Monday, December 31, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me

"Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me" by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman -- I was a little late to Harvey Pekar's work but I quickly fell in love with his American Splendor once I checked it out. Some of his other work hasn't connected quite as well with me but it's usually an interesting read. This book was very interesting to me. The subject matter is obviously a very delicate matter with a lot of complexity to it but Harvey boils it down to how he sees things. He's an avid reader and definitely knows more than many on the subject but perhaps not as much as we all should. But it's how sees things and that's what Harvey Pekar is all about. It's not meant to be a complete history, it's just his views. So perhaps you could argue some points but what I find interesting is that the negative reviews of this book tend to fall right in with what Harvey describes in his book. Just speaking his mind is met with so much hostility. But I'll avoid going in to a rant on that. If you want to look into the history and everything else, go elsewhere but be prepared for doing a lot of research. And be prepared to have to go through much misinformation for some very grey answers, not everything is black and white. But if you're interested in actually listening to Harvey Pekar's view then read this book. And I think it's worth at least listening to him with an open mind.

And as for JT Waldman, his art is sensational in this book. The varying styles, the details, the layouts, and the flow are all really well done.

Then there's the epilogue written by Harvey's wife, Joyce Brabner. It's a very touching piece that does tie in with the book in its own way. The day Harvey Pekar left us was truly a very sad day for comics.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Prophet Volume 1

I didn't really do my homework when buying volume 1 of Prophet, I didn't even know it was continuing the old Prophet series from Image. I just saw it on a some of the "best of 2012" lists.

Prophet Volume 1 - I can see why some people are loving this book. It's hardcore science fiction with some interesting ideas and some very different art (that seems to fit the book for the most part). But I can also see why it doesn't work for others. The ideas are kind of weird and not always easy to follow. And the art isn't really for everyone. In the end, I fall somewhere in the middle. I appreciate the work that went into it and I can see the positives. But, although I could see the positives it's not a series that really works for me. So, it might be worth taking a look at for some people but I won't be continuing with this series.

New Comics Reviews - December 26th, 2012

I went to the comic shop for Hip Flask: Ouroborous but I have to admit that I also got caught up in all the Spidey talk and decided to give Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avenging Spider-Man #15.1. And here are my thoughts.

Hip Flask #4: Ouroborous -- This one was a long time coming, re-reading the first 3 issues probably wouldn't have been a bad idea especially given that this issue explains a lot of what happened/what's going on. It has a lot of story crammed into it and sometimes it's a little difficult to keep things straight. Even the characters themselves have a bit of a hard time with it, but you'd have to read it for yourself to see what I'm talking about. In the end, it's a finely written story with some great art and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all comes to an end in the last issue. I just hope the last issue doesn't take quite as long as this one.

Amazing Spider-Man #700 -- I'm going to try to concentrate on reviewing this comic as objectively as I can. Most people know what happens in this issue (the news spread rather quickly yesterday) and I don't really want to get bogged down in the usual fanboy love/hate thing. So putting aside my feelings about the outcome I think the story was well executed. It was written well for the most part and the art was nice. It was frustrating how obvious the whole "Otto in Spidey's body" thing seemed, especially in his dialogue. You wanted to shout "Come on people, he doesn't even sound like Spidey!" But I think that's part of the experience for the reader. We know what's happening and maybe we even hear Peter's dialogue in Otto's voice (given his word choice) but would any of the characters really think much of it? Probably not. So, I felt it was a solid issue. Was it worthy of Peter Parker's final hurrah? In that way I'd say no. But then again, people are already taking bets as to how long this status quo will last.

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 -- This epilogue to Amazing Spider-Man felt just like that, a short epilogue that really didn't feel like a full issue on its own. I'd say it was "okay" but seemed so long and drawn out while not really giving us much story. We only caught snippets of why he's building goggles into his mask but I saw nothing about the claws in his toes. But those things seemed random and thrown in just because. I almost wish they had included some flashbacks, having Otto seeing previous Spider-Man battles in his new memories and explaining his reasoning behind the "upgrades". Even the battle with his old battle bots could have included something, but at least that part did focus on Otto's changing attitude/view towards Parker.

So, having read these two Spidey issues where does that leave things for me? One thing I can say is that having seen just a bit of the new Otto/Spider-Man it's not a character I want to read about. Right now, he's not a hero. He "killed" Peter Parker to take his place and is lying to everyone (which results in a kiss with Mary Jane that many people are focusing on). Watching him try to grow to become a hero is of no interest to me because I don't want to see him become a hero. I just want him to go away. Him being there is just a reminder of what he did to get that position and what he's continuing to do. But then again, I wasn't reading Spider-Man to begin with so no big loss there.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quick Comic Review - The Walking Dead Volume 17

Don't worry, once the holidays are over I will be slowing down on these quite review posts. But for now...

The Walking Dead Volume 17 - The entire time I was reading this volume I was thinking that this series has run its course for me. The series started off with an interesting premise but at this point, I just don't want to read about the latest psychotic sicko that Rick and his group have to deal with. I'll admit that it ended at such a point where I was interested to see what was going to happen next (being vague to avoid spoilers) but I'm not sure I really want to spend the time/money finding out. At this point, I'd say I'm done with this comic (though I will read the Road to Woodbury novel) and I'll just stick to the TV show (for now).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Fairest Volume 1: Wide Awake

It always feels like forever between volumes of Fables. Fortunately, there are often other Fables books to fill some of that gap. This time it's...

