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Solicitations: Aspen Comics March 2013

Solicitations: Aspen Comics March 2013

By Rui Esteves in Blog on December 14, 2012

Soulfire Aspen Comics March 2013 solicitations have arrived. Cover SHRUGGED #1 Frank Mastromauro – Story / Jonathan Marks ; Micah Gunnell – Art / Beth Sotelo - Colors Aspen’s Ten Year Anniversary celebrates the return of SHRUGGED! You think you’re prepared, but you’re not. You’ve been decisive in your actions up to this point, but now things have been turned upside down. You feel you’ve conformed your mindset and are ready to accept what you’re about to experience, but you haven’t. That’s because SHRUGGED is back and ready to blow your mind! Theo and his friends are entering their final year of high school, and even though Ange and Dev are still along for the ride, a host of new characters have joined in on the adventure! But, everything isn’t all fun and games this time around as an evil force has also returned and is preparing to silence those voices inside their heads…permanently. If you thought you knew what fear was, you haven’t seen anything yet! Created by Michael Turner and Frank Mastromauro, with illustrations by newcomer Jonathan Marks and colorist Beth Sotelo, make sure to listen to the voices inside your head and pick up a copy of SHRUGGED #1 today! SHRUGGED #1 is in stores March 13th, 2013! FC 32 pages $1.00 Cover LEGEND OF THE SHADOWCLAN #2 David Wohl – Story / Cory Smith – Art / Jon Starr - Colors What is the mystery of the LEGEND OF THE SHADOWCLAN? The Arashis believed themselves to be just an average family, but everything changed the night that Dr. William Arashi inadvertently found himself in a battle with well-armed assassins, and he not only survived, but he defeated them! Exhilarated and confused, Arashi now discovers that this attack was not random, and that he and his family are anything but ordinary--they are members of an ancient and powerful ninja family known as the Shadowclan. But now that their secret has been discovered, they realize they are ALL in great danger! Writer David Wohl is joined by the artistic talents of Cory Smith and colorist John Starr, as they bring to you the thrilling new adventures of the LEGEND OF THE SHADOWCLAN! LEGEND OF THE SHADOWCLAN #2 is in stores March 6th, 2013! FC 32 pages $3.99 Cover EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: IRIS (vol 3) #4 David Wohl – Writer /Alex Lei– Art / Teo Gonzalez - Colors The Extinction finale draws near! As the Executive Extinction crossover roars toward its dramatic conclusion, Iris finds her loyalty called into question when she is forced to choose sides between her employer--the CIA--and her fellow Executive Assistants, as they try to bring down the vicious Mazutsu and his criminal empire. And to make matters worse, Rose has returned, which can only mean even more trouble for Iris. But when one of her closest friends reveals her true allegiance, Iris realizes that nothing is as it seems in this world of intrigue, death...and betrayal. EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: IRIS (vol 3) #4 is in stores March 2013! FC 32 pages $3.99 Cover EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: ASSASSINS #9  – Writer / Jordan Gunderson – Art / Teo Gonzalez - Colors Can anyone hope to survive the Extinction? The massive “Executive Extinction” crossover begins to tear apart the bounds of friendship and loyalty, as Lily, Orchid and Aster arrive in Tokyo on their final push to eliminate Mazutsu and end his cycle of bloodshed. However, the arrival of Executive Assistant Ivy has created a challenge for the girls’ revenge plan, as her past reveals dark secrets which may lead to all of their demise! EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: ASSASSINS #9 is in stores March 2013! FC 32 pages $3.99 Cover SOULFIRE (vol 4) #6 J.T. Krul – Story / Mike DeBalfo – Art / Nei Ruffino  - Colors Michael Turner’s epic fantasy adventure surges forward into a bold new era! As Malikai and his technologically infused magical allies try to save the world from the destructive force of the elemental dragons, Grace is freakishly transforming before their very eyes and becoming the living embodiment of Oris--the chaos demon! Can the group save her in time, and perhaps save the world in the process? Or will this be the decisive battle where everyone loses, no matter what the outcome?!? SOULFIRE (vol 4) #6 is in stores March 2013! FC 32 pages $3.99 Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/12/solicitations-aspen-comics-march-2012.html

Asuntos marinos - Juan Pastorelli (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

Asuntos marinos - Juan Pastorelli (Galería Yvonne Sanguineti)

By Arion in Blog on December 12, 2012

Pablo PatruccoI don’t think it is laughable to cry because of a dream. A dream can mean just one moment in your life when you come across a very sensitive point or even an epiphany, and in these cases it is as serious as any other event. A dream can let you know how obsessed are you with someone, how you stopped caring for somebody you used to love, how you think happiness really is instead of the construction we tend to believe so firmly in real life. I love to remember my dreams; to me it doesn’t matter whether if they are good or bad. Even a nightmare will tell me something about myself. Maybe you could try to interpret your dream, maybe it has some really important message, or maybe not, either way, if it mobilizes your feelings like that it was important. Definitely. my drawing / mi dibujoI have weird dreams sometimes. The other night I had a dream about Caius Julius Caesar. Too bad we won’t be able to talk intensely about De Bello Gallico here. When I was learning Latin, I hoped I’d be able to read it some distant day in the future in its original language, just as Caesar wrote it. What I love to read is the original texts, so I have had a great time reading from Herodotus’ History to Suetonius’ Twelve Caesars. The consequence of reading all that is having the greatest dreams ever.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anoche se inauguró la muestra “Asuntos marinos” del reconocido y prestigioso artista Juan Pastorelli en la Galería Yvonne Sanguineti. Pastorelli presenta cuadros firmemente anclados en la realidad cotidiana de nuestro país, sus imágenes nos ponen en contacto con una realidad unívoca, serena, y sumamente sugestiva. Con una envidiable trayectoria, Pastorelli es hoy por hoy una figura clave del arte contemporáneo peruano, y sus cuadros demuestran que su propuesta está libre de efectismos, libre de disfuerzos, libre de la necesidad de escandalizar a la audiencia, las suyas son pinturas que evocan esa paz elemental a la que todo ser humano debe, o debería, aspirar. En esta ocasión, me acompañó mi gran amigo del colegio Juan Carlos Gibson, y en el transcurso de la noche nos encontramos con Yvonne Sanguineti, Tatiana Paez Sanguineti, Mariloli de Koechlin, Julio Garay, Hugo Alegre, Carmen Alegre, Isabelle Decencière y  Rhony Alhalel. Aunque, sin duda, lo mejor fue conversar durante más de dos horas con Juan Carlos. Esa misma noche también se inauguraba una muestra colectiva organizada por la galería 80M2 en el Malecón Pazos, pero se nos hizo tarde y no pudimos llegar a verla. Entre vino tinto y whisky, la velada transcurrió de modo apacible y ameno.  Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/12/asuntos-marinos-juan-pastorelli-galeria.html

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 32, 33 34 - Moore, McManus, Randall Bissette

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 32, 33 34 - Moore, McManus, Randall Bissette

