Showing posts from October, 2010

Pick of the Week 10/27

Here is the book you should be paying attention to in comic shops tomorrow!

H Day HC - I don't really know anything about this graphic novel, but it's Renee French, so it's bound to be a visual treat.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Avengers vs. Pet Avengers #1 (of 4)
Beasts of Burden/Hellboy One-Shot
Epic Chronicles of Hagar the Horrible: 1974-1975 HC
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman (Volume 3) HC
Geronimo Stilton (Volume 6) HC
Green Lantern Chronicles (Volume 3) TP
JLA: The 99 #1 (of 6)
The Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion HC
Secret Avengers #6
Secret Warriors #21
Star Trek: Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor (Volume 1) TP

Manga Monday: AX

Ax: A Collection of Alternative Manga (Volume 1) GN
Edited by Sean Michael Wilson

Ax is an alternative manga magazine in Japan, a kind of go-to for exciting creators.  This new anthology from Top Shelf collects a sampling of stories that have been published in Ax since its debut in 1998.  As with most anthologies, I found myself drawn to some stories, while left cold to others, but you can't argue that this isn't a great showcase for some really great comics.  33 manga artists are sampled here, with biographies compiled in back and an introduction by Paul Gravett.  I feel like I've been waiting forever for this to come out, as it's seen a series of delays, but it has finally arrived.

My Favorites
Inside the Gourd by Ayuko Akiyama is a magical, gentle story told with soft lines, about a man misunderstood by those around him.  It was kind of refreshing to read a story like this in an anthology that offers a lot of sex and violence, illustrating that to be a part of something…

Nola's World (Volume 1)

Changing Moon
Mathieu Mariolle, MiniKim & Pop

Originally published in France, Nola's World follows Nola York-Stein, a teen who lives in the beautiful seaside paradise town Alta Donna...resulting in a rather boring existence.  Nothing ever happens there, and life has been even lonelier for Nola since her parents divorced.  Now, she hardly ever sees her father, who has his own new family to support, and her mother is a workaholic who tends to choose a night out with friends over her own daughter.  But her life gets a little more exciting when two new kids show up at school.  Nola thinks that something is funny about the brother and sister, and is determined to get to the bottom of things, if anything, for something to do.  And it turns out that her hunch is right - they are harboring a secret, one that she couldn't have imagined.  While stalking the pair (pretending she's a super-sleuth), Nola inadvertently makes friends with them, enjoying time with self-absorbed Ines, an…

Artichoke Tales

Megan Kelso

This is the first work that I've read from Megan Kelso (The Squirrel Mother Stories), and I really like her storytelling style.  She has a nice cartoony style with delicate little swirls and funny-looking characters with sprouts on their heads.  It's a story that feels whimsical throughout, with playful characters that partake in festivals to celebrate the changing of the seasons, but has a serious side, as it's a multi-generational tale that sees two sides of a civil war that has seen devastation in the south, and has put lovers at odds with one another.  The family of women that we follow comes with knowledge of the land, and have made a living through an apothecary.  We see how the herbs and ointments are collected, how they run it, and its transition through the years, at the same time that we learn of the war that has devastated them, and the cold queen that was born in the north that laid siege to their towns.  I was really excited about this book when I r…

Pick of the Week 10/20

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

Picture This HC - A week with a new Charles Burns graphic novel AND a Lynda Barry hardcover is quite a week indeed, but I have to go with Lynda Barry as the most exciting release between the two.  I really, really loved Lynda Barry's first inspiring book dedicated to the creative process, What It Is, and this follow-up is easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year.

Other Noteworthy Releases
40 Doonesbury Retrospective HC
Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Edition (Volume 1)
Charles Burns' X'ed Out GN
Daniel X: The Manga (Volume 1)
Dragon Girl (Volume 1)
Dragon Puncher (Book 1) HC
God Complex Complete Collection TP
Johnny Boo (Volume 4): Mean Little Boy HC
Kick-Ass 2 #1
Luthor HC
March Story (Volume 1)
Marvel Zombies 5 HC
Saga of Rex TP
Shuddertown HC
Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1
Y - The Last Man Deluxe Edition (Volume 4) HC

Manga Monday: 7 Billion Needles

7 Billion Needles (Volume 1)
Nobuaki Tadano

The new science fiction manga series from Vertical, 7 Billion Needles, sees introverted high school girl Hikaru Takabe joined with an alien lifeform.  At first, it's just annoying, breaking through her mind and talking to her incessantly.  Then it demonstrates unusual, and pretty amazing, powers.  Hikaru herself is one of those kids who sits in the corner of class, trying her best not to be noticed, sporting head phones as an extra incentive to get people to avoid speaking with her.  When she joins with this being calling itself "Horizon," she finds that she must interact with the people around her if she's to uncover the malicious alien that Horizon came to Earth to hunt down.  Without her help, Earth will be overtaken and destroyed by this evil alien.  So Hikaru breaks out of her comfort zone.  It's nice to see her do this - Hikaru's a really neat character, with something pretty devastating hinted at in her past th…

