Monday, December 7, 2009

Comic Review: The Anchor #3 (Boom! Studios)

Way More than the Sum of its Parts

In this new series from Boom!, Phil Hester and Brian Churilla manage to cobble together a whole string of storytelling clich├ęs and make them not only interesting but borderline fascinating. Taken individually, the elements sound tired and overdone: a super-strong invulnerable super-being, ghosts and demons, secret government operatives, the “damsel in distress”, a set number of baddies that Mr. Protagonist must defeat, etc. Yet our hero's truly unique qualities enable the tale to elevate itself beyond any sort of mediocrity.

The Anchor is anchored (ahem) by none other than the Anchor himself. Guess what – he wears an anchor cross on his belt. The cross is the emblem of Saint Clement and the Anchor is a genuinely righteous dude – quoting Psalms and invoking God's guidance and sustenance as he fights giant demonic monsters. It's refreshing to have a good guy who's motivated by more than a vague sense of humanistic justice – it certainly provides a purer sense of myth than someone like Superman or Spider-Man.

But the universe being built by Hester is more than just a carbon copy of Christian belief. For one thing the series is rife with ghosts which are hardly much of a concept of orthodox Christianity. Also, the Anchor is stuck between two planes of existence – a sort of dualism that makes one think of Christ dying on the cross but then taking care of business in the nether regions prior to his resurrection. It's rather an ambitious concept and like other elements of the Anchor's existence we're given just enough new information to digest each issue. That sort of pacing is so difficult to do. Sometimes a comic will bombard the readers with too much information – Geoff Johns is sometimes guilty of this in Flash: Rebirth and Blackest Night – leaving us to scratch our heads in confusion. Other series (the current Ghost Riders – Heaven's On Fire mini-series springs to mind) plod on and on for many pages without providing any new salient information.

Churilla's artwork is an odd bag. At times it's rushed but acceptably so – you get the sense that he's a courtroom sketch artist breathlessly trying to document what he sees as the unbelievable scene whips before his eyes. The soldiers walking down the hallway on page 7 is rather sloppy but he immediately redeems himself when the Anchor reappears in frame. He always seems to draw the leading man with a Mignola Hellboy charm, putting in that extra oomph that can only come from having drawn the character countless times in preparation for the series. His interpretation of the mega-monster in each issue is also done with a tender attention to detail and visceral impact.

The lengthy letters column and suggested musical playlists are a sure sign that Phil and Brian are putting their guts and sweat into the Anchor, and that makes all the difference between a memorable series and all the bin-fodder that gets mercilessly churned out every week from the major publishers. Brian's playlist of black metal, grindcore and deathgrind also tells us that the creators are dead serious about the fire and brimstone stuff, so the series should become all the more interesting and engrossing as it progresses.

In stores Wednesday, December 9th


Adam P.
Senior Reviewer

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Comic Review: The Devil's Handshake (Archaia)

A good comic should grab the reader by the seat of their pants on the first page. It’s got to pop, and sing, and do a little dance all over your imagination at the same time.

The Devil’s Handshake does just that.

Created by Director Ryan Schifrin (Abonimable) and co-written with Larry Hama (G.I. Joe, Wolverine, etc) The Devil’s Handshake emulates so many aspects of popular culture in its first few pages it makes your head spin.
Schifrin and Hama are attempting to put force their way into a genre that’s already loaded to the brim with characters trying to fill the fedora of the best pulp character of all time. Where most have failed (have you ever seen any of the Mummy movies), Hama and Schifrin have made it out of the gate with out tripping over their own feet.

Partnered with relatively unknown artists Adam Archer and Lizzy John, the duo have established a story that gets the reader hooked, and quick.

Hama’s dialogue has always been a little campy, and anyone who’s read his stuff over the last twenty years can pick it out of a line-up. You quickly realize that Basil, a rough and tumble British soldier, and Moebius, a suave, if wordy ladies man, are in fact, well British.

Besides the slightly goofy dialogue, Hama really shines here. Beyond Basil and Moebius we’re introduced to Sophi Weidl (an Israeli Defense Force operative) as well as someone mysteriously known only as...The Collector.

Hama’s a master of plotter and designer of story arcs and you can tell that he’s got a story lined up for this cast of characters. I have no doubt that if he’s given enough time he can take the story and its reader on a ride that will last for years.

The main problem with this issue is he’s not given enough time to tell his story, at only 48 pages long, you can tell Hama’s been squished into telling the story in an abridged way.

I have no doubt this story line could have gone on a complete six issues, maybe it could go even longer. The story has a sense of becoming epic. If there are more chapters it can still get there, but right now, it’s lacking in that department.

The story would have been simply okay if not for the art. It’s the work of Archer and John that make up the for the weak points.

The colors are spectacular, the composition is cinematic. It’s really only a matter of time before this pair gets swooped up by one of the big companies. I’d love to see them stick around though to complete the story.

