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Comic Books Featured

Super Review: I Kill Giants

As far as you can get with such an expressive medium as comics, that’s where I Kill Giants drops us off. Joe Kelly (Superman/Batman Annual #1, 2099: World of Tomorrow) wrote I Kill Giants, a comic published by Image Comics and illustrated by JM Ken Niimura, an artist I had never heard of and suddenly has me looking for more of his work. The book landed in my hands as a birthday gift and I think it’s one of the best presents I’ve gotten in a long time.

What’s It About?

I Kill Giants introduces us to the world of Barbara Thorson, perhaps the least feminine girl in her high school, who enjoys playing Dungeons & Dragons with her brother and friends, has an attitude problem with authority and believes unequivocally that the giants of ancient mythology exist and will one day come out of hiding to lay waste to the world.

Of course, Barbara is also convinced that it is she who must defeat them when this hour of darkness comes.

At school, the girl is seen as a classic case of social isolation, avoiding interaction with anyone who doesn’t share her interests and occasionally getting sent to detention for cracking a sarcastic whip against her teachers. In spite of this, Barbara draws the attention of Sophia, a neighbor with a pretty innocent and easy-going personality who, even though she struggles to enter her world at first, eventually becomes the closest person she has and the one who best understands Barbara’s self-imposed reclusion.

Are giants real beings? What if they are? You’ll have to read to find out.

I Kill Giants
Image: Image Comics

Illustration

Ken Niimura worked on the character designs and also illustrated the book from start to finish, achieving a style I wasn’t too comfortable with at first, but that slowly grabbed me as the story developed, until I found myself wanting to see more of his work when I was done with the book.

Done completely with the use of gray tones, I Kill Giants has a solid rhythm throughout it’s visual narrative. I can’t mention a single time I felt lost reading the wrong panel during an action sequence or conversation, and this is in part due to the great layouts, crafted with so much care that it feels as if the author is guiding me through each page. It also helps that, in spite of not having real colors, Niimura manages to express the idea of movement, texture and emotion using marks that sometimes border on scribbling and angles that clearly communicate what’s happening with little effort.

I Kill Giants
Image: Image Comics

Verdict

What separates this story from your typical one-shots is that there is a firm balance between character exposition, drama and action, giving us slight clues about what’s coming ahead as the plot moves forward. It’s the kind of book you read at a slow pace, because it’s message is quite powerful. Without spoiling it, I’d like to recommend this book to whoever has lost a loved one or is on the hunt for a story with deep emotional value.

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Comic Books

UDON Brings Capcom Comics To DeviantART

Street Fighter 0 por Arnold Tsang

UDON Entertainment, the publisher behind awesome books like Street Fighter and Devil May Cry, has decided to descend into the mortal realm and openly share the art on some of their titles, which was previously only available in dark forums or, you know, by purchasing their books.

The studio came up with the idea as a way to give art to fans while also creating buzz around their upcoming releases with a gallery featuring the best their artist roster has to offer. Mark Brooks, Arnold Tsang, Scott Hepburn, Jeffrey Cruz, Danimation and a bunch of other sick artists are found in the 28 initial pieces within the DeviantART gallery, which already has more than 5,000 views.

Drop on by if you have a DeviantART account and show them some love!

UdonCrew @ DeviantART
UDON Entertainment

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Comic Books

Udon Entertainment Brings Back Capcom Comics

Street Fighter II por Udon Comics
Image: Udon

Udon Comics, the publisher behind Capcom’s line of comic books on this side of the Pacific, has finally gotten up their smelly butts and revamped Capcom Comics! This would be a great time to do the happy dance, but we’ll abstain until the end of this post.

The site is pretty barebones for now, but do have trade paperbacks of their first titles such as Street Fighter, Darkstaklers and Rival Schools for sale. They’ve also added a new artbooks section and the new Capcom Manga category with bishoujo and bishounen adaptations of “new” games such as Resident Evil and Onimusha.

Alright. Now on to the dance.

Capcom Comics

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Comic Books Featured

Super Review: Ultimates Vol. 1

Penned by Mark Millar with arts by Bryan Hitch, Ultimates Vol. 1 is the perfect comic book for those who wish to introduce someone to the world of funny books. This comic is made to resemble the closest thing possible to a movie turned into a book, with some pretty ballsy and dramatic camera angles, a twisty plot full of surprises in almost every issue and multi-dimensional characters that add plenty of intrigue and complexity to boot.

Basically this is a retelling of Captain America’s beginnings after being brought back to life in our time, as well as other important Avengers with an updated look, which is why Henry Pym, Giant-Man, is now having marital problems and abuses his wife Janet, The Wasp. Tony Stark is still the millionaire playboy who can’t operate his armor unless he’s drunk on scotch, and Bruce Banner is having severe self-esteem issues after his divorce and his inability to recreate the super soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into the legend he is. Finally, the biggest and most awesome reinvention goes to Nick Fury, who is still SHIELD’s Commander-in-Chief, but is also a cold-hearted capitalist who resembles Samuel L. Jackson.

These updated revisions are already par for the course in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, the very same where you’ll find Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men and so on. This universe is different from the “normal” world we’ve always known which Marvel refers to as Universe 616, and it was created in 2000 as a way for the House of Ideas to tell new stories with slightly updated characters in an attempt to bring in new young readers.

In the long run, other Avengers will jump into the fray, such as Thor who is now a humanitarian activist holding a beef with president Bush, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Magneto’s offspring, always “saving” other people’s lives without being noticed, and Hawkeye and Black Widow, private mercenaries for hire.

The series is already in its second arc and with three years going strong it still doesn’t have a steady release schedule, adhering firmly to the “it will be out when it’s out” calendar. Still, trade paperbacks are easy to digest and not hard to find. This added to a couple of animated features called Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2 will provide plenty of action for those who can’t get enough.

You can tell this is a Mark Millar joint because these Avengers have no problem shedding blood, having sex or showing us the grimmer side of superhero life. They won’t shy away from cursing at an enemy or even stepping up to a teammate when they get out of line. It’s a very realistic take on these characters and it even takes into account events from the real world just to sink in the idea that this world is very real and much more violent than what we’re used to seeing.

Currently in its second volume, The Ultimates are getting even wilder, but for someone still on the fence on whether or not to dip their toes in caped comic books, volume 1 is the best reason to jump in head first.

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Comic Books

Ricardo Jurado’s Challenge

Sue Storm por Ricardo Jurado
Sue Storm by Ricardo Jurado

Making the round on the interwebs I stumbled upon my buddy Ricardo Jurado’s challenge for local Panamanian artists. The man has taken the time to pit 20 artists into a competition.

“It’s simple, technique, creativity, composition, the overall piece, etc. will be evaluated. 1 featured piece will be chosen from each participant, which means you have 5 chances to win since you’re elegible for the prices if you manage to get featured with at least 1 of your 5 drawings.”

It sounds pretty dope and original, considering there are very few underground contests for local artists, and the kid is giving out 3 month and 1 month DevArt subscriptions. Details are in the links below.

Ink361
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