Corrections, Hellboy, and a Giant Robot Warriors review.

§ April 23rd, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Corrections, Hellboy, and a Giant Robot Warriors review.

Somedays, I wish I were a robot, and maybe I wouldn’t make as many mistakes as I do…or at least, I’d make more interesting mistakes. First off, my apologies to Alan David Doane, who, despite what I said in this here post, does indeed has a web presence, an archive of his reviews located right here.

Next, I got Bambi’s gender wrong in this post (which I’ve since corrected). I have no excuse. I’ve been all fouled up about this sort of thing ever since The Crying Game.

Finally, to any teenage girls I may have offended with the whole Adrian Tomine thing, I apologize. I have nothing against teenage girls. In fact, I love teenage gi…er, I’d probably better rephrase that.

So, anyway, I see that Neilalien has linked to a handful of articles regarding the lack of Hellboy trades in the comics market, now that we need them the most. Well, as a “comichaendler by occupation,” I wanted to note that I planned ahead for the possible Hellboy book drought by ordering several copies well ahead of the movie’s release…as long as the movie wasn’t a Howard the Duck / Doc Savage-level bomb, I knew Hellboy books would be a consistent seller and I’d be able to move the extra stock even if the movie didn’t increase interest in the character. Well, as it turns out, the movie did increase demand — a lot — and my extra stock blew out the doors right quick. And, of course, I had (and still have) a devil of a time (har har) trying to get more. This has happened before…when the Ghost World movie was released, I had a rough time getting copies of the graphic novel (from multiple distributors) for, oh, pretty much the entire time the film was in theatres. In contrast, there’s always plenty of Spider-Man and X-Men graphic novels available for sale…but guess what people don’t want to buy?

Speaking of Hellboy, I was going through some backstock and came across issue #2 of Babe 2 by John Byrne…which featured Hellboy’s pal Abe Sapien on the front cover. Now, I know I have this comic in the vast Mikester Comic Archives, but I completely forgot Abe appeared in this mini-series…as did Hellboy, in a brief cameo. Most people know that Hellboy pops up in an issue of John Byrne’s Next Men (pretty much the only issue that we consistently sell from that series…a shame, as the series as a whole is pretty good), but I didn’t see much mention of the Babe 2 appearance. Of course, just by mentioning it here, I’m sure my vast and powerful influence over the comics industry will cause it to become a hot eBay item, a Wizard top pick, a CGC must-slab, et al. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And what new book from the AiT/Planetlar box of goodies will I examine today?

Why, it’s Giant Robot Warriors by Stuart Moore and Ryan Kelly! In addition to nuclear missiles and biological weapons, the United States finds itself in an arms race with other countries over GRW technology…that would be Giant Robot Warrior tech, as you might have guessed. The story opens with hotshot GRW engineer Rufus Hirohito badmouthing his boss on television, presaging the amusing relationship between the two throughout the story. Upon returning to work, it’s discovered that, due to escalating tensions in the Middle East, Hirohito’s company is expected by the President of the United States to have a GRW ready to do battle with the GRWs over there…by tomorrow morning! Of course, Hirohito’s robot is nowhere near ready….

Now, this is all obviously a parody on Transformers, Voltron, Shogun Warriors, et al, but the fictional world in this story is well thought out. The brief history of the “robot-race” among the countries is amusing (the British GRW is a hoot), and the CIA agent’s discussion of recent real world events (such as ’91’s Desert Storm) and their impact on GWR development is oddly compelling. On top of all this, the dialogue, and there’s a lot of it, is all funny and snappy…the banter between Hirohito and his boss, as well as between Hirohito and the female CIA agent, is a lot of fun. There’s a minor level of political humor in this book as well..the President (very obviously George W. Bush) is a major source of humor, particularly in his enthusiasm for the whole GRW program, and he’s a primary plot point as well (where you find out just why he talks that way!).

Kelly’s art is detailed and cartoony and dense…there’s not a whole lot of white space left on these pages, which is a style I generally enjoy. However, sometimes it feels just a little claustrophobic in places, especially in scenes that are supposed to be taking place outside. There’s a shot of a GRW battle near the end of the book where, due to the heavy blacks in the art, it’s a little difficult to tell what exactly is going on. However, this is a minor quibble, especially given the appealing caricaturing style on the characters. All the people in this book have a unique and instantly recognizable look, which is necessary given the heavily-illustrated backgrounds against which they appear.

Plus, any comic that can squeeze in the line “I have negative pinky control” is okay by me. Recommended to fans of Tokyo Storm Warning, people sick of the whole “Transformers” thing, and anyone who enjoys funny science fiction.

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