Monday, July 25, 2005
SHOJO BEAT COMPILATION, Vol. 1
I picked up this compilation, containing chapters of all of the Shojo Beat GN/digest line of series. So I could tell which ones I might want to give a longer look to.
Full Moon O Shagasite - When I first heard the premise for this series, dealing with a young girl who needs a surgery to remove a growth from her throat. Yet refuses because it will mean the loss of her voice, and thus the end to her planned life of a singer.
I thought it sounded dumb and a bit creepy, especially with two agents of death intervening to make sure she doesn't do anything that might help save her life.
Yet the whole thing works somehow, in a way that is cute and yet very emotional impacting. With an ending that does the best job of them all to make me want to find out what happens next.
Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden - I really enjoy Yuu Watusi's art, as it has such an energy and intuitive sense that makes it a pleasure to read. That is in evidence in abundance here, as well as just a beauty that had me admiring the figure work and backgrounds.
Yet not having reading any of the prior Fushigi Yugi series that this is a prelude to, just had me wondering if I was missing something important here.
It is a fantasy story about a young girl who feels lost after her mother's death. (due to consumption) Whose father's preoccupation with a mysterious book leads her to try to destroy it, only to apparently be sucked into another world.
I couldn't tell if this would be a series I'd like or not, as it just didn't have enough to get a feel for what the series will be like. The art is certainly nice to look at though.
Merupuri - I like the lead character here, a young woman who is obsessed with not being late. Because of a strange legend that says the longer you go with out being tardy, the better boyfriend you'll get. Which just makes me chuckle as of all things I look for in women, punctuality isn't very high on my list.:)
Yet she has a good heart, and when she finds a strange young boy in the street who seems lost. She takes him in for the night in order to help him.
Yet the last page revelation, and how the kid is apparently from a fantasy world just has me wondering if it'll be a book I'll like or not. Given my disinterest in fantasy as a genre.
Ouran High School Host Club - The worst story in the bunch, with art that felt claustrophobic with its almost entire lack of space. Not to mention a panel flow that was all across the board.
Even getting past that, the characters are all 1 dimensional wretches, who have yet to show any redeeming values. I'm glad I didn't waste any money on this series.
Tokyo Boys & Girls - I love the creator's Hot Gimmick series, and while this doesn't live up to that level of quality. It is still an interesting start to the series about young people's internal personal politics. As they try to find ways relate to each other in life as friends, classmates or potential lovers.
The art needs a bit of work on defining the looks for the characters though. There were a few times I found myself questioning who I was looking at, especially in regards to two rival boys after one girl's affections.
Still a good start, and I'm glad to have bought volume 1 of the series.
Ultra Maniac -Witchcraft has gone modern, as the cool and popular Ayu helps a clueless classmate Nina find what turns out to be her pocket computer/spellmaker.
While Ayu doesn't think it a big deal, and moves on with her life as a tennis player and tries to get ready for an upcoming tennis match her friends signed her up for against the best boy's tennis player. (with the fate of whether the boys or girls got access to two or 1 tennis courts to practice on)
Nina decides that Ayu must be her best friend in the world, and tells her about her life as a witch and grants her a wish. Which is a way to be stronger and faster than her male opponent, resulting in an ending that had me laughing and wanting to see what happened next.
While the witchcraft looks to be a big plot device, the first chapter here seems to point to it being much like television's Sabrina show. With it being used for laughs and backstory. While the heart of the story is about school life, popularity and first crushes.
So that's three of the 5 series that I want to try more of, and one that I'm curious enough about to at least look through the volume in stores. Not too bad for the launch of a new line of series.
Newsarama Has a report on DC's upcoming 52 title, which will be a weekly series detailing what happened during the "lost year" that most of DC comics will skip over after its Infinity Crisis miniseries.
I've yet to have any sort of interest in any of this stuff, and have found it easy to move away from series and characters I thought I'd never stop reading. Yet I never really thought about why, beyond just disinterest in the work of most of its contributors.
Yet reading this article it struck me why exactly it is this holds no interest for me. DC's comics has moved towards being more about the whole than their individual parts.
My disinterest in the work of the creators behind IC and such means nothing. Because if I want to follow my series, their work has to be followed in order to understand the parts I do like. To grasp the individual parts, I must work to understand the whole and since I have no interest in that it makes it easy for me to walk away.
Blast From The Past!
Turning channels last night I happen upon the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show on Cartoon Network. The show was my first exposure to the Marvel superhero world as a little kid, and the episode last night was one of the ones that had stuck with me.
It was the origin of the Firestar character, who I really liked as she one of the first female characters I'd seen who wasn't a female version of a male character or there to be someone's girlfriend. She was just an equal part of the partnership between her, Iceman and Spider-Man, and that was just something I hadn't seen before so she stood out.
