Coloring Between the Lines: Matthew Wilson

Hello Revuers! Sorry for the absences a of late, but we are officially back. What better way to return than with an interview with one of the top colorists in the game today: Matthew Wilson! We appreciate Matthew for his time and are grateful to him for answering our questions. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we do!

 

Hello Matt, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

I started coloring for Lee Loughridge’s coloring studio, Zylonol Studios in 2003. I first colored books under my own name, and colored less for Zylonol between 2007-2009.

 

  • Was it what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

No, not really. I liked to draw, paint, and sculpt as a kid and wanted to do any of those things when I grew up. I read comics as a kid, but never thought of coloring as a career I might have one day. I took a class on digital coloring for comics in college, and enjoyed it. I only began coloring comics as a job because Zylonol was located in the same town as my college and I applied to work there after I graduated. It was one of the only places locally that I thought I might like to work. One thing led to another and now it’s 13 years later and I’ve colored a lot of comic books.

 

  • What’s the first comic book series you really got into?

Hm. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collections they put out in the early 90’s. The colored collections, not the original black and white comics. I wasn’t aware of them until I saw the collections in a bookstore. Then, around the same time was the death of Superman, and then the creation of Image comics by a bunch of creators that I already liked from reading their previous work. Another early influence was Marvel and DC trading cards, because there was a card shop near my house that I could ride my bike to after school, and buy cards. Also, Batman The Animated Series was something else I was really in to as a kid.

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

If I had to pick, I guess I’d pick other genres, but I like reading both superhero books and non-superhero books.

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Hm, that’s a tough one. Probably Batman if I’m picking just one. Or maybe Spider-Man.

 

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Hellboy, maybe? Or maybe John Constantine. Again, that’s tough.

 

  • What’s your favorite series that’s not a superhero series?

Hellboy or Hellblazer in terms of all-time favorite. More recently I’ve really enjoyed East of West, Lazarus, The Autumnlands, and Southern Bastards.

 

  • What is your process like for coloring?

Black and white pages come from the publisher, I give them to my flatter. He puts in flat colors so it’s easier for me to select areas to color. I then read the script and look over the pages to get an idea of how I want to color the issue. I tend to work on an entire scene at one time, if I can. I’ll set the palette for the scene. Then, I’ll color the backgrounds in all the pages, then go back and color all the characters in the pages.. Lastly I’ll do any of the glows or coloring of the lines for things like powers or explosions. I tend to spend about 1 to 2 hours on a page on average.

 

  • How do you choose a color palette?

I usually look for a story reason first. For example, is there an emotion I can help bring out in the color that will help better tell the story? Or do I need to indicate a particular time of day or a specific kind of lighting? I want to make sure the colors are servicing the story. Then I look at what the artist has given me to work with. Have they set up an interesting light source? Is there a clear indication of the time of day, or something in the environment that might suggest a certain color? Then I’ll also take other scenes in to consideration when picking the palette for the scene I’m working on. Like, what came before? What’s happening in the next scene? I like to have an obvious change in palette when the story changes scenes. So, for example, if we’re inside a laboratory in one scene, then we exit the lab to find it’s in the middle of a desert I want to make sure the lab and the desert don’t use similar palettes. And my choice for the lab palette will be very different if the story shows the next scene to be in the middle of the arctic or something, rather than a desert. So I like to know the context around each scene before deciding on a palette.

 

  • What’s your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?

That’s a tough question to answer because I work on so many that I’m probably forgetting an older one that I really enjoyed. And also, as I try to get better at coloring all the time, I tend to like my current projects more because I feel like I’m doing better work now than I did in the past. For example, I worked with Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman for 3 years, and after that we moved to working on Paper Girls for the last 2 years. I like our work on Paper Girls much more than what I did on Wonder Woman, but that’s because it’s more current, and I believe I’ve gotten better at coloring. But yeah, some of my favorite projects recently are certainly Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing at DC. Daredevil and Black Widow, both with Chris Samnee at Marvel. The last few years of Thor with Russell Dauterman at Marvel. And many of my collaborations with Jamie McKelvie, including Phonogram, The Wicked + The Divine, and Young Avengers.

