The 2017 Ringo Comic Industry Award Nominees are..

Recently, the annual Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards (also known as the Ringo Awards), released its list for this year’s nominees.

The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards recently replaced the long-standing Harvey Awards. The name honors Mike Wieringo (aka Ringo), a celebrated American comics artist best-known for his work on DC Comics’ The Flash and Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four. Ringo passed away in 2007, with much-celebrated work among many publishers. The Ringo awards mark its début this year as part of the 2017 Baltimore Comic-Con.

The nominees were chosen by both pros, and fans open to sending in their award considerations. The voting for the winners among the nominees is to be chosen by professionals in the comic book industry creative community. Voting will close on August 16, 2017. For info and voting participation, visit ringoawards.com.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony during the 2017 Baltimore Comic-Con on Saturday, September 23. Here are the nominees:

Best Series

  • Faith (Valiant Entertainment)
  • Paper Girls (Image Comics)
  • Saga (Image Comics)
  • Spectrum (Automatic Pictures)
  • Vision (Marvel Comics)

Best Single Issue or Story

  • Deadly Hands of Criminal (Image Comics)
  • DC Universe Rebirth#1 (DC Comics)
  • Emancipation Day (www.redistrictedcomics.com)
  • Faith #1 (Valiant Entertainment)
  • Locke & Key: Small World (IDW Publishing)

Best Original Graphic Novel

  • Ghosts (Scholastic/Graphix)
  • March: Book III (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Patience (Daniel Clowes, Fantagraphics)
  • Tetris: The Games People Play (First Second)
  • Wonder Woman: The True Amazon (DC Comics)

Best Anthology

  • Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Island (Image Comics)
  • Love is Love (DC Comics/IDW Publishing)
  • ReDistrictedComics.com (www.redistrictedcomics.com)
  • Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special (DC Comics)

Best Humor Comic

  • Adventures of God (Line Webtoons)
  • Blue Chair (Line Webtoons)
  • Giant Days (BOOM! Studios)
  • I Hate Fairyland (Image Comics)
  • Jughead (Archie Comics)
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel Comics)

Best Non-Fiction Comic Work

  • Cooking Comically (www.cookingcomically.com)
  • Dark Night, A True Batman Story (DC Comics)
  • March: Book Three (Top Shelf)
  • ReDistrictedComics.com (www.redistrictedcomics.com)
  • Rolling Blackouts (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Tetris: The Games People Play (First Second)

Best Presentation in Design

  • Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comic Series (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Al Williamson’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Artist Edition (IDW Publishing)
  • Britannia (Valiant Entertainment)
  • Legacy of Luther Strode (Image Comics)
  • Mike Mignola’s Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects: Artist’s Edition Hardcover (IDW Publishing)
  • Moebius Library: The World of Edena (Dark Horse Books)
  • The ODY-C: Cycle One Hardcover (Image Comics)
  • Spectrum (Automatic Pictures)

Best Comic Strip or Panel

  • Bloom County (Berkeley Breathed, Universal Uclick)
  • Dick Tracy (Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, Tribune Media Services)
  • Foxtrot (Bill Amend, Universal Press Syndicate)
  • Mutts (Patrick McDonnell, King Features Syndicate)
  • Pearls Before Swine (Stephan Pastis, Universal Uclick)

Best Webcomic

Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)

  • Daniel Clowes
  • Steve Conley
  • Hernandez Brothers
  • Aydin Anh Huynh (Snailords)
  • Kaitlyn Narvaza (instantmiso)
  • Skottie Young

Best Writer

  • P.J. Haarsma
  • Alan Tudyk
  • Jody Houser
  • Tom King
  • Robert Kirkman
  • Jeff Lemire
  • Alan Moore
  • Mark Waid
  • David Walker
  • Gerard Way

Best Artist or Penciller

  • Kaare Andrews
  • Cliff Chiang
  • Rafael de Latorre
  • Mitch Gerards
  • Jason Johnson
  • Jason Latour
  • Dustin Nguyen
  • Fiona Staples

Best Inker

  • Mark Brooks
  • Jeremy Freeman
  • Jonathan Glapion
  • Jason Latour
  • Jae Lee
  • Danny Miki
  • Sean Murphy
  • Victor Olazaba

Best Letterer

  • Clayton Cowles
  • Taylor Esposito
  • Todd Klein
  • Troy Peterl
  • John Workman

Best Colorist

  • Jordie Bellaire
  • Tamra Bonvillain
  • Elizabeth Breitweiser
  • Laura Martin
  • Rico Renzi
  • Sarah Stone
  • Matt Wilson

Best Cover Artist

  • Frank Cho
  • Mike Del Mundo
  • J.G. Jones
  • Phil Noto
  • Ryan Sook
  • Fiona Staples
  • Sana Takeda

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.12.13, To Keep Going..

