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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – October 17, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Giddeon Falls #7

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: NEW STORY ARC ‘ORIGINAL SINS,’ Part One After the mind-blowing events of the first arc, Norton digs deeper into the mystery of the Black Barn, and secrets of his past begin to come to light. Meanwhile, Father Fred does some digging of his own and learns the hard way that some secrets should just stay buried.

Why we love it: Lemire and Sorrentino continue the mysterious tale of the Black Barn in this week’s issue of Giddeon Falls. The book reads like a suspense-thriller with horror themes, perfect reading for the Halloween season. The first arc was incredibly creepy and I can’t wait to see what terrifying places the second arc takes us.

The Mainstream One: Marvel Zombie #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: W. Maxwell Prince
Art: Stefano Raffaele

What it is: NEW FROM THE HOUSE OF IDEAS! MARVEL ZOMBIES IS BACK…WITH A TWIST! Years after an incurable zombie virus ravaged the world, a small colony of survivors is protected by the Marvel U’s few remaining heroes, including Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Falcon. But when their last chance at salvation arrives, will they be willing to sacrifice their own humanity in the process? From the twisted minds of ICE CREAM MAN writer W. Maxwell Prince and Stefano Raffaele (Generations: Hawkeye) comes the next macabre obsession for fans of The Walking Dead and The Road! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: More spooky stories to get you in the Halloween mood. Writer W. Maxwell Prince is the creator behind the hit Image horror series Ice Cream Man, so I’m expecting a disturbingly fun tale of terror here.

The Indie One: Skyward #7

Publisher: Image
Words: Joe Henderson
Art: Lee Garbett

What it is: ‘HERE THERE BE DRAGONFLIES,’ Part Two Willa’s alone in the middle of the forest, surrounded by giant insects that want to make her dinner. But here to the rescue comes a badass group of sword-wielding… farmers?

Why we like it: This book has been a fun read and it has already been optioned for television (for whatever that is worth). The plot centers around the mystery of why the earth’s gravity has weakened and the story continues to surprise and delight at every turn.

The #1 One: Shuri #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nnedi Okorafor
Art: Leonardo Romero

What it is: FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE BLACK PANTHER! The world fell in love with her in the movie. Now, the Black Panther’s techno-genius sister launches her own adventures – written by best-selling Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Eisner-nominated artist Leonardo Romero! The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne. But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one – and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own. Rated T

Why we like it: Shuri was one of many bright spots that shined in the Black Panther movie. She has taken up the mantle of the Black Panther in the past, but it looks like Marvel is trying a different approach with her this time and leaning into her STEM background. I would love to see Shuri join the Champions team sometime in the near future.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom Annual #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Tigh Walker
Cover Art: Bill Sinekiewicz

What it is: For the first time in Marvel history, the Wicked Webslinger called VENOM gets his very own Annual! This one features a few walks down memory lane from some of the best creators in comics today — and even a few surprise guests from Venom’s past! Serving as a great jumping on point for readers new and old, this is one issue of VENOM you can’t afford to miss! Rated T

Why we like it: Sinekiewicz is constantly experimenting with his style which is why his art is seldom boring, though it can be inconsistent. This time he absolutely crushed it. This is up there with my all-time favorite Venom covers, which is saying a lot.

 

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 – October 10, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Venom #7

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Iban Coello

What it is: ‘THE ABYSS’ STARTS HERE! Just when you thought the blockbuster story of the summer couldn’t get any more intense, Donny Cates and special guest artist and Venom veteran IBAN COELLO (VENOMVERSE, VENOMIZED) turn the story on its head AGAIN! But face front, True Believers, because it won’t be dragons and god-hosts and breakneck action this time. No, no. This time Donny and Iban are putting Eddie Brock through an emotional meat grinder the likes of which haven’t been seen in the Marvel Universe ever before! Rated T+

Why we love it: When Donny Cates writes, I listen. I’ve made my feelings about his current run on Venom very clear. I’ve featured it numerous times here on the Crank File. I’ve been singing its praises during our Comic Talk videos. I don’t know what else I can say to get you to read this book. Apparently there’s a secret variant cover for this issue that shows tongue if that does anything for you.

