Monday, August 10, 2009

Popgun Bullets V3 P4

- Bulleted mini reviews of the entire contents of Image Comics anthology Popgun Volume Three (the final installment)

  • 303 The Jailhouse Swing - Jamie S. Rich, Joelle Jones - I particularly like the style of this 8 page narrated piece about a down on his luck palooka and the Angel that loves him regardless. The art goes heavy on the lines in some places, and uses a very sketchy style when showing bits of his fights.His girl seems always drawn with a bit of delicacy. It has a little bit of the feel of something you might see related in Ed Brubaker's Criminal (not the only piece in this review that made me think of that).
  • 311 50 Miles to Marfa - David Hopkins, Daniel Warner - The art in this piece sits on a weird line for me. I am not sure if I love it or if I hate it.The lettering got on my nerves a little, but as I sit here going over the whole thing again, I will say that I really like the art. It's bright, and certainly conveys the setting well, also, the hot-headed character is so expressive he is almost manga-like. The story itself is funny and well written. It is a clever double-cross, and I kind of love those.
  • 319 Cuffs - Derek McCulloch, Peter Krause - Speaking of double crosses and things that could be right out of Criminal, this story has at least three twists in it. The art is very good, and yet again a different style. It's a decent story all the way through.
  • 333 These Kids Today... - Eric Skillman, Connor Willumsen - I love Willumsen's art in general, but I don't love the coloring on this piece. This is a narrated piece that is 3 pages long and a bit abrupt. It isn't badly done, I just don't like it very much. It may just be the theme.
  • 336 Tackle Goes Fishing - Robbie Lawrence - This is a single page bit, and is really cute. I have a hard time saying anything negative about it. It's a kid fishing for birds with a balloon. It's brightly colored and whimsical. I looked at it a few times and thought... ok... graphic mixtape... I get it.
  • 337 Eternal Warrior: Endings - Paul Grist - I like Grist's work a lot, and like this piece as well.
  • 345 The Real Incidentals in Kill Phil - Zac Gorman - I really liked the art and the humor in this one. This is sort of a super heroes meet Captain planet rings that summon embodiments of music styles. The enemy they are tackling is Kill Collins who ruins parties with his insipid Lite Rock. There are a lot of embedded jokes in this thing to look for, The art and color are great. I enjoyed it.
  • 349 Sanz Pantz: Home Al-Owned - Chris Moreno - I love Sanz Pantz. This is another good piece. Every aspect of it is polished and well done. Nothing wrong with Ninja Platypus in my book.
  • 355 Curse of Silence - George Gousis - This is a good efficient anthology piece. It tells a complete story in 4 pages with a twist and good distinctive art. The art and writing are equally strong and both contribute to the story.
  • 359 Bunnyboy - Robb Mommaerts - A cute little girl, a cute little bunny and an atomic chemistry set. This entry takes those three things and remains cute through the entire bit, even when it's horrific and gross. Facial expressions are especially well done in this, and I liked it.
  • 367 Lumberjack in The Root of All Evil - Stephen Reedy, Greg Titus - I loved this piece. The art is very slick and polished, the colors are great, and the writing is sharp. If this were a serious super-hero bit, I would probably not like it, but it is the story of a larger than life, plant hating lumberjack who seems to exist solely to eradicate plant based threats to humanity. He sort of reminds me of the Tick in a way. There is a vibe about it, rather than any direct correlation. He spouts lines like 'My ass will be wiped by your children's warm leafy bodies!' as he leaps in with axes and chainsaws flashing. It commits, takes the risk and succeeds.
  • 379 Avocado Allegrando - Maximo V. Lorenzo - I don't love the lettering in this piece, but that's about it for things I don't love about it. It has a strong manga flavor about it with dynamic layouts and intense one on one duel action. The action is a musicians' battle between a guitarist and a violinist. It is clever and very well done.
  • 387 Deathnaut: Emotional Baggage - Danilo Beyruth - Deathnaut is another very slick good looking entry. It's another one that is a bit tongue in cheek in it's delivery, while not being jokey at all. It works for me, although I am not sure I would want to take this in much larger doses than this. It's solid, but isn't particularly exciting to me. It IS very well drawn and written, though.
