Hans Zimmer.

Hans Zimmer seems hesitant about scoring Batman vs. Superman vs. WB’s Anxious About Marketing Kal-El By Himself, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the capes game. Dude is rolling up to Amazing Spider-Man 2 with a posse.

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Buy These F**king Comics! – Dec 12, 2012: Fetish Objects, Fanboys, and Glazed Thighs

Welcome to Buy These F**king Comics!, the weekly column where we share the various sequential treats we’re gobbling up off the shelves. The wonder of this column is audience participation. No shirts, no shoes required! Just sit there in your dingy underwear, your sweat, and seminal soaked (oh man am I typecasting our lot or what?) t-shirts and recommend a slurry of titles for me to check out. Don’t know what being snapped into brown plastic bags this week?  Hit up Comic List.

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Buy These F**king Comics! – Dec 5, 2012: Hawkeye’s Quiver Burns Like Hell

Welcome to Buy These F**king Comics!, the column where all of us goobers get together and share the funny books we’re interested in buying in a given week. There is nothing so magical as hitting the shelves on Hump Day and snagging some comics to drag our wayward asses through the final two days of drudgery. Except maybe winning the PowerBall. That seems really magical. Plus, if I won it I wouldn’t have to scrape gum-covered quarters off the inside of trash cans to buy my comic books. Shit, that sounds pretty neat. Okay, so buying comic books is second in the line of majestic happenings. But it’s a close race. So, uh. Yeah. Again, welcome to the column. If I don’t mention your favorite weekly drop, let me know it in the comments section. If you are one of those booger-eating maestros who is too busy attempting to calculate the enormity of the Multiverse to know what is coming out this week, hit up Comic List. It’ll do you good.

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Buy These Frakin’ Comics! – November 13, 2012: No Saga is complete without a magical phallus!

Out of the darkness emerges a hero! It ain’t me. That hero comes along, smashes me in the gullet, and drags my corpse into the creak whilst I scream. What I can do is welcome you back to Buy These Frakin’ Comics! It’s been over a month since I saddled up to this column and shared the juicy pink comic bits I want to be snagging on a given Wednesday. Better yet? It’s been over two months since I actually snagged the funnies off a rack. Busy, man. Jaded, woman. I return today, hoping to double down on some PMA and ride the sequential artwork once more. In this here column we gather round, scratching dander out of our cracks while sharing the comic books we’re buying. Don’t see your fave rag in my list? Good. Audience participation is crucial, and I’m always looking for new finds.

Not sure what is coming out? Hit up Comic List.

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Buy These F**king Comics! – August 8, 2012: Becky Cloonan, Godzilla, Jesus Christ, and Other Rock Stars.

Greetings, Earthlings and interdimensional lurkers. It’s Wednesday, and that can only mean one thing. Time for me to lumber down to the LCS, notice that they don’t have the two comic books I want, and flip a shelf. Scream loudly. Dive head first through the glass, trailing blood and tendon dangling from said shards. Scream at drivers as I run wildly through traffic, picking bits and beads of skin and  skull out of my Kingdom Come Superman t-shirt. Stumble into a ditch. Write this column telepathically, using the fading moments of my consciousness to commune with you folks.

Let us share, as darkness dawns on crumbling psyche, the comics we want to buy this week. Certainly, with shredded skin and violated visage, I’ll miss something you’re eager for. That is half the fun. Don’t know what’s coming out? Hit up Comic List.

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Buy These F**king Comics! – July 11, 2012: Jesus Christ Died For Your Splash Page.

Oh fuck my tits! Comic book day lands on 7-Eleven day as well? Don’t mind me as I drown myself in syrupy-assed Double Big Gulp thunder will plowing through the latest stack of funny titles. Oh, you’re new here? I didn’t think I recognized those gorgeous blue eyes or your markedly laissez-faire attitude. This here column is where us lasses and lads of the comic book proclivity share what we’re snagging on a particular Wednesday. Sit down next to me, I like your musk.

