Jason Aaron: Explained!

Jason Aaron, the talented comics writer responsible for titles like “Scalped” and “Ghost Rider,” posted this video on his blog today. In a strange way, I think the fact that Aaron both knew where to locate this video and shared it somehow begins to explain the insane awesomeness of his comics. Watch this, go read his first “Ghost Rider” arc and I think you’ll see what I mean.
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Reaction-length comic book reviews!

Last week’s “Few Line Reviews” didn’t quite make three pages but I have a butt-ton of new reviews to this week’s (5/13/2009) comics right here.

There’s a few more books I intend to read this week, but I likely won’t have tome for quick hit reviews like this, so please enjoy these and keep checking EoP for more groovy posts!
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Catching up on comics: late July’s best of the bunch!

Hey Folks! I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a week’s vacation (Hey, it’s summer! I gotta get some fun in the sun in some time!), which led to much relaxing and quite a bit of catching up on comics. I managed to pound through all the books from the last two weeks of July that had been piling up on my desk, so I figured I’d drop my top recommendations from the past half month now that I’m caught up (ok, ok…I’m actually still a week behind after missing last week, but give me a break and just read the recs!)…

Ambush Bug: Year None #1 (of 6)
It’s Keith Giffen—have I mentioned I’m a big Keith Giffen fan? No? Well, I’m a big Keith Giffen fan!—and it’s some good, irreverent fun, with some snazzy, old school interiors to boot!

Joker’s Asylum: Scarecrow
Wicked cool interiors from Juan Doe alongside a classic slumber party horror scenario make for a classic and spooky look into the Bat-rogue’s world. With this issue added to Jason Aaron’s Penguin story and J.T. Krul’s Poison Ivy tale, this series is doing justice to the one of the main things that make the Dark Knight one of comics’ top sellers: his villains!

The Exterminators #30
This book has been one of my favorite reads for a while and it’s conclusion two weeks ago was amazingly bittersweet: I’m bitter because I want more, but man, what an ending! If you haven’t checked out the story about city pest control bad asses and their battle against a killer swarm of bugs bent on bringing back an evil Egyptian insect god, now you can go scrounge up all 30 issues and indulge! Get on it!

Blue Beetle #29
Jaime Reyes is hands down my favorite character in the DCU, so I was super pleased to see his book pick up again with a larger storyline after Will Pfeiffer’s one-shots (they were fun, but one-shots…not much gravitas). Now, if you read the cover, you might have expected not only the return of the radical Rafael Albuquerque on art, but also writer John Rogers (the man responsible for The Reach story in BB, known for its massive amounts of pure awesomeness), and if you didn’t read the internal credits you would never have guessed the series has a new full-time scribe in Matthew Sturges. Take the one-shots out of the picture and it easily could have been mistaken for a continuation of Roger’s run—and that’s a distinctly good thing!

The book’s definitely got a new voice on the insectoid-monnikered hero with Sturges, but one so inline with everything that Rogers did that I’m really excited to see where Sturges takes things. He’s already got the most important part—the characters—down, so I’m psyched for the rest of his stories.

The bottom line: if you haven’t read Blue Beetle before, there’s no better time to start enjoying the adventures of El Paso’s superhéroe numero uno (but seriously, go back and read everything from issue #1 onward if you have the time and funds—you won’t be sorry)!

Teen Titans #61
It’s a Blue Beetle and Kid Devil-centric issue (more importantly Blue Beetle, read above), need I say more?!

Ok, Sean McKeever’s got a good handle on this team. It may not be the coolest incarnation or the most-seminal run ever, but it’s darn fun and it’s got my boy in blue rockin’ alongside Robin here and there, so you know I’m in!

Black Panther #39
One of my favorite writers, Jason Aaron, takes the reigns on the king of Wakanda’s book for a three issue tie-in to Secret Invasion.
And. It’s. AWESOME!
It’s war epic meets superhero story mashed together with a classic sci-fi alien invasion, and it features plenty of Skrull decapitation, so yeah…awesome!
(I chatted with Jason recently—mostly about Wolverine: Manifest Destiny but a smidge about BP‘s SI tie-in—so check that out here if you feel so inclined!)