By Arion in Blog on December 9, 2012

Stephen Bissette & John TotlebenWriters create their own language, and there are as many particular languages as writers in the world. They all have different narrative styles. There are, however, some cases in which the writers actually invent a new idiom. Such is the case of Anthony Burgess and his outstanding novel “A Clockwork Orange” and the Nadsat dialect the characters speak (which was present also in Stanley Kubrick’s film), or in Julio Cortázar’s “Rayuela” (the giglic).Alan Moore carries out an extraordinary idiomatic experiment in “Pog” (published in Saga of the Swamp Thing # 32 in January 1985). Mixing two different words into a single one, Moore bends the linguistic limits of English and adds an unprecedented layer of complexity in a story about a group of aliens that come to Earth in search of a new habitat. “Pog” is entirely told from the perspective of the aliens, and as readers we quickly understand this strange new language in which Swamp Thing is described as a gardiner (a guardian and a gardener) and humans are animalogics (animals of logic). These aliens are the last ones of their race, they have spent centuries traveling from one planet to another, searching for a “New Lady”, a new Gea that would welcome them. In their planet of origin, animals lived in perfect harmony with the environment, until a race of arrogant biped simians started killing all animals, depredating the ecosystem and ultimately causing the destruction of their world (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).When their ship, which is similar to a turtle, lands in the swamp, they feel they have found paradise. There is something beautifully tragic about the naiveté of these aliens, they are tired of singing the “song of extinction” and as one of them tries to communicate with Swamp Thing using primitive drawings the truth is revealed. Sadness and desperation invades these aliens when they discover that in this planet there is a race of biped simians that slaughter animals and destroy nature. With the death of one of the aliens, it’s made clear for them that they must leave Earth. And so they do, knowing that they’ll never again find a planet with the necessary natural resources to sustain them. They’re doomed to die searching for something that is not meant to be found. The artist in this chapter is the talented Shawn McManus, and he does a truly magnificent work. The design of Pog and his crew is excellent, and even though I read this story for the first time over 12 years ago I’ve never been able to forget his visual style. The swamp looks like an unknown land, and even Swamp Thing is portrayed slightly different, as if we were seeing him with the eyes of the extraterrestrials. Above all, the sadness and innocence of these characters is impeccably expressed by McManus inspired lines.  Pog & HystricideThe overtly detailed style of artists Bissette and Totleben required more time than they had, so other artists were in charge of self-conclusive stories. Such was the case of Abandoned Houses (February 1985), in which Alan Moore pays homage to the first Swamp Thing stories. The first and last pages are written by Moore and illustrated by Ron Randall and the rest are a reprint. Abigail dreams about two mysterious men, named Cain and Abel, one of them lives in the house of mysteries and other in the house of secrets, she can only visit one of them. Here we get a reprint of an old Swamp Thing story published in The House of Secrets # 92 (July 1971), the authors are Len Wein and the legendary Bernie Wrightson.  Shawn McManusFinally, in “Rite of Spring” (March 1985), we see nature blosso-ming, and passions growing beyond all measure as Abigail at last decides to admit she loves Swamp Thing: “It’s impossible, it’s bizarre, it probably isn’t even legal […] you’re a plant for god’s sake!”. Swamp Thing is overjoyed to hear this, because he had also been in love with Abigail for a long time. As a creature that does not belong to the animal kingdom, Swamp Thing cannot have sexual intercourse with Abby, but he offers her something else, something more powerful and unforgettable. He makes her part of him, and she sees the world as he sees it. She sees nature as a whole, she senses every form of life in the swamp, she breathes a newfound energy, she hears the pulse of Earth itself and she finally realizes that this communion with Swamp Thing has been an epiphany. Ron RandallIn “Pog” we saw that as humans we are “the loneliest animals of all”, unable to connect with nature, incapable of feeling empathy for other animal species. In “Rite of Spring”, however, we see the opposite. We see Abby, a normal human being, acquiring the most transcen-dental knowledge regarding life and nature. She becomes one with the world. Stephen Bissette and John Totleben capture the lyricism in Moore’s script and turn every page into visual poetry, their level of creativity exceeds all expectations and ultimately captivates even the more coldhearted readers. This graphic experimentation is accompanied by Tatjana Wood’s fascinating use of colors, unlike anything we could have found in other 80s comics.  The most talented and brilliant writer and the most creative and perfectionist artists worked together to produce an outstanding masterwork. Neil Gaiman, in his foreword reminds us that “With these stories The Saga of the Swamp Thing made comics history”, and Jamie Delano in his introduction emphasizes that “Moore was working to transform the medium of his choice from what I, in common with many others, had regarded as an often cynically produced pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap form of entertainment into something vital – something with currency”. Alan Moore certainly succeeded, he fought against the irrelevancy of most comic books and he created a masterpiece that almost 30 years later is just as valuable and poignant, if not more. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Bernie WrightsonLos escritores crean su propio lenguaje, y hay tantos lenguajes particulares como escritores en el mundo. Todos tienen estilos narrativos diferentes. Hay, sin embargo, algunos casos en los que los escritores de hecho inventan un nuevo idioma. Tal es el caso de Anthony Burgess y su extra-ordinaria novela "La naranja mecánica" y el dialecto Nadsat de los personajes (también presente en el film de Stanley Kubrick), o en “Rayuela” de Julio Cortázar (el gíglico).Alan Moore realiza un sobresaliente experimento idiomático en "Pog" (publicado en "Saga of the Swamp Thing" # 32 en enero de 1985). Mezclando dos diferentes palabras en una sola, Moore retuerce los límites lingüísticos del inglés y añade una capa de complejidad sin precedentes en una historia sobre un grupo de aliens que vienen a la Tierra en busca de un nuevo hábitat. “Pog” se cuenta por completo desde la perspectiva de los aliens, y como lectores entendemos con rapidez este extraño nuevo lenguaje en el que Swamp Thing es descrito como un 'guardinero' (guardián y jardinero) y los humanos son animalógicos (animales de la lógica). Estos aliens son los últimos de su raza, han viajado durante siglos de un planeta a otro, buscando a una "Nueva Dama", una nueva Gea que les daría la bienvenida. En su planeta de origen, los animales vivían en perfecta harmonía con el medio ambiente, hasta que una raza de arrogantes simios bípedos empezaron a matar a todos los animales, depredando el ecosistema y, por último, causando la destrucción de su mundo (suena familiar, ¿no es así?). Rite of Spring / Rito de primaveraCuando su nave, que es similar a una tortuga, aterriza en el pantano, ellos sienten que han encontrado el paraíso. Hay algo bello y trágico en la inocencia de estos aliens, ellos están cansados de cantar la "canción de la extinción" y cuando uno de ellos intenta comunicarse con Swamp Thing usando dibujos primitivos la verdad es revelada. La tristeza y la desesperación invaden a los aliens cuando descubren que en este planeta existe una raza de simios bípedos que masacran animales y destruyen la naturaleza. Tras la muerte de uno de los aliens, se hace evidente que deben abandonar la Tierra. Y se van, sabiendo que nunca más volverán a encontrar un planeta con los recursos naturales necesarios para cobijarlos. Están condenados a morir buscando algo que no encontrarán.El artista de este capítulo es el talentoso Shawn McManus, y hace un trabajo realmente magnífico. El diseño de Pog y su tripulación es excelente, e incluso al haber leído esta historia por primera vez hace 12 años, nunca pude olvidar su estilo visual. El pantano se ve como una tierra desconocida, e incluso Swamp Thing es retratado de manera diferente, como si lo estuviéramos viendo con los ojos de los extraterrestres. Por encima de todo, la tristeza y la inocencia de los personajes es impecablemente expresada por las inspiradas líneas de McManus. Stephen Bissette & John TotlebenEl estilo profuso en detalles de los artistas Bissette y Totleben requería de más tiempo del que tenían, así que otros artistas estuvieron a cargo de historias auto-conclusivas. Tal es el caso de "Casas abandonadas" (febrero de 1985), en el que Alan Moore rinde homenaje a las primeras historias de Swamp Thing. Las primeras y últimas páginas son escritas por Moore e ilustradas por Ron Randall y el resto es una reimpresión. Abigail sueña con dos hombres misteriosos, llamados Caín y Abel, uno de ellos vive en la casa de los misterios y el otro vive en la casa de los secretos, ella sólo puede visitar una de ellas. Aquí tenemos una reimpresión de una vieja historia de Swamp Thing publicada en "The House of Secrets" # 92 (julio de 1971), los autores son Len Wein y el legendario Bernie Wrightson. Por último, en "Rito de primavera" (marzo de 1985), vemos a la naturaleza floreciendo, y las pasiones superan las expectativas cuando Abigail por fin decide admitir que ama a Swamp Thing: "Es imposible, es bizarro, es probable que ni siquiera sea legal [...] ¡tú eres una planta por amor de dios!". Swamp Thing se regocija al escuchar esto, porque también había estado enamorado de Abigail por mucho tiempo. Al ser una criatura que no pertenece al reino animal, Swamp Thing no puede tener una unión sexual con Abby, pero le ofrece algo más, algo más poderoso e inolvidable. Hace que ella forme parte de él, y ella ve el mundo como lo ve él. Ella ve la naturaleza como un todo, siente cada forma de vida en el pantano, respira una nueva energía, escucha el pulso de la Tierra y al final se da cuenta que esta comunión con Swamp Thing ha sido una epifanía. Swamp Thing & Abigail "Abby"En “Pog” vimos que como humanos somos "los animales más solitarios", incapaces de conectarnos con la naturaleza, incapaces de sentir empatía por otras especies animales. En "Rito de primavera", sin embargo, vemos lo opuesto. Vemos a Abby, un ser humano normal, adquirir un conocimiento trascendental sobre la vida y la naturaleza. Ella es una con el mundo. Stephen Bissette y John Totleben capturan el lirismo del guión de Moore y convierten cada página en poesía visual, su nivel de creatividad excede todas las expectativas y en última instancia cautivan incluso a los lectores más indiferentes. Esta experimentación gráfica es acompañada por el fascinante uso de colores de Tatjana Wood, distinto a todo lo que podríamos encontrar en los cómics de los 80.El escritor más brillante y talentoso y los artistas más creativos y perfeccionistas trabajaron juntos para producir una destacada obra maestra. Neil Gaiman, en su prefacio, nos recuerda que "con estas historias The Saga of the Swamp Thing cambió la historia de los cómics" y Jamie Delano, en su introducción enfatiza que "Moore estaba trabajando para transformar el medio de su elección, convirtió lo que yo, al igual que muchos otros, consideraba una forma de entretenimiento producida a menudo cínicamente, en la que todo se amontona y se vende barato en algo vital -algo con valor". Alan Moore de hecho tuvo éxito, luchó contra la irrelevancia de la mayoría de los cómics y creó una obra maestra que casi 30 años sigue siendo tan o más valiosa y relevante.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/12/saga-of-swamp-thing-32-33-34-moore.html

