Monday, May 28, 2012

The Little Artist Who Could

First of all, sorry for not updating in a while. It's getting toward the end of the school year, so it's crunch time at my day job, plus I've been busy with my own writing and comic projects. Dandelion Studios just finished a string of convention appearances at Portland's Maine Comics Arts Festival, which is where today's review comes from.

Title: The Little Artist Who Could Get Ripped Off By A Mighty Corporation (A Cautionary Fable)
Date: 2012
Publisher: Marek Bennett
Writer: Marek Bennett
Artist: Marek Bennett

I got to sit next to Marek Bennett at MECAF, and he's always a wonderful source of incredibly creative minicomics on a wide range of topics.

This micro-mini takes a "not naming names" approach to the situation with Jack Kirby and this ongoing dispute between Kirby's descendants and Marvel/Disney.

Told in stick-figure form with a faerie-tale style of narration, this is not an attempt to make a legal case, but rather a moral one, as it does a good job of pointing out the basic unfairness of Kirby's treatment over the years.

Ends with a nice tribute panel to the King (and the first mention of Kirby by name in the minicomic).

Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Superman Family Adventures / Green Lantern Young Justice Super Sampler

This is the first of many reviews of 2012 Free Comic Book Day editions.

Title: Superman Family Adventures / Green Lantern Young Justice Super Sampler
Date: 2012
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Art Baltazar, Franco, Kevin Hopps, Greg Weisman,
Artist: Kristy Quinn, David Brizuela, Christopher Jones
Colorist: Gabe El Taeb, Zac Atkinson
Letterer: Siada Temofonte, Dezi Sienty
Editor:Kristy Quinn, Sarah Gaydos, Jim Chadwick

Flip book. On one side we have Superman Family Adventures, the new DC Superman title for young readers.Awesome bit when Lois questions aloud why Clark is never around when any excitement is happening. Clark replies "Maybe it's because I'm really Superman.", and Lois comes back with "Oh, Clark! You're such a joker! Maybe Gotham City is more your style!" Ha!

With a cartoony art style and dialogue that is quick with the jokes, this is a fun story that sticks close to standard Superman mythology and doesn't talk down to young readers.

Flip the book over and you get Green Lantern and Young Justice.

The Green Lantern story plodded along toward an obvious climax, as Hal and Razer get trapped in a pocket dimension with an alien who was "unjustly" imprisoned. It's pretty obvious where this one is going, and not much of interest happens getting there.

The Young Justice section is really just some teaser material without even an attempt at a complete story. There were two segments, one featuring Green Arrow and Artemis and one with Batman and Robin.(Tim Drake, I think, but I could be wrong about that). Both end before much happens, and it doesn't help that the bad guys are generic thugs in ninja outfits.

The Green Lantern and Young Justice stuff is aimed older than Superman Family Adventures, but I definitely preferred the Superman story.

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unpleasant People #1

Another find from Boston Comic Con.

Title: Unpleasant People
Issue: 1
Date: 2010
Publisher: Holly Foltz
Writer: Holly Foltz
Artist: Holly Foltz

Evil dictator Lord Zoloft has problems. His ninjas are on strike for better health benefits, his t-rex is, um, with child, and there is a pair of revenge-seeking heroes at the castle gates.

Fortunately, the "good guys" at the gates seem incompetent enough, but Lord Zoloft is still having time-management and organizational problems. The obvious solution: Hire a temp!

The story is really just getting started in this thin minicomic from Holly Foltz, but it's off to a good start with a decent send-up of typical heroic fantasy and some funny one-liners.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, May 7, 2012

Slashers 101

I picked this one up at the Boston Comic Con.

Title: Slashers 101
Date: 2012
Publisher: Stacie Ponder
Writer: Stacie Ponder
Artist: Stacie Ponder

Incredibly cute mini comic tribute to slasher films. The great thing about the slasher film subgenre is that you don't need to have seen all that many of them to "get" the idea (or to get the jokes in this comic). And if you do happen to be an expert, writer/artist (somehow it just seems right to give her a title with "slash" in the middle of it) Stacie Ponder loads the book with plenty of obscure trivia aimed at the real horror buff.

