Thursday, August 25, 2016

Boston Comic-Con 2016: Tana Ford Commission

Hello and welcome back to another installation of my Boston Comic Con 2016 review.

I really consider myself lucky to have been able to grab a commission by Tana Ford at this year's con. And I am not surprised that it is this fantastic. I have always been enamored of Ford's style and this picture of Supergirl is resplendent.

From the 'ready for action' pose, to the 'bring it on' expression, to the flying amidst the clouds, this whole thing is mesmerizing. The full color palate really adds so much depth to the piece as well. I am really just floored by this piece.

This truly is one of those times where a little bit of leg work on my part pre-con paid off. (I talked about commission planning here.) I had tweeted out to Ford before the con which put me in touch with her handler Geoff Mart. It let me know how Ford takes her list and her prices. Armed with such knowledge, I made sure to head to her table early on in the con. Thankfully, it all worked out.

I'm just thrilled with the piece.

Ford was super nice and great to chat with as well. I love the Silk comic as it reminds me of the earliest Spider-Man stories. Cindy is really trying to balance all the aspects of her life while dealing with the utter isolation she suffered early in on.

What I love about her art in the book is that Ford is able to shine in all the areas of the plot. So I love the action sequences.  There is something fascinating about Silk's webs. She has a sort of 'gangly' feel like Ditko Spider-Man. And you feel Cindy's determination in the fighting.

But there is also a softness in the quiet personal moments we see in the book. Ford's expressive work on the characters lends so much to the mood of the scene. I just love it.

Again, thanks to Tana Ford for the commission. It is a great addition to my collection.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bullet Review: Legends of Tomorrow #6

A lot of people have been telling me good things about the Legends of Tomorrow mega-book that DC publishes. While I have some minor interest in a couple of the stars and creators, none of them had enough of a draw to rope me into the hefty $7.99 price point. So I figured I would wait and see if miraculously they ended up in the cheap bins.

However, when Legends of Tomorrow #6 came out last week, my social media feed lit up a bit. The Sugar and Spike story guest starred both Supergirl (in her Silver Age incarnation) and the Legion (in multiple incarnations). The sample panels by writer Keith Giffen and artist Bilquis Evely really seemed to hit the sweet spot of fun and nostalgia and so I couldn't resist.

I'll only review the Sugar and Spike tale given the focus of this blog but on reading the other entries, I have to say Firestorm and Metal Men (with a classic Tinny save at the end) read well and might be enough to entice me to grab them all should the books go on sale.

But the Sugar and Spike story is near perfection for me. As an old reader who has been through multiple versions of my favorite characters, it was great to see a writer have some fun with all the continuity bugaboos that now exist. I shouldn't be surprised that Giffen wrote this. For one, he has been a creator on any number of Legion incarnations. But also, his  (and JM Dematteis') JLA 3001 as well as his Doom Patrol book showed that Giffen can both acknowledge that all the incarnations are viable (even when that simply cannot be so) so long as the reader sits back and enjoys the great stories. His Silver Age Supergirl in JLA 3001 was a high point for me and her character in this story echoes that no-nonsense, oddly mature Kara we saw there.

Bilquis Evely is also a huge star in this book. I loved Evely's work on DC Bombshells. But here she shows that she can handle all the ephemera and minutiae that Giffen can throw at her. Supergirl is stunning. But the Legion ... well they are the icing on the cake here.

On to the excellent story.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sales Review: July 2016

The July sales have come out and can be reviewed over at ICv2 here:

In some ways, it is a great time to be a comic fan as there seems to be an explosion of creativity these days. And, in particular, as a DC fan, things are pretty optimistic. DC Rebirth has been a wonderful re-imagining of the DC universe. The tone and plots of the books that I have been reading have all been entertaining and creative.

Sales bear out this swell of good will to DC. They had 8 of the top 10 books. All sold over 100K. Buzz has, for the most part, been possible.

But I have to look back. Sales may have looked like this in the first month of the New 52. One thing I can tell you, without a doubt, these early books read better than the earliest New 52. I am pretty happy.

On to a look at some specific books.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Superman #5

Superman #5 came out last week, the latest chapter in the Eradicator storyline which straddles science fiction and metaphysical plot elements. The new Eradicator is a warehouse not only for Kryptonian culture but also Kryptonian life forces (or souls). And that element is troubling me as a reader.

