Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Non-posting Post

Hey, remember when this blog used to have reviews and commentaries and stuff?

You may have noticed a lack of such content recently. Alas, I've been dealing with RSI, a nasty cold, a Symposium over the weekend, and now one of my periodic Work Weeks from Heck. I haven't had much time to read many comics, let alone write about them.

But there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully next week I'll be able to get back on the ol' comics blogging horse. Until then, please amuse yourself with The Comic Series Wiki.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Yet Another Fantasy League: Week 3 Results

Here are the results from week 3 of Yet Another Fantasy League:

Moon Knights 56
Kickers Inc. 67 68
The Inferior Five 82

Nine Pound Hammers 55
B.P.R.D. 54

Danger Unlimited 40
Power Pack 49

Secret Six 66
Tomorrow Syndicate 102

Inferior 5 plus 6 62
The Maxx Squad 43

Current Standings:

Team W-L-T Pct Pts Streak
------------------- ----- ----- --- ------
1. Inferior 5 plus 6 3-0-0 1.000 201 W-3
2. Nine Pound Hammers 3-0-0 1.000 184 W-3
3. B.P.R.D. 2-1-0 .667 220 L-1
4. Power Pack 2-1-0 .667 189 W-1
5. Kickers Inc. 2-1-0 .667 147 W-1
6. Tomorrow Syndicate 1-2-0 .333 197 W-1
7. Secret Six 1-2-0 .333 189 L-1
8. The Inferior Five 1-2-0 .333 160 W-1
9. Moon Knights 1-2-0 .333 153 L-2
10.The Maxx Squad 1-2-0 .333 152 L-1 1-2-0 .333 140 L-1
12.Danger Unlimited 0-3-0 .000 153 L-3

Week 4 Games:

B.P.R.D. (2-1-0)
Kickers Inc. (2-1-0)

Moon Knights (1-2-0)
The Inferior Five (1-2-0)

Inferior 5 plus 6 (3-0-0)
vs. (1-2-0)

Nine Pound Hammers (3-0-0)
Power Pack (2-1-0)

Danger Unlimited (0-3-0)
Tomorrow Syndicate (1-2-0)

Secret Six (1-2-0)
The Maxx Squad (1-2-0)

Good luck to all!

In my other Fantasy Leagues, I won 83-41 in my friends & family league (2-1-0, third place), lost 93-70 in my public league (0-3-0, last place), and scored 481.25 points in my Pass & Kick league, to remain in first place. The finals of the playoffs continue in my fantasy basebell league, but as of this morning it's not looking too good (I'm training 8-2).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New This Week: September 28, 2005

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop later today:

The pick of the week is the SPX 2005 Anthology, which is not only a smorgasbord of indy comics stories, but the proceeds go to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. You get good comics, and you help out a good cause. You can't go wrong!

In other comics:

Abiogenesis have Strangehaven #18--which is funny, because the trade collection that included issue #18 came out *last* week...

Antarctic have three pocket manga collections: Chronicles of the Universe: Desperado Brothers, Mighty Tiny, and Gold Digger vol. 6. I'd recommend Mighty Tiny, seeing as it's a fine furry comic by Ben Dunn.

Archie have a new issue of Sabrina (#70).

Dark Horse have BPRD: The Black Flame #2.

DC debut their first two Essential Showcase collections of silver age stories in black and white: Showcase Presents Green Lantern & Showcase Presents Superman. You can also grab new issues of The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin (#2), JLA Classified (#12), Jack Cross (#2), Legion of Super-Heroes (#10), The Losers (#28), Otherworld (#7--last issue before the hiatus), Plastic Man (#18--buy it!), and the final issue of The OMAC Project (#6).

Evil Twin have a new Action Philosophers comic: Self Help For Ugly Loosers.

IDW have Angel: The Curse #4.

Image have a new issue of Invincible (#26) and the first collection for Sea of Red: No Grave but the Sea.

Kenzer & Co. have a new Knights of the Dinner Table (#107).

