It's been a couple of weeks since the end of the San Diego con and I still have a stack of reviews to do. So I'm slipping in a couple right here.
M. REX: WHATTA MESS
I still want to read the first issue when it comes out. I have a certain amount of faith in Joe Kelly, given his excellent output over the past year or three. But the "Special Preview Issue" of M. REX they were selling at the San Diego con is a mess, I'm sorry to say. It contains pencils and lettering for 12 pages of story and then another four pages of sketches and character outlines.
I'm hoping the story pages were just the ones that were finished and then just slapped together for this preview's sake. If this is the first 12 pages of issue #1, there's going to be trouble, because it's a confusing mess. I have even less of an idea as to what this book is about from this issue than I did from the WIZARD preview last month. There appear to be some interesting characters and concepts, but it's tough to tell where they fit together and what it's all about.
Duncan Rouleau's artwork, however, is really nice. As a process junkie, I like seeing the pencilwork pre-inks, so I supposed I was predisposed to like this. But it's really clean stuff with lots of panels and characters that are easily distinguished from one another physically. (Of course, I suppose that's not tough when your main characters are a boy, a man, a woman, and a monkey.)
Give the preview a pass unless you're a Kelly completist, but give the series a shot when we get there later this year.
...is a new Image mini-series written by Howard Shum and drawn by Kaare Andrews. It's another manga-influenced title. ::yawn:: But the story is interesting enough that I'll probably give it another shot next month. I watched Kaare Andrews do a bunch of sketches at the booth he shared with Shum and Erik Larsen and he's a capable artist. He can whip out those sketches with the best of them. Shum selflessly allows the artwork to carry the story in many places, without overwriting everything to explain what it is we're looking at. That's a Very Good Thing.
My big problem with the book -- and it might just break the deal for me in the end -- is the lettering. Remember Mike Miller's DRAGON mini-series? Remember the god-awful lettering, complete with typos and grammatical mistakes galore? "Fishbrain...graphic design" gets the credit for the computerized lettering here. While the rampant typos can't be seen, the EXTREMELY large lettering can. It's awful. It's twice as large as it should be in many cases, and the reliance on perfect ovals for the word balloons without variation makes it look even worse.
(The first issue is already out on the shelves. I'm getting slow.)
There are four books in the latest PREVIEWS magalog I just wanted to bring up here. A couple of them are slated for columns of their own at later dates, but by the time they come up the ordering dateline for them might have passed.
First of all, the collection of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's FROM HELL is coming in November. It's $35 for a TPB collection of 560 pages. I've never read this one before, but look forward to reading it now. It's solicited under "Eddie Campbell Comics."
From AIT/PlaNetLar comes the TPB collection of Larry Young's seminal work, ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE, entitled "LIVE FROM THE MOON." There's a full column review of this coming up someday soon. I read it on the plane out to San Diego this year. It's a terrific series on many levels. Pick it up now and thank me later. It's $13.
Heaven help me, but THE COMICS JOURNAL looks interesting in November. It includes ten pages of Alex Ross sketchbook material and "the definitive interview" with Lynn Johnston, from "For Better or For Worse," a generally excellent comic strip. (I wonder what the JOURNAL thinks of my favorite strip, FOX TROT?)
Finally, another new series, which I was fortunate enough to pick up the first issue for, is Mike Kunkel's HEROBEAR AND THE KID. Coming from Astonish Comics, this one is the story of a little boy and his teddy bear which comes alive. Picture CALVIN & HOBBES where Hobbes is a superhero polar bear and Calvin isn't nearly as deep and philosophical. The art is gorgeous in here. I don't want to jinx it by calling it the "Next Bone," since everyone else has been looking for that for years now with now luck. It's just pretty darned cool. This one will get a larger review at a later date, as well.
UPDATES AND FOLLOW-UPS
One of several people named "Mike" to write in this past week provided information on the artist on the past couple of issues of GEN13 that I was raving about here just recently:
Prior to Gen 13 his main published work was in Wildstorm's Resident Evil Magazine, I believe in every issue except for #4. Also he has done a lot of Wildstorm trading card work, I know some of the cards are posted at www.gen13.com in their gallery section.
Right now he is working on the Gen 13/Superman mini-series that will be coming out in March (if I remember correctly). Also he will be doing a cover and short story written by John Arcudi in an upcoming Gen 13 comic that will reprint short stories that were featured as backups before.
Glad to hear he'll be doing some high profile work in the near future. Thanks for the info, Mike!
It turns out Joe Quesada has an influence. His name is Alphonso Mucha, who did a lot of work at the turn of this century, and is credited with the art style of "Art Nouveau."
It's amazing sometime how these things come up. Mucha was recently the topic of some discussion on the excellent Comicarts-L mailing list that I recently joined. One of its contributors has a web site devoted to pro sketches done in the style.
Finally, one piece in particular seems to have been of particular inspiration to Quesada. Look at the splash page in the opening of DAREDEVIL #5 and compare it to this Mucha painting "La Dame Aux Camelias". Don't pay attention to the figure drawings as much as the borders and details. Pretty neat homage. (Special thanks to Karl! over on the Pipeline Message Board for pointing this out to me.)
Adam Hughes also used this style in his covers for Wildstorm's VOODOO mini-series not too long ago.
FRIDAY IN PIPELINE2
Come back on Friday for the follow-up column to last week's Open Letter to Rob Liefeld column. I've gotten a bunch of response to it and plan on running some of it this Friday. It's not too late to write in. If there's something you want to get off your chest to all the other readers of Pipeline2, write before Thursday. I can't promise to publish them all, but the more the merrier!