Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Zombie Marge, putting fun back into comics...

Delightfully irreverent and funny...

Halfway through Tim Fuller's Zombie Marge it suddenly dawned upon me why I've fallen so in love with Indy comic books.  For too long now I've been unhappy with mainstream comics.  I wasn't happy with them because they're just not fun to read anymore.  I'm so tired of intergalactic wars of "epic" proportions being fought by superheros who somehow need to be socially relevant, politically correct and continually tormented by their inner demons.  I'm sick to death of the half White, half Black, half Latino characters struggling with their homosexuality while they battle to save humanity in galaxies far far away while their lovers lie dying on planet Earth of Aids.  Mainstream comics are just too damned preachy, boring and pretentious these days.  No wonder folks aren't buying comic books anymore, it's cheaper to turn on our televisions and watch daytime dramas for free. 

Zombie Marge is none of the above things.  Zombie Marge is refreshingly witty, funny and irreverent.  It takes me back to the days of Hellboy Junior and Ren and Stimpy.  Zombie Marge, and so many of the other books being produced by Tim Fuller, are just plain good-old-fashioned fun.  This is what's being forgotten in the comic book industry today.  Not every comic book has to be an epic tale of Herculean warriors battling the forces of evil to save the universe from the super villain of the month.  There's a market for books like Zombie Marge.  There's a market for a good laugh and Tim Fuller fills it admirably.  Look, for those of us working ten to twelve hours a day, often times six days a week, the last thing we need when we sit down to read a comic book for relaxation is one more source telling us how we should be thinking about the "major" issues of the day.  All we're looking for is a good laugh, a bit of respite from our busy work week, and that's where a book like Zombie Marge comes into play.  Zombie Marge is a break from the realities of daily life, not another reminder of how rough and horrible life is these days.

Hoohah Comics is Tim Fuller's home on the Internet and it's loaded with a treasure trove of books guaranteed to make you smile when you could really use one the most.  You'll find Tim's Little Olden books, Sham Comics, The Blue Beagle, Twelve-Way with Cheese and so much more.  You'll find books you can enjoy with your kids as well as books to amuse your more sophisticated stoner friends.  Yeah, I said it, your stoner friends. We, uh, I mean they, like a good laugh too.  Whether you like ongoing web comics, digital comics or hard copy books, Tim Fuller has you covered.  And best of all?  You'll truly find something for the entire family to enjoy reading.  That's something I just don't find in the big two comic houses these days.  Surf on over and check Tim out, you'll be glad you did.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed.




Friday, February 14, 2014

Nix Comics; comics for cool kids.

Comics for cool kids, like us...

Time for the first review of some of the great books I discovered at the Independent Creators Expo 2014.  I've been pouring over comic books since the evening the con ended and I'm happy to report that the amount of quality materials I received there has warmed my heart during one of the worst winters Ohio has experienced in a very long time.  Let's get to it, shall we?

Nix Comics is a unique blend of some of my all time favorite comic books, Mr. Natural, Not Quite Dead, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Tales From The Crypt.  Writer/Editor, Ken Eppstein, has skillfully managed to combine an obvious love for rock and roll music, classic morality-tale horror and an appreciation for sarcastic humor into a quarterly comic book guaranteed to satisfy the appetite of the Indy comic book reader looking for something truly different in the Indy scene.  You won't find superhero makeovers and rewrites of stories already written to death in Marvel and D.C. comics in Nix Comics.  What you will find are a collection of short vignettes intelligently written and skillfully illustrated by artists including, Ryan Brinkerhoff, Joel Jackson, Darren Merinuk and Michael Neno.

 Between the front and back covers of a Nix comic book you'll find mature tales of horror based around characters like the musician who wouldn't sell his soul to the devil or the Narcissistic guitarist.  You'll also find socially relevant and thought provoking pieces like Man Loves, God Kills?. You'll also find irascible characters like Bus Stop Ned and funny parodies of classic comic book ads.  And that's what I find so enjoyable about Nix Comics, every turn of the page brings something new.  And Ken understands the difference between mature content and titillating illustrations.  Ken understands that good stories don't need to be wrapped in spandex, bolstered by breasts, babes or sexual innuendo.   Good stories are just as engaging as hard bodies in skimpy costumes.  I found this approach to story telling refreshing.

Nix Comics aren't just about rock and roll either.  You'll find some great Western stories and an excellent  book for parents and children featuring a cleverly designed character named Boy Howdie.  Everything I sampled was smart, engaging and entertaining.  Comic books like these are the reason I read Indy comics almost exclusively these days.  Rather than trying to breath new life into exhausted character stereotypes and story lines, Ken is producing fun and imaginative comic books based upon solid story telling and visually delightful illustrations.  If you're looking for some quality Indy comics, I'd strongly encourage you to go online and give Nix Comics some well deserved support.  Ken Eppstein and friends are truly deserving of your time and hard earned money.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Independent Creators Expo Febuary 1st, 2014

Guaranteed to warm you up inside.

