Tuesday, January 31, 2006

New This Week: February 1, 2006

Sorcerers & Secretaries vol. 1Based 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 Amy Kim Ganter's Sorcerers & Secretaries, the latest OEL manga from TokyoPop. It's about a receptionist who daydreams about a fantasy world, and looks absolutely charming.

In other comics:

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor have the third issue of Rex Libris.

Antarctic have the Gold Digger Color Remix #2 and Ninja High School #135.

Archie have Sabrina #73.

Dark Horse have the third Concrete collection, Fragile Creature, and the first issue of Hellboy: Makoma by Mignola & Corben.

DC have a collection of Howard Chaykin's City of Tomorrow (with Chaykin at his most Chaykinesque in a long time); the final (sniff) issue of Gotham Central (#40); the ninth Lucifer collection; the second Superman: Man of Tomorrow archive with lots of silver-age goodness; the debut of Thuderbolt Jaxon (a spin-of of the much-delayed Albion); and new issues of Justice League Unlimited (#18), Legion of Super-Heroes (#14), Swamp Thing (#24), and Y, the Last Man (#42).

IDW have a collection of Angel: The Curse, and the third issue of Angel: Old Friends.

Image have the fifth Noble Causes collection, Betrayals.

Marvel have new issues of Captain America (#14), Marvel Team-Up (#17), Powers (#16), The Punisher (#30), and X-Factor (#3).

Moonstone have the $0.50 Buckaroo Bonzai Preview (just in time so that you can make an pre-ordering decision on the mini).

Speakeasy have the first issue of Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon.

And there you have it. Enjoy your new comics!

Monkey Covers - Bonus!

Katy Keene #38Normally we feature monkey covers on Sundays here at YACB--so why do we have a monkey cover on a Tuesday?

Because January 31 is National Gorilla Suit Day! And in honor of this most special holiday, we have the cover to Katy Keene #38, where one of Katy's beaus gets them in a bit of jam because of his decision to honor the holiday.

(standard disclaimer about gorillas not really being monkeys applies)

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

Always Remember

1... Is Gud Dog

I thought I was done, but I couldn't help myself...

(all the others)

Monday, January 30, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! The horrible truth about gifted and talented programs. (via Sara)

ITEM! The Straight Dope on the Dewey Decimal System.

ITEM! James Jean draws more than just comic covers--he's done illustrations for everything from Target to Men's Health.

ITEM! We're rapidly approaching the 100,000th visitor milestone here on YACB--it should happen sometime in early-to-mid February. I plan on having some sort of major give-away contest in honor of reacing the milestone. Stay tuned...

ITEM! Laurenn McCubbin is drawing a Dakota North series for Marvel. Sign me up!

Ted Rall @ Michigan - Podcast

Ted Rall self portraitTed Rall--editorial cartoonist, graphic novelist and raconteur--was in Ann Arbor last Thursday as part of the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Series.

Alas, I wasn't able to attend due to work commitments, but I can listen to the free podcast that the library's arts videography program has made available. You can too, via iTunes or the U-M School of Art + Design Website. Audio is available now, and video should be available later in the week.

New Library Comics: Week of January 23, 2006

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

Donnelly, Liza. Funny ladies : the New Yorker's greatest women cartoonists and their cartoons /Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2005.

Fingerman, Bob, 1964- You deserved it /Milwaukie, Or. : Dark Horse Comics, 2005.

McKenzie, Alan. How to draw & sell comics /Cincinnati, Ohio : Impact, c2005.

Nakazawa, Keiji. Barefoot Gen : a cartoon story of Hiroshima /San Francisco, Calif. : Last Gasp of San Francisco, 2004- v. 3-4

Ottaviani, Jim. Bone sharps, cowboys, and thunder lizards : a tale of Edwin Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the gilded age of paleontology /Ann Arbor, Mich. : G.T. Labs, c2005.

Panter, Gary. Jimbo in purgatory : being a mis-recounting of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy in pictures and un-numbered footnotes /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2004.

Senses : sequential art anthology. /Atlanta : Savannah College of Art and Design, 2005.

SPX 2005 /[New York] : Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, 2005.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Monkey Covers

Adventure Comics #322Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

The Legion of Super-Pets on the cover of Adventure Comics #322 features not only Beppo the Super-Monkey, but also Krypto the Super-Dog, in honor of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dog. Art by Curt Swan and George Klein.

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

Happy New Year

Always Remember:

Krypto Wishes You a Prosperous Year of the Dog

(all the others)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Always Remember

Rob Liefeld... Still has more money than you

(all the others)

YAFQ: Uncollected DC

'Mazing Man #1Which uncollected DC comics do you think should be collected?

At the top of my list would be 'Mazing Man, the short-lived mid-80s series from Bob Rozakis & Stephen DeStefano. Had the Blogosphere been around at the time, it would have been the highly-lauded and rarely bought series of its time.

I'd also like to see Sugar & Spike-- a Showcase Presents Sugar and Spike collection would be perfect--I mean c'mon, they're doing one for The Haunted Tank!

And #3 would be Finals, the overlooked Vertigo mini from Will Pfeifer & Jill Thompson.

What about you--which uncollected DC comics do you think deserve a second life in trade?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Comic Bloggers' Poll 2005 - Reactions

The results of the 2005 Comic Bloggers' Poll were announced Tuesday. Below are some of my reactions.

Before I get into the specific categories, I'd like to talk a bit about the methodology of the poll--and how it might result in some odd outcomes.

Fifty bloggers participated in the poll (which is good, because that's a nice round number and makes the math easy!). All of the participants were self-selected; some may have been invited by email, while others may have stumbled across the poll. The only criteria for participating was to be a blogger who blogs about comics. The participants were overwhelmingly male (it's hard to determine gender from names sometimes, but there are only two definite female name there), and I know of many female comics bloggers who, for whatever reason, didn't participate in the poll. So, the upshot is to take the results of the poll with a grain of salt--they represent nothing other than the opinions of those who participated in the poll, and no further claims can be extrapolated.

