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In Passing...Bulleteer to Generation M

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So I finally got a chance to catch up on my comic reading since the craziness of Christmas. Here are my mini-reviews for last week's comics...

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #2 (of 4) - One of the best Seven Soldiers issues to date. In this issue, we get the answers to some burning questions from Seven Soldiers #0, like what exactly happened to the heros in Arizona? What were the circumstances that brought them together? The answers involve racism and monsters. Just awesome. 9.4/10

The Book of Lost Souls #3 - J. Michael Straczynski and Colleen Doran's "Icon" book continues as our mystery man visits another soul content with destroying herself, this one being an artist whose boyfriend overdosed. I liked the issue, despite a nagging feeling that the writer was being a little pretentious. 7.1/10

Runaways #11 - The runaways continue their adventure in the Big Apple as they confront Spider-man, bluff drug pushers and are inevitably attacked by a certain superhero group on …

Another Christmas come and gone...

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What I got for Christmas this year...

Graphic novels/Trades:
- The Cute Manifesto
- Excaliber Classics (volume 1)
- Catwoman: When In Rome

Novels:
- The Historian

DVDs:
- Anastasia
- Closer
- Open Water (I actually went to rent movies at my mom's and it was 20 cents more to buy it, so she just got it for me...) (I also watched War of the Worlds and Sideways on Xmas Eve)

misc.:
- lots of candy
- a burned Xmas CD
- chardonnay
- a book light
- a wallet
- socks
- DVD-Rom cases
- utensils
- money
- lots of Barnes & Noble giftcards
- a Target giftcard

I already used part of my Target card on House of Flying Daggers the DVD and picked up Robotika #1 and Sword of Dracula #1 from Big Brain in Minneapolis (and food) with my money.

And Patrick got...

Graphic Novels/Trades:
- Essential Spider-woman (volume 1)
- DC Showcase Presents...JLA (volume 1)
- Night Fisher
- Bambi and Her Pink Gun
- Hino Horror (volumes 1 and 2)
- Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four (volume 9)

Novels:
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

DVDs:
-

Spider-woman: Origin

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Like most people around this time of year, I've been busy at work and shopping for presents, so I haven't been updating as often as I wish I could. I'll be going home for Christmas for a few days starting tomorrow as well, so I won't have time to read comics, let alone discuss them, but I promise to be more consistent when I return. Yesterday, a UPS truck broke down on its way to Wisconsin, so no Wisconsin comic stores received their shipments until today, which was annoying enough, but hey, I got them and that's what counts, right? (well, all but Grimoire #7 and Mome, but that's the local store's fault for not ordering enough) But anyways, I did have time to read a comic before I resume packing and head in to my last day at work before having a five day stretch off...

Spider-woman: Origin #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed, with art by the Luna Brothers (favorites of mine)! The rise of Jessica Drew... This issue was pretty basic, lendi…

X-Factor

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The debut issue of another X-Factor series launched this past week, from the minds of Peter David and Ryan Sook. If you recall, a few years ago Peter David wrote a Marvel Knights mini-series called Madrox, about the Multiple Man who we see in this new series leading a band of detective/heroes through his X-Factor Detective Agency. The new X-Factor is a sequel of sorts to this story, including the likes of Strong Guy and Wolfsbane, who were seen in that initial mini, as well as bringing in some fresh blood in the forms of Siryn, Rictor and M (who did not appear in this first issue, although she was mentioned). Madrox's relationship to his clones was explored in that mini-series, including the idea of him sending clones out over the world and reabsorbing them (and the information they gained), as well as his lack of control over the personalities and actions of the clones he produces. This interesting idea is picked up in the new series, indeed almost immediately, as Madrox confron…

In Passing...DMZ to Secret War

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Fables #44 - Part three of the "Arabian Nights (And Days)" storyline deals with the repercusions of Sinbad's friend, Yusuf, letting the djinn out of the bottle last issue, as the conflict is diffused in an unexpected way thanks to some astute Fabletown citizens. 8.5/10

