More Digital Things To Buy With Your Digital Moneys

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Today (May 20th, 2013) on Comixology, there is a sale focusing on one of my favorite current comic book writers, Kieron Gillen. So for only 99 cents an issue you can get nearly full runs of his work on Journey Into Mystery and Uncanny X-Men. I say “nearly full” since there are some dips into crossovers here and there, but don’t worry about that. If you have $45…buy them all. If you have less than that, well, I’d say buy all of Journey Into Mystery. Its that good.

Here’s the sale. It’s good until 11pm tonight: http://www.comixology.com/Kieron-Gillen-Sale/comics-collection/1202

Journey Into Mystery is all about Loki, the Norse trickster god and brother to Thor. Loki that nearly ended the world, then sacrificed himself, then was resurrected as a child who remembers little of his evil deeds, but still has a treacherous nature. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated series. Gillen is paired with a number of talented storytellers including Dough Braithwaite, Mitch Breitweiser, Richard Elson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Alan Davis and Stephanie Hans. It’s funny. It’s heartbreaking. It is well worth your moneys.

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That is Loki’s Hel-puppy, Thori. Yes.

Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men, in which he’s teamed with Carlos Pacheo, Greg Land, Daniel Acuna and Ron Garney, is a fun continuation of themes explored during Morrison, Whedon, and Ellis’s runs with the X-Men, in which Cyclops leads a team of mutants that’s goal is remind humanity that they are there to save the world while also reminding them they are not to be F’d with. There are no adorable hell-dogs in that series, but Namor is a pretty lovable jerk.

Buy these comics and buy them today. Come on. Hel-puppies. There’s at least 5 of them. They’re all adorable and evil.

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Things I Loved About Comics This Year Part 3: The Dead Walk!

Revival by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton

When is a zombie story not a zombie story? Well, Riddler, when it’s a Rural Noir! (I seriously did not notice that it said “A rural noir” above the title of every issue until the latest one. But in all fairness, this issue is the pulpiest).

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 7.20.35 AMSexy lady? Check. Dead guy? Check. Thing is though, in the rural town in this rural noir, dead guys don’t stay dead. But not in a way you’d normally expect. They’re not eating the flesh of the living (yet). They’re not seducing young virgins and drinking their blood (yet). They’re not even a jumble of body parts sewn together and re-animated by electricity (yet?). No, these are simply people who have died, come back to life, and are having a little bit of trouble with the concept.

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 7.23.53 AMThe normal, rural folks in this small, rural town are also uncomfortable with the situation. They’ve all been quarantined by the CDC, and when no one new can come or go into a small down where the dead have come back to life, well, people are going to be a little on edge and might start hurling feces.

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 7.26.46 AMRevival has been a pleasant surprise for me. I hadn’t really read anything by either of the creators before. I just heard “Have you read Revival yet?” so many times that I had to pick up the first issue. And then the second. Then the third. And so on. Seeley and Norton are crafting a tense, scary, and rural tale (at this point you have to have caught on that I’m overusing rural, but if you haven’t, well, here’s this explanatory sentence!). They’re building a mystery where I need answers, but it’s not a “crackhead LOST fan need to come up with a dozen theories and if I’m wrong I’ll hurl feces at the creators” kind of need for answers. The characters they’ve created are just as compelling as the mystery.

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 7.33.11 AMMYSTERIOUS CAMERA PHONE IMAGE THAT YOU’LL NEED TO BUY THE SERIES TO DETERMINE WHAT IT IS! (just kidding, they haven’t told us what that IS yet, but it’s been creeping around the edge of the series, just waiting to jump in and open up a whole new bag of questions).

So, anyway. I’ve really enjoyed reading Revival this year, and I enjoyed even more the fact that I discovered this rural noir through word of mouth and not through some bland cheerleader review on a comic book ‘news’ site.

LEVAR BURTON MOMENT: You can buy Revival on Comixology, on Amazon, at your local comic book store, or check it out at your local library (maybe? I’ve never checked out a graphic novel/trade paperback at a library before, but have heard tales of some who have. So…do so at your own risk…muahahahahahahahah!)

