Tag Archives: Matt Wagner

TUESDAY TOP TEN: ALL TIME FAVORITES TYLER

Nothing But Comics is about to hit our two year mark and in observance of the site’s anniversary, every Tuesday from now until we finish, one of our staff members will list off their favorite series, runs or issues of all time. This week it’s Tyler

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Tuesday Top Ten: All Time Favorites Josh

Nothing But Comics is about to hit our two year mark and in observance of the sites anniversary, every Tuesday from now until we finish, one of our staff members will list off their favorite series, runs or issues of all time. This week it’s Josh Continue reading Tuesday Top Ten: All Time Favorites Josh

Spirited Beginnings…

SpiritCassadayCover

“WHO IS… THE SPIRIT? From his eerie headquarters under Wildwood Cemetery, masked criminologist Denny Colt — believed by many to be dead — secretly fights crime as The Spirit!’ From his home in Central City to the far-flung corners of the world and beyond, The Spirit attracts the most seductive and dangerous femmes fatale and wages a neverending war against streetwise crooks, criminal master-minds and otherworldly beings… with only quick wits, sharp humour and his two gloved fists.”- Intro to the comic strips

Will Eisner was an innovator and prolific creator in the comics industry, influencing both Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman in their youth. One of his most popular creations returns to comics this week, in the form of Dynamite’s “Will Eisner’s The Spirit #1” by Matt Wagner. Here I will go over the history and significance of the Spirit…

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Indubitable Issues

LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?  

LOOK NO FURTHER.  

HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.

 
theotherbluth gets his wish with…
cA-Force #1
A while back I did a post regarding my picks for an all female “season” of Young Avengers, this book is about as close as I’ll get to seeing that dream come true, for now. This tie-in series looks like all kinds of fun, with the mightiest women of the Marvel universe teaming up for some serious heroing–that’s a verb right? A solid creative team, and a book with Shulkie, Miss America Chavez, and Medusa; need I say more?!?
 

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Will Eisner’s the Spirit #1 Review

Will Eisner's Spirit 1

by Matt Wagner, Dan Schkade

Matt Wagner resurrects Will Eisner’s famous masked crime-fighter in this issue, but does it live up to expectations? In a way, it depends on what you were expecting.

The Spirit has been missing for 2 years and is presumed dead. Commissioner Dolan is being forced into retirement and is making the best of his last days by trying to curb the crime wave due to the Spirit’s absence. His daughter, Ellen, is engaged to a mild-mannered assistant DA and the two reminisce about what the Spirit meant to them. On the other side of town, the Spirit’s former companion, Ebony White, has started a detective agency with his friend Sammy. After they finish their first (and only) assignment, Ebony decides to go after the biggest mystery that’s been under their noses all along, what happened to the Spirit?

It’s a gutsy move opening this series with the titular character appearing only briefly in a few panels and Wagner choosing to build up his supporting cast and tease out his appearance to the reader. I applaud the effort, but I don’t think it’s execution was 100% effective. We have a scene or two with Ellen and her father telling what the Spirit meant to them, but the man who spent the most time around him in costume has no flashback and barely mentions him? Surely a page or a few panels could be given to show Ebony’s connection to the Spirit, if only to justify why he’s going to devote his limited resources to finding him?

Being the Spirit’s former partner could be reason enough,which if so, that highlights another possible problem with a heavy reliance on the past. The Spirit is a character 75+ years old and this series seems to be picking up where Eisner’s run left off. We can see this with Commissioner Dolan retiring and an aged Ebony White. But the decision to put Ebony in a red outfit and drive a taxi doesn’t make much sense to people coming into this world for the first time. For those that come in with a decent background of the characters, the issue has enough Easter eggs to pique interest in the next issue.

Dan Schkade’s art style is good at imitating Will Eisner’s and makes the world of the Spirit feel like it never went away. The decision to keep the setting close to the 1940’s is probably for the best, as it allows for a throwback atmosphere. Schkade proves to be the ideal artist to render it, with a smooth cartooning look for the inhabitants of Central City .

Overall, Wagner’s first issue takes a slower and more thoughtful approach in reintroducing the Spirit. While this won’t catch immediate attention from readers, Wagner has proven himself a reliable storyteller for the classic pulp characters (The Shadow, Zorro, Green Hornet). Sure to please fans of the character, this issue is set right in the world that Will Eisner drew decades ago.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

Review of Django Zorro #1

Django Zorro 1

by Quentin Tarantino, Matt Wagner, and Esteve Polls

It is surprising to me, both that this series took so long to happen, and that Django’s “rebirth” is still having a foothold in Pop Culture.

