Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Review: The Host

The Host
Stephenie Meyer

***Contains Spoilers***

The Host is an interesting idea. It follows Earth as it has been invaded by parasitic aliens called "souls." These souls are implanted at the back of a human host's neck, where it then takes over the body and memories of the person. There have been plenty of alien invasion movies and novels with this premise, but this time around, it's from the point-of-view of one of the parasitic aliens called Wanderer, as she fights to gain control from a strong host whose consciousness won't go away, one of the last rebel humans Melanie. Wanderer is nervous that Melanie won't go away and talks to her, berating her constantly, the two of them wishing nothing more than for the other's disappearance. A "seeker," as the police of the parasitic aliens are called, wishes for Wanderer to delve into Melanie's memories and ferret out the location of the rest of the human rebel forces, something which Melanie has no intention of letting Wanderer do, instead forcing memories of her life with her love Jared and her younger brother Jamie upon her. As the memories continue, Wanderer finds herself falling for this human family and searches for them, suddenly on Melanie's side, trying to keep the humans' location from the seeker.

This book is amazing. I've read Stephenie Meyer's insanely popular teen vampire romances, Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, and while they are entertaining, they don't hold a flame to Meyer's first foray into adult science fiction. Science fiction and romance are seamlessly blended in a suspenseful, thought-provoking novel. One of my favorite scenes is of Wanderer arguing with someone about the differences between herself and the body she wears:

Ian: "But, pretty as she is, she's a stranger to me. She's not the one I...care about."

Wanderer: "Ian, you don't...Nobody here separates us the way they should. Not you, not Jamie, not Jeb. You couldn't care about me. If you could hold me in your hand, me, you would be disgusted. You would throw me to the ground and grind me under your foot."

Ian: "I...not if I knew it was you."

Wanderer: "How would you know? You couldn't tell us apart. It's just the body."

Ian: "That's not true at all. It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. You are beautiful. I've never known anyone like you."

Wanderer: "Ian, what if I'd come here in Magnolia's body?"

Ian: "Okay. That's a good question. I don't know."

As Wanderer gains the trust of the human rebels, she notices the difference between the love her body feels for Melanie's love, Jared, and her own love for the human Ian. It's an interesting idea. There are plenty of those here. And it's wonderful to see the relationships grow organically as the novel moves along. I know it's a cliche to say this, but it was hard to put this book down. It's utterly compelling and I highly recommend it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Previews: August '08 Comics

Here I am once again picking out the gems from the intimidating Previews Catalogue... These are books that will be shipping to comic shops in August.

Abstract Studios

Terry Moore's Echo (Volume 1): Silver Rain TP - I think only two issues of the series have come out so far, but apparently a collection of the first five issues of Terry Moore's new series is on the way.
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Archaia Studios Press
These may be on hold with the company's recently announced restructuring, but it's nice to know that some good stuff's on the way when they resume publishing in a few months...

Mouse Guard Role-Playing Game HC - I don't get into role-playing games, but if I were, this one featuring adorable mice would be on my must-list. Just in time for the arrival of the final issue of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152.

The God Machine #1 (of 5) - A mortal stumbles upon gods in the graveyard of his recently deceased girlfriend. And other stuff.

Buenaventura Press
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The Complete Jack Survives HC - Jack Moriarty's acclaimed strip Jack Survives! (which originally debuted in the 80's in Spiegelman's RAW anthology) is collected in an oversized color edition with an introduction by Chris Ware.
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Boy's Club #1 - Teenage monsters living like teenagers do - playing video games, eating pizza, drinking... This issue is supposed to be pretty damn funny.

Cartoon Books

Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond HC - Published in conjunction with the Wexner Center and Cartoon Research Library's exhibit on the subject, this art book includes much of the material presented there, such as original drawings from Bone and work from RASL and Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil, as well as reprinting comics that influenced Jeff Smith, by greats like Walt Kelly, George Herriman and Charles Schulz. Plus other goodies. Also available this month: a Life-Sized Fone Bone plush toy and Bone Boxed Set #1, collecting the first three color-editions of the graphic novels.

Dark Horse

Serenity: Better Days TP - A collection of the three issue series by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews and Will Conrad, based on the Firefly television series by Whedon, taking place prior to the film Serenity.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite Limited Edition HC - If you really liked Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's acclaimed mini-series, this oversized hardcover includes plenty of extras like concept designs and a sketchbook, as well as commentary by the artists. The catch: it's $80.

Hellboy: Library Edition (Volume 2) - With the movie coming out this summer, this should be a nice collection to add to the bookshelf. This particular volume includes The Chained Coffin, The Right Hand of Doom and other stories.

DC Comics

All-Star Superman #12 - The final issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's acclaimed run has finally arrived. Prepare to be awed.

Showcase Presents: Blackhawk (Volume 1) TP - I hear this is supposed to be a fun series. Bruce Timm mentioned being a fan in one commentary or another.

Janes In Love - The Plain Janes gets a sequel. The characters from the hit Minx title return in a brand-new adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg.

Air #1 - The creative team behind the graphic novel Cairo (also available in softcover this month) return with a new Vertigo series, the first issue of which is double-sized, but not double-priced.

Fables: Covers by James Jean HC - Finally those beautiful Fables covers you've been ogling for years are collected together in a nice art book.

Devil's Due Publishing

Balls: Incredible Change-Bots Vinyl Figure - If you were a fan of Jeffrey Brown's The Incredible Change-Bots, then get the figure, with real transforming action!

Drawn & Quarterly

Against Pain HC - New Ron Rege Jr., collecting pieces from his "cute-brut" world.

Berlin (Book 2): City of Smoke TP - The second book in the historical Berlin trilogy finally arrives in stores this month.

