Thoughts About Stuff – Wanting to Do Everything

Ever felt like you’ve fallen behind on all the TV shows, video games and/or comics?   In my case, I’ve been rewatching the Dragon Ball Z series on blu-ray.  At the same time, I bought Metal Gear Solid V because I had to play it.  Before that I bought Arkham Knight and still haven’t finished it.  To add to the list, there are several shows on Netflix and Amazon that I’ve wanted to watch.

DBZ or MGS V today?
DBZ or MGS V today?

Sometimes. we just get caught up in trying to do a lot and not having enough time to do so.  There’s finding time for a social life alongside working to pay bills.  In my view, it’s rather difficult to binge hours on end while sacrificing sleep. That’s the part about growing up that you’re not taught in school.

fBkcjeL

Of course, not everyone is the same and I’m sure many of our readers don’t have an issue with falling behind.  For the rest of us. I think it’s very hard to stop ourselves from adding to our “To Do” list.  My advice is to stop while you’re ahead.  The next season of DBZ can wait.  Sure that Steam sale looks enticing but take a second look at what’s waiting to be played.  Why not take a break and tackle that video game for the next few days?  Or if your days are pretty booked up, just pick a day to stay in and catch up on your list.

thumbs-up-gif

Sometimes it may feel like a never ending battle to check off items on your list because of all the new content being released out there.  In my opinion, take the time to enjoy the content you already have because there’s a reason you added it to your list.

Any thoughts on how to effectively go through a “To Do” list?

Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

3 Hardships for Modern Comic Book Readers

When you pick up a hobby (read: undertaking) like reading current comic books, you are immediately engaged in a medium so separate from television, from movies, and from the norm. Discovering new genres, new characters and worlds, and finding tastes among writers and artists is akin to experiencing new music and reaching deeper into your own soul. As with most hobbies, however, there are shortcomings of the business, the medium, and the nature of the readers that culminate into tragedies only comic book readers can understand.

Realizing the Universe is too big to comprehend

One of the great things about DC’s relaunch with The New52 back in 2011 was the immediacy and ease of access for readers who lack familiarity with the characters. Characters with extensive history such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, alongside lesser-known heroes such as Aquaman, Catwoman, and Batgirl, were given new titles with new writers and artists to take them to a new audience. However, once universe-wide events began, there were a lot of new factors that made understanding your new book just that much more difficult. Events like Trinity War, Forever Evil, and The Culling can work against the reader; instead of being intrigued by the introduction of too many characters, you are overwhelmed with the lack of diversity or importance of all the characters. It becomes off-putting when a book you enjoy becomes dependent on you understanding every character the company has ever made. Sure, you could just be up to date and read every title in existence, every week, on time, but does that give you the opportunity enjoy a universe more or does it simply become a chore just to understand what’s going on with the characters you have invested in?

FOREVER_EVIL_1
Can you name everyone here? If not, then you may not know what was going on for DC in 2013. Image from Forever Evil #1

Understanding what creative differences mean

There are so many great comic book teams at work creating your favorite stories right this moment. Occasionally, they will jump together to new projects. Teams like Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Scott Snyder and Jock, and Rick Remender and Greg Toccini have taken their success from Marvel and/or DC to smaller publications to tell new and engaging stories outside of the superhero genre. However, some teams don’t match up or, more often, teams disagree with publishers on where the books should be heading.. This can lead to books ending prematurely, or one person leaving the team, leaving someone to jump in and scramble to make a finished product (read: meet deadlines). This can severely hurt a book that is wavering and the readers will take not. A book like 2014’s She-Hulk suffered from a shift in artist change, while the Marvel event AXIS, which was the finale of Uncanny Avengers, failed to hit well with readers because of Marvel’s upcoming company-wide relaunch. Books can be considered successful or not based on a multitude of reasons, but when the forces behind the project are not on the same page, it hurts everyone.

A bit ambitious and unfortunately, the achilles heel of Uncanny Avengers. Cover to AXIS #2
A bit ambitious and unfortunately, the achilles heel of Uncanny Avengers. Cover to AXIS #2

Series take hiatus/are suspect to bizarre scheduling

This is what can truly can a reader’s soul. Let’s look at Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja. An Eisner award-winning, witty, simple, yet powerful book that helped shine a spotlight on the Avengers’ least powerful teammate. Here’s a panel from the first page.

hawkeye01

 

Fantastic writing, great coloring, unique style in art, and an accessible introduction, Hawkeye was set to break new ground every issue. And it did until it didn’t. Here’s a look at Hawkeye’s release schedule from start to finish.

