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Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER

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topic icon Author Topic: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER  (Read 467 times)

The Australian Panther

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Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« on: June 29, 2017, 03:18:12 AM »

I am thinking that I might use this forum to occasionally discuss comics that are current and might be of interest to its readers.
Two things are clear to me.
1/ The current state of the comic book industry ( As in comic magazines - not movies) is not good and many people are disappointed by the current treatment of classic characters and turning off the big two publishers.
https://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/05/06/the-end-of-the-comics-world-is-nigh/

2/ There are still good things out there but many of us no longer bother looking.

So I'm going to use this space to point out some books which might otherwise fall under the radar.
Because there are still some very good things out there.

Given the interest shown in the recent posts re. alternative JSA rosters,
The first one I'm going to mention is Jeff Lemire's 'BlackHammer'
The cover of issue one speaks for itself.
https://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/28-406/Black-Hammer-1-Jeff-Lemire-variant-cover
I am going to try to talk about these books without giving too much away so as not to spoil them if you decide to pick them up.
You will see by the cover that Dean Ormston's art and character design is apt for a book deliberately referencing the Golden Age.
Most comics currently are post-modern in the sense that they 'Combine traditional materials and forms with modern ones or have an ironic tone or attitude' . In other words most fans who get into the industry want to do the traditional characters and when the can't, or find that what they are allowed to do with them is too restricting, they adapt and modify them into their own creative ideas and in the process ask metaphorical questions and make comments about the material that is the original source. All of this guff I just wrote does not mean that the work is not enjoyable and entertaining.
Everything Alan Moore ever wrote and Kurt Busiak's 'Astro City' are post-modern comics, no  really original ideas just original takes on them. But hey, how many takes on Batman, Superman, the Phantom,the Shadow and Flash Gordon do we find in the Golden Age?
The curious thing about 'Black Hammer' is that that Character does not appear in the series, Why I'm not going to say. He is spoken about and central to the story and there is clearly a mystery involved which it is going to take the writer quite some time to unravel.
I'll let you work out who the characters, 'Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien' reference. I hope you look it up and enjoy it.

Feedback and comments please.               
       
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paw broon

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Re: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 01:43:10 PM »

Good idea and I hope folk join in.  As you say, many of us don't read much "new" material, me included, so opinions on books I might never look at would be interesting.  But, and it's a big but, I find a lot of what I see on the shelves of my lcs is too hard, visceral, cruel, with hard, mean looking "heroes".
A couple of friends quite enjoy Black Hammer and I might even indulge myself with a tpb, but some of the characters look a bit too off-the-wall for me.  I'm an old guy brought up on the Spirit, (a clean shaven) Batman, Billy The Cat, Marvelman, Ace Hart, Diabolik and that wonderful, daft era of World's Finest in the late '50's and early '60's.  So despite being a fan of Planetary, Doctor Who comics, Future Quest, Bandette, a lot of newer material doesn't float my boat.   
But I am really interested in reading your reviews and the comments they receive.  ;D
 
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misappear

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Re: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 02:11:52 PM »

Thank you for the idea of this thread. 

I don't share the opinion that the state of comics is not good.  My opinion is formed by avoiding Marvel and DC comics completely.  I've read enough "Superman and Spider-Man" type stories to state that the illusion of change concept inherent in their composition no longer motivates me to read more.  Any changes in the newer material is, in my opinion, forced manipulation of character continuities due to not having enough talented writers around to sculpt engaging tales.  It takes a lot of imagination and skill to create a new yarn in the face of all that has gone before, I'll grant you.  I do see remarkable creativity in many non-super hero titles.  The Black Hammer title is very good, yes, because Lemire is gifted. (IMO again)

I tend to follow authors, and writer/artists these days.  The aforementioned Lemire, Kindt, Snyder, Vaughn, Allred, Moore, some Morrison (when he's not being pretentious), Kirkman......the list is actually quite large.  I will occasionally pick up a new twist on old characters I read as a kid.  Dynamite is trying, once again, to give Magnus, Turok, and the other '60's Gold Key title characters another go, and I'll buy those until they get stupid.  Hopefully they won't. 

I would also recommend Cinebook graphic albums.  Blake and Mortimer is my favorite and never disappoints.  The Antares stories are really good, and XIII is loaded with suspense. 

Astro City was mentioned.  There was a time when Busiek may have been the best writer working in the super hero genre.  I'm not currently reading this title because of all the starts, stops, delays, switching imprints, etc.  I'm liking the tactic used by many current creators of issuing "arcs" of a specific number of issues, taking a hiatus to prepare more, and then issuing another arc. 

Black Hammer is fresh air.  For me, Superman, Batman, Kid Eternity, The Avengers.....they're done.  Superman does not have "sons".  Dick Grayson is Robin.  That oeuvre is done.  Black Hammer shows that a talented writer and still create interesting super hero types even after all these years. 

