Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Superman vs. Earth-Man

Don't Tug

Earth-Man probably spits into the wind too.

(From Action Comics #862. Story by Geoff Johns. Art by Gary Frank & Jon Sibal.)

Round Nine? Darn Skippy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Must Be the Last Week of the Month

Point of interest to probably no one but me: Every week as I catalog the new comics I've purchased I stack them in three piles: 'DC,' 'Marvel,' and 'everything else.' This week the 'everything else' pile was just as tall as the 'DC' pile, which included the massive Showcase Presents: Superman Family vol. 2!

I seem to recall that Diamond considers a comic late and therefore returnable if it arrives more than a month later than it was solicited for. Thus this was the last week for anything that was solicited for shipping in January 2008 to not be 'late.' Thus my shipment this week included the January 2008 issues of Rex Libris, Ninja High School, Nexus, Misericordia, The Engineer, and Doctor Who...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This is a Concept?

I visited the much-heralded Borders Concept Store on Monday, and I wasn't terribly impressed. Overall the feeling was of something cheap; more like a Media Play than a regular book store. A lot of half-height shelves but no clear organization or clear walking paths.

The highly-touted graphic novel island was just a set of half-height shelves near the science fiction & fantasy section. There's a funky display hanging overhead that isn't labeled antyhing (unlike the Cooking island) but does have giant cubes with manga characters (and Spider-Man). It was clearly dominated by manga, with the amime dvds shelved adjacent. It wasn't any larger than the manga & graphic novels section at Borders #1 in downtown Ann Arbor, which is much more impressive as a gigantimus tower of manga & GNs that lies at the entrance to the youth & genre fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mysteries) sections.

No doubt I'll return to the new Borders store, as it is much more conveniently located than the other two Ann Arbor locations. But I wouldn't exactly call it a huge success from a promotional or marketing perspective. Still, it's good that Borders has a store with which they plan on experimenting; maybe they'll hit the right formula one of these days...

New Library Comics: Week of February 17, 2008

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

Irwin, Jane. Vögelein vol. 2 : old ghosts / Ann Arbor, Mich : Fiery Studios, 2003-

McNeil, Carla Speed. Finder book 1 : sin-eater / Annapolis Junction, MD : Lightspeed Press, c2007-

Obrist, Hans-Ulrich. Robert Crumb / Köln : König, 2006.

Reumann, Helge. Elvis Road. Oakland, Calif. : Buenaventura Press, c2007.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This Just Might Be the Greatest Marvel Comic Ever

Newsarama has the story that Paul Tobin will be writing a new comic in the Marvel Adventures line, Marvel Adventures Super-Heroes. One of the issues will feature art by his wife and Banana Sunday collaborator Colleen Coover (her again!), and it will feature Spider-Man, and Hellcat, and Mary Jane, and She-Hulk, and Clea, and the Enchantress, and Marvel Girl, and the Scarlet Witch. Also: Millie the Model.

BTW, Tobin is also starting a four-issue run on Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four with YACB fave and ex-Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane artist David Hahn on three of those issues. It starts this week with MAFF #34, so be sure to look for it tomorrow at your friendly local comic shop!

Phoebe Gloeckner Vid

Randomly caught this on the Michigan Channel while channel surfing late at night. I went to all the trouble of transferring from the TiVo and converting to a usable format, then discovered it was already on YouTube:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Colleen Coover's Power Focus

Another Colleen Coover Alert!

According to her LiveJournal, Colleen will be illustrating a series of 2-page back-ups for the upcoming Power Pack: Day One mini under the umbrella title "Power Focus." In these pieces written by Fred Van Lente (of Action Philosophers fame) the Power Pack kids take turns explaining the laws of physics. Fun!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Most Popular Graphic Novel in All the Land

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Window Display

Yes, I know there's some dispute over whether or not Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a graphic novel; but here's a prominent window display of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules at Borders store #1 here in Ann Arbor.

BTW, I plan on visiting the new Borders Concept Store sometime next week, and hopefully will have pictures of their Graphic Novel Island.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Original Art

I don't own a lot of original comic art, but I do own four pieces of original art from Superman by Curt Swan. They've been matted and framed and now hang on the wall in my back hallway. This makes scanning them troublesome, but I did recently pull out the digital camera:

Curt Swan Superman Original Art
Here the four pieces hang side-by-side on the wall.

Curt Swan Superman Original Art
Superman vs. Chemo from Superman #382, inked by Dave Hunt.

Curt Swan Superman Original Art
Lana Lang confronts Jimmy Olsen and new cub reporter Justin Moore in Superman #383, inked by Dave Hunt.

Curt Swan Superman Original Art
Jimmy Olsen discovers a villain at a radio telescope in Superman #378, inked by Dave Hunt.