Jamilti & other stories HC - Hot on the heels of cartoonist Rutu Modan's acclaimed Exit Wounds is short works created by Modan over the past five years.
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Fanfare

Disappearance Day GN - The award-winning autobiographical story by Hideo Azuma follows the cartoonist's disappearances from his life, involving suicide attempts and a descent into alcoholism.
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Fantagraphics Books

Ghost World: The Special Edition - Lots of extras tacked onto the original graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, including plenty of behind-the-scenes film stuff.
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The Complete Peanuts: 1969-1970 - The latest volume of this archival project includes the naming of a certain little yellow bird. Also available this month is the annual boxed set collecting this volume and the one prior.
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:01 First Second Books

The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard SC - The new graphic novel by Eddie Campbell and Dan Best, in which a young man replaces his uncle as acrobat and leader of a circus troupe.

Image Comics

Tellos Colossal (Volume 2) HC - Collecting the final books in the Tellos story. While the late great Mike Weiringo doesn't seem to be involved in these issues, it's still a nice companion to the first hardcover.

Ultra: Seven Days TP (New Printing) - The book that propelled The Luna Brothers to prominence returns in a new printing. One of my favorite superhero books.

Last Gasp

Tokyo Zombies SC - A new horror-comedy manga from Yusaku Hanakuma. Could be interesting...

Marvel Comics

Runaways #1 - Runaways relaunches with a new number one as new creative team Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos take over writing the crazy kids.

NYX: No Way Home #1 (of 6) - The short-lived NYX series rears its head once more in a mini-series by novelist Marjorie Liu and Kalman Andrasofsky.

Elektra by Frank Miller Omnibus HC - Frank Miller's fantastic Elektra stories are all collected in this much-deserved format. If you haven't read this material, you're missing out and should really consider this purchase. Elektra: Assassin is one of my favorite superhero stories ever and is included within. Art by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz.
***Pick of the Month***
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ClanDestine: Blood Relative Premiere HC - Alan Davis revives the series he created for Marvel UK in a five issue mini-series, collected here.

Spider-Man J: Turning Japanese Digest - Yamanaka Akira's Japanese version of Spider-Man, available in the US for the first time.

Oni Press
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Local HC - Finally, a collection of Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly's entire mini-series, all under one cover.
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Raw Junior LLC
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Stinky GN - A children's comic by the very talented Eleanor Davis, frequent contributor to the Mome anthology.
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Red 5 Comics

Atomic Robo: The Dogs of War #1 (of 5) - A new mini-series following up on the Eisner-award nominated Atomic Robo.
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Top Shelf Productions
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Owly (Volume 5): Tiny Tales GN - A new collection featuring Andy Runton's lovable all-ages creation Owly, collecting odds and ends.

How To Love HC - From the artists of Actus Independent Comics come six stories of the unconventional side of love.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Art II

Here's another abandoned series about children monsters. I believe I was going to call them The Creepies or something along those lines...
































































Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Art

I wish that these hadn't turned out quite so blurry, but here are the first few pages of a long-abandoned silent horror project of mine...



























And here are a few close-ups...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Stores 5/29

This week, comics ship to comic shops on Thursday, and what a week it is! Dozens of things I've been waiting for months to come out have finally arrived, including the much-delayed Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 and the final issue of Gilbert Hernandez's Speak of the Devil. That's not to mention all of the crazy collections like Skyscrapers of the Midwest! I could easily go broke this week. Anyways, here are the highlights...
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Pick of the Week
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What It Is HC - Lynda Barry is hands-down one of the best creators in the biz, so it's certainly call for celebration that she is releasing some new material, even if I know next to nothing about it. I did hear that her Ernie Pook's Comeek strips are getting a nice collected treatment pretty soon too, which will be nice.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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All-Star Superman #11
The Comics Journal #290
Excalibur Classic (Volume 5)
.....TP - Yay!!!
Final Crisis #1 (of 7)
Firebreather #1
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1
Immortal Iron Fist (Volume 2): Cities of Heaven HC
Jack Kirby's O.M.A.C.: One Man Army Corps HC
John Byrne's Compleat Next Men (Volume 1) TP
Judenhaas GN - New Dave Sim OGN
Justice (Volume 1) TP
King-Size Hulk #1
La Perdida TP
Marvel 1985 #1 (of 6)
Savage Sword of Conan (Volume 3) TP
Skyscrapers of the Midwest HC
Speak of the Devil #6 (of 6)
Superman: World of Krypton TP

Monday, May 26, 2008

Manga Monday: Flower of Life

This is a little later than usual, but please bear with me - it was a busy Memorial weekend.

Flower of Life (Volume 1)
Fumi Yoshinaga

Flower of Life is another manga from the creator of Antique Bakery, and is more comparable to that great book than the yaoi title The Moon and the Sandals, which I reviewed last week. The art's stronger and the emotions that the creator is going for are dead-on. This book follows Harutaro, who enrolls in school a month late (after taking a year off), following a battle with leukemia. The loud, brash youth doesn't let people feel sorry for him though, speaking up to teachers and pointing out when people are addressing him too formally. He makes friends soon enough in the chubby Shota and the strange Kai Majima, who takes a little warming up to. There's a side story about two teachers at the school and other students become more prominent as the book goes along, then Harutaro's family plays a big role in the final chapter of this volume, but for the most part, Flower of Life focuses on the three friends and their interactions and missteps with one another. It's very slice-of-life, often seeming like little vignettes pulled from the memories of the characters. There are funny moments and one scene that actually startled me, but for the most part, it's just a nice lazy read, perfect for the summer, with enjoyable characters and circumstances. It's not quite as good as Yoshinaga's masterpiece Antique Bakery, but it comes a lot closer in quality than I imagined going in.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days HC

Robert Kirkman, Mark Millar & Reginald Hudlin
Sean Phillips, Greg Land, Mitch Brainteaser & Francis Portela


***Contains Spoilers!***

Bridging the original Marvel Zombies mini-series and its sequel is this book, which collects various material involving the zombies, including the one-shot Dead Days that it is named after, which tells of events that led to the situation at the beginning of Marvel Zombies. Also collected under this cover are issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four (#21-23 and #30-32) and Black Panther (# 28-30) that ventured into the territory of the Marvel Zombies.

