Tarzan. We all know his primal call, as he swings through the jungle, fighting both man and beast, bringing goodness and justice to a harsh, unforgiving African jungle. Tarzan - In the City of Gold collects three dynamic years of Burne Hogarth’s run as artist on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ influential Sunday comic strip, scripted by Don Garden.
Daniel Corey (Moriarty) has a new comic published by Image and drawn by Mark Dos Santos called Red City and Issue #1 is a blast! Merging science fiction and noir, this genre-bending comic follows Cal Talmage, a former homicide detective in Mars Central, as he tries to navigate the complexities of a politically unstable NSS (New Solar System) to find the missing daughter of the Ambassador of Mercury. Mercury, Mars, Venus, each of these planets are now bustling worlds with their own species and political ambitions, yet when it comes to greed, lust, corruption, and war, they are all too human. There is a Federal government trying to unify the disparate planets, and, just days before the signing of an important accord between Mercury and Venus, the daughter of the Mercurian Ambassador goes missing in Talmage’s old stomping grounds. So, Talmage, imprisoned for running a black market operation while working as a Federal Security Officer, is plucked from his cell to locate and return the young woman. From here on out, we get a classic noir story with an interplanetary twist.
Ray Bradbury said, “Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself . . . Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done.” And, in the first annual Sci-Fest, this important literary genre is celebrated on stage throughout the month of May. Initially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sci-Fest boasts two full evenings (which alternate week to week) of mostly original one-act plays written, designed, directed, and starring many luminaries of some of the biggest science fiction properties on television. Unique and engaging, Sci-Fest is not to be missed. I was fortunate enough to see Program A, which featured 3 original one-acts pre-intermission and a longer Rad Bradbury story called "Kaleidoscope" afterwards.
Shiprock & Anchordog is a quiet, little, twenty-two page comic by Evan Curran and Gregery Miller. It’s the story of Shiprock and Anchordog, two dogs living in some mystical land surrounded by friends, who decide to leave because there isn’t enough food for them there. Shiprock decides they should leave immediately, so they head “out west,” embarking on an adventure with the help of their friend, DeeDee, a dragon.
MPH #1 from Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo starts off in 1986 in a small town in Missouri. Our narrator describes the story of Mr Springfield, “the world’s first and only super human,” who is, at the moment, careening through buildings and tearing up landscapes in an out-of-control, drug-induced, multi-state, super-speed sprint. Why? How? We know not. Our only clue comes when this shadowy figure finally collapses and the police descend on him, as they would some sort of catastrophic UFO crash. After chaining him up and placing a burlap sack over his head, they remove from his person a small pill bottle labeled with the letters MPH. Cut to Detroit 2014, and we learn that our narrator is 19-year-old Roscoe, a relentlessly positive and ambitious drug runner who is just trying to pull himself and his girlfriend Rosa out from under the oppression of poverty. Things do not go as planned, and our hero ends up imprisoned, betrayed, and hopelessly depressed. And, right when he’s doing a swan dive towards rock bottom, he stumbles on these same MPH pills from earlier, takes one, and the rest, they say, is history.
Do not be deceived by the title of this hardcover from Titan Books. Snowpiercer Volume 2: The Explorers is actually Snowpiercer 2: The Explorers AND Snowpiercer 3: The Crossing collected in a single edition. It is the sequel to the original graphic novel (You may have seen my review.), and, like the first, it is drawn by the talented Jean-Marc Rochette; however, these new adventures, chronicling the plight of the last remnants of humanity on an unending journey aboard the ice-breaking behemoth Snowpiercer perpetually circling the frozen globe, are penned by a different writer, Benjamin Legrand. Legrand continued the series when the original writer, Jaques Lob, passed away in 1990.
Some of the most treasured books I own are the magnificent, over-sized hardcovers from Titan Books. I added another gem to the collection recently with Garth Ennis Presents - Battle Classics. Ennis is one of my favorite writers in comics today. From Preacher and Punisher to Hellblazer and The Boys, Ennis’ razor-sharp wit, raunchy humor, and profoundly relatable characters have led me to trust him as a writer like few others working today. Well, I put my trust in him again, and, as usual, I was delighted and enlightened. (Delightened?)
Titan Books has released a new Tank Girl punk rock epic from Alan Martin and artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell that will hit you over the head, steal your $19.99, and take you out for beers and bangers before jettisoning you off into a raunchy, foul-mouthed, drug-fueled, Innerspace-style adventure into Booga’s bollock . . . yep . . . past his brain and out again, temporarily saving his life but releasing a violent and vengeful Anti-Tank Girl, who, along with her pals Anti-Jet Girl, Anti-Booga, and Anti-Barney, chase our heroes to the edge of the earth, forcing them into a to-the-death battle of wits and giant machines that form larger, giant machines, all while trying to revive a slowly and mysteriously dying Booga in the sexy, new hardcover Solid State Tank Girl.
Snowpiercer Volume 1: The Escape is the graphic novel from writer Jacques Lob and artist Jean-Marc Rochette, originally published in France in 1984. For its first ever English translation and in honor of the upcoming Weinstein Company movie adaptation starring Chris Evans, Titan Books has published the story in a gorgeous, oversized hardcover edition. I must say I was skeptical about the story at first, having watched the film trailer, which looked like some hack writer said, “Let’s do a post-apocalyptic thriller . . . on a train!” Flipping through the graphic novel offered some consolation, however, with a stunning design typical of Titan Books and Rochette’s stark, black-and-white and, frankly, haunting art. The story itself was still unproven, but if you could judge the book by its cover - in this case a massive, speeding bullet train plowing through a desolate tundra, bearing down on the reader - well . . . let’s just say, I was on board.