TV Review: The Comic Book Greats: Episode 12 – Spotlight on Whilce Portacio (1992)

Released: 1992
Created by: Stan Lee
Directed by: Rick Stawinski
Music by: Rick Stawinski, Rob Stawinski
Cast: Stan Lee (host), Whilce Portacio

Excelsior Productions, Stabur Home Video, 52 Minutes

Review:

Well, this is it, the final episode of The Comic Book Greats. There was one more video released after this one but that was a “best of” compendium of all the episodes. I’d also like to review that one but it’s not up streaming anywhere that I can find. If it does become available, at some point, I’ll check it out and let you know how it is.

This series really did go out on a bang, though. I didn’t know what to expect from this episode as I never saw it and I also haven’t seen much with Whilce Portacio in other interviews. But I have always liked his work, especially the stuff he did on X-MenX-Factor and his own creation for Image Comics, Wetworks.

Portacio is very engaging and had a good rapport with Stan Lee. Lee seemed genuinely fascinated by Whilce and his backstory, especially regarding Filipino culture.

Whilce also does a good job at the drawing table, discussing his technique during his creation process. Like the other Image guys that had videos before this one, I think Whilce would make a good teacher.

It’s kind of sad that this is the last episode of the series, I feel like there were a lot of other greats that the series could have showcased but this final episode was pretty darn good and a solid end to the series.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: other episodes in The Comic Book Greats video series.

Talking Pulp’s Pull List – 2nd 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.

But, as you can see, my list keeps shrinking.

Marvel Comics:
-Conan the Barbarian
-Daredevil
-Dead Man Logan
-Guardians of the Galaxy
-The Immortal Hulk
-The Punisher
-The Savage Sword of Conan
-Spider-Man: Life Story
-Symbiote Spider-Man (upcoming)
-Venom
-Wolverine: The Long Night
-X-Force

DC Comics:
-Batgirl
-Deathstroke
-Detective Comics
-Doomsday Clock
-Justice League Dark
-Justice League Odyssey
-Red Hood: Outlaw
-The Silencer

Dynamite Entertainment:
-Battlestar Galactica Classic
-Red Sonja
-The Shape of Elvira

Image Comics:
-Spawn

Valiant Comics:
-Bloodshot: Rising Spirit

Comic Review: Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special

Published: April 26th, 2017
Written by: Brian Maruca, Jim Rugg
Art by: Jim Rugg

Image Comics, 43 Pages

Review:

I’ve been aware of the Street Angel comic for a few years but I wasn’t too familiar with Jim Rugg until seeing him on Cartoonist Kayfabe alongside Ed Piskor (and sometimes Tom Scioli). Since then, I’ve come to admire his style and his opinion on comics, especially his recommendations.

This is the first Street Angel title I picked up and it was a lot of fun. It’s an easy, quick read at 43 pages.

I thought that the story was cute and energetic and I loved the art style, overall.

The plot deals with middle schooler Jesse Sanchez, who goes to the worst school in the worst ghetto of Angel City. She’s a homeless skateboarder and a badass martial artist. She fights all types of villains but here, she deals with a male bully in a fight after school.

None of the comic books share any actual continuity, from what I understand, but that’s fine, as each story is self-contained and works well on its own and doesn’t require any knowledge from other Street Angel tales.

Ultimately, this was a cool comic. If I’m being honest, I wish it were a bit longer or that the story somehow carried on in another release, as it ends in a place where you want to see what develops next between Jesse and the bully due to the result of their fight.

There are a lot of ongoing comics that don’t have enough meat and potatoes to justify them carrying on past a single arc. This, however, could benefit from that, as I like the characters and want to get to know them more intimately.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other Street Angel comics, as well as Jim Rugg’s other work.

TV Review: The Comic Book Greats: Episode 10 – Spotlight on Jim Lee (1992)

Released: 1992
Created by: Stan Lee
Directed by: Rick Stawinski
Music by: Rick Stawinski, Rob Stawinski
Cast: Stan Lee (host), Jim Lee

Excelsior Productions, Stabur Home Video, 51 Minutes

Review:

Well, I think I have found my favorite installment of The Comic Book Greats video series!

This episode was stupendous and Jim Lee was such a treat to see on this show. He has a great rapport with Stan Lee and he does an fantastic job of talking the audience through his method for creating comic book art that it works even for the most inexperienced layman.

Jim Lee, as I also said about Todd McFarlane, would be a great teacher. He is thorough in his lessons here and covers a lot of ground in a limited amount of time.

I also liked the interview segment of this episode a lot, as Jim Lee gets very personal about his life up to the point when this was recorded and it’s just an interesting story, as comic books weren’t where he originally intended to end up, career-wise.

Lee would go on to be one of the most prolific creators in the history of the comic book industry. Seeing him so young and this early in his career is a real treat for anyone that’s a fan of the medium.

Jim’s got a great personality, a real love for what he does and he still does all these years later. This is why I watch his YouTube channel where he live streams periodically and talks to his fans as he works on new art.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: other episodes in The Comic Book Greats video series.

