Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Couch

Back from ComiCONN, which was a fun show in spite of a looming hurricane. I was running my table solo, which didn't give me a ton of time for shopping, but I did pick up two indy books, the first of which is today's review. That was going to be the extent of it, but someone was getting rid of a small stack of comics so I snagged them on my way out. As you might guess from the number of promo freebies I end up reviewing, my favorite word is "free" (my second-favorite word is "cheap"). So expect some reviews of some mainstream books in the days to come as well as the two small press books I brought home. Speaking of which, let's check out Tak Toyoshima's The Couch.

Title: The Couch
Creator: Tak Toyoshima

This is a "pitch book" and it was printed without any credits.

The book begins as a hardboiled cop story with a washed-out police detective who's got one last chance to solve the murder of a teenager.

Meanwhile, a girl shops for clothing for an amorphous creature that absorbs food through its skin, has the shape of a small humanoid, and just might contain the mind of the murdered boy.

The creature has also caught the attention of the local homeless community who believe it to be a demon that must be destroyed.

This was a really intriguing start, and the artwork was excellent. It had an interesting cast of characters, and a truly unique creature. I'll be interested in seeing how the story develops from here.

Rating: 7.5/10.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reviewing Live From ComiCONN Tomorrow!

No review tonight, but Dandelion Studious will be appearing at ComiCONN 2011, tomorrow at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Stamford, CT.


Come check out our full line of Dandelion Studios comics!

I'll pick up a few items to review at the show and I'll try to get started with the reviews from the road tomorrow. Expect more reviews as we weather Hurricane Irene back on Cape Cod.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Countdown 51

From the backlog. This was a 2007 freebie that introduced Countdown, which was the lead-in series for Final Crisis. If only it really had been final.

Title: Countdown
Issue: 51
Date: 2007
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciler: Jesus Saiz
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colorist: Tom Chu
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer, Mike Marts

The Countdown series starts at #51 and counts backwards. Get it? This is the freebie version of the first issue (#51) and boy am I glad I didn't pay money for this.

We get things started with some impaled bodies right off the bat. Once the reader's attention has been gotten, it's revealed that Darkseid is the villain of the moment. He proceeds to use several sentences to say nothing.

But we quickly segue to... Duela (Dent), the Joker's Daughter? REALLY? Okay, awesomeness points for the writers being quite possibly the only people besides me who even remember this character. She attempts to kidnap a pop star and has the attempt thwarted by the Red Hood. She throws a slinky at him. That proves to be about as effective as one might imagine, but they exchange some (un)pleasantries and she makes her escape via the rooftops. I guess that would be called a draw.

Next up is Mary Batson, who has lost her powers. Moving on.

Trickster and Heat Wave are... I wasn't really sure what the point of that scene was. They're either planning to attack the Flash or not. Pied Piper eavesdrops. Still nothing happening. This is becoming a theme.

Back to Duela, who is killed off in short order by a dude in Monitor gear (I think) who is out to wipe out dimensional anomalies. And when he reports back to base, it looks like Ray Palmer may be next on the list.

Wow, this was supposed to get people to want to read a year-long weekly series? Really? Besides the return of Duela, there was nothing in here to care about. And I only care about Duela because I remember the obscure Batgirl story that introduced her ("I'm Duela Dent. I'm Two-Face's daughter. I was always a disappointment to him. I'm just trying to win his approval." "Disappointment? He was hoping for a boy?" "No, he was hoping for twins." :) ).

Oh, and then they killed her.

But hey, keep in mind that back in 2007, this was the lead-in to a HUGE crossover event that would change the DC Universe FOREVER.

Oh, wait.

Rating: 3.5/10

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Satisfactory Comics #7

Title: Satisfactory Comics
Issue: #7
Date: May 2007
Publisher: Satisfactory Comics
Writer: Isaac Cates, Mike Wenthe
Artist: Isaac Cates, Mike Wenthe

Seventeen stories make up this 32-page minicomic, and most of them were created in a 30-hour span (with a break for an Elvis Costello concert!). They are also mostly based on "seed" sentences submitted to the creators.

There are a lot of quirky stories here with twist endings, and some pretty funny humor pieces, as well as some comics that truly qualify as experimental.

Among my favorites were "Commuted Sentences", which illustrated altered versions of famous opening lines from literature, and "The Graveyard of Forking Paths", which featured 40 panels in an 8X5 grid with diverging pathways of stories that arrived at multiple endings.