 

 

 

 

Comics You Should Be Thankful For: Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg

I meant to get this out pre-Halloween, but I was all weird sorts of crazy-pants during the time home from work during the hurricane. Basically I accomplished nothing. I went to an amazing wedding, but in terms of feeling like I did something towards my goal of becoming a working writer? No, I did not do that.

But I re-read some Sandman comics, and while I was going to tie them into a Halloween/Horror theme, I will instead create a new theme for November that is Thanksgiving-specific. I’ll call it “Comics You Should Be Thankful For!” Because you should be goddamn grateful that these amazing comic books exist.

So, for our first installment: The Sandman. This is a series that people often present as a gateway comic to people who don’t read comics. It is a great comic for that. It blends fantasy, horror, and a smidge of super heroics. It is also about stories. But there are also people who don’t give a crap about ANY OF THAT. Do not recommend it to them. This is for your friends who LOVE TO READ. Not your friends who read to pass the time while traveling. Sandman is for people who want to get lost in a world not their own. For those who want to visit the worlds of Tolkien, Rowling, King or Lee and Kirby, because they’ve been there so many times through reading that they know they’re real. It’s for people who get lost in dreams and nightmares. And for those who let their imaginations run wild (like Hulkamania). If any of those things ring true to yourself, or someone you know, then you should read Sandman if you haven’t already.

As I mentioned, I was going for a horror-themed post, so I selected the issues “24 Hour Diner” and “The Collectors” to re-read. They did not disappoint. These are stories about monsters. Each is an intermingling of the real-life monsters and the ones that we imagine in order to either warn others of the real ones, or to take away some of their power. Both stories are written by Neil Gaiman (who created and wrote the entire series) and drawn by Mike Dringenberg (who drew many of the early issues and is credited as co-creator on the series). One of the selling points of The Sandman is that any of it’s trade paperbacks can stand on their own. This is also true of many of the individual issues. Would it help to read more of the series to enjoy “24 Hour Diner” or “The Collectors”? Yes. But they also work as stand-alone stories.

“24 Hour Diner” is about the inhabitants of a diner who are used as playthings for a man with the power to control them. A waitress, a trucker, a young woman anticipating reconciliation with her girlfriend, a young man waiting for an interview, and a long-term couple who hate each other are manipulated by Doctor Destiny into revealing themselves, while also playing the roles he’s picked for them. He can do so through the use of a magical gem, but he’s not any different from a crazy person that has taken a group of people hostage of a confined area. Gaiman’s narration provides insight into all of the character’s points of view, making it all the more scary as each loses control over their own will.

Dringenberg’s art blends dark fantasy and reality, making great use of negative space and shadows, helping the reader to believe that such an event could be sprung upon them at any moment. His framing in the above panel also proves the horror rule of “sometimes it’s what you don’t see that’s truly scary,” but helps you to see what you’re imagining a little better with the blood dripping down the frame.

“The Collectors,” while just as dark as “24 Hour Diner,” blends in a bit of humor. It’s built on the premise that serial killers get together for conventions to discuss their trade. The chairman tells a reaping/raping joke; there’s a panel for women serial killers…it’s like the US Weekly “Stars…they’re just like US” of serial killing. Gaiman and Dringenberg introduce a number of distinct killers in 22 pages, some getting only a panel to half a page of introduction, but they paint some pretty vivid pictures.

Each killer is introduced differently, but every one has at least one single panel of their true self, colored entirely in shades of red and black as they pose over their victim. Artist and writer are truly in sync here, presenting both the mundane public personas with humor while revealing the horrific true faces of these men and women.

Ultimately though, the authors strip away the facade. Both the one presented to the reader that they’re “just like you and me,” and the one the killers tell themselves, that “they are the heroes of their own stories.” Morpheus, the titular Sandman, the personification of Dream, reclaims a rogue nightmare, while making sure that the serial killers of the world will never sleep again.

I recently read a disturbing, yet well-written book called The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum. In the afterward, Ketchum writes of his disgust for the monsters of real life. The serial killers. The torturers. The people who willfully inflict pain on others and find justification in it. Both the book, and Ketchum’s afterward which expressed a desire to de-power these people reminded me of “The Collectors,” and the attempt of Gaiman’s Morpheus to take away the power of the killers. Because we can’t deny or stop these people from existing, but we can try and take away their reason to. Or at least hope to identify them better through these stories. Or something.

