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Showing posts from November, 2005

Top 10 Comics of 2005

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Continuing my list of my favorite ten comics of the year... 10. Girls by the Luna Brothers (Image Comics). I really didn't know much about this comics before I picked up the trade, but I'm glad I bought it. It takes place in a small town, very down-to-earth, a little hickish. But then strange things begin to happen involving a girl that was picked up naked on the roadside. It feels really strange when things happen that shouldn't just because it seems so grounded in this all-American community. You kind of feel the shock that these people must be feeling. It's really interesting, even if the metaphors are pretty blatant. It's kind of a screwed-up horror book. Very fun. 9. The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Saturday Rainy Day Fun Book by Chris Ware (Pantheon) Collecting Ware's comic strips from Rusty Brown to Jimmy Corrigan , from Quimby the Mouse to Big Tex , this book has it all: an ongoing strip that threads through the entire book

Top 20 Comics of the Year: Part One

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Okay, it's that time of year again, where lists dominate the internet, overwhelming us, pulling us this way and that. My list may not be a traditional view of the top twenty comics that have come out this past year, but they are the twenty I personally enjoyed the most. I'm not going to put something in my list just because I feel obligated to do so. And so, this is the first half of the best of the year... 20. Seven Soldiers: Guardian by Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart (DC Comics) The new Manhatten Guardian surprised me by becoming my favorite of the maxiseries Seven Soldiers so far. I wasn't expecting much, but the creative zaniness of this story just worked, with each issue seeming like a story in its own right, all different from one another, but all great nonetheless. 19. Mora by Phil Harmon (Image Comics) A strange, disturbing horror story with three storylines drifting and overlapping through four issues. Read more 18. Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark

In passing...Black Widow to Zatanna

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This past week was another slow one, as only a few comics came out for me. Aside from Frankenstein , here's what I read... Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #3 (of 6) - It's never a good sign when you have to go back through a comic to refresh yourself as to what happened... These past two Black Widow mini-series have been entertaining, but nothing to brag about. Devin Grayson and Greg Rucka's explorations of the Russian spy's escapades (under the Marvel Knights imprint also) were much better, as stories that had focus, lively characters, cool moments...in other words, everything Richard K. Morgan's versions don't have. Really, the only thing this series has going for it is the art, and even then, Bill Sienkiewicz is only doing the finishes. 4/10 Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4 (of 4) - The wacky tale of magic comes to a head here as Zatanna has a cosmic magical battle. Chalk-full of those cool moments and interesting characters that I mentioned befor

Patrick's Top 10 of 2005

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(I'll get around to posting my favorites of the year soon, but take a look at Patrick's list now...) 1. Walt & Skeezix by Frank King, edited by Jeet Heer, Chris Oliveros & Chris Ware 2. Black Hole by Charles Burns 3. The Complete Peanuts 1955 to 1956 & The Complete Peanuts 1957 to 1958 by Charles Schulz, edited by Gary Groth 4. Krazy & Ignatz 1935 to 1936: "A Wild Warmth of Chromatic Gravy" by George Herriman, edited by Bill Blackbeard 5. The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Saturday Rainy Day Fun Book by Chris Ware 6. Hanshin by Moto Hagio (as appeared in The Comics Journal #269 ) 7. Kramer's Ergot 5 , edited by Sammy Harkham 8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley 9. The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, edited by Adrian Tomine 10. Superf*ckers by James Kochalka Honorable Mentions: Mome, Summer 2005 , edited by Gary Groth & Eric Reynolds The Dial and Other Stories b

Previews: February '06

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What goodies are in store for us in February of next year...? Antarctic Press: - Alice In Wonderland #1 (of 4) - The cover of this solicitation caught my attention, but I didn't realize it was the creator of Neotopia until I read the captions later. Archaia Studios Press: - Mouse Guard: Belly of the Beast #1 (of 6) - This looks so damn cute. I love the art of the series. Dark Horse: - Hellboy: Makoma, or, A Tale Told By a Mummu in the New York City Explorers' Club on August 16, 1993 #1 (of 2) - Mike Mignola on a new Hellboy mini! - Lady Snowblood (volume 3): Retribution part 1 - The first Lady Snowblood trade was great . It's a treat when I see a new one is coming out. - Octopus Girl (volume 1) - The cover for this book looks awesome. You gotta love those great Japanese horror manga. DC: - Showcase Presents: House of Mystery (volume 1) - Isn't that a great cover? This volume includes work by artists such as Gil Kane and Neal Adams. - Manhunter #19 -

