Favorite Book: Cryptonomicon
Favorite Movie: Young Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything: Monty Python
The final book in the Mongoliad trilogy is incredible. In 1241, a small group of knights set out from occupied Poland to kill the most powerful man in the world. The Mongol Empire was the largest empire the world had ever seen, and still holds that record more than 700 years later. The Mongol armies were a seemingly unstoppable force of destruction and conquest. So, when a dozen or so knights decide to travel halfway across the known world to kill the Khan of Khans, they face incredible odds. The genius of this series is that the Mongols are not portrayed as monsters or bloodlusty conquerors. Ögedei Khan, the most dangerous man in the world, is a flawed and interesting man. He is also a loving son and generally nice guy. This is my favorite thing about this book. Both sides are sympathetic, so you root for the knights and you root for the guy they are trying to kill.
Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT is still my favorite comic out there. The story is so multi-layered and fantastical that every issue earns your complete attention. I have found myself devoting more energy to unraveling every detail of this comic than anything else I’m reading. This is as much to see these deeply flawed and fascinating characters as to witness the revelations that show up on nearly every page of this incredible comic. Every issue that I have read is like the best episodes of Lost, without the negative baggage that the show piled up toward the end.
There are many conflicting theories about what happens to us when we die. This is my new favorite. R.I.P.D. is a straightforward buddy-cop story about two dead cops patrolling a new beat. Sherriff Roy Powell is the grizzled veteran, just three weeks from retiring from the Rest in Peace Department. His new partner is the recently-deceased rookie, Nick Cruz. Together, they will work to solve Cruz’s murder, deal with a domestic disturbance, and try to stop a madman from taking over Hell.
One of my favorite genres is the end of the world. I know that it’s everybody else’s too, but I love a good apocalypse. The Massive gives us the best apocalypse. Basically, for no reason that anyone knows, the Earth has decided to try to kill us all. Earthquakes, floods, droughts, fires, and Roland Emmerich are all let loose at once, effectively destroying shipping lanes, coastal cities, and entire ecosystems. As a result, the world descends into that familiar post-apocalyptic madness that is so interesting. The Massive follows the crew of the Kapitol, an environmental action group’s ship, as they try to locate their missing sister ship, the Massive. They also contend with pirates, warlords, and general thugs.
Every once in a while, an idea comes around that is perfect. This is one of those times. Sledgehammer 44 asks the important questions like: what if the Allies had invented Iron Man during WWII instead of Captain America? Mike Mignola (the man who brought us Hellboy, Lobster Johnson, and The Amazing Screw-On Head) and John Arcudi (writer of The Mask, B.P.R.D., and Barb Wire) do an incredible job of answering the question. Spoiler: It’s awesome. It is worth noting that this is not a comedy. While both of these creators have a history of blending large doses of humor into their work, Sledgehammer is a more sober look at the effect that sci-fi soldiers would have on a war.
At its core, No Place Like Home is a reimaging of L. Frank Baum’s Oz, but this isn’t a “dark and gritty” reboot. It is most definitely dark, but not in the now standard way that many, many comics, movies, and video games are. The direction that NPLH goes is different. This is not the story of Dorothy Gale (I just got that.) as she is whisked off to a magical wonderland. This is the story of Dee as she returns home to Emeraldsville, Kansas, to deal with her parents' death in a freak tornado. Things in town go from bad to horror-movie pretty quickly, and Dee finds herself trapped between a mysterious killer and a town-wide conspiracy. There are countless allusions and nods to The Wizard of Oz, from major plot points to single panel sight gags. The references are very well done and add a layer of “I see what you did there” to the story.
Lost Vegas is the new comic from Jim McCann and Janet Lee, who won the 2011 Eisner for new graphic novel. This comic book takes place in the most bleak and miserable setting I can imagine, a futuristic space casino. Here, everything is within reach, and you can experience the ultimate in entertainment, if you are a guest and not one of the hundreds of indentured servants that make up the staff.
The following is an interview with Peter Clines, author of the recently released book Ex-Heroes. To celebrate the novel's release, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor Ben Rhodes chatted with Clines about the impetus for combining superheroes and zombies, why film studios make great zombie safe houses, and why you should pick up a copy of Ex-Heroes.
This interview was conducted on February 22, 2013.
Ex-Heroes, the new novel by Peter Clines, is a new and fascinating zombie story. The twist here is that there are also superheroes helping to fight the undead. What impressed me the most about this blend is how well done it was. The superheroes are better able to handle the shambling horde, but they are not immune, and occasionally they are less help than an armed civilian. The story that emerges takes its cues from comics and horror, without losing track of what makes either of them succeed.
The second Doctor and companions find themselves in a space bazaar, where danger and bargains lurk around every corner. I have to confess that I am not familiar with much Doctor Who before Christopher Eccleston’s run. So, I do miss some of the character history and backstory. For example, I have no idea who the companions are, and it is a testament to the talented writers that I felt like I knew them. Now, there are a few references for newbies like me, so don’t feel like you need to know everything about every incarnation of The Doctor to enjoy yourself.