Tag Archives: art spiegelman

Art Spiegelman’s Essay Too Political for Marvel

Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 was to feature Art Spiegelman's essay

Marvel has refused to publish Art Spiegelman‘s essay due to a dig within it at President Trump where he calls him “Orange Skull Trump.”

Spiegelman, the creator of the graphic novel Maus, says he was asked to remove a dig at President Trump from an upcoming book by Marvel and Folio Society. Spiegelman was asked to write the introduction to Marvel: The Golden Age 1939–1949 which is out in September and was announced this past week.

Spiegelman’s essay touched upon how the young Jewish creators of the first superheroes created mythic, godlike, secular saviors to address the issues of the time such as the Great Depression and World War II. Spiegelman ended the essay with:

In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America.

That was too much for Marvel who said they were trying to stay “apolitical,” and “is not allowing its publications to take a political stance.”

Spiegelman says he was asked to remove the sentence about the Red Skull or the essay would not be published. He chose to pull the essay. Marvel editor Roy Thomas will instead be writing the introduction.

Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac (Ike) Perlmutter is a longtime friend of Donald Trump, one of the largest donors to his Presidential campaign, and an advisor to the President on Veteran’s affairs.

(via The Guardian)

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Rockwell Museum to Host an Evening with Art Spiegelman

Maus

The Rockwell Museum will host an evening with Pulitzer-Prize Winning artist Art Spiegelman. Spiegelman will discuss his groundbreaking Maus graphic novel and its place in current global conversations in this culminating program of The Rockwell’s Year of Questioning Identity.

The event begins at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 and this Rockwell event is located at The Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium, 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY.  After an hourlong discussion, Spiegelman will engage with the audience for a question and answer segment. General admission is $20, while student tickets are $10. Rockwell members are admitted free for this event.  More details and tickets are available online.

Art Spiegelman’s impressive accomplishments have helped secure comics’ place as an important part of literature. In 1992, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative, Maus—which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus II continued the remarkable story of his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. In 1999, he was inducted into the Eisner Award’s Hall of Fame.

As a pioneer in underground comix, Spiegelman, along with publisher Francoise Mouly, co-edited RAW, which helped launch the careers of Chris Ware, Gary Panter and Charles Burns. His boundary-breaking career stretches from his artwork in The New Yorker to creating The Garbage Pail Kids for Topps.

His other books include In the Shadow of No Towers, Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits and MetaMaus.  His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity and controversial content. 

Spiegelman currently advocates for greater comics literacy.  As an editor, a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and a lecturer, Spiegelman has promoted better understanding of comics and has mentored younger cartoonists.

Review: In the Shadow of No Towers

I recently a watched a movie on Netflix called Come Sunday starring Chewitel Ejitofor, Condola Rashad, Danny Glover and Jason Segal.  In the movie, Ejitofr’s character questioned the existence of hell. This created a firestorm in his life which showed him his enemies from his friends. Eventually he would lose everything and truly look to understand why God put him in that position, which is something many Christians often paraphrase “God only gives you what you can handle.”

This very axiom is what most Christians use for every bad thing that comes their way including disasters and devastating life events. Every tragedy or difficult work situations challenge people and this is where many turn to religion while others respond by action or through outlets like art.

In comics, both DC and Marvel created tribute books to help with charities supporting victims of the attacks on 9/11, while other artists responded in kind. One of those artists, who is considered a legend, Art Spiegelman, was so moved he chronicled his own life and outrage within the pages of In The Shadows Of No Towers.

Spiegelman, within the first few panels, takes us through “The New Normal”, as people all over the world had to get used to what were seeing before our eyes, from words like “Taliban” to seeing smoke form the top of the Twin Towers. We also follow Spiegelman, as he looks for his daughter, soon after the Towers came down, which relives the panic of everyone that day, looking out for the welfare of the family. Eventually, he starts looking at the root causes of this disaster, in what he labels” The Ostrich Party”, where politicians from both parties make no progress are from their 19th century and the many bad decisions by the many administrators, have left these situations in the Middle East to exacerbate. By book’s end, Spiegelman, does what good creators do, ask the questions we all wonder and say the things we wish we could say.

Overall, one artist’s exploration of the world before and after 9/11, and how we get here. The stories as told by Spiegelman, is intense, funny, irreverent, thought provoking and brilliant. The art by Spiegelman, is alluring, evocative and vivid. Altogether, a book which both challenges and entertains in ways which our politically correct world tends to course correct before the point is made.

