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Nexus Graphica
by Rick Klaw

Other Nexus Graphica Columns
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Austin Comic Con
Kristin Hogan
Hell's Alphabet
John Lucas
Mark Finn
Alan J. Porter
Yehudi Mercado
Mark A. Nelson
The Walking Dead
Matt Frank
Diana Sprinkle
Pirates of Mars
Veronica Fish
Matthew Sturges
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol 2: The Mad Scientist and Mummies on Parade
John Lord
Dear Creature
Recent Books of Interest
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol 2: The Mad Scientist and Mummies on Parade by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol 2: The Mad Scientist and Mummies on Parade Picking up immediately following the events of the first Fantagraphics collection, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol 2 continues the unusual escapades of the novelist title character. In 1912 Paris, Blanc-Sec uncovers plots involving mad scientists, a pithecanthropus (prehistoric ape man), murder, betrayal, and the undead. Though the concepts and action propel the tale, the droll heroine with her asides and astute observations drives these fantastic comics. After a second attempt on her life almost succeeds, Blanc-Sec stands among a train wreckage and declares "I am being taunted!" Tardi frequently breaks down the fourth wall to a humorous effect and his magnificent color art recalls the best of Hergé's TinTin stories.

John Lord Written by Denis-Pierre Filippi Art by Patrick Laumond (Humanoids)
John Lord In post WWI New York, the Unlimited Private Investigators (UPI), under the auspices of the Mayor's office, reforms to investigate a series of brutal murders. The only surviving member of the original incarnation joins the new group's leader Clara Summers for an investigation that involves piracy, a deserted island, a jungle woman, love, revenge and other diverse topics. Reminiscent of Torchwood, writer Filippi and artist Laumond craft compelling dual storylines that perfectly illustrate the eras and conflict. The tales culminate in a telegraphed though satisfactory conclusion.

Dear Creature by Jonathan Case (Tor)
Dear Creature In his love letter to the 50s monster movie, first time graphic novelist Case introduces a unique protagonist. The amphibious mutant Grue speaks in Elizabethan iambic pentameter. As with many characters that speak Shakespeare, the creature develops a romantic attachment for a damsel in distress. Aided by symbiotic crab companions, Grue moves beyond his beastly nature, morphing into the hero no one thought he could be. Case's witty script, combined with his comedic art, ideally emulates his source material with action, adventure, and romance. The entertaining volume concludes with the amusing "An Invertebrate's Guide to Iambic Pentameter."

A Weekend of Comic Book Goodness

cat puking kittens
Hell's Alphabet
artist Mark A. Nelson
Pirates of Mars
The Game of Thrones of Muppets
After the surprisingly entertaining first Austin Comic Con, I eagerly looked forward to this event. I arrived roughly 30 minutes before the con started to a line of some 400 people waiting to enter.

The hall itself was smaller than last year which was actually a good thing. Not as much open space and easier to look around. Sadly, one of the other missing things was the lack of any gaming. Last year's event devoted a significant amount of space to board gaming (more on that later).

I spent most of Friday visiting with people I knew.

Kristin "Dead Squirrel Girl" Hogan showcased her usual selection of homemade plush squid dolls and her latest creation: a large quilt featuring Doctor Who's famous Tardis. She shared table space with her Hell's Alphabet cohort Jason Murphy.

Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc. artist John Lucas pawned original comic pages. He also offered one of the show's more popular and potentially sacrilegious (if your beliefs lean that way) t-shirts: "JESUS CHRIST WAS A CARPENTER (below text: image of Jesus on left saying "I love you" and Han Solo on the right saying "I know.") SO WAS HARRISON FORD.

Sitting with Lucas but not hawking any of his own wares, writer, self-styled raconteur, and fellow simian fan Mark Finn talked about our wilder comic convention days of the 90s, when we were both frequent attendees at similar events. Finn much like myself participated more directly in the comics publishing world in those days. He's better know now as a world renowned Robert E. Howard scholar, old time radio show playwright and movie theater owner, though Finn does have some hush-hush comics projects on the horizon.

My co-writer for the short story "Raven: Nameless Here For Evermore," Alan J. Porter manned his own table selling his contributions to the Cars comic book series, Star Trek: A Comics History, James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007, and other Porteriana.

Yehudi Mercado premiered the third climatic volume to his graphic novel series Buffalo Speedway, a humorous chronicle into one day of the Turbo Pizza delivery drivers. On June 17th, 1994, the Rockets battle the Knicks in the NBA Finals, America hosts the World Cup, and O.J. Simpson leads the LAPD on a slow speed chase, combining to spawn a near perfect storm of pizza delivery as all 3 million people in Houston stay home to watch the events unfold on TV. With purchase of the book, Mercado including a set of cards illustrating The Game of Thrones of Muppets. Additionally, if you bought all three books, he tossed in a commemorative Buffalo Speedway pizza box to house all three books.

Happily after nearly 15 years, I reconnected with artist Mark A. Nelson. He exploded onto the comics scene in 1988 with the first original comic book based on the Aliens films. I met Nelson in the 90s shortly after he completed illustrating the Joe R. Lansdale God of the Razor comic series Blood & Shadows. While with Mojo, I commissioned him to produce the cover to my anthology The Big Bigfoot Book. Apparently, he relocated to Houston (from Chicago) sometime in the previous decade, where he continues to produce covers, comics, illustrations, and other artsy stuff.

As frequent readers of my essays know, I am the custodian of my nephews' geek upbringing. As part of their ongoing indoctrination, I brought Stan (12) and Alex (15) to their first comic convention on Saturday. Though initially overwhelmed by the incredible amount of geeky coolness and throngs of people, both boys adjusted and discovered many cool things.

Recent drinkers of the The Walking Dead Kool-Aid, they eagerly attended (along with their Uncle Ricky) The Walking Dead Q & A with Chandler Riggs and Anthony Guajardo. The panel revealed little of anything new about the show but was entertaining nonetheless.

All three of us met Godzilla artist Matt Frank. He showed off his Godzilla pics and work from the Transformers Animated comic. The excited daikaijū fan Stan commissioned his first ever convention sketch from Frank: an original Godzilla.

Alex wisely picked up some of Diana Sprinkle's work for his girlfriend. Featuring cats, parasites, barf, turtles, and other cute things, Sprinkle's slick products range from the cute to the disgusting, often within the same image.

The boys shot at stormtroopers, looked at zillions of cool books, toys, and t-shirts, and met many of my friends. We at a late lunch/early dinner of Mongolian bbq (another first for the nephews in a day full of them). Perhaps, they'll be back next years for some more.

Tired, I returned on Sunday for half a day. After checking in with some of my friends, I made a final walk through of the artist's alley where I discovered Pirates of Mars Vol. 1. Beautifully rendered by Veronica Fish, the online strip-cum-graphic novel hearkens back to the adventure strips of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon

Jack of Fables, House of Mystery, and Droctor Who writer Matthew Sturges promoted his new graphic novel with artist John Lucas Four Norseman of the Apocalypse, coming next year from the recently revitalized First Comics. He also revealed that he's hard at work on a new novel, his first crime thriller.

All in all, a fun-filled weekend of comic book goodness. I look forward to next years convention.

Copyright © 2011 Rick Klaw

Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications including 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.

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