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

Uber Invasion #1 (Avatar) by Kieron Gillen, Daniel Gete

“Kieron Gillen’s reimagining of superpowers and history is back with America under attack! In the waning days of World War II, the Germans discovered a way to enhance soldiers into unstoppable monsters. With these weapons Hitler conquered all of Europe and now has set his sights on the United States. This is Uber: Invasion! The German battleships are on American soil and with the allies struggling to make up lost ground in Enhanced Soldier development; the young country is facing the possibility of annihilation!”

I am unfamiliar with the earlier Uber series, and quite unaware until looking up this title. With that in mind, there doesn’t seem much to figure out. Nazi’s have a lot of terrible technology and they are winning the Second World War. For much of the issue, there seems to be a lot of grim exposition. There is a frightening element on where the worst real-life villains in all of history suddenly given unreal power; a sort of opposite from the Golden Age of comics of its day. Much of the first issue takes a while to set-up, with a terrifying ending that delivers the horror to come.  The art and exposition does it function well, in the meantime; especially with the last pages. Where does it go, and can this world be saved at all from this Uber Invasion? I suppose I must read the next issues to find out.

Motor Crush #1 (Image) by Brandon Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr

“The team behind the critically acclaimed revamp of Batgirl returns with an exciting sci-fiction-adventure series! By day, Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks heads of rival gangs in brutal bike wars to gain possession of a rare, valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush.”

A solid first issue, that really brings out a perfect balance of pencils, inks, colors, story, sequential flow, and overall atmosphere. Much of it feels like a lost animation classic with a mix of Speed Racer and Death Race 2000. The panels of Motor Crush gives much detail in text and visuals for the readers to process, and delve into. Yet, there are moments of motor action, with high-fuel turbo-charged action. The sequence of the story feels like a crazy ride, with some shocking crashes and apparent danger. Then, there is a dead stop with the cliffhanger, leaving the reader to ponder what’s next for the protagonist and her place in all this. I look forward to finding out.

The Flintstones #6 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“The Great Gazoo is working on his report card for the human race, and so far humanity has earned a big fat “F.” When the Church of Gerard starts selling Indulgences, Bedrock descends into violence and debauchery. Meanwhile, a miner gets trapped at Slate’s Quarry. Might there be an honest citizen in this burgeoning civilization willing to come to his rescue?”

Another great issue for this very underrated series. Here, it seems Bedrock (and the rest of the world) is facing its own doomsday scenario, as the latest in primate science makes a terrible discovery of extinction-level proportions. The reaction is terrifying and fascinating in its satirical take mirrors our society, about how fast our social norms in what’s wrong and right and where religion dogma is questioned, then goes to hell. The hysteria is hilarious, whole others take a more somber approach. Is it about time for this world to end? I hope not, as I love this series and hope to see many more issues (which looks good toward the end, I think). Plus, there is an incredibly touching moment involving Fred’s bowling ball and vacuüm cleaner, as those sentient creatures discuss their sad lives. I felt my eyes water a little reading that.

The Electric Sublime #3 (IDW) by Maxwell Prince, Martin Marazzo

“The only sane response to imperfection is to destroy the imperfect thing…” While Margot investigates the most recent art crime, Arthur and Manny dive into a familiar painting to visit an old friend. And at the institute, in a blank white room, Dylan sketches something horrific.”

A strange little series so far, that I think rewards those who want something a little different in their comics. I love the weird use of real art, mixed into the story. The use of panels, and switching between white and black, and then the balanced and unbalanced edges; is brilliant in displaying the mental effects of the real world and the art our protagonists delve into. There are some very original ideas going on, with some unique characters and twists at play. I think, however, I should know more about the art references being used here, to better understand the bigger picture of the story.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.12.6, More Fantastic in the Drama..

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

Savage#1 (Valiant) by B. Clay Moore, Clayton Henry, Lewis Larosa

“Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife –pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by prehistoric creatures from another time… This is the story of how they lost their humanity.”

An interesting first issue, where the present is a well-drawn action-packed moment of a man vs. dinosaur fight for survival. The rest of the issue gives you the background of the man’s birth and parents that brought him there. It’s all right and understood, through uncertain as to where the story goes towards. it’s a far cry from the 1990’s Turok the Dinosaur Hunter, also done by Valiant Comics (and now licensed in the hands of Dynamite, I think). The art is best in the present time with moody colors and heated tones, then a bit dry in the flashback. So far, it’s a story worth giving a chance to, because dinosaurs are freakin awesome when done right.