Skaar: Son of Hulk #2
If you saw my review of Skaar #1 then you not only know that I am a huge fan of Greg Pak’s Hulk work, but also loved issue #1 of the third part in his big, green epic! Issue #2 just keeps things rolling on what is set to be one of my favorite weekly reads for a long time coming!

I also really enjoyed Fantastic Four: True Story and Immortal Iron Fist #17, but you can read more about my thoughts on those books here (FF) and here (Iron Fist)!

Well, that’s it for this round of “Best of the Bunch!” Hope those recommendations help out a few of you readers in need of some comicky goodness!


Hey, I met Jason Aaron!

So, if you’ve been reading the blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of many of the Kansas City-based creators in the comics world. The ranks of KC talent who’s books I’m madly in love with include Jason Aaron, B. Clay Moore, Tony Moore and Matt Fraction as well as the up-and-coming Seth Peck—who co-writes the Image book ’76 with Clay—and who I’m becoming more and more a fan of with each issue.

Why do I dig this KC Collective so much? Ever since my college days in Columbia, MO (a little over a 2-hour jaunt from KC) when I realized half the books I was digging were written by guys a short car trip away not deep in the urban jungle of New York or across the pond, well, it just felt kinda cool to know I was reading stuff by “local” talent.

I did an article on Midwestern Comic Talent back then where I talked with Clay, Jason and Matt and I’ve since talked to Jason about his current runs on Wolverine and Ghost Rider, but I’ve never met him in person. So, knowing he was going to be at NYCC, I made a note to seek him out.

Andy Serwin and I were both talking about how much we love Jason’s Vertigo series Scalped not to mention the Wolvie and Ghost Rider issues he’s done so far, and were kicking around the idea of approaching Jason to do a blog on WU….

…Quick aside…here’s a picture of sexy/deadly, naked Mystique by Ron Garney from Jason’s current Wolverine arc…yeah, it’s a freakin’ awesome book!…

…anyway, I sought out Jason on the show floor yesterday evening and found him camping out at buddy Tony Moore’s booth taking a break after a long day of Con action and finally got to shake the hand of Mr. Aaron. Yes, one of the same hands that typed Scalped! I know that’s extremely nerdy to say, but getting to meet a writer who’s work you really enjoy and admire—especially as a writer myself—well, its pretty darn cool!

I didn’t pester the man too long as it’d been a long day whether you were a writer sitting in on panels or an editor reading/editing/posting stories about panels (Seriously, did you see how many stories we put up yesterday?! Go check it out!) and I’m not guaranteeing anything by any means, but based on the convo I’m optimistic we’ll work out some very cool stuff coming up in the future on the site that will involve Mr. Aaron. So—again no guarantees, but—stay tuned!

And while the above is cool, I guess the main point of this post is just to say that I still totally nerd out about meeting some of these guys and I absolutely hope that never changes no matter how long I’m in this comics journalism game. I mean, if you can’t still get psyched to meet the minds behind your favorite books, what’s the point?! Glad I still do!


Quite a bunch of good books this week, let’s pick through’em!

I like Wednesdays that surprise me.

Every week I usually have my picks: my best guesses at what books are going to get me giddy. Most times, I’m right on the money and the first books I’m grabbing are the books that keep me talking all week. Great as those reads may be, having your perennial favorites be top picks gets a little predictable.

Then, there’s those other weeks that come along when books A, B and C seem like the most exciting, but X, Y and Z end up making the week memorable. It’s that type of freshness added to my reading list here and there that keeps me coming back for something new.

But the best weeks, by far, are the ones where the books I’ve guessed would be good turn out great and the leaps I’ve taken with other books aren’t let-downs but really enriched my weekly reading.

And with that long explanatory preface over, this week was one of the best kinds where the no-brainers and favorites definitely delivered along with the leaps.

