Showing posts from October, 2008

Battlefields: The Night Witches #1 (of 3)

Garth Ennis & Russ Braun
You don't hear too many war stories featuring female protagonists, which is part of the reason I was drawn to this three issue mini-series. Garth Ennis, known for his gritty storytelling, brings a harrowing story of war in the form of legendary female bomber pilots who flew over the Eastern front in flimsy wooden planes in 1942. Dubbed "The Night Witches" because of their gender, the wooden planes they flew (like brooms), and how they attacked in the dead of night, these women are all but massacred in the first issue of the series, after their initial mission to bomb a bridge. But ideas are brewing in the womens' heads for what strategies they can use on their night flights to be more successful. This book is violent and gory, like any good truthful war story, and beautifully drawn by Russ Braun. Garth Ennis paints a noble picture of these women, who are true soldiers despite the lukewarm welcome they receive when they arrive at Vostok Fi…

Young Avengers Presents TP

By Various. The Young Avengers Presents collection includes all six issues of the comic mini-series, each featuring a different character (or characters, often with a supporting cast), and each by a different creative team. The quality of each of the issues is pretty strong in the end. These are just great characters and I think the writers conveyed the voices of each of them pretty well. . The first issue concentrates on Patriot as he has some doubts about himself as a hero and what it means to be a hero. Bucky guest stars and offers some sage advice in a sweet, kind of sappy story by Ed Brubaker and Paco Medina. . Next we have Brian Reed and Harvey Tolibao focusing on Hulkling. This had the most interesting art of the issues, pretty nice with a fun fight at the beginning. Here we see Hulkling confront Captain Marvel about possibly being his father. . Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Alina Urusov spin a yarn featuring brothers Wiccan and Speed as they attempt to locate their mother to get some cl…

Halloween Spotlight: Zombie Comics

Every year before Halloween, I put together a list of some specific sort of monster so people can get in the mood for the holiday and read some ghoulish comics. Last year it was vampires. Before that, werewolves and witches. This time around, it's zombies. Now, there are a hell of a lot of zombie comics out there, so this is only a sampling, but this is a good place to get started if zombies are your thing...
The Walking Dead Robert Kirkman's extremely popular book is very character-focused, and explores not only the darkness of zombies, but the dark side of humanity in a world besieged by a zombie plague. I highly recommend this book, but it takes a few volumes to really get good. . Zombie Powder This is an unfinished manga series by TiteKubo, creator of Bleach. It follows a small group of people on a quest to find The Rings of the Dead, twelve rings that together, can resurrect the dead, but individually, drain the life force of those who touch it. . Escape of the Living Dead This …

In Stores 10/29

Here are the books with most potential shipping to comic shops tomorrow!
Pick of the Week
Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman In Japan SC - I just picked up my copy of this at work and it looks pretty damn awesome! There's a little half-slipcase that wraps around the bottom of the book to hide Robin with a badass gun in his hand. But anyways, Chip Kidd and friends pulled together this book of manga and merchandise of Batman up to some seriously weird stuff in his Japanese incarnation.
Other Noteworthy Releases
Acme Novelty Library #19 HC
American Presidents SC - This is a flipbook of both presidential candidates' biographies. Also available are separate comics featuring Obama and McCain.
Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1 (of 2)
Battlefields: The Night Witches #1 (of 3)
Berrie Wrightson's Frankenstein HC

Empowered (Volume 4) TP
Essential Marvel Horror (Volume 2) TP
Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1
Ghost Omnibus (Volume 1) TP
Green Lantern: In Brightest Day TP

Manga Monday: Black Jack

Black Jack (Volume 1) TPOsamu Tezuka . Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack follows the adventures of an extremely skilled (though unlicensed) surgeon, who will take pretty much any case on for the right price. Each chapter of the book is basically a short story unto itself, either following Black Jack himself, sometimes uncovering little pieces of his past, or following a patient, with Black Jack swooping in like a force of nature. As is the usual with Tezuka, this is beautifully illustrated and extremely dramatic. I really enjoy reading the stories with the especially outrageous procedures that Black Jack undertakes, like a brain transplant or putting together the body parts of an unformed baby to create a live one. It can get pretty weird, to put it mildly. But that's really the fun with this book. Things are intense and really captivating to the end, with Black Jack performing miracles left and right with hardly a hitch. I'm not sure how Tezuka sustained this format for seventeen v…

The Phoenix Requiem (Volume 1)