Superman Annual (2016-) #1 (DC) by Patrick Gleason, Peter Tomasi, Jorge Jimenz

“Now, Swamp Thing comes hunting for the Man of Steel to discover what strange connection this new Superman has to the planet. But their contact is something neither is prepared for, leading to Kal-El battling the Earth elemental who wants to bury him.”

I haven’t read much into the Superman in a while. So here, with an appearance by an old favorite of the DC Universe, the Swamp Thing is here. They talk and fight, as go the way of things of powerful beings. Though, there feels so much more into how Superman’s power connects to the Earth in a more spiritual way, as can only be understood through his meeting with the Swamp Thing. Here, this Superman must find this new Earth as his home, therefore be bonded to it like no other. It’s a good tale of friendship and cooperation via the Green avatar, though not always understood at first. Overall, not a very epic tale but one very much worth reading for those who enjoy the ongoing journey of Earth’s mighty adopted son.

Seven To Eternity #3 (Image), by Rick Reminder, Matt Hollingsworth, Jerome Opena

“The last Mosak charge headlong into battle against the Mud King and his terrifying guardian, the Piper. Will Adam join the fight, even though the Mosak were the cause of his family’s downfall?”

The series is growing on me much since the first issue. I think there is still much to sift and study through on its world building and mythical structure. But perhaps in doing so, one can do in living through Adam and the Mosak’s Knights crazy fight against the Piper. Such takes a good portion of the issue, and the twists and turns feel like some awesome Magic: the Gathering game turned upon itself. The issue gives a bit of optimism in a world that feels against the side of good, with a need for more heroes to take out a great established evil. The art really sings, with exquisite detail and vibrant colors. There is still much for the reader to lose oneself in, for the many unanswered questions on the overall setting and concepts at play. My hopes are in future issues, that more will reveal.

Saga #40 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

“”THE WAR FOR PHANG,” Part Four

It’s all fun and games until…”

Wow, if Robot’s dreams weren’t creepy enough..now the kids can watch them on his face. And for much of the issues, we find Robot far more complex and troubling than us readers have become used to, which much towards his own failure to build his own happy family. The ending is a bit disturbing towards what may be the next big tragic fall in this story. Such is a part of the growing isolation between characters here, even though the Phang War seems to move on to its questionable conclusion. Gwendolyn, Petrichor have their own paths, seemingly going nowhere to anything particular optimistic. The are tough times ahead, with the only bright spot in the universe being Hazel and whoever she manages to make friends with. Such builds the excitement, and the long road ahead for the reminder of Saga for the many years to come.

One a side note, there is one particularly striking shot done by Fiona Staples here, which brings Saga back its limitless realm of imaginative possibility. Amazing, I show you…

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Seriously, I want a print of this.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.11.27, Catching Up

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Behold, some new comics this week.

Yet only a few. Though, I have been lacking in prior weeks in logging new reads here on SW. So for this week, I add four more notable reads from the prior weeks. Take a look below, and ponder what I have wrote, and think perhaps if you agree or not (with minor spoilers).

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/23/2016

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED NOVEMBER 2016:

Night’s Dominion #3 (Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh

“Emerane and her companions narrowly escape the Cult of Uhlume and the relentless Furie, exhausted but no richer for their efforts. Going their separate ways into in the pitiless streets of Umber, they each find a dead-end waiting. Now penniless, Emerane’s quest to free her younger brother from debtor’s prison seems more hopeless than ever. Until a possible solution comes from the most unlikely ally imaginable—the Furie himself. But his help comes with a dangerous price.”

Still a great series with interesting characters and stylish art. However, there suffers the problem of too much exposition, and missing back story I felt lost upon me. While much of it falls back to her Emerane and quest, there is too much drama and lacking the fun of the last two issues. Perhaps, I should be patient where much could be merely a set-up for better things to come.  The ending cliffhanger does bring some excitement but reserved for next issue it seems. The Furie meanwhile is an interesting switch from the usual genre of superhero, where he seems to a sort of villain in all this. Much of it is a big change of direction for what I thought things headed in the last issue, where some interesting characters from the last issue are put to the side, for now.

