Tag Archives: mike norton

Preview: Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-In-One

Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-In-One

Marc Sumerak, Peter David (w) • David Nakayama, Mike Norton (a) • Patrick Scherberger (c)

Two classic Spider-Man tales, pulled from the legendary Vault of Heroes! First—a chance encounter with the Enchantress pits Spidey against Thor—with the whole of Asgard right behind! Then, when Flash Thompson gets a bite from a werewolf, Spidey seeks the aid of the sorcerer supreme—Doctor Strange!

FC • 48 pages • $4.99

Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-In-One

Review: Grumble #6

Grumble #6

What the Hell are we doing in New Jersey? Eddie and Tala barrel full-force into the Garden State in search of the one man who can turn Eddie human again. But standing in their way are some small-time mobsters, a crew of inter-dimensional bounty hunters, and an army of toothless grannies! Oh, and Eddie summons The Devil! New arc! A perfect jumping on point!

It’s rare that I find a comic I enjoy as much as Grumble, and yet have so little to say about it. The series stays on the fantasy side of things, in a world where the supernatural and interdimensional could easily be one and the same, where talking dogs aren’t as out of the ordinary as you’d think (though in fairness this could be because Tala is making people forget/not notice that Eddie is a bipedal pug). Regardless of the reasoning, it makes for a fantastic comic.

Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is effortlessly entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story. More importantly, they’re very consistent with each comic – there’s something with each issue that hooks you in and pulls you further into the world as one of the main characters does something that leaves the other speechless (usually Eddie) that hasn’t failed to leave me entertained.

After the revelations of the previous issue, Grumble #6 eases up a little and allows you to digest what you know, and allows you to adjust your perspectives a little as the comic goes on. The pacing of this issue after the last is perfect – Roberts allows you to breath and digest the emotional impact of issue five while keeping the story moving with his customary wit and charm. Norton, once again, is also brilliant. His page construction, the facial expressions and body language often made me smile as much as the words upon the page.

Truly one of my favourite series on the racks right now… one could easily say it’s a magical experience.

…I’ll stop talking now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #5

Eddie and Tala have narrowly escaped the forces of good and evil, but now they face the ultimate danger: each other!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #5. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

That probably sounds familiar, right? It should. It’s the opening from my last review of Grumble #4, and the same is just as true now as it was. Roberts and Norton are nothing if not consistent, which is great news for fans of this series.

This issue sees us taking a bit of a look back at the events leading up to the first issue as we learn a little about Tala and her back story – and the revelation in this issue will hit you harder than a freight train. I’m not going to tell you want it is, but you will go back and reread the previous four issues in an entirely new light.

I’m not going to lie to you friends, there’s really not a lot I can talk about here without revealing too much of the comic itself; Roberts does reveal a little more about the world at large, hinting toward a conflict in the recent past and revealing more about the force driving Tala in the series that until now we really haven’t seen or read much of (unless… well, maybe we have and I didn’t notice it initially). Grumble #5 will change your perceptions on the series, and while we now have a bit more light shed on the tale’s direction, we’ve also got a lot of questions that need answers.

No, I won’t ask them here. Spoilers, and all.

I’ve praised the series before, and rightly so, but this issue is a huge payoff for those having read the previous ones. It’s a brilliant comic because of how Roberts and Norton build upon everything in the series so far and present a fully formed story that we’re only now beginning to figure out.

I need the sixth issue now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #4

Grumble #4

Eddie and Tala are getting the hell out of Baltimore, but Baltimore isn’t through with them yet! Can our heroes survive a breakneck car chase through the city, pursued by fascist inter-dimensional warlocks, gun-toting maniac mobsters, and a trio of mystical bounty hunters? Buckle up, Grumble fans, and get ready for the most magically destructive ride of your life!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #4. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

At this point I should probably talk a little about the actual contents of the book, but there’s a recap up above that gives you the gist of the book, and unless I start diving too deeply into spoiler territory there’s not much else I want to reveal just now (especially if you haven’t read the first three issues). What I will say, however, is that there’s no forced chemistry between the two leads, nor any illusions about the cowardly and near criminal nature of one; there’s an effortless connection between the two, and Roberts’ dialogue is utterly captivating. The characters are neither overtly good nor evil, but live in the moral grey areas that all great comics tend to touch on every once in awhile. That they are the protagonists means we’re cheering for them, but Roberts has developed the world in such a way that if the focus of the comic were on the mysterious bounty hunter and not her prey, then the two leads could easily be seen as the antagonists.

