, for whatever reason, to partake of. I like to think I read and keep up with what’s au courant, but alas, issues of time, money, and interest tend to hinder me in pursuit of that goal. I enjoyed all of these more than any others I read this year, and recommend them highly. Simple as that. OK, disclaimer complete, here’s my Personal Best of 2010 list. An even dozen. I shall cite them alphabetically so as not to imply (or infer, …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 45

Hello and welcome back to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I write a line or three about comics and/or graphic novel releases of recent vintage, hopefully on sale at a shop or online merchant near you, if you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. PINOCCHIO VAMPIRE SLAYER AND THE GREAT PUPPET THEATRE Script: Dusty Hughes; Art: Van Jensen Slave Labor, $14.95 Just like you can stick the name “Johnny” in front of almost any noun, adjective or adverb and get a cool-sounding name, these days it seems to be the chic thing to do to take a character or historical personage and stick “Vampire Slayer” on the end, the more incongruous, the better. “Little Lotta, Vampire Slayer”. “Wally Cleaver, Vampire Slayer”. My personal favorite, and I want to draw this someday- “Miles Davis, Vampire Slayer”. You get it, I think. Here we have the puppet made famous by Walt Disney- hey! “Walt Disney- Vampire Slayer!” Nah. I digress, sorry. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer. He’s but one …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 44

In case you were keeping score, you’re right, I skipped last week thanks to a very busy Thanksgiving week in which I just plain old didn’t have time to read much of anything. I’m fairly certain you guys would prefer that I read these things before I review them, so…Thanksgiving skip week! Hope you all had a good holiday, if you celebrate. So now, I’m back in the saddle with another week’s edition of CoaCSJ, in which I take a look at select comic book and/or graphic novel releases of recent vintage, presumably on sale somewhere within your reach. THE LITTLEST PIRATE KING Script: Pierre Mac Orlen, Art: David B. Fantagraphics, $16.99 Zombies. Not just zombies, but pirate zombies. Of course, there’s more to this than that, but that’s what it deals with in a nutshell, and any Pirates of the Caribbean comparisons are uncalled for. I had not taken the opportunity to check out David B.’s previous work such as Epileptic, which has wowed critics for the last few years, before I decided to …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 43

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. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS #4 Script: Nick Spencer; Art: “Cafu”, “Bit”. DC Comics, $3.99 When Tower Comics launched back in ’65, anticipating the upcoming Batman-fueled superhero fad and reacting to the James Bond and Man from U.N.C.L.E. crazes, I was still a year away from Grade school. Of course, I was getting comics right, left, and center but I don’t recall seeing a single issue of anything that company put out on the spinner racks and magazine stands I had access to. Maybe the 25¢ price point made my parents cast a dubious eye, who knows. Anyway, didn’t get to read any until many years later, when I, in my nascent Wally Wood fandom …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 42

Yep, time once more for Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine upon a handful of recent comics and/or graphic novel releases, most of which should be on sale at a bricks-and-mortar or online merchant near you. SERENITY: THE SHEPHERD’S TALE Script: Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon; Art: Chris Samnee Dark Horse; $14.99 The signal can’t be stopped, and apparently neither can the steady stream of miniseries and graphic novels based on the short-lived cult Sci-Fi western. I had high hopes for this one in particular when I first heard about it; it promised to shed some light on one of the most nagging of the untied loose ends left in the wake of the cancellation of the TV show and the non-performance of the film at the box office, i.e. the mysterious backstory of one of the show’s most interesting characters: Shepherd Derrial Book, the holy man of peace who was equally adept at meting out punishment to those who threatened his friends and played perfectly by Ron (Det. Harris on Barney …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 41

