Archive | September, 2011

DC New 52 Final week REVIEWS! Hardly the end!

30 Sep

And so we come to it folks… the final week of #1’s… (at least the main titles!) and what a crazy month it’s been! Some fantastic titles, we’ve been shocked, amused, horrified, saddened, fascinated and so much more over these 52 titles and its been a total blast reading and reviewing them all for you guys!
 

Granted I’m tired enough to almost never read a comic again – almost I said! – but it feels well worth it for our fellow comic addicts out there.
We all hope you enjoyed this rundown the last few weeks and stick around, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming before you know it, but will continue to cover your new favourite DC titles as they come out.
Share your likes and dislikes kids, let us know what you want to hear more about and we’ll mark of the release dates on our calenders just for you.
Now sit back and enjoy this finale round of #1’s reviewed! (AND AS ALWAYS, CLICK FOR NICE BIG VERSIONS OF THE COVERS!!)
All-Star Western
(Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, Drawn by Moritat)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 10/10)
In a lot of ways I was expecting exceptional things from this book, especially given my love for the lead character – Jonah Hex – and that the creative team writing it were masters with his stories. And man do they deliver! Bringing a high-plains drifter style bounty hunter with a penchant for always getting his man and extreme violence – all while keeping to his own unique moral code – to a new, gritty and crazy place like Gotham City (in its early days) has been handled brilliantly! Toss in a weird serial-killer mystery, no shortage of action and intrigue or character exploration and an awesome ending to boot makes this yet another of the best of the reboot in my view! And honestly, the art is so damn good and suitable to the feel and narrative that I almost didnt realise how little I was thinking about it, flowing organically with the tale until certain things just catch your eye!
Anubhav (Score 8.1/10)
This being my first exposure to Jonah Hex, it definitely makes me wanna read the back issues. There’s a solid introduction to Jonah’s no-nonsense attitude. Also welcome is his team up, with Amadeus Arkham, which roots the story firmly in DC (& Gotham City) continuity. Moritat and his art team give us a splendid noir look for the book, and shows great variety throughout.
Aquaman
(Written by Geoff Johns, Drawn by Ivan Reis)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7.5/10)
A most interesting beginning to the newly reborn aquatic superhero and King of Atlantis. I was not entirely sure what to expect from this book, I trust Johns’ skill and know he has a lot of love for the character but was unsure how much would be rebooted and how much carried over from the recently reborn Aquaman from Brightest Day. To start with, the art really stood out for me in this issue – good clean and crisp art that really fits the super-hero style and therefore works great here. The story does a good turn in giving us his origin story fairly concisely, showing us a new more powerful (and bulletproof??) Aquaman at a turning point in his life/career. There are even a couple of great humour moments that people familiar with the character a bit will really get some laughs out of – though anyone could – and a strange, looming threat keeps some excitement up for the next issue.
Anubhav (Score 9.8/10)
It’s easy to make fun of Aquaman. Sure he has some absurd superpowers and may have been handled in a pretty bad way before this, but then again, Geoff Johns just proved that there’s no such thing as a bad character. DC has been trying to make Aquaman badass for pretty much decades now, but it looks like Johns has found the right formula. Instead of changing the character to look or sound badass, he tackles all the problems associated with him head on, in much the same way Morrison did to Animal Man. The second half of this issue’s success story is artist Ivan Reis, who gives one solid panel after another, showing the characters having very real emotions and expressions, while drawing the heck out of Sea Monsters. I want issue 2 yesterday.
Batman – The Dark Knight
(Written by Paul Jenkins & David Finch, Drawn by David Finch)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 4.5/10)
One of the more surprising titles for me in some ways. I was to be honest expecting this to be a total waste of time story-wise because I have been quite unimpressed by the issues of this title prior to the reboot and was surprised it was kept as part of the reboot. Finch’s art is still really good though, I’ll admit that, and he really seems to have a nice feel for the Batman art and dark feel making the book nice to look at regardless. The story was the surprise for me though – it actually didn’t read badly at all and while no award winner, was decent enough that I thought for a moment about adding it to my pull-list. But then I reached the pay-off, the finale reveal/moment and as much as I would love to share it, I can’t spoil it. It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Sure, maybe I’m over-reacting and they have good plans ahead – but this was so bad (for me) that it made the Catwoman issue ending seem great by comparison.
Anubhav (Score 4.6/10)
No DC, adding Paul Jenkins as co-plotter had absolutely no effect. This one’s only for David Finch fanatics, who provides one beautifully gritty page after another, so much so that I’d prefer Finch making a series of posters instead of a self-authored comic book. The story revolves around an Arkham breakout (again) and GCPD snooping into Bruce Wayne’s Batman business (again). Yeah the story isn’t much but you can always buy it off a $1 bin for the art. Or just read Batman #1 from last week again.
Blackhawks
(Written by Mike Costa, Drawn by Graham Nolan & Ken Lashley)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