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 31 Annual # 2 - Moore, Veitch Bissette

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 31 Annual # 2 - Moore, Veitch Bissette

By Arion in Blog on December 7, 2012

Stephen Bissette & John TotlebenThere were dreams, there were warnings, there were omens… all of them announcing the return of Anton Arcane. Now Swamp Thing must fight one last time against his nemesis in “The Brimstone Ballet” (published in Saga of the Swamp Thing # 31 in December 1984). Who will triumph?, the monster with a human soul or the soulless human?Abigail’s heart has stopped beating. With a delicacy that behooves his gentle soul, although not his monstrous physique, Swamp Thing has removed Abby’s body from Arcane’s house. But he can neither bring her back to life nor rescue her soul. Not content with the physical extermination of Abigail, Arcane has condemned an innocent life to hell. And now, Arcane is ready to finally destroy his old rival, Alec Holland. Except, as Swamp Thing explains, he is no longer Alec Holland, in fact, he never was Holland. He is a force of nature, an elemental creature. And the swamp has never been Arcane’s territory, the swamp and every other ecosystem on Earth are now the realm of the Swamp Thing. And thus, Arcane is fiercely attacked. In the heat of battle, Matt Cable, Abby’s husband, finally regains control over his body, and decides it’s time to break the deal he made with the devil. In order to win, he must sacrifice himself; because his physical extinction will also mean the dead of Arcane. Guest artist Rick Veitch creates a very strong atmosphere, overflowing with aggressiveness. Veitch’s pencils acquire a unique somberness thanks to John Totleben’s inks. Together, they masterfully deliver this long awaited violent and final confrontation.Matt’s final words are especially revealing: “There isn’t any evil Alec… no special blackness reserved for demons and monsters. There’s just weakness… I had a choice…” Indeed, Matt always had a choice. Instead of helping Abby he spent the last years of his life drinking. Alcoholism, perhaps, is a form of weakness. And it is that same weakness that forced Matt to accept Arcane’s atrocious proposal. The Monitor & Harbinger Not long ago, Swamp Thing had been able to transfer his mind to the Green. He’s part of nature now, and he wonders if he can now transmit his conscious-ness far beyond the Green, into the land of the dead. And that’s how “Down Amongst the Dead Man” (Swamp Thing Annual 1985) commences. The splash page, by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben has a very lyric beauty; the peacefulness of Abby’s body is complemented by the tranquility of the plants and trees that surround her; at the same time, the severe expression of Swamp Thing adds an ominous shadow to an otherwise idyllic landscape. In every culture, in every era, different civilizations have had different visions of the underworld. In recent times, however, the Judeo-Christian vision of hell has prospered and eclipsed all other alternatives. The Nifleheim of the Vikings or the Tartarus of the Greeks have been replaced by the image of demons and everlasting flames.Alan Moore confirms, however that if hell is a state of mind, then there are as many hells as people on Earth, so he combines elements from different legends and traditions and, what’s even more surprising, from DC’s own supernatural mythology. The journey begins in the land of the recently deceased, where a solicitous Deadman (Boston Brand) helps guide people in the right direction. Deadman answers Swamp Thing’s questions and accompanies him to the limits of this region, then and only then does the ever mysterious Phantom Stranger appear.  Rick Veitch & John TotlebenThe Phantom Stranger and Swamp Thing walk through several heavenly regions, and it’s there that they find Alec Holland who informs them that Abby is not in paradise. But before descending to hell, the Phantom Stranger must request an audience with The Spectre, a sentinel of form, reason and logic whose unlimited power has never been fully tested. “The ordered universe is but a microscopic bubble in an ocean of seething madness”, explains the Phantom Stranger. For the Spectre, the law is the law, and Abby’s soul cannot be extracted from hell. Nevertheless, the Phantom Stranger reminds the Spectre that long ago he was a human named Jim Corrigan, and should the rules apply to him then the Spectre wouldn’t exist. Therefore, the Spectre authorizes this journey. Bissette and Totleben draw the Spectre as a larger than life creature, an infinite humanoid form bigger than planets, that defies the “seething madness” and universal chaos with his rictus of sternness and his lifeless paleness.The Phantom Stranger cannot go through the Gates of Hell. “Each soul must enter alone… otherwise, how could it truly be hell?”. Fortunately for Swamp Thing, the Demon Etrigan is willing to aid him in his search… for a price, of course. The Phantom Stranger worries about breaking the rules, as Swamp Thing should travel unaccompanied. Etrigan, nevertheless, mocks him “The rules? And if I break these rules, pray tell shall I be punished? Sent perhaps to hell?”. Bissette and Totleben design a hell that is both scary and alive, in constant turmoil and change. Bissette’s visual imagination takes us swiftly to a place of putrefaction and atrocity, a place so terrible that even Arcane can’t resist the torment of thousands of insects nesting in his skin. He asks Swamp Thing how many years of torment has he endured, and the answer makes him scream in agony: “since yesterday”. Finally, after struggling with other demons and thanking Etrigan for his help, Swamp Thing rescues the soul of Abigail.Like Jamie Delano describes in his prolog: “swollen torrents of words have roared under many bridges; oceans of exotic imagery have swirled and risen”. Indeed, Alan Moore writes one the most intense and creative stories I’ve ever read about hell, and he takes advantage of many of DC’s characters. He builds upon every conceivable idea of hell and the truly magnificent art of Bissette and Totleben turn his vision into a masterwork. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Hubo sueños, hubo advertencias, hubo presagios... todos anunciaban el retorno de Anton Arcane. Ahora Swamp Thing debe luchar una última vez contra su némesis en "El ballet de azufre" (publicado en "Saga of the Swamp Thing" # 31 en diciembre de 1984). ¿Quién triunfará? ¿El monstruo con alma humana o el humano sin alma? Deadman & Phantom StrangerEl corazón de Abigail ha dejado de latir. Con una delicadeza propia de su alma gentil, aunque no de su monstruoso físico, Swamp Thing ha extraído el cuerpo de Abby de la casa de Arcane. Pero no puede ni resucitarla ni rescatar su alma. Insatis-fecho con la extinción de Abigail, Arcane ha condenado una vida inocente al infierno.Y ahora, Arcane está listo para destruir por fin a su viejo rival, Alec Holland. Excepto que, como explica Swamp Thing, él ya no es Alec Holland, de hecho, nunca lo fue. Él es una fuerza de la naturaleza, una criatura elemental. Y el pantano nunca ha sido territorio de Arcane, el pantano y todos los ecosistemas de la Tierra son ahora el reino de Swamp Thing. Y de este modo, Arcane es atacado con fiereza.En el calor de la batalla, Matt Cable, el esposo de Abby, recupera por fin el control sobre su cuerpo, y decide que es el momento de romper el trato que ha hecho con el diablo. Para ganar, debe sacrificarse a sí mismo; porque su extinción física también significará la muerte de Arcane. El artista invitado Rick Veitch crea una atmósfera muy fuerte, repleta de agresividad. Los lápices de Veitch adquieren un tono sombrío gracias a las tintas de John Totleben. Juntos, entregan con maestría la esperada y violenta confrontación final. The SpectreLas palabras finales de Matt son más que reveladoras: "No existe la maldad Alec... no hay una negrura especial reservada para los demonios y los monstruos. Sólo hay debilidad... Yo tuve una opción..." De hecho, Matt siempre tuvo una opción. En vez de ayudar a Abby gastó sus últimos años tomando. El alcoholismo, tal vez, es una forma de debilidad. Y es esta misma debilidad la que obligó a Matt a aceptar la atroz propuesta de Arcane.No hace mucho, Swamp Thing había sido capaz de transferir su mente al Verde. Él es parte de la naturaleza ahora, y se pregunta si puede transmitir su conciencia más allá del verde, hacia la tierra de los muertos. Y así es como comienza "Abajo entre los hombres muertos" (del anual de Swamp Thing de 1985). La página inicial de Stephen Bissette y John Totleben tiene una belleza lírica; el pacífico cuerpo de Abby es complementado por la tranquilidad de las plantas y los árboles que la rodean; al mismo tiempo, el gesto adusto de Swamp Thing añade una sombra ominosa a un paisaje que, de otro modo, sería idílico.En cada cultura, en cada era, diferentes civilizaciones han tenido visiones distintas del inframundo. En épocas recientes, sin embargo, la visión judeo-cristiana del infierno ha prosperado y ha eclipsado a todas las otras alternativas. El Nifleheim de los vikingos o el Tártaro de los griegos han sido reemplazados por imágenes de demonios y de candela eterna.Sin embargo, Alan Moore confirma que si el infierno es un estado mental, entonces hay tantos infiernos como personas en la Tierra, así que combina elementos de las diferentes leyendas y tradiciones y, más sorprendente aún, de la propia mitologías sobrenatural de DC. La travesía empieza en la tierra de los recién fallecidos, en donde un solícito Deadman (Boston Brand)  ayuda a guiar a la gente en la dirección correcta. Deadman responde las preguntas de Swamp Thing y lo acompaña a los límites de esta región, entonces y sólo entonces, aparece el misterioso Phantom Stranger. EtriganPhantom Stranger y Swamp Thing caminan por varias regiones celes-tiales, y es allí en donde encuentran a Alec Holland quien les informa que Abby no está en el paraíso. Pero antes de descender al infierno, Phantom Stranger debe solicitar una audiencia con Spectre, un centinela de la forma, la razón y la lógica con poder ilimitado. "El universo ordenado no es más que una burbuja microscópica en un océano de calcinante locura", explica Phantom Stranger. Para Spectre, la ley es la ley, y el alma de Abby no puede ser sustraída del infierno. No obstante, Phantom Stranger le recuerda a Spectre que en el pasado él fue un humano llamado  Jim Corrigan, y si acaso las reglas se aplicasen a él, entonces Spectre no existiría. Por lo tanto, Spectre autoriza este viaje. Bissette y Totleben dibujan a un Spectre más grande que la vida, un humanoide infinito más grande que los planetas, que desafía la "calcinante locura" y el caos universal con su rictus de severidad y su palidez sin vida.Phantom Stranger no puede cruzar las puertas del infierno. "Cada alma debe entrar sola... de otro modo, ¿cómo podría ser el infierno de verdad?". Por fortuna para Swamp Thing, el demonio Etrigan está dispuesto a ayudarlo en su búsqueda... por un precio, desde luego. Phantom Stranger se preocupa por romper las reglas, ya que Swamp Thing debería viajar sin compañía. Etrigan, no obstante, se mofa de él "¿Las reglas? Y si rompiese aquellas reglas, decidme, ¿sería castigado? ¿Enviado, quizás, al infierno?". Bissette y Totleben diseñan un infierno con vida y que asusta, en constante turbulencia y cambio. La imaginación visual de Bissette nos lleva con velocidad a un lugar de putrefacción y atrocidad, un lugar tan terrible que ni siquiera Arcane puede resistir el tormento de miles de insectos incubando en su piel. Él le pregunta a Swamp Thing cuántos siglos de tortura ha soportado, y la respuesta lo hace gritar en agonía: "desde ayer". Por fin, luego de luchar con otros demonios y agradecer a Etrigan por su ayuda, Swamp Thing rescata el alma de Abigail.Como Jamie Delano describe en su prólogo: "torrentes hinchados de palabras han rugido bajo muchos puentes; océanos de imaginería exótica se han arremolinado y alzado". De hecho, Alan Moore escribe una de las historias más intensas y creativas que he leído sobre el infierno, y además aprovecha muchos de los personajes de DC. Desarrolla todas las ideas concebidas acerca del infierno y al arte magnífico de Bissette y Totleben hacen de esta visión una obra maestra.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/12/saga-of-swamp-thing-31-annual-2-moore.html

