Monday, 21 June 2010

All too Beautiful

Like Batman, Black Canary is a character for which Toth is famous for defining in very few pages. This two part 16 page story from Adventure Comics has Toth down as a definitive Black Canary artist.
For me he also manages to to completely nail Green Arrow in either one of the two panels below. He just brought some swashbuckling Errol Flynn love to it and there you go. I assume this is also what lent to Trevor Von Eeden's great version of the character in the 80s Green Arrow mini.

Also, how amazing is penultimate panel below...!?!?!?

And below, Photoshopped into black and white to highlight the amazing composition of the page...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Bogota Second Time Around Part 1

So I'm back in on and off sunny Bogota. At 2,600m above see level weather's weird here. No seasons to speak of and erratic temperatures.
We're here for a month again and so once again I was challenged to divine what I might want to read for the next four weeks.
This time I managed to resist bringing Batman Year One or Daredevil Born Again which are my usual go-tos though Frank Miller made the list as well as trying to finally finish Catch 22 and get novel reading again.
Thus far I've read:

Solo 12 By Brendan McCarthy. Inspired by the great Spider-Man/Doc Strange love letter to Ditko currently coming out from Marvel, I thought I'd have another go at this which disappointed on the first read. It's gorgeous, if you like Brendan McCarthy, which I do, but the stories are a mixture or stream of consciousness rambles which perhaps you've got to be in the mood for. I think I was much more in the mood for it this time around and loved, particularly, the Robbie Morrison written Batman strip about a fictional classic Batman artist adapting a story which our narrator never knew was a dream or perhaps some forgotten comic from his childhood. It's really a vehicle for McCarthy, the whole thing, but like a vehicle for Moebius or a vehicle for Darrow, who would complain.

Solo 3 by Paul Pope. Reading the Strange Adventures in the Wednesday Comics HC which came out a couple of weeks back really put me in the mood for some great Paul Pope. This isn't as easy as I'd have thought, considering how much of it I have. Strange Adventures has this great open quality, taking advantage of the scale of the thing. It reminded me a lot of some of THB and some of the strips he did in Dark Horse Presents and some of Jeff Smith's work. Generally speaking Pope's work is kinetic and can be claustraphobic. So I opted for Solo as one of my holiday re-reads. The first strip "The Problem In Knossos", a retelling of the story of the Minotaur and Thesus was as great as I remembered. Again it left me wanting more of these stories from him.
The Omac strip is a great and faithful re-telling of the first issue of Omac with great Dave Stewart colours. A little autobiographical strip, a very Paul Poe how cool is New York with a bit of Spanish dropped in and a great Robin strip with colours by James Jean with a great Joker appearance, whited out moustache included.
Great stuff.

Deadman Mini by Andy Helfer & José Luis Garcia Lopez. Also inspired by the Wednesday Comics HC. Andy Helfer comics are a strange thing. They're always a bit like hard work and I always need to psych myself up for it but It's generally worth while (The Shadow, Justice Inc, Atari Force). This series is one I've read a couple of times as it does have I think the best Garcia Lopez work I've seen (along with Twilight). I think working on a book that Neal Adams pretty much defined the look of set a goal for him in terms of effect and layout. The use of grey tones combined with a with a great late 80s colouring job with lots of great colour holds makes the very best of his great draftsmanship and beautiful finish.

Wintermen by Brett Lewis & JP Leon. The last book of those I've read thus far is the collected Wintermen which, much as though I enjoyed it as it was coming out, really benefits for being under two covers. The dialogue had me laughing out loud and the art is just fantastic. The story comes to a stop quicker than originally planned, due to sales, which one really felt in the "monthlies" but in one book it's less jarring and almost fits the storytelling of certain issues. I think anyone who enjoys Punisher Max, Planetary, The Wire, Scalped should read this book.
Next...more holiday reads...