This book was little bit of a black-box for me in that I was not sure what to expect. My familiarity with Blackhawks is largely limited to Lady Blackhawk of the earlier Birds of Prey comics and I got the impression that this would be just another version of DC’s old The Web comics which were decent enough. What I got was a nicely drawn action-adventure romp following a covert agency of soldiers that made me think of a cross between G.I.Joe and S.H.I.E.L.D at one point. The artists do a good job of making some really dynamic and fun art and the uniforms and character designs seem quite nice to me, me like! Story-wise its a good blend of elements and spends a good amount of time among them including team members which is always a pain for team-books. Worth a read and if it carries on this way I will rate it higher and read it regularly.
Anubhav (Score /10)
Personally run
Green Lantern: New Guardians
(Written by Tony Bedard, Drawn by Tyler Kirkham)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
I have to admit I was little let-down in some ways with this book. Perhaps I expected too much too soon, but Im a bit split about it. The book starts off giving us an intro to the origin of our lead character – Kyle Rayner a.k.a. Green Lantern – and then leads into some very beautifully rendered pages of various Lanterns (not just green) in some pretty stressful situations, and all of this then leads right back to Kyle as he finds himself at the edge of the frying-pan looking into the fire with no way back. A decent read with a good ending and I understand needing to give Kyle an origin and make the book more reader friendly – but to me it felt like they could have easily shortened the origin story to take less of the book and given us more Lantern action so that it did not feel quite so much like “Over already? What?!?” Will be checking out the next issue because its still a good read and concept, but hopefully the next issue will up the pace and get into the real mystery that is the driving force of this adventure!
Anubhav (Score 6.9/10)
In the first appearance of Kyle Rayner in the DCnU, writer Tony Bedard seems to have chosen the middle path between introducing the characters anew and making them follow from where we last saw them. The beginning of the issue involves Ganthet making a Kyle a lantern, while the other half involves rings from the other corps choosing Kyle Rayner. The plot generates interest, but just doesn’t have too much awesome-factor. It’s just out and out storytelling. Art, meanwhile, is largely unimpressive, considering the solid stuff we’ve seen in Green Lantern. Kirkham needs to work on expressions ASAP.
I, Vampire
(Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Drawn by Andrea Sorrentino)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7.5/10)
Thank you lord for non-sparkly, geniune homo-vampirus once again!One of the bigger surprises for me of the reboot, I expected to seriously dislike but actually find myself wanting to read #2. Too early to tell how good or bad this book will turn out to be eventually. A slower book then most in the reboot, with gore and action but again in smaller doses, with more time spent expanding on the characterisations and the world they inhabit in the DCU. Still a little unclear in the end, we essentially see the falling out between Andrew and Mary – two uber-vampires on opposing sides of an argument. Lovers for ages who now fall apart because she wants a war to take over the world and he doesn’t. Could be cheesy and horrible, but its handled nicely I feel and while a bit confusing at moments (though thats more the letterer’s fault) it is not hard to understand and leads to an ending that promises much of interest. The REAL selling point for this book though? THE ART! Andrea just blows me away, the style, the feel and the colours just drew me in and were almost mesmerising in a way. She has really given this book a distinctive look and feel from every other in the “New 52” – now if Fialkov can keep writing a good enough story, DC might have a sleeper hit on their hands here.
Anubhav (Score 9.1/10)
Twilight has scarred me for life. I, for the love of God, can never enjoy a vampire love story again. Or so I thought. Yes, this is that good. An angst ridden, dark love story between a vampire queen and a vampire hunter, its written and paced beautifully, though people more acclimatised to linear storytelling might have some problems. Its gritty, its dark and its twisted. The mix of grit and blood provided by Andrea Sorrentino’s art matches the tone of the book perfectly. Also, the Vampires in the book don’t sparkle.
Justice League Dark
(Written by Peter Milligan, Drawn by Mikel Janin)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 9.5/10)
One of the few titles to live up to the hype of fans like myself and to go beyond even that – frikkin’ loved it! Milligan once again shows his masterful skill as a story-teller introducing us to Zatanna, Shade, Madame Xanadu and the rest of the cast nice and easy while never compromising the story’s flow. In fact by the end I was amazed at how much story had been covered in this one issue – which made my earlier experience with New Guardians even more annoying. With art that really stands out nicely as being heroic like a super-hero story should with nice clean lines and such, while retaining a wispy and unusual element that works great with the story. Kudos Mikel! We see the beginnings of this ‘dark’ JL coming to life and the grave threat that see’s the big guns of DC (Supes, Wonder Woman, Batman and Cyborg in pleasantly surprising cameos) brought down with only the strange and not-so-heroic heroes of this title as a glimmer in the dark as evil magic threatens everything! (what else right?) It reminded me warmly of Shadowpact, another title that grew out of an event (Infinite Crisis) as an unexpected favourite and got its own monthly that I love till today. Maybe Im giving too much credit, but I would recommend this book to all who are not afraid of a slightly darker story now and again!
Anubhav (Score /10)
