Archive for June, 2008

Lubbock Comic Book Workshop


I’m way, way late in making the proper announcements about this, but the Lubbock Sketch Club is working on a new event called the Lubbock Comic Book Workshop. It’s set for August 9th, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lubbock Garden and Arts Center. It’s not what you could really call a comic book convention, though there will be vendors and creators on hand. Like I said, it’s a comic book workshop with a lot more emphasis on classes and training for comic book professionals and for people who want to become comic book professionals.

Sketch Club head honcho Will Terrell will be giving a couple of classes from 8-9:45 a.m. and from 10-11:45 a.m. — the cost to attend is $25. The vendor and creator show kicks off from noon to 6 p.m., with a cost of $5. Smaller classes by Ginny Pape, Rachael Simmons, Jennifer Adkins, Sarazann Greenwood, and others will be held throughout the afternoon, and you can attend any of them as long as you’ve purchased the $5 ticket to get in.

I feel it’s important enough to repeat this and put it in bold: Will Terrell’s classes are 8-9:45 a.m. and from 10-11:45 a.m. and cost $25. The vendor and creator show is noon to 6 p.m. and costs $5. It’s not a single continuous event. If you pay the $25 for Will’s classes, you’ll need to pay $5 for the vendor show afterwards.

What else is there to tell? There is other entertainment planned. There will be at least one face painter on hand to entertain kids and/or adults who like to get their faces painted. Jennifer Adkins will be playing piano in the rest area; I assume someone will be doing sleazy lounge singer antics, too. Refreshments will be available for purchase during the vendor show. And everything’s going on at the Garden and Arts Center, so you’ll have some pretty scenery going on, too.

Wanna get in on the action as a vendor or creator? You can get a space to display your stuff for $25 for a half table — tables are 8 feet long, so that’s a good amount of space for a single creator. Of course, if you’re a creator with a lot of stuff to show off, or if you’re a vendor, you’ll probably want to spring for at least a full-length table.

Mark your calendars for August 9th right now!

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RIP Michael Turner


Comic artist Michael Turner as died after a long battle with cancer at the way-too-young age of 37.

I’d love to make this just a plain, pure tribute to the man, but I don’t think that’s gonna be possible. Honestly, I just didn’t enjoy most of Turner’s artwork. I mean, it was obvious that he had really strong artistic chops. Look at this cover he did for “Teen Titans.”


I think it’s just beautifully done. Yeah, you get a little Buttcrack Theatre from Starfire, but it’s far, far from the worst art we’ve ever seen of her. The rest of them, Cyborg, Raven, Superboy, Robin, Kid Flash, Changeling, even the all-too-frequently-fetishized Wonder Girl, they all look great.

But Turner would also produce work like this:


That’s preliminary artwork from one of the “Justice League of America” covers from last year, and it got rightly and loudly criticized by almost everyone. It’s emblematic of a lot of my problems with Turner’s style — heavily plasticized figures, bad anatomy, vacant and identical faces on women.

And I’m gonna stop with the criticism right there. From everything else I’ve heard of him, Turner was an enthusiastic, good-natured, fun guy to be around, who didn’t deserve all the pain from his health troubles, and who definitely did deserve a tremendous amount of respect for continuing to produce artwork even after multiple painful surgeries. Just about everything about his life story is pretty inspiring, and his death, like Mike Wieringo’s last year, comes way, way too soon, and is going to be very keenly felt over the coming years.

Raise your glasses, folks. Here’s to him.

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Friday Night Fights: Orking the Joker!

It’s the next-to-the-last round of this latest series of FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS! And we all know what that means, right? Yep, only another week of me having to bleach the color out of my comic scans. Huzzah!

Tonight, I’m treating y’all to a coupla panels from January 2007’s Batman/Spirit crossover, by Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke, as the Spirit, dressed in Batman’s cape and cowl, socks the Joker in the breadbasket.



I often find myself shouting “ORK!” when I get socked in the breadbasket. I assume everyone does, right?

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Red Hot!


