Tag Archives: barry windsor-smith

Fantagraphics To Publish Monsters by Legendary Cartoonist Barry Windsor-Smith

Monsters is the legendary project Barry Windsor-Smith has been working on for over 35 years. A 360-page tour de force of visual storytelling, Monsters’ vast narrative canvas is part familial drama, part espionage thriller, part metaphysical journey — in sum, an intimate portrait of individuals and an epic political odyssey spanning two generations of American history. Trauma, fate, conscience, and redemption are a few of the themes that intersect in Windsor-Smith’s Monsters.

When he walks into a military recruitment office, Bobby Bailey has no idea that he is about to fulfill his tragic destiny. Close-mouthed, emotionally damaged, innocent, trying to forget a past and looking for a future, it turns out that Bailey is the perfect candidate for a secret US government experimental program, an unholy continuation of a genetics program that was discovered in Nazi Germany in the waning days of World war II. Bailey’s only ally and protector, Sergeant McFarland, intervenes, which sets off a chain of cascading events that spin out of everyone’s control. As the titular monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal, and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning. Monsters is rendered in Windsor-Smith’s impeccable pen-and-ink technique; the visual storytelling with its sensitivity to gesture and composition is the most sophisticated of the artist’s career. It is surely one of the most intense graphic novels ever drawn.

Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith is slated to release in January 2021.

Underrated: X-O Manowar: Birth

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: X-O Manowar: Birth


I’ve been a Valiant fan for nearly four years now, and while I have dabbled in the original comics (affectionately known as VH1 among the fanbase), it has primarily been the modern era, comics from 2012 to the present day (known as the VEI era), that has been my reading and collecting focus. But a couple of weeks ago, the owner of my LCS returned from visiting one of his other stores with a hardcover for me because he thought I’d be interested. That hardcover reprinted the first six issues of the original X-O Manowar run from 1992, the #o issue and an original story featuring the origin of one the early issues villains. This collection represents the earliest comics from Valiant I’ve yet read, and although I prefer the 2012 origin for X-O Manowar, I can understand why Valiant was able to hook fans in with the original X-O stories. I’m looking at this book today from the perspective of somebody who has read a lot, or even some, of the modern X-O Manowar comics before ever touching the original VH1 run, and asking whether that person would be interested in looking to the past.

If you’re at all familiar with Aric of Dacia, the X-O Manowar armour and his abduction and subsequent return to Earth then you’ll know the essence of the plot this book. The 2012 origin took a lot from these six or seven comics, and although some details were updated or modified, the the influence the original story still bears upon the modern is easy to see. Aside from Aric’s Hulk-like speech patterns that do, thankfully, begin to diminish as he learns English, the barbarian’s character still shows flashes of the man he will become when the publisher relaunched.

The Vine are replaced with the Spider-Aliens, although aside from the name there is little that distinguishes them from the first few comics in the 2012 run. Where as the Vine become one of the more interesting and complex plot points in the VEI stories, the Spider-Aliens show little of the same qualities at this point (yes, there are signs that there is more to the Vine within the first three issues of the VEI run), but then that really just makes it easier to enjoy the battle carnage as Aric tears his way through the soldiers and corporate representatives of the Spider-Aliens.

Although you can enjoy the book without any prior knowledge, for a Valiant fan of the old or new school (or both) this beautifully presented book is a must read. And most of us will seek the story out if we can, but for those not entrenched in Valiant lore, this standalone story here represents an Underrated gem from comics history.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Preview: Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up HC

Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up HC

(W) Craig Yoe (A) John Severin, John Romita, Wally Wood (CA) Steve Ditko
In Shops: Nov 13, 2019
SRP: $34.99

An incredible artbook showcasing some of the greatest comic artists of all time! Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Don Heck, John Byrne, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Severin, Wally Wood, John Romita, and many more!
As part of the tremendous fun of Silver Age comics, artists created pin-ups of the most popular Marvel heroes and villains! Now the greatest of those works of art are gathered for the first time in a beautiful large-format hardback book! Included are rare examples of original art of The Thing, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange.

True believers, thrill to pulsating pinups of Spidey, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Daredevil, Millie the Model (!), and the ever lovin’ blue-eyed Thing-and many marvelous more!

Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up HC

Review: X-Men: LifeDeath

X-Men: LifeDeath

As someone who has served, I know someone and have been someone who has lost something of themselves. I remember the first time I came home after I joined, my family and friends saw a change and after a few times even more changes. It was not until I saw loss while serving. I saw loss growing up but it was not the same.

Environment and people around you make a difference on how you experience loss. Some of the men and women I served with were not the same. After they suffered a traumatic injury, they felt they lost a part of themselves. This is why I was surprised that within comics this issue had not been really explored until one of comics’ greatest auteurs Chris Claremont sought to do this with one of Marvel’s greatest characters, Storm. In X-Men: LifeDeath, Claremont, along with Barry Windsor-Smith, explores how it is for a superhero once they have lost the powers, which in her case made her godlike.

