August 27th, 2009

Writer: Mike Carey
Illustrator: Peter Gross
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)

Cover of The Unwritten #1Tommy Taylor saving the day.
Tom signing his dad's books at Tommy-Con; getting hassled by douchebags at Tommy-Con.Ha ha, okay crazy person. Just don't try to kidnap me and blow me up inside the Globe Theatre.

Wilson Taylor has fathered two people in his life: Tommy Taylor, the boy wizard protagonist of his popular series of fantasy novels, and Tom Taylor, his flesh-and-blood son upon whom his books’ protagonist is based. Thirteen books and a despondent son later, Wilson Taylor disappeared.

The Unwritten’s story begins over ten years later; Wilson’s son Tom is now a grown man and has become a minor celebrity. Tom has made a living by running the Tommy Taylor convention circuit under the guidance of Rupert Swoop, his father’s former manager. Although being paid to smile, sign his name, and answer some questions may sound like he’s living on easy street, Tom feels like a sellout. His absentee father and the fame he never asked for are objects of regret and resentment; living in Tommy Taylor’s shadow has robbed him of an identity. Then there’s the ravenous fans, conspiracy websites, and attempts at his life by stalkers dressed as villains from the Tommy Taylor books. It’s all become too much for him to handle now that his legal identity has fallen under scrutiny. With the seed of doubt planted, Tom has begun to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself, about Tommy Taylor, and above all, about his father Wilson. These doubts, coupled with a cryptic trail of literary breadcrumbs left by his father, incite Tom to embark on a personal quest for truth. But the truth may be better left unknown, for each nugget Tom uncovers further obfuscates his perception of what is reality and what is fiction.

I mean to compliment Peter Gross’ ability as an artist when I say that I don’t notice his art. Likewise, I don’t notice Mike Carey’s script, and this is to be commended as well. Their work, as a whole, is exceptional; Carey and Gross have coalesced their crafts to achieve what I believe all comic creators aspire to: storytelling harmony.

June 4th, 2009
The immaculate cover of House of Mystery #1A page from House of Mystery #1
A page from House of Mystery #2A page from House of Mystery #6

House of Mystery is an occult-horror comic published by DC Comics under the Vertigo label. Originally appearing in the 1950s and then again in the 1980s, House of Mystery laid dormant for years until writers Matthew Sturges (Shadowpact, Blue Beetle) and Bill Willingham (Fables) revived the series once again in 2008.

The House of Mystery is a place filled with interesting people. These are people from all walks of life, from all times — and timelines. Bethany “Fig” Keeler is one such person. She, like The House’s other residents, would like nothing more than to go back to their previous lives, but she is trapped. There are attempts at escaping made, but the harsh truth is that their only means of egress is when a mysterious man simply called “The Coachman” arrives at the front gates, in his own timing, to take them away. So the occupants of The House of Mystery, along with The House’s numerous visitors, must resign themselves to drinking their days and nights away in the bar room, where the drinks are free, so long as you have a story to share. And herein lies what makes The House of Mystery, as a comic book, so special: the stories. Sturges, Willingham, and/or the occasional guest writer, treat us to an average of two sub-stories per issues. Representing genres including fantasy, horror, science fiction, or sometimes even autobiographical accounts of events in the various characters’ lives, these stories have the capacity to disgust, frighten, fascinate, sadden, and warm the hearts of readers.

Though there is much history behind the House of Mystery series to which I am, regrettably, largely ignorant, I’ve absolutely loved each and every issue of this latest incarnation. The over-arching storyline is almost completely auxiliary to the sub-stories told by the characters in each issue, though that’s not to say I find the pages in between uninteresting. The whole book is magical. Even the paper used in printing feels right; I only hope that it’s also being used in the trade paperback collections being published, of which there are two, so far. “Room and Boredom” collects issues #1 – 5 while “Love Stories for Dead People” collects #6 – 10.

DoSu TeamDoSu Team


March 30th, 2009

Air #7Issue #7 of Air was released on the week of March 18th for only $1. I looked around online and saw that it had been marketed as a good jumping on point for new readers. Before I dive in to this issue, I thought that I should post about this special price. I wish that I could have posted about the $1 issue before it came out, but I’m sure copies are still available for that price at your local comic shop, if not online. Do check it out.

January 5th, 2009

Four out of five ain't bad.Though I just finished ranting about how useless an endeavor creating year-end wrap-ups and best-of lists is, I do appreciate reading them from time to time. In the case of best-of comic book lists, it gives me an idea of what collections and on-going series’ I should look into catching up on.

Comic Book Resources has compiled and released their best 100 comics of 2008 list. I’m bringing it up here because four of the five books ongoing in 2008 that I’ve recommended via Comic Tips have placed in CBR’s list. I think this is as good a time as any to say: told you so!

The four comics in CBR’s top 100 of 2008 that I’ve said you should be reading are as follows:

I was absolutely thrilled to see RASL in the top ten. I’ve voiced my concerns for it and its quarterly release schedule in the past, and it’s good to see it getting some recognition for being something special. I was disappointed to not see any Jonathan Hickman books in the mix; I’d imagine that the delays affecting his books have caused many to wait for trades. I would also liked to have seen House of Mystery in the list, but everything else feels just about right.

One thing is for certain: I need to read this Criminal TPB that has been sitting on my desk for three months.

December 11th, 2008

Air is a creator-owned comic published under DC Comic’s Vertigo label and written by G. Willow Wilson with art by M.K. Perker. I believe this is the second time this team has collaborated on a comic, with the first time being on the Vertigo series Cairo.

Air #1 coverAir introduces us to an airline stewardess in a post-9/11 world named Blythe. Blythe probably shouldn’t be a stewardess; she’s so deathly afraid of flying that she has to take medication in order to keep from losing her shit on the job. Her world gets turned upside down on the day she checks the bags of a mysterious man with fleeting accents and half a dozen names. Is he friend, foe, or just a nobody? Throw in a belligerent German passenger, Blythe’s best friend Fletcher, an anti-terrorism organization called The Etesian Front, and G. Willow Wilson’s four-year road map for the series, and you’ve got Air.

Despite dealing with as serious a subject matter as international terrorism, Air manages to be romantic and whimsical, and in no small part due to the art. Turkish artist M.K. Perker has created a fan out of me with his unique style. Characters have long and well-defined features that lend themselves to conveying emotion through body language and facial expressions. This allows for a character’s demeanor to be read without words, though there are plenty of them.

Conversations in Air, however fictitious certain scenarios may be, feel real and natural. Plot also flows naturally from panel to panel, page to page, and so far for each of the four issues always a scene with something new, abstract and wonderful that catches me off guard. I love it. It’s a breath of fresh… gas.

As Air is only on issue four, your local comic shop would be the best place to find it., the shop I use, still shows all four issues in stock on its website. A trade paperback collecting the first five issues will be coming out in March of 2009.