Monthly Archives: July 2012

Blackest Knight

National Comics: Eternity #1
“Kid Eternity”
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Cully Hamner & Derec Donovan
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Cover artist: Cully Hamner
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 US

Jeff Lemire has done some solid work with DC’s supernatural/weird characters as of late, and Cully Hamner’s artwork is always something to which I look forward. So when DC announced this comic book, the first in a series of one-shots spotlighting some of its more obscure and odd characters, I was eager to get my hands on it. The story here is entertaining, and the art embraces a dark tone that suits the macabre elements of the premise. Ultimately, though, Lemire’s plot and premise felt rather familiar. This feels like by-the-numbers storytelling. While I enjoyed what I was reading, I also knew exactly what to expect, not only from page to page, but from panel to panel. I had an odd feeling when I reached the end of the comic book, realizing a writer so well-known for his unconventional stories and characters had offered up something so conventional.

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Comic Artist Admits to Child-Porn Charge

Two years to the day after child pornography was found on a thumb drive linked to him, Josue Rivera, 39, better known as artist Justiniano to comics readers, has admitted to the crime.

Rivera was arrested in May 2011 and charged with illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree after an investigation by the police department in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that began July 16, 2010. The pending case detail listing on the State of Connecticut’s judicial branch website indicates Rivera has pleaded guilty to the charge after original pleaded not guilty. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 5, according to the website.

The charge arose after images depicting child pornography were discovered on a thumb drive that had been provided to the staff of a funeral home that was handling Rivera’s father’s funeral arrangements.

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‘Thing One

Variant coverInfernal Man-Thing #1
“The Screenplay of the Living Dead Man”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artist: Kevin Nowlan
Letters: Todd Klein
Editor: Ralph Macchio & Mark Paniccia
“Song-Cry of the Living Dead Man!”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Pencils: John Buscema
Inks: Klaus Janson
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Roy Thomas
Cover artist: Arthur Adams (regular)/Nowlan & Gil Kane (variants)
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

I haven’t read a lot of the late Steve Gerber’s Man-Thing comics, but I have enjoyed and been challenged by some of his work in the past. Furthermore, his work from the 1970s and ‘80s has certainly been heralded as some of the most avant-garde and finely crafted comics of the era by stalwarts of the industry and the medium. Ultimately, what drew me to this comic book wasn’t Gerber’s reputation, but rather the incredibly skill and artistry of Kevin Nowlan.

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Pedometer of the Damned

The Walking Dead #100
“Something to Fear, Part Four”
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Gray tones: Cliff Rathburn
Letters: Rus Wooton
Cover artists: Charlie Adlard, Marc Silvestri, Frank Quitely, Todd McFarlane, Sean Phillips, Bryan Hitch & Ryan Ottley
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US/CAN ($9.99 US/CAN chromium cover)

What may be the best-selling North American comic book of the year is a fairly run-of-the-mill chapter of the long-running, popular zombie-apocalypse series, but it’s nevertheless a satisfying one for fans and followers. Kirkman’s focus here is on shock value. He tries to shock his readers with the casual callousness and corruption of a new villain. He tries to shock us by writing against the expectations he’s built up over the past few months. And he tries to shock the audience with the death of a major character. While the storytelling is visceral and effective, it’s not really shocking — at least not for those who have been paying attention over the course of the series.

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Alternative Comic

Batman: Earth One original hardcover graphic novel
“Earth One”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils/Cover artist: Gary Frank
Inks: Jonathan Sibal
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $22.99 US/$25.99 CAN

DC’s “Earth One” line of graphic novels (though one can hardly call it a line at this point) really got lost in the shuffle when the publisher relaunched its entire stable of ongoing super-hero comics last fall. I think it’s a safe bet these graphic novels — which, like many of the New 52 comics, offer new takes on familiar characters — was something that was dreamed up and had resources dedicated to it long before DC embarked on its successful New 52 initiative. The problem with Batman: Earth One lies not with the storytelling or creativity. Instead, it confuses the DC brand, especially at a time when the publisher is garnering more headlines for a gay character in Earth 2 than with a retooling of its most popular property in a book awkwardly subtitled “Earth One.” Once one ignores the poor management and marketing decisions, though, one will find an entertaining and offbeat take on DC’s Darknight Detective. Describing it as a “fresh take” would be a misnomer, though, as the choices writer Geoff Johns makes here for the Batman aren’t entirely new.

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Burning Down the (White) House

The Loxleys and the War of 1812 original hardcover graphic novel
Writer: Alan Grant
Artist/Cover artist: Claude St. Aubin
Colors: Lovern Kindzierski
Letters: Todd Klein
Historical essay: Mark Zuehlke
Editor: Alexander Finbow
Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment
Price: $19.99 US/CAN

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this review for a couple of weeks now, but July 1 — Canada Day, the anniversary of Confederation — seemed like a fitting time to write about a graphic novel focusing on a key period in Canadian history. What drew me to the book wasn’t so much the connection to my homeland’s past (and my need to learn more about the War of 1812), but rather than reputations of the various creators involved in its creation. Perhaps what piqued my curiosity the most was the fact that although established, mainstream Canadian creators such as Claude St. Aubin and Lovern Kindzierski participated in the book, the publisher recruited some top talent from beyond the Great White North, such as longtime Batman and Judge Dredd writer Alan Grant and Todd Klein, the most heralded letterer of the past couple of decades. Together, they’ve put together a professional package that informs and entertains, though its value definitely lies with the former aspect. Initially too saccharine for my taste, the book eventually and appropriately takes on a harsher tone in the second act. What struck me the most about the book was how dedicated it is to one perspective, casting the Americans firmly in the role of villains — so much so I expect the book’s appeal south of the 49th parallel will be quite limited.

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