Sunday, December 26, 2010

A little late...

Sorry, I meant to post this earlier and just forgot. It's a little piece of fan art for Caanan Grall's Max Overacts. He posted it on his site as well but in case you missed it:

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Some Christmas-y art (sorta)

For the annual Drunk Duck Secret Santa project (though I guess it's not annual since they started doing a summer one that I missed) I got Salsa (that would be his username) who had asked for Christmas themed "nose art". I had to double check what nose art was (artwork for the nose of an aircraft/shuttle) and still not really knowing too much about it here's what I came up with:

And with a little bit of red:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm starting to see more and more "2010" stuff coming out. Such as the "Best Comics of 2010" or whatever else. So I considered doing something myself but to be honest, I'm not sure what I could come up with for "Best of" lists. For one thing, many of the books I'd put as the best books I read this year were ones that came out in 2009 (*cough*Asterios Polyp*cough*) and I found out about from other "Best of 2010" lists. So I guess I'm just behind the times and who wants a list by someone who's late to the party. So in the end, here's a breakdown of my 2010.

The most memorable would probably be Fan Expo Canada. There were parts that were horribly organized but getting to spend three days geeking out is just too much fun. The Stan Lee package was worth it (though I've heard from others who felt otherwise) and getting to meet him was a big moment for me. The brief pass by William Shatner's table as he signed my photo was a little disappointing. But hey, I'm one of those really weird guys who enjoys being able to say I saw these celebrities in person. And a few of them really made the experience better. Felicia Day was very nice and outgoing. Summer Glau was very friendly. And I heard experiences from other Convention goers that many of the celebrities made it well worth the hassles we went through (for the most part). And of course there was the comic creators for me. Getting artwork from Darwyn Cooke, Andy Belanger, Caanan Grall, Steve McNiven, and others was awesome. The panels (the sketching duels, Darwyn Cooke's panel, etc) were all very entertaining. It was just a great weekend and as soon as I got home I couldn't wait for next year's Fan Expo.

As for comics, after hating Jeph Loeb's Hulk run I was glad that Greg Pak got the Incredible Hulk series back with the big green guy front and centre (with a somewhat new supporting cast). But as I moved to TPBs this year I haven't read the book in a while (since World War Hulks ended). Despite being a lifelong Marvel fan, The Incredible Hulk and possibly the She-Hulks series will be my only two Marvel books.

My favourite "new to me" series would be Atomic Robo. It's still a fairly new series with just a few TPBs out but I definitely recommend checking it out. You can even grab the Free Comic Book Day issues off the web.

In terms of WebComics my favourite remains the Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl. Absolutely beautiful artwork with a great mix of strips, from funny to heartbreaking. My favourite new strip would be Max Overacts by Caanan Grall. A fun storyline with unique characters and it keeps getting better and better.

And while we're on the subject of WebComics, we saw Zuda come to an end with several of their books going to ComiXology which obviously had a lot to do with the release of the iPad. You'd think I'd have a lot to say on that but I think I'm talked out about it. And the truth is that although I've read a few comics that were available for free on ComiXology I've never bothered to buy one there. There are a lot of factors that lead to this (not owning an iPad, the price, that I prefer to physically own books so I can feel confident that I'll be able to pull them out and read them 10 years from now, etc) but I don't really want to get into that either.

One thing I'm starting to get into is the online studios or whatever you call it. Where a group of artists share a location (a blog, a webpage, or whatever) to display their artwork. They'll often pick weekly themes or something to add some consistency. Some of the ones I really enjoy include the Comic Social Club, Comic Twart, and The Line it is Drawn on CBR (which is something a bit different but really cool). I think this is a great way for artists to get their work out there and for fans to see some really nice stuff. I just hope it works in helping the artists find a source of income for their work and not just a place where people steal artwork from for their own blogs or webpages. But that's a rant for another day.

Moving off comics to movies (and comic based movies) we had Iron Man 2, I'd agree it may not have been as good as the first but I still enjoyed it. Toy Story 3 may have been the best movie I saw this year but I don't see many movies. And as for Inception, I didn't care for it. It was pretty and had some cool scenes but I couldn't get into it. Though to be fair, by the time I saw it the ending was pretty much spoiled for me (nobody told me outright but I had it figured out).

And lastly, in terms of television I seem to be watching less this year. And the shows I am watching I don't even give my full attention (usually drawing while the TV is on so I can listen to it). I do still enjoy the Big Bang Theory, I know some "geeks" hate it for the stereotypes it pushes but I know so many people (myself included) who have little bits of each of the 4 guys in them. There was also the Walking Dead. I've been reading the book for a while now but I don't find it really thrilling me as much as it did early on. There's some intriguing stuff happening but it may be wearing a bit thin for me. Seeing it on TV was interesting but I wonder if the show will end up wearing thin for me as well, or maybe I'm just not giving a fair chance because of my feelings for the books. Either way, I'll be giving the second season a go.

I can't really think of anything else from this year which is rather sad. But I suspect that as I start seeing more of the "best of 2010" lists coming out I'll be finding new comics to check out. So feel free to let me know what you thought was the best of 2010, whether it's comics, TV, movies, or just important stuff that happened in your life.

And have a happy holiday whatever that holiday may (or may not) be for you and a great (and safe) New Year.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I know, I haven't been doing a very good job of blogging. I guess Twitter is winning out for me. But here's some rambling if you're looking for something to read.

I don't know if it's just me but I seem to be seeing a lot of blog posts, tweets, news articles, and whatever else focusing on market share, units sold comparisons, and other business type analysis. Of course these were always around but I normally felt they were the focus of guys in business suits who were financially invested in the companies or something like that. Now it seems like everyone's getting in on it. It makes me wonder why. And here's a few of the reasons I'm noticing.

Companies seem to be doing a really good job of getting people feeling like they're somehow connected to them and their success. Whether it's "I'm a Mac" or being a member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society (showing how comics have been doing this for a while, Stan Lee seemed to be one of the ambassadors in that area) they're connecting with their customers (somewhat) and making them feel like the companies success is somehow their success as well. And if someone says something bad about the company or their product, even if they may be right, they'll fight tooth and nail to prove them wrong.

I feel others seem to rely on these things to justify themselves and their spending. Almost like "I must have made the right choice buying that iPhone because the majority is doing it, right?" It's not even a question of which product may be right for you. So you want to point to these things and say to anyone who didn't buy the same as you that they are somehow in the wrong because they aren't part of the majority.

Some are looking to see trends so they can maybe predict the future, and not always for financial gain. Some just want to be able to throw stuff out there so in a few months they can look at the new stats and say "See, I was right! I'm so smart!" And some just want to appear smart by looking at this and just saying the exact same thing that every other blog and tweet says about the data.

And I think the media is playing its part as well. They are falling in line with companies spouting phrases like "game changer", "the future is here", "this will change everything", etc, etc (or if you go with comic solicits it's "universe changing", "nothing will ever be the same", "the new status quo", etc, etc). And they want to appear cutting edge so they bring out data in bar graphs, pie charts, and cute little cartoons.

Of course there are many reasons behind it all but here's where I'm at. I'm done with looking at that stuff. I don't care if a comic or a phone is the big seller, I want the one that's right for me. I'm not going to feel ashamed or "wrong" if it's not the one everyone else bought. So all this talk of market share and units sold doesn't mean much to me. And I'm sort of tired of people focusing on it and throwing it around like it's proof of something other than a company was successful in getting their product (whether it be good or bad) into the most hands (good for them).

So yeah, when Marvel puts out a crappy book I'll say that I thought it was crap. When Apple decides to do stupid censoring of apps and their content I'll say I don't want to support that. But yeah, feel free to tell me that I'm wrong because the Marvel book I think is bad outsells everyone else and Apple sells more iPhones than its competitors, I just won't care.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Weird TPB Quirk

Here's a weird quirk I have that I felt like sharing. Whenever I meet comic creators (mostly from my two trips to Fan Expo Canada) I feel the need to apologize for reading the TPBs instead of going with the single issues. I guess it comes from the feeling that I'm not fully supporting them by buying continuously (after all, a series may get canceled based on these monthly sales before it ever reaches TPBs). Sometimes it just comes up like when I was talking with Jeff Lemire and I saw a Sweet Tooth picture I didn't recognize so I asked, turns out it was for a cover of an issue that is in the next TPB. So I felt the need to explain that I did read Sweet Tooth, I just hadn't read that particular issue yet because the TPB isn't out. And I felt the need to apologize for this. When talking to Andy Belanger about Kill Shakespeare I had to admit to having not ready any of it yet as I'm also waiting on the TPB there. And again, I felt the need to insert a "Sorry" there.

It's completely weird isn't it? I guess some of it goes back to the early days of TPBs. Some creators expressed disapproval of people waiting for TPBs of their books because they were worried the monthly sales wouldn't be good enough to keep the series going. And maybe I keep thinking back to that. But on the other hand, should I really feel bad about doing the TPBs? I am buying their books after all (and not pirating), I'm just doing it in a format that works better for me. And in the case of a lot of books, I don't really know if I want to buy the series until I hear enough good things about it and then I want at least a few issues to get an idea of how good it is. Should I go digging up the single issues on ebay (doing nothing to help the creator) or just pick up the TPB?

