Friday, April 29, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
My buddy Tommy Hancock's new novel, Yesteryear, is now available! Equal parts murder mystery and homage to the Golden Age of comic-books, Yesteryear is well worth a look if you like action, adventure and the barest dollop of nostalgia. Don't trust me? Just watch this:
Monday, April 25, 2011
As far as horror comics go, one of the best for my money is Guy Davis' The Marquis. Even better? It now has a blog! Guy Davis is busy posting all sorts of tidbits, including some truly grisly (in the best sense) fan-art!
Equal parts historical, steampunk and religious nightmare, The Marquis is the story of the titular masked man as he carves a swathe through the demons that infest his world...demons that only he can see. Is he mad? Is he a monster? Or is he simply...the Marquis?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Eisner-nominated graphic novel, AFRODISIAC, is available to read for free via the publisher's website, according to the Beat. You should probably go check that out, because Afrodisiac equals awesome. Also, if you like what you see as far as Jim Rugg's artwork, why not check out this snazzy cover for an anthology I happen to be in.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
And we have a winner! And what a winner he is...Let's run down the list, shall we? 1) Crazy-ass cyborg, 2) Texan accent, 3) codename that is also a pun, 4) ten gallon hat and 5) abiding interest in oil and corporate shenanigans.
It's almost like Mike W. Barr was trying to make some sort of political statement, hunh? Or maybe I'm missing something. Anyway, Earl J. Dukeston (yes, really) is one of those just plain downright weird villains that Barr tossed at the Outsiders back in the day, like the Nuclear Family.
What gives Earl Dukeston (God help me, I love that name) his potential to go beyond a one-note dig at corporations and Texas is the fact that it's really, REALLY hard not to get a good story out of an eight foot cyborg that sounds like Townes Van Zandt.
Especially if he becomes the first cyborg recognized as a corporate entity. Imagine this, Dukeston, while being held by S.T.A.R. Labs (eight-foot cyborgs don't go into g-pop, y'know?), becomes something of a jail-house lawyer and manages to get himself declared a victim of outside influences (electronic brain plus anybody with an engineering degree and a screwdriver equals not guilty by reason of tampering). Soon enough, he's free with all previous charges dropped (really just the one because technically, the Outsiders attacked him) and Earl Dukeston, former CEO of Dukeston Oil, decides to take back his company.
Granted it's not really his company because he's a brainwashed robot, but he thinks it's his. And he has the false records to prove it. Those same records prove that Dukeston was 'programmed' (i.e. brainwashed) by the Dukeston Board of Directors and that they are, in fact, culpable for his misdeeds! Also, they've been embezzling or eating kittens or something. Dukeston engages the services of prominent metahuman corporate attorney Josiah Power and subsequently regains control of Dukeston Oil, one of the most powerful oil companies in the US corporate sphere, which has contracts with, among others, Lexcorp, Waynetech, Alghul Industries, and any other fictional company you care to name.
And now the fun begins...y'see, Duke has some odd ideas since he's reached that plateau of self-acceptance (12 weeks sober thanks to Artificial Lifeforms Anonymous!). Ideas about improving the human condition. About helping his fellow sentient organisms. He starts small...setting up charities and foundations to graft prosthetic limbs (based on his own design, natch) onto wounded soldiers, disabled children and even injured animals. Then he moves into replacing damaged organs in the elderly or the sick. Then, finally, Duke unveils the Celebrity Modification Clinic, where anyone with the cash can get an upgrade! New skin, new bones, new organs...a whole new body. A body with an immortal positronic brain based on his own. And with the money from the clinic, he opens a few down-market versions of the service, because Duke is all about helping the needy.
Can you see where this is going? I bet you can. But the best part? The best part is that Duke genuinely thinks he's helping. He's on a mission from Robot-Jesus and he just wants everyone to be happy and healthy, just like him. And when the usual suspects (Batman, the Outsiders, Green Arrow, etc.) begin to investigate, well, Duke has his attorney on speed-dial...
