Other Nexus Graphica Columns
For more information, you can try the following:
Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham
Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung Fu
Was Monster Society Of Evil Canned For Racism?
Batman: Under the Red Hood
Winter Brothers Vs Jonah Hex
Denizens of Deep City
Commies From Mars
Driver For the Dead
Recent Books of Interest
The Sixth Gun Issue # 1 Written by Cullen Bunn, Art by Brian Hurtt (Oni)
The second series collaboration from the creators of the excellent supernatural noir thriller The Damned
offers a creepy, magic-infused Western complete with terrifying beasts -- living and undead -- gunfights, and the
occult. Investigator Drake Sinclair traffics with the dead as he searches for the powerful sixth
gun. Unfortunately, others seek the same mysterious device. Bunn's pitch perfect script, combined with the
unique artistic talents of Hurtt, deliver what promises to be the finest horrific western since the best of
the Lansdale-Truman stories.
Driver For the Dead #1 Written by John Heffernan, Pencils and Inks by Leonardo Manco (Radical)
Not your typical hearse driver, Alabaster Graves challenges vampires, witches and other nasties. Snakes
On A Plane screenwriter Hefferman borrows heavily from Constantine, both the comics and movie,
and a variety occult mythologies for his first comics script. While the story moves at a nice clip and the
stereotypical characters are interesting enough, artist Manco steals the show, elevating the tale beyond
its fairly typical foundation. While always producing superior work, Drive For the Dead
represents the finest work to date of Manco's career.
Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn by Meredith Gran (Villard)
The first collection of Meredith Gran's charming web-comic relates the adventures of two twenty-somethings
in Brooklyn: Eve, a pessimistic Asian nerd who works at an organic grocery, and her roommate Hanna, a
buoyant stoner who bakes her own line of pastries. Between the requisite relationship troubles, parental
interactions, and sight gags, Gran often steers off into the delightfully surreal especially in "grocery
misconduct," where Eve assumes control of the store, and "skate or don't" in which Gran elevates the
absurdity to Scott Pigrim-like levels. Gran's simple cartoony art perfectly compliments her complex
explorations into the 21st century young adult life.
Blacksad Written by Díaz Canales, Art by Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)
Perhaps the most acclaimed French comic of the new century, Canales and Guarnido cleverly combine the
seemingly disparate elements of anthropomorphic animal and 1950s crime fiction into their wholly original
creation, Blacksad. Private eye cat John Blacksad uncovers the often filthy depths of mysteries
involving child abductions, nuclear secrets, racist hate groups, and of course murder. Guarnido
evokes the period through his evocative and elegant art while Canales' script successfully evokes
the era's moods and attitudes through a contemporary lens. One of the best books of the year,
Blacksad more than deserves its abundant praise.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Copyright © 2010 Rick Klaw
Given the fact that Barnes & Noble and Borders stores offer extensive graphic novel selections and the existence of
countless collections including seemingly limited interest oddities such as Peter Porker the Spectacular
Spider-Ham, American Comic Group's forgettable 1960s super heroes Nemesis and Magicman, and
Fantagraphics' two volumes of the wonderfully subversive works of Fletcher Hanks, one might think everything
of note ever published has been compiled into graphic novel format. Remarkably, many influential and popular
works remain uncollected.
None of Marvel's sensational 1970s Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung Fu -- perhaps
the finest martial arts comic ever
produced -- appears in book form, mostly due to rights issues with the Sax Rohmer estate. Under the auspices of
the comic book license to the original pulp stories, the series related the adventures of Shang-Chi, the son
of the villainous Fu Manchu, and featured several characters from Rohmer's tales (most notably the "yellow
peril" villain himself and Sir Denis Nayland Smith). The series achieved its artistic pinnacle in the mid-1970s
during a 29-issue collaboration of writer Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy.
Another Marvel creation mired in rights limbo, the Micronauts, based on the 1970s toys, enjoyed three
different series incarnations from 1979 to 1986 -- Micronauts (59 issues which included the acclaimed
Michael Golden-illustrated adventures plus two annuals), The X-Men and the Micronauts (four issue
limited series), and Micronauts: New Voyages (20 issues). The characters remain very popular (Image
and Devil's Due produced series in the 2000s), yet none of the Marvel stories appear in book form.
