Showing posts from June, 2008

Manga Monday: Rin!

Rin! (Volume 1)
Satoru Kannagi & Yukine Honami.
Two established yaoi creators combine forces to create a new yaoi series in Rin! Satoru Kannagi, writer of Only the Ring Finger Knows, and Yukine Honami, artist of Desire (among others), bring readers a tale of two childhood friends in a strange tale of love. Katsura suffers from crippling anxiety attacks. The only thing that seems to help him get over them is a hug from his brother’s long-time friend Sou, who seems to take it in stride and indulge him. But as they’re in high school, the rumors run rampant and it’s getting to be a source of stress for everyone. With a big archery tournament approaching however, Katsura can hardly let go of this extra reassurance now. When fellow archer Kouichi offers to take over for Sou, and comes on to Katsura, the relationships of all those involved changes. This is kind of a weird premise, but if you can buy that initial idea (which is asking a lot), the book plays out really well in a story full o…

Wizard World Chicago 2008

Another Wizard World come and gone...and as predicted, I only needed to stay for one day. Plenty of empty space on the show floor, publishers and retailers from the past noticeably absent, with no stars gracing the spotlight like in years past. There was a thin herd of people on opening day with the staff not bothering to wait to let people in at ten A.M. when the show officially began. Pretty sad. I kind of treat this as a place to shop for discounts and hunt for back issues now, not even bothering with the poor choice of panels. This show needs to be saved somehow - bought out and brought back to its former glory. Wizard seemed to try a few things this time around...somehow coercing Warren Ellis to its paltry show...offering an alternative comics panel with Jessica Abel and Matt Madden...but too little, too late. Publishers were obviously keeping announcements in check for the San Diego Comic-Con next month, but we did get a few tastes of things to come. The biggest news was Erik L…

Madame Xanadu #1

Matt Wagner & Amy Reeder Hadley.
A new ongoing series launched from Vertigo this past week, focusing on a mystic of the DC universe, Madame Xanadu. She’s part of the present DC universe, but this new series will explore her origins back in the day of Merlin and the fall of Camelot. The first issue follows her when she was known as the nymph Nimue, and is asked by local druids to use her influence to stop the darkness that is creeping over the kingdom. After a few encounters with a mysterious individual and a talk with her difficult, self-absorbed sister Morgana, Nimue sees the beginning of the end of Camelot. .
I was pretty psyched going into this book because I’m a fan of the whole girl witch genre, and the previews I’d seen of this looked promising. Unfortunately, it’s pretty bland. I wasn’t expecting the series to be set in the past when I picked it up, and I think that may have contributed to my poor reception. But had I known, it’s still full of stereotypical fantasy figure afte…

Previews: September '08 Comics

Here we go again! Highlights of the latest Previews Catalogue for comics shipping to comic shops in September... . Avatar Press . Black Summer TP - Warren Ellis's brutal series is collected in both softcover and hardcover formats. . No Hero #1 - With Black Summer wrapping up, Ellis and Black Summer artist Ryp release the first issue of a new series collaboration. . Bongo Comics .
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #14 - The latest horror anthology issue features some remarkable talent: Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Glenn Fabry (Preacher). .
Dark Horse .
Speak of the Devil - Gilbert Hernandez's excellent six issue mini-series is collected in a hardcover. .
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight (Volume 3): Wolves At the Gate TP - Drew Goddard's (Cloverfield) Buffy arc, controversial and also quite good. .
DC Comics .
Joker HC - A dark original graphic novel written by Brian Azzarello, no doubt meant to satiate people's appetite in wake of T…

Off To Wizard World

Patrick and I are setting off for our annual trip to Wizard World Chicago, a convention that's gotten progressively worse over the years...we only go for one day, and then we'll be visiting some good comic stores like Quimby's and Chicago Comics. Anyways, here are a few pictures from years past...

