Showing posts from July, 2010

The Most Exciting News from San Diego

There were plenty of exciting announcements, as usual, at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego.  Here are five things that were particularly exciting for me...

1. Crossgen by Marvel - I've been wondering about this for awhile now.  Disney bought Crossgen's properties years ago, and now that Disney has Marvel under its umbrella, Marvel now has access to those titles.  When Marvel presented the crossgen sigil on a slide during the convention, it raised a few eyebrows.  There's an interview at Comics Book Resources, where Joe Quesada talks about using the properties to beef up their genre offerings, but tweaking the titles to make them fit in at Marvel better.  I was a huge Crossgen fan, so this is exciting news for me!!

2. John Byrne's Next Men - IDW has been reprinting the entire thirty issue run (plus a prequel) to John Byrne's much-beloved Next Men in nice hardcover and softcover editions, but now John Byrne will be creating all-newNext Men stories for the company…

Pick of the Week 7/28

This is the book you should be paying attention to in comic shops tomorrow...

Bakuman (Volume 1) - The new project from Death Note creative team Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, this book is really different from that previous wildly-popular title, as it's a comedy that follows a couple of high school guys trying to break into the manga industry.  Given this team's talent however, this is surely not one to be missed.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Artifacts #1 (of 13)
The Complete Jon Sable Freelance Omnibus (Volume 1) TP
Flight (Volume 7) GN
Korea As Viewed By 12 Creators TP
Mushishi (Volume 8-10) Omnibus Edition - Completes the series.
Thun'da: King of the Congo Archives (Volume 1) HC

Manga Monday: ES

ES (Eternal Sabbath) (Volume 1)
Fuyumi Soryo

Akiba has supernatural abilities, vast mental powers that allows him to manipulate the minds of those around him, shifting their perception of reality.  This godlike power has made him feel superior to the other humans he walks among, unaffected but also isolated.  Without any grip on how to live normally, he takes what he wants, clothes and food, and just makes people believe he paid for them.  He also takes people's identities, making those around him believe that he's their friend or son home from college or whatever is convenient to put a roof over his head and food in his stomach.  He can also see into the minds of people, bringing a dreamlike quality to some scenes in this title.  It adds a flair of fantastic elements, some interesting and beautiful, some grotesque and savage.  The art overall is pretty solid and high quality.  Soryo has a great attention to detail and illustrates the many environments he takes his characters th…

Pick of the Week 7/21

So Diamond listed Scott Pilgrim (Volume 6): Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour as coming out last week and this week, but it actually comes out this Wednesday. Some stores are throwing midnight release parties for the final book in the series, so you may want to ask your local store about it if you can't wait a few hours to devour the book.  Other than that title, here is the book you should be paying attention to on Wednesday when you're perusing the racks...

The Walking Dead - With an AMC series looming (in October) for the comic book property, and building a lot of buzz at that, I thought it was perfect timing to highlight a few books that are making their way to comic shops this week.  For one, The Walking Dead #75 comes out, marking another milestone for the series.  Or if you're like me and buying the series in collected format, The Walking Dead (Volume 12): Life Among Them TP also comes out, the long wait for more zombie mayhem finally over.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Manga Monday: Hyde & Closer

Hyde & Closer (Volume 1)
Haro Aso

13-year-old Closer Shunpei has a rough time in school.  He's clumsy, distracted, ridiculed by his classmates on a daily basis and just not very good at anything.  But Closer is the grandson of powerful magician Alsyd Closer, who disappeared six years ago.  And with Alsyd out of the way now and his power waning, magical practitioners all over the world seek the power that has been passed down through his bloodline to his grandson, and seek his beating heart for the power that it can pass along to them.  And he thought school was bad. Thankfully, his grandfather presented Closer with a stuffed teddy bear named Hyde when last he saw him, and as Closer is attacked by a killer doll animated by an evil sorcerer, Hype leaps into action, protecting Closer and helping him defeat his adversary.  Since Closer's pursuers are never going to stop coming for him, Hyde begins to teach Closer how to use magic himself, the chief power lying in his own belief …

The X-Files/30 Days of Night #1 (of 6)

