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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.


DK36 BK36a

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 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!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/20/2016

Greetings fellow freaks and geeks and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that understands that with great crank there must also come great responsibility. Tragedy followed bloody tragedy and the seemingly endless pattern of violence and hate continued to spread last week. The world sure feels like a dangerous place right now and people are scared. Stay safe wherever you are, read something engaging and learn something new. The most effective weapon against ignorance is knowledge.


Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: Manifest Destiny #21

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: ‘SASQUATCH,’ Part Three Don’t bother shooting. Just run.

Why we love it: Manifest Destiny’s American frontier hides many horrors for our intrepid band of explorers, the likes of which have never been seen by the civilized world. This week Lewis and Clark and company come face to foot with the undisputed king of cryptozoology, Sasquatch.



The Mainstream One: Batman #3

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I AM GOTHAM’ Chapter Three: Batman and Gotham strike out together to get to the bottom of the mysterious attacks against the city. Could this novel and headstrong new hero be everything Gotham City needs…at the cost of the Dark Knight?

Why we like it: Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Snyder’s epic New 52 run, especially those early Court of Owl issues, but Tom King’s Batman has been just good, not great. Still we’re only two issues in and Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the old saying goes. I had high hopes for this relaunch and I still have hope that this series will find its footing sooner or later. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.



The Indie One: Once Our Land

Publisher: Scout Comics
Words and Art: Peter Ricq

What it isAn amazing debut comic from a visionary new creator! Once Our Land is a post-apocalyptic tale set in 1830s Germany. It is the tale of two survivors, Ingrid and Fritz, as they battle each day against mysterious invaders that have surfaced and wiped out everything they once knew. A fantasy, sci-fi, period, and action story rolled into one epic package, Once Our Land is destined to be an all-ages classic!

Why we like it: The art looks gorgeous and while the book appears to be geared towards younger readers, the writer was heavily influenced by the monsters of H.P. Lovecraft. I’m really looking forward to reading this on Wednesday. 



The #1 One: Snot Girl #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Art: Leslie Hung

What it is: WHO IS LOTTIE PERSON? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this new ongoing series from New York Times Best Seller Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim) and dazzling newcomer Leslie Hung!

Why we like it: I haven’t read Scott Pilgrim nor have i seen the movie. I didn’t even realize this was the same writer until just now. I read a preview for Snot Girl in ImagePlus magazine and found it oddly charming, Digging Snot Girl for the manga-inspired artwork and the sheer weirdness factor.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Darth Vader #23 and Start Wars #21

Publisher: Marvel
Cover Artists: John Tyler Christopher and David Aja

Why we like them: Here’s a duo of fantastic Star Wars related covers. The Darth Vader action figure variant features our favorite kill-droid, the murderous and always hilarious BT-1. David Aja continues his recent domination of Ones I’m Buying for the Cover with a variant which needs to be on a poster or at very least a t-shirt. I couldn’t pick between the two, so you’re getting both. You are welcome.


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 5.18.2016

Welcome to another installment of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks without first looking both ways.

I headed out to Poughkeepsie New York over the weekend with the girlfriend. Whenever I’m traveling to a new place, I like visiting a local comic shop in the area. This trip brought us to Alterniverse in Hyde Park. It was a small shop, with only a dozen or so longboxes apart from the current books lining the wall racks. The store owner Anthony greeted us warmly and explained how the store was organized and we got to digging. Asides from an occasional regular popping in and inquiring about a Magic tournament, we were the only customers in the store. We’re getting to the end of the row of boxes when an older gentleman, probably in his 60’s, walks into the shop. He quickly browsed through a couple of short boxes before heading over to the new release rack, where he picks out a copy of ElfQuest: Final Quest. He brings it up to the counter and says to Anthony, “Thank you for carrying my book and for having it displayed prominently on the shelf.” It was Richard freaking Pini, co-creator of Elfquest. For those of you unfamiliar, Elfquest is one of the longest running and most successful independent comics ever published, a high-fantasy tale written and drawn exclusively by husband/wife duo Richard and Wendy Pini since 1978. Richard was super cool and what began as a random visit to a local shop turned into hanging out with a legend; just four nerds in a small shop talking comics and elfs.

Rest in peace Mr. Cooke. Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Civil War II #0 (Noto variant)



Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel

What it is: From the creative team that brought you House of M and Siege comes a blistering first chapter in Marvel’s new explosive event. Watch as the players are introduced and the table is set for a storyline that fans will be talking about for years.

Why we love it: I usually am wary of these line-wide events, but I enjoyed with the first Civil War series and felt validated that a comic book was willing to explore larger social issues. After seeing the Civil War movie this weekend, I feel that the underlying argument of security vs freedom is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.


The Mainstream one: Spider-man #4



Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: Miles is just finding his feet in the all new marvel universe; the media is growing obsessed with his skin color and now he has to share his own book with a hot new mutant who goes by the name of… wait for it… All this and the Queenpin of New York, the Black Cat, has set her sights on this new Spider-Man. She has put out a hit on his head and now no one is safe!

Why we like it: Bendis makes two appearances on this week’s list and there’s no denying that Marvel’s goldenboy is at the top of his game here, writing a contemporary Spider-man story that feels miles more relateable than Slott’s Old Man Parker. If you enjoyed Tom Holland’s take as an adolescent Peter Parker then you know how much fun a young Spider-man can be.


The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #19 (James Harren variant)



Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: Lewis & Clark didn’t lead the first expedition west? nor were they the first to encounter the biggest mammal in all the land: Sasquatch!

Why we like it: So happy that Manifest Destiny is back. I don’t know if MD is my favorite Image title, but I can’t think of a book that I have more fun reading.

The #1 One: Tank Girl: Two Girls One Tank #1



Publisher: Titan
Words: Alan Martin
Art: Brett Parsons

What it is: Fresh off the back of their latest calamitous chapter comes this shiny new Tank Girl tale from series creator Alan Martin and artist extraordinaire, Brett Parson! Expect a healthy dose of delirium and plenty of ball-crunching action in this high-octane crosscountry skirmish that asks the question: is this world really big enough for two Tank Girls? Strap yourself in, folks; It’s gonna be one helluva ride!

Why we like it: Probably not actually picking this one up, but wanted to point out the best/worst title I’ve heard in a while.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman American Alien #7 (Jock variant)



Publisher: DC
Words: Max Landis
Art: Jock
Cover art: Jock

What it is: After a massive explosion rocks downtown Metropolis, Clark finds himself face-to-face with a white-skinned alien riding a flying motorcycle-and the eyes of the world are all on this so-called Superman! But when Clark’s attempt at reason fails and the bounty hunter reveals some unpleasant truths about Clark’s own alien origin, a brutal showdown begins! Superstar artist Jock reteams with Max Landis for the epic series finale to SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN!

Why we like it: Jock created an iconic Batman cover with his chilling joker portrait on the final issue of Detective Comics #880. He may have just done it again with the final issue of Superman American Alien #7. An instant classic.


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