This Week’s Ever-So-Pricey Comics

Thanks to Matt for filling in for me last week.  This may lead me to abandon him more often.  There’s not a lot coming out this week, but almost all of it is expensive.  Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • ATLAS TP MARVEL BOY – In another example of TPB’s gone wild, Marvel brings us Marvel Boy, which reprints three issues of The Uranian (at least they’re including the Golden Age reprints), and two old Fantastic Four issues.  For $20.  That sounds about right.
  • BATMAN #700 – Hopefully DC’s going to take a page from Marvel’s playbook and make this anniversary isue something special for our $5. 56 pages isn’t a great start, but Grant Morrison is writing with several artists, so I’m optimistic.
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE GENERATION LOST #3 – I haven’t delved into #2 yet, but by the time I get comics this week I will have decided if I’m going to keep going along for the ride.
  • TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE #6 – This is probably going to be my most-anticipated book of the year.  New Michael Kupperman material — and in color! — will always be welcome.

Last week I had the good fortune to stop by the Fantagraphics retail store in Seattle.  About a month back they had an in-store event with Kupperman and they have about a dozen pages of original art on the
wall to check out.  It was wonderful to be able to see some of my favorite pages up close.  I learned that he doesn’t appear to have a standard page size he draws with (he’s certainly not using Marvel and DC-standard 11×17 bristol board pages) and there were several instances where it was possible to see line art that wound up getting inked over.  All of the pages are for sale, but they are very, very expensive.  However, if you’re in the Seattle area, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The FG storefront is a nice, if small shop.  They carry single issues from some of their biggest creators, but it’s mostly TPB’s representing most publishers.  They also have a small half-off room in the back where you can pick up damaged books at discount prices.  The staff was incredibly friendly, and lest anyone think they completely snub superheroes, I overheard them discussing how much they liked Iron Man 2.  (Hopefully that doesn’t get anyone fired.)

That’s it for me.  What are YOU looking at?

Game tape

Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

This one’s pretty short. One word applies to all three books I got: meh… Sorry guys. I am officially dropping Invincible. Superman and GI JOE were placeholders.

In lieu of rants and raves about this week’s books, throw your eyes up on this awesomeness. If you haven’t read Michael Kupperman’s Snake ‘n Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret, you’re only living half a life. Don’t believe me? See the samples below.

Dream Team

With IDW, Dynamite, and BOOM!, and others buying up properties and converting them into comics, this installment is going to be a series of suggestions: properties that should be comics. So strap yourself into your bathtub for a taste of adventure.

1. Dolemite – the solar system became a spiritually poorer place when Rudy Ray Moore passed away last year. Jesse and I had the chance to meet him at the world premier of “Dolemite 2000.” I shook his hand, but was too awed to say anything coherent. In honor of that we begin with what would be an ideal property to revive: Dolemite. Pimps and ho’s are in style, and no one is pimpier than Dolemite. Whether he is rolling down a hill butt-naked to escape a girl’s father/ sheriff, tussling with Mean Willie Green, or spreading the word at his club The Total Experience, Dolemite is a force of nature.  In an ideal world, Moore would co-plot and write the dialogue. Unfortunately, dead means dead. So, let’s say Bendis and ODB co-ploting with the majority of the dialogue supplied by ODB. Why Bendis? Let’s face it, his Luke Cage revamp in Alias is the closest we’ve come to cloning Dolemite. Why Ol’ Dirty Bastard? Really…do you have to ask? The art chores are a tough call…I don’t know…Rob Liefeld? (ADDENDUM: Jesse points out that ODB is dead also. His suggestion of RZA is a good substitute.)

2. Milo and Otis – In the last few years, we’ve seen a resurgence of animal books. Owly and Corgi spring to mind immediately. These are cute books where animals do cute things and philosophize cutely. Imagine a James Kochalka written and drawn book. Checkout Monkey vs. Robot or Pinky and Stinky; your life will be better for it. Kochalka knows this realm of cute surreality. Besides, Milo and Otis having cute adventures is something we need more of in this life. ‘Nuff said.

3. They Might be Giants – Comics and popular music often intermingle. Think of the glorious Kid ‘n Play that Marvel published back in the ’90’s. Not to mention the many bio-books that have covered everyone from K.I.S.S. to New Kids on the Block. The world of John Flansburgh and John Linnell is ideal for comic book treatment. A blend of action/adventure and funny book, this book would be best drawn by Michael Kupperman (of Snake ‘n Bacon and Tales Designed to Thrizzle fame). A close second would be Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis on script with Kevin MacGuire on art.

4. Anything from the minds of Sid and Marty Kroft. I have what some would call an unnatural love of H.R. Puffinstuff, and with “Land of the Lost” bringing exposure to the Kroft brothers, it’s a crime that there aren’t associated books. Only one of three people could do justice to the catalogue of Kroftian craziness: Tony Millionaire, Peter Bagge, or Michael Kupperman. These guys know crazy shit.

That’ll wrap up another session of the Dream Team. What properties would you like to see turned into comic books? Who would you have working on them? What are some of your dream teams in general? Feel free to post in the comments section.

I’m taking off my pants!

I realized that I’ve gotten 4 posts up in as many days, so with Matt off in the woods converting to Judaism and worshiping a giant owl, I’m going to see if I can make it through an entire week of posts.  I don’t really think I can do it, but I’ll give it a shot.

I fear I’m filling out the Grumpy Old Man Pants a little too well recently, so I’d like to go a little more positive and talk about some of the things I’m digging lately.

HITMAN – I’m only about 15 years late to this party, but I just read through the first year (-ish) of Hitman and am happy to agree with every other person who’s read it: it is an excellent book. Let me get my prejudices out of the way first: I don’t have much interest in killers. There’s enough brutality in real life. Therefore, it’s the mark of a very good writer who can overcome that initial bias (think Dexter, Leon, or Garth Ennis’ Punisher). Ennis’ disdain for superheroes and the DCU is on full display here: Batman is vomited on in the first issue and Green Lantern is a well-meaning (if dim) bumbler.

Despite all of this, Ennis writes an incredibly engaging story. He goes supernatural as Hell tries to recruit Tommy. He does wonders with a Blackest Night crossover just telling the story of guys waiting for the end of the world. He shows the heartbreak of losing a best friend. And lest this get too serious (this is Garth Ennis, after all), Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium (issues 13-14) is downright hilarious.

Hitman is a book definitely better read late than never. It holds up incredibly well when DCU “current events” that pop up from time to time, and even our main character dismisses the Bloodlines event that kicked it off. Best of all, these back issues can be found on the cheap, a definite plus when you’re suffering from Cover Price Burnout.

All-Select Comics  70th Anniversary Special – I’m about a month late reading through this one, but That's not gonna be good for’s a real treat. I will pick up anything by Michael Kupperman and Marvex the Super-Robot (who just seems to stop random crimes he stumbles upon and takes off his clothes a lot) seems right up his alley. After reading it, though…It seems a bit random and sparse even for Mr. Kupperman. Fortunately, Marvel included a couple Marvex stories from Daring Comics and…Kupperman’s story is spot on! The original Marvex stories appear to be a cross between Fletcher Hanks’ Stardust and, well…A Michael Kupperman robot story. Sure, I’d rather see more Snake N Bacon or Tales Designed to Thrizzle, but as long as we’re seeing Kupperman comics somewhere, there’s still good news for the medium. (I also feel like I should point out Fletcher Hanks Redux, a project by Savannah College of Art and Design students working with Hanks’ characters.)

I’m feeling much better now, thanks. Matt, you can have your pants back. At least until next week.