I can't think of many super-hero stories which are able to easily meld religion and science fiction. (Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and Peter David's Supergirl come to mind as good examples.) A story has to be pretty stellar for it to work for me and so I am mulling over this new Eradicator in my mind. Does his new function work for me?

If I am able to move past that plot point, story tellers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason continue to give us a wonderful Superman family. Clark is trying his best to protect the world and his wife and son. Jon is being asked to grow up pretty quickly in terms of using his powers and being a hero. And Lois continues to show why she is one of the strongest characters in the DCU. My one quibble is that, like Action Comics, this issue is almost completely a brawl with just a smidge of plot progression. I don't mind action ... but I want more.

The art on the issue is done by Doug Mahnke. I love Mahnke's style and he brings a sort of otherworldly feel to the Eradicator and the souls within. There does seem to be some softening of his work in places which jibes better with the Gleason style in earlier issues.

On to the book!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: Supergirl Rebirth #1

Supergirl Rebirth #1 came out this week, the first solo Supergirl comic in over a year. It also has been one of the books I have been highly anticipating. Since the first Rebirth press conference, writer Steve Orlando has been saying all the right things about the character. He wants her to be optimistic and compassionate. He wants her to be young and bright. He wants her to be finding her way in the world. He wants her to be a hero. He wants to lean on her history, bringing everything that has been great with the character. It has all sounded perfect.

And this issue is a fantastic first issue for this new series. Orlando sets the stage nicely. We get a sense of where Supergirl is in her life. We meet the supporting cast. We definitely see who Kara is both in her actions and her words. And it is refreshingly on point.

But we also get some homages to the past. We get some deep DCU cuts. We get a healthy dollop of the show's surroundings. Despite the mentions of some past events in her life, this honestly felt like a soft reboot rather than a tonal rebirth. The thing it reminded me most of was the last sort of soft reboot, Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle's Supergirl #34. Trust me, that comparison is high praise.

The art in the book is by Supergirl veteran Emanuela Lupacchino. Lupacchino brings a beautiful look to the entire book. The action is well paced. The villain is monstrous. Kara looks healthy and strong. Lupacchino never lets me down.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Boston Comic Con Recap #1: Con And Terry Dodson

Welcome to the first of multiple posts covering my time at this last weekend's Boston Comic Con. This is *my* show, a huge con right up the road that have attended since its inception. This show has gone from being held in an insurance building basement to selling out the Seaport Convention Center. I consider myself lucky that such a great show is in my back yard.

I went to the con with hopes of getting commissions from Terry Dodson, Jae Lee, Tana Ford, and Daniel Govar. I was lucky enough to grab them all.

I have been a fan of Terry Dodson for a long time. He is a really nice personable creator who was fun to meet. He takes a long list of potential commissions on the first day and by the end of Friday he had narrowed down the selections to which commissions he thought he could get to. I decided that the 70s costume would be fun and interesting for Dodson to draw and so asked for that Kara. Luckily, I won the lottery and Sunday morning I picked up the above piece ... just stunning!

This is pure Dodson. But I love how with just copic markers he makes the sleeves seem translucent. And the salute is a nice patriotic touch. I am just thrilled with this piece. I'll be posting the other commissions over the next three weeks on Thursday. But the rest of this post covers the rest of the con.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Review: New Superman #2

I'm catching up on some old news and that includes my review of New Superman #2 which came out last week. I must admit right up front that this issue inserted a plot device that I absolutely dislike in comics - powers that turn on and off randomly. Yeesh. Was this enough to make me waver on this title? Maybe ...

I was pretty impressed with writer Gene Luen Yang's first issue which walked the tightrope of having a bully protagonist with a tragic backstory acting as hero. While overall Kenan Kong seems like a jerk, that first issue showed he had some hero inside him.

New Superman #2 continues to introduce us to the character and his supporting cast while deepening the environment and background plots. Again Kenan is an immature, self-centered kid blessed with powers and maybe becoming a hero. And for now, that hook seems interesting enough to keep me around a little longer.

Viktor Bogdanovic is on art and brings a breezy, scratchy style which seems suited for this book which is a mix of political pot boiler and silly teen superhero hijinks.