September 10, 2015

Reviews by Tania: "Broken Moon" #1

     Broken Moon #1
    Steve Niles, Nat Jones

    Hoorah! Another bleak human-produced dystopian future! "Broken Moon"'s setting may be wearing heavy on some of us, but it's an interesting story nonetheless: humans finally screw up in a catastrophic, irreversible way. We are forced to colonize the moon but royally mess that up too. Moon explodes, tidal waves wipe out most of huanity on earth, monsters formerly in hiding run around willy-nilly.

    Fortunately, monsters and paranormal stuff are my jam. The vampires and werewolves in this story are slightly more dimensional than the standard "big bad monster". The vampires prove to be pretty resourceful; the near extinction of the human species forces these suckers to think of new, creepier ways to treat their severe iron deficiency. Hence human farms/concentration camps and factories whose only purpose is to smother the sun with smog. Human farms! And they're not free-range! Ew...the whole thing is drawn well, too: in addition to being colored very dark, the action (of which there is lots) is crisp, finely lined; speeding figures look almost electric and gun blasts look explosive.

    The werewolves are decidely more "chill", as they say. There appears to be a group subscribing to a doctrine forbidding consumption of human meat.  They happen upon a terrified, lone runaway human  who informs them, much to their shock, that the vampires have started an unexpected and uncharacteristic migration further into their woods. What's up with that? And what do these doggies eat, squirrels or smaller monsters? Where the heck do they get their strategically-ripped sexy denim outfits and can I have one? I am hoping to see a lot of these canine cuties in this series.

Overall, this first issue was pretty good. Even though the premise makes me feel bad about my species (maybe even my entire genus) the story and art are cool enough to distract.

VERDICT: Yes! I will be reading the next issue.

July 6, 2015

Reviews by Tania J: AIRBOY #2

Oh boy. Oh, wow. You can always tell how enamored I am of a book by the number of complete sentences I start with.

Airboy had me at issue number 1. It was so depraved that I was hooked instantly. I just love seeing people running wild and messing stuff up and being general messes. Makes me feel better about my lifestyle. This is a dirty series. Every page has graphic but beautifully artistic depictions of dicks, drugs, and depression. This series is just debauchery!

Issue 2

"Airboy" is great. It is ugly, hilarious, sad, and strange. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series.
sees the story progress into something outside of this bro-mantic bacchanal. I would have been perfectly content to just read issue after issue of creators Robinson and Hinkle's messed-up autobiographical (?) tales but in this issue we get better acquainted with the one point of light and purity in this whole story thus far: the eponymous Airboy himself. Poor guy. One has to sympathize with this WWII pilot's shock of going from glory and heroism to a directionless world where people obliterate themselves with drugs out of boredom because there's nothing to fight for. Airboy doesn't comprehend our world. People and buildings are run down and barely dressed. "What have I been fighting for?...Why am I bothering, if no one cares?" Poor innocent Airboy. The conflicts between him and us are really interesting to see played out. Why did we discard our once-beloved Airboy? How did we change so drastically; become so jaded and bored and self-destructive? I was really mind-buggered by the juxtaposition between Airboy's very real and urgent sense of duty and purpose and the creative duo's seemingly directionless existences. How could these three possibly understand one another?

June 6, 2015

The Cat With the Really Big Head

"What the heck is this", my brain deadpanned as I read through the first chapter of this freaky volume. It was, indeed, about a cat with a huge head, but unlike the images of adorable egghead cartoon kitties in my head, this was a rather gross weird little story. There is cat afterbirth, death, severe physical malformation, butt monsters, embarrassment, and more death. That's cool, though; art is meant to be pretty, disgusting, offensive, pleasant. For some, the list of things that are acceptable for art to make you feel does not include "disgust". I'm personally undecided about icky art. I am grateful it exists. Does not mean I seek it out; but I think it's necessary. The eponymous chapter is about the short, strange, sad life of a cat born with a huge head. If you enjoy whimsy sprayed with little unsavory droplets, this first chapter is for you.

The art throughout the whole book is great; pretty colors and textures and the animals and humans all have haggard, pitiful little looks to their faces. There's a lot of character in the artwork; mainly of a strange, whimsical and sad type. It suits all the stories perfectly.

