Category: Crime

Egg #2: Hard-Boiled Stories Reviewed

Egg: Hard-Boiled Stories #2 is, not surprisingly, a follow-up to to Egg: Hard-Boiled Stories #1. Like the first, it’s an anthology with all stories written by Eric SkillmanIssue two features the art of Ming Doyle, Victor Kerlow and Evan Bryce. Let’s look at the issue…

Lost & Found by Eric Skillman and Ming Doyle kicks off the issue with an eight page story about a midwestern girl who moved to the big city after high school.  Now nearly a decade later she reconnects with Tommy, an old friend who loves to party hard.  Hanging with Tommy could be the death of her.

Skillman’s colors mesh well with Ming Doyle’s pen and ink work.  Doyle has a unique style but it felt really right for this story.

Our second tale, The Platform teams Eric Skillman with Victor Kerlow in an six page story about two subway workers who learn how dangerous it can be coming to the aide of a young lady late at night.

This story, like many of Skillman’s, has a shocker of an ending.

Our final story brings Eric Skillman and Evan Bryce together for a tale that they call Cold FeetKermit and Nate are two crime partners debating whether of not the snowy and icy roads make it the right night for a robbery.  Before the night is over, they’ll have their answer.

Cold Feet was my favorite story in the issue.  I’m a big fan of Evan Bryce’s artEvan is always pushing the envelope and I think he had the right balance of realism/cartooniness for this tale.  Skillman did an excellent job of coloring the story — at first glance I thought that Evan had done the colors as well.  Let’s hope we see more stories from this team in the future.

I really enjoyed Egg: Hard-Boiled Stories #2Eric Skillman is an excellent writer and has an obvious love of the crime/hard-boiled genre. He’s also been able to bring excellent artists to the table, so I’m hoping that we’re going to see future issues.

EGG: Hard-Boiled Stories #1

Egg: Hard-Boiled Stories #1 is a rare find in comics these days.  First of all, it’s an anthology.  Second, every tale is excellent in both story [all written by Eric Skillman] and art [Jorge Coelho, Joe Dellagatta, Dan Duncan, Jhomar Soriano and Connor Willumsen].  Let’s look at the issue…

These Kids Today by Eric Skillman and Connor Willumsen kicks off the issue with a three page story that packs a gut-punch ending.  A somewhat older [wiser?] guy decides to hook up with a young babe who’s mad at her boyfriend and looking for a good time.  Needless to say, good times ensue… for a bit.  I didn’t see the ending coming and that made me love it all the more.   I really liked how the line art and colors worked on this story.

Our second tale, Below the Fold teams Eric Skillman with Jorge Coelho in an eight page story about a reporter who needs to break a major story in order to keep her job.  Her luck turns when she discovers information that would save her career… but cost her much more.

Next up is Eric Skillman and Jhomar Soriano teaming to bring us Uninvited, a three page tale of suspense.  Kate Carville is the lead prosecutor against a mob boss in a trial set to start the following morning.  Kate is home alone prepping for the case when she hears someone in her house.

As I was reading this short tale I was thinking that I’d really like to see Skillman and Soriano team for a graphic novel.  I was thrilled to learn that they did [Liar’s Kiss] and that it would live up to my high expectations [future review coming].

The Real Thing [by Eric Skillman and Dan Duncan] explores what happens when a con man set to score big discovers that a female con artist is also working the same guy.  Can they trust each other so that everyone, except the mark, comes out ahead?

Our final tale is Spared by Eric Skillman and Joe Dellagatta.  It’s every woman’s nightmare to be traveling alone on a deserted road and for the car to breakdown.  That’s exactly what happens to Kristen.  Perhaps things are looking up when a stranger stops to help.  Perhaps not.  I foresaw a couple of different endings to this tale, but not the one that Skillman and Dellagatta delivered.  THAT is the sign of good storytelling.  Special props for the coloring of this story as well.

So there you have it.  Five excellent crime stories by Eric Skillman and five talented artists.  If you’ve read this far, then  Egg: Hard-Boiled Stories #1 should find a home in your collection.

Talking with Duane Swierczynski and Josh Bazell

Recently a couple of my favorite writers, Duane Swierczynski and Josh Bazell sat down for a two part conversation.  In part one Duane and Josh talk about how they write novels, the influence of comic books & movies, and why they want to keep readers turning the page.  In part two Duane and Josh discuss their first jobs, their first books, 80’s movies and tv shows, James Ellroy’s White Jazz and more.

