Some Recent Recommended Reads

Star Wars Invasion: Revelations #2. The latest issue of the third arc in Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson’s Invasion series packs a whollop. Most surprises in comics these days are to do with which superhero is now (temporarily) dead, but I gotta say Taylor pulls two linked shocks in the latter half of this issue that come from nowhere. Of course, I may very well have missed some well placed clues in previous issues, amongst the multitude of comics I read each week, but this was a pleasant surprise, and with this arc only just beginning, the stakes and expectations are now high.

To create another intriguing family in the huge Star Wars mythos is no easy feat, but Taylor has done it with the Galfridians. Of course, Wilson’s art is as fluid and crisp as ever, and this pic makes me admire him even more.

More violent and intense than previous issues, there’s also a heap of Stormtroopers, AT-AT Walkers, a Star Destroyer, and some foolhardy choices by arrogant Empire officers. Yes, this issue does have it all.

Check out a great preview here.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. Another much loved property finds a home at IDW and joins their Star Trek, Transformers, Doctor Who, etc line-up. Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman provides the story and layouts, while Tom Waltz and Dan Duncan handle the script and art respectively. Closer to the original early ’80s comic rather than the cartoon, purists will be pleased with the foursome wearing red bandanas, and April O’Neill showing up as a lab assistant, rather than being a reporter.

It starts with a fight against mad cat Old Hob, who, as Splinter’s narration suggests, is a common foe. The three Turtles take on the eyepatched feline and his goons and win, before Old Hob jumps over a fence, making a quick mention of Raphael’s absence. A flashback to 18 months previous shows O’Neill working alongside Chet Allen (who annoyingly “um’s a lot) at Stock Gen Research. The four turtles are kept in a glass cage and a rat roams free in the lab. We then meet their boss Baxter Stockman who is talking to an unseen General Krang, who is eager to get the results he wants from his experimentation on the animals, including the super soldier mutagen. There is a war waiting, after all.

Cutting to the present, we see a hoodie wearing Raphael looking for food in an alley dumpster, and not being impressed at a “Cowabunga” shirt he finds. He then happens upon a father beating his son. His son called Casey.  Filled with nice nods to previous Turtles continuity, and leaving a few intriguing questions hanging, this is a very welcome return for the shelltacular heroes.

IDW are also releasing the TMNT Ultimate Collection which collects the first 7 issues, plus the Raphael one-shot from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It’s over 300 black and white pages and is out on October 1.

The Bionic Man #1. I suppose six million dollars doesn’t buy as much cybernetics as it did in the ’70s, so this comic based on The Six Million Dollar Man TV series (which ran from 1974-78) gets a new name and other updates in keeping with the times. Based on an unproduced Kevin Smith screenplay, like his Green Hornet comics are, this also reunites the filmmaker with his Hornet team of publisher Dynamite, co-writer Phil Hester and artist Jonathan Lau. I liked Smith’s Hornet comics better than the eventual film so had high hopes for this debut and it met them. I also remember watching reruns of the Lee Majors-led TV show, with that awesome intro, which, by the way, taught me how to raise one eyebrow as a kid as I imitated Mr Majors.

Colonel Steve Austin is a test pilot, and Smith wisely sets him apart from comics’ other test pilot Hal Jordan, by making him a confident, well rounded man about to retire early, who’s engaged to schoolteacher Jamie. Jaime, as you may recall is the name of  the TV spinoff, Bionic Woman, who married Austin.

Testing the experimental stealth bomber Daedalus Five for combat readiness, things obviously don’t go as planned. Parallel to Austin’s tale is a robbery of a lab, in which a swordsman steals a sub-fusion chip and prototype robotic arm. Expect these two plots to collide next issue. This is a great re-entry (pun intended) to this well remembered franchise and the team has done a marvellous job of updating the story to today’s audience. Well paced, with tantalising hooks hinting at future tragedies and a kinetic visual style, this is another entertaining win for Dynamite.

See a preview of this ish right here.

Teen Titans #100. A fitting, and fond farewell to the Teen Titans before next month’s relaunch is this extra-sized issue. I’m only a casual reader of the Titans, but it’s always good to see Nicola Scott  drawing them, or any superheroes really, and J.T Krul has written many of their recent adventures, and will scribe Green Arrow, and Captain Atom in the relaunch. It opens with the evil Superboy Prime battling the teen heroes near the Golden Gate Bridge. Armed with clones of Superboy in his past costumes, and a bunch of villains unfamiliar to me, the battle involves a host of Titans.

