November 12, 2013

Comics Review – Soto, McKinley, Darrow, Santoro, Vermilyea

9:27 am in art,comics,reviews Ulises Farinas

When i decided i wanted to start reviewing comics, it was half because i don’t think there’s much of anything good on the shelves right now, and half because i want to be proven wrong. I’m a hater, i know i am, but i want to be an informed hater. So i went down to Floating World Comics in downtown Portland, which for me, is one of my favorite shops in the world. It’s organized well, the staff is friendly, and it’s got everything you want. Mainstream to lamestream, indie comix and zines and beautiful art books. Even’s got records, i think. I don’t really care about music, so i have not even wandered back there. I’m sure it’s cool, if you’re into that. My dude, Zack Soto was there, and he helped me find a few things that people said i had to get, and i found some things i’d never get, and i got my standard fair. Zack Soto does comics with goblins and shit in them, I respect him as a person and an artist, so one of these days i’ll review his comic and say its pretty dope. Actually, i’ll give a quick shout out to it.  Just FYI – My rating system will be Horrible, Crappy, OK, Good, Great, AMAZING.

The Secret VoiceZack Soto – Good


You can read it online, and i have read the second issue and i think the first. I’m not sure, it’s been awhile, and it this is a quick review. Basically, its fantasy how i like it. Limbs being chopped off, almost mindless masses of some type of monster, and this cool looking wizard hero dude. I look at it, and think, “Damn, i wanna draw those characters” and that’s a good sign. Soto has his art chops, and the only thing that i find a bit weird is some of the coloring technique and the palette. Some of the scratchy digital coloring stuff looks bad to me, and i wonder if it’d be better served by printing the pages out and painting them in this ragged way instead. I’d read it if you wanna have an adventure.

I’ll take You To The Moon & Leave You There vol. 1 – Skuds Mckinley – Crappy

Skuds is my boy, and he gave me one of his comics the other day. He shouldn’t have though, cause you should never give away your comic to your friends. If you’re making them yourself, sell each and every one of them. But anyway, i’ve seen this sucka’ go from a rat to a cool cat, but he ain’t a big dog yet. Its an anthology comic, and it’s mostly stories that reminded me when i was like 21, and every damn breakup was some beautiful drama that revealed some epiphany. Skuds seems to got fucking a lot on his mind, cause he writes or talks about it a lot in this comic. Not sure how old he is now, but eventually, it won’t seem so fascinating, and he won’t write a bunch of short strips that are masturbatory in the metaphorical and literal sense. Indie comics dudes always wanna talk about their dicks, draw dicks, and basically are obsessed with their own postmodern masculinity. It’s not so much navel gazing, as dick gazing. The art is messy and inconsistent, and along with the writing, seems to do better when drawing longer pieces. One day he’ll look at this, in private, and be like “What the fuck?” It’s cool, i once drew a whole comic with sharpies and thought that was a good idea.

Indestructable Hulk – the Arms of the Octopus, part 2 of 3 – Mike Costa & Jacob Wyatt – art, Jordie Bellaire – colors – Good

So shit like this is what I normally buy. I’ve talked to snooty comics dudes, and they’ll be all “HMmmmm, well i dont even READ superhero comics anymore!” But honestly, it’s those dudes who draw ‘art comics’ that consist of crayon scratching and charcoal smears and say they think ‘ugly is so beautiful’ Pfffft. Eat a bowl of dicks, cause your technique is mad soft. This comic has the hulk playing with puppies, and that’s awesome. The artist is weak whenever he draws the hulk from the waist down, and his dynamic splash pages fall flat. I have that same trouble, actually. Can’t stand drawing splash pages. The story is about some time traveling X-Men and i honestly could care less. But the dialogue was cute, the comic was cute, and Superior Spiderman as an egotistic dick is much better than Amazing Spiderman as an egotistic dick manchild. Sad that the only way they figured out how to develop Peter Parker into an adult, was by putting another man’s brain into him. Sorry, that was some nerd tangent right there. Comics should be fun, and art comics so often forget that their work is entertainment first, and totally miss the mark. This hulk comic was fun, and that was worth the 3 bucks or so it costs.

