Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Goose is Getting Fat

That's right: Christmas is coming, and it's coming to Yet Another Comics Blog!

Playing now on Yet Another Music Radio is my Holiday 2005 mix, with over three hours of Christmas music.

Starting tomorrow we'll have our 25 days of Christmas Covers, counting down the days until Santa brings us lots of comics and graphic novels and manga for our stockings.

And next week will be the start of my 2nd Annual CBLDF fund drive.

Plus I'll scatter in reviews of holiday-themed comics, and who knows what else?

(And I'm sure you've already seen it, but David & Immelda over at Love Manga will be kicking off an Advent Calendar/Manga give-a-way, starting tomorrow.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New This Week: November 30, 2005

Colonia, vol. 2: On Into Great Lands coverBased 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 tomorrow:


The Pick of the Week is Jeff Nicholson's Colonia, vol. 2: On Into Great Lands from AiT/PlanetLAR, the second chapter in his alternate world fantasy. I can understand how, with Nicholson's slow production schedule, you may not have wanted to buy Colonia in the individual issues; but now that it's collected, you should really pick it up.


In other comics:

Aeon have the second issue of Matt Howarth's latest Keif Llama: Xenotech series. I get the feeling sometimes that I'm the only person around who loves Howarth's stuff. Won't you please give it a try?

Dark Horse have new issues of BPRD: The Black Flame (#4) and Usagi Yojimbo (#89).

DC have a collection of Warren Ellis's 'reclarified' Ocean; the penultimate issue of Kyle Baker's Plastic Man (#19); and new issues of JLA: Classified (#14), Legion of Super-Heroes (#12), and The Losers (#30).

IDW have a new collection of classic Grimjack: Legend of Grimjack, vol. 4.

Image have a fourth Walking Dead collection; and new issues of Fell (#3) and Ferro City (#4).

Ludovico Technique debut their new high-concept series Living in Infamy. (The concept? Witness protection for super-villains.)

Marvel have the Marvel Holiday Special 2005, anew issue of X-Men and Power Pack (#2), and the final issue of X-Men: Kitty Pride - Shadow & Flame (#5).

NBM have the latest of Rick Geary's Treasury of Victorian Murder: Vol. 7: Abraham Lincoln.

If it's the last week of the month, that must mean that TokyoPop is dumping a pile of books on the market. Among their 30(!) tankobons is the debut of Queenie Chan's OEL manga The Dreaming.

Viper have the final issue of the first Middleman mini (#4)--with monkeys on the cover!


Another relatively short week, so how about spending some of your hard-earned dough on some comics as presents for your friends and family?

The Legion of Librarian Comics Bloggers

Okay, so it's not quite a legion (yet...)

Besides me, there's TangognaT, Redhead Fangirl, and the newest addition: Shelly's Comic Book Shelf.

I'm surely missing one or two, yes?

Anyway, the Legion of Super-Heroes started with just three members, so I think we're well on our way!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Previews-o-Rama part 1: The Front

Yes, Previews-o-Rama is back, at least for this month. We'll see how it goes...


Dark Horse

Hellboy: Makoma is a two-part flashback mini telling a story of the big red horned one in Africa. It's written by Mignola with art by Richard Corben. The preview page looks pretty good.

The chronological Concrete collection continue with the fourth volume: Killer Smile, collecting the titular mini plus a bunch of short stories.

The Territory is a hardcover OGN by Jaimie Delano and David Lloyd. The description summary given doesn't do much for me, but that creative team makes it worth a consideration, as Lloyd doesn't seem to do much comic work these days.

Okay, who the heck asked for a Scarface prequel novel? And wtf is Dark Horse doing publishing this?

Okay now, let's talk Crying Freeman: writer Kazuo Koike wrote Lone Wolf & Cub, one of the best manga series ever; and artist Ryoichi Ikegami is a fantastic artist. Yet I'm telling you to stay away from this series. Why? It starts rather strong, focusing on the titular reluctant assassin; but as it continues, it gets more and more violent and misogynistic. I was reading this when Viz published it many years ago, and its one of the few comics I ever stopped buying because it became too offensive. It's quite a shame, actually. If you need an Ikegami fix, hunt down the out-of-print editions of Sanctuary or, even better, Mai, the Psychic Girl (and hope that Viz sees fit to release those again at some point).

There are a couple more Harlequin Manga as well: Idol Dreams in the pink (all ages) line, and Holding On to Alex in the purple (smutty) line. I know they're probably targeting the February Valentine's Day crowd, but wouldn't it make more sense to space out the releases on these rather than putting two out in the same month?

Fans of horror manga will no doubt be happy to see Octopus Girl and School Zone.

The post-movie Star Wars titles kick off with a 25 cent flip-book issue.

Oh, I'm loving the half-page The Goon strips that Eric Powell is providing in the Previews listings--hopefully they'll be collecte dup at some point.


DC Comics

Paul Pope on Batman: Year One Hundred looks cool (and will probably look just as cool in the inevitable trade collection later in the year).

Hey look: Cliff Chiang is drawing Detective Comics! I suppose it's too much to ask that he'll be sticking around as the regular artists after the OYG (One Year Gap).

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight hits the magic 200th issue. Eddie Campbell writes, and Bart Sears does the art--depending on which Bart Sears shows up, this could be good, or could be an eyesore.

The unnecessary Batman: Gotham Knights finally comes to an end.

Alas, so does the wonderful Gotham Knights, which just goes to show that a major publisher can have a quality, critically acclaimed title and have it still not make it in today's market (see also: Plastic Man).