The crowning glory is the last story, "The Monsters in my Tummy". It is an allegory for the many phases of a bad heartbreak, starring, among other uncomfortable characters, "Sir Anger", "Lil' Contempt, "Betrayal" and "Alone on her stilted legs". The poem watches as their time plays out, but there is no happy ending when these emotions had become practically sustenance.

I'm telling you, the last chapter had me Feeling Things. It was great. I forgive Mr. Dirge for the lung monsters that apparently live in his butt and love snacks (WTF?!) because of the last story. And I will celebrate the art once again: these little feeling-embodiment creatures have amazing and appropriately haunted looks and freakish, deformed bodies. The whole experience captured how ugly and naked some feelings are. UGH THAT LAST STORY. So good.

May 29, 2015

Reviews by Tania! Grindhouse Drive in, Bleed Out: Lady Danger Agent of B.O.O.T.I. part one

  Hoo, boy! Another fun-ass read from Alex DeCampi, lordy bless her! If you're not reading "Archie vs. Predator", "No Mercy" or the other "Grindhouse Drive In Bleed Out" mini-series you might not be properly entertained! Violence, foul language, sass, tacky villains, and sometimes boobies are recurring elements in DeCampi's stories and in this latest installment of the Grindhouse series it's nicely paired with lively cartoonish art.  And a main cover by Francavilla! 
     The protagonist is a bad-ass Black female (which for some reason is still enough of  an occurrence that I feel the need to celebrate it; boo! * fart noise*!) who is the U.S.' first choice weapon/rescue party when our citizens get into trouble overseas. We get to see Lady Danger of B.O.O.T.I. fight baddies and hang out with hotties.  To be honest I was hoping for a ridiculous blaxploitation type of thing, but this is surprisingly sincere, and I felt my shriveled little heart responding to the characters and their plights, such as pity for the poor nerd with the unrequited crush on the lady herself and his hood friend suffering from gentrification).  

     I like the characters, the art, and did I mention it's funny? I definitely recommend the entire Grindhouse Drive In Bleed Out series. OH ALSO there's a scene where Lady Danger delivers a thorough thug beatdown and then picks her wedgie (you would too if you were kicking ass in booty shorts) and it is delightful. This whole book is just a lot of fun!

May 1, 2015

Reviews by Tania J! "Jem and the Holograms" #2

     AWWWW YEEEAAHH. It’s about to go down. Oh my god.

     A few weeks back, after reading the first “Jem and the Holograms”, I sat, shocked. The thought occurred to me that I may be going soft. I had only read it half as a joke, expecting just something cute and harmless to make fun of for a bit. But you guys. It was actually pretty good. The relationships among all the (adopted? multiracial? figurative?) sisters was cute and touching without being cheesy. The character design is great; there’s a variety of body types and skin colors.  And!! There’s a chick with an afro!!
     No, I had not suddenly turned to soft cheese; “Jem and the Holograms” #1 is in fact a good read. This second issue is no different. A (British?) girl band issuing a friendly musical challenge to rising bands, the contenders of which will face off against them in a battle of the ass-kicking girl groups! Naturally, they stumble upon Jem and her Holograms and are impressed and excited! Most of them are anyway…
     This whole series thus far warms my cold cold heart for a few reasons:

*Girl power! It’s horrible that seeing females being cool, normal, HUMAN people is refreshing. But it is. And they are. These girls are funny, kind, talented (I imagine; I like to think of them as a Go-Go’s/New Order/The Wiggles/Ed Sullivan-debut-pre-drugs-and-India-era Beatles) bouquet of delightful, happy, clean pop) loving, troubled, over-eating, adorable, intelligent, gutsy. And all of them have such cool hair. (Except Jerrica, which makes sense, as it reflects her reserved timid personality).

*Diversity! As Aforementioned, there’s a great variety of bodies, skin colors, hair textures, and even sexual orientation. Like “Lumberjanes” (another great series for adults and young women alike) before it, it looks like “Jem” is extremely cool in its treatment of homosexuality. In this issue there’s flirtation between two of the main girl characters and it’s presented as totally normal. Normal! Can you imagine!? Completely natural sexual orientations treated like completely natural sexual orientations? Revolutionary! It makes my heart smile.

     The whole series is wholesome without being saccharine and progressive without being preachy or ham-fisted. Not to mention the funny and adorable dialogue and the fun, lighthearted plot. And the amazing hairstyles and outfits omg. 

