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Showing posts from October, 2005

The Chuckling Whatsit

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And just in time for Halloween, I had enough time to squeeze in another book appropriate for the season, Richard Sala's The Chuckling Whatsit . This is quite a crime noir book, complete with lunatics escaped from the asylum, a band of thugs and people tiptoeing around every which way, watching everyone. There's a huge host of characters and more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at. At its heart, this is quite a mystery, but the horror elements are close to the surface of the story as well. The Gull Street Ghoul has returned after a long absence to kill fortune tellers, boasting a mask sewn from human flesh. There are black crows galour and creepy, laughing dolls that get under your skin. A perfect book to read on a dark and stormy night. And Richard's Sala has such a unique, great style that's it's just fun to look at the panels and the dark atmosphere he presents.

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #1

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Finally! After a week of agonizing anticipation, your curiosity will be sated. The number one book to read for Halloween! But first let's have a quick recap, shall we? 10 . Uzumaki by Junji Ito 9 . Skinwalker by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, Brian Hurtt & Arthur Dela Cruz 8 . Spellbinders by Mike Carey and Steve Perkins 7 . The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore & Charlie Adlard 6 . 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith 5 . The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli & Steve Parkhouse 4 . Mnemovore by Hans Radionoff, Ray Fawkes & Mike Huddleston 3 . Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters by John Rozum and Paul Lee 2 . Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh ... 1. Dampyr , written by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo, art by Majo Yes, IDW Publishing, the company that specializes in horror has produced a comic worthy to be named the best book to read

Mark of the Succubus

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Succubi have always been one of my favorite monsters (well, since Morrigan of the Darkstalkers cartoon). So, I was happy to hear about a series that featured one of the conniving demons, with a really classic twist. Mark of the Succubus is written by Ashly Raiti with art by Irene Flores, published by Tokyopop. It's American manga, so it's published in regular book format. I think it's got pretty good art all the way through the book, although the dots used for shading can be a bit much at times. There's one scene where a character changes into a blackbird, his arm changing first, completely encased in feathers that pull out from shoulder to forearm as he transforms - it's just a really cool drawing. So, the book is about a succubus-in-training who has just earned her permit to walk among the humans, and has unwittingly fallen for a human boy (and of course, one of the demon rules is not to get attached to humans). The boy is an unmotivated kid who's having tr

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #2

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I haven't read too many "gothic" comics like Emily the Strange and Lenore , but I have read Ted Naifeh. I didn't much care for Gloom Cookie , but I loved the series that put him on the map... 2. Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh A sarcastic, bitter little girl claims the second-highest spot in the countdown, as she is deep in the world of witchcraft and monsters (her uncle Aloysius is a warlock, after all). The Eisner-award nominated Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things was the first book in the series that introduced us to Naifeh's universe of clawed hands and gloomy atmosphere. After that was my favorite of the series, Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics , followed soon after by Courtney Crumrin In the Twilight Kingdom . There's a werewolf character who haunts the woods near Courtney's house who appears in each of the volumes, along with a few other supporting characters, who becomes a sort of friend as the series progresses, if not a great s

In Passing...Superf*ckers to Lost Souls

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The Book of Lost Souls #1 - J. Michael Straczynski and Colleen Doran's new title published under the exclusive "Icon" imprint is a fantasy that spans from about the Victorian Era to the present, following a character as his hurt leads him to seek a way to end it all, but ends up with a mysterious book, and eventually having to choose before a creature bathed in darkness which side of the line he walks he will fall on - good or evil. I really like Colleen Doran's work on A Distant Soil , so I wasn't surprised that I liked the art of this series, although I was pleasantly surprised by the coloring - it really stood out as sensational (done by Dan Brown). Straczynski's story didn't exactly blow me away, but the dialogue was dead-on. I love the talking cat and what he represents in the scene he's involved in. The art and tone were easily enough to hold my interest had the storytelling been lacking (which is wasn't - it was more just a bare bones set-u

