The issue’s a family affair, with Tom, Dhalua and Tesla each getting their own story. Paul Chadwick handles the art on Tom’s story. His style mimics Sprouse quite a bit. If I hadn’t seen Chadwick’s name, I’d have no idea.
It’s a nice little story, with Moore mixing jungle adventure with positivist sci-fi. It ends a little fast though.
Dhalua has a good flashback story. Mostly Moore is just filling in her backstory, rounding the character. He does an exceptional job with the character, making her more distinct than Tom. Sprouse and Gordon do well with the constrained setting.
They also do the art on Telsa’s story, which Moore models on DC backups, like a Supergirl one. It’s a lot of fun, with more great art from Sprouse and Gordon. It’s got the most humor. Moore succeeds at making his observation on comics traditions while writing a great character.
The issue opens with Petrie, Richards and Pimentel on Buffy. Petrie’s writing is awful (Buffy explains the story to herself through expositional dialogue) and the art is fairly weak. Even the resolution is lame.
Chadwick’s Concrete is bad, but in interesting ways. Chadwick avoids the usual humanity of his stories (good or bad) and concentrates on the action. His art’s odd too—he outlines Concrete in thick inks.
The Devil Chef has a single good joke at the end. Maybe Pollock’s first good joke….
Amara and Davis finish The Nevermen. As usual, great art, bad writing. Here we find out the Presents three-part story is just a pointless prologue.
Brunner’s story about recent college graduates is hilariously awful. It’s so absurdly written, one wonders if Presents had any submission standards at this point.
And Moncuse’s Fish Police closes the issue. Another dumb story (with pedestrian art) for a bad issue.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Killing Time; story by Doug Petrie; pencils by Cliff Richards; inks by Joe Pimentel; lettering by Amador Cisneros; edited by Scott Allie. Concrete, Sympathy from a Devil; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Devil Chef, Trouble in Lunchland; story, art and lettering by Jack Pollock. The Nevermen, Part Three, Death Come Quietly; story by Philip D. Amara; art by Guy Davis; lettering by Steve Haynie. Dirges in the Dark; story, art and lettering by Chris Brunner; The Fish Police, Fish City 2 Nite; story and art by Steve Moncuse; lettering by Clem Robins. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Concrete, Dark Horse, Devil Chef, Fish Police, Nevermen
Tagged Chris Brunner, Cliff Richards, Doug Petrie, Guy Davis, Jack Pollack, Joe Pimentel, Paul Chadwick, Philip D. Amara, Steve Moncuse
It’s a “theme” annual—characters in their youths.
It opens with Wagner, Chin and Wong on Xena. The art’s a little rough, but Wagner’s writing is solid.
Mignola’s Hellboy is adorable (as young Hellboy stories tend to be). It’s a cute couple pages.
Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo drags. It’s way too didactic. Sakai’s art some okay moments and some not okay ones.
Shockingly, the Ghost story is good. Zanier and Mariano’s artwork is excellent and Kennedy’s writing isn’t bad. It’s confusing for a new reader, but quite decent.
This issue also has the first Groo I’ve read. Though Aragones’s art sometimes gets a little too dense, he and Evanier write a fine story.
Chadwick’s Concrete story is lame. It’s maybe the worst writing I’ve read from Chadwick.
Norwood’s Star Wars thing bores. Surprisingly weak art from him too.
The finish is Geary’s take on The Mask. Some decent art, but pointless.
Xena: Warrior Princess, The Worm; story by John Wagner; pencils by Joyce Chin; inks by Walden Wong; lettering by John Workman; co-edited by Scott Allie and Dave Land. Hellboy, Pancakes; story and art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Pat Brosseau; co-edited by Allie. Usagi Yojimbo, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Tournament; story, art and lettering by Stan Sakai. Ghost, My Sister’s Keeper; story by Mike Kennedy; art by Christian Zanier and Marvin Mariano; lettering by Steve Haynie. Groo, Groo for Sale; story by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier; art by Aragones; lettering by Sakai; co-edited by Allie. Concrete, Orange Glow; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Star Wars, Walkabout; story and pencils by Phill Norwood; inks by Shannon Denton; lettering by Amador Cisneros. The Mask, Angry Young Mask; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Edited by Randy Stradley, Adam Gallardo and Chris Haberman.
