And Now…

…the ISB proudly presents what may be the two greatest pages in the history of the Punisher:

 

(Click for larger images)

 

 

That’s right: Frank Castle fighting Nazis with the power of Yo’ Mama Snaps and pure grit. My pick for Best of the Week should probably be pretty obvious right now.

And with that, I’m off to HeroesCon! I’ll be back next week, but if you happen to get out to Charlotte this weekend, swing by the Flashback Universe booth and say hi. For the record, look something like this, and if you see someone in an ISB t-shirt haggling over the price of Wild Dog Special, that’s me.

Also, before I take off, one quick word: Due to an error on my part, the ISB Convention Special was printed without one of the pieces that Dave Campbell did for the Solomon Stone story. Specifically, it’s the chapter introduction, and if you grab one, you’ll probably notice the big white space where it’s supposed to go.

My bad!

But, just so it doesn’t go to waste–and to get you guys totally crunk for it–here it is, in all its black-and-white glory:

 

Solomon Stone and the Zombie Pope: One Wins, One Dies!

 

And with that, I’m outta here. Don’t break anything while I’m gone.

The Most Shocking Last Page Ever (No, Really, We Mean It This Time)

Yes, that sound you heard as you got your comics today was our much-beleaguered Internet being cracked in half yet again by Brian “The Shockmaster” Bendis, thanks to the latest issue of New Avengers.

Ever corner of the web is already abuzz with the far-reaching implications here, but I’ve got to say, I really don’t get what’s so surprising here.

I mean…

 


(Click For a Larger, Presumably More Shocking Image)

 

everybody does it!

An Important Reminder

I’m swamped tonight trying to meet a couple of deadlines before I leave for HeroesCon on Thursday, but something came up tonight that I think you should all be aware of.

It seems that some of you may have forgotten an important fact about this time of year, and that is this:

Summertime… belongs to Günther:

 

 

The ISB is a proud participant of Güntherfest ’07
Champagne, Glamour, Sex, Respect!

Items of (Alleged) Interest

For those of you who have missed the sound of my rich, mildly accented voice in the four months since the last installment of Radio ISB, it might be of interest to find out that I was interviewed over the weekend by the Comic Review Weekly Podcast.

So in lieu of actual content today, why not go give that a download and listen to me ramble on for about twenty minutes? The guys from the podcast describe it like this…

“Chris talks about his writing career, comics, and his perpetual 1 degree of separation between him and Mike Nelson.”

…and while that’s completely accurate, I’d advise you to listen carefully for:

1) My utter cluelessness when the idea of having a popular blog is brought up.

2) The secret origin of both The Week in Ink and The Monday Meme (Surprise! It involves Dungeons and Dragons).

And, in a bizarre moment,

3) Me totally spacing out for a few seconds while talking about my father.

It’s the first time I’ve ever been interviewed, and I think that shows in the way that I talk a lot whenever the opportunity presents itself, but it was fun.

In other news, the ISB Convention Special is now printed up and ready to go, and three out of four Punishers agree, Solmon Stone Chapter 9 is totally rad.

 

 

The fourth Punisher, it seems, was actually a Dalek.

Anyway, fictional endorsements aside, I thought that some of you might be curious as to what the special actually looks like, and since I’ve already posted the art for the front cover, tonight, I thought I’d mention the back, which, aside from a black-and-white version of the new ISB Logo (as featured on all of our fine merchandise) is blank.

Now, that might seem like an awful waste of paper that could be used to show off someone getting a boot to the chops, but it actually serves a purpose. If you manage to get out to Charlotte this weekend to grab one, just say the word and I’ll be more than happy to deface it with a poorly-drawn caricature of your favorite character!

 

 

Swing by and grab one, won’t you?

Chris vs. Previews: June 2007, Round Two

The Internet’s rowdiest rundown for this month’s Previews continues! Last night, I went toe-to-toe with the major publishers, but there’s still half a catalog to get through, and you know what that means.

That’s right, folks: The dreaded Apparel Section. But to be fair, there are a few hidden gems mixed in amongst the shirts that can identify you as a serious zombie movie enthusiast, like, say, this one:

 

 

Hey, wait a second! That’s not from this month’s Previews at all! In fact, that’s The Official ISB T-Shirt, one of the many fine ISB products available for purchase right now from CafePress!