Or in the end, I should probably just not worry so much. I want to support creators/books I like and if I do so by picking up TPBs then I think that should be enough shouldn't it? And from there, it's up to the comic companies to figure things out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm not helping am I?

I recently installed some ad blocking software. I was just tired of the annoyances ads were causing me from the slow load times to annoying popups/redirects to trying to install malicious software on my machine. And so far it seems to be working quite well for me. But here's the issue, I'm a webcomics reader and quite a few webcomic creators and sites hope to make money off their advertising. So by blocking their ads I know I'm accessing their content while closing a source of revenue for them. Same goes for other news/comic sites I visit. I browse their free content and they get some page views but no ad revenue. I could start letting ads through from these pages but as much as I trust them I don't trust the people running the advertising.

Now in some cases I can provide support in other ways. In the case of webcomic creators I could donate money or buying print versions or commissions but in most cases I don't. I don't buy the print versions, merchandise, or commissions because I really don't usually need them lying around my already cluttered condo (though I have bought commissions at conventions). Or sometimes it's other things (like paying $20 plus $40 shipping/handling to Canada for an 80 page book that I don't really need/want in print). Donation seems like the way I should go yet I always seem to find an excuse not to do that as well. I either say it's because I don't want to pay the overhead (or have the creator lose money paying for the overhead) because of the fees the banks and other companies put on the transaction.

And let's face it, I still feel a little weird just giving people money. I know I'm supporting their ability to make a comic but I've already read it so I still feel like I'm just giving away money and not getting anything in return. I know I've already got the enjoyment and if I give them money and they're able to continue (though there's no guarantee that they will) then I'll continue to enjoy it but it just doesn't feel substantial enough return for my money (I know people will want to argue that it is substantial and I would agree but for some reason it just doesn't feel it, I guess it's still just too new for me or something).

So yeah, I'm not really helping.

[NOTE: I can say there have been a few webcomic creators I have helped, but it's a small portion of the webcomics I read.]

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm a glutton for punishment (ie. Why I do a webcomic)

There is a thread in the DrunkDuck forum asking why webcomic creators do the webcomic thing. But I figured I'd ramble about the topic here since I don't post nearly enough on this blog. I'm not even sure if I've already posted this but what the heck, might as well ramble.

History 101
Okay, here's the backstory. I'm one of those typical comic geeks who enjoyed doodling Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman, etc in class or whenever else I got the chance. I even had dreams (when I was young) of drawing comics professionally. And some friends would compliment my doodles and I started to get it into my head that I was pretty good. As I got older though those ideas disappeared pretty quickly. Some of it had to do with some people (teachers, school councilors, other elders of some authority) bringing me down to Earth, that my art wasn't really that good and that I was better off going in to something that I could actually make a decent living at. Not that it all had to do with others, I never really put the work into my artistic endeavors. Not that I put much into my other endeavors either. So I eventually went the computer science route.

The Seed is Planted
So after spending 5 years doing an undergraduate degree (the co-op placements added a year to the 4 year degree) I started getting the drawing itch again. Ideas for comics had been floating around in my head for a while but I never really put them down on paper. But I suddenly had the urge to start thinking about doing a comic myself. So I started doodling new characters, different scenes, and jotting down story ideas from time to time. But I still didn't really think about putting anything together. So it got put away again as I finished my Master's and entered the "real world" (ie. getting a job, a place to live, etc). It wasn't until a couple years later that two friends who worked at the comic shop I go to told me about their comics that they had on DrunkDuck. I have to admit, I had flashbacks of friends in highschool complimenting my doodles and I thought "Hey, if they liked it I must be good. I can put something together, no problem." I even had the audacity to think it would be easy to put out something that people would be blown away by (I can imagine how any creator reading this is cringing and/or wanting to kick me in the nards right now). And posting them on the web for all to see? That seemed somewhat scary but also pretty simple enough. So I started working on Divine Leap, but I didn't tell anyone just yet. It was a few months later that I told one of my comic shop friends and he encouraged me just enough that I started posting some pages.

It Begins... With a Whimper and a Shot of Reality
So there I was, with my own webcomic started. I actually figured I'd read enough comics to know how to put something good out. And I had a few compliments come my way, mostly from the two or so friends that I had informed of my adventure in webcomics (including the friend that had encouraged me). But it wasn't long until I fully realized what an ignorant ass I was. First off, I had severely underestimated the time that would be involved, even in getting something so simple out there. I also quickly discovered that not even friends would keep coming back to a comic that was so amateurish, something with no backgrounds, lazy art, horrible lettering, poor inking, etc, etc, which meant investing more time to improve on some of it. And it wasn't like readers were clamoring to read any crap that was out there. You had to put something good out and then shout/advertise/network/sell yourself like hell for people to notice your work. I decided to skip that last part though and concentrate on at least making my comic good enough that I wouldn't be ashamed of it.

Improving (though I guess that's debatable)
So I began looking to improve. Mostly through books though a few people on DrunkDuck were kind enough to critique my work as well. So I went with Scott McCloud's books, Will Eisner's graphic storytelling books, books on writing for comics by Alan Moore and Peter David, a book on perspective for comic artists, the Art of Inking, lettering tutorials, the Wizard How To books, and a bunch of other stuff thrown in. There were plenty of times where I felt like giving up on it, after Chapter 1 I took a hiatus because I still wasn't happy with the quality of the comic and if I wasn't happy, and nobody was reading it, then why was I doing it. I eventually decided though that 1) I really wanted to finish the story I had set out to do and 2) I did enjoy making comics and the only way I was going to improve is if I saw this through. If I gave up on Divine Leap I figured I'd just give up on making any comics and that didn't seem acceptable to me. I love comics. I love reading them and I love making them, even though I don't have the talent to do it professionally. And I do believe I have enough talent and knowledge to put out something that isn't so painful to read. Something that at least a few people may enjoy.

In Conclusion
So why did I start making comics? Because I love comics and enjoy reading them, always have and always will, and I had the crazy notion that I could put out something that someone else would enjoy. Why do I continue? Because I still have the crazy notion that I can put out something that someone else would enjoy. Maybe not now but one day. I have no plan to try to make a living (or any money) out of it and I have the utmost respect for anyone who does because I now have a much better idea of what that entails. I still haven't got around to the advertising/shouting/selling myself thing, not sure if I'll ever have that conquered but if I can at least get a few readers and make a few friends along the way I'll be happy.

And that's why I do the webcomic thing. Now I have to go and prepare tomorrow's page, my 400th by the way.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fan Expo Canada 2010 is done!

So it's back to work after the whirlwind that was Fan Expo Canada 2010. Talk about a crazy weekend. I tweeted throughout but here's a bit more details about my weekend (and my brother's as well for some of the stuff). Both of us went with premier passes and the Stan Lee package.

We weren't 100% sure what was going on for the opening on Friday so we got there around 10:30 thinking they'd process tickets at 12 and line us up again to enter the building. Long story short, the next few hours were spent waiting and confused but we did get in a little after 2. Our first stop was Stan Lee's booth where the Stan Lee package tickets came in handy (jumping us to the start of the line). To further take advantage of the early entrance I decided to snag a couple autographs like Dean Stockwell's (I'm a Quantum Leap fan, I had to ask him if he got to keep any of his wardrobe from that show) and Felicia Day (thanked her for linking to this blog back when I did the Codex sketch, she was really nice about it) and Amy Okuda. I also snagged artwork from Darwyn Cooke (who wasn't doing commissions but fortunately for me had a Hulk piece in his portfolio) and signed up for commissions from Jeff Lemire (of Sweet Tooth fame) and Craig Yeung (getting Hulk drawings from each of course). Then it was time for the Jim Valentino versus Wilce Portacio sketching duel. They were great, the moderator wasn't. Then off to the Stan Lee photo where again, the Stan Lee package helped us out a lot! Somewhere in there I also found time to say a how-do-you-do to Andy Belanger and Caanan both of whom I met at last year's Fan Expo. At some point I signed up for another Andy Belanger Hulk pic and bought Caanan's Max Overacts book. The night was finished with the Stan Lee meet and greet. It was a crazy time and I know it was very disappointing to some who didn't get the quality time they wanted with him but my brother was fortunate enough to get a few pictures with him and I shot some video as he walked by me so it was great for us.

Saturday was a slightly different day. I attended the "Future of Comics" panel in the morning, the Stan Lee panel at 1pm (again, Stan Lee package came in handy and Stan had the crowd in the palm of his hand), then somehow managed to make the Olivier Coipel versus Gary Frank sketching duel (great duel with a much better moderator than the other one I attended) despite the unbelievable crowding on that floor, and Darwyn Cooke's "how to" panel. Other than that it was browsing the Artist Alley (picking up some of the art I'd ordered) and merchandise sections. It was a crazy day at the Expo crowd-wise and I'm glad we brought food so we didn't have to leave the building. I'm also glad I didn't go for any celebrities that day.

