Hello, everybody! Jim here. If you've shopped at Alleycat Comics in the last year, you probably know me. You might have talked with me for an hour about Star Wars, or watched some dumb YouTube video, or listened to me pitch you on some new comic or another, way back in the Before-fore Times.
If you're not part of the Alleycat Comics crowd and you're reading this anyway, I'm sure this sounds familiar to you, too. Comic shops have always been important to me as a place for meeting up with old friends and making new ones, and discussing all our favorite niche topics at a level of detail that all the normies just wouldn't understand.
I miss that.
And while Selene has been busting her butt at the shop and keeping the community and discussion thriving on our social media pages (Join the Alleycat Comics Family on Facebook if you haven't yet!), I wanted to contribute something, too.
So here I am! I'm going to be writing some little reviews for the site, for the duration of these trying times, and who knows, maybe beyond. Sharing some recommendations, trying to spread the word on some great under the radar books, or just geeking out about the latest X-Men book. I hope you like it, and I hope it gives you a little bit of that Wednesday afternoon feeling.
Today I'm going to talk a bit about a couple of the books that came out on March 25, the last week that comics came out. Here goes!
DYING IS EASY #4:
One of the first things I was nerdy about, even before comic books, was comedy. Before I knew about social anxiety, I totally wanted to be a stand-up comic when I grew up. Dying is Easy is a crime comic set in the early 90's stand-up comedy boom, written by Locke and Key and Basketful of Heads creator Joe Hill and artist Martin Simmonds.
It tells the story of Syd "Shit Talk" Homes, a disgraced detective trying to exorcise his demons via the stand-up stage. At the start of the series, he gets wrongly implicated in a murder, and sets off to clear his name. What follows is a clever twist on the classic noir tropes, with Syd following leads and staying one step ahead of the police, getting himself into one ridiculous situation after another.
Hill's story is dark and funny and entertaining, and is a far cry stylistically from the horror work we know him for. Simmonds' artwork really captures the grungy feeling of comedy skid row, where comedians compete for slots at cheap clubs and bitterly trash their peers/rivals for getting even a small amount of success.
I wanted to call some attention to Dying is Easy here because, being published by IDW, I feel like it got kind of lost in the shuffle of Hill's own DC Comics line, Hill House Comics. Those books are great too, but this offers something different from those while still having the voice that Hill's fans have come to love.
GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: NIGHTCRAWLER #1
Ok, so this one is interesting. Since this whole Jonathan Hickman X-Men relaunch began last summer, I've been hearing from fans of the character how Nightcrawler is not playing enough of a central role in the story. He is not a core member on any of the teams, including his old stomping grounds Excalibur or the seafaring swashbuckling adventures of the Marauders. Recent issues of X-Men have had some very interesting developments for Nightcrawler and his role in the new mutant order, though. Developments that I (and I'm sure his fans) are eager to see followed up on.
So here's his very own super-sized one shot, right...? Well, kind of.
This one-shot doesn't really pick up on any of the threads set up for Kurt Wagner in X-Men. Not only that, but he also doesn't really feel like the main character of the story. Instead, he is sent with a team of mutants to the abandoned Xavier Institute after some unexplained mutant activity comes up there on their radar.
The comic, written by Jonathan Hickman, and drawn by the always-great Alan Davis, is still quite a good story, and I'd recommend it, but Nightcrawler doesn't really do that much in it. Instead, it's much more of a Doug Ramsey story. I know Giant-Sized Cypher #1 probably wouldn't shift copies as well as Giant-Sized Nightcrawler would, but hey, that's the truth.
So, sadly, this is probably not the Nightcrawler comic you expected. But on the bright side, Hickman clearly (and correctly) loves The New Mutants, and if you're a fan of those characters, this comic will be right in your wheelhouse.
That's all for now, everyone! I'll try to be back with something else soon. Thanks for reading!