HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 07/27/06
brought to you by FanboyPlanet.Comics of Santa Clara

Derek hasn't yet returned to Santa Clara to pick up this week's books, and since he spent last week at Comic-Con, he also couldn't read the retailer previews for this week. Sure, Mario was going to pick them up, but there was something about "the chance to move out of this cardboard box and into a real home" that came up. Comics over shelter, Mario. Get your priorities straight.

Anyway, instead of looking at the most mainstream books this week, we're going to focus on the books and publishers that we ran into at Comic-Con. A few books have been available for a few weeks, but as they're with a smaller circulation, you probably didn't see them at your local comics shop. Take our recommendations and go back to your shop and see if you can get them.

Shark-Man #1
writers: Ronald Shusett, Michael Town
and Dave Elliott
artist: Steve Pugh and Garry Leach

A state of the art cruise ship serenely trolls the waters off the coast of California. Maybe not so serenely, as they're entering into shark infested waters. Up ahead, those aren't sharks - they're pirates! Clearly, this is a job for Shark-Man.

You say you've never heard of him? The people of New Venice City have, for he has protected them for quite a while, aided by his manservant Edgar. Using futuristic weapons and gadgetry, Alan Gaskill defends his own creation, for he is also secretly the architect of New Venice City.

Of course, when you're high profile in both your identities, you have all kinds of enemies. Politics can be deadlier than crime-fighting. Even that sells the concept of Shark-Man short. As much as it resembles the lovechild of Batman and Aquaman, the book also throws back to Henry IV and Ultraman.

Really, Thrillhouse Comics is doing what Alan Moore did with his ABC line - re-thinking the superhero through the lens of pulp fiction and maybe a little Japanese television. I may be stretching that last comparison, though artist Steve Pugh has definitely given Shark-Man a suit that almost overstates the motif. That is, until the book delivers on the stakes that Shark-Man faces.

Shusett's facility with dialogue offers great character moments. While the wealthy citizen crimefighter is old hat, Shusett defines Shark-Man's motivation in beautifully simple terms:

"…I keep a list, a tally of all the people I've raged and fought to save, and I balance it against those I've failed. Is that odd? Is it weird to think of it as profit and loss? Well, it keeps me sane. It keeps me going through those dark nights."

There's a lot more to the story and the characters than that. This first issue lays out a pretty complex turn of events that shouldn't be spoiled here. But it's a grabber, and not just because of the incredibly dynamic artwork of Steve Pugh with help from Garry Leach.

The art direction on this book is stunning. Character design works seamlessly with architecture and even fashion. Shark-Man is almost a movie, thanks to the cinematic eye of Pugh. But again, this is where comics succeed in a way that movies (for now) won't; Pugh's imagination has an unlimited budget on the page, and can suck us into its own world.

So spend some time in New Venice City.

The Bakers: Do These Toys Belong Somewhere?
writer and artist: Kyle Baker

This hardbound collection of strips from Eisner-award winner Baker isn't just a nice package. It's insightful and honest about family life, sometimes painfully true but always funny. Some of these strips appeared in the earlier Kyle Baker: Illustrator books, but that mixed family friendly stuff with Baker's harder-edged wit. He was right to separate these out, and not just because he and his family are about to be animated for BET (though you can see some stuff Baker has done on his own at his site). Everybody in the family can enjoy this book, and should. As he puts it in his own back-cover copy, "…it's funny because it's happening to someone else."

Death Comes To Dillinger #1 and 2
writer: James Patrick
artist: Se7enhedd

Silent Devil debuted the second issue of this Western horror mini-series at the Con, so we were able to absorb it all in one sitting. Heavily influenced by Sergio Leone in its pacing, Death Comes To Dillinger tells a Twilight Zoneish story about even Death being lawless in the wild wild west. As cool as Se7enhedd's art is (nicely complemented by JM Ringuet's coloring), the story takes a couple of extra bounces in the effort to stretch this out into two issues. A slightly larger one-shot might have done it; for a company like Silent Devil, though, it's hard to know if that would be economically feasible.

Devi #1
writer: Siddharth Kotian
artist: Mukesh Singh

Of the three full Virgin Comics books that have come out, this one seems to have the most mainstream appeal. It's fun plunging into Indian mythology, and when the book shifts to modern day, it lays out the villains in a way that seems like the best of Marvel. The modern Devi herself has to wait until the next issue, though if you picked up the free "zero issue" preview a few weeks ago, you'd get a stronger taste of the character.

The Sadhu #1
writer: Gotham Chopra
artist: Jeevan Kang

After hearing Gotham's presentation to the press last week, this book had me the most intrigued for exactly the reason he wanted. It's an element of Indian culture that has not really penetrated Western pop culture; while we know of ninjas, samurais and senseis, the wise warriors of India aren't well-known enough to even have a stereotype. Chopra has laid out a good backstory here, setting it firmly in the so-called glory days of the British Empire, but no doubt everything we know will be turned upside down. In the character of James, we can experience all this through Western eyes being opened, and it's a great way in for American audiences (if indeed, we are a goal).

Snake Woman #1
writer: Zeb Wells
artist: Michael Gaydos

Since both Wells and Gaydos have a history with Marvel, you'd think this would be some sort of straightforward weird superhero thing. It's far from it. Instead, it catches the multi-cultural beat of being young in Los Angeles with something horribly wrong happening to Jessica Peterson. The book has a creepy vibe to it, and the story lays out both a culture mix and clash as Jessica discovers she might not be human. Wells did some cool quirky stuff in his time for Marvel; this is a change of pace that works well. The only jarring note is naming the lead Jessica, as Gaydos, of course, rose to fame with Brian Michael Bendis on Alias, featuring another Jessica that looks pretty much just like this one.

Students of the Unusual: Special Spooky Retailer Preview
writer and artist: various

As befits an anthology book, this one goes all over the map in style. Luckily, I'd say it doesn't go all over the map in quality. Though a couple of the stories are scripted straightforwardly, the art in them provides more of a challenge - in a good way. This edition was meant more to tease retailers into ordering an upcoming title from 3 Boys Productions, so some of the stories are really more excerpts than stand-alones. However, it provided a good taste of the stuff these guys are doing, marching to the beat of their own drummer, a little more out there than The Goon in taste. But you know what? I love The Goon. Plus it comes with a DVD of earlier stories adapted to short films by a variety of artists. This will come with the direct market edition, too - at no extra cost! So 3 Boys Productions is really trying to stretch the boundaries of the market, and as far as I can tell, they're succeeding.

Zoom Suit #1, 2 and 3
writer: John Taddeo
artists: Billy Dallas Patton and Kris Justice

As if Taddeo needs my help. Zoom Suit is a real indie phenomenon, aided by the incredibly savvy marketing skills of Taddeo and his wife. Why is this book so successful? Even though he uses the old armored hero concept, Taddeo gave it a spin that nobody else seems to have thought of - just put it on a kid. (Okay, so the Japanese have been doing it for years - and LOOK HOW THAT WORKED OUT!) Though the characters occasionally get bogged down in snappy pop culture references, it's a well-told story with bright art that appeals directly to its target audience. It's a fun book that kids must just be eating up.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites