Showing posts from September, 2008

In Stores 10/1

These are the books with most potential shipping to comic shops this Wednesday...

Pick of the Week

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down HC - I fell in love with David Heatley's work with his unflinching autobiographical "Sex History." This book includes that story, as well as five others, mostly focusing on his family, but also including a look into his own racism. This is sure to be clever and observant.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Against Pain HC - Ron Rege Jr.'s book
The Alcoholic HC
American Dream: Beyond
.....Courage TP
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter in The Laughing Corpse #1 (of 5)
Aya of Yop City HC
Boys (Volume 3) TP
Cairo SC
The Complete Chester Gould's Dict Tracy (Volume 5) HC
The Complete Peanuts HC 1967-1970 Box Set
Countdown To Final Crisis (Volume 3) TP
Dark Tower: The Long Road Home HC
Digger (Volume 1) GN
Gantz (Volume 2)
Green Arrow/Black Canary: Wedding Album HC
Harvey Comics CLassics (Volume 4): Baby Huey TP
Justice (Volume 2) TP
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Co…

Manga Monday: S.S. Astro

S.S. Astro (Volume 1)Negi Banno . S.S. Astro is a manga series told in the "yonkomo" format, or vertical four-panel comic strips. The "Astro" in the name is an acronym for "Asahio Shogo Teacher's ROom." The book features a pair of women (Maki Izumi and Nagumo Yuko) who are teaching for the first time at Asahio Shogo, a school they used to attend, as well as a handful of other teachers, including a demented nurse (Arai Setsuna) who loves it when kids come into her office with injuries. S.S. Astro reminds me quite a bit of the only other yonkomo manga I've ever read, Kiyohiko Azuma's Azumanga Daioh. Not only do they both take place in school, but they also have a very similar feel to them: silly and cartoony and very whimsical. Although Azumanga Daioh concentrates more on the students of the school (where a pair of teachers are also featured prominently), S.S. Astro distinguishes itself by solely examining the teachers. There are plenty of f…

Previews: December '08 Comics

I went through Previews Catalogue to find the good stuff...and this is what I found for books shipping to comics shops in December!
Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics
The War at Ellsmere TP - A new all-ages book from the creator of Zombies Calling, Faith Erin Hicks.
Archangel Studios The Red Star: Sword of Lies (Volume 1) TP - A collection of the first part (three issues) of the Sword of Lies annuals.
Archie Comic Publications
The Archies: Greatest Hits (Volume 1) TP - A restored collection of The Archies' best tales!
Boom! Studios
Seekers Into the Mystery (Volume 1): The Pilgrimage of Lucas Hart TP - A collection of the first part of the classic magical Vertigo series by J.M. DeMatteis (Abadazad), Glenn Barr and Jon J. Muth.
The Stardust Kid TP - More J.M. DeMatteis! This was his and Mike Ploog's follow-up to Abadazad. It was also quite disappointing...
BuenaVentura Press
Fight Or Run #1 - Kevin Huizenga's (Ganges) new series! Minimalist and abstract.
Kramer's Ergot (Volume 7) HC - …

In Stores 9/24

Here's a run-down of the books with most potential shipping to comic shops on Wednesday... . Pick of the Week . The Best American Comics 2008 HC - Lynda Barry is guest editor of the latest volume in the Best American anthology series that focuses on comics, with Jessica Abel and Matt Madden coming on as the new editors for the series. Even if DC refused to allow Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100 excerpt, there's still plenty of good stuff by talented people, including Chris Ware, Eleanor Davis, Jaime Hernandez, Michael Kupperman, Matt Groening, Alison Bechdel, and many more. . Other Noteworthy Releases . 100 Bullets (Volume 12): Dirty TP Abe Sapien (Volume 1): The Drowning TP Absolute Ronin HC Back To Brooklyn #1 (of 5) Black Jack (Volume 1) HC Black Summer TP Cable (Volume 1): Messiah War Premiere HC The Complete Peanuts (Volume 10): 1969-1970 HC The Complete Terry & the Pirates (Volume 4): 1941-1942 HC Conan (Volume 6): The Hand of Nergal TP/HC Dead Ahead #1 (of 3) Fairy Tail (Volume 4) Gar…

