23 March, 2011

What I Read Last Month…

Well, I’m already running late, so really…
What I read the month before last…

January 2011

Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol 5. (DC Comics, reprinting material from 1979-1980.) By Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, George Pérez, and others.
I read this only because of the Pérez contribution (and because someone gave the TPB to me), but I was also quite excited to see that the majority of the seven issues reprinted were by Dick Dillin, whose work I quite like. Unfortunately the stories here were the last that Dillin ever did and it looks like he may have been past his prime. The reproduction left quite a bit to be desired as well.
One of the most interesting things about the volume is the amazing difference to the feel, pacing, and excitement of the last story once Pérez took over one third through. A real changing of the guard I think, from someone who was rooted in the 60s, regardless of how slick and modern he had become, to someone who was really taking flight in the 80s.

Radical SDCC 2010 Preview. (Radical Comics)
This I picked up for free at San Diego Comic Con last July. It's mostly comprised of about two dozen double-page spreads showcasing Radical's upcoming projects, including one by Australian Wayne Nichols.
By about halfway through I was pretty well over the relentless barrage of same-old-same-old high-concepts and accompanying Photoshopped art. Some of this art was good, but my suspicion that the level of finish exhibited couldn't be carried through the story pages was mostly proven by the few panelled pages shown.
I'm not being jingoistic or unnecessarily patriotic when I say one of the few concepts that piqued my interest was the project Wayne is attached to: Ryder on the Storm. I hope it's successful enough to get trade paperback printing, because that's how I'd like to read it.

Mucha Lucha #2 (2003) (DC Comics)
A comic that my kids were throwing out that I saved when I remembered a couple of Aussies created the Cartoon Network show that it was based on. I thought they might have worked on the comic as well, and indeed they did! Lili Chin drew the cover and Eddie Mort wrote the story.
It's pretty standard kids' fare I guess, especially for a comic based on a cartoon show. I've never really watched the show so I don't know how it compares.

Troy's Tales #s 2, 3, and 5.
Troy Mingramm was kind enough to give me this reprinted collection of a lot of his work from the 90s when I ran into him at Graphic in Sydney last August.
They're certainly an interesting peek into a life that is far removed from anything I've ever lived.
Extremely naive and basic drawing style, depicting very straightforward and honest autobio tales.

Romanticide and Anting the Killer Ant + Sunburner.
At the same time Troy also gave me reprinted copies of these, his collaborations with Ryan Vella, both written by Troy, both illustrated by Ryan. I really liked Ryan's style at this stage of his development, individual and quirky enough to be really interesting, but also seeming to strive towards something more slick, polished or finished. He still had a way to go, but his figure and face work were really interesting and were showing their superhero influences, but not being ruled by them.
The writing of both stories tends to lose steam in a big way by the end. They both have evidence of "Ahhh stuff it!" syndrome, as if they've become bored with their own creation. It's a shame particularly in the case of Romanticide because that actually held my interest for the majority of its pages.

Groovy Gravy #7 (1993) and #12 (2010)
An old underground-y type anthology originally from the 90s that looked to start re-publishing last year. Not sure if they got past this initial relaunch issue in #12. The best part about it was definitely Mr. J's wonderful strips, but there are other chuckles here and there.

Lumpen #5, by Pat Grant.
There's a full review of this one coming, but suffice to say that this is a fabulous fabulous cartooned celebration of living in a squalid mess.

Heartland, by Brendan J. Boyd.
I was extremely grateful to Brendan for giving me a copy of this otherwise $30 collection of all the Heartland work he's done over the years. It also includes a CD with Brendan's original compositions that act as a soundtrack for the work.
This is an extremely personal set of stories and poems that are very romantic, spiritual, philosophical and introspective in nature. The lead piece, which is a longer, story-type piece, is much more successful than the shorter, more poem-like pieces that follow. The longer piece really explores the subject and feelings at hand, and actually takes the reader on a bit of a journey. The others seem to tread over the same ground again, but without any meat or conclusion. Fortunately, there's another piece near the end, longer than most but not as long as the opening, that acts as a very nice tie-up for the book as a whole.
The art is adequate for the tone and style of the narratives and poems, being a little naive and clunky, but also open and inviting, having a wholly enjoyable and appropriate rustic feel.

Gemini #4 (of 5) ( mage Comics, July 2009)
It's a long time between issues on this series, and the final issue is yet to see print a year after this one. Never the less, I've really enjoyed everything I've read so far of this superhero series with a twist. It has a very good, and as far as I know unique, premise that really floored me when it was revealed. The whole thing will make for a really good read if it's ever collected as a TPB. That being said, unfortunately this is probably the weakest issue as far as story and character development goes.
Jon Sommariva, an Aussie of no little talent, does the pencilling and inking on Gemini, and he's turned his fun, cartoony, graffiti-inspired art style up to 11 for this series.
It's all great fun, so pick up the single issues if you see them, but be sure to pick up the trade if that ever happens.

Go Boy 7 Vol 2. (Dark Horse’s Rocket imprint. Reprinting issues 5-8 from 2004)
The art in this is also by Jon Sommariva, although a few years earlier. I assume this was meant to be aimed predominately at kids, and Jon's art would surely appeal there, but the series ultimately failed, I would say mostly due to a pretty unlikable, whiny lead character and rushed, haphazard writing. Jon's exuberant, kinetic art shows a lot of potential.

Tiny Peeks. By numerous.
This A6 comic, mostly black & white, but with some well chosen colour pages, is a companion and product of an exhibition of the same name that was held in Melbourne. The range of work, style, skill, and success of the pieces varies widely as does the adhesion to the theme. Being invited to take part (and being an idiot for not doing so) I know that the theme was (to paraphrase) 'one day in the current life of each artist'. Seems to me some contributors produced pages as they would have for any non-theme anthology, while others admirably stuck to the theme and created something that actually was a "tiny peek" into their day-to-day life. That was really appreciated by this reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment