Monday, July 30, 2012

Pick of the Week 8/1

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

No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics HC - From Fantagraphics Books, and edited by Justin Hall, comes this definitive collection of queer comics, featuring comics from over the past four decades from the likes of Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Ralf Koenig and more.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Archie Archives (Volume 6) HC
Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch One-Shot
Dinocorps GN
First X-Men #1
Hawkeye #1
Iron Man: Revenge of the Mandarin HC
Judge Dredd: Inferno GN
Monster Dinosaur HC
RASL #15
Superboy (Volume 1): Incubation TP
Superman: Action Comics (Volume 1): Superman and the Men of Steel HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimate Collection (Volume 3) HC

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Comics-and-More Podcast: Manara

On this month's Comics-and-More Podcast, Patrick Markfort and I discuss the first two volumes of Dark Horse's archival reprint project of Italian creator Milo Manara's work.

The Milo Manara Library (Volume 1): Indian Summer and Other Stories HC
Milo Manara & Hugo Pratt

The Milo Manara Library (Volume 2): El Gaucho and Other Stories HC
Milo Manara & Hugo Pratt

For further reading:
X-Women #1
Chris Claremont & Milo Manara

Manara Erotica (Volume 1) HC
Milo Manara

The Manara Library (Volume 3): Trip To Tulum and Other Stories HC
Milo Manara, Federico Fellini & Silverio Pisu

Check out these new solo videos from Patrick Markfort:
New Comics 6/13 (Spider-Men, Ultimate Comics: X-Men, Batman, etc)

Godzilla movie review

New Comics 6/20 (Daredevil #14, Punisher #12)

New Comics (Supreme #65, Angel & Faith #11, Savage Dragon #180)

More New Comics (Fatima: The Blood Spinners #1, Prophet #26, etc)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pick of the Week 7/25

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

The Underwater Welder GN - From Top Shelf comes this new graphic novel from Jeff Lemire, whose work I've been really enjoying lately on DC Comics titles like Animal Man and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Artifacts Deluxe HC
Batula HC
DC Comics Presents" Wonder Woman Adventures #1
Debris #1
Elephantmen (Volume 5): Devilish Functions HC
Everybody Loves Tank Girl #1
Fictionauts GN
Green Arrow (Volume 1): Into the Woods TP
Grifter (Volume 1): Most Wanted TP
The Monolith HC
National Comics: Eternity #1
Sakuran GN
Secret Avengers by Rick Remender (Volume 1) HC
Sergio Aragone's Groo the Wanderer: Artist's Edition HC
X-Treme X-Men #1

Monday, July 23, 2012

Manga Monday: Sakuran

Moyoco Anno

Sakuran is a historical manga that follows a brothel in red-light district Yoshiwara, specifically one girl who rises to the top of her house, Kiyoha.  Kiyoha was sold into her service at a young age, and while we know from the get-go that she ends up as one of the most sought-after working girls around, we delve into her past for much of this manga, watching her rise to become the desirable woman we see at the beginning.  Starting out as a maid for the brothel, Kiyoha eventually learns the ropes under the care of the oiran of the house.  But Kiyoha is not happy with Tamakiku house.  She hates the restrictions, never being able to leave, being disciplined for her sharp tongue by being tied to a tree and splashed with cold water, and eventually, having to satisfy the men who come through while remaining detached.  She learns how to make love by watching it happen between adults, and by the advice the other girls give, and while she comes to learn not to open up to men emotionally, she still does so, and is hurt for her trouble.  But for the most part, she learns to close herself off from her patrons, fake enjoyment, and use her smart mouth to make herself more desirable.  I really like the character of Kiyoha, and this journey that we get to experience, watching her grow up under these circumstances, is really riveting stuff.  Anno's art was lovely and detailed, and the dialogue was sharp and fun.  The classes of the women within the brothel was a little confusing - unless you refer to footnotes often to make sense of these - but you can get the gist of it within context to make some sense of what they're talking about.  Vertical does another bang-up job of bringing great manga to American audiences - this one if well worth the price of admission.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pick of the Week 7/18

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

Captain Marvel #1 - I loved the last ongoing series featuring Ms. Marvel, so I'm excited to see Carol Danvers getting a new series as she steps into her new role.  This one's brought to readers by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Adventures of Venus HC
American Elf: Sketchbook Diaries of James Kolchalka (Volume 4): 2008-2011 TP
Angel Para Bellum (Volume 1)
Ghost Rider: The Complete Series by Rob Williams TP
Herc: The Complete Series by Pak and Lente TP
Men of War (Volume 1): Uneasy Company TP
Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me GN
Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Volume 7)
Showcase Presents: Rip Hunter, Time Master (Volume 1) TP
Smurfs (Volume 12): Smurfs Versus Smurfs HC/SC
The Stuff of Legend Omnibus (Volume 1) HC
Wandering Son (Volume 3) HC

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Previews HYPE: August '12

Here are the books that caught my eye in Previews Catalogue, for books shipping to comic shops in August...

