Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/13/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, where with great crank there must also come great responsibility. It’s tax week which means my refund will be funding some new comic purchases. I opted to skip the long lines at Super Megafest this weekend and hit up a local convention held at the Franklin Elks lodge. I can enjoy the carnival atmosphere of large cons but I’ve never felt comfortable digging through longboxes in a crowded convention hall. So when I’m looking for big bargains, I go small. I came home from the micro-con with a nice haul of gems found for under $60 total, including a first appearance of Misty Knight, a first appearance of Azrael, a first appearance of Huntress Helina Bertinelli, two Guardians of Knowhere #1 Gwenom variants, Locke and Key: Headgames #1-3 and Capes #1 featuring the first previews of a little Image series called The Walking Dead. I believe that qualifies as a score, at least from a technical standpoint.

That’s what I bought last week, here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

BMTMNT5

Publisher: DC, Co-published by IDW
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: While Shredder enters an uneasy alliance with a deadly new partner, Casey Jones is arrested by the GCPD. At the same time, a crisis breaks out at Arkham Asylum, which is bound to keep both Batman and the Turtles busy. Meanwhile, a certain young resident of Wayne Manor returns home to find a new, green occupant in his room.

Why we love it: We love Batman. We love Ninja Turtles. We love crossovers. And we really loved the end of issue #4 which showed Shredder heading towards Arkham Asylum with a canister full of pure mutagen. Hold on to your booty, Gotham’s about to get mutie.

 

The Mainstream One: Moon Kinght #1

MK1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood

What it is: THE BOOK YOU’D BE INSANE TO MISS! Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Jake Lockley/Steven Grant) has been fighting criminals and keeping New York City safe for years, or has he? When he wakes up in an insane asylum with no powers and a lifetime’s worth of medical records, his whole identity (indentities) are called into question. Something is wrong, but is that something Marc Spector himself?

Why we like it: Jeff Lemire made the jump from indie to mainstream without missing a beat. Extrodinary X-Men and Old Man Logan have been two of my favorite post-Secret Wars Marvel titles and my expectations for his Moon Knight series are sky high. This is Moon Knight’s time to shine.

 

The Indie One: Monstress #5

 

M5

Publisher: Image
Words: Marjoire Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

What it is: Maika struggles with the monster inside.

Why we like it: Monstress’ first arc closes this week and we’re just starting to get a sense of the big picture. I’m really digging this book and the artwork, Takeda’s colorful, manga inspired pages are worth a look. The story feels enormous in scope, which can be difficult to wrap your head around on the first pass. A slew of factions, races, characters and mythology are introduced with little exposition, but the writing is strong enough to keep the reader invested without knowing what is going on. Be sure to snag any copies of #1 that you come across. All covers are selling well on the secondary market, especially the second and third printings.

 

The #1 One: Gwenpool #1 (Stacy Lee variant)

 

GP1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Hastings
Art: Gurihiru

What it is: Gwen Poole used to be a comic book reader just like you…until she woke up in a world where the characters she read about seemed to be real! But they can’t be, right? This must all be fake, or a dream or something, right? And you know what that means…NO CONSEQUENCES! Could Gwenpool truly be Marvel’s least responsible and least role-modely character to date? She can if she tries!

Why we like it: Somewhere along the way, the girl who died became the girl who was resurrected as everyone else. I will admit that the Gewnpool character makes zero sense, and that these Gewn Stacy derivations of other established Marvel characters is a fad. Neither of those reasons will stop me from picking this up on Wednesday because it looks like crazy, senseless fun. I’m going for the Stacy Lee variant if I find it at a good price.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman Superman #31 (Paquette variant)

 

BSM31

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: In part two of ‘Super League,’ Superman enlists Batman’s aid in seeking out people that can help form his new super-league. A shocking discovery is made about a new super-being no one knew existed, and something is beginning to stalk Superman…

Why we like it: In Chinese mythology, the dragon and tiger represent two parts of a whole; the yin and the yang, two unstoppable forces forever locked in eternal conflict. I feel Batman fights more Dragon style and Superman fights Tiger style, but otherwise I can’t think of a better analogy for Supes and Bats.

