Sunday, September 30, 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.

The cover of 1958's Marmaduke Monk #1 with the titular monkey about to get a bang!

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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Girls in Mini Skirts Kicking People"

This weekend's On the Media from NPR covers manga and "manga diplomacy," as Brooke Gladstone talks to Roland Kelts (author of Japanamerica):

Friday, September 28, 2007

Amazon Top 25

Just for kicks on a Friday, here's the current Amazon Top 25 Comics & Graphic Novels:

1. The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories
2. Watchmen
3. 52, Vol. 3
4. Sopratos, The: A Pearls Before Swine Collection
5. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
7. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
8. I'm Ready for My Movie Contract: A Get Fuzzy Collection
9. Marvel Zombies/Army Of Darkness HC
10. Dark Hunger
11. The Complete Peanuts 1963-1966 Box Set
12. Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 18: Ultimate Knights
13. The Halo Graphic Novel
14. Process Recess 2: Portfolio
15. Captain America by Ed Brubaker Omnibus, Vol. 1
16. 300
17. Hellboy Volume 7: The Troll Witch and Other Stories
18. Cubes and Punishment: A Dilbert Book
19. The Complete Peanuts 1965-1966
20. Stephen King's Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born
21. And When She Opened the Closet, All the Clothes Were Polyest: A FoxTrot Collection
22. Naruto, Volume 19
23. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
24. The Death and Return of Superman Omnibus
25. Arrival

(All of our previous caveats apply)

Chris Butcher Talks Process

While I'm by no means a huge Belle & Sebastian fan, I quite enjoyed reading Chris Butcher's deconstruction of how he created his story for the anthology Put The Book Back On The Shelf. I'm a structure freak, so I especially appreciated how Butcher used color as a structural element in his story.

Ladies' Bookplate

Found this bookplate in the Google scan of The Pilgrims of the Rhine by Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton Lytton.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


So just a couple of days ago I was thinking that it was odd that Scott McCloud's Zot! was out of print. With his popularity as the creator of Understanding/Reinventing/Making Comics, it seemed a natural to make his seminal, highly praised work available again.

And then lo and behold, this week's PW Comics Week shows up, and Zot! is being reissued, in its entirety, as a massive 576-page volume collecting the black and white issues.

On the downside, while the first ten issues were originally in color, they will be in black & white in the collection (the remaining issues were originally in black & white). On the plus side, $23 for the entire Zot! saga is a fantastic bargain on some great comics.

Edit: Unfortunately, the collection will not contain the first ten issues that introduced the characters. While these issues were perhaps not as strong as the later issues, they form the basis of the series and what came after (fortunately for me I already have the original trade collection of the first 10 color issues!)

Start saving your pennies for summer 2008!

(As a service to the comics community, I will now start to think really hard about another lost Eclipse classic, Larry Marder's Beanworld...)

(Edited because I misread an important part of the announcement article!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of September 17, 2007

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

Allred, Mike (Mike Dalton) Madman gargantua! / Image Comics, 2007.

Balm in Gilead : salves from the souk of imagination / Jersalem, Israel : MW Publications, c2007.

Beland, Tom. True story, swear to God / Berkeley, Calif. : Image, 2007- vol. 1

Braddock, Paige. Jane's world / [Sebastopol, Calif.] : Girl Twirl Comics, 2003- vol. 7

Burgoon, Charles. Odd / Coldwater, Mich. : Ghost Train Press, [1994]- nos. 6-7

Byun, Byung Jun. Run, Bong-gu, run! / New York : NBM, 2007.

Campbell, Eddie, 1955- The Black Diamond Detective Agency / New York : First Second, 2006.

Cannibale. / Roma : Primo Carnera, 1977-1979. nos. 2, 12

Carey, Mike. Re-gifters / New York : DC Comics, c2007.

Deevee 2007. / Paddington, Australia : Deevee Press, c1997-

Empty pockets. / Ann Arbor, Mich. : Wooden Book Press, 2005- no. 2 2006

Fior, Manuele, 1975- Rosso oltremare / Bologna : Coconino Press, c2006.

Foo, Swee Chin. Heofigendlic loðrung : FSC issues 1-5 / La Mesa, Calif. : Neko Press, [2006]

Friedman, Drew. The fun never stops! : an anthology of comic art, 1991-2006 / Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2007.

The Ganzfeld. / New York : Kaput Press, no. 5 2007

Gatiss, Mark. The Vesuvius Club : graphic edition / New York : Simon & Schuster, c2005.

Hartzell, Andy. Fox bunny funny / Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf Productions, 2007.