Sarah Ellerton. Every once in awhile I check in on and I recently saw that the webcomic The Phoenix Requiem was at the top of the list. The art caught my eye immediately - it was quite beautiful. And somewhat familiar, but I couldn't quite place it at first. This fantasy title is written by Sarah Ellerton, creator of Inverloch, another webcomic that had a few volumes published in paperback a few years back. There's even a reference to a character from that series in her newest title, which is really quite good. . Sarah Ellerton is about a volume and a half into the story of The Phoenix Requiem (eight chapters), and once I began reading, it was pretty hard to stop, especially as things came to a head at the end of the first volume. But it's not finished obviously, and I thought that a volume in would be a good place to stop for now. The story follows a young woman, Anya, who's training to be a nurse in a small Victorian-esque village where many people beli…

Thor: The Truth of History #1

Alan Davis. Thor: The Truth of History is a one-shot written and illustrated by Alan Davis. I'm a big fan of Alan Davis, who is actually the first artist whose style I was able to recognize, growing up on Excalibur comics. This issue reminded me of Excalibur in a away, actually. Kind of Cross-Time Caper-ish with Thor and a few fellow gods traveling to Midguard to find a missing friend. On Midguard (Earth), they encounter the people of Ancient Egypt who view them as demons and beg to be left alone, while Thor and his fellow gods imagine the people are humbled and fearful, and view them as the gods that they are. It's wacky with that offbeat style that similarly made Excalibur stand out from the other dozen X-titles of the time. Overall, this is a very straight-forward story that's hardly memorable. The gods fight some mutants or something that are posing as Egyptian gods. Nothing very inspired. . I've never been a big fan of Thor. My only encounters of the charact…

25 Best Horror Movies

I grew up on horror movies, from cheesy Full Moon films like Puppet Master to slasher franchises like Friday the 13th to random direct-to-video creature features like Pumpkinhead. A lot of it is junk, but there’s a lot of crap in every medium and every genre. Horror just gets a bad wrap, hindered even more by the fact that professional critics usually seem unable to recognize good filmmaking when it comes to horror. I’m always looking for a good horror film, and I usually get pretty excited when one comes out with a little buzz around it - I just have a special place in my heart for them, and I pride myself on the fact that I’m widely versed in them. I’m currently in the midst of my annual horror movie marathon, where I watch nothing but horror films during the entire month of October, so it’s certainly an appropriate time to list my favorites of all time, at least for now…

1. The Blair Witch Project (1999) - All three films at the top of my list are movies where I had to have the ligh…

In Stores 10/22

Here are the books shipping to comic shops tomorrow with the most potential for awesomeness...
Pick of the Week
Elektra by Frank Miller & Bill Sienkiewicz Omnibus HC - Elektra, as done by these two creators, is awesome. This doesn't collect the whole Elektra Saga from Daredevil, but all of the stuff that comes afterward, including Elektra Lives Again, the spectacular Elektra: Assassin, and a few other single issues. This is really some great material, presented in a nice, deserving oversized format.
Other Noteworthy Releases
Catwoman: Crime Pays TP
Classical Medley (Volume 1)
Cyblade #1
Drawn & Quarterly Showcase (Volume 5) TP
Final Crisis #4 (of 7)
Final Crisis: Submit #1
French Milk GN
Heavy Liquid HC
Hulk: Heart of the Atom Premiere HC
Legion of Superheroes: Enemy Rising HC
Naoki Urasawa's Monster (Volume 17)
Secret Invasion #7 (of 8)
Sky Doll Premiere HC
Solanin GN - Read my review here.
The Spirit: Femme Fatales TP
Steve Niles Omnibus TP
Superman: New Krypton Special #1
Thor: Trut…

Manga Monday: Solanin!

Inio Asano
Solanin was originally published in Japan in two volumes, but Viz has the entire story in one mammoth 430+ page book under its excellent Viz Signature banner. The story follows a group of twenty-somethings as they struggle with the transition into adulthood, trying their best not to compromise their integrity. For the most part, they have boring (but well-paying) jobs that they hate, while music remains a passion in their lives that forces them to ultimately make decisions that perhaps aren't as responsible as they could be. This book is pretty amazing. Inio Asano's art is fantastic, and the characters really drive the plot, taking the story to some unexpected places. I love a character-driven book and this one is just fascinating. Meiko and her friends are very introspective and their thoughts and actions are quite illuminating, even in very subtle moments. And the pacing made this a quick read, despite its page count, since it was hard to put down an…

