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Showing posts from August, 2009

Manga Monday: Swallowing the Earth

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Osamu Tezuka
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I loved this graphic novel. Swallowing the Earth is an excellent manga that I think it on equal footing with many of Tezuka's better-known long mature works such as MW and Ode To Kirihito, even though this was a transition for him from his childrens work into those types of more serious stories. For the most part (although it does meander a bit from its core plot), this book follows a young man, Gohonmatsu, a guy who loves his liquor, who has been hired to observe a woman who enchants all men she encounters, Zephyrus. Zephyrus seems at first like a god, or a siren, as she has the ability to make mad go made for her, unable to think of anything else, or to have complete and utter control over them. However, Gohanmatsu somehow has the ability to resist her charms, so is the perfect candidate to discover her story and motives. But nothing is as it seems, and as Gohonmatsu gets closer to the truth, the stakes get higher and he uncovers a global plot that is more disastrou…

The Week In Awesome! H2 and More!

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TGIF is dead, and out of its ashes rises the new (well, new name) The Week In Awesome! Here are the top five things that got me excited over the past week! . 1. The Wolfman theatrical trailer - The highly-anticipated remake of Universal's horror classic The Wolf Man has a new extended trailer that looks fantastic! the movie, starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and others, comes to the big screen on February 10th of next year. Watch the trailer here. . 2. Halloween 2 in theaters - Rob Zombie's sequel to his Halloween remake is in theaters this weekend, returning horror icon Michael Myers to the masses. Also announced this weekend is that Zombie will be directing a remake of the classic sci-fi/horror film The Blob. . 3. Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson - The new album by songstress Ingrid Michaelson was released on Tuesday, featuring a medley of catchy singer-songwriter-type pop music. . 4. New Avengers #56 - The latest issue of Marvel's flagship Avengers title se…

Spin Angels #1 (of 3)

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Jean-Luc Sala & Pierre-Mony Chan
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Spin Angels is the latest book to be published by Marvel Comics state-side through their partnership with Soleil. Each issue in the mini-series, like the other Soleil/Marvel offerings, is a super-sized 48 pages in length, priced at $5.99. This book is charged with political intrigue, conspiracy theories and black-op assignments all with the backdrop of the Catholic Church in a Da Vinci Code sort of way. The protagonists of the book are a group of investigators that work for the Black Office of the Vatican: Sofia D'Agostino is the lead investigator that goes relic hunting in the field to track down artifacts to be dated and authenticized, Kyu is the mad scientist-type who develops tech gear ala James Bond, and Marches is the man maneuvering the group behind the scenes. In wake of the tragic loss of a comrade on an expedition, Marches hires a bodyguard of sorts as well: the ladies' man, blunt gung-ho assassin Angelo Costanza. He rubs mos…

Batman: The Widening Gyre #1 (of 6)

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Kevin Smith & Walter Flanagan
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Kevin Smith sets his sights on the Bat-universe with his latest venture into comic books. In his mini-series Batman:The Widening Gyre, Smith tells a tale of Bruce Wayne, prior to the events of R.I.P. as he is led into a startling new adventure via his former partner Dick Grayson. The opening scene from Batman's past, featuring an attack by Nazi villains on a Jewish Temple, is excessively cheesy, and not in a good way. It's just bad, especially Robin's part in the picture. The only good part about the scene is Flanagan's art, which is really competent and well-executed in a fast, action-packed superhero comic like this one. Everything is very clear and arranged well, and the action is actually really good, which somehow isn't the case for a lot of superhero comics. This scene soon fades into the modern day, where Batman teams up with Nightwing in a battle with one of the villains from the initial scene. And then the story sta…

Days Missing #1 (of 5)

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Phil Hester & Frazer Irving
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Days Missing is a new mini-series published by Archaia in association with Roddenberry Productions. The title was created by Trevor Roth, with help developing the story by Phil Hester and Rob Levin. Hester (Firebreather) will be writing the first and final issues of the series (David Hine will be coming on board for issue two), with Frazer Irving on art on the debut issue (Chris Burnham will be illustrating the next issue). The story follows The Steward, an immortal being who has been on Earth since before mankind, and who has helped the planet out of several extinction events, and manipulated many major events without attracting attention to his existence. This series chronicles his adventures.
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In the debut issue, The Steward appears as a doctor, assisting a group of scientists in tracking down a vaccine to Swazi Fever, a virus that's similar to Ebola, but is much more dangerous and aggressive. The backdrop of this issue is Africa, of which w…