Posted in Concrete, Dark Horse, Ghost, Groo, Hellboy, Mask, Star Wars, Xena: Warrior Princess
Tagged Christian Zanier, John Wagner, Joyce Chin, Mark Evanier, Marvin Mariano, Mike Kennedy, Mike Mignola, Paul Chadwick, Phill Norwood, Rick Geary, Sergio Aragones, Shannon Denton, Stan Sakai, Walden Wong
The Concrete story goes on forever, but it’s actually pretty funny how it turns out. Not funny enough to laugh at, but Chadwick definitely comes up with something amusing. Oh, I’ll just spoil it–a mom and son pull a long con on Concrete for something he did back in his first appearance. Decent art, nothing spectacular. Concrete’s just such a miserable character, he’s hard to read sometimes.
Pekar and Sacco have a little story. I still don’t get the appeal. It’s too affected to be real life, so….
Brunetti does a page of funnies, some of which I’ve read. They’re still awesome.
The strangest entry is from Savage, Waskey and Patterson. Waskey and Patterson illustrate an anecdote from Savage about being gay. It’s decent enough, but the art should have been better, more able to adapt an anecdote to comics.
Kelso’s got a socially conscious, depressing piece about homelessness.
Concrete, The Artistic Impulse; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Breakfast at Billy’s; story by Harvey Pekar; art and lettering by Joe Sacco. The Funnies; story, art and lettering by Ivan Brunetti. Faggot Story; story by Dan Savage; art by Jason Waskey and Bruce Patterson; lettering by Sean Konot. Whistle and Queenie; story, art and lettering by Megan Kelso. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.
This teaser for Dark Horse Presents 100 has some great stuff in it… but it also has some unbearably long entries.
Chadwick’s Concrete—though it’s always fun to read Concrete assuming the worst about humanity—goes on forever and turns out to be a prologue. It’s a little lame, though Chadwick’s art is decent.
LaBan’s Emo and Plum is relatively painless. It’s short, anyway. However Musgrove’s Fat Dog Mendoza is awful.
Paul Pope’s got a couple pages and it’s lovely (kind of an interactive discussion of Picasso). Some great figure work.
Brubaker and McEown tease their entry in 100, as does French. The Brubaker and McEown one seems a lot more compelling, with Brubaker’s writing strong even in the one page.
Then Mignola has an endless three page preview for his Hellboy story. It’s got a lot of expositional dialogue.
Still, this teaser’s better than many of the regular issues.
Eno and Plum; story, art and lettering by Terry LaBan. Concrete, The Artistic Impulse (excerpt); story, art and lettering by Paul Chadwick. Fat Dog Mendoza, The Secret Life of Leftovers (excerpt); story, art and lettering by Scott Musgrove. Pistacho!!; story, art and lettering by Paul Pope. Bird Dog (excerpt); story by Ed Brubaker; art by Pat McEwon. The Ninth Gland (excerpt); story, art and lettering by Renée French. Hellboy, The Chained Coffin (excerpt); story and art by Mike Mignola. Edited by Scott Allie and Bob Schreck.
Posted in Concrete, Dark Horse, Eno and Plum, Fat Dog Mendoza, Hellboy, Ninth Gland
Tagged Ed Brubaker, Mike Mignola, Pat McEown, Paul Chadwick, Paul Pope, Renee French, Scott Musgrove, Terry LaBan
This issue is fairly weak.
The Eighth Wonder finishes. Plunkett’s art is good and Janes’s scenic writing–his dialogue, for example–is fine, but the story lacks any real heft. It feels like they hurried or ran out of pages. It ends with a great unanswered questions–why no boats? They’re building a bridge from Europe to Colombia. What happened to boats? It’s disappointing, after the first installment, but not terrible.
Geary’s got a bunch of single page contributions. Like most of his work, some are good, some are not so good. They feel like filler.
Chadwick turns in an utterly useless summary of Concrete’s origin. It might have been nice back in the late eighties, when he first appeared. Interestingly, there’s the promise of a second Concrete… though I doubt Chadwick would ever think of them fighting,
The last Star Riders appears here, thank goodness. Racine’s art is terrible.
