Sunday, September 23, 2018

Oz Comic Con Comic Buys

I spent my afternoon at Oz Comic Con and grabbed myself several comics.  I thought I'd share what Ibought and my thoughts on the same.

Avengers:The Road to Marvel's Avengers (Marvel) -  I found this trade collecting some of the MCU tie in comics,  There are three Iron Man tie-ins and one for Captain America.

Being Team Cap all the way I only grabbed the book for Captain America: First Vengeance by Fred Van Lente and several artists.

There's a gap in Captain America: The First Avenger where most of Cap and the Howling Commandos WWII adventures are glossed over in a montage and I thought that a comic series (or an animated series) set in that time period would be pretty cool.  You could get appearances from other Timely era characters who would be very unlikely to get movies. The Blonde Phantom, The Phantom Reporter, Golden Girl, Claire Voyant The Black Widow.  So I was intersted to see what  First Vengeance would give us.

It was different weaving through the events of The Frrst Avenger, we see the rise of Johan Schmidt, the escape and attempted escapes of Prof Erskine, an early exploit of Peggy Carter Agent 13, the first meeting of Steve Rogers and Bucky, the meeting f Bucky and the Howling Commandos.

This was a fine story and fleshes out The First Avenger a little. (but Cap's WW2 adventures would have been cooler)

Another story in this collection is Proximity which comes from the Iron Man 2: Black Widow Agents of SHIELD comic.  You know how "Natalie Rushman" comes to see Tony with papers to sign.  Well this story is how THe Black Widow infiltrated Stark Industries and used her spycraft to manipulate events so that she is the one who has to see Tony.

Both stories were enjoyable enough and are like watching deleted scenes on the DVD release of the movies.

Headlocked: A Single Step written by Michael Kingston art by Randy Valiente and Michael Mulipola (Headlocked Comics)

At the last several cons, I've heard Michael Mulipola talk and I've walked past his booth.  I've been meaning to get his books but I ummed and ahhed and usually I'd run out of money.

I've noticed that it's the books that you stop and think about do I take a chance on this? are the ones that end up being the best ones.

Headlocked as you might guess is a wrestling comic.  One that follows a young wrestler Mike Hartmann, a young man who decides he wants to be a professional wrestler.

Kingston is a wrestling fan but much to my surprize Mulipola is a wrestler and an artist and he is not the only one.  The cover to A Single Step is provided by Jerry "The King" Lawler.  There are bonus stories written by MVP, The Young Bucks and Samoa Joe.

Oh boy this was a good story and tells of Hartmann's attempts to break into the industry I'm interested to see where the story goes in the next two volumes both called The Last Territory.

Next time I see Michael Mulipola, I'm going to have to grab his WWE comics that he has worked on.

Broken Line written by Andrew Constant and art by Emily K. Smith, Mark Lauthier & Kathryn Mann. (Gestalt Comics)

Gestalt is an  Australian comic company that started in 2005 and is the second longest operating Australian comic book company.  I have several of thier books and all of them have been quality products.  They are the publishers of The Deep, Wastelander Panda and Unmasked.  I'm going to mention several other books of theirs in this post.

Constant is the writer of  Torn (from Gestalt), the latest Demon Miniseries by DC and Frew's Kid Phantom (from issue 2)

Broken Line is Mad Max meets a supernatural apocalyspe.  The main character is unnamed and refers to himself as Cop.  The nature of the apocalypse is unspecified, the opening pages suggest a nuclear holocast but there seems to very little fallout or mutants.

Cop has a big black car that calls to mind Mad Max's car.  In story he tells us that he was given the car by a mysterious bogey man, the car is impossible to damage and the tank is always full (suddenly I want one)  and part way through the story the car (literally) disappears.

Cop sees that his sargeant has killed himself when he gets a call from "Robber" who has stolen a cop car.  The two play chicken and Robber shows Cop a young boy he has chained to a tree.  The young boy had bitten his own arm.

I though we may be in one of those Zombie apocalypse scenarios but the boy is human just messed up by a Rasputin-ish preacher who teaches that God and his angels hear prayers through cries of pain.

The story revolves around Cop, Robber and the boy tracking down the preacher.

This comic was enjoyable but whoo boy did it bring up a lot of questions, I'm interested to see where this goes and if we get answers in future installments.

Karnak Book 1 written by Christian Read art by Micheal Maier (Gestalt)

Reid and Maier are the team behind the supernatural western The Eldrich Kid (also from Gestalt (it's starting to look like I may have to do a series of Great Comics Rereads for my other Gestalt books).

