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Showing posts from July, 2008

Joker's Asylum: Poison Ivy #1

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J.T. Krul & Guillem March

I missed this comic at the local comic shop, so had to look for it at the San Diego Comic-Con. I love Poison Ivy, but this was not worth the effort it took to track it down. Joker's Asylum is a series of one-shots where the Joker relates a story of a character from Batman's rogues' gallery from his cell in Arkham Asylum. The Joker's scene is really over-the-top silly (and not funny in the least), sort of reminding me of the campy Tales From the Crypt openings. And indeed, the rest of the comic follows suit. When Poison Ivy isn't nude with bits of plants conveniently placed to hide her...bits, she's practically falling out of her outfit anyway. And Ivy axing a guy to pieces...then telling a lame little joke...a bit much. Plot-wise, it doesn't make much sense either. Exactly how does Batman recall seeing the green of Ivy's skin on a hooker...at the end, after the fact? Either he saw it before or he didn't. You don…

Demons of Sherwood

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Demons of SherwoodRobert Tinnell & Bo Hampton

Demons of Sherwood is a webcomic that has been serialized since December, but the entirety of the graphic novel is now available for your viewing pleasure at ComicMix for free. The book is written by Robert Tinnell, with some really gorgeous artwork by Bo Hampton. The story follows a washed-up Robin Hood, over a decade since his heyday stealing from the rich to give to the poor, Marian having run off and left him to find comfort in a bottle. But news has come his way of a trio of women who are to be burned at the stake for witchcraft, one of whom is the love of his life he's been searching for all these years: that fair maiden herself. As the story progresses, we see demons attacking Robin and his Merry Men as they strive to protect the three accused witches and deliver them to a sanctuary overseen by a former comrade. There are plenty of great ideas throughout this book, with some fantastic action scenes and disturbing images of tr…

San Diego Comic-Con International 2008

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This was my first year attending Comic-Con International in sunny San Diego. My expectations were pretty high, as attending the con is a pilgrimage of sorts for comic fans everywhere. This was also my first time flying in a plane since I was about seven years old, so this was quite the adventure for me. Happily, I was able to navigate the airports in Milwaukee, Atlanta and San Diego without a hitch, and was able to use the MTS trolleys in San Diego without much trouble. I elected not to go to Preview Night, as our flight was a little late into town and we hadn't quite figured out the lay of the land yet.

Thursday

The first full day of Comic-Con saw Patrick and I waiting in line to get our badges for a few hours. And if anything is not exaggerated when it comes to the convention, it's the lines. They are damn long. Once we'd secured our badges, there was more waiting ahead as the con had yet to open its gates to the masses. So...more lines. But that was alright. It gave Patr…

In Stores 7/30

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I'm back from Comic-Con International! No Manga Monday this week, but watch for my report of the mega event coming soon. For now, here are the comics and graphic novels with most potential shipping to comic shops this Wednesday!

Pick of the Week

The Order (Volume 2): California Dreaming TP - I'm holding out a small amount of hope that The Order's recent Harvey Award nomination will be enough to resurrect this fantastic superhero comic (by Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson) from its recent cancellation. I loved the first volume and can't wait to see how things play out in the second (and final) collection. I know that a new Sunday Press Little Nemo collection would be most people's pick, but man, I have to admit that I'm more excited about this at the moment, as guilty as that makes me feel.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion Premiere HC
The Completely Mad Don Martin HC - This has been in bookstores for
.....months now...
Essential Fantastic Four …

Have a good Comic-Con!

Well, Patrick and I are off to Comic-Con International for the first time!! Here are my most anticipated panels, in loose order:

1. Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Not a panel so much, but an event I am so going to be attending!

2. Joss Whedon - With the cast of Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog, plus tidbits about Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight and Fray!!

3. Spotlight on Lynda Barry - It's Lynda Barry

4. Bat-Manga! Chip Kidd and the Secret History of Batman in Japan - Should be interesting stuff - can't wait for the book.

5. Entertainment Weekly's Visionaries: Comic Creators - Featuring a great round-up of creators: Grant Morrison, Colleen Doran, Jim Lee, Robert Kirkman, Mike Mignola, Matt Fraction and John Cassaday!

6. Jack Kirby Tribute - It's a tribute, he's a legend, I've never been.

7. The World of Steve Ditko Panel Discussion - Featuring Dean Mullaney, Gary Groth, Kim Deitch and others.

8. Entertainment Weekly's Visionaries: Filmmakers - A non…

In Stores 7/23

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Picking out the books with most potential, shipping to comic shops this coming Wednesday...