There were six categories: Best Artist; Best Writer; Best Ongoing Title; Best Original Graphic Novel; Best Mini-Series or One-Shot; Best Collection of Previously Printed Material. Each voter had 10 points to spread amongst each category--e.g. a voter could give 1 point to 10 different selections, or all 10 points to 1 selection, or some other combination (5 points each to 2 selections, 3-3-2-2, 2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1, etc.)

Because of this voting method, the results are different than if each participant were forced to choose just one selection for each category, or use a rank-order voting, or some other method. With 500 points to be awarded in each category, the voting was remarkably spread out. The highest vote getter in any category was Grant Morrison as Best Writer with 97 points--relatively high compared to everyone else in the category, but still only 20% of the total possible points.

With the variable points, it's impossible to extrapolate just how many persons' opinions are represented by a given point total. Infintie Crisis placed 3rd in the Best Mini-Series category with 22 points; but that means that at a minimum only 3 people included it in their voting, and at a maximum 22 people included it. Most likely the number of people voting for IC was somewhere in between, in all likelihood no more than 25% of the voters chose IC as a Best Mini-Series, and 75% of the voters didn't include it in their voting.

Okay, enough preamble. Let's get down to business. I'm going to look at each of the categories. listing the top vote getters, and putting an asterisk next to choices that I voted for (and three asterisks next to my top pick):

Best Writer

1. Grant Morrison (97) ***
2. Warren Ellis (37) *
3. Brian K. Vaughan (34) *
4. Ed Brubaker (25)
5. Geoff Johns (24)
5. Gail Simone (24)
7. David B. (22)
8. Alan Moore (15)
8. Dan Slott (15) *
10. The Luna Brothers (8)

This was the only category in which there was an overwhelming choice for the number one slot, and it's easy to see why. Morrison is a writer who appeals to both super-hero fans and the high-brow crowd.

It's also the category where I agreed the most with the crowd. The top three picks were also picks of mine, and my fourth pick came in eighth.

I'm a bit surprised to see The Luna Brothers come in tenth, although with 8 points that could be just one voter. Not that I think they're bad or anything, it's just that there are tons of names further down on the list that I would place above them. But hey, that's the nature of these voting beasts.

Ordinarily it would seem odd to see Alan Moore so far down on the list, but in 2005 the only thing of consequence he wrote (besides a couple of questionable co-writing credits with his daughter) was Top 10: The 49ers.

Best Artist

1. Frank Quitely (40) ***
2. JH Williams III (29)
3. John Cassaday (22)
4. Tony Harris (21)
5. Gene Ha (14)
6. Chris Ware (13)
7. Kyle Baker (12)
8. Bryan Hitch (11)
8. Rags Morales (11)
10. David B. (10)
10. Frank Espinosa (10)
10. Takeshi Obata (10)
10. Ryan Sook (10) *

53. Fabio Moon (2) *

So I was defintely in the majority when I chose Frank Quitely as my favorite, although I was the only person who voted for Fabio Moon.

It's hard though for me to quibble with most of the top ten choices though.

David B. is the only name to appear in the top ten of both the Writer & Artist lists. Now I have yet to read Epileptic so I can't fairly speak to his writing talents, but I have looked through it and, well, let's just say that his art mostly struck me as servicable to the story--though I guess that's enough to rate it in at least one person's voting.

Best Ongoing Title

1. Fell (30)
2. All Star Superman (25)
3. Desolation Jones (20) *
4. Love and Rockets (18)
4. Or Else (18)
6. Captain America (17)
6. Ex Machina (17)
6. Young Avengers (17)
9. Fables (15)
9. Gotham Central (15) ***

13. Y, the Last Man (13) *

44. Lucifer (3) *

So here's where I had some problems with the voting. I really really like All Star Superman, but only 1 issue came out in 2005. Likewise Or Else with only 2 issues (one of which, #2, had a misprint in the indicia saying that it came out in January 2004). I wasn't able to bring myself to vote for either of those as 'ongoing,' though technically they're eligible.

Not surprising is to see titles worked on by the top vote getters for Writer & Artist.

Best Original Graphic Novel

1. Top 10: The 49ers (82) ***
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (74)
3. Capote In Kansas (30)
4. Tricked (29)
5. The Quitter (19)
6. Owly: Flying Lessons (16)
7. Salamander Dream (14)
8. Wimbledon Green (13)
9. Flight 2 (11) *
10. The Fountain (10)
10. Frankenstein Now and Forever (10)

14. Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires (6) *

31. Steady Beat (1) *

Other commenters have already pointed out a problem with an OGN category: given their nature, they are less likely to have been read by a majority of the people voting. I consider myself rather extensively read in comics, but even I've only gotten around to reading 3 of the top ten so far. I just got a copy of Wimbledon Green today; it may be absolutely fabulous, but not having read it before the votes were due in there's no way I could consider it.

One thing that can be said about this tally is that Top 10: The 49ers and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World were read by a lot of the bloggers who participated in the poll.

Best Mini-Series or One-Shot

1. Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy (28)
1. Villains United (28)
3. Infinite Crisis (22)
4. Spider-Man/Human Torch (21) *
5. Seven Soldiers: Guardian (20)
5. Seven Soldiers: Zatanna (20)
7. Marvel Monsters (16)
8. Countdown to Infinite Crisis (15)
9. Ultra: Seven Days (14)
10. Concrete: The Human Dillemma (13) *

15. Banana Sunday (10) ***

38. Street Angel (3) *

71. Vimanarama (1) *

Lots of super-hero love in this category, though largely divided between the Grant Morrison camp and the Infinite Crisis Camp.