Manga Monday: Me and the Devil Blues

Me and the Devil Blues (Volume 1)Akira Hiramoto . Me and the Devil Blues is a fictionalized biography of mysterious blues guitarist Robert Johnston. Little is known about the true life of the man, save the myth that he sold his soul to the devil for his level of craft. Akira Hiramoto's imagination has Johnston sprouting ten fingers on one hand and working alongside Clyde of the infamous bandits Bonnie and Clyde. A bit much. But there's a lot of good historical stuff in here, especially when it comes to the tense segregation between whites and blacks. But I think the most effective aspect of the book is its tone. Hiramoto has an uncanny ability of painting a scene with intense mood. From the shady culture of a blues bar at midnight, to the bright, stifling hot doorsteps of a building at mid-day on Main Street, Hiramoto takes his impressive drawing skills to a level all its own. And there are small touches of conflict through the paranormal and inner dialogue that make eve…

Dragon Prince #1

Ron Marz & Lee Moder. When I picked this up, I was expecting a straight-forward fantasy - swords and sorcery and all that. I really enjoyed Ron Marz's stint on Crossgen's Scion, so I was excited to read a story like that again. But while this is a fantasy, and it does include magic and shape-shifting dragons, it's of the subgenre of that old school fantasy meeting the real world. This first issue of Dragon Prince sees a young bullied Aaron uncover the truth behind his heritage - that his father was a dragon, and that he has dragon in his blood, with the ability to shape-shift and breathe fire. Long ago, dragons were abundant, but his father was the last of his kind, and as his father has died, Aaron is now alone in the world, half-human, half-dragon, with his mother trying to protect him from the same dragon hunters that tracked and killed his father. . I really enjoyed the opening of this book. It followed a dragon meeting a young woman in a small village before he&…

X-Men: Magneto - Testament #1 (of 5)

Greg Pak & Carmine Di Giandomenico. I really love that cover by Marko Djurdjevic. It was definitely one of the things that compelled me to pick up this comic. That, and the fact that Magneto has one of the most interesting backgrounds in superhero comics, at least for a supervillain. But there's hardly any semblance of the man that he will become in the beginning of this mini-series following a happy-go-lucky, proud young man named Max Eisenhardt. He faces adversity at every turn as he tries to impress girls and crafts jewelry under the tutelage of his father. Max is a very likable character, the kind of underdog one can't help but root for. But we know how history plays out. This work is grounded in history, and Auschwitz is looming in the future for this boy who is figuratively beaten down by the headmaster of his school, and literally beaten down by his classmates. All around him, he bears witness to examples of the persecution of Jews (including the announcement…

Deadpool #1

Daniel Way & Paco Medina AnotherDeadpool series launched this past week from Marvel, spinning out of events from Secret Invasion. In this issue, readers get to see what they probably want from a mercenary such as this: one continuous battle sequence, as Deadpool takes on a skrull battleship all by himself. Deadpool's known for his chattering during killing, and he doesn't disappoint this time around, as he wise-cracks while taking out dozens of skrulls in a mascot outfit. But honestly, it was more weird than funny. The jokes kind of fall flat and the whole mascot thing...I guess we haven't seen that before, but I didn't care to either. The funnest thing about the book for me was Deadpool's hallucinations, which were great on a visual level. They were kind of random, but welcome when they appeared. They went along nicely with his, you know, having a conversation with himself. I don't know all that much about Deadpool, to be honest, so I wasn't su…

In Stores 9/17

Here are the books with most potential shipping to comic shops on Wednesday!
Pick of the Week
Ultra: Seven Days TP (New Printing) - One of the best superhero comics that I've ever read, The Luna Brothers' debut work gets a new printing!! Dig it!
Other Noteworthy Releases

Afro Samurai (Volume 1) SC
Age of the Sentry #1 (of 6)
All Star Superman #12 - The final
.....Morrison/Quitely issue!
Astro Boy (Volume 1 & 2) TP - Two
.....volumes in one!
Captain America (Volume 2):
.....Death of Captain America TP
Greatest Hits #1 (of 6)
Incredible Hercules: Against the
.....World TP
Janes In Love TP
Justice League of America (Volume 1): Tornado's Path TP
Local HC
Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four (Volume 11) HC
Power Pack: Day One TP
Spider-Man: Brand New Day (Volume 3) HC
Superman: Kryptonite HC


I'm taking a rest from Manga Monday this week - see you in seven!