Also in this volume, you'll find a charming tale of the friendship between a girl and a garden ghost, the story of a minor protocol demon, a genetically-engineered kelp harvester seeking inner peace, and a story about necrotizing fasciitis in rhyming verse.

Let me repeat that: This comic has a story about necrotizing fasciitis in rhyming verse. That alone is worth the cover price!

I was also really impressed by one of the more serious pieces here, a mountain climbing parable called The Ascent.

Some of the stories do end a bit abruptly, as might be expected given the constraints the creators put on their work, but this book still delivers a very satisfying collection of quirky vignettes that will definitely make the reader think.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whiteout #1 Free Comic Book Day Edition

Another FCBD book from a past year that ended up in my haul from this year's Free Comic Book Day.

Title: Whiteout Free Comic Book Day Edition
Issue: #1
Date: 2007
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist Steve Lieber
Editor: Bob Schreck, James Lucas Jones

First chapter reprint of the 1998 graphic novel by Rucka and Lieber. This was the comic that inspired the 2009 film of the same title, starring Kate Beckinsale.

This is a crime story set in the harshest environment on Earth: Antarctica. US Marshal Carrie Stetko is the only American law enforcement agent responsible for the antarctic scientific stations, and she's investigating what appears to be the continent's very first murder case.

This was a very engaging story with great characters. Just having a female lead who looks realistic and wears appropriate clothing (and she had better in this setting!) is a refreshing change from much of mainstream comics. But this also had great pacing, a really interesting supporting cast, and great use of the setting.

This first issue laid the foundation for a complex mystery, and ended on a brilliantly original cliffhanger.

Between the setting and the excellent lead character, this really stands out from typical cop fare, and Lieber's visuals do a nice job of capturing the bleak setting. This first chapter definitely left me eager to read more.

Rating: 8.5/10

Friday, August 19, 2011

Teen Titans #28

Continued from my previous review: This is the second of a two-part Teen Titans story arc that Joe McGlone, artist for the webcomic Entripor, passed along for me to take a look at.

Title: Teen Titans
Date: November, 2005
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Colorist: Matt Yackey
Letterer: Comicraft
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer, Joan Hilty

Kid Flash makes it onto the cover this time, but still no Beast Boy.

We skip a bit from last time and cut right to Robin wallowing in the team's trouncing at the hands of Kestrel, even though it was more of a hit-and-run than a real trouncing. Kestrel has captured Raven's soul-self and fled back to his realm with the two third-rate villainesses he recruited last time, conveniently leaving a gaping-open dimensional rift for the Titans to follow him through.

I don't know much about Kestrel, but I can't help but wonder whether he came about because somebody demanded that DC have a character with claws that are EVEN BETTER THAN WOLVERINE'S!!! I can see the conversation now:

DC Editor #1: "Wolverine's claws are made of adamantium! They can cut through anything! How can we ever top that?"
DC Editor #2: "I know! We'll make up a guy with claws so sharp they can cut through the FABRIC OF TIME AND SPACE!!!"

So, it's off to find Kestrel in his home dimension (a fairly generic version of Hell). I did like Beast Boy laughing at the "mirror that shows our greatest fears". Clever.

Kestrel sends his new recruits into battle throws his new recruits to the wolves. Fight scene ensues. Server Aja kinda gets lost in the shuffle for the second time out of two fight scenes she's appeared in. I'm beginning to suspect Liefeld doesn't like drawing her. Probably because she's wearing clothing.

So this scene basically boils down to a fight between Cross Christina and Wonder Girl, although fight isn't really the word for it as that would imply some level of competitiveness. Christina eventually realizes that hitting Cassie's fists with her face is not really getting her anywhere and surrenders.

Meanwhile, Robin, demonstrating that he's the tactician of the group, has decided to sneak off to fight Kestrel on his own. This is after repeatedly warning everyone last issue that Kestrel is so dangerous that even their combined powers might not be enough to beat him.

They do some mindgame stuff with an illusion of Tim's dad (they've got a Father's Day theme going on here, remember?), but that quickly gives way to brawling, and they actually start to do a pretty cool thing. You see, Kestrel, an agent of chaos, uses a chaotic and nearly-impossible-to-predict fighting style. And Robin is all about training and discipline. I loved Tim's line "Let's show him the dangers of the orderly mind." Brilliant.

