Tuesday, August 31, 2004

18 Revolutions
Author: Rachel Nabors
Publisher: Manga Punk
80 pages $7 + $3 S&H Purchase at Author's Site

This very well put together volume collects many of Rachel Nabors, who has been drawing comics since she was 15 years old, works from over her career.

Her early work is a bit rough, with a sketchy look and sort of stiffness in the figure work. Yet I can see her cleverness early on, in her ability to make everyday life things quite engaging. Like the folly of a cat wanting to be let outside despite the rain, which could have been dull, but she makes funny with a message of "be careful about deciding what you really want" included.

As Rachel grew so did her craft as a storyteller, tightening her figure work and achieving a better panel flow and design for the reader to follow.

One of the most impressive things about this book, and even shown early on, is the sense of timing she has. A lot of creators don't know when to stop, but she seems to have a knack for not taking a joke or idea too far, or ending it too quickly.

From the fun stuff like groan inducing true insights about the stupidity that some guys have a tendency to do. To interestingly mature looks at themes like depression and the nature of wanting, she shows a true variety of interests and ability to accomplish whatever she sets out to do.

Making her a creator I'll be sure to look for more from in the future.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Monday Link Blogging

Not feeling well at all so just a couple of quick links.

Johanna pushes Fallen Angel - Johanna is having a nifty contest in order to get more readers aware of Peter David's Fallen Angel series. Basically asking people interested to e-mail her telling her why they want to try the book, with the best entries winning prizes of assorted issues or the trade.

Good for her to be so proactive in support of the book she feels strongly about and I hope it works out for her and the book in general.

John Gallagher puts out call - The publisher of the Even More Fund Comics book has put out a call to the creators who submitted work to him to please get in touch with him. He's had a hard drive crash and has lost most of the work that was due to be published.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Amazon shopping trip

It has been a while since I've read some indy comics, and with the recent talk about Oni Press around the blogosphere I decided to play catchup and ordered a bunch of stuff from Amazon tonight.

Bought were:

Scooter Girl

Lost At Sea

Love Fights

Maria's Wedding

Also got:

Revenge of Mouflon

Not a comic but one of my favorite science fiction novelists has a new book out too:

Kage Baker's Mother Aegypt

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Comic fans apparently love reruns

I was just looking at some of the comics out there right now, and was shocked at how much of today's comics are just retellings of the past.

Look at Marvel for instance:

- The Ultimate line is like a greatest hits or remix of things that have come before. The very same elements, characters, just given a sort of darker twist and the story drawn out a lot more than the original was.

Which doesn't really add much of anything new or inventive, but instead seems to be a place for fanfiction/writer'strange tangents to fit in. Sort of like telling what you watched on the hotel TV, if you vacationed in Hawaii.

- The Marvel Age line, which are retellings of the "classic" stories, with a lighter mood, designed to get younger readers to hopefully pay attention.

- Then there is talk of bringing back the "What If?" series, which is also just repackedged stories.

Add in many of the regular Marvel U. books, and you have three or more entire lines telling the SAME STORIES. With readers seemingly lapping it up, and asking for more.

I know these characters have been around for ages, and that there is very little new things to do with them. Yet realizing just how much of today's material is so similar just has me scratching my head wondering how it came to be this way.

I know some people like superhero comics, because they want to be reminded of their childhood. Yet I begin to wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper and easier for them to just reread their back issues instead.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Huh, how did I miss that?

Newsarama has a report today on comic series of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew from NBM. I loved reading their novels as a kid, and think these should be very interesting.

Especially given that the art on the Hardy Boys comics will be done by Lea (RUMBLE GIRLS)Hernandez whose work I simply adore.

Psychic powers

I predict that Green Lantern #180 will be one of the more talked about comics of the next week. No spoilers, but I must wonder if the poor guy will ever be able to go into a kitchen again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Quickie Tuesday Link Blogging

Dub's Weblog - The artist known as Dub has a weblog where he is posting preview pages of his upcoming "Blade of Kumori" series from Devil's Due. The art style is very detailed from just the pencils he's showing here, and makes for an interesting look at a series months before it even is solicited in Previews much less hits the stands.