Shaolin Cowboy #1 – Geof Darrow OK

So everyone and their Mother knows i’m a Geof Darrow fan, and i’ve been compared to Geof Darrow more times than i can count. But at the end of the day, i don’t want to be a Geof Darrow clone, because there’s already a good handful of those. But you know, to be honest, the last few years of seeing new Geof Darrow content, seems to be my least favorite  stuff. The anatomy has gotten stiffer, like those shitty ass wooden manequins they sell at every art store, the faces less unique and more just like filler, and the hyper detailed debris itself, is kinda…predictable. But you know, he’s still one of my art heroes, but this new #1 comic is gonna be like when they changed the recipe for cookie crisp, and i still eat it and love it, and i can’t tell how its different, i just know a part of me is not satisfied.

And the story? HAHAHAHA. Yeah ok, i don’t think i’ve ever read a geof darrow comic thinking there’d be a story, even a bad story. It’s like half formed ideas, held together with body parts and duct tape. There’s this huge scroll of text about what has happened, and i could only think “Don’t Care. Don’t Care. Don’t Care. Don’t Care.” Honestly, its like reading the bible when you get to the descendents of Noah. TL:DR

Cold Heat #4– BJ & Frank Santoro – Crappy

This is a comic i’d never buy. Usually, when i look at Picturebox, i imagine their mentality goes something like this. “Lets use drawings that your pothead brother drew in his notebook in 1995, as our entire aesthetic” I’ve seen so many shitty drawings and shitty stories from Picturebox, that i’ve written off the entire publisher. The few things that i find great, must emerge like trippy delicious mushrooms from the piles of shit surrounding it. But i thought, let me buy something and give it an honest consideration. The design of the book, is purposefully ugly, and i don’t care about your intentions, if you use Comic Sans because you’re so ironic you’ve spinned halfway up your own ass and now have the best donut costume on halloween, your shit still stinks. The art itself is actually kind of nice. I like how its printed, and the limited palette, and there are some illustrations that are really great, but its just more indie-dude dick gazing. For all the protestations that superhero comics have shitty, immature story telling, here’s a comic which basically could be the origin story for any golden age superhero by way of weird uncle who lives in a van down by the river.

You ever end up at a party, waiting for the bathroom, and a stoner is talking your ear off over his out of body experience at burning man? This is that comic. Go ahead, turn on, tune in and drop out.

Fata Morgana Jon Vermilyea – GREAT / Maybe Amazing

Absolutely the best pick of the week. He’s hitting some master level shit right here, and makes me want to up my game. If he was on a battlefield, i’d feel like Legolas looking upon Aragorn. My arrows are cute, but he’s gone and FORGED A LEGENDARY SWORD. I can’t even criticize the story, cause that shit is just a journey through a kid’s imagination. I wanna see a videogame one day by this guy, cause it’d be an instant classic. Anyway, buy this if you like beautiful artwork. Strangely, he also designed the Cold Heat book, so i don’t know what the fuck he was doing there. Well, we all need something to regret if we’re gonna live big lives.

GammaUlises Farinas & Erick Freitas OK

Gamma was a bit weird, i’m not sure if it was trying to be a deconstruction or a satire, but you won’t find out, cause its one of those fake “THE END”s. It doesn’t so much END, as just stop, and who the hell knows what happens to any of the characters. The art is occasionally super detailed, trying to do a more cartoony Seth Fisher, but character faces get wonkier and wonkier, the closer they appear. And it really just looks like the artist gets tired of drawing shit, because by the end, its like blank backgrounds for 3 pages. Coloring is eh, he’s got no feel for mood or how color affects story, and it’s the amateur mistake of always thinking GRASS IS GREEN, SKY IS BLUE. The writing is juvenile, and tries to take a children’s idea, and make it ‘for adults’ by simply adding vulgar language and crude sexuality, and of course, like every fucking indie artist, a penis. This one is special, cause it’s a burnt to a crisp dick. I suspect the artist would probably be more successful just doing a straight adaptation of a pokemon story, or working on a property like Adventure Time. Ultimately, a gamble from Dark Horse, that doesn’t completely pay off.

Just Kidding. GAMMA is the best comic on this whole entire list. I’m better than bad, i’m good.



  1. This is some real stuff. I love the frankness without trying to be mean for effect.

    Comment by rico — November 12, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

  2. […] Check out the rest of the review right here! […]

    Pingback by Fata Morgana on Faesthetic | Koyama Press — November 12, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

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