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Showing posts from January, 2009

Tales From Outer Suburbia

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Shaun Tan
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The new book from Shaun Tan (of The Arrival) is a book of short stories that take place in a bizarre suburb. This book is more like a picture book than a graphic novel, mostly prose with illustrations that usually just paint a picture of events in the stories, but sometimes illustrate a part of the story. The fifteen stories offered here (some of which are a page long, while others span over a dozen), are quite odd. Some are magical and really beautiful, but others seem strange just for the sake of being strange, and didn’t connect with me very well. The illustrations throughout Tales from Outer Suburbia are stellar and when this book is on, it is really on, like with “Eric,” about a strange foreign exchange student who set up a room in a family’s cupboard, and “No Other Country,” which sees a family’s happy discovery of a courtyard “room” in their house where no room could logically be. Another story I really like is “Our Expedition,” about two brothers who trek across the …

Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 1): Orientation

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Thomas Siddell
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The first fourteen chapters of the award-winning webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court is collected on paper for the first time in one amazing comic collection. This is an all-ages fantasy series from Thomas Siddell that follows a young girl, Antimony Carver, who has begun to attend school at Gunnerkrigg Court following her mother's death. The school is very strange, and many of the initial chapters of the book are short stories that focus on one adventure or other that Antimony goes on as she explores the school, from finding the Minotaur through a secret passageway in the library to having her stuffed dog possessed by a demon who obeys her command. Later on, the stories kind of come together to become something more and begin to feel kind of epic in a way. The only drawback that I've noticed so far is that early on, the art is a little shaky. I can actually point to exactly where Siddell becomes a really good cartoonist: chapter eight, as if Siddell magically put as…

Avengers Avengers Avengers

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This month saw the release of three core Avengers titles, all of which are being retooled with the end of Secret Invasion and the launch of Marvel's newest crossover event Dark Reign. The two teams we are used to seeing, Mighty Avengers and New Avengers, are being joined by the new title Dark Avengers. .
***INCLUDES SPOILERS*** .
Dark Avengers #1 Brian Michael Bendis & Mike Deodato .
With Norman Osborn now in charge of the 50-State Initiative and homeland security in general, those loyal servants that served as Thunderbolts are now moving up in the world in the form of Osborn's new team of Avengers, along with a few heroes who have defected from the other Avengers teams. The new official Avengers team under his rule are front and center in the new title Dark Avengers, the first issue of which saw Osborn recruiting his new team and introducing them to the world at large. Osborn also appoints Victoria Hand as his deputy director and has a nice little chat with Maria Hill and Ms. M…

In Stores 1/28

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I'm back! I went to Minnesota for some post-Christmas visits, and have returned to Milwaukee and the internet, bursting to do some reviews. Coming soon will be a review of the first graphic novel of the year that I absolutely loved. But for now, here are the books arriving in comic shops tomorrow! . Pick of the Week . Capacity GN - Theo Ellsworth's graphic novel is a fantastic book and is coming to comic shops for the first time this week. It was also #2 on my favorite comics of 2008. Check out this amazing work!
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Batman: The Brave and
.....the Bold #1
Berserk (Volume 27)
Criminal (Volume 4): Bad
.....Night TP
DC Library: Superman

.....Kryptonite Nevermore HC
Final Crisis #7 (of 7)
Garth Ennis' Battlefields: Dear Billy #1
Huntress: Year One TP
Kaspar GN
Manhwa 100: New Era For Korean Comics TP
Marvel 1985 Premiere HC
Orange TP
Pixie (Volume 1)
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four TP
Showcase Presents: House of Mystery (Volume 3) TP
Spider-Girl (Volume 10): Season of the Se…

In Stores 1/21

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Here are the highlights of books shipping to comic shops tomorrow! . Pick of the Week . Oishinbo (Volume 1): Japanese Cuisine - This new title under Viz's "Signature Line" banner is a culinary comic. It's a long-running title in Japan (with over 100 volumes), so Viz is releasing these in "a la carte" editions, collecting specific themes of Japanese cuisine into each volume, this first one being traditional Japanese cuisine, or Nihon ryori. . Other Noteworthy Releases . After School Nightmare (Volume .....10) - Final volume! Batman: The Strange Deaths of .....Batman TP Black Jack (Volume 3) Black Lightning: Year One #1 (of 6) Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus (Volume 6) TP Case Closed (Volume 27) Dark Avengers #1 Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil #1 (of 4) Flash: Emergency Stop TP Fushigi Yugi VizBig Edition (Volume 1) Gantz (Volume 3) Gon (Volume 7) Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes TP Justice League of America: Sanctuary HC Maximum Ride (Volume 1) Mighty Avengers (Volu…

Manga Monday: Mixed Vegetables

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Mixed Vegetables (Volume 1)
Ayumi Komura
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Mixed Vegetables is a new shojo manga from Viz that follows two aspiring chefs from culinary families. Hanayu is the daughter of a family running a patisserie, but wants to be a sushi chef, while Hayato comes from a sushi family and wants to be a pastry chef. Neither thinks their family will understand their choices and Hanayo schemes to make Hayato fall madly in love with her, to be married into the sushi business, forcing her family to give in to her dreams. Hayato turns out to be a great guy, however, and Hanayu is plagued with guilt as they take classes together in the cooking department of their school.
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Hanayu may not be the most likable or admirable protagonist, but she is an interesting one. Often determined and goofy without meaning to be, she is blinded by her aspirations and tries to justify her motives as the guilt overwhelms her (and at crucial times too, like during exams). Hayato is pretty one-dimensional at this point. He's a …

Invincible Iron Man (Volume 1)

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The Five Nightmares
Matt Fraction & Salvador Larroca
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The first collection of Invincible Iron Man collects issues 1-7, which is the entire "The Five Nightmares" storyarc, and a single issue featuring a team-up between Mr. Stark and Spider-Man (from Peter's perspective). I've never been a huge Iron Man fan. He's always seemed a little boring to me and there aren't any real classic stories featuring him (Demon In a Bottle is perhaps the closest he's got, and that hardly seems like required reading). Sure, he does some cool things occasionally in the Avengers books and whatnot, but reading a solo series of the character? Not really exciting for me. But then this series came along and the buzz has been building around it. That, and Matt Fraction's been turning out a lot of good stuff lately, so I thought I'd take a looksy at this book when it was collected.
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I wasn't exactly blown away. I like some of the elements of the book. I like Tony…

PictureBox Sale!

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PictureBox is holding a sale on their website - the YES WE CAN sale, which will run for two weeks and has some pretty fantastic deals. The Gary Panter Hardcover that's normally $95 (and well worth it) is on sale for just $30! How can you pass that sort of deal up, right? There's plenty more just like that: Travel is $9.95, normally $19.95, Powr Masters Volume 1 is $8, usually $18. The comic 1-800-Mice #1 is just $1.50. $1.50! So, if you're a fan of the innovative publisher, check it out!

My Most Anticipated Comics of 2009

Here are the comics I'm most looking forward to reading over the next year...

The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective - I know nothing about Rand Holmes, but I really enjoyed Fantagraphics' retrospective of Rory Hayes this past year, so I have high hopes for this book.

AX (Volume 1) - Top Shelf is putting this out, an anthology of alternative manga!

The Book of Genesis According To Crumb - R. Crumb's book-length adaptation of, well, The Book of Genesis.

Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips (Volume 1) - Just when you thought all of the good comics strips were already being collected, you get something fun like this.

Cold Heat - Frank Santoro's series (of which only part was published in floppies) gets collected in June!

Dal Tokyo - Gary Panter's comic from Japan is being published in America after quite a delay.

A Drifting Life - Yoshihiro Tatsumi's massive autobiography!

George Sprott 1894-1975 - This is Seth's new book, co…

Favorite Covers of 2008

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One last post about 2008 before I move on... These are some of my favorite comic covers that graced the stands this past year.
















































































In Stores 1/14

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Here are the highlights of book shipping to comics shops this Wednesday...
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Pick of the Week
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Tales From Outer Suburbia HC - Where did this come from? A new graphic novel from Shaun Tan, creator of the acclaimed The Arrival from a few years back.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Anita Blake,
.....Vampire
.....Hunter:
.....First Death
.....TP
Annihilation: Conquest (Book 2) TP
Bone Color Edition (Volume 9): Crown of Horns HC/SC
BPRD: Black Goddess #1 (of 5)
Daredevil: Born Again Premiere HC
Final Crisis #6 (of 7)
House of Mystery (Volume 1): Room and Boredom TP
Hulk Visionaries: Peter David (Volume 6) TP
Locke & Key: Head Games #1
Pigeons From Hell TP
Resistance #1 (of 6)
Steve Ditko: Edge of Genius SC
The Walking Dead Omnibus (Volume 2) HC