Hayashiya, Shizuru. Sister Red / Fremont, CA : ComicsOne Corp., 2004- vols. 1-2

Hickee / Gainesville, FL : Alternative Comics, [2003]- v. 3 no. 3

Hornschemeier, Paul, 1977- The three paradoxes / Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, 2007.

Kuper, Peter, 1958- Stop forgetting to remember : the autobiography of Walter Kurtz / New York : Crown, 2007.

Lapham, David. Silverfish / New York : Vertigo, 2007.

Malkasian, Cathy. Percy Gloom / Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2007.

Matt, Joe, 1963- Spent / Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, c2007.

Mattotti, Lorenzo, 1954- Il rumore della brina / Torino : Einaudi, 2003.

Mattotti, Lorenzo, 1954- Lettere da un tempo lontano / Torino : Einaudi, 2006.

Mineshaft. / Brattleboro, VT : Mineshaft, c1999- no. 17

Modan, Rutu. Exit wounds / Montréal : Drawn & Quarterly, c2007.

Mome. / Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2005- Summer 2007

Nonaka, Eiji. Cromartie High School / Houston, Tex. : ADV Manga, 2005- vols. 9-11

Orff, Joel. Thunderhead Underground Falls / Gainesville, Fla. : Alternative Comics, 2007.

Ottaviani, Jim. Levitation : physics and psychology in the service of deception / Ann Arbor, MI, G.T. Labs, 2007.

Ottaviani, Jim. Wire mothers : Harry Harlow and the science of love / Ann Arbor, Mich. : G. T. Labs, 2007.

Pekar, Harvey. Macedonia / New York : Villard, c2007.

Peters, Steve. Sparky in love / Willow Grove, Pa. : Awakening Comics, 2007.

Phillips, Sean. Intersections / Berkeley, Calif. : Image, c2007.

Pop art funnies / Detroit, Mich. : MPH comics, [2004]- no. 9

Pope, Paul, 1970- Pulphope : the art of Paul Pope. / Richmond, Va. : AdHouse, c2007.

Potlatch project 6. / [Westminster, Md.] : Angry Dog Press, c2007.

Rees, Peter. Play-grounds : 2 short untruths / Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c1991.

Rivera, Jonathan. Heart break / [United States] : 1130 Studios, c2007.

Robel, Nicolas. Fallen angel / Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2006.

Robot : super color comic / Carson, CA : Digital Manga Pub., 2005- vol. 3

Sally, Zak. Sammy the mouse / Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, c2007- no. 1

Simmons, Josh. House / Seattle : Fantagraphics, c2007.

Smith, Jeff, 1960 Feb. 27- The art of bone / Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse Books, 2007.

Snakepit, Ben. My life in a jugular vein : Snakepit comics 2004-2006 / Portland, Or. ; Bloomington, Ind. : Microcosm Pub, 2007.

Steinke, Aron Nels. Big plans / Portland, Or. : [A. Steinke], 2007- no. 1

Takahashi, Rumiko, 1957- InuYasha / San Francisco, CA : Viz, LLC, c2003- vol. 30

Takahashi, Yoshihiro. Ginga legend Weed / Fremont, CA : ComicsOne, c2000- vols. 1-3

Takemiya, Keiko, 1950- To terra -- / New York : Vertical, 2007- vol. 2

Tanaka, Masashi, 1962- Gon / La Jolla, CA : WildStorm Productions, c2007- vol. 1

Tanner, Jamie. The aviary / Richmond, Va. : AdHouse, 2007.

Tinder, Jeremy. Black ghost apple factory (and others) : by jeremy Tinder. / Marietta,Ga : Top Shelf Productions, c2006.

Toth, Alex. Alex Toth : edge of genius. / New York : PUre Imagination, c2007- vol. 1

Wagner, Matt. Grendel archives / Milwaukie, Or. : Dark Horse Comics, 2007.

Wheeler, Shannon. Screw heaven, when I die I'm going to Mars / Milwaukie, Or. : Dark Horse, 2007

Y.Kids. Albert Einstein. / [Seoul, Korea] : Singapore, c2007.

Y.Kids. Gandhi : Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. / [Seoul, Korea] : Y.Kids, c2007.

Young bottoms in love : a collection of gay romance comics / Los Angeles, Calif. : Poison Pen Comics, 2007.

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Sunday, September 23, 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.

We conclude our special Colleen Coover week here at YACB with her cover to Banana Sunday #3, featuring the gang taking in a movie.

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

Click on the image for a larger version.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Colleen Coover Week, Day 3

So much for being too busy to blog; I think I've blogged more this week than I have in the past several weeks! But to keep Colleen Coover week going, here's an illustration of a woman enjoying a good book and a good soak:

(Taken from

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New This Week: September 19, 2007

Ahoy mateys! There be good swag at the olde comick shoppe this day!

