CBMFP 252: Mellow Your Sweetness

There's so little news this week that it's not even worth teasing. We didn't acknowledge Batman day either because it's stupid. We did talk about "Tactical Batman" and Jim Gordan's reveal in Justice League the movie. Also, the Superhero Beat Down featuring two Valiant characters has us excited. Probably the only real news is Sonny Liew breaking down how much it costs to make a comic and live off of grants which is pretty damn interesting. Books reviewed on this episode:

Previously on the CBMFP...

Review: Superf*ckers Forever #1

I’m not going to lie to you all, the name of this book alone made me want to review it.  I had no inkling of its existence before picking it to review and of course from the title I was expecting a complete re-imagining of Shakespeare’s literary works in illustrated form…. Nah, just messing with you! This book is crazy, like nuts, some might say it’s bananas even, but if it is then these are some seriously demented, deformed extra-dimensional bananas!  The byline for the book is that these guys do “everything BUT solve crime.”  Err yep!  From page one I had no clue what was going on and I began to wonder if this is what it felt like to take LSD or shrooms…

Superfckers_01-CoverOne of the gang is stuck in some time bubble with her boyfriend who apparently can remake space and time.  The other is searching for his lost vagina to put his wieners in.  Oh, and thrown in for good measure: there’s a swear jar that imprisons the last person to utter a curse word?!  It’s all rather random, positively crazy, and deliberately hilarious.  DO NOT even try and take this book seriously, you will fail, it will draw you into it’s bright, colourful little world and knock that frown off your face!

The jovial tone is reflected in the artwork too, it’s, shall we say, rather basic.  It rather reminds me of the Mr. Men books actually (please let someone understand that reference or I will feel very old indeed).  But this is not a book to give your children, oh no, no!  If one needed further proof that comics are not just for kids these days then read Superf*ckers Forever!  The colours are so ostentatiously bright they will give you headaches and make your eyes bleed, all while laughing your arse off.  Sure the humour doesn’t always work but that doesn’t really matter.  Though it should be pointed out that humour is really all this book has going for it, so if that fails to hit the mark in later issues, there would be little reason to pick it up.

Do not read this book if you want a cerebral storyline, richly laden with conspiracy, intrigue and Game of Thrones like battles.  And don’t hold out on future issues being like that either, they won’t be.  However, if you want a bit of a giggle with some gratuitous language in a book that dares to be provocative then give Superf*ckers Forever a look.  If I may offer a suggestion though, read it in a secluded place!  This is not one to be flicking through on the bus people.  You have been warned.

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Superf*ckers Forever #1 Writer: James Kochalka Artist: James Kochalka and Jake Lawrence Publisher: Top Shelf / IDW Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital


Review: Bacchus Omnibus Vol. 2

Unlike single-issue floppies or trades, omnibuses present an interesting challenge for the reviewer. Most of you reading this, if you are anything like me, aren’t looking for a review of the content of the book. You already know what’s inside. You’re looking for an excuse to spend what is a large amount of money on a collection of stories you love. And depending on what you’re looking for in your omnibus, you’ll either find this book perfect or a little lacking. IDW/Top Shelf has done a great service to all Eddie Campbell fans by creating this book. While I have only read the digital copy of Volume 2, I’m going to assume it is the same quality as Volume 1. You’re going to be buying a brick sized paperback with a decent cover. In addition to the stories about Bacchus, Joe Theseus, The Eyeball Kid and others, there will be a little essay penned by Campbell about each of the stories. They're short, only a page at most, but insightful. Each one a quick look into the mind of the greats of the medium.

Bacchus_Omni_v2-CoverAs for the downsides of the book, there aren’t many. While I would have liked a little more extra content and maybe a cover gallery, for the price I really can’t complain. In one of the essays, Campbell states that there is at least one out of continuity story that isn’t included in the omnibus, and while it would have been nice to have, the experience of reading this book from start to finish is something special, a out of continuity piece would ruin some of that presentation. Plus, there is well over 500 pages of content here, printed in a way that presents Campbell’s crosshatching loose lines in a way that makes them clear, but never dampens their rugged charm.

I do have to say that this omnibus isn’t essential for every Bacchus fan. If you’ve managed to collect all of the trades already I don’t see why you would buy this book. When lined up on my shelf, I happen to prefer the look of omnibuses over trades, but if you’re just looking for new content, I would pass on this one. This is a great buy for someone who loved the Bacchus books in the past but has yet to collect the issues or someone who has read a few Bacchus stories and is looking for more.

Do you feel better now? Is that enough justification to buy this book? Or are you grateful you read my piece before you pulled the trigger? Either way, I think these volumes are a reason to celebrate for any Bacchus fan. I hope they will bring more people to Bacchus and Campbell’s work in general. Everyone can all do with a little more revelry in their lives.


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Bacchus Omnibus Vol. 2 Writer: Eddie Campbell Artist: Eddie Campbell Publisher: IDW/Top Shelf Price: 39.99 Format: Omnibus; Print/Digital


Review: The Underwater Welder

I first read The Underwater Welder during its initial run in 2012. Since then, whenever I passed it on my bookshelf I would remember what Damon Lindelof wrote in his introduction. He called the story, “the most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced.” So when I saw it up for review last week, I took it as an opportunity to find out if my memory matched what was on the page. IDW’s new edition doesn’t add anything new to the book, nor does it need to, this book is as eerie and beautiful as I remember it. The story centers around Jack Joseph, age 33, who, on the cusp of fatherhood, begins to see strange things as he works as an underwater welder off the coast of Tiggs Bay, Nova Scotia. What happens next is a strange tale about love, responsibility, memory, and family. Jeff Lemire has created a fantastic cast of characters, each of whom feel genuine and governed by real fears and emotions. This is a mind opener of a comic, one of those rare pieces in the vein of Daytripper or I Kill Giants that reminds readers how much can be explored through the medium. It infuses a bit of fantasy into an otherwise normal reality.

UnderwaterWelder-CoverBlack and white and issued in a single volume, this work epitomizes the writer/artist comic. The panel layouts are subtle, relying on size, placement, and tone to tell the story. The key is in the small details in between panels, the relationship from panel to panel and the exchange from page to page. The style of page design and panel layout is something you will rarely see in a two person creative team. Not that I don’t have my favorite creative teams, but when you see something of this caliber, you can’t help but feel like the creator just sat down and wrote the comic in one sitting. It feels that organic and natural.

As for the art in between the panels, Lemire’s pencils and inks are brilliant, albeit, if all you read is superhero comics, it will take a little time to adjust to his style. Sketchy and more free form than most, he still retains a great sense of setting and facial expression. For instance, more than a few of the dramatic scenes in the story take place underwater. I’m convinced Lemire created this book just so he could draw these murky scenes. His loose lines create an eerie atmosphere, making the protagonist’s time below the sea mysterious and surreal. His style is a unique gift to those looking to get away from the “house styles” that seem to be becoming more and more prominent on the stands.

I think it’s fitting that I write this review upon my second reading of this book. The story deals with the concept of memory and how our perception of events can have a dramatic impact on our lives. It reminds that sometimes you might not like what you see when you glimpse into your past, but what you can learn when you look back is always worth the struggle.

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The Underwater Welder Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist: Jeff Lemire Publisher: IDW/Top Shelf Price: $29.99 Format: Hardcover; Print/Digital