Monday, January 23, 2017

Kickstart the Week 48: Tezla

Look, I admit it: I have a fondness for electrical based heroes. Black Lightning, Static, Lightning Lad, and Storm,  are all great characters. Heck I can even rank Electro and Livewire as favorite villains. I even created one of my own, the comic character Arc, that I hope to bring out of retirement one of these days.

Now Tezla joins their ranks and she looks like a stupendous new creation with some stellar art. Creator Dimitris Moore looks like a talent to watch, so here's hoping he can make some waves with his new project.

Head over to Kickstarter and give the new project a look, and hopefully, your support. Tezla deserves a chance to shine.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cosplay Friday: Widowmaker

I am anything but an Overwatch player, but I cannot deny it has had some amazing superhero character designs. Widowmaker is one of my personal favorites and this cosplay by CutiePieSensei is the best costume based on the game I've seen so far.

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on this week!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Looking back at 2016: ten best pop songs

I've long been an advocate of music, whether it be alternative, popular or somewhere in between. I love to put together playlists for whatever I work on and even pushing forty, I still enjoy experiencing new music every year from artists both new and old. So I say with no shame, I can still find a ton to love on pop radio. Sure, there's plenty of crap as well, but that's always been the case. Pick any Billboard Top 100 for any year and you'll find about five really bad songs in the top 40. That's just the way of the world. But that doesn't mean I didn't find a lot of cream rising to the top in 2016. So here are my picks for the best music of the year.

Honorable Mention: Me, Myself and I - G-Eazy featuring Bebe Rexha. Released in October 2015, this song would have rated near the top of the list if I categorized it as a 2016 song.

10. Hands to Myself - Selina Gomez.

9. Make Me (Cry) - Noah Cyrus featuring Labrinth.

8. Starboy - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Looking back at 2016: Top Five Graphic Novels

While I buy plenty of monthly books, I also like to grab trades now and then because some stories just read better that way. So here is my list of favorite trade paperbacks or original graphic novels from 2016.

Image credit: Michel Fiffe and Bergen Street Press.
  1. Vision: Little Worse Than A Man: Tom King may be a DC exclusive creator now, but before he made that change he produced his absolute finest work for Marvel with this series. The story of Vision building his own family and the problems that causes in suburban Washington, D.C. is probably the finest superhero deconstruction in years.
  2. Copra Round Three: Copra is one of the few books I purchase in trade. The series continued early this year with this tome and it expertly expands the universe after the events of the first year's ongoing story arc. I cannot wait to crack open the fourth volume, which came into my library right at the end of 2016. 
  3. Wonder Woman: Earth One: I actually expected a bit more from Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette's re-imagined Wonder Woman, but their take is still one of the best the character has ever received. Hopefully subsequent volumes will continue to explore this character in ways she's deserved for years. 
  4. The Discipline: Peter Milligan's Image series seems to have been short lived but the first trade offered an intriguing tale of a woman turned into a monster tied to bondage. It's basically a strange mix of 50 Shades of Gray and a monster hunter book, and that combination under Milligan's pen is just superb. 
  5. All New Wolverine: Four Sisters: I would have never guessed I would enjoy this volume so much, but Tom Taylor's work on Laura Kinney as Wolverine is nothing short of stupendous. With a completely different attitude than her "dad", the former X-23 and four imperfect clones of her take this book in a direction unlike any other Wolverine book that had me champing at the bit to read more in a way I haven't with Wolverine in nearly two decades. Here's hoping he gets time to do a lot more with Laura over the next couple years. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Looking back at 2016: Top Ten Comic Series

I read a lot of comics every month. And while 2016 had me reading far less than I had in previous years, I still spent a lot of time with floppy issues open in front of me. Here's the ten best series I read all or part of in 2016.