Unfortunately, though, they feel the need to get back to the full-scale team brawl, so Kestrel regains the upper hand just in time for the rest of the Titans to show up and save Robin.

More fighting follows, and then a "shocking" twist that I could see coming a mile away. We quickly move into epilogue mode.

Oh, and Liefeld manages the seemingly impossible feat of drawing Starfire wearing even less than she usually wears.

That being said, I do have to give props for the final page, which is a genuinely sweet and tender scene between Cassie and the wounded Raven. More of this next time, please.

And less Kestrel.

Rating: 5.5/10

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teen Titans #27

Joe McGlone, artist for the webcomic Entripor, recently gave me a couple of issues of Teen Titans to review. Well, as it says on the cover of the first of these (Issue #27): Come on... You KNOW you want it!

Title: Teen Titans
Date: October, 2005
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Colorist: Matt Yackey
Letterer: Comicraft
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer, Joan Hilty

So, all of the creative team here are listed as "guests". This is the first of a self-contained two-part arc, but other than that I have no idea how or if this fits into the grand continuity scheme of things. I also don't know all that much about the Teen Titans. They're not something I read all that much of. This looks like a pretty classic version of the team, though: Robin (Tim Drake), Cyborg, Wonder Girl (Cassie), Raven, Kid Flash (not on the cover for some reason), Beast Boy (also not on the cover) and um... Hawk and Dove (on the cover!)? Except that they're both women. Okay, whatever.

Some super-powered jobbers have hostages on the roof of a building, and we're off and running with a fight scene that starts out as a good old fashioned WCW jobber squash, then gives us a brief hope spot for the heels (yes, I do realize that it's normally the babyfaces that get the hope spot, but that's really what it looked like) before the tables get turned and the Titans go back to squashing the heels. There's also a brief cutaway to the Lords of Chaos and some villain.

Interesting detail: Robin takes a jumping kick from the supposedly super-strong Cross Christina (no, really, that's her name; she slightly resembles Domino from Marvel except that she wears even less). Robin then hits back with pretty much the exact same kick for the KO. Boy. Girl. Same kick. Girl is the one with the super strength. Girl hits first. Boy gets back up. Girl is knocked out. Sexism? Or just sloppy fight choreography? These days at DC it can be so hard to tell.

Best line of the comic: "Cyborg's hand, smelling slightly of liquid polymer and molybdenum." Really? Robin can smell the distinctive odor of molybdenum? I want THAT power! I wonder if it smells better or worse than tungsten. Or yttrium.

So, as it turns out, it's Father's Day, so it's back to HQ for some parent-themed character development and bowling. Look, I may not be taking this scene seriously, but they're the ones who are bowling.

Oops! We interrupt this comic for a seven-page Bionicle comic. Here's the first line of dialogue:

"The time is drawing near. Almost all of my threads have been spun. And I wait only for my prey to rush headlong into the trap. Always remember this, Little Hordeling... Though I am not a Visorak, I too can weave a web."

The remaining six pages are pretty much just like that line. The artwork is pretty difficult to figure out, and the characters are all generic-looking lego robots. But, apparently, the thrilling conclusion of this can be found in the October issue of Sports Illustrated For Kids. This is getting more surreal by the moment.

Meanwhile, back in the DCU, some heavily-armed cops are transporting the previously-captured villains. Excessive violence follows. Some off screen and some on. The actual villain (Kestrel) makes his presence known. We rush right into fight-mode and end on a cliffhanger.

Kestrel is pretty much everything that's wrong with like 90% of DC villains these days. All sadism and viciousness with no actual personality or any kind of complexity. The Titans are more interesting, and I did really like the little glimpse we got of this version of Hawk & Dove.

The story felt rushed and choppy. Liefeld's art was decent. A bit exaggerated, but that's what you expect from him. Simone's writing managed to ratchet the intensity up to 11 by the end, but the path getting there could have been a lot better.

Rating: 4.5/10

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Farmer Johnson's Psycho Dairy Farm

Yard sale find.

Title: Farmer Johnson's Psycho Dairy Farm
Date: 1992
Publisher: Dell
Writer: Steve Phillips
Artist: Steve Phillips

Trade paperback collection of one-panel gag strips featuring a cast of cows, pigs, chickens, and one somewhat befuddled farmer. The cartoons are reminiscent of Gary Larson's work. They lightly touch on politics, animal rights, and environmentalism in some cases, but mostly just stick to goofy sight gags and puns. There are definitely some laughs to be had here, but Phillips mostly sticks to fairly obvious and unsubtle humor.