 

  1. August 01, 2012
  2. September 05, 2012
  3. October 17, 2012
  4. November 21, 2012
  5. December 05, 2012
  6. December 19, 2012
  7. January 30, 2013
  8. February 27, 2013
  9. April 10, 2013
  10. May 01, 2013
  11. June 26, 2013
  12. July 10, 2013
  13. October 16, 2013
  14. November 27, 2013
  15. January 22, 2014
  16. February 26, 2014
  17. March 12, 2014
  18. March 26, 2014
  19. July 30, 2014
  20. September 10, 2014
  21. February 04, 2015
  22. July 15, 2015

Hawkeye, a monthly released book, just finished its 22 issue run last month, meaning it took the book an extra year to do what every other book in Marvel’s publication line has done. What this tells the readers of the book is that the writer and artist have not been able to complete the project. The gaps dishearten readers who worry about the book’s longevity as a whole. It disheartens people who pick up the books as trade paperback collections, because they wait even longer for these books to release as a whole. Don’t think I am solely picking on Marvel; this happens on multiple books across publishers, big and small. While there are numerous factors that cause these delays, the readers ultimately suffer and this is never good. The equivalent of this situation is having a television show airing once a week and then shifting the show to premiere new episodes once every 3 months. It is unheard of and ultimately leads to cancellation.

Is the struggle too real? What has been hard about getting into comics for you, the Swole Patrol? Let us know what has been your comic book struggle in the comments below or sound off on the official NerdSwole Facebook and Twitter pages!

Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com for more information!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Character Spotlight: Parker

There’s only so many heroes in the world; sometimes you need a renegade to get down and dirty for the ultimate good. When it comes down to it, these guys aren’t the most upstanding citizens, but their bad choices lead to new lives.

Parker (Richard Stark’s Parker)

tumblr_krdoxo9yit1qzvhk6o1_1280

When you look back on entertainment in the early 60s, one can’t help think of espionage and the enticing life of the agent. Paved by Cold War tension, the fictional super spy was born, with James Bond embodying this idea in his every incarnation. However, for every rogue agent that works within an organization to get things done, there’s also one who’s been betrayed by everything he’s ever known. Enter Parker, a perversion of the classy 60s gentleman. W

Written by Richard Stark, Parker is a criminal with the expertise of every class act and without the decency of a human being. Parker has pulled of intricate heists, is capable with almost any firearm, conditioned for hand-to-hand combat, and has a dedication to his reputation. With nothing left in his life, Parker holds no remorse for his actions. Never get on his bad side and do exactly as he says; otherwise, you’ll end up like the guy in the last panel below.wpid-photo-02-01-2013-103

 

Parker knows he is a criminal, engaging in major robbery operations to support his bachelor lifestyle. Hotel suites, beautiful views, and the company of a lovely woman is what Parker worked for. Parker had a system that kept his operations in the shadows, his circles small, and his methods clean. His partner took him on an operation outside the states that seemed sketchy, and Parker was betrayed once the gig was finished. Parker was left to die after being lied to by his associate and his wife.  Once he returned to the states, Parker found his wife overdosed and a secret organization called The Outfit behind all of his misfortune. Parker even changed his face to avoid detection from those who want him dead. Parker is cold, methodical, and menacing, with most guys pinning him to his giant hands that crave strangling.

stegman

In case you didn’t pick it up, the talented Darwyn Cooke is responsible for bringing Parker’s long path to revenge to life. Originally printed in novel format by Richard Stark, Darwyn Cooke adapted the story for the comic book medium. Using a minimal palate, Cooke’s bold lines and use of 60’s design bring each chapter of this book to life.

Grab yourself a copy at your local comic book shop or book store! There’s four chapters of beautiful Parker action to enjoy, starting with Parker Book One: The Hunter!

