Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: The Strain Vol 1

Horror comics are my bread and butter, my broccoli and cheese, my dead baby and Worcestershire sauce, and whenever a new horror comic comes out in stores I am eager for something insidious, something terrifying, but most importantly, something new. Coming out tomorrow (November 13th) is David Lapham and Mike Huddleston's collected adaptation of Guillermo Del Torro and Chuck Hogan's novel The Strain. Although this comic might not be classified as something "new" since the source material is a book of the same name, it is safe to say the contents inside are sure to please most fans of the macabre. 

Here's a blurb pulled straight from the Dark Horse's mouth:

"When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Centers for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event--an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness."

The "ancient threat" they talk about are vampires. Is that so shocking? No, I don't think so. 

But the point of this vampire tale has more to do with the biological or scientific happenings behind vampirism rather than the occult. The words "outbreak" and "epidemic" are used enough to suggest these first chapters are leading to something much more deadly and devastating to mankind and it's only a matter of time before the entire world sees symptoms. Surprisingly for six issues of comics this first volume hardly moves past the third day mark in regards to a timeline, allowing very little to actually happen. My personal favorite chapters happen to have nothing to do with the present day situation, but rather the history of an old Russian Jew and his previous history with the head vampire. I won't give any of it away, because it's quite entertaining.
The only problem I had with the comics was Mike Huddleston's art. That's not to say that his cover art isn't amazing--the detail, the gory, brilliant detail--but the inside pages look plain and simple, nothing to call your nearest mate about. It bothers me that Dark Horse assumes that most of their horror comics should look like Mike Mignola comics, mainly heavy attention to Chiaroscuro. The end product never looks distinct. I honestly believe Dark Horse could have slapped a BPRD sticker on the cover and half the readers wouldn't have known the difference.

Besides this little side note, the story of The Strain is quite effective and I'm sure David Lapham did the source material justice (although I haven't read Del Toro and Hogan's book to make comparisons). I am curious to know just what any differences might be. About the story itself, I am slightly disappointed with the vampires. They are kind of clownish in their attributions, pasty and white as the Pillsbury Doughboy, with long, bloated tongues that act like stingers. I think Del Toro should have stopped with Vampires with his amazing creations in Blade 2, but for some reason he felt these creatures needed their own story too. 
Overall, I'd say this comic is entertaining and very coherent in structure and plot, the art is a bit bland for my tastes but gets the job done from a-z. If you're looking for some light reading (certainly lighter than the novel) pick up the Strain for a fun romp in the bone yard.

Overall: 3.5/5

Thursday, October 11, 2012

APE is October 13th and 14th in San Francisco

I'm looking forward to this: the hundreds of small press tables, the panels specifically focusing on creators outside of superhero comics, and the novice comic book creator's smell of desperation--I mean, I mean-- swell of discovery. Yeah, that sounds more reaffirming.

Yes, the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, CA is a sight to behold. And this year is of particular interest because all three Hernandez brothers will be in attendance, as well as one of my favorite artists in the dealings of bizarre oddities and strange arrangements, Jim Woodring. Check out the official website here for more information and check back to Go Suck a Comic next week for more APE 2012 coverage.

Friday, October 5, 2012

GSAC Attends 'Days of Terror' and 'Sac-Con' in Sacramento

If you have followed my site since it's earliest inception, you will notice the reoccurring topics of "horror" and "comics." These interests are my bread and butter in the entertainment industry. I am allured by sequential storytelling and if elements of the macabre are added to a story, I am nearly a fan for life. So when I heard that the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento was hosting a two day horror convention called "Days of Terror" followed by a single day comic convention known as "Sac-Con," I did what any normal fanatic would do. I took the days off from work.

Here is an account of the two events, back to back: the guests, the artists, and the awesome finds.

Days of Terror

Miss Misery's Days of Terror to be specific. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from this show. In the past Sacramento has hosted the "Sac Sci-Fi Horror Show" and it appears Miss Misery's Days of Terror has taken it's place. Of course there is no problem with that as long as the show offers some amazing guests and key vendors. Certainly the website offered a great line-up of c-list celebrities, but unfortunately there was no big name guests to really draw in the crowds.

Upon entering the building and gazing at the convention floor, most guests could tell things were looking like a ghost town. And not in the way that would cater to most horror enthusiasts. There was simply no one there. The main showroom for vendors featured too many empty tables, many of which were pulled back from the main stage. If I wasn't granted a press pass (which I am very grateful for), I would have felt very cheated for the entrance fee of $20. The average attendee could see what Days of Terror had to offer within 30 minutes.