Secret War #5 (of 5) - This has been a pretty lacklustre series. The art, painted by one Gabriele Dell'Otto, is great, but that's about all it's had going for it. This issue is all about the explanations, which were nothing that warranted this series to have been conceived of in the first place. 2.8/10

DMZ #2 - Intern Matthew Roth explores a dangerous "war zone" city with Zee, who keeps him alive long enough to talk him into carrying out his news crew's assignment and report on what really goes on in the DMZ. 6.4/10

And from the pages of Shojo Beat (Volume 2, Issue 1)...

Nana - Nana attempts to find bandmates for her roomie as she realizes she's been acting unfair to her boyfriend…

In Passing...Spider-man to Mr. Miracle

Ultimate Spider-man #87 - Despite the disappointing "cool down" issue of the previous Ultimate Spider-man story arc "Warriors," Bendis has been on top of his game lately with the old Webhead. This new arc "Silver Sable" is just plain awesome (and not just because I'm partial to the obscure mercenary!) The Wild Pack mistakenly kidnaps Flash Thompson, thinking he's the man behind Spidey, while Mary Jane is completely jealous after seeing Peter with Kitty. Ayeyay. The high school soap opera, as always, is just as interesting and suspenseful as the heroics. 9.5/10

Necromancer #3 - What started out as a very promising series falls quickly into a silly "girl using magic" comic with this issue, as a mentor figure arrives out of nowhere to save Abigail from the clutches of...government officials in league with demons? Ugh. The only Top Cow book I've ever liked has just become another Top Cow book I'll never read. 4.8/10

New Excalib…

Y-the Last Man #40 (Spoiler)

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Brian K. Vaughan's Y-the Last Man #40 is another stand-alone issue focusing on secondary characters of the series. And is it just me or do the stand-alones seem to be better than the on-going plot? This series has gotten pretty silly as it's progressed, but there are still a few decent things happening beyond all of the crap. This particular issue is kind of a follow-up on events from a while back, where Yorick meets a woman named Beth (not his girlfriend Beth, but another one) who is hiding out in a church. Finally, we get the answer to questions brought up at that time - about what has become of the catholic church since the plague struck. It was a little disappointing, as they're merely searching the world for miraculaous conceptions. A little desparate, I guess. We also get to find out what little secret Beth's been hiding since Yorick took leave of her - particularly the little bun in her oven (did anyone out there believe that that wasn't going to happen?)…

My Favorite CDs of the Year

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1. Confessions on a Dance Floor - Madonna
Key Tracks: Hung Up, Sorry, How High, Push

2. Bleed Like Me ~ Garbage
Key Tracks: Why Do You Love Me, Metal Heart, Boys Wanna Fight, Why Don't You Come Over

3. Plans ~ Death Cab for Cutie
Key Tracks: Marching Bands of Manhatten, Summer Skin, Your Heart Is an Empty Room, Crooked Teeth

The Walking Dead: Heart's Desire

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The fourth collection of Robert Kirkman's zombie saga, The Walking Dead collects issues 19 - 24 of the ongoing series, this story entitled "The Heart's Desire." But if you're looking for zombies this time around, you're going to be hard-pressed. Aside from the opening scene where another character joins the small group, there is little zombie action, but instead focuses on the delicate relationships between the existing characters within the safety of the prison they stumbled upon with the last collection. The new character that joins the group, Michonne, makes her debut slicing and dicing the zombies with a sword like a swashbuckling superhero, two zombies in tow without arms or jaws to render them incapable of attack. An unsettling appearance, but thus is the world left for the ones who have survived. There's an over-the-top speech given at the end of the volume that causes one (or maybe just me) to roll their eyes, but other than that, it was good clea…