Okay, we all know it's cold outside and the weather is frightful, but if you're looking for something to break the grip of cabin fever, and provide a little chicken soup for the soul, then you need to get yourself to Wright State University this weekend for the Independent Creators Expo featuring some of the best talent in the Indy scene today.  Saturday, February 1st 2014 there's going to be a jam you don't want to miss;  we're talking music, films, comic books and lot's of surprises for those of you stalwart enough to brave the elements and get your butts to this venue for some some fun.

I can't wait for some of my local friends to meet and greet some of my favorite Indy folks.  You're gonna love the gang from Tether.  Folks they bring a show and a half and they're just the greatest group of characters you could ever hope to spend some time with.  Are you looking for a read that will chill your blood and curl your toes?  Check out my buddy Chris Charlton from Assailant Comics and his amazing series Black of Heart.  And I just can't wait for my Dayton friends to meet Jonathon Hodges of Bad Place Productions.  This guy has assembled some of the most amazing talent you've seen in a long time and they're producing some absolutely must read comic books you've ever seen.  Looking for a good old fashioned laugh out loud book?  Check out my friends from Old World Comics.  Seriously, these guys put the fun back in comic books and I just love their stuff.  I guarantee, you'll love them too.

Oh, are ya looking for some new jams?  Check out my buddies from Red Hot Rebellion.  Dude, they flat out rock and they're gonna keep the jam room a hopping.  And best of all, when you walk up to their table looking to buy a few goodies, they don't charge what the market can bear, they let you pay what your pocketbook can afford!  I'm not kidding!  Are you familiar with the Night Beast?  How about Nathan Profitt?  Yeah, it's gonna rock...

How about a little love for the homegrown goodness of Jason Young of Buyer Beware Comics and Baron Von Porkchop.  And last but certainly not least, let's give a big round of well deserved applause to our gracious host Brandon Johnson of Studio Akukmakaze for putting together such an amazing event.  I'm telling you, for the amazingly low price of three dollars, you can't find a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Dayton, Ohio than the Independent Creators Expo, February 1st, 2014, from 10 am to 5pm.  I'll be there, my best bud Robert Floyd is going to be there, heck, who all knows who'll be there!  If you have any idea what a good time is, you'll be there too.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Melt the Sky-Red Hot Rebellion

 Melt yer' face off rock and roll music!

A little over an hour ago, Jim Tramontana of Red Hot Rebellion put a copy of their new CD in my hands and I've been playing it over and over again ever since.  Seriously boys and girls, I've seen Buddhist monks on fire that weren't this hot.  This new album doesn't just assault the senses, it beats them bloody with a baseball bat and then boot-stomps whatever is left over until they're begging for mercy.  Holy Frack these mother f**kers are good.

Every time I turn the album cover over to read the band credits I expect to read stuff like; Andris Devine-Drums/Vox and "Bulldozer", Doug Spencer-Guitar/Vox and "Chainsaw" and Jim Tramontana-Bass/Keys/Vox and "Jack Hammer".  These boys are just plain tearing it up! 

Track one, Melting the Sky, gets this new offering from Red Hot Rebellion off to a whirlwind start that will  leave your eardrums bleeding for a week.  With Andris Devine thundering on drums, Doug Spencer laying down lightening on guitar and Jim Tramontana raining major riffs on bass, this isn't a band as much as it is an elemental force of nature shoving a hurricane of sound up yer' arse.   And with each of the tracks that follows, the storm just keeps on a comin' faster and more powerful than the one preceding it.  Fact is, this album outta come with an application form for FEMA cause you ain't gonna be right for weeks after listening to it the first time.

And they're doing a show at Blind Bob's August, 31, 2013!  Hell yeah I'm going!!  You'd be a fool not to go see these guys for five dollars before they hit it big and you wind up paying forty bucks per pop just to watch em' from the nose bleed seats of your local arena. Seriously, five dollars, Hell, you can't even buy a cup of coffee for that price anymore.

Photo: Seriously, if you aren't already planning to attend this event, you don't know nuthin' bout' how to party your f**king face off!

Come on out and support he best party band in the whole frackin universe!

Oh yeah, you all know where I'm gonna be Saturday, August 31, 2013 and I'm going to be dragging everyone I know along with me or they're all going on the friends Probationary List fer sure.  Hey, I gotta have standards, and these days they all seem to be by Red Hot Rebellion

So come on out and join me for what I guarantee will be one of the best nights of party music you've heard in a very long time.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Black of Heart - Assailant Comics

Noir fiction at its best.

Okay, I admit it, this is a rather fast turnaround for another review of an Assailant Comics book but Gawd-a-Mighty these boys are cranking out some great reading.  Black of Heart, chapter one; Last Cab in Brooklyn was a stunner from page one to the cliffhanger on the final panel of the story.  Writer Chris Charlton has created a piece of Noir fiction the likes of which I haven't seen since Ed Brubaker's Criminal series.  Masterfully illustrated by David Hollenbach and smartly lettered by Brant W. Fowler this book proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there's something going on over at this company well worth keeping an eye on.

