20 May

BEST OF 2017

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Best of 2017 Show

All my favorite comics and comic-related stuff from 2017.

01 – Favorite New Ongoing Comic Book Series (First issue released in 2017)

  1.   Winner: Superman (2017) #1
  2. Runner Up: Falcon (2017) #1

02 – Favorite Returning Ongoing Comic Book Series (First issue released PRE-2017)

  1.   Winner: Harrow County
  2. Runner Up: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

03 – Favorite Limited Series (Between 2-12 issues. First issue released in 2017)

  1. Winner: Victor LaValle’s Destroyer DC’s Doomsday Clock (2017) #1
  2. Runner Up: Blood Bowl: More Guts, More Glory! (2017) #1

04 – Favorite One-Shot Comic (Stand-alone one-and-done comic book – not part of a regular series – released in 2017)

  1. Winner: Batman/Elmer Fudd Special (2017) #1
  2. Runner Up: Hellboy: Krapusnacht (2017) #1

05 – Favorite Single Issue of a Comic (Your favorite single issue of a comic this year)

  1.  Winner: Robotech #1 (2017)
  2. Runner Up: Rebels TF&IS #7 “Brooklyn Heights”

06 – Favorite Original Graphic Novel (OGN) (An original story. First published in TPB/HC format. Not a reprint or collection)

Winner: Behind You (IDW)

Runner Up: Mr Higgins Comes Home (DH)

07 – Favorite Collected Edition (Your favorite TPB/HC collecting material originally published elsewhere. Collection released in 2017)

  1. Winner: Armies (Humanoids) 2017
  2. Runner Up: The Black Sinister (2017) HC vol. 01

08 – Favorite Writer (Name your favorite writer this year, and list examples of their work from 2017)

  1. Winner: Cullen Bunn (HARROW COUNTY)
  2. Runner Up: Ryan North (UBSG)

09 – Favorite Artist/Art Team (Name your favorite Artist/Team this year, and list examples of their work from 2017)

  1. Winner: Tyler Crooke
  2. Runner Up: Walt Simonson

10 – Favorite Publisher (Name your favorite Publisher of 2017 and say a little about why)

  1. Winner: DC
  2. Runner Up: Dark Horse

11 – Favorite Comic-Based Movie (Premiering in 2017)

Winner: Thor: Ragnarok

Runner Up: Logan

12 – Favorite New Comic-Based TV Show (Premiering in 2017)

  1. Winner: Defenders (Netflix)
  2. Runner Up: Punisher (Netflix)

13 – Favorite Returning Comic-Based TV Show (Returned for a 2nd (or higher) season in 2017)

  1. Winner: Agents of Shield (ABC)
  2. Runner Up: RWBY

14 – Favorite Cover

  1. Winner: Squirrel Girl #22 Ericka Henderson
  2. Runner Up: Harrow County #28 Tyler Crook
17 Jan

Best Comics of 2016

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Best of 2016 Show

All my favorite comics and comic-related stuff from 2016.

01.Favorite Established Ongoing Series
Enter the Title and Publisher of your favorite regularly published series that debuted prior to 2016.

Monstress
Writer: Liu, Marjorie M.
Artist: Takeda, Sana
Cover Artist: Takeda, Sana
Astonishing X-men and Black Widow writer MARJORIE LIU returns to comics with artist SANA TAKEDA (X-23) for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.

02. Favorite New Ongoing Series
Enter the Title and Publisher of your favorite regularly published series that debuted in 2016.

Dark Horse » Aliens: Defiance
Writer: Wood, Brian
Artist: Jones, Tristan
Cover Artist: Carnevale, Massimo
In the aftermath of the intense battle against the Colonial Marines, Zula Hendricks and Davis have gone from being merely AWOL to full-blown traitors. As they drift into a quiet part of space to recover and regroup, new crew member Dr. Hollis discovers something in the medical bay that changes everything. Sometimes evil comes from within. o Artist Stephanie Hans joins the team on covers! o The second arc begins here!

03. Favorite Mini-Series
Enter the Title and Publisher of your favorite mini-series debuting in 2016.

Dark Horse » House of Penance
Writer: Tomasi, Peter J.
Artist: Bertram, Ian
Cover Artist: Bertram, Ian
A horrific take on the true story of the Winchester haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of the Winchester rifle from claiming her own life and soul. This is a tale of guilt, ghosts, and guns . . . of how fortune brings misfortune as a grim and determined woman oversees the construction of a house twenty-four hours a day for twenty years, with the simple motto of keep busy building or get busy dying. Collects the six-issue miniseries.

04. Favorite Original Graphic Novel/One Shot
Enter the Title and Publisher of your favorite stand-alone original story. Cannot be part of a series.

Magnetic Press » Brigada Vol. 1 HC
Writer: Fernandez, Enrique
Artist: Fernandez, Enrique
Cover Artist: Fernandez, Enrique
From world famous master-illustrator Enrique Fern

05. Favorite Collection
Enter the Title and Publisher of your favorite trade or hardcover collection of reprinted material.

Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series
Series: Aliens
Hardcover: 184 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Books; 30 Anv edition (April 26, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 12.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds

06. Favorite Comic Book Writer
Enter the name of your favorite Writer in 2016, and the Title & Publisher of your favorite 2016 work by that person.

Rick Remender
Black Science
Tokyo Ghost
7 to Eternity

07. Favorite Comic Book Artist
Enter the name of your favorite Artist in 2016, and the Title & Publisher of your favorite 2016 work by that person.

Tyler Crook (BPRD, 6th Gun)
Harrow County

08. Favorite Comic Book Inker
Enter the name of your favorite Inker in 2016, and the Title & Publisher of your favorite 2016 work by that person.
09. Favorite Comic Book Colorist
Enter the name of your favorite Colorist in 2016, and the Title & Publisher of your favorite 2016 work by that person.

Matt Hollingsworth
Tokyo Ghost, 7 To Eternity, Jessica Jones

10. Favorite Comic Book Cover
Enter the title, issue number, and publisher of your favorite Cover on a single-issue comic book published in 2016.

Rise of The Black Flame #3 (Dark Horse)

11. Favorite Comic Book Film
Enter the name of your favorite comic book-based movie released to theaters in 2016.

Captain America: Civil War

12. Favorite New Comic Book TV Show
Enter the name of your favorite comic book-based TV show released in 2016.

Luke Cage (Netflix)
First 7 episodes were great. Disappointed by 8-13.

13. Favorite Returning Comic Book TV Show
Enter the name of your favorite comic book-based television show that returned for another season in 2016.

Daredevil Season 2 (Netflix)

14. Favorite Comic Book Publisher
Enter the name of your favorite comic book publisher in 2016.
IMAGE
Image » Black Road #1 (MR)
Image » Empty Zone #9 (MR)
Image » Head Lopper #4 Cvr A Maclean
Image » Island #11
Image » Lake of Fire #5 (MR) Cvr A Smith & Fairbairn
Image » Monstress #9 (MR)
Image » Motor Crush #1 Cvr A Tarr
Image » Rumble Vol. 3: Immortal Coil TP (MR)
Image » Seven To Eternity #2 (MR) Cvr A Opena & Hollingsworth
Image » Tokyo Ghost #6 (MR) Cvr A Murphy & Hollingsworth

15. Favorite Comic Book News/Announcement
What News Event /Announcement – dropping in 2016 – had you most excited?

BATWOMAN #1 announcement.

