“So we fought them and some Draculas and Frankensteins too…” AKA Franken-Castle by Rick Remender and Tony Moore

“So we fought them and some Draculas and Frankensteins too…” AKA Franken-Castle by Rick Remender and Tony Moore

Listen to “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” (if you have Spotify) as you read this post: Jeff Richmond and Tracy Morgan – Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Those with keen eyes and sharp memories will note that this is not the first time (nor will it be the last) that I have referenced 30 Rock’s wonderful song “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” It is one of my favorite anythings of all time, mainly because it is A) a Halloween novelty song (yes, a parody of one, but it still works), and B) in being both a parody of, and a Halloween novelty song in itself, there are lots of shout-outs to various types of monsters. Basically, I love things that have lots of monsters in them (Note: I will not watch Hotel Transylvania as that looks like horseshit).

This is why I love the following:

The Monster Squad

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Transylvania 6-5000

The Cabin in the Woods

Franken-Castle

 

For those who are confused, Google all of that. I’ll be explaining one thing and one thing only since this is my comic blog, and that is Franken-Castle, which features Marvel vigilante The Punisher revived as a Frankenstein-like creature. See, The Punisher was killed by Wolverine’s son Daken, who was working for–ah, it doesn’t matter. If you really need to know this stuff, there are recap pages in these comics. But they’re really not necessary to enjoying this. It’s a fun blend of action and horror, and the premise is this: Frank Castle, a man who waged a one man war on crime, died. Monsters brought him back to life as one of them in order to protect them from a fanatical group of merciless monster hunters.

 

Monsters both in the “Vampires, Werewolves, Frankensteins” breed and the “History shows again how nature points up the folly of man” variety of giant city-destroying creatures appear en-masse in this arc of The Punisher, written by Rick Remender and drawn by Tony Moore with some fill-ins by Daniel Brereton, Roland Boschi, Jefte Palo, Paco Diaz and John Lucas. Moore brings a kinetic and cartoony approach to this, showing that he was totally wasted on the talking heads style of comic book storytelling in The Walking Dead. He also brings his unique take on classic monsters designed by Jack Kirby in the 60s and by artists like Gil Kane and Mike Ploog in the 70s. Brereton draws the most issues after Moore, and brings a nice 70’s monster vibe similar to Gene Colan to the book. His work shines in both the villainous monster hunter’s flashback story and in the final issue of the series that ejects Castle from the world of fantastical monsters and re-inserts him in the world of the real ones: murderers, drug dealers, and other criminals that’s very existence depress me so I won’t bother to list them.

 

But anyway, forget that this book starts and ends in the “real” world of the Marvel Comics Universe. Instead, focus on the meat of this story sandwich: (a) Frankenstein with guns teams up with a vampire, a werewolf (by night), a merman, a mummy and a gaggle of other monsters of various shapes and sizes.

 

And they fight evil monster hunting scientists dressed as samurai! Samurai!

 

 

I mean come on, look at the sheer amount of monsters that Tony Moore fit into one panel. ONE PANEL. If you’re not excited at this point, you’ve got a face punching coming your way.

 

 

See? Franken-Castle…is coming…for your face, to punch it!

And on top of ALL of THAT, he fights Nazi Zombies! Yeah, Nazis, we’ll keep bringing you back in popular culture just to kill you all over again! F You!

 

Ahem.

All of that and I didn’t even mention the Shaolin Scientist Squad, an another insane and silly creation of Rick Remender. Are you hitting the “BUY” button over and over again on your computer devices???

Basically, what I’m saying, is that this is another great example of a major comic book publisher giving free reign to a creative team to try something a little different, with awesome results. See also: Defenders. Hawkeye. Comics are not just defined by super heroes, and heroes are not defined by the super hero genre. And Monsters can be beloved as well as feared and break out of their own genre conventions to have super fantastic adventure times.

A good comic doesn’t have to be “Realistic,” or “independent” for it to be good. Or to be awesome. A good comic has to entertain you and one of the ways it can do so is to do things so ridiculous, so imaginative and over the top, that they can only be done in comics. This is such a thing. I don’t want to see a film of it, live action or animated. Because this is a comic book that made sweet sweet love to my imagination and I don’t ever want to see it any other way.

If you’ve ever loved a monster movie, and especially if you’ve loved the ones where they all meet, then READ THIS COMIC! You can purchase this on Comixology, and if you do so in the next few hours you can get the whole story for .99 an issue. (Issues 11-16 are the strongest, 17-20 are hit and miss, though have some fun moments before everything wraps up nicely in issue 21). You can also get a big ol honkin book of it on Amazon, or at your local comic store.

 

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

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.

