There was a time when zombies were fucking awesome & not like how they are “awesome” today. That time was way back in the 70’s & 80’s before everyone and their mom and dad were watching ‘The Walking Dead’. Today the zombie craze has brought us countless shitty zombie movies, comic books & merch but back in the 80’s all of the zombie mayhem was quite a bit more underground. I was watching Frank Henenlotter’s ‘Brain Damage’ last night with a group of people and noticed someone in the movie was reading ‘Deadworld’. I was surprised that no one in the group had ever even heard of the comic book. I’ve blogged several times in the past about the book which still remains my favorite zombie comic of all time (at least the first 12 issues or so). Deadworld is punk as fuck and featured some truly stunning undead art from the gore master Vincent Locke who’s done artwork for bands like Cannibal Corpse. The 1986 book featured a prominent villain simply referred to as ‘King Zombie’ and his gang of undead who’ve developed intelligence while still lusting for flesh. He was a total badass who cruised around on his motorcycle and terrorized a gang of teens who’s bus broke down on a desolate highway. The books a treasure trove of totally amazing, legit zombie tattoo designs by the way. There’s been a collection done pretty recently of all of the old issues and they even tried to reboot it a some years back. I suggest hunting those down, they’re a unique read and embody the dirty grit of grindhouse 80’s style zombie flick to perfection. This was the issue featured in ‘Brain Damage’ it remains today one of my favorite pieces of zombie art to date!
And of course here’s ‘King Zombie’…..
I just checked out the debut issue of ‘Quantum Teens Are Go’ out now from Black Mask & as far as first issues go it’s got some pretty good things going for it. The book’s tone is super light hearted (which is a nice break form the grit) and if you’re a fan of those old 80’s teen sci-fi flicks movies like “My Science Project” you’ll likely dig this more updated take on the genre. The story starts out with a bang as our two daring teen characters are raiding a mysterious abandoned research facility in hopes of stealing something special. The place is guarded by robots and soon we see them running for their lives with their high profile stolen goods.
We soon realize the teens are anything but normal as they seem to working on some sort of odd hi-tech machine in their garage carefully adding the mysterious stolen parts to the equation. We also come to find that one of the characters named “Nat” (formerly Brandon) is transitioning to a female gender clearly with some resentment from her parents. Hey boyfriend who’s kinda like a nerdy mad scientist has been hard at work on some sort of time travel machine and his grades are suffering. He’s also got issues with his “parents” who’ve taken him in as their own as we realize something has happened to his real family for unknown reasons as of yet at least to us.
‘Quantum Teens’ has some great modern day teen issues going in the story along with of course a bully in school who’s clearly got a problem with the two and the fact that Nat was once identifying as a boy. It’s got the current atmosphere of the times, which seems to be all the rage in the comics these days fitted in with a sweet little opening to what might just might prove to be an epic time travel adventure. Only problem is they’ve reached a point in their garage based science project that’s got them stumped. So they hit the streets in search of some answers from some pesky bandits who’re in a similar business…
Hence we’re introduced to some other interesting supporting characters, one described as a poor man’s “Matthew Mcconaughey” who’s there to help the teens get their machine in working order. We’ve got a cute, bright and intriguing story set up here in the first issue that looks to be headed for some fun times. I totally dig simple stories like this that have a bit of a throwback feel to them harkening back to similar vibes like “Back to the Future”. The characters are witty, vibrant and the artwork is decent enough. Though this issue didn’t reinvent the wheel it’s a nice fast paced story so far that’s likely to put a smile on your face in these gloomy times as of late. Check it out if you’re looking for something that’s not going to depress the shit out of you!
I’ve been super pumped for the new Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series for quite a while now and this weekend I picked up a stack of new comics and this was one of them. I’ve been a big fan of the team from way back when they were introduced in 1989 for a few reasons. First they were created by the legendary John Byrne, who’s been my favorite comic book artist since I was a kid, second The Great Lakes Avengers are from my home state of Wisconsin (a place where superhero stories rarely take place) and finally I love the pure oddity of these misfit, underdog, d-list characters. I always thought they could be a hit if they were given the proper chance and I STILL think Marvel could make an amazing movie/tv series with this team. So anyway was this debut issue worth the wait for a die hard fan like myself?
