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Showing posts from August, 2008

Air #1

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G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker

Air is a new series that debuted a few weeks back from Vertigo, by the creative team behind last year's graphic novel Cairo - a work that was flawed, but showed a lot of promise from these artists. Air leaves behind the magical whimsy of Cairo (but not the suspension of disbelief, mind you) to concentrate on hot current issues in America. Like terrorism. The debut issue of this title introduces Blythe, a flight attendant with a fear of heights, as she's pulled into a web of warring parties that wish to prevent terrorism (maybe), by causing terrorism (probably) - or something like that. Anyways, Perker's art is looking nice here, above average for a Vertigo title, although it still looks very much like a Vertigo book from the first glance. There are some fun, interesting things set up for this book, and the cool ideas that were utilized throughout this debut issue were executed pretty spot-on. Unfortunately, the characters don't d…

Movies-and-More: September 2008

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Here's the run-down of September release dates for films, music, DVDs and books, as well as my box office predictions and newly-released movie trailers.

In Theaters September 5th Bangkok Dangerous (Click For Theatrical Trailer)
Everybody Wants To Be Italian
Passengers Ping Pong Playa
Predictions: 1. Tropic Thunder ($8 million), 2. Bangkok Dangerous ($7.5 m), 3. Babylon A.D. ($6.5 m), 4. The Dark Knight ($6 m), 5. The House Bunny ($5 m)
In Theaters September 12th Burn After Reading Righteous Kill Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys The Women
Predictions: 1. Burn After Reading ($32 m), 2. Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys ($18 m), 3. Righteous Kill ($8 m), 4. Tropic Thunder ($6 m), 5. The Women ($5.5 m)
In Theaters September 19th The Duchess Ghost Town Hounddog Igor Lakeview Terrace My Best Friend's Girl Taken
Predictions: 1. Igor ($23 m), 2. Burn After Reading ($18 m), 3. My Best Friend's Girl ($17 m). 4. Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys Together ($8 m), 4. Lakeview Terrace ($5…

In Stores 8/27

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Here are the books with most potential shipping to comic shops tomorrow!!!

Pick of the Week

Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight HC - Dark Horse brings Chris Onstad's extremely popular, critically-hailed webcomic to print in this hardcover volume. I've never read Achewood before, but it looks like now's the time.

Other Noteworthy Releases

All-Star Superman (Volume 1) TP - Now in paperback!
Astounding Wolf-Man (Volume 1) TP
Barb Wire Omnibus (Volume 1) TP
Daredevil by Bendis Omnibus HC (Volume 1)
Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson (Volume 2) TP
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 (of 2)
Metal Men HC
newuniversal: Conquerer
Runaways 3 #1
Secret Invasion: Spider-Man #1 (of 3)
She-Hulk (Volume 6): Jaded TP
Suicide Squad: From the Ashes TP
Terry Moore's Echo (Volume 1): Moon Lake TP
X-Men: The Complete Onslaught Epic (Volume 3) TP
Young Inhumans TP

Manga Monday: Shirley!

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Shirley (Volume 1)Kaoru Mori . My favorite manga last year was Kaoru Mori's Emma, so I was ecstatic when this new manga from Mori was announced from CMX. Shirley is a book of short stories, the first five of which center around a 13-year-old maid taken in by a kind single cafe owner. She's very hard-working and diligent, but she is a child after all, and has a lot to learn, and must act (and be treated) like a child from time to time. After this, we are treated to the tale of a child master who gains some insights while playing with his servant, the maid Nellie, who is obviously a prototype for the title character in Emma. The volume rounds out with "Mary Banks" about servants subjected to the pranks of their eccentric old master. All of these stories feature maids from Edwardian England, a subject that the creator is obviously fond of, as she meticulously researches them and illustrates them lushly and lovingly. Still, these early stories by Mori aren't as i…