I don’t know. But I know that these are damn good comics. I’ve read and owned The Sandman in two formats, both in trade paperbacks, and in deluxe hardcovers. The hardcovers are beautiful, but if you’re trying out this series for the first time, you’re probably better off on Comixology, or by picking out a volume for $10 on Amazon. 

Awesome Comics Are Awesome: Comics I Bought, Week of 10/17/12

More Horror!

Bongo Comics has been adding issues of Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror to Comixology and I’ve been buying them. It’s interesting seeing The Simpsons in another medium, and honestly theses horror parodies are a better fit than a “normal” Simpsons comic book seems to be. It also helps that issue #13 which I purchased this week, has contributions from comedians Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt, and Thomas Lennon. Also, rather than attempting to strictly adhere to the character designs of the show, the artists on this book are given a bit more freedom to blend in the looks from the horror films and comic books that are being parodied.

I’m gonna make you buy this.

Horror, more of it!

Revival #3 continues to world build, or rather town build as we’re introduced to a few more of the characters around town, while checking in on some of the living dead we’ve met so far. The horror is built upon in visual, physical ways like above, and through terrifying comic book sound effects like below. Nookie as your ring tone? Who knows if that girl’s life is in danger or not, but her not being trapped in a room with a douche is DEFINITELY in danger.

So yeah, I am still hearting this comic by Misters Tim Seeley and Mike Norton very muchly. Like I mentioned the last time I talked about Revival, physical copies of it are selling like hotcakes, so I recommend buying some digital hotcakes on Comixology.

Seriously, you’re gonna be all up in this comic book.

Now, onto ACTION! CAR CHASES! ARCHERY! COMICALLY DISGUISED FULL FRONTAL NUDITY!

Issue 3 of Hawkeye, entitled “Cherry,” by the gentlemen listed in the above panel, continues to prove that I am right for buying this comic month after month and you are wrong for ignoring me and not buying it. (If you are reading it, isn’t it totally awesome?????)

Yes, bro. It is awesome. So there’s a new show out called Arrow. I haven’t seen it. It’s based on Green Arrow, but I guess the kids hate adjectives these days, so they lost the “Green.” And it looks super serious in a way that people afraid of genres of any kind can only make things. Anyway, Hawkeye and Green Arrow are the archery based super heroes of Marvel Comics and DC Comics, and aside from that, they have one thing in common: Trick Arrows. Electric arrows, handcuff arrows, sonic arrows, boomerang arrows, ETC. Some creators will deal with it snarkily. The team on Hawkeye embraces the ridiculous, flips it, reverses it, grates some fresh cheese over it, and serves up a meat and potato filled comic book experience of AWESOME. I will overuse the shit out of that word. It will lose meaning, and then be given new meaning, and be defined simply through the use of this comic book.

In addition to taking back trick arrows for everyone, Fraction and Aja also take back comic sound effects. Too often, comic book sound effects are seen as some archaic thing, a sign that the medium is cheesy. Well, when “CRASH” is an integral part of your panel composition like in the panel above, you’re taking sound effects FOR SERIOUS.

The other thing Fraction and Aja are up to is cramming so much action into so many panels onto so few pages, you’ll swear you’re enjoying the nooks and butter filled crannies of a well toasted English Muffin. Does that make sense? It doesn’t matter does it? This is an artfully crafted AND entertaining comic book and it is something that makes me excited about this medium every single month. Even in the quiet, tense moments portrayed below:

And then of course, there are the bat-shit moments that have our main character, Clint Barton, leaping away from gunfire in the nude, his naughty bits obscured by a retro-styled icon representative of his classic look.

All of these comics. I bought them. You should buy them (Especially Hawkeye!). I purchased them on Comixology, but you can also stroll into your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Book Store, and buy them there. Or buy them online and have them shipped to you. I don’t care! Just buy them, you’ll like them.

Buy Hawkeye. Do it. You’ll thank me.

Everyone Dance To The Pumpkin Song

Remember when I said I would re-post previous horror comic recommendations in the build up to Halloween? I told the truth!

I made so many recommendations! I talked about Locke & Key, American Vampire, maybe I mentioned some other stuff? I don’t know, go click over there and read it and come back.

I know, ladies, it’s EXCITING.