Steve Niles, Adam Jones & Tom Mandrake

You couldn't ask for a more appropriate pairing than this.  An ingenious melding of two distinct titles, crossing over The X-Files and 30 Days of Night, supernatural properties from IDW and Wildstorm.  While The X-Files hails from a television show about two FBI agents who specialize in paranormal investigation, 30 Days of Night is a straight-up horror comic book that began in the isolated Alaskan town of Barrow while, for 30 days and nights, the sun doesn't rise over the harsh environment.  Vampires took advantage of this period of darkness for an all-out party buffet.  Steve Niles, who co-created that original mini-series, co-writes this book.  In this title, another Alaskan town is having the same issue as Barrow, and after a snow plow uncovers a graveyard of trashed semi-trucks, and the bodies that accompany it, the local government contacts the FBI, and Scully and Mulder are flown out.  Most of the investigators on the case suspec…

X-Women #1

Chris Claremont & Milo Manara

X-Women is a 48-page one-shot featuring several of the female members of the X-Men, specifically Kitty Pryde (who narrates much of the story), Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Rachel Summers and a short cameo by Emma Frost.  It's a pretty big story that sees the ladies maneuver through all sorts of exotic locales.  They fall over waterfalls, travel by riverboat and encounter a tribe that worships airplanes.  Oh, and party, which is how one of their own is kidnapped in the first place, beginning their adventure to rescue her.  I'm delighted to say that I actually enjoyed this story.  Chris Claremont has disappointed me over and over again lately, but he provides a compelling adventure with X-Women, although we all know who the real draw of this project is: Milo Manara.  Manara is a European artist known for his sexy cartooning.  Just looking at that cover, you know it's going to be sexy.  But it's also very, very beautiful.  And the action is top…

Mid-Year Report: Music

We're already halfway through the year, so now's as good a time as any to recount my favorite albums and singles that have come out in the first part of 2010.  So far, it's been a pretty good year.

5 Best Albums

1. Hands by Little Boots - One of the most danceable CDs in years, Little Boots brings a retro flavor to great club music, with some really interesting sounds and clever little songs (even if the lyrics are a little shallow).  There's a consistency across the whole album here that seems unheard of nowadays in music, providing plenty of instant dance classics.  Little Boots is a welcome new voice to the dance scene.  Key Tracks: New In Town, Remedy, Ghost, Mathematics, Hearts Collide.

2. Dust (EP) by Cara Salimando - This five-song EP from newcomer Cara Salimando is a beautiful collection of songs with catchy lyrics and strong vocals.  There's a good dose of piano in the music found here, where you can see the influences of artists she admires, like Regina Spek…

The Smurfs (Vol. 2) #1: Smurfnapper

Peyo & Yvan Delporte

Before the smurfs smurfed their way onto their own television series, and well before the CGI film was considered, The Smurfs appeared in the Belgian comic Johan and Peewit by Peyo in 1958.  They proved to be popular enough to launch their own comic series, and eventually, spawned a flood of merchandise before inspiring the cartoon that the United States audience has come to know and love.  Papercutz is releasing the comics in collected editions next month, and as a preview, have offered the story Smurfnapper in a single comic for $1.

Smurfnapper isn't the first Smurf story, but it does boast most of the classic components of the smurfs, and is the issue to introduce villains Gagamel, and his cat Azrael.  In this story, Gargamel, a sorcerer, captures a smurf in hopes of using him as the main ingredient to create a philospoher's stone, which will magically transform metals into gold.  It's a cute story that holds up really well, reading like an instan…

Ghostopolis GN

Doug TenNapel

Ghostopolis joins the ranks of high-quality books printed by Scholastic for an all-ages audience through their Graphix line that includes Bone, Amulet and Copper.  Frank Gallows, a ghost hunter who's pretty down on his luck, is charged with investigating reports of supernatural activity and sending ghosts back to the after life, where they sometimes find a way to escape from into the human world.  On one particular mission, he's chasing a skeletal horse that's causing more trouble for him than usual, when he sends the beast back to Ghostopolis, inadvertently sending a young boy, Garth Hale, back along with it.  Frank, fired from his job and feeling dejected, turns to an ex-girlfriend, who happens to be a ghost herself, and together they travel into the afterlife to undo his mistake.  Meanwhile Garth has befriended the ghost horse and explores Ghostopolis, hoping to find a way back home, bumping into his grandfather during his travels, who offers to assist him.…

Pick of the Week 7/14

Here is the book you should be paying attention to in comic shops this Wednesday....

Scott Pilgrim (Volume 6): Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - The final installment of the pop culture-immersed hit series from Bryan Lee O'Malley finally arrives, just a month before the film adaptation.  Will Scott defeat the last of Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends?

