26 Nov 2015

The Paradoscars 2015 - Final Week Of Voting!

And now we reach the final week of voting for the Paradoscars 2015. We'vw seen a lot of voting activity so far but we still want to make one more concerted effort to grab as many additional votes as we can before the time comes to tot them all up (voting will end on 3rd December).

As mentioned previously, at the time of writing some of these categories are still up for grabs. Looking at the vote tally at the moment, while there are a few clear winners emerging, for the most part it remains a close race.

We anticipate the announcement of the winners to be at some point on the 19th December. As usual, a tipsy PCG will congregate in a local curry house where everything will be revealed, and the results will appear here shortly afterwards.

In the mean time, if you haven't done so already, please take this opportunity to vote in the 21 categories linked below. It's a cliché to say this, but every vote really does count!

25 Nov 2015

Screen Time: JESSICA JONES Season 1

Starring: Kirsten Ritter, David Tennant, Mike Colter, Carrie-Ann Moss Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville
Director: Various

James R: Seeing that I'm the member of the PCG without parental responsibilities or a weekend job, as with Daredevil, it was me who had the luxurious time to binge watch Jessica Jones last weekend. I'm fully aware that many people will be watching the show over a more prolonged period of time, so I shall keep this as spoiler-free as possible!

The story of Jessica Jones starts off back in *gulp* 2001. The first issue of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos' Alias marked a new era for mainstream comics. Following a very fallow period in the 1990s (along with bankruptcy) Marvel Comics were starting to publish some interesting titles under the stewardship of Bill Jemas, including the Spider Man anthology series Tangled Web and the introduction of the 'Ultimate' universe. In addition to these, Marvel introduced the 'MAX' line - it wasn't quite a Marvel version of Vertigo as the books under the MAX imprint used existing Marvel characters, but it was the publisher's first explicit acknowledgement that the readership of comics was mainly adult, and as much as those readers wanted the classic adventures of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, they were also keen to see darker, more grown-up tales set within the Marvel Universe.

24 Nov 2015

On The Pull 25/11/2015

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.

Andy H: A good mix of titles to check out and feast your eyeballs on this week. Some big guns return and an old favourite comes to an end. I'll start with my favourite miniseries of the moment though which is Wild's End: Enemy Within. I've talked about this series several times already so I won't put you through that again. Suffice to say it continues to impress and after the events of issue #2, issue #3 is eagerly awaited as our band of heroes are separated from each other and the odds are stacked against them. Black Magick #1 made a cracking start last month and I look forward to more great work from Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott. Combining a police procedural series mixed with magic may not be anything new but this was done really well and promises greatness ahead, hopefully. It's another of the creator-driven books that have dominated Image Comics in recent times and reminds us how much Image has changed over the years. On that note we say farewell to one of the founding books of the Image 'Universe'. After a 20-year run, Witchblade takes it's final bow. For me, at the beginning, Image was Spawn, Darkness, Savage Dragon and Witchblade (there were others of course) but now we're just down to Spawn and Savage Dragon and they don't have the pull they used to. Series writer Ron Marz is joined by Matt Hawkins and several previous Witchblade artists as we say goodbye to Sara Pezzini. Of course the big talking point of this week's releases is bound to be Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1. Returning to the world of Frank Miller's Dark Knight, after a break of about 14 years, this is the conclusion of the DK trilogy (or possibly not as there's already talk of a fourth volume). Anyhoo, Frank has not been well and has enlisted the help of some very capable talent for this book. He is joined by co-writer Brian Azzarello and has given the art duties to Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson. The original Dark Knight Returns is a classic - it got me back into comics - but I think Dark Knight Strikes Again was lacking something. So hopes are high that this creative team can make this a return to form. Sadly DC have gone mad with their marketing of the series - I'm sure it would have been snapped up by fans in a regular format but with a mini comic included and then a reprint two weeks later and a multitude of variant covers it's all a bit overkill for me. All I want to do is read the thing, call me old fashioned if you like! The rest of this Wednesday's pull is pretty much Marvel-based. Mark Waid takes Phil Coulson and his agents off to Asgard in S.H.I.E.L.D. #12, 'Vader Down' continues in Darth Vader #13 and as having something quirky on my list is a must, I'll give Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur #1 a whirl and see what it has to offer.

23 Nov 2015

Mini Reviews 22/11/2015

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: Mark Millar
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
Image $3.50

Matt C: Mark Millar is the master of the high concept in comics. This often serves him well and he produces series that resonate long after their release date, justifying his current position in the upper echelons of comics creators. Other times he fails to stick the landing, and promising beginnings lead to disappointing endings. Then there are the times where a great idea veers so far off course that it starts to resemble a terrible idea. Which one of those categories does Huck fit into? It’s far too early to say at this point, but taken as debut issue only, it’s really rather good. The superheroic simpleton who does a good deed every day while his hometown keeps his secret schtum is a neat starting point – it’s plausibility doesn’t really hold up under close scrutiny but Millar’s good-natured script, alongside some endearing, wistful artwork from Albuquerque compensate for that, and while there’s no certainty that this level of quality will be maintained, it’s certainly good enough to ensure I’ll stick with it until the end. 8/10

22 Nov 2015

Thought Bubble Comic Con 2015: The Voyage Home

Now he’s had a chance to settle back into reality following his first visit to Thought Bubble Festival - and get over the inevitable bout of 'con-flu' - here are some thoughts from Stewart R on last weekend's events…

Stewart R: Amongst the ranks of the PCG it’s been a common occurrence through recent years to a) consider a group trip to Thought Bubble based on the superb list of guests and anecdotal evidence of superb experiences from others, and then b) lament the understandable fact that none of us could make, or justify the trip that year once late November rolled around. ‘Maybe next year’ had honestly become something of a mantra within the group. This year I bypassed London Super Comic Con, wasn’t able to attend Melksham and had my eyes and savings set on another transatlantic jaunt to New York Comic Con. When that fell by the ticket-chaos wayside, a trip to Leeds for my first Thought Bubble not only became a distinct reality, but my solid comic convention plan for 2015.