Review: Spaceman

Review: Spaceman

By Rui Esteves in Blog on December 6, 2012

Cover Its the future. Tv is the biggest drug out there, the seas have risen and moral values are somewhat skewed.Orson is one of several men breed by Nasa to explore Mars. This race of spacemen is able to endure the rigorous space travel and Mars conditions. Unfortunately after a while the space program got canceled and the spacemen were grounded on earth.A little girl get kidnapped and somehow Orson gets mixed up with it. The major problem is that the little girl is a nation wide celebrity with several interested factions out looking for her. And most of them don't have her best interests in mind.How is it?Spaceman is brought to us my the mind of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Azzarello has some good hits on his name and that was what attracted me to this book in the first place.Azzarello creates a post-apocalyptic world were the seas have risen considerably and as a result many cities have been submerged. This created a geographic divergence that complemented the usual social classes chasm. Its almost like a social Apartheid, here the poor and undesirable live in the Rises and the wealthy and powerful live in the Dries.Orson, the protagonist, lives in the Rises and tries to leave a peaceful and uneventful life. Of course that won't happen and he is dragged into a turmoil of events that will reunite him with some of his lost spacemen brothers. Tara, the adoptive daughter of the most famous couple in the country is kidnapped and Orton is dragged into the middle of it. Basically Spaceman tells the tale of this kidnapping, why it happened and how it will end.Apart from the origin of Orson and his spaceman brothers, there's is very little space at all in this story. There are flashbacks to the time when the spacemen where in Mars and how that defined each one. Its a cool way to flesh the characters out, but if you're expecting more space out of Spaceman, forget it.Azzarello pulls off the flashbacks very nicely and it never gets confusing or disorienting. Sadly the ending is somewhat underwhelming. While the journey is interesting and has some truly exciting moments, there is no payoff. The story ends abruptly and the reader is left without a sense of closure. There is no happy or sad ending, moral of the story or life sucks moment. It just ends.But the major turnoff in the story is the character voices. I loath when dialogue is written "in voice". Between the slang, word contractions and new words I had a very hard time understanding what was being said. English is not my first language (with doesn't help), but I have reasonably good reading comprehensions skills, however this book provided Herculean grade linguistic obstacles that weren't always overtaken. Or in Rises speak "Kno we kno, we no brain we? Say." Horrible voices are horrible The art on the other hand is just beautiful. The characters are excellent. The children, that many times are just small adults, are drawn to perfection. And the pinnacle of it all are the spaceman themselves. The spaceman are described as the future man. However they're represented with more resemblances to the Neanderthal man than Homo Sapiens. This is exalted by the somewhat simpleton personality and emotional (i)maturity with which they're characterized. Its a cool flavor added to the spacemen. The Rises is a dreadful place Just a Junker gaining some Funs Verdict?Spaceman had everything to be a great book. Sadly it didn't reach that level of greatness. I find the ending lacking. Azzarello is capable of much better than this. If he had just nailed the ending this would be one of the contenders to book of the year, even with the devilishly confusing dialogue. Eduardo Risso on the other hand was on top of his game in here.Overhaul this is a good book. The art alone is worth the price tag and the Deluxe edition comes with a cool character sketch book.Publisher: VertigoYear: 2012Pages: 224Authors: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Clem Robins, Patricia Mulvihill, Giulia BruscoISBN: 1401235522 Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/12/review-spaceman.html

Medio sueño - Andrea Lértora (Galería Cecilia González)

Medio sueño - Andrea Lértora (Galería Cecilia González)

