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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week- 3/15/2018

Welcome comic fans to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday I spotlight some of the new releases that I’m picking up on Wednesday. Happy daylight savings! We may have lost an hour this weekend, but what is dead may never die.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: God Country #3

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: ‘DEATH IN TEXAS’-When Emmett Quinlan returned from the brink, his son thought his prayers had been answered. They had, but not by the god he’d prayed to. Now DEATH has come to West Texas to show the Quinlan family the price of resurrection…

Why we love it: In just two issues God Country has claimed the top of the pile through its emotive artwork and superb storytelling. A story that is both intimate and fantastically bombastic. God Country is a goddam good read.


tah 17

The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #17 (Stonehouse variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: ‘BIG APPLE SHOWDOWN’ CONTINUES! A tale too big for the Big Apple! Extraterrestrial action how you like it! Hulk and his new friends Ms. Marvel, Silk, Shang Chi, Jimmy Woo and Jake Oh take the fight into space!

Why we like it: The Protectors are heading to space for a cosmic adventure. And Stonehouse is still killing it on covers. Count me in!


The Indie One: Head Lopper #5 (Sandoval variant)

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Andrew MacLean

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWER’-Norgal and Agatha are back! A daring new adventure awaits, looming like the Crimson Tower, home of Ulrich the Twice Damned, sworn enemy of Zhaania Kota Ka. With old friends and new, our heroes boldly enter the bloodied pinnacle with bare steel and steady hearts. The quarterly series HEAD LOPPER has returned!

Why we like it: If his head don’t drop just pull up your socks, and then lop away. Maclean’s back. Maclean’s back. A returning Crank File favorite, Head Lopper returns with more swords and sorcery told in Andrew Maclean’s unmistakable signature style.


The #1 One: American Gods Shadows #1 (McKean variant)

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Neil Gaiman
Art: P. Craig Russel

What it is: Shadow Moon just got out of jail, only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain as to where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard – thrusting Shadow into a deadly world of the supernatural, where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a brewing war between old and new gods hits a boiling point. The Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning novel and upcoming Starz television series by Neil Gaiman is adapted as a comic series for the first time!

Why we like it: A delicious mix of horror, fantasy, mystery and satire, this is a great way for fans of Neil Gaiman comics who haven’t ventured into his novels to become acquainted with a modern classic.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom #5 (Crain variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: IN THIS CORNER: The scariest symbiotic sociopath this side of the Savage Land! You know him, you love him? The one, the only VENOM! IN THE OTHER CORNER: The wall-crawling, web-slinging wonder called THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Step right up and place your bets – the bout of the century is about to begin!

Why we like it: Clayton Crain is arguably the most recognizable Venom cover artist, after McFarlane. So any Crain Venom variant gets my attention. But it was a tough call between this and J. G Jones’ brilliant Batwoman inventive variant. Ultimately I gave this one the nod because it has a King Kong vibe to it.


That’s all I got this week. Let me know what you’re picking up in the comments. Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 6/8/2016

Welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks different. Please wipe your feet and come on in.

Mainstream news picked up on two words from the last panel of Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 and created a media crap storm, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the first time DC killed off Superman. Ironically, while Marvel was stealing the spotlight with just those two words, DC’s Rebirth was quietly an across the board success. My LCS ordered heavily on all Rebirth titles and they were almost all sold out by the weekend. Even Scooby friggin Doo sold out. And the sell out was well deserved. DC’s delivering the goods early on and I’m enjoying the heck out of Rebirth. Let’s hope they can keep pushing ahead and avoid postpartum depression.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Vision #8



Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

What it is: ‘LITTLE BETTER THAN A BEAST’ STARTS NOW! The most critically acclaimed series of the year continues. The Avengers know. They know his wife killed the Reaper and the boy. They know Vision lied to protect her. They know that those lies will lead to more lies, those deaths will lead to more deaths. And they know they need to act, they need to find a way to prove that he has done what he has done so the Avengers can do what they have to do–finally and forever dismantle the Vision and his family

Why we love it: I would argue that The Vision is the best superhero comic on the stands today. Dark, strange and philosophical, The Vision is more than your typical capes and tights fare. It’s a story about family and the lengths we go to protect the ones we love, even if it means doing something bad.


