The Best Comics in July Part 2: Four Weird Mysteries and Lumberjanes

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Click here for Part 1.

Supreme Blue Rose #1
This part of the comic round up this month is dedicated to a quartet of strange mystery stories that all began in July. It was just a damned good month to start looking at things that are insane.

First up, Supreme Blue Rose by Warren "Here We Go Again" Ellis. Twin Peaks fans will know that a blue rose is a euphemism or code word that indicates something paranormal or extraordinary. This book takes that idea and runs with it Beginning on a strange dreamscape that rivals anything in the Black Lodge. we meet a young, recently unemployed journalist who agrees to work for a man that supplies impossibilities to his clients. It's a mind-warping trip of a tale that promises to bend the lines between reality as only Ellis can.

Be warned, you're going to be lost going in, but just go with it and you'll be fine.

Rating: 8 of 10

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The Best Comics in July Part 1: Jailbreaking Your Sexdroid

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

Alex and Ada #7
Look, we all know that sexbots are just a matter of time. It's like space colonization or reliable electric cars; it's going to happen. The question is, what happens when people treat their boinkotrons the way they treat their iPhones?

The jailbreak them, of course, which would be massively illegal. That's the premise behind Alex and Ada. Alex is a typical man that just wanted some artificial companionship, but when he gave Ada sentience he both created a true love, and a dangerous random number according to the government.

Now he's desperate to both show her the world and keep her safe in the face of government crackdowns. Jonathan Luna tells the story wonderfully and Sarah Vaughn's minimalist art really lays the stark, mechanical nature of the future out beautifully. It's a slow book -- I won't lie -- but a good one.

Rating: 7 of 10

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Yes, the Female Thor Is a Gimmick. So?

Categories: Comics

The world of comic fans is all a-ricking right now. Soon, Marvel will have a female Thor and a black Captain America. Sam Wilson as Cap isn't that much of a stretch, having been Cap's buddy for most of the hero's post WWII adventures, but the idea of a female-wielder of Mjolnir seems to be most upsetting to some.

Even though no less an authority than Politifact shows it's happened before.

Still, the common comment I see most often is derisive sneers and the sentence, "It's just a cheap gimmick." My response to that is, "Of course it's a cheap gimmick. It's a superhero comic book. All they are is cheap gimmicks."

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The Best Comics in June Part 2: Lucifer and Southern Justice

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Check out Part 1.

Justice League #31: I skipped the whole Forever Evil crossover event because when I bothered to read a few of the villain one-shots like Killer Croc I just couldn't be any less impress. Both Marvel and DC have been freebasing universal conflicts lately and it's gotten too unbelievable even for superhero books.

The latest Justice League, though is mostly talk between lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne. The former has figured out the masked identity of the latter, and the quiet battle of will between the two geniuses is better than any punch fest. It also shows just how amazing Luthor has become as a character. Still devious, still scheming, but still under all of that a strange core of wanting to do the right thing for everyone.

He just also wants to be in charge as well.

In other news, Captain Cold is now a hero for his role in helping stop the invasion from another universe, which is a strange thing for the second-rate Flash villain. Cold has been one of my favorite returns in the New 52, delving deep into the nuance of the criminal mind in a sympathetic way. He and Luthor were made to be a team.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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The Best Comics in June Part 1: A TV Vagina

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

Trees #1: Everything Warren Ellis does is amazing, and no one knows that better than Warren Ellis. That might sound snarky, but I think it allows him to do things on a slower burn than other comic creators sometimes. He know we'll wait for the payoff with him.

Trees is an alien invasion book, but easily the strangest one that I've ever read. A force from beyond out planet lands and takes over the world as trees. Giant trees. So big that they reach to the sky.

The trees emit a deadly poison occasionally, but are otherwise for the most part just large and inexplicable. It's sort of like the beginning of Independence Day except that it's not ridiculous. The best part of it is akin to what made the novel World War Z so gripping. E get to see how a universal and frightening phenomenon impacts different people around the world in an in-depth and sincere way.

There's more to come, but for now even the epilogue of Trees is something special.

Rating: 8 of 10

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5 Best Local Comics I Picked Up at Comicpalooza

Categories: Comics

One of the best things about visiting Comicpalooza is that it's a great opportunity to meet local comic creators hoping to get their name out. This past weekend I picked up five new books from our hometown heroes, and they are well worth looking into.

I loved Weretrucker from the moment writer and artist Kaitlin Edlund put it into my hand. For starters, she assembled it there for me from printed pages that she hand stapled. It was such an amazingly old-school zine moment that warmed my cynical old heart.

