Krampus: Christmas used to be really weird

Last year I read Krampus as it was released as single issues, but didn’t get around to writing about it. Recently I was thinking about Krampus as we moved into the holiday season and it seems to coincide with Image releasing the book as a trade collection on 3 December at your local comic shop or 16 December everywhere else.

Krampus - Krampus
Krampus – Krampus

We have a lot of traditions that come from long ago – so long ago that they seem a bit odd today. A lot of this is due to a change in our sensibilities. In my daughter’s Little Red Riding Hood, no one is eaten. The wolf just gets grandma out of the way for a while. In the old Cinderella, the stepsisters are mutilating their feet to get them into the slippers. And in many European traditions Santa used to go around with a helper to punish the bad kids. One of those was Krampus, a demon. Wikipedia claims this still goes on in some countries. In the story as told by this comic, Krampus has been jailed for being a little too over-enthusiastic in his punishment of the bad kids. Continue reading Krampus: Christmas used to be really weird

At the Beginning: John Carter: A Warlord of Mars #1

John Carter: A Warlord of Mars #1
John Carter: A Warlord of Mars #1

We don’t often consider single issues here at Comic POW! We prefer to look at story arcs and completed series to get a better feel for what the author and artist were trying to accomplish. However, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some comics’ first issues to predict where we think it might be going and see how that compares with where the series actually goes. This new series is called “At the Beginning” and it’ll usually be for series right as they are starting up.

I didn’t know too much about Dynamite before going into Baltimore Comic-Con 2014. I did notice they tended to do what often appeared to be public domain characters like Zorro or Green Hornet. While at BCC, I learned that Dynamite’s model revolves around licensing characters – many, but not all of them, older. Then Dynamite hires creators to write and draw new stories with these characters. Continue reading At the Beginning: John Carter: A Warlord of Mars #1

Done with DC Monthlies for Now

cover of Batman v2 #0Last month I ended my Batman pull at my local comic shop. (Which ends my “I’ll stay with Batman if Snyder’s on the book” stance from last year) I guess it was just bad timing, but the New 52 killed my three year experiment with DC Comics. I’ve mentioned this before (and it’s in the author bio), but, quickly, I got back into reading comics monthly through discovering (and getting addicted to) Gotham City Sirens at my local comic shop. While I’d been slowly laying the groundwork for getting back into comics via trades at the local Borders, it was DC Comics that got me back into the monthlies.

Continue reading Done with DC Monthlies for Now

Baltimore Comic-Con: Interview with Clive of Coral Hare

One of the things I love about Baltimore Comic-Con is that, unlike some of the other conventions, it really still is a comic con. No movies or TV shows or sparkling vampires (unless they’re featured in a comic book).  At least, that holds true in the main events of the convention. In the artists alley/vendor area anything goes. The majority of those are also comic book related, every once in a while there are some different products there. As I was wandering the convention center I me across the booth for Coral Hare. The manga cover drew me in, I thought perhaps it was a war-themed comic.

Coral Hare Manga Cover (without trade dress)
Coral Hare Manga Cover (without trade dress)

Then I spoke with author Clive Lee and found out it was a historical novel:

I’ve started reading it and I’m about 20% through it. I have to say that Clive’s writing style is pretty evocative. I feel as though he’s describing a movie to me – that’s how dynamic the action is. I find myself thinking that if someone like Quentin Tarantino got his hands on this book, it’d be a great movie. So far, the characters and story are quite well realized and believable within the bounds of a historical spy thriller genre. As Clive mentions in the interview, the book was reviewed by a history professor and one of the meta things I really enjoy is that the book is chock-full of footnotes explaining a lot of the small details so it’s up to the reader whether they want to interrupt the flow and the text doesn’t end up going on an exposition dump.

Because it’s not comic-related I won’t be posting my final review here, but here it is on my personal blog.

Torchbearer: When Wall Street Finally Owns It All

The Occupy Wall Street protests started almost exactly 3 years ago. Three years before that, the irresponsible actions of the banks nearly caused the collapse of the Western World as incredible amounts of money simply vanished. Various governments poured money into the companies involved and in 2011 as some parts of Europe found themselves no longer in control of their own countries, there was a disappointing lack of anyone being held responsible. At the time we still believed in the power of democracy and being vocal and so many took to the streets in an attempt to move the political will. Eventually the protests fell apart for various reasons – some inevitable and some nefarious – and nothing truly changed. But we continue to believe in democracy and no one is seriously courting rebellion.

Occupy Protesters from Portland, ME
Occupy Protesters from Portland, ME

Continue reading Torchbearer: When Wall Street Finally Owns It All

Baltimore Comic-Con: Interview with Danielle Ward of Little Petal

Baltimore Comic-Con has a really great artists alley/vendor area and a visitor can see some pretty great indie creations (like webcomic Altar Girl). One that caught my eye right away on the first day was a little outfit called Little Petal. After looking at the women at the booth and the samples on the table, I had to know more. So I interviewed the owner, Danielle Ward.

The Little Petal Dresses Day 1
The Little Petal Dresses Day 1

This hits on a lot of really great needs: elegant comic book themed dresses, custom fits so that the customer can look good no matter their body shape, and a work of passion. I made a point of stopping by each morning to see the new dresses the women were wearing. I think if I were a woman (or a dress-wearing guy), I would have ordered two or three.

Little Petal Dresses Day 2
Little Petal Dresses Day 2

So, when you go to a convention – especially Baltimore Comic-Con – make sure you visit the vendor area. You never know what you’ll find.

Little Petal Dresses Day 3
Little Petal Dresses Day 3

Baltimore Comic-Con Day 3: The Final Panels

I attended two panels on Sunday, Dynamite’s Pulp panel and Christy Blanch (with guest appearance by Mark Waid) on the Lois Lane Mort Weisinger Panel.

Pulp at Dynamite

(excuse the cut in the audio, my recorder ran out of batteries)

Dynamite Pulp Panel 2
Dynamite Pulp Panel 2

I wanted to attend this panel because I found it so interesting that, as a publisher, Dynamite was revisiting the pulps. Most of the conversation around comics usually revolves around superheroes or fresh new stuff a la Image. But in my personal life I’ve gotten back into reading, particularly anthologies and neo-pulp; I also really dug Gail Simone’s first Red Sonja arc. So I was curious about the appeal of The Shadow, The Green Hornet, and others. This panel was, in some ways, one of the best panels of the show because of all the historical facts. I’d recently learned that Batman was at least partially based on The Shadow, but I didn’t have any idea of the extent until our panelists spoke of talking to the original pulp writers. (Nothing against the other panels, but I’m a huge history nerd – including comics history) Mark Waid summed up the reason for the resurgence in pulp best by talking about how, at its heart, these are human stories and the conflicts are the same today as they’ve always been. The difference is that Mark has had to make some of the decisions Green Hornet has to make a little more grey morality.

Lois Lane under Mort Weisinger

Lois Lane Mort Weisinger Panel
Lois Lane Mort Weisinger Panel

Again, it was my love of comics history that led me to this panel. I have to say that what I’ve learned about history is that the most interesting people are rarely pure evil or pure goodness. As I learned at the panel, Mort Weisinger was responsible for both the best and the worst of everything about Superman comics and Lois Lane. If you are reading this without having listened to the audio, I strongly recommend a listen.

Yup, this was once acceptable
Yup, this was once acceptable
Scary Superman face according to Mark Waid
Scary Superman face according to Mark Waid