 

  • Do you have anything coming out soon that we should keep an eye out for?

There’s a series coming out at Image called Black Cloud that I think will be interesting. It’s written by Jason Latour and Ivan Brandon, with art by Greg Hinkle and colors by me. The premise of the story is allowing for some wildly varying visuals, and really pushing me in different directions depending on the scene.

 

  • Who are some of your favorite colorists in the industry today?

Probably my all time favorite is Dave Stewart. His work is what inspired me to keep getting better when I was first starting out. Currently, I’m always amazed when I see something colored by Bettie Breitweiser, Jordie Bellaire, Tamra Bonvillain, Nathan Fairbairn, Jordan Boyd, Nolan Woodard, Frank Martin, Dave McCaig, Nick Filardi, Kelly Fitzpatrick…. And probably just as many names that I’m forgetting. Honestly, there’s SO many good colorists doing interesting work now. Not to mention artists that are fantastic at coloring themselves like Jen Bartel and Kris Anka and Ryan Browne.

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Just about everyone I mentioned in the last answer, for sure. In terms of art history, or more historical influences, I’ve always been partial to impressionist painters. My earliest influence on how powerful of a tool that color palettes could be was the Rouen Cathedral series of paintings by Claude Monet. Another artist I like to cite in these kinds of answers is Japanese artist Hiroshi Yoshida. He was a 20th century painter and printmaker. His prints were amazing.

 

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on The Wicked and the Divine, especially how your color art is an intricate part of the story telling. How did you build the aesthetic for that book?

A lot of discussion with the rest of the creative team, building on work we had done together as a team on previous works, and trial and error with different ideas for depicting the god’s abilities and performances. We set out knowing we wanted it to look like something “more” than a typical depiction of superhero powers. So pushing things further than I might go on a superhero book was important. We passed a lot of inspiration images back and forth from things like fashion photography and music videos. The fact that the gods are pop stars meant we took a lot of influence from pop culture. Overall, I’m still using the same framework of how I approach coloring a book, but for this book the pieces I bolt on to that framework just happen to be a bit more neon and glow-y.

 

  • In issue 8 of the wicked and the divine your color work is used as a visual aide for the reader, how did you come up with that idea?

That was one of the hardest issues of coloring I’ve ever done. Not because the technical aspects of coloring took me any longer than other books. But the conceptual part was very time consuming. I came up with new palettes on every page, and sometimes in every panel of the page. Trying to figure out how to convey the experience Laura was going through while being influenced by Dio’s powers was a big challenge. One of the biggest ways we could help the reader “feel” what Laura was feeling was how the pages are colored. Things like the tempo of the party and her experience were noted in the script, and I had to try and make sure the colors matched that tempo. Higher contrast, more saturated when the tempo sped up. And then less saturated and intense when the tempo slowed down. This was another instance of using contrasting palettes to really sell each scene. The pages before and after the party are intentionally less saturated and a bit duller in terms of color. That way, when the party scene starts and I use a bunch of saturated colors, they seem even more saturated and brighter because the previous scenes were so dull.

 

 

  • You have worked with the team of Gillen and McKelvie and with Waid and Samnee on a couple of series’ now, what’s it like to have that level of understanding built with the other members of a creative team?

Long term collaborations are great, because we’re able to really understand each other. Kieron can write to Jamie or my strengths and know we’ll pull off the idea he’s trying to convey. For my part, it means the artist and I can work out exactly how to set up the files to get the best result. Like, any time Jamie draws a god’s crazy power it’s usually on a separate layer so I can easily experiment with it in color. The same goes for Russell’s art on Thor. Each issue we learn something, and as you do dozens of issues together all that accumulated knowledge builds up and makes the process easier and gives us great opportunities to experiment. Working with the same artists for so long also lets us grow and evolve as artists, because we can try different things based on what we liked or didn’t like in our past work. How Jamie or Russell or Samnee are drawing the current issues of our projects has evolved from how they drew earlier issues. And I’ve subtly changed how I color them too. From issue to issue it may be hard to spot, but over time we’re always changing our approach in little ways.

 

  • You have a very distinctive visual style, how did you cultivate that aesthetic?

