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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week: 5/25/2016

Welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, where the cranks are made up but the problems are real.

Short post this week as I’m preparing for a business trip that will take me halfway across the world for the next week. So I just have two words for you: hold door.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: DC Universe Rebirth #1

 

DCUR1

Publisher: DC

What it is: It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! THEY SAID IT: ‘Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe,’ says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. ‘It brings back what has been lost, the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!’

Why we love it: It’s DC Rebirth week and the internet is already swirling with rumors and leaks. Who will die? Who will make their first appearance? What secrets will be revealed? Fortunately many of us won’t have to wait until Wednesday to find out the answers, as some local comic shops are holding midnight release parties on Tuesday to mark the occasion.

 

The Mainstream one: Justice League #50 / Superman #52

 

JL50SM52

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns / Peter Tomasi
Art: Jason Fabok / Mikel Janin

What it is: The epic conclusion to the Darkseid War saga, and the final issue of the New 52 Superman.

Why we like it: It’s all DC this week and I couldn’t choose between these two because both issues will reveal major events in the DC universe. Potential spoilers ahead. It has been hinted that Superman #52 will be the death of the New 52 Superman and Justice League #50 will reveal the Joker’s true identity.

 

The Indie One: Squarriors: Summertime #1

 

SQ1

Publisher: Devil’s Due
Words: Ash Maczko
Art: Ashley Witter

What it is: Next from the break-out hit series Squarriors: The saga of warring rodents in a post-human world continues with Squarriors: Summer. There’s little time to nurse wounds as the Tin Kin’s struggle against the Maw and Amoni intensifies. The conflict of woodland creatures boils under the scorching Summer Sun. And the tribes find themselves on the brink of war and the edge of annihilation.

Why we like it: Squarriors volume 1 was a fantastic read and I’ve been looking forward to volume two of this epic fantasy tale. The elevator pitch for this series is Wind in the Willows meets Game of Thrones. Ashley Witter’s gorgeous painted artwork is worth the price of admission alone.

 

The #1 One: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1

 

FaL1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Troy Little
Art: Troy Little

What it is: Troy Little’s gonzo adaptation of Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas is now available in an all-new format. This comic book version is presented in black-and-white and at a slightly larger size than the full-color hardcover edition. Each issue also includes pages from Little’s sketchbook and other behind-the-scenes information. ‘[Little’s] talents make him perfectly comfortable with the elastic expressions required to recreate the exploits of Thompson and his companion, Dr. Gonzo, as they slingshot between mania, paranoia, rage, and despair… the graphic-novel aspect adds layers to Thompson’s prose.’

Why we like it: The Terry Gilliam movie was something of a revelation for me. While I was originally drawn to it for the promise of zany, drug-fueled misadventures, what actually resonated with me deeply was the retrospective of the 60’s generation and its lasting effects on American culture.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Mockingbird #3

 

MB 3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chelsea Cain
Art: Kate Niemczyk
Cover art: Joelle Jones

What it is: Bobbi suits up as Mockingbird to save an adolescent girl driven bonkers by her new powers. Later, a rakish Englishman asks Bobbi to dogsit.

Why we like it: Joelle Jones is an immensely talented artist and has already done a couple of fantastic covers for Mockingbird. This one’s on a whole different level though.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/27/2016

Hey gang, and welcome back to another episode of the crank file, where we crank harder so that you don’t have to. Busy week this week so we’ll forgo the national anthem and get down to it. RIP Prince, you played a mean guitar.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman #51

 

BM51

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: Batman has battled everything from the Court of Owls to Mr. Bloom to the Joker, but how does he handle a quiet night in Gotham City…?

Why we love it: I’ll be looking forward to Snyder’s All-Star Batman as well as seeing rising star Tom King carry the torch after Rebirth. But before that, one last issue with Snyder and Capullo as they wrap a bow on their unforgettable run. This was the perfect creative team for Batman and we were so fortunate to have experienced this journey with them. Thanks for all the amazing stories fellas.

 

The Mainstream One: Juistice League #49

 

JL49

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: In this, the penultimate chapter of the critically-acclaimed epic ‘Darkseid War,’ the fate of the Justice League and the entire universe is on the line! But can even the combined might of the Justice Gods contend with the secret machinations of Grail, the deadly daughter of Darkseid? Death, rebirth and the life of one of the members of the League changed forever!

