ROGERS COMIC RAMBLINGS: review get hold of BAG!

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Roger Ash

by Roger Ash

This time, let’s take a look at some fairly recent releases. They don’t have much in common aside from the fact that I read them, though three of them come from Image. The image titles are Paper girls #1, Bitch planet book 1: amazing Machine, and Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of death #1. I’ll also take a gander at IDW/The library of American Comics’ Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The complete daily newspaper Comics Vol. 1 and Marvel’s doctor odd #1. here we go!

Paper girls #1

Paper girls #1

This new series from writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Cliff Chiang begins in 1988 on the morning after Halloween and stars four teenage (and slightly younger) women who deliver newspapers, for this reason the title. This issue is seen mostly through the eyes of Erin, a Catholic school girl. She is accosted by three teenage kids still out celebrating Halloween. She is rescued by three girls – Mac, Tiffany, and KJ – who are delivering together as there is typically trouble on All Saint’s morning. but they have no idea how much trouble as they’re soon involved in a mystery involving hooded figures and possible alien technology.

This is a wonderful first issue. The first thing you notice is Chiang’s art which is terrific and perfectly captures the look and feel of this 1980s suburb and its inhabitants. Vaughn’s story is strong, though not much is revealed in the first issue, but there’s enough to make me want to know more. The four girls are interesting characters and I can’t wait to see where the adventure takes them. maybe the fact that my first job was as a paperboy colors my opinion of the first issue, but I doubt it. It’s just damn good storytelling. There’s also a fun fake letter column at the end of the issue. There is some swearing, so if that bothers you, you might want to give it a pass. but for me, I loved it and highly recommend it.

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The complete daily newspaper Comics Vol. 1

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The complete daily newspaper Comics Vol. 1

Al Taliaferro’s Donald Duck comic strips have long been a favorite of mine. I have read lots of of them in comics over the years (I’ve probably seen the most in Comics and Stories) and have hoped for a long time to see a collection of his work. That nearly happened years ago when Gladstone wanted to publish collections of them but there were strips that Disney didn’t want them to publish. considering that they couldn’t print them all, the project went away. fast forward to now. The folks at Disney have undoubtedly changed their minds about withholding strips and we get IDW/The library of American Comics’ Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: The complete daily newspaper Comics Vol. 1 which collects over 800 consecutive daily comics from the strips beginning in 1938-1940! Was it worth the wait? Heck yeah!

The humor in the strips by Taliaferro and writer Bob Karp mostly holds up and Taliaferro’s art is a treat. There were some strips that had me laughing out loud. There are a couple interesting things in the collection that people not familiar with Taliaferro’s work may not know. First, while these are the first Donald Duck strips, they are not the first time Donald appeared in comic strips. Donald Duck was featured in the Silly Symphonies comic strip for a year or so as a tryout before breaking away into his self titled strip. This collection begins with the first of the self titled strips and his run in Silly Symphonies will be collected in upcoming Silly Symphonies volumes. Second, unlike Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey mouse comic strip or Carl Barks’ Duck tales, these are gag-a day strips. Yes, there are runs that feature gags around the same topic such as Donald’s pet ostrich, but there is no storyline. as with other strips from this era, there are regrettably occasional ethnic stereotypes that were common at the time.

As with other collections from the library of American Comics, the reproduction of the strips is quite nice. There’s also an exceptional introduction by Disney historian David Gerstein that gives some background of Taliaferro and the strip itself. This is an exceptional package and something that Disney fans and comic strip fans alike will enjoy. A second volume is on the way soon and the first color Sunday collection is available for pre-order now, which indicates there’s lots a lot more Donald Duck comic strip goodness coming. That makes me very happy.

Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death

Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of death #1

Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of death by Antony Johnston and Shari Chankhamma is the story of Russian Contessa Annika Malikova and her pal Gyorgy. They pertained to the us three years before the start of the story. In addition to being a countess, she is also a mafiya boss and left Russia because her rivals were moving against her. A representative of a secret division of the us government uses this against her to get her to do an undercover job. I take pleasure in a good spy story and this is quite fun. Baboushka and Gyorgy are engaging characters and their interaction is engaging.

I want to like this a lot more than I do. The story is good and I take pleasure in the characters, but the art does nothing for me. Chankhamma does a good job with the storytelling. The action sequences, for example, are very well done and quite exciting. However, her style, which looks to be manga influenced, didn’t get hold of me. I’m also uncertain how the main action piece fits into the overall story. hopefully that will be explained soon. This issue was a mixed bag for me.

Doctor Strange

Doctor odd #1

Doctor odd has always been one of my favorite characters. I’ve also been told that he’s a favorite of lots of creators. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have a big enough fan base to keep a series around for too long. hopefully that will change with doctor odd #1 by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo because it’s very good.

While this is not quite the version of doctor odd that I grew up with in the ‘80s, the core of the character is still there. It’s a fresh take on the character with a respect for his past. This is easily shown on the first page as his origin is told over a background of images of odd by Steve Ditko, gene Colan, Tom Palmer, and others.

The basic story in the first issue (as spoiler complimentary as possible) is that something called “The Coming Slaughter” is on the way. With a name like that, you know it’s bad. Doc has to figure out exactly what this is and find a way to stop it. While there are dark elements to the story, Aaron balances that with creative dialog and some lighter moments. He’s given Doc a magical support group of sorts in doctor Voodoo, the Scarlet Witch, and Shaman and the scene with them is really quite fun. I also like that doctor odd seems to take pleasure in what he does. Chris Bachalo’s art is terrific and sets a suitably wonky tone for doctor Strange’s adventures.

As is that weren’t enough, there’s also a backup story written by Aaron and drawn by the always remarkable Kevin Nowlan. While doctor odd isn’t in the story, it does supply some background on “The Coming Slaughter.” This was a wonderful first issue and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Bitch planet book 1: amazing Machine

Bitch planet book 1: amazing Machine

I’d heard lots of good things about Kelly sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro’s Bitch planet so when the first collection was released, I made a decision to give it a try. After reading it, I can understand why it’s praised (and deservedly so), but it’s not an easy read as the topics covered are challenging and it includes all the violence you’d expect from a prison drama. This book can be downright unsettling at times.

In the future, men run the world, ruled by a group known as the Fathers. women who are judged to be non-compliant can be sent to an “Auxiliary Compliance Outpost” known colloquially as Bitch Planet, from which there is no return. one of the new prisoners is Kamau Kogo who is approached by those in charge to form a Megaton (also known as Duemila) team. This is the sport of the future. She knows it’s a set up, but also sees it as an opportunity to additionally her own ends. While that’s the basic concept, it allows DeConnick and De Landro to tell a story that goes much deeper.

My favorite character so far, a prisoner named penny Rolle, is featured in a tale with guest art by Robert Wilson IV. aside from adding depth to Penny’s character, the story shows you how she ended up on Bitch planet and gives you a look at what this future society is like. It’s unsettling stuff, and if you think men are the only bad people in the story, think again. This book is absolutely for mature readers as there is nudity, violence, and swearing.

If you’re trying to find a challenging read that will make you think, Bitch planet may be for you. It’s absolutely a good read.

That’s it for this time. What have you read recently that you’ve enjoyed? Share in the comments below and let me know.

Now, go read a comic!

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