Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

REVIEW: Roger Langridge's Snarked!

The other day I reviewed a Garfield comic book. In the back there was a plug for Snarked!, a comic book that KaBoom! was also putting out. The art style looked interesting, so I decided to buy the first issue from TFAW.com and check it out.

Snarked! is a comic book by Roger Langridge that ran for only a year (2011-2012). Using Lewis Carroll as a jumping point, the comic stars Princess Scarlett and her baby brother Rusty going on a search for their father, King Russell, who has been missing at sea for over 6 months. The Princess is crowned as a successor, although she is hoping that he'll come back. As it stands, a Cheshire Cat shows up, saying that he can help her find her father, with the assistance of a Walrus and a Carpenter.


I'm honestly impressed. This is one of the best comic books I've ever read (keep in mind I don't read many, but still). The artwork is fantastic; the characters are drawn with great flare, with varying shapes to distinguish them. I also have to give credit to the colorist Rachelle Rosenberg. She really did a great job, especially with the outlines. Most of the characters are black outline, but depending on the scene she would vary it up.

And this is only from the first issue, but the story is told well. We understand the characters and their motivation, and the action moves smoothly. I'm wanting to see more of this comic.



Alas, all-ages comic don't get much respect these days (if comic books even get any, especially in today's market), and this comic went by, obscure, before ending after just one year. Shame, because we need more comics like this.

Fortunately, though, trade paperbacks are available. Two books came out, with the third (and last) coming out in 2013. If you prefer, individual comic books can be bought at TFAW.com

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Conchy - Week of February 16, 1976


(I'm missing February 16 strip. The above comic is from September 3, 1975)







Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Little Pony comic book



I've written about the TV cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic before, and you may be familiar with the show's popularity at this point. A rare instance where a cartoon based on a children's toy is actually good (in terms of writing and animation, despite being done in Flash). Not to mention, a cartoon clearly aimed a female demographic that has gained foothold with the male viewers.

Hasbro, the toy company that owns the franchise, is certainly not ignorant of the unexpected acclaim the show has, which is why they licensed the rights for a monthly comic book to IDW Publishing. The writing duties are handled by Katie Cook while the drawings are done by Andy Price.

Even with the massive fandom they were unprepared when the numbers for the pre-orders came in: over 90,000. For comparison, this is what the sales figures for comic books are like these days. A My Little Pony comic book actually outsold the likes of Batman, Spider-Man, and X-Men, making it the only comic book put out by an independent publisher (read: not Marvel or D.C.) to be in the Top 10 Sales list; it may reach Top 5 by the time the release date comes out.

A page from issue #1. Source
I can understand the hype. The artwork alone is top-notch, actually going beyond how the show looks; as expressive as the character posing and faces can be in the show, it's still restrained by the Flash animation system. Here, the drawings are all done on pen and ink, which has more freedom for the artwork.

The comic book can be ordered in comic book stores across country. However, if there are no such shops nearby, here are online sites that can ship 'em for you.

Things From Another World
Midtown Comics
Forbidden Planet (UK)
MyComicShop
Westfield Comics
Legion of Comics (UK)

Panel from the comic book. I added the colors from a black and white leaked image.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Garfield comic books

As strange as this may sound, comic books based on newspaper strips were a staple many decades ago. Comic books starring characters from Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, and Popeye were being published for years in various forms. In fact, it's still around. You can buy monthly titles featuring Peanuts, Popeye, and Garfield right now.

Garfield is an odd case, though. One of the most widely merchandised strips ever printed, Garfield appeared in numerous animated adaptations, graphic novels, toys, and children's books. However, it wasn't until last May that a comic book began. Even Heathcliff had one through Marvel from 1985 to 1991.

Garfield is published by Kaboom! (Adventure Time, Snarked) and is written by Mark Evanier, who wrote the Garfield and Friends TV series. The artwork is split between Paws, Inc. team Gary Barker & Dan Davis, and veteran comic book cartoonist Mike DeCarlo.

On a whim, I decided to buy one of the issues (Issue #4, cover above) and see how it holds up. I have fond memories of Garfield as a kid. I loved the TV cartoons and I used to have a big stack of book collections that I read over and over, so there's a bit of nostalgia in me.

I read the comic, and it's alright, actually.



"Jon of the Jungle" is one of the few stories that features Jon Arbuckle's career as a cartoonist (yes, Jon is a cartoonist. You didn't know?). Jon has to come up with a new idea or he's fired. Unfortunately, an idea Jon has (A Radioactive Ninja Gerbil with Psychic Powers and Titanium Claws who can turn into a Robot Dinosaur) is, quite frankly, stupid (and apparently a cliche in this universe), so Garfield trashes the idea a draws a new one where Jon is a Tarzan-like character, complete with a Wacom tablet that many cartoonists now use.

The first story is pretty funny, with clever dialogues from Garfield (you can easily hear Lorenzo Music when reading them) and the artwork is nice. The second story is noticeably weaker, though. "The Very Smart Little Girl" features Garfield trying to help out a smart but socially awkward girl, who wants to make friends. Think Twilight Sparkle with less charm.*
The artwork by Mike DeCarlo is noticeably weak and the writing is too reminiscent of standard Saturday Morning stories. The old TV show could be like that, alas, so it's just as on-par with them as the first story.

Again, this is just one issue that I read, but overall, I can't hate them. I like "Jon of the Jungle" enough for me to get curious about the other comics.

You can buy the comic books from TFAW.com or through your local comic book store.

* - Speaking of Twilight Sparkle, come back tomorrow for another comic book-related blog post.