However Days of Terror offered it's own share of excitement and discoveries. While walking around the floor I came across some extraordinary comic talent and shared a good amount of face time with the lot: Tone Rodriguez, Paul Allen, Gary "Gaz" Gretsky, and Jason Dube. The ever vocal Mel Smith chatted with me about the latest on Dead Ahead 2, his new Creepy KOFY Movie Time comic, and asked me about my plans on a Big Trouble in Little China comic (all currently under wraps). I love Mel. He's one of the most down to earth guys in the comic industry and always speaks from the heart. If you ever get the chance to meet him, do yourself the favor and strike up a conversation.

While running around the vendor room, my cohort Justin Hopper and I found a vendor with an amazing selection of graphic novels for unbelievable prices. All of his paperbacks were $5 and his hardcovers were $10. I wish I brought more cash to throw down but luckily he was there the next day at Sac-Con (let's not get ahead of ourselves). Anyway, I walked away with four League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books, which completes my collection--now I can finally finish up the series before Alan Moore squirts out another. We also found some great graphic t-shirts from the guys over at fastcustomshirts.com (their selection is vast and the price is cheap--I implore you to check them out). I found the perfect Return of the Living Dead shirt to wear around this Halloween. I was also pleased to meet one of this year's Face Off contestants Nicole Chilleli who *SPOILER ALERT* recently returned after being eliminated earlier this season. She spoke of working at Safeway in the past but due to her success on Face Off she is currently working full-time in special makeup FX. Good for her!

The remainder of Days of Terror felt insignificant. I wish there was more that stood out, more of a wow factor--God, I sound like one of those crackhead judges on American Idol. But seriously, this Horror show had some good potential. I feel like the show is off to a good start if the show runners decide to return next year. I have three offerings for any future shows: 1.) Add at least two big name guests to the roster (why was Jeffrey Combs at Sac-Con but not Days of Terror?), 2.) Add some panels (were there any this year?), 3.) Get some vendors! If there's empty space, please offer it for a low dollar amount to any creative talent willing to sign aboard last minute (the amount of empty space in the vendor room was pathetic to say the least). Also, did Rebekah McKendry attend the event? I looked high and I looked low but Alas! no Miss McKendry was found.


As weird as Days of Terror turned out, Sac-Con turned out even weirder. But in the best possible way.

According to the Sac-Con home page there were over 1900 attendees at this September's event. And holy crap did it feel like it. I've never in my life walked into a Sac-Con feeling like I was transported to WonderCon. Man oh man, did it feel good! Energy was flowing from the guests, from the vendors, and especially from the attendees. People were not just there, people were happy to be there.

My first surprise of the day was to find the extremely talented independent artist Z. E Pangborn. While on the ride to Sac-Con, I related to my friend Thomas how gorgeous this artist's work was and how happy my girlfriend was with his creations. So happy that she desires to decorate an entire room with his art. How surprised I was to see his work once more at this year's Sac-Con. It turns out that Pangborn is a local to Northern California. If you take a look at how intricate his penciling is you'll immediately know how worthy he is of the comic book medium. If any editors of Heavy Metal are reading this, scout this man's talent now!


The vendor floor at this quarter's Sac-Con was filled with surprises. Comic books, video games, toys--pick your poison, because everything was there. It seriously felt like a mini-ComicCon. I staggered around through the crowds big-eyed wondering where to go first. As luck would have it, I found an amazing Creature from the Black Lagoon toy I had never imagined finding there and then. Maybe at Days of Terror, but not so much Sac-Con. This Creature toy stands more than 12" tall and is a perfect addition to my collection. The most special part about it is that I've seen it being auctioned on ebay before but never realized the superior, gargantuan size. The asking price for this beast was $25. My offer of $20 was gladly accepted.


One of the many talents featured at this Sac-Con was Mick Gray (inker on Promethea and the current Batman and Robin) whom I tend to find in attendance at most conventions in California. Slowly but surely Mick has been kind enough to sign most of my Promethea issues. I promised his wife I would help spread the word about their latest endeavor--to build an eco-friendly solar powered roof. Donations start at $5 and work their way up to $200. Of course there are some pretty sweet rewards if you choose to donate. Check it out here.