By Arion in Blog on December 6, 2012

Some random thoughts about Coconut Grove Pablo PatruccoWhen I was in Coconut Grove I hated the fact that you couldn’t get good bread anywhere. Most Americans feel comfortable eating whatever chemically preserved bread they can find. I hate all of that. I have to eat normally and traditionally baked bread, and I get bored eating the same kind of bread every day, so I need variety, that’s where the gourmet bread comes in handy.Still bread seemed to be a part of my everyday life. Like on lunch time. Oh, Subway, when I was running out of money I used to have lunch in Subway, they had a lunch special for 2.60 bucks or something, it was good to economize and I could get the water for free, so there, as unbelievable as it may seem, I have had lunch in Coconut Grove for only 2.60 bucks.  my drawing / mi dibujoI think I had bread in the mornings too, as part of breakfast that included the only cereal brand I could find with no fat, no sugar and no chemically enhanced flavor. After breakfast I would normally head for Coconut Grove’s public library, it was a 40 minute walk and no way was I going to pay 1.50 to take the bus to get there. In the public library I read the first chapters of The Zero Game (a novel written by Brad Meltzer), it was interesting, a good thriller, something you can instantly picture as a movie, but like most American best sellers, it didn’t fulfill my expectations as a reader; however, Meltzer writing comics is a genius, he has a very special (and maybe controversial) sensibility, he has a very fresh and original take on things, he has a profound love and knowledge of the characters, he is one of the best new comic book writers you could find. I have read his six Green Arrow issues (great stuff) and obviously Identity Crisis and I’ve even reviewed them here. Hopefully next year I’ll find enough time to do the same with his Justice League of America. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________En una misma noche pueden haber dos o tres inauguraciones en distintas galerías de arte, usualmente elijo una sola y termino obviando a las demás. En esta ocasión, sin embargo, hice el intento de asistir a todas. Y lo logré. En primer lugar, fui a al Centro Cultural El Olivar de San Isidro, a la muestra colectiva “El regalo que no recibí”, una veintena de artistas han jugado con el tema de los regalos durante la temporada navideña. Sin duda, los dos mejores cuadros pertenecen a David Rejas y a Juan Diego Capurro. El cuadro de David nos presenta a un Mickey Mouse y una Minnie firmemente anclados en un contexto urbano y realista, una suerte de deconstrucción de la fábrica de ensueños Disney. Sólo con lápiz y carboncillo, David logra una imagen de primer nivel. Por otro lado, Juan Diego trabaja sobre una sólida superficie de madera y explota la dualidad de un rostro duplicado, la posición de la base de madera nos recuerda a una imposible moneda lanzada al piso que gira sobre sí misma, las dos caras que retrata Juan Diego son como la cara y sello de esta moneda hipotética. He quedado favorablemente impresionado con la obra de David Rejas y Juan Diego Capurro, y de hecho les comuniqué mi entusiasmo cuando los saludé. Andrea LértoraA Juan Diego lo conozco desde hace mucho tiempo, cuando ambos estábamos en Los Reyes Rojos. En esa época, por supuesto, un año era una distancia enorme y dos años nos colocaban en mundos muy distantes. Cuando Juan Diego estaba en quinto de media yo recién estaba en tercero. Y supongo que siempre lo admiré como uno admira a los alumnos mayores, y siempre sentí que nos unía nuestra afición por los cómics. Ha pasado más de una década desde ese entonces, pero los cómics se han convertido en mi vida mientras el arte y la música son la razón de ser de Juan Diego. Bien por ello. Me hubiera gustado quedarme conversando con David,  Juan Diego y Hugo Salazar (a quien de hecho también vi el día martes en Enlace) pero tenía que llegar a Barranco antes de la 9:30pm.Mi visita a la Galería Cecilia González ha significado un encuentro con una porción significativa de la comunidad reyrrojina. Y es que no podía ser de otro modo si la muestra “Medio sueño” era de Andrea Lértora. Andrea es una artista maravillosa, con una gran imaginación visual que no se deja limitar por cuestiones efectistas o propuestas conceptuales de moda. Lo suyo es la belleza en la línea y en la composición, y en sus hermosos cuadros percibimos colores acuarelados y trazos finos, impecables, de un gran nivel de detalle. Andrea Lértora es famosa como ilustradora, y en ese sentido se une a la gran tradición de maestros como Doré, que al final han terminado siendo más importantes que muchos de los artistas de su época. La ilustración tiene más de un punto en común con el cómic, y quizás por eso este tipo de expresiones artísticas despiertan en mí mayor pasión de lo habitual. Para mí siempre ha sido un deleite contemplar las estupendas ilustraciones que ha hecho Andrea para “El Cabezón” la revista de mi colegio (Los Reyes Rojos) o en el suplemento Somos del diario El Comercio; su trabajo, no obstante, ha sido publicado en muchos otros medios, y eso es un testimonio de la perseverancia de Andrea, una artista prolífica como pocos, que sorprende y cautiva siempre. Andrea LértoraLa Galería Cecilia González reúne cuadros extraordinarios, que sin duda demuestran el talento artístico de esta joven artista. La convocatoria, por cierto, también ha sido extraordinaria, hubo tantos visitantes que la galería se llenó de gente y diversos grupos terminaron recalando en la puerta, en la vereda e incluso en la esquina del apacible jirón Domeyer. Muchos de los visitantes aprovecharon de inmediato la oportunidad para comprar cuadros, y en el transcurso de la noche Andrea vendió más de la mitad de su obra. Todo un éxito.Me encontré con varios amigos del colegio, algunos forman parte del mundo del arte como Noah Alhalel, José Arturo Lugón y Adriana Bustamente, y otros forman parte indesligable de mi etapa escolar como mi gran amiga Ximena Hartley con quien conversé un largo rato. Hacía al menos un año que no nos veíamos así que fue muy grato ponernos al día. Fue un gusto saludar a Andrea, quien por cierto se acordaba de mí (con nombre y apellido y todo), como le comentaba a Ximena, soy tan desmemoriado que a veces asumo que los demás también son como yo. Finalmente, me despedí de Ximena, de Rosa Alva y Milena Alva.Aunque ya era casi las once de la noche todavía estaba a tiempo para llegar a la presentación-celebración del libro Lima que se llevaba a cabo Domingo Laboratorio Creativo. Por supuesto, me encontré allí con mi amigo Gabriel Lama, director de Domingo, y brindamos con un delicioso pisco. Fue una lástima no encontrarme con Rafael Velázquez que suele ser un asiduo dominguero, pero en todo caso fue un gusto saludar a Gabriel. Y al salir de Domingo me encuentro con Augusto Rey, también amigo mío del colegio. Indudablemente, esta ha sido una noche 100% Reyes Rojos.Arcadio BolañosOriginally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/12/medio-sueno-andrea-lertora-galeria.html

La cuarta cifra - Jorge Vigil (Enlace)

La cuarta cifra - Jorge Vigil (Enlace)

By Arion in Blog on December 5, 2012

KAREN BERGER my drawing / mi dibujoI usually talk about comics here. I talk about comics I like. I talk about writers that I admire. I talk about artists that I love. But I rarely talk about editors and that’s a great omission on my part. Perhaps I refrain myself from doing so because others have a better insight on the inner workings of the comic book industry. Regardless of my apparent lack of dedication to the editorial aspect of the industry we all love so much I always know what’s going on. I was well aware of the implications of Paul Levitz resigning as the president of DC Comics which led to the loathsome “Before Watchmen” initiative which I explained at length here and here. After these Watchmen prequels came out I thought I would hear no more awful news from DC. Turns out I was wrong. Yesterday, Karen Berger announced that she was stepping down as Executive Editor of Vertigo and Senior Vice-President of DC. Literally hundreds of writers and artists have shared their support towards Berger, who had been Vertigo’s editor for two decades, creating a cutting-edge imprint that was able to release groundbreaking titles; Karen was responsible for THE SANDMAN, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, PREACHER, Y THE LAST MAN, THE INVISIBLES, HELLBLAZER, THE UNWRITTEN and many other multi-awarded series. Thanks to her, authors like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Peter Milligan and Mike Carey were able to create the stories they wanted to tell without the constraints and conservativeness of DC Comics (which is, after all, a subsidiary of Time Warner). Pablo PatruccoCoincidentally, hours before I heard the news, I had written about Swamp Thing, emphasizing the role of Karen Berger as an editor. Back then, Vertigo didn’t exist, but she still fought hard to have Saga of the Swamp Thing published without the seal of approval of the Comics Code Authority. Almost 30 years ago she was already fighting against censorship and helping creators do what they do best: create in freedom. Surely, her absence will have major repercussions in the American comic book industry and perhaps Vertigo will disappear as an independent imprint. Either way, I’m terribly sad and concerned about all of this. In Swamp Thing Alan Moore also wrote a heartbreaking story titled POG and if you have ever read it then you will understand the following quote: "How can I tell my kinlings that I let myself be seduped by a dislusion? How can I tell the Hystricide that he was right? That there is no Lady, and that it was all just trifles. Trifles light as air". POG (Saga of the Swamp Thing # 32).So long Karen, we were lucky to have you around for so long,Arcadio Bolaños______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Jorge VigilEmpecé a visitar con frecuencia la Galería Enlace desde mediados del 2010, y aunque el elegante espacio sansidrino suele ser bastante concurrido, nunca lo había visto tan lleno de gente como ayer en la noche. Además de la inauguración de la "La cuarta cifra" del talentosísimo artista Jorge Vigil, la revista Art Motiv también celebraba su décimo cuarta edición. Jorge Vigil es uno de los grandes artistas peruanos, con un arte minucioso y preciosista, que se inclina hacia lo surrealista pero sin descuidar elementos eróticos y fantásticos de todo tipo. Son conocidas las mujeres de Vigil, que se aferran a penes turgentes de dimensiones imposibles, tan grandes como un bote o un animal de carga. También los juegos de rostros subsumidos en una suerte de tablero de ajedrecista, todos asomándose con fiereza por los bordes y degustando el aire rancio de la carne. Los cuadros de Vigil siempre han sido de gran belleza, y esta muestra confirma su habilidad y su maestría artística.  Jorge VigilEn esta ocasión hubo tanta gente que por momentos experimenté una ligera sensación de claustrofobia, y aunque me tomé varios chilcanos no pude calmarme del todo. De todos modos, conversé un rato con mi gran amigo Marcos Palacios, y también con Hugo Salazar con quien siempre me encuentro en Enlace. Además, saludé a varios de los colaboradores de Art Motiv como José Medina (comité editorial), Hugo Alegre y Carmen Alegre (relaciones públicas). Por supuesto, también hablé brevemente con los artistas Paolo Vigo, Isabelle Decenciere y Mónica Cuba. También me encontré con Renzo Núñez Melgar Vega, y aprovechamos para comentar los últimos capítulos de THE WALKING DEAD. Por último, la muestra "Cadencias" de Maurice Montero también me dejó gratamente impresionado, con esculturas móviles que aprovechan nuestro aspecto lúdico, este artista nos ofrece figuras extraordinarias y de una enorme inventiva. Realmente imperdible.Ambas muestras permanecerán abiertas al público hasta la última semana de diciembre en Galería Enlace, avenida Pardo y Aliaga 676, San Isidro. Si pueden, aprovechen para darse una vuelta por ahí.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/12/la-cuarta-cifra-jorge-vigil-enlace.html