Superman, Action Comics and Adventures of Superman give us a three-part overview of the history of the Earth-2 Superman, by Joe Kelly, Ed Benes & Dan Jurgens.

Showcase Presents this months brings us House of Mystery: 552 pages of classic silver-age code-approved horror.

Paul Levitz and George Perez on JSA? Sold!

Jonah Hex! Sgt. Rock! And now Warlord!--the 70s are back in a big way at DC. It looks like Bart Sears is using his good art for this book, so it may be worth picking up.

Dude, that's Dawnstar, Blok & Tyroc on the cover of Legion of Super-Heroes #15! If they'd pring back Quislet, Polar Boy, & Tellus my life would be happy (at least for the 15 minutes it would take to read the thing).

Wonder Woman also come to an end (at least until she is rebooted after the OYG)--wouldn't be a Crisis without a Wonder Woman cancelation, would it?

Speaking of Crisis, there's plenty to go around this month, including Superman vs. Superman in Infinity Crisis #5. Look, you know whether or not you're getting this; nothing I say one way or the other will change you mind, will it?

If you're looking for some good, accessible Superman stories, you can't go wrong with the two Superman Adventures digest-sozed collections.

Golly, but all of a sudden CMX seem to be publishing a ton of manga. They're not quite at the TokyoPop or Viz level yet, but they're getting there. Too bad none of it interests me.

John Ridley's Those Who Walk in Darkness was a darn good super-hero novel, so I'll give his new mini-series, The American Way a try.

Hey look: Planetary! Which comic do you think will fall behind first: The irregular Planetary or the suppsoedly bi-monthly Astonishing X-Men?

Along with his Solo issue, Howard Chaykin's City of Tomorrow was one of his strongest efforts in a long time. Hopefully it'll find the audience it deserves in the trade collection.

Those of you late on the Grant Morrison bandwagon will want to check out the Kid Eternity collection.


Image

Bendis's Sam and Twitch finally get a propper trade collection. it was actually pretty good stuff, if I rememebr correctly.

I suppose if I were a big Belle & Sebastian fan I'd be totally stoked about Put the Book Back on the Shelf, an anthology of adaptatios of B&S songs into comics form. I'm not, but maybe you are?

I am, however, toally stoked to see that Jimmie Robinson has a new mini: Bomb Queen. This from the man who brought us the underrated CyberZone, Amanda & Gunn and Evil & Malice.

Hey wait; there was a zero issue of Rocketo? I missed it. It's not worth it to me to buy the whoel colelction just for that, but if you missed this series when it was at Speakeasy, you have a second change to get yourself some slow-moving but pretty pretty comix.

If you're not buying and enjoying Fell or Gødland, there may be something wrong with you; see your family doctor soon!


Marvel

For no good reason, Ultimate Thor steps off the cover of a romance novel and onto the cover of Ultimate Fantastic Four #27, where he hovers myseriously and gigantically over the White House. Note the complete lack of any mention of Thor in he solicitation copy.

Yeah yeah, Astonishing X-Men is back. Supposedly bi-monthly. Figure in the inevitable delays, and I figure you'll be able to buy the trade collection sometime in mid-2007...

The real first issue of Peter David & Mike Wieringo's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man finally hits with the fifth issue.

Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa deserve your money, so you are buying Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, right? Right? Look, if you don't spend it on this comic, that big bully is just going to beat your lunch money out of you anyway, so you may as well get a good comic out of it.

Ed Brumaker and Michael Lark take over Daredevil--this better be worth losing Gotham Central over, is all I'm saying.

Look: a fun new Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius one-shot. Coolness.

Why oh why do Marvel insist on publishing things like Ares, Doc Sampson, New Mangaverse, Sable & Fortune, and Underworld?--C-list characters by 2nd-tier creative teams that will get no promotion support to speak of? They may be perfectly good comics--heck, one or two of them may even be great--but does Marvel expect these things to sell themselves?

Can I just say how damn happy I am that Peter Milligan is writing an X-Statix mini? Oh, I'm sure it'll sell for crap (see the previous paragraph) but I don't care. I'll be reading it (along with three or four of you other people), and that's enough.

File also under damn happy: Peter David & Ryan Sook doing X-Factor.

Y'know, if Ladronn were doing the interiors of Incredible Hulk, and not just the covers, I'd be tempted to read it again.

Funniest solicitation of the month: The Secret War hardcover collection. Nothing intrinsically funny about the solicit; just the humorously misplaced optimism that issue #5 will come out in time to be collection.

Essential Moon Knight! I missed this stuff the first time around, so I'm happy to see this affordable collection come down the pipe.

Just in case you missed any of it when it came out in comics form, Marvel are dumping ever single House of M story into a collection this month. Cause nothing says oversaturation like eight trade paperbacks.


Whew--I forgot how much work this is! Part 2, the middle, will be along at some point in the near future...

Review: 1000 Steps to World Domination

1000 Steps to World Domination cover1000 Steps to World Domination
by Rob Osborne
AiT/PlanetLAR. $12.95.

1000 Steps to World Domination is not an easy comic to describe. It's kind of a semi-autobiographical story about the trials and tribulations of a freelance artist. But there are aliens. And a talking monkey. And a tortoise and hare. And of course there's a long-suffering wife (isn't there always in stories about artists?)

Through it all, Rob--the artist in question--ruminates on taking over the world through cartooning. This sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but it does have the novelty of having never been tried before. (I myself have at various times been involved in no less than two world domination plans. One never went beyond high school graduation, but the other is still ongoing, so I shant speak of it here...)

