Saturday, January 24, 2004

 
The Weeklong Birthday Spectacular -- The first full day is in full swing, and it's been well spent so far. In addition to watching a few hours of the Howard Stern E! Show, I designed logos and did some writing for the two new regular features that will debut in a few days.

One of the features is completely done, and there's a part of me that would love to just upload it now, but the fact is that on weekends internet usage plunges as people go home and don't feel the need to distract themselves from work by surfing the web. I imagine they have great fun on the weekend, but my fun level doesn't seem to vary much no matter the day, time, or time of year. Bah.

Uber-Blogger NeilAlien sent me a link to the new Time.comix review of Mother, Come Home. Thanks, Neil! Also, Jeff Mason has relaunched Indy Magazine, which I have linked in the blogroll at right. In other Blogroll News, I added Street Angel and DC: The New Frontier to the list of recommended titles. 2004 has started out as a great year for comics.

Friday, January 23, 2004

 
The Second Annual Weeklong ADD Birthday Spectacular -- I'm turning 38 on Sunday, and so will be observing my Second Annual Weeklong ADD Birthday Spectacular. Among the planned events is setting aside some time to plan out the course of the ADD blog for the next year, and implementing some new features to make this blog an even more essential part of your daily existence. If you have any ideas on what you'd like to see here, feel free to e-mail me, and look for the debut of at least two new features hopefully within the next week. The Second Annual Weeklong ADD Birthday Spectacular begins at one o'clock this afternoon and continues through five o'clock on the afternoon of Sunday, February 1st, so you can see why I am so thrilled, as I stand right on the brink of my Second Annual Weeklong ADD Birthday Spectacular. Thrilling, in'nt?

 
Great Radio Stories -- My friend and co-worker Susan Arbetter has a new blog related to her radio show The Roundtable, and today has shared one of the funniest stories of my radio career. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

 
D&Q News -- Drawn and Quarterly's Peggy Burns has sent along the D&Q Newsletter for January, 2004. It has some terrific nuggets of news in it, so I thought I'd share some highlights.

 
An Angelic Interview -- Shawn Hoke has interviewed Street Angel's Jim Rugg over at Broken Frontier. And remember to tell your retailer to pre-order Street Angel for you from the January Previews. It's published by Slave Labor and so far is the most impressive debut I've seen this year. More in my review.

 
Publisher Report Card -- Chris Allen has posted his annual Publisher Report Card, part one of two, in his Breakdowns column this week. If you're a creator or publisher, you should listen to what he says, especially about promotion of the product. It boggles the mind why anyone would go to all the effort to create, produce and print comics that they then go on to do nothing to get into the hands of the potential audience. But Allen nails it. Go read.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

 

Street Angel #1
By Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca
Published by Slave Labor Graphics

The first new title to grab my attention in 2004 is a scrappy and sardonic action comic about an eighth-grade girl who fights crime on the streets. Jesse Sanchez is a refreshingly blunt protagonist, imbued by Rugg and Maruca with a dry wit and a resigned dedication to battling whatever evil gets in her way. While Street Angel has a sharp sense of its own identity, fans of The Goon, Hellboy, the Brubaker/Cooke/Stewart Catwoman and Brubaker's earlier Deadenders will be extremely comfortable here.

There's a hint of the post-ironic surrounding Street Angel. While Ninjas and a mad scientist play into the plot, the book never takes them seriously -- in fact, two key action sequences are disposed of off-screen, with tongue-in-cheek captions describing the action and quickly allowing the plot to move on. It's an unusual and flashy technique that works better than you might think. If nothing else, it serves notice that the core concerns of the creators are the characters, not the cool ninjas. In fact, the ninjas are anything but cool, with one of them getting his pants stolen by Jesse and being forced to confront his fellow ninjas in his tighty-whities. Funny stuff, and about as far from 1980s Frank Miller as you can get and still have ninjas in the book.

The center of the book is also its greatest asset: Jesse Sanchez is thoroughly engaging and an utter delight. Bright, inventive and a master strategist, she's essentially Mike Baron and Steve Rude's Nexus in the body of an eighth-grade girl. Her self-confidence and uber-competence should serve as a terrific role model for girls and an eye-opening revelation to guys. And in case you think she's being exploited for any possible sex appeal, she repeatedly calls a middle-aged ogler "PERVERT!" with a bullhorn in one of the funniest sequences I've seen in a comic in years.