Future Collection: IDOLIZED #4

Future Collection: IDOLIZED #4

By Rui Esteves in Blog on December 5, 2012

CoverIDOLIZED #4 David Schwartz – Writer / Pasquale Qualano – Art / David Curiel - ColorsAspen Comics proudly presents their first ever super-hero series, IDOLIZED!The IDOLIZED competition comes to a crushing head, as Joule faces off against two of her most brutal competitors in the TV show's grand finale!  Even more importantly, see what happens after the competition ends, as a furious young Joule faces off against Stasis, the man who destroyed her life, in a battle that will leave her, and the Powered Protectors, forever scarred - if they even survive!Written and created by David Schwartz, with gorgeous art by Pasquale Qualano and David Curiel, and featuring a cover by Oliver Nome and Peter Steigerwald, plus a photo cover starring supermodel Rachel Clark, you won't want to miss out on this innovative new series from Aspen Comics!IDOLIZED #4 is in stores December 19th, 2012! Preview Page 1 Preview Page 2 Preview Page 3 Preview Page 4 Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/12/future-collection-idolized-4.html

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 28, 29 30 - Moore, McManus Bissette

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 28, 29 30 - Moore, McManus Bissette

By Arion in Blog on December 3, 2012

Stephen Bissette & John TotlebenEven monsters know fear. But it’s a special kind of fear, something that defies the eeriness of the already unnatural corporeal manifestation of Swamp Thing. He is, after all, a creature with chlorophyll instead of blood, branches instead of veins and plants instead of skin. There is nothing normal about this monstrosity, and yet, fear attacks him, relentlessly, fiercely.What could possibly scare Swamp Thing? The answer is simple: Alec Holland. Years ago, a bomb exploded and killed scientist Alec Holland, his burning body mixed with a newly developed bio-formula gave rise to the Swamp Thing. However, as Swamp Thing discovered in “The Anatomy Lesson”, he was never a man trying to adapt to his new botanical nature, he was just a plant, clumsily imitating human biology.In “The Burial” (published in Saga of the Swamp Thing # 28 in September 1984), Swamp Thing is haunted by the ghost of Alec Holland. A brutal dichotomy between the man that was and the creature that is can be established in this tale. But above all, we can also understand the importance of the funerary rites. Egyptian Mummification, Viking cremation or Western entombment, every culture on Earth has honored his dead. And Swamp Thing’s fundamental error has been not to do that. Alec Holland’s body has long disintegrated, but even if he is dead in the real, he’s not dead in the symbolic order. In order for him to receive a “second death” and, consequently, eternal peace he must be buried by the monster who was born at the moment of his death.Shawn McManus is an extraordinary artist whose deep shadows and precise brushes of ink are ideal for the night and the darkness that every horror story needs. Shawn makes us see the fear in Swamp Thing’s face, as he desperately tries to avoid the ghost of Alec Holland. Finally, when Swamp Thing finds Holland’s skeleton, this great artist gives the perfect conjunction between the physical monstrosity and horror of that which was once alive and now is only a tragic relic. Nevertheless, it is in “Love and Death” (October 1984) where Alan Moore writes the ultimate horror story. Once again, Moore shows all his talent in a game of shifting perspectives and complex narrative techniques. It all begins with Abigail, who feels “a sudden scent of smoldering insect flesh, acrid and bitter behind the nostrils” she then undresses desperately, tries to burn her clothes, takes a bath and uses all her soaps and shampoos, but the stench is still there, she goes to the kitchen and scrubs her skin with a wire brush until she bleeds. And the stench still remains. What started as a perfect day has now turned into the most nightmarish moment she has ever experienced.At the beginning, she was happy to see his husband Matt Cable finding a good job and buying a new house for both of them. The man was no longer an alcoholic, but even a drunken bastard would be an angel compared to what he is now. Matt is working in Recorporations. As Abby visits the offices, she has an intuition and she sees, for a brief second, so brief that she believes she’s imagining it all, rotten corpses saying hello to her in the middle of Matt’s office.She’s not courageous enough to destroy the happiness she thinks it’s at her fingertips. She’s not brave enough to ask her husband what “Recorporation” means. She is, however, suspicious enough to do some research and soon she finds out that her husband’s work colleagues are murderers and psychopaths that have been dead for decades. Shawn McManusAnd then, she finally understands that the man she has been living with, the man she has been having sex with isn’t Matt Cable. And she understands where the smell of decay is coming from. Like an empty husk inhabited by insects, Matt has been dead for long, but instead of bugs, inside him there is the corrupted soul of her uncle Anton Arcane, archenemy of the Swamp Thing. Concepts such as zombies and especially incest were absolutely forbidden by the Comics Code Authority, but editor Karen Berger had the courage to stand against censorship and publish this comic without the Code’s seal of approval.  Stephen Bissette and John Totleben are again in charge of the art, and they come up with some of the most breathtakingly beautiful pages I’ve seen. They are masters of horror either in quotidian situations, such as the group of rotten corpses masquerading as Matt’s coworkers, or in the shocking final revelation, in which all masks disappear and all we can see is the revolting presence of the dead in the world of the living. Time and time again, Bissette and Totleben surprise us with the most innovative page designs, like the one in which we see Abigail crumbling down after realizing what “Recorporation” means (by the way, in one of the frames we see the book “Deadlier than the Male”, and a picture in which Moore, Bissette and Totleben are removing a corpse from a crime scene). Like Neil Gaiman writes in his preface: “It was here that the artistic team really began to let loose. Bissette and Totleben give us insects that crawl between borders; Abigail Cable dragged into madness and beyond by her late uncle, crouched bloodied and beautiful in a corner; and a Swamp Thing who truly seems like a part of the landscape”.In a “Halo of Flies” (November 1984), we see at last the repercussions of Arcane’s return. His presence is attracting every killer and psychopath… “and everything bad within two hundred miles finds itself heading for Louisiana without knowing why”. But Arcane’s influence keeps increasing with every passing minute, and soon it’s felt thousands of miles away, in Gotham City, more precisely within the walls of Arkham Asylum and in the cells of Two Face, the Joker and the Floronic Man. The penciler of these pages is Stephen Bissette but instead of the sumptuous inks of John Totleben we have the aggressively expressive style of Alfredo Alcalá. Together they produce strong and intense images, replacing subtlety with a very palpable sense of darkness, of thick blackness that no one can escape from. “You wanna see something really scary? …The Joker’s stopped laughing”. And indeed, we can’t help but to admire this powerful page in which we see the Joker drooling like a mindless victim of Arcane’s power.   “Beneath the Earth there are muffled, booming voices. Beneath the ocean there are terrible lights. And the ripples widen across America. Through the very darkest minds”. The threat of Arcane is detected even off planet, as the Monitor and his future Harbinger watch over the Earth in their spherical satellite. Even a creature with enough power to change the course of the Crisis on Infinite Earths is afraid of what might happen. And in the middle of it all, Swamp Thing must try to save Abigail’s doomed soul.______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The offices of Recorporations / las oficinas de ReincorporacionesIncluso los monstruos conocen el miedo. Pero un tipo especial de miedo, algo que desafía la extrañez de la innatural manifes-tación corpórea de Swamp Thing. Él es, después de todo, una criatura con clorofila en vez de sangre, ramas en vez de venas y plantas en vez de piel. No hay nada normal en esta monstruo-sidad y, sin embargo, el miedo lo ataca con fiereza y sin pausa.