Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pick of the Week 8/31

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

Justice League #1 - The book that kicks off DC's relaunch of their entire DC Universe line, from the superstar team of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, arrives this week.  Beginning with next week's podcast, Patrick and I will be devoting a month of podcasts to DC's new books each week.  Justice League #1 will be part of week one's podcast, with next week's new releases (including Action Comics #1).  So watch for it!

Other Noteworthy Releases
Angel & Faith #1
Annhilators HC
Any Empire HC
Clockwork Girl HC
Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson HC
Drifters (Volume 1)
Eden: It's An Endless World! (Volume 13)
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story HC
Infestation (Volume 2) TP
The Last Dragon HC
New Teen Titans Omnibus (Volume 1) HC
The Steve Ditko Omnibus (Volume 1): Starring Shade, the Changing Man HC
Thunderbolts By Ellis and Deodato Ultimate Collection TP
Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye #1 (of 4)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Manga Monday: Shigeru Mizuki

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths
Shigeru Mizuki

This World War II manga from legendary cartoonist Shigeru Mizuki follows a troop of the Imperial Army stationed in the South Pacific.  It begins with illustrating the everyday life of a soldier in the battle field, the waiting and wondering, and the constant threat of enemy fire, not to mention the natural dangers of animals and disease.  There's cruelty from commanding officers, there's unfairness towards the rookies, bonding over stupid pranks, and plenty of humor.  It is sort of an odd mix here to blend humor in with this dark material, but it helps to lift it from being bogged down in too depressing material.  Mizuki also chose to draw the troops in a cartoony style that contrasts with the dangerous, realistic surroundings.  I liked that.  He kind of depicts these troops as goofy, but it makes them more lovable and more human, I suppose.  There are a lot of characters, however, and only a few that stand out, so it is difficult to really connect with a single character, but it's that camaraderie between the soldiers that Mizuki creates from the pranks and humor that makes you sort of feel for the troop as a whole that makes what occurs later so much more tragic.  Once the enemy really begins to invade the area where this troop is stationed, the book becomes much more bleak and bloody, showcasing the true terror of war as soldiers bury the body parts of their friends, etc.  It also becomes a commentary of the Imperial Army in general, specifically its code of honorable death and suicide.  I was surprised and impressed with how contemporary this books feels for a manga that's almost forty years old, but I think that that really speaks to the strength of the creator.  This was a fascinating book, and more than likely one of the best manga that will be released this year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Comics-and-More Podcast: Franco-Belgian Comics

This week on the Comics-and-More Podcast, Patrick Markfort and I review two new releases from Fantagraphics' line of Franco-Belgian comics.

Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus
Raymond Macherot

Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder By High Tide
Maurice Tillieux

Part One:

Part Two:

For further reading:
The Littlest Pirate King
David B.

Toys In the Basement
Stephane Blanquet

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pick of the Week 8/24

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 - Very exciting!!  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!

Other Noteworthy Releases
Archie Americana (Volume 1): The 40's HC
Big Questions HC
Blackjacked & Pistol Whipped: Crime Does Not Pay Primer
The Comics Journal #301
Esperanza: A Love & Rockets Book SC
FF by Jonathan Hickman (Volume 1) HC
Infinite Kung Fu GN
Knuckles the Echidna Archives (Volume 1) TP
Malinky Robot: Collected Stories & Other Bits TP
Marineman: A Matter of Life and Depth TP
Milton Caniff's Male Call HC
Pin-Up Art of Humorama GN
Serenity (Volume 2): Better Days & Other Stories HC
Spider-Man: The Next Chapter (Volume 1) TP
Superman Beyond #0
Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #1

