One thing I’ve been noticing about comic books lately is that, within each issue, less and less story is being told, so story arcs can last over the course of many more issues. It’s not a complaint, just an observation. That isn’t a problem with Rat God from Dark Horse Comics. Writer and artist Richard Corben (Heavy Metal, Den, Hellblazer, 2012 Eisner Hall of Fame Inductee) fills every page with twists and turns, drama, and humor. It’s a real ride.
I’m not sure if Oni Press (Scott Pilgrim) knew exactly what they were going to get when they gave the go ahead to Princess Ugg, but writer and artist Ted Naifeh (Gloomcookie, and the Eisner-nominated Courtney Crumrin) has given them a possible classic. Having found Issue #4 only a couple of days ago, I took my time paging through to the end of Issue #7 today, appreciating the pristine character development, the exceptional dialogue writing, and the beautiful, emotionally charged artwork. Princess Ugg is a treat full of excitement, intelligence, and pathos. Part fairy tale princess land and part Game of Thrones gritty reality (without the explicit sex and violence), I laugh, I worry, I wonder, and, today, I cried. It's one of those special books I can’t wait to get my hands on every month. It’s simply beautiful.
Gail Simone (Secret Six, Batgirl) and Jim Zub (Wayward, Samurai Jack, Munchkin) keep up the pace with the second issue of Conan Red Sonja. This time, along with Conan and Red Sonja, we have pirates(!) and you get the sense that Simone and Zub are in for the fun of it. Picking up a few years after their first run in with each other, the duo are up against those strange, red vines that ended our previous issue.
“If you have any last words, I’ll listen.” And so, Yamada Asaemon does, the central character of Kazuo Koie and Goseki Kojima’s follow up series to their brilliant Lone Wolf and Cub. In Samurai Executioner, Asaemon is the executioner who swings his blade to cut off heads of the convicted, and that very simple premise brings us into the world of feudal Japan during the Edo period. Through Asaemon’s simple question, we explore many stories that lead to the soon-to-be-convicted’s death. Some violent, some funny, some heartbreaking – but always haunting. The most effecting images of decapitation I’ve ever seen, the images imprint themselves in your mind – these characters on the page have vitality beyond their constraints. It’s like looking at humanity through a microcosm of individuals. Like the Twilight Zone but with Samurai instead of people with pig faces.
Help Us! Great Warrior is silly, adorable, and hilarious. In the best ways, Madeleine Flores’ creation, Great Warrior - the heroine of the book and a greenish, roundish, smallish creature with small arms and legs - looks like she just wandered out of an episode of Adventure Time. Great Warrior is the type of character that doesn’t seem at all worried about fighting the giant demon coming toward her, unless she drops her cake because of said demon.
This review comes just in time for Friday the 13th, and rightfully so. Read on to see why.
I’ve never read the works of H. P. Lovecraft, but I’m well aware of Cthulu, thanks to a myriad of friends who are interested and, of course, thanks to his current pop culture online meme trend. This is the way to bring about the end of a monster’s reign of fear: Turn him into a series of silly memes. So, I was very curious to dive into this 612-page tome by Michael Alan Nelson (Hexed, Supergirl) and a slew of artists, inkers, colorists, letterers . . .
Mike Mignola expands the Hellboy universe with Frankenstein Underground #1, and its beginnings are intriguing.
Set in the same year as Hellboy’s appearance in Dark Horse #200, 1956, Frankenstein (though, shouldn’t it be Frankenstein’s Monster? Or are we officially giving the creature the last name of its creator these days?) stumbles into the presence of someone quite mysterious. This figure thinks Frankenstein is there for a reason, even if Frankenstein doesn’t know what it is. Meanwhile, a mysterious and potentially dangerous group of people want Frankenstein for themselves and for unusual reasons – at least not ones Frankenstein is used to seeing.
Some big names jump into the fray for the big, 200th issue of Dark Horse Presents.
Mike Mignola gives us a Hellboy tale that encapsulates the character in a matter of a handful of pages. It’s short and sweet.
There’s nothing more unabashedly violent to me than someone getting curb stomped. I have the image of Edward Norton in American History X burned into my retinas. It’s a disturbing thought that makes me click my teeth together anxiously. So, naturally, I asked to read the book by Ryan Ferrier (Tiger Lawyer, The Brothers James) called Curb Stomp. Yes, the book follows through on the promise and gives us a curb stomp; however, it’s not very interesting when it happens.
Thus far, I’ve been a fan of this adorable and fun series from Roger Landridge (The Muppet Show comics, Popeye), and I’ve given it some pretty decent reviews as each issue comes out. I’m sorry to report that Issue #3 didn’t quite capture the charm of the first two issues. The transition from the playful tone to the slightly more serious and dangerous tone was a little uneven. The shift in dynamic just sort of falls on us out of the blue, with some uninteresting filler in between.