Archive for Pulp

[Comic Review] Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, Volume One

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I’ve written this a hundred times…but I have to write it once more: I absolutely adore anything noir or pulp.

It’s a genre that, although has seen a rather large resurgence lately, is still a little hard to master. The good finds involve multiple dynamics in writing styles and/or artwork, depending on the case. Much of what I encounter is hit and miss, and although at times the creators have something right, it isn’t all there.

Photo Courtesy of Red 5 Comics and Atomic-Robo.

Photo Courtesy of Red 5 Comics and Atomic-Robo.

The name Atomic Robo has been one I’ve heard floating around several times in the course of the last year or two. I first heard of the title through Ideology of Madness and the gang’s Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie podcast. Several of the guys there are fans, and every few episodes, the name comes back to blip on my radar. After almost getting my hands one the first trade, Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, several times I finally decided to pick it up and give the series’ first six issues a try.

I would just like to say now, for the record, that I was not disappointed and regret not looking into it sooner.

The interior artwork (a mix of Scott Wegener’s pencils/inks and Ronda Pattison’s colors) is very distinct. Wegener’s influence of Mike Mignola can certainly be felt. But, instead of merely being a Mignola clone, the work stands on its own. The colors pop and each panel has something for your eyes to feast on. The covers themselves are great.

I can see why when Atomic Robo first hit the scene in 2007 (ish?) it started to work together a fan base.

Once Brian Clevinger’s witty and clever writing is thrown into the mix…it still feels refreshing and new. The six-issue trade is full of one-liners and cheeky humor and sometimes a little cheese thrown in. But it’s a combination of artistic styles that jive and come together for an overall read that left me light-hearted. I thought it was just a P.R. ploy in comparing this title’s main character to a robotic Indiana Jones…but really…that is one of the only ways to describe it. Although it has its darker moment, the feel is that of an action-adventure movie. Each issues, although sharing an overall storyline, is its own serial. Each one an adventure. Each one leading to something new. I found several memorable panels in the small collection…each one still has me chuckling as I look back to reflect. That sensation isn’t something that regularly occurs these days and is enough to warrant myself into picking up the next volume soon.

“Stephen Hawking is a bastard.”

And, if that isn’t enough, it will soon have its own RPG to go along with it. From what I understand, it’s based on the FATE system. Although I have had little to no experience with the system itself, I’m actually a little excited to delve deeper into this topic and, when the release rolls around, pick up the main book for investigation.


[Comic Review] Week of 2013/05/01 Highlights

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I have to say…several titles of my pull list are now chalked up to Dynamite. Like any publisher, there are some series I personally feel are lacking here and there, meaning I just can’t get into them. However, the times are changing. This week alone several new releases of high caliber were released with their logo on them.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

First off, let’s look at Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4. For anyone not following this series, we find the famous detective duo of Holmes and Watson in Liverpool (hence…the title). This particular story we found are investigators sticking around after a previous case due to murders happening about town…most of which were being chalked up to Sring-Heeled Jack. Throughout the previous three issues, suspense abounds and with each new murder, new information and twists have been added to the plot line. In this issue, we find Holmes closing in on the killer. Following up on leads concerning the death of one Tom Christian, Holmes and Watson find themselves delving into catacombs under the city.

I’ve always been a sucker for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The creative team (which have remained consistent so far) have done well by him. The story is intriguing and has kept my interest with each and every issue. The changes between dialect add flavor and definition to scene changes within the books pages. The artwork here is also right up my ally. It’s dark and gritty, just the way that I like them.

If you’re looking for something more Victorian but still manages to maintain that dark pulp feel, I’d say give this series a shot and see what you think. So far, 4/4 isn’t bad, and if that’s any indicator, I will be enjoying the rest of this five-part series. I just hope the final issue isn’t rushed, which in my opinion, could hurt things overall.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Next comes Dynamite’s The Black Bat #1. This is probably one of the titles I’ve been looking forward too the most. Being a fan of their The Shadow and The Spider lines, I had some seriously high hopes for this title’s release. And, I wasn’t disappointed. This is classic pulp, plain and simple and in line with most of their other titles of similar setting. In this issue, we are both introduced to and the creation of the Black Bat. We follow along with Tony Quinn, a former Mafiosi lawyer turned vigilante in the 1930’s. The character is part Daredevil, part Batman and all pulp!

In this issue we follow along with Quinn as he begins his personal vendetta to make amends to the wrongs his committed in his past defending big players in organized crime. Tracking down a police informant capture by local thugs, we find it’s the same informant used to help spread the word of ‘The Black Bat’ on the street. And, bigger fish behind the scenes obviously have more in store for this newly arrived masked vigilante.

Dynamite’s talent in putting together creative teams still astounds me. The artwork adds to the story and the combination of both leave plenty to sink your teeth into. I have a feeling that if this title can stick around, it will just add to the new resurgence of quality pulp comics out there.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Another anticipated title of the week was The Movement #1. I will be the first to admit, I’m a little late catching the Gail Simone fan bus. But, nevertheless, I’m sold. Aside from The Talon, there hasn’t been legitimate NEW New 52 characters introduced to the shelves. Although not every character involved in this series will be a fresh face, several shall be. That alone piqued my interest. As much as I love Superman, Batman, etc…sometimes…I just need something different. I found it here.