While walking around the convention floor I saw many cosplayers dressed as Adventure Time characters who were definitely excited to meet voice actress Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum in Adventuretime and Starfire in New Teen Titans). I also overheard one attendee just ecstatic to have met actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Frighteners, Star Trek Enterprise). The attendee couldn't stop glowing over his signed Re-Animator poster. I went back into the depths of the vendor room and came out with two more affordable finds. I've longed to read The Upturned Stone by Scott Hampton and bargained the hardcover copy for $5. I also found a copy of Paul Chadwick's Concrete for $4 that I haven't read just yet. Both are well worth the price paid.

All in all, this has been the best Sac-Con I've ever attended. Although Days of Terror was a bit of a bust, the amount of face time with the guests and artists, was well worth making an appearance. To see Sac-Con grow in attendance like this only gives me hope that one day Days of Terror will be a thriving attraction for horror fans in the Northern California area. And hopefully by then, Sac-Con will have grown to a much more appropriate size. You never know. There's no word of WonderCon returning to San Francisco. Someone has to fill it's shoes. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Finder: Talisman Limited-Edition Hardcover

Considered a fan favorite of Carla Speed McNeil's Finder series, the extremely limited edition hardcover of Finder: Talisman is finally collected together in one volume. Set in a world much similar to our own, yet with many shades and hints of a not-too-distant future, Finder: Talisman tells the tale of a young girl Marcie and her search for magic within the pages of a long, lost book.
The most impressive facet of this story relies in the tale's innocent, believable tone. McNeil's account of Marcie's life is dreamlike and whimsical and all the while rooted in a developed and established world. This story is so strong that eventually you feel as if you are reading a journal entry, a past history filled with secrets and confidence meant solely for you. It contains a personal relationship with the reader that is lacking from many comics written today. I am curious to pieces how much of this book stems from McNeil's own life and how much from her imagination. Either way, I applaud her.

Concerning the artwork, McNeil's style is a bit plain for my tastes. The entire book is printed in black and white (which for an extremely limited edition, I would expect an updated color version), but of course some prefer the original untainted by the new. It wasn't that McNeil's art bothered me (it's actually quite nice and different), it just failed to thrill and pull me in deeper. But this is purely aesthetic tastes--look on to the provided samples. If you like what you see I implore you to read.
If you're wondering what the differences are between the Finder: Talisman hardcover book and the limited-edition hardcover book, from what I can tell, there are only a few minor differences. The first is obviously the cover. The limited edition hardcover sets to replicate the sought-after book that the character Marcie searches for, while the normal hardcover looks more modern in design. The limited edition is limited to a print run of 250 copies (which is stands true to the definition of "limited") and is signed and numbered by Carla Speed McNeil herself. Other than that...well, they're practically the exact same, just one is priced more affordable than the other. They're both the same size for Christ's sake! But then again, I'm sure you'll shell out the extra cash for this if it's you're favorite thing under the sun.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Joe Golem and the Drowning City Deluxe Hardcover

Chances are you're reading this review because of one of two reasons: 1) you're a loyal fan of Mike Mignola's work or 2) you've read/purchased the previous hard cover edition of Joe Golem and the Drowning City and are toying with the idea of upgrading for Dark Horse's Deluxe Edition HC. As a huge Mignola fan I am slightly biased by his gorgeous art, but I hope to set that aside to provide you with a brutally honest and opinionated review.

First and foremost, the premise behind Joe Golem and the Drowning City is a fascinating one. Set fifty years after torrential earthquakes and a rising sea level have left city of Manhattan submerged under 30 feet of water, fourteen-year-old Molly McHugh finds herself an orphan living in the extremely dangerous Drowning City. As luck would have it, she is rescued from her meager life by an elderly psychic named Felix Orlov, aka Orlov the Conjuror. Never expecting Orlov to be a  true psychic, she slowly yet surely realizes her caretaker's powers are indeed real--real enough to attract the wrong kind of attention from the villainous Dr. Cocteau and his gas-mask wearing monster men. But they're not alone. A clock-work detective named Simon Church (a nod and a wink to Sherlock Holmes) and his hulking strongman Joe Golem have secretly kept tabs on Orlov over the years, expecting just such an attack. Joe leaps to Molly's defense and thus begins our pulp adventure. Everything you would hope to expect from a Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden co-authorship.

Now that you're expectations are high, allow me to readjust them accordingly.