But despite all the love for Morrison, I'm the only person who voted for Vimanarama?!

And Comics Blogosphere: I am very, very disappointed in you for not voting Banana Sunday higher. You are all officially on notice.

Best Collection of Previously Printed Material

1. Black Hole (57) ***
2. We3 (37) *
3. Showcase Presents Superman (32)
4. Street Angel (27)
5. Showcase Presents Green Lantern (26)
6. Amazing Joy Buzzards (17)
7. Absolute Watchmen (14)
8. Yotsuba&! (13) *
9. Epileptic (12)
9. The Complete Peanuts (12)

35. Sexy Voice & Robo (3) *

At least you all have the good sense to place Black Hole and We3 in the top two spots.

I'm a bit surprised to see the Showcase Presents... titles in the top 10--as fun as it may be to revisit the DC silver age, they are black & white reprints on cheap newsprint.

It's easy to see how the last two categories could have presented some voting dilemas, as many mini series end up in collected editions. If you like Street Angel, for example, do you vote for it as Best Mini or Best Collection (or both)? In my case, I read it as a mini-series and never even saw the collected edition, so I voted for it as a mini.

Final thoughts:

The big winner was Grant Morrison, placing 1st or 2nd in all four categories for which he or his projects were eligible.

Manga made a much weaker showing than I might have expected. This can probably be chalked up to a combination of self-selection in the voting population, and the lack of any single title to rally around.

Only two of the creators of the top ten vote getting OGNs made it into the top ten of the Writer or Artists categories--fitting they were Alan Moore and Gene Ha, creators of Top 10: The 49ers.

Many people obviously have different criteria for 'best' than I do :)

Chris Tamarri put an awful lot of work in putting together the poll, and he deserves our heartfelt thanks for a tremendous effort.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New This Week: January 25, 2006

Nextwave #1Based 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 Warren Ellis's Nextwave. Even though Ellis's work for Marvel as of late has been rather lackluster, I have a good feeling about this one. Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger provide the visuals.

In other comics:

Speaking of Ellis, Avatar have the debut issue of the Warren Ellis Black Gas mini.

Dark Horse have the concluding issue of BPRD: The Black Flame (#6); a collection of the Serenity prequel mini; and the unfortunately-named Sexy Chix.

DC have new issues of Catwoman (#51) and Majestic (#13); the debut of Gail Simone and Jose-Luis Garcia-Lopez's Justice League tale in JLA: Classified #16; and the final issue of Kyle Baker's Plastic Man (#20)--I blame you--all of you--who didn't buy this comic for its demise. What is wrong with you that you couldn't shell out $3 every other month for Kyle Baker funniness?

DMP might have the 2nd volume of Bambi and Her Pink Gun (it's not on the NCRL, but I've seen it on other shipping lists for the week).

Fantagraphics have The Comics Journal Library vol. 6: The Writers, and the first issue of Kevin Huizenga's Ganges.

IDW have the second issue of the resurrected Fallen Angel.

Image have a double-dose of cosmic, with the first Gødland collection, Hello Cosmic, as well as the 7th issue of the series.

It's a day of long-delayed comics finally showing up from Marvel, with Defenders #5, the Powers Hardcover, and Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do #6 all making an appearance. There's also the final Bendis/Gaydos issue of Daredevil (#81), the last issue of X-Men and Power Pack (#4), Ultimate Spider-Man #89, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #2, and The Pulse #13.

Oni have the third issue of Local.

Shanda Fantasy Arts have the 10th Giant Shanda Animal.

TokyoPop have 17 different titles--one of which may be of more interest to you than to me.

Top Shelf have the penultimate issue of Surrogates (#4).

2005 Bloggies Announced

Early this morning the results of the 2005 Comic Bloggers' Poll (aka The Bloggies) were announced. The winners were:
Best Artist: Frank Quitely

Best Writer: Grant Morrison

Best Ongoing Title: Fell

Best Original Graphic Novel: Top 10: The 49ers

Best Mini-Series or One-Shot: Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy & Villains United (tie)

Best Collection of Previously Printed Material: Black Hole

I'm pleased to note that in 4 of the 6 categories, my choice for top pick was also the winner in that category (and in the other two I wasn't very close!)

I'll probably have a more detailed reaction tomorrow.

Big thanks to Chris Tamarri for running the inaugeral Bloggies!

Monday, January 23, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Batman Legos! (via Tegan)

ITEM! The New York Times has news about The 99, a comic about a team of Muslim super-heroes. It looks interesting, but as with all things it'll come down to the execution. (via Brian at The Great Curve and Newsarama)

ITEM! Jon J. Muth has received a Caldecott Honors commendation for his book Zen Shorts, an award that is well-deserved. Considering how many libraries will now end up purchasing the book, Muth may never need to work in comics again. (via Christopher)

ITEM! Chris J. Miller recently updated his The Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe; those of you trying to make heads-or-tails of the timeline for Infinite Crisis and its various pre-series, tie-ins, etc. will want to check out Chris's section on the most recent events.

New Library Comics: Week of January 16, 2006

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

Dart, Rebecca. RabbitHead /Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, 2004.

Delisle, Guy. Pyongyang : a journey in North Korea /Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly ; New York : Distributed in the USA by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2005.

Doucet, Julie, 1965- The Madame Paul affair /Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2000.

Johnson, R. Kikuo. Night fisher /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2005.

Kalesniko, Mark. Why did Pete Duel kill himself? /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 1997.

Mizuno, Junko, 1973- Pure trance /San Francisco, Calif. : Last Gasp, 2005.

O, Se-yong, 1955- Buja's diary /New York : NBM ComicsLit, 2005, c2001.

Porcellino, John. Perfect example /Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly ; New York : Distributed in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2005.

Roadstrips : a graphic journey across America /San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c2005.

