Sean Maher's Quality Control

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Holy Crap, I'm Broke

Wow. HUGE week of comics this week, on top of the 5th anniversary of the Isotope.

Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #1 (DC) - Picking this up for Cliff Chiang's stunning artwork, and also to check in on the fate of Gotham Central's Crispus Allen.

Lucifer #74 - One to go. Vertigo's best title wraps up.

Seven Soldiers Of Victory, Vol 3 TP (DC) - Ah, I'll finally get to start reading Frankenstein, which looked like the best of the seven.

Superman/Batman #26 (DC) - Don't really have any interest in this series, but the gangbang of awesome artists is enough to get me to at least pick this up and look.

Emissary #1 (Image) - Image and Jim Valentino bring back a project for the legendary Small Gods creative team of Jason Rand and Juan Ferreyra, bringing the new book I'm most excited about in a week jam-packed with exciting new books.

Five Fists Of Science GN (Image) - At long-fucking-last. Huge preview online here.

Liberty Meadows #37 (Image) - This'll be my first issue. I just can't resist Frank Cho's women anymore. This looks like the title to follow, far as I can tell, and the first two trades are getting reprinted soon, so this'll give me a nice idea of whether or not I should pick 'em up.

Books Of Doom #6 (Marvel) - Curious to see how this wraps up, though I think it's been the most underwhelming of Brubaker's Marvel work thus far. Now Daredevil, on the other hand, is blowing me away every fucking month.

Incredible Hulk #95 (Marvel) - Greg Pak continues to write a fun, back-to-basics Hulk story full of smashing and wanting to be left alone.

Punisher: The Tyger (Marvel) - Sweet Jesus, this is gonna be good.

Thing #7 (Marvel) - I shed a tear to see this one go, but at least it's been fun.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #30 (Marvel) - Millar's most recent arc ("President Thor") was, to me, the best of his entire run, so I'm looking forward to how he builds from here.

Skyscrapers Of The Midwest #3 (Adhouse Books) - Continues the excellent run of Josh Cotter's heartbreaking series; the Isotope (whose Mini-Comics award went to Cotter a few years ago) features an eight-page preview here.

Mouse Guard #3 (Archaia Studio Press) - Am I actually more excited about this than I am about Emissary? It's a close call, one way or the other. If you've been hanging out, you know how much I've been grooving on this series.

Hero Squared #1 (Ongoing, Boom! Studios) - Giffen does know how to bring the funny sometimes, so I'm looking forward to checking out his sense of humor in a super-hero context.

War Of The Worlds: Second Wave #3 (Boom! Studios) - As I've said (twice), i think this is the best book in the Boom! stable. Can't wait to see what's happening next. Michael Alan Nelson is a writer to watch, I'm tellin' ya now.

Helios: In With The New #3 (Dakuwaka Productions) - I did a double-take on the $5 cover price, but then realized the issue is extra-length. This is written by Small Gods' Jason Rand, which is the main selling point for me, but it's also been a fun superheroes-meet-SHIELD sort of concept. A new mini launches in a few months, so the story continues... excellent.

Battlestar Galactica #0 (Dynamite Entertainment) - Thanks, Fossen: I'd have missed this, not having seen the series yet, but two-bits for a Greg Pak comic sounds like a deal to me.

Uptight #1 (Fantagraphics) - Don't remember why, exactly, but this caught my eye in Previews a few months ago, and it's only $2.50, so I'll likely take a look.

My Inner Bimbo #1 (Oni) - I'll be tradewaiting this, 'cause that's how I picked up the first in this loosely connected trilogy (Ojo),

Abadazad Books 1 and 2 (Hyperion) - I wasn't big on The Stardust Kid, but this first collaboration between J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog was really goddamned promising. Glad to see it return; I won't be able to pick these up this week (Christ, look up), but they're on my list fo' sho'.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monstrous Reading List

Damn, my stack of Book I Need To Read (slash "Am Reading") is getting unwieldy.

  • Brownsville, by Neil Kleid and Jake Allen, hardcover version from NBM Publishing. The softcover's just been solicited, and I'm still only about a quarter of the way through. It's great stuff, just got lost in the shuffle.

  • Stagger Lee, the upcoming Image OGN by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix (how cool a name is that?), tracing the musical and historical lineage of the Stagger Lee myth while at the same time retelling the story, in what Ed Brubaker calls "a masterful work of graphic inventiveness... explores the links between folklore and race with a steady hand and more honesty than you're ready for." Again, I'm only a few pages in, but enjoying it thoroughly. Production blog is here, fifteen-page preview here.

  • Buddha, volume 1 (of 8), softcover version, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical Inc.). This has been an interesting project on my radar for some time, but the recent softcover release finally cracked me. Now I just need to get to it. Preview and review links at the official website, though I didn't look at either before picking this up.

  • Jax Epoch, volumes 1 and 2, by Dave Roman and John Green, published by AiT/Planet Lar. Pitched to me this way: "What if, when Alice came back from Wonderland, Wonderland back back with her?" Which sounds fuckin' solid. Plus, I'm quoted in the press release announcing their return to print. Now I just need to get to 'em.

  • The Life Eaters, by David Brin and Scott Hampton, from WildStorm. I remember Hibbs making a fuss all over this one way back when it came out (and again when the softcover was released), but the price tag just kept me away. Found it for twelve bucks recently at Green Apple Books and decided to take the plunge and try 'er out. Alternate history, Nazis (uh oh) and Norse Gods (oh, okay).