Will I pick up the next issue? Sure. Will I continue reading after that? I’m not sure. At $6 a pop it’s hard to stomach. If you’ve got the extra cash laying around and you see the book on the shelf think about picking it up. You won’t be disappointed.

Carl Keyser
Staff Reviewer

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Comics and Comics Celebrates Its 2 Year Anniversary

Comics and Comics is celebrating 2 years of all fanboy comedy on December 12th.

On Saturday, December 12th, Comic and Comics will be celebrating their 2 year anniversary at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, CA.

Comics preforming are:
Ed Salazar
Marly Halpern Grasser
Hugh Moore
Heather Thompson
Tom Franck

There'll be an open can sugar soda bar featuring Mexican Coke.

Where: 7522 Sunset Blvd, L.A., CA 90046
When: Saturday, December 12, 2009
Time: 8:00pm - 10:00pm

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The Flip Side To This Year’s Break-Out Smash Hit IRREDEEMABLE!

A New Ongoing Series That Asks The Question:
What Happens When A Villain Becomes A Hero?


What happens when a villain becomes a hero? Find out on December 16th when BOOM! Studios' new series, INCORRUPTIBLE, the flip side to Mark Waid’s super hero epic IRREDEEMABLE, hits store shelves! Written by Waid and sporting sensational interior art by Jean Diaz (WONDER WOMAN), INCORRUPTIBLE features A & B covers by John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN) and Tim Sale (BATMAN: LONG HALLOWEEN) with a C cover by Jeffrey Spokes.

INCORRUPTIBLE showcases super villain Max Damage, who had an epiphany the day The Plutonian destroyed Sky City. That day, when The Plutonian turned his back on humanity, Max Damage decided to step up. Now Max Damage has changed his name to Max Daring and turned from his formerly selfish ways to become… INCORRUPTIBLE. The flip side to this year’s break-out smash hit IRREDEEMABLE, INCORRUPTIBLE examines the hard, difficult road to changing your ways and making a difference in the world.

“Buckle yourselves in and prepare for one of the best titles you’ve seen of this or any year,” said BOOM Marketing Director Chip Mosher. “And while you don’t need to be picking up IRREDEEMABLE to enjoy this new series, INCORRUPTIBLE continues Waid’s complex study of caped morality at the end of the world.”

INCORRUPTIBLE is an ongoing series written by Mark Waid, with sensational interior art by Jean Diaz (WONDER WOMAN). INCORRUPTIBLE #1 ships with two covers featuring art by John Cassaday (IRREDEEMABLE, PLANETARY) and Tim Sale (BATMAN: HAUNTED KNIGHT, HEROES), and an incentive cover by Jeffrey Spokes. INCORRUPTIBLE carries a Diamond Code of OCT090784.


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Comic News: Hero Initiative and Marvel Comics-The Invincible Gene Colan

Hero Initiative and Marvel Comics
Proudly present
The Invincible Gene Colan

With more than 65 years at the drawing board, Gene Colan proved himself to be Marvel's most dedicated, and one of its most important artists. Now Hero Initiative and Marvel Comics have created a breathtaking collection that looks back at Colan’s important career and phenomenal work as no other volume has before. The Invincible Gene Colan is a 128-page hardcover book that showcases Gene’s amazing art, and includes important analysis from Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, John Romita, Walter Simonson, Neil Gaiman, Tom Spurgeon and Tom Palmer.

Originally solicited as a softcover, The Invincible Gene Colan is now a hardcover, at the same price of $19.99. Net proceeds will benefit Gene Colan. The book can be ordered in the Hero Initiative section of Diamond Previews, using order code DEC090880. Orders must be in by December 24, 2008, and the book will be in-stores February, 2010. Through special arrangement with Marvel Comics, there will be only ONE printing of this book EVER.

“As a fiction writer in the early 1990s, I had the profound good fortune of seeing Gene Colan illustrate several of my stories,” said book Editor Clifford Meth. “Then, last year, Gene contacted me with the hopes of finally retiring. That call sparked the genesis of this book. The Invincible Gene Colan is a lasting and long-overdue tribute to perhaps the greatest master to touch the comic art form. Gene Colan is the Bob Dylan of visual storytelling. He is quite simply without peer.”

"It's quite an honor to have the most iconic, respected and beloved comic book company, Marvel Comics, publish a book honoring my career,” said Gene Colan. “It was apparent from the time I was a young boy that I had talent drawing. As I grew older, I began to sharpen my skills and point them in the direction of comics, my passion. Since 1946 it's been a thrill for me to be part of the Marvel family. And it really is a family! The Invincible Gene Colan is the culmination of a 63 year relationship with Marvel. I'm deeply grateful!"

Please place your orders with your favorite retailer immediately. You will not want to miss out on adding this amazing collection.


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Comic News: Boom Studios for 12/9/09

Boom Studios has released previews for their books coming out on December 3rd.

