Paper Cuts: 05.03.2017: Albatross Funny Books

Paper Cuts: 05.03.2017: Albatross Funny Books

By Ryan “HB” Mount

Albatross Funny Books is the creative endeavor of Goon creator, Eric Powell.  The indie publisher relaunched in 2016 with Powell’s written and drawn books Hillbilly and SSBII (aka Satan’s Sodomy Baby 2).  The line has already grown and this week we got three books from the publisher.

‘Namwolf #1 (Albatross)

Back in December, we reviewed Bad Moon Rising by 451 Media.  It was an average book, but what I wanted more than anything from that title was just to give us a story of a werewolf running around during the Vietnam War.  Although that book did not deliver fully on that front, this week, we were treated to that basic premise in ‘Namwolf #1.

While most folks might look at Logan Farber’s art and wonder if it is a good fit for a horror genre book, pick up Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder, which was a creept tale of madness.  There is no doubt that people will draw parallels between Farber and Lemire’s work as they share some style notes, but Farber goes for a simpler line structure than Lemire’s scratchy line work.  Looking from panel to panel, you will notice not a lot of detail in the backgrounds and that could be very deliberate.  This is without a doubt a character driven piece and the art drives that home.

The writing from Fabian Rangel Jr. was well executed and overall fun to read.  One thing that came through with his overall writing was how well he works with his artist and knows when to let the art tell certain parts of the story.  The best part of this working chemistry is on display with a half-page six panel introduction to the Army team.  It felt like reading the back of an old GI Joe figure and was solid fun.

This issue could have been a stand-alone one shot and still would have been great, but the story is advanced with the final three pages to keep you tuned until the next issue.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Spookhouse #4 (Albatross)

The tag line above the title says this book is “scary stories fit for kids” and it says it all.

This ongoing horror anthology is on par with any other collection of short stories being published in comics.

The first tale written by Eric Powell is great, but the art work by Steve Mannion is reminiscent of Bernie Wrightston and Richard Corben.  Exposing younger readers to this type of art in this context is only going to add to appreciation later down the line for the masters of horror comics and books like Scary Stories.

The other two tales are bright and vivid with art that is easy on the eyes for any reader.  While none of the tales are going to lead to long conversations and thought discussions afterwards, they are above all entertaining.  There is the perfect amount of all ages humor and scares.

This may be the best issue in the entire series.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

Hillbilly #6 (Albatross)

If there was a week that spoke to me as a comics fan, this would be it.

This issue of Hillbilly tells us the story of how our hero became friends with a bear.  We could stop there and I would probably give this book a fantastic rating.

However, not everyone is as easily as tickled as I am with that premise, so luckily there is plenty of other things to draw in any reader to enjoy.

The art is simply incredible.  If you have never picked up a book by Eric Powell, then what are you doing reading comics?  His art style is all his own.  His work is incredibly beautiful and perfectly suited for a book about a wondering ax wielding hillbilly.

Powell is great on story telling as well because whether this be your first issue of the series or you have been reading since the beginning, each tale is fresh and new and all a jumping on point, while still telling a larger narrative.

Ratings: 5 out of 5

 

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Papercuts: 03-22-2017

Papercuts: March 22, 2017

By Ryan “HB” Mount

This week, we take a look at the reintroduction of two fan-favorite characters, Vampirella and Marvel’s Man-Thing with new jumping on points and big departures from status quo of the characters long histories.

Vampirella #1 (Dynamite)

After reviewing the #0 issue, there was a ton of mystery of where this series was heading.  I never would have thought from #0 that we were getting Vampirella in dystopian future Los Angles.  Perhaps as comic readers, we should welcome drastic changes and see where the story leads before rushing to conclusion.

This should not come as a surprise, but it felt like Paul Cornell was writing another episode of Doctor Who and not Vampirella.  There was a huge world presented with a lot of mystery and not a lot of explanation.  There was also some future speak dialogue which was alright for an opening issue, but hopefully does not bog down the story for the long term.

The art in this issue was fantastic.  While I appreciate the mood that the zero issue had set up, this set up a much different landscape.  There are remnants of Kirby and Moebius in the design work and spoke to my sensibilities.

There is also something to be said about a book taking a lot of chances.  There appears to be another narrative happening outside the panels on the page and certainly not conventional, I again think that a book taking some risks, should be something given some praise.

While this book is anything but traditional Vampirella, there are so many interesting things happening that this new launch deserves several issues before making a full judgement.

Ratings: 4 out of 5

Man-Thing #1 (Marvel)

If you were a child of the 1990’s and you saw that teen horror writer, R.L. Stine was writing a comic book, you would naturally be excited.

While for a long time, Man-Thing has been a lumbering and haunting character with oddly defined powers of portal jumping and instilling total fear into people, Stine decided to take the character in a completely new and different direction and is bound to rub some longtime fans the wrong way.

After reading this issue, you are left wondering if Stine had recently watched the 2005 film, Man-Thing which wanted to tell a funny story of how that film came to be made.  There were certain references from character designs to statements from characters in the book that leads us to that conclusion.  I was unsure if Stine was going for a Howard the Duck type of story for this book, but there the writing was not clever enough to hook readers.  The departure was so far removed from the original character that many old-time fans will have nothing to grab onto and new readers won’t have enough either.

The art was fine and seeing Man-Thing on the page was a real treat, when it came to everything else, it seemed clunky and rushed.

Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

 

Quick Cuts:

Zombie Camp #1 – This is a book has its issues, but it is intended for kids. Enjoy the simplicity.  Ratings: 2.5 out of 5

The Darkness Visible #2 – Mike Carey continues to tell a compelling story of a society where demons and humans struggle to co-exist.  A couple more layers added on in this issue.  Ratings: 3 out of 5

Eclipse #5 – New Arc.  Go back and pick up the trade, then jump in. Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Grim Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #2 – Teen horror meets idle hands. Ratings: 2 out of 5

Grim Tales of Terror (Vol. 3) #3 – New art style for the book. Typical fare. Ratings: 2 out of 5

Richard Corben’s Shadows of the Grave #3 – The art alone is enough to add this to your monthly reading, but the creeps and scares keep it essential for any fans of the genre.   Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Lady Killer 2 #4 – Dexter meets Mad Men. Beautiful art.  Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

Spook House #3 – Horror Anthology for kids! Ratings: 3.5 out of 5

When not writing about horror comics, Ryan enjoys long walks on shark infested beaches or at least watching them on the screen.  If you like what you read, tweet out the link to the column and use the #papercuts.  If you want to read more, follow Ryan @hebruise and look his other comic columns and interviews over at Two-Headed Nerd.com.