I’ve gotta be honest here, I was a bit underwhelmed with issue #1. One reason being perhaps that I recently decided to reread the Dan Slott GLA mini series from 2005, which I think was fantastic. Here we have in 2016 a bit of a more of a lighter playful take on the team rather than the dark comedy that Slott brought us. This new series is obviously trying reeeeaaallly hard to funny and personally I don’t think many of the jokes really land. It can be hard to make pure comedic gold in comic book form and I’ll say I think Slott & Byrne accomplished this more much more solidly. Continue reading
It’s been a long time since I picked up a DC title, a very very long while. However something inspired me to give Doom Patrol #1 from new DC imprint ‘Young Animal’ a shot. Young Animal is supposed to be like the edgier, quirkier, “indie” feel of the DC universe. It’s also self proclaimed as ‘comics for dangerous humans’. I guess what made me gravitate to try it was one of the several covers done by a personal favorite artist of mine, the legendary Brian Bolland and yearning for a cool superhero title to get into. So was this the answer I have been looking for? Is this storytelling really for “dangerous” humans?!
I’d say this was a decent first issue, more cute honestly than dangerous but still an entertaining and at the same time, empty read overall. It wasn’t the type of debut that punches me in the gut or anything and honestly I’m not quite sure I will be back for seconds next month. It’s got some sweet art by Nick Derington and some really unique covers to choose from. The story is a bit confusing and wierd, which I assume is on purpose. I mean this is the new hip and quirky Young Animal comic book right? So it better deliver the goods!
The story follows a young “quirky” (yeah that word again, I know) EMT named Casey Brinke and her partner as they rush across town in an ambulance to save a man’s life. It’s got an interesting moment where her partner analyzes the possibility of a separate universe happening inside of a gyro he’s eating. There’s also random explosions that happen around Casey who’s for the most part un-phased by the occurrences. There’s then a couple other random characters one hanging out inside of a abandoned building near a pile of bricks and another scene where a man in the woods is playing a keyboard. Then there’s a meeting of business men and women who’re from another planet talking about meat and Robotman being busted up into pieces by a garbage truck. There’s more random stuff that happens as well an I’m sure it will eventually make some sense and i’m probably not cool enuff to get it all. But you get the picture.
The book and new DC line is headed by Gerard Way from the band My Chemical Romance, a band I really just can’t stand. I really wasn’t a big fan of his Umbrella Academy either. That being said I could still see this new ‘hip’ Young Animal line of Comics likely taking off, but for me thus far it just isn’t my cup o’ Joe. It might all click later down the line – Sometimes it’s hard to get hooked off of a debut issue & I’d be willing to give the next couple issues a shot, but with the high price of comics I’m sure I could find something else to take a risk on.
Night’s Dominion is a brand new comic from Oni Press that came out today and the first issue is a pretty promising little start to what’s sure to be an epic adventure. I’ve been looking for a cool comic book to quench my thirst for fantasy adventure and stuff like Dungeons & Dragons for a while now. Well this book could end my search with a strong first issue that’s a ton of fun & feels like the opening evening of a great classic game of D&D. The book is written and perfectly illustrated by Ted Naifeh. His artwork and rich colors are quite impressive as well, setting the tone of mystery nicely in this first issue. Excellent artwork is almost always a determining factor of whether I’m gonna drop the cash for a new title. It’s also got some heft in the dialogue so it’s not a five minute blur which is always nice in this age of quick read comic books.
This debut issue essentially starts out much like most D&D campaigns, we’ve got a gang of interesting characters meeting in a dark, smokey tavern where an old bard proposes a dangerous journey in search of an ancient presumed treasure of legend. Of course it’s rumored this treasure is supposedly guarded by a menacing effigy. The group he proposes this to are an interesting bunch, a shady alchemist, his young assistant, an assassin and a bar maid who claims she’s secretly the greatest thief in all the kingdom.
It also in a way feels like a superhero story set in a classic fantasy world as by the end of the issue you’re introduced to a character that reminds you more of Batman than Aragorn. I totally dig it to as I’ve always thought of The Fellowship in the Lord of the Rings & the teams formed in a classic game of Dungeons and Dragons to feel much more like a midieval version of The Avengers. It’s also got some nice meat to it as well as interesting character motivations and cool subplots that drive the desire to get rich for this band of vagabonds.
So if you’re looking for a strong, playful new title to pick up this week I think Night’s Dominion is a super solid offering. I’m feeling a bit of an Indiana Jones meets Lord of the Rings type vibe to the whole thing. if that’s the case then we’re dead set on a path to a ton of fun and hopefully it will take us on a memorable trek through some fantastic and dangerous landscapes. I’ll drop the four bones for issue #2 next month!
