Who needs San Diego Comic Con and a working PlayStation 3 when you’ve got the Kids Read Comics! convention?
I was right about one thing in my post last week: I spent way more at KRC than I did at Motor City Comic Con this year. There was just so much cool stuff. And while it was a little too warm to spend all day Sunday on the porch with my stack of goodies, I did have a nice evening out there and got through many of the books I bought.
So here are a couple tidbits of info I got, plus reviews of what I’ve read so far from my haul.
I talked to local writer Rob Worley, who said his “Scratch 9″ anthology is targeted for early next year. It’s a collection of stories about each of Scratch’s nine lives. Several are in the can, and a few are awaiting art. Can’t wait!
I also pestered Chris Houghton for information on the project that’s putting “Reed Gunther” on temporary (I hope) hiatus. He wasn’t budging. Neither was his dad. But he did say the next arc for “Reed Gunther” has been written, so when they do return, they can hit the ground running.
Michigander Dan Mishkin (“Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld,” “Blue Devil”) is great to talk to. If you haven’t read his interview at Comic Book Resources, you should. DC is bringing both characters into the DCnU fold. And while I’m particularly glad to see Amethyst back, I agree with him on how they’re doing it. What made the character strong and interesting were her youth and stable background. But everything has to be tweaked in the DCnU, and this take certainly sounds better than when they made her go evil in her latter DCU appearances. And c’mon, DC. Let’s get a color collection.
Now, on to the books. Starting with some not mentioned in my earlier post.
There’s something about the comic convention experience that makes me looser with my wallet. Books I’ve passed over in the store get a second chance and often a purchase. Case in point: “Apooka, the World’s Most Adorable Zombie.” Artist Mike Roll was there (writer Jon Hickey was not). I thumbed through, read a bit and bought all three books in the series. She’s so cute! Roll’s broad brush art and subtle coloring are the perfect complement to Hickey’s words and absurd situations. Apooka wants to be friends, but she’s no Casper. Yet you still think, “Isn’t that cute,” as she’s eating someone’s brains. And those poor humans holed up in the mall. With friends like Apooka …
“The Brothers Grant Go for a Jog” by Chris and Ginger Ludden was a fun read, too. It collects the first year of their webcomic. It’s about two brothers, one a bounty hunter and the other a writer (and gamer) struggling with his second novel. New strips start in August. There are a lot of elements being juggled, so I look forward to seeing how they come together. Chris Ludden was great to talk to. Mine was his first purchase of the day, and he was so enthusiastic that I actually wanted to read a hard copy. Hey, I’m old school. And if I like a webcomic, and there’s a hard copy, I like to support the creator.
I also picked up the first two issues of “Rocket Robinson and the Pharaoh’s Fortune” by Sean O’Neill. The two issues collect the first two chapters of O’Neill’s webcomic, which is currently on Chapter 7. I will definitely be taking time to catch up. It’s a fun, classic adventure about a boy who moves to Cairo in the ’30s with his father and gets caught up in a pulp-style mystery about a lost tomb. With his monkey, Screech, and new friend, Nuri, he gets chased through the streets of Cairo and, well, I don’t know what else because I haven’t read chapter 3 yet, but I’m sure it’s exciting.
I also picked up the full line of Tom Stilwell’s Spinner Rack Comics: “Honor Brigade” and two “Toy Boy” specials. What a hoot! I love Toy Boy and would buy a regular solo series. “Honor Brigade” was fine, too, but Toy Boy really stood out. That’s probably why he got his own books. He’s a former thief who winds up fighting for the side of good. He’s got an interesting backstory and a great arsenal of toys. His jester costume is just this side of over the top, and he’s got lots of great one-liners. The “Honor Brigade” collection features plenty of strong writing, too. (The art by Bradley Bowers is great from a storytelling standpoint, with a fine flow, but the anatomy is often a bit off and kind of stiff.) Stilwell impressively weaves in character origins as the story is moving, doling out bits of background information to form some real characters in a six short issues. The first issue of a second story arc was also available, an alien invasion story with some fun touches. It skews a bit older on the all-ages scale, but it is a strong book.
James Anderson’s “Ellie on Planet X” didn’t disappoint. He had a short collection available, and I fell in love with the little girl robot as she made her way across a newly discovered planet. I’m not usually big on the combination of turquoise and orange, but Anderson totally makes it work in his delightful webcomic — another one I’ll be spending time on to catch up. When I stopped reading before the show, Ellie had found some bacteria in a puddle of water. But she quickly finds there’s much more to the planet, and what follows is a quirky exploration that will induce smiles and giggles, plus a few head tilts. It’s a cute, breezy strip. And with their similar sense of the absurd, I’d love to see an “Ellie” and “Apooka” crossover.
Still on my nightstand: “Little Guardians,” “The Intrepid Girlbot” and the big collection “Reading With Pictures.” So more reviews to come!