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Friday, May 27, 2011

You Should Be Reading: Suicide Girls

How do you translate SuicideGirls, an alt-pr0n website featuring beautiful naked women who happen to be tattooed to the gills, have tons of piercings all over their body, or both, into a comic book?

Very, very carefully.

And that's exactly what the team of Steve Niles, Brea Grant, Missy Suicide and artists David Hahn and Cameron Stewart is doing with IDW's SuicideGirls, a 4-issue comic book miniseries based on the website of the same name! A comic with a pedigree like this is very tricky to make, understandably. It's easy for this to explode into pages of naked pinups in lieu of actual story, as is the custom. But thankfully the book's got Steve Niles (writer of the critically acclaimed 30 Days of Night) and Brea Grant (actress and comic book writer) at the helm, with a little help from SuicideGirls co-founder Missy Suicide, to help steer the book in the right and well-written direction.

Still not convinced? Read on as I review the first two issues and know why you should be reading this book!


SuicideGirls #1 opens up with a mysterious girl named Frank being busted out of prison by the Suicide Girls, a group of female freedom fighters looking to liberate the world from Way Of Life, a religious organization that holds the internet in an iron grip. The Suicide Girls need Frank for as-yet-unknown reasons, while Frank has an agenda all her own...

I loved how the writers used the prison break sequence to to introduce each of the Suicide Girls, their specialties and quirks presented to us in easy-to-digest amounts. These girls are not tongue-in-cheek parodies, nor misguided attempts at taking naked pin-up models seriously in a comic book. The Suicide Girls come across as real personalities; their piercings, tattoos and half-naked bodies the bonus and not the focus. That fact alone makes it such a refreshing read, and not something you'd be ashamed of reading in a Starbucks during rush hour.

Of course, Suicide Girls also benefits from the wonderful art provided by David Hahn and Cameron Stewart. They handle the art duties with a much-needed senstivity and artistry you don't see too often in comics like these. Hahn gives each of the girls a distinct look and body type. Porter's sports purple hair, twin ponytails and glasses, while Sana's the exotic beauty.  There's something for everybody!

These are basically pin-up models he's drawing here, and Hahndraws them well with just the right mix of sensuality, titilation and a little bit of fun. I mean, Frank has what's called a corset piercing on her back, which she uses as a sheath for her katanas! Only in comics!

Suicide Girls #1 is more of an introductory issue, laying down plot points for use down the line. But it works as a good first issue, with all you need to know to get you started, along with great art and an interesting premise. If this stuff floats your boat, then issue two will knock your socks off!


In Suicide Girls #2, which is out this week, the girls are caught with their pants down (literally and figuratively) when robotic goons of Way Of Life come knocking at their front door! The book only goes crazier from there, with cyborg death bots fighting half-naked girls with katanas and guns and an assassination mission, Suicide Girls style!

This issue is more fanservice-y than the last, with the Suicide Girls spending the rest of the book either in their underwear or out of it. Kim (the demolitions expert) even lamphades that fact, wondering why the bad guys always seem to catch them without their clothes on, with Porter hypothesizing that Way of Life has sensors installed to women's clothes to find out if they're wearing any. Crazy.

But it's not as crazy as half-naked girls going way deep undercover, infiltrating an organization that hunts down half-naked girls. Only the Suicide Girls are crazy enough to make their plan (sorta) work, but there's a traitor in their midst, and it's pretty riveting to see how their plan slowly comes undone, ending in a cliffhanger that makes you want to know what happens next.

David Hahn really knows how to tickle the reader's fancy through his art. This issue is more risque than the last, and more action packed, and Hahn gets to cut loose and have fun here. Speaking of fun, one thing I also love about the series is the pinups at the end of each issue, drawn by Cameron Stewart. The dude draws beautiful women like it's second nature to him, and if there was ever a coffee table book full of nothing but his drawings, then I'll be first in line to buy it.

If the quality and all-around fun keeps up like this, then issue 3 can't come out fast enough!


