Spencer & Locke #2 Review

If you have not read Spencer & Locke #1 see if your local shop still has copies or get the digital version. All you need to know is that It is described by the creators as what if Calvin and Hobbes lived in Sin City. It is a very precise blend of both worlds. The story starts off with Detective Locke arriving at a crime scene in an alleyway only to discover the body is his childhood sweetheart Sophie Jenkins. Locke along with his partner Spencer begin a very personal investigation.

Things just got a lot darker in issue 2 which is what you expect from a comic influenced by Frank Miller‘s Sin City. We get a little more of locke’s already traumatic childhood and a new disturbing event that happened during it. Loke’s dark side also comes out as he gets somewhat violent on his childhood bully Stanley. This is an enjoyment for most victims and Locke certainly got some payback and satisfaction.

After getting some information out of Stanley Spencer & Locke find themselves in one of the few places in the city where you can find the worst of the worst. The Red Rose.

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We are now at the mid-way point of the 4-issue mini and so far so good. While I could see this story going beyond 4 issues, I am interested to see how much content we are going to get out of 3 and 4 and the quality of it. While for some they might be thinking they know how this is going to end I personally like to think it’s going to be different from the standards of most noir stories. While it’s always the hope of the creative team (for the most part) to have a mini turn into another possibly longer mini and ultimately if all the pieces are clicking they want an ongoing series.

To me, this is the world that could easily provide a tonne of story content. What some comic fans fail to realise with comics from publishers is that they need sales to justify the creation and cost of an ongoing monthly title. That means buying the single issues and the trades. So if you like this series so far keep supporting and encourage others who may like this particular comic.

David Pepose, Jorge Santiago, Jasen Smith, and Colin Bell have made a solid comic that will make you stick with the series to the end. I look forward to issue 3 and 4

8/10

Wretches #1 & #2 Review

I’m all about the indie and creator-owned comics these days. One of the best Sci-Fi comic series out right now that you may or may not have heard of is Wretches. Thanks to the powerful platform of Kickstarter this series was able to exist for public purchasing. It was also good enough to get on comics largest Digital platform Comixology. I’m combining the reviews of issue 1 and 2 because 1 was released last year and 2 was released a couple weeks ago. Both are available for purchase (physical and digital) I will have links at the end of the review.

Wretches #1 was made possible by the creative team of writer James E. Roche artist Salomon Farias, colourists Chunlin Zhao and letterer Jamie Me.

Synopsis via James E Roche website:

Wretches, at its core, is a story about family, sacrifice, and loss. Siblings, Shea and Sean, were forced to grow up on the streets of an alien city, far from the lifeless planet they’d once called home. Now, all grown up, they capture other beings for the promise of reward – specialising in hunting the robots they’d once shared their home planet with. Still suffering emotionally from the loss of everything they’d ever known and loved, these siblings have nothing else in the universe but each other. Until they no longer even have that. Once one of them is kidnapped, the other will tear the entire galaxy apart to get them back.

The opening of Wretches starts with dialogue all too familiar with people. The somewhat stereotypical declarations parents tell us as children. That nothing bad will ever happen to us, promising they will always be there for us and many other promises. You see our main characters Shea and Sean struggle to make a life for themselves while working together to make a living as bounty hunters.

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We start off with some background on the two siblings Shea and Sean, as they are trying to escape their childhood planet working a job. As the story progresses, you get a good sense of the kind of relationship Shea and Sean have and that the fact the no longer have their parents has made them closer. With things eventually leading to the start of a new challenging chapter in their relationship.

Wretches is a well written with an awesome Man in Black reference which is always a plus for me. The art is decent although there are a few panels where the autonomy of some characters throws me off a bit but not enough to ruin the comic.

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Wretches # 1  is a good introduction to a brand new series and universe. It’s worth checking out especially if you’re a Sci-Fi fan looking for something a little different from the current norm.