Legacy, Rebirth, The New 52....How do the Big Two get a sales boost marketing the same old crap?

Lastly, please excuse me if I get to sounding preachy.  I owned a comic and game store for 20 years, and spent time working for Marvel Entertainment and a couple comics and games distributors.  As I see the Big Two hopelessly screwed up (on comics publishing and distribution) I tend to go from opinion to sermon. 
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paw broon

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Re: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 02:55:00 PM »

Like you, misappear, I was involved with a comic shop, in the '80's that is, and for a few years we were closely involved with DC, also with a lot of big name creators, some of whom became friends, and I enthusiastically sold mainstream comics, as well as read a lot of them.  Nowadays, I have to agree with you about Robin being Dick Grayson, "marketing the same old crap" etc.
But the arc thing worries me, and should, imo, worry the publishers. What will be the point of producing a 6 issue floppy series if a majority of punters decide to wait for the collection, which is often a bit cheaper.  This happened in France and many of the compilation magazines disappeared as readers waited for and bought the collections.
Yes, Blake and Mortimer are great reads and you can now find some Hugo Pratt Corto Maltese stories in English.  Can't recommend them highly enough - I started decades ago with the French volumes as I couldn't at that time read Italian.
I mentioned Doctor Who collections and I've just finished a volume with some stories drawn by John Ridgeway, and they are excellent, with the art adding to the sense of menace and manipulation you get with the McCoy Doctor.  There's another vol. with more Ridgeway art sitting in my to read pile.  Looking forward to it.
I look forward to more of our members' contributions.
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misappear

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Re: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 05:42:36 PM »

Good point on the trade vs comic scenario. I buy the comics in series as almost a preview.  If I don't like #1, I'm only out $4.  That doesn't apply to Vertigo, tho.  They cannot end a story to save their lives.  I will not buy into some 12-issue "masterpiece" only to get to the world's worst ending.  They start well and end horribly.

Let me offer up a couple things for consideration: 

Regarding the more expensive trades and graphic novels, how does a comic shop owner compete with Amazon?  Using Amazon, I get the lowest price possible with free shipping, and the product arrives one day before the local shop puts it on sale. 

Can (some) comics publishers survive without publishing regular monthly comics?  I'm think Marvel and DC can.  They make more money off 1 movie than the publishing arm will make in a year.  With spin-offs, the films could exist for a very long time without any print support.  If the Big Two stop publishing comics and begin with "boutique" projects through newsstands, the comic shop market would collapse and the Big Two would clean up on the newsstand, assuming an $8.00--$10.00 cover price.  By boutique, I mean like a three issue mini-series featuring some film hero(s).  They could even be advertised at the theaters along with the latest film creation.

Now that I think about it, only 1 of the Big Two would have to do this to collapse and regain market control. 

Of course, this would suck for comics fans.  But when did Marvel and DC last indicate they really gave a....about comics fans?

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SuperScrounge

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Re: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 11:34:35 PM »

But the arc thing worries me, and should, imo, worry the publishers. What will be the point of producing a 6 issue floppy series if a majority of punters decide to wait for the collection, which is often a bit cheaper.
IIRC Phil Foglio was looking at sales of his Girl Genius floppies and realizing that sales only went up when a collection came out, making the floppy a very expensive advertising pamphlet, so he decided to drop the flooppy and put the thing online as a webcomic and just print collections.

I believe DC has been experimenting with some online only series that get printed as collections as well.

On the other hand some publishers have put out floppies with original material that won't be included in the trade (which is kinda the reverse of what they used to do with the original trades, include extra material not in the floppies.)
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paw broon

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Re: Interesting and New number one BLACKHAMMER
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 07:18:27 PM »

Cutting in on the Australian Panther's suggestions, if he doesn't mind! I'd like to mention a couple of books that are not the big 2 and that I enjoyed. I was a fan of The Sixth Gun - still am - and I recently bought a small(ish) press book, Westernoir, by Dave West and Gary Crutchley. This is vol. 1 and it's published by Accent UK Comics.  Story and art well above most small press standards in this country. Can't wait for the next collection, and, by the way, I'm buying the collections and not the individual issues.
The other title I've enjoyed very much is the manga adaptation of Sherlock - A Study in Pink.  Script by Steven Moffat and art by Jay, this is a very faithful adaptation of my favourite Sherlock episode, Although it is difficult to get down in comic form the sheer menace and single mindedness that Phil Davis puts into the taxi driver on screen.  More adaptations coming.
While I'm on, most of you wont be aware that Rebellion are issuing reprint vols of a number of the features in their back catalogue and the one which interests me is The Leopard of Lime Street. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leopard-Lime-Street-Mike-Western/dp/1781085978
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