And then I made MORE recommendations. Like iZombie and Full Moon Fever (Werewolves on the moon, bitches).

Shit was crazy.  Not that crazy, but man, do I love that page of comics. COMICS! So why don’t I tell you to read Casanova again? Do it!

But anyway, Horror!  I’ve also mentioned that y’all should check out Revival, Dead West, and probably some other things too. Click around the site…if you dare!

Throughout this month, I’ll talk about more horror comics. Including one I may have unfortunately included amongst the giant batch that I sold to a comic store this summer. I think it was the first horror comic I purchased, and it featured Dracula taking on…Spider-Man. It was great. Spider-Man had to get some experimental medicine for Aunt May, but that medicine ALSO could potentially kill vampires. (SCIENCE). Naturally, Dracula wasn’t having any of that, so he snuck aboard a ship (this medicine was traveling by boat) to kill the scientists who made this vampire killing/elderly curing medicine. Spider-Man saved the day, and Dracula ran away (as he often does).

There was also a short comic about a private eye hired to protect a guy from a vampire. But then it turns out the private eye is a vampire too…WHAT? It was great. I seriously think I got rid of this comic, and I’m having some serious regret right now.

Regret aside, I will be telling y’all about more horror comics this month, cause Halloween is here, it’s not 29 days away…it’s EVERY DAY.

 

 

 

Zombie Westerns Are The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Of Genre Mashups

In real life, when bored, distracted, or annoyed, I will wish upon a star for zombies. This started soon after playing Resident Evil 2 in 1998, which began my love affair with zombies. I would sit in class, or at work, and ponder what I would do if a zombie outbreak were to occur at that very moment (NOTE: I would be awesome, no matter what the scenario, as it was MY imagination. Put in the more serious context of a “realistic” hypothetical zombie outbreak scenario, I’d probably still do fairly awesome barring any encounters with fellow human survivors who are actually well versed with weaponry). Point being, that sometimes, fiction has bored me and made me insert zombies on my own. P.S. I Love You? So much better when you imagine Hillary Swank and the entire cast being consumed by the undead. The Baz Lurman Australian epic, Australia? Well, no, not even zombies would make that film watchable. But you get the point.

Zombies can also ENHANCE something that’s already awesome. Like westerns. Imagine Eastwood’s Man With No Name against a horde of the undead.

“No more room in hell” is the best description for zombies ever. Simple and to the point. First utilized in Dawn of the Dead (1978).

Oh, wait. You don’t have to. Someone already did that for you (and several years before the video game Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, which is fairly awesome itself).

Written by Rick Spears. Art by Rob G. I present to you, Dead West.

White people kill a Native American tribe, the last survivor of the tribe puts a curse on the town that raises the dead. Into this mess come stand ins for Eastwood’s Man With No Name as well as Eli Wallach’s Tuco from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Cowboy and zombie shenanigans ensue.

This is a quick, done in one graphic novel. A lot of stock western characters and tropes are burnt through quickly, but in a fun way, not in a “check this off of a western genre list” way. There’s lawmen, prostitutes, bar keeps, more prostitutes (but with hearts of gold!) and spirit animals for good measure, too.

Cowboy/Zombie Native American showdown. It’s all the eyes. The rotting, undead eyes.

Rob G’s art is fantastic. It’s got a rough, scratchy feel. Not that it feels unfinished, there’s a definite commitment to each line, but it’s rough in a…well…manly sense that’s befitting a western AND a horror book. He also draws some HILARIOUS death scenes. That’s something people forget about the slow, shambling zombie, that he can be much funnier than his running rabid, not really a zombie counterpart. Slow zombies can creep up on folks for hilarious “what’s that behind me” deaths, and Rob G, nay, MR. G, draws these very well.

Rick Spears has a great handle on the characters. Not that they’re all well defined, as I’ve said, they’re mostly types. But he defines them just enough for you to understand their role in the story, while still caring just enough whether or not they live or die.