April 24, 2015

reviews by Tania J! "Mono: Pacific" #1 Brian Wood; Sergio Sandoval

It's understandable if you overlooked last year's "Mono: The Old Curiosity Shop" (Sharp and Wolstenholme); it didn't seem to have gotten as much buzz as other independent titles. But trust me: it was special. The juxtoposition of this incredibly strong, hairy human/non-human/superhuman ape born of military experiments with his introspective, gothic narration was just gorgeous to behold; not to mention the fantastic dynamic and cinematic art.
I digress. This latest installation of Mono's story paints him as more of an action film star...a human film star. Yeah he's hairy but he's like, "viking" hairy, not "non-human" hairy. And he doesn't have a tail! (Personal tidbit: non-human apes are some of my favorite creatures; specifically gorillas and chimpanzees; which are the two apes the previous incarnation of Mono looked most like. Except for the long prehensile tail....) Fine, I can deal with a more human-like Mono; the art is still good. The spy thriller story set in the Pacific war theater of the 40's is pretty consistently engaging. There is never a dull moment and we get to see how military ape experiments fare in other armies. I think this was my favorite thing about this book. Mono is faced with these apes who are more like him than any other creature on earth. It's an interesting opportunity to see what that stirs within him. Also, GORILLAS!! Or are they?! Not really. But they look like gorillas and they are so cute and Sandoval does not fail to do these magnificent creatures justice. Whether naked, in kimonos, shooting rifles, screaming in Japanese, mouths agape with incisors gleaming, Sandoval renders these creatures as every bit the regal beings they are. I FREAKIN LOVE APES.
This issue is more of a straight spy story than the gothic monster/traghic hero one of the previous run, but I liked it. Brian Wood and Sergio Sandoval make a great team and I will be picking up the conclusion to this short run.

April 16, 2015

Sabrina #2 Review by Tania J.

AHHH FINALLY. Freegin' finally. I have been waiting for my sweet Sabrina since the first issue came out like fifty years ago in October. If you've kind of dismissed "Sabrina" as a "Sugar, Sugar", sassy-talking-cat-accompanied-by-laugh-track, high-school-dance, teenage-beach-party kind of Sabrina, you are mistaken. When I read the first issue I was not prepared for how dark it was. 

In this series we really get to see Sabrina for what she is and where her roots are. She is a witch. A witch's life is not usually glamorous (except when lounging by a pool in Hollywood with Ann Margaret in #2) or easy to stomach. #2 is a fascinating look into the story of Madam Satan, a witch jilted by her beloved: Sabrina's own father. With (like, the gnarliest!) death begins the second bitter part of her chapter, dangerously driven this time by pain and humiliation. 

I love the art in this book. Hack's watery, muted, sienna-tinged colors and true-black shadows work with Aguirre-Sacasa's slightly gothic writing to give the whole work a finely aged feel that nods to Sabrina's brighter days of the sixties. The art in this is so freaky sometimes I found myself examining pages long after I'd read them.
I am so pumped for Madam Satan! Poor Sabrina...

April 9, 2015

"Rat Queens" #10 Review by Tania J.

I must say: I mourned the departure of Roc Upchurch. I've loved Stjepan Sejic since "Death Vigil"but I was really not ready to give up the perfectly expressive, neat, hilarious style and paneling of Upchurch. I wasn't sure how Sejic's pretty, glossy ways would jive with these wild ladies, but it's growing on me.

So: the art. The dewy beauty of Sejic's work highlights the magic of this ratty world; and is it just me or did this issue seem more magical and emotional than the previous ones? The only thing that really bothers me is Dee's hair. Why, Sejic? Why did you dull down Dee's glorious regal crown of fluffy tendrils? He has beat it down into a jheri curl situation, folks. It's terrible.

As for the writing: we dive into some real heavy stuff in this one. Hannah's sour exterior, Violet's and Dave the Orc's affections for eachother, Dee's personal and complicated spiritual grapples, Betty' seems like this issue touches upon very human stuff that we as a "Rat Queens" audience are not used to.

The whole experience is wonderful. I love these crazy broads and all but sometimes it feels like they are too cool to be real. Obviously they are mage elves and smidgens but one likes to think that if you can play like a human you can hurt like a human, no?

