So yesterday I began a trial of doing a more formal blog entry around my #SundayComics tweets and put up a balloon on Google+ to see if people want me to keep doing it, because I don't want to waste the considerable effort it's taking to do what little formatting I'm doing (It took 2 1/2 hours to assemble yesterday's post, and probably only about 45 minutes of that was actual writing). I'm still open to feedback on this; a few people have said they dig it so.. I think I'll be template shopping after I finish this one, because half of why the formatting is such a PITA is that this template forces me to hand-code things like paragraph breaks and italics/bold and the like. Ugh.
I broke off yesterday to go to bed after getting as far as Dollhouse -- which means that really, the best is yet to come out of my Sunday Comics extravaganza!
CRIMINAL MACABRE/THE GOON: WHEN FREAKS COLLIDE
This is a cross-over of two popular titles from Dark Horse Comics, a mash-up of the work of two sets of creators whose work I adore. Steve Niles writes Criminal Macabre, a series of comics and novels concerning the adventures of hard-boiled detective Cal McDonald, most of whose cases hinge on something unsavory and supernatural; while Eric Powell is responsible for The Goon, a giant palooka who specializes in monster-killing and wisecracks at the expense of a certain sparkly vampire franchise. Christopher Mitten, who seems a relative newcomer, took care of the art and did a fantastic job of making the two worlds blend seamlessly.
Cal McDonald, the drug-fueled paranormal private dick, goes head to head with Lonely Street's zombie-pulverizing Goon, in a weird in-between world full of monsters, horror, and humor! - from Dark Horse's website
On to something I've long anticipated. #CriminalMacabreGoon. @steveniles and @goonguy drawn by Christopher Mitten. Jesus.
When Freaks Collide indeed.
Snort. Story by @SteveNiles Farts and Negativity by @goonguy (Eric Powell). Credits page win.
"Scrapin' cake and two-thirds of a hog off the ceiling ain't no way to spend a birthday." XD
"Hey Mo, check it. The Little Rascals did steroids like Carrot Top" - Cal McDonald on first beholding the Goon and Franky XD
Crossovers are mostly silly, but @darkhorsecomics does them well
THE SUMMING UP
This was fun. As much a dialogue between Niles and Powell -- witness the snarky observation from Cal re the Goon's appearance -- as an actual installment in either series. Something has brought both parties into a strange new world (nicely skirting the problem of blending milieus) full mostly of Mafia werewolves; at first the two protagonists blame each other and brawl, while their smarter sidekicks try to assess what's really going on. As sometimes happens, though, the impulse to, as Andrew Rilstone likes to describe it, take the Cal McDonald action figure and Goon action figure out of their boxes and put them side by side is driving the issue more than an actual story, which is too bad. The goofy amusement of watching them interact was burnished to a nice sheen, no denying, but I found myself not caring why they were there, so when Mo'Lock (Cal's ghoul sidekick) and Franky found a magic book that could make anything happen I just sighed. But maybe this is just setting up all the pieces for more story later, as is strongly suggested by the last page's hoovering up of yet another beloved Dark Horse monster-fighter into the mix (hence the laughter of the last tweet). We'll see!
ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST #1
BOOM! Studios is releasing this book, an adaptation of a beloved character -- or, arguably, characters, as I'll touch on below -- from a whole bunch of Michael Moorcock novels. Chris Roberson, classically famous for his DC superhero work on titles like Superman but beloved to me for the amazing I, Zombie, is writing and Francesco Biagini, whose work is new to me, is the artist.
