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Review: Carver: A Paris Story

carver_trade_frnt_cvr_superfanNotorious gentleman of fortune Francis Carver returns to the City of Lights in 1923 after an absence of five years. He’s come back to aid Catherine Ayers, the wife of a wealthy Parisian socialite and the only woman he’s ever loved. Her daughter has been kidnapped by the leader of a crazed anarchist gang, a man named Stacker Lee. In order to bring the girl home, Carver will have to crawl through the underbelly of the city while confronting the demons of his past, before being faced with a final choice: succumb to the man he has become, or take that mask off and be the hero he always wanted to be.

Written and drawn by Chris Hunt, Carver: A Paris Story has vibes of Paul Pope, which makes sense as Hunt is a protege of Pope. Published by Z2 Comics, the story, now collected, is an entertaining read which definitely feels like the heartfelt homage to Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese that it presents itself as.

Carver is a war hero who has a heart of gold, though doesn’t feel that he is, and the story itself presents itself as a noir with a bit of 70s/80s action film thrown in. Taking place in the 1923, the setting of time helps shape a story devoid of modern technological distractions. Phones aren’t pinged, emails aren’t sent, things aren’t Googled, the lack of technology feels like it enhances the story. It also makes the weapons more low-key, knives, pistols, bottles, there’s a bit more of a rawness to it because of that.

CARVERThe overall story has some hiccups. Like the vigilante films of the 70s/80s, not everything is explained, you just going with the flow of bad guys that need to die. Also, the story taking place in Paris, it doesn’t feel like the location is used enough. Speaking of, the character of Stacker Lee, I always heard speaking with a Southern accent, no idea why. None of that causes major issues, because with this type of story I want brutal fights, bullets to fly, and blood to flow. It all happens here in entertaining presentation where Hunt uses the art to give us glimpses instead of details. That allows us the reader to fill in some of the specifics with our imagination, and anything we imagine will likely be so much worse than if Hunt showed every bullet entering or every stabbing location.

The art matches the story well with a nice grittiness to it that enhances it all, especially those action sequences. Things happen quickly in flashes which helps with the flow of the story and also keeps us focused on the characters as opposed to what they do. Hunt wants us to focus on Carver the person.

I finished the trade wanting to find out more about Carver. There’s lots of history that are barely touched upon like his past love interest, his time in World War I, his experiences after the war. All of it leaves so much to be mined in further adventures and it sounds like we’ll get more. Speaking of more, we also get two short stories featuring Carver done by Paul Pope which are both entertaining.

If you’re a fan of noir/revenge tales this is a great comic to pick up and enjoy. The setting and character feel like an excellent homage to the past, something that could have been done then and being reprinted now. A solid entertaining read and one that probably flew under your radar.

Story: Chris Hunt Art: Chris Hunt
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Z2 Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Carver: A Paris Story

Carver: A Paris Story

Story: Chris Hunt
Art: Chris Hunt
Back-up Story: Paul Pope
Publisher: Z2 Comics
Paperback
$14.99
172 pages

Paul Pope’s protege, the cartoonist Chris Hunt, exploded on the comics’ scene last year with his first ever creator owned comic series. Hunt’s CARVER: A PARIS STORY is a pulpy, black and white comic book and a loving throwback to old fashioned, globetrotting adventure. A heartfelt homage to Hugo Pratt’s CORTO MALTESE,  CARVER: A PARIS STORY blends the best elements of European and American comic book storytelling.

Notorious gentleman of fortune Francis Carver returns to the City of Lights in 1923 after an absence of five years. He’s come back to aid Catherine Ayers, the wife of a wealthy Parisian socialite and the only woman he’s ever loved. Her daughter has been kidnapped by the leader of a crazed anarchist gang, a man named Stacker Lee. In order to bring the girl home, Carver will have to crawl through the underbelly of the city while confronting the demons of his past, before being faced with a final choice: succumb to the man he has become, or take that mask off and be the hero he always wanted to be.

carver_trade_frnt_cvr_superfan

 

Chris Hunt has a certain, dare we say, je ne c’est quoi. CARVER: A PARIS STORY will capture the imagination of anyone who’s thrilled by international intrigue.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Dept H #1 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Patrick

Top Pick: Dept. H #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt’s work would be enjoyable even if they published the book with all the words spelled backwards. His visual storytelling inspires the mind and the inner artist. His new direction with this book is very exciting.

All-New Hawkeye #4 (Marvel) – Do you ever feel like people who read Hawkeye hit you over the head with how good it is? That they just don’t shut up about? Because if you’re not reading Hawkeye, somebody SHOULD be hitting you over the head until you are. Notify me and I’ll get someone on that. I’ve been very happy with this Lemire’s work following Faction’s run.

BEK: Black-Eyed Kids #1 (Aftershock) – I have really been enjoying Aftershock each month. Their new book will hopefully be as creepy and unnerving as the cover.

