Review: Jason Walz’s CRAP SHOOT

First off, I would like to say that Mr. Walz has the patience of a saint.  Not only have I told him on multiple occasions that this would be published ASAP, I also gave him direct dates and totally just forgot.  So to you, Jason, thank you for putting up with little old me.

Now to the nitty gritty.  Jason Walz is the author and artist of a new comic by the name of Crap Shoot.  Two issues are currently out on his website, with an option to pay what you want option, as well as through Comixology.

The art style in this story is almost reminiscent of Charles Burns’ Black Hole, with a heavy contrast of black and white and definitely does not make the mistake of over working the smaller details.  What I thoroughly enjoyed regarding the connection between the story and the art, was the fact that it isn’t as grown up.  The faces and movement of the characters could easily translate into a Calvin and Hobbes-esque strip.

Screenshot 2013-11-12 08.27.12

It really is a cross between an actual graphic novel and a strip.  Short stories punctuated by longer narratives and small guest drawings and panels really bring a unique twist to the first issue.

Overall a charming read with some wonderful guest art, my favorite being the last piece by Trungles.  Jason Walz’s story telling is surprisingly innocent and light.  If you’re looking for something a little different and nothing too heavy to pick up and breeze through, this is it for you.  I genuinely enjoyed this read.  I’m even going to go back and purchase the second issue.

Screenshot 2013-11-12 08.25.23

Thank you again, Jason, for that unbelievably calm demeanor and a lovely read.

Review: Penguins Vs Possums

When I first met Sebastian Kadlecik at the Southern California Creators Unite event, I was lucky enough to get a quick preview of the comic he had created with his partners John Bring and Lindsay Calhoon.  I was ecstatic over the idea of a comic featuring Penguins and Possums doing human things.

After reading the first as well as the second issue (which premires at Long Beach Comic Con this coming up weekend), I was conflicted.  I love the idea of this story.  The premise is Penguins and Possums have been eternally at war, for no reason other than they don’t like each other.  It is rich with a history that you know exists, but isn’t immediately shoved in your face, and characters that have potential to grow and expand.  However, I felt as though the relationships, the personalities and the story was a bit rushed.  It was difficult for me to take a definitive stance on whether or not I enjoyed this comic.

Technically speaking my only issue with the art was that the first issue was solely black and white and there was no grey scale, but was pleased to see that the second issue was in grey scale.  The black and white was very reminiscent of manga, and I found myself trying to read it right to left.  The grey scale helps to add to the over all mood of the comic.

What it does well is create a world and a situation that is so ridiculous and out there, but so serious and ernest in it’s mythos that it makes you forget that penguins and possums really haven’t been at war since the beginning of times.

As a huge fan of epic fantasy novels with strong tortured leads, I find myself wanting a more dynamic character with depth.  I am sure that as the story progresses each character will find their voice and they will start to develop naturally, but as of right now the character development feels a little forced.  This is something that can be fixed over time.

With an interesting concept that reminds me vaguely of Redwall and the potential to grow and improve, this comic has me interested.  I am genuinely excited to see how the writers and artists improve and grow within the stories.  The only thing I really hope I see is a slower pace in later issues.  These characters have a lot of potential, and I want to savor the development.

You can check out their website here:

Penguins Vs. Possums

And if you are going to Long Beach Comic Con, make sure to stop by and grab Issue One if you don’t have it, as well as Issue Two.

They will also be part of the Super Indie Comics Panel at noon on Sunday, so be sure to stop by and show some support.

Which side will you choose? 

Penguins or Possums?

Skuds McKinley Talks “I’ll Take You To The Moon And Leave You There”

As I am sure any of our readers know, here are Panel Bound, we are dedicated to promoting the independent comic community. As independent writers and artists, we know the dedication that printing a self published comic takes. The majority of indie creators I speak with, are doing it purely out of a love for comics. It’s not about money, and it’s not about fame, independent comic creators do it to tell a story beyond the boundaries of mainstream publishing.

One of my favorite indie creators that I spoke with in 2011 was Skuds McKinley. Skuds is the writer and artist behind, I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There, which is currently making rounds with distributors nation wide right now. I wanted to take some time to recommend this book to anyone looking to support the indie community. The last time we spoke with Skuds, I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There was on it’s last leg of a successful Kickstarter campaign. I’ll let Skuds explain in his own words just what this books is all about.

I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There is basically a bunch of small stories collected into one big nice book. Vol.1 collects all of my favorite stories from my first two years of doing comics. the book shows a huge progression in art and story telling techniques, tackles a multitude of different genres, and has a lil something for everyone in it.

I ordered a copy of Skud’s book a few months back and I can attest to the fact that this book does, in fact, tackle a ton of different genres. The first few stories in I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There showcase an artist and writer wrapping his head around various comic techniques. From there on, the book is a study in drawing, sketching and inking reminiscent of Paul Pope and Charles Burns. Each story in this book is wrapped in the surreal that would inhabit out lives, if only we let it in.

I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There feels like the graphic novel equivalent of musical improvisation. Each story varies in depth and length that are straight from the darkest corners of someones subconscious. Consider reading this book like listening to a jazz album or Calculating Infinity for our Dillinger Escape Plan fans (god I hope there are some out there).

I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There is a 56 page long graphic novel that you can order from Skuds at his site BatShitArt.com. You can also head to his site to read every story in the book free of charge, but while your there pick a copy and support the indie comic scene. Any shops interested in I’ll Take You To The Moon and Leave You There can contact the books distributor Tony Shenton at Shenton4Sales [at] aol [dot] com.

