Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Comics I've Read Recently, May 14, 2019

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Recently Read: Naruto, Vol. 7: The Path You Should Tread

Another action-packed and suspenseful read as our trio of Chunin Exam takers, Team 7, try to stay alive and thrive in the Forest of Death. Helping and thwarting them are various students in groups of three, all with their own elaborate character designs, talents and motives. As with the last volume, you may need a scorecard to keep track!

The volume begins with Naruto and Sasuke still in a coma. Meanwhile, tokubetsu j┼Źnin Anko Mitarashi makes her way to the central tower where she and an assistant see on video footage that a very powerful genin team completed their goals in an astonishingly short time.

A note mentions that this was the first volume of Naruto created entirely digitally. Fortunately, the art looks no different to my eyes; it looks as organic, hand-drawn and beautiful as ever.
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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Recently Read: Golden Age Captain America Vol. 1

It's easy to see why Captain America was such a hit for Timely Comics in 1941. Many previous action comics had portrayed Hitler and Nazi Germany under safe pseudonyms. Here was a brash, explosive book which socked Hitler on the jaw on the cover of the very first issue! Don't read these stories for characterization; unlike Bill Everett's concurrent Sub-Mariner stories, there was none. Do read it for Jack Kirby's masterful, ballet-like and violent action sequences, in which he literally wrote the book on fight scenes in superhero comic books for decades to come (and on into the future). I was surprised to see the crossover influence of the shudder pulp magazines (like Timely publisher Martin Goodman's Uncanny Tales and Uncanny Stories pulps), with lots of creepy monsters and dungeons featured. Issue No. 4's "Horror Hospital" is a good example, with a Peter Lorre-like mad scientist who keeps a one-eyed, hunchbacked patient on a leash.

My favorite story in the volume was the first appearance of Hurricane. It's all Kirby (script, pencils and inks). Hurricane's an intriguing character and Kirby uses scenes and characters - a masquerade party and Pluto, ruler of the underworld - that he'll revisit decades later in series like Machine Man and Thor. Hurricane is a great character in his own right, but in 1998 was retconned (by Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras?) as an identity of the Eternal Makkari. What a gyp! Marvel, after Kirby's death, merged two of his self-created characters into one out of a misguided attempt to interlock every tiny, dark corner of the Marvel Universe into a cohesive whole.

Captain America co-creator Joe Simon writes an afterward in the paperback edition in which he tells how he, Kirby and Martin Goodman visited the offices of John Goldwater to hash out Cap's visual similarity to MLJ Comic's The Shield. It turns out Goodman and Goldwater had a shared history; they had both worked at one time for magazine publisher Hugo Gernsback!
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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Indie and Small Press Comics & Fanzines I've Read Recently, May 2, 2019

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Recently Read: The 13th-Story Treehouse

It's smart. It's funny. It's meta. It's the Olsen and Johnson of children's books! 
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton's first entry in their Treehouse series entertains
and delights (especially compared to a certain other famous Treehouse series).
It's whimsical, silly and devious and thus recommended.

The 13th Story Treehouse is also one of those new trend children's books that's fifty 
percent drawing and partly sequential cartooning in addition to small amounts of text; 
a three-way hybrid format becoming quite popular. It is, in a way, a revolutionary 
format, allowing each bit of storytelling to be told using the method best suited for it.
We would never, for example, appreciate the monotonous mediocrity of The Barky The Barking Dog TV Show without reading 48 sequential panels in a row of Barky barking.
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Indie and Small Press Comics & Fanzines I've Read Recently, April 18, 2019

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Design for Pontiac

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Classical LPs I've Listened to Recently, April 9, 2019

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