Monday, August 22, 2011

Manga Monday: Cage of Eden

Cage of Eden (Volume 1)
Yoshinobu Yamada

Akira and his classmates' plane crash lands on a deserted island after a class trip in this new title from Kodansha Comics.  Creator Yoshinobu Yamada sets this title up pretty nicely, with the major players all interacting in a normal setting on the plane to give readers an idea of their relationships with one another, and a little bit about their backgrounds, which may or may not come into play in the volumes to come.  There's also plenty of fan service in this part, as the teenagers prove all too eagerly to be a cast of voyeurs, having recorded their female classmates in bikinis during their trip, and ogling over the final product.  And that's not the end of the fan service throughout this book.  There's also a good amount of violence, so boy readers are really getting what they want with this book.  Anyways, something odd happens to the plane they are on and they crash land, Akira waking up alone without so much as a scratch on him.  He bumps into a few fellow passengers soon enough, that of a brainy smart kid and a clumsy stewardess, before combing the area to look for other survivors (which they stumble upon as the book continues).  A couple of odd things are noted about this island, however.  First of all, it's not on any map.  And secondly, it's inhabited by creatures that have been extinct for millions of years.  We see at least one familiar creature among the animals they encounter, but there are plenty of new scary creatures long-dead that we get to become familiar with as the volume progresses and the students explore the island.  I'm assuming Yamada has other fun surprises in store for future volumes when it comes to the inhabitants of this odd place.  But it does seem as if Yamada is making the bigger threat on this island the other students.  After crash landing, the camera that Akira finds shows scenes of mass hysteria.  That coupled with the knife embedded in the pilot's stomach (not to mention this book's final scene), suggest that despite the terrible animals they must face in this horrid place, the key to their survival will lie with how they can defend themselves from each other.  This is a book about survival, and what happens to people when they no longer have to abide by the rules of society.  But while those themes are certainly a part of this book, Cage of Eden doesn't take itself too seriously either.  It's more of an exciting backdrop to give you the fan service and violence that you crave.  The mysteries introduced are pretty flimsy and the characters are very broad types, and overall, there's nothing new in this book that you haven't seen elsewhere plenty of times.  But it's still kind of fun if you're looking for some light entertainment.  Just don't expect to be blown away.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Previews HYPE: October '11

Here are the highlights of books that I'm excited about, or think may get overlooked, in Previews Catologue for October...

Walt Disney's Donald Duck in "Lost In the Andes" by Carl Barks - Carl Barks' beloved duck comics are finally being collected, beginning with this hardcover.

Everything (Volume 1): Comics From 1978-1981 HC - The first collection in an effort to bring all of Lynda Barry's works together (including Ernie Pook's Comeek).

Princess Knight (Volume 1) GN - Finally!!!  Osamu Tezuka's pioneering shojo manga is reprinted for American audiences.

The Annotated Sandman (Volume 1) HC - A panel-by-panel in-depth look at Neil Gaiman's acclaimed series, wih an introduction and notes by Leslie S. Klinger. Also available this month, a look at another important comic in Metamaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus HC.

X-Men Regenesis #1 - This one-shot will show us just who is following who in the new X-Men titles launching in the wake of X-Men: Schism.  One of the two new titles also launches this month, with Wolverine and the X-Men #1.

The Grave Doug Freshley GN - Solicited before, this graphic novel western about a murdered man who comes back to life to protect the child he's been charged with, finally looks like it's going to be coming out.

John Byrne's Cold War #1 - An all-new series from the legendary John Byrne.

DC Comics Presents: The Jack Kirby Omnibus Sampler #1 - A nice sampling of Kirby material to entice you into buying the omnibus.

Hark! A Vagrant! HC - Kate Beaton's web comic strip gets collected to reach a new audience.

Incredible Hulk #1 - Neal Adams and Marc Silvestri team up on a new Hulk book.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Volume 6): Cabin Fever HC - Kids will be pining for the latest offering in this best-selling series from Jeff Kinney.

Spera (Volume 1) HC - A new fantasy from Archaia featuring two princesses in a magical realm.  Looks pretty.

Wally Wood's EC Stories: Artist's Edition HC - The latest addition to IDW's ambitious Artist's Edition series of deluxe books.

Batman: Odyssey (Volume 2) #1 (of 7) - Neal Adams returns to the Dark Knight.

Tesoro: Short Stories 1998-2008 - Short manga works from Natsume Ono.

X-Men #1: 20th Anniversary Edition - This will be an interesting look back at Chris Claremont and Jim Lee's relaunch of X-Men in 1991, recolored in a modern style.

Bob Powell's Terror HC - From Yoe Books! comes the perfect Halloween collection, the second book in The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics series.

Legion of Monsters #1 (of 4) - A new mini-series featuring Elsa Bloodstone battling all sorts of nasties. I've missed the spunky monster hunter since Nextwave was cancelled.

The Someday Funnies HC - Michael Choquette edits this collection of comic strips from the 70's, from top talent such as Jack Kirby, Art Spiegelman and Gahan Wilson.

1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die HC - I really like this series of books that highlights things like 1001 Records, 1001 Children's Books, etc.  Finally, a comic version is coming out, edited by the highly-qualified Paul Gravett.

Bill Griffith: Lost and Found 1970-1994 SC - A collection of Bill Griffith's early undeground works.

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (of 6) - An interesting team-up.

Avengers 1959 #1 - I wasn't a huge fan of the flashback sequences in Secret Avengers that introduced this team of Avengers from 1959, but it's a good mix of characters including Namora, the original Silver Sable, and Sabertooth.

Black Fire GN - I like that image provided for the cover, in a book about two soldiers who stumble upon an isolated town where off things are going down.

30 Days of Night #1 - A new ongoing horror series with Steve Niles returning to his breakthrough title. Appropriately launching in October.

Feel Better Now - Jonathan Hickman writes and draws a new 40-page creator-owned comic at Image.