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #3

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There have been few good series of horror that kind of skate the line of superheros. The late Crossgen's Route 666 was one of them, as were Joss Whedon's television shows Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel (best damn TV ever) and his future slayer tale Fray from Dark Horse. Going into the top three books for Halloween, we find another such book, again from Vertigo/DC, again uncollected in trade format...(images courtesy of Mile High Comics ) 3. Midnight, Mass: Here There Be Monsters by John Rozum and Paul Lee The Kadmons are world-famous monster hunters. Their adventures were first recorded in the eight-issue mini-series Midnight, Mass (taking place in Midnight, Massachusettes), and have been followed up in Here There Be Monsters with a grander story (probably due to the fact that the series was supposedly going to be picked up as a television series. Sales certainly didn't warrant a sequel). Their greatest foe is a demon named Magellan, whose ambitions reach new

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #4

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I've enjoyed many Vertigo-ish horror comics that have come out in recent years. Obviously, some are better than others. Some books that were good but didn't make my countdown that have the same feel as Vertigo titles are The Blackburne Covenant and The Devil's Footprints . Both are by Dark Horse, if I'm not mistaken. But the book holding the number four slot is truly Vertigo... 4. Mnemovore by Hans Rodionoff, Ray Fawkes, and Mike Huddleston . One of the true, great horror books I've read in recent years just came to a conclusion this past September. Mnemovore is a six-issue mini-series that follows Kaley after a skiing accident left her without many memories from her life. We follow in her footsteps as she reacquaints herself with family and friends frustrated with her condition, slowly regaining the memories she has lost. But there's something else there in her memories, in the lives of those around her, just out of the periphery of her vision. Something th

Previews: January '06

It's once again time to highlight those eye-catching items in Previews that may escape some people's radar... Avatar Press ~ Blackgas - Warren Ellis does zombies! Dark Horse ~ Scary Book (volume 1): Shadows - This is by the "Stephen King of Japan," Umezu Kazuo. Junji ito was influenced by this guy. This is going to be awesome! DC Comics ~ All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #4 - Black Canary makes an appearance! I can only imagine... ~ Manhunter #18 - The covers are drawn by Jesus Saiz again! Yay! Oh, and Manhunter gets a recurring villain! ~ Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #2 - Of the Seven Soldiers books, this one looks most appealing to me. Mister Miracle #3 also comes out this month. I think its debut was the only issue I've not liked of a Seven Soldiers book thus far. ~ The Exterminators #1 - I saw a preview of this at Chicago Wizard World, and I was intrigued. I'll definitely give it a shot. ~ Fables #45 - The "Arabia

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #5

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Continuing with the countdown, we move on to one of the most celebrated series in comics, the series Vertigo/DC is probably best know for, and the one to put Neil Gaiman on the map. 5. The Sandman: The Doll's House written by Neil Gaiman , art by Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli and Steve Parkhouse . The Sandman series is a very strange work overall, but strange turns to scary in the second volume of the series. So appropriately enough, Clive Barker writes the introduction for the collection. The Sandman follows the title character and his siblings that make up the Endless, which includes Death, a character who has become popular in her own right, who is present when the story begins, setting the tone. As with most of the stories in the series, a human is focused upon. This time around, it's Rose, a teenaged girl with multi-colored hair who is moving into a new apartment building with some strange, eccentric tenants, including the Spider-wo

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #6

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IDW has become a force in comics, particularly when it comes to the horror genre. They've got books published on Mr. Hyde, zombies, vampires, etc. and show no sign of stopping. Recently, they even began to publish a horror magazine anthology titled Doomed , in the style of the old Eerie comics. Very EC. Steve Niles seems to be the creator at IDW, as it seems nearly every new title is written by the guy. I've checked out Remains , Wake the Dead and Dark Days , all Niles-written. But hey, if the readers are responding... So, yes, the number six book on my countdown is published by IDW. 6. 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith . If there was a book that put IDW on the map (and well, there was) it would be 30 Days of Night . Originally created as a pitch for a movie, Steve Niles took this to comics when no interest was shown in the story. The joke seems to be on Hollywood, however, as after the comic was produced, there was a bidding war that ended in the rights

