Best of 7 Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Fun from the Carter Administration in ‘Wonder Woman ’77’

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When the first few pages of Wonder Woman ’77‘s inaugural installment finds the Amazon Princess squaring off against a trio of Soviet roller-derby assassins, clearly it’s setting a very specific tone. DC’s latest digital-first series borrows its core conceit from the successful Batman ’66, presenting new comics stories from the world of an old TV adaptation.

Indeed, so far it’s fairly faithful to the show’s then-present-day setting, with Diana Prince and Steve Trevor working for a fictional government intelligence agency (the IADC) and getting their exposition from IRA the computer. Accordingly, in terms of period pieces, it’s not exactly The Americans, but writer Marc Andreyko and artist Drew Johnson have done a great job capturing both the look of the show and the style of its leads. Their Lynda Carter is spot-on, and their Lyle Waggoner evokes TV-Steve’s sparkly toothed swagger perfectly. Johnson (with colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr.) draws an especially detailed 1977, from the subtleties of Wonder Woman’s costume to the crowds at Studio 52. (Of course it’s “Studio 52.”)

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Toriyama’s ‘Jaco the Galactic Patrolman’ offers sly humor, accomplished art

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Sometimes after a tough week you just want to relax with something silly. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, by Akira Toriyama, is just that, a goofy story about an alien who just wants to make everything right—as long as nobody annoys him.

The story begins with Jaco’s spaceship crashing on an island with only one inhabitant: Omori, an engineer (or maybe a research scientist—Toriyama doesn’t bother with fine distinctions) who lives alone, away from humanity. Omori’s backstory is that he tried to build a time machine, and the machine exploded and killed his wife. He lost his government funding, but he still spends all his time working on the machine, so he can go back in time and bring her back.

Jaco, who is basically a helpful guy, has come to earth to stop an alien projectile fired our way, but he collided with the moon along the way and his spaceship is damaged. Omori offers to fix it, but they need a special metal that is super expensive. While they ponder how to get that, they go to the mainland for supplies and Jaco ends up causing a scene when he rescues a girl named Tights from a group of thugs. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that the last two men that come running at her are policemen, and he tosses them in the air. A chase ensues, Tights helps him and the professor get away, and they all head back to the island.

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‘The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’ is the best kind of fun

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Tragedy is easy, comedy is hard, which is why there are so many sad superheoes. It’s much easier to kill a character to make us cry than it is to make that same superhero draw a laugh. Humor is subjective, but shooting a loved one in the face is always going to be a terrible act. So I can see why not a lot of writers go for the joke; it could easily fall flat and ruin their story. It’s the fearless type of writer who throws angst to the wind and heads in feet first into comedy!

Ryan North and Erica Henderson are just that fearless. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl isn’t just a regular story with comedy bits sprinkled in, but a full-out funny book with all the trimmings. From the difficult-to-read stingers at the bottom of every page, to the wild squirrel network that alerts our heroine to danger, to the decorations of her college roommate (which I personally adore!), nothing is taken all that seriously.

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Jones’ ‘Lady Killer’ shines when colored by Laura Allred

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I made no bones when I first wrote about the Joëlle Jones/Jamie S. Rich Lady Killer five-issue miniseries would be a must read, given the fact that award-winning veteran colorist Laura Allred would be gracing Jones’ art. While going into the first issue with elevated hopes, amazingly enough the Jones/Allred artistic team exceeded all of my heightened expectations.

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Doctor Mirage: A love story swimming in occult from Van Meter, De La Torre

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Writer Jen Van Meter remains a creator who I continually expect, hope, what have you will gain the mainstream recognition and success that she has deserved as far back as 2002’s Hopeless Savages. So it is a great deal of resentment mixed with bewilderment when I pose the question: “In a market hungry for more well-written characters and stories from a great writer who just happens to be female, why the hell are people not raving about Doctor Mirage from every Internet social media forum?”

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Emily Carroll webcomic delivers a few nightmares before Christmas

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Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods is currently making the rounds on various year-end “Best of” lists and no doubt will be under a few trees later this week. But if you want a little horror in your holidays before you get to the unwrapping, the webcomics creator has posted a brand new holiday-themed horror tale titled “All Along the Wall” on her website.

So grab some eggnog, curl up with your favorite electronic device and beware the monster in the corner …

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Morrison and Stewart share the magic of ‘Thunderworld’

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The marquee installment of The Multiversity may have been last month’s Pax Americana, but I was especially excited to see what writer Grant Morrison and artist Cameron Stewart (with colorist Nathan Fairbairn) would do with the Captain Marvel Family in this week’s Thunderworld. I was not disappointed. The Marvels have long been a sort of unicorn for DC’s superhero line, personifying both its potential and its abuse, and even its history (acquired as they were after the demise of Fawcett Comics). However, many modern takes on Cap and company often elicit negative comparisons to the character’s previous treatment. These boil down to some form of “why can’t it be like the old days?” (which, after all, is a common enough DC complaint).

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The kids are on the case in ‘The Case of the Simple Soul’

PrintBad Machinery is an all-ages webcomic about a group of British schoolchildren who solve mysteries and generally act like normal kids.

When I say that, I mean it as the highest compliment. Too many children’s books, both graphic novels and prose, exist in some sort of never-never land where all families are happy and all the children are well-behaved, except for one or two who are explicitly evil. The kids in Bad Machinery aren’t like that. They don’t do anything truly horrific, but they do disobey their parents, talk in slang, and best of all, poke their noses where they really shouldn’t. Each story arc is a supernatural mystery of some sort, and the supernatural creatures are real, but usually pretty benign in the end.

