Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1, which was really good ("There will be no eating of teammates."), and G.I. Joe: Cobra #1-3. People who know me know that I don't just pick up and read a G.I. Joe comic. I've never been into them, and I was never even into the toys, really. But the guys on iFanboy really recommended this book, saying it doesn't feel like a Joe book at all. And it really doesn't. It's a lot more like a Queen and Country story. One of the guys (in the Hawaiian shirt) goes undercover, and it's an extremely good spy story so far. Cobra nor G.I. Joe (I believe) have never been mentioned in this book, but some of the characters have. VERY highly recommended!

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Ah neat. Thanks!

Mark Stanislawski said:

The Boris Karloff hosted show Thriller adapted this story as well as Pigeons From Hell, and I think a few others. Good stuff!

Travis Herrick said:

Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, an adaptation of the Robert Bloch story. In this story Jack the Ripper is an immortal who has to sacrifice five people every five years to retain his immortality.

Northlanders Book 6: Thor's Daughter and Other Stories, which opens with the three-part "The Siege of Paris," illustrated by Simon Gane. It's the longest story in the book, so normally the collection would take its title from it. Maybe I'll see why that distinction was given to a one-shot instead when I read it.

Also started the final V2K miniseries: Pulp Fantastic #1-3, written by Howard Chaykin & David Tischman, and illustrated by Rick Burchett. Chaykin collaborated with Burchett on the covers. This was originally announced as a four-part series--even says so on the cover of issue #1--but was quickly cut back to three issues. The first issue certainly reads like the shorter length was known when it was written: it's quite fast-paced. Like the other V2K entries it begins on Dec.31, 1999. But the setting is a space colony called Freehold, where private investigator Vector Pope plies his trade.

Travis Herrick said:

Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, an adaptation of the Robert Bloch story. In this story Jack the Ripper is an immortal who has to sacrifice five people every five years to retain his immortality.


Beratis! Kesla! Redjac! Redjac! Redjac! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaah!


Somebody get Bob his ham injection, please.

Uncanny X-Men 482, X-Factor 25 and New X-Men 44: chapters two through four of the Messiah Complex

I remember that this was a crossover that started strong and then lost its way before the end.  So far, my experience is matching my recollection.  This is a strong start.  Next, I'll find out if they can keep up the quality as the crossover continues.

This also marks the beginning of 2008 in my reading project.

I read G.I. Combat #1. The artwork by Ariel Olivetti in the first story was really nice--somehow his CGI doesn't bother me because his faces and gestures are so strong. The story was okay. Not really a story unto itself, but more like a thing just happens without any real beginning, middle, or end. The second story by Palmiotti and Gray with art by Dan Panosian was really great. It's The Unknown Soldier, which works well with Panosian's Simonson-esque art.

Both of these stories were fourteen pages each. I don't think I'm going to keep reading this monthly, but it's a trade I will watch for if I hear good things about the rest of the story.

Started Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama. Fun Home was a memoir largely devoted to her father. This one focuses on her relationship with her mother, making it more of a companion piece than a sequel. I certainly hope she remembers to tell more stories as the book goes on. The first section is crammed full of her self-doubt as a writer and lots of Virginia Woolf quotations. It's never a good sign when a memoir begins with talk about how hard it was to write.

The penultimate DMZ collection (DMZ Vol. 11: Free States Rising) opens with an interesting two-part prequel story, illustrated by guest artist Shawn Martinbrough. It partly explains how New York City became the DMZ. The initial staging area for the gathering Free States forces was in northern Minnesota. Odd to wait this late to tell this part of the series setup, but welcome just the same.

As the V2K event was wrapping up the one-shot Weird War Tales Special came out, billed as a sequel to the earlier  anthology miniseries. A cynic might think that these stories were leftovers, but the quality seems too high for that. It features a group of A-list creators like Garth Ennis, Jim Lee, Greg Rucka, Chuck Dixon, and Paul Pope. It's also noteworthy for including the last story illustrated by Edvin Biuković.

