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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 6/6/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Wonder Woman absolutely crushed it to the tune of $100 million domestic box office in its opening weekend. I can hardly wait to see it this weekend because it has been receiving almost universal praise. Could Wundy’s silver-screen success mark the turning point for the DC cinematic universe? Time will tell, but I’m already feeling much more optimistic for Justice League.

Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the cool stuff that I’m checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

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The Top of the Pile: Superman #24

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Jaimie Mendoze, Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘BLACK DAWN’ part five! The Man of Steel faces the one foe he refuses to fight-his son. An emerging new ability for Superboy proves deadly to Superman as the promise of power appears to lead Jon Kent to betray his father. RATED T

Why we love it: Maybe it was the return to a more traditional Superman persona, or the introduction of the Kent family dynamics, but this comic has succeeded in retaining an air of nostalgia while building something entirely new, making it feel both modern and classic. Before Tomasi’s run, I don’t remember the last time when Superman was relevant (maybe his death back in ’92?). Now, I eagerly await each issue as it comes out and I know I am not alone.

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The Mainstream One: Champions #9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Humberto Ramos

What it is: Casting a spotlight on young synthezoid Viv Vision! After what became of her family, she willingly shut down her emotions – but does that come with a price to pay? Rated T+

Why we like it: Tom King created Viv Vision during his landmark run on Vision, which lasted only 12 issues before he left to write Batman for DC. If you read this blog at all during 2015-2016, chances are you heard me gushing about King’s run on Vision. I thought it was the best comic Marvel had put out in years and I immediately fell in love with the Visions, especially with the kids Vin and Viv. I was elated to see Viv break out on her own after the main series ended and I am so stoked to read how she’s been processing everything that has happened since. Do androids get PTSD?

 

 

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The Indie One: Paper Girls #19

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Cliff Chang

What it is: EXPLOSIVE END OF A STORY ARC! It’s the end of an era as KJ, Mac, Tiffany, and Erin must do the unthinkable to escape our prehistoric past. 24 pages of story on the best paper in comics, and still only $2.99!

Why we like it: Paper Girls picked up two Eisner awards last year, winning Best New Series and Cliff Chang taking home Best Penciller for his work on the series. This year it has three nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer and Best Colorist. Experts and Cranks agree that this book is chock full of awesome. So why haven’t you added it to your pull list yet?

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The #1 One: Babyteeth #1 (Elizabeth Torque variant)

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Garry Brown

What it is: NEW SERIES! Sadie Ritter is sixteen years old, nine months pregnant, and scared out of her sweet nerdy mind. Having a baby that young is tough, but with the support of her loving family behind her, everything should be okay. OH YEAH, and also her baby is the antichrist and it’s going to break open the barriers between the earthly and demonic planes and unleash eternal suffering to all of humankind. Other than that, though…should be fine. From the writer of Buzzkill, Paybacks, Redneck and the break-out hit God Country comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!

Why we like it: There’s that name again. Donny Cates. I feel like a broken record here, but there’s no denying that this young man is the hottest up-and-coming writer in the biz. God Country has sold out again and again and gone back for multiple reprints of every issue (issue #1 is on its fourth printing at the time of this writing). Redneck #2, released two weeks ago, sold out and will be back for second printings. Redneck #1 is already going to a third print. The market has surely taken notice by now and Babyteeth #1 is a guaranteed sell out. Make sure you reserve a copy in advance.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #24 (Josh Middleton variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Scot Eaton
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: ‘CROWN OF ATLANTIS’ finale! Hopelessly at odds with the people of Atlantis, Arthur is finally stripped of his crown. In his place, and to Aquaman’s horror, the previously imprisoned Atlantean fundamentalist Corum Rath is installed as the new king! Every step of AQUAMAN REBIRTH has been building to this! RATED T

Why we like it: I’ve almost added Aquaman to my pull list for Middleton’s covers alone. Some of this cover’s impact will be diminished when the cover dressing gets added, but a stunning image regardless. Superstar artist Stjpan Sejic takes over interior art duties starting next issue, so don’t be surprised if we start seeing more Aquaman around these parts.

 

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 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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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!

 

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/28/2015

Happy Halloween comic booOOooooOOOook fans (read in a ghost voice). Welcome to a spooktacular edition of the Crank File, written in spooOOooky script. It’s the end of October folks and monster month has been an absolute treat. The Marvels relaunch was a little shaky, as expected, but everyone I spoke to seems to be finding something to enjoy. I liked what I saw from Iron Man and Captain America. The latest Star Wars Force Awakens trailer went a long way to ease any doubts I had about the new Star Wars movies. The internet dropped a crazy Batman vs Superman theory that actually sort of makes sense and AMC’s Walking Dead stabbed it’s audience square in the gut (for the watch). Week four delivers a merciful break as we enter All Hallow’s Eve. So without further adooOOoooOOoo…

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: Manifest Destiny #18 Image

 

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As the arc comes to a close, extreme measures are taken to protect Lewis & Clark’s mission.

Always finding its way up to the front of the stack, Manifest Destiny is some of the most fun I’ve had reading comics. The series continues to horrify and delight with more monsters, more terrors and more grisly deaths. Manifest Destiny really hit its stride in the third arc Chiroptera & Carnivores with a balanced mix of action and storytelling. Issue #18 will undoubtedly close out with fireworks so Westward, ho!