We find Storm and Forge living together, sometime after she lost her powers by the mistake of Forge, who has become her caretaker, as her loss of powers has sent her on a downward spiral of depression. Meanwhile, we find Rogue living off the grid while still stopping evil mutants before they can do harm. We also find Professor Xavier and Nightcrawler looking for both women, via Cerebro, with no such luck. As Storm returns to Africa, where she goes home to her village, to not only connect with her people, she finds more about herself without her powers than she ever did, with them. We also catch up with Wolverine, as Lady Deathstrike looks to lop off his head during a blizzard. In the final story, we find out exactly how Dazzler became an X-Men in a battle with Malice.

Overall, an excellent set of stories which proves why Claremont is the one true voice when it comes to writing the X-Men. The story by Claremont, is smart, introspective, and action packed. The art by Windsor-Smith feels like a painting. Altogether, a story you soon won’t forget.

Story: Chris Claremont Art: Barry Windsor-Smith
Story: 10 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Yoe Books Launches Marvel Hardcover Program

IDW Publishing and Yoe Books have announced a new line of Marvel Comics collections, a sensational series of large-format hardcovers curating the finest artwork from the Golden Age’s four-color foundations all the way up to the Marvel Age’s dizzying heights!

Coinciding with the year-long celebration of Marvel’s 80 years of publishing, Yoe Books will debut their retrospective look at the House of Ideas with Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups, which will be followed by additional entries in 2019.

In Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups, the pulsating pin-up artwork of legendary Silver Age creators – including Jack KirbySteve DitkoJim SterankoDon HeckJohn ByrneBarry Windsor-SmithJohn SeverinWally WoodDan DecarloJohn Romita, and many more – is collected for the first time ever into a single volume, accompanied throughout with witty wordage, pulse-pounding patter, and zany zingers by Stan “The Man” Lee!

Fans will treasure large, deftly drawn pin-ups by these marvelous artists of Spider-ManThorDoctor StrangeCaptain MarvelThe HulkThe X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many more, plus nefarious villains led by Doctor Doom – and even Millie the Model by Dan DeCarlo!

Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups

Underrated: X-O Manowar: Birth

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: X-O Manowar: Birth


I’ve been a Valiant fan for nearly four years now, and while I have dabbled in the original comics (affectionately known as VH1 among the fanbase), it has primarily been the modern era, comics from 2012 to the present day (known as the VEI era), that has been my reading and collecting focus. But a couple of weeks ago, the owner of my LCS returned from visiting one of his other stores with a hardcover for me because he thought I’d be interested. That hardcover reprinted the first six issues of the original X-O Manowar run from 1992, the #o issue and an original story featuring the origin of one the early issues villains. This collection represents the earliest comics from Valiant I’ve yet read, and although I prefer the 2012 origin for X-O Manowar, I can understand why Valiant was able to hook fans in with the original X-O stories. I’m looking at this book today from the perspective of somebody who has read a lot, or even some, of the modern X-O Manowar comics before ever touching the original VH1 run, and asking whether that person would be interested in looking to the past.

If you’re at all familiar with Aric of Dacia, the X-O Manowar armour and his abduction and subsequent return to Earth then you’ll know the essence of the plot this book. The 2012 origin took a lot from these six or seven comics, and although some details were updated or modified, the the influence the original story still bears upon the modern is easy to see. Aside from Aric’s Hulk-like speech patterns that do, thankfully, begin to diminish as he learns English, the barbarian’s character still shows flashes of the man he will become when the publisher relaunched.

The Vine are replaced with the Spider-Aliens, although aside from the name there is little that distinguishes them from the first few comics in the 2012 run. Where as the Vine become one of the more interesting and complex plot points in the VEI stories, the Spider-Aliens show little of the same qualities at this point (yes, there are signs that there is more to the Vine within the first three issues of the VEI run), but then that really just makes it easier to enjoy the battle carnage as Aric tears his way through the soldiers and corporate representatives of the Spider-Aliens.

Although you can enjoy the book without any prior knowledge, for a Valiant fan of the old or new school (or both) this beautifully presented book is a must read. And most of us will seek the story out if we can, but for those not entrenched in Valiant lore, this standalone story here represents an Underrated gem from comics history.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Relive the X-Men’s Biggest Events with X-Men Milestones

They are the tales of triumph and tragedy that changed Marvel’s mutants forever…and now, fans everywhere can relive these stories in a new series of trade paperbacks designed to form one complete library of X-Men events!

To start, dive into history with the tragic Jean Grey story that rocked the X-Men and the Marvel Universe in Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Byrne! Brace yourself as the specter of death looms over three X-teams in Fall of the Mutants by Claremont, Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri, Bret Blevins and Walter Simonson! And charge into the epic battle between the Morlocks and the Marauders in Mutant Massacre by Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr., Blevins, Rick Leonardi, Alan Davis, Barry Windsor-Smith, Terry Shoemaker, Butch Guice, Sal Buscema and Jon Bogdanove!

