Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Parker + Coover + X-Men + Halloween = Fun!

(via TCR)

New This Week: October 31, 2007

Hey, it's Halloween. Instead of going out for tricks or treats, you're going to your local comics store for new comics day. What treats await you there?

Do you like dinosaurs? Do you like animals? Do you like manga? If you answered yes to any one of those questions, you should pick up Gon vol. 2 by Masashi Tanaka (from CMX). It's the most entertaining six bucks you'll spend all week. (Don't worry if you missed volume one--each installment of Gon can be read and enjoyed on its own.)

Dark Horse publish the "already-best-selling-on-Amazon" collection of Nicholas Gurewitch's Webstrip The Perry Bible Fellowship.

Ready for some mind-blowing so-square-it's-hip-again Bob Haney madness? Then hook yourself up with the second Showcase Presents Teen Titans volume!

For some Halloween scares, you can pick up Osamu Tezuka's horror manga MW, the latest in Vertical's noble effort to bring the "Godfather of Manga"'s work into translation.

In floppy-land, there's the first issue of Greg Rucka's Crime Bible (starring Batwoman and The Question); the debut of Kyle Baker's war satire Special Forces; Gary Frank's debut on Action Comics (#858) with the old-school Legion of Super-Heroes; and the third issue of Josh Howard's The Lost Books of Eve.

After getting your comics, hurry home to hand out candy (or better yet, comics!) to all the neighborhood little goblins.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hey DC, Where's My Love Syndicate?

Over at Gad Sir, Comics!, Steve Flanagan reminds us of the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld, an alternate version of the JLA featured briefly in an issue of Grant Morrison's Animal Man. Little is known of the Love Syndicate, except that is featured heroes such as Sunshine Superman, Speed Freak, and Magic Lantern. In other words, a world with a 'hippie' JLA.

At least one Internet denizen has attempted to extrapolate a history of Dreamworld (confusingly interspersed with a history of an 'Earth-17') which adds in forgotten DC properties Brother Power the Geek, President Prez Rickard, and the 'Emma Peel' version of Wonder Woman to the mix.

So somewhere amongst the 52 worlds of the New Multiverse I'd like to think that Dreamworld is one of them. If looks like we won't be getting a Countdown Presents the Love Syndicate mini, even though I would totally buy such a thing. But with Morrison writing Final Crisis, we can hope that maybe Sunshine Superman and his pals will be making an appearance.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of October 22, 2007

Here's a list of the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Gallagher, Fred (Fred M.), 1968- Megatokyo = [Megatōkyō] / Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse Comics, 2004- vol. 3

Howarth, Matt, 1954- Konny and Czu / San Antonio, Texas : Antarctic Press, 1994- nos. 1, 3-4

Howarth, Matt, 1954- WRAB Pirate Television : the graphic novel / Langhorne, PA : Howski Studios, 1985

Kolossal. Roma : Lancio, [1973]- nos. 407, 420

Lancio color. Roma : Lancio, [1978]- no. 339

Lanciostory. Roma : Eura, [1975]- v. 31 no. 39

Raiti, Ashly. Mark of the succubus / Los Angeles, CA : Tokyopop, Inc., 2005- vol. 1

This listing is now available as an RSS Feed!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monkey Covers

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

Detective Chimp is on the case on the cover of this week's Shadowpact #18 by Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher.

(Standard disclaimer about magnifying glass-using chimpanzees not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Review: Old Boy vol. 1

Old Boy vol. 1
by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi
Dark Horse, $12.95

Old Boy is pretty much what I'm looking for in a seinen manga. The story is straighforward: an unnamed man, having been held captive for ten years, is released onto the streets of Tokyo. Not knowing why he was a captive or who arranged his captivity, he starts to put a life together with the aim of the one thing he has left: revenge. There's not much of the 'revenge' component yet, as this first volume is mostly set-up; but this is obviously a slow build story and the revenge will surely be that much sweeter when it arrives.