¿Qué podría asustar a Swamp Thing? La respuesta es simple: Alec Holland. Hace años, una bomba explotó y el científico Alec Holland murió, su cuerpo en llamas mezclado con una nueva vio-fórmula dieron origen a Swamp Thing. Sin embargo, como Swamp Thing descubrió en "Una lección de anatomía", él nunca fue un hombre intentando adaptarse a su nueva naturaleza botánica, él era una planta que imitaba torpemente la biología humana. Moore, Bissette and Totleben (4th frame / viñeta 4)En "El entierro" (publicado en "Saga of the Swamp Thing" # 28, en setiembre de 1984), Swamp Thing es acosado por el fantasma de Alec Holland. Una brutal dicotomía entre el hombre que fue y la criatura que es se establece en este relato. Pero por encima de todo, también podemos entender la importancia de los ritos funerarios. La momificación egipcia, la cremación vikinga o la tumba de occidente, cada cultura de la tierra ha honrado a sus muertos. Y el error fundamental de Swamp Thing ha sido no hacerlo. El cuerpo de Alec Holland se ha desintegrado hace mucho, pero incluso si está muerto en lo real, no está muerto en el orden simbólico. Para que él pueda recibir una "segunda muerte" y, en consecuencia, la paz eterna, debe ser enterrado por el monstruo que nació en el momento de su muerte. Shawn McManus es un extraordinario artista y sus sombras profundas y sus pinceladas precisas son ideales para la oscuridad y la noche que toda historia de terror necesita. Shawn nos hace ver el miedo en la cara de Swamp Thing cuando intenta con desesperación eludir al fantasma de Alec Holland. Finalmente, cuando Swamp Thing encuentra el esqueleto de Holland, este gran artista nos da la conjunción perfecta entre la monstruosidad física y el horror de lo que alguna vez estuvo vivo y que ahora es sólo una trágica reliquia. The return of Arcane / el regreso de ArcaneNo obstante, es en "Amor y muerte" (octubre 1984) donde Alan Moore escribe la historia de terror definitiva. Una vez más, Moore muestra todo su talento en un juego de perspectivas cambiantes y técnicas narrativas complejas. Todo empieza con Abigail, quien siente "un repentino olor a carne de insecto chamuscada, acre y amargo detrás de la nariz", luego se desviste desesperadamente, intenta quemar sus ropas, se baña y usa todos sus jabones y shampoos, pero la pestilencia sigue allí, ella va a la cocina y raspa su piel con una esponja de alambre hasta sangrar. Y la pestilencia sigue. Lo que empezó como un día perfecto se ha convertido en el momento más pesadillezco que ha experimentado alguna vez.Al comienzo, ella estaba feliz de ver a su esposo Matt Cable encontrar un buen trabajo y comprar una nueva casa para ambos. El hombre había dejado atrás su alcoholismo, pero incluso un bastardo borracho sería un ángel en comparación a lo que es ahora. Matt está trabajando en Reincorporaciones. Cuando Abby visita las oficinas, tiene una intuición y ve, por un breve segundo, tan breve que cree que es su imaginación, cuerpos podridos saludándola en medio de la oficina de Matt. Ella no tiene la valentía suficiente para destruir la felicidad que cree haber encontrado. No tiene la valentía suficiente para preguntarle a su marido qué significa "Reincorporación". Sin embargo, sus sospechas la llevan a investigar y descubre que los colegas de su marido son asesinos y psicópatas que han estado muertos por décadas.Y luego, ella finalmente entiende que el hombre con el que ha estado viviendo, el hombre con el que ha estado teniendo sexo no es Matt Cable. Y entiende de dónde viene el olor de la podredumbre. Como una cáscara vacía habitada por insectos, Matt ha estado muerto, pero en lugar de bichos, en su interior está el alma corrupta de su tío Anton Arcane, némesis de Swamp Thing. Conceptos como los zombis y especialmente el incesto estaban absolutamente prohibidos por la Autoridad del Código de los Cómics, pero la editora Karen Berger tuve el coraje de enfrentarse a la censura y publicar este cómic sin el sello de aprobación del Código. Bissette & Alcalá: The Joker’s stopped laughing  / Bissette & Alcalá: el Joker ha parado de reírStephen Bissette y John Totleben están nueva-mente a cargo del arte, y elaboran algunas de las páginas más hermosas que he visto, como para quedarse sin aliento. Son maestros del horror ya sea en situaciones cotidianas, como el grupo de cuerpos putrefactos enmasca-rados como oficinistas, o en la impactante revelación final, en la que todas las máscaras desaparecen y todo lo que podemos ver es la asquerosa presencia de los muertos en el mundo de los vivos. Una y otra vez, Bissette y Totleben nos sorprenden con los diseños de página más innovadores, como ese en el que vemos a Abigail derrumbándose luego de descubrir qué significa "Reincorporación" (por cierto, en una de las viñetas vemos el libro "Más mortal que el macho" y una foto en la que Moore, Bissette y Totleben retiran un cadáver de la escena del crimen). Como escribe Neil Gaiman en el prefacio: "Fue aquí cuando el equipo artístico realmente empezó a liberarse. Bissette y Totleben nos dan insectos que reptan entre los bordes; Abigail Cable arrastrada hacia la locura y más allá por su tío fallecido, agazapada, ensangrentada y bella en una esquina; y un Swamp Thing que verdaderamente parece parte del paisaje".En un “Halo de moscas” (noviembre 1984), vemos por fin las repercusiones del retorno de Arcane. Su presencia atrae a todos los asesinos y psicópatas... "y todo el mal en un radio de doscientas millas se dirige hacia Lousiana sin saber por qué". Pero la influencia de Arcane aumenta con cada minuto que pasa, y pronto es sentida a miles de millas de distancia, en Gotham, más precisamente al interior de Arkham Asylum y en las celdas de Two Face, el Joker y el Hombre Florónico. El dibujo a lápiz es de Stephen Bissette pero en vez de las suntuosas tintas de John Totleben tenemos el estilo agresivamente expresivo de Alfredo Alcalá. Juntos producen imágenes fuertes e intensas, reemplazando la sutileza con un sentido palpable de oscuridad, de negrura espesa de la que nadie puede escapar. "¿Quieres ver algo que da miedo?... el Joker ha parado de reír". Y de hecho no podemos dejar de admirar esta poderosa página en la que vemos al Joker babeando como una víctima sin mente del poder de Arcane."Debajo de la tierra florecen voces cadenciosas. Debajo del océano luces terribles se encienden. Y las ondas se sienten a través de Norteamérica. A través de las mentes más oscuras". La amenaza de Arcane es detectada incluso fuera del planeta por el Monitor y su futura Harbinger que observan la Tierra en su satélite esférico. Incluso una criatura con suficiente poder para cambiar el curso de las Crisis en Tierras Infinitas tiene miedo de lo que podría suceder. Y en el medio de todo, Swamp Thing debe intentar salvar el alma condenada de Abigail.Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2012/12/saga-of-swamp-thing-28-29-30-moore.html

Gun Machine

Gun Machine

By David Bird in Blog on December 2, 2012

Gun MachinePublished by Mulholland Books, Little, Brown & Co., 2013 By Warren Ellis Releasing a novel a week after Christmas may not seem to be the best strategy for those hunting for gift ideas right now, but a lot of people get gift certificates for Christmas and many others get books they will want to exchange, so putting out a new title in January isn’t that bad an idea. Warren Ellis’ second novel is a police thriller set in New York. It starts with a couple of New York’s finest answering a call, a naked man with a shotgun is causing a disturbance. In very short order, two men are dead (one a police officer), an incredible weapons cache has been discovered, and Det. John Tallow has a nightmare of a case on his hands. I enjoyed Ellis’ first novel, Crooked Little Vein, but its focus on weirdness pretty much for weirdness sake often took me out of the book. I often felt like I was surfing his site as much as I was reading a story. Not so this time. Gun Machine is very tightly written thriller. I’ve read a lot of Ellis and I’ve never felt like he wasn’t in complete control of his craft, but he has really stepped up here. Arguably a chance encounter with a woman puts too many pieces together for Tallow too easily, but apart from that things develop very organically. The cast is largely completed by a couple of Crime Scene techs—because it’s all about the science these days, at least in novels and on TV—but it’s the bad guy who sucks the reader into the story. “The Hunter” lives in an invisible world of pre-colonial Manhattan and Ellis draws you into his mind so convincingly you start to wonder just what kind of novel this is. Is he writing a straight forward detective mystery? Is he mixing genres? Time periods? This could be the book that raises Ellis’ profile from a comics writer and columnist, with a large and dedicated fan base, up into mainstream success and recognition.Published Originally at David Bird's Blog http://david-bird.blogspot.com/2012/12/gun-machine.html

