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Showing posts from September, 2009

Spider-Woman #1

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Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev. This is one of the better superhero comic debuts of the year. Spider-Woman is very dark, featuring a troubled protagonist following events of Secret Invasion in a world she has a hard time adjusting to since her abduction. I love Maleev's art. It's very gritty, but beautiful, rendering Jessica Drew and her various locales with plenty of detail and thoughtfulness. There's one really pretty scene of Jessica taking a boat to Madripoor, and the water is bathed in red from the sunset in a breathtaking way. Color is really central to many similar scenes, in mostly urban settings, that make the art on this title stand out. I think Maleev's gritty style in the overall comic is one of the reasons I felt a strong sense of deja vu with Bendis' Alias, which was drawn by Michael Gaydos. That MAX series was also dark, with a similar pacing to the panels. I don't think it's a coincidence that Bendis originally wanted to use J…

In Stores 9/30

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There are a lot of big releases in graphic novels this week! Here are the highlights shipping to comic shops on Wednesday... . Pick of the Week . The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb HC - One of the mega-releases of the year, R. Crumb's years-in-the-making illustrated interpretation of the entire book of Genesis from The Old Testament. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Absolute Promethea (Volume 1) HC Art of Top Cow SC Avengers/Invaders HC Aya: The Secrets Come Out HC Ball Peen Hammer GN Berserk (Volume 31) Best American Comics 2009 HC Black Jack (Volume 7) Bomb Queen VI #1 (of 4) Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (Volume 5): Predator & Prey TP Fables: Deluxe Edition (Volume 1) HC Garth Ennis' Battlefields (Volume 3): Tankies TP Hellboy Library Edition (Volume 3): Conqueror Worm & Strange Places HC High Moon (Volume 1) TP Logicomix GN Prison Pit (Book 1) SC Refresh Refresh GN Sky Pirates of Neo Terra #1 Strangers In Paradise Limited Edition Omnibus Spider-Man: Clone Saga #1 (of 6) Superma…

Manga Monday: Sad Panda

I was really looking forward to reading and reviewing the first volume of Masayuki Ishikawa's Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture for Manga Monday today, but unfortunately, it has been recalled for "legal reasons" from Barnes & Noble stores. Not sure what happened exactly, but I had the manga in my hands and got to flip through it...before our receiving manager had to comply with the communication directive we received to return all of our copies. Very sad. Hopefully whatever caused this delay will be rectified in the near future. Because who doesn't want to read a book featuring someone who can communicate with bacteria and germs that look like cute little creatures?

Asterios Polyp

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David Mazzucchelli
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I have a hipster friend who recently began to get into graphic novels, and began soliciting advice as to what books she should read. I got her to read some Love & Rockets collections, Fun Home, Scott Pilgrim, Chris Ware...and eventually she went off on her own to find what interested her in the field. When I mentioned that this book would be one of the big books she should read this year, she immediately read it, and came back with an "eh, it was okay." Having read this book, I'm completely baffled by this reaction, given her enthusiasm for comics, but I think what she looks for in comics isn't necessarily good comics, but rather things she's used to seeing other mediums do, done in comic form. What I mean is, I believe she likes a good story and interesting characters, something that film and novels can supply just as well (and in forms she's used to) and she may appreciate formal art...but when it comes to comics, she isn't seeing…

Stuffed!

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Glenn Eichler & Nick Bertozzi
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Stuffed! is a new graphic novel from First Second Books, written by Glenn Eichler (who writes for The Colbert Report and created the character of Daria on Beavis & Butt-Head) and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi (Rubber Necker). The book is about a nice white Suburban family with some underlying issues. Tim Johnston's father passes away, leaving him a curiosity museum, which contains an object of fear from his childhood - The Savage, which is an African warrior who happens to be a real stuffed man dressed in a loincloth. Tim becomes fascinated with this object his father used to terrorize him with in his youth, and as it has the same effect on his family now, he sees a museum about taking it off of his hands. A few problems occur here: 1) Tim's semi-homeless hippie drilled-a-hole-in-his-own-head brother, self-named "Free," who owns half of everything their father left them, doesn't want to give it up to the museum. 2) Museu…

In Stores 9/23

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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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Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #15 - Edited by Sammy Harkham this year, the latest Treehouse of Horror anthology sees innovative creators such as Kevin Huizenga, C.F., Jeffrey Brown and Jordan Crane painting their twisted versions of Springfield. Without a Kramer's Ergot this year (Harkham's baby), this could be the most exciting anthology project of 2009.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Astonishing X-Men by Whedon & Cassaday Omnibus HC
Black Jack (Volume 7)
Chibi Vampire (Volume 14)
Cigarette Kisses GN
Dark Reign: The List - X-Men
Dark X-Men: The Confession
DC Library: Batman - A Death In the Family HC
Detroit Metal City (Volume 2)
Dungeon: The Early Years (Volume 2) GN
Eden: It's An Endless World! (Volume 12)
Flash Chronicles (Volume 1) TP
Golden Age Marvel Comics Omnibus (Volume 1) HC
Incredible Hercules: Dark Reign HC
Pet Avengers Classic TP
Salt Water Taffy (Volume 3): Truth About Dr. True GN
Spid…