While I hold out to see if Tsuchiya's story will pay off, I can definitely recommend the art by Minegishi. In layout and pacing it compares favorably to Goseki Ikegami; he is able to use an eleven-panel page to give a simultaneous sense of timelessness and time passing, or break out a two-page spread at the moment of maximum impact. The backgrounds are often detailed to the point of gorgeousness and the figures are expressive without veering into cartoonishness.

If future volumes can hold up the level of quality and move the story forward, Old Boy should make for a worthwhile ride over its eight volumes.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5).

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo--kinda--by starting NaGraNoWriMo (National Graphic Novel Writing Month). The concept was to write the script for a 175-page graphic novel during the month of November. Four people participated, but I believe only one of us was successful (not me--I only got about 30 pages of script written).

I'm considering trying again, though I haven't decided yet. I have a concept in mind, it's just whether or not I'll have the time. But since November is just a week away, I guess I'll have to make up my mind soon...

Anyway, if you're interested in giving it a go, let me know and I'll add you to the group blog so that you can share in the joy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New This Week: October 24, 2007

What looks good at the comic shop this week?

The first collection of Buffy season 8, The Long Way Home, was supposed to hit stores last week, but looks like it'll be arriving this week instead. I'm sure all hardcore Buffy fans already picked up the floppies, but you'll surely want a sturdy trade collection to put on your shelf and loan to all your friends, right?

(What did arrive last week, and I missed it in the NTW write-up, was Jason Shiga's Bookhunter, which so far is my favorite graphic novel of the year. It's a procedural set in a library in a slightly alternate 70s. If you've read anything by Shiga before you know you'll want to read it; if you've never read anything of his, Bookhunter is a great place to start.)

She-Hulk fans get a double dose this week, with the fifth trade collection, World Without a Hulk, collecting the end of Dan Slott's run as writer, and issue #22 featuring Peter David's debut.

Also in trade collection this week is the second Jack of Fables volume; IIRC it features more of the sexy evil librarians, which makes it worth picking up right there.

Floppy-wise you might enjoy the Gold Digger Halloween Special 2007, a new issue of Casanova (#10), the second issue of Andi Watson's Glister, or a new issue of X-Men First Class (#5). (And you might overlook Velocity: Pilot Season #1, but it has art by Kevin Maguire so that's likely worth a look.)

Enjoy your new comics!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From Atoms to Bytes

Johanna brings word that two fun comics (both with varying degrees of manga influences) are now online: Super Information Hijinks: Reality Check by Rosearik Rikki Simons and Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons is up in its entirety; and Little White Mouse by Paul Sizer is going up at the rate of three pages per week.

This seems to be a growing trend, with cartoonists repurposing their old print works to the Web. While I still prefer the dead tree mode of experiencing long-form comics, I definitely like the idea of these works finding a new audience online.


Because you probably need a laugh on a Tuesday morning:

Plenty more at LOLTHULHU.

(found via Daily Illuminator)

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of October 15, 2007

Here's a list of the comics that were added to our library collection last week:

Powell, Nate. Sounds of your name / Portland, OR : Microcosm Publishing, 2006.

Sala, Richard. Delphine no. 2 / Seattle : Fantagraphics Books ; [Bologna, Italy] : Coconio Press, 2006-

Stan Lee : conversations. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Tomorrow, Tom, 1961- Hell in a handbasket : dispatches from the country formerly known as America / New York : J.P. Tarcher/Penguin, c2006.

This listing is now available as an RSS Feed!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Monkey Covers

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

This week's comics featured more than one monkey cover, including Tony Harris's wonderful cover to Ex Machina #31.

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

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New This Week: October 17, 2007

What looks good at the comic shop this week?

If you missed it the first time around, Jeff Smith's Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil is a good deal of fun and features the best Mary Marvel pretty much ever, and now it's collected in a handsome hardcover.

Also collected if you missed it in floppies is Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Road Home, collecting the first five issues of 'Season 8.'

