Leave Your Spandex @t the Door

Welcome to the 38th installment of Leave Your Spandex @t the Door!

Real life intrudes: You might have noticed a lack of updates on the column”¦ again, and I’d like to yet again apologize for this; I have wrapped up my MSc research dissertation this month (a whopping 120 pages!) and started my new PhD, so things have been slightly on the busy side for me. I also extend apologies to the creators who are waiting for their work to be spotlighted here for some weeks now, I’m giving these reviews top priority and they will be running within the next two weeks.

How much of a comic geek are you?: I’m a certified X-Statix crazed fanboy, and if you’re looking for proof, you need search no farther than the dedications page of my MSc dissertation:

“To Guy and Edie
to fiction that draws breath, and
to the only thing that makes sense of the hours and the pain”

Doop update: The Avengers-Doop petition has swamped after the initial strong start, but there’s still 2 weeks left before it closes up. Check it out and sign it, if you haven’t already. One lucky sod from the undersigned will win the LYS@D booty bag with some comics surprises.

I still haven’t managed to get a response from Brian Bendis, so I’m making one last (you might call it desperate, it is) attempt: Dear Bendis, if you make Doop an Avenger (heck, if you have him appear in an issue and say a line), I’m going to mail you my my HAIR. I’ve kept my first ponytail from when I had cut my hair short at 18. Think of all the fun Halloween possibilities!

Cyberpunk adventures: SAM119 #1.

Cyberpunk/Sci-Fi doesn’t seem to be a popular genre among the American publishers, as titles in that vein are very scarce. Thankfully, we still have the Brits!

Sam119 is a comic created by Steve Beckett and Simon James, published through their company, Undercurrent Comics.

The comic is set in a world under siege, by an army of demonic looking soldiers, the Snakes. Sam119 and his friends are some of the last remaining humans to have escaped the original snake coup, a year ago; he is an orphan with no recollection of his early childhood, or even his real name. He is plagued by nightmares concerning his real identity and his importance to the Snake army, so he sets out to invade their centre of operations.

Sam119 provides an easily accessible script; although scant few details are given about the nature of the Snakes and the exact setting of the story, the reader instinctively connects the dots, as the story takes place in scenery more or less familiar to fans of the genre. The art and the coloring palette helps a lot in that regard as it creates the clear feeling of a city ravaged by war and under siege, although in some technical aspects the use of intense highlights detracts from the end result. Apart from some occasional perspective problems and the stiffness in the characte’s faces, Steve Beckett’s art is easy to follow and uncluttered, not an easy feat when most of the pages consist of a minimum of 9 panels; the panel arrangements help the eye move effortlessly across the page and follow the quick flow of the story and the action scenes. This is Beckett’s greatest strength, as he provides dynamic panels and paces the settings of the ‘frame shots’ during the chase and invasion scenes just right to make them easy to follow; This is a great strength for a young artist, and with n art style that reminds me of my favorite, Philip Bond, I’m expecting Beckett to evolve into a note-worthy artist.

The first issue does an admirable job of setting up the world these characters move in and the mystery surrounding the leading man, Sam119. The reader is served some breadcrumbs showing that there’s more to him than meets the eye, hinting at his importance to the Snakes. The only big gripe I have concerning this comic wasn’t in the actual story, the dialogue or the art, but in the lettering and the punctuation! The dialogue features virtually no punctuation, making perfectly normal discourse sound quite off.

Sam119 delivers on its cover promise of an ‘explosive first issue’ with riveting fast-paced action and a captivating cyberpunk setting. It’s certainly a title worth checking out and I recommend it to all the sci-fi comics fans.

Α preview of the first pages is available in the comic’s official site. The creators were also kin enough to provide the Nexus with some art goodies from the second issue:

SAM119 #2 cover

SAM119 #2 interior page

SAM119 #2 cover

character pin-up of SAM119

Reach for the TOP SHELF: Top Shelf has provided the Nexus with the solicit text, covers and art previews for two of their titles shipping in October: BIGHEAD and GUTSMAN COMICS.

BIGHEAD by Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown is back — and with a BIGHEAD, no less! From the creator of CLUMSY and BE A MAN comes an irreverent and clever superhero parody, featuring the most amazing hero of all time: BIGHEAD. Witness inept villains clash with an all-too-emotional hero, in the epic graphic novel that will leap all clichés in a single bound. BIGHEAD brings together moral fable, social commentary and classic comic book action, featuring a superhero who must save an unthankful world while facing the demons of his own failures.
$12.95 (US)
128 pages, Diamond: AUG043100

GUTSMAN COMICS by Erik Kriek

Think Love and Rockets of the superhero world mixed with Quentin Tarantino and you’ll have Gutsman by Dutch creator Erik Kriek. Wordless, stylish, and sexy, this graphic novel playfully uses the imagery of mainstream comics to turn the spotlight on love affairs, despair, temptation and loss. A unique approach to comics.
14.95 (US)
Diamond: AUG043102

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Coming up next: FUTURE QUAKE! ULTRA! GOTHAM CENTRAL! And a fond farewell to X-STATIX”¦.
As always, I’m waiting for your comments through email or in the new official LYS@D discussion thread.

Manolis Vamvounis
a.k.a. Doc Dooplove

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