Pay Attention! Comics News Round-Up 06/01/10

Get Money I'm about the biggest Luke Cage fan around, but Cage's biggest asset are his friends. Danny Rand, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing: that's what makes Luke Cage work. He's part of a group that complements him, and they each have their own niche. They're all rooted in '70s exploitation cinema, too, which has a certain throwback appeal. Cheryl Lynn has a take on the cast that would be… perfect. I seriously have no complaints. Aaron Eckhart as Danny Rand clicks, Terry Crews is dead on for Cage, and Naomie Harris as Misty Knight? Good golly. Jeff Parker, the guy guiding Cage through the pages of Thunderbolts, agrees with Terry Crews for Cage, too. Who knows somebody who knows somebody in Hollywood? Let's make this happen asap.

Elissa Megan Powers Adam Warren's Empowered is a great series. Warren's art is deadly, and the writing is that right mix of self-aware satire and genuinely funny jokes that Warren has spent years perfecting. He's posted a black and white version of the cover to volume 6 on his DeviantArt and, as expected, it's a good one. Empowered walks that fine line of parodying some of the worst aspects of superhero comics and having fun with those some aspects. Emp is a good main character, and the supporting cast are quirky, funny, and genuinely interesting to read about. It helps that it comes in my preferred format for comics, too. As far as "sexy superhero comedies" go… Empowered is tops.Cliff Chiang's Detective 
Comics #865

Flutter of His Wings Speaking of dope artists, Cliff Chiang's cover to Detective Comics #865 is pretty good. About the only thing better is seeing his cover process. Surprise! It's brief, but well worth checking out. You can see the sketch, ink, and final colors. I'm a sucker for process work, and considering the fact that Cliff Chiang is a dope artist, I can't find anything to complain about here. All I really have to say is "More please." Does that count as a complaint?

Two coffins… No, maybe three Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is one of those comics that's steadily good. If you pick up a random issue, or a random trade (there's about 20-some of those), odds are very, very good that you'll find something you like. Sakai's been doing Usagi stories for over twenty-five years at this point and demonstrated remarkable consistency, from the first story on. I've been slowly rereading the series over the past month or two and even the old stories are pretty good. Wired's GeekDad has an all-new two page Usagi Yojimbo story, which comes with a reference back to one of the earliest UY tales. It stars Usagi and his (unacknowledged) son Jotaro. It's cute, it's short, go read it. I like it. Hopefully you will, too. It goes live on Myspace Dark Horse Presents this week. If you want to get started on UY, pick up the first trade or Yokai, the one-shot graphic novel Sakai and Dark Horse put out last year.

Francesco Francavilla's  Thing, PI

The Dame Had (Invisible) Legs For Days Revenge of Dope Art: Francesco Francavilla posts a concept for Ben Grimm, PI. Everything about this is great, from the stretched chalk line to Grimm sporting his trademark trenchcoat and cap in an all new context. if you wouldn't read this comic… I don't even know, man. This would be pretty fun. Grimm bracing the Yancy Street Gang, Johnny Storm showing up all noveau-riche and lazy… this thing writes itself.

What Is This? Kyle Baker is a prolific dude. He did Hawkman last year, a few Deadpool books after that, and I assume he's been working on his non-Big Two work as well. He just released this trailer for… what is this? It features several of his properties, perhaps most notably Special Forces and King David. Are we going to get some Kyle Baker DVDs? Straight to web features? What's the plan here? Hopefully we get an announcement soon. I thought his Hawkman was pretty great, and Special Forces was one of the meanest, smartest action comics I've ever read.

Hellboy Jr

One More Art Link Kevin Nowlan draws Batgirl. 'nuff said? Of course not. Nowlan does fantastic work with spot blacks and shadows. As far as I'm concerned, Nowlan, Mike Mignola (who Nowlan has worked with fairly often), and Eduardo Risso are hands-down the best users of shadow in comics. You want to build mood or come up with something scary? Ask one of those guys. A lot of artists use shadow, but don't really use it to any real effect. Those three are masters of showing a lot by showing only a little. If you want some examples, check out some 100 Bullets (particularly the eighth trade The Hard Way) or Hellboy or this link. Also, this drawing of Hellboy Jr. is pretty great.