Written by Phil Hester
Drawn by Brian Churilla
SC, 24pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Brian Churilla
COVER B: Dan Brereton
Diamond Code: OCT090771

Captured by the U.S. military, The Anchor must abide by his pledge to never harm humans even if it means sitting idly while a horrific new monster destroys the city of Rome. Can Matthew’s ghost free The Anchor before it’s too late? Order this book or suffer his wrath! A new BOOM! ongoing series, brought to you by Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Phil Hester (GREEN ARROW, SWAMP THING, THE COFFIN, FIREBREATHER)

Written by Alan J. Porter
Drawn by Albert Carreres
SC, 24pgs, FC, (4 of 4), SRP: $2.99
COVER A & B: Allen Gladfelter
Diamond Code: AUG090741

Lightning McQueen is hanging out with his friends in Radiator Springs when he realizes that everyone knows his story, but he doesn’t know anyone else’s. McQueen wants to know how his friends ended up in Radiator Springs…and why they decided to stay. As the others have told their stories, Mater has been desperate to tell his…and he finally gets his chance!

Written by Keith DeCandido, Rockne S. O’Bannon
Drawn by Caleb Cleveland
SC, 24 pgs, FC,(1 of 4), SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Caleb Cleveland
COVER B: Will Sliney
Diamond Code: OCT090777

Cycles ago, D’Argo was convicted of his wife’s murder. It wasn’t him, it was her Peacekeeper brother. Now D’Argo is on the hunt for this man. What he soon discovers is that the key to his wife’s killer is…Raxil. Frelling Raxil. Will D’Argo’s great irritation be his greatest help? Executive produced by Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon!

Writen by Andrew Cosby, Caleb Monroe
Drawn by Matt Cossin
SC, 24 pgs, FC, (2 of 4), SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Phil Noto
COVER B: Matt Cossin
Diamond Code: SEP090690

The globe-spanning race is on! Hunter outraces his icy step-cousin Miranda in order to save his fortune. Danger! Monks! Secret maps! Writers Andrew Cosby (creator of EUREKA) and Caleb Monroe (THE REMNANT) kick this careful-what-you-wish-for adventure into high gear with art by up-and-coming Matt Cossin and A Cover by fan-favorite Phil Noto!

Writen by Stefano Ambrosio
Drawn by Marco Ghiglione
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
Covers A & B: Magic Eye Studios
Diamond Code: SEP090706

The epic WIZARDS OF MICKEY tale continues! Student of the great wizard Grandalf, Mickey Mouse, along with friends Donald Duck and Goofy, must face off against the Phantom Blot and his nefarious Team Black Phantom! Join BOOM! Kids for a whole new epoch in Disney publishing!

Written by Roger Langridge
Drawn by Shelli Paroline
Covers A & B by Roger Langridge
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
Diamond Code: SEP090710

The Muppets Present… PIGS IN SPACE! Fozzie Bear and Rizzo the Rat try to pitch a PIGS IN SPACE movie to a Hollywood producer! What could go possibly go wrong? Written by acclaimed scribe Roger Langridge, who continues his celebrated run on THE MUPPET SHOW COMIC BOOK! A stand-alone story that serves as a prelude to the launch of next month’s ongoing!

Written by Jesse Blaze Snider
Drawn by Nathan Watson
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $2.99
Cover A: Michael Cavallaro
Cover B: Brent Schoonover
Diamond Code: SEP090713

Back by popular demand! This October sees the historic re-release of TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2 in 3-D with TOY STORY 3 coming out next summer. And now… it’s an ongoing series from BOOM! Kids. Following up on the hit mini-series, this new ongoing features all new, never before seen original stories with your favorite Disney/Pixar’s TOY STORY characters. Woody and Buzz are back… and Andy too! Get ready for the year of TOY STORY!

Written by Andrew Cosby, Michael Alan Nelson
Drawn by Francesco Biagini
HC, 112 pgs, FC, SRP: $16.99
ISBN13: 978-1-934506-89-9

“All Speed. No Limits.” The end isn’t near… it’s here. America has become a wasteland, leaving the few cities that remain transformed into impenetrable fortresses. Beyond these walls lies The Zone, a brutal, plague-ravaged landscape stretching from one city to the next, populated by mutants, monsters, and warring factions of survivors driven insane by disease and starvation — only the very brave or the very foolish voluntarily step foot outside the protective confines of the mega-cities. NICK MASTERS just happens to be a little bit of both. Nick’s a driver, the best there is. If you need something picked-up, delivered, or disposed of, Nick’s your man. And he’s all business. But when he fails to deliver an important package to a local crime lord, Nick’s business suddenly becomes very personal. A science fiction action piece in the vein of MAD MAX from the writer of HEXED and FALL OF CTHULHU, Michael Alan Nelson, collaborating for the first time with EUREKA creator Andrew Cosby!


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