Fairest Volume 1: Wide Awake - I'm rarely disappointed with Fables, I'd probably rank even the worst Fables volume as "very good". This one is definitely well above that level, it's pretty great. Maybe not the best but great nonetheless. I wasn't sure if this would be essential reading for Fables fans in terms of quality and in terms of the story (needing to know what happens here when reading the regular Fables book) and I'd say definitely yes on both accounts. I do think new readers could even pick up this book but you'll get a lot more out of it having read the main book. The art (pencilled mostly by Phil Jimenez) is wonderful and really matches the Fables world and this story. The last issue dealing with the Beast (not Jimenez) also has a great look to it that fits that story. In the end, it's another great Fables outing.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quick Comic Review - Chew Volume 6: Space Cakes

Trying to keep to my promise of more comic reviews, here's my first...

Chew Volume 6: Space Cakes -- Looking back at my review of the first volume I wasn't sure then if I'd continue reading this series. I thought it was good but maybe just not for me. I don't know what changed but I'm really enjoying this series and I'm so glad I continued reading. It's got a nice combination of comedy and action with just the right amount of drama. This volume centres mostly around Tony Chu's sister, Toni Chu, with a bit of Poyo thrown in and it's pretty great. Can't wait for volume 7.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Is Almost Over

Well, another year comes to an end and it's been quite the year. It started off with me losing my job of 9 years and that was just the start of the ups and downs. But hey, I was able to finish off volume 1 of the Bluenoser so that's something right? I attended the first "Ottawa Comiccon" and really enjoyed it (was excited to meet Richard Starkings but was disappointed to miss Herb Trimpe). I thought it was well organized and I look forward to seeing how they follow up in 2013. And of course, there was Fan Expo but that's all documented here. Fan Expo will be adding sports cards/memorabilia and athletes to the line up next year which could be interesting to see how that goes. I was a collector (mostly cards) many years ago but now it just doesn't appeal to me. But the more the merrier I suppose. Especially now that they're taking over the North and South buildings.

And while we're talking about 2013, let's get to the comics of 2012 (this will make sense in a minute, I promise). There will be some books I'll be missing in 2013 as they ended in 2012. Books like DMZ, iZombie, and Scalped (which I haven't read yet, it's on my Christmas list). But there are some new (and old but new to me) books that I'll be looking for like Astro City, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Saga, the Manhattan Projects, and I'm really looking forward to checking out Mark Waid's "Indestructible Hulk". And, of course, we still have Fables (and "Fairest"), Invincible, Walking Dead, Elephantmen, Powers, Chew, Sweet Tooth (for now), Locke & Key (for now), Atomic Robo, The Sixth Gun, and Mouse Guard among my reading list so I'm looking at having a lot to read next year. Although some of the above may not actually have another book out until 2014. And there will probably be the odd gem that gets added as the year goes on.

So what else did we have in 2012? We had Amazing Spider-Man #700 causing a ruckus (nothing that new for comic geeks). We had the "Fake Geek" stuff come up yet again, but getting that much uglier. We had the Avengers movie (which I feel Joss Whedon delivered on perfectly) and the Dark Knight Rises (I really can't get behind Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, this one was better than I thought it would be but still not really a thumbs up for me). There was "Before Watchmen" comics. More digital vs print/future of comics talk (it's gotten to the point where just thinking about the discussion makes my head hurt) and the usual behind the scenes drama that comic geeks (like me) that have no clue what's really happening (still like me) can't seem to turn away from. So all in all a pretty solid year I'd say.

And where does this leave me in 2013? Well, for one thing I will want to be more active with this blog but maybe with short blurbs/reviews. As much as I like Twitter I think it would be better for me to post some of that here so it doesn't just get lost in all the other tweeting going on. I may even have a few reviews to post before 2012 closes out (but no promises). But what I will be refraining from posting are any thoughts that come to me on the "future of comics" or "print vs digital" or whatever comics controversy comes up. I have several reasons for this which I won't go into, this post is already getting too long as it is. And no, there won't be a future post on it, it's just the way things are going to be around here. And maybe there will be some more posts about the Bluenoser. And on that note, I'll end this post with the current page I'm working on:

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


I don't know if breaking up the Bluenoser into volumes was a good thing or not. From a story perspective it sort of made sense. This first volume set the story and characters and the second volume moves on from there. And on a personal note, I needed the break. I was feeling pretty burnt out and needed the time to take a break, come up with a plan of attack for volume 2, and design/redesign some characters. But now that I need to get back to drawing it's actually been rather tough.

Now part of the problem is that volume 2 doesn't really start with a bang, action-wise at least, and that makes the pages not quite as interesting to draw. And I do regret that in a way, I think each page should pack a visual punch (literally or not). But I decided to start off with a story that just didn't have that. And who knows, the people commenting on DrunkDuck actually tend to comment more on the less action packed story pages and not so much on the action ones so maybe it won't be so bad (for the readers at least).

The other thing this gap has done is given me the time to second guess whether I should even be continuing the comic or not. That feeling has always been there, especially when some of the pages were taking up a lot of time or I notice the number of comments/feedback I'm getting dropping, and I find that when I stop it's hard for me to get going again. Just too many excuses.

But having said all that, I've started to push through the first page and I find the more I push through the better my motivation is getting. I just have to keep pushing through.