Clean Room #7 (Vertigo) – There’s something about Clean Room, something about it’s grotesque imagery yet clean visuals that allows this horror story to really stand out. I enjoyed the first arc and I really feel like Gail Simone has built a strong foundation to build upon.

Tokyo Ghost #6 (Image) – If Sean Murphy keyed my car once a month, I would still look forward to seeing it. If Rick Remender was telling him what to do with the key, I would not only continue to pay $4 a month to see how it had turned out, I would gladly explain it all to Hyundai when my lease was up.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity II #1 (Valiant) – I’ve only just finished the first Divinity, and it was phenomenal. I can’t wait to get started on this. Cannot bloody wait.

Bloodshot Reborn #12 (Valiant) – The current story arc, The Analog Man, features some of the best looking artwork out there. It’s also a cool story with a very Mad Max aesthetic.

Howard The Duck #6 (Marvel) – Always a treat to read this series; Zdarsky’s humour is right up my alley.

Huck #6 (Image) – The first of two Superman like characters on this list, Huck is one of the better Millar books of recent times (of course I haven’t read the Jupiter series yet). Even though this s the final issue, I have no idea how it’ll all wrap up, especially because it feels like it’s only just about begun.

Hyperion #2 (Marvel) – Is here for the same reason it was last month. Hyperion may hit someone with a transfer truck swung like a baseball bat.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #9 (Marvel) – I have been really enjoying this book from the get go, and I’ll admit when I heard time travel in the story, I rolled my eyes. HOWEVER, I am really looking forward to see the X-Men in the future, joined by their teacher, facing off against Apocalypse and his horsemen; I always enjoy seeing new mutants imagined as horsemen and how they fit the roles of war, famine, pestilence and death.  I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

Captain Marvel #4 (Marvel) – I’m a huge fan of Carol, and Abigail Brand is always a welcome addition to any title…but to be honest, my biggest draw to this book is Alpha Flight!  Well the three members we have; Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck have been out of the pages for far too long.  All the reboots and re-launches going on, why hasn’t anyone taken a look at Alpha Flight?  There is major potential there…just saying.

New Avengers #10 (Marvel) – Even with the American Kaiju and the New Avenger’s Power Rangers inspired mecha robot *yawn*, this title has definitely picked up steam with the tie in to Pleasant Hill.  These Avengers are fighting in the name of A.I.M., we should be rooting for them, right?  Lines are being drawn, not just with the team, but all the Avengers, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see this title stepping up.

Uncanny Inhumans #7 (Marvel) – I’m really liking the idea of Black Bolt’s ‘Quiet Room’, and really enjoyed that last issue showing the various Inhumans helping him keep the piece in his club.  And now there is an investigation under way…and the Capo., thought dead, is making a play to regain his power.  Never a dull moment for ol’ Black Bolt.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Clean Room #7 (Vertigo) – I only read it with the lights on. This sure to be disturbing issue is an Astrid stand alone story.

East of West #25 (Image) – Year two comes to an end after three years. Wait that does’t sound right. Double-checked, it’s an accurate statement. Hickman and Dragotta get a pass because it is damn good apocalyptic storytelling.

Gutter Magic #4 (IDW Publishing) – The end to another good story. Only four issues of this epic sci-fi/fantasy alternative history epic. I got my fingers crosses for future arcs.

Karnak #3 (Marvel) – If you are going to make me wait for like five months, then it better be good. This new philosophically bent Karnak is a blast to read—that is when an issue finally makes it to market.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Superman: American Alien #6/Superman: Lois and Clark #7 (DC Comics) – The best two Superman comics DC has going right now. Both in their own ways are great explorations of the characters and both show off what makes him great.

Captain Canuck #8 (Chapter House Comics) – Every issue is fun and entertaining. Great superhero comics without the gritty grim.

Carver: Paris Story #3 (Z2 Comics) – Just awesome gritty noir.

Dept H #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt’s new series? Done! Did you read his Mind MGMT from Dark Horse? It’s excellent. This first issue is excellent. An absolutely must buy.

Divinity II #1 (Valiant) – The first volume was absolutely amazing and this is a series I’ve been looking forward to since its announcement. I’m expecting nothing but excellence here.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Moon_Knight_1_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Elana

Top Pick: No Mercy #9 (Image Comics)This is the most powerful issue of a comic you will read this month. It actually can stand alone if you haven’t read the series, because it’s that good and complete.

This month’s issue features the only trans male character in a mainstream comic. The ONLY one. I’m not surprised that a series which has dedicated itself to portraying an honest, diverse and realistic range of teens is the book that finally has a character like this. The story offers insight into a great injustice happening to all sorts of young people who society labels as “deviant”.

No Mercy is an unflinching series with high stakes, zero predictability and an extremely high level of moral responsibility. It lives up to it and we are stronger for reading it.

Goldie Vance #1 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios)A Girl Detective! A fun resort setting! Charming and accessible art! Could this be the diverse and actually creative Nancy Drew we never had before? Probably.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Moon Knight #1 (Marvel) – I am one of the few (read only) Moon Knight fans at my comic shop, and I knew I’d be picking this comic up anyway, but with Jeff Lemire and Jordie Bellaire involved Marvel may as well just take my money. I’ve been chomping at the bit for this comic ever since I saw who the creative team involved was.

