25 Nov 2014

On The Pull 26/11/2014

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: There's an argument that Matt Fraction produces his best work when he tackles more out there concepts, and while I believe that argument has a lot of validity, it sort of discounts some of his incredible work on Invincible Iron Man and Hawkeye. That said, you can't ever overlook a new series from the man behind Casanova and Sex Criminals, and ODY-C #1 looks like it's going to be a mind-bending, lysergic sci-fi necessity. That's just for starters, as this week also sees Image put out the next instalment of my current favourite comic, Lazarus. I'm sure no one else needs convincing of its brilliance, so I'll just leave it at that. C.O.W.L., on the other hand - returning from a short break to allow the first TPB to fill the gap - needs to be placed in the hands of many more people. Power, corruption and superheroes in mid-20th Century Chicago, this is smart, human storytelling that deserves a far wider audience than it appears to be getting. Pick up that recently released trade and the latest issue to see what I'm talking about. Oh, and while I'm here, after last week's abundance of riches, this week I'm not getting a single Marvel comic. They need to think about spreading they're great titles more evenly across the month! (What's that you're saying about subjectivity...?)

24 Nov 2014

The Paradoscars 2014 - Final Week Of Voting!

And now we hit the final week of voting for the Paradoscars 2014. So far we've received far more votes than any previous year but we still want to make one more concerted push to grab as many additional votes as we can before the time comes to tot them all up (voting will end on 30th November).

As mentioned previously, at the time of writing some of these categories are still up for grabs. Looking at the vote tally so far, 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 occur at some point mid-December. As usual, a tipsy PCG will congregate in a local curry house where they'll 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 listed below. It's a cliché, but every vote really does count!

23 Nov 2014

Mini Reviews 23/11/2014

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: Grant Morrison
Artists: Frank Quitely & Nathan Fairbairn
DC $4.99

James R: Since reading this on Wednesday, I've twice considered contacting Matt C, our estimable EiC, and asking if I could do an extended review of this book as it's one of those comics which is absolutely sublime and brilliant on every level. However, I'm sure there are better writers out there doing that very thing as I type, so I'll just stick to being effusive with my praise. Pax Americana is incredible. It is the next chapter in Morrison's epic Multiversity, but you don't have to have read any of the prior issues to enjoy this. It takes place in the world of the Charlton heroes, whom many of you know were the inspiration for Moore and Gibbons' Watchmen (and given the animosity between Moore and Morrison, it gives the book a whole other edge!) The story focuses on the assassination of that world's US President, but as it unfolds, we're treated to an absolute tour de force in storytelling - it becomes clear as you read it that the story can actually be read in reverse. The book took my breath away with both its ambition and its beauty. Frank Quitely is a genius and he pulls out all the stops here. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to see some of his work up close at the British Library's 'Comics Unmasked' exhibition, and I marvelled at the minute detail he brings to every image. A huge amount of respect has to go to Nathan Fairbairn for not only complementing this work, but augmenting it. We've given DC and Morrison a fair level of criticism down through the years, but this is truly comics as art on a whole other level. Magnificent and flawless. 10/10

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!