Morrison's Frankenstein

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Will Grant Morrison ever cease to amaze? He must be the best writer working in mainstream comics right now (at least now that Alan Moore is "retiring"). In his new Seven Soldiers mini-series, Frankenstein , Morrison pairs up with Doug Mahnke, whose pencils perfectly compliment the writing of this monster title in all its dark, moody glory. In the opening scene, we are introduced to our main character, although most of the issue takes place over a hundred years later, depicting events that lead to his reappearance. For the most part, this issue follows a high school and the startling transformations that take place due to an outcast nicknamed "Uglyhead," who suddenly has the ability to hear the other students' thoughts, and uses those thoughts against them to bend them to his will. There are maggot monsters and Sheeda and cool action scenes. This is easily the most impressive debut of a Seven Soldiers title. And now that Frankenstein has returned, it'll be

In Passing...Deadly Genesis to Manhunter

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Since I don't like to spoil much in terms of plot, I'm going to start giving grades to my mini-reviews, out of ten points... Runaways #10 - The runaways have gone to New York to aid Cloak in his quest to clear his name. And the kids get to meet some big time heroes. Is it just me or was there something really cool about She-Hulk walking by and the kids getting all starstruck? 9/10 Manhunter # 16 - Manhunter meets Mr. Bones and is presented with a proposition (following a fight with Skorpio, who has a really cool, sleak look even if he wasn't much of a fight). The status quo just doesn't like to stand still for very long in this book, as things are on shaky ground and shifting once more. 9.1/10 Fables #43 - Something interesting is brewing here, between Beauty and Prince Charming and Beast, between the animal farm and New York, between the Arabian fables and all of the others. It'll be interesting to see where all of this takes us. 8.5/10 X-Men: Deadly Gene

Mora

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Mora is a strange little tale, written and illustrated by Paul Harmon, from Image Comics. This four-issue mini is the "first act" of Mora , with maybe more to come? It didn't sell very well at all, but a lot of Image titles are extremely low on the sales charts and continue nonetheless. Mora consists of three stories that weave between the four issues, told by the narrators - a mutilated tortoise and hare. The story involving a young girl named Mora is about how this young girl befriends another girl in the city of witches, and has some odd "sixth sense" about her. In this city of witches, there are many dangerous creatures lurking about, crazed demons and child-devouring monsters, of which Mora and her friend learn through experience. The second story is almost exclusively related by the narrators, as sort of a fable, about a lion whose black soul consumes it, causing it to inevitably devour its own mother and her cubs. The third and final storyline i

5 Worst Comics of 2005

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It's almost that time of year again when the "best of" lists appear all across the internet and on TV. Comics Reporter just linked to Amazon's Editors ' and Customers ' picks for ten best graphic novels of the year. Included in the editors' picks were lame things like Sin City volume one's second edition and Marvel 1602 . What is going on over there? Not that the customer picks were any better. They were almost all humor collections. I'm not quite ready to do my "best of" list for the year, but I am ready to proclaim the worst comics of the year. Not that I read many comics that I'm sure would be in this list. I didn't read like, Tarot Witch of the Black Rose or whatever the hell that atrociously oversexed comic is, or other comics that I knew were awful. So, this list is really the worst five comics that I was subjected to this year. Enjoy and by God, pass on by when you see these titles in the store... 1. Gimoles by Mike

DMZ

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DMZ #1 by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli The DMZ is the area that lies between two opposing American forces, comprising of the island of Manhatten. It's basically ground zero, a war zone, where civilians still live, wishing no part of either side's war. These civilians have become rather ruthless, stringing up bodies of any outsiders, laying down rules for different "territories" or neighborhoods. It's basically a gang-ruled area completely abandoned by America's two opposing forces. The first issue of the series works as a fantastic introduction as we follow an intern thrown into a news crew that is going into the DMZ to report on the type of life that the rest of the Americas can only imagine. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned and our intern ends up alone in this hostile environment, fighting to survive. If the rest of this series follows suit, this could be a really great series. My hopes weren't the highest when picking this b

New Excaliber

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Chris Claremont and Michael Ryan's new incarnation of Excaliber launched on Wednesday. Yes, I gave Claremont one more chance to not completely and utterly suck. Given my affection for the original Excaliber , I couldn't just let this one go by without giving it a look. So...the new team includes (as can be seen by the cover) Captain Britain, Dazzler, Pete Wisdom, Nocturne and Juggernaut of whom Captain Britain and Wisdom were part of the original team. Also appearing in the first issue were Excaliber favorites Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers and Lockheed. Even Courtney Ross, an old foe of the team, appears in the book. Meggan, my favorite Excaliber character after Pryde, was notably absent, which was addressed by her husband, Captain Britain. We may see her in issues to come - who knows? So, was it good? Shockingly, it was pretty good. The dialogue was kind of clumsy at times and the comic was a little crowded, which seems to be Claremont's trademark style the