Sadowski, Greg. B. Krigstein /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2002-

Satrapi, Marjane, 1969- Embroideries /New York : Pantheon Books, 2005.

Yoe, Craig. Modern arf /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2005.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Monkey Covers

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

Robby Reed—the hero with 1000 forms—battles a Plant-Gorilla on the cover of 1966's House of Mystery #161 by Jim Mooney. Plant-Gorilla! Gotta love the silver age!

(Standard disclaimer about gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Friday, January 20, 2006

YAFQ: What Comic Haven't You Read (Yet)

What comic have you always intended to read, but haven't yet gotten around to reading yet?

For me it would be Love & Rockets. I have both Palomar and Locas on my bookshelf, but they're both such massive tomes that I haven't gotten around to digging into them yet. I think they intimidate me a little...

What about you? Which comic have you always heard good things about, but haven't yet read?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Review: It's Superman

It's Superman
by Tom De Haven
Chronicle Books, $24.95

In It's Superman, novelist Tom De Haven brings a freshness to the origin of Superman by setting his story in the past. In the 1930s, in midst of the Great Depression, Clark Kent is a just graduated farmboy in Smallville with powers he doesn't understand, and looking for more from life than being a reporter for the town weekly. Unbeknownst to Clark, his life will eventually become entangled with that of Lois Lane--who is trying to make it as a woman reporter for the New York Daily Planet--and Lex Luthor, NYC Alderman, wannabe crime lord, and would-be captain of industry.

This is an origin story, and Clark doesn't put on his familiar 'S' and cape until close to the end. I've decried origin stories in the past, but by making his novel Clark Kent's bildungsroman De Haven successfully recasts the narrative; and the very last chapter of the book justifies his decisions rather poetically.

De Haven employs present-tense narration for this novel, which normally sets my teeth on edge but in this case works. In fact, it bothered me for a while why present-tense was working so well for the book, and it seemed like an odd choice for a novel set in the past. But then it occured to me that in using present-tense De Haven was employing the same narrative voice that one would find in the comic book adventures of the day, and it all made perfect sense.

This is not a typical novel based on a comic book super-hero; it's a sophisticated and compelling look at a man on his way to meet his destiny, and the world that shapes him.

Rating: 4 (of 5)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New This Week: January 18, 2006

All Star Superman #2Based 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 Morrison & Quitely's All Star Superman #2, because the first issue was pretty darn cool, wasn't it? I think I've read it three times already--and considering all the unread comics vying for my attention, that's saying something. Everything you could ever want in a super-hero comic.

In other comics:

Abstract Studios have the latest issue of Strangers in Paradise (#79).

Antarctic Press have a new issue of Gold Digger (#71).

Avatar have the trade collection of Warren Ellis' Apparat--four good one-shots under a single cover.

Dark Horse have the eigth volume of Samurai Executioner.

DC have a big ol' Showcase Presents Green Arrow; the debut issue of Joe Kubert's Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy mini; and new issues of Action Comics (#835), Birds of Prey (#90), Ex Machina (#17), Hellblazer (#216), Infinite Crisis (#4), Legion of Super-Heroes (#13), The Losers (#31), Lucifer (#70), Manhunter (#18), Planetary (#24), Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle (#3), and Testament (#2).

Fantagraphics have a new issue of The Comics Journal (#273).

IDW have the second new issue of Maze Agency.

Image have new issues of Noble Causes (#16) and The Walking Dead (#25).

Marvel have a trade collection of the Paul Smith-drawn X-Men: Kitty Pride--Shadow & Flame; the debut of X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl; and new issue of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (#4) and Runaways (#12).

That does it for this week. I hope there's something here that you like!

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Over at The Absorbascon, Scipio continues his fascination with the Detroit-era JLA in The Real World: Detroit.

ITEM! According to an analysis by John Jackson Miller, the Diamond-serviced direct market in 2005 saw a 7.3% overall sales increase compared to 2004; which, despite all the nay-saying about what's wrong with the industry, strikes me as a rather healthy increase. Most of that increase came from GN sales, although comic floppies also showed a slight growth. Of course, it remains to be seen if the current practices by Diamond and the big-time publishers can sustain this level, and what effect these practices will have on smaller publishers.

ITEM! The new PW Comics Week has an article about Fanfare/Ponent Mon's literary manga line: "Nouvelle Manga Comes to the U.S.". I read Jiro Taniguchi's Walking Man this weekend and thought it was fantastic--just the sort of thing I want to see more of in my manga.

ITEM! I finally got the new update to my parents' lighthouse site loaded: a trip to Bois Blanc Island and Straits of Mackinac that they took back in August.

Hal Jordan: Badass

Let's face it: considering that he wears on his finger the Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe, Hal Jordan is way too often depicted as an ineffectual boob, like when he gets knocked unconscious by sticks of wood.

But sometimes the editors remember that Hal is wielding that cool ring and depict him on covers as the badass he should most righteously be:

Green Lantern #40

No blonde-haired Robert Redford wannabe in a rejected Robin costume is going to take Hal's job--even if he was there first!

Green Lantern #85

Take that, you blonde goateed hippy! (Hal doesn't like guys with blonde hair...)

Green Lantern #127

That's two--count 'em--two badass power rings!

Green Lantern #150

Back to just one ring, but he's leading the charge with a bunch of badass orc-wannabe Anti-Green Lanterns!

Green Lantern #151

Hal's too much of a badass to care what his woman wants!

Green Lantern #155

Beware my Power, b*tch!

Green Lantern #181

Hal's not taking any crap from a bunch of short blue guys!

DC Comics Presents #26

That's right--a whole planetoid made of Kryptonite. Hal could kick Kal's ass anytime he wants just by thinking about it!

Green Lantern/Green Arrow #6

Hal's not going to take any smack from smack--and he's not going to let his friends forget it!