Quentin Tarantino is a big name, probably one of the Top 5 most respected directors in Hollywood in my mind. Matt Wagner in his own way, is a creator of equal respect having worked in the comic industry for decades and turned in solid stories time after time.  In a way, these men embody Django and Zorro themselves (both breathing life into them as well).

The Story: Taking place after Django Unchained (the description calls this book the “official” sequel, but we’ll see how long that lasts), Django is still bounty-hunting.  It is the closing days of the Old West, modern civilization seems right around the corner. Out in the desert,  he meets (the aged) Don Diego De La Vega who gladly offers him a ride into town. After stopping to dispatch a gang of bandits, Don Diego hires Django as his body guard for a mission, which Django accepts after receiving gold. In town, Don Deigo’s flamboyant clothes draw attention from roughnecks, which forces him to defend himself against the men and leave a familiar calling card behind. The pair leave the town,  heading to meet the Archduke of Arizona.

The Art: Is somewhat stiff during the action sequences. During the dialogue, posture and expression are done well enough but Esteve Polls draws a rolling Django somewhat flat.  Proportion, Scale, and Perspective are without fault though, and these are problems I see  more often from mainstream artists. For physical resemblance, Django bores more or less Jamie Foxx’s facial features. Since no colorist is listed, I assume Polls also did that as well as the pencils and ink. The colors I found much more striking in the second half of the book, with dramatic reds and blacks during a brief fight scene. The entire book carries a grit to it, a necessity with any Western comic book. Everything feels dirty in the right way, except for the Dandy Don De La Vega.

This was a well-done Western, but showcased more of Django than Zorro (who has not appeared yet). This is a problem with team-up books, with two characters there is a difficult balance that is desired for both characters to shine. Hopefully we see that in the coming issues. One other problem I had was the lack of harshness. Django Unchained was a hard R movie, and I don’t expect that in a typical Dynamite book; but it felt like kid gloves were used in dealing with his history and depiction. Part of Django’s appeal is him subverting or outright breaking the social norms he is in, with them gone he becomes less of an icon and just an gunslinger who happens to be African-American. Besides those and some stiff art in places, “Django Zorro #1” is an entertaining read for fans of either character, and has the makings of a memorable Western adventure.

 Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent

Review of Grendel vs The Shadow #1

Grendel vs The Shadow 1
Matt Wagner

Grendel vs The Shadow #1 by Matt Wagner

This week, Matt Wagner merges the past and present of his career in one book. First he returns to his signature creation, Grendel. Since his debut in 1983, Grendel has assumed many identities, yet, the most recognizable remains the original: Hunter Rose. More recently, Wagner has been working on some of Dynamite’s pulp titles (his Zorro series in particular is worth reading). Last year, saw the launch of his Shadow: Year One title. Thus, Wagner comes to this book possessing a familiarity with both characters.

Wagner skips through the set up fairly quickly. Rose is a rich, successful author, who also pursues a secret life of crime. When we first meet him, he is hearing out two treasure hunters who have uncovered a rare mystical object. After the men have departed, Rose inadvertently unleashes the object’s powers, transporting him back in time to the early 1930s. After a brief moment of initial shock, Rose, adjusts fairly easily to his new circumstances. This change of eras does not frightened him; in fact it invigorates him. At the end of the day, the Grendel identity is not about gaining new wealth, but the thrill that comes with criminal activity—the sport of it, if you will. Soon, Grendel is leaping from rooftops embracing the challenge of conquering a whole new era.

This almost gleeful exuberance is a fitting contrast to the somber, single-minded nature of The Shadow. Lamont Cranston is a humorless shell of an individual, existing only as much as is necessary for furthering the anti-crime campaign of The Shadow. The Shadow is driven by a sense of duty, which trumps all other concerns. His primary method is the use of force to overpower the enemy. For his part, Grendel shares The Shadow’s brutality, yet at the same time, often displays a certain elegance. They are both ruthless individuals with very different outlooks on life.

As is to be expected, Wagner’s art is stellar throughout. His page layouts are stylish, while his action sequences are dynamic. Taken as a whole, this series is off to an exciting start.

Cheers.