Black Hole

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Charles Burns' Black Hole took the artist nine years to create. And finally, the twelve issues have been collected into a beautiful hardcover for all to enjoy. The premise of this creepy, but human book is of a plague that affects teenagers if they have sex with someone who has been infected, manifesting in either subtle or disturbingly overt ways: some people's heads are turned into something of living skeletons, some people have little worm-like appendages growing from their ribs. It really all comes down to luck. But the plague is just a device to tell the stories of these teenagers, who grow up feeling awkward and ostracized. Their bodies are changing, they're making life-altering decisions (like having sex) and they're growing apart from their lifelong friends. The plague forces these issues to occur rapidly, sometimes ending in a violent scenario for these trapped kids. Infected kids basically have two choices once they've contracted the plague: go in

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #7

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There are some cool superhero brushes with the supernatural that can be really fun to read up on at this time too. - One of my favorite moments is when Kitty Pryde wards off Dracula with a star of David. There's a whole thing with Storm and Dracula, where he wants her to be his queen in the old Marvel Essentials of X-Men . Then, in the short-lived Mutant X series, Kitty hunts that reality's Storm (known as Bloodstorm) to give her friend peace from her vampirism, since that reality's superheros are all sort of twisted into monstrous versions of themselves. - Anytime Belasco shows up in X-Men is kinda scary, what with his castle of bones in limbo. There was a big conflict that ran through Excaliber , that went over into X-Men Unlimited that involved Margali Szardos and Amanda Sefton, that I love, but I think his best story is from the Magic limited series with Illyana and Storm (from the late seventies/early eighties?) where Belasco tries to charge his bloodstone to brin

In Passing...10/24

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And the comics of last week that I haven't done big reviews of... Ultimate Spider-man #84 - The sixth issue of the "Warriors" story arc (one more to go) pits Spider-man vs. Elektra vs. Iron Fist vs. Black Cat vs. Shang-Chi vs. Hammerhead vs. Moon Knight vs...okay, maybe that's all, but by god, those are a lot of tights in one room. And Bendis knows it, playing with the maelstrom he's created by getting all of these characters in this situation. People don't know who to fight necessarily, a lot of things are happening that are hard to follow, and people end up going after people that they...maybe?...shouldn't go after. But it's all really fun. It's something not seen much in superhero comics, but you'd think it would happen more often, what with NYC so packed with superheros. Bravo, Bendis. Runaways #9 - A new story begins as Cloak finally recalls what went down with the runaways back in the first volume of the series, and seeks them ou

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #8

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Continuing my countdown of ten comics to read for Halloween, we come to a comic about magic. Unfortunately, there are no werewolf books in my countdown, as that monster usually gets the shaft for some reason (where are the movies? books? Where's the love? Damn vampires.), but here we do get witches. I have kind of a weird inclination toward girl witch books. Kind of strange, I know, but there it is. So, last year, I was really excited about Marvel's Witches series (just horrible)...then DC/Vertigo's The Witching (disappointing)...I sought out the older DC/Vertigo series Witchcraft (which was...okay), but nothing had that certain element where it was....oh, you know, good. Until this year. I'd just about given up on finding a good one, so I was completely blown away... 8. Spellbinders by Mike Carey and Steve Perkins I know a lot of people are going to be thinking "lame, a Marvel Next title," but by God, this book is damn good. And, for those of y

Manhunter #15

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Manhunter #15 is a stand-alone issue very different from previous issues, called "Costume Drama." It goes back to the beginning of the Manhunter series when Kate Spencer borrows items seized by the police as evidence, and uses them to become the new Manhunter. The issue is divided into three shorts, each telling the history of different items that Kate chooses to add to her vigilantee outfit. They're all written by regular series writer Marc Andreyko, but the art is done by different creators. "The Suit" is done by Stephen Sadowski and Andrew Pepoy, "The Gauntlet" is drawn by Sean Phillips, and "The Staff"'s art is provided by Rags Morales, Bob Petrecca and Shawn Martinbrough. The stories thread through the evidence locker as Kate wanders among villains' weapons and armor to make her choices, the scenes of which are drawn by Javier Pina and Fernando Blanco. It's really kind of neat to see the different artists work on the

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #9

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Some books I've been meaning to read that could have potentially made this countdown are the aforementioned Black Hole , as well as Warren Ellis' Atmospherics, Ghost of Hoppers and Full Moon Fever . I passed on titles such as Blood + Water and Nightside when going through my back issues. It's a shame that some of the good stuff isn't collected in trades, like something coming up later in the list. This next one, however, was collected, albeit overlooked when it was. 9. Skinwalker from Oni Press , written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, art by Brian Hurtt and Arthur Dela Cruz. A body is found on a Navajo Indian reservation, completely skinned, after the navajo boy had several calls by a federal agent. The boy had been interested in books on skinwalking, on wearing the skins of animals to become those animals after a ritual. He'd even stolen sacred books on the subject. And now it seems that someone is wearing human skins, leaving a bloody trail in h