Green Lantern Corps #216

Hey kid--Hal used to fly those things when you were in diapers. Punk!

Green Lantern #34

Still not taking any crap from the blue guys!

Green Lantern #43

He's a frickin' Shogun Warrior!

Green Lantern #47

Strong and silent--lets his blonde haired hippy friend do all the talking!

So there you go. Hal Jordan, being a badass. Although it seems that in so many of those he's being mind controlled...

Monday, January 16, 2006

My Day is Now Happy

The DC Solicitations for April(-ish) are out today, and what do my eyes see?

Showcase Presents Haunted Tank!

Written by Robert Kanigher
Art by Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Irv Novick, Jerry Grandenetti, and Jack Abel

Circle May 17 on your calendars now!

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Superman!

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Superman!

  1. It is impossible to fold superman more than seven times.
  2. There are roughly 10,000 man-made objects the size of superman orbiting the Earth!
  3. If you break superman, you will get seven years of bad luck!
  4. It's bad luck to put superman on a bed.
  5. Superman can sleep for three and a half years!
  6. The average human spends about 30 days during their life in superman.
  7. Superman is the only king without a moustache on the standard pack of cards.
  8. The International Space Station weighs about 500 tons and is the same size as superman!
  9. Four-fifths of the surface of superman is covered in water.
  10. American Airlines saved forty thousand dollars a year by eliminating superman from each salad served in first class.
I am interested in - do tell me about

New Library Comics: Week of January 9, 2006

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

Barry, Lynda, 1956- One hundred demons /Seattle : Sasquatch Books ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2002.

Kubert, Joe, 1926- Yossel : April 19, 1943 : a story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising /New York : Ibooks : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2003.

Ottaviani, Jim. Dignifying science : stories about women scientists /[Ann Arbor, MI] : G.T. Labs, [2003]

Ottaviani, Jim. Fallout : J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the political science of the atomic bomb /Ann Arbor, MI : G.T. Labs, c2001.

Ottaviani, Jim. Two-Fisted science : stories about scientists /Ann Arbor, Mich. : G. T. Labs, 2001.

Paper Rad, B.J., and Da Dogs /New York : PictureBox, 2005.

Voltaire, 1967- Deady : the malevolent teddy /Unadilla, N.Y. : Sirius, c2004.

Zaben, Andrew. Tuesday and Thursday /Bayside, N.Y. : All Effort Comics, 2002.


Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story comic book from 1956. Click to read the whole comic online, courtesy of Ethan Persoff.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Monkey Covers

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

Everyone's favorite sailor man offers up some of his tasty spinich as bait to the Queen of the Gorillas on the cover of Popeye #58.

(Standard disclaimer about gorilla queens not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Friday, January 13, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Apparently it's been Batgirl Sketch Week over on LiveJournal, where a bunch of people have done sketches of everyone's favorite crimefighting librarian. Check it out. (link via Heidi)

ITEM! The Diamond December Sales Charts are out, and it's not looking good for any publisher whose name isn't 'DC' or 'Marvel'; 95 of the top 100 books are from those two publishers, leaving the rest of the market to scrable for scraps of readers.

ITEM! Sara Ryan's new YA novel, The Rules for Hearts, is scheduled to be released on October 19th. Circle the date on your calendars now.

ITEM! The Straight Dope covers the history of public libraries in the U.S. (no mention of manga, though!)

Yet Another Friday Question - Your First Comic Purchase

Marvel Special Edition featuring Star Wars< #1What was the first comic book you ever purchased?

For me it was Marvel Special Edition featuring Star Wars #1, a tabloid-sized collection of the first three issues of Marvel's Star Wars adaptation--the first half of the movie. I only had this first half, so I read and re-read the first half of Star Wars over and over. This of course was way back in the day before home video, so comic book adaptaions were one of the very few ways to relive a movie experience.

How about you--what was the first comic you bought?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Waiting for the Trade

Y, the Last Man vol. 5Here are the comic series that I currently wait for the trade to get & read:

Fantastic Four
New Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Ultimate Fantastic Four
Y, the Last Man
The Losers
Hard Time
The Walking Dead
various mini-series from Marvel & Oni

Usually I'm waiting for the trade either because I didn't start reading it in floppies, and once I've started with trades that's the best way to continue; or because I used to read it in floppies but I feel that it reads better as larger chunks.

How about you--what do you prefer to read in trades as opposed to floppies?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New This Week: January 11, 2006

Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. 1Based 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 probably Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. 1, by Grant Morrison & a host of artists. Unless of course you've been buying all of the 7S minis all along--in which case your Pick of the Week would be DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore. But then there's a good chance that you already have all of the stuff in that collection too. In which case you may opt for Wrapped in Plastic #75--the final (and oversized) issue of the critical David Lynch fan mag. Of course, you might not be a fan of David Lynch--so perhaps you'll go for the Youngblood Maximum Edition? (just kidding--even if it is completely redialogued by Joe Casey).

Let's see what else may be of interest:

Antarctic have the first issue of Gold Digger Color Remix, presenting the first GD mini in glorious color; and for more glorious GD in color there's the massive Gold Digger Gold Brick, vol. 4 which includes issues #26-50 of volume 3. They also have the first regular issue of Metadocs Type A.

DC have the debut of ElfQuest: The Discovery; 100 Bullets #68, Desolation Jones #5, DMZ #3, and Fables #45.

IDW have Angel: Old Friends #2.

Marvel have The Book of Lost Souls #4, Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #8, New Thunderbolts #17, and She-Hulk 2 #4.

That's about it--a very light week.

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of January 2, 2006

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

Brown, Sam. Amazing rain /Brooklyn, N.Y. : Soft Skull Press ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2004.

James, Dan. The octopi and the ocean /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, 2004.

