Thursday, June 29, 2006

Review: Poppie's Adventures

Poppie's Adventures: Serpents in ParadisePoppie's Adventures: Serpents in Paradise
by Julie Yeh & Jack Hsu
Way Out Comics, $6.95

Young Poppie Field decides to take time out from college and falls into a job as a travel writer. On assignment to Hawaii, Poppie has visions of relaxing on the beach during the day and dining at swanky resturants by night. But when she meets up with her photographer, James "Ham" Hamamura, she ends up on an adventure holiday instead, and the two of them stumble into a secret plot by a serpent cult to introduce snakes into the island's ecology.

While clearly aimed at a young audience, this Xeric-winning comic has a lot to recommend it to all ages. Both Poppie and Ham are fun and engaging characters, though they are quite different and that leads to some friction along the way. And there's enough peril that of course they end up working together. Hsu's art is appropriately cartoony but not too much so, and he has a good sense of pacing and storytelling. If there are any faults here it's that once or twice Yeh has her characters go into lecture mode to explain background necessary to the plot; but after a couple of panels that passes and the plot gets back underway.

Poppie's Adventures is recommended for kids who are ready to move past Scooby Doo and are looking for a story in the Nancy Drew mode, or for anyone of any age who enjoys a lighthearted mystery/adventure.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New This Week: June 28, 2006

The Complete Future ShocksBased 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 Complete Future Shocks by Alan Moore and a host of talented British artists. This collects all of Moore's early "Future Shocks" stories from 2000 A.D.; although Moore was still developing as a writer, these are some fun 6-8-page tales.

In other comics:

Antarctic have the pocket manga collection of Rod Espinosa's well-received Oz: The Manga; plus the debut of Gold Digger Tangent and the second issue of Gold Digger: Throne of Shadows.

Arcana have the second issue of Koni Waves.

Dark Horse have a collection of Conan and The Demons of Khitai and a new issue of Usago Yojimbo (#94).

DC have another of their 80-page $1 crack comics promo-samplers: DCU: Brave New World; the final issue of Lucifer (#75); plus new issues of 52 (week 8), Action Comics (#840), American Way (#5), Batman (#654), Blue Beetle (#4), Catwoman (#56), Crisis Aftermath: the Spectre (#2), Hawkgirl (#53), Solo (#11 -- Sergio!), and Supergirl and the Legion (#19).

Graphitti have the first of 3 graphic novel prequels to Richard Kelly's Southland Tales.

Image have a collection of Warren Ellis's Down; and new issues of Invincible (#33) and Negative Burn (#2).

Marvel have new issues of Avengers & Power Pack Assemble (#3), Daredevil (#86), Nextwave (#6), Runaways (#17), Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (#7), Ultimate Spider-Man (#96), and X-Factor (#8).

Oni debut Leading Man; end Polly and The Pirates (#6); and have the second volume of Ross Campbell's Wet Moon.

TokyoPop have the third volume of Telepathic Wanderers; and the sixth and final volume of Rising Stars of Manga.

Viper have the second issue of Villains.

As always, plenty of love to give your local comic shop!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Review: Scooter Girl

Scooter Girl
by Chynna Clugston-Major
Oni Press, $14.95

Based on the feedback I received, I selected Scooter Girl as the book to read for Which Oni GN Should Dave Read Next 2 over the weekend. My reactions are quite mixed.

I have always loved Chynna Clugston-Major's work, from her early days as a contributor to Action Girl Comics to her many Blue Monday minis. Her comics have an attractive East-meets-West aesthetic: her character designs are clearly manga-inspired, as are the style and types of her stories, characters and plots; but her layouts and storytelling techniques are much denser than typical manga. I think that she is one of the more interesting and enjoyable cartoonists working today.

The premise of Scooter Girl is fairly straight-forward: Ashton Archer is a young lothario, the latest in a long line of successful womanizers. As the cliche goes, men want to be him, and women want to be with him. His life is charmed and easy, and things are going well until Margaret Sheldon comes into his life. Ashton is completely smitten by Margaret, but whenever she is around Ashton's suaveness disappears and he becomes a tongue-tied, clumsy oaf. As the story progresses, Ashton alternately tries to avoid and bed Margaret, both to no avail. Enough variations abound to make Rumiko Takahashi proud.