Ultimate Fantastic Four

I picked up the twenty-fourth issue of Ultimate Fantastic Four on a whim, just because I though the solicitations for the Tomb of Namor arc looked really cool - my first issue of the series. I wasn't too blown away by the differences between the regular Fantastic Four and this version. Sue throws tantrums ro something, Reed wears glasses and the Storms' mom may become a big adversary to the team. Nothing to really constitute an ultimatized team. I like what DC's doing with their All-star line, just giving creators complete control to tell something completely different for a change. It's like what Grant Morrison did for New X-Men should have been the Ultimate version of the team, because it was a refreshing, creator-driven take. Marvel's line just lacks that initiative that DC seems to be taking to get people really excited about the titles and actually make some really great comics. The Ultimate line has just become this thing where stories are retold by

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #10

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In honor of Halloween's approach, I will be counting down ten comics that I feel people should read at such a time. The titles may not all include monsters, but rather suspense, or they may include monsters, but aren't really very scary, but I think it's a good, appropriate mix of goodies. Now, I haven't read a lot of the old EC Comics or the Essentials of Tomb of Dracula or Frankenstein's Monster , or even Black Hole from this past week, but given what I have read, I think I've put together a pretty damn good list of modern titles to thrill and amaze. I have read plenty of comics, after all, and I do gravitate toward the horror titles, being a fan of slasher films and thriller novels growing up. My favorite horror movies, to get completely off-topic are The Blair Witch Project, The Ring, The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre , the first three of which actually hindered my sleep after first viewing them. But anyway, without further adieu, the first o

In Passing...10/20

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So, I finally got around to reading all of my comics from this past week, so it's mini-review time... Y-the Last Man #38 - Continuing the "Paper Dolls" storyline, we get to learn a little more about Agent 355, and Yorick realizes the repercussions of having his picture taken. The Grimoire #6 - Everything comes to a head here as Amandine and her new friends face off against Medea. The first couple pages of this pretty intense battle are completely silent. It was really sort of neat. And the action was quick and exciting. This battle really exceeded my expectations, paying off the build-up. House of M #7 - Olivier Coipel's pencils are alright on this series, but...I think his storytelling just sucks. A lot of really cool things happened in this issue, but they just didn't have the emphasis they should have in those cluttered panels. The Scarlet Witch's last three words should have been the coolest panel but...no. Coipel just couldn't pull it of

Cartoonist's Eye

I ventured into Chicago today to visit Chicago Comics and Quimby's, as well as listen to Ivan Brunetti's curator's talk along the "Cartoonist's Eye" exhibit. So, I picked up the comics I was looking forward to this week (as well as Ultimate Fantastic Four #24 - the "Tomb of Namor" beginning), and Patrick finally tracked down Or Else #3 and Stuff of Dreams #3, but was unfortunately unable to find the latest Comics Journal. Sigh. But, on a bright note, he was happy to find The Complete Peanuts (volume 4) . Highlights of the "Cartoonist's Eye" exhibit: - Rory Hayes : I'd never encountered any of his work before. It looks disturbing, but sooo cool. The art is just great with such cool iamges of demons and impaled teddy bears. Patrick tracked down some articles in Comic Art and The Comics Journal for me to go through. - Richard Sala : I've been meaning to read some of his comics. Peculia looks really cool, and the

New Comics Are Fun!

