Showing posts from December, 2008

Movies-and-More: January 2009

Here's the run-down of January release dates for films, books, DVDs and music, as well as my box office predictions.
In Theaters Friday January 9nd
Bride Wars Che Gran Torino Not Easily Broken The Reader The Unborn Yonkers Joe . Predictions: 1. Bride Wars ($34 million), 2. Marley and Me ($12 m) 3. The Unborn ($10 m), 4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($9 m), 5. The Reader ($7.5 m) . In Theaters Friday January 16th Defiance Last Chance Harvey My Bloody Valentine 3-D Notorious Paul Blart: Mall Cop . Predictions: 1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($28 m), 2. My Bloody Valentine 3-D ($21 m), 3. Bride Wars ($19 m), 4. Notorious ($18 m), 5. Defiance ($15 m) .
In Theaters January 23rd The Dark Knight (Re-issue) Hotel For Dogs Inkheart Killshot Of Time and the City (On Wednesday) Outlander Possession Underworld: Rise of the Lycans . Predictions: 1. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans ($30 m), 2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($17 m), 3. Inkheart ($15 m), 4. My Bloody Valentine 3-D ($10 m), 5. Possession ($8.5 m) . In Theaters January 30t…

In Stores 1/2

That's right, folks - books won't be hitting comic shops on Wednesday. Or Thursday. You'd better have plans for New Year's because you won't get your new reading material until Friday this week. These are the highlights of the delayed books...hopefully something in here's worth waiting for...
Pick of the Week
Incognito #1 - This is a new five issue mini-series from Marvel's creator-owned ICON line, a noir story (like Criminal) from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and featuring superheroes.
Other Noteworthy Releases
Aliens Omnibus (Volume 6) TP
Batman #684
Cable (Volume 1): Messiah War TP
Final Crisis: Secret Files #1
Runaways: Dead End Kids TP
Star Wars: Clone Wars (Volume 2): Crash Course TP
Teen Titans Spotlight: Raven TP
Vinyl Underground (Volume 2): Pretty Dead Things TP
War Machine #1
Why I Killed Peter GN
Wintermen Winter Special #1


Theo Ellsworth. I love Theo Ellsworth's Capacity graphic novel. The art is often intricate and ornate and its one of the most imaginative, magical books I've ever experienced. It's full of strange creatures, bizarre happenings and complex contraptions for a beautiful final product. I really like how Capacity is a lot about the creative process, how it works, where it comes from, and the author's personal experiences with the demons associated with creating. It was very encouraging and thoughtful and left me feeling quite inspired. Whether trudging through an underwater town or skulking along dangerous meandering streets, readers get to follow the author on a quest for understanding himself, a place to feel inspired, and a way to put aside distractions long enough to put one idea to paper. I'll admit that once the actual "Capacity" comics began, I was a little fidgety, hoping to get back to the interesting happenings at the opening of this graphic nov…

Manga Monday: Daemonium

Daemonium (Volume 1)
Kosen .
Daemonium is an original English language manga from Tokyopop. The story, written and illustrated by Kosen, follows Seisu, a high school boy scarred both mentally and physically following a car accident he was in with his parents where he was the sole survivor. Embittered and shunned over the years, Seisu has only his sister to keep him going, and is happy to go along with her to a small paradise away from it all in the countryside, where they can have some peace, and where Seisu feels surprisingly at home amid people who think nothing of his scars. The only thing is one beautiful boy seems determined to help him somehow, hinting that things around them aren't as they seem. Soon enough, Seisu is caught up in a dark fantasy where angels and demons exist and he's caught in crossfires that will force him to venture into Hell itself for his friends. So, there's a lot of potential in a premise like this. At this point, it can go either way, doing somet…

Kramers Ergot 7

Edited by Sammy Harkham. Contributions to anthologies are always hit or miss for me, and the latest Kramers Ergot is no exception in that regard. There are a few comics in this mammoth 16" x 21" hardcover that I definitely did not like. But with this anthology, even the bad comics at least looked beautiful in the oversized format, and luckily, the entries I didn't care for were few and far between. All in all, this is one of the best anthologies I've ever read, and it introduced me to several artists I hadn't been exposed to previously, and had pristine examples of great stories from bigger name artists such as Chris Ware. I did have a few problems with the book overall though, the biggest being that I had no idea who some of the artists I was looking at were, and the table of contents was so ridiculously elaborate that it made the endeavor to uncover an artist's name quite the chore. Luckily, the artists were listed on the spine in order of appearance, so I c…

Previews: March '09 Comics

Here are the highlights from Previews Catalogue of book shipping to comic shops in March!

