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

Paper Cuts: 7/22/16

Always Tip Your Bartender! I think that sentiment should apply to your Local Comic Book Shop owner as well.  This week, I took to Twitter to look for some more books on this horror-light week. After not a lot of response, my local go-to in Cincinnati – Maverick’s Comics – introduced me to two titles put out by Image Comics this week Wolf and The Hunt.

Instead of my normal reviews for the week, I wanted to talk about something that stood out in these books.

However, if you want my quick ratings:

Tales From the Darkside #2 (IDW) Ratings: 4 out 5

Wolf #9 (Image) Ratings: 5 out 5

The Hunt #1 (Image) Ratings: 4 out of 5

It’s was a good week for horror comic fans.

Reading all these books next to one another, one thing was clear: the art was a very high quality, which is not always a given in the horror comics genre.  I expect higher quality with Image and IDW, and they did not disappoint.  he most interesting part of these books was not the line work or the colors, but the actual panel work.

paper cuts - tales from the dark side

Tales From the Darkside was a fun story, but told in a more traditional panel style that did not stand out.  However, knowing that this project was a failed relaunch of the TV show, it would make sense that most of these panels had been worked out in a traditional sense to go with the scripts that Joe Hill produced.  In that way it made for the least interesting book win regards to panel work.

paper cuts - hunt

The Hunt took another step forward when it came to panel structure.  While a lot of the book stayed with grid selection, it would add small touches.  When our main character is wandering into her parents’ room to a strange glow, it moves from two neat square panels to a slight tilt of the small panel which truly increased my intrigueto the same level of intrigue the character felt coming into the room.  It is a subtle touch of storytelling and was extremely effective to set the mood, all without a single phrase of dialogue.  While I do not want to give too much away, there were also some large full-to-double-page spreads that really only occurred when one group of characters appeared, which gave those scenes some real depth, weight, and magnitude.

paper cuts - wolf

Wolf was simply beautiful and the most intriguing book I read in my entire stack of comics.  While at times the panels seemed traditional, there were other pages that simply floored me.  There were several pages which were essentially two page spreads, but over ¼ of them would be all white with only a small sentence of dialogue.  It added some drama and forced the reader to really pay attention.  Even though I went into this book without any knowledge of the story, it felt incredibly heavy.  This type of art and willingness to take big risks is exactly why I love the medium, and it left me clamoring for more immediately.  If you pick this issue up cold, you won’t understand it, but you will understand exactly who is important, the weight they carry and the ramifications in play.  You will understand all of this, due in no small part to the bold panel construction with the stark contrast of white.

If you like what you read or have your own thoughts about comics panels, tweet out the link to the column and use the #comicpapercuts. If you want to read more, follow Ryan and look his other comic columns and interviews over at Two Headed Nerd.