16. Sad Cancellations
Enter the Title and Publisher of the book you were most sad to see get the axe 2016.

DC Comics: Black Canary
Writer: Fletcher, Brendan, Artist: Wu, Annie

17. Biggest Comic Flops
Enter the Title and Publisher of the 2016 title that didn’t meet your expectations.

Captain America
Didn’t like the art, writing or story.

18. Publisher Suggestion Box
Fill in the Publisher, and finish the sentence: “Dear (Publisher Name), please…

Dear Marvel, please stop with the evil Cpt America.

19. Favorite Comic/Pop Culture Website
Enter the link to your favorite Comic/Pop Culture website of 2016.

TheMarySue.com
http://comicbookdb.com/

20. Favorite Comic/Pop Culture Podcast
Enter the name (and optional link) of your favorite Comic/Pop Culture podcast of 2016.

The Weekly Planet/Mr. Sunday Movies

21. Most Anticipated Comic Book Property (Film/Television)
Enter the name of the movie or TV property you are most looking forward to.

Iron Fist -Netflix / March 17, 2017

22. Most Anticipated Comic Book Series
Enter the Title and Publisher of the forthcoming comic you are most looking forward to in 2017.

BATWOMAN #1
Marguerite Bennett (Bombshells), Steve Epting

24 Oct

Blood Bowl 2 Team Cheat Sheet

 

bb2

 

 

 

Blood Bowl II Cheat Sheet

Here are my quick overviews for all the teams in the Blood Bowl 2 video game by Games Workshop and Cyanide Studio… Because I couldn’t find good ones anywhere else.

Races/Teams

Bretonnian

The Skinny

perso_bretonsOn paper, Bretons are the worst teams in Blood Bowl II. They lack any skilled offensive players and have no big, strong, players for brawling with opponents. Their Linemen and Blockers are the weakest of any race and, while their Blitzers are excellent, their Blitzers are also not necessarily the best players in the game.

That said, the strength of any Bretonnian team is obviously its Blitzers. However, a less obvious strength is the fact that their other players are so easily replaceable that there’s no reason to be cautious with them. Just throw waves of blockers and linemen at your opponents to distract them long enough for your blitzers to swoop in and make a play.

bb-bretons


Why Play?

Play a Bretonnian team if you’re looking for a challenge, or if you enjoy playing a more strategic game. The Bretons play a bit like a game of chess, sacrificing pawns so more powerful players are free to move around the field. Figuring out the best use of the Wrestle and Fend skills of your blockers and linemen is the key to success. Once you level up your blitzers they can make excellent two-way players and can dominate the game with a plethora of offensive and defensive skills at their disposal.

Chaos

The Skinny

perso_chaosChaos teams are strictly defensive, brawling, teams. Four powerful Chaos Warriors and a mighty Minotaur give Chaos teams a formidable front line. The Beastmen are adequate linemen who excel at the Blitz because of their Horns Mutation.

Where Chaos teams struggle is on offense because they lack the speed to score quickly or the agility to dodge tackles. They also have no passing or catching skills, and often struggle to even pick up the ball! Your best option with a Chaos team is to forget about the ball and focus on the brawl.

bb-chaos

Why Play?

If you like being a bully, then a Chaos  team is for you! Chaos teams are usually bigger and stronger than their opponents and constantly knock them to the turf. Also, once Chaos players start leveling up, they have access to Chaos Mutations, which can add some real fun and quirky abilities that no other team can match. The key to winning with a Chaos team is managing the Minotaur, who needs constant companions to avoid going “Wild”, and to injure as many opponents as possible during each match. Skill up your Warriors with Block and Mighty Blow, give your Beastmen as many Mutations as they can handle, then have fun storming the castle/end zone!

Dark Elves‎

The Skinny

witchDark Elves are dangerous on the defensive end and mildly scary on offense. With the possibility of fielding up to 10 specialized players, Dark Elf teams are some of the most skilled teams in the game. However, their odd combination of violent skills with poorly armored players makes coming up with good game plans both tricky and essential for success.

Using your players wisely is another key. Blitzers and Linemen can be used as muscle, but must avoid extended brawls. Assassins and Witches can rack up the kills and injuries by picking off weaker opponents, but it’s up to the agile Runners to grab the ball and actually score some points.

bb-darkelves

 

Why Play?

First and foremost, Dark Elves have the coolest aesthetics of all the teams. Cool armor, wicked helmets, and sexy abs are on full display. They even have the only female players in the game, with the Witch Elf, who sports leather short-shorts and thigh high armored boots. Aesthetics aside, Dark Elves are another team to play if you’re looking for a tactical challenge or a new way to play the game. Mobility is the Dark Elves greatest asset. All of their players have high Agility and decent MA, so keep your players on the move and attack your opponent’s’ weak spots with whichever of your skilled players is best for the job.

Dwarves

The Skinny

perso_dwarfsDwarves are slow, but sturdy, and incredibly good at line-play. Most of their players have Block, Thick Skull, and high AV, which makes them hard to knock down and even harder to KO or injure. This makes Dwarf teams highly suited for brawling and trench warfare. Their basic linemen are some of the best in the game with the Block & Tackle skill combination that makes them a nightmare to go against. 2 Blitzers, 2 Troll Slayers, and a Death Roller add even more brute force to Dwarf front lines while Runners take care of scooping up the ball and running for touchdowns.

Speed, however, is the achilles heel of the Dwarves, as they are the slowest teams in the game by far and can be scored on easily if forced to play in the open field. Also, while the Death Roller is very cool, it is also the most unreliable of all the Large Players in the game because it is usually thrown out of the game by the referee after the first touchdown is scored.

bb-dwarves

Why Play?

Dwarf teams are steady and consistent, rarely succumbing to injuries or replacing players due to death. It takes a special kind of patience to play one of these teams, so If you like grinding out wins and punishing your opponents with crushing blocks, then the Dwarfs are for you. Injuries, KOs, & Deaths are your path to victory.

High Elves‎

The Skinny

elvesSpeed, Agility, and the passing game are what High Elves are all about. Every player on an Elf team can throw, catch, and dodge better than most other teams thanks to their high agility. This makes any player on the field a threat to score.

Defense and brawling is where Elf teams struggle, but intelligent use of their excellent Blitzers and versatile Linemen can allow Elf teams to play just enough defense to outscore any opponent.

The Key to Elf teams are their excellent Catchers who have the speed and agility to score touchdowns, but also have the strength to hold their own on defense.

bb-highelves

Why Play?

If you enjoy scoring points and completing passes, then Elf teams are for you. Most Elf teams can score from anywhere on the field in just a turn or two by throwing long passes that other teams wouldn’t even dream of attempting. Also, with all the passing and scoring, it’s easier to level up Elf players and gain all the skills you need to survive and win. High Elf players can be some of the best players in the game at high levels.

Humans‎

The Skinny

perso_humansHuman teams are good, solid, teams with few weaknesses. They have skilled Throwers for offense, solid Linemen for defense, and a decent Large Player in the Ogre for surviving brawls.

The real secret to Human teams, however, is the fact that they can field both 4 Catchers and 4 Blitzers. This allows Humans the flexibility to focus on either offense or defense, depending on who they put in the game and which team they’re facing.

 

bb-humans

Why Play?

It’s always cool to play as Humans because they’re more relatable and they have pronounceable names, not to mention that their helmets and armor sets are also very iconic. As far as playing goes, if you like versatility and don’t want to get railroaded into playing one set style based on your player’s limitations, the Humans are for you. They can excel at just about any play style and, with the proper levelling, can be forged into any kind of team you want.