The 8th Wonder, Part Three; story by Peter Janes; art by Kilian Plunkett; lettering by Vickie Williams. Concrete; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Home Remedy, Standing on Line, Yes, It Happened, The Phantom Telephone; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Star Riders, Part Three; story by Étienne Gagnon and Edward Martin III; art by Alex Racine; lettering by Williams. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Obviously, the major attraction is the second chapter of An Accidental Death. The pace changes throughout; it opens with the body being hidden, then Brubaker moves to summary, then to scene again. The final scene–the discovery–comes after the two boys (the protagonist and the murderer) start to discover where they really live. Reality, in more ways than one, rushes in on them. But Brubaker’s writing is nuanced, never obvious. It’s just lovely.
Then Dr. Giggles, hopefully, finishes up. I don’t think I’ve mentioned how inept Coto is at plotting this narrative. The plot developments get stupider and stupider. At least it’s over.
The Concrete story is a little overwritten… lots of narration, but it’s amusing and Chadwick and Hotchkiss do a great job with the art.
The issue ends with two one page Alec comics from Campbell. Both are quiet, wonderful and somewhat profound. It’s such good work.
Concrete, Byrdland’s Secret; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Dr. Giggles, Part Three; story by Manny Coto; art by Alan J. Burrows; lettering by Willie Schubert. An Accidental Death, Part Two; story by Ed Brubaker; art and lettering by Eric Shanower. Alec, Genetic Defects and Overheard While I Was Supposed to be Working; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Accidental Death, Alec, Concrete, Dark Horse, Dr. Giggles
Tagged Alan J. Burrows, Ed Brubaker, Eddie Campbell, Eric Shanower, Jed Hotchkiss, Manny Coto, Paul Chadwick
This special is far from an accurate representation of Dark Horse Presents. Everything looks very professional.
The Aerialist and Heartbreakers installments are both long needed establishments of the series’ ground situation.
I even liked the Heartbreakers one (Bennett’s writing is far stronger from the clones’ perspective, versus their creator).
There’s also lots of disposable stuff–Concrete, The American and Black Cross are all weak, though Warner’s art is better on Cross than I’ve ever seen it. Chadwick and Verheiden use their stories to blather about American culture.
Of the two Miller’s–Give Me Liberty and Sin City–I almost prefer Sin City. Liberty‘s a little overbearing, though the Gibbons art is nice.
Prosser and Janson do a great adaptation of an Andrew Vachss. The Roachmill, Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator entries are all fantastic.
I’m a little peeved Bob the Alien is on the cover but not in the issue.
Give Me Liberty, Martha Washington’s War Diary: April 16, 2012; story by Frank Miller; art by Dave Gibbons. Concrete, Objects of Value; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Aliens; story by John Arcudi; art by Simon Bisley. The American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Dougie Braithwaite; inks by Robert Campanella; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Roachmill; story and art by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Placebo; script by Jerry Prosser, based on a story by Andrew Vachss; art by Klaus Janson; lettering by Michael Heisler. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner; lettering by Jim Massara. The Aerialist, Part Three; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kurt Hathaway. Heartbreakers, The Prologue; story by Anina Bennet; art by Paul Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Aliens vs. Predator; story by Randy Stradley; art by Phill Norwood; lettering by Brosseau. Sin City, Episode One; story and art by Frank Miller. Edited by Stradley.
Posted in Aerialist, Aliens, American, Black Cross, Concrete, Dark Horse, Give Me Liberty, Heartbreakers, Predator, Roachmill, Sin City
Tagged Anina Bennett, Chris Warner, Dave Gibbons, Dougie Braithwaite, Frank Miller, Jerry Prosser, John Arcudi, Klaus Janson, Mark Verheiden, Matt Wagner, Paul Chadwick, Paul Guinan, Phill Norwood, Randy Stradley, Rich Hedden, Robert Campanella, Simon Bisley, Tom McWeeney
Chadwick’s Concrete isn’t so interesting this issue for what he does say, but for what he doesn’t. Concrete’s sidekicks get lost in the ghetto and a bunch of black guys attack the car–presumably to beat the guy and “gang rape,” Chadwick’s words, the woman. When Concrete and the guy are sitting around calmly discussing it later, Concrete basically says it’s just how men act and isn’t it awful and shouldn’t women run things. But Chadwick made it pretty clear earlier these men are, specifically, black men. I think it’s supposed to be well-intentioned, but….
