Dark Horse Presents 23 (October 1988)

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Here’s a somewhat strange issue… it opens with Stout’s history piece about Americans massacring Filipinos in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s even more relevant today (those massacred were Muslim and the whole thing has been brushed under the history carpet). It’s better as a history lesson than a comic.

Race of Scorpions is a practically unintelligible new serial. Duranona’s artwork is nearly impossible to comprehend. He’s got all this perspective but almost no shadows, so it all just jumbles together. He appears to have borrowed from Star Wars to set up his story of the young man who loses his guardians.

Geary’s Police Beat works again… but the real nice one is Arcudi, Barker and Nyberg’s American spree killer story. The story’s solid–disaffected WWII vet goes nuts–but the artwork is just fantastic. I’m not sure if it’s Barker’s pencils or Nyberg’s inks, but it’s simply gorgeous.

CREDITS

Filipino Massacre; story, art and lettering by William Stout. Race of Scorpions; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Jean Simek. Gateway to Hell: The Howard Unruh Story; story by John Arcudi; pencils by Gary Barker; inks by John Nyberg; lettering by Jim Massara. Police Beat; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 22 (September 1988)

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Seriously, a short story? I guess Andrew Murphy provides his own illustrations, but his story is a prose future story about cloning. Not a very logical one either (how do the clones age, for example). I guess it’s not the worst prose story I’ve ever read in a comic, but am I making a compliment? No.

Concrete is a thoughtful story of a young village kid in Asia getting ready for Concrete’s walking tour. Chadwick has probably never written a better story. Too bad the illustration is mediocre. He’s barely got any detail to his faces and I can’t remember a single stunning panel.

Rick Geary’s Police Beat, presumably short true police cases, is great. One page.

Trekker has Dave Dorman inks, which makes the whole thing look completely different. It’s not an entirely successful art experiment, but it’s the first Trekker I’ve sort of liked.

And Duckman is funny.

CREDITS

Concrete, Goodwill Ambassador; story and pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Jed Hotchkiss; lettering by Bill Spicer. Reflections; story and art by Andrew Murphy. Police Beat; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Trekker, Chinks; story and pencils by Ron Randall; inks by Dave Dorman and Lurene Haines; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Duckman, Love Me Tender; story, art and lettering by Everett Peck. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 21 (August 1988)

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I hate to say it, but Ron Randall’s gotten better. Not as a writer, of course; Trekker has actually gotten to be worse written since Dark Horse Presents started. The story this issue is practically unintelligible. On the other hand, Randall’s inking has gotten a lot better. The art’s still not so great, but the inking… inking’s improved.

The Mask finishes up here with Badger killing a CIA agent. His second or fourth. Overall, the series has been sometimes decent, sometimes good–usually the best thing in the issue (this one has a lot of misspellings for some reason). Anyway, it’d probably work better in color as a single sitting read. The pace gets lost, especially given how weird it gets.

Delia & Celia either ends with the protagonists in some magical inner earth or with them stuck in a canyon. It’s impossible to tell from Davis’s art. But who cares?

CREDITS

The Mask; story and art by Mark Badger; lettering by Tim Harkins. Trekker, Vincent’s Share, Part Two; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Delia & Celia, Under Tiltannon; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 4 (November 2010)

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Storck wraps it all up, which is a little sad–a sequel does not seem to be in the offing.

He does tie it all together nicely here, though I’m not familiar enough with “The Musgrave Ritual” to know how close he sticks to it and the conclusion, from “The Final Problem,” is expectedly loose. Mebberson does a lovely job with this part of the story, with a great rendering of Reichenbach Falls.

This issue also wraps up the Kermit and Piggy arc, which seems to be in all the Boom! Muppet books, whether it’s primary or not. Storck’s been making Kermit’s LeStrade, especially this issue, a lot smarter than Gonzo’s Holmes, even though Gonzo manages to solve the cases.

