Tag Archives: Guillem March

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Preview: The Joker #2

The Joker #2

Written by: Sam Johns, James Tynion IV
Art by: Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo

As the dust settles on Arkham Asylum and tragic recent events, The Joker is the most wanted man in the world-and powerful forces are lining up around the globe to hunt him…but where exactly is the Clown Prince of Crime? Jim Gordon, facing his twilight years haunted by the madman, knows where to start the hunt, and he’s been given the go-ahead to pursue him…but will he be willing to pay the price? And what shocking revelation will Gordon stun Batman with before he departs? And in the backup story, within the walls of Blackgate Penitentiary, Punchline has become the target of the Queen of Spades from the Royal Flush Gang. It’ll take everything Punchline has just to survive, while on the outside, Bluebird digs deeper into Punchline’s horrific past!

The Joker #2

Review: Karmen #1

Karmen #1

Karmen #1 is one weird comic. It’s an English translation of Spanish cartoonist Guillem March’s (Catwoman, Batman) book about a young woman named Cata, who in the middle of a suicide attempt, meets a ghost named Karmen, and she ends up walking around the city completely naked while Karmen makes dirty jokes about sex and farting. It starts out utterly highbrow, yet wordy with philosophical captions about dreams, and then a couple of pages later, it cuts to a woman behaving like the stereotype of a shrew to her offscreen boyfriend. Her name is Vanessa, and she is inconsequential to the plot even though her boyfriend Xisco is close with Cata. We also don’t see her face or its expressions during the phone call just her butt in some tight jeans. The page is a metaphor for Karmen as a comic. It could be smart, poignant about sadness, hope, and above all, mortality, but it gets undercut by March’s love for cheesecake and dirty jokes that don’t serve the story. However, Karmen saying whatever the hell comes to her mind is good for a few laughs throughout the story especially as she roasts Cata’s lack of knowledge of American pop culture.

The constant nudity of Cata and utter horniness of Karmen’s dialogue plus the aforementioned ass shots make sense for Guillem March, who began his career as an erotic cartoonist and was also the artist on the launch of the New 52 version of Catwoman. Like Adam Hughes or Frank Cho, he likes drawing attractive women, and of course, he’s going to do that in his creator-owned work. Cata’s nudity even is plot-relevant as she is trying to commit suicide by drawing a bath and cutting herself with razors as we see in a powerful full-page spread that shows Cata watching herself be surrounded by a full tub of blood. It’s implied that she is a ghost, and Karmen is her feisty, skeleton onesie-rocking guide to the afterlife and will train her in all things spectral. As mentioned earlier, Karmen does spend most of her time making dirty jokes, but she also has great abilities and can see the arc of Cata’s life like film on a reel in yet another beautiful series of panels from March.

Although his writing is clunky at times like the pages that are just philosophizing, exposition about the ghost life, and call-outs to Karmen‘s obvious pop culture predecessors, Guillem March really is a strong storyteller even though his comic doesn’t have as much as substance as it would like to have. All his panels have a sense of place, and he uses cut-away panels to show Kata sneaking out of her apartment so her housemate won’t see her naked, or worst of all, see Karmen. Of course, there’s no problem of that because they’re both ghosts. However, the fear of being discovered naked in public is the key tension for the second half of the comic. This is the part of the story where March’s experience in superhero comics comes in handy as he uses a rapid series of panels to show Karmen quickly dropping from branch to branch. Also, when Kata flies for the first time in the climax of issue one, he shows that she’s a natural by having him swim through the air. There’s a real grace to her movements compared to the sudden stop start of the panels where she is cutting herself, and Karmen arrives in a truly jarring moment.

Karmen #1 demonstrates that Guillem March is a technically skilled artist with an eye for page and character design, but is a below-average artist that can go from Philosophy 101 mumbo jumbo to utter filth in the space of a couple of pages. Karmen #1 is a low-key fantasy story like Ghost or It’s A Wonderful Life, which is cute, but I didn’t connect to the protagonist at all and felt like I knew more about her body than her personality or why she was in the bathtub that night.