Prosser and Pollock contribute the Mary: The Elephant prose story (Pollock illustrates). It’s awful; I can’t believe anyone would want it in their book. Maybe Dark Horse didn’t pay Prosser for something else on the condition they printed this idiocy. Some nice art though.
Delia & Celia is better than usual, but still exceptionally bad.
Concrete, Fire at Twilight; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Mary: The Elephant They Could Not Hang (At First)!; story by Jerry Prosser; art by Jack Pollock. Delia & Celia, A Pyre for Ethrod; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Ugh, another “annual.” Sixty-four pages of Dark Horse Presents tends to be a little much.
The American is a little long here–it’s very passive and not at all dramatic. On the other hand, Peterson shows he used to be a lot more interesting of an artist.
The Wacky Squirrel strip from publisher Richardson is dumb.
Davis’s Delia & Celia is a complete bore, big shock. He manages to make a pterodactyl boring.
The longer than usual Bob the Alien just shows with more space Rice does an even better story. It’s funny and touching
The Concrete story is better than usual–Concrete’s jealous over girls–and Chadwick puts in three unanswered questions. Two are crime related, one personal. It works.
Bacchus is great. Campbell gets more into his eight pages than anyone ever has in one of these issues.
As usual, Zone is passable, Race of Scorpions is lame.
The American, My Dinner with the American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Brandon Peterson; inks by Randy Emberlin; lettering by David Jackson. Wacky Squirrel; story by Mike Richardson; art by Jim Bradrick; lettering by David Jackson. Delia & Celia, Down, Down and Down; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Steppin’ Out; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Concrete, Visible Breath; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Bacchus, A God and His Dog; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Zone; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Race of Scorpions, The Rusty Soldier; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Laura Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in American, Bacchus, Bob the Alien, Concrete, Dark Horse, Delia & Celia, Race of Scorpions, Wacky Squirrel, Zone
Tagged Brandon Peterson, Eddie Campbell, Gary Davis, Jed Hotchkiss, Jim Bradrick, Leopoldo Durañona, Mark Verheiden, Michael Kraiger, Mike Richardson, Paul Chadwick, Randy Emberlin, Rich Rice
The Concrete story goes on forever. It has some of Chadwick’s better art in a while, but also some Liefeldian body mechanics. It’s metaphysical nonsense about the environment. These Concrete stories are best as time capsules–things haven’t gotten any better in the last twenty years.
Zone debuts this issue; Kraiger’s illustrating is fine. The story’s harmless and uninteresting. It seems like it’s going to follow in Concrete‘s footsteps in terms of passivity.
Hedden and McWeeney do a wordless Roachmill. Great art, mildly amusing story. The art’s what’s important here.
Gilbert and Beatty do a Mr. Monster story all about EC Comics and censorship. It’s incredibly well-intentioned but boring and poorly illustrated. The inks on these Mr. Monster stories are hideous.
Then there’s the Homicide. Arcudi… it’s… I don’t know where to start so it’s probably not worth talking about.
Oh, and lame Black Cross pages litter the issue.
Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Concrete, Stay Tuned for Pearl Harbor; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Zone, Of a Feather; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Roachmill, The Terror of Canal St.; story, art and lettering by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Mr. Monster, Inklings; story and art by Michael T. Gilbert and Terry Beatty; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Homicide; story by John Arcudi; art by Doug Mahnke; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Black Cross, Concrete, Dark Horse, Homicide, Mr. Monster, Roachmill, Zone
Tagged Chris Warner, Doug Mahnke, John Arcudi, Michael Kraiger, Michael T. Gibert, Paul Chadwick, Rich Hedden, Terry Beatty, Tom McWeeney
Seriously, a short story? I guess Andrew Murphy provides his own illustrations, but his story is a prose future story about cloning. Not a very logical one either (how do the clones age, for example). I guess it’s not the worst prose story I’ve ever read in a comic, but am I making a compliment? No.