Joe Golem and the Drowning City is not just an illustrated novel (that's right, fans of Mignola, this is NOT a graphic novel--please don't be confused), this is one-hundred-percent a Young Adult illustrated novel. Just what does that mean? Well, if you believe The Hunger Games holds literary merit over Lord of the Flies and Battle Royale, than you're going to find this book to be the best damn thing since Frozen Yogurt became known as "Fro Yo." Sentence development, unnecessary ramblings, and shameful amounts of white space (this book could easily be half the size if formatted properly), this book reeks of the tropes found in Young Adult fiction. This is not to say that the book is bad and the writing is poor (co-author Christopher Golden provides some charming visuals unnecessary of any illustrations and his opening sequence is one of the most captivating I've read in years) but only that I was unprepared for the quality of the work.

Fans of Mignola's art and comics like myself might be disappointed too. I've already mentioned that this is NOT a graphic novel (second warning), so what should you come to expect? I counted three illustrations that take up the entirety of a page, the rest are of a marginal size, all of which are in black and white. For the most part Mignola's artwork represents old Germanic woodblock prints, however in Joe Golem there is no action or gusto in these pieces compared to his comic art. They all  feel silent and inert, simple and more sketch like than what you might typically consider an "illustration." 
Now for what you've all been waiting for--discussing the Deluxe Edition. From what I can tell (keep in mind I read a digital copy) there is absolutely nothing different from the first hard cover addition other than the size,  slipcase, limited edition signature plate (this book is limited to 1,000 copies), and the inclusion of the previously unprinted "Joe Golem and the Copper Girl" (which you can still purchase digitally). All of these amendments for nearly fivefold the original price (unless you rush to Amazon where it's currently going for $62.99). Personally, I believe the St. Martin's Press edition published earlier this year is superior solely for the gorgeous art on the dust jacket alone--plus it's already a hardcover! But if you have the money to burn and feel like owning some kind of bragging right, you can fork up the generous wampum for the most expensive and over glorified Young Adult novel I've ever seen in existence.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sac-Con is September 30th in Sacramento

Here we are on the hind leg of summer in California. One shake away from an unexpected migration into an autumnal world where all comic conventions retreat and go dormant before a barren winter. The beast that is San Diego ComicCon hibernates until roused next year. Relative newcomer Big Wow! recoups for 2013's battle in San Jose. And WonderCon appears to have gone AWOL... Is it North? Is it South? Only time can tell.

But one thing is for sure. This Sunday, September 30th, in Sacramento is the quarterly continuation of Northern California's most reliable and fan friendly convention, Sac-Con. Built with all the amenities as a large convention, Sac-Con offers panels and workshops, card game tournaments, cosplay competitions, vendors, and a distinct group of guests: Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, The Frighteners), Hynden Walch (Adventure Time, Teen Titans), Liam Sharp (Gears of War, Judge Dredd), Joshua Ortega (Gears of War 2, Gears of War), Morrie Turner (Wee Pals), Ron Lim (Silver Surfer, The Infinity Gauntlet), Mick Gray (Promethea, Batman and Robin), Skinner (Blood Wizard) and Rafael Navarro (Sonambulo).

If you miss the small, quaint atmosphere of an independent and local comic convention, I highly encourage you scout the talent and pleasantries at this hidden gem. For more Sac-Con brain food, click this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Miss Misery's Days of Terror are September 29th-30th in Sacramento

Looks like this year's Sacramento Horror Convention has undergone a major face lift. Cousin to the quarterly Sac-Con in Sacramento, CA, Miss Misery's Days of Terror is a budding horror convention sure to douse all horror fans with buckets of blood and grotesque goodies. Besides a massive guest list (check out the list below), the convention will offer a costume contest, scream contest, and Friday night musical performances by First Jason and Dammit! This is one horror convention fans of the macabre will not want to miss!

Guests currently include Ari Lehmen (Friday the 13th), Amy Steel (Friday the 13th Part 2, April Fools Day), C. J Graham (Friday the 13th Part VI), Tom Fridley (Friday the 13th Part VI, The Karate Kid), Suze Lanier-Bramlett (The Hills Have Eyes, The Hills Have Eyes 2), Dominick Brascia (Friday the 13th V, Once Bitten), Eileen Dietz (The Excorcist, Helter Skelter), Lyn Lowry (The Crazies, Cat People, and Welcome to the Darkside) and more! To preorder your tickets now, visit the official website here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Eerie Archives Volume 11 Hard Cover

Eerie Archives Volume 11 continues Dark Horse's trend of collecting and printing Warren Publishing's horror anthology. Set in an impressive deluxe hard cover edition, this volume contains issues #52-55 of the original Eerie magazine. The book features 248 pages of black and white comics (besides two Will Eisner comics colored by the master Richard Corben), which is currently being sold for a little under $30 now at Amazon.