Working in hospitality for the past couple of years has had a serious impact on my comic book hobby, affecting my enthusiasm for reading, limiting my ability to get to group meet ups and on occasion hindering me from writing about a medium that I do love. The pile of unread purchases from weekly orders, let alone previous shopping at conventions, is at this stage quite ridiculous. Like many others out there I have been feeling a touch ‘burnt out’ and have been wondering what it may take to rekindle my passion. I will say that it affected my attention to the point where I even gave the guest list for this year’s event just a cursory perusal, saw Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, Charles Soule and Scott Snyder were attending and booked the ticket without fully studying the line-up again until my bags were packed. So what was this convention like? Is it a weekend worth travelling to Leeds for and would I go again?

19 Nov 2015

The Paradoscars 2015 - The Final Categories!

And so we reach the final seven categories that require your votes before the Paradoscars 2015 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 2016. If you haven't voted in the initial fourteen categories, you may do so here and here. And we really encourage you to do so - there's going to be some close races in some 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!

17 Nov 2015

On The Pull 18/11/2015

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.

Tom P: A welcome return of two favourite creative teams and characters this week, the first being Mighty Thor #1. I loved Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman's take on the new female Thor and I honestly thought it was the best thing Marvel had published since Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force. It ended too soon and I'm desperately anticipating more, so this has the honour of being my first post-Secret Wars purchase as I dip my toe into the new Marvel Universe. The next is Batman: Europa #1 which sees artist Jim Lee returning to illustrate the Dark Knight with this Europe-based, four-part Batman miniseries that's written by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello. I can't tell you how much I'd love to read a decent Batman comic again! How good is Tokyo Ghost?! I think it's great and I've been having an absolute blast with the book. I love its grim take on the future of Internet addiction and I hope Remender and Murphy partner up more often! That just leaves Star Wars #12 which continues to capture the spirit of the movies and makes me even more excited about the new film coming out next month! You've heard about that, right?

15 Nov 2015

Mini Reviews 15/11/2015

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: R.M. Guéra & Giulia Brusco
Image $3.99

Matt C: The creators behind what was arguably one of the very best comic books series of the 21st century so far (although ‘unarguably’ is probably more accurate), Scalped, now turn their attention to the early  Biblical period before the Flood, where mankind has given themselves over completely to sin in the most degenerate and barbaric fashion. The magnificently intense creative synergy between Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra is still present and correct and together they establish a profane, enthralling take on a society heading towards an apocalypse. To go into more detail would likely spoil the surprises in store but suffice to say this is not only another win for Image but also another example of why Aaron is in the midst of an unstoppably brilliant creative momentum right now. 9/10

14 Nov 2015

The Road To Thought Bubble 2015

Stewart R: With Bristol Comic Expo having now properly left the convention calendar, and various members of The PCG having work and family commitments throughout the year, it seems that we’ve been spreading our love for the convention experience across the nation a touch wider and mayhap a little thinner. I popped to my first MCM in London for an afternoon back in May, and was sadly busy for the fourth annual Melksham Comic Con back in August when Matt, James, Andrew and Kenny made the journey to Wiltshire. The fortuitous turn of events that comes from being unable to take your annual leave during the Summer months is that you are free to bimble off to events and locales when perhaps others cannot. And so it is that I sit here, in an Ibis hotel in Leeds, awaiting Saturday’s opening of the Thought Bubble comic art festival!

13 Nov 2015

Ten Forward: January 2016

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 2016.

Also this month, we welcome Ann L and Billy P to the assembled ranks of The PCG.

Writer: Rich Douek
Art: Brett Barkley
IDW $3.99

Ann L: I don’t know if it’s the fact that this book is being released on my birthday next year or if it’s the part fantasy, part noir feel to the cover that’s drawing me in, but any comic that has its main character, Cinder Byrnes, trying to "lie, cheat and steal his way into wizardry" has my vote. Like you, I’m picky with what I read, and if I’m going to commit four months of my life and invest in a book, then it’s got to have that je ne sais quoi! Set in a modern NYC, where World War II was fought with magic and not bombs, Rich Douek’s Gutter Magic seems to be asking: what if Cinder Byrnes could use magic? And what if your closest ally was a green-skinned goblin, and your sidekick a powerful magician reminiscent of Hermione Granger? This has all the elements of Scott Snyder’s terrifying Wytches, Greg Rucka’s excellent Black Magick and Marguerite Bennett’s stunning DC Comics Bombshells all wrapped up into one glorious hodgepodge, and I for one can’t wait to blow out my candles, have a slice of cake and cosy up and dig into what is surely going to be a dark magical adventure.