Recent Comic Reviews

Missouri Boy by Leland Myrick


Comic: Missouri Boy
Release date: September 2006
Writer and artist: Leland Myrick
Publisher: First Second ':01'
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Happiness alternates with tragedy in these snapshots of Myrick's own Missouri childhood. Filled with startling and at times achingly beautiful images -- from a perfect paper airplane flying in the autumn sky to visits to the "underwear pond" to a solitary cross-country motorcycle trip -- Myrick has created a graphic poem that brings together the experiences that formed his character, for better and for worse. 



The Deal

I often visit 'Het Boekenfestijn' which is a book wholesaler that sells books (new), graphic novels (new) and comics (new and 2nd hand) at very low prices. They pop up in big venues all around the Netherlands and Belgium every couple of weeks. They usually have two large rows with tables filled with comics, TPB and HC's. That's where I found Missouri Boy. The cover intrigued me, but I wasn't completely sold on it when I flipped through the inner pages,. The way the faces and especially the lips, were drawn didn't speak to me at all, but it had planted a seed in my head that grew and made me come back to flip through it a couple more times. I really wanted to like it. At the end of the day I finally took it home with me. 

The Feel

The book is beautifully made, both the front and back cover have an inside flap and are made of thick sturdy paper which will last you for years even if you read the book over and over again. The interior pages are made up of full color printed bleached matte paper. The whole book is kept together with perfect binding and it looks and feels very good in your hands. All the pages in my copy were perfectly cut and bound with perfect binding. The overall matte colors on the interior pages were printed to perfection and the whole book feels very professionally made. The typography and the floating leaves on the cover have been UV spot coated.

The Story

This autobiographic graphic novel reads like a collection of poems. The single chapters are a collection of snippets from Myricks life. If you're looking for a book with a plot, a clear beginning and and end, this is not the one for you. 
Myrick starts at the beginning, literary, at his and his twin-brothers birth. A beautiful story of the cycle of life which is followed by ten chapters filled with some of the memories of his life as he grows up in Missouri. The memories aren't all happy ones. He shows us his older brother as he gets sentenced to ten years imprisonment and gets bullied by his friends and even his twin. They're counter weighed by happy memories. The ones that stuck with me the most were "Paper Airplane" and "Underwear Pond". Each chapter is a new memory, a new year, a new feeling and perspective of the world. It's the poetry of life.

The Look

When I first saw the book I was drawn to it because of the beautiful bright orange colours on the cover. I flipped through the inner pages and just wasn't sure if I should buy it. I liked everything about the artwork except for the way Myrick draws the lined lips. Weird how something so small can have such an impact. That being said I also realize it's the whole book that does it for me, the snippets, the artwork and especially the colors make this book. It's Myricks life and his drawings as he sees his memories. The predominant colours are brown, green and blue matte. I like how the snippets of Myricks life all have a title and a chapter page with the year of when the memory took place. It gives you time to say goodbye to the last memory before beginning a new one. 

The Conclusion

Especially after thinking so hard about getting/not getting this graphic novel I'm now so happy to have it in my bookcase. The chapters are really nice and the autobiographical nature just make you think of your own childhood. I think most readers that are older than thirty-five can relate to one or more of these stories. You will better understand it when you're a certain age, because your own memories will fit his more then when you've been born twenty years later. I do think the original price of 16,95 USD is a bit steep, I would probably not have bought it at it's original price.  

How to get a copy

I can't find it up on the First Second website any more but that's not strange for a book from 2006. You'll most likely find it at a 2nd hand (online) book store (ISBN 1-59643-110-5). I got my new copy cheaply at just 2,99 euro. 

Fun-O-Planet: Failed Alien by Nathan Ward

Comic: Fun-O-Planet: Failed Alien
Release date: September 2014
Writer: Nathan Ward
Artist: Nathan Ward
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Fun-O-Planet is a comic series about a group of brainless humanoid teenagers and their weirdo adventures on an unfamiliar planet.

TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids written by Paul Kupperberg, art by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone

Comic: TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids
Release date: 1984
Writer: Paul Kuppenberg
Artists: Dick Ayers, Chic Stone
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Archie comics made this comic to be used as a promotional device for Radio Shack Division of the Tandy Corporation. The comic is partly a step by step guide on how to use the TSR-80 model 12 computer and partly an adventure where Alec and Shanna prevent terrorism. 