The one-shot Marvel Zombies: Dead Days doesn’t so much explain where the zombie virus comes from as illustrates how it spread over Earth, infecting the superhero population, beginning with The Avengers who were first at the scene of the “incident,” which was never fully explained. Magento was the one to let loose the virus onto the populace, unaware that it would affect mutants as well as humans, but how he stumbled upon the virus, and where it originated, is yet shrouded in mystery. He attempts to make up for his mistake by gathering as many survivors as he can find, mutant or otherwise, to return with to Asteroid M to give Earth a chance of surviving the plague. His attempts are further explored in Ultimate Fantastic Four, where he is seen harboring a handful of humans as he takes in Ultimate Reed Richards and makes an unlikely sacrifice to see to Reed's safe return to the Ultimate Universe with the survivors he’d gathered.

The zombie versions of the Fantastic Four are still quite sharp. Reed actually infects his team with the virus, since, as a scientist, he views the zombies as a sort of evolution, since they are more efficient beings than humans themselves. A little farfetched, but I’ll assume that this version of Reed is a little off his rocker. Ultimately, Zombie Reed lures Ultimate Reed into the zombies' parallel Earth, meanwhile escaping the Zombie Universe themselves, intending to infect the new Earth. Fortunately, Sue, Johnny and Ben are waiting at the other end of the teleporter and are able to contain them. When Ultimate Reed returns home, he builds a new holding pen that effectively keeps their zombie doppelgangers prisoner until issue 30, when the Four leave for Latveria to confront Doctor Doom. In their absence, Zombie Reed, who’s been goading them for awhile about knowing how to escape their prison, plays out a trick. A pretty ingenious trick. Zombie Reed convinces the guards that he’s built a teleportation device out of a pen and the food that they receive, and that they have decided that Central Park is to be the point of initial infestation. So, as the guards watch on, the Four hold hands and disappear. Of course, this isn’t due to a bogus transporter - it’s Sue using her powers of invisibility, and before long they have eaten their way through many of the guards and scientists, and while they are confined to the upper levels of the Baxter Building, they have access to the portal to the Zombie Universe, where they intend to let their friends through and ultimately, break loose. This is all averted, of course, due to another unlikely sacrifice on the part of Doctor Doom. Great story overall. I wasn’t expecting much from the Ultimate Fantastic Four stories, but it was pretty damn entertaining. My only complaint is that Greg Land’s art looks way, way too photo-referenced at times. Like the-characters-are-all-posing-without-a-sense-of-movement photo-referenced, Sue actually in a sexy slouch with her jacket hanging off of her shoulder at one point. Pretty bad.

Black Panther sees the zombies who devoured Galactus and became the new “World-Devourers” invading a skrull world where the new Fantastic Four (consisting of The Thing, Human Torch, Black Panther and Storm) have unwittingly teleported to. The Fantastic Four are seen as part of the invasion initially, but the miscommunication is quickly figured out as the skrulls work with them to battle the common enemy. This was the weakest portion of the Marvel Zombies: Dead Days HC overall. The art was better than I’d expected going in, but the story was silly, relying on a random magical teleporter that brings them in and out of danger at a whim, leaving little room for tension, between constant one-after-another quips like Spider-Zombie’s “With great power…comes great hunger!” Not good. Overall, though, this collection was a lot of fun and I’m genuinely looking forward to Marvel Zombies 2. It was nice to see the original creative team of the first Marvel Zombies mini coming back to do the Dead Days one-shot, even if it was a little unnecessary. I’m getting a little tired of zombies, so I’m kind of hoping this new mini-series just wraps the whole thing up, but we’ll see…the sequel might be good enough to keep me salivating for more.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In Stores 5/21

Here are the highlights of comics shipping to comic shops today!

Pick of the Week

Hulk collections - With Iron Man soaring high in theaters, it's time to look forward to Marvel's next film, The Incredible Hulk, and the inevitable merchandise and collections that come with it. This week, The Incredible Hulk Omnibus (Volume 1) HC becomes available, as well as Hulk Visionaries: John Byrne (Volume 1) TP (pictured).

Other Noteworthy Releases

Bottomless Belly Button SC
Comic Arf SC
Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis
.....the Menace 1951-1952 SC - Now
............................................................available in softcover!
Hellboy (Volume 8): Darkness Calls
Mushishi (Volume 4)
Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution SC - Also
.....now in softcover after a long wait.
Sheena Queen of the Jungle (Volume 1) TP
Spider-Man (Volume 1): Brand New Day HC

Monday, May 19, 2008

Manga Monday: The Moon and the Sandals

The Moon and the Sandals (Volume 1)
Fumi Yoshinaga

The Moon and the Sandals is a yaoi manga from the creator of the excellent Antique Bakery. The book follows a young intimidating student, Kobayashi, who has a crush on a new young teacher, Mr. Ida. The initial chapter is a nice little story about the two of them confronting their feelings about one another. After this, the book sort of follows each of them in alternating chapters and scenes, where they often meet up with one another, but not always. New characters come into the fold, particularly Toyo Narumi, the beautiful arrogant boy who tutors Kobayashi in English, and both Kobayashi and Ida learn about love and life on their own and through each other. The art isn't quite as refined in this book as it is in Antique Bakery, but it's still really elegant and pretty. There are genuinely erotic moments amid the soap opera, and there's a generally cheerful feel to the book overall. I can't say that there's much to the characters, even with flashbacks that explain how they act the way they do, but the chemistry and silly interactions between the small cast makes each character enjoyable in the end, even if the emotions aren't necessarily heart-felt in a few of the scenes when Yoshinaga clearly intends to tug at the readers' heartstrings. But The Moon and the Sandals is certainly worth a look when all is said and done. It's probably one of the better yaoi titles I've read, although that's not saying much really, as I can't say there's ever been one that's blown me away. For a light, fun read, however, this does the trick.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sky Doll #1 (of 3)