Story: Guillem March Art: Guillem March
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: The Joker #1

The Joker #1

When I first heard DC was releasing a comic focused on the Joker, I rolled my eyes. The concept of a comic with the Joker at the center didn’t appeal to me, as certain iterations of him have attracted a negative edge-lord element. Then I read The Joker #1, and quickly changed my mind. What’s presented is an updated “chase” story with some zeitgeist thrown in.

The “Joker War” is over and the Joker is on the run having left Gotham. Months later, an attack has taken place on Arkham Asylum pinned to him, though not proven it was him. Unknown elements have decided they want the Joker off the playing board and decide to turn to Jim Gordon to do exactly that.

While Joker’s name might be the title of the comic, writer James Tynion IV focuses the comic on a former cop whose nightmare still walks the Earth and haunts his dreams. This is a story about a man’s unfulfilled mission and one last opportunity to change that. While we get an update on the Joker, this is Gordon’s story so far.

And Tynion gives us an interesting flair to it. The comic feels more like Nazi hunters than a detective story. This isn’t so much INTERPOL as it is Wiesenthal. The fact Gordon is focused on taking out such an evil contributes to that, it’s rare that a character is so definitively evil. Gordon feels like the grizzled, tortured individual, who needs to put an end note to what has haunted him, and remove an evil force from society.

The art by Guillem March is solid. Guillem is joined by Arif Prianto on color and Tom Napolitano on lettering. There’s a worn vibe about the comic. Gordon feels like a tortured and weathered individual beat down to a low point and not sure what to do next. There’s a great use of visuals to dive in what haunts Gordon and where Gotham stands in the wake of the latest chaos. An opening sequence involving another officer really hammers home the drive that Gordon is experiencing toeing the line of crossing into shock value.

The Joker #1 also features a secondary story “Punchline” following up on Joker’s latest sidekick’s trial. Tynion is joined by Sam Johns on the story while Mirka Andolfo handles the art, Romulo Fajardo, Jr. is on color, and Ariana Maher handles the lettering. Much like the one-shot featuring Punchline, this chapter has a feel like it’s an examination of our current world. Punchline is the center of the alt-cult she and Joker have spawned. This is a group that rejects reality and social norms, instead bracing chaos as a finger towards others. It’s hard to not think of the MAGA-cult and alt-right when reading this and the comparing the protests to free Punchline as similar pronunciations of innocence for real-world leaders who are clearly guilty though the evidence may be flimsy. How much this story will continue to make that sort of connection will be interesting as it could be a hell of an allegory.

The Joker #1 surprised me. It’s a comic I thought could be good but wasn’t sure what we were getting. With a focus on those hunting the villain, we get a story of one last attempt at justice as opposed to something that might deify or wash a reprehensible individual. It’s a debut that shows a hell of a lot of potential for what’s to come. Hopefully it keeps its focus on the nightmares that haunt us throughout life.

Story: James Tynion IV, Sam Johns Art: Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo
Color: Arif Prianto, Romulo Fajardo, Jr. Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Ariana Maher
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: The Joker #1

The Joker #1

Written by: Sam Johns
Art by: Guillem March, Mirka Andolfo

Following the events of Infinite Frontier #1, the Joker is the most wanted man in the world! But the Clown Prince of Crime is several steps ahead of law enforcement—and he’s on the run overseas. James Gordon, facing retirement, realizes this is the manhunt of his life and the last piece of a storied career…but what mysterious and deadly forces are also in pursuit of the Joker?

And in the backup story, following the events of the smash hit Punchline #1, DC’s most controversial new villain navigates the infrastructure of Blackgate Penitentiary. While on the outside, Harper Row takes up the mantle of Bluebird to stop her brother from falling under Punchline’s influence.

The Joker #1

Karmen Gets a Cover from Milo Manara

The highly anticipated U.S. edition of Karmen by bestselling writer and artist Guillem March will showcase a dreamy variant cover by lauded artist Milo Manara. Originally published by Dupuis in Belgium as a graphic novel, Karmen will be reproduced and introduced to U.S. audiences in single-issue periodical format this March from Image Comics.

Karmen is a provocative story that explores grief, suicide, and redemption told as a visual feast-for-the-eyes and featuring ethereal, fantastic artwork to set the tone.

