20 Nov 2014

The Paradoscars 2014 - The Final Categories!

And so we reach the final seven categories that require your votes before the Paradoscars 2014 are announced at some point next month. There is an additional category - The PCG's Hero Honorary Award For Hero(ine) Of The Year - but that's one we decide internally and is not up for a public vote.

These categories focus on characters, adaptations, websites, disappointments as well as looking forward into 2015. If you haven't voted in the initial fourteen categories, you may do so here and here. And we encourage you to do so - there's going to be some close races in certain categories based on the tally of votes so far, while others see certain nominees running ahead of the pack. But all of that can, of course, change, and that's where you come in.

Voting will run until the end of the month but we encourage you to cast your votes at the earliest opportunity!

18 Nov 2014

On The Pull 19/11/2014

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Stewart R: Hmmmm, seems it really is a time to not judge a (comic) book by its cover as, having cancelled the controversial Milo Manara variant to Spider-Woman #1, I have to say that the standard issue cover from Greg Land and Morry Hollowell is pretty darn uninspiring! I'm sure, however, that Dennis Hopeless's writing and Land's improving interior art is going to do this new series some proper justice and give us the Jessica Drew book that we, as Marvel readers, deserve. The 'dive in' point, as 'Spider-Verse' gets under way, isn't a bad place to kick-off at all, giving a genuine focus to the book, Hopeless an infinite number of dimensions to play in, and Jessica someone to bounce off of in the form of newly discovered Spider-person, Silk. I'm really hoping that some of the deep insight into Jessica's personality that Bendis started to explore in his iteration gets some place in this new book as she's got one hell of a turbulent history and interesting outlook as something of a victimised hero.

And speaking of being a victim, my pull-list has become subject to a game of 'bundles' by no less than 20 comics this week, 12 of which are Marvel books! Here's the list of House of Ideas' titles I'm picking up just so you might see my quandary in trying to ditch any of them:

Amazing Spider-Man #10
Avengers #38
Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #6
Black Widow #12
Daredevil #10
Elektra #8
Inhuman #8
Moon Knight #9
New Avengers #26
Punisher #12
Spider-Woman #1
X-Force #12

There's so little wiggle room in there currently and the publishers' axe hanging over the likes of X-Force and (*sob*) Elektra just makes me want to stick with them until the impending end.

17 Nov 2014

The Paradoscars 2014 - Voting Continues!

Voting in our first wave of the Paradoscars, has been under way for a few days now, and even though it's not over until it's over, some categories appear to have clear winners already while in others it's simply too close to call at this stage. If you've not cast your votes already, you can still do so here.

And so now onto the second wave of categories. While the first was more focused on the titles we've been picking up since the beginning of January 2014, the categories below concentrate more on the talent involved in the creation of those titles. Without these guys and gals, we'd no doubt be looking for a new hobby!

Enough chat though - it's time to vote!

Mini Reviews 16/11/2014

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Ivan Brandon
Art: Nic Klein
Image $3.50

James R: This week's comics were dominated by new releases for me. It's been one of those weeks where I gambled on three new #1s and I was amazed that all of them delivered in different ways. Drifter takes my book of the week nod though, as it not only confounded my expectations, it amply demonstrates how to reinvigorate a well-used formula. This year  I've been disappointed in both Copperhead and Roche Limit from Image - books I found to be lacking in originality and invention, respectively. Drifter, on the other hand, takes the 'Western in space' idea and makes it feel fresh again. We are introduced to Abraham Pollux, the survivor of a downed space ship, who wakes on a frontier planet. As Pollux recovers from his injuries, he meets the inhabitants of the as-yet nameless planet and town. Ivan Brandon introduces his cast with the right level of ambiguity - it's hard to tell who is truly friend or foe. This builds to a phenomenal final page and twist which suggests a delicious mystery that's set to unravel over the coming months. It all looks beautiful, with Nic Klein doing a phenomenal one-man job illustrating and colouring the book, and the world of Drifter feels fully realised and meticulously designed. As a comics fan, I know not to get too carried away with first issues, but this one is a cut above, and finally I've got a space-based SF book on my pull-list. Far out in every way. 9/10

14 Nov 2014

Ten Forward: January 2015

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the November issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in January 2015.

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: John Cassaday
Marvel $4.99

James R: Egad – that art! I've been disappointed by Star Wars books before and, most recently, I've found them to be a mixed bag - Brian Wood's series tailed off badly after a strong start, while Matt Kindt's miniseries was an unexpected treat - but this new Star Wars series, the first back under the Marvel aegis, is absolutely an irresistible A-list draw. The maths here is pretty simple for me. Take the brilliant Jason Aaron, add the artwork of John Cassaday (who, by the look of the preview pages, is back on phenomenal form) and multiply it by one of my favourite things in the galaxy, and you have an electrifying new title to kick off 2015 with.

12 Nov 2014

The Paradoscars 2014 - Voting Begins!

Unbelievably, we are already entering the final few weeks of 2014, a year that seems to have zipped by at a rate of knots, one that's provided a plentiful supply of comic book entertainment to keep us distracted as the calendar edged closer to December. And as December is almost upon us then it is of course time to begin the traditional Paradoscar voting process!

