And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERN LOST ARMY 2

GLLA2Image © DC Comics

The storyline in this series is a cross between the episodic — a group of Green Lanterns lost and wandering, encountering hostiles and fighting them — and the larger story of the Green Lanterns and their world — the role of Krona among them, the mystery of the power source they find, and in the final reveal, a larger connection to the past. It’s not bad, but what really caught my attention this time is the excellent art by Jesus Saiz, and the even more impressive coloring…apparently also by Jesus Saiz, since there is no separate colorist credit. Saiz does an amazing job of capturing dramatic lighting and subtle shapes within the lines that one usually only sees on covers. Exceptional work.

Recommended.

Pulled From My Files #34: BIG Lettering

BigLetters1When comics lettering was all done by hand, most of it was rather small, with the average letter being about 1/8th inch high. Sometimes the script called for much bigger lettering for a particular character who was either very large himself, or meant to be scary or impressive. Here’s an example from SUPREME, I don’t know the issue. Larger letters like this allowed me to get more calligraphic, this style is my version of Blackletter. Continue reading

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 25

AC25Image © Juke Box Productions

Amanda Hammacher seems to be lucky in all things. Her mother was the super-heroine Hummingbird, and now Amanda has taken on that role as the new Hummingbird. She has a wonderful life, and many girlfriends, both her own age and her mother’s, but something is wrong. Amanda’s body is changing in unexpected ways, and that requires a trip back to the hidden city in Peru where, as a baby, Amanda was given gifts of power, but also a curse.

This is sort of a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, though the character doesn’t sleep. In some ways, she has sleep-walked through her childhood, and only awakened to the threat of her enemy as an adult. The guest art by Jesús Merino is excellent, and the writing is too, as always. A tale of girl power.

Recommended

And Then I Read: DOCTOR FATE #2

DrFate2Image © DC Comics, Inc.

Writer Paul Levitz and artist Sonny Liew are doing a great job of making fresh, fun super-hero comics in this title. Khalid Nassour is the reluctant recipient of the helmet of Fate, and spends much of this issue being harried and bullied by the helmet, the spirit of an ancient Egyptian priest, Nabu, who insists he’s just the right person to wear the magic helm he doesn’t want, and the evil spirit dogs of Bastet, who wants the helm and Khalid’s death. Reluctantly, Khalid takes on the power of Fate to save his father, and attempt to deal with the crashing plane seen on the cover. Meanwhile, Khalid’s girlfriend wants him to get back to his studies, and his mother could use some help and support, too. I like the art very much, it still reminds me of Ba and Moon, but that’s not a bad thing. Liew’s characters are wonderfully expressive and emotional, Khalid seems very vulnerable yet equally powerful when he must be. Even the page layouts and staging are appealing. This is quickly becoming my favorite DC comic.

Recommended

And Then I Read: BRAVO FOR ADVENTURE by Alex Toth

BravoForAdventureImage © Alex Toth estate

The only thing wrong with this handsome, oversized hardcover is that it’s not thicker. Imagine Errol Flynn as a reckless but talented stunt pilot working for a film company in the 1930s, and you have the main character, Jesse Bravo. Jesse has lots of pilot pals, and one rival, Bo Bannon, who has captured the lead role in an upcoming plane picture. Jesse agrees to do stunt work on the film, and has a run-in with Vivi Powell, the daughter of the director and Bo’s girlfriend that has sparks flying. Meanwhile, a gangster and his gang are after Bo for welching on some bad debts, and are headed to the film shoot, as are Jesse, his fellow pilots, and Vivi. The plot threads collide in a glorious and gory action thriller that is every bit as entertaining as the films they look back to.

Alex Toth’s writing on this story is excellent, and so is his art. That’s no surprise, but Toth went through a process of simplification throughout his career, and to my eye, this book done in the mid 1970s catches Toth at the perfect balance between the more detailed work of his earlier career and the very sparse and simple work of later. I can’t think of any other Toth work I’ve enjoyed looking at more.

As to why there weren’t more Bravo adventures, it’s the usual story of bad business decisions, bad timing (this could have been as popular as Dave Stevens’ “Rocketeer” a decade or two later I think), and perhaps Toth’s own haphazard approach to his work. He talked of more, and teased with sketches and samples for years, but nothing was ever finished. Too bad.

We can certainly enjoy and celebrate what we do have, and I encourage you to do so. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!