Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Twinkie the Kid's Last Ride?

Check out my latest contribution to The East Valley Tribune by clicking here!  (I drew the picture.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Once A Nerd . . .

I haven't completely forsake you, A Comic A Day!  I've begun writing a regular column at the blog Nerdvana -- you can check out the first few entries of Once A Nerd by clicking here!

And while you're at Nerdvana, look for some of my exclusive Amazing Arizona Comics strips . . .!  Superhero adventure has never been more topical!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free Comic Book Day 2012: Marvel Comics

This may be post-Avengers fever talking, but Marvel Comics' Avengers: Age of Ultron #.1 is the perfect Free Comic Book Day offering.  First of all, based on the criteria I established in my last review, this comic is a complete issue, like any you could pick up off the stands.  It isn't a stand alone story, though; it's the beginning of another Avengers adventure, one that has Tony Stark quaking in his iron boots.  For casual readers of the Avengers (like me), or a newbie to comics fresh from the movie, what better way to hook 'em then by striking fear in who we've perceived as a fearless hero?

Marvel also presents some of its top talent in this free funnybook, with Brian Michael Bendis behind the words, and Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary behind the pictures.  Again, I'm only a casual fan of these artists, but Bendis sets a motley stage, with Avengers of all types in attendence, introducing new readers to characters they wouldn't have seen in the film.  Further, Bendis creates a very poignant problem and offers a multi-faceted way to solve it, with a slew of macabre villains along the way.  Hitch and Neary volley superhero adventure and espionage very well, and while the characters' grimaces are very realistic, weirdos like M.O.D.O.K. look appropriately -- well, weird. 

Perhaps this is what struck me most about this issue: it's a classic superhero team versus a classic super-villain team, mirroring each other in opposite objectives on the same spectrum.  Despite the contemporary context, this issue seemed very old-fashioned (another term Avengers movie fans might remember), yet without shoving nostalgia down out throats.  Here, we can have a horde of bad guys working together, and they don't operate under a name like "The Secret Society of Ne'er-Do-Wells."  They're just there, in a cave, almost like a terror cell, doing something that could cause great harm to the world, for their own selfish gains.  Then, superheroes try to stop them.  This is the genre.  For a moment in this issue, Steve Rogers (formerly Captain America) is tempted to think it's more complicated than that, as covert groups come to light, but in the end everyone just works together.

And that's the pleasant thing about this issue.  Everything works together, with a satisfying ending that leaves just enough dangling to keep us coming back for more.  The unspoken thesis of Free Comic Book Day is this: "Here is something for free.  Is it good enough to make you come back next week and PAY for it?"  In this case, I say, "Absolutely."  Avengers readers, assemble!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Free Comic Book Day 2012: DC Comics

Aaaaand we're back!  The first Saturday in May has become one of my favorite days of the year, because it's Free Comic Book Day!  Although I've spent most of my time away from A Comic A Day creating comics, I can't resist the chance to review a few of this year's FCBD offerings -- so, these posts will come sporadically, but they will come, starting with . . .

DC Comics' The New 52 was exactly what I expected: heady, convoluted, and generally unfriendly to anyone interested in picking up a DC Comic for the first time.  A friend of mine asked what I thought of the New 52 concept yesterday, and this issue represents my opinions perfectly: if the attempt was to establish an entry-level experience for new readers, mission failed.  Generally, in just these past nine months of "the new 52" experience, we've been "reintroduced" to the DC Universe via a muddied five-year timeline for our beloved characters, and, now, multiple earths.  If the goal was to put old and new readers alike on the same page, consider it done, because everybody's confused.

Specifically, the FCBD The New 52 issue was a waste of an effort.  It didn't tell a complete story but rather teased several upcoming stories, and the main yarn is spun around Pandora, a character that has haunted DC's titles since their relaunch.  Here, her origin is told, and basically she is the Pandora of old that opened that terrible box, a sin on par with whatever condemned the Phantom Stranger and the Question to their respective fates, as well.  Of course, if you're a new reader, you have no idea who the Phantom Stranger and the Question are, so that detail would be lost.  Cut to Pandora, today, trying to retrieve her famous box from A.R.G.U.S., which must be DC's answer to S.H.I.E.L.D., then to Batman fighting a Green Lantern that isn't Hal Jordan, then to a four-page foldout that zooms back to the entire Justice League fighting each other.  The issue concludes with a bunch of one to three page teasers of other DC titles.

I know these characters from decades' worth of reading, and in twenty-some pages, I was confused, disillusioned, and ultimately rendered uninterested.  How would anyone that has never read a DC comic feel?  The New 52 has Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman on the cover, and it serves no one looking for a Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman story -- either for the first time, or for the first time since the relaunch.  Again -- what a waste.

The Superman Family Adventures Flip Book was a much more familiar depiction of my favorite superheroes, and since it was primarily intended for children, I don't know if DC is inadvertently calling me a baby for wanting something simpler from my superheroes, or if their comics have simply outgrown me.  Whatever -- Art Baltazar and Franco tell a simple Superman story with the Lois/Clark/Perry/Jimmy paradigm that made these characters timeless, and that's good enough for me.  The Green Lantern story on the other side of this issue was short, sweet, and complete, thus, enjoyable -- and the Young Justice snippet ended too soon, which means I was successfully left wanting more.

Ultimately, between these two comic books, I don't feel like I read even one whole comic book, but instead I flipped through a sales pamphlet of product available soon at a comic shop near you!  I thought it was Free Comic Book Day, not Free Comic Book Samplers Day.  Call me old-fashioned, but I think the best way to get people to read comic books is to give them a good comic book.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Amazing Arizona Comics: Food Coma at the County Fair!

My latest Amazing Arizona Comicsstrip is up at Nerdvana -- "Food Coma at the County Fair!" -- starring June Monsoon and Sam Brero. See it here!

And stay tuned for more comic book reviews, coming soon!

Monday, February 20, 2012