Heroes Con Report – Thursday & Friday

Thursday

Doralya [my wife] and I left Port Orange in the Jack Carter mobile headed for Charlotte at approximately 11:30am on the day before the show.  I had a free night at the Westin and so we decided to make a long weekend of it.  My IPOD was full of enough music to get us there and back and we even had a little cooler of Diet Cokes, water and snacks.  Life was good.  My Garmin didn’t let me down and the weather was perfect.  Once we arrived in Charlotte, Doralya dropped me off at the convention center so I could pick up my con pass and then we got our room.

After a bit of unpacking and freshening up, we decided to walk down to Mert’s Heart and Soul for dinner.  If you like Soul food, then this is the place to go.  Doralya had the fried catfish and I went with the traditional fried chicken.  We both had cornbread [as good as cake], mac and cheese and I also had some greens.  Doralya opted for lemonade and I had sweet tea.  We were full of great food so I was thankful for a beautiful evening as we walked back to the Westin.

Friday

That’s Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson, two of the founding members of Drink and Draw.  I had a Jack Carter sketch commission set up with Dan.  So his table was my first stop.  Dan said that he’d sketched out a piece on the plane, but wasn’t happy with it.  The way he described it was pretty cool, Carter holding a hand gun up and facing the viewer at an angle.  Dan said he might just go ahead and give me the rough if he went with another idea.  I was definitely cool with that.  ; )

I asked Jeff to sketch in my Drink and Draw, Volume II sketchbook. Jeff put an awesome Viking warrior on the inside front cover to go with Dan’s equally cool Red Sonja and Dave Johnson’s creepy guy.  I asked Jeff if he’d be interested in doing a Stallone sketch.  Jeff agreed and did a very cool and on-point sketch of Sly as Cobra.

After setting up the sketch with Jeff, I decided to walk the con floor and see where everybody was.  I’d also set up some sketches before the show with artists so picking them up was also on the list of things to do.  Mike Torrance was at the show, but not set up at a table.  He had some sketch cards for me: Rocky Balboa, Jack Carter, Barney Ross from The Expendables and Sly as John Spartan aka Demolition Man.  I also had Mike do a Rawhide Kid card for my buddy, LittleJohn312.   I had set up a Rocky sketch with Chris Brunner, who went above and beyond by giving me a piece with Rocky and Adrian! Chris is one of the good guys and his comic series with Jason LaTour and Rico Renzi, Loose Ends is gonna kill.

I also had set up two pieces with Robbi Rodriguez.  The first piece I asked for was an iconic shot of Sly as Jack CarterRobbi knew exactly what I was talking about and created a piece that just floored me.  I liked it so much that I asked Robbi if he was up for another Stallone.  He said he was and I told him to do what he wanted.  Robbi decided to do Sly as Machine Gun Joe Viterbo from Death Race 2000.    Robbi drew Machine Gun Joe standing on his car with a smoking machine gun and threw in the female co-pilot to boot.  Robbi is the man!  LittleJohn saw the sketches that Robbi was doing and jumped on board for a Snake Plissken.

LittleJohn312, his wife Patricia and my wife met for lunch in the convention center.  The company was better than the food, and the food was a step up from most meals available at conventions.  After lunch, LittleJohn312, Patricia and I made our way to the Comic Twart panel and Doralya decided to go out and enjoy CharlotteChris Sims moderated the Twart panel which consisted of Ron Salas, Dan Panosian, Dave Johnson, Declan Shalvey and Tom Fowler.  The panel was a lot of fun as the artists all worked on Black Widow sketches as they took questions and shared anecdotes with the audience.   The sketches were all later put in the Heroes Con auction.  It’s cool that the Twartists took their show on the road.  If you ever get a chance to see one, don’t miss it.

After the panel I made the rounds of the convention floor to see old pals, meet new artists and set up some sketches.  Although Dave Wachter’s sketch list [photo above taken after he’d done my sketch] filled up quickly on Friday [and again on Saturday], he felt he could get me in on Saturday.  He did and I got one of his best Stallone sketches yet.  I spent the next couple of hours walking and chatting with Michael Golden, Andy Smith, Gene Gonzales [hiding behind his lil’ Punisher sketch below], Joe Pekar, Pat Broderick, Chris DiBari, Dustin Harbin, Casey Jones, Bob McLeod, Chris Moreno, Eric Skillman and others.

At 4pm, LittleJohn312, Patricia and I headed over to the Kickstarter panel.  Dustin Harbin, Jay Potts and Jeremy Bastian answered audience questions and explained why their Kickstarter projects were successful.  At 6pm I made sure I was at the Drink & Draw Social Club PanelDan Panosian, Dave Johnson and Jeff Johnson entertained the crowd and gave us a preview of what to expect at the Drink & Draw scheduled for that evening at Fuel.