O Human Star: Volume One by Blue Delliquanti

Comic: O Human Star: Volume One
Release date: April 2015
Writer and Artist: Blue Delliquanti
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Alastair Sterling was the inventor who sparked the robot revolution. And because of his sudden death, he didn't see any of it.
That is, until he wakes up 16 years later in a robot body that matches his old one exactly. Until he steps outside and finds a world utterly unlike the one he left behind - a world where robots live alongside their human neighbors and coexist in their cities. A world he helped create. 
Now Al must track down his old partner Brendan to find out who is responsible for Al's unexpected resurrection, but their reunion raises even more questions. Like who the robot living with Brendan is. And why she looks like Al. And how much of the past should stay in the past...

Unit 44, Part 2 of 4 by Wes Locher and Eduardo Jiménez

Comic: Unit 44, Part 2 of 4
Release date: 22 April 2015
Writer: Wes Locher
Artist: Eduardo Jiménez
Publisher: Alterna
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Agents Gibson and Hatch catch up with Chester and Ike, the men who purchased the contents of unit 44, but the items have disappeared once again. Just what was inside the locker and why is Senior Agent Ballard so desperate to get it back? In the midst of the chaos a new threat reveals itself.

Zarjaz #23, edited by Dave Evans and Richmond Clements

Comic: Zarjaz, issue 23
Release date: March 2015
Editors: Dave Evans and Richmond Clements
Writers: Lee Robson, Stuart Catley, J.J. Robinson, Adam Breen, Alexi Conman, Matt Sharp and  Martin Currie
Artists: Alfie Gallagher, Stuart Catley, Mike Bunt, Jim Lavery, Roland Bird, David Broughton and Martin Currie
Cover: Mark Harrison, full-colour
Interior: black/white
Synopsis: Zarjaz is a non-profit fanzine based upon 2000AD. The fanzine is an anthology, publishing stories from within the realm of 2000AD. Some of the current writers and artists of 2000AD started their journey here, between the pages of Zarjaz


FutureQuake: Issue 26. Edited by Dave Evans and Richmond Clements

Comic: FutureQuake: Issue 26
Release date: March 2015
Editors: Dave Evans and Richmond Clements
Writers: Alec Charles, Gary Chudleigh, Alexi Conman, Umar Ditta, Jim Lavery, Alec Robertson, Lee Robson, JJ Robinson 
Artists: Jim Groasdale, Marc Ducrow, Jim Lavery, Rui Mendes, Alex Paterson, Xia, RH Stewart, Matt Soffe (cover), Darren Mullen, Barry Renshaw, 
Cover: full-color
Interior: black/white
Synopsis: The stories inside FutureQuake are generally five pages or less, and often follow the 'twist in the tail' set up popularised by EC comics and 2000AD's Future Shocks. Any genre or story within the rough boundaries of sf/fantasy/horror/romance/comedy or any permutations thereof.

Unit 44, Part 1 of 4 by Wes Locher and Eduardo Jiménez

Comic: Unit 44, Part 1 of 4
Release date: 25 March 2015
Writer: Wes Locher
Artist: Eduardo Jiménez
Publisher: Alterna
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Inept Area 51 employees forget to pay the rent on the facility's off-site storage unit, leaving the secret contents to be sold to a pair of backwoods rednecks at public auction.

Legend of the Mantamaji: Book Three by Eric Dean Seaton and Brandon Palas

Graphic novel: Legend of the Mantamaji: Book Three
Release date: Febuary 2015
Writer: Eric Dean Seaton
Artist: Brandon Palas
Publisher: And... Action Entertainment
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Beaten, betrayed, and left for dead, Elijah Alexander, the last Mantamaji, knows the end of the world is at hand Soon Sirach will carry out his plan to open the Gates of Time and after Earth's history to suit his purposes. How can Elijah stop Sirach, when he's already failed before? To succeed, he will have to put aside vengeance, ignore his pain, and listen to a wisdom he's forgotten. But he, and the world, are running out of time. 


Killjoy, issue no.2 by Robert Brown

Comic: Killjoy, issue #2
Release date: 2013
Writer: Robert Brown
Artist: Robert Brown
Cover: full color
Interior: black on white paper
Synopsis: Killjoy is a vehicle for my ongoing cartoon memoir project, Catch a Fairy, a gradual accumulation of stories and vignettes from my childhood.


