Karl Story

Tom Strong 18 (December 2002)

Tom Strong #18I think all of the jokes Moore gives Svetlana X–proud Russian science hero who has an interesting way of saying things (Moore gives her the cursing, only with accurate if misunderstood translation)–just primes for the big finish. He ends the story arc involving the giant space ants with a great cheap joke. There’s a lot of humor throughout, but the finish is an easy, wonderful joke.

Sprouse gets three big moments this issue. He’s an illustrating intergalactic battle and the script builds to each reveal. Sprouse has to make each bigger than the last. Given the first one involves a solar flare from the sun, it’s an accomplishment he’s able to properly amp up the others.

There’s good stuff with the supporting cast and Tom finally gets himself back in joint. He and Svetlana are hilarious together (he’s too polite to correct her).

As usual, Strong is reliable.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Last Roundup; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Tom Strong 17 (August 2002)

Tom Strong #17Moore’s subplot for this issue is Tesla and her fire monster boyfriend, Val. Mostly with her mom trying to keep the progress of their relationship quiet in front of Tom. It never gets a full resolution but Moore foreshadows one nicely.

The main plot is the preparation for the space battle against the giant ants. Giant space ants. Moore is kind of doing fifties sci-fi with the ants, but not exactly–Sprouse gets to mix sci-fi elements. It’s simultaneously retro and mainstream modern. Moore and Sprouse fit a lot into Tom Strong, they never let it get too much into one genre or another.

The only dragging scene is Tom going and visiting the intelligence on Venus or whatever planet. It’s a talking heads scene with a rock. It’s not bad, it’s just pointless.

Great subplot with the Strongmen too. Moore certainly appears to love writing for them.

B+ 

CREDITS

Ant Fugue!; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Neal Pozner, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Tom Strong 16 (April 2002)

Tom Strong #16Moore has a bunch of fun this issue. He enlists the Strongmen of America and they even get to sleepover with the Strong’s. The way he handles the absurdity of these kids getting to sleep over at a superhero’s is great and all, but having Dhalua call their mothers’ to get permission is even better.

And then there’s Tesla’s little fire monster boyfriend who Tom doesn’t like. That subplot’s wonderful because Moore shows it a little from Tom’s perspective–his daughter’s moon-eyed and he doesn’t approve–but Moore’s really showing it from Tesla’s. And she knows what she’s doing.

The main plot has to do with an alien invasion–it’s actually a little Cowboys vs. Aliens (I’m sure Moore was fine not getting credit for that movie) as the guest star is an intergalactic cowboy. Great details from Moore on that back story and some wonderful art.

Outstanding stuff.

B+ 

CREDITS

Some Call Him the Space Cowboy; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Neal Pozner, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Tom Strong 15 (March 2002)

Tom Strong #15Moore plots out the issue precisely, not just how he uses the action, but also how he uses Tesla. The issue is just as much hers as Tom’s… or maybe even a little bit more.

The issue opens with her disappearing under extreme circumstances. Tom, Dhalua and Solomon have to go rescue her. Moore gets his expository dialogue about Tesla’s history exploring volcanos done while he’s talking about the protective suits everyone is wearing. It’s a little thing, but brilliantly executed.

The issue then has some exploration before Moore brings Tesla into it. A lot of the issue is spent with Tom not thinking and Tesla thinking. The characters figure things out–Moore doesn’t pause to let the reader figure them out, the reader’s going to hear about them, Moore needs the characters to do it.

It’s an interesting form of action.

Excellent art from Sprouse and Karl Story too.

B+ 

CREDITS

Ring of Fire!; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Neal Pozner, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 6 (February 2014)

292178 20140104160932 largeHogan’s a show-off. He’s great, he does a great job here, but he’s a show-off. After a very tense opening, things gradually calm down and resolve. Sprouse and Story mostly do talking heads for the first third of the comic.

Then comes this sequence with a presidential voiceover. At first it seems tedious–like Hogan’s trying to go for something obvious… but he’s not. It’s sincere and he sells it. Awesome sequence.

Then there are two or three more such sequences–none of these as great as that first one but featuring some excellent art throughout. Finally, after Hogan’s got his reader emotionally enthused, the kicker with Tom and his family’s resolution.

Here’s a comic about a guy flying across the galaxy to a duplicate Earth while accompanied by his fire-man son-in-law and it’s about the family. Hogan, Sprouse and Story do a wonderful job.

A 

CREDITS

The Bells; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Jessica Chen, Kristy Quinn, Ben Abernathy and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 5 (January 2014)

290075 20131127162725 largeTom Strange finally appears in the issue–which is good, since Hogan’s only got one left. Besides the opening, which features another new (or returning from a previous limited series) character, a lot of the issue is just the Toms talking.