“Comic Con, I’m a Comic, Khan” – Unused Kanye West Lyric About Comic Books

“Comic Con, I’m a Comic, Khan” – Unused Kanye West Lyric About Comic Books

So, I went to New York Comic Con this weekend, courtesy of my BFF’s (their word, not mine…I use full words like BEST FRIENDS 🙂 ::HUG:: ) Seth and Erin. Seth was in Germany, doing German things, so I accompanied his lovely fiancee and soon to be wife. This is her in front of “Artist Alley.”

Artist Alley is probably my favorite part of any comic con. It’s where you can meet artists and writers directly, to see their work, buy their wares directly from them without the auspices of being marketed to by any of the big publishers. But I will come back to this. I have other reactions to things to run my mouth about.

There’s a dichotomy at comic con. Between the innocent.

Aaand, stuck together sheets. I don’t mean this in a prudish or conservative way. Purely as metaphor. There are people who come into comic con with an innocent love of characters, simply wishing to express that love in innocent ways of innocence through cosplay (dressing up as their favorite characters) or by buying up ever piece of merchandise with that character’s face on it (I have an extensive Deadpool collection).

Then there’s the folks who are total nerds, angrily masturbating ALL OVER THE PLACE. I apologize to anyone offended by that imagery. Well, no I don’t, cause it’s still part of the harsh truth. For every kid, for every person who is either sincere about a Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Super Hero character, or the medium of comics, there is an equal amount of pervy pervy people. I saw a vendor with sheets decorated with naked underwater women engaged in all sorts of acts. Do you know who owns those sheets? No, I’m not going to go with “fat nerds who live with their mothers.” That’s easy, and that’s a rather glossy description of PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAD INSIDE. People who have lots of sex do not own those sheets. People who have the ability to love things do not own those sheets.

The other thing. The other thing that gets to me about comic con is the selling. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, all the other comic book publishers. They’re there to sell the “Next Big Storyline That Will Change Everything.” Video game companies, along with a smattering of movie and television studios also join the fray. It’s obviously part of it, yeah, the selling and the marketing. But they’re losing focus. It’s a criticism that’s been lobbed at the San Diego Comic Con, and it’s something that’s becoming true of the New York Comic Con. DC gave away one comic book. For Arrow. A show based on a comic book. A show based on a comic book called Green Arrow, but apparently color adjectives don’t translate well to television so we get Arrow and a comic called Arrow to help promote a television show based on a comic book. It makes my brain hurt. The comics exist. Just throw in “Based on the comic _______” and see if people come. Don’t try and make one thing like the other, don’t try and be everything to everyone.

So. Artists Alley. It’s my favorite part. In the past, I’ve gone there and bought some independent comics, or some original art. I only bought a few things there this year. Part of it is, I buy digital comics now. The other part was, the focus seemed to be more on selling mashup art (Two recognizable pop culture things blended into one t-shirt or poster. Example: Family Guy + Walking Dead = hundreds of prints sold to people who think that’s hilarious. Full disclosure, I am a sucker for Lost/Gilligan’s Island mashups). There were people selling their books, but the vibe to me felt more like “buy my print” than “buy my book.” Here’s a sampling of what I bought.

A print of a Shining poster, along with posters for Monster Squad and Friday the 13th Part 3. I also bought Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees figures. None of these are comics or comic related. I bought a bunch of horror stuff, and while Comic Con can easily encompass a number of geek and pop culture things, I personally find it troubling that I didn’t really buy any comic book related items.

I had fun with my friend. And I saw some cool stuff. But I didn’t leave feeling excited towards anything comic related. I went into the day completely cold, hoping to find something new and exciting, but most of what I saw was more of the same. I’m not saying I won’t go next year, but I will likely need to plan things better so that I have a better chance of stumbling upon something. And that makes me feel a little weird.

But despite any bit of negativity to this post, I heart Lego Hulk so much. So do these childrens.

Captain America, Vampire Slayer

Captain America, Vampire Slayer

Vampire Week continues!

Allow me a brief moment of wistful nostalgia if you will. You will? Oh, thank you, sir or madam! See, it used to be that you could buy comics ANYWHERE. Grocery stores, drug stores, stationary stores, toy stores, tire repair shops…okay, maybe not tire repair shops, but the point is, they weren’t confined to comic book stores. They were simply regarded as another form of readable entertainment that the casual reader would, and could, pick up at any point and enjoy.

So consider that scenario as I recommend ONE single issue of Captain America to you. You don’t need to know much about Captain America going into Captain America #601, but they provide you with a recap of his origin just in case. Then…well, then things get freaky. Vampire freaky.

Cause Captain America’s not just a squeaky clean boy scout.