Curt Swan Superman Original Art
(larger) (more glare but more legible)
Lois Lane infiltrates the villains' lair. Can she uncover their plot to use a deadly Hydrogen Bomb?! From Superman #238, inked by Murphy Anderson.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No more anonymous comments

While in theory I believe in allowing anonymous comments on this blog, in practice the comment spammers have forced me to deny that option. From now on you'll need a Google/Blogger ID or an OpenID to make comments. Sorry folks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quick Manga Reviews

Voices of Love
by Kanae Hazuki
Luv Luv Press, $10.95

Voices of Love is a collection of five short stories in the redikomi--or 'ladies comics'--genre, which are basically romance stories with a bit of R-rated sex thrown in. Based on the stories presented here, women's sexual fantasies seem to revolve around being rescued from an abusive relationship by a white knight that the protagonist has secretly pined after, and then having hot sex. Not being the target audience for this sort of thing I cannot say how well the stories achieve their aim; but the art is attractive and the stories are brief but complete.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

by nawako
Seven Seas, $11.99

Despite having originally appeared in a yuri magazine and being published under Seven Seas' Strawberry imprint, the stories in Voiceful aren't really yuri (a point that the creator acknowledges in the afterward). Instead of lesbian relationships, the stories herein depict close emotional relationships that form between young women. (Presumably one could choose to read a little more into the stories than actually appears on the page.) The title story relates the tale of a friendship that forms between an Internet pop singer and one of her reclusive fans, with their relationship serving to bring each out of their respective shells. The last of the three stories also deals with music, as a student teacher and one of her students find themselves locked together overnight in their school's music room. Creator nawako's art style is standard shojo, but she seems to bring a little extra to the proceedings, with a good sense of flow and pacing. Again I'm not the target audience here, but I found myself enjoying these stories that were charming with a tint of sadness.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Monkey Covers

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

It's Monsieur Mallah & the Brain vs. Gorilla Grodd on the cover of this week's: Salvation Run #4, drawn by Sean Chen & Walden Wong.

(Standard disclaimer about evil super-villain gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Christmastime (Again)!

As you might guess given my annual Christmas Covers feature, I collect comics with Christmas-themed covers. Each year I dutifully order such comics out of Previews. They usually arrive before Christmas, as I suspect it's much easier for a retailer to move a Christmas-themed comic before the holidays than after.

This week I got two Christmas-themed comics in my shipment: Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #687 and Furrlough #179. Just in time for the holidays!

Colleen Coover Alert!

Since Marvel never sees fit to include Colleen Coover's back-ups in the solicits, you may not know that Colleen Coover illustrates a one-page story, written by Margot Blankier, in this week's Iron Man and Power Pack #4.

She's also drawing the back-up in next month's X-Men: First Class #9, written by Jeff Parker (A fact that Marvel also left out of their solicits...)

Update: Jeff Parker tells us why!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Steve Gerber

Most of you know by now that comics writer Steve Gerber passed away Sunday.

Most long-time comic readers are fans of Gerber's form his work on Howard the Duck; or perhaps The Defenders, Man-Thing, or Omega the Unknown.

I was a mostly DC kid, so my introduction to Gerber was in The Phantom Zone, a four-issue head-trip by Gerber and artist Gene Colan:

Basic plot was that Superman was trapped in the Phantom Zone and had to make his way through a multitude of dimension to make it back to Earth to stop the nasty Phantom Zone criminals who had escaped. Nearly all of the DC heroes took part in the battle for Earth while Superman struggled to reach home, and it was truly epic. It would be great (though alas unlikely) if DC could collect this into a trade.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Giant Green Shirt!

Giant Green Shirt

No, that's not a forced perspective shot or an illusion, it's an actual giant green shirt, which was being raised in the lobby of the Duderstadt Center when I came in to work this morning.

Here's another shot:

Giant Green Shirt

What does this have to do with comics? Not much, excepting that some days coming into work is like entering a comic written by Grant Morrison...

BTW, I'm working on a plan that should make our library the coolest academic library ever. Can't say anything right now, but hopefully I'll have something to announce in a month or so...

Regarding Judd Winick

There's a common attitude towards his work that you seem often from online commentators; Valerie D'Orazio's recent comment is typical:
Judd Winick is still the guy nobody understands why he is still writing these books but somehow he is.

Most likely Winick continues to get work due to some combination of:
a) he turns his scripts in on time
b) he writes what the editors ask him to
c) his page rate is reasonable

Doing what the editor wants and turning it in on time for a good price will no doubt keep a career going, even if it doesn't result in great comics.

Recall that Winick's early career as a cartoonist was much different. After struggling in syndicated newspaper strip purgatory with the funny but overlooked Frumpy the Clown (based on a character he created for his student strip Nuts & Bolts at the Michigan Daily), Winick created the multi-award-winning Pedro & Me OGN, did the Eisner-winning "Road Trip," and did several hilarious mini-series of his Barry Ween character for Oni. It was only when he started writing multiple super-hero scripts for DC that he gained the reputation of being a hack--and even then, his early work on Green Lantern and Marvel's Exiles was, while not universally praised, at least well regarded.