The Mainstream one: Detective Comics #934



Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Eddy Barrows

What it is: ‘RISE OF THE BATMEN’ chapter one An unknown predator begins outdoing Batman, taking down dangerous threats with military precision. It’s up to the Dark Knight and series costar Batwoman to rally and train the young heroes of Gotham City to end this mysterious threat! WHAT NOW: Batman and Batwoman begin training Spoiler, Red Robin and Cassandra Cain, but is the villainous Clayface ready for redemption?

Why we like it: Detective Comics is not being Reibirthed with a #1. Instead it picks back up with its original numbering and begins a new story arc written by Scott Snyder protege, James Tynion IV. Anytime that Bat signal appears, you answer the call.


The Indie One: Head Lopper #4



Publisher: Image
Words: Andrew McLean
Art: Andrew McLean

What it is: At long last, Norgal and Agatha face off against the demigod-sorcerer Barra, who proves to be much more able than his frail frame implies. Meanwhile, Lulach approaches with an entire army at his back, but does he come in support or opposition of Barra’s cause?

Why we like it: It’s a quarterly book, but it is well worth the wait. What Head Lopper lacks in proficiency it more than makes up with in quality and quantity. This high fantasy adventure shines with humor, monster slaying and a ton of charm. Issue #4 will be the last issue of this series but I hope it’s not our final adventure with Norgal and Agatha.

The #1 One: Wacky Raceland #1



Publisher: DC
Words: Ken Pontac
Art: Leonardo Manco

What it is: The world has ended, but the race has just begun! Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect and the rest of the Wacky Racers vie for the finish line in a contest where the winner takes all and second place is death. Today’s trial: the shattered maze of freeways known as the Uberpass, where they’re beset by giant sand beasts, mutated insects, and worst of all, Dick Dastardly’s murderously poor sportsmanship. The last thing they need after surviving the race is a brutal bar fight in a local dive, but that’s just what they get!

Why we like it: I was pretty skeptical when DC announced its plan to remake classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons with a modern bend, but Scooby Doo surprised the heck out of me. While the names and faces remained familiar, it was was a completely fresh take on Scooby Doo with less camp and more mature plot line. So I’m going to give Wacky Raceland a read because it looks more Beyond Thunderdome than Stop the Pigeon. You can check the preview and judge for yourself:


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1


Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp, Paulo Siqueira
Cover art: Stanley “Artgerm” Lau

What it is: After suffering an unimaginable loss, Wonder Woman must rebuild her mission as Earth’s ultimate protector and champion. DON’T MISS: New York Times best selling writer Greg Rucka returns to Wonder Woman with a tale that will forever alter the DC icon.

Why we like it: Because Artgerm.  Love.


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


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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 3/9/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, now with 20% more crank per file. Sad news as comic book artist and Massachusetts native son Paul Ryan died this week. Ryan was an absolute beast during the 80’s, penciling flagship Marvel series like the Avengers, the West Coast Avengers, Iron Man and an astonishing five year run on the Fantastic Four. If you read modern age comics during the late eighties slash early nineties, then chances are you are already familiar with his work. You know that Amazing Spider-man issue where Peter and MJ got married? That was Paul Ryan. Although his name is not as widely remembered as other stars from that era, his artwork will be appreciated by comic books fans for generations to come. Paul was only 66 years old.


Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile:  Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4



Publisher: DC/IDW

Words: James Tynion IV

Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: With the possibility existing that they might never get home, the Turtles take up residence at Wayne Manor. Everyone seems to be adapting except for Raphael, who still can’t understand why his friends all trust this Bat-person. So Batman takes the skeptical Turtle on a trip down Crime Alley to tell Raph what led him to don the cape and cowl in the first place.

Why we love it: Gotham has been the perfect stage for introducing the Dark Knight to the comedic stylings of the Ninja Turtles and I’m amazed by how seamlessly the two worlds have blended. This week Bruce tells Raphael how he became the Batman. Batman’s origin story is a crucial part of what makes him tick, but we’ve all heard the story a million times by now. This will be Raph’s first time and he gets to hear Bruce tell it firsthand. That’s top of the pile material.