March 20, 2015

DC Convergence at Friendly Neighborhood Comics

Here is your definitive guide to DC Comics Convergence, two months worth of comic stories in April and May where “Every Story Matters.” 

Prepare to see the return of all the characters you love in the settings that you love them in. While DC is not completely abandoning the New 52 Universe, we’re finally getting back what we’ve wanted, mixed up continuity that you can’t always explain, but has always provided us with the most enjoyable stories. While it seems overwhelming, once you understand the structure of this event it’s quite easy. (and exciting)

Starting on Wednesday, April 1st, the nine part weekly Convergence mini series begins with issue #0.

Brainiac has capture multiple timelines from all across the Multiverse and placed them under domes on the same planet. (much the way he saved Kandor and Supergirl back in the 1960′s) Now in the aftermath of Future’s End and World’s End (both of which will end on April 1st, and no, you don’t have to read them) all these domes are lifted up, allowing us access to timelines we haven’t seen in years, along with the interaction of characters from these timelines.

Then, starting April 8th, DC will debut 40 two-issue mini series at a rate of ten a week, first issues in April, second issues in May. All series will tie into Convergence, and each week will have a different theme and cover a different forgotten time period.

Here is the best guide I found to explaining Convergence: Your Guide to Convergence

Each #1 issue is $3.99 and will also contain a two page opening, refreshing your knowledge about the characters contained within.

As the weeks progress it is almost like you’re traveling backwards through DC’s History. 


Week One will cover stories from before Flashpoint (2011) till after Zero Hour (1994). This era is being dubbed “The Return of the Fan Favorites” and is basically DC bringing back every character that people are upset were absent from the new 52. This includes Wally West Flash, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain Batgirl, and the Gotham City Sirens. You’ll even get to see Gail Simone go back to the Nightwing / Oracle relationship with Barbara Gordon back in her wheelchair.

 Here’s what week one looks like:
This is the week where everyone gets their old DC back.


Week Two will cover stories from before Zero Hour (1994) till after Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985). This era is dubbed “An Event For Everyone”. This is the time period when major characters changed roles or their status quo. The Death of Superman, Batman’s broken back, Green Lantern Parallax, and the high comedy era of the Justice League. We’ll even go back to those piranhas eating Aquaman’s hand again.  All this and more will be revisited this week.

 Here’s what week two looks like:
You may have noticed that some of these creators are the same people who worked on these books back in the 90′s.


Week Three will cover the time frame before Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985), specifically stories on Earth One from 1970 to 1985. Dubbed “An Age of Bronze Multiverse”, expect to see a return to the stories that defined this era. Wolfman’s Teen Titans, Lein Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s Swamp Thing, Batman and the Outsiders, Justice League Detroit and Supergirl’s headband.

Here’s what week three looks like:


In Week Four, we visit the time frame before Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) again, but this time we visit all the other Earth’s aside from Earth One. Dubbed “DC’s Timelines Collide” we’ll see teams like Infinity Inc, the Justice Society, Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters, The Marvel Family (Shazam) and the Fawcett Universe, along with Blue Beetle and the characters from Charlton. (If this doesn’t make our seasoned old Silver Age customers happy again, then they’re beyond saving.)

 Here’s what week four looks like:
This week contains some really fun real estate to explore.


To keep you coming back for the second issue of each of these two issue mini’s in May, DC has announced that each issue #2 will feature a brand new 8 page story that will tie into the company's relaunch of titles in June.  You’ll also be able to get a sneak preview of this relaunch on Free Comic Book Day this year, with the FCBD DC Comics Divergence Special. (we’ll make sure we’ve got lots on hand).

So what can I do beforehand to prepare?

DC has released a list of graphic novels that will be important to the narrative of Convergence. While not necessary, they will add to your overall enjoyment of the story. FNC is stocked up heavily on these titles right now.