All of Clugston-Major's strengths are on display here. She immerses her characters and we readers into a world of Mod culture, where it's perfectly natural and cool for young adults to dress in 60s clothing and motor around on scooters; it's an affectation that gives the book a unique look. Her plotting is impeccible, and her charcterizations are very strong; when introduced to a character we very quickly get to know him or her, yet the characters often have depths that are slowly revealed.

Clugston-Major does so many things right with Scooter Girl that I'm sad to say there was one glaring probem that kept me from enjoying it outright: I really, really hated the protagonist, Ashton Archer. He's a total prick. He uses women, treats them like dirt, and yet they all flock to him. (I wish this were a crazy, comics-only characterization, but I've seen such things in real life too--what is it about women-hating men that attracts some women?) I realize that by the end of the story we're supposed to believe that Ashton has changed, but he really hasn't; he thinks he's in love with Margaret, but he's really just learned the words to say and the actions to do to get what he wants. We're supposed to be rooting for Ashton to get the girl in the end, but all I was really rooting for was for Ashton to die in the most horrible and painful way possible. It's hard to really enjoy a romantic comedy when the lead is an irredeamable jack-ass who you want to see dropped off a twenty-story building.

I suppose that it's to Clugston-Major's credit that she has created characters so real that I have such a strong reaction to, even if that reaction is negative. It's a testimony to her considerable skills, which as I noted are all on display here. So a very mixed reaction from me, and hopefully I'll enjoy her next work more.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

Monday, June 26, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of June 19, 2006

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

Attitude 2 : the new subversive alternative cartoonists /New York : Nantier, Beall, Minoustchine, c2004.

Blurred vision : new narrative art. /New York : Blurred Books, c2005.

Crumb, R. The complete Crumb /Seattle : Fantagraphics Books, [1987?]- vol. 17

Forge /Oldsmar, Fla. : CrossGeneration Comics, c2002- vol. 1

Keret, Etgar, 1967- Jetlag : five graphic novellas /New Milford, Conn. : Toby Press ; Godalming : Melia [distributor], [2006]

Konig, Ralf. Maybe-- maybe not, again! /New York : Ignite! Entertainment, c1999.

Krell, Jeff. Jayson : best of the 80s /Los Angeles : Ignite! Entertainment, c2005.

Krell, Jeff. Jayson : best of the 90s /Los Angeles : Ignite! Entertainment, c2005.

Larson, Hope. Gray horses = chevaux gris /Portland, Or. : Oni, 2006.

Nilsen, Anders Brekhus, 1973- Dogs and water /Montreal, QC : Drawn & Quarterly, c2004.

Robinson, James. Batman : collected legends of the Dark Knight /New York : DC Comics, c1993.

Shaw, Dash. Goddess head : short stories /San Jose, CA : Teenage Dinosaur, c2005.

Trondheim, Lewis. Mister O /New York : NBM/Nantier, Beall, Minoustchine, c2004.

Wein, Len. Roots of the Swamp Thing /New York, N.Y. : DC Comics, c1986. nos. 1-5

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Monkey Covers

Underdog #10Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

What could possible be better than a comic with a giant ape on the cover? How about a comic where a super-powered dog fights a giant ape? That's what we get on the cover of Underdog #10!

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

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

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Collections/GNs

Concluding my look through the June Previews (for items supposedly shipping in August or September), here are a dozen collections and graphic novels that I feel are worth your attention:

Jonah Hex: A Face Full of Violence
(DC, $14.99, p. 77)

If you're looking for not just one, but six stories of violent western action, then this is the collection for you! Follow along with Hex as he hunts bounty and exacts revenge.

Pride of Baghdad
(DC/Vertigo, $19.99, p. 114)

Brian K. Vaughan is a fave of YACB readers, so I'm sure you all will be lined up to get a copy of this new OGN about the adventures of a bunch of escaped animals from the Baghdad Zoo in the wake of the Iraq War. Artist Niko Henrichon is unfamilar to me, but the sample pages are sweet.

NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E., vol. 1 - This is What They Want
(Marvel, $19.99, p. M88)

All those of you who haven't been reading Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen's NextWave have been missing out on one of the most wacked-out fun titles that marvel has published in years. Well now you have a second chance! (And yes, there will be a third chance when this hits paperback in a few months, but if you wait for the trade then the meta-terrorists have won!)