Chew #60 (Image) by John Layman, Rob Guillory

“Last issue. Double sized. Epilogue”

The end of the long great series has finally come. And, its not a typical ending, which fits. This is not a typical series. It’s not so much an end to the story I feel, as the opening epilogue shows life will go on for the different Chu, and there will be more food fight. Yet, the second half is the finale to the alien arrival, where Tony lost loved ones and suffered much to now please the alien visitors. All makes great sense when the aliens show their faces. The abrupt ending act shows that he has enough of the story, and perhaps the series. I felt a little upset, that there still remains a gap between the epilogue and the alien landing. Apparently, everything turned okay and the aliens made peace. Perhaps, the point is Chu being the hero, sacrificing all for a better world; yet, becomes conflicted himself and gives in to the eventual unacceptable ending. Such is fitting I think, and only excusable for the amazing creative team of Layman and Guillory.

Cage! #2 (Marvel) by Genndy Tartakovsky

“TRAPPED in the jungle a thousand miles from home, HUNTED by savage beasts that walk like men, Luke’s got just one thing going for him: Ain’t no cage that can hold Cage!”

I love the art, with this cartoonish interpretation of Luke Cage. Much of it fits Genndy Tartakovsky’s style while, which many know better from his creative animated work on Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack. His storytelling relies much on visuals, where the actions clearly speak louder than words. However here, the panels are overly large and story a bit too simplistic. To enjoy it, would be to admire the artwork more than the story, which lacks for this issue. It’s more of a display of emotions, ranging from anger and fear while feeling lost and eventually dealing with hallucinatory toxins. The issue is still fun, though I think better suited as new animated work should Genndy Tartakovsky translated this work upon the Cartoon Network.

Brittania #3 (Valiant) by Peter Milligan, Juan Jose Ryp – Release date: Nov 16, 2016

“At the border between civilization and the magic-laden lands beyond, Rome’s first detective is haunted by violence and visions of dark forces that defy all sense? Antonius Axia’s disturbing investigation in the frontier colony of Britannia deepens…and with each disturbing new clue he uncovers, the farther his mind sinks into disarray! Connecting the clues behind the grisly rumors of horror in the empire’s northernmost reach, Antonius must gain an ally as dangerous as the darkness that now surrounds him. But who is this mysterious new partner, and will she lead Antonius toward the bright light of truth and salvation?or into the cold flame of eternal damnation?”

I think this is the best series loosely based on historical elements, of which I have read in a long time. I think it’s all in the unearthed elements of Roman history, mythology, superstitions, and age-old thinking on chaotic magic vs. logical reasoning. It’s also feeling more a bit of Evil Dead in Roman times. I feel a bit more empathy for Antonius Axia, as he fights for his soul in a strange land slipping further away from Roman control, and the loss of his family. The art feels a bit more changed since the first issue, with larger panels and more exposition detail. The character growth is more focused on Axia, whose strength carries the story, hopefully toward a thoughtful conclusion.

Supernaut #1 (215 Ink) by Michael David Nelsen – Release date: Nov 9, 2016

Coherent Wave Interference Pattern
A 21st-Century cosmic hero myth, this is SUPERNAUT! Reality-hopping thieves join the newly ascended consciousness of Astronaut Stephen Haddon – now known as the Supernaut – pulling trans-dimensional capers across the Macroverse! Strange artifacts on the Moon, meeting God and stealing a map to the land of the dead from a secret pyramid beneath the Pentagon. A mystical, cosmic, sci-fi adventure like no other!

This book feels very different, and not what I expected. Supernaut presents the finest of what one could want out of some metaphysical cosmic melodrama. The colorful art, playful expositions, over-the-top universe building with a ridiculous set of characters one should not take to seriously. There is a bit of fun in all that, especially with the protagonist and allies. I love the exposition and inventive deprogression of time, and how somehow the Pentagon being an inverted pyramid. Also, I feel like some of this is poking fun at Grant Morrison. Overall, a great first issue that only a certain type of reader will enjoy.

Ether #1 (Dark Horse) Matt Kindt, David Rubin – Release date: Nov 9, 2016

A science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.

A surreal over-the-top world of magic met with a man who seeks to rationalize it all. While there is trouble afoot, there is much for both the main character and the reader to sort out. The visuals, sequential presentation, and gorgeous colors are superb, and help submerge the reader into the strange world of Ether. The wit and odd thinking of Boone Dias, keeps his character a bit unique, though the world around him is a bit overwhelming in concepts and bizarre designs. It’s a book overall best enjoyed slowly with the crazy concepts and strange mystery about. The ending puts it best to perhaps trust the storytelling in future issues, where perhaps “everything can be explained.”

Flintstones #5 (DC Comics) By Mark Russell, Steve Pugh – Release date: Nov 2, 2016

It’s time to “Bedrock the vote!” With the Bedrock mayoral race heating up, the local middle school decides to join in on the fun by holding their own election for class president. Will Ralph the Bully punch his way to victory? Or is there a new kind of candidate waiting in the wings to start a revolution? Meanwhile, Fred and Barney reminisce about their days fighting for their city as part of the Water Buffalo army.