Marvel debut Black Widow 2, Drax the Destroyer, and Sentry; new issues of Daredevil (#77), Ultimate Spider-Man (#83), and X-Men Kitty Pryde Shadow & Flame (#4); the hardcover Black Panther: Who Is Black Panther collection; and a fourth Runaways digest collection.

Oni debut the Polly & The Pirates mini.

And if all that's not enough, there are 50 new volumes of manga. Yeah, that's right, FIFTY. Way to spread 'em out, guys! Burried in the listings are the OEL debuts: I Luv Halloween, Dramacon, and Steady Beat, all three highly anticipated.

New Library Comics: Week of September 19, 2005

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Bennett, Jonathan. Esoteric tales no. 1 /New York : Smallest Press, 2002.

Bennett, Jonathan. Esoteric tales no. 2 /New York : Smallest Press, 2003.

Biggs, Brian. Dear Julia /Montreal, QC : Black Eye Productions, c1996-1997. no. 1-4

Biggs, Brian. Frederick & Eloise : a love story /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, c1993.

Bipolar /Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, [2002]- no. 3-5

Buzzard #19 /Hudson, MA : Cat-Head Comics, c1998.

Harder, Jens. Leviathan /[Angouleme] : Editions de l'An 2, 2003.

Herpich, Tom. Cusp /Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, 2003.

Herpich, Tom. Gongwanadon /Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, 2004.

Kreitz, Isabel. Die Entdeckung der Currywurst /Hamburg : Carlsen, 2005.

Mainka, Matz. 1928 : eine Hamburger Geschichte /Alicante : Ponent Mon, 2003.

Max, 1956- The extended dream of Mr. D. /Montreal, Que. : Drawn and Quarterly, c1998-1999. no. 1-3

Pepo. Condorito gigante No. 607 /Mexico : Editorial Televisa, [c1988]

Ribon. /Tokyo : Shueisha,. 2001 no. 5, 12; 2002 no. 1-9, 11; 2003 no. 1-10, 12; 2004 no. 1-10

Salazar, Souther. The monster that ate stars /Pasadena, CA : The Author, [200-?]

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

All September we've been featuring Jungle Girls vs. Apes--a very common theme for comic book covers!

For our final Jungle Girl vs. Ape cover we're going back to 1948 for Zoot Comics #15 and witness Rulah the Jungle Goddess ready to stab an ape as she gazes into its eyes.

(standard disclaimer about apes not really being monkeys applies)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Me, Live, on The Internet

This Saturday morning, at 10:30am EDT, I'll be part of a panel discussion at the "Internet Public Library Symposium: A Global Standard for Digital Librarianship". If you have QuickTime 7, you'll be able to watch it live over the Internet at (The whole symposium will be broadcast live. Many good things, but if you can watch only one, I'd recommend tuning in for Joe Janes' talk Friday morning at 9:30am EDT.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New This Week: September 21, 2005

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop later today:

The pick of the week is Strangehaven: Conspiracies, the third collected volume in Gary Spencer Millidge's excellent series. Given the slooow pace that the comic comes out, it's good to have several issues all collected to be read at once.

In other comics:

Speaking of comics with a long time between issues, Amaze Ink/Slave Labor have a new issue of Lenore (#12).

Antarctic have a new issue of Gold Digger (#69).

Dark Horse have new issue of Conan (#20) and The Goon (#14), plus a collection of BPRD: The Dead.

DC have the final Sleeper collection (vol. 4: The Long Way Home); the debuts of Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle and Green Lantern Corps: Recharge; and new issues of Birds of Prey (#68), Hellblazer (#212), JSA: Classified (#3), Lucifer (#66), and Manhunter (#14).

Del Rey have the first volume of Gacha Gacha.

El Capitan have a new issue of Stray Bullets (#39).

Illusive Arts have a new issue of Dorothy (#4).

Image have a new issue of Gødland (#3).

Marvel have the second Hulk Visionaries: Peter David volume; the first volume of The Essential Ghost Rider; the debut of Supreme Power: Hyperion; and new issues of Captain America (#10) and Runaways (#8).

