Saturday, March 28, 2015

Comic Reviews: Image's Descender and Marvel's Silk

Its been a while since we got together to talk comics, so I thought I’d write about some of my favorite books from the past weeks.

If you’re not already familiar with the name Jeff Lemire, then we need to get you on board fast. Lemire was first known to me through heart wrenching works on Top Shelf, such as the Essex County books and the Underwater Welder. Now the writer/artist is increasingly known for his singular takes on science fiction like Sweet Tooth or Trillium on the Vertigo imprint. Through it all, Lemire still captures the emotional tones of human drama.

Lemire returns to sci-fi with his new Image series, Descender. Descender is the story of a young robot who awakens to a devastated world where his kind have been outlawed and hunted. Artist Dustin Nguyen imbues Lemire’s edgy world with washes of vibrant watercolor, making Descender a beautiful book to read. The second printing of Descender’s first issue hits at the beginning of April if you’ve slept on this one.

I have a habit of getting swept up by first issues of books only to hop off the train quickly as the series progresses. So, I was understandably wary when I read the first issue of Silk, a new Spider book from Marvel. After the second issue dropped this month, Silk seems to avoid the typical tropes of superhero books and keeps me coming back. After introducing the Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos created character in Amazing Spider-Man, Silk has been given her own book. Bitten by the same spider that gave Peter Parker powers, Cindy Moon was freed from a bunker and is now rediscovering the world she left behind. Writer Robbie Thompson keeps things moving with plenty of action without sacrificing dense character developments along the way. He makes us care about the character, keeping much of Cindy’s background a mystery. Fans of TV’s Supernatural should recognize his name. Stacey Lee’s art has an almost old school Disney animation feel to it, which adds a romanticism to the pages.

Side question: as a person not often swept up by traditional superhero books, unless it’s Batman, I’m asking for suggestions as to where I should start with the Flash? I’ve been enjoying what the show is doing and would love to dip my toes into the book, but have no clue where to start!

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Q&A with Nerd Rockers, Kirby Krackle

With Emerald City Comicon almost upon us, I figured what better way to get ready for the show than a chat with Seattle Nerd Rock band, Kirby Krackle! The main man behind their music, Kyle Stevens took the time to chat about the new Kirby Krackle album, being a nerd, and ECCC...Enjoy!!

TheSteveStrout: First off, what is "nerd rock”?

Kirby Krackle: When I started KK in 2009, “nerd-rock” was a term that I felt encompassed all we wanted to write about and celebrate in comic books, video games, and geek culture. It still very much means that, but also I think it has evolved to mean anything you are really passionate about…kinda what being a nerd is all about, right? 

TSS: what does being a nerd mean to you?

KK: For me, it means a childhood growing up into adulthood really being passionate about certain fandoms and then being proud of what geek culture has evolved into. We have some days where we’re at our best for sure, but most of the time I think we do pretty good sharing our love of what we think is important and to be further celebrated with the rest of the world…and it’s safe to say in the past 5 years that the world has really taken notice of our culture in general.

TSS: For new fans, tell us about the band roots. I assume the name is based on the Jack Kirby art technique?
KK: Yep, it’s a tribute to the King and the creative originality he is still celebrated with having today. That kind of alchemy is something that is very inspirational to me whenever anyone puts it out into the world, and I can only hope to be associated with that level of artistic prowess someday.

TSS: Can you share a bit of your musical background?

KK: I feel very lucky to have grown up in Seattle during such an expressive and musically influential time for the entire world in the early 90’s. I was just a little kid hoping to get a guitar and be able to “kind of” play the songs in the back from Nirvana, Screaming Trees, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. These guys were my musical gods, and that time also is well known as being the big boom for comics and the Image explosion. I think out of the primordial soup came the beginnings of how people hear my music recorded now.

TSS: Tell us about the new album. What are some of your favorite tracks?

KK: The new album is called MUTATE, BABY! and is meant to said out loud as a kind of call to arms. A call to evolve and grow as a person and inspire the artist in each one of us. The question I hear more than anything at the convention booth or concert is “How did you do this?”. The answer isn’t some big complex riddle that only the privileged few have the opportunity to come across…the answer is you just do it. That’s what MUTATE, BABY! means to me…find what you’re capable of and blow your own mind…that’s my wish for everyone. To go with that idea, my favorite songs at the moment are “Reverie”, “Shooting Star”, and “The Day My Powers Arrived”.
TSS: Describe your writing process.
KK: For this entire album I would say that 90% of the hook ideas, melodies, etc came to me in the shower. That’s weird for me, but once I recognized it I just made sure I took a shower more than once a week. ;) When I was younger, it was all about the guitar riff, and then cycle everything around that. Now, it’s all about the hook and how fun it is to sing. It’s all about whether or not I have a good time playing it and singing it. If I do, chances are people will as well. If I don’t...
TSS: Where and when can we find the album?
KK: is the main stop for all things nerd-rock and KK. From there you can order physical albums, and link to iTunes, Bandcamp, and our streaming sites as well. When you support KK, you support small business and your patronage enables us to keep doing what we feel we do best in putting out more music, touring, etc. We also have a brand new Patreon campaign where hardcore fans can receive 2 Fan-Club exclusive songs that you won’t be able to buy anywhere else. 

