Sunday, March 26, 2006

CON SWAG: Wondercon & WWLA part 1

With every bigger con that I attend, I like to look around artist alley or small press for cool stuff to check out. Or I get handed books from other publishers, both pro and aspiring. Unfortunately, I'm so busy, I don't often get to all of it, but I always make an effort.

So, over the next few days I'll go ahead and do some quick reviews for stuff I picked up this last month from Wondercon and Wizard World LA, before I get even more goodies at this weekend's Emerald City Comic Con!

Here's the first two books:

Special Education – Convention Special Edition – 28 pages, $2.99
National Press Comics

Story/Concept – This one starts out with a brief but pivotal 1971 encounter between a hero and his arch enemy, wherein the villain is defeated only to be forced into serving rehabilitation as staff at a school for superhumans founded by the conquering hero. Skip ahead to the now, and we follow a powerless transfer student on his first day at the school.
Along the way we meet the usual archetypes, and familiar school trappings, but it’s all still fun enough to work anyways.

Writing – Like I alluded to, there’s not much in the first issue that breaks new ground, but it’s all done with enough touch that it still works. That’s a compliment mostly to the writing. There are some down right humorous lines here.

Art – Dave Dwonch serves double duty, and his artwork compliments the tone, and manages the same achievement as the writing, bringing enough flair to stand out.

Overall – RECOMMENDED - I could see following this as an ongoing, there’s promise here, in both art and writing. The concept is the weak point, so if the formula doesn’t change up, or have some wrinkles, I could see interest waning. However, I’d still give this one a shot. It’s good.

Mr. Massive – Preview Edition – B&W, 12 pages, $6
Explosive Comics

Story/Concept – I’m not really sure, the preview runs only 10 pages and we’re not treated to any kind of origin. We do know Mr. Massive is a teenage student that transforms into a super being, balancing school with powers. So we’re playing with familiar territory here, a la Invicible, or characters like Savage Dragon’s Mighty Man etc.

Writing (Jeff McClelland) – The writing here was at times great, and others a bit confusing. The book starts off really nice with a big splash entrance, and along the way there’s some witty dialogue.

Art (Artboy X) – As with the writing, the art varies. Overall it’s good, but at times it’s really strong, in the vein of Ed McGuiness, and other times a bit rushed.

Overall – RECOMMENDED(for the series) MILDLY RECOMMENDED(for the preview book at this price point) - This book shows promise in both departments to check out more. As with Special Education, it’s up to where the creator takes things, and if they can deliver on their potential. Especially if Artboy X is complimented by Mike Adams colors as he is in the first 5 pages.


Jason Berek-Lewis said...

INteresting to see Mr Massive Get off the ground. I spoke to Jeff about doing some work on another concept of his a few years ago ... Nothing worked out though.I thought this was being published by GiGa Studios, but obvioulsy not!

Jason Martin said...

Well, it's Explosive Comics and actually. I just assumed Explosive was the publisher proper...

The preview book does list another title, Black Spade, that features some really nice looking art, and there is an ad for a "Talent Search" that call to visit for more info.

Small world/industry. 8)

Anonymous said...

The preview book of Mr. Massive was just that - a preview. I think it was only meant to give readers a vague idea of what they'll be getting into. It is mentioned the book is only " MILDLY RECOMMENDED(for the preview book at this price point)", but the price listed on the cover of the preview was more of a joke. The preview book is actually something that was given away for free.

Issue one of Mr. Massive will go on sale at the San Diego Comic-Con. Look for the Explosive Comics/ Giga Studios table there.
Can't wait - learn more at

Jason Martin said...

You're right, for a preview it was fine (perhaps I shouldn't have used my full critic structure on a preview), but sorry, I had no idea the price was a joke... that was the only reason I couldn't recommend it higher.
I did really like it!
(and that's why I gave the series a recommended)

Look forward to seeing you (and hopefully more Mr Massive) at SDCC!!

Jeff McClelland said...

Hi Jason and, uh, Jason.

I just had this page pointed out to me. What a thrill to see a review! Thanks for all of the comments, Mr. Martin.

As my friend 'anonymous' pointed out, the preview book was given out for zero dollars, so it was at least worth the price of admission (heh). And as for Mr. Massive's amazing origin story, we're releasing that as a web-exclusive tale at (the site is in progess), again, free of charge.

Be sure to stop by the Giga Studios table at Comic-Con International! We'll have Mr. Massive issue #1, Explosive Comics' second release, "Oh! The Horror!", and a bunch of other swag to check out. It should be lots of fun. Both Artboy and I will be there signing stuff and, in general, looking lost in the sea of people.

Jason Martin said...

Jeff, Great, thanks for stopping by.

I did enjoy the book.

We'll have to talk at SDCC, where are you guys exhibiting?
Small Press?
table space?

If I don't see ya (it's a zoo!), hope you have a good show!