2015 First-Half Favorites: IP’s Top 5 Comics

Buying floppy comic books from week to week is expensive. It’s a real bummer because there is something special about spreading a pile of comics on your bed and randomly picking a new series to read. That being said, Trade Paper Backs are a great deal, and Image Comics has begun to sell first Trades for under $10. This is the best time to find new amazing comics to follow, and with DC having just relaunched a few years back along with Marvel about to do something similar, this year is a golden opportunity. These books represent those that I had the most fun with so far this year.

My Top 5 from the first half of the year, in a totally random order.

Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman
Marvel Comics

After Jason Aaron’s excellent run on Thor came to an end last year the best possible thing happened… Jason Aaron continued writing Thor, this time allowing the mantle of the God of Thunder to be taken up by a woman. This series is fun, brash, and bad-ass. Thor hasn’t ever had this much balls.

The first arc of the series concerns the Dark Elf Malaketh (terribly rendered in the film Thor: The Dark World) who joins forces with the Frost Giants to aid their quest for their king’s skull. The God of Thunder is the only thing stopping them from freezing the entirety of Midgard.
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Top 5 so Far

Things are different for me now, I don’t really have a pull list at a single store and I kind of come and go with the comics I read.  These are some of the reasons I am sticking around in no particular order.

54fa07aceed22Howard the Duck
Chip Zdarsky & Joe Quinones
Marvel Comics

I’m a sucker for a detective story, let alone an unsuccessful detective bouncing around by sheer luck a la Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973). Now set that within the confines of the Marvel Universe with an anthropomorphic duck and you’ve sold me. Zdarksy (Sex Criminals) and Quinones (FF) offer up their new take on Howard and his life as a private detective trying to get by in the center of weirdo infested New York. Quinones’ cartooning is beautiful and provides the perfect facial expression needed for a comedy book. Zdarsky gets to poke fun at all the weird corners of the Marvel U such as the Infinity Gauntlet’s lesser known companion…the Abundant Glove.

Continue reading Top 5 so Far

2015 First-Half Favorites: Top 5 Comics

I don’t read comics the way I used to. Some weeks, I don’t even make it into the shop until Thursday. But as it is with me and music, I’ve come to rely on this little ragtag batch of Idle Timers to keep me informed and help curate my annual To Read/To Listen/To Watch lists. And pausing halfway through the year to reflect upon which books have already grabbed our attention allows us to acknowledge some good stuff that may or may not have risen to the surface otherwise.

My Top 5 from the first half of the year, in alphabetical order.

Jeremy Baum
Fantagraphics Books

I’m not going to pretend I understood what the fuck was going on in this book. But there was something so mesmerizing about this surreal narrative that I even read Jeremy Baum’s debut comic a second time, in reverse, just to see the way the dream falls back into place.

dorfIt starts like a Jim Woodring comic: innocuous enough, but with that fragile layer separating fairy tale from bizarre fantasy. And down this rabbit hole is a gorgeous blend of sci-fi, elf ears, and eroticism made all the more enthralling by the painstaking artistic detail, right down to the gorgeous hand-coloring. Continue reading 2015 First-Half Favorites: Top 5 Comics

2015 Tune Tourney’s Final Four: Scandinavia vs. Canadia

MH has already commented on his busted bracket. Mine doesn’t look too much better, but I did have Chet Faker advancing to the Final Four ahead of Hiatus Kaiyote. My prediction in California was bounced in the second round. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest, of course, as I’m very excited to see locals The Y Axes representing our home state.

The left side of the bracket looks nothing like my pre-tournament prognostication, however…
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IP’s First Half Faves

In order of release, my Top 5 albums from the first half of 2015…

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
2015 has been a banner year for Hip Hop, led by this masterful Gangsta Rap album. It took me a long time to be sold on Kendrick’s unique style and rapid-fire flows, but as soon as I bought in, I was hooked. Released on the Ides of March and featuring a backing band consisting bass guitar player Thundercat (who also released an excellent mini-album this year), backing vocals from George Clinton, and additional beats from Flying Lotus, To Pimp A Butterfly feels like what Hip Hop was always destined to become. When music and message are given equal focus beautiful things happen, as shown in the music video for “Alright,” the album’s most pointed and relevant track.

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