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#NotAtComicCon (But Still Found a Couple Gems)

not_at_comic_con_logoI believe tonight is ‘Preview Night’ as the 2015 Comic Con kicks off for the year.

And of course, as always…I am not there.

However, despite NOT being at Comic Con…I managed to find a couple of neat goodies locally that are likely better finds than much of what I would otherwise find/buy at something like SDCC.

First up, a half-off full-size-box edition of Munchkin Zombies: Armed and Dangerous. Usually $20, and I found it for $10…plus it comes with the little pawns/tokens. I believe this is usually in one of the little expansion-pack boxes as Munchkin Zombies 2.

munchkin_zombies_armed_and_dangerous

And after being vaguely aware of its existence for years, while simply flipping through the quarter bin at the comic shop this week, I found Countdown to Ultraverse, one of the promo issues from back in 1993 promoting the then-forthcoming super-hero line from Malibu. And with this, I’m that much closer to completing what I intend to for the Ultraverse line…

countdown_to_ultraverse_front

The back cover is a neat collage-y/mashup piece showing a bunch of characters…

countdown_to_ultraverse_back

…and the inside front cover, providing us the ‘title’ of the publication and a bunch of the initial creators involved with the line.

countdown_to_ultraverse_inside_cover

The whole book is pretty cool, giving some basic info about stuff, and it’s interesting to look at from 22+ years later. Maybe I’ll make a post of the interiors sometime.

While the Munchkin box might be decently easy to come by at a major convention…I’ve mostly lost faith in any dealers actually having this sort of thing accessible (it’d be lost in dozens of UNsorted longboxes that I’m NOT gonna crawl around digging through) or because it’s not overstock from the last 10-15 years it wouldn’t be there at all.

Yet here I was able to get this for only 25 cents–a significant issue for me–and I didn’t even have to go to a convention to get it…yet it’s certainly something worthy of a Comic Con sort of haul.

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Marvel Zombies (2015) #1 [Review]

secretwars_marvelzombies001Journey Into Misery: Episode 1

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer & Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Ken Lashley & Paul Mounts
Asst. Editor: Alanna Smith
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Published By: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: August 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

The original Marvel Zombies series roughly a decade ago ultimately led me to The Walking Dead and a years-long Zombies kick with movies and such. I remember using that original series as a personal ‘reward’ for studying toward the end of a semester in grad school: read X amount for school, take a break and read a comic.

So it was no small bit of nostalgia prompting me to pick this up, and it’s on the title rather than the cover…while it’s not bad or anything, it doesn’t work overly well for me. It definitely draws from the concept of taking a bunch of established Marvel characters and zombi-fying them, but it’s hardly new fare. While the standard-ish Marvel Zombies logo is there…I think I would have really enjoyed a nice homage cover here…perhaps a play off a classic 1980s Secret Wars cover, if not a zombi-fied version of a current Secret Wars (2015) cover.

Still, the issue’s art is good and I really had no problem with it, especially within the general theme of a decaying world with rotting, walking corpses and all that.

The story picks up with Elsa Bloodstone showing off how hard willed and steadfast she can be, fighting back the zombie hordes trying to get past the Shield. When The Red Terror (Azazel?) shows up, she manages to defeat him…but not before he’s teleported her hundreds of miles beyond the Shield. On waking after her victory she meets a young stranger, and the two grudgingly set off on a quest for survival.

Where I recall the classic Marvel Zombies series being more fun and generic, this feels like it has a lot more plot, with Elsa as the star and the zombies being relatively incidental. And honestly, I like that. Spurrier gives us the start of a good story here, and as a Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead fan this evokes a sense of those, but with superheroes and super-powered characters.

While there’s a bit of context to be gleaned having already been familiar with past Marvel Zombies stuff, on the whole this can definitely be taken quite well without having read any of that previous MZ stuff…you get what you “need” from this issue itself. The Elsa Bloodstone name seems familiar to me, but I know more OF the name/term “Bloodstone” in terms of Marvel comics than I know through “experience.”

