Comic Book Columns Category



Wednesday’s Webcomic: Steve Rogers’ American Captain

Written by on Nov 16, 2013
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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Steve Rogers’ American Captain

Thanks to the most recent installment of Thor, I have the Marvel films on the brain. Since I know  we’ll all be waiting anxiously now for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I am sharing the excellent Steve Rogers’ American Captain to help scratch that itch. Steve Rogers’ American Captain takes place between the end of The Avengers and the upcoming film. As Steve tries to work out his confusion with the new world around him and grief for his friends from the 40′s, he begins to sketch himself interacting with others, all the confusing things that happen throughout the day, and his thought process as he wrestles with the PTSD that comes from going to war, being trapped in ice for 60 years, and being resuscitated and then save the world from an alien invasion. Cameos from his colleagues in the Avengers as they work, hang out and try to relate to him or help work  out his problems are frequent and often hilarious and touching.

A lot of the praise for …continued on GonnaGeek

America Library

I hope book libraries never change, especially not the smell.

 

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Wedneday’s Webcomic: Nimona

Written by on Oct 30, 2013
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Wedneday’s Webcomic: Nimona

Just in time for Halloween, I bring you Nimona, the tale of an evil genius and his minion. Ballister Blackheart was going it alone as a supervillain until teenage Nimona showed up on his doorstep with a can-do attitude, penchant for violence, and shapeshifting powers. Blackheart’s villainy isn’t black and white however, as his own strict code of honor from his days working for the Institution for Law Enforcement and Heroics before his terrible betrayal tends to keep him from achieving the heights of villainy. Cheerfully violent Nimona has her own mysterious reasons for wanting to take the Institute down, which she sulkily avoids whenever the subject comes up. Over the course of their villainous schemes they discover the Institute is hiding something truly horrendous, and must use all of their villainous wiles to expose their foes to the unsuspecting populace.

Nimona takes place is a fascinating, Magitech medieval universe. While all the characters wear armor and joust and talk of magic, there are televisions, ray guns, and giant robots to enjoy as well! The art is in full color, with a sketchy and expressive children’s-book style of drawing. What will really astonish you is the incredibly-drawn monsters Nimona can turn into throughout the comic! While mainly a comedy, the comic cleverly holds a mirror, darkly,  up to our notions of good and evil, heroes and villains, and what it means to stand on your own moral platform rather than one given to you.

The author, Noelle Stevenson, both writes and draws this comic. Nimona updates bi-weekly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and should be published by HarperCollins in 2015. It has been nominated for a Harvey award for Best Online Comics Work and has been awarded the Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Webcomic of 2012 by Slate Magazine and the Center for Cartoon Studies. Stevenson is a full time writer and artist and is also known for the fanart comedic strips, the Broship of the Rings.

Nimona Cover

He’s so heroic! Just look at that codpiece!




Wednesday’s Webcomic: Servants of the Imperium

Written by on Oct 23, 2013
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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Servants of the Imperium

Things take a personal turn today, as I bring to you the webcomic Servants of the ImperiumThe comic, I believe, is heavily reminiscent in humor and art to the epic The Order of the Stick, but distinguishes itself by being set in the Warhammer 40K universe created by Games Workshop. I will confess right here, to not originally having little love of the 40K universe. I had always found it a depressing, heinously violent, and overly testosterone-driven setting with overpriced miniatures and an antisocial, unpleasant fandom. Not very open-minded of me, I realize, but nothing about the single minded Space Marines of the miniature game really caught my interest. Then I fell in love with a man who was not only obsessed with tabletop gaming of all kinds but had many boxes of  lovingly assembled Space Marines, volumes of the “Black Library,” played the RPGs with his friends, and thanked/blamed-it-on the Pestilence God Nurgle when he got sick.  Since this man also tried knitting, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Jane Austen for me I made an effort to see the good side of life in the 41st Millenium. This story really helped me get there.

I will stress I wasn’t  a complete novice in 40K terminology when I started reading the comic, but I feel a novice with familiarity of science fiction can enjoy and embrace the setting. It starts out with a few one-shot gags in black-and-white but quickly becomes a longer story in full color. The art style is in simple but expressive stick figures. The story follows Lord Severus Hunt, an Inquisitor devoted to hunting down the heretics against the God-Emperor in the Imperium of Mankind 39 millenia into the future.  His (mis)adventures protecting the galaxy from the forces of evil are accompanied by a growing roster of acolytes, including the trigger happy, oddly chipper bounty hunter Krin, the socially backward and deadly assassin Brianna, and a sarcastic Psyker with a penchant for exploding heads named Lyle. As the plot develops, it is not only darkly humorous, but takes a few nods from the grand adventure stories such as Treasure Island. There’s action, treasure, treachery, intrigue, monsters, romance, and lots of comedy! The comic really showed me what is human about the grim and dark setting that is the 40K universe.