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl
(Marvel, $13.99, p. M102)

The other fun comics from Marvel published recently gets its very own trade paperback collection. has Marvel killed off your favorite character? Then they're probably in here!

C'est Bon Anthology, vol. 1
(C'est Bon Kultur, $21.95, p. 251)

All your favorite international artists that you probably have never heard of before come together in a handsome anthology. Think of it as Flight for the int-indy-art-comix set.

Abandon the Old in Tokyo
(Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, p. 281)

More classic 60's art-manga from Yoshihiro Tatsumi, a manga-ka who was way ahead of anyone on either side of the Atlantic.

The Louche and Insalubrious Escapades of Art d'Ecco
(Fantagraphics, $16.95, p. 285)

Early Roger Langridge comics that show what he was up to before creating the enjoyable Fred the Clown.

Fallen Angel, vol. 1
(IDW, $19.99, p. 303)

Not to be confused with the first Fallen Angel collection that came out from DC a while back, this collects the recent IDW series by Peter David & J. K. Woodward.

Fragile Prophet
(Lost in the Dark Press, $9.95, p. 308)

I screwed up my online ordering and missed out on getting this in floppy form, so as I really enjoyed Davidson & Buell's first comic, Video, I'm really looking forward to this collection.

Amelia Rules! vol. 3: Superheroes
(Renaissance Press, $14.95/$24.95, p. 323)

Jimmy Gownley doesn't really need you to buy this, as he'll be selling truckloads to libraries. But you should get it anyways, cause it's good. Oh, and despite the title it's not a super-hero comic, it's a comic about kids who dress up as super-heroes.

Star Trek
(TokyoPop, $9.99, p. 333)

The latest OEL manga from TokyoPop is an anthology of tales from the defunct sci-fi franchise. Can TP succeed where so many before have tried? (Gold Key, Marvel, DC, Marvel again, WildStorm...)

Lost Girls
(Top Shelf, $75.00, p. 352)

Safe to say that nobody is going to put down $75 for this thing and not know what it's about. Me? I'm trying to figure out how three, 122-page volumes can add up to 264 pages...

That's 12 big thick comics to make a dent in your wallet! (Earlier this month I had my picks for mainstream and indy comics.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Which Oni GN Should Dave Read Next? 2

I did this before a while ago, and I think it's time to do it again.

I have a small stack of GNs/collections from Oni, and I'd like you all to decide which one I should read this weekend.

The candidates are:

Killer Princesses
by Gail Simone & Lea Hernandez
Little Star by Andi Watson
Midnight Mover by Gary Phillips, Jeremy Love & Jeff Wasson
No Dead Time by Brian McLachlan & Tom Williams
Once in a Blue Moon by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, & Jennifer Quick
One Plus One by Neal Shaffer & Daniel Krall
Scooter Girl by Chynna Clugston-Major
Three Days in Europe by Antony Johnston & Mike Hawthorne

Please use the comments on this here blog post to make the case for which of the above I should read over the weekend. I'll post a review or reviews of the Oni GN(s) I choose early next week.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Really Quick Boom Reviews

X Isle #1My review copies from Boom! are starting to back up on me. So here are some very quick takes:

What Were They Thinking?! Some People Never Learn: These remix comics cam be amusing, but the novelty is starting to wear thin. There are some amusing bits here, but if this stuff is going to continue, they're going to have to kick it up a notch. 2.5 (of 5)

Hero Squared Ongoing #1: There are lots and lots of words here--good thing that DeMatteis brings to funny more often than not. And the last few pages are silent, so I guess that he used up Boom!'s allotment of word balloons for the month and they ran out. A fun continuation of the mini, and hopefully a plot will kick into gear soon. 3 (of 5)

Tag #1: You'd think that zombie comics would have run their course by now, but Giffen finds a fresh spin to keep things interesting, and Kody Chamberlain has the perfect art style for this comic: inky with a touch of Jae Lee in there. And while a zombie blog may be pandering to all of us comics bloggers, it works. 3 (of 5)

Second Wave: War of the Worlds #3: Too much time is spent in the sewers in the first half of the book, but the art really opens up when the group finally gets out in the open. Still, I want to see the plot move quicker to keep my interest. 2.5 (of 5)

X Isle #1: Take one part Surface, add in some Lost, and you get X Isle. This makes for a good first issue, setting up the situation and establishing the conflicts. Greg Scott supplies the art, and he's improved since his fill-ins on Gotham Central and really makes this book work for him. I want to read more. 3.5 (of 5)

(review copies of these comics were provided by the publisher)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

FCBM2 Wrap-up

It's been over a week since Free Comic Book Month 2 finally wrapped-up, and once again I'd have to label it a success. Sixty-two people entered, and this year I was able to send free comics to every person from whom I received an entry! Of course, I had to take an extra 11 days to do it, but I don't think there were very many complaints. I gave away a total of 150 free comics this time.