7.5/10

wretches#2

 

The first thing you will notice when you read Wretches #2 is the massive improvement in all departments. Like I said in the issue 1 review I had some issues with the art, this time around I got nothing to criticise! Which makes me happy because I can’t draw beyond stick figures. It’s a catch 22 for me I know minimal about actual drawing but spent a lot of time reading comics and looking at original art. I have a but of artist experience with cooking and that’s about it. I just know what I like and what I don’t. This I like a lot and much more than issue one.

The story style is completely different from issue one. It’s a different pace, and it works. It’s not just laying out event 1,2,3 James E. Roche gives you 1,1.2,1.3 and so on. The same event but different angles, perspectives and interactions every few panels. It’s kinda refreshing in a comic because I can’t recall one recently that I have read that’s done that or as good as this. It’s very Tarantino which is always a compliment when I say that.

wretches pic 1

This issue takes us to our first intergalactic bar in the Wretches universe. It’s full of Degenerates and junkies. Fuses are short manners lacking, so you know some sort of vicious violence or theft is going to ensue. Shea makes her way to this bar to meet with someone with potential information about her brother’s location and we, of course, get to see some interesting new characters.

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With such an improvement from issue one, it’s safe for me to recommend this comic series to any Sci-fi or indie comic fan. It’s clear the more time this team works together the better the comic is. So please support them and the Kickstarter for issue 3 whenever that gets announced.

9/10

To purchase physical issues of Wretches #1 and #2 click here

You can purchase digital copies (Issue #1 is just $0.99 US) on Comixology

Follow writer James E. Roche on Twitter

A Brief Conversation I Will Never Forget

I had mentioned in my last post about having the pleasure and honour to meet legendary comic book artist Mark Bagley. For anyone unfamiliar with Mr.Bagley he is the creator of CarnageThunderbolts and has drawn Spider-Man for the majority of his career on multiple titles. His longest run on Spider-Man was on Ultimate Spider-Man with Veteran Marvel writer Brain Michael Bendis (111 consecutive issues 116 total!).

I was the first person to get a sketch from him at the con and some books signed. The photo at the top is the commission he drew for me. I had originally wanted carnage seen as he was only doing head sketches he quickly advised me to pick something with more detail in a respectful way which I appreciated, so I choose Wolverine because of that’s my favourite Marvel character. I am also very nervous/star struck when meeting Mark. So he starts sketching right in front of me, and I am in awe of his speed and lines. He also warned me that his first sketch of the day usually isn’t his best I, of course, am just happy this is happening right now and say I’m sure it will be great and that he’s the first artist I’ve ever gotten an original sketch from.

So I am standing there in front of the table just watching again with amazemenI as i see logan gradually appear on my blank variant sketch cover of Age of Ultron #1. After a few minutes, he says “so do you have any questions? Feel free to talk”. Every artist is different I have heard of many who need complete concentration to finish a commission, and some don’t. So we start talking about the new Venom movie, the Logan movie and the fact fans aren’t a fan of his new costume design for the Scarlet Spider and how he was going back to the original costume from the 90’s.

Really nice guy and chat. Once he finished and signed my commission, i had a few comics to sign.

 

death of spider

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When I presented this next book to get signed something happened that I had never experienced before.

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Soon as Mark saw the comic, he said right away “I hate that cover, The comic and the story” This caught me off guard, you could see the disgust with his own work in his face. I, of course, had no idea this would happen and would never want to upset any creator. He obviously wasn’t mad at me, but it certainly stirred up a defence and reaction in him. He elaborated a little bit then he said something that has been stuck in my head since the early morning of the con.

“Now think about this. Mediocre people think they are great. Great people are never satisfied with their work. Think about it, like really really think about that!”

Now you might be thinking he hasn’t said anything new. Which in just pure words that’s true. When Mark told me this though I saw a passion and conviction in his eyes I have never seen from an artist of any kind. I heard something in his voice that resonated in my ears and memory. It was a long day, and lots of stuff was going on at the con I could have easily forgotten this encounter, but I didn’t and that says something to me.