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1

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Brian Michael Bendis & David LaFuente
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Clunky title aside, this is still a good example of a mainstream superhero comic, appropriate for all ages, in the tradition of the recently-wrapped Ultimate Spider-Man. LaFuente has a nice art style to follow up Immonen, and Bendis is writing the same sorts of stories he wrote before the title's relaunch. And while there isn't a drastic change to the title, it is a nice start to the new incarnation of the book. It breathes a little fresh air into the series, having some time gone by and circumstances changing, most notably public opinion of everyone's favorite neighborhood Spider-Man, and that Peter is with Gwen Stacy. Having not read any of the other Ultimate titles, I'm not sure what really went down in the Ultimatum crossover, but I guess it doesn't effect this title too much. The knowledge that there was a disaster is enough and I think anything that comes into the book to illustrate any change that has come about…

In Stores 8/26

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Here are the highlights of books arriving in comic shops tomorrow! . Pick of the Week . The Muppet Show TP - I really enjoyed this mini-series depicting The Muppet Show in comic book form by Roger Langridge. Strange, funny and familiar, early issues went into multiple print runs and there was plenty of deserving buzz surrounding the title. Now all four issues are collected for everyone to enjoy who missed it the first time around. . Other Noteworthy Releases . 28 Days Later #1 Absurd Adventures of Archibald Aardvark TP Animal Academy (Volume 2) Authority: World's End (Book 1) TP Batman: Widening Gyre #1 (of 6)- New Kevin Smith Blackest Night: Titans #1 (of 3) The Color of Heaven GN Crayon Shinchan (Volume 9) Domo GN Gantz (Volume 6) Immortal Iron Fist (Volume 5) Escape From Eighth City HC Invincible Presents: Atom Eve Collected Edition Killer of Demons TP King City #1 (of 12) Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu (Volume 1) Marvel Masterworks: Incredible Hulk (Volume 1) TP Secret Six: unhinged TP Showcase Presents…

Manga Monday: Dinosaur Hour

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Dinosaur Hour (Volume 1)Hitoshi Shioya . Dinosaur Hour is an all ages title, part of Viz's VizKids line of manga. It's a humor manga featuring dinosaurs in chapters that have nothing to do with one another. I think this is really good for kids because, besides the fact that kids love dinosaurs, there are a lot of dinosaur facts throughout the book. At the beginning of each chapter, the scene is set by letting readers know during what period it takes place, and with each dinosaurs appearance, a little fact blurb will let you know its name, how big it gets, whether it's herbivore or carnivore (and rarely omnivore), and sometimes another little something extra, like that the troodon is believed to be one of the most intelligent dinosaurs. But facts aside, the dinosaurs interact in ways more human that reptilian: bullying one another, being afraid of ghosts, pulling pranks, etc. The author is really going for the laugh factor, and often pokes fun at the misinterpreted facts…

TGIF: Quite Early

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I'm going to Seattle for a long weekend, so this post is going up early. Here are the things that got me excited this week...
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1. Inglourious Basterds in theaters - A new movie courtesy of my favorite director is always reason to celebrate. It may not have received much love at film festivals, but Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds seems to be a critical success. And Brad Pitt wants himself some nazi scalps.
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2. Dexter: Season Three on DVD - I really enjoyed the hell out of season two of Showtime's Dexter, starring Michael C. Hall as a serial killer who kills serial killers. And after too long a wait, I finally have my hands on the latest episodes!
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3. "Kate Earl" by Kate Earl - The debut CD by pop singer Kate Earl was released this week with some really great dancy tunes. Have a listen to "Nobody," and download "Melody" from I-Tunes this week for free.
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4. Reality Show premieres - A gaggle of reality shows premiere on cable this week. On Bravo, is …

In Stores 8/19

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Here are the highlights of books available at comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Volume 1) - This is a new exciting manga from Fumi Yoshinaga, the creator of Antique Bakery. It's an alternate history of Japan during the Edo Period that sees a plague wipe out most of the male population, and women taking on roles formerly held by men. Read my review of this great new series here.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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20th Century Boys (Volume 4)
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes HC
Astral Project (Volume 4)
Astro Boy Movie Adaptation #1
Avengers Forever HC
Batgirl #1
Beyond Wonderland HC
Black Is For Beginners GN
Black Widow: Sting of the Widow HC
Blackest Night: Superman #1
Bomb Queen Omnibust (Volume 1) HC
Daredevil #500
Dark Avengers (Volume 1): Assemble
Dark Entries HC
Days Missing #1 (of 5)
Filthy Rich HC
Gargoyles (Volume 2): Clan Building TP
Gargoyles: Bad Guys TP
Hot Gimmick VizBig Edition (Volume 2)
Mighty Avengers: Earth's Mightiest HC
M…