Black of Heart is a dark and visceral tale about a serial killer stalking the streets of Brooklyn and the detective trying to hunt him down and put an end to his reign of terror.  Writer Chris Charlton continues to display a real talent for using classic elements of any particular genre without falling into the quagmire of using overworked and tired cliches.  The man just knows how to tell a good story.  I liked Binary Gray, but I loved Black of Heart.  Chris just seems to be gaining confidence with each and every story he's writing and I'm quickly becoming a real fan of his work.

The illustrations of David Hollenbach border on absolute brilliance producing some truly goose-bump and hair-raising panels without going into the extremes of excessive blood and gore.  Don't get me wrong, David ain't afraid of walking on the wild side and he does some things with point of view perspective that will draw you into a world not meant for the squeamish or faint of heart. He nails it folks, he just flat out nails it.  And lest I forget it, Bryant W. Fowler does a great job with the lettering.  I know it seems like a minor point to some but quality lettering can sometimes make or break a book and in this instance Mr. Fowler puts the perfect cherry on top of the Noir sundae.

I don't care what everyone else might be reading over the next few months, but as for me and my house, we're gonna be glued to Black of Heart.  I have a feeling this is going to be one of the sleepers of the summer and I don't plan on missing a single episode of what promises to be a great story.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Serial Squad - Bad Place Productions

"Nazis and Martian Tripod Walkers? Oh my!"

Although their heyday had long come and gone by the time I began reading pulps in the mid sixties, characters like Doc Savage, The Green Hornet, The Shadow and The Phantom still managed to reach out from the nineteen-thirties and forties to capture the attention of a young boy and keep me spellbound with the tales of their adventures.  Sure I loved characters like Superman and Spider Man, but in my mind, the pulp heroes and their two-fisted tales of fighting Nazis, mobsters and thugs, from the dark streets of Chicago, to the deepest-darkest-wilds of the Amazon jungle, never took a backseat to anyone, no matter how super-powered they might be.

Serial Squad pays homage to those bygone days of the great pulp characters with a storyline taken right out of the pages of yesteryear.  Of course there are Nazis.  And there's a group of actors who suddenly find themselves faced with the choice of fighting for the good old American way and freedom, or turning tail and running away from danger like cowardly dogs.  Oh yeah, there's a dame too.  Tough as nails, trained in judo and able to hold her own against any tough guy.  And she's got a trained tiger too.  And if that isn't enough to whet your appetite, there's a science fiction twist that is literally out of this world.

Not only has creator Paul E. Shultz written a quality story, he's also illustrated the book with some of the finest black and white panels I've seen in years.  His use of negative spacing is simply breathtaking.  Seriously, the book is a must have for any artist seeking to learn how to do a black and white book the right way.  Truly this is a comic book I'll treasure for years to come, before someday passing it on to my son.  He's gonna love it as much I do too.

As if all this goodness isn't enough already, hold on to your hats boys and girls, because there's even more!  On the inside of the back cover is a secret message for all members of the Jr. Serial Squad, that can only be decoded using the Official Glow-In-The-Dark Secret Decoder Ring!  Yeah, you heard me right, and its only available by joining the the Jr. Serial Squad!  Now, I'm not about to sink ships with loose lips, but I will tell you this, the message has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Ovaltine.

Now I suggest you get your freedom-loving-patriotic butts over to Bad Place Productions right this very minute and do your patriotic part to defend America from the dark forces of evil lurking around every corner.  Lady Liberty needs you boys and girls!  Don't let her down!

Oh, and don't forget to buy bonds...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tether - Tether Comics

 "Humor on stun, Mr. Sulu."

Hands down, without a doubt, the best book I brought home from the local Kentucky artists who displayed their wares at the Derby City Comic Book Convention last weekend, has to be a wonderful little book called Tether.  Folks, these people were all about fun from the moment they marched into the convention hall and began setting up their display table.  Their entire group was costumed as characters in the book and they were hamming it up for anyone and everyone who wanted a picture with them. (see picture below)

Well of course anyone having that much fun caught my attention right away and I couldn't help but walk over to their booth to investigate just what the heck all the commotion was about.  Boy am I glad I did because the book they put in my hands turned out to be about the most fun I've had with a comic book in some time. 

Now the first thing I do when I set out to review a comic book is to go out to the supporting website to see what the creators are all about and what they have to say about their book.  Good thing I did too or I'd have missed the three rocking music tracks designed to be listened to as you read each section of the book.  I strongly suggest you surf out to their website before you read the book, download the three tracks, and then follow the instructions on when you should play each one as you read the book.  I also suggest you put on some quality headphones too because the combined effect of the tunes and comic book are a multimedia entertainment package you're going to enjoy the daylights out of experiencing.

The only thing missing was a red suit guy.

Seriously guys, this isn't just a clever comic book, its a darn clever artistic presentation.  Now, I'm not gonna say anything about the story, the artwork, (both of which I loved) or offer up a single spoiler to whet your curiosity enough to buy this book; I'm just gonna tell you straight up, go online and spend your five dollars on something guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a song in your ears.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed.