Robot 6

Cheat Sheet | From ‘Superman Unchained’ to ‘Killjoys’ to Vegas

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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While some of you may be scrambling to find that perfect Father’s Day gift, many others are chomping at the bit for the Friday premiere of director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel — or, the perfectly timed debut of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained.

Or perhaps you’re packing your bags for Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, or simply plotting your weekly visit to the local comic book store. If that’s the case, do we have some recommendations for you …

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This weekend, it’s Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con

If your Father’s Day weekend plans involving making the trek to the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, well, you’re doing much better than I am. It’s not that I don’t enjoy dinner with the family and the obligatory card for dear ol’ dad, it’s just that “amazing” is right there in the event’s name!

Judging from the guest lineup, it looks like it could very well live up to the hype. After all, the convention boasts Jim Lee, Stan Lee, Rob Liefeld, Greg Capullo, Rick Remender, Humberto Ramos, Skottie Young, Neal Adams and Scott Lobdell — and that’s just for starters.

Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con kicks off Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday, which is “Kids’ Day.”

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ROBOT 6 contributors name their top choices from among the comic books, and comics-related books, scheduled to arrive in stores this week. We welcome readers to highlight their picks in the comments below.

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Six-Gun Gorilla #1

The recent round of press about Paul Jenkins going exclusive at BOOM! Studios has put a spotlight on the company’s growing creator-driven lineup, like the excellent Deathmatch and Suicide Risk, which has gotten off to a strong start. This week sees the debut of Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely’s Six-Gun Gorilla, a creator-owned series based on a public-domain pulp character from the late 1930s. While the original was a circus gorilla looking to avenge the death of his former master, Spurrier’s take is a bit different: “… It’s abstractly set in the future, the majority of the action occurs on another world, the central character has had groundbreaking surgery to turn him into a psychic TV-camera for the thrill-junkies watching back home and, yes, it prominently features a 500-pound gorilla with a pair of enormous guns,” he told CBR. “But, despite appearances, it oozes Western.” As a fan of Westerns and gorillas, I’m looking forward to checking it out. – JK Parkin

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Green Lantern Corps #21

While Geoff Johns’ departure from Green Lantern received an appropriate amount of attention, Peter Tomasi’s tenure as Green Lantern Corps‘ writer was nothing at which to sneeze. New writer Van Jensen (with artist Bernard Chang) will transfer Guy Gardner to Red Lanterns and put the spotlight squarely on John Stewart. Jensen combines a crime reporter’s perspective with an affinity for John, and Chang is one of DC’s more dependable artists, so the Corps should be in good hands. – Tom Bondurant

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Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #1

I was blessed with a preview copy, and it’s beautiful, haunting stuff. It may be my favorite thing Steve Niles has written since Freaks of the Heartland, and certainly deserves comparison to that in terms of its quietness and depth of emotion. The story takes place in a remote village about to be overrun by Hitler’s army and there’s a 30 Days of Night level of hopelessness in the villagers’ situation that’s made even more powerful by the reality of Nazi Germany as opposed to something supernatural. The black-and-white art evoke the feel of those old Marvel magazines, which is appropriate as it was in one of those that I first encountered the golem legend (although I think the creature was fighting Hulk at the time). – Michael May

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Superman Unchained #1

The next big release of DC Comics’ New 52 is here. Scott Snyder has ably handled Batman on some critically acclaimed stories since 2011, and now he gets his turn at Clark Kent for a book meant to piggyback on Friday’s release of Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder (no relation). To enhance the widescreen crossover, the issue includes a large pull-out poster that also serves as part of the story. Jim Lee is using the New 52 design but the story is supposed to be self-contained and “continuity light” enough for any curious movie watchers. Snyder has described this as the one Superman story he’d tell if he had the chance, so all of the ingredients seem to be in place for this to be the next classic Superman story. As part of the build-up to the movie, DC is dubbing Wednesday “Man of Steel Day” and is celebrating with plenty of special giveaways available at your local comic book store. – Corey Blake

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Burning Building Comix

Burning Building Comix is self-published by its creator, Jeff Zwirek, and distributed by Top Shelf. Make sure you have plenty of elbow room when you read this, as the book opens up to 13 inches by 24 inches when fully unfurled. Zwirek uses that real estate to tell 10 stories in parallel, each one set in one apartment in a 10-story building. On the bottom floor, a frustrated writer decides to end it all, but he accidentally kicks over a candle and starts a fire. Mysterious fires pop up on all the floors, and the inhabitants of each apartment react differently. The stories are stacked atop one another, and run horizontally, but there are vertical story elements as well. Zwirek pulls off this fairly complicated story without being confusing or precious. Both the format and Zwirek’s hard-lined, rounded style are vaguely reminiscent of Chris Ware, but he has his own style and this comic is truly unique. – Brigid Alverson

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Juxtapoz #150, Machine Sabbath and A1 #1

Again showcasing how far the inroads comics are making into fine art, this month’s 150th issue of the alt-culture magazine Juxtapoz is a themed issue subtitled “Comic-Con: Past + Present + Future.” It features an idiosyncratic guide to the event by Alex Pardee, and a host of copiously illustrated interviews with show staples such as the folks at Gentle Giant Studios, Sir Richard Taylor and WETA Workshop, the legendary Robert Willliams, Last Gasp and Jackie Estrada. There’s a preview available on its website.

We featured Ashley Wood’s Machine Sabbath exhibition at the Jonathan LeVine gallery in New York City in October, and next week IDW Publishing will release the book of the show. It’ll feature all the paintings exhibited, and according to IDW’s solicitation “also includes unseen paintings, sketches, and a new interview with Ash in a gorgeous oversize hardcover.”

Wednesday also sees the launch of the reborn A1, from Titan Comics and Atomeka Press. The first A1 anthology at the end of the 1980s felt like a culmination of a revolution — it featured prime movers from 2000AD, Warrior, Strange Days and Deadline together, plus assorted talent from the United States and mainland Europe, reveling in the possibilities of creator ownership and prestige format comics. Publisher/editor/contributor Dave Elliott this time has concentrated on packing the new iteration of the title with new talent, a few of whom are doubtless bound for stardom. Check out a wealth of preview material at Dave’s DeviantArt page, and keep an eye on Rhoald Marcellius and Barnaby Bagenda. I’m expecting great things from those two. – Mark Kardwell

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The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1

I was hardly alone in rolling my eyes at the announcement, a good six or seven years ago, that My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way would be penning a comic, as I imagined it was another one of those celebrity vanity projects — you know, where the actor or singer’s name appears in enormous type, but someone else actually writes the thing. But The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, with its assorted short stories and previews, ended up being one of my favorite comics of 2007. Six years and a sequel later, My Chemical Romance has disbanded, and Way has teamed with Shaun Simon and Becky Cloonan for the eagerly awaited The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, a miniseries that curiously enough serves as a continuation of the band’s 2010 album Danger Days. I’ve long been a fan of Cloonan’s, and The Umbrella Academy made me a believer in Way, so this is a must-read for me. -- Kevin Melrose

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