Showing posts from July, 2007

Picks of the Week: 8/1

Dave’s pick:
Awakening #1 - Archaia Studios Press’ track record usually compels me to check out anything they’re offering that slightly interests me. It’s usually just great, high quality stuff. This particular comic is a ten-issue series written by Nick Tapalansky, with art by Alex Eckman-Lawn. It’s a zombie book, but a slow-building one high with tension that begins with a few missing-persons and some grisly murders. Check out the preview. . Patrick’s Pick: . Mushishi (Volume 2) GN - Wow. I thought this was going to come out more frequently. I have dim recollections of the first volume of this, released back in January, being very good. Mushi-hunter Ginko’s adventures continue in this second volume from writer/artist Yuki Urushibara. Check it out, won’t you?

Manga Monday 40

This week Manga Monday will be confined to a small amount of material since I had to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows quickly to avoid spoilers... That and get some much-needed rest after the days of craziness that ensued around the book (since I work in a bookstore and all). So all I've really had time for in the world of comics was the latest issue of Shojo Beat, which saw the final chapter of Nana being serialized in the magazine, and the debut chapter of Hinako Ashihara's Sand Chronicles!

Sand Chronicles from Hinako Ashihara took over the slot briefly held by Yume Kira Dream Shoppe. The first chapter kicks off right, letting us know immediately what kind of series we're in store for, with likeable characters and interesting dynamics. Overall, ShojoBeat's offerings as of late seem to have been a little lackluster, so it was nice to read something of high quality that is going to be a regular feature. Sand Chronicles follows a young girl, Ann, who moves to he…

Previews: October '07 Comics

Patrick's Picks:

Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Strange Tales Vol. 1 (Marvel)
Not a lot from Marvel or DC jumped out at me from this month’s catalogue. From the House of Ideas, we’ve got this hardcover collection of Golden Age horror shorts, featuring artwork by the likes of John Romita, Gene Colan, Russ Heath, Joe Sinnott, Bill Everett, Bernie Krigstein, Dick Ayers, George Tuska, and others. That’s a pretty impressive lineup of artists, and I’ve been craving some good Golden Age comics lately, but I’ll admit the price-point is a little high for me here. Still, worth taking note of.
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy: For People Who Love Movies (Dark Horse)
This is so not comics I actually feel guilty listing it here, but it’s kind of a slow month and I think this book could be pretty terrific, so what the hell. Collects the best material from his quarterly newsletter. I do love movies.
Alright, back to comics….
JLA: Ultramarine Corps TP (DC)
This collects Grant Morrison’s and Ed McGuinness’ ve…

Picks of the Week: 7/25

Patrick's Pick:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #5 - It looks like this, a special standalone issue of my current favorite comic book series, is coming out a week earlier than originally scheduled. Written by Joss Whedon with art by Paul Lee (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), and Dave Stewart (colors). Variant covers are available. Preview here (via the indispensable Whedonesque). . Dave's Pick: . Speak of the Devil #1 - The first offering in a six issue mini-series by none other than Love & Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez! You can't go wrong with Gilbert, and one can only expect top-notch storytelling and fantastic art from the Dark Horse mini.

Manga Monday 39

It's the one year anniversary of Manga Monday at Comics-and-More! So, in celebration, I'm going to list some of my favorite Manga Monday posts before moving on to a review of the latest chapters of Hana-Kimi!

Dragon Head (Volume 7) (Manga Monday Special)

Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 31)

To Terra (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 28)

Until the Full Moon (Volumes 1 & 2) (Manga Monday 26)

Mushishi (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 24)

Mail (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 23)

Hikaru No Go (Volume 1) & The Red Snake: Hino Horror #1 (Manga Monday 11)

My favorite anime & Naruto (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 8)

Flowers & Bees (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 7)

Alien Nine (Volume 1) (Manga Monday 6)

Bambi and Her Pink Gun (Volume 1) & Desire (Manga Monday 2)

Domu: A Child's Dream, Octopus Girl, Planetes & More! (Manga Monday!)