Though DC offers five hardcover archival collections of the original Fawcett Captain Marvel and family (Mary
Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr., etc.) stories, the most famous Marvel adventure remains uncollected in a currently
available edition. "The Monster Society of Evil" story arc ran for two years in Captain Marvel
Adventures #22-46 (1943–1945). Each issue showcased a confrontation between a member of Mr. Mind's evil
society. In the manner of the serials, each story ends in a cliffhanger. One of the earliest epic long comic
book storylines, "The Monster Society of Evil" presaged the lengthy tales of the forthcoming decades. American
Nostalgia Library issued the entire run in an oversized, slipcase limited hardcover in 1989. In 2008, DC
announced an affordable hardcover edition of the long out-of-print story. Amid rumors that the company feared
being labeled as racists, the book recently ceased appearing on DC's forthcoming schedule.
Created in 1972 by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga (All Star Western #10), the
hideously scarred, hardnosed Western bounty hunter Jonah Hex currently enjoys an unprecedented success with
a popular DC series, a feature film, and an animated short film, slated to appear alongside the direct-to-DVD
animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood. Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex offers all the
well-crafted, dark Albano tales with art by DeZuniga, Doug Wildey,
and José Luís Garcia-López. By this fall,
nine books collecting the first 54 issues of the current series, written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
and contributions by an impressive array of illustrators including Luke Ross, DeZuniga, Phil Noto, Paul
Gulacy, Jordi Bernet, Val Semeik, Russ Heath, Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Higgins, Darwyn Cooke, and J.H.
Williams III, will exist.
Of all the major Jonah Hex storylines, only the critically acclaimed three mini-series, created by the
dynamic duo of writer Joe R. Lansdale and Timothy Truman -- during this period, they also produced a
controversial Lone Ranger & Tonto mini-series that attracted the ire of Rush Limbaugh -- need to be
collected. The pair's first attempt, Jonah Hex: Two Gun-Mojo (1993), introduced supernatural
elements to the Hex mythos, as the former Confederate soldier encountered zombies. The popular series
garnered a prestigious Bram Stoker Award and a single volume compilation, now long out of print. The
second series, Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such (1995), proved just as popular as
Hex challenged a Cthulhoid monster and oddities such as the half-human/half-worm Autumn Brothers. The
latter a progenitor to a lawsuit by musicians Johnny and Edgar Winter against Lansdale, Truman, and DC
Comics for defamation of character that reached the California Supreme Court. Displayed with very light
complexions and long white hair, the Autumn Brothers bear a similar appearance to the albino Winter
Brothers. Ultimately, after seven years of litigation, the CA Supreme Court ruled that the depiction,
clearly a parody, fell under 1st Amendment protections of free speech. All this hullabaloo didn't
prevent the publication of a third well-received Lansdale-Truman collaboration, Jonah Hex:
Shadows West (1999). Neither Worms nor Shadows have ever been collected.
Countless other quality titles remain uncollected. Largely forgotten but exceptional 1980s black & white
series such as Tom Stazer's Spaced, Doug Potter's Denizens of Deep City,
and the bizarre anthology Commies From Mars; complete runs of Golden Age great Lou Fine's
The Ray, Black Condor, and Doll Man; as well as Doug Rice's giant robot Dynamo Joe,
Steven Grant's groundbreaking female ninja series Whisper, and Rich Rice's profound
Bob the Alien all deserve to be rediscovered.
Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied
countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications
The Austin Chronicle,
The San Antonio Current,
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures
RevolutionSF, King Kong Is Back!, Conversations
With Texas Writers, Farscape Forever, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains
Universe, and Steampunk. MonkeyBrain Books published the collection of his essays, reviews,
and other things Klaw, Geek
Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century.
He can often be found pontificating on Twitter
and over at The Geek Curmudgeon.