Comic Review: Scrimshaw

Published: October 5th, 2016 – August 2nd, 2018
Written by: Eric Borden
Art by: Dave Mims, Spike O’Laochdha

Alterna Comics, 158 Pages

Review:

Scrimshaw was one of the more recent Alterna Comics titles that I really wanted to delve into. I loved the covers I was seeing, as well as the art style.

I was pretty happy with it overall but I did have a few issues with it too.

To start, I enjoyed the story but it was a bit hard to follow sometimes. I felt the general narrative was clear but some of the details felt vague and I didn’t understand a lot of the decisions and character motivations as well as I should have.

Also, I really love the art style. However, around issues two and three, some of it felt muddled and hard to see. I’m not sure if that may have been a printing issue though. I work in graphic design and printing, so I tried to see it objectively and don’t want to take points away from Dave Mims cool art.

The main issue with it, was that a lot of the ink lines are thin and then with the use of a lot of gradients, the lines seemed to get lost in darker panels. It was just hard on the eyes when I was trying to make out detail. But from issues four through six, this was not a problem.

I love that this story is almost like a classic swashbuckling tale but set in an apocalyptic future. It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Waterworld but not in a terrible sucky way. And the tone feels more like a Mad Max film and a post-apocalyptic anime.

I do like the characters but I think there needs to be some time to flesh them out better in the future. A lot of characters are introduced in short time, so no one really gets the attention they deserve. This could be a great team book, but we need to know what it is we love about these characters.

I certainly do look forward to future Scrimshaw releases and I want to give the series time to breathe and develop. It’s a much larger story than the typical Alterna release, so this does require more world building than something like Mother Russia or Trespasser.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna releases over the last few years.

Comic Review: Doppelgänger

Published: March 2nd, 2017 – September 7th, 2017
Written by: Jordan Hart
Art by: Emmanuel Xerx Javier

Alterna Comics, 94 Pages

Review:

Peter Simeti might be a genius. The reason I say that is because everything I have read from Alterna Comics has been top notch storytelling and just damn good. I’m always glad to support them and, at this point, I try to stay up on all their new releases and buy them all, as they come out.

Simeti is just really good at going through the countless submissions he gets from aspiring comic book creators and finding the stuff that is top notch.

Doppelgänger is no different. And I shouldn’t be surprised at how much I enjoyed this but when a company has so many solid releases in a vast array of genres and styles, it’s impressive and it just keeps my passion for this medium alive and strong.

It’s hard talking about the plot, as I don’t want to spoil it but it is about a man who has a doppelgänger come into his life. The doppelgänger’s purpose is to take over his life and replace him, as he is scheduled to die within a few days.

The plot is well crafted, the characters are all lovable, except for the evil doppelgänger, and I really like the art in this. And like other Alterna books, this really benefits from being on newsprint. The colors truly pop in a great way.

These four issues were a quick read but I also couldn’t put them down. Usually, I will read an issue, take a break, come back for the next, and so on. As I read Doppelgänger, I just wanted to keep going and soak it all in, in a single sitting.

Jordan Hart wrote something really good and based off of how this ended, I hope there is eventually a follow up.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna Comics horror and adult titles.

Comic Review: Trespasser

Published: February 10th, 2016 – August 10th, 2016
Written by: Justin Ryan
Art by: Kristian Rossi

Alterna Comics, 106 Pages

Review:

I have really enjoyed pretty much everything that I’ve picked up from Alterna Comics the last several months.

But this title really caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure what it was about but man, going into it blindly was the right way to go and I’d say that this moves to the top of the heap for me out of the Alterna comics that I have read.

If you’d prefer to also go into this blindly, stop reading now. But I’m really only going to reveal what happens in just the first issue.

The story is about a man and his daughter who live in a cabin deep in the wilderness away from everyone and everything. We do know that something catastrophic happened to the world and that if anyone were to come around, it would probably be for nefarious reasons.

While out one night hunting for food, the father comes across an alien caught in one of his traps. He stops the alien from shooting him and then relaxes it to the point where he can try and help it. He takes the alien back home, even if he is apprehensive about it and gives him a bed and space to heal.

All that happens in the first issue. From that point on, things get really weird and the story goes places I didn’t expect.

I thought the story was nice and dark; it had real human emotion and struggle in it. Even though you don’t spend a lot of time with these characters, you do care about them and their situation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the art and visual tone of this book and it looked great on newsprint and probably wouldn’t have had the same tonal effect had it been printed the same way most modern comics are.

Trespasser is a damn fine comic book miniseries. I don’t hear it being as talked about as some of Alterna’s other books and really, this should be near the top of everyone’s list.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other Alterna Comics releases, especially the horror and sci-fi titles.

Talking Pulp’s Pull List – 4th Quarter, 2018

*This is a feature I had planned to launch in 2019 but I figured I’d actually start now because why wait?

