#March2014

Sean Murphy’s cover returns us to the ‘REIGN OF SUPERMEN.’

Reign of Supermen!

This is the difference between being young, bright-eyed, idealistic, and old, fat, and cynical. When I was a youngin’, the Reign of Supermen was fucking awesome. If it happened now, I’d spit on the ground and curse the Powers That Be like a loser. Sean Murphy’s recently revealed cover is able to temporarily recuperate my broken spirit. Calling me back to the olden days.

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SEAN MURRAY draws “BIRDMANCER”, and we all win.

Birdmancer by Sean Murray.

I need to get back on the “sharing dope artwork” grind. Here is a wonderful Birdmancer done up by Sean Murray. It’s froggy fresh. Filler laudatory adjectives.

Wee!

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Buy These Flippin Comics! (7/31/2013) Two Timers

A LIAR.

I’m a liar.  A dirty, rotten scoundrel!  A nerf-herder of the highest proportion.  To find out why, hit the jump and let’s talk this week’s funnybooks!

“What the hell is Señor Hotsauce on about this week?” is the question pursed on everyone’s lips.  Or, it should be.

Simple.

I’ve been seeing my “ex” behind OL’s back.  In fact, I never left my ex.  I know I told you guys we could come here and talk comics in lieu of  going mobile and hitting up your local comic shop, but I just couldn’t stay away.  I love my comic shop, but I dig you guys, too!   So, if you’ll still have me, I’m gonna try and spread that love (and opinions on my favorite books this week) at both joints, and I urge you to do the same!  Sally-fucking-forth, comic nerds!

In fact, do me a favor and give a shout out to your LCS.  They deserve the attention.  Comic Book University in Greenwood, IN is where I hang my pull list.  Good folks who keep the new releases well stocked and the snark to a loving 11.  (Also:  ComiXology has a “virtual store” for participating joints, so that they, too, can get in on the digital-age action.  So make sure you ask your LCS if they’re involved.  It sends some coin their way and is at no additional cost to you, the consumer.)

Enough with the handjobbery!  What’s poppin’ off today?

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SEAN MURPHY draws WOLVERINE, BATMAN, PUNISHER…TOM WAITS. So tasty.

Batman.

I fell in love with with Sean Murphy during his reign of awesome on Joe the Barbarian with Grant Morrison. Since that I haven’t really followed him. This makes me an idiot, I know. In case I wasn’t aware of that, Murphy has hung a few amazing pictures of commissions that he has done on the Internet’s ass. To remind everyone that if they’re not down with him, they eat dog food.

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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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Images & Words – Joe the Barbarian #8

[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]

Congratulations, Joe the Barbarian! Not only did you beat Jonah Hex and Sweet Tooth in this week’s triple-threat comics cage match, but with your final issue you’ve become one of my all-time favorite limited series. You’ve earned a spot in my Best Of list and, if there’s any damn justice in the world, comics history as well.

So how did you do it, Joe? How did you never tire while running for eight issues over the course of a year? Brandishing a tale of a hallucinating youth in the midst of insulin-shock, you easily could’ve devolved into incoherent drivel. Your parallel narratives (wandering through a house looking for sugar and traversing the most hidden recesses of childhood imagination) could have slugged each other out: DOUBLE KO!!!  And yet, with each appearance you became more effective.

More affective.

So how did you do it? It was, beyond a coffee-stained shadow of a doubt, that intangible, unquantifiable quality for which all art should aspire. It’s that warm little nagging at the forefront of excitement, the pinch on your ass that makes you giddy, that informs the reader/viewer/listener that the artists at work care. Necessarily, this quality defies definition and rears itself only in terms of gut-instinct. But it’s undeniable. Unshakable. Motherfucking unstoppable.

For lack of a better word, let’s call this quality heart.

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Images & Words – Joe the Barbarian #7

[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]

Sometimes I feel as though I might be some sort of alien entity, a stranger without a tribe. It’s easy to fall for this illusion as our culture puts so much emphasis on the individual. You are so special. There is no one quite like you. After all, you are one of a kind. And while I understand the motives behind the self-esteem movement, I find the outcomes disastrous; instead of being taught to help one another because we’re all crew members on Spaceship Earth, individuals come to see themselves as completely separate.

And not even fragmented sections of a whole. Different from, and incapable of relating to, others. But my hippie-sense is telling me that there aren’t really any others, just anothers.

Okay, let me pause for a moment as I dance on this fine line. I’m not saying that humanity is a homogeneous being or that every person is identical. Really, I’m not. Truth be told, I think the way that the mouth-breathing masses develop is quite different than those upon whom I heap admiration. There are all different shades of humanity. But sometimes I forget that the progressing hues all reside on the same gradient scale.

So why is my newfound interest in commonality making its way onto OL? Well, because I love Joe the Barbarian. And I love the comic because it reminds me that there are shared facets of the human experience.

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Monday Morning Commute: I Stab You With Love

Hello, Dexter Morgan.

The wonderful thing about having to write a weekly column where I tell you everything I’m doing is that I’m terribly boring, and typically doing nothing. I pretend that I’m up to something fantastic, when in general it’s just the usual. Too much late-night eating, happy days with the girlfriend, homework and caffeine. That’s about it, yo. But naw, I’m seriously super exciting. I scale mountains of amazement, and look down upon you peons and just chuckle. Deep belly laughs of condescension. I have a kind of sick desperation in my laugh.

Monday Morning Commute. Every Monday I’m going to detail the various things I’m either currently or will be watching, reading, playing, and listening to in the next seven days. It’s Monday. You’ve got a long week of school, work, or compulsive masturbation to get through. Tell me the arts that you’re indulging in, to stave off suicide.

—-

Mad Men, Season 3

Watching / Mad Men Season Three
Mad Men is the sort of show that makes me ache with amazement. It’s so fucking good, at such a consistent basis that it blows my mind. I reserve the phrase “brilliant”, since it, like every other word in the English language has been devalued to a point of emptiness. But here’s a penny lobbed into the bucket of hyperbole: Mad Men is brilliant.

It’s a brilliant character-driven drama.
It’s a brilliant examination of the American Dream.
It’s a brilliant study on the monotony of existence.
It’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

I’ve been powering through the third season with my lady, and it’s like intellectual crack. This shit is dense. It’s subtle to a point. It doesn’t hold your hand. There’s a certain silence that pervades every episode. The music in it is sparse, the most powerful scenes often involving no dialogue at all.

It’s the summer time, and all the wonderful network television shows are off the air. Catch up on this show. You owe it to yourself.

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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.