There’s plenty of great books, movies, shows, and games that we all love and character spotlight is going to be a new category where we talk about some of the people who make fiction so memorable and iconic. If you’d like to see some of your favorites in a feature, sound off in the comments below or lets us know via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

 

Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com for more information!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

5 Reasons Why The Umbrella Academy TV Show Will be Amazing

Umbrella Academy art

About a month ago, a deal was announced between comic book publisher Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions which will allow the two companies to turn some existing comics/graphic novels into television shows (as well as produce original content).  One of the four projects chosen was The Umbrella Academy.

The Umbrella Academy is a comic book series written by Gerard Way (yes, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance) and the art is done by Gabriel Bá (Daytripper, De: Tales, Ursula). It currently has two volumes: The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas.

Bá and Way at Comic Con.
Bá (left) and Way (right) at Comic Con.

I recently read both volumes, and I’m pretty late in getting around to it as the Apocalypse Suite was originally released back in 2008 and Dallas came out in 2009. Since I’ll be writing Start to Finish articles about the volumes separately soon, here’s a brief synopsis:

Women around the world all had babies the same night, without knowing they were pregnant, and these babies all were born with special abilities. One man in particular adopted as many of the children as he could — 7 — and formed the Umbrella Academy. Each of the 7 have very intriguing “superhero” abilities, and together they can fight evil. However, by adulthood the team has disbanded until years later when their father passes away and they are reunited.

Normally, I get really tied and attached to my books/comics/graphic novels and would hate to see them on screen format. And I think if this were being released as a movie (which was talked about a few years ago), I’d be bummed about it. But I think this show could actually be produced into a pretty incredible television series, and here are my thoughts about why:

Fans would finally get some new material.

Fans have been a bit disappointed I think, because new content hasn’t been released in quite some time. Way has an active music career, and Gabriel Bá is working on multiple projects. In 2013 it was announced volume 3 and 4 would be released the following year, with no new issues actually getting released. A couple months ago, Way tweeted that he was still working on volume 3, but with no other information or hints about release dates. A television series could bring some excitement back to fans who can see their favorite characters come to life on the screen.

Enhanced musical and sound experience.

The white violin

The first volume of the series, musically, would come across beautifully on screen as it would have the added benefit of sound. If you’ve read the series you know the violin and orchestra play a pivotal role in the plot, and I can especially picture that last scene with Vanya and very haunting, fast-paced music spotlighting that section. I’d love to watch and hear that happen.

Merchandise galore!

Umbrella Academy Funko Pops? Pogo plushie? Posters? More affordable action figures? I know I want a Funko Pop of #5 on my shelf. If the show got popular, I’m sure that would mean a ton of new merchandise would be released.

Exploration of character relationships and side-stories.

There’s a lot going on in the Umbrella Academy comics. There are 6 main characters, Pogo, multiple villians (remember Cha Cha and Hazel?), family members… sometimes it’s hard to fit relationship building into one volume when you have a plot to follow along with all those characters. Television series move faster typically, and I feel like they’d have more filler time for side conversations and development between the characters. We’d get a new take on them as individuals, maybe more insight into their past, and see new relationships form that may not even exist in the comics.

An increased fan base.

While some people might argue against this, I’d love to see the fan base grow even more for this series. There are a bunch of perks with that. If people saw the television series, it might encourage them to actually pick up the books and read. In which case Gabriel Bá (and Gerard Way) could get more attention (and as you know, he’s one of my favorite artists/writers and I’m constantly trying to convince people to read his work). Also, that means more money and inspiration to the creators in general and possibly further encouragement for them to continue this series.

Look at Game of Thrones – before the series, the fan base was only a small portion of what it is now. But now it’s constantly featured at cons, people get to watch panels and discussions about the show and books, George R.R. Martin MAY be writing at a faster pace than if the show didn’t exist (ha), and there’s an influx of merchandise. It’d be cool to watch this happen to The Umbrella Academy.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to see this entire scene on TV?!

Number 5 in Dallas
Number 5’s destruction in Dallas.

I’m obsessed with #5 by the way, so I’m definitely pro seeing his wit, wisdom, and sarcasm. If it were animated I’m sure they could find the perfect voice actor for the role.

Overall, I think The Umbrella Academy is one the best choices for comic books going to TV. I’m basing my decision off a HUGE assumption that the show would be animated. Although it would be cool to see a non-animated take on this, I feel like it would be very tough, very expensive, and a significant amount of overlayed CGI. Also, my hope is a TV show would also reignite the comic book series.