Pick of the Week

X-Men: Kitty Pryde and Wolverine Premiere HC - I can't guarantee that this is any good, but I'm certainly glad that it exists finally. You can probably find all six back issues of the original 1984-85 mini-series at Comic-con this week for less than $10, but it's nice to have pretty graphic novels for the bookshelf. This is the story of when Kitty grows up a bit. Following her breakup with fellow X-Man Colossus, she literally confronts her inner demons with the aid of Wolverine, learning martial arts and putting the days of silly costumes behind her. Ogun and Kitty's codename of Shadowcat come out of this, and look for a sword fight between mentor and protegee. Chris Claremont writes with art by Al Migrom

Other Noteworthy Releases

American Flagg! Definitive Collection (Volume 1) HC
Ambush Bug: Year None #1 (of 6)
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures (Volume…

Manga Monday: My Dead Girlfriend

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My Dead Girlfriend (Volume 1)Eric Wight . My Dead Girlfriend is an OEL manga that I picked up because Joss Whedon gave it the seal of approval. The book is by Eric Wight, who was the "ghost artist" for the character Seth on The O.C., and also worked on a few comics and in animation on projects such as Batman Beyond. Anyways, My Dead Girlfriend follows a boy named Finney who attends Mephisto Prep, a school full of witches, werewolves, vampires and ghosts, although he himself is human and not surprisingly, doesn't fit in very well. He comes from the Bleak family, who have a long history of dying in very odd ways. The book actually begins by running down a list of such cases, from a magician's assistant actually being sawed in half to an inventor who disappears into the sky amid helium balloons. The ghosts of these ancestors are still around to give advice to young Finney and his relatives, and are there for him when the girl he falls for at the local fair doesn't sho…

Poster for Star Trek

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The Goddess of War (Volume 1)

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Lauren R. Weinstein. The Goddess of War is a new series published by Picturebox, from Lauren Weinstein, creator of Girl Stories. This lively new book follows a former Valkyrie turned Goddess of War who is getting rather sick of her job. As she throws a tantrum and falls into a drunken stupor on the blood of 150 Mayan virgins, she recalls her past, specifically a time when she slept with an Apache man she made chief - Cochise - and the pain she caused him. Throughout the book, there are plenty of strange aliens and creatures, gods and animals, and Weinstein illustrates them all with a lot of energy for a really exciting final product. The Goddess of War is full of creative panel compositions, fun diagrams and every once in a while, a page done up to mimic fine art that can embody a scene of action, with delicate pencils and shading. This is all presented in a black and white oversized format in what I believe is the first of four volumes. A great beginning to a riveting new title.

What It Is

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Lynda Barry. Writing is an interesting endeavor. It can be very frustrating and difficult one minute and absolutely delightful and exciting the next. I find when I'm writing a novel sometimes I'm able to write non-stop for hours at a time on the first go-round, but when it comes to small things like writing a review for this blog, I can get stuck and it can take me hours to produce ten sentences about something. It's a mystery of hows and whys and whens. And the writing process itself is what Lynda Barry explores in her latest offering What It Is. . I found What It Is a very inspiring read. Within, Barry examines what makes good writing, what we mean by phrases such as "it came to me," (and just what those words imply), and dissecting terms like "image" and "pretending" and "realization," offering extremely insightful commentary as she ponders over them. . This book is partially autobiographical, as Barry offers scenes from her child…

Spike: After the Fall #1 (of 4)

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Brian Lynch & Franco Urru. Spike: After the Fall is a four issue mini-series that spins out of events from Angel: After the Fall, continuing the story of what happened following the series finale of Angel the television series, this time focusing on fan favorite Spike. This doesn't show events from the alley where the character was left off at the end of the TV program, but rather picks up shortly thereafter, yet before Angel recruited Spike in Angel: After the Fall. As we saw in that other IDW mini-series, Spike is with Illyria and has discovered her "condition" in Hell, and maybe a little more... But overall, this mini-series seems pretty unnecessary. The art is murky and dark, like it is in Angel: After the Fall, and the characters' voices seem far off. At least Angel: After the Fall had the new concept of LA transporting to Hell going for it, and explaining all that went along with it. This mini-series doesn't introduce new elements, but rather indul…

