Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, now with 20% more crank per file. Sad news as comic book artist and Massachusetts native son Paul Ryan died this week. Ryan was an absolute beast during the 80’s, penciling flagship Marvel series like the Avengers, the West Coast Avengers, Iron Man and an astonishing five year run on the Fantastic Four. If you read modern age comics during the late eighties slash early nineties, then chances are you are already familiar with his work. You know that Amazing Spider-man issue where Peter and MJ got married? That was Paul Ryan. Although his name is not as widely remembered as other stars from that era, his artwork will be appreciated by comic books fans for generations to come. Paul was only 66 years old.
Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Top of the Pile: Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie Williams II
What it is: With the possibility existing that they might never get home, the Turtles take up residence at Wayne Manor. Everyone seems to be adapting except for Raphael, who still can’t understand why his friends all trust this Bat-person. So Batman takes the skeptical Turtle on a trip down Crime Alley to tell Raph what led him to don the cape and cowl in the first place.
Why we love it: Gotham has been the perfect stage for introducing the Dark Knight to the comedic stylings of the Ninja Turtles and I’m amazed by how seamlessly the two worlds have blended. This week Bruce tells Raphael how he became the Batman. Batman’s origin story is a crucial part of what makes him tick, but we’ve all heard the story a million times by now. This will be Raph’s first time and he gets to hear Bruce tell it firsthand. That’s top of the pile material.
The Mainstream One: Vision #5
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez
What it is: The secrets are turning into lies, and the lies are turning into blood. In the midst of this violence, Vision must find the truth of what happened to the Grim Reaper. But when he does, will he protect his family or destroy them? Find out as the story of Vision’s family builds to a breathtaking cliffhanger.
Why we like it: The unexpected hit of Marvel’s relaunch for me has been Vision. This book is a hundred times darker and more insane than anything I could have ever imagined. But most of all, the Vision feels new. It’s so refreshing to read a story that doesn’t feel like it has been done a thousand times before. I feel like this series has the potential to be something really special and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t done so already.
The Indie One: Head Lopper #3
Words and Art: Andrew MacLean
What it is: Norgal and Agatha meet fellow adventurer Zhaania while battling a mega-arachnid from Hell.
Why we like it: Set in the world of swords and sorcery, Head Lopper is an adventure comic that follows Norgal, a nomadic warrior who travels the land with the wise-cracking, decapitated head of a witch Agatha and it is just enjoyable as heck. Andrew MacLean has a voice and visual style that is totally unique and wholly his own. The first two issues were packed with monsters, violence and humor and by the sound of “mega-arachnid from Hell” issue #3 will stay the course.
The #1 One: Haunted Mansion #1 (Crosby variant)
Words: Joshua Willamson
Art: Jorge Coehlo
What it is: WELCOME, FOOLISH MORTALS, TO THE HAUNTED MANSION! It seems that no one lives in the elegant mansion on the hill, but then where’s that creepy organ music coming from? Are the iron gates meant to keep people out, or some things in? Get ready to meet the 999 ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, but be warned, they’re looking for the 1000th! The delightfully chilling Disney attraction comes to (after)life in an all-new story, penned by JOSHUA WILLAMSON with art by JORGE COELHO! Don’t miss the next great Disney Kingdoms adventure, and the most spine-tingling experience you’ll find this side of a Doom Buggy!
Why we like it: The haunted mansion ride is pretty high up on my favorite Disney memories. There’s just something about the strange combination of horror and humor that never fails to put a grin on my face.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #50 (Tony S. Daniel polybag variant)
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin
What it is: Jim Gordon faces his past in this extra-sized conclusion to his most shocking cold case yet. With history itself forcing him to reflect on the last year as Batman, Gordon must make a decision about what his future holds in Gotham City.
Why we like it: Another fantastic Batman vs Superman cover. I love the cartoonish proportions of the figures on this cover.
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!