I can look back at her origin now and see how much the writers must have been influenced by the Stephen King Carrie story, right down to a certain prom scene. (that doesn't turn out quite as bad obviously)
Yet it was a fun origin, because it still showed that Angelica took joy in her powers. In this day where getting powers just means your life will suck even more than it did before, it is fun to see someone see her powers as a gift.
Something else that was interesting about the episode, was remembering that this was the first time I'd ever heard anything about the X-Men as Spidey and friends must help them against the Juggernaut.
The voices for the X-characters were so horrible, that it was fun to listen to them. From Cyclops's extremely stiff superhero speeches. To the awful Austrailan accent for Wolverine, made especially amusing since this was decades before Aussie Hugh Jackman would take up the role!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Discount Comic Book Service has updated their site with this month's offerings from Previews. It looks to be a very big month for collections and new GNs meaning some hard choices to make.
From DC I'm thrilled to see the start of their "Essential" like line of black and white collections of older series. The line is off to a great start with SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN and SHOWCASE PRESENTS GREEN LANTERN, which DCBS is offering at the incredible price of $8.49 each. 300+ pages of comics for less than $9? How could one pass up such a deal.
Also of interest from DC are manga sized collections of SGT ROCKS COMBAT TALES and SECRET OF THE SWAMP THING at $4.99 a piece. I've never been a big fan of war stories though, and I think Alan Moore (who seems to be the most loved ST writer) threw most of this stuff out when he became writer. So I'm not really sure on these yet.
From Marvel the only book of interest for me is RUNAWAYS VOL 4 TRUE BELIEVERS DIGEST at a discount price of $3.99. Which makes me wonder why anyone follows Marvel comics in pamphlet form, since that is cheaper than 2 issues at cover price.
CBLDF SPX 2005 ANTHOLOGY returns to its roots of a loose talent showcase anthology, after the past few years of themes. The *Support your right to read comic books! * is an odd tag line for it. I does feel a bit odd to have a discount on a charity book, at $7.12 but oh well.
I really enjoy ghost stories, so Del Rey's new Ghost Hunt series could be something I'd be interested in. Yet I can't find any kind of helpful info about it, in order to judge whether I want to pre-order it sight unseen like this.
STEADY BEAT VOL 1 GN (OF 3) $4.99 - The preview Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance linked to. Has me really interested in this series about a younger sister finding what appear to be a love letter from a woman to her older sister while the two are on a road trip together.
Former Oni Press EIC, Jamie S Rich has a new illustrated novella, I WAS SOMEONE DEAD due out. I really enjoyed Rich's CUT MY HAIR novella about young people growing up and falling in love, set in the 1980s punk music culture. Illustrations for this book are by Andi Watson, whose work I simply can not get enough of. Making this a definite must buy for me.
Also from Oni Press, is the fourth BLUE MONDAY collection, PAINTED MOON. I love this high energy comedy series about teens with attitude. And really appreciate that Oni's publishing structure is such that I can wait to read these in the collection format that I prefer.
Last, but certainly not least, is a new Owly GN, OWLY VOL 3 FLYING LESSONS. This fun little series continues to entertain in quiet, subtle ways that never get too cute but are just fun, comforting stories about friendship.
So whew, there we go. I look forward to seeing what Greg and Johanna will have on their Previews rundown listings, though I hope it won't be too much more.:) If any of you spot something I should try or want to offer advice on some of the things I'm not sure on. Then please do!
Saturday, July 02, 2005
It Has Been a While
Wow it has been a while since I've updated here. I have been busy with work and relationship stuff, but mostly it just comes from a lack of inspiration. The spark just isn't there to be creative at the moment for some reason.
I'm not really sure why, perhaps comics have just moved down in my level of importance to the point where they have become something to be consumed and so my mind just isn't putting the same level of attention to them.
I did just turn 30 today (July 2) and I have been thinking on that quite a lot lately. Plus to be honest little in comics has really struck a discord for me in a long time.
DC and Marvel are leaning heavily back on their big crossover leading to deaths that'll be undone in 5 years. Yet I was moving away from most of those anyway, so they really made my decision to leave most of them behind easy.
Indy titles pop up, some stick, most don't. Yet overall I'm pleased with the movement I'm seeing towards more OGN and the like, that make it easier to keep up with the ones worth checking out.
Manga continues to grow, introducing more titles that I want to try than I have the money to do so. Yet has me more excited about comics than I've been in a long time.
Perhaps that's the reason I'm having a difficult time finding something to write about. I'm content with the way things are, life outside of comics is good and active, and the comics I'm reading are fun and enjoyable.
I'm sure something will piss me off before too long though, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. And I'll try to make it a point to share some of that enjoyment here soon.