Showing posts from February, 2008

In Stores 2/27

Dave and I pick the books with most potential shipping to comic shops today!

Patrick's pick:

Rasl #1 - This is Jeff Smith’s first major post-Bone project, a comic book series about an art thief with the ability to traverse dimensions. Smith is undeniably one of the major cartooning talents actively working, making this a “can’t miss” comic.

Dave's Pick:

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury #295 - I've been seeing a lot of hype about this new book from Archaia Studios Press by Brandon Thomas and Lee Ferguson. This is actually the first issue published, but Miranda couldn't very well have had many adventures if it began with number one, now could it? This five issue mini-series (at least for now) will bring the adventuress through issue 300!

Manga Monday: Antique Bakery

Antique Bakery (Volume 1)
Fumi Yoshinaga
It took awhile for me to get my hands on this book. I placed an order through in early December (since it's out of print through Barnes & Noble), then received a nice little e-mail in early February that they couldn't find a copy. Sigh. Especially frustrating since I saw a copy at a Borders in Minnesota when I went home to visit my family and I certainly would have picked it up then, had I not had an open order. Luckily enough, I was able to get a copy through a second-hand store on, still wrapped in plastic and new, the scratch-and-sniff strawberry on the front unmolested.
I'd heard for awhile that this is a very good manga. And it's true. Antique Bakery is a yaoi manga, pretty light on elements you would usually associate with yaoi. There is a gay character. There is a short scene in a gay bar and there is talk of one talented baker's inexplicable ability to attract any man he desires. But th…

X-Force #1

Craig Kyle, Christ Yost & Clayton Crain
. This is not a good comic. The first indicator should have been that the writers on this book are the same as those behind the dreadful New X-Men "Quest For Magick" arc. Kyle and Yost know how to tell a sloppy, uninteresting story while not even trying to touch on characterization. At least this time the art matches their talent and is equally underwhelming and laid out pretty dreadfully. It's dark and cold, ugly and brutal, and the suspense and fluidity that should be present in a comic like this is just not there. I'm actually offended that I was subjected to this. . The story follows four X-Men who are recruited by Cyclops to do the dirty black ops work that the rest of the teams can not do publicly: Wolverine, X-23, Wolfsbane and Warpath. Together, they try to recover a device stolen by Purifiers, specifically Reverend Matthew Risman, that they would use to give power to the future sentinel Nimrod (or part of him, at least…

Picks of the Week: 2/20

Patrick and I once again pick the comics arriving in comic stores tomorrow with the most potential...

Patrick's pick:

Golgo 13 (Volume 13) - The final volume of this greatest hits series debuts in the direct market this week, although you may have been able to score a copy at a bookstore by now. The stories in this volume concern Duke Togo’s secret role in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, as well as a possible origin story, of which there are apparently several. I don’t know what I’m going to miss more, these books or Jog’s excellent commentary on them.

Dave's pick:

The Order (Volume 1): The Next Right Thing - I hear that this is one of the better superhero books out there right now, so I've been waiting for this collection of the first seven issues to come out for awhile now (and just in time for issue eight's arrival to stores). Written by Matt Fraction (Casanova, The Immortal Iron Fist), with art by Barry Kitson (Legion of Super-Heroes). Unfortunately the series i…

Manga Monday: Azumanga Daioh

Azumanga Daioh OmnibusKiyohiko Azuma
Following my obsession with Yotsuba&!, I picked up this omnibus volume of creator Kiyohiko Azuma's debut work, which collects the entire series of stories told in the "yonkoma" format, or vertical four-panel comic strips. The Azumanga Daioh strips follow a group of Japanese high school girls who bond over academia, sports and cute animals over their stint in school together. It's a fun, cutesy comedy series with six students taking center stage, along with a few odd teachers. One girl excels at school, one's an airhead, one is really cool, but has a soft side...they're great characters, but don't exactly outgrow the model of the four-panel strip to become very well-rounded. Chiyo-chan seems to be the standout character of the bunch and is very much a prototype of sorts of the title character of Yotsuba&!. "Yonkoma" seems to work just like American comic strips, with either a joke of the day or a se…

