Friday, August 31, 2018

Blues Ratz #3

Blues Ratz #3 written by Attila Kiss and with art by Greg Woronchak, and the cover coloring credited to Matheus Bronca, is the ending installment of the story of the Gekimo brothers, and their struggles with the Blues.  I previously reviewed the preceding stories, Blues Ratz #1 and Blues Ratz #2.

#2 ended with the brothers and their cousin pledging war against the mob.  #3 starts with Bob the elder waking from the dream of his life, alone aboard a landed plane, which he promptly falls out of.  His brothers and cousin meanwhile, proceed with their plans, first in a flashback with their partners in the botched drug deal, where the cousin uses his Canadian-ness to win a bet.  Then the other brothers execute the other parts of the plan, taking on mob bosses in London and Italy, almost single-handedly I might add.  Then follows Bob's wedding to the madam, and they could all live happily ever after, but instead they get back to their band, rocketing to the charts and playing Wembley, with help from their cousin, who brings in relatives from the old country to bring scandal and publicity.  Finally the cousin is shipped back to Canada, less than willingly, for a humorous conclusion.

Like #s 1 and 2, Blues Ratz #3 is quite fanciful, taking leaps in logic and storytelling, flying through without stopping to catch your breath, dropping clever bits here and there.  The art continues to hold up its end of the bargain, even picking up the pace with action and some rather gruesome scenes during the mob battles.  If I had to choose, I might say I enjoyed #2 the most, as far as its cohesiveness seemed a bit stronger, but they are all comparable and work well to tell their tales in a similar manner, making up a story with plenty to offer and lots of fun in the telling.

Again, while I would not have sought this out on my own, thanks to Attila Kiss for bringing these to me and for the opportunity to look at something new and click out some words about it.  Best of luck to Attila Kiss and Greg Woronchak on success with this and their future endeavours.  Soon I'll review The Heart by Mr Kiss and others, something that was a bit closer to my HM interests, and at least as fun as reading about The Blues Ratz.  Be sure to look these up and by all means spend a few bucks on them to support independent comics.

Here's Attila Kiss's store:

And here's Scattered Comics':

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Blues Ratz #2

After a couple other things I wrote about (and my usual slackitude, sorry) it's back to Attila Kiss' Blues Ratz.  I described how I know Attila Kiss from the old HM website forums and how he alerted me to his recent work in this post, and I reviewed the first installment of Blues Ratz here.  Now I'll review the second installment Blues Ratz #2, and he's already sent Blues Ratz #3 to me, so that will follow.

To recap, in Blues Ratz #1, the three Gekimo brothers are seeking help for their oldest brother who has the "Blues", a debilitating obsession, with the help of their Canadian cousin.  After multiple mishaps and incarcerations, and the other brothers catching their versions of the Blues, they are offered help by the thug who killed their father. 

Here in #2, we find the "help" involves running contraband across Europe for the thug.  Given a car and its contents and instructions, they immediately proceed to screw it all up.  Ditching their Canadian cousin, the obsessed brothers careen from lewd behavior to drug deals gone bad to bribery, with their cousin trying desparately to follow, to end up at a brothel.  During which they address their Blues, and get back to "normal", which involves declaring war on the mob...

Blues Ratz #2 plows along the same path blazed by Blues Ratz #1.  The storytelling takes a convoluted but direct line, running, juking, stumbling sometimes, but always moving ahead.  Some jokes work better than others, and some are really funny, but it never stops.  The art is energetic and demonstrative, informative and often entertaining.  There are some interesting effects, like the yellow voice balloons with the not-so-pale blue shading for most of it, that can be dark but lets unshaded parts contrast, and the weird metallic shading on the last panel.  It's not what I usually seek out, but thanks to Mr Kiss for helping me look out from beneath the rock I live under.

I like it.  There's more enjoyment of a neat expression, or panel execution, or clever phrase, than annoyment or perplexed head-scratching.  It's a fun read, made more fun for me by my acquaintance with one of the creators.

He has Blue Ratz #2, and the other Blues Ratz stories right here:

Blue Ratz #3 is out as well, and my review is coming right up (umm, when I get around to it, like usual).  Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Heavy Metal # 290

This is the Deadly Special.  I got the cover "A" at the bookstore, with "Hydra" by Dan Quintana, which I liked, with the three faces similar but unique, and the wrinkled gold look of the logo, so I'll give it a 7. 

Issue #290 Cover A - Dan Quintana

The other covers are noted on the contents page, but not shown, so I would have had to see them on one of their media feeds, but I don't remember that.  I looked at the HM shopping page, (where I got the image for "A") and saw the covers "B" and "C", but not the "D".  I'm not much of a fan of the multiple covers thing anyway.

I'll pause here for a moment to moan about the HM website.  I've had snarky complaint about it before, but it existed and made improvements and helped me out over time, even through the transition across the Eastman to Morrison eras.  But it's been months since it's been touched, anywhere I could see, and I lament the stagnation of the Cover Gallery for the last couple years.  The Cover Gallery is especially missed.  For me it complemented Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fanpage and its Magazine List as a reference, and it picked up the slack for a while when Lostboy stopped doing updates (and thanks Lostboy for keeping your site up still), to help me enjoy my little HM thing of reading all of them and the growing endless chances of connections of stories and creators.