    Concrete volume 7: The Human Dilemma, by Paul Chadwick (published by Dark Horse). I wasn't really overwhelmed by the first two books (which felt really overwritten and saccharine), but I'm ready to accept that the fellow may have actually developed his craft and storytelling as time went on. Good buddy Josh Fialkov has his good name on the line, having sworn up and down to me that this was - what did he say? - "THE definitive comic of the modern age." Plus, a lot of folks shit themselves over this six issue mini last year, so I'm gonna give it a shot.

  • The first Loveless trade, by Brian Azzarello and Marcelo Frusin. Vertigo's got a series of this "first five issues for ten bucks" trades and this is the first one I picked up. I'm commited, at this point, to only read Azzarello books in trade format, but I'm still pretty curious to check this baby out and see where the series is going. I'm a big western fan when they're done well, and this looks like it's got potential.

  • The entire (first) run of First Second books, borrowed all from Graeme McMillan (save The Fate of the Artist, which I bought on Graeme's word) at his awesome bar-b-que yesterday. Thanks, Graeme! Damn, there's a lot of 'em: A.L.I.E.E.E.N. (cute little lost aliens pooping and stuff), Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda (sworn up and down by Graeme and Brill as being really good), The Lost Colony (hucksters, con-men and slaves on a hidden island in nineteenth century America?), Sardine in Outer Space (Ramona Quimby vs. Darth Vader), and Vampire Loves (described to me by Ian as "Uh, they're vampires, but in relationship dramas").

  • An American Family, by Harry Crews. That's right, kids, I read novels now and then, just to try to fool everyone into thinking I'm a "serious" reader! Wrote about this last week, and unbelievably excited to read it. The inside flap tells us the book "is Harry Crews' most savage and disturbing book yet. Readers of the author's previous 22 books [including yours truly] are in for another shocking and original treat. Make no mistake, this is araw and powerful novel. Here is Harry Crews at his cranked-up best..."

  • Father And Son, by Larry Brown. Amazon has been trying to get me to read Larry Brown for years, sharing a large chunk of his readership, it seems, with my man Crews. Finally cracked in my excitement over the new Crews book, and this one looked like it might be his best. Amazon says, "Brown is at his best when he writes of the tensions between one screwed-up man and another, in this case a father and son. One has just been let out of prison, and he shouldn't have been. The other is drunk and disabled and intends on staying that way. To make things worse, there is a conflict with the sheriff, who is good and righteous but who tried to put the moves on the parolee's woman while he was in prison. To tell more would be to violate Brown's mastery of dialogue and of that which goes unspoken in this sly story of father, son, and misery." I'm a few pages in, just, but enjoying it a lot so far. Also, I really like the cover:

So, this is what I'm up against. It's a happy time to have so much great stuff at my feet, but it's also a hell of a lot of reading to do.

So, time to stop writing for a few minutes and see if I can't digest a few pages, y'think?

After all, I gotta do something sophisticated before I hit up the new X-Men movie today.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Learning how to smile

Garumph. Wanted to do a full post today - including an advance review for a book I'm really psyched about - but I have to go to work earlier than I thought.

Ah, hell. Still, there are things I can point to left and right...


First of all, I'm famous. I've been interviewing Mark Waid, been asked for pull-quotes for the backs of books I've reviewed, I'm dead sexy, and now I've been quoted in an Ait/PlanetLar press release.

Larry, Mimi and Josh are going back to press with DEMO, Jax Epoch and Electric Girl and I get to tell you what I think about that here.


I've been talking about artist Mike Hawthorne for a while, having loved pretty much everything of his I've seen. We've got more stuff coming up, and thanks to an e-mail from The Man himself, I tracked down some preview art from his forum:

From his upcoming Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue(s):

And from an upcoming project titled Salem:

More art and details at the links.


More art, also, at the CBR previews for 24seven and Remender's upcoming addition to Fear Agent, "Tales of the Fear Agent".

"[24seven editor Ivan] Brandon maintains that 24seven is not simply Flight featuring robots," though that seems as effective a pitch as I could possibly need. 'Specially with art from Eduardo Risso, Mike Huddleston, Rob G and more.

Characteristically, Rick Remender is less shy, tell us "The people involved so far [in the upcoming Fear Agent back-up stories] are a mixed bag of big names and under recognized geniuses." Given a list including Steve Niles, EJ Su, Kieron Dwyer, Eric Powell and Jason Latour, I'm inclined to agree.


Yes, I know there ain't no finish line, I know this never ends
I'm just learning how to fall and climb back up again

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wells and Crews and Slott

From the Used Book Store Finds File:

Peter Parker: Spider-Man, volume 5: Senseless Violence

Step One: Notice deadly awesome John Romita, Jr. cover - very classic Spider-Man image, I think. Attentive, on his toes, looking for trouble and living up to his responsibilities. EVEN IN THE RAIN.

Step Two: Look at back cover. Realize that this book collects those two Spider-Man issues that Sam (The Maxx) Kieth drew a few years ago that I totally missed somehow.

Step Three: Buy this shit as fast as possible.

Step Four: Read the Kieth-drawn story. Wonder if Sam Kieth wrote it himself, exploring as it does the different psychological elements of Sandman's personality, including his "baby" side and his "feminine" side. Double-check.

Step Five: Realize the whole thing is written by Zeb Wells, who I've kinda brushed off in the past.

Step Six: Read the rest of the book. Laugh out loud at several of the Wells-written Spidey jokes (Why you hittin' yourself, Boomerang?! Huh? Why you hittin' yourself?!) and appreciate the fine balance of action, humor and character development.