Tiny Titans #1

Art Baltazar & Franco

The newest DC superhero team launched this week in some of the cutest panels you've ever seen featuring your favorite superhero sidekicks. Tiny Titans is the latest effort from DC to draw in younger readership by featuring adorable characters adorably rendered in adorable little stories. ADORABLE! It's hard not to be drawn in by the cover and the bright, happy pages bursting from the shelves of the local comic shop's selection of bloody, dark, brooding covers. And these are some really fantastic designs for the characters in this incarnation. I particularly like Tiny Raven and Tiny Speedy. I'm not very familiar with the DC Universe, but I believe that some of these characters were introduced specifically for this comic, like Miss Martian...never heard of her before, but that could be my lack of DC knowledge speaking. This is a great concept when it comes down to it, the art reminding me a lot of James Kochalka and the back-up strips from…

ClanDestine #1

Alan Davis

ClanDestine is a five issue mini-series written and pencilled by Alan Davis, who created the property for Marvel UK between stints on Excalibur in the 90's. The title follows the Destine family, where a pair of immortals had a litter of superpowered offspring who must keep their identities secret. For the most part, it doesn't seem like readers need to have read the original series to follow what's going on, but there are references to a member of the family who did something bad, and is now dead. I'm sure it was a major plot point for the original series, and understandable that it would be brought up, as he's the only family member not present, and he seems to have left some devastation in his wake. He's kind of like a black cloud hanging over the lot of them.

Two younger members of the clan seem to be the thrust of the story, Crimson Crusader and Imp, a mischievous pair in bright costumes whose role in the comic remind me quite a bit of Ultimate…

Picks of the Week: 2/13

Patrick and I pick the comics arriving in comic stores tomorrow with the most potential for awesomeness...

Patrick's pick:

Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure - Here’s the deal: This is an approximation of what would have been the 103rd issue of the original Fantastic Four series, had Jack Kirby not left the title. The artwork produced by Kirby for that issue has been assembled here, inked by Joe Sinnott, with a new script by Stan Lee. Also included is a reprint of Fantastic Four #108, drawn by John Buscema, which incorporates some of the artwork Kirby produced for issue 103 in a flashback sequence. Got that? No? Look, it’s essentially a new Fantastic Four comic book by frickin’ Jack Kirby. Just buy it.

I think there might be something of significance happening with the regular Fantastic Four book this month, too…

Dave's pick:

ClanDestine Classic Premiere HC - Alan Davis' original ClanDestine comics all collected under one cover, just in time for readers to get caught up for the…

Manga Monday: Nana

Nana (Volume 8)
Ai Yazawa
Volume eight of Nana picks up where its run in Shojo Beat left off, as the book takes a turn in a more mature direction. Things come to a head for Hachi and emotions run high as a huge event takes place that damages and changes the relationships of those involved. I knew that there was a big event coming up in the book that really shook things up, but honestly, I was not expecting what occurred and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Things will change and it's going to be interesting, if anything. Even the secondary characters of the story are intriguing at this point, like Shin and Reira, who have their own...dysfunctions. Anyways, all I know is that I've grown really attached to Nobu and the events leave him in a bad spot, while Hachi and Osaki's interesting relationship is more strained than ever. In the end, I'm just amazed, as usual, with Yazawa's storytelling prowess and consistently beautiful, soft art. I'm glad that these volu…

Ms. Marvel #24

Brian Reed & Aaron Lopresti

Contains spoilers!

The four-issue story arc "Monster and Marvel" concluded with the latest issue of Ms. Marvel, which also marks the longest run on a Ms. Marvel title thus far. In this issue, Carol Danvers finds herself up against hordes of the brood on Monster Island. With the help of Machine Man, Arana, Sleepwalker and Agent Sum, the aliens are defeated, including the Brood Queen, whom Carol has a history with. During the beginning of the arc, it is revealed that Ms. Marvel had merged with an alien, Cru, from the debut arc of the series (and her powers have been acting strange since), and while attempting to separate herself from Carol, the alien reactivates Ms. Marvel's long-dormant powers from when she'd become Binary under the hands of the Brood.

It's been Carol's quest, since the series debut, to be the best that she can be as a superhero, pushing herself to her limits to be a real powerhouse like Iron Man and the Fantastic …

The Killer (Volume 1) HC

Matz & Luc Jacamon

The Killer is a comic originally published in France from 1998 to 2003, earning praise for being a gritty noir comic. The artist, Luc Jacamon, has translated it for American audiences via Archaia Studios Press. The story follows an assassin as he waits patiently for a mark to appear across the street from where he's staked out. While he sits alone in a dark room, his mind wanders to past jobs, how he launched his career, and his reasons behind such a life. It's a pretty psychological look at a killer-for-hire, but it doesn't skimp on the action either. Eventually things come to a head at his stakeout and interesting developments occur, offering yet another side to this man whom readers can't help but root for, despite the horrible things he's done.