The author, Rob Leigh, pulls a lot from his experience as a GM from the 40K series of Roleplaying books from Fantasy Flight,  especially the Dark Heresy series. There was a longer hiatus earlier this year while he was a bit burned out by his surprising success, but I am happy to say that the comic is once again in full swing. He also reviews 40K roleplaying books in the website’s blog section, but does not seem to have any other projects online.

Stumbling on this comic really showed me coolness and charm of the 40K universe; the hard scrabble for survival, the strangeness and similarities of the culture, and the glimmers of humanity in the vast, cold horrors of space. I was able to go from here to the Roleplaying books, then to fluff of the actual miniatures game. I can finally wrap my head around the motivations of the Space Marines, and even recently latched onto a chapter to call my own, the Blood Ravens. Maybe my sweetheart will even talk me into painting some miniatures….

Soti page 3

This is a comedy set in the grimmest setting western literature has ever created. I don’t know how he pulls it off.

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Wednesday’s Webcomic: 2D Goggles

Written by on Oct 16, 2013
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Wednesday’s Webcomic: 2D Goggles

Tuesday, October 15, was Ada Lovelace Day! It’s a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the technology fields.  As such, it is only fitting I share with you the comic 2d Goggles, or, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage! The origin story of this comic was conceived for Ada Lovelace day, as a humorous way to tell the story of the first computer programmer. In our own history, the first computer was designed by a man named Charles Babbage. He called it the Difference Engine, which was never completed, and the programs Ada Byron Lovelace wrote were never used before her death at the age of 36. The ending of the first comic where the two of them succeed and continue on to fight crime was originally supposed to be a one off joke, but by popular demand it was spun into a small pocket universe where Babbage’s Difference Engine was completed and the digital era was begun over a hundred and fifty years early. A chain reaction of adventures, super villains and hijinks follow as a result. Scientific and technological heroes of nineteenth century England appear through out the comic, as well as Queen Victoria, who sees the Difference Engine’s application as an instrument for her plans of World Domination.

The comic is done in animation-type-style, with thick brushstrokes of black ink and impressibly researched anatomy and machinery. Indeed, one of the joys of the comic is the volumes of research, primary sources, and the reference and practice images. The comic is presented in a succession of short and long issues as well as a collection of shorter one shots, with a long book currently in production! Professional delays, referred to as giant monsters, have occurred when the author is overloaded by her day job as an animator, frequently of giant monsters in CGI action movies. One creature you may know of that she animated was the Kracken Liam Neeson was always shouting about releasing. You can check out her impressive recipe, including her work on The Iron Giant,  here at imdb.

Page one of the Origin

This is completely historically accurate. Don’t believe me? Check the sources!

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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Strong Female Protagonist

Written by on Sep 21, 2013
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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Strong Female Protagonist

I’ve been wanting to share Strong Female Protagonist for awhile now, but I wanted to wait until the current story arc was resolved since it was such a nail-biter. Strong Female Protagonist can be an incredibly emotionally intense story; best be prepared to sometimes have a powerful cry at your monitor. The comic tells the story of Allison Green, a New York City college student. She’s a pretty average girl who studies for exams, lives in a dorm, and clashes with her professors with one notable exception: she’s a former teen superhero. Super strong and completely invulnerable to harm, Allison publicly unmasked herself and denounced the superhero way of life when she realized she wasn’t really doing anything to actually save the world. She wants to draw attention to fighting poverty, disease, and war, but that’s difficult when everyone’s afraid you will squish them like a bug, old friends are nagging you to get back in the crime-fighting game, and super villains bust into your life to settle old scores. There’s also the question if some mysterious power or shadowy organization has a vested interest in preserving the status quo, and if they are quietly assassinating heroes who are trying to actually make a difference.

Cleaver

We have to worry about suddenly running into our exes. Alison has to worry about guys like this.

The comic is black and white with gray-scale washes for shading. The characters and art style are more cartoonish than the…continued on GonnaGeek.com

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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Kate Or Die

Written by on Aug 29, 2013
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Wednesday’s Webcomic: Kate Or Die

Kate Or Die is the autobiographical and adorable slice-of-life comic written and drawn by Kate Leth.   Topics range from being female and working in a comic book store, tacos, bisexuality, enjoying porn, breaking the cycle of self-harm, overcoming trauma, and kittens. Kate’s sweet, emotive drawing style brings levity to often darks subjects and turns up the laughs on lighter ones. The skill of the artist really grows over time and this is an good example of what a joy an artist’s growth can be to see. Colors range from full color to a single color, to a small range of colors suited to the tone of the story or gag. This comic has been used by the artist to experiment with her skills as a writer quite a bit and I have really enjoyed the range of material in Kate or Die, as well as little comic-Kate’s evolving hairstyles. If the subject matter is particularly dark Leth will provide a trigger warning.