The Mainstream One: Wonder Woman #56

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV,
Art: Emanuela Lupacchino

What it is: ‘The Witching Hour’ part two! The Justice League Dark barely escaped their first encounter with Hecate, but they know she’ll be coming back for the power inside Wonder Woman. But what if Diana could tap into that power herself to take on Hecate directly?

Why we like it: I read part one of this story arc and it was solidly creepy. Tying into the events of Justice League Dark, this is a super natural Wonder Woman story with some horror elements, making it a great way to get in the mood for Halloween. The Yasmine Putri foil cover looks pretty dope too.

The Indie One: The Weather Man #5

Publisher: Image
Words: Jody LeHeup
Art: Nathan Fox

What it is: Nathan Bright is in the clutches of the Pearl and the clock is ticking. Agent Cross must choose between her own desire for vengeance and protecting a man who, though drenched in the blood of billions, might still be innocent.

Why we like it: I need to catch up on this series. One of the guys that I talk comics with at work won’t stop going on about how insanely cool this book is. If anyone reading this has issues #2-#3 and is willing to trade, let me know in the comments.

The #1 One: Murder Falcon #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

What it is: From DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, the creator of the Eisner-nominated series EXTREMITY, comes MURDER FALCON! The world is under attack by monsters, and Jake’s life is falling apart: no band, no girl, no future… until he meets Murder Falcon. He was sent from The Heavy to destroy all evil, but he can’t do it without Jake shredding up a storm. Now, with every chord Jake plays on his guitar, the power of metal fuels Murder Falcon into all-out kung fu fury on those that seek to conquer Earth. It’s time to shred!

Why we like it: I was a big fan of Extremity, which turned out to be surprisingly thoughtful story about the horrors of war and the ceaseless cycle of misery that follows a life lived for revenge. I get the feeling that Murder Falcon will be a bit more lighthearted. Daniel Warren Johnson is one of the new guys starting to make a name for himself in comics and it’s easy to see why. His artwork just pops with energy and style.

The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover: Captain America #4, Immortal Hulk #7, Catwoman #4, Suicide Squad #47, Superman #4

Cover Art: Ross, Ross, Artgerm, Mattina, Hughes

Why we like it: I think the Artgerm Catwoman is the best out of the bunch, but it is an embarrassment of riches for cover art this week.

 

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

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Comic Shop Talk Video Blog: September 2018

Hi Everyone!

The team is back at it again with another edition of Comic Shop Talk!  We cover a range of topics including The Return of Wolverine, the latest X-event called Xtermination, the latest Venom series, the crazy Rick and Morty/Dungeons and Dragon crossover, and some brief conjecture on the much-anticipated DC Heroes in Crisis storyline!

We hope you enjoy this latest video, which was a lot of fun to make, and be sure to look out for our September Pop Culture Video Blog coming soon!

-The Great Stories Team

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 22, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Venom #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Stegman

What it is: An ancient Klyntar has awakened on Earth, and with it, something has stirred in Eddie Brock’s symbiote. And while Venom would never do anything to hurt Eddie or an innocent person, the ancient symbiote has no such qualms… Rated T+

The Mainstream One: Black Panther #3

Publisher:  Marvel
Words: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: THE INTERGALACTIC EMPIRE OF WAKANDA CONTINUES! The rebels make their move! On the verge of liberating the Nameless, T’Challa, M’Baku and Nakia hunt for mysterious artifact that promises to turn the tide. What is the M’Kraan Shard? And will T’Challa find its acquisition worth the cost? Rated T

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #4

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormston

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns with lots of revelations! All is revealed when Lucy makes her way back to the farm from Dreamland, confronting the mastermind of their current situation. The revelations here will alter the fate of the Black Hammer family forever!