A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #2 (Valiant) – Last issue took me entirely by surprise, and I absolutely loved it. I’m incredibly pumped for the second issue this week.

Voracious #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – I can’t get enough of this series. I honestly can’t. It’s an amazingly fun comic about the owner of a diner who is also a time travelling dinosaur hunter (where else do you think he  that you have to read.

Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #6 (Valiant) – After the brilliance of last issue, this issue has a lot to live up too (spoiler: it does). I can’t wait to get my hands on the print copy.

 

Javier

Top Pick: The Last Contract #4 (BOOM! Studios) – This is the last issue. The Geriatric Hitman with No Name closes the gap on his violent past.  Bittersweet moment, I was hoping it would continue as a series, or at least for 12 issues. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Clint Eastwood picks this up for film.

Black Road #1 (Image Comics) – I’ve been on a Viking kick these past few weeks with the History Channel’s show, and I have Wood’s collected Northlander series in TPB, so the more Vikings the better.

Carver Paris Story #3 (Z2 Comics) – Old school pulp noir in a Paris setting. It’s a brutally simple and effective book.

Delete #2 (Devil’s Due) – This is cool sci-fi action story with Armenian gangsters. Philip K. Dick meets Lone Wolf and Cub when a simple muscular Handyman teams up with an orphaned girl against killers.

Starve #8 (Image Comics) – Another Brian Wood book.  It’s underrated, but I think word is getting out on this series.  Food and comics, why didn’t I think of this first. It really is good reading.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #4 (DC Comics) –  A great allegory about the Syrian refugee crisis and ISIS. A great example of how comics can be so much more than spandex and powers, even when they feature spandex and powers.

Monstress #5 (Image Comics) – As always a fantastic series that blends fantasy and politics. This is world building at its best, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes. Add on top of that beautiful art and you’ve got one of the best comics on the market.

Moon Knight #1 (Marvel) – Fascinated to see what they do with this series.

Nameless City Vol. 1 (First Second) – An adorable graphic novel, the first in a series. It’s a great read geared towards younger kids I think, but also very enjoyable for adults too. The series is about a city controlled by an army and the a new soldier becoming friends with one of the town people.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO (Marvel) – I want to know how he got that red arm!!!!

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Captain Marvel #1Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #3 (Valiant) – When a comic is released featuring of one my favourite characters squaring off against the legions of the afterlife alone, how could I not be excited? But beyond that, there is a raw quality to the artwork in this series that lends itself beautifully  to the surprisingly emotional story. Such a great series.

Batman #48 (DC Comics) – The only main Batbook I still read, and that’s entirely because of Scott Snyder. Last issue’s final page has had me counting down the days until #48 was being released. While I’m not a fan of the Robot Bunny Batman suit, I do love where the subplot featuring Bruce is going, and that subplot is the main reason I’m still reading.

Judge Dredd #2 (IDW Publishing) – Dredd was a staple of my childhood growing up in ol’ Blighty, and I’m loving seeing the direction of this new ongoing comic. If you haven’t read the last issue I won’t spoil what’s going on, but it’s not an overly unique idea, but it’s awesome to see it applied to Judge Dredd.

Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo) – This is a superbly illustrated tale about an American girl accidentally wandering into the world of Scottish mythology. Without any preamble, it’s good. Very good, even, and you should read it.

 

Ashley

Top Pick: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – It all comes to an end for Emily Aster as well as Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s first series together. Basically everything you love about that team grew out of Phonogram and it will be sad to see the series end it swan song. Will it end in death though? Who knows, but this is Gillen, so probably. There’s also been confirmation that the final B-side story is about David Bowie, who passed away last week.

Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – More Steph and Babs teamups! The first appearance of Bluebird in a Batgirl comic! Perhaps more resolution on what’s keeping Barbara up at night? Well, those first two are promised at least and I am hype.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – Even though they are the show runners of the amazing Agent Carter, Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have big shoes to fill being the first ongoing writers for Captain Marvel after Kelly Sue Deconnick’s iconic three year run on the title. With Carol taking up the role of being Earth’s first line of defense with S.W.O.R.D. and Alpha Flight and art by Kris Anka, it seems like they’re up for the task.

Lumberjanes #22 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has been finding new footing since Kat Leyh joined Shannon Watters as cowriter, but the opening to this arc with a werewolf sea captain vs. selkies was just so darn great that it’s hard to think that Leyh hasn’t gained her sea legs yet.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – Kate Leth and Brittney Williams hit it hard out of the gate with the first delightful issue. Now to see if Patsy can survive working in retail to get her business idea up and going.

 

Brett

Top Pick: American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Brian Azzarello’s new series sounds like a twisted version of Walking Tall. A man with a scarred faced heads to a Midwestern town where he gets rid of the corrupt sheriff and racist arms dealers. But, he’s actually there to take over. Sounds awesome.

