Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wolf: Blood and Magic Vol. 1 Graphic Novel Review

Wolf Vol. 1: Blood and Magic
Ales Kot (Author)
Matt Taylor (Artist)
Image Comics (Publisher)
Review by Joe Tell

Wolf Vol. 1 Blood and Magic uses the city of Los Angeles as a backdrop for a reality-bending tale about a paranormal investigator. The story follows Antoine Wolfe as he assumes responsibility for an orphaned, teenaged girl who might be the key to preventing an impending apocalypse. Alongside the concrete jungle, Wolf also uses the beautiful scenery of the mountains, hills and woods of Los Angeles to great effect. Wolf combines the best elements of urban fantasy and crime noir to tell a supernatural story. The narrative explores the dark, maniacal things that lurk in the shadows. Things we all know exist but choose to ignore out of fear and loathing. The first panel uses the myth of singer, songwriter Robert Johnson and his famous song Hellhound On My Trial to set the tone of the narrative, the main character is shown singing the line while on fire. Wolf is chock full of many scary characters like vampires, a werewolf, ghosts’ and there’s even a reference to H. P. Lovecraft ‘s Cthulhu. Author Ales Kot is part of a new wave of talented writers that are injecting new, philosophical blood into mainstream American comics. His recent work includes Marvel’s Bucky Barnes and Secret Avengers. Artist Matt Taylor uses weird imagery straight out of nightmares to invoke feelings of horror and terror. Matt’s playful, yet very effective, line drawings are deformed but still manage to look clear and defined. Colorist Lee Loughridge uses psychedelic colors to further enhance the mood of the art. Lee is best known for his work on Hellblazer. The story also touches upon themes such as racism, prison-industrial complex, suicide and menstruation.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Alluring Art Of Margaret Brundage: Queen Of Pulp Pin-Up Art Book Review

The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-Up Art is a very entertaining and interesting read. The book sheds new light on the life and career of legendary Weird Tales cover artist, Margaret Brundage. Margaret’s lush and alluring paintings created great controversy in the 1930s. Her lavishly colored artwork featured scantily clad young women bearing whips and wielding knives that were menaced by all types of monstrous beings. Margaret’s innovative and shocking artwork was in high demand because her covers sold the most pulp magazines. The best part of this book is all of Margaret’s stunning, pulp magazine cover art for Weird Tales, Oriental Stories, Magic Carpet and Golden Fleece are all compiled together along with some never before seen, unpublished work. Many of her covers featured gothic fetish themes based on the stories that were published within Weird Tales. Stories that were written by renowned authors like H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch and Conan the Barbarian creator, Robert E. Howard. The second part of the book reveals, for the first time ever, the secret life that Margaret led apart from the pulp magazine scene. She and her husband Slim were political activists who took part in the birth of the American counterculture. Margaret Johnson and Slim Brundage first met at Chicago’s infamous Dil Pickle Club. The club was known as a speakeasy but its members also participated in the highly political causes that defined the Chicago Renaissance. The Dil Pickle Club was at the center of a diverse subculture that encouraged free speech and rallied for workers and civil rights at a time when activism led to blacklisting. This is essential reading for any fan of fantasy and horror art.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Cardstore - Cheektowaga NY

Recent picks from a visit to The Cardstore seeking out full color Steranko art......which I was happy to find, along with a couple of other books.

The Cardstore - Comics, Full line of Trading Cards and Gaming supplies. 
4016 Union Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14225 (716) 713-1184 
Tell em JoTell sent ya... ...picked up the following issues, at a discount, upon my last visit.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chrononauts Graphic Novel Review