In Stores 7/16

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Picking out the comics with most potential, shipping to comic shops on Wednesday... . Pick of the Week . Spike: After the Fall #1 (of 4) - Though Angel: After the Fall has been somewhat of a disappointment, I can't help but hope for the best for this spin-off mini-series featuring the other vampire with a soul, bad boy Spike. I've got my fingers crossed for a Harmony appearance... Also available this week from IDW is Angel: After the Fall (Volume 1) HC. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Astro City: The Dark Ages .....(Book 1) HC Batgirl #1 (of 6) Bizenghast (Volume 5) - .....Final volume! The Comics Journal #291 EC Archives: Weird Science (Volume 3) HC Fallen Angel (Volume 5) TP Foolkiller: White Angels #1 (of 5) Howard the Duck Omnibus Jeff Smith: Bone & Beyond HC Joker's Asylum: Poison Ivy #1 Real (Volume 1) Showcase Presents Hawkman (Volume 2) TP Universal War One #1 (of 3) Zot! (Volume 1): The Complete Black & White Stories 1987-1991

Manga Monday: Gantz

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Gantz (Volume 1)Hiroya Oku . Gantz was one of my most anticipated manga of the year, and it's proved to be a doozy with the first volume. Beautifully-drawn and action-packed, it reminds me quite a bit of another bloody, violent, over-sexed manga, Battle Royale. The book follows a group of people who have appeared in a bare apartment following their deaths. In the room is a strange machine that gives them instructions and provides them with weapons and battle gear. Basically, they are given a target, an alien, that they must take out. The first alien on the list is a small "onion alien." After quickly zoning in on its location, it puts up a pathetic defense that really makes the reader feel bad for it and has you wondering whether what the humans are being ordered to do is good or bad. The people who are being forced into this situation still aren't convinced that it's real - that perhaps it's a hidden camera show or something, but once the blood starts gushing …

Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1 (of 5)

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Kathryn Immonen, David Lafuente & John Rauch. This is another comic that I picked up on a whim. I know nothing about Patsy Walker, but was curious, so here we are. The debut issue of the five issue mini-series begins with Patsy playing model for a neighbor who wants a dress fitted. During the play date, she gets a call from Iron Man, who needs her to help out with the 50-state initiative. In Alaska. Solo. Not exactly the most star-studded gig, but Hellcat is up for the challenge and very quickly meets up with some unfriendly natives and a magical bear or two. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this issue. The art is pretty great, as are the bright colors, especially when it comes to Patsy's fashionable outfits and the several panels that illustrate what she's imagining. What really makes this book something special is the character of Patsy Walker. She's really cool and funny - a little ditsy spoiled princess, a little rough and ready to take thing…

Marvel Zombies 2

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Robert Kirkman, Sean Phillips & Arthur Suydam. What's left to do when you've eaten an entire universe full of people? Try to get to another universe, of course. That's what the remaining zombies attempt to do in the sequel to the hit mini-series. Via the transportation device that zombie Reed Richards created in Marvel Zombies: Dead Days (back on the original Earth that they came from), the zombies seek to sate their hunger. Since we last saw them, the zombies have recruited a few new members in Phoenix, Thanos, Firelord and Gladiator. And after a little distraction in the form of Ego the Living Planet (an all-you-can-eat buffet), the zombies return to Earth to find the survivors who have long left the safety of Asteroid M at the end of the original series, including Black Panther, Forge, several Acolytes and a zombie Wasp, who claims that after resisting the hunger for a time, has lost the need to consume flesh. The humans are split between keeping Black Panther …

In Stores 7/10

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Remember, due to the holiday, comics will be a day late this week. Here are the books with the most potential shipping to comics shops this Thursday... . Pick of the Week . The Goddess of War #1 (of 4) - A new title from innovative publisher Picturebox. This book is by Lauren Weinstein (Girl Stories), and follows the life of a goddess: her history and how she gets bored with her role (deciding how wars will turn out), opting to leave her own planet for Earth. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Annihilation: Conquest (Book 2) .....HC Batman and Son TP Berlin #16 Bone: Color Edition (Volume 8): .....Treasure Hunters BPRD: The Warning #1 (of 5) Captain America: White #0 Cola Madnes TP - New Gary Panter! Criminal (Volume 3): Dead and Dying TP Final Crisis: Requiem #1 Hellboy: Oddest Jobs TP Kyle Baker's Nat Turner Ms. Marvel (Volume 4): Monster Smash TP - Now in softcover Power Pack (Volume 1) HC Runaways: Dead End Kids Premiere HC Secret Invasion #4

