Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review- MISS FURY: SENSATIONAL SUNDAYS 1941-1944


MISS FURY: SENSATIONAL SUNDAYS 1941-1944 (Library Of American Comics/ IDW, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects Miss Fury Sunday Strip 1-158b, originally published on April 6, 1941- April 16, 1941.

Writer and Artist: Tarpe Mills

This first volume in the series was released after the second one. I loved the first (second) book when I read it, but some story elements eluded me early on in that book because they were plotlines that carried over from this one. That wrong has been righted with the release of this book. This strip was originally titled Black Fury, a nod to the black leopard skin costume that our femme fatale, Marla Drake, wore. In truth she doesn't wear it very much as the series progresses. While she is billed as a superhero, Miss Fury is in truth a World War II spy strip with dizzying plotline twists. Mills juggled so many plates that it's nothing short of a miracle that she didn't drop any.


There are some cheesecake and S & M elements here, made all the more curious considering that the strip was written and drawn by a woman. This was a true rarity for an adventure strip in this era. I wonder if Mills was pandering to her predominately male audience or if she genuinely enjoyed presenting this sort of thing.


Being a weekly strip, there were weeks and sometimes a month or more without so much as an appearance by the supposed star of the strip, and you know what? It doesn't matter one bit. Some of these supporting characters are as interesting as Miss Fury. Mills' artwork is unique and adds a certain charm to this strip. I am buying more and more of these strip books these days, and the ones from the IDW Library Of American Comics imprint are some of the best out there.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.


The OCD zone- While this is presented in an oversized format, I have no idea if this is presented in the same size at the strips originally appeared.
Linework and Color restoration: Scans with the yellowing removed. Most look really good but there are a few pages that are from inferior sources, possibly even scanned at lower resolution than the rest of the book. All of the problems found with old four color comics are present here (line bleed, off register printing, etc.).
Paper stock: Beautiful, super thick off-white uncoated stock.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays flat. Built in ribbon bookmark. Those aren't my cup of tea but seem to be standard in many of these strip collections.
Hardback cover notes: The dustjacket has a dull finish that requires careful handling. The hardback has a vintage feeling casewrap which I find to be appealing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review- SIDEKICK VOL. 1


SIDEKICK VOL. 1 (Image, 2014; Softcover)

Collects Sidekick #1-6 (cover dates August, 2013- April, 2014)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Tom Mandrake
Colorist: Hi-Fi

Super serious dark and gritty “mature” superhero comics have been done to death, so much so that I am beginning to feel that they are the cliché and fun, lighthearted superhero comics are really for the cool kids. JMS' writing is of such high quality that he makes what sounds like a tired concept a compelling read.

The Red Cowl is a decidedly Golden Age flavored hero. He fights crime in Sol City with his sidekick, Flyboy. These Batman and Robin doppelgangers are met with tragedy when The Red Cowl is assassinated in a manner similar to JFK, resulting in Flyboy becoming a laughing stock and sliding down a hole into depression, alcohol, and lost battles. Then something occurs (I won't say what) that leads Flyboy to believe that The Red Cowl is alive, and it is more than he can bear. JMS seems to work in 12-issue cycles on a lot of things, so hopefully this will all pan out.

Tom Mandrake's art is great as usual. His superhero battles are reminiscent of Neal Adams or John Byrne, a great contrast to the static, statuesque poses that so many artists do these days. Mandrake conveys story, whereas others just try to get a licensable image to slap on a T-shirt and get royalties from.

The hook is strong enough for me to come back for Volume 2. JMS is on his own timetable, so I won't be holding my breath.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Image makes the nicest trade paperbacks these days. Solid.
Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick waxlike lamination.
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review- BLACK DYNAMITE


BLACK DYNAMITE (IDW, 2015; Softcover)

Collects Black Dynamite: Slave Island one shot and Black Dynamite #1-4 (cover dates April, 2011- August, 2014)

Writer: Brian Ash
Artists: Jun Lofamia, Ron Wimberly, Marcelo Ferreira, and Sal Buscema
Colorists: Jim Ringuet

I was lucky enough to catch the film at the former Burton Theatre in Detroit (now under different owners and called Cinema Detroit) when it was making the indie rounds and have been a fan ever since. I was also lucky enough to have a first printing of Slave Island, which I dumped on eBay and cashed in on, using the money to buy this book. Black Dynamite paid me to buy this book.


While the aforementioned Slave Island one shot is the best issue in the book, the other issues are ally good in their own right. Issue 1 is the weak link, but 2 through 4 are all great. Each issue is a self-contained story. I especially enjoyed the one with Tibetan monks, although the one about the shoes was equally memorable.


This is tongue in cheek satire and homage to and of the Blaxploitation genre. There are many jokes about race, so super-sensitive politically correct types need not apply. Those of us with a sense of humor will enjoy this immensely. While word on the street is that the animated series won't be back for a third season*, one can only hope that we get another movie or some more comic books.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

*I feel guilty about this since I don't watch television. I waste my time reading comics, listening to music, and surfing the Internet, not glued to the boob tube. Sorry.

The OCD zone- This book smells nice. Really, really nice. I sat there huffing that magical toxic Korean made scent.
Paper stock: Thick semi-glossy coated stock. Nice.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperbacks.



Cardstock cover notes: The lamination started peeling off as I read it. Not cool.