We’d love to hear your opinions on The Umbrella Academy as a TV show! Who would you cast? Which scenes would you be most excited for? Are you not excited at all? Let us know your thoughts!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates!

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest! Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

3 Graphic Novels that Came Out in July

Maybe you’ve always wanted to read graphic novels and comics, but something’s holding you back. Too much back story, time investment, trying to catch up from years and years of plot build up. Or maybe you like to finish things in one sitting and not have to think about the next release date. That’s how I felt about comics and graphic novels until last year when I started reading standalone graphic novels.

In previous Start to Finish posts, we’ve checked out DaytripperDe:TalesSeconds, and June Graphic Novel Releases (among a bunch of others – check out all the articles here!). With July 2015 behind us, I wanted to highlight some of the graphic novels that came out last month. I haven’t gotten a chance to read them yet, but they look promising and early reviews are positive!

High Crimes

High Crimes Graphic Novel

Date Released: July 21

Zan Jensen is an Olympic snowboarder. She’s also a grave robber. So when a dead body turns up at the top of Mount Everest, Zan immediately sprints to the top of the mountain to get it. The twist: this isn’t just an ordinary dead body, it’s a body that comes with a ton of governmental secrets attached. So not only is Zan on a deadly trek to the top, she also has to avoid the government as they are trying to get to the body first.

You can grab this book by Christopher Sebola (Alien vs Predator, Ghost) on Amazon for $12, or check out the first 10 pages or so in the Amazon preview. I’m not sure the art style is my type, but the story sounds so interesting that I’ll probably pick it up at some point.

CMYK

CMYK Graphic Novel

Date Released: July 28

CMYK was released quarterly (one for each color); this is the trade that collects the four issues and publishes them into one book. It’s written by Fábio Moon (Daytripper, De: Tales), Shaun Simon (The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys), Amy Chu (Sensation Comics Wonder Woman), and others. It’s an anthology of dozens of writers’ and artists’ work, including Gerard Way (Umbrella Academy), Jock (Judge Dredd), and Bill Sienkiewicz (The New Mutants, Elektra: Assassin). It’s titled based on the four colors in which comic books are formed: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Here’s what to expect: a large array of short stories that all cover very different topics. They don’t all go together or have one theme. The interesting thing is you get to see so many different writers and artists covering multiple topics such as death, birth, transgender identities, and so on. There’s a solid separation between each color in which the stories are featured – the colors and styles are reflective of the color section they are a part of. You’ll probably get a large sample of some artists and writers you haven’t heard of yet, so if you’re looking to expand you’re reading material this could be a good place to start.

I heard about this one a while back because, as you may know, I’m a huge Fábio Moon fan. He’s mentioned on social media that he has four short stories featured in the anthology: one for each color. He’s also said that all four of his stories are connected.

I just bought this one on Amazon, so expect a Start to Finish article on it later this month.

Long Walk to Valhalla

Long Walk to Valhalla Cover

Date Released: July 21

Rory’s life isn’t going so well. His girlfriend left him and got married to his best friend. His dad is an alcoholic. His mom isn’t really around. Now, his car is broken down. But while he’s stuck on the side of the road, a young girl comes to take Rory to Valhalla – sent by a Norse god. It’s Rory’s last day to live. But before he goes, Sylvia and Rory go back through all of Rory’s childhood but from a different point of view: Rory’s older brother, Joe.

I can’t find much about this book online. But my early interpretation is it will be a very emotional tale. I’m assuming there are mysteries, secrets, or just a lot of pain from Rory’s childhood that will surface – things he doesn’t remember or was too young to understand, but his older brother could. Before Rory dies, I think he’ll have a whole new take on his life.

I don’t know anything about Adam Smith (the writer of this graphic novel) or Matthew Fox (illustrator), but the cover looks cool enough and the story is intriguing. I found some samples of the pages online and it looks like it’s only three colors: black, white, and blue. The art actually looks pretty stunning. Wish there were a cheaper paperback version, but I might cave and purchase the $20 hardcover and hope the story is as good as I’m expecting.


July was a great month for newly released graphic novels. A few others I came across but didn’t feature: In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way, Awkward, Wytches Vol. 1, and The Divine.