It’s a good issue, but not the best of the series. Yet, this issue carries on the emotional depth we could otherwise never expect of prehistory’s first family. The most interesting are the subplot of where Barney’s dysfunction in producing a child for his wife, Betty. Such is part of a flashback to his war days with Fred, filled with propaganda and war, rich in satirical tones. A conclusion is sweet, which benefits Barney as he adopts a war orphan. Such heart shows perhaps why he and Fred are such great friends, as both are noble in their special ways. Meanwhile in the “present” day, getting “punched in the beef” becomes a major campaigning point for one bully running for class president in Bedrock’s middle school for children. While this is amusing, it’s timing with the current Election points out the absurdities of election perception to fear and power are merely illusions, to which is up to voters to accept the presentation of such. Overall, Flintstones currently remains the most clever and brilliant monthly comic on the new shelf.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the new shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.10.5, The Usual Unusual..

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Here are some new comics from last week, of which I have thoughts to share.

In this round, I choose mostly ongoing series recently enjoyed and something new. There were many more titles to capture my attention, however my time was limited (and my log review later than usual). Let’s see below (with minor spoilers)…

(with minor spoilers)

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 9/28:

Lake of Fire #2 (Image) by Nathan Fairbairn, Matt Smith

A great second issue that feels more like a cinematic thrill ride than your average comic involving chivalry and/or murderous alien monsters. Here, we have more great character buildup, especially of one heroic knight saving a local woman from religious persecutors and whatever the otherworldly hell has come to feast on all human flesh. Suddenly, there is a massive fight for survival with some stylish, yet simple sequential art that feels a bit like an old classic comic packed with action and suspense. There is something familiar about the set-up as nothing is truly original, just a mix-matching of familiar tropes. This one is just better done, thus making me forget whatever elements I have seen before. I like the end, where there we have a narrowing down of the brave souls left, calling for more heroism and bravery in the next issue.

Saga #38 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

What?!! Oh hell no!! I felt some the tragic loss coming from the recent issues, as things seem to go to well for our friends in the Sagaverse. We lose a very beloved character in a sad tragical scene that also introduces a new, and instantly hated character. Yet, such done in a way that I feel reminds the readers that not everyone here is safe, not even a #####. Much of this issue seems calculated to make us feel more so for this character as there are moments where said character brings joy, bravery, and love to the central cast. Suddenly, there is an impact on the last page, that brings emotion to Hazel and the readers. It’s a bit heartbreaking but a feat for the writer and artist to make such an impact using a bizarre made-up universe that is far more fantasy-fiction than science-fiction.

Hillbilly #3 (Albatross) by Eric Powell

Issue three is as great as the first two issues, with another great almost self-contain story with Rondel the Hillbilly. This time, he is less alone as he guides others and us readers through a swamp of terrors and dark fairy tales. There is much lore and mythology, all fresh and exciting while the Hillbilly leads on with a bit more direct action. The art continues to draw the reader in, with introductions on new elements of talking familiars and distorted nature. The colors and rich backdrops continue to delight the part of me that loves a god fantasy. I liked twist to the story near the end, solving a bit of mystery brought about. There is more ahead, with a personal vendetta that needs to be met. I remain excited to see where this all goes and loving the journey.

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte #1 (Benitez Productions) by Joe Benitez, M M Chen, Bath Sotelo

I have yet to read the earlier Lady Mechanika series but decided to take a chance on this new series. This, because I love that cover. Within, I found much more than the steampunk western I was expecting. There is much to this robotic traveling dame, as her responses and observations have a cool, badass tune. Yet, not be left alone as the usual tough western tropes go, she excepts herself among locals at a Day of the Dead celebration of Mexican culture. Along the way in this strange fictional reality, she makes friends and learns interesting things, leading to new dangers and stakes among new friends. The art and digital coloring are stunning, with rich details to behold.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.9.27, More Wonderful Things

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New comics again! This week from the last week, with four of continued issues I have enjoyed, and two new series. Below are my fresh thought on these current reads, which you may or may not agree…

Here we go, (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS:

Seven to Eternity #1 (Image) by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena

i love the art, a great combo of pencils and colors used to show a whole new exciting world. There lies fantastic concepts and imagery, plenty for those who like to take their time with something completely new and reimagined. Along with that, is also a lot of lingo and background details to piece together. This at time can seem a bit frustrating at times with odd unexplained magic and unfamiliar imaginative terminology. Overall, there is a story of good vs. evil that is not hard to figure, as we have an good-hearted soul resisting all the darkness that is brought before him in a string of dark emotions. I am curious to where the story and art could talk me with every page, which is too beautiful to ignore.