Manga Monday: Ooku

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Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Volume 1)
Fumi Yoshinaga
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The latest title in Viz's excellent Signature Line of manga is the 2009 winner of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize and is brought to us by the creator of acclaimed series such as Antique Bakery.
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Ooku: The Inner Chamber has a pretty intriguing premise. During Japan's Edo Period, a disease sweeps the nation that kills 8 out of every 10 men, leaving the remaining men a rare commodity that must be cared for, or Japan will die out altogether. Women take up the roles that men previously held in the fields, taking up arms, and turning the role of government on its head and becoming a matriarchy. Not only are men limited to who they can marry, and many males from lower class families are "rented out" to seed women who are unable to buy male prostitutes, but the ruling shogun keeps an "inner chamber" in her palace, with hundreds of beautiful men at her disposal, locking away their beauty and seed until they shrivel…

TGIF: Ponyo and More

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Here are five things that excited me this week!
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1. Ponyo in theaters - Hayao Miyazaki's latest film hit US theaters today! Miyazaki is the genius director behind Japanese animated movie masterpieces such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. I feel like he just keeps getting better with each movie (his last before Ponyo was Howl's Moving Castle, which is my favorite). This film is getting stellar reviews and I can't wait to see it this weekend!
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2. The Walking Dead television series - A television series for Robert Kirkman's wonderful post-apocalyptic zombie survival comic has been picked up by AMC, whose recent series Mad Men and Breaking Bad have been getting a lot of love from the critics. The series will be written, directed and executive produced by Frank Darabont, who was also the writer and director behind The Shawshank Redemption.
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3. District 9 in theaters - I really hadn't heard much about this movie at all until just before it was released in theater…

Previews: October '09

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Here are the highlights of books shipping to comic shops in October! . Archaia . The Devil's Handshake One-Shot - A 48-page comic that follows treasure hunters on an epic quest, co-written by the mind behind G.I. Joe, Larry Hama. . The God Machine Preview Book - This looks like a pretty, haunting story. The graphic novel by Chandra Free is coming out soon - this is just a little tease. . Robotika (Volume 2): For a Few Rubles More HC - The second story in Alex Sheikman's fun action series following three yojimbos. . Ardden Entertainment . Casper and the Spectrals #1 - A new series featuring the friendly ghost arrives in time for his 60th anniversary! . Boom! Studios . The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (Volume 1) HC - Don Rosa's classic comics are collected here - glad to see Boom! taking advantage of the new partnership in just two short months. . Dark Horse . Casper the Friendly Ghost 60th Anniversary HC - Well, it is October, so it's time to bring out the monster and ghoul comics. Ca…

In Stores 8/12

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Here are the highlights of books hitting comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Sandman by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby HC - Another $40 hardcover collection of classic Jack Kirby material, this one stringing together works from the 1940's, including issues of World's Finest Comics and Adventure Comics, as well as Sandman #1, which reunited the creators in 1974.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Adventure Comics #1
Angel: Only Human #1 (of 4)
Big Kahn GN
Blackest Night #2 (of 8)
Blackest Night: Batman #1 (of 3)
Dominic Fortune #1 (of 4)
Eerie Archives (Volume 2) HC
Fables (Volume 12): The Dark Ages TP
G-Man: Cape Crisis #1 (of 5)
Geronimo Stilton (Volume 1): Discovery of America GN
The Killer #10 - Final Issue!
The Marquis (Volume 1): Inferno TP
Red Herring #1 (of 6)
Showcase Presents: The Flash (Volume 3) TP
Some New Kind of Slaughter HC
Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen HC
Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1
Universal War One: Revelations HC
The Walking Dead (Volume 10): What We B…

Manga Monday: Children of the Sea

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Children of the Sea (Volume 1)
Daisuke Igarashi
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Children of the Sea is a strikingly beautiful book. From the animals and settings to the characters and how they maneuver through their environments, it's all executed masterfully. I particularly like the underwater and half-submerged scenes and the behind-the-scenes goings-on at the aquarium where the main character's (Ruka's) father works. The art is mostly very soft and delicate, and gets very detailed when it comes to certain animals and backgrounds. Igarashi also does some more sketchy art at various points throughout the book, comes up with some really intricate pretty symbols that decorate the volume, and plays with watercolor to spectacular effect (except for a scene in the middle of the volume that isn't in color - without the color, the watercolor just looks muddy). Beyond the art, there are some really interesting things going on with Ruka and her family, particularly the relationship between her parents. …

Chicago Comic-Con 2009

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With heavy-hitters DC, Marvel and Image all absent from Chicago's Comic-Con floor this year (Chicago Comic-Con is the new name designated by owner Wizard Magazine), this year's convention seemed dead right out of the gate. And it's true: panels were sparse and pretty lame. No Cup O' Joe, the DC Nation panel presented by a lone guy...the highlight was probably the "New Moon" panel that Wizard desperately advertised as featuring a guest appearance by "the New Moon cast," but really only had three B-level actors from the film. That being said, Marvel did make some announcements this year at the "Marvel Mondo" panel that were pretty exciting, including the follow-up to "War of Kings," a new assault on Olympus in the pages of "Incredible Hercules," and Jeff Parker taking over writing chores on "Thunderbolts." I also saw some staff members handing out flyers advertising all panels available on-line, which is a …

TGIF: Better late than never...