Looking at the site statistics, May was my biggest month traffic-wise in a year--since the last FCBM in May 2005. Part of that it turns out was from people looking for the Aquaman trailer, since I posted a link to it at one point and once it got pulled Google searches were leading people to me instead. (But then last year during May I got a huge boost from one of my posts getting linked to by a popular library blog.)

Last year there were several times when I matched people up with comics they had already read; this year that only happened once, and the person who I inadvertantly duplicated had only received the comic from another source two days prior. I heard back from most people that they enjoyed the free comic(s) they got, so I guess I was going a pretty good job on matching new comics with readers.

A couple of people sent me comics back in return, which while appreciated and a nice guesture was not necessary. (One of the reasons I'm giving away comics is because I have too damn many of them!) The knowledge that you've enjoyed the comics is thanks enough. If you really want to thank me, come back in December and contribute when I do my fund drive for the CBLDF (or heck, go and donate now!)

The most interesting part of FCBM--for me, anyway--is seeing which comics people list as their five choices for comics they enjoy. Like last year, I've broken down the numbers and here are the most popular comics:

9 people: Runaways
8 people: Ex Machina; Fables; Planetary; She-Hulk; Y, the Last Man
7 people: All Star Superman; Love & Rockets
6 people: The Goon
5 people: Legion of Super-Heroes
4 people: Astro City; Bone; Invincible; Sandman; Scott Pilgrim; Seven Soldiers; Starman; The Walking Dead
3 people: Astonishing X-Men; Birds of Prey; Cerebus; Daredevil; Hellboy; The Invisibles; New Avengers; Nextwave; Rocketo; Strangers in Paradise; Top Ten; Transmetropolitan; Ultimates; X-Factor
2 people: 100 Bullets; Animal Man; The Authority; Bacchus; Batman; Blankets; Captain America; DC The New Frontier; DMZ; Exiles; Fell; Finder; From Hell; Girls; Hard Times; Iron Man; Jonah Hex; Lucifer; Promethea; Queen & Country; Savage Dragon; Spider-Man; Superman; True Story Swear to God; Usagi Yojimbo

Plus many more titles mentioned by just one entrant--too many to list!

Of course it's impossible to draw any sort of conclusion from these statistics, but it does make for an interesting list (There appear to be a lot of Brian K. Vaughn fans who entered!)

Thanks to everybody who entered. It was fun matching up people with comics! I'll probably have another contest of some sort around the time of my second Blogiversary (in August), and come back again in May 2007 as I'll hopefully have Free Comic Book Month 3!


Patrick The Wolf Boy: Summer Special 2001

It's the first day of summer.
Stay cool!

(Cover of Patrick The Wolf Boy: Summer Special 2001 by Art Baltazar, courtesy of the GCD.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New This Week: June 21, 2006

All Star Superman #4Based 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 All Star Superman #4, because it's always a happy day when Morrison & Quitely's Superman comes to town.

In other comics:

AiT/PlanetLAR have Jason McNamara & Tony Talbert's Continuity OGN.

Boom! pick up publishing DeMatteis & Ploog's Stardust Kid with issue #4; and debut the Lost-meets-Surface thriller X Isle.

Dark Horse go all barbarian on us, with the paperback edition of the third Conan collection, and new issues of Conan (#29) and Conan: Book of Thoth (#4).

DC continue their super ways with a second Showcase Presents Superman volume; the fourth collection of George Perez's Wonder Woman; the debut of the new Flash: The Fastest Man Alive series; and new issues of 52 (week 7), Birds of Prey (#95), Bite Club: VCU (#3), Ex Machina (#21); Hellblazer (#221); Manhunter (#23); Sgt Rock: The Prophecy (#6), Shadowpact (#2), Superman/Batman (#27), Swamp Thing (#28), and Testament (#7).