Floppy-wise you can pick up new issues of Skyscrapers of the Midwest (#4), DMZ (#24), Ex Machina (#31), Fables (#66), Powers (#26), and the debut issue of Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of Here and Now.

Enjoy your new comics!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Twenty-One American Comics Works You Should At Least Be Aware of Before Comparing American Comics to Japanese Manga

Every so often someone out in the comics interwebblogosphere takes it upon themselves to compare "American" comics to manga, generally with the intent of showing why people prefer manga to "American" comics (usually: cheaper per page, longer, greater variety of subject matter). Almost invariably, when they say "American" comics they really mean "direct market super-hero comics" and they completely miss the wide variety of formats, lengths and subject matter of the broad range of comics in the Americas.

On the one hand, it's easy to see how one might be led to believe that American comics = Super-hero comics; if one walks into many comic book specialty stores in this county, they're likely to see super-hero comics dominating the displays.

But it doesn't take that much effort to venture out to see what other American comics are readily available. Now we can't expect everyone to be familiar with the works of Kevin Huizenga or Ariel Schrag or Jason Shiga or Carla Speed McNeil. But the following list of comics from the Americas aren't obscure, low-circulation comics; they're comics that have received plenty of press, been reviewed in non-comics-centric publications, and can be found at any well-stocked bookstore (and many have been turned into movies):

Dan Clowes, Eightball etc.
Dave Sim, Cerebus
Hervey Pekar, American Splendor
Neil Gaiman, Sandman
Frank Miller, Sin City & 300
Phil & Kaja Foglio, Girl Genius
Larry Gonick, The Cartoon History of the Universe
R. Crumb, works
Jeff Smith, Bone
Terry Moore, Strangers in Paradise
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Will Eisner, works
Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith, 30 Days of Night
Mad Magazine
Sergio Aragonés, Groo
Los Bros. Hernandez, Love & Rockets
Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library
Craig Thompson, Blankets
Greg Rucka & Steve Lieber, Whiteout
Jim Ottaviani, works
Bill Waterson, Calvin & Hobbes

What you'll notice about the above works is that they cover a wide variety of subject matter: humor, horror, dark fantasy, memoir, non-fiction, drama, thrillers, steampunk, historical epic. And they come in a wide variety of formats: some are published first as floppies; others are OGNs, some begin their lives as Webcomics.

I'm not suggesting that everyone should have read all of these comics, but you should at least be aware of their existence before writing about "American" comics.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Monkey Covers

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

Ken Bald draws the cover to 1952's Forbidden Worlds #6, featuring a giant ape which surely is not named Kong scaling a building which most definitely isn't the Empire State Building. Really.

(Standard disclaimer about building-climbing giant apes not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fantasy and Science Fiction/Theory Reading Group

Last night was the annual book selection meeting for the Fantasy and Science Fiction/Theory Reading Group to which I belong. Once a year we meet to decide what the books will be for the coming year; basically everyone brings a few recommendations, makes pitches, and then we vote. It's kind of like a cage match; no one can leave until we've selected the books for the year.

It's become a tradition to use one selection for a graphic novel; three years ago we did The Dark Knight Returns; two years ago we did Seaguy & We3; and this past year we read Charles Burns's Black Hole.

The graphic novel selection for next year is Jeff Smith's Bone (yes, the whole 1300 page one-volume edition!) Bone won out over my recommendation, the new Finder: Sin-Eater hardcover. Still, Bone should make for a good read and a good discussion.

One of my prose suggestions was picked for the coming year: Towing Jehova by James Morrow. Other picks for our reading enjoyment are:

Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
Richard Matheson, I Am Legend
Russell Hoban, Linger Awhile
Robert J. Sawyer, Rollback
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Joshua Mowll, Operation Red Jericho
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds

Should be another interesting slate for the coming year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New This Week: October 10, 2007

What looks good at the comic shop this week?