John Jakala brings up an interesting question in his blog today. Wondering what has happened to the solicited reissue of the Castle Waiting The Lucky Road tpb from Dark Horse. CW was one of my favorite comic series of all time, so I hope the reissue and talked about relaunch has not been shelved.

Interesting Newsarama American Flagg article that shines some light on how the collections of the material will be packaged. This is one of those series I've heard talked about, but it came out at a time I was not reading comics. Whether it holds up or not, being able to finally read it should be an interesting experience to just know what everyone is talking about with it.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Comments on Sabrina #80

I never expected to see something this mature or deep in a comic published by Archie. Which isn't a slam, it's just that the company has made a name for itself by doing simple (though not all the times simplistic) stories that are done in one and very rarely thought of again.

Yet Tania Del Rio has brought a depth to the series and if it proves successful perhaps even line, that it hasn't had before.

In this issue Sabrina gets warned about breaking the rules for underage magic, which makes one of her aunts who is running for a seat on the magic council look bad by reflection. Sabrina takes the situation she's put in to heart, though as with any teen she isn't happy with the extra responsibility being placed on her shoulders by others.

Meanwhile her potential love interest from the magical world, Shinji, decides to take his pursuit of her interest to the next level by asking her on a date.

Sabrina's interest in Shinji seems to be because he has a slightly edgier side to him, than her human love interest Harvey who is more grounded. The fact that being a wizard himself, and thus she doesn't have to hide a part of who she is from him helps as well.

That edgier attitude leads to problems on the date though, leaving Sabrina to have to face a problem all teens at one time or another has to face. Doing what she know is the right thing to do, or going along with others in order to be seen as cool.

This is a good message for a series that reaches the potential audience this book can to deal with. The creators do a great job of not being preachy, or making things so clean cut goody goody that the meaning gets lost as the audience rolls its eyes.

I'm also impressed by how many subplots Tania has weaved into the series when she first started, to even more introduced this issue that won't pay off until later ones. Which is simply unheard of from the Archie books which are not known for continuous stories or having any form of continuity.

If you have never been interested in Archie's brand of comics because in some ways they are interchangeable. Than this is the series to try, as it has the potential to be a run that will not be soon forgotten and could leave lasting impacts on the line as a whole.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sunday Sundry

Sorry I haven't been able to post more often, but things here at work especially have been hectic as we are just beginning a new computer system which means longer hours.

Recent reads:

Video Girl Ai #1-2 - Is an amusing little romantic comedy series so far, about a quite immature young male who because of his good heart is awarded a kind of guardian angel named Video Girl Ai to help him get the girl of his dreams.

The lead is such a nice guy at heart that Ai falls for him though, which causes some trouble because the Video Girls aren't supposed to develop feelings for their charges and thus get in the way of their mission to help him find his true love.

The setup reminds me a little of the movie Xanadu with Ai's feelings of being trapped between her duties and her own feelings and the powers above who seem more concerned about their own rules than the people involved.

Which makes the series slightly more than just a typical romance story, which I'm glad to see.

I didn't think I'd ever say it, but I'm burned out on the typical romance stories so many manga series seem to focus on. At first they were like water to a drowning man who only had superheroes to read. Yet now I want just a little more in my reading than just a typical by the numbers romance story with no other story elements or themes around it to explore.

Target Marvel Age Avengers TPB - This is a horrible sampler for new readers, as there isn't a truly complete story in the entire book. Plus there are no less than 60 footnotes of "read Avengers/Defenders/... #.." all over it that make even the parts seem less whole than they should be.

Plus if you want the continuation of the story you have to hunt up Avengers comics from the 1970s! I don't think it is a good idea to have a sampler that tells readers "If you want to know whether those four Avengers are really dead or not, hunt up a comic from nearly 30 years ago!"