Dark Horse

Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years (Volumes 1 & 2) - This influential work from the 40's is being given the star treatment from Dark Horse Archives in these beautiful new hardcovers.

DC Comics

Batman: Battle For the Cowl #1 - Batman's various protegees struggle to keep Gotham under control in his absence in this new book.

Green Lantern Chronicles (Volume 1) TP - Some great material's collected here in the first volume of a new "Chronicle" series.

Oracle #1 - Despite the end of Birds of Prey, Oracle's still around delivering justice in her own way. This new series ties in to Battle For the Cowl.

Showcase Presents: The Doom Patrol (Volume 1) TP - This is supposed to be a really great series, and here's a nice affordable black-and-white edition.

Fantagraphics Books

The Complete Peanuts (Volume 11): 1971-1972 - Charlie Brown's younger sister Sally graces the cover o…

In Stores 12/24

Here are the highlights of books shipping to comic shops on Christmas Eve! . Pick of the Week . Kramer's Ergot 7 - The new oversized 16" X 21" anthology from Buenaventura is finally hitting stores, showcasing some of the most exciting artists working in the industry today including Gabrielle Bell, Mat Brinkman, Ivan Brunetti, Dan Clowes, Kim Deitch, Matt Groening, David Heatley, Jaime Hernandez, Kevin Huizenga, Anders Nilsen, Richard Sala, Frank Santoro, Seth, Josh Simmons, Adrian Tomine, Chris Ware and many, many more! Edited by Sammy Harkham! Check it out! . Other Noteworthy Releases . The All New Atom (Volume 4): Small Wonder TP American Flagg Definitive Collection (Volume 1) TP Angel: Smile Time #1 Batman #683 Captain America Theater of War: America First! Crayon Shinchan (Volume 6) Mister X: Condemned #1 (of 4) Naruto (Volume 33) Secret Invasion: Requiem #1 Ultimates 3: Who Killed the Scarlet Witch Premiere HC Ultimatum #2 (of 5) Vigilante #1 What If? Classics (Volume 5) TP X-Men: An…

X-Men: Kingbreaker #1 (of 4)

Christopher Yost & Dustin Weaver
Patrick picked this up for me at the comic book store, and had I been there, I probably would have given it a once-over and put it back on the shelf with an "egh." I wasn't too fond of Ed Brubaker's stint on Uncanny X-Men where much of what's going down in this new four issue mini-series was set up in "The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire" arc. Had I known that most of this series would follow up on that story, I wouldn't have bothered giving this a chance, but I was surprised that I actually really enjoyed it. Vulcan, the third Summers brother, is now in charge of the Shi'ar Empire, and is expanding the domain ruthlessly. Lilandra, meanwhile, is an outlaw, aided by the X-Men as they attempt to dethrone Vulcan and save their captured friends, including Havok, Polaris, Ch'od and Raza (the former two of the space pirates The Starjammers). I'm not sure where this story is going and what other …

Dark Reign: New Nation

Dark Reign: New Nation is a one-shot featuring five different stories from different creative teams, giving a little sampling of what's to come in five upcoming books debuting with Dark Reign's...well, reign.
The first story is from Secret Warriors, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman, with art by Stefano Caselli. This little prologue to the series has Nick Fury recalling an inspirational speech Captain America gave him in the past, and turning it on his secret warriors, which includes the superpowered people he recruited during Secret Invasion, as well as Maria Hill. I really enjoyed Maria Hill's character during Civil War and Secret Invasion - Bendis just writes her badass, so I'll probably check out the series proper for her inclusion alone.
A new Agents of Atlas series is debuting this next year with Jeff Parker back on writing chores, and Carlo Pagulayan illustrating what's easily the best art among the chapters included in this com…

