Got elbowed in the jaw/chin area very hard the other night at basketball simultaneously by my two good friends (or are they?!) Big Tim Lyons and Tony Krebs. Bit the s**t out of my tongue--and have three nice teeth marks to prove it, plus some pretty serious swelling--and knocked the crud out of my jaw. As a result I now have to talk through gritted teeth and a mewling, swollen slab of ground up meat I call my tongue. Swallowing is difficult and chewing painful, to say the least. Good thing I still have some Vicadin left over from my vasectomy! Weeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
So, anyway, I'm in pain. But DAMMIT I can still write! And write to you I shall!
I've noticed that I have been slightly remiss of late in reviewing the periodicals that I, as an industry professional, am so closely and professionally involved in...i.e. comic books! I read thousands of the darned things every year and yet only give my 2 cents on occasion. Is this, perhaps, a result of inferior product and I find myself having nothing really of merit to say? Nay, not always. Certainly the bulk of comics being printed are found to left me wanting, but there are a goodly amount that are of superior readability and deserving of praise.
Basically, the reason I have been negligent in my duties to you, oh faithful readers, as a purveyor of sound advice and critique is that I am so submersed on a daily basis with comics that at the end of the day (when I usually write these columns) that's the last thing I want to be thinking of. That's my theory anyway, take it or leave it.
Okay...so what's good lately? A'ight, here's my "2 cents" for today...
Brubaker. Yeah, sure, we all go apeshit for his stuff he's doing on CAPTAIN AMERICA. Yes, it's fantastic. I wholeheartedly agree. Buy it. But I think he's even doing better things on his series CRIMINAL, that's co-created by one of my all-time favorite artists, Sean Phillips. This series is freaking phenomenal! It's about the best crime genre stuff I've ever seen. Great story and art told with grit, realism and the kind of snappy dialogue and situations we've come to expect from Brubaker at his best. If you loved GOTHAM CENTRAL (which was also phenomenal) you'll love this.
END LEAGUE by Dark Horse. Hey man, I'm too lazy to go downstairs and get my copies and see who did the creative chores (I think Rick Remender & Mat Broome) but this book kicks a-hole! Only 2 issues out so far but I'm pretty stoked. That's not to say this thing can't go into the dumper yet, but so far so good.
Same goes for THE TWELVE by J. Michael Straczynski and artist Chris Weston. So far so VERY, VERY good. I've never been a huge Straczynski fan (I have enjoyed most of his stuff though) but he's really struck a chord with me so far on this one. A series about a group of Twelve heroes from the WWII era frozen in time and recently revived in modern time and finding themselves trying to come to terms with this...ala Captain America but done with a fresher, more realistic and more relevant twist(s). Straczynski's also having himself a nice run over on THOR right now, revamping that character (one of my personal favorites) and doing a bang-up job of it. Maybe I'll turn out to be a huge fan of his after all.
Got THE NEW FRONTIER dvd as a gift from my good pal, Gary Sassaman, a couple weeks back. Enjoyed it but it didn't measure up to the comic book series. I thought the story was a little choppy compared to the brilliant comic book by the brilliant Darwyn Cooke (he's one of my top ten!)
Um, what else?...what else?...Oh yeah! THE INCREDIBLE HERC! I love this! Hercules has always been one of my favorite characters and grossly underused or misused as a character. With the "goings ons" with the Hulk and WORLD WAR HULK (which fizzled out a little in the end BTW in my estimation after starting out SO wonderfully) Hercules has taken over THE INCREDIBLE HULK series while the Hulk gets his life sorted out. And the book has never been better! Fun, smart (has to be with Amadeus Cho, the world's seventh smartest human along for the ride), action-packed, and full of all the oafish, simple-minded, arrogance and charm you'd expect from Hercules. I can't recommend this comic enough.
Well, that's about enough for now as I have to get over to Stella's school for Career Day and espouse my wisdom to the 5th graders about what a great (HA!) career being a writer and artist can be. We'll see how well I do talking through gritted teeth for three classrooms...should be interesting.
I'll leave you with one last review...perhaps the most important one you'll ever read in your entire life!...
RICH KOSLOWSKI'S run on MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS has been a revelation! To use words like "brilliant!" or "astounding!" simply do not do this amazing talent justice. They fall far short of what Koslowski truly deserves as one of America's--nay, the WORLD'S--great literary talents. Perhaps only Koslowski himself, great writer that he is, can come up with the proper pronoun that justly describes the elevations he's gone to with the written word. Perhaps mankind can only achieve the proper descriptions of how great he is after we've learned to communicate by telepathy and empathically, merging verbal, mental and emotional all into one. Then, perhaps, we will all be able to fully appreciate and understand just how wonderful his works truly are!
p.s. Yeah, really, MCP has been pretty cool. Has it been my "Opus"? No. But it's been a decent read and I'd appreciate any fan support I can get on it. Thanks, man.