Plus my head scratching disbelievement at how much of Marvel's Golden Age heroes are ripoffs of DC version is gaining with every new turn. I thought things were bad enough that one of Marvel's biggest sellers right now is a skewered version of DC's Classic Justice League series.

Now I see a character known as the Whizzer, who is an apparent ripoff of DC's Johnny Quick, complete with former membership in something called the All Star Companions. (rather than DC's All Star Squadron)

Yet then again this is the company who set up their schedule so their miniseries Identity Disc happens to come out at the same time as DC's Identity Crisis series.

Manga to Anime Watching

As I said earlier in the week I've been watching a number of Anime series that are based on some of the manga books I read. One of the better things about doing so was finding out how to pronounce names right. For example with Ai Yori Aoshi, finding out that the female lead's first name of Aoi is pronounced "Owe" rather than what I thought was "Eh-ohwe".

It was also nice to find out that Chi from Chobits sounds exactly like I thought she would in my head. And that Peach the little "laptop" persocom, is even funnier in cartoon form than in comics!

Today's comics shopping

I'm looking at a number of DC's Humanoids GNs and I am beginning to understand why a number of European creators styles are what they are if they grew up on this stuff. Things that are labeled as classics, seem to involve "gloppy" art, with ultra violence all through out.

I did pick up Marvel's Emma Frost digest, which I'm thrilled to see does not contain any of the "porno" covers that Greg Horn drew for most of the series. Does make one wonder though. With 6 issues for $7.99, why buy the single issues?

I also picked up the latest issue of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, one of the few pamphlet comics I continue to pick up on a monthly basis at book chain stores.

I also saw a manga series that had me laughing hysterically at its very title, Ultimate Muscle. Which just had me rolling when I see its title, that brings up a different image than the one they probably want a reader to have.

That's it, I'll be back later in the week.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Exclusive Target Marvel Age Line Expands

The exclusive line of Marvel Age magazine size comics, has now expanded to include $13.99 trade paperbacks featuring:

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Which reprints Avengers #161-162, #201 and Avengers Annual #6 and #8. Art for those issues was provided by George Perez, and the stories were written by Gerry Conway, Jim Shooter, David Micheline and Roger Slifer.

I've only looked through it briefly, but saw my "favorite superhero name" The Whizzer is featured in parts of it. That's a character dying for a twisted Ultimate Marvel treatment if I ever saw one.:)

X-Men Evolution - In what has to be the third or so collection version of this short lived series. This time with all of the issues reprinted, rather than just the Devin Grayson issues as I've seen previously.

Marvel Classic Origins - Wasn't available in the store today, but is shown on the inside cover of the Avengers book. The cover has Captain America, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, Thor, Daredevil, Namor, Incredible Hulk, Nick Fury and the X-Men.

Which would seem to be a lot of origins to cover at once, but would make for a great book for new readers I bet.

I thought it interesting to see the line increase and even try a different format. Given that previously the line was only magazine sized collections of series such as the Marvel Age Spider-Man and Fantastic Four titles. Plus Gail Simone's Gus Beezer series about a young kid who meets the Marvel heroes, a sanitized version of the controversial Ultimates series, and a collection of some of Marvel's books from a Manga week event from last year.

Watching Vs. Reading

I just signed up for Netflix once again, and on the top of my rental list was some of the anime series of whose manga series I've read. First one up was Ai Yori Aoshi, the story of a young couple who were promised to each others as kids and now must sort out their feelings as grownups.

One of the first things that struck me was the seeming slow pace of watching the same stories as I've read. What took me 10 minutes or less to read, takes a half hour on screen. It was startling to realize how much faster I can take in information when in comic form, rather than on video.

A plus for it is that it was nice to hear how the names are actually pronounced, and the music is just beautiful despite not understanding the words. The movement is a plus too, as it lets you know what exactly some scenes that seemed sort of disjointed in comic form, were meant to be about. The cooking scene especially was enjoyable to watch as well for the details behind the making of some of the dishes.