But it's not really a story at all. It's more of a series of loosely connected vignettes--some fanciful, others down to earth. I hesitate to call it stream-of-consciousness, because it's not really that at all, although it sometimes feels like it is. Most of the vingettes are just a page long, and there's rarely an actual connection from one to the next. But they somehow make sense, and despite the lack of obvious flow between them, it all flows together nonetheless.

At 136 pages, it seems to be just about the right length; Osborne wisely cuts things off before they become too cute or cloying. It all makes for an interesting and entertaining read.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Monkey Covers

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

This is the last monkey cover for 2005 (we take the month of December off), so what better way to wrap things up for the time being than with the original big bad ape himself: King Kong #1.

(standard disclaimer about apes not really being monkeys applies)


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

Friday, November 25, 2005

Quick Manga Reviews

Yotsuba&!, vol. 2
by Kiyohiko Azuma
ADV Manga, $9.99

The second volume of Yotsuba&! continues with short stories about odd little girl with green hair and her circle of fmily, neighbors and friends. It's nearly as charming, insightful and funny as the first volume--and just nearly only because it's not quite as fresh. Azuma brings the whole package to the table, not only telling fun stories, with with a level of craft that is nearly perfect as well--for example, he knows just when to put in detailed, well-rendered backgrounds, and when to get them out of the way. This is about as much precious fun that you can have in a comic without a monkey.
Rating: 4 (of 5)




Telepathic Wanderers, vol. 1
by Yasutaka Tsutsui & Sayaka Yamazaki
TokyoPop, $9.99

This initial volume introduces us to Nanase, a beautiful young woman who is blessed--or is it cursed?--with the ability to read people's minds. She thinks that she is all alone in her abilities, until on a fateful tarin ride she meets a young boy named Norio, who is also a telepath but seemingly more powerful; and Tsuneo, a Psychic who can see events in the future. Tsuneo has a dire prediction: the train will crash, and only the three of them will survive! The 16+ age recommendation in well-earned here; as an attractive young woman, Nanase can read the minds of all of the males she encounters, and Tsutsui plays it up for full salaciousness. Yamazaki's art is very strong and realistic; his characters are instantly recognizable and he has strong storytelling skills. The back cover blurb proclaims Tsutsui to be "Japan's Isaac Asimov"--I wouldn't go that far based on what's here, but he does set up a strong premise and tell an interesting story.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

JSA #54 cover

We at Yet Another Comics Blog wish all of our readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

(Cover to JSA #54 by Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Marino.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

SNAP! Day 4: Anthologies

Continuing my long-delayed look at the things I picked up at SNAP! last month. This time out I'm focusing on the various anthologies. Of course, as with many anthologies, there's a wide range of styles and subject matter covered in these, and chances are that not all stories in each of these will be to all tastes. But that's one of the thigns that makes comics so great--the variety. Right?


Turtleneck Boy #5 coverTurtleneck Boy is the brainchild of mini-comics creator Suzanne Baumann. She created the blank slate character, and invites other creators to contribute stories about him. I picked up #5, which includes a four-page a Pam Bliss story, and a cover by Paul Sizer.


Pop Art Funnies #3 coverYes, you're seeing that right, the price on Pop Art Funnies #3 is just 15 cents for a full-sized 32-page comic (black & white with color cover). It's the project of Martin Hirchak, who draws the lead story in each issue (and sometimes other stories too) and then gets area cartoonists (like Sean Bieri & Matt Feazell, among others) to contribute shorter stories to fill out the book. Issue #4 was 25 cents, and issue #5 was 50 cents. But even at that rate of increase it'll still be a bargain for a while.


Potlach Project #4 coverAt $6.95 Potlach Project #4 is more expensive, but it's also 108 black and white pages on sturdy paper stock, so it's a good deal too. It's from Angry Dog Press, a Maryland outfit, so presumably most of the artists here aren't local to Michigan, but there's still some interesting stuff to be found here.


Empty Pockets coverThe most interesting anthology has to be Empty Pockets from The Wooden Book Press. All of the contributors to this 250-page black & white anthology were students in Phoebe Gloeckner's narrative art courses from Fall 2004 & Winter 2005. Not only are these stories the first published work for these artists, for many it's the first comic work that they've ever done. Tastes will vary of course, and some stories are stronger than others, but it's on the whole impressive. At $19.95 it's not cheap, but worth it I think for a peek into what just might be the next generation of cartoonists.

YAFL: Week 11 Results

Here are the results from week 11 of Yet Another Fantasy League:



Inferior 5 plus 6 60
Kickers Inc. 61

Nine Pound Hammers 69
The Inferior Five 65

Danger Limited 52
www.rickgebhardt.net 64

Secret Six 72
Moon Knights 80

The Maxx Squad 70
B.P.R.D. 67

Tomorrow Syndicate 80
Power Pack 65


Current Standings:


Team W-L-T Pct Pts Streak
------------------- ----- ---- --- ------
*1.B.P.R.D. 8-3-0 .727 729 L-1
*2.Power Pack 8-3-0 .727 702 L-1
3.Kickers Inc. 7-4-0 .636 653 W-1
4.Nine Pound Hammers 7-4-0 .636 642 W-3
5.Inferior 5 plus 6 6-5-0 .545 715 L-5
6.www.rickgebhardt.net 6-5-0 .545 543 W-4
7.Secret Six 5-6-0 .455 715 L-2
8.Tomorrow Syndicate 5-6-0 .455 681 W-1
9.Danger Limited 4-7-0 .364 670 L-1
10.The Maxx Squad 4-7-0 .364 588 W-2
11.The Inferior Five 3-8-0 .273 556 L-3
12.Moon Knights 3-8-0 .273 552 W-1



Week 12 Games:
(Remember: games start on Thursday this week!)