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – The Agent Carter team come to comics to take over this top property. I’m intrigued to see what they do.

Carver: A Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics) – Just a classic revenge tale started because of a misunderstanding. The first issue felt like one of the films from the 70s and 80s I grew up on.

Star Wars #15 (Marvel)Vader Down is over. Now to see what Marvel does next with their line of Star Wars comics. Really looking forward to see what comes next.

Transformers #49 (IDW Publishing) – All sorts of plots come together here as we head in to the big 50th issue next month! IDW’s Transformers line of comics continuously entertains.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Phonogram The Immaterial Girl #6 (Image Comics) – The finale issue of the best comic on the stands. If you are the sort of person who is having a deep emotional response to Bowie’s death then you definitely need this comic. The final back-up story is even about a Bowie song. Go read my essay on why Phonogram is the best thing ever. A comic about fandom, music and growing the fuck up while reconciling your past selves. I cannot over state how much I love this series.

Batgirl #47 (DC Comics) – New Arc! Great creative team. Approachable relatable Babs for the 21st century with art that actually appeals to young people (and also to me because I like things that are pretty)

Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – New creative team, the writers on the Agent Carter TV show (yay women in comics) and art by the perfectly matched Chris Anka.

Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – The relaunch has really rejuvenated the already excellent title. The current arc is focusing on issues like gentrification and cooption of your public image as well as what happens when someone you always took for-granted falls for someone else.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – One of the most anticipated titles of the year! Kate Leth’s first issue felt like a Marvel comics version of the Archie revamp but through female eyes. Leth’s stories often deal with the indignities of the exploitative retail economy and I’m sensing those themes will continue. The comic is already doing great things on the diversity front. It’s going to be funny and interesting.

 

Jason

Top Pick: Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel) – Anywhere and everywhere, hang on! Slott’s Surfer definitely lives up to this promise in every way as the once lone sentinel of the starways continues his universe panning, reality hopping adventures with Dawn and Toomee. One of the few series to continue throughout Secret Wars, it was surprising how much it tugged in the heart strings last year despite not having a strictly ‘Last Days’ story like most other series. In the past comic fans have talked about Slott’s bold and very divisive Spider-Man writing, but for my money some of his best stories are right here with the Surfer. It continues to deliver everything a reader could want from a space bound adventure series and after the last arcs jaw dropping Mobius strip issue I’m left wondering where Slott and the Allred’s will take the trio next as they begin with a new number one this month.

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #2 (Marvel) – After hearing her speak about creating fictional worlds at Thought Bubble last year (and then chickening out of speaking to her outside, sigh!) I’d give any series by Leth a chance but was particularly delighted to see her picking up one of the members from Soule’s interesting cast of She Hulk characters, Hellcat! Beyond the recent Soule series I was a little in the dark about Patsy’s history, but Leth effortlessly gets the reader up to speed in the first issue and captures her impulsive and headstrong character. Along with adorable art from Brittney L. Williams the pair are carving out their own unique little queer space in the Marvel Universe, adding more texture and diversity, with Patsy and newcomer Ian’s visit to ‘Burly Books’ in the first issue being one of many wonderful moments with the whole book harking back to the characters roots in romance comics.

Wolf #5 (Image Comics) – Kot’s supernatural noir thriller continues, picking up five years after the last issue and with a previous Zero collaborator Ricardo Lopez Ortiz taking up the art duties from Matt Taylor. Kot’s comics always make or a challenging and intriguing read, and although a little slow to start it finally felt last issue like the pieces were starting to gel together as the writer hits his stride with his newest series. Fans still hurting over the loss of the original John Constantine might find themselves with a new favorite series to fill that Hellblazer shaped hole in their hearts and bookshelves.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Carver: Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics) – This is my top pick. It’s the comic book Hemingway would write if he was to be resurrected and forced to use his talents to shore up the literary comic book industry.

American Monster #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Lately it seems that Brian Azzarello has been writing with one hand tied behind his back at DC. He’s now partnered with a new indie outfit to produce a series, with art by Juan Doe, about a horrifically scarred, battle hardened soldier, returning home with questionable motives. I’m hopeful Azzarello goes all out with this new project.

I Hate Fairyland #4 (Image Comics) – This is the comic book I don’t share with friends and family. They’ll just think I’ve finally went over the deep end. It’s crude, rude, and funny in a sweet bloody way. And yes, I do buy both covers.

Ted McKeever’s Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics) – We fans sometimes forget that the comic book people who entertain us weekly are human too. This is suppose to be McKeever’s mostly true, semi-autographical, behind the scenes, tell-all of the absurd comic book industry … with a dead stripper. I’ll have fun trying to separate truth from fiction (I’ll bet the stripper is real).

Sunflower #3 (451 Media) – More cults and crime. Not sure why I continually gravitate toward the darkness. Mallouk and Ewington are working overtime to give me nightmares. I’ve been marked.

