REVIEW: “100 Words” Digital Comic

(DC COMICS, 2011)   -   Reviewed by Feral Fang

“100 Words” is one of those great things that only comes around every so often.  The short digital comic from DC is written by Neil Gaiman and features beautiful pencil artwork by Jim Lee, seen here in a much different style of artwork than he’s mostly known for.  Released with all of DC’s proceeds going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, this short-but-very-sweet comic is available from DC’s website in digital form for only .99 cents.  Let me tell you this is .99 cents very well spent, and something I would have gladly paid much more for.  What you get in “100 Words” is a beautiful poem from Neil Gaiman set to the previously mentioned Jim Lee pencil work, and it is an amazing thing.  I’ve always liked Jim Lee’s artwork, and feel he’s really come into his own with what most consider some of his worst work - the current New 52 “Justice League” title.  This is a man who knows how to draw figures, and draw them very well.  The Jim Lee we see in this, however, is one with a very light touch, the work more refined pencil sketches than hard, inked images.  This is a Lee that plays with the format, flowing free on a page layout with no borders and no panels - the art frames itself mostly in a collection of sketchy scribbles that come together to form the breath-takingly intricate line work.  What I hear the most from critics of Lee’s JL work is that it’s too dull, too wooden.  That is not the case here in any way, as the work itself is so lively and full of emotion that it mirrors Gaiman’s sentimental words perfectly.  It may only be a few pages long, but this is one digital comic I would highly recommend.  The mixture of emotion and imagery is something I hope to see these artists tackle together again, and hopefully soon.  You can grab it yourself here:

— 5 out of 5 missing chairs for Scott Williams.



REVIEW: “Superman: Earth One” Graphic Novel

(DC COMICS, 2010)   -   Reviewed by Feral Fang

For some reason or another, it took me quite a while to find this graphic novel.  I searched, completely excited and curious about finally reading what is likely one of the most successful and beloved graphic novels of the 21st Century.  Though I really try not to, I tend to build up some expectations to something of this nature, and more so when it is difficult to get my hands on a copy.  It obviously tells me people are buying and reading it and, unlike the many graphic novels and trade collections that just sit on the shelves, this thing was really moving.  So, when I finally got it in my hands, I had really high hopes for this.  My love for Superman has grown over the years from interested, to picking at things here and there, to finally outright loving the character.  I blame the Animated Series for most of this (damn that was such a good show from a team of geniuses!), but there have also been some very good Supes stuff out there, both in print and in some of the amazing animated films DC puts out.  As I read this book, however, I slowly started feeling my expectations shatter.  Sad to say, I really did not enjoy this graphic novel.  J. Michael Straczynski’s altered version of Supes is an annoyingly basic and dull character, barely speaking and mostly just floating around landscapes.  While he is busy doing so, a few flash back scenes are stretched longer than they should be, mostly through text placed over the stagnant, uninteresting artwork.  Shane Davis’ art is wooden, boring, and has a heavy 90’s Marvel “X” titles/Image Comics feel to most of the detail work.  Some of the more ugly attempts at detail are almost saved by the modern coloring, but that’s a strong ‘almost’.  As a matter of fact, the coloring is the best part about this.  Some panels actually look pretty good at first glance, but at closer inspection it’s almost always the color art that gave the impression. Overall, I felt this was not only a waste of time, but also a significant waste of money. Not to mention the poorly paced and seemingly out of nowhere end ‘battle’ and ‘villain’ make this one confused, lazy attempt at re-telling a powerfully classic story.  And now Book Two is out.  Frustrating.

— 1 out of 5 boxes of $1 X-Force comics.



REVIEW: “Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman” Issue #1

(BREWHOUSE COMICS, 2012)   -   Reviewed by Feral Fang

‘Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman’ is one of those rare titles that make me remember how much fun comics can be.  Much like titles such as ‘Madman’, ‘Hellboy’, or Evan Dorkin’s classic ‘Hectic Planet’, this book has it’s own unique take on small-print comics, and like those titles it has DIY charm and an excitement that can be felt from off the pages.  Brewhouse Comics is, by their own press, a DIY publisher, and that is one of this title’s main strengths - it just really reminds me of reading those black and white indies when I was a kid, stuff like ‘Fish Police’, ‘Adolescent Radioactive Black-Belt Hamsters’, and even some of the more serious stuff put out under the ‘Epic Comics’ banner.  The writing and art is good quality DIY, “home brewed” comics, and while this book has strengths in that area, it also has a few flaws.  A small bit of the writing can come off a bit stiff, and some of the artwork can be a little messy or awkward, but these are the bumps and scratches that make books like this so endearing - it’s not this slicked up, big budget title with big budget talent.  It’s people who obviously love not only reading comics but making them, as well.  It makes me want to get something published; it’s that kind of book, that type of company.  There is so much love put into this, it doesn’t need to even try to be flawless.  It radiates throughout.  All said, this is a well written and well drawn title that needs and deserves your support.  These guys seem to have big plans for not only this title but future ones, as well, and I’d really love to see where they go from here.  I’ll be grabbing the new issues as they come out, for sure!  A fun, inspiring read.  Get in on the ground floor of an upcoming indie publisher - you can buy #1 for $3.99, directly from the crew at their current website:

— 4 out of 5 Fekra-Infested Blowfruits!