Chrononauts is about two scientific geniuses who love to have fun. Their latest project involves time travel. The team becomes instant celebrities as they are slated to embark on the first televised mission through space and time. Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly act like rock stars and are treated as such by the adoring public. They love breaking new ground and the attention that comes with it. The characters act out the human desire to do great things and be remembered for it. Will they use their knowledge to benefit mankind? Or, will they take advantage of the opportunity to benefit their own lives? All is not well as the planned routine goes off course. Corbin gets lost in the time-space continuum and Danny insists on bringing him back safely. Initially, Corbin decides to leave his unhappy life behind and take full advantage of all the opportunities that time traveling offers. The duo wreaks havoc with the time stream as they jump from Ancient Rome to the 1980s music scene at their leisure. In the end, the duo decides to undo all the historical changes they have made and fix everything that’s wrong with their lives. If you are a fan of Sean Murphy’s artwork on Punk Rock Jesus or The Wake, you will love this book. His work is seamless as it bounces from periods of the past to people watching historical sequences on live TV. Many of the highly detailed panels are dialogue-free, leaving the art to tell the story. Fans of classic science-fiction time-travel stories, the Back to the Future and Indiana Jones franchises, or the film Armageddon will love this book.

Special thanks goes out to Artvoice newspaper and Queen City Bookstore.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Buffalo Comicon 2015

Jim Steranko was a true gentleman and shared some comic history with a friend and I. As I told him, we could've listened to him talk all day but the line to meet him was very long.

Thank you, Jim Steranko!

Joe Tell with Bill Kennedy star of Frankenstein's Patchwork Monster.

...with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

...with Ted DiBiase, WWE's Million Dollar Man.

Here are the business cards of a few of the vendors who were at the show.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hawkeye Rio Bravo Graphic Novel Review

Clint Barton, the hero known as Hawkeye, was originally introduced way back in 1964 as a reluctant villain in a battle with Iron Man. Since then, Hawkeye has been a team player in six different versions of the Avengers; signed on as an agent of SHIELD, Marvel’s top intelligence agency; and led a team of heroes called the Thunderbolts. Until recently, Hawkeye was always a secondary character to Marvel’s big guns; indeed, he even shed his Hawkeye persona in the late 1960s, succeeding Hank Pym as Goliath. The recent popularity of the Avengers-related films and the comic book team of Matt Fraction and David Aja have sparked new interest in the character, making Hawkeye more popular than ever. Aja’s gritty art and coloring by Matt Hollingsworth reflect the bleakness of the inner city, creating a perfect background for the story. Hawkeye: Rio Bravo focuses on Hawkeye’s origin and his personal life away from the Avengers. The narrative follows Clint Barton as he takes on a highly relatable “every-man” role as a superintendent of low-income tenement building. The issue also highlights Clint’s reunion with his brother, Barney, as they team up to protect the tenants from a Polish assassin named Kazu and his gang of Russian mobsters, who plan to vacate the building by any means necessary. Hawkeye is deafened and Barney—also known as Trick Shot—winds up in a wheelchair as a result of Kazu’s initial attack. However, their heroic resolve isn’t lessened by such setbacks; the brothers are brought closer together as they sign and work through Clint’s hearing loss. The final issue delivers plenty of action and unexpected surprises. Hawkeye: Rio Bravo is full of humor, action and heartfelt emotion, making the series a must-read for any serious Marvel fan.

Thank You to Artvoice Newspaper and Queen City Bookstore.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wytches Graphic Novel Review

Do not read Wytches if you plan on going camping soon! Wytches invokes terror and suspense, using a mysterious, well-balanced narrative to incorporate many of our most basic fears into the story. The natural fear of being all alone in the woods at night is used to tell a dark, horror tale. Forget about the Wicked Witch of the West: Wytches delivers a new and scarier witch, shattering all the classic notions we all have of an evil woman riding on a broomstick. The wytches of the story are frightening, disfigured creatures who live in the trees just outside of our bedroom windows. Wytches also uses losing a child—any parent’s worst nightmare—to add heartfelt emotion to the story. The tale is told through the eyes of the Rook family, highlighting a troubled relationship between father and daughter. The Rooks are a tight family unit that has recently relocated. Unfortunately, they go from the frying pan into the fire. The female lead, Sailor, is very likable and it’s easy to see her as your own child. The story also explores wish fulfillment and the secret desires we all keep hidden inside. The wytches can grant any wish as long as you’re willing to “pledge” another human to them, leaving no one safe from their evil grasp. How far would you go to make your darkest dreams a reality? Wytches is the scariest graphic novel you will read this year. You’ll want to look away, but the story will draw you in, making it impossible. Turn the lights on, lock your doors and don’t dare look outside—the wytches are coming.