It looks like Peter Milligan has big plans for this series. We get introduced to all the characters and their status-quo’s through brief snippets while Milligan paints the bigger plot involving the Justice League fighting the Enchantress. Milligan finds the right voice for each character and packs in just enough weirdness to keep the reader hooked. I would have liked more face time for Constantine and Deadman, but guess that’ll have to wait. The real star however, is Michael Janin, who given us a gorgeous book, mixing right in with the tone of the story.
Superman
(Written by George Perez, Drawn by Jesus Merino)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8/10)
I have to admit in all honesty that I was expecting this book to be decent at best – but between this and the first issue of Action from two weeks past, my interest in reading a Superman book outside of an event has been rekindled for the first time in years! Credit to Perez who crafts a good tale of Superman (here in the present, unlike the past in Action) established AS Superman and fighting the bad-guys. The Daily Planet has been taken over by a businessman – Morgan Edge (old readers will remember him) – and Clark is having issues with it and with Lois, who in this new DCU neither Clark nor Kal-el are involved with at all. Lots of action and fighting and things that look like jobs for: SUPERMAN!, coupled with intelligent and quite dense story-development in just one-issue, we get a real treat here. And while I was unsure either way at first, I find myself really liking this new incarnation of his outfit and Merino really seems to have a feel for it and the character. Add in Perry White channelling Spock a little and I quite enjoyed this opening salvo. Altogether a nice read that makes me positive for whats to come.
Anubhav (Score 6/10)
George Perez is a master visual storyteller. There’s absolutely no denying it. However, judging purely from Superman #1, as a writer, he has strengths and he has weaknesses, the latter frequently overshadowing the former. First the good : Compression. In a day and age where both writers and publishers prefer long arc storytelling (I’m looking at you, Matt Fraction), Perez manages to pack in a good done-in-one story establishing the Superman status quo and planting threads for later issues simultaneously. Also, he looks like he has a plan for this series and isn’t just making up stuff as it goes along. However, the problems come with the fact that George Perez isn’t a legendary writer. He’s a legendary artist. And he’s pretty much written this issue the way you would expect an artist to. The story moves from point A to B smoothly, but in the process, we lose out on some precious characterisation, aside from a few panels here and there between Clark and Lois, that feel more like filler than conversation. Also, the issue could certainly have done better with more dialogue. Art is what you’d expect it to be with Perez doing breakdowns : Storytelling and Panel Work 101. The issue clocks in at just a notch above mediocre.
The Flash
(Written & Drawn by Francis Manapul)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
Definitely better then expected – I take back my initial reservation and give Manapul due credit for crafting an engaging first issue. We join The Flash (Barry Allen) as he navigates a regular day for him as hero of Central City and police forensic investigator, only to have things turned more then a little upside down by an unexpected death and an even more unexpected identity to the deceased, all giving us a good kickstart. His art of course is fantastic and I really like his rendering of Flash and in general, like a perfect showcase of his talent. Add in that he is doing what I would love to be able to – draw the story I write making my page exactly how it is envisioned – and you have one roller-coaster of a visual treat. Barry Allen has always been a bit of divisive Flash, being the original and then being compared to Wally West who was much loved (like Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner somewhat) and is now Flash no-more. He doesn’t even seem to exist anymore, so the real challenge is going to be making and keeping Allen’s character interesting, something many people have felt was his weak point unlike Wally. All signs point to a good book, the only question remains whether Manapul can maintain a good story till the finish line!
Anubhav (Score 7.3/10)
Francis Manapul is DC’s Marcos Martin and Oliver Coipel combined. Compared with the other two artist-penned issues of the week, Manapul’s flash comes on top purely because of the stronger script. The story is good, character work is excellent and artwork is mind blowing. See, Manapul knows where to put his panels, and it is that strength that is on display in this issue. Good debut.
The Fury of Firestorm
(Written by Ethan Van Sciver &Gail Simone, Drawn by Yildiray Cinar)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 4/10)
Better then expected, but still utter rot in the end. At least thats what it feels like by the time I reached the ending. I guess perhaps this will appeal far better to new readers then most, but for me it was a real let-down, more so since it actually gave me a glimmer of hope in the early parts. Cinar does a fantastic job with the art and the intense action scenes in the last 1/3rd of the book was exceptional. Even the story was fairly decent while it stuck to the two characters that prior to the reboot joined to create Firestorm – Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. Even the over-the-top bad-guys at the start come off well enough, for psychotics anyway. Unfortunately they work for an evil cabal of some sort who are after this new variation of the Firestorm which has been converted from a theoretical “Firestorm Matrix” that made the one we knew, to a special formula using some heavy science to explain (I like it but its not necessary and becomes too much) leading to more then one Firestorm (many in all likelihood) and an ending that left such a bad taste in my mouth that I actually wished I had a comic to throw away instead of digital version. I trust the writing ability of Simone so she might still surprise me, but as it stands, if this issue was the decider I would drop it in an instant.
Anubhav (Score 4.8/10)