The Inferior Five (3-8-0)
vs.
Kickers Inc. (7-4-0)

Nine Pound Hammers (7-4-0)
vs.
www.rickgebhardt.net (6-5-0)

Danger Limited (4-7-0)
vs.
Moon Knights (3-8-0)

Secret Six (5-6-0)
vs.
B.P.R.D. (8-3-0)

The Maxx Squad (4-7-0)
vs.
Power Pack (8-3-0)

Inferior 5 plus 6 (6-5-0)
vs.
Tomorrow Syndicate (5-6-0)


Good luck to all!


In my other Fantasy Leagues, I lost--again, no big suprise--64-36 in my friends & family league (3-8-1, still seventh place); scored a solid 63-42 win in my public league (6-5-0, moved up to sixth place); and scored a sad 239.95 points in my Pass & Kick league, which dropped me to fifth place (I was winning this league at one time...) In Fantasy Basketball I went 3-3-2 and stayed in seventh place (9-13-2 overall).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New This Week: November 23, 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 Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League collection, which proved that you can have emotional tension and lots of funny in your super-hero comics. See Blue Beetle, Max Lord, and Sue Dibney when they're not being used as poster children for grim-n-gritty.


In other comics:

ADV continue the satiric funny with a fourth Cromartie High School collection.

Antarctic have the sixth issue of Oz: The Manga.

Dark Horse have a new issue of Conan (#22).

DC have the sixth Y, the Last Man collection; the long-delayed final issue of Seven Soldiers: Zatanaa (#4) and the first issue of Seven Solders: Frankenstein; and new issues of The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin (#4), Ex Machina (#16), JSA: Classified (#5), Jack Cross (#4), Lucifer (#68), and Tom Strong (#35).

Drawn & Quarterly have a new issue of Palooka-Ville (#18).

Image have the debut of Warren Ellis's Down; new issues of Gødland (#5), Invincible (#27), and The Walking Dead (#24); and collections of two underrated series from other, now defunct, publishers: Fade from Grace and Saint Germaine.

Marvel have new issues of Black Widow 2 (#3), Captain America (#12), and She-Hulk 2 (#2); a an X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David volume.


Another fairly light week. Must be the holiday combined with November being a five Wednesday month. I guess this means you can save up your pennies for the Friday shopping extravataganza...

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Library Comics: Week of November 14, 2005

Slowpoke : Cafe Pompous coverHere are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:


Cooper, Dave (David Charles). Dave Cooper's Underbelly : additional observations on the beauty/ugliness of mostly pillowy girls. /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, [2004?]

Edlund, Niklas. Niklas and friends. 1 Anything but girls! /Koln : Mattei-Medien, 2005.

Goldsmith, Francisca. Graphic novels now : building, managing, and marketing a dynamic collection /Chicago : American Library Association, 2005.

Jason, 1965- Why Are You Doing This? /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; London : Turnaround [distributor], [2005.]

Kohn, Annette. Lika sieht fern /Berlin : Jaja, 2004.

More little "dirty" comics /San Diego, Calif. : Socio Library, 1971. v. 2

Mousli, L. G. X. Lillian, 1960- Lilli & Poldi : das erste Jahr /Berlin : Jochen Enterprises, 1997.

Nace, Don. Drawn out /Brooklyn, NY : Soft Skull Press : distributed by Publishers Group West, c2005.

Sabisch, Ingrid. Der grosse Plan / : Ingrid Sabisch.[Berlin : Verlag die-Heldin, 2005]

Schmidt, Silke. Der Forscher /Berlin : Edition Wasser im Turm, 1999.

Sjunnesson, Lars. Ostberlin /Berlin : Direkte Aktion, 2005.

Sorensen, Jen. Slowpoke : Cafe Pompous /Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, 2001.

TenNapel, Doug. Earthboy Jacobus /Berkeley, CA : Image Comics, c2005.

Weekend Reading

Some things I read over the weekend, and my thoughts:

100 Bullets, book 8: The Hard Way reminded me why it's so frustrating to read 100 Bullets. With a months-long gap between trades, it's impossible for me to remember what the heck is going on in this title, who the major players are, what is their relationship to one another, what's going on with the Trust again, etc. There's no recap page, and Azzarello just goes on his way assuming that we're intimately familiar with his byzantine plot. When I first read the first several 100 Bullets trades back-to-back I could get into the layers of the story being told, but having large reading gaps isn't cutting it. Oh, and the story in this collection just goes on way too long--should've been told in half the number of issues, if that.


Sleeper, book 4: The Long Way Home, on the other hand, gives us a page of recap before it begins, which was good enough to job my memory about what's going on in this title. This is another book with plots within plots, but I could follow what was going on. I thought that this final volume did a good job of wrapping things up. I had a major problem with the portrayal of the only two female characters, Veronica St. James & Miss Misery, playing the stereotypical Madonna/whore roles; and things do not turn out good for either of them. I don't recall having such a reaction to the treatment of the female characters before--Is this a facet of the book that was always there, and just not as pronounced? Or is it new in this volume? Or am I reading too much into it? Kudos though to Sean Phillips' art; he uses a seemingly chaotic panel arrangement throughout the book that exemplifies the madness and confusion of the situations, yet is always clear in what is going on and where we should be reading.