I have no idea, honestly! I did not set out to cultivate this style. And I’m not even sure I could telly what my “style” is. I kind of feel like I don’t have one, but I hear people say they recognize my colors, so I must have something people identify. But, like most artists, the style is probably a result of the influences I consume and how those influences get pieced together in to the art that I make.

 

  • Burritos or coneys?

I probably like burritos more but I definitely eat more hotdogs.

 

  • Where’s your favorite place to pick up a burrito or a coney when you’re at cons?

JJ’s Red Hots in Charlotte, North Carolina is my favorite hotdog place.

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I don’t really have one, I don’t think. I get to work on so many different projects every year, with so many different collaborators that I’m kept busy and fulfilled, which doesn’t leave me much time to dream about future collaborations.

 

  • If you weren’t a comic book artist what would be your career?

A park ranger!

 

  • What’s the biggest difference between working for the big two and on your indie titles?

Some small technical things on certain books, but creatively I’m given a lot of freedom regardless of if the book is work for hire for the big 2 or a creator owned book.

 

  • Who are some of your favorite artists to work with?

All of my regular collaborators like Jamie McKelvie, Cliff Chiang, Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, and Kris Anka. I did a bunch of Secret Avengers issues with Michael Walsh and they were a ton of fun to do. Greg Hinkle, who I’m coloring on the upcoming Black Cloud is an amazing artist that’s incredibly fun to color.

 

  • Who are some of your favorite writers to work with?

Again, my regulars are great: Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, Brian K Vaughan, Mark Waid. Coloring Star-Lord is the first time I’ve worked with Chip Zdarsky, and he’s been really enjoyable to work with. I only worked with Matt Fraction once, on a Mandarin annual, but he put a lot of thought in to the color when writing that story and that was an enjoyable assignment.

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Hard to say, as I’m more in to storytelling with palettes than I am in to coloring a specific character. Thor has been fun because it’s been pretty much a straight up fantasy book with some sci-fi visuals. So that’s allowed me to do some really fun and wildly varied palettes. I can say for sure that I often hate coloring red costumes, and I usually don’t like coloring shiny metal. So, I guess it’s good I don’t work on Iron Man!

 

  • What would be a dream series for you to work on?

Black Widow, and I already did it! I enjoy spy stories, so that was a lot of fun to help create the look of one in the latest run of Black Widow. I’ve never worked on a Batman book, and would like to do that one day. But I’d probably want to do some kind of stand alone Elseworlds type story where it’s Batman in the 1920’s or something. And another answer I could give would be anything Hellboy. But I’d never want to try and fill Dave Stewart’s shoes.

 

  • As the comic book industry moves more digital do you feel like there’s been a shift in the industry to recognize the importance of Color Artist?

Yes, but not really because of the trends toward digital. I think the art of coloring is becoming more appreciated as it matures. Digital coloring isn’t that old, it’s only been around a few decades at this point. And the tools we’re using to color have really only become widely accessible even more recently than that. So you’ve got the tools getting better together with the colorists, and artist that color themselves, getting better at using those tools and the result is coloring is getting better and better. A lot of the traditional inking techniques were developed to convey information that older coloring methods could not. Hatching for shading and showing volume in a shape, things like that. Now, there isn’t anything that color can’t convey, and artists have responded to that by sometimes making less marks in black and white and leaving it up to the color to convey those elements of the art. So the role of the colorist has grown more important as their ability to bring substantive additions to the page and the story has grown.

 

Thank you for your time Matt, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to your great work in the future.

 

 

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Coloring Between the Lines: Michael Garland

It’s my opinion that great color work goes unappreciated in the comic community. Often times Color Artists names are left off the covers of trades (such as Rico Renzi being left off of the cover of the Spider-gwen trade), while art can be great on it’s own, color adds such a depth and pleasing aesthetic if done correctly. It was out of my passion for color that I decided to feature a color artist every now and again on my blog so that hopefully I could give others the same appreciation for the art form as I have. A few months ago I attended Cincinnati Comic Con. While there I had the please of meeting Colorist extraordinaire Michael Garland. You’ve seen his fantastic work in The Dying and the Dead,  Secret, The Fiction, Big trouble in Little China, Cluster, and most recently The Violent. I was familiar with his work on The Fiction (a great indie book with a clever story and fantastic art all around). Graciously Michael agreed to have an interview with me about his process, his favorite superheros, and his inspirations.

