Photo by Kathryn Delaney, taken from Bernie Mirault’s blog
by Matthew Horowitz
Lean in close. No, closer.
To Get Her is a comic for people who like comics rife with detail and nuance. Set in Montreal, To Get Her chronicles the oft-fought battles of a ten year relationship, and the emotional casualties inflicted on both sides. In this corner, Gordon Kirby, highly sympathetic cartoonist that quits a paying job washing dishes to return to his art. In this corner, we have Janet Ditko (yeah, Kirby and Ditko, I enjoyed that too) the long suffering breadwinner of the couple who longs for a more rewarding existence.
Dynamite Entertainment has released the first issue of Warlord Of Mars: Dejah Thoris for free. This issue is part of the WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS VOL. 1: COLOSSUS OF MARS Trade Paperback by Arvid Nelson and Carlos Rafael.
THE BIONIC MAN #3 by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau. THE BOYS: BUTCHER, BAKER, CANDLESTICKMAKER #4 (of 6) by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson WARLORD OF MARS #11 by Arvid Nelson and Stephen Sadowski QUEEN SONJA #22 by Luke Lieberman and Fritz Casas ZORRO RIDES AGAIN #4 (of 12) by Matt Wagner and Esteve Polls. SHERLOCK HOLMES: YEAR ONE TPB by Scott BEatty and Daniel Indro WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS VOL. 1: COLOSSUS OF MARS TPB by Arvid Nelson and Carlos Rafael You can read the entire issue of Warlord Of Mars: Dejah Thoris #1 for free at http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/10/21/free-warlord-of-mars-dejah-thoris-1/
The National Capital Panthans, founded in September 1996, are the Washington D.C., Baltimore, Annapolis and Northern Virginia area Chapter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles. Meetings are generally held on the firs…t Sunday of the month and are hosted by various members in their homes.
There are approximately 50 members from around the United States and one each from England, Canada and Germany. The Panthans hosted the 1998 Burroughs Bibliophiles Dum-Dum, the 1999 and 2003 ECOF Gatherings, and will again host the 2006 ECOF in Rockville, MD. Generally so many members go to ERB fan conventions hosted by others that the Panthans can be counted on to assist with registration. The Panthans have published a book, entitled “ERB – The Second Century,” which includes fan-produced fiction, scholarly deductions and many great illustrations!
To become a member and receive a monthly newsletter informing you about Panthans activities send your annual subscription fee of US $15.00 to:
John Tyner, Treasurer 5911 Halpine Road Rockville, Maryland 20851-2410
“It’s a special joy for me to return to the world and adventures of America’s first costumed adventurer– the original archetype of the modern superhero– Zorro,” says writer Wagner . “As longtime readers know, we left the narrative of the previous Zorro series on a bit of a cliffhanger and now that storyline finally comes to its exciting fruition. These next two storylines not only introduce some major new characters but also represent significant and catastrophic changes in Zorro’s world-events that cause him to call question everything he does and everything for which he stands.”
“From cover to script to everything in between, Matt has proven himself over and over again with his thrilling, pulp-y and defining take on Zorro,” says Dynamite Editor Joe Rybandt. “We’re pairing him up for Zorro Rides Again with artist Esteve Pols, who’s kicking the dust off his boots from the Lone Ranger/Zorro cross-over. Together, they’re going to shake up Zorro’s world as you’ve never seen before.”
Maybe it’s just the swanky fedora and cloak, but The Phantom Stranger has always been a favorite character of mine. I mention this only because it was one of the primary reasons I was excited about last week’s release of Madame Xanadu #1, the first issue of new Vertigo miniseries that promises to look at the title character’s relationship with the Stranger.
Over at Famous Monsters, ComicMix contributor Bob Greenberger chats with Madame Xanadu writer Matt Wagner about the character’s complicated romantic history:
FM: Xanadu has been previously linked romantically with an incarnation of the Spectre, back when I edited the book. So, what does she see in the Phantom Stranger?
