Friday, January 30, 2015


Publisher: Westerino Comix
Writer: Jeff Guarino
Artist: Dean Westerfield
Review: Art Bee

Recently The Hammond Comics Blog received a request to review a graphic novel called Moses. This monster of a novel (597 pages) was a little intimidating at first, but once I got started it went pretty smoothly. Jeff Guarino and Dean Westerfield are a pair of school teachers who enjoy creating their own webcomics at and, according to their Facebook page, they like to do most of their work at various coffee houses around Long Beach, CA.

To really gain an appreciation for this novel I had to read through it twice. The first time I was lost due to trying to get through it too fast. This book needs to be taken panel by panel as you need to pay attention to when you are in a flash back, a telling of a story, or the mainline plot.

This book has its roots in the Holy Bible and other referenced books. Moses portrays Moses’ life outside of the plagues and Mt. Sinai in which he shares wisdom through stories. These tales include the story of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Arc, Job, and others. It is interesting how each of the stories has a different spin on it from the Bible. For instance, instead of the name Abraham, Avraham is used. Overall this book is Moses’ spiritual journey over the course of his life.

Dean Westerfield uses a black and white ink style that, while not spectacular, is effective. Towards the end of the book he has some really superb art, and his consistency with the characters makes it easy to follow who is who.

There are some panel sequences that seem like they do not need to be there, however. For instance, at the start of chapter 3, the first 13 panels seem to have nothing to do with anything other than showing Moses’ tent and different features. Right after these panels, the chapter goes right into the creation story with Adam and Hava. Every so often a series of these non-important panels appear. Perhaps I am missing the significance . . .

My favorite part of the book takes place in chapter 8. Moses is out on a hillside taking a leak when a voice tells him to remove his shoes. “Why?” he asks. The voice responds, “The place you stand borders on the holy.” This just struck me as hilarious. Moses had just urinated, but the concern was his shoes.

This is not the best nor the worst graphic novel I have ever read. My suggestion is to keep an open mind as you read it or you will get lost. My being lost the first time had to be due to the fact that I am Christian, and I was looking too deep. This book is not claiming to supplement the Bible. They are just trying to entertain us by putting a little spin on religion. You can read Moses for free on their website.

Friday, January 23, 2015

REVIEW: Reyn #1

Writer: Kel Symons
Artist: Nate Stockman
Colors: Paul Little
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

Reyn is a fantasy book that is set in The Land of Fate, a place now consumed by darkness. It follows a young Jedi . . . uh, I mean Warden who may be the last living member of his order. Issue one follows him through a few scrapes, introduces us to the main characters, and sets up the next adventure.

Great first issues are hard to produce, and I generally tend to cut the creators a little slack here. Unfortunately Reyn is not a book I going to be following in the future.

The book opens on a farm, where a family is attacked by a giant subterranean spider. Reyn shows up and slays the creature. Everything is competently drawn and I’m enjoying the book at this point, and then in comes the farmer’s daughter.

Wearing a shirt that would make a 1980s Rob Liefeld blush, the father asks Reyn to stay on the farm indefinitely. As the daughter bites her lower lip and looks on the father says: “We don’t have much to offer in the way of excitement, least not the kind that you’re probably used to. But there’s other kinds of things a man could find some excitement in, right?” Reyn then thanks him for the hospitality but politely turns down the offer. It then cuts to the daughter coming into his room, saying something of the lines of: “Paw says I should convince you to stay, and I aim to make a convincing argument.”


Within four pages this book is forever ruined by moronic writing. Is this what turns people on these days? I must be getting old, but please keep hillbillies pimping their daughters out to strangers from the pages of my funny books in the future. I would go into other aspects of the book but I respect our readership too much for that.

So if you’re looking for hackneyed, sexist drivel, pick up a copy at your LCS today.

REVIEW: Ant-Man #1

Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Review: Cody "Madman" Miller

To be totally honest I really wasn’t expecting much out of this title. When dealing with a new release from Marvel, one should proceed with caution and keep your expectations low. I have read no more then ten comics in which Ant-Man may have been involved, so I am by no means any form of Ant-Man expert. Rick Harrison will not be calling me into the shop any time soon for my Ant-Man related wisdom. Nope. Not even a little bit. Morbid curiosity and the lack of Ant-Man in my life had me putting this book onto my pull list a few weeks back. The $5 price tag almost got it thrown back up on the shelf, but Mark Brooks’ cover sent it home with me. The cover is undeniably my favorite part of this entire fiasco. Well, that and the little ants crawling all over the place. Sadly the joy stops here.

The reading got really dry really fast. The book starts out with the current Ant-Man, Scott Lang, shrinking down and trying to hack into Tony Stark’s Iron Man helmet. Ok, I’m interested. All of the sudden I’m surrounded by pages of flashbacks . . . and this is pretty much where I lost interest and started to skim.

We are also blessed with ex-wife drama in the form of a parenting dispute between Lang and Wasp. This is where I started to skim faster.

I read enough to learn that Lang is hacking Iron Man’s helmet for some sort of job interview. I’m not a big Iron Man reader either so maybe I’m out of the loop here but I didn’t realize Tony Stark was such a huge asshole. If this comic did anything it made me hate Tony Stark, at least how Spencer portrays him.

The art was really blah as well. Some of the backgrounds were impressive but that was about it.

I’m sure that the Ant-Man movie coming out in the relatively near future was a major factor pushing Marvel to put out this book. If that really is the case then it was an even bigger failure, at least to me. Not that the previews for the movie look all that spectacular themselves. Maybe it’s just me but I can’t get excited for Ant-Man. Not even a little bit. Damn you, Marvel. Enjoy my $5. You win this round.

Monday, January 12, 2015

REVIEW: The Markings 1 & 2

Writers/creators: James and Colin Krisel
Art and Covers: Bong Ty Dazo

The Markings combines high action, history, and fantasy into two action packed debut issues. We all needed an Indiana Jones fix after the much-maligned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ruined the franchise for an entire generation. Halfway through the first arc of The Markings I can safely say this new title is scratching that itch quite nicely.

Jack Lewis discovers a trend throughout history; mysterious tattoos that he believes are an ancient and forgotten written language consisting of runes. The problem is finding people who agree with his thesis. All detractors are soon disproven in a mix of high action and mystery. Sprinkle in some mysticism and you have one highly entertaining adventure story.

Issue one served as a solid set up, richly steeped in engaging historical background material. The wheels come off the wagon in issue two, giving us cover to cover action in an equally engaging and lavishly illustrated read.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Year in Review

Hey there, Auld Acquaintances. Another year, come and gone at the Hammond Comics Blog and I'm a loss for words. It's been a great year, solid reviews, in my opinion, from a steady group of writers, great interviews, and blue skies on the forecast for 2015.

Between the ups and downs of whatever scheme the Big Two are up to, to the latest Indy sleeper hit, we were butt-deep in books this year and all comers were welcome. From Saga to Death Moth, Spiderverse to Batman, all welcomed warmly.
Some kicked to the curb after reading . . .

I'd like to thank a few folks for their support, well-wishes, and/or good humor in putting up with us.
Julian Darius from Sequart, Jen Grünwald from the House of Ideas, and Jacqueline Sidmonds, all for being good folks to the HCB on the Twitter.