Hulk #4

If you’re looking for a comic with subtlety and savoir-faire, this is not the book for you. I mean, lookit this:


Any comic that starts out with the evil red Hulk socking Uatu the Watcher in the jaw is, well, the type of thing that’s gonna make me giggle all freakin’ day long.

Plot? Red Hulk and Green Hulk fight. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Clay Quartermain is found dead. We get a pretty definitive answer as to who the Red Hulk is. (And I was riiiiiight! Everyone do the herky dance! Ooo! Yeah! Shake it, baby! Yeah!) And we get a visit from the only other superhero who might have a chance of putting the Red Hulk down for the count.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Hulk battles, Uatu punching, and Scott being riiiiiight about the Hulk’s identity equals out to big fun. You know what this calls for, people? That’s right. This calls for Cameo.


George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards: The Hard Call #3

Alex is an electric-powered ace who wishes he were either dead or normal. Simon is his best friend, a ridiculous horndog who’s acquired the power to teleport through mirrors. Kira used to be the girl Alex loved from afar, but she’s been turned into a deformed joker — and she’s vanished mysteriously. And the dog-masked ace who killed a nurse at the Jokertown clinic and stole a batch of the trump virus is now secretly dosing jokers with the trump virus — but the trump kills more often than it cures. When Alex goes looking for the infamous Croyd Crenson, will he be able to help, or will the immortal superpowered speedfreak just make things worse?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is rocking forward, as the dog-mask’s plans become more clear, the mystery deepens, and the action picks up the pace. Alex is getting the hang of his powers, and Croyd looks like he’s heading for his usual oh-so-familiar amped-up psychosis. It’s also pretty cool how the cured jokers are addressed. Good fun, and worth picking up.


Gemini #2

Last issue, Gemini got his head blown clean off… but hey, he’s got a healing factor, so it heals right back. Unfortunately, with his mask gone, his government monitors can no longer track him, and he can see his own face. How bad could that be? Well, since he’s basically a controlled split personality whose two identities are completely unaware of each other, it’s started him questioning who he is, why he’s never seen his own face, and whether something’s wrong with him. His government trackers enlist another government hero named Lynx to deactivate him. But there’s another threat coming that has the ability to decommission him once and for all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story, great action, lots of intrigue. This Jay Faerber cat does pretty good writin’.


Green Lantern #32

We continue with this flashback retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin. We see creepazoid Hector Hammond get his powers, we see Hal get permission to fly planes for Ferris Air, we meet Sinestro for the first time, and we see the demonic Atrocitus start tracking down the man who will ultimately found the Black Lanterns.

Verdict: I dunno, all this stuff is kinda cool, but most GL fans already knew it already. Sure, you can say it’s a good way to introduce new readers to the characters, but this seems like the very long and inefficient way to do it. And I can’t keep thinking that maybe we could be reading some new adventures of Green Lantern sometime?


Teen Titans #60

The final showdown between the Teen Titans and the Terror Titans is, well, a bit of a let-down. Most of the bad guys don’t really put up much of a fight. The only one with any real skillz is Clock King, who can see far enough into the future to keep anyone from laying a glove on him. Ravager almost kills one of the bad guys, but is prevented by Wonder Girl. Clock King realizes that Ravager is a precog, too, so he asks her to join him. She turns him down, and the rest of the Titans make their getaway. But Robin and Wonder Girl decide they can’t have a potential killer on their team, so Rose gets the heave-ho and goes back to the Clock King. Bummer. And it means it’s time for yet another team membership revamp. Bleaaachhh.

Verdict: Most of it’s actually pretty good, but I think I’m going to give it a thumbs down. Rose Wilson was developing into a very interesting character, and I’m really not thrilled about removing the team’s conflict-magnet. And another team membership revamp? Bleaaachhh.

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RASLing with Destiny



Hrm, I get the feeling this is a story that’ll be a lot better when it’s collected into a single volume, rather than doled out one at a time in the single issues. Rasl (that’s apparently our dimension-hopping protagonist’s name) spends some time with his hoochie-mama, talking about alternate-universe Picassos, maze mandalas, and, well, hoochie. But someone is trying to track Rasl down, and they don’t care who gets hurt.