That evening Doralya and I met up with LittleJohn312 and Patricia who’d saved us a table outside at Fuel.  The place filled up inside and out with folks there to eat and participate in the Drink & Draw Social.  Specially created Drink & Draw coaster and paper had been created for the event.  Artists would draw whatever struck their fancy and then place it on a centrally located table where folks could buy the art for a donation.  Chris Flick of Capes and Babes and Thomas Zahler of Love and Capes joined us at our table.  I’d never met these guys before [they’re friends of LittleJohn] but they were a blast.  Chris had my wife cracking up with his humor and enthusiasm for art.  Thomas entertained us with a professional level William Shatner imitation.  Not only could Thomas improv as Captain Kirk, he had enough material that he could literally take his act on the road.  Before the evening was over, Chris and Thomas drew Stallone sketches after LittleJohn tipped them to my collection.  Naturally I purchased both with donations to the cause.  LittleJohn ended up with several pieces from the session.  It was growing late, so we called it a night, with the knowledge that Saturday would be a busy day at the show…

Tune in tomorrow for more from Heroes Con 2011.

100 Bullets Coming to Showtime

Earlier this afternoon it was announced at Deadline.com that SHOWTIME and David Goyer [writer/producer] are teaming to bring the adaption of 100 Bullets to television.   As most of you probably already know, 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello [writer] and Eduardo Risso [artist] ran for 100 issues under the Vertigo imprint for DC Comics.    While it was running 100 Bullets was consistently one of my favorite comics being published.  If the tv series is half as good as the comic series, we’re in for a heck of a ride.

Looking Forward to a Near Death Experience

Here’s a heads-up on a new crime comic that’s coming out this September from IMAGE ComicsNear Death was created by Jay Faerber [author] and Simone Guglielmini [artist].  The series is based on the concept that…

  • …After getting a glimpse of his own disturbing life after death while clinically dead for two minutes, professional killer Markham vows to do whatever it takes to prevent his return to the hell he saw before he was revived. He vows to save as many lives as possible, in the hopes that he can somehow balance the scales of judgement.

You can find out more about the series at this CBR.com preview.

The Last of the Innocent

Whenever Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips get together for a crime comic series they create magic.  Well, the boys are at it again with their latest arc Criminal: The Last of the Innocent.  Based on Brubaker & Phillips track record, I like many of you, pre-ordered it, sight unseen.  Well according to this five star review at CBR.com, we made an excellent decision in getting on board early.

If you haven’t ordered yours yet, it’s not to late to contact your local comic shop.  You’ll be glad you did.

Steranko’s Chandler is Back

That’s the cover to Dark Horse Presents #3 and yep, that’s Steranko’s classic private eye, Chandler.  If you’re a fan of crime comics and haven’t read Steranko’s Chandler, you’re missing out.  The great news is that Dark Horse Presents #3 will feature a 13 page preview of the soon to be re-released graphic novel plus a new interview with Steranko.   The preview and interview alone are worth the price of admission.

[Via CBR.com]

Loose Ends: It’d Be a Crime to Miss Out

Loose Ends by Jason LaTour [writer]. Chris Brunner [pencils & inks] and Rico Renzi [colors] is described as…

  • …a gritty, slow cooked, “southern crime romance”, that follows a winding trail down Tobacco Road, through the war torn streets of Baghdad, and into the bright lights and bloody gutters of South Florida…12-Gauge style.

It’s no secret that I love hardboiled crime stories and great art. Loose Ends is gonna have both.  It’s the one comic that I can’t wait to get my mits on. Loose Ends will be the first comic that I’ll read [Yep, Criminal and Walking Dead will have to wait] when it hits comic shops in July.

Jason has set up a great story and Chris’ art with Rico’s colors are amazing.  Truly.  I think that Loose Ends is going to break big and I’m encouraging everyone who might like it to give Loose Ends a try.

If you like what you see, please order up a couple of dozen copies from your local comic shop. [The copies will make great Christmas and birthday gifts.]  If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to get your eyes checked.

Want Some Real Cheap Yellow Medicine?

I guess I’m old fashioned.  Or maybe just old.  You see, I like the books I read to be real… not some digital concoction that you read from a machine.  I love being able to read a great book and then place it in my collection on my bookshelf.  But that’s not what this post is about.

What this post is about is the fact that Anthony Neil Smith, the author of two excellent crime novels featuring bad cop Billy Lafitte is offering a super deal on the first, titled Yellow Medicine.  Starting May 1st at 2pm you will be able to get a copy of Yellow Medicine for just 99 cents.  The idea is to get everyone who wants a copy to jump on at the same time and get Yellow Medicine on the charts.

At 99 cents the novel is a steal.  Heck, I paid a lot more than that for my hardcover copy and the story was so good, I thought I got a bargain.  So if you read your novels from a screen, then give Yellow Medicine a try.  [And if you’re like me and want a “real” book then order up one here.]