Step Seven: Go to the store and ask for more of Zeb Wells' Spider-Man, because shit, this was actually really good, classic stuff. Spider-Man is not broken, Marvel. Spider-Man is fine. He doesn't need new costumes or to move to Stark Towers or any of that crap. He needs exactly this kind of treatment; he needs to worry about whether or not he's making a difference, deal with people in his life being hurt as a result of being Spidey, take crap from the cops and everyone else, fight a wide range of super-villains who all hate him for being such a smartass, make fun of them as he kicks their ass, and at the end of the day, go home, because "That's what us heroes get to do."

If a Spidey series was running right now that featured this kind of Spider-Man story, I'd be all over it.

Good one, Zeb. Now I especially can't wait for the upcoming FF/Iron Man: Big In Japan trade.


Hot damn! It's a good time to be a fan of all the writers I'm a fan of. Looking for still more news about Harry Crews, I discovered that two major films based on his books are on their way.

The Gypsy's Curse, directed by Philippe Decoufle, is gonna star Johnny Depp and Harvey Keitel. That's right. A movie based on a book by one of my favorite writers and starring two of my favorite actors. The main character is a mute cripple who does acrobatic acts with his arms with his tiny whithered legs tied behind his back. Holy shit.

The Hawk Is Dying, directed by Julian Goldberger, stars Paul Giamatti as George Gattling, "A Gainesville Florida auto upholsterer [who] attempts to subvert his mundane life by training a wild, red-tailed hawk." Ooh, baby yes.


Dan Slott discusses his upcoming Two-Gun Kid one-shot with preview art at Newsarama today, and Slott's one of the few writers whose interviews I'll read regardless of whether I plan on buying the book or not. I often prefer to go head-in-the-sand style when I've already decided to follow a given project because it lets me approach the book with fewer expectations, but Slott's pretty entertaining no matter what he's writing. Example:

And let me tell ya, She-Hulk #9 is going to be awesome! Something big happens at the end of our Civil War crossover issue this week... And the repercussions of that are going to be severe! And... well... let's just say after two months of Civil War knocking your socks off... She-Hulk #9 is going to be the book that tickles your feet!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Polish Link Sausage

Courtesy of Zilla, I had some fun reading this half-penned-by-Gaiman article on Superman, even if he does close on the exact same point that Quentin Tarrantino made in Kill Bill 2.


Checking in on Elk's Run writer Josh Fialkov again, I find a really cool post exposing the intelligence and insight of series artist Scott Keating, discussing his thought process in putting together the palettes for the book, which reads (in excerpt):

The colours have a bunch of purposes. Different lighting situations, etc. Times periods. All with different qualities. ...But as it gets going, what happens is that the colours start coming together. Little bits in different ’sets’. As the more and more things start happening to the town/citizens, the color spreads to them. But not the family. So, if you look at the townsfolk in the 7th issue. They’re colored as a group. They’ve become a single entity.

Much more at the link.


Speaking of the Hoarse and Buggy guys, Jason Rodriguez let an announcement slip at his Live Journal today regarding three of his biggest guns in the Postcards project. It's mighty fine news, I tell ya. One fellow in particular, I just can't believe he actually nabbed this guy. A first-time publisher, working with... well, you'll have to look for yourself.


Mark Millar is making the rounds at MillarWorld a lot lately, with some pretty fun results (sorry, Graeme). He's kinda hinted at coming close to confirming the Preacher-on-HBO rumor, but especially interesting reading is the Retailers-Only Thread, which is being pretty strictly moderated. My post asking whether it was okay for non-retailers to stop by with questions for the retailers was completely erased, providing a super-clear non-verbal answer.

Still, the retailers' comments have been great reading so far.


Funny, appearances.

My old man is an opera/ballet/classical music fanatic. A lot of that stuff hasn't ever really penetrated my own listening habits, but I do some casual listening. I don't like full operas - but I love sopranos. I'm the perfect customer for those "collected romantic arias" compilation CDs that opera music publishers put together; I'm that disgusting philistine who doesn't care about the second act tenor crescendo in Rigoletto (that I just made up).

All I wanna hear is a pretty lady's voice.

Or, to put it more exactly, a lady's pretty voice.

'Cause, y'see, even in casual listening, I've figured out a favorite. While my old man's Favorite Soprano Of All Time is popular-choice Maria Callas:

--I've generally preferred listeing to Montserrat Caballe, a punchier, more visceral and emotional singer, as I hear her:

Now, honestly, take a look. One of 'em looks like a Guess model and the other looks like she'd be right at home hovering around the dinner table telling you that you need to eat more and slopping meatballs on your plate, sure. But which one looks like a singer?

That's right.

My girl Montserrat.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tomorrow's Stash

My list, by comparison, is really fairly small this week.

I'm still a Scott Pilgrim virgin, so I'll likely hold off on the new one until I crack and get the first volume.

(Scott Pilgrim fanatics are surely banging their heads against the computer screen in frustration, but I'll tell yez the truth right now: you've built it up too much. So I'm taking some decompression time to let the hype flow back out to sea, and then I'll read the damnded thing, swear to God.)

What I'm planning on getting, then, is:

Supergirl And The Legion Of Super-Heroes #18 - I think the series is holding up surprisingly well with the addition of Supergirl. The whole "this is obviously a marketing gimmick" thing is panning out okay, and the book remains fun and spirited.

Daredevil #85, of course. I could barely restrain myself from reading the advance copy last week in the store.

Last Planet Standing #2, per my enjoyment of the first issue. I'm just gonna keep my head in the sand, enjoying this nice, self-contained GIANT EVENT THAT LEAVES NOTHING THE SAME EVER AGAIN all by myself.

She-Hulk #8, duh.

Conan: Book Of Thoth #3, though I still want to see just how evil and dangerous this Thoth-Amon can be. Come on, Busiek, you can do it!