Speakeasy have the second issue of Rocketo (although I got mine last week...)

Viz have the latest issue of Shojo Beat (#4).

Okay, that does it. Don't forget to save a few bucks to donate to hurricane relief!

Yet Another Fantasy League: Week 2 Results

Here are the results from week 2 of Yet Another Fantasy League: 48
Kickers Inc. 46

Inferior 5 plus 6 80
The Inferior Five 50

Nine Pound Hammers 87
Moon Knights 32

Danger Unlimited 67
B.P.R.D. 101

Secret Six 60
Power Pack 54

The Maxx Squad 69
Tomorrow Syndicate 39

Current Standings:

Team W-L-T Pct Pts Streak
------------------- ----- ----- --- ------
1. B.P.R.D. 2-0-0 1.000 171 W-2
2. Inferior 5 plus 6 2-0-0 1.000 139 W-2
3. Nine Pound Hammers 2-0-0 1.000 129 W-2
4. Power Pack 1-1-0 .500 140 L-1
5. Secret Six 1-1-0 .500 123 W-1
6. The Maxx Squad 1-1-0 .500 109 W-1
7. Moon Knights 1-1-0 .500 97 L-1
8. Kickers Inc. 1-1-0 .500 80 L-1
9. 1-1-0 .500 72 W-1
10.Danger Unlimited 0-2-0 .000 113 L-2
11.Tomorrow Syndicate 0-2-0 .000 95 L-2
12.The Inferior Five 0-2-0 .000 78 L-2

Week 3 Games:

Moon Knights (1-1-0)
Kickers, Inc. (1-1-0) (1-1-0)
The Inferior Five (0-2-0)

Nine Pound Hammers (2-0-0)
B.P.R.D. (2-0-0)

Danger Unlimited (0-2-0)
Power Pack (1-1-0)

Secret Six (1-1-0)
Tomorrow Syndicate (0-2-0)

Inferior 5 Plus 6 (2-0-0)
The Maxx Squad (1-1-0)

Good luck to all!

(In my other Fantasy Leagues, I lost 78-68 in my friends & family league, lost 77-49 in my public league, and scored 358.00 points in my Pass & Kick league, which moved me up to first place. I also reached the finals in the playoffs in my fantasy basebell league.)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Manga Math

So I'm reading over Sarah Glazer's article on Shojo manga in yesterday's New York Times, and a little throw-away line in the lead paragraph catches my eye: "Last year, Del Rey sold a million copies of its first 16 releases combined."

Okay, let's pull out our calculators: That's 1,000,000 copies divided by 16 volumes, or an average of 62,500 copies per volume. That's of an $11 book, or $687,500 in sales per book.

The top seller via Diamond for August 2005 was Justice #1 with $190,400 copies of a $3 comic, or $571,200 in sales.

Which means that, dollar for dollar, each release from Del Rey--a second-tier manga publisher--is right up there with the most that Marvel & DC can do. And they're doing it completely outside of the direct market.

(Dollar figures are calculated here as if the books actually sold for cover price, which of course is not always the case. But I think it makes for a fair comparison.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

All September we'll be featuring Jungle Girls vs. Apes--a very common theme for comic book covers!

Jungle Girl vs. Ape covers weren't just restricted to the golden & silver ages, as you can see by today's cover: Cavewoman: Rain #4, featuring Meriem vs. Klyde, is by Budd Root and hails from 1996.

(standard disclaimer about apes not really being monkeys applies)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

This Week on YAMB

This week on Yet Another Media Blog:

I kicked off my annual preview of the fall television season, looking at new and returning shows: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (Sunday will come tomorrow).

I also watched celebrity poker, distressed at the state of Big Ten Football, and revealed my cyborg name.

This week's program on Yet Another Music Radio is Live Tracks 2, bringing you over 3 hours of great live performances.

