By Beau Smith
For the last few weeks I’ve been pelted by requests for more Manly Recommendations by my readers. Sometimes I think folks request the recommendations so they won’t have to listen to my ranting and rambling. There could be a spark of truth in that.
As most of you know, you can find your latest Marvel and DC big event stuff rehashed on most every comic book news site online. If a site isn’t touting the mainstream stuff then they’re pushing the latest Indy “I can’t get a date so I sit in a Starbucks and whine” or some foreign comic book that nobody really understands. Well, here at Busted Knuckles, it’s meat and ‘taters time. So what do you say we throw this column into four-wheel drive and get offroad?
Regular readers of Busted Knuckles know that I’m very fond of alien invasion and UFO stuff. I’m very paranormal for pop culture dealing with space invaders and other Grays, green men and big-headed aliens. There’s a new comic book from IDW Publishing that I hope hasn’t gone under your radar. It’s called Groom Lake by Chris Ryall and Ben Templesmith. Groom Lake is smart, fun, creepy and promises to interest anyone that is a fan of science fiction with a tinge of horror. This is by far the most commercial art that Ben Templesmith has done yet in his skyrocketing career. With the script and dialogue of Chris Ryall, Templesmith shows that he is a real storytelling craftsman. Ryall and Templesmith make an excellent team and I really believe they bring out the best in each other. I’m not saying they’re Stan Lee and Jack Kirby…yet, but they really let it be known that they are a creative team that readers will want more from.
Groom Lake is a four issues series that has all the things you’re looking for in an alien conspiracy story. The best part is that writer Chris Ryall has added multiple layers to make this more than just another UFO story. Every character that appears has something to say. Their dialogue moves the story and makes you want to go with it. The alien Gray known as Archibald is a real twist on the Roswell Gray alien. A twist that looks to get even more interesting as the series unfolds. Ryall has done a Grade-A job in setting up the first issue, as a writer and a reader, I truly appreciate that.
IDW Publishing once again shows why they are the best publisher in comics when it comes to format. Groom Lake is printed on paper that you’ll almost get all erotic touching. It’s sturdy and you feel as though you could cut the pages out and frame them in any gallery. Groom Lake is out right now and waiting to abduct you at your local comic book retail store.
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with a couple of artists that have shown me all kinds of right stuff. Those guys are Warren Martineck and Evan Quiring. I’m working with these fine young men on the wrap up story of Parts Unknown.
Parts Unknown is an alien invasion series that Brad Gorby and I created in 1990 at Eclipse Comics. Since then it has seen multiple series at Image Comics, Knight Press and AfterBurn Comics. The new wrap up adventure will come from Unleashed Press later this year.
Warren has a great mainstream/action style that gives evidence why he has done so many of your favorite super heroes on sketch cards. Martin adds the kind 1980’s straight to VHS style of grit that I needed for the action heavy Parts Unknown story. When an alien gets his head smashed through a wall, Warren makes you as a reader feel it. His men are knuckle busters, his women are shapely and his aliens are menacing. Everything you need in a Parts Unknown story.
Evan’s penciling style shows his love for the 1950’s Drive-In movie feel that Parts Unknown also thrives on. Evan captures an animated feel that makes my story flow. He has a real touch for retro/modern equipment and technology. He is a master at ray guns and over the top expressions.
The story has been divided between the two so that not only will it showcase their special talents, it will give the readers the feel of the cliffhangers that have become film classics. Keep your eyes on these guys. Parts Unknown is just the springboard for their talent. You’ll be seeing more of them really soon. I look forward to working with them a lot in the future. (By the way, Parts Unknown has been optioned for a feature film.)
Alan Moore and Jack Kirby
The Extraordinary Works Of Alan Moore: Indispensable Edition
Cover Price $29.95
TPB. B&W with Partial Color
Written by George Khoury
Collected Jack Kirby Collector-Volume 7
Cover Price $29.95
Written By John Morrow
I’ve told you before that TwoMorrows Publishing publish the “textbooks” of comics. If you want the history, the facts and the knowledge that you’ll need as a comic book reader and creator, then check out any of the TwoMorrows publications.
Available now are two big books that everyone should have on their shelves: The Extraordinary Works Of Alan Moore: Indispensable Edition
and Collected Jack Kirby Collector-Volume 7. Here you have hours and years worth of reading to refer to. Both big books are well worth the cover prices because they are packed with information, photos, interviews and art that are nothing short of amazing.
The Alan Moore book is the best piece that I have ever read on the very eccentric writer and creator. You get to understand his positions and opinions behind his works past and present. Most will really find his thoughts on Hollywood and the Watchmen movie of real interest.
The book is filled with great behind the scenes photos and an incredible amount of art. From the casual Alan Moore reader the hardcore, all will find this of interest.