Yes, I know: That was a gratuitous misuse of the introductory paragraph. Probably best to just move right along.

 


 

P.216 – AIT/Planetlar: I’m not sure if I mentioned it back when I read it, but since Matt Fraction’s Last of the Independents is re-offered in this one, it’s as good a time as any for a quick reminder: This book is awesome. It’s like a crime-oriented action movie set to paper, which is only reinforced by the fact that it’s printed landscape style (but with a nifty slipcase so it doesn’t look out of place on your bookshelf), and if you’ve been reading recent issues of Punisher War Journal, you’ll probably already know that Matt Fraction does high-powered desert showdowns better than just about anybody. If you haven’t already, pick it up. And what the hey, grab The Annotated Mantooth! while you’re at it. That thing’s like the book version of girls making out with each other while things explode.*

 

P.232 – Archie Comics:

For those of you wondering why I still read the entire line of Archie comics even though the stories tend to be exercises in formula that forget to actually resolve into a punchline about half the time, I give you Civil Chores, wherein a dispute over allowance causes Archie and Jughead to turn against each other in a dispute that tears Riverdale in half. One can only assume that Dilton’s going to build a prison in Midvale to house dissidents like Josie and Bingo Wilkin, and that it’s only going to end when Archie’s gunned down by Betty, who has been brainwashed by Jason Blossom while Sabrina meditates at the North Pole.

And you don’t even want to know what’s going to happen to Chuck.

P.238 – Avatar Press:

 

 

Two weeks ago, I would’ve jumped on this t-shirt without question, but after having my “Jimmy Olsen Must Die!” t-shirt (the design of which I still like an awful lot) come out on the same day that I decided Countdown was a nigh-irredeemable mess this week, I wish they would’ve held off until I knew if Doktor Sleepless was going to be as good as I hope it is.

Then again, “Science Bastard” pretty much sums up the career goals of Chris Sims, Age 9, so it might be worth getting anyway.

 

P.288 – DMP: Is it just me, or do these guys look really bummed out about the fact that someone’s making a comic book about their wispy, man-on-man lovemaking?

 

 

I mean, I would be too, but those guys are supposed to be professionals!

 

P.330 – Oni Press: SAINTS BE PWAISED!

 

Apparel

 

P.420 – Central City Track T-Shirt: I give the folks at Graphitti Designs a lot of crap for the t-shirts they come out with every month (which, lest you mistake this for an apology, is entirely deserved, as evidenced by the Zombie Captain America shirt from last month), but every now and then they come up with one like this. Like the WHIZ Broadcasting logo they did a while back, it’s sort of a stealth comic book shirt: obscure and generic enough that it doesn’t stick out like a huge, tacky sore thumb–Batwoman Metallix Symbol T-Shirt, I’m looking at you here–but anybody “in the know” is going to get what it’s about right off.

Atlantis swim team, however? That’s pushing it.

 

P.423 – Punisher “Bling Symbol” T-Shirt: And here I thought I’d finally managed to reconcile my love of the Punisher with my love of bling when I custom-ordered these from Paul Wall:

 

 

P.426:: With HeroesCon fast approaching some of you might be wondering how you can quickly identify yourself as someone that I really, really don’t want to talk to. Answer? This shirt:

 

Special Bonus Joke:

Mark Hale: Would you talk to me if I had bought that Arkham Ahtletic Department shirt?

Chris Sims: … I have that shirt, Jackass.

Mark Hale: I figured you might.

 

Toys & Action Figures

 

P.444 – Star Trek: The Original Series Minimates Series 2: Despite a thorough, all-consuming obsession in my younger days (read: a socially crippling year in 5th Grade) I don’t have any particular attachment to Star Trek anymore. Even so, I seriously feel the need for a Happy-Ass Shirtless Sword-Weilding Sulu MiniMate.

 

 

This is probably why I remain single.

 


 

And it’s probably best to stop there. Besides, if I go any further, I may not be able to resist my desire to order the WWE John Cena Spinner Championship Belt Replica (P.470), and I think we can all agree that that should be avoided.

