Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trade Waiting - Mini Reviews Special


There have been a few books recently that whilst not dense or worthwhile enough to write a full review for still deserve your attention and potentially your pounds/ dollars. As a special bonus, my better half has also read them and has given a quick one line review for each, because, obviously, girls rule. What are they? Are they any good? Find out after the jump.


Our Love is Real
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Steven Sanders
Published by Image Comics

This comic caused a little bit of a storm in a teacup last year when it was released, mainly due to the Perez Hilton of comics, Rich Johnson, telling people to buy multiple copies so no one could actually read the thing. As such, it propelled Sam Humphries into the ‘next hot writer’ category with him now ready to hop aboard The Ultimates, following on from Jonathan Hickman’s well regarded run. Set in the most unique dystopian future this reviewer has seen, Our Love is Real begins with Riot Squad member and husband to a poodle, Officer Jok, breaking up a vegesexual protest, (yes, vegesexual is exactly what it sounds like.) He meets a pale, beautiful person, (who only has sex with minerals obviously,) who forces him to question his sexuality and even the very core of his personality. The idea is fantastically original in it’s concept but unfortunately the script doesn’t match the pitch with a lot of the caption boxes sounding clunky and the payoff being pretty predictable. Another feeling that was hard to shake, yet isn’t necessarily a bad thing is the sheer French-ness of it all. This book wants to be European so bad it’s surprising that it doesn’t come with a beret, Louis Vuitton scarf and a distinct smell of strong cigarettes. On a positive note, Steven Sanders art is the best of his career. His figures tend to look like ‘good Chaykin,’ and he packs a lot of detail into his panels, adding to the European feel of the book. Whilst Our Love is Real probably didn’t deserve the lashings of praise it received, the concept alone makes it an intriguing read. Add that to some gorgeous black and white artwork and this is a book not to be sniffed at.

What the better half said: Sickening.


Jeremiah Omnibus Volume One
Everything by Hermann
Published by Dark Horse/ S.A.F. Comics

Hermann is a cartoonist who doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to comics. Virtually unheard of in the English speaking world, Hermann is spoken about in Moebius level hushed tones in mainland Europe where he is treated as one of the best to pick up a brush. Hopefully with Dark Horse releasing a large body of his work that will change, as he is without a doubt a creator that deserves a lot more praise from this side of the English Channel/ Atlantic. Set in a post apocalyptic future that instantly reminds of the Wild West, Jeremiah is an adolescent that is orphaned early on and is forced to find his way in the world, often with the help of his sort of friend, Kurdy. Each story within the omnibus (there are three stories within this one) is based on a concept as old as storytelling itself; the duo ride into a town, find something grossly wrong with the town, and Jeremiah, alongside a begrudging Kurdy, try and right the wrongs so that a happy ending can ensue. Real classic, boys own adventure stuff. What is different about this book though is the sheer beauty of Hermann’s artwork. Packed to the rafters with detail and strikingly beautiful, Jeremiah is one of the best looking books on the shelves, and doesn’t look its age at all, (Jeremiah was originally published in 1979.) Honestly, there is no artist this side of Jean Giraud himself that can render a natural landscape like Hermann, a bonus as most of Jeremiah is set outside with views that can only be described as John Ford Film beautiful, full of luscious red and orange hues. It truly is a striking book that shows Hermann deserves to be mentioned alongside Moebius, Herge, and Ezquerra as one of the best cartoonists to ever come out of Europe. The almost generic nature of the stories contained within the book can be forgiven when Hermann makes it look this good.

What the better half said: There is no way in hell you are getting me to read this.


Chloe Noonan, Monster Hunter
By Marc Ellerby
Self Published

Marc Ellerby is one of the best independent creators working in the UK, gaining plaudits for his work from both the mainstream and independent media. There is a reason for this; Chloe Noonan, Monster Hunter is a light hearted, funny, and at times touching book. Chloe is, as the title suggests, a monster hunter. The easy Buffy comparison is quickly disbursed as, Chloe has no real skill set to speak of and in this world monster hunting is a messy business with little or no reward. In fact, the monster hunting is almost an after thought as the main focus of the book is Chloe’s relationships with her boss, the members of the band she is in (named the Freudian Repercussions,) and her best friends, Zoe and Doug. The thing that makes Chloe Noonan avoid the pitfalls of being the same as similar stories out there is the humour. One Chloe Noonan issue is funnier than all six Scott Pilgrim books combined and Ellerby has no qualms about taking pot shots at all aspects of popular culture without coming off as conceited or mean spirited. The art in the book suits the subject matter to a T, with Ellerby’s figure work not looking too different to Kate Beaton, yet with highly detailed backgrounds that give the whole product a professional look. Chloe Noonan really is worth your time and money and all of the issues are now available digitally so there is no excuse not to get involved.

What the better half said: I like this, when is the next one coming out?

The Mire
By Becky Cloonan
Self Published

Set in the same world as last year’s Wolves, Cloonan’s last self published work, The Mire tells the tale of a young squire who, on the eve of battle, is sent to deliver a mysterious note to a seemingly deserted castle in the middle of a swamp that the comic gets its name from. What follows is a coming of age story for the squire as he is forced to grow up within the confines of twenty two pages. The timing of this book couldn’t be more perfect; Game of Thrones is the hottest of the hot right now and this story would not feel out of place within George Martin’s magnum opus. Whilst always known as versatile, Becky Cloonan has, in the last few years, gone from being a very good artist to a truly great one. Even though it is in black and white, Cloonan uses grey tones to make everything look rounded and vibrant and the differentiation of thickness in her line makes the art in the foreground really stand out. Something else Cloonan excels in is the ability to set the mood merely with the use of ink. The battlefield looks grizzly, the swamp creepy, and you can almost hear a pin drop in the empty castle the squire finds himself in. She is no slouch in the writing department either, with the dialogue having a natural sounding rhythm to it. Having said that, Cloonan knows where her strong suits lie and the art does most of the talking. This book is an incredibly rewarding experience and there are many worse comics you could spend your five dollars on.

What the better half said: So, who was whose mother?

Fight!
By Jack Teagle
Published by NoBrow Press

London based publisher NoBrow Press look to be going from strength to strength, particularly with the critical acclaim that has been heaped upon Jesse Moynihan’s stunning looking yet still unread Forming. They also publish mini comic style one off issues by some of the UK’s brightest independent talent and their jewel in the crown is Jack Teagle, creator of wrestling comic, Fight! Fight tells the tale of two wrestlers; the Jesus like Saviour, and the satanic legacy wrestler Diablo, with the first half of the book being dedicated to their wrestling match. Being a British comic, expectations are quickly flipped to make you question who is good and who is evil. The Saviour coming off as an egotistical idiot and Diablo being a self deprecating loser who can’t stand the life that he was forced to take on. Teagle packs the comic with a certain melancholic humour, the kind that the British do best and there is one or two laugh out loud moments, mainly at Diablo’s expense. The book is also incredibly touching at times, especially when dealing with the relationship between Diablo and his mother. Jack Teagle has an art style that is on a similar level to Trade Waiting favourite, Johnny Ryan, with his figure design looking deceptively simple yet containing masses of personality. His panel to panel storytelling ability is also at the highest level, being clean and focussed; something that is sorely missing in a lot of modern comic books.

What the better half said: Awwww, I feel well sorry for Diablo.





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