In Passing...Fell to Kitty Pryde

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Fell #3 - Another self-contained issue of Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's noir series came out this past week, with our favorite law enforcer caught in the sights of a suicide bomber. I didn't like this issue as much as the first two issues of the series. I just thought it was a little dull in comparison without any real detective work and just a lack of action overall. Ellis showcased the quirkiness of Snowtown once again via a stroll through the street, where we saw a couple of shady figures, including the always-present nun wearing a Richard Nixon mask. 5.4/10

New Avengers #13 (spoilers) - The Silver Samurai confronts the Avengers and Ronin's true identity is revealed as Echo. Now, Echo as Ronin? Thirteen issues of being on the cover and then she decides to stay in Japan at the end and not be with the Avengers. Marvel needs to settle down with the cover campaigns as usual, instead of jumping the gun. The reveal was a big letdown, as anyone who hasn't read Daredevi…

Soft Anchor

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My autobiographical comic (mini comic) Soft Anchor is now available at Quimby's. The first issue is about events in my life that took place when I was seven years old. I grew up in an abusive household and my first real sexual experience with a neighbor boy take place during this year. I sent a preview copy to the store, so they should be posting a review sometime in the near future, and I will be sending copies to other stores as well, so be on the lookout if you don't want to pay for shipping! The first issue is entitled "Not a Ladybug." I'm presently working on the second issue which I have no name for as of yet.

Obligation fulfilled

I actually kept my New Year's resolution this year. Since graduating with my English BA degree, I haven't read much in terms of novels. Last year, I read only three books the entire year. Which was totally pathetic, having had to read two or three books a month in college. So, my New Year's resolution for this year was to read at least one novel a month. And I did.

January: Mansfield Park ~ Jane Austin
February: The Folding Star ~ Alan Hollinghurst
March: Northanger Abbey ~ Jane Austin
April: From Hell ~ Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell
May: Pride and Prejudice ~ Jane Austin
June: Little Women ~ Louisa May Alcott
July: Persuasion ~ Jane Austin
August: The Mysteries of Udolpho ~ Ann Radcliffe
September: Mysterious Skin ~ Scott Heim
October: The Diary of a Teenage Girl ~ Phoebe Gloeckner
November: Madame Bovary ~ Gustave Flaubert
December: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ~ J.K. Rowling

Obviously I finished my December book well ahead of schedule, so if anyone thinks From Hell

Top 10 Comics of 2005

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Continuing my list of my favorite ten comics of the year...

10. Girls by the Luna Brothers (Image Comics). I really didn't know much about this comics before I picked up the trade, but I'm glad I bought it. It takes place in a small town, very down-to-earth, a little hickish. But then strange things begin to happen involving a girl that was picked up naked on the roadside. It feels really strange when things happen that shouldn't just because it seems so grounded in this all-American community. You kind of feel the shock that these people must be feeling. It's really interesting, even if the metaphors are pretty blatant. It's kind of a screwed-up horror book. Very fun.

9. The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Saturday Rainy Day Fun Book by Chris Ware (Pantheon) Collecting Ware's comic strips from Rusty Brown to Jimmy Corrigan, from Quimby the Mouse to Big Tex, this book has it all: an ongoing strip that threads through the entire book, a comic…

Top 20 Comics of the Year: Part One

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Okay, it's that time of year again, where lists dominate the internet, overwhelming us, pulling us this way and that. My list may not be a traditional view of the top twenty comics that have come out this past year, but they are the twenty I personally enjoyed the most. I'm not going to put something in my list just because I feel obligated to do so. And so, this is the first half of the best of the year...

20. Seven Soldiers: Guardian by Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart (DC Comics) The new Manhatten Guardian surprised me by becoming my favorite of the maxiseries Seven Soldiers so far. I wasn't expecting much, but the creative zaniness of this story just worked, with each issue seeming like a story in its own right, all different from one another, but all great nonetheless.

