Thursday, August 12, 2010


Posted By Liberty Valance

Now normally I don’t do the lists that some of the other reviewers here seem to be partial to, but I thought I might take a break from the “norm” and try it on for size. With the misfortune of Heroes being canceled, and the timing of Season 4 out on DVD earlier this month My super hero meter is going volcanic, so with that in mind I present you “5 comic books that don't suck”.

For those of you who have been stuck under a rock for the last 5 years, comic books (or graphic novels, as us connoisseurs prefer to call them) are hot. Multimillion-dollar franchises, with merchandise spanning everything from sugary breakfast cereals to trademarked toothbrushes (they’re hedging their bets), Soda pop to bed sheets (come on, you all remember your Justice League or Super Friends sheets). But finding a good Comic (or GN) these days, among the muck and mire at your local comic shop, can be a real pain. Story arch’s are massive, sometimes spanning over dozens of issues, and the actual “start” of a particular story may be difficult to pin point. Along with that you’ll have pretentious comic store employees who probably hear “Do you have the new Scott Pillgrim” so many times a day they want to year their hair out. So I thought I’d make it a little easier for you and give you “cheat sheet”

1.Jonah Hex

Ok, so I know those of you who have seen the movie are going to crucify me but we’re only talking about the books here. Jonah Hex is a Western comic antihero created by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga and published by DC Comics. Hex is a surly and cynical bounty hunter whose face is horribly scarred on the right side. Despite his poor reputation and personality, Hex is bound by a personal code of honor to protect and avenge the innocent. This means Hex doesn’t always do the “right thing” and not always for the right reasons, but that’s what makes him great. In a world where “heroes” roles are usually so black and white, Hex is a man who’s all about the grey (pun intended), that and his only friends are death and the acrid smell of gun smoke, how bad ass is that? The series was canceled in ’85 and revived again in ’05 but I’m a fan of the original 70’s stuff, and when you read the showcase versions in black and white, it really reminds me of the old western serials that I remember watching with my dad on Saturday morning.

2.What Ever Happened to Baron Von Shock?

Rob Zombie has been one busy guy lately between Touring, producing movies and cartoons (El Superbeasto) he’s somehow found a way to produce a comic for Image entitled “Whatever Happened to Baron Von Shock? Now if any of you are familiar with Mr. Zombie's previous work you know he has a penchant for big breasted vivacious women, and blood, both of which I am also a huge fan of, so I may be a little biased in writing this, but I love Baron von Shock. It stars a Goofy Kid named Leon Stokes, who by a comedy of errors ends up guest hosting a late night “Elvira” inspired monster movie program, and chronicles the rollercoaster ride Leon partakes in when thrust in the public eye. If you like hard rock and cheap women then Baron Von Shock is for you.

3. The Walking Dead

Again, if you have not heard of “The Walking Dead”, you must be living under a rock. After the huge success of “Marvel Zombies”, writer Robert Kirkman decided to turn his attention to something a little less pie in the sky, a zombie apocalypse. What resulted is what many others and I would call the pinnacle in zombie fiction. Everything about “The Walking Dead” is amazing. From the deep, self-explorative and sometimes strangely Jungian plotlines, exploring the very nature of the human condition and what it means to be alive, not merely living, to the breathtaking artwork done by Tony Moore (#1-6) and Charlie Adlard (#7-present). If you love zombies, and I know you do, you’ll need to get this one in your collection ASAP.

4. Superman: Red Son

Now Red Son is not your average superman comic, it’s an elseworld production that posits the idea “what if, instead of Kansas, Kal-El’s pod landed in soviet Ukraine. Red Son challenges the established superman mythos, and does it head on, with the a skill only to be expected of a masterful writer like Mark Millar, while bringing back some of your old friends (bizzaro, Wonder woman, Green Lantern, and even Batman) in new, strange and compelling ways. Red Son is defiantly one of those books I think every comic fan should own, regardless if you’re a superman fan or not.

5. Ed Brubaker's captain America

Ed Brubaker has done for Captain America what Christopher Nolan did for Batman. Brubaker took “Cap” from the one liner spitting, Hitler punching, Nazi smashing, wing head of the 40’s through the 50’s, into a Deeper, brooding man who is haunted by his past and understands the weight of his actions, and what it means to the people who depend on him (though has trouble dealing with the magnitude). You get a since from reading that Steve Rogers is complicated man, and that years of wearing the cowl and shield have taken it’s toll on his body in more ways than one, and being Cap is more than a full time job, he’s more than just a soldier, he’s a symbol.

Honorable mention

Alien Vs Predator: Eternal

Despite the horrible failure of the movies to stay true to the source material, AVP has some great issues. One of my faves is AVP: Eternal in it A 700+ year old man's uses technology from a salvaged Predator ship to gain fame, fortune, and uses Predator body parts to unnaturally extend his life. A self-serving reporter gets caught up in his schemes trying attracting a Predator hunting party by releasing Aliens and setting off a tribal war in Africa with the assination of a public figure. It combines Action, Suspense, Sci-fi, and Political intrigue. If you can get your hands on this four parter I suggest you do.
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