Prince of Persia GN

Jordan Mechner, A.B. Sina, LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland. I've never played the video game, but I decided to give the graphic novel, flushing out the video game franchise Prince of Persia, a try. The creator of the Prince of Persia video games himself, Jordan Mechner, is involved in the project, with A.B. Sina (an Iranian poet) writing, and the art team of Pham and Puvilland illustrating. The first print run of the book is 125,000 copies, and it's sure to be a success with the film starring Jake Gyllenhaal coming out in Spring 2009 and foreign licenses already snatched up to publish the book overseas. . I was pretty underwhelmed by the graphic novel. I did like the art throughout, but the story didn't offer much to engage the reader. Sina attempted to lay out an epic story of a prince rising, with mystical interventions in his behalf, but in the end, the characters were utterly one-dimensional, attempting to invoke archetypes of characters we've seen a million times be…

In Stores 9/10

Here are the books with most potential, shipping to comic shops this Wednesday...

Pick of the Week
Krazy & Ignatz 1943-1944: He Nods Quiescent Siesta TP - This volume rounds out the last two years of the Sunday pages from George Herriman's milestone comic strip series, Krazy Kat. Fantagraphics is going to go back and publish things from the beginning of Herriman's 29 year run on Krazy Kat soon too, as that material had previously been collected by another publisher and are no longer available.
Other Noteworthy Releases
Angel: After the Fall (Volume 2): First Night HC Art of Marc Silvestri SC Bad Boy 10th Anniversary HC Batman: The Black Glove HC Big Hero 6 #1 (of 5) Civil War: House of M #1 (of 5) Daredevil: Guardian Angel 10th Anniversary Edition Premiere HC Dark Tower: Treachery #1 (of 6) Deadpool #1 Dragon Prince #1 Eternals by Jack Kirby (Book 2) TP Omega the Unknown Premiere HC Prince of Persia GN Secret Invasion #6 (of 8) The Stand: Captain Trips #1 (of 5) Star Wars: Clone Wars #1 (of …

Manga Monday: Red Colored Elegy

Red Colored ElegySeiichi Hayashi . Red Colored Elegy is a beautiful hardcover book from Drawn & Quarterly, collecting Seiichi Hayashi's work from 1970 - 1971. At 235 pages, it's a pretty brisk read, and I'm not sure about that $25 pricetag, but this book does look gorgeous on the bookshelf. The story follows a young couple who struggle to make ends meet, one of whom (Ichiro) is an artist who wishes to make a living off of his work, but seems to make compromises and do other forms of artwork other than what he's passionate about, for the sake of having art as his occupation. He's also not a very likable character. He can be sweet and loving and playful, but he gets depressed and takes things out on his lover Sachiko, saying things he doesn't mean, and pushing her into the arms of other men. Through all of this, Ichiro's father dies and he has a hard time dealing with his grief. The art in Red Colored Elegy is really simple for the most part, but ever…

The Education of Hopey Glass

Jaime Hernandez. I've kind of neglected Jaime Hernandez over the years in favor of his talented brother Gilbert, but after Love & Rockets: New Stories #1 and then reading The Education of Hopey Glass, one has to admit that Jaime is a damn good artist, perhaps the best working in comics presently. Not a page went by in this latest Love & Rockets collection that I didn't stop to admire the artwork and cartooning prowess of the creator. The first half of The Education of Hopey Glass follows Hopey Glass herself as she transitions into a new part of her life, attending her first day of her new career as teacher's assistant. There's plenty of other stuff going on in her life, and she really takes a long hard look at herself and wonders what the hell she's doing, while still having plenty of fun Hopey-style. Then Angel, a friend of Hopey's past lover Maggie, gets a few short scenes centering around her athletic activities, and is later folded into the story…

Inside Vineland

Lauren R. Weinstein. Since I really enjoyed Weinstein's Goddess of War #1 recently, I thought I'd read some older material from her, and we happened to have this one around the house, so this was it. Inside Vineland is a collection of short stories, from one-page gags to stories featuring a robot that take up roughly half of the book. The gags are pretty funny for the most part, sometimes a little weird, but nothing's as weird as the creepy story "Robot Quest For Love." There are some really screwed-up things happening in that story that are funny, disturbing and sometimes oddly familiar. While I did like the Robot stories, my favorite thing in this book was probably the "Self Visualization Activities," where you put yourself into a scene. They were just fun. I don't know what psychedelic muse Weinstein is channeling to come up with this crazy material, but it's original and speaks volumes of her creativity.