Dick Sprang's Joker is weird.

Psyche I lied, here's a long look at Dick Sprang's art by Matt Seneca. Sprang's art is delightfully weird. Steve Ditko did some weird stuff on Amazing Spider-Man, but Sprang's work is that times a million. His Joker is inhuman and his Jokermobile is weird. I was never really a fan of the old Batman stories, but this makes it seem like I missed out on something great. I know Sprang, but I don't know him that well, if that makes sense. I'm more aware of his place in history than I am of his actual art.

Nice Floors Bob Temuka's appreciation of a certain aspect of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira is fascinating. Akira is one of my all-time favorite comics, and definitely on my list of the five greatest comics of all time. Temuka pointing out the floors led me back to my trades, and I found myself looking at not just the landscape, but the buildings that sat on it. Otomo put more work into the backgrounds than a lot of artists put into actual character work. Once things go south in the manga, the wrecked city looks believably destroyed. It's not just the kind of barren wasteland you'd see in Mad Max. It's more realistic, more familiar. When there are chase scenes through the city, you feel like you could map them out. I could talk about Akira all day, though, and probably will at some point. Have you seen the way lights are used in that book? Makes my heart skip a beat. You owe yourself a look at Akira, is what I'm trying to say. It's even printed left-to-right, like American comics.

Let's Get Selfish I know I've talked about Tom Spurgeon's Five for Fridays before, but that's because they're a great little feature. The latest one was picking five comic series you'd like to see continue forever, just because. I missed it and Kurt Busiek did, too. Busiek posted his list on his site, though. So… I'm going to sneak my picks in well past the deadline, too. 1) Amazing Spider-Man, 2) Criminal, 3) Empowered, 4) King City, and 5) One Piece. What're your picks?


David Brothers writes for 4thletter! when he isn't working on the frankly ridiculous "to read" stack sitting on his nearly buckling coffee table. This week is Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber's Underground and some Jodorowsky.


  1. My five series I would love to see run forever are:

    1.) Detective Comics

    2.) Screamland

    3.) Walking Dead

    4.) A Bendis written Ultimate Spider-Man

    5.) I am going to cheat, either Viking by Ivan Brandon or Northlanders by Brian Wood because I love some viking goodness in my stack each week. 

  2. That Empowered v.6 cover … man, just, man. 

  3. I like Crews as Cage but only if you’re going to do one or two movies. If he needs to be cage for two luke cage movies and a power man iron fist movie then we may have to go with someone younger.

  4. I saw a Terry Crews for Luke Cage floating around twitter a few weeks ago, but me-oh-my, the rest of the cast is perfect too (Er, Eckart might be a little old, but his persona is perfect for Rand). They should jump on production for that movie right now.

  5. I would love Terry Crews as Luke Cage, but if Mark Valley is too old for Captain America, Crews is too old for Cage.

  6. I think Terry Crews is a touch too silly to do a good Cage. I also think he’s too old… unless it’s about, like… old Cage, which might be awesome.

  7. I always wanted Christopher Judge to play Luke Cage.  There was even an episode of SG-1 called Affinity that really played up a Luke Cage angle and even dressed him a bit like classic Cage.

  8. In the world of Green Lantern Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans Captain America, Terry Crews as Cage would be too silly? He’s in The Expendables!

  9. Good stuff all around.

    @David Brothers-  Thanks especially for spreading the word on Usagi Yojimbo.  I’ve been reading that book steadily for about 3 years now and I had just jumped right in. 

    It’s been brought up on the site in that book’s comments that it has a surprisingly and inexcusable low pull rate.  More people need to atleast check it out or dip in and out of it every-once-in-awhile.  I’ve said it before, and I stand by it, but anyone that likes Jonah Hex should give Usagi Yojimbo a try.  There are some subtle, as well as obvious similarities once you get into it.

  10. 1. Criminal- There’s so much here and I feel we’ll never get to it all.

    2. Invincible- I don’t know where this book is going post-War but I’m sure it’ll be exciting.

    3. Jonah Hex- Every month, it’s excellent without being repetitive.

    4. Battlefields- War stories by Ennis, oh yes.

    5. The Goon- Powell can take his time, but I never want to lose this series forever.