Best Music of 2008

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My favorite CDs of 2008. 1. Little Daggers by Val Emmich - Val Emmich is an innovative artist who, without a major record deal, is turning out some of the most consistently impressive music around. With his latest album Little Daggers, Emmich attempts to make an incredible pop album, and succeeds with songs that get better with each listen. Interesting lyrics and playful melodies and sounds make this a sensational, fun CD, and the best of the year. . Download this: Wake Up Brand New, Get On With It, Got a Habit Now, Hurt More Later, The Lucky Ones. . 2. X by Kylie Minogue - Another consistent artist is Europe's dance diva Kylie Minogue who only rekindled interest in the US recently, but whose third consecutive album released in this country is as fresh and danceable as her first. Despite recovering from breast cancer, Minogue bounced back without letting her experience taint her free-spirited music. It's as catchy and sultry as ever. . Download this: Like a Drug, 2 Hearts, The…

Annihilation: Conquest (Book One)

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Various
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The first book collecting Marvel's cosmic crossover (a sequel to the Annihilation crossover of a few years ago) collects Annihilation: Conquest - Prologue, as well as the mini-series Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord and Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar, both of which are four issues long.
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The prologue to this event is written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and illustrated beautifully by Mike Perkins. These Annihilation books generally seem to be illustrated very well, by artists with realistic styles suitable to each story. The first Annihilation crossover told the story of Annihilus sweeping over the Marvel Universe, destroying anything in its path without mercy. Annihilus having been defeated, a new enemy has emerged in a vulnerable universe in the form of the Phalanx, techno-organic beings that wish to assimilate and control everything to create order. Peter Quill, the Star-Lord, is aiding the Kree at the beginning of the book to upgrade some defensive net on the …

In Stores 1/7

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Here are the highlights of books arriving at comic shops tomorrow! . Pick of the Week . Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 1): Orientation HC - Now that Archaia Studios Press's sale is being finalized, they are shipping product once more, including this long-time-coming graphic novel collecting the beginning of Thomas Siddell's acclaimed all ages webcomic. Should be nice! . Other Noteworthy Releases . Agents of Atlas TP American Splendor: Another .....Dollar TP Astral Project (Volume 2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21 The Complete Little Orphan .....Annie (Volume 2): 1927-1930: .....The Darkest Hour Is Just Before the Dawn HC Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson (Volume 3) TP DC Universe Illustrated by Neal Adams (Volume 1) HC Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf by Night #1 (of 4) Devil's Panties (Volume 2) HC Faces of Evil: Grundy #1 Green Lantern: Wanted - Hal Jordan TP Groo: Hell On Earth TP Justice (Volume 3) TP Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Volume 8) Me & the Devil Blues (Volume 2) Mouse …

Best Manga of 2008

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When I put together my Top 20 Comics of 2008 list this year, I noted that there weren't as many superhero comics or manga as in years past. So, I made a separate list for superheroes, and now another one for manga, because I love manga! And despite the fact that many didn't make it onto my list of the best comics of the year, there was a lot of great manga out there. So, here they are, the ten best of what manga had to offer in 2008...
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10. NaokiUrasawa's Monster (NaokiUrasawa) - This series just keeps getting better as it races toward its conclusion and all of the players gather at the creepy stage that's been set for the showdown between Johan and Dr. Tenma. It's been a year for tension and suspense in Monster. .
9. Me and the Devil Blues (AkiraHiramoto) - The life of blues legend Robert Johnston is steeped in myth, and Hiramoto uses that to great effect, weaving the lives of Bonnie and Clyde into his life, playing up the whole "sold his soul to the devil"…

Top Twenty Comics of 2008

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It's that time of year again, to provide the required "best of the year" list. Truth be told, I love doing this sort of thing. It's a highlight for me, a culmination of everything I've read (and posted about) all year long. With fewer exceptions than ever, I feel like I got to read pretty much everything I wanted to in time to provide an accurate list. Some of the rankings may seem silly, with the usual mix of superheroes, manga and original graphic novels arranged in a way that may raise some eyebrows, but I've been completely honest with myself. I'm not going to put The Education of Hopey Glass or the latest Acme Novelty Library on my list if I enjoyed another book more, no matter if some people may scoff at a superhero book nudging them down the ranks (or off the list, as happened with those two titles). So, without further adieu...here are the best comics of the year! . 20. Okko: The Cycle of Water (Hub) - This action-packed book from French artist Hub…