Monday, January 20, 2020

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2019


The Great, The Good, and The Interesting!

R E Y



Shortcut links:
BEST MOVIES: 2019
BEST DOCUMENTARIES: 2019
BEST TV: 2019


Note: This will often spotlight directors for special merit.
But Auteur Theory is a shoebox; films are a collaborative effort with everyone involved.







"And... Action!"

B E S T
M O V I E S :
2 0 1 9





T H I N K




SHADOW (China) ⇧
Director Zhang Yimou is famed for his epic compositions and rich colors (Hero, House Of Flying Daggers).
Here, he counters this with a Wuxia palace thriller rendered in (almost) greyscale and expressionistic set pieces.

PARASITE (South Korea) ⇧
Like two melded films burning at both ends, this layered social satire lights up the comedies and tragedies of the class war.
Director Bong Joon-ho (Mother, Snowpiercer) crests on a supurb cast.

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT* (China) ⇧
*(not the O'Neill play)
Bi Gan impressed many with his debut film, Kaili Blues (2015).
This follow-up is a startling leap forward, a labyrithine neo-noir that culminates in an eerie symbolist odyssey shot in one hour-long take.

ASH IS PUREST WHITE (China) ⇧
The journey is the thing.
Director Jia Zhangke unrolls a parable of a woman (artfully played by his partner, Zhao Tao) caught up in smalltown ganglife.



TOLKIEN
J.R.R. Tolkein turned Fantasy into literature with the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
This bracing and touching bio reveals how poverty, war, and love compelled him to make it.

THE CURRENT WAR
Civilization exists because of electricity.
This constantly surprising overview of the bruising competition between Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla leads right into the birth of the modern world.

THE IRISHMAN
Scorsese, Pacino, DeNiro, Pesci, Keitel.
The Godfather gang bookend their storied careers with a stately epic.

ROCKETMAN
Freeing itself from the biopic rut, this freeform musical captures the quintessential '70s Superstar during his popular zenith and personal lows with surprising candor and inspiration.
The classic songs are impressively produced by Giles Martin.



OPHELIA
A feminist riposte to Hamlet, led by the ever-supple Daisy Ridley.

HER SMELL
Two films: a handheld faux-doc' of a riot grrrl going mad with Rock excess, and a static stare at sobriety and grace.
Elizabeth Moss strings both extremes.

PAIN AND GLORY (Spain)
Pedro Almodóvar's swan song.
MVP Antonio Banderas is at his best as the avatar for the director's cathartic personal journey through past and present travails, guiding a fine cast through a layered and moving story.


Interesting:
LUCY IN THE SKY
A beautiful set-up that goes to an erratic place; based loosely on the true tale of a female astronaut struggling through the aftermath.
This journey is valuable as a feminist rebuke to double-standards, and is undervalued because of them.




S M I L E





THE LAUNDROMAT
Want to know how the Rich launder all the money they fleece from you?
In this brash experimental comedy, director Steven Soderbergh and an all-star cast expose the Panama Papers, with everyperson Meryl Streep on the trail of the gleefully decadent Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.


YESTERDAY
What if you were the only one who knew The Beatles' songs?
This thought experiment proves out as an engaging comedy with some nice character beats and, of course, the best music.

BEATLESQUE Songs: 1963-esque, with Massive
Music Player!




BOOKSMART
Normally I can't do suburban angst or High School wanks. Nope.
But this film constantly flays cliches with clever lines, jolting absurdity, and a cast chemistry that is undeniable.

STAN AND OLLIE
A gently bittersweet stroll through Laurel and Hardy's final comedy tour that is as funny and touching as their classic films.
Steve Coogan (Stan) and John C. Reilly (Ollie) are uncannily accurate.

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Comedian Rudy Ray Moore channeled the '70s black underground into albums and films through his rough-rapping character, Dolemite.
Eddie Murphy is clearly on fire playing his idol, a cult figure who helped inspire indie street films and Rap.
(Also, it struts on an excellent soundtrack.)

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
Half great, half frustrating.
Strongest as a confident, wry character study of two unique friends braving their dreams, weakest when it reduces the city's pluralism to forced generic absolutisms.




D R E A M





✭✭✭✭✭
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

I love the Original Trilogy as much as anyone can.
Yet, for me, the new films are the best.
And RISE is the Ultimate STAR WARS film.

It not only splendidly crescendoes its current trilogy, but the entire triple trilogy, with a scope, depth, vision, and intensity that excels them all. Rey is truly The One, and this triumph is beautiful in every facet all the way to its last frame.


Why EMPIRE and LAST JEDI are actually the Best of the STAR WARS films




HIGH LIFE
An astronaut, a child, an evolving mystery, and an event horizon.
Claire Denis' nonlinear SF parable unwinds like a play, quietly building and contorting, with star assist from Juliette Binoche, Robert Pattinson, and André Benjamin.

ANIARA (Sweden) ⇧
A cityship bound for Mars goes astray, and its bereft society struggles to find its way.
Based on Martinson's 1956 symbolist poem, this entrancing film interpretation recalls SF author James Tiptree Jr, with her blend of rumination, turnovers, and undertow.

AD ASTRA
The storylines of 2001 and 2010 transformed into the introspective journey of "Heart Of Darkness"/Apocalypse Now.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY - Its Transcendent Influence on all Pop Culture, with Music Player!

FAST COLOR
Told in plain terms amid wide plains, Julia Hart's naturalist 'superhero' story impresses through twists and teardrops.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw heads a winning, understated cast.


Interesting:
GLASS
The intersection of Unbreakable and Split, better in its build-up than its end-up.




N I G H T M A R E





WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
An effective, if straightforward, adaptation of the emotional thriller.
Always read the original works by Shirley Jackson, to savor her poetry and contemplation.

THE CANON 3: 50 Recent Books That Created Modern Pop Culture, with Music Player!

THE LIGHTHOUSE
Robert Eggers follows The Witch (2015) with this harsh b/w chiller.
The psychological duel between Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, trapped in a remote lighthouse together, is arresting.



Interesting:
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE
Essentially a canny Hitchcock homage used to frame a potpourri of LA weirdness.
Well-shot and scored.

VELVET BUZZSAW
The previous effort Nightcrawler was solid, but this generally sharp LA art world satire insists on being a mediocre horror film instead.




G R A P H I C
I M A G E S



I review and do original illustrations of
all Comics-based films for the review site,
Four Color Films.


Art by Tym Stevens

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
My Review and original art

CAPTAIN MARVEL
My Review and original art

SHAZAM!
My Review and original art


Art by Tym Stevens

AVENGERS: ENDGAME
My Review and original art

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

JOKER
My Review and original art



See Also:
Four Color Films,
THE Comic Movies Review Site!




A R T F L I X





TOY STORY 4
Every Toy Story sequel is better and deeper, because Pixar waits for a great idea and takes their time with care.


