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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Clerks the Comic Book Trade Paperback



Title: Clerks the Comic Book Trade Paperback



ISBN: 1582402094

Price: $10.95

Publisher/Year: Image, 2001

Artist: Jim Mahfood, Phil Hester, Ande Parks

Writer: Kevin Smith

Collects: Clerks: The Comic Book, Clerks: Holiday Special, Clerks: The Lost Scene



Rating: 3/5



Based off the cult movie of the same name it collects the three issues released in trade paperback form.



If you haven't heard of the movie, I don't blame you; it's one of those that have grown through word of mouth and a rabid fanatic fan base. The story is pretty simple, it's the story of two young men who are stuck in dead end jobs, which pay poorly and have long and unsociable hours. There is no big adventure or life changing story to it, it's about there lives and how they just get by with what they do, never motivating themselves to change for anything better.



-The Cast-



Dante - Works at the Quick Stop, very depressed with his job, the lack of money he makes, the customers who come in the store and he finds generally very annoying. Taken advantage of quite a bit, whether it is by Randal, the owners of the Quick Stop, even customers.



Randal - Works next door to the Quick Stop at RST Video. He is lazy and spends more time in the Quick Stop talking to Dante rather than dealing with customers at RST who get very annoyed that the store seems to be shut most of the time. Randal deals with them by being rude, ignoring them and telling them deals going on at the rival video store.



Jay - Foul-mouthed, loud, rude, obnoxious, abusive, pot dealer who hangs out at the Quick Stop all day looking for trade. He is in his twenties but acts like he's twelve.



Silent Bob - Jay's 'Hetro-Life-Mate' complete opposite of Jay. He's called Silent Bob for a reason, as he doesn't say much usually expressing him opinion with facial expressions. Hangs out the Quick Stop with Jay selling pot. He is much more sensible and intelligent than Jay.



It starts with Randal looking at the toys (action figures) down at the local comic book store. He's amazed at the price they sell for and so he drags Dante into the world of Star Wars action figure selling.



Meanwhile Jay is not pleased that people aren't buying weed because there spending there money on Star Wars figures, so with Silent Bob decides to go do something about it.



It's Christmas time, a time of good will. So Dante decides to visit his old girlfriend Caitlin in the mental hospital (you see why she's there in the film). While Randal is sure Saint Nick, is next door in the quick stop. Plus Dante is smug as he's about to win a bet with Randal he made 15 years ago - that Randal would still be wearing his Montley Crew jacket he got for Christmas 15 years ago? But will Randal manage to get his hands on a replacement?



Here we see the bit where Dante and Randal going to the funeral (in the film it shows them driving there, then a '10 minutes later' tag appears on screen with some people chasing them out the funeral parlour). So we see Dante paying his respects to his old girlfriend Julie Dwyer while Randal is just there for the fun of it?! It's all a bit awkward for Dante as Julies parents caught them in a compromising position and Dante would do anything to not get noticed, but he drops his car keys in the coffin, down her skirt... whoops!



Part of the appeal of these is that they are written by Clerks Director/Writer/Actor Kevin Smith so you feel the characters are staying true to themselves rather than feeling like fan-fiction which is what seems to happen with other well known franchises that get a comic series made.



This is done in a thick black and white style giving it the feeling of the movie (which was done in black and white). The first two comics are drawn by Jim Mahfood and have a more cartoonish style where as the lost scene was penciled by Phil Hester and inked by Ande Parks is drawn in a more 'serious' style, looking pretty much like the two main characters in the film



I'll also point out that all the characters seen in Clerks Dante, Randal, Jay and Silent Bob all look like their characters from the movie. Also Steve Dave and Walt the Fanboy (who make numerous cameos in Smith films) also look like the actors who play them. The only character I would say who looks different is Caitlin. Whether this is because of payment of image rights I don't know.



