If you read comics, you have undoubtedly heard the names Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. Maybe you know that Jack Kirby worked closely with Stan Lee to develop most of the better known Marvel Characters, including Iron Man, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Hulk to name a few. You might even have heard at some point (though you can’t remember where or find any confirmation online) that Kirby actually drew many of the panels for the early Marvel books before Stan Lee went through and filled in dialogue. If so, then you are like me, and while you understand that Jack Kirby was a prolific and influential creator during the Golden Age of comics, you aren’t really sure why, or how Joe Simon enters into it. The short answer is that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were a creative team who made comics across many genres, for every major comic company at the time, over a span of three decades, and they have left an enduring legacy that has touched nearly every working comic professional since. The long answer is Titan Books’ The Simon & Kirby Library, consisting of several vivid hardback comic anthologies collecting their genre work such as Superhero comics and Crime comics, with introductions by comic luminaries such as Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline), and throwing in a few rare, unpublished, and incomplete works for good measure. The result is nothing less than an education on early genre comics by masters of the medium.
Remember Me is the upcoming video game from DONTNOD Entertainment set in the year 2084 when social media has evolved to the point of recording and sharing memories. Nilin is a memory hunter, one of a select few able to not only steal memories, but alter them. Although we still have another day to wait until Remember Me's June 4th release date, we're able to get a sneak peek at this amazing game through products like The Art of Remember Me.
Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time is a fun series that has explored the history of one of geekdom’s most iconic heroes. Each issue of the series has featured an adventure by a different incarnation of the Doctor. A mysterious figure has been traveling through time and kidnapping the Doctor’s companions. This has been more of an excuse to skip through the history of the show than a legitimate plot, until now. (I suggest reading the “until now” in your best movie trailer voice. It will make me seem like a more impressive writer if you do.) This issue pulls off the difficult move of transitioning between mostly standalone issues and big, sweeping arc.
The Strain is a vampire story for people who like their monsters to be monsters. Adapted from the novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the comic follows a pair of CDC agents and a mysterious old man as they try to stop an outbreak of vampires in Manhattan. This comic does a great job of remembering that vampires are to be feared, not desired. They are nearly mindless beasts with ravenous appetites and seem more like a plague than a villain to overcome. There is a villain to be sure, and he is a good and menacing figure, but the real threat still seems like it is the rate of infection.
Everything old is new again. Doctor Who Classics, from IDW Publishing, takes old comics, published in Doctor Who Magazine during the time of the original series, and repackages them for a new generation of Doctor Who fans. Originally printed in black and white, they’ve been colorized and given a slick, new appearance. This first issue contains two adventures of the Seventh Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy on the show), a somewhat mysterious, though capable and determined, incarnation, identifiable by the question mark motif in his attire.
In many ways, Tales of Discord plays out like a season of the show Lost. There’s a large ensemble cast and a number of concurrent storylines. There’s a present-day plotline, which is illuminated by flashbacks to the histories and origins of the various major characters. And, most importantly, it’s confusing to follow at times . . . but still addictively entertaining.
Doctor Who Classics #2 takes another old adventure from issues of Doctor Who Magazine, colorizes it, and assembles it into comic form. "Invaders from Gantac" is a three-part arc which has the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy on the television series) stumbling into an alien invasion as only the Doctor can stumble.
It feels wrong to say that The Colonized has a lot in common with the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space, but it's technically true. The cult classic by Ed Wood has become so known for its pervasive awfulness and hilarious continuity errors that such a comparison would seem like I was saying The Colonized is somehow a bad or laughable piece. This is far from the case. But, they share some common plot points: aliens coming to Earth, finding a bunch of despicable and violence-loving humans, and resurrecting the dead.
There’s a lot of backstory to the It Girl and the Atomics saga, spanning several different series prior to this one, which provide the details of who these characters are, how they came to be, what they can do, and what their relationships are to one another. None of it really matters a whole lot to this particular issue. If you wanted to jump in with #9, with no prior knowledge of the series or the characters, you could do so without becoming too terribly lost. The only really important information is this: they’re superheroes. Everything else is pretty much incidental.
Danger Girl: Trinity #1 from IDW is pure, glorious entertainment. It has a little bit of everything: action and adventure, exotic locations, intrigue, beautiful women, fight scenes, explosions, and just a touch of humor. Combine that with a fast-paced, compelling plot, beautiful artwork, and a cliffhanger ending, and you’ve got a comic that’s just tremendously fun to read.