The issue revolves around Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond, polar opposites of the high school ecosystem, discovering mutual hatred and then coming together to form the titular hero. I’m of the belief that teenage angst is one of the most difficult concepts to be portrayed in a comic book, and it is due to this reason that the comic book falls flat. There are some good monologues, but nothing really to make the reader care, as the characters sound a little too whiny. The art is essentially hit and miss, with highs coming in the form of character interactions, and the one big low coming on the last page.
The Savage Hawkman
(Written by Tony S. Daniel, Drawn by Philip Tan)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 7/10)
When I saw the solicit and the cover art for this book I was expecting it to be a bad-a** reboot of Hawkman, but it appears to be much more. At least to start with it does not delve beyond the surface into an origin story, instead morphing into a re-origin of sorts with a failed Hawkman/Carter Hall symbolically and literally burying his super-hero aspect, only to have it um.. backfire. We then get a whole NEW Hawkman that in my view is what this character deserves. A unique concept from the beginning and with every incarnation, a mainstay of so many great stories over the years and yet he has always been a second tier hero at most. Now I see the potential being taken advantage of for the first time in ages these past couple of years and it culminates in this exciting issue that made me really want to read the second. A grim and power-hungry new villain (one Im not familiar with anyway) and dark and grim art that follows the mood set by the covers nicely, I quite like – however the pencilling is a little off at moments, specially human faces, and though the colouring is so good it overshadows it, this is something they need to work on.
Anubhav (Score 6.3/10)
The issue sees Carter Hall trying to unsuccessfully get rid of his Hawkman persona, while discovery of an alien craft goes awry by the appearance of Venom – scratch that – some kinda black alien entity. The issue establishes the status quo for the hero, but in the process, like so many of the DCnU titles, fails to make the reader care for the character. Artist Philip Tan proves to be the better half of the creative team with some good visuals generating contrast between the normal and the abnormal. However, the writing is too off-putting to make this issue enjoyable.
Teen Titans
(Written by Scott Lobdell, Drawn by Brett Booth)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 6.5/10)
One of the most controversial books in the relaunch, this title took a lot of flack for discarding the backstory and reinventing the entire line-up and their costumes. After reading the Superboy #1 though I took heart because it was nicely handled and would (obviously) be tying into this book which it does within this issue itself. We get introduced to Kid Flash making a total ass of himself trying to be a glory-hound hero, Red Robin being himself which works for me cos I love that character and Cassie Sandsmark a.k.a. Wonder Girl who is new to all the super-heroing stuff. Feels a little short but is a fairly solid story overall, we get a good sense of the characters and the situation around them as Red Robin is trying to gather young heroes because many are being ‘disappeared’ and he and Cassie both get targeted leading to good fun for us! We even get to see the meek Caitlin Fairchild making me hope she gets added to the roster along with Superboy. Feels early to tell but worth checking out more – the art is good too, though the designs for Cassie and Kid Flash still look pretty weak to me, though Red Robins is decent enough. There is one moment with him being shot at that could have been better composed, small detail but its bugging me!
Anubhav (Score 8.1/10)
Teen Titans #1 gives us the second issue of the first kinda sorta crossover of the DCnU, with Robin recruiting Wonder Girl – much the same way with Batman and GL in Justice League #1 – while Kid Flash makes a total ass of himself. It’s a good first issue, showcasing the beginning of the Titans’ struggle against N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Some badass character moments for Red Robin and Wonder Girl cap out a well written issue. Brett Booth provides fantastic detail and amazing dynamic action to make this one a winner.
Voodoo
(Written by Ron Marz, Drawn by Sami Basri)
Akshay (Wayfarer Score: 8.5/10)
Damn killer opener! Ron Marz has always been among the better comic writers around in my view, though his style and story-telling tends to be within a limited range – a range in which thankfully Voodoo falls smack in the middle. A slow, deliberate narrative that you can’t help but be drawn into, helped in no small part by Basri’s oh-so-enticing renditions of the um… female anatomy. Damn… Anyway, for fans familiar with the character from her Wildstorm days, this will be a nice welcome back I think, yet a good mysterious opener for the new readers as well. How much of the original origin remains relevant here? How will they explain her powers and all that in this new status-quo? Is she good or evil? Toeing a fine line of grey characters, this book is one of the more interesting of the launch and flows nicely, even with the more shock/action/exciting moments being just a small portion of the story – yet you can’t help but just follow Voodoo’s path and be amused, astounded and intrigued by all that it is and all that is has the potential to become. Well worth a read and very promising!
Anubhav (Score 8.6/10)
This being my first exposure to the character, I am pretty intrigued. As in “what the hell is going on!?” intrigued. There’s plenty of skin in this issue, but what’s important is that it’s a in the background of solid character moments. The art adds a very slight real world tinge to the overall slow-paced story, while the real mysterious part comes towards the end. It’s a good issue, generating both interest and investment, so much so that I will be picking up subsequent issues just to find out what’s going on. Solid debut.