Dork Storm have a new issue of Dork Tower (#34).

IDW collect F. Paul Wilson's The Keep adaptation, and have a new issue of Fallen Angel (#6).

Image debut Casanova with art by YACB fave Gabriel Bá. There are also collections for Fear Agent (vol. 1) and Invincible (vol. 6), plus a new issue of Noble Causes (#21).

Maerkle Press debut Love and Capes.

Marvel debut Neil Gaiman & John Romita, Jr. on Eternals, and have new issues of Astonishing X-Men (#15), Captain America (#19), and Ultimates 2 (#11).

Oni have the fifth issue of Love as a Foreign Language.

Top Shelf have Tony Consiglio's 110 Per Cent OGN.

Yes, that's new issues of All Star Superman, Astonishing X-Men, and The Ultimates all on the same week. So be careful when you go to the comic store, else your head mught explode!

Dave's Dozen: Indy Comics

Continuing my look through the June Previews (for comics supposedly shipping in August), here are a dozen indy comics that I feel are worth your attention:

Phonogram #1
(Image, $3.50, p. 136)

"Real"-world magic collides with the worlds of indy rock and photography. Keiron Gillen's story looks intriguing and the art by Jamie McKelvie has an attractive David Hahn-like quality.

Strangers in Paradise #84
(Abstract Studios, $2.95, p. 206)

Is anybody but me still reading this in floppy form? Actually I'm not really either, as I tend to let these stack up and then read a chunk all at once. I guess I should be waiting for the trade, but it's too late to start now...

Dork #11
(Slave Labor, $2.95, p.218)

Yeah sure it takes Evan Dorkin forever to create a new issue of Dork. But it's always worth it, as Dorkin packs every page with the funny. Guaranteed laughs.

Rex Libris #5
(Slave Labor, $2.95, p. 218)

More densely packed librarian humor from James Turner.

Gold Digger #77
(Antarctic Press, $2.99, p.222)

Little Tiffany has her first adventure as she teems up with one of the Peebos to explore a hidden chanber in her Aunt Gina's lab. Fred Perry really shines when he does these one-offs between epics.

Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #1 - Ape Edition
(Ape Entertainment, $4.50, p. 224)

Another refugee from the Speakeasy collapse resurfaces. This combines the first (and only) Speakeasy issue with the unpublished second issue, allowing new readers to get in on the ground floor.

The Origin of Sparky One Shot
(Awakening Comics $2.99, p. 244)

A jam comic featuring the likes of Dave Sim, Shannon Wheeler, Bob Burdon and James Kochalka. Consider it an autograph book for APE or SPX.

Whisper #1
(Boom! Studios, $3.99, p. 247)

The First comics 80s rennaisance continues. This time it's Steven Grant's turn; he brings back his Whisper character, but it's a re-imagining, not a continuation.

The Enigma Cipher #1
(Boom! Studios, $3.99, p. 247)

Boom! seems to be turning out quality mini-series with alarming regularity, and this new one--which ties WWII code-craft with modern-day conspiracies--looks like it could be another enjoyable outing.

Delphine #1
(Fantagraphics, $7.95, p. 285)

The upscale Ignatz comic line continues. This time it's Richard Sala's turn as he retells the story of Snow White.

Thieves & Kings #49
Thieves & Kings Presents: The Walking Mage #1

(I Box, $3.50, $9.95, p. 293)

Despite Mark Oakley's annoucnement in the last issue of T&K that the series would me morphing into T&K Presents, it appears that he's taking a different tack. The regular T&K comic continues the narrative with the origin of sorceress Soracia, while The Walking Mage is a full-color 64-page digest-size comic collection of the Webstrip about magician Quinton.

Shark-Man #1
(Thrill House, $3.99, p. 328)

Another instance of a Hollywood big-wig slumming in comics. But this one has a cool-sounding story--a condemned prisoner is forced to protect a 1930s-era utopian society from organized crime--and art by Steve Pugh. So worth a look.

It's a baker's dozen this time out! A couple days ago I highlighted mainstream comics. I'll have Collections & GNs in a few days.

Monday, June 19, 2006

YACB Bulletins

ITEM! In an editorial for the L.A. Times, comic writer Elliot S! Maggin compares Al Gore to Jor-El: "Look! Up in the sky ... It's Al Gore!"