I'm not sure if I would watch more, since it is basically the same story done over. Yet it was certainly an interesting experience. If for nothing else but to realize what a great means comics can be to quickly provide information to a reader.

Monday, August 16, 2004

DC Then & DC Now

Someone wrote me an e-mail earlier today, wanting to know why I don't seem to like any DC Comics. I actually used to love DC's superhero comics, really I did. When I seriously got into comics in the early 1990s, it was mainly DC Comics that appealed to me.

The Batman books had solid talent, doing solid detective/superhero stories about a driven man and the costs that what he did took out of him especially as regarded by the ones who cared for him.

Remember when Alfred's talk about him overdoing things, were things we as fans understood where he was coming from. Yet agreed with Bruce that what he was doing was too important to wait on? When was the last time that feeling was registered by fans, given the push towards making Batman a complete lunatic?

It isn't just the Batbooks though, Superman too was a real winner of a group of books. As we saw creators not afraid of relationships, push the Clark & Lois relationship to depths they had never come close to. Who challenged the characters both personally and professionally, yet in the end the honor of the character shined through.

These days the stories seem to be striving to push Clark's to his mental limits every other issue, leaving him scarred afterwards. The shift in focus of the stories from someone we should want to try to emulate his values, to someone we should feel sorry for just seems an odd choice. Especially the direction of making us the readers question whether he is relevant or right in what he does.

Flash was a series that dealt with a lot of history under Waid, but was filled with such energy and gumption that many superhero books of its type lacked. It made you care about the history and legacy, even though I had never read a Barry Allen comic, because it dealt with the legacy in terms that anyone could understand by narrowing it down to the pure emotions of a "prodigal son" trying to make his "dad" proud.

These days the Flash as a character himself lacks any energy. The drive of the book seems to be the villains, and the darkening of them and his world to make them seem more relevant has turned me off. I could barely believe how much I used to like the series, until I dug out some past issues like the Return of Barry Allen storyarc. My opinion on the series had shifted so that seeing the difference was startling.

Green Lantern was in some ways a mirror opposite of The Flash title. Under writer Ron Marz and the new lead character Kyle Rayner, the book moved away from a lot of its past trappings. It tried to take new roads, with a character who really seemed like someone that was 20something in the 1990s. And brought a fresh look at the DC Universe and its characters that I hadn't seen in quite some time.

These days subsequent writers have reestablished the ties to the past, one going so far as write stories quite similar to those of the previous title holder's storytype with only Kyle's name and costume glued in place. Except those things didn't work, and despite bring back Ron Marz to write one final arc which saw sales start to rise.

The series has been canceled, and is due to be relaunched under writer Geoff Johns with a shift back towards the elements and even the original lead character the book had 10 years ago before the change.

Then there are things like IDENTITY CRISIS where shock storytelling and "death is cooler, the bloodier it is" type approach fails to interest me. Which I'm schocked to find is a common trait in all of the DCU titles right now. Where the only regular series that has held any interest for me, has been the amusing TEEN TITANS GO! series based on the hit tv show.

Perhaps this is just a trend and in a few years things may have swung back the other way. Or perhaps I've just come to realize that superhero comics, just aren't for a reader like myself who hasn't been reading them all my life and thus doesn't know or care about a lot of the history behind the characters.

I'm not really that bothered about it either, it is weird to realize just how different what I see now is from what I used to read. Yet then again this was 10 or more years ago, and I'm sort of glad to see that I am reading and interested in different things instead.

There are a lot of options available to me from other publishers. Even DC themselves offers options with things like their manga line, Vertigo miniseries and special projects like Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen's excellent Superman: Secret Identity miniseries.