Batman Death Blow After The Fire
By Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. The Dark Knight faces the daunting task of finishing a job that someone else started but – for reasons that remain a mystery – refused to finish. It’s a tale of secret agents, double agents and a charismatic madman with a fiery, lethal touch. (Bermejo’s pre Noel Batman work, and Azzarello is known from 100 Bullets) $14.99

Batman Gotham By Gaslight
By Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola and P. Craig Russell. Presenting for the first time the adventures of the Victorian Era Batman in one 112-page edition! This volume includes the breakthrough Elseworlds specials GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT and MASTER OF THE FUTURE that pit the Dark Knight against Jack the Ripper and a death-dealer from the skies over Gotham! (Early work from Hellboy’s Mignola and one of the first Elseworlds books from DC) $12.99

 Crisis On Infinite Earths $29.99 By Marv Wolfman and George Perez. This is the story that changed the DC Universe forever. A mysterious being known as the Anti-Monitor has begun a crusade across time to bring about the end of all existence. As alternate earths are systematically destroyed, the Monitor quickly assembles a team of super-heroes from across time and space to battle his counterpart and stop the destruction. DC’s greatest heroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman, assemble to stop the menace, but as they watch both the Flash and Supergirl die in battle, they begin to wonder if even all of the heroes in the world can stop this destructive force. (This is the biggie, that every comic reader has to wrap their head around at least once) $29.99
Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume One
By Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. The much-demanded early “Crisis Crossover” stories are finally collected, featuring the Justice League of America (Earth-One) meeting their Golden Age predecessors, the Justice Society of America (Earth-Two)!  This volume collects the first four 2-part “Crisis Crossover” adventures, reprinting JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21-22, 29-30, 37-38, and 46-47.  Our heroes battle the Injustice Society, the Crime Syndicate of Earth-Three, the evil Johnny Thunder, and the Anti-Matter Man! (stuff to help get newbies through week four) $14.99 

Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume Two
By various. Four more summer meetings between the legendary Justice League of America and Justice Society of America are collected in this highly demanded volume! Collecting JLA #55-56, 64-65, 72-73, 83-84. (more stuff to get newbies through week four) $14.99 

Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume Three
By various. Even more stuff to get newbies through week four. $14.99

By Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert. 
When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It’s a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth’s Greatest Heroes to stop it? (The story that created the new 52, and a cool story in it’s own right. Recommended) $16.99

JLA Earth 2
By Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. 
The legendary Crime Syndicate of America stars in this new edition of this unforgettable tale, with a new cover by artist Frank Quitely! Nothing has ever seriously threatened the global corruption they proudly enforce, but now a twisted mirror image of the CSA has arrived from the flip side of reality. Can anything stop this so-called “Justice League,” or will the perfect evil of the Earth 2 fall victim to the tyranny of law, virtue and freedom. (Should be called Earth 3. A cool modern re-imagining of the 1960′s stories.) $14.99

Kingdom Come
By Mark Waid and Alex Ross. 
This is the unforgettable, best-selling tale of a world spinning inexorably out of control. Waid and Ross weave a tale of youth versus experience, tradition versus change, and what defines a hero. KINGDOM COME is a riveting epic that pits the old guard – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their allies – against a new, uncompromising generation of heroes. (Alex Ross’s big work at DC. Will tie into week two. They’ve written books about this book. Highly Recommended.) $19.99.

Superman Last Son of Krypton
By Richard Donner, Geoff Johns and Adam Kubert. Superman and his “son” verse Zod and the Phantom Zone Villains. (Richard Donner returns to Superman years after writing the first two movies way back when. Recommended.) $19.99


Superman Red Son
By Mark Millar and Dave Johnston. 
In this tale of Cold War paranoia, the spaceship carrying the infant Superman lands in the 1950s Soviet Union, where he grows up to become a symbol of Soviet power. (Highest possible recommendation and one of the greatest Superman stories ever. Ask anyone) $17.99
FNC has all these graphic novels displayed together in the shop for easy access.  

Do not be overwhelmed by this event. You have chosen us as your comic shop for a reason. We have fed all this information into the super computer that is the staff of FNC and we will be happy to guide you to the books you will enjoy.

You may sign up for any of these books by adding them to your FNC Pull List using the links above or by asking at the counter or sending Ernie an email: ernpell (at) gmail (dot) com. 

We plan on supporting this effort to the fullest. DC says, in a nutshell, this whole thing is about “revisiting family”. We’re just glad to have that family back again.

February 24, 2015

Meet X Files Joe Harris at Friendly Neighborhood Comics Saturday 3/14/15

Meet writer Joe Harris author of the comics X Files, Millennium, Great Pacific, Ghost Projekt and more! Joe also wrote the screenplay for the movie Darkness Falls.  Saturday March 14th, 2015 from Noon to 3:00pm.

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