The Order (Volume 2): California Dreaming

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Matt Fraction, Barry Kitson & Javier Saltares. I didn't quite like the second volume of The Order as much as I loved the first, but it's still very good, with plenty of unexpected things happening. I felt like the book was a little rushed toward the end, probably a result of its cancellation, but there was still a thrilling climax and satisfying final issue. I was also disappointed that Barry Kitson didn't draw the last two issues. I love Kitson's art (I was impressed with his recent stint on Wolverine: First Class as well) and Javier Saltares's art was jarring when it appeared. Two more issues and the book could have had a nice consistency through its finale...ah, well. I do think this series had a top-notch creative team. Matt Fraction is one of the best writers working in mainstream comics right now, and Barry Kitson's one of those artists I notice when he makes an appearance. It's too bad that the book was cancelled so soon, but perhaps we…

Bottomless Belly Button

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Dash Shaw
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Dash Shaw's acclaimed graphic novel Bottomless Belly Button clocks in at an enormous 720 pages. You wouldn't know it from reading it though - the book is utterly captivating, and the pages fly by, drawing you in like a good thriller. The story follows the reunion of the Loony family as three siblings' parents plan to get a divorce late in life. The book shifts from one member of the family's perspective to another, each with their own interesting issues (with the youngest brother drawn like a frog). At times funny, at times heavy-hearted, Bottomless Belly Button is drawn beautifully, and easily secures Shaw as an innovative young cartoonist to watch. There are definitely influences from other important creators in this work - Chris Ware, for one, although this book does remind me more of Craig Thompson's Blankets than anything I've read: It felt very realistic, and was able to fully capture the mood and feelings associated with a life-altering moment …

The Walking Dead (Volume 8):

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Made To SufferRobert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn . Things that have been brewing for volumes finally come to a head in the latest collection of The Walking Dead. Collecting issues 43 through 48 of the popular zombie comic, Made To Suffer sees the big confrontation between Rick and his band of friends, and the villainous Governor who manipulates his small populace of survivors to do his bidding. At the end of volume seven, The Calm Before, we see an army barrelling in on Rick's safe prison, and the first chapter of volume eight goes over the events in the enemy camp between Rick's escape from their clutches and this new attack. After this one issue seen through the enemy's eyes, it's back to Rick and friends as they defend all that they've worked so hard to build against the treacherous invaders. By the end of the volume, all has changed and the book will never be the same. I think this is in the book's best interest. Things were getting a l…

In Stores 8/20

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Here are the books with most potential, shipping to comic shops tomorrow!!! . Pick of the Week . Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes - I was enamored with Rory Hayes's artwork during a gallery show in Chicago a few years ago (put together by Ivan Brunetti). It was beautiful and disturbing, and completely stole the show for me. Up until now, there was nowhere to get your hands on his work, but luckily, the unconquerable Dan Nadel and Glenn Bray put together this retrospective (the very first featuring this artist), with the best of Hayes's underground comics. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Abandoned Cars HC Air #1 Art of Marc Silvestri Deluxe Edition HC Delphine #3 Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1 (of 5) Herbie Archives (Volume 1) HC The Killer #8 (of 10) Mome (Volume 12) GN Myspace Dark Horse Presents (Volume 1) TP - With Joss Whedon's .....Sugar Shock! Naoki Urasawa's Monster (Volume 16) Punisher War Journal Classic (Volume 1) TP The Red Star: Sword of Lies #3…

Manga Monday: One Piece

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One Piece (Volume 1): Romance DawnEiichiro Oda . One Piece is an extremely popular manga that follows ambitious Monkey D. Luffy as he strives to become the King of Pirates, the tale beginning with his inspiration for becoming a pirate in his youth, when he befriended a group of pirates who anchored at his seaside hometown. During these early years, he ate the gum-gum fruit, and his body was made rubbery, so he's pretty much impervious to harm and can do some winding punches and more, but it's also made him unable to swim for life, as he would simply sink. This doesn't discourage him however, as he sets off on a small boat to gather a crew of pirates and search for the coveted "One Piece" treasure that many people seek during this golden age of piracy. . This book is great. Luffy is one of those happy-go-lucky characters that's hard to take very seriously, but his enthusiasm is infectious, which is probably why he attracts the people that he does. His adventures w…

