Death of Superman in ominous Man Of Steel 5 cover, alone, had me.
The Brian Michael Bendis Superman mini-series, his first book in his D.C. Comics run, is enveloping, surprising and terribly suspenseful in its first 5 of 6 issues. But that Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair The Man Of Steel 5 cover wrenched at my heart, just as Dan Jurgens’ cover of Superman 75 “The Death Of Superman” did as a kid so many years ago.
Lois cradling Superman in his torn duds, fallen among his seemingly dead enemy, Doomsday, with a tattered red cape flapping in the wind like an American flag gone through a battlefield is iconic.
And this homage in The Man of Steel 5 alludes to rubble and a looming death for Superman and possibly for many others too.
SPOILER ALERT (for Death Of Superman homage in The Man Of Steel issues 1-5)****
Rogul Zaar has been said to have destroyed Krypton, after all, and he is not happy that the son of Jor El escaped his ‘cleansing’ of the universe from the ‘plague’ of the Kryptonian ways.
And so as he, this new menacing and mysterious zealot – though his past as a defender of the universes adds a lot more to his character than mere obsession – mops the proverbial floor with Superman and Supergirl in Metropolis, we learn to fear him.
But at the start of Bendis’ fifth part of the tale, a giant eye peers down at the last Kryptonian city, Kandor.
It is evil.
It is murderous.
And it brings death.
This is right before Rogul Zaar destroys the city of Kandor and its entire people.
Superman and Supergirl are devastated that their promise to un-shrink the last living city of their home planet is dead.
The brilliant artwork in this issue, done by Adam Hughes, Jason Fabok, and Alex Sinclair, is poignant in its depiction of the fury of the battles, the concerned faces realizing the stakes, the ominous flashback, and the ferocity of the situation.
But with Superman’s true home, earth as his major concern, and thus a disadvantage to his human concern f, he takes the heavyweight title fight to space.
And while the Justice League gathers in Metropolis, Zaar goes toe-to-toe with Supes and eventually succeeds in burying him, unconscious, within the surface of the moon.
Wow, this villain is powerful!
The flashbacks of Clark Kent, Lois, and their son Jon speaking to Jor El, who comes from who knows where, to take the descendant of El on a tour of the galaxies is key.
It seems Lois may have either gone with their son, or just outright walked out on Clark who may have changed his mind and let their child go off-planet.
The human element of Clark and Superman, written by Bendis, is again remarkable.
Preacher Season 3 circles Jesse back to pure evil: Gran’ma!
What a disappointment the end of Preacher Season 1 was. No Gran’ma.
And Marie L’Angell was missed at the start of the AMC adaptation of the Garth Ennis (writer) and Steve Dillon (art) graphic novel Vertigo series Preacher.
One of TV’s best works, in terms of capturing the spirit of the source material, the amazing acting, and the black insanity strewn perfectly across the lens, has truly been a remarkable series from the outset.
The character growth, from Cassidy’s weighing whether his conscious has business competing with a lust in everything (blood least of all), to the destined Natural Born Killers-esque lovers, Tulip and Jesse, is engrossing.
The crumbling chaos of the world of Preacher is straight from the comic books.
And it is riveting.
But after the first echelon of the show wrapped, I had one disappointment, one major letdown, amongst the incredible job they did: the show’s introduction to the epic Jesse Custer tale was devoid of Gran’ma.
The comic books were the first to carry the same writer-artist power team throughout the entirety of the series.
And their introduction added a lot of Jesse’s backstory living and learning god from the most vile, cruel and ruthless family matriarch imaginable, Gran’ma.
The show has brought a great introduction of the present day Tulip, Cass, and Custer, and now it has circled back to bring the preacher back home . . . to Gran’ma.
Her depiction starts in the shadows.
This is the trait that the great artists Steve Dillon and cover artist Glenn Fabry always struck me with the most.
The stark wrinkles full of wisdom, wickedness and woe.
At first the Gran’ma on-screen seems to be far less of a shrunken head than in the books.
But, like with all of the brilliant design, shots, and carnage in the film, Preacher adds its own touch to the mythos by giving wispy black hair, like a levitating shroud to Gran’ma so she has her own purely evil shadow or veil to add to her power, like some sick talisman.
So far Jesse has not even considered trying the Word against Gran’ma.
In the books he learns, the hard way, that she is resistant to it.
But for now, Gran’ma’s own twisted game of control, dominance, and family will play out at home.
Tulip is alive again thanks to the scraped heel flakes of Tulip’s skin that Gran’ma chews and swallows to start the process of resurrection.
