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marquis

Hello & Goodbye

Posted on 2020.10.24 at 11:47
No new posts will appear here.
If you wish to find me again, this is the place for you:
http://comicexpert.blogspot.com/

See you there, thanks for reading & I hope you'll continue to do so soon!

teeth

I see you

Posted on 2012.09.01 at 13:06
Tags:
Hi, and welcome to my comics blog.
Over a year online and counting.
There's a lot to see, read and occasionally hear, so be sure to check my earlier entries as well.
Just scroll down and be amazed by all the good stuff comics have to offer.

"A reviewer's job is simple: you tell people what you think merits their time, money and attention, and you tell them what you don't think merits it. Anyone can easily be a reviewer even if they don't have the slightest idea of what they're talking about because the real job of a reviewer is to respond. If you read, say, SANDMAN, and you think "man, this sucks," sure, you might have half a million Neil Gaiman fans crawling up you but that doesn't invalidate your response. As long as reviewers respond honestly to material, they're doing their job.
You don't have to agree with opinions for them to be of interest to you."

--Steven Grant: Permanent Damage

Have fun and let me know what you think!

Be seeing you
--nout



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marquis

Baker-man is bakin' bread

Posted on 2007.05.02 at 14:48
I'm in: Home
I feel: busybusy
I listen to: Dead Kennedys - Frankenchrist
Tags:
At first, I was agin' it! But then, when I really looked, I was won over quickly.
I'm talking about the man, the writer, the sensation!
Ed Brubaker!
One of those fairy-tale success stories of an obscure cartoonist (that means someone who does all the writing and the artwork) who worked his way up, through diligence and hard work, to become one of the premier writers in comics today.
As my own interests lay firmly, well, all over the place, I was aware of some of his break-through writing such as Scene of the Crime and Deadenders both, not incidentally, published by Vertigo.
However, at that time, his style of writing struck me as wordy, with long drawn-out interior monologues by largely loser protagonists.
Not surprising, I assume, his first (or one of the first anyway) cartooning works is called Lowlife.
Looking back, I can only say that his mindset at the time of Brubaker's writing those earlier works was far removed from what I looked for in comics.
However, clearly (and luckily, as it turns out) I was in the minority in not being convinced by Brubaker's talent, as he has developed his writing skills immensely.
After the No Man's Land Batman-event, he took over the flagship Batman title, and along with then Detective Comics writer Greg Rucka, started up the seriously underrated first selection for this entry:
Gotham Central




Take the following: we all love cop shows.
The tough and gritty world, crime and law constantly in opposition, a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of conflicts. And on top of that, not every cop is a good cop.
It makes for some of the most interesting stories, if done right, with good characters, strong mysteries and a healthy dose of realism.
And that's what one-ups this title. It has ALL those elements, but against a back-drop all us comic-book geeks simply love: the insane town of Gotham City.
Not only is this the stomping grounds of some of the best freaks in comic-dom (the Joker, Penguin, Scarecrow, Catwoman: check my archives for a check-up on that gorgeous lady, ALSO by Ed Brubaker!) and not only does Batman skulk in the shadows over there, the city is simply ridden with crime.
The city loves crime. (as an aside, you should do yourself a favour and read Batman: City of Crime by David Lapham & Ramon Bacchs. You'll see what I mean about Gotham's love for crime.)
Yes, it (or rather, she) loves crime. But not just any crime.
This is Gotham City! She takes no satisfaction in a burglary if it's not being handled by the Riddler.
Why bother taking someone hostage if the Joker's not involved?
and to tackle this kind of wrong-doing, there's Gotham Central. It knows the score, it has the man (and woman!) power, all of them hand-picked by the legendary commissioner Jim Gordon.
Hell, they even have the Bat-signal, but that does not mean they like having the Bat meddling in all their cases.
An amazing series that does a remarkable job of combining the street-level realism of police work with the complete insanity of "super"-villains, and still making it work like Swiss clock-work.
I haven't said anything about the artistry of Michael Lark yet.
His dark lines and hard-working storytelling complete the book like no other artist ever would have. Honestly, this is as much his book as it is Brubaker's or Rucka's.

-----------------

Also on my recent Brubaker reading list (actually even from before I read GC, but that's beside the point):
Captain America
I know: most people will go "huh? The idiot dressed in an American Flag? How could they ever do a decent story about that guy?" and I used to be one of them.