Alessandro Barbucci & Barbara Canepa

Soleil is a popular publisher of genre comics in France. Marvel recently acquired the rights to publish Soleil comics in English, Sky Doll being the very first offering to hit stands. The debut issue is 44 pages long with other future Soleil offerings previewed in the back. As far as first issues go, this is a very strong debut. Forty-four pages is a good amount of space to get a story rolling, and I feel like I got a full story from just this initial issue. A lot of action, likable characters and phenomenal art. The creators worked together on story, art and colors alike for a perfect overall package. I haven't seen cartooning this amazing in years, and somehow it's really appealing in a science fiction environment with adult themes. The story follows Noa, a robot owned by an abrasive fellow who has her, along with other robot "dolls," washing space cars seductively. In one funny little scene, events are going on surrounding two men in a space vehicle at the wash, oblivious to the dolls who are rubbing their breasts and butts against the windows while they clean in the background. But beyond the nudity and humor, there's a lot of substance in what's going on in this world that Barbucci and Canepa have created, surrounding religious figures, oppression and sexuality. It's all very interesting with a fun tone - captivating, beautiful and well worth the cover price.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Captain Britain and MI-13 #1

Paul Cornell & Leonard Kirk

A new on-going series launched this past week from Marvel, sort of spinning out of events from Secret Invasion, although it was originally intended to be a new Excalibur series. Captain Britain and MI-13 follows the former leader of Excalibur and other British superheroes as they, at least initially, deal with the invasion of the skrulls on their side of the world. Paul Cornell was the writer behind the recent MAX series Wisdom, and of course the star of that particular mini-series, Pete Wisdom, is also prominent in this new book. Other characters involved include Black Knight, Spitfire, the good skrull John and a new character - a human doctor named Faiza Hussain who gets caught in the blast of some skrull device before the issue ends. While Black Knight and Faiza Hussain work to save bystanders of the skrull invasion ships on the streets, the other superpowered members of MI-13 work to prevent the skrulls from reaching the portal to the magical Otherworld.

While I was less than impressed with the initial issues of Wisdom, Paul Cornell kicks Captain Britain and MI-13 off to a decent start. Lots of action with nice introductions to the characters involved, already setting up the roles that each will play within MI-13. Leonard Kirk does a nice job of illustrating the issue with some very neat fight sequences, and paces events pretty much perfectly. I'm not familiar with the character of Spitfire, so when she began to rip skrull's jugulars out with her teeth, I was a little...unsettled, perhaps, but it turns out that she was bitten by a vampire in the past and although she had a transfusion shortly thereafter, there seems to be some lasting effects of the experience, something that the creators are sure to touch on in future issues of the book. It's a good team of characters overall, though I'm not quite sold on John the skrull who adopts the look of the deceased Beatles member. It's a fun book, but I'm kind of glad that they didn't launch this as yet another new Excalibur series in wake of the dreadful ones we've had to suffer through since the original. The only thing in common with that original book are a few characters and the location. The tone and feel are all wrong, things that made the light-hearted, silly-but-serious-when-it-needed-to-be Excalibur distinct among the dozens of other X-titles out at the time. While this is a great beginning to a new darkish government-funded superhero team, it's hardly unique to other superhero books.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1 (of 3)

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Barry Kitson

***Contains Spoilers***

I don’t know why I’m giving into this crossover event, but I am. Secret Invasion is just a lot of fun and I’m enjoying every step of it so far, which is why I decided to pick up this issue of Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four. I don’t follow the Fantastic Four at all, but I’ve read some issues in the past and it’s not like much has changed over the years. However, I’m not really familiar with the whole “I Married a Skrull” story, so Patrick had to fill me in: The skrull Lyja replaced Alicia Masters in an attempt to get close to the Thing, but had to improvise her plans when the Thing didn’t return to the team in wake of Secret War. So she began a relationship with Johnny Storm instead, eventually marrying him and developing feelings. In the end, she turned her back on the skrulls and became a member of the foursome for awhile. So why does this matter? Well, because, as a skrull, Lyja returns to the lives of the Fantastic Four in this three issue mini-series. In Secret Invasion #1, a skrull infiltrates the Baxter Building in the guise of Sue Storm and sends half of the building into The Negative Zone, along with the Thing, the Human Torch and the two children of Reed and Sue. Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four does a good job of briefly running over these events before delving into new material, showing Sue being replaced in a prologue, and what occurrs after The Baxter Building is sucked into the other dimension. By the end of the issue, the skrull posing as Sue Storm reveals to Johnny that she is in fact Lyja. Seems pretty out-of-character, but we’ll see how things go. Who knows? Maybe the skrull replacement is actually a skrull…er, a different one. Anyways, I was impressed with the art of the issue by Kitson and the overall quality of the book. Usually it seems that these spin-offs of crossovers are complete throw-away material, but it seems that more effort is going into things with this latest event. I had my reservations about picking this up in wake of last year’s debacle that was Civil War: Runaways and Young Avengers, but it seems that some things can be well-thought out and executed around the main events of a universe-wide battleground. And the Alan Davis cover certainly doesn’t hurt. If the quality remains high on these secondary books, Marvel may just suck me in on spending way too much money, but then it will have been worth it. It’s certainly off to a decent start.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Sisterhood #1 (of 3)

Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski & Wellington Alves

The Sisterhood is a three issue mini-series from Archaia Studios Press that came out a month or two back. It’s another one of those comics from small publishers that was hard to get my hands on, so when I went back home for a visit to Minneapolis, I picked it up there, where it seemed every comic store I went to had a couple of copies on their shelves - quite a difference from the Milwaukee shops. I was thinking that I would just pick up the inevitable collection since it is a short series, but when I saw it, I had to at least give the first issue a go. And I’m glad I did. The Sisterhood has a cool premise. It follows an order of ass-kicking nuns with some strange powers of exorcism, where they can track down demons and take them into their own bodies, human cages of sorts. If they die natural deaths, the demons die along with them. If they die violently, the demons are released back into the world to wreak havoc. Once a nun reached “full capacity,” she retires to die quietly at one of several hidden sanctuaries, wrestling the demons within herself and living out her days in relative peace without the threat of a violent death to undo all of the work she’s done. Unfortunately, it seems someone else has other plans when a convent of retired nuns is massacred, releasing hundreds of demons back unto the populace. That’s where Sister Eden comes in. The young busty nun who makes a living writing travel guides between exorcising demons on her exotic travels has been called on to uncover who is behind this new plot and put a stop to it. In accepting said assignment, she may have gotten more than she bargained for, if the first issue is any indication. So, this book has a very cool story going for it. And really, I was kind of impressed with the interior art. I was expecting a sort of Top Cow look through and through, given the cover and a glance inside (a little too 90’s for my tastes), but there’s some nice detail work and the panels are well-paced, with a pretty spectacular opening that set the mood of the book pretty much perfectly. There’s not much meat beyond the plot of the book, but it makes for one great action/horror extravaganza that easily surpassed any of my expectations.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Stores 5/14

Patrick and I pick out the books with most potential hitting comic shops tomorrow!