Finally, Spider-Man/Human Torch, from Dan Slott & Ty Templeton, traces the relationship between the two Marvel super-heroes through five complete stories taking place through the characters' histories, and it is a good deal of fun. They're all good, but especially the third story, which has the Spider-Mobile, the Red Ghost and his Super Apes, and Hostess Fruit Pies. There is a lot of fun for your money in this digest collection, so don't miss it.


Ratings:

100 Bullets: 2.5 (of 5)
Sleeper: 3 (of 5)
Spider-Man/Human Torch: 3.5 (of 5)

Sunday, November 20, 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.

From 1953, here's Atlas's The Monkey and the Bear #1, with a cover by Howie Post.


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

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thank You

An open letter to Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely and Root Nibot & Colleen Coover:
Thank you.

Your comics, All-Star Superman & Banana Sunday, were a bright spot yesterday in an otherwise trully miserable day. They brought a smile to my face at a time when I really needed it.

- Dave

Review: Scott Pilgrim, vol. 2

Scott Pilgrim, vol. 2 coverScott Pilgrim vs. The World
by Brian Lee O'Malley
Oni Press, $11.95


I created a bit of a stir in the comics blogosphere when I reviewed the first Scott Pilgrim volume. I found the video game action sequences that popped up at the end of the book to be too much of a disconnect with the slice-of-life comic that occupied the majority of the book, so much so that I felt the ending ruined and cheapened the whole endeavor. I said so, and many of you, um, disagreed with me. A lot.

In retrospect I was probably too hard on the book, and so I approached volume 2 with a lot of interest. Now knowing what to expect from O'Malley's series, how would I react?

Quite well, actually. Knowing that O'Malley is having a bit of fun by using manga and video game tropes as a metaphor for angsty relationships works, now that I know it's coming. When a fight breaks out between Knives & Ramona in the Toronto Reference Library--well, that's just a lot of fun. Granted, I have problems relating to Scott, an early-20s slacker who has too many women interested in him, but maybe that's just me.

Artwise, O'Malley is at the top of his game. A story like this runs the risk of falling off the storytelling rails, but he keeps things exciting and dynaming while still being clear as to what is going on. (And he tosses a Neko Case poster into the background at one point, which wins him cool points with me.)

I can definitely say that vol. 2 has much of the same that made the first volume such a hit, and contains ebough variation that it doesn't seem like a retread. I'm sure that fans of the first volume have already eaten this up, and maybe O'Malley is bringing me around as well.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

YAFL: Week 10 Results

Here are the results from week 10 of Yet Another Fantasy League:



Nine Pound Hammers 46
Kickers Inc. 43

Danger Limited 95
The Inferior Five 65

Secret Six 42
www.rickgebhardt.net 44

The Maxx Squad 60
Moon Knights 25

Tomorrow Syndicate 35
B.P.R.D. 62

Inferior 5 plus 6 68
Power Pack 83


Current Standings:


Team W-L-T Pct Pts Streak
------------------- ----- ---- --- ------
1. B.P.R.D. 8-2-0 .800 662 W-6
2. Power Pack 8-2-0 .800 637 W-1
3. Inferior 5 plus 6 6-4-0 .600 655 L-4
4. Kickers Inc. 6-4-0 .600 592 L-2
5. Nine Pound Hammers 6-4-0 .600 573 W-2
6. Secret Six 5-5-0 .500 643 L-1
7. www.rickgebhardt.net 5-5-0 .500 479 W-3
8. Danger Limited 4-6-0 .400 618 W-4
9. Tomorrow Syndicate 4-6-0 .400 601 L-1
10.The Maxx Squad 3-7-0 .300 518 W-1
11.The Inferior Five 3-7-0 .300 491 L-2
12.Moon Knights 2-8-0 .200 472 L-6



Week 11 Games:

#
Inferior 5 plus 6 (6-4-0)
vs.
Kickers Inc. (6-4-0)

Nine Pound Hammers (6-4-0)
vs.
The Inferior Five (3-7-0)

Danger Limited (4-6-0)
vs.
www.rickgebhardt.net (5-5-0)

Secret Six (5-5-0)
vs.
Moon Knights (2-8-0)

The Maxx Squad (3-7-0)
vs.
B.P.R.D. (8-2-0)

Tomorrow Syndicate (4-6-0)
vs.
Power Pack (8-2-0)


Good luck to all!


In my other Fantasy Leagues, I lost 57-30 in my friends & family league (3-7-1, seventh place); squeezed out a 49-48 win in my public league (5-5-0, still eighth place); and scored 246.25 points in my Pass & Kick league, which dropped me to fourth place. Fantasy Basketball contunied as well: I got thrashed 7-1 and fell all the way to seventh place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Team-Up Books

Remember team-up books? These were super-hero series that would have a regular star, who would in each issue team up with a different character (or sometimes group). Marvel had Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-in-One, which featured Spider-Man and The Thing respectively; DC had The Brave and The Bold and DC Comics Presents, which featured their two marquee heroes, Batman and Superman.

Those team-up books are gone now, fallen victim to a market that seems to want longer stories and less variety. Which is a shame, because these team-up books had many advantages: As a reader, you were exposed to new characters, as well as artists and writers that you may not have encountered on their regular books (this was back in the days before creative teams were changed every 11 months). For the companies, they could easily save characters and their logos from trademark & copyright limbo, and the one-off issues and rotating creators meant that inventory stories could be easily slid into the schedule. A win-win for all.

