Awesomeness

Just a Small Part of Why I Love Greg Rucka

I read this today and just had to share.  Greg Rucka has always been one of my favorite writers; I started reading Elektra because of him, and his Wonder Woman run still can’t be beat in my eyes.  I’m an avid follower of his web comic, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, as well as various other projects and minis.

So when I came across this piece of badassery, it just further cemented my loyalty to this incredible writer.

You tell them, Greg Rucka!

Also, here’s a somewhat related supplemental reading, if you feel like.  Definitely worth checking out.

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Boston Comic Con 2012

Oh, man.  Hello, all!  Hello, home computer!  I’ve missed you so!  By now I’m sure my usual “I’m so busy, oh my God, I never have time, what is the meaning of life if I can’t read comics, I’m trying to post more I SWEAR” rant has gotten insanely old.  So let’s just skip right on over that.

I’ve been wanting to talk about Boston Comic Con for weeks.  I went several Saturdays ago, and it was a blast.  Even better than last year, and so much fun despite a much larger crowd.  First things first—a huge thank you to the organizers who put this on, as they continue to outdo themselves year after year—and congrats for knocking it out of the park.  Last year was awesome, this year was amazing.  My expectations are already set for 2013.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Here’s the skinny.

For me, comics shows are more about getting to meet creators and interact with people, and less about scrounging for merchandise or sitting in panels.  I got to meet Jeremy Bastian, Katie Cook, Phil Noto, Jimmy Cheung, Peter Nguyen, Clay Mann, and Cliff Chiang, among a bunch of other people, and some I didn’t get the chance to talk to, like Scottie Young and Stephanie Buscema, whom I’m so sad to have missed.  Then there’s the few people bowed out—like Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, and Phil Jimenez, but that’s okay because it was still amazing even without them.  I probably wouldn’t have known what to say to Brian Azzarello anyway—the guy seems like he’d be kind of intimidating in person.  And meeting Amanda Conner might have easily charmed me enough to crack my moral conviction not to purchase Before Watchmen, so … you know, at least I’ve still got that going.

At this point I honestly can’t remember what booths I went to or who I met in what order, so I’m just gonna run through this thing.

Jeremy Bastian!  He was awesome and super nice in person.  I bought a sketchbook from him and he gave me a free pin with the Cursed Pirate Girl on it.  I told him how much I loved the first volume and wondered about the second, and he said it was still unfortunately a ways off—which, considering how incredibly detailed his art is, doesn’t bother me one bit.  I would wait forever for him, his stuff is that stunning.  He pulled out a portfolio and showed me some finished pages (which look awesome!), and I was totally flattered that he even let me see.  I told him I was very excited for more Cursed Pirate Girl and he seemed genuinely thankful.  And he’s so humble.  He’s a totally cool guy.  Guests like him make the con.

Katie Cook’s table was beside Jeremy’s, and she is equally as nice and super funny.  She was cracking jokes at her own expense left and right.  She is

Evey & V

Cosplay at Boston Comic Con

hilarious on Twitter and I told her so—yeah, I kind of gushed. I’m a fangirl, I can’t help it.  I told her how much I love Gronk, and I bought a copy of the book from her which collects the first volume of Gronk strips in color.  She was also doing these little playing-card-sized watercolor sketches of various characters, and I grabbed one with Robin on it that says “Sidekick” with him looking all sad.  It’s SO CUTE and might be my favorite thing I got at the con, which is saying something.

Clay Mann.  I can’t begin to say how excited I was to meet him; his art, specifically his X-Men, more specifically his Rogue, has been a favorite of mine.  Knowing he was a guest was a major part of the reason why I went to the con at all despite being in the middle of a move.  I put a stop to my schedule and came out to see this artist, because he took the time out to come see us.  I thought it would be amazing to get a sketch and tell him what his work has meant to me.

We met.  It was disappointing.

Actually, it was kind of devastating.  I debated whether or not I wanted to get into specifics here, but in the end, I’m not going to badmouth the guy.  I walked away from his table feeling pretty sad.  Not all creators treat their fans the same.  I’ll leave it at that.

So at this point I’m walking around still trying to process the … experience I just had.  And I was sad.  And I wondered if I was just completely wasting my time there.