REVIEW: Come meet the Beast Legion!!

29 Sep
 

I’m very much like your average fantasy loving fan.
No, scratch that.
I’m an ultra-rabid specimen of a sub-set of the same species. The kind that hoards multiple copies of a particularly good book and tries to bite anyone who wants to borrow one. Try and understand where I’m coming from, I take my fantasy seriously. Anyone getting in the way of that goes down.
Now that I’ve made that point clear, I’ll come to the object of my study today:
(Click to enlarge!)

(Click to enlarge!)

Looking for a dose of traditional action-fantasy right here on Indian shores?  Then look no further! The Beast Legion by Jazyl H. is our very own, home-grown fantasy comic! Complete with a prince at the crux of a prophecy, his faithful sidekicks/team, a dastardly villain named ‘Dragos’ who transforms into a… any guesses? (You got it, a dragon)… and his cronies who threaten to take over the world with…er…well, darkness. 
 

 

(Click to enlarge!)

(Click to enlarge!)
Okay, so maybe the storyline isn’t all that original. I could go out on a limb and say this is like some sort of hybrid between Power Rangers (except that there are no cyborgs or bots or morphing battle-robots – all evolving is done by the characters themselves!), Thundercats, and a dozen of the other, old-school stories that characterised the fantasy genre at it’s peak in the last century.

Characters and settings are a bit cliché, right down to the prophecy in all it’s “Only one person can save the world!” glory. While this makes the story seem predictable, for those looking for less complex and simply entertaining adventure, this will be soothing. Surprisingly however, the humour peppered throughout (which is at times subtle and over the top at others), provides a solid breath of fresh air in what would otherwise have been dangerously close to another run-of-the-mill tale.
(Click to enlarge!)
(Click to enlarge!)
The anthropomorphic forms of each character are a delight to the eye, and had me personally going over the details with my eyeball glued to the screen. Obviously much thought, passion and imagination have gone into the designing of the same and they only enhance the potential of each character. The artwork is a little on the shoddy side initially, but the improvement is visible with each passing page. By the 4th issue, one has settled down to art that is on it’s own reasonable, but relatively still has some distance yet to go.
For a work such as this, where the team consists of only one person producing content regularly, one has to give due credit to the author. There is promise that will hopefully manifest in the latter issues of this manga.
(Click to enlarge!)
For those interested in grabbing a copy of the same, issues 1 to 4 will be available in hard copy format at the Comic Con in Mumbai, this October.
In the meanwhile, you can check out more of The Beast Legion on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/TheBeastLegion 
Don’t miss it!

Calling all Vimaniks! Your leader speaks!

28 Sep
 

HELLO ADDICTS!!
Excited? You should be, Comic Con Mumbai is inching closer and closer with every passing second, minute, hour and day! 
And in the continuing spirit of comic-camaraderie and sharing the joy, we have managed to secure an interview today with Mr. Karan Vir – the envisioner of and man behind Vimanika Comics. He takes time from his busy schedule to share some of his insight and thoughts on comics and the convention(s) and even was good enough to provide quite a few lovely art samplings from some of the beautiful books Vimanika has in the works and on the stands. 
So enjoy it all folks and remember: you keep reading, we’ll keep writing!
 (And as always, remember the images can be clicked for big-ness!)

ComicAddicts: You were at the 1st Delhi Comic Con, how was the experience?