Hot damn, but do I love this series. The writing and the art combine to give you the perfect blend of Hellblazer and Howard the Duck with a side of the Dresden Files, making Grumble  one of the series to keep your eye on as the year progresses. If your shop didn’t get this series in, then correct that; it’s still available from Diamond (or it was when my LCS ordered a couple copies in), and it’s such a good read.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #3

Grumble #3

The cat’s outta the bag… and out for blood! Eddie and Tala are on the verge of escaping Baltimore once and for all, but Simon, the feline hitman, stands in their way. Will our heroes be able to defeat Simon, steal back their car, and skip town in one piece? Or will Eddie do something stupid and get everyone killed? 

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story. It’s easy to see that Rafer Roberts is having a blast writing this book, which makes it an easy sell when talking to people at my local comic shop. Mike Norton‘s visuals are perfectly suited to the style of this comic – of course, one of the characters being a pug is also right up his alley (this is the guy who created Battlepug, after all).

At this point I should probably talk a little about the actual contents of the book, but there’s a recap up above that gives you the gist of the book, and unless I start diving too deeply into spoiler territory there’s not much else I want to reveal just now (especially if you haven’t read the first two issues). What I will say, however, is that there’s no forced chemistry between the two leads, nor any illusions about the cowardly and near criminal nature of one. The characters are neither overtly good nor evil, but live in the moral grey areas that all great comics tend to touch on every once in awhile. That they are the protagonists means we’re cheering for them, but Roberts has developed the world in such a way that if the focus of the comic were on the mysterious bounty hunter and not her prey, then the two leads could easily be seen as the antagonists.

Hot damn, but do I love this series. The writing and the art combine to give you the perfect blend of Hellblazer and Howard the Duck with a side of the Dresden Files, making Grumble  one of the series to keep your eye on as the year progresses. If your shop didn’t get this series in, then correct that; it’s still available from Diamond (or it was when my LCS ordered a couple copies in), and it’s such a good read.

Writer: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funny Books provided a FREE copy for review

Underrated: Battlepug Volume One

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: Battlepug: Volume One


Disclaimer: Somehow I managed to delete, and save the deletion, of almost the entire text of this column. It is currently about ten minutes before it’s due to go live… 

After a visit to the thrift store the other day I found the first volume of Mike Norton‘s BattlepugJoining Norton for the comic is colourist Allen Passalaqu and letter Chris Crank. The story itself is a blend between homage and parody to Conan and He-Man in a world where sword and sorcery is the name of the game in a world where giant cuddly and innocent looking (mostly) animals represent a rather unconventionally large threat. With the first volume taking on a story-within-a-story set up, the framing is of a fairly stereotypical fantasy woman telling a bed time story to her two talking pugs. 

It’s the story within, that bed time story, that holds the origin of the Battlepug as a lone survivor of a village grows to become the Conan figure in all his brutal glory. The book, a slightly oversized hardcover that cost me $6, is presented almost like a children’s book – and because this isn’t a book for kids, that only adds to the brilliance of its presentation. Battlepug is one of those rare stories that is able to both poke fun at and show respect to its genre while exposing the tropes and criticisms that audiences level at classical fantasy. And it does all this with utter seriousness as a giant pug slurps and snorts through the pages.

Although there is a very cohesive and well told story here, there are also brilliant little moments every few pages; jokes in dialogue and imagery, nods of the head to other things the reader should be all too aware of, and things that may not necessarily be on their radar (I’m sure I missed a lot, honestly). There’s a much deeper story for you to unpack upon the second or third reading, and it never gets old. Or it hasn’t for me.

Norton’s story is utterly fantastic. It’s funny, it’s remarkably well written, and it deserves so much more than the hastily rewritten column that it is getting. It is beyond an Underrated gem, and it’s one that I have every intention of revisiting very soon, and in more detail, when I find the second volume.

 


 

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

It’s Grumble Vs. The Good for Free Comic Book Day

Award-winning cartoonist Eric Powell’s Albatross Funnybooks will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Goon with its first ever Free Comic Book Day title in 2019. Grumble vs The Goon is a side-splitting, full color one shot co-written by Powell and Rafer Roberts and illustrated by Powell and Battle Pug creator Mike Norton.

Here, for the first time ever, The Goon and his pal Franky will meet Tala and Eddie, from the pages of Grumble, in an interdimensional adventure, chock full of death, mayhem… and dog catching.