Lizardmen‎

The Skinny

lizardLizardmen are one of the newest and most bizarre races in the game. Available as DLC or as a pre-order bonus, the Lizardmen add a unique flavor to the game thanks to their odd mix of very big and very small players.

Lizardmen are strong up front with their huge Saurus blockers and even huger Kroxigor big-man leading the way. However, they rely on flocks of weak and vulnerable Skinks to guard their flanks and handle the ball. The Skinks are speedy, but their lack of skills or agility often makes offense a comedy of errors for Lizard teams. Also, Skinks’ get injured and killed a lot. A LOT.

bb-orcs

Why Play?

If you miss the thrill of playing with Halflings, Snotlings, or any other tiny players from Blood Bowls past, then the Lizardmen might be for you. It’s fun to swarm down the field with a pack of Skinks surrounding the ball while the Saurus’ and Kroxigor do the heavy bashing on the line. It’s an interesting combination of squishy speed with sluggish brute force that takes time to master, but is well worth it once you do. Also, the excellent character designs and funny animations make the Lizardmen a real treat to play with.

Orcs‎

The Skinny

perso_orcsOrcs, like Humans, are another skilled and balance race who can excel at many facets of the game. However, Orcs teams tend to lean towards defense more than other races thanks to their powerful Black Orc blockers, sturdy Linemen, and effective Blitzers.

Orcs are also good in a brawl thanks to high AV for most of their players and a near unkillable Troll big man. Its best for Orcs to win a battle of attrition because they lack the speed and catching skills needed for explosive passing offenses. Also, Goblins are unimpressive as either  runners or catchers until they level up and gain some speed or agility.

bb-lizardmen

Why Play?

If you want a team that’s rough and tough like the Dwarves or Chaos, but also has a chance to score more than one TD per game, then the Orcs are for you. One huge plus for Orc teams is that they can have a whopping 15 non-linemen players on their roster, more than any other race. This gives them the ability to field very powerful teams, especially once some of their skilled players are leveled up.

Skaven‎

The Skinny

perso_skavenSkaven teams are all about speed and running the ball. Storm Vermin and Gutter Runners are the heart of any Skaven team, and keeping those players healthy and scampering around the pitch is top priority.

The Rat Ogre is an effective big-man, but Skaven teams don’t have the AV to brawl effectively. The passing game is an option thanks to Skaven Throwers, but it’s more effective with leveled up players who have some catching skills. Finally, Skaven have access to Chaos Mutations as they level up. This gives Skaven teams an unpredictability to their roster as the team improves that can be hard to counter.

bb-skaven

Why Play?

Skaven are funky, dirty, quirky rodents who can run like the dickens. Their linemen are cheap and replaceable and their Storm Vermin blitzers along with a Rat Ogre gives them a good enough front line to allow the Gutter Runners to score in bunches. Also, their access to Chaos Mutations can quickly turn expendable players into cornerstones of your team. If you like being the plucky underdog and playing a fast and chaotic style, then Skaven are for you!

Wood Elves‎

The Skinny

woodWood Elves are the second pre-order/DLC race to be introduced into Blood Bowl II and, like the Lizardmen, they are an interesting mix of players and skills that are at once familiar and strange.

Wood Elves are similar to High Elves, in that they are primarily passing teams, but they differ in a few key areas. First and foremost among the Wood Elves are the Wardancers, which are a fast, expensive, and lightly armored kind of blitzers. Their combination of speed and agility along with Blocking and Dodging skills make them excellent two-way players. Wood Elf Catchers are the next best players on the team, and dangerous deep threats, but their lack of strength and armor make them easy targets for enemy players. Strength and armor are a liability for all the Wood Elf players, except for one curious addition, the Treemen. Treemen give Wood Elf teams some hope of keeping their front lines intact against stronger teams, but their near complete immobility makes them a liability in many situations.

bb-woodelves

Why Play?

If you like playing a fast and wide open style with plenty of passing and skill, then the Wood Elves are for you! More challenging to play with than other Elves, winning with Wood Elves will truly test your skills as a coach.

 

15 Aug

Monthly Comics Update -July 2015

Reviews for July 2015

July was supposed to be a light month of comics for me. The Comics.Community podcast was on hiatus and I had recently pruned my pull list to a paltry few regular titles. Little did I realize that Marvel’s Secret Wars event was going to be so good that I had to pick up several titles. Also, I had forgotten about all of the #1 issues I had earmarked for my short box during the last three months of Previews episodes. All of that added up to nearly a comic a day for the month of July.

 

marvel -A-force #2  
aforceI’m enjoying a look at what the actual heroes are doing during this Battleworld/Secret Wars event, because most of the other books are focusing on villains or anti-hero type characters. The fact that She-Hulk is leading a group of all female heroes also adds an interesting angle to this story as the group dynamics are noticeably different than a male or mixed gender group. Score: It’s Good!

 

marvel -Princess Leia (2015) #5 (of 5)
leiaMy patience has finally run out on the Princess Leia comic. Thankfully, it’s also the final issue of the mini-series. I’ve noticed a downturn in the writing and art of all the Star Wars books after issue 2 or 3, and this book was the weakest of them all to begin with. I know people who like this book, and I’m probably being too harsh, but I had higher hopes for this book than what it delivered. Score: Disappointing.

 

marvel -Red Skull #1 (of 3)
redskullIssue one of this strangely compelling mini-series almost immediately threw the entire premise of the book on its head. A small cadre of heroes and villains are forced to go into the wastelands to find evidence that the Red Skull is dead. In this issue they find out just how doomed their suicide mission really is. Score: Intriguing.

 

 

marvel –Secret Wars #4 (of 8)
secretwarsALL HAIL DOOM! ALL HAIL BENDIS!
I keep asking myself; How is this event so good? It just is, and I need to accept that and move on with enjoying Secret Wars for what it is. The best comic book event ever. There, I said it. Four issues in and it’s already the best, most sophisticated, and most daring event the big two have ever pulled off. DC has tried some daring stuff. 52 was daring. They never pulled it off this well though. For that feat we must all be grateful. Score: Best. Event. Ever.

 

marvel -Shield Vol. 1: Perfect Bullets TP
shieldThe SHIELD comic is a nice blend of the comic book and television versions of the iconic Marvel peacekeeping agency. You get the feeling that they just plucked Coulson et al straight off the TV show and plopped them in the 616 universe without many problems at all. Watching Simmons interact with Ms. Marvel is pure joy for fans of the TV show, and watching Coulson team up with Spider-Man for a mission to Dr. Strange’s house seems like everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe would like to see in its phase 3. Score: It’s Good.

 

boom-studios -Spire #1 (of 8)
spireI was as excited by this title when I heard about it, but the comic itself didn’t actually grab me as something I need to read every week. I might pick this up in trade when it comes out, but it wasn’t the amazing read that I was hoping for. Score: It’s ok. It’s fine.

 

 

image -We Stand On Guard #1 (MR)
standThe next Saga, this is not. I just didn’t really buy into the premise as much as i thought, and none of the characters really interested me. The final blow was that I didn’t really like the art very much either. That’s three strikes as far as I’m concerned and this will be the only issue of the series that I buy. Score: Maybe in trades if the reviews are stellar.

 

 

idw -Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #2 (of 5)
dirkSuch a quirky and interesting series after only two issues. Dirk is somehow miles away from solving any of the mysteries that are swirling all around him like moths around a flame. This series mixes whimsy and tension like no other series I can think of other than Dr. Who. Score: Whimsy!

 

 

dark-horse -Harrow County #3
harrowLike any good tale of terror, Harrow county is giving us answers that just lead to more questions and deeper mysteries. Ghastly spirits haunt an abandoned graveyard in this issue, but are they the monsters or the victims? Score: Creepy!