That was until Phil Noto.  Oh my goodness, Phil Noto.  Stan Sakai has a rep for being the nicest guy in comics, but I’m thinking Phil Noto could give him a run for his money, and I totally gushed over him.  I praised his wonderful X-23 work, and mentioned how I had the chance to meet Marjorie Liu a couple of months earlier, and how she had nothing but wonderful things to say about him.  I was DYING for a commission from him, but his list was full.  He asked if I was going to be there Sunday, and unfortunately I wasn’t, so I couldn’t get anything from him.  I told him I’d buy a print instead in that case (he had this gorgeous one on the table), and as I grabbed my wallet he was like “No, don’t worry about it, you can have it.”  He felt bad that he couldn’t get me a sketch and so gave me the print for free.  I was so touched and happy and amazed, and just … couldn’t believe he did that, it was so sweet.  I thanked him profusely.  He also signed an issue of Birds of Prey I’d brought with me from way back when, and drew a little Oracle on the corner of the cover.  He is the awesomest dude ever and I am even more in love with him than before.  LOVE.  He made up for my experience with Clay Mann tenfold.  Clay Mann?  Who, what?

Next up, Cliff Chiang.  His commission list was also maxed out.  Apparently it got full within fifteen minutes of the start of the con—no chance.  I bought a print from him as well, chatted a very small bit, and that was it.  He looked incredibly busy and as a huge line was forming behind me, I didn’t hang out for long.  Very nice guy, though.  I admitted to him that the current Wonder Woman has been difficult for me to follow, but he asked me to stick with it, and I said I would for the time being.  He’s kind of hard to say no to—his art, and his Wonder Woman, are beautiful to me.

Jimmy Cheung.  Commission list:  full.  Another miss, but I had him sign a Young Avengers trade for me as well as the first issue of Children’s Crusade.  I asked him if he was sick of drawing the Young Avengers yet, and he warmly said no and that he was happy to continue drawing them so long as they keep assigning him.  He was very soft spoken and sweet, and had a lovely accent.  He asked if I’d read all of Children’s Crusade and if I’d enjoyed it, which I told him I did tremendously.  At which point my Fiancé decided to leap in and say something along the lines of “You should know how high a compliment that is, because she’s a harsh critic.”  Jimmy was like “Is that true, are you tough?” and I must have turned red with embarrassment when I responded with … “Umm … no, I don’t think I’m that tough,” only to be further called out by Fiancé.

Batgirl Com

Batgirl by Peter Nguyen

At the next table over to Jimmy was Peter Nguyen, who apparently listened to this whole exchange, because I looked over and saw him laughing.  We spoke to him and his commission list was … OPEN!  I got him to draw me a Batgirl, which was framed and hung up on a wall immediately upon arrival home.  It’s beautiful.  Peter was super nice and so cool and funny.  Fiancé also bought a gorgeous print from him of Zatanna and Black Canary (which I have already stolen).  Thank you, Peter—the con wouldn’t have been the same without you.

The final bit I want to touch on is none other than the great guys over at Firetower Studios.  As you all know, I have been a huge fan and unwavering supporter of one of their books, Princeless by Jeremy Whitley.  Well, I had the opportunity to meet Jeremy Strutz, who illustrates another one of Firetower’s books called The Order of Dagonet, also written by Jeremy Whitley.  As a thank you for my reviews, Jason did a wonderful Princeless commission for me, which you can see here.  Jason is very kind and I enjoyed talking with him and looking through his sketchbook.  He signed a copy of Dagonet for me, and then it was time for me to go.  What a great ending to the con.

Of course, I have failed to mention many other great things about Boston Comic Con this year.  For instance, there was a lot of fun cosplay—my favorites were Evey Hammond and V.  I got to meet Renae de Liz, otherwise known as the woman behind Womanthology.  The team at Nerd Caliber had a charity booth going for Child’s Play.  And best of all, I got my picture taken with Batman.

What more could a fangirl want?


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Wednesday Haul

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Just a couple of comics today; picking up the rest at the weekend (which, FYI, I’ll be working a rare shift at the shop this Saturday, so swing on by!). Excited for the debut of SAGA from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples at Image, and picked up a copy of Princeless I was missing. When I get sad about this industry, these are the things that remind me why I looooovvvvveee cccooommmiiiicccsss!


“All we need to do is make sure we keep talking….”

Heeeyyyyyy!  Guess who has had no time to write things?  ME!  Guess who is not at all surprised by this, (I bet)?  YOU!

So rather than do a legit review, I’m just going to talk about anything and nothing … because I would rather make a jabbering post than no post at all.  You’re more than welcome to talk back.

 

So I’ve caught up on the last two issues of Rachel Rising, and oh crap, is Terry Moore freaking me out.  I thought issues 1-3 were creepy … until I read 4 and 5 over the weekend and was taken to a new level of disturbed.  I hope you all are reading this book.  You should have no trouble finding it at That’s E, and as much as I hate promoting digital comics, it was just newly added to Comixology with issue 1 priced at 99 cents, so you have no excuses not to at least try it.  Outside of The Walking Dead, I typically shy away from stuff like this, so the fact I’m still on board here (especially after seeing the cover to issue 9*shudder*), says a lot.