Punctuated with humor, Karmen is the story of Catalina, a recent suicide, who is taken under the wing of the strange and quirky angel, Karmen, on a journey of discovery and reflection. 

Catalina’s story is one packed with surprises and metaphysics, tenderness and humor, and dives deep into the topics that matter and brought to life by the creator behind the acclaimed Monika (Titan Comics) and The Dream (Europe Comics).

Karmen #1 cover A by March (Diamond Code JAN210009), cover B by Manara (Diamond Code JAN210010), and Cover C blank (Diamond Code JAN210011) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, March 10.

Karmen Milo Manara variant

Comics Deserve Better Episode 19: Papaya Salad by Elisa Macellari

On the penultimate episode of Comics Deserve Better Season 2, Brian, Darci, and Logan discuss the historical fiction/biography/magical realism comic Papaya Salad by Elisa Macellari. This 2020 release is a Thai/Italian comic about Macellari’s great-uncle as he goes from rural Thailand to serving in the military in Europe on the eve of World War II and gives a unique perspective on this historical conflict. Also, there’s the usual news chatter including new Image comics by Guillem March and James Harren, upcoming books Brindille and Chef’s Kiss, and Dan Rather working on a graphic novel. There’s also a discussion of Grant Morrison doing an origin story for Atomahawk, more R-rated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and finally, an obituary for legendary cartoonist, Richard Corben. Other comics mentioned on the podcast were Homunculus, Gonzalo, Minotaar, Cry Wolf Girl, Under the Dead Oak Tree, Karmela Krimm, Phonogram: Singles Club, Ronin Island, The Picture of Everything Else, and Reckless. (Episode art by Elisa Macellari)

The Joker is on the Run in an All-New Monthly Series starting March 2021

The Joker is the most dangerous villain ever to menace Gotham City but in March 2021, the Clown Prince of Crime is taking his violence around the world. Batman writer James Tynion IV and artist Guillem March go global with The Joker’s brand of terror and mayhem in The Joker, a new monthly ongoing series from DC Comics.

After an unthinkable attack on Gotham City, the Clown Prince of Crime has become the most wanted man in the world! The Joker is doing his best to stay several steps ahead of law enforcement overseas, but Jim Gordon, facing retirement, realizes this is the last manhunt of his life and vows to track down Gotham’s worst nemesis, completing his storied career. But there are some mysterious and deadly forces that are also on the hunt for The Joker, and they’re not going to let Gordon slow them down or get in the way.

In the backup story by Tynion IV, co-writer Sam Johns, and artist Mirka Andolfo, Alexis Kaye, a.k.a. Punchline becomes the newest resident of Blackgate Penitentiary, while on the outside Harper Row resumes her role as Bluebird to prevent her brother from falling under the influence of Punchline and her beguiling brand of anarchy and chaos.

The Joker is a 40-page $4.99 monthly series debuting at comic book stores and participating digital retailers on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The debut issue features cover art by Guillem March, with variant covers by Frank Quitely, Francesco Mattina, Riccardo Federici, and Mark Brooks.

Guillem March’s Karmen is out in March 2021 from Image Comics

Image Comics will bring the unique, lushly illustrated fantasy Karmen by bestselling writer and artist Guillem March stateside this March. Originally published by Dupuis in Belgium as a graphic novel, Karmen will be translated and introduced to U.S. audiences in single-issue periodical format, with five issues.

Karmen is a provocative story that explores grief, suicide, and redemption told as a visual feast-for-the-eyes and featuring ethereal, fantastic artwork to set the tone.

Punctuated with humor, Karmen is the story of Catalina, a recent suicide, who is taken under the wing of the strange and quirky angel, Karmen, on a journey of discovery and reflection.

Catalina’s story is packed with surprises and metaphysics, tenderness and humor. It dives deep into the topics that matter and is brought beautifully to life by the creator behind the acclaimed Monika (Titan Comics) and The Dream (Europe Comics).

Karmen #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, March 10.