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With preparing to go to Wizard's Chicago Comic-Con, I got this post up a little late, but here's what excited me over the past week...
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1. Dollhouse on DVD - The first season of Joss Whedon's latest television show has come to DVD, including an unaired episode "Epitaph One" that's supposed to be pretty awesome. This is one show that just got better from week to week and I can't wait to see more of Eliza and the gang!
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2. Thirst (Volume 1) by Christopher Pike - I read this book series when I was a teenager and when it was called The Last Vampire, but I remember it being a really great vampire book with real substance that turned pretty philosophical amid all the action and romance. The story follows a female vampire who falls for a human male, a sort of twist on the current Twilight phenom (which is probably why this is being reprinted now too), but Pike was really a pioneer in the teen thriller genre and this deserves some love.
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3. Battlestar Galactica: Sea…

Mid-Year Report: Music

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We're halfway through a great year in music, and here's what I found to be the best of the best. There are still some great releases in store for the rest of the year, including a few of my favorite artists, A Fine Frenzy and Mindy Smith, so we'll just have to wait and see how things shake out by the year's end, but these are the best for now. First up is singles, followed by full albums.
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Singles
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1. "Sweet About Me" by Gabriella Cilmi - This country-soaked song from soul-singer Gabriella Cilmi is one of the, if not the, best song I've heard in the past five years. A strong voice, complimented by sassy lyrics for an unforgettable overall package.
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2. "As It Must Be" by Joey Ryan - Another song destined to go down as one of the greats this year is a soft ballad by singer-songwriter Joey Ryan, whose beautiful voice is heartbreaking set to the strings and piano in this single.
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3. "God Help the Girl" by God Help the Girl - This whimsical son…

In Stores 8/5

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Here are the highlights of books hitting comic book store shelves tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Abstract Comics Anthology HC - From Fantagraphics, this hardcover anthology is sure to produce some of the most exciting works of the year and includes abstract comics from a variety of creators including some giants in the industry like R. Crumb, Gary Panter and Lewis Trondheim, and some of my personal favorites like James Kochalka.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Absolution #1
Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign HC
Angel: After the Fall (Volume 1) TP
Black Bird (Volume 1) - Read my review.
Complete Jack Survives HC
Death of the New Gods TP
DC Library: Flash of Two Worlds HC
Doom Patrol #1
Exiles: Ultimate Collection (Book 2) TP
Final Crisis: Revelations HC
Gigantic Robot HC
Hikaru No Go (Volume 16)
Legend of the Zelda (Volume 6)
Locas (Volume 2): Maggie, Hopey and Ray HC
Luke Cage: Noir #1 (of 4)
Metal Men TP
Otomen (Volume 3)
Red Circle: The Hangman #1
Rosario Vampire (Volume 8)
Slam Dunk (Volume 5)
Ultimatum: Fantastic Fou…

Manga Monday: Scary dark-haired beauties

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I've been reading so much manga that I need to condense some of the things I've read together to get caught up on my reviews, and the following two work together quite well, as both are shojo manga, and both star girls with long dark hair who are frightening to those around them, so read on about Kimi ni Todoke and Rasetsu, both from Viz. . Kimi ni Todoke (Volume 1) Karuho Shiina . Sawako Kuronuma is the star of Kimi ni Todoke (From Me To You) and has a distressing problem; She's never had friends, even though she tries very hard and lives to make people happy, simply because of her resemblance to scary figures in Japanese Horror. The long black hair, the ghoulish smile when she attempts one, lead people to nickname her Sadako, after the character from Ringu, although other characters in horror boast suck features, such as Junji Ito's Tomie. Classmates are constantly steering clear of Sadako because they fear they will be cursed, and a string of strange coincidences (peopl…

Mid-Year Report: Superhero Comics

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It's over halfway through the year now, and I thought it appropriate to make a list of the books that I've been following and enjoying, starting with superhero comics. These are the ten titles that I'm enjoying the most right now.
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1. Incredible Hercules - Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente know how to write a great straight-forward superhero book. I never really expected to like a book like this, featuring a big oaf with brute strength on his side as a protagonist, with a smart nerdy sidekick and his baby coyote. Sure, there are some flaws in the storytelling, and it may be a little hard to put into words what I like about it, but I just love reading it. The stories are great: battles with Amazons, teaming up with Namora, going on an odyssey with other gods to take down a skrull god...they're just a lot of fun and I really look forward to the next collection the moment I've finished with one. If it weren't for the word-of-mouth this book has been getting, I probab…