For 40 years comic fandom has thrilled to the exploits of Elric since his introduction in Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian in the early 1970s. Neil Gaiman called Elric’s creator Michael Moorcock “my model for what a writer was” while Warren Ellis said he is one of the “eight core sites in my creative genome.” Now the godfather of the Multiverse teams up with hot New York Times bestseller Chris Roberson (SUPERMAN, iZOMBIE, STAN LEE'S STARBORN) for an ongoing series that sees a crisis break out across multiple worlds with Moorcock's other two most famous fantasy franchise characters, Corum of the Scarlet Robe and Dorian Hawkmoon! The workings of Fate are being tampered across the Multiverse, upsetting the Cosmic Balance. Elric is on a quest to restore The Balance and save the Multiverse from ruin! Elric, Corum, and Hawkmoon are forced into action far and wide, but will they fight on the side of Law...or Chaos? - from BOOM! Studios' website
Looking at the cover art.. I dunno. I never pictured #Elric with a six-pack...
OK, #Elric is doing some pretty interesting stuff with the Eternal Champion and ripping it from the headlines. Digging it.
Wow. It's like a roll call. Will I see Jerry Cornelius too? XD
The chaos critters in the #Elric scenes are gloriously OTT icky.
Nice afterword by @neilhimself. Glad to see I'm not the only one whose entire allowance once went to Moorcock books.
THE SUMMING UP
I might as well be genetically programmed to like this book. BOOM! et al would have to really cock it up before I'd drop it -- but given Roberson's wonderful track record that's highly unlikely. This first issue is setting up a doozy of a premise and, as I observed, hauling in many aspects of the Eternal Champion - Moorcock's Hero With A Thousand Faces, different incarnations of whose stories he has told in multiple series of novels, most of which I devoured as a teenager. As I tweeted, most of my allowance and a lot of my paychecks from lifeguarding went into Moorcock's pockets. Rather than adapting any of those into comics form, this book is boldly creating new material, though adhering to the classic trope of something disturbing the Cosmic Balance between Law and Chaos throughout the multiverse. Our title character, the albino ex-emperor Elric, is traversing the multiverse and finding that many worlds are hopelessly lost to Chaos, overrun with outrageously mutated monsters -- Biagini did not hold back on imagining grotesqueries aplenty (an overall trope for these monsters is mouths full of big sharp nasty pointy teeth erupting all over parts of the body that do not ordinarily have mouths); meanwhile Corum and Dorian Hawkmoon, other aspects of the Champion, are encountering their own difficulties, and a young man in our own world, Eric (another albino; his last name of Beck strongly suggests he is a member of the family Elric founded centuries ago during a prior visit to our world) is watching aghast as his twin brother is whipping up support for a Tea Party-esque Law & Order party complete with scarily armed militia. It all feels very Moorcock and again, I'm so in.
WITCH DOCTOR #1 AND 2
Witch Doctor is coming out from Image Comics' and Robert Kirkman's Skybound imprint. The writer is Brandon Seifert, whose work I've only seen a bit of in Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan; the art is by Lukas Ketner, who has done a Walking Dead cover and worked in the same bit of Transmetropolitan that Seifert did; the two seem to be a pretty solid team.
HOUSE M.D. MEETS FRINGE IN THE FIRST SKYBOUND ORIGINAL FROM ROBERT KIRKMAN's NEW COMICS IMPRINT! Meet Vincent Morrow, a doctor looking for a vaccine... for the apocalypse! In this stand-alone first issue, a family needs Dr. Morrow's help with their son's illness: Demonic possession. But when Morrow attempts an experimental cure, he discovers the boy's disease isn't all spinning heads and pea soup - it's like nothing you've seen before! Horror gets a brain transplant in WITCH DOCTOR, the book WARREN ELLIS calls 'Mental.' - from Image's website
My Sunday is loaded with Grand Guignol. On to #WitchDoctor which promises more of the same it appears. Two issues here.
Oh, and it's set in Arkham, at least this first scene, but it's Arkham OREGON. Hmm.
Ha ha ha ha. Priest/faith healer vs physician but the latter is a combo of House and Alice Hotwire XD
"Get a C.T. scan." "A what?"..."A sciencey thing at the doctort place" XD
"'Possession' is just infection by a BABY BOTFLY FROM HELL." Oh yes, I like this #WitchDoctor yes I do.