TEEN TITANS GO! vs TEEN TITANS
Goofball fun.
I'm a sucker for any Multiversal team-up, always.

I LOST MY BODY (France)
This pensive and surreal film is not for kids.
A severed hand flexes through Paris to track down its host. Also, a touching romance!
(It works.)


TV Animation:



✭✭✭✭✭
UNDONE ⇧ 1

An indie dramady, mystery thriller, and eye-popping headtrip all in one!

'Undone' is as bright and innovative as almost anything out there. Once the amazing second episode kicks in, no alert person could possibly turn away from this show's mysteries and delights.

The effusive Rosa Salazar (Alita) is riveting as the whirlwind freespirit Alma, teetering between tough self-assessment and radically altered perception of reality itself. Carefully tracing a hypnagogic spirit journey, realized through stunning rotoscope animation and painted backgrounds, the gripping story stays grounded through the rich performances of Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Siddharth Dhananjay, Daveed Diggs, and the elastic Bob Odenkirk ('Better Call Saul').

Now that 'Legion', 'Lodge 49', and 'The Good Place' have ended, sharp fans should support 'Undone'.


STAR WARS: RESISTANCE 2
Essentially 'Archie Meets Star Wars', with all the YA fun that entails.
Great cudos for the conversion of Ralph McQuarrie's signature art designs into anime style.

DISENCHANTMENT 2
A wonky first half, but a rousing finish.

MARVEL RISING
A continuing series of specials, starring Ms Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Ghost-Spider, America Chavez, and Captain Marvel.






B E S T
D O C U M E N T A R I E S :
2 0 1 9



KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the young progressives overturned the repressive control of the House Of Representitives.

THE GREAT HACK
How Cambridge Analytica hacked your social media to install a fake President.

THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY
How the populist leadership of Brazil was toppled to install the dictator Bolsonaro.

THE INVENTOR: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley
It's often said 'Bernie Madoff only went to prison because he ripped off rich people', and this doc' taking down another corporate swindler proves that true.
Meanwhile, the wider rich have swindled the country, but that's just business as usual.




The Two Killings Of SAM COOKE
Sam Cooke was America's soul superstar but, after recording the protest anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come", he died under abrupt and contested circumstances.

APOLLO 11
On July 20, 1969, the human race became interstellar citizens with our landing on the moon.

WHO BURNED THE BRONX?
1970s NYC was gutted and burned for the monied to 'develop'.

MEMORY: The Origins of ALIEN
The finest SciFi/Horror film of all time gets due remembrance.







B E S T
T V :
2 0 1 9



(The season number follows each title.)




N E W S





Feed your mind and your activism will follow.

The Rachel Maddow Show

LAST WEEK with John Oliver

PBS NewsHour

PBS FRONTLINE




D R A M A





GENTLEMAN JACK 1 ⇧
Anne Lister scandalized the 1830s with her androgynous sexuality and business acumen.
Here, creator Sally A. Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley) brings her secret world -translated from coded journals- to vivid life, pinioned on the mesmerizing performance of Suranne Jones.

JETT 1 ⇧
Like Catwoman meets "Breaking Bad".
The great Carla Gugino finally gets the breakout role she deserves, completely riveting in Sebastian Gutierrez's sleek hardboiled thriller.
Kinky, brutal, intricate, tender.


MR. ROBOT 4
Sam Esmail's hacktivist-thriller comes to a heady, challenging finale.

EL CAMINO: A Breaking Bad Movie
A nuanced postscript to "Breaking Bad" that succeeds on every level.



THE DEUCE 3 ⇧
The 'show about Porn history' is actually an expose of the rise of our corporate rulers.

In the '70s and '80s, the rich destroyed destitute NYC neighborhoods; this war on the poor proved to be a gentrification scheme to seize land and power, which they used to take over the city, the state, and the nation.

The series finale, set in 1985, spells this out for all the late and the lazy to see. This is the origin of your current overthrow.

POSE 2 ⇧
The spiritual and sequential 'sequel' to "The Deuce", as viewed and endured by the LGBTQ underground in 1990.



GAME OF THRONES 8
Television's grandest and most complex show, #1 around the world, comes to a poignant/polarizing finale.
No matter where you fall on that, this series has been one of the most impressive and resonant achievements in TV history.




W O N D E R



Television is the new Cinema.

Through the 20th Century, Film had the lockhold on budgeted scope and artful substance, while television was considered cheap and lowbrow.

In the recent two decades, the tide is turning. With big-pocket cable companies, diverse content, widescreen stereo TVs, longform serials, and sophisticated audiences, televison can now rival or outpace cinema for production values and narrative depth.

Three examples of this are 'Star Trek: Discovery', 'The Mandalorian', and 'Lost In Space'.



✭✭✭✭✭
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY 2 ⇧
'Star Trek: Discovery' is the Ultimate STAR TREK.

It symphonizes the idealic passion of the original series, the mad experimentation of the animated and the novels, the serial depth of the Berman-era shows, and the optimum cinerama of the films into an holistic blend of all its varied strengths. This season reinvented the origins of the original, and then, in one breathtaking final leap, boldly went where none of them have gone before.

Engage.


✭✭✭✭✭
THE MANDALORIAN
The new STAR WARS films, tv show, animateds, and comics are the best ever made, lovingly crafted by fans-turned-pros who are enhancing everything we loved from before.
Thank you, Jon Favreau, for the 'Boba Fett space western' that we always wanted.


✭✭✭✭✭
LOST IN SPACE 2 ⇧
One of the best shows being made.
As mysteriously epic as 2001, as heart-pounding as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, as real as THE MARTIAN, as touching as any family dramady around, this ingenius serial constantly surprises and galvanizes at every turn.

If you've been absent, discover your loss.


THE ORVILLE 2
While "Star Trek: The Next Generation" took over 50 episodes to find its feet, this sleeper did it within its first 12.

If the first season started as NextGen-Lite with fratboy jokes, it later sobered up into a real social issues drama with light asides. The second season warped with that momentum into a fine ReGeneration show that too many, including Trekkers, are missing out on.




THE OA 2 ⇧
Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij's fearless head-shred epic has more smarts than your kicked ass.

Brazenly deep, heedlessly serpentine, vehemently passionate. Other than "Legion", there is no other show so many light years ahead of the curve. The astounding 5th episode is better than entire seasons of other fine shows.



COLONY 4
Everything rises up for the final showdown against the alien invasion... and then they cancelled the show.
It's still worth the season's trip, even so.

3% 3 (Brazil)
Quietly the best dystopian rebellion story around, led by the great Bianca Comparato and Vaneza Oliveira.

OSMOSIS 1 (France)
Like 'Black Mirrror', a well-considered critique of how tech can mine you far deeper than it ever should.

HIS DARK MATERIALS 1
Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy books unleashed in all the depth that cinema couldn't have time for.
Thoughtful casting and skillfull worldbuilding.