Ponder covers killers, masks, weapons, and most importantly the stock cast of victims from the annoying joker/nerd to the easy lover to the ineffective authority figure, and of course the final girl.

The whole comic is written in a tone of nostalgic amusement mixed with sarcasm and loaded with little side notes, trivia, and snark.

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, May 4, 2012

Superman #269

I love finding inexpensive silver/bronze age comics at the various shows I go to. I picked this one up at the South Attleboro Collectibles Show a couple of weeks ago.

Title: Superman
Issue: 269
Date: November 1973
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Cary Bates
Artist: Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson
Editor: Julius Schwartz

Evil circus own BB Farnum (no, really) creates seven Superman puppets each one with the ability to steal one of Superman's powers.

Meanwhile Clark Kent picks up an assignment from Morgan Edge to do an in-depth story about a local sports hero who's a bit of an egotistical jerk. While Clark enjoyed showing up the dumb jock with some sneaky application of superpowers, the puppets begin their work of stripping those very powers away.

The story, although a bit slow in its pacing, does a nice job of showing how Superman remains a hero as his powers diminish, even taking on Farnum and the super-puppets in a seemingly unwinnable final battle.

In the end, we get to see Superman bust out that most classic of Silver Age powers: The super-ventriloquism! Totally makes the ridiculously contrived ending worth it! Gotta love the super-ventriloquism!

I'll also add that the cover is absolutely awesome.

Rating: 7/10

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Plain Toast Morning

I am pretty heavily backlogged right now, with comics still to review from four recent shows, and Free Comic Book Day and the South Coast Toy and Comic Show only a couple of days away. I'm going to continue to pull comics pretty much at random from these recent finds for a while. This is a minicomic I picked up at the Spring Zine Thing.

Title: Plain Toast Morning
Date: 2012
Publisher: Hilliard
Writer: John Hilliard
Artist: John Hilliard

John Hilliard's Tumblr webcomic is done primarily in the form of one-panel gag strips, and this minicomic features a nice variety of the cartoons. Hilliard covers a range of geeky topics. There are Sesame Street, Inspector Gadget, Batman, and Star Trek jokes here. A couple of the comics have a bit of a Gary Larson feel to them.

But his relationship-based cartoons are the ones that really stand out here. Hilliard takes a humble and lighthearted approach to the triumphs, frustrations, and little embarrassments of dating. These little scenes are heartfelt even when cringe-worthy, and they are where Plain Toast Morning really finds its voice.

Rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brain Parts #0

Artist Holly Foltz was across the aisle from me at the Boston Comic Con.

Title: Brain Parts
Issue: #0
Date: 2010
Publisher: Holly Foltz
Writer: Holly Foltz
Artist: Holly Foltz

Minicomic collection of short cartoons. Opening bit involving a cat and a small tribute to the film Alien was very cute. This is followed by a SF-flavored vignette that felt like it was part of something bigger. It was actually a dream comic, as it turned out, but it still looked like there could be an interesting plot lurking in there.

The remaining pieces were short, amusing autobiographical bits, that had the little bit of geeky edge that I never fail to find amusing in nonfiction comics.

Ten pages total, but entertaining and worth the buck cover price.

Rating: 7/10.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Caroline's Catalog

Here's one of my finds from the Boston Comic Con.

Title: Caroline's Catalog
Date: 2012
Publisher: Drowned Town Press
Writer: E.J. Barnes
Artist: E.J. Barnes

E.J. Barnes can always be counted on for some eclectic comic book subject matter. This digest-sized minicomic is a biographical portrait of astronomer Caroline Herschel, who discovered eight comets around the beginning of the 19th century. She was the brother of Sir William Herschel, who first discovered the planet Uranus.

The retrospective of Caroline's life is framed by a visit from her nephew, also an astronomer, who has come to congratulate Caroline on an award she received from the King of Denmark. He also has some new plans for scientific exploration to share with his aunt.

E.J. Barnes does a nice job with the historical details, but where she really shines is in the life and personality she instills into Caroline Herschel, whose love for discovery and for life in general comes across loud and clear.

Rating: 8/10