 

Madison

Top Pick: Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – Captain Marvel returns post-Secret Wars as the leader of the Alpha Flight Space Program. Though Kelly Sue DeConnick left some big shoes to fill, Fazekas and Butters are the showrunners behind Marvel’s Agent Carter and I believe Carol is in capable hands.

Ms. Marvel #3 (Marvel) – Ms. Marvel #3 will draw a three part arc to a close, and leaves Kamala to deal with the villainous Hope Yards Development, the company responsible for brainwashing Jersey City. Ms. Marvel is always a joy to read, and has been one of my favorites since the beginning.

Nowhere Men #7 (Image Comics) – Nowhere Men #7 will begin the long-anticipated second arc, after a hiatus that lasted more than two years. The comic follows the story of four scientists whose amazing work has had the cultural impact of The Beatles, which, to me, is a fascinating concept.

Wolf #5 (Image Comics) – Wolf, a story primarily about myths, and Wolf #5 is begins a new story arc. Ricardo Lopez Ortiz is taking over as the artist for this arc, replacing Matt Taylor (a tactic Ales Kot employs in several of his works). Readers were teased with mentions of the apocalypse but, as with most of Kot’s stories, we also got the sense that Wolf Vol. 1 was just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman #48 (DC Comics) – The clock is winding down and Bruce is soon to be back in the cowl, but before we get to Gordon and Mr. Bloom, we have the tale of two men on a park bench that will change the world forever.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – Greg Rucka’s gamer tale continues with the awesome bounty hunting duo of Tessla and Mathias. Fans of the franchise definitely want to check this out and newcomers will find it very accessible too.

Poison Ivy: Circle of Life and Death #1 (DC Comics) – Finally everyone’s favorite botanical temptress in her own title. Ivy is framed for murder and has to clear her name, or will she find it easier to resort to her wicked ways?

Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel Comics) – Dan Slott, Mike Allred in a trippy interstellar tale that leads us to.. Earth? Come see the book everyone is talking about. Grab your board and catch the wave!

 

Ryan

Top Pick: Pencil Head #1 (Image Comics) – McKeever’s projects are always so individual and idiosyncratic that you literally never know what to expect.

Clean Room #4 (Vertigo) – Each of the next three series have had strong starts with terrific stories, all with their own individualistic art styles.

Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo)

Lucifer #2 (Vertigo)

Preview: Carver: A Paris Story #2

Carver: A Paris Story #2

Story: Chris Hunt
Art: Chris Hunt

Our protagonist confronts his past head on, when he finally comes face to face with the woman who broke his heart as a boy. Will Francis continue to wear the mask of “Carver,” the callous and cold gentleman of fortune, or will he finally let go of his anger and let his heart guide him once more?

CARVER 2_COVER

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

JR2_CoverB_VariantWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel) – Chip Zdarsky is putting out one of the most entertaining Marvel comics around with Howard the Duck. My top pick was a tough decision between this and Johnny Red #2, and that’s honestly a good problem to have.

Bigfoot: Sword Of The Earthman #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – This looks like a mix of John Carter, Gladiator and Bigfoot. Which sounds amazing.

Extraordinary X-Men #3 (Marvel) – I actually never read issue #2 due a slight snafu with Diamond not delivering it to my LCS, so I’ll be getting two issues to read on Wednesday, and based on the buzz I’ve heard about #2, I’m excited for #3 as well.

Johnny Red #2 (Titan Comics) – This Garth Ennis penned series came out of nowhere last month to be one of the best comics I ended up reading with it’s tale of a Second World War British fighter pilot facing off against the Nazi’s in Russia. I can’t wait to get my hands on this issue.

Seduction Of The Innocent #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – looks like an old school crime comic with some modern flair. My fancy is tickled.

 

Ash

Top Pick: Spidey #1 (Marvel) – As a huge Spider-Man fan I am always excited and interested in new titles, and this is no different. A fresh take on a young web-head…well it has been done before (Ultimate Spider-Man anyone?) but you know I am really excited by this new take. It promises to be fun, action packed and completely modern (#Spidey?). The artwork is bold, bright and as fresh as the plotline promises to be. For any true-believers out there, this is an issue not to be missed!

 

Brett

Top Pick: The Private Eye Deluxe Edition (Image Comics) – It’s actually a tough week for choices and I could easily do a top twenty myself, but I have to go with the Private Eye as my top pick. First, there’s a good chance you missed this when it was first released as a digital comic. Second, it’s by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. Third, it’s fantastic. Fourth, this series was launched as a pay what you want directly from Vaughan, and is a solid example of disrupting the system successfully, so much so it’s in print. So, pick this up in print, or go and grab it digitally. Just make sure to read it.

Carver: A Paris Story #1 (Z2 Comics) – Z2 has been putting out solid books regularly and this new series has a nice throwback to 70s European action films. There’s lots of cliches, but that’s partially what makes it all really fun. This should be creator Chris Hunt’s break out series. Do yourself a favor and give it a look.

