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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week- 3/22/2017

Hey hey comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday here I spotlight some of the new books coming out on Wednesday that I’m excited about. Here’s what I’m reading this week.



The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #7

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: Joe Weber: the Black Hammer. A hero from the Spiral Slums. A husband. A father. Gone without a trace. A visitor from the outside world arrives on the farm, looking for the Black Hammer and bringing news of Spiral City to its Golden Age heroes. Her arrival stirs up old memories and awakens new hope in the marooned heroes.

Why we love it:  Lemire recently announced that he will not be renewing his contract with Marvel upon completion in order to focus on his independent work. While unfortunate news for Marvel, it’s a relief for fans of his indie books. There were concerns that the mammoth workload of writing Old Man Logan, Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight, Thanos, Hawkeye, Bloodshot, Descender, Royal City and illustrating A.D, was going to delay release dates, or worse affect the quality of work. Much to my delight, it seems as if my favorite series from the hardest working man in comics is back. Seriously, the man must have clones of himself.



The Mainstream One: Action Comics #976

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘SUPERMAN REBORN’ finale! As this epic tale wraps up, Superman’s life is drastically changed…and that’s all we are saying for now-except that you won’t want to miss it!

Why we like it: Thy probably should have put a spoiler alert warning on that cover. As you can tell, the New 52 Superman is somehow back after disintegrating just a little under a year ago. What does it all mean? Hopefully not that Rebirth was just another lazy, line-wide shuffle in an attempt to grow market share.


The  Indie One: Underwinter #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Ray Fawkes

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE! ‘SYMPHONY,’ Part One-Critically acclaimed creator RAY FAWKES launches his new monthly horror series: UNDERWINTER, twisted portraits of our dark world, beginning with the perverse, topical SYMPHONY – a beautifully painted tale of music and cruelty in the modern age.

Why we like it: Light week for independent books. Asides from the relaunches at Valiant, there really weren’t many indie titles that caught my eye. As a fan of both horror and music, this gets a look from me.


The #1 One: Iron Fist #1 (Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Perkins

What it is: THE GAUNTLET STARTS HERE! K’un Lun is in ruins. The chi fueling Danny’s fists is wavering. Is there a future for the Iron Fist? Danny Rand pushes himself to the breaking point, finding fights to prove his worth. But a bigger fight than he can handle may have found him?

Why we like it: I haven’t started the Netflix show yet, so you won’t find any reveals here. Iron Fist isn’t my favorite Kung Fu fighter, but I am happy to see Marvel giving some attention to it’s martial arts characters (and the sweet Alex Ross variant cover doesn’t hurt any). I hope that we see some of this bleed over into the movies. Although they’ll probably just end up casting Tilda Swinton as the lead.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Electra #2 (Granov variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Alec Morgan
Cover Art: Adi Granov

What it is: ELEKTRA COMES OUT TO PLAY! ELEKTRA has tried to lie low, but she finds herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous force in Sin City. A string of clues including high tech weaponry, kidnappings and assassins lead her to a game of chance more deadly than she ever expected. Can she outsmart this mastermind?or is she playing right into his hand?

Why we like it: It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be finding this lovely cover out in the wild. It’s a 1:25 ratio variant and if your local comic shop is anything like mine, then they probably wouldn’t have ordered 25 copies of Elektra #2. This cover is an absolute beauty and copies are already trading at close to $100 on feeBay. If you’re lucky enough to see one at your store, don’t hesitate for even a second.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/19/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks great, even late. It’s Super Mega Fest week and I’m actually super mega disappointed. I guess it’s technically a comic con, but asides from Jim Steranko and Joe St. Pierre, the guests I’m looking forward to seeing are actors or professional “wrestlers”. Come say hi if you’re going. I’ll be there on Saturday likely standing in Steranko’s line for most of the day.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #4

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: In the forties, Abraham Slam faced such menaces as the psychedelic Florist and the eldritch Cthu-Lou without breaking a sweat. But keeping the heroes of Black Hammer Farm from each other’s throats when his girlfriend comes to dinner proves far more perilous! Meanwhile, the Black Hammer’s daughter uncovers new clues to the exiled heroes’ disappearance!

Why we love it: Lemire’s doing some fine super-hero work over at Marvel, but he really shines when he’s writing indies where he’s allowed to be a bit more weird, a bit more intimate with his characters. The writing is near perfect and I think Ormston is purposely emulating Lemire’s art style, which you will either love or hate. I personally dig it and this series has my attention.


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The Mainstream One: Dark Knight III: Master Race #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Frank Miller
Art: Adam Kubert

What it is: Is Gotham City ready for a new Batgirl?!