For Sunday we decided we wanted to focus on Shatner. We had talked about it on Saturday and my feeling was that if we could get in early enough we could go straight for an autograph if he was signing right away. I thought about the photo but I figured it would be too crazy and I'd be way too exhausted by that point (5pm). Unfortunately he wasn't signing right away but after buying our autograph tickets I decided to spend the next 3 hours waiting for him. Brent wandered for a bit but I didn't really feel like it all that much. While waiting (and after getting to know those around us) we got to watch the celebrities be taken from one location to the next (we were lined up in a back area of the con). I have to admit that I sort of like celebrity sighting so it was cool to sit there and say "Hey there goes Adam West/Summer Glau/James Marsters/Felicia Day/etc". After the Shatner autograph (which was a whole lot of confusion and madness) I was pretty much done. I snagged a couple more things in Artist Alley (a Steve McNiven headshot of Nemesis and sketchbooks from Dale Keown and Jill Thompson) and a couple toys for my nephews and that was it for me.

And with that, it was dinner and a 9pm flight to get me home at 11pm. My brother and I both had a great time (I know others didn't and I do feel for them) and now it's back to the somewhat less exciting normal life of work and other stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Comic Reviews for August 20th, 2010

I know it's been way too long since I posted here. And it's going to get worse, I'm finally making the move to stop monthlies altogether and just pick up the TPBs. But here are a few quick reviews of books I read recently.

Incredible Hulk #611 -- Great writing, amazing art, really good story. And the nice thing for me, you didn't have to be reading the World War Hulks stuff (that I didn't like) to enjoy this issue. One of the best Hulk issues I've read in a good long while.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Riley one shot -- I haven't been enjoying the Buffy series as of late and I'm not a big Riley fan so I was reluctant to pick this one up. I did enjoy it more than I thought I would. I thought it was better executed than some of the issues of the ongoing. Not sure I feel it's worth it though, it's really just a long discussion between Riley and his wife. Good characterization but doesn't really feel necessary as a full one shot.

The Man with the Getaway Face by Darwyn Cooke -- I really enjoy Darwyn's work and I thought the first Parker book he did was really well done. It wasn't really a genre that I'm particularly keen on but it was an enjoyable book to read. And I'd say the same about this book, very well done, enjoyable to read, makes me wonder what the next book (coming out this fall I believe) will be (as I know nothing about the original stories).

Next week is Fan Expo Canada and I'm really looking forward to it. I really enjoyed myself last year. I'm looking forward to seeing a few of the people I met last year like Caanan Grall and Andy Belanger. I also bought the Stan Lee package so that should be fun.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Wow! Have I ever been neglecting this blog. I guess I just haven't had much to say that couldn't be said in 140 characters on Twitter. But now for a few ramblings that won't fit in there.

I've seen the "Are Webcomics Dead?" debate is building steam yet again with the iPad out, Zuda closing up (more or less), and the whole webcomic thing seeming to hit a lull. I think a lot of good things have been said in the discussion, even if there are no real answers. Here are a few of the highlights in my opinion:

Webcomics aren't really taking full advantage of the platform where as apps for the iPad do. But here's the thing for me, the more you take advantage of the platform the more expertise you require, the more time it takes to put out a comic (and a slowly updating webcomic is usually dead before it starts), the more costly it can be, and the more restricted your audience can become (when a comic is created specifically to work with the iphone, and I mean gearing everything like panel structure, layouts, and your narrative to that device, the reading on other platforms can suffer just as writing for a print comic will have issues when taken to the iPhone or even the iPad). I don't think there is an easy answer here.

The iPhone and iPad currently don't appear to be equal playing fields (from what I'm hearing, the validity of this may be debatable). On the one hand, you have the large companies who can afford to create their own apps jumping in while independents are a little slower or require help. ComiXology seems to be the winner here but there are reports that there are independent publishers waiting for their comics to get processed and posted while the big name companies get priority. Also, some independent books have been blocked for issues Apple had with their content while the big companies don't seem to be hitting this issue. So for a small publisher it seems going the iPhone/iPad route has some hurdles that may not be worth it in the long run when they can more easily get their products into a larger audience by going web based.

Now I don't have the numbers but I'd guess the number of webcomics aren't necessarily going down. But is the quality going up or down? The great thing about webcomics is pretty much anyone can get one started (so long as they aren't going the iPad/iPhone route at least). The obvious downside is that anyone can get one started. How do you find good ones? Most of the attempts include evaluation based on voting or by traffic but there's usually so many ways to cheat the system. So anyone looking through webcomics gets hit with a lot of crap. Yeah, I'll say a lot of them are crap but I don't want you to take that as me thinking those people should stop, you have to try in order to get better. Though the ones who aren't even trying to get better should probably stop.

Money. Everyone brings this one up, "how do I make money off my webcomic?" The answer doesn't seem to have changed in a long time. It's mostly merchandise (t-shirts, print versions, commissions, etc), some advertising (if you have a lot of traffic), etc. But what if your book doesn't really lend itself to merchandise? Then it's a bit tougher. And if you aren't willing to put the effort into these other things and just want to make your comic then you're most likely screwed money-wise. So what happens with a lot of the successful webcomic makers? They stop to make money. Either they get in with a publisher and start getting paid for print comics or more often they realize the webcomic is taking up so much time and going nowhere that they have to stop to focus on their paying job and family. There's often the promise of getting back to the webcomic eventually but let's not fool ourselves. Now I think a lot of people were hoping for things like the iPad or Longbox Digital to change that, I don't see that happening any time soon.

I don't know any answers to any of the questions that the discussion is bringing up. I don't even know if my observations are valid in any way. But I do enjoy the discussion. In my opinion, are webcomics dead? No. The web will always the be the most accessible way for creators to get their ideas out there and I don't see that changing. Are webcomics the future? With iPad opening the door even further web or digital comics will be a big part of it. But will we see much innovation or ideas blowing us out of the water? Well probably just like print comics we'll probably see the standard quo being most successful while the odd example of something really incredible will come out and Marvel and DC will mimic the hell out of it until we never want to see anything like it again.

Friday, July 02, 2010

No Reviews Yet

Due to Canada Day (Happy Belated Canada Day!) I haven't been able to pick up my books for this week yet. I'm hoping to make it down there on Sunday. So they are coming.

In other news, I have purchased my ticket to Fan Expo Canada already. Should be a great time again this year. And the DrunkDuck Awards have entered the nomination phase.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oops, forgot one

Sorry, forgot about one other book I read.

Sweet Tooth volume 1 -- In some ways this book feels a little slow moving but on the other hand, you're really getting in touch with the character(s). It's really well written but I thought the art could have been a bit stronger in some parts. It was some of the real close ups that seemed to miss for me the most. But definitely worth a look.

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 23rd, 2010

I didn't have any of my regular books this week but I did crack and buy Hulk #23 despite my dislike of this series. I couldn't help it after seeing the line up of artists they got. I also picked up Jack of Fables Volume 7 but I haven't finished it yet. I have read a few other books so I'll throw in some quick reviews of those.

Hulk #23 -- This book wasn't as bad as I thought it might be going in. You get some flashbacks going pretty far back, some of which are done by artists who were drawing the series during the times of the flashbacks so that's cool. I had the Red Hulk thing figured out so there weren't really any surprises to the story so it felt a little needless to go back over some of the details to explain them in such length. It also felt a little off to hear that Samson had been working with MODOK for that long. And the Grey Hulk's dialogue (or lack thereof) for the Tim Sale pages, that did sort of bug me a bit. Lee and Kirby's original Hulk wasn't really the "Ross bad!" sort of guy. But overall, it wasn't bad and finally outlined exactly who is the Red Hulk as well as "how" and "why". And the art is a great touch for the long time Hulk fan.

Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer volume 1 -- I decided to give this a look after hearing about the sequel coming out. It was okay but not really anything special in my opinion. I thought the story and writing started off decent but found it got rather predictable and dragged on a bit. It doesn't make my recommended reading list but I don't really regret trying it out.

The Pro -- I knew going in that this was an adult book and yep, it definitely was. It was pretty funny though and really well done. It does have some gross out humour and dirty jokes so if that's not your thing then you may want to avoid it. But it is a pretty original story with great art so it's a pretty enjoyable book (if you're into that sort of thing). I'd recommend this book but only to certain people.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thinking About Garbage (a non-comic post for once)

So a new program at work is getting me thinking about garbage. The program involves taking away our garbage containers and giving us tiny ones that hook onto our recycle bins and I guess the idea is to encourage me to reduce the amount of garbage I toss out at work by limiting how much I can put in my garbage can. My first thought was what about throwing out the larger items that won't fit in there and aren't recyclable. I guess the idea is that I shouldn't be having anything like that but that seems a bit unrealistic at times. So I asked co-workers what they're plans for such items would be and the response was always the same (even with people who have gone through this before), that they would take it to a communal garbage can (the one near the kitchen) which tend to be large or if they get rid of those, take it home. And if they take it home then management can point to the numbers and say "Look, the program worked as we're generating less waste" but in the overall picture, the garbage is still going to the landfill. It's just taking a different/longer route.

This ties in to a complaint I've had, that it's sometimes a pain in the butt to recycle or do the right thing with waste. I'm not talking about the hassle of needing to separate paper and plastic. The thing is that I'm told I shouldn't throw out batteries, the new light bulbs, and other stuff, that I should take it back to some stores and other times I'm not told what I should do with it. The problem is I go to the stores and get the confused clerk who looks at me like I'm asking them to disable a nuclear device. They'll sometimes say they heard talk about a place I could take them on the other side of the city like it's some mystical place that nobody has actually seen. So they expect people to drive (or in my case take the bus) across the city to get rid of a couple light bulbs?

