CBMFP 248: So You Could Stop Ripping Off His Shit

We've got a special treat for you today, Justin Wood! That's right those other two dudes couldn't be here this week, but join Dustin and Justin (ustin's in the house!) as they tackle the new Tick show on Amazon! Moving over to some Spider-Man world news including the casting of MJ, though we saw no controversy with it and completely missed the fact that of course, the internet was shitting their pants over it.  Runaways the TV show heading to Hulu of all places and some video game news about the next Metal Gear game... it sounds pleasant. Books reviewed on this episode:

Previously on the CBMFP...

Review: Warship Jolly Roger Vol. 1

Probably as good a time as any to explain my personal rating criteria here on Bastards. Despite the attempt to standardize grading across the board, every critic approaches rating tiers with different agendas as to how to qualify quality. When I go one star (more often than I'd like this year, but thems the breaks), it's something either without redeeming qualities or where the redeeming qualities are overcome by the titanic ineptitude of the writing or art. Two stars, a book is flawed, not unreadable but made less than purely enjoyable by creative factors. Either there is room to improve or your artist kicked all of the ass for you. Three, a book is enjoyable on a purely entertainment basis, not a wildly good time but I found myself pulled in and it did its duty on all fronts. Four, the book did more than required, telling a story strongly with confident art that merits special recognition of talent. In almost all cases, a book I enjoy will not exceed four stars. Five stars are retained for God Tier books, the kind of story that stays with you long past the end of the year, the kind that gets put in the deep memory banks as the reason you read comics in the first place. For me, the book often usually has to have some sort of depth or artistic ambition that go beyond straight entertainment, books that use the medium ambitiously to tell meaningful stories or push the art form into the future.

Warship Jolly RogerWarship Jolly Roger isn't high art. It's entertainment, of a pretty straight forward variety. Its story has been done before, famously, and this edition doesn't add a whole lot more to the formula. Despite this, and with the preceding clarifications, I couldn't bring myself to give this book less than a five out of five.

A French import first published in 2014, but reprinted and translated by Magnetic Press for an English-speaking audience, Warship Jolly Roger concerns a former general of a vast galactic government, betrayed and sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes most foul, getting involved in a bloody jailbreak and fleeing into the galaxy on the lam with a handful of prisoners with traditionally colorful backgrounds. Collecting the first two bulky chapters of the ongoing series, the first volume is a hefty but brisk read with a grand scope.

While a familiar story, nipping bits and pieces from other works, Warship Jolly Roger is exceptionally tightly crafted, cinematic in the best way possible and with a small tidy cast that fit pre-ordained archetypes, but doesn't fall victim to letting that excuse lazy writing. The story is episodic but keeps a solid central arc that keeps the chapters bound to a driving skeleton, preventing the drifting feeling later chapters of Saga began to result in.

An important feature to the book's story is the 'anti' part of the anti-hero characters. Are you watching Warner Bros.? When you want to tell a story about a rag-tag group of criminals gathered under less than ideal circumstances, this is what it fucking looks like. No soft-shoeing the fact they are criminals, and pretty unpleasant ones at that, this isn't a story of lost souls finding each other and discovering their humanity. These are murderers and torturers each living for whatever personal agenda they feel compelled to pursue. While not trying to constantly scandalize you with their growing rap sheet of sins, they do make it clear early on that none of them can be trusted and that they will do things that are difficult to excuse as a reader. Think a few steps less pleasant than the pilot to Firefly before Fox made Joss clean it up, back when Malcolm Reynolds was comfortable with ventilating teenage stowaways into space. It puts a big time clock on this team's viability as a working unit, waiting for the moment it all goes south and these crazy kids start murdering each other.

Sylvain Runberg keeps a tight ship in the script, but the x-factor that pushed this into the perfect score range for me was Miki Montllo's incredible art. Digitally painted, Montllo's style is reminiscent of early 2000's Disney concept design, recalling to me the expressive stylized look of films like Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet, only planted in a universe of gunmetal and blood. While not familiar with Montllo as a creator, my impression is he has to have a background in concept art, as his art has the gesturally bold and creatively relaxed feel of concept art for film or animation. The environments are detailed and lived-in, minor background characters have remarkable personality, and the action is given an animation that makes you temporarily forget the image is technically static.  Montllo is the kind of artist I would follow on Twitter but unfollow the same day because looking at their output, the sheer head-shaking perfection of certain images, is incredibly depressing to a selfish and jealous artist like myself. Goddamn, if this book doesn't make amazing look easy.