If you've seen Clerks, you'll know it's has very vulgar language and descriptions - this has not been toned down in the comic book. So it's not suitable for young people, maybe 16+



I really enjoyed these stories, especially the first two that inspired me so much that when I first read them I spent many months doing drawings copying Jim Mahfood style.



I always really enjoyed the Clerks film thinking Dante and Randal where the two best and most 'real' characters Kevin Smith had come up with and was begging for more stories about the life of Dante and Randal. I guess Smith felt the same otherwise he wouldn't have made Clerks II.



The best stories was definitely the first it was so funny hearing Randal pitch to Dante why getting in the business of Star Wars figures was such a good idea while Dante thought it was joke that a movie that had been out for 20 years made 100 million at the cinema.



The second one was pretty good and made reference to the Clerks movie with Caitlin. To be fair you don't need to have seen the Clerks movie to enjoy this story (especially as it refers in the dialogue what happened to Caitlin) I hadn't actually seen the film till after I read this. I was quite pleased with this one as it lets Jay and Silent Bob take a backseat, only appearing on a couple of pages and you get to see Dante and Randal carry a fun compelling story.



The third is easily the worst of the three I can't say I care it's a 'lost scene' or not. It just goes over the top with Randal behaving like a dick at a funeral (I can't really believe even he would do that? I know through the film you see him act like that, but I still felt it was something no one would do at a funeral). However the gross-out-humor in this was quite amusing and the Alyssa Jones cameo (you know the lesbian in Chasing Amy) was quite good "Why do you smell of shoe polish?"



My only disappointment was that Smith didn't continue doing more Clerks stories and went where the money was with 'Chasing Dogma' and 'Bluntman and Chronic' comics instead, which in my opinion never quite reached the laughs that this book gives you.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 1: Freefall



Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 1: Freefall



ISBN: 9781595829221

Price: $17.99

Publisher/Year: Dark Horse, 2012

Artist: Georges Jeanty

Writer: Joss Whedon, Andrew Chambliss

Collects: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1-4



Rating: 3/5



Volume 1 contains the first five issues of Season 9 proper, out of an anticipated total of twenty-five (not including the upcoming minis starring Willow and Spike or the concurrent Angel & Faith series). Issues 1-4 comprise the Freefall arc, scripted by Joss Whedon and Andrew Chambliss with pencils by series artist Georges Jeanty.



Here we see Buffy dealing with the aftermath of Season 8. The Seed has been destroyed, effectively eradicating magic from the world. Among other things, this means that vampires sired after that point (dubbed “zompires” by the gang) are feral and uncontrollable. Buffy also meets a mysterious stranger named Severin, who is draining the energy from zompires. All of that is well and good, but more importantly, Buffy is back to her roots, stabbing vamps in dark alleys while trying to make ends meet.



Gone are the large-scale operations of Season 8, replaced by more of the genuine heart and relationships that have always made the franchise great. After season 8 was finished, Joss Whedon admitted that while the it was an over-all success, they lost track of Buffy’s core in their excitement over not being limited by an effects budget.



Season 9‘s path is definitely reflective of this understanding. The first issue really sealed this with its humorous perspective on Buffy’s personal life. There’s even an “in” joke referencing the fourth season episode The Initiative, in which Spike tries to bite Willow and finds he can’t perform.



The fifth issue in this volume is the one-shot Slayer Interrupted, scripted again by Chambliss with pencils from Fray artist Karl Moline. Re-reading this issue, I noticed some hints at more recent revelations that didn’t register initially. Issue 5 also leads into Willow’s spin-off story, slated to kick off later this year. As if all that wasn’t enough, this collection also contains the short Magical Mystery Tour featuring the Beetles story scripted by the wonderful Jane Espenson.



This humorous and slightly bizarre story is a nice bit of icing on the cake for this collection. So if you’re a fan of the Buffy mythos, you’re going to want to buy this volume. It’s a great start to a very promising season for Buffy and the whole Scooby Gang!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer News



Thanks to some holiday financial contributions to the ‪#‎CBC4C‬ coffers, I'll not only have the supplies I need to keep this project running, but also have means to ship some covers to artists who want to donate!