However, a good long time ago, Mark Waid and Ron Garney did a run on that title that was hailed by literally everyone. It sold abysmally, got cancelled to be replaced by a series too horrible to mention (two words: Rob. Liefeld.) and some time later the two were put back together for a little while. Eventually (as happened so often in those days) Waid left Marvel in anger.
All this to tell you though: everyone was right. Mark Waid wrote a great character and made me care about him, even though I knew next to nothing about Steve Rogers.
Sure, he's some WWII suer-soldier, the only one to receive the super-soldier serum, he fought the war, but was presumed dead by the end, only to apparently have been in suspended animation for 20/30/40 years (depending on when his 'second life' begins). A founding member of the Avengers, he's considered the soul of America.
On top of that, as I learned, he's also a first-class soldier with a keen mind and a righteous sense of justice. And most of all, he's a man out of time, which is the "edge" I think Cap has over guys like Superman or most other superheroes. He's the ultimate in old-fashioned, but in a good way. He's what America used to be, wanted to be and sometimes tries to be.
He embodies all the potential so many of us fail to achieve, but still aspire to.
And what makes his stories so appealing (despite the perhaps goofy suit) is that his kind of justice, his ideals and ideas don't seem hypocrite, dated though they may be.


Ed Brubaker takes all those elements and, on top of ALL of that, he mixes in plenty of action, spy games, intrigue and gorgeous art.
Steve Epting takes his own style to another level, attaining a kind of realism akin to Greg Land but perhaps with just a little more story-telling sensibilities.
So don't think of Cap as an idiot in a flag.
Cap = smart!

Be seeing you
--nout

marquis
Posted on 2007.04.14 at 11:12
I'm in: home
I feel: determineddetermined
I listen to: Prong - Test
Tags: , ,
Hi.

Wow, last time I was here was still the 06.
Sad.
No promises, but let's just get straight into it, shall we?
It's not like there's no reason for me to get back into business, as the fine works of all kinds keep popping up all over the place. I believe I'll have to do some catch up first, so there won't be a lot of order to this at first.
Also, one of the reasons I fell behind is that I want to restyle the pages into something easily accessed, but I cannot get around to it properly. Stay tuned for that.

Right, so, I'll just pick off some titles that are on my mind right now.

One series that has been a surprise in set-up and intention when it came out, but has (against my honest expectations) outdone what it set out to do: Crossing Midnight



The basic set-up is a wonderful horror idea: a twin is born, one just before, the other right after midnight. As a result, the second child is impervious and apparently indestructible.
However, she's also quite weird. And they weren't supposed to be twins.
And there are all kinds of gods, demons and strange creatures after them.
Parallel demons worlds, bargains with the supernatural gone wrong and sharp objects.
LOTS of sharp objects.
Crossing Midnight is by far one of the more believable Japanese-inspired Western tales I've read in a good while, similar in respect & knowledge of the Nippon spirit as, say, Silent Dragons, which, if you haven't already, you should check out.
Jim Fern's art style is a fine blend of all kinds of influences and blends remarkably well with the mythology & characters presented in the book.
Mike Carey's scripts, as always, are a delight to read.
You ought to know Mike as the writer of Hellblazer, Lucifer, My Faith in Frankie and even X-Men!

------------------

Next up: 2 manga series!
Hot damn, is there good stuff coming out of Japan lately!

Mushishi is an odd kind of book. The title, first off, needs an explanation every time it's mentioned, on account of it sounding so silly.
A Mushi is a kind of primordial creature, from before species differentiation. On the line between spirit and actual physical entity, it cannot be seen, but like microscopic organisms and the like, is everywhere.
They have different qualities, depending on their surroundings, and most of them, apparently, have a leech-like nature. They'll eat dreams from your head, or sound from your ears, or light from your eyes.
Not the funnest thing to have in your home.
The Mushi have a kind of Ghibli quality to them, at once adorable yet subcutaneously terrifying as well. Think black soots at the start of My Neighbor Totoro
A Mushishi in turn, is a sort of Mushi doctor or expert.
Roaming the country, they are versed in ways to treat, cure and generally combat Mushi.
The whole combines into a book exuding an odd, melancholic and intimate atmosphere. It seems to me the atmosphere is the more prevalent characteristic of this book, with actual story coming second.



With only one volume currently out (the second should get here in a matter of weeks) it's hard to really paint a definitive picture of this manga, but at the very least, it has a very attractive appeal.

-------------

My second manga helping is a lot more straight-forward.



Basilisk takes its inspiration from the famed novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls. That may ring a bell, as it also inspired the Ninja Scroll animated feature and TV series (and currently a comics series from Wildstorm as well) along with plenty of Samurai inspired goodness all over the place.
The set up: two ninja clans (Iga & Kouga) have been at war for more than 400 years.
A truce has been agreed on, but the shogun decides 10 ninja from both clans should fight to the death, thus determining which clan will rule the coming 1000 years.
Throw in a Romeo & Juliet-style love affair, cutting edge action and the strange, exotic fighting techniques of each of the 20 ninja, and you're in for an amazing 6-volume ride in sword-fighter heaven.
The story's pace is terrific, with no dull moment in sight, similar to Gantz, with which Basilisk also shares artwork similarities.
So you know, good stuff.