Legend of the Mantamaji: Book Two by Eric Dean Seaton and Brandon Palas

Graphic novel: Legend of the Mantamaji: Book Two
Release date: December 2014
Writer: Eric Dean Seaton
Artist: Brandon Palas
Publisher: And... Action Entertainment
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: In a single week, Elijah Alexander has gone from being a famous and successful ADA in New York, to a hunted, haunted renegade on a mission of vengeance. Because Elijah is the last of a race of ancient warriors called the Mantamaji who once fought the world's greatest evils. And now the only one with the power to get it done-- because it takes a warrior to kill a mystical being. Or four of them.


Legend of the Mantamaji: Book One by Eric Dean Seaton and Brandon Palas

Graphic novel: Legend of the Mantamaji: Book One
Release date: October 2014
Writer: Eric Dean Seaton
Artist: Brandon Palas
Publisher: And... Action Entertainment
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Elijah Alexander, New York's hottest, cockiest, and most media-hungry Assistant District Attorney, is about to learn something shocking: he is not even human. He's the last of the Mantamaji, a long-lost race of warriors who once protected humanity when the world was young. Now another Mantamaji--the worst of all their kind--has reawakened to visit doom on all of humanity. Can Elijah accept his past, reject his present life, and learn about his talents, in time to defeat the villain who killed all the other Mantamaji before him. 


Chimichanga by Eric Powell, Part 2 of 3

Comic: Chimichanga, Part 2 of 3
Release date: may 2010
Writer and artist: Eric Powell
Cover: full-color
Interior: black/gray on white paper
Synopsis: This is about a little bearded girl and her escapades with a slightly less than extraordinary traveling circus.


The Deal

After finding the first issue by accident I put the other two issues on my wish list. Low and behold on one of the next Boekenfestijn (Bookfestival, a wholesale bookseller in the Netherlands and Belgium that rents big venues by the weekend to sell millions of books and boxes filled with comics at highly discounted prices). They pop up now and again in my neck of the woods and I have no choice but to go. I found this second issue on one of my consecutive visits and was very elated. 

The Feel

Most likely printed by the same printer because it has exactly the same specifications as the first issue. The cover has full-color artwork printed on shiny stock paper. The interior pages are bleached white, they have the feel of thick newspaper stock and it brings out Powells grey/black artwork perfectly. I can't find any printing mistakes, every page is straight and cut to perfection with two saddle stitches holding all the pages together.

The Story

An evil corporation needs the little bearded girl for her chin whiskers which hold a special medicine that can make them a lot of money. From there things go very bad for the little bearded girl and Chimichanga. Once again it ends in a cliffhanger. I love the panel with all the acts in the circus and what they do in it. It's not a laugh out loud comic, it's just a very refined and nice story about a girl and her 'beast'. Children will most likely find this second part the most exiting one because a lot of things happen and really none of them are good. The cliffhanger is also a good one. You can almost hear the voice straight out of the old Batman tv-series go: "Will she survive?", "Will little bearded girl and Chimichanga ever be together again?" etc... 

The Look

The emphasis of the artwork is definitely on the characters. The backgrounds are often vague or not there at all, except when it serves the story, then suddenly you get to see in full glory what Powell can do with his pencils. I like his style. He shows what's important and leaves out what's not. Keeping the focus on what the artist wants you to see and what's important for the story line, where many artists get lost in the details.  

The Conclusion

Again I can continue on from the comments I left for the first issue. It's a lovely all-age story with brilliant and beautifully drawn characters, wonderful artwork by Eric Powell. I've since looked up Powell and found that he's worked on some other of the comic books that are among of my favorites. Maybe that's why I immediately put the comic in my cart in the first place.  

How to get a copy

You can get the three single black/grey issues that make up the full story or you can get the full-color 104-page hardcover produced by Dark Horse Comics. I think it all comes down to your personal taste. The single issue series was made in 2009 and the full-color series in 2011 so your best bet would be your local comics store if it has back issues or a website like Ebay or Amazon. You can find more art from Eric Powells website

The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel 2013 Anthology

Comic: The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel 
Release date: 2013
Writer: several
Artist: several
Cover: Full-color
Interior: Some black/white stories but mostly full-color
Synopsis: Anthology, with black/white and full-color stories with a time travel theme.


Chimichanga by Eric Powell, Part 1 of 3

Comic: Chimichanga, Part 1
Release date: december 2009
Writer and artist: Eric Powell
Cover: full-color
Interior: black/white
Synopsis: This is about a little bearded girl and her escapades with a slightly less than extraordinary traveling circus.