19. Moraby Phil Harmon (Image Comics) A strange, disturbing horror story with three storylines drifting and overlapping through four issues. Read more

18. Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham …

In passing...Black Widow to Zatanna

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This past week was another slow one, as only a few comics came out for me. Aside from Frankenstein, here's what I read...

Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #3 (of 6) - It's never a good sign when you have to go back through a comic to refresh yourself as to what happened... These past two Black Widow mini-series have been entertaining, but nothing to brag about. Devin Grayson and Greg Rucka's explorations of the Russian spy's escapades (under the Marvel Knights imprint also) were much better, as stories that had focus, lively characters, cool moments...in other words, everything Richard K. Morgan's versions don't have. Really, the only thing this series has going for it is the art, and even then, Bill Sienkiewicz is only doing the finishes. 4/10

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4 (of 4) - The wacky tale of magic comes to a head here as Zatanna has a cosmic magical battle. Chalk-full of those cool moments and interesting characters that I mentioned before, Zatan…

Patrick's Top 10 of 2005

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(I'll get around to posting my favorites of the year soon, but take a look at Patrick's list now...)

1.Walt & Skeezix by Frank King, edited by Jeet Heer, Chris Oliveros & Chris Ware

2. Black Hole by Charles Burns

3. The Complete Peanuts 1955 to 1956 & The Complete Peanuts 1957 to 1958 by Charles Schulz, edited by Gary Groth

4. Krazy & Ignatz 1935 to 1936: "A Wild Warmth of Chromatic Gravy" by George Herriman, edited by Bill Blackbeard

5. The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Saturday Rainy Day Fun Book by Chris Ware

6. Hanshin by Moto Hagio (as appeared in The Comics Journal #269)

7. Kramer's Ergot 5, edited by Sammy Harkham

8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley

9. The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, edited by Adrian Tomine

10. Superf*ckers by James Kochalka

Honorable Mentions:

Mome, Summer 2005, edited by Gary Groth & Eric Reynolds

The Dial and Other Stories by Chris Reynolds

Showcase Presents: Superm…

Previews: February '06

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What goodies are in store for us in February of next year...?

Antarctic Press:
- Alice In Wonderland #1 (of 4) - The cover of this solicitation caught my attention, but I didn't realize it was the creator of Neotopia until I read the captions later.

Archaia Studios Press:
- Mouse Guard: Belly of the Beast #1 (of 6) - This looks so damn cute. I love the art of the series.

Dark Horse:
- Hellboy: Makoma, or, A Tale Told By a Mummu in the New York City Explorers' Club on August 16, 1993 #1 (of 2) - Mike Mignola on a new Hellboy mini!

- Lady Snowblood (volume 3): Retribution part 1 - The first Lady Snowblood trade was great. It's a treat when I see a new one is coming out.

- Octopus Girl (volume 1) - The cover for this book looks awesome. You gotta love those great Japanese horror manga.

DC:
- Showcase Presents: House of Mystery (volume 1) - Isn't that a great cover? This volume includes work by artists such as Gil Kane and Neal Adams.

- Manhunter #19 - A new Manhunter is always welco…

Morrison's Frankenstein

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Will Grant Morrison ever cease to amaze? He must be the best writer working in mainstream comics right now (at least now that Alan Moore is "retiring"). In his new Seven Soldiers mini-series, Frankenstein, Morrison pairs up with Doug Mahnke, whose pencils perfectly compliment the writing of this monster title in all its dark, moody glory. In the opening scene, we are introduced to our main character, although most of the issue takes place over a hundred years later, depicting events that lead to his reappearance. For the most part, this issue follows a high school and the startling transformations that take place due to an outcast nicknamed "Uglyhead," who suddenly has the ability to hear the other students' thoughts, and uses those thoughts against them to bend them to his will. There are maggot monsters and Sheeda and cool action scenes. This is easily the most impressive debut of a Seven Soldiers title. And now that Frankenstein has returned, it'll be i…

In Passing...Deadly Genesis to Manhunter

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Since I don't like to spoil much in terms of plot, I'm going to start giving grades to my mini-reviews, out of ten points...