Not sure what’s dropping? Hit up Comic List.

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Buy These F**king Comics! – June 13, 2012: Peter Parker Pederast

Hey friends! It’s time. Time to make the comic book list. I am endeavoring to craft this list amid a steady stream of flu-powered sweat dribbling down my dapper dome. Wipe, wipe, wipe my brow and then I continue soldiering on. Though I may be sickened even as tomorrow falls, I’ll take respite in knowing that I shall be sweating my grimy paws over some new funny books. Consider this my shamanistic powwow. I will share the titles that I hope shall pull me through my delirium. You follow up this vision quest by dropping the titles that you have staked out this week.

Don’t know what’s dropping?  Hit up ComicList.

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Rafael Grampa Does ‘The MASSIVE #3’ Variant Cover; All Is Right With The World.

Thanks to Warren Ellis for bringing to attention this glorious variant cover for The Massive #3 by  Rafael Grampa with colors courtesy of Dave Stewart. I’m already excited for the official release of this new jam by  Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, and this has me spinning in circles.

Images & Words – Joe the Barbarian #2

Joe the Barbarian 2

[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]

Joe the Barbarian is a mindfuck. A powerful, yet sweet, mindfuck that leaves the reader gasping for breath and begging for more. I have no doubt that those readers who prefer the pump-and-dump style of narrative-coitus are going to dismiss Joe the Barbarian as just another example of Grant Morrison’s insanity.

Two issues in, I’m inclined to disagree. While starting a bit slow, Joe the Barbarian definitely feels as though it’s working towards something beautiful. Sure, it’s still incredibly unclear whether the protagonist is actually engaged in a cross-dimensional journey or if he’s just hallucinating/imagining the whole ordeal (I’d guess the latter), but that’s of little consequence at this point. All that matters is that Joe is genuinely invested in his quest, thereby capturing the readers’ attention.

Fuck, I’ve done it again — I’ve somehow started reviewing a comic book without even explaining its damn premise. Hell, maybe I should’ve taken a journalism course or some shit (see: poor excuse). Or, I could just delete these three sentences, but that would somehow seem dishonest.

Anyways, this second issue of Joe the Barbarian picks up right where the first left off, with Joe seeking refuge in his childhood action figures after a rough day. How rough was this day? Well, Joe was given the impression by his mom that their house might be on the brink of foreclosure, he was bullied by a pack of goons, and he spent a bit of time brooding about his dead father. Yikes. But with the help of the action figures in his attic, Joe is transported to an alternate reality. An alternate reality that, according to these toys, Joe must save from total destruction

Throughout the second issue, Joe (referred to as “The Dying Boy” by one especially ominous action figure) begins to make his journey out of the attic and towards the rest of the house. At times, the readers are given glimpses of what Joe is really doing –  this either  puts his epic journey in perspective or creates a greater contrast between the world as most see it and as it is seen by the hero. Again, this makes the reader ask some important questions; did Joe really break an anthropomorphic-rat-warrior named Chakk out of jail, or did he just let his pet rat Jack out of its cage? Is Lord Arc actually an outcast who once ruled a throne of light, or is Joe  talking to a lightning storm? Is Joe a chosen warrior, or is he just a hypoglycemic teen in desperate need of a candy bar?

Even if definitive answers are never delivered, the expedition from which they arise is worthwhile in its own right. Although I’m going to give writer/creator Grant Morrison his fair share of credit (yes, sometimes his madness is genius and not the other way around), I think Joe the Barbarian is truly successful because of artist Sean Murphy. As mundane and realistic as Murphy depicts Joe’s house, it’s Narnia-ified counterpart is twice as fantastic. Two-page spreads of life-size action figures in the midst of war are perfectly executed, as are skyscapes with impossible airships and  stunning crescent moons. I’m not familiar with Murphy’s body of work, but his performance on Joe the Barbarian is bound to etch a place in my (admittedly depleted) brain-bank.