ITEM! Phoebe Gloeckner went to the Salo Internacional del Comic
De Barcelona and put together a photo documentary of the trip.

ITEM! Bound By Law? Tales From the Public Domain is a free online comic about the perils of copyright for documentary filmmakers. Wired has an interview with the creators, Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Monkey Covers

Magilla Gorilla #1Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

On the cover of Magilla Gorilla #1, the title character opts for bananas over gumballs. Good monkey!

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

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

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Mainstream Comics

Each month I go through Previews to highlight twelve items worthy of attention in three categories: Mainstream Comics, Indy Comics, and Collections/GNs.

First up for the June Previews (comics supposedly available in August) are the following dozen mainstream comics picks:

Batman #656
Detective Comics #822

(DC, $2.99 ea., pp. 61-62)

Had I done a Dave's Dozen for May, I would have highlighted the debuts of the new Baman teams: Grant Morrison & Andy Kubert on Batman, and Paul Dini & J. H. Williams III on Detective. But since I didn't, I'll hightlight them here in their second issues. Both writers are known for their unique takes on Batman, and both artists have a well-deserved following. Should be good stuff!

Action Comics #842
(DC, $2.99, p. 66)

That's an eye-catching cover, and its got a definite silver age vibe. It'll be great to have a Superman comic that's actually fun again.

The Creeper #1
(DC, $2.99, p. 72)

Horror comics master Steve Niles takes a crack at perennial comic book loser The Creeper in a mini-series, with Justiniano along for the art. Can they suceed where so many before them have failed?

Jonah Hex #10
(DC, $2.99, p. 77)

The vastly underrated Phil Noto comes on board for the art in this issue. On nice thing about doing done-in-one tales is that it's easy to bring in a fill-in artists without interrupting the flow fo a story.

Manhunter #25
(DC, $2.99, p. 80)

Turns out that this won't be the final issue, as Manhunter has received a Spider-Girl-like reprieve. If we're lucky, the title will last 100 issues too. But you need to do your part, so buy this comic!

The Boys #1-2
(DC, $2.99 ea., p. 105)

Garth Ennis does his hating-super-heroes thing, all dark & twisted. Darick Robertson provides the art.

Agents of Atlas #1
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M23)

Jeff Parker brings back the golden age of Marvel. There's a robot, and a gorilla. How could I not get this comic?

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #18
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M52)

Hey look, Peter David is writing all-new classic Spider-Man tales. Spider_man vs. Man-Thing in a battle of the hyphenates. If you're upset or whatever about recent developments in the web-slinger's life, you should be checking out retro tales.

CSI: Dying in the Gutters #1
(IDW, $3.99, p. 297)

This high concept CSI mini finds comic gossip Rich Johnston murdered at a Las Vegas comic convention, and plenty of real-life comic creators as suspects. I imagine that the CSI fans who pick this up will be mighty confused. I wonder if one of the guest stars will actually end up being the murderer?

Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars #1
(IDW, $3.99, p. 300)

Ted McKeever drawing an adaptation of Burroughs' John Carter? How odd and wonderful!

Look for the other two parts, Indy Comics & Collections/GNs, sometime soon.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Review: Jon Sable, Freelance: Bloodtrail

Jon Sable, Freelance: BloodtrailJon Sable, Freelance: Bloodtrail
by Mike Grell
IDW, $19.99

IDW continues their revival of First Comics from the 1980s by bringing back Mike Grell and his signature comic Jon Sable, Freelance.

Jon is a children's book author by day and a mercenary by night (figurtively--he operates both identities during all times of the day), but as the story opens neither career is going very well. Haunted by his past and unsure of his place in the present world, Jon is sleepwalking through life, drunk and alone, until threats to the life of an old friend jolt him reluctantly back into action.

It's clear from reading this that Sable is--and always has been--a men's adventure novel in comic book form. Sable is a man's man, even when he's down on his luck. And the women, well, they're basically props to the story. But there are guns to shoot and knives to wield and bad guys to kill and demons from the past to overcome. It's straightforward genre writing.

Grell's art is attractive and full of energy, though sometimes the action seems a bit stiff. The pacing is dense at times, and Grell has a way of making a page or a spread seem both wide-open and busy at the same time. It certainly is a good looking book, and has a retro-80s First Comics feel; it's as though Grell is picking up where he left off.