The top “no-brainer” of the week has got to be Logan. I feel like saying, “I shouldn’t even have to explain why Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso working on a Wolverine book is awesome,” actually insults your intelligence as readers, but if you need telling, check out what this week’s QB crew had to say about this “Book of the Week.” Quick related side-note: I love referring to a last page cliffhanger by saying, “Holy crap, the last page dropped a bomb!” And this book dropped the bomb, calling out “Little Boy” on the page…

Freakin’ awesome!

Another book this week I could rattle on all day about is Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s Scalped, but Andy Serwin already took care of that for me, so check his blog to hear why you need to be reading this book. Trust me, grab the first two trades, give’em a read and you will wonder how you’ve been getting by as a comics reader without out.

Now, the “no-brainer” for most that really was a leap for me was this week’s Green Lantern. I was editing columnist Jamie Dunst’s Corps Curriculum roundup—which, as a guy who’s never read much Green Lantern, reads like an update about the denizens of the Mos Eisley Cantina to someone who’s never seen Star Wars with all the alien names being bandied about—and got so freakin’ excited after Laira became a Red Lantern that I think I became a Lantern fan on the spot! Seriously, I read that panel and I could just see the splash page down the line with a rainbow of warriors from different factions meeting on an intergalactic battlefield for a crazier and more colorful Hobbit-esque “Battle of Six Armies!”

Another book I gave a read after editing some related stories was Image’s Dead Space. After giving the ol’ edit to Kevin Mahadeo’s interviews with the writer Antony Johnston and artist Ben Templesmith, I thought, “I like Johnston’s Wasteland and I dig Templesmith’s art on Fell, I’ll give this a shot.” While most versions of video games in other forms of media haven’t been great successes, this book really drew me in and had me itching for more issues and a shot at the game, so much so that I snuck into Thursday Morning Quarterback and tacked that very statement onto the end of the Extra Points section (Ok, ok, I didn’t so much “sneak” as I said, “Hey Andy, did you give Dead Space an Extra Point, cuz I dug that book, man.” He said “no” but I could, to which I said, “I’m doing it!”)! I think I’m most excited for the next issue because while this one didn’t have mass amounts of alien assault or monster mayhem, it was a really creepy laying-out of the story that shows all the little pieces that will inevitably lead to the type of clusterf— that lead to a video game about a guy alone on a monster-filled space station. Plus, eerie ghost scenes like this are just intriguing for a big sci-fi fan like me that loves cross-genre stories…

Now, I’ve got to call out Halloween: Night Dance. As I’ve said in other posts, “Halloween” is my favorite horror franchise and I think that’s because it’s not just gore for gore’s sake, it’s always had a very creepy psychological aspect to it and it took place in a small Illinois town that, being from the outer suburbs of Chicago, I could always look at and go, “Wow, that could be my town!” Plus, that setting always made me a little nostalgic for Halloween night back when I was in High School. Anyway, after editing TJ Dietsch’s interview with writer Stefan Hutchinson—I read and edit a cool story, I like to check out the book and that happened a lot this week—I grabbed last month’s first issue and this week’s #2…

Between the ever unraveling mystery of Lisa with her nightmares and the creepy drawings she keeps getting from a young neighbor kid, the plight of the out-of-towner who’s been hospitalized after hitting a young woman fleeing Michael Myers with his car and seen his wife skewered, things are pretty nuts in this comic…and I like it! The inner monologue keeps changing so reader’s get all of Lisa’s anxiety, all the craziness of Mr. Denial-about-his-wife’s-murder as he contemplates how to rescue his love that readers know is long gone and the terrified thoughts of each new victim, the book builds to that frantic, breakneck thought process of being chased by a silent, sadistic unstoppable killer that the classic “Halloween” movies instilled in viewers.

On top of that, Tim Seeley’s art and the colors by Elizabeth John and Courtney Via are so spot on for fall in the Midwest that as I read the carnival scene in issue #2, I actually got the smell of burning leaves and that rush of first brisk breeze and thought about going to grab a sweater. Great stuff!

That’s this week’s best of the bunch for me! Next week, more comics will be read and more bunches of books highlighted, but keep checking in to The Loudest Monkey all week for more comic talk and feel free to leave me comments over at the my blog’s official thread on the Wizard Universe Message Boards or shoot me an email. Till later on, monkey-lovers!