Eponymous is one of those comic books that immediately punches you in the face with its stunning artwork. Beautifully rendered by Martin Simmonds, the pages ooze detail and texture with every scene. Every panel is cinematic in style, and the artist has complete control over light and shade, utilising it perfectly to express the action and emotion of the story, which is equally mastered by the writing skills of Mike Garley.
Out this Wednesday via MonkeyBrain Comics from writer Curt Pires and artist Dalton Rose comes Theremin. Both have previously worked on high-concept independent projects of some renown in the shape of the brutal-yet-cerebral tale LP (Pires) and the epilepsy-induced Mayan war epic Sacrifice (Rose). Here they combine their talents to take on the somewhat fictionalised life, times and adventures of the very real Russian inventor, possible one-time attempted defector and gulag survivor Leo Theremin.
British pair Andy Diggle and Jock are veterans of both the UK and US comic scenes, with credits on some of the biggest ‘Big Two’ titles around, such as Daredevil
, Action Comics
and New Avengers
(Jock). Having first joined forces on The Losers
for Vertigo, they also produced Green Arrow: Year One
for DC Comics, the plot of which is currently the basis of the highly successful Warner Brothers show Arrow
represents their first creator-owned book, though it a departure from their previous superhero/team-focused collaborations.
From experienced writer Jay Faerber (Point of Impact, Near Death) and artist John Broglia (Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures, Mice Templar), Denali delivers an intense burst of snow-tinged action-adventure in eight excellently drawn pages. Despite the limited space the creators introduce readers to a strange and seemingly post-apocalyptic world, shrouded in winter snow and inhabited by pelt-wearing barbarians.
Released last week, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained is already most likely to end 2013 as one the years most talked about and most successful movies, even with the year not yet a month old. As with most high profile cinema, releases a range of merchandise has hit the market in support of the feature, including a range of controversial (and already discontinued) action figures, an excellent soundtrack compiled by Tarantino from both old and new tracks and, in a more unusual move, a comic book series of the film, with the first issue of a five part run having been released prior to the film in December via Vertigo Comics, though a second print will be available from early February 2013.
Launched in late 2012, VS Comics is a new digital anthology presided over by Mike Garley and James Moran, bringing to the market a monthly dose of original work from a number of creators across a range of genres. Available through a number of sources, including iTunes and Amazon, the debut issue delivers over 55 pages of content for between £2 and £2.50 (dependant on source), something few current comics, be they digital or physical, can boast.
The last year has seen a number of comics drawing on hard science or sci-fi themes hit the shelves. Amongst these have been tales drenched in the bizarre, such as alternate histories or multiple universes, and those spinning stories from less unusual but no less compelling scenarios. Regardless It has certainly been a strong year for the genre, and despite such tough competition, David Hine and Doug Braithwaite’s new series Storm Dogs, out now through Image Comics, is a welcome and intriguing addition.
Best known for his work as artist on The Li'l Depressed Boy and editor on The Walking Dead, in Not My Bag Sina Grace has produced a highly personal graphic novel touching on fashion, relationships and the struggle to balance dreams and ambitions with the realities of everyday life. From his deepest hopes and fears to his day-to-day trials as a department store sales assistant, Grace offers a stark, frequently funny and at times uncomfortable study of the cocktail of pressures and proceedings that helped him to move beyond the ghosts of his past.
For a realm of such infinite possibilities science fiction can sometimes be surprisingly limited. Given such scope it is no surprise that many writers operating in this genre often cling to cliché or established archetypes, be they characters, technological or conceptual, in order to avoid the risk of alienating readers. This considered, it is of great credit to the creative team of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples that in their space-war-soap-opera Saga they manage to adopt some elements that will be familiar to sci-fi fans, but yet still create a unique and exciting adventure story.
Grant Morrison can lay claim to having produced some of the most influential comics of the last thirty years, both with the ‘Big Two’ and in the creator-owned field, and it is to the latter realm he has returned with his new four issue series Happy! illustrated by Darick Robertson and published by Image Comics. With such a broad range of work under his belt there really is little chance in guessing what type of story Morrison will come up with from one book to the next. Those who prefer his more cosmic or overtly philosophical work may find the opening chapter of this latest tale a bit of a shock, initially at least, as Happy! is of the grittiest comics Morrison has penned in recent years, more in the tradition of hard-boiled, pitch-black noir than transcendental science fiction or multidimensional space opera.
Carrying a title that jumps off the page and dares people to make assumptions about it, Punk Rock Jesus is a comic that both takes risk and confounds expectations. With issue one’s cover image of a Mohawk-sporting, tattooed signer snarling in a microphone and its premise of a television reality show centred around a modern day clone of Jesus Christ, writer and artist Sean Murphy’s series from Vertigo clearly holds the potential to be one of 2012’s most controversial books. But those unable to get past these initially confrontational elements would be missing out on an exciting, lushly drawn and ambitious book that, on the evidence of its first three issues, could very well be one of the defining pieces of work seen this year.