Why we like it: Honestly it’s been so long since issue #5 that I’ve forgotten why I like this. I think Superman showed up and some stuff happened. Slow week from the Big 2. But there are a couple of amazing variant covers by Jim Lee and Greg Tocchini.



The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #24

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Mathew Roberts

What it is: ‘SASQUATCH,’ Conclusion Lewis & Clark make a deal in order for their crew to survive, as their encounter with the mighty Sasquatch has far-reaching consequences.

Why we like it: On a slow week for indies, Manifest Destiny steps up and delivers the conclusion to the Sasquatch arc. Last issue was probably the most horrifying issue of MD since #1 and I hope that whatever these consequences are, they set this series back on track. The main story line got slowed down pretty hard with the extensive flashback sequences, so this Squatch excursion better have a good payoff.



The #1 One: Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye (Sienkiewicz variant)

Publisher: Young Animals
Words: Gerard Way
Art: Michael Avon Oeming

What it is: Cave Carson has done it all: survived countless adventures below the Earth’s surface, met the love of his life, and gotten a cybernetic eye…somehow. After he and his wife, Eileen, sent their only daughter Chloe off to college, Cave was ready to become just another mundane member of the surface world. That is, until Eileen got sick. Newly widowed, Cave tries to piece his life back together when a knock on the door of his secret underground lab pulls him back into a past that he and Eileen thought they had left buried deep within the Earth. Adding to his troubles, Cave must determine if his recent hallucinations and visions are the work of his mind or his mysterious cybernetic eye. (Spoiler: It’s the eye.) Written by Gerard Way (DOOM PATROL, Umbrella Academy) and Jon Rivera (Heartbreak), and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming (Powers), this is an absurdist action-adventure story unlike any other!

Why we like it: DC’s Young Animals imprint promised some really off beat comics with high end production, and so far it has delivered the goods. Doom Patrol and Shade the Changing Girl were both beautiful and completely off the wall and Cave Carson sounds equally as insane. If you’ve been looking for something to spice up your Wednesday night, check out these Young Animals.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Doctor Strange #13

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris: Bachalo
Cover art: Chris Bachalo

What it is: “BLOOD IN THE AETHER” STARTS NOW! Doctor Strange is on the brink of death, his magic nearly depleted. Sensing the Sorcerer Supreme at his weakest, his greatest foes will return from the shadows, ready to strike. Behold the return Doctor Strange’s classic rogues gallery starting with…BARON MORDO!

Why we like it: There was a lot of competition for the cover spot this week, but the more I look at this Dr. Strange cover the more terrifying it becomes. Amazing composition.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/21/2016

Greetings comic book enthusiasts and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. What cranks here, stays here. A couple of store exclusive variants featuring the evil spidey-symbiote made a lot of noise last week. KRS Comics commissioned a badazz cover for Deadpool Bank in Black  by Tyler Kirkham which sold out within hours. Frankie’s Comics announced a Venom variant by the hottest cover artist in the game, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, which sold out within hours without the artwork even being revealed. The variant market has seen some crazy movement in the last decade. There are duds which can be easily picked up at cover price, but the most desirable, high-ratio variants can climb into three figure territory just weeks after release. I have a feeling that these two variant covers have potential to fall into the latter category. The variant bubble will pop eventually, but there’s money to be made in the short term if you know how to place your bets.

It’s a good week for new books, with a lot of my personal favorites not even making the cut. Let’s take a look at what did make it.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: The Vision #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Del Mundo

What it is: The Avengers draw a line in the sand. They tell Vision he is not to cross this line. If he does, they will destroy him. ‘Remember,’ they say. ‘You’re an Avenger. First. Always.’ ‘Stay where you are,’ they say. ‘Don’t cross the line,’ they say. Vision nods. He tells them he understands. Then Vision crosses the line. The end is coming for the most critically acclaimed book of the year, and no one is safe. Don’t miss the issue everyone will be talking about. Also, hail Hydra.

Why we love it: Vision still has my vote for best comic series of the year. Two issues to go before this tragic tale of synth-imitating-life reaches it’s inevitably tragic conclusion. I’ve abandoned all hope of a happy ending, so I’m strapping in and bracing for the G’s. This is going to be train wreck ugly and I can’t look away.



The Mainstream one: Trinity #1

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Francis Manapul

What it is: ‘BETTER TOGETHER’ part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes, but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?

Why we like it: I’m a big fan of Manapul’s artwork but not all that familiar with his writing. I’ve read some of his work on ‘Tec, so I know at least he can write a good Batman. With DC’s big three under the same roof this is a can’t miss issue. Let’s just hope that it’s more entertaining than BvS.



