Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pick of the Week 3/30

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

The Complete Peanuts (Volume 15): 1979-1980 HC - The latest volume of Fantagraphics' excellent Complete Peanuts reprint project dips into material from the 80's, and includes an introduction from Al Roker.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Age of X Universe #1 (of 2)
Best of Dick Tracy (Volume 1) TP
Chimo GN
Dollhouse: Epitaphs One-Shot
Fish Police (Volume 1) TP
Godzilla: King of Monsters #1
James Patterson's Witch & Wizard (Volume 2): Operation Zero HC
Jimmy Olsen #1
Kid K-OS (Volume 1): Agents of Doom GN
Mome (Volume 21) GN
Strange Tales II HC
Superman: The Black Ring HC
Tenken GN
Vanguard Frazetta Classics (Volume 1): Johnny Comet HC
Vanguard Frazetta Classics (Volume 2): White Indian HC

Saturday, March 26, 2011

FF #1

Jonathan Hickman & Steve Epting

Fantastic Four relaunched this week as FF in wake of team member Human Torch's death, FF standing for Future Foundation, something that Hickman introduced earlier in his run on the series. The first issue of this new direction for the team continues the grieving process for the team, as seen through the eyes of Spider-Man, the latest person to join the Future Foundation. We see Ben's guilt for not being the one to have died in Johnny's place, Franklin's reluctance to enjoy things he otherwise would have, making it clear to Peter in an awkward scene that his uncle can not be replaced. The Human Torch's death certainly had to be addressed at the beginning of this series, but it really made for a downer of a first issue, although Hickman did interject a little action into the issue through a breakout attempt initiated by A.I.M. to bring one of the Fantastic Four's villains back into the picture. Also, there was a really neat and shocking final scene. But overall, it was a really heavy issue. I know some people aren't too pleased with the new costumes for the team, but I rather like them. It would make sense for them to be made of unstable molecules in their line of work, and no one needs to worry that those crisp white uniforms will get dirty. Steve Epting brings another dimenstion to the book, and really shines when illsutrating The Thing in his big bulky glory, often positioning him to really crowd a panel and seem intimidating. FF #1 is paced nicely and looks gorgeous, but I hope with the amount of grieving in this first issue, that we can move on to really launching an exciting title with the next installment. The death of Johnny will hang over the title for a long time to come (probably until he's resurrected), but I'd like to see the team focus on moving on to the type of bright superhero comic that the team was made for (and that that first amazing variant cover depicts).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Twice Bitten

Many of you may not be aware that I write fiction, but my first YA novel, Twice Bitten has just become available through Barnes & Noble digitally for just $1.99!  It's a gay paranormal romance with the following official synopsis:

Jesse Hartwick is a teen celebrity, recently out of the closet, and just beginning to take off as the next big thing in Hollywood. Distanced from his only family, Jesse puts his all into his career, leading a lonely life in the spotlight.

Everything changes one day when he meets Kurt, a cute mysterious stranger who saves him from a mob of fans, beginning a romance that will change things forever, but is Jesse's celebrity status the only thing that Kurt is interested in?

When Lane comes into the picture, it just confuses Jesse more, but he can hardly deny the strong feelings he has for him, especially since he didn't even know that Jesse was a celebrity when he met him, making him all the more appealing.

Shortly after meeting these two men after his heart, Jesse is attacked by a werewolf, then saved from certain death by a vampire, changing him into something altogether new. With his new abilities, he doesn't know who he can trust, let alone how to balance the spotlight with this aspect of himself that he must hide. But in the end, he must decide between the warring factions within: Vampire or werewolf? Kurt or Lane?

Read it and tell your friends! You can get it here or search for "Dave Ferraro" or "Twice Bitten" on your nook or whatever device you have the Barnes & Noble software on (it's free to download the software, if you don't have it already for the I-Pad, I-Pod Touch, Blackberry, personal computer, etc). It will also be available through Amazon shortly, but I'll let you all know when that happens. What have you got to lose for $1.99? Following is a two chapter preview...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Previews HYPE!: May '11

A little later than usual this month, here are some choice books from Previews Catalogue that I think may get overlooked or are just plain exciting to me, due in comic shops in May...

Captain Britain (Volume 1): Birth of a Legend HC - Finally, the early adventures of Captain Britain are being collected in the US (for the first time), featuring talent such as Chris Claremont and John Buscema.

Courtney Crumrin Tales #2: The League of Ordinary Gentlemen - Finally, Courtney Crumrin returns!!  This is a sequel to Portrait of the Warlock As a Young Man, featuring Uncle Aloysius.