Britannia #1 (Valiant) by Peter Milligan, Juan Jose Ryp

PICK OF THE WEEK! An interesting take on ancient Roman history, with dashes of dark comedy and horror. The author takes the best of the outrageous aspects of its core with Nero and the Vestal Virgins and mixes it with the almost regular life of Centurion soldier whose honorable act brings on supernatural happenings. There is much to enjoy with the detailed, lively art (love the facial expressions) and well-paced writing, as we have a series of character building moments backed by deeds for better or worse. I love how conflicted the main character becomes, and the challenges the first issue foreshadows in the northern British Isles. I look forward to seeing how all this connects, and more of the guilty pleasure entertainment throughout.

Karnak #5 (Marvel) by Warren Ellis, Roland Boschi

Another great issue added to this highly underrated series. Here, we have Karnak whose power is to see the flaws in his adversaries. There in an interrogation cell, we meet an elderly cultist who describes himself as a painter but reaches inside the mind of Karnak to create an illusion. It’s a battle of the psyche, with a conclusion reminding us off the badassery of Karnak. This is a great character building issue, from different perspectives leading to a conclusion that leaves much open for our others to explore. Such is an example of how much of the Marvel Universe is still unexplored in those lesser known underused characters.

Chew #58 (Image) by John Layman, Rob Guillory

It’s almost the end for Tony Chu, as this issue focuses much on the relationship between him and Amelia. The issue also feels like a slow goodbye to the cast whose importance is waning in this world that may end. Perhaps its time, as an important decision must be made, which I am sure will lead to some very inventive use of the weird ideas of John Layman’s Chewverse. There are a few bites left, of which I feel will leave a bitter after-taste. The series has been great as a whole, of which I will finish to the last scrap.

Vision #11 (Marvel) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire

The end is almost here for this brilliant series. Vision must now fight his Avengers teammates for the life the android brother who killed his android son. It’s a troubling dilemma where so much emotion put into these machines. It’s a more of an action-packed issue where we find Vision as a formidable match against his the rest of the Avengers core. Yet, there is parallel to that of his wife, whose danger to others is far more the threat. This leads to an interesting end for the Vision and his attempt of a family, now not turning back on how dark and wrong it has all become. I look forward to the final act of this tragic play, and what may come of it all for Marvel’s original android.

Black Hammer #3 (Dark Horse) by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston

So far, a great series. But, it’s hard to see where it’s all going or what’s even the point. Still, I am enjoying the moments between, where the great mysteries of the present must wait. We focus on the past of Barbalien, who is a bit of a parallel to John Jonz, DC’s Martian Manhunter. But here, there is focus on his past in a cool noirish style action-packed city-drama as Jan Janz is not as fortunate in his visit to Earth, as he experiences loneliness and social ineptness. There leads to his current predicament of exile, finding new bonds in the surreal, quiet farm setting. The art and style of the almost self-contained story are bittersweet, leading the reader to keep reading and be patient with the overall arch.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves, that is a worthy read?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things.

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.8.1 – To be a little fearless…

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The reads were a bit light for the last week of July. I went for a little less for that week for the releases dated July 27th. For that, and my recovery from the San Diego Comic Con, I caught up on a new favorite while taking my chance with a new Image title..

Here we go, with the new (and minor spoilers)..

NEW COMICS THIS WEEK:

Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur #9 (Marvel) by Brandon Montclare, Amy Reader, Natacha Bustos

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is so far turning into a very underrated treasure from Marvel. Though it’s definitely aimed toward younger readers, there is a precise charm to Moon Girl and her heightened intelligence and strange bond with a large red dinosaur. Stranger still is her rivalry with a young alien boy, determined to beat her. I love this issue and all so far, with great hopes Moon Girl and her Devil Dinosaur shall go far on the comic racks.

Drifter #13 (Image) by Ivan Brandon, Nic Klein

Never thought of this as also a horror book, until now. The story itself carries on, but the part is taking time to admire and take in the colorful and detailed situations. Here, an army of zombie like humanoids (Wheelers) attack a settlement, with terrifying results. The attack sequence is among the best displays of science fiction horror viewed in recent memory with stunning art and detail. The art is really growing on me, enhancing the story which takes patience and some rereading to completely grasp.

Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens #1 (Dark Horse) by John Layman, Chris Moonyham

John Layman, who I best know from Chew, I think much fun in his writing. He does great introductions, to what sets up an interesting story with am unpredictable end. This goes triple for PvJDvA. All three factions set well, with the pitting of outside forces among the three; which will make this more than a three fight, or perhaps with more awesome collateral where everyone else loses. The set up is great for anyone less familiar with 1 out of 3 of the franchises (interested in Judge Dredd on his own, but not sure where to start). Still, such will be interesting and fun, with Layman’s direction and good matching art.

Divinity II #4 (Valiant) by Mark Kindt, Trevor Hairsine

The second issue wraps this series up well, as a second part of a possible trilogy (part III advertised) in the end. Here,we have god vs god, as Abrams meets his match against Myskha for the fate of everything. Added is much on influenced literature and philosophy, with a little less on the Valiant comics universe involvement (which I think held back part 1). Abrams seems even more humanized by the end, with a resolution of friendship and understanding (while the early part of the book focused on action is seemingly pointless). The art is top-notch, balancing action and dramatic storytelling. The end is nice and feeling good, with much open to what happens next.

TWO FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:

Tales from the Darkside #2 (IDW) by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

Here, another great read from a favorite writer/artist in comics. We have a curious, character driven story bordering back and forth between a creepy tale to a dramatic dilemma on self-preservation at any price. The cursed protagonist tries to live a normal life, but doomed as unfortunate, weird things seem to just happen. Yet, an answer brings in an interesting cliffhanger where anything can be next, and terrifying to those ever facing sedation in a hospital setting.

Prophet: Earth War #5 (Image) by Brandon Graham, Simon Ray, Giannis Milonogiannis, Grim Wilkins

I picked this up and looked at it for a bit. It was hard to put down, as the art in this is amazing. It’s reminiscent of classic Moebius and similar Heavy Metal magazine stories. I must read the first volume, and all of this second volume. I will then talk more on this later.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves, that is a worthy read?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things.

 

SW Comics Rec: Divinity (collected #1-4)

Divinity

Divinity

  • Writer: Matt Kindt
  • Artist: Trevor Hairsine
  • Published by: Valiant Comics (valiantuniverse.com)
  • Pages: 164 , Publish Date: July 15, 2015 Price: $9.99
  • Notes: Collects #1-4 of the monthly mini-series, now available in comic retail stores and apps

Synopsis:

“From New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, Mind MGMT) and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine (X-Men: Deadly Genesis) comes a shocking new vision of 21st century science fiction!

At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent a man farther into the cosmos than anyone has gone before or since. Lost in the stars, he encountered something unknown. Something that…changed him.

Long thought lost and erased from the history books, he has suddenly returned, crash-landing in the Australian Outback. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Now the rest of the world’s powers must decide for themselves – will the enigmatic Divinity offer his hand in friendship, or will Earth’s heroes fi nd themselves helpless against the wrath of the divine?

Personal Recommendation:

A science fiction tale for those who enjoy post space-age drama set in a superhero filled universe, being the Valiant one.

Divinity tells the story of one man who is unlike others, also for reasons before developing his god-like power. Abram Adams from the beginning is special, with no information given on his birthplace or parents. He is adopted by others in the Soviet Union, and recognized for his intelligence and dedication to excellence. He is also dark-skinned, and considered Russian because he grows up in this adoptive homeland. It’s hard to accept with my ignorance on race relations in the Soviet Union of that time, but it’s believable in this book for one to find acceptance and do further within a society that pushes for excellence at any cost.

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That is where this book goes but not for the Soviets, as Abrams himself has a destiny to fulfill in the stars. He becomes the first astronaut in the Valiant Universe, to be sent into deep space. A classified mission from the start, for reasons I think could lead to an embarrassing failure, should the project fail. But, the idea of what was possible considered during our own historic Space Race by the main world powers fascinates me. I imagine this fantastic time, where the great thinkers of the world become unrestrained in thinking what humanity can achieve.

And what comes back of course, if also interesting. The mysteries of deep space will always give some interesting stories. In addition, we also have this strange world of time travelers, immortals, ninjas, mystics and other fantastic sorts. We began with something familiar to our own and end with the fantastic. But with Divinity, we need not familiarize ourselves with the assortment of interesting characters without. Their part adds interest to an interesting situation, and does not push upon the reader to read other titles set in the same universe (also available to read). There is more room however, to learn about the other characters further, and delve further into those titles, should any be of interest.

Meanwhile, the focus of Divinity is on a metamorphosis through Abrams’ trip which never ended with the space travel. We get a forward to the present, where we find the result; a living god who has come back to Earth.