Some of the woman’s tremendous power is alluded to in a flashback showing a very old prisoner, worn and in pain, that escaped Gran’ma’s captivity.
God knows what she harvested from her prisoners.
Or maybe he doesn’t. He has been largely absent until now.
Tulip is almost back to the land of the living when she is told by the creepy dog, God, that she is now his ‘chosen.’
Should we be optimistic?
Looming over them all is the demon incarnate, the quietly snarling and eerily pure evil that is Gran’ma.
To date, the adaptation is simply awesome and on-screen Gran’ma, with her slippery Louisiana accent, does not disappoint!
I cannot wait to watch more!
If you want to read all about it, and cannot wait to learn about the history because you have been locked in your own Gran’ma’s house amongst your daddy’s corpse and gators, then by all means go to your LCS (my local comic shop is Red Shirt Comics) and pick up the Preacher Vertigo comics ASAP!
Sunday is just days away!
“Preacher Season 3 circles Jesse back to pure evil: Gran’ma” was written by R.J. Huneke
“Star Wars Adventures Amazes Readers Of All Ages” sums it up perfectly, and Rey kicks off the book spectacularly.
The newest comic book anthology from IDW, not Marvel Comics (they have the adult-based books), Star Wars Adventures gives the youngest of kids to the grayest of graybeards, alike, something to revel in: an all-out thrill-ride of stories from all over the Star Wars universe made for all Star Wars fans!
The first story arc is about Rey’s exploits before The Force Awakens.
The Jedi to be is thrust into the shady scavenger strife surrounding Jakku’s Niima Outpost, and the array of Star Wars The Force Awakens characters, especially the obscure ones are being revealed.
And Rey is every bit as resourceful, bold, and kick-ass a young woman before she found the Skywalker lightsaber, as she was in the The Force Awakens.
The book’s creative work by writer Cavan Scott and artist Derek Charm is innovative and intriguing.
Charm’s artwork is a unique menagerie of style!
The 2-D cartoon-like look on the surface holds a lot of detail in each panel: the faces are full of emotion, the armor is glinting in the light of Jakku’s suns, and in the shadows of Obi-wan Kenobi’s robes and beard.
Scott’s writing is top notch.
He brings familiar voices to light, as well as giving further interest, accents, and local colloquialisms to the myriad characters of the Outer Rim and the remnants of the Republic.
Star Wars Adventures ^^SPOILER ALERT^^
Scale a desert-claimed crashed Empire ship, and get immediately thrust into not just a struggle to eat, but a struggle to survive an ambushing attempt from rival scavengers!
This is fun, high-paced Star Wars storytelling.
Our favorite lump of an enormous alien, Unkar Plutt, is a key to the new Rey tale in this premier Star Wars Adventures Issue #1 and the books to follow.
He is kidnapped for his role in selling parts of a droid of interest to some dark and unsavory mystery marauders.
When Rey realizes Plutt’s protection of her has left her open to being attacked, robbed, and possibly killed by her scavenger competition, the stakes are raised and she stands fearless and daring, fighting for her keep.
With Plutt out of his hut sitting atop the heaped throne of junk, another crime boss comes in to the Niima Outpost to take over the trade.
Meanwhile, Plutt is not revealing anything about the mystery droid, and as this tale’s first part closes, Rey is seen in her dwelling with its head.
The shorter story of the book is one of Obi-wan Kenobi, at his favorite diner, as he works to help out a familiar friend who has been the target of a thief.
Star Wars Adventures #1 gives readers of all ages epic tales and unlimited possibilities from the mythic George Lucas universe of yore.
”Star Wars Adventures Amazes Readers Of All Ages” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Be sure to head down to your local comic shop for Star Wars Adventures #1 and the many different and brilliant covers, including the awesome variant (see picture above) starring Rey that this writer picked up at Red Shirt Comics in downtown Port Jefferson – where there is now an “All Ages” section dedicated to the best stories for folks of any number of birthdays under their lightsaber belts.
“Graphic Novel Peepland ’s Bloodstained Mystery Oozes 80’s NYC” by R.J. Huneke is the last part in a series unveiling both a New York Comic Con interview with the creators as well as a review of the gritty Hard Case Crime graphic novel TPB that was released on August 1, 2017.
Peepland is a page-turner that leaves delicious grime under your fingernails!
The book by Christa Faust (Author), Gary Phillips (co-author), and Andrea Camerini (Illustrator) is 128 pages of mayhem in 1980’s Manhattan.*
Peepland’s beauty lies in the eerily entangled corruption that clings to a New York murder merging 40’s gangster noir with 80’s NYC for a historically bound bloodbath.