The story and art in Street Angel share equal responsibility for the delight I took in reading this first issue -- there's a generous use of black ink to define space that echoes artists like Adrian Tomine and even Charles Burns, but the basics of solid cartooning are there as well, with unusual angles, fully-drawn backgrounds and a wonderful sense of movement combining to create a complete world for Jesse to skateboard through.

There's a preview of Street Angel #1 available online and the first issue is listed in January's Previews catalog. #1 ships to comics shops in March. Make sure you tell your retailer you want in on this great new series. It's bound to be one of the most talked-about books of the year, and I hope it finds the wide audience it deserves. Grade: 4.5/5

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

 
Buy This Now! [UPDATED] -- Finally, this is the week Paul Hornschemeier's first full-length graphic novel ships to comic book shops. It looks like this:



I hope you'll pick this up. It's one of the best graphic novels you'll buy all year.

This week's Previews Review spotlights Mother, Come Home. Here's an excerpt:

"This is the book I’m really looking forward to this week. Hornschemeier along with Farel Dalrymple, Jeffery Brown and others all have sincerity in their work that I really admire. None of it feels forced or arty-for-arty’s sake, and you can tell that these are the stories that these guys want to tell. I just really hope that they continue to produce this kind of work, hopefully inspiring the next generation of creators."

Much more at Previews Review, including why you should pick up the also highly recommended Sleeper and New Frontier this week.


 
Less Blogging, More Taste -- With Dirk Deppey and Jason Marcy noting my lack of blogging over the past week or so, I should mention that the ADD Blog will probably be sporadically updated over the next few weeks. I have a number of things distracting me from the blog, one of which may interest you and which I'll be able to tell you about next month.

If you want to be certain you keep up with whatever it is that we do here, click the Yahoo Groups link over on the right to join the mailing list. Whenever I update here I send out a note to the list, so that's the best way to stay on top of things.

My apologies for the lack of content over the next couple of weeks -- my hope is that I can get back into a groove with some tweaking here to make the ADD Blog a better and more entertaining experience for all involved.


Monday, January 19, 2004

 
The Week in Comics -- Here's a rundown of worthwhile titles to keep an eye out for this week at your local comics shop:

COMING WEDNESDAY JANUARY 21st

DARK HORSE

MOTHER, COME HOME TPB $14.95 -- Cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier's first longform graphic novel, as originally serialized in the pages of Forlorn Funnies #2-4. An unusual and inventive story of a disastrous loss that devastates a young boy and his family, with echoes of the creator's real life blended in. The most impressive part of this novel is how Hornschemeier depicts the real-life events alongside the boy's version of events, which serve as a filter to both explain the events and protect him from them. This book has my highest recommendation.

DC COMICS

NEW FRONTIER #1 (Of 6) $6.95 -- Normally, in a week with Mother, Come Home shipping, I wouldn't even bother recommending anything else. But DC ships two extremely exciting books this week. This first one is Darwyn Cooke's look at the DC Universe. Cooke got his start as an animator who contributed to the excellent Batman Animated series (including Batman Beyond, for which he designed the stunning title sequence). He also established the Pop Noir style that made DC's Catwoman so visually impressive when it relaunched a couple of years ago, and created two vastly entertaining and beautiful graphic novels, Batman: Ego and Catwoman: Selina's Big Score. He's an action/adventure cartoonist with influences including Alex Toth and Jack Kirby and Bruce Timm, but with a unique visual signature that absolutely knocks me out. What I am saying is that New Frontier is without question the superhero project I am most looking forward to in 2004, and you really ought to pick this (and everything else Cooke has ever created) up. You won't regret it.

SLEEPER #12 $2.95 -- This title was the very best monthly book in 2003, and this is the final issue of its "first season," wrapping up the first story-arc before an impending relaunch. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have created a nearly sui generis action/espionage work that is better than anything either of them has ever done (in two already impressive careers) and much greater than the sum of its parts. At its heart, Sleeper is about desperation and the will to go on despite an overwhelmingly bleak set of circumstances. Sleeper is one of the most involving and compelling comic books ever created, and like Mother, Come Home and New Frontier, it has my highest recommendation.

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