Comic Review Quick Hits

      Welcome back readers to a special Halloween edition of Comic Quick Hits.  This week I thought I’d celebrate my favorite holiday by reviewing a few horror titles you might want to give a look at.  Pull up a chair turn all the lights on and then continue….

The Marquis: Danse Macabre

Take a look at this cover. What about the cover by Guy Davis doesn’t make you want to read this book now? I mean seriously take another look, there isn’t a single square inch that doesn’t ooze with cool.

This little slice of black and white awesomeness is about a man in 1800’s France who is given a mask that allows him to see demons in our world as well as weapons with which to send them back to Hell. And they are given to him by the forces of Heaven……….or are they?

The Marquis: Danse Macabre is one of those rare books that forces you to think about Heaven and Hell and the ramifications of working for either side and it does it while you are absorbing the awesome fight scenes. There is a second volume I will be devouring this weekend and from what I’ve read there will eventually be three more.

Go pick this up and give it a shot if you read the whole thing and don’t like it i’ll buy the copy from you*.

*Offer not valid for residents of North or South Carolina.

The Master of Rampling Gate

OK, so apparently Anne Rice managed to beat Stephanie Meyer to the sweet money honeypot that is stories about strangely feminine-like vampires and the women who love them by a few years. Honestly if someone told me that Ms. Meyer wrote this as a warm-up to Twilight I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

This cover promised me something cool and the last time I was lied to this big my parents were telling me about Santa. I’d like to provide you with a review but honestly all you need to know is a strangely almost-androgynous, tortured vampire falls in love with a mortal female, blah, blah blah….If you like Twilight I’d give this a shot, however if you have fully-functioning Government-issued man parts give this a BIG skip.

Pigeons From Hell

Everyone knows Robert E Howard for his Conan books.  But his writing also went WELL beyond the sword and sorcery genre he helped create and wrote a scary little slice of Southern Gothic Horror called Pigeons From Hell.  Don’t let the cutsey title fool you though, this is one scary comic. The set-up is familiar to anyone who’s watched more than one horror movie in their life.  Two New Englanders John Branner and his friend Griswell spend the night at an abandoned Southern plantation mansion. John awakens to find his friend gone but sees him coming down the stairs as an animated corpse with a hatchet in his hand and a gaping wound to his head.  John comes back the next day with the police and despite being the main suspect he begins to unravel the history of this one-proud house and the evil within that drove it into decay. 

Eclipse Comics put out this creepy as hell adaptation that took Scott Hampton over two years to complete and it shows.  Every page is crammed full of detail and I spot something new each time I look at it.  For example there is one panel where the main character is struggling to see what is at the top of the stairs and I caught myself staring into the darkness at the top of the stairs along with him hoping in vain to catch a glimpse of what horror awaited us.  Take a look at the bottom of this post to see what I mean if you dare.

 Copies seem to be hard to come by and while I got lucky the copies online seem to start at $15.00 and go from there.  I cannot recommend this title enough.  Do not, and I am repeating, DO NOT read this after the sun goes down. When Stephen King says “Pigeons From Hell (is) one of the finest horror stories of our century” take his word.


Discussion: SPX 2012 Reviews Part 1

Yes, you heard that right! This is only Part 1 of Adam and Shawn’s SPX review-a-palooza. Either they bought way too many comics or their reviews are way too long and rambly. Maybe both! Sit back, relax and enjoy as Adam and Shawn tell you all about some awesome mini-comics that they, umm, like, totally enjoyed and stuff!

Click here for the list

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Ranting Out a Review: Batman: Earth One

The Story:  Batman: Earth One, written by Geoff Johns, is exactly what you expect. It retells Batman’s origin story in a way to keep it familiar while changing up things just enough to seem a little different. It not in anyway a bad comic, but better stories have been told of this period of Batman’s career.

The Price:  I used store credit (and my discount) at my local comic shop to purchase this book so the cover price of $22.99 was agreeable for me. In fact looking at my recent purchases on my Bat-related book shelf I notice that it is a few bucks less for a few pages less than all of them.

The Format:  I like the hardcover trade format. I like it more when they are over-sized like DC Comics has done with some of Grant Morrison’s recent Bat-books, but even at standard size I enjoy them more than a normal trade paper back (TPB). My complaint about Batman: Earth One’s format is that it does not read like a “graphic novel” as I thought it should, but instead it reads like the first TPB of a new Batman series. This might just be my individual expectations not being met more than anything else.