He does do a good job with series of jokes, coming up with some cute variations once he's off and running with a theme (cows of different decades was pretty amusing).

All in all, this was entertaining in the sense that it made me laugh, but I didn't feel like there was anything all that groundbreaking or original here.

Rating: 5.5/10

Note: I'm selling my copy of this book for $.75 here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Many Worlds of Arleston

Another item from the backstock. This is a promotional freebie from a French publisher. No idea where I picked it up.

Title: The Many Worlds of Arleston
Publisher: Soleil Productions
Date: 2008
Writer: Christophe Arleston, Audrey Alwett
Artist: Adrien Floch, Philippe Pellet, Jean-Louis Mourier, Alberto Varanda, Pierre Alary

This promotional freebie introduces the works of French writer/editor Christophe Arleston, whose fantasy comics make up the core of the Soleil Productions line. This book contains synopses of five series with a sample page from each, as well as shorter synopses (with only small bits of sample art) for four additional series. Bios of all of the writers and artists are included.

All of the introductory text and the bios are in English, but only one of the sample comic pages is in English, a page of the SF adventure series Ythaq, which was translated and distributed in the US by Marvel Comics. The rest of the sample pages are in French.

Ythaq is a space opera with some comedic elements. The sample page involves a major shipwreck in space, so there isn't much chance to get to know the characters well. What there is is plenty of mayhem as the spaceship breaks apart in a collision with a comet.

Forests of Opal had my favorite artwork of the titles, with what appeared to be a ship under attack by dragon-like sea monsters. Great action scene. And my (very rusty) French was sufficient to figure out most of the dialogue.

The next story was The Fires of Askell, which gave us a shipwreck scene. Come to think of it, that appears to be a running theme here. This had more of a pirate feel to it, but it was a bit harder to figure out what was going one aside from the fact that the characters were trying to keep from drowning as their ship went down.

Fourth story was Elixers, a magical comedy about a student of magic who cares more about chasing girls than he does about his studies. No ship-related imperilment in this one, although there was a ship, so maybe it gets imperiled later. This was a much more dialogue-driven scene, so it was harder for me to make out what was going on.

Last up was Arleston's take on the legend of Sinbad. Nice art style for this one. Sinbad seemed a restless guest in a luxurious walled palace.

I knew nothing about French comics going into this, so the book definitely succeeded in the sense that I found comics here that I am pretty sure I would enjoy. The artwork that was presented here looked great, and the stories seemed interesting. I do question the effectiveness of this book with American audiences in general, as a lot of readers probably wouldn't have patience with the untranslated sample art.

Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wildstorm: Free Convention Exclusive 2009

Dipping back into the backlog for this one. No idea where I picked it up.

Title: Wildstorm: Free Convention Exclusive 2009
Date: 2009
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Joshua Ortega, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Mike Costa
Art: Liam Sharp, Darick Robertson, Matt Jacobs, Ramon K. Perez, CP Smith

Preview book from the Wildstorm brand under DC's management. Three stories.

First up is video game tie-in Gears of War. A team of rather generic (male) space marines is protecting an (female) innocent when their tank breaks down and they get mobbed by what look like alien zombies. Superior firepower wins out, at least until a Brumak shows up. At this point, the natural reaction of the lead character is to use words that are conveniently blacked out for the sake of the tender sensibilities of the readers (who apparently should be fine with watching the bloody demise of the alien zombies, but might be horribly damaged if the stumble across the word "shit" in the dialogue). The story is listed as being for mature readers, so the censorship might only occur in the free preview. The Brumak is kinda like the Rancor in Return of the Jedi, except that it has guns. We end with the monster looking menacing while it stands much closer than it probably needs to if it wants to take out the heroes. Pretty art. Generic story at best.

Second story is Prototype (apparently also a video game tie-in; I know this is costing my all of my geek cred, but I don't actually play these things). This is more of an X-Files flavored tale, with serial killers and government conspiracies. A team of commandos lands in Idaho, where the locals have apparently been killing each other like it's, well, like it's the zombie apocalypse. Or something. We know these are tough guys because they have dirty words censored out of their dialogue. This is certainly a more interesting scenario than the previous story, but very little of note actually happens in the preview.

