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Graphic Novelty²

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November 2017

Road Rage

Lately I have been on a Stephen King and Joe Hill kick, and Goodreads noticed. Recently I read The Cape and and on the “readers also enjoyed” sidebar Road Rage was recommended.  I was able to track down a copy and was pleased to see that the book included two short stories- the first written by the father and son duo of King and Hill, but also included an adaptation of the classic story Duel by Richard Matheson.

Throttle: Written by Stephen King and Joe Hill, Adapted by Chris Ryall, Art by Nelson Daniel

With an introduction by Stephen King, the reader is given a homage to Richard Matheson, for this first story was originally included in He is Legend, a book collection of Matheson-inspired stories. King gives Matheson partial credit for shaping him into the writer he is today.

We are introduced to a group of ten bikers, that have a Sons of Anarchy vibe, although they are called The Tribe. The three main characters are leader Vinny, Lemmy, and Vinny’s son Race, with the other bikers getting less face time. At a truck stop they are discussing a drug deal gone wrong, that resulted in a death, and their plans to try to recoup their losses. The leaders speculate that one of the truckers might have overheard their conversation , but figures “No one with any sense would want to get involved in their shitpull”. They were wrong. Out on the road the trucker comes after them, and blood and mayhem endue. You will just have to read the story to find out the trucker’s motives, and the resulting causality count.

The story is illustrated by Nelson Daniel who did the art in The Cape, also written by Hill. I enjoy his work, and liked his computer generated dot matrix that he uses for shading. He was able to make each biker unique looking, and had some great layout designs in his panels.

Duel: Written by Richard Matheson, Adapted by Chris Ryall, Art by Rafa Garres

This story included a second introduction, this time by Joe Hill, and he recounts some fond childhood memories of road trips with his father. As a child he had been fascinated with the movie Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg, and he and his father had fun in the car imagining what they would do under the same circumstances.

The premise is simple, a traveling salesperson is on a deadline, and wants to pass a trucker on a desert stretch of highway. He does so, but the trucker is incensed and starts to play cat and mouse games with the hapless driver. The driver pulls over at a truckstop, knowing he will now be late for the meeting, but as he fears for his safety, he wants to let the menacing trucker go by. Unfortunately for him the trucker also stops as to continue their driving duel. To find out who wins the duel you must read this book and/or watch the movie! In fact, the movie is my Friday night plans, as I was too scared by it in my younger years to watch it to completion.

The art is reminiscent of the famous painting The Scream by artist Edvard Munch, with the swirling lines and emotion of fear coming through the work. Colored with a muddy palette the browns, yellows and oranges aptly depict the barren landscape. At first I was not a fan of the illustrations, and was turned off by the impreciseness of how the driver looked. But his seemingly melted face conveyed his terror as his day went to hell in a blink of an eye.

I would definitely give this book a recommendation, but it will come as no surprise to King and Hill fans, the book is for mature audiences as it has quite a bit of violence with some graphic illustrations.

-Nancy

A variant title page showing King & Hill!

 

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DC Bombshell Figurine Review: Killer Frost

I just need to talk about this figurine for a minute ‘cuz

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Look at her!!!

I was just kinda “eh” about Killer Frost’s drawing; I’m not a huge fan of her to begin with and the variant cover with her on it looked a little stiff to me.

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But when I took the figurine out of the box (and it was a very tense 5 minutes let me tell you), I fell in love.

There are lots of fragile parts and there is assembly required. Be careful with the poles, as they are very bendy. The scarf is removable, and you have to attach the skis to her feet before putting her in the base. All the little details are breathtaking. Though she’s by far not my favorite character in my collection, she’s definitely my favorite figurine.

The only bad part was putting her back in the box. I was terrified I was going to snap a pole trying to fit the Styrofoam back together. But she’s safely boxed up again without incident =P

– Kathleen

Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 3): The Truth

Diana is completely devastated after learning she has never been home. She has been deceived into thinking she’d been able to go back and forth between Themyscira and Man’s World at will. Her mind breaks, and Steve hastily admits her to a psychiatric hospital before fleeing to find Etta. Veronica Cale, leader of Godwatch, is still after Wonder Woman, thinking she can lead them to Themyscira. Steve, Etta, and Barbara Ann need to throw them off the trail. But Cale is relentless, and it’s only a matter of time before she catches up to them. How can they stop her when what she wants – Wonder Woman and the way to Themyscira – may be lost forever?

