Author Archives: JP Fallavollita
The bombs bursting in air!
OK. We’re talking about comic books, not the star-spangles banner of the United States of America – although the two, seemingly disparate elements, intermingle today.
We’ve all talked about his before: one of the great things about comic books is that they are ever-malleable in terms of art, design and story. Regardless of distribution method, or frequency, or shape, or size (all great aspects inherent to comics) there’s also no effects budget to hinder the artistic look of an individual issue. There’s no defined wall, no genre that a writer can’t hurdle a story over – or gloriously crash one through!
There’s proof through the night (and day) of this belief every time we pick up and read a comic book.
Today is Wednesday. It’s new comic book arrival day, a day all comic book readers eagerly look forward to. Let’s celebrate the first issue of a new volume of stories set in America’s nascent past that proves this point – again.
Let’s celebrate Rebels: These Free And Independent States #1
Under the pen of award-winning author, Neil Gaiman, you know that those seemingly disparate elements will make for a compelling story.
Heck, if you’ve read any of his comic book stories, let along his novels, it sounds a lot like the stuff you probably have in your long box collection: The Sandman, Stardust, Miracleman and Death: The High Cost of Living.
But this time, we’re talking about his Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy and Nebula Award-winning novel, American Gods – which, finally, gets adapted into the comic book forum in a new monthly series from Dark Horse Comics.
And the writer and artists behind that adaptation are as star-powered as the author who penned the original prose.
Today sees the release of American Gods: Shadows #1!
And teenage sleuths!
But these aren’t the teenage sleuths you thought you knew.
No, we all remember reading the investigative exploits of amateur detectives Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys during our formative, pre-pubescent years. If you’re at all into the mystery and noir genre today, these three characters probably play a significant role in the development of that interest. You know, along with Scooby Doo.
But Nancy Drew and bothers, Frank and Joe Hardy, were never ones for light and rollicking comedy. Their adventures often took them into the worlds of dark, shadowy and dastardly villains, and often around the world to far-flung locales.
Today sees their return with the release of Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1, a new series featuring these beloved, time-honoured characters, in a take that’s completely twenty-first century… but still totally noir!
For the better part of a decade, Lemire has been awing readers in a multitude of comic book genres with both company-owned characters and original creations.
Whether it’s his ground-breaking Essex County Trilogy in 2008, his post-apocalyptic series, Sweet Tooth, which brought the writer/artist mainstream attention and acclaim in 2009, his take on the “Invisible Man” in the graphic novel, The Nobody, the space/time bending Trillium in 2013, his riveting ongoing science fiction series, Descender, his brilliant take on Wolverine with Old Man Logan last year, or the current Moon Knight and Black Hammer superhero series that he writes for different publishers, Jeff Lemire never disappoints.
That’s a lot of writing – and, often, drawing.
Today, we add another title to the ever-growing list of Jeff Lemire must-reads with Royal City #1!
The uncharted ether of imagination.
That’s what brings us to today.
Over the last month and a half, we’ve begun unofficially celebrating the year of comic book legend Jack Kirby’s birth here at Biff Bam Pop! The “King” as he’s affectionately called, would be 100 years young this year…and make no mistake, his many pop culture creations live long and strong.
You know many of them: Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Silver Surfer, X-Men, etc., etc., etc.
Without Kirby, you could argue there would be no superhero comics, no Marvel Cinematic Universe, no Wednesday Run!
But beyond those characters listed, did you know about Kirby’s early 1970’s Fourth World creations: his “Cosmic Odyssey”? It was a series of interconnected titles that would tell one complete story, a publishing revelation, far ahead of its time!
Well, look no further than today release of the Kirby-inspired, late twentieth century release of, Cosmic Odyssey: The Deluxe Edition – and discover the King’s imagination run rampant across the universe!
A likely story, right?
No one can escape their reputation. Michael Corleone famously reminded us of that fact in The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Al Pacino is all kinds of awesome.
And Wilson Fisk, the “Kingpin” of crime in the Marvel Universe, is all kids of bad.
Can the arch-enemy of Daredevil (not to mention Spider-Man and the Punisher), go good? Can he change his disposition? Does he want to? Will the world let him?
A new series, appropriately titled Kingpin, aims to answer those questions, beginning with the first issue, out today!
In the middle of things.
Boy, the old Latin language can sure sound an interesting turn of phrase, here in the twentieth century, can’t it? It’s the past and the future, gloriously shaking hands whilst shedding some light of understanding on each other. Its comingling makes one feel smart, when uttered in a proper, and apt, context, of course.
And today, uttering “in medias res” is proper and apt.
It’s used to describe the eleventh chapter of one of the most entirely riveting (and fun!) comic book series being published these days.
If you’ve been with Paper Girls for the last year, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new to the title, don’t let missing out on the previous ten chapters deter you for picking up the latest installment – I’ve got you covered at the end of this column.
Handshakes aside, in medias res, today sees the release of Paper Girls #11!
A couple of weeks ago, friend and compatriot Glenn Walker (he of @monsura and regular contributor to all things cool on this very website), came to visit my hometown city of Toronto for Biff Bam Pop!’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy Burns’ monumental birthday celebration.
It was a wonderful affair, full of frivolity, chatter and seemingly endless shot glasses of Jägermeister (many of us are still shuddering at the taste in our mouths).
At a breakfast get together the next morning, Glenn and I stated talking about our love of comic book industry-changing creator, “King” Jack Kirby (creator of so many of your favourite comic book heroes and villains), and his 1972 post-apocalyptic protagonist, Kamandi. He reminded me of the mid-eighties DC Comics series, the DC Challenge, on which today’s Wednesday Run column comic book pick is based.
And Kamandi, the beloved Last Boy On Earth: in a brand new, limited series, full of story and art and wonder and industry legends working on the creation of the industry’s all-time Legend.
Today sees the release of the hugely-anticipated The Kamandi Challenge #1!
In many ways, the comic book annual is a thing of the past – the last refuge of a special excitement for regular readers of an ongoing comic book series. For the most part, the “Annual” magic died out in the mid-1990’s. That makes for at least two generations of young comic book readers that have never really known the thrill of the double-sized, more experimental, stories that “Annuals” often produced.
Today, the “Annual” has generally been replaced by the one-shot issue, the miniseries, or completely wiped from existence in lieu of publishing multi-part stories within an ongoing comic book, that can be easily collected into trade paperbacks or hardcovers. With market-driven forces changed and thin margins and full workloads, there is no appetite for the back-end work needed to create a separate visual tale within the story of an ongoing series.
But there was a time when comic books were madcap fun – and the “Annual” was a staple and eagerly anticipated part of comic book lore.
One series aims to return to those glory days.
Today sees the release of the thrilling, multi-faceted, multi-part, Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual!
And all of comic book fandom rejoices!