Why we like it: Did you notice the wording in the last sentence? I don’t think it is any coincidence that Darkseid Wars is being written by the same man orchestrating DC’s line-wide reboot. I’m only speculating that this will eventually tie in with Rebirth but regardless, Darkseid Wars has been a thrilling read and reminds us just how much fun a DC comic can be.

 

The Indie One: Saga #36

 

S36

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: Freedom…?

Why we like it: Saga’s been back with this new prison break arc that has been absolutely insane. I say it every month but, best comic on the stands today. Saga only misses out on the top spot because of the milestone importance of Batman #51. If you haven’t read Saga yet, pick up volume #1 the next time you are in a bookstore. Only ten dollars to change your life.

 

The #1: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank

 

4K 1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matt Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: A fun(ish) crime caper about children! Eleven-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking Reservoir Dogs, 4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, D & D, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, and family.

Why we like it: You may remember seeing this book on here last week. That was because it was solicited for April 20, but the actual release date is on this Wednesday, 4/27. I heard that some shops didn’t receive copies last week. Some shops received them but opted not to put them out until this week. Fortunately for me, one of my local shops did have them out for sale and I had an absolute ball with this first issue. It’s funny and dorky and unquestionably cool. Black Mask is back! Let’s hope they stick around for a while.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Daredevil #6

 

DD6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Ron Garney
Cover Art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: Hell’s Kitchen knows no fury like an assassin scorned. Though Matt Murdock has somehow managed to hide his identity from the entire world, there are parts of his past he cannot escape. Elektra Natchios, is back in the Big Apple and she’s got a score to settle with The Man Without Fear!

Why we like it: Sienkiewicz is one of the great comic books artists and he’s aging like fine wine. His style has evolved over the years but his artwork remains visually striking and instantly recognizable. Love 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 2/23/2016

Welcome back Cranksters for another hit from the Crank File. Last week was the ComicsPro event. Image Publisher Erik Stephenson dropped the mic on an audience composed solely of direct market comic book retailers. If you have concerns about the direction that comic books (the actual books, not movies) are heading, I urge you to give it a read: https://imagecomics.com/content/view/image-comics-publisher-eric-stephenson-talks-direct-market-at-comicspro

Ironically, signed copies of the ComicsPro variant for Nowhere Men #1 are currently selling for $30 on the Bay. Can’t stop free market.

 

Here’s What I’m Reading This Week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Saga #34

 

SAGA 34

Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

New friends are silver?

Another month, another issue of Saga at the top of the stack. May it stay there for 100 issues. This book never ceases to amaze and amuse. I’m always blown away by Staple’s covers. I know I say it every week Saga is on the stands, but this one may be my favorite. I frigging love Ghus.

 

The Mainstream One:  Justice League #48

 

JL48

Publisher: DC

Words: Geoff Johns

Art: Jason Fabok

The epic ‘Darkseid War’ continues as the League is forced to unite with their evil counterparts, the Crime Syndicate, to defeat the nigh-omnipotent Anti-Monitor! Plus, what is the terrible secret behind Superwoman’s newborn child?

Geoff John’s Darkseid War has been fantastic and I wonder whether this arc will also be the lead-in to DC’s upcoming 2016 Rebirth. Credit has to be given to DC’s goldenboy Johns, but the reason why I’m loving this book is Jason Fabok’s art.

 

The Indie One: Wild’s End Enemy Within #6

 

WE6

Publisher: Boom

Words: Dan Abnet

Art: I.N.J. Culbard

Final issue! While the other survivors struggle in the woods against the aliens, Peter and Susan desperately try to alert the public in time.

The second volume to Wild’s End comes crashing towards a violent conclusion and one thing’s for sure, nobody is safe. I’m still struggling with the fall out from issue #5 and desperately need to know the fate of my anthropomorphic friends.

 

The #1 One: Hellboy & B.P.R.D. 1953 Beyond The Fences #1

HB1

Publisher: DC

Words: Mike Mignola

Art: Paolo Rivera

A mysterious creature hunts the children of an idyllic suburban town, and the BPRD get more than they bargained for when their investigation begins to seem strangely familiar.

I’m pretty sure suburbia is one of the seven circles of hell.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Dark Knight III: Master Race #3 (Janson variant)

 

DK3

Publisher: DC

Words: Frank Miller

Art: Andy Kubert

The hardest thing for Batman is to admit his greatest strength: He’s just one man, and sometimes he needs help. With so much at stake, will he turn to help of the Super variety?

This series has been surprisingly good and Frank Miller has promised readers “quite a shock” for issue #3. With excitement about the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie this cover is going to be highly sought after on Wednesday.

 

That’s all I got this week. Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/30/2015

Welcome back comic book fans to another episode of the Crank File. We’re on the cusp of a new year, a time journalists love because it means kicking back and compiling “best of” lists instead of doing any actual writing. If they were really clever, they would just write their regular columns in list format. But while some are looking back at the year past, I have my sights set squarely ahead towards Wednesday’s new books. So without further ado, my final list of cool comics for the year. Goodbye 2015, we hardly knew ye.

Here’s what I’m reading this week

 

The Top of the Pile: Locke and Key, Shades of Terror Adult Coloring Book

 

LaK

Publisher: IDW

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Color yourself a fan! Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s wonder-filled world of Locke & Key produced gorgeous, detailed pages of comic book art… and the best of those illustrations is collected here for your coloring enjoyment!

Don’t worry, an adult coloring book isn’t anything sleazy. Although not technically a comic book, I’m a huge fan of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s horror comic and also a huge fan of coloring. I can’t wait to crack open a fresh 64-pack of Crayolas and recreate some of my favorite pages from the series.

 

The Mainstream One: Batman Europa #3

 

BME3

Publisher: DC

Words: Matteo Casali

Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Weakened by a deadly virus, Batman arrives in Paris to find some answers. But with The Joker along for the ride, Batman’s guaranteed to face terrifying challenges as they follow a trail that leads to their common enemy.

The temporary truce between eternal enemies is revealing fascinating and disturbing angles to complex the Batman and Joker relationship. I had high expectations for the story and so far it has delivered a solid setup that has me anxiously awaiting the next issue. But what has really made Europa a stand out Batman series is the tremendous interior artwork. Gorgeous.

 

The Indie One: Spawn #259

 

S259

Publisher: Image

Words and Art: Todd McFarlane

BEGINNIG ‘THE SATAN SAGA WARS!’ – THE FOUR-PART STORY CHRONICLING THE FINAL FATE OF WANDA SIMMONS’ SOUL! THIS STORY WILL FOREVER CHANGE THE WAY SPAWN WILL LIVE HIS LIFE! In the entire run of the SPAWN comic, our hero has never had to face his greatest threat: Satan himself! Starting with this issue, Al Simmons will come face to face with Lucifer for the very first time. A battle of epic proportion will begin and the prize is… Wanda’s soul. This story will forever change the way Spawn will live his life. Join us on this historic odyssey as Spawn takes on the Evil entity that gave him his powers way back in issue #1.

Spawn was my first. The first book that I purchased and read regularly, anticipating each new issue as it came out month to month. I loved this series back when Todd had a creative hand in it, so I’m so excited to see the Spawn creator back in the saddle. Toss in a throw down with Satan and you have my full attention.

 

The #1 One: Rocket Racoon and Groot #1 (Superlog variant)

 

RRG1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Skottie Young

Art: Filipe Andrade

ROCKET RACCOON BREAKS BAD! There’s a new criminal mastermind in the galaxy, and it’s…ROCKET RACCOON?! How did this happen? SERIOUSLY, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN, YOU GUYS??? Groot knows, but he’s not talking! Well, he is talking, but all he’s saying is…oh, you know. Diabolical danger, madcap mysteries and astonishing adventure abound as SKOTTIE YOUNG and FILIPE ANDRADE return to tell tall tail tales of Rocket Raccoon, now with the adorable, arboreal Groot along for the ride! If you love adventure, animals, outer space and just about anything in between, this is the book for you!

This week’s “#1 one” was originally going to be Obi-wan and Anikan #1 but for some reason Marvel is asking retailers not to sell this book, even though it was solicited for and shipping this week. So instead I’m picking another buddy book, featuring the cutest pair of bounty hunters in the galaxy. It’s weird to see Skottie Young’s name on a book but not as the artist, but he’s proven to me with the diabolically funny I Hater Fairyland that he has writing chops to match his outlandish artistic sense. Love the Superlog variant.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League #47 (Jim Lee variant)

 

JL47

Publisher: DC

Words: Geoff Johns

Art: Jason Fabok

Super-star artist Jason Fabok returns as the second act of ‘DARKSEID WAR’ begins! As the members of the Justice League struggle with their new Godhood abilities, Wonder Woman must turn to the beings that have fought the Anti-Monitor before: the Crime Syndicate! Plus, what secret does Grail hold that will change Diana’s world forever?

Jim Lee’s cover is another winner in Harley’s Little Black Book. I just wish they could figure out how to make a polybag that doesn’t damage 99% of books. Oh, the actual story is pretty damn fantastic as well.