Collected Jack Kirby Collector-Volume 7 is a treasure. From the Captain America cover to the Fantastic Four last page, this book is a year round Christmas gift to yourself. The opportunity to see Kirby’s pencils is jaw dropping. You can see why Kirby was referred to as “The Man With A Million Ideas.”
This book is fun because it covers the myths of Kirby, the small, unknown facts of Kirby and the thoughts of so many of his admirers and co-workers. As a Kirby fan, I’m working hard to complete my personal collection of these great TwoMorrows books on Kirby. They’re a must for my library. I think they will be for yours as well.
How Much Is History Worth?
Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Number 39
Hardcover Price $35.00
Softcover Price $29.95
Color and B&W
Over 1,000 pages
As with the TwoMorrows book, The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is a history book for comics. It should also be on everyone’s shelf. It doesn’t matter if you never sell one of your own comic books, the history listed about each and every comic is well worth your hard earned money. The book not only has prices for comics and graphic novels, it also has tons of market trends, results, stats and much more.
The two covers are just beautiful. One is a classic redo of the famous Alex Schomburg cover with the WWII adventures of Captain America, the original Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. This tribute is done by the legendary artist Murphy Anderson. The other cover pays homage to the great Jack Kirby/Dick Ayers Avengers cover and this one is done by John K. Snyder III. They are true eye candy for any comic book reader.
I’ve been buying the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide since 1980. I can’t see a year go by without adding the latest edition to my library. My copies are well used and read. They’re packed full of memories and loads of great information. Bob Overstreet, J.C. Vaughn and all the staff of the Price Guide out do themselves every year. I have to say this is the best year yet. Next time you’re in your local comic shop or bookstore, make sure you check the Overstreet Guide out. It will give you hours, if not years of enjoyment.
Life in The Faster Lane
There’s a very good mini-interview with a very good amigo of mine from the deep-south, Bobby Nash. You may know Bobby as the writer of such manly books as Life in the Faster Lane, Lance Star-Sky Ranger or Domino Lady. If you don’t, then read this interview and find out. Or you can visit Bobby’s website. Either way, tell him his buddy from the semi-south, Beau Smith sent you.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week: Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. #11
Gold Key Comics
How can you go wrong with a cover where the hero is beating the bolts out of robots and slapping the snot out of crazed gorillas? The answer: you can’t!
This was one of my personal favorite Gold Key painted covers, trust me, there were many to choose from. The great thing about the Magnus series was that every issue you were paid off with not only great painted covers, but lots of robots getting their sprockets cleaned by the two-fisted Magnus. These are wonderful comics to pick up cheap in the convention bins. Yes, you WILL thank me when you do.
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Debbe Dunning
Although Pamela Anderson was the first Tool Time hottie on the TV show Home Improvement, it’s in my opinion that Debbe Dunning wore the tool belt much better when she replaced Anderson. Dunning had the body of a centerfold and the looks of the girl next door. She was smart, sweet and knew how to steal every scene she was in. That’s why she’s this week’s Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week.
I think I’ve figured out why so many people have been turning to Twitter. As most of you are aware, in the last few years social networks have become as they used to say in the old day “The Rage.” I’m not going to get into why folks feel they have to reach out and semi-touch so many people they don’t really know. We’ve all got our reasons, demons and time consuming things we enjoy doing. Some do it to get in touch with old friends, some to stay in touch with family and some to promote the work they’re doing. (That would be me)
There are a lot of social networks, with Facebook and MySpace being the two most popular. I like Linkedin because it’s kind of like being in a well-mannered library where it’s quiet and manners count. Recently more and more people are joining Twitter. I think it’s because of the massive amount of pressure that maintaining Facebook and MySpace can cause. It seems that not only do you have to constantly decide on friends, causes, pokes and groups asking you to join up, it’s become overload. With Twitter you are limited to 140 characters. You get on, you type your thoughts and get out. There’s no foreplay. It’s “Wham-Bam-Thank You for No Spam.” Twitter really appeals to those on their cell phones texting. It’s built for the on the go, short attention span crowd. I’m figuring that soon there’ll be a social network where you only type one word or where you’ll be able to create and post up your own symbol/icon that will say it all without words.
Do you remember when Compuserve and AOL had the chat rooms that were very popular? I remember those early days with all the pings and chimes smacking you around the minute you stepped into one of those shooting gallery chat rooms. You learned to type fast in those days of the wild frontier. I’m thinking about starting my own social network. It would be the Anti-Social Network. One where you make your circle of friends smaller and smaller until it’s just you. I think my avatar would be that shot of Clint Eastwood from the movie Gran Torino saying “Get Off My Lawn.”
Maybe I’d name my network “BeauSayNoWay” or “BeauNoVacancy” or maybe “BeawareOfBeau.com”
Works for me.
Your only true friend,
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!