Alan David Doane is back blogging, and a welcome return of voice he is. To give him a nod, here's some links and quotes to his review of some AiT books:On Warren Ellis' Available Light:
"As a testament to his creative powers, both reproductive and artistic, Available Light
is an essential work of words and pictures, and beauty and drama. Grade: 5/5"On Steven Grant and Vince Giarrano's Badlands:
"In all, Badlands
is an involving novel nicely wrapped in a stunning Brian Wood cover. I've come to expect very, very high quality books from AiT/Planet Lar, and publisher Larry Young exceeds expectations with this edition. A great historical fiction that, in the way of some other noteworthy graphic novels, tells a truth all its own. Grade: 4.5/5"On Larry Young and Jon Proctor's The Black Diamond:
"Larry Young (you might know him as the brilliant madman behind Comic Book Galaxy's biggest contest ever) sent me a preview of The Black Diamond,
a beautiful, full-colour monthly comic written by Larry and with the best art I've ever seen by Jon Proctor. The near-future sci-fi premise -- revolving around fast cars and a brutal solution to mass transportation -- is so much fun it's amazing no one ever thought of it before. Testosterone-driven action comics don't often do it for me, but this one looks to be done right, with energy and smarts to spare, and the colouring is terrific, hyper-real and not quite like any comic I've seen before. Coming on the heels of Demo,
I think The Black Diamond
will be a genuine pleasure to pick up every month, very different from AiT's last monthly series, but looking to be equally as entertaining, and a good piece of fiction to spend your summer escaping inside."On Warren Ellis' Come in Alone:
"One of the most compelling comics columns in the short history of the Internet was Warren Ellis's Come in Alone
, a year-long weekly rant on the industry that was seen on Comic Book Resources. The column has now been compiled into a trade paperback published by AiT/Planet Lar, a publisher with an astonishingly high percentage of quality comics publications. Well, here's another one."On Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's Demo #1:
"The key appeal of the series for me, so far, looks to be Cloonan's art. She has a striking style that makes terrific use of the potential of black and white illustration, and has a couple of standout moments here, including a striking scene when Marie's powers manifest themselves."On Rick Spears and Rob G.'s Filler:
"If you can imagine Frank Miller needing to hire out Rick Spears and Rob G to put together a quick fill-in Sin City
story, you'll have some idea of what Filler
feels like."On Matt Fraction and Kieron Dwyer's Last of the Independents:
"Fraction's script is mannered but charming -- not unnatural, exactly, but hyper-real in the way of a great heist movie like Reservoir Dogs
(although this one owes more to heist tales of the '60s and '70s, as its creators acknowledge). You couldn't ask for a project more different than what you might expect from the writer of The Annotated Mantooth
or the writer/artist of the perverse and hilarious LCD;
Fraction and Dwyer show a great deal of versatility in bringing out a tale this different from their previous work."On Brian Wood's Public Domain:
"If you haven't read it, you need to read Channel Zero.
Then you need to read Public Domain.
It's like a backstage pass into the mind of Brian Wood. I hope other creators get the courage to let this much of themselves be examined and judged and turned inside out. Like I said, there were people who told me they didn't like Channel Zero.
I did. By the time you're done with this volume, you'll know which side you're on. Which, I think, is kind of the point."On Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's Demo #12:
"The quiet moments that are the foundations of relationships anchor this final issue of a limited series that has served as a showcase for the talents of Wood and Cloonan. Her art blew me away on almost every page and panel of the series, and in the lead story of this issue it once again arrests the eye and makes the reader long for the story to never end. A brief back-up story sees Wood and Cloonan switch tasks, successfully crafting a witty, bookending coda that ends on a satisfying note and yet another gorgeous black and white image. The comics industry could use a lot more bold experiments like Demo.