I just read the first issue of the latest reboot of 80’s indie superhero Badger recently released by Devil’s Due and the formerly defunct First Comics. Seeing it and it’s retro looking cover on the shelf brought back some great days of hanging out in weirdo dingy comic book shops in the 1980’s with my brother in Wisconsin. Badger took place in Wisconsin and back in the day I used to collect this series, admittedly a bit confused by it’s incredibly offbeat characters and story arcs at times back then. Still the character was always unique, a mentally ill crime fighter with multiple personalities who lived in a castle in Wisconsin with a wizard named Ham. I mean what’s not to love right?
Well Mike Baron the original creator is back with a current retelling of the character’s origin in a pretty neat-o first issue. Issue one starts off with Norbert Sykes (our protagonist) as he signs up for the military and heads off to Afghanistan where he quickly begins to go crazy. He’s paired up with dog named Otis, who he clearly relates to more than any of the soldiers and heads off into the battlefield. It’s not long before his animal companion becomes a casualty of war and Norbert’s taken captive by enemy forces. While held prisoner he’s visited by a spirit animal, in the form of you guessed it a Badger! He agrees to devote his life fighting for the rights of the animals of earth and then embarks on a crazy killing spree against the enemy. He’s soon detained, shipped back to the good ol’ USA and institutionalized. It’s here where we first start to see again this is by no means your average origin story.
The issue was a good debut, however I think they could have really spread this one story over two issues to really build his origin in an even more powerful way. It felt a bit rushed at times and I hope they slow the pace down just a bit and really let us get to know just what makes this dude tick. The story was also a darker more serious tone than what I was originally expecting which honestly ended up being quite a pleasant surprise as this character has proven before he can lead a compelling tale if that’s the type of one Baron wants to tell at the moment.
The art by Jim Fern was pretty solid too, if maybe a bit stiff at times or that could just be in contrast to the incredible cover art by Paul Pope. I’m gonna be back for issue two to see exactly where this one goes. I’m quite curious to see if the elements of the 80’s Badger come into play and how they approach some of the more offbeat characters and settings from the original series. I’m also curious about this Badger/Putin fight rumored to happen soon. Either way it’s comforting to see a familiar face back on the shelves in 2016 with a solid debut I felt a bit like it was 1986 all over again…
It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve picked up anything new by Marvel in the comic book department, but this week I couldn’t resist when I saw the vintage logo of Power Man and Iron Fist on the stands. Marvel comics for me have become a bit of bland reading experience, often times the art’s pretty subpar and at 4 bucks a pop shit better be really fucking impressive! I’ll say it again once comic books reach the 5 dollar cover price I’m done. However this week I was lured by that nostalgic old logo and couldn’t resist giving this new series that unites Luke Cage and Danny Rand for some street smart retro style adventures in the big apple.
I was actually pretty impressed with this new series which thank god isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Most Marvel titles are monthly changing superhero genders, races, characters etc etc blah blah. Don’t get me wrong I am all for those changes if they’re part of a creative story but lately it seems Marvel is simply trying way too hard to change everything to cash in on modern trends on social media. Sometimes keeping things simple and somewhat familiar really is the best way to create a meaningful story. We’ve got some witty writing here from David Walker that’s filled with nostalgic throwbacks to their heyday when Luke “Power Man” Cage used to sport a shiny silver tiara and the two used to be partners in their small biz “Heroes for Hire”. Luke Cage now a family man with Netflix’s latest sensation Jessica Jones is being tempted by Danny “Iron Fist” Rand (now a bit more wise cracking than usual) to “get the band back together”. I also totally love Iron Fist’s new version of his costume, harking back to Bruce Lee in Game of Death.
Luke’s resistant to the idea and Jessica even more, so Rand claims she’s got Luke “on a short leash these days”. When their former Heroes for Hire office manager gets out of prison they agree to do her a favor and retrieve a family heirloom stolen from her years ago. Sounds simple enough? Well turns out the albino super gangster Tombstone has it. I’ve gotta admit too I’ve always been a big fan of Tombstone and hopefully we’ll get more of the big stark white weirdo dude as he’s disposed of far too easily. Come on now Tombstone is a total bad ass!
The issue delivers a lot of promise for the future though with cool but heavily stylized artwork from Sanford Greene that some might love and others could easily be turned off by. It works for me though, I really dig it and it’s perfect for the more comedic tone so far of the series. I like simplicity of the story and also the smallness of it all, I really do like my comic stories kept on a personal level most of the time. It’s been a while since I grabbed a Marvel comic but this one seemed like a much safer bet than say something like the completely wretched “Totally Awesome Hulk” series or whatever million of the Deadpool books are floating around on the shelves these days. I’ll be back for issue number two for sure as it’s nice to see the boys are back in town once again…
What do you think? Am I missing out on something truly awesome from Marvel these days woth the cover price? If so please enlighten me!!