  • 403 Londown - Alberto Mielgo - I am sadly mixed on this one. The story is brilliant and touching and kind of lovely. It is a strange sort of super-hero love story with a strong de-emphasis on the super part. The art is my issue. I loved it at first, but after a while it really started feeling like it was done entirely by drawing over top of pictures. After that got into my head it somehow brought down my opinion of the art and got in the way a little. I still think it is very artfully done, and it isn't like I don't consider it a top notch comic even if that is the case. It tells it's story pretty well and I like that story a lot. I don't love the odd text effects it has and the way the word balloons are done, but on a whole, they just cement it's uniqueness whether I love them or not.
  • 421 Failure After Failure - Vassilis Gogtzilas, K.I. Zachopoulos - this is kind of a sweet little sketchily drawn piece lifted out of a relationship between two currently jobless people. It is more a slice of life/moment in time kind of thing that shows the tensions, but also shows some hope. The dialog is a little stiff, but it's nice. Some of the text is hard to read.
  • 429 Olympus: They Say... - Christian Ward, Nathan Edmondson - gorgeous art. The story isn't so much of a story, but the art is just beautiful, and the piece is decent regardless.I like the underwater color effects in particular.
  • 435 Found In The Attic - Olaf Brill, Donald Hello - Time travelling 'secret in the attic' creepy twist sort of story. It works well, and definitely captures the flavor of the sort of story it is patterned after.
  • 443 The Young Macaw - Derek Yu - This is pretty funny. The last page is a bit of a surprise, and should put a smile on your face. The art is well done, and pretty different from anything else in the book. It is set up as a cultural/tribal coming of age ceremony and it fits that pattern well. The pacing is good, and I think the payoff is cute. Plus it has an owl bear in it, and that is worth something.
  • 453 King's Hollow: The Trade - Ryan Cody - I love this piece. I love the main character Nissa, I love the art. I love it and I may just marry it. It really feels like something there should be more of. It is a nice self contained bit, but it really feels like there should be a graphic novel of it somewhere. It looks like there is a one-shot with the same character in it, and I think I will seek that out at some point.
  • 461 Hairballs - Gary Fields - I don't love this. It is an itchy and scratchy sort of piece by way of the campy unfunny Sunday funnies. It's all puns and things that look like puns. I get it, but it isn't my favorite thing. Not badly done for what it is, but not my thing.
  • 463 Mickey Maus - Erik Larsen - It is what it sounds like. It is a one page gag about Mickey Mouse being in a concentration camp and not getting it. Atrocities are funny! I would like to see an edition of this with no Mark Andrew Smith, and no Erik Larsen. No offense to them, but really, make this about other things and other people's work. Innovative and widely varied stuff.
  • 464 Twilight - Michael Woods, Nic Klein - Wow. This is stunningly beautiful and equally sad. The art is lovely, but man is it sad. It's both lovely and haunting. It's a hard situation to face, but the idea of the piece is a good one. It involves a child in a coma, but paints an extraordinary world around them. It will probably stick with me.
Thoughts, opinions, comments? let me have it!

I enjoyed this volume, and if I can afford it, I may very well try to continue this project when the next volume of Popgun comes out. I like this series best when it is giving me really different and innovative stuff, or when it is giving me a very broad range of styles and subjects and genres and art, etc. It's nice to get to see 50 things or so I wouldn't have otherwise seen, and get a maximum number of creators in front of my face. I really do want to experience as much as I can, and this continues to be a decent way to do it. It also forces you to think about short works and anthology pieces as a very different thing from serialized comics or long form graphic novels, etc.


Daniel Warner said...

Hey Man, Thanks for the review of "50 Miles to Marfa." I'm glad the art won you over. Totally agree with you on the Christian Ward for Olympus.

A mini-review of every damn story in a 500 page anthology -- that's dedication!

Nicely done.

Talkin Bout Comics said...

Thanks! - It really did grow on me the more I looked at it and re-read it. The character designs were solid and crazy expressive. Each character had very different behavior types and the art showed it. The angry guy in the comic was just great. The sparse landscape gave a real sense of being in the middle of nowhere.