It's Only a Game

It's Only a Game

By David Bird in Blog on December 2, 2012

It’s Only a GamePublished by About Comics, 2004 Charles M. Schulz and Jim Sasseville, Edited by Derrick Bang After seven years of finding insight and humor in the existential crises of pre-adolescents, Charles Schulz decided to try his hand at something new, It’s Only a Game, a series of single panel gag cartoons focused on people’s recreation and pastimes. I’ve always been a fan of his Peanuts strip, and I shelled out more than I should have to buy a copy of his Li’l Folks strip from the Charles M. Schulz Museum, but It’s Only a Game has a special draw for Schultz fans. Of the three series it is the only one to feature adult characters in any capacity at all. Done over a fourteen month period, beginning in November of 1957, the strip focuses on adult leisure activities –and how stressful they can be. The one featured most often is bridge. Not being a card player myself, I have to admit that was a problem for me. A large number of the strips simply did not resonate with me at all. Several others were dated, with jokes about women drivers, etc, but the priority given bridge was easily the biggest stumbling block for me. After a couple of months Schulz delegated much of the work to friend and fellow Minnesotan Jim Sasseville, who worked from rough sketches provided to him. Sasseville had known Schulz from art school and had worked on the Dell comic version of Peanuts (though never the strip itself). He provides commentary and insight into the development of the strip. The strip was initially picked up by thirty newspapers. After more than a year the number was still at thirty and Schulz decided to call it a day and concentrate on his primary strip. He never attempted another strip. Overall I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely one for the fans.Published Originally at David Bird's Blog http://david-bird.blogspot.com/2012/12/its-only-game.html

47 Ronin #1

47 Ronin #1

By David Bird in Blog on December 2, 2012

47 Ronin #1Published by Dark Horse, 2012 Written by Mike Richardson, Art by Stan Sakai, Coloured by Lovern Kindzierski, Lettering by Tom Orzechowski and Lois Buhalis, Editorial Consultant Kazuo Koike The story of the 47 Ronins is now over three hundred years old. It was then, at the beginning of the 18th century, that the events that inspired this story took place. Now when it comes to spoilers, I have certain rules. They date back to 1999 and the release of the movie Titus. I was talking about it with a co-worker when a second co-worker spoke up and said, ‘I haven’t seen it yet. Don’t spoil it for me.’ We stopped talking immediately, but after a moment I thought, no, this story has been around for four hundred years. You’ve had plenty of time to familiarize yourself with it. We asked her to go somewhere else so we could continue talking about the movie. When it comes to comics, my rule of thumb is one month or the release of the next issue, whichever comes first. Of course, it’s usually the former. With this issue I am going to go light on the details. No spoilers. The story is three hundred years old, but I’m going to give you the next month. I first heard this story years ago, when I saw the 1962 movie Chushingura. The real events are actually somewhat muddled. Censorship laws at the time kept many of the details from ever being established. Essentially what happened was that a rurally based lord, Asano, was called to the court of the ruling Shogun. Because his knowledge of etiquette was somewhat rustic, he was sent to a court official named Kira to be instructed. Gift giving is an important part of Japanese culture, even today, and Kira thought that the gifts Asano had given him were insufficient. Asano thought Kira was trying to extort bribes from him. A seemingly trivia conflict, but out of it grew a story of revenge and honour that would cause dozens of deaths and become one of Japan’s most popular stories. Richardson first heard of the story in 1986 and has been waiting to tell it ever since. For those who don’t know, he is Dark Horse’s major domo, its founder, publisher, and president. He’s been working on his script since 2004 and certainly the first issue is excellent. He introduces the main characters and the conflict. He has a large cast and a story that hinges on obscure points of etiquette, but he keeps everything sharp and focused. (From my knowledge of the story I even feel sure who the narrator is.) His best decision was to hire Stan Sakai to draw it. It was Sakai’s involvement that gained my interest. If you’re not familiar with his Usagi Yojimbo, well, there’s no excuse for that at all. It’s funny, Usagi has an animal cast, but when you’re reading you forget that as you’re drawn into the stories. This was the first time I’ve read a Sakai story with a human cast, but in no time at all you forget that and get absorbed into his rich visual knowledge of the period. And in colour! It’s a beautiful comic and a fascinating story, and one well worth your attention.Published Originally at David Bird's Blog http://david-bird.blogspot.com/2012/12/47-ronin-1.html


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New Reviews

New Reviews

By David Bird in Blog on December 2, 2012

I've certainly been neglecting this site. Its been months. Sad part is, I have been posting reviews in forums. I just haven't bothered to copy them over. Not many, but more often. So, that's what I'm going to do. Starting with my next post...Published Originally at David Bird's Blog http://david-bird.blogspot.com/2012/12/new-reviews.html

Review: Ministry of Space

Review: Ministry of Space

By Rui Esteves in Blog on December 2, 2012

Cover What if Britain would get its space program out of the ground right after World War II backed by a very wealthy and black budget?Ministry of Space tells that tale. And the tale is about the blood of the test pilots, the impact it had on current day society, the way it was funded and what destiny is reserved for the man who made it all possible when his big secret comes out.This book also brings a couple of cool extras, like a sketchbook by Chris Weston and the always colorful commentary by Warren Ellis.How is it?At the end of WWII England manages to "convince" some of the most prominent German rocket scientists to join them. In the process acquiring the plans to the V2 rockets. In order to keep this quit some American troops, that had the misfortune to be in the right place at the wrong time, had to be obliterated.Air Commodore John Dashwood, the mind behind the idea, convinces England Prime Minister Winston Churchill to start the Ministry of Space. The Ministry will be responsible for the space exploration and it will be funded by a black budget.From that point on the book jumps forward and backwards in time between the story present time (2001) and several points in the past, detailing the key points in the Ministry history. Points like the exploration of the Moon, the colonization of Mars or the death of some of the most important persons of the Ministry.Ministry of Space is not a story about success. Its a story about achieving your goals and paying the price. As the story progresses, more and more dirt about the Ministry's actions and what Sir John did along the way to get his black budget Warren Ellis created a story that draws you in and keeps punching you in the stomach when you're not expecting. However the biggest punch comes at the very end and is a true "When you see it" moment.Art wise this is a gorgeous book. Chris Weston and Laura Martin created a world that is simply beautiful to look at. One of the drivers of the story is that doing it like Sir John wants to do it will make space exploration and related technological evolution will come much earlier than what we witness in real life. The way they gave all the ships a retro fell made the story all the more believable. And so it begins Sorry Buzz, not this time Veredict?This is one of my favorite books by Warren Ellis. Its and intelligent and subtle story that saves a few sucker punches for the very end. To me this is a must have. However, if you don't enjoy Warren Ellis's work, you probably want to skip it.The book itself is a cool package with nice extras and an awesome story. Yes its not very long. But what it lacks in length it makes up in enjoyment you'll take from it.Publisher: Image ComicsYear: 2006Pages: 96Authors: Warren Ellis, Chris Weston, Laura MartinISBN: 1582404232 Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/12/review-ministry-of-space.html

Off-Topic: New old toys

Off-Topic: New old toys

By Rui Esteves in Blog on December 1, 2012

Fair Poster Today I attended my first toy fair. It was a small but welcoming fair that took place in Roma Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal.My visit was quicker than I would like, but time was of the essence for this is a busy weekend. However I loved my time there. Most vendors were very nice and I got to check out many old toys.Most vendors sold miniature and vintage cars. Which is cool, but not really my thing. Still I enjoyed browsing through them. There were enough figurines to keep me happy. Sadly very few old Star Wars figurines that I was hoping to find.Still a cool way to spent my morning.The spoils of war: Peanut and Snoopy Jolly Jumper and Lucky Luke colonial viper Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/12/off-topic-new-old-toys.html

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