Hana-Kimi (Volumes 15 - 18)
Hisaya Nakajo

These last three volumes are definitely the weakest and least enjoyable of the entire series. Volume 15 had sev…

Mome 8: Summer 2007

Editors: Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth
Contributors: Jonathan Bennett, Emile Bravo, Al Columbia, Sophie Crumb, Eleanor Davis, Ray Fenwick, Gary Groth, Paul Hornschemeier, Tom Kaczynski, Joe Kimball, Lewis Trondheim

Review by Patrick Markfort . First of all, let me say that I am in complete agreement with Chris Butcher’s recent comments regarding Mome. Fantagraphics nearly quarterly anthology does indeed seem sometimes adrift without a clear editorial purpose holding things together, resulting in a sometimes baffling mix of content. However, this rarely prevents the book from presenting itself as an attractive package with mostly solid offerings, as indeed it does in this, the latest installment.
Eleanor Davis, who made her Mome debut in the previous issue with the frankly exceptional short story “Seven Sacks,” is the star attraction here, providing the cover and incidental drawings, as well as another excellent short, “Stick and String,” about a man who charms a strange woman he encounters …

American Elf (Book Two)

James Kochalka

Collecting James Kochalka's Sketchbook Diaries from 2004 - 2005 is the second volume of American Elf, where Kochalka has drawn a slice of life for every day, sometimes as a single panel illustration, sometimes as a strip. This volume is substantially smaller than the previous volume, which collected nearly five and a half years worth of moments from Kochalka's life, which is fine with me because I absolutely loved the first book and wouldn't have wanted to wait half a decade before a new one was released. Recording small moments and huge alike, Kochalka has shared his life with readers, in all of its painful and beautiful moments, through characters he's illustrated in the forms of elves, animals and various creatures (with the exception of his child, who remains a human in the strip), for an array of experiences that anyone can identify with. I've heard that some people haven't liked Kochalka's later strips because they're a little too &q…

Picks of the Week: 7/18

Dave’s Pick:
Harvey Comics Classics Presents: Casper the Friendly Ghost (Volume 1) - This new archival project from Dark Horse sounds like a labor of love. For $19.95, you get over one hundred Casper stories from 1949 to 1966, reproduced from printer’s proofs and original artwork, with 64 colored pages restored from the original comics, plus an illustrated, comprehensive introduction from Jerry Beck. That’s 480 pages, from the original Harvey Comic through the “classic” mid-60’s years!
Patrick’s Pick:
Comics by Jeff Smith - I feel kind of ridiculous in that I only just read Jeff Smith’s Bone a few weeks ago, despite its formidable and deserved reputation as a masterpiece. I’m trying to make up for it by mentioning him a lot on this blog. This week, check out Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil #4, the final issue of the cartoonist’s re-imagining of the Captain Marvel property. Not as epic in scope as Bone, of course, but still a terrific spin on the superhero genre, featuring charming ch…

Manga Monday: Double Take Special!

This week for Manga Monday, Patrick and I will be weighing in on a title we've both read...

Dragon Head (Volume 7)
Minetaro Mochizuki


Patrick says:

The survival horror manga Dragon Head is a good example of why I could never be a successful manga publisher or trend spotter. Reading the book, I would assume it would have found enormous popularity, rivaling that of Death Note. I’d be wrong, of course. Apparently, Dragon Head is something of a tough sell to publisher Tokyopop’s target audience ( young manga fans who frequent bookstores, presumably), but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why that’s the case.

Dragon Head is absolutely one of the most compelling, well-crafted, atmospheric, and generally creepy genre comic books being published today. Fans who’ve been wise enough to take notice of the series have been rewarded with increasingly compelling chapters detailing the exploits of two Japanese high school students (a boy, Teru, and a girl, Ako) who find thems…

Picks of the Week: 7/11

Patrick's Pick:

Devil Dinosaur by Jack Kirby Omnibus HC & Jack Kirby’s Silver Star HC - I only just purchased the first volume of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus, and now here are two more deluxe hardcovers collecting the King’s work for immediate ogling and eventual purchase! I think Devil Dinosaur has a reputation for being one of Kirby’s worst series, but I had the opportunity to view some original art from the series as part of the recent Masters of American Comics exhibit, and I have to say, it was pretty damned amazing. I don’t know if any of that comes through in the printed comic books, but I’m eager to find out. Silver Star was Kirby’s last original creation before his death, and I don’t know much about it other than that I think it was originally developed as a concept for a film? In any case, a lot of this material can probably be found for pretty cheap in discount bins and comics conventions, but format fanatics will want to get their hands on these volumes regard…