In Grumble vs the Goon, Tala and Eddie think it might be a good idea to go dimension hopping when they find death incarnate hot on their heels. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse when they land in the world of The Goon. And Franky, the newly appointed dog catcher, don’t like talkin’ mutts that give him the sass!

Grumble vs the Goon features a cover by Powell, and will be available at participating comic book stores on Free Comic Book Day, Saturday May 4th, 2019.

The publication of Grumble vs the Goon is part of a year long celebration of The Goon’s 20th anniversary. The anniversary festivities kick off in earnest on March 13th, 2019, when Albatross Funnybooks will publish The Goon issue 1, featuring all new stories. The Goon #1 Standard Edition features an Eric Powell cover and will retail for $3.99. The Goon #1 Special Edition features a cover by legendary artist Kevin Nowlan and will retail for $5.99. In the character’s  debut with Albatross Funnybooks, Powell takes the series to its humor based roots as Goon & Franky return from strange adventures abroad to find a horde of unsavory characters who have filled the void left in their absence from Lonely Street. For this new run of stories, Powell will be joined on Albatross Funnybooks’ The Goon by several acclaimed creators.

Grumble vs The Goon Gree Comic Book Day
The Goon #1
The Goon #1

Review: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2

Professor Bruttenholm sends two agents in opposite directions on off-the-books missions, while the B.P.R.D. loses sight of Hellboy as he wanders through Mexico, and Varvaras pet projects stir up discontent among her team of occult scientists.

Two issues in and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 is interesting in how not punching monsters the series is. Professor Bruttenholm has his suspicions that something is going on with those around him and a corruption exists and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2 has him diving deeper into that mystery and attempting to find allies. The issue feels more about pencil pushing and spying than the traditional Hellboy story. And that’s ok!

Written by Chris Roberson and Mike Mignola, the series has been fascinating in how mundane it is compared to some of the crazy we’ve seen before. The two issues feel more like a bridge to something and setting up what’s coming next than anything else. And that’s ok because we need those types of stories. It’s just unexpected in a miniseries as these “year” ones have been.

The art by Yishan Li, Mike Norton, and Michael Avon Oeming with color by Dave Stewart is solid as expected. There’s never been a Hellboy series where the art has lacked and there’s a certain style about this one that feels a bit more appropriate for it’s more spy-like plot. This isn’t about crazy monsters, it’s about jockeying for information.

Much like the first issue, the second feels more like the set-up for something big coming but also like the first there’s not much action here. Its focus is interesting as it’s a chapter in the meta story that’s being built. New readers might feel a bit bored by this entry, so far, but for those engaged in the bigger picture, this is as solid an entry as everything else helping build the amazing tapestry that is the Hellboy world.

Story: Chris Roberson, Mike Mignola
Art: Yishan Li, Mike Norton, Michael Avon Oeming
Color: Dave Stewart
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse has provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Sixth Gun, Vol. 5

The Sixth Gun, Vol. 5
Standard Hardcover & Gunslinger Editions

(W) Cullen Bunn
(A) Brian Hurtt, Mike Norton
(C) Bill Crabtree
(CA) Brian Hurtt & Bill Crabtree
Age Rating: Young Adult Audiences
Genre: Western/Fantasy
Hardcover Price: $59.99
Gunslinger Price: $80.00
Page Count: 328

The Sixth Gun Volume Five Hardcover and Gunslinger Editions collect issues 42-47 of the story arc “Hell and High Water,” as well as five-issue spinoff miniseries “Days of the Dead,” featuring guest artist Mike Norton. These oversized deluxe collections include never before seen artwork, design sketches, cover galleries, and more, from the Eisner-nominated fantasy western epic.

The Gunslinger Edition includes an all-new Sixth Gun RPG module Limited to only 500 units, this direct market exclusive also contains a tip-in signed by all the creators, and is presented in a deluxe slipcase and dust jacket featuring new original artwork.

Those Two Geeks Episode Twenty Nine: The World Needs A Punching, With Rafer Roberts

On the docket this week: The geeks sit down with Rafer Roberts to talk about his upcoming comic Grumble published by Albatross Funnybooks. Featuring art by Mike Norton, colours by Marissa Louise and letters by Crank, Grumble is an urban fantasy featuring an anthropomorphic pug and a half demon and will be released in November.

We highly recommend you ask your shop to reserve you a copy.

As always, the Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jc_hesh if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter or email ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

« Older Entries