Panel of the Week – Groo, Grumpy Dragons, and Gilmore Girls

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Every Wednesday, GeekParty highlights the week’s best comic book panels. Last week, Mandi enjoyed some goofy comic books. This week, Mandi had to look at Chimera nipples.

Occasionally, I pick up a comic for a completely ridiculous reason. A chicken variant cover convinced me to read God Is Dead #27, and I’m still not sure how I feel about that experience. There weren’t any chickens in it, but I wouldn’t say I was disappointed. Just very, very confused.

From cute monsters to crying raccoons, this is Panel of the Week!

I can’t tell if this is supposed to be math or one of those crazy-people evidence boards.panel all-new x-menImage Source: All-New X-Men #35 by Marvel Comics. Art by Mahmud Asrar.

It’s my fight scene and I can monologue if I want to.panel spreadImage Source: Spread #5 by Image Comics. Art by Kyle Strahm.

This is cuter than a picture of a six-headed lizard has any right to be. rumbleImage Source: Rumble #2 by Image Comics. Art by James Harren.

That’s a whole lot of not understanding.grooImage Source: Groo: Friends and Foes #1 by Dark Horse Comics. Art by Sergio Aragonés.

I spent my evening pasting Kirby over the nipples of a chimera. Thanks, GeekParty.god is deadImage Source: God Is Dead #27 by Avatar Press. Art by Emiliano Urdinola.

Pretty sure this would be me if I ever got into the superhero business.batman eternalImage Source: Batman Eternal #42 by DC Comics. Art by Joseph A. Quinones Jr.

I’ve never been able to resist a pouting superhero, and that goes double when there are alien dragons involved.legendary star-lordImage Source: Legendary Star-Lord #8 by Marvel Comics. Art by Paco Medina.

Frank Quitely will always be my favorite comic book artist. Always.jupiter's legacyImage Source: Jupter’s Legacy #5 by Image Comics. Art by Frank Quitely.

I’d crack a joke about Rocket’s love of Gilmore Girls, but reading all these comic books got something in my eye.panel rocketImage Source: Rocket Raccoon #7 by Marvel Comics. Art by Filipe Andrade.

BackStory: Free Comic Book Day Changed the Way I Read Comics

The other day, I received an email informing me that Free Comic Book Day was only 100 days away. Some people might think that a notification for something that far off is overkill. Those people probably haven’t experienced Free Comic Book Day.

FCBDFCBD is an event that takes place on the first Saturday of May. On that auspicious day, comic shops give out free comics, merchandise, and sometimes much more.

My first FCBD took place shortly after I started reading comics again. On the morning of May 5th, 2007, I packed up the family and headed over to 4 Color Fantasies. When we arrived, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was completely blown away.

Almost all comic shops participate in FCBD, but certain stores go out of their way to create something truly special. 4 Color Fantasies was one of those stores. They had artists, writers, the 501st Legion, vendors, cosplayers, free food, raffles, and most importantly, free comic books. It was almost like a mini Comic-Con.

We had to wait in line for quite a while – back then, we didn’t know you needed to arrive early – but it was more than worth it.

Around that time, I was really only reading Marvel books. Marvel’s stories felt dark and serious, while DC’s books looked like goofy kids stuff. Normally, I would have passed on a comic like Justice League of America #0, but since it was free, I decided to give it a try.

What I read in those pages was somewhat confusing — publishers aren’t as good at creating jumping on points as they think they are — yet extremely interesting at the same time.

JLA0I wanted to know how the JLA wound up in their current situation, which spurred me to pick up back issues and trades. I started researching unfamiliar characters online, and even picked up a DC encyclopedia.

One free comic book convinced me to broaden my horizons. No longer was I a champion of Marvel and a hater of DC; I was a comic book fan in general. I started picking up any book that looked interesting, regardless of the publishing company.

Every year, thousands of people experience the same thing I did back in 2007. FCBC convinces people to check out  a book they wouldn’t normally try, or even pick up a comic for the very first time. A future artist could very well be standing in line this year, and the books they read could help shape their career.

This year, Free Comic Book Day takes place on Saturday, May 5th. As usual, publishers are doing their best to convince readers to give their books a shot. Marvel’s kicking off a universe-changing event with Secret Wars, and DC keeping their big book completely under wraps.

secretwars1Whether you’re interested in following major events, want to discover new books from smaller publishers, or just want to score some free stuff, Free Comic Book Day is an event you don’t want to miss. If you want to see what FCBD is all about, go ahead and find a participating store near you. Just make sure you get there nice and early.

Pull of the Week – Bad Guys and Bedpans

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Every week, self-proclaimed comic expert Mandi picks out three new comics that are worth pulling. Last week, she took a few risks. This week, she’s bringing out the bedpans.

When I was a kid, I chose comics based on their characters and covers. These days, I mostly pick comics for their creative teams. I’m willing to read just about anything if a writer or artist I like is involved.

