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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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Trailer Snark (August 5, 2016 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  Jason Bourne took the box office crown with $60M, proving the franchise is still alive and well with Matt Damon back in his famous role.  Star Trek Beyond was second place with $24M and $105.7M overall.  Bad Moms debuted at number three with $23.4M.  The Secret Life of Pets held fourth place ($18.2M/296.1M).  And Lights Out rounded out the top five ($10.8/$42.8M).  Ice Age:  Collision Course ($10.5M/$42.1M), Ghostbusters ($9.8M/$106.1M), Nerve ($9M/$15M), Finding Dory ($4.2M/$469M), and The Legend of Tarzan ($2.4M/$121.8M) rounded out the top ten.  We are one day into the new weekend already, but here is what premiered across the USA last night!

Suicide Squad (Warner Bros) – Action/Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG – 13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
Tag Line: Worst. Heroes. Ever.
Starring:  Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto
Plot: A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jim: Two Words: Margot Robbie. Definitely this weekend.
Jessica: I’m excited for this one. As I’ve said before I enjoyed Superman v. Batman so I am hopefully this will be as good, or better than that one. It looks crazy and fun!
Rob: Normally I land solidly on the Make Mine Marvel side of the fence, but this looks like a fun & frenzied flick.  Heck, Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn  alone looks to be worth the price of admission.  Plus, I kinda dig the whole comic genre.
Chris: After Batman v Superman, I was a bit deflated on DC’s movie offerings, but this one has the potential to change my tune.

Nine Lives (EuropaCorpUSA) – Comedy/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, language and some rude humor
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken
Plot: A stuffy businessman finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Chris: A bit shocked that Kevin Spacey is doing something like this.  I was getting a Gremlins vibe for a moment there.
Jim: Kevin Spacey, why? Jennifer Garner, why? Barry Sonnenfeld, from Men in Black to this?
Jessica: Oh Kevin. What the heck?
Rob: Ok, I think Kevin Spacey is one of the most talented actors around, but this is most certainly an odd choice of roles for someone so skilled…absolute pass.

Little Men (Magnolia) – Drama/Family
Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some language
Tag Line: Be on each other’s side.
Starring:  Greg Kinnear, Alfred Molina
Plot: A new pair of best friends have their bond tested by their parents’ battle over a dress shop lease.
Running Time: 85 minutes

Rob: Looks like a decent film, just not a big screen type for me.  Netflix queue.
Chris: Not my cup of java.
Jim: Looks interesting, rental.
Jessica: Looks sweet, I’ll probably never remember it though. But if I ever do see it, I’d watch it at home.

Five Nights in Maine (FilmRise) – Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: David Oyelowo, Dianne West
Plot: A young African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
Running Time: 82 minutes

Jessica: Holy cow this looks intense!
Rob: Like the rest, I was left wondering what is going on after the last few seconds of this trailer.  That’s not quite enough to pull me out to the theatre, but it was a finely crafted trailer.  Hopefully the film fits the same mold and its worth checking out down the road.
Chris: The trailer has me intrigued, and wondering what the mystery is.
Jim: This one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a long time. What the heck is going on?

Front Cover (Strand Releasing) – Comedy/Drama/Romance
Not Rated
Tag Line: Love is always in style.Starring: Jack Choi, James Chen
Plot: When a gay fashion stylist works with a renowned foreign actor, they both embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jim: Looks well-made, but nah.
Jessica: I love the message, but the trailer left me feeling kind of blah.
Rob: Looks mildly interesting.  Pass.
Chris: I give this movie two snaps, a twist, and a kiss….my butt goodbye…pass.

Tickets Purchased: Unanimous Decision for Suicide Squad!

Put us in coach!
Put us in coach!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/3/2016

Greetings comic fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that is the danger that cranks on the door. Is it obvious that I’m re-watching Breaking Bad? It had been a while since I watched it in its entirety, I almost forgot how amazing the series is. Someone should make a comic book based off it.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Moon Knight #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Gregg Smallwood

What it is: PYRAMID SCHEMES! Marc Spector comes face to face with Moon Knight?! Who is under the mask? Marc’s hunt for answers becomes a Run For His Live through half-remembered histories. Will he finally confront SETH – god of storms and instigator of New Egypt’s takeover of New York?

Why we love it: Lemire’s Moon Knight is a twisting tale of forgotten history and lost identity. What is the Moon Knight? Is he a crime fighter imbued with supernatural powers, or is he the demented hallucination of a sick man? Whatever his true nature, Moon Knight has been one of the shining stars in the post Secret Wars Marvel Universe.



The Mainstream one: Batman #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Gotham’ part four. When Gotham City falls prey to true evil, will Batman be abandoned by the new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl? The Dark Knight must decide who to entrust with the safety of his beloved city if he hopes for any of its citizens to survive.

Why we like it: Tom King’s Batman debut has been just ok so far. Nothing extraordinary (by Batman standards) has happened yet, but we’re only beginning to peel back the cover of this run. King’s Batman is getting a long leash from me, it took 3 issues for his Vision series to emerge as something exceptional.



The Indie One: The Walking Dead #157 (Adams connecting variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Cover Art: Arthur Adams

What it is: ‘THE WHISPERER WAR,’ Part One The time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he’s built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this, there will be a cost.

Why we like it: Holy smokes, if you caught last month’s ending to Walking Dead #156 then you know that stuff is going down in this issue. To commemorate what will surely be a memorable WD story arc, the legendary Arthur Adams is doing a set of connecting variant covers for the Whisperer War.



The #1 One: Suicide Squad Rebirth #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Rob Williamson
Art: Phillip Tan

What it is: Soldier. War hero. Traitor. Captain Rick Flag was one of America’s greatest military commanders before he was banished to a secret military prison. But after years of isolation, Flag’s life changes forever when a woman called Amanda Waller offers him redemption in exchange for taking on the single most dangerous job in the entire DC Universe: keeping the Suicide Squad alive!

Why we like it: Wednesday is going to be all about one DC character, Harley Quinn. It’s almost as if she has a movie coming out or something. Not only is her Suicide Squad title getting Rebirthed, her solo series is also out with a brand new #1 issue, both which will be incredibly popular with her legions of fans. Eat your heart out Mr. J, there’s no stopping the clown princess of crime.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Civil War II King Pin #2 (Nguyen variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Cover art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: Despite the heroes’ new future-seeing ally, the crime business is treating Wilson Fisk VERY well. So well, in fact, that his jealous competitors are MURDERING the Kingpin’s men. And to make matters worse, the linchpin of Fisk’s operation – an inhuman with the uncanny ability to stay incognito – is getting ill. Can the Kingpin find a way to keep his business afloat or is his time on top finally finished?

Why we like it: Matthew Rosenberg’s Marvel debut on King Pin #1 was a hell of a good read and had a great Esad Ribic variant cover. The follow up issue delivers another gorgeous variant cover by Dustin Nguyen, showing the stark images of the King Pin and the DareDevil looming large over Hell’s Kitchen. I can’t help but be reminded of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.


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