Friday, September 16, 2005

JLU Returns

Justcie League Unlimited, for my money the best super-hero cartoon ever, returns with a new season tomorrow at 10pm Eastern on Cartoon Network with two episodes:

"We Are Legion": Lex Luthor is invited to join the Legion of Doom.

"Shadow of the Hawk": Batman is suspicious of Shayera's new boyfriend.

There are two new episodes the following Saturday too:

"Heart of Stone": Supergirl, Star Girl and Green Lantern try to free Skataris from the rule of a brutal dictator.

"Elegy": Wonder Woman uncovers a plot to steal powers from the frozen remains of a legendary hero.

That's right man. The Legion of Doom! Warlord! I really like how JLU uses the full spectrum of the DCU.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Diamond and The Long Tail

So, the blogosphere is abuzz this week with the news that Diamond wil be enforcing a hard cutoff on low-selling comics. Essentially they won't go forward with orders for anything that doesn't generate at least $600 in orders (or approx 500 copies for a standard $3 comic). If you're one of the three people reading this who hasn't caught up on this news, you can read more about it here, here, here, and here, amongst many other places.

Most observers have been saying that, from a purely economic & business standpoint, Diamond should have done this a long time ago. But no one seems to be talking about The Long Tail effect (or if they have, I haven't come across it yet).

For those unfamiliar, a quick summary: As relating to commerce, especially arts-commerce (or really any non-fungible goods), The Long Tail was coined by Chris Anderson in 2004. Basically he pointed out that collectively, products that have low demand, as an aggregate, comprise a market comperable to the high demand products. The problem is that traditional retail outlets, with the demands of physical storage and distribution costs, realistically can only afford to carry the high demand products, meaning that the market for low demand products, while real and existing, is untapped. The real revolution in online retailing has been the ability to tap into the low demand market; as examples, look at Amazon, iTunes, and NetFlix.

(You can read better and more in-depth explainations at Wikipedia and on Anderson's blog.)

What we see with Diamond's moves then is a perfect example of this in the comic book direct market. Even though the aggregate market for these low print run comics undoubtedly exists, the current retail and distribution chain cannot support it. (I've pointed out before that all it takes for a comic to be profitable is for each comic store to order one copy, but that for various reasons that's never going to happen.)

So, while it "makes sense" that Diamond is taking the steps that it's taken, it also stands to reason that there is a sizable untapped market for low print run comics, and that there needs to be an online retailer that traffics effectively in these comics. A store that's willing to work with the smaller distributers and with publishers directly, and produce a quality online shapping experience. About the closest we have now are Mars Import, although they deal pretty much exclusively with graphic novels; and Poopsheet Shop, which deals exclusively with minis. Both are good at what they do, and could probably expand out more generally to fill the gap, or maybe a new store is needed.

I surely haven't thought this through fully, and I don't have the disposition to be a retailer myself, but it seems to me that there's a market opportunity just waiting to be filled.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Another Reason Why People Wait for the Trade

Notice anything about your Marvel comics this month? They're all 48-pages long. But no, they're not extra-sized because you're getting more story for your money--they're still 22-pages stories. All the rest of those pages are ads (including a 4-page preview of Nick Fury's Howling Commandos). That's more ad than story, and every other page is trying to sell you something. Is it any wonder why people would opt to wait and read their comics in tarde format where they're not continually having the story interrupted?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New This Week: September 14, 2005

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop later today:

The Pick of the Week is Warren Ellis & J. H. Williams III's Desolation Jones #3 (from DC/Wildstorm). The first issue was good, and the second issue was even better, so I have high hopes for the series at this point. It's probably the best thing that Ellis has written since Transmetropolitan. If you haven't read it yet, you should plan on picking up all three issues and prepare for a treat.

In other comics:

AiT/PlanetLAR, not content with getting your hard-earned dough for Smoke & Guns a couple of weeks ago, have two more OGNs for you to choose from: Electric Girl vol. 3 and Full Moon Fever (Werewolves on the Moon. Genius!)

Arcana have the sixth issue of 100 Girls.