Hey Michael, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Sure thing! Thanks for asking.

 

So How long have you been a colorist?


2010 was my first professional gig – a friend brought me on to do colors for the web comic tie in to AMC’s (thankfully forgotten) remake of The Prisoner, which he was editing.

I’ve been coloring on a consistent basis since 2012, when I started doing Secret at Image and working for Boom! Studios.

 

Was it what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

No. I mean… maybe there’s somebody out there who said “I want to color comic books!” as a kid, but he/she was probably a weirdo. I didn’t really know what coloring was until college, which was when I got back into comics in a major way.

I’ve always drawn, though. When I was a kid, I was notorious for always carrying a sketchbook around with me. But I was actually a Writing major in college. I decided I wanted to write comics — and realizing how impossible finding an artist is — I started drawing my stories. I was also getting into both traditional and digital painting at the time, so I figured I should learn to color them as well. Eventually, somebody paid me to do that part. And, miraculously, they still are.

 

What’s the first comic book series you really got into?

Originally it was Cone Saga era Spider-Man. I will forever ❤ Ben Reilly.

When I eventually acquired taste, it was probably Ultimate Marvel. I had read a number of “grown up” books in high school – DKR, V for Vendetta, Whedon’s X-Men – but I was handed a huge chunk of the Ultimate U in college and that was when I got sucked into the drama of the superhero soap opera and, by association, comics fandom.

 

Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I’m an equal opportunity reader. But recently my pull list has shrunk mostly to Image titles. Which I think is due both to the quality of Image — many of my favorite creators have defected there in recent years — and my exhaustion with the perpetual second act storytelling of the Marvel/DC Universes.

I will always love Marvel and DC, and there are a ton of great books they’re putting out. But If you read them long enough, I think the fact that nothing ever really changes wears you down. And you can either diversify or become one of those people who complains that John Byrne was the last guy to get those characters “right.” Which I guess would make you John Byrne.

 

Whose your favorite superhero?

It’s a toss up between Batman and Spider-Man. Depends on what day you catch me on. On this day, I’ll give the nod to Spidey.

 

What’s your favorite series that’s not a superhero series?

Of all time? Planetary and Casanova. Though those are both arguably super hero books.

 

Whats your process like for coloring?


A poor one, probably. I love what I do before I start and after I finish, but there’s a whole middle part where I hate everything I’m putting down until it finally feels “right.” But I think that’s true of most artists. When people say “your job must be so fun!” I shake my head. But at the same time, it’s comics. And comics are awesome.

To be less existential and more technical, the first thing I do is sit down with the pages and the script. I go through that to get a sense of the tone of each scene, as well as specific beats within it. Stories are about emotional crescendos – be it an action sequence or a conversation – and that impacts the storytelling choices I’ll make with color. Through that I’ll usually get a general idea of what kind of palette I want to bring to each scene.

Once I figure that out, I’ll lay in in basic flat colors on all of the pages. (Either myself, or I’ll pay somebody – called a flatter – to do this for me to save time.) Then I tweak those colors until I’m happy with them. This where I’m really building the palette. If I have time, I might paint a quick color rough on a separate layer that I can refer back to while I’m coloring. From there, I render everything out, depending on what is required. I’ll usually save lighting effects or textures for the end, if the page requires it. And I’ll often go back and tweak various elements to make sure the color is properly balanced.

 

How do you choose a color palette?


Like I was saying above, a lot of it is reading the feel of a scene and applying color theory. I start with the setting and local color, which is to say, the color things are. A red firetruck is red for instance. Or if it’s night, you usually want a bluish over tone because that’s how light works in nature. Those things are locked in to an extent, but they can be interpreted very differently. Mainly, you’re building off the scene as written. An action sequence or an argument works best with hot colors, like reds and yellows. A moment of loneliness or desolation works best with blue or desaturated colors. And then you sort of play those off each other. Warm vs cool color, saturated vs desaturated color, and using various established color schemes can all bring contrast, focus and a sense of emotion in different ways, both within a scene and between them. And the job of a colorist really does boil down to those three things I think: contrast, focus and emotion.