Runaways #10 - The runaways have gone to New York to aid Cloak in his quest to clear his name. And the kids get to meet some big time heroes. Is it just me or was there something really cool about She-Hulk walking by and the kids getting all starstruck? 9/10

Manhunter # 16 - Manhunter meets Mr. Bones and is presented with a proposition (following a fight with Skorpio, who has a really cool, sleak look even if he wasn't much of a fight). The status quo just doesn't like to stand still for very long in this book, as things are on shaky ground and shifting once more. 9.1/10

Fables #43 - Something interesting is brewing here, between Beauty and Prince Charming and Beast, between the animal farm and New York, between the Arabian fables and all of the others. It'll be interesting to see where all of this takes us. 8.5/10

X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1 - This…

Mora

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Mora is a strange little tale, written and illustrated by Paul Harmon, from Image Comics. This four-issue mini is the "first act" of Mora, with maybe more to come? It didn't sell very well at all, but a lot of Image titles are extremely low on the sales charts and continue nonetheless. Mora consists of three stories that weave between the four issues, told by the narrators - a mutilated tortoise and hare. The story involving a young girl named Mora is about how this young girl befriends another girl in the city of witches, and has some odd "sixth sense" about her. In this city of witches, there are many dangerous creatures lurking about, crazed demons and child-devouring monsters, of which Mora and her friend learn through experience. The second story is almost exclusively related by the narrators, as sort of a fable, about a lion whose black soul consumes it, causing it to inevitably devour its own mother and her cubs. The third and final storyline is o…

5 Worst Comics of 2005

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It's almost that time of year again when the "best of" lists appear all across the internet and on TV. Comics Reporter just linked to Amazon's Editors' and Customers' picks for ten best graphic novels of the year. Included in the editors' picks were lame things like Sin City volume one's second edition and Marvel 1602. What is going on over there? Not that the customer picks were any better. They were almost all humor collections. I'm not quite ready to do my "best of" list for the year, but I am ready to proclaim the worst comics of the year. Not that I read many comics that I'm sure would be in this list. I didn't read like, Tarot Witch of the Black Rose or whatever the hell that atrociously oversexed comic is, or other comics that I knew were awful. So, this list is really the worst five comics that I was subjected to this year. Enjoy and by God, pass on by when you see these titles in the store...

1. Gimoles by Mike Bullock an…

DMZ

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DMZ #1 by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli

The DMZ is the area that lies between two opposing American forces, comprising of the island of Manhatten. It's basically ground zero, a war zone, where civilians still live, wishing no part of either side's war. These civilians have become rather ruthless, stringing up bodies of any outsiders, laying down rules for different "territories" or neighborhoods. It's basically a gang-ruled area completely abandoned by America's two opposing forces. The first issue of the series works as a fantastic introduction as we follow an intern thrown into a news crew that is going into the DMZ to report on the type of life that the rest of the Americas can only imagine. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned and our intern ends up alone in this hostile environment, fighting to survive. If the rest of this series follows suit, this could be a really great series. My hopes weren't the highest when picking this book…

New Excaliber

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Chris Claremont and Michael Ryan's new incarnation of Excaliber launched on Wednesday. Yes, I gave Claremont one more chance to not completely and utterly suck. Given my affection for the original Excaliber, I couldn't just let this one go by without giving it a look. So...the new team includes (as can be seen by the cover) Captain Britain, Dazzler, Pete Wisdom, Nocturne and Juggernaut of whom Captain Britain and Wisdom were part of the original team. Also appearing in the first issue were Excaliber favorites Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers and Lockheed. Even Courtney Ross, an old foe of the team, appears in the book. Meggan, my favorite Excaliber character after Pryde, was notably absent, which was addressed by her husband, Captain Britain. We may see her in issues to come - who knows? So, was it good? Shockingly, it was pretty good. The dialogue was kind of clumsy at times and the comic was a little crowded, which seems to be Claremont's trademark style these d…

In Passing...Polly to The Pulse

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While last week was kind of a bust for comics released, plenty was released this week to satisfy the avid fan of the medium.