GOOD OMENS miniseries
A whimsical adaption of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's staving-apocalypse book, scripted by Neil himself; a bit self-consciously muggy but at its stride when played straight.
Michael Sheen and David Tennant are having such fun as angel and devil that their tide carries everything.




H O R R O R




THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) 1
Rod Serling, an acclaimed playwright, disrupted '50s TV censorship using the guise of a Speculative Fiction show to satirize any oppression of spirit and mind.
This third revival honors him with more diverse casting, sharp social commentary, and character plays.
The third episode, "Replay", is an outstanding condemnation of racial profiling and killer cops that should be mandatory viewing right now.*

*(Albeit, the only one where the new cursing element is justified.)


BLACK MIRROR 5
While that show honors tradition, its heir is breaking new ground.
Alvin Toffler's theory of 'Futureshock' predicted we couldn't keep up with the ramifications of the tech we churn out.
At 70 minutes each, Charlie Brooker's anthology vignettes set 'five minutes in the future' are as strong as movies, deep as plays, focused as short stories. This is a consistently excellent and profoundly thoughtful series, challenging us to review our evolving reality.


STRANGER THINGS 3
A strong, well-thought season that pulls the entire ensemble together while advancing each character.

THE TERROR 2
The first season of this anthology was such an engrossing tale of arctic survival that it didn't really need the horror element.
The second, set in the awful Japanese Internment camps of WWII California, is also such an intense and vitally topical subject in itself.
But the homeland eeriness that accompanies it works well within.


Interesting:
AMERICAN GODS 2
Neil Gaiman's classic book should have been adapted in two seasons.
But showrunner Bryan Fuller kept adding so much quality expansion to the first season that four seemed more likely.

With his dismissal, the show is now on autopilot, a canny simulation running in place simply to franchise out the book adaption longer than it should be.
Tighten it up and finish.

Awake producers should take this opportunity to bring Bryan Fuller back to create his second phase of the cancelled "Hannibal" series.




H E R O E S





LEGION 3 ⇧
The most consistently innovative and fearless show on television wraps up.

Noah Hawley trysts dreams and delusions, daring us to stare into a strobe of idylls and eidolons. Like acid stepped on with morphine, "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" mashed-up with "Jar Of Flies", or "The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test" celtic-knotted with "Naked Lunch".

Roll up for the mystery tour.


SWAMP THING 1
On the comics page, "Swamp Thing" was two revolutions:
first the acclaimed monster fable by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson (1973), and then the postmodern deconstruction by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben (1985). All they got for it was bad movies, tv shows, and cartoons.
Until now. Against all expectation, this solid effort tries earnestly to right most of those screen wrongs.
Cancelled, but a sincere advance that was appreciated by long-time fans.

DOOM PATROL 1
Grant Morrison's brainwarping stories for Vertigo Comics get very well channeled here, particularly in its latter half.

UMBRELLA ACADEMY 3
Morrison's Doom Patrol stories inspired his heir, rocker Gerard Way, to write this comic.
The show version is an adept rethink of the Doom Patrol and the X-Men, filtered through Moore and Gibbons' WATCHMEN.



CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS crossover event
Told in 5 parts across Batwoman, Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends Of Tomorrow, this streamlined adaption of the ultimate Multiversal team-up maxiseries (1985) is great fun.
Just as the comic laced all of DC's print history into one shared continuity, the genius of this version was to establish all DC movie and tv shows as one multiveral reality. Fun cameos, new twists, and a hearty effort.

BATWOMAN 1
There have been several live-action Superman TV series, but never really one for Batman.

The 'Batman' '66 series was only a live cartoon parodying the material from ignorance. Recent surrogate shows like 'Birds Of Prey', 'Gotham', 'Arrow', and 'Pennyworth' are The Batman in absentia. So is this... except it works now; the point is to represent the modern Dark Knight concept accurately, and Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) personifies this completely when all the others couldn't.

Art by J.H. Williams III

The actual Batwoman stories by writer Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams III are true works of art, a visual tour de force and critical pinnacle that only a Noah Hawley ('Legion) could translate to screen. Streamlined instead into The CW's teen formulas, this TV show still retains enough basics of Kate's world to fly. 'Arrow' remade Nolan's DARK KNIGHT films for 8 seasons, but this show quietly implies it is their legitimate sequel. And, aside from first-year wonkiness, it is.


PENNYWORTH 1
This is the antidote to everything that was wrong with the deplorable 'Gotham'.
Beyond all bizarrity and bogglement, they are by the same guy, Bruno Heller. ?!!
Set in an Elseworlds mid-'60s London, this rough drama starring Bruce Wayne's eventual parents and the eponymous Alfred fuses the early 'Avengers' spy series with the harshness of the Harry Palmer films.
Crack dialogue, period precision, sharp photography and music.



JESSICA JONES 3
The last of the Marvel Netflix shows bows out.
Drastic reversals, intense struggles, hard lessons.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 6
Knowing their endpoint is next year, they seem to be having fun on the way out.



RAISING DION 1 ⇧
A sensitive show about an 8-year-old with superpowers is more mature than the CW's YA shows.
An excellent cast, smart stories, many laughs and twists.



Interesting:
THE ROOK 1
Like "The X-Men" rewritten by John le Carré.

CLOAK AND DAGGER 2
Twice as long as it should have been, but still pretty solid.



See Also:
Four Color Films,
THE Comic Movies Review Site!




D E T E C T I V E S





MINDHUNTER 2 ⇧
An even better second season, with the FBI's original Profiling division coming together, even as their private lives splinter apart.
(The work of pioneer profiler John E. Douglas covered in this period was the direct inspiration for Thomas Harris' "Red Dragon" and "The Silence Of The Lambs").


TRUE DETECTIVE 3

This anthology series was doing two things that everybody missed:
1) Homaging different eras/styles of detective stories each season.
2) Outlining a secret occult power cabal behind it all.

With all the rabid overvaluing of Season 1 (Southern Gothic) and reflexive underappreciation of Season 2 (Neo Noir), Season 3 (Police Procedural) was forced to retell the first one better to regain public faith, obscuring these goals.

For the anthology show to hold true, it should alternate radically each turn: such as, an 1890s Victorian, a 1930s hardboiled, a B/W '40s Film Noir, a contempo historical mystery to wrap up. Though detectives would investigate a local murder, only the viewers will piece the total puzzle together in the combined overview. So let's back off and let it happen.

That said, Mahershala Ali is sterling here.


WHEN THEY SEE US Miniseries
Ava Duvernay (Selma) dissects the travesty that framed 'the Central Park 5' youths, based on bigotry and corruption.




C O M E D Y





✭✭✭✭✭
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL 3 ⇧

What showrunner out there can shine the emerging flaws of her rich characters into profound facets, twine all the dynamic social tensions of 1960, and crack wise faster and better than Broadway in Midge's stand-up tours from Vegas to Miami to the Apollo, all with the clockwork intricacy and spectacular zing of a musical?