Johnny Red #2 (Titan Comics) – Did you read the first issue? If so, that should be reason enough as to why this is on the list. Writer Garth Ennis is taking on the classic character and doing so in a brilliant way. Just completely caught me off guard int he quality, because holy crap it’s good.

Sheriff of Babylon #1 (Vertigo) – I did an early review of the issue and it’s not what I thought it’d be. At its heart, Sheriff of Babylon is a crime comic set in a warzone. What’s really impressive and fascinating is writer Tom King’s use of his real life experiences.

X’Ed #1 (Black Mask Studios) – It’d be easy to just call this Inception the comic, but there’s much more going on here than a trippy dive in to someone’s mind. The comic has some really interesting twists and turns in the first issue that kept me on my toes, and that ending is rather intriguing. Black Mask Studios has had a string of hits and I expect this to be their next.

 

Elana

Cyborg #5 (DC Comics) – Writer David F Walker is doing something significant in sci-fi with this comic. It’s a superhero series about race. I’m a huge supporter of where he’s going with this. Listen to our interview with him a few weeks back.

Gotham Academy #12 (DC Comics) – This is one of my favorite comics and I feel like its been going under the radar. Amazingly written, a diverse group of kids, art that can be both adorable and haunting as needed. I don’t even catch all of the easter eggs and references to Batman lore from ages past but that doesn’t matter.  The school is haunted both literally and metaphorically and it’s impossible to not be invested in these stories. This is the last issue of a wonderful arc.

The Humans #10 / Image Firsts The Humans #1 (Image Comics) – If you’ve been reading this kickass 1970-biker-apesploitation series then you need issue 10, the culmination of the first miniseries. This month Image Comics is also reissuing number 1 so tell the fresh meat there’s something they need to buy for good times and cheap thrills. This comic feels like an ultra-violent 1970s underground comic, it comes with it’s own online soundtrack and the art is freaking flawless. Still not convinced? Here’s my review of the first part of the series.

Papergirls #3 (Image Comics) –  This is the new Saga: very friendly to non-comics readers, totally enchanting, breathlessly exciting and full of amazing female characters. Read J9s review of issue 2. Boy, that was a “heart in your throat” cliff hanger at the end of the last issue!

Space Riders TP Vol. 1 (Black Mask Studios) – It feels like 70’s Jack Kirby filtered through many levels of Heavy Metal Magazine (think Moebius, Druillet). Only more underground and loose. A bit of a space western with a Jodorowsky-ish flying skull ship! A more Red Sonja-ish Gamora. Christy Karacas (creator of the cartoon Super Jail) levels of choas and scribble. If my description makes sense to you then you’ll probably like this. If my description doesn’t make sense to you, and you are ok with that, you may like it too. “I like my coffee like I like my space: black and infinite”- Capitan Peligro.

 

Thomas

Top Pick: Robin War #1 (DC Comics) – Perfectly timed for the winter season, DC Comics is running a small event that crosses over the various Robin titles, bookended by these one-shots. Previews and solicits make this event look like it could be a lot of fun, so it’s a definite must-read!

All-New X-Men #1 (Marvel) – Continuing Marvel’s All-New All-Different launches, this gives Dennis Hopeless the chance to write young superheroes once again. The All-New X-Men – minus Jean Grey, but with Kid Apocalypse and Idie added to their ranks – are headed for a road-trip to decide their role in the future of the Marvel Universe. All-New X-Men may not be set to headline the X-Men range as it did under Brian Bendis, but it still looks set to be one of the most fun comics out there.

Exit Generation #3 (ComixTribe) – Sam Read and Caio Oliveira have been producing an unusual but fantastic series, steeped in sci-fi and with an admirable sense of style. Independent comics don’t often get the attention they deserve, and this series is one that deserves a lot of attention!

Invincible Iron Man #4 (Marvel) – One of the strangest shifts in All-New All-Different Marvel is a change in Mary-Jane Watson’s status quo. She’s going from a member of Spider-Man’s supporting cast to a member of Iron Man’s supporting cast, and this is the issue that kicks that off. It’s going to be fascinating to see how (not to mention why) Brian Bendis pulls this off…

Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted Trade Paperback (Marvel) – The first Spider-Gwen series (shorted to a miniseries due to Secret Wars) was tremendously popular, and this is the chance to collect it as a trade paperback! Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez pull off a tremendously fun story with energy and verve, and this book is sure to impress anyone who didn’t pick up the original issues.

Chris Hunt Discusses Carver: A Paris Story

Carver #1 Paul Pope Cover

Carver #1 Paul Pope Cover

After an absence of five years, globe trotting and notorious gentleman of fortune Francis Carver returns to Paris in 1923. He has come back to aid Catherine Ayers, the wife of a wealthy Parisian socialite and the only woman he has ever loved. Her daughter has been kidnapped by the leader of a crazed anarchist gang, a man named Stacker Lee. In order to bring the girl home, Francis will have to crawl through the underbelly of the city while confronting the demons of his past, before being faced with a final choice: succumb to the man he has become, or take that mask off and be the hero he always wanted to be.