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Carla Speed McNeil's Finder with the Finder: Sin Eater 10th Anniversary Hardcover. It collects the first two trade paperbacks (i.e. issues #1-14) plus the never-before-collected issue #22. And if you want to complete your Finder collection, Lightspeed Press is also re-issuing the third through eighth trade collections as well. Finder is anthropological science fiction at its finest; if you're a fan of Ursula Le Guin's science fiction, you should give Finder a look.

Other collections of interest include the final Strangers in Paradise Pocket edition (vol. 6) and Dr. Thirteen: Architecture and Morality, collecting the highly-praised back-up feature from Tales of the Unexpected by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang.

Manga connoisseurs will surely want to pick up the 11th volume of Tezuka's Phoenix and the first volume of Keiko Takemiya's proto-shojo Andromeda Stories.

Regular comics? How about a new issue of Sabrina, the second issue of Johnny Hiro, and the penultimate issue of World War Hulk?

And if there bein' still a few pieces of eight in yer pockets, you can celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day by grabbin' ye a copy of Ted Naifeh's Polly and the Pirates or Boom!'s Pirate Tales anthology. Just the thing to get ye into the mood for sacking and pillaging. Aaarrrrr!

Quick Review: Polly and the Pirates

Polly and the Pirates
by Ted Naifeh
Oni Press, $11.95

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, so when you go to your Friendly Local Comic Store to pick up today's booty, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Ted Naifeh's Polly and the Pirates. Polly is a pre-teen girl who learns that she is the heir to the legendary Pirate Queen. At first she rejects her status, but of course eventually comes to accept her role as a leader of pirates. It's standard hero journey stuff, but Naifeh really makes the story come alive with wit and adventure and interesting characters. It's easily on par with his Courtney Crumrin series.

Rating: 4 (of 5)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is Countdown Really a Sales Disaster?

Reading various online sales commentaries, one might be led to believe that DC's Countdown is a disaster, or at least a disappointment compared to its previous weekly series 52. But is it really?

Near the end of its run, 52 was selling about 95,000 copies an issue at $2.50 each.

The latest month's worth of Countdown's sales have it selling about 85,000 an issue at $3 each.

Doing the math, we see that at the end 52 was grossing $237,500 an issue; and Countdown is currently grossing $255,000 an issue. So on dollar value, Countdown is currently selling more than 52 did at its end! Countdown's numbers jumped up sizeably from the previous couple of months, when it was selling in the low 70K's. (Not sure why this is...) but even at 72,000 copies Countdown was grossing $216,000 per issue, which is more a reflection of the general downward trend that 52 was experiencing than any seismic shift.

This doesn't even factor in the talent cost; I'm willing to bet that Johns/Morrison/Waid/Rucka rates are more than Dini/Gray/Palmiotti/Bedard/Beechen/McKeever rates.

Did 52 gross more over its entire run than Countdown is likely to? Probably. But a disaster/disappointment? Hardly. (At least from a sales perspective; Your opinion as to the quality of the comics will no doubt vary...)

Colleen Coover Week Day 2

Too busy to blog, so here's a nice Colleen Coover illustration of a pretty girl on the deck of a cruise ship:

Colleen Coover illustration of a pretty girl on the deck of a cruise ship

(Taken from

Bonus: here's an audio file of Colleen appearing recently on the cIndyCenter podcast.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Light Blogging = Colleen Coover Week

Folks: Due to real life considerations regular blogging is likely to be very light for the next week or so. To compensate, I'll fill each day this week with a Colleen Coover illustration.

Let's kick things off right with a picture of a monkey!

(This also makes up for skipping Monkey Covers yesterday...)

(Taken from

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dear DC...

Dear DC: Please sign up Colleen Coover to draw a Mary Marvel comic. Either she or her husband (or both) could write it.

Thanks, 'kay? Bye!

(pic stolen from Periscope Blog)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New This Week: September 12, 2007

So, what looks good on the racks this week?

Sergio Aragonés' Groo returns for the first time in over five years with the Groo 25th Anniversary Special (leading into a new Groo mini-series starting next month). Easily the funniest comic book barbarian ever. Maybe this time there will be some new jokes? :)

Jonathan Hickman's The Nightly News was one of the most graphically innovative comics of the year, and also one of the angriest. It's now available in a trade in case you missed it in floppies.

It's Kevin Church week at Boom! as they have the fifth and final issue of Cover Girl and he has a story in the Cthulhu Tales: Tainted anthology as well. And new EiC Mark Waid makes his Boom! debut with the first issue of Potter's Field.