Warship Jolly Roger is perfect pulp sci-fi, a simple story told so strongly and seemingly effortlessly (even though the work put into it is clearly on the page) that you wonder why more people haven't gotten even half as close to this good with so many attempts. It's the R-rated Disney sci-fi adventure film you wish could have gotten made if Columbine and a shaky script hadn't sunk Titan A.E. right out of the gate. I am not overly familiar with how the European comic market works, but my impression is comics in mainland Europe are released in larger volumes that take longer to produce, aiming more for large serialized graphic novels than the rapid production and release of American and Japanese comics. The way this book reads and looks, I can't help but wish American comic readers had the patience for something similar, this story not being so reliant on stop-go cliffhanger hooks and thinly stretched premises to keep publications going. When creators have to justify a slower release scheduled it has to result in something more intentionally crafted, and the result can be amazing. I've been waiting nearly a decade for a new translated chapter of Skydoll, but I'm willing to wait because that comic is masterful.  I'm not a pure-blooded snob, I don't hate pulp and fantasy storytelling, it just sucks so goddamn much of the time that it forces me to read more high-minded material as basic entertainment. Warship Jolly Roger is broad entertainment done not only right, but exceptionally right, a big ass bloody flag planted in the chest cavity of the withered corpse of boring post-apocalypses and sloppy cheeky trash comics that take storytelling and quality nods from modern-day Troma. It's not going to save the world or reinvent the medium, it's just going to tear ass through the galaxy while looking so good it makes me want to never draw again. Five stars. Suck it, art.

[su_box title="Score: 5/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Warship Jolly Roger Vol. 1 Writer: Sylvain Runberg Artist: Miquel Montllo Publisher: Magnetic Press Price: $19.99 Format: Hardcover; Print

[/su_box]

Magnetic Press Adds Five New Titles To Fall Lineup

Due to having a little one running around I'm all about young reader books so it's great for me that Magnetic Press added three of them to their fall lineup. They also add a book by Tony Sandoval who wrote one of my favorite things ever... Doomboy and so I can't wait to read that as well.

From Magnetic Press:

Ahead of San Diego Comic Con 2016, Magnetic Press just announced five new graphic novels to round out their full 2016 Fall/Winter publishing lineup. Hot on the heals of Magnetic Press' unveiling of their new Buño imprint with Ulises Fariñas, this latest round of titles from the rising star independent publisher marks the beginning of their third year as a publisher. 

Among the titles announced are two volumes of LITTLE TALES, a series of nature-focused graphic novels for young readers, created by Federico Bertolucci & Frédéric Brrémaud, the world famous creators of the Eisner-Award nominated LOVE graphic novel series. LITTLE TALES: IN THE FOREST and LITTLE TALES: IN THE JUNGLE will both be released simultaneously in September, 2016.      

Three-time Eisner Award nominee Tony Sandoval returns with a brand new autobiographical graphic novel, RENDEZ-VOUS IN PHOENIX, which recounts his experience smuggling himself across the US/Mexican border to reunite with his girlfriend and "make it" in the American comic book industry.

CENTURION & EMPERADOR, written by world-famous actor & comedian Rob Schneider (Grown Ups, 50 First Dates, The Animal) and his wife Patricia Schneider, and illustrated by world-famous Disney & Dream Works concept designer, Marvel comics artist, Francisco Herrera (Megamind, Spider-Man, Venom).

Another new title comes from world famous artist Enrique Fernández, who brings his lavishly illustrated psychedelic fantasy story BRIGADA, to the publisher. Set in a vibrant magical world, the story follows an infamous Dwarven brigade on their journey to find their way home after being transported to a strange and alien land by a magical myst that acts as an unpredictable gateway between worlds. 

Little Tales in the Forrest

LITTLE TALES is a series of young readers graphic novels created by Eisner Award nominated illustrator Federico Bertolucci, and Frédéric Brrémaud, creators of the world-famous, multi-award winning LOVE series of silent, nature focused graphic novels. 

In each volume of LITTLE TALES, a precocious puppy and an adventure-seeking squirrel named Chipper & Squizzo, set out on a journey to explore new and interesting environments full of fascinating animals curious creatures. 

The first volume in the series is LITTLE TAILS: IN THE FOREST, which finds Chip & Squizzo venturing into a lush forest to visit Squizzo’s family. On their journey, the two animal pals discover and discuss a fantastic variety of bugs, birds, bears, & more!

LITTLE TALES: IN THE JUNGLE will be released simultaneously with LITTLE TALES: IN THE FORREST in September, 2016.  

 Little Tales

The second story in the LITTLE TALES series of young readers graphic novels by Bertolucci & BrrémaudLITTLE TAILS: IN THE JUNGLE follows Chipper & Squizzo as they journey through different jungles around the world, where they’ll find all kinds of things that hunt, bite, and roar! 