Thankfully, the projects my favorite creators attach themselves to tend to be fantastic. While I’ve read plenty of bad Batman and Superman comics, creators like Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder rarely steer me wrong. This week, my pull list is full of big names, and I feel pretty good about that.

Vertigo Quarterly Black #1

vertigo blackWhile anthologies can be a great place to find new comic talent, this book has mostly has established names attached to it. Francesco Francavilla, Si Spencer, Jeff Lemire, and Fabio Moon are among the many talented creators contributing to its pages.

I’ve enjoyed nearly every anthology Vertigo has put out, and I’m expecting this one to be another solid read. I’m not sure what kind of stories it will tell me, but I know I want to read them all.

You can pick up Vertigo Quarterly Black from TFAW or your local comic shop.

Uncanny Avengers #1

uncanny remenderRick Remender has a pretty great track record when it comes to the word “uncanny.” His dazzling, heartbreaking run on Uncanny X-Force is one of the best comic book stories I’ve ever read.

While I’m not expecting Avengers to reach X-Force levels of greatness, I am expecting good things. Remender has stacked the team with former bad guys, which definitely has me curious. The solicit promises new worlds and terrible secrets, and while both those things are a little cliche, I trust Remender to pull it off. For the first time in a while, there’s an Avengers title on the stands I’m excited about reading.

You can pick up Uncanny Avengers #1 from TFAW or your local comic shop.

The Dying and the Dead #1

dying and the dead“It’s Indiana Jones for Old People,” reads the Dying and the Dead solicit. “There are no fedoras, only bedpans.”

If that doesn’t make you want to run out and buy this, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

If you need a little more convincing, you should know it’s penned by Jonathan Hickman, one of the most reliable names in comics. I don’t think Hickman has ever written a bad comic, and his first issues are often his best. Hickman’s talent, Ryan Bodenheim’s art, and the intriguing premise all make this a must-buy. I want this comic to tell me to get off its lawn.

You can grab The Dying and the Dead from TFAW or from your local comic shop.

Gordy Tells Justin Comics [Episode 09] – Angels and Assholes

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Je Suis, Charlie! Welcome to the first international episode of Gordy Tells Justin Comics! This week we cover the best (and worst) of French comics, starting and ending with the man, the legend, the kook…Alejandro Jodorowsky. Things start out super nice, then turn super odd as the boys get into the thick of Jodo’s magnum opus — The Holy Mountain. From there they hit up his iconic comic work with Moebius, Metabarons, which turns out to be mostly just a batshit re-imagining of Dune coated in brutal insanity. A guy fills himself with bombs, has sex with his mom, blows his kid’s head off, and then things get REALLY weird. There are no Angels in the outfield of space.

Also this eppy – North Korean shadow people, Justin’s flawless Seth Rogen impression, King Okoye, senior sinners on the loose, and What Would Snake Eyes Do? So come on in and let us spit…just a little…in your mouth…

Podcast: Download | iTunes

 

Panel of the Week – Puns, Pouty Faces, and a Pile of Kittens

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Every Wednesday, GeekParty highlights the week’s best comic book panels. Last week, Ant-man made some terrible jokes. This week, Red Fraggle is carrying on his legacy.

Marvel recently announced they were ending their universe, which has made me realize that I’ve kind of outgrown comic book drama. Life is stressful, and I can’t muster up the energy to be outraged about this stuff anymore. I just want to sit back and read some comic books.

This week’s books were pretty goofy, and lately, goofy’s exactly what I need. From dragon slippers to driving blind, this is Panel of the Week! [Read more…]

Pull of the Week – Rocket Raccoon and Risk-Taking

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Every week, self-proclaimed comic expert Mandi picks out three new comics that are worth pulling. Last week, she trusted in the force. This week, she’s leaping into the unknown.

Some weeks, I know I’m going to love my stack of comics before I ever dig into it. Other weeks, I’m a little less sure. For some reason, those uncertain weeks are my favorite. When I don’t know if I’m going to like a book, reading it feels like an adventure. [Read more…]

Gordy Tells Justin Comics – [Episode 8] Santadook

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Remember Christmas?! Well we do (kinda), thanks to an ever present reminder in the form of our third co-host, The Gentleman Ghost of Christmas Past. His icy presence is felt all throughout this episode as we talk about anything and everything other than comics. Hey, you try talkin’ comics when the looming evil of the Santadook is at your door! Come to think of it, there’s lots of evil covered in this podcast, including one of the bigger evils of all time – Hitler! Even as a purgatory baby, he still manages to leave his terrible mark on history. Smaller evils include Snyder’s Man of Steel, Gordy’s apocalypse nethers, clinically diagnosed Bergigo, and the New 52 Lobo. So clamp down on some Big League Chew, slam a Fresca, and get on base!

Plus – A shameful Lady GaGa reference, the gift of stuttering, old gods on new crotches, Hulk Hogan’s Tamp-A-Damp, and Gordy and Justin talk sports…big time. Touchdown?!