The #1 One: Punisher #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Riccardo Buchielli

What it is: YOU CAN TAKE THE PUNISHER OUT OF THE WAR MACHINE… Punisher no longer has the War Machine armor, but he retained his newly acquired taste for big game, and he’s hungry for more. However, the paths to such perilous pursuits are fraught with dangers bigger than any Frank has faced before, and this lone wolf could use otherworldly help on his way up to the world stage. MATTHEW ROSENBERG continues pushing the boundaries of the Punisher, and now joined by acclaimed artist RICCARDO BURCHIELLI (DMZ, Northlanders), this is the book Punisher fans will be talking about for years to come! Parental Advisory

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #987 

Publisher: DC
Words: Bryan Hill
Art: Miguel Mendonca
Cover Art: Mark Brooks

What it is: Then, the pulse-pounding ‘On the Outside’ storyline hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion! Batman has tasked Katana, Black Lightning, the Signal and Orphan (a.k.a. Cassandra Cain) with stopping a rogue operator using alien technology that can crack into any mind on Earth! What does this case have to do with the Brainiac Files seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1? And how does Amanda Waller factor in? Guess you’re ‘outside’ of Batman’s circle of trust… for now.

 

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

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Comic Shop Talk Video Blog: July

Hey Everyone,

We are a bit late in getting this video out to you but summer vacation schedules were the theme of the month.  But fear not, we are back!  This month we talk about lots of the new Marvel relaunches including Thor, Immortal Hulk, Tony Stark Iron Man, and Venom.  We also look at continuing series Champions and the wind down of the X-Men Gold book.  DC is not totally forgotten in this month’s edition as we discuss Teen Titans.  And we finish up by spotlighting the amazing Gideon Falls series from Image, which has just been optioned as a TV show!

https://youtu.be/vtm0HjIkhdQ

Comment on our Youtube page and let us know what you would like us to discuss next month!

 

 

-The Great Stories Team

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – May 9, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Scooby Apocalypse#25

Publisher: DC
Words: Keith Giffen
Art: Ron Wagner

What it is: After nearly fifty years of Scooby-Doo, the unthinkable occurs! This month death claims one of the most beloved figures in pop-culture history: Fred Jones! This stunning turn of events will have repercussions that you won’t want to miss!

Why we love it:  You gotta respect any man who rocks the same ascot for fifty years. I’m hoping that Fred’s death is meaningful and actually sticks for a while and isn’t just a ploy to sell books in the short term. Fred Jones dying may not seem like a big deal, but the Scooby universe is not a place where killing a main character only to resurrect them shortly afterwards is standard operating procedure. I’m sorry Mr. Jones, it’s time.

The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #8 of 8

Publisher: DC
Words and art: Sean Gordon Murphy

What it is: In the extra-sized finale of Sean Murphy’s top-selling miniseries, Jack Napier’s suspicious seduction of Gotham City comes to its twisted conclusion! With the city on the verge of becoming an icy tomb for the GTO, Batgirl makes a crucial assist and Gordon is forced to reevaluate his judgment of Batman to secure the greater good. As the true Joker’s return becomes imminent, Harley seeks vengeance and reckons with the bleak future that looms for her loved ones.

Why we like it: A series that introduced us to a reformed Joker, multiple Harley Quinns, and a rogue Batman, Sean Gordon’s alternate Batman universe has been a wild, wild ride. Sad to see this one end, but there are rumors that this series could be returning for a volume 2.

The Indie One: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #6

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Art: Sebastian Fiumara

What it is: Hellboy is back on earth, and the B.P.R.D. struggles to understand his unwillingness to hunt the demon threatening to turn the earth into a literal Hell.

Why we like it: For those of you not keeping track, Hellboy has been dead for 3 years. This week he returns but he seems… different. A can’t miss moment for fans of the Mignolaverse.

 The #1 One: Venom #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Stegman

What it is: A NEW SERIES BY DONNY CATES & RYAN STEGMAN! In the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse, an ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York, and with it, something equally evil has awakened in that most Wicked of Webslingers – VENOM! Still a Lethal Protector of the innocents in New York, this never-before-seen threat could force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear – including Eddie Brock! Join two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, for a VENOM adventure a thousand years in the making!