The books is about... well, a were trucker. Not a man that turns into a trucker at the full moon, but a trucker that turns into a wolf on the full moon. Yes, that should be truckerwolf, but let's not be pedantic about the whole thing.

Anyway, a trucker listening to accounts of brutal slayings along the highways pulls over and finds himself turning into a bloodthirsty monster ready to eat an accident victim. Luckily for him, he has a guardian angel in the form of his Husky, Derrick, who serves as an animal conscience for the trucker when he turns. It's a short, dark tale that has a kind of Del James brilliance about it, and it makes me very eager to read more from Edlund.

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10 Things You Don't Want to Miss at Comicpalooza 2014

Chuck Cook Photography

We scoped out Comicpalooza for you today and although there's a ton of things to see and do, we're pointing out a few things that we think are worth seeking out.

10. Basketball-Playing Robots

Chuck Cook Photography
If these were auctioned for college scholarships for these kids, you'd bid, wouldn't you?

High school robotics students were charged with the task of creating mechs that can catch a ball, toss it to their "teammates" and put it in a basket while keeping it away from their opponents. In other words, these robots are essentially playing basketball.

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Interview: Lane Montoya on Her Upcoming Panels Regarding Women in Comics at Comicpalooza

Categories: Comics

Art by Lane Montoya
Sexism and misogyny in comic and geek culture is still a very big problem. Whether we're watching people hurl rape threats at Anita Sarkeesian or Starman creator Tony Harris ranting about girls in cosplay, there is still a lot of work to be done. One of the voices in that fight is Houston comic artist Lane Montoya, who will be joining several panels on the topic at this weekend's Comicpalooza. We sat down with her briefly to talk about sexism in the comic industry.

Art Attack: What are some of the panels you will be conducting at Comicpalooza? :

Lane Montoya: Right now there is some shuffling going on with the panels. I am going to be on a "local comic creator" panel, but right now I'm trying to get onto the "Representations of Gender in Graphic Literature" comics panel. In the past I have been on "Women in Comics" panels. I will try to make an appearance at a similar panel at Comicpalooza.

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Your Last-Minute Costuming Guide for Comicpalooza

Phaedra Cook
It's not too late to get your Who on. Bedrock City has plenty of pop culture gear, even for the ladies.

Comicpalooza, Houston's biggest comic and pop culture convention, starts at 10 am on Friday. The six-year old convention keeps growing in size and popularity. This year, it spans four days instead of three. (Hopefully, you already have Memorial Day off and don't have to call in "sick.")

Chuck Cook Photography
It's OK to be normal. Dark Phoenix still loves you.
So, what if you want to go to Comicpalooza but didn't plan on wearing a costume?

Option 1: Don't Sweat It

First off, it's absolutely fine to not wear a costume or cosplay. Speaking from experience, costumes can be hot, uncomfortable and--if you make your own--require hours, days or even months of work to achieve a high level of quality and authenticity. Based on my own observations at cons, a third or fewer attendees actually cosplay (although it is growing in popularity every year and more and more people are picking it up as a serious hobby). In fact, I strongly recommend to first-time con attendees to NOT cosplay. Just come see what it's all about first and then decide if you want to cosplay for the next one.

Option 2: Nerd Couture

Phaedra Cook
Bedrock City and other local comic book stores have a wide variety of apparel.

The easiest way to dress in the spirit of the event is to visit your local comic book store and check out the assortment of branded T-shirts. You can probably find one that sports a character that you love. At larger comic book shops, like the Bedrock City Comics on Washington Avenue, there's a lot more than just T-shirts to choose from. These days, the fashionable geek can choose from hoodies, jackets hats and wallets. Gussy up your jeans and jackets with iron-on patches. There are even some extremely cute Doctor Who dresses for the ladies.

If your heart is absolutely set on wearing a costume (or you have a child who is going to be heartbroken to not have one) you still have some options--if you hurry.

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Five Reasons NBC's Constantine Will Be Great (And Five Reasons It's Doomed)

John Constantine never needs a lighter.
NBC announced its fall lineup last weekend, and among the "no duhs" (two nights a week for The Voice) and head scratchers (Katherine Heigl's getting another shot?), was a show that raised few eyebrows outside of the comic book community: Constantine.

Based on the long-running (300 issues in 25 years) DC Comics title Hellblazer, the TV series looks to be a significant improvement over the 2005 Keanu Reeves misfire. As a big fan of the comic book, I'm encouraged by the trailer and clip that have been released so far. As a realist and someone who's been watching/disappointed by TV my entire life, I'm trying to ready myself for the inevitable crushing heartbreak to come.

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