DC have a new volume of , the manga that (along with Gon) pretty much justifies the existance of the CMX imprint.

A new issue of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting (v. 2 #8) is always a good thing, yes?

As are new issues of Age of Bronze (#26) and Casanova (#9).

Lots of stuff from Tokyopop, including the 3rd and final volume of I Luv Halloween and a new Star Trek Manga. Viz is also shipping a truckload of manga.

Plenty of good stuff this week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of September 3, 2007

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

Bleda, Sergio. Sleep, little girl / Celje, Slovenia : SAF Comics, 2003.

Holcombe, Walt. Things just get away from you / Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; London : Turnaround [distributor], 2007.

Itō, Junji, 1922- Uzumaki. vol. 1 / San Francisco, CA : Viz Communications, 2002, c1998.

Mills, Pat Collected hook jaw, v.1. / Egmont, UK : Spitfire Comics, 2007, c2006

Novgorodoff, Danica. A late freeze / [s.l.] : Danica Novgorodoff, c2006.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Review: Marvel Heroes Breakout DVD Game

Marvel Heroes Breakout DVD Game
Brighter Minds Media, $24.95.

I don't normally review games here at YACB, but when game company Brighter Minds offered to send a review copy of their latest, a comic book-themed DVD family game, I decided to take them up on it.

Like most DVD games, Marvel Heroes Breakout is played primarily by interacting with the DVD via the remote, and supplemented by a physical game board, pieces, and cards. The physical quality of the game materials is good; not deluxe by any means, but they don't feel cheap either. The game pieces for the players represent the heroes (Spider-Man, Captain America, Storm and Wolverine) who must capture the Marvel Villains who (we learn in the introduction to the DVD) have staged a massive jailbreak. By successfully completing challenges on the DVD, the players capture the villains, each represented by an oversized card that has a full-color picture along with the villain's alias and powers. The first player to capture 5 villains (or 7 in a longer game) wins. The DVD keeps track of how many villains each player has captured (so there's no cheating!)

The game board features paths around the New York City of the Marvel Universe, with each spot on the board representing a challenge on the DVD. This is a family game (ages 6-106 according to the box) so there are three different levels of difficulty; each player can choose a different difficulty level, allowing players of differing knowledge to play with each other more fairly.

There are seven challenges in all, each quite different:

Downtown Maze: This is one of the challenges that works with the DVD format quite well. The player is shown a scrolling maze backwards, and then must choose the correct path to take along the maze to reach the villain.

The Villain Locator: This challenge doesn't work well at all. The image of a villain is shown appearing slowly in a 'mist'; the player has five seconds to shout out the name of the villain as s/he appears, then after 5 seconds any player can chime in with the correct answer. The problem is that for the first four seconds, the villain is completely unrecognizable, giving the player whose turn it is just 1 second to correctly identify the villain.

What Did You See?: The player watches a clip from one of the Marvel Heroes cartoons (e.g. X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk) then must answer a question bout the clip just seen. Makes good use of the DVD format, but for some reason the clips are shown at just 1/4 size instead of full screen. Also there are a limited number of clips (though with multiple possible questions about each clip) so if you play the game more than once you're likely to end up watching the same clips over and over.

Marvel Team-Up: A matching game where you have to open doors to find heroes who belong on the same team (Fantastic Four, X-Men or Avengers) before accidentally matching up two villains. Using the DVD remote this game quickly becomes tedious; not a good use of the DVD format at all.

Rooftop Jump: Another challenge that doesn't work well, this requires the player to hit the enter button on the remote at the exact moment to cause your hero to 'jump' from one rooftop to another to catch a villain. As a timing game, once you figure out the exact moment to hit the button this challenge ceases to be a challenge at all.

Super Hero Scramble: As a top, middle, and bottom of a hero scroll by, the player must match them up. Another game that is not very challenging (but seems to be the favorite of my nephew).

Marvel Quiz: Players must answer trivia questions about Marvel comics. These are mostly related to the comics and not the movies which everyone has actually seen--and some of the questions are pretty darn obscure (I myself only knew about 75% of them)--so unless you're a Marvel comics junkie you're going to have to guess a lot (it's multiple choice).

There's an introductory mode where the challenges are explained on screen before each attempt. This is useful the first couple of times, but quickly becomes tedious. Thankfully there is also a non-verbose mode that can be selected when starting a game, but we couldn't figure any way to switch between the two during the course of a game.

The animation on the DVD is an odd mixture of impressive computer generated backgrounds and the stiff cut-out 'animation' of the 60s Marvel cartoons. But it does the job.