I have a good selection of blank covers available at this time (primarily thanx to the wondrous generosity of my LCS: Tony's Kingdom of Comics and Collectibles),
so artists... check-out the list in the Notes section for what's
available. Unfortunately, we are still not able to ship blank covers
internationally. (Sorry)



It would incredibly wonderful if there
are any artists who would be willing to donate some of the covers they
happen to have lurking in their inventory. If you happen to be in this
specific group and don't have our shipping address, please feel free to
send me a PM via our Facebook page and we'll get you the information you need.



For those who would like to donate directly to #CBC4C so we can continue our project, we still have our GoFundMe account. You are welcome to donate through there.



For all
you talented artist who have already donated your work to help support
our cause, or are currently working on your donation, I have a request
and some news for you.



REQUEST- Would you please recommend
donating to #CBC4C to at least 1 other artist you know who would be
willing to help? The more artists that help support us, the more we can
help to promote them.



NEWS- One of my main goals for 2015 is to
establish #CBC4C as an official non-profit with 501(c) status. This
would mean I could apply for certain grants to help financially support
our project and further our cause.



For those who have already
donated in 2014, I have the EIN for the American Cancer Society so you
can claim your donations on your taxes. If you need this number, please
contact me privately. This is also a good reason for all you artists who
have covers outstanding to get them back to us before January 1, 2015
so you can claim the deduction for 2014. Just a thought.

Finally, I want to thank EVERYONE who has helped support us! Without you, there would be no #CBC4C!


 



Happy Holidays!



-John

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ghost Volume. 1: In the Smoke and Din



Title: Ghost Volume. 1: In the Smoke and Din

ISBN: 9781616551216
Price: $14.99
Publisher/Year: Dark Horse, 2013
Artist: Phil Noto
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Collects: Ghost: In the Smoke and Din #0-4

Rating: 3/5

As part of Dark Horse’s superhero revival, Phil Noto and Kelly Sue DeConnick were tasked with reviving this old property. Given their skills, it was a no brainer the book would be interesting. However, in an industry drowning in superhero universes, their real job is too make the book good enough to justify its existence.

One warm night in Chicago’s Resurrection Cemetery, paranormal investigators Vaughn and Tommy accidentally summon a beautiful transparent woman who may or may not be the legendary Resurrection Mary. Their search for her true identity uncovers a dark, hidden history of the city and a deadly alliance between political corruption and demonic science! In the middle of it all stands Ghost, a woman trapped between two worlds!

“Ghost” has a classic premise at its heart: Being the only person who walk between two worlds, usually to maintain a balance or bring peace. Ghost Rider does it. John Savage did it in “Brave New World.” Neo did it in The Matrix. Shoot, Jesus did it in the New Testament. The trope exists because it has appeal and potential, but when a story exists among a saturation of similar plots, its success relies more on execution than on originality. As such, this review will be a bit more nit-picky than usual.

This first volume collects issues zero through four of the miniseries. Issue zero, which was serialized in three parts in the pages of “Dark Horse Presents”, is narrated by Vaughn, one of the paranormal investigators mentioned in the solicitation. The other four issues are narrated by Ghost. Read issue to issue, this change was minor, made narrative sense, and was easy to forget. Read in a collection, it stands out in a bad way. Through Vaughn’s inner monologue and personal troubles, he starts the series in the lead role. Then, just as you get invested in him, Ghost takes over and the guy you like most is suddenly bumped to supporting cast. Sure, he’s still there, but he’s only important so much as he impacts Ghost’s quest to find out who she is, and his problems are only as important so much as they impede said quest. While it is a given Ghost is the star of a book called “Ghost”, the trade would read easier if the narration switch occurred between volumes.