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:
-Daredevil
-Dead Man Logan
-Guardians of the Galaxy (upcoming Donny Cates run)
-Infinity Wars
-Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker
-Marvel Knights 20th
-Marvel 2-In-One
-Mr. & Mrs. X
-The Punisher
-Return of Wolverine
-Superior Octopus
-Typhoid Fever
-Venom

DC Comics:
-Batgirl
-Batman: Damned
-Batman: Kings of Fear
-Deathstroke
-Detective Comics
-Doomsday Clock
-Drowned Earth (all related crossover titles)
-Electric Warriors
-The Green Lantern
-Justice League Dark
-Justice League Odyssey
-Nightwing
-Red Hood: Outlaw
-Sideways
-The Silencer
-Suicide Squad
-Suicide Squad: Black Files

Dark Horse Books:
-Mystery Science Theater 3000
-Stranger Things
-Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

Dynamite Entertainment:
-Battlestat Galactica Classic
-Elvira
-The Shape of Elvira (upcoming)
-Turok (upcoming)

IDW Publishing:
-G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

Image Comics:
-Murder Falcon

Valiant Comics:
-Bloodshot: Rising Spirit

Comic Review: Baron Rat and the Great Cheese Caper

Published: October 25th, 2018
Written by: Troy Vevasis
Art by: Aleksandar Jovic

Alterna Comics, 19 Pages

Review:

As I’ve stated before, Alterna has been putting out some really good comics. I recently reviewed the three-part Mr. Crypt series. This is a spinoff of that as Baron Rat, Mr. Crypt’s rodent sidekick, gets some time to shine on his own.

This was released by Alterna under their One-Dollar One-Shots imprint. I’m not sure if this is the first One-Dollar One-Shot but I hope that there are more in the future and seeing spinoffs of other Alterna books would be really cool to see. Especially, for one dollar.

Baron Rat is a fun and quick read. It follows the tone and humor style of Mr. Crypt and is a great compliment to it in every regard. Mr. Crypt even shows up at the beginning and end.

The story follows Baron Rat as he heads into town to take advantage of a cheese festival. Shenanigans ensue and the gags are all pretty good.

I really like the Mr. Crypt world that Troy Vevasis and Aleksander Jovic have created. The stories are amusing, the art is great and this is as good as some of the most famous classic comic strips of yesteryear.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other Alterna Comics releases, especially Mr. Crypt.

Comic Review: Flying Sparks

Published: November, 2018
Written by: Jon Del Arroz
Art by: Jethro Morales, Shannon Ho, Jaymes Reed, Jon Malin & Brett R. Smith (cover)

Dark Legion Comics, 74 Pages

Review:

I didn’t know much about Jon Del Arroz’s work before this. But the main reason I supported it on Indiegogo is because I really loved the cover by Jon Malin and Brett R. Smith and the premise sounded good. Once I also got a peek at Jethro Morales’ interior artwork, I was pretty much sold.

Del Arroz came into Comicsgate at the beginning of launching this title but then there was some drama and other things that happened and I’m not even sure where he stands with it all. I stay out of drama like that and I really didn’t care what happened as long as it doesn’t effect the book I already helped fund and as long as its story worked and wasn’t bogged down by sociopolitical shit I don’t care about in my comics.

That being said, this was a really good start for this series and this character.

This trade paperback is pretty much the length of three single issues. It does well at establishing the characters, their relationships and the world they live in.

My only real complaint is that this sort of just ends in the middle of the story arc. I went into this knowing that future volumes were planned but I would have liked it better if the first chapter of this tale had a conclusion and wasn’t left open ended on a cliffhanger.

However, I still enjoyed this enough to most likely pick up the second volume, which I assume will drop sometime next year but hopefully not too far out. This built some good, strong momentum but that can fade away if the break is too long.

But props to Del Arroz and Morales. This was a good start and I hope to see more of this character and this world.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other recent Comicsgate related releases.

Comic Review: Farmhand

Published: July 11th, 2018 – November 7th, 2018
Written by: Rob Guillory
Art by: Rob Guillory, Taylor Wells

Image Comics, 165 Pages

Review:

I hadn’t read Chew by John Layman (with art by Rob Guillory) but I’ve heard good things. So I figured I’d check out Guillory’s Farmhand when the first issue came out back in July. I was glad I did because this is one of the most unique comic books that I’ve read in years.

I’ve always liked Guillory’s art style, as I’ve seen a lot of his work in Chew. The reason I never picked it up is that I was turned on to it kind of late and I really need to go back to it’s genesis and pick it up from there. I plan to in the future.

Anyway, Guillory’s art is great in this but he also goes to show that he has a talent for writing as well.

The story is about fathers and sons and really, family in general. Beyond that, the story deals with science run amok. There are lots of Frankenstein-esque things in this story but instead of bringing together dead body parts, this looks at the melding of human and plant DNA.

I’d say more but I don’t want to spoil things more than I may have already with my cryptic plot synopsis.

Farmhand is just a really interesting comic with several neat ideas that come to life quite well on the page. I know that there are plans for a sequel miniseries and I definitely want to see where things go beyond this story, which really just whets the palate for something bigger.

But with that being said, the comic feels small and cozy. You feel at home with these characters and their small town farm life.

Image Comics has been really hit or miss for the last several years but this is definitely worth the investment. Especially if you just want to experience something very original and enjoyably bizarre.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Chew and Rob Guillory’s upcoming follow up to this.