The Book of Lost Souls #2 - Colleen Doran and J. Michael Straczynski's "Icon" book from marvel actually made sense this time. It was a neat issue, drifting between a fairt tale world a housewife imagined herself a part of and well, reality. It wasn't exactly mind-blowing or anything, but it was a solid story to give us a taste of what the book is going to be like.

Polly and the Pirates #2 - Ted Naifeh's new mini-series about a little girl kidnapped by pirates continues in this funny, charming little comic. This is very different from the gloomy atmosphere of Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin, yet his artwork compliments this story all the same.

The Pulse #12 - Jesus Christ, this kid is never going to come out! How many issues do we have to wait to get a glimpse of the kid? Oh, wait, yeah, he was on the cover from issue one of the storyarc. G…

Independent Films

Okay, here's a fun meme I saw at Tom the Dog's blog...It's Empire Magazine's 50 Greatest Independent Films. So, go ahead and copy it if you want and have fun (I changed the rules because I'm not computer savvy and don't know how to strike through letters)

Blue the ones you've seen and liked.
Red the ones you've seen and which you didn't like or which are just plain overrated.
Italicize the ones you haven't seen but want to.
Underline the ones you haven't seen and don't want to.
Don't do anything to the ones you've never heard of.

1. Reservoir Dogs - Quentin Tarantino's awesome. Good choice.
2. Donnie Darko - I love this movie but it's kind of annoying how it's become such a big cult classic. Whatever. Anyway, it's too high on the list. Although this was the movie that introduced us to Jake Gyllenhaal (drool)
3. The Terminator - Okay, if Terminator's on here....where's Star Wars? This is a crappy, hastily-strewn to…

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

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I finished Phoebe Gloeckner's The Diary of a Teenage Girl this evening, a hybrid of narrative and comics about a young girl, Minnie, growing up in San Francisco with her single mother and sister. It was a really unique experience. It's told in diary format, so it's not exactly like I felt like I was doing what she was doing, but yet I felt myself get really anxious when she was stressed or confused, and really mad at the people who used her. As the novel progressed and her life spiraled more and more out of control, I felt a sense of hopelessness along with her, and the depression she suffered was instilled in me. I think it's a really great work of art that can convey those feelings so absolutely upon their readers. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is very honest and almost naive in a way, as Minnie pours out her heart in detail, indiscriminate of bad/good behavior. Her choices are kind of left for the readers to make sense of and condemn or not. I really enjoyed P…

In Passing...The Bulleteer & Spidey

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It was kind of a slow week for comics (which was kind of nice since I'm flat broke). I had to pass on the trades I wanted for the week (Catwoman: When In Rome and Excaliber Classics), and settled in with a few floppies.

Seven Soldiers: The Bulleteer #1 - Another very promising start to a Seven Soldiers title. I think its debut was second only to The Guardian. While it was very straight-forward, it was just well-executed and creative and fun. Even when we see the cliche scientist getting carried away with his experiment, there's a great twist on it. Grant Morrison's awesome. Now we only have to wait for the last series to debut - Frankenstein!

Ultimate Spider-man #85 - This was a pretty lacklustre finale to what has been a great storyline. I was really excited with each of the last issues I read from this "Warriors" arc, but was left a little cold with this one. Ah, well. Overall, it was a great read. I consider this a kind of a "cool down" issu…