I got a rare glimpse of what separates the average creator from the legends. To me, he was reminding himself not to be like that version of himself back in 93. I know a lot of creative people will do this but I think Mark is one of the few that takes it seriously.

As someone who’s on a writing journey, it’s incredibly inspiring especially coming from an artist. He didn’t even know I was an aspiring writer, but this can certainly apply to any area in life. It was really cool and unexpected I’m extremely grateful.

Let’s be honest about perfectionism though it is useless, at a certain point you have to say well this and that has to be done by this date. So you have to expect this is the best you can do on a particular project. you can then look back and say ok I have the same amount of time for the next one but I’m not going to this-this and that and in theory, it should be better than the last until you go back and pick apart that very same project and do better on the other. That to me makes more sense than being a perfectionist. You look back far enough on your work and ya there is going to be a certain project that reminds you of how much you used to suck personally.

Now that I think about it the best are never really satisfied with their work even things that have received praise and critical acclaim they are constantly trying to improve.

This meeting is one I will never forget and will stay with me my whole life. A super cool moment at my town’s  first comic-con. This is why I encourage people whether they are fans or people trying to make it in comics to go to cons you never know what’s going to happen or how it will affect your life!

Orillia Comic-Con 2017

Orillia, Ontario Canada had its first ever comic-con on Sunday, May 21st, 2017. My local comic shop Dr.Comics put this con together. After much promoting and anticipation it’s safe to say that this con exceeded all expectations. First off very few small con’s especially their very first one get the quality of guests that Orillia comic-con had. You have Mark Bagley legendary artist and creator of Carnage, Fabian Nicieza writer and creator of Deadpool and Bob Layton one of the founders of comic publisher Valiant Comics and artist known for his work on Iron Man, Conan and Ant-Man.

Oh ya, there’s also the fact that attendance was over 7,400!

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That’s me in the Batman shirt helping Dr.Comics Sell some Comics and Figures

 

con crowd

The show was packed! Lots of vendors, cosplayers and celebrity guest. Most importantly there was no shortage of comics. It was everything you expected from a 1st comic-con, one that was desperately needed for the area.

I got to meet Fabian Nicieza and get some Deadpool and X-Force comics signed which was awesome. I also got to meet Mark Bagley. I have a cool experience/story to share about him that really deserves it’s own post as it relates to a much larger topic I’m interested in getting into, that should be up fairly soon.

The dates for next years con was announced just days before the con took place. Thankfully it will be held at West Orillia Sports Complex – Rotary Place and will be 2 days June 23rd-24th 2018! Planning has already begun and will be significantly larger than the first.

Thanks to Carmine De Santo the owner of Dr.Comics and manager of the con for putting on a massive show in a small town can’t wait till next year.

Watchmen Meet The DC Universe This Fall

DC comics announced Sunday what fans have been waiting for since Geoff Johns last comic DC Universe Rebirth one-shot that kicked off the complete reboot of the entire comic line. Johns had originally said that the one-shot would be his last comic for a while as he was recently promoted to head of DC Films. Surprisingly in January, he announced via Twitter that he would be back later this year releasing comics. The tweet also contained an image of Watchmen character Dr Manhattan.

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The thing about Watchmen is that the world it is based in existed outside of the DC universe. With Geoff Johns new title “Doomsday Clock” we will for the first time this November see the Watchmen interact with some of our favourite superheroes. While with exactly how many and who remain to be revealed we do know the story focuses on Dr Manhattan and Superman.

Geoff Johns gave an exclusive interview with blastr.com.

“We’re not going to do a story like this unless we one-thousand percent believe in it. It is all about the story; it is only about the story. There are no crossovers. No watered down one-shots or mini-series on top of this one. This is a standalone story. There is only Doomsday Clock. We had no interest in doing a crossover with this. We didn’t want to see Doctor Manhattan facing off against Superman in Action Comics, with all due respect. That is not what this is about. It is about something different … It will have an impact on the entire DC Universe. It will affect everything moving forward and everything that has come before. It will touch the thematic and literal essence of DC.”