Tom Strange is set up on the moon (not sure why it was such a secret) and Tom Strong offers to help him try to figure out a cure for the plague. Then Hogan introduces the other members of Strange’s team; they’re a hodgepodge to show the smart people of all types banding together to save the species.

It’s a fine enough issue–there is some nice art from Sprouse and Story, particularly the trip to the moon base–but there’s a lack of drama to it. Even though Strong’s on a deadline, Hogan has a leisurely pace. The series’s definitely worth reading, but I’m glad it’s finishing soon.

B 

CREDITS

Sleeping in Flames; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Jessica Chen, Kristy Quinn, Ben Abernathy and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 1 (September 2013)

279318 20130731121148 largeSo Planet of Peril turns out to be a sequel to the Terra Obscura series Hogan’s done. Those are great so I have high hopes for this one. And so far, Hogan doesn’t disappoint.

He has Chris Sprouse and Karl Story on art so it’s good, but he also comes up with this great meta scene where Tom Strong tries to explain why there haven’t been Terra Obscura comics published in the last few years. It’s hard to tell if it’s a one off meta moment or if Hogan’s going to weave it in and out of the entire series.

There’s also the human element–Tesla’s pregnant with some fiery guy’s baby and it’s putting her in danger. Hogan’s doing the Superman pregnancy storyline hinted at in Mallrats apparently.

Hogan gets in a good amount of humor and action, lots of the touching Strong stuff and great opportunities for Sprouse.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Girl in the Bubble; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn, Ben Abernathy and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

Rocketeer Adventures 2 3 (May 2012)

868090Did IDW run out of people to hire for Rocketeer Adventures? The Kyle Baker story, done a little like a serial episode, is great, but it’s Kyle Baker. He doesn’t just get how to do comic action, he can actually write Betty. And his Shadow cameo is rather fun too.

But besides Baker, this issue’s awful. Chris Sprouse’s art is good on the first story, if a little underwhelming. David Lapham scripts it; it’s a terrible script about Cliff and Betty realizing they don’t want to be a farm family. In short, Sprouse is drawing a lot of farm equipment. Not a good use of him.

Still, anything is better than the last story. Eric Canete’s style seems to be rushed, line heavy and animation influenced. Matt Wagner only writes narration–since it’s a “Jetsons” story–and Canete’s art complements it perfectly. Neither are good.

Baker aside, the issue’s crap.

CREDITS

“Coulda been…”; writer, David Lapham; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee. Butchy Saves Betty; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. History Lesson; writer, Matt Wagner; artist, Eric Canete; colorists, Canete and Cassandra Poulson; letterer, Lee. Editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Dark Horse Presents 61 (April 1992)

35872.jpg
Sin City has gotten useless to the point I’m not even sure I should talk about it. It’s sort of interesting in regards to Miller’s terrible plotting. One might think he’d adapt Chandler or even Hammett, just amping it up, but he doesn’t. He figures out his own “hard boiled” structure and it’s awful. I guess he draws a little bit more this entry than usual. Not much though.

It’s the longest Earth Boys story so far and the extra pages don’t help the writing. But Story’s back inking Johnson, so it definitely looks a lot better.

The Creep is a continued delight. Eaglesham gets in some more street scenes, which look great, and Arcudi has a few surprise developments. It’s just a fantastic series.

Not fantastic is O’Barr’s Frame. He seems to think making his subject as horrendously awful means I should read it. Actual writing doesn’t matter. Boo.

CREDITS

Sin City, Episode Twelve; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Earth Boys, Homeward Bound; story by Cliff Biggers and Brett Brooks; pencils by Dave Johnson; inks by Karl Story; lettering by Mike Heisler. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Frame 137; story, art and lettering by James O’Barr. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 60 (March 1992)

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Oh, lucky me, Sin City isn’t over yet. Instead, Miller spends most of his pages with one image, a lot of white space and even more terrible narration. I think I hate this entry the most. Not sure if it’s because I’m subjected to more of Miller’s writing or if it’s because I thought I was actually done with Sin City for now.

Geary has two different strips this issue. One’s two pages, the other is one. Neither is particularly good, but the second one is pretty bad, actually. Nice art, weak sentimental nonsense.

The Creep starts its second story arc and Eaglesham is even better than he was on the first. It’s nice to see Arcudi able to write something well, considering he’s always got a decent plotting sensibility.

Earth Boys closes the issue. Johnson’s art (probably the Story inks) is better. Maybe Biggers and Brooks’s writing is too.

CREDITS

Sin City, Episode Eleven; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Murder Tour, Beautiful Homes; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Earth Boys, Invasion of Privacy; story by Cliff Biggers and Brett Brooks; pencils by Dave Johnson; inks by Karl Story; lettering by Mike Heisler. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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