Amy Sherman-Palladino can. The rest should be taking notes to catch up.



THE GOOD PLACE 4
The brainiest farce on network TV only increases with quality in its final run.

BROAD CITY 5
The outrageous Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson bring their hijinks to a close.

RUSSIAN DOLL 1
Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler co-created this livewire headtwister, in which Lyonne navigates the same day forever.
Hilarious and essential.




LODGE 49 2 ⇧
Imagine a writers room of Thomas Pynchon, Nora Ephron, Elmore Leonard, Tina Fey, Carlos Castaneda, and Robert Altman, getting spliffed and riffing freely.
The unicorn van, shark lawsuits, corporate weasels in Furry suits, headbutting into glass doors, blindfold revelations, the snow room, mariachis through hoops of fire, plane bailouts, The World Under The World.

AMC has cancelled this brilliant show, but treat yourself to the fine journey of both seasons.




THINGS TO CATCH UP ON, Dept.



Hey, who has time (or money) to see everything?


MARRIAGE STORY
THE CHAMBERMAID/ LA CAMARISTA
HARRIET
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
A HIDDEN LIFE

KNIVES OUT
WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY

GODFATHER OF HARLEM 1
FLEABAG 2
DAVID MAKES MAN 1



© Tym Stevens



See also:

Four Color Films, THE Comic Movies Review Site!


BEST MUSIC: 2019
BEST COMICS: 2019

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2018
BEST MUSIC: 2018
BEST COMICS: 2018

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2017
BEST MUSIC: 2017
BEST COMICS: 2017

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2016
BEST MUSIC: 2016
BEST COMICS: 2016

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2015
BEST MUSIC: 2015
BEST COMICS: 2015

BEST MUSIC: 2014
BEST MOVIES & TV: 2014
BEST COMICS: 2014

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2013
BEST MUSIC: 2013
BEST COMICS: 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST MUSIC: 2012
BEST COMICS: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011
BEST COMICS: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMICS: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010



How STAR WARS Is Changing Everything!


"Cut!



Friday, January 10, 2020

BEST COMICS: 2019


PAPER GIRLS,
by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan



Shortcut links:

Best Comics
•• WATCHMEN = Creators Rights
All-Ages Comics!
Best Graphic Novels
Best Collections + Reissues
Where We Come From, Dept.
Best Magazines
Best Movies + TV
Best Webcomics

Rest In Power







B E S T
C O M I C S :






I M A G E




PAPER GIRLS, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan _______
One of the smartest, twistiest comics ever made comes to a close with issue #30.



LITTLE BIRD, by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram _______
An hallucinatory 5-issue mini-series, like a post-apoc' dreamquest.

UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, by Charles Soule and Scott Snyder (w), and Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini (a) _______
A superduo of writers brings us a complex story of our world ravaged by a pandemic, and the lost country that was the United States.

FAIRLADY, by Brian Schirmer, Claudia Balboni, and Marissa Louise _______
Fantasy meets cop procedural, underlined with social critique.

SKYWARD, by Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett _______
Class wars, science intrigue, and zero gravity.



ASCENDER, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen _______
The sequel to DESCENDER navigates Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

BITTER ROOT, by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene _______
The '20s Harlem Renaissance vs. arcane forces (and family quarrels).

MONSTRESS, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda _______
Best-selling author Marjorie Liu's Gothic Fantasy, with stunning art by Sana Takeda.

THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie _______
Life and death and lifestyles of the rich and infamous.




M A R V E L





VALKYRIE JANE FOSTER, by Jason Aaron and Al Ewing _______
She was Thor, and now she is more.



THE MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL, by Saladin Ahmed and Minkyu Jung _______
A relaunch title of everyone's favorite, Khamala Khan, with a new creative team.

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL, by Ryan North and Derek Charm _______
Comics' most hilarious hero closes out a long run of chestnuts with issue #50.

THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP, by Jeremy Whitley and Gurihiru _______
The new Wasp and her genius squad arrive to shake up the science hive.

MARVEL RISING, by Nilah Magruder and Roberto Di Salvo _______
Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Ghost-Spider, America Chavez, and Captain Marvel. Nuff said.



SILVER SURFER BLACK, by Donny Cates and Tradd Moore _______
It's the trippy art, morphing somewhere between Steve Ditko and Oliver Hibert.

BLACK PANTHER, by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna _______
Bestselling author Coates continues to refine and redefine Wakanda's maonarch for the present day.

SHURI, by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero _______
Bestselling author Okorafor puts the Panther's sister on center stage.



MARVELS: Annotated, by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross _______
MARVELS rocked the industry in 1994, with its lushly painted deconstruction of the history of the Marvel universe, seen through the eyes of average people. This reissue reveals all the deep details within it.
Ever marvelous.

_______________

S T A R
W A R S



Marvel is doing a splendid job making movies between the movies.


STAR WARS, by Kieron Gillen and Angel Unzueta; Greg Pak and Phil Noto _______
For 75 issues, this series did excellent arcs filling in the mysteries between A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
After this, a new relaunch of the title will explore between EMPIRE and RETURN OF THE JEDI.

DARTH VADER: Dark Lord of the Sith*, by Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli _______
A second series, set in Vader's formative years in the aftermath of REVENGE OF THE SITH, which culminated with issue #25.

*(They don't include the subtitle on the cover, causing great confusion with the first 25-issue DARTH VADER series, which was set later.)

DARTH VADER: Dark Visions, by Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum and varied artists _______
A five-issue mini, an anthology examining how Vader is perceived by different people across the galaxy.


STAR WARS: Doctor Aphra, by Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard _______
One of STAR WARS comics' most inspired breakthrough characters wraps up her illustrious run with issue #40.






D C





WATCHMEN = Creators Rights:
Fight The Real Enemy

DC Comics began when its mob-connected owners swindled two comics creators out of Superman.>

Siegel and Shuster only recieved proper credit and some compensation 35 years later when other brave creators like Neal Adams started championing creators rights and embarassed the company through the press into giving it. In the '80s, as creator-owned indie comics ignited a mature comics renaissance, DC often paid lip service to now honoring creators rights. This was easier to say, now that their financial fortunes had just turned from near bankruptcy to critical darlings through the revolutionary works of one writer, Alan Moore. Living off his legacy ever since, they now repay him by consistantly betraying him.

Let's be clear. DC has many great accomplishments in its tenure, all of which were achieved by smart creators and supportive editors. But, that creativity has often been overridden by the exploitative machinations of the larger corporations (the legal mafia) that have owned them.


Writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons were promised the permanent rights to WATCHMEN, after a first printing; in 1986, the new 'graphic novels' of the time had one printing and were done. Instead, WATCHMEN and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and MAUS established graphic novels as a new literature in the mainstream. Exploiting the irony of its lucrative success, DC has withheld copyright ever since through endless printings. And now they franchise the stolen property through phony prequels and sequels by others to convince the public that they own it.