A new volume of Yotsuba&!, one of the funniest comics ever. Volume four lived up to my high expectations, so I'm looking forward to volume five (and only a couple of months later!)

There's a ton of other manga this week too, but right after Yotsuba&! on my list is the first volume of Aqua, Kozue Amano's prequel to Aria.

If you're looking for large expensive deluxe hardcovers, the $99 Absolue Sandman vol. 2 should fit the bill just fine.

James Sturm's America collects three graphic novellas by Sturm; I've not read "The Revival" or "Hundreds of Feet Below Daylight" yet, but "The Golem's Mighty Swing" was darn good.

Ghost Stories, the second volume in Jeff Lemire's Essex County trilogy, hits the streets. I really liked the first volume, so I look forward to reading this one as well.

I'm pretty sure the story in Green Arrow/Black Canary #1 will be tosh, but it's got art by Cliff Chiang, so I'll be buying it for the pretty pictures.

There's plenty of other comics, so be sure to get yourself down to the local comic store tomorrow and check out what's new on the shelves!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

YAMR: Halloween Spooktacular 2007

It's October, and that means it's time for our third annual Halloween Spooktacular on Yet Another Music Radio!

Tune in and listen to more than one hundred tracks, including music by:

3, The 5 Browns, 16 Horsepower, Adam Sandler, Amber Benson, Aqua, Astor Piazzolo, Austin Lounge Lizards, Ben Colder, Benjamin Chan, Bing Crosby with Victor Moore & Boris Karloff, bis, Bob Ridgely, Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers, Bobby Please, The Bonzo Dog Band, Boris Karloff, The Born Losers, Carl Orff, Castle Kings, Chantal Kreviazuk, Charlotte Martin, Chris Kevin & The Comics, Christophe Beck, Chubby Checker, The Crewnecks, Danny Elfman, Darling Violetta, The Daylighters, The Diamonds, Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians, The DVDs, Earl Patterson, The Edgar Winter Group, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Edvarg Grieg, Evanescence, Frank Sinatra, The Friars, The Fuzztones, Gene Moss, The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, Inkubus Sukkubus, Jack & Jim, Jack Marshall, James Marsters, Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, Jimmy Dee, Jocelyn Pook, J.S. Bach, John Carpenter, John Ford, John Williams, John Zacherle, Jonathan Elias, Juliana Hatfield, K's Choice, The Keytones, kidneythieves, The Legendary Invisible Men, Leroy Bowman, Little Richard, The Mancini Pops Orchestra, Mark O'Connor, Martinibomb & The Coconut Monkeyrocket, Matt Pond PA, Matthew Sweet, Mike Oldfield, The Modernaires, Modest Mussorgsky, the Mutton Birds, Natacha Atlas, Neil Norman, Neko Case, Nerf Herder, Nicole Blackman & John Van Eaton, North American Halloween Prevention Initiative, Otis Redding, The Phantom Five, Phantom Planet, Poe, Ralph Marterie & His Marlboro Men, Rasputina, Ray Lewis, Rose Chronicles, Roy Clark, Sarah McLachlan, The Scattered Pages, Sheb Wooley, Soupy Sales, Southern Culture on the Skids, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Steve Martin, Sufjan Stevens, The Swingin' Neckbreakers, Tarantula Ghoul and The Cryptkickers, The Tarantulas, Tegan and Sara, They Might be Giants, Thought Gang, Vic Mizzy, Vince Guaraldi Trio, Wojciech Kilar & Zombie Ghost Train.

Over six hours of music to get you in the trick-or-treating mood!

Friday, October 05, 2007

ALA on Challenges to Graphic Novels

It's the end of Banned Books Week, so here's the American Library Association's Dealing with Challenges to Graphic Novels.
In theory, dealing with challenges to graphic novels is no different than dealing with challenges to print material. In practice, however, it is important to keep in mind that many people consider an image to be far more powerful in its impact than any written description of that image.