"I've only seen one case this bad in the literature, and it was in the Bible!"
And I have Issue 2 of #WitchDoctor, which makes me unreasonably happy. Hilarious cover art too.
Lukas Ketner really likes to draw saliva ribbons stretching across open mouths. Even human ones. Ew.
But seriously. If you like grotesque art, Ketner's right up Jacen Burrows' alley.
So yeah, #WitchDoctor is a keeper, and possibly my favorite so far today.
THE SUMMING UP
Witch Doctor did indeed turn out to be my favorite reads of the day. The protagonist is hilariously irascible, though as I observed he reminds me at least as much of Alice Hotwire as of House; he partakes of her angry contempt for people who take a superstitious view of the supernatural phenomena of which he has made a lifetime's carefully scientific study and I can definitely imagine him saying, as Hotwire's dad did "Fine. Give it all back and die at age 30 like you're supposed to" to the anti-science cranks who oppose, e.g., childhood vaccinations. It's all very stylish and witty and visually grotesque -- Ketner really does remind me of Jacen Burrows, the current go-to guy for really wrong art that crawls with detail and demented lines. Issue #2 continued just as strong and funny and sick and weird and this all bodes well for this becoming a book I really look forward to every month.
ROBERT BLOCH'S THAT HELLBOUND TRAIN #1 AND 2
IDW is publishing this adaptation of a Robert Bloch short story. The task of adapting it into a comics script has been given to John and Joe Lansdale who between them have a long history of deftly handling just this kind of task as well as being responsible for a lot of prose fiction in horror and other genres. The art is by Dave Wachter, another guy I've only seen doing bits of Transmetropolitan but who has a resume full of horror comics that I'm not familiar with but might have to dig up because he does great, moody work.
Take a trip back in time on Robert Bloch’s That Hellbound Train! Join Martin, an out-of-luck orphan, as he struggles to fulfill the American dream. As Martin comes of age, fate conspires against him at every turn. On the verge of giving up hope, our young protagonist is visited by a monstrous train, one whose conductor might just have a ticket to fame and riches... if Martin is willing to pay the price!
THE TWEETS (I didn't tweet a lot on these, partly from running out of steam and partly because I just got absorbed in reading them)
I'm not familiar with the original story so I've been curious to see what the Lansdales would do with it. #ThatHellboundTrain
I like the skull forming from the smoke of #ThatHellboundTrain even if it is an obvious trope
Is that an Al Capone cameo I see? Awesome #ThatHellboundTrain
Nice touch on panel where Martin paints - his roller is in the process of either generating or obliterating the image
Continued high quality in second issue of #ThatHellboundTrain. @MrsJwNic is very quiet over there reading the first 8)
THE SUMMING UP
It's hard to go wrong with source material like a Robert Bloch story, even if most of the prose is stripped down; what's lost in verbiage is gained in dark and moody art and haunting, creepy faces -- even our protagonist, as an innocent youngster, looks more than a little wicked, as he should. As I said, I hadn't read the original story and when I saw this comic coming I decided to wait and see what the comic did with it first. This is a pact-with-the-devil story with a neat little twist; Martin hasn't asked for wealth or fame or any of that stuff that can easily be twisted, Monkey's Paw-style; instead he's come away with a watch that will stop time, but can only be used once. His intent is to stop it when he achieves happiness (quite a challenge for a kid who's had such a poor start in life); his challenge through the rest of the tale is to find the right moment to stop the watch, made more complicated by the machinations of the conductor-devil who gave it to him. This looks to be as much a melancholy as a scary book based on these two issues I read on Sunday.
I finished one more and started another on Sunday, but I feel like I overdid it and didn't give the one the attention it needed and didn't get the finish the other, and so I'll stop here. And, I guess, start looking for a template that doesn't force me to do quite so much hand-coding to do this simple bit of formatting I've done here. Grr.