The Lagoon

Lilli Carre
Lilli Carre (Tales of Woodsman Pete) makes her full length graphic novel debut in the utterly beautiful graphic novel The Lagoon, put out by Fantagraphics Books. The dark, moody book follows a family that lives near a lagoon, where sometimes at night, the people who live nearby hear a beautiful sound that draws them to the body of water, and sometimes to their deaths. At the heart of this melody is a swamp creature whose intentions are unclear, but who affects those who hear its song in varying ways, whether it interacts with them individually or puts on a performance for a crowd. What really makes this book special is Carre's uncanny ability to convey atmosphere. This title just oozes dread as she paints shadowy panels of windy nights, wind chimes clanking amid falling leaves, or the depths of the lagoon, bubbles lazily floating to the surface above waving seaweed. There's a real sense of magic and wonder in her work that makes The Lagoon feel like much more than …

Best Superhero Comics of 2008

I've noticed that when it comes time for my "best of" list for comic books at the end of the year, that superheroes hardly ranked. In 2006, only two comics made my top twenty (Athena Voltaire was #17, Astonishing X-Men was #6). And again last year saw only two entries (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was #15, Astonishing X-Men hit #5). But you know what? I love superhero comics! I figure part of the reason is that it's kind of hard to rank Manhunter against the latest Love and Rockets or Acme Novelty Library collections, no matter how good Marc Andreyko and Michael Gaydos do on the former. It's just kind of an innate prejudice in me, I guess. That and literary comics tend to have a little more meat to them, often attempting to reach for something beyond what superhero books usually go for. But this year, I realized that many of the comics I got really excited about were superheroes. That may have been the case in years past as well, but I thought that I wanted to sing …

Manga Monday: The Outcast

The Outcast (Volume 1)Vaun Wilmott & Edward Gan . The Outcast is an original English-language manga from Seven Seas Entertainment. The supernatural drama follows Riley, a girl who recently moved to a big city from Missouri following the death of her parents. She's now staying with her grandmother and goes to a school with metal detectors where knife wounds are common, and she is encouraged more than once to keep her head down and not to stand out. Eventually Riley meets a friend in the brazen Kit, who introduces her to the guy that Riley (and every other girl in school) has an eye on, the handsome Carter. This leads to a date with said boy, where some strange things happen, and suddenly Riley is caught up in things that add up to much more than she'd expect if she'd only trust her intuition and put the pieces together. Meanwhile, her grandfather is researching the ancient Brotherhood of the Balance, who believed themselves to be physical incarnations of fallen angel…

In Stores 12/17

Here are the highlights of books hitting comic shops this Wednesday! . Pick of the Week . Naoki Urasawa's Monster (Volume 18) - That's right! The final volume of Naoki Urasawa's suspenseful manga finally arrives in stores, bringing the complicated story of Dr. Tenma, Johan and the Red Rose Mansion to a thoroughly blood-soaked conclusion. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Asterix Omnibus (Volume 2) HC Buffy the Vampire Slayer #20 Cavalcade of Boys (Volume 4) TP Compleat Next Men (Volume 2) TP Dark Reign: New Nation Dead She Said HC End League (Volume 1): Ballad of Big Nothing TP Impaler #1 Mighty Avengers (Volume 3): Secret Invasion (Book 1) Premiere HC MPD Psycho (Volume 7) Punisher War Journal (Volume 4): Jigsaw Premiere HC Secret Wars Omnibus HC Silverfish TP Spider-Man Noir #1 (of 4) X-Men: Kingbreaker #1 (of 4)