By all accounts, the new WATCHMEN TV series (Like DC, HBO is also owned by Warner Bros.) is excellent. But I'm boycotting it and here's why.

It doesn't matter about the quality of a swipe, because it's still a swipe. The only purpose for the "Before WATCHMEN" and "Doomsday Clock" comics and the TV series sequel is to deny copyright to the original creators. To support any of them is to support the criminal. Any denial of this is just a flimsy rationalization for Gimmes to consume without conscience.

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created WATCHMEN and it's theirs alone. They innovated everything that helps you enjoy all the titles on this Best Comics post. Be Woke by actually being aware. Stand up for real justice and support creators rights.





V E R T I G O


Forget the corporation, support the creators.

GODDESS MODE, by Zoe Quinn and Robbi Rodriguez _______
Femme underground vs. the god machine.





D A R K
H O R S E







BLACK HAMMER: Age Of Doom, by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, and Dave Steward _______
The 12-issue maxi ends; Lemire's BH titles are a parallel to such alt-Comics-history classics as KINGDOM COME, ASTRO CITY, and PLANETARY.

BLACK HAMMER ’45, by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes _______
A 4-issue mini; like the Tuskegee Airmen retold as the Blackhawks.

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: HOTEL OBLIVION, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá _______
After a long break (and the breakout success of the Netflix show), the creators return for a sequel.

AMERICAN GODS: The Moment of the Storm, by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, and Scott Hampton _______
The third and concluding arc in their adaptation of Gaiman's book, a separate version than the TV series adaption.




----- Berger Books -----

In a just universe, Karen Berger would be the one running DC Comics instead of the Corps and the Ballcaps. She helmed the original/actual Vertigo Comics, the standard which all current Indie companies are imitating, and now she has her own imprint of creator-owned titles.



INVISIBLE KINGDOM, by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward _______
Put together Wilson (the creator of the new Ms. Marvel) and Ward (psychedelic artist of THE ODY-C), and you get a female Dune unlike anything you've seen.

SHE COULD FLY: The Lost Pilot, by Christopher Cantwell, Martin Morazzo, and Miroslav Mrva _______
Written by the showrunner of the Halt And Catch Fire TV show, a mini-series sequel opening up mysteries within and without.


EVERYTHING, by Christopher Cantwell and I. N. J. Culbard _______
The mega-mall promises consumer paradise, so why is everything going wrong outside?
(Metaphor.)

RUBY FALLS, by Ann Nocenti and Flavia Biondi _______
A generational murder mystery.





I D W



Picard, Janeway, Kirk, and Sisko.
You're welcome.

STAR TREK: The Q Conflict, by Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and David Messina (IDW) _______
A mini-series team-up of multiple series -Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager- against the omnipotent being, Q.






B O O M





FIREFLY: The Unification War, by Greg Pak and Dan McDaid _______ ⇧
8 issues (or two trades) telling the secret civil war history that led to the TV series.

FIREFLY: Bad Company, by Josh Lee Gordon and Francesco Mortarino _______
A one-shot spotlighting the life story of the rapscallion, Saffron (played on the series by Christina Hendricks).

FIREFLY: Sting, by Delilah S Dawson, with Pius Bak, Serg Acuna, Richard Ortiz, Hyeonjin Kim, and Rodrigo Lorenzo _______ ⇧
An original Graphic Novel, showing Saffron's heist caper from the POV of all the Firefly women involved.



STRANGE SKIES OVER EAST BERLIN, by Jeff Loveness and Lisandro Estherren _______
A Cold War espionage thriller meets sci-fi horror.







T I T A N


BLADE RUNNER 2019, by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Andres Guinaldo _______
The first canon comic sequel, by Michael Green (the co-writer of the film sequel BLADE RUNNER 2049), opens up new vistas in the raining city.





V A U L T


SERA AND THE ROYAL STARS, by Jon Tsuei and Audrey Mok _______
A Fantasy of a monarch trying to stave off civil war while seeking divine deliverance.




V A L I A N T


LIVEWIRE, by Vita Ayala, Raul Allen, and Patricia Martin _______
Going from superhero to wanted felon over a noble choice, Livewire circuits a world of pain.




A L L - A G E S
C O M I C S






"Hey, Kids! Comics!"

From the '30s to the '80s, comics unified all of the kids in the world.

Comics spinner racks were omnipresent in every grocery, newstand, and drugstore, a world of dreams in color for small change. But after 50 years, this changed.


As the fans grew older, comics grew more mature (and gradually more expensive). In the early '80s, comics disappeared from common spaces to be sold only in individual comic stores. This was the best and worst thing that could have happened: the select stores became a lab for the medium to grow up with adult fans, but this Comics Renaissance left all the kids behind with no entry point. Now that three decades have passed, the young have moved on to games and streaming, seeing superheroes nowadays only in films that are meant for those longtime adult readers.

Roy Thomas once said, "The Golden Age of Comics is 8."

Comics should still be a fun spark for kids. Now, with the spectacular success of Raina Telgemeier's books, various publishers are finally figuring this out. A wide movement to provide more all-ages comics has risen. From single comics to trade paperbacks, there are many new entry points for young readers to join in and open up their imaginations.


C O M I C S


POWERS IN ACTION, by Art Baltazar (Action Lab) _______
The always delightful Baltazar brings another loving spoof of all things hero in this 4-issue mini.



STEVEN UNIVERSE, by Taylor Robin and S.M. Mara (Boom) _______
The acclaimed show has finished, but the adventures continue on the page.

ADVENTURE TIME, Season 11, by Sonny Liew and Marina Julia (Boom) _______
Season 10 was the last onscreen, but keep the merriment rolling with this print sequel.

SABRINA, The Teenage Witch, by Kelly Thompson and Veronica Fish (Archie) _______
Known for her TV shows, Sabrina is just as bewitching in her latest comic series by noted writer Kelly Thompson.

MARVEL ACTION: SPIDER-MAN, by Delilah S Dawson and Fico Ossio (Marvel/IDW) _______
Young teen versions of Peter, Miles, and Gwen goof around.

STAR WARS ADVENTURES, by various creators (IDW) _______
All-ages adventures of the film and TV animated characters in new stories.
Rey!



CASPER, by various creators (American Mythology) _______
The timeless '50s-'70s stories reprinted.

UNDERGOG, by various creators (American Mythology) _______
New and classic stories.

BULLWINKLE AND ROCKY, by various creators (American Mythology) _______
The classic '70s comics reprinted.

PEANUTS: LUCY SPEAKS OUT!, by Charles Schultz (Amp) _______
Reprints of the Peanuts comic strip in serial form.


G R A P H I C
N O V E L S

SPACE BOY #1-6, by Stephen McCranie (Dark Horse) _______
An ongoing series of books, following a young teen adapting to moving around our solar system and the friends she makes.