The Dying and the Dead is an exception, as those palettes we worked out ahead of time. But the thought process is similar. I’m just using a rigid set of colors.

If you’re interested, I recommend picking up COLOR AND LIGHT by James Gurney for an excellent overview of color technique.

 

What’s your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?

Secret and The Dying and the Dead – the books I’ve done with Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim. Those books have been some of my closest, and therefore most fulfilling, collaborations.

 

Do you have anything coming out soon that we should keep an eye out for?

THE VIOLENT is a new crime series I’m doing at Image with Ed Brisson and Adam Gorham. The first issue is just came out (call your retailer!) and I think we’re all leveling up with this one. I’m really excited for it.

 

Who are some of your favorite colorists in the industry today?

Dean White, Bettie Breitweiser and Matt Wilson are probably my holy trinity. But there are so many great ones out there. We live in a golden age of comic coloring. Which is not intimidating at all. He said sarcastically.

 

Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

All of the above people for sure. Not counting other colorists, iconic illustrators like Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth and a bunch of others. Paperback illustrators, Robert McGuinness being chief among them. Lots of directors/DPs/all the other people who help construct a shot in a movie. Observation is a big one too, just paying attention to how light and color happen out in the real world and filing it away for future use.

 

I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on The Fiction. How did you pick out the palette for that book?

The Fiction was an interesting (and very fun) exercise. The world being primarily set in unreality gave me permission to kind of go bananas. Again, the thought process is no different – I’m trying to accomplish the same things as any other book. But I tried to push it in hyper bold and saturated directions.

 

Thank you for your time Michael, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to your great work in the future.

 

If you are interested in checking out some of Michaels work you can hit up his website:

http://michaelcgarland.com/

Or check out his online portfolio:

http://www.coroflot.com/michaelgarland

If you are interested in picking up some of his previous work buy it on comiXology:

https://www.comixology.com/Michael-Garland/comics-creator/6882?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9jcmVhdG9yU2xpZGV

Also, don’t forget to ask your local retailer about The Violent!

Pick of the Week

Secret Wars #8

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Marvel’s collossol main event of the year rumbles on in this action packed installment. This issue is another solid addition to Hickman’s grandiose universe panning opra, that started way back with his run on Avengers and New Avengers. Now we are starting to see the fruits of this 2 plus year labor.  The story picks up where the last issue left off with an all out asault on Doom and Dooms castle. We see Star Lord and Reed Richards infiltrate Dooms layer in the hopes of bringing the God Doom down once and for all.  We get a glimpse of the newly freed Ben Grimm (who also apparently is a giant in this reality). Ben quickly make an impact with the killing of a major player (no spoilers), and with his lazer focus on killing Doom. Ben is impeded on this task by none other than a Franklin Richard’s (in this world Franklin Von Doom) controlled Galactus. The two exchange blows before……Well I’ll let you read what happens next. The following pages bring back a surprise character, and a bone chilling confrontation between Thanos and the God Doom himself. All leading up to the final page which show the one thing that in this reality that Doom is afraid of. The story is most excellently layed out for the reader. In the end I am glad they added on the extra issue, so that we can have a better sense of what is happening. This issue is just the right amount of chaos and action, a formula that would have been thrown out of whack by piling more into this issue than there already was. The art by Ribic continues to be spectacular. He has a way coaxing out the best facial expressions on his characters. The only down side to this issue is that the 9th installment has been delayed (again) until January. Making this the most delayed and drawn out event in recent memory. But hey at least the story is entertaining.

Rating: 8/10

Awakening from hibernation

Hello faithful Revuers! Sorry it’s been so long. I am happy to announce that Deja.Revue will once again be up and running after a three month hiatus. We had some staffing issues combined with just lack of time. I am proud to say that starting Wednesday we will have fresh new content. So stay tuned. We will be bringing back the ever popular “Tales from the pull list” segment, as well as our fan favorite top “Ten 10 Lists”, and my personal favorite “Savings Bin Sundays”.  Plus we will be adding a few other new and exciting segments.