Courtney Crumrin and the Prince of Nowhere

Ted Naifeh. Broody, sarcastic Courtney Crumrin travels with her uncle Aloysius to Germany in the latest Courtney Crumrin installment by Ted Naifeh. It picks up where The Fire Thief's Tale ended, with relations between the two of them rather strained. Which makes for a depressed Courtney, making her vulnerable to the creatures of the night that creep around Castle Krumrhein, whispering promises in her ear of eternal life and everlasting love. It's nice to see vampires depicted in a different light in this book with all of the vampire buzz in popular culture presently, but truth be told, this made for a disappointing book. A mopey Courtney just isn't as fun as the feisty girl readers are used to reading, and while I like that she went through this dark trial in her life, it wasn't very fun to read. And the story itself was a little boring: there wasn't much to it, and while it's nice to see the Gothic elements of old-school vampires mesmerizing young women an…

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1 (of 8)

Eric Shanower, Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu. I was very excited when this book was initially announced. Eric Shanower created one of the best comic books in Adventures In Oz, a book that continued where L. Frank Baum's Oz books left off. But he's never adapted the first book in Baum's series, as he's done here, writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the source material, with Skottie Young illustrating and Jean-Francois Beaulieu coloring. As is expected, Shanower sticks pretty close to the original children's book (I read it a few months back), complete with Dorothy's silver shoes and several other things that were changed when the film version that everybody knows, took some liberties. Skottie Young is a perfect fit as the artist on this title. The cartoony characters prance through the cheery landscapes of Oz, full of whimsy and magic, reminding the reader why The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and its sequels) are such fun, inventive books, and ha…

Ythaq: The Forsaken World #1 (of 3)

Christopher Arleston & Adrien Floch. Another Soleil title published in the US by Marvel Comics debuted this week in comic shops, the three issue mini-series Ythaq: The Forsaken Planet by French creators Alreston and Floch. The first issue of the book follows a dedicated but lax soldier, astronavigation lieutenant Granite Welgoat. Sentenced to work the bar on a spaceship for oversleeping once again, Granite finds herself amongst a young maintenance man (Narvarth) and a gold digging snooty woman (Callista) when the spaceship crashes upon an uncharted planet. Together, the three brave the natives they encounter and befriend local chronicler Tao, who helps guide them to a local city where another piece of their spacecraft has crashed. Making things more difficult for them on their quest to locate other survivors of the crew is a group of evil creatures searching for "the aliens" at whatever cost, and some of the locals are able to harness one of the four elements to make …

Tamara Drewe

Posy Simmonds
My first thoughts upon flipping through Posy Simmond's (Gemma Bovary) new graphic novel Tamara Drewe was that it was extremely verbose. I was expecting the work to be a lot of descriptions of what was being depicted in the panels. That's not the case however. I found the prose to accentuate what was happening in the comic, kind of serving as word balloons do in some comics, getting inside of character's heads and really flushing them out. And to quite a spectacular result. Tamara Drewe is a comic originally serialized in Britain's The Guardian newspaper, and is an update/retool of Thomas Hardy's novel Far From the Madding Crowd. It follows a group of characters living in a rural community outside of London. Not much really happens there, so the teenage occupants are always bored and the littlest things can cause an uproar. It also makes for the perfect setting for a writer's retreat, which is what Beth and her famous writer husband Nichola…

In Stores 12/10

Here are the highlights of books shipping to comic shops this Wednesday. . Pick of the Week . Nocturnal Conspiracies: Nineteen Dreams GN - A new graphic novel from European artist David B., the man behind the excellent autobiographical graphic novel Epileptic. I believe this book is based on his own dreams. . Other Noteworthy Releases . 30 Days of Night: 30 Days Til Death .....#1 Archie's Greatest Hits (Volume 1) TP Avengers: First To Last Premiere .....HC Batman: Joker's Asylum TP Buck Rogers in the 25th Century .....Dailies (Volume 1): 1929-1931 HC Camelot 3000 Deluxe Edition HC Courtney Crumrin and the Prince of Nowhere Daredevil: Man Without Fear Premiere HC Final Crisis #5 (of 7) Guardians of the Galaxy (Volume 1): Legacy Premiere HC Herbie Archives (Volume 2) HC Jack of Fables (Volume 4): Americana TP Mammoth Book of Best New Manga (Volume 3) Nova: Annihilation HC Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #1 (of 7) Princess Ai: Prism of Midnight Dawn (Volume 1) Punisher: War Zone #1 (of 6) Red Sonja (Volum…