And although it’s a damn shame I’m putting this individual last (and am too lazy to edit this post so that  he’s first), a big-ups is due to colorist Dave Stewart. As well as Murphy illustrates rat warriors and giant flaming skulls that hang ethereally, Stewart pounds on their chests and brings them to life. So while the night skies of Joe’s fantasy world  evoke a sense astonishment, it is  the faded purple hue  that enables them to breathe and live. I really think Stewart may be outdoing his best work with Joe the Barbarian.

Joe the Barbarian #2 is just wonderful. With the interplay between fantasy and reality (ala Wizard of Oz or Chronicle of Narnia), this is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s one of those rare finds, a  story that’s innocent enough for children but mature enough to entertain adults.

You’d be a fool to not give this comic a shot.

Images & Words – Detective Comics #860


For the past month or so, Caffeine Powered has been presenting Variant Covers, a weekly feature that previews some of the more notable comic releases of the upcoming Wednesday. Starting this week, I am going to begin offering Images & Words, a complementary post that essentially tells you about my favorite comic of the week.

So to clarify:

Variant Covers — Caffeine Powered tells you which comics to look for.

Images & Words — Pepsibones rants about his favorite release of the week.

Get ready for some magic! (“Illusions, Michael, illusions…”)

Just as Caffeine Powered told you on Tuesday, some big titles have dropped this week. Jonathan Hickman continues his excellent run on Fantastic Four by starting a new arc that centers on Franklin Richards; Geoff Johns and Ed Benes remind us that Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner aren’t the only worthy ring-bearers of the DCU in   Green Lantern #49; and one-shot Captain America — Who Will Wield the Shield is less of a cash-grab and more of a genuine exploration of the new relationship between Steve Rogers and James Buchanan.

While I don’t feel as though I’ve wasted any cash this week (which is a rare thing in the life of a comic nerd), one collection of images and words stands a step all of the aforementioned titles: Detective Comics #860.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, Detective Comics has been helmed by Batwoman since Bruce Wayne bit the dust. Long story short — Batwoman is Kate Kane, a Jewish lesbian with special ops training, a father with connections in the military, and an insanely rich stepmother who ostensibly funds the vigilantism without even knowing it. Yeah, I know that the description makes the character simultaneously seem like a bit of a stretch as well as a disingenuous attempt to insert diversity into comic books. To be honest I don’t have any investment in the idea or concept of Batwoman, but the collaboration between Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III  has kept  me coming back for more.

Story wise, Greg Rucka has been using Detective Comics to present the compelling mysteries and tales of crime for which he has come to be known. This latest issue, the third part of an arc titled Go, features flashbacks in which the reader sees Kate Kane trying to cut her teeth in the crime-fighting biz. In the process, Kate has to deal with ex-girlfriend/DCU fan-favorite Renee Montoya and eventually come to accept the assistance of her father. The narrative then takes us to present day, in which Kate is trying to deal with the fact that her long-lost twin may actually be a villain named Alice.

Again, as I type this shit out, I realize how terrible and played-out it seems. Maybe it is. But even if you find nothing worthwhile about the story itself, you’d have to be a fool to not recognize the beauty that is J.H. Williams III’s paneled page.

At the very least, any comics reader should respect the way in which Williams structures his panels. On some pages, such as during flashbacks, Williams sticks to the familiar, rectangular panel layouts we’ve all come to know and love. However, the artist really shines when he takes a path less traveled; for example, the panels often compose smaller segments of a Bat-symbol that spreads across the entire page. Something so simple as putting the story within subdivisions of a larger visual whole really pays off.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Dave Stewart is the colorist for Detective Comics. He’s  the man — if you ever get the chance, check out his phenomenal work on Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier.

Detective Comics #860 isn’t a classic single issue and a year from now I’ll probably be completely incapable of telling you what it’s about. But as far this week is concerned, it is an exemplary combination of images and words, visual narrative and solid storytelling. If you cash in your Slurpee cup filled with spare change and it totals four bucks, go splurge on Detective Comics.

Batwoman in Training