Grade: 4/5"On Warren Ellis and Brandon McKinney's Switchblade Honey:
"McKinney's art is a large part of what makes this work -- he plays it straight and gives us a very nice rendition of a sci-fi future with big spaceships and interplanetary federations battling it out in the stars. McKinney's style is of a piece with other Ellis colleagues like Darick Robertson or Jacen Burrows, quietly spectacular but never getting in the way of the script."On Matt Fraction and Andy Kuhn's The Annotated Mantooth:
"Warren Ellis, Greg Rucka and others all contribute introductions to the volume, and Ellis's alone is a worth the price of admission. He uses his page to tout Mantooth
as a clear indicator that his vision of what comics can be is coming to pass. In this particular case, I can't argue. Mantooth
is the real deal, and I'd love to see more, soon. Grade: 4.5/5"
Keep 'em flying, Alan.
gives The Homeless Channel
a shout-out in its summer reading section.
... and Mimi wants me to note that the The Cincinnati Library,
her old stomping grounds, is sporting two copies of The Last Sane Cowboy and Other Stories
for the pleasure and edification of Ohioans and... Kentucky-ians? alike.
Somebody tell Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, and Nima Sorat that the latest Wizard
gives their opus some love: "Shove the classic giant monsters onto a fictional Pacific island, then square them off against an elite agency who make it their job to bust ghoulie ass, and the end product is this 96-page graphic novel from co-writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman. Featuring moody art from newcomer Nima Sorat, MAN's action-adventure tale expands on several genre sources to create a new 'Monster Island' you'll want to buy a condo on."
Joe McCulloch at Jog - The Blog
looks at The Black Diamond
#s 1 & 2: "...just as AiT/Planet Lar itself has published a wider range of titles than its reputation for slick, high concept genre pieces might suggest, Larry Young the writer has proven himself to be a compellingly layered craftsman. And there's a twitching thing inside my belly that makes me yearn for this whole series to hatch into a subversively cerebral anti-action comic, festooned with all the decoration of a high-speed epic yet interested in only the implications
of a mad, chase-frenzy world." Just wanted this out there for when issue six comes out and I can point everyone to Jog's prescient observation. My favorite bit, though, is this: "The dialogue does carry some sameness of character, but the roasting art fills it with itchy swelter. It's the kind of series where the flaws, while evident, are easy to forgive. You'll want to see what's coming up next."
Honestly, Jon and I can't ask for much more than that.
reads the two issues, too: "The setup is pure pulp: this is a 70s exploitation flick brought to life. Fast cars, lawless madmen, uncaring government… we’ve seen these pieces before, and we like them. This is exactly the kind of story that Rodriguez and Tarantino were homaging in GRINDHOUSE. Young offers just enough exposition to give you the gist of things, and then steps back and lets Proctor take over, a wise move. Proctor’s stuff reminds me very much of Tony Harris’ early work, which, for those uninitiated, means it’s damned easy on the eyes."
The Black Diamond #1
via Bill Sherman: "The title for the first of six issues, "Shake Hands with Danger," works to establish the cheeky vibe that Young is going for here: as unlikely dentist hero Don McLaughlin (It's a Man's Life in the British Dental Association!
) learns that his wife has been kidnapped by inhabitants of the Black Diamond superhighway in a doubtless futile attempt at halting an apparently government-ordered crackdown on the lawless elevated concrete. Issue #1 basically is devoted to re-introducing our series protagonist, a nice guy middle-class straight arrow who knows the difference between club soda and seltzer water and is forced to take a '73 Mercury Cougar onto the lawless Black Diamond so he can get across the country to his wife in Baltimore – stat!
"To provide some context (or at least remind those readers like me who can barely remember what they read last week, let alone a prologue floppy distributed two years ago), the first issue also contains a back-of-the-book stand-alone vignette depicting life on the superhighway, Written and illustrated by new-to-me artist Dennis Culver, the eight-page short is more rough-hewn than Young & Proctor's last chance power drive – sort of a Death Race 2000 companion piece to the main story’s slicker, more assured Road Warrior – but it still manages to effectively convey the concrete wilderness that'll be our main story's setting. If On Ramp primarily worked as a teasing glimpse of the world of Black Diamond, this #1 offers an effective intro to Dr. Don's story. I'm ready to go along for the ride . . ."
+++++Monster Attack Network
's Marc B. having a podcast chat with the PopCultureShock lads. Are you not entertained?