So if DC has decided to leave their main DCU books to a certain segment of fans then that is okay. It seems weird based on where I came from to no longer be interested in their current editions. Yet as they say "To each their own." and I'll just keep right on enjoying what I currently do.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Story by Seimaru Amagi
Art by Tetsuya Koshiba
TokyoPop August 3, 2004
$9.95 224 Pages

I don't in general like to cover consecutive issues or volumes of series, unless there is a big change in quality up or down. I thought I had said everything I had to say in my review of the first volume. Yet this series just continues to puzzle me, because I like it a little more with each volume despite seeing things in it that I shouldn't.

In the previous volume Kurumi Ayaki, a young female meter maid, has found herself working for a mysterious detective who never leaves his room. Yet uses her as his eyes and ears on the street, investigating the special crimes that pop up in the city that the regular cops can't handle.

The book has a lot of "fan service" elements that I like to think I'm above enjoying. As we get a shower shot of Kurumi, as well as teasing shots of her undercover as a student in uniform. Yet while I can't say I enjoy them, they seem more playful teasing that doesn't bother me and thus hurt my opinion of the overall work.

Especially when you have Kurumi being more active in reaction to them. Such as when her sleazy boss tries to grope her, and she "accidentally" breaks his nose with her elbow while answering her cell phone.

If I had a real complaint about the series, it is that it never finishes a story in one volume. Vol. 1's story of a series of murders wraps up in the first chapter of volume 2. Which then starts, but doesn't finish, a storyline with a bomb threat at a local high school.

It seems designed to force the reader to continue reading each consecutive volume to get the whole story, and the two months inbetween can make one forgetful exactly where the story left off. Still that seems a minor quibble, in a format such as this were the design of the books makes for a longer shelf life.

The stories are a sort of cross between Ally Mcbeal, if they were cops rather than lawyers, and a sexier early Scarecrow & Mrs. King. The comedy and light heartiness keeps the dangerous elements from seeming too overwhelmingly fearful. Yet still compelling enough, that leaves me hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to see what will happen to Kurumi next.

Which given my rather jaded nature as a reader these days, I've read too much so rarely get pulled in or surprised, is something I don't say too often.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Manga Shopping!

I picked up three new manga books today, as Suncoast Video was having a 2 for $15 manga sale and I had a $5 gift certificate to Waldenbooks. Who was also having a sale of buy four paperback books (manga included) and get one free, but I wasn't going that far.

Video Girl Ai #1 - Where a guy down on his luck rents a movie that the star of comes out of the TV to help him find love. Sounds sort of like the plot to the movie Meatballs 3, which could be fun if so.

Red River #1 - About a young Japanese girl who just passed her college entrance exams and had her first kiss from a childhood friend turned boyfriend. Only to be mysteriously transported to an ancient village in the Middle East where she is due to be killed. Back cover says "Adventure and good-looking boys fill this great first volume!" Sounds interesting, except the good looking boys part.:)

Tramps Like Us #1 - Seems to be about a young woman who is having the worst day of her life. She finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her and then gets demoted at work. So she decided to be wild and invites a young guy off the street to stay with her. Then the first guy she ever loved comes back into her life too. Could be some fun conflicts!

Down there fanboy!

Picture from the Pulse for the DC Panel at this weekend's Wizard World Chicago:

Don't think I've ever seen a male hero's costume point to a crotch, so blatantly anyway!

Friday, August 13, 2004

New Challenges?

When was the last time a creator came on and took a series in a new direction?

These days it seems like everyone is retelling the origin or revisiting the "classic" confrontation. I'd like some new storylines with new characters, going in different directions.

I don't mean that in terms of say Superman becoming a hippie who wonders the planet looking for the next Woodstock or Batman becomes a ballerina.

Yet more that I wish writers would come up with new challenges for them. I'm tired of seeing every Captain America story basically come down to beating up the Red Skull. Or Batman face off with the Joker or one of the other half a dozen bad guys once again.

Where are the new threats, and challenges? I know those are classic match-ups that a lot of people like, yet they bore me for the most part because they've been done in so many ways already. Where are the new challenges that could become as classic as these older characters and stories have become?