The protagonist is a complex and intriguing character, a peep booth worker named Roxy Belle, and she is an unwilling participant in the murder mystery at the thick of the plot.
She has the kindness, craftiness, and nastiness (including willing to do some pee porn promos for a favor or two) to make this tale sexy, thrilling and innovative.
Such insight into the underworld living upworld in the heart of 80’s Midtown is the brainchild of Christa Faust and the help of her editor and the founder of Hard Case Crime Charles Ardai who partnered with Titan Comics for the comic book.
We were fortunate to receive an interview at New York Comic Con 2016 with none other than these two talented people.
R.H.: “How do you get the female perspective from a peepbooth?”
C.F.: “I grew up in the city . . . I have a vagina and I once worked in the peepbooths. So double-chromosome easy-peasy; write what you know.”
That is simple enough.
As a pornographer’s latest tape is bestowed upon Roxy during her shift, she goes home and finds a surprising strangling at the end of the video that is spit out of her VCR.
Later she learns that after dropping off the tape and fleeing her booth, porno filmmaker Dirty Dick is snuffed out in the subway.
Someone is erasing that video.
Roxy does not know who the murderer is or why they are wiping out anyone tied to the flick.
But what is a very well connected real estate mogul’s son to do when he might be implicated?
The world crafted in Peepland is its own badass character.
The writing is top-notch and with the art matches the stunning clarity with which the greasy alleys and shadows contrast the neon lights of Times Square in the 80’s. The air is stuffy with exhaust and cigarette smoke, and the bangs of gunshots go off at random twists and quakes as the plot unfolds.
The white versus black racism, even in New York, is palpably disgusting, and accurately adds an unease that was felt in the city at the time.
This affects the story and the poor characters caught within, for none are wholly unscathed in such a story as this.
You may be thinking: where do NYC’s punk haircuts, perms, and thongs (hiked way over the hips!) get off attempting to spawn a noir crime thriller sans the razor-sharp suits, tommy guns, and fedoras?
Well this book perfectly merges the 40’s noir age of gangster to the 1980’s NYC.
The web of crime and organized crime outfits, from the smallest pimps, hookers, peep booth operators to the corrupt cops, either detectives on the take from a Mafioso or detectives trying to sell out to the highest bidder mirror, in a kind if circus-mirror-way that works, the Al Capone days of Chicago.
The long gone New York age is brought to life again.
Is the Mayor’s office in on it? . . . Maybe . . .
It becomes quickly apparent that noir was meant for the mid-1980’s New York City era and Faust delivers it in spades.
R.H.: “What was your inspiration for PEEPLAND?”
C.F.: “It was mostly just because . . . you know being a fellow New Yorker it’s so different now.”
R.H.: “The way that is was, the city.”
C.F.: “That’s never coming back . . . and I wanted to tell that story [of NYC] in a visual medium, because you can tell people what it was like, but if you can show them, it’s more visceral, it’s grittier, it’s more true.”
And the tale of Peepland could not be more ‘’visceral’ and pointed, as cops use any excuse to grab an African American male, a minor, and accuse him of rape and murder of the white victim in the park.
The depth of the corruption is staggering in its ferocity, as is the massive body count stemming from constant plot twists, from blowjobs turned wrong to shocking melees enveloping any and all characters in a variety of guns and knives as only the 80’s could do it.
R.H.: “What I loved is that the historicism is there. I love the 80’s perms [for example].”
And at this point Charles breaks in.
C.A.: “This person,” he says with a smile and playfully accusing point to Christa, ‘was the police person, policing in acronyms.”
C.F.: “I was the G-string Nazi – I was like ‘hike that aaaall the way up to be here,” she says pointing to high over her hip.
C.A.: “What were the buildings, what were the posters, what were [the] hairstyles, ads, shoes . . . what were the characters?”
Yes, the “Thriller” jacket is present and yes there were peep booths, and XXX video stores by the dozen in Times Square during the 80’s.
If you do not believe the history, view the photographs Christa includes at the end of the graphic novel.
Without giving away too much, this tale spins faster and harder building up and up and up to a furious conclusion coinciding with the countdown on New Year’s Eve at The Deuce, Times Square.
Ask your local comic shop if they have the hardcover trade graphic novel, or grab one here.
Nothing expected happens in Peepland, and it is truly wicked and wonderful.
“Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini Interview” by R.J. Huneke is the first in a series of articles resulting from our interviews with the creators at New York Comic Con 2017 and discusses the classic mystery graphic novel from Hard Case Crime and Titan Comics.