Podcast: Download | iTunes

 

BackStory – Star Wars and Dark Horse: The End of an Era

As a kid, I wasn’t a big comic reader; my parents never bought them and they were hard for me to get. Occasionally, though, I’d spend the night at my cousin’s house, we’d hit the local 7-Eleven, and I’d purchase a comic or two. There were a couple of books I would always pick up if I could: Green Lantern Corps and Marvel’s Star Wars. I’d read those books inside and out till they fell apart.

As time went on, I gave up and didn’t pick up a comic for years (unless it was laying around on a coffee table somewhere).

sw1coverBut even though I wasn’t into comics, my love for Star Wars continued to grow. My dad took me to see A New Hope in the theater when I was 4, and I’ve been a die-hard fan ever since.

By 1991, I’d become an avid Star Wars memorabilia collector, and I started reading the Expanded Universe books after I found out about Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. I was blown away by the stories that were being told beyond the trilogy.

In 1993, when I found out that Dark Horse Comics was publishing Star Wars comics, I instantly found a comic shop close to me and bought what I could. Soon, I discovered one of the greatest Star Wars stories I’ve ever experienced: Tales of the Jedi.

totjI was instantly sold on Star Wars comic books, and I started to buy them monthly. I then started to pick up books like Dark Empire from the back issue boxes, as well as the reissues of the classic Star Wars comics. This love of Star Wars comics grew into a love of comics in general, and I started to collect many different books. Still, it was Dark Horse’s Star Wars that originally sucked me in.

darkempireFor more than 20 years, Dark Horse was synonymous with Star Wars comics. Some books were phenomenal, while others were sub-par, but their impact on the Star Wars franchise can’t be denied.

Some of the best comic book stories – or best stories period – came from this union. From the tales of Ulic Qul-Droma in Tales of the Jedi to the story of Luke turning to the Dark Side in order to defeat the post-ROTJ cloned Emperor (yeah it sounds crazy, but it’s mind-blowing) to the graphic novelization of the Thrawn Trilogy, these stories allowed my imagination to run wild. The landscapes created in these stories rivaled those of Marvel and DC.

Shortly after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, it was announced that the Star Wars comics license would be returning to Marvel (which is also owned by Disney). It’s likely that Dark Horse books will never be published again, save for a few books that fall into Marvel’s Star Wars canon.

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It’s unfortunate that so many amazing stories will be going out of print. Dark Horse’s Star Wars books have a rich history, and many, myself included, have enjoyed them since childhood. Don’t get me wrong –I’m excited about the new movies — but it’s frustrating to see so many great stories thrown away.

Still, Dark Horse went out strong. Brian Wood told a Star Wars tale set in a universe where only A New Hope was canon. And there was a terrific Darth Maul story that took place after the phenomenal Clone Wars cartoon. It’s sad that Dark Horse had to end their run, but at least they went out with a bang.

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On January 14th, Marvel is launching their new line of Star Wars books.  With more than 100 variant covers, it’s clear that Marvel is going all in. Hopefully, they’ll prove that they can create a new canon that readers will love.

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As a Marvel fan, I have no doubt that they will be able to pull this off, and I’m definitely looking forward to this. Still, I can’t help but wish that those Dark Horse stories I love were a part of the canon.

No matter what happens, I’ll always carry those stories close to my heart. To me, they’re just as important as A New Hope was when I was a young boy.

Pull of the Week – In a Longbox Far, Far Away…

Every week, self-proclaimed comic expert Mandi picks out three new comics that are worth pulling. Last week, she rallied behind the underdogs. This week, she’s trusting in the force.

Traditionally, Star Wars is celebrated in May, but it looks like the force will be arriving a little early this year. Marvel is about to debut their brand-new Star Wars series, which means shops will be filled with fans of the franchise. This week, a number of people will buy a comic for the very first time.

If you’re planning on checking out Marvel’s Star Wars series, consider picking up one of the other comics on this list as well. What they lack in Jedi, they make up for in great art and storytelling. [Read more…]

Gordy Tells Justin Comics – [Episode 07] Nightmare After Christmas

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Less walking, more talking! In this post-Christmas episode of GtJc, Gordy and Justin bask in the glow of the new year a bit before wading into the realm of the undead and beyond.

Some people love The Walking Dead, some people don’t. Even if you do love it, we bet you don’t love Lori. Regardless, we get into it. From there, Galactus gets eaten by Marvel’s finest, Morbius enchants a 90s America, and Howard the Duck traverses the multiverse.

Speaking of Howard T. Duck, Justin regales us with the story of his childhood love of the film and his machinations to see it multiple times on the big screen. And both young men are forever changed by seeing Lea Thompson in fishnets. It’s a beautiful holiday tale you won’t want to miss!

But wait, there’s more! Gordy listens to Hulk Hogan and the Boot Camp Slammers on repeat while gently rocking his luncheon loaf, Justin takes sides in the Spider-Man vs. Juggernaut blow-out (on Earth!), mad rhymes, and a new sponsor! What’re you waiting for? Crack open a delicious, refreshing Fresca and get listenin’!

Podcast: Download | iTunes