BEN 10, by various creators (Boom) _______
The TV series hero in original tales.


SUPER SONS, by Peter J. Tomasi, Carlo Barberi, and Art Thibert (DC) _______
The adventures of Damian Wayne (Robin) and Jon Kent (Superboy), a 12-issue maxi compiled into two trade paperbacks.

DC SUPERHERO GIRLS At Metropolis High, by Amy Wolfram and Yancy Labat (DC) _______
An original Graphic Novel starring young teen versions of Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Bumblebee, and Zatanna.

TOY STORY ADVENTURES, by various creators (Disney) _______
Short stories spread across the span of the films.

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED, by various creators (Jack Lake Productions) _______
From the '40s to the '70s, Classics Illustrated adapted the classic books into comics form, becoming classics themselves.
Recently each issue has been reprinted as a single-volume trade paperback.



GUTS, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/Graphix) _______
Raina Telgemeier is the JK Rowling of comics, bringing more young readers in with her wildly popular and fun confessional books than anyone in the industry.

CLEOPATRA IN SPACE #1-5, by Mike Maihack (Scholastic) _______
Annual books of the Egyptian teen queen having fun in the far future.

SANITY AND TALLULAH #1-2, by Molly Brooks (Disney/Hyperion) _______
Two young girls, a fiesty cat, a space station. What could go wrong?

HILDA And... #1-7, by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books) _______
Refreshing kid adventures with a contemporary Fantasy bent, now made world-famous by the Netflix cartoon series.


Resources:
Kidscomics.com
School Library Journal: Good Comics For Kids
50 Best Comics + Graphic Novels For Kids
The Big Blog Of Kids' Comics!
European Comics For Children
13 Great Webcomics For Kids and Teens





B E S T
G R A P H I C
N O V E L S :





THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN:
Vol. 4, The Tempest
, by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (Top Shelf) _______
The finale to the LOEG books, and to the careers of its esteemed creators.

What if all literature was a true, inter-related reality? The Extraordinary Gentlemen books are actually the complex history of one extraordinary woman, threading the entire Canon of speculative fictions together.

Deep as Oxford, eclectic as the Smithsonian, fun as Comic-Con.




NOVEMBER Vol. 1, by Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier (Dark Horse) _______
Beginning a trilogy: three women, a crooked city, and intricate enigmas.

THE MIDWINTER WITCH, by Molly Knox Ostertag (Scholastic) _______
The finale of the Fantasy trilogy, by hailed creator Ostertag (Strong Female Protagonist).

CLYDE FANS, by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly) _______
A long form meditation how all things must pass, focusing on a fans factory, a series made across twenty years and collected together for the first time.

GIRL ON FILM, by Cecil Castellucci; Art by Vicky Leta, Jon Berg, V. Gagnon, and Melissa Duffy (Boom) _______
A wild memoir by Castellucci (Shade The Changing Girl).

GENDER QUEER: A Memoir , by Maia Kobabe (Lion Forge) _______
Only you can define who you are.
(Tip: It's a work in progress the whole way.)




THE RIVER AT NIGHT, by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly) _______
Insomnia gives you plenty of time to think think think...

LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O Connell (First Second Books) _______
Love is revelation, destroyer, and catalyst. A nuanced teen opera.

SKIP, by Molly Mendoza (Nobrow Press) _______
Two new friends explore cosmic landscapes and their psyches. Beautifully painted surrealism.

CATS OF THE LOUVRE, by Taiyo Matsumoto (NBM) _______
The secret world of night cats in the art palace.



IRON
Or, The War After
, by Shane-Michael Vidaurri (Archaia Studios Press) _______
Like Animal Farm meets 1984.

JAMES BROWN:
Black And Proud
, by Xavier Fauthoux (IDW) _______
"Say it loud!".



REMBRANDT, by Typex (SelfMadeHero) _______
SelfMadeHero is publishing great biographies of famous artists told in their visual styles; previous volumes highlighted Van Gogh, Picasso, Munch, Dali, and Magritte.
> SelfMadeHero.com

PHILIP K. DICK, by Laurent Queyssi and Mauro Marchesi (NBM) _______
Speculative Fiction's most eccentric and original thinker is finally getting his due, with film and tv adaptions, documentaries, and bios like this.

BASQUIAT, by Paolo Paris (SelfMadeHero) _______
The downtown renaissance man who mapped the future from the primordial past.

BLANK CANVAS:
My So-Called Artist's Journey
, Vol. 1-5, by Akiko Higashimura (Seven Seas) _______
The autobiography of the famed Manga artist and her struggles.




I KNOW WHAT I AM:
The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi
, by Gina Siciliano (Fantagraphics) _______
Artemisia was a 16th Century painter abused and neglected at every turn, but her brilliant work has become undeniable.

AMAZONS, ABOLITIONISTS, AND ACTIVISTS:
A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights
, by Mikki Kendall (Ten Speed Press) _______
"What do we want? Freedom!
When do we want it? Now!".

THIS WOMAN'S WORK, by Julie Delporte (Drawn & Quarterly) _______
Autobiography as feminist deconstruction of identity.

THE HARD TOMORROW, by Eleanor Davis (Drawn & Quarterly) _______
Love and the intersection of anxiety and responsibility.




THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS:
A Graphic Narrative
, by David Walker, Damon Smyth, and Marissa Louise (Ten Speed Press) _______
Douglass was the Gandhi and King of the 19th Century, who rose up from illiterate slave to revolutionary scholar.

I, RENE TARDI, PRISONER OF WAR IN STALAG IIB:
Vol. 2, My Return Home
, by Rene Tardi (Drawn & Quarterly) _______
The aftermath of the French cartoonist's internment in a German WWII prison camp.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY, by George Takei, with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker (Top Shelf) _______
George Takei is famous for forging the future on Star Trek.
But as a child he was interned in a California prison camp, despite being a citizen. This timely autobiography reminds us that bigotry must be fought at all times in all places.

GRASS, by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (Drawn & Quarterly) _______
A memoir of Korean girls exploited as sexual slaves in Japanese internment camps.

THE BLUE ROAD:
A Fable of Migration
, by (Arsenal Pulp Press) _______
A symbolic parable about the value of immigrants, across land and soul.




The Sons of EL TOPO:
Vol. 2, Abel
, by Alejandro Jodorowsky and José Ladrönn (Dark Horse) _______
Jodorowsky made his startling debut with the symbolist western film EL TOPO (1970).
After years of developing a sequel, he is releasing it in graphix form, with Ladrönn's stunning art depicting the best unmade film around.

DIOSAMANTE, by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jean-Claude Gal (Humanoids) _______
Having worked with Moebius, Jodorowsky has created many Metal Hurlant-style alternate histories.






B E S T
C O L L E C T I O N S
+ R E I S S U E S :


Quality is timeless.