Cover Art By Robert McGinnis
Based on facts and questions surrounding Harry Houdini’s bizarre death in 1926, Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is an imbued look into a female private detective taking on a whopper of a first case from long-time Houdini friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The vibrant history, the tenacious protagonist Minky Woodcock, and the stunning aspects of the art make this book a classic.
Impactful surprises, intricate looks into character personalities, and a fully-fledged and almost surreal world is built to exude the many mysteries of the day.
*The following MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS for Minky Woodcock ISSUE 1*
Renowned artist Cynthia von Buhler had me on page one of Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini.
The graphic novel’s first page has two panels: one remarkable overhead shot of Minky at a typewriter CLICK clicking away in a letter to Agatha Christie about their meeting at Minky’s mother’s funeral, which takes up all of the left side of the page, and the sub-panel to the right tying two images top-to-bottom of the funeral and furthering along the letter telling of Ms. Christie knowing Benedick Woodcock, a private investigator and Minky’s father.
The character of Minky is already established as both ambitious and a member of an interesting family and family business.
The sound of the writing implement, the scarlet locks of Minky’s hair, down to her red nails on the keys in such a stark close-up and unique angle are vivid and intriguing, while on the sub-panel a subdued brown and black coloring scheme goes back in the past to the early twentieth century and a sad and poignant funeral.
The art is utterly spell-binding and unique as it emanates the Roaring Twenties and the young woman who graces the next pages with a trench coat, a hint of bare leg, and a flask in her hand, as she still grieves for her lost mother, which had a great impact on her life.
Minky is not content to be a private detective’s secretary (her father’s request) when she can be one herself.
A case presents itself in her father’s absence, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wants Minky to investigate Harry Houdini, and she smartly says that she can take the case without arousing suspicion, which her father – a well-known P.I. – might very well attract.
Doyle aks Minky to join him for a séance with world renowned Margery, who he says is “adept at manifesting spirit ectoplasm from her orifices.”
This is historically accurate, and it is portrayed with all the zeal that a talented nude spiritualist can bring to a séance for society’s high rollers.
What is overlying all of this . . . a piece of tragic history:
On Halloween of all days, October 31, 1926, Harry Houdini died of very mysterious and suspicious circumstances, and though this is not touched on in the first issue, I suspect Ms. von Buhler’s tale does so as it progresses.
The rich depth of Minky and the portrayal of famed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are posed, depicted and brought to life through an innovative use of art that is invigorating.
I succinctly asked artist Cynthia von Buhler about this:
R.J.H. – ‘I love your style [in this book].’
C.V.B. – ‘I’m doing more drawing it and ink [on paper] and color on the computer . . . this is my drawing style.’
Cynthia added that she was lucky to have Pearls Daily to model for the character of Minky.
C.V.B. – ‘She’s [Pearls is] great because she’s posing . . . she’s like that all the time.’
And with that Pearls, donning her detective’s trenchcoat did a little twist of her leg in a pose on the floor of New York Comic Con after the Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini signing.
Pearls Daily’s acting abilities helped to give life to the vivacious rendition of Minky Woodcock that Cynthia von Buhler puts on the page masterfully, and you can see it from panel to panel throughout the piece as Minky struts into the ritzy home for the séance, as she deftly grasps a martini glass, and as she flees the scene in a tight and curvilinear dress.
What is Minky running from exactly? Her mother’s ghost?
Well I leave that to you, the reader, to find out!
Get down to your local comic book shop and pick up this book, it just came out this week, before it sells out forever.
I will be scouring my LCS, Red Shirt Comics, for whatever variant covers are left on the shelf.
And check out all of the beautiful cover variants. The alternatives are stark in contrast from Charles Ardai’s photograph of Pearls Daily as Minky, to Cynthia von Buhler’s cover, to David Mack’s portrait, and last but not least to a legend that Cynthia spoke on with reverence:
C.V.B. – This cover [she said holding up the cover bearing Margery] is by Robert McGinnis . . . he’s ninety years old and he’s doing this style of painting for years in the James Bond movie posters . . . and it’s such an honor for him to do this cover.
All of the covers are unique and excellent views of the book, and the Robert McGinnis cover seems to pull you to it, as though it were magnetic.
The biggest qualm with this issue is that there is not enough Houdini (though he does pass through a wall briefly). But he is almost certainly lurking not far from Minky’s investigation in the future pages to come.
The hardcover graphic novel for Minky Woodcock is soon to be held!
And in the meantime check out the evidence and real history that was used in creating Minky Woodcock’s tussle with Houdini, Doyle, and the séance craziness of the time at minkywoodcock.com.