Those looking for a blast from the past and/or a high-action men's adventure tale will find much to admire and enjoy from this new Jon Sable tale.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of June 5, 2006

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

Fies, Brian. Mom's cancer /New York : Abrams Image, 2006.

Newgarden, Mark. We all die alone : a collection of cartoons and jokes /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2005.

Sturm, James, 1965- Above and below : two stories of the American frontier /Montreal, Quebec : Drawn & Quarterly, 2004.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New This Week: June 14, 2006

She Hulk vol. 3Based 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 Marvel's She Hulk, vol. 3: Time Trials, by Dan Slott & Juan Bobillo. Yes, I know I'm going to comic book hell because I wait for the trade on this title, but I'm really looking forward to it and you should be too.

In other comics:

Amaze Ink has bears fighting evil in giant robot suits in Ursa Minors #1.

Ape Entertainment have the second issue of Horrorwood.

Archie debut Andrew Pepoy's Katy Keene in Archie and Friends #101.

Dark Horse have the third expensive Nexus Archives hardcover, and the relatively inexpensive Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron Omnibus, vol. 1. At least one of the stories collected has art by Darco Macan, and he was quite swell.

DC have Rick Veitch's new OGN Can't Get No; collect Warren Ellis & Butch Guice's JLA Classified: New Maps of Hell into a TPB; and have new issues of 100 Bullets (#73), 52 (week 6), Checkmate (#3), DMZ (#8), Ex Machina Special (#2), Fables (#50), Firestorm (#26), JLA Classified (#22--JLA Detroit!), and Superman (#653).

Fantagraphics have Megan Kelso's The Squirrel Mother.

IDW have the penultimate issue of Supermarket (#3).

Image collect Nabiel Kannan's crime-noir The Drowners.

Marvel collect the League of Losers story from Marvel Team-Up; and have new issues of Civil War (#2), Squadron Supreme (#4), and Thunderbolts (#103).

Shanda Fantasy Arts finally have a new issue of Shanda the Panda (#45).

Viz have new volumes of Banana Fish (vol. 14) and Tezuka's Phoenix (vol. 7).

Enjoy your new comics!

Review: De:TALES

by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
Dark Horse, $14.95

De:TALES is the best comic I've read so far this year.

I've been impressed by twin brothers Moon & Ba's work before, but in De:TALES they raise the bar with a collection of short stories that, if there's any justice in this world, should bring them the recognition they richly deserve.

Grounded in the urban life of Sao Paulo with a touch of magical realism, the unrelated stories range the gammut from high concept--a friend is brought back from the dead to spend his birthday among the living; a young woman tells a complete stranger that he's too late to fall in love with her--to the quietly mundane. But even the seemingly mundane stories have a touch of magic in their lyrical simplicity, such as the final story in which a woman gets out of bed and lights a candle.

There is such a strong sense of life in these stories, about people who are happy, unhappy, satisfied, unsatisfied, in love, out of love, searching, longing, and content. These are stories about people and how they relate, or don't relate, to each other.

The art is attractive and fluid, with a strong grasp of storytelling. It's the kind of book that you can pick up, turn to a random page, and admire the art, from the linework to the layout.

Sometimes I worry about the state of comics; then I read a book like De:TALES, and my faith in the future of the medium is restored.

Rating: 4.5 (of 5)

Monday, June 12, 2006

DC Dream Teams

I recently got to thinking about who some of my dream creative teams would be for DC Comics titles. My only rule was that it had to be creators who had never worked as the regular writer or artist on that title or character. Here's some of what I came up with:

Wonder Woman: Gail Simone & Terry Moore

Oddly, in the comic's 65-year history, a woman has never been the regular writer of Wonder Woman. (Trina Robbins did a mini-series back in the 80s.) It's high time that changed, and who better than DC's female super-hero writer-in-residence Gail Simone? And with SiP winding up, Terry Moore could bring a style that isn't cheesecake, but still attractive.

Legion of Super-Heroes: Kurt Busiek & George Perez

George Perez has stated in the past that the Legion is the one super-hero team he has yet to do, and would like to. And with his Avengers co-hort Kurt Busiek along for the writing, this would make for a great super-team book.

Swamp Thing: Matt Howarth

The problem with the past umpteen iterations of Swamp Thing is that the series has labored long in the shadow of Alan Moore. Matt Howarth would bring a completely different story and artistic sensibility to the character.