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Ever wonder what happened to ex-Quantum & Woody artist M. D. "Doc" Bright? In addition to illustrating one of the upcoming Untold Tales of the New Universe one-shots, he's created his own syndicated comic strip: Level Path. (via Steve Bennett)

ITEM! "We thought that American television was much better than it actually was because they didn’t send over any of the rubbish!" - Neil Gaiman, in an interview on 92Y Blog (via Tom). This used to be the case with Japanese manga here in the U.S.--until the last couple of years when, desperate for material, the publishers started licensing the cheap crap along with the good stuff, giving us a more accurate look at the range of quality in Japanese comics.

ITEM! Apparently Joe Q thinks that the market can support another ongoing Wolverine series. Because what everyone is clamoring for is another comic starring the most overexposed character of the past two decades.

ITEM! Over at The Great Curve, Tom Bondurant takes the opportunity of the occasion of the end of Superman to take a look back at the 20-year post-Crisis history of the enduring super-hero.

ITEM! The 2005 Nebula Awards preliminary ballot is available--as usual, I haven't read anything on it (yet...)

Giant Tire

In honor of the return of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, here's one of my favorite (non-monkey) covers:

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #16

(Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #16 cover by Scott Shaw!)
(click to enlarge)

This of course being an homage to the famous War Wheel cover, and obviously inspired by this:

Uniroyal tire in Allen Park, MI

The 8-story tall giant Uniroyal tire in Allen Park, MI--just off I-94, where I see it every time I drive to the airport.

(Ah, insomnia--it makes a blogger post the oddest things...)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Monkey Covers

Y, the Last Man #35Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Our second Monkey Cover of the year is also from one of my 2005 Favorites: Y, the Last Man #35 features Ampersand the monkey on a cover by Massimo Carnevale.

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

Friday, January 06, 2006

Yet Another Friday Question - Out of Print Manga

Which out-of-print manga do you think should be brought back in print?

My votes would be for Mai the Psychic Girl and all of the Moto Hagio stuff that Viz published way back when, like They Were 11 and A, A'.

What do you think?

Previews-o-Rama part 1: The Front

It's time once again to page through the latest Previews. Items supposedly shipping in March (but don't hold your breath or anything...)

Dark Horse

Another Conan mini-series debuts: Book of Thoth by Kurt Busiek, Len Wein, and Kelley Jones. Dark Horse are going to drive this license right into the ground just liek they did with Star Wars, aren't they?

Speaking of Star Wars, it's a chance for the better as the first issue of Star Wars: The Return of Tag & Bink--Special Edition come out. The first mini, Tag & Bink Are Dead, was highly enjoyable; if you ever called yourself a Star Wars fan, you'll want to check this out.

Paul Chadwick's Concrete: The Human Dilema--one of last year's best mini-series--gets a collected edition.

DC Comics

It's One Year Later! Or something. I'm most excited about James Robinson writing Batman and Detective Comics; Geoff Johns & Kurt Busiek writing Superman and Action Comics; and Walt Simonson & Howard Chaykin doing Hawkgirl. I'm glad to see Gail Simone syaing on Brids of Prey and the cretive team intact on Firestorm and Manhunter. Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes intrigues. I'm not so sure about the new Blue Beetle--that costume is ugly. And the new direction on Nightwing looks really bad.

But more important, there's the third issue of All Star Superman. Vootie!

And there's Showcase Presents The Superman Family--nearly 600 pages of pre-silver age wackiness.

The final issues of the last three Seven Soldiers minis all hit the racks, as does a second Seven Soldiers trade collection.

Superman in the Eighties leads off with the classic Pa Kent Returns story from Action Comics #507-508, which honestly is almost worth the price of admission right there. There's also the kick-ass "If Superman Didn't Exist" by Marv Wolfman & Gil kane from Action #554. The first Silver Banshee story from Action #595 and the Superman luvs Wonder Woman story from Action #600 (both by John Byrne); Marv Wolfman & Jerry Ordway's story from The Adventures of Superman #430, which I honestly don't remember a thing about, even after having looked at the cover; and a cosmic Superman meets The Spectre story by Len Wein & Jim Starlin from DC Comics Presents #29 (oddly the third part of a 3-part story). Wouldn't it have been useful for DC to actually include the information about which stories these are in their Previews copy?

The Johnny DC sectino has not one but two digest collections of the Justice League Unlimited comic.

Who the %&#$! asked for a crossover between Red Sonja & Claw the Unconquered?

Ah well, at least there's a new Ex Machina collection, helping to justify WildStorm's continued existance.

Over in Vertigo-land there's a new collection for 100 Bulelts, and collection of two Hellblazer minis: Papa Midnight and Lady Constantine.


About that cover to Bomb Queen #2: Ummm... Really? I have a good deal of faith in Jimmie Robinson, but I dunno about this...

A new Lions, Tigers and Bears mini debuts, free from its Alias shackles.

Truth, Justin, and the American Way debuts as well.

Something I never even remotely saw coming: Dave Sim is co-writing the new Gun Fu mini.

Was the world really crying out for a return of CyberForce?


Is anybody else worried that the copy for the new Squadron Supreme comic sounds a lot like the original premise for Youngblood?

I really don't want to be pulled in to this Annihilation thing, but darn it if Giffen didn't win me over with the Drax the Destroyer mini.

I'll be shamelessly pulled into the Untold Tales of the New Universe, at least the Justice, Star Brand and DP7 issues.

Bendis finally brings his bastard stepchild The Pulse to an end.

Thunderbolts returns to its original name and numbering with an old-fashioned #100 anniversary issue.

I love Ryan Sook and all, but it didn't take very long for fill-in artists to be called in on X-Factor, did it?

Alias gets a huge-ass 720-page oversized hardcover--for a whopping $70...

Does Thor: Blood Oath really warrant a hardcover collection?