Season of the Witch

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Jai Nitz and Kevin Sharpe's Season the Witch mini-series made its debut this past Wednesday with the issue entitled "Spring." Me, loving the witch genre of comics, had to check it out of course. I actually really liked the interior art of the book, despite the book's horrible cover by the same artist (I like how they advertise for this artist formerly working on Crossgen. What does that even mean? Shouldn't they have at least used a specific title or something?). Beyond the art, however, there's not much more going on. The story is about a mistreated girl (her parents are poor, so kids pick on her, yadda yadda yadda(even though I've never seen a kid picked on based on income before...does that even happen?)) who gets the chance to leave her crappy life behind to become a warrior in a mystical world. Very mediocre story, barely holds my interest, but God, the next issue has a great variant Darwyn Cooke cover. I can stick it out for one more issue. …

The Chuckling Whatsit

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And just in time for Halloween, I had enough time to squeeze in another book appropriate for the season, Richard Sala's The Chuckling Whatsit. This is quite a crime noir book, complete with lunatics escaped from the asylum, a band of thugs and people tiptoeing around every which way, watching everyone. There's a huge host of characters and more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at. At its heart, this is quite a mystery, but the horror elements are close to the surface of the story as well. The Gull Street Ghoul has returned after a long absence to kill fortune tellers, boasting a mask sewn from human flesh. There are black crows galour and creepy, laughing dolls that get under your skin. A perfect book to read on a dark and stormy night. And Richard's Sala has such a unique, great style that's it's just fun to look at the panels and the dark atmosphere he presents.

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #1

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Finally! After a week of agonizing anticipation, your curiosity will be sated. The number one book to read for Halloween! But first let's have a quick recap, shall we?

10. Uzumakiby Junji Ito

9. Skinwalker by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, Brian Hurtt & Arthur Dela Cruz

8. Spellbinders by Mike Carey and Steve Perkins

7. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore & Charlie Adlard

6. 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith

5. The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli & Steve Parkhouse

4. Mnemovore by Hans Radionoff, Ray Fawkes & Mike Huddleston

3. Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters by John Rozum and Paul Lee

2. Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh
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1. Dampyr, written by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo, art by Majo
Yes, IDW Publishing, the company that specializes in horror has produced a comic worthy to be named the best book to read for Halloween. However, it's not written by S…

Mark of the Succubus

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Succubi have always been one of my favorite monsters (well, since Morrigan of the Darkstalkers cartoon). So, I was happy to hear about a series that featured one of the conniving demons, with a really classic twist. Mark of the Succubus is written by Ashly Raiti with art by Irene Flores, published by Tokyopop. It's American manga, so it's published in regular book format. I think it's got pretty good art all the way through the book, although the dots used for shading can be a bit much at times. There's one scene where a character changes into a blackbird, his arm changing first, completely encased in feathers that pull out from shoulder to forearm as he transforms - it's just a really cool drawing. So, the book is about a succubus-in-training who has just earned her permit to walk among the humans, and has unwittingly fallen for a human boy (and of course, one of the demon rules is not to get attached to humans). The boy is an unmotivated kid who's having trou…

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #2

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I haven't read too many "gothic" comics like Emily the Strange and Lenore, but I have read Ted Naifeh. I didn't much care for Gloom Cookie, but I loved the series that put him on the map...

2. Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh
A sarcastic, bitter little girl claims the second-highest spot in the countdown, as she is deep in the world of witchcraft and monsters (her uncle Aloysius is a warlock, after all). The Eisner-award nominated Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things was the first book in the series that introduced us to Naifeh's universe of clawed hands and gloomy atmosphere. After that was my favorite of the series, Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics, followed soon after by Courtney Crumrin In the Twilight Kingdom. There's a werewolf character who haunts the woods near Courtney's house who appears in each of the volumes, along with a few other supporting characters, who becomes a sort of friend as the series progresses, if not a great source for …