Barbara SC - Another Osamu Tezuka work sees print, thanks to DMP!  This one's a 400+ page thriller.

The Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting) SC - Interviews, unpublished art, posters and plenty more can be found in this companion to the ground-breaking series from The Hernandez Brothers. Also available this month, Love and Rockets: New Stories #5.
Hawkeye #1 - Hot off of the Avengers movie, Hawkeye gets his own ongoing solo series courtesy of Matt Fraction and David Aja.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike #1 (of 5) - Following up his appearances in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine, fan-favorite character Spike gets a solo adventure.

Essential Warlock (Volume 1) TP - Hard to believe that there are still more of these out there that need to be collected, but here's proof of that.

Skippy: Complete Dailies (Volume 1): 1925-1927 HC - The classic comics strip from Percy Crosby begins its collecting here!

Three Thieves (Volume 3): The Captive Prince SC - This fantastic and criminally overlooked fantasy series from Scott Chandler is already in its third volume!

First X-Men #1 (of 5) - Neal Adams recounts the history of the X-Men that fans don't know, from before Professor Xavier formed the team.

Peanuts (Volume 2) #1 (of 4) - Apparently KaBOOM!'s original comics featuring Charles Schulz' creations is doing well enough to continue the project with a second volume.

Underwater Welder GN - An original graphic novel from Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Essex County) from Top Shelf.

Memorial HC - This lovely, clever fantasy series from Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis gets collected in a nice hardcover edition.

The Little Prince (Book 1): The Planet of Wind GN & The Little Prince (Book 2): The Planet of the Firebird GN - This is a new graphic novel fantasy series inspired by Antoine Saint-Exupery's classic tale.

Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld (Volume 1) TP - The fantasy series from the 80's is being collected just in time for the new incarnation of Amethyst to hit the stands.

Message To Adolf (Volume 1) GN - And here's another Osamu Tezuka title being published this month, the first of two volumes to be released in hardcover.

Doctor Strange: Season One HC - The Season One original graphic novels continue, this one from Greg Pak and Emma Rios.

Michael Avon Oeming's The Victories #1 (of 5) - A new superhero title from Dark Horse, featuring six heroes and the talent of Michael Avon Oeming (The Mice Templar).

Godzilla: The Half-Century War #1 (of 5) - James Stokoe (Orc Stain) brings us an eye-popping look at everyone's favorite giant monster.

It Girl & The Atomics #1 - Jamie S. Rich and Mike Norton give It Girl her own book, from out of Mike Allred's Madman.

Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures: The Joe Kubert Archives (Volume 1) HC - Thirty-three of Joe Kubert's stories are collected here, emphasizing horror and crime.  Also available this month, Joe Kubert's Tarzan of the Apes: Artist's Edition HC.

Classic Popeye #1 - IDW begins reprinting Bud Sagendorf's classic Popeye comic book series with this issue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pick of the Week: 7/11

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

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge (Volume 1): "Only a Poor Old Man" HC - More classic Disney!!  Carl Barks' classic Uncle Scrooge begins being collected here, courtesy of Fantagraphics.

Other Noteworthy Releases
Ant-Man: Season One HC
Batgirl (Volume 1): The Darkest Reflection HC
Big John Buscema Comics & Drawings HC
Blacksad: Silent Hell HC
Creepy Presents Richard Corben HC
The Crow #1
Demon Knights (Volume 1): Seven Against the Dark TP
Eerie Comics #1
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman (Volume 5) HC
Hellboy Library Edition (Volume 5) HC
Hoax Hunters #1
Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days HC
The Phantom Complete Sundays (Volume 1): 1939-1942 HC
Punk Rock Jesus #1
Richard Stark's Parker: The Score HC
Space Punisher #1
The Summit of the Gods (Volume 3)
The Walking Dead #100