I mean, it spins, people. I’m not made of stone here.

 


 

*: No seriously: That actually happens in this book.

Chris vs. Previews: June 2007, Round One

Holy Buckets, is it the ninth already?!

Normally I would’ve gotten around to my Previews Roundup last week, but with HeroesCon fast approaching and the ISB Convention Special needing a few etra finishing touches, I just couldn’t bring myself to slug it out with a 552 page monster that includes statue of a busty anime girl with, and I quote, “removable lingerie.”

But never let it be said that the ISB didn’t rise to a challenge, even in the face of abject horror! There’s still a couple days before the order deadline, after all, so join me for another cataclysmic commentary on Diamond’s August offerings! Tonight: The majors!

 

 

Ring the bell, sucka! School’s back in!

 


 

Dark Horse Comics

 

P.28 – The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1: There’s no easy way to do this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it: I really like My Chemical Romance, and I don’t care who knows it. I mean, yeah, they’re highly derivative and I know intellectually that I probably shouldn’t like the music as much as I do, but I’ll be damned if they’re not pretty entertaining.

Plus, they did a cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and while I’d rather chug turpentine than listen to Mariah Carey, I do love that song.

Even so, I was all set to openly mock frontman Gerard Way’s efforts on the Free Comic Book Day preview of The Umbrella Academy–because that is, after all, my custom–but after I actually read it, it turned out to be way more awesome than I was expecting. This, of course, probably has a lot to do with the fact that Way’s joined by the phenomenally talented Gabriel Ba (of Casanova fame) on art and James Jean on the covers, but it’s all added up to a book I’m actually really excited about reading.

 

P.33 – Groo 25th Anniversary Special: While we’re on the subject of mildly embarrassing confessions, I might as well get this one out of the way: Despite being a fan of Sergio Aragones’ work in MAD for as long as I can remember, I’ve never actually read an issue of Groo. Shameful, I know, but it’s always been one of those runs that I can never put together. Needless to say, though, I plan on rectifying this oversight with the anniversary special.

 

DC Comics

 

P.66 – Countdown 39-35:

Sorry, DC: I’ve already dropped Countdown, and no amount of goth cheerleader bondage is going to get me back on it now.

P.66 – Countdown To Adventure #1: Clearly, the campaign to Free Buddy Baker has achieved its first major victory, but I’m more excited about the new addition to the gang from the largely interminable Space Heroes storyline from 52 than anybody we’ve already seen: The Forerunner. Admittedly, she probably has nothing whatsoever to do with Neutrog the Forerunner–you know, that guy Metamorpho fought that one time in 1967–but I will say that if this whole thing ends up being about Adam Strange and Animal Man squaring off with a two-foot tall galactic conqueror who can only be defeated by guitars that also shoot lasers, this will be the single greatest comic book ever published.

 

P.79 – Action Comics #855: I’ve mentioned my distaste for the alleged Geoff Johns/Richard Donner run on Action Comics before–mostly based around the fact that it’s not very good and involves a Fortress of Solitutde with no door, a concept I fundamentally disagree with–but man, there’s really no way I can say no to seeing Bizarro World by The Goon‘s Eric Powell. At the very least, it’ll be very, very pretty.

 

P.88 – Dr. Thirteen: Architecture and Morality TP:

 

 

Just a reminder here: Despite the fact that it was lumped in as the backup story in the otherwise atrocious Tales of the Unexpected, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Dr. Thirteen story was amazingly entertaining. And now, thanks to the miracle of Modern Technology, it can be yours without the risk of accidentally reading part of the Spectre story while flipping to where Chiang’s gorgeous artwork starts! Everyone’s a winner!

 

P.118 – Confessions of a Blabbermouth:

 

 

A comic about blogs on a blog about comics?! OH SHIIIII–

 

P.129 – DC Direct Justice: Series 7 Opera Diva Gorilla Grodd Action Figure:

 

 

Image Comics

 

P.140 – Special Forces: Under virtually any other writer in the comics industry, a solicitation describing a book about retarded soldiers as “the wackiest boot camp since Stripes,” promising to include both “a violent mental patient hot chick felon and at least one ‘Don’t ask don’t tell'” would probably sound like the most atrocious thing since, say, Hewoes, but considering that this is the new Kyle Baker book, solicitation text hardly matters. Of course you should get it.