The central mystery is well orchestrated, and the various clues all hold up to multiple readings. There are a few things that seem mighty convenient – like how Tommy got his machine in the first place. The good news is how all of them are open for explanation and expansion in future issues, and not so awkward as to just be inexplicable. The only part of the story which is truly puzzling is in the first chapter. Two men come to kill Vaughn and Tommy, and one of said goons dies. The second goon seems to vanish from the scene and existence, as he is never mentioned again by anyone.

Noto’s pencils fall on the left of center on the minimalist to detailed spectrum, and hover back and forth between neat and sketchy. Backgrounds are plain if they’re included, but he usually opts for just a solid color backdrop. Most of his characters are distinct, although in the final act all the men are wearing tuxedos and the only way to tell Vaughn apart from the villain is a curl in his hair. Noto’s line work lends itself to expressive faces, but the blocky style he uses for coloring gives his panels a static look usually associated with photo referenced art. For some reason, he will occasionally leave the pupil out of someones eyes, which can give them a creepy look which seems inappropriate to the situation.

The five chapters in this volume work together to present a full story, resolving the main mystery to satisfaction and bringing subplots to a point where they aren’t so much dangling as they are pointing the direction for the next part of the series. When the ongoing series begins, it will have a clear mission.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December Auctions For Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer





Just in time for the holidays, Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer has our final series of auctions for 2014. Help support the wonderful artists who have donated their time and work to help our project and help us raise $$ for the American Cancer Society.



Link to auctions: http://www.ebay.com/usr/cbc4c



X-MEN: GIANT SIZE #1 MARVEL COVER BY JOE SEDIVY #CBC4C (351247629267)

INFINITY #1 MARVEL COVER BY JOE SEDIVY #CBC4C (351247630497)

SUPERMAN (2011) #32 DC COVER BY JOE SEDIVY #CBC4C (351247630555)

WONDER WOMAN (2011) #19 DC COVER BY JOE SEDIVY #CBC4C (351247633652)



MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #13 IDW COVER BY THOMAS BARNETT #CBC4C (351247629361)

SAVAGE WOLVERINE #14 MARVEL COVER BY THOMAS BARNETT #CBC4C (351247629444)

ROCKET RACCOON #1 MARVEL COVER BY THOMAS BARNETT #CBC4C (351247630319)



VAMPIRELLA (2014) #1 DYNAMITE COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351247629598)

IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1 MARVEL COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351247630405)

DOCTOR WHO (2012) #15 IDW COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351247631143)

AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1 MARVEL COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351247631935)

TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER (2014) #1 DYNAMITE COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351247633111)



HARLEY QUINN INVADES COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL: SD #1 DC COVER ROB HASSAN #CBC4C (351247709133)



HARLEY QUINN INVADES COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL: SD #1 DC COVER BY MARTINEZ #CBC4C  (351247629871)



CHAOS #1 DYNAMITE COVER BY KRISTEN ARGERAKE #CBC4C (351247630028)



THE WALKING DEAD #115 IMAGE COVER BY TIM CHAMPION #CBC4C (351247630216)



HARLEY QUINN INVADES COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL: SD #1 DC COVER BY LEE KOHSE #CBC4C (351247630648)



EQUINOX #1 COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351247632570)

EQUINOX #2 COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351247630699)

CHRONICLES OF RACHEL STRAND: VOODOO EQUINOX COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351247633008)

ACTION COMICS (2011) #18 DC COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351247633925)



BATMAN: LI'L GOTHAM #4 DC COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351247630796)

SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1 MARVEL COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351247632380)

DETECTIVE COMICS (2011) #20 DC COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351247632005)

WONDER WOMAN (2011) #19 DC COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351247633780)



BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1 DC COVER BY TONY KEATON #CBC4C (351247630886)



DOCTOR WHO (2012) #15 IDW COVER BY JONATHAN MYERS #CBC4C (351247631002)