Karan Vir: Very Exhilarating!!
CA: Now we are having another con in Mumbai – do you think its too soon or just right?
KV: Yes we are! I feel its the right time. Its about time! Mumbai needs one.
CA: What are your plans for Mumbai Comic Con ?
KV: We, as Event sponsors of the Mumbai Comic Con Express, have lots of plans under our sleeves – but for now we are launching two super titles there!! Will keep you updated of all other plans as they become concrete.
CA: With mumbai being the hub of entertainment / advertising industry and Comic Cons focus on these two as well (see our last interview with them), do you think comics may get lost or is it good for comic industry?
KV: I think it can be more than a hub for the comic industry, but only if we keep our focus on what we want to achieve and stay united to attain it.
CA: What are your expectations from the Mumbai Con and the fans?
KV: Well I am expecting the best and preparing for the worst and hoping the latter does not turn into a reality!
CA: What one thing are you looking forward to the most?
KV: To our Shiva-TLI Book I launch 🙂
CA: Since you are based in Mumbai, what local flavour are you looking forward to in Mumbai con?
KV: Well the local flavour will be in the crowd/comic fans itself who are coming there .
CA: What are your views on the burgeoning comic scene and Comic Con India ?
KV: Its growing but is only the tip of the iceberg,there is lot more to achieve and to create that culture it needs a consistent unity of all the comic publishers/artists/writers & the most important, the fans ! We still need to learn a lot.
CA: Next steps for you from Comic Con Mumbai?
KV: Well getting ready for Comic Con Delhi !!! What else?!
CA: Any plans for Comic Con Delhi already decided?
KV: Not concrete yet but the plan has started to take form in my mind already, will keep you guys in the loop as they get confirmed! 
So there you have it folks!  More to look forward to and more comic-y goodness to hold you over until you make it to the Convention and all the new comics and big announcements finally seeing light of day! 
So stick around, we’ll be back soon – same comic site, same Comic Addicts!

Exclusive RAJ COMICS Preview: AXE

27 Sep

After a long wait, we finally witnessed the return of Super Commando Dhruv in Alter Ego which was a totally hair raising, chair gripping and nail-biting episode which ended in a cliff hanger!

The next part of Alter Ego is a part of the upcoming set by Raj Comics. The issue is titled Axe, which is a clever word play on the Hindi word “Aks” that means “essence“.

Dhruv’s Alter Ego (or so it seems – for who know how it’ll work out in the end?) is called Axe and if it really is a split personality, it is also essentially an essence of him too!

I for one, just can’t wait for Axe! I have been fidgety since reading the previous part and it’s giving me jitters now!
Oh that reminds me. Coming Sunday Raj Comics is hosting the Nagraj Janamotsav and Kalpana Lok Award ceremony! Starting at 11am, on October 2, 2011, at their Burari office (Raj Comic Studio – 330/1 Burari, New Delhi)
I’m going to be there, will you???

In the meantime however, keep scrolling down and enjoy the exclusive preview images that the good folks over at Raj have kindly shared with us and of course, with ALL you loyal Raj-fans out there! 

Click to view full size
Click to view full size
Click to view full size
Click to view full size
Click to view full size
So what are you waiting for??? Go and pre-order Axe NOW!!!

(And watch this space kids! More previews forthcoming!!)

5 QUESTIONS with Graphic Novelist Dylan Horrocks

27 Sep

5 QUESTIONS is were I ask 5 questions of New Zealand Comic Book Creators, Writers and Artists. 

This week I asked DYLAN HORROCKS the questions. DYLAN lives 
 and works in Auckland, NZ. He teaches Art at Auckland University of Technology and advises on Comic Writing at Auckland University. His ‘10 issues of his comic book Pickle were published by Black Eye (1992-97) and his graphic novel Hicksville was published in 1998, also by Black Eye.  Hicksville has since been reprinted by Drawn & Quarterly and has been translated into French, Italian and Spanish’. Hicksville was Nominated for two Ignatz Awards (best graphic novel and best art) and one Harvey Award (best reprint collection). Winner of two Goodies Awards (best graphic novel and best writer).  Named a Comics Journal ‘book of the year.’  


COMIC ADDICTS: Who is Dylan Horrocks?
DYLAN: He’s a character in some of my comics.
CA: What made you want to write comic books? 
DYLAN: Growing up reading Tintin, among other things. My Dad is into comics, so the house always had a good supply of great things to read.


CA: Among your webcomics and printed works is ‘Hicksville’ is an award winning graphic novel about a comic creator and the comic industry. What made you decide to create a comic about the artist and art form itself?
DYLAN: Well, they do say “write what you know…” Seriously, though (I hate that phrase and consider it very poor advice), Hicksville was initially just a private daydream, built from my love of comics and my homesickness for New Zealand (when I was living in Britain for a few years). I made up a place where everyone was obsessed with comics because that’s the kind of place I dreamed of hanging 
out. From there the story grew organically, and I used it to explore stuff I was thinking about at the time – not just comics, but art, commerce, betrayal, community, love and loss – all the usual things…
Preview Hicksville here.