Story: Art Spiegelman Art: Art Spiegelman
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Immigration And Comics. It’s Our History.

ck-rocket-from-krypton-croppedA version of this originally ran January 2016.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to have avoided the refugee and, to a lesser extent, the immigration discussions occurring this past week due to the executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

As an immigrant myself, it’s a discussion that I’ve been paying some attention too.

First things first, though, is that I should clarify that my situation in no way resembled the plight of those from Syria or other war-torn regions. As a white man immigrating from the United Kingdom it would be offensive to those refugees to say that I know what they’re going through. I don’t.

I genuinely hope that I never will.

Indeed, I have been present in my new country when people start talking about “the immigrants” taking their jobs because they didn’t consider me an immigrant.  This was shortly after asking about my accent. I may be a white guy, but my accent sure isn’t from this side of the pond. That’s about as much prejudice as I have ever encountered on my end, directly, and while I found it exasperatingly funny at the time, it does go to  show the general sense that a (very) few have toward immigrants (at least in my experience, but as I said, mine is not the same as the Syrian refugees. Not even close). Even comparing a refugee to an immigrant is a slippery slope; while some immigrants such as myself arrive in a new country of their own volition, some undoubtedly feel forced out of their homes, due to escalating conflicts or tensions at home. But either way, the immigrant has a little more freedom to make the decision. A refugee has no choice in the matter; they just want their family to feel safe.

And the type of safety that the Syrian refugees are currently seeking, and the scale of the horror’s they are running from is something that many of us have no personal experience with. Hopefully we never will, but that doesn’t preclude us from having some empathy for them, either.

My family have lived in England for as long as I am aware (my Aunt traced my grandfather’s line back to around the 1700’s, give or take), so I can’t knowingly claim that there is any immigration within my family’s past (myself aside), but that’s not necessarily true of people living on this side of the pond.

There are millions of people in North American who can trace their families back across the years and the oceans to other countries, when their ancestors left their home lands for fear of persecution or simply to hope for a better life.

This is especially true when it comes to some of the early and/or influential members of the comic book community.

The Thing KirbyIndeed, many of the greatest names in American comics are often the first generation born in the new country, such as Art Speigelman (the author of Maus), Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman, Green Lantern, and many many others), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the men who created Superman). Even Bob Kane‘s (Batman‘s other co-creator) parents were of Eastern European Jewish descent. The point I am attempting to make here is that the sons of Jewish immigrants created some of our biggest super heroes, and some of our greatest stories.

And what of their creations? 

Superman is an alien from another planet who’s family sought refuge for their only child from the end of their world. He is far from native to any country on Earth, yet he has chosen to make the planet his  home. Far beyond just simply moving from country to country, Superman is an interplanetary immigrant that kick started the modern superhero comic. 

And he’s not the only immigrant in comics, either; Supergirl, the Martian Manhunter are but two of the early inter-planetary examples, X-O Manowar is both a geographical and chronological immigrant (it sounds confusing when typing it like that, but the character is as rich and deep as any other on this list). Howard the Duck has been trapped in a world that he’s slowly become accustomed to, but was never his own; and Thor Odinson has been protecting our world for centuries – and even without his hammer he continues to do so. The idea of a hero from the stars come to save humanity (or in the case of Howard the Duck to simply work amongst us) is an idea that as comic book fans we’re all enamored with , and in many cases these interplanetary immigrants have become some of the most beloved, and powerful, characters in the comic book reading world.

Giant-Size_X-Men_Vol_1_1In terms of the more traditional Earthbound type of immigration, the of moving between countries, look at almost the entire second team of X-Men; BansheeColossus, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Storm and Wolverine are all from countries other than the US. You know what that makes them, eh?

If  these characters were ignored because they were immigrants, both of the interplanetary and Earthbound nature,  would comics, nay, popular culture, even have the same face? The Superman symbol is an internationally recognized symbol of truth, justice, and the American Way, and Wolverine is arguably one of the most popular characters to ever appear in a comic book. What if the parents of the previously mentioned creators, and the numerous others I haven’t named who are also descended from immigrants, were trying to escape their living conditions to provide a better life for their families today? Would we still want to turn them away?