Concrete is a thoughtful story of a young village kid in Asia getting ready for Concrete’s walking tour. Chadwick has probably never written a better story. Too bad the illustration is mediocre. He’s barely got any detail to his faces and I can’t remember a single stunning panel.
Rick Geary’s Police Beat, presumably short true police cases, is great. One page.
Trekker has Dave Dorman inks, which makes the whole thing look completely different. It’s not an entirely successful art experiment, but it’s the first Trekker I’ve sort of liked.
And Duckman is funny.
Concrete, Goodwill Ambassador; story and pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Jed Hotchkiss; lettering by Bill Spicer. Reflections; story and art by Andrew Murphy. Police Beat; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Trekker, Chinks; story and pencils by Ron Randall; inks by Dave Dorman and Lurene Haines; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Duckman, Love Me Tender; story, art and lettering by Everett Peck. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Concrete, Dark Horse, Duckman, Police Beat, Trekker
Tagged Andrew Murphy, Dave Dorman, Everett Peck, Jed Hotchkiss, Lurene Haines, Paul Chadwick, Rick Geary, Ron Randall
This issue is a sixty-four page giant–only most of the extra is filler. They could have gotten away with a lot less pages.
The Mr. Monster story is real short (and lame). Gary Davis has a short space alien story showing he’s read some Arthur C. Clarke (it’s long, wordless filler).
Rick Geary’s got a nice two page story, which is filler but really excellent filler.
Then there’s the start of a Trekker serial. It’s incomprehensible if you haven’t read the Trekker series and probably even if you have.
Doug Potter has an excellent story about homelessness.
Oh, I missed Bob Burden’s Mystery Men and Flaming Carrot two page filler.
Then a real Mask story, which seems to be wrapping up. The narrative’s a little pat dramatically, but I’m not sure Badger cared.
Bob the Alien and Mindwalk have stories. Bob‘s hilarious, Mindwalk‘s weak.
Finally, even more filler.
Mr. Monster, The Thing in Stiff Alley!; story by Chuck Gamble and Michael T. Gilbert; pencils by Gamble, Gilbert and Chuck Wacome; inks by Gilbert; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Anomaly; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. A Mother’s Tragedy; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Trekker, Vincent’s Share; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. The Mystery Men!; story and art by Bob Burden; lettering by Roxanne Starr. The Visit; story, art and lettering by Douglas C. Potter. The Mask; story and art by Mark Badger; lettering by David Jackson. Concrete, Watching a Sunset; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Goes Birddogging; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Mindwalk; story by Randy Stradley; art by Randy Emberlin; lettering by Willie Schubert. Wacky Squirrel, Mixed Results; story, art and lettering by Jim Bradrick. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Black Cross, Bob the Alien, Concrete, Dark Horse, Mask, Mindwalk, Mr. Monster, Trekker, Wacky Squirrel
Tagged Bob Burden, Chris Warner, Chuck Gamble, Chuck Wacome, Douglas C. Potter, Gary Davis, Jim Bradrick, Mark Badger, Michael T. Gilbert, Paul Chadwick, Randy Emberlin, Randy Stradley, Rich Rice, Rick Geary, Ron Randall
Badger’s ink washes on The Mask are real nice, but they’re so much easier to comprehend than his regular art, I almost wish he’d done the whole thing with that process. It’d be worth the wait. With the ink washes, when he does something crazy, it just works better. Maybe because it feels realer when the Mask appears and reality splits.
Chadwick uses his Concrete spot for some more old stuff–in the letter column, the editor reveals these “Sky of Heads” stories are nothing but old Chadwick material from a drawer, which I said the first time. The story in the story in the story is all right. Chadwick’s a lot meaner than usual. It’s not as sappy as Concrete.
Bob the Alien is kind of funny. Rice’s art is a little rough even for a strip, but it’s consistently amusing.
It’s an okay issue, nothing terrible, which helps.
Concrete’s Sky of Heads, Quality Time; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. The Mask; story and art by Mark Badger; lettering by Tim Harkins. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien’s, First College Party; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Edited by Randy Stradley.