Published on April 15th, 2014 | by The Prodigy0
What’s In My Bag Issue #15
By Mike Seibert
This Issue: More Picks for the BJ Geek Nation Podcast crew!
In each issue of What’s In My Bag, I recap and review three individual single issues from my bag of recently read comic books. The order listed is not necessarily by preference. Also, be advised that minor spoilers may abound, but are generally in reference to previous issues only or other happenings that may relate to the issue being reviewed.
The next few issues of What’s In My Bag are inspired by a conversation I had with Vicky B. during the recent BJ Shea Anniversary Party (14 years on the radio in Seattle!). When I told her that I write comic book reviews for this site, the first thing she asked me was “what should I be reading?” A great question, and we talked for a few minutes and I gave her a few suggestions. This got me thinking about what books I would recommend for the other members of the BJ Geek Nation Podcast if I was asked. Always looking to be proactive, I’ve decided to answer that question here. Below are my picks of recent comics for the members of the show:
Recommended for The Prodigy:
SkullKickers #24 (Image)
The challenge for me with this pick was to find something on my pull list that is somewhat Fantasy-orientated to recommend for the other third of the Magic: The Gathering podcast (Tuesdays on BJGN). My secret confession is that Fantasy is my least favorite geeky genre; I’m more of a Sci-Fi guy.
But then I realized that I read SkullKickers, which takes place very much in a Fantasy-type environment. There’s magic, elves, dwarves and all kinds of sorcery going on. Certainly enough to be considered to be a “Fantasy” comic book. I’m a fan of this comic because I like the more action-adventure comedy elements of the book. It’s just plain funny!
The story centers around two nameless mercenaries, mashing monsters and taking names while on madcap adventures. They are mismatched buddies in the tradition of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hours or Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon; always getting on each other’s nerves and causing trouble.
Artist Edwin Huang’s (Street Fighter) style has a very heavy Anime influence to it. The action is bold and dynamic and the bright colors give this comic a very kinetic feel. Writer Jim Zub (Pathfinder) doesn’t scrimp on the humor, which is what really keeps me reading.
This current issue continues the recent run of lampoon/homage stories (like Uncanny SkullKickers, All New Secret SkullKickers, and Dark SkullKickersDark), this time sending up DC’s Before Watchmen event with a hilarious cover inspired by Watchmen #9. Titled “Before SkullKickers”, this issue has four stand-alone Tavern Tales that showcase untold early adventures of our heroes. A great jumping on point for new readers.
SkullKickers is an awesome sword and sorcery action/adventure comedy that will win you over within the first few pages. Recommended for fans of tabletop fantasy RPG’s or movies like Army of Darkness, as well as fans of Marvel’s Deadpool. Both the Zero issue and issue #1 are available as FREE downloads on Comixology. Check it out!
MARIJUANAMAN (Graphic Novel) (Image)
I cheated a little bit on this pick. This stand-alone graphic novel actually came out in 2011, but I only recently discovered it; so I suppose it still counts as a comic I’ve “recently read” (kinda).
Regardless, this one of the most bizarre and funny comic books I’ve read in a while. If your taste is geared more toward more mainstream superhero action, then this may not be the book for you; but it is definitely in the wheel house for Mono-Nick!
From the imagination of Ziggy Marley, writer Joe Casey (The Bounce, SEX) and artist Jim Mahfood (Stupid Comics, Clerks) bring to life the tale of Marijuanaman, a new hero for our times. A noble champion has arrived on Earth, and he brings an important message even as he struggles to save his own planet.
Comixology guarantees: This is not the comic you think it is!
…actually, it is EXACTLY the comic you think it is.
Marijuanaman is a visitor from another world; and much like how Superman gets his powers from Earth’s yellow sun, Marijuanaman gets his super powers from Earth’s…herb. Instead of DNA, he has THC. He fights against greedy corporate fat cats and the villainous Cash Money, a monstrous biker-cyborg.
I am a huge fan of Jim Mahfood’s art, even though more conventional comic book fare is my usual cup of tea. His flashy, retro-feeling drawings remind me more of urban graffiti than comic book art. His pages are always lively and vibrant while his depictions of kick-ass women are always on point and incredibly sexy.
Jim Mahfood also drew the first few issues of Kevin Smith’s Clerks comic books years ago, and his style was the basis for the character models for the short-lived Clerks Animated Series. He’s also done some Marvel stuff over the years, but really hasn’t been largely accepted by the mainstream audience. One of my favorite things that he’s done is the KickPuncher mini-comic that was packaged in with the season one DVD of NBC’s Community. If he were to ever do another Community comic book, I would but the livin’ hell out of it! Jim Mahfood also draws the album covers for the Nerd-Rock band, Kirby Krackle.
My only problem with Marijuanaman that his “message” is often too heavy handed. I don’t necessarily mind that this is “pro marijuana” comic, but do we as an audience, really need to be bashed about the face and head that marijuana and hemp are so good for us. It gets a little preachy and a little too propaganda for my liking.
However, this comic is a wacky, silly adventure that did make me chuckle out loud a number of times; so I did enjoy it on the whole. Recommended for stoners and stoners-at-heart.
For BJ Shea:
Batman #25 (DC)
Fans of the podcast know that the show’s namesake is not the biggest DC Comics fan. But we also know that he regularly reads Detective Comics, mostly because of writer (and friend of the show) John Layman’s work. Being a reader of Detective and a fan of the Mighty Layman myself, I get where he’s coming from, but there are also a few other high quality Batman comics on the stands that are equally worthy; including this book, Batman’s adjective-less flagship title.
Writer/artist team of Scott Snyder (American Vampire) and Greg Capullo (Spawn) have been knocking this book out of the park consistently for over two years. Incredibly, this is also one of the very few DC New 52 titles that still has the original creative team from the re-launch. There have been no fill-in writers or artists on this book, and in today’s comics market, I think that’s pretty impressive.
This special issue marks the halfway point of the year-long Zero Year storyline. Zero Year is essentially a retelling and reinterpretation of Batman’s origin story for the New 52 continuity. This fleshes out some of the things we’ve seen in Batman lore previously and allows them to be modernized in ways that are often quite different than what was in the Dark Knight movies.
The reason why I’m recommending this issue specifically to BJ is that this is a great compliment to Detective Comics #27, the Batman 75th Anniversary comic that he really seemed to enjoy. (Let me know if you’d like to see a What’s In My Bag review of Detective #27).
I really, really like Greg Capullo’s version of the first Batman suit. There are so many homages to Bob Kane’s 1939 original, like the more flared bat ears and the tiny purple gloves. Yes kids, Batman wore short purple gloves in his first several appearances. That look has been modernized here in a way that not only makes sense, but is also so badass. There is even a splash page that replicates the iconic cover image from the original Detective Comics #27 that gave me goose bumps when I opened it up.
For BJ, my recommendation is to pick up this issue and to check out the art, if nothing else. If the story grabs, then definitely check out the previous issues. You can’t miss it because of the black-on-black coloring of the cover. Another recommendation could be to wait for Zero Year to wrap up and then grab the whole story as a trade paperback. Either way, Batman is an incredible read; a must have for fans of the character. If you could only read one Batman comic, I’d honestly say this would have to be the one.
Like what you’ve read? Be sure to let us know using the comments below. Didn’t like it or disagree? Even better! Just please be sure to leave a comment and start a conversation.
Any and all feedback is appreciated!
You can Follow Mike Seibert on Twitter @Seibert_Mike and use the #WhatsInMyBag
Next Issue: The last of my picks for the BJ Geek Nation podcast team!