If it wasn’t for the sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants the comic book landscape, and perhaps even our way of life would be drastically different than what we’re used too. Before you add your voice to those who say we should close up our borders, take a long hard look at your family history, at the characters you love, and tell me where you would be if the country you call home had refused to admit any new immigrants at any point in the past two or three hundred years.

Would you still be sat here reading this, if your ancestors hadn’t had the opportunity to live a new life in North America?

Immigration And Comics

ck-rocket-from-krypton-croppedYou’d have to have been living under a rock to have avoided the refugee and, to a lesser extent, the immigration discussions occurring these past few months.

As an immigrant myself, it’s a discussion that I’ve been paying some attention too.

First things first, though, is that I should clarify that my situation in no way resembled the plight of those from Syria. As a white man immigrating from the United Kingdom it would be offensive to those refugees to say that I know what they’re going through. I don’t.

I genuinely hope that I never will.

Indeed, I have been present in my new country when people start talking about “the immigrants” taking their jobs because they didn’t consider me an immigrant.  This was shortly after asking about my accent. I may be a white guy, but my accent sure isn’t from this side of the pond. That’s about as much prejudice as I have ever encountered on my end, directly, and while I found it exasperatingly funny at the time, it does go to  show the general sense that a (very) few have toward immigrants (at least in my experience, but as I said, mine is not the same as the Syrian refugees. Not even close). Even comparing a refugee to an immigrant is a slippery slope; while some immigrants such as myself arrive in a new country of their own volition, some undoubtedly feel forced out of their homes, due to escalating conflicts or tensions at home. But either way, the immigrant has a little more freedom to make the decision. A refugee has no choice in the matter; they just want their family to feel safe.

And the type of safety that the Syrian refugees are currently seeking, and the scale of the horror’s they are running from is something that many of us have no personal experience with.  Hopefully we never will, but that doesn’t preclude us from having some empathy for them, either.

My family have lived in England for as long as I am aware (my Aunt traced my grandfather’s line back to around the 1700’s, give or take), so I can’t knowingly claim that there is any immigration within my family’s past (myself aside), but that’s not necessarily true of people living on this side of the pond.

There are millions of people in North American who can trace their families back across the years and the oceans to other countries, when their ancestors left their home lands for fear of persecution or simply to hope for a better life.

This is especially true when it comes to some of the early and/or influential members of the comic book community.

The Thing KirbyIndeed, many of the greatest names in American comics are often the first generation born in the new country, such as Art Speigelman (the author of Maus), Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman, Green Lantern, and many many others), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the men who created Superman). Even Bob Kane‘s (Batman‘s other co-creator) parents were of Eastern European Jewish descent. The point I am attempting to make here is that the sons of Jewish immigrants created some of our biggest super heroes, and some of our greatest stories.

And what of their creations? 

Superman is an alien from another planet who’s family sought refuge for their only child from the end of their world. He is far from native to any country on Earth, yet he has chosen to make the planet his  home. Far beyond just simply moving from country to country, Superman is an interplanetary immigrant that kick started the modern superhero comic. 

And he’s not the only immigrant in comics, either; Supergirl, the Martian Manhunter are but two of the early inter-planetary examples, X-O Manowar is both a geographical and chronological immigrant (it sounds confusing when typing it like that, but the character is as rich and deep as any other on this list). Howard the Duck has been trapped in a world that he’s slowly become accustomed to, but was never his own; and Thor Odinson has been protecting our world for centuries – and even without his hammer he continues to do so. The idea of a hero from the stars come to save humanity (or in the case of Howard the Duck to simply work amongst us) is an idea that as comic book fans we’re all enamored with , and in many cases these interplanetary immigrants have become some of the most beloved, and powerful, characters in the comic book reading world.

Giant-Size_X-Men_Vol_1_1In terms of the more traditional Earthbound type of immigration, the of moving between countries, look at almost the entire second team of X-Men; BansheeColossus, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Storm and Wolverine are all from countries other than the US. You know what that makes them, eh?

If  these characters were ignored because they were immigrants, both of the interplanetary and Earthbound nature,  would comics, nay, popular culture, even have the same face? The Superman symbol is an internationally recognized symbol of truth, justice, and the American Way, and Wolverine is arguably one of the most popular characters to ever appear in a comic book. What if the parents of the previously mentioned creators, and the numerous others I haven’t named who are also descended from immigrants, were trying to escape their living conditions to provide a better life for their families today? Would we still want to turn them away?

