Fighting the Indepdendents, 6/5/19-6/12/19

way_of_the_rat_vol_1_7So here’s my first week of sorting through that big box of independent comics in my closet.  I wasn’t discerning as to what I decided to read–I just picked the comics that were in the front of the box and grabbed the first handful.  Here’s what I read and the verdict for each (in case you don’t remember, that’s Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash)

Help the CBLDF Defend Comics (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund):  The 2016 Free Comic Book Day publication from the CBLDF that has short stories/vingettes about censorship and free speech.  I’ve had a few of these over the years and used them in my sophomore English classes when covering Fahrenheit 451.  It’s solid and true to form for CBLDF’s comics, doesn’t disappoint.  Keep (for possible classroom use).

Dark Horse Comics FCBD 2014 Sampler:  features stories from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Itty Bitty Hellboy, and Juice Squeezers.  Itty Bitty Hellboy was as fun as anyone can expect from Art Balthazar and Franco and the Avatar story was enjoyable even though I never watched the cartoon.  The third feature was forgettable.  Good, but not worth holding onto. Trash.

Darker Image (Image):  A 1993 compilation featuring The Maxx by Sam Kieth, Bloodwulf by Rob Liefeld, and Deathblow by Jim Lee.  The Maxx was the best story of the three, as Kieth’s art is really some of the best I’ve ever seen.  Deathblow is Jim Lee taking on a Frank Miller type of style within the confines of an early Nineties action flick plot.  Bloodwulf is a forgettable Liefeld riff on/satire of Lobo that would actually work if the jokes actually landed (i.e., if Keith Giffen had written it).  Not the nadir of the early Nineties and worth reading, but I’m not interested int he rest of the series.  Trash.

Boris The Bear #3 (Dark Horse):  Speaking of satire/parody, this is an early Dark Horse offering that was both self-aware and fun.  Boris taking on copyright lawyers and Marvel heroes that aren’t quite Marvel heroes with a good sense of humor and really great cartoony art that both gets you interested and contributes to the laughs.  I’m not sure how easy these are to come by, although a quick eBay search shows that this runs around a couple of bucks.  Finishing the series may have to be on my agenda.  Keep.

Comics’ Greatest World: The Machine (Dark Horse):  This ties into Barb Wire and also involves a cyborg, so it’s like a Terminator thing with Pam Anderson in it?  It wasn’t terrible but even a few days later, I had already forgotten it. Trash.

The Way of the Rat #6, 7, 14 (CrossGen):  With the exception of an issue of Sojourn that I had read years ago, I’ve read little to nothing that CrossGen ever published in the early 2000s.  It’s a Chuck Dixon-penned ninja comic that’s penciled by Jeff Johnson and overall really surprised me with how good it was.  Apparently, there are 24 issues in the series, which was cancelled when CrossGen went bankrupt in 2004.  I may have to see if I can find these in the bins.  Keep.

All right, so a couple of hits, a couple of misses, and a couple of surprises.  I pulled a few more for this coming week, including one or two that I know I will be keeping around for a Festivus episode.  I’ll hopefully have that post up next Tuesday.

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