The Huntress #1 (of 6) - A new mini featuring Birds of Prey member Huntress, which will tie into that other series soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Punisher #1

Greg Rucka & Marco Checchetto

This is probably one of the first Punisher books that I've ever read.  Frank Castle was just never really a character that I was very interested in following.  But I really like Greg Rucka's work, so I thought I would give this a shot.  Greg Rucka is really known for his strong female characters (Whiteout, Batwoman, Stumptown, etc.), so I thought that this was an interesting choice for him to write.  But then again, Rucka also worked on Gotham Central, and as this heavily features characters of a police department, it makes sense that he would enjoy writing something like this.  I like that Punisher is presented as a force of nature in this first issue.  There are few characters out there that seem so much larger than life, but Frank Castle definitely fits that bill, swooping in to "punish" people for their crimes, before disappearing into the night.  Like Batman, he's above the law.  A vigilante.  A kind of anti-hero factor that adds some dimension to his character (which we really have yet to see in this title).  Ironically, another character who's a force of nature in the Marvel Universe is Elektra, assassin for hire.  In her Marvel Knights series, she was definitely portrayed as a force of nature swooping in to kill her mark, hints of red in the panels as people were killed in her wake.  But Greg Rucka didn't portray her like that when he took over the title.  Sandwiched between Chuck Dixon and Robert Rodi who did portray her in that light, Rucka brought a real depth to her character in a really riveting run of comics, yet still managed to make her seem bad-ass and cool.  Again, he's great at writing those strong female characters.  So it's kind of strange to see, at least in this first issue, that he uses Punisher as that force of nature-type character that he avoided with Elektra.  But I'm confident that this won't be that sort of one-note title, as Rucka can write some mean characterization.  And I think that if anyone can make Punisher into a character I'd want to follow, it's Greg Rucka.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pick of the Week 8/17

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

The Complete Peanuts (Volume 16): 1981-1982 HC - Fantagraphics continues their fantastic reprinting of the entirety of Charles Schulz' classic comic strip.  Also available this week, The Complete Peanuts Box Set: 1979-1982.

Other Noteworthy Releases
99 Days HC
Amazing Agent Jennifer (Volume 1)
BPRD: Hell on Earth (Volume 1): New World TP
Fables Deluxe Edition (Volume 3) HC
Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo Ultimate Collection (Book 2) TP
Invincible Compendium (Volume 1) TP
Little Lulu (Volume 28): Prize Winner and Other Stories TP
Little Nothings (Volume 4): My Shadow In the Distance GN
Mr. Murder Is Dead HC
New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis (Volume 2) HC
Secret Society of Super Villains HC
Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954 HC
Star Wars: Kight Errant - Deluge #1 (of 5)
The Stuff of Legend (Volume 3): The Jester's Tale #1 (of 4)
Tales of the Batman: Gene Colan (Volume 1) HC
Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus (Volume 1) TP
We3 Deluxe Edition HC

Monday, August 15, 2011

Manga Monday Podcast: Wandering Son

This week sees the first Manga Monday Podcast!  Patrick Markfort (Articulate Nerd) and I focus this week's Comics-and-More Podcast on the first volume of Wandering Son.

Wandering Son (Volume 1)
Shimura Takako

Part One:

Part Two:

For further reading:
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories GN
Moto Hagio

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Comics-and-More Podcast: Mystic & Rachel Rising

This week on the Comics-and-More Podcast, we review the first issue in two new series.

Mystic #1 (of 4)
G. Willow Wilson & David Lopez

Rachel Rising #1
Terry Moore

Part One:

Part Two:

For further reading:
Mystic (Volume 1): Rite of Passage TP
Ron Marz & Brandon Peterson

Terry Moore's Echo Complete Edition SC
Terry Moore

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Pick of the Week 8/10

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

Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 3) GN - If you haven't gotten on board with Thomas Siddell's magical all-ages fantasy series, you're missing out!  This is the latest volume, sure to feature awesomeness!

Other Noteworthy Releases
Archie's Mad House (Volume 1) HC
Bad Island GN
Deltora Quest (Volume 1)
Hulk Visionaries: Peter David (Volume 8) TP
Infestation (Volume 1) TP
Luz Sees the Light GN
Magnus Robot Fighter (Volume 1) TP
The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury GN
Nipper (Volume 2): 1965-1966 HC
Showcase Presents The Trial of the Flash TP
Space Family Robinson Archives (Volume 1) HC
Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger #1 (of 3)
Spy School GN
Terry Moore's Echo Complete Edition SC
War Goddess #0
X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda HC

