Saturday, July 30, 2011

Water Baby: A Hardcore Review

Written and drawn by Ross Campbell the same guy who does the amazing book, Wet Moon, for Minx. Minx was DC's attempt at attracting more female readers by tapping some of the industries best independent creators for a handful of really fucking awesome digest sized books.
Water Baby is the story of a young surfer who during a set gets attacked by a shark and loses her leg as a result. The story jumps forward several months where Brody is refusing to wear her prosthetic leg and now has a roommate in her best friend Louisa who has been tapped with the job of watching after Brody during this difficult time in her life. Brody is a tattooed, pierced tomboy hottie. Louisa is a little more laid back and feminine. Brody has dreams about shark attacks that become reminiscent of a Salvidor Dahli painting is it's obscurity and abstractness.
Brody's ex, Jake shows up one day saying her mom said he could stay with the duo. Brody's been trying to get over Jake, who never even wrote or stopped by during Brody's rehab or hospital stay. The next several weeks, that was only supposed to last a few days, Jake spends on the couch vegging out and not getting a job, eating all the ice cream sandwiches. This reminded me of my mom's second husband, who got fired from his job shortly after the wedding and then refused to get another, eating all the ice cream sandwiches and throwing away my stuffed animals. He was a 'Nam vet who had a drug habit. Mom didn't let that last too long tho. Brody on the other hand let's Jake just loaf and not do shit. The tool even brings some piece of jail bate to the house and almost gets laid before being caught by Brody and Louisa. Jake gets wasted one night, throwing up all over the couch and living room. To which Brody calls enough, steals her mom's car and her, Louisa and Jake are off the New York to drop Jake off at his folks'.
The road trip yields some unplanned results, including the car being stolen and Jake picking up on some other piece of jail bate at a diner. The girl ends up riding with the trio. Finally reaching their destination, Jake is dropped off and Louisa and Brody begin their long journey back to Florida where it all began.
This book had a lot of the great qualities that made me like Wet Moon, Campbell's other solo book series. But there was some stuff I didn't care for. Ross does an amazing job with facial expressions. However his lack of diversity when rendering males or seriously butch chicks is a bit frustrating. However both Brody and Louisa were wholly original in their appearances. Especially with all the ink Brody sports. Water Baby is an awesome ride, with some unforgettable characters, with the exception of Jake. But there's always got to be in order to make you love the other characters even more than you would if all the characters were equally cool.
The book fires on seven of eight cylinders. And for sheer purposes of this review, as it pertains to hardcore moments in wrestling history, I take you back to 2001. Shortly after both ECW and WCW had gone out of business. One night on Raw, during a WWF vs. WCW match Kane and Jericho took on the Awesome Mike Awesome and Lance Storm. During the match two guys jump the railing and with Storm and Awesome take out Jericho and Kane. The two are revealed to be Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer. To the rescue of the WWF superstars runs out the B team of the WWF. They face off with Kane and Y2J against the four invaders. However you realize something is off. And then it hits you. The remaining six guys are the Dudley Boys, Rhino, Raven, Taz and Justin Credible. All ECW guys. The brawl starts as the group of ten begins destroying Jericho and Kane. All topped by Paul Heyman on color saying, "I want you to remember this moment." Takes off his headset and climbs into the ring proclaiming the ECW is invading.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Elephantmen vol. 1; A Hardcore Review

"Part Blade Runner... part We3... completely AWESOME!" In all honesty, this is not a fair comparison, cause I have yet to read We3. But this book was completely fucking amazing.
Look, I know like many of you, the amazing lettering the Richard Starkings and Comic Craft have done in the past decade or more of comics. And I also know that Starkings began the Hip Flask mini stories as a way to promote Comic Craft's superb abilities. But was anyone expecting the full on dynamic characters, the sweet lineup of artists who would handle the art chores and the flat out amazing story that would come of it? Elephantmen is a superior comic on so many levels. The concept is hundreds of years in the future, a geneticist named Dorctor Kazushi Nikken, under the auspices of MAPPO splices animal genes and then places the embryos into host human females. The result was humanoid hippos, alligators, rhinos and more, all created for the sole purpose of war. MAPPO controlled every aspect of the creature's lives, including education, training and making the creatures including Hip Flask and Ebony completely dependent on them.
The creatures attempts at acclimating to society after their trials are staggering. For the most part, the humans reject them. So much so that like in our country, they have enacted laws to stop people from marrying the mutant creatures. That is until a young woman named Sahara, who's own mother was kidnapped from an African village and forced into being a host for Doctor Nikken's insane experiment, falls in love with an Elephantman named Obadiah. Obadiah is probably, at least in volume one, the most powerful of the Elephantmen, and seems to be involved with some shady customers. The engagement of Obadiah and Sahara made national news, prompting bigotry and outrage from some people, sort of like same sex marriages seem to do the same now.
Doctor Nikken acted as if he were god, under the hood of an evil multinational corporation. The voice heard by the young animal/human hybrids was always Nikken's. Warning them that they were created as inferior to humans, but MAPPO made them stronger. MAPPO sent these Elephantmen out on warpaths, destroying cities and maiming and massacring people. It's no wonder that people feared these behemoths.
In all, like with groups of people who are almost wholly distrusted by society today, not all of the Elephantmen are bad, or have bad intentions. Most of them just want to exist somewhat unnoticed by the masses. Something that is very hard to do when you're nine feet tall with gray skin and a trunk.
Elephantmen was something I picked up after meeting Richard Starkings at last year's San Diego Comic Con. I got a free copy of issue one, which had some amazing artwork, including the superstar cover art. Took pics of the Sky Cab cutie, complete with window pane top. And watched a friend pick up all three collected hardcover volumes. It took me almost a year, but I finally got my own volume one at Charlies Comics right here in Tucson. The money I spent on it was more than worth it. A massive phone book sized compilation of the first seven issues, plus issue 0 AND all of the covers; back stories, sketches and more. Elephantmen is an excellent read and a great play on current events and how they might unfold. I give this awesome book something very suitable in the annals of wrestling history... The WWF's annual tournament event that culminated with the June pay per view King of the Ring. The two combatants who made it to the finals were the staunch veteran, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and the young, brash upstart who was told just a year earlier that he would never make it past mid card status and couldn't make a career out of wearing black trunks and black boots to the ring, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Roberts had a busted up set of ribs, and Austin had just returned from the hospital after getting his lip stitched shut caused in a previous match that night. Immediately Austin went for the ribs with such gusto that it caused then Commissioner Gorilla Monsoon to break up the fracas just long enough for Roberts to gain the upper hand. But in true "Rattlesnake" style Austin sent the veteran crumbling to the mat with a Stone Cold Stunner. Following the match came possibly the most famous words ever uttered in a promo. As a broken Jake Roberts was helped back to the locker room, Austin began running his mouth in what would be the first of many amazing Stone Cold promos in the WWF/E. "You thump your bible. You talk about your Psalms. You talk about John 3:16. Well Austin 3:16 says, 'I just whipped your ass!"