Manga Monday: Happy Happy Clover

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Happy Happy Clover (Volume 1)Sayuri Tatsuyama . With each new book I sample from Viz's VizKids line of manga for children, the more impressed I get. They really do offer a nice selection of manga for kids (like Leave It To Pet! and Dinosaur Hour, not to mention Cowa! which they didn't publish as a part of VizKids). Happy Happy Clover is another example of quality manga available for kids through this line. It's much cuter and more sugary than the types of books I usually read, but I definitely see the appeal, especially for very young kids. The book is about a group of animals who live in Crescent Forest: rabbits, squirrels, deer, foxes, etc. They live happily together in a nice little community, and the forest makes for a nice playground for the adventurous little bunny Clover, who treks all over the woods with her friends in tow, causing mischief in some form or another. But she means well, and has a guilty conscience should she ever unintentionally hurt someone'…

Cat Burglar Black

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Richard Sala
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Cat Burglar Black is the first graphic novel by Richard Sala published through First Second Books and, to my knowledge, is the first published by the author in full color. Sala's stuff looks amazing in black and white, but I have to say, his use of color in this comic is pretty damn amazing. I love many of his color choices, especially when it comes to his protagonist K. and the other teenage delinquents attending Bellsong Academy For Girls: great outfits (especially the striking red-riding hood in one of the initial scenes where K. meets her classmates and first steps foot on the school grounds), great contrasting hair and styles, and the fun, odd designs of the few adults who appear within the tale. Basically, Cat Burglar Black is a mystery that involves K.'s family. Raised as a master thief by a horrible matron at her orphanage, K. is recruited to help three other girls break into several nearby homes to steal three paintings, each a piece to the puzzle of …

The Week In Awesome! Carnage and More

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Here are five things that I got really excited about this week!
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1. Spider-Man 4 villain - ICV2 reported that Spider-Man 4 won the war for I-MAX screens for when it debuts in May 2011, and added the poster for the movie to the article. Did nobody notice the tagline of the poster? "Choice. Destiny. Sacrifice. CARNAGE." When I saw this, I realized that I know next to nothing about the villain, having never read any stories with the character.
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2. "Official Book Club Selection" by Kathy Griffin - No, it's not Oprah's book club selection this week. That honor went to Uwem Akpan's short story collection Say You're One of Them. But the real star this week is Kathy Griffin's auto-biography, which shot to the top of Barnes & Noble's non-fiction bestseller list, surprising many. I love Griffin, and her book, relating her family and professional history, is fun, touching and very humanising. I recommend getting it on audio CD to hear her n…

Beasts of Burden #1 (of 4)

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Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson
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Beasts of Burden is a webcomic that you can actually read early adventures of on-line at Dark Horse's site here. The title is part of "The Dark Horse Book of..." anthology series that can be viewed free through their website. This four-issue mini-series is the first print version of the title, but there's still quite a bit of history between the large cast of canine (and a few feline) characters that I'm unfamiliar with that they make reference to. It's a good thing that the animals are all very distinct-looking or it would be very hard to keep track of them all with the unwieldy number of animals, but as the issue unfolds, some of their personalities come out, even if the reader feels a little lost when dogs whisper questions to each other about how others are doing, and when a term like "wise dog" and the apprentices that go hand-in-hand with it are mentioned. It takes a little work to decipher what some of these th…

In Stores 9/16

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Here are the highlights of books coming to comic shops on Wednesday!
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Pick of the Week
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The John Stanley Library: Nancy (Volume 1) HC - Drawn & Quarterly's second "John Stanley Library" release (following Melvin the Monster) is a collection of his Nancy comic books (not to be confused with Bushmiller's comic strip being collected by Fantagraphics next year). This is an exciting archival project, easily the highlight of the week.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man
The Alcoholic SC
Batman: Cacophony HC
Beasts of Burden #1 (of 4)
Blackest Night #3 (of 8)
Case Closed (Volume 31)
Donatello: Brain Thief #1 (of 4)
Hercules: Prince of Power HC
Hulk: Planet Skaar HC
Johnny Boo (Volume 3): Happy Apples HC
Locke & Key: Head Games HC
Mr. Stuffins TP
Oishinbo (Volume 5): Vegetables
Pluto (Volume 5)
Secret Warriors (Volume 1): Nick Fury - Agent of Nothing HC
Showcase Presents: Warlord (Volume 1) TP
Spider-Man Noir TP
Star Trek: Romulans - Schism #1
Thor: B…

