Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hey, Kids...Comics!

Hiya! It’s been a while, and yeah, I really have to post here more often. So I will! What I wanted to gab about with you today was a quite sublime afternoon I had not long ago. As you may know, I have my own home now, and like the house in which I grew up (which is a mere seven feet north of my new digs), there’s a great porch where I can sit and read on a warm day (or sit an freeze on a cold one if I want; hey, it’s my place, so it’s my frostbite!).

Anyway, not long ago I took a bit of “me time” on a Sunday afternoon, and I perused a stack of comics sent to me by my pal Sebastian Piccione. And what a grand time I had! What you have to realize, folks, is that between teaching, writing, taking care of the new house, etc., I don’t have much time for reading, and that includes comics. Also, to be honest, if I DO have time for funnybooks, I’d much prefer to read some of my unread Silver Age acquisitions, rather than the doom-and-gloom, Character X-is-so-bad-ass, big-thing-of-the-month comics that currently hit the stands.So imagine my joy when I sat down with Seb’s stack of comics, and actually ENJOYED some current sequential art for a change. Let me go into some specifics about each book:

Cat. 5 – This is a very cool comic about a solo heroine (the kind of comic that tends to be hard to do successfully, if years of Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, and various other comics are any indication). It has a really nice, breezy feel to it. For me, though, the most interesting thing is our gal’s origins. As I was reading it, I said to myself “wow, it really feels like the kind of character that grows out of superhero gaming.” And sure enough, when I got to the editorial page at the end, yup, that’s from whence she came. Folks, that’s no small deal to me, either, as most of the characters from my (everybody together now…Eisner-nominated) series Common Grounds were originally either player characters or NPCs in my fifteen-year Champions RPG campaign. I’m guessing a lot of Seb’s other characters stem from his gaming as well. Clever, coherhent scripting, and solid art (nice use of grey tones). It reminds me of the self-published indy superhero comics from the eighties that I dug so much.

Allied Forces – Yes! A very well-done WW2 comic. At the moment, my pal Stan Timmons and I are working on a pitch for a WW2 superhero comic, so reading this really put me in the right frame of mind. I really dig the multi-national heroes. It reminds me of something Roy Thomas would’ve done thirty years ago, and that’s high praise. I really appreciate the attention to detail. The artwork is very clean and appropriate to the time period (with some excellent coloring work). I’m anxious to see where this goes.

Heroic Tales – A very cool superhero anthology (and man, we don’t see many of those these days). The first tale features Conversion, and deals with our hero turning matter into energy (some cool possibilities there), and dealing with the villainous Brickbat (given Seb’s penchant for puns, you know I have to enjoy this stuff). Again, a very nice light superhero feel to it, the kind of thing that would bring me back to mainstream comics in droves if they could manage it (but I’m afraid that far too many current creatures have a heart that’s two sizes too small). The second feature is the U.S.A. (United Super Americans), and has a great team with pun names that I envy (I wish I could’ve made people wince with ‘em!). Really top-notch artwork throughout the comic.

Never Look Back #2 – A very well-done anthology about the denizens of Charlton City, who tend to be up to their eyeballs in crime and corruption. A great noir feel here. Seb’s piece is the best (great allusions to Charlton the comics company, btw), but the whole book is snazzy. I love the concept, as it allows for all sorts of great human interest stuff. If they do more of these, they should put me down for a spot, as it plays to the sort of short self-contained pieces I like.

All in all, the best time I've had reading comics in a while. Thanks so much, Seb.

Cat. 5 can be found here: and HEROIC TALES #1 here. (And I believe Seb said Allied Forces would be available there soon).

Hey, comic industry, put more fun into comics, both for the reader, and more importantly FOR YOURSELVES, and you'll get me sitting on my porch more often.

Also, put more fun into comics by hiring me for more stuff. I'm just saying...

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