 

Happy new year guys and gals! Carpe Comics!

 

 

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/16/2015

Greetings nerds and nerdettes and welcome back to another episode of the Crank File. Last weekend I had the pleasure to meet the immensely talented writer and drawer of the hit new Image series Headlopper. Andrew MacLean and his wife (Erin, I think) were at my LCS over the weekend signing books and meeting fans. Super nice couple.  The shop was raffling away a few items and I had my eyes on a signed copy of Rick and Morty #6 featuring a Ball Fondlers variant. I didn’t get the book but I did win this fine sketch of the puckish Gnym.

Gnym

I’m calling it good karma for featuring both issues of Headlopper here and here.

This week is all about the Star Wars and it seems as if comic book publishers took notice. It’s a light week for new books which is too bad for me since I won’t be seeing Star Wars until Tuesday and plan on avoiding the internet and television all weekend. May the force be strong with this one. I just don’t know what I’ll do if I have to relive another Phantom Menace.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: Justice League #46 Looney Tunes variant

JL46

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Francis Manapul

‘Darkseid War’ rages on! Wonder Woman and Mister Miracle must rally to find the missing Anti-Monitor, while the rest of the League deals with the consequences of their new, godlike abilities.

The Darkseid Wars has been a great read, a crossover saga for the ages. In this epic battle against Darkseid, DC has flipped the superhero dynamic, turning their flagship characters into actual gods (or in Captain Marvel’s case, different gods). I’ve been a big fan of DC’s Looney Tunes variant month and this cover may be my favorite yet.

 

 

The Mainstream One: Squadron Supreme #1

 

675361_254268492221962f55ce0ade76548343b395479e
Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Leonard Kirk

They’re each the sole survivor of a lost Earth and they’ll do anything to protect this one, whether you like it or not. The Squadron Supreme — comprising Hyperion (Avengers), Nighthawk (Supreme Power), Dr. Spectrum (the Great Society), Blur (DP7) and Power Princess — are a team that doesn’t ask permission or what the rules are. To them all that matters is the safety of Earth and if you stand in the way…that’s your problem! Tell that to the Squadron’s first target — Namor, destroyer of Dr. Spectrum’s homeworld, who will have to pay for his crimes…but at what cost to the people of Atlantis?

Spoilerish alert: The Sub Mariner is getting deep sixed (or however deep Atlanteans bury their dead). Marvel is not exactly trying to keep it a secret either, the cover of Squadron Supreme #2 features Hyperion holding Prince Namor’s disembodied head. Although he’s not the most popular Marvel character, the Sub-Mariner is a Silver Age original and one of comic books’ first anti-heroes. His death will certainly be an important event which will cause repercussions. We know that deaths in comics rarely stick for long, but we may not be seeing the Sub Mariner for a while.

 

The Indie One: Descender #8

 

D1

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

TIM-21 and his companions are taken to the mind bending home world of the Robot resistance while a long lost figure from Tim’s past emerges but will he be friend or foe?

The last issue of Descender dropped bomb after bomb on the reader, ending with a crazy cliffhanger that let you know that noone is safe. Careful not to get too attached to any of the characters here. I’m loving Descender’s watercolored art style, and Jeff Lemire is proving to be one of the most talented writers in the industry.

 

 

The #1 One: Weirdworld #1

 

WW1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Sam Humphries
Art: Mike Del Mundo

Imagine, being trapped in a world of sword and sorcery. With no sword and sorcery experience to speak of. This is the story of Becca, a girl stuck in Weirdworld, with only one mission: get home alive! Marvel’s own twisted fantasy realm comes alive before your eyes! Barbarians! Wizards! And tricked out sports cars!

Weirdworld was my favorite mini-series to spin out of Marvel’s Secret Wars. I was disappointed to see that Jason Aaron was not writing the ongoing series, but as long as Del Mundo is on artwork then I’m on board for a trip back to Weirdworld. The series will feature a new character Becca, but I’m really hoping Arkon makes an appearance.

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman: American Alien #2

 

SAA2

Publisher: DC
Words: Max Landis
Art: Nick Dragotta

After Smallville experiences its first violent crime in years, teenager Clark Kent is pressured by his best friend Pete Ross to take matters into his own hands in the second issue of Superman: American Alien

A teenage Clark Kent getting his mugshot taken, sporting a black eye and bloody nose?? I need to read the story behind this cover.

 

 

Carpe Comics!