(Winick also created the kids cartoon The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, which was better than 90% of the cartoons these days and also better than most of his recent super-hero writing.)

I'd like to see Winick go back to drawing his own stuff at some point, to see if he can recapture the magic. But sadly I expect that cranking out scripts for DC pays better.

Weekend Reading

It was downright frigid outside this weekend, so I stayed indoors and got caught up on some comics:

I finished "The Good Prince" arc in Fables, and was pleasantly surprised at the relatively happy ending (though there are plenty of dark undercurrents and foreshadowing).

Read the first volume of Mike Carey & Jim Fern's Crossing Midnight. Thankfully Carey's writing was much more like his Lucifer work than his X-Men, and Jim Fern has stepped up his art to a whole new level. I'll be looking for future volumes.

I finally got around to reading Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan. I had been resisting due to not normally caring much for Zeb Wells' writing in the past, but this was fantastic. I don't know if it was Seth Fisher's art bringing up Wells' game or what, but it worked. And speaking of Fisher, the art was astounding, with nearly every page tripping out into the fantastical.

Finally, I re-read some Yotsuba&!, because it still makes me laugh even on multiple readings.

(I also read Richard Matheson's I Am Legend for book club on Tuesday, and watched two movies: Waitress, which was every bit as good as I'd heard; and Sunshine, which was almost great but never quite gelled and might have better on the big screen where's its visuals would have impressed more.)

(Just realized that with Big in Japan's Seth Fisher and Waitress's Adrienne Shelly that makes two creative types who left us too early, but their last works were creative high points.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

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 FF and ol' Shell Head face off against a Kong-a-like on Seth Fisher's cover to 2005's: Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan #2.

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

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version, or see a larger, unmarked version.

Monday, February 04, 2008

New Library Comics: Week of January 28, 2008

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

Abadzis, Nick. Laika / New York : First Second, 2007.

Akira, Shouko. X times 2 / San Francisco, CA : VIZ, 2005.

Blurred vision 3 : new narrative art. / New York : Blurred Books, c2007.

Borus, Justin. Opening lines, pinky probes, and L-bombs : the Girls & sports dating and relationship playbook / Santa Monica, CA : Santa Monica Press, c2007.

Carey, Percy. Sentences : [the life of M.F. Grimm] / New York, NY : DC Comics, c2007.

Cavallaro, Mike. Parade (with fireworks) / Berkeley, Calif. : Image Comics, 2007. no. 1

Crilley, Mark. Miki falls vol. 3 : Autumn / [New York] : HarperTeen, c2007-

Cult fiction. / Southbank Centre, UK : Hayward Publishing ; New York : Distributed in the United States of America through D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2007.

Elder, Joshua. Mail order ninja / Hamburg ; Los Angeles : Tokyopop, c2006- vols. 1-2

Giandelli, Gabriella. Interiorae / Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books ; Bologna [Italy] : Coconino Press, c2005- nos. 1-2

Gipi, 1963- They found the car / Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, c2006.

Hankiewicz, John. Asthma : ten short comics / Portland, OR : Sparkplug Comic Books, c2006.

Hope : New Orleans / [S.l.] : Ronin Studios, c2007.

Kurtzman, Harvey. Two-fisted tales / Timonium, Md. ; West Plains, Mo. : Gemstone Publishing, 2006- vol. 1

Lemire, Jeff. Ghost stories / Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf, 2007.

Lemire, Jeff. Tales from the farm / Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf, c2007.

Luthi, Morgan, 1980- Snow / Los Angeles, CA : Tokyopop, c2006- vol. 1

Mills, Tarpé. Miss Fury / New York : Pure Imagination, 2007- vol. 1

Ninomiya, Tomoko. Nodame cantabile / New York, N.Y. : Ballantine Books, c2005- vol. 1

Page, Tyler, 1976- Nothing better / Minneapolis, Minn. : Dementian Comics c2007- vol. 1

Paszkiewicz, Douglas. Arsenic lullaby : pulp edition / [Milwaukee, Wis.] : Arsenic Lullaby Publishing, 2007- no. 1

Ponchione, Sergio. Grotesque / Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books ; [Bologna, Italy] : Coconino Press, c2007- no. 1

Rucka, Greg. Whiteout / Portland, Or. : Oni, 2007 vol. 1

Sís, Peter, 1949- The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain / New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

Talon, Durwin S. Panel discussions : design in sequential art storytelling / Raleigh, NC : TwoMorrows Pub., c2007.

Tan, Shaun. The arrival / New York : A.A. Levine, c2006.

Tatulli, Mark. Liō. Happiness is a squishy cephalopod / Kansas City, Mo. : Andrews McMeel Pub., c2007.

Varon, Sara. Robot dreams / New York : First Second, c2007.

Yoshinaga, Fumi, 1971- Antique bakery / Carson, Calif. : Digital Manga, 2005- vols. 2-4

Yurkovich, David. Death by chocolate : redux / Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf Productions, c2007

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