Jack Kirby Omnibus (Volume 1) Starring Green Arrow HC - Yep, collecting odds and ends from around the DC universe to headd to the Jack Kirby experience.

Barks' Bear Book HC -  From Yoe! Books comes a collection of Carl Barks comedy series, collected for the first time, featuring a bear and a burro.

Yeah! SC - Collecting a series that was a collaboration between Peter Bagge and Gilbert Hernandez from 1999-2000.

Paying For It HC - New Chester Brown.  Nuff said.

Cellulois HC - And another big one.  A new graphic novel from Dave McKean.

Krazy Kat & The Art of George Herriman HC - A Craig Yoe-edited tribuite to Herriman, collecting many essays from big names like Douglas Wolk and Bill Watterson, as well as other goodies.

Flashpoint #1 - The new DC Comics events of the Summer begins.

Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus HC & Gil Jordan: Murder By High Tide HC - More European comics from Fanagraphics, these are Herge-inspired Franco-Belgian works.

Alpha Flight #0.1 - And there back...again.  This time the original team stars in the book written by the impressive Greg Pak and Fred Van Lante.

The Next Day GN - John Porcellino illustrates this new book, adapting interviews from survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts.

Ducktales #1 - Hot on the heels of Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers is the Disney series following Scrooge and his nephews in Duckburg.  Don't tell me you don't have that theme song running through your head.

Moon Knight #1 - Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev team-up to deliver a defining ongoing series for the fan-favorite character Moon Knight.

Garden GN - New Yuichi Yokoyama, creator of Travel.

Tank Tankuro HC /Slipcase - For the first time in English is this book featuring the first robot to appear in Japanese comics (allegedly), a predecessor to Astro Boy.

Aquaman: Death of a Prince TP - Collecting a classic Aquaman story from the 1970s, that sees Aquaman's son die.

Emma Frost Ultimate Collection TP & Mystique by Brian K. Vaughan Ultimate Collection TP - With a new X-Men film looming, Marvel is collecting works featuring characters who are sure to capture the spotlight with Wolverine absent form the cast.  I actually really enjoyed both of these runs of comics.

Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped: A Crime Does Not Pay Primer TP - Collecting a sampling of the stories from the 1940's series Crime Does Not Pay.

Bone: 20th Anniversary Full-Color One-Volume Collector's Boxset HC - For a mere $350, you can have this absolute edition of Jeff Smith's Bone complete with plenty of extra goodies.

Angel Omnibus TP - Collecting all of Dark Horse's Angel comics, including some issues written by Joss Whedon.

Richie Rich #1 (of 4) - Courtesy of Ape Entertainment, Richie Rich returns to comics with brand new adventures.

Life with Mr. Dangerous GN - New Paul Horschemeier (Mother, Come Home).

Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1 - Yeah, this is a desperate bid to make some money off of the canceled Arcade mini-series starring Avengers Academy and Young Allies.

Kirby Genesis #0 - This begins a project to bring to life a ton of Kirby concepts in a new universe, from the creative team of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross.

Joe Simon: The Man Behind the Comics HC - Your comic creator biography of the month.

Walt Kelly: The Life and Art of the Creator of Pogo HC - And another comic creator bio!

Anya's Ghost GN - From First Second, this is an all-ages book about a girl who makes friends with a ghost, to unexpected results.

The Incal Classic Collection HC - A sci-fi detective series that some people may be aware of.

Gingerbread Girl HC - A new graphic novel from Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, published by Top Shelf and following a girl who may or may not be missing a sister who she may have imagined.

Naruto (3-in-1 Edition) (Volume 1) - I'm surprised it took this long to see omnibus editions of the uber-popular series.

Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #1 (of 6) - Featuring some of the stars of Avengers: The Initiative, this brings back some fan favorite faces, and is written by young team expert Sean McKeever.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pick of the Week 3/23

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

Stumptown (Volume 1) HC - Stumptown was a mini-series published by Oni Press last year, from Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth.  It was kind of an overlooked title, but it wound up on several best-of-the-year lists for 2010, and deservedly so.  This is one of the best outputs from Greg Rucka period.  Stumptown features a witty protagonist in the fully-realized Private Investigator Dex, who doesn't have the best of luck, but is good at what she does.  If you missed it the first time around, pick up this collection.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Arctic Marauder HC
Cardboard Valise GN
FF #1
Finder Library (Volume 1) TP
Invincible Ultimate Collection (Volume 6) HC
New Character Parade GN
Phoenix Without Ashes HC
Savage Dragon: Emperor Dragon TP
Showcase Presents: The Witching Hour (Volume 1) TP
The Story of Lee (Volume 1) GN
Thing Classic (Volume 1) TP

Monday, March 21, 2011

Manga Monday: Goong!