Do any of these sound like they’re worth reading? Have you already read one of them, and if so, did you like/dislike it? Let us know your thoughts, and we will be posting any reviews of the ones we read!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates!

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest! Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Start to Finish: Ursula

Unfamiliar with what exactly a Start to Finish article is? Check out our first one for a better idea!

Sometimes, when you really, really like an artist’s or author’s work, you’ll find yourself digging through the depths of the internet searching for more. Searching for work that wasn’t ever released, was self-published, or just lesser-known works from his or her earlier years.

And then you come across something you haven’t read yet.

Maybe it’s 5 times more than its original sale price. Maybe it’s not in the best condition. Maybe it’s not even that great. But you have to know. You have to have it.

Well, I recently was searching for Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon on Goodreads. I found something I hadn’t heard of – a graphic novel called Ursula. It had insanely high reviews, a lovely and whimsical description, and I needed it. Luckily it was on Amazon. It was selling for over $30 for a slightly used, paperback version of the 72-page book that was originally sold for $9.95 and that was the cheapest. Added to cart. Purchased. Score.

Ursula Cover

Ursula was published in 2004 by Brazilian twin brothers Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon (if you keep up with my Start to Finish articles, you should know these two by now!). It’s a love story about two kids – Ursula and Miro – who fall in love during their childhood but Ursula has to leave suddenly (and rather mysteriously) when she turns 11. Later in life, when Miro’s father urges him to get married, he decides the only one he wants to marry is his childhood love and he goes to find her.  It turns into a fairy tale – literally – as Miro finds out there’s something keeping him and Ursula apart. And he has to solve it. Bonus: there’s also a talking bird named Pip, and he’s pretty cool.

This graphic novel was unique in a lot of ways. I loved that it was self-published: this is 100% Bá and Moon’s work, their ideas, their art. I’ve never had a complaint about their art, and even in 2004 it’s still stunning. There’s one page in particular Fábio drew of a dragon, and I stared at that dragon for quite some time because of how well done it was. Pip was adorable (and he happens to be the same bird they drew on the inside covers of De: Tales at their SDCC book signing this year). The way the book flows is unique too: most graphic novels I’ve read recently are choppy, jump around a lot, try too hard. This one is simple, flows smoothly, and each section begins with a quote from Guimarães Rosa (another Brazilian author). The quotes mesh so well with the story, most about love, and it’s a really beautiful way to intertwine this story.

Dragon from Ursula
Fabio Moon’s dragon from Ursula.

There’s also a short, couple-page appearance of Bá and Moon at the start of the novel – a few pages of themselves talking about a story they want to create (presumably a conversation they had when originally starting to create Ursula). I love that they interject themselves into their work sometimes, just like in a couple of the short stories in De: Tales.

A couple things to note:

This graphic novel doesn’t get published anymore, and it hasn’t for years. That’s why the price is steeper but there are still copies available out there! If you’re interested, check Amazon and eBay.

When I first received the graphic novel in the mail, I was a little disappointed by its size. I was so excited to read it and I didn’t want it to be a quick read. But its 72 pages aren’t stuffed with filler: there’s quite a bit of text, the panels are smaller than I expected, and it took me longer to read than expected. So although it’s a short read in pages, it’s not a disappointing short read by any means and you can take your time reading it and still be satisfied with its length and plot.

Definitely check out Bá’s and Moon’s other work. In my last Start to Finish article, I talked about De: Tales. I really enjoyed the first short story in De: Tales, which had a character named Ursula as well as Pip the talking bird – the same characters in Ursula! Also, Ursula has become my second favorite graphic novel of all time – only preceded by Daytripper (also written by the brothers).

When these two brothers collaborate, I feel like they create true masterpieces. I hope in the future they publish more copies of Ursula and it gets a wider release, because it definitely deserves more attention.

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and PinterestContact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Start to Finish – De: Tales

Unfamiliar with what exactly a Start to Finish article is? Check out our first one for a better idea!

Earlier this week, the Nerd Swole guys got back from San Diego Comic Con and founder/writer Brian Le hooked me up with a signed copy of De: Tales. De: Tales is 112-page collection of short stories written by Brazilian twin brothers, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. Names sound familiar? Maybe it’s because they are the two authors of Daytripper, the critically-acclaimed graphic novel which inspired the Start to Finish column!

