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HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.Tyler’s Recommendations: 8House: Arclight #2
“You may already know that some of us here at NBC! love the work of Brandon Graham. With8House: Arclight, Marion Churchland joins Graham to tell the first story in a series of comics taking place in the same fantastical world. If you enjoy fantasy and adventure stories, you should give this book a try. Full of gorgeous artwork, mysterious characters, and magical beings; from the creative mind behind the reimagined Prophet, 8House: Arclight deserves place on your pull list.”
Comics & Hip-Hop culture’s ties run pretty deep. Many of the same rappers that defined the medium in what’s often refered to as the golden age grew up reading Spiderman, Star Wars & X-Men books off the bodega spinner racks in cities all over the northeast while vibing out to early Def Jam artists like Run DMC, Public Enemy, LL Cool J & Slick Rick. Rapper Esoteric comes from that generation and comics iconography has had a profound influence on his music for the entirety of his career. Coming up with DJ 7L under the group name 7L & Esoteric, the group arrived on the hip hop scene in 1996 with the b-side single Secret Wars that paid homage Marvel Comics & the breakout hit Be Alert that sampled the Transformers TV theme. Whether with his long time DJ as 7L & Esoteric or in one of the many expanded crews like Demigods or Army Of Pharaohs, Esoteric’s music has continued to be informed by comics mythology. In 2013, Esoteric teamed with 7L and legendary Wu-Tang wordsmith Inspectah Deck to form the group Czarface. After exceeding expectations on their debut album the trio has returned with the vibrant follow up, Every Hero Needs A Villian, which came out on Tuesday.
Every Hero is one of the most comic’s centric & straight up east coast boom bap rap albums in years. It doesn’t make songs about comics that we’ve already read, it uses comics idea’s and concepts to make classic blue collar, punch you in the face and snatch your chain east coast hip hop. It’s the type of album that evokes the feeling of running from the police while referencing Cyclops. In addition to the music, rapper Esoteric wrote his first comic book to go with the album which reads like Jack Kirby had he been brought up on Wu-Tang Clan. Below Esoteric & I talk about how comics influenced his raps, the brand new Czarface album, what he’s currently reading & making pro wrestling move’s comparable to Marvel superhero’s for role playing purposes. Continue reading An Interview With Esoteric of Czarface
IDW’s Transformers vs GI Joe continues to be a fun romp extending the wild space cowboy by way of Jack Kirby narrative established by past issue’s while exponentially expanding on the scope of laws of it’s universe. Issue #2 is extra fun as it switched up the narrative of both what we’ve seen in the book past as well as these properties where the Joe’s end up on Cybertron while sticking to the script where all hell breaks lose. It’s an interesting three way conflict being created where the Joe’s, Autobots and Decepticon’s are all fighting each other with varying motivations. Scioli’s art rocks as it continues to bring all of that to vibrant life in his own style which is part hyper detailed, part super cartoony and part super goofy in all the right ways. His Kirbyesqye visual narrative is as fun and dynamic here as his best past work like Godland & American Barbarian while you can just feel the fun he’s having in drawing all these larger then life characters and worlds. It’s kind of unbelievable that this is what we are getting out of comic about two properties from toy companies fighting each other but I seriously wish that it could go on forever. When so much of corporate comics is this very cynical sell you anything to get money or this stock post Watchmen edgy/brooding nonsense to have a series like this feels so refreshing and exciting. Transformers vs GI Joe didn’t have to be anything as it’s title pretty sells it to it’s highest potential but they went and made it as cool as possible anyway and that is beautiful thing.
As a kid I would play with my Transformers and G. I. Joe toys, imagining an epic adventure in which the two toy franchises would combine (along with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) to save the world. Snake Eyes and Optimus Prime would work together to stop Skeletor… well, I’m digressing, but my point is that I had a lot of fun imagining the joint adventures of these characters, unrestricted by the constraints of story continuity and free to craft raw, creative adventures that could only come from the mind of a child.
The first issue of IDW’s Tranformers vs. G. I. Joe reminded me of those fun childhood fantasies. Artist and writer Tom Scioli (with co-writer John Barber) creates a dynamic, distinctive vision for the adventures of these two popular toy franchises. The comic book is unlike any other licensed toy comic you have ever read. Scioli’s unique art (clearly influenced by Jack Kirby’s art style) channels pure imagination onto the comics page, throwing idea after idea at the reader. The Joe’s believe that they have finally destroyed the enemy terrorist organization Cobra, but a new, mysterious Cobra leader hides in the shadows. The Joe’s attempt a peaceful first contact with the aliens from the planet Cybertron, but unfortunately the team has to negotiate with Decepticons. And then things get wild when Snake Eyes decides to get involved…
Transformers vs. G. I. Joe #1 is a fabulous, fast, fun first issue that finally gives readers the wild adventures that they always knew were possible with a G.I. Joe/Transformers mash-up. The only fault that I found with the issue was that it didn’t have Skeletor in it, but nothing is perfect.
Tom Scioli has been a hero on the alt comix scene for the last few years with his highly influential self published Satans Soldiers, Final Frontier & American Barbarian along with the his Image Series Godland with Joe Casey. His style is pure Jack Kirby pastiche in the best way possible with concepts and execution that looks right at home with comics of the mid to late 1970’s. Editor and co-writer John Barber has made clear that this comic is all Scioli as he’s essentially there to shepherd the comic into existence without offending Hasbro too much. As such Transformers vs GI Joe is as Tom Scioliesque as you are going to get from direct market comic in the best way possible as he’s able to apply his sensibilities and style from his self published work on a comic that’s a crossover of intellectual property from a toy company. Which is to say this comic is like 100% ass kicking fun from start to finish as we see the GI Joes take on Cobra while Decepticons hunt down the Autobots in hopes of universal dominance all in Scioli’s style that’s essentially a modern application of what Kirby did on his fourth world work with DC which essentially is totally fucking awesome. All that being said this may be difficult for readers that aren’t used to seeing this style or were expecting the type of crisp illustrations that you are used to seeing from modern comics. Scioli may be working with a large company here and the paper stock may feel like the type of comic you could buy anywhere but the aesthetic is pure Scioli self published with rough lines, pure illustrations and colors/inks that look as if they were done right on pencil and paper as opposed to modern digital technology. This is going to be a turn off for some people and that’s fine but if you’re a fan of comics of yesteryear or if you’re looking for something that is as much a throw back as it is forward thinking you really can’t do much better than this at your local comic shop. It’s some of the strongest talent that underground comics has to offer taking a work for hire assignment and making it completely his own. You may have watched these movies, seen these TV shows, owned the toys or even read the comics but you’ve never seen anything like this.