November 25, 2013

Comics Review – Stewart, Hanselmann, DeConnick & Van Meter, Kittredge & Miranda, Fiffe, Huynh

7:11 am in comics,conversations,reviews Ulises Farinas

When i started doing reviews, i was mouthing off at this bar, about how there’s been no AMAZING comics in the last 15 years. I readily admit that that opinion is half from ignorance, the other half…maybe from arrogance. But i’m glad to have people who want to shut me up, by recommending good shit. Ultimately, even with all the crap that is sold, i’m glad that it’s at least possible. That not just one publisher, but dozens, hundreds? of them, are successful in this world. It gives me a livelihood, and it gives the world something to read. The book i was recommended, and purchased first, for these reviews, was

Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart

It was good. It wasn’t great, or amazing. And when i get a recommendation of something being great, to be honest, i want to actually hate it. That might be messed up, but it’s how my mind works. I want to be proven wrong. But more so, i want it to earn its accolades. Stories must be captivating on their own, and have to get through all the noise in your life, to make you sit down, shutup, and read. I think this book actually would be worth a reread, as i mostly kept thinking “This isn’t making sense. But that might be intentional. Oh man, its over, that was pretty heavy, but still don’t know if i get it” I didn’t feel ripped off, and i normally do if i don’t ‘get it’. I’m not one of those snobby types, who talk about “Oh, this story doesn’t spoon-feed the audience!” SPOON FEED ME. If it’s not clear, and i don’t know what’s what, i consider it a failure of the story teller to tell the story. I didn’t sit down around the campfire to hear your poetic mumbles. So i’d actually recommend this, mostly so we can sit around and you can tell me what you thought it meant, and i’d be like ‘Awwww sHIT. Thats dope.” A lot of this novel felt ‘cinematic’, and i actually thought it’d probably feel more cohesive as a film. The unchanging panel layout and the horizontal aspect ratio, made it read steady, and like a storyboard.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it does show how different mediums provide different experiences. Go read this and tell me what the fuck i just read.

Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge & Inaki Miranda – Just okay

This was okay, but edging into bad. A lot of comics, you see they got some cool ideas, some cool images, and all i wish is for them to go further with it. For a medium that has absolutely no limits for what you can show, the stories you can tell, a lot of this shit is as ambitious as a tv show on the CW network. These stories are extremely conservative. This was a gothic horror comic, and my taste doesn’t swing that way, but i can see why some emo kid would be into it.  But it’s just sooooooo 1998, with fashion designs and COOL, HIP WITCH GIRL doing cool hip witch girl things. It all amounts to nothing, which is sad, because it might be excellent if it stopped drinking wine coolers behind the back of the mall. Inaki Miranda’s art has got some moments of wonkiness, and i could not understand if the Cop was wearing black eye shadow or there were weird shadows on his face the whole time. Both at once are also possibilities. Whenever i see gothic teen heroes, i just want there to be a future version of that character, to travel back in time and say “This whole comic is just a phase for you.” One bright spot, i really like the Coffin Hill title design.

Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jen Van Meter with Patrick Olliffe, Okay

You know, you pick up a superhero comic, and most of the time, you’re just like “That was a cool diversion.” Do you watch fights on World Star Hip Hop? Cause i do, i love those things. Good superhero comics are often as good as watching those. This wasn’t as good as watching those. The art was weak at times, and i had no clue what the story was or why it was important what was happening, and what actually bugged me, was that way too many characters noawadays have the exact same voice. It’s not just DeConnick, it’s Whedon, it’s Bendis, it’s all over the place. I’ll call it the whole “I’m SO COOL AT BEING A HERO” Hero. Every hero is SOOOO SATISFIED with themselves. And it’s not just one hero, it’ll be WHOLE teams of characters acting like that. There’s no strong and silent types. There’s strong and witty types. There’s no shy and perceptive types. There’s witty and perceptive types. Giant Bruiser is now Witty Bruiser. All i wanna do, is go back to my teenage years, and take Buffy the Vampire Slayer and tell Joss Whedon to shut the fuck up. This comic could’ve been written by anyone, and i wouldn’t know the difference. It’s not that the story telling is necessarily bad, or that those characters themselves are bad, it’s that while a comic like Captain Marvel adds diversity to the comics lineup, which i like to see, the actual character itself is basically hollow. Everyone is a Robert Downey Junior High School student. One issue though, hard to tell if this is a bad series or a good one. Maybe i’d pick up another to see.