So what I'm thinking, companies probably shouldn't get caught up in the numbers and actually implement more helpful programs. Have spots at work where your employees can dump off batteries, electronics, or what not. It may be a little more costly and some people may look at the "waste" coming out of your building and see it higher than others but on the other hand, you'll be actually helping your employees to do the right thing but making it easier on them seeing as how work is someplace they go anyways instead of making them trek all over the place to throw stuff out.

But I guess that's just me wanting others to make my life easier (even if it also encourages me to do the right thing environmentally).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 16th, 2010 -- POSSIBLE SPOILERS

I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. I only had one book this week, the Incredible Hulk #610, but I also read volume 2 of Chew. I may have a few more TPB reviews after this weekend.

Incredible Hulk #610 -- Just to get it out of the way, I love Pelletier's pencils and this book is intense visually. The detail but into the work was amazing and the big two page spread at the end was everything you could have wanted it to be. I thought the writing was good but I really haven't been a fan of this World War Hulks storyline. There were a few times I found myself questioning the overall story and then just deciding not to worry about it. I did find it funny that in a room filled with the smartest people that it was Samson who saw a weakness in their machine beforehand (though I guess he was the one responsible for building that part, at least I think he was). Speaking of Samson, I may have to go back and look up how and why he got hooked up in all this to begin with. Anyway, it's a great book in what I found to be a lackluster story. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. We saw that Skaar doesn't want the dumb Hulk so either he's changed his mind or he's thinking this isn't the dumb Hulk any more.

Chew volume 2 -- I decided to give this series another try. In my review of the first volume I thought it was well done but possibly not for me and I figured why not give it a bit more time. Unfortunately I felt the same way after this volume. Really well written and drawn really well but just not working for me. So I think that's it for me on this series. Definitely worth checking out but possibly reserved for those with a particular taste in comics (see, I made a funny... Okay, only those who read the books may get it and it's not that funny but I'm tired).

So that's it for now. And I know I haven't really been burning up this blog with posts, and I'm really trying to work on it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 9th, 2010

I had no "monthly" books this week but I did pick up Irredeemable volume 3 so I figure I'll give that a quick review.

Irredeemable volume 3 -- Volume 2 sort of disappointed me slightly but I was hoping volume 3 would turn it around. Unfortunately it didn't really work for me. My biggest issue with it was that there seemed to be so much build up about one character's big dark secret that seemed rather forced, like they were hitting me over the head repeatedly with this idea of a big dark secret that was going to tear everyone apart, and by the time it's revealed I was sort of like "meh". In some ways it's like the solicitations that say "this is the biggest event ever" and then you read it and think "well, it was okay I guess". And there just didn't seem to be enough advancement in the story or the characters (and the introduction of a new character that I didn't really feel anything for) that this volume just left me a little empty. I don't see myself buying volume 4. I have heard that this series is working for some though and I would say it might be worth checking out, I just don't find it working for me.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for June 2nd, 2010

Only the one book this week.

Serenity: Float Out #1 (of 1) -- I don't want to spoil anything but I knew it! I absolutely knew it. I had an inkling after watching the series on DVD and was absolutely convinced after the movie. So having confirmation on the last page felt nice. But getting to the book, if this was a single issue of an ongoing series then I'd say it was a really good filler issue. As a stand alone that doesn't really tie into anything at the moment, it felt like just a little tease of what we could be seeing. The story was nice though I thought the execution in some parts could have been a bit better, like the story with three ships, I was a little lost through parts of that. Overall, an important read for Serenity/Firefly fans but it would be nice if it was part of something more.

Just a little depressing

So the other night I'm talking to one of my aunts on the phone and she starts telling me about how a friend of my cousin (her daughter) was found dead in his apartment from a heart attack. She tells me about how he was 49, always lived alone, never had a woman in his life, didn't have many friends, and always tagged along with my cousin's husband and their family. And then she says "So of course I thought of you" and began telling me to look after myself and such. Though to be honest, I couldn't really tell you what she said because I was so taken aback by that line.

Of course she only sees me every 5 years or so and doesn't really have any clue what's going on in my life but it makes me wonder what "reports" she's getting from the local family members that would make her think of me. That's how that side of the family works, someone stubs their toe and suddenly the phones light up with reports of possible loss of limbs and then the rumours about how you did it on purpose start circulating and growing.

I guess I should be happy she thinks about me at all. :) The joys of family, gotta love 'em.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"It's my style"

The recent discussion of the lettering in a certain vampire themed comic has brought this argument up to the forefront of my brain again. When is it an artistic style or choice and when is it just wrong? Unfortunately, I don't think there's an answer even though I've been told otherwise. I look at books that have horrible layouts, artwork that is filled with traced celebrities who do not reflect the emotion or action of the comic, no feet, and lettering that looks like it was randomly thrown on the page covering up a good chunk of the art and I think "No, this is all wrong." But then the creators come back and say it's their "style" and the 100,000 readers who are buying it up are quick to jump to their defense because they loved it. So can something that seems so wrong to me (and usually a handful of others) really be that bad if it's working for so many people?

Some might say that yes, that it and the people enjoying it are wrong. Just like how TV shows and movies are always wrong despite working for millions of people. But at some point, it's art and part of that is connecting with the viewer/reader. Even if they seem to be doing it wrong to some of us, they must be doing something right to reach that many people to the point where they will tune in week after week or shell out another $13 to see the movie again (and $30 for the extended director's cut DVD).

This is why I often leave disclaimers like "in my opinion" or "didn't work for me" in my reviews. I know I can sometimes have a pretty analytical approach when I read some comics, picking out times where and reasons why the art or writing failed to connect me with the story in some way. And I know a majority of readers aren't like me but I can only speak for myself.

So I guess the way I see this sort of thing is that I'll try not to say anything in the writing, drawing, colouring, lettering, etc of comics is really done "wrong" but maybe "wrong for me".

But here's where I flip it. I think any comic creator who comes out saying "no, that's my style" is missing an important point. When someone says their stuff was done wrong it means at the very least it was done wrong for them, it took them out of the art and story and ruined the experience to some degree. Now you can decide this was just one, two, or a handful of people and write it off but to simply dismiss it is doing yourself and your future work a big disservice. You're depriving yourself of learning what works and doesn't work for people. You're limiting yourself of never producing anything better than what you're doing now. At a computer conference I went to a while back they had "fly on the wall" sessions where people discussed your paper and you weren't allowed to respond to their feedback. The idea was that your paper had to be good enough to get the point across on its own without you there to defend it. It was a great experience. Sometimes artists need to take that approach to, you can't always be in every reader's ear telling them how they should be experiencing your work, your work should stand on its own. And if it's not working for someone then listen to why and decide for yourself what that means for your work, both current and future.

But this is all just my style and I'm probably doing things all wrong.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 26th, 2010

Just a couple of quick reviews this week.

Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks #3 -- As you may or may not know, I haven't been a fan of the whole "Fall of the Hulks"/"World War Hulks" stuff but I did like this particular issue. Solid art and good story telling (though the time travelling nature of Lyra gets a little weird for me). The ending felt a little weird and reminded me that this is just a side story to the major battle. Overall, I enjoyed the series and I'm glad I decided to pick it up.

The Guild #3 -- Like the first two issues, I found this one to be well written. I sort of felt the art in the "in game" parts could have been a bit better in parts but it was still effective in its storytelling. I enjoyed this series as much if not more than the original web episodes. If you're a fan of the series or a gamer you may be interested in checking it out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quick TPB Review (Spoilers for Ex Machina)

I read the latest Ex Machina TPB (volume9, "Ring out the Old") and I have to admit, I was actually a little disappointed. But be warned, this post will contain spoilers

I have enjoyed this series and one thing I've actually liked about it was avoiding making the story about his superpowers and instead focusing on his role in politics and the people around him with the powers remaining in the background. So I enjoyed the first bit of this TPB that dealt with finding a comic team to tell his story in comic form or the environmentalist story but once it got into talk about magic cubes and preparing Earth for invasion I started to lose interest. I suppose they have to eventually reveal the secrets of his powers but it felt like the story was getting away from what I liked about it. I hope I'm wrong and the next volume changes my mind but we'll have to wait and see.

And please, if you're reading this monthly please avoid posting any spoilers in the comments.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another week with no reviews

I had no new books out this week but I did grab volume 2 of Atomic Robo. I'm not sure if I enjoyed this volume as much as the first but I still really enjoyed it. I found myself laughing quite a bit throughout (though it also had a few more serious or touching moments, like in the short stories in the end for example). The art, the writing, it's all really great. So it's official, I'll be picking this series up (in TPBs, I'm still planning to stop collecting individual issues once Buffy's done). I also lent volume 1 to a co-worker and it looks like he'll be picking up the series as well. So yeah, I recommend checking it out. And hey, they have free stuff to try on your iPhone (in the free Comixology app) or online at their site.

I also have the latest Ex Machina and volume one of Promethea to read.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 12th, 2010

I'll refrain from spoiling the big reveals this week. I only picked up one book, Incredible Hulk, but I also know what was revealed in the other Hulk book.

Incredible Hulk #609 -- Just to get this out of the way, the artwork (from Pelletier's pencils to the colours) was awesome. High energy and great expressive emotion. The writing was good as well and I enjoyed this issue but I'm still just rather tired of this World War Hulks storyline and the whole Red Hulk/Red She-Hulk stuff. I'm glad that after 3 years we finally have the answers but I don't care and it was just painful to go through (not in a "Oh, I need to know way", it was just painful to read what I felt were poorly written stories). As much as I like this issue I just can't recommend it as I don't really care for what's going on in the Hulk books.