X-Infernus #1 (of 4)

C.B. Cebulski & Giuseppi Camuncoli. Get passed that pretty embarrassing cover featuring the swiveling female exposing both T AND A, and this four issue X-Men mini-series has some potential. X-Infernus is intended as a sequel to the Inferno crossover from the 90's, although this event is much smaller in scale, contained, as far as I know, to this one book. X-Infernus features Illyana Rasputin in Limbo, where she's this soulless horned monster leading hordes of demons on a quest to track down her lost soul sword and blood stone amulet, which were forged from her soul and, she reasons, rightfully belong to her following Belasco's death. The scenes with Illyana in Limbo are pretty impressive. I'm not much of a fan of Camuncoli's art overall, but the panels in this Hellish dimension are kind of freaky, especially Illyana herself, who's really a complete monster at this point, doing things you'd never imagine Colossus's quiet little "Snowflake&quo…

Secret Invasion #8 (of 8)

Brian Michael Bendis & Francis Yu. CONTAINS SPOILERS!!! . Another mega Marvel crossover event has come and gone...leading right into the next one, Dark Reign (in fact, the last few pages of this final Secret Invasion issue set up that event). Overall, the lead-up to Secret Invasion was far superior to the mini-series itself. The mystery, the bubbling conspiracy and the implications of what Elektra's skrull body meant...that was executed well. Once the full-scale invasion of the skrull empire was got a little dull, a little unwieldy trying to tie in several books to the main series, and ultimately, utterly underwhelming. The first issue of Secret Invasion set up the skrull invasion on several fronts, and the final issue touched on those set-ups, but briefly. If a reader didn't pick up Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1-4, for instance, they would hardly care less that The Baxter Building went into The Negative Zone and then...came out of it (shocking develop…

In Stores 12/4

Here are the highlights for book shipping to comic shops this week. Remember, new books arrive on Thursday this week because of Thanksgiving, instead of Wednesday as usual.

Pick of the Week .
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1 (of 6) - I never read the original Marvels mini-series by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, but this is the sequel, with Busiek back on writing chores. This time around sees Jay Anacleto illustrating with his beautiful realistic style. I'm a big fan of his fantasy series Aria, so I'm excited to see how his craft looks in the Marvel U. .
Other Noteworthy Releases
Astonishing X-Men (Volume 2) HC
Blank Slate (Volume 2) Bleach (Volume 25) Creepy Archives (Volume 2) Daredevil: Yellow Premiere HC Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Jansen (Volume 2) TP Ender's Shadow Battle School #1 (of 5) Godland (Volume 4): Amplified Now TP Haunted Tank #1 (of 5) Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #1 (of 8) Honey & Clover (Volume 4) Hulk Family: Green Genes #1 Infinity Crusade (Volume 1) TP Invincible Iron …

Manga Monday: Papillon

Papillon (volume 1)
Miwa Ueda .
Papillon is a new shojo manga by the creator of Peach Girl, which I've never read, but given this initial volume of Ueda's new series, I may want to check out. The story follows Ageha, a quiet awkward high school girl raised in the country by her grandmother, who moves to Tokyo to go to the same high school as her popular, confident twin sister Hana, who grew up with their parents. When Ageha decides to make her feelings known to her crush (and childhood friend) Ryusei, Hana makes a pass for him, beginning a rivalry between the two girls. Thankfully, Ageha has Ichijiku on her side. Ichijiku is a guidance counselor who's taken an interest in Ageha, building her confidence and helping to bring our her beauty. As the book moves along, Ageha earns support from her classmates, and even, oddly enough, her twin sister, who's both proud and jealous of the development in Ageha. This book is illustrated quite nicely by Miwa Ueda, with a good amount o…