 

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

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 11/04/2015

Welcome back comic fans. Good to have you back for another episode of the Crank File. I hate this time of year. There’s something soul crushing about getting out of the office at 5 pm and not seeing daylight. Lousy farmers. It’s looking like another slow week for new comics but don’t you fret, I’m here to make sure that you get your weekly fix.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Paper Girls #2 Image

 

PG2

Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Cliff Chiang

The hottest new ongoing series of the year continues, as the Paper Girls witness the impossible.

I was completely hooked by what I saw in issue #1. Billed as “War of the Worlds” meets “Stand by Me”, I loved Paper Girl’s 80’s realism, Chiang’s clean, expressive line work and Brian’s masterfully balanced dialogue. Paper Girls delivers issue #2 on Wednesday, make sure to sign up for your subscription. I have the feeling that you won’t want to miss out on this one.

 

The Mainstream One: Uncanny X-Men #600 Marvel

 

XM600

Writer: Brian Bendis
Art: Stuart Immonen, Mahmud Asrar, Kris Anka, Frazer Irving

The final explosive issue in Brian Michael Bendis’ epic X-Men saga! Scott Summers – savior or destroyer? Questions will be answered! The Jean Grey School, the New Xavier School – it’s all going to change. The X-Men are at a crossroads. And not everyone will make it through in one piece.

A milestone issue for my favorite Marvel team, Uncanny X-Men #600 featuring artwork and a bunch of variant covers from some of the best X-lumni to work on the title. Did you know that the X-Men didn’t start using “Uncanny” in their title until issue #114? Throughout issues #94-#111 they were the “All-New, All -Different X-Men”, and for issues #112-#113 they were the “Now on Sale Monthly! X-Men”.

 

The Indie One: Niobe She Is Life #1 Stranger Comics

 

NSL1

Writer: Sebastian A Jones
Art: Ashley A. Woods

A coming of age tale of love, betrayal, and ultimate sacrifice. Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and also the would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of hell.

Co-written by Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg, there’s already quite a bit of buzz around this book. Some of the best new comics out there right now are coming from small indie publisher and this one is already sold out at the distributor level.

 

The #1 One: Monstress #1 Image

 

M1

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.

The preview was intriguing and I am really enjoying Takeda’s lavish artwork.I always support Asian creators but Monstress makes it easy with sixty pages of story with no ads for only $4.99.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Vision #1 Marvel

 

V1

Writer: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

The Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? He goes to the laboratory where he was created, where Ultron molded him into a weapon, where he first rebelled against his given destiny, where he first imagined that he could be more, that he could be good, that he could be a man, a normal, ordinary man. And he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition or perhaps obsession: the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold The Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong?

The plotline sounds absolutely ridiculous but I’m digging Del Rey’s Wiz Khalifa cover. Has to be my favorite hip-hop variant so far.

 

The Speculation One: Howard the Duck #1 Marvel

 

HD1

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Joe Quinones

First spectacular issue! A great jumping on point! Sure to go up in value! Don’t miss out on the series everyone is calling ‘Howard the Duck’! The last page will shock you! Nothing will EVER be the same again!

All of the above is true, and I’ll tell you why in one word: Gwenpool. Copies of Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 Gwen-pool variant are currently selling steadily for $20 based on a cover appearance alone. She’s getting her own backup story in Howard the Duck #1. Grab the Ron Lim variant, then sit back and watch the money pile up.

Carpe Comics!

 

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/16/2015

Always good to have you back for another episode of the Crank File.

In case you’ve missed it, GwenPool is an actual thing now. Spider-Gwen was the surprise hit from last summer and the dopple-Gwener may have just done it again. A part of Marvel’s month of Gwen Stacy themed variants, Gwen-pool first appeared on  Chris Bachalo’s variant cover to Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2.