If it wasn’t for the sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants the comic book landscape, and perhaps even our way of life would be drastically different than what we’re used too. Before you add your voice to those who say we should close up our borders, take a long hard look at your family history, at the characters you love, and tell me where you would be if the country you call home had refused to admit any new immigrants at any point in the past two or three hundred years.

Would you still be sat here reading this, if your ancestors hadn’t had the opportunity to live a new life in North America?

Comics Legend Art Spiegelman & Scholar Tariq Ramadan on Charlie Hebdo & the Power Dynamic of Satire

Democracy Now has a series of videos (haven’t checked out their other coverage) of their coverage of the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo. The videos have actually been informative, fair, and pretty level-headed. Above is the comic creator Art Spiegelman, most known for his creation of the graphic novel Maus, and scholar Tariq Ramadan discussing the attacks. Very educational and worth watching.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! What’s everyone have planned?

Around the Tubes

Michigan Live – Legendary comic artist Art Spiegelman to speak at EMU – Very cool.

The Mary Sue – Best of Hail HYDRA: The New Marvel Meme Sweeping The Internet – Awesome.

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – All-New Doop #1

Comic Vine – All-New X-Factor #6

Comic Vine – East of West #11

Comic Vine – Flash Gordon #1

CBR – Invincible #110

Talking Comics – Nightcrawler #1

D+Q Fall events with Bagge, Barry, Brown, Castree, Hanawalt, Hernandez, Katin, Modan, Nilsen, Ralph, Seth, Shapton, Spiegelman, Tomine, ROOKIE!

D+Q authors and cartoonists are taking over North America this Fall at an event near you! Check out below to find where these creators will be over the coming months.

WOMANREBEL.cover

PETER BAGGE

Join Peter Bagge for the launch of his dazzling, accessible biography, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story! He will be presenting a slideshow and signing on his US tour:

BALTIMORE Atomic Books Friday September 13th
BETHESDA Small Press Expo September 14th and September 15th
SEATTLE Town Hall Thursday September 26th
MINNEAPOLIS Magers & Quinn Wednesday October 16th
IOWA CITY Prairie Lights Friday October 18th
CHICAGO Quimby’s Saturday October 19th
BOSTON Brookline Booksmith Monday October 21st
PHILADELPHIA Locust Moon Tuesday October 22nd
NYC MANHATTAN Book Culture Wednesday October 23rd
NYC BROOKLYN Word Thursday October 24th
TORONTO IFOA Saturday October 26th
MIAMI Miami Book Fair November 17th-24th

FREDDIESTORIEScover

LYNDA BARRY

Seeing Lynda Barry in person is a once in a life time experience, do not miss her at the National Book Fest. Get her to sign her latest book, Freddie Stories!

WASHINGTON National Book Festival
Sunday, September 22nd

louis10th_anniversary

CHESTER BROWN

A special, expanded edition of Chester Brown’s celebrated biography of the Canadian rebel Louis Riel!

“While rereading this graphic novel, I thought, ‘Why is this book not given to every schoolchild in Canada? … [H]as Canadian history ever been portrayed with more lyrical space, beauty, complexity, and drama…?” –The Globe and Mail

WINNIPEG McNally Robinson
for Louis Riel’s 169th birthday! Tuesday October 22nd
TORONTO Art Gallery of Ontario
McCready Leacture: an illustrated talk of Brown’s past and current work. Introductions by Andrew Hunter and Seth.
Chester’s original artwork from Louis Riel will be on display in the gallery. Wednesday November 13th

susceptible_sm

GENEVIÈVE CASTRÉE

A trans-Canadian exploration of identity from a multitalented artist and musician!

