Besides the obvious one, it’s hard to think of a writer more connected to an X-book than Peter Davidand X-Factor. (Chris Claremont and Uncanny X-Men being the obvious one, obviously.) After a two-year stint in the early nineties that remains a fan favorite, David relaunched X-Factor in 2005 and made it the most consistent X-book on the racks for his entire run. For eight years, X-Factor was routinely funny, inventive, filled with convincingly human characters, well-delivered messages, and twists that could knock you flat on your ass. The title wrapped in September of last year, shortly after David suffered a well-publicized stroke, and just a few weeks later, it was announced that the title would relaunch again as All-New X-Factor, which dropped this week. With Carmine Di Giandomenico on art, Peter David is again writing one of his most popular titles, but even with David at the controls, the new book has a lot to live up to. Does it?
I've been a fan of Rich Burlew's Order of the Stick for almost as long as the comic's existed. Over the course of the strip, clocking it at almost a thousand installments, Burlew's been building a complex fantasy universe, launched a record-breaking Kickstarter, and done everything from gags about obscure rules changes in Dungeons and Dragons to sprawling commentary on the nature of Good and Evil, in both roleplaying game and philosophical terms. Even if you're not the kind of person who likes sitting around a table throwing around 20-sided dice and figuring out your Base Attack Bonus on scratch paper, it makes a pretty compelling read.
As the most recent storyline comes to a close, though, all those things have come together in a way that works perfectly. It's better than it's ever been in the past ten years, and a huge part of that is the way that Burlew has been using stick figures battling with swords as a platform to examine the nature of fiction, and how playing with the rules of a narrative can lead to some beautiful storytelling.
After a three week break the agents returned to action last night, kicking off the season's back 12 with a mission to retrieve Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) after his abduction by the mysterious and sinister Hungry Hungry Caterpillar... wait, no, let me check my notes... "Centipede" organization.
The winter hiatus offers the show its best chance yet to address some of its problems. Could this mean the start of a new and improved Agents of SHIELD? Or have I once again let my fannish desire for this show to be good get in the way of realistic expectations? Let's find out together!
Google “Best Crime Comics of All Time” and you’ll find a lot of lists, includinga couple fromComicsAlliance, filled with many of the usual suspects: Criminal, Sin City, Torso, Scalped, and Darwyn Cooke’s Parker adaptations appear several times, alongside the archetypal series that defined the genre like Crime Does Not Pay, Dick Tracy (before Chester Gould started sending Tracy off to adventures on the Moon), and Crime SuspenStories. These are all undisputed classics in the genre that should be read by everyone, but notably, criminally absent (sorry, couldn’t help it) from every one of the lists that I came across was David Lapham’s Stray Bullets.
Every. Single. One.
Now that the title is returning, with new stories from Image Comics after nearly a decade-long absence, we may be able to rectify these egregious errors. Stray Bullets is the best crime comic of all time. And I will injury-to-the-eye-motif anybody who says different.
Yesterday DC Comics launched its new Batman: Arkham Origins - A DC Comics MultiVerse Graphic Novel app, which serves as a choose-your-own-adventure style motion comic prequel to WB Games Montreal's video game of the same name. Befitting of its status as a video game tie-in, this is a "freemium" experience. You download a free 8-page setup before reaching a fork in the narrative road and pay more (it's being serialized, you see) for the full range of story content as it's released. As a bonus, readers who pay to read halfway through the story get a code to unlock a new playable skin in the Origins game. Those who pay for a season pass get the first skin, plus an additional costume for Batman to wear.
In an interview with Wired, Hank Kanalz, SVP of Integrated Publishing at DC Comics, characterized the effort as an experiment. Financially, this model could prove to be a success -- especially with its downloadable content (DLC) incentives for hardcore gamers. Creatively? So far it leaves something to be desired.
While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is in the midst of a creative renaissance at IDW, with the current series making our own Best Comics of 2013 list, the publisher continues to release reprints and collections of stories that had been unavailable for years. Recently, IDW released a new hardcover edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: 25th Anniversary Collection, which was originally published in 2009 (the actual 25th anniversary) through co-creator Kevin Eastman’s Heavy Metal publishing house, re-mastering the artwork and providing some stories with color for the first time.
Unlike ComicsAlliance editor Caleb Goellner -- who seems to bleed green -- I’ve only read a few issues of the new series. I really, genuinely liked it, but felt like my memories of the original comics, if not the comics themselves, were better. For that same reason, I haven’t bought a single issue of IDW’s Classics reprints; just saw enough of the first collection to know that I didn't like the cold digital coloring. Really, I didn’t want to see TMNT with new eyes; I wanted it to remain great in my recollection, rather than diminished by the reality. I didn’t want to find out that literally the most important comic in my life was reduced to trash because of the passage of time and changes in perception.
It might just be me, but I have to imagine that for a lot of people my age, it's still a little surprising to see Bongo's commitment to producing kid-friendly Simpsons comics. Pleasantly surprised, you understand, but still, I remember being a kid when that show started, and I have fond memories of both the parental outcry about how the Simpsons were actively destroying family values and the truly hilarious explosion of bootleg merchandise that followed its initial popularity. And yet, here we are, with a long-running line of comics that uses some of the most popular characters in any medium of the last quarter century to tell stories directed squarely at younger readers, and does it with a consistently high level of quality.
The latest offering: The Wonderful World of Lisa Simpson #1, a one-shot anthology of stories focusing on the Simpsons' often beleaguered middle child, told by a roster of all-star creators, mostly women, and it is great.
The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along to see how he fares.
This week, Arrow very loosely adapts A Christmas Carol, the dead return to life, and the show starts directly messing with my head.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below. Welcome to part five of ComicsAlliance’s Best Comic Books of 2013.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below. Welcome to part four of ComicsAlliance’s Best Comic Books of 2013.
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