Wednesday, March 04, 2009

a bit of news and a lot of Richard Corben

I don´t know but lately my blog has become more of a news blog with more announcements and news and less talk about comics per se. On the other hand I have always considered this blog a work in progress.

Talking about a work in progress : a few days ago I was proof reading some of the posts I linked to in the " top ten posts " that I put up at the end of every post for the new readers. And because I use it as a kind of introduction I thought that the least I could do was to make sure there are no syntax or spelling errors.

Well, while I was working on one of the posts there was suddenly a problem with the HTML and I had to improvise a bit. I had suddenly lost a picture then I had to find it again and to find a way to restore the page as it was. All in all one hour of work just to change two or three words. And so I have decided to leave the old posts as they are. I don´t want to risk loosing a post ( I already had this happen a few times ) just for pure cosmetic reasons. And there´s something to be said for keeping it real.

What I am thinking about is the return of the Civil War banners. It looked kind of weird when you have all the different posts lined up but not so much now that I have limited the number of posts on the first page to four. And if you have only one post it looks kind of naked without it if you get my drift. So I´m going to add some banners when I have the time.

The other thing I have to add are the funny or clever or just plain weird quotes I like to add at the end. In the last few posts I have been lacking in that departement but I haven´t come around good quotes that still sound cool when taken out of context.

Another administrative thing I have to do is welcome another new blog to the blog roll. Today I received an e - mail from one of the blogs I had contacted for the link exchange. Since I found no e - mail on the blog I left a comment but I forgot to include my e - mail address. I thought that you could contact me through the blog but I forgot to activate the e - mail in my personal profile. I have corrected that now so sorry to all persons out there who tried to contact me but couldn´t because I was too stupid to activate the e - mail. Sorry.

The name of the new blog ( well, it´s not per se new but you know what I mean ) is THE COMICS WAITING ROOM NEWSWIRE and like the name implies it´s all about comic news. It´s a bit different from NEWSARAMA or COMICBOOK RESOURCES since it doesn´t have pictures - just facts. Nevertheless you should check it out because not only do they provide the latest news they also give you background info about the companies or persons that are mentioned. Kind of like the " Flash facts " which is really helpful if like me you don´t know everything. Anyway, thanks again for including me in the blog links - especially as " Germany´s finest Comic Blog ! " with exclamation mark and everything. I´ll try to live up to it.

Which was the plan anyway ( well, initially to be half as funny and witty as DAVE´S LONGBOX ) but now I have another reason for it. I always thought that you should strive to become as good as possible in everything you do so when I set out to do a comics blog the goal always was to make Germany´s best comic blog - ever. Of course that means becoming what I consider to be the definition of the best blog. So back to the comics.

I´m still re - reading the JOHN BYRNE´S NEXT MEN issues and it really is one of the best series I read. What´s really interesting is reading the letters pages. You know, that thing the big publishers deem obsolete right now. And that may be. If you read the comics now. But if you read them five or ten years down the road that´s a whole different ballgame. Because let´s be real who goes to the internet when he reads a comic that´s five or ten years old just to search for hours to find old posts on the message boards about it ? So it´s nice to get the feedback of the time the comic came out. Especially when you can read it with the hindsight or perspective of a few years.

It´s really interesting because some of the topics haven´t changed while others have changed very much. Gimmick covers, the big crossovers or the hot artists of the month are things that are still being discussed. What has changed is the focussing on the art that was the norm of the day and which has now shifted to taking the story much more important. What hasn´t changed is the fact that it´s always one or the other. The idea that you have to put a big emphasis on both aspects of comics is somthing that doesn´t come up very often in comics history.

Speaking about comics history one of the intruiging aspects of the letters page is that John Byrne is one of the artists that had a big impact on the history of comics being at one time the hottest artist in comics. There´s no denying it. When I started collecting comics any comic that was drawn by John Byrne was a bestseller. Since then a lot of time has passed and I think JOHN BYRNE´S NEXT MEN was the book where he made the transition......or better where fandom made it for him......from top dog to slowly becoming one of the less popular artists. I don´t think it really had something to do with the fact that JOHN BYRNE´S NEXT MEN treated topics like racism, bigottery, adultery or superheroes in a real world setting.

Who knows what causes an artist to fall from grace ? So when he writes about the happenings in the comic industry he speaks from the perspective of somebody who was at the top and is slowly going down in the readers favor. Anyway, if you haven´t read NEXT MEN you should definitely check it out. But that´s not what I really wanted to write about.

I think I mentioned in my last post that I had ordered some comics through amazon which included some volumes of CASE CLOSED and the trade of HAUNT OF HORROR - or so I thought. When I ordered it I thought that for the price of 13.60 EUROS and free of shipping it had to be the trade. So picture my surprise when I found the premiere hardcover that is usually priced at 19.99. My brother thinks it has something to do with the current crisis that the dollar has become weaker but as far as I could find out through research concerning other hardcovers it´s the only one.