Matt: We actually add a new element to her eventual relationship with the Spectre near the end of the opening story arc. The whole deal with including the Phantom Stranger and weaving their continually troubled relationship through this first story line stemmed from a bit of the current continuity with which I was initially unfamiliar–the fact that she holds a certain distrust and even outright animosity for the Stranger. I thought that was a great opportunity to explore and define an emotional conflict that hadn’t yet been revealed; how did they come to stand at such opposite ends from each other. What led to that eventual rift?
Head over to Famous Monsters for the rest of the interview.
Sure enough. Wagner is writing the Vertigo series, the first issue of which debuted this week. It’s, well, odd, for lack of a better word. The first chapter begins in Arthurian times as Xanadu tries to prevent Camelot’s bloody fall.
Wagner channels a bit of Shakespeare’s lyricism in Xanadu’s dreamy, esoteric narration. And much of the goal seems to be recasting the common legend in surprising ways, not the least of which is Merlin as an old horndog.
The art, by relative newcomer Amy Reeder Hadley, is as graceful and natural as the titular character. The slight manga influence further similarizes the book to Elf Quest, which it mirrors fairly closely in tone.
The only real problem so far is the lack of scope in the first issue. Not a whole lot happens, at least till the last page, and there’s almost nothing to hint that this series is going to be an epic love story between [[[Xanadu]]] and the Phantom Stranger that lasts through several ages. I had to check the PR cheat sheet for that info.
Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.
Publishers who would like their books to be reviewed at ComicMix should contact ComicMix through the usual channels or email Van Jensen directly at van (dot) jensen (at) gmail (dot) com.
It’s generally not a good sign when a series turns from telling stories at the far end of its timeline to filling in the gaps in earlier stories and explaining all the backstory — do I need to mention George Lucas here? — so these two new collections filled me with some trepidation. They’re both reprints of older material — older even than I thought, from 1999 and 1994-95 — but were explicitly returns to even earlier stories.
Matt Wagner’s series of [[[Grendel]]] stories started in 1982, and the main sequence ran from 1986 through 1992 (with a gap near the end caused by the collapse of Wagner’s then-publisher Comico). They started as the story of a near-future crimelord named Hunter Rose who used a mask and electrified pitchfork to terrorize…well, everyone, really. After Wagner wrote the story of Hunter’s inevitable demise, he rethought “Grendel” as a force of evil and aggression that possessed various people through a long future history. With various collaborators (and a number of stories entirely by other hands) and a great diversity of storytelling styles, the Grendel stories all had something in common: a deep, central notion that people are full of evil and corruption, and that life is inevitably nasty, brutish, and short.
Stacy Palumbo was the (adopted) daughter of the first Grendel, Hunter Rose, and the mother of the second, Christine Spar. She was a serious but lovable girl in Hunter’s story, and dead by the time of Christine’s. Her unpleasant life in between was backstory in the Christine Spar stories, but here it’s dramatized to wring maximum pathos.
(Think “maximum pathos” is too much? Try this line from the back cover of [[[DevilChild]]] — “The ugly world has no shelter for frightened Stacy, the pivotal link in a chain of evil that extends to the limits of time.” The limits of time, huh? Okay, if you say so.)
By Matt Wagner
DC Comics/Dark Horse, February 2008, $19.95
[[[Batman Grendel]]] collects two short series – each one was just two 50-page issues long – originally titled [[[Batman/Grendel]]] and [[[Batman/Grendel II]]]. The slash has disappeared for the collected edition – perhaps because now the names of two male characters separated by a slash brings with it entirely different expectations?
(I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett’s never-quite-named character, from a tribe who are called after the first thing the mother sees after birth, who wished, desperately, that his name was Two Dogs Fighting.)
(And the very small “Vs.” on all of the online bookshots does not actually appear on the book itself, which is simply titled Batman Grendel, as if it were the product of some comic-book equivalent of a corporate merger.)
So what we have first is a 1993 story with Batman battling the original Grendel, Hunter Rose – who is in many ways something like an evil Batman, or a twisted mirror image. Rose is a self-made man, master of arcane fighting arts, and the scourge of the underworld in his hometown…although that’s because he took over in his town. Rose is incredibly violent in a very comic-booky way – he has the typical nonpowered superhero’s utter control of violence and movement, but uses it to slaughter at will.