Ooo cool--a new Runaways digest.

That wraps up part one. Part two--the middle--will be along at some point...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


TotoroThose of you who get Turner Classic Movies on your cable or satellite may want to fire up the ol' TiVo starting tonight, as all this month TCM is featuring Miyazaki movies every Thursday (and no commercials!).

Here's the schedule (via AICN):

Jan. 5
Spirited Away (2001) 8 p.m.
Princess Mononoke (1997) 10:15 p.m.

Jan. 12
Nausicaa of the Valley (1984) 8 p.m.
Castle in the Sky (1986) 10 p.m.

Jan. 19
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) 8 p.m.
Porco Rosso (1992) 9:30 p.m.
Whisper of the Heart (1995) 11:15 p.m

Jan. 26
Only Yesterday (1991) 8 p.m.
Pom Poko (1994) 10:15 p.m.

(times I assume are EST--I don't know if TCM has a separate west coast feed)

If I'm interpreting my TiVo programming guide correctly, they are showing the dubbed versions at the times listed above, and then in the wee hours of the morning are showing the subtitled versions with the original dialogue.

AFAIK, the last three listed have never had a domestic DVD release, making for an extra special treat!

More info on all these classics on the TCM Website.

Edit: Actually those last three I believe aren't Miyazaki films, though they are from Studio Ghibli.

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Happy Day: Linda Medley has posted new Castle Waiting pages. (link via Tegan)

ITEM! I just discovered Smithson, a Webcomic written by Shaenon Garrity, with art by Robert Stevenson, Brian Moore, and Roger Langridge. It's a college-life comic that is not only charming, funny and well-drawn, but also toys a bit with presentation. Check it out when you get a chance.

ITEM! Paul O'Brien, one of my favorite reviewers of mainstream super-hero stuff, has his X-Books Year in Review up over at The X-Axis.

ITEM! ICv2 have rolled out their annual Manga Awards, and David Taylor at Love Manga has some excellent commentary on them.

ITEM! Steven Grant declares 2006 to be the year of naval gazing, and proceeds to gaze with his view of the state of the comics industry. (link via Ed)

New This Week: January 5, 2006

The Maze AgencyBased 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 today:

The Pick of the Week is IDW's collection of classic The Maze Agency tales by Mike W. Barr and Adam Hughes. Great little closed-room type mysteries with a pair of fun detectives.

In other comics:

Aeon have the third issue of Matt Howarth's Keif Llama: Xenotech.

Alias have the final issue of David: Shepherd's Song--two weeks after the trade collecting it came out.

DC have the debut of Exterminators; and new issues of Gotham Central (#39), Jonah Hex (#3), JSA (#81), Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #2, Superman/Shazam: First Thunder (#3--just how late is this?), Swamp Thing (#23), and Y, the Last Man (#41).

Fantagraphics debut their new upscale floppy line, with Chimera and Interiorae.

Image have a collection of the rather good Kiss & Tell series (oringally published by Beckett), and new issues of Down (#3) and Godland (#6).

Marvel have The Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, vol. 1, which will be a huge nostalgia trip for my inner 13-year-old geek. They also have new issues of The Punisher (#29) and Supreme Power: Nighthawk (#5).

And Viz dump a ton of manga volumes on stores this week (though some may have arrived at your store last week...)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Yet Another 2005 List

Everybody else is doing it too, so here are my picks for my favorite comics of 2005, with categories based on the Comic Bloggers' Poll, because I'm too lazy to come up with categories of my own, and this way I can just submit my picks over there and not have to come up with two lists.

(And note that my criteria here is 'favorite', not necessarily 'best'...)

Favorite Writer

Seven Soldiers #0Grant Morrison
For my money, Morrison is the most interesting writer working in comics today. He started off the year with the final issue of We3; had his Kirby-Meets-Bollywood Vimanarama in the middle; ended with the first issue of All Star Superman; and somehow in the middle of all that did his huge mega cross-over epic, Seven Soldiers. What I like about Morrison is that no matter what he's working on, he always brings his 'A' game, and swings for the bleachers each time he's up. He may not always hit a home run, but he's always trying--never phoning it in. And different things work for different readers--while almost no one has liked all of the Seven Soldiers series equally, most readers have found at least one or two to be very much to their liking, and every series seems to have its fans. Mainstream comics would be a heck of a lot more boring without Grant Morrison around stirring things up. With his new overseer position within the DCU in 2006, we'll see if he's able to have a 'Michael Jordan' effect on the rest of the line.

Honorable Mention

Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways, Y, the Last Man, and Ex Machina--different kinds of comics, telling different stories, but all very good. Vaughan is a writer who came come up with interesting, high concept titles, and then make them work.

Dan Slott - With She-Hulk, Spider-Man/Human Torch, and GLA, Slott is single-handedly bringing the Marvel Universe back to its roots of fun.

Warren Ellis - I really enjoyed the SF-based Ocean, and Fell and Desolation Jones show that Ellis still has a lot of milage left in his prototypical protagonist. And we even got a couple of issue of Planetary too!

Favorite Artist

All Star SupermanFrank Quitely
I'm pretty sure that he only produced two comics in 2005--We3 #3 & All Star Superman #1--but my those were two very fine looking comics. I'm still in awe of the visual tour de force that was We3, and his Superman is Super enough to be the defining look for a new generation.

Honorable Mention

Ryan Sook - May have a problem with deadlines, but Seven Soldiers: Zatanna was the best looking of the lot, and he's the perfect choice for the new noir-humor-based X-Factor.

Fabio Moon - My oh my, wasn't Smoke & Guns fabulous to look at? Moon does action so smoothly it just moves you along in the story effortlessly. It's worth going back to admire just how he pulls it off.