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
But before then, 'Thar was five of 'em...'. Seriously, click that link and go read Francesco Francavilla's take on Jonah Hex. It's just a one page story, but hot damn is it awesome! Seriously, why isn't he just drawing everything?
Monday, April 11, 2011
Mike D. over at Cultural Compulsive Disorder sent me these fancy-pants images. They're the work of Tommy Lombardozzi, whose site you can visit, if you're so inclined. I encourage you to do so, because he has some neat pieces over there. The image of Ben Grimm as Jake LaMotta is particularly awesome, I think.
Friday, April 8, 2011
So, my buddy Chris Munn is to Ghost Rider what Chris Sims is to Batman...the be all, end all final authority. Munn is the world's premier Ghostriderologist, with side degrees in Werewolfbynightry and Livingmummyatics. But it is with his qualifications in the world of spiritual vengeance and skeletons who scream and ride motorcycles that we are concerned with today.
See, Munn has this site which is THE place to go if you want any sort of coherent discussion on Ghost Rider, past, present or future. As well as a metric f*ck ton of reviews, he's got interviews with Tony Isabella, Larry Hama, Don Perlin, Howard Mackie and more! Go give it a look. You'll be glad you did.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The readers have spoken! Melvin Potter, AKA the Gladiator (not to be confused with just plain Gladiator) was the hands down favorite of the first 'Villains with Potential' poll. And you can see why, what with the buzz-saw arms and the latent psychosis and whatnot.
Oh, and there's a new VwP poll up, so after you've given this one a read, be sure to go vote.
The Gladiator is that strangest of beasts, the reformed super-villain. Or semi-reformed, considering that he's back in jail and suffering from dementia. But prior to that, he was reformed and running a costume shop. I'll let that sink in, shall I?
As far as Melvin Potter goes, I think his story is done. While Potter has the pathos to carry a story, he's simply not an effective villain these days. He has no reason to be the Gladiator, nor even the desire.
But someone else might. Gladiatorial contests have existed as long as civilization itself...something about watching two individuals trying to kill each other really gets a crowd excited. And some crowds are richer than others.
Not long ago in the various Spider-Man books there was a group of high-stakes gamblers called the Great Game. These 'Gamers' used a number of super-villains (including Joystick, Polestar and El Toro Negro) as pawns in a massive, sadistic, occasionally gladiatorial contest of international proportions. Now, the Game has since dropped out of the MU meta-storyline, but it would be easy enough to bring back. Perhaps even with a mixture of old and new backers.
And one of these backers has decided to sponsor an all new Gladiator. One who thirsts to test himself against super-powered opponents of all stripes and calibers. Villain or hero, it doesn't matter to the Gladiator...all that he (or she!) desires is the fight. And the stronger, the more deadly the opponent the better that fight.
With the resources of the Great Game behind him, the new Gladiator could pop up anywhere, in any book, with any target. He could infiltrate Utopia, looking to test his might against Colossus or Wolverine. He could challenge Captain America on live television or stalk one of Spider-Man's enemies, waiting for the webslinger to show up. He could hunt down the Wrecking Crew or the Absorbing Man or the Black Tarantula.
But in the back of his head, there's one fight they'll never give him. They'll dangle it just out of reach, the eternal prize, the never-earned reward for a warrior who wants to be the best...the chance to fight the first Gladiator. Melvin Potter, the man who beat the (Dare)Devil. And maybe, just maybe, the new Gladiator will grow tired of the game and go looking for this last, best fight on his own...and what happens then is anyone's guess.
Monday, April 4, 2011
I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but I thought I should give a shout-out anyway...March MODOK Madness 2011 just ended, but I encourage you to give the entrants (a full month of MODOK-inspired artwork, natch) a look-see before bookmarking the site for 2012!
Oh, and there's only seven hours left to vote in the 'VILLAINS WITH POTENTIAL' Poll, so get cracking!
Friday, April 1, 2011
By which bit of overinflated hyperbole I mean to say have you checked out Jim Shooter's blog? I wasn't even aware he HAD a blog until I stumbled across it. And love him or hate him, the guy is a living bit of comics history and it looks like he still has some stories to tell. Go check it out.