TSS: Is there a tour in support of the new music in the works?

KK: For the past 6 years, our convention stops have been the way we tour. We are looking to switch things up a bit this year, and we’ll be announcing stops in the near future.
TSS: How rad was playing shows with Weird Al Yankovic? 

KK: How rad to do you think it was? Hahahaha…he was super nice and it was a dream and blur all at once. What a cool opportunity it was for us to have and I just tried to mentally record the entire thing. Playing an arena for the first time was the stuff of rock n roll dreams, and I hope it wasn’t my last time because I can’t wait to do that again. 

TSS: Have you guys played any of the new album live? How was the fan response?
KK: I’ve only played a few songs live from the new album so it’s hard to gauge how the response is so far! The new album is out today and I’ve been sitting at my computer all day trying to read the comments and reviews as I see them and so far people say it’s our best one yet…but we’ll have to see what they say after a few weeks. That’s the test for me…to see how long it lasts in someone’s car and if it bears repeated listens.

TSS: What are your favorite song(s) to play live?

KK: From the few I’ve played acoustically at shows over the past few months I would have to say “The Day My Powers Arrived” and “I Was Made To Haunt You”. Both very different kinds of songs with different arrangements so now the trick is how to play this record in a way that doesn’t feel that the fans AND I aren’t hearing them for the first time! 

TSS: If a new fan that hadn't heard you much were to pick up a Kirby Krackle album, what would you recommend?

KK: I always say our sophomore album E For Everyone is a good place to start; it has the low key tracks from our first album and also the harder sounds that we’ve evolved into. “Ring Capacity” is also on there…our ode to Green Lantern that many a Kracklehead say is their favorite nerd-rock jam no matter how hard I try to top it.

TSS: Is there a single song (or two) that best exemplify the Kirby Krackle sound?

KK: Off the top of my head I would say “Ring Capacity” and “Cosplay Queen”. I try to straddle the line between beautiful and chaos with my songs and those are examples of both leanings.

TSS: Tell us about Kracklefest and  your involvement with ECCC.

KK: I will be exhibiting this year at ECCC for the 7th year in a row and continuing the Friday night KRACKLEFEST nerd-rock variety show series on that Friday, March 27th. Nerd-core rapper Megaran and Death*Star will be performing as well as Orlando-based nerd-rock from Sci-Fried. It’s gonna be a blast and I can’t wait. Tickets are still available at and we encourage people to grab theirs in advance because it will sell out. 

TSS: This interview is about your music, but I must ask this irrelevant yet important question, what comic books are you currently reading? What other nerdy stuff do you guys get into?
KK: I’ve been binging on House Of Cards this past weekend and have been really excited about the new season of VIKINGS. I love that show so much and if everyone who digs Game Of Thrones took a little notice it would be everywhere. Saga and Walking Dead are always great month to month, and if you listen to the new album you can tell I’ve been putting in a lot of time in Titanfall these days! 
TSS: Is there anything you want to add or plug? Maybe some advice for aspiring musicians and fellow nerds?

KK: I can’t stress how much fun we’ve been having on our Patreon Fan Club and how much I want every Kracklehead to not miss out on anything there month to month…we’ve got some fun crazy stuff coming! Also, everyone has a voice that deserves to be heard and as a world we need more of those positive voices than ever. If you have something to say or make or sing…do those things because the time we have is now. Create and love…that’s at least what I feel it’s all about.

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Convention Season Giveaway!!

Let's kick off convention season with a little contest! Gonna give away a little nerdy grab bag containing the pictured items (possibly more, depending on the response) to a random follower.

To enter, make sure your following @thestevestrout on Instagram AND Twitter and share using the hash tag #comicbookswapmeet ...We will pick a random winner on April 30th. We appreciate the support! We're gonna be covering some awesome conventions and doing some awesome interviews over the coming months, so you'll be glad you followed and shared!

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New promo flyer! Check it out!

Check out our new promo flyer we had done to hand out at conventions! Thanks to comic artist James Taylor for the flyer! Go check out his webcomic, the Bully's Bully!