For the most part, these themed Muppet titles have been outstanding and I probably have a new favorite with Sherlock Holmes.

Mebberson and Storck should be doing an ongoing series.

CREDITS

Musgrove Ritual?; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 3 (October 2010)

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I can’t decide if this issue is the strongest or if it’s just the one where Gonzo solves the case….

The opening titles establish the cast–Kermit and Piggy are now permanent additions (Piggy’s Irene Adler now impersonating Mrs. Hudson, which is a great way to keep her around)–and it certainly seems like Muppet Sherlock Holmes could have some legs. A sequel series or two would probably be just as good as this series, since they’re adapting from the Conan Doyle’s.

This issue adapts “The Red-Headed League,” which is a memorable title and I remember some of the story’s setup, but I have no idea if it’s all about a bank heist. Here it’s all about a bank heist. Holmes–sorry, Gonzo–stops it in an amusing way.

Mebberson’s art for this series is so sharp and so thoughtful. The third act, with the heist sequence, looks fantastic.

CREDITS

The Red-Headed League; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 2 (September 2010)

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The second issue is as nice as the first.

Storck doesn’t use “Muppet Show” standards (he did in the first issue for a great narrative device), but he does insert Kermit’s Inspector Lestrade–sorry, Inspector LeStrade–into the story. I don’t think Lestrade was in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” but he’s around here, a third wheel affixed to Holmes and Watson.

The plot pretty much follows the original with some Muppet flourishes. Storck and Mebberson come up with these great one or two panel gags–Gonzo, Fozzie and Kermit disguised as a post box, call box and bush having tea. But Storck also has more elaborate flourishes here–Miss Piggy plays Irene Adler and she has a dinner party the boys crash.

The dinner party antics are where Storck and Mebberson’s pacing skills really show. They’re able to fit a lot of events into a few pages.

It’s wonderful stuff.

CREDITS

A Scandal in Bohemia; writer, Patrick Storck; artist, Amy Mebberson; colorists, Mebberson and Braden Lamb; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Christopher Burns; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes 1 (August 2010)

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Now here’s a lovely comic.

Mebberson’s art alone makes Muppet Sherlock Holmes worth picking up–oh, she does the colors too. I was just going to say how great the colors work in the book. Her renditions of the Muppet characters, particularly the expressions, really bring them to life. It’s not something I think about a lot with comics, but with the Muppets, for some reason I do.

But then there’s Storck and his whole approach to turning Gonzo into Sherlock and Fozzie into Watson. They aren’t traditionally paired and it works out as this wonderful dumb and dumber situation. Gonzo’s obnoxious behavior works perfect for the role.

This issue is an adaptation of “The Speckled Band.” Each issue is, presumably, going to be a different story. It’s a great approach and one I wasn’t expecting.

The story resolves the same, but Storck adds some very Muppet details.

A delightful read.

CREDITS

Writer, Patrick Storck; artist and colorist, Amy Mebberson; letterer, Joe Macasocol; editors, Christopher Burns and Jason Long; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Starborn 1 (December 2010)

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Starborn is an adolescent male’s fantasy world come to life (well, an adolescent male “grown up”). The protagonist is in his twenties, writes sci-fi books no one will publish and has a crush on his childhood next door neighbor.

Of course, it turns out his sci-fi books are true and his next door neighbor is grown-up too and she’s going to be his bodyguard.

The covers to this book do a terrible job advertising it–though I think one should never judge a comic with an Humberto Ramos cover by that cover, just gag at the sight and maybe tear it off and read the comic.

Khary Randolph’s style is sort of a Space Ace retro homage, full of energy; it’s pleasant and appealing and also able to convey the action.

Roberson’s first person narration is solid too.

It’s like a genial Matrix. It’s a good start.

CREDITS

Writer, Chris Roberson; artist, Khary Randolph; colorist, Mitch Gerads; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Bryce Carlson; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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