Patrick's Pick

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 (Volume 2): No Future For You - This is the second paperback collection of my current favorite monthly comic book, collecting Brian K. Vaughan’s four issue story arc about Faith, the popular character played by Eliza Dushku on the TV series. Also included is the tenth issue, a standalone story written by Joss Whedon. I reviewed Vaughan’s arc upon its initial serialization: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Dave's Pick

Vampire graphic novels from First Second Books - I really enjoyed Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece's teen vampire book Life Sucks, and am definitely looking forward to Joann Sfar's Little Vampire, which promises some great art and a cute story.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Batman #676
Captain Britain and MI 13 #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Huntress: Year One #1 (of 6)
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection (Book One) TP
newuniversal: Shockfront #1 (of 6)
Parasyte (Volume 3)
Psi-Force Classic (Volume 1) TP
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1 (of 3)
Serenity: Better Days #3 (of 3)
Sky Doll #1 (of 3)
Thunderbolts #120

Monday, May 12, 2008

Manga Monday: Dororo

Dororo (Volume 1)
Osamu Tezuka
The latest effort from Vertical to publish classic manga from master Osamu Tezuka is one of the creator's unfinished works, Dororo. The story follows a warrior who was born without many of his body parts, including arms, eyes and ears. His father made a pact with forty-eight demons, each taking a body part from his unborn child in return for granting him power. Now that child, Hyakki-Maru, has grown under a doctor who found him abandoned, and raised him as his own. With the aid of some prosthetic limbs and amazing abilities to compensate for his shortcomings, Hyakki-Maru begins a quest to track down the forty-eight demons and vanquish them, and in turn, receive his missing body parts. It's a really cool premise and it's a lot of fun to read. Dororo himself is a boy thief that Hyakki-Maru runs into on his voyages, with issues of his own. I'm not sure exactly why this series is named after what seems to be a supporting character, but this is only the first volume of three, and I'm unsure of how long this would have run had Tezuka seen it to completion. There's a little frustration in taking on a work that I know isn't finished from the beginning, but I just enjoy Tezuka's work so much that I could hardly stay away. If anything, I'm having a lot of fun reading a really neat story featuring all kinds of weird monstrous creatures, with some of the best art in comics period. So far, I love the designs of Tezuka's creepy demons, and the action is pretty damn impressive, with the main character whipping off his limbs and charging head-first into battle with sword-arms. It's pretty damn awesome. And I have to admit that the eyeless, noseless, earless caterpillar-crawling baby Hyakki-Maru is strangely adorable to me. I don't know why. And while the covers to these collections are a little out there, I do like the anatomy backgrounds and it has, at least, a unique look. A wonderful package overall. Dororo is another winning addition to Vertical's growing, impressive library of important, high-quality works from top-notch manga creators.

Friday, May 09, 2008

His and Hers

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #14
Drew Goddard & Georges Jeanty
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Angel: After the Fall #7
Joss Whedon, Brian Lynch, Tim Kane, Nick Runge & Stephen Mooney
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I enjoyed the fourteenth issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, although I’m not sure I’ve got too much to say about it. As the penultimate chapter of Drew Goddard’s “Wolves at the Gate” story arc, it pretty well resists critical analysis as a standalone story. The book opens with Buffy’s discovery of the murder of one of her people and ends with another horrible, violent event which I probably should have seen coming but didn’t. In between, the villains’ plot is revealed, Giant Dawn attacks Tokyo, and the relationships between Buffy and Satsu, and Xander and Renee are developed with the requisite mix of angst and jokes. Everything that makes the series work continues to work here, particularly the snappy dialogue and well-realized characters, both those carried over from the television show and those created for the comic book. My only reservation here is with the character of Dracula, who has been brought back from a single appearance on the television show to be used primarily for comedic effect. Frankly, I didn’t find the character to be that funny, and the scenes of his that should pop as light comic relief from the more heavy goings-on just sort of sat there on the page. There is one gag involving the character near the beginning of the book that I felt was in particularly bad taste, too. Still, since everything but Dracula worked I’m calling this another successful entry in my current favorite monthly comic book series, and am anxiously awaiting the next chapter.
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Another Joss Whedon show turned comic book, Angel: After the Fall #7, was also out this week. It wasn’t as good. Not nearly, sad to say. Angel, a spin-off of Buffy starring her vampire ex, has had a rougher time making the transition from screen to page, and the current “First Night” storyline, of which this is the second chapter, has been particularly disappointing. In both series, an unspecified amount of time (“comic book time,” Whedon has called it), has elapsed between the final episodes of each show and the first issues of the comic books. In Buffy, this “lost” period of time (perhaps a couple of years or so in the case of that book), has become a source for deeper examination of the principal characters in service of the current storyline. See, for example, the revelations about Buffy’s and Willow’s recent pasts shown in issue ten. This is an effective and compelling approach to storytelling, utilizing continuity to tell a compelling story which has resonance for the characters and the audience, without being obligated to fill in all of the gaps.
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In the case of Angel, the whole point of the “First Night” storyline is to fill in the gaps. The story arc is to be three issues long, consisting of short vignettes, each featuring the experiences of a different character beginning immediately after the events of the final episode of the television series, each drawn by a different artist. This issue, in which the title character does not make an appearance, we get a Wesley story, the second part of a Connor story begun in the previous issue, and more of the framing sequence featuring the telepathic fish demon Beta George. None of these sequences, all written by regular series writer Brian Lynch from a plot by Lynch and Whedon, are particularly interesting or noteworthy, although I did enjoy the surprise return of a long-departed character from the television series in the Connor story. While the Wesley tale was competently written, I did not at all care for the heavily photo referenced artwork by Nick Runge, which is too bad because, apparently, Runge is to be the new regular artist on the series. I have no problem with photo reference or photo realism in comic book art per se, but here Runge commits the worst offenses of that type of illustration, as characters’ facial expressions do not match up with the emotion one assumes is supposed to be conveyed. The body language is stiff and awkward, and the quality and level of detail in the drawings varies wildly from panel to panel. When it works, it works as a pretty drawing rather than as effective cartooning.
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I suppose there’s a type of fan for whom this sort of thing is no big deal compared to the thrill of learning exactly how the characters got from point A to point B, but for my money, I’d prefer a compelling, well crafted story with some level of emotional impact. If the events depicted here are to have such an impact on the characters’ lives, let these events be referenced at the appropriate time, rather than bringing the main story to a screeching halt for three issues to connect all of the dots. The ideas are cool, but I don’t know that they would be any less cool were they simply related to an audience by Joss Whedon at a convention or something. The stories work only if you’re heavily invested in the lives of these characters, and don’t have much at all to offer to fans of comics. I fit into both categories, which is why, along with some other minor gripes (why do characters who do not appear in the issue adorn the cover? Why is Franco Urru’s name on the cover when he did not contribute to this issue and will apparently no longer be the regular series artist?) Angel: After the Fall #7 is such a frustrating disappointment.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Life Sucks

Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria & Warren Pleece
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Life Sucks is an original graphic novel from First Second Books written by La Perdida's Jessica Abel, with art by Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece. The book follows Dave, who works a crappy job as The Last Stop convenience store, and happens to have recently been made a vampire by the owner to work the night shift and be his general lackey. A lifetime at a dead end job - doesn't seem too promising for him. Until he meets the girl of his dreams, Rosa. Dave doesn't think he has much of a chance with the beauty, but he soon becomes acquainted with her and strikes up a rivalry with fellow vampire Wes for her affections.
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I really enjoyed this book. Abel plays with your expectations of the vampire mythos in a witty book with some really fantastic dialogue. It reminded me quite a bit of Clerks just because of the setting of the convenience store mixed with the humor and how Dave and his vampire friend kind of hang out while working their crappy jobs. But this isn't Clerks with vampires. It has a really riveting story with some pretty compelling, likable characters. The book focuses on the blooming romance between Dave and Rosa, but there's plenty of stuff going on on the sidelines to make for a pretty rich book. Dave is kind of like Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a way, as he's "vegetarian." He doesn't kill for his food, even though it makes him weaker and gives him a severe disadvantage over his rival for Rosa. But that's the kind of guy he is: Kind of a weak loser, but cool and sweet too. I was thinking after I had finished reading the book that I would like to spend more time with the characters in the future and I'm hoping that maybe some day there will be a sequel. Things don't end all nice and tidy and I'd like to see where the characters go from where they end up. Overall, Life Sucks is full of fresh ideas with plenty of elements to make it a damn good read overall. Fun and lively. Life may suck, but this graphic novel doesn't.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

In Stores 5/7

This is another crazy-good week in comics. It's been hit or miss lately, but this week, comic stores have got the goods. Patrick and I pick out the books with most potential hitting stores on Wednesday...
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Patrick's Pick
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Gary Panter - Here it is. Expensive, yes, but this two-volume slipcased set of 350-page books sounds like it’s going to be worth it. Billed as “the definitive volume of Panter’s work from the early 1970’s to the present,” the first book features work by the artist across a variety of media (paintings, sculpture, posters….even comics!), as well as essays by a variety of writers and commentary from Panter himself. The second book features selections from the artist's sketchbook. This is the book I’m most looking forward to this year.
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Dave's Pick
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Suburban Glamour (Vol. 1) TP - Any other week, any number of books could have been my pick out of the great books shipping to stores, but I loved this book by Jamie McKelvie and I feel like it was kind of overlooked. It has fantastic art and a fun fantasy story. One of my favorite books of last year - read my review of the first issue.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Absolute Boyfriend (Volume 6) - Final volume.
Amor y Cohetes SC - The latest Love & Rockets book in the fantastic
.....new packaging, collecting odds and ends from the acclaimed series.
Angel: After the Fall #7
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #14
Hikaru No Go (Volume 12) - Reviewed yesterday.
House of Mystery #1
Hulk: World War Hulk TP
Invincible Iron Man #1
JLA Presents: Aztek: The Ultimate Man
Nana (Volume 10) - Reviewed last week.
Naruto (Volume 29)
Salt Water Taffy (Volume 1): Legend of Old Salty
Sand Chronicles (Volume 2) - Also reviewed yesterday.
Secret Invasion #2
Three Shadows GN - Read review here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Manga Monday: Andromeda Stories & More

This past week, I read several manga from series I've been following, including the final chapter of Keiko Takemiya's Andromeda Stories. Here's what I thought...

Sand Chronicles (Volume 2)
Hinako Ashihara

When Nana left Shojo Beat magazine, I left with it, but not before I caught a glimpse of the beautiful Sand Chronicles, an emotional book following a young woman who left Tokyo for a small town right before her mother's tragic suicide. In the latest volume of the series, Ann's relationship with her boyfriend grows and changes as the seasons pass. When her father comes to visit, she has to make a heart-breaking decision that leads to some really great dramatic scenes. I love where the book is heading in terms of the supporting characters - I just wish it would slow down a little bit. Time goes by really fast and I just want to be able to breathe with the characters at certain times in their lives a bit more. But it's a small complaint, because I'm genuinely attached to the characters with the moments I get.

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Volume 6)
Eiji Otsuka & Housui Yamazaki

Before I read this volume, I debated dropping the title because I never really looked forward to reading it, despite enjoying the book when I did. It sort of fell into a formula that was getting a little too familiar to excite me, I guess. Things really pick up toward the end of this volume however, as some interesting "villains" are introduced. The story ends on kind of a cliffhanger before a little two-part "intermission" story, which drove me crazy (even though it was fine) just because I wanted to know what happened next.