Then there's a few books I wanna share extra advance-lovin' for:

Image comics has Negative Burn #1 coming, the first in an ongoing return for the classic anthology series, which is going to be rolling out material from Phil Hester and Eric Powell (whose story I read in a preview - it's fucking hysterical) and Evan Dorkin and all kinds of awesome fuckin' people. Can't wait for this one.

Lobrau Productions is releasing Toupydoops #2, complete with a preview at their website. I'd been looking forward to the series since its solicitation, and I'm sure you'll remember how much I enjoyed the first issue. Here's looking forward to plenty more!

Then there's Silent Devil Productions' Death Comes To Dillinger #1 (of 2) , which I've also been looking forward to for a while. The pitch? "It's the Old West. Death is a drifter, and when he rides into town, it means somebody is going to die. This time, he's parked at the saloon in Dillinger and the local banker is convinced Death is there to claim his ill daughter. The banker will attempt to stop the inevitable, even if he must confront Death himself." Plus, it looks like this:

--and has several preview pages at both Comicon and Newsarama.

So, yeah - should be a fun week.

Monday, May 22, 2006

HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow

What demons haunted your life? What angels sang in your heart?

Did you know the difference?

I haven't written a lot about Hubert Selby, Jr., because it's a mighty daunting task - the guy is, hands down, my favorite writer. I a huge fan of Harry Crews, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Bukowski, but nobody's got their hooks in me quite like Selby.

For the most part, I think the attraction is compassion. Selby's writing is filled with unattractive characters, ranging from in scale from overbearing Jewish mothers to megalomaniacal, psychotic murderers - people that you have no reason to care for. And yet, somehow, they're written with such an effort to understand, and their suffering is written with such rawness and unbelievably graphic, visceral pain, you just can't shut them out. Selby said once that the "real problem is separation." He connects you. Where you go with it is up to you - he's not especially preachy - but he helps make the connection, and reading his work makes me feel more alive and aware and excited and sorrowful and powerfully here now in the world around me than any writer. The colors are more vibrant. I'm happy, thrilled to be alive, and to be so lucky.

I'll be writing more about this down the line, but I bring it up today for a reason. After discovering last week that I'd somehow missed a new Harry Crews book, over the weekend I did some Googling to see if any of Selby's manuscripts may have been published since his death in 2004. They haven't. But--

--they've made a movie. HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow is an eighty-minute documentary about Selby's life and writing, featuring footage of the man himself and interviews with Jerry Stahl, Henry Rollins, Amiri Baraka, Nick Tosches, Lou Reed, and a whole bunch more of his friends. Archive footage of Anthony Kiedis and John Turturro. Narration by Robert Downey, Jr. A website with the trailer and dozens of photos.

And it's premiering in L.A. next month.

I can't even describe how excited I am about this. I'm on top of the fuckin' world, seriously.

The days just get better and better.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Children of the Grave, more

Big Newsarama day, it seems.


Tom Waltz discusses the new IDW trade collection of Children of the Grave, which long-time readers will remember I enjoyed back in March of last year. Casey Maloney's artwork has all been touched up, and as much as I enjoyed it then, I have to say it looks really stellar now, with the digital effects adding a lot of dimension to the scenery:

Tom also teases with the cover image to his upcoming project with Maloney, The Last Fall ("The Last Samurai meets Starship Troopers"), which looks really badass:


I haven't read any Scott Pilgrim at all. But I took a look at the FCBD issue, which is posted in its entirety at Newsarama. I just looked at this page, and I think I may be sold on the series now:

I'll probably talk about the book when I finally read it... unless, of course, I don't enjoy it, in which case I'll keep my fool mouth shut.


Eximious means "really good," you see.


Ooh, new Harry Crews book is out!

--and appears, already, to be unavailable. I tracked down a copy through Top 10 Website Ever, but it seems they only printed like 2,000 of these. Weird. Publishers Weekly describes An American Family thusly:

"Set in what appears to be the contemporary South, this twisted tale of violence and passion from Crews (The Gospel Singer) focuses on the domestic conflicts facing Major Melton, a former marine and junior college professor. Melton's discovery of an unusual birthmark on his baby son's private parts leads him to suspect his wife of an affair and to a series of brutal episodes involving pit bulls and a hanging."

So, yeah - I'm all over it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


So, Elephantmen? Gonna be so awesome.


We're talking a major new book.

Think how cool Hip Flask is. Animals genetically and surgically transformed into giant man-like soldiers, trying to pick up the pieces of their lives now that the war is over.

Now think how cool it would be if, instead of being (at best) an annual book, it was monthly.

And every issue focused on a different character's story until a bigger overarcing plot emerged.

Think how fucking cool that would be.

And, then, imagine if art from the first three issues looked like this:

More artwork orgy at Newsarama now. Samples from like eight or nine different issues. And even more artwork is up at CBR. How fucking badass is this gonna be?!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lists Galore? No, just one real big one.

Hey, Zilla - this one made me think of ya.

Haven't been big on the whole Civil War signature image things, but if I were gonna use one, it'd be this. Frankie is awesome. One of the best origin stories in modern comics... "I did it myself!"


Man, I wish I had a scanner. 'Cause it's New Comics Day and Jeremiah Harm #3 is coming out, and Rael Lyra's artwork - a big selling point for the series from issue #1 - really takes a leap and a bound here.

Lyra's style - something that'd fit pretty well in the Humanoids set - gets a chance to up the ante, y'see, as the script here calls for some really insane ultraviolence. Actually, the scripting in general takes a step up here, at least as I read it. The characterizations and plotting seem stronger and more natural to the book - it's funny, because the writing is becoming a selling point just as the art is getting strong enough that it's not even necessary as a selling point.

