Comics You Should Be Reading: Back In The Saddle Edition

Hey nerds!

It’s been awhile. We know. Let’s just say we’ve been busy doing life, and all three of us are guilty of falling behind on our monthly comic book reading duties.

In an effort to get back in the saddle, we each went through our mounting stash of unread comics. We chose the two titles that we absolutely can’t wait to read and stand out among the rest. So, when your real-life responsibilities get you behind on your comics, in the very little in between time, these are the comics you should be reading. Continue reading

REVIEW: Casanova Acedia #1

Aside

As a brief introduction, Casanova #8 was one of the first comics I picked up when I started working at a comic shop in 2008. I had no idea what it was – it might have been a FCBD promo – and the title led me to believe that it would revolve around a dude boning a lot of ladies or something. Not really my wheelhouse, but the cover drew me in immediately. Continue reading

5 Things I Learned at HeroesCon 2014

After several repeat performances at DragonCon and two rounds of MegaCon, this girl was looking for a new adventure. I had heard through various social media that HeroesCon was the favorite con of many a comic artist, writer and other industry types. A tweet here and a status there that compared to so many other conventions, it’s said to be an authentic experience no matter what side of the table you are on. Color me curious. Continue reading

The Good Sarlaac: A Sex Criminals Panel

Where to begin?

This past weekend V. and I went to HeroesCon, and I had the pleasure to attend a panel dedicated to two of my favorite creators, focusing on one of my favorite books. If you aren’t in the know about Sex Criminals, one of the latest smash hits from Image, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s amazing. It’s astounding. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky have crafted what I believe to be one of the best books on the shelves right now, and they do it with a perfect blend of emotional gravity, sincerity and humor. In a single issue this duo can give the reader both punches to the gut AND laughter-induced tears. That’s something special. That’s a mark so many comics miss. And it all started as a pet project between two dudes who figured they could work together on a few dick joke comics before they got cancelled. Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Invincible Iron Man #500.1

The Invicible Iron Man #500.1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: Joe Caramagna

Confession time: This is the first standalone Iron Man comic I’ve ever read. My knowledge of Tony Stark has been limited to team books like The Avengers, his guest appearances in other comics, and the recent movies. So in a way, I’m probably the ideal audience for The Invincible Iron Man #500.1, which is essentially a recap of Stark’s life from childhood to present day. While there’s probably nothing new here for longtime fans, it’s an absorbing, attractively presented story for newbies.

Tony narrates his story during an AA meeting, and writer Matt Fraction uses the classic flashback storytelling device. However, the script never seems cliched or movie-of-the-week manipulative. What’s most interesting is Stark’s exploration of how he became an alcoholic; how drinking almost destroyed his life but probably led to his reinvention as Iron Man. It’s clear that he has a tenuous hold on sobriety, and that his addiction has been deeply humbling. He’s a billionaire bachelor and a genius superhero, but at AA, he’s just another guy with a cup of crappy coffee who’s trying to stay on the wagon. Fraction does a very good job of conveying Tony’s basic persona and his vulnerability. You just can’t help but root for the guy despite the considerable damage that he’s done to himself and others.

I really responded to Salvador Larroca’s art, particularly his gift for realistic, detailed facial expressions. His closeups of Stark feature heavily in this intimate story, and it works. Frank D’Armata’s coloring is muted, but his palette suits the narrative’s tone. I don’t often pay close attention to lettering unless it’s done poorly, but Joe Caramanga’s stood out for the opposite reason: They’re quite good.

It’s impossible to give a full picture of such a storied character in one issue, but Iron Man #500.1 hits all the highlights: His relationship with his parents, how he became a crime-fighter, and the toll that his drinking took on his relationships with women, business associates, and the other Avengers. Seeing all that dysfunction crammed into a single issue is heavy stuff, but also touching. There’s a moment toward the end where he calls Pepper Potts, and that brief exchange reveals a great deal about their connection.

For the people who already know this stuff, Iron Man #500.1 might seem extraneous and a waste of their time. But for readers not terribly familiar with Tony Stark, it’s a solid, enjoyable read and a very good entry point.