In Passing...Superf*ckers to Lost Souls

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The Book of Lost Souls #1 - J. Michael Straczynski and Colleen Doran's new title published under the exclusive "Icon" imprint is a fantasy that spans from about the Victorian Era to the present, following a character as his hurt leads him to seek a way to end it all, but ends up with a mysterious book, and eventually having to choose before a creature bathed in darkness which side of the line he walks he will fall on - good or evil. I really like Colleen Doran's work on A Distant Soil, so I wasn't surprised that I liked the art of this series, although I was pleasantly surprised by the coloring - it really stood out as sensational (done by Dan Brown). Straczynski's story didn't exactly blow me away, but the dialogue was dead-on. I love the talking cat and what he represents in the scene he's involved in. The art and tone were easily enough to hold my interest had the storytelling been lacking (which is wasn't - it was more just a bare bones set-up…

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #3

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There have been few good series of horror that kind of skate the line of superheros. The late Crossgen's Route 666 was one of them, as were Joss Whedon's television shows Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel (best damn TV ever) and his future slayer tale Fray from Dark Horse. Going into the top three books for Halloween, we find another such book, again from Vertigo/DC, again uncollected in trade format...(images courtesy of Mile High Comics)

3. Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monstersby John Rozum and Paul Lee
The Kadmons are world-famous monster hunters. Their adventures were first recorded in the eight-issue mini-series Midnight, Mass (taking place in Midnight, Massachusettes), and have been followed up in Here There Be Monsters with a grander story (probably due to the fact that the series was supposedly going to be picked up as a television series. Sales certainly didn't warrant a sequel). Their greatest foe is a demon named Magellan, whose ambitions reach new heights in …

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #4

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I've enjoyed many Vertigo-ish horror comics that have come out in recent years. Obviously, some are better than others. Some books that were good but didn't make my countdown that have the same feel as Vertigo titles are The Blackburne Covenant and The Devil's Footprints. Both are by Dark Horse, if I'm not mistaken. But the book holding the number four slot is truly Vertigo...

4. Mnemovoreby Hans Rodionoff, Ray Fawkes, and Mike Huddleston. One of the true, great horror books I've read in recent years just came to a conclusion this past September. Mnemovore is a six-issue mini-series that follows Kaley after a skiing accident left her without many memories from her life. We follow in her footsteps as she reacquaints herself with family and friends frustrated with her condition, slowly regaining the memories she has lost. But there's something else there in her memories, in the lives of those around her, just out of the periphery of her vision. Something that does…

Previews: January '06

It's once again time to highlight those eye-catching items in Previews that may escape some people's radar...

Avatar Press
~ Blackgas - Warren Ellis does zombies!

Dark Horse
~ Scary Book (volume 1): Shadows - This is by the "Stephen King of Japan," Umezu Kazuo. Junji ito was influenced by this guy. This is going to be awesome!

DC Comics
~ All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #4 - Black Canary makes an appearance! I can only imagine...

~ Manhunter #18 - The covers are drawn by Jesus Saiz again! Yay! Oh, and Manhunter gets a recurring villain!

~ Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #2 - Of the Seven Soldiers books, this one looks most appealing to me. Mister Miracle #3 also comes out this month. I think its debut was the only issue I've not liked of a Seven Soldiers book thus far.

~ The Exterminators #1 - I saw a preview of this at Chicago Wizard World, and I was intrigued. I'll definitely give it a shot.

~ Fables #45 - The "Arabian Nights (and Days)" arc c…

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #5

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Continuing with the countdown, we move on to one of the most celebrated series in comics, the series Vertigo/DC is probably best know for, and the one to put Neil Gaiman on the map.

5. The Sandman: The Doll's Housewritten by Neil Gaiman, art by Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli and Steve Parkhouse. The Sandman series is a very strange work overall, but strange turns to scary in the second volume of the series. So appropriately enough, Clive Barker writes the introduction for the collection. The Sandman follows the title character and his siblings that make up the Endless, which includes Death, a character who has become popular in her own right, who is present when the story begins, setting the tone. As with most of the stories in the series, a human is focused upon. This time around, it's Rose, a teenaged girl with multi-colored hair who is moving into a new apartment building with some strange, eccentric tenants, including the Spider-women, a …