BuyMeToys.Com have the zeroeth issue of Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.

DC have new issues of 100 Bulelts (#64), Action Comics (#831), All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder (#2), Fables (#41), Firestorm (#17), JSA (#77), Majestic (#9), and Winter Men (#2).

Image have a new issue of Ferro City (#2), and the Beckett OGN Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai.

Marvel have Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius, a colelction of the very fun back-up stories that appeared in the recent Power Pack mini; and new issues of Gravity (#4), New Thunderbolts (#12), and The Pulse (#11).

Phenomenon have the second issue of Blackpool.

And that pretty much does it. Relatively small week, although Larry Young is making a mad grab for your wallet :)

Yet Another Fantasy League: Week 1 Results

Here are the results from week 1 of Yet Another Fantasy League:

The Inferior Five 28
Kickers Inc. 34

Nine Pound Hammers 42 24

Danger Unlimited 46
Moon Knights 65

Secret Six 63
B.P.R.D. 70

The Maxx Squad 39
Power Pack 86

Inferior 5 plus 6 59
Tomorrow Syndicate 55

Current Standings:

Team W-L-T Pct Pts Streak
------------------- ----- ----- --- ------
1. Power Pack 1-0-0 1.000 86 W-1
2. B.P.R.D. 1-0-0 1.000 70 W-1
3. Moon Knights 1-0-0 1.000 65 W-1
4. Inferior 5 plus 6 1-0-0 1.000 59 W-1
5. Nine Pound Hammers 1-0-0 1.000 42 W-1
6. Kickers Inc. 1-0-0 1.000 34 W-1
7. Secret Six 0-1-0 .000 63 L-1
8. Tomorrow Syndicate 0-1-0 .000 55 L-1
9. Danger Unlimited 0-1-0 .000 46 L-1
10.The Maxx Squad 0-1-0 .000 39 L-1
11.The Inferior Five 0-1-0 .000 28 L-1 0-1-0 .000 24 L-1

Week 2 Games: (0-1-0)
Kickers Inc. (1-0-0)

Inferior 5 plus 6 (1-0-0)
The Inferior Five (0-1-0)

Nine Pound Hammers (1-0-0)
Moon Knights (1-0-0)

Danger Unlimited (0-1-0)
B.P.R.D. (1-0-0)

Secret Six (0-1-0)
Power Pack (1-0-0)

The Maxx Squad (0-1-0)
Tomorrow Syndicate (0-1-0)

Good luck to all!

(In my other Fantasy Leagues, I won 61-36 in my friends & family league, lost 47-18 in my public league, and scored 236.40 points in my Pass & Kick league, which puts me in fourth place out of six).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Review: Smoke & Guns

Smoke & Guns
by Kirsten Baldock & Fábio Moon
$12.95 AiT/PlanetLAR

In the world of Smoke & Guns, gangs of violent cigarette girls have divided up the city. But when Scarlett, our protagonist, tries to expand into other zones, she ignites a full-scale gang war.

Styled after a violent Hollywood thriller a la Robert Rodriguez, Smoke & Guns is a breakneck thrill-ride, where the characters (and the readers!) barely have time to ctach their breath in between action set-pieces. Its over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall pacing maintains an impressive intensity over the course of 80+ pages, and when it finishes, well, you'll feel like you need a cigarette too.

This is Kirsten Baldock's first graphic novel, and it's very entertaining for what it accomplishes. Using cigarette girls to tell the story is a stroke of genius--we know right from the outset that things are going to get crazy/insane. This would not have worked so well with regular gangs or any of the standard action tropes, and it does give Moon a chance to draw a bunch of girls running around in short skirts and high heels. The story could have stood to take a few more moments of downtime to let us connect more with the charcters though, as at the end the characters are still a mystery to us.

