Thursday, December 21, 2017

C’est la Guerre: Sgt. Rock by King & Francavilla

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Preview art for page 1 of “Going Down Easy” by Francesco Francavilla.

So, I picked up the DC Holiday Special 2017, and came away really pleased. There are eleven very different stories in the book, including a nice frame by Jeff Lemire and Giuseppe Camuncoli. Other highlights include a tale of the Batman by Denny O’Neill and Steve Epting, and a Batman & Wonder Woman yarn by Greg Rucka and Bilquis Evely. The whole thing feels worth the $9.99 cover price, but I have to tell you, I would have happily paid more for the fourth story in the book all by itself. So you start with Tom King, add in Francesco Francavilla, and finish off with colorist Clem Robins for a wintry tale titled “Sgt. Rock in ‘Going Down Easy’,” at which point I am just throwing money at a retailer to get my hands on the book.

The trio deliver a tour-de-force that is exactly what comics can and should be. In eight pages – and let me say that again, eight pages – they deliver a complete, totally absorbing, edge-of-your seat story that had me hooked from panel 1, and that lands like a punch to the gut. Rock is telling the tale of Private Hammerman, separated from the rest of Easy Co. in a snow-covered forest with his prisoner, a German officer. A stray shell mortally wounds Hammerman, but he doesn’t die immediately, and his story plays out over the course of the following eight nights.

Art by Francavilla

Francavilla is the perfect choice for the piece, his loose lines, heavy blacks and sheer genius for tone make the frigid north European winter seep into the readers fingers, while King’s script pulls no punches whatsoever, his characters’ banter laced with steel and hate and death. “Going Down Easy” is one of the best war stories I’ve read this year, and the fact that King chose Rock and Easy Co. to tell it pretty much makes my holidays bright, and leaves me with a ravenous hunger for a longer Rock story from him. Rock is ripe for a return, and in these few pages, King shows that he knows exactly how to do it, so if you are listening DC, if Tom wants to do a 12-issue series with Rock – let him. In the name of all that is good and holy in this miserable world, let him.

And Tom, seriously, do a Sgt. Rock limited series! As for the rest of you: have a very merry holiday season, and may there be plenty of great comics under your tree this year!

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

C’est la Guerre: Titan Comics Announces Release Date for Forever Free.

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Forever Free #1. Art by Marvano.

Way back in February, writer Joe Haldeman and artist Marvano told Freaksugar that Gay Haldeman, who had back-translated the duo’s graphic adaptation of The Forever War, was doing the same for the sequel, Forever Free, to be published by Titan Comics. After almost a year, Titan announced Monday that Forever Free #1 would be shipping in April 2018. The news comes the same week that Titan’s re-issue of Haldeman and Marvano’s The Forever War hits bookstores nationwide as a graphic novel.

Both series/graphic novels are adaptations of books by Haldeman. First published in 1974, The Forever War won a Nebula Award in 1975, and the Hugo and Locus Sf awards in 1976, additionally, the book was praised by science fiction grandmaster Robert A. Heinlein as being perhaps “the best future war story I have ever read.” Forever Free, a direct sequel to the Forever War, was first published in 1999 and earned praise from Charles de Lint as being “everything good science fiction should be but so often isn’t: a grand adventure into what it means to be human, told through rich characterization and thoughtful scientific (not to mention religious) speculation that doesn’t lag for a moment.”

Volume 1 of the original 3-volume graphic novel adaptation of The Forever War was first published in a Dutch edition in 1988, and was later translated into French, Spanish, Polish, and Czech before being released in an English edition in late 1990. The adaptation didn’t sell well in the US, but was successful in Europe, leading to a further collaboration on Forever Free (published in French as Libre à Jamais), but Titan’s re-issue of The Forever War earlier this year was the first time the adaptation had been reprinted in the US in some 30 years, this time to great success, and even greater anticipation of this week’s graphic novel release.

Judging by the preview pages provide by Titan, Forever Free maintains the same high quality of the previous series, and Marvano’s art and panel work continues to be breathtaking, making full use of the comics medium in a way that far too few modern artists do. This one will be on my pull-list come April – and it ought to be on yours too.

Look for Titan to solicit Forever Free in February’s Previews, and pick up the graphic novel collection of The Forever War at your local comic shop or from Amazon today.

The post <strong><em>C’est la Guerre</em></strong>: Titan Comics Announces Release Date for <em>Forever Free</em>. appeared first on Freaksugar.

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