Comic Review: Creature Tech

Published: August 10th, 2010 (original – black and white), January 15th, 2019 (New Edition – colored)
Written by: Doug TenNapel
Art by: Doug TenNapel, Katherine Garner (New Edition, colors)

Image Comics, 224 Pages

Review:

Recently, I invested in Doug TenNapel’s upcoming graphic novel Bigfoot Bill. I was aware of Doug for a little while, as he is the creator of Earthworm Jim and several other video games and graphic novels. Getting ready for Bigfoot Bill, I wanted to read some of his other work. Creature Tech is the first of a few that I have read from a couple of his graphic novels I picked up.

All I can say really, is that I loved this story. It was cool, imaginative and pretty damn funny. Doug’s got a good sense of humor, which anyone would know from watching his YouTube channel but it really comes through in his writing.

The story is really a sci-fi romantic comedy at its core but TenNapel also taps into things that are important to him: religion, science, the search for truth. While a lot of people don’t like politics or religion in comics, Doug doesn’t do it in a heavy handed way and he doesn’t hold one higher than the other. Speaking as an atheist, I didn’t find this in any way preachy or propaganda-ish.

Ultimately, this is a really fun book that works for all ages. It has charm, character and I absolutely love the art style. I looked through a copy of the original black and white version but I ended up getting the New Edition, which is now colored. It’s a better version of the book, in my opinion. I love the colors and they add a new dimension to the story and liven it up quite a bit. Katherine Garner, Doug’s trusted colorist, did a fine job on this.

While I’ve read Doug’s stuff before, it has been awhile. This really made me happy in the end, I’m glad I picked it up and I’m really happy that I have Doug TenNapel’s Bigfoot Bill to look forward to in the near future.

In 2019, few comics make me smile while I read them. Creature Tech brought me to laughter multiple times.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: other comics by Doug TenNapel, as well as Rob Schrab’s Scud: The Disposable Assassin and Rob Guillory’s Farmhand.

Comic Review: Scud, the Disposable Assassin: The Whole Shebang

Published: June 30th, 2011
Written by: Rob Schrab, Mondy Carter, Dan Harmon
Art by: Rob Schrab, Jack Gray, Dave Hartman, Jim Mahfood, Zac Rybacki, Dan Streng, Doug TenNapel, Ashley Wood

Image Comics, 781 Pages

Review:

If you like comic books with lots of crazy action and offbeat humor, than this may be the title you’ve been yearning for.

I had a friend in high school that used to read Scud all the time. I wasn’t big into it but I would still often times read through the comics he brought to school. Over time, I grew an appreciation for the character and the style and it was one of the first indie comics to really show me what else was out there beyond the Big Two.

Over the years, I had picked up a few single issues but I really wanted to give the whole series a read since it was only 24 issues long and not some monster epic like Dave Sim’s Cerebus, which also steered me towards more indie work.

Luckily, the whole run of Scud, the Disposable Assassin is collected in a thick paperback called The Whole Shebang. It’s certainly worth owning for any serious comic book reader or collector.

This release is a big fat brick of nearly 800 pages but reading through it was a breeze. Scud is just entertaining as hell and I love the art, even if other artists came in from time to time.

There aren’t many comics that actually make me laugh out loud but Scud is one of them. While I understand that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, those people probably don’t like tea and can’t be trusted anyway.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: stuff by Doug TenNapel and Mike Mignola.

TV Review: The Comic Book Greats: Episode 6 – How to Create a Comic Book (1992)

Released: 1992
Created by: Stan Lee
Directed by: Rick Stawinski
Music by: Rick Stawinski, Rob Stawinski
Cast: Stan Lee (host), Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee

Excelsior Productions, Stabur Home Video, 47 Minutes

Review:

Well, being that this came out in the second year of this home video series, a lot had changed since the first time we saw Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld in the first two episodes. By 1992, the two (and five others) had left Marvel and formed Image Comics. If you weren’t aware of the then new imprint, McFarlane mentions Image almost every five minutes in this video.

But it was cool to see these guys still come together with Stan Lee, the father of Marvel Comics. Granted, Stan Lee is barely in this episode as he is just there to kick it off and then pass it over to Todd and Rob. He also comes back to close out the show once other Image Comics founders Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio show up for short cameos.

When this video series was actually something new, this was the first one that I bought. At the time, I was making my own comics with friends, we had our own little imprint and were selling comics to kids at school and around South Florida. In fact, we were featured in the newspaper at the time for the buzz we created.

The reason I mention to above story is because my friends and I were inspired by Image and specifically the guys featured in this video. So when they all came together to teach aspiring comic book creators on how they actually create their own comics, this was something I had to own.

Even though times and methods have changed, Todd and Rob are pretty good teachers and a lot of what they teach here isn’t outdated and is still useful knowledge for this artistic medium.

This is one of the top episodes of the series because it goes beyond interviews and sketching and gets down to the nitty gritty. It gives real insight into the craft. Plus, in 1992, these were the best guys to use for a video like this.

This episode has aged well. Most of it is still relevant. My only complaint is this shouldn’t have been one 47 minute episode, it should have branched out into its own series where the Image guys actually go on to teach more than just the basics. It felt rushed and incomplete and more time and context would have been fantastic.

This is still worth a watch though, whether you want tips on how to make better comics or if you are just a fan of these creators.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: other episodes in The Comic Book Greats video series.