EC ARCHIVES:
Weird Fantasy, Vol. 4
Two-Fisted Tales, Vol. 4
Crime SuspenStories, Vol. 4
Frontline Combat
Modern Love
Piracy
, by Multiple Creators (Dark Horse) _______
EC Comics invented comics for adults in the early '50s, and were crucified for it.>
Catch up to the original revolution.
Stories by Gaines, Feldstein, Frazetta, Wood, Kamen, Orlando, Williamson, and more.




Druillet's THE NIGHT (1976), by Philippe Druillet (Titan) _______
Out of unbearable personal tragedy, Druillet crafted this stark catharsis tale.

Druillet's SALAMMBO, Vol.1 (1980-'81), by Philippe Druillet (Titan) _______
Druillet adapted a trilogy out of Flaubert's controversial historial war saga.

ANGEL CLAWS (1994), by Jodorowsky and Moebius (Humanoids Publishing) _______
Two iconoclasts push sensual surrealism beyond all boundaries.

40 DAYS- Dans Le Désert B (1999), by Moebius (Book Palace) _______
A sketchbook compilation. Look and learn.

LE FAUNE DE MARS- Martian Wildlife (2011), by Moebius (Book Palace) _______
Another sketchbook collection, as usual a basic master class.




WONDER WOMAN:
The Golden Age, Vol. 3
(1944), by Charles Moulton and H.G. Peter (DC) _______
Moulton's forward feminism and Peter's art-nouveau cartooning are only now getting the appreciation they're due.

ADAM STRANGE:
The Silver Age, Vol. 1
(1958-'64), by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, and Carmine Infantino + (DC) _______
DC's Flash Gordon surrogate was a canny series which brought SciFi into the Silver Age, with stellar writers and artists.

BATMAN
By Neal Adams, Book 2
(1969-'70), by Dennis O'Neil, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Neal Adams + (DC) _______
The modern Batman exists because of Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams.
They ushered in the Age Of Relevancy, when mainstream comics grew up. Dig the revolution.

SHAZAM!
The World's Mightiest Mortal, Vol. 1
(1973-'75), by Dennis O'Neil, C.C. Beck, and Bob Oksner (DC) _______
Captain Marvel was the biggest selling superhero on Earth in the '40s, until jealous DC sued him out of existence.
In 1973, they began to atone for this by bringing him back for a new generation, and this bouyant tome collects the first 18 fun issues.



Absolute SWAMP THING
by Alan Moore, Vol. 1
(1983-'85), by Alan Moore, Stephen R, Bissette, and John Totleben, + (DC) _______
Alan Moore seeded the Comics Renaissance in Britain with MarvelMan (1982).
But it wildflowered to the world with his US work on Swamp Thing.
This is a remastered omnibus of the beginning, with new (dull airbrush) coloring.

CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS,
35th Anniversary
(1985-'86), by Marv Wolfman and George Perez (DC) _______
DC invented the Multiverse.
After thirty years of complex continuity, they streamlined it all with this epic-to-end-all-epics.
Still the best.

THE KILLING JOKE (1988), by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland (DC) _______
The core inspiration for both THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) and JOKER (2019).
Read the real thing.

KINGDOM COME (1996), by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross (DC) _______
Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman took superheroes to an unmatchable pinnacle with Miracleman (1987-'90).
But it spawned worthy scion like this beautifully painted contemplation about lost hope and luminous futures.



VAMPS:
The Complete Collection
(1996), by Elaine Lee and William Simpson (Vertigo) _______
Elaine Lee (Starstruck) and Will Simpson (Game Of Thrones artist) bring you female vampire bikers; all three mini-series collected in one volume at last.

STARDUST (1996), by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess (Vertigo) _______
The original illustrated story, before the novel or the film.



MASTER OF KUNG FU:
Fight Without Pity
(1975-'77), by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy (Marvel) _______
This comic series is the lost treasure of the '70s, finally seeing print again after rights issues.
Moench wrote three crucial runs across the decade, each with a singular artist. This collects the first with Gulacy, a stylist blending the best of Bruce Lee and Steranko.

NEW MUTANTS:
The Demon Bear Saga
(1984-'85), by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz (Marvel) _______
After his stunning run on Moon Knight, Sienkiewicz unleashed all inhibitions with his work here: like Neal Adams knife-fighting with Ralph Steadman.
This specifically inspired the radical TV series Legion and the NEW MUTANTS film (2020).


THE PRISONER:
Shattered Visage
(1988), by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith (Titan) _______
This authorized sequel to The Prisoner show returns to print, as strong an extension as any made.

PROMETHEA,
20th Anniversary Vol. 1
(1999), by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III (America's Best Comics) _______
Like Wonder Woman with all the brakes off.
Moore and Williams' magnum opus is a cosmic cathedral of infinite riches.
A work of fine art.


PETER CANNON THUNDERBOLT, by Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard (Dynamite) _______
WATCHMEN influenced everything, but was matched by none.
Here's one of the few heirs that do well by it.


NANCY:
A Comic Collection
, by Olivia Jaimes (Amp Comics) _______
The terrific webcomic reboot gets a print book.

HEY KIDS! COMICS!, by Howard Chaykin (Image) _______
Howard Chaykin's loving (while unvarnished) homage to the history of the comics industry.



ALIEN 3, by (Dark Horse) _______
In 1987, the suits squandered a chance for ALIEN 3 and 4, written by Cyberpunk author William Gibson and to be directed by returning original Ridley Scott.
Let that sink in.
This compiled mini-series adapts the unused script for ALIEN 3 to comics.



_______________



WHERE WE
COME FROM,
Dept.


Explore the past to map the future.
Get with, get going.



American Comic Book Chronicles:
1940-1944
, by Kurt F. Mitchell (TwoMorrows) _______
The deep story of the Golden Age of Comics.

EC COMICS:
Race, Shock, and Social Protest
, by Qiana Whitted (Rutgers University Press) _______
As time passes, EC Comics only gains more social stature, even as all its assassins have dissolved to dust.



BRAIN BATS OF VENUS:
The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton, Vol. 2 (1942-1952)
, by Greg Sadowski (Fantagraphics) _______
Wolverton was the punk rock of extreme cartooning, so severe he could hardly have a career.

Forgotten All-Star:
A Biography of GARDNER FOX
, by Jennifer DeRoss (Pulp Hero Press) _______
Pivotal writer Gardner Fox created the JSA, and then the JLA, and the Multiverse between them.

MAC RABOY:
Master of the Comics
, by Roger Hill (TwoMorrows) _______
In contrast to the clean-line cartooning of C.C. Beck's Captain Marvel, Raboy's Captain Marvel Jr was like a streamlined Hal Foster, naturalistic and elegant.


Timely's Greatest:
The Golden Age Of SIMON AND KIRBY
(1940-'42), by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (Marvel) _______
The original power duo, who co-created Captain America, dynamic panels, hyperbolic storytelling, kid squads, love comics, and double-page spreads.



