Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #16

Omega Paradox #0
Moonstone Comics
Writer: Ian Ng; 
Artists: Mark Sparacio, Abe Melendez Rivera 
Mark Sparacio released this “zero” issue as a preview of his first creator-owned series.  As a science fiction story, it starts out in an unusual setting:  a university library located on an alien planet.  The story begins with a team of five people being ambushed by a gang of aliens, followed by the revelation that one of their allies is not who he claims to be.

The team is led by a mysterious character called “The Master,” although one member refers to him as “Father.”  Although he may remind readers of The X-Men’s Charles Xavier, this leader takes a no-nonsense approach to ending dissension within the ranks, as evidenced by the last couple pages of the issue.
There is plenty of action to compel readers to check out the new series (the first issue should be available in your local comic shop now!), which will focus on the team’s search for “a man who may hold the key to keeping the universe together,” according to the book’s Facebook page. 
Fans of Sparacio’s cover artwork will be very pleased with his interior art, and Rivera’s vibrant colors further enhance the book.   

For more information on Omega Paradox, please check out my interview with Mark Sparacio in the pages of Comics Buyer's Guide #1685, which should still be available at some comic shops!  If you missed that issue, you can also check out the online version of the article, which can be found on the CBG website at the following link:  http://cbgxtra.com/comics-news-and-notes/the-genesis-of-omega-paradox

I'll have a follow-up review of the first issue soon.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #15


Written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin Press
ISBN #978-0-312-54773-8
$24.99, 308 Pages

I recently received the new Walking Dead novel as an early Christmas present and enjoyed it immensely, finishing it up within just a few days of receiving it.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is the "first in a series of novels exploring the origins of fan favorite characters from the Walking Dead universe."  For this first novel, Kirkman chose the most evil character from the comic book series:  Philip Blake, "The Governor."  Readers of the comic series know that Blake spent several issues doing his best to destroy Rick Grimes and his group of survivors, through kidnapping, murder and torture, until his reign of terror was finally ended by one of his own people.  However, for several years since that storyline ended, unanswered questions remain:  What drove a devoted family man to such extremes, and what did Philip Blake experience that eventually turned him into a soulless monster? 

This book not only answers those questions, but also succeeds in what most fans would think is nearly impossible: making the reader feel empathy for Philip Blake. 

One of the enjoyable aspects about the book that made it feel a little more "real" for me were the references to the internet and social networking, both of which gradually went away, as conditions worsened in the weeks following the outbreak. 

(The following is a selected passage from the book)

Nick is still keeping tabs on the radio, TV, and Internet...and like the failing bodily functions of a terminal patient, the media seems to be sparking out one organ at a time.  By this point, most radio stations are playing either recorded programming or useless emergency information.  TV networks - the ones on basic cable that are still up and running - are now resorting to either twenty-four hour automated civil defense annoucements or inexplicable, incongruous reruns of banal late-night informercials. 

By the third day, Nick realizes that most of the radio dial is static, most of basic cable is snow, and the Wi-Fi in the house is gone.  No dial-up connections are working, and the regular phone calls Nick has been making to emergency numbers - which, up to this point, have all played back recordings - are now sending back the classic "f--- you" from the phone company:  The number you have dialed is not available at this time, please try again later. 

The novel moves along very quickly, introducing readers to many fascinating characters, none of which are around very long, due in part to the nomadic existence of the Blake family and their two companions. 

Rise of the Governor is a great start to what I hope will be a long running collection of novels featuring individual characters from The Walking Dead.  With the series on its way to the 100th issue in 2012, there are a wealth of characters to draw upon for future novels, and I'm looking forward to see who gets picked for the next book. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


From Comics Buyer's Guide #1685:

For those of you still trying to come up with ideas for Christmas gifts, here are five holiday gift suggestions for the comic book fan on your list!

1) The Adventures of Tintin Young Readers Edition: I started reading Tintin over 30 years ago with monthly installments in Children’s Digest. These inexpensive volumes (under $10) are a great way to introduce Tintin to a new generation of readers.

2) Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things: Couldn’t all of us learn something from this book? As the description reads, “Stuff answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.”

3) Super Dinosaur Volume 1 (Trade Paperback), by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard. For anyone who enjoys shows like Ben 10 or Generator Rex, this series is just pure fun, and is begging to be made into a show on Cartoon Network.

4) Too Cool to be Forgotten, by Alex Robinson. When Andy’s quest to stop smoking results in him being transported back to 1985, a middle-age man gets a second chance to change the decisions made by his teenage self. However, he must decide if altering those decisions will actually make things worse. It’s Back to the Future done in a much more realistic manner.

5) The Complete Peanuts (Any Volume). The significance of this project cannot be overstated. Fantagraphics releases two volumes of these hardcovers each year, with each volume covering about two years of strips. With hundreds of never before reprinted strips and wonderful introductions from people like Lynn Johnston and Walter Cronkite, this collection is meant to be enjoyed and passed on to future generations. The publisher also offers the option of purchasing both volumes together (for any given year) in a nice collector’s slipcase.

Good luck with those last minute purchases, and please...leave the pepper spray at home.