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Beautiful deluxe edition celebrates ‘Moomin’ and Tove Jansson

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Drawn and Quarterly is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson’s birth with Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, a beautiful, slipcased book that collects all the Moomin comics drawn by Jansson in a single oversized volume.

The Moomin comics were sort of hiding in plain sight: Jansson’s fanciful, hippo-like creatures appeared in children’s books (originally published in Swedish and quickly translated into English) and an animated television series, but for some reason the comics, which were originally published in English in The London Evening News, were not only out of print but rare. In the introduction to this book, Drawn and Quarterly creative director Tom Devlin tells of how he discovered the comics: Dylan Horrocks gave him a photocopy of the first English collection, which Horrocks in turn had gotten from critic Paul Gravett. There’s an almost mythical aspect to that story, and it makes a fine introduction to the comics.

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‘Bitch Planet’ mixes ’70s exploitation film homage with 2014 appeal

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While creators in the past such as Mark Millar have done a fine job of developing their name as a brand to build a fanbase around, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has taken brand building to a whole new level. Perusing the back end material in the first issue, I was astounded and impressed to find that anticipation for the new Image Comics series, Bitch Planet, had grown so much in advance that a few people actually got a tattoo sporting the “non-compliance” icon (that features prominently in the story).

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‘Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio’ spotlights The King’s Golden Age era

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Jack Kirby’s work from the early 1960s on is so indelible and influential that the enormous amount of work he did with Joe Simon in the years prior often seems to take a back seat to his more recent work. As a result, it often appears as though several chapters in our appreciation of one Kirby’s work and career are missing.

Thankfully, effort has been made lately to rectify that perception. Publishers like Titan Books and Fantagraphics have made an attempt to get some of these pre-code comics under readers’ noses.

Now Abrams has jumped into the ring with The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio, a lavish, oversize compendium of stories and art (scanned from the original pages) offered in stores in time for the holiday rush.

By the way, the emphasis in that title should firmly be on the word studio. For while Simon and Kirby’s art is well-represented here, editor Mark Evanier takes considerable care in highlighting stories by other artists who worked for the studio, most notably one Bill Draut, a clean-lined Milton Caniff-styled cartoonist whose work I was heretofore unaware of (other featured artists include Angelo Torres, George Tuska and Mort Meskin).

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Enjoying the anthology element of DC Digital First line

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In the past, I enjoyed checking out a periodic arc of Adventures of Superman, the DC Digital First series that ended in April 2014. What appealed to me most about the series was the rotating creative teams on these arcs, including writers like Tim Seeley, Christos Gage, Peter Milligan, as well as artists such as Mike Norton, Jock, Gabriel Rodriguez. In other words, the anthology element to the series consistently entertained me.

More recently, the anthology appeal of the the DC Digital First line really amped up in recent weeks for me. To be specific, on Nov. 27 writer Corinna Bechko, writer/artist Gabriel Hardman and colorist Jordan Boyd launched “Dig for Fire”–a three-part story starting in Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #16. Then this past Friday (Dec. 5), I was caught by surprise to learn that writer Ron Marz, artist Cully Hamner and colorist Rico Renzi teamed on a three-part Legends of the Dark Knight #80 story, “Nevermore”.

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Kind words for a quiet contributor

Copyediting marks[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Copyediting is a strange profession: If you do your job well, no one will know you did it at all. It’s when you don’t—or, more likely, when the copyeditor is eliminated—that people notice. I was reading a comic from a major publisher just the other day and encountered a glaring typo that popped me right out of the story.

As a former copyeditor myself, I was touched by Calista Brill’s post at the First Second blog about their copyeditor, Manuela Kruger, who passed away recently.

Despite never having had a conversation with her, I felt like Manuela and I were friends, communicating across the written page. Manuela would return her copyedited printouts of our books to us with a cover letter sharing her thoughts—always perceptive, and sometimes very funny—about the book she had just marked up. The notes and asides she added to her copyediting corrections often made me laugh—made me feel like I had a friend reading along with me.

There are a lot of people whose work goes into making a graphic novel see the light of day, and a lot of them are pretty invisible to the reader and even to the person who wrote or illustrated the book in the first place. But their contributions are invaluable, and it’s a very sad day when you lose one of them.

Oeming and Soma hunt monsters in ‘Sinergy’

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As origins go, Jess’ latent seer powers to see demons being triggered by losing her virginity is one of the more unforgettable opens to a first issue I have read in quiet a while. That’s exactly how co-creator/co-writer/artist Michael Avon Oeming and co-creator/co-writer/colorist Taki Soma cut to the heart of their new Image Comics/Shadowline series, Sinergy.

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A visit to Bob Montana’s hometown

Bob Montana book[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to Meredith, New Hampshire, for a quiet weekend Away From It All. I had never heard of Meredith before, but my last-minute search on Expedia turned up a little inn there that had a reasonable price and good ratings, so off we went.

I wasn’t really expecting to have any comics experiences there, other than reading the stack I brought with me, but comics just seem to follow me around. We spent a pleasant hour in a bookstore in the center of town, and as we headed for the cash register, I noticed a biography of Bob Montana, the original artist for Archie. I grabbed it and added it to the stack, and the cashier said to me, “Did you know he lived here?” I didn’t, but it turns out that he not only lived in Meredith for most of his adult life, he owned an art gallery that was just steps away from the bookstore (although according to the minutes of this January meeting of the Meredith Planning Board, it may not be there for much longer—a developer is planning to tear it down and replace it with a new structure).

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