As far as artwork goes, this Eerie volume features roller coaster highs and lows of artistic talent: Neal Adams, Vicente Alcazar, Aldoma, Jaime Brocal, Rich Buckler, Richard Corben, Bill DuBay, Will Eisner, Ken Kelly, Esteban Maroto, Isidro Mones, Paul Neary, Martin Salvador, Sanjulian, and Tom Sutton. Although each artist is different in their own ways, they all demonstrate classic comic art that evokes the tone and atmosphere of Eerie comics. Gently haunting, unexpectedly gruesome, and creatively inspiring--always a pleasure to behold.  My personal favorite artist goes to Tom Sutton, whose short Fathom Haunt tale "Spawn of the Dead Thing" strangely reminds me of Rick Veitch and Steve Bisette's bizarre art and layouts in Saga of Swamp Thing. Also strange how Sutton's Fathom Haunt character is strangely reminiscent of John Contantine (I smell a conspiracy).

Story is where this book is mostly lacking. Many of the comics that appear in this volume are Warren's attempt to create on-going characters, like the Mummy, the Werewolf, and Dax the Warrior. Most of these characters are blatant ripoffs of classics and show Warren's attempt to cash-in on famous but unregistered Universal and Hammer monsters. Personally, I was afraid my generation leap from the original readers of Eerie magazine might have caused this objective attitude. But according to letters from readers that are reprinted in these volumes, I am not the only ones who was put off. One reader writes: "What the $#%(& do you think you're doing to EERIE? These series of yours are terrible...It's like having one long, boring story instead of ten short, good stories. Enough!" This letter made me laugh and nod in agreement. Strange how the years may pass but like minded individuals remain the same.

 One particular on-going story that stood out was written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Vincente Alcazar called "Schreck." Undeniably similar to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the first "Schreck" story is a brilliantly narrated account of a man struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world filled with "loonies"--an infected group of lunatic people caused by radioactive testing on the moon. The first Schreck story, "First Night of Terror" is a brilliantly narrated account that switches from past to present causing a perfect amount of tension for the series to take off. 
All together, this Eerie Archives Volume makes for some perfect lazy Sunday reading. Although some of the stories are not too original by today's standards, the art work is sure to please fans of horror and emits a desire to stroll through all of the Warren Publications yesteryear.

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Superjail! Season 3 Airs September 30th

If there is one maniacally demented cartoon on today's television screens it is certainly Adult Swim's Superjail! Known for its psychedelic battle royale animation sequences (imagine a Hieronymus Bosch painting come alive), applied with some of the most zaniest and disturbing characters in existence, crank that up to eleven and you get Superjail! Fans who have been waiting for Season 3 to premiere will be overjoyed to hear that they are in store for ten brand new episodes, the first airing September 30th at 12:15am on Adult Swim.

Here is the Press Release: The warden is back and the death toll at Superjail continues to rise at an impressive rate! Complete with fist fights galore, baffling love triangles, and psychedlic animation that will melt your face off, season three of Superjail! premieres on September 30th at 12:15am (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.

Time to put on a Cheeseburger album and count this sucker off!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Bucko Hard Cover

Have you ever read a comic and thought, "Oh, my God! Why haven't I read this sooner? Why hasn't anyone told me about this? Why am I still alive!?!" These are the exact sentiments I got after reading the Portland inspired tale Bucko. Originally published as a webcomic for free (and still is here), Bucko is a strange comedic mystery written by Jeff Parker and illustrated by Erika Moen. Dark Horse Comics has done us the pleasure of collecting the entire webseries in a wonderful hard cover collection with a healthy dosage of bonus content to please both new and old fans.

Bucko is set in a fictionalized location which bares many similarities to the non-fictional local of Portland, Oregon. Following the main protagonist Rich "Bucko" Richardson after a wild night of drinking, Bucko suddenly finds himself away from home in a stranger's apartment with a hangover and a sudden realization he's late for a very important job interview. After a tedious journey by bicycle, Bucko manages to keep the appointment, only to be hit by a serious case of beer shits while in the middle of his meeting! He storms out of the office and heads for the nearest bathroom but rather than finding a porcelain god he finds a dead man on the floor with a knife sticking out of his neck. And thus begins the crazy shenanigans that befall this 136 page book.