Sometimes comic books come and along and not only do they entertain you, they actually educate you as well, and such is the case when reading John Henry: The Steam Age, released through Arcana and written and drawn by Dwayne Harris.
From Monekybrain Comics, Edison Rex is a new ongoing comic that follows the efforts of the world’s smartest man, and former archenemy of its greatest hero, to replace his now absent foe and protect Earth from super villains, rather than be one. Issue one showed how Rex and his side-kick M’Ailizz finally defeated Valiant, the planet’s super-powered guardian, and issue two explores their initial attempts to adjust public perceptions of their now righteous actions, as Rex tackles former evil allies.
Brian Wood has built a reputation for using the comic medium to tell highly complex and often bleak tales about both human nature and the state of our world. His career defining DMZ series, that ended in February after six and half years, chronicled life in a future New York City, where a second American civil war had left the five boroughs as a border zone between warring factions.
It’s always disappointing to read a comic book that thinks it’s so much better than it actually is. This is the problem I was faced with as I struggled through Brooke Burgess’s Becoming. The tale is about a college boy who is so convinced that he’s being short-changed out of his education that he confronts his professor over the bad grades he feels he’s being punished with.
Erik Hendrix gives further proof that horror stories work well in comic book format with his latest release, The Evil Tree. After Daren moves out of NYC to the countryside, he invites his friends to stay for a weekend to help cheer his fiancé Misha up, who has been suffering from depression since moving away from her old life in the city.
What does travel mean to you? Is it that feeling of rootless freedom, of exploration, of new possibilities; those sensations you cannot replicate in the comfort of a familiar place? Or is it the fear of the unknown, the loss of control, the discomfort of the strange? New from Arcana Comics comes The Book, and it is at an intersection of both these interpretations of travel that it sits, weaving together a tale of blood-soaked ritualistic cults with the innocence of adventure seeking young adults abroad.
Please welcome a new contributor to Geek Chocolate, Glenn Jones, a Manchester based artist and author who has cast his eye over the first release from the Glasgow League of Writers. Launched at the Glasgow Comic Con last weekend, where contributors John Lees took home the Best Writer Award for his work on The Standard while Gordon McLean received the Best Comic Award for No More Heroes, the anthology has already sold out its first print run.
O.M.F.G. Part 2 – Big Secret Crisis
How do you follow the comic of the year?
Those of us that are familiar with the glorious comic book goodness that is Spandex will have been waiting with no small measure of anticipation for this, the second part of the four chapter saga that is O.M.F.G. For those that haven't read either Chapter One of this saga or any of the three earlier Spandex issues, then put down whatever mainstream comic it was that you were planning on buying this week and buy some Spandex instead. You will not be disappointed.
Roachwell is the disarmingly normal title of the new comic from the creative team of writer Craig Collins and artist Iain Laurie.
Alan Moore once said that the ‘comic medium had possibilities that people had not even begin to touch yet.’ When he said that, it was work like that this that he saw the potential for. Boundary pushing and unique there is nothing out there that is quite like Roachwell, a throwback, in spirit at least, to the days when underground comics meant something truly alternative.
Slaughterman’s Creed tells the story of Sidney, the slaughterman of the title. Sidney works for a big time London gangster, Lenny Addison. It’s a position where the job description is pretty much covered by the job title. Duties include, torture to gain confessions and information, disembowelments, finishing the victims off, chopping them into little bits to allow those bits to be sent off to rivals as warnings. It’s a dirty job, but as they say, someone has to do it.
‘Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.’
William Cowper’s much repeated, (although not usually in its entirety) quote sums up very much the ethos behind this latest, third issue of New British Comics. Editor in Chief Karol Wisniewska makes that very point in his introduction to this latest collection of short works from an eclectic band of artists and writers. The introduction promises us action, mystery, drama and humour too and he is true to his word with thirteen different strips spread across a satisfyingly thick 80 pages. You get your money’s worth here.
Anthologies are inevitably hit and miss affairs. If the stories collected are all too similar it can make for a boring repetitive read and you risk only appealing to a certain section of the public. Too mixed, and you risk not really appealing to anyone in particular. Producing a successful collection of tales is a balancing act, which seldom, if ever, is 100% successful. New British Comics approach, which is to have no general theme, could be seen as a risky strategy.
Wisnieska chooses only to pick the stories which, as he says ‘are an accurate reflection of what I see on the streets...of Britain.’ As he points out, he’s not from round here and this gives him an outsider’s view. Added to that, as the strips are not constrained by commercial concerns and are only fuelled by the desire to create something memorable, it means that there is some weird and wonderful stuff going on in the pages of Issue 3.