Favorite Ongoing Title

Gotham Central #36Gotham Central
Not since Homicide: Life on the Streets (from where GC gets much of its inspiration) has there been a series that combines police detective work and the personal lives of the characters into such a compelling narrative. And yes, there's a bit of super-hero stuff butting in, but it always comes off just as fantastic as it should. The series is ending soon, and it will be missed.

Honorable Mention

Desolation Jones - DJ #2 would be my pick for favorite single issue of the year. It may only be bi-monthly, but it's worth waiting for.

Lucifer - Mike Carey's ambitious saga of the path of the fallen angel and exploration of metaphysics and metaethics has me anxiously awaiting each new collection.

Y, the Last Man - Another series that I read in trades. In lesser hands the high concept here could have fallen apart, but Vaughan keeps it together and keeps it compelling.

Favorite Mini-Series

Banana Sunday #1Banana Sunday
It's hard to decide what was more fun: Root Nibot's entertaining story, or Colleen Coover's charming art. We should all be blessed to have a Go-Go Gorilla in our lives. Let us hope that there will be more Banana Sunday coming our way in 2006.

Honorable Mention

Vimanarama - Grant Morrison & Philip Bond's Kirby-meets-Bollywood mini-epic manages to be both cosmic and personal.

Spider-Man/Human Torch - Dan Slott & Ty Templeton remind us why we liked these characters, and wallow in some of their more embarassing trappings (the Spidey Mobile!) for great comedy.

Street Angel - Technically had only its final issue come out in 2005, but Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca's series about a homeless teenage skateboarding hero still sticks with me.

Concrete: The Human Dilema - A strong return for Paul Chadwick's most popular creation, once again using a guy trapped in a rocky body to address topical issues in a thoughtful manner.

Favorite Original Graphic Novel

Top Ten: The Forty-NinersTop Ten: The Forty-Niners
Alan Moore and Gene Ha create gleaming science metropolis of 1949, and tell a story that is both epic in scope and human in its details. And the handsome package was worth buying as a hardcover.

Honorable Mention

Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires - Spooky fun from Richard Sala, with lots of appropraite running around and screaming. Sala has a strong sense of storytelling and uses it to great effect.

Flight, vol. 2 - Massive anthology of gorgeous-looking comics. If this is the future of comics, we're in good hands.

Steady Beat, vol. 1 - My favorite of TokyoPop's batch of new OEL manga, Rivkah's story about an overshadowed teen who discovers a secret about her popular older sister hits all the right beats.

Favorite Collection

Black HoleBlack Hole
Charles Burns' tale of psycho-sexual horror among suburban teens was years in the making, and worth every bit of waiting. The strong visuals carry this story just as much as Burns' creepy and unsettling tale of angst and transformation.

Honorable Mention

We3 - I've talked about this enough by now, right?

Yotsuba&! - Delightful, charming, and at times very funny, Kiyohiko Azuma's stories of a strange green-haired girl, and her family and neighbors, is the sort of comic that can--and should--be enjoyed by all.

Sexy Voice & Robo - Iou Kuroda takes many of the tropes of manga and somehow remixes them into a compelling story about a teenage chat line worker cum Nancy Drew on the streets of Tokyo, proving that it all comes down to execution. (And Kudos to Viz for providing this comic the oversized edition it deserves.)

So there you have it. A lot of great comics came out in 2005, and I'm hoping for even more in the coming year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

YAFL: Final Results

Final Results:

Championship Game:

Inferior 5 plus 6 67
Danger Unlimited 34

3rd Place Game:

Power Pack 78
Nine Pound Hammers 52

5th Place Game:

B.P.R.D. 35
Kickers Inc. 24

7th Place Game:

Tomorrow Syndicate 56
www.rickgebhardt.net 26

Congratulations to Rick Jones and his Inferior 5 plus 6 for their playoff victory!

Thanks to everyone for playing--we'll see you next season!

Monday, January 02, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! Over at Polite Dissent, Scott has his picks for the best and worst comic book medicine of 2005. I always admire how Scott is able to use comic book stories as springboards to explain medical concepts.

ITEM! DCBS have their January orders and specials up. Blue Beetle, Squadron Supreme, Ms. Marvel, and Fantastic Four: First Family all clock in with 75 cent first issues (75% off); and half-off trades (and hard covers) include Batman: Dark Detective, Green Lantern: No Fear HC, Ultimate Iron Man HC, Alias Omnibus, Shadowplay, Banana Sunday, and East Coast Rising. They also have all of the DC, Image & Marvel comics at 40% off (instead of the usual 35%), including the DC One Year Later titles, so I might sample one or two extra titles to see if the new directions are any good.

ITEM! David Welsh has started up MangaTrade, a Yahoo! Group for people who want to swap manga. He's trying to keep things simple--post what you have, go through other's post to find what you want, make a connection--so there's no credits or any of that kind of stuff.

ITEM! Retail, a new King Features syndicated strip by Norm Feuti, debuted on Sunday. I can't that it wowed me or anything--few syndicated strips do these days--but Feuti has a pleasant enough style and the subject--life in a department store--could evolve into some interesting stories, even if it does seem to have been chosen for maximum focus group optimability. (link via Johanna)

ITEM! "Screw being mainstream anyway. Comics has a lot of its cultural power not just as a secondary art form, but as a semi-disgraced secondary art form." Tom Spurgeon is a smart guy.

ITEM! Apparently TokyoPop has a two-volume anthology of Star Wars Manga out in Japan, with an English version due soon--but only in the UK, since the US Star Wars license is held by Dark Horse. Expect to see much North American business for Amazon UK... (via ATR)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Monkey Covers

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

After a month off, Monkey Covers are back! And to start the year off right, here's Colleen Coover's cover to Banana Sunday #1, one of my most favoritest comics of 2005.

(standard disclaimer about apes & gorillas not really being monkeys applies)

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