With this new collection, relive the X-Men’s best and the biggest storylines as their adventures remind you why the X-Men have been a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe for decades!

What other earth-shattering events will follow? Stay tuned to Marvel for more…

X-MEN MILESTONES: DARK PHOENIX SAGA

By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

X-MEN MILESTONES: FALL OF THE MUTANTS

By Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri, Bret Blevins and Walter Simonson

X-MEN MILESTONES: MUTANT MASSACRE

By Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr., Blevins, Rick Leonardi, Alan Davis, Barry Windsor-Smith, Terry Shoemaker, Butch Guice, Sal Buscema and Jon Bogdanove!

Review: Iron Man 2020

Who is Arno Stark? Marvel has a trade, Iron Man 2020 that’ll help you find out! Iron Man 2020 collects Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #20, Machine Man (1984) #1-4, Death’s Head #10, Iron Man 2020 #1, Astonishing Tales: Iron Man 2020 #1-6, and material from What If? (1989) #53 written by Ken McDonald, Fred Schiller, Tom DeFalco, Simon Furman, Walter Simonson, and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, and illustrated by Mark Beachum, Herb Trimpe, Barry Windsor-Smith, Bryan Hitch, William Rosado, Bob Wiacek, Lou Kang, and Manny Galan.

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores today. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Arrives January 2019

Know, oh prince, that in the year 1970, Conan the Barbarian, sword in hand, slashed his way into four-color life. This January, ahead of Conan’s triumphant return to Marvel Comics, Marvel is has announced the release of Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus. Fully remastered, this tome features Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith’s ground-breaking adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s iconic character.

Collecting Conan the Barbarian #1-26 from 1970-1973—as well as material from 1971’s Savage Tales #1 and #4, Chamber of Darkness #4, and Conan Classic #1-11—the Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years omnibus presents each story in all its glory, from covers to letter pages, all painstakingly restored to match the beauty of the original editions.

Relive the early exploits of Conan across shining kingdoms of an age undreamed of, as he becomes thief, slayer and a legend.

Conan the Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Ombinbus Vol. 1 features writers Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Jakes, Michael Moorcock, and James Cawthorn, and artists Barry Windsor-Smith, Gil Kane, and John Buscema. It features a cover by John Cassaday.

Flashback Friday Friday Review: Archer & Armstrong #2

archerandarmstrong2To save all Creation, Archer attempts to assassinate Erica Pierce! But “Mothergod” is beyond harm and she easily thwarts the attack. For this affront, Archer and Armstrong are thrown in the dungeon. When the pair escape, Erica sends her finest warrior, Turok, Dinosaur Hunter, to hunt them down. But, sensing Archer’s inner nobility, Turok spares their lives and forsakes his allegiance to Mothergod.

My experience with Valiant comics in the 90s was scattered and I don’t remember reading this issue before, and in general anything from the Unity event.

Archer & Armstrong #2 was written by Jim Shooter and Barry Windsor-Smith and part of the company-wide crossover from 1992 bringing together Harbinger, Magnus, Rai, Shadowman, Solar, and X-O Manowar. It also introducde new series Archer & Armstrong and Eternal Warrior. The main story involves Mothergod who attempts to rewrite reality bringing together all of these heroes.

So, here I am reading this second issue for an event I don’t remember.

The issue is an interesting one and you can see a lot of what we’ve come to expect with today’s take on these two characters. Armstrong is the long lived partier and Archer is still the religious conservative. This take though has Archer more as a monk than the Christian nut we see in the latest take. It’s a slight difference, but an interesting one to note.

What’s also fun is seeing Turok involved in the series. For those not familiar this version of the Valiant universe featured Gold Key characters like Turok, Magnus, and Solar. Those were comics I remember a bit more and seeing Turok running around with his bow taking on these two added a bit of nostalgia for that take on the character (my first introduction to him).

The story is basically a jail break, nothing much more than that, and the relationship between these two characters that continues to shine. This might be one of the best pairings of characters ever in comics and what works now worked then giving it a bit of a timeless feel to it all.

The art by Barry Windsor-Smith is solid with colors by Maurice Fontenot and inks by Bob Layton. I’m not quite sure how to describe the style but the colors have an almost colored pencil look to it on top of Windsor-Smith’s fantastic pencils. I’ve been a fan of his art for some time, and we can see some of why here.

The issue is being dropped in the middle of a story but I found myself being entertained. There’s enough there that one can enjoy and seeing versions of these characters from 25 years ago kept me pretty entertained. Though it was different, a lot remained the same.

Story: Jim Shooter and Barry Windsor-Smith Art: Barry Windsor-Smith
Ink: Bob Layton Color: Maurice Fontenot

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

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