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Graphic Breakdown: Nostalgia Goes Wrong in ‘All-Time Comics’

Welcome back to Graphic Breakdown…the Friday Edition!

Here are some fine comic books to start your weekend.


The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign #1
Written and Illustrated by Geof Darrow
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Geof Darrow is one of the most detailed, crazy artists this world has ever seen. His work on Hard Boiled is the stuff of legend.

Yet, his art has slowed down a bit in recent years. It hasn’t been as detailed. It hasn’t been as crazy. Until now.

The newest entry in the Shaolin Cowboy saga is classic Darrow: It’s full of energy, style, and wit. There’s not much of a story. Just fighting. And craziness. And fighting. And more craziness.

Darrow keeps us interested though with his hyper detailed artwork.

Every character tells a story…and that’s where the real storytelling takes place. It’s all in the details. And this issue has PLENTY.

Buy it for the artwork. It’s stellar. It’s damn enjoyable. Even with the lack of a traditional story? It’s damn enjoyable.



Soupy Leaves Home
Written by Cecil Castellucci
Illustrated by Jose Pimenta
Published by Dark Horse Comics

This is a nice surprise. I had never heard of this. Yet, it’s one of the best graphic novels of the year.

People may know Castellucci from the Young Animal comic Shade The Changing Girl. That’s a great book. Here, she proves that it’s not a fluke.

This book starts off in Depression era America. Pearl Plankette is a young girl who has run away from home. She does this to escape an abusive father. Pearl decides to dress up as a boy named Soupy and start a new life. She meets a hobo and makes her way to the sunny state of California.

The writing is beautiful. The artwork is gorgeous. It’s perfect for ages ten and up. You can’t ask for a better book. Recommended.



Regression #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Danny Luckert
Published by Image Comics

Man, Cullen Bunn is a fantastic writer when he isn’t writing superhero fare. This is a perfect example of what he can do.

This is a smart, well written comic book from start to finish. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

Adrian is a man who is haunted by nightmares. He decides to go see a hypnotherapist.

What can possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot apparently. Adrian’s world goes bananas and the reader gets to benefit!

Bunn writes a hell of a comic. The art by Luckert is truly fantastic. He’s come a long way from his Atomic Robo days.

This is a good debut! Get in on the ground floor of this book.



All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1
Written by Josh Bayer
Illustrated by Herb Trimpe and Ben Marra
Published by Fantagraphics Books

I have to be honest: I had a hard time getting into this book. It feels like a book that came out in the 1960s.

Yet, it lacks any charm that a book from that time period would have.

Josh Bayer has written a story that “feels” like a classic Marvel Comic. I wonder if he was paying homage here? It is he playing it straight?

Either way it doesn’t work. I cared about none of these characters.

The late Herb Trimpe provides the art in this issue and it’s the best part. I cannot recommend this because I’m not sure why it exists.



All Time Comics: Bullwhip #1
Written by Josh Bayer and Ben Marra
Illustrated by Ben Marta and Al Milgrom
Published by Fantagraphics Books

Here is the other All Time Comics book that I read this week.

It’s equally as unspectacular as the previously reviewed book. The lead character is slightly more interesting but not enough to really make a difference.

Bullwhip is the heroine of Metro City! She aims to the city safe!

And…that’s about it.

There’s nothing thrilling going on here. It’s a shame because the whole thing just feels wrongheaded.

The art isn’t bad. Still, spend your money on something else.


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