Favorite Book: Cryptonomicon
Favorite Movie: Young Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything: Monty Python
Every once in a while, an idea comes around that is perfect. This is one of those times. Sledgehammer 44 asks the important questions like: what if the Allies had invented Iron Man during WWII instead of Captain America? Mike Mignola (the man who brought us Hellboy, Lobster Johnson, and The Amazing Screw-On Head) and John Arcudi (writer of The Mask, B.P.R.D., and Barb Wire) do an incredible job of answering the question. Spoiler: It’s awesome. It is worth noting that this is not a comedy. While both of these creators have a history of blending large doses of humor into their work, Sledgehammer is a more sober look at the effect that sci-fi soldiers would have on a war.
At its core, No Place Like Home is a reimaging of L. Frank Baum’s Oz, but this isn’t a “dark and gritty” reboot. It is most definitely dark, but not in the now standard way that many, many comics, movies, and video games are. The direction that NPLH goes is different. This is not the story of Dorothy Gale (I just got that.) as she is whisked off to a magical wonderland. This is the story of Dee as she returns home to Emeraldsville, Kansas, to deal with her parents' death in a freak tornado. Things in town go from bad to horror-movie pretty quickly, and Dee finds herself trapped between a mysterious killer and a town-wide conspiracy. There are countless allusions and nods to The Wizard of Oz, from major plot points to single panel sight gags. The references are very well done and add a layer of “I see what you did there” to the story.
Lost Vegas is the new comic from Jim McCann and Janet Lee, who won the 2011 Eisner for new graphic novel. This comic book takes place in the most bleak and miserable setting I can imagine, a futuristic space casino. Here, everything is within reach, and you can experience the ultimate in entertainment, if you are a guest and not one of the hundreds of indentured servants that make up the staff.
Ex-Heroes, the new novel by Peter Clines, is a new and fascinating zombie story. The twist here is that there are also superheroes helping to fight the undead. What impressed me the most about this blend is how well done it was. The superheroes are better able to handle the shambling horde, but they are not immune, and occasionally they are less help than an armed civilian. The story that emerges takes its cues from comics and horror, without losing track of what makes either of them succeed.
The second Doctor and companions find themselves in a space bazaar, where danger and bargains lurk around every corner. I have to confess that I am not familiar with much Doctor Who before Christopher Eccleston’s run. So, I do miss some of the character history and backstory. For example, I have no idea who the companions are, and it is a testament to the talented writers that I felt like I knew them. Now, there are a few references for newbies like me, so don’t feel like you need to know everything about every incarnation of The Doctor to enjoy yourself.
The best stories all have one thing in common (besides Nicholas Sparks), even when they try to tell big stories: they focus on the characters. Babble clearly learned this lesson. Even when the story is approaching apocalyptic proportions, it keeps its focus on the people involved. Babble follows Carrie Hartnoll as she and her complicated relationship with a former professor investigate the power of languages. Predictably, things go bad in more ways than you expect.
Right now, Mind MGMT is my favorite comic book. I have, with almost no warning, been sucked into the intrigue and mystery. For those of you who haven’t been following this comic, here is some light backstory. A young writer named Meru is dragged into a psychic conspiracy involving agents from the dismantled government agency, Mind Management. Her guide to this shadow war is a former agent with “flexible” morality named Harry Lyme. Backstory covered, let’s discuss the comic. It is fantastic.
Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics! In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to take a moment to stop and smell the roses. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their very personal "Love Letters" with our readers, addressed to the ones that they adore the most.
Dear Monty Python,
Thank you for the best comedy that I have ever seen. I can (and will) rave about all the movies and the albums and the books, but Monty Python’s Flying Circus is that rare breed of thing eclipses everything that came before and everything that follows. It’s . . .
Dear Monty Python,
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life falsely convicts you of the brutal murder of several children, lemonade ain't gonna cut it. Todd, the ugly protagonist of Perker and Kristensen’s hilarious comic book, navigates the labyrinthine system of prison life with a positive outlook that would put that lemonade to shame.
Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman is a big, weird comic book that defies description. The basic plot is pretty straightforward. Bigfoot is a prisoner on Mars, and his buddy has a vague lead on a legendary gem. Bigfoot doesn’t speak and the buddy doesn’t stop speaking. Also, there are giant moth-vampires. And, a big flame that the moth-vampires are drawn to. So, yes, this is an odd comic book.