One of the reasons this book works so well is in thanks to Jeff Parker's comedic writing skills. Parker manages to create a world full of exciting and entertaining characters that could only reside in the weird world of web comics. He pulls from many of today's most subversive groups of young adults: etsy artists, hipsters, steampunks, juggalos, suicidegirls, the homeless, and more. While each one of these groups puts a bad taste in my mouth, watching them all come together in this unique rag-tag way is almost like watching The Goonies for the first time. Such an odd assortment. Such an amazing result!

The other specialty behind the comedy is Erika Moen's innocent childish art. Surely if this comic was drawn in realistic fashion this book would read completely differently and probably not for the better. Moen's art manages to make Bucko light-hearted and fancy-free. When someone get's punched in the face, you don't think, "Ouch!" Instead, you think, "Hilarious!" The same way when you see Wile E. Coyote get blasted by TNT you don't shed a tear. Even the moment when Bucko bursts through the door of the men's room and finds the dead body on the floor. This is a scene of sick moral disgust. But it's fucking comedic gold!

One last note to applaud these creators on is their wonderful way of tying up loose ends. Although there are many mistakes made through the comic (and both the creators like to point them out in the commentary--oh, yes! I almost forgot. This hard cover edition includes commentary at the bottom of each comic page. Which makes for just as pleasurable reading as the main story itself), the creators will leave you absolutely fulfilled with satisfying full circle plot structures. I am always amazed when I see writers create works of fiction that are tied perfectly with a bow and ribbon at the end. It just makes the book that much more special.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 -- GREAT

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sacramento Vintage Toy, Collectible, and Action Figure Show September 23rd

Looks like Toyfusion (a wonderful hodge-podge toy consignment shop) is trying to start an annual tradition in Sacramento, CA. This September 23rd will mark the first Action Figure, Toy, and Collectible show at the Scottish Rite Center. Check out their web page for more information here.

Review: Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit, Hard Cover

Available tomorrow in all fine comic book shops is Steve Nile's continuation of his Cal MacDonald mysteries, titled Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit. Over the last few years Dark Horse Comics has featured stories of Cal MacDonald and obviously they believe this character is worthy of your time and money. This is best said about this new release; this hard cover edition is illustrated by comic book and animation artist Scott Morse and features only 32 pages (all of which are unpublished material) for the hair raising price of $19.99. That's right folks, your purchasing the equivalent of a $3 comic for six times the average price of most single issues. Given the fact that this is a hard cover and the size is larger than normal (9" x 12", to be exact), this comic should be worth the fifteen extra Washingtons, right?


Unfortunately Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit does not live up to the retail price. The story finds our main protagonist (or antagonist, for those postmodernists out there) Cal MacDonald once again on assignment, this time recruited by a World War II veteran with an eerie past. This Criminal Macabre episode features the same structure featured in most of Niles' MacDonald tales: customer in desperate need of help, explanation of situation, things go awry, and all ends with MacDonald to the rescue. That's my cookie cutter version. 

By the looks of Scott Morse's cover for this book, I was hoping the content inside would be just as glamorous and spectacular. But the tale is not told in normal comic book fashion with panels and word bubbles, but rather in typical story book fashion. This could be fresh and exciting if the illustrations liven up the narration. Instead Morse's artistic depictions are lackluster and come off boring, which is sad to say because the watercolors he uses set a wonderfully murky tone. 
If you are a Steve Niles, Criminal Macabre, or Scott Morse completest, chances are you will want this comic to add to your collection. However, I guarantee you after the first read you will regret the amount you spent on purchasing this. Buyers beware, you might wish to bargain shop this one.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stockton-Con is August 5th

If you find yourself bored with the Olympics and jonesing for some pop culture mayhem, make the trip to Stockton, CA tomorrow and check out the first ever Stockton-Con. Special guests include Morrie Turner, JD Arnold, Mark Dos Santos, Tony Fleecs, Kathy Garver, Timothy Green, Rich Koslowski, Tone Rodriguez, Mel Smith, Stan 152, Ken Thomas, Tim Vigil, Nathan Watson, and more! Doors open at 10am at the Alex G. Spanos Center at the College of the Arts. For more info, check the posters below or go to the official website here.