Cul de Sac

Richard Thompson. Cul de Sac is a comic strip currently running in newspapers that's gathered quite a bit of acclaim, one of its most ravenous fans being Calvin and Hobbes' Bill Watterson, who does the foreword to its first volume. Watterson is pretty reclusive, so it's a wonder that he did this foreword. Even more stunning is that he was the one who came up with the idea of doing the foreword in the first place, giving it quite the seal of approval. This volume begins with fifty beautiful watercolor strips that Thompson produced during its run in Washington Post Magazine. Immediately, he establishes himself as a great artist, although the strips themselves aren't quite as charming and endearing as it becomes later on. But once it gets rolling, it really hits its stride. The strip follows a family that lives in a suburb, focusing mostly on Petey and his young sister Alice, spending quite a bit of time in her preschool classroom with other children who have funny, …

The Good Neighbors (Book One): Kin

Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
The Good Neighbors is a story of the fairy world written by best-selling author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Holly Black, and illustrated by the creator of Courtney Crumrin and Polly & the Pirates, Ted Naifeh. The story follows Rue, a feisty girl whose mother has recently disappeared, and whose professor father is being questioned for the murder of one of his students. Rue has recently started to see things: fairies and creatures from out of storybooks that other people aren't able to see, and she's slowly realizing that it has something to do with her mother's disappearance. .
I'm a big fan of Ted Naifeh, and I have to say that his art has never looked better than it does here. While I miss the sarcastic, brooding nature of his creation Courtney Crumrin, Rue is a heroine worthy of his attentions. This is the type of dark fairy tale he does best, with his beautifully haunting, shadowy world of Gothic sensibilities. It's very atmosphe…

In Stores 10/15

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

Pick of the Week

Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist As a Young %@&*! - A collection of early works from an important figure in comics, creator of Maus and In the Shadow On No Towers, Art Spiegelman! These early strips come in an oversized book: 14 x 10, and it's probably material that should be in every serious collector's library.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Amazing Spider-Man #573 - With
.....a Stephen Colbert variant cover.
Annihilation: Conquest (Book 1)
.....TP - Now in paperback
Batman Chronicles (Volume 6) TP
Benny and Penny In Just Pretend SC - Also now in paperback
The Comics Journal #293
Crossing Midnight (Volume 3): Sword In the Soul TP
Dear Dracula HC
Doktor Sleepless (Volume 1): Engines and Desires TP
Dramacon Ultimate Edition HC
Dreamland Chronicles (Book 1) TP
Grant Morrison: Early Years SC
Grant Morrison's Doctor Who #1
Jamilti and Other Stories - Short works by Rutu Modan of Exit Wounds.
Jonah …

Manga Monday: Case Closed!

Case Closed (Volume 1)
Gosho Aoyama .
This is a really fun book. Case Closed follows high schooler Jimmy Kudo, whose superior detective skills make him quite an asset to local law enforcement, and even a celebrity of sorts. Unfortunately for him, his nosy sleuthing gets him into trouble and he's attacked and forced to ingest a mysterious poison. The liquid hasn't been tested on humans before, so it doesn't kill just reverses his age, so he's now a first-grader! Caution that the attackers may still be watching for him forces Jimmy to keep his transformation a secret from everyone around him save for a crazy inventor who lives next door and provides Jimmy with various inventions to help him with his crime-fighting. But the love of his life, Rachel, frets over high-schooler Jimmy's whereabouts, while taking first-grader Jimmy in to her home, where he is forced to adopt another identity (Conan, after the creator of the world's greatest detective Sherlock Ho…

Where Demented Wented

The Art and Comics of Rory HayesEdited by Dan Nadel & Glenn Bray . I first experienced a Rory Hayes work in a small gallery in Chicago during Ivan Brunetti's curator's talk at his "Cartoonist's Eye" exhibit in 2005. I say "experienced" because it was a powerful, one-of-a-kind image to behold that left a lasting impression. I'd never been so taken by an image as I was then, and I became a fan of Rory Hayes instantly, having never read a comic from the underground cartoonist. Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes is the first career retrospective of a deserving artist whose career was cut much too short. I am pleased that Nadel and Bray took enough interest in Hayes' work to produce this book, and in a great package, with an introduction that puts Hayes' artwork in perspective, a memoir by his brother, and an interview with Hayes himself. . I vividly remember those images of teddy bears with knives still, they were so s…

Marvel Zombies 3 #1 (of 4)

Fred Van Lente & Kev Walker

Marvel Zombies 3 begins with a bang as the Florida-based superhero initiative group The Command is all but slaughtered by a new wave of the undead, led by Zombie Deadpool. Fred Van Lente takes over writing chores with Kev Walker on art, filling the big shoes of Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips. But this time around, the superhuman zombies are invading the Marvel Universe as we know it, through some sort of portal in Man-Thing's swampland. There's gore, plenty of action and jokes, and we're introduced to A.R.M.O.R., an entity like S.H.I.E.L.D. and S.W.O.R.D., that stands for Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response Agency. A.R.M.O.R. decides the best way to stop the contagion is by sending non-humans with no risk of infection like Machine Man to the zombie-infested dimension. So far, the title's on par with the previous Marvel Zombie mini-series. It's cute and playful, featuring fun characters from the Marvel U, like Morbi…