Nova (Volume 1): Annihilation - Conquest

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Sean Chen. The first volume of the new ongoing Nova series from Marvel Comics follows Richard Rider as he picks up the pieces following the events of the galactic crossover event Annihilation. With no Nova Corps, but with their collective power (and worldmind) at his disposal, Richard answers distress calls across the galaxy with little time to pause, at least until the worldmind insists upon it, and Nova stops by Earth for a respite to visit his family. What he returns to is a world changed by the events of Civil War and possibly a world he no longer belongs to. But really, he has plenty else to keep him occupied as the phalanx have reared their heads and they want Nova and the power he wields. . This book collects the first seven issues of the new Nova series, issues every bit as riveting as the surprisingly action-packed Annihilation mega crossover, which comes as no shock since the writers of Annihilation: Nova (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) are on-bo…

In Stores 6/25

Here's a rundown of the books shipping to comic stores on Wednesday with the most potential... . Pick of the Week . Gantz (Volume 1) - The highly-anticipated manga from Dark Horse debuts this week from Hiroya Oku. The book follows a group of people who have died and are resurrected by an entity calling itself Gantz who forces the recently undead to serve it in hunting down alien creatures. Supposedly very violent and, uh, sexy. . Other Noteworthy Releases . All-Star Batman and Robin the .....Boy Wonder (Volume 1) HC Captain America: Chosen .....Premiere HC Demo TP Final Crisis #2 (of 7) Good Bye HC - The latest Yoshihiro Tatsumi collection! Green Lantern: Tales of the Sinestro Corps HC Jack of Fables (Volume 3): The Bad Prince TP Loaded Bible (Volume 1) Madame Xanadu #1 Mighty Avengers #15 - Secret Invasion Tie-In Ms. Marvel #28 - Secret Invasion Tie-In New Avengers #42 - Yes, another Secret Invasion Tie-In Runaways #30 - Joss Whedon's final issue on the series! Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Aven…

Manga Monday: Little Butterfly

Little Butterfly (Volume 1)Hinako Takanaga . Little Butterfly is a three-volume yaoi series that follows the developing relationship between two seniors in high school: friendly out-going Kojima and quiet brooding Nakahara. Nakahara isn't liked by most of his fellow classmates, misunderstood and seemingly unapproachable, but Kojima would like to give the boy a chance, inviting him into his group while going on a field trip and trying to include him, until he disappears in another attempt to run away from his abusive household. Reluctantly, Nakahara tolerates Kojima's presence and befriends the do-gooder, who eventually gets him to break out of his shell a bit and smile. Soon enough, Nakahara confesses that he's fallen in love with Kojima, who is in turn dismayed by the development. . I didn't expect much from this book when I first began to read it. The art looked a little generic and it seemed like your typical yaoi material, nothing special. But the relationship bet…

Fluffy HC

Simone Lia. Fluffy is a new graphic novel from Dark Horse, collecting all four volumes of a book that creator Simone Lia previously published herself. The story follows a little bunny named Fluffy, who is being raised by a human daddy, the neurotic Michael Pulcino. Fluffy refuses to acknowledge that he's a bunny and acts like a little kid, going on about tractors and ice cream. Michael has his own problems in this book, escaping to Sicily to get away from his stalker girlfriend (who also happens to be Fluffy's preschool teacher), dealing with his dramatic family, and generally fumbling to find some sort of meaning in his life. . While Fluffy is absolutely adorable, it's also surprisingly incredibly insightful. This book touches on a lot of issues that I've never seen really explored in the medium before, and it does them really well, sometimes through humor, sometimes through diagrams. And each of the characters involved in the story, even secondary ones, are treated like…

Daddy's Girl

Debbie Drechsler. My first impression of Debbie Drechsler's art when I picked up the graphic novel Daddy's Girl, was that it reminded me quite a bit of Lynda Barry. The fact that Daddy's Girl is made up of little vignettes presented in an autobiographical fashion didn't hurt either. Daddy's Girl follows a young girl who is abused sexually by her father as she grows up, an abuse that shapes her self-image and the encounters she has with other men later in life. This graphic novel was originally published in 1995, and I honestly think that it would have been more shocking if I'd read it at that time. Reading through it over a decade later, it seems full of stereotypical scenes of sexual abuse, even in how it affects her reactions to men as she matures, although it is hard to ignore the visual aspect of the book when it comes to a man forcing oral sex on his teenage daughter. But beyond the visuals, I would have liked to see more interesting things done with the ma…

In Stores 6/18

Here are the comics with most potential shipping to comic shops this Wednesday!