“There will be DC characters throughout this, but this focuses in on only a handful. There is a lot of focus on Superman, and Doctor Manhattan. Doctor Manhattan is a huge focus, and his reasons for being here, and doing what he does, ultimately have to do with Superman. And there are many, many more characters to be involved, but it is a bit early to discuss.”

It’s great to hear that this will not be a massive crossover event across multiple books because that is really annoying. Johns also assured that this is not a sequel to Watchmen.

“It is something else. It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career. With Rebirth, I opened the door to Manhattan. Part of that was I loved the real-world influence Watchmen has. I put Manhattan out there, and always thought there was a Manhattan/Superman story to be told, but then … it grew. And grew. It took my heart and soul over. Still, at the core of it, there’s a being who has lost his humanity, and distanced himself from it, and an alien who embodies humanity more than most humans. I love the idea that Watchmen influenced DC, but what would that look like in reverse? And it goes well beyond that.”

The original Watchmen was created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. Colours were done by John Higgins. I was a groundbreaking comic that challenged traditional comic book storytelling and structure and was an examination of the superhero genre itself. It’s for more in-depth and complex than that so I recommend you pick yourself up a copy if you don’t have one and look up some far better articles than this on the subject.

Since the release of the original Watchmen Alan Moore has been very upfront about his displeasure with working with DC at the time. His contract was quite horrible as well, in an interview with fastcompany.com back in 2012 he talked about getting lawyers to look at the contract he signed. Moore referred to it as

“creator-hostile”.

“There was a clause that essentially said that, if in the future, there were any documents or contracts that I refused to sign, DC was entitled to appoint an attorney to sign them instead,” “[The lawyers] said it was the most creator-hostile contract they’d ever seen.”

This isn’t the first or last case or shady contracts or creator mistreatment but this has stuck with Moore till this day.  He is not a fan of Watchmen calling  “a toxic cloud of memories”. Watchmen was designed originally not to be a franchise but after failing to get the rights to the property DC did what they wanted.

I only read The Comedian and Rorschach titles of “Before Watchmen” and they were good. Should they have made a prequel? I’m not too sure.

That brings me to the next obvious question should DC and Geoff johns (along with Gary Frank on art) bring Watchmen into the DC universe let alone write another Watchmen comic? While I’m one for original intent and purpose there are times where a concept or idea just seem to interesting not to explore. Having a story based around arguably two of the most powerful characters in the DC universe is pretty damn exciting.

If anyone other than Geoff Johns and Gary Frank were doing this project I would say I’m not going to invest my time and money it’s just too big of a risk. No one knows the DC universe like Johns. He has written some of the best stories in DC comics for more than a decade and every title he has collaborated on with Gary Frank has been great. It seems he has taken his time with this project. The fact we are not seeing it as some big summer crossover event is a good sign and most importantly Johns treats characters with respect and writes good stories.

 

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I can’t imagine this comic being bad but anything is possible. If you have been following “The Button” story arc between Batman and The Flash rebirth titles recently you will understand my scepticism of  “Doomsday Clock” being bad.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Shaw on Comics

Welcome!

This is just a little spot for me to spew my opinions on comics and film for the most part. I’m sure there will be a variety of posts eventually but film and comics are my main interests. This site will be constantly changing as this is just a free site I quickly set up on WordPress.

For those not familiar with my work I started at an indie pop culture site skatronixxx/pop culture pipe bomb. I left on good terms and took a break from the grind of helping build a site and just reviewing and news reporting in general. Now that I’ve had a break I’m happy to start my own blog and see how many people actually take the time to read my stuff.

