COMIC BOOK REVIEWS:
Reviews on 100 Covers:
Review: I have to confess to a bit of a skeptical reception on first picking up 100 Covers. Sure, the cover is often the best drawn and most interesting part of a serialized comic - particularly a Super Hero title - but how well can you tell a story using ONLY the covers?
If this book is any indication, you can tell the story just fine.
What I hadn't counted on was the capacity for imagination in filling in the blanks. The stereotype that is often played out in comics of this genre is that of a spoon-fed story with two-dimensional characters. That being the case, I found it impossible to imagine a title within that category that wasn't also OF it.
The art and character design throughout was phenomenal and offered a believable group of heroes who managed to resemble well-known characters without simply becoming shadows or parodies of them.
Even if, conceptually, this isn't the kind of thing I'd want to see every aspiring comic creator attempt, it sets a fairly high bar - offering both the opportunity for some reader participation as well as some of the tried-and-true tricks of comics of this stripe: the repeating villains, loss of and return of main characters, etc. In short, 100 Covers shows what CAN be done in a genre that often appears to be overrun with cliches and retreads.
Overall: 4 stars.
Latest review from Digital CAPtionS, http://comicnews.info/?p=2112
Digital-CAPtionS - “100 Covers”
“No one wants a pinup book,” I thought, when my son Sam first brought in the mail to reveal Rick Lundeen’s experimental graphic novel, “100 Covers.” I personally like pinup books, particularly when they feature various artists on similar materials giving so many different takes. For whatever reason, people don’t agree with me as a majority because pinup books don’t get sales numbers.
This thick, full color book sat atop my desk for a few days, only disturbed once when my 9-year-old asked if he could read it. He returned it with a thumbs up, so I could tell he liked it. If he doesn’t like it, he’ll leave it lying around somewhere and hunt for something better to do. I knew then I had to peer through it.
Accompanying the book was a letter from the creator. Good thing, too. I soon realized his words best described what I had finished looking at. Best if I just copy the first part of that letter here:
“This is a special project I’d worked on this year called “100 Covers.” It tells the story of the Battalion, a superhero team whose members’ lives and adventures are told ONLY through the first 100 comic covers which would comprise the titles “run.” Each issues story is represented by the cover only. Each character has his/her own story that progresses at different speeds and lengths throughout the series. Villains are introduced, battles won and lost, characters live and die and some come back as some characters tend to do. In other words it’s a comic series, but everything’s communicated through these images, the covers with the full trade dress on each. My job as a storyteller takes you into the story and then your imagination plays an important part as well, as I believe that ones’ imagination is the most powerful storytelling tool we have.”
His words were right on. I got it. From cover to cover (or page by page, that is), I could sense the story going on. From one to the next, my own imagination seemed to create a plot from the depths of these images. And what images!
Each cover was like something from the 50’s or 70’s. Balloons! Text! Action! Color! Your very eyes could unravel what’s going on beyond what’s right in front of you– just from the cover! The weirdest thing? I actually began to care about some of the characters. Especially Whipcord, who I gathered came is from a family led by an abusive father, which in turn transformed her into a crimefighter who one day would become not only a server of justice, but also the captor of her own father. She visits him in prison often, including on the day he is executed. What he did to deserve death is unclear, but I can only imagine.
The art is classic! He paces the characters appearances throughout all 100 covers with perfection creating a story that’s not only FUN to imagine, but also to WATCH. Every nook and cranny of each cover had something to offer. The renderings of each are often amusing and always clever. They always brought forth an emotion as any good story should. This is a real artform he’s created here!
The type design of the covers is just ok. I wish the lettering added to the “golden age of covers feel” more, but I fear it was all digital and took from it slightly. These should have been hand lettered. If you’re going classic, then get CLASSIC!
One other thing caught my attention as being truly strange: from cover #1 to cover #100, the cover price remained the same! Now that’s a feat!
“100 Covers” is an experiment that pretty much succeeds at its goal of giving me, the reader, the job of “writer.” It was fun, so if you enjoy great art that does its job, too, then I highly recommend this book. One hundred pages of full color for only $12.95. There is also a digest-sized version available for $7.95. To purchase Rick Lundeen’s terrific, awesome, hip work, hop on over to http://www.comixpress.com/ and click the ‘Buy Comics’ link… this title should be first alphabetically in the comics list. So get yours!
Keep The Vision,
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Very nice review over at Aint it cool news:
100 COVERS OGN
“Hang on lads, I’ve got a great idea.”
— Charlie Croker (The Italian Job)
It’s a great idea and one I can not believe has never been done before. Independent comics publisher Rick Lundeen and his Epoch Comics has produced an outstanding book that inspired me to come out of the grave and share my thoughts on it with the world.
This gem of a book is, very simply, the first 100 covers from a super-hero team comic series called THE BATTALION made up of original characters: Rockefeller, Mataak, Malator, Rush, Whipcord, Elof. The thing about this series that makes this book so unusual is the storytelling device that Lundeen grasped is to tell their stories using only covers. I’ve seen the occasional comic that told its story entirely in splash pages (MARVEL FANFARE and THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN come to mind), but I’ve not ever seen anything like 100 COVERS.
These eyecatching illustrations do indeed provide tantalizing glimpses into untold stories that just beg to be told, but it is up to the reader to fill in the details. This is similar in concept to Chris Van Allsburg’s THE MYSTERIES OF HARRIS BURDICK, which is a children’s book consisting of a series of full page illustrations and one sentence from nonexistent stories that inspire the reader to conceptualize the story in his or her own mind. Lundeen’s endeavor is actually a more daunting task in that he burdened himself with 100 original illustrations versus Allsburg’s measly 14 illustrations.
