and some other stuff at CBR
I freaking love comics. So many comics. Too many to put in one single list. We all like different things. Some of us like big two comics. Other’s may prefer large publisher creator owned work while other’s dig the small press. I like all of that. I’ll cover my favorites from the different corners of comic book publishing over the month of December.
For this week I’ll be covering Intellectual Property from outside DC and Marvel
Being a publisher that doesn’t feature The Avengers or Batman is a tough sell. Engaging your audience with characters that exist outside of the mainline of traditional superhero’s can be an uphill battles. One way for companies to stay afloat or even thrive is to use intellectual property with a name recognition that keep’s the orders coming in and the lights on. It’s much easier to sell whoever your buyer is on a name with some kind of proven track record in pop culture then what can feel like a hit or miss investment on new creator owned properties. This list is an approximation for all the non Marvel or DC mainline intellectual property comics that transcend what can appear as a blatant cash grab for excellent comic book product. Honorable mention to Valliant titles Archer and Armstrong, Eternal Warrior XO Manawar and Unity that just barely missed the cut mostly because I just started reading a lot of that in the last six months, Brian Wood’s excellent Star Wars ongoing, Layman’s and Sam Keith’s Alien series that was orginally printed in Dark Horse Presents before being collected in hardcover format, Joe Hill’s new mini series The Wraith and Howard Chaykin’s super fun PoliSciFi take on Buck Rogers Now on to the list
Gar Systo Shapeshifter (true form)
Decades ago, the extraterrestrial Gar Systo sent shapeshifter agent Bor Torax to spy on Earth culture in preparation for a future invasion. Bor discovered the Image Comics series Prophet several years ago, and was impressed with writer Brandon Graham’s creative re-imagining of the superhero character created by Rob Liefeld.
Graham’s story transported Liefeld’s character centuries into the future, where Prophet’s superhuman genes were used to create a race of super-soldiers that were the backbone of a human interstellar empire.
Bor was delighted that Graham used an obscure superhero character to build an impressive, complex space opera story. Bor was also impressed with the high quality of artists that worked on the series, including Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis (Bor often wondered if Giannis was related to Milonogiannis IV, tyrant warrior emperor of the planet Kartax).
Bor was disappointed that the series was on hiatus until the upcoming Prophet: Earth War series, but its three hearts skipped a beat when it discovered Prophet Strikefile #1. This encyclopedia-that-is-really-a-comic provides excellent, visually stunning summaries of some of the many strange characters and devices found in Graham’s science fiction opus (with art provided by Graham, Roy, Milonogiannis, Dave Taylor, Grim Wilkins, and Sandra Lanz, among others), and is an enjoyable treat for both new and veteran Prophet readers.
UPDATE: Bor Torax has not communicated with the Gar Systo Military Intelligence Service since purchasing Prophet Strikefile #1. Bor’s last communication to the Gar Systo consisted only of the following image from Earth artist Dave Taylor (after careful review, the Gar Systo Empire has cancelled its invasion plans):
Issue #7 of All New Ultimates brings on the excellent Gianis Milonogiannis of Prophet & Old City fame for an interesting change for the artist and the general tone of the series. In it The Ultimates are searching the sewer for Crossbones and fighting monsters while the police interrogate “The Scorge” on why he took it upon himself to kill teenagers. The comic is typical of it’s past work as Michel Fiffe continues to do his teenage superhero by way of classic late 80’s comic thing while also managing to touch on modern acts vigilante racism where the scorge reveals his motivations in murdering teenage gang members is partially based on race. In some ways it’s a standard Ultimates issues from Fiffe albeit much more measured then issues past. On art Milonogiannis brings his manic style to Fiffe’s world but it’s different here then what we’ve seen in the past from him. It feel’s a little bit darker and more observant but still remains engaging. The style and way that he pushes forward the narrative gives the book a colder feel as it feels slightly more like a horror comic then what were used to seeing from either creator or Marvel comics in general. While it’s not quite what was expected it is interesting none the less. Fiffe’s work on Ultimates has been fun, unique an defied expectation and this issue is no different in that regard but the way it’s done here is and that ultimately helps this issue stand out in the overall concept of the series.