The Mainstream One: Vision #5


Publisher: Marvel

Words: Tom King

Art: Gabriel Hernandez

What it is: The secrets are turning into lies, and the lies are turning into blood. In the midst of this violence, Vision must find the truth of what happened to the Grim Reaper. But when he does, will he protect his family or destroy them? Find out as the story of Vision’s family builds to a breathtaking cliffhanger.

Why we like it: The unexpected hit of Marvel’s relaunch for me has been Vision. This book is a hundred times darker and more insane than anything I could have ever imagined. But most of all, the Vision feels new. It’s so refreshing to read a story that doesn’t feel like it has been done a thousand times before. I feel like this series has the potential to be something really special and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t done so already.


The Indie One: Head Lopper #3



Publisher: Image

Words and Art: Andrew MacLean

What it is: Norgal and Agatha meet fellow adventurer Zhaania while battling a mega-arachnid from Hell.

Why we like it: Set in the world of swords and sorcery, Head Lopper is an adventure comic that follows Norgal, a nomadic warrior who travels the land with the wise-cracking, decapitated head of a witch Agatha and it is just enjoyable as heck. Andrew MacLean has a voice and visual style that is totally unique and wholly his own.  The first two issues were packed with monsters, violence and humor and by the sound of “mega-arachnid from Hell” issue #3 will stay the course.


The #1 One: Haunted Mansion #1 (Crosby variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Joshua Willamson

Art: Jorge Coehlo

What it is: WELCOME, FOOLISH MORTALS, TO THE HAUNTED MANSION! It seems that no one lives in the elegant mansion on the hill, but then where’s that creepy organ music coming from? Are the iron gates meant to keep people out, or some things in? Get ready to meet the 999 ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, but be warned, they’re looking for the 1000th! The delightfully chilling Disney attraction comes to (after)life in an all-new story, penned by JOSHUA WILLAMSON with art by JORGE COELHO! Don’t miss the next great Disney Kingdoms adventure, and the most spine-tingling experience you’ll find this side of a Doom Buggy!

Why we like it: The haunted mansion ride is pretty high up on my favorite Disney memories. There’s just something about the strange combination of horror and humor that never fails to put a grin on my face.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #50 (Tony S. Daniel polybag variant)



Publisher: DC

Words:  Peter J. Tomasi

Art: Fernando Pasarin

What it is: Jim Gordon faces his past in this extra-sized conclusion to his most shocking cold case yet. With history itself forcing him to reflect on the last year as Batman, Gordon must make a decision about what his future holds in Gotham City.

Why we like it: Another fantastic Batman vs Superman cover. I love the cartoonish proportions of the figures on this cover.


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 12/9/2015

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to the Crank File, the only file that gives you 50% more file per crank. Another good week of books coming up and I have still barely touched last week’s stack. So this week, instead of my normal shtick, I’m giving you two comics per category and keeping my personal opinions short.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.


The Tops of the Pile:

 We Stand on Guard #6



Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Steve Skroce

MINISERIES CONCLUSION The smash-hit miniseries reaches its epic FINAL ISSUE with explosive battles and shocking revelations… but how will things end for the Great White North?

There are few things in the world more satisfying than a good Brian K. Vaughan ending.


Harrow County #8



Publisher: Dark Horse

Words: Cullen Bunn

Art: Tyler Crook

Kammi has rallied the forsaken haints to her dark cause. Now Emmy may have to make a profound sacrifice if she hopes to protect her kith and kin at the heart of Harrow County.

Demon fight!! Latest news on the Syfy TV adaptation is that it has moved into development.



The Mainstream Ones:

Secret Wars #8



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic


I’m sticking it through until the end, which has now officially been pushed back to January 2016.


Contest of Champions #3



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Al Ewing

Art: Paco Medina

IRON MAN! JOE FIXIT! GAMORA! MARVEL’S HEAVY HITTERS COLLIDE IN THE CONTEST! Can Iron Man and Gamora trust Guillotine – or is the call of her bloody legacy too strong? Ares strikes! Plus: Venom Hulk?!

Yup, you read that correct. Venom. Hulk.



The Indie Ones:

Monstress #2



Publisher: Image

Writer: Marjorie Liu

Words: Sana Takeda

Maika fights to cross the wall.

Loved the oversized first issue. Can’t wait for this #2.