The comic book cover that tells a story is something of a lost art these days where covers are little more than pin-up galleries with mastheads. They may often be gorgeous to look at, but there’s nothing to engage the imagination of the casual buyer. A cover that tells a story that is appealing and/or intriguing is more likely to capture an impulse purchase than another bland trading card cover with a swiped Maxim pose. There’s storytelling and innovation in the former and only technique in the latter.
When I start moving through the covers in this book, what strikes me is the charm of Lundeen’s style as he undulates seamlessly through different types of stories. There are times that the covers evoke the classic silver age of DC comics, and then up pop covers that remind me of 70s Marvel Comics. There are adventures, mysteries, comedies, tragedies, and changes that happen to this team of heroes and by the 100th cover, I felt like I knew who these characters are even though I’ve only seen a glimpse of the stories. Lundeen succeeds at creating characters who are consistent in their look and style appear as well-developed as any group would be if they’ve had a successful 100 issue monthly run.
I must admit that I was already familiar with some of Lundeen’s other work through his Epoch imprint, but 100 COVERS is that rare project that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m tempted to call for an actual BATTALION series that tells each of these stories, but at the same time I’m afraid that the charm and mystique of this book would be diminished.
My highest recommendation – perfect antidote if you’re burned out on the ULTIMATE FINAL SECRET CRISIS INVASION or whatever. Check it out. He’s got a preview available here, and you can order it from ComiXpress for $12.95. Lundeen has also informed me that a lower priced digest version of 100 COVERS will be available by the end of the month and Amazon will soon have a version of it available in 3 parts. So, basically, you have no excuse not to check it out and support a project that has the distinction of being an original idea in a business that sees very few of them nowadays. This truly is a great idea and I wish I had thought of it!
Prof. Challenger is illustrator and "Renaissance Man" Keith Howell who is married with two kids, a dog and a cat. Headquartered in the Republic of Texas, he has a glorious ability to annoy people, the strength of ten men, and sometimes updates his website at profchallenger.com.
One Last Moment:
One of the darker stories from the Epoch stable, One Last moment deals with that one moment between life...and death.
Bahls-"As an avid baseball fan, I found this title to be hilarious. It was as enjoyable trying to identify the various team mascots as it was to see them duking it out on the playing field. Sometimes, it seems the game would be more interesting with just the mascots out there during a particularly boring game. The stunning, stark art contributes well to the theme of the issue. Well done! Grade: A-."
Matt Levin, Walking man comics- "Would you like something wierd? Not spooky or yucky or gory--but wierd? Rick Lundeen provides "The Door". It's very pretty actually,-- and slapstick, funny wierd. The lead characters are the head of Abe Lincoln, Prof. Bledfill, Suzie and an emu. They are temporal explorers via a device of Bledfill's creation, they are back in time in search of a reconstituted and temporally displaced Hitler. Bledfill's company reconstituted him and let him escape to the U.S. west, 1888, for which they are very sorry. That's just to start. Sharply drawn in stark black and whites,with outre effects in just the right, unobtrusive places, and sparsely written--words when they're needed--with a likable rascal of a balding mad scientist leading the cast, perhaps this is Barry Ween, much aged but no less demented."
So, You Want to be a Super-villain?:
Cliff Bigger, Comic shop news--"OVERLOOKED SIZZLER OF THE MONTH (the book you SHOULD be reading) Ever thought about all the hassles that go along with becoming a super-villain? You have to come up with a catchy name, then there's that whole super-power thing, the eye-catching costume---and of course, you have to have a worthy opponent, right? Well, Rick Lundeen's thought about all of it, and he's put those thoughts into one delightfuly entertaining comic. If you're ready for a few laughs, Lundeen's ready to deliver. Give, "So, You want to be a Super-villain?" a try and you'll agree Lundeen is a creator who bears watching."
Steve Horton, Comic Buyers Guide--"If there's a hoarier cliche than the mad scientist, it's the mad super-villain. Rick Lundeen manages to make it work in "So, You Want to be a Super-Villain?", though, with the tale of a mad super-villain of the inept kind in Peter Willis, aka the Tornado king. Lundeen's stylistic art involves exaggerated action, wild eyed close ups, and insane expressions, all to accentuate the idea that this guy is really crazy --and really bad at being a super-villain. He makes a to do list that involves such items as shaving his eyebrows into menacing points and recording a cute answering machine message to throw people off the trail. His tornado powers ineffectiveness indoors causes someone's papers to go flying, making for the comic book's funniest scene. Suffice to say, Willis doesn't win the day, and the Tornado King mantle passes. It's a shame because it wouldn't be so bad to see this guy fail spectacularly a few more times. Here's hoping the original Tornado King returns sometime soon."
We Three Kings:
Shorr, CBG--"Another intriguing entry from Epoch, this graphic novel shows us the highs and lows of one of those classic evil utopias ---where everything is terrific for those at the top, but the inhabitants of the rest of the world are pretty ticked off. We get a good premise, set up and execution here. A nice, solid effort. Grade: B"
Biggers, CBG--"Lundeen presents a trio of Nietzschean heroes, driven by Machiavellian motives, to make themselves benevolent tyrants in a world that seems to worship them. The result is a dark look at the corrupting effects of near-absolute power --and the incessant human desireto remedy that corruption. It's a disturbing story, occasionally undermined by visuals that seem almost too upbeat. Grade: B+"