 

 

 

idw -Star Trek Green Lantern (2011-) #1 (of 6) Reg Rodriguez
trekI’ve always considered Green Lantern to be a one-man Starship Enterprise, so seeing these two iconic franchises together is like a bit of personal fanfic come to life. That said, what’s most interesting here is how this crossover delves into Green Lantern mythos by tackling the Spectrum War. Other than that, this wasn’t a particularly good first issue because it was 99% setup and didn’t do much to get me excited about the series. The last page reveal was fun though. Score: Fanfic!

 

Featured Review

boom-studios -Strange Fruit #1 Main Cvrs
fruit

I’m kicking myself for not immediately recognizing the lynching reference made by this book’s title. Strange Fruit is about race relations in the Jim Crow era south, a time in which outright hostile and violent racism was the norm, and it’s a serious and important backdrop for any story. This is why I was so confused by the fantastical element that was introduced into the story at the end of this book.

I’m going to spoil things a bit those who haven’t read the first issue. So, skip this review completely if you want to avoid spoilers.

At the end of issue #1, a spaceman drops from the sky and saves one of our characters from being lynched by a local chapter of the KKK. The interdiction of an alien plays out like a scene from a superhero comic and distracts from the seriousness of the story. It turns what could have been an impactful study of our country’s dark past into a backdrop for some kind of sci-fi fantasy tale.

At best, the inclusion of an alien who looks like an African Adonis has a real ‘Brother from Another Planet’ kind of feel to it. At worst, it smacks of ‘Inglorious Basterds’ style wish fulfillment and pseudo-history.

The difference between this story and ‘Brother’, however, is that the late 70’s / early 80’s era New York City explored in that movie was used to shine a light on current social injustices that were not widely explored at the time. Mainstream audiences at the time either weren’t aware,or were willfully ignorant of the depths of racism that still existed. Thus, when an alien from another planet chose to camouflage himself as a Black American in order to blend in with humanity, then discovered that he did anything but blend in due to racial prejudices, it came as a shock and a lesson to the audience. My question for Strange Fruit is, what exactly are we going to learn about the oppression of Jim Crow era Mississippi that we didn’t already know? It was a terrible time. We all know this. How does adding an alien into the mix change our understanding of the era?

I’m really going to keep a critical eye on this series to see what questions it both poses and answers because the backdrop they’ve chosen for their story is not one that should be used lightly or fruitlessly. Score: It better pay off big.

 

dc-comics -Black Canary (2015-) #2
canaryThis is a bit of a breather issue as we get a training montage with BC teaching the band how to defend themselves, and we also get some history behind the band as a former member shows up to add a little personal drama into the mix. We don’t learn much about the bad guys in this issue or why they’re after Canary & crew, but that’s fine. Let’s give the story some room to breath after a cramped #1 issue. Score: Let it breath.

 

image -Empty Zone #2 (MR)
emptyzoneWow. What a second issue this was. The first issue was great, and this second effort just added to the greatness. We learned about the world, characters, and plot with deftly executed storytelling that answered our questions then slapped us right across the mouth with new ones. This is the best comic out there right now. I guarantee. Score: Simply the best.

 

 

idw -Godzilla In Hell #1 (of 5) 
godzilla2This was an interesting first issue in which there was no dialog, save for an occasional ROAOAOAOAAORRRR! It is literally Godzilla tromping through the first level of Hell, Dante’s Inferno style. I liked this issue and I liked the wordless storytelling, but I have some philosophical questions. Does a giant radioactive lizard really feel burdened by sins? Do the moral and ethical judgements of Heaven and Hell really apply to the King of Monsters? I’m not so sure. The only thing I do know is that none of that holds up against radioactive laser-breath. ROAOAOAOAAORRRR! Score: Gojira is Lord.

 

marvel -Hail Hydra #1
hydraThis was an odd little part of the Secret Wars event that has me wondering who’s who and what’s what in this sprawling event. It seems like some people understand that they are on a world composed of other kingdoms, and other people do not. This leaves me wondering if the version of Ian Zola-Rogers we meet in this story is one of the people who don’t know they’re on Battleworld, or if this is somehow the 616 version who just ended up here. In the few issues of Captain America I’ve read recently, Falcon-America and Ian-Nomad were messing around with dimensional transportation technology they stumbled across in a Hydra base. Maybe this is the direct result of that story. I don’t know. Score: I’m lost and it’s my fault.

 

image -Island #1 (MR)
islandI loved the first story in this anthology magazine by Emma Rios, but the other two didn’t really grab my attention. A touching prose-only essay by Kelly Sue Deconnick was a nice break between comics and showed that good writers can hold your attention in any medium. Overall, I wasn’t overly excited by this first issue, but I am going to continue to support this experiment in comicbook form, as I feel it has too much artistic merit to dismiss after one issue. Score: At least It’s art, man.

 

marvel -Planet Hulk #3
hulkBLARGH! I want so badly to love this comic. Unfortunately, I do not love this comic. After only three issues the premise is wearing awfully thin and the writing is breaking down terribly. Characters are acting irrationally just to move the plot along, which is one of the worst sins a writer can make. The sin is compounded when it’s a version of my favorite character ever, Steve Rogers, who is the one being written irrationally. Score: Disappointed!

 

dc-comics -Gotham By Midnight #7
gothamI haven’t been a fan of the new art and the new direction of the story since the first arc ended in issue #5. Although I liked the story in this issue just fine, I am definitely missing Ben Templesmith’s art. Score: Losing interest.

 

 

idw -The Infinite Loop #4 (of 6)
loopTime Travellin’ Teddy threatens to destroy all of space and time unless the villains behind the death of her beloved Ano come out of hiding and face her. This book is coming apart at the seems, as all the different plot threads are being pulled at once. Hopefully, everything can be pulled back together over the final two issues because it would be a shame if it stopped making sense completely and ruined what started out as such a promising adventure. Score: Time is fleeting.

 

dc-comics -JLA Gods and Monsters Batman #1
godsbatmanMan. I thought this was going to be at least an interesting premise, but the writing was so flat and the art so devoid of energy that I had trouble keeping any interest in reading this book to the end. I think I did, but I can’t really remember anything that happened other than Batman killed a few people that he normally wouldn’t have.  Score: Forgettable.

 

 

marvel -Old Man Logan #3
The rabbit hole that is Secret Wars runs very deep, my friends, and this issue of Old Man Logan takes us farther into the warren than we’ve ever been. We find Logan mysteriously transported to the land of Stark, where Tony is the Baron but the Technovirus is king. Where is this story leading us, and to what end? I’m not even sure of Logan’s motivation in this story, other than he knows something is wrong and won’t stop until he finds out what. Typical Wolverine motivation, truthfully. Score: Still a good old time.

 

dc-comics -Batgirl Annual #3
bgannualThis was an odd non sequitur of a story that saw Babs crossing path with a shadowy government agency to take down a random terrorist group operating in Gotham City. We get a hint at what Dick Greyson has been up to lately and we learn that Babs can recognise him by the contours of his posterior even while her mind is being fooled by hypno-technology. Other than that, kind of an unremarkable story. Score: Batgirl of Butt-side.

 

dc-comics -Batgirl (2011-) #42
batgirlLivewire is a fun villain for Babs and Robo Bats to tackle, though it is pretty hard to believe that Jim Gordon can’t immediately recognise his own daughter as Batgirl, especially in her new costume. It’s a comic book thing, but still. I worry that this title may have peaked with the controversial issue #37, as that’s the last story that really made an impact on me. Score: It’s more Batgirl.