“With mesmerizing honesty Castrée resurrects the obscenely disorienting turning points of a childhood, the ones that haunt a person for a lifetime. After reading the last page I closed the book and wept a little bit about its simple, perfect ending.”
–Miranda July, author of It Chooses You and No One Belongs Here More Than You

VICTORIA Open Words, University of Victoria
September 17th and September 18th

ROOKIE2_SM

TAVI GEVINSON x ROOKIE

OAK PARK Unity Temple Book Launch Tuesday October 1st
TORONTO Magic Pony Saturday, October 26th
LOS ANGELES Skylight Thursday, November 7th
PORTLAND Reading Frenzy Friday, November 8th
SEATTLE Vera Project Saturday, November 9th
CHICAGO MCA Sunday, December 8th

DUMBEYES.cover-web

LISA HANAWALT

“For years I’ve encountered Lisa Hanawalt’s comics and illustrations piecemeal — in various magazines and periodicals. They’re always a pleasant jolt. Now, they’ve been assembled into one thick, blazing bludgeon. I envy you getting walloped by them all for the first time. This is a Hanawalt assault. Succumb.”–Patton Oswalt

BETHESDA Small Press Expo September 14th and 15th
NYC Brooklyn Book Festival Sunday September 22nd

MARBLEcase

GILBERT HERNANDEZ

“Mr. Hernandez captures the wonder of childhood”
—_New York Times_

As resonant with the children of today as the children of the sixties, Marble Season is the all-new semi-autobiographical novel by acclaimed cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez. The evocative story masterfully explores the redemptive and timeless power of storytelling and role play in childhood.

WASHINGTON National Book Fair Sunday, September 22nd

LETTING.case_full

MIRIAM KATIN

Katin is a master storyteller in Letting It Go, an insightful and serious but also wry account of the myriad ways trauma infects daily existence, both for survivors and for their families.

“Katin eschews the use of panel borders for her gorgeously expressive color-pencil drawings, giving the narrative an irresistible flow. This… nuanced and inward-looking tale is an even greater testament to Katin’s remarkable storytelling abilities.”—_Booklist Starred Review_

NEW YORK Brooklyn Book Fest Sunday September 22nd
MIAMI Miami Book Fair November 17th-November 24th

PROPERTY.case_web

RUTU MODAN

Savvy and insightful, elegant and subtle, The Property is a triumph of storytelling that explores the absurdity of people’s behaviour and the complex consequences of their sacrifices.

“Modan is masterful at creating complex motivations, exploring the confusion her characters create in each other and, more fundamentally, in themselves.”—_LA Times_

On tour from Tel Aviv!
BETHESDA Small Press Expo September 14th and 15th
WASHINGTON Politics & Prose
Monday September 16th (by Toon Books)
NY Society of Illustrators Tuesday September 17th
NY Bookcourt Thursday September 19th (by Toon Books)
NY New York Art Book Fair Saturday September 21st

RAGE.casewrap-web

ANDERS NILSEN

Rage of Poseidon is devastating, insightful, and beautifully hewn; it’s a wry triumph in an all-new style from a masterful artist.

BETHESDA Small Press Expo
Saturday September 14th and Sunday September 15th
CHICAGO Brainframe Friday September 20th
NYC BROOKLYN Brooklyn Book Festival
Sunday September 22nd
SAN FRANCISCO Alternative Press Expo
Saturday October 12th and Sunday October 13th

REGGIE12web

BRIAN RALPH

Reggie-12 is a hilarious pop-culture send-up of the infalliable boy hero in Brian Ralph’s trademark stye, told with episodic wit and structure of the contemporary American sitcom. Laughs explode from the page! Brian will be celebrating the launch of Reggie-12 with a rollicking slideshow:

SEATTLE Fantagraphics Bookstore
Saturday, September 7th
PORTLAND Floating World Sunday, September 8th
SAN FRANCISCO Mission: Comics and Art
Tuesday, September 10th
LOS ANGELES Secret Headquarters
Wednesday, September 11th
BETHESDA SPX September 14th & 15th

PV21.cover_full

SETH

Continuing the new semi-annual hardcover format for Palookaville in volume 21, Seth presents a lushly designed three-part collection: a sketchbook memoir from his childhood in small-town Ontario; pages from the comic strip diary he has kept for almost a decade; an the the continuation of Part Four of the ongoing Clyde Fans serial.

NEW YORK Adam Baumgold Gallery
Original art from It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken
Tuesday September 10th
*please note that Seth will not be attending the opening.

BETHESDA Small Press Expo
September 14th and September 15th

TORONTO IFOA
Saturday October 26th

SNM_cover

LEANNE SHAPTON

Originally collected on the New York Times Opinion Page, Leanne Shapton’s Sunday Night Movies is a dreamy, beautiful collection of remembered classics.

In New York this September!