Web Comic Review: Makeshift Miracle

Makeshift Miracle is the latest project from Skullkickers writer Jim Zub, and artist Shun Hong Chan. First things first if you are looking for the over the top, off the wall style of Skullkickers, Makeshift Miracle is a far cry from that. However  the first two chapters of Makeshift Miracle have the makings of a really great comic. Jim Zub has captured the dialogue of an angst filled teenager who simply wants life to slow down yet is placed in an extraordinary circumstance,it’s reminiscent of Peter Parker or Light Yagami for our Death Note fans.

The artwork of Shun Hong Chan is stunning, Chan relies heavily on a watercolor technique that promises every gust of wind will be expertly rendered. Chan’s style takes cues from both western comics and manga that, as a manga and comic fan I found comforting. The mix of styles hints at Chan’s abilities to take the best from both schools of art and blend them seamlessly.

I do not want to give to much of the story away, solely due to the fact that you can head over to MakeshiftMiracle.com and check it out for free yourself. The second chapter comes to end this Friday so now is a great time to get caught up on this great web comic FOR FREE. The fact the Jim Zub and Udon Publishing are giving out this content for free in order to establish a strong fan base is what is so great about the comic community. Creators are trusting us as readers to appreciate and acknowledge their efforts so much that we will contribute to the project when it is in print. it’s a project that is capturing the spirit of web publishing in a time when the smaller guys are fighting to stay afloat. So please check out Makeshift Miracle and help support this project when it comes to print in May/June 2012.

Check out Makeshift Miracle

5 Comics That Will Change How You Read Comics

As a would be comic book writer I sometimes have dry spells of creativity, some days I just can’t get to the next level of a story. As of late I have been working on a few stories and for one of them I was having trouble getting pen to paper. Regardless if it was taking the plot in a natural progression or creating an organic sense of anticipation it wasn’t happening for me.

In moments like these I must remind myself that the reason I want to be in this business is the simple fact that I love comics, to me they are a well spring of creativity and what better place to find inspiration to take my scripts to the next level then in comics. So I present you several comics that represent the epitome of  artistic epiphany in my humble opinion.

B.P.R.D Plague of Frogs Volume 1 & 2 By Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis, Dave Stewart

If you have been visiting Panel Bound for a while then I am sure you have noticed my adoration for just about anything Mike Mignola and John Arcudi put out. I was luck enough to get a copy of these books from the dudes and Geek of Doom and this series completely floored me. Mignola and Arcudi manage to create the most compelling storyline I have read in years with Plague of Frogs. It’s like any other B.P.R.D book however they bring it on such a large scale that it actually managed to get under my skin and legitimately spook me, giant bug monsters, people melting, constant decapitation, these book have it all.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine

True Story I once met Adrian Tomine at a indie comic convention and he was less then cool to me, I get that he was probably busy and all that but still I just wanted to tell this dude that Shortcomings was a life changing read. I digress, Shortcomings is exactly that a life changing read, before I read this book my pull list only consisted of comics about monsters and the heroes that bashed their heads in. After reading Shortcomings though I realized that this was the start of a new generation of the comic form and Adrian Tomine was at the forefront. This book literally changed the way I read, bought and cared about comics.

Skullkickers by Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, Misty Coats

I first heard about Skullkickers at San Diego Comic Con asI was creeping about the Image booth trying to nab interviews for the website. I was initially intrigued by this comic because the guys doing signings were probably a few years older than me and this both bummed me out (whenever I see people my age making comics professionally I get a little jealous) and made me want to check this books out immediately. I couldn’t believe that this group of creators in their (probably I am guessing) mid 20′s were creating such a polished and clean looking book being put out by Image. After checking out the first issue of Skullkickers it all started to make sense why Image was rallying behind this book so much, it’s comedy and action writing at it’s finest. The art is superb and is by far one of the most polished comics out currently.

Animal Man by Jeff Lemire

By now everyone had heard the hype about Animal Man, it’s by far the best rated New 52 title and it’s being written by a relatively new comic writer. Jeff Lemire began with his creator owned title Sweet Tooth with Vertigo which gained so much praise that DC chose him to pen Animal Man. Not only do I love this comic for it’s great writing and general sense of horror but it also to me represents the fact that if you are talented enough and create a good enough title that even the big guys at DC will take notice. Also it’s about a man who has the powers of any Animal he wants, I think that speaks for itself.

The Goon by Eric Powell

I don’t think I need to say to much about why this in my opinion is the best comic series that has been put out recently. Of course I am counting out all the series drama comics that are amazing, but pound for pound when it comes down to comedy and action The Goon has them all beat. If you haven’t read any of The Goon yet stop reading this now, throw your computer out the window and run not walk to a comic shop and buy everything with the words The Goon on them. I also met Eric Powell at SDCC and he was the nicest guy I have ever met which only added to how much I liked this comic.

Every week I will be adding to this list, mainly to remind myself of why I love comics so much and also maybe helping someone else find a comic that will inspire them to be a better artists, writer, etc. If you have comics that do this for you drop me a line at matt@panelbound.com and let me know, I would love to share your suggestions at the site and spread the word.

Gary Review

This week I was lucky enough to review Tyrell Cannon’s graphic novel Gary. We featured Gary earlier this week as recommended reading, however if you had any doubts check out my review of the book and hopefully it will change your mind. I spoke with Gary creator Tyrell Cannon this morning about his career working in the indie comic industry, that audio interview will be up later tonight. In the mean time enjoy this review of Gary.