And that's it. It also looks like I won't have any books to review next week. In other news, my shop is now selling their TPBs and hardcovers at 20% off the US price which is a huge deal. I guess it's their way of taking on Amazon and other online retailers. I'm definitely going to try to support them in their attempt.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fan Expo Canada 2010

I know it's a little sad just how excited I get for Fan Expo Canada but it's the only convention I get out to (the "comic conventions" in Ottawa consist mostly of stores selling their back issues, unless you are in to Manga/Anime, they have better conventions for those) so I have a full year of build up for it. And now that they are updating their guest lists on their website I'm getting more excited. The horror list didn't really do much for me but I'm not much of a horror fan. The sci fi list on the other hand, I am pretty stoked about. William Shatner, Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, James Marsters, Felicia Day,... It's going to be an expensive 3 days for me. Would it be too cheesy to get Felicia to sign a Codex sketch drawn by me? :)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for May 5th, 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #35 -- First off, thanks to some websites putting up a teaser image for issue #36 without hiding it behind spoiler notices the end of this issue was ruined. So thanks again for spoiling something in this series (though not as big as the Twilight reveal). *sigh* I've been tempted to stop reviewing this series because I really haven't been enjoying it but I do have to say, as a single issue this one felt a bit better than the last few. We finally get people actually trying to explain things instead of just speaking cryptically for 2 straight issues. And stuff actually happens. But I'm still not enjoying the story and the end just makes this feel more and more like fan-fiction. I'm actually happy that there's only 5 more issues to go and I just hope it gets turned around somehow.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Goats Webcomic

Jonathan Rosenberg has announced his 13 year old webcomic Goats will be going on hiatus until he figures out what he's going to do next. To be honest I've never read this webcomic but wow, 13 years is damn impressive. I find it sad every time a webcomic has to come to an untimely end because the creators just weren't able to find a source of continuous income, especially when it's clear that the creators have put as much effort into it as Jonathan has.

And I think Jon does bring up a good point, webcomics focusing on long running storylines often are harder to keep going financially. People looking through webcomics have so much to look at and they want that instant gratification instead of having to read through hundreds of pages to understand what's going on. And merchandise based on your comic (like t-shirts, prints, etc) may not do as well against the cute zombie kitten or whatever other novelty the next webcomic has. Not to mention that it will take quite a bit of your time and focus off your comic, always trying to keep in mind "How can I sell this on a t-shirt" while you're coming up with your next few pages.

I don't have any answers to this. Obviously we can't financially support every person who wants to make webcomics/comics for a living, and some really aren't good enough that they should be supported. But it would be nice if there was a slightly easier way for creators (writers in particular) to make a living without their webcomic taking a back seat to the t-shirts, prints, and whatever other merchandise they're currently relying on to make a living.

I guess I should just be happy that I have my full time job and wish Jon and all those other webcomic artists trying to make a living at it the best of luck.

A Couple of Fan Art Sketches

I've been wanting to do up some fan art for a while now but just haven't had the time. So I decided to cheat and double up the sketches. All characters are owned by their respective creators and were used without their permission.
First up we have Smash from the "Smash" webcomic by Chris and Kyle Bolton and the Araknid Kid from "The Araknid Kid" by Josh Alves (though Josh is currently working on Heropotamus at the moment).
And next we have Billy Butterman from Andy Belanger's Bottle of Awesome (hence the bottle) and Sam (as the Peanut Butter Genie, hence the peanut butter jar) from Caanan's Celadore (Caanan is current working on Max Overacts).

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Couple Quick Reviews

Going through my Free Comic Book Day pick ups (including the freebies and the ones I bought)...

WE3 -- I think you know where this story is going right from the start for the most part. The question does remain as to exactly how it will end though. And it does do a good job of going through the story. I'm not always a fan of Quitely's artwork but I enjoyed it for the most part here. I'd say it's worth checking out but it didn't really blow me away or anything.

Atomic Robo volume 1 and Free Comic Book Day issue -- I read a couple of the older Atomic Robo Free Comic Book Day comics on my iPhone and it seemed like a fun read. Sort of a less intellectual/spiritual Hellboy in my opinion. Both the free comic and the first volume were enjoyable with witty dialogue and nice artwork. I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll be picking up any more, perhaps if I need a book to put me over the $39 limit for free shipping on Amazon one of them may find their way into my order.

Mouse Guard Free Comic Book Day issue -- I've read elsewhere about how this book didn't really fit for kids which was a bit of an issue as it came with some Fraggle Rock stories. I do sort of agree, the narrative story telling was more for the older readers. I think it was great for older readers, it recapped the stories we've seen and led in to the stories to come, but coming with Fraggle Rock and being about little mice I think parents may have been a little surprised by it. Still, I enjoyed it.

Stuff of Legend -- I don't know if we really got to see much of where this story is going. We get a few character moments but nothing that gave me a real sense of "Oh, here's where the story is going in this chapter", at least nothing that really stuck with me. I'm still looking forward to this series continuing, I guess I was just hoping for more from this book. And that's probably unfair in some ways.

So that's it. Anyone else find anything of interest to them on Free Comic Book Day? How did the event go down in your area?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Quick Free Comic Book Day Follow Up

Back home from Free Comic Book Day. Just wanted to touch on something Caanan said in the comments section of my previous post. I understand stores are losing money on giving away these free comics, and I understand how frustrated they should be when people are coming in to grab stacks of the free comics never to be seen again (and not even thanking the store for the comics) so limiting the comics is understandable. Putting a limit of "You have to spend $10 to get one free book, $20 for two..." seems like it may be going too far. And really, if you want to bring in new readers to your store that's probably not the way to do it. You're almost guaranteeing that they won't be back.

Of the three shops I went to two of them were saying one copy of each book per customer which I felt was generous. One (the store I usually go to) did keep some of the free comics (the non-gold ones) behind their counter though and you had to ask for them. He said he did this because in previous years people came in grabbing every book they could but they really had no interest in all of them, they were just grabbing what they could. Limiting it to people who knew about them and asked for them seemed to limit that. I saw that first hand when I went to the other store, they had all their books out for grabbing and when I asked the owner about some of the non-gold books (Atomic Robo for instance) he said that they disappeared early. He bought a lot of them but not as much as the cheaper gold books and with everyone just grabbing everything they could they disappeared quickly.

The crowds were also very different. The local store was quiet as expected. Their advertising for the event consisted of two 8x10 pieces of pink paper in their windows with "Free Comic Book Day" in small print. The second (my usual shop) was also fairly quiet when I went in but the manager said he was getting steady business. It had a couple families in there shopping and it was cute to see the kids expressing interest in some comics. The third store was a mad house. They had a lot of people in costumes having their photos taken and there were a lot of families with a lot of kids in the free comic book area of the store (the front part). There were also a fair amount of people browsing the comics (further back in the store).

In the end, I ended up buying Atomic Robo volume 1 and We3. And of the free comics I got the Mouse Guard, Stuff of Legend, and Atomic Robo (which I ended up finding in the closest/quiet store).

Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Comic Book Day

In case you didn't know or forgot, tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. Details can be found here. I'll be dropping by my local shops to see what's going on. I'll be honest, I'm hoping to grab two free books in particular (the Mouse Guard one and the Stuff of Legend one) and since I feel bad just grabbing the books for free I'll probably find a graphic novel or two to buy. I feel a little mixed on grabbing the free comics. I know it's mostly to get new readers in to the stores and buying these books but I really want to read those two in particular.

There are three participating stores that I can get to with some ease (one is very easy, the other two are a bit of a trek) and I'm generally disappointed with two of them when it comes to Free Comic Book Day. Perhaps I just see what some stores do online with people coming in to sign or draw sketches and I should just be happy these stores are taking part but on the other hand I just get disappointed that they aren't really putting much effort in to getting more people into their stores.

The first is very close by and in a mall. I don't really get along with the owner so perhaps I'm biased but in the past he has limited his orders to the gold books for the most part but does order quite a few. He puts the comics on the counter inside his store and sometimes puts up the small sign in his window amongst all the sports memorabilia put up there. He then grumbles that he has so many left over. He's in a freakin' mall in a pretty high traffic area. Put the comics out front or at least the advertising of it in a prominent area where kids and parents can't miss it. He also has a lot of space out front of his store (in the mall) where he could be doing so much. People in costumes or something to advertise it. But comics don't seem to be a concern for him, they're his steady income but most of his store is sports memorabilia now.

The second is the store I normally shop at. It's out of my way but at least it's a comic store, as opposed to the first. They don't do very much either. Though maybe that's not fair. They'll have more prominent posters in their windows, they'll order more variety than the first store, and they'll usually put some of their toys and graphic novels on sale. But it doesn't really feel like an overly friendly or exciting place to go to. I find they rely on their core customers.