Be seeing you
--nout

punisher

Back in the Saddle

Posted on 2006.12.20 at 22:20
I'm in: Gent
I feel: calmcalm
I listen to: Black Sabbath
Tags: , ,
I have to get back to getting right into the thick of it.
I've uncovered a few wonderful "comics trailers" that should be viewable right on the page, but I can't quite get them to do what I want. For now it'll have to be links.
If someone can help me out, please do.

Let's start with a new series, but not a new property by, still, my favourite comics writer,
Warren Ellis' newuniversal.
Now, for all of you who don't know (and that includes me) the New Universe was an 80s attempt by then Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics to launch a bunch of new properties, yet still company-owned.
I believe some of the titles include Justice, Kickers, DP 7 & Night Mask among other similarly obscure and very short-lived titles.
That's why I'd never heard of them.



NOW, Warren Ellis & penciling wizard Salvador Larroca revamp the thing from the ground up. I recognise (vaguely) some of the iconic symbols, possibly even some characters, but I wouldn't even know if there's similarity with the original.
And that makes this so great.
It's an epic-sized playground, with some existing material (precluding too much building) to be used as these creators know very well!
There's an epic feel to it, due to the "WHITE EVENT" at the centre of this first issue and the resulting cataclysm witnessed by everyone, along with a few incomprehensible occurances.
It looks and reads as something amazing.
I hope you'll agree.


marquis

The time is NOW!

Posted on 2006.12.13 at 13:37
I'm in: home
I feel: busybusy
I listen to: Dead Kennedys - Soup is good food
Tags:
I know I know,
Don't start ok, I'm here now, aren't I?

First of all, the 'net is all abuzz with the comics Myspace site. Well, my 'net is, anyhow. A fun tool to get in touch with all my favourite comics pros and all kinds of aspiring guys, fans etc.
Go on and make your own account, and rub elbows with the moves and shakers in the industry!

-----------------

Also, something for the archivists among us: a tool to keep track of your own comics collection:
www.comicbookdb.com
A wonderful database of comics, as complete as each member can make it, you're invited to seek out the titles of your collection and mark them as yours. Any title, issue, creator etc. that isn't in there yet, you can enter yourself.
User friendly, intuitive and completely free, it's the ideal thing if your collection clocks in at over 4,000 issues!

----------------

And finally, I've but little time now, but I will try to re-start my reviewing quite soon.
Stick with me, I ain't dead yet!

Be seeing you

marquis

The New Deal

Posted on 2006.11.08 at 11:07
I feel: contemplativecontemplative
I listen to: The Pixies - Hang Wire
Tags: , ,
Wow, has it really been this long already.
I can't even fully claim it's all down to work, because it's not.
Just that having time to read comics does apparently not equal having time to write about them.
And yet, so much good stuff is cropping up in the past few weeks.
I will now pick my brain (and my files) to offer up some titles.
No pictures today, but some links that have pictures...

There is the whole Worldstorm deal I have mentioned before and have been very much looking forward to.
The first issues of all but 2 titles are now out (that's Authority, WildCats, Gen 13, Wetworks, Deathblow and Midnighter, with Tranquility and StormWatch PHD still to come, for those keeping score) and the results are a bit, well... mixed, to say the least.

So far, the solo-titles (Deathblow & Midnighter) win out over the teambooks in terms of accessibility and sometimes even comprehensibility.
Now, personally, I'm quite well versed in Wildstorm history, going back to the early days of the Ellis-overhaul (Stormwatch revving up to become Authority and the start of Planetary) as well as a nigh-complete run of Wildcats.
And WildCats is by far the most "troublesome" re-launch, re-boot or whatever you want to call it.
Though Morrison, I believe, did always say he wants his version to include all previous ones, that pesky #1 on the cover does require some basic things left out of this issue (and to make matters worse, #2 is not ofr anywhere soon).
So, for those unfamiliar with the characters, settings and previous history, there's two options:

1° Leave this title alone and move towards the somewhat more from the ground up relaunches (like Gen 13) or the titles that DO set up their introduction properly (like Deathblow and Midnighter).

2° Scour around for those previous Wildcats incarnations. There's 3 volumes, totalling at around 100 issues, with ups and downs, but on the whole some very innovative, satisfying and always wonderfully drawn stories.
You cannot go wrong with names like Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Sean Phillips or Dustin Nguyen.

I have no affinity for and no interest in Wetworks. I have tried the first issues, but as a clear continuation of something I have no knowledge of, it left me cold. Whilce Portacio's pencils have been passable on titles I was reading anyhow, but aren't something I would actively seek out.

Gen 13 was better than I'd feared, but not as good as it could have been, it looks like a clear re boot (so back to square one) of the original team and title. The script didn't strike me as very signature Gail Simone, which is a shame, as that could have lifted it up some.
There's potential there, and if you're an old-school Gen 13-fan, (which I have never been) you're certainly in for a treat.