I got a chance to talk to creator Chris Hunt about Carver: A Paris Story including it’s influences and Hunt’s time working with Paul Pope.

Graphic Policy: So to you, how would you describe the series Carver?

Chris Hunt: It’s a love letter to Corto Maltese, Indiana Jones and Hemingway amongst other things. At times it appears to be a straightforward adventure story but as the series progresses I think readers will come to realize there’s more at play within the characters than the two dimensional archetypes I introduced them as. My goal with Carver was to bring back familiar tropes that are no longer at the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist, but are still very much tied to our identity especially in the West, and try to peel back the onion on them a bit.

For instance as a fan of Ernest Hemingway’s writing, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish where his writing blurred into the “legend” of Hemingway. I have always been more interested in the self reflection of The Green Hills of Africa, and especially A Moveable Feast. In the latter you have an author who is more or less inextricably associated with machoness and misogyny, and here he is talking about this amazing period in his life, when he was with his first wife whom he never stopped loving, surrounded by surrealist artists, poets and filmmakers. I love the dichotomy of what he was versus what he let himself come to be seen as. That’s more or less the theme of Carver.

GP: Where did the idea for the series come from?

Ccarver_4H: Well I had a character I created for a short comic that was just this anonymous hunter. I went out of my way to draw him as a cliche because it was just a fun exercise. The more I looked at him though, I kept wondering what his backstory would be, and I thought it would be kind of funny if this broad chested, mustachioed badass had this really unexpected backstory. Furthermore I thought it would be interesting to imply that he never went out of his way to project this persona, but it was more or less just a result of one decision that led to a series of events that crafted this terrifyingly effective man from a gentle hearted, empathetic boy. From there I started building his backstory, and that led in an organic way to Carver: A Paris Story. I wanted to introduce the character “in media res” so to speak; already broken and yet reforged into a weapon of sorts, so that the audience can see how that blade will be honed from man he has become, against the wet stone of who he once was. To me that seemed interesting.

GP: How did you get into creating comics? You got this fascinating life taking you from Idaho to New York City.

CH: I got into making comics the way a lot of people do, which is I became a fan. Very few people I’ve met who love comics haven’t at least entertained the idea of wanting to create them. There’s something very special about comics from an outsider’s perspective still. I think there is still an aura of mystery about it because so little is known about the inner workings of the industry from a layperson’s perspective. But specifically, I knew I wanted to make comics when I read my first one, which was THB which Paul Pope was self publishing back in Ohio when I was a kid before I moved to Idaho with my mom at age 9.

I love Idaho. I miss it terribly. I learned so much in the 20 years growing up there. Coming to New York City was more about putting my money where my mouth was because I had really grown as much as I was going to be able to living in Boise. The internet is a powerful tool for many industries but there still is no replacement for having boots on the ground somewhere, and plugging into a community directly. Not to mention it’s almost impossible not to grow from the experience of leaving a small place like Boise, and learning to survive in a (at times) hostile environment like New York.

GP: What was it like to work with Paul Pope? How did you come to be mentored by him?

carver_5CH: Working with Paul over the past five years in various capacities has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As I said, it was Paul’s book THB  that originally inspired the desire to make comics in me as a small boy. There really wasn’t ever a time after that I don’t recall pouring over those books incessantly, or trying to order his new books at the one shop in my town. I knew someday I’d be making comics and I wanted them to extend from that place he had planted his flag where he’d found this balance of European, Japanese and Silver Age American comics, with philosophical undertones. So when I got serious about it finally a couple years after I graduated from High School, I reached out to him online. From there we built a friendship that eventually became something I was able to learn from. No matter the person or the industry, typically you can’t just knock on someone’s door and demand they give you their knowledge. For one it doesn’t work that way, and two it’s incredibly self serving if you come at it from that angle. With someone like Paul, once they get to know you it’s almost impossible not to be learning from them because the knowledge just spills out. You have to do the work though. A LOT of work and you aren’t going to have your ego stroked while doing it if you really want to get good.

GP: When it comes to being mentored, what’s the type of things you learned working with him?

CH: Honestly, the most important thing I’ve taken away from working with Paul is the sense of lineage that can still exist in comics. I don’t think it is as common as it use to be in the creative trades, but there use to very much be this sense that “you were taught by so and so, they were taught by so and so, etc, etc”. It’s almost like my experience as a sleight of hand magician. There are things you can read about it in a book, but the real knowledge is passed down orally. It really feels like we are keeping a tradition alive. A tradition mired in storytelling which I think is very powerful. I hope at some point if my career can sustain itself and I get better, that I’ll have a chance to pass my knowledge on to someone and keep that torch burning. Along with that, the need to reinforce in one’s self, the importance of experimentation and self learning, and not least of all the absolute need to keep the integrity of your imagination alive.

GP: I hear your own real life romance inspired the book’s love story?

