Classic Comic Covers! (Kevin Nowlan Edition)

This post could quite legitimately be extremely long. I first encountered Kevin Nowlan’s cover work on The New Defenders where he was a semi-regular cover artist throughout the run but particularly in the first year or so of the title. In marked contrast to the more traditional internal art of Don Perlin and Kim DeMulder, Nowlan’s covers possessed a stylish fluidity that was utterly captivating. I’m delighted to say that Nowlan is still illustrating covers today and that means that there’s a heck of a lot of stuff to choose from when putting together this post. There’s plenty of stuff I’ve missed out. Plenty of good stuff. But this is what’s appealed to me…

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Something Fishy Going On… – The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #6 Review

Michael Cray 6 coverMichael Cray. A character I quite like trapped in a book I really haven’t. Or at least not as much as I wanted to. Up to now, Cray’s Skywatch-sanctioned missions to hunt down dark psychopathic versions of some of the DC universe’s best-loved heroes have been rushed, formulaic and consequently somewhat predictable. And dull. Will this issue – the conclusion to a two-parter featuring a genetically-altered, psychotically deluded Arthur Curry – break the mould?

There’s only one way to find out…

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The Wild Storm #13 – Review

The Wild Storm 13(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

The last month has been a Wild Storm free time, but, with last week’s issue of Michael Cray and now a new issue of the parent title on our hands, all that is over and it’s time to dive back into the rich, complex and slow-burning narrative that we’ve come to know and love. I hope that, like me, you’ve fruitfully used the month’s hiatus to meditate on the realities of life and death and the endless struggle that stretches out all too briefly before us as we shuffle through this veil of tears. Or perhaps you’ve instead been wondering just what the implications of the events of issue 12 of this wonderfully involving series will be: whether Mitch’s death will go unnoticed and/or unavenged, whether IO will be able to make use of the data they’ve just filched from Skywatch, whether Skywatch will do anything else to punish IO for its indiscretions. Or perhaps you’ve been wondering just what John Lynch has to do with any of this. If so, then welcome to issue 13. Answers await…

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Beastly! – Justice League of America #221 Review

JLA 221 cover1983 was the year I really got into comics. American comics, that is. I’d collected British comics since the mid-70s (Warlord and Doctor Who Weekly mostly – not 2000AD. Far too gruesome!), but a combination of a fairly steady UK distribution service to newsagents and the increasingly sophisticated storytelling of DC’s and Marvel’s output soon worked its magic on me. Obviously, Justice League of America was a title that appealed to me. I mean, why wouldn’t it? A diverse grouping of colourfully-costumed superheroes banding together to fight outlandish threats was right up my alley. In many respects, as a 13-year-old boy with a pronounced fondness for sci-fi and action, I was probably the mainstream comic companies’ ideal customer. Certainly, this issue is one I remember really enjoying at the time. How does it stack up now? There’s only one way to find out…

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Getting Familiar – The Unexpected #2 Review

the-unexpected-2-cover.jpgThis series surprised me last month. That first issue was a rip-roaring full tilt ride into multidimensional madness and it was populated by a range of interesting new characters who, although they spoke with the overblown idiom of most Steve Orlando creations, nevertheless managed to intrigue the hell out of me. That half of them were dead by the end of the issue seemed to me to be a bold statement of intent from the creative team. Put bluntly, these guys are not messing around. The question is… where do we go from here? For once, I have no actual idea. And I kind of like that. Buckle up then, pilgrims. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Probably…

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2 – Review (DC Comics)

Snagglepuss 2 coverWell, this is better. The first issue of this reimagining of everyone’s favourite softly-spoken pink cartoon mountain lion as a softly-spoken pink secretly gay playwright in 1950s America didn’t exactly grab me for a number of reasons. I’m happy to say that, with a bit more focus and a lot more characterization, this issue sees the series begin to deliver on its premise. With the forces of cultural oppression focusing on him and a play to stage, will our hero manage to remain characteristically unruffled? There’s only one way to know for sure…

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Classic Comic Covers! (Jack Kirby edition)

I have a confession to make. I’m an idiot.

All right. Not exactly news to most of you, I know. Let me provide a bit of clarification.

I may be an idiot in a dizzyingly varied number of ways, but the way most pertinent to this post is my youthful disdain for the comic book art of Jack Kirby. At the time of this stupid and erroneous belief, I was admittedly about 14, but even so… My appreciation of art was definitely focused on the ‘realistic’ end of the spectrum. Paul Gulacy was probably the epitome of the approach, closely followed by Byrne, Art Adams, Perez and the likes of Don Newton on Batman. Kirby was just too much. Kirby was ridiculous; Kirby was too ‘out there’, too unrealistic. In my defence, the Kirby I was being exposed to at the time was late (Super Powers-era) Kirby and there wasn’t much of his earlier stuff around, reprints of old comics being extraordinarily rare at the time.

So, here are some Kirby covers. This post is part penance, I suppose, but mostly it’s just a chance to go, “Oh my! That’s amazing!” A lot.

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A Killing of Crows – Wonder Woman/Conan #5 Review

Wonder Woman Conan 5 coverThis series has been, the odd moment of uncertainty notwithstanding, a delight to read and review. As Conan and Wonder Woman head to Shamur to prevent the city’s destruction at the hands of the vengeful Corvidae, this issue reveals that writer Gail Simone still has a few tricks up her sleeve. We see one longstanding mystery (sort of) solved, but another take its place. It’s the penultimate issue, people! Let’s see what’s going on!

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Bang, Bang, Bang! – The Wild Storm #12 Review

The Wild Storm 12 CoverWell, it’s here. We’ve had a lot of build-up to this, the issue that marks the half-way point in this series. Nice build-up. Gorgeous build-up. Amusing build-up. Even absorbing build-up. But build-up all the same. Now, it’s time for the members of Jacob Marlowe’s wild CAT (Grifter, Void, John Colt and Kenesha) to put their plan into action, while at the same time Jackie King’s team of IO tech-geeks set theirs in motion, too. Will there be sparks (and blood, for that matter) flying? Will it all go off without a hitch? More importantly, will the patience of this series’ generally enthusiastic readers be rewarded?

Let’s find out, eh?

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