Special thanks to Queen City Bookstore and Artvoice Newspaper.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sex: The Summer Of Hard Graphic Novel Review

Did you ever wonder how Bruce Wayne would spend his free time if he gave up being the Caped Crusader? The narrative contained within the pages of Sex explores the extraordinary life of an ex-super hero called the Armored Saint. Now that billionaire playboy, Simon Cooke has decided to give up his alter-ego we find out that Simon is not mentally prepared for his new way of life. He has trouble dealing with women, co-workers and friends. His biggest problem is dealing with the pressures of being the CEO of his own company. The physical activity Simon is privy to is shown in explicit detail and is mature in subject matter. Just like Batman has Catwoman to contend with, the Armored Saint had a cat-like female foe called the Shadow Lynx. The tumultuous relationship between the two former foes heats up after they run into each other at a high-society sex club. The story also follows the heroes former villains as they run rampant in Saturn City. The evil Old Man takes a hostage and after torturing him throws his body into a river. The Prank Addict has problems adjusting to life without his prime protagonist and is living in the past. The Alpha brothers try to capitalize on the absence of their adversary but they run into a small problem. The Armored Saints’ former sidekick has decided to stay in the crime fighting game. The martial arts expert hacks into the Alpha Brothers database and is messing with their cash flow from the inside. Sex is an interesting psychological drama that exposes an often overlooked part of the superhero genre.

Special thanks to Artvoice Newspaper and Queen City Bookstore.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Batman '66 Vol. 3 Graphic Novel review

Batman '66 Volume three continues the series in style, staying timely while looking retro. "The Joker's Big Show" introduces Dr. Holly Quinn to the series. Dr. Quinn is a rehabilitation counselor @ Arkham Asylum, the place where all of Batman's enemies end up sooner or later. Dr. Quinn has secretly stepped over the line after she agrees to help Catwoman and the Joker perfect a cerebral cyco-ray machine. The ray converts the Joker's insane brain waves into energy which powers the ray. The villains use the mad machine to drive Gotham city batty. All is lost until Holly Quinn sacrifices her own sanity to save Gotham city from the mad ray. "The Batrobot Takes Flight" reflects the current Batman robot storyline as a super Batbot takes over defending Gotham city in Batman and Robin's absence. Never fear citizens, Batman and Robin make the scene as the Joker and the Riddler solve the robot mystery. Vincent Price's Egghead succeeds in turning Batman and Robin into the Ape crusaders in a very hairy story which closes out the book.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Batman '66 Vol. 2 Graphic Novel review

Batman '66 has proven to be a great throwback series. This graphic novel will please both old-time Batman fans and younger readers alike. The covers, drawn by Mike Allred and colored by Laura Allred are fantastic. "King Tut Barges In" features a ever resourceful Batman repelling crocodiles with his modified Bat-Shark-Repellant and after the spray runs out Batman uses a wild animal call to attract a bunch of hippos to scare away the crocs. Even more impressive is Batman's "Khoomei Throat Singing" which just so happens to repel a hungry bunch of scorpions ready to sting Batman and Robin and make them their next meal. "Showdown With Shame!" is amazingly watercolored by artist Ruben Procopio. The look and feel of the story reminded of a spaghetti western, matching the time frame of Batman '66 perfectly. A fabulous battle between 2 female protagonists' closes this edition out, as Batgirl goes toe to toe with Cleopatra. A special bonus section features more great cover art by the Allreds. Here's a couple for you to check out.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Graveyard Shift Graphic Novel Review

Image Comics has served up Graveyard Shift, a modern, sexy twist on the vampire legend. Copperhead writer Jay Faerber and veteran artist Fran Bueno have teamed up once again after their run on Noble Causes proved to be a great success. Faerber and Bueno have come full circle with Graveyard Shift, which the creative duo crafted way back in 2007, predating the “Twilight” movies and the True Blood TV series. While Faerber acknowledges the fact “that vampires are a bit played out,” he also admits that he has “always been fascinated by them.” Any way you slice it, this book proves to be well worth the wait. The contrast created by the artistic mix of light and dark shadows proves to be very effective. The dramatic narrative is a unique mix of crime, horror and undying romance. The story is centered on a homicide detective named Liam and his blonde fiancee, Hope. All of the vampire blood takes a back seat to the love the young couple have for each other. The interaction between the young couple and how they learn to deal with the fact that Hope is now an undead vampire makes this book a real page-turner. After Hope succumbs to her first bout of blood lust, Liam is taken aback by her lack of a pulse and the way the blood meal makes her act like she’s drunk. The allure of a great vampire story has proven to be timeless, and Graveyard Shift capitalizes on this fact. Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Lost Boys, Salem’s Lot and The Night Stalker will find Graveyard Shift hard to resist.

