I just read Issue #1 of the new, 4-issue limited series Tabatha by T-Publications . . . and damn. Just damn (in a good way). Why don’t I tell you about it?
It’s written by Neil Gibson (www.neilgibsoncomics.com - totally worth checking out), with art by Caspar Wijngaard (Pencil, Inks) and Anja Poland/Caspa Wijngaard (Coloring), and lettering by Comicraft. The story is compelling. A loser(ish) mailman encounters the usual stuff to show us what a loser he is (stutters in front of the hot girl, gets picked on by his boss, encounters obese/naked/awkward folks in their houses, and gets threatened/yelled at by old ladies). A day in the life of a nerd, right? From here, I expected the story could take several turns:
King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon is an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s only Conan novel into two six-issue miniseries, brought to the comic page by writer Timothy Truman, artists Tomás Giorello and José Villarrubia, and with lettering by Richard Starkings and Comicraft. Issues one and two of The Hour of the Dragon are the first Conan comics I have ever really sat down and read, and what is fantastic about this title is that from the script to the art, to even the lettering, you feel as if you have unearthed a treasure that was created during the true age of pulp comics, and that gives a great sense of authenticity to the telling of this tale. Another interesting piece of history is that the novel was released first in 1935 as a five-part serial in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, until being published in its original format in 1950. That being said, Dark Horse publishing The Hour of the Dragon as a comic book miniseries is in line with how readers would have first experienced the tale, albeit now with gorgeous illustrations, each page within this issue so striking that any one of them could be used as the cover.
The Chronicles of Conan is an ongoing collection published by Dark Horse of the original Conan the Barbarian comics produced by Marvel Comics from 1970-1993 and which ran for 275 issues, and the Conan the Barbarian Annual, which ran for 12 issues from 1973-1987. Volume 24: Blood Dawn and Other Stories collects the Conan the Barbarian Annual #11 and Conan the Barbarian #182-189. This collection is made up largely of one story arc, though it does dip back into events that took place in the previous collection, Well of Souls and Other Stories, but since these comics were originally published in this same order, writer James Owsley fills us in on what happened in those earlier issues to remind us if we had forgotten and to inform us if we simply had not read those issues. It was actually interesting to see a straight adventure comic like Conan have stories with long-reaching consequences and as I was sucked deeper into the world of Conan, it became apparent these comics were more of an ongoing, unfolding journey than mere standalone adventures cobbled together.
Masks & Mobsters, another great title from digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics, is a crime anthology written by Joshua Williamson, with art by Mike Henderson, with guest artists Jason Copland, Justin Greenwood, Ryan Cody, and Seth Damoose popping up throughout. Masks & Mobsters takes place during the 1920s, its stories relating what happens when superheroes (masks, as the mobsters disdainfully refer to them) first start showing up in Golden City, putting the squeeze on the local crime syndicates, and how the criminal underworld retaliates. The art is all in glorious black and white, which perfectly captures the rough edges of the crime world, while also bringing a simple elegance to the time period. There are shadows galore, and Henderson and the other artists use them effectively, an element of danger and mystery hanging over each issue. This first print collection is being published in a classy hardcover by the Image Comics imprint Shadowline, and includes the first ten issues, which are two more than are currently being offered digitally. Also, each issue has a page of rough artwork showing character or cover sketches, which helps give an idea of how this world is continually growing and developing not only through Joshua Williamson’s stories, but also through the artwork.
Dark Skullkickers Dark #1 is a terrific read. It’s filled with action, drunken buffoonery, clever concepts and colorful characters. The art is terrific, the writing is lively, and, ultimately, I only had one tiny reservation about the book, which is that I had absolutely no idea what was going on. This isn’t the fault of the writer, at least not in the way you’d think.
Edison Rex has existed for a little over a year now as one of the titles from the digital comics publishing company Monkeybrain Comics, which was founded in the summer of 2012 by comic book writer and novelist Chris Roberson and his wife Allison Baker. Roberson is also the writer of Edison Rex, and Allison Baker, a creative professional in her own right, is the editor. The fun, often lighthearted, often action-packed art is by Dennis Culver, with colors by Stephen Downer, lettering by John J. Hill, and this whole team is seamless. There is a consistent vision throughout the first six issues in this first-ever print collection being released by IDW, and the book is chock full of extras, including The Secret Files of Edison Rex, bios about the various characters that appear in the book, written by Edison himself, a start-to-finish breakdown of the first page, pin-ups, a great introduction by Kurt Busiek and afterword by Chris Roberson, as well as a few other extras that I will leave for you to discover.
Welcome to Wild Blue Yonder, a high-flying, post-apocalyptic adventure series created by the team of writer Mike Raicht, artist Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison under their Noble Transmissions banner, and released by IDW. Originally developed as a Kickstarter project in order to raise funds to pay artist Zach Howard, so he could take the time off from paid work to focus on drawing the creator-owned, five-issue miniseries, the project met its goal, and beyond, and the comic was picked up by IDW as an ongoing title.
When I rolled out of bed this afternoon, I was feeling a bit under the weather. Lesson learned: never try to out drink someone who talks like a pirate. I staggered to the kitchen and threw together three key ingredients (4 really) on some Wonder Bread, and now I feel almost human. Human enough to write this review anyway. I gotta tell you, a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato (with Mayo) can really take the edge off of an epically bad idea of a night. It’s like magic food.
Where am I going with this? Killogy’s trade paperback is coming out, and I’m going to tell you if you should read it or not. It’s written by Alan Robert. It’s illustrated by Alan Robert. It makes comic review writing easier when there is only 1 guy involved in a comic: thank you, Mr. Robert, for simplifying my painful afternoon. Also, thank you for your “comfort food comic.”
The comic book Saga is one of the best books I have read in years. I say that with no levity; it is an incredible menagerie of writing and art, and I personally feel that if the comic continues the way it has been going, it stands a good chance of being the next The Walking Dead.
The Wasteland storyline is a three-part series that continues the Hell on Earth series. Needless to say, Issue #2 immediately follows Issue #1, but it is not without some backstory that basically informs us that Liz Sherman travelled to the mysterious underground city of Argatha (located in Antarctica) and, in an attempt to eliminate the Black Flame, ignited a massive fire that destroyed the city, but also created a major rift in the earth and ever since then, well, all sorts of nasties have been crawling out for the B.P.R.D to deal with.