LITTLE TALES: IN THE JUNGLE will be released simultaneously with LITTLE TALES: IN THE FORREST in September, 2016. 

Light

The first title to be released by Ulises Fariñas' new Magnetic Press imprint Buño is LIGHT, an original graphic novel written & illustrated by Rob Cham. Light is a silent graphic novel that follows a pair of adventurers from a black & white world as they embark on an epic quest to collect five magic gems of color from deep inside the earth and bring them to the surface to return color to the world. Their perilous journey through torch-lit darknesses takes them to vibrant secret caverns, endless passages, crystal-clear waters, and encounters with strange beasts, dangerous creatures, and mysterious hermits. 

LIGHT will be in stores September, 2016.

 RENDEZ-VOUS IN PHOENIX

An autobiographical account by the three-time Eisner-nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval (Doomboy, A Glance Backward), RENDEZ-VOUS IN PHOENIX recounts his nerve wracking experience smuggling himself across the US-Mexico border as a young man.

Born and raised in Northwestern Mexico, Tony was desperate to come to America in order to be reunited with his American girlfriend, and try to "make it" in the American comic book industry. When multiple lengthy and unfruitful attempts to acquire a Visa began to threaten both his relationship and his artistic career, Tony decided to smuggle himself across the border. Wrought with desperation and longing, Tony embarks faces the heat, dangerous coyotes, barbed wire, and – most daunting – the US border patrol, all in the name of love.  

Includes a forward by Frederick Luis Aldama Distinguished Professor of Arts & Humanities at Ohio State University, and author of Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future, and the Encyclopedia of World Comics: Manga, Anime, Tintin, and More from Around the Globe.

RENDEZ-VOUS IN PHOENIX will be in stores October, 2016.

 CENTURION & EMPERADOR

CENTURION & EMPERADOR marks Magnetic Press' first foray children's book. Written by famous actor-comedian Rob Schneider and his wife Patricia Schneider, and illustrated by star Disney & Marvel illustrator, Francisco Herrera, CENTURION & EMPERADOR is an adorable story about finding your passion and based on the real-life dancing horses of Gamble Ranch.

At the Gamble Ranch, all of the animals have a special talent. All of them for Centurion and Emperor, two baby horses delivered by a couple of confused storks lost in a storm. When the ranch owners decide they’ll grow up to be race horses, Centurion and Emperor do their best to be the best. But what they prove to be best at is quite different from racing… 

CENTURION & EMPERADOR will be in stores October, 2016.

 THE ADVENTURES OF BASIL & MOEBIUS

The fourth and final chapter in the epic THE ADVENTURES OF BASIL & MOEBIUS is written by the legendary fantasy novelist Richard Lee Byers (Forgotten Realms)! The story continuation of the award-winning live action short film starringMalcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) Zachary Levi (Chuck), Ray Park (Star Wars) comes to it's epic conclusion!

In THE FATE OF FOOLS the daring duo of scoundrel thieves follow the mysterious and otherworldly Collector to the wildest corners of both time and space in an attempt to stop an age-old alien plot to destroy the fabric of reality! All of their previous encounters and adventures have been leading to this climactic battle!

ADVENTURES BASIL & MOEBIUS VOL. 4: THE FATE OF FOOLS will be in stores October, 2016.

 BRIGADA

From world famous master-illustrator Enrique Fernández comes BRIGADA, a spectacularly gorgeous and psychedelic series of fantasy graphic novels. Set in a vibrant magical world where a strange and dangerous myst has settled over the land. Anyone who wanders into the myst are transported to different and faraway lands, with no rhyme or reason.  

BRIGADA tells the story of Ivro, Dwarven Captain of a legendary brigade of cold-hearted, cut-throat Dwarven convicts who answer only to him. On the eave of a great battle, Ivro and his brigade are overtaken by the myst, which separates them into small groups, and throws them all into different, strange and alien lands. Now, Ivro and the remaining members of his brigade must wage a new and different war, for their own survival. But where did this myst come from, and what terrible secret lies at its heart? Will Ivro be able to reunite his brigade and lead them to safety while this strange land grows ever stranger... 

BRIGADA will be in stores November, 2016. 

 CLOUDIA & REX

The second Buño title will be CLOUDIA & REX, written by Ulises Fariñas & Eric Freitas and illustrated by Daniel IrizarriCLOUDIA & REX is a lushly rendered supernatural fantasy that follows two girls and their mother who find themselves in the middle of a vast, supernatural exodus. On their journey Cloudia is bestowed the powers of hundreds of different gods, but even those don’t help her come to terms with the death of her father.

CLOUDIA & REX will be in stores December, 2016.