#19-SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE: THE TARANTULA

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE: THE TARANTULA

Writer: Matt Wagner

Artist: Guy Davis

DC, 2003

1656_400x600It would be hard for me to NOT like this book.

It contains so many things I enjoy from Golden Age superheroes to pulp action to crime noir to great art.  Something of a perfect storm for me.

I’ve been a fan of Wagner’s since his MAGE days and he manages to bring back to life a character that (at the time) most writers wouldn’t have wanted to even touch.  I mean, a non-superpowered hero who wore a green suit with a gas mask and knocked out the bad guys with sleeping gas?  It took Wagner to show the potential of the character which begins in this first volume of the 1993-98 series.

Young women are being kidnapped off of the streets of 1930s New York but when a friend of Dian Belmont, daughter of the DA…

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#18-CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

CREATURES OF THE NIGHT

Writer: Neil Gaiman

Artist: Michael Zulli

Dark Horse, 2004

 

CreaturesOfTheNight_Hardcover_1185751835This is a short volume containing two stories by Gaiman and Zulli.  I hadn’t known about this book until it was brought home by my wife as a candidate for the 365 Challenge but it’s a delightful read.

In the first story, “The Price”, a Gaiman like writer finds himself and his family adopted by a stray black cat who begins to turn up in the morning with scars from horrendous nocturnal battles.  Perplexed, the writer resolves to stay up and find out what the cat has been fighting but is not prepared for what he discovers.

The second story, “The Daughter of Owls”, is a more fairy tale type story.  A baby is discovered in a village one morning and it is believed that she is the child of owls so, despite the original temptation…

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#12–KILL SHAKESPEARE, VOL. 1

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

KILL SHAKESPEARE, VOL. 1

Writer: Conor McCreery & Anthony Del Col

Artist: Andy Belanger

IDW, 2010

Issue_1_KaganI’d never heard of this comic before so I came to it without any preconceptions which is somewhat refreshing for a change.

This is another example of the “shared universe” concept that’s become so popular since Alan Moore’s LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN series although, to be fair, I believe that Philip Jose Farmer started the genre with his RIVERWORLD series.  In any event, KILL SHAKESPEARE throws a bunch of the Bard’s characters together in a wide ranging story of duty, honor and betrayal.  You know, all the things Shakespeare liked to write about anyway.

We begin with everyone’s favorite Dane, Hamlet, leaving Denmark after having mistakenly killed Polonius. He sailing towards England when his ship is attacked by Pirates and he is rescued (?) by Richard the Third and becomes entangled in a complicated…

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#9-PREACHER: GONE TO TEXAS

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

PREACHER: GONE TO TEXAS

Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Steve Dillon

DC, Vertigo Comics, 1995

preacherWell, one of the reasons I’m doing this challenge is to get myself to read things that I normally wouldn’t and PREACHER sure qualifies for that!

I recall when this series first came out and the subsequent years of hearing people rave about it.  So I was understandably curious.  “Surely,” I thought, “there must be something here!”  But, sadly, there isn’t and don’t call me Shirley.

This storyline was the first six issues of the PREACHER comic so we do get in on the ground floor, so to speak.  The basic concept here is that Jesse Cutler is a not-very-good preacher who gets possessed or taken over by some creature named “Genesis” which we find out later is the offspring of a demon and angel.  The big secret that Heaven is protecting is that God has…

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#8-JSA LIBERTY FILES: THE WHISTLING SKULL

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

THE WHISTLING SKULL

Writer: B. Clay Moore

Artist: Tony Harris

DC Comics, 2013

dc-comics-jsa-the-liberty-files-the-whistling-skull-tpb-1I don’t read DC comics anymore.  I mean, not at all.  I used to be a big fan of DC until the crap that was IDENTITY CRISIS.  That’s when I realized we had to break up.

But, like any ex-lover, I’d check in once in a while to see they were doing only to find that things kept getting worse.  The ‘make-over’ just made things sad.  So I thought I’d never have reason to read a ‘new’ DC comic again… until I found this book.

This was a recent addition to a new ‘series’ from DC that reimagined some of their Golden Age characters in WWII.  I’d enjoyed the previous titles in this ‘series’ so this one intrigued me.  I have to say that it was not what I expected.

Coming to this title blind, I thought that the…

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#7-HELLBOY: DARKNESS CALLS

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

HELLBOY: DARKNESS CALLS

Writer: Mike Mignola

Artist: Duncan Fegredo

Dark Horse, 2008

JAN080090_largeAs much as I enjoy Mignola’s work (and the universe he’s created) one of the problems I’ve always had with it is that I never know what the proper order in which to read them.  I didn’t buy the individual issues as they came out and Mignola’s (or Dark Horse’s) method of creating new titles with each new story line makes it even more confusing.  I’ve noticed recently that Dark Horse has started numbering B.P.R.D. issues so that’s a bit of a help but not so much going back.

Anyway, looking at the book’s spine, I see that this is TPB # 8 whereas yesterday’s TPB was #1 so obviously many things have happened in-between.  I picked this one because of the big yellow sticker on the cover that saws “Now a major motion picture Hellboy II: The Golden Army” so I thought that this…

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#5–RED ROCKET 7

The 365 Day Graphic Novel Challenge

RED ROCKET 7

WRITER & ARTIST: Mike Allred

IMAGE, 2008

Red_Rocket_7_HCI’m not in a very good mood this morning but I’ll try not to let that influence this mini-review.  I’m a big fan of Mike Allred’s work especially his MADMAN series and his wild, 60’s ‘pop’ art style.

Sadly, I did not like this book so much.

I remember when this series was first published.  I saw it on the stands, picked it up, leafed through it and put it back.  Even then I felt it wasn’t for me.  The basic story is a blend of Science Fiction, Rock Music, History and Soap Opera.  An alien lands on earth (in a “red rocket”) underwater where, while he’s unconscious, his robot sidekick makes 6 clones of him (all with a number on their head from 2 to 7).  The clones make their way out to the world and we follow the…

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