After having been incarcerated in a secret prison in Eastern Europe for the past few months, I'm finally back at what I hope will be an ongoing review of the comics news and blogosphere, including but not limited to interviews, previews, press releases and musings on cool (or uncool) stuff that may (or may not) have slipped under the radar. And while I'm at it, if anyone knows from where I derived the title of this post, you'll get...a slap on the back and a hearty "Well done!" Yeah, I'm a cheapskate.
Alex Toth: By now, everyone's probably heard that comics and animation veteran Alex Toth passed away -- at his drawing board, no less. I thought that was kinda cool. If it's your time, what better place to go than a spot that occupied so much of your heart. It seems a little bittersweet, but a new book of Toth art, Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodlebook, is being solicited this month by Octopus Press. If you're not familiar with Toth's work, check out these Hanna-Barbera model sheets that were posted on the Comic Art Community site. (Thanks to Dave at Dave's Long Box for pointing this out!) This is how I'm most familiar with him - from his Hanna-Barbera work on Space Ghost and The Herculoids. I loved those cartoons as a kid and, now, as an adult, the kid in me still loves them. There's also an extensive sketch gallery of his work at tothfans.com. And besides the Doodlebook, if you're inclined, Image Comics has collected his work on Zorro.
Agents of Atlas: So, I just provided a link to Octopus Press, which is Jeff "The Interman" Parker's publishing outfit. Parker is also the writer on Marvel's upcoming Agents of Atlas series, which will re-introduce a number of Marvel's 50s heroes and which you may have read about in the four-part series at CBR. If not, get thee to a...ah, funnery. Here are the links: Part 1 (Gorilla Man), Part 2 (Venus), Part 3 (The Human Robot), and Part 4 (Marvel Boy). This series just sounds like a whole lot of retro sci-fi fun - talking apes, robots, flying saucers.
Tales of the Fear Agent: Agents of Atlas is not the first series of late to draw on 50s sci-fi comics for inspiration. Rick Remender and Tony Moore's Fear Agent is, too. This is one of my favorite series right now and it's pretty cool that they'll be running back-up stories by different creators. But, what's more, they're doing so without taking too many pages away from the main story. So basically they're upping the page count to 29 per issue. The CBR interview with Remender (there are preview pages, too), doesn't say if the price will go up, too. Personally, I'd be willing to pay a little more, just because I love the series so much. There are issue five preview pages here, too. While you're at it, check out those Rocketo pages. Things of beauty, they are, even if you do have to turn your head sideways.
A Princess of Mars: I have to say I've not been a big fan of IDW's output so far. I'm not really a horror comics guy. I don't watch CSI. I've thought about the various First Comics collections they're doing, but haven't taken any steps in that direction, yet. Frankly, they haven't done anything that I've felt I must check out. That's not a slam on the quality of their books. I'm sure they're fine for those who enjoy the types of books they publish. But, finally, they've announced something I want to check out. They're adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs' very first non-Tarzan story and, not unexpectedly, it'll have some variant covers by ERBophiles Frank Cho and Mark Wheatley. I've loved Burroughs' work for years now, so I sure hope this is good. Check out the preview art here.
Athena Voltaire: Since I seem to be in a retro, pulp fiction frame of mind, I'll continue with this bit on Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon from Ape Entertainment. Newsarama have posted 22 pages, basically the entire first issue, of this series. Evidently, it started out as a webcomic before having an issue published by the now-defunct Speakeasy Comics. This issue is the one you can read for free and it's also being repackaged with the story's second installment as issue one of this new series. It seems like fun and the art sure is purty to look at.
Elephantman: I've been reading and enjoying the various Hip Flask books that Richard Starkings' Active Images have been publishing over the past couple of years. They're moody, noir-inspired stories set in a future when man has mastered genetic engineering to the point of creating intelligent hippos, rhinos, elephants, and the like. Sounds silly, I guess, but like anything, it's all in the delivery. I'm looking forward to the ongoing Elephantman series that Image will be publishing featuring characters and settings from the Hip Flask universe. It's too bad that there won't be more extensive work from Ladronn on the series aside from covers, but he does beautiful work and covers are better than nothing. The regular artist, Moritat, seems to have a Ladronn vibe going on, though, so that should help with the atmosphere. Check out the preview art here.
Hawaiian Dick: Finally, issue four of Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort will be coming out soon. I'll have to dig out and re-read the first three issues, I guess. That's certainly not an unpleasant chore, but I'm thinking it probably doesn't help sales on books, when they're published so irregularly. A good argument for waiting for the trade, perhaps. Hopefully, the ongoing series won't suffer the same irregularities because this is a great read - likeable characters (even the bad guys), tropical setting. Next best thing to being in Hawaii. Anyway, preview pages here.
Aquaman: H, at The Comic Treadmill, takes a look at the Bob Haney/Nick Cardy issues of Aquaman (#1-39), including an extensive bad guy lineup. Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to.
Ducks: Do you also recognize the greatness that is Disney duck comics? Then you might appreciate Augie DeBlieck's look at the upcoming The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck companion, and the Scoop's preview of Donald Duck Adventures #18.
Smurfs: Mike Sterling provides insight into the mysterious life cycle of the Smurf. For example, who knew that Smurfs hatch from eggs as little blue larvae? It's smurfy.
Comics Quote to Note:
I'll have you know, sir, that not only is my anus impenetrable, but it can withstand a blast from a fifty kilojoule laser!
- Dr. Alloy in The Goon #13