Brooklyn Book Festival Sunday, September 22nd
Paris Review Thursday, September 26th

COMIX-frontcover

ART SPIEGELMAN

A comprehensive career overview of the legendary Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist! Spiegelman has been a leader of, and an inspiration for, alternative comics artists throughout the past three decades, and readers are now able to trace the evolution of this multifaceted artist throughout his storied career. Includes rare material and reproductions of out-of-print comics!

In New York this September!
Greenlight slideshow and signing
Wednesday, September 18th
Brooklyn Book Festival in conversation with Jules Feiffer
Sunday, September 22nd
Housing Works in conversation with Dan Nadel
Tuesday, September 24th

ON13cover-sm

ADRIAN TOMINE

Acclaimed cartoonist Adrian Tomine (New York Drawings, Shortcomings) returns with a dazzling new issue of his two-decade-long comic book series! Tomine channels contemporary zeitgeist and vernacular to produce flawlessly designed, compellingly readable stories.

BETHESDA Small Press Expo
September 14th and September 15th
BROOKLYN Brooklyn Book Festival
Sunday, September 22nd

Review: Occupy Comics #2, 12 Reasons to Die #2 and Ballistic #1

Occupy Comics #2

occThe Kickstarter phenomenon is in it’s second issue and it shows no sign of diminishing in quality. Occupy Comics #2 continues the thought provoking anthology with more strips, prose and in general contributions that actually makes you think. The second issue continues to show that comics and politics do mix. The comics boast an impressive line-up of creators like Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo.

This issue continues to impress with thought-provoking contributions. Again, it’s pretty non-partisan and numerous entries border on graphic journalism, and might be creating a whole new genre of graphic social commentary. This is a perfect marriage of comics and politics, of course I dug it. Continue to ignore that word “occupy” and don’t let it taint your willingness to give this series a chance. You’ll be surprised, though shouldn’t be considering the talent behind it.

But on top of the political message and commentary, the series continues to be entertaining. The stories contained within are smartly written and beautifully illustrated, making this a package that has depth in message as well as presentation, an awesome combination. It’s a perfect connection between emotion, facts and art. The stories have depth and are well thought out, their intelligence shows.

Despite some pretty heavy hitter names, Matt Miner’s contribution about his experience with Occupy Sandy during Hurricane Sandy is especially emotional. It really opens up your eyes as to what occurred during that storm and clean up after and the travesty that was relief efforts by the government.

I’m a political nerd. I’m a comic geek. Lets occupy some comics!

Story and art: Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

12 Reasons to Die #2

APR130921_mThis horror-crime hybrid is the latest comic book from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah. A brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal, and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.

Two issues in and I’m still pretty entertained by the series which mixes horror and crime. Overall though, this second issue isn’t quite as polished as the first and I wonder if the limited series might be better read in one sitting or as a trade paperback.

Again the comic comes off as disjointed stories, with an attempt to weave them together. That weaving isn’t quite as tight as the first one, and that might be where my issue comes into this. The stories don’t fit as quite nicely together as that first issue, jumping around in the subjects and characters and the art at times differing either too much or not much causing delineation between the chapters to be more difficult.

And that’s where I struggle with the comic. Take each of the stories by themselves and they’d be great. But, together there’s an issue for me and the flow between them is part of it. Breaking each section up, even with a page that just says “chapter 1,” etc. might have helped. It could also be the fact I’m reading it digitally, which makes that more difficult.

I’m also at the point I’d like more information about these records and the bigger picture around them. If they’re just a story device, that’s fine, but I’d like that a bit more clearer.

The series is an example of a multi-platform, transmedia concept project with a storyline that spans from the comic book to the new Ghostface Killah album released simultaneously by RZA’s Soul Temple Records. So, you have a soundtrack to check out while reading the comic.

Overall, this is an entertaining example of cross-media entertainment, but the series needs to pick up a bit for me.

Story: Adrian Younge, Ce Garcia, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Tim Seeley, Nate Powell, Brian Level, Dave Murdoch
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Ballistic #1

Ballistic-001_600pxWelcome to Repo City State, where everyone’s an asshole… even the air conditioners.

Darick Robertson and Adam Egypt Mortimer’s madcap, psychedelic, transreal, utterly-wacko buddy adventure about Butch and his best friend Gun, a drug-addicted, genetically-modified, foul-mouthed firearm, as they attempt to elevate Butch from air conditioner repairman to master criminal in the twisted, post-eco-apocalyptic Repo City State, a reclaimed trash island built entirely from DNA-based, living technology with bad attitudes.