 

dc-comics -JLA Gods and Monsters Superman #1
JLAGodsChanging Superman’s origin story to be the son of poor immigrant farmers should make for a fascinating social commentary. There were some moments of fascination and some attempts at social commentary, but overall the writing and art fell flat for me. For some reason, both books in this Gods and Monsters series sounded better in theory than they ended up being in practice. Maybe it was just the execution, or maybe it’s just best to not fix what ain’t broken. Score: Not interested.

 

marvel -Star Wars (2015-) #7
starwarsThe closer we get to the new movie, the less I’m interested in filling in the cracks of the old stories. What was Ben Kanobi doing between episode III & IV? Moping in the desert, not being a Jedi, and creepin on young Luke Skywalker. These are not things I needed to see. His guilt at forsaking his Jedi ways is compelling, and the art was improved in this book, but it’s not enough to keep me buying this title. Episode Issue VIII will be the last issue of this comic in my pull list. Score: The Force snoozes.

11 Aug

I’ve Got Issues 08-11-2015

Featured Review -July

I’m still crafting my massive, month-spanning, review for July, but this gem just begged for a spotlight. So, I pulled it from the forthcoming post and sent it up early just to make sure it had proper room to breath.

boom-studios -Strange Fruit #1 
fruitI’m kicking myself for not immediately recognizing the lynching reference made by this book’s title. Strange Fruit is about race relations in the Jim Crow era south, a time in which outright hostile and violent racism was the norm, and it’s a serious and important backdrop for any story. This is why I was so confused by the fantastical element that was introduced into the story at the end of this book.

I’m going to spoil things a bit those who haven’t read the first issue. So, skip this review completely if you want to avoid spoilers.

At the end of issue #1, a spaceman drops from the sky and saves one of our characters from being lynched by a local chapter of the KKK. The interdiction of an alien plays out like a scene from a superhero comic and distracts from the seriousness of the story. It turns what could have been an impactful study of our country’s dark past into a backdrop for some kind of sci-fi fantasy tale.

At best, the inclusion of an alien who looks like an African Adonis has a real ‘Brother from Another Planet’ kind of feel to it. At worst, it smacks of ‘Inglorious Basterds’ style wish fulfillment and pseudo-history.

The difference between this story and ‘Brother’, however, is that the late 70’s / early 80’s era New York City explored in that movie was used to shine a light on current social injustices that were not widely explored at the time. Mainstream audiences at the time either weren’t aware,or were willfully ignorant of the depths of racism that still existed. Thus, when an alien from another planet chose to camouflage himself as a Black American in order to blend in with humanity, then discovered that he did anything but blend in due to racial prejudices, it came as a shock and a lesson to the audience. My question for Strange Fruit is, what exactly are we going to learn about the oppression of Jim Crow era Mississippi that we didn’t already know? It was a terrible time. We all know this. How does adding an alien into the mix change our understanding of the era?

I’m really going to keep a critical eye on this series to see what questions it both poses and answers because the backdrop they’ve chosen for their story is not one that should be used lightly or fruitlessly. Score: It better pay off big.

18 Jun

E3 2015 Microsoft

E3 2015 Day 2

My thoughts on video game press conferences in general is that they’re a big waste of my time. Not that they’re a waste of everyone’s time, because clearly they create buzz and excitement, but watching developers and executives awkwardly introduce their games is not how I want to spend my time.

That being said, I did watch the guys from Kinda Funny do their pre and post conference livestreams all day on Sunday and Monday, so I must have some interest in these press conferences.

Anyway, I’ve watched and read all that I need to know, and so I’m separating the announcements from each publisher into three categories based on how much they matter to me. Your results may vary.

Major Announcements: Things that I care about or that I feel are important to gaming as a hobby.

Minor Announcements: Things that I may be interested in, but don’t have any deep feelings about, or things that might be interesting to a large segment of gamers who are not me.

Inconsequential Announcements: Things that have no interest to me and will probably only interest a small subset of gamers.

Microsoft

The XBOX One was in desperate need for games to play, and Microsoft delivered its player base a welcome influx of games to look forward to in the very near future. Big games. Small games. New games. Old games. The XBONE now has them all.

360 compatibility was a big step that instantly adds games to the XBONE library. Even if it only allows people to port over their XBLA games and a few select others, it’s still a big move for Microsoft and their player base.

This was exactly the press conference Microsoft needed, at exactly the right time; before the holiday shopping season.

  • Major Announcements

-HALO 5 OFFICIAL
Microsoft kicked off its E3 with a confident and varied showing, mixing blockbuster reveals and a slew of independent games. There was new gameplay footage of Halo 5: Guardians as 343 Studios look to expand the universe. Impressive four-player co-op and splendid sci-fi visuals were the order of the day.

-GEARS 4 ANNOUNCED
Microsoft announced Gears of War 4 for the Xbox One; due out ‘holiday 2016’.

Gears 4 is also the first game in the series developed by The Coalition (formerly Black Tusk Studios) after initial creators Epic Games sold the rights to Microsoft.

The footage I saw showed a pair of CoG soldiers running from a raging storm as the environment crumbled around them. The chainsaw bayonet and other Gears staples were showed off, as was a mysterious new enemy. Is it the return of the Locusts, or something worse?

Microsoft also announced that there will be a remastered version of the first Gears of War. Gears of War Ultimate Edition will have 1080p and 60fps gameplay, and a beta for the multiplayer.

-FORZA 6 RELEASE DATE
I’m not much of a Forza fan, but it is a big game with a large fan base. Beautiful cars zipping around scenic tracks with all the power the XBOX ONE can muster will be coming your way December 15th 2015.

-NEW TOMB RAIDER
“Rise of the Tomb Raider” will be released for the Xbox One this holiday season. The cinematic shown at E3 was well directed, featured bears, bows, and jumping off cliffs, and portrayed Lara Croft’s tomb raiding as a coping mechanism for the mental trauma she endured in the last game. Interesting stuff.

Gameplay footage showed that Lara is still more survivor than badass action hero, but it does build a nice character arc for her. The developers have taken a cinematic approach to this series by introducing Lara as a novice, accidental, tomb raider the first game. Then making her more capable and determined to find her true self in the sequel. Hopefully, a probable third game is where she’ll adopt the gun-toting badassery she’s known for.
As far as reboots go, the new Tomb Raider series may be the best ever when all is said and done.

  • Minor Announcements

-RECORE ADVENTURE GAME
There was a look at ReCore, an action-adventure video game designed by Keiji Inafune and Armature Studio. The game will be released exclusively for Xbox One in the second quarter of 2016.

The cinematic for this game was about a girl and her robot dog. It appears that “ReCore” refers to the memory core of the robots in this world, which can be swapped into new hardware as a form of upgrading or repairing your robot pal.

-XBOX INDIE
Xbox focussed heavily on its ID@Xbox program for independent developers, with showings for several games from smaller studios and Indie developers.

Side-scrolling platformer, Cuphead, was the indie game that caught my eye due to its amazing 1930s cartoon art style. The developer’s appreciation and dedication to that style is heartwarming, even if the game is about making a deal with the devil.

-360 COMPATIBILITY
Xbox One backward compatibility is rolling out  this year for a select list of games. Mass Effect is the only game on the limited roster that I’m interested in, but hopefully the list will grow over time.

360 discs do not play natively but trigger a download of a compatible file, while downloadable titles appear automatically.

