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September 24, 2021


Un/Sacred Volume 2 (review) —“My sweet wings need your hot spices right now”

Writers: Mirka Andolfo and David Goy Artists: Mirka Andolfo and various others Ablaze, September 2021 PANDERING TO PRURIENCE once in a while has to be all right. Papa says no, honey, but come on, no one can no what we know. Peppy pop songs continue to drown us in these dramas of incipient love. Better


The Eldritch Kid: Bone War (review)

Written by Christian Read Illustrated by Paul Mason Gestalt Comics, 2019 We recently caught with Wolf Bylsma, the editor of Australian publisher Gestalt Comics. Gestalt has been a solid performer in the Australian comics scene, responsible for the sci-fi ocean adventure comic The Deep (now a very successful children’s cartoon series) and wonderfully artistic titles


Lobo #42 (1993) The Dance of Death (revisited) – “Love fails before the aliens even arrive”

Writer: Alan Grant Artist: Ariel Olivetti and mates DC Comics, 1993                                SMOKE FROM CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES reached Portland in fall 2018, dimmed the sky and shrouded the city in a filmy residue of incinerated forests, towns, and bodies, to be expected every year now as temperatures rise, and days remain bright and dry even as


Trash Market (review)

Creator: Tadao Tsuke Drawn & Quarterly (2015) A market is a place where you can sell your goods. A market is also a place where you can buy stuff. This duality underlies a difference between passive and active roles, a duality which is never crystal clear: those who sell both offer and receive (money, usually),


Suicide Squad: Get Joker! (review) Book 1

Writer: Brian Azzarello Artist: Alex Maleev DC Comics: Black Label, October 2021 American publisher DC Comics has (with an eye upon commercially benefiting from the goodwill generated by the successful 2021 motion picture, The Suicide Squad), released a new title, Suicide Squad: Get Joker!, under its Black Label imprint. The Black Label imprint is the

Science fiction

The Manhattan Projects (review)—“Suspect no further come closer”

Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Nick Pitarra Image Comics, 2012-2015 HOW DOES THE MONGOOSE entice the cobra? Should the cobra not be scared out of its wits and eager to turn away? Is it one of those, hi I’m a lovely black widow thing or the shrinking violet flytrap? Whatever, this comic, THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, gave


Superman and The Authority #1 (of 4) (review)

Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Mikel Janín DC Comics, July 2021 I’ll never get tired of saying this: Grant Morrison’s Superman is the definitive version of the character. All-Star Superman is my favorite version of the character by far, because I believe it embodies everything a good Superman should be. He’s kind, he never imposes his


Images of “Omaha The Cat Dancer” (1992) (review): Benefit for Reed Waller—“Love is all around”

by Various Artists and Bozos Kitchen Sink, 1992 RUMMAGING AROUND FUTURE DREAMS overstuffed comics and books fantasy shop, I turned over a neglected stack on a bottom shelf and found a square envelope with a logo I immediately recognized: a totem of wings spread down and across, framing a tousled heart in the corner with


Jessica Jones: Uncaged! (volume 2) (review)—“Sometimes she wants less brains and more wings”

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artists: Michael Gaydos and Matt Hollingsworth Marvel Comics, collected volume 2017 GRIT-TONED SEPIA CITY SCENES need a good story to keep you glued to the grime. I continue to be amazed how Brian Michael Bendis pulls it off as in the volume of Jessica Jones Uncaged!, collecting issues 1-6, where people

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Monsters (review)

Writer and artist: Barry Windsor-Smith Fantagraphics, May 2021 One of my favorite Marvel comics of all time is Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X, a comic that tells the story of Wolverine’s origin in an interesting and creative way, avoiding many of the tropes that had plagued “origin story” superhero comics since their very conception. You can


Takio (revisited)—“Charged-up girls take charge”

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Michael Avon Oeming DC Comics, May 2019 (as a collection) RUNNING DOGS OF THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM used to designate characters who emulate the virtues of capitalism from the sidelines, like a dog running alongside a bus with a wagging tongue. In China the label was intended to be nasty, like

World view

Third Planet v. Crowne Plaza Hotel – the comic book

Writer: Cris Feldman Art: Michael Charles, Maurice Terry Jr, Michael Brooks A set of legal proceedings launched in the District Court of Harris County in Texas has caused a stir in legal circles, as far away as here in Australia where your critic (in his spare time, a lawyer) practices. The plaintiffs, Criss-A-Less Inc trading


“100 Bullets” revisited, Part 1 of 3: Croatoa, MK Ultra, and the induced amnesia of the Minutemen

Writer: Brian Azzarello Artist: Eduardo Risso Vertigo Comics, 1999-2009 As ever, this review contains spoilers. It seems an odd thing to have to warn readers that this review contains insights into critical plot developments and twists, given the title concluded publication twelve years ago. Such is the compelling nature of the extended chess game that

Western Comics

White Indian (revisited)—“Eat the bad dogs first”

Writers: Anonymous editors Artist: Frank Frazetta Vanguard Press, 1981 MANY SHED TEARS for graves left behind, and search the detritus of past lives while names and episodes blow away, leaving only occasional sparkles of horror or heroes to supply a face in the era of our lost loved ones and the loved ones of others.


Mage (revisited)—“We live in an electric ocean”

Writer/Artist: Matt Wagner Image Comics, July 2017 – Feb 2019 SOME SAY HE MAKES NO SENSE when he talks about magic. Yet this time I believe I get it as Kevin Matchstick explains to his son in Mage, Issue 3, how magic “kinda exists alongside what we’d call ‘our world’” as in feeling the electric


Tasty Bullet (revisited)—“You got to get it together faster”

Writer: Arnold Pander Artist: Jonathan Vankin Shadowline, 2009 IT COMES DOWN NOT TO WHO’S BIGGER, but who is more determined and more virtuous, the side one wants to win, or some ones for the many ones, like the intelligentsia class that was once supposed to save the world’s benighted peasants with revolutionary modern wisdom, but


Forgotten Hymns #1 (review)

Writer and creator: Andrew Guilde Art: Isaac Perez PMB Comics, 2020 Schlock horror is the equivalent of eating out-of-date chocolate. You screw your nose up at the experience, feel mildly unwell, and are left wondering why you bothered. We may be a little snooty, but bad horror is not something to be encouraged. There is


Chicken USDA Rejected (review)

Writer, artist and creator: Dan Nokes 21st Century Sandshark Studios, May 2020 “As serious as a stick of dynamite at a Zippo convention”. This comic, with the unlikely title of Chicken USDA Rejected, created by Dan Nokes, has one of the most amusing adults-only warnings we have seen: We laughed and laughed from beginning to


Revisiting newuniversal (2007-2008)

Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: Salvador Larroca Marvel Comics, 2007-2008 In 2007, Warren Ellis was tasked by American comic book publisher Marvel Comics to re-rig an abandoned 1986-1989 series of titles, called “New Universe”. The New Universe series of titles featured superheroes exiting on a parallel world to that of Marvel Comics’ main characters, created in

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Science fiction

Scarlet Volume 1 (review)—“A sacred heart burns”

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Alex Maleev Jinxworld, 2019 I WAS SHOCKED BY THE PANORAMA OF BRIDGES splayed in ruins across the Willamette River in the opening scenes of the five-issue SCARLET sequel by Brian Michael Bendis that appeared two years ago now, illustrating what revolution might look like in his hometown and mine, just


Mighty Thor Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 19 (review)—“Rage against the stars and move only yourself”

Writers: Roy Thomas, Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio Artists: Keith Pollard, Gene Day Marvel Comics, 2020 MILLENNIA AGO ALL THE GODS CONVENED to ponder the fate of the world when the Celestials arrived from outer space to inspect and cultivate life on Earth, which they had themselves planted many ages ago in a cosmic gardening project.


Blazer! (review)

Writer: Steve MacManus Artists: Dan Cornwell, Colin Maxwell, Filippo Roncone, Pete Western, Andrew Richmond The 77 Publications, June 2021 “Press here to Enter!” This call to action sits in an arrow pointing to a button labelled “Ignition”. It sits on the corner of the cover page, the starting point for thumb and forefinger in the

Science fiction

Giga #1-3 (review)

Writer: Alex Paknadel Artist: John Lê Vault Comics, 2020-1 Little wonder the first issue of this title sold out. Giga is a science fiction story focussed around dead mechas – giant robots with highly advanced artificial intelligences, some of which have been rendered inert as a consequence of some sort of internecine war. Sadly, we


Night Issue Zero (review)

Writers: Deain Akande and Julian Clay Art: João Bosco Released: January, 2021 The intersection between superheroes and horror is well-explored. Superheroes, at least at the point of their American genesis in the late 1930s, were crafted as kid-friendly fare. Time quickly passed, and creators endeavoured to differentiate their caped and masked character from other caped

Science fiction

Post York (review)

Writer and Artist: James Romberger Dark Horse Comics / Berger Books, 2021 Eco-apocalypse science fiction or “cli-fi” is very much in vogue. Within American comic books, Snowpiercer, a dystopian comic about an Ice Age-crippled Earth, which gave rise to a successful motion picture, is perhaps the most famous in the genre. The earliest American example


X-Men #20 (review)

Writer: Jonathan Hickman Artist: Francesco Mobili Marvel Comics, May 2021 This very recent issue of X-Men, a comic about mutant superheroes from American publisher Marvel Comics, adds a level of danger and desperation not seen in the title for some time. Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Francesco Mobili have been on various tangents since setting

Franco-Belgian/Ligne Claire

Valerian and Laureline: Chatelet Station Destination Cassiopeia (“Métro Châtelet, Direction Cassiopeia”) (review)— “Musing as a duet is always finer”

Writer: Jean-Claude Mézières Artist: Pierre Christin Cinebook. First published March-June, 1980 SPACE NEVER APPEARED SO PEDESTRIAN as Laureline noses her spaceship through traffic toward the stars, demure in her spacesuit, leg up on her big pilot’s chair, gazing out at sublight speed with time on her hands, lazy day on the freeway. Then you see


The Manara Library, Vol. 3: The Ape (review)—“Classic fable journeys to the West”

Writer: Silverio Pisu Artist: Milo Manara Dark Horse Comics, August 11, 2018 EVERY SCENE IS BIZARRE in the most tasteful way in the world of Milo Manara, like underground comix for the Medici. A few years ago I was pleased to find Dark Horse collected THE MANARA LIBRARY in nine handsome hardbound volumes, the last

Franco-Belgian/Ligne Claire

Samurai: Brothers in Arms (review)—“Stone garden rice paper fish in a French accent”

Writer: Jean-Franҫois Di Giorgio Artists: Frédéric Genêt, Delphine Rieu Titan Comics, 2018 QUOTIDIAN GIVES THE RIGHT SENSE of elegance to day-to-day beauty simply here now. If all my life spent in poverty could inhabit the terrain of the SAMURAI according to writer Jean-Franҫois Di Giorgio, and artists Frédéric Genêt and Delphine Rieu, I would be

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