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1

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Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez. The Hernandez Brothers's popular Love and Rockets series has relaunched in a new annual format, where the book can now be ordered through book stores in a nice trade paperback format - a good idea, as this type of thing seems to work very well for other artists such as Chris Ware. Unfortunately, this also means...we will only see this book once a year, which is a shame, but I do feel like The Hernandez Brothers's works generally read much better in long chunks of story anyway, so for me, this is ideal. . I believe Gilbert will be doing more Palomar stories in this book in the future, but he was originally planning on saving Palomar stories for original graphic novels, contributing other short stories to the Love and Rockets comic pamphlet. When this new format was announced however, it became a good place once again for the creator to bring Palomar back into the fold. But as is, with this debut issue of the third incarnation of Love and Rock…

25 Best Animated Films

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Continuing my top 25 lists, I thought film should get a little love, and as I love animation, this was the first thing to come to mind. From bloody anime to Disney musicals, from computer generated to traditional cell animation, here are my favorite animated films...

1. Anastasia - 20th Century Fox released this fictional account of what happened to the lost princess Anastasia, taking an orphaned girl from the streets to St. Petersburg, Russia to Paris to face her destiny and find herself. The studio's first venture into animation, this movie has a fantastic story with a stupendous soundtrack, beautiful scenes and great dialogue, deserving of its place at the top of this list. Voices: Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer. 20th Century Fox: 1997.
2. Hercules - Disney's vision of the popular Greek myth is a very epic movie full of gods and demons featuring a naive hero out to prove himself. The sassy love interest Megara is a real treat, delivering some of the best lines in a mov…

500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide

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Gene Kannenberg Jr.
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Gene Kannenberg Jr.'s new guide to graphic novels is broken out into ten chapters, each focusing on a different area of comics. Initially, each chapter of the book begins with the top ten comics in said category, and then proceeds to list the best of the rest. I was really happy to see that Kannenberg did not break out manga or international material into their own categories, but rather puts them on equal footing with American comics in areas from "Adventure" to "Non-Fiction." The other areas he includes are: "Crime/Mystery," "Fantasy," "General Fiction," "Horror," "Humor," "Science Fiction," "Superheroes" and "War." While I understand why he did specific breakouts as he did, especially in terms of using this as a reference guide to easily find the sort of books a reader would be interested in, it doesn't work as well as it could have. For instance, the &quo…

In Stores 8/13

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Picking out the books with the most potential to hit comic shops tomorrow... Kind of a slow week... . Pick of the Week . 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide - Gene Kannenberg Jr.'s guide to graphic novels may not be perfect, but it's about time something like this exists. Watch for my review tomorrow... . Other Noteworthy Releases . Atomic Robo: Dogs of War .....#1 (of 5) Clockwork Girl HC Disappearance Diary GN League of Extraordinary .....Gentlemen: The Black .....Dossier: The Absolute Edition HC New Exiles (Volume 1): New Life New Gambit TP New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection (Book 2) TP Secret Invasion #5 (of 8) Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1 (of 4) Secret Invasion: Thor #1 (of 3) Secret Invasion: X-Men #1 (of 4) Simon Dark: What Simon Does TP Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis (Volume 2): Caged Animals .....Premiere HC X-Men Origins: Jean Grey