Pick of the Week

Astonishing X-Men (Volume 4): Unstoppable TP - The final issues of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men run are collected at last, including issues 19-24 and Giant-Sized Astonishing X-Men #1.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Angel: After the Fall #9 - That was quick.
Atomic Robo (Volume 1) TP
Cat Eyed Boy (Volume 1)
Cat Eyed Boy (Volume 2)
Chiggers TP - New Hope Larson
Drawing Words & Writing Pictures SC
Eternals by Neil Gaiman TP - Now in softcover
Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition (Volume 3)
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (Volume 15)
Pocket Full of Rain SC
Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite TP
Y-the Last Man (Volume 10): Whys and Wherefores TP -Final collection

Manga Monday: High School Debut

High School Debut (Volumes 1 - 3)Kazune Kawahara . This is an enjoyable shojo series that I picked up on a whim. High School Debut follows Haruna Nagashima, a girl who is just beginning high school. Her goal is to get a boyfriend like all girls seem to when they move on from middle school. She intends to put her all into it, just like she went all out for softball in middle school and was a great success. The only problem with her new goal is that she's awful at it. She reads the latest fashion magazines, buys the trendiest clothes and goes to the places where people meet, but no one approaches her, despite the hook-ups going on all around her. When she overhears a young man say that he knows what men look for in girls, she doesn't think much about her actions, or the consequences, and begs the guy to be her coach and help her find a boyfriend. The guy, Yoh Komiyama, happens to be the most popular guy in school and he really doesn't like girls - he finds them annoying…

Eternals #1

Charles Knauf, Daniel Knauf & Daniel Acuna

A new Eternals ongoing series launched from Marvel this past week, picking up where Neil Gaiman's Eternals mini-series left off last year. A group of "good" eternals, led by Ikaris, seek to awaken other eternals to who they are, while Druig seeks to find these "lost" eternals first to program them in his own way. The bad news is that without the help of all of the eternals, Druig included, the world may be lost to the Horde, signaled by The Dreaming Celestial to devour the earth. The eternals need to be unified some way in order to have a future.

This book focuses on the same characters at the forefront of Neil Gaiman's take on the race: Ikaris, Sersi, Thena, Druig and Makkari. Unfortunately, I wasn't a big fan of Neil Gaiman's take on the characters the first time around, and as this is just continuing that take, I'm not very thrilled with the beginning of this series. The eternals, in general, …

The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy

Volume 3: 1935-1936
Chester Gould

In case anyone's keeping track, Comics-and-More turned three-years-old this week! Hooray! Hopefully I'll be going for years to come. Anyways, on to the review...

The third volume of IDW's The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy sees plenty of good stuff, including the introduction of Toby, a cute blonde cashier at Mary Steele's new restaurant who soon joins Dick Tracy's posse of supporting characters. Unfortunately there is that whole incident with Chief Yellowpony and his, um, squaws...pretty cringe-worthy stuff...but once we're past that hump...oh, and the black driver to a, and that...well, let's just say that all racial stereotypes aside, there's a lot of fun to be had in this latest collection of classic adventure strips. I'm especially glad that this is the last volume to dawn the profile of one of the supporting characters. They were already scraping the bottom of the barrel with the chie…

Jessica Farm (Volume 1)