Paragon started as a small self published comic, the brainchild of Editor Dave Candlish. Over seven issues, Dave has now seen his baby all grown up to the point where his labour of love has now been nominated and shortlisted for an Eagle award for Best British Black and White Comic. A fine achievement for a small press publication.
I’m new to Paragon, this is the first issues I’ve read, and Issue Seven seems the perfect place for latecomers like me. Paragon carries three separate stories in each issue and there are two new regular stories being introduced here as well as a new adventure for previous regular Jikan
‘L’Morte D’Arthur.’ The title alone resounds through the ages.
This, after all is the granddaddy of fantasy fiction, the original, the one that set the tone and that all others followed. It features arguably the most famous King in literary history in Arthur and the most famous noble knight in Sir Lancelot. It also has, undoubtedly, the most famous wizard in Merlin. (Sorry Gandalf, you’re just small fry in comparison.)
Arthurian legend has it all, Noble Kings, brought up in the most humble of circumstances, brave Knights setting out on quests, beautiful queens, the machinations of wizards and witches, betrayal by friends and family. The quest for unattainable, yet noble ideals and the human frailties that are the undoing of these, you name it and L’Morte D’Arthur has it all. And then some.
Flux is the first release, hopefully of many, from the new UK arm of What the Flux Comics, based in the US.
It’s a collection of four new stories. It falls nicely in-between the A-list celebrity led, mainstream baiting of Mark Miller’s Clint and the many small press anthologies that are out there. With the backing of What The Flux International, the UK releaser will have access to decent distribution and marketing that small press creators don’t. They are using relatively unknown writers and artists and bringing us new and original stories. That alone is reason enough to support it.
All the good intentions in the world won’t count for a thing if they don’t deliver a decent product. So, the big question is - is it any good? The answer, for the most part, is a resounding yes. As with any collection of stories, it’s a hard task to be consistently excellent. As the old adage says, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
It’s late 1960 and the world is on the cusp of change.
In the cellar bars of the St Pauli district of Hamburg, five young Liverpudlians live out their rock and roll dream. In another part of the same city a young artist is going through the slow disintegration of her relationship with her boyfriend.
The five young men were the early incarnation of the Beatles and the young artist was Astrid Kirchherr, who is generally regarded as the creator of the iconic early Beatles look.
Her influence on the history of the band went far deeper, however, than haircuts and black polo necks.
Mark Millar's creator owned projects managed a double whammy over the festive period with the final chapter of our introduction to Nemesis, Issue 4, reaching us and the midway point being reached by Superior as Issue 3 hit the stands.
GEEKchocolateers will know that I have had mixed feelings about Millar's creator owned projects, Nemesis in particular has attracted my ire. I've made my feelings about the project clear, feeling that it represents a low point in Millar's career. Superior, on the other hand, has the potential to be really great. More of that one though in a forthcoming review.
This post contains spoilers - if you don't want to know what happens in Kick-Ass, Nemesis, or Superior then turn back now!
The third of Mark Millar's much heralded (on Millarworld at least) creator owned projects releases its latest instalment this week as Superior issue 2 hits the comic book stores.
But has the Scottish comic-book supremo really come up with anything new lately? Or is it just a re-telling of well worn tales?
A new Alan Moore comic is always something to look forward to. The man’s back catalogue is without equal, and his dedication to the comic book medium is legendary. So when a new Moore arrives, it is always, at the very least, intriguing.
Neonomicon is the latest of Moore’s takes on the world of HP Lovecraft and follows on from his prose story, The Courtyard (later adapted by Antony Johnson and Neonomicon artist Jacen Burrows into comic book form). Both works take part in the Lovecraftian universe of the Cthulhu Mythos; a shared fictional world where Lovecraft and many other writers set their works.
Dear reader, I know that you come to GEEKchocolate in search of intelligent informed review and debate. Thought provoking evaluations that helps you to enjoy your book, film whatever with a depth of appreciation that you never thought possible. The sort of thing that Pixel does so well. You’re smart and clued up. What you don’t want is some slabbering fanboy foaming at the trousers over one of his personal favourites. Well, if that is the case, then the next few hundred words are going to be a bumpy ride for you, because that’s what you’re going to get
Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour landed on my doorstep this morning. SCOTT PILGIM 6!!!!!
'Villainous' is the first release from new publishers on the block Obscure Reference comics.
It’s the first of a five part series telling the story of Victor Arkin, convicted psychopath with a tragic childhood who escapes his imprisonment in Straffen Asylum in an attempt to stop a copycat killer who has taken Victor's legacy as inspiration.