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Review: Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean

I began writing this review April 29, 2011 then a bunch of stuff happened.  I made it as far as the first 2 paragraphs.  I’ve completed it just now and I feel the exactly the same.

I don’t usually write reviews for the Dollar Bin.  I tend to convey my opinions on the audio recordings.  However, after I finished reading the Eisner nominated  Amelia Earhart:  This Broad Ocean by Sarah Stewart Taylor and Ben Towle I just had to get my thoughts and emotions out now, so here I write.

I want to start by telling you that multiple times through my reading experience I felt my whole body well up with emotion.  I found myself just grinning and tearing up all at the same time.  (Did I mention I was reading this in the middle of a crowed restaurant?  Well I was and the threat of out-pouring emotions was a little embarrassing.)  Ben Towle has the incredible ability to give characters with simple black dot eyes the most amazing range of expression.  I truly felt every bout of anxiety, moment of anticipation, and glimmer of hope along with Amelia and the rest of the cast.  Even has I flip through the book to write this review I keep catching myself grinning as I scan the panels.

Sarah Stewart Taylor’s tale of Amelia Earhart as told through the eyes of the young Grace Goodland, writer of the self published local newspaper, The Trepassey Herald,  couldn’t have been told any better.  Grace is a pioneer of her own merit and is the perfect conduit to relay such a powerful example of hope and inspiration.  Her story is both informational and encouraging.  The scenes depicted as the tale is told are well paced and so full of hope and wonder.
Click to read more…

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Review: Loose Ends #1

Chris Brunner and Jason Latour are honest, brutally honest at times. So in my review I am going to honor them by being brutally honest. I’m not going to hold back, spare feelings or “suck up” cause these guys are my friends and I like them. I hope they appreciate the effort.

I feel like I have been waiting on the release of Loose Ends for a long, long time. Over the years they have slowly been releasing previews and teasers to help whet our appetites. As the actual release date drew near I was worried that the book wouldn’t live up to all the hype. Jason Latour, Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi have been working their butts off to make this the best comic that it can possibly be and I was genuinely concerned that I wasn’t going to like it when I finally read it. I think I dwelled on this thought more than I should have particularly because this was a hard book to track down. Not a lot of small shops can afford to take risks on books from smaller publishers, like 12 Gauge, so not too many took a chance on this book. Several of the shop owners told me that it is no longer available through the distributor, so I hope that more become available or that they do a second printing. I know quite a few shops out there are upset that they missed out on it the first go round.

Loose Ends has gotten a lot of positive reviews online and there are a lot of people out there who are interested in it now, and for good reason. Despite my worries, it didn’t disappoint. I have read it through several times and it just gets better and better with each reading. It is a beautiful book. Brunner’s art is amazingly and painfully detailed. You can see character’s reflection’s in mirrors and in bar signs. The time and effort that went into drawing individual, detailed and distinctive liquor bottles is mind melting. As I am reading through the issue a third or fourth time, I just noticed a new character, a fly. He is particularly buzzing around Kim, possibly symbolic of a silent narrator, the fly on the wall, or of the “barfly” nature  of the characters themselves. It is that kind of attention to detail that makes this book so thought-provoking. Everything is intentional, from the placement to the word balloons to the panel sizes and the color choices. Renzi’s colors are fantastic. They are flashy and vibrant which makes the blacks and inks even more dark and sinister. The art is so detailed that it can occasionally be distracting. There is a lot going on and so much information to keep up with that it can make you lose focus. You always know where every character is, at all times. After multiple readings that distraction was diminished for me and I was able to better enjoy the story.

Latour’s writing and storytelling are particularly strong in this book. It feels fresh and innovative. I liked the turn at the end. I may not be happy with it, but I am glad that this book isn’t formulaic and predictable. I like that I don’t know what is going to happen next. I like that this is more than a “drug-deal-gone-wrong.” Originally the dialogue felt clunky, but after several readings and picking up on each character’s vernacular it feels more natural. It isn’t typical comic’s dialogue (Editor’s Note:  People do talk like that). Each character has his or her own voice instead of the writer imposing a voice upon each of them. I can’t wait to read the complete story all in one sitting. I enjoyed the pacing but I think it will be better read as a whole and not as a single issues.

So to sum up, the art and writing are so good that it sometimes takes away from the overall enjoyment of the book itself. If you can’t get your hands on issue #1 from your local comic shop Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is selling two different covers of #1 along with an incentive print over at their website. It is $20, but definitely worth it. That print sure is purty.