I know it seems weird for me to recommend a book like SuicideGirls (or maybe not, judging from the dirty looks of my officemates here), but I'm genuinely excited for this series, if only because it's so refreshing to see a comic book about pinup models not devolve into a mess of T&A with the flimsiest of reasons for becoming so. If you're looking for a comic book that's not of the usual mold, then try SuicideGirls. Beautiful art plus crazy fun but well-written story equals win! SuicideGirls #2 is out this week, with the first issue not that hard to find. It's worth it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Webcomics I Love: Meow

It's the last week of my sweetie's birthday month celebration! Let's take a look at another cat-themed webcomic I love, the aptly named Meow (www.meowcomic.com)!



Meow is a webcomic about, you guessed it, cats. Cats lounging around. Cats sitting on your keyboard the exact moment you're working. Cats suffocating you while you sleep. That sort of thing. The art is awfully cute too, if you're into that. I know I am, that's why I dub this a Webcomic I Love!

So what are you waiting for? Bookmark and visit Meow now!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

Disappointing.

That's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in a nutshell. There was so much the first three Pirates movies did that was swashbuckling-ly good, with each adventure, each and every threat as epic as the seas they sailed. But when even Penelope Cruz's heaving cleavage staring at you on the big screen isn't enough to hold your attention, what chance does the rest of the movie have?


So there's a search for the legendary Fountain of Youth, with no less than three different groups wanting to get there first: the Spaniards, the British Navy led by Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), and Blackbeard (Ian McShane), the pirate all pirates fear, who just happens to have Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in tow. But Jack's got more to worry about than Blackbeard, namely Blackbeard's daughter and Jack's former flame, Angelica (Penelope Cruz).

It's as if the writers admitted they couldn't top the sheer craziness of walking octopus-headed fiends and sailing off the edge of the earth that they decided to go for quantity over quality, piling on so many major players and plot points that it devolved into a meandering mess that even the beautiful yet savage shots of naked mermaids couldn't save. What a loss.

But the biggest loss here is Johnny Depp, whose usually delightful Jack Sparrow has become grating, and is obviously just humoring the director and the writers for the sake of finishing the movie once and for all. The rest of the cast (and there are LOTS of them) mostly stand around wondering what the heck they're supposed to be doing. I could forgive Ian Shane, awesome man that he is, for having little to work with playing a tepid character like Blackbeard, who's supposedly the pirate all pirates fear, but oozes as much fright as a moth ball.

On Stranger Tides had the unfortunate distinction of following a series of movies that have given it all they've got. And all that's left is the stuff scraped from the bottom of an already shallow barrel.  I'm pretty easy to please (I loved Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, for goodness sakes) but in spite of the laughs and the awesome moments, the movie died trying to live up to the expectations set by the earlier films., along with my enthusiasm. And that's disappointing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Week in Comics: May 20, 2011

It's Friday! Friday! Gotta get down on Friday with the most verbose comic book reviews around! What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!


Uncanny X-Force #10 has Angel/Archangel facing a moral dillemma when a reporter discovers the existence of X-Force. With the evil Archangel slowly but surely taking control of Warren's mind and body, it's only a matter of time until blood flows freely in the pursuit of keeping X-Force's secret hidden!

Rick Remender paints an interesting picture on the lengths the X-Force will go through to protect their secret, but it reads more like a stepping stone to their next mission than a full story. At the very least, we feel for Warren's struggle with his inner Horseman, and when he gets out of control, his showdown with Wolverine is raw and personal. Billy Tan and Rich Elson's art serves the story well enough, but in the end you're just waiting for the next issue. Sad, since I wanted this (like any other comic) to be good enough to stand on its own. This is a 3 out of 5.


Laura's reminded of all the very bad things she's done in the past, and in X-23 #10, she's gone the way of the emo. Can Gambit bring her out of that rut? How about Wolverine...and vampire Jubilee?

Writer Marjorie Liu dials it back for some sweet and personal character moments. She sheds light on her relationship with Wolverine, and even Wolverine relationship with both X-23 and Wolverine, bringing up another interesting dynamic I'd love to see play out. It's nice to see Liu take a character like X-23 and really own her, molding her into a character with its own unique voice. A little action wouldn't have hurt, but that's just me. Sana Takeda does her best on art duties here, and her Jubilee is adorable, even with the fangs! Good for X-23 fans, not so much for comic book readers looking for more bang for their buck. This is a 3 out of 5.