 

The Mainstream One: Justice League The Darkseid Wars Batman #1 DC

 

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As the Darkseid War rages on, Batman’s role in Gotham City–and the world-alters drastically as he’s forced to accept his new role as a God of Knowledge.

Batman sits atop the Mobius chair and becomes god. An unstable man with violent tendencies and a thirst for vengeance gains omnipotence. What could possibly go wrong? I wasn’t planning on picking this one up initially, but I heard that in this issue Batman confronts the man who shot his parents all those years ago, Joe Chill.

 

The Indie One: Rumble #8 Image Comics

 

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Special Halloween issue, introducing a new major character!

I read the first issue of Rumble when it came out and liked it enough to add it to my pull list. Issues 2-7 had been sitting in my pull box since then and I decided the reading load for monster week wasn’t enough, so I decided to tack six issues of Rathraq on top of it. I didn’t really need to sleep anyways. It’s hard to boil Rumble down to a blurb, but it is action, fantasy, humor, horror and heart and it’s all done incredibly well.

 

The #1 One: Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D #1 Marvel Kirby Monster Variant

 

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Hidden deep beneath AREA 13 lies the clandestine headquarters of S.T.A.K.E.–a top secret division of S.H.I.E.L.D. housing aliens, mythical beasts, and all manner of extra-normal entities. Under the command of legendary soldier DUM DUM DUGAN, these monsters step out of the shadows and defend the world against supernatural threats too dangerous for normal men.

Marvel’s answer to the Justice League Dark, S.H.I.E.L.D’s Howling Commandos are a motley crew of monsters and humans who specialize in dealing with the weird stuff that their super-strong counterparts can’t punch through. I like the premise, it allows Marvel to tell dark, supernatural stories that don’t work elsewhere but I was underwhelmed by the preview. My Newbury 50% special of the week, I’m going to try to grab the Del Mundo Kirby variant.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Paper Girls #1 Image

 

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In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure.

The Paper Girls debuted a few weeks back and it was awesome. If you’re like me and love Brian K Vaughan’s writing, then you probably already own a copy. But right now, Midtown Comics is selling copies signed by creators Brain K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Jared Fletcher and Matt Wilson for cover price plus shipping. It even comes with a COA. Be sure to snag a couple cheap comics to protect your copy of Paper Girls during shipping, Midtown does not ship their comics with backers.

 

The Speculation One: Self Storage #1 451 Media Group

 

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What if you found a zombie locked up in a self storage unit? Would you keep it? Chris Smith has eked by in life hocking the auctioned-off junk from those people who no longer pay the rent on their self storage units. He spends his days hopping from one storage facility to the next, bidding on units sight-unseen, only to sell whatever’s inside to antique dealers and pawn shops for as much money as he can squeeze. But Chris has never found anything like what’s waiting for him inside unit # 83… …Her name is Jessica.

Small, indie publishers are all the rage this year. Last week’s Sunflower #1 from 451 Media Group sold out quickly and immediately shot up to $15 in after market trading. I’m hoping for similar results with their zombie book, Self Storage. The previews looked great and should be an entertaining read regardless.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/7/2015

Welcome back for another piece from the Crank File. It’s the first week of October and that can only mean one thing, it’s Monster Week ladies and gentlemen. So we’ll dispense with the pleasantries and get right down to business.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 IDW

 

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The epic conclusion to over four-years worth of storylines! The Turtles stand against Shredder for one final battle that will determine the fate of NYC, and the world, for years to come. Co-creator Kevin Eastman’s current Turtles run at IDW has reinvigorated the series and will surely go down as a classic. Turtle power!

 

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #6 Marvel

 

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THE FINAL WAR! Secret Wars finally arrives and I’m a little concerned about how the final 3 issues will play out. The conclusion to Secret Wars kept getting delayed month after month and Marvel couldn’t delay launching their All-New, All-Different Universe. Will the ending to Secret Wars be altered in order to coordinate with Marvel’s company-wide reboot? With how strong the first five issues have been, it would be disappointing if compromises were made with the storytelling for the sake of scheduling. Six variant covers to choose from here but why eat hamburger when you can have steak. Alex Ross is the man!

 

 

The Indie One: Space Riders #4 Black Mask

 

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The most insane comic in the universe returns. This series was solicited as a four issues mini-series and there hasn’t been any news about a second series, so this could be the end. I sure hope not, Space Riders absolutely hooked me with its psychedelic art, sci-fi stylings and general badassery.  The Space Riders have fought space Vikings, survived a vortex of madness, were captured by robot armies, and bore witness to the mind melting majesty of the space gods. Now they must battle new and old enemies united against them. Buckle in for the insane conclusion of “This Vengeful Universe!”

 

 

The #1 One(s): Paper Girls, Batman and Robin Eternal, Amazing Spiderman, Contest of Champions, Doctor Strange, Invincible Iron Man, Jughead

 

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It’s not called Monster Week for nothing. And each one of those Marvel #1’s will have 10-20 variant covers. Thank you Paper Girls for having the decency to release with just one cover. With so many essential #1 issues coming out from Marvel, I wish they had released their Star Wars books, Star Wars #10 and Lando #5, last week when there wasn’t much besides Sandman and DC annuals on the racks. Oh yeah, and there’s an Avengers #0 preview out as well. Dammit Marvel, just shut up and take my money.

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #45 Monster Variant

 

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This terrifying Bat-ghoul cover brought to you by the brilliant Bill Sienkiewicz. This man’s covers are pee-your-pants scary.

 

Carpe Comics!