War of the Worlds: Second Wave is still my favorite Boom! Studios series, but with this issue Jeremiah Harm makes a huge jump forward. Actually, they're a pretty smart pair of masthead books; they kinda pull a yin and yang thing on each other. Each book fills in the nooks and crannies left by the other, and taken together I think they paint a pretty brilliant picture of the kind of comics Boom! aims to publish. It's exciting, 'cause they're really energetic comics.

(There's an interview with Lyra, and some artwork, over at Comicon, by the by.)


James Sime has a whoppin' 30 pages of AiT's upcoming Shatter collection, along with a full treatise on why the book matters. Between that and Fossen's love for the book, there's a lot of enthusiasm spreading for this puppy...


Some advance notice on upcoming Vertigo trades over at Silver Bullet. I'm happy to see Denise Mina's opening arc on Hellblazer collected so quickly, but it also leaves me wondering if they're continuing to collect Mike Carey's awesome run. I'm juiced to know I'll be able to finish The Losers in September, and I'll be using the cheap $10-for-five-issues trades to check in on Loveless and The Exterminators.

A No-Prize for whoever can figure out how the number ten relates to the subtitle of the tenth 100 Bullets trade: "Decayed".

Actually, I just figured it out.

I love this book.


Solicits are up all around, for Marvel, DC, Image.


I didn't realize Peter David was writing Marvel Adventures: Spiderman. Is it just issue #18? I could see him writing a could kiddie comic. Might be worth a look.

Of course, Ultimate Fantastic Four #33 marks (together with Annual #2) the start of Mike Carey's run on the book, which, as mentioned several times, I'm all cross-legged over.

I'm curious about the trade collection for Straczynski's Book of Lost Souls. When JMS is at the top of his game - Supreme Power, Midnight Nation - I enjoy his stuff, but his recent runs on Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four have left me pretty sour. Anybody wanna weigh in on this one?

Heard a lot of awesome things about Matt Wagner's Batman and the Monster Men mini, which, it seems, picks up after Miller's Year One classic and gives us Batman's first encounter with "super-powered villains." So I'll definitely pick up the trade collection, and pending my read of that, might even jump on board the follow-up: Batman and the Mad Monk.

Ooh, Peter Milligan on JLA Classified... don't know whether to be excited or depressed. Hard to tell with him these days, isn't it? I like Carlos D'Anda's artwork, but I don't know nearly enough about the DCU to guess whether Kid Amazo is a good fit for a Milligan character. Graeme?

Brendan McCarthy closes out the generally-excellent Solo series, and promises to do it with a bang. With a cover like that, it's hard to argue.

Ennis and Darick Robertson bring The Boys, that new 60-issue WildStorm series that Ennis keeps telling us will "Out-Preacher Preacher", which of course makes us all nervous. When he's on-point, Ennis is one of the best two or three guys writing comics today. When he's lost up his own ass, he's nearly unbearable. It's worth it to me to try a few issues and find out.

Winter Men finally returns with the solicit for issue five. Good news. 'Cept, I don't remember what's going on or who anybody is. When you've got a dense book like that, kids, with lots of subtleties and sly character developments, you've gotta keep things fresh in your reader's minds. I'll still try to read this, 'cause it's been really good so far.

As mentioned Monday, Rick Remender joins with new regular artist Nick Stakal for the second major arc of Strange Girl, which I think has really developed as a book. Felt kinda shaky about it for a few issues, especially in comparison to Fear Agent (still my favorite Remender book for the moment), but it's really coming into its own lately. So Stakal's debut on issue #10 should be a great spot for folks to jump on the book.

We're also looking at the last issue of Sea of Red, which Remender explained at MW: "When we got to the plot for #13 we all realized it was a perfect place to end it. Sales are great and the book is loved so we're going to go out on a high note. Issues 10-13 are the best of the series and the end will wrap everything up."

I guess I may as well just pull-list the new Negative Burn run. Issue #4 promises more of Evan Dorkin's Milk & Cheese, which is an auto-sell, so I guess it's time to stop farting around.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Funday Monday

Ooh, some fun stuff on the comics internet at the mo' - which is funny, 'cause I thought last week was really "blah" all around, didn't see much coverage that was giving me the ADD Jitters. Either I was looking in the wrong places, or else this week's just getting off on the right foot. Either way, I'm happy.


For starters, there's Blair's usual great work at All The Rage, but this time he rumours a new Azzarello / Bermejo project that tells a "parallel" story to their Lex Luthor: Man Of Steel mini. That series, as a whole, was kind of disappointing, but there were spectacular moments throughout, including what I kinda felt was a cannon-defining explanation of Luthor's hatred for Superman in the first issue. "You are my nightmare." Gave me chills.

So, yeah, I'd be on board for whatever this may be.

Plus, Blair reminds me (how did I forget?!) that the Ultimate Fantastic Four annual this year will be done by Mike Carey and Stuart Immonen, both of whom I'm balls-out for. Carey's run (with regular artist Pasqual Ferry) on UFF is something I'm really excited about and the artwork looks fantastic. Hot damn!

Much more (bigger) art at the link.

Oh, and the Brubaker / Phillips thing I've been kinda hinting at for the last few weeks?

The one that's gonna make me shit my pants?

Yeah, that got announced at Bristol.

The link.



Got an e-mail today from Jason Webley, one of Seattle's great local musicians. The fellow has a new CD coming out and I'm pre-ordering now.

You can listen to Real Audio files at this part of his site, which I recommend you try doing.