Hellblazer: John Rozum & Steve Lieber

As an artist, Steve Lieber excels at making ordinary people exciting, and he can bring the supernatural funk. You know he'd be great drawing John Constantine in his trenchcoat every month. John Rozum is a highly underrated writer, and a higher profile book like Hellblazer would bring him the audience that the unheralded Midnight Mass. & Xombi couldn't.

Sugar & Spike: Judd Winick

Okay now, hear me out. Winick is great when drawing his own stuff, and when bringing the funny. Yeah, he'd have to tone things down from Barry Ween, but Juniper Lee showed that he is capable of being funny without being a potty mouth.

The Atom: Jim Ottaviani & Rob Walton

The Atom is supposed to be a nuclear scientists, so let's bring on a couple of guys who actually know their nuclear science!

The Question: L. Neil Smith & Cliff Chiang

Author Smith is a dyed-in-the-wool Libertarian, so it'd be very intersting to get his take on Ditko's creation. And I just want to see Cliff Chiang draw something every month, and think he'd be a good fit.

The Inferior Five: Dan Slott & Jim Mahfood

Dan Slott worked his magic with Marvel's Great Lakes Avengers, so let's turn him loose on DC's team of super-hero losers. When paired with Mahfood's heavy humorous line, it could be the comic that appeals to super-hero fanboys and indy geeks too.

Challengers of the Unknown: Fred Perry

Challengers is a book that needs the kind of high-adventure attitude that Fred Perry brings to his own Gold Digger series.

So, how about you--what are some of your DC Dream Teams?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

FCBM2 Day 42

Grease Monkey #1It's day Forty-two of the second annual YACB Free Comic Book Month!

Today's selected entry comes from Jamie B. Jamie's five comics are:

1. Fantastic Four
2. She-Hulk
3. Ex Machina
4. Runaways
5. Nextwave

For Jamie I have today's monkey cover comic: Grease Monkey #1 by Tim Eldred. And issue #2 as well. Because who wouldn't love comics about monkeys in space?

As a bonus, I'm sending Jamie a copy of Battlestar Galactica #0 by Greg Pak & Nigel Raynor.

Jamie's comics should be in the mail soon. Enjoy!

Final FCBM Statistics:
62 entries
150 free comics sent
0 days remaining--we're done!

Monkey Covers

Grease Monkey #1Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Engineer Gimbensky isn't taking any crap on the cover of Grease Monkey #1 by Tim Eldred.

(Standard disclaimer about talking space-going gorillas not really being monkeys applies, even if they're called a 'Monkey' in the title.)

Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Stig's Inferno online

Those of you who remember Ty Templeton's Stig's Inferno will be thrilled to know that Templeton has made the first six issues available online for free.

If you don't know about Stig's Inferno--well, you've got a reading treat ahead!

FCBM2 Day 41

The Picture Taker #1It's day Forty-one of the second annual YACB Free Comic Book Month!

Today's selected entry comes from Stephen Frug. Stephen's five comics are:

1. Y, the Last Man
2. Promethea
3. The Invisibles
4. 99 Ways to Tell a Story
5. Stuck Rubber Baby

For Stephen I have The Picture Taker #1 by Phillip Hester & Mike Worley.

As a bonus, I'm sending Stephen a Gemstone Halloween ashcan Donald Duck comic, featuring the story "Hobblin' Goblins" by Carl Barks.

Stephen's comics should be in the mail soon. Enjoy!

Current FCBM Statistics:
62 entries
147 free comics sent so far
1 day remaining

Friday, June 09, 2006

FCBM2 Day 40

Cell #1It's day Forty of the second annual YACB Free Comic Book Month!

Today's selected entry comes from Ryan Claytor. Ryan's five comics are:

1. Blankets
2. True Story Swear to God
3. Groo
4. Clyde Fans
5. Y, the Last Man

For Ryan I have Cell #1 by Derek Kirk; along with A Sort of Homecoming #3 by Damon Hurd & Pedro Camello.

As a bonus, I'm sending Ryan a Gemstone Halloween ashcan Donald Duck comic, featuring the story "Hobblin' Goblins" by Carl Barks.

Ryan's comics should be in the mail soon. Enjoy!

Current FCBM Statistics:
62 entries
145 free comics sent so far
2 days remaining