JUPITER'S LEGACY #1 IMAGE COVER BY KYLE WILLIS #CBC4C (351247631234)



JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (2013) #11 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351247631390)

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #6 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351247632818)

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351247632936)

BATMAN (2011) #29 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351247633349)



MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY ANTHONY HARRIS JR. #CBC4C    (351247631663)



AGE OF ULTRON #1 MARVEL COVER BY RACHEL IVANOFF #CBC4C (351247631759)



MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY PAUL ROWDEN #CBC4C (351247632089)



STAR TREK: KHAN #2 IDW COVER BY MEL SMITH #CBC4C (351247632170)



STORM #1 MARVEL COVER BY MARTIN SABALA JR. #CBC4C (351247632263)



SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1 MARVEL COVER BY WILLIAM CLAUSEN #CBC4C (351247632475)



SUPERMAN DOOMED #1 DC COVER BY JOSEPH ROBERTS #CBC4C (351247632703)

BATMAN (2011) #0 DC COVER BY JOSEPH ROBERTS #CBC4C (351247633467)



UNCANNY X-FORCE (2010) #1 MARVEL COVER BY ORLANDO BAEZ #CBC4C (351247633230)



VAMPYRATES BLOODFIRE STUDIOS COVER BY JEROMY COX #CBC4C (351247634481)



To view all the covers that have been donated to #CBC4C, check-out our album on Facebook.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 15



Title: Classic G.I. Joe Vol. 15



ISBN: 9781613772744

Price: $24.99

Publisher/Year: IDW, 2012

Artist: Phil Gosier, William Rosado, Ernie Stiner

Writer: Larry Hama, Eric Fein, Peter Quinones

Collects: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #146-155



Rating: 1.5/5



Phil Gosier is the artist for the bulk of this book, and he completely sucks ass. My tastes are admittedly “Western” when it comes to comic book art. I disliked Manga back when it was called Japanimation. Manga is like Punk Rock to me. I like the things that inspired them, and the things that were perhaps inspired by them, I'm just not a huge fan of the genres themselves. Gosier draws everything in typical garish '90s fashion, with everyone looking like they are on steroids. Horrible.



Issue 152 is a commemorative issue of the 30th anniversary of G.I. Joe, telling the story of original Joe. Hama should have gotten lots of mileage out of this concept, but he was abruptly taken off of the book after this issue. 153 is a complete piece of shit Terminator ripoff, with this latest generation of Cobra B.A.T.S. looking a lot like something from the second film. Issue 154 starred Roadblock in a godawful, cringe-inducing story. Finishing this book was like chewing chalk while hearing someone scratch their nails on a chalkboard.

   

Issue 155 was a touching, heartfelt goodbye by Larry Hama. It's a shame that he didn't get more of a heads up that the series was being cancelled, as I'm sure that he would've given the Joes one helluva sendoff. Hama's writing was most certainly a fish out of water in this volume, a writer who excelled at action packed war comics in an era when editorial didn't want an action packed war comic. He leaned on ridiculous meteor missions and other nonsense as the title limped through it's final year. G.I. Joe was decommissioned at the end, and would remain so for a number of years. There were a few companies who published the series in the Aughts (Devil's Due, etc.), but it was IDW who put them back on the map with Larry Hama scripting again. They even picked up the original Marvel continuity and numbering.



As usual for this line, IDW has, in their infinite wisdom, omitted several things from this collection. There were seven pin-up pages in Issue 150 which were not included here. There were six character profile pages in Issue 152, none of which are included here. The letters pages from issue 155 had a farewell from Larry Hama which would have made a nice addition to this book. All that I can say is that Marvel would've included it if this were their collected edition.

MtG Decklist - One Deck to Rule Them All

  A few years ago, I was watching a video on The Commander's Quarters YouTube channel, and I remember loving the concept so much, that ...