I have no idea if it´s a special price, a snafu or what. What I DO know is that you can still order it and there are currently only five copies left. Of course this is something for my german readers because it is on not and the shipping is free. One of the reasosn why I was surprised that the package arrived today is that usually american trades take up to two weeks for delivery. Now I don´t know if that has changed since I don´t order that often from amazon but in this case shipping takes no more than three days. So if like me you missed the mini here´s your chance to get it in hardcover for a bargain price.

Now there may be readers out there who want to know what´s it all about. I can´t expect all my readers to know about every comic book released out there so here is some info :

In the last few years fantasy comic pioneer and master craftsman Richard Corben has dome more comic work for the likes of Dark Horse, DC or Marvel. At Dark Horse he did some covers and a two part HELLBOY book and is currently doing some interior pages for a CONAN title.

For DC he did a HELLBLAZER storyarc written by none other than Brian Azzarello of 100 BULLETS as well as a SOLO issue that is like a deluxe edition of HORRORSCHOCKER while his working relationship with Marvel lasted a bit longer. He did the mini series BANNER and CAGE, did some covers and issues for GHOST RIDER and a three issue mini series called HAUNT OF FEAR : EDGAR ALLEN POE.

If there ever was a combination of cult writer with cult artist that was destiny it´s this one. In each issue three stories from horror story pioneer Edgar Allen Poe was reimagined and transported to the comic page by Richard Corben. Being a comic fan as well as a horror fan putting this series on my pull list was a no - brainer but it seems there were a lot of others who liked the comic. Otherwise there wouldn´t have been the sequel.

After doing Edgar Allen Poe the next logical step was a volume about Howard Phillip Lovecraft master of the mindscape where nightmares of other dimensions and unspeakable horrors dwell. While Edgar Allen Poe always delved more into the abyss that lies in the psyche of man and it´s depravations H.P. Lovecraft was always more interested in things like the elder gods and monsters just too big for the human kind to comprehend. He inspired whole generations of creative people and without him there may have been no Hellboy.

I´m not entirely sure if he invented the Necronomicon but it is a big part of a lot of his stories. Anyway, again Richard Corben excells at re - imagening this classic stories for a new audience. Was he already the perfect choice for the first part here ha can really show his muscles by depicting the impossible spacegod monsters which Lovecraft does best ( well, he invented them ). Do I really have to say more about his art ?

Another thing I just have to mention is that series editor Daniel Ketchum could have been the inspiration for the 90s GHOST RIDER´s secret identity Daniel Ketch.

  • line of fire review with preview pages

  • interview with richard corben

  • interview with editor daniel ketchum

  • Something I haven´t done in a long time is speaking about the quality of the product because mostly there is not much to say but it´s something I did in my first reviews. Since then I have gone away from writing about specific trades or hardcovers but now that the occassion presents itself why not do it ? I really liked the way that COLLECTED EDITION presents the trades so let´s see if I can take a page from their book. I don´t know how the other MARVEL PREMIERE EDITIONS are because of the tight budget I have but the copy I received looks really nice. It has a paper slieve with the cover to issue one over the black hardcover that has the title " HAUNT OF HORROR " embedded with blue metallic letters.

    It´s printed on nice glossy paper ( 90 Gramms ? ) and you can open it without fear of breaking it like the JLA / JSA : VIRTUE AND VICE hardcover from DC. Also there are no printing errors like in the AVENGERS FOREVER trades by Marvel. It´s almost completely in black and white ( except the original covers that are included ) which evokes the athmosphere of old horror movies with Boris Karloff or Vincent Price and after each comic story the original story by H.P. Lovecraft is included. Now there is one warning I have to add : being a Marvel MAX title it has some explicit content but that´s to expect with this subject.

    I don´t recommend a lot of comics - well, I do mention what I think are good books and what people should read - but when I think that a comic is just so good that it would be a shame if people would not read it I make an exception. So my recommendation : check out H. P. LOVECRAFT´S HAUNT OF HORROR.

    If you are a fan of Richard Corben or H. P. Lovecraft you owe it to yourself and if you aren´t familiar with one of the guys work you should definitely do it. Especailly if you live in Germany and can get it for 13,60 including shipping.

    Now I have written that much and nothing about CASE CLOSED. Which is just as well since I haven´t read any of the volumes so far. I have just started with HAUNT OF HORROR and I´m still got a few issues of JOHN BYRNE´S NEXT MEN ahead of me. I haven´t started on the issues of ECHO and USAGI YOJIMBO I got the last time I was at the comic shop because I wanted to write a post about TEEN TITANS before I started on that. Which more and more seems unlikely. Additionally my brothers monthly care package from the comic shop arrived today so there is still more stuff to read. He hasn´t unpacked them yet but I think if HULK 10 is out it´s time again for me to go to the comic shop myself.

    So I think I have covered everything important and hopefully there will be more comic stuff in my next post.

    New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN :

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  • Hannibal Kingsley ? You´re El Zapatero ?


    Geier said...

    Danke für den Corben/Lovecraft Hinweis, hab's gerade geordert!

    SUBZERO said...

    Gern geschehen ! Irgendwie muss man das ja honorieren dass du so eifrig HORST postest.

    Und wer weiss, wenn die Fangemeinde entsprechend wächst gibt es vielleicht doch irgendwann HORST in Farbe. Und wenn´s nur eine " best of " edition ist.