CH: “Write what you know”, right? I was in France when I came up with the character that eventually became Carver. I was visiting an ex-girlfriend, who really wasn’t an ex, but no longer my girlfriend either. Early 20’s kind of stuff. Which didn’t really bother me too much at the time because it was just incredible to be in France with this beautiful and intelligent person I cared so much for. We were in Aix-En-Provence most of the time so I was wandering around narrow cobblestone alleys, and drinking too much coffee and smoking WAY too many Gauloises cigarettes on sidewalk cafes while drawing in my Moleskin. I was really trying to hit all of my French cliches on my bucket list hahaha. Before I left though, we spent a weekend in Paris which is where it went sideways really fast. That was when we both learned that you don’t go have a romantic weekend in Paris with someone you aren’t sure you’re in love with, either direction on that scale. That being said, it was incredibly romantic despite the tenseness we were feeling and it gave a lasting impression to both of us. It was the inability to communicate that uncertainty though that really seeped into A Paris Story.

GP: I’ve just read the first issue, but it takes place in Paris. Why’d you set the comic there as opposed to a city like New York or Chicago? Both are two I think of when it comes to the noir-ish story the first issue feels like.

carver_6CH: Well firstly, I don’t know if I should admit this but my goal wasn’t to create a noir comic per se. There definitely were elements from noir I wanted to work in, but so too were there elements from adventure stories and romantic literature among others. If I had set out to create a strictly noir comic I sincerely doubt I would have been able to hit the mark without it seeming like pastiche. I’m very happy that’s the way the book has been coming across to people though.

As I mentioned above, a lot of the relationship between Carver and his ex, Catherine is informed by my experience in Paris with the real Catherine and how are relationship existed for a number of years after. Paris for me worked for the story beyond that though in a lot of ways. I wanted to juxtapose Carver’s crassness, and unrefined qualities against a glittering city known for being a mecca of culture, especially at the time the story takes place in the early 20’s. Plus, I’ve seen Chicago and New York so many times already. I don’t think I have anything to add to them that hasn’t already been done with this type of story. Plus, there was this incredible upheaval in Europe post WW1, in conjunction with the optimism of having fought what many thought was the last great war, and you’re seeing this explosion of art and writing coming out of the Left Bank in Paris with all these expats. It’s just an incredibly rich and dynamic moment in history I’m surprised more people don’t exploit.

GP: How long did it take for the series come from your first idea for it to print?

CH: By the time the book comes out this month, it will have almost been five years to the day. I had the idea for the first draft in November of 2010. I had visited Catie in France that March and gone to a month long residency with Paul in October. My plan was to start drawing it in March of 2011 but that plan, and the rest of the year basically became a wash when I learned that my good friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer early in the month. Then, my best friend who was also a mutual friend of the one dying, died while riding a freight train home to say goodbye to him. I talk about this a bit in the coda at the end of the first issue, but it was just a hellish year and it was a long time before I had it in me to do much of anything. From there my road back to myself started to become the overarching narrative thread in how Carver came to be what it is now. Along the way I produced it as a radio drama, a short film and applied to some Sundance labs, each step helping me to hone the story as I got my sea legs back.

GP: You’re self-taught, and also had Pope as a mentor, what advice would you give to individuals getting started in comics?

carver_7CH: I’d say know exactly why you want to make comics. It shouldn’t be for glory, or money, it should be because of an overwhelming need, or a sense that you’d regret not going after it if it truly is a dream you have.

If you decide you are going for it, the most important thing you need to understand at the beginning is that there is no clear path into the industry. There is no secret door, or amount of money or clout that just lets you in. Even if you think there is, trust me there isn’t. You have to put the work in. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a penciler, pencil. I wanted to be everything so I had my work cut out for me. With regards to just say penciling and inking though, something that Paul told me early on I think perfectly encapsulates the scope of what you’re entering into. He told me I would hate my first thousand inked drawings. And not just sketches, I mean the ones that you’re putting your blood sweat and tears into. You’re going to hate the because they aren’t as good as you see them in your head. Don’t let it discourage you though. Just start chipping away. Focus on the numbers because you won’t know it but you are getting better every time you draw. I actually kept track of mine on Flickr. It’s pretty cool to be able to look back on hundreds of drawings from the past 8 years and not only see the progression, but see what I was interested in, the ideas I had and how I attempted to put them into play. Do that for yourself as well, whether you’re strictly a writer or an artist or whatever. Set the impossible goal and start getting to it, and don’t even start thinking about money or glory. If you become good enough that you can’t be ignored, you will bring that to you.

GP: Any other projects we should keep our eyes open for from you?

CH: Well I have a giant robot story called “01-AD GO!” I’ve had waiting in the wings for a few years. I’m waiting until I’m done with A Paris Story before I really start digging into that and pitching it around. In the meantime, Paul and I are planning on doing some more collaborations after our Vertigo short for Strange Sports Stories. I can’t really say who or what they’re about because they haven’t been announced yet but they’re for some pretty cool properties that I’m excited to work on with him. If all goes well with this first arc of Carver though, I’d like to dive back into the world after I take a short break and go wander a bit.