 

P.151 – Steve Niles’ Strange Cases: Hey, you guys remember that time Steve Niles stole that dude’s girlfriend and then threatened to kill him? Now that was a pretty strange case.

 

Marvel Comics

 

P.17: Spider-Man/Red Sonja #1:

 

 

There is a certain segment of the population to which a cover featuring both Venom and a poorly drawn woman in a chain-mail bikini will represent the pinnacle of comic book art. They’re the ones that even the people buying New Avengers/Transformers are going to be making fun of.

Then again, I bought Witchblade/Punisher this week, so clearly, my hypocrisy knows no bounds.

 

P.29 – Daredevil #100: I didn’t really want to fall into the trap of talking about the covers for Marvel’s entire lineup here or anything–although I could probably go on all night about the pure shot of awesome that is Star-Lord #2’s–but it looks like your choices for this August’s big Daredevil are this one

 

 

…which features most of DD’s major villains, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Black Widow, Elektra, and Iron Fist punching a Ninja right in the freakin’ face, or this one…

 

 

…which scores thematic points by looking like it was actually drawn by a blind man. The choice is yours, folks.

 

P.46 – Heroes for Hire #13: I know, I know: Again with the covers, but really, if I didn’t get around to talking about this thing at some point, I think they’d revoke my comics blogger license. Anyway, as much as this is going to hurt my chances in the upcoming elections for treasurer of the He-Man Woman Haters Club, I’ve got to say that I actually agree with Lea Hernandez, who tried to salvage any sort of workable content from a cover depicting three heroines in immediate danger of being sexually assaulted by Lovecraftian horrors.

It is, to say the least, a pretty herculean task, but just by changing their faces–especially in changing Black Cat’s expression from terrified disgust to just plain grossed out–goes a long way towards turning the piece from pure exploitation to parody, which I have to think was the goal all along. The only other possibility–that somebody thought tentacle rape was enough of a selling point to slap on the cover–is too depressing to even consider.

I still can’t figure out why Black Cat’s wearing a collar with a bell on it, though. I mean, that’s just nuts.

 

P.58 – Series Title To Be Announced #2: At this point, everybody probably already knows that Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson’s new series–originally titled The Champions, before Marvel was gently reminded that they no longer own the copyright to that name–has been re-titled The Order. Me, I had Mighty Defenders in the pool, because, come on: That woulda been awesome.


 

And that’s it for the majors. Feel free to discuss anything I didn’t bother to talk about amongst yourselves, and be here tomorrow as I take on the small press and merchandise for three-hundred pages of sheer terror!

Do you dare miss my thoughts on the latest offerings from Yaoi Press? Be there!

 


 

BONUS FEATURE: Oh Why The Hell Not?

Since you asked, the cover for Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord #2:

 

Art of the Shill: Cover Your Shame!

In lieu of actual content tonight–which we’ll be getting back to tomorrow, once I’ve got the Con Special completely wrapped up–I have another brief announcement:

If you’re like me, you often find yourself in situations–going to work, heading out for a meal, even spending time with close friends–where casual nudity is frowned upon.

It’s a sad fact of life in modern times, but until society gets past its various “hang-ups,” it looks like we’re stuck with clothes. So why not preserve your modesty in style with an Official Invincible Super-Blog T-Shirt, featuring the all-new, all-different ISB logo!

 

 

That’s right: The Rack‘s Benjamin Birdie and I have teamed up for this one, and now you too can wrap your torso in the mathematical summation of everything I truly believe in, thanks to the friendly people at CafePress.

Seriously, though, I got mine in the mail today, and in the six or so years since I’ve ordered anything from CafePress, they’re really improved their products a lot. They offer a good bit of variety there, too: If you were so inclined, for instance, you could show your support for the face-kickingest comics blog on the ‘net with a plain white t-shirt, a ringer… Heck, there’s even one for BizCasFri!

 

 

Head over there and check ’em out, if only to see my resolve to fight against prices that end in “.99.” And maybe, just maybe, I’ll make one starring Robot Chris.

Okay, shilling over. Attempts at generating entertaining content resume tomorrow night.