Josh Simmons.
This is the first volume of Josh Simmons’s ambitious project where he will draw one page of this book a month over the next 42 years until he has a 600-page single graphic novel in the year 2050. Until then, he will graciously publish one Jessica Farm volume every eight years, this being the first, its initial page having been drawn in January of 2000. Josh Simmons recently earned acclaim for his silent horror graphic novel House, published last year. And while Jessica Farm has moments of horror, it’s mostly a fantasy story about, well, Jessica Farm. It’s Christmas Day and Jessica makes the rounds to all of the fantastic creatures who live in the walls, the shower, and the attic of her house (among other places), putting off the beating she’s sure to get when she opens the presents that await her underneath the Christmas Tree downstairs. Very alike Alice In Wonderland, Jessica meets ups with all manner of little people, monsters and animals, although some encounters are b…

In Stores 6/11

Plenty of good stuff is hitting comic store shelves this Wednesday. Here are the books most likely worth the price of admission... . Pick of the Week . The Complete Little Orphan Annie (Volume 1) HC - A new highly-anticipated complete collection of classic comic strips joins Dick Tracy and Terry and the Pirates under IDW's The Library of American Comics imprint this week. The excellent Little Orphan Annie strips from 1924 to 1927 are collected here with a never-before-published strip written by Harold Gray a few weeks after the strip began. This is a must-have. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Absolute Sandman (Volume 3) HC Angel: After the Fall #8 Burnout GN - New Minx title Eternals #1 Eternals by Jack Kirby (Book 1) TP Fluffy HC - A bunny with a human daddy - how could this not be .....utterly adorable? Invincible #50 Joker: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TP Marvel Zombies 2 HC One-Pound Gospel (Volume 1) The Programme (Volume 1) Reading Comics and What They Mean SC - Douglas Wolk's book .....n…

Manga Monday: Monkey High!

Monkey High! (Volume 1)Shouko Akira . Monkey High! is a shojo manga that follows one of the more memorable characters I've encountered in manga recently: Haruna Aizawa, the beautiful daughter of a politician recently engaged in a scandal. Following her father's downfall, Haruna transfers to a new school, where she observes that things are pretty much the same as at the prestigious K Academy where she attended previously: the students act like monkeys, bickering, establishing hierarchies...she finds it all tedious and obnoxious. Unfortunately for her, the popular boy Atsu has taken a shine to her, and likewise, all of the girls have decided to dislike her. But the short energetic boy Macharu (whom she thinks looks like a baby monkey) seems to be the only one who can melt through the standoffish front she's put up to keep others at a distance. . I really enjoyed this book. It's a great romantic story with very human characters. Like I said before, I love Haruna. She…

Salt Water Taffy (Volume 1)

The Legend of Old Salty
Matthew Loux
Salt Water Taffy is the new all-ages series by Matthew Loux, creator of the hilariousSidescrollers. While Salt Water Taffy isn't funny like his debut graphic novel, it is a great reading experience in a different way. The book begins with Jack and Benny driving in to Chowder Bay, Maine, where they will be spending the summer with their parents, to the dismay of Jack. Once there though, the two kids find a lot of exciting things awaiting them: mysterious shadows, a theft at the local salt water taffy shop, and most thrilling of all, a tale of a giant lobster named Old Salty, related to them by local fisherman Angus O'Neil, who claims to have grappled with the giant sea creature.
As with Sidescrollers, it took me a few pages to get used to Matthew Loux's art style, especially of the children running sidescroller-style. But once I was familiar with the cartoony drawings, I was in Loux's spell once more. Especially through the openi…

La Perdida

Jessica Abel

I was really impressed by Jessica Abel's recent writing gig on Life Sucks for First Second Books, so I decided to give the creator's much-lauded original graphic novel a go. La Perdida follows a young woman, Carla, who travels to Mexico to "find herself." She's half Mexican and is looking to make a connection with that side of herself. She goes into Mexico, citing her love for Frida and taking a look at the touristy side of things, but soon gets in deep with some of the locals, including a new boyfriend in Oscar, who dreams of being a deejay. The longer she stays, the more she gets pulled in by the ideas offered to her, and the further she finds herself from her former friends. Before long, she's in a world she barely recognizes and becomes entrenched in things that she never expected. La Perdida is really a wonderful story of self-discovery that sees a very human main character making mistakes, learning and ultimately, fumbling her way through a …