Special thanks to Queen City Bookstore and Artvoice Newspaper.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spread: Vol. 1 No Hope Graphic Novel review

Spread rhymes with red and dead and those words are a big part of what makes Spread so grossly enthralling. Plenty of bloody, red gore and violent, horrific killing. It's not all slice and dice, all of the bleeding is supported by a great, post apocalyptic, narrative. The title of Volume One is interesting because it uses the names of the two characters names that are on the cover, No and Hope. No, who looks like Wolverine, is a loner who is immune to the Spread virus. No becomes Hopes caretaker after he rescues the baby from a band of wayward thugs. There is a big problem though, No has no way of feeding Hope and this is where Crazy Molly comes in. After No rescues the enslaved Crazy Molly, she feeds Hope with her breast milk. There is a great scene in the book in which the reader finds out just how important Hope and Crazy Molly are to the storyline. Five minions of the Spread are eradicated with Hope's super vomit. Hope's bodily fluids destroy the Spread and the baby becomes a savior to the living and a target for the Spread. The art of Kyle Strahm draws the reader in with it's mind blowing, gruesome horror. Every page displays murder in a new way and at least 1 droplet of blood, you want to look away but you can't. The Spread is a huge creature that comes in many shapes and sizes. It stalks humanity seeking new victims to infect in it's quest to take over the planet. Once infected a human being becomes a shape shifting, servant of the vile organism. Fan's of 80's slasher flicks will love Spread.

Special thanks goes out to Queen City Bookstore and Artvoice newspaper.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Goon Once Upon A Hard Time Part 3 of 4 review

The latest Goon series is phantasmically fantastic. The Goon is a righteous read, with the look and feel of a classic 50's EC comic. The shadowy colored artwork, sewn together with some heavy paranormal themes, caught my eye upon first glance. A few more glances reveal haunting faces lurking in the background of the art, plenty of gore and a sidekick that looks like the male version of Little Orphan Annie. The Goon and his gang of paranormal pals fight off any lurking evil that comes to take over their cursed, small town. The spirit of all the EC comics that were burned in the 50's lurks somewhere within the pages of these comic books. Fans of MAD's Jack Davis will absolutely love this book to pieces.


(Original posting) The Goon, My Murderous Childhood is filled with zombies, a talking spider, a trash talking sidekick and cannibalistic hobos. The Goon is just what the doctor ordered if want to read something other than the classic superhero-type stuff. The artwork is excellent as well.

Madman Atomic Comics, Vol. 2 review

SEE! Madman fight off a ghost with an extension cord!
READ! An entire comic filled with double paged panels featuring giant evil snakes with huge lips!
MARVEL! at the amazing origin of It Girl and Madgirl!
READ! An amazing introduction by the creator of The Goon, Eric Powell! 

Are you tired of the same old run of the mill superhero stories? Madman presents a exciting alternative to the big 2. Every panel is full of psychedelic, sci-fi surprises. The intro by my fave new artist, Eric Powell is worth the price of this graphic novel alone. It's absolutely brilliant and full of fabulous, interesting insights, making this aptly named, paranormal paradise volume a must have. 
I need to thank Michael Allred and Laura Allred for renewing my interest in the amazing art form that is the comic book. Thank You!


Madman And The Atomics was drawn by Mike Allred, who resembles Madman, and colored by Laura Allred (who just happens to look alot like It Girl). This series includes all the classic elements that made Marvel comics so great back in the 60's. The art is superb, the coloring makes the art really pop and the storylines serve up plenty of action and suspense. The Image graphic novel reprints all the original AAA Pop comics in one volume.