I've been in love with Fábio Moon's art ever since I saw it in Rock 'n' Roll last year. Here he manages to keep up with the breaknext pace of the script, pulling in influences from Frank Miller and Paul Pope to give us a visually compelling thrill-ride. He puts his characters in an environment that feels like a time-lost decaying city (much like the tv show EZ Streets, which I'm pretty sure no one else but me even remembers...) There's an impressive and appropriate use of blacks, and glorious sound effects. It's not perfect--sometimes the art appears a bit rushed--but it's overall very impressive.

Smoke & Guns certainly isn't a deep story, and it's not going to change comics or anything, but it's certainly a heck of a lot of action-packed fun.

Rating 3.5 (of 5)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

All September we'll be featuring Jungle Girls vs. Apes—a very common theme for comic book covers!

Our second Jungle Girl vs. Ape cover is Sheena, Queen of the Jungle #8, from 1950. Her foot caught in a bear trap, Sheena stands ready to insert her spear into The Congo Colossus. Ah, the joy of symbolism!

(standard disclaimer about apes not really being monkeys applies)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

This Week on YAMB

This week on Yet Another Media Blog:

I Contribute to the Decline of 16th Century Civilization, and watch three movies from Netflix: Man of the House, The Pacifier, and Manhattan Murder Mystery

This week's program on Yet Another Music Radio is Phil Collins (Doesn't Suck), 3 hours of music proving that Phil Collins was once a great drummer/songwriter, even if his most recent stuff has been pap.

Next week on YAMB I'll have my annual weeklong preview of the upcoming television season, so tune in every day starting Monday.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New This Week: September 8, 2005

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop later today:

The Pick of the Week is Paul Sizer's Moped Army OGN from Cafe Digital Comics. I really liked Sizer's previous comic, Little White Mouse, so there's no way I'm passing up a chance to read a new OGN from this talented creator.

In other comics:

Aardvark-Vanaheim & Win-Mill have the fifth issue of Following Cerebus.

Alias have a trade collection of the Lullaby: Wisdom Seeker mini, and the second issue of XIII.

Antarctic have the third issue of Oz: The Manga.

Dark Horse have the third and final issue of the Serenity prequel mini (the movie is just three weeks away!), and a collection of Grendel: Black, White & Red.

DC have their first two color digest collections: Sgt. Rock: Combat Tales and Secret of the Swamp Thing; the second Ex Machina collection: Tag; The debuts of Shazam/Superman: First Thunder and The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin; the final issues of City of Tomorrow (#6) and Seven Soldiers: The Guardian (#4); and new issues of Detective Comics (#811), Gotham Central (#35), The Intimates (#11), Swamp Thing (#19), Villains United (#5), and Y, the Last Man (#37).

DR Masters have a new volume of Iron Wok Jan (vol. 11).

IDW have the long-wished-for Mars collection.

Image have the debut of Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's Fell; the first Coyote collection; and new issues of Noble Causes (#13), Rex Mundi (#14), and The Stardust Kid (#2).

Kyle Baker Publishing have the first issue of Kyle Baker's The Bakers.

Marvel have the first issues of Supreme Power: Nighthawk and Garth Ennis's Ghost Rider; plus new issues of Incredible Hulk (#86), Marvel Team-Up (#12), The Punisher (#25), and Ultimate Spider-Man (#82).

Speakeasy debut The Adventures of Bioboy and Smoke and Mirrors.

Titan have a collection of the early issues of DC's first Star Trek series.

That just about does it. Not a huge list like last week, but if you buy a couple of those trades it's going to add up really quick.

Don't forget to save a little extra to donate to hurricane relief efforts!

Yet Another Fantasy League Starts Tonight!

For those of you participating in Yet Another Fantasy League, the first game of the NFL season is tonight, so be sure to have your starting line-ups set before kick-off.

This week's games are:

The Inferior Five vs. Kickers, Inc.
Nine Pound Hammers vs.
Danger Unlimited vs. Moon Knights
Secret Six vs. B.P.R.D.
The Maxx Squad vs. Power Pack
Inferior 5 Plus 6 vs. Tomorrow Syndicate

Good luck to all!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Read Meanwhile... Online

So I didn't even realize that Jason Shiga's Meanwhile... is available online until I mentioned it to Jon Silpayamanant in the comments on his discussion of multipathed comics, and he went out and found it. I've only previously seen the print version, but it reads nearly as well in its online form. Go and read and be amazed.