Manga Monday: Cat Eyed Boy

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Cat Eyed Boy (Volume 1) & (Volume 2)
KazuoUmezu
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Cat Eyed Boy is the latest addition to Viz's very good Viz Signature Line of manga. The two volumes of the series were released simultaneously in huge 500+ page editions boasting great cover and interior designs by Ronnie Casson. The first thing you come across as you open these mammoth editions are really neat splash pages on the inside covers full of the different monsters that appear within the pages of Cat Eyed Boy. Now, I've read Umezu's recently concluded The Drifting Classroom and his minor horror work Reptilia, but they quite easily pale in the face of the awesomeness that is Cat Eyed Boy, where KazuoUmezu really earns his title of master of Japanese horror manga. .
Cat Eyed Boy features several small stories that involve a boy born with defects that make him look like a cat...and grant him some magical powers. He travels around Japan taking refuge in people's attics and spying on the tenants while helping himsel…

Happy Fourth of July!

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Astonishing X-Men #25

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Warren Ellis & Simone Bianchi

Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi take the reigns of Marvel's flagship X-Men title with Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's departure. The cast of characters they utilize in the debut issue of their run is the one you see pictured: Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beast, Storm and Armor. I'm glad that they've decided to keep using the X-Men Hisako from Joss and John's run, as she became quite a standout character as the book progressed, though she does seem a bit off here, demonstrating Kitty's former dilemma of not finding a suitable codename, stepping into that same role as the naive new kid with a bit of fire in her. Storm's return to the team was a good choice, giving the creators an excuse to show off their new uniforms and San Francisco headquarters through dialogue as they relate things to her, orienting the reader along with her. Other than that, not much really happens in the first issue. A lot of talking, but no action, t…

Anna Mercury #1

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Warren Ellis & Facundo Percio. Anna Mercury is a new Avatar comic from the prolific Warren Ellis, with art by Facuno Percio. The book follows a red-headed vixen gifted in espionage and acrobatics, and oozing sensuality. Beyond her cool demeanor, she harbors a special gift to make people follow her instructions. Literally. She makes them do what she wants and not because of her strong leadership skills. This first issue introduces us to the protagonist and her little world of leather, skin tight outfits and voices over headsets as she attempts to stop one group of powerful people from destroying another vulnerable group. But the real moment that distinguishes this book from others of its ilk is the last panel, where the twist is revealed. Up until that point however, Anna Mercury is a very average action comic, instantly forgettable with an art style I tend to associate with Avatar Comics: competent, sleek and somewhat 90's; Nothing spectacular and perhaps a little over-r…

Movies-and-More: July 2008

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Alright, here we go… July release dates for films, music, DVDs and books, as well as my box office predictions and newly-released film trailers…
In Theaters July 4nd
Diminished Capacity (Click title for theatrical trailer)
Hancock (On Wednesday July 2nd)
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (On Wednesday July 2nd)
The Wackness (On Thursday July 3rd)
Predictions: 1. Wall-E ($38 million), 2. Hancock ($29 million), 3. Wanted ($27 million), 4. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl ($22.5 million), 5. Get Smart ($8 million)
In Theaters July 11th
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Journey To the Center of the
.....Earth 3D
Meet Dave
Predictions: 1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army ($44 million), 2. Wall-E ($22 million), 3. Journey To the Center of the Earth 3D ($16 million), 4. Wanted ($14 million), 5. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl ($13.5 million)
In Theaters July 18th
The Dark Knight
Hounddog
Mamma Mia!
Space Chimps

Predictions: 1. The Dark Knight ($89 million), 2. Mamma Mia! ($25 million), 3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army ($20…

In Stores 7/2

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Alright, time to take a look at the books with the most promise, shipping to comic shops this Wednesday…
Pick of the Week
Astonishing X-Men #25 - The X-Men flagship title gets reloaded with Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s departure. The appropriate and exciting choice for the follow-up: Warren Ellis, with art by Simone Bianchi. Should be fun.
Other Noteworthy Releases
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter in .....Guilty Pleasures (Vol. 2) HC
Billy Batson and the Magic of
.....Shazam #1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16
Counter X (Volume 1): X-Force
- .....The first collection featuring .....Warren Ellis’s retooling of the .....X-Men titles years ago, in time for .....his taking over Astonishing X-Men.
Cowa (Volume 1)
Essential Defenders (Volume 4) TP
Fruits Basket (Volume 20)
Great Catsby (Volume 6)
- Final volume Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1 (of 3)
Invaders Classic (Volume 2) TP
Joker’s Asylum #1: The Joker
Lucky (Volume 2) #2
Manhunter #32
Mighty Avengers (Volume 2): Venom Bomb Premiere HC
Nana (Volume 11)
Naruto …