In Passing...Polly to The Pulse

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While last week was kind of a bust for comics released, plenty was released this week to satisfy the avid fan of the medium. The Book of Lost Souls #2 - Colleen Doran and J. Michael Straczynski's "Icon" book from marvel actually made sense this time. It was a neat issue, drifting between a fairt tale world a housewife imagined herself a part of and well, reality. It wasn't exactly mind-blowing or anything, but it was a solid story to give us a taste of what the book is going to be like. Polly and the Pirates #2 - Ted Naifeh's new mini-series about a little girl kidnapped by pirates continues in this funny, charming little comic. This is very different from the gloomy atmosphere of Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin , yet his artwork compliments this story all the same. The Pulse #12 - Jesus Christ, this kid is never going to come out! How many issues do we have to wait to get a glimpse of the kid? Oh, wait, yeah, he was on the cover from issue one of the sto

Independent Films

Okay, here's a fun meme I saw at Tom the Dog's blog ...It's Empire Magazine's 50 Greatest Independent Films. So, go ahead and copy it if you want and have fun (I changed the rules because I'm not computer savvy and don't know how to strike through letters) Blue the ones you've seen and liked. Red the ones you've seen and which you didn't like or which are just plain overrated. Italicize the ones you haven't seen but want to. Underline the ones you haven't seen and don't want to. Don't do anything to the ones you've never heard of. 1. Reservoir Dogs - Quentin Tarantino's awesome. Good choice. 2. Donnie Darko - I love this movie but it's kind of annoying how it's become such a big cult classic. Whatever. Anyway, it's too high on the list. Although this was the movie that introduced us to Jake Gyllenhaal (drool) 3. The Terminator - Okay, if Terminator's on here....where's Star Wars ? This is a crappy

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

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I finished Phoebe Gloeckner's The Diary of a Teenage Girl this evening, a hybrid of narrative and comics about a young girl, Minnie, growing up in San Francisco with her single mother and sister. It was a really unique experience. It's told in diary format, so it's not exactly like I felt like I was doing what she was doing, but yet I felt myself get really anxious when she was stressed or confused, and really mad at the people who used her. As the novel progressed and her life spiraled more and more out of control, I felt a sense of hopelessness along with her, and the depression she suffered was instilled in me. I think it's a really great work of art that can convey those feelings so absolutely upon their readers. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is very honest and almost naive in a way, as Minnie pours out her heart in detail, indiscriminate of bad/good behavior. Her choices are kind of left for the readers to make sense of and condemn or not. I really enjoyed

In Passing...The Bulleteer & Spidey

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It was kind of a slow week for comics (which was kind of nice since I'm flat broke). I had to pass on the trades I wanted for the week ( Catwoman: When In Rome and Excaliber Classics ), and settled in with a few floppies. Seven Soldiers: The Bulleteer #1 - Another very promising start to a Seven Soldiers title. I think its debut was second only to The Guardian . While it was very straight-forward, it was just well-executed and creative and fun . Even when we see the cliche scientist getting carried away with his experiment, there's a great twist on it. Grant Morrison's awesome. Now we only have to wait for the last series to debut - Frankenstein ! Ultimate Spider-man #85 - This was a pretty lacklustre finale to what has been a great storyline. I was really excited with each of the last issues I read from this "Warriors" arc, but was left a little cold with this one. Ah, well. Overall, it was a great read. I consider this a kind of a "cool dow

Season of the Witch

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Jai Nitz and Kevin Sharpe's Season the Witch mini-series made its debut this past Wednesday with the issue entitled "Spring." Me, loving the witch genre of comics, had to check it out of course. I actually really liked the interior art of the book, despite the book's horrible cover by the same artist (I like how they advertise for this artist formerly working on Crossgen. What does that even mean ? Shouldn't they have at least used a specific title or something?). Beyond the art, however, there's not much more going on. The story is about a mistreated girl (her parents are poor, so kids pick on her, yadda yadda yadda(even though I've never seen a kid picked on based on income before...does that even happen?)) who gets the chance to leave her crappy life behind to become a warrior in a mystical world. Very mediocre story, barely holds my interest, but God, the next issue has a great variant Darwyn Cooke cover. I can stick it out for one more issue.