Manga Monday: Passion

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Passion (Volume 1)
Shinobu Gotoh & Shoko Takaku . Most yaoi manga are brimming with emotion, as they're aimed at a female audience, but Passion is oddly full of unlikeable characters who like to play games with little to no substance behind their pretty faces. The main thrust of the story finds Hikaru lusting over his high school teacher (Shima), ten years his senior, to the point of forcing himself on him. But Shima likes the idea of Hikaru, and wants to "play" lovers through the end of Hikaru's time at school. This involves coercing Hikaru to get his grades up for a date, and cruelly, having Hikaru rush to meet him inconveniently, only to spend a few minutes with him before he leaves him in a daze. Shima's an ass, no matter how many soft, half-smile gazes he sends the reader's direction. Hikaru's not much better, as the only quality we see of the student is his eagerness to please Shima. Void of much emotion, I really don't care where the character…

25 Best Dance/Club Songs

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I'm going to be doing quite a few of these lists. I was inspired by Entertainment Weekly's recent issue of lists that named "modern classics" of music, film, literature and television (among other things) of the last 25 years, so I want to weigh in on some of the things I love, and maybe expose people to some new stuff. First up, I'm going to list my favorite dance songs. Now this is real dance music that's played in dance clubs, not The Electric Slide and the YMCA that deejays play at wedding receptions so grandma can participate. This is modern classic dance music that gets people in the mood to move and get up on those dance blocks. Or something. Anyways, I don't have a preference for house mixes, unless noted.

1.Better Off Alone by Alice Deejay - The classic dance song. When the opening notes ring out, crowds ring out in cheers. It doesn't get better than how this song can get people going.

2.Nobody's Supposed To Be Here by Deborah Cox - A song …

Previews: October '08 Comics

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Here are the highlights from Previews Catalogue for books shipping to comic shops in October!

Checker Book Publishing Group

Sojourn Omnibus (Volume 1) - I was a huge Crossgen fan, so this is ridiculously appealing to me. 584 pages of fine genre comics.

Dark Horse

Harvey Comics Classics (Volume 5): The Harvey Girls - Continuing the wonderful project that has seen Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richy Rich, among others, reprinted to beautiful results, Dark Horse reprints comics featuring the popular girls of Harvey Comics, including Little Audrey, Little Dot and Little Lotta.

Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch - Mike Mignola finally returns to Hellboy after three years to write and draw this one-shot.

DC Comics

The Ferryman #1-2 (of 5) - Marc Andreyko (Manhunter) begins a new mini-series with Jonathan Wayshak on art. Not too sure about the details, but if Andreyko's on the job, it's at least in good hands.

JLA/Avengers TP - I'm surprised that this hasn't been collected before, but …

The Bond of Saint Marcel #1 (of 6)

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Jennifer Quintenz & Christian Gossett

The Bond of Saint Marcel is a new mini-series from two members of Team Red Star, the faces behind the acclaimed Eisner-nominated science fiction comic series The Red Star (Gossett, the creator of The Red Star, does art on this book, while Quintenz writes). The Red Star's always stood out because of its art, and while it works wonders in The Red Star's industrial world of skyfurnaces and war-ravaged battlegrounds, it leaves a tad to be desired in a human story such as this one, where the characters come off looking a little cold. But that being said, the art is still very nice. And the story is a great one (the screenplay by Quintenz has not surprisingly already been snatched up by the studio behind The Strangers). Young rebellious Katherine Johnstone descends from a rich and powerful family who were vital in fending off the British during The Revolutionary War, but they accomplished this through occult means, having bound a vampire agai…

In Stores 8/6

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Here are the books shipping to comic shops on Wednesday, with the most potential for awesomeness... . Pick of the Week . Okko: The Cycle of Earth #1 (of 4) - It looks like Archaia Studios Press is over their short publishing hiatus, because a whole slew of books is coming out this week from the publisher, including new issues of The Sisterhood (which I picked up in San Diego and it was awesome) and the acclaimed The Killer. They're also releasing the debut issues of the twelve issue mini-series Titanium Rain and the new mini from the team behind The Red Star, The Bond of Saint Marcel. But what I'm most excited about is the beginning of the latest Okko mini-series, Okko: The Cycle of Earth. I loved the first book in the series from French artist Hub, Okko: The Cycle of Water, and was a little bummed that the new one was pushed back. But here it is! Prepare to be awed! . Other Noteworthy Releases . Amazing Spider-Man Family #1 Army@Love: The Art of War #1 (of 6) The Authority #1 The …

Manga Monday: Cowa!