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What follows is some action, and interesting uses of his power. The present day story is mostly set in the Australian Outback, where Abrams confronts some of the best humankind has in taking him down. There is a twist, to his past that brings changes in him and perhaps those around him. We look to what makes him more human, even after godhood, which brings the character to its full development.

The art is beautiful and fitting..with moments full of emotional expressionism in the faces and surroundings. I love the positioning and transition of story elements here, leading me through the pages of this grand drama. The colors and inking brings some fantastic sequential art depth to the story as well, giving some excellent filters to the uncommon setting, putting all into great context for the reader to enjoy.

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Overall, a compelling read I highly recommend.  One does not need to familiarize with the current Valiant universe setting, as it brings a wonderful accessory to the drama. The story itself is enough, for anyone who loves comics to enjoy.

The first volume of this is a great experience on its own and worth checking out. There, is room in the bittersweet ending for more story, with a Divinity II story in the works, by Valiant. If that continuation brings more goodness and further similiar storytelling, than I look forward to the overall epic of the Divinity saga to be told.

– Orion T

SW Comics Rec: The Valiant (collected #1-4 edition)

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The Valiant

  • Writer: Mark Kindt, Jeff Lemire
  • Artist: Paolo Rivera
  • Published by: Valiant Comics (valiantuniverse.com)
  • Pages: 164 , Publish Date: May 27, 2015 Price: 9.99
  • Notes: Collects #1-4 of the monthly mini-series, now available in comic retail stores and apps

Synopsis:

“The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.”

Personal Recommendation:

I missed out on the era of the old Valiant comics of the 1990s. I remember an impressive shelf presence and a dedicated reader base which had my curiosity, but not enough to pull me in. Two decades later, Valiant Comics now makes significant comeback, in the hearts of new readers both old and new. Lately, I have hungered for a new universe to jump into, feeling tired of the mainstream Marvel/DC melodrama. Now onto the Valiant universe where  I am curious again, and going in..

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Based on many rave reviews and a friendly invitation at a recent comic convention, I looked into Valiant’s recent Divinity and The Valiant mini-series. I heard both were good jump-on starters for Valiant, yet I need not familiarize myself with its extensive history and background. I will cover Divinity in a future SW posting for being a fantastic science fiction tale, and focus on The Valiant for its delivery as a gateway to this interesting new world.

The Valiant is a story of many characters re-introduced, though the focus is on a few main players leading the charge against an ancient immortal evil.  We have a fresh approach to each character in the book, giving just enough to see what makes them special. Part of the goodness of the series, is that the main character is up to the reader, as we see a balance between important characters not just to the series, but to the Valiant modern mythos. We have Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, who has carries on his heroic quest though he constantly loses in protecting the ones he loves. He meet the Geomancer, now a woman who carries on this generational title with the new responsibility of bearing Earth-based powers. We have Bloodshot, a nano machine infused killing machine. Keep going, and there are more cool characters who were the stars of their own series, and will be again. For this series, we have them all binding together, for a common purpose..and it’s awesome.

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Each come together to deal with an unkillable enemy, later known as the Immortal Enemy, or Mr. Flay. The origins of the evil are unknown, perhaps just an unnatural evil force that serves to torment the Eternal Warrior, and expand that suffering unto others. There is a binding fantastic heroism in combatting this horrible thing. which feels nostalgic and wonderful to the comics of old, where us readers can root for their hopeful victory in conquering this evil, and becoming stronger as a result. But not all is predictable, as the story leads us into some uncertain territories. Not all good wins, through the conflict makes for a good ending..or beginning if this book drew you in enough.

Plus, we have some great action and horror elements throughout these issues. The Valiant also does not hold back on the nightmares brought on by the master evil. Using all that is good in attempt to end the horror, kept me on edge. This fine dancing between horror, fantasy, and science fiction is what makes this universe interesting.

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More so, this read has an old school vibe to the way comics used to be, back when comics had more dialogue and better transitioned panel sequences. There seems more thought by the creative team to put fantastic detail into the background, ensure dramatic positioning of characters (to show emotion, not just unnecessary posing). I also enjoy the coloring and shading combinations throughout the book, to better bring out a cinematic feel to the overall story. Backgrounds, character position, expressions, color; all as important as the words themselves. With these elements and fantastic coloring, I felt some great classic appeal in the reading. Here is a good example:

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So keeping all this in mind, The Valiant is a worthwhile read.  The price of this trade paperback is only $9.99, a cheap price for those looking to test the waters of this new universe. There is plenty within that amount, to explore and enjoy.

– Orion T