Pick of the Week 10/13

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

Nola's World (Volume 1): Changing Moon GN - Coming from France is this full-color magical kids' comic for just $9.95.  The book follows tween Nola as she investigates some suspicious people she meets and discovers that her small town may not be all that it appears to be.  Two more volumes are on the way, sure to boast art just as beautiful as this.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Angel vs. Frankenstein II
Bloom County: The Complete Library (Volume 3) HC
Celadore (Volume 1) TP
Dick Briefer's Frankenstein HC
Harvey Comics Classics Treasury (Volume 2): Hot Stuff TP
Hellboy (Volume 11): Mask and Monsters TP
Knight & Squire #1
Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Volume 1): The Lightning Thief GN
Spike #1 (of 8)
Strange Tales 2 #1
Superior #1 (of 6)
Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1 (of 3)
Vampire Boy TP
War Machine Classic (Volume 1) TP
X-Babies Classic (Volume 1) TP

Manga Monday: Five Leaves

House of Five Leaves (Volume 1)
Natsume Ono

I've become quite a fan of Ono's since Viz began collecting her material early this year.  Her style isn't like anyone's out there, and she writes such great stuff, very character-driven, which is what I gravitate toward in fiction.  In House of Five Leaves, Ono may have begun a story featuring her best characters yet, all shrouded in mystery.  Akitsu Masanosuke is at the center of the story, a samurai without a job, who begins to be pulled into an organization called "Five Leaves," first as work as a bodyguard.  But it becomes clear very quickly that the Five Leaves is a criminal organization, involved in several kidnappings for ransom money, and while he turns away from the group, his desperation for money to send back home to his family, and to fill his stomach, draws him back to them, again and again.  Akitsu is a very conflicted character, and wants very much to see the good in everybody, which is probably why he…

Previews HYPE: December '10

Wading through the phonebook that is Previews Catalogue so you don't have to... Here are fifteen choice books that you may have overlooked or that I'm just plain excited about, shipping to comic shops in December!

John Byrne's Next Men #1 - A new ongoing series that brings back John Byrne's beloved creation The Next Men!  I know a lot of people are big fans of this series, and while it was exciting to see IDW collect his complete run into two volumes, it's even more exciting to see new stories produced by the creator.

The Hidden HC - A new Richard Sala graphic novel from Fantagraphics that features eight people stuck in a snowbound diner, telling stories to one another while as a madman stalks the night.

Age of Reptiles Omnibus (Volume 1) TP - This new Dark Horse omnibus collects the first two Age of Reptiles series, which haven't been in print for a while, as well as the recent Age of Reptiles: The Journey.

Heroes For Hire #1 - A new series focusing on the street-…


Smurfs (Volume 1): The Purple Smurfs TP, and
Smurfs (Volume 2): The Smurfs and the Magic Flute TP
Peyo and Yvan Delporte

I spent hours upon hours watching Smurfs on television on Saturday mornings growing up, but I had no idea that they'd been based on a popular Belgian comic by Peyo.  Hell, until this archival project was announced, I hadn't known.  But the comics are every bit as magical and entertaining as I remember from my childhood, and are still a lot of fun to read as an adult.  The way Papercutz is reprinting them, the original story that introduces the smurfs is actually reprinted in the second volume they've released, in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute.  That story appeared in a different comic that Peyo was working on, Johan and Peewit, and eventually they spun out into their own series, spawning toys and the television show that many have come to know and love.  The smurfs don't even appear until well into the story, focusing mostly on the title characters of …

Pick of the Week 10/6

Here is the book you should be paying attention to in comic stores today...

Nipper (Volume 1): 1963-1964 TP - Last year, Drawn & Quarterly released The Collected Doug Wright: Canada's Master Cartoonist, which included the fantastic, and quite funny, Nipper strips.  Now they begin collecting the complete comic strip in a new archival project, featuring the mischievous little guy.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Art of Neal Adams SC
Batman: Hidden Treasures #1
Blondie (Volume 1) HC
Chaos War #1 (of 5)
Deadpoolmax #1
Fish N Chips (Volume 1) TP
Frankie Stein HC
Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron Omnibus HC
Green Woman HC
Kizuna Deluxe Edition (Volume 1)
Naruto (Volume 49)
Stephen King's N HC
Superman: Nightwing and Flamebird (Volume 2) HC
Ultimate Comics: Thor #1 (of 4)
Uncanny X-Force #1

Manga Monday: Sand Chronicles

I was originally going to talk about House of Five Leaves this week, but after reading the ninth volume of Sand Chronicles, I was reminded of its awesomeness and wanted to highlight that series again, so you'll see Natume Ono next week.

Sand Chronicles (Volume 9)
Hinako Ashihara

One of the best shojo manga on the market in the US right now, Hinako Ashihara's Sand Chronicles, takes a detour with the latest (and second-to-last) volume, focusing on several secondary characters of the series in three stories. For those who haven't followed the series, this is a very emotional series, full of characters with deep emotional scars. The main character is Ann, whose mother committed suicide when she was young and blames herself for the incident in some ways, and wonders if she is also too weak for this world. For the first time, we get the full story on Ann's mother in the first story contained in this volume, "Canary." I usually find myself crying at least once during e…