With Further Ado #271: Odds, Ends, and a New to Me Review

After working at Reed Expo as a Senior VP of Marketing, I ended up consulting for the huge trade show organization and focusing on New York Comic Con. In those early days, as sort of one step over from the consulting, I would also be on the Javits exhibition floor promoting Captain Action, and I had outstanding company.

Back then we had an “incoming class” of exhibitors who were working hard to make their entrepreneurial dreams reality through the magic of the comic convention. It was an impressive group of folks. We were all full of optimism and unafraid to roll up our sleeves and work hard. I can’t help but fondly remember creative entrepreneurs like like Brenden Deneen and Richard Emms of Ardden Entertainment, Gary Schaeffer and his Outer Space Men, Vincent Ferranti ‘s Witch Hunter, and so many others.

Anthony Del Col and Conner McCreery were an integral part of that early scene with their Kill Shakespeare series. They were always upbeat and enthusiastic, tirelessly promoting that very creative series while they shared their natural energy and enthusiasm with all the other exhibitors. Two great guys, fighting the good fight, and inspiring everyone else to do the same.

So, you can imagine how seeing Anthony Del Col at this year’s New York Comic Con was a such a treat from me. His graphic novel, Son of Hitler, published by Image Comics, is a treat too.

In this book, Del Col, and co-writer Geoff Moore, play with the long-standing rumor that Hitler secretly had a son with a Frenchwoman. We live in a time when it’s easier than ever to be ensorcelled by conspiracy theories (Ithaca College even offers a course in it, I recently learned), but this clever adventure goes way beyond that.

Here’s the official write-up:

She’s a British spy handler who, in the darkest days of World War II, discovers the way to stopping the Nazis is to find a French baker’s assistant. Who also happens to be Adolf Hitler’s illegitimate son.

When a trio of Nazi informants wash up on the shoes of Dover, spy handler Cora Brown is assigned their interrogation. Usually skeptical, she’s shocked when they reveal to her a secret only a handful of Nazis know: that during the first World War Hitler fathered a child in France.

Armed with these stolen Nazi files, she defies her orders and tracks down Pierre Moreau and convinces him to embark on a mission to find his biological father – and assassinate him. They make their way to Germany but discover that the road to discovery is filled with violence, spycraft, weird scientific experiments and death.

Will Pierre make it to Hitler and end the war? Or will they discover something else along the way?

SON OF HITLER is an acclaimed graphic novel of which NPR describes, “few war stories are this much fun.” If you like pulp spy thriller and alternative history thrillers like Inglourious Basterds, Man in the High Castle and the works of John Le Carre, you’ll love this page-turning yarn by acclaimed creators Anthony Del Col (Assassin’s Creed), Jeff McComsey (FUBAR) and newcomer Geoff Moore.

Jeff McComsey’s artwork is stylized and clever. He bathes each section of the story in a different color, giving it the feel of a black & white film with a heaping dollop of moody creativity.

Protagonist Cora Brown is a pip, and I wish there was a way we could read more of her adventures. This one is highly recommend. Oh, and if you want to catch up with everything that Pulitzer Prize winning author Anthony Del Col is doing, check out his page at AnthonyDelCol.com.

One the of the spookiest new comics I’m enjoying is Dwellings by Jay Stephens. It’s wonky and weird and brilliant. This series presents horror stories in the family friendly format of old Harvey Comics like Casper, Wendy and Richie Rich. I had stumbled across this one at the impressive Austin Books & Comics when I was SXSW last year, but now Hunter Gorinson and ONI Press are publishing the series.

Right before Halloween, I read Dwellings #2 and then an old issue of Wendy the Good Witch (rescued from the dollar bin’s at Wonderland Comics in Rochester). I kept waiting for some gruesome and macabre twist to the sweet little Wendy story. Dwellings has that kind of creepy effect on a reader. Will I ever be able to simply enjoy an issue of Hot Stuff’s Devil Kids again?