I was actually surprised by how solid this issue seemed to me, how much I enjoyed it and am genuinely interested in seeing where stuff goes. And while I come to the book lacking any significant Bloodstone knowledge, I could see this making me a fan of the character/artifact. This is definitely a worthwhile addition to the slew of Secret Wars tie-ins, and one I’m glad to have given a shot.

Zorn: The Last Zombie #1 [Review]

zornthelastzombie001Creator/Writer: Joseph A. Michael
Illustrator: Kidbot
Letters: Ydao
Published by: OH Comics
Cover Date: September 2014
Cover Price: $4.99

I saw a copy of this issue on the shelf this week and the cover caught my attention. I couldn’t quite tell if it was “Zorn” or “Z * RN“, but the subtitle The Last Zombie made me curious. I was also curious, not seeing any publisher logo or creator credits, so I picked it up to physically examine the issue. The art on the back was good, though I quickly realized this wasn’t something from any publisher I’m familiar with. And the thing’s a whopping $4.99…but I was curious. And the mood I was in, and realizing this wasn’t something from an established company (and/or one backed by a mega-corporation) I figured ok, but be an indie book, so what the heck, it’s a #1, I’ll give it a shot.

The cover itself being sparse–no UPC on the front, no publisher logo, no creator credits–looks a bit like a graphic with the logo pasted on…looks more like a house ad type of thing than a final cover (but then, I said the same thing about last month’s Ninjak #1 from Valiant!)

Getting to the interior, the art put me very much in mind of something like IDW‘s Ghostbusters book, with a line style and coloring that feels like this could be an adaptation of an animated series. I have mixed feelings in general on that sort of thing, but it worked well here.

I prefer my zombies in the tradition of Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, as well as Kirkman‘s Walking Dead and have long specifically avoided zombie stuff reeking of talking zombies, smart zombies, etc. But this issue offers me an exception, which is a very pleasant surprise. And it’s also a pleasant change from the depressing downer that The Walking Dead has (for me) become.

Really, my primary complaint for the issue is that there were a couple points where I’d swear a comma would have been more than appropriate, and the lack of one distracted me.

The story itself follows a zombie who barely escapes zombie-hunters, though his companion is taken down. While this “last zombie” hides we get a flashback to a few months earlier and witness his origin, how he lost his job and to make ends meet signed up to be a test subject for a trial drug. Which, of course, obviously ended quite well for everyone involved–the drug produced zombies, and they’re being hunted down. Yet there’s a twist to things that makes Zorn (subject Z-ORN in the experimental drug process) sympathetic, and leaves me honestly curious about where the story goes from here.

It wasn’t until I sat down to start typing this post that I noticed a September 2014 (SEVEN MONTHS AGO) date for this edition. The copyright dates are are also 2014, which places this as something put together and published some time ago…which kinda throws me off having found it racked with new April 2015 comics. Yet, realizing the issue is not a standard thing from a standard publisher…c’est la vie.

A quick Google search suggests this is something that can be bought digitally from several sources, and I believe ordered directly from the creators as a physical item. This is definitely something that I would not have given a chance as a digital thing…but having a physical copy–even at $5–made it worthwhile for me. What truly ‘sold’ it for me was finding it with all the other new comics this week…it wasn’t pushed on me, I didn’t have to go hunting for it, and it wasn’t just a PDF. (And the paper stock seems quite good…arguably better than what few Marvel issues I’ve handled lately).

If you like zombies, don’t mind smart ones, and are looking for something different…and don’t mind waiting for the next issue (I have no idea when/if it’ll be out) this is certainly worth checking out. As said, I prefer the physical copy, but I also assume many others do not have the issue with digital comics that I do, and digital looks to be less than half the price of the physical edition. As for me…I may have to start giving more of an eye to physical comics I don’t recognize.

My Last Comics Purchase of 2013

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Fanboys vs. Zombies #7 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Walking Dead and zombie flicks

zombieflicks

It’s only been a few years, but I’ve become quite a fan, in my own way, of the zombie horror “genre.”

However…I don’t tend to like just “any” zombie flick out there. I’m particularly a fan of George Romero’s zombie flicks. However, I can appreciate the much faster ones as seen in Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, and the not-quite-zombies-rage-virus creatures of the 28 Days/Weeks Later, and the virus-spawned creatures of the Resident Evil series.

