Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reviews- LEONARD STARR'S MARY PERKINS ON STAGE VOL. 3 and SHADOWS OF SALAMANCA


LEONARD STARR'S MARY PERKINS ON STAGE VOL. 3 (Classic Comics Press, 2007; Softcover)

Collects Mary Perkins On Stage strips originally published on April 20, 1959- June 12, 1960
Writer and Artist: Leonard Starr

So great! How can people not scream their love for this strip from the rooftops? This is some of the best stuff that I have ever read, and if you read it you would say the same. Mary Perkins kinda sorta almost finds happiness this time out, but it is the journey and not the destination that is the charm of this strip. You actually care about every character and every scenario...even the dog. I have volumes 4-13 aging to perfection in my backlog, content in the knowledge that whenever I crack them open that they will be as satisfying as popping the cork on a vintage bottle of wine.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Like most strip books, this is presented in landscape format. It takes some getting used to reading a book this wide, but the material more than makes up for it. Plus the artwork is much larger than it would be if they released it in a standard format book.
Linework restoration: Excellent work compiled from many sources, such as original art, proofs, etc. The nipple line is removed and many of these strips are more complete than they were at the time of original publication.
Paper stock: Uncoated stock paper.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Cardstock coating has a fair thickness.


SHADOWS OF SALAMANCA (Humanoids, 2014; Hardcover)
Collects Sarah #1-3 (cover dates May- October, 2013)
Writer: Christophe Bec
Artist: Stefano Raffaele
Colorist: Bertrand Denoulet (#1) and Christian Favrelle (#2, 3)

I was on a huge Humanoids kick for a while there and then just stopped. No real reason other than I just stopped buying and reading their stuff. This book caught my eye as it is by the creative team which brought us Pandemonium, which was the book that brought me into the world of Humanoids Publishing to begin with. It all seemed fitting, so here we are again. Ancient Native American superstitions made real and a serial killer from Sarah's past resurfacing equal a disturbing yet beautifully illustrated read. I would be in for anything that this creative team does.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.


The OCD zone- Humanoids books are top shelf affairs, with high end features like a built-in ribbon bookmark being standard issue.
Paper stock: Thick semi-glossy coated stock.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays perfectly flat.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket, image part of the paper on the casewrap. Has sufficiently thick coating to ensure a lifetime of enjoyment.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review- TOE TAGS FEATURING GEORGE ROMERO


TOE TAGS FEATURING GEORGE ROMERO (DC, 2014; Softcover)

Collects Toe Tags Featuring George Romero #1-6 (cover dates December, 2004- May, 2005)
Writer: George Romero
Artists: Penciler- Tommy Castillo; Inker- Rodney Ramos
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

DC's collected editions program often makes no sense to me. Marvel has released pretty much everything that they have published in single issue format as collected editions for the past dozen or so years. DC still tries to foster a back issue market and pushes for the “Wednesday addict” crowd, often leaving the money of the collected edition fan on the table. They have of course changed this over the past two years, releasing most of their New 52 stuff in collected editions within a reasonable time frame after the single issue publication.

This brings us to this decade-old mini-series which DC has finally compiled and reissued to cash in on both Romero's new Marvel series Empire Of The Dead as well as the zombie craze as a whole. I am tired of zombies in comics, but Romero is the one who put them on the map in the first place so he is exempt from zombie backlash.

Smart zombies, collapsed civilization...we have already seen it all a dozen times before. Romero's cinematic background works well in the ultra-decompressed comic book storytelling style so prevalent in 2004. This moves at a brisk clip and the artwork is pleasant enough, but I know damn well that I will never have time to read this again as long as I live. I have too many books and can't even read everything once. I am at a point where I wish that the local library had more graphic novels in stock, because so much stuff that I read is good for one read only.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.

The OCD zone-
Paper stock: Decent weight glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Waxlike lamination. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review- THE CREATURE COMMANDOS!


THE CREATURE COMMANDOS! (DC, 2014; Softcover)

Collects Weird War Tales #93, 97, 100, 102, 105, 108-112, 114-119, 121, 124 (cover dates November, 1980- June, 1983)
Writers: J.M. DeMatteis, Robert Kanigher, Mike W. Barr
Artists: Pat Broderick, Fred Carillo, John Celardo, Bob Hall, Jerry Ordway, and Dan Speigle

This is a silly, fun concept. Like The Invaders, this is a superhero series set during World War II. Unlike that title, though, this focuses on the macabre. The Allies disfigure and mutilate three people, turning them into a science-based vampire (Morbius did it first!), a patchwork Frankenstein Monster type, a werewolf, and several issues in, a gorgon. Their human commanding officer is the real monster though, the way that he treats this group of misfits. The GI Robot appearances were fascinating, and I would be interested in reading his early appearances in a collected edition because 350-400 unread books in my backlog are not enough.

This is an entertaining read. Fred Carillo's artwork is great, although pretty much everyone involved in this book eventually became a name. The ending is a bit choppy and lame, but I have a hunch that they had to wrap things up quick. This is solid stuff marred by DC's usual shoddy presentation.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This book weighs about as much as a pack of cigarettes due to DC's crappy paper.
Linework and Color restoration: Surprisingly good for DC. The color blends are better than 95% authentic to the original comics. They could have used the files for this for an Archives hardcover and no one would have complained. Indeed, I believe that DC misunderstands the audience for this type of material and misses the mark entirely. No civilian is going to pick this up. Collections like this cater to only diehard collected editions buyers, most of which prefer deluxe hardcovers, not cost save “affordable graphic novels” like this. In short, DC could have slapped this in a $49.99 MSRP hardcover and sold as many copies as they did on a trade paperback at half the price.
Paper stock: Jesus Chrysler, DC, this paper stock is only marginally thicker than Charmin toilet paper. The plus side is that it looks and feels like real comic book paper. The minus side is that it will brown and become discolored with time, just like real comic book paper. Many DC fans are so nostalgic and sentimental that they can't bear to see this stuff given any type of deluxe treatment and they actually prefer this lo-fi presentation. It's VHS presentation in the Blu-Ray era.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick waxlike lamination.