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. HELLBOY/BEASTS OF BURDEN: SACRIFICE Script: Evan Dorkin, Mike Mignola; Art: Jill Thompson Dark Horse Comics, $3.99 Gotta hand it to Mike Mignola; his creation Hellboy has that Batman-like ability to work well no matter who the heck you team him up with; I have no doubt that you could team the big red guy up with Little Dot and it would work (which is actually, now that I think of it, not the case for Batman). There for a while, Dark Horse was maximizing his potential by having HB team up, Wolverine-like, with an assortment of then-current Dark Horse properties such as Ghost and Madman, and eventually branched out by loaning him …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 40

You are interested in the unknown… the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking CoCSJ, in which I opine on comics and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, most of which should be available at a brick-and-mortar or online merchant near you? Can you hear Criswell spinning in his grave? VERTIGO RESURRECTED #1 Scripts: Various including Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis & more; Art: Various incl. Phil Jiminez, Eduardo Risso, Berni Wrightson, more. DC/Vertigo; $7.99 It appears that in the wake of all the corporate restructuring going on at DC, some cleaning out of file cabinets has been occurring lately; that’s the only reason I can think of to explain this anthology series, which marks the first legally published appearance of the 1999 Warren Ellis/Phil Jiminez/Andy Lanning Hellblazer story “Shoot”. Coming up as it did, during Ellis’ short tenure on that title, and in the wake of the Columbine murders, the story (which dealt with a woman obsessed with researching mass killings, including Jonestown and school shootings) …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 39

Here we go again with CoCSJ, in which I opine of comics and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, most of which should be available at a brick-and-mortar or online merchant near you. KNIGHT AND SQUIRE #1 (of 6) Script: Paul Cornell; Art: Jimmy Broxton DC Comics, $2.99 In which Cornell shows that he can bust out the U.K. slang and obscure comics characters just as well as Moz, Moore and Garth can. Of course, the titular pair (at least in this incarnation) are Morrison creations anyway, springing from the 50’s “Batmen of the World” story, so, as so many things with DC these days are, this is beholden to Mr. Morrison as well. You’d think this would be a good thing, but I’m not here to bitch about DC’s editorial direction or lack of same, I’m being positive this time. As he proved over at Marvel with his too-short Captain Britain and MI-13 series, Cornell’s a very good writer in his own right, and what he does here is excellent. Using the tried and …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 38

Time once more for CoCSJ, now with an extra comma at no cost to you, in which I opine of comics and graphic novel releases of recent vintage, most of which should be available at a brick-and-mortar or online merchant near you. HERO COMPLEX Script: Adam Freeman, Marc Bernardin; Art: Javi Fernandez Kickstart Comics, $14.99 Freeman and Bernardin, the team behind Monster Attack Network for AiT/PlanetLar, and The Highwaymen for DC/Wildstorm, both of which I found pretty darn entertaining if not exactly game-changing, are back with a brand new graphic novel for a brand new publisher (including Jimmy Palmiotti and Larry Young, read here for more). This one gives us the exploits of a young, idealistic, megapowered Superman type called “Captain Supreme” and his Arthur-like sidekick, who fights crime and evil in Constellation City. Problem is, he refuses to cash in on his notoriety, and on top of that is constantly being upstaged and made to look bad by Eclipse, a Batman-style vigilante, who always seems to get all the attention and credit for what …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 37

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, that more-or-less weekly and rarely on-time feature 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 right now, if you’re lucky. Or of you’re not, as the case may be. KOKO BE GOOD Script/Art: Jen Wang First Second Books, $18.99 I’m a little surprised that this is Wang‘s first full-length graphic novel; seems like I’ve been following her (and no, not in a stalkery way) career for a long time now, first via her webcomic Strings of Fate (I’d link, but I can’t find one, tho it’s mentioned on her website), on through the Pants Press art collective sketch blog, and her short stories in the first couple of Flight anthologies. Extrapolated from a shorter webcomic Wang did in 2004, we get the standard insecure, straight-laced young guy-meets-kooky, cute, free-spirited, living …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 36

