Thursday, 29 October 2015

Robots In Disguise

Robots In Disguise.

While  The Savage Dragon and  Gold Digger are relatively niche,  I don't think I have to introduce  The Transformers. 
Especially not after the  four Bay movies  and the fact it's a  31  year old fran...
...I do  ?
Oh, alright then. 
Here  you  go,  look at this
and browse this  I'll wait. 

Okay, okay. 
The transformers chronicle  the  struggles of the  heroic Autobots  to destroy the evil Decepticons.  (  ahem  )  
They are living  robots, who  can  reconfigure  their shapes in to alt modes and truly become  robots in disguise.  (  Yeah that sounds  like marketing copy doesn't it  ? )
Anyway in 1984  Hasbro repurposed a bunch of Takara toys and turned them in to The Transformers and  the  franchise has never ever been  away since then.
It might have  diminished a bit since  the  juggernaut of  G1  in the  1980's  but the  movies for all their faults,  (  and there are many  )  have brought them  back to the forefront,  

The cartoon, original 1986  animated movie and the four live action movies might be the most  well known iterations of the Transformers,  but  there have also been  comics.
So much comics. 
From the  92  Marvel US comics, 
To the  332 Marvel  UK comics, 
To the  roughly  60 Dreamwave comics.  

After Dreamwave  went bankrupt in  2004,  IDW got  the  licence,  and that is where we  come in. 
IDW has had the licence  for  a decade now and they have released  more Transformers comics  then  anybody else,  excluding Marvel UK,  who had a  weekly schedule. 
IDW has had some heights  and  some lows and  quite a  lot of mediocrity as well. 
And this is the series  we will be  looking at, from start to finish.  

Sadly  this is the  series I have the  most gaps in.  I am missing several mini series and a chunk of the  2009 ongoing series. 

The IDW series chronology is also a tad ...confused. 
It was first released   as a series of inter connected mini series  and one shots. 
Before  being turned in to  a  new reader friendly  entry point,  maxi series. 
Things didn't  quite turn out  like that, but we will discuss that when we get there. 

These  comics will be reviewed in the  order they were released,  so Infiltration comes first. 
If I were to review them chronologically, things would become ...confusing very fast. 

Digging For Gold ...And trouble...and ancient civilisations...and more trouble.

Say hello to the  digger sisters, Brittany and  Gina.
And they are sisters like any other,  though not  quite. 
Brittany is a lycanthrope,  Gina is an archaeologist in the Indiana Jones mold. Their father  is a sorcerer, their  grand father an undead lich, hellbent on destroying them all. And their mother Julia. lost  in a different plane of existence.
And that's just the start  of the  first volume of  Gold Digger.
The second series I will be reviewing  from start to finish  and  another series that has been  the work of one man. 
In this case, Fred Perry.  

This is another action  adventure  series with a comedic slant,  but  under the  sometimes juvenile  comedy  and  totally out of left field  and silly situations, that can only happen in this comic.  
There is an  emotional centre and  the comis can be surprisingly thoughtfull,  and mature. 
And it then follows it up  with a panties joke. 
Because that' s how this comic rolls. 
It may not be to everybody's taste,  but  its a  fun  action adventure romp  with emphasis on  fun and  adventure, even if there are dark undercurrents at times.
And because of the humorous slant, these dark undercurrents hit that much harder when they do surface. 
But on the whole, just  sit back and enjoy the ride.  

This series however is slightly different, because  you  can  read along with me. 
For one reason or another,  Perry decided to release all previous  199  issues for free. 
Free to download. 
Free to read. 
The link to the Antarctic Library  is on the inside cover of every  Gold Digger, since issue  200  so feel free to have a peek 
In fact,  you can find it right here:
As for me, this is the series I have the most  versions of. 
Not just  the PDF comics. 
But also  trade paper backs, 
Gold bricks,  (  Huge  books that collect  30 or more  comics.  )
and  a good chunk of the  monthly issues themselves. 
So enough for me, to choose from. 
We wil be  following the original  mini series, the  first  50 issues of  the  black and white series  and the  150  issues of the  color series. 
The color series has been released every month  since  1999,  like clock work. 
And the series is still running  with  issue  230  being released  recently. 

Next up  : More Then Meets The Eye

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Introduction : Welcome the Dragon

This is the first of  three introductions,  examining in short the three series i plan to review.  
First up is  The Savage Dragon, by Erik Larsen. 
I "only"have  107  issues of the  well over  200 issue  run. 
The first  3 issue mini series.  
 The  Blood and Guts, mini series. 
And  101  issues of the  still running series. 


Erik Larsen is the only Image founder, still writing and drawing the title he started out with  way back in  1992. 
And one of the  few  people who  has written and drawn  more then  200  issues  on a  single  title. 
Fredy Perry with Gold Digger and  Dave Sim and Gerhard with Cerebus, being  some of the others.  One of these series is a  focus of this  blog,  the other is not.  )
Which is an achievement in of it self  and its  peculiar, very  few  people  ever seem to mention this. 
It's  usually Stan and Jack's much vaunted  Fantastic Four run, that get's the spotlight in uninterrupted runs.  

I wont belabour the point in regards to Image's  foundation and how it all came to be. You are here reading a  blog  about  The Savage Dragon, so  i am  sure  you are some what familiar. with it
  If not,  we will quickly bring you up to speed. 
The series is about the titular green Dragon with a fin on his head, who is at times  quite savage and  at other times not so savage. 
Each issue takes place roughly in real time, IE a month, unless otherwise stated.
And the status  quo  is  regularly shaken up, in  major and minor ways.
It's an action,  adventure comic with  action  first, in big bold words, but the writing is quality as well.
That's it, you are up to speed. we will pick up the rest as we go along  !  

But that's not all that's  notable about the  series. 
Larsen set out  to write and draw every issue in the series and so far he has done just that. 
He even went so far as to  write and draw  issue  13 B 
issue 13 A was part of an  Image cross over month, where everybody  would  write and draw  another  founders  series. 
The dragon was  handled  by  Lee and Choi, who turned it in to the Grifter show.
Larsen decided a few months later he wanted his own  13  as well and an uninterrupted  run, so he did just that.  

There are no gimmick  covers,  none what so ever.
Not in the issues I have anyway
There were a few variant covers. 
Issue 17  had  2  covers. 
Issue 51 had  two covers as well. 
And issue 32  had  two different versions,  for reasons we will get in to, when we get there.
All in all in 101  issues,  I have there are only  3  variants.  

Next : Digging  For Gold.

Here We Are Now

Entertain us  ?
So here we are then, after  thinking  long and hard about it.
I have decided  to  bite the bullet and  launch this blog. 

The  purpose of this  blog, is  to  review three  long running and still running comic book series. 
Partially because so far  I havent seen any other  blogs tackling them. 
And partially because I want to see how far  i can get. 

So, what are these long running comic books then  ?
The Savage Dragon  by  Erik Larsen   ( 1992-now)

Gold Digger  by  Fred Perry  ( 1991- now )

and finally,  IDW  Transformers.  ( 2005- now  ) 

An most unusual line up, I am sure  you will agree.  

That's well over  500  comics,  spanning  well over  20  years  of comics. 

..wish me luck. 
I have  a  some what regular schedule in mind, where I'll be alternating between  series to keep things  from becoming boring. 
If you care to follow me, we will see how far we can get.  

Next up:  Introductions  !