And so we come to Rocketeer Adventures #1, an anthology of stand-alone stories from industry heavyweights like Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek and John Cassaday. For the young ones out there, the Rocketeer is a pulp-inspired hero created by Dave Stevens. The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers an experimental jetpack, which he used to go on daring adventures. He was popular enough to get a feature film out in 1991, and when I was a kid I enjoyed it very much. Now he's flying back into the spotlight. How will he fare in this industry today?

From the looks of it, he'll be faring very well.

The stories inside stay faithful to the Rocketeer's pulp roots, which makes it really fun to read. John Cassaday's intro adventure brings readers up to speed with what the Rocketeer can do, and his art just brings you back to the 1940's. Cassaday also draws a perfect Betty (Cliff's girlfriend, modeled after pinup model Betty Page), so much so I'm falling in love with the story because of her alone! Mike and Laura Allred's funky take on the Rocketeer is also fun, albeit a little psychedelic. Kurt Busiek is another favorite, presenting a sweet love story between Cliff and Betty set in the backdrop of the tail end of World War 2.

All the stories are neat little takes on the Rocketeer, and I enjoyed each and every one. At almost $4/P200, Rocketeer Adventures #1 is a steal. With three great stories coupled with great art, the Rocketeer returns to the comic book page with jetpack blazing. This is a 5 out of 5. Pick this up now!


I for one welcome the Rocketeer back into comics! I hope you will too! What did you think of the comics that came out this week? Let's talk about it via the comment box below! Thanks for reading!

Outhousers Reviews: X-Men: Giant Size and Zatanna!


Oh man, I love Zatanna so much. The X-Men too. Good thing I reviewed X-Men: Giant-Size #1 and Zatanna #13 over at the comic site The Outhousers! Check those reviews out, por favor, and leave a comment while you're at it!

Now to convince my girlfriend to wear a top hat everywhere she goes...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Webcomics I Love: Lackadaisy Cats

We continue our month-long cat celebration with another feline-themed webcomic, one of the rare gems I've been wanting to feature in this blog but was waiting for the perfect time to do it. I'm talking about Lackadaisy Cats (www.lackadaisycats.com)!


Lackadaisy Cats is the brainchild of Tracy Butler, and in her own words, is about "a gang of tenacious (if not shady) characters running a St. Louis speakeasy in the era of Prohibition. I suppose it falls somewhere in the realm of historical fiction, parody, dark comedy, and abject nonsense." Oh, and all the characters are anthropomorphic cats!

You might think a comic populated with cute-looking cat people will be all fun and games, but its not. It's the 1920's, an era where Tommy guns barked in the streets and alcohol flowed like sweet sweet rivers of magic. Lackadaisy Cats is a story of liquor, double crosses, hope and love sung to the tune of jazz music in shady speakeasies. Meaning it's darn good.

And the art. Oh my lord, the art.

Lackadaisy Cats isn't known for updating regularly, but for good reason. The art is gorgeous. And I don't mean it in my stereotypically flamboyant way. I mean the art is literally gorgeous, beautiful, each page a piece of art worthy of inclusion in any gallery. Butler's rendering is freaking masterful, and I love how the sepia tone evokes the feeling of the Roaring 20's.

If you're looking for a comic that delivers quality art with a story worth coming back for every update, then Lackadaisy Cats is for you!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Thor Movie Hammer Papercraft

Well, I've gone and done it.

In case you haven't heard, the Thor movie was freakin' awesome. Being the enormous geek that I am, I wanted my own Mjolnir to throw around and smack frost giants senseless with.

So I made my own!


Yes, I have too much time in my hands to design and make a life-size movie Mjolnir papercraft model. I used Tektonten's wonderful Thor hammer papercraft as basis for the design and construction, and though my build is pretty sloppy, I'm pretty happy with how it came out!



It's 16 inches of blood, sweat and awesome!

I'll probably post the template once I've formatted it to be easier to read and build, since I pretty much scratch-built it in Photoshop only.