Head Lopper #2



Publisher: Image

Writer: Andrew MacLean

Words: Andrew MacLean

Norgal and Agatha pass through a dark forest with a particularly grim history, where they meet a strange little creature named Gnym. Is he a friend? Or does he just want to see undead giants squish the Head Lopper to meat-jelly? All this… And more! MAJOR PLOT POINT Villain, Servin Lulach’s origin story is introduced.

Loved the oversized first issue. Can’t wait for this #2. Creator Andrew MacLean will be hanging out at Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, MA on Saturday Dec 12 from noon to 3pm.



The #1 Ones:

Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1



Publisher: DC

Writer: James Tynion IV

Art: Freddie Williams II

DC Comics and IDW team up for the crossover you never saw coming as two of the greatest entertainment icons meet for the first time! In Gotham City, a series of deadly raids leads Batman to believe he’s up against a group of highly trained ninjas known as the Foot Clan! Somehow, they’ve crossed over to another dimension and are determined to take advantage of the situation while looking to get back home. But they haven’t come alone: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo are hot on their trail. Get ready for excitement as heroes and villains from both worlds clash and team up in an epic battle that threatens the very fabric of reality!

There was no way that I wasn’t buying a Batman/TMNT crossover. Having Tynion IV writing the script is just gravy. I’m snagging the Eastman variant.


Snow Blind #1



Publisher: Boom! Studios

Words: Ollie Masters

Art: Tyler Jenkins

What happens when you discover your dad isn’t the man you thought he was? For high school teen Teddy, life in a sleepy suburb in Alaska turns upside-down when he innocently posts a photo of his dad on Facebook, only to learn he and his family are in the Witness Protection Program. A man seeking revenge invades their town, and soon FBI agents arrive, too. But what if his dad’s reasons for going into the program aren’t as innocent as he says?

I’m really digging the creative team on this one. The 1:20 Matt Taylor variant cover is stunning.



The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover:

Insexts #1



Publisher: Aftershock Comics

Words: Marguerite Bennett

Art: Ariela Kristantina

At the dusk of a century, a pair of vengeful Victorian vixens discover a horrifying power that transforms them into rich and strange new creatures. Armed with their dark, evolving forms, they descend into a world of the cultured and occult, with new senses and new sensuality, to forge a life for themselves and the child of their love. This new monthly series is the brainchild of writer Marguerite Bennett (A-Force, Angela, Red Sonja) and artist Ariela Kristantina (Wolverines, Deep State), a comic unlike any you’ve seen before!

Classic art nouveau, reminiscent of painter Alphonse Mucha.


Batman #47



Publisher: DC

Words: Scott Snyder

Art: Grag Capullo

While Jim Gordon is in the fight of his life against Mr. Bloom, Bruce Wayne discovers a shocking secret about his past that will change everything in Gotham City! This issue features open-to-order variant covers by Alex Ross that will be shipped in opaque polybags.

This Alex Cover is a swipe of a cover he did in 1999 for Batman: Harley Quinn. The issue was printed in prestige format and introduced Harley Quinn into the main DC continuity. There were unconfirmed reports last week that a few fans actually received original artwork within their black poly bags for Harley’s Little Black Book #1.



The Speculation Ones:

Justice League: Darkseid War #1 (Lex Luthor)



Publisher: DC
Words: Francis Manapul

Art: Bong Dazo

Lex Luthor has gained the power of a God, but his one failure continues to deny him the peace he craves-and only a crazed Superman can help him get it!

If you’re caught up with the Darkseid Wars, then you know that at the end of the latest issue Lex Luther is imbued with god-like powers. This will be his first full appearance with super powers. Lex was scary enough when he was just relying on his evil mind.


Brooklyn Animal Control #1



Publisher: IDW

Words: J T Petty

Art: Stephen Thompson

Brooklyn Animal Control is not your run-of-the-mill social services agency, and the officers assigned to it are not your average caseworkers? they are a breed apart. These street-hardened veterans negotiate a dangerous secret world in the heart of New York City, one inhabited by werewolves that roam the streets by night, and infest the hidden back rooms of the criminal elite in their human alter-egos by day. Which of their forms is more viscous is open to debate? but both are equally deadly!

The USA channel is currently developing a pilot for the TV adaptation of this series.

Carpe Comics!