And of course, The Walking Dead, which to me at present surpasses even Romero’s best.

Can’t leave out Shaun of the Dead…the film that was a huge part of my getting “into” zombie films.

What I do not like are the talking zombies, smart zombies, or “I’m still me with memories and personality but I’m [un]dead” zombies. I’ll make exceptions here and there—particularly Kirkman’s original Marvel Zombies mini—but by and large…these aren’t my type.

While I can appreciate its place in all things zombie…even the brain-seeking/eating zombies aren’t my thing.

The Walking Dead season one is out on DVD now. I’ve just re-watched all 6 episodes in 3 nights, plus a bunch of extras—and still have quite a bit of stuff to watch to finish the extras.

As I said the other night when I posted some thoughts on the new release…I don’t care if these featurettes might be available online somewhere or youtube or whatever…they’re all these great things to watch of behind the scenes stuff and interesting…they’re adding at least a couple extra hours of entertainment to the set.

And where AMC really steps up and gains my respect…to best of my knowledge, the extras on the DVD correspond with the extras on the Blu-Ray. None of that crap of holding CONTENT hostage to force a choice in FORMAT.

zombieflicks

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Dead Days

The Marvel heroes assemble to take down a threat to the entire universe…aw, who’s kidding who? Marvel Heroes become Marvel Zombies, and there’s lots o’ good eatin’ going on!

marvelzombiesdeaddays001Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colors: June Chung
Letters: VC’s Rus Wooton
Production: Marvel Bullpen
Zombie Food: John Barber
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada
Cover: Arthur Suydam (after Jim Lee)
Publisher: Marvel

I assume that if you haven’t heard of ’em, you’ve been hiding for the last couple years, or just ignoring everything Marvel. Otherwise, who hasn’t heard of the Marvel zombies? (No, not the readers…the zombified Marvel heroes!) When I first heard of the concept, back when the 2006 mini-series was announced, I thought the idea sucked.

I couldn’t see how there’d be any point, or any fun, to the concept. Fifteen some months later, that mini is on an extremely short list of series that I’ve read one issue, and could not stop myself from reading every other issue that I had in my possession.

What’s that got to do with THIS issue, you ask? This is a prequel to that series, that shows us pre-zombified versions of the characters…how certain ones came to be bitten, and even some gruesome scenes of them eating loved ones or trusted butlers and all that…stuff mentioned or alluded to in last year’s mini.

Does it live up to the hype, and the quality, of that series? I’m not sure it does. While good…for me, this was just lacking something; though I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The story itself is really straight-forward as stated above. It cuts from one scene to another, as we see the rapid progression of the super-powered zombie plague. The scenes jump around a bit, with little time spent in any one space, though certain characters receive much more time than others in the spotlight. Even though this is a larger-sized issue, it’s still just a single issue, and it packs in what could fairly easily drawn out into a 6-12 issue series, if not more. Dense content means lack of deep characterization. But in the end, when you get right down to it, it seems that the point of this issue is the "fun" and the random gore and gruesome zombified heroes depicted on the page…if you want deep characterization, there’re six volumes of the writer’s other zombie series available, and loads of other superhero books with more room for characterization.

On the art-end, we’ve got some good quality stuff from Phillips…in and of itself, I really have no complaints visually. Where there might be some complaint would be the amount of visible gore and all that…this is not a comic to hand to the target audience of a Marvel Adventures book, and well deserves its "parental advisory" note on the UPC box.

The cover is an homage to 1991’s X-Men #1-E…the version with the double-gatefold/4-panel cover. While yet another cool zombified piece, it’s not my favorite.

I’m not sure exactly where in the Marvel Zombies timeline this fits, with the still-running Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, so perhaps more will be made clear with that in the grander tapestry. Taken alone, this issue offers key scenes that impact Crossover and the original Marvel Zombies mini, and provides an extra-sized issue’s worth of violence, gore, and hero-eating-hero action. If that’s not your thing, don’t bother with this. If you do enjoy the concept (or enjoyed prior exposure,) this issue’s well worth getting.

Besides…there’s far worse (and less ‘fun’) out there you could give up your money for.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

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