The third goes the extra mile. To start, I've been hearing advertisements on the radio for their two locations. They'll have people in costume like the Star Wars guys, maybe a couple other models in Supergirl/Wonder Woman costumes, and their staff usually dress up. And they have plenty of staff on hand which is nice. Their store is actually more open with space for these people to hang out and get pictures with the kids. The odd time they've had people (comic writers or B-movie directors) come in. I've also seen sales on their stuff for the day. It's open, it's friendly, and there's some excitement about shopping there. The only thing I might suggest is having some local comic artists (even if they aren't professional) doing free sketches for the kids or something.

I'll probably drop by all three shops, just to see what's going on this year. But I think the third store will win out again in my opinion even if it does cost them a bit in the short term (giving out more free comics than the others, though perhaps their increase in sales for that day compensates for it, I don't know). I hope more store owners go this route, actually putting the effort out there to attract customers by making comic buying a positive experience.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 28th, 2010

Before I get in to the reviews I just want to mention a new webcomic coming out by the name of Max Overacts. It's by Caanan who also did Celadore on Zuda comics. I had the pleasure of meeting Caanan in person at last year's Fan Expo Canada and got a great Hulk sketch from him. He's a great guy with a lot of talent and the cartoon is off to a strong start so go check it out.

Now on to the reviews, they'll be short though, I promise.

The Guild #2 -- So we get to see a bit more of how the Knights of Good came together and just where Cyd's real life relationship is going (we know where it's going to end up in the long run but there may be a twist or two on how we get there). Solidly written, good dialogue, nice art that tells the story effectively (in both the game and real world), and an all around good issue.

Hulked Out Heroes #2 (of 2) -- I really shouldn't have picked up this series. I knew I shouldn't but I did. I guess there may be a chuckle or two in there as the world gets re-worked but it's rather pointless. So not a bad book I guess but I just wish the Fall of the Hulks/World War Hulks stuff would go somewhere instead of spinning its wheels on this type of story. If you're looking for some silly Deadpool fun then you might enjoy this, I just regretted buying it as I'm not looking for that.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Few Links

Scott McCloud recently tweeted about a post on his site with an interesting video discussing Kick Ass. I was initially turned off by the blanket statements of comics being this or that (especially the negative "this and that"'s) but I thought it was also an interesting conversation in the end and I think several people made some good points. Do comics live up to their potential? I'd say no and I'd say no medium ever truly does or there wouldn't ever be any room for growth. And I'd also say if you limit yourself to reading a few popular books and writing off all comics as being like them then you're missing out on so much of the great work that is being done to explore that potential of comics. But I do appreciate people having a real conversation about comics.

The whole thing about "geeks inheriting the Earth" also raises a few issues for me that maybe I'll talk about later.

But I really want to point out the great comic he links to at the bottom and Luke Person's blog. I suspect I'll be spending quite a bit of time in the near future going through his archive of material.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 21st, 2010

Two books to review this week, Elephantmen #25 and Fall of the Hulks: The Savage She-Hulks #2.

Elephantmen #25 -- I understood that they brought in a lot of artists to celebrate their 25th issue but I was initially a little disappointed that the story was being told with splash pages. With that, it relied heavily on the narration. I think they pulled it off in the end and it was enjoyable but it also felt a little gimmicky, though I was also having flashbacks to the death of Superman so that might be why I'm saying that. It really did work better than I'm probably making it sound but I think if you were looking for the best way to tell this story it wouldn't be like this even if most of it was flashbacks to stuff we've already seen or known. Still a recommended pick up, it may serve well as a starting issue for some readers, and I still recommend this series to everyone.

Fall of the Hulks: The Savage She-Hulks #2 -- I think this issue felt a little stretched out for the story it contained. Perhaps we could have cut one or two of She-Hulk's flashbacks or Lyra's. Or just moved it along instead of having the two of them sitting around for the first half of the book. And when the action started we had a change in artist and I felt the first half was the stronger artistically. Having said that, the issue does move the story along giving us some information to what's going on and what some of the characters may be thinking. So I'm still looking forward to the final issue of this series despite my disappointment with the overall Fall of the Hulks storyline. Not really a highly recommended book for me but a good one nonetheless.

Another Positive I Forgot To Mention

I forgot to point out this video of Tim Gunn discussing Superhero Costumes courtesy of Project Rooftop (which I highly recommend following).

Now For Some Positives:

And since my last post was so negative, here are a few positive things of note (mostly comic). Warning, some of this is very old news but it's stuff I've been meaning to mention.

- Heropotamus, a webcomic by Josh Alves, continues to move along very well.

- Pre-order the print edition of Karl Kerschl's webcomic The Abominable Charles Christopher and get some bonuses. I've already pre-ordered the Master Edition which comes with a sketch. I'm not sure which character I'm hoping for with the sketch. Obviously Charles Christopher makes sense but there are lot of characters I like from this webcomic, the crazy bird for one.

- The deadline for the Harvey Award nominations is tomorrow and Valerie d'Orazio's Memoirs of an Occasional Superheroine is eligible. Not being a comics professional, I can't take part but I do have my favourites.

- Caanan posted some of his character designs for a superhero themed Zuda entry over on his blog. An incredibly talented artist with great character designs, I hope he gets a new ongoing comic soon.

- Stan Lee is coming to Fan Expo Canada, I'm really excited about this and I'm already hoping for an autograph (probably my Hulk Omnibus) and a photo. Yes, I do go for that sort of thing. Not for everyone but come on, it's Stan Lee. Of course I'm also looking forward to mingling with a few artists in artist alley again (though I expect to come out pretty empty handed on the sketches) and taking in a few more of the sketching duels.

- And despite my earlier comments about Montreal, considering the total overhaul of the team last summer they did pull it together enough to make the playoffs so even if they should lose the next game in Washington the season was not a complete bust and they did play hard. So congrats on that.

A Few Pet Peeves

Just wanted to rant for a bit, feel free to ignore. Here's a list of current pet peeves:

- A person starting a webcomic when they have 4 others that just stopped updating suddenly. I know some webcomic creators have to stop when paying jobs come up or what not but if you're starting a webcomic and you already have a bunch that you've already started with no resolution don't expect me to want to read this one because I'm not going to want to read something that's probably not going to finish when you lose interest in it. And if you are looking for a job, it's not a good sign if you can't see things through and at least give your story a proper ending instead of just giving up.

- Constantly asking for people to "retweet" on twitter. Seriously, most people on Twitter know how it works or learn rather quickly. You don't need to add "Please RT" to every one of your messages. Fine, if you are really trying to promote something (your webcomic, some charity thing, an amber alert, whatever) then maybe once in a while ask for a bit of help promoting it but if you say something to me and then add a "please RT" then you're just trying to boost your own friggin' ego hoping for more followers or whatever so please stop. And if it's part of everyone one of your messages then I'm just going to ignore you. Come to think of it, I have a few Twitter issues, perhaps I should make that a post on its own.

- Spammers. This one speaks for itself.

- People on the bus who refuse to move back to make room for more people getting on. If you're getting off at the next stop I can understand wanting to stay close to a door but try to allow others to get by. And if you aren't getting off soon then MOVE BACK!

- The Montreal Canadiens. You really have to make some changes for next year because the team you've got just ain't working. No size up front, inconsistent play, stupid penalties, turtling and then falling apart for the last 10 minutes, etc, etc. It's getting old. As a Habs fan I ask that you please fix this ASAP.

- Maple Leaf fans who gloat about Montreal losing in the first round of the playoffs. So where are the Leafs? Oh but they'll get a good first round pick right? Oh yeah, you traded that away already. And those who now deny being Leafs fans are worse, pick a team and stick with it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 16th, 2010

Only one review this week and it'll be a short one.

Hulked Out Heroes #1 (of 2) -- I should not have picked this book up and I knew it. I really did try to keep an open mind and there's nothing really badly done about this book, it's just that I have no interest in the story or the characters. I had hope that something in here would make me feel better about the World War Hulks but there really wasn't. I understand why some people are enjoying it, but it's just not for me. So with that, I think it would be unfair for me to really go in to any more detail.

And for the time being I'll be moderating comments to this blog. I really hate spammers and I don't want their posts making it on here. Though the spam software yesterday was hitting some very old posts that nobody would actually be looking at anyways. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Due to a recent spamming of this blog I've changed the commenting settings temporarily.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Some quick iPhone thoughts

A couple weeks back I decided to enter in to the new age and get an iPhone. I figured that the monthly rate wasn't much more than what I was paying for my cell phone which didn't have any of the bells and whistles (didn't even have a camera or adjustable sound levels, yes, it was a piece of crap). So what was the first thing I did? Searched for games. But after that, it was comic time. I decided to try out two apps, the Marvel app and Comixology. Yeah, pretty much the same thing I know. But different content. And yes I realize that with the iPad out (in the US at least) I'm already behind in the tech.

I had read through some of Darkness/Pitt #1 on a friend's iPhone a while back. This time I went with Spider-Man #546 on the Marvel app and Box13 (all the chapters) on the Comixology one. I won't go in to a review of them, this is just about the reading experience for me.

Overall I found that they really tried to make the reading experience as good as they could and it was okay. But with the Spider-Man issue and especially the Darkness/Pitt (which had so much detail from Dale Keown in such large panels) I felt the experience just wasn't as good. It was clear that the book was meant to be read as a full page and I don't think anything the iPhone can do could make up for that. I don't think I'd mind reading a few books like this but for the books I really want to experience in all their wonder (Fables, Elephantmen, Invincible, etc) I just can't see myself reading them this way. Box13 on the other hand was made with the iPhone in mind (as far as I know at least) so the panels fit nicer, you didn't have to turn the iPhone back and forth (vertical/horizontal) as often (I know some readers don't mind, I think anything that takes me out of the reading experience is not good), and as it went on it seemed it started to take more and more advantage of being on the iPhone.