Verdict: I ain’t gonna give it a hard thumbs down, because I am enjoying Jeff Smith’s art a lot, but this series is just not interesting to me.


The Brave and the Bold #14

Boston Brand, better known as the superhero ghost Deadman, enlists Green Arrow in a fight against the Ghost Killers of Nanda Parbat, a band of spectral assassins created by Siva Anuttara, a death-worshipping monster who’s actually managed to capture Rama Kushna, the powerful god-spirit who runs Nanda Parbat and helped train Deadman. The big problem is that Green Arrow doesn’t have any ghost arrows, so all he and Deadman can do is run.

Verdict: Honestly, thumbs down. The team-up woulda been interesting if only there was someone Ollie could fight, and I also felt like GA acted out-of-character at the end.


Tangent: Superman’s Reign #4

Batman, Hal Jordan, Black Lightning, and Black Canary manage to make their way to the Tangent universe to join Flash and a bunch of Tangent heroes. John Stewart has been captured by Tangent’s version of Superman, who’s taken over the world. And it turns out that the Atom the heroes previously liberated from Superman isn’t the real Atom at all, but a secret operative.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s just going on too darn long, and it’s not giving me nearly enough entertainment. I’m dropping this one.

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Kid Stuff


PS238 #32

Soooo much stuff going on here. Tyler Marlocke is actually in three places at once — in a stasis chamber underneath the school, walking around in a mentally remote-controlled robot, and sitting in the Castle Beyond Space and Time trying to decide if humanity should be allowed to continue having superpowers. He gets to talk to Ron Peterson, formerly Captain Clarinet, who’s actually gone over the evil Praetorian Academy! Also, Tyler gets deposed from his position as class president by American Eagle and USA Patriot Act, Cecil Holmes gets recruited by the Revenant, and a mini angel and demon have done something weird to all three of Tyler’s bodies.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Spooky stuff going on, and the scariest thing is probably Ron’s defection to the Praetorians. It’s like Superman deciding he’d rather hang out with the Joker than fight crime…


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #25

We’ll make this one short and sweet: Arnim Zola. And brain-switching!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Is there any plot more awesome than getting the heroes’ brains switched into different bodies? I’ll answer that for you — there is not.


The Flash #241

Gorilla Grodd causes more trouble, at least up ’til the point where he completely fades away. Wally’s daughter Iris unexpectedly ages to her teens and gets her own superspeed powers. The townspeople, driven nuts by Spin’s out-of-control powers, set the Flash Museum on fire, forcing Flash to have to rescue the frozen-in-time body of Impulse’s evil clone, Inertia.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I expect this will mark the return of Inertia to villainy, and I’m hoping Iris isn’t about to unexpectedly age any further or vanish into thin air or something.

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Local Heroes

Picked up a couple comics featuring work by Lubbock-based creators. Let’s give ’em a once-over, oy?


The Goblin Chronicles #2

This one features coloring work by Lubbock Sketch Club poobah Will Terrell. Our story focuses on youthful fantasy heroes Gorim, Zara, Sprig, and Gween as they try to avoid the Dark Queen’s troops, fulfill a wizard’s quests, and free some slaves. But the more they succeed, the more the Dark Queen will try to capture them all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Still good fun. You almost feel sorry for the Dark Queen’s soldiers — they really don’t stand a chance the whole time…


The Idea #1

This comic is illustrated by local artist Luis Estrada. It follows a young writer named Johnson Doyle who has paralyzing writer’s block. When he attempts to break the block through meditation, he discovers that he can take a mostly immaterial form and is able to change into anything that anyone else thinks of — specifically, when he overhears a father reading a bedtime story to his son, Johnson ends up becoming the dragon in the story. Can he escape from the angry crowd pursuing him, or is his path to enlightenment going to be cut short?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is plenty cool, and the artwork is really interesting and expressive. I think it even gets more expressive when Johnson takes his mostly-featureless “Idea” form, but as we’ve noted before, good cartooning becomes more universal as it becomes simpler and less complex. At any rate, it’s definitely worth picking up.