The Indie One: Black Hammer #3

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: Long before Spiral City’s greatest heroes were written out of their universe, the Martian champion Barbalien was already stranded far from home. Disguised as churchgoing Mark Markz in the timeless farming community where the heroes find themselves trapped, Barbalien faces a terrifying personal decision, even as he relives his painful past!

Why we like it: Black Hammer is what would happen if the Avengers crash landed on the set of the television series The Prisoner. Jeff Lemire is a master at writing non-superhero, superhero books and Black Hammer is no exception. The scratchy artwork takes some getting used to, but the characters, drama and dialogue are instantly relateable.



The #1 One: Seven to Eternity #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Jermoe Opena

What it is: The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperat e bid to free their world of the evil God, or accepting his promise to give Adam everything his heart desires. Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jermoe Opena and Matt Hollingsworth to take you on a hard road through the strange fantasy world of Zhal. All men have surrendered their freedom for fear. Now, one last free man must choose.

Why we like it: There’s a bunch of DC #1’s out this week, including the aforementioned Trinity and also New Teen Titan alums Cyborg and Raven. But I have a huge man-crush on Rick Remender and will always pick up the first issue of any series that he’s writing just to hear what one of the best voices in comics has to say. I can’t say that the description did much for me, but Remender and Opena are a creative dream team and Seven to Eternity will definitely be towards the top of Wednesday’s stack.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #4 (Sienkiewicz variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Connor
Art: Joseph Linser
Cover art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: ‘108 MILLION WAYS TO DIE!’ Even though she hates to leave Coney Island as it rebuilds after the zombie apocalypse, Harley must set out on a journey that will take her around the world-and into the clutches of a bizarre robotic enemy! Too bad her Mecha-Harley suit didn’t fit in the overhead bin?

Why we like it: Harley and Ivy, comic book fans’ favorite BFFs with benefits.


That’s all I got this week.  Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/17/2016

Greetings comic book aficionados and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that never lost that crankin feeling. I went to see Suicide Squad over the weekend. The characters were portrayed well, the action and CGI were all pretty awesome and the big bad was bad ass, but I walked away from the theater feeling a little empty. The major flaw I found with the movie was an almost total lack of cohesion between the team members. Still, it wasn’t a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination and I certainly don’t believe it deserved the thrashing that it received from a certain online movie review site. If you’re a comic fan, you’ll probably find enough in the movie to have a good time. If not, well what the heck are you doing at this article?

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #2

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: The Golden Age heroes of Spiral City have been ‘erased’ from existence! Banished years ago to a timeless farming community, the team are torn between accepting their fate and finding a way home! Chapter two focuses on child hero Golden Gail, whose un-aging body most deeply feels the tragedy of their new lives.

Why we love it: I loved the first issue of Black Hammer. It’s Lemire at his best, deconstructing the superhero genre and mining human drama to build a captivating story. Looking forward to seeing how this tale unfolds.



The Mainstream one: Batman #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Gotham’ part five. In the final chapter of this epic, is Batman truly the hero Gotham City deserves-or does it deserve better? In this ultimate showdown, where the line between allies and enemies blurs, the question will finally be answered and the fate of Gotham will be decided.

Why we like it: This is the Batman book that I have been waiting for. After 3 mediocre issues, the ‘I Am Gotham’ arc hung a Louie at issue #4 and crashed headfirst into the abyss. Tom King stories are slow burners, but once they get going they are absolute infernoes. Strap in folks, I think we’re in for a hell of a ride.



The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #22

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: ‘SASQUATCH,’ Part Four What does sasquatch taste like? Find out this issue!

Why we like it: Fun read month in and month out. Manifest is one of my favorite comics, blending mythology, action/adventure and the American frontier.



The #1 One: Briggs Land #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Brian Wood
Art: Mack Chater

What it is: Briggs Land, nearly a hundred square miles of rural wilderness, contains the largest antigovernment secessionist movement in the United States. When matriarch Grace Briggs wrests control of the operation from her incarcerated husband, she sparks a war within the community-and her immediate family-that threatens to bring the full power of the federal government down on their heads.

Why we like it: A rarity at the Crank File as two Dark Horse books make the list. This series is already being developed into a show at AMC, a channel that knows a thing or two about making a quality television program. Don’t sleep on this #1. You have been warned.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Suicide Squad #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Rob Williams
Art: Jim Lee
Cover art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: ‘The Black Vault’ part one! When a mysterious and definitely super-important cosmic item falls out of the heavens and into enemy hands, America has only one option: Task Force X, Amanda Waller’s strike team of incarcerated super-criminals. A one-stop-shop for plausibly deniable espionage and ultra- violence, this ‘Suicide Squad’ only handles missions they’re not expected to survive.

Why we like it: To quote the immortal Sir Mix-a-Lot, “red beans and rice didn’t miss her.”


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!