Last up is Resistance. Also based on a video game. They even identify the platform this time as the Playstation 3. The "Chimera" (which is apparently used as a plural here, even though it's a singular word; the correct plural is Chimerae) are "bringing the fight for world domination to American shores!". Opening sequence is a dogfight between jet fighters and (what I assume to be) Chimera craft, which look suspiciously like bunches of different alien fighter craft we've seen in recent movies. The human pilot utters some censored dialogue, and receives some stock military jargon in response. He then proceeds to get shot down, bail out, land conveniently back at his base, and discover that this might not have actually been as convenient as he had at first hoped (although you're going to have to actually buy the comic to discover the actual threat; this preview ends on the unnamed pilot's reaction shot).

Maybe if you already play these games you don't need this preview book to sell you the comic. But as someone who hasn't played them, there just wasn't much of anything here to hold my interest. Cardboard cutout tough-guy military characters stuck into uninteresting recycled plots are not going to get me on board, even if some of the artwork did look good. And the blacking out of objectionable words was just an extra insult to my intelligence.

Rating: 3/10

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Plastic Farm #19

This is the last of the individual issues of Plastic Farm that Gynn brought home from SPACE. In general, the stacks of comics I've acquired from the Spring conventions are finally starting to shrink, and I'll be digging more and more into the backlog in the coming weeks. With 19 issues read, Plastic Farm is by far the title I've followed the most during this year, and it's definitely kept me interested.

Title: Plastic Farm
Issue: #19
Date: 2011
Publisher: Plastic Farm Press
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: Rafer Roberts, Matt Dembicki, Jim8Ball

There are essentially three stories here, plus the snowed-in airport lounge framing story which has been ongoing. In college, Chester Carter learns of the state's actions against the orphanage where he was raised and the surrounding town, but he's drunk and high at the time, and his buddy keeps wanting him to change the channel to Scooby Doo.

Also in this issue is a continuation of the cannibal farmers story that has been recurring. It's a pretty intense segment and Matt Dembicki does a wonderful (and horrific) job with the illustrations.

Last up is a story by guest artist Jim8Ball of two teenagers following a map to the mysterious temple of the Immaculate Defacation, which, ironically, grants to power to see through all the bullshit that people hide behind. Goofy premise, but executed pretty well, especially the ending.

With three stories plus the framing bits, this issue had a very choppy feel to it, but individually, all of the segments were quite good.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pep Comics Free Comic Book Day Edition

Still working my way through the FCBD stack. This is a 2011 freebie.

Title: Pep Comics
Date: May, 2011
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Dan Parent
Penciler: Dan Parent
Inker: Jim Amash
Letterer: Patrick Owsley
Colorist: Digikore Studios
Editor: Victor Gorelick

Following an afternoon of reminiscing about the rival clubs they had as kids, Betty and Veronica decide it's time to form a new Archie Club to help out latchkey kids around town who need some good after-school activities. But a Jughead prank soon has Veronica setting up a club of her own in the Lodge Rec Room.

Now that they're older, can the gang avoid the rivalries that split up their clubs when they were kids? And can they get past those rivalries for the sake of helping out the younger generation?

While nothing particularly shocking or unexpected goes on here, this story is logical, good-natured, and satisfying.

Rating: 7/10

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Hat, A Bat, Manhattan

Title: A Hat, A Bat, Manhattan
Date: 2010
Publisher: Satisfactory Comics
Writer: Allegra Bishop
Artist: Allegra Bishop

Halloween minicomic from Allegra Bishop and Satisfactory Comics. Mirco-sized (1/8), consisting of rhyming verse on the left side of each spread, with an accompanying illustration. The comic is a tribute to eccentric (and slightly creepy) actress Sarah Bernhardt, who lived in New York City's Chelsea Hotel. The poetry has some wonderful words, and the illustrations work nicely with the scene that the words set up.

This is quite a bit different from the usual zombie fare that a lot of publishers come up with for Halloween and it made for a refreshing take on the haunting season.

Rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man: Free Comic Book Day 2011

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man: Free Comic Book Day 2011
Date: 2011
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Dan Slot
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Carlos Cuevas, Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Editor: Ellie Pyle, Stephen Wacker

Spider-Man brawls with Spider-Woman, who is under the control of the (extremely annoying) Mandrill. Mandrill's power is mind control over females only, which is probably exactly what the world of comics needed (not) after SDCC 2011 and that now-famous Batgirl cosplayer asking about the lack of female creators in the "New 52". So, yeah, Mandrill's deal is that he's basically a sexist concept (women can't resist his animal magnetism), but that's okay because he gets punched out in the end, right?

You know what would be more okay? If Mandrill never appeared in another story.

Fortunately, this story gets a bit better as it goes. Following the Mandrill idiocy, we have a guest appearance by Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, who ends up training Spidey (who has lost his spider-sense to a heavyhanded plot device).

One exchange that was really great here: Peter Parker taking a scientific view of martial arts, contrasted with Shang-Chi's more spiritual view. Very cool.

The end of the issue is previews, starting with a little teaser for the Spider Island storyline. To finish up the book, there is a five-page preview of Fear Itself, with Sin getting her own personal magical hammer. It's not horrible, but it could easily have been told in 2-3 pages without losing anything.

There were a lot of attempts at humor in the main story, and some of them worked. I don't find Mandrill or his power funny, so some was lost on me, but Peter Parker trying out his official status as an Avenger to get himself out of legal entanglements was pretty amusing, as were some of the interactions between Parker and Shang-Chi.

Rating: 4.5/10

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Satisfactory Comics #4

Title: Satisfactory Comics
Issue: #4
Date: 2003
Publisher: Satisfactory Comics
Writer: Isaac Cates, Mike Wenthe
Penciler: Mike Wenthe
Inker: Isaac Cates
Letterer: Isaac Cates

After being scolded for stinking up the house with various smelly concoctions, Sam decides to run away from home and seek out some friends who might share his interest in stinky pranks.

He soon meets up with a talking possum and skunk (the skunk is especially verbose) who share a meal, but when they part ways, Sam stumbles upon an invasion force of ogres.

It's up to his animal friends to take Sam to the only group that has a chance of stopping the ogres: The Parliament of Owls!

This is a really enjoyable folktale-epic with some great detail work in the art. The two-page center spread panel is just awesome.

It was also put together using nouns and noun phrases suggested by readers. The suggestions are listed and illustrated on the back cover. Bonus feature on the inside front cover is a cute Twinkie advertisement parody.

The dialogue is wordy (intentionally so), and the small size isn't always perfect for reproducing the level of detail of the artwork, but this is a great story with plenty of laughs and some good serious moments too.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Make Me A Bat

Title: Make Me A Bat
Date: 2010
Publisher: Satisfactory Comics
Writer: Isaac Cates
Artist: Isaac Cates

This is a Halloween micro-mini (1/8 size) that was part of a package of comics that Isaac Cates of Satisfactory Comics sent me for review.

A young boy has a seemingly simple request for his Halloween costume, but the unseen parent can't seem to get it right. This has a nice children's picture book rhythm to it and the illustrations are amusing. There's also a great little geeky in-joke on the back cover.

Very cute and fun book.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, August 1, 2011

Geronimo Stilton And The Smurfs

Another kids' book from Free Comic Book Day 2011.

Title: Geronimo Stilton And The Smurfs
Date: 2011
Publisher: Papercutz
Writer: Elisabetta Dami, Peyo
Artist: Peyo
Editor: Jim Salicrup

This is a Free Comic Book Day special meant to introduce the Italian childrens' cartoon Geronimo Stilton to new readers in the US. The main story is an excerpt from the Geronimo Stilton: Dinosaurs in Action graphic novel. The story is a fun one, involving mouse journalists, feline pirates, time travel, and dinosaurs. The story had a nice logical flow to it, and it had enough complexity to stay interesting.

The backup feature in this comic is the Smurfs. There is a full 10-page Smurfs story, plus a selection of newspaper-style Smurf strips that run at the bottoms of the pages devoted to Geronimo Stilton. The small Smurfs cartoons were fun. They had a nice surreal touch, but didn't require any previous knowledge of the Smurfs, and each individual gag strip stood on its own.

The longer Smurfs story presents a smurf version of submarine warfare. Once again, I liked the complexity of the story. It was a huge improvement on the previous Smurfs comics I reviewed, although to be fair, Papercutz is translating Smurfs and Geronimo Stilton material directly from the overseas sources. Whatever the source, they have some good, enjoyable titles that will appeal to all ages.

Rating: 7.5/10