This is our eighth year of running this here and once again we'll be opening up the voting to the wider world. However, unlike the last few years where the voting has primarily been though our Facebook page, we thought we'd try something different this time around and go the Survey Monkey route. As we're cheapskates we're going for the 'free' option on the site, and that means breaking the voting down into three segments with seven categories each.

The nominations in each category have been chosen by the PCG, and obviously reflect our tastes, so while you may not see some more 'obvious' contenders present, there are still some fantastic comics, creators and more in our selections, so please vote for our initial seven categories, as listed below...

11 Nov 2014

On The Pull 12/11/2014

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: So there's a bunch of new #1 issues out this week, and while I wouldn't go as far as saying there's something for everyone, I do think that there's enough variety out there that at least one of them will catch the eye of most weekly comic geeks. Marvel are pulling out some 'big gun' relaunches with All-New Captain America #1 and Superior Iron Man #1. I had considered the new Cap book, with Sam Wilson in his variation of the iconic uniform, but seeing how Rick Remender's been presenting the character in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS I find I'm no longer that bothered. The creator-owned stuff is - unsurprisingly - far more enticing. From Dark Horse we have Resurrectionists #1, which focuses on a select group of people who can not only remember their past lives but become them. Deep State #1 from BOOM! Studios is conspiracy theory a-go-go, where all those crackpot arguments turn out to be true and part of a wider top secret government programme. Over at Image we have Drifter #1, another sci-fi book with what looks likes some pretty phenomenal art from Nic Klein. Vertigo offer up an enticing prospect with Kitchen #1, which sees some mob wives take control when their husbands get sent down. Oh, and any Tarantino fans out there might be interested to try Django/Zorro #1, which is being pitched as the official sequel to Django Unchained in which the titular character from that movie meets up with the famous masked, sword-wielding pulp hero. Everyone should be aiming to take home at least one debut issue this week!

10 Nov 2014

Mini Reviews 09/11/2014

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: Benjamin Dewey & Jordie Bellaire
Image $2.99

Matt C: Yet another highly impressive debut from Image, this time via the expertly reliable pen of Mr Kurt Busiek. We often talk about ‘world-building’, and how it’s an utterly essential component when crafting a fantasy tale, but that term seems to be rendered redundant here; there’s no world-building on display because this world has already been built to perfection, right down to the tiniest detail. There’s a palpable sense that the writer has plotted this rich alternative history to such a degree that it feels immediately ‘lived in’ and – relatively speaking – real. The art of course adds to this effect, with Dewey rendering some astonishingly realised environments, and the choice not to make the anthropomorphised characters too human really pays off by adding a definite depth and believability, with the texture and shading of Bellaire’s colours compound that feeling. All this, and it’s a double-sized issue for $2.99. Certainly one of the best investments you’ll make this year. 8/10

4 Nov 2014

On The Pull 05/11/2014

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: After what's felt like a quietish couple of weeks, things are most definitely back in full swing for my pull-list this Wednesday. Image - yet again - takes up the bulk of my selections this week, with the likes of Nailbiter #7, God Hates Astronauts #3 and Mercenary Sea #7 being real highlights. Birthright #2 is right up there as well following one of the best debut issues of the year - I'm just hoping my expectations for it haven't gotten a little too high over the last few weeks! The debut I'm most excited about this week is Tooth & Claw #1, scripted by the great Kurt Busiek. Pitching it as 'Conan meets Game Of Thrones meets Kamandi' is quite something for it to live up to but not only did Busiek turn in some phenomenal work relaunching Dark Horse's Conan series several years back, he also proved he was thoroughly adept at composing tales within the fantasy genre in the hugely underrated Arrowsmith miniseries a decade or so ago. I've got high hopes for this one. One debut I may have skipped if it wasn't for the writer is Terrible Lizard #1 from Oni Press. A tale of a young girl bonding with a time-displaced T-Rex doesn't immediately catch my attention but as the chap behind the script is none other than Cullen Bunn (Sixth Gun, Magneto, Helheim) I'm ready to go in an be surprised. Oh, and there's also the small matter of Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #4 - after the events of the last issue, I have no idea what Remender has planned next, but considering the questionable quality of the first three instalments, I can't rule the man out yet!

2 Nov 2014

Mini Reviews 02/11/2014

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Jason Latour
Image $3.50

James R: It takes something special to wrestle my 'Book of the Week' award away from Mind MGMT, but Southern Bastards is something very special. I've loved this series since the first issue. As both ‘Sons of the South’, the two Jasons (Messieurs Aaron and Latour) have channelled the spirit of America's Deep South with real √©lan and verve. One of Aaron's many skills as a writer is getting you to invest and care about his characters. After convincing us all that the book was all about Earl Tubb returning to Craw County, last issue showed us in the most startling way that it was definitely not, and that Aaron was creating a far richer tableau. Issue #5 starts to add more detail to the world of Southern Bastards and, once again, Aaron makes us invest in a man who, by all rights, we should despise. He switches the narrative to Coach Boss, as we see how a determined and bullied teenager began on a path that would lead him to dominate Craw County. That would have been reason alone for recommending this book, but Aaron also manages to expand the world of Southern Bastards, offering up lots of potential new plot avenues for story to take. Once again, it's beautifully illustrated by Jason Latour (who also providing a brilliant cover too) and it seems to be one of those magical combinations in comics where writer and artist are in perfect synch. Growing in strength with every issue, and an utterly compelling read. 9/10