Other Noteworthy Releases
Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #1 (of 5)
Fractured Fables HC
Hyde & Closer (Volume 1)
Mome (Volume 19)
Revolver HC
Richard Stark's Parker: Man With the Getaway Face
Siege HC
Stuff of Legend: The Jungle #1 (of 4)
X-Files/30 Days of Night #1 (of 6)

Manga Monday: Yellow

Yellow Omnibus Edition (Volume 1)
Makoto Tateno

The popular yaoi manga Yellow has been published in an omnibus format from Digital Manga Publishing, in a nice new appealing package with larger pages and extra content, like character profiles and more color pages. There will be two omnibus volumes released, each collecting two of the four original volumes.

Yellow follows two hot 22-year-old guys, partners in the drug-snatching business. One is gay, one is straight. The term "yellow" refers to a yellow traffic light, which means caution and warns of risk, and is supposed to be a metaphor for their line of work, as well as their relationship. Goh is gay, and has expert lock-picking abilities that make him an asset to Taki, his straight partner whom he loves. Goh isn't shy about his feelings either. He blatantly throws himself at Taki, who lives in the same apartment with him. Taki is adept at working with electronics and computers, and has exceptional fighting skills. And he a…

Scarlet #1

Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev

New through Marvel's creator-owned Icon imprint is Scarlet, whose creative team of Bendis and Maleev have put out some great collaborative efforts over the years such as Daredevil and my favorite superhero title of last year, Spider-WomanScarlet seems to have nothing to do with superheroes however, just a girl who kicks ass.

The book begins with Scarlet strangling a man to death in an alley.  Great opening shot, one that's sure to grab readers' attention.  He also happens to be a cop and she steals the money out of his wallet.  But she's not the brutal, heartless girl you expect her to be, as Bendis takes great care in pointing out over the course of this first issue.  She's been through a lot in her life, most notably seeing the love of her life gunned down in front of her by a cop with absolutely no reason to shoot an unarmed kid, and finding the papers blasting his name, calling him a drug dealer who needed to be put down…

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 (of 9)

Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung

Young Avengers series creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung reunite on their characters for a new story featuring the younger versions of classic avengers, and they've never looked better.  During a routine mission, Wiccan, who can do some pretty amazing stuff by casting spells, demonstrates near-omnipotent powers.  Captain America and a few of his fellow Avengers witness the event and question whether Wiccan is dangerous.  Having speculated that his spell-casting powers come from The Scarlet Witch only intensifies the argument, as she was unstable and changed the face of the planet, making mutants an endangered species.  There is genuine reason for concern here, but Heinberg and Cheung also bring up some convincing theories that may rewrite history (well, Marvel history), as Wiccan questions whether the Avengers ever verified that it really was The Scarlet Witch who committed the atrocity in the first place.  He speculates that she may not have bee…

Obsessed With Marvel

Peter Sanderson

I bought this trivia book while I was visiting my old haunts in Minnesota.  It seemed like the perfect way to pass time on the six-plus hour drive home to Wisconsin, and it definitely was, even if Patrick was sick of asking me questions after hours of play.  This book was put together by Peter Sanderson and put out from Chronicle Books, boasting 2,500 questions to "test your knowledge of the Marvel Universe."  And I honestly had a blast going through this.  Chronicle Books has a whole line of books like this, including an Obsessed with Star Wars and an Obsessed with Star Trek on the way.  I was rather disappointed in Marvel: Scene It, as most of those questions limited themselves to movie franchises, but this book pretty much ignores the movies, asking questions from the wealth of Marvel comics published over the years. 

The game can be for one or two players, randomly selecting a question number for you on the little electronic panel on the front right-hand…

X-Men #1

Victor Gischler & Paco Medina

Curse of the Mutants, the latest storyline threading through the X-Men titles, sees the launch of a new X-Men book, simply entitled X-Men, from Victor Gischler (Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth) and Paco Medina (New Warriors).  I think Medina's art is suited well for the dark tale told here, with nice designs for some of the vampires infesting the title.  My only real issue is that the action is a little inconsistent.  There can be a nice little squabble between Wolverine and a female vampire that's easy to follow and clean and exciting, yet there are scenes like the previous one, where there's a fight in an alley between three X-Men and a gang, where it's fuzzy on details and you don't really get a sense of the action that's occurring between the characters at all.  But for the most part, the art is enjoyable, painting a pretty decent story to kick off vampirism among the mutants.  The tale begins with a vampire who pulls off his da…

