As it has been every week for the last decade, the biggest news in comic this week is a movie. The trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy has appeared, to mixed reviews. One geek-in-residence at my comic shop claimed it will be “bigger than Star Wars.” Meanwhile, Comic Book Resources has already projected it will bring the Marvel Studios hit-parade to an embarrassing, tuba-players-tripping-all-over-each-other*, halt. For the obsessives, the folks who are already scouting their spots in line and checking if ComicCon bylaws will allow them to bring their shitzu if “she’s dressed as Rocket Raccoon and obviously an essential element of my cosplay!” then there’s this list from Comics Alliance of all of the things that can gleaned from the 90 second teaser trailer.
I think it looks pretty good and as far as bankability at the box office, my money’s on Chris Pratt. Everyone loves that guy!
Also, dear Zoe Saldana: please do something in this movie. You seem like you can probably act. Don’t just let Hollywood dip you in alien bodypaint and dangle you out there like nerdbait. Even Barbarella had more self-determination. Dear Hollywood: Be nicer to Zoe Saldana! Besides, y’know, paying her like millions of dollars to kiss Zachary Quinto, I guess that’s…being pretty nice.
Yep, I officially lost the plot of this introduction. I should become a DC Comics line editor!
Read on for reviews of comics I bought this week, some of which may have actually been published this week, if you’re lucky.
Marvel Knights HULK #1 by Joe Keatinge and Piotr Kowalski with Nick Filardi. Marvel, 2014.
Piotr Kowalski wins at drawing Parisian street scenes, trees reflected in the river Seine, crowded Metro stations, bodies floating face down in water, little minimalist gallery show rooms, dimly lit jazz clubs, and guys stabbing themselves in the neck with Gamma Serum. He sucks at giving characters a unique look (see above). And he might suck at drawing the Hulk. Wouldn’t really know on that last bit, as the Hulk only appears in two panels of this Hulk-titled comic book, and even then, in a flashback. Hopefully by issue two something will make Bruce Banner angry, though one would think waking up surrounded by nothing but French people would have done the trick by around page three.
Heavy Metal vol. 1 no. 13, April 1978.
HELLS YES! I couldn’t believe this was only five bucks, because I got my money’s worth about four pages in to the first story, “Den” by the great Richard Corben, when a topless dragon rider, a barbarian prince, and a forced-blowjob scenario combined to deliver one of the most bizarre, hilarious, and weirdly erotic things I’ve ever seen on the printed page.
This was the American Heavy Metal’s first anniversary issue, and it captures the magazine at a great time — when they still had reams and reams of early Metal Hurlant material that they could translate and present fresh to the North American audience. Thus, this issue features the holy trinity of Corben, Moebius, and Druillet, along with guest editor Sean Kelly’s long, strange anthology strip “Paradise 9”, which seems to feature various MH/HM contributors aping each other’s styles and characters in a pyschedelic metafiction that I don’t have the right chemicals to appreciate right now. CountZeroOR has a detailed recap of this issue here.
Deadpool #23 by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and Mike Hawthorne with Jordie Bellaire. Marvel, 2014.
This Agent Coulson thing has to stop. White middle aged male bureaucrats are inherently boring! His boringness is all over this comic, he was boring it up in Black Widow this week, and it looks like he’s about to bore readers of an otherwise appealing Secret Avengers reboot as well. Agent Coulson is like Peyton Manning, throwing six yard screen passes all day and then going home to watch tape of his next opponent all night. Effective? Admittedly yes. Dreadfully dull? Also yes.
Other than that this is a hoot, the closest thing to Archer in comic form, albeit with the sex/violence ratio flipped considerably further towards Violence. The best part of this issue: a pair of evil henchmen arguing over who’s better at mixing up WMD’s: “I’ve been making poisonous gas since before Saddam, kid, I was gassing people while you were still swimmin’ around in your daddy’s baggage.”
Shaolin Cowboy #2 & #4 by Geoff Darrow. Dark Horse, 2013 & 2014.
I think there’s a strong chance that this volume of Shaolin Cowboy will be closely studied by students of sequential art for many years. On first blush, its ‘extreme’ subject matter, a gruesome fight of one man against hundreds of zombies, suffers from the banality of excess — little more than a comic adaptation of the Dead Rising games. Underneath the hood, it is remarkable as:
- A formalist exercise in perspective, motion, and kinesiology
- A zen exercise in repetition and meditation
- A rejection of literary storytelling technique in favor of the cinematic and purely visual
- A lesson in Eastern/Buddhist conceptions of time and circularity
- A paeon to chainsaws and kung-fu
I’d really like to discuss the ending of issue 4 but for once I think this is something worth not spoiling, so if you’ve read it hit me up in the comments or on twitter because I’m dying to talk about this comic!
*My favorite phrase? “Seven Tuba Pileup.”