Fatale #2Another AWESOME book I started reading is Ed Brubaker’s Fatale, about which I cannot say enough good things.  Wow.  These are some great comics being made.  When I start to get depressed about stupid gimmicky junk out there, I pick up books like this and my sanity eventually returns.

Speaking of Ed Brubaker and/or, for that matter, gimmicky junk—does Winter Soldier fall into that category?  I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, but if Brubaker’s name is on the cover, I can’t imagine it will be bad.  Despite my UTTER HATRED of how they handled Bucky’s “death” in Fear Itself, he’s a great character, and I’m excited to read this new title.

 

All right.  That’s enough about the guys.  Let’s talk about the wimmins.

Did you all read Kelly Thompson’s fantastic article on Comics Should be Good?  Because it’s very, very important that you do.  Check it out here.  Please.

I hear that Mera kicks all kinds of ass in this week’s issue of Aquaman.  This makes me happy.

WOMANTHOLOGY!  I preordered my copy last week and I’m soooooo excited to get my hands on it!  If you have not heard about it, this is a record-breaking Kickstarter grassroots project about women, by women, for everyone.  And it’s going to be phenomenal.  Click the link just there, or check out their Twitter page.

Lastly, even though everyone and their mom has already linked to this, I’m going to link to it, too!  A new trailer for Pixar’s Brave is out, and IT IS AWESOME:  http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2012/02/23/new-trailer-poster-for-brave/

Move aside, boys, move aside.

 

That’s all I have this week—check in again soon for more talk about stuff and things.  And in the meantime, you know, comment or e-mail.  It’s fun and I don’t bite that hard.

Have a great weekend, all.
xx R

 


Marjorie Liu at Pandemonium Books

Yeah, that was pretty awesome.

So I went to this signing at Pandemonium Books in Cambridge last night.  I found out about it kind of last-minute (good thing I finally signed up to Twitter) and was looking for someone to come with me, which no one did because my friends are lame and don’t like to drive out to Cambridge.  Lucky for me, I happen to work in this lovely city, so I’m here every weekday whether I want to be or not.  Last night was one of those rare occasions I actually wanted to be here.  I mean, I even stayed at work for an extra half hour for the opportunity to meet Marjorie.  That’s dedication (right?).

I got to Central Square and I basically had no idea where I was going.  I’d never been to Pandemonium Books before, and for some reason I was expecting this gigantic, Borders-like book store, which could not be further from what I actually found.  It’s a tiny little thing just around a corner off Mass Ave.—not bad tiny, but more like cozy tiny (although it appears they do have a good gaming space downstairs that I didn’t check out), and when I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the kind gentleman behind the counter who asked me if I was there for the signing.

M. Liu signing at Pandemonium BooksI arrived incredibly early—the signing was at 7:00 and I’d gotten there at about 6:15, so I spent some time perusing the shelves and feeling a little awkward.  A table of Marjorie’s books was set up in the middle of the floor, with a little over a dozen chairs lined up facing it.  Let me reiterate—this place is small.  It was a small setup.  So while my brain was expecting some sort of grand assembly beforehand, when I walked in and realized we’d all be breathing down her neck, I admittedly got kind of nervous.  I’m more of a “hang back” type of person when I go to these things—sit in the middle of the pack, keep quiet, and just wait to get up to the table to get my book signed.  No nonstop chitchat from me, no hassling the creator—at most I may ask for a picture, but that’s as far as I go.

At quarter to 7:00 when it was just me and one other girl sitting there by ourselves (in the front row, no less), what I thought was panic but actually turned out to be excitement set in.  I was admittedly concerned that no one else would show up for this thing—how terrible would that be?  Well … I was concerned up until the point Marjorie walked in, immediately began talking to us, and offered to sign our books, that I relaxed a little and thought, yeah, this is completely awesome.  Others did arrive, of course, but it was still a tight-knit group, and very relaxed atmosphere—so much so that I broke my “keep quiet” attitude and asked a couple of questions.