So for me, I can take reading some originally print comics (ie. comics that were made for print and then transferred to the iPhone) on the iPhone, where I just want to see what happens basically. But comics made specifically for the iPhone I find easier to read on the device. But here's the thing, does anyone really care? A lot of people seem to have already made up their minds that they want their comics on the iPhone and discount any difference in reading them on their as compared to the print versions (and for some people this is quite likely true, I have learned over and over again that I often have a far too critical eye when I'm reading a comic). Other have already decided that print is the only option for them. And really, who am I to try to convince them otherwise. They like what they like.

Now a lot of the issues I have with reading comics on the iPhone can be fixed by going to an iPad but you still have some differences between print/digital. I can't remember who tweeted it but one comic writer mentioned the iPad helping those writers who couldn't time their big reveals to even page numbers. So friends have been assuming I'll be going with an iPad. The truth is I won't. At least that's the plan. Currently my life is mostly sitting at work (with several computers including a laptop) or sitting at home (most often with my laptop and cintiq with my TV on) or on the bus (with my iPhone). I recognize that for some people there's a gap between their laptop and cell/smart phones but for me, I just don't see it at the moment. And so I just can't justify spending the money on something I'll use only occasionally to read comics. That's not to discount the iPad, I think it's a great step forward and I'm somewhat jealous of those who have one or will be getting it. I just don't see myself owning one.

Anyway, that's just some ramblings I wanted to get out of my head. There's more but I doubt very many people have read this far. :) And yeah, I am still wondering if Longbox Digital or something else can fill some of my comic reading via the laptop instead of the iPhone. But reading comics on the iPhone did seem a little nicer than when I've read on my laptop.

And as a warning, with my weekly comics purchasing at such a low I'll probably be posting more of these ramblings from time to time.

Weekly Comic Reviews for April 7th, 2010 -- SPOILERS

Two reviews this week and be warned, I did not like either of them, at all...

World War Hulks #1 (of 1) -- I knew going in to this book that it wouldn't feature Banner or the Hulk or even the Red Hulk (who I hate so I don't know if that would have been better) so I was a little reluctant to pick it up to begin with. I should have skipped it. It felt like a weak book that didn't really build up the story going in to World War Hulks. I didn't feel like it progressed any of the stories (other than maybe the Dead/Hulk-pool one) or gave me any useful information on the characters. The Red She-Hulk one seemed especially annoying as it's hard to feel for a character you don't even know. Die hard Hulk fans (of which I used to be) may get something out of it but I'd say skip it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #34 -- The much talked about issue due to the somewhat graphic content. The Buffy/Angel stuff felt like softcore fanfic and the conversation between Giles et al just felt non-Buffy-ish. I can't believe that between Angel, Giles, and Willow they've spread this babbling on for what, an issue and a half now? And for what reason? Giles has a history of rambling a bit but normally we get Xander or Willow there to break it down moments later. This feels like the characters are just dragging it out to torture the reader (or give people looking for the Buffy/Angel hookup more time). Personally, I was really disappointed with this issue and feel the story really isn't coming together yet. I still hope it does but I'm not as optimistic as I was. And it's too bad as I felt Meltzer had a better start than some of the other writers who've worked on this series.

So yeah, a rather disappointing week for me. Perhaps I should have picked up the SHIELD book or the Thor and the Warriors Four, both of which I've heard good things about. I know the SHIELD book was sold out at my comic store, not sure about the Thor book but I didn't notice it.

Monday, April 05, 2010

More reviews -- Planetary

So I finished reading Planetary (re-reading volumes 1 through 3 and then reading volume 4). I have to say to start that it's a beautiful series to read. The entire art team starting with Cassaday really does a great job. The writing is a bit mixed for me. Some parts of the story I love, other parts don't necessarily do it for me. But really, that's to be expected. On the one hand, there was some really interested parts to it but on the other, I'm not always a big fan of this sort of story where so much is based on other comic characters and stories. I find I get distracted looking to see who each of the characters or stories are different versions of, whether it's the FF, the Hulk, Galactus, or whoever else, and I get taken out of the story. This happened with this series for me, possibly less so on the second reading though. I think it's a series I may recommend to some but I wasn't really blown away by it (other than some really spectacular artwork at times).

Friday, April 02, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for March 31st, 2010

Yet again, only one book to review this week. Despite my dislike of one-shots I decided to pick up the She-Hulk Sensational after seeing that it had a story featuring Stan Lee written by Peter David. Sooo....

She-Hulk Sensational #1 (of 1) -- The first story (the above mentioned Peter David portion) was just fun. You had the classic breaking of the fourth wall, special appearances by Spidey and Dan Slott, and artwork that I felt fit the mood of the story. Peter David can tell a fun story and it works here. The second story felt a little more like filler. It wasn't really an anniversary story so much and felt a little awkward right from the point where they had to tell you where the story fit in relation to Secret Invasion. But having said that, it wasn't a bad story and it was well done. And besides, we already had Peter David's "anniversary story", did we need another one? I guess not. Then there was a John Byrne issue that to be honest, I haven't read yet. I didn't read the series back then and I'm not sure I'm interested in a single issue plucked out of it (though I'm hoping this is a stand alone issue). Overall, it was an enjoyable issue especially given my usual dislike for the one-shots. Not overwhelmingly good but I think fans of She-Hulk will enjoy it.

I picked up volume 4 of Planetary as well but I think I'll go back to re-read the first three volumes before reading it. Hopefully I get some time over the weekend to do that.

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for March 24th, 2010

Just the one book this week.

The Guild #1 -- I was a little worried going in to this book because I wasn't sure what to expect. I find it can be very hit or miss when a celebrity writer does their first comic. Sometimes their inexperience with the medium really shows, at least for me. That was not the case here. There were quite a few scenes that were done very well, that took advantage or at least were written for the comic format. The art was effective, it fit the story with the different styles working well between the "real word" and the game world. I think I may have been looking for a bit more of a distinction between the two (not really sure what, maybe different borders or a more contrast colour palette) but it was effective as is. The story had a good mix of highs and lows to keep the reader feeling for Cyd and wanting to see what comes next (even if we know things won't end well in some respects). Definitely a must read for fans of the show, and I'd say it's good enough to stand as an intro for those who haven't watched the show.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Comic Reviews

I think Jimmy Corrigan is going to take me a little while longer to read than most books. There's a lot to take in there. So last night I took a break from it and read Astounding Wolf-Man volume 3 and Irredeemable volume 2. The Irredeemable review will contain SPOILERS, though I'll try to keep them to a minimum.

Astounding Wolf-Man volume 3 -- I started this series because I'm really enjoying Invincible but there's just something missing here. I just can't get in to the story as easily or really connect with the characters like I can with Invincible. This isn't that I'm using Invincible as the measuring stick for what I'll read, it's just that overall I can't really get into this series that much. It's interesting and enjoyable enough I suppose but it's not really something where I'm eager for the next volume. In fact, if the series wasn't ending with issue 25 I'd probably have stopped picking it up but now I'm a little curious to see how it finishes off. It's still a good comic and probably worth checking out, I just don't think it makes my reading list.

Irredeemable volume 2 -- I enjoyed the first volume more than I expected to. This one had me hooked up until the Plutonian's tipping point was revealed. There was such a build up to the story and you really saw the Plutonian's mental state getting pushed to the edge but then the scene with Samsara popped in and it just felt a little off. I know it was everything else going on and the Samsara thing was just the straw that broke the camel's back but without a build up of the relationship between the two of them or even just Samsara that straw felt extra weak. It was disappointing given everything else that's going on in his life. The scenes with the Plutonian talking to the people through the TVs, radios, etc was pretty scary though. This book does a great job of really giving you a sense of fear and horror, and that may be why the Samsara stuff just felt a bit off. I'm interested in volume 3 and still recommend checking this book out (at least for the first volume, don't write it off too early) but we'll see where it goes from there.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for March 17th, 2010 -- SPOILERS

Again, just one book this week. Be warned though, the review may contain spoilers for the Fall of the Hulks.

Incredible Hulk #608 -- Not reading the other Hulk book kind of hurt here with the events taking place at the same time but I refuse to pick that book up. It wasn't a total wash though, this book was still easy enough to follow (ie. the Red Hulk failed). And the set up for the upcoming "Hulked Out Heroes" wasn't as bad as I was expecting. This issue had a nice number of twists and turns, and flowed nicely. Every aspect of the art, from the pencils to the colours, was really well done. I really would love to see Pelletier become the regular Hulk artist. The story is still not blowing me away but it looks like it's going somewhere interesting.

I guess that's all I have to say on that. Next up on my reading list is Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LongBox Digitial Public Beta

LongBox Digital went "Public Beta" yesterday so I immediately downloaded it to my new macbook pro. Rich Johnston over on Bleeding Cool has a good rundown of his initial use of the application, much of it applies to my first use but I figured I'd comment on it a bit more here.