Goong: The Royal Palace (Volume 1)
Park So Hee

I just got back from C2E2, but I'll probably talk more about that later.  While I was in Chicago, I scored some good manga, and had enough down-time to squeeze in a manga for today.  Goong: The Royal Palace is a book I've been eyeing for awhile now, just because I love the elaborate clothing and backgrounds on the beautiful covers, and I couldn't resist picking up the first volume when I saw it on sale.  This title is actually manhwa, from Korean creator Park So Hee, and sees a sort of Cinderella story with a reluctant heroine.  It takes place in a parallel world, where the monarchy still thrives in Korea, when it actually ended a long time ago.  It's sort of a what-if that sees the royals living in the palaces of Korea, and treated like celebrities, with their own breed of paprazzi following them around, the media going crazy over every little incident.  Chae-Kyung is drawn into this world when she is chosen to wed the young prince.  She's shocked by the circumstances, but her grandfather was good friends with one of the royals, and together, conspired to have her marry the prince when they were young.  With the prince reaching his eighteenth birthday, he's expected to take a wife, and is arranged to have one through this understanding of long ago.  Chae-Kyung is just a regular high school girl, so this is quite an adjustment for her, but to make matters even worse, she's had a few run-ins with the prince before, and none of them have been favorable.  In fact, he's pretty much an arrogant jerk, especially when it comes to Chae-Kyung, whom he thinks is brash.  It's a pretty compelling story, enhanced all the more by the exquisite pencils of Park So Hee.  I love the attention to detail and the pacing of the story - very suspenseful stuff, and everyone, boys as well as girls, are just rendered beautifully.  There are some very pretty boys in this book.  The celebrity aspect is really neat and I hope Hee continues to play it up in subsequent volumes.  I'm really looking forward to how Chae-Kyung evolves with her changing circumstances, as well as just ogling more of this great artwork.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pick of the Week 3/16

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

Ruse #1 (of 4) - Another book from Marvel's Crossgen imprint debuts this week, the first issue in a four issue mini-series.  This was one of Crossgen's best titles, a Victorian mystery, and former Crossgen creator Mark Waid is writing, with Mirco Pierfederici on pencils.  Also, note that another comic company's resurrection is taking place this week (and not just as an imprint), as many Atlas Comics make their debut this week, including Grim Ghost and Phoenix.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Classic Jurassic Park (Volume 2): Raptors' Revenge TP
Deadpool Max: History of Violence #1
Grim Ghost #1
IZombie (Volume 1): Dead To the World TP
Krazy & Ignatz 1912-1921: Benevolent Brick TP
Phoenix #1
Sea Ghost #1: Sea Ghost In the Machine
Spider #1
Suddenly Something Happened GN
Xombi #1

Monday, March 14, 2011

Manga Monday: Amnesia Labyrinth

Amnesia Labyrinth (Volume 1)
Nagaru Tanigawa & Natsumi Kohane

Souji Kushiki returns home from going to school afar to live with his family and attend high school with people he grew up with.  He's good at everything he does, from sports to his high grades to his popularity, and he definitely leaves an impression on the female population.  In fact when he left to go to high school elsewhere, he left plenty of broken hearts in his wake.  But not Sasai, a girl from his class who's pretty blunt (and proud) about not having had feelings for him.  She's a strong-headed young woman who's really persistent in getting Souji to help her with a murder investigation.  During the summer, three students from their high school have been murdered and she thinks with his wits, and his father who works for the police, she can help solve the case and find out why one of the students, whom she had a crush on, was murdered.  The only thing each victim had in common was that they were each really good at something: sports, grades or popularity.  Much like Souji.  Souji's worried that one of the three sisters he's come home to may be responsible for the murders, and with good reason.  This family is screwed up.  All of the sisters blatantly throw themselves at him, and he even indulges them a lot of the time, adding a creepy incest element to an already odd household.  Pile on top of that the scenes of what is perhaps a doppelganger and the suggestion of split personalities and you have a downright head-scratcher.  There's a lot going on in this book, and it's hard to make sense out of what the creators give you, but that's part of the fun of the many mysteries surrounding the characters in this title.  It's too bad that the sisters aren't developed beyond their sexual appetites, as I don't think I'm going to care one way or another if one of them is the murderer, and then, what's the point?  But Sasai and Souji are both pretty interesting, and I'm genuinely curious to see where this odd tale is going.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Annihilators #1 (of 4)