Robin goes nuts with a kryptonite dagger and the team gang up on Superboy Prime in a cool page filled with “T” shaped panels. Weirdly they do discuss not killing Prime after doing so to his clones, but I guess clones aren’t real. There’s also some simple, but well written emotional moments between Superboy and Ravager, and Beast Boy and Raven. Finishing with an 8 page gallery from various artists such as Rob Liefeld and Karl Kerschl showing the various iterations of the team over the decades, it’s a nice close before the new series by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth begins in September.

Gene Luen Yang on Christianity and Comics

Magazine/site Sojourners has a well researched and well written article on the relationship between Christianity and comics, two of my fave topics, by comics creator Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Level Up).

Read it here.

Nate Powell Interview

Broken Frontier’s digital magazine, The Frontiersman has returned. In its latest issue you’ll find, along with many other good features, my interview with writer/artist Nate Powell. Powell’s last OGN, Swallow Me Whole won the 2009 Eisner Award, and his latest, Any Empire is just as powerful and entertaining.

You can grab The Frontiersman #26 for only $1.49 right here.

Extra Sequential Podcast #55-Read Comics in Public

53 mins. It’s International Read Comics in Public Day so we discuss the hows and whys of doing so. Also, the definition of geeks, Dan Brown, and cheering superheroes.

LISTEN TO IT BELOW, DOWNLOAD IT HERE OR ON iTUNES

You can email us at kris (at)extrasequential(dot)com and befriend us on the NEW ES Facebook page.

1:22 NEWS

Superman’s film costume loses his red undies

Rolling Stone talks to Grant Morrison

Hero Complex talks to Dan DiDio

A freaky Korean webcomic

Comics documentary on Kickstarter

Shaun Tan wins a Hugo Award

22:37 THEME-INTERNATIONAL READ COMICS IN PUBLIC DAY

We talk about reading comics in public – the what to read, what not to read and general suggestions into making new comics friends. Handy hints galore! Also comics that we’re too embarassed to read, the novels that we see people read on public transport.

Here is a collection of pics all over the world of people participating last year.

Read Comics in Public Day on August 28

This Sunday, August 28 is International Read Comics in Public Day. The title says it all, but check out their site to see what it’s all about, plus events in cities all over the world where you can let passres by knwo of your unabashed devotion to sequential art, and meet fellow fans too. Awesome.

Most of my comics reading is done in public anyway, on the bus or train. It’s a good opportunity to let those around you know that yes, comics still exist, and this is what they look like. Go forth ambassadors!

The concept is fairly simple: we’re asking that everyone take an hour or two out of their day on August 28th (also the birthday of Jack “King” Kirby, incidentally) to read a comic book in a public setting–a park bench, a beach, a bus, the front steps of your local library (we do ask, however, that you be mindful of local loitering laws). Let strangers see you reading a piece of sequential art.

Take to the streets. Be proud. If someone asks what you’re reading, say, “a comic book” (the phrase “graphic novel” is also acceptable, but let’s face it, it sort of defeats the whole purpose). Heck, lend them a book, if you’ve got an extra–what better way to make a new friend and convert a new reader?

While you’re at it, why not get a friend to snap a picture of you reading? Send it along and we’ll post it up for you in our photo gallery and on our site.

It’s all pretty straight forward, of course, but if you’ve got any questions–or suggestions–feel free to drop us a line at readcomicsinpublic@gmail.com.

Incredible Hulk #1

This is a good time to be comic-curious, with a slew of #1s coming in the next few weeks. Here’s another one.

SMASH!

This October, Incredible Hulk #1 smashes into stores courtesy of Marvel Architect Jason Aaron & legendary artist Marc Silvestri, featuring all-new variant by acclaimed artist Ladronn (Planet Hulk)! Prepare for an Earth-shaking brawl for the ages that no fan of the Marvel Universe can miss—Banner vs Hulk!

Can’t wait to see what Aaron and Silvestri have planned for the Jade Giant? Join the conversation on Twitter with #HULK!

INCREDIBLE HULK #1 (AUG110584)

INCREDIBLE HULK #1 LADRONN VARIANT (AUG110587)

Written by JASON AARON

Art & Cover by MARC SILVESTRI

Variant Cover by LADRONN

ON SALE THIS OCTOBER!

MASScanvas, My Chemical Romance & Make-A-Wish

The lead singer of my Chemical Romance Gerard Way wrote the excellent The Umbrella Academy series from Dark Horse. That’s excuse enough to share this here video featuring the band and a competition they recently run in conjunction with MASScanvas. The band chose 5 shirts (and they’re all great), which are now available to buy right here. There are only 2019 made of each design and if you make a purchase before Friday, you automatically go into a draw for a VIP experience with the band or a signed guitar. The better news is that proceeds go towards helping the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

While we’re talking shirts, Slave Labor Graphics have just released a shirt featuring a long out of print design by Jhonen Vasquez. Check it out here.