Monday, February 28, 2011

ADVANCE GIANT-SIZE REVIEW: Skullkickers Vol. 1 TPB: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body

   ADVANCE REVIEW: Skullkickers Vol.1: A Thousand Opas and a Dead Body releases on March 9th.  Pre-order at Amazon and check out more info (podcasts, Skullkickers-related news, other reviews) at the official Skullkickers site.  Pleasantries aside, onto the review!

   In many ways, Skullkickers by Jim Zubkavich and Edwin Huang reminds me of the recent Pak/Van Lente run on Incredible Hercules.  There's the fast-paced buddy-adventure, the ridiculous SFX, the goofy comedy, and a great sense of fun.  That's about where the similarities end though as Skullkickers is definitely its own beast.  Set in a world that will seem familiar to fans of World of Warcraft, the book tells a fun romp of two buddies doing all they can to get by.  A fun gimmick that Zubkavich uses here is to not give either of his protagonists names yet, allowing their actions to define the characters.  It's an experiment that mostly works, but it does make it hard to describe the book in reviews with any consistency.  For the purposes of this review, we're going to call the short, feisty, hairy fella MacDwarf and the tall, pistol-slinging, bald guy Baldy.  I'm just full of creativity today, aren't I?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top 10 Funniest Panels of the Week: February 23rd, 2011 Edition

10. Avengers
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis  Artist: John Romita Jr.
So Iron Man owns Area 51.  Who knew?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wondrous Wednesday Reviews: Fantastic Four #588, Amazing Spider-man #655, and Action Comics #898

Well, what a wonderfully woeful week where words wreak weepy ways.  That kinda worked.  But in all non-alliterative seriousness, today's floppy review pile was a bit of a downer with not one, but two comics focusing on the aftermath of a character death in the previous issue.  The other features Larfleeze, possibly the most amusing new character of the decade.  So, without further ado about strange dichotomies, I present to you this week's reviews of Fantastic Four #588, Amazing Spider-man #655, and Action Comics #898

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DC hilariously adbombs Marvel's site with All-Star Superman banner

Marvel doing its best to promote the competition.

It's probably just Google Adsense promoting similar products, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Three series to try out this Wednesday: Sixth Gun #9, Skullkickers #6, and Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #4

Each Wednesday I'm going highlight three series that just aren't being given enough attention by my fellow readers in the hope that some of you will expand your horizons, pick up an issue and hopefully find a new favorite!

This week, we're recommending Sixth Gun #9, Skullkickers #6, and Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #4

Celebrating the Life and Work of Dwayne McDuffie

McDuffie at the Milestone launch
   Today was a sad day for comics and cartoons.  Pioneering creator Dwayne McDuffie has died of complications from a surgery performed on Monday today and is survived by his wife.  Here at Crakkajamma, we send out our deepest sympathies to his family and friends as the absolute suddenness of his death has most assuredly caught everyone unawares.

   However, I was raised that while still a sad event, memorials should be a happy time.  A time of celebration of the dearly departed's life and accomplishments.  So that's what we're going to do here today.  We're going to celebrate the life of a brilliant man who could make us laugh, make us think, and make quality entertainment while doing so.

   Few people outside of his dedicated fanbase know that McDuffie was a brilliant, highly educated, multi-discipline graduate student.  Graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in English, McDuffie went on to do graduate work in Physics and finally ended up attending NYU's film school.  It was there that he developed his trademark wit and humor, working under a pseudonym as a writer for various stand-up comedians and late-night tv comedies.  Moving on from those gigs, McDuffie found himself attempting a few more serious-minded jobs, eventually ending up as a copy editor for a financial magazine, before finally landing his first comics position at Marvel Comics.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Diamond Digital is, what's wrong with it, and how to fix it.

Announced on February 9th, Diamond Digital is the
veritable distribution company's first foray into
the digital sphere
For the longest time, Diamond and comic book publishers in general have been resisting the advance of digital media.  Stuck in their ways and doing just about whatever they can to continue to prop up the brick and mortar stores, Diamond has been very reluctant to enter the digital arena.  This complacency, borne out of their virtual monopoly on monthly comic distribution, has finally caught up with Diamond.  Now, dragging their feet, Diamond has finally announced their partnership with iVerse (think similar to comixology) to distribute issues digitally.

Normally, such an announcement would be heralded as an important step forward for the industry and forward motion towards the digital future that the comics medium undoubtedly faces.  Unfortunately, Diamond's announcement was poorly communicated and led to all sorts of wild speculation, ranging from higher prices for digital editions to lack of iPad support to bizarre distribution schemes that made less sense than Diamond's previous resistance to going digital.  Thankfully, due to the journalistic diligence of the fine folks at Robot6 via CBR, we have a much clearer picture as to just what Diamond Digital actually is.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Triumphant Thursday Reviews! Featuring: Thunderbolts #153, Superman/Batman #81, and Uncanny X-force #5

Thanks for joining us for Thursday's reviews!  Today, we've got a trio of terrific titles for your titillation.

Everything You Need To Know About The Thor Trailer

Well, that was a kickass trailer! For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I've embedded it below courtesy of Yahoo! movies.

