Top Shelf Productions


post food-coma thoughts

November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving was swell. Drank Makers & Ginger all day, ate like a king, and FINALLY beat my sneaky little cousin-in-law Taylor at chess, after years of smack-downs. Sure she's only 17, but she's a real smarty-pants.

• Got this note from Matt Madden today. Recommended. Matt is one of North America's leading formalists in comics, and his work is a blast. I don't know if they are in print (i kind of doubt it), but Matt's Terrifying Steamboat Stories was one of my very favorite mini-comics back in the day. He also did the amazing Constructivist cover for Top Shelf Volume 6.

"Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new blog. I'll be regularly posting news about my projects, sketches, and the occasional other odd or end.

Bookmark it or subscribe and enjoy."

• On an entirely different note, i wanted to point out some props Jeffrey Brown received in the brand new Wizard mag. His book collection I Am Going to be Small, was given the Funniest Shit of the Year title. Staff writer Rickey A. Purdin says:

"As sad and introspective as Jeffrey Brown's auto-bio comics like Clumsy can be, this tiny 384-page bible of one-page gags guarantees uncontrollable giggles on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum. From killer babies to jerkwad siblings, these dumb jokes for smart people will have you peeing yourself with every turn of the page."

• Speaking of Wizard, i presume that my fanboy tendencies are made pretty clear on this blog? Yeah, i love spandex when done well. It's what i was weaned on, and even as i moved onto independent comics, my jones for the capes never waned.

So i found a used copy of the Spider-Woman collected hardcover titled Origin, by Brian Bendis and some other fiction writer (Brian Reed), and the Luna Bros. Now, i'd heard and read some disparaging comments on this book, ranging from simply, "it sucked," to "meh..."

Well i loved it. Having been a true-believing Marvel Zombie since the mid-70s, it was impossible for me not to have come across this character. When i did, it was usually with the attitude that she was a cash-in on Spider-MAN (which is obvious), and mostly boring. I do remember digging some funky issues of her solo title that i picked up because they had an X-Men tie-in, with crazy cool art. (Was it Steve Leialoha?) At the time i thought it was o.k, but still, i knew zippo about the character and her past.

Soooo, reading this Bendis book was less of a reboot per se for me, than my first real exposure. Granted, the series may not have lived up to the advance hype the book had behind it, but ultimately, i think it received derogatory reviews because it had the unfortunate timing to be released during a mainstream comics (Marvel and DC) glut of epic crossovers and myriad lame spin-offs, unparalleled since the Jim Shooter era at Marvel. In this type of environment of bigger than the biggest of all big lives tsunami storytelling (rapes, heroes vs. heroes, etc.), any of the smaller, character driven books will fall short by default. Every one is hopped up on crossover sugar highs, and just want more of the same.

Which is sad, because Spider-Woman: Origin is really freaking good stuff. Great premise, good dialogue, intrigue, Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, and most importantly (and arguably why i bought the book in spite of less-than-stellar reviews), incredible luscious art by the Luna Brothers. These are the cats behind two great Image books, Ultra and Girls, and there work is just stunning to take in. (I happened to meet them this last Winter at the Emerald City Con in Seattle, and they are as nice as they are talented.)

Worth checking out, especially when it's released in trade paperback.