Manhunter #31

Marc Andreyko & Michael Gaydos
After being absent from comic shelves for several months, Manhunter returns this week with a new artist in the talented Michael Gaydos of Alias fame, his dark look an appropriate and welcome compliment to the dark, violent book featuring vigilante Kate Spencer, lawyer by day, Manhunter by night. This issue was very new-reader-friendly, the first two pages recapping Manhunter's rise to prominence and the conflicts Kate faces with family and identity. Following this, the book doesn't miss a beat, throwing Kate head-first into action as she battles The Atomic Skull at a Hollywood movie premiere. As the issue progresses, readers get a little taste of the different aspects of the book, an introduction for new readers, but also a nice refresh for the fans. A new mystery is also established, as women are disappearing near the border, drawing little interest from law enforcement. But Kate is immediately on the case, researching the large amount …

Little Vampire (Volume 1)

Joann Sfar
The first collection of Joann Sfar's beloved all-ages comic, as published by First Second Books, contains three Little Vampire stories, the first two of which have been published in America previously by Simon & Schuster. The stories follow a young vampire who strikes up a friendship with a human boy Michael, and the misadventures of the two and their other ghoulish friends, including Phantomato, the red ghost dog. In the first story, Little Vampire Goes To School, Little Vampire meets Michael for the first time as he attends night class in the same classroom that Michael attends during the day. The two of them write notes to each other in a notebook until Little Vampire's correspondence is discovered, and the Captain of the Dead wishes to speak to the boy about guarding their secret. Michael has so much fun with the ghouls and monsters that he continues to come back each night that he can. Next comes Little Vampire Does Kung-Fu, which focuses on Michael as…

In Stores 6/4

Sorry, no Manga Monday this week... But here are the books shipping to comics shops this Wednesday with most potential... . Pick of the Week . Manhunter #31 - After a too-long absence from the comic shelves, Kate Spencer's back in her fan-favorite solo series! Writer Marc Andreyko returns with the fantastic Michael Gaydos (Alias) taking over pencils. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Buffy the Vampire Slayer: .....Season Eight #15 Essential Captain Marvel .....(Volume 1) TP Fables (Volume 10): The Good .....Prince TP Honey & Clover (Volume 2) TP Invincible (Volume 9): Out of This World Lobster Johnson (Volume 1): Iron Prometheus TP Monster Zoo GN MPD Psycho (Volume 5) TP New Avengers (Volume 7): Trust TP Secret Invasion #3 (of 8) Tellos Colossal (Volume 1) TP Trinity #1 Ultimate Origins #1 (of 5) X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David (Volume 4) TP

Movies-and-More: June 2008

Here we go again: June release dates for films, music, DVDs and books, as well as my box office predictions and newly-released film trailers…

In Theaters June 6th
Kung Fu Panda (Click title for theatrical trailer)
Mother of Tears
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

Predictions: 1. Kung Fu Panda ($40 m), 2. Sex and the City ($29 m), 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Krystal Skull ($21 m), 4. You Don't Mess With the Zohan ($14 m), 5. The Strangers ($12 m)
In Theaters June 13th
Encounters At the End of the World (on Wednesday)
The Happening
The Incredible Hulk
Predictions: 1. The Incredible Hulk ($52 m), 2. The Happening ($37 m), 3. Kung Fu Panda ($17 m), 4. Sex and the City ($13 m), 5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Krystal Skull ($8 m)
In Theaters June 20th
Brick Lane
Get Smart
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
The Love Guru
Predictions: 1. Get Smart ($42 m), 2. The Love Guru ($28 m), 3. The Incredible Hulk ($27 m), 4. The Happening ($15 m), 5. Kung Fu Panda ($7 m)
In Theaters June 27th