Welcome back to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, that more-or-less weekly and rarely on-time feature 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 right now, if you’re lucky. Or of you’re not, as the case may be. SKULLKICKERS #1 Script: Jim Zubkavich; Art: Edwin Huang, Chris Stevens Image Comics, $2.99 Based on the buzz I’ve read here and there about this comic, it sure seems there’s still some room left for witty barbarian stories in today’s comics climate. Sure, we’ve still got Conan around, but there’s nothing remotely clever about the big guy, or any of the other Robert Howard creations…well, OK, Solomon Kane was at least subtle, but you can read his stories for weeks on end and never crack a smile. This is more akin to the adventures of Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd the Barbarian and his drinking, etc. buddy the …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 35

Time once more for Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, that more-or-less weekly and rarely on-time feature 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 right now, if you’re lucky. Or of you’re not, as the case may be. LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES #3 Script/Art: Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez Fantagraphics; $14.99 As usual, Gilbert works his ongoing movie-themed storyline, giving us a kinda-sly Avatar satire (well, it could be) as well as a further account of former child star Dora aka “Killer”, who’s now being approached to do a sequel to the movie in the first story. I won’t pretend to have a clue as to what Beto’s trying to do with this stuff; sometimes he seems to be paying tribute of sorts to junk cinema and/or comment on the current state of the movies, and sometimes it seems like …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 34

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, that more-or-less weekly feature 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. FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT: THE LIFE AND ART OF MORT MESKIN Written by Steven Brower with Peter and Philip Meskin Fantagraphics Books, $39.99 (October 4) Well, if nothing else 2010 may be shaping up to be the Year of the Overlooked-Illustrator Biography; along with  Blake Bell’s outstanding look at Bill Everett, we now have this overview of the life and career of one of Everett’s contemporaries, Morton Meskin. I saw Meskin’s work a lot as a little kid, looking at old issues of the fantasy comics stuff like DC’s House of Secrets; it didn’t make a strong impression on me. He wasn’t even credited sometimes, which wasn’t unusual …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 33

Time once more for 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. CURSED PIRATE GIRL #3 Script/Art: Jeremy Bastian Olympian Publishing, $4.95 Yeah, the premise, this sort of whimsical pirate fantasy featuring kids, reminds me of a lot of things: children’s stories, Peter Pan, even more recent fare such as Ted Naifeh’s Polly and the Pirates. But the difference is in the execution; Bastian does a wonderful approximation of Winsor McCay, if McCay was inclined to draw 19th century political cartoons or maps for the Navy. It’s reminiscent of stuff people like Tony Millionaire and Dame Darcy are doing in their respective little corners of the world, and does not take a back seat to either of them. In a very small nutshell, the C.P.G. of the …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 32

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine upon a handful of recent releases of the comic book and/or graphic novel type, some of which may even still be on the rack at a comics shop near you, or available via the click of a button and the insertion of bank card information from an online merchant, if you’re lucky. Or if you’re not, as the case may be. Shall we? DRACULA: THE COMPANY OF MONSTERS #1 Script: Kurt Busiek, Daryl Gregory; Art: Scott Godlewski Boom! Studios, $3.99 Another modern-day take on the venerable vampire, this time spearheaded by Kurt (Astro City) Busiek, as solid a scripter as the come, but not one particularly known for his innovative ideas. That said, this is set up fairly well, with DaVinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark overtones. Teamed up with novelist Gregory, we get introduced to the cast in this first issue, including our POV guy (or protagonist for now, anyway- he may be destined to take the …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 31

Sorry about the skipped week; various things going on squeezed out most of my writing time. I’ll try not to let that become anything like a regular thing, OK? Anyways, time once more for Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I opine upon a handful of recent releases of the comic book and/or graphic novel type, some of which may even still be on the rack at a comics shop near you, or available via the click of a button and the insertion of bank card information from an online merchant, if you’re lucky. Or if you’re not, as the case may be. Shall we? HONEY WEST #1 Script: Trina Robbins; Art: Cynthia Martin Moonstone Comics, $3.99 I was every bit of five years old when the Honey West TV series, starring Anne Francis as a sexy P.I. with a leopard-print wardrobe as well as a real leopard as a pet, aired on ABC. Of course, at that tender young age I didn’t really pick up on the more, shall we say, grownup …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 30