25 Best CDs with Female Vocals

(of the past twenty years)

Since I listen to more CDs with female vocalists than anything, I thought it would be appropriate to confine my list of favorite CDs to such. I listen to all kinds of music, so this list has CDs from alternative, country, R&B and pop/rock. The artists are either solo female singers or groups with a female vocalist, and they’re all from the past twenty years, so don’t expect to see Patsy Cline or Nancy Sinatra. I thought it only fair to include the best CD from each artist, so you will only see one Madonna CD, as much as I would have liked to add “Confessions On a Dancefloor” or “Erotica” to the list. Also, some artists may have had a few standout songs on their CDs (and throughout their careers), but this is a list of the best CDs - the whole package, so you won’t see some artists here that you may have expected (and there are, of course, plenty of CDs I would have liked to include that I just couldn’t fit within the number of slots - see the honorable me…

Ms. Marvel Annual #1

Brian Reed & Mark A. Robinson. The first Ms. Marvel Annual is written by regular series writer Brian Reed and takes place before the events of Secret Invasion. It pairs up funny-guy Spider-Man with the serious, militant Ms. Marvel, which makes for a great contrast, and in the end, they make for quite a good team despite different fighting styles. Being on opposite sides of the Civil War, there's tension and a constant barrage of threats (and jokes) between them, but they are both superheroes and act as such, putting aside their differences (well, perhaps not vocally) to stop a greater evil than the wedge that has been forced between the two Avengers teams. The story's pretty straight-forward. Basically, two superheroes fight a bunch of robots. But it's really the cool dynamic between the characters that make for such a great issue. It's just too bad Brian Reed couldn't have been paired up with a better artist. Robinson gets the job done, but the action se…

In Stores 9/4

Comics are shipping to comic shops on Thursday this week - the following are the highlights...a pretty big week with a hell of a lot of manga...

Pick of the Week
Love & Rockets: New Stories #1 - The new incarnation of The Hernandez Brothers's Love & Rocketsis chalk-full of good stuff. It's fun to get a big chunk of Hernandez material - I just wish it were going to be more than once a year.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Berlin (Book 2): City of Smoke
Bleach (Volume 24)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #18
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
.....Omnibus (Volume 5) TP
ClanDestine: Blood Relative Premiere HC
The Comics Journal #292
Counter X (Volume 2) TP - Collecting Warren Ellis's retooling of
.....Generation X
Death of the New Gods HC
Deitch's Pictorama SC
Dororo (Volume 3) - Final volume
El Diablo #1 (of 6)
High School Debut (Volume 5)
Honey & Clover (Volume 3)
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Volume 7)
Marvel Apes #1 (of 4)
Monkey High (Volume 3)
MPD Psycho (Volume 6)
Ms. Marvel Annual #1

Previews: November '08 Comics

Here are the highlights from Previews Catalogue for comic books and graphic novels shipping to comics shops in November!
. Avatar Press Inc
Freakangels (Volume 1) TP - A collection of Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield's popular webcomic!
Cartoon Books
RASL (Volume 1): The Drift TP - The first of three graphic novels collecting Jeff Smith's new series about a dimension-hopping art thief!
Checker Book Publishing Group
Ruse Omnibus (Volume 1) TP - I love these formats for Crossgen's high-quality genre works. Ruse was one of their best!
Dark Horse
Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1 (of 6) - The follow-up to the hit mini-series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba!
DC Comics
DC Comics Classics Library: Superman - Krypton Nevermore! - I like the idea of a classics line like this. This collection reprints a classic superhero story from 1971, and kicks off the line.
Guardian of Metropolis Special #1 - Not the same Guardian from Morrison's excellent Seven Soldiers, but it's nice to see that uniform agai…

Manga Monday: Sugar Princess

Sugar Princess (Volume 1)Hisaya Nakajo . I really liked Hisaya Nakajo's last manga Hana-Kimi, so I thought I'd give her new book a try. Sugar Princess follows Maya Kurinoki, a girl who is scouted while taking her brother to the skating rink. Never having skated before in her life, Maya is able to mimic a double axel from what she saw on TV well enough to capture the interest of an eccentric skating coach. After a series of discouraging incidents, Maya nevertheless decides to give figure skating a try, wanting to be as graceful as Shun Kano, an award-winning skater who isn't all that impressed with Maya upon their first meeting. But Maya tries really hard and improves exponentially in her skating, meeting every new challenge that greets her. It's fun to see Maya grow in her sport and impress those around her - you can't help but root for her when she's trying so hard. The characters involved in this book are certainly ones we've seen before, and we can a…