Hikaru No Go (Volume 12)
Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata

Hikaru No Go never fails to enthrall me. It's a consistently good title that, like with Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, I take the gorgeous art for granted a bit just because I'm so into the story. In the latest chapter of the manga featuring the board game Go, Hikaru ventures head-first into the next stage of his game with new opponents and obstacles. Hikaru's spirit guide Fujiwara-no-Sai is feeling a little lost at this point, since Hikaru is getting along so well on his own. I feel like Fujiwara-no-Sai has been in the background a bit too much lately, so I'm glad that some focus is being shifted back onto the reason for Hikaru's interest in the game in the first place.

Andromeda Stories (Volume 3)
Keiko Takemiya

Andromeda Stories concludes with the latest installment as man goes head-to-head with the alien machines. Secrets are revealed and histories flushed out as events draw toward an epic conclusion. The ending felt a little rushed to me and wasn't quite as satisfying as I'd hoped. There were some nice final moments for many of the characters however and overall, the series was very compelling. I hope Vertical takes on more work from this master storyteller in the future.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Weekend Box Office (5/2 - 5/4)

Box Office estimates are in and, no surprise, Marvel Studio's debut film Iron Man reigned, raking in over $100 million. This was my first month predicting box office figures, actually my first week, so how did I do?

Actual Box Office 5/2 - 5/4

1. Iron Man ($100.7 million)
2. Made of Honor ($15 million)
3. Baby Mama ($10 million)
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall ($6.1 million)
5. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay ($6 million)

Most predictions put Iron Man in the $70-80 million range, but I took a gamble and went high. For the other films in the top five, I looked at the history of similar movies.

My prediction for 5/2 - 5/4 (from Thursday afternoon)

1. Iron Man ($98 million)
2. Made of Honor ($15 million)
3. Baby Mama ($9 million)
4. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay ($7 million)
5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall ($6.5 million)

Overall, not too shabby. I was off only $2 on Iron Man and nailed Made of Honor. Then I was $1 million off on both Harold and Kumar and Baby Mama, resulting in the bottom two film's swapped places. I knew Forgetting Sarah Marshall was going to hang on with its good word-of-mouth, but I didn't expect Harold and Kumar to plunge quite so much. An overall difference of $4 million between the prediction and actual numbers. Pretty damn good for a first-timer.

Iron Man reportedly cost $140 million to make, with a $50 million ad campaign. Factoring in the estimated $98 million it pulled in overseas over the weekend and the Thursday night receipts and the movie stands at a $202 million grossing over three days and a night, earning an extra $12 million over its costs right out of the gate. A great start to the film studio. I haven't seen the movie yet because of my work schedule, but I hope to very shortly. Rotten Tomatoes has it at a 94% fresh rating: out of 159 professional reviews, only ten did not recommend the film, a stellar number for a Hollywood blockbuster.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Annihilation: Book Three

Keith Giffen, Andrea DiVito & various
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It all comes to this. Silver Surfer. Nova. Super Skrull. Ronan. Drax the Destroyer. Each of these characters had a story to tell revolving around a wave of destruction led by Annihilus of The Negative Zone, as he thirsted for power and annihilation (Read reviews of Book One and Book Two of Annihilation for details). In a six issue mini-series, the culmination of these events leads to all-out war as these cosmic beings unite to fight back against a common enemy in any way each of them are able. This book felt very grand and was ultimately satisfying. Each of the characters had their moment to shine, while some were more vital to the thrust of the fight than others. DiVito illustrates events beautifully, executing fight sequences and emotional moments with ease.
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Gamora, the deadliest woman in space, who was featured in Annihilation: Ronan, played quite a big role in the events, as she was Nova's lover and involved in many of the fights and decisions being made, outshining Ronan himself if it weren't for an event that takes place toward the end of the series, where he proves himself and has the Kree cheering for him.
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Drax takes on a side quest of sorts, which ends up being very important for the overall series, freeing Galactus with the aide of his daughter Moondragon, allowing the world-devourer to deal a significant amount of damage to the annihilation wave. He also kills Thanos in my favorite scene in the book. As Thanos works to free Galactus (before he's interrupted by Drax ripping his heart out), he sees Death standing on the sidelines, smiling at him and he's utterly shocked. Meanwhile, Cammi, Drax's little protege of sorts, seems to have adopted Thanos' chaos creature Skreet.
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Nova plays a big role in the events, stepping into the role of leader of the rebellion forces and ultimately killing Annihilus (with the aide of Phyla-Vell and Peter Quill). He has his own ongoing series in light of the success and reception of the Annihilation series overall.
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The Super Skrull (along with companion Praxagora) aids Ronan on his quest after he is resurrected from a death-like state, while the Silver Surfer becomes Galactus' herald again, as they deal a devastating blow that cripples the annihilation wave.
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It was very neat to see all of these players come into the big overall game in the concluding mini-series, often in unexpected roles. Annihilation: Book Three also included some supplemental material, collecting Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1-2 and the throwaway Nova Corps files that gives information on characters involved in the crossover and various alien races. The Heralds of Galactus comics follows up on some of the events of Annihilation involving, well, the heralds of Galactus, tying up some dangling plot threads and showing how some cosmic beings are carrying on now that the threat is over. The first issue focuses on Stardust and Terrax, while the second shows what Firelord and Silver Surfer have been up to, the latter of whose story really wraps up some big unfinished business.
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A very fun event overall. I'm excited to eventually read the collections of the follow-up series Annihilation: Conquest, and am happy that it was such a fulfilling experience filled with good writing and top-notch art all around.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Previews: July '08 Comics

Patrick and I pick the best stuff out of the intimidating Previews Catalogue, for books shipping to comic shops in July!

Ape Entertainment

Dave: Athena Voltaire (Volume 2): Flight of the Falcon - I don’t know what took so long for this to be collected but it’s finally here, a collection of the six issue mini-series that launched aviatrix Athena Voltaire from webcomics to paper. A great adventure story with beautiful art. Also available again is the collected webcomics, which is volume one of the Athena Voltaire collections.