Why we like it: Donny Cates continues his rocket-like trajectory to super stardom with the launch of a new Venom series. Expect first appearances and a shake up of the status quo. I wish that Cates would be allowed to work exclusively with artist Geoff Shaw, with whom he created God Country and had a memorable run on Thanos. But I do like Ryan Stegman’s art and hope that he and Donny find a similar chemistry.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Suicide Squad #41

Publisher: DC
Words: Rob Williams
Art: Jose Luis
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is:  ‘CONSTRICTION’ part one! Batman has broken Deadshot out of Belle Reve! Now the Dark Knight and the assassin who never misses have a new mission: rescue Deadshot’s daughter from the clutches of Kobra! But Amanda Waller’s not having it, and she’s determined to drag her prisoner back at any cost!

Why we like it: I was debating between two Mattina covers this week, the other being cover B for Flash which features a closeup head shot of Professor Zoom. This one gets the nod for the amazing smoke and lighting effects. Mattina’s recent work has been next level (Harley Quinn aside) and continues to ascend into the upper echelon of cover art.

 

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 – 6/14/2017

Hey there comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. The Bat Family lost one of it’s most iconic members last week. RIP Mayor Adam West. You may be gone, but the Batsui will live on.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

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The Top of the Pile: Vision Director’s Cut

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

What it is: One of the most surprising super-hero stories ever told, now better than ever! Experience Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s masterpiece…re-presented with bonus behind-the-scenes content! Behold the Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong? Collecting VISION (2015) #1-2, plus extras — including Tom King’s original series pitch, script excerpts, character designs and sketches by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, cover sketches by Mike del Mundo and more.

Why we love it: Vision was unlike any other Marvel story told before and will serve as the high water mark for all comics to come. I’m definitely down to watch how that sausage gets made.

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The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Leinil Francis Yu

What it is: There is a power that can either save the world or doom it! Both Steve Rogers and the heroes arrayed against him need this power! But unfortunately for all of them, the key to possessing this power lies in the hands of the unstoppable Ultron! LIVE IN X-CITING TIMES! SECRET EMPIRE! Rated T+

Why we like it: For those of you who came over to comics from the movies, there’s a story about the Ultron-borg looking fella on the cover. In Marvel comics continuity Ultron was created, not by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, but by legacy Avenger Hank Pym. Hank’s has worn a lot of titles during his career, including Ant Man, Giant Man, Goliath, Yellow Jacket and Wasp. And at one point Ultron and Hank Pym fused their biological and technological selves, body and mind, creating the monstrosity that stands here before us today. Apparently he’s in possession of a shard of the cosmic cubic. Could Ultron be the key to ending Secret Empire? More importantly, what’s up with that second Steve Rogers??

 

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The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #29 (Spawn month variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess 
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: A new kind of monster emerges from the fog as an unsavory finally makes his move against his enemy.

Why we like it: See more at: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/manifest-destiny-29#sthash.qME9ATBz.dpuf

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The #1 One: Dark Days The Forge

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder, James Tynion III
Art: Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, John Romita Jr.

What it is: DARKNESS COMES TO THE DC UNIVERSE WITH THE MYSTERY OF THE FORGE! Aquaman, The Flash and more of DC’s pantheon of heroes suspect Batman of hiding a dark secret that could threaten the very existence of the multiverse! It’s an epic that will span generations-but how does it connect to the origins of one of DC’s most legendary heroes? The great comics event of summer 2017 is about to begin courtesy of superstar writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion III and illustrated by a master class of comics artists: Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr.! You do not want to miss this one! RATED T

Why we like it: This is the prelude to Batman Metal, the hugely anticipated reunion of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on Batman. There will be two Dark Days primer books, The Forge and The Casting, and they feature some of the best talent to ever grace the pages of Batman. And John Romita Jr.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom #151 (Mattina variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: “THE LAND BEFORE CRIME” Starts Here! Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been reunited at last – and their hatred of Spider-Man is greater than ever! While hunting the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, Venom comes face-to-face with none other than STEGRON THE DINOSAUR MAN! Can Venom postpone feasting on Spider-Man’s brain long enough to stop Stegron from turning everyone in New York into a bloodthirsty dinosaur?!

