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Tag Archives: comic strips

The Saturday Comics: The Phantom Gets Good!

29 Dec

December 29, 2017

Let’s end the year by checking back in on one of the classics. It is the Phantom, a comic character from the Golden Age created by Lee Falk. He’s “The Ghost Who Walks,” but basically just a guy in a suit who fights crime. He’s the latest in a family line of crime-fighters to use that name. When we last checked in back in 2011, there was literally nothing going on. For an entire week nothing happened. And I mean that exactly as it sounds. Let’s go back and see, then we’ll check in with the strip today and see what’s up.

UPDATED from April 16, 2011DAY ONE:

OK, I get it. I came in at the end of an adventure. It looks like a happy ending. It is actually a good thing I came in now so I can enjoy the start of a whole new story tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

DAY TWO:

Well, that’s nice. Sort of the same thing as yesterday though. And it seems a bit of a waste, story-wise, to do it in one big splash but I guess it gets the emotion across. OK, let’s see where this goes tomorrow.

DAY THREE:

What the? What’s the point of this? Is the next arc about haircuts? If this were a play I could almost hear the stage manager hissing “vamp!” while the star desperately searches for her line. This is ridiculous, the big splash yesterday should have ended the arc. I’m getting a bit tired of this, hopefully things will move ahead tomorrow.

DAY FOUR:

Um, Ok. More wasting time. Maybe they haven’t hammered out the next script yet and just tossed this in? I can’t figure out a purpose to this strip, unless it is to reinforce their dedication to fighting evil? This isn’t much of a superhero strip, it is more like a bad show on the religious station with Kirk Cameron. I’m not hopeful for tomorrow.

DAY FIVE:

Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere.

DAY SIX:Huh? Where’s The Phantom? And isn’t that the guy who was supposed to be in jail? Who are these people? I sat through almost a week for this? That strip could have been told in three panels. And re-read the second panel. “Colonel Weeks met the unknown commander.” “Worubu doubts it.” There is a verb tense problem there, and I’m usually not that picky outside of a grammar blog but that is really annoying to read. I really hope The Phantom picks up but I’m losing hope.

DAY SEVEN:

UGH! Back to that? It’s like the Sunday strip exists in a different timeline, and maybe it might. Many strips do a separate storyline on Sundays because some papers only run the Sunday strips. So I can follow the annoying story on Sunday, or follow the slow and boring story during the week, or maybe wait and see if indeed that Sunday strip is part of the same story as the weekly though it doesn’t seem to be.

DAY EIGHT:

To Hell with The Phantom. Popeye never fails. I got more out of that strip than an entire week of The Phantom. And why not? It looks like they are running a classic Sagendorf strip.

That Phantom run may have been the worst week of a comic strip that I have ever read, and that’s coming from someone who read comics written and drawn by Rob Liefeld so you know I’ve read some bad comics. The artist of this strip, Paul Ryan, was the artist on one of my favorite runs of the Fantastic Four so this hurts all the more.

DECEMBER 2017 UPDATE!

Here are the current strips from Monday December 25 to Thursday, December 28: 

Whoa, what happened? First, you might notice a change in the art. Comic book veteran Mike Manley (another favorite artist, and cool name- “Manley”-) has taken over from Paul Ryan, who died in 2016. The strip looks great. I have to give credit to the colorist too. The explosion on day two really pops. But most notably,  the writing is top notch. It zips along! There’s action! I want to know what happens next. And look at the bad guy. Despite not knowing what the plot of the story is, I feel I know all I need to know about him at this point. As a new reader I’m already drawn into the action and fairly knowledgeable about the characters. Did they change the writer, you may be wondering? Nope, it is still Tony DePaul. So maybe the 2011 run was an aberration? Or maybe he simply improved. Either way, this week’s strip is a winner. I deliberately left out the Friday strip. And that’s today (as of the date of this posts publication) so go over to comicskingdom.com and see where this story is headed. I know I will!  

 

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The Saturday Comics: GUARDIANS OF THE BLUE

2 May

May 2, 2017

 

Welcome to my review of the first issue of Guardians of the Blue!

I think you are going to like it. It’s by our talented friend, Mac of BIOnight. He’s already shown his prodigious ability in the world of music, and he’s demonstrated his talent with photography, and now he’s beginning his conquest of the comic book world. 

I’m going to keep this spoiler-free so you can discover this on your own.

It’s hard to know where to start, with the writing or the art. Like all the best comics, this is a synthesis of both. Art and dialogue. Panels and plot. Both contribute. Take this layout for example:

That’s not a blank page, not missing art. That’s a bold decision that, within the context of the story, adds to the feel in a way that mere words can’t convey. A good artist tells the story the best way he can, even if it means minimizing the art. But that doesn’t mean Mac has skimped on the art.

That’s a pretty dense panel and notice the sidebar. That’s not just a way of leaving the beautiful art uncluttered, it also adds to the tone and feel of this title. It is very well thought out.

But before you think this is all artsy, there is plenty of traditional comic goodness too.

Guardians of the Blue is a great comic with interesting characters and a plot that draws you in. It is not only very well done, it is very well thought out. Obviously, a lot of care has gone into this. Mac isn’t exactly new to comics. He’s been in this arena before, and he can explain it better than I can. You get behind the scenes peeks with this title, and Mac even shares one of his very, very early creations, Formicus!

 

 

You can find the first issue right here. Click this link to support Guardians of the Blue at Patreon. This is a great way to keep up with the next installment and also to support a great artist and writer.

 

There’s also an accompanying music collection of Mac’s own tracks which all the patrons on Patreon will receive, and it can also be bought – with the comic included in the download – from Bandcamp, here: https://macofbionight.bandcamp.com/album/guardians-of-the-blue-comic-book

And don’t forget to visit macvibes.com!

 

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