Namora #1

Jeff Parker & Sara Pichelli

These one-shots that Marvel has been issuing have been sort of hit-and-miss, but Jeff Parker always seems to do a nice job on his Agents of Atlas characters.  This book features the strong-arm of the team, Namora, Atlantean princess and champion.  She also happens to be my favorite member of the team, which doesn't hurt.  I'm happy to see a story focusing on her, and Parker really packs it into this story without it seeming too cluttered or overly complicated.  Immediately, we get a good does of action as a submarine has sunk to the bottom of the ocean, demanding Namora's attention, aided by her friends of the deep.  Then Namora tracks a community of Atlanteans that she tries to convince to move to a new stronghold for her people, relocating them from a mineral vent that seems to keep them healthy and strong.  While Namora investigates this phenomenon, she has an encounter that touches base with the character's past, on how she ended up w…

Previews HYPE: September '10

Diligently wading through the phone book that is Previews Catalogue so you don't have are ten choice books shipping to comic shops in September that I think may get overlooked or that I'm just plain excited about...

1. Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #1 (of 6) - Finally the third mini-series by Mouse Guard creator David Petersen!  This latest story is a prequel to Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, featuring the popular character.

2. The Little Prince GN - The wonderful Joann Sfar adapts the classic fanciful tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupery The Little Prince to comic form, with what I'm sure will be some amazing art.

3. The Best American Comics 2010 HC - The latest comic anthology in the Best American series is edited by none other than Neil Gaiman, and features a good variety of material as always, representing the best that comics have had to offer over the past year, including work by Dash Shaw and Michael Kupperman.

4. IDW Reprints - IDW just keeps churning out the great repri…

Pick of the Week 7/8

Note that comics don't hit comic shops until Thursday this week.  And it's quite a week, so please excuse the laundry list of other titles coming out, as Marvel in particular has an aggressive week for releases.  That being said, this is the book you should be paying attention to...

Ghostopolis GN - From Graphix, who've put out some pretty great titles for kids like Amulet and The Good Neighbors, comes this new all-ages title from Doug TenNapel about a boy pulled into the afterlife before his time and the ghost-hunter who goes after him.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 (of 9)
Batman: Odyssey #1 (of 6)
Blackest Night HC
Casanova #1
Clique: The Manga (Volume 1)
Critical Millennium #1 (of 4)
Dengeki Daisy (Volume 1)
Hellboy: The Storm #1 (of 3)
The Imposter's Daughter: A Memoir SC
Janet Evanovich's Troublemaker (Book 1) HC
Marvelman Family's Finest #1 (of 6)
Scarlet #1
Shadowland #1 (of 5)
Smurfs #1: Smurfnapper
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1
X-Men #1

Manga Monday: Chi's Sweet Home

Chi's Sweet Home (Volume 1)
Konami Kanata

One glimpse through this manga and Patrick called it "cuteness porn," a term that I agree with.  Kanata may even go over the top on cuteness when she begins to have the cat speak baby-ish with w's throughout her words like "It's a wittle too open" and "Pwease, no more.  I'm gonna pway dead."  It's a bit much for me.  But I have to admit, this book is cute as hell, so if that was the creator's goal, she succeeded.  Kanata also succeeds in giving the book that feeling of taking in a new pet and watching it do all sorts of funny things.  In that way, it reminds me of Yotsuba&!.  In that manga, we get to see the day-to-day cute things that a child does, and it's very natural and true-to-life.  The same sorts of things occur in Chi's Sweet Home, although the author's attempts at interpreting the cat's thoughts during these cute moments distract from the inherent cuteness of the…

Thunderbolts #144-145

Jeff Parker & Kev Walker

The Thunderbolts have been reinvented once again, the latest incarnation trying to fit this team of criminals into Marvel's new Heroic Age.  Two issues have come out so far, introducing the team as veterans Moonstone and Ghost, with Juggernaut and Crossbones.  Luke Cage is in charge of reforming the team and aiding them in carrying out their missions, and has help from a support staff that consists of former-Thunderbolt Songbird, who has recently redeemed herself, Hank Pym, Mach V and Fixer.  Man-Thing is also along for the ride as the team uses the monster's teleportation abilities for instantaneous transportation to wherever trouble may call them.  USAgent rounds out this hodge-podge book of heroes and villains as the warden of The Raft, having just been injured during Siege.

I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed with the new direction of this title.  Warren Ellis had a real vision for the team as he made them a really dark force during C…