Category Archives: Comics

Marvel Star Wars Does Not Bring a New Hope to Franchise

Dark Horse comics lost the Star Wars licence when their contract ran out and Disney bought Lucasfilm. Disney owns Marvel Comics so the galaxy far far away returned to where Star Wars comics began a long ago.

Star Wars #1

Marvel Comics releases a few new series of Star Wars in 2015 and I start reading the main “Star Wars”. Good writing capturing the voice of the characters and good art from Cassaday. Not up to his level in Planetary but okay for a licenced property (I’m looking at you Star Trek). But lord why would they place this between Episode 4 A New Hope and Episode 5 Empire Strikes Back? We know no one is going to die no matter what happens for 40 years since the original cast is back for Episode 8 The Force Awakens. Luke crashes the Emperors co-ed beach party in only a speedo? Guess what he’s going to make it out alive riding Palatine’s surf board. Han Solo Bleeding out in some alien wasteland with no chance of rescue? That nerf herder will pull through and have a quip for Chewbacca. For 40 years!

Then the actual comic logistics. Are we going to have 20 to 40 issues before we are treated to a movie adaptation of Empire and then another 20-40 issues till the same for Return of the Jedi? I had really hoped that this series would have picked up after the Yuuzhan Vong stories in the novels but I probably could have been happy with after Return of the Jedi.

And the bantha in the room, Marvel already covered this era of Star Wars the last time they had the licence in the 70’s and 80’s, I know because I read them the first time around and this time there’s no kitschy 70’s since artwork.

I think Marvel and Disney missed an opportunity to move the story forward and decided to make a few bucks playing on our childhood nostalgia. So I think I’ll be removing Star Wars from my pull list with issue 12 as the lastest issue (#6) has failed to change my mind with a blinded non Jedi Luke escaping Boba Fett. Surprise, surprise. I really thought Luke was going to bite it.

Star Wars #6

Stars Wars Legacy and The Star Wars

First off I am not a prequel guy. Whether it be Stars Wars or any other franchise. I’m looking at you The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas! I want new stories that push a collective universe forward not filling in that 3 month period when Yoda was between grades five and six at the Jedi Academy 800 years ago. No thanks.

With Dark Horse’s Star Wars Legacy (Volume 1) I enjoyed this extended universe set 130 years ABY (that’s after the battle of Yavin for you non Star Wars geeks). Cade Skywalker was a flawed descendant of Luke Skywalker that continually walked the line between the light and dark side of the force. That made for some great stories. They had a good run ending it at Issue 50 and one mini series. Most importantly, it pushed the Star Wars universe forward.

Star Wars Legacy Vol 2

Volume 2 of Legacy (click here to read a preview of issue 6) follows Ania Solo, descendant of Han and Leia.

Initially I was really excited about this title as Volume 1 was pretty good. Unfortunately I don’t see Ania Solo being the standout character that Cade Skywalker was in volume one. Could be just early days, her character needing to be fleshed out. Might be Ania being the reluctant hero versus Cade the over the top daredevil Jedi / space pirate.

I have a different idea. Writers Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman needed to introduce Ania Solo with a few issues thereby building her up, rooting her in the Legacy universe. Instead the series is already at light speed and hip deep with inherited characters from volume 1. These characters over shadow Ania and don’t give her a chance to come the forefront. For example, in the first six issues Ania has only been on the cover three times and one of those was from behind.

On top of all that the art is simply okay. It’s adequate to tell the story but beyond that it personally doesn’t wow me. At times it can be very flat and washed out and due to the sketchy nature of the art, detail can be lacking.

The big event in Star Wars comics this year for me is The Star Wars. Based on George Lucas’s original rough-draft screenplay form 1974 and Ralph Mcquarrie concept artwork (which I loved as a child). For fans it’s interesting to see where Star Wars originally started and contrast that to the final films we know so well.

The Star Wars #1

Issue one (of eight) introduces us to strange but familiar characters like General Skywalker, Annikin Starkiller and a much less disfigured Darth Vader and Emperor. The art by Mike Mayhew and colours by Rain Beredo are beyond excellent giving it a very detailed and painted look. See for yourself in this seven page preview. Unlike Legacy it visually looks like a film with the posing and layout. You can tell this is a prestige project for Dark Horse with the quality of the art and even the cover is of a glossy thicker paper stock.