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Astonishing X-Men #38 & #40

Christos Gage & Juan Bobillo

I haven't read Astonishing X-Men since Warren Ellis took it over after Joss Whedon's run, but some of the recent solicitations intrigued me.  Plus, I really like Christos Gage's recent work (like Avengers Academy), so I thought I would give this storyarc a try.  Right now, there are alternating storylines in Astonishing X-Men.  Every other issue follows a different set of characters on a different mission.  The one that drew my attention was the one following the Brood.  The team tackling the Brood consists of my favorite X-Man, Kitty Pryde, as well as Colossus, Storm and Beast.  It starts out with Beast coming to the X-Men for help, as his girlfriend, Agent Brand, head of S.W.O.R.D., never came back from a mission from Pandora's Box, a space station that's a part of S.W.O.R.D., where they conduct riskier experiments with extraterrestrial beings.  Beast believes that she's still alive, and enlists the aid of his comrades to get her out.  When they arrive on the space station, overrun by Brood, they find Agent Brand already infected, but what S.W.O.R.D. scientists were experimenting with was a way to extract the Brood from a host without killing either, something that the X-Men need to save their friend, and something the Brood want to breed more quickly, as they could infest a host body several times over with its use (the Brood homeworld was destroyed during Annihilation, so they are desperate to breed).  Astonishing X-Men #38 & #40 are the first two issues in this storyline that has not yet concluded, but are the beginning issues of what is a pretty exciting story thus far.

I really enjoyed these issues for several reasons.  First, I love Kitty Pryde, and previews indicate that this is going to end with Kitty Pryde vs. the Brood.  Awesome.  These issues also talk a little bit about the relationship between Kitty and Lockheed, and the strain on that relationship since it was discovered that he was secretly an agent of S.W.O.R.D.  But they are best friends still, and it's wonderful to see them together again.  And it's the perfect scenario for them to reunite, as Kitty first met Lockheed when the X-Men confronted the Brood (a fact that they even mentioned in one of the issues, to my delight).  I also really loved Kieron Gillen and Steve Sanders' run on the short-lived S.W.O.R.D. series, and this brought some of those elements into play, as most of it takes place at S.W.O.R.D.'s headquarters, which is how we get to see Lockheed (big bad-ass guns in hand like in that series) and, of course, the lovely Agent Brand.  These two issues are fast-paced action comics that speak to a promising run of X-Men comics by Gage.  Juan Bobillo has a neat art style that works well on this book, especially when it comes to the aliens like Lockheed and especially, the Brood.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Bad Island

Doug TenNapel

I wasn't a huge fan of Doug TenNapel's previous all-ages graphic novel, Ghostopolis, but I really liked his art and I saw a lot of potential for something great in that story, so I decided to give him another go with Bad Island, another all-ages fantasy.  I wasn't disappointed.  I really enjoyed this new book.  TenNapel illustrates this story with the same great cartoony style as his previous book, but couples it with a really neat story that had direction and moved along at a brisk pace without the meandering uninteresting parts that dragged Ghostopolis down.  It follows a family that's sort of disconnected, going on a boat trip that nobody is really eager to go on, except for the father, who really wants to bring his family together again during this vacation.  Things don't go as planned, however, as a storm causes them to wash up on an island in the middle of nowhere.  And the longer they stay on the island, the more strange it becomes, as everything from the animals they see to the vegetation they encounter, seem otherworldly.  This book was just a lot of fun.  I can see kids really enjoying this one, with its adventure-into-the-unknown feel, the epic space battle scenes mixed in that explain the island's history, and the nice dynamic between the family members who come to bond over the dangerous situation they find themselves in.  And beyond the great action seen throughout this book, is a good deal of humor.  I chuckled often at the goings-on of the characters, particularly the younger sister, who carries around her dead snake, since it didn't survive the shipwreck.  Bad Island can get a little goofy at times, but it's a nice light-hearted adventure that shows off the great cartooning abilities of TenNapel in an engaging story.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Pick of the Week 8/3

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

Walter Simonson's The Mighty Thor Artist's Edition HC - Lots of great books come out this week, so it was harder than usual to narrow it down to just one obvious must-have, but I think IDW's new Artist's Edition series is really something to celebrate, and I hope it's successful.  Walter Simonson is certainly deserving of a book like this.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Avengers Academy (Volume 2): Real World HC
Best of Archie Comics TP
Caniff HC
Jack Kirby Omnibus (Volume 1): Starring Green Arrow HC
The Infinite #1
Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman HC
Mystic #1 (of 4)
Petrograd HC
Pokemon: Black & White (Volume 1)
Punisher #1
Rachel Rising #1
Rocket Raccoon: Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant HC
Roger Langridge's Snarked! #0
Spider-Man Newspaper Strips (Volume 2) HC
Steve Canyon: The Complete Comic Book Series (Volume 1) HC
Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Fun #1 (of 4)
Tank Tankuro HC w/slipcase
Willie & Joe: Back Home HC