Comic Review: Conan Chronicles – Epic Collection III: Return to Cimmeria

Published: October 2nd, 2019
Written by: Kurt Busiek, Timothy Truman
Art by: various
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Dark Horse Comics, Marvel (reprinted), 494 Pages

Review:

I’m glad that Marvel’s ego isn’t so big that they didn’t care about putting these collections out.

The stories collected in these Conan Epic Collections are the stories from the character’s era at Dark Horse. It’s exciting to read, at least for me, as I didn’t read the Dark Horse stuff until now. Mainly, due to not reading a lot of comics in the time that these were originally published.

These stories are mostly written by Kurt Busiek and this picks up from his run that was collected in the two previous volumes of the Conan Epic Collections.

This string of tales adapts some of Robert E. Howard’s classic literary stories but it also has some stories that happen before or after famous Conan tales.

For the most part, this is nearly as good as the previous volumes but there seems to be more of a mixture of art styles. While most of the art is good, some of it becomes visually jarring when going from chapter to chapter in that the styles differ greatly in parts. But this tends to happen with Epic Collections and other large collected works in the comic book medium.

Ultimately, this was still a good read and I’m most likely going to pick up the fourth volume when it is released in a few months.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: the rest of Kurt Busiek’s Conan run, as well as other Conan comics from the Dark Horse era.

Vids I Dig 122: Strip Panel Naked: The Art of a Mignola Fight Scene

From Strip Panel Naked’s YouTube description: On this episode I wanted to look a fight sequence from Hellboy, The Wolves of Saint August, and look at how Mignola, Sinclair and Brosseau tackled it. On re-reading the Hellboy Omnibus, this sequence struck me in particular because of it’s starkness in contrast to the rest of the standalone issue, and the striking use of yellow in one of the final pages. So I explore a little of the craft behind it, and what makes it work in context.

Comic Review: The Orville: The Word of Avis

Published: September 11th, 2019 – October 16th, 2019
Written by: David A. Goodman
Art by: David Cabeza, Michael Atiyeh
Based on: The Orville by Seth MacFarlane

Dark Horse, 44 Pages

Review:

I was pretty happy with the first story arc for The Orville comic book series.

Now this one is the second tale and I thought that it was pretty consistent with the first in tone and delivery.

The comic series gets what the show is and it does a fine job of bringing it into a new medium, which hopefully helps this franchise reach out to new fans, as it’d be a shame if The Orville was just a short-lived television show.

This story revolves around the ex-lover of LaMarr and how she and some of her colleagues are trying to use the Orville to sneak into Krill territory due to their newfound religious beliefs.

Like the first arc, this is told over two issues but it has the pacing and feel of a full one hour episode of the show. Honestly, these feel like lost episodes and since they take place between other events we’ve already seen play out in live action, these stories just come together with the larger narrative pretty well.

Eventually, I’d like to see bigger stories and maybe even big events told within the comic book format but The Orville in this form is off to a pretty solid start.

These comics actually remind me of what it was like when I was a kid in the ’80s reading the best Star Trek comic books. Frankly, that’s all I really wanted this to be and it hits those notes for me.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: I’m sure future story arcs for The Orville. Also, IDW’s Star Trek comics.

Talking Pulp’s Pull List – 4th Quarter, 2019

This is my personal pull list as it stands, right now. From month to month it changes, as I read a lot of limited series stuff but I figured that doing a quarterly update would be cool for my readers that keep up with current comics.

So this is what I have my local comic shop pull for me each month, most of which I will review every time I get to the end of a story arc.

I’ve broken them out by publisher and alphabetized the list to make it flow easier.

And if there’s anything you like that I’m not reading, tell me in the comments.

Marvel Comics:
-Absolute Carnage
-Age of Conan: Valeria
-Conan the Barbarian
-Dead Man Logan
-Doctor Doom
-Excalibur
-Fallen Angels
-Fantastic Four: Grand Design
-Ghost Rider
-Invaders
-King Thor
-Marauders
-New Mutants
-Punisher Soviet
-Savage Avengers
-The Savage Sword of Conan
-Venom
-Venom Island
-X-Force
-X-Men

DC Comics:
-Batman and the Outsiders
-Batman: Curse of the White Knight
-Batman Vs. Ra’s al Ghul
-Deathstroke
-Detective Comics
-Doomsday Clock
-Gotham City Monsters

Dynamite Entertainment:
-Red Sonja
-Vampirella
-Vampirella/Red Sonja
-Vengeance of Vampirella

Image Comics:
-Coffin Bound
-Spawn

IDW Publishing:
-G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder In Hell

Dark Horse:
-The Orville

Comic Review: Hellboy, Vol. 2: Wake the Devil

Published: February 3rd, 2004
Written by: Pat Brosseau, Mike Mignola
Art by: Mike Mignola

Dark Horse, 146 Pages

Review:

I wish I would have read this closer to when I finished the previous volume but my comic book queue is massive and it got somewhat disheveled a few months back when I acquired a ton of new stuff from a friend moving.