And of course a link to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Sometime in November I'll be launching my Fourth Annual CBLDF Fund Drive.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Hope They Never Have to Draw Spider-Man

Regarding Valerie D'Orazio's write-up of the Friends of Lulu panel at the The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art:

I hope that none of the talented young women cartoonists on the panel ever reach the point in their careers where they feel that they have to draw for Marvel or DC. If they want to--like Nikki Cook says she does--then that's fine, but then I hope they're coming at such an endeavor from a position of strength. These ladies already have graphic novels out or in the works from Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, First Second and Wiley; going to DC or Marvel would seem to be a step backwards in their careers. Let's hope that their inaugural efforts do well enough that they can continue to work on their own projects and not on corporate trademark maintenance.

Floppy Comic Prices

Mike Sterling asks about predictions for the price of floppy comics from the big-2. He notes that we're already starting to see $3.99 per issue mini-series; often these are for 40-page comics, but sometimes (especially with Marvel's MAX titles) it's a regular 32-page comic with cardboard covers.

Right now your standard big-2 comic is 32 pages--21 or 22 pages of story and ten or eleven pages of ads--for $3, and as Mike notes they've been that was for a long time. Something has got to give, and probably soon.

I can't see just raising the price to $3.50 as working. While enough people are willing to shell out $4 for an IDW or Boom! comic to keep those outfits running, those books also have no ads interrupting the story (just house ads in the back of the book). I think there's a psychological barrier for the $3 price point that your average super-hero fan just isn't going to cross for a 32-page book.

Increasing ad space won't cut it either. Marvel has tried adding 8 extra pages of ads to a comic, to universal disdain. (DC has had ad inserts in the recent past too). When the amount of advertising reaches par with the number of story pages, consumers start to wonder why they're shelling out $3 for something that is mostly ads.

So I only see one way they can go: increase the price while also increasing story content. $3.50 for 27 pages of story (and 5 pages of ads) would work well, but more likely it will be $3.99 for 29 pages of story and 11 pages of ads.

Another option is to use lesser-quality paper; DC does this to keep the price of their Johnny DC titles down at $2.25, but in general consumers have shown a preference for the shiny paper stock and fancy computer coloring.

Ultimately I'd rather see 100-200 page anthologies (i.e. the 'manga model'), but getting to that point from the current model doesn't seem likely to happen. However, the industry does seem to be making a long transition to a trade collection model, and as that becomes more and more prevalent perhaps the large anthology-as-loss-leader model will become more attractive.

New This Week: October 3, 2007

What looks good at the comic shop this week?

Top of the list is local creator Jane Irwin's Vögelein: Old Ghosts; I'm presuming that this modern faerie story will be as charming as the first Vögelein.

Marvel have the first issue of Jonathan Lethem & Farel Dalrymple's Omega the Unknown, a reimagining (I believe) of Steve Gerber's classic character.

Also from Marvel is the latest Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane digest; at only $8 there's no excuse for not picking the collection of this charming series. (Well, expect for the fact that there seems to be no mention of this collection on Marvel's Website...)

The second issue in BKV's Faith story arrives in Buffy #7 from Dark Horse.

Dark Horse also have the second volume of Adam Warren's Empowered; the first volume straddled the line between parody & exploitation, and I expect this one will do likewise.

Viz have the first volume of their new edition of Uzumaki, Junji Ito's fantastic horror manga. (There's tons of other manga from Viz, TokyoPop, and Del Rey too).

Enjoy your new comics, whatever you end up getting!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Read Irresponsibly

Dave reads Eightball #22

To celebrate Banned Books Week, the staff here at the library has put together a flickr photo set showcasing various banned and challenged books. My choice, of course, was the now-infamous Eightball #22.

Check out the rest of the pictures, including more-famous-than-me Jim Ottaviani reading Fun Home and Watchmen.

(Also: Don't miss Unshelved this week, whose "Read Irresponsibly" theme gives this post its title.)