Apr 032015

Like a lot of comics fans of my generation, I was a huge fan
of writer/artist Jim Steranko’s legendary run on Nick Fury, Agent of
S.H.I.E.L.D., first in STRANGE TALES and then in Fury’s own comic book. The
issues-long battle between Fury and the villainous Yellow Claw was probably the
high point of the STRANGE TALES run. I thought it was great stuff. But I had no
idea at the time that it

Feb 272015

This graphic novel came out in 2013, but I’d never heard of
it until I came across a copy at Half Price Books and was intrigued by the look
of it. It reminded me a lot of some of the adventure novels I read as a kid,
books that were called juveniles then. I don’t know what they’re called now.
Judging by the acknowledgments, it was a Kickstarter project. It certainly
reads like a labor of

Jan 072015

This hardback collection reprints a mini-series published in
2009 and 2010, a short time before I started reading comics again, but somehow
I’d never heard of it until I came across a copy at the Half Price Books in
Corpus Christi last summer. It’s written by one of my favorite modern comics
authors, Ed Brubaker, and drawn by one of the best artists, Steve Epting. Since
those two were

Nov 102014

I’ve always liked a good post-apocalyptic yarn, and Chuck
Dixon and Jorge Zaffino’s WINTERWORLD is a very good one indeed. Somehow I
missed the original three-issue mini-series when it was published by Eclipse
Comics back in 1988, but it’s been reprinted in a hardback edition by IDW,
which as a bonus also includes the two-part sequel “Wintersea”, also
by Dixon and Zaffino, which has never

Oct 092014

I remember quite well reading the issue of THE INCREDIBLE
HULK in which Wolverine made his debut, and I was there when the X-Men were
relaunched with him as a member. So I’ve known the character for a long time
and generally enjoyed reading about him. I haven’t really kept up with him in
recent years, though, other than seeing him played well by Hugh Jackman in
various movies.

Not long ago,

Aug 242014

Lord William Corrington, the second baron of Corrington and Knight of Christ is a warrior in the Holy Lands at the time of the First Crusade. Tired and disillusioned by years of war, William journeys home to his manor and village along with his squire, Pilsen, only to find the fields and hovels empty and his wife and children gone.

A Dominican friar named Henri DuChamps is the only soul

Aug 182014

Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel adaptations of Donald E.
Westlake’s Parker novels continue with SLAYGROUND. I actually haven’t read all
of the Parker novels (I know, I know, I should have by now), but I have read
this one and remember enjoying it very much. It’s the one in which Parker,
after a botched armored car robbery, is trapped by gangsters and crooked cops
in a deserted amusement park

Jun 122014

Let me start out by saying that I’m not overly fond of the
manga format, especially for graphic novels that weren’t published in Japan to
start with. Doing a story that way strikes me as being almost as pretentious as
not using quotation marks in fiction.

That said, I can get used to it once I start reading, and as a result, ARKHAM
WOODS turns out to be fairly entertaining.

This graphic

Apr 112014

The Modesty Blaise series started as a British comic strip
written by Peter O’Donnell and drawn by Jim Holdaway. But I didn’t know that
when I discovered the Modesty Blaise novels, also written by O’Donnell, in the
mid-Sixties. All I knew was that they were marketed as secret agent adventures
(which they really aren’t) and had sexy covers, which meant that whenever I
came across one of them I

Nov 292013
Joe Kubert is one of the first comic book artists I remember becoming aware of because of his distinctive style. Even before I became a comics collector (Christmas Day, 1963, almost fifty years ago), I read assorted comics, including some issues of OUR ARMY AT WAR, so I must have seen his work early on. Within a few years I was a regular reader of his Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace stories, although it would be a while before I discovered his earlier superhero work. Kubert kept writing and drawing for many, many years and became one of the first creators to produce original graphic novels.

I’d never heard of this 2005 graphic novel until I came across a copy of it recently. JEW GANGSTER, written and drawn by Kubert, is exactly what it says: the story of a young man, Reuben “Ruby” Kaplan, growing up in Brooklyn during the Depression, who falls in with some of the local mobsters and is torn between ambition and greed on one hand and his family and his own moral code on the other.

It’s an excellent, fast-paced, noirish story that ultimately doesn’t render any judgments. Kubert’s black-and-white art is as stylish and effective as ever, with plenty of powerful images including a series of drawings depicting life in Depression-era Brooklyn that serve as chapter breaks.

If you’re interested in crime fiction or in some fine work by a comics legend (and I fall into both of those categories), you should definitely check out JEW GANGSTER. It’s well worth reading.