Sunday Funday: Grimm’s Fairy Tales Omnibus!

Arriving just in time for the waning days of my vacation, Zenescope has finally released their mammoth Omnibus collection of their always twisted and sometimes sexy take on Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It’s actually been available for a little while as an exclusive from their booth at various conventions. Unfortunately, I live toward the tip of a peninsula where such conventions are mostly fairy tales themselves. See what I did there? If you haven’t delved into any of the 80+ issues of GFT and its rapidly expanding universe, here’s the deal: In what usually plays out like an after-hours Twilight Zone episode, characters are beaten over the head with moral lessons played out in Fairy Tales that usually draw to a delightfully gore-filled conclusion. Needless to say I’m spending a lot of time with this book this weekend and my cigar of choice this time is the always faithful, H. Upmann 1844 Special Reserve. Mmm… lovely.

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GFT was the first comic that I started reading digitally on a tablet, and I’ll confess I didn’t take to the book right away. It lacks the pithy dialogue or sweeping stories that I usually go for in my comics. The humor is more subtle and I sometimes wonder how many of the chuckles I get out of this book are intentional. The first story was rather predictable and seemed to go nowhere, but I downloaded the first 10 issues as part of a sale and I pressed on. Before long, things got more interesting, and before I knew it, I was buying more downloads to see what kind of twisted shit they could come up with next. As it turns out, it’s an insidious book that slowly draws you in, making the stories more complex, and eventually pulling back the camera and revealing the two narrators, Sela and Belinda, as characters in a struggle against each other over the souls of their target of the month. If this whole thing was planned out, it’s rather clever, but also a risky move, because I imagine a number of people were tempted to drop the book from their pull lists before it really started to get good. As such, I think it’s one of those comics that may be best experienced in collected editions. On the other hand, if you stick with it through the individual issues, reading GFT is like being in that proverbial pot of slowly boiling water. I was getting hooked (or is that cooked?), but I didn’t realize it was happening until it was too late. Of course, all the Zenescope branded T&A in the art doesn’t hurt either. Yaknowatimean?

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The Omnibus is an ambitious beast of a publication. At 1350 pages(!), it encompasses the first EIGHT collected volumes, meaning it contains the first FIFTY issues of the comic! I was a little concerned about how well a book of this size and weight would turn out, but I knew I wanted these collected in a print edition for my shelf, and getting eight volumes worth of comics in one book seemed like the easier (and less expensive way to go). It turned out to be a worthy gamble. The quality of the print is gorgeous and the binding seems to be of very good quality. Even at the center of the book, reading or enjoying the art near the binding is not a chore, and it doesn’t seem like creasing in the spine or loose pages will be a problem, so long as a modicum of care is taken while reading. Each reprinted volume retains the often heartfelt introductions, although individual variant covers are not included. While this could be a big deal to some, it’s understandable that some sacrifices had to be made. The variant covers alone would have added another 100+ pages to an already gargantuan tome.

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The cover price for the Omnibus is $59.99, but I had my copy pre-ordered at Amazon for the ridiculously low price of $37 and they actually had it to me a few days before its scheduled release. GFT started out as a guilty pleasure, but it’s evolved beyond that for me and this collection makes me glad that I was content with my digital downloads and didn’t start going after the individual trades.  At this point, the only downside is that if I fall asleep reading with this thing on my chest, I’m liable to wake up thinking I’m having a heart attack.

Images used are the copyright of Zenescope and are reproduced here for review purposes only. If you love comic books, support the artists and writers by BUYING them, either digitally or in print. Better yet, buy them in print and support your local comic shop too!

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Sunday Funday: Bendis’ Moon Knight

Tomorrow starts my vacation in which I will embark on a great quest to see how little I can leave the house during the span of a week. I seriously plan on doing nothing other than lay around read comics, enjoy cigars and libation, and maybe play a video game or two. Well, I started a bit early this weekend by lighting up an H. Upmann Corona Major and re-reading Brian Michael Bendis’ Moon Knight in its collected TPB releases. I’m thinking of just renaming Sunday Funday Comics & Coronas.

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Almost every year it happens. That one book I love gets shit-canned. The year before last, I was still reeling from some of my favorite DC books falling victim to the reboot, but last year it was the end of Bendis’ short run with Moon Knight that cut the deepest. God, I loved this book! It took a character that I hardly gave two shits about and turned him into someone that got me to the comic shop for each new issue. Marc Spector, self-appointed Hollywood socialite works on a campy TV series about his life, while trying to establish himself as a West Coast Avenger and unravel the mystery of a new Kingpin and the sale of an Ultron head. The art by Alex Maleev is excellent. It’s gritty, it’s edgy, and it gives the book a serious undertone, which balances out the black comedy really well.

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Yes, I love comics for all sorts of reasons, but in the end, it’s the ones that make me laugh that usually get me coming back the most. Bendis’ Moon Knight is good with that. Marc Spector is batshit insane (but he would argue all costumed super heroes are!) and the book’s greatest selling point is the pithy inner dialogue between him and the voices in his head who take on the personalities of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Captain America. Cap takes on the role of Spector’s moral compass, Spidey is his fun and impulsive side, and Wolverine just mercilessly berates him for everything he does and everything he fails to do. Toss in the self-deprecating humor found in the fact that Moon Knight can get no respect from friends and foes alike, and Moon Knight is dark comedy gold.

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Not being satisfied with just his inner monologue, Spector takes his neurosis to the extreme and even dresses up like his imaginary friends and in his mind, becomes them. Of course, eventually the real players show up, which leads to great moments like this…

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I could go on and on. There’s some great play between him and his reluctant partner, the sexy, deaf ex-Avenger, Echo. A priceless run-in with criminal hack squad The Night Shift. But easily my favorite part of any of the books is when Spector dresses up like Bullseye and beats the shit out of his newly hired consultant just to see if the guy was trustworthy.

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There’s no doubt, Moon Knight was one of my favorite books of 2012. In fact, it’s probably second only to IDW’s Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye. I would have loved to see Moon Knight go on, but I can’t deny there’s something to be said for having a shorter, self-contained run. Moon Knight was canned after 12 issues. It went out on a high and it left me wanting more, and if you’re a comic book or movie, or just about any other kind of entertainment, that’s generally considered a success. As it stands, Moon Knight is the perfect length to pull out every couple of months and spend a lazy afternoon re-reading and I enjoy it every time.

Images used are the copyright of Marvel Comics and are reproduced here for review purposes only. If you love comic books, support the artists and writers by BUYING them, either digitally or in print. Better yet, buy them in print and support your local comic shop too!