Manga Monday: Cute Little Creatures

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This week for Manga Monday, I'm pairing together two manga that feature little furry creatures, be it alien or...other. And oddly enough, they're for completely different audiences. One is for kids: Domo: The Manga, while the other is for mature audiences only (despite appearances): Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu.
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Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu (Volume 1)
Junko Mizuno
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Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu is an adults only manga that features a cute little puffball from planet Princess Kotobuki. He travels to earth via a Space Hippo's magic mirror to try to find a bride, because more than anything, Pelu wants to have a baby (because it's what all of the humanoid women that populate his planet want to do). This is one strange manga, as Pelu himself was pulled from the corpse of a half-eaten women and is part of that woman's reproductive system? Okay. It really speaks to Mizuno's imagination that she can come up with such odd stories, but I'm not a fan of something being weird for …

The Stuff of Legend #1

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Mike Raicht, Brian Smith & Charles Paul Wilson III
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The Stuff of Legend is a two-issue series from Th3rd World Studios that follows a group of toys that come to life when not around humans, ala Toy Story. The book first caught my attention with the Free Comic Book Day edition that offered over twenty pages of the beginning of the story, where young Johnny is taken prisoner by The Bogeyman from out of his closet, his toys watching on helplessly. When he's gone, a chest of toys opens with some of the braver toys and together, they mount a rescue led up by an Army figurine, but including toys such as a teddy bear, a ballerina, a piggy bank, a jack-in-the-box and a wooden duck. This story takes place in 1944, so the toys are much more old-fashioned than what we're used to nowadays, but it's still a good variety of figures to venture forth into the closet and the realm of The Bogeyman.
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What really caught my attention with this series is the art. Wilson's drawings are…

Models Inc. #1

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Paul Tobin & Vicenc Villagrasa
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"Borrowing" the name of an ill-fated television series (a spin-off of Melrose Place, at that), Models Inc. launches at Marvel, a mini-series that brings together several of the top models in Marvel's universe for a cheeky little Sex & the City gossip-fest that turns into a murder mystery by issue's end. Together on this fashion shoot are Toni Turner, Jill Jerold, Chili Storm, Patsy Walker (Hellcat), and the focus of this debut issue, Millicent Collins aka Millie the Model. Not only does this series "borrow" the name of its book, but also the faux-magazine covers that were the trademark of The Luna Brothers' breakthrough series Ultra: Seven Days. And the rest of the issue kind of goes with that theme, showing nary an ounce of originality by the chapter's conclusion. Even the dialogue, which was heavy in this story with nothing else really for the models to do, was mediocre. Trying to make things a little ed…

The Week In Awesome! Anti-Christ & More

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Here are five things that I got excited about this week.
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1. Anti-Christ theatrical trailer - A trailer for the new horror movie that's causing quite a stir on the film festival circuit can be found here. Some pretty disturbing horror images in the trailer for the movie starring Willem Dafoe, directed by Lars von Trier (Dancer In the Dark).
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2. At the Movies - Disney thankfully put the kibosh on their newly revitalized At the Movies program that pushed it into trashy Entertainment Tonight territory (Ben Lyons = ugh), and have now given the reigns over to excellent reviewers A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips for some intelligent discussion of film every week.
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3. The Vampire Diaries TV show - The CW launched a new romantic thriller television series this week, brought to us by Kevin Williamson, the mind behind previous teen hits like Dawson's Creek. The series is based on the pre-Twilight young adult novels of the same name from twenty years back. that have been rereleased in wake o…

In Stores 9/10

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Don't forget, comics come out on Thursday this week because of Labor Day! Here are the highlights! . Pick of the Week . Love & Rockets: New Stories #2 - The latest Love & Rockets collection makes its way to stores this week. It's hard getting used to reading Love & Rockets only once a year (although I think they read better this way), but it certainly makes it quite the event when it is released. . Other Noteworthy Releases . All & Sundry Uncollected Work 2004-2008 HC Amulet (Book 2): Stonekeeper's Curse GN Angel: After the Fall (Volume 5): Aftermath HC Art of Tony Millionaire HC Astro Boy Movie Prequel: Underground TP Captain Britain and MI-13 (Volume 3): Vampire State TP - Final volume Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus One-Shot Dark Reign: The List - Avengers One-Shot Fantastic Four Lost Adventures by Stan Lee TP James Robinson's Complete WildC.A.T.S. TP The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the 21st Century HC Marvel Super Hero Squad #1 (of 4) Ms. Marvel (Volu…

