Fables: They did it First

Here at Comic POW! because we’re not obsessed with reviews and are, instead, looking at greater themes within the works, we’re able to revisit older stories along with the newer stories. So this blog post kicks off a series focusing on Bill Willingham’s Fables.

Fables Volume 1 - The shadow here is a great touch by artist Lan Medina
Fables Volume 1 – The shadow here is a great touch by artist Lan Medina

There has been a huge resurgence in interest in the stories of the Brothers Grimm. On one side we have Disney revisiting their animated films as live action films (as well as others leading to two Snow White films in one year). On the other side we have TV shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm. But before the ABC show thought of what it would be like to have characters from our fables among us in the real world, Bill Willingham was telling a similar story nearly fifteen years ago. Continue reading Fables: They did it First

Baltimore Comic-Con 2015 News

As always, I’m covering Baltimore Comic-Con! So here’s a roundup of the news so far!

Some of the announced guests include:

Don Rosa at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Don Rosa at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
  • Steve Conley, who you may know from JLA-Z from DC Comics, Star Trek: Year Four from IDW, and Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of the Escapist from Dark Horse Comics or his self-published Bloop
  • Don Rosa: after Carl Barks, probably the most famous people to work on Duck Tales .
  • Stan Sakai: Creator of Usagi Yojimbo. I think it’d be interesting to speak to him about his famous rabbit.
  • Thom Zahler: Three years ago I spoke to him about Love and Capes. I ended up buying quite a few volumes from Comixology. Last year I bought his My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as my daughter’s first trade (and signed, at that!)
  • Denis Kitchen: I don’t much about him, but from the press release, he’s been incredibly influential:

    The Harvey Award-winning Denis Kitchen began his comics career as a self-published underground cartoonist (Mom’s Homemade Comics, 1969), but quickly became primarily a publisher. His Kitchen Sink Press for three decades published such legendary and diverse artists as Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, R. Crumb, Mark Schultz, Charles Burns, Al Capp, Scott McCloud, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Dave McKean, Howard Cruse, and countless others. Kitchen also founded the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and chaired it for eighteen years. A monograph of his cartoons, The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen, was recently published. Kitchen curates exhibitions, is an art agent, a literary agent, a comics historian and author (The Art of Harvey Kurtzman and a biography, Al Capp), and has recently brought back Kitchen Sink Books as an imprint of Dark Horse Comics with partner John Lind. This is Denis’s 6th appearance at Baltimore Comic-Con where he has a special connection: as the representative of the Kurtzman estate, he was responsible for bringing the annual Harvey Awards to us.

  • Terry Moore: Of course, he did the famous Strangers in Paradise, but long-time readers of Comic POW! will remember when we covered Rachel Rising. (And again a few weeks later) I’m definitely trade-waiting for that one, but I did enjoy what I read of it.
  • Budd Root: I’m not familiar with him, but he has a comic called Cavewoman, here’s an image that was provided:

  • Cliff Chiang: Who you’ll recognize from his artwork on Human Target, Beware the Creeper, Green Arrow/Black Canary, and Wonder Woman. I especially liked his work on Wonder Woman.
  • Ramona Fradon: Another creative who has been around for a long time and done a lot, but who I’m unfamiliar with. Her blurb reads:

    Beginning her extensive comics career in the 1950s, Parsons School of Design graduate Ramona Fradon is responsible for artwork in many comics, past and present. She spent much of her comics career at DC Comics working on titles like Adventure Comics, Brave and the Bold, Plastic Man, Freedom Fighters, and a very long run on Super Friends. Moving to comic strips, Fradon took over art duties on Brenda Starr from 1980 until her retirement from the title in 1995. In recent years, she continues to be active on titles like DC’s Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters, Bongo Entertainment’s Spongebob Comics and Annual-Size Super-Giant Swimtacular, and Marvel’s Invaders Now!, Namora, and Girl Comics.

  • Paul Levitz: He’s been at DC since the 70s and has done some pretty good work.
  • Peter Tomasi: I interviewed him in 2012 when I was writing for Entertainment Fuse (called Player Affinity at the time)

The only other bit of news at the moment is that, as usual, they’ll have GCC grading at the show.

So far, based on the guest list, it’s shaping up to be a great show!

Image Comics Nominated For Lots of Eisners

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Image Comics. So I was elated to hear they’d received lots of Eisner nominations. In fact, in many categories, there are multiple Image Comics nominees against each other.  What follows is a list of their nominations and what I think.

Best Single Issue (One-Shot):

  • MADMAN IN YOUR FACE 3D SPECIAL by Mike Allred – I don’t know anything about this comic, but Allred does good work.

Best Continuing Series:

  • SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples – No surprise here, this is one of the best comics out there.
  • SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron & Jason Latour – While it seems a bit more gruesome than I’d enjoy, it seems to be getting lots of acclaim and selling out often.
  • THE WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, & Stefano Gaudiano (Image/Skybound) – I’m still very behind on this series, but I’ve enjoyed every bit that I’ve read.

Best New Series:

  • THE FADE OUT by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips – Another that I’m dying to read (I have the trades and everything), but haven’t yet found the time.
  • THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie – ditto above with the added comment that I really enjoyed Kieron’s work at Marvel.