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There's a lot of good stuff coming out in the next few weeks, which is always nice. This week I'll be reading: Black Hole Collected Edition Hardcover - I loved the art from peaking through the single issues. I've been waiting for it to be collected. Manhunter #15 - A new story arc begins with more Kate Spencer goodness. I'm a little sad about the new cover artist, although it still looks pretty... Runaways #9 - Another new story arc with regular penciler Adrian Alphona back on board after a two issue fill-in. The gang ventures to New York and bump into Cloak and Dagger again. Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy #4 (of 4) - Another soldier's story is semi-wrapped up. This one - the strange Klarion. (Ooh...I hope the cat makes it!) Ultimate Spider-man #84 - The "Warriors" storyline continues. It's been a surprisingly good story (after a few misses from Bendis). And next week.... Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #2 - The s

Sexy Voice and Robo

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Sexy Voice and Robo by Iou Kuroda is a rare treat. It's also a rare format for manga - it's a thick book the size of other graphic novels on my bookshelf, easily overshadowing most other manga. Incorpoarted into this book is the assisted dating phenomenon from Japan, a strange form of prostitution that usually involves school girls (there's a great film by Hideaki Anno about this called Love and Pop .) Our protagonist, Sexy Voice, plays with this phone service sex-dating, putting her abilities to change her voice, as well as analyze other people based on their voices and remember each voice distinctly, to use amusing herself. Her talents are soon noticed, however, as she is hired as a sort of spy to do odd jobs for an old man who catches her in the midst of her games. Throughout all of this is a pathetic man named Robo whom Sexy Voice played with initially, who is drawn into the missions that Sexy Voice finds herself involved in. This is a great read, really differe

Sea of Red

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Image has been doing a pretty good job getting some interesting titles out there, as of late. From the Luna Brothers to Strange Girl to The Walking Dead , they seem to be branching out and just attempting to put out good material - the kind that still appeals to mainstream superhero fans, in genres of horror and the like. Sea of Red is such a title of what I like to think of as new wave Image books. It's a blend of pirates and horror - vampire pirates to be precise. After being sunk at the bottom of the ocean (ala Angel ) for centuries, a film crew discovers the living corpse as they take him aboard their ship. It's an interesting idea for a book, but that's about all this book has going for it. It's a rather uninspired story that borrows things from other sources, creating this whacky sort of hodge-podge of ideas. It's Angel at the beginning, then travels into that weird desperate-Hollywood-movie-director-must-tape-everything-despite-his-crew-dying-aroun

What a week

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I finally got a virus off of my computer today after a week and a half of sluggish maneuvering and strange happenings. So, I'm just going to let out a deep breath and give a light post tonight (since it's pretty late). This week, I picked up: ~ Fables #42 - New storyline! Following up the great "Homelands" story arc is "Arabian Nights (and Days)." This story introduces us to a new set of fable characters, which could be a lot of fun. ~ The Grimoire #6 - Unfortunately, my local store didn't have the Elk's Run Collected Edition, so this is still my favorite Speakeasy title (until maybe Strangeways?). ~ Necromancer #2 - I was really pleasantly surprised that I liked the debut issue of this series as much as I did. I hope it keeps up. ~ Shojo Beat #5 - More Nana ! ~ Y-the Last Man #38 - Continuing the storyline in Australia, where Yorick's picture is taken by a reporter. The series has been good since the "Girl on Girl" a

American Elf

I've just gotten through James Kochalka's American Elf , the collection of his Sketchbook Diaries. And seriously, reading these strips just made me really happy. Each one of them just had this feel about them, whether they were hilarious, cutesy or just strange, they resonated. I think it has a lot to do with the Magic Boy character that Kochalka adopts when writing about these little moments from his life. He's a little childish, sometimes angry, sometimes stubborn, but overall just extremely likable. Reading this, I would think, gosh I would really like it if James Kochalka were my friend . lol. But anyways, I've read Kochalka's Peanut Butter and Jeremy's Best Book Ever and, of course, Superf*ckers , but this is his opus. This is where you should be looking to get premium Kochalka goodness. Check out his strips at his American Elf site , updated daily, if you want to see what I'm talking about.

In Passing...Spellgame & Fell

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Hey, sorry it took me a while to post. I had a rather busy week. I have two quick reviews for you today: Image's Fell #2 and Speakeasy's Spellgame #1 . When I was going to Speakeasy's site to copy an image of Spellgame 's cover, I came across this comic... The solicitation reads as follows: Kindly Corpses #1 (AUG053105) Up until now, Dr. Hempel has lived a simple, reclusive life as a forensic doctor. But when bizarre corpses show up on his doorstep, and the Ministry of Death imposes new, demanding guidelines, the good doctor will learn there is much more to the world around him than he ever bargained for. Featuring fully painted art by Ivica Stevanovic. I'd never heard of this before, but it sounds pretty neat, I think. But on to the reviews... Fell #2 - Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's new series is shaping up to be quite a good read. The mysterious, disturbing town just creeps over the whole story, making everything seem rather unsettling

The all-important work...