Why we like it: To buy, or not to buy. Is that even a question? A little Shakespearean humor there. Brill.

 

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 – 5/23/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. I’d like to make a quick addendum to last week’s Crank File. Batman #23 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads was a team-up story with Swamp Thing called “The Brave and the Mold”. It was both a tribute to Bernie Wrightson and a love letter to Alan Moore, and it was one of the better comics that I’ve read this year. If you missed it last week, there are probably copies still available at your local comic shop.

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

 

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The Top of the Pile: Seven to Eternity #6

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Jerome Opena

What it is: There is a beautiful place where no one ever dies…

Why we love it: Rick R.R. Remender is currently writing several amazing independent comic series but this collaboration with Jerome Opena and Matt Hollingsworth has really struck a chord with fans. Remender’s script is tight as expected, and StE echoes many of the same themes explored in other of Remender’s works, but what really makes this book standout is the artwork. Every panel, every setting, every character design explodes with insane amounts of detail and gorgeous colors.

 V150The Mainstream One: Venom #150 (Kubert variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval

What it is: REUNITED, AND IT FEELS SO GOOD! Or, feels so bad? However it feels, Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been reunited, and they’re web-slinging their way around New York again. Featuring a host (hah!) of Venom creators from the character’s near 30-year history, this monstrous anniversary spectacular welcomes guest artist TRADD MOORE for an oversized and brutal main story AND a lethal story featuring fan-favorite creators David Michelinie and Ron Lim, reunited! With questions still lingering about how the symbiote was separated from Flash Thompson, and what lies in its future now that it’s reunited with Eddie Brock, this is one issue you can’t afford to miss! Rated T+

Why we like it: Eddie Brock is officially back as Venom. With all the people the symbiote has been attached to since they broke up, I hope Eddie hosed it off down before jumping back in or at least got himself checked out at a clinic. There’s a pretty sweet 1:100 incentive variant that I’m not buying, but it’s by a Kubert which means we get to play everybody’s favorite game, Name That Kubert. Can you name that Kubert? Highlight here to reveal the answer -> Adam. And that’s how we play Name that Kubert.

 

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The Indie One: Redneck #2

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates 
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: Death and destruction have come to Sulphur Springs! With the murder of one of their own, the vampiric Bowmans are ready to wage war on anyone in their path. But will Bartlett be able to get to the bottom of things before the whole town explodes? DONNY CATES and LISANDRO ESTHERREN bring you the next chapter in this blood-soaked, Southern-fried Gothic masterpiece!

Why we like it: Donny Cates has been quietly burning up the indie scene and he’s gaining a well-deserved following. The story involves southern vampires, which at a blush sounds very been-there-done-that, but the devil’s in the details and Redneck #1 was a wicked good read.

 iag1The #1 One: I Am Groot #1 (Fosgitt variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Hastings
Art: Flaviano

What it is: GROOT IN HIS OWN SERIES, SMALLER AND BETTER THAN EVER! When the Guardians of the Galaxy get caught in a wormhole, a smaller-than-normal Groot is separated billions of light-years away from the team. Falling to a planet below, Groot discovers he is on an entirely alien and unknown world full of strange creatures and societies. Seriously underdeveloped and with nobody who can understand him, Groot will need to make the journey to the center of this world and find the way back to his family! Rated T+

Why we like it: While I enjoy the novelty of pint-sized Groot, I am a bit confounded that it’s getting its own solo series, especially after Groot’s 2015 series lasted only 6 issues before being rolled into a team-up book with his pal Rocket. Never underestimate the power of cuteness, I guess. Speaking of which, the Fosgitt variant is just way too adorable to pass on.