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tan Eng Huat & Timothy Green II

I'm a pretty big fan of the cosmic stuff that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have done over the past few years at Marvel, particularly with Annihilation, War of Kings and Guardians of the Galaxy.  I was not a fan of The Thanos Imperative, which I dropped after giving it a few issues when it didn't click with me.  It appears quite a bit of stuff went down at the end of that series, since in the new mini-series Annihilators, we see that the Guardians of the Galaxy have either been killed or scattered across the universe, and a new team of mega heroes, consisting of powerful cosmic characters, have risen from the ashes of The Thanos Imperative to form a new team of heroes to stop any new threat to the universe before it reaches such a critical level.  And right from the first page of Annihilators, it's pretty clear that if you haven't kept up with the cosmic goings-on at Marvel, the story isn't going to go through any lengthy explanations, but pretty much dives into the new story, glossing over recent events, throwing out words like "Cancerverse" that you either know from The Thanos Imperative or you don't.  This team of cosmic characters are some of the hardest hitters at Marvel, including The Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Ronan the Accuser, Beta Ray Bill and Quasar.  A new character introduces herself to the intimidating team right away, Ikon of the Spaceknights, and identifies their weak points, serving as a nice introduction to the characters of the story, and is pretty blunt about why she thinks the team won't work.  And then they're thrown in to some universe-in-the-balance situation to test that theory.  There's plenty of action right from the get-go in this book, clearly depicted thanks to Tan Eng Huat, whose art overall is really nice.  My only problem with Huat's art is that sometimes the faces of the characters look like they've been worked on too much, and they're dark and too shadowy, maybe overthought.  Otherwise, very nice though, a good fit for what seems like it could be a cool, epic mini-series.  The back-up story follows Rocket Raccoon in his new glamourless life where he's attacked out of the blue, and forced to seek help from a former colleague, that of Groot.  It's a funny little story, illustrated in an appropriate cartoony style by Timothy Green II, providing a nice little extra to what is a pretty solid overall package.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pick of the Week 3/9

I plan on getting back to more regular posts by the end of the week, as my free time's been pretty full lately.  Anyway, here is the book you should be paying attention to, in comic shops on Wednesday...

Sigil #1 (of 4) - Crossgen is resurrected with this first issue of a four-issue mini-series from Marvel's new Crossgen imprint.  It's kind of an ultimatized version of the Crossgen fans may remember, with a great team at the helm: Mike Carey and Leonard Kirk.  The story features a sixteen-year-old girl who is suddenly burdened with a symbol on her chest that turns her world upside-down.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Asterix: Asterix & Obelix's Birthday TP
The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art 1895-2010 HC
Infamous #1 (of 6)
John Stanley's Melvin Monster (Volume 3) HC
Legion of Super Villains #1
Oresama Teacher (Volume 1)
Power Pack Classic (Volume 3) TP
Prince Valiant (Volume 3): 1941-1942 HC
Thor: The Mighty Avengers (Volume 2) TP
Toradora (Volume 1)
Ultimate Comics: Thor HC
Venom #1

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Pick of the Week 3/2

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

Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer (Volume 1): War In the Pacific HC - From Fantagraphics, this is sure to be another beautifully-produced hardcover archival project, reprinting the Roy Crane comic strip.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #1 (of 3)
Batman: Time and the Batman HC
Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond TP
Binky the Space Cat (Volume 1) GN
Captain America and Falcon #1
Conan (Volume 1): Frost Giant's Daughter TP
An Elegy For Amelia Johnson HC
Herculian #1
Hexed TP
Intrepids #1
Johnny Hiro (Volume 1) TP
Lewis and Clark GN
Marvel Zombies: Supreme #1 (of 5)
Marvelman Family's Finest HC
Popeye (Volume 5): Whas a Jeep HC
Popeye: The Great Comic Book Tales by Bud Sagendorf (Volume 1) HC
The Smurfs (Volume 5): The Smurfs and the Egg GN
Superpatriot: America's Fighting Force TP
Takio GN
Thor: Tales of Asgard TP
Venom by Daniel Way Ultimate Collection TP
Wildcats Version 3.0: Year Two
Wolverine: Wolverine Goes To Hell HC
Wolverine/Hercules: Myths, Monsters and Mutants #1 (of 4)