Both Deathblow and Midnighter are the best #1 issues, as they give you a clear indication of what is going on, where the book will be going and who you're reading about. I had high reservations for Midnighter, Ennis often letting the genre-requirements slip to go into a thinly veiled diatribe on how silly superheroes are, this title promises something a little more straight-forward, closer to the Punisher with a wild sci-fi/superpower (not hero ^_^) slant.

Deathblow perfectly goes the way of the espionage/action-thriller. Brian Azzarello was the only good choice for this. He does the perfect job bringing in the necessary current events angst to explain how Michael Cray, last seen in the Batman Deathblow book as dead, isn't dead at all. Perfectly plausible, ideally balanced between action, drama and exposition, this could be the break-out hit of the line.
But then, I'm often SO wrong.

Still,
I'll be seeing you
--nout

ps: there's plenty more I have to bring up, and so little time.
Ask me about in the store, if you can?
Deal?

marquis

Out of time and on the run - updated

Posted on 2006.10.10 at 08:41
I'm in: Home
I feel: busybusy
I listen to: Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Tags: ,
It's going to have to be another short one today.
Unfortunately, I don't have a free Tuesdaynight anymore (or a free Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday) and I haven't really found the time during the weekend yet.
That does NOT mean the blog will go away (rejoice, 5 readers!) but I'll be on here less frequently perhaps, and some entries, like this one, won't have the body some of my others sported.

Still, There you are.

I will add one more link. I know, it's a link, but the page is already picture heavy, and this way you can check it out for yourselves right here. I'll add one striking visual, so you know I'm talking about WildCats, by GRANT MORRISON & JIM LEE, out (of all goes well) October 19.

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You all know now that Civil War 4 is finally out (though expect some more unpleasant surprises) and the repercussions the title provokes have been all over the mainstream net.
Polarisation of every camp, the haters, the lovers, the I-don't-cares. I'm not going to debate it any more, but I will say, I'm muchly looking forward to the revamping of Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato Jr.. The title has never been much of a seller here, but I do believe this will change things.
Just look at the all-villain line-up:

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Instant hit, I say!
Better reserve your copy (or the oncoming Premiere HC, haha) now, fanboy!

Also, I've read some more than fun new comics this week, not the least of which is Criminal, already hyped uncharacteristically aplenty by Marvel itself and (more in character) by Brubaker and Sean Marvel Zombies Phillips themselves.
You can see the fine trailer right here.

Another good thing is the Cross Bronx series by Mike Powers Oeming. Solid story telling, mory crimey/police stuff and a hint of the weird. On top of that, the series sports Oemings personal collection of prejection letters. Great fun!

Even more art now:
These pages are from an upcoming Image Comics graphic Novel entitles Zombee.
I think it looks like you want it.
And I know best.

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Samurai, zombies, dynamic Black & White, terse dialogue.
Oh yes.

And finally, that hightailing-it-from-comics-but-teasing-you-with-covers bastich Travis Charest has been doing pretty things. Bastich.
Just commissions though, so don't expect him to be announced as Wolverine's next regular penciller...
One can dream...

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Be seeing you
--nout

DD

More Purdy Pitchers

Posted on 2006.09.25 at 13:54
I'm in: Home
I feel: excitedexcited
I listen to: NiN - The Downward Spiral
Hey,

Because I stumbled on these anyhow, and as my previous one was a bit short,
I've got some preview images you all may enjoy scrutinizing, as well as, finally,
some interior art for one of the relaunched WorldStorm series:
DEATHBLOW

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Here's a beautiful teaser collage from the new FABLES Hardcover: 1001 NIGHTS.

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And here are the fine new pages for DESOLATION JONES with new artist Daniel Zezelj.

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While I was proofing this entry, I noticed how well and seamlessly these pages flow when put one on top of the other. Great stuff. Beatifully done. Perfect moodsetting. I don't think I'll miss original artist J.H. Williams III all that much.

And finally, a couple of pages from a new series by Mike Carey, the writer of LUCIFER, X-MEN, MY FAITH IN FRANKIE, HELLBLAZER, ...
MIDNIGHT CROSSING

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Ain't it pretty?

Be seeing you
--nout

DD

Lions in War

Posted on 2006.09.19 at 19:58
I'm in: Home
I feel: exanimateexanimate
I listen to: Surrender your Fear - Prong
Not much time today, so I'll keep this very brief (and as someone implied: reading of what I put on here doesn't happen anyway, just ogling some pretty pictures).

Read PRIDE OF BAGHDAD.
It's written by Brian Vaughan.
It's illustrated to perfection.
It has pertinent and heart-rending things to say about war, death, freedom and humanity.

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You won't regret it.

Be seeing you
--nout


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