Imagine Tom Waits and James Taylor reading Mother Goose rhymes to their child, and you're probably headed in the right direction.


I think I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed Strange Girl #8, which I think came out two weeks ago. The guest art by Jerome Opena (who will be taking up the reigns on Fear Agent for alternating arcs with Tony Moore) was absolutely jaw-dropping - fuckin' brilliant stuff, and I can't wait to see what he does with Fear Agent.

Funny I should be thinking about the cool new Strange Girl artist, though, because writer Rick Remender had an announcement regarding just that.

Beginning with issue #10 (the beginning of a new arc, it seems), Strange Girl will be under the sound artistic control of Nick Stakal, whose work I first noticed in Fused! Tales #1, back in December. I'll be looking forward to his work on the book, especially if it keeps coming like this:

Much more art, and again, bigger, at the link.


Bummer. I was really enjoying The Thing. Hopefully Slott's got more stuff in the works...


From Spurgeon to The Savage Critic(s) to Quality Control, this link - discussing the 50 Greatest Marvel Characters - is really very sound work. You'd think it'd be hard to get me to agree with such a thing, but I'm telling ya, the choices are good ones.

And you have to appreciate anybody who points out that "If our world were Marvel's world, Stephen Hawking would probably be MODOK."


I love Zilla's blog for a lot of reasons, but one of 'em is the daily quotes he throws up. What made me take note today was Frederick Douglass, quoted here from Battle Hymn: Farewell to the First Golden Age:

"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Lord, that's fuckin' brilliant. Frederick Douglass could whup Malcom X any day of the week.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Friday... It's Tequila Time!

You know what might surprise me most about working in a sleazy gay dive bar in a scummy part of San Francisco one day a week?

It's not the hustlers, the druggies, the perverts, the cell-phone naked photos, the crazy homeless people taking a swing at me, the police ignoring my 911 calls, the secretly-rich-guys (it's not hard to guess how some of these people spend all day, every day in the bars), the drag queens, the trannies, the bewildered European tourists, the management asking about my cock size, the straight-but-then-they-get-drunk-and-let-some-dude-blow-'em crack fiend bartenders (and other, similar victims), my co-workers going nuts and stealing bottles of liquor and tazering the clientele, the deaf guy singing karaoke, or the fact that I seem to somehow fit in...'s the amazing frequency with which someone will go to the jukebox and put on "What If God Was One Of Us".

I mean, who knew?


That's the cutest thing I've ever seen, Mark.


So, Zilla asked if I picked up Last Planet Standing #1, and in a week where I was really only getting two other floppies (She-Hulk and Fables), I didn't really have an excuse not to. What was I looking for? Well, I knew it was about Galactus and some kind of universe-threatening peril and is written by Tom DeFalco. So, basically, I was hoping to get some jam-packed insane super-heroes-in-space adventure with everything and the kitchen sink thrown into the plot, a la all my favorite old Fantastic Four stories from the 80's.

What did I get?

Exactly what I wanted.

You remember when Marvel's big event comics weren't about changing the entire landscape of their publishing plan as much as they were about having a bunch of REALLY BIG SHIT happen?

In 22 short pages here, we get an entire universe destroyed (possibly killing Reed and Sue Richards, who were "on vacation" there), a new herald of Galactus (Dominas, who whups ass on Gladiator), a re-imagined Fantastic Five (though there are seven of them, including a grown-up Franklin Richards, Lyja the Skrull, and Kristoff von Doom), a humiliated third-string line-up of the Avengers with a rough luck past ("We lost Captain America... allowed the Hulk to demolish half the city...), the complete annihilation of the Shi'ar homeworld, Spider-Girl's re-recruitment into the Avengers just as she's beginning to doubt herself and grow tired of the ennui of fighting a bunch of hoodlums and losers, and Galactus apparently having discovered a way to "finally evolve to the next level" that involves Thor's homeworld of Asgard!

There's obviously a bit of a What If? / Elseworlds thing going on here, but it's not expressly acknowledged anywhere on the book, which makes me wonder if this is the kind of thing that, like 1601, will turn out to have existed in the same comic book universe as the "real" Marvel. The possibility certainly exists within the frame of this storyline, and that just opens the door to more fun.

It's not gonna be everybody's cup of tea, 'cause it is by definition a little hokey, but I had a lot of fun reading this. A lot more fun than I had reading Infinite Crisis or any of Marvel's recent event comics. So I'm throwing the big thumbs up, and the hell with the consequences to my reputation.


The Dark Horse solicits are up, and I just wanna give the shout-out one more time to my boys Arvid Nelson and especially Juan Ferreyra for landing Rex Mundi in such a sweet spot. I mean, damn - they even got J.H. Williams III to do their first cover!

That's some hot shit. First, the series gets a blood transfusion in the form of rapidly-becoming-one-of-the-very-best artist Juan "Small Gods" Ferrayra, and now they can just sit back, let Dark Horse handle everything, and just write and draw the shit out of their comic. Let the good times roll.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


New Comics Day, and a few things I'm curious about; this week is a real crap shoot.

There's the first issue of Last Planet Standing, which could be a nice return to old-school insane cosmic superheroics, given that it's written by Tom DeFalco (who had a really underrated and fun run on Fantastic Four) and has to do with Galactus threatening the entire universe. Sounds fun, huh? There's a preview up at IGN, right here.

Then there's a couple books from First Second that I noticed in the April solicits back in February.

