The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes gifts! It’s always lovely to receive something special from someone you love, but there’s also a particular pleasure that comes in giving a really well chosen gift and knowing that it’s truly appreciated. Sometimes it really is better to give than to receive! In that spirit, ComicsAlliance is here to inspire you with some great ideas for gifts to buy for your friends and family. Each gift guide is tailored to a particular personality type or special interests, and today we’re picking out comics gifts for the biggest, most important group of all; kids!
Annuals get a bad rap. I'm pretty sure it's because they formed the core of some truly terrible crossovers starting in the '90s -- lookin' at you here, Bloodlines -- but there's nothing congenitally wrong with them. In their purest form, annuals are just extra comics, and since we all like comics, that ought to be something to get excited about. And in the case of Dynamite's Flash Gordon Annual 2014, we've got something worth getting excited about.
Flash Gordon is already one of my favorite books on the stands, and this week's Annual continues that trend by providing a fantastic roster of great stories -- including a solo tale for Dale Arden that needs to be made into an ongoing series yesterday.
I would give literally anything to read the high school term papers that kids who read Matt Fraction and Christian Ward's ODY-C instead of the original Odyssey are going to be turning in to their teachers in a few years.
The first issue is out this week from Image, and as you might expect from the title, it recasts the classic Greek epic by Homer as a star-spanning adventure through space that Fraction calls "our Barbarella," and flipping the genders around so that the story focuses on women is probably the smallest change. Captain Odyssia's journey on a shift-ship powered by a crew of women whose thoughts have been synchronized, tossed by vengeful space-titans, might follow the big beats of Homer's original, but it's definitely something all its own.
This week, Chris and Matt gush about the amazing work Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos do on the highly experimental and enjoyable Hawkeye #19. Then they talk about the Brian Buccellato-written Detective Comics Annual #3, which features collaborations with a whole slew of artists. Speaking of big groups of artists, they then pivot to talking about the new Vertigo series Bodies, which is written by Si Spencer and has art by Meghan Hetrick, Dean Ormston, Tula Lotay and Phil Winslade.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Dan Slott must have been saving up his jokes over the past 16 months or so.
The Amazing Spider-Man #1, the issue that officially reintroduces Peter Parker to the Marvel Universe after a lengthy absence during which his body was under the control of Doctor Octopus, is chock full of laugh lines that really hit. Slott, artist Humberto Ramos, inker Victor Olazaba and colorist Edgar Delgado get the tone just right, but I couldn't help but feel that the story itself was a bit lacking in forward momentum, as the lingering effects of Superior Spider-Man dominated the issue's lead story.
Q: Lettering: who does it best and why? -- @awa64
A: Comic book lettering is up there with inking and coloring in the holy trinity of underrated comic book skills, but it's also one of those things that, once you start paying attention to it, you'll never be able to not notice it again. I'm not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that it's one of those things that can absolutely ruin a comic if it's done wrong, even if everything else is perfect. But to be honest, of those three elements, lettering is still probably the most underrated.
The thing is, when it's good, it can be absolutely gorgeous in its own right. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who do it very, very well.
First issues of event comics have to accomplish a lot. They have to introduce a conflict, introduce a villain, give heroes memorable moments that bring the reader back to see more, set up side stories that can be fleshed out in other titles, have a big battle scene, and the list goes on.
Infinity #1 by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Jim Cheung with a team of inkers, colorist Justin Ponsor and letterer Chris Eliopoulos, does some of those things, but in a sort of sidestep rather than a straight-ahead dash. And some of the items on the checklist, it willfully denies the reader. In the end, I wound up liking the approach, but getting there took a lot of trust not every reader may have.
Bro. Let me tell you about Pizza Dog (also known as Lucky, formerly known as Arrow) and why his spotlight story in the latest issue of his owner's comic "Hawkeye" (also known as "Hawkguy") is one of the best comics ever.