Speech Bubbles: Comics & Graphic Novels
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King Conan - The Conqueror (Part 2 of 6)
What can be said about a second issue in a multi-chapter miniseries?  Well, unlike the first installment (which basically serves to ‘set the stage’), the second usually is where the writer and creative team step up the pace in order to put the grand adventure into gear.  Sure, there are new faces, but they’re usually secondary of importance to those smilers introduced right …
King Conan: The Conqueror (Part 1 of 6)
As I’ve often said (and kinda/sorta been derided for), telling a first issue can be a treacherous, treacherous thing.  There’s a balance I think every writer seeks to create, one that assures regular readers that they’re in for something special while also inspiring those newcomers who’ve just boarded the adventure that they, too, won’t find themselves at a loss.  …
reviewed The Star Wars (Hardcover). August 18
The Star Wars (Hardcover)
Behind every great story is obvious a story about that which never got told: namely the original tale.  From the script to the screen is one thing, but what about from the writer’s head on to the initial page?  That’s what makes THE STAR WARS – a retelling of George Lucas’s rough draft – honestly even worth the time of day.  After all, there’d be …
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows
One of the most significant and personal reasons I read comic books is for the inherent escapism.  I love to find myself lost in the pages of a good graphic read, being whisked away from reality into the realm of fantasy where not a care of the greater world around me intrudes my waking thoughts.  Occasionally, storytellers like to make some greater comment on the world they live in; and …
The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian #163
To my delight, I’m getting the chance to relive some of the Conan graphic tales of the 80’s – a time when the Cimmerian was less concerned with where his next meal was coming from and more interested in taking his shtick on the road in search of treasure.  I’ll try to post something on each of these tales once I’ve read them if for no better reason than to share …
reviewed Conan The Avenger (#4). August 06
Conan The Avenger (#4)
For this particular time and particular place, it isn’t uncommon for there to be various forces conspiring behind the ruling elite in some secret big for power.  But equally compelling for epic fantasy is the appearance of an oppressed people, a class hungry to rise up against those who would rule them with insufficient consideration.  Such is the case with the Gallahs, the tribe at …
Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars - Volume 1: Red Meat
When I was a boy, I read a fair amount of what one might call vintage Science Fiction.  Sure, I’d also read some of the more contemporary stuff for that time (mid-1970’s to mid-1980’s), but for a whole number of reasons that modern stuff didn’t stick with me, not in the way the classics did.  In the classics, the characters all seemed a bit larger-than-life.  …
The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian #162
To my delight, I’m getting the chance to relive some of the Conan graphic tales of the 80’s – a time when the Cimmerian was less concerned with where his next meal was coming from and more interested in taking his shtick on the road in search of treasure.  I’ll try to post something on each of these tales once I’ve read them if for no better reason than to share …
The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian #161
To my delight, I’m getting the chance to relive some of the Conan graphic tales of the 80’s – a time when the Cimmerian was less concerned with where his next meal was coming from and more interested in taking his shtick on the road in search of treasure.  I’ll try to post something on each of these tales once I’ve read them if for no better reason than to share …
The Strain: Book One (Hardcover)
Don’t you just know it but there’s always some ancient evil secret at the heart of any good horror-based conspiracy, no?  Sure, there is!  And most of the times those ancient evil secrets come from countries and cities all across Europe where civilization is much older than it is here in the States.  Why, that practically goes without saying!  Of course, once that ancient …
reviewed Conan The Avenger (#3). August 04
Conan The Avenger (#3)
Epic fantasy that involves barbarians, kings, and queens gets great mileage out of the obvious and clandestine pursuits of power.  For example, HBO’s stellar GAMES OF THRONES is entirely about the grand chess game to rule by hook or by crook, and certainly the roads traveled by no less than Conan the Barbarian concern themselves with much of the same thematic material.  Indeed, the …
reviewed Conan the Avenger (#2). August 04
Conan the Avenger (#2)
I realize that part of my issue in evaluating CONAN comics is that because I’m such a big fan of the Cimmerian, his worlds, and these tales I’m probably predisposed to liking just about anything on any given day.  Still – as a media critic – I do tend to be fairly hard on some aspects of entertainment: I’ll dismiss minor story elements as fodder if they don’t …
reviewed Conan the Avenger (#1). August 04
Conan the Avenger (#1)
On occasion, I tend to be the lone voice in the wilderness I’ve found when it comes to some of Dark Horse Comics’ take on the CONAN material.  Having read a handful of Robert E. Howard’s original works, maybe it’s just that I’m not expecting a hard-and-fast adherence to all things REH envisioned for his signature strongman.  While I’d agree that can be …
reviewed Star Wars: Dark Empire II. August 01
Star Wars: Dark Empire II
Erm … it’s a bit difficult to figure what to make of Dark Horse’s DARK EMPIRE II.  Rarely does a title seem so entirely unnecessary much less a crass attempt to cash in on a middling first entry (namely DARK EMPIRE) but that’s honestly about the best I can figure come the “big finish” … which isn’t so much a “big finish” as it is a …
The Shadow: Midnight In Moscow (Issue #1 of 6)
As I’ve mentioned before, I consider myself to have grown up on The Shadow.  Naturally, there were other influences – thanks to the comic books provided to me by a very generous distributor at no cost, I might add – but The Shadow is probably what I consider the frontline of my youth.  No, I’m not so old that I heard his radio shows when they originally aired; I grew …
Han Solo and the Hollow Moon of Khorya
I grew up as part of that generation that had its hearts stolen by George Lucas’s original STAR WARS flick.  You know the one?  Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca?  1977?  Long before it had been renamed “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”?  This was our generation’s Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, and it ignited our imaginations so strongly that our hopes …
The City of the Edge of Forever (Issue #1 of 5)
I’ve had some experience with IDW Publishing, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t much care for them as a company.  Oh, this isn’t to say that I dislike their properties; rather, I like them immensely.  It’s just that – and this is entirely based on my experiences – they fill out their corporate staff with folks who are relatively unprofessional …
reviewed To Hell You Ride. July 25
To Hell You Ride
I’ve always admired the work of actor Lance Henriksen.  He’s been in some great movies and television … and – as tends to happens in the world of Hollyweird – he’s been in some not-so-great movies and television.  That isn’t his fault directly.  After all, a man’s gotta pay the bills, right?  But hats off to the inspired folks at …
Dream Thief: Escape (#2 of 4)
An awful lot of fiction has drawn from one’s search for revenge to fuel the narrative.  Heck, even Bruce Wayne himself capitalized psychologically on the loss of his parents by using that seminal event as inspiration for what he would become – the ultimate crime-fighting machine.  Is it a natural human impulse to see wrongs put right, or is this some deep, dark skill we’re …
Dream Thief: Escape (#1 of 4)
So long as there have been ghosts there have been questions of what purposes these spirits ultimately serve.  While a handful of theories exist, it’s generally been accepted that those who have departed but have yet to successfully ‘cross over’ are stuck perilously close to this plane of existence due to some unfinished business.  Many times, this unfinished business takes …
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