Cute little pooping aliens and Eddie Campbell's self-written epitaph - which way to go? Tom Spurgeon interviewed Campbell, to give us an idea what's up over that way, and there's a review of A.L.I.E.E.E.N. at M&C Books: "Evincing the cruelties, the comedies and the oft-bizarre traits of the protagonists through an inventive and unique format, Trondheim distinguishes himself as a trailblazer in the youth graphic-novel market. Readers will be delighted by the wordless tale with its endearing, yet rascally alien characters and the sometimes crude plot that encompasses a variety of motifs, from invoking compassion to scatological humor."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Images Aplenty

I wanna show more pictures today. Three things.



I'm juiced as fuck for Casanova. Have been ever since the announcement, when they revealed the creative team (Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba) and the format (16 pages of comics in a 24-page book for $2). The first issue comes out soon and is actually 32 pages of comic for $2. Preview pages are up at Newsarama right now.

So, yeah, basically, you're an idiot if you don't buy this.



Checking back in with Josh Fialkov, I notice a few things. One, he saw the stage production of The Black Rider, featuring music by Tom Waits. He thinks I'm jealous as fuck. What the asshole doesn't realize is, see, is that I'm jealous as fuck that he mentions he saw Tom Waits on the Mule Variations tour almost as an afterthought and I've only ever seen Tom Waits twice in my life, neither of them at a Tom Waits concert. Once was at a John Hammond concert, when he was touring for his excellent album of Waits covers and Tom got up to do two songs with him (a shining moment of excitement in my life - as Molly puts it, we finally understood Beatlemania). The other time is for another time, but it's a funny story. Works better in person, though, so Josh - ask me about it when next we meet.

So, the other thing I noticed was the cover for Elk's Run #7, which is deadly awesome, and his announcement that "Only the colors on 8 remain before the book is done. I got tons of exciting stuff going on with the book… none of which I can talk about. Soon though. Soon." Hallelujah!


Josh also points out that on a recent Bad Signal, Warren Ellis has shared even MORE Fialkov love by calling Punks (along with Casanova and Phonogram) "the singles of the year so far."


And finally, I just saw the recent South Park episodes where they tried to show Mohammed and Comedy Central pussed out and wouldn't let them. Now, I don't see the point in endangering innocent people just for the sake of a joke, but I sure as hell believe in defending free speech by throwing a big fat FUCK YOU in the faces of anyone who would try to scare us into censorship. The point isn't the joke; the point is the freedom.

So, here's some of those Danish cartoons. Somebody got so mad about this that they decided to murder somebody else. That's how fucking retarded some people are. So, this is me doing my small part to tell all those people to kiss my ass.

"You can't do what he wants, just because he's the one threatening you with violence."


Monday, May 08, 2006

Mouse Guard #2

Ooh, boy - lots of folks seemed pissed about last week. Lots of crybabying about how nothing good came out.

None of 'em must've read Mouse Guard #2, I guess.

The story gets richer as we're introduced to two new characters - Sadie, an innocent but determined soldier of the Mouse Guard, and Conrad, the peg-legged salty badass in charge of the beach outpost of Cagolero. We learn a little more about the plot against the mouse town of Lockhaven, and we get an awesome mouse-on-crab fight that closes the issue.

It's a fun, exciting issue, with quickly-established and charismatic characters, and David Petersen's artwork has - as if it were possible - gotten even more gorgeous.

God bless this book.

Friday, May 05, 2006


One thing I love about what Brubaker is doing on Daredevil - at least, throughout the potboiling and chess-setting he's been up to over the first three issues of his run - is he's bringing powerful villains back to the book. Kingpin is the plotting silent craftsman from the Bendis run, but also a physical terror, smashing a shower room attacker's head through the tile wall. Bullseye goes from being basically humiliated, lying in the gutter with Matt's piss all over him, to being so frightening and dangerous that the whole prison holds its breath when he's brought in and taken to his cell.

See, something that frustrated me about Bendis' whole run was the lack of strong villains. Every time Matt got serious, he whupped the shit out of 'em. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't think Matt should be able to beat Wilson Fisk nearly to death and throw his body all over hell. Diminshes the Kingpin's presence as a frightening person. To an extent I think this was on purpose - part of the point of the Bendis run, to me, was establishing Matt as his own worst enemy. Did Bendis downplay the other villains, then, so they wouldn't outshine Matt's own muscle as a destructive force in his own life? The world may never know. All I know is, it seemed to throw the series kinda off balance, at least as I read it.

But what I see the Brube doing is balancing that obsessive, control freak with anger issues Matt Murdock against some bad guys with serious fuckin' presence. Makes a more satisfying, whole story to me.

'Course, we're just three issues in, and who knows where he's going with this. But I was just thinking about that and wanted to share.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ruby Thursday

Last Friday, I quoted Ed Brubaker's announcement that he'd renewed his exclusive contract with Marvel and that he had "an unprecedented opportunity for new projects that I'm sure will be announced very soon."

Then, just yesterday, I discovered this interview with Sean Phillips, wherein he is known to have said (written):

Ed and I do have a new series starting in a few months. I can't say anything until it's officially announced, but I'm really excited about it. I've already started work on it, and it will hopefully be my main project for the next few years.

To reitterate my response from last week:



And again: wow.

I was a touch skeptical about this project after being pretty disappointed in 1601, but this looks fucking awesome.


Finished watching Bukowski: Born Into This last night, a new documentary about Charles Bukowski.

One of the best biographical documentaries I've seen, I think. The film does an amazing job making a real person out of Bukowski, who has a legacy of extremes and postures; everyone tends to think of Bukowski The Alcoholic, Bukowski The Shy Curmudegeon, The Dirty Old Man and on and on.

The film does a lot to break down these narrow descriptions of the man and actually lends nuance to his writing; I'm eager to pick up some of my old books and go through them again.