Let's see what we can glean from this trailer. Annotations as follows

Funniest Panels of the Week: February 16th, 2011 Edition

Wolverine and Jubilee #2

The idea of Wolverine having his tongue stuck to Colossus' shiny metal body is something that needs to be incorporated into a future storyline.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dissecting the Teaser Spread in ASM #654.1

Well, aside from copious hammer teasers for Fear Itself, Marvel's been letting loose with the Spidey teasers.  Courtesy of the friendly people at Bleedingcool, we have a nice look at the two page spread in ASM #654.1 that foreshadows a lot of coming events for Mr. Parker.
Click to embiggen

Of course, as with any juicy teaser like this, it's time for some baseless speculation!  I broke down the two pages and cleaned them up, so let's have a look and see what we can't come up with?

Three series to try out this Wednesday: Kill Shakespeare, Jennifer Blood, and Twilight Guardian

While this Wednesday certainly is a busy one, with lots of high profile releases like Green Lantern, Amazing Spider-man, and Brightest Day, I want to take some time to spotlight three other series that you might want to try out.  Who knows?  You could find a new favorite!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Titanic Tuesday Floppy Reviews: Amazing Spider-man #654, Batgirl #18, and Carnage #3

Ok, dear readers, I'm going to be doing my best to add new floppy reviews every other weekday.  Today, let's take a look at Batgirl, Amazing Spider-man, and Carnage.

Top-Secret Spidey Event Stealthily Announced?

Reading through the just released Marvel solicits for May 2011, when I stumbled upon this solicit for Amazing Spider-man #660.

Written by DAN SLOTT
Pencils & Cover by STEFANO CASELLI
“Parental Supervision Required”
THIS ISSUE IS PACKED!!! The SINISTER SIX versus SPIDER-MAN and the FF… and by FF, we mean ALL of the Future Foundation! Know what’s not a good place for children, even super powered kids? A full-scale battle with the world’s deadliest super villains! It’s not “Bring Your Kids To Work” Day, not a field trip, and it’s definitely not a game! This is a high stakes battle and there’s no way it will end well….
You also get part 3 of the death-defying team up of Spider-Man and Ghost Rider by Rob Williams and Lee Garbett. And also this issue…our 2nd in a series of “Infested” preludes leading to this summer’s top secret Spidey event! Phew!
40 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

GIANT-SIZE Postscript: Marvel's not so subtle dig at Amazons Attack

Back cover of the Incredible Hercules: Love and War TPB
   While calling Amazons Attack a bad story is like calling the Pope a bit Catholic, I got to hand it to Marvel for putting this dig in here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is "writing for the omnibus" the next "writing for the trade?" Part 1

Brubaker's sublime Captain
America run is prime example
of this new school of
Welcome to Crakkajamma's first ever opinion piece, where I notice a new trend emerging in comics which I will dub "writing for the omnibus."  But first, a quick history lesson.  From comics' inception through the late 70's, the general trend for storytelling in comics was the quick one-and-done or maybe the exciting cliffhanger-fueled two-parter.  Occasionally, stories with a truly grand scope would merit three or more parts, but these were few and far between (see the seminal Coming of Galactus story from Fantastic Four).  As the 70's drew to a close and the famously "grimdark" 80's swung in, so did the graphic novel.  Sometimes, the stories were broken up into issues and released that way initially, but the success of graphic novels in this era was largely in the realm of standalone, independent stories (Maus, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen).

Borders Inches Ever Closer to Bankruptcy

A rapidly vanishing sight
According to the Wall Street Journal, Borders is finally taking the initial steps to full-fledged bankruptcy.  After months of warning the market and watching its stock freefall into penny stock territory (a mere 25 cents a share as of publishing time), Borders announced it could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as soon as Monday.  It's expected that Borders will be closing a third of their stores as it seeks to restructure its debt and find some way to stay afloat in a world where physical media is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Scumbag Spidey

Spidey's a dick.

Pretty funny spin-off of the Scumbag Steve meme that's been circling Reddit lately.  If anyone finds more or something else that gives them a good laugh, let me know in the comments!

Mega-Monday Floppy Reviews: Magus #1, Secret Warriors #24, and Heroes for Hire #3!

A bit late in posting this, but let's see how the floppies did!

GIANT-SIZE REVIEW - Incredible Hercules: Love and War TPB

Herc "relaxing" with Namora following
the epic events of Sacred Invasion
Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente (FVL) crafted a wholly unique beast with their run on Incredible Hercules.  It's a series that has ridiculous sound effects, inventive ways of utilizing Greek mythology, and wide variety of artists that perfectly fit the series' comedic light-hearted tone.  Love and War is no different in any of those respects.

I think it's only fitting that the site's inaugural review be on the trade it get its onomatopoeic title from.  So, let's dive into this particular volume and see what's what.

Welcome To Crakkajamma Comics!

Smashing Namesake of the Blog
I would like to extend a warm welcome to all my new readers who have somehow stumbled across my humble blog!  I don't have expectations of becoming the overnight source for all comics-related news or opinions, but I hope that my blog stirs some thoughts, entertains, and provides a laugh or two. And maybe that I become the premiere source for things comics.  But you can't have it all.

As you will see in the coming days ahead, I'm going to have a few features that will be showing up with some regularity. First, I'm
going to have reviews for both trades and for single issue floppies.  Why review trades?  It's (in this blogger's humble opinion) the number one way for new readers to get into comics.  Have a friend you want to get into comics? Give them a complete story, something to get them hooked and wanting more.  So, at least once a week, I'm going to be doing a "Giant-Sized" review of a trade paperback from a previously concluded story arc.