Joe Quesada will be on 60 Minutes II talking about how
great comics are, not just those from Marvel. But even after
he's through, most people will still likely walk away from the
show thinking he means Marvel and DC. Through the magic of Lucasfilm,
a few might know Dark Horse.
Q is right: this is a great time for comics, with a lot of
smaller publishers putting out some interesting work that
we're trying to cover a little better here at Fanboy Planet.
For example, it's time to check back in on Penny Farthing
Press, a house out of Texas that has attracted some fine talent
to some interesting books. A couple of their titles may look
like superhero books, but all of them have unique takes.
a smaller publisher, Penny-Farthing doesn't get the attention
from retailers that it deserves, so you may have to look a
little harder for these books, or honestly may want to wait
for the trade paperbacks. (Amazon carries some of their titles,
or you can go to Penny-Farthing's website
to order books.)
a little rundown of the titles that the publisher has shipped
Storm of the Century #4
writer: Buddy Scalera
artists: Courtney Huddleston and Mostafa Moussa
smart move on Penny-Farthing's part is only publishing books
when they have stories to tell. They sort of have an ongoing
series in The Victorian, but even that book has a clearly
defined ending. So their popular titles are just series of
mini-series. Such is the case with Decoy.
interesting idea, Decoy combines a cute alien stuck
on Earth with a deadly threat. It's a difficult line to walk,
trying to balance real danger with, well, hijinks. Scalera
would seem the right choice to scribe, having had some experience
writing mayhem and humor with Deadpool. The first two
issues clicked, but somehow as the ending got closer, things
got out of hand. It could be that the series started out feeling
appropriate for children (and Decoy is teaming with Hero Bear
in a separate series) and has become just a little too grotesque
still an interesting book, but it might have benefited from
being five issues instead of four. The main story feels rushed,
with sudden changes of heart on characters' parts, and a mystery
villain who still remains a mystery. Oh, he says what he wants
quite clearly, but we're left having no clear idea what he
actually is, with the frustrating feeling that it was supposed
to be obvious.
slot, too, has the same feeling, introducing story elements
crucial to understanding the first couple of issues. Unfortunately,
once the important stuff was out of the way (and all of it
re-explained in the main story), this back-up hurries to come
full circle with the beginning of the first mini-series. As
an attempt at mixing up the narrative a bit, it's a worthy
experiment. It just doesn't quite work.
the characters have a lot of potential, and Decoy should
be worth a third mini-series. Provided, of course, that Scalera
and Huddleston have a story to tell.
writer: Stuart Moore
artists: Martin Montiel and J.C. Buelna
for the fabled "on the other hand…"
promises intriguing science fiction adventure, and delivers
on all counts. The title has been given enough room to develop,
as this is a six-issue mini-series, not four.
first mini-series, the "last" human, Halle, merged with the
larval stage of an Aesirian, a species barely existing in
the space-time continuum. Upon this combination, she was led
to the mythical world of Zendra, a refuge for a reborn human
race, where she was sworn to become their protector.
to be a protector, you have to have an enemy, and Stuart Moore
obliged by creating the Jekkarans, a hulkish warrior race
right out of Jim Starlin's central casting. Though that element
may seem a little pat, Moore keeps us too busy with other
alien concepts to worry about it.
the Jekkarans put Zendra under siege, Halle and some companions
journey to the center of the world, which may not be a literal
concept at all. They hope to gain a weapon to defeat their
enemies, but Moore hints that this just might be a cosmic
mindgame gone horribly awry.
series accomplishes something fairly tough, in that it captures
a little bit of real alien thought-processes. The ethereal
Aesirians have saved humanity for reasons of their own, but
clearly have an agenda that makes no sense to the Zendrans…yet.
Only Tau, the Aesirian merged with Halle, has graspable motivations
in that he seems like a spoiled teenager. But Moore probably
has something other than that up his sleeve.
also utilizes its back-up slot in a more economical way, with
Moore providing an illustrated story that fills in corners
of the main story. Do we absolutely need to know how
the Jekkaran battle cats came to be? Had it been placed in
the main story, it would only have slowed the action. But
having the additional tale makes the book a little richer.
books, by the way, feature art that fits perfectly. Decoy
creator Huddleston has a slightly cartoony style that allows
for grotesque elements without being jarring. Montel and Buelna
draw in a gritty style without sacrificing wondrous elements.
Ordinarily pin-ups don't catch my eye, but both titles give
over a couple of pages to them to good results. Hopefully,
these newer artists are being groomed for actual storytelling