The Deal

Every couple of weeks there's a 'Boekenfestijn' (Bookfestival) somewhere in the Netherlands or Belgium. They have rows and rows of comic storage boxes filled with (usually) bagged comics which they sell for 0,99 euro a piece. So you can imagine me and my friends are all over those boxes. On one of my visits I found Chimichanga and the cover grabbed my attention immediately. I flipped trough the inside and though I usually go for full-color I couldn't take my eyes of the artwork. A no brainer for the 0,99 euro.

The Feel

The cover has full-color artwork printed on shiny stock paper. The interior pages are bleached, they have the feel of thick newspaper stock and that brings out Powells grey/black artwork perfectly. I can't find any printing mistakes, every page has been  printed straight and cut to perfection with two evenly placed saddle stitches holding all the pages together.

The Story

A little bearded girl from 'Wrinkles Traveling Circus' trades a couple of her chin whiskers for a shiny rock. And so she had a new friend. This first part of this three part series is very sweet. It's definitely an all-age comic. The little bearded girl will steal your heart the first time you stare down the pits of her endlessly black eyes. I also like evil witches that you can feel will fail (and will always fail, like Gargamel). 
The story builds straight from the first moment we meet our very charming little girl as she comes in contact with her new friend. It never feels too slow or rushed. This first part does end in a cliffhanger so you'll want to make sure you have the 2nd and even 3rd issue ready to continue reading. I don't think it's high literature, but I do think it's a very nice story and really for all-ages. I have an eight year old son and I'm always glad when I find a real all-age comic. The girl is cute, Chimichanga is a nice monster and the witch is a real witch, it all just sounds like a fairy tale. 

The Look

The cover depicts a beautiful subtle colored little bearded girl holding the pinkie finger of the Chimichanga. Often covers don't represent the artwork of the interior pages, but in this case it does exactly that. The artwork inside the comic is the same style as the cover, only in black/grey. I love being able to see every stroke made. Every panel has been well thought out and it looks great. The little bearded girl looks so sweet. I think it's great that Powell can draw a little girl that looks so lovely with a beard and deep black eyes. The 'monster' Chimichanga that looks like a googley-eyed troll creature is also different from any troll or monster type creature that I've ever seen and all the other figures from the circus have their own oddities. Artistically it's beautiful and I'm happy I found it among all the other comics in the boxes.  

The Conclusion

It's a lovely all-age story, no violence, brilliant characters, wonderful art. If you'd like me to say something bad about it then I can. It's in black/grey, I'd love to see it in full-color, but you can relax because in their unlimited wisdom 'Black Horse Comics' decided in 2011 to release this three part series as an HC of 104-pages and it's in full-color!

How to get a copy

Like I said, you can get the three single black/grey issues that make up the full story or you can get the full-color 104-page hardcover produced by Dark Horse Comics. I think it all comes down to your personal taste. The single issue series was made in 2009 and the full-color series in 2011 so your best bet would be your local comics store if it has back issues or a website like Ebay or Amazon. You can find more art from Eric Powells website

Omnipathy #3 by Joe Sparrow

Comic: Omnipathy #3
Release date: March 2013
Writer and artist: Joe Sparrow
Cover: full-color
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Ever wondered what a race of free-floating invertebrate aliens living in an asteroid field would make of a vinyl Bach record? Ever thought there might be something shady going on behind the scenes in Tolkienesque fantasy? Then this is the comic for you!


The Red Ten by Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano

Name: The Red Ten, Volume 1
Release date: June 2014
Writer: Tyler James
Artist: Cesar Feliciano
Cover: full color
Interior: full color
Synopsis: When the world's greatest detective is violently murdered, her corporate-backed super team and former sidekick band together to bring her killer to justice. However, the mission goes terribly wrong, and before the night is out, each of the ten 'Heroes' will pay dearly for past transgressions.
The Red Ten is a superhero re-imagining of Agatha Christie's classic whodunnit 'And Then There Were None'. 
This volume collects issues number 0-5 out of 10.


Space Babe 113 The Knights of Mars Episode Three: Sin by John Maybury

Comic: Space Babe 113 The Knights of Mars Episode Three: Sin
Release date: December 2014
Writer and artist: John Maybury 
Rating: 18+ (adult humor)
Cover: full-color 
Interior: full-color
Synopsis: Space Babe 113 wants to have fun on Mars with Doctor Stones but first she must save everyone from the consequences of a lack of trigonometric understanding in the action packed finale of The Knights Of Mars.


 
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