Podcast 117: Trade-In Value

Direct Download (46:20)

I talk about a number of trades I’ve read, including Animosity v1, Injection v1, Faster Than Light v1-2, Wayward v1, and The Fix v1.

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Thanks to Damian and Travis for suggesting Wayward and The Fix.

Thanks for listening!

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Special Episode Spotlighting PIX by Gregg Schigiel

Direct Download (30:22)

In cooperation with George of the George and Tony Entertainment Show, I am republishing my review of Gregg Schigiel’s PIX: One Weirdest Weekend, along with George’s discussion with Mr. Schigiel about how Image Comics is now publishing the first volume and soon the second, PIX: Too Super for School! Be sure to order PIX volume 1 from Image Comics (DEC160764) before the January 30 final order cut-off, and preorder volume 2 from the March Previews catalog. I highly recommend this great comic!

Links:

Thanks for listening!

Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things

Courtney Crumrin: The Night Things by Ted Naifeh (writer/illustrator), Warren Wucinich (colorist), James Lucas Jones and Jill Beaton (editors), and Keith Wood (designer).

I first experienced Courtney Crumrin in a Free Comic Book Day offering from a few years ago. Based on that brief encounter, I resolved to read more, and I quickly added all of the Courtney Crumrin books to my Want List. Then, last Christmas, my wife bought The Night Things for me for Christmas. What a delight!

Courtney is a teenage girl who has been moved by her parents to live in her great, great uncle’s home so that the parents can “care” for him. Courtney quickly learns that her uncle is more than he appears, and embarks on a few adventures involving magic and magical, usually dangerous, creatures.  Given the art style, the comic is deceptively cute, but with an undercurrent of menace. Naifeh uses big, round eyes on most characters, especially the children, as well as angular features, which is an odd mix, but one that works in this magical world. Courtney is also drawn with no nose, which is an interesting choice given how different it is from how everyone else is portrayed, but I suppose it serves as the obvious metaphor. Normally this kind of heavy-handed narrative choice grates on me, and perhaps it did at first, but I grew very quickly to like it in part because Mr. Neifeh is skilled enough to portray all kinds of emotions on Courtney’s face, despite the lack of a nose. If the art sounds a bit too “cute” or manga-esque, know that it’s offset by some of the dark turns that happen, such as when one of the children is eaten by a werewolf. Think more Grimm and less Disney with this supernatural world.

I did not care for, however, the way the adults (excepting the uncle, though, we don’t really see him that much) were portrayed so one-dimensionally (and many of the children). Courtney’s parents come across as so self-centered and uncaring, but I suppose that’s to be indicative of how Courtney feels about them? Or maybe they truly are just awful people (the uncle says as much, too). The lack of a relationship developing over the course of the volume between Courtney and her great-uncle also grated on me, but perhaps I’m missing the point. Perhaps Naifeh took some narrative shortcuts precisely because we already know these things, or he didn’t have the room in the comic to fully develop those aspects. I usually hate that, but I forgive Naifeh because Courtney is so much fun. Yes, she’s grumpy, dour, and petulant at times, but she’s also affectionate, curious, and a bit fearless. That last trait was especially spotlighted in the third act of the book, which is literally about conquering a personal demon.

Now that I’ve read volume one, I can’t wait to read the other volumes in the series and share them with my kids. If you read this book, what did you think?

The Rise and Fall of Axiom

The Rise and Fall of Axiom is by Mark Waid (writer), Ed Benes (penciler), Dinei Ribeiro (colorist), Dezi Sienty (letterer), Nicolas Sienty (pre-press and production), John J. Hill (book and logo designer), Greg Tumbarello (editor), and created by Thomas Tull.

I saw this book in Previews some months back, but I hadn’t heard about it before then, which was a bit odd to me because I try to keep an eye and ear out for anything that Mark Waid does. Given that he was writing it, and despite the fact that Ed Benes was doing the art, I took a chance and ordered the book blind (meaning that I did not research what it was about). I thought the worst it could be is a rip off of Waid’s own Irredeemable (which is what I was reminded of when I read the solicitation text), but I hoped it would be more. I was wrong (spoilers commencing).

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Going Boldly: IDW’s Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy the trade collects issues #1-5, written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrot, art by Derek Charm, letters by Neil Uyetake and Andworld Design, and edited by Sarah Gaydos.

I have been in love with IDW’s Star Trek series pretty much from day 1. I was originally intrigued to read reinterpretations of the classic TOS episodes in the Kelvin (new movie) timeline. But then the series became much more than that simple premise. The stories expanded and were more original. And now, IDW has further expanded the Star Trek universe with this collection featuring two sets of Starfleet cadets.

The book opens with a flashback to when Kirk and company were still at the Academy, mostly focusing on Uhura’s fascination with a signal she discovered in the long range sensor lab. But the primary, and superior story (though a few scenes with Kirk and Uhura made me smile–Johnson and Parrott really have the characters’ voices down) involves the new characters: Vulcan T’Laan, Earthlings Lucia Gonzales and Grace Chen, Andorian Shev, and Monzchezkin Vel K’bentayr. T’Laan serves as a focal point throughout the story as the outsider who eventually realizes her place within Starfleet. While Shev is your typical grumpy Andorian, I still loved the inclusion of one of my favorite Star Trek aliens. Vel is an alien who says what he is thinking/feeling–think of a more articulate Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy–to great comedic affect. Chen is the loves-to-take-chances pilot, and Gonzales is the heart and mediator of the group. I really enjoyed these new characters, and I hope to see more about them in future publications.

Much of the story involves a competition between various groups, including the aforementioned cadets, that highlights each person’s abilities. The two stories (Kirk and company and the new cadets) intersect via the signal Uhura had been monitoring, which, it turns out, is from a lost starship from the Enterprise era (intentionally connecting to Star Trek Beyond?), the Slayton. Along the way, lessons are learned and friendships and forged.

The art, while skewing a bit to an animated style, was still well-done, especially the colors and likenesses of the film actors, and the collection reprints some of (all?) the variant covers, which were good (except for one). I especially enjoyed examining the backgrounds of the panels for the background characters, some of which were classic Trek aliens and others were that were new to me, but kept reappearing, just as you would expect at Star Fleet Academy.

If you enjoy the Trek universe and want more of the Kelvin timeline besides the movies and tie-in comic, check out this series/trade.