After creating my account I went to check out ordering and reading a book. It all seems easy enough though there is not much there to begin with (I understand why and hope more will be coming soon) so I decided to give the Darkness a try. I didn't really want to experiment much with the viewer, I'm not really the kind to play around much with software, so I just found settings that seemed to work enough for me (which didn't take too long) and started reading. The reading experience wasn't bad though there were a few times where it was obvious the page layouts were either designed for a long page or just not all that good (and these may have been highlighted more by reading it here). But in a way, I'm not really expecting a perfect reading experience here, just something good enough that I can give some comics a quick read to see if I'm interested in picking up the series in TPB or to catch up on some one-shots that I usually think are over-priced for the content they deliver.

So my initial experience hasn't turned me off and I'm really looking forward to updates (both to the software and the books available).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for March 10th, 2010

Let's just get right to it shall we...

Elephantmen #24 -- It's been a little while since the last issue so it took me a bit before I could really get back into the story and everything that's been going on. The beginning narration, explaining the devices implanted in the Elephantmen was helpful and interesting, I just don't know if that much narration (when combined with the initial radio dialogue) made the first few pages a little too word heavy. I think I could re-read that portion and think it went well one day and feel totally different the next. In the end, it just is. Getting to the point, we have the start of what promises to be an emotional storyline for Hip and Ebony as well as a couple other stories getting massaged a bit. More solid writing, solid artwork (both in appearance and storytelling)... My reviews of this series really are sounding like a broken record at times. :)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


At some point on the weekend (while I was dealing with a nasty sickness that you really don't need/want to hear the details of) Divine Leap hit 100,000 page views. I had mentioned it in my author comments on last week's page and for a few days it looked like I jinxed it as my daily page views dropped to below my average but a weekend push put me over.

I've had mixed feelings about this "milestone" but now I think I need to say "screw it" and just embrace it. I've been way too depressed about, well, pretty much most things and I know people are getting tired of it. I know I am. So in that spirit, I will be doing a special "Thank you for the 100K page views" sketch and I'll be taking suggestions for this sketch (either here or on the Divine Leap page or email or however) up until midnight Friday. After it's done (hopefully this weekend) I will post it and then send it out to the person who suggested it if they want it.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for March 3rd, 2010

I decided to pick up the first issue of the Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks series, so two reviews for this week.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #33 -- I thought things were improving with this series, this issue brought me back down again. I will admit, I'm upset with the Twilight reveal and wasn't too happy going in to this issue. And it made the first part drag on as I knew the reveal. Then the second half of the book just seemed to be a lot of confusing dialogue because you can't have the characters just come out and say what's going on can you? There were a few moments that made me smile or felt Buffy-ish but all in all, a fairly disappointing issue for me.

Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks #1 -- I admit it, I didn't like the idea of Lyra taking on the title of "She-Hulk" but I have been pleasantly surprised. So even though I haven't been impressed with Fall of the Hulks so far I decided to give this series a try. On the one hand, I like the characters and felt the writing was good. On the other hand, for me, it's still tainted by the Fall of the Hulks storyline. I do have to say, the good outweighs the bad for me on this one so I'll be picking up the rest of this series.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Walking Dead Volume 11

After a few issues with Amazon I finally got volume 11 of the Walking Dead. The revolving door of characters can be a positive (giving new perspective and keeping it from getting stale) and a negative (at least for me in that it's been so long since volume 10 that I can't remember who's who). So it took me a few pages to get back up to speed in this volume. I really enjoy this story for the character moments and their interaction with one another in the face of the horrors around them (zombies and others). On the one hand the story of what was happening with this latest group they come to meet didn't really do much for me. It was definitely horrific but with everything else in this series, I guess I must be desensitized to it. But the levels it pushes the main characters to is extremely emotional and the last few pages really bring it to a head and is really well done by both, writer and artist. Now I just have to wait for the next volume to come out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Asterios Polyp review

So yes, I continue to pick up books that people seem to be putting high in their "comics of the past year" lists. "Asterios Polyp" was one that seemed to be popping up a lot so I decided to give it a look. Here's my quick review of it.

One of the best books I've read in a while. And I've been reading some good books lately. Yes, I suppose that I may be basing this slightly on the fact that I love the comic medium and this book really illustrates a wide range of things you can do in that medium and I just loved seeing that done with a story I could enjoy. It's really a great story of interesting characters told amazingly well. Normally I don't read books twice or if I do there's a large gap between readings. This one I plan to start reading again this evening just to absorb more of the work and see details in the story and art that I may have missed the first time.

Now I know this book won't work for everyone. Not everyone will enjoy reading a book like this but I absolutely loved it.

So that's it. I may or may not make it to the comic store tonight. I don't think I have any books this week anyways so this may be my one review of the week. But we'll see.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for February 17th, 2010 -- May Contain SPOILERS

A whopping one book for me this week, which may be one more than I'll be picking up next week.

The Incredible Hulk #607 -- On the positive side, I am enjoying some of the intellectual dueling between Leader, Modok, Pym, Banner, etc, etc, the dialogue and twists and turns are great there. And the art is absolutely beautiful stuff. But there still seems to be something missing for me. I'm not even picking up all the books of this event (no "Hulk" and no "Red Hulk") and it already feels like it's dragging. This is just the prelude to the whole "War of the Hulks" stuff and I don't think that can come soon enough for me (though from what I've seen of the post-Fall of the Hulks books I'm not so sure what I'll think of the books). As for the She-Hulk second story, that felt painful to me. Having the characters talk in such a way as to avoid saying who she is as well as the Red Hulk (or making really lame excuses for not saying it) turned me right off that one. I'm sticking with the books I'm picking up for now but the Fall of the Hulks is not really winning me over yet and it wouldn't make my recommended reading list.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Reviews

I polished off two more books while watching some of the Olympics. So let's have some quick reviews shall we...

Blankets -- A beautifully illustrated very touching story. I'd put this one in my highly recommended/possible must-read stack of books. One of the best books I've read in quite a while, and I've been reading some really good books (in my opinion).

The Great Fables Crossover -- I wasn't sure how I felt about the Literals and such, and in a way, I still don't. But I still really enjoyed this story. The characters are all great, the story is interesting, and it's all written and drawn very well. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the ending, usually I feel a bit of disappointment but not here. Fables and Jack of Fables continue to be on my recommended reading list.

And that's all I can afford at the moment as it's back to work for me. Currently sitting on top of my "To Be Read" pile: Asterios Polyp.

Friday, February 12, 2010

No Comic Reviews for the February 10th, 2010

I don't think any books came out for me this week and I can't make it down to the store anyways, I haven't left work early enough for me to make the trek downtown in time before the store closes.

So talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic: The Olympics, will you be watching any of it?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Extra Reviews

Two things I did over the weekend were watch the Planet Hulk DVD and read "Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter" by Darwyn Cooke. So why not do a couple quick reviews.

Planet Hulk -- This movie jumps right in to the middle of things which I was a little surprised at but does someone who hasn't read the books really need to know more than "You're a danger, we're sending you off planet, Nuff said"? It does tweak a few things, dropping stuff here and there and picking up a few new things. But in general it does stick nicely to the original storyline. The animation is good, the story is good, and I enjoyed it. Non-Hulk fans may be wondering who this green talking guy is but I liked that they at least left him intelligent. I'd say it's worth checking out.

"Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter" by Darwyn Cooke -- I've really enjoyed some of Darwyn Cooke's other works and I've heard quite a bit of positive feedback on this one so I decided to give it a try. I wasn't disappointed. Cooke really has a lot of talent to adapt his art and storytelling to different genres. The story is interesting with enough twists and turns to keep your interest. I really enjoyed this so I'll most likely be looking to pick up the next volume. It may not be for everyone though, I do have to say that.

And that's it for now. :)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Weekly Comic Reviews for February 3rd, 2010

Well, I had one book come out this week. It doesn't look like I have any for next week but it's all good because some of the TPBs I ordered are starting to come in. So I'll just review those... And maybe a few webcomics or something.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #32 -- Right away I felt this book was written by someone who is more adept at writing for the comics medium. It just felt smoother, more right, and easier to read. As for the story, it felt a bit like a first issue and a slow one at that. Some jokes get dragged out a bit, they introduce us to the new status quo in some ways but also feel a bit long. And there's the Kittty Pryde humour that was a little too in your face in my mind considering it may have missed the mark on a fair amount of the audience. Having said all that, it did feel like a better issue than it has been and I did enjoy it. The art didn't really blow me away and I felt there was a few areas where it could have been better but overall, it told the story effectively. In the end, I think this gives me hope for Meltzer's run on the book.

And on the TPB side of things...
Chew Volume 1 -- A lot of people seemed to be saying how great this series was so I decided to give it a try. When I first heard the general idea I thought it was somewhat interesting but wondered where they'd go with it. I was pleasantly surprised with the direction it took. The series is well written and has a lot of unique ideas to it (and some only "mildly unique", but still good). The book and story flows well and keeps your interest throughout. And the art style definitely fits the book, it has a lot of energy and it tells the story very effectively. So a very solid book and definitely worth some praise. And yet in the end, I don't know if I was completely sold on it. I'm not sure what it was, the writing was good and the art was solid, yet I'm not completely sold on picking up another volume. I may if I'm looking for something to read but I guess in the end, the story just wasn't something I was looking to read, at least at the moment. It's a book I'd recommend reading but I'm not sure if I'll continue or not. If that makes any sense. :)