In Stores 10/8

These are the books with most potential shipping to comic shops on Wednesday. Lots of stuff this week!
Pick of the Week
Black Jack (Volume 1) TP - Vertical brings us more Osamu Tezuka in the form of Black Jack, following the medical adventures of the doctor of the same name. A hardcover version of the first volume shipped exclusively to comic shops a few weeks back (with some supplemental material) - this is the softcover version you'll be able to find in bookstores soon as well as on the shelves of your local comic shop tomorrow.
Other Noteworthy Releases
After 9/11: America's War On
.....Terror HC/SC
Amazing Spider-Girl #25
Annihilation Classic HC
Anthology of Graphic Fiction (Volume 2) HC
Astral Project (Volume 1)
Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 1): The Chrysalis TP
Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust TP
Black Summer HC
Blank Slate (Volume 1) - Review here.
Crossed #1 (of 9)
Ender's Game: Battle School #1 (of 5)
Ferryman #1 (of 5) - From Manhunter's Marc Andreyko
Gears of War #1

Manga Monday: Blank Slate

Blank Slate (Volume 1)
Aya Kanno . Zen is a wanted man. A notorious criminal without a conscience who is amused with watching the slow corruption of innocents. He is also a man with no memory of his past, save for the occasional flash of echoing words. This is actually a Shojo Beat title, which is interesting, since there's no hint of romance and only a few female characters who appear during one chapter of this first book. But despite the action and suspense of Blank Slate, it's about Zen's journey of self-discovery, and how he relates to other people through a state of detachment. The book begins with the introduction of murdering thief Zen, as a bounty hunter hesitates in killing him, opting to assist his crimes in order to earn Zen's trust. Following this, we see a kidnapping gone awry, with Zen stepping in to use a general's daughter as ransom, in a story that shows a softer side of the murderer that makes one wonder how bad Zen really is. But it's not…

Ms. Marvel #31

Brian Reed & Marcos Marz
Whenever Brian Reed’s Ms. Marvel isn’t in the midst of a company-wide crossover event, I’m consistently impressed with the title. This latest issue is a standalone that explores Carol Danvers as a person, forgoing anything resembling a fight. And it was still extremely riveting. I like the human side of the character and this issue reinforces that as readers get to see her struggle with her humanity, and more specifically, how she relates to other people. In this issue “Family,” Carol returns to see her parents and brother, as she’s received word that her father has a short time to live. And despite being around these people she’s known her whole life, she can’t bring forth any emotional attachment to them. She chalks it up to when Rogue stole her memories and powers early in her career, but as she relives the bad experiences she’s had with her father, and the resentment she felt toward a family that valued her dead older brother over herself, it becomes a…

I usually don't do MEMEs....

...but this was just so tempting since I pride myself on having a good collection of comics and graphic novels (mostly graphic novels). These are things every serious comic collection should have. This is the source. It's been morphed invariousplacessince. I've changed it up a bit myself.

Plain = Things I don't have
Bold = Things I do have
Italics = Is this really essential?

1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number of Mini-Comics
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics
9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels
10. Several Tintin Albums
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books
12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series
13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste
14. Several "Indy Comics" From Their Heyday
15. At Least One Comi…

Movies-and-More: October 2008

Here's the run-down of October release dates for films, music, DVDs and books, as well as my box office predictions and newly-released movie trailers.
In Theaters October 3rd
An American Carol (Click For Theatrical Trailer)
Ballast (on Wednesday)
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Flash of Genius
How To Lose Friends and Alienate People
Kidnap (on Thursday)
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Rachel Getting Married (Limited)
Religulous (on Wednesday)
Predictions: 1. Eagle Eye ($16 million), 2. Blindness ($15 m), 3. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist ($13 m), 4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($9 m), 5. How To Lose Friends and Alienate People ($8 m)
In Theaters October 10th
Ashes of Time Redux
Body of Lies
Breakfast With Scot
Choose Connor
City of Ember
The Express
Fall of Hyperion
Saving Marriage
Talento de Barrio
Predictions: 1. City of Ember ($26 m), 2. Body of Lies ($17 m), 3. Quarantine ($13 m), 4. Eagle Eye ($8 m), 5. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist ($7.5 m)
In Theaters October…