EDIT:

Finally, here's the template for this movie Mjolnir papercraft! Please forgive this newbie's template! :)
Pages: 3
Size per page: 11" x 17"
Hammer dimensions: 8.5" (hammer head width) x 5" (hammer head height) x 16" (total hammer length)


Any comments and suggestions about this template can be directed via my email (beholdthegeek[dot]gmail[dot]com). Know of any other cool comic book-related papercraft projects out there? Share some in the comment box below. Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 06, 2011

My Week in Comics: May 6, 2011

It's time for the most verbose event comic reviews around! That's right, we've got two event comics lined up for your (re)viewing pleasure! What have I gotten myself into? Read on to find out!


Fear Itself #2 reads like an extended trailer for the first issue, with the Avengers running around helpless as the hammers of the Worthy start finding its owners all over the globe and Odin preparing for war against the Serpent...with Earth smack-dab in the middle!

This makes a good case against spoilers, as most of the reveals here have been leaked months before. Of course, it's not the same as seeing it unfold in the book, but the bang is lost for good. That's not to say it's all a waste, though. The Worthy get some pretty awesome designs, Juggernaut in particular, and Odin lays down a pretty sobering casus belli. I think Odin could have been handled a little better here, and I expect at least an explanation down the line why he's become a grade-A douchebag all of a sudden.

Stuart Immonen's art is the strongest selling point of this ish, and the reason I won't give a barely-passing grade. This is some powerful stuff Immonen's been rendering for us. You can practically feel the power brimming in the Worthy's veins, and the sweeping shots of ruined Asgard and the cities devastated in the wake of the Worthy's powers has to be seen to be believed. I can't put into words how beautiful the art is. It's that good.

For a pretty thick book, Fear Itself #2 feels thin. Almost everything in it feels like it should have been in issue 1. We already know who the Worthy are. Now all we want to know is who's gonna be in the receiving end of those hammers. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.


There's only one thing I can say about Artifacts #7. "Now we're going somewhere!"

After the big super-scuffle between the Artifact bearers and Cyberforce, Aphrodite IV is down for the count. But the Big Bad behind all this madness has bigger plans than any of them realize, and it's going to take more than the sum of all their parts to stop him. Cue...the Thirteenth Artifact!

The Artifacts event has been interesting so far, but interesting is all it will ever be if not for its latest issue. Shocking revelations abound, and eagle-eyed fans will be more than happy with all the little character moments writer Ron Marz threw in here for good mesure.

It's all well and good, if not for the terribly busy art. Heck, 'busy' might be an understatement. Whilce Portacio and Joe Weems lay down the crosshatching pretty thick, and everybody is a mess of lines and detail that made it a chore to read.

Still, I could forgive Artifacts due to the fact that we're past the setup now, and the payoff is not that far behind. The shock ending was pretty well done, and once again it's made me want to wait next month for the inevitable next issue. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.


It's a pretty okay event week, and that's more than I can expect from these kinds of books. Let's just hope it builds up to something awesome! What did you think of Fear Itself? Artifacts? Leave me a comment and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Webcomics I Love: Doctor Cat

I'm just going to get personal here for a moment...because today is my girlfriend's birthday! Happy Birthday, sweetie! To comemmorate this momentous occasion, all this month I will be featuring webcomics about a subject near and dear to both our hearts: cats!

Yes, cats. Those frisky, furry felines will be the subject of this month's series of Webcomics I Love, and we'll be starting off with what is probably the most adorable cat webcomic I have ever seen: Doctor Cat! (http://doctorcatmd.com)


Doctor Cat is the brainchild of a certain Sarah Sobole, and it's about a doctor who happens to be a cat, and all the hilarity that entails. It runs pretty much how you'd expect a comic like this to run, but for me, it's selling point is the mind-numbingly adorable art. You'd be hard-pressed to find a cuter-looking cat comic like this, aside from Neko Ramen. Seriously. I'd buy a shirt if I had the money.

It's just starting out, but I predict this will be pretty much aces. So go read and bookmark Doctor Cat right now!

Don't open this at work though, or you'll get a memo for squeeing too loud.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Bishoujo Marvel Heroines Monday


Because sometimes all a good day really needs is a dose of pretty Marvel babes drawn by Shunya Yamashita  No, really. I did the math.
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