CA: As mentioned you create web-comics as well, what is it about creating webcomics that you think seems so attractive to comic book creators like yourself?
DYLAN: For me, the main attraction is the ability to put stuff out there regularly. It takes me a long time to finish a book, and it can get pretty lonely working alone like that. Serialising it on the web means I can show it to people one page a time. It’s a bit more like working in a shared studio, where you can pass pages around and chat about how it’s going.
CA: Is there a new work you are working on that we may be seeing on the book shelves soon?
DYLAN: Well, I’ve nearly finished ‘The Magic Pen’ volume 1 (two chapters to go), and hope to have that out next year. I should also put together a collection of my short comics stories soon. And there are a couple of other things in the works, too, which I’m doing in collaboration with other people. So hopefully the next year or two should be full of new books by me…

All Toons Copyright, 2011. Dylan Horrocks.



Aru (Aruneshwar Singh, is a writer and graphic novelist who has several unpublished works currently being worked on as well as working with other Illustrators and Artists he also illustrates his own comics. His webcomic Zero can be viewed here. Aru has a Bachelors Degree in Digital Media- Digital Filmmaking and is the CEO and Owner of New Zealand’s only Online Comic Store, Comic Trade. Facebook

Feasting on the "Fruits Basket"

26 Sep
Fruits Basket, also called Furuba, is a fantasy, slice of life manga by Natsuki Takaya. Now don’t be repelled by the fact that it’s just-another-shoujo-manga because it’s not. This one’s for those who love manga that tends to lean towards the philosophical side of life and is the best example of one of those life-lessons kind of manga that deals with some serious life issues in an intellectual way.

So here’s what I think of the manga, along with a brief description of the story.
Plot: The story revolves around a young high school girl Tohru Honda (Don’t worry, this is where the cliché ends.) who, after losing her parents, lived in a little tent on the outskirts on the city and tried her hardest to support herself without anyone’s help. Her life, which was already out of ordinary, takes another turn when she finds out that her classmate, Yuki Sohma, is actually a part of a strange family that is possessed by the spirit of the 12 zodiacal animals; and every time they are hugged by the opposite gender, they transform into their zodiacal animal. 

Tohru also finds out that the place where she lived actually belonged to the Sohma’s, but being the kind Sohma’s they are, they allow her to use the space. That doesn’t turn out to be of much help as the tent gets blown away by the storm and Yuki offers her to live with them in their house.
As Tohru continues to live with them and meet new members from the Sohma family, she slowly begins to understand the family’s inner turmoil and quite unexpectedly becomes the biggest strength of a family that is at the brink of breaking apart.

Story: Now if you happen to dig for meaningful stories with life lessons while managing to keep the story light and humorous, this is the story for you!