His hero bounty hunter and mexican outlaw characters are fearless in the face of the zombies, still seeking to kill each other above all else. The fact that he doesn’t let their detour into another genre deter them from their ultimate goals is Blazing Saddles-esque. That’s right, Blazing Saddles-esque! If you haven’t seen Blazing Saddles, let me describe it for you in detail. Let’s see…JUST KIDDING. If you haven’t seen Blazing Saddles

That’s what I want to do to your face. Go watch Blazing Saddles. Or at least YouTube the ending. It’s not required viewing for this comic, but it’s required viewing for life. But in the context of this post, it’s about characters from one genre playing it straight upon sidestepping into another genre. There’s no pause to take stock of the surroundings, it’s just cowboy business as usual.

If any of my horror recommendations, especially horror western recommendations like The Sixth Gun or American Vampire, have tickled your fancy, this would be right up your alley. It’s a wonderful mashup of two great genres, its action packed, a little scary, and a lot funny. You sadly cannot purchase this digitally, but you can get it on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price, and might be able to find it at your local comic shop too.

Stuff I Bought, Week of 9/15/12 (SUPER VALUE EDITION!)

First off, I bought the latest issue of Saga, which was not really a new comic, but the price dropped on Comixology, so I purchased it! And then wrote about it, along with the previous two issues, here! But on it’s own, issue six is a nice bridge from the world building that’s been going on into UNIVERSE building. Here’s a shot of Hazel, Saga’s narrator, and a character I completely forgot to mention in this week’s review. She’s still a baby as far as the story goes, her future self jumping in with some poignant narration from time to time.

I also purchased Revival #2.

Damn, that’s creepy. Seeley and Norton are bringin’ it. I’m upping my recommendation from READ THIS COMIC to…READ THIS COMIC HOLY CRAP GO DO IT! I might say that I’m more suggestible towards a horror comic at this point due to the Fall season, but really, I will read and/or watch horror at any time of the year. I’ll just get to drink a pumpkin beer while reading these initial issues. This also recently dropped to $1.99 on Comixology. Allegedly the physical issues are selling out and hard to find so collectors are upping the price on eBay. F that noise…either wait for the trade paperback or buy the digital version. It’s a great story, but there’s no reason to overpay for it.

Finally (maybe), I purchased The Sixth Gun Volume Two, which is on sale on Comixology this weekend (so I might also buy Volume 3 and the rest of the issues available). If my first post on this subject didn’t convince you to buy it, well then maybe these things (in addition to the fact that it’s .99 an issue right now) will:

1) The second volume keeps up the energetic pace of the first while still balancing the horror and western genres.

2) Western Genre Awesomeness example:

3) Horror Genre Awesomeness Example (There’s way more awesomeness in the book itself, but you’re not getting it unless you read it, however, IS THIS NOT AWESOME LOOKING AND CREEPY?)

Even without the sale on I would be chomping at the bit (look at that bit, it’s practically chomped to nothing!) to buy more of this comic. Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt are doing an amazing job with this book. Again seriously, drop everything and read this. Also, this volume contains Voodoo (the dark magic, not the crappy 90’s comic book character), as well as possibly werewolves. I say “possibly,” cause werewolves are mentioned, but then so are skin-changers. And the guys in this volume look a bit more like bearded skin-changers.

Really, all three of the books I bought this week are exciting examples of what can be done with the comic book medium, and all three are owned by their creators. So buy them, read some good comics, and support some talented artists.

 

 

 

 

 

(Insert other teen rebellion song) OR, Morning Glories by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma

So let’s kickoff with the “Why you should read Morning Glories if you’ve liked X” portion of things first. If you’ve dipped your toes, or gone all in for television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Supernatural, etc. Really if you’ve enjoyed character based Sci-Fi or Fantasy in general, this could be for you. Also, according to my good buddy Seth, there are people who like stories about boarding schools. So if you liked the Harry Potter series, The Catcher in the Rye, or the third Mighty Ducks film, this could be for you too. Also, the book’s writer, Nick Spencer, has pitched it as “Runaways Meets LOST.” So to expand on that, if you have enjoyed Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s comic book, Runaways, or the TV show LOST by JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse, this is probably for you. You can buy it physically or digitally in any of the ways I’ve told you about (Your local comic shop, Amazon, Comixology).

Morning Glories is about a group of teens selected to attend the prestigious Morning Glory Academy. Very quickly, they learn that things are not what they seem, and there’s danger around every corner. And mystery. Oh, the mystery.