  1. Dept. H: Matt Kindt is one of the best writers of modern comics. While his Valiant work (Ninjak, Divinity) is also amazing, his very best work of the year was this underwater murder mystery. Easily one of the most compelling books of the year with a heck of a lot more story to tell in 2017. 
  2. Sex: Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski's series takes a solid look at superhero comics by telling the story of a Batman style superhero that retired to end a gang war. Definitely a book for adults, Sex offers maybe one of the most intriguing ongoing narratives I've read in years. While monthly issues have ended as of this month, it looks to continue as a series of OGNs over the upcoming years. 
  3. The Shadow: Death of Margo Lane: Matt Wagner and The Shadow are a match made in heaven. Nuff said. 
  4. Gold Digger: I never know what I am in for with each issue of Fred Perry's ongoing series. After over 200 issues, he's created a massive universe but never makes a reader feel like he's completely lost as he pokes at the many corners of his own personal cosmos. 
  5. Insexts: Victorian England, super-bug powers and two women's love are the key components to this fascinating series from Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina, the best offering of several great books from Aftershock Comics. 
  6. Deathstroke: DC recruited Christopher Priest to write one of my favorite characters. He took the ball and ran with it and has made Slade Wilson's life more intriguing than ever before. Probably the best mainstream book on stands today. 
  7. Black Hammer: Jeff Lemire's tale of exiled heroes is a fascinating deconstruction of superhero archetypes in a real world setting. I have no clue where he's going with it all, but I cannot wait to keep following the tale of the trapped heroes. 
  8. Doctor Fate: I dearly miss Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew's amazing series. They created a great new era of a classic character and did so while not hiding from the truths of reality. Any fan of Ms. Marvel should definitely check it out, as should any fan of great comics. Now canceled, a world without it is a sadder place. 
  9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: While 2016 wasn't the absolute best run of the IDW Turtles books so far (that came in 2015), it remains one of the most compelling monthly titles on the market today. Kudos to Tom Waltz and company on consistently producing one of the best titles month after month. 
  10. Limbo: This weird limited series by newcomers Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard introduced a strange world with even stranger happenings. I cannot quite explain the slightly psychedelic aspects of this book, but it reads like classic Vertigo in all the right ways. Watters and Wijngaard have the potential to be huge creators in the next few years.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking back at 2016: Top Five Reads

I figured I would spend this week looking back at some of my favorite things of 2016. A lot of negativity was spewed last year and about last year, but I enjoyed some great things over the course of the calendar year and wanted to share them here.

We start off with my top five non-comic reads of 2016. That doesn't necessarily mean these books were released in 2016, only that I finished them within the calendar year. While my non-graphic reading was probably as low as it has been in decades, I found some true winners to peruse over the course of the year.
  1.  An Accidental Affair: Eric Jerome Dickey's pot boiler is three years old, but it is still a compelling look at infidelity in the modern world, from a writer that never fails to impress me with his gift for prose.
  2.  Bible Adventures (Boss Fight Books #7): I love the modern publishing world because things like Boss Fight Books can exist. A series of ruminations and histories of video games both well known and barely known, this edition by line editor Gabe Durham remains my favorite so far. Here's hoping this series goes for a long long time to come. 
  3. Jezebel Johnston: Devil's Handmaid: Nancy A. Hansen produced an amazing piece of pirate fiction with the first book in her series focused on a mulatto girl disguising herself as a man to adventure as a pirate. The first book tells her adventures on the ship Devil's Handmaid, while subsequent volumes look to follow her from ship to ship. I honestly cannot wait to see what Nancy has in store for book two, which should hopefully be out sometime this year. 
  4. Black Widow: Forever Red: I have read a few of Marvel's original novels and have found the results ranging from poor to spectacular. Forever Red falls in the latter category, a refreshing take on Black Widow, even if it doesn't quite jibe with either movie or comic book continuity. Margaret Stohl has a firm handle on superheroics, which certainly explains why she'll soon be writing the adventures of Carol Danvers in Marvel Comics. The addition of the Red Widow makes things especially intriguing, especially with the sequel now in my read pile. 
  5. Lion's Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling: I have been a wrestling fan for most of my life, but only in the last few years have I become more focused on watching Japanese wrestling. I have favorites in promotions like Dragon Gate, Big Japan and All Japan, but it is New Japan where the greatest talent in the world congregate. Home of some of the most compelling athletic spectacles available today, the promotion recently went worldwide with its NJPWWorld service and with a weekly show on AXS TV. Chris Charlton's Lion's Pride gives a detailed history of New Japan from its early origins to Antonio Inoki's rise as a megastar in Japan to the low points of the early 2000s. This is easily one of the best reads on wrestling today, even in Charlton can't tell the difference between Green Hornet and Green Lantern.