Adventure Into Fear 13 (April 1973)

Adventure Into Fear #13

Oh, very good news–Val Mayerik is on the pencils (with Frank Bolle in inks). From the first couple pages of Man-Thing, it's clear the art is going to be a lot better. It shouldn't be particularly obvious, as it's a Man-Thing story and Mayerik doesn't illustrate him until later in the story but the way Mayerik draws the supporting cast is enough to show things have turned around.

Gerber fleshes out that supporting cast more here, he shows how the local girl is somehow linked to Man-Thing, for instance. But he's also got a better grip on how to write Man-Thing himself. While Gerber does fall back on Man-Thing's human side getting dialogue, the sequence is effective and doesn't seem forced.

Maybe because it's in the second act, not the third. Anyway, good feature.

The sixties backup has indistinct Gene Colan art. The Lieber and Lee story's distinctively crappy though.

B 

CREDITS

Man-Thing, Where Worlds Collide!; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Val Mayerik; inker, Frank Bolle; colorist, Ben Hunt; letterer, Artie Simek. Mister Black; writers, Stan Lee and Larry Lieber; artist, Gene Colan. Editors, Lee and Roy Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Batman: The Deal (November 2013)

Batman: The Deal

Thanks to the Internet, unofficial, fan-made productions can get a lot of exposure. Why people haven’t been doing more unofficial superhero comics is beyond me. It makes great senses but you don’t hear about many.

I read about The Deal because of the artist, Daniel Bayliss, and tracked down the comic. Bayliss uses a finer line, Paul Pope type style. The story is just Batman and the Joker and he doesn’t do either of their faces well, but the movement of the bodies is fantastic. The detailed scenery is awesome.

As for Gerardo Preciado’s script… it’s predictable. Except maybe the lengthy quote at the end, which is a good quote, but doesn’t belong. Preciado tries to work out the problems between Batman and the Joker and flubs it. He goes way too far, way too obvious.

But the absurdity gives Bayliss the chance to show off his compositional skills.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Gerardo Preciado; artist, Daniel Bayliss; publisher, Moonhead Press.

Stray Bullets 13 (April 1997)

Stray Bullets #13

Lapham does integrate Virginia (who called her Ginny, I can't remember) into the Seaside cast. And all of a sudden, if it weren't for the meth heads or whatever they are trying to rape a thirteen year-old girl (they're the comic relief, actually), Stray Bullets would be almost a sitcom. A quirky one, sure, but a sitcom nonetheless.

While there's still the aforementioned actual danger, Lapham's very upbeat about life in this one. Virginia bonds with Nina, Beth's friend who somehow got them all in trouble. Then there's lovable Nick. And darn if Orson and Beth aren't the cutest odd couple.

But it works too. Lapham pretty much pulls it off. He makes a good comic, even though he's got Virginia writing in her diary as the exposition and his story behind the Seaside town makes everything sillier. Against the odds, it works.

Lapham's just forcing the quirky too much.

B 

CREDITS

Farewell, Fair Cow!; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Purcell; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Tales of Honor 2 (April 2014)

Tales of Honor #2

Something about Hawkins's presentation of facts–the way he uses his protagonist to narrate her past from her present, it makes Tales of Honor very palatable. There are a lot of absurd details, like how the protagonist has the psychic cat who she keeps with her. And takes with her on diplomatic meetings.

But Hawkins sells it, because the comic never refers to other sci-fi. It's always set in its own thing, which is probably a benefit to being an adaptation not just of a novel, but a series of novels. Hawkins can work in the texture.

Speaking of texture, it's amazing I read this comic not just because I don't read complicated sci-fi, but because I loathe the art from Sang-Il Jeong. Either in an attempt to seem futuristic or just save on traditional artist, the whole thing is CGI. The figures are atrocious, animals worse.

Still, it works out.

B- 

CREDITS

On Basilisk Station, Part Two; writer, Matt Hawkins; artists, Sang-Il Jeong and Linda Sejic; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Besty Gonia; publisher, Top Cow Productions.

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