Braving the gauntlet of Big Two events, prestige format risk-takers, off-the-radar indie releases and a non-stop avalanche of floppies is DoomRocket’s HOT PRESS. With so much media out there screaming for your eyeballs, HOT PRESS is here with short-burst news and reviews of the latest stuff you should be paying attention to. This week: Shelly Bond’s Filth & Grammar, a conversation with Aubrey Sitterson, and a long-forgotten Batman story.
by Jarrod Jones. Getting back on track. Learning how to love the work all over again. These are the challenges of operating a long-running, now once-monthly comics blog. Finding time to work and making that limited time worth your while, creatively, collaboratively, all that. That’s been the challenge of reassembling DoomRocket after our year-long hiatus.
Luckily, I love a challenge. So I’ve been working like crazy in-between work and life to create new things for the blog that you’ll be enjoying before long, and working with the esteemed DR writing team—namely, Arpad Okay, Clyde Hall, Kate Kowalski, and Matt Fleming—to make sure our once-a-month content drop is as good as anything you’ll read on this here internet. It’s been a blast.
As for what we have for you at the moment, well. You can read Kate’s sterling review of Grip of the Kombinat right now, ditto Clyde slinging superlatives at AfterShock Comics’ Astronaut Down. Arpad has declared that Jonathan Case’s Little Monarchs might be his favorite comic of 2022, and he wrote all about it here. There’s a new edition of UNDERCOVER you simply must check out right now, too. Once you’re done with all that good DoomRocket magic, come back; I have a few things I want to share with you.
Filth & Grammar: The Comic Book Editor’s (Secret) Handbook. Energizing how-to-comics crafted by one of the best we got. Of course I backed legendary editrix Shelly Bond’s latest Off Register Press effort, but what makes Filth & Grammar such a worthwhile investment is that it offers us lowly comic types a glimpse into the organized mind of one of the industry’s strongest editors. The graphic novel/info-mag format is choice (the design/layout is also pretty slick), and the artwork from Imogen Mangle and Laura Hole gives the reading/learning experience that spark of energy and verve I always associate with any Bond-led project. For anyone who wants to begin to grasp the intricacies of the comics business—not to mention have a better understanding of what makes an editor like Shelly uncap that dreaded red pen—Filth and Grammar is essential reading. It’s also a blast.
Batman: Outlaws. Largely forgotten Moench/Gulacy joint wherein Batman and his 2000-era Bat-family (Robin, Nightwing, Huntress, Batgirl, Catwoman) are targeted by a politically-backed anti-vigilante mercenary group called The Bloodhawks and are made to fight for their lives. Real Gotham-as-battleground stuff that made this team’s Batman/Predator II: Bloodmatch so goofy and fun. Explosions on rooftops, Nightwing on a motorcycle, and the reliably sinewy, tactile Gulacy character work that makes his action sequences so visceral and gnarly. I’m only one issue deep into this oversized three-issue mini, and while it reads like a 6-part Bat-epic that was meant to run in DC’s main Batman title, the format makes falling into its bonkers action setup a pretty cozy thing to do. Totally out of print, but worth seeking.
– Aubrey Sitterson is one of my favorite writers and he’s always open for an interview (check out this one from a couple years back), yet I have spent far too long trying to get something new going to accommodate the sheer volume of his recent output: Beef Bros, No One Left to Fight, Savage Hearts, and a lot more great stuff than that, besides. Well, Aubrey and I have been working on a longform interview series for a while now; the first installment of which has finally dropped on DoomRocket. This week we talked about stuff like his opinion on Substack, creative energy, and his sole nonfiction comics work, The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling (with Chris Moreno). Aubrey’s a prince for letting me drag this conversation out for as long as I have. I hope you enjoy it!
– Speaking of good comics interviews you should read/enjoy, comic critic and pal of the site Zack Quaintance spoke with Tillie Walden about Clementine, Book One, her new graphic novel over at Skybound Comet for The Comics Beat. It’s a deep-dive conversation that digs into Walden’s process and why she decided to make a licensed comic—not to mention one that has zombies all over the place—her next big comics project (Clementine being a Walking Dead spin-off). As someone who mainlined the Telltale Walking Dead games a couple years back and desperately wished he had time in his life to play them again, Clementine is easily one of the graphic novels to be released in 2022 that I’m most keen to read.
– Not much space left. I’ll just use my meager platform to reiterate my love for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, why not.
That’s all I got for this week. Read any good comics lately? Drop them in the comments or write me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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