He’s a squeaky clean boy scout who occasionally gets his shield dirty with vampire blood. Yup, that’s Captain America decapitating a vampire with his shield. If your response was, “That’s awesome!” congrats, you’ll love this comic book.

In this tale by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan, someone’s turning US troops into vampires.

Captain America and his sidekick Bucky (no, not Buffy…nerds), learn that it’s not their first suspect Baron Blood (a Nazi Vampire…or is he a Vampire Nazi?), nor is it their second suspect, a Hollywood starlet on the USO tour.

Baby, you got REAL ugly.

Nope, it’s a creepy, long-dead village girl (isn’t it always?).

There’s an old gypsy lady in this tale too, it’s a smorgasbord of horror tropes. Distrust, red herrings, blood, and gypsies: the four key ingredients to a good horror tale. Then those basic horror ingredients are thrown into a pot with Gene Colan’s crazy dark and beautiful art, and they’re taken up so many notches that it is no longer measurable in notches! The story is framed as a flashback, and Colan’s pages play loose with panels, the imagery of every panel bleeding and fading into each other giving it a nightmarish quality.

This comic’s a few years old, but you can likely dig through a back issue bin at your local comic book store, or you can get it on Comixology for a mere $1.99. If you like it, I do recommend checking out more of Ed Brubaker’s work on Captain America, which is a pretty tight and moody spy thriller. Or, if you’re just in this for the vampires, then I recommend checking out Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula series, which features a Dracula as wily as Christopher Lee’s Dracula from Hammer Film’s 1970s series of films. (Set a record for typing Dracula in a sentence? Check.) You just can’t keep Marvel’s Dracula down. You can also pick this up on Comixology, and it features more art by “Great” Gene Colan.

So, if you like epic genre and character mashups, I recommend you READ THIS COMIC!

 

 

Vampire Week!

 

 

Tales of The Vampires (That do not sparkle or look mopey)

Tales of The Vampires (That do not sparkle or look mopey)

I hereby declare this…VAMPIRE WEEK! Yes, much like Shark Week, except Sharks haven’t been neutered by a series of crappy teen romance novels and films. During Vampire Week I will attempt to remind you that Vampires are great, mainly through comic books, but I will sprinkle in some references to great vamp literature, films, and television.

Today’s comic has it’s roots in film and television, as it’s a short story collection set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. First concern that you surely have, you DO NOT need to have any knowledge of Buffy going into this. This is simply an anthology of tales about vampires set in that universe. If you like this, I’d encourage you to check out the television series, but not the film that started it all. That film is garbage.

This book has a number of great comic book writers and artists contributing to it, including Joss Whedon (Creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and director of a little film called The Avengers), Ben Edlund (Creator of The Tick, as well as writer on television shows Angel and Supernatural), Sean Phillips (artist/creator of Criminal, Fatale) and lots of other talented folks. It’s a bunch of short stories, so I’m going to highlight a couple panels from my favorites.

Above, we have a panel from “Jack” by Brett Matthews and Vatche Mavilan, which is a take on the Jack the Ripper murders, with vampiric twist (or TWO!).

Another favorite is “Antique,” written by Drew Goddard (Writer/Director of The Cabin in the Woods) and drawn by Ben Stenbeck. This is probably one of the stories that’s more steeped in Buffy continuity, and features Buffy(the titular vampire slayer) fighting Dracula to get back her friend, Xander. Only Dracula’s not holding Xander hostage for villainous reasons. It’s for reasons of friendship. You see, Dracula is very, very lonely.

 

The fifth season episode “Buffy VS Dracula” is also quite excellent, and again features Dracula as an annoying antiquity rather than the be-all end of vampires. “Stacy” is a take on becoming a vampire by Joss Whedon and Cameron Stewart. It’s an interesting flip on the premise of Buffy, which features a teenage girl becoming empowered as a hero. This features a teenage girl finding empowerment in becoming a monster.

Finally, my favorite, “Taking Care of Business.” It’s written and drawn by Ben Edlund. A vampire who used to be a priest goes around eating priests. He meets what he believes to be his latest victim: a fat priest who claims to be God.

In addition to the wonderful “I’m God, me-dammit” line, this short is hilarious, and has a great punchline.

It’s a great collection if you’re looking for something fun and vampire-y to read ’round Halloween time or any time of year. Dark Horse has their own digital storefront where you can buy it here: https://digital.darkhorse.com/profile/2267.tales-of-the-vampires/

You can also get it on Amazon, or from your local vendor of comic-bookery.

So that’s our first installment of Vampire Week. A short post on a collection of short stories with hopefully some interesting enough teases that will get you to check this out. Next up: SOMETHING!

 

 

 

 

Everyone Dance To The Pumpkin Song

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.