This comic is really a treat. It's dark and edgy with an interesting look into the mind of a monster. It has great art, a great story, and the quality of the packaging is second to none. T…

Picks of the Week: 2/6

Patrick and I pick the comics with most potential, shipping to comic shops today! But if you live in Milwaukee like I do, the stores will be closed due to the gazillion inches of snow we're expected to get...
Patrick's pick:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Released to bookstores some time ago, this picture book by Brian Selznick combines prose and silent, black and white comics to tell the story of a young boy’s discovery of an automation in early 20th century Paris. If your local comic book store ordered this from Diamond, it should show up there today. Winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal. . Dave's pick: . ClanDestine #1 - Alan Davis returns to a book he created for Marvel UK immediately following his excellent run on the original Excalibur. From what I hear, many elements from Excalibur were present in the original ClanDestine as well, so hopefully that will make its way to the new series (the fact that Excalibur is guest-starring in issue #3 is a good sign). I'm very excit…

Narcopolis #1

Jamie Delano & Jeremy Rock

Narcopolis is a new four issue mini-series from Avatar Press, written by Jamie Delano with art that I have to say I really enjoyed, courtesy of Jeremy Rock. The story follows Gray, a man living in a world where all citizens take "suck" drugs to remain docile and passive, and anybody not participating is flagged and investigated. It's a world run by the pleasure of its citizens (sex, drugs, tattoos, spending money, etc), discouraging free thought and inquiries into areas outside of Narcopolis. Indeed the beautiful Agent Love is sent to investigate Gray, immediately after which a group of citizens begin to rip themselves apart in a frenzy right in front of her, literally raining down on her aircraft. Despite some interesting ideas, I felt a lot of deja vu for Grant Morrison's Sea Guy. I did like this first issue though. Like I said before, the art was pretty fantastic, despite the flimsy excuses for eye candy (Gray was at the very le…

Manga Monday: Sand Chronicles

Sand Chronicles (Volume 1)
Hinako Ashihara . Contains spoilers!

I began reading Sand Chronicles in Shojo Beat, but dropped the magazine soon after Nana left the lineup, deciding that reading the anthology (to discard) and then buying the book, like is done in Japan, is just too expensive for me, particularly with my favorite shojo title leaving its pages. The one thing I missed and often thought about buying the magazine for since then, is Sand Chronicles, which I'd only read a few chapters of at the time. But the first volume has been released and I'm happy to share my time with these characters again. It was definitely worth the wait. While much of this volume was retreading what I'd already read, a little less than half wasn't. And really, I didn't mind revisiting events I'd previously read. . Sand Chronicles follows a young girl, Ann, who moves to the rural village of Shimane after her mother's unsuccessful marriage falls apart in Tokyo. Accustomed to the cit…

Previews: April '08 Comics

Patrick and I take a look at the latest Previews catalog and highlight the good stuff shipping to comic stores this April!

Dave:Clandestine #3 - I’m a huge fan of the original Excalibur run, so I’m thrilled that Alan Davis is returning to those characters with an adventure in his new mini-series.
Secret Invasion #1 - The big Marvel event gets into full-swing with the first of eight issues featuring invading skrulls.
Dark Horse
Dave:Gantz (Volume 1) - The extremely popular title from Japan makes its way to America, featuring a cast of characters brought back to life by a mysterious creature called Gantz, who has them do its bidding.
Creepy Archives HC - This is fun: a collection of stories from the legendary Creepy magazine from the early 60’s!
Fluffy HC - This is ridiculously adorable, and I must have it. The story of a cute little bunny who has a human daddy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight (Volume 2): No Future For You TP - The latest collection of Joss Whedon’s acclaimed…

My Favorite Music of 2007

2007 saw a sharp decline in album sales, an increase in electronic download sales (which did little to alleviate the industry's downward spiral), and few heavy-hitters releasing new music. As a former manager in the music department where I work, I still try to listen to new CDs that come out - anything that looks remotely appealing. A word of caution: I'm not very into avant garde music like what Radiohead is releasing, and have little interest in rap and boy bands. My tastes are a little stange, admittedly, and probably lean toward a blend of adult contemporary and alternative music. My favorite CD last year was ValEmmich'sSunlight Searchparty. The year before that, it was Madonna'sConfessions on a Dancefloor. That's the kind of thing I liked then, and this is what I like now...

1. Wild Hope - Mandy Moore - Mandy Moore's latest CD boasts a mature sound that ventures into folk and country territory, songs she co-wrote with artists like Rachel Yamagata, LoriMcKe…