The Brothers

Bá and Moon

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Bá and Moon. They by far have my favorite inking style that I’ve seen and their art is always incredible. They often work together, switching off between art and writing in their works, but they’ve each worked separately on different projects as well. They’ve been writing and drawing comics for 15 years. Some of their notable works they’ve written or done art for include Daytripper (both), The Umbrella Academy (Bá), and Casanova (both). They also have a new graphic novel, Two Brothers, which will be released in October (you can preorder on Amazon now, I already did!).

The Book

De: Tales cover

De: Tales was written in their earlier years – some of the art in the short stories is dated and spans throughout the early 2000s – but it was published in 2006. It’s a drastic contrast between the art in Daytripper because I think their styles were much different in the early 2000s versus now, and it’s cool to see how they’ve developed over the years. It includes 12 short stories of varied length. The longest is 24 pages while the shortest one is just one page, front and back, interestingly enough.

I loved everything about this collection. A few of the stories, particularly El Camino, Estrella, and Qu’est-Ce Que C’est, stuck out the most but I enjoyed all 12 of the stories. Two of them – Estrella and Outras Palavras – had no words or dialogue at all and I was amazed that I fully understood what Bá and Moon were trying to convey without words. I suppose that says a lot for their art and how it can stand on its own. El Camino, the opening story, was really thought provoking and philosophical and left me with a similar feeling I had with Daytripper at the end.  Qu’est-Ce Que C’est is on my list of favorites because it’s actually directly about an experience that Bá and Moon had in Paris – and being my favorite graphic novel writers, I loved having a small view of one of their personal experiences.

A couple of the other stories involve the brothers in some way, and I expect that the majority of them do stem from experiences they’ve had. A lot of these stories are simple and involve everyday things that happen: meeting someone in a bar or on the street, waking up next to someone you don’t really feel anything for, missing out on opportunities by not taking chances. But Bá and Moon turn such simple experiences into extremely thought provoking pieces by throwing in the “what-ifs,” internal dialogue, and a little confusion in some places to leave readers thinking about the “endings” of these stories in terms of their own experiences in a sense.

Being short stories, none of them really have a definite ending – but that’s not what they are meant to be. They are meant to be a chunk of the whole story, where you fill in the end for yourself. Your take on some of these stories could be the complete opposite of my take on them, and that’s the remarkable thing about Bá and Moon’s work here.

I’ll finish by saying any time I read something by these two, I’m left feeling inspired for days. And I hope other people pick De: Tales up, along with Daytripper or any of their other works, and are left with the same feelings I have. Also, check out this video of Bá inking a page for their new book, Two Brothers, to see his inking style!

If you want to talk about any of these short stories or the brothers in general, let’s do it – contact me!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and PinterestContact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Start to Finish: Goners

Unfamiliar with what exactly a Start to Finish article is? Check out our first one for a better idea! This time around, I’m writing about a graphic novel release I previously mentioned in my May graphic novel releases article Goners. I was pretty excited for this one.

Goners comic cover

Goners is an ongoing comic book series written by Jacob Semahn (Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble) and illustrated by Jorge Corona (Teen Titans Go!). I’m writing a Start to Finish article about it because volume 1 was released — a 168-page collection of the first 6 issues — back in May.

Goners is about the famous Latimer family, who have been defending the world from the paranormal for years, and have their own reality show that depicts their endeavors with the paranormal. While working on one of their cases the parents are assassinated while on live television, leaving their kids behind to solve the murder case. Not only do the kids have to deal with supernatural, they have the paparazzi following them around as well, and the pressure of how the world is going to protected without the Latimers around.

When I first read that plot synopsis, I was incredibly excited and instantly went to Amazon to purchase it. I read it as soon as I got it, and here I am — a month later, still puzzled as to why I didn’t like it as much as I had hoped. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, tried rereading some of the chapters I didn’t understand as much, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

It just didn’t make sense.

I’ve reread the most confusing parts, and they still don’t click. I think some would be cleared up in volume 2 (assuming there is one), but other small details were very hard to catch on to and I don’t believe they will ever be settled. In some places, the art got confusing and it was hard to see what happened during some fight scenes which was really unfortunate.

It’s a rough read.