Unlike a prequel this story is different enough to stand on it’s own merits and opens up a new universe for our imagination, pushing things forward.

Canadian Royal Mint and Canada Post Celebrate 75th Anniversary of Superman

Up up and away collectors, both the Canadian Royal Mint and Canada Post are celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Superman with releases.

Canada Post has everything from permanent stamp coils, booklets, postcards, official first day cover and a very nice uncut press sheet.

For the real comic book fans that need to know… they feature art from 1939: Superman #1 (artist: Joe Shuster), 1945: Superman #32 (artist: Wayne Boring), 1971: Superman #233, (artist: Neal Adams), 1986: Man of Steel #1 (artist: John Byrne), 2004: Superman #204, (artist: Jim Lee) and 2012: Superman Annual #1 (artist Kenneth Rocafort).

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The Royal Canadian Mint has released seven coins ranging in price from $29.75 for the 50 cent Then and Now coin and stamp set to $750.00 for the 75$ 14k gold Early Years coin. You can guess which one I would be leaning towards getting personally.

75th Anniversary coins from the Royal Canadian Mint

In what I am sure is a first in Canada (or anywhere), each coin has “SUPERMAN” in the Kryptonian language in both English and French. So does that make the coins tri-lingual, even if one of the languages is fictitious?

If you are wondering why these two Crown corporations are celebrating an American icon, Superman co-creator Joe Shuster was born in Toronto (where he worked at the Toronto Star) before moving to the United States as a teenager.

Free Comic Book Day May 4th 2013

ImageFree Comic Book Day is May 4th.

Grab the kids and head to your local comic book store to score free comics for the kids (and yourself). Unsure where the local comic book shop is? Use the store locator.

I used to bring the kids every time I pick-up my comics but I think it oversaturated them to the medium. They have little to no interest in comics. Unless it’s a $20 Sonic import manga. Kids today! Why if my father wanted to take me to buy comics I would have been ecstatic. Actually he did but he was more driver / bank account than willing participant.

For us full time comic readers, FCBD is an excellent opportunity to try out a new title with no risk. I have started collecting a few series after getting a free issue at FCBD.

There are quite a few choices for even the little kids like Sponge Bob, Sesame Street, The Smurfs and Tinker Bell (I wonder which my daughter will pick?…. Tinker Bell) to name just a few. Check out the full list of available comics for this year.

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Selection and quantity will vary. Remember, it’s the local shop and not the comic publishers that purchased these issues for us fans so don’t be greedy.

The kids (who did want to come with dad) had fun last year when there was a Master Chief in store and they posted with him.

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Free Comic Book Day 2012. iPhone fun and Master Chief

Humandoids are Back

This is what six months of comics looks like.

It’s been a busy 6 months. Four of my ongoing titles have ended (The Authority: The Lost Year, Star Wars Legacy, Air & Doctor Who Vol. 1) and I’ve started two new series (Scarlet & Lady Mechanika). I’ll have to see how those two shape up over the next year.

Elephantmen and King City are still going strong as my two favorite titles (and not because Marian Churchland does art in both… okay maybe a little).

Meanwhile The Authority ongoing has devolved into a crap fest JLA-esque super team with derivative characters and plot. When compared to the excellent 12 issue Authority The Lost Year series it shows the how bad it has become.

And having buried the lead long enough… My new happy place is Humanoids releasing books again in North America (Flywires & Metal).

I was hooked on Humanoids their first time around back in the late 1990’s with their reprinting  of classics like Incal & Metabarons and new content like Metal Hurlant. I was greatly saddened when they disappeared from the market and their site going silent.

My love and interest in their books had me pick-up Flywires and Metal sight unseen. I was not disappointed.

Flywires

Flywires is your basic out of work down on his luck cop, Dyson sphere colony space ship traveling through space and mystery of a kid’s missing mother. All the while being chased by the criminal underworld in flying cars.

The art’s line has a slight sketch quality to it that worked for me but at times I found it varying in thickness and a little distracting at times.

Chuck Austen has created an fully formed sci-fi world that I only saw a small glimpse of, which is unfortunate. I can’t wait to see how the movie (that’s in development) turns out as Flywires channels the Fifth Element a tad.

Metal

Metal reminds me of Metabarons meets Dune with it’s galactic empire, noble houses and classic betrayal. Plus is a hard cover with a dust jacket so I feel elitist reading it.

In Metal, nobles project their consciousness into metal mechanized bodies for battle with no fear of death as long as their physical self is safe in the projection machine. Everything is fine until the Emperor’s physical body is murdered, betrayed and his consciousness is trapped in his metal body where is should be rejected after a set time and he dies. Except he doesn’t and the real story of an Emperor regaining his throne begins. That’s the condensed plot, just feel lucky that I didn’t ramble on. The story leaves things very open ended and odiously there will be a second book but I haven’t heard anything about it.

I can’t wait for the next trip to the comic shop as I have ordered both Weapons of the Metabarons and Legend of the Scarlet Blades from Humanoids. This is how comics should be done.

Weapons of the Metabaron
Legend of the Scarlet Blades

 

King City & The Phantom

I’ve been reading a great comic called King City, why the hell aren’t you? This is one of those titles that makes you remember why you started reading comics to begin with.

King City #6
King City #6

It’s story is imaginative and bizarre and revolves around a cat master named Joe and his cat Earthling. A cat master is like a super ninja but you have a cat that’s like a Swiss army knife. Trust me, awesome.

King City is bits Anime (sexy girls with big eyes) and cyberpunk (sexy girls with big eyes in flying cars). Seven issues in I have really grown attached to these characters with their real and believable interactions with each other. Good characterization is good anywhere, sexy girls in flying cars are just icing. Plus it’s full of puns… I like puns. They’re punny.

King City is probably one of the first books where I don’t look at the black and white printing as a cost saver. Colour (I’m Canadian, we spell it with a “u” stupid spell check) would only distract you from the enormous amount of detail squished into each panel and there is tons & tons of it.

I just recently picked up issues #6 and #7. What great work. A street fight between a super powered cat and a old undead man. A drug that turns Zombie War veterans into more of the drug and a drug knife you can have sex with. Something for everyone.

King City #7

King City Volume #1 is out now and a steal in value and creative writing and art from Brandon Graham. Get it! I’ve got a bucket and a cat.

The Phantom Ghost Who Walks #9

Sadly canceled my reserve of Moonstone’s The Phantom Ghost Who Walks is not a ringing endorsement I know. That said, I had such hopes for this title when I heard of it. The warm feelings I have for 1930’s costumed adventures like the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and the Shadow is disproportionate to the amount of exposure I had to them growing up. Other than the horribly dated Defenders of the Earth (and totally rad) cartoon I can’t think of anywhere else I might have run into these characters.

Taking place in present day Africa The Phantom battles Somalian Pirates, human traffickers and children soldiers, not as exciting as it sounds. I can understand and aplaud the want to modernize the story of The Phantom and bring him into the 21st century but (personally) in doing so he loses much of his mystery of being the immortal ghost who walks. Perhaps it’s the romance and perceived innocence of the 1930’s I miss.

The stories were passable but like the characters very one dimensional and hard to get into. While art is not always a deal breaker for me (and I can forgive a lot) it lacked texture and depth.

Die hard fans of the Phantom will eat this up. Even ending on a cliffhanger issue #9 is not enough to make me want to find out more. I only have so much comic dollars to go around.

Free Comic Book Day 2010

Attention to all open and closeted comic book geeks alike, May 1st is Free Comic Book Day. I know, again! The earth has cycled around the planet once more.

If you have never read comics or managed to kick the habit, Free Comic Book Day is a great reason to visit your local comic shop and discover how awesome comics have got in the past years.  And get horribly re-addicted to them again.

Now the selection will vary from store to store as the stores themselves incur the cost of the comics. It’s free for you but someone has to pay. Try and go early rather than later or just hit every comic shop in your town. The Comic Shop Locater is a good tool for this.

As always I’ve got my eye on the Owly and Friends book. Owly is just so freaking cute! I know my kids will probably be fighting over who gets the Sherk, Toy Story and or Sonic the Hedgehog ones.

I’ll also try and get the Del-Ray Showcase and the Oni Press Free For All as I’m always on the lookout for a new series to read and these two are a great chance to read stuff outside my usual deconstructed Superhero genre I prefer.

If you enjoy the a for mentioned deconstructed Superhero genre I would recommended picking up Irredeemable at Free Comic Book Day. Imaging Superman going insane and declaring war on the earth and killing millions and no Batman to use kryptonite on him.