Archaia Studios Press

Dave: The Bond of Saint Michael #1 - A new six issue mini-series, a vampire thriller featuring the art of The Red Star’s Christian Gossett.

Avatar Press

Patrick: In addition to a major new project with Marvel discussed elsewhere in this post, the prolific Warren Ellis has a couple of new books out from Avatar this month. Warren Ellis’ Aetheric Mechanics is an original graphic novel for the writer’s “Apparat” line of books, a strange science fiction/mystery set in an alternate 1907 Britain. Artwork by Gianluca Pagliarani. Also, Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp continue their exploration of the superhero genre in No Hero # 0, featuring a young group of San Francisco-based superhumans called the Levellers.

Dark Horse

Patrick: Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight - A hardcover collection of the popular storyline featured in Chris Onstad’s mega-popular web comic arrives this month, alongside fellow web-to-print projects The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack, by Nicholas Gurewitch, and Nothing Nice to Say by Mitch Clem.

Astro Boy 1&2 - A special edition collecting the first two volumes of Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga Astro Boy.

Dave: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16 - People were wondering if this was ever going to happen, and here it is: Future slayer Fray joins Buffy for the new story arc “Time of Your Life” with original Fray artist Karl Moline.

MySpace Dark Horse Presents (Volume 1) - In case you missed Dark Horse’s initial MySpace comics, here’s a collection of them, including the entirety of Joss Whedon’s Sugarshock!

DC Comics

Patrick: Heavy Liquid - This well regarded science fiction tale by the great Paul Pope is collected in hardcover for the first time, with new colors and bonus material.

Drawn & Quarterly

Patrick: Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 5 - I really enjoy these anthologies featuring a small group of young cartoonists. This issue features artists from Sweden, Finland, and the USA, specifically Anneli Furmark, Amanda Vahamaki, and T. Edward Bak. I’m only familiar with Bak, the American cartoonist, but the consistently high quality featured in previous editions of the anthology suggests the book will be well worth your time.

Fantagraphics

Patrick: Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 - For my money, this is the book of the month. Love and Rockets returns in a new format, an annual series of longer issues (over 100 pages in this first issue) featuring work by Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez. Jaime’s story sounds too awesome for words, as Penny Century is finally granted a longstanding wish. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.
***Patrick's Book of the Month***

Humbug - This is a pretty major publishing project: Humbug was one of three humor magazines created by the legendary Harvey Kurtzman after his tenure at Mad. The entire eleven issue run is collected here in a deluxe, two-volume slipcase edition.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 - I wasn’t sure if he was doing another one of these. You’ll want to snap up a copy of Michael Kupperman’s hilarious humor anthology as soon as you see it. Very, very funny stuff.

The Comics Journal #292 - I try not to highlight every issue of The Comics Journal because it’s an excellent periodical I assume our enlightened audience already reads every issue of anyway, but I had to point out that Gary Groth interviews father and son cartoonists Gene and Kim Deitch in this issue, which is awesome. Also, a new Grant Morrison interview. I don’t think they’ve talked to him since The Invisibles was just starting to come out.

Harper Collins Publishers

Patrick: Zot! Volume 1: The Complete Black and White Stories 1987-1991 - Wow, between this collection of Scott McCloud’s sci-fi series, and the Paul Pope and Howard Chaykin books, the theme for this month is apparently collections of classic works I’ve always wanted to read but have not yet gotten around to.

IDW Publishing

Dave: Spike: After the Fall #1 - The popular character from Joss Whedon’s Buffy-verse gets his own "official & canonized" take on exactly what went down after the series finale of the Angel television series.

The Complete Terry and the Pirates (Volume 4): 1941-1942 - Continuing the fantastic action/adventure strip reprint project, Terry and the Pirates reaches new heights as some very shocking events go down.

Image Comics

Patrick: American Flagg! Volume 1 - This one’s been a long time coming. The first fourteen issues of Howard Chaykin’s classic American Flagg is collected in a deluxe hardcover format. Included is a brand new “American Flagg” story by Chaykin.

Marvel Comics

Dave: Astonishing X-Men #25 - Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi are handed the baton and hit the ground running with a new beginning to the X-Men flagship title. They have some big shoes to fill, but I'm excited to see what they bring to the table.
***Dave's Book of the Month***

Uncanny X-Men #500 - Halfway to a thousand issues, quite a milestone. The series has seen some good times and bad times. Hopefully Matt Fraction joining Ed Brubaker as co-writer will nudge the book into the "good" category a little more clearly. It’s been too long since one of the secondary X-Men titles has been worthy of much praise. The writing team behind The Immortal Iron Fist may just be the trick.

The Order (Volume 2): California Dreaming - Speaking of Matt Fraction, this book collects the last part of his and Barry Kitson’s excellent superhero book. I loved the first volume and highly recommend reading the collections.

Counter X (Volume 1) TP - Warren Ellis relaunched a few x-books at one point to try to reinvigorate them, including Generation X and X-Man. This is from one of those attempts, of the team book X-Force. Beginning with issue #102, the team began to take orders from Pete Wisdom and went a little dark. It didn’t last long. To make this book stand out from other X-Force collections, Marvel has decided to title this collection Counter X for some reason. Random, but…okay.

NBM

Patrick: Little Nothings (Volume 1): The Curse of the Umbrella - The revered European cartoonist Lewis Trondheim offers selections from his comics blog in this book. Features full color painting.

PictureBox

Patrick: Powr Mastrs Volume 2 - Oh man, I already called Love and Rockets: New Stories my book of the month, didn’t I? Well, I guess I’ll stand by that, but a close second would be this second volume in Chris Forgues’ outrageous series of fantasy graphic novels. The first volume was one of my favorite books of last year, and there’s no reason to think this follow-up won’t be every bit as good, if not better.

Sunday Press Books

Patrick: Little Nemo in Slumberland: Many More Splendid Sundays - Put a portion of your economic stimulus package to good use with this second volume of Winsor McCay’s masterpiece, lovingly presented in all their gigantic (16” x 21”) glory.

Viz Media

Dave: Sugar Princess (Volume 1) - The first volume of a new two-volume shojo manga debuts this month by the creator of Hana-Kimi.