The Cipher 07/20/10

July 21st, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, Bryan Lee O’Malley. Here’s a preview for the first volume.

Then I realized the plan–I’m trapped in a deadly video game, with just one man! So, I don’t only watch my back, I watch my front!

The big dog is finally here. I haven’t read the fifth volume yet, but I picked up 5 and 6 to read on the plane to San Diego for Comic-con. Why not, right? I mostly enjoyed the first four, might as well go back to them, and what better time than now? We’ve got the last volume, the video game (which is pretty fun in an old school beat-em-up sort of way), and the movie. It all looks pretty good, and I’m honestly pretty happy for Bryan Lee O’Malley. Like, he’s made it, hasn’t he? Super popular series, a comic movie that looks good (with Chris Evans in his, what, fifteen comic book role?), and the entire internet is talking about him today. That’s worthy of respect.

Whatever happened to Sharknife? I feel like there was a time when Coreyyy Lewis and Bryan Lee O’Malley just ran comics and then Lewis faded in the public eye. I know he has a new book coming out of Image I should check out, Seedless, but Sharknife was like lightning out of heaven to me.

Anyway, like I said, I’m in San Diego for the week doing what I do best. Updates will continue as usual, of course, but I won’t be able to pick up my comics until… well probably next week sometime. Ouch. I’ve got Scott Pilgrims for the plane, Shade the Changing Man: Edge of Vision, and my holy grail comic for the week, the one stands over and above all others, Vagabond 8. As far as comics go… this week is pretty dope.

David vs The World: Amazing Spider-Man 638, Atlas 3, Hellblazer 269, Thunderbolts 146
Esther Gets It Together: Tiny Titans 30, Superman/Batman 74. Maybe: Supergirl 54, Power Girl 14
Gavin’s Finest Hour: Azrael 10, Welcome To Tranquility One Foot In The Grave 1, Age Of Heroes 3, Atlas 3, Avengers 3, Dark Wolverine 88, Deadpool Merc With A Mouth 13, Deadpool 25, Heroic Age Prince Of Power 3, Lady Deadpool 1, Marvel Zombies 5 5, Marvelous Land Of Oz 8, New Avengers 2, Thunderbolts 146, Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 5, Darkstalkers The Night Warriors 3, Darkwing Duck The Duck Knight Returns 2, Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet 6

Mary Choi gave a killer interview about Lady Deadpool on Comics Alliance. My man Jamaal is writing over at FBB again, too. Go read that so we can collectively make sure he keeps writing.

What’re you reading this week? Looking forward to anything out of San Diego?

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An Epic of Epicness?

March 25th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Scott Pilgrim vs the World trailer here.

I didn’t see an embeddable, but if I come across one, I’ll post it!

I am like 99.9% sure that the KO sound comes from Capcom’s Street Fighter Alpha 3. Watch this video and fast-forward to 1:40:


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Rucka x Southworth: Stumptown #1

November 4th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown opens with two gunshots and ends with a revelation. What lies between those pages are clever world and character-building, a problem to be solved, the introduction of multiple threats to Dex, our heroine, a couple of reveals, and an all-around fine grasp of craft.

Stumptown feels like Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal. Not in tone, of course, since Criminal is positively lurid at times, but in a more nebulous way. It feels like a book these guys are doing because they believe in it and enjoy it, rather than being paid by someone else to tell new stories about old characters. Though I will say that the lettering does remind me of Criminal, with its ragged edges and raw look.

Rather than resembling Criminal‘s “No way out but the hard way out” world, Stumptown feels much more like a Chandler novel, and Dex fits an oft-quoted Chandler piece:

The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

Dex is flawed (she gambles), but she is also honest and caring and a woman of honor, as we see over the 35 pages of Stumptown. When confronted with someone who is scared, she reacts in a way that a hero should. Dex is just a little offbeat enough to seem real.

The characters Dex encounters in the book show that she’s been around for a while. It paints a picture of a shared history without being overbearing or too cute about it. Ansel, her brother, is well known around town, and many characters express concern about his welfare. It actually comes off a little like they don’t quite trust Dex all the way and want to be sure that she’s actually taking care of business. I like that Rucka left it open enough to give us some wiggle room to figure these things out.

The art’s good. Not great, but good. It’s pretty raw and scratchy, and reminds me quite a bit of Michael Gaydos. Southworth excels at conversation scenes and the use of space, giving Stumptown a very tense and claustrophobic feel. Places look and feel real. There’s a wide shot on a rich man’s house that looks excellent. However, Southworth’s not so great on action scenes, though those are few and far between in this issue. The scenes look a little too stiff, a little too posed, for my tastes.

I really like Southworth’s willingness to let the character’s faces do the acting. A crinkled eyebrow, slumped shoulders, and a sheepish smile go a very long way with me. My hands-down favorite panel in the book is the one where a character steps back into a doorway after leaving a room and places both hands on the doorframe. It speaks volumes.

Stumptown #1: it’s a good read and a good start to the series, with an engaging script by Rucka and solid art by Southworth. I could go for a more kinetic feel to the action sequences, but this doesn’t seem like that kind of book so far. If you like the feel of Gotham Central or Alias, this is basically what you’ve been waiting for since both of those were cancelled. Fans of Criminal should also be pleased, though this one’s on the opposite side of the law.

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