Karmen #1

DC’s Future Post Future State Becomes Clearer as Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing, Teen Titans Academy, Green Lantern, Wonder Girl, and Justice League Dark Announced

Wonder Woman #770

After January and February’s Future State mini-event for DC Comics, March and beyond will see a mix of new and returning series as expected. Many of the series will feature their Future State creative teams continuing on to the series.

Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad will take over Wonder Woman with issue #770 in March. The two will be joined by interior and cover artist Travis Moore. The series will pick up after the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal which has put Wonder Woman at the center of events leading the heroes in their resistance.

Orbiting Wonder Woman will be Wonder Girl from writer and artist Joëlle Jones. That series will star Yara Flor who is getting a major push by DC as Flor will possibly be getting a television series at The CW.

A new Green Lantern series will launch written by Geoffrey Thorne with art by Tom Raney. They’re the creative team behind “The Last Lanterns” story in the Future State: Green Lantern comic.

Justice League Dark will return in March written by Ram V. who was also writing the series before its break due to the “Endless Winter” event. It will feature art by Xermanico.

Wonder Woman #770 variant

Tim Sheridan and Rafa Sandoval will launch Teen Titans Academy. The series will focus on the launch of a Teen Titans Academy by members of the New Teen Titans. That series spins directly out of Future State: Teen Titans which tells a future tale of the academy.

With a film on its way, it’s not surprising that the Suicide Squad returns. Robbie Thompson, who will take on their story during Future State, will write the ongoing series with art by Eduardo Pansica. We can also see the DC live-action and comics aligning a bit more as Peacemaker (played by John Cena in the film) takes center stage. The character will not only be in The Suicide Squad film but is also getting his own series on HBO Max.

Swamp Thing is back courtesy of writer Ram V. and artist Mike Perkins. That duo is also the team behind the Swamp Thing Future State comic.

James Tynion IV with artist Jorge Jimenez will return to Batman and Tynion has another Batman series in the works with artist Guillem March.

Review: Batman #104

Batman #104

Mixing Batman with Saw sounds like an awesome concept. Batman #104 dances around diving into that combination as Batman, Harley Quinn, and Clownhunter have been captured by Ghost-Maker. The first story arc after “The Joker War” continues to stumble as the series fails to excite.

Batman #104 has the group capture by Ghost-Maker bouncing between that and Nightwing and Oracle discussing Bruce’s history with Ghost-Maker. Writer James Tynion IV dips his toes in what could be a very interesting concept and direction. Ghost-Maker forcing Batman to make a tough decision with Clownhunter and Harley Quin while trapped within a room. But, the issue focuses mostly on Bruce’s past with the mysterious Ghost-Maker. By the end, we have learned only a little more than we knew before.

Almost half of the comic is dedicated to the past of Bruce and the anti-hero, about six times as is needed. We already knew they trained together, so adding in a little more is fine but much of the issue sets up the relationship between the two to once again emphasize that Bruce/Batman cares. The focus feels like filler to some extent presenting a sequence extended far more than it needs to be.

Where things would get interesting is presenting Batman with an actual dilemma, one where he needs to make a difficult choice. We get that tease in what looks like the set of Saw. Pitting Batman, Clownhunter, and Harley Quinn together in the situation really emphasizes Ghost-Maker’s point. And while the basics are there, it never really gets to the interesting aspects. That’s teased for the next issue.

Things aren’t helped with the art on the issue which is inconsistent. Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, and Guillem March all contribute to the issue and it’s noticeable that there’s so many hands in it. There’s a dip in details from segment to segment and at times page to page that’s distracting. While DC has gotten away with multiple artists where things aren’t an issue, Batman #104 features such a variation that it’s jarring at times. Not even the art can really save the issue.

Much like much of the Ghost-Maker arc so far, Batman #104 continues a story which has potential but never quite nails the interesting meat of it. The issues feel like a build-up to what will be a packed final issue that really lays things out. This seems to be Tynion’s pattern with his multiple arcs so far. The initial issues lay out some interesting concepts, dances around them, and the final issue lays out the theme and “conclusion” of the arc. It creates for issues where things don’t feel satisfying and as a reader we’re left with potential with little payoff.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, Guillem March
Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:
Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a Free copy for review


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