 

deadpoolsecretwars-gwenpool

 

Then the ungodly creation began showing up in fan art,

 

tumblr_noopusa10z1rfq0olo1_500

 

and inevitably cosplay.

 

9azca04

 

Last week marvel announced that Gwen-pool will be getting a backup story in Howard the Duck #1 out in November and her own holiday special in December. How did it come to this?

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

 

The top of the pile: Miracle Man #2 Marvel

 

miracleman2

 

We’re huge fans of both Buckingham (Fables) and Gaiman (Sandman) over here at the Crank File and it’s criminal that Miracle Man #1 didn’t make this list. The acclaimed series is back after a twenty year hiatus. Created in the 1950’s, MarvelMan (originally named MarvelMan) had faded from cultural relevance before he was revived in the 1980’s by Alan Moore. Moore wrote 16 issues of MiracleMan before handing the over writing duties to a young, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman expanded the series, writing up to issue #24 before MiracleMan’s publisher Eclipse Comics went bankrupt in the 1990’s. After settling a lengthy, legal battle for the rights, Marvel is re-releasing MiracleMan with Gaiman and Buckingham back to complete the unfinished masterpiece they started decades ago.

 

 

The Mainstream One: Star Wars #9 Marvel

 

Star-Wars-9-1-600x911   JUN150793

 

Issue #9: Luke’s loses his lightsaber like a complete noob and has to get it back. I’m really digging Immonen’s artwork and I’m happy to see him returning for issue #9 but I’ll admit it, the story doesn’t sound inspiring. Speaking of uninspiring, so is this issue’s action figure variant. But all Star Wars comics are worth collecting, because collectors love Star Wars so I’ll be picking it up.

 

 

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #17 Image

 

ManifestDestiny_17-1

 

The latest arc has revealed a lot about the nature of the monstrous beasts that have been slowly picking off the members of Lewis and Clark’s expedition crew. And now a new evil looms. What is the Vameter? I don’t know but it sounds freaking terrifying. One of my favorite Image titles, Manifest Destiny keeps on heading into the heart of darkness with issue #17.

 

 

The #1 One: Tokyo Ghost #1

 

TokyoGhost_01-1

 

The Isles of Los Angeles 2089: Humanity is addicted to technology, a population of unemployed leisure seekers blissfully distracted from toxic contamination, who borrow, steal, and kill to buy their next digital fix. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for. It’s the biggest industry, the only industry, the drug everyone needs, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay. This duo is about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of Los Angeles to take down the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo. Bestselling writer Rick Remender, superstar art team Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth examine our growing addiction to technology while thirsting for a nature we continue to destroy.

 

 

The one I’m buying for the cover: Beauty #2 Image Templesmith Cover

STK682917

 

Issue #1 was good enough to bring me back for a second helping of Beauty. The gorgeous Templesmith cover is just gravy. Nobody blends horror and beauty like Templesmith.

 

 

The Speculation One: Guardians of Knowhere #4 Marvel

 

267638._SX314_QL80_TTD_

 

The mysterious figure appeared briefly at the end of issue #3, disrupting a poignant, philosophical argument between Angela and Gamora. The character appears on the cover of issue #4 this could be a first appearance. I will also be grabbing a copy of #3 if her character ends up having an important role.

 

 

Last Week’s Leftover’s: Space Riders #1-3 Black Mask

 

SPACE-RIDERS-ISSUE-1-3rd-print-cvrPRFSpace-Riders-2-2ndSPACE-RIDERS-3-variant-cvrPRF

 

This series is absolutely bananaphones. It’s a psychedelic, retro, sci-fi comic from breakout publisher Black Mask and everything Black Mask is heating up due to their small print runs and flat-out awesome comics. Because of their tiny print runs many readers have never had the chance to read Space Riders. That all changes this week as the third print of #1 and second printings of #2 and #3 are released on Wednesday with new cover art.

 

Carpe Comics!