As I mentioned above, a lot of it doesn’t make sense. At first I thought it was my quick reading, but I realized a lot of the connections between issues weren’t established well and I feel like there was a disconnect between art and plot in a few areas. There was a lot of flipping back to previous pages, rereading a whole chapter, and staring at art trying to figure out what exactly was happening. So if you prefer easier, light reads, this isn’t going to be it.

The dialogue came off as too immature.

The two main characters are very young, so it’s expected that the dialogue would come off as young between them. But some of it was just too cheesy – word choice was odd in many places, and in others the dialogue wasn’t developed enough among some of the other characters. For me, dialogue is one of the most important parts while I’m reading and I didn’t particularly like the character interactions in this comic.

The art didn’t match the darker, horror-themed plot as much as I would have hoped.

An example of the art style in Goners.
An example of the art style in Goners.
An example of the art style in Goners.
Another example of the art style in Goners.

The art in itself is great, don’t get me wrong. I really liked the monsters especially. But I think this is where the connection between art and plot comes into play: this was supposed to be (from what I could tell) a very dark and haunting comic. The art was smoother, more cartoony than I would have expected for such a dark plot. I think it lost some of the horror feel it could have had.

So, what did I like?

I’m still a huge fan of the concept for this comic series, and I think it has potential – I’m just not sure if I want to wait around for the potential. I liked one of the main characters: the younger sibling, Josiah. He was one of the most interesting characters and he had some scenes with his late father that were pretty interesting. The other character I thoroughly enjoyed was the children’s bodyguard – a bulky, strong, protective individual who had a lot of personality.

Overall…

I’m starting to get disappointed with the horror comics/graphic novels I’ve been picking up lately (last time I was disappointed about The Wake). Similarly to The Wake, I wanted so badly to love this. Unfortunately I don’t think it hooked me enough to pick up a second volume if it comes out. I read quite a few positive reviews for this one, so if you think it sounds interesting it’s probably worth picking up. But personally it wasn’t for me. I liked the idea of it, but not the work itself.

Let me know what you thought about Goners Volume 1 or your thoughts about Volume 2. Also, if you have any recommendations for great horror graphic novels, send them my way!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Start to Finish: 3 Graphic Novels that Came Out in June

Maybe you’ve always wanted to read graphic novels and comics, but something’s holding you back. Too much back story, time investment, trying to catch up from years and years of plot build up. Or maybe you like to finish things in one sitting and not have to think about the next release date. That’s how I felt about comics and graphic novels until last year when I started reading standalone graphic novels.

In previous Start to Finish posts, we’ve checked out Daytripper, The Wake, Seconds, and May Graphic Novel Releases. With this being the end of June, I wanted to highlight some of the graphic novels that came out this month. I haven’t gotten a chance to pick them up yet, but they look promising and early reviews are positive!

Bodies

Bodies Cover

Date Released: June 16

Bodies was released as an 8-issue miniseries, but recently got released as a full 208-page graphic novel. The unique thing about it is there are four “eras”/years featured: 1890, 1940, 2014, and 2050 and each section of the novel pertaining to that year is illustrated by a different artist. It’s a cool concept, because each era in time is so drastically different and each artist can portray it in a separate light – I’m sure each section is noticeably distinct, which is fitting.

In each featured section, a detective  comes across a tough case where they have found a mysterious body, and they have to solve the case. The years that have already passed have familiar themes – Jack the Ripper, racists rioters, etc. But the 2050 section is set in the times of a techno-apocalypse. Sounds pretty cool.

I like the concept for this one a lot. I’m not sure how it reads (can’t find a preview, haven’t picked up the issues separately or purchased the novel yet) but I read somewhere all of the stories are discussed in each issue, rather than each story having a designated two issues or something. That way it doesn’t feel like four very separate stories – instead they all are converged. I’ve never heard of the author but he’s a British writer and tends to write in the horror genre (which is right up my alley).

Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv

Mike's Place Cover

Date Released: June 9

Another extremely interesting concept: this novel is written by two filmmakers, and it’s a true story about a terrorist attack in at a beachfront bar in Tel Aviv, Israel that happened back in 2003.

This is the perspective of someone who was actually there: Baxter, one of the filmmakers, went to Israel to create a film. While he was in a bar in Israel a bomber blew himself up right in front of the bar, injuring Baxter and more than 60 others and killing three. The graphic novel portrays this event. Early reviews I checked out said it’s detailed, very emotional, and also truthful.