We are also interested in what you, or readers, want. Have an idea for a segment or a topic you would like us to cover? Then leave a comment and let us know!

Diversity in Comics

So I have felt some rumblings for awhile about the addition of diversity in comics. This includes any change in a persons race, gender, or sexuality. For this rant I’ll focus on Captain America being black, and Thor being a woman. Comics are an ever evolving and changing medium. Often the trends in society affect comics (and trends in comics affect society), the effect of this has led to a more diverse cast of characters. To this I say good. Before female Thor I had no interest in reading Thor. He came across as a hulking brute (admittedly with beautiful hair), who liked to smash things with a hammer…..bor-ing. The addition of a now female Thor has led to a more nuanced character with several levels of personality. Shes funny, witty, intriguing, and still kicks butt. Overall a large improvement on old Odinson. As for Captain America, Steve Rogers is like a billion years old and he decided to retire and pass his mantle on to some one else. That someone happened to be Sam Wilson (formerly the Falcon), who also just happens to be black. Whats the big deal!? Sam was a sidekick of Caps and a close friend. It makes perfect sense for him to step into that role. So I have no problems with it.

black-captain-america

The second thing that makes me mad is when people say “You have to uphold the integrity of the creators characters”. When utilizing this argument you have to realize the context in which the characters were created. The two listed up above were created between the 40s’60s. That era in Americas history was much more close minded about diversity than we are today. So even if the creators had wanted to put a black person as, say, Captain America, there’s no way that would have been published. Society then was going through such a shake up, and the powers at be would never have let that happen. We are in a much better place now, for comics to more properly reflect the true diversity of America than we were then.

Another argument people use (which usually is a thinly veiled attempt to not appear racist) is “Why don’t they just make new ethnic characters?” The answer is they are. You can look to the big two and see some expanding of diversity in new characters (Ms. Marvel, Silk, etc.). Where the big explosion really is is in the indie market. Companies such as Image, Boom!, and Dark Horse just to name a few, really put out great works with a large amount of diversity. Often these series are creator owned (meaning the are created by the writers and artist, and they maintain the rights to the characters). This lends some credibility to the idea that when given the opportunity to work with a more diverse palette, creators often will. Which would seem to validate my last point

I guess to sum it up: Stop complaining and enjoy this era of comics we are in. There’s much more diversity, which leads to more interesting and layered story telling, and fresh new and exciting characters. Society, like comics, is not static. Its dynamic. Ever evolving ever changing. I think our comics should be the same.

Tales from the pull list June 10th: It’s a Weirdworld

Hello Revuers! This week I am trying out something new. I am going to list all of the comics I bought or read and place them into three categories: Pick(s) of the week, Buy, or Pass. Let me know what you think of this new article and if you like, it or if I should go back to pick of the week, in the comment section below. Your feedback is appreciated. With out further delay here we go:

Pick of the week:

Weirdworld #1

Weirdworld #1 is a tale of a king stranded on a, well weird, world looking for a way back home. The antagonist Akron is the ruler of the kingdom Polemachus, who due to the events of Secret Wars has been stranded on a floating island. Which he then names Weirdworld, due to all the strange and impossible dangers he has had to face, These include: Squidsharks, dragons,  fire rain, hawk-squatch hybrid, etc. etc. This issue really serves as an introduction to Weirdworld and our protagonist, although plenty of action is offered in the second half of the issue. I wont spoil it, go read it. What drew (all puns intended) to this issue was the art. The series features the artistic talents of the art team behind the latest volume of Elektra: Mike Del Mundo, and Marco D’Alfonso. This fantastic duo draw and color a world beyond our imagination. Where hard neon colors stab through soft pastels, where blood flows green and grass grows red. All in all this artistic team delivers on what were high expectations (by me at least).

Rating: 8.5/10

Buy:

Gotham Academy #7: The gang is back! Well some of them. A new character emerges, and joins Maps in a quest to discover the secret of the (magic?) quill.