In addition to more from DMZ, I finally got into my stack of FCBD goodies.

First up was that cool little hardcover book from Archaia featuring Mouse Guard. It's a remarkable concept, offering a possible viable alternative to traditional comic books for serialized stories. They've said they could sell them for $5, which strikes me as a reasonable premium to pay for a more permanent package. There are six stories, ranging from 4 - 9 pages each. And they all do a good job at giving a taste of the series they represent without requiring previous familiarity. I've been reading Mouse Guard, but I'm now interested in the others (except for Cursed Pirate Girl, which doesn't look like my thing).

One shop was offering the Free Special Edition Preview of the forthcoming Vertigo graphic adaption of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Not technically a FCBD title, but I missed it before because I haven't been visiting a comic shop regularly. It appears to be the opening section of the GN, so it should have been easy to follow. But I felt a little lost, like I was expected to have read the novel first. I also picked up the main DC offering, The New 52, which includes a short introductory story plus several brief samples from "The Second Wave" titles. There's a very cool multi-page fold-out splash page, but the package is a confusing mess otherwise. It doesn't invite me to try any of this stuff. Since I'd just seen the Avengers movie the night before I also picked up The Avengers: Age of Ultron .1. This is a reprint of an Avengers issue by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch, so I expected it to be coherent. Nope: it not only had nothing to do with the Avengers team I'd seen in the movie, but was also full of Marvel minutiae that meant little to me, since I've never been much of a Marvel reader. There must be better choices for a single issue to reprint as an introduction.

Oni Press opted to introduce the series Bad Medicine by reprinting issue #1, plus a short Wasteland story (the two projects have artist Christopher Mitten in common). It's a strong first issue, and I'd like to read more. Mission accomplished. It also stirred up mild interest in Wasteland, which has never grabbed me.

I read the latest issue of Uncanny X-Force, which includes a couple of "rare" stories from Remender and Opena. Not sure where they were previously run, but I didn't recognize either of them. Both were pretty good. One featured Wolverine and the other Deadpool.

The Wolverine story was about his inner peace as it involves both Logan and his Wolverine persona. It was fairly run-of-the-mill, but the creative team made it worthwhile.

The Deadpool story involved the Morgan Spurlock/McDonald's tale of obesity. This was a really fun and funny story of Deadpool falling out of shape but still kicking butt.

This morning I finally sat down with Fables: Covers by James Jean. It's a stunning oversize hardback book, definitely the most deluxe presentation of any of the Vertigo cover collections. All of the covers are accompanied by preliminary sketches and a quote from the comic or the script describing the visual reference behind the cover image. Jean only discusses the composition process for the eleven wraparound covers created for the Fables collections, so in that sense there is less insight into the process than the other collections. I had assumed that this collection was complete, but it was assembled after issue #75 (and 1001 Nights of Snowfall, the last cover image in the book). At the time Jean had not announced his departure, and went on to create covers for issues #76 - 81. I predict a "Revised Edition" at some future date. It's also notable that Vertigo stopped commissioning the wraparound covers after the "The Good Prince" collection. Jean's covers were used for the following two paperbacks, but they were re-purposed single issue covers, which is common Vertigo practice. And since this is a James Jean collection, the issue #11 cover (painted by Aron Wiesenfeld) is not included.

Yesterday at the Summit City Comic Con, I bought American Barbarian from Tom Scioli. He signed it and drew a sweet sketch inside the cover. I read it today, and it was pretty good. It was wacky, crazy fun. Definitely not everyone's taste, neither in terms of art nor story, but it reminded me of a saga that would have been serialized in the early 90's on MTV's Liquid Television. Scioli's artwork here is much less Jack Kirby than his Godland, and it a bit simpler. But still, it's a beautiful hardback book that I bought directly from the creator. That felt good.

Incidentally, I also got signatures/sketches in books from Gabriel Hardman (Agents of Atlas--he drew M-11, The Human Robot) and Geof Darrow (who drew Shaolin Cowboy inside of a Shaolin Cowboy comic).

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