The poster for this book described it as Doctor Who meets Dr Strange and I cannot argue with that.  As I looked at it the name Karnak seemed to dance around the edge of familiarity in my brain.  I mentioned it to Wolfgang Bylsma, owner of Gestalt and he mentioned one of Jack Kirby's  Inhumans had that name. (There is also an Egyptian city of Karnak with a large temple)

Then it struck me, it was similar to William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder.  Wolf just smiled and showed me the electric pentagram on the back cover.

When I'm naming my characters I always want names I can conjure with and Christian Read has certainly done so in this series his Richard Karnak takes some cues from Hodgson's Thomas Carnacki but this is new character.

The story is set in the modern day (there are computers and mobile phones) and the 70s is a long time ago.

The story is narrated by Cass Lot who has moved in her new house with her fiance Chang Chan.  The lock on the front door appears to have blood in it.  (apparently moving into a new house is the scariest thing you can do - it rarely works out well in horror movies)  Things get worse from there and Cassie is apprached by Richard Karnak and his assistant Belthaniel (who I think may be an angel)

Karnak discovers that Lot's house was the home of the leader of a satanic swingers club in the 1970s (which by the way I want to know more about  Satanic Swingers sounds like it should have been a sleezy paperback in the seventites) which is the source of the problem.  There's very cool easter egg where the news story about the Satanic Swingers is written by Ned Buntline.  Buntline was the author of the Buffalo Bill Dime novels in the old west.

Belthaniel clears out the supernatural from Lot's house and Cassie intrigued by this new world she has stumbled on and goes to work for Karnak as his protege and assistant.

Karnak is almost exactly how I image Wesley Wyndum-Pryce (from Buffy and Angel may have turned out if he had not come across Angel) with a smattering of DC's John Constantine.

This is highly recommended.

Changing Ways Book 1 by Justin Randall (Gestalt)

I 'd heard good stuff about Changing Ways from a lot of people.  So I decided to give it a go.  I have to admit I was a little aprehensive because it looked like a zombie book and Brad don't do zombies (of course, I have a zombie story rattling my noggin)  but I'm willing to give it a crack,  Let me say Changing Ways is not a zombie story, I have no idea what genre to put this in.

in book 1, Tom Taylor writes a foreward where he says "Changing Ways grabbed me by the eyeballs and wouldn't let me go."

I really can't top that.  The story and art pulled me right in and did not let up, my wife called and I was at page 71,  and I was like "How did I get so far through?"

Great storytellers do that, time stops and you get caught in the story.

I was so hestitant to read this book and now I can't wait to see what the next two parts bring.

I thought intially I wouldn't like the art but damned if it grabbed me.  Randall's colouring bathes entire pages in yellows and reds and greens and blues.  I'm seriously lacking an art vocabulary to talk about the art and the colours.  There's an amazing bit where the young girl in the story is telling her parents something that happened to her and Randall drops his realistic style and gives us art that looks like it was drawn by a ten year old girl.  Holy Smokes.

Now I am torn do I rip straight throught the next two volumes? or dole them out over several days to savour them more?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Great Comics Reread: Jack Averice is The Courier

So I had just finished Danger Girl: Revolver with art by Chris Madden and on the back is an ad for Jack Averice is The Courier, by the same artist only he is also the writer.

Actually this is a nice companion piece to Danger Girl

"Looks fun." I think and about a week later I find all five issues at the Local Comic Shop.  So I grab them.

Madden has written a fun series.  He wears his inspirations on his sleeve but I didn't mind as it really gave a strong sense of the world Jack Averice is set.  it doesn't hurt that Madden and I share several influences.

The first issue  opens in Hawaii where Jack is longing for adenture in far off exotic lands, he is complaining that as an American he doesn't need a passport to travel there.

This interspersed with a suave almost Bondian spy Fox.  After getting out of several scrapes, the Fox lands in Jack's lap.

The second issue has Jack dragged into a world of adventure, The Fox was his brother and agent for The Courier  and Jack is to be the new Courier. (The Courier came out in 2011, Kingsman which has a number of similarities was a comic in 2012 and a movie in 2014  - any similarities would come from the same influences) Actually this a nice companion piece to Kingsman.

Jack then travels the globe having wild adventures stopping a supernaturally charged villian from acquiring the last piece for world domination.

This was a fun spy romp and even without Madden's easter eggs and refernces to Bond, Danger Girl and  Indiana Jones, this would still be a fun story.

As I said this a fun story and Madden's art sells that story.  It has a realistic style with a cartoonish touch.  It works really well.  The other thing is Madden's talent for likenesses which help several of the easter eggs

Check out this image from issue 2 (this is the clean art seen on Madden's Blog ) as the characters cover up part of it.  

Anyone with fondness for spy/adventure movie/tv/comics and games should be able to idenitify a good chunk of these.  (the complete list of Who's Who is on the Jack Averice blogspot)

I high recommend this as a fun adventure romp and hope Madden will be able to continue the story.