Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pick of the Week 6/29

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

Lucille GN - From Top Shelf, this graphic novel about adolescence and anorexia, by Ludovic Debeurme, won the prestigious Rene Goscinny Prize.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Angel (Volume 3): The Wolf, The Ram and the Heart HC
Angel Omnibus (Dark Horse Edition) (Volume 1) TP
Aquaman: Death of a Prince TP
Batman: Knight and Squire TP
Betrayal Knows My Name (Volume 1)
Creepy Archives (Volume 10) HC
Farm 54 HC
Forgotten Fantasy Sunday Comics: 1900-1915 HC
Ghostface (Volume 1)
Incal Classic Collection HC
Iron Age #1 (of 3)
Supernatural Noir

Monday, June 27, 2011

Manga Monday: No Touching At All

Kou Yoneda

No Touching At All is a yaoi manga about a shy guy named Shima who begins a relationship with his boss at the office he just started working in.  Shima's first encounter with his boss is as the stinky hungover guy in the elevator on the way to his first day on the job, but over time, he begins to see past Togawa's tough exterior, and they see signals within each other that lead to the affair.  I was pretty impressed with this title.  This is a cut above a lot of yaoi manga out there.  The characters feel very real, and converse naturally with one another, relationships forming pretty much before our eyes organically.  The work relationships are nice, but of course, it's the intense love-hate relationship between Shima and Togawa that really makes things interesting, especially given Shima's self-loathing and his past that keeps him at a distance from people.  The story moves along pretty slowly, which only adds to the overall authentic feeling that you get from the relationship that builds over time, from a sudden fit of passion, to deeper feelings that get stronger with each passing day.  Of course, like every good romance, there are a few wrenches thrown in the couple's path along the way, but overall, this is a nice fun read with enough depth to lift it a notch above other yaoi titles. 

This was also my first graphic novel that I read on my nookcolor, which I was pretty excited about.  I feel like the art was just as beautiful on this screen as if I'd had a physical copy in front of me, which was nice.  And it seems that a lot of titles are being added to their catalogue, mostly manga for now, but it's nice to have the option to buy a graphic novel if stores are closed and I'm just in the mood.  My only complaint with reading this was that some of the smaller font type, usually said under a character's breath, was a pain to read.  I had to kind of strain to get that full effect.  You can't pinch the screen bigger like you can with internet browsing, and the device doesn't take you from panel to panel like the Mouse Guard app does, so you're kind of stuck with the images on the screen as-is.  But that was a minor gripe for me, as the occasions when this came up were few and far between, and the convenience kind of makes up for it.  Perhaps we'll see a software upgrade to fix this in the future, but I really see myself buying manga this way in the future with no problem.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Previews HYPE: August '11

A bit behind on this, but here are the books, coming to comic shops in August, that I think may get overlooked, or that I'm just plain excited about...

Habibi GN - Craig Thompson's long-awaited follow-up to Blankets, delving into the Islamic world.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 - A new ongoing Ninja Turtles series is definitely something to celebrate, especially as series co-creator Kevin Eastman is co-writing and doing layouts for the new title!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection (Volume 1) HC - Also available this month is the original stories featuring the heroes in half shells, in a deserving hardcover collection.

Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 3) HC - An amazing fantasy series continues.  Seriously, if anyone hasn't checked out this magical comic, please do!

Angel and Faith #1 - Angel returns to Dark Horse as part of Joss Whedon's executed-produced Buffy-verse.  The fantastic Christos Gage is writing.

Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010 HC - Michael Kupperman (Tales Designed To Thrizzle), inspired by the recent prose autobiography, unleashes some Mark Twain love in a new (sure to be hilarious) graphic novel.  See Mark Twain hunt a yeti.

The Frank Book HC - Back in print after years, Jim Woodring's classic Frank stories are becoming available just in time for his 20th anniversary.

Love & Rockets: New Stories #4 - More Hernandez Brothers goodness, including a sort-of sequel to Jaime's acclaimed "Browntown," and Fritz in "King Vampire."

Mystic #1 (of 4) - Mystic was one of my favorite Crossgen titles, and while this is a radical overhaul of the title, Marvel is putting some good creative teams behind the launch of their Crossgen line, this one from G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and David Lopez (Catwoman).

Bad Island GN - A new all-ages graphic novel from the creator of Ghostopolis, Doug TenNapel.

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus (Volume 1) HC - I've heard very good things about John Byrne's run on Fantastic Four, and now it seems that Marvel is ready to give it the treatment it deserves.

Black Widow: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider HC - Finally this is collected again!  These are really great, over-looked stories featuring Black Widow at her kick-ass best.  These are not to be missed, boasting talent like Greg Rucka and J.G. Jones.

Mnemovore HC - Another overlooked gem is being collected this month in the form of the Lovecraftian horror title Mnemovore.

Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland HC - A new original graphic novel featuring Bigby Wolf, this one's written by Fables series creator Bill Willingham.

Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1 - Marvel's Ultimate Comics line begins a new era, with the flagship title written by buzz writer Jonathan Hickman.

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1 (of 4) - With Hawkeye becoming a bigger presence in next summer's Avengers movies, Marvel is obviously to generate some excitement surrounding the character, and some books to release alongside the movie.  This one also written by Jonathan Hickman.

Malinky Robot: Collected Stories & Other Bits TP - This collection is from Sonny Liew, who did amazing work in the underappreciated Wonderland graphic novel.  The art looks beautiful in this book.

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury HC - I remember reading the first issue of this title before Archaia restructured, and really enjoyed it.  Now the collection comes out, and is sure to sport more of the action-packed, bright superhero goodness that first issue promised.

Archie: Best of Harry Lucey (Volume 1) HC - Lovingly restored, the greatest Archie stories from another classic artist comes to life.

The Best of Archie Comics TP - How many best of Archie collections can there be?  Plenty, it would seem, as Archie Comics Publications releases their own.

Bubbles & Gondola GN - A cute all-ages fantasy featuring a mouse, from NBM, who publishes some great European comics.

X-Statix Omnibus HC - I was a big fan of this series, and am happy to see that all of the mini-series odds and ends are included in this massive collection of the groundbreaking series.

The Infinite #1 - A new series written by Robert Kirkman, with art by Rob Liefeld!

Feeding Ground HC - Sounds like an interesting graphic novel, about immigration, a plague and the unforgiving desert.

Gate7 (Volume 1) - A new urban fantasy manga series from CLAMP launches.

Spell Checkers (Volume 2): Sons of a Preacher Man - More teenaged witch angst from Oni Press.

Cage of Eden (Volume 1) - This sounds pretty awesome.  A plain full of students crashlands on an island of prehistoric creatures.

Spider-Man: The Next Chapter (Volume 1) TP - John Byrne's reimagining of Spider-Man from the late 90's, finally collected.

The Mad Fold-In Collection: 1964-2010 HC - All of Al Jaffee's fold-ins (over 400) collected under one cover.

Optic Nerve #12 - What's this?  An alternative comic book?  More Adrian Tomine goodness.  Actually, there will be two big alternative comic book releases this month as Kevin Huizenga's Ganges #4 also comes out!

Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger #1 (of 3) - The fan-favorite characters return in a new mini-series spun out of the Spider-Man event.

The Pin-up Art of Humorama - A collection of pin-ups from Humorama magazines that includes artists such as Dan DeCarlo, Jack Cole and Basil Wolverton.

The Show Must Go On TP - Sounds like a nice collection of material for Roger Langridge fans.  Also out this month, a new series, Roger Langridge's Snarked! #0, a new all-ages series.

Gumby's Arthur Adams Specials TP - A collection of award-winning Gumby Specials is collected for the first time in 25 years.

Velveteen & Mandala GN - A tale of post-apocalyptic Tokyo from Vertical.

Fraggle Rock Classics (Volume 1) TP - Archaia begins collecting the original comics that followed the loveable Fraggles.

Gon (Volume 1) - How many times can this title be recollected?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pick of the Week 6/22

I'm moved in to my new place, and the old apartment is clean, so I should be posting more regularly again with all of the craziness behind me.  Anyways, here is the book you should be paying attention to, in comic shops tomorrow...

Black Widow: The Name of the Rose TP - Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna's recent run on the red-headed Marvel spy-hero was a lot of fun.  Read the collection.

Other Noteworthy Releases
All Nighter #1 (of 5)
The Archie Babies GN
Art of Doug Sneyd HC
Captain Easy: Soldier of Fortune (Volume 2) HC
Chip N Dale's Rescue Rangers: Worldwide Rescue TP
Creepy Comics (Volume 1) TP
Deadpool (Volume 1) HC
Dr. Strange: Into the Dark Dimension HC
First Wave HC
Miss Fury HC
Mystique by Sean McKeever Ultimate Collection TP
Negima Omnibus (Volume 1)
Next Men (Volume 1) HC
Roy Rogers: The Collected Newspaper Dailies and Sundays HC
Scratch 9 (Volume 1): Pet Project TP
Tenjo Tenge (Volume 1)
Thing: Liberty Legion HC
X-Men: Age of X HC

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pick of the Week 6/15

I'm moving this week, so I probably won't get back to posting until next week, but here is the book you should be paying attention to, in comic shops tomorrow...