 

sc2The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Shaolin Cowboy Who’ll Stop the Reign #2 (Cho variant)

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Geof Darrow
Art: Geof Darrow  
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: The Shaolin Cowboy hits town, and it hits back. With King Crab in hot pursuit, he runs straight into the not-so-kosher menace of HOG KONG and his twisted tale of ham-fisted revenge. High-cholesterol-fueled action served up hot with plenty of chasers!

Why we like it: I love the humor in this cover and I love the way Cho draws his women thick. Shaolin Cowboy creator/writer/artist Geoff Darrow draws the regular cover A, which is also very awesome but not really fit to print here. See it for yourself on Wednesday.

 

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 – 4/19/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I will be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

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The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #0

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: What if your greatest ally was secretly your greatest enemy? What if the most trustworthy, stalwart hero history has ever known has been planning in secret a massive betrayal? That time is now. And you won’t be ready for…SECRET EMPIRE! Before the premier comic launch of 2017, superstar creators Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña toss the every hero of the Marvel Universe into a fiery crucible as Captain America’s master plan is cast into action with April’s SECRET EMPIRE #0!

The Marvel Universe is under siege from within! Captain America, secretly a true believer in the cause of Hydra, has turned his back on the Super Hero community. Using the trust and respect he has gained over the years he has ascended to a position where he can enacts Hydra’s ideals. The death of Jack Flag, the trial of Maria Hill, the second Civil War, the alien Chitauri Queen. All of the dominoes of Captain America’s plan have been laid out – and it will take only the slightest push to set them into action!

“Wherever you find favor within the Marvel Universe, SECRET EMPIRE is a story for you,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. “When the world’s most respected and trusted super hero, Captain America, assumes ultimate power and goes bad, it serves as a rallying cry for all the heroes. Avengers, X-Men, Guardians, Inhumans and street-level heroes unite to fight for the fate – and soul – of the Marvel Universe.”

Now, the Avengers, the Champions, the Defenders, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men and more will be tested. As Hydra’s grip tightens around the Marvel Universe, the heroes stand at the precipice of an unprecedented challenge. How will they Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted among them? The secret is out this April in SECRET EMPIRE #0!

Why we love it: Marvel’s latest super-awesome-mega-event Secret Empire officially kicks off this week with two books, Captain America Steve Rogers #16 and Secret Empire #0. I sat on the sidelines for Civil War II but I’m into Secret Empire. It features the Cap’n front and center, the Mark Brooks covers are insane and Marvel has hinted at no more events for 18 months.

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The Mainstream One: Batman #21

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: “THE BUTTON” part one! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we like it: Speaking of events, do we all remember when DC Rebirth totally mind-boned us by showing the iconic Watchman smiley face button embedded in the Batcave walls? A year after and we’re getting more questions and then later, hopefully, some satisfactory answers. There’s been a lot of heavy hinting at Dr Manhattan being the watchmaker behind the curtain, but it’s almost too obvious at this point.

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The Indie One: God Country #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: Emmett Quinlan goes to Hell.

Why we like it: God Country hasn’t slowed down for one second. Emmett and the God of Blades descend into Hell on a rescue mission and nobody comes back from Hell a winner. Shaw’s artwork is a wonderful compliment to Cates’ script, conveying the frenzied action of clashing Gods and capturing emotion in the personal moments.

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The #1 One: Redneck #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE The Bowmans are VAMPIRES who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow’s blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface–making it impossible to separate man from monster! Critically acclaimed writer DONNY CATES (GOD COUNTRY) and artist LISANDRO ESTHERREN serve up the tale of a DIFFERENT kind of family just trying to get by, deep in the heart of Texas.

Why we like it:  Making a rare second appearance on this week’s list, Donny Cates is riding God Country’s wave of popularity and launching another Southern-fried fantasy comic with this week’s Redneck #1. This book is already sold-out all over the place, with lots of readers loading up on multiple copies in hopes that the new series replicates God Country’s success on the secondary market.

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

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

What it is: ‘NUFF SAID!

Why we like it: Just in case it isn’t apparent from the cover or the laughably inadequate synopsis, Eddie Brock returns as Venom this week. Quick, everyone hide your brains.

 

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- 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:

 

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!