Ballistic marks Darick Robertson’s return to the hard sci-fi worldbuilding of his classic Transmetropolitan but mixed with The Boys’ ultra-violence and the lunacy of Happy. Mortimer’s mix of speculative science, pulpy noire, and drug-addled adventure cooks up a strange brew of Lethal Weapon by way of Cronenberg meets Dr. Who if written by Odd Future.

If you’re a fan of 80s British comics, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick up this debut issue of a series that I’m sure will be making “best of” lists at the end of the year. The story is a mad rush full of adrenaline in a world so far out there and crazy, it’s hard not to be entertained.

Though it might have that “80s British” vibe, the story also feels fresh and innovative. That package also has a main character that has the snappy banter of coolness of Ash from Army of Darkness. You can take your pick as to which character I’m referring to with that one.

On top of the fun story, there’s visuals that’ll blow you away. The world can’t be described, it can only be seen and you’ll find yourself lingering on pages to catch everything and coming back to do that some more once you’re done reading.

The comic lives up to it’s name and blew me away. This one might be a sleeper, but do yourself a favor and go grab a copy!

Story: Adam Egypt Mortimer Art: Darick Robertson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Occupy Comics #1 and 12 Reasons to Die #1

Occupy Comics #1

OccupyComics-coverA_600pxStarted off in what seems forever ago, Occupy Comics initially started off as a Kickstarter project, it is now seeing print thanks to Black Mask Studios. An anthology, the comic was as political as they come and channeled the dissatisfaction with the status-quo represented by the Occupy Movement. The comics boast an impressive line-up of creators like Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo.

Each contribution is thought-provoking and entertaining and shockingly non-partisan. This is a perfect marriage of comics and politics. While many will see that word “occupy” how the stories presented are pretty non-partisan, reflecting the realistic economic times and the political world in which we live.

But on top of that political message, the comic is also entertaining. The stories contained within are smartly written and beautifully illustrated, making this a package that has depth in message as well as presentation, an awesome combination. It’s a perfect connection between emotion, facts and art.

The stories within vary too. They’re not all straight comics, and some mix it up with different forms of storytelling. This is an anthology with a theme first and foremost, not necessarily a “comic.” But it’s all golden. Everything I read had depth and was intelligent. It just grabbed me and I wanted to read more. It made we want more of this type of voice in the more mainstream comics many of these folks write.

On top of the solid stories and art, all revenue received by organizers/creators (past hard costs) will be donated to various Occupy-related initiatives.

This is a perfect example of the marriage of comics and politics. An awesome comic that I can’t wait to see more of.

Story and art: Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Matt Bors, Mike Allred, Ben Templesmith, J.M. DeMatteis, Tyler Crook, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joe Infurnari, Ales Kot, Dean Haspiel, Joshua Dysart and Matt Pizzolo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

12 Reasons to Die #1

12ReasonsToDie_issue1coverB_ChristopherMittenThis horror-crime hybrid is the latest comic book from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah.

A brutal tale of gangsters, betrayal, and one vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.

I’m a fan of crime comics. The idea of gangsters and crimelords is just entertaining to me. I tend to gravitate to those stories so this comic was right up my way. But what makes this comic and this “gangster” tale stand out is the horror part of it all. It’s a nice change to the straight up gangster story I was expecting and the type of story I was expecting when I saw that RZA and Ghostface Killah were involved.

There’s a lot going on in the comic, making it not the straightforward crime comic you’d expect. There’s different perspectives and intertwining storylines that’ll be interesting to see how they come together. This is a mystery/horror story with a gangster veneer and the first issue teases that mystery just enough to get me to want to come back and check out more.

You can tell this is a story being told the way they want to be told. It’s a high concept blending story, art and music together. Each section of the first issues is paired with the talents of an artist who does it justice and enhances the story.

What’s even cooler is this is an example of a multi-platform, transmedia concept project with a storyline that spans from the comic book to the new Ghostface Killah album released simultaneously by RZA’s Soul Temple Records. So, you have a soundtrack to check out while reading the comic.

Overall, this is an entertaining example of

Story: Adrian Younge, Ce Garcia, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon Art: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

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