  • Inconsequential Announcements

-SEA OF THIEVES
There was a new Rare game announced, an open-world pirate adventure named Sea of Thieves. It looked a bit too kid-friendly for my tastes, but if I had a younger child who played games then this looks like a good one. Reminded me of World of Warcraft in terms of visual style and mechanics. Also, it’s an MMO.

-RARE REPLAY ANNOUNCED
Collection of 30 classic games from Rare studio. I love the idea of retro games being re-released on new consoles, but there isn’t much here that I’m personally excited about. Battletoads and Perfect Dark are probably the biggest names on this list.

-NEW XBOX CONTROLLER
A new ‘Elite wireless’ controller was unveiled and it’s cool, but I already have two controllers that seem to work just fine. Maybe when one breaks I’ll consider going ‘elite.’

-HOLOLENSE VR HEADSET
Microsoft used Minecraft to demo its augmented reality headset, Hololens. Minecraft really is the perfect game for VR because of its low-fi graphics and first-person immersion, but I still don’t care and I definitely don’t want any kind of headset to play games with.

17 Jun

E3 2015 Bethesda

E3 2015 Day 1

My thoughts on video game press conferences in general is that they’re a big waste of my time. Not that they’re a waste of everyone’s time, because clearly they create buzz and excitement, but watching developers and executives awkwardly introduce their games is not how I want to spend my time.

That being said, I did watch the guys from Kinda Funny do their pre and post conference livestreams all day on Sunday and Monday, so I must have some interest in these press conferences.

Anyway, I’ve watched and read all that I need to know, and so I’m separating the announcements from each publisher into three categories based on how much they matter to me. Your results may vary.

Major Announcements: Things that I care about or that I feel are important to gaming as a hobby.

Minor Announcements: Things that I may be interested in, but don’t have any deep feelings about, or things that might be interesting to a large segment of gamers who are not me.

Inconsequential Announcements: Things that have no interest to me and will probably only interest a small subset of gamers.

Bethesda

Bethesda’s first ever E3 press conference was a success due to one of the biggest and most anticipated announcements of the year, Fallout 4. Sure they had a couple of other announcements that might get some people excited, like Doom & Dishonored 2, but for the most part it was all about Fallout.

  • Major Announcements

FALLOUT 4 ARRIVES NOVEMBER 10TH
The rebooted Fallout series was one of the breakout hits on the last generation of consoles and the announcement of a new entry will give many next gen RPG players something to look forward to once they’ve tired of Witcher 3.

I grew a bit tired of Fallout after playing all of Fallout 3, twice, and all of the DLC, twice. I grew so tired that I never did open my copy of New Vegas. However, this announcement has rekindled my interest in guiding a hopeful young vault-dweller out into the wastelands for a whole new adventure.

The addition of crafting is exciting because one of the disappointments I had in Fallout 3 was my inability to have a large impact on the world, except during story missions. I also like crafting as a solution to the junk problem that Fallout games always suffer from. The junk is neat, and shows the remnants of a destroyed world, but collecting it just to sell it for pennies (caps) was always annoying.

Overall, this is probably the biggest single game announcement of the entire conference, and it happened on day one.

-DOOM REBOOT IN SPRING 2016
We saw some Doom. Doom is back and it’s Doom-like, but my enthusiasm is not high. I played Doom back in the day when it was revolutionary, but ever since that day the entire genre has been racing ahead of this franchise to prove how much better every game is than Doom.

Shooters now have stories, and physics, and characters, and realistic guns (oh, the guns!), and they have advanced further in terms of technical achievements than any other genre. So, going back to a Doom-style Doom game seems a bit regressive.

Maybe that’s the point though. Maybe we’ve reached a point in video games where the arrow-straight and constant march of progress is bending into the more cyclical shape shared by other mediums. Where things that were old and passe suddenly become retro and hip after a generation has passed.

Today we see strategy games returning to their turn-based roots. We see the return of platformers and side-scrollers that seem directly descended from games of the late 80’s and early 90’s. So why can’t shooters go back to their run & gun origins? Doom is the perfect shooter to jump on this retro gaming bandwagon. I just hope it fares better than the ill-fated Duke Nukem.

Also, there will be level creation and modding support.

  • Minor Announcements

DISHONORED 2 IS COMING
Dishonored was not a game I played in 2012. I thought about playing it. I had it on my Amazon wish list. I never could pull the trigger on buying it, though, and I’m not entirely sure why. It looked like an interesting game set in an interesting world, but the gameplay just didn’t hook me. I’ve just never been a huge fan of the sneaky-sneaky, murder-murder, type games. I had enough of that playing Splinter Cell.

I know you could go through missions without murdering people if you tried hard enough, but it still doesn’t interest me enough to get real excited for a sequel. The footage they showed at the press conference honestly looked like more of the same, just now with demon limb powers and land mines. I guess that’s cool, but still not enough for me.

The original game is on sale right now on Steam, so maybe I’ll give it a try. Maybe.

Also, you’ll be able to switch between playing as two characters, original Dishonored protagonist Corvo Attano and his ward Emily Kaldwin. So, that’s kinda neat.

  • Inconsequential Announcements

THE ELDER SCROLLS CARD GAME
The Elder Scrolls Legends will most likely be Bethesda’s take on Hearthstone. The free-to-play strategy card game is coming to PC and iPad at some point this year.

A FALLOUT MOBILE GAME LAUNCHED NOW
Fallout Shelter is essentially just advertising for Fallout 4.

11 May

Page to Screen May 2015

page

Here are my rankings for movies & TV based on comic books that were produced in 2015.

 

 

 

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Fans are always asking for movies that feel like watching a comic book come to life. Well, this movie provides that feeling in spades. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s the most comic book of any comic book movie, ever.

2. Daredevil (Netflix season 1)
Where AoU was a flawed but fun adaptation, Daredevil was a nearly perfect example of how to integrate comic book characters and stories into a more believable world. This series was possibly the most well-written comic book adaptation ever.

3. The Walking Dead (season 5)
The second half of season 5 saw Rick Grimes and crew return to civilization in a way that made them and us consider the possibility that living a nomadic and barbaric life might actually be the best way to survive. The show took time to breath and explore both its characters and its central themes of survival and family. It’s still the most mature comic book adaptation in many ways.

4. Agent Carter (season 1)
Benefiting from a series limited to only 8 episodes, Agent Carter was able to pour all of its writing, ideas, and fabulous 1940’s nostalgia into a neat little package. Peggy Carter is the most likable hero in the MCU other than the good Captain himself, and this series was a great vehicle for her. It wasn’t a perfect show, but it was very good and it left me wanting more.

5. Agents of Shield (season 2)
Season 2 of AoS has been much more consistent than season 1, with far fewer filler episodes, but it still falls short of other adaptations in the writing and visual departments especially when compared to its sister show, Agent Carter. Still, it gives us a weekly dose of the MCU and does so with likable characters who struggle and evolve over the course of each season. It doesn’t provide many great moments, but it does provide a heaping helping of good ones, and very few bad ones. (Edit: The season 2 finale was bonkers and provides several great moments that viewers will be talking about all summer. #Donttakefishoil, #FitzSimm….oh, #SecretAvengers)

6. Constantine (season 1)
Like many shows, Constantine got off to a slow start but was carried along by the charisma of its lead actor. In this case Matt Ryan played the smarmy, good-for-nothing, anti-hero known as John Constantine about as well as one could on network TV. This TV version is a bastard with a heart of gold, whereas the comic book version is just a bastard. Unfortunately, by the time the show caught up with the character there were already rumors that it wouldn’t be back for a season 2. Hopefully it gets renewed somewhere because it was just hitting its stride creatively near the end.