Anya's Ghost - From Vera Brosgol comes this new graphic novel that has Neil Gaiman's endorsement, about a lonely girl who befriends a ghost, to unexpected results.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Alpha Flight #1 (of 8)
Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity GN
Avengers: Infinity Quest #1
Avengers West Coast: Family Ties HC
Captain America Corps #1 (of 5)
A Certain Scientific Railgun (Volume 1)
Fantastic Four by Waid & Weiringo Ultimate Collection (Book 1) TP
Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths #1 (of 5)
Green Lantern: Brightest Day HC
Hellboy Library Edition (Volume 4) HC
Kirby Genesis #1
Legion Lost HC
Level Up GN
Lil Depressed Boy (Volume 1): She Is Staggering TP
The Sixth Gun (Volume 2) TP
Uncanny X-Force: Deathloc Nation HC
X-Men: Alpha Flight HC

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Pick of the Week 6/8

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

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse (Volume 1): Race To Death Valley HC - One of the most exciting announcements of the year, the first of a massive reprint project debuts in the form of Floyd Gottfredson's beloved Mickey Mouse comic strip.

Other Noteworthy Releases
15 Love #1 (of 3)
American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1 (of 5)
Baltimore (Volume 1): The Plague Ships HC
Bleach 3-In-1 Edition (Volume 1)
Captain America: American Nightmare HC
Captain America by Dan Jurgens (Volume 1) TP
Congress of the Animals HC
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - Little Sisters of Eluria HC
Fullmetal Alchemist 3-In-1 Edition (Volume 1)
Iron Age: Alpha #1
Isle of 100,000 Graves HC
Ka-Zar #1 (of 5)
Lil Abner (Volume 3) HC
Mister X: The Brides of Mister X and Other Stories HC
Mystery Men #1 (of 5)
Preacher (Book 4) HC

Monday, June 06, 2011

Manga Monday

The Quest For the Missing Girl
Jiro Taniguchi

This is the first work I've read by the acclaimed creator Jiro Taniguchi (The Walking Man, The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories), but it certainly won't be my last.  The Quest For the Missing Girl is a very satisfying read, with a real depth to the characters, stunning art, and an engaging mystery.

The Quest For the Missing Girl is about a man who oversees a mountain refuge, who comes into the city to look for the missing daughter of one of his old mountain climbing partners, who died twelve years earlier, since he looks out for the family left behind.  Shiga carries a lot of guilt over the death of his friend, especially when it comes to his own resentment of his dead friend's relationships (he gave up climbing to marry a woman that Shiga was sweet on).  Shiga has come to see Megumi, his friend's daughter, as a niece of sorts, so he takes it very seriously when her mother calls to tell him that Megumi never came home from school one day.  And so begins the journey of a man out of his element, dealing with the seedy underbelly of Tokyo as he searches for Megumi, and coming to learn what sort of girl she is as he tracks down how she disappeared.  The city throws up plenty of obstacles and walls to impede his progress, but like the mountain climber he is, he keeps his eye on the prize and keeps pushing, searching tirelessly for this important girl in his life.  During his search, there are plenty of flashbacks that give us a peak at a younger man, who had a close relationship with a fellow climber, and the guilt that eats away at him in the years following the accident that claimed his friend.  We also just spend a lot of time with this man and get to see his interactions with various people, friend and foe alike, giving us a full picture of the moral, determined man who has taken on this quest.  Taniguchi depicts this all beautifully, lovingly drawing mountainous nature scenes just as effortlessly as the cold impersonal city scenes, with a great attention to detail, and thoughtfully-arranged panels that never make the talking heads throughout the book seem boring or monotonous.  The mystery is an intriguing one, and Taniguchi demonstrates his masterful pacing as this story unfolds cinematically over the course of this 334-page single-volume work, bringing it all to a very satisfying, and really clever, conclusion.  Read this book if you wish to see one of the true masters of the medium in action.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Comics In Newsstands

Barnes & Noble is expanding their comic book presence significantly in their newsstands early this June, and giving them a prime location at the front of the newsstand area alongside entertainment and music magazines.  Prior to this change, comics were mixed in to the "Games and Humor" category beside crosswords and sodoku magazines.  Now, it seems, the bookstore chain is taking notice of floppies and giving them a chance to thrive in the bookstore atmosphere.  I'm not entirely sure what to make of the expansion and aggressive push (the store I work at is going from about ten titles to filling five spaces worth of books across each gondola, which would mean over sixty titles, many of which we're seeing ten copies of each book coming in).  Most of the titles are Marvel and DC, with a good mix of kid-friendly titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Archie as well.  It may be that comics are one of the few areas that the nook and nookcolor don't offer in their electronic library, or a sign of weak magazine sales overall.  Or it may be that the buyers for Barnes & Noble's newsstand are noticing that crossover events move plenty of copies, with interest dying significantly by the time the collections roll around for their graphic novel areas.  Either way, the coming months will tell if this move will pay off.  Barnes & Noble does not have the capability of ordering specific magazines or comic floppies in for their customers, so pull lists and variety will still be a big draw for comic specialty shops, but this may hook some new readers on mainstream titles and perhaps draw more interest to the medium.