Spencer, along with artist Joe Eisma, are about 20 issues into this series. They’re not revealing much yet. The two are layering mystery upon mystery. It’s a seven layer cake of mystery, and I’d say roughly only 2-ish layers are done. (Supposedly this book is planned to run 100 issues, so my math kind of works here). But what I’m getting at, is they’re in this for the long run. There isn’t a rush to reveal anything. Morning Glories is a slow burn book that re-uses phrases as well as scenes without feeling repetitive or padded.

Within the first six issues, the phrases “For A Better Future” and “The Hour Of Our Release Draws Near” are seen frequently. Below are just three examples of this:

The students are imprisoned at the academy, but somehow, I don’t think the phrase is that literal. I don’t think it has anything to do with their being freed from the school. If anything, the phrase is more likely to involve (crazy theories to follow) the afterlife, moving onto another plane of consciousness or breaking free from a time loop.

On top of everything else, this is probably also a horror comic, too.

That gentleman’s death comes courtesy of a ghost-like (or possibly unstuck in time??? my own theory–plus there’s a shit ton of travel through time AND space in this book) wraith who appears to be named David and seems to get off on moving around creepily and reaching through people’s heads. Eyeballs are falling out everywhere.

Now while the mystery and horror are all nice, as is the snappy dialogue (which is almost on the verge of being too heavy on the pop culture references), without a solid artist, it would all fall pretty flat. Eisma’s art has really grown in a short time as the series has progressed, really giving each character their own unique personality. He’s also done a great job at conveying emotion. See? Terror!

I mentioned this comic involves time travel, yes? Not only in a Pulp Fiction-y, jumping around the narrative way, but actual time travel! Jade, who’s a pretty insecure character as seen in the panel below:

…grows up into a confident, assured woman, who seems to have a real good idea of what’s going on with everything. And Eisma does a great job of keeping Jade looking like herself, while also gaining that physical and emotional maturity. There are some artists who can make you feel like you’re in an action movie, and there are also those like Eisma who can make their characters act (and act well!).

So again: Mysteries, murder, teen characters. Plus some romance, some bromance, some betrayal…really, there’s a lot of everything in this series. Another phrase that’s repeated is “What did you see when your eyes were opened?” The characters often don’t have an answer. Their eyes haven’t been opened yet. Well, most of them haven’t. And those that have, I don’t think they fully understand things yet either. They’re like those of us reading the book, thinking we have an inkling of what’s going on, when in reality, we know nothing. But I’m excited to keep reading Morning Glories to see if I’m right about …well…anything. 

What I Bought: Week of 9/7/12

AKA: Hawkeye is great at boats!

See!

Anyway, here’s a run through of what I purchased this week (on Comixology). Quick, short form recommendations, GO!

(Soundtrack for this post “Caught by the Fuzz” by Supergrass)

First off, Hawkeye #2 by Matt Fraction and David Aja

Aside from the simple “this is what Hawkeye does when not on missions with Avengers” concept, there are hints at something larger for the book and for Hawkeye’s character. He’s a man who’s attempting to make up for his past as a criminal, his past with women, but on top of that, he’s also trying to solve things that are at his level. Fraction and Aja are doing an amazing job at making Hawkeye into more than the stock 60s Marvel hothead character that he’s been for 40+ years, and are telling a hell of an entertaining story while doing so. Also, another amazing job by Matt Hollingsworth on color. The dude is making me love the color purple (the actual color, not the film starring Oprah) even more than I already did.

Seriously, if I’ve told you to read this comic (I Have!) and you haven’t (You probably haven’t!), punch yourself in the face, and then read it. If by next month’s issue, you still haven’t read it, there will be more face punching.

Remember when I told you about Runaways??? Well, if you enjoyed that post, and enjoyed that comic, then my next purchase is for you!

Morning Glories Volume 3: PE by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma.

This is a series I intend to go more in-depth on, but the basics, here, for you: Six kids start a semester at the exclusive Morning Glory Academy. Things immediately get weird. And not like, climbing the jump rope in gym class weird, but your teachers murdered your parents and are trying to drown you weird. Also, there’s time travel. I will write more about this, but for now, head on over to Comixology and buy the first issue, or the first trade, as it’s all on sale for super cheap this weekend. I’ve been reading this series for about a year, and I’m still totally into ALL of it’s mysteries, both plot and character based. Again, I intend to do a more detailed post on the series, but it’s got a quick, engaging story with snappy dialogue. Eisma’s art is really fun, and he manages to retell scenes from different character POVs without making you feel like you’ve read it already.