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Stuff that Makes Me ROFLMAO


If you’ve never read Kate Beaton’s cartoons, please do so now. She works on a wide variety of topics, from historical figures to her childhood in rural Canada, all utterly goofy and hilarious. It’s like they were perfectly designed to appeal to my fairly offbeat sense of humor.

Oddly, though I do love her more realistic cartoons, I get the most laffs out of her more primitive cartoons drawn with Microsoft’s Paint program…

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Real Genius


Genius #1

A couple weeks back, I got to interview Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin, the writers of the latest entry in Top Cow’s “Pilot Season,” and last week, their new comic, “Genius,” finally came out.

The story focuses on Destiny Ajaye, a teenaged girl who’s managed to organize the gangs of Los Angeles into a trained army. She then takes all these different gangs, declares war on the LAPD, and gives the cops a good, solid, hardcore smackdown.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Love the characterization on Destiny — part tough-as-nails gangsta, part non-stop thinking machine. I love the way her thinking is visualized for the reader — a bunch of X’s and O’s and arrows denoting how far ahead she’s thinking. And Afua Richardson’s artwork is pretty much divine — could someone please get her some more work in the industry? This is really wonderful stuff — hope we get to see more of it.


Birds of Prey #119

The Birds set up shop in the mega-wealthy city of Platinum Flats with a front company called Clocktower Systems. Huntress takes down an armored goon who calls himself Carface. But the folks in town think the Birds are the ones attracting supervillains to the city, so they’re not interested in giving them a warm welcome. Meanwhile, the Visionary, the bad guy who runs the local crime syndicate, puts the squeeze on the big-budget high-tech firms, Barbara is temporarily working with the supervillain hacker called the Calculator, and Manhunter’s gig spying on Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Speedy comes to an abrupt end.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of stuff happening. Carface is pretty funny, and the revelations about Calculator are pretty interesting. Also, umm, what’s Manhunter’s problem? She deserved the boot in the face, and there ain’t actually any way she’s gonna manage to beat up Black Canary.


The Spirit #18

The Spirit travels to Egypt and back on the trail of mystery involving a bunch of mummies.

Verdict: This seems to be DC’s most inconsistent series — sometimes good, sometimes rotten — but this time, it’s getting a thumbs up. The mystery is pretty good, the action is fine, and the humor works pretty well, too. The bit with Spirit getting through the airport security check without ever having to take off his mask was pretty cute.

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New Geek-Friendly Bookstore in Town!


(Not their actual logo, but I couldn’t find a sample online, so I made my own.)

But yes, Lubbockites, there’s a new used bookstore in town called Awesome Books, at 3009A 34th Street here in Lubbock. They had their grand opening today, and I finally got a chance to stop in.

It’s a great place. It’s small — actually, it’s very small — but the selection seems pretty good. No one goes to used bookstores expecting to find everything under the sun anyway — you go because you can find books there that you won’t find anywhere else. And for its size, I think the selection they’ve got is pretty good — a little bit of everything, from kids’ books to Westerns to new age to horror.

But this is definitely a geek-friendly store. They’ve got a small selection of used and collectible comics, and a whole room in the back that they refer to as the Nerdery, devoted to science fiction, fantasy, comics, and roleplaying games.

My brother and I picked up some nice bargains. I snagged an old second-edition D&D Monster Manual for just a buck — the spine was shot to pieces, but man, I’ve wanted that since I was a kid. Plus, I got a Ray Bradbury short story collection that I’ve somehow missed in all my years of collecting Bradbury books, so good on me. Some of it’s amazingly inexpensive, and some of it’s a bit higher, but those are for rare books that you’d drop yer jaw thinking that anyone had them at all.

Go see ’em. They’re good folks, friendly folks, and they deserve your business.

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