Rating: 7/10

Decscender #4: Excellent character development this issue, with still fantastic art. I am excited to see if robots really do dream.

rating: 6/10

Injection #2: This series has started off to a slow start for me. I was very excited to pick it up, since it features the creative team behind the first arc of Moon Knight. So far it has left me a little disappointed. However it did just enough to keep me interested in purchasing issue 3.

Rating 4/10

Silk #5 Another solid issue and return of artist Stacey Lee. There was a heartwarming moment in the middle of the issue that I wont give away, but lets just say it was from a character you wouldn’t expect.

Rating: 6.5/10

Spider-Gwen #5: Interesting work with the black cat. Also having Matt as a villain is an interesting twist. The art was fantastic, and it really got a lift from the outstanding coloring job by Rico Renzi. Seriously, is there a colorist better right now?

Rating: 7.5/10

Silver Surfer #12: This issue felt a little stale, with similar themes and plot ideas as the last issue, however, Michael and Laura Allreds art saves it for me.

Rating: 5.5/10

Pass:

Starfire #1: Really didn’t do it for me. Also, all the “wow, starfire is hot” moments felt weird to me. Some of the thought bubble pictures were funny though.

Rating: 4/10

Ultimate end #2: Maybe I just didn’t get into the Ultimate universe enough to care, but I just can’t get into this series.

Rating: 4/10

Constantine the Hellblazer #1: Bogged down by dialogue in my opinion. Some interesting and striking art choices though.

Rating: 4/10

All in all this week was pretty good. As I stated before let me know what you think of the new format in the comments section.

-Andrew Horton

Savings Bin Sunday: The Silver Surfer vs. Dracula #1

The Silver Surfer Vs. Dracula #1

Story: Marv Wolfman

Art: Gene Colan, Tom Palmer

This weeks trip to the savings bin brought me The Silver Surfer vs. Dracula (SSvD). First published in 1993, SSvD is a tale that is as convoluted as it is unnecessary. The first five pages feature Dracula deciding that cretins aren’t worth his time, appearances by Blade and Deacon Frost (who have a fight and then are never mentioned or shown again), and a summoning of a very angst-y Silver Surfer. We learn that a mysterious group of five want Dracula dead because there is “no need of him anymore”. The only problem is that they need someone mighty enough to challenge him, so logically they draft the first person anyone would think of…The Silver Surfer. Upon summoning him they knock him out with “a mystic force” and then brain wash him, while he is unconscious, into thinking that Dracula is the greatest evil of all time. When the Surfer awakes he feels compelled to find this “Dracula” and dispose of this evil. Conveniently, and unexplained, The Surfer knows exactly Where Dracula is and confronts him. In the ensuing battle we learn that Dracula can control weather (ok that’s new), and animlas (what?). Both of these forces he uses against the Surfer in an attempt to appear like a foe that could potentially harm him (which he’s not). All of this torrid action culminates in a physics defying punch by Dracula that knocks The Surfer to the ground.

How could you hope to hear the mist in the breeze

“How could you hope to hear the mist in the breeze”

At this point I was thinking “alright, time to use some of that power cosmic and send a power blast into his chest”. Instead The Surfer and Dracula decide it’s a tie and Dracula Bat-forms and fly’s away. Wait, what? The Surfer is endowed with the power cosmic, he was the herald of Galactus, he held his own against the entirety of the Fantastic Four. He once stood eye to eye with Thanos, and yet one gust of wind, an attack by a small clan of rats, and one punch from Dracula is enough for The Surfer to call a truce? Yeah, I’m not buying it. They tried to explain it by saying that he was “sluggish” from the brain washing of the mysterious five, but even still he should have been powerful enough to finish off Dracula. C’mon. Throw in uninspired art, dialogue such as “Dracula needs sustenance this night, and you shall supply it”, and several glaring grammatical issues and you have what may be the worst comic I have ever read.The best part of this comic was the Howard the Duck short story in the back. Perhaps in the early 90s Dracula was more popular than he is today. Maybe this was just an attempt for a cash grab. It sure feels like one. There’s no way I would have ever payed the original $1.75 cover price. I paid $0.50 and I still feel robbed.

Rating: 2/10

-Andrew Horton