Episode 044 “Mid-Season Finale”

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Freshly-stuffed following the Thanksgiving holiday, the boys are back with an all-ornery new episode. In the first half of the show, Greg Giorgio joins us in studio to talk about the first half-season of The Walking Dead (all TV talk, no comic spoilers). Conflict takes center stage and opinions differ on the season’s success rate to date.

In the second hour, the comic talk flows like bacon-wrapped scallops. There’s jeers for Fear Itself, waves of praise for Spider-Island, and all things in-between. Both Ben and Josh part ways with FF but have good things to say about Moon Knight, Orchid and Ultimate Spider-Man.

All this, plus comics Josh can’t bring himself to read, congrats for Ben’s new comic-fan-to-be and how a pumpkin spoiled 30+ years of monogamy for Greg. It’s more fun than a barn full o’ walkers.

Music in this episode by: Reid Genauer, Al Butron, Alan Thicke &
Gloria Long, Neil Sedaka, Tom Morello

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Weekly Hit (and Miss) List 11/28/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.

THE HITS

Fear Agent Vol. 3 | Dark Horse | Rick Remender (w), Tony Moore (a)

There are a lot of comics out there.  In fact, there are a lot of very good comics out there. And yet amidst the vast sea of opinions that is the internet, there are only a handful of comics talked about as being the best. Scalped, Fables, The Walking Dead, I’ll even include mainstream books like Batwoman and Amazing Spider-Man – these are titles worthy of discussion when the words “best book on the shelves” come out. With the release last week of it’s 32nd and final issue, we say goodbye to one of these titles in Rick Remender’s Fear Agent. Though plagued by delays late in it’s run, Fear Agent – the story of hard-drinkin’ down-on-his-luck space ranger, Heath Huston – remained one of the most critically-acclaimed books of the last decade. Remender packs each issue with rich world-building, complex characters and an action-packed narrative that never lets you catch your breath. Tony Moore and Jerome Opeña, who trade off art duties with each volume, are two of the best storytellers working today–period. In reading the 3rd volume, which flashes back to tell the story of the Earth’s fall to alien invaders, I was struck by the complexity of the story and how tightly woven the plot points are. Events, which we saw in a previous volume are revealed to have taken place right on the heels of world-altering moments shown now for the first time, making them all the more heart-rending. Sometimes I’ll meet people who have just started watching Lost or havent read up to date in The Walking Dead, and I’m always so jealous of what they still have in store. With 3 volumes yet to explore, I will cherish every page of Fear Agent that I have left.  BUY IT

Continue reading Weekly Hit (and Miss) List 11/28/2011

Weekly Hit (and Miss) List 11/21/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.

THE HITS

Xombi #1-6 | DC | John Rozum (w), Frazer Irving (a)

This is one of the easiest selections to the Hit List yet, and yet one of the hardest books for me to talk about. The short-lived relaunch of the mid-90’s property, Xombi packed more big concepts and stunning artwork into six issues than some series do in a decade. Xombi is the story of David Kim, who through a lethal combination of science and the supernatural, became an immortal creature created by artificial means … a Xombi. Kim has a Wolverine-like healing factor facilitated by nanomachines that inhabit his body and can transubstantiate matter into any form – hand him a banana and he’ll give you back a padlock. If you think that’s crazy, wait until you meet the superpowered posse of nuns he’s teamed up with. David’s powers make him a “magnet for weirdness” and John Rozum delivers one fantastic fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural element after the next. But while the story is anything but grounded, the storytelling really is. The same grandiose ideas in the hands of, say, Grant Morrisson would likely drift into the existential and get lost in poetic meandering. Rozum sticks to a tight narrative forcing you not to dwell on how or why a being that is rage-incarnate could inhabit the empty half of a schizophrenic who’d killed his other self, but instead grips you with the immediacy of when and where our heroes will defeat it! Superhero comics condition us to stories where the heroes are always one step ahead of the villians. But Xombie is a true adventure tale, where events unfold faster than the protagonists or the reader can keep up with like they might for Indiana Jones or Adèle Blanc-Sec. The story is a fun-filled cosmic thrill ride perfectly packaged in the amazing art of Frazer Irving, whose painterly style and strategic color work marries the whimsy of fantasy to the realism of science fiction. Xombi is one of the unfortunate casulties, thrown out with the bathwater to make room for the New 52, but if you track down these 6 issues you won’t be disappointed. BUY IT

Continue reading Weekly Hit (and Miss) List 11/21/2011

Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 11/14/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.

THE HITS

Elephantmen Vol. 3 | Image | Richard Starkings (w), various (a)

At the 2009 Baltimore Comic-Con, I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Starkings who, aside from being one of the nicest and most engaging people you’ll meet at a convention, is a man who knows how to bait the hook. He asked me if I had ever read Elephantment and when I told him that I hadn’t, he pulled out two issues, signed them and handed them to me – gratis. A year later I was back in Baltimore to pick up the first 3 oversized volumes of Starking’s creator-owned epic because 1) I respond well to free stuff and 2) I just plain needed more. If the way Starkings treats his fans is any indication, he must treat his artists even better because he has some amazing talent including Moritat, Ladrönn, Boo Cook and more helping to bring this elaborate future world to life. “Elephantmen” are human-animal hybrids once geneticly-engineered as soldiers and now doing their best to find a place as everyday citizens of Mystery City. Elephantmen is a case study in “show, don’t tell”. It’s a stampede of world-building but it’s done by placing you into the lives of the characters and letting you experience it through their eyes rather than explain it all in a heavy-handed way. This 3rd volume (a 4th was recently released), focuses on some of the beautiful women of Mystery City and their relationships with Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, Obadiah Horn and the rest of the surprisingly-human Elephantmen. Billed as “Pulp Science Fiction”, Elephantmen is a fascinating world filled with amazingly 3-dimensional characters, that continues to reveal itself with each turn of the page. BUY IT

Continue reading Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 11/14/2011

Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 11/7/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.

THE HITS

Joker | DC | Brian Azzarello (w), Lee Bermejo (a)

As comicbook collectors we can acquire quite a bit of paper. The bookshelves in our various man caves and comic rooms are packed with all walks of trades, hardcovers omnibuses and essentials and we have long boxes stashed away in every conceivable nook and cranny in our homes. There comes a time in every collectors life when they say, “what am I gonna do with all this stuff?” So it’s validating when you can pull something off the shelf and revisit it with the same enthusiasm as when you first read it. Such was the case this weekend when I re-read Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s original graphic novel, Joker. I talked this book up quite a bit when it first came out and even awarded it my OGN of the year in the 2008 Minty Awards. I’m happy to say that it held up very well on the re-read and I think this is one of those evergreen titles that you can get some enjoyment from every year or so or hand off to someone who may be looking to get into comics.  Joker is a self-contained story that follows the clown prince of crime through the eyes of henchman, Johnny Frost. There are guest appearances from many of Gotham’s all-stars of the underworld. Bermejo plays with the looks of classic villains like Penguin, Killer Croc and the Ridler but the characterizations are true to form. The art switches between a traditional comicbook style and a fully paited look to distinguish the moments when narrator Johnny Frost becomes fully immersed in the Joker’s world. Joker is certainly a mature readers book with over-the-top violence and sexual situations. But if you enjoy that type of thing, it’s a great book and deserving of a place on your bookshelf. BUY IT

Continue reading Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 11/7/2011