Yes, I know that Marvel Team-Up is back, but its longer stories and rotating casts give iit a very different feel from those old team-up books. And DC is rumored to have a new Brave and the Bold coming out on the other side of Infinite Crisis, but it would seem to be going for a similar take.

As a kid, DC Comics Presents was the first comic that I made a point of getting regualrly (and for many years had a subscription). On a limited budget, I liked the idea of getting a comic that not only featured my favorite character, Superman, in every issue, but also introduced me to a new character every month. Why get a comic with just Superman when you could get a comic that had both Superman and the Elongated Man? It was like getting two comics in one!

I still have fond memories of many DC Comics Presents issues. Some of my favorites were:

#13 & #14: With an adult Superman meeting the Legion of Super-Heroes, then facing off against a possessed version of his own youthful self!


#24: Deadman and Superman never actually meet, of course, which I thought was very cool. Plus the art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was totally rad, as even my immature 10-year-old tastes could tell.


#26; Green Lantern is possessed (that actually happened a lot in these tales...) and creates AN ENTIRE PLANETOID OF GREEN KRYPTONITE! That is so damn cool! (Also had a free preview insert of The New Teen Titans!)


#27-29: A three parter that introduced Mongul and Warworld, and teamed Superman with The Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, and The Spectre. Superman and Supergirl teaming up to take on The Death Star? Cool! Superman accidently 'piercing the veil' into the afterlife? Cool! All drawn by the cosmic master, Jim Starlin.


#50: Superman teams up with Clark Kent? How can that be?!


#59: Keith Giffen gives us Superman meeting The Legion of Substitute-Heroes while trying to corral Ambush Bug. Still one of the funiest comics I have ever read. Ever.


#61: Superman & OMAC. The real OMAC. Drawn by George Perez. Stick that in your Infinite Crisis pipe and smoke it!


#66: Superman and The Demon. Drawn by Joe Kubert. Even my barely formed fourteen-year-old tastes could tell that Kubert rocked.


#67: Superman and Santa Claus versus The Toyman. Genius. Drawn by the best Superman artists ever, Curt Swan, and with a Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez cover.


#84: Challengers of the unknown, with Jack Kirby and Alex Toth on art. Kirby & Toth!


#85: Alan Moore steps in to give us a Superman story, nominally teaming-up with Swamp Thing.


#87: A Crisis tie-in, with the first appearance of the Superboy of Earth Prime--that's more to stick in your IC pipe!


#90: Freaky, post-Crisis pre-reboot team-up between Superman, Captain Atom, and Firestorm.


Annual #1: Earth-1 Superman & Earth-2 Superman. Plus Earth-3's Ultra Man and the Lex Luthors of All Three Earths! You cannot call your self an Infinite Crisis fanboy if you haven't read this!



Counting the annuals, there were 101 issues of DCCP before DC pulled the plug in favor of the Byrne-revamp and Action Comics becoming (temporarilly) the new Superman team-up book. It's probably the one book that strokes my fanboy memories of the eighties the most. Hey DC--how about a Showcase Presents colelction of DC Comics Presents?

(cover images courtesy of the GCD)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New This Week: November 16, 2005

All Star Superman #1 CoverBased 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 All Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely. These are the same guys who brought you one of last year's best comics, We3, made the X-Men really interesting for the first time in years, and gave us the Flex Mentallo series. And now they're doing my favorite super-hero, Superman. I've been anticipating this comics ever since it was announced (I just hope that it lives up to my high expectations!)


In other comics:

Dark Horse have the second chronological Concrete collection, Concrete: Heights.

DC have the first collection of Waid and Kitson's Legion reboot in Legion of Super-Heroes, vol. 1: Teenage Revolution; the debut of Matt Wagner's Batman and the Monster Men mini; and new issues of Birds of Prey (#88), Captain Atom: Armageddon (#2), Fables (#43), Green Lantern (#5), Hellblazer (#214), Manhunter (#16), and Top 10: The Farthest Precinct (#4).

Image have a new Kane collection: Kane, vol. 5: Untouchable Rico Costas & Other Stories.

Marvel have the second collection of Whedon & Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men; and new issues of Runaways (#10) and Ultimate Spider-Man (#86).

Moronik have the second issues of Bug Girl and Dirtboy.

Oni have the final issue of Banana Sunday (#4) (good funny comics make Dave's tummy happy!) and the first issue of Local.

Viz have the sixth issue of Shojo Beat.


That's it. A relatively small week, all things considered. So you have no excuse to not buy All Star Superman #1!

Monday, November 14, 2005

New Library Comics: Week of November 7, 2005

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



Atak, 1967- Alice : kuss den Mond bevor er schlaft /Berlin : Jochen Enterprises, [1995]

Bennett, Jonathan. Torrential /New York : Smallest Press, c2004.

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- I am going to be small : tiny comics /[Deerfield, Ill. : Jeffrey Brown, c2003.]

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- Last night lasted all morning /[Deerfield, Ill. : Jeffrey Brown, 2003?]

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- Mini sulk /Deerfield, Ill. : Jeffrey Brown, 2003.

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- To Wenatchee /Deerfield, Ill. : Jeffrey Brown, [200-?]

Cole, Allison. Asher Bear makes a pod /[Providence, R. I. : Allison Cole, 2002.]

Cole, Allison. Modern rock /[Providence, R. I. : Allison Cole, 2002.]

