Thursday, April 26, 2012

Paul's Picks! - April 25, 2012

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Hello all! This was a big week for comics, with a slew of AvX tie-ins hitting the shelves, along with many of your typical favorites from DC, Marvel, IDW, Image, etc. I left my shop with a nice bag just full of books this week, anxiously waiting to dive in to some of my usual favorites from this week in comics. Since I'm certain that many of you are sitting there wondering which books are these "usual favorites," here's a short list: from DC, Flash and Aquaman, TMNT from IDW, not to mention my recent taking to New Avengers (although I'm not sure that one counts, as it's currently all about AvX, but who's judging?). Any way you look at it though, this is a big week for books. And so, with no more blabbering on, the definitive winner of this week's pick is...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 by Eastman, Waltz, and Duncan.

Note: SPOILERS WILL BE PRESENT! I typically try to avoid them for the most part, but the key component to this issue can't be addressed well without them, so if you haven't read it yet and you're going to, WAIT TO READ THIS UNTIL AFTER! Thank you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Buy This! - April 25th, 2012

Here we go again.

With Marvel ramping up AvX this week with the biggest week of tie-ins released thus far, and DC launching a full scale invasion of the bat family with Night of the Owls it’s safe to say that event season is officially underway. Really it has been for at least a month but with DC launching their own volley it really feels like it now.
 Due to this fact, this week’s Buy This is going “All Avengers VS X-Men”.  Partially this is due to the fact that AvX has been really quite enjoyable so far and partially it is because… well AvX has me anxious to see what happens next. Who knows, depending on how some of the first slew of Night of the Owls releases fare maybe I’ll do a special column for the bat titles next week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paul's Picks! - April 18, 2012

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

Another week has passed, and with it comes a whole new slew of comics to keep us here at Ancillary Characters busy with writing, thinking, podcasting and stuff. With a long list of incredible books to survey from Wednesday, April 19th, I'm here as usual to give you my well-founded (or so I think) opinion regarding my pick of the week! For those of you who have been following us here at AC for some time now, you may be pleased to hear that, thanks to Seth and my recent acquisition of an iPad, my weekly Marvel intake has greatly increased (not to mention the Image titles I'm reading monthly now. And so, both in my column and on the show, our topics will be branching out more so from the DC-heavy stuff we've been covering since the arrival of the New 52. And so, you can definitely expect to see titles from all over the spectrum of comic book publishers from now on. With that being said, I must confess that this week's pick was so fantastic that my desire to expand the column into broader horizons has been somewhat dwarfed by the sheer awesomeness of the absolute winner...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Paul's Picks! - April 11, 2012

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! 

Hello everyone, I'm back on the regular end of the country, and we're ready to get everything back in full swing here on the Ancillary Characters site. I'll admit, we've been a little behind on the columns, but no worries: the end of my school semester is in sight, and with all of the very exciting things coming up over the next few months, we'll be right here to provide you with our lovely brand of fandom. And so without further blabbing, we'll get right down to the goods from this week's comics:

Demon Knights #8 by Paul Cornell with art by Bernard Chang and Diogenes Neves.

There were some really fun reads this week all around, but the book that stood out to me the most was Paul Cornell's take on the magic/fantasy realm at DC. My pick over the last couple weeks has gone to the Marvel end of things, but DC rose back to the top with another amazingly written entry into this tale about the rag-tag group of anti-heroes in Demon Knights. This week, Cornell takes us a little deeper into the mythos of these characters. In this relaunch from the DCnU, one of the biggest weaknesses of some of the opening arcs has been the manner in which the writers have attempted to introduce these characters or set up some big new arc. While some have had success going about it different ways, I have been particular pleased with the way that Cornell has done his own setting up. He wrote the first arc in a way that did not demand much setup for this characters by tossing them right into a gigantic battle, which strangely worked perfectly for me as a reader. What's even more intriguing has been his manner of bringing in origins and background stories at different intervals, always making them seem to fit in just the right place. For example, this week's tale gives us the story of how Jason Blood/The Demon Etrigan managed to wind up in the twisted relationship with Madame Xanadu. This story seems to go off on its own, but I must admit it works perfectly, which is not an easy task. Geoff Johns attempted (but failed) something similar in issue #6 of Aquaman, where the story took off on a tangent about Mera, which wound up being a blot on the series that I wish could be erased. But Paul Cornell pulls it off magically, creating a stand alone story that I would say is a perfect point for new readers to jump on this series if they haven't been reading it so far.