7. The Flash (season 1)
Season 1 has been a blur (boo! yes I went there!) and has included way more story and lore than any one season of a show has a right to include. So far we’ve been introduced to a cross-over with Arrow, Metahumans, FireStorm, The Atom, The Rogues, Reverse Flash, time travel, and Gorilla Grod. Even Agents of SHIELD didn’t move that fast in season 1. This fast-paced storytelling has managed to cram a lot of comic book goodness into one season, but at times I find myself needing a break and skipping an episode or two before I get back into the series. It’s the same problem I had with the first few seasons of Arrow, so it’s no surprise this show is produced by the same people. While Flash is one of the best offering from DC in 2015, it still has a ways to go before it competes with any of the Marvel shows.

8. Teen Titans Go! (Animated)
I can’t say that I watch this show very often, or that I like it as much as other Teen Titan cartoons, but it is consistently delightful and probably the best animated comic book property still being produced.

9. Gotham (season 1)
Season 1 was a real roller coaster of emotions for me as the show had the potential to be very good but consistently fell short of that mark. Gotham gave us a few strong episodes but also too many weak ones. The writing and characterization on this show fell short in many ways, particularly when compared to a show like Daredevil. Daredevil showed how to include campy and complex comic book lore into a TV show with finesse and sophistication, whereas Gotham used ham-fisted cameos and on-the-nose writing whenever faced with its own Batman lore. The worst offense for Gotham came during the season finale when I realized that after 22 episodes none of the characters actually changed or became anything more than what they were at the beginning of the show.

10. Arrow (season 3)
Hoo boy. This is the most wildly inconsistent comic book show on TV. Some episodes are good, some are bad, a few are better than good, and too many are terrible. The characters go through wild mood swings for improbable reasons and it too often resembles a daytime soap opera more than a superhero show. I like the Arrow as a character, and the actor who plays him, but the supporting cast is too inconsistently written and the plots have too many holes for me to keep watching every week.

11. iZombie (Season 1)
It seems like a nice show, but honestly I haven’t given it much of a chance. The first problem with it is that it’s not a comic that I’m familiar with. Secondly, it’s on at the exact same time as AoS and I typically watch my shows in real-time. Finally, and this may be the most petty complaint, I don’t like seeing the main character eat brains. No matter how she tries to dress them up with real food, it still turns my stomach.

12. Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015, animated)
I was not impressed by this animated offering in the slightest. The animation was fine, but not great, and same can be said for the voice acting, but the dialog and characterizations were incredibly disappointing. The versions of the DC characters in this adaptation were all of the worst versions of the characters. I actually got so frustrated with them that I cut this movie off after about 30 minutes.

13. Powers (PSN season 1)
I only watched the pilot episode, but was so disappointed in what I saw that I didn’t bother exploring how to find the other episodes. The writing, acting, and overall look of the show was not very good and I was particularly disappointed in the production values of the sets. The leading man, played by Sharlto Copley, seemed compelling, but he just couldn’t prop up the entire production.

 

Properties I did not watch in 2015:
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Ultimate Spider-Man (Animated)
Avengers Assemble (Animated)
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (Animated)

28 Jan

2014 ZebuNation Awards (Writing)

awards

Presenting the first ever Zebu Nation Awards For Excellence in Comics. Nominations.

Most Prolific (Writer)

Being a prolific writer demonstrates a command over not only the art of writing, but also the craft. Anyone can take years of their life to produce one good book. Likewise, anyone can string together vaguely coherent sentences to churn out mounds of literary garbage. It takes a special writer, however, to produce both quality and quantity in equal measure.

The nominees for 2014 are:

JASON AARON
A great year for Aaron with two Thor titles, two X-titles, a blockbuster event from Marvel, and an acclaimed creator-owned title from Image.

Publisher                  Title                                                                    Issues*
Marvel Comics        Amazing X-Men (2014-Present)               19
Marvel Comics        Original Sin (2014)                                        55
Image Comics         Southern Bastards (2014-Present)        18
Marvel Comics        Thor (2014-Present)                                     12
Marvel Comics        Thor: God of Thunder (2012-2014)        25
Marvel Comics        Wolverine and the X-Men (2011-2014)  7

 

RICK REMENDER
Remender continues his steady creator-owned output with three acclaimed series from Image, while also adding three flagship Marvel titles.

Publisher                   Title                                                                Issues*
Marvel Comics        Avengers X-Men: AXIS (2014-Present) 17
Image Comics        Black Science (2013-Present)                  15
Marvel Comics       Captain America (2012-2014)                  32
Image Comics        Deadly Class (2014-Present)                    23
Image Comics        Low (2014-Present)                                     10
Marvel Comics       Uncanny Avengers (2012-2014)              30
Marvel Comics        Winter Soldier: Bitter March (2014)      13

 

KIERON GILLEN
Gillen really cranked out the issues for Avatar Press while also producing a breakout hit with Wicked+Divine from Image and one of Marvels best graphic novels in Origin II.

Publisher                   Title                                                                Issues*
Avatar Press         God is Dead: The Book of Acts (2014)       6
Marvel Comics       Iron Man (2012-2014)                                    27
Marvel Comics        Origin II (2014)                                                12
Avatar Press         Uber (2013-Present)                                        68
Image Comics         Wicked+The Divine (2014-Present)        20
Marvel Comics        Young Avengers (2013-2014)                    4

 

CHARLES SOULE
What didn’t Charles Soule do in 2014? Killed Wolverine, Doomed Superman, ended Swamp Thing & Wonder Woman. Throw in an acclaimed run on She-Hulk and a creator owned title from Oni Press just for fun.

Publisher                   Title                                                                       Issues*
Marvel Comics        Death of Wolverine (2014)                            35
Marvel Comics        The Logan Legacy (2014-Present)              4
Marvel Comics        Inhuman (2014-Present)                                20
Oni Press            Letter 44 (2013-Present)                                       14
DC Comics         Red Lanterns (2011-Present)                              15
DC Comics         Red Lanterns: Futures End                                   2
Marvel Comics        She-Hulk (2014-Present)                                20
DC Comics         Superman/Wonder Woman (2013-Present) 37
DC Comics         Superman/Wonder Woman: Futures End     2
DC Comics         Superman: Doomed (2014)                                 7
DC Comics         Swamp Thing (2011-Present)                             14
DC Comics         Swamp Thing: Futures End                                  2
Marvel Comics        Thunderbolts (2012-2014)                             18
DC Comics         Wonder Woman: Futures End                              2

 

NATHAN EDMONDSON
Edmondson became the go-to-guy for spies in 2014 with titles like Black Widow, Deathlok, Punisher & Splinter Cell.

Publisher                   Title                                                                Issues*
Marvel Comics        Black Widow (2014-Present)                27
Marvel Comics        Deathlok (2014-Present)                        6
Image Comics         Dream Merchant (2013-2014)               3
Marvel Comics        Original Sins (2014)                                  1
Marvel Comics        Punisher (2014-Present)                        22
Dynamite Ent.        Splinter Cell: Echoes (2014)                  3

 

CULLEN BUNN
Writing for books ranging from Godzilla to Green Lantern, Bunn racked up an astonishing number of bylines in 2014 and worked with just about every comic book company that mattered.
Publisher                   Title                                                                   Issues*
Dynamite Ent.        Army of Darkness (2014-Present)            14
Oni Press                  Brides of Helheim                                           4
Marvel Comics        Deadpool vs. Carnage (2014)                    5
BOOM! Studios        Empty Man (2014)                                         9
Marvel Comics        Fearless Defenders (2013-2014)               3
IDW Publishing       Godzilla: Cataclysm (2014)                         12
DC Comics         Green Lantern/New Gods:Godhead (2014) 2
DC Comics                Lobo (2014-Present)                                      2
Marvel Comics        Magneto (2014-Present)                              25
Marvel Comics        Night of the Living Deadpool (2014)      9
Dynamite Ent.        Shadow (2012-2014)                                      2
DC Comics         Sinestro (2014-Present)                                      12
DC Comics         Sinestro: Futures End                                          4
Oni Press         Sixth Gun (2010-Present)                                     10
Oni Press         Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead (2014-2015)      3
Oni Press         Terrible Lizard                                                           3

*Issue count tabulated using www.stashmycomics.com. May contain variants. Does not contain collected volumes or reprints.