St. Owl’s Bay (Wet Swords) by Simon Hanselmann, Okay but could be Good.

Thoroughly unenjoyable. I looked at the comic, printed real large on newsprint, and thought “I love this art. Its cute and adorable. I’m gonna fucking hate this” Because it’s so fucking edgy. There’s really no point to reading a lot of indie comics, because it’s mostly dudes who are so fucking excited that they get high, listen to cool music, and jerk off a lot. And this comic is only about getting high, listening to music, and being losers. You know when you hear some dudes at a party talking about some other party, where they got so MESSED UP. One of those dudes, you know outside of the party, and you know how much of a fuck up he is, and you just WISH, that he’d get his fucking shit together and he still owes you 20 bucks. This comic is like that. The art is really beautiful, and it really was a good idea to print it so large, but do we really need a comic that retreads the same ground from a couple of dumb episodes of that 70s show? Do we? DO WE? No. Buy this comic, don’t read the words.

MA by Matt Huynh, Good

As i wrote about earlier, being the child of immigrants, and knowing what they went through, just so you can be normal, is something that hangs over your life forever. It defines me, and reading about Matt Huynh’s parents, Vietnamese refugees, made me wish that these stories were told more often in American comics. This is a nation of immigrants, but our shared stories would have you believe that white people simply bloomed here like flowers and it was beautiful. America, the beautiful, is brown. Its a mix of so many stories, and we really do ourselves a disservice by just listening to one track on loop. Matt Huynh, is Australian, but i think he lives here now. So i’ll happily add him to our collective, because resistance is futile. There are some really beautiful moments, and although at times the violent inky brush strokes render the story unclear, it actually lends itself to the story he’s telling, of island refugees left to fend for themselves in a chaotic new place. The quiet moments, where the parents are still with their children, are rendered carefully and it really feels like you’re watching this moment in time, through tears that occasionally blur the scene from view.

Horrible times are easily caricatured, and sometimes it seems, that others only wanna see the misery. Put some flies on that brown kid’s face, so i can throw money at that problem. But your parents tell you about good times, happy moments, a real life that was lived and experienced. MA feels like that. I am here now, i was lucky, our parents almost died just so we can live.

Copra #9 by Michel Fiffe, Good – Possibly Great

Every day, you read about some artist and how much they love Jack Kirby. You’d swear the dude was Stan Lee. Unfortunately, most cartoonist who swear by Kirby, are just as hollow as the self promotion of Stan Lee. You see cats who struggle every day, just to be a pale imitation of Kirby, and all you are left up with are pastiches and copies, but what you rarely get, the best Kirby imitation, is being raw and original. Fiffe is going nuts, in the best way. He’s taking his influences, all of them, and swallowing them like they are steroids, cause his work is MAD BEEFY. I don’t even like every drawing, i don’t even think the story is fantastic, but something about it, is undeniable. If i was one of those artists, that drew square tipped-foreshortened hands all day, i’d look upon Fiffe and cry, because sweet baby jesus has returned. Copra looks like no other superhero comic, but is doing what Superhero comics should be, if anyone read the great comics like they were text books, and learned some lessons. DC Comics needs some Hooked on Phonics, when compared to this. If you’re one of those lazy motherfuckers who boycotted Marvel’s The Avengers because of ____ reasons, go take those 13 dollars and actually spend it on some shit you can treasure.This week was mostly shitty, but the good stuff was better than usual, so it made up for it.

 


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