Biphobia

Respect the Taco…continued on GonnaGeek.com

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Quips From A Clerk: The Batman Essentials

Written by on Aug 16, 2013
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Quips From A Clerk: The Batman Essentials

We all know the big characters out there, but do we know how to start them? How does a new reader learn about characters that have been around for 75 years? There are the collection books that both DC and Marvel have created, collecting the golden age books, but is that enough? Is that really the “Essential” book to read? I don’t believe it is. I think there are stronger stories, ones that will really show the true character that we are used to. That isn’t to say that the collected classics aren’t listed, but they aren’t always the first book you would hand over to a new reader. Sometimes the style or the art just doesn’t translate in modern age, which is fine. We all respect the classics, but what would you suggest?

I went to Twitter and Facebook for help on this weeks topic: Batman. There are just so many stories that he is in, along with him being in television and movies, its hard to not know who he is. But where do you begin reading?

The most popular vote was for Batman: Year One (written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, colored by Richmond Lewis and lettered by Todd Klein.) It was published in 1987 in issue numbers 404-407 of the main Batman comic. This is available in trade paperback, as well as animated film. This story follows Bruce Wayne upon returning to Gotham from his martial arts training and Jim Gordon who has just transferred to Gotham from Chicago with his wife. Almost immediately you are introduced to Holly Robinson and Selina Kyle. From there Bruce and Jim also face encounters with Harvey Dent, Gillian Loeb, Carmine Falcone, and Sarah Essen. The most widely known villain, The Joker, also has a mention in this story. Not only does Year One give you a sense of history with Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon, it gives you a sense of understanding with other characters you didn’t realize you knew.

The second most popular vote…continued at GonnaGeek.com




Wednesday’s Webcomic: The Horror Comics of Emily Carroll

Written by on Aug 14, 2013
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Wednesday’s Webcomic: The Horror Comics of Emily Carroll

Today’s selection is actually a collection of brief short stories by artist Emily Carroll. At times haunting, at times terrifying, Emily Carroll’s comics are always vibrantly colored to great and disturbing effect. The writing has the feel of a old campfire story, a cautionary folk tale passed down from generation to generation. Carroll also makes use of her webpage’s “Infinite Canvas” potential by positioning her images onscreen outside of the traditional comic format, taking the reader on twists and turns across the page. Some stories also have additional programming in the images, with some panels changing as you hover your mouse over them and some with links to the next portion of the story subtly hidden among them. I highly recommend pouring over every image in the comics section of her portfolio to find all of the hidden secrets. Be warned …continued on GonnaGeek.com




Quips From A Clerk: Individual Issues vs. Trade Paperbacks

Written by on Aug 11, 2013
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2013-05-17 01.42.19

A question often asked in the shop is what is the best way to read comics. Read them collected in trade paperback form, or wait month to month for individual issues. Honestly its a personal preference, but I feel some series are better to be read collected rather than waiting. Most of the horror and mystery genre is included in that. For others the wait is needed, just to build up that want for it. I have a personal preference towards trades, mainly because I am impatient and I can barely watch television shows when they air because I hate waiting. To have an entire collected story in one book just seems right to me. That being said, I do understand collecting individual issues. You get different covers and you get the immediate gratification of having the story right away, versus waiting for the publisher to put the trade out a few months later.

I consider trade paperbacks the easiest way to introduce someone to long standing comics, especially with the Marvel and DC superheroes. Some characters that are over 75 years old is difficult…or extremely rare…to be able to find the earlier issues, even in just a beat up reader comic. Its accessible and …continued at  GonnaGeek.com

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NBC Entertainment Chairman calls The Walking Dead “an anomaly”

Written by on Aug 7, 2013
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NBC Entertainment Chairman calls The Walking Dead

Original story HERE

According to NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, AMC’s hit show THE WALKING DEAD is nothing more than an anomaly that would likely have been cancelled in “their world”.

After declining to offer a press conference during the broadcast upfronts last May (following its spring ratings dive), NBC programming executives collectively faced the press for the first time since January during the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Saturday, with executives defending the network’s ratings…Continued at WalkingTheWalkingDead.com

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