But it's been a while.  I know the media landscape is dynamic, and nothing lasts forever in this world, and stuff happens.  For me it's worrisome to think how much this reflects on the status of the operation, along with the paltry nature of their media feeds, and this being only the second issue this year.  It makes me think "what's going on?"  Fortunately it's not about me (except for this blog, this is about me) and maybe things are just cruising merrily along as one does in these times, producing a mag that I have quite enjoyed for the most part for the past few years.

So, done with whining for now, on to the mag.  Inside the front cover is an ad for the Taarna books, which may be interesting if I ever come across them.  They should really have more of this in the mag to promote it.  The contents page has a novel bit of art, with a collage of scenes from inside the mag in a skull motif, that seems uncredited.  There's a Justin Mohlman listed as a Contributing Editor, and that Jett Lucas guy is still there as Creative Executive.  Mr Morrison's editorial finds the humorous path meandering among the stories in no particular order, describing their miserable and/or fanciful deaths.

"Queen of the Crawlers" by Vincent Kings - 6 - prefaced as "an atomic fairy tale".  Starting "In the end, there was no one but the woman..." she is shown burying a skeleton with a bashed-in skull.  We are left to speculate the cause of her solitude with only few clues, but she soon takes to training the Crawlers, insects that resemble giant hissing cockroaches, building their short-lived generations into powerful civilizations in their own right, until her own end.  While I thought the concept could possibly been told as a more engaging story, there are several aspects that impress.  Painting the pages must have been time-consuming, and left me with less detail than I may have liked, but it had some really nice effects, like mottled shadows through her tattered shawl, and the radiant glow fitting the sentiment when "She felt a parent's pride in beng surpassed by her children."  Overall much to like.

"The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ" Part 2 by Grant Morrison & the Molen Brothers - 6 - There's some sophomoric sarcastic fun to be had, and I am curious how the Jesus Christ - Superhero movie concept by and for Hitler, will turn out, since it is "to be continued."

"Murky World" Part 3 by Richard Corben - 7 - Our dimwitted hero Tugat stumbles from saving an escaped slave to mourning his master's death to being enslaved himself.  The story seems to imply nefarious doings beneath the surface, and the strangely morphing proportions in the art, make me even more confused than usual.  But I am still enjoying the lovely Corben-ness of the thing, and the mere fact of having more of his stuff in the mag at this time in its history.

"The Door" Chapter 2 by Esau Escorza & Michael Moreci - 7 - Our young protagonist keeps up her search for herself in the confusing world not of her making.  Some introspective dialog and nice looking and perhaps a bit less pervy, this may go somewhere, or may just go in more circles.

"Edbook" by Irvine Welsh & Dan McDaid - 7 - A killer reminisces.  The story is mostly about how his childhood survival of an attempted murder-suicide made him the man he is today.  A big feature that is maybe even noir, the art is stark but not detailed, and the story considers human nature and mental illness, in a similar fashion.  Are they not the same?

"Near Death Experience" by John Bivens - 6 - An addict wakes up in what must be a seedy drug den, since there's a poster peeling off the wall that says "Heavy Metal" on it.  She flees a hallucination, only to see more, little green anthropods, that seem attracted to death.  Death that surrounds her. 

Dotty's Inferno "The Ex" by Bob Fingerman - 7 - Love and romance and fascism in the 2nd Circle of Hell.  Actually pretty fun, and maybe part of a series.  And I'll admit I like seeing some dicks hanging around with the tits and butts, a whiff of the old days of the mag, and a bit more equal opportunity exploitation.  Though erections are still hard to come by...

Artist Spotlight:  Matt Bailey - 7 - with an interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some nice looking woodcut-like art, with skulls.

"The Color of Air" Part 7 by Enki Bilal - 8 - The characters come together, confused and disoriented.  I feel the same way, I'm hardly making a bit of sense of it, and I'm so enjoying it.  Compelling use of light and dark and color.

"Murder House" by James Harvey - 7 - After a murder is done in her house, woman builds an empire selling tours.  Told briskly with lots of exposition, I enjoyed all the words and fine lines.

"Tohko" by Peach MoMoKo - 7 - Gruesome death, fantastic rebirth, ironic death.  Pretty.  Arty.

Gallery with Dan Quintana - 6 - With a brief interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some obviously nice work that doesn't excite me much.

"Lead Feet" by Tómas Wortley and Rodrigo Lujan - 7 - A guy jumps off cliffs, for fun.  To try to fly.  He's the last one that didn't fly away during "The Ascension".  The art and storytelling are ok, and work well together, though I have misgivings about logical gaps and the somewhat gratuitous upskirt.  Despite that there's enough emotional weight to be satisfying.

Gallery with Rob Prior - 6.5 - With an interview by the busy Rantz Hoseley.  More obviously nice work that is maybe a little more exciting for me, with all the blood and/or fire.  Though sometimes splattery or drippy paint seems to add the effect of literal gravity, when maybe it's trying be more kinetic?  Hmmm.  But it was amusing to see the first image titled "Jeff Krelitz's Dream".  Hmmm again.

Inside the back cover is an ad for The 49th Key in a trade paperback, which I didn't enjoy when it was in the mag.  The back cover is an ad for the Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast games, which I will likely never see.