Anyway, this is a new story, the second in the actual history of Hellboy. Still, this builds off of the first volume and even though he’s dead, Rasputin returns in spiritual form to band together his Nazi followers, who have idolized him like a religious figure since the old days.

The three main villains here are actually the same as the trio that was featured in the first Guillermo del Toro Hellboy movie.

Overall, I love Mignola’s art style and the tone of these stories. I also love Lovecraftian horror and this just hit those notes in the right way.

However, I found this less exciting than the original miniseries. I think that’s because this isn’t as much of a self contained story as it is being used to world build now that Hellboy is evolving into a regularly released comic for Dark Horse.

In the end, this is still a strong chapter in the franchise and it only makes me want to keep reading the series.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: other Hellboy and B.P.R.D. related comics.

Comic Review: Stranger Things: Six

Published: May 29th, 2019 – August 28th, 2019
Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Edgar Salazar, Keith Champagne, Marissa Louise, Aleksi Briclot (covers)
Based on: Stranger Things by The Duffer Brothers

Dark Horse Books, 98 Pages

Review:

I was pretty happy with the first Stranger Things comic miniseries. With this second attempt at making a comic book tie-in, I still left pretty satisfied. However, this one lacks slightly in that I didn’t feel as connected to the characters or their personal peril.

In the first miniseries, we got to follow Will Byers, as he was trapped in the Upsidedown during the events in season one. It gave us Will’s perspective and the horror he lived through, which we weren’t able to really see on the television show.

This comic follows a new character named Six. She is like Eleven in that she has grown up in the same lab and mostly just has Dr. Martin Brenner as her only parental type of figure.

The story is a prequel, as it shows some of what happened in the lab before Eleven’s story really started for the television audience. Although, you do get to see glimpses of a very young Eleven even though her story isn’t central to the main plot of this arc.

My only real issue with this miniseries, is that it is less engaging overall because it doesn’t directly tie to the larger story. Sure, it happens within the show’s universe but it’s basically just Six’s story and she isn’t someone that we will meet on the show. And I’ve kind of mentally put the Brenner character to bed, unless there is going to be more of him in the future. Although, I’m not sure how that would work.

I prefer the approach of the first comic series. I think that these should be tied more directly to the show and give us other perspectives or events that happen parallel to what we already know. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have wholly original stories with new characters. It all just depends on how well the comic book part of the mythos develops.

So far, I’m pretty happy with what Dark Horse, specifically Jody Houser, have been doing with the IP.

Rating: 6.75/10
Pairs well with: the previous Stranger Things comic book miniseries, as well as the show and mobile RPG game.

Comic Review: The Orville: New Beginnings

Published: July 17th, 2019 – August 14th, 2019
Written by: David A. Goodman
Art by: David Cabeza, Michael Atiyeh
Based on: The Orville by Seth MacFarlane

Dark Horse, 46 Pages

Review:

Out the gate, this isn’t a great comic but it’s a pretty enjoyable one that captures the tone, humor and humanity of the television show pretty well. And honestly, I hope that this is just the start of more comics and possibly books, toys and other products tied into The Orville.

This first story arc was a two-parter and it reads like it’s the length and pace of a regular hour long episode. This is a small, simple story but it does a good job of bringing these already beloved characters into a new medium.

I dug the artwork and all the characters’ likenesses were good. Additionally, it just felt like a real extension of the show and didn’t get bogged down by the artist trying to stamp their own style on the book.

The story takes place around the beginning of season two, between some episodes. I think that the comic may have stated where it took place exactly but I don’t recall from my shitty memory.

In any event, I like that this exists within the television show continuity and isn’t some alternate timeline or new take on the franchise. Yes, I said “franchise”. Because with a comic and some other things in the works, this is more than just a simple television show. It’s kind of becoming a mini phenomenon even if it has left Fox and is taking a year off to prepare for its move to Hulu.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: I’m sure future story arcs for The Orville. Also, IDW’s Star Trek comics.