Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
This just in from MajorSpoilers.com: REVIEW: Dogs-O-War: Book 3 Posted on June 9, 2013 by Dave Conde What would Usagi Yojimbo have been like if it were one of the original titles launched by Image Comics, alongside Spawn, Savage Dragon, and Youngblood? If that question blows your mind (in a good way), then have I got the answer for you! Take a ride with the funny animals from the 1990’s that didn’t live in the sewers. And discover once and for all “Who let the dogs out?” SUMMARY Pros Action scenes are inconsistent, but often quite good Cons Prose, a bit purple A product of its time DOGS-O-WAR: BOOK 3 Writer: Tom Sniegoski Artist: Mark Masztal Inker: Ethan Van Sciver, Nathan Massengil, Eric Powell, Chuck Angell Letterer: Fonts’R’Us Publisher: NOT DOG Comics Cover Price: $9.99 Previously in Dogs-O-War: In the wake of mankind’s near-destruction of the Earth through “viral warfare and genetic engineering”, the world is a wasteland sparsely populated by half-man, half-beasts and littered with pockets of super-technology from the before-times. A few remaining great scientists try to shape the remnants into their own vision, but not all of them want what’s best for everyone. DOGS AND CATS FIGHTING TOGETHER! MASS HYSTERIA! This book is a bit of an odd duck to review here but when our beloved Editor In Chief threw a review copy down on my desk here at the old Major Spoilers Bullpen* I was not about to shy away from a review. Not to be confused with similarly contemporary titled Dogs of War or The Dogs of War, Dogs-O-War:Book 3 is a collection of a three issue limited series (plus a five page intro story) from 1996 and it shows its age. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, but this book is definitely a product of its time. Whether you see that as “old and stale” or “cool and retro” depends more upon you than on the comic because the comic is well done whatever the time period. Let me give you the elevator pitch: An evil scientist named Dusk is taking over the world, with the goal of exterminating all life. Good scientist “Godhead”, aided by a pair of samurai-esque dogs, is trying to rally a rebellion. As you do. Dogs-O-War has all the ingredients for a great comic: Post-apocalyptic wastelands, anthropomorphic animals, swords, chain guns, explosions… It’s twenty pounds of cool stuff in a ten pound sack. Which is also the weakness of this book. There is so much going on, and so much implied depth that I feel that what I’m reading is just skimming the surface. That’s not entirely bad–you want to feel that the universe that you’re reading about is fleshed out, but there’s very little time left for character development. There’s not enough downtime to contrast with the action. In a perfect world this story would have had twelve issues to build an arc that would match the epic nature of the tale that they’re trying to tell here. Another caveat that I should mention is that the prose here is sometimes so purple as to be ultraviolet. That is to say, it’s dripping with melodrama and takes itself exceedingly seriously–to the point of distraction. As I keep saying, however, that’s not entirely bad. Dogs-O-War is intended to be an epic tale, bordering on myth, so the tone is actually in line with that powerful sense of importance. I bring it up because it is the kind of thing that could rub you the wrong way, but personally I powered through and it became part of the charm of the book. Side note: it crosses the line in the narration boxes, where the narrator describes things that are visible in the panel. I think you would get a better reading experience if you just skip the narration boxes and spend the time paying attention to the art. It’s redundant; almost like the accidentally printed the notes to the artist, or the writer didn’t trust the artist to convey the story. CRY HAVOC! The art screams ‘90’s, but without the worst excesses of Liefeld (which, to be fair, even he wasn’t guilty of ALL the time). It’s all in black and white, in the cost-saving indy comic tradition, which highlights the excellent pencil work. The lines are nice and precise and even though the book went through a revolving door of inkers they all did a great job. The standout of the visuals is the character design. Back in the 1990’s everyone wanted to do a spin on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the idea of gritty warrior animals. I really like Masztal’s take on the sub-genre. The titular dogs are good, but when you can do a believable bad-ass koala—that’s when I tip my hat. The action scenes are inconsistent, but often quite good. The lesser scenes seem to be limited by the time/space available to them, but a when they work they accomplish the impressive task of making the mix of guns and swords not look stupid. [Except at tech level “flintlock” guns and swords together on the battlefield is ridiculous, but can still be cool as hell. Remember the first time you saw Star Wars.] THE BOTTOM LINE: Breaking away from the pack I give Dogs-O-War: Book 3 three and a half stars—and yes, part of that is nostalgia for a more civilized age. But the rest of it is that the story is fun, the ideas are coming at you from all angles, and the art is