The 12 Sohmas you come across are more like 12 different personalities you’d probably come across in life and all of them happen to have various problems ranging from rejecting or being rejected by the family to having to grow up being wilfully forgotten by their mother or forcefully make the one they love forget about them. And each character’s story has something to learn from, and I doubt you could ever forget them.
The story carefully deals with various issues of life, one by one, without mixing them all together to turn it into one big mass of confusion. And what makes it better is how the author strings it all together in the end into one precious story that you’d treasure for the rest of your life.
The pacing of the story is great; a bit slow sometimes but quite addictive if you have the patience to give it a chance and give yourself some time to adjust with its pacing.
The romance part of it is just a classic type of a warm hearted girl accepting a boy who has been rejecting and hating himself all along. But in Furuba, this case is blown into an issue so big that it needs a level of maturity greater than just accepting someone because you’re oh-so-kind. And that’s what makes Tohru stand out. She decides to walk the thorny path together with him rather than conveniently pulling him towards the brighter side. And there’s a love story in all the 12 cases and like mentioned before, none of them could have been handled with maturity any lesser than what the characters have.
Characters: Like mentioned before, Furuba has all sorts of characters – literally all sorts! You have a hot headed boy who just wants to be loved, a cute kid who looks like a typical pampered kid but has the worst past you could ever imagine, a girl who’s in denial of herself but trying her hardest to keep the family together and an immensely optimistic girl who becomes the back bone of the Sohma family, all thrown in together to one big messy family that’s overflowing with problems.
I also like how the story doesn’t exactly have a bad guy – just a bunch of troubled people who like to mess things up.
I think the level of maturity that the characters portray is what makes it a refreshing and a sensible read that you can actually relate yourself with (even without being possessed by zodiacal animals) compared to other generic stories.
Art: Natsuki Takaya has a very distinct style of drawing that could be noticed throughout the story – especially the glassy effect of the eyes or sometimes the whole body that never fails to portray the turbulent emotions perfectly. You could say, that’s her signature style that made her art stand out so much from other mangaka. Throughout the story, the art is simple, which fits the simplicity of the story; no matter how complicated it is on the inside, the style is perfect for slice of life.
So that’s about Furuba! Let me end it with a few excerpts of the critics the story received that might give you a deeper insight about the story. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
As this title progresses the fact that this title was one of the more popular series in Japan becomes clear. The characters get a lot of love. You get to experience them when things are good, as well as when they are struggling. The pacing is perfect. There is a good mix of comedy, fun filler, drama and action (something for everyone). In addition Fruits Basket is easy to relate to. With all the different personalities and the different signs of the zodiac, there is always someone to associate with. There are few titles that can do all that well, Fruits Basket puts all of these aspects together and makes a tasty treat…
Eduardo M. Chavez, AnimeOnDVD.com
The real strength of Natsuki Takaya’s artwork isn’t that that it looks good—though it definitely does, from its beautiful characters to the intricately rendered textures of their clothing—but how well it communicates mood and emotions. Not content to rely on facial expressions, though she does them well, Takaya is particularly apt at using shading and shadows to indicate character’s mental states… The details of character’s emotions—the disparity between Tohru’s private emotions and her public front, the punishing intensity of Kyo’s feelings for Tohru—are not only discernible but tangible, all without a word being spoken.
Carl Kimlinger, Anime News Network
The entire series of Fruits Basket proves to be a true emotional roller coaster, hiding truly deep and heartfelt drama behind a candy coating of fun and humour. Deep down, it explores many aspects of emotion as the various characters search for their place in the world, gaining strength from each other.
Allen Divers, Anime News Network
Signing off for this week!
-Seema  

A Salute to Dick Durock

25 Sep

There are some who contribute to comics and geek culture who don’t get their due. Today we here at Comic Addicts are paying tribute to a man who brought a beloved comic character to life not only on the big screen, but on the little screen as well. Today we salute you Dick Durock.
Dick Durock is an actor who’s face you rarely saw. It was hardly seen because he was either in a bit part or it was covered in movie make-up. Dick Durock was mostly a stunt man starting out as far back as the original Star Trek series. He’s played thugs and flunkies on shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica (original series), Knight Rider, Lost in Space and many others.
Durock’s biggest claim to fame; however, was playing Swamp Thing. He played the character in both movies and on the TV series. Durock really brought the character to life with his portrayal. He used the elements of the tortured soul, intelligence, defender of the innocent, and environmental vigilante to the transformed scientist. Holland’s battles with Arcane were epice because the two men truely were two sides of the coin. One wanted power and eternal life while the other wanted to protect and show respect for all life.
Durock was the one who consulted Wes Craven on the first Swamp Thing movie after he was cast. He told Craven what would and wouldn’t work for the suit as well as the character itself. Imagine how much different things would have been if Craven had done what he wanted to do originally. Initially Craven wanted to have Durock in the suit for the fight scenes and far away shots, but have Ray Wise, who played Holland as a human, in the make-up for the close-up shots. Durock explained that make-up fit everyone differenly and the difference would be noticable. Craven tried it just to see how it would look, but Durock was right. People would be easily able to tell two men were playing the part. Craven then went with Durock playing Swamp Thing throughout the film.
Aside from Swamp Thing Durock also brought another character in the comic/TV universe to life. He played Frye’s Creature on The Incredible Hulk in a two part episode titled “The First”. Yes, he went toe to toe with Lou Ferrigno. It was a very iconic episode since it was a shock to learn tha someone had the same “condition” and David Banner. A very good episode if you get the chance to watch. Here’s the synopsis:
Frye was much different than Banner. Frye liked turning into the creature and he enjoyed hurting people. He had even killed a couple of people one within the past year. Banner had stumbled across Frye looking for the notes of the scientist he had worked with, Dr. Clive. Clive had been trying to help Frye 30 years ago with some medical ailments by harnessing the power of the sun. The gama from the solar flares made him able to transform. Realizing his mistake Clive found a way to cure it. This didn’t make Frye happy so when Banner comes along Frye tricks him into explaining what Clive had done to him and he recreates it. Naturally Banner came because of the cure which he doesn’t end up getting.
Unfortunately this past September 17 marks the 2 year anniversary of his death. Dick Durock lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at 72. Still we say “Thank You” for all that he has contributed not only to geek culture, but to pop culture as well. Here’s to a man who looked mighty fine in green.
For more information about Dick Durock visit his page on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0244270/
Dick Durock
January 18, 1937 – September 17, 2009