Cole, Allison. Sketchbook of frustration; Eight days eight drawings; Modern rock /[Providence, R. I. : Allison Cole, 2001-2002.]

Cole, Allison. Sketchbook party /[Providence, R. I. : Allison Cole, 2002.]

Cole, Allison. Stress mess /[Providence, R. I. : Allison Cole, 200-?]

Collier, David, 1963- Just the facts : a decade of comics essays /Montreal, Quebec : Drawn & Quarterly, 1998.

Crane, Jordan, 1973- The shortcut : which is Chapter 2 (two) of a book without a name /[S.l. : Reddingk, 2002?]

Ferguson, Lee. Freak /Orange, Calif. : Image, 2004.

Harkham, Sammy. Ramsden /[S.l. : Sammy Harkham, 2004?]

Little "dirty" comics /San Diego, Calif. : Socio Library, 1971. vol. 1

MacPhee, Josh. Stop /[Chicago : Josh MacPhee, 2002.]

Moench, Doug, 1948- Slash Maraud /New York, N.Y. : DC Comics, 1987- no. 1-6

Nananan, Kiriko. Blue /Wisbech, Eng. : Fanfare ; Rasquera, Spain : Ponent Mon, [2004.]

Plastic Man. /New York : National Periodical Publications, c1976. no. 14

Richards, Ted. Two fools /San Francisco, Ca. : Saving Grace, a division of Keith Green/Industrial Reality, c1976.

Salazar, Souther. Field trip /[Pasadena, Calif. : Souther Salazar, 2003]

Taniguchi, Jiro. The times of Botchan /Tokyo : Fanfare/Ponent Mon, c2005.

Zero zero. /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c1995- no. 17, 19

Review: The King

The King coverThe King
by Rich Koslowski
Top Shelf Productions, $19.95


Rich Koslowski's career in comics has taken an interesting path. He began as an inker for Archie Comics, and then moved into self-publishing with his 3 Geeks, a series about well-meaning but terminally geeky comics fans. He then moved on to Top Shelf and into 'serious' comics back in 2002 with Three Fingers, a dark look at funny animals and the golden age of animation. Three years later Koslowski is back with The King, his latest Original Graphic Novel that continues his foray into serious comics territory.

There are two stories in The King: The first is that of the title character, a mask-wearing Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas who many feel may be the actual Elvis Pressly. Some believe he has come out of hiding; others believe he is Elvis back from the dead, and some of those believe that The King is a god, worthy of worship and adoration

The more interesting story is that of Paul Erfurt, a sometime reporter whose previous career--as a writer for The National Enquirer--consisted of spinning lies out of the truth. But as the only reporter to whom The King has agreed to tell his story, Paul now has to determine what is true and what isn't, and what is the difference between facts and faith. The King is cryptic in his responses to Paul's questioning, never giving a straight answer, but through his interviews with The King's entourage Paul learns about the transformative power of belief and grace, all from an unlikely source.

Though maybe I'm reading too much into the story. If The King has a fault, it's in the fact that the story is all on the surface, and there's no other depth to the narrative. Then again, I'm not a huge Elvis fan, so mayeb there are allusions that I'm just not hip to.

The King is a good graphic novel, although it could probably have used a bit more humor. The art is strong--probably Koslowski's best work to date--and he paces the story well. It's another look by Koslowski at the sometimes seedy, sometimes redemptive world of entertainment.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

(A review copy of The King was provided by the publisher.)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Monkey Covers

Katy Keene #38 coverSunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Ah, it's the old gorilla suit gag on the cover of Katy Keene #38, courtesy of Bill Wosgon. Always a classic.

(standard disclaimer about gorillas not really being monkeys applies)

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

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

YAFL: Week 9 Results

Here are the results from week 9 of Yet Another Fantasy League:


Danger Limited 56
Kickers Inc. 54

Secret Six 59
The Inferior Five 41

The Maxx Squad 39
www.rickgebhardt.net 40

Tomorrow Syndicate 66
Moon Knights 31

Power Pack 32
B.P.R.D. 60

Inferior 5 plus 6 52
Nine Pound Hammers 83


Current Standings:


Team W-L-T Pct Pts Streak
------------------- ----- ---- --- ------
1. B.P.R.D. 7-2-0 .778 600 W-5
2. Power Pack 7-2-0 .778 554 L-1
3. Inferior 5 plus 6 6-3-0 .667 587 L-3
4. Kickers Inc. 6-3-0 .667 549 L-1
5. Secret Six 5-4-0 .556 601 W-1
6. Nine Pound Hammers 5-4-0 .556 527 W-1
7. Tomorrow Syndicate 4-5-0 .444 566 W-1
8. www.rickgebhardt.net 4-5-0 .444 435 W-2
9. Danger Limited 3-6-0 .333 523 W-3
10.The Inferior Five 3-6-0 .333 426 L-1
11.The Maxx Squad 2-7-0 .222 458 L-4
12.Moon Knights 2-7-0 .222 447 L-5



Week 10 Games:

Nine Pound Hammers (5-4-0)
vs.
Kickers Inc. (6-3-0)

Danger Limited (3-6-0)
vs.
The Inferior Five (3-6-0)

Secret Six (5-4-0)
vs.
www.rickgebhardt.net (4-5-0)

The Maxx Squad (2-7-0)
vs.
Moon Knights (2-7-0)

Tomorrow Syndicate (4-5-0)
vs.
B.P.R.D. (7-2-0)

Inferior 5 plus 6 (6-3-0)
vs.
Power Pack (7-2-0)


Good luck to all!