I have been a fan of this series all along, but I this may have been the first issue where I felt that real Cornell style that I've come to love so much. The love story of Jason Blood and Madame Xanadu is told as a tale that seems almost basic, tied up with a bitter-sweet ending. In some ways, it's a common tale of love and tragedy. However, Cornell throws the reader into a whirlwind of uncertainty with a couple of pages at the end that manage to make us question everything that we had read leading up to that point in the issue... Once I finished reading this one, I couldn't help but think that this was exactly what I was looking for when I added this series to my pulls last september. Don't get me wrong, there have been somer really great issues already, but this was, in my opinion, the best issue of the series. It had the humor, a deep fantasy world, fighting, love, sorcery, and of course, betrayal. If you're reading this column and you're not buying this book, you should be. If you have any interest at all in fantasy literature, comics, or just good storytelling, then this book is for you.

As for the art, this was easily one of the best looking issues so far. The artists have gone back and forth a lot in this book, and this week had a similar situation. Neves and Chang split the book, with one drawing the pages set in the present day and the other drawing the flashback storyline. To be honest, I'm typically not a fan of these setups, where one issue bounces around between different artists (see Action Comics #8... geez), but these guys really pull it off well. Their styles almost compliment one another, and where this issue is set in two different time frames, it almost helps create the ambiance of a world that is different than the one they're in when the art switches for the flashbacks.

Overall, this was a fantastic issue that wound up being a whole lot of fun. If you're looking for a book that's not a mainstream hero book, or even if you're a book reader who's looking for a gateway into the comic book realm, this would be a great place to start. Thanks for reading, and be on the lookout for our next episode of the Ancillary Characters podcast, featuring a guest co-host. Until next week!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Buy This! - April 11th, 2012

Every Monday Seth picks out three items that are due to ship on Wednesday and directs you toward your best bets for a quality purchase. Some times it's a single issue of a comic, other times a massive omnibus edition of a beloved series, and occasionally a figure or shiny bauble that caught his eye. Read on to find the three items you shouldn't leave your comic shop without this week.

If you're a regular visitor of the site then you've probably noticed the lack of content over the past two weeks. Hopefully, as of this week things will go back to normal and I'll, at the very least, manage to write my Monday column. This week is seeing a huge volume of quality books. My recent switch to digital on over half my pull list seems as though it will be paying off this week, particularly on the Image titles coming out. Marvel launches their Omega Effect crossover this week in the pages of Avenging Spider-Man and the goodness that is Remender's Secret Avengers continues this week. DC has new issues of The Shade, Green Lantern and Batman & Robin (one of the real gems of the new 52) hitting shelves.

As usual this past Saturday we posted a new episode of the AC podcast; this episode featuring Adrienne Koosed in lieu of the vacationing Paul Shirley. We talked Avengers vs X-Men, and some random event comics from the past ten years with a focus on new-reader friendliness. Also discussed was the just-released Avengers vs X-men: Infinite. If you haven't had the chance, be sure to check it out. I feel like this is where digital comics are headed in terms of presentation and really felt it was one of the best books out last week. 

Lets move on to this week's must-buys.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Paul's Picks: April 4th, 2012

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! 

And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week. Hello everyone! I'm writing to you from the mountains of Tennessee, off on a small but much needed vacation from all the hubbub of the college life. But don't worry, I may be off the beaten path, but I still found the time to dive into this weeks books. Action Comics #8, the long awaited reveal of Swamp Thing, and, of course, Avengers vs X-Men #1! The question is, which of this week's books stood out as the definitive winner of the lucrative "Paul's Pick" award? I'll have to admit, it's not one I saw coming... 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Podcast Episode 9 - The Best Issue of 2012!

Hello everyone! Here's episode 9 of our podcast, where we reveal all of our opinions about the world of comics from this week. And just so everyone knows, our Pick of the Week was Avenging Spiderman #5, which we somehow managed to talk about for 10 minutes without ever mentioning the title... Enjoy! Comment! Rate us on iTunes!