Monday, July 09, 2012

Manga Monday: 5cm/sec

5 Centimeters Per Second
Makoto Shinkai & Seike Yukiko

The manga of 5 Centimeters Per Second is adapted from a 2007 animated film from Makoto Shinkai, by artist Seike Yukiko.  I've never seen the film, but this manga definitely feels very cinematic, and is really quite beautifully illustrated, with special attention given to detail, particularly when it comes to the environments the characters live in.  It's a very emotional story about a young boy, Takaki Tono, who falls in love with a girl in elementary school.  Unfortunately, his family moves around a lot and while they attempt to stay in touch, writing letters to one another over the years, and even taking a long train ride to see each other during a snowstorm, they eventually fall out of touch, words of unrequited love left unspoken between them.  Takaki's relationship with the girl, Akari Shinohara, shapes the rest of his youth and early adulthood, where he finds himself uncertain when it comes to forming relationships with other women.  This book is divided into three acts, just like the film, and Kanae Sumida is the main character of the second act of the story, as it follows her infatuation and one-sided love for Takaki, despite his disinterest.  The third act kind of brings the feelings of all three individuals to a head, showing how they are able to move on with life despite the disappointments they've encountered.  This is a really thick manga, clocking in at 566 pages, but it moves quickly and is never bogged down with too much narrative or story.  In fact, it's kind of a breezy read, like a summer romance, although it definitely packs a lot of emotion into the lives of the characters.  I like how the story rotates between characters, so we get to see Takiko from several different perspectives, at different points in his life.  A lot of the story is told through the expressions of the characters and internal monologue, which makes for a pretty personal experience, which was also rather pleasant.  I think that some people will be disappointed by how this story ends, even if it does pick up dangling plot threads.  It's just not the romantic reunion that people probably expect, but it's still packs an emotional punch nonetheless, and I love the final scene with Takaki and Akari.  It's perhaps a little cold and distant, but it's realistic and holds a lot of hope for the future of all parties involved.  This manga tackles big themes of love, expectations and uncertainty, and tells the story of a lost boy in a very honest and intimate way.  I really enjoyed this book.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pick of the Week 7/4

Happy 4th!  Here is the book you should be paying attention to, in comic shops today!!

Punisher by Rick Remender Omnibus HC - Rick Remender's work on Marvel's The Punisher is all collected together in one hardcover volume for $99.99, a run that many people seem to like a lot.  Included here are Punisher #1-16, Franken-Punisher #17-21, an annual, a Dark Reign one-shot, a couple issues of Dark Wolverine, and the five-issue mini Punisher: In the Blood.

Other Noteworthy Releases
5 Centimeters Per Second GN
Batman: Earth One HC
Batman & Robin (Volume 1): Born To Kill HC
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine (Volume 1): Freefall TP
Crime Does Not Pay Archives (Volume 2) HC
Dreadstar Omnibus TP
Fables (Volume 17): Inherit the Wind TP
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors (Volume 1) TP
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1
Hero Worship #1
Infernal Man-Thing #1 (of 3)
Jiu Jiu (Volume 1)
Peanuts (Volume 1) TP
Secret Warriors Omnibus HC
Suicide Squad (Volume 1): Kicked In the Teeth TP
Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years (Volume 11) HC
Wizzywig HC
Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors TP

Monday, July 02, 2012

Manga Monday: Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan (Volume 1)
Hajime Isayama

This Kodansha Manga Award-winning book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the remaining humans live behind a series of walls for their safety.  Earth has been overrun by giants that look like warped humans, and behave like savages, and seem to have a taste for human beings.  It's been a hundred years since the three walls were built to house the survivors, and while some of the remaining people explore the world beyond the walls to try to learn about the giants and fight them in their own territory (The Scouting Legion), it's mostly a taboo subject to speak of leaving their sanctuary.  Aside from The Scouting Legion, there are two other branches of the military in this world: Stationary troops, who protect the town and reinforce the walls, and The Military Police, who maintain public order.  Eren Jaeger wishes to join The Scouting Legion, despite the protests of his family, and once a titanic giant appears, eclipsing their 100-meter walls, and changing the playing field, he vows to kill the giants, especially the titan, once and for all.  This manga jumps forward in time after the giant titan attack, as this is a rather devestating event and holds repercussions for the main character, as well as the other survivors, bringing things to the present, where Eren is part of the military and participates in attacking the giants.  This is a really action-packed book, and while I wish some of the action was a little clearer and easier to follow, this book keeps its readers on the edge of their seats.  The world that Isayama has built is really interesting, and the mysterious past of the main character, along with his determined attitude, make you really root for him.  The giants are really creepy, with plenty of cool designs for the monsters, and haunting scenes involving them and their behavior, especially the chilling human looks they give before eating human beings.  Overall, this is a really fun new series, with some rather shocking events that take place that make you wonder where the author could possibly go with it next.  I definitely recommend people at least take a look at this book - it's a rather unique read.