The Book: It is important to note that suddenly, and against all probability, a Sperm Whale had been called into existence, several miles above the surface of an alien planet and since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this innocent creature had very little time to come to…
“Written in ink, in German, in a small, hopelessly sincere handwriting, were the words “Dear God, life is hell.” Nothing led up to or away from it. Alone on the page, and in the sickly stillness of the room, the words appeared to have the stature of an uncontestable, even classic indictment. X stared at the page for several minutes, trying, against heavy odds, not to be taken in. Then, with far more zeal than he had done anything in weeks, he picked up a pencil stub and wrote down under the inscription, in English, “Fathers and teachers, I ponder, ‘What is Hell?’ I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”—
J.D. Salinger, For Esme, With Love and Squalor (via foals-)
Captain America 615.1 stands as a singular achievement among Marvel’s recent ‘point one’ stories. Not only does this book provide an excellent jump-on point for new readers, but also unfolds a magnificent character drama.
Read my full review on PopMatters.com by clicking the link above.
True Love With Teeth: iZombie offers readers a carefully crafted, popart-tinged, super-camp cohort of monsters. What carries iZombie is not the plot, though it’s compelling; it’s not the art, though it’s outstanding; and it’s not the dialogue, which has a tremendous amount of promise. No, it’s the pop-art and campiness of the book that makes it a fun read each month. Read my full review at PopMatters.com
Mimicking the traditional three-act structure, “Amazing Spider-Man” #655 offers an outpouring of grief that hearkens back to the Spider-Man stories of old. Writer Dan Slott continues to explore the melodrama that was traditionally the core of classic Spider-Man tales. With the aid of artist Marcos Martin, this issue achieves a retro look that reminds readers of the reasons why they first started buying Spider-Man comics to begin with.
When a writer approaches the pre-determined end to a series, it’s important to put everything in perspective. It’s important to put a spotlight on the main theme.
As he rounds the corner to the closing of DMZ, writer and co-creator Brian Wood’s back-to-basics characterization is sublimely assisted by returning artist and co-creator Riccardo Burchielli’s haunting landscapes.
Comics should come with a music soundtrack. It’s surprising that they really haven’t yet aside from rare CD releases. Whether through streaming media online or QR codes for mobile devices, the potential is there for comics to usher in a new multimedia experience. Doesn’t take much to list a url or print a barcode in the pages of book.
Publishers should partner with sites like Pandora or music labels or even their own corporate divisions (I’m looking at you DC/Warner Bros). The cross promotion would benefit everyone, and readers would have a new way to enjoy the books they love and discover new music.
My latest review for PopMatters.com is live. This week I looked at the new Image book “Li’l Depressed Boy.”
Based on a Webcomic of the same name, “Li’l Depressed Boy” sits somewhere between High Fidelity – both the book and movie – and Stranger Than Fiction– the movie that is a book. But it has unique elements that helps the narrative go beyond the offbeat and settle in a place that is relatable. The titular character embodies the hopes, frustrations and experiences of generations of 20-somethings. He’s Rob Gordon, he’s Harold Crick (after he’s taken leave from his IRS job), and he’s Tom Hansen. LDB is the metaphysical realization of saintly slacker-dom.
Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s “Scarlet” is about revenge and revolution. It’s about a young woman having the world ripped open before her and seeing the dark underbelly. She doesn’t like it, no, not at all. And in a vain attempt at revenge, she seeks to kill and expose all that darkens her world’s streets…even if she has to kill a lot of people to do it.
Even after more than a year in the cowl, it feels strange to think of Dick Grayson as the Batman. What new series regular writer Scott Snyder offers with his first storyarc, ‘The Black Mirror’, is the final word on the former sidekick as a Batman in his own right.
The most interesting part of writing a critical review is when you find that thread that links a given work to the whole of human experience. Sometimes it’s intentionally weaved into the fabric of an artifact. Sometimes its subconsciously done. But, it’s there and its revealing can spark so much.
My latest review for PopMatters.com is live. This time looked at Image’s “Halcyon.”
War, violence and evil deeds are constant factors in the evolution of any society. But what if one day everyone started playing nice? In a world of superheroes, what if peace made those heroes obsolete? Image Comics’ new series “Halcyon” addresses just such a question.
My latest for PopMatters.com is live. This week I look at Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ “Incognito: Bad Influences.” The first volume of this pulp inspired comic was quite good, and now the second volume looks to continue on the success of the first.
The dark roots of superheroes are at the core of “Incognito.” Like many of the titles at comic shops today, it’s a reflection of our dark times. It’s not surprising that many of the characters being introduced are not solid good guys. They’re shades of gray, reflecting a cynicism that has become so entrenched with our shared cultural experience we are often unaware of its influence.