In my other Fantasy Leagues, it was pretty depressing, as I somehow ended up with Terrell Owens in three of my leagues... Still, I managed to eke out a 61-59 win in my friends & family league (3-5-1, sixth place); got thrashed 65-29 in my public league (a power outage Sunday morning prevented me from making a needed roster move...) (4-5-0, still eighth place); and scored 254.50 points in my Pass & Kick league, which kept me in third place. Also, Fantasy Basketball started last week: I won 5-3, which was good enough to start me out in 2nd place.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You Search, We Provide

Random searches that led people to this blog today:
McFarlane Toys " the boondocks "
Origin stories
inference comic
what is hte results on the review of antarctica not being owned
"who is mister x?" AND bob
"power pack" +comic
harlequin romance manga
jlu star girl
Van Von Hunter Peach Fuzz
pam bliss gainesville florida
Stories about boring fathers
sgt york davad
"cheap manga"
comic blog humor
x-men comics mb blog


Not nearly as interesting as Redhead Fangirl's, but there you go.

New This Week: November 9, 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 IDW's trade collection of Grimjack: Killer Instinct, a great return to the classic 80s character by original creators John Ostrander & Tim Truman. If you like fun & gritty action, this is the comic for you.


In other comics:

Antarctic have a new issue of Ninja High School (#133).

Archie have a new issue of Sabrina (#71).

DC have the fourth Losers collection, Close Quarters; a first collection of the recent Manhunter series; a collection of the started-interesting-and-with-potential-but-rapidly-went-downhill-and-never-resolved-anything IC-build-up mini Day of Vengeance; the debuts of Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli's DMZ and the latest Danger Girl mini, Back in Black; new issues of 100 Bullets (#66), Action Comics (#833), Majestic (#11), and Y, the Last Man (#39); the second issue of Infinite Crisis; and Gotham Central #37, which is oddly an IC tie-in, but also has guest art by Steve Lieber, so I'm sure that it will look good and I hold out hope that Rucka will be able to pull off the crossover...

Del Rey have the third volume of Genshiken.

DR Masters have the fourteenth volume of Iron Wok Jan.

Fantagraphics have a new issue of Luba's Comics & Stories (#6).

iBooks have Joe Kubert's new OGN, Jew Gangster: A Father's Admonition.

It's trade collection day from IDW, as in addition to the aforementioned Grimjack: Killer Instinct, the also have collections of 24, CSI: Secret Identity, The Complete Jon Sable, Freelance (vol. 3), and the hardcover The Complete Clive Barker Thief of Always.

Image have a new issue of The Walking Dead (#23).

Marvel have the Fantastic Four Wedding Special, and new issues of The Book of Lost Souls (#2), Drax the Destroyer (#3), New Thunderbolts (#15) (and a second New Thunderbolts collection too), and The Pulse (#12).

NBM have the third Hardy Boys OGN, Mad House.

Shanda Fantasy Arts have a new issue of Shanda the Panda (#44).

Viz have the fifth volume of Doubt.


And finally, Marvel also have the Maximum Fantastic Four volume of extreme Kirby minutae. I mean, I'm kind of inerested in what a book that delves so deeply into one comic will look like, but not $50 interested. Is anyone getting this?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yaoi Recommendations

It occurs to me that we don't have much of anything really in the realm of yaoi manga represented in our library collection.

My knowledge of the field is rather small, mainly due to my lack of personal interest (pretty much the only yaoi I've read to much extent is Banana Fish, which I think is actually more likely considered shonen-ai). I could surely pull some titles out of the latest Previews, but I don't really know what is considered to be 'the good stuff'.

So, I'll turn it over to readers of this blog: can you recommend two or three yaoi manga that would serve as good representations for our collection?

Please use the comments of this post to give me your suggestions.

Thanks!

Monday, November 07, 2005

SNAP! Day 3: Mini-Comics

Here is a run-down of the various mini-comics I picked up at SNAP! last weekend:


Quitter coverQuitter by J Chris Campbell is an adorable little comic about a robot.


Ozone Jones: Space Worms coverOzone Jones: Space Worms by Michelangelo Cicerone is a silent min about a space man who faces off against giant space worms.


Wizzah coverWizzah, also by Michelangelo Cicerone, is a free comic book day mini comic that features the title character, a girl wizzard, and her dog as they visit a comic store on Free Comic Book Day.


Are We on Mars Yet? coverAre We on Mars Yet? is another free mini, this one by Yul Tolbert, that has Daria and Jane (from MTV's Daria) explaining how we could mount a manned mission to Mars.


Adjustable coverBob Corby describes his Adjustable mini as "a failed 24-hour comic, but still fun." It has robots and aliens and talking dogs and evil clowns.


The Amazing Cynicalman vol. 2 #13 coverWhat would a comic convention in Michigan be without the legendary Matt Feazell? I picked up issues #11-14 of his sublime The Amazing Cynicalman, each full of the funniest stick figure comics ever.


Jape vol. 2 #1 coverAnd of course you can't spell Michigan Mini-Comics without mentioning the talented Sean Bieri; I picked up Jape vol. 2 #1 which contains several short and highly entertaining strips.


More #2 coverDonovan Cater's More is about the drudgery of the white-collar corporate world. I picked up #1-2 and enjoyed them both.


Cleopatra's HatsAnd finally there's Cleopatra's Hats, a short and good mini by Suzanne Baumann, which is about hat shopping and PC language.