No Healing From “The Scar”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

As I write this review, news has broken that “president” Donald Trump intends to declare a so-called “state of emergency” along the US-Mexico border in order to commandeer funds for his pipe-dream of a “wall” by executive fiat. A genuine “emergency” has been unfolding, with disastrous consequences, at the border for a long time, it’s true — but it’s nothing like Trump would have you believe.

Italian cartoonist Andrea Ferraris and his documentarian colleague/creative partner, Renato Chiocca, know all about this real “emergency,” though, because they’ve seen it firsthand — and they know it’s got precisely fuck-all to do with some supposedly free-flowing “supply line” of drugs and MS-13 gang members out to rape our daughters, burn down our homes, and butcher our pets. The actual emergency is a humanitarian one, an economic one, even a logistical and conceptual one, as increased militarization of what was once a fairly open…

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Glaubitz Krackle : “Starseeds 2”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

In perhaps the least surprising development in recent memory, imbued-with-the-power-cosmic Mexican cartoonist Charles Glaubitz has gone “Full Kirby” for Starseeds 2, the eagerly-anticipated sequel to his debut graphic novel (I trust I needn’t drop its name), and the results are pretty damn glorious. Who says the best ideas are necessarily unexpected ones?

Of course, Glaubitz was more than knocking on The King’s door in the first installment of his hopefully-ongoing epic, he was hammering on it — and with this follow-up, he’s smashed it down entirely. But don’t take that to mean he doesn’t have plenty that’s wholly original to add to the mix, because he most emphatically does.

The mythological, cosmological, phantasmagorical, and conspiratorial all collide with passion and vigor in “The Universe According To Glaubitz,” and the end result is a visually-arresting and thought-provoking reading experience well and truly unlike any other, a clash of absolutes that…

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“Off Season” — And Way Off-Target


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

James Sturm is an important cartoonist. Why, just ask around — everybody says so. He founded CCS. He gives Ted Talks. His work is parsed over in minute detail in the pages of academic journals. Those rare occasions when he releases new material are heralded as “major” publishing “events.” What he has to say matters, you plebian rube.

Except when it doesn’t. Welcome to Off Season.

Please understand I’m not taking a deliberate “too cool for school” pose here — I’ve enjoyed some of Sturm’s previous stuff, but that was long before he started getting high off the ink of his own press clippings. I still maintain that The Cereal Killings was his finest hour (even if he did crib the ending from Alan Moore, it was an ending that Moore himself had cribbed from Robert Mayer, so — karma and shit, right?), but some of his explorations…

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Weekly Reading Round-Up : 02/03/2019 – 02/07/2019, Four Firsts


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It feels like it’s been awhile since we looked at “Wednesday Warrior” stuff in our Weekly Reading Round-Up, but given that I sampled four new series this past week, now’s probably as good a time as any to steer the focus of this column to the LCS new release racks —

The Girl In The Bay #1 is another “something old, something new” creative team combination of the sort Karen Berger and her protege, Shelly Bond, throw together for their imprints. Dark Horse’s Berger Books line is the imprint in question this time out, and the team is veteran (and consistently undervalued) scribe J.M. DeMatteis and relative “newbie” artist Corin Howell. The premise is intriguing — “hippie chick” gets murdered in 1969, comes back to life 30 minutes later, finds it’s 2019, and  that she didn’t actually die at all but is living out a fairly picturesque dotage in the…

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4 Shots From 4 Albert Finney Films: Saturday Night Sunday Morning, Scrooge, Miller’s Crossing, Skyfall


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Yesterday, we lost another great actor when Albert Finney passed away at the age of 82.

It seems strangely appropriate that Finney’s final film was the James Bond extravaganza, Skyfall.  While Finney himself never played the world’s greatest secret agent, he was still definitely a part of the same British invasion that made 007 a worldwide phenomena.

Albert Finney got his start appearing on the British stage and it was the stage that remained his self-confessed first love.  He started his film career by playing angry young men in gritty films like The Entertainer and Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.  However,it was his starring role as a debauched 18th century adventurer in Tom Jones that made him a star.  (Before being cast as Tom Jones, Finney came close to securing the lead role in Lawrence of Arabia.  That role, of course, was played by another young British stage actor, Peter O’Toole.)

Because his focus was mostly on the stage, Finney did not appear in as many films as some of his contemporaries.  When Finney did appear in the movies, it was often as a character actor as opposed to a traditional leading man.  He played larger-than-life characters but he did so in such a way that, regardless of how flamboyant they may have been, they still felt real.  He could play Scrooge and Hercule Poirot just as easily as he could play Tom Jones or a small town lawyer in Erin Brockovich.  Even in his old age, Finney’s acting instincts remained strong.  Just watch him in Big Fish or Before The Devil Knows Your Dead.  Just watch him in Skyfall, giving off a gruff “Welcome to Scotland” after gunning down the assassins that have come for Bond and M.

So, in honor of Albert Finney, it’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 Albert Finney Films

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960,dir by Karel Reisz)

Scrooge (1970, dir by Ronald Neame)

Miller’s Crossing (1990, dir by the Coen Brothers)

Skyfall (2012, dir by Sam Mendes)

Albert Finney, RIP.

The Auteur Theory Of Licensed Toy Comics In Action : Michel Fiffe’s “G.I. Joe : Sierra Muerte” #1


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

In point of fact, this is probably the sort of comic that I’m predisposed to dislike : it’s not just that I don’t give much of a shit about G.I. Joe and didn’t even when I was at the age where I was supposed to, it’s that exercises soaked in nostalgia don’t appeal to me as a general rule of thumb, and that there’s quite likely no one and nothing appearing on these pages that I’d have any sort of mental or emotional investment in. No offense to anyone who either dug this stuff when they were 12 or who may dig it even still today, but some books simply aren’t this critic’s cup of tea, and by all rights, this should be one of ’em.

But you know what? I said the exact same thing about Bloodstrike : Brutalists, and Michel Fiffe made me glad I stepped out…

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DeForge-ing Ahead : “Brat”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s “YouTube stars.” The idea that sub-moronic loudmouths such as Pewdiepie and Logan Paul have made small (or maybe not-so-small) fortunes by broadcasting a whole lotta nothing from their living rooms makes even the most vacuous “famous for being famous” celebrities, such as the Kardashians, seem like legit talents in comparison.

Which, for the record, they’re not, but damn — that’s where we are today. But in his latest Koyama Press graphic novel, Brat, Michael DeForge — not so long ago hailed as something of a “phenom” himself, though certainly not without justification — asks a question that, at least to my knowledge, no one has in an any sustained, thoughtful manner to date : what happens when these social media celebrities get older?

Notice I don’t say “grow up,” because his uber-narcissistic protagonist, former juvenile delinquent Ms. D, has no…

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