Monday, July 29, 2013

Just Read - Heroic by Curren and Quackenbush

Picture that it is 1990 but you have all the knowledge that you have in the year 2013. Picture reading a comic series that feels like it’s 1990 but has all the knowledge of 2013. I beat the comics you are reading are Heroic #1-3 by Glen Curren and Ryan Quackenbush.

Full disclosure, Glen and Ryan are good friends of mine and I had been checking out the art for Heroic while Ryan was drawing the book. This still did not prepare me for the journey that I was about to enter when I read these books, a journey that I had been afraid to take. I picked up these back about 2 months ago at the Phoenix Comicon, but I had put off reading them, because I didn’t think the book would ever live up to the hype the I had made for them in my head, while looking at the original art each month. But I was wrong!

As I said in the opening I was immediately taking back to 1990 and I felt like I was 17 again reading a cutting edge comic back some of my favorite creators of the time, most of who no long make any comics. Curren has constructed a nice look at the super-hero mythos and to say that it hasn’t been done before would be a lie, but Curren has add on the knowledge that he now hold in 2013 back to the style of comics that were being made in 1990. There’s over the top violence, sexual tension, pot shots at the man, everything I loved about books from 1990.

And Quackenbush’s art, all I can say is WOW! I have seen the original art, which is awesome, but the way that it has been scanned and ever so slightly tweaked, gives the book a very moody and brooding feel. While it is very reminiscent of a particular school of art from 80’s and 90’s, a style of art that has been missing from comics for the past 10 years (maybe even 15.) Also did I mention that this is Quackenbush’s first comic work and he has more comics planned, this boy is only going to get better.

The book is very nostalgic, so if you are looking for a modern trip down memory lane, Heroic #1-3 is for you. The story follows a super-hero duo and their encounters with a evil villainous mastermind who has some dastardly plans to make the world a better place through music. The story is complete in these 3 issues (not sure if they are planning a trade or not), so you will not have to wait for future issues to wrap up the storyline.

-Denny Riccelli creates comics under the pen name ‘dennmann’ he currently publishes the webcomic Cousin Harold and some mini-comics now and then, including Jenny Spookawski Ghost Girl. He lives in Peoria, Arizona with his wife and 2 kids.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Re-Read - Open Country by Michael DeForge

One of the reasons I decided to start Comics Never Stop is that I was reading so many comics by people that my local comic shop never heard of and did not stock. This not a slight on the local comic shops in Arizona, the vast majority of them are awesome and support the local comic community every chance they get. But amazing comics by even more amazing creators were missing from their shelves, and once these creators started doing a little mainstream work, like Michael DeForge in Adventure Time/Strange Tales, there was still little acknowledgement of the creators work outside of the books that were solicited in the Previews Catalog.

Let me just start by saying Michael DeForge might be the biggest alternative comic creator to spring up since the late 80’s-early 90’s. It been just a few years since I started reading his work, and he appears to be working non-stop with new story coming out of thin air when I least expect them.

Today I have decided to take a quick look at his series Open Country. Open Country was originally scheduled to be a 5 issue series of mini-comics. My guess is that it would then be collected into a trade or larger format book. But that looks like it will never happen. I seem to remember reading/hearing in an interview with DeForge somewhere that he was done with Open Country and would not finish it. So why then review Open Country, well it was my introduction to the comics world of Michael Deforge.

 Open Country appears to be a story about a new art fad of psychic projection. In the story we start by seeing an art installation that is created by Beverly Hutch, we later learn that Hutch is using assistance to maintain her art installation and that she might not be a very nice or creative person. We find this all out from one of Hutches look-a-likes, Cody, that was hired to help her. There appears to be a wealth story in this area, but we will now never see it.

Another story thread follows what appears to be the main character, an unnamed female, who is experimenting with psychic projection. This woman is documenting her journey of experimentation with psychic projection throughout the story. I’m sure that this would have also work out to be something very interesting.

Michael DeForge’s art is amazing. He appears to draw straight from his gut and create comics from his subconscious. At first his art looks a little too arty and somewhat crude in places, but it fits the story so well. While reading you tend to forget that his character lack a nose, which is something that I remember bothering me at first. Instead you focus on the expressions and emotions that he gives his characters - surprised, worried, determined, they are all there. His art is very inviting once you begin to read the stories and I cannot see the stories drawn any other way.

Again I picked Open Country because it was my introduction to DeForge’s work, it also is a series that I think about regularly and wish he would finish at some point. I also hope to look at some of  his other work here in the near future.

-Denny Riccelli creates comics under the pen name ‘dennmann’ he currently publishes the webcomic CousinHarold and some mini-comics now and then, including Jenny Spookawski Ghost Girl. He lives in Peoria, Arizona with his wife and 2 kids.