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Cowa! (Volume 1)
Akira Toriyama

Cowa! is a new young readers manga from the creator of the popular Dragon Ball Z, Akira Toriyama. The story follows a young half-vampire, half-werekoala named Paifu, who gets into mischief with his friends, mainly Jose the ghost (who farts when he gets startled) and bully monster Arpon (who must be the best at everything and considers himself Paifu's rival). Together, they live in a monster village in the country called Batwing Ridge, a secluded area where they don't see many humans, save the new mysterious man who has settled down nearby, who's rumored to be a murderer. The first chapter of the book, "Paifu Goes On an Errand," is a fine self-contained introduction to the series, where Toriyama sets up most of the main elements of the story to the reader, like how Paifu turns into a werekoala when confronted with a cross. Following this, the bulk of the rest of this first volume follows the young monsters' quest to retrieve medic…

Cold Heat Special #4

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Frank Santoro & Jim Rugg. This was a treat. I loved Cold Heat Special #1 from last year (it was one of my favorite comics of the year), so it's no surprise that I enjoyed this one as well. Like with the first special, Cold Heat creator Frank Santoro teams up with a different artist to tell a story surrounding protagonist Castle, in the strange world she lives in. This time around, Jim Rugg co-writes the story and illustrates the issue for a fantastic final product. This special comes in a newspaper-style black-and-white comic with big panels to showcase the fantastic art. It's chalk-full of disturbing and bizarre images in a dream-like story that has Castle moving between a fast food diner during a rainstorm and a beautiful landscape of farmland and lazy hills. It's a pretty short story, but it became one of those books that I read really slowly to savor the atmosphere and art. What I'm trying to say here is Cold Heat Special #4 is immensely enjoyable and I h…

Uncanny X-Men #500

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Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Greg Land & Terry Dodson

I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the first issue of Warren Ellis’s stint on the X-Men flagship title Astonishing X-Men, so I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the new issue of secondary x-title Uncanny X-Men, which marks not only the 500th issue of the book, but sees Matt Fraction coming on to co-write with Brubaker (who has been writing the book for awhile now, starting with the mediocre The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire story arc). The two have collaborated before to some very nice results and this seems to be the case for the new pairing as well. Greg Land and Terry Dodson illustrate the issue, and there lies my biggest complaint. I don't mind so much the photo-referenced look of Greg Land's art like many people do, but what I do find quite distracting is when the art changes between two artists throughout an issue. It's bad enough when a storyarc can't be by a single artist, but not even an issue? Th…

Movies-and-More: August 2008

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Once again, I’m running down August release dates for films, music, DVDs and books, as well as my box office predictions and newly-released movie trailers.

In Theater August 1st Frozen River (Click for trailer) The Midnight Meat Train The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Swing Vote

Predictions: 1. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ($37 million), 2. The Dark Knight ($35 m), 3. Step Brothers ($13 m), 4. Mamma Mia! ($10 m), 5. Swing Vote ($8.5 m)

In Theaters August 8th
Beer For My Horses
Hell Ride

Pineapple Express
(On Wednesday August 6th)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (On Wednesday August 6th)

Predictions: 1. Pineapple Express ($31 m), 2. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ($16 m), 3. The Dark Knight ($ 15 m), 4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 ($14 m), 5. Hell Ride ($11 m)

In Theaters August 15th
Henry Poole Is Here
Mirrors
Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Tropic Thunder
(On Wednesday August 13th)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Predictions: 1. Star Wars: The Clone Wars ($78 m), 2. Tropic …