Welcome to the Part-Time Fanboy picks of the week for November 5, 2014! Each week some of the crew at PTF will pick their most anticipated books for that Wednesday’s releases based on their own individual tastes. Hopefully this list will help give you, the discerning comic book reader, some ideas on what to pick up at the comic shop during that particular week.
Published by: Titan Books
Many people may not know the name “Modesty Blaise” but to a certain segment of the population she is known quite simply as, “The female James Bond.” Unfortunately Modesty never really achieved the sort of pop star status that Mr. Bond did but that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t as intriguing a character as the more popular 007. Ms. Blaise began her life as a popular comic strip in the 1960’s and the popularity of her comic found her adventures being adapted into several successful novels and short stories and not-so successful film adaptations. The movies probably never caught on because of the fact that they could never capture the complexity of her character the way that the comic strip or novels did. In films, Modesty would be reduced to one-dimensional sexpots or parody. On the comic page she was cunning, intelligent and became the template for every leather clad female adventurer that came after her from Emma Peel to the modern day Catwoman.
Titan Books has been reproducing Peter O’Donnel’s Modesty Blaise strips for a while and this week sees them publish the twenty fifth volume (!) of highly entertaining newspaper comics that have Blaise engaged in all kinds of amazing adventures. I have several of these collections and I have to say that each one of these that I’ve read has been a treat. While the style of the storytelling may be a bit different than what many modern comic fans might expect, the stories themselves are still timeless and engaging. The art is nothing to sneeze at either. There were probably two or three artists that rendered Modesty’s adventures during the run of the comic but each one brought a clear, distinctive power to the page. If you like super spies or international intrigue these Modesty Blaise collections may be right up your alley.
By: Various, Mychailo Kazybrid
Published by: Titan Books
It looks to be a good week for Titan Books and a good week for comic strip collections as well. I had no idea that Wallace and Gromit were stars of their own newspaper strip in England. It makes complete sense for the two most lovable characters in claymation history to have their own comic strip. If there was ever a property that seemed perfectly suited to the comic book page it would have to be Wallace and Gromit. The charm of their adventures just seem naturally suited for a translation into the sequential art form. If these comics are half as entertaining as the films these characters were spawned in I can say without a doubt that this will be a winning collection indeed. The fact that this is something that you’ll be able to share with the kids in your family makes this book even more worth having.
Genre: Science Fiction/ Exploitation
Publisher: Image Comics
I’m a huge fan of the outlaw biker genre, and seeing it mashed up with anthropomorphic apes just makes my heart happy. This looks to be a ton of fun, mixing a Corman-esque story (complete with Vietnam flashback!) and angst with Sons of Anarchy style violence.
Keenan Marshall Keller seems well versed in 70’s alt-comix, and exploitation movies. Tom Neely draws some sweet choppers. And did I mention the apes? They’re awesome. So much personality on each face. There’s a 3 page preview on the comics Facebook page. If it doesn’t bring a huge smile to your face, I feel sorry for you.
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Edgar Rice Burroughs was the first author that I was a “fan” of. I started with the Tarzan series, and quickly moved on to the Mars books. Around this time, Marvel was publishing their versions of Burroughs’ heroes written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gil Kane. I grabbed as many of them as I could.
When the movie adaptation, John Carter, didn’t live up to box office expectations, I was pretty disappointed. I’m on record as really liking the movie (you can listen to the podcasts if you don’t believe me) and wanted more. It really reminded me of why I loved the books: the adventure, the romance, and the unlikely friendship of John Carter and the Martian Thark Chief Tars Tarkas.
Dynamite Entertainment is the latest company to take on John Carter’s adventures. Ron Marz has a great track record with cosmic heroes (Green Lantern and Silver Surfer) and pulp adventure (The Phantom) so he seems well suited for the task. I wasn’t too familiar with Abhishek Malsuni before this book, but I had seen his cover for Zenescope’s Grimm Tales of Terror #2. He’s fairly new to the sci-fi world, but what art I’ve seen looks gorgeous.
Since it doesn’t seem like we’re getting a John Carter sequel anytime soon, this may be the best way outside of Burroughs’s original books to visit the world of Barsoom.