Thinking about Comics since 2009!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

2- Bit Comics! Issue #1, Howlin' Jack Kirby

Hello Leaguers!

Here is a column I will now dub '2-Bit Comics'!

I find some great comics hiding in the 25 cent to $1 bins and highly recommend you do the same! Also, here is where I may share some cheap TPB deals that I have discovered.

Of course the other leaguers are free to participate as well. A light bulb popped over my head this morning as I awoke to share with you two books that I picked up yesterday.


Frank Frazetta's Dracula Meets the Wolfman One-Shot, Cover B, August 2008, Image Comics
What I paid: 50 cents.

WOW! This was a great book. Art by Francesco Francavilla. Story by Steve Niles.
This sepia toned book takes us back to Moldavia circa 1849. Nicolae Bulinski is professing his love for his dear Marta as she heads into the house. Nicolae then realizes he is out too late and transforms into the Wolf-Man!

Wolf-Man bolts into the woods, eventually to be captured by his caring father and brother, as he chases down a horse for food. Pa and Bro net him and lock him up for the night. The family is used to his unfortunate curse, and take care of him until he transforms back to Nicolae.

Marta, meanwhile, is preparing for a night dining with the Count! Though she is fearful, she accepts the invitation. The Count's driver picks her up in a carriage and brings her to the castle. Dracula wastes no time and makes his intention clear...he wants to feast on her ("In Transylvania, dinner host eats YOU!").

Well, this is where I stop describing the plot — I want you to track down this book if you like classic Universal Monster Team-Ups! This comic reads like an old movie. It's comfortable, beautiful, and has a classic illustration style.


Countdown Special : The New Gods - Featuting Mister Miracle, Orion, and The Forever People DC Comics, March 2008. Cover by Ryan Sook
What I paid: 50 cents.

First things First: This is Jack Kirby! 80 delicious pages of story and art from the King himself. Reprinted from the pages of Forever People, Mister Miracle and New Gods, here is an introduction to some of Kirby's most lauded Cosmic characters in the Mighty 1970s DC style.

Let's talk art. Vince Colletta inks the first two stories, and Mike Royer inks the third story. I understand Jack and a lot of fans weren't that crazy about Vince's work, but I thought his inks complemented the pencils well and maintain the classic Kirby look. No complaints from me. Mike Royer inks the Orion origin, the third story in the book that takes place mostly on Apokolips. Kirby dots are everywhere and the New Gods look noble and dynamic. There are weirdo contraptions, Dragon Tanks, and action on every panel. This is a great looking story. If I were to compare the two, I would say That Mike Royer's inks lean a bit more toward the bold ink lines and swooshy brushwork of Kirby himself. Both inkers, in my opinion, are great. I believe that because Vince does not seem to have the same style as Jack, some fans cast aspersions on his art but I think that is unfair.

As far as the story, we get the first appearance of some great characters — The New Gods. Being a Marvel kid, I was in the dark of this era of the King's career up until recently. Boy, am I glad to get into this now! Every panel moves the story along, each word in the captions and word balloons are relevant. Inner dialogue is kept to a minimum and not abstract. There are complex familial relationships in the New Gods, similar to Greek mythology. Each time I open a book and it says "Written, Drawn, and Edited by Jack Kirby", I laugh a little bit. But then after the second reading I think to myself "How could anyone ELSE edit this book? Jack's got all this stuff floating around in his head! He's establishing the continuity!" I really enjoy what little I have read of Jim Starlin's versions of the characters, but this certainly is the real deal!

This review is not just an endorsement for this book, but a strong recommendation for you to find old Kirby comics and read them and enjoy your art until your eyes bleed.
Seriously, it is so worth the trip!

Well that does it folks! You can expect some upcoming reviews of Jack Kirby's Black Panther, and Justice League Europe.