I’m going to gradually get back into comic reviews. I will have a couple out fairly soon so keep an eye out for those also the odd interview when I get the opportunity. Should have one in the next week or so. I will also keep you up to date with my projects including a comic and something I have never thought I’d get the chance to do.

 

People Burning Comics is Absurd

Not since politicians and the media made comic books public enemy #1 for all of society’s ills have we seen this much comic book burning. Social Justice Warriors are not happy with writer Nick Spencer‘s portrayal of Captain America as always being a (Nazi-inspired) Hydra sleeper agent.
It’s one thing to purchase a comic then burn it and post it online (even though it’s not protesting because they got your money) It’s completely different taking a free comic book from a shop that has to pay for those comics then burning it and posting online.
You’re, not a real supporter of comic shops or comics in general when you take advantage of the generosity of a local business which doesn’t have to participate in the awesome event.
A few sites have pointed this out, but it’s worth repeating until they understand. Burning literature of any format that is deemed corrupt or needs to not be read by anyone or bad for society as a whole is exactly what Nazi’s did back in WWII! These Antifa morons scream hatred for fascism yet practice the main principles fascism constantly.
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This is over a fictional character who’s been around over 75 years. Again FICTIONAL CHARACTER. Do we not have more important things to focus on? Like seriously you think a fictional story is that detrimental to you that you have to burn it and make a public scene?  Aside for the desperate cry for attention you apparently don’t get enough of why do this?  Burning comics does not make you a political activist it makes you an asshole for disrespecting artists and writers hard work. So you didn’t like the issue or where the story is going. Fine! That’s your right as a reader just keep your whiny mouth shut unless you have some constructive critique instead of spewing hate and death threats towards other humans.
Also Antifa not everyone is a Nazi who doesn’t agree with you, more important Nazi’s don’t exist anymore! There’s a reason why we have the term neo-nazi. It’s a group that’s similar to the original or is trying to be like the original Nazi party. By no means are Neo-Nazi’s what the original Nazi party was or our world would be quite different at this very moment. This isn’t a defence of Neo-Nazi’s it’s just making an important distinction between the two.
Honestly, if all the people that are considered Nazi’s (which is more than half of the US) are actually Nazi’s don’t you think there would be fights and riots on every street corner? It’s an easy word to throw around and label someone causes no one wants to be called a nazi it captures headlines and fears well.
Everyone is also making a comment about Jack Kirby and Stan Lee being Jewish and how it’s offensive to them. Sadly we can’t ask Jack what he thinks about the change to Captain America a character he created with Joe Simion. One would assume he would not consider the “Nazi’s” of today as the same as the Nazi’s of WWII. Stan Lee on the other hand actually gave his opinion a year ago on the drastic change.
“It’s a hell of a clever idea,” said Lee. “I don’t know that I would ever have thought of it for him to be a double agent, but it’s going to make you curious, it’s going to make you want to read the books, they’ll probably do a movie based on it. So I can’t fault it; it’s a good idea. I think it’s crazy, but it’s a good idea.”
It seems that Lee while surprised is not personally offended by the change but in fact thinks it’s a good idea. It’s also important to point out that Secret Empire just launched. There is still a lot of stories left in the event to be told. Logically you would think we would wait until the end of the story to make our judgement. Everyone is so quick to accuse a creative team of this and that without having the full story and it needs to stop.
It’s perfectly fine to disagree with someone. It is not fine to disrespect, endanger and threaten another life over political, religious or cultural views. It’s certainly not fine to destroy someone’s work in a public display with hateful intent. Instead of burning the comic why don’t you make your own with your own views and story? Oh right your just going to move on to the next thing to be outraged about instead of actually using your brain and attempting creativity. It’s easier for you to act like a child than an adult. You’re unwilling to respond in the medium you discovered the “wrong political views” and can’t even have a civil and respectful debate. You are all pathetic.
Please just try and enjoy comics, you’re not going to like them all but don’t use that as an excuse to do something stupid and childish.