I’m curious to see how this one plays out – I’ve never read a graphic novel created by filmmakers but I feel like it could translate well into art and words. I’m exciting to pick it up.  Just look at the cover — stunning.

The Spectators

The Spectators Graphic Novel Cover

Date Released: June 9

This one is different from what I tend to read, but the description grabbed my attention. This graphic novel is very heavy on the illustrations – a lot less text than what I’m used to. The illustrations are very simple, not a ton of color or sharp lines. It looks more calming, subtle, peaceful. It’s supposed to be more of a philosophical read. It focuses on the idea of people being a spectator of their own lives and worlds – a shadow in the background.

Normally I prefer to read more text-heavy works, but this sounds like it could be beautiful graphically and philosophically. I like reading things that make me think and reflect on my own life, and I feel like this is the type of graphic novel that could provide that.

Do any of these sound like they’re worth reading? Have you already read one of them, and if so, did you like/dislike it? Let us know your thoughts, and we will be posting any reviews of the ones we read!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates!

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest! Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Start to Finish: 3 Graphic Novels that Came Out in May

Goners Cover Art

Maybe you’ve always wanted to read graphic novels and comics, but something’s holding you back. Too much back story, time investment, trying to catch up from years and years of plot build up. Or maybe you like to finish things in one sitting and not have to think about the next release date. That’s how I felt about comics and graphic novels until last year when I started reading standalone graphic novels.

In previous Start to Finish posts, we’ve checked out Daytripper, The Wake, Seconds, and February graphic novel releases. With this being the last day of May, I wanted to highlight some of the graphic novels that came out this month. I haven’t gotten a chance to pick them up yet, but they look promising and early reviews are positive!

Exquisite Corpse

Exquisite Corpse cover

Date Released: May 5 (although released earlier in French, I believe)

I’ll preface this by saying I am not a fan of the art for this graphic novel. Sometimes I like simplistic art, but from the few pages that are visible online, it looks a bit childish to me. But, that’s not to say it isn’t worth reading. It’s a short read at 128 pages and the reviews for it say it’s a fun read too.

Anyway, the story is about a young woman and sales rep worker, Zoe, who eats her lunch everyday outside a famous author’s apartment. Zoe isn’t much of a reader and doesn’t realize the author is famous, and he is shocked to find out she doesn’t know who he is. Apparently the author has a secret and when the two characters become involved, Zoe gets entangled in the conspiracy.

Exquisite Corpse is written by Penelope Bagieu, a French illustrator I’ve never heard of but she’s famous in France and particularly for a comic blog she runs. All of the reviews for Bagieu’s new release say it’s hilarious – so it could be worth checking out.

Wild Blue Yonder

Wild Blue Yonder cover

Date Released: May 5

This was a six issue comic that got bundled together and released this month as a whole graphic novel. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale complete with the standard themes: dwindling population, wars over resources, etc. But it’s also packed with a ton of sci-fi action with most of the plot taking place high up in the skies where people can be safe from the radioactive pollution, filled with flying machines and air pirates. Sounds a little different from the normal post-apocalyptic stories, and I think this story could be pretty unique. At the very least, it seems to have badass characters and some fast paced action. The art looks gorgeous, much more of my style (as compared to the art of the graphic novel discussed above). You can preview the first few pages on Amazon to see for yourself.

Goners, Vol. 1

goners

Date Released: May 12

This is an ongoing comic, but like Wild Blue Yonder, its first six issues are bundled into this paperback collection.

By far, Goners sounds like the most interesting graphic novel I’ve come across in a while and I’m ordering it as soon as I finish typing this. I expect this might be the next thing I review.

The famous Latimers have been defending the world from the paranormal for years, and have their own reality show that depicts their endeavors with the paranormal. While working on one of their cases, the parents are assassinated while on live television, leaving their kids behind to solve the murder case. Not only do the kids have to deal with supernatural, they have the paparazzi following them around as well, and the pressure of how the world is going to protected without the Latimers around.

There’s horror, ghosts, monsters, supernatural elements. Sounds right up my alley and I can’t wait to read it.

Do any of these sound like they’re worth reading? Have you already read one of them, and if so, did you like/dislike it? Let us know your thoughts, and we will be posting any reviews of the ones we read!

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates!

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest! Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.