EC COMICS LIBRARY:
Atom Bomb and Other Stories
, by Harvey Kurtzman and Wallace Wood (Fantagraphics) _______
The message stories of EC's golden boys.

EC COMICS LIBRARY:
The Woman Who Loved Life And Other Stories
, by Johnny Craig (Fantagraphics) _______
Johnny Craig is infamous for his blunt, scandalous work for Vault Of Horror and Crime SuspenStories.

ROY G. KRENKEL:
Father of Heroic Fantasy
, by Andrewsteven Damsits and Barry Klugerman (IDW) _______
A consummate illustrator, whose influence on succeeding artists is immeasurable.

Telling Stories:
The Classic Comic Art Of FRANK FRAZETTA
, Edited by Edward Mason (Bud's Art Books) _______
A reissue of the 2008 book, collecting Frazetta's less-known early comics work.

Marvel Masters of Suspense:
STAN LEE AND STEVE DITKO
(1960s), by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel) _______
There were two dynamic duos at Marvel and Stan was in both. Ditko's best art period.




KIRBY IS FANTASTIC (The 1960s), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (Marvel) _______
An overview of the cutting edge Fantastic Four comic, for which Lee and Kirby did the first 101 issues.

KIRBY IS MIGHTY (The 1960s), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (Marvel) _______
It was in The Mighty Thor where Kirby went galactic and epic, with double-spreads that blueprinted everything in the THOR films.

DC Universe:
The Bronze Age Omnibus of JACK KIRBY
(The 1970s-'80s), by Jack Kirby (DC) _______
From '70 to '75, Kirby jumped ship to the Distinguished Competion, hitting his pinnacle with the New Gods titles and Kamandi.

KIRBY RETURNS (1976-'78), by Jack Kirby (Marvel) _______
An omnibus of Kirby's return to Marvel Comics; his continually influencial work then on Captain America, Black Panther, The Eternals, 2001, Machine Man, and Devil Dinosaur is still being mined in comics and onscreen today.



The Complete CREPAX,
Vol. 4: Private Life
(1960s), by Guido Crepax (Fantagraphics) _______
Mod pageantry, Hitchcock panels, and erotic decadence.

JAMES WARREN, Empire Of Monsters:
The Man Behind Creepy, Vampirella, And Famous Monsters
, by Bill Schelly (Fantagraphics) _______
Warren magazines like Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella were the adult comics of the '60s and '70s.
And The Spirit reprints rediscovered and helped canonize Will Eisner.

BERNIE WRIGHTSON Artifact Edition, by Bernie Wrightson (IDW) _______
EC produced future children like Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Berni Wrightson, whose fine illustration work on Swamp Thing is essential.

The Collected TOPPI,
Vol. 2: North America
, by Sergio Toppi (Lion Forge) _______
Every page by Toppi is a master class in illustration, in the use of line, contrast, design, and negative space.

The Book Of WEIRDO:
A Retrospective of R. Crumb's Legendary Humor Comics Anthology
(1994), by Jon B. Cooke (Last Gasp) _______
Crumb's cheeky response to the arty RAW magazine was the hinge from underground comix to today's indie comics and graphic novels.
Culprits who slung ink there included Peter Bagge, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Kim Deitch, Julie Doucet, Drew Friedman, Phoebe Gloeckner, Justin Green, Bill Griffith, Gilbert Hernandez, Carol Lay, Harvey Pekar, Joe Sacco, Dori Seda, Art Spiegelman, and Robert Williams.

FREE S#!T, by Charles Burns (Fantagraphics) _______
Drawings that Burns gave away free to friends now grace a coffee table book.




MAGAZINES




ALTER EGO (TwoMorrows) _______
The original '60s comics fanzine that pioneered all of modern fandom, with deep stories on the Golden and Silver Age creators, is an ongoing mag still edited by Roy Thomas.
> Alter Ego

BACK ISSUE! (TwoMorrows) _______
Dedicated to the '70s and '80s renaissance.
> Back Issue

ILLUSTRATION (The Illustrated Press) _______
The best illustrators celebrated by the smartest illustration mag.
> Illustration








B E S T
M O V I E S
+ T V :



I write and illustrate reviews of all comics-sourced films at the Four Color Films site.

Art by Tym Stevens

CAPTAIN MARVEL
That's her boot upside your ass.
My review and original art.

AVENGERS: Endgame
10 years of quality superhero films coming to stunning fruition, and hinging into the new future.
My review and original art.

SPIDER-MAN: Far From Home
Pushing the envelope into origami.

JOKER
Art film and character study, in New Hollywood style.
My review and original art.

See Also:
> Four Color Films,
THE Comic Movies Review Site!



LEGION, season 3
The highest level of fine art craft on Television.

JESSICA JONES, season 3
Jessica bows out, as snarky and haunted as ever.

RAISING DION, season 1
A smart, funny, and moving series about an 8-year-old superhero and his amazing mom.



See also:
> BEST MOVIES & TV: 2019






B E S T
W E B C O M I C S :




NANCY, by Olympia Jaimes _______
Under a psuedonym, someone is upgrading the classic strip's mindtricks for the digital age.
"Sluggo is lit" and you should get literate, too.

PRINCE VALIANT, by Mark Schultz and Thomas Yeates _______
Schultz (Xenozoic Tales) and Yeates (Timespirits) are doing excellent work continuing Hal Foster's masterwork into the 21st century.

The Nib _______
RESIST!







R E S T
I N
P O W E R



From you, we exist.
Because of you, we persist.


Art by Tym Stevens

Everett Raymond Kinstler
Pedro Bell
Gahan Wilson
Howard Cruse


Back cover of MAD #46 (April 1959),
art by Frank Kelly Freas.

MAD Magazine ⇧
After the dumbass politicians killed EC Comics>, MAD Magazine rose like a phoenix blowing a smartass raspberry at all culture.
Its satiric mayhem directly inspired Lenny Bruce, underground comix, National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, In Living Color, MAD TV, The Daily Show, and all snarky teens ever since.
Now the usual gang of idiots -the dumbass digital era- has ended it.
Stay irate, stay crazed, stay MAD.






Nuff said, pilgrim. Excelsior!


© Tym Stevens



See also:

-FourColorFilms: THE Comics Film Review Site!


BEST MOVIES & TV: 2019
BEST MUSIC: 2019

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2018
BEST MUSIC: 2018
BEST COMICS: 2018

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2017
BEST MUSIC: 2017
BEST COMICS: 2017

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2016
BEST MUSIC: 2016
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BEST MOVIES & TV: 2015
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BEST MUSIC: 2014
BEST MOVIES & TV: 2014
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BEST MUSIC: 2013
BEST COMICS: 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST MUSIC: 2012
BEST COMICS: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011
BEST COMICS: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMICS: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010


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