Traditionally speaking, TV tie-in comics have been a pretty mixed bag. The ones that are bad tend to fall flat pretty hard, ranging from forgettable to outright terrible. Occasionally, it's because they feel like cheap cash-ins, but more often, it's just a simple case of the tie-in not being able to capture the same spirit and feeling of the source material. But sometimes, every once in a while, you get something like the Bill and Ted's Excellent Comic Book series that Evan Dorkin did for Marvel back in the '90s, where he took the Wyld Stallyns on a full year of increasingly bizarre adventures and ended up making something that's actually amazing, or the recent Eisner-winning Adventure Time comics.
This week marked the launch of Dynamite's Bob's Burgers comic, and while it's only one issue in, I'm already going to go ahead and say that it goes far beyond capturing the spirit of the show, to the point where it feels like it could be a lost episode. It's not just a great translation of Bob's Burgers to comics, it's great Bob's Burgers, period.
Mostly because it starts with Erotic Friend Fiction about Tina being a horse.
Emily Carroll’s collection of horror comics, Through the Woods, operates largely on the alienation of the inexplicable experience. More specifically, with one exception, it explores that alienation in women, particularly young women. The struggle for many of these characters is the insidious horror of trauma, and all of the ways that trauma pulls you apart, both from yourself and your community, and leaves you susceptible to further terrors.
This trauma that suddenly makes you unreliable to the world around you, and indeed unreliable to yourself, provides much of the claustrophobia that characterizes the slowly closing trap of Carroll’s flashlight-whispered tales. These are spellbound stories through which every strength of the comics medium is put into employ. There are frankly very few writers in comics who can go toe-to-toe with Emily Carroll in this regard. The totality of these comics is a testament to the largely untapped potentials inherent in this medium.
Listen: I love Robin Hood. Outside of Dracula, who I think we can all agree is pretty great, he's probably my favorite public domain character in the history of fiction, and between the sidekicks, the secret headquarters, the recognizeable costume and the uneasy relationship with local law enforcement, he's pretty much a direct ancestor to the kind of superheroes that we have today. So really, if there was anything that was going to get me back to being excited about the hardcovers reprinting Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse strips after the last volume left such a bad taste in my mouth, Mickey going on an adventure with Robin Hood was going to be the thing that did it.
Which, as it turns out, is exactly what they did. The latest Mickey volume from Fantagraphics is a collection of Gottfredson's full-color Sunday strips from 1936 to 1938 -- plus a whole bunch of bonus features from his later career -- that includes "The Robin Hood Adventure." And folks, this one isn't just a great story from a great creator, it's the kind of story where I want to just start grabbing people on the street and telling them they have to read it, because it's one of the weirdest things I have ever read.
Wednesdays have been the focal point of the comics calendar for as long as I've been reading them, but recently there's been a new reason to look forward to the middle of the week: Back, a webcomic that sees Anthony Clark (Nedroid) and KC Green (Gunshow) steadily weaving a bizarre and often hilarious tale of resurrection, prophecy, and the occasional Garfield phone.
When it was announced, I predicted that Green and Clark coming together would create a project that would send all other webcomics fleeing in terror of their union, and while that might have been overselling it just a bit, I don't think it was far off in terms of just how good this thing is. Now that we're about 26 pages in, it's safe to say that if you're not reading Back, you really need to be.
Q: I was reading your column about New Teen Titans where you said Crisis on Infinite Earths was a mess, but a topic for another time. Care to explain now? -- @jeremyliveshere
A: The one thing you can't say about Crisis on Infinite Earths is that it didn't deliver on its promise. In a time when "event" comics were still in their infancy, Crisis came out of the gate promising to be the biggest thing that had ever or would ever hit comics, and looking back on it from almost thirty years later, it's hard not to admit that even with a comic rolling out every six months like clockwork that promises to change everything forever, it's still the one that actually did it. Worlds did live, worlds did die, and nothing actually was the same again.
It just also happens to be a story that's a complete friggin' mess.
We can all agree that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips form one of the most successful comics collaborations of all time, right? Over the last fifteen years the pair have routinely produced some of the best comics of the present age -- Sleeper, Incognito, about a thousand pages of Criminal, and the just-completed Fatale. They're the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of smart, stylish, noir-tinged genre comics. Whenever their names appear together on a cover, it's practically a guarantee of excellence.
Now, after years of telling stories influenced by classic film noir, Brubaker and Phillips head directly to the source with The Fade Out, a dark and enthralling mystery about the dark truths behind the myth of old Hollywood.
When Mark Millar and Goran Parlov's Starlight was announced, I had mixed feelings. Goran Parlov may be one of the five best comics artists living today, and it sounded like a good idea: a retired hero in the mold of John Carter returns to the planet he once saved, decades after his prime, to be a hero once again.
But often it seems that no matter how good an idea is, Mark Millar can't help but screw it up. His love of sensationalism and his need to be controversial have sapped the power out of many of his strongest ideas, and I wasn't that surprised when our own Kevin Church ripped the first issue to shreds. I read it anyway, because Goran Parlov exists, and life is much better for it.
I was a little surprised to find out that I totally disagreed with Church's review. And I was shocked that the Mark Millar that I like actually decided to turn up.
Under normal circumstances, I don't think that even I could recommend a $20 hardcover collection of one (1) 22-page comic book. Fortunately for me -- and unfortunately for my wallet -- "Silent Interlude" is a comic that has nothing to do with normal circumstances.
Originally released back in 1984 as G.I. Joe #21, the story is pretty uncontested as one of the all-time classics of modern comics, a "silent" story told with no dialogue, where Snake-Eyes infiltrated Destro's castle on a deadly mission to rescue Scarlett, who was busy breaking out at the same time. It's a pivotal moment for the series, setting up connection between Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes that would become one of the driving forces of the franchise, but more than that, it's a really great comic, and this week's IDW's putting it out in a special hardcover, along with Larry Hama's original breakdowns.
When DC Comics launched its "New 52" Universe a few years back, Suicide Squad was pretty much the bottom of a barrel that wasn't really in good shape to begin with. Despite being an attempt to revive one of the best, most elegantly crafted and thought-provoking superhero books of the 1980s, the New 52 version was a noisy, soulless mess that ended up doing almost irreparable damage to characters like Harley Quinn in the name of making something more extreme, in a true late '90s Juggalo sense of the word. When the series was finally canceled and relaunched, I honestly wasn't expecting it to get any better, especially since the new lineup included the addition of one of the worst new DC characters of the past several years.
But we're two issues into what writer Sean Ryan (and about 27 artists so far) is doing with the re-relaunched title, New Suicide Squad, and while I'm not sure, I think it might actually be the smartest team book DC's putting out.
I can't think of a more appropriate title for the fourth episode of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead video game's second season than "Amid the Ruins."
After an unyieldingly intense end to the previous episode, there were few places this new episode could go in terms of upping the ante. So it doesn't even try. Instead, the game's writers and developers offer a chapter about people trying to dig out from the debris left behind by a major disaster, and forging ahead with their lives.
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