Marjorie is incredibly sweet, fun to talk to (and listen to), and totally easy going.  She read a short excerpt from her new book, Within the Flames, and took Q&A about many topics, from her work with Marvel, to her novel writing, to her opinions on the DC reboot and whatever in between.  (I totally meant to ask her about her poodles, too, and I forgot.  Damn.)  Honestly, some of the Marvel stuff was a little depressing—such as hearing that her pitch for an all-female team book consisting of She-Hulk, Elektra, and Mystique was shot down because it “won’t sell.”  We all know Marvel and DC pander to teenage boys, but actually hearing that confirmed out loud by a creator leaves me kind of gutted.  Luckily there are still plenty of good things to keep me happy and excited, such as Marjorie’s upcoming run on Astonishing X-Men.  There were also plenty of other girls in the audience—girls who read comics and actually know what they’re talking about, and that’s always awesome.  We aren’t as rare as you might think.

At the end, I shook Marjorie’s hand and thanked her for taking the time to speak with us.  She sincerely thanked me for coming out, and I hopped out of the store to catch my late train home, quite tired but very happy.

And then the weirdest thing happened this morning (thank you, again, Twitter).

Apparently, none other than Mister Junot Diaz had been present in the audience with us last night.  I remember looking at him as he asked questions, thinking to myself that I’d surely seen him somewhere before… hmm… he’s sooooooo familiar?  Well, it turns out it was Mr. Diaz—a fact I only knew from reading my Twitter feed this morning where everyone basically had the same MIND BLOWN reaction I had.  Jesus—this man’s books were practically my college curriculum.  Fiesta 1980 is one of my all time favorite short stories.  Dude was in the same room with me all night and I had no clue.  The event was already awesome on its own, and I’d woken up this morning still floating a little from the high it gave me—to read about that just took it to another level.  Two for the price of one.

A great night.


Review: Princeless #3

Princeless #3

Written by Jeremy Whitley
Illustrated by M. Goodwin
Publisher:  Action Lab Entertainment
Price:  $3.99

 

To review a comic book you love can be extremely difficult.  I’ve said it before, but it’s maybe never been more true than it is here.  With each issue of Princeless so far, Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin have had a pretty effortless go at capturing my heart, and issue three is no exception.  If anything, they’ve only further tightened their grasp on me here, and talking about a book that I am so blindly in love with might be … well, kind of boring for you.  So my apologies ahead of time if that turns out to be the case.

There’s only so much I can say here that I haven’t already said for issues one and two.  Issue one took me so wholeheartedly by surprise that it was just like a punch in the face—a really, really GOOD punch.  The kind of punch I want more comics to give me.  Issue two, then, grabbed onto me tight and told me I’d better not think about going anywhere.  Issue three?  Swept me off my feet.

“Okay,” I hear you thinking.  “We get it.  You love the book.  WHY?”

And this is where I’m torn.  Because I don’t completely want to tell you why.

I could.  I could get all technical and analytical, and dig past the surface.  I’ve summarized the plot in previous reviews; I could use this to talk some more about the skill of the storytelling happening in this book—the message behind the tale, what audiences it plays to, what themes, and why.   I could discuss some of the more important things the book represents, such as independent publishing and why you should read more works by unknown creators.  But honestly?  I don’t want to do that.

Because this book doesn’t deserve to be dissected.

Princeless #3 Panel

One of many scenes that make Action Lab's "Princeless" worth the cover price. (Click to enlarge.)

Don’t read that the wrong way—it’s not meant negatively.  Rather, sometimes I wonder, can’t we just let the quality of things speak for themselves?  There are hundreds of other sites out there all talking about exactly the same thing as one another.  There are plenty of other blogs for you to read about all the things I just mentioned above.  I’m far from the only one “reviewing” this, and after a while, it all just starts to sound the same, doesn’t it?  This comic does a lot of things right, and you can discover on your own what those things are—because isn’t that all part of the fun?

So try Princeless for no reason other than it being a great comic.  Something new.  Surprise yourself.  Give it to the kids in your life.  Pass it on.  Don’t let a gem like this go unnoticed on the shelf because you’re too busy picking up “Fear Itself: The Fearlessly Fearful Feary Fear” that Marvel’s selling you for like five bucks a pop, that won’t satisfy you a sliver as much as a book like this will.

I mean.  At least try it.  What do you have to … Fear?

(Sorry.  Had to.)

 

___

*NOTE:  Some people have been having trouble finding this book at their LCS.  If that’s the case, you can buy it online at Graphicly; or, even better, make your voices heard at your LCS and get them to up their orders.  :)


A Terrible Oversight

It occurred to me the other day that when tallying my favorite webcomics of the year, I completely forgot about Hark! A Vagrant, and that’s just not right.  Sorry, The Trenches, but I’m bumping you out of the top five and down to “honorable mention” status.  Kate Beaton is brilliant, hilarious, and worth following.  Here’s just a very small sample:

Hark! A Vagrant