Best Writer:

  • Jason Aaron, SOUTHERN BASTARDS (shared nomination)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick, PRETTY DEADLY (shared nomination)
  • Brian K. Vaughan, SAGA (shared nomination)

Best Penciller/Inker:

  • Mike Allred, MADMAN IN YOUR FACE 3D SPECIAL (shared nomination)
  • Fiona Staples, SAGA – I think it’s so amazing that she does all the artwork on the book even though it sometimes it means the book needs to take a break.

Best Cover Artist:

  • Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE (shared nomination) – Although I haven’t started yet, I see the covers every week when Image sends out their PR emails and they are lovely.

Best Coloring:

  • Laura Allred, MADMAN IN YOUR FACE 3D SPECIAL (shared nomination)
  • Matthew Wilson, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE (shared nomination)

Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (in color!)

I read Scott Pilgrim in its original manga-sized, black and white form when it first came out. With the final volume of the color version coming out this year, I thought it would be a great time to revisit the story as well as looking at how the addition of color changes things. I’ll be exploring the story and themes volume by volume. This time, volume 3.

Scott Pilgrim Vol 3 - I've kissed the lips that kissed you!!!
Scott Pilgrim Vol 3 – I’ve kissed the lips that kissed you!!!

This volume is the culmination of all that’s come before – a lot of Scott insecurities hinge on his relationship to Envy and this volume is mostly about their relationship. There aren’t any real new examples of the main characters’ extended adolescence. Knives, on the other hand, continues her personal growth. This volume begins with her unable to contain herself in front of her fashion and music idol and then being unable to contain the fact that she must be so cool by association as both she and Envy have kissed Scott Pilgrim.

Continue reading Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (in color!)

Understanding Japanese Culture, Humor, and Gender Through Love Hina Part 12

note on all the image scans: they are correct manga-style so they are read right to left

Spend enough time doing critical readings of media and you come across the assertion that all media tells you about the culture it was written in. Sometimes, as in contemporary media, this is easy to tease out. Other times, as with science fiction, it’s by extrapolation. So I thought it might be interesting to re-read Love Hina, by Ken Akamatsu, as a way to to understand Japanese culture.  Part One can be found here.


Keitaro finally comes back from America. In the last book we learned that Kanako lusts after her brother and in this book Keitaro is confronted with that in a powerful way; we’ll return to this in a later section. Keitaro now looks like Seta and even drives as badly as he does. All the girls at the Inn now see Keitaro as manlier. Pretty much all the girls lust after him now except Sarah and Kaolla. So the dynamic has changed from Keitaro and Naru with Kitsune always open for some sexual play and Mutsumi being ready to grab Keitaro if Naru said no. And, of course, the somewhat disturbing Shinobu – not that she has a crush on an older guy, but that Keitaro occasionally thinks about it. So the book shifts to be a bit more of a harem manga where Naru has some real competition now. Continue reading Understanding Japanese Culture, Humor, and Gender Through Love Hina Part 12

Hinges Book 1

Although Hinges began as a web comic, I was not familiar with the story prior to reading this book. What attracted me to this book was the interesting cover and interesting art style. The decompressed storytelling style has been in vogue for about ten years now. While many different writers (such as Brian Michael Bendis) in the commercial world are responsible for spearheading the idea at the idea at the big publishers, two different trends have lead to readers becoming familiar with the idea: manga and webcomics. Manga, beginning its tradition much in the same was as cheap pulps in the USA had a need for a great number of pages. Web comics, of course, can have infinite page counts because it’s taking place in an electronic medium. Of course, much of what makes web comics so innovative makes them hard to transition to paper. Often various compromises have to be made. And, of of course, the decompressed story telling means that those discovering the story for the first time on paper may find that at the end of the book, nothing much has happened. Continue reading Hinges Book 1

The Dissolution of Peace: East of West Vol 3

Last time we considered Hickman’s use of the themes of love, family, and fatherhood as well as introducing the world, plot, and art. The title of this third trade is “There is No Us” and on the surface, it is about the dissolution of the tenuous peace between the Seven Nations North America. But the deeper themes of this volume are that of free will vs predestination and deception.

East of West #10 - The Beast's Deception
East of West #10 – The Beast’s Deception

The first two issues of this volume overlap with the twelve issues I examined last time, but I will include their plot elements as I provide a quick overview of the plot. Xiaolian calls a conference of the Seven Nations at the neutral territory of Armistice. Finally in a position of power, she seeks revenge on The Chosen for kidnapping the son she had with Death. As I mentioned before, many of the Seven Nations are not run by The Chosen (although they hold positions of power) and so they attempt to avert war. A situation I will detail momentarily leads to Xiaolian getting the war she wants. The Ranger finally finds his target and kills Cheveyo. After a confrontation with Death, he agrees to take Death to the facility housing The Beast (his son). The Three Horesemen decide they’re sick of following along with The Word and will go kill The Beast. They leave Ezra in a crumbling Armistice building and head to the facility housing The Beast. As I mentioned last time, The Beast has been plotting his escape with his computing device. He defeats the Conquest and affirms his dominance. He renames himself Babylon, names his computer Balloon and the book ends on a huge “OH SHIT” moment. Continue reading The Dissolution of Peace: East of West Vol 3