Manga Monday: X-Men

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X-Men: Misfits (Volume 1)Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman & Anzu . I honestly wasn't expecting much out of this book, given the last adaptation of a Marvel property into manga format that I read(Wolverine: Prodigal Son - not good at all). But this has redeemed the concept in my mind and is a fine example of a reimagining done right and executed to fantastic results. Because I have to say, I really loved this manga. I am a fan of the X-Men superhero comic books and certainly went into this with an open mind, but not expecting much out of the experience. But I'll be damned if this isn't better than most X-Men stories I've read over the years. . The story sees Kitty Pryde joining Xavier's Academy for Gifted Youngsters where, under the tutelage of instructors like Storm, Magneto and Beast (who looks Totoro-ized), she learns to control her mutant powers, builds her self-confidence and bonds with her peers. Pryde here is true to her roots, which is nice to see as I'm…

Strange Tales #1 (of 3)

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Various
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Marvel's latest anthology Strange Tales collects works from well-known creators in the world of alternative and literary comics and gives them free reign over their licensed characters to tell what stories they will. The end result is a fun collection full of nice art and odd, but compelling stories.
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Nick Betozzi's introduction "Lo, a Watcher!" features a Watcher, one of the big bald cosmic guys with giant noggins, but Betozzi brings new meaning to the word, as he's gazing into the window of a showering woman. An appropriate beginning to this series, as most of the creators take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to butcher the characters fans have come to know and love.
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One of the highlights of this book is Paul Pope's Inhumans comic, with an exasperated Lockjaw helping his masters to defeat a variety of bad guys in an effort to get to the dogfood they've promised him. I love Pope's art here, and he just kills the cover for this issue too…

The Week In Awesome! Disney & More

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Here are five things that got me excited over the past week!
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1. Disney purchases Marvel Entertainment - Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about this. I think it's a great thing for Marvel. DC has the upper hand in multimedia ventures existing under the Warner Brothers umbrella, so Marvel can even the playing field. Plus Pixar Marvel movies anyone?
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2. Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 2): Research - Archaia continues collecting the next book of Thomas Siddell's excellent webcomic series Gunnerkrigg Court, a fantastic supernatural series praised by the likes of Neil Gaiman. It was solicited in the last PreviewsCatalogue for a November release!
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3. Dark Visions by L.J. Smith - I was a huge fan of teen novelist L.J. Smith growing up, particularly her Vampire Diaries and Night World series. Dark Visions was a trilogy of books by the author that I also remember with fondness, about a group of psychics on the run from a lab that want to use them for nefarious purpos…

Sweet Tooth #1

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Jeff Lemire
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Sweet Tooth is a new ongoing Vertigo series by Jeff Lemire, probably best known for The Essex County Trilogy and his recent graphic novel release, also through Vertigo, The Nobody. And a bonus for buyers: DC if offering the debut issue for $1. The story follows a young boy named Gus who is actually a "hybrid," of which there are different types. Apparently, Gus' mother was a hybrid as well, if his father (the only person he's ever seen) can be trusted, although some of what his father says sounds sketchy, meant to keep him from venturing out of the forest where they live in seclusion. Or perhaps his father actually believes in the fire and brimstone bible verses he spouts to an extreme degree and he deludes himself into thinking the forest is keeping out hellfire. But either way, something bad has occurred that's made people sick, Gus' father included, and people are aware of these "hybrids" that began surfacing around the same time, as …

In Stores 9/2

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Here are the highlights of books coming to comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Cat Burglar Black GN - Richard Sala is one of my favorite creators, so a new full-length graphic novel from him is certainly cause for celebration to me. This is his first work published by First Second Books.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Absolute V For Vendetta HC
Achewood (Volume 2): Worst Song Played HC
Amulet (Volume 2): Stonekeeper's Curse SC
Angel: Blood and Trenches (Volume 1) TP
Batman: Gotham After Midnight TP
Bleach (Volume 28)
DC Library: JLA by George Perez (Volume 1) HC
Dead Irons HC
DMZ (Volume 7): War Powers TP
Essential Sub-Mariner (Volume 1) TP
Fall Out Toy Works #1 (of 5)
G.I. Joe Origins (Volume 1) TP
High School Debut (Volume 11)
Honey & Clover (Volume 7)
Hulk Gray HC
Little Lulu (Volume 20) TP
Magog #1
Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Black Knight (Volume 1) HC
Marvel Zombies Return #1
Mixed Vegetables (Volume 5)
Monkey High! (Volume 7)
Nana (Volume 18)
New Avengers: Reunion HC
Nocturnals (Volume 2): Da…