great. I would love to play a role playing game set in this universe. Why is there not a GURPS sourcebook for Dogs-O-War? It may not be for everyone but if my description didn’t scare you, I recommend getting your hands on it if you can, although it’s currently in the approval process at Diamond and Amazon. You can get a copy directly from Sniegoski or Masztal at conventions or from firstname.lastname@example.org *The Major Spoilers Bullpen is almost as real as the Marvel Bullpen. Rating: About the Author Dave Conde went to Grad school for Accounting and was voted “Most Likely to Quit Accounting and Become a Professional Skateboarder”. This is not demonstrably false. He reads a bit of everything but values the writing above the art. The only books he’ll buy regardless of the story are by Frank Cho, because…well damn. (Once he masters drawing more than one female face, Frank’s going to be unstoppable.) He’s Dave. Solamente Dave. And he can’t be locked up in a cage like some kind of Manimal. He’s outta heeeeeeere.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
When I get plans in motion, I really get things moving. Two big events this Summer. Starting on June 21st I will have a one-man show of my artwork; It All Started With A Dog, and it will include spot illustrations, comic book pages and color pieces. I will also dust off my old LEGO pages and have them on display, both the B&W pages and the hand-colored pages. The show is at the Bing Arts Center in Springfield, MA and there will be an artists reception on June 29th from 6-8. At the end of the Summer, I will be promoting, along with G. Michael Dobbs and Brian Hale, BING CON 2013! The newest comic book/fantasy/horror/multi-media show in the Springfield, MA, this is an event that this area hasn't seen in a long time. Springfield needed something like this to bring artists and exhibitors together at an affordable price and we decided to utilize the Bing Art Center again and organize the event. The show starts at 11am-5pm on August 25th and then at 7:00 pm we will be showing a special Fantastic Feature Film that hardly anyone has seen. It will be comic book themed and we hope that you come back after the con to see the movie. Your admission price also covers the movie. All proceeds will go to supporting the Bing Arts Center. Both event have links on Facebook so check them out and keep checking back for updated information. BING CON 2013 It All Started With A Dog
Monday, May 27, 2013
Hot off the presses, DOGS-O-WAR: The Collected Book Three is ready for you to devour with gusto...and a side dish of raw meat! 96 pages of B&W interiors with a new color cover by series artist and co-creator Mark Masztal! This book collects Dogs-O-War originally published by Crusade Entertainment in 1996-1997 and it appears here how the creators originally wanted it, with fixed production errors and the finest quality standards. The series revisits the world of Shar-Pei and the Godhead and introduces new characters like the female doberman warrior Gypsy, the narcoleptic and minigun wielding koala, Clyde and the bio-machine terror of Dr. Dusk. It also re-introduces us to old characters like the former I.C.E. soldier Flint McHenry and transforming robot Big Man. Aided by inker extraordinaires, Nathan (Deadpool & Batman) Massengill, Ethan(Cyber-Frog & Green Lantern) Van Sciver, Eric (The Goon) Powell and Chuck Angell, Mark has gone all-out-crazy designing some of the most interesting characters in comics and proving that any animal can be anthropomorphic! Special for this collection are issue by issue insights by Mark about the making of the original series and never before seen pin-ups and character designs for proposed follow-up series! Contact Mark at email@example.com and reserve your copy at the low cover price of $9.99 + $3 shipping and be prepared to be entertained!
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I cannot believe this is the first post of 2013...then I look back and I see I didn't post anything in 2012! Well, I must admit that Facebook had stolen me away for awhile. Things have been happening though, all in a good sense. Tom Sniegoski and I are collecting our Dogs-O-War mini-series, originally published by Crusade Entertainment, into a beautiful soft cover collection featuring a new cover by me and a few never before seen pin-ups and character designs. The graphic novel should be delivered in time for FREE Comic Book Day this Saturday. For this event, I will be at Mike Murray's comic Shop in Agawam, MA along with local artist Christopher Peck and Scott Hanna. It should be a fun day as we sell our books, hand out freebies and sketch for the fans coming by. So along with collecting the Collection and digitally coloring the Freebie book, I've also been working with Christopher Peck on his War Dog book. Chris is an amazing talent and I'm proud to call him a friend. I've been designing his book along with lettering it and providing color to his covers. I've also done quite a bit of freelance work this past year, especially for a large insurance company. that's was a short deadline project, but it was a lot of fun and a lot of hours. I hope you like the new art and I will check back in and let you know how FCBD went! Cheers.