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. NANCY IN HELL #1 Writer: El Torres; Artist: Juan Jose Ryp Image Comics, $2.99 As much as I was hoping we had some sort of Dante-meets-Ernie Bushmiller mashup going on, it turns out it’s not the case. Still, this does have its lowbrow charm- take a dash of 90’s chainsaw-toting bad-girl (Dead ringer for Pam Anderson, to be precise), mix it with a soupcon of the Aughts zombie comics craze, season with the Gaimanesque Hell concept as expanded upon by Carey (Hell is what you think you deserve; if anyone else came up with that, and I’d be willing to bet someone did, I’m not aware of who it is), and wrap …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 29

That’s right, it’s (a little past, I know) time for 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. WARLORD OF IO Vol. 1 Writer/Artist: James Turner Slave Labor Graphics, $14.95 I tried, but couldn’t get with Turner’s previous higher-profile gig, Rex Libris. It was simply too joylessly text-heavy, which made it come across as leaden and dull despite some often-clever visuals. As a result, I’ve mostly ignored his work until the fine folks at SLG sent me this engaging little cartoon space-opera of a graphic novel. On one of Jupiter’s moons (guess which one) the Emperor Zoz decides it’s time to retire after a thousand years, so he turns it over to his slacker son Zing, who doesn’t want the position- he only wants to …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 28

How do ya like the banner? Credit the esteemed Mr. Dw. Dunphy for the graphics honors. 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. CBGB #1 Scripts: Keiron Gillon, Sam Humphries;  Art: Marc Ellerby, Rob G.; Cover: Jaime Hernandez Boom! Studios, $3.99 When Punk hit as a movement, or a lifestyle, or whatever you want to call it, I was 16. Just the right age, it would seem, for me to recognize that the fat, bloated, dinosaur bands and their flaccid, fatuous music were overdue to be made redundant and a new, aggressive, more now kind of music and musicians were to be admired and identified with. The Ramones. The Pistols. The Damned. Television. Elvis Costello. The Clash. Et Cetera. …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 27

I really need to create a neato-keeno banner like all the music guys have. 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. SCOTT PILGRIM Vol. 6: SCOTT PILGRIM’S FINEST HOUR Script/Art: Bryan Lee O’Malley Oni Press, $11.99 It’s been quite the ride, this Scott Pilgrim series, from when Bryan Lee O’Malley was first known only for a handful of webcomics as well as his standalone graphic novel Lost at Sea. Then, word filtered throughout the fledgling Comics Blogosphere about his next project, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, and things would never be the same. It was your basic internet success story, debuting to near-unanimous praise for its imaginative, clever, even audacious at times art and story. Of course, it …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, No. 25

Welcome back to Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, my little forum in which I attempt to spotlight several recent works of sequential graphic storytelling that I find noteworthy, and think you might too- many of which may still be purchased for your very own personal enjoyment at a comics shop, bookstore, or online merchant near you if you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. SCARLET #1 Script: Brian Michael Bendis, Art: Alex Maleev Marvel/Icon, $3.95 Young college-age Portland couple runs afoul of corrupt cops, who accuse them of dealing drugs; boy hits cop, gets shot, killed and is made to look like a dealer in the papers (even though there’s no prior history), girl takes a gun butt to the head, wakes up in hospital, realizes that “everything is broken”, and decides to do everything in her power to make things right by becoming a sexy vigilante. I make this sound rather hackneyed, I know, but honestly, it is effective in the telling- Bendis has his protagonist address the reader, breaking the …