This comic hit me harder than it should have. Wonder Woman losing her sense of self, becoming hurt and confused, is very emotional. Rucka is not afraid to let her be human. With this volume, we are reminded that our heroes are human, too. We are also reminded that we can pick ourselves up, forge on, and eventually our faith will be rewarded. This is by far the best Rebirth title I’ve picked up, and I’m eagerly looking forward to more.

– Kathleen

Rucka, Greg, Liam Sharp, and Laura Martin. Wonder Woman (Rebirth, Vol. 3): The Truth. 2017.

High Moon

High Moon is an interesting genre mash up of western, horror and steam punk that I read online.  Originally released between 2007-10 by Zuda Comics, an imprint of DC Comics, it is now being re-released by Papercutz.

This western begins in 1890 in the fictional town of Blest, Texas, which is enduring drought and devilry. Bounty-hunter Matthew MacGregor, a former Pinkerton detective, comes to town under the guise of looking for Eddie Conroy who is wanted by the state of Texas. The young daughter of the local robber baron has been kidnapped, and MacGregor is on the case, and receives some help by the town deputy, sheriff’s daughter and doctor. Surly and mysterious, Macgregor seems to deny that werewolves could be the culprits of recent deaths. A Scottish tartan and guns engraved with the words “Gáe Bulg” point to him being an immigrant or at least descended from one,  but they are the few hints we are given of his past. His battle against the many monsters and the final showdown between them raised more questions about his connection to the paranormal and occult.

Part two now moves to Ragged Rock, Oklahoma with Conroy taking over the mantle of bounty hunter. We get some flashbacks to Conroy’s slave past, yet his connection to another black family that has settled in OK after Emancipation confused me. He gets in the middle of a domestic dispute between two brothers fighting over the love of one woman. The men’s mother uses some Hoodoo magic to help Conroy battle some supernatural monsters, plus Matthew’s brother Tristan has shown up to assist. Tristan has a mechanical arm and utilizes steampunk apparatus to fight.

The art has an appropriate color scheme of sepia tones with an Old West feel to the people and dusty terrain. I was unnerved at how much MacGregor looked like Wolverine in Old Man Logan, and it actually became somewhat distracting. I wanted to call him Logan and expected claws to pop out at any moment. The creatures are appealingly grotesque, and the pages had a nice variety of different panels and layout, so I felt the visuals were top notch.

I received the online book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had quite a bit of trouble navigating through the book and double checking details, but I won’t count that against the story, for it very well could have been an issue with my tablet. I found the narrative intriguing,  but will not be visiting this supernatural region again as I found it too complicated and frustrating to follow.

-Nancy

You’re Fired Ex-Men (final edition)

Pete Holmes is a wickedly funny comedian, and he had some spot-on videos about the weaknesses of the X-Men team.  For his now defunct late night show, Holmes did a series of skits on the failings of many of the X-Men heroes, and how their vulnerabilities made them a threat to the team. He portrayed Professor X in eleven hilarious but vulgar video clips. I previously spotlighted Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, Storm and Jean Grey. That leaves my last four to get their walking papers! (For mature audiences only)

Angel: What can Angel do besides fly? Does he truly have any other power? Nope.

Iceman: What does the song Kiss From A Rose by Seal have to do with Iceman’s firing? Watch to find out.

Cyclops: What is keeping Cyclops laser beams from killing everyone? His glasses. The glasses that could fall off his head at any time!

Magneto: Professor X insults his arch-nemesis, and their disrespectful quips back and forth are hilarious. Their insults are evenly balanced until the end, when the Professor gets one last dig in.

Thus concludes my months in the making series of these X-Men spoofs. Make sure you enjoy all eleven videos when no tender ears are nearby!

-Nancy

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