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When most people think of a graphic novel, Maus is probably one of the first books to come to mind, if not the first thing. Well, I just had the pleasure of finally reading this tale of nazi Germany (both volumes). It was always one of those works that seemed comparable to reading a dry essay from English lit. I don't know why - maybe it's just because it has such critical acclaim and has been propelled to the forefront of the medium intimidatingly (like Patrick says: Shakespeare is really fun, but people have built it up so much that it's just intimidating and seems like a literary drag that only "intellectuals" can read, so it puts a lot of people off). But Maus is a really great read. At the beginning of the first volume, there's a quote from Adolf Hitler: "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." Thus, the tale is told from the perspective of mice, with cats as Germans (this also serves to soften the horrible images we s

Black Widow

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The sequel to the Black Widow mini-series "Homecoming" is truly a sequel. The story (of which the first issue just came out Wednesday) picks right up in the shattered glass and plaster ashes of the last storyline, where Black Widow was forced to investigate her origins and face the fact that she was preconditioned by her former allies. The sequel, entitled "The Things They Say About Her" opens with two men whose lives she destroyed in the last series, staring at the grave of a comrade who'd fallen by her hand, swearing revenge on her. Kestral, an operative who was following the Widow's bloody trail previously, then makes a proposition to these men, one we're not quite aware of the particulars of. Amidst this, Black Widow is still on the run from the government and smuggles herself into Cuba, where she meets a familiar face - Yelena Belova, the blonde Black Widow, who is now retired and sends Natasha on a mission for her. Meanwhile, Nick Fury learns

James Jean

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I don't know if many of you have visited James Jean's website , but it is full of really beautiful stuff. Example: the following X-Men illustration. I mean, wow. And that's just a taste of what you'll find there. There are plenty of illustrations from covers he's done to comics, such as Green Arrow, Fables, and Batgirl, as well as things likes ads he's been commissioned to do from the likes of Target. There are also just some stellar paintings he's done, things from his sketchbook and that great poster from the Toronto Comics Art Festival this year. It's definitely worth it to take a peek and just kind of browse through what's there. There are some real jems if you take the time to go through things, like this Castlevania picture... And don't miss the cool, eerie drawings under the "Recess" section!

Lady Snowblood

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The first volume of Lady Snowblood was released from Dark Horse this past week, entitled "The Deep-Seated Grudge." This series is by Kazuo Koike (writer of Lone Wolf and Cub , as well as Samurai Executioner ), with art by Kazuo Kamimura. As some of you may be aware, Lady Snowblood served as quite the influence on Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill (aka my favorite film ever). I was actually surprised by how much Tarantino borrowed from the story, as Snowblood's life is one of vengeance she intends to carry out upon the four murderers of her family (her mother actually killed one of the murderers, and has left her daughter to carry on her vendetta). Lady Snowblood is an assassin-for-hire whose ultimate goal is to finance the destruction of her targets. There's blood and flashing swords aplenty, as well as several nude scenes. Snowblood takes out guards in a Crazy-88-style battle and implicates her targets in scandals to force them to adhere to her (or rather, her

Polly & the Pirates

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I've been a fan of Ted Naifeh since I picked up my first Courtney Crumrin trade a few years ago. He created the best protagonist in the biting, anti-social Crumrin, with her sarcastic remarks, but general kindness. Naifeh does it again as we are introduced to Polly Pringle, a proper young girl who has grown up amid finery and academia. She's quite the golden girl compared to what we're used to from the mind of Naifeh, but she's quite the lovable protagonist, chastising pirates for their ill breeding, and trying to do what's deemed proper at all times. The book takes place in an age where, obviously, pirates are present, and people talk stiffly, in Victorian fashion. Polly is going to a school in St. Helvetia, where she is kept away from the dirty streets and the commoners, practically prisoner with a dozen other girls, including a mischeivous best friend and a dirty-minded hanger-on. When the pirates shatter Polly's peaceful life, she resorts to the behav