More Flytrap coming

If, like me, you enjoyed Sara Ryan & Steve Lieber's Flytrap, you'll be happy to know that there are at least two more installments on the way. Over on her blog, Sara reports that she has finished the script for the second (Deep, Too) and is working on the third (Family Business).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Read Gødland Online

Newarama have put the entire first issue of Joe Casey & Tom Scioli's Gødland online for you reading enjoyment. (I previously reviewed this issue.)

Actually, I'm kind of impressed by how cool it looks shrunken into thumbnails and lined up like it is.

New Library Comics: Week of August 29, 2005

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Bell, Gabrielle. Lucky #2.5 /Brooklyn, NY : Gabrielle Bell, [2003]

Bertozzi, Nick. Triple dare #2 /Gainesville, Fla. : Alternative Comics, c2002.

Derf. My friend Dahmer : a true story /[Cleveland] : Derfcity Comics, 2002.

Doucet, Julie, 1966- Melek : photos trouvees & gravures /Montreal : L'Oie de Cravan, 2002.

Harder, Jens. Hotelfuhrer : Neue Mitte, fur Lobbyisten /Berlin : Monogatari, 2000.

Holzmann, Lolle. Zoe! : Chaos Tage /Koln : ARD-Werbung, 2005.

Hornschemeier, Paul. Forlorn funnies /Lincoln, Calif. : Absence of Ink, 2003.

Kartalopoulos, Bill. Dream : 16.09.02 /New York : A Monkish Press, 2002.

Lewis, Jon. Monica's story /Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, 1999.

Lewis, Jon. True swamp : stoneground & hillbound /Gainesville, Fla. : Alternative Comics, 2001.

Mawil. Berg Hasi : ein steiles downhill-comic /Berlin : Monogatari, 2001.

Ngui, Marc, 1972- Enter Avariz : [a story] /Montreal : Conundrum Press, c2002.

Ruijters, Marcel. Troglodytes /Atlanta : Top Shelf Productions ; Amsterdam : Oog & Blik, 2004.

Shiga, Jason. Meanwhile ... /Oakland, CA : Jason Shiga, 2000.

Simmons, Josh. Happy : Zirkus [#3] /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf, 2003.

Simmons, Josh. Jessica Farm /[s.l.] : Josh Simmons, 2004.

Stearn, Ted. Fuzz & Pluck in Splitsville /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, [2001?-

Whitney, Ogden. Herbie #5 /Ville St-Laurent, Quebec : A+ Comics, c1991.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Monkey Covers

Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

All September we'll be featuring Jungle Girls vs. Apes--a very common theme for comic book covers!

Our first Jungle Girl vs. Ape cover is Jungle Comics #146, from February 1952. You could do a whole college paper on the Freudian symbolism on this one...

(standard disclaimer about apes not really being monkeys applies)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

This Week on YAMB

This week on Yet Another Media Blog:

I discovered The TV IV Wiki, learned that I'm an Avante Garde Indie, and discovered ways to buy music and support hurricane relief efforts.

This week's program on Yet Another Music Radio is Cover Songs 2, 50 more covers of some great hits by the artists who didn't make them famous.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Best of August

In this post I'm reprinting reviews of items for which I gave a rating of 4 or better in the month of August:

Sleeper, book 3: A Crooked Line
by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Reprinting the first half of the second 'season,' this collection finds the title character Holden Carver caught between the machinations of his boss, the international criminal TAO, and his former boss, the newly revived John Lynch. Realizing that he's but a pawn in whatever twisted machinations these two are pulling, Holden is looking to make sense of his place in this grey world, and somehow to find his way out. Brubaker has specialized of late in writing about the gritty side of super-powered worlds, and Sleeper ranks up there with Gotham Central in playing to his strengths as a writer. Phillips is the perfect artist for this type of book. His inky, hard-edged realism fits the main thrust of the story to a tee, but when a banana-headed alien needs to make an appearance, he can handle that just as well. Book four is due out in September, and I'm looking forward to reading the endgame of this highly entertaining series.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