Although a lot was thrown at me in its pages, this book served as a good introduction to the organization known as The Movement and some of the characters therein. A vigilante group whose mission statement is to protect the less fortunate from those of corrupted power. They have eyes everywhere and this issue made an appoint of showing as much.

Although still only issue one…if Simone and the rest of her creative team can keep it up, this will be a staple to anyone’s pull list that favors the dark superhero. Although most are more than just masked vigilantes, it still has that feel to it. Again…it’s almost pulp-ish (notice the trend?). It’s gritty and dark. I love it!

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

What week wouldn’t be complete without Dan Slott’s The Superior Spider-Man. This week, I found issue #9 waiting for me in my pull box upon my arrival at my comic shop of choice.\

I waited until today (Thursday) to read this title. Why? Because, I enjoy watching the drama unfold on Twitter. There is so much love, yet so much hate for this title…I get giddy. Some weeks, it’s like a middle school cat-fight and I can’t help my self but read Tweet after Tweet of what will be in store.

That being said…love it or hate it (and, just for the record…I love it), Superior Spider-Man has been one heck of a read issue after issue. Just when I think I have things figured out, Slott and team hit one into left field. Just when I think Peter Parker is going to be making that comeback, I find myself being proven wrong. This issue…really hammers it home.

Last issue, we saw Octo-Spidey acquire a device from Cardiac that can help him rid himself of Peter Parker permanently. Now, how permanently is yet to be seen. But, for now…well…Octavius has come away victorious. Facing off in the memories of Parker, no punches are pulled. Slott honestly had me going with just who was going to come out on top and although I was left with my jaw hanging open, I certainly was not disappointed.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

The last of my picks of the week can be found in All-New X-Men #11. This bi-monthly title as easily been one of the best ones to be had and one of two with Marvel (the other is The Superior Spider-Man).

Last issue we were left with one heck of a cliff hanger. My theories were abound with thoughts of just who would ‘defect’ from the old/young x-men. My first belief was that it was going to be Jean Grey. But, when I turned from the first page into the next…it was indeed Angel to cross the line and join up with Cyclops and Magneto. And honestly…I can’t think of a better character to do so.

Now, keep in mind, my reasons are purely selfish. I hate Angel with a passion. I can dig the newer incarnations…but the young and naive Angel always upset me. To see him join sides with ‘the enemy’ only made me smile. Whatever happens, whether he is doing it to aid Wolverine and company or ends up dying (yes…I am crossing my fingers) serving Cyclops…I’m just glad it’s hopefully going to be a side-story.

This event aside, the rest of the issue was primarily a Good vs. Evil X-Men standoff with not much fighting. They were on school grounds after all  Only a brief glimpse of Mystique’s plan is present (I believe via only two pages). Predominantly, this issue revolves around a life lesson for Jean Grey and several X-Men, Kitty Pryde included, hammer it into her she can’t use her metal powers when things don’t always go her way.

[Book Review] False Negative by Joseph Koenig

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Anyone that has read this blog knows my infatuation with pulp and noir-style reads, whether they be in the form of novels of comics. Suspense-thrillers with gritty imagery has always won over my heart. So, when I heard about Hard Case Crime I took a look at their website. Sure enough…it was a plethora of books by various authors that had me from the get go. Their selection consists of noir, old and new, by some writers well-known within other genres.

FalseNegativeCoverMy initial head-first dive into their titles consisted of False Negative by Joseph Koenig. From cover to cover, Koenig has put together one of the more interesting reads I’ve gotten my hands on in quite some time. He was a great understanding of the genre and the time period his novel is placed, and as we follow along with his main character (named Adam Jordan), the seedy-side of Atlantic City comes alive.

The book is a legitimate page-turner and in general remains consistant until the end. The story involves a reporter that commits a serious foopah in the journalism industry and ends up getting the boot out onto the street. Having no where else to turn and no other talents, he ends up writing for a magazing dubbed Real Detective. Koenig has us following along as Jordan stumbles from story to story, always seeming to come back to the one case that haunts him, and as new murders ensue he can’t help but become involved.

For three-fourths of the novel, I was kept guessing who was behind the killings involved with the main storyline. With Koenig throwing in side-stories of Jordan earning a living, it kept me engrossed and turning the pages one after another. So much so that I sat aside several other books I was reading (I usually have 3-5 going at the same time) to focus on this one.

What can I say negative about this particular title? Not much. I felt the killer was revealed (even though not necessarily outright, but enough they were singled out quickly) too early. More attention to the main plot could have added to the ‘chew’ of this title. Keep in mind, there wasn’t a lack of main story…I just felt some of the skipping around might have taken away a bit here and there, and in some places had me scratching my head thinking I was missing a page or two between thumbing to the next. And lastly, the final two pages could have been removed entirely and the story ended with ‘Chapter 13.’

But honestly, no piece of work is perfect. What makes a piece of writing great can be in the eye and mind of those who read them. In my opinion, False Negative is well written over all, and what little it does lack is made up for in that need to keep turning the page. If the catalogue of Hard Case Crime is anywhere close to this (and with big names like Stephen King on the bill…) I should say this publishing company is going to be just what the doctor ordered for my noir and pulp fixation.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Gingered Digits.

Verdict: Character Development (1/1), Climax (0.5/1), Entertainment (1/1), Plot (1/1), Story (1/1).