Revival #1 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. “The Dead Walk.” Put that somewhere in your logline and you’re guaranteed my interest if not my moneys.

 

Now Revival doesn’t appear to be about straight-up zombies. Maybe a little bit more in the Pet Semetary or Re-Animator vein. Dead people seem to come back, and come back wrong, and it’s localized to one small town. No one knows what to make of it, or what to do. No matter what’s going on, Seeley and Norton have me hooked for at least another issue. Seeley’s plot gives just enough, but leaves a lot of mystery intact, while Norton’s art is clean, kinetic, and a bit scary. There’s also a beautiful sequence with a zorse (1/2 zebra, 1/2 horse) that kicks off the issue, and I will not share ANY of it with you, cause I want you to go read it yourself.

 

Ok.

I’ll give you a little taste.

 

A special shout out to “dougvondoom” for recommending Revival in the comments!

 

 

 

Some People Call Me A Ghost Cowboy…

…some call me a werewolf of loooove.

Some people call me Maur-

Sorry.

When I get bad jokes or bad writing in my head, I get it out. But I don’t get it out and delete it, nope, I share it with y’all.

This is yet another horror comic recommendation, and FYI, I am totally going to cheaply re-use these in October to get more traffic and whatnot. This comic, like American Vampire, falls into a category of “horror western.” Written by Cullen Bunn with art by Brian Hurtt, this is The Sixth Gun.

That’s Drake Sinclair. Our resident mysterious gunslinger leaving a Pinkerton to die. Pinkertons were the worst. They were a ‘detective agency,’ but they were really hired guns selling their services to the highest bidder. You’ll find in this series and in the excellent HBO drama Deadwood that they were indeed the worst. Pinkertons were the worst. I cannot state this enough. Though I should do some reading to find out if in fact these fictional stories are correct in their assessment, I do find comfort in assuming that strike-breaking, undead general aiding goons were the worst.

Yup, I said “undead general.” That’s our villain. General Olliander Hume. An evil Confederate general with an evil gang and six evil guns that each have their own unique power and are bound to their owners for life.

So we’ve met Drake Sinclair. Here’s Becky. A bunch of lousy, no good Pinkertons come after her father, and through some shenanigans that I won’t spoil, leave Becky with a dead father and a magic gun. OK, I kinda spoiled things. But I didn’t tell you how the Pinkertons shot her father in the head. Oh. Crap.

Pinkertons are the worst.

 

Monks with guns!!!

And here’s General Hume’s evil gang of ghouls. I can’t say that they’re all ghouls in the strict definition of the term, but gang of ghouls sounds great, so hey, I’m going with it.

I’m barely touching on what makes The Sixth Gun such an enjoyable comic. Bunn’s story moves at a quick (and funny!) pace, constantly introducing characters and building a rich, rich mythology. The book feels like a classic western film, but doesn’t feel constrained by those trappings. Hurtt’s art has a loose, lightly inked feel. His eyes are amazingly expressive yet cartoony. Working together, the two come up with a spectacular book. I’ve read issues 1-6 of this series, and plan to read more. Before I get into where to buy and all that, I want to note something.

When I got back into comics in late high school, after a brief hiatus where I thought reading comics was responsible for my lack of success with the ladies, I was introduced to some comics that were different than what I had read before. The art was better. There weren’t any thought bubbles. Comics kind of looked like movies. And that was what was being marketed. A “Widescreen” approach. But widescreen seemed to be the main takeaway that the comic marketers and press had from film. Well, there’s more to film, and more to storytelling than aspect ratio.

Look at that page. That is brilliant editing and brilliant storytelling. If you’re going to compare a still image on the page to a moving image…well….that’s a moving image on a still page. I don’t know if that makes much sense, but goddamn it’s good comics. It doesn’t need me to tell you how good it is (Though I guess it does, since you’re not reading it).

Anyway, you can be like me, and buy The Sixth Gun on Comixology. It’s $8.99 for six issues. That is amazing. You can also go to your local comic store or book store and pick it up in print, or buy it on Amazon.