Top Ten: The Forty-Niners
by Alan Moore & Gene Ha

Journey with us now back to 1949, when Neopolis was still young and being populated by science heroes, now that the world had no real use for them after the war. Moore tells several interweaving narratives about the early days of the city, from the struggles of a young police department against organized vampire crime to the struggles of the new immigrants trying to adjust to life after war. The art by Ha and colorist Art Lyon is wonderful, fully evoking the feel of the past butting up against a gleeming future. Each page is packed not only with mood but also with small details that really make this book come alive. It's a story both epic in scope and human in its details, and along with the art is well worth the deluxe hardcover treatment.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

Para Para
by Andy Seto
ComicsOne, $13.95

With Para Para, crator Andy Seto has now firmly established himself on my list of favorite artists.

I have previously praised Seto's abilities to represent the furious motion of cinematic martial arts on the static printed page in his adaptation of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In Para Para, he goes one step further by representing a singing and dancing movie musical so effectvely you can practically hear the music swelling and see the characters dancing.

The story in Para Para is a variation on the classic Romeo and Juliet story (in fact, several of the secondary characters in the comic comment on the resemblance), as rich girl Yuki falls for gangster Dennis. their romance swirls around Para Para, a dance craze that is also one of those electronic dancing arcade games. It's a story that's complete in this one volume, which doesn't give a lot of time to explore the characters in depth. But that's fine, as the real purpose of the plot is to give the characters an excuse to break out in song and/or dance at various opportunities.

It's the song and dance sections that give Para Para its strength. Seto is at the very top of his game here. Witness the opening scene: as autumn leaves fall, we see various young people milling about, with close-ups of the Para Para logo on their clothing. The word 'Dance' appears as a bright red sound effect. There's a voice-over going on, which we realize is probably meant to be song lyrics, and the 'camera' focuses on one of these young people, identified as Dennnis Lingmu, obviously caught up in the music and dancing. The camera then pulls back, and we see a chorus of dancers has formed behind Dennis ina two-page spread. Turn the page, and in another two-page spread the camera has pulled back further: we see that the dancers are in a large courtyard, with a large office building on one sid, an elevated train track on the other, a city and mountains in the background, and a large clocktower in the the foreground on the right chiming away. Turn the page again and Dennis's song concludes over the image of orange leaves falling against a stark white background. The title Para Para floats over the leaves, while a giant leaf in the bottom right is superimposed with the face of Yuki, her eyes pensively looking to the right and up, leading us visually to the top of the next page, where the next scene fades in with Yuki at swimming practice.

It's a stunning scene, expertly rendered. And there are several more just like it throughout. The scene where Yuki and Dennis first meet is on a rainy Hong Kong street: the color has been completely leached out of the background, leaving it in stark black and white, while Yuki and Dennis appear in color, and Yuiki has one of those soul-bearing songs that seem to happen frequently in musicals. Of course, this being a dance musical, there are a couple of dance contests, which Seto depicts such that you can practically feel the rhythm of the music as you watch the characters move across the pages.

Yes, the plot isn't terribly deep and the emotion sometimes runs to hysteric heights, but this is a musical created for the comics page. Para Para wins in presenting a dynamic example of comics artistry and, despite the tragic ending (it is loosely based on Romeo & Juliet after all) is still a joyful comics experience.

Rating: 4 (of 5)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Black Super-Heroes on NPR

Yesterday on NPR's News & Notes with Ed Gordon, Allison Keyes had a report on "Black Comic Book Superheroes," which discussed the past and present states of African-American super-heroes in comics and film. Considering that it was only an eight minute report, I thought that she did a pretty good job of covering the basics. You can listen to it in RealPlayer here.