REVIEW: Mazinger

Go Nagai Creator, Story and Art; Takayuki S. / Mecha Design; Kazuhiro Amachi / Color; David Lewis and Alex Wald/ English Adaptation

First Comics, 1988

A few episodes back, I erroneously stated that Glenn Danzig was the first to bring Go Nagai’s work over to the US with Devilman (in which he infamously added nostrils to the characters for the American version).

This was categorically incorrect, and I should have known it at the time. Continue reading REVIEW: Mazinger

REVIEW: Richard Stark’s Parker, The Hunter

Adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke

IDW, 2009.

Look, I’ll just say it.

I didn’t like it.

And it’s got nothing to do with Darwyn Cooke officially becoming a scab. I didn’t like it the first time I read it a year and a half ago, and I didn’t like it when I re-read it this week to write this review.

And yet here is a book that has been uniformly praised, as far as I can tell. I haven’t seen any dissent. And rightly so. The book is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Cooke’s ability to construct a whole world in a near-minimalist style is astonishing. If the opening spread of New York doesn’t knock your socks off, nothing will. (Even though I’m sure Cooke didn’t “draw” it in any traditional sense.) I acknowledge all of that.

Continue reading REVIEW: Richard Stark’s Parker, The Hunter

REVIEW: 2001 A Space Odyssey #2

Writer, Artist, Editor: Jack Kirby

Marvel Comics, 1977.

(This review originally appeared at Weird Crime Theater.)

By pure coincidence, I found this comic at the Camberwell Collector’s Fair the very same week that I was reading Arthur C. Clarke’s novel version.

A cursory glance at the cover will tell you that Marvel’s approach to this property was so divorced from that of Stanley Kubrick or Clarke as to make it effectively unrecognizable. I mean, just look the price box alone!

Continue reading REVIEW: 2001 A Space Odyssey #2

REVIEW: Wilson

by Dan Clowes

Drawn & Quarterly, 2010

(This review originally appeared at Weird Crime Theater.)

Look, let’s get some things out of the way right off the bat. Yes, as you may have heard, Wilson is not nearly as good as many of Dan Clowes’s other works. It’s not one of his best by any means, and it seems to be aiming for a kind of Jimmy Corrigan-like poignancy which it falls far short of (I’ll get back to this), but it’s still worth talking about, which is why I’m here.

Continue reading REVIEW: Wilson

REVIEW: Action Comics #775

Joe Kelly, writer. Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo, pencillers.

DC Comics, 2001.

“Masks are for hiding. Capes are for play. ‘Villains’ don’t share their plans before they smoke you — ‘cept in campaign speeches. Or the pulpit or in front of the classroom. Reality is a mite bloodier than sitcoms or comics. The greys stretch out farther… Evil scientists. Bogey-men. Gimps in tights who want to ‘rule the world.’ From now on they’re yours — and the rest are ours to do with as we see fit.”

— Manchester Black (leader of The Elite) speaking to Superman

Despite some things you might have heard me say, or what you might have read in my diary that I keep under my pillow, I don’t really care about Superman in the greater context of things. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the Clark / Superman dichotomy, or what principles Superman embodies. If anything, I agree with Gary Groth’s 1988 essay that really Superman is a symbol of commercialism, exploitation, and the gangster morality of the comics industry. I love the first Christopher Reeve movie. And I like the character to the extent that he opens the door to stories in which, say, Jimmy Olsen uses a “Helmet of Hate” to turn Superman into a red devil with horns and then the horns crack open and tiny Supermen fly out, all drawn in an almost inappropriately naturalistic way by Curt Swan.

Continue reading REVIEW: Action Comics #775

REVIEW: Canadian Ninja #1

Rogers Beausoleil: Script and Layout. Nathalie Lagace: Inks. Nelson Joly: Letter (sic).

Editions RGB, 1988.

Sometimes the only appropriate response to a thing like this is internet snark.

Quite obviously published during the height of the black-and-white boom-and-bust, it’s hard to tell how much a shoddy piece of junk like this was published out of sheer creative enthusiasm, and how much of it was mercenary. I’ll give you the facts, and you decide.

Continue reading REVIEW: Canadian Ninja #1

REVIEW: Samurai, Son of Death

Writer: Sharman DiVono, Art: Hiroshi Hirata.

Eclipse Comics, 1987.

(This review originally appeared at Weird Crime Theater.)

Because of my own personal experience, I tend to approach fiction about Japan by Westerners with a spoonful of suspicion. Typically I find even pro-Japan works to be either somewhat or grossly based on generalization born of not spending long enough in the country, or not trying hard enough to get to know the people. Though, naturally, my own opinions of Japan are based on my own generalizations as well.

Continue reading REVIEW: Samurai, Son of Death

REVIEW: Gangsta Rap Posse #2

by Benjamin Marra

Traditional Comics, 2011

Of all the comic covers I’ve seen featuring superheroes pummeling Nazis, this one takes the cake. And if you can’t handle the cover, then I should point out now that you will find even everything in this review offensive.

Continue reading REVIEW: Gangsta Rap Posse #2

REVIEW: Alan Moore: Storyteller

by Gary Spencer Millidge

Ilex Press, 2011

Conflict of Interest Warning: I provided scans of some of the rare material featured in this book, and I have a “Thanks” credit in it.

When this book was first announced, many of us Alan Moore fans were expecting a prose biography (the first) of Alan Moore. What we get instead is actually more like a coffee table art book chronological biography of the writings of Alan Moore.

Continue reading REVIEW: Alan Moore: Storyteller

REVIEW: Tintin and Alph-Art

by Herge

translated by Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner

Egmont, 2004

Herge began his final Tintin album — the 24th — in 1978, and it remained unfinished at the time of his death. This book is kind of a behind the scenes look at his working process. It showcases the work he did complete on it: thumbnails for most of the album (mostly stick-figure doodles really, sometimes just words in a panel), and a dialog script.

Wait. That might not be entirely accurate. It’s unclear from what’s presented how Herge actually worked.

Continue reading REVIEW: Tintin and Alph-Art