I took the game with me on our family vacation last month (for use when bad weather would keep us from enjoying the beach) and we had several chances to play. My seven-year-old nephew loved this game. He spied the brightly-colored box soon after we brought stuff into the cabin and was disappointed that we wouldn't let him play immediately! We first played with four players (myself, my father, my sister and my nephew) and over the course of a few days played in various combinations and numbers of players. A four-player short game took just over an hour (nobody ever wanted to play a long game, the 'short' game was long enough!). It definitely held the interest of my nephew, though the rest of us weren't quite as excited. So even though it's billed as a family game, I'd say that in our experience it definitely skews towards the kids on the family.

(I myself have never really cared much for these DVD games. If I'm going to gather with friends and/or family to play games, it's going to either be cards or a traditional board game. If I'm going to watch a DVD, it's going to be a movie. The combination has always seemed odd.)

We did run into a couple of problems with the game. On our first playing, near the end of the game, the game apparently got confused and reset to the beginning, losing everyone's scores. This only happened to us once, but did have us concerned since it was the first time we played. Also, at least one of the trivia questions--what is Sandman's real name--was confusing; Flint Marko wasn't one of the four choices, even though that's the name given on the included villain card for Sandman. (Only big-time Marvel geeks will realize that, while he usually goes by the alias Flint Marko, his 'real' real name is William Baker.)

If you have a younger (aged 6-11 or so) super-hero fan in the family, the Marvel Heroes Breakout DVD Game will likely be a big hit. But while the rest of the family won't mind playing along, it's really more of a game for the kids.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

(For another take on the game, see the review at Cosmic Treadmill)

Sunday, September 09, 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.

We return after a brief hiatus with Ron Wilson & Al Milgrom's 1976 cover to Chamber of Chills #23, containing a reprint of the first appearance of Agents of Atlas's Gorilla Man.

(Standard disclaimer about gorilla soldiers-of-fortune not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New This Week: September 6, 2007

Looks like a relatively quiet week on the new comics front.

Your best bet is most likely the third collection of Brian Wood's DMZ, a title which has gotten a lot of (well deserved) positive mainstream press but is pretty much ignored by the comics market.

Or if you're looking for some 80s super-hero/sword and sorcery action, give the Sword of the Atom collection, with it's cool Gil Kane artwork, a gander.

Brian K. Vaughan kicks off his Faith-centric arc in Buffy the Vampire Slayer #6. (Dark Horse also have the debut of the Lobster Johnson mini and a third Gunsmith Cats Omnibus.)

First Second had hard- and softcover editions of Nick Abadzis's Laika. (Dogs in space are almost as cool as monkeys in space!)

You probably missed the rather good stories that ran in the first three issues of Spider-Man Family; don't worry, Marvel have you covered with the affordable Spider-Man Family Back In Black Digest.

There's plenty of other stuff too; I'm sure you'll find something you like!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of August 27, 2007

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

Adams, Jon Truth serum : The lonely parade. [San Francisco] : City Cyclops ; [2007?]

Batman : the dailies, 1943-46 / New York : Sterling Publishing, Co., c2007.

Batman (Comic strip). Selections. Batman : the Sunday classics, 1943-1946. New York, NY : Sterling Publishing, Inc., c2007.

Baumann, Suzanne. My mind's made up / Hamtramck, Mich. : Fridge Magnet Concoctions, c2006.

Castellucci, Cecil, 1969- The plain Janes / New York, N.Y. : DC Comics, 2007.

Coover, Colleen. Small favors : girly sex comic / Tübingen : Konkursbuch Verlag Claudia Gehrke, c2003.

Edumanga Mother Teresa. Gardena, CA : Digital Manga Pub 2007.

Konig, Ralf. Bull's balls / Hamburg : Mannerschwarmskript, 2000.

Konig, Ralf. Bullenkloten! / Hamburg : Verlag MannerschwarmSkript, c1992.

Konig, Ralf. Safere Zeiten & Macho Comics / Hamburg : MannerschwarmSkript Verlag, 1997.

Konig, Ralf. Super Paradise / [Hamburg] : MannerschwarmSkript Verlag, c1999.

Petersen, David, 1977- Mouse Guard vol. 1 : Fall 1152 / Fort Lee, N.J. : Archaia Studio, 2007-

Silady, Matt The Homeless Channel / San Francisco : AiT/Planet Lar 2007.

Veitch, Rick. Shiny beasts / West Townshend, VT : King Hell Press, c2007.

Vining, James. First in space / Portland, Or. : Oni ; London : Diamond [distributor], 2007.

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