Even if you know nothing about the man, the movie is worth watching for the interviews with Bukowski's widow, Linda. She speaks with charm and wisdom and intelligence that just shines. Her description of Bukowski's death is one of my favorite moments on film ever. It's amazing; you almost envy the man. You're certainly left feeling that he wasn't just married to the best fuck of his life or to the only woman who'd tolerate him - he was married to the love of his life, and she to hers, and it's really nice to see that in real life, in all its subtlety and complexity, especially in a life as often troubled and bedeviled as Bukowski's.

Highly, highly recommend you take a look at this one.


Plus, you get to see Tom Waits read a poem, and say, "You are marvelous, and the gods wait to delight in you."


I love Jon Favreau.


It's a day for really long interviews with indie comics creating ladies I like: James used his Comic Pimp column last week to interview Danica Novogorodoff (whose name I will always have to copy-and-paste) of A Late Freeze fame, while over at Sequential Tart, Adrienne Rappaport (sometimes seen bartending at Isotope parties) chats with jobnik! creator Miriam Libicki.

Fun stuff on all accounts, but I've gotta give extra love to Adrienne for one of the best interview questions ever: What was your favorite myth growing up (or currently) and why?

Myself? After thinking on it a minute, I'm gonna have to go with Sheherazade and the 1001 Arabian Nights. Not only did many of my favorite adventures come from her stories - the voyages of Sinbad in particular being a staple of my childhood imagination - but I always thought it was kind of a cool story, Sheherazade using the art of storytelling to save her own life and, ultimately, win over the heart of a cruel king. I've always, always loved storytellers, and Sheherazade is sort of the Muhammad Ali of 'em all. Funny that they were both Muslim.


So, yesterday I posted about the new AiT book, Rock Bottom, right before heading to the Isotope for my weekly stash.

Larry takes me aside and asks, "Do you wanna see that Charlie Adlard art?" The answer of course being FUCK YEAH I DO. I'm flipping through the pages (gorgeous as I knew they would be, and more detailed than any Adlard work I've yet seen) and I stop because I don't want to ruin the story for myself, but Larry's too excited - I have to see the last page.

It's a killer. The premise is rad, too - vintage Joe Casey. Larry tells me the best parts are in the middle of the story, but the ending looks pretty goddamn awesome to me. Emotional, thoughtful, bittersweet, mythic, complex, kinda funny. All the things Casey's especially good at when he's on his A-game.

Huge potential here; could end up being the most powerful book Larry's published.


And today's final Big Ups has to go to Garth Ennis, for taking Brian K. Vaughan's often-irritating trivia-as-dialogue technique and making it not just hardcore, but potentially amazingly useful as well - I hope it never comes up in my life, but now I know: if I'm putting severed fingers on ice, I'd better bag 'em first or the direct contact with ice will kill the nerve endings and make reattachment impossible.

Punisher #33: home to a brutal (and surprisingly early in the storyline) fight between Frank and the main villain of the arc, and to finger-saving advice.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bring it on back, now

Whew, been a rough week so far. Apologies for the two-day disappearance. Let's quit bitching and get back to comics loving, though, eh?


Lots of great stuff coming out this week.

"But it's kind of a light week, isn't it?"

Well, considering we're getting two of Ed Brubaker's very best Gotham Central story arcs in the Unresolved Targets TP, the final issue of Infinite Crisis, not just a new issue of Ennis' Punisher MAX but the trade of maybe his strongest arc yet (The Slavers), and second issues from the two best new series launches in recent months - Mouse Guard from Archaia Studio Press and War of the Worlds: Second Wave from Boom! Studios - I'd say that we're doing pretty damn well. It might not be a fifty dollar week, but how often do we really need those, anyway? The name of the fucking blog isn't Quantity Control.

I'm certainly a happy fucking man today.


Speaking of War of the Worlds: Second Wave, issue the second, I've gotten an advance peek.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue, and the second issue keeps the pace. Michael Alan Nelson's script continues its high-density blend of characterization and plot development, as we learn some really chilling background information about Our Hero, Miles, who made a disastrous mistake in the first issue that left his wife dead. The opening sequence is especially chilling - having been really amazed by the emotional devastation of the first issue, I actually shuddered reading this.

The action stays fun, though I miss Matt Webb's coloring. The big moments are still nice and big - my only problem is atmospheric lighting (is it daytime? --nighttime?), and luckily that's not too prevalent an issue. Chee's large panels really convey a sense of power and danger, and the clifffhanger page at the end is a nicely terrifying moment.

Can't wait for more.


Having lots of fun watching Pete bring the pain over at The Pete Mortensen Challenge. He's kick-started things with a full overview of DC's awesome Solo series and a look at the new Vertigo book, American Virgin.

'Course, it's just as much fun to start imagining the new Joe Casey / Charlie Adlard book that Larry Young slipped into the pre-Challenge conversation. Rock Bottom, you say? 102 pages of new Charlie Adlard artwork, you say?

Yeah, I don't really need to know much else, curious though I am. Adlard has become one of my world-champion favorite artists over the last few years, and his chemistry with Joe Casey was one of the major selling points of Codeflesh. I'm in.


Big ups today to Doug Paszkiewicz, creator of Arsenic Lullaby and subject of the very first Quality Control review, way back in the day.

Why the mad props? Well, because he got MAD props. That's right, homeboy's got a strip in the new issue of Alfred E. Newman's favorite magazine.

It's a strip I've read before in the pages of Arsenic Lullaby, but for those who've yet to work up the guts to read my favorite black humor comic, this'll make a fine introduction. Well done, Doug!


So throw your hands up in the atmosphere
And let 'em know the only party that was phat was here...
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