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Best Old Favorites (Writers)

Some creators have been so excellent for so long that excellence is always expected, but scarcely rewarded. This award judges the best of the best in their own category, by their own set of standards, and corrects the injustice of taking these masters of the medium for granted.

Best Old Favorites recognizes the well-established creator who produced simply the best work or works during the year, compared against their own career body of work.

The nominees for 2014 are:

DAN SLOTT
Dan has been THE man for Spider-Man since 2008, writing just about every Spidey story of consequence during that span. In 2014 Slott kicked it up a notch with the end of Superior Spider-Man and the return of Peter Parker. He also spread his wings with a fresh and exciting take on Silver Surfer.
Publisher                 Title                                                                      Issues
Marvel Comics       All-New Marvel Now! Point One (2014) 3
Marvel Comics       Amazing Spider-Man (2014-Present)      95
Marvel Comics       Silver Surfer (2014-Present)                       16
Marvel Comics       Superior Spider-Man (2013-2014)            41

 

GREG PAK
The man who brought us World War Hulk and Incredible Hercules launched a Storm solo title in 2014 and also played in DC Comics toy box with a solid run on Action Comics and a mind-bending twist on the classic Batman/Superman team up.
Publisher                 Title                                                                      Issues
DC Comics             Action Comics (2011-Present)                     24
DC Comics             Batman/Superman (2013-Present)           43
Valiant Comics     Eternal Warrior (2013-2014)                         11
Marvel Comics      Storm (2014-Present)                                     9
DC Comics              Superman: Doomed (2014)                          2
Dynamite Ent.      Turok, Dinosaur Hunter (2014-Present)  87

 

WARREN ELLIS
One of the largest personalities and most respected names in the history of comics, Ellis still managed to surprise and thrill in 2014 with a genius take on C-List superhero Moon Knight. Ellis also racked up the critical acclaim with two intense and heady series from Image.
Publisher                 Title                                                                      Issues
Marvel Comics      Avengers Assemble (2012-2014)                5
Marvel Comics      Moon Knight (2014-Present)                       19
Image Comics      Supreme Blue Rose (2014-Present)           6
Image Comics      Trees (2014-Present)                                         7

 

GRANT MORRISON
Another heavyweight in the comics industry, Grant Morrison needs no introduction. Though he wasn’t the busiest writer in 2014, he did manage to bring an end to DC’s New 52 with the genre bending mini-series Multiversity. In his spare time he also used the new, Hollywood-based, Legendary Comics to satirized Hollywood in his Annihilator series. Morrison is so meta.
Publisher                        Title                                                                      Issues
DC Comics                      Multiversity (2014-Present)                          7
Legendary Comics      Annihilator (2014-Present)                            5

 

ROBERT KIRKMAN
The man who brought us Invincible and The Walking Dead… Brought us more Invincible and Walking Dead in 2014. Consistent excellence is still excellence and Kirkmans two blockbuster series kept on rolling in 2014 with new and interesting plots to keep these long-form comics as relevant as ever.
Publisher                         Title                                                                     Issues
Image Comics                Invincible (2003-Present)                           15
Image Comics                Outcast (2014-Present)                               16
Image Comics                Super Dinosaur (2011-Present)               3
Image Comics                Walking Dead (2003-Present)                   34

 

ED BRUBAKER
The man who turned Bucky Barnes into The Winter Soldier has seemingly turned his back on Marvel and DC by producing only creator owned books in 2014. Long known as the king of crime, suspense, and noir, Brubaker hits a triple in 2014 with a spy series (Velvet), a crime series (Fade Out), and a horror/noir series (Fatale).
Publisher                         Title                                                                      Issues
Image Comics                Fade Out (2014-Present)                               9
Image Comics                Fatale (2012-2014)                                           9
Image Comics                Velvet (2013-Present)                                     8

 

MIKE MIGNOLA
Mike Mignola does Mike Mignola like no one else. His distinctive art and writing styles continue to thrill and chill with excellent new mini-series from Hellboy, BPRD, Baltimore, and the underrated Lobster Johnson.
Publisher                           Title                                                                             Issues
Dark Horse Comics      Abe Sapien (2013-Present)                                  11
Dark Horse Comics      B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth (2013-Present)            17
Dark Horse Comics      Baltimore: Chapel of Bones (2014)                   2
Dark Horse Comics      Baltimore: The Witch of Harju (2014)              3
Dark Horse Comics      Baltimore: The Wolf and the Apostle (2014) 2
Dark Horse Comics      Dark Horse Presents (2011-2014)                      2
Dark Horse Comics      Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. (2014-Present)        2
Dark Horse Comics      Hellboy: In Hell (2012-Present)                           2
Dark Horse Comics      Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster (2014)       5

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My Eisner Nominees (Best Writer)

The Eisner is the premier award in the comic book industry. Therefore, I will hijack the prestige of this award and declare my own winners from the list of Eisner nominees. Some of the following nominees may have qualified for other Zebu Nation awards, but I figure that being nominated for an Eisner should be enough for them and there’s no need to hog other awards.

Kelly Sue DeConnick
Kelly Sue makes a strong bid for an Eisner with a critical darling series from Image and a fan-favorite take on the iconic Captain Marvel.

Pretty Deadly (Image);
Captain Marvel (Marvel)

Matt Fraction
The Eisner trend seems to be writers with a pairing of one excellent indie comic and one outstanding “big two” comic from either Marvel or DC. Fraction is no exception thanks to his critical darling, Sex Criminals, and main-stream hit, Hawkeye. Throw in the end of the Fantastic Four just for extra credit.

Sex Criminals (Image);
Hawkeye, (Marvel)
Fantastic Four, FF (Marvel)

Jonathan Hickman
Hickman always confuses his readers, but in East of West and Manhattan Projects he confuses us in the best possible ways. Add to that a world-changing event for the Avengers and we may have an Eisner winner.

East of West, (Image)
The Manhattan Projects (Image);
Avengers, Infinity (Marvel)

Scott Snyder
Critics and fans agree that Snyder’s Batman title is far and away the best thing to come from DC’s New 52. Throw in two creepy gothic horror titles that fit perfectly with DC’s Vertigo line and you have an Eisner worthy 2014.

Batman (DC);
American Vampire (DC/Vertigo)
The Wake (DC/Vertigo)

Eric Stephenson
I’m going to be honest. I’ve never even heard of Eric Stephenson or his comic, Nowhere Men, until I saw this list of Eisner nominees. Either that means he is the favorite to win the award or this is some kind of prank by the Eisner committee.

Nowhere Men (Image)

Brian K. Vaughan
One of the best writers in comics has seemingly focused all his attention on what has quickly become everyones favorite comic book, Saga. Good move.

Saga (Image)

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