Manga Monday 38: Tanpenshu

Tanpenshu (Volume 2)Hiroki Endo
The second volume of Tanpenshu from Dark Horse houses more short stories from master manga creator Hiroki Endo, whose Eden: It's An Endless World! is still being released by the publisher. Tanpenshu contains mostly "real world" stories in contrast to the sci-fi epic Eden that the creator is known for, but the very first story that kicks off the second volume, "Hang," does contain science fiction elements. And it's probably my favorite story of the volume. It contains Endo's trademark stellar artwork, and is truly erotic. "High School Girl 2000" is the weakest offering in this showcase, about a man going through a mid-life crisis. It has its moments, but it's pretty forgettable overall. The bulk of the volume is taken up by "Platform," the story of a young man who comes from the family of a mobster, and the people that get involved with them, for better or worse. An extremely short, cute story, "…

Ms. Marvel: Ready, A.I.M., Fire!

Ms. Marvel #15-17
Brian Reed & Aaron Lopresti
Horrendous Greg Horn covers aside, the latest Ms. Marvel series is pretty good if you like your comics full of straight-forward superhero action. It's not very dark or revolutionary or anything, it doesn't attempt to transcend the genre of superheroes whatsoever, but rather uses that mode of storytelling to tell good stories, abandoning all attempts to put together a sleek Brubaker/Ellis/Bendis package for a good, old-fashioned punching-in-costumes-over-skyscrapers book. Alright, there was a dud issue or two in there, but overall, it's a damn good series. That being said, the latest story to grace its pages is "Ready, A.I.M., Fire!" featuring, obviously, A.I.M. as well as M.O.D.O.K., who has been in control of the organization for some time now. Now M.O.D.O.K. is sick and is looking for something that will set his DNA right again, and in his endeavors, he catches the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D., who sends Ms. Marvel i…

Picks of the Week: 7/5

Patrick's Pick

All-Star Superman #8 - Grant Morrison's and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman is one of the best superhero comic books currently going, and this is the latest issue, the second of the two-part "Bizarro" storyline.

Dave's Pick

Dragon Head (Volume 7) - A new volume of one of the greatest manga being published presently arrives in stores this Thursday and promises more suspense and thrills in a post-apocalyptic setting amid stellar art. There was an "eh" volume in the run a few books back, but this series has really redeemed itself with a story that goes pretty much unmatched now that Death Note has come to an end. I can't believe that this isn't more popular.


Josh Simmons

House is the first full-length graphic novel from Josh Simmons, told completely wordless. The three characters that appear in the book are teenagers who explore decrepit old houses and make googly eyes at one another as they carelessly trek through ruins. This is a very brisk read, and a very bleak one, but really, Simmons' art is pretty amazing in the end. He really proves his prowess with beautiful scenes of forests and houses that have long since been submerged in water. I'm sure we'll see plenty of great stuff from this creator in the future. Unfortunately, I do have a few small problems with what appears here. I'm fine with the characters as they gesture to each other and laugh at jokes we don't know, because in the end, it doesn't matter what they're saying, we understand the bond and relationships between the characters through their actions. And that's pretty amazing in itself. The gestures do get to be a little too exaggerated somet…

Manga Monday 37

Quite a few reviews this week...

La Corda d'Oro (Volume 2)
Yuki Kure

The characters in this book are pretty straight-forward and generic. Maybe that's why I kept putting this book down and reading other things for awhile. But now that I've read the whole volume through, I see that Kure is at least attempting to do some interesting things and turn our perceptions of these generic characters around a little bit with some depth. The most interesting new development is between the protagonist Kahoko Hino and the jock from Seisou Academy's Gen Ed division, Ryotaro Tsuchiura. Not that it's completely original, but the tension that the creator piles around it with the musical competition forthcoming makes the situation of much more immediate concern. Great pacing all around, but some of those supporting charcters have got to be flushed out soon. B-

Monster (Volume 8)
Naoki Urasawa

Nothing particularly exciting happens in this volume of Monster, but there's quite a bit of se…