Let's talk Hal Jordan's return as Green Lantern after the events in Rebirth happen for instance. Do the fans of that character really just want to just see him going back to working at Ferris Aircraft, hiding his identity from Carol. While battling Sinestro, Black Hand or Itty every other issue? Is that really what readers want to see is just a rehash of comics they've already read?

It certainly seems so anyway. Which just makes me wonder these days whether I'd be better off sticking with just rereading back issues. If all today's superhero comics have to offer are rehash of those anyway, than why not just read the originals?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Marvel Two For

Rogue #1- I must really be hard up to want to read comics these days, as when I saw this comic on the stands I decided to give it a try. I'll say up front that I've never been a huge fan of the character, she seemed too stereotypically southern to the point where she got on my nerves.

So imagine by surprise by being fairly pleased by this first issue. It is mainly setup as we got insights of Rogue's life from three different viewpoints. Yet it is interesting setup so far, with one side being the look at her love life, another being her job as an X-Man(or is that X-Person?), and finally a new part dealing with a mystery with ties to her family's past.

I'm not sure if it is artistic choice or editorial decree, but the character is portrayed and drawns quite a bit younger than she used to be. She looks much more like her movie counterpart, though slightly older, and quite different from the "skunkish" older adult version. Whichever it is, I like it though, so hope it is something that continues.

Mary Jane #1-2- I want to like this book, the dialogue is crisp, the art is nice to look at and all but one of the characters is fun to read about. Yet that one character, Spider-Man, ruins the entire series for me.

This book would be so wonderful as just a straight ahead teen soap opera type deal, but the connections with Spider-Man character and mythos just makes the entire thing meaningless. Just as I start getting into the lives of these teens, I'm knocked out of the story as Peter Parker/Spider-Man comes walking through. Reminding me of where this story can't possibly go, or have happen.

Just making the series more of an annoyance rather than something I see myself following any more of. Which is too bad as I want a series from Marvel that isn't a superhero tied book. Yet it doesn't seem like Marvel is interested in persuing pure diverse comics, preferring to stick close to the vest with proven superhero characters in slightly different roles.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sunday Sundry

Whew, I'm just back from shopping on Texas's tax free weekend. Which is dedicated to allowing people to purchase clothes and school supplies, without paying tax.

It gets as hectic as Christmas time here, as parents fight to make sure little Tommy has that Spider-Man backpack for the start of school on Thursday. So I'm worn out, and will only be making broad observations today.

I love my local $1 store because they always have such interesting comic book related merchandise that I never see elsewhere. Last year for instance I managed to pick up these neat series of books for younger readers, that starred toddler age versions of Marvel's superheroes.

Today I was surprised to see that on a cover to a collection of the classic Fleischer Superman episodes, was the Ed McGuiness manga influenced version. Which struck me as quite odd to see that it had made the leap as a definitive look for the character.

I couldn't help but laugh at a fruit drink pack called "Fearless Cherry", featuring Marvel Comics based superheroes on it. Perhaps I've read too many stories like Bouncing Boy of the Legion of Super Heroes origin, where he accidentally drinks a secret formula instead of his soft drink, yet I won't be drinking any superhero sponsored drink.:)

The scary part was to be had at the local Target store though. Where they are now selling adult size Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man boxers and briefs. I tell you right now fanboy, if anyone still agrees to sleep with you upon seeing you wearing those. Then you better marry them on the spot, because that's true love.

I must admit to a great surprise at how much I enjoyed watching the new Justice League Unlimited episode "For The Man Who Has Everything" last night. It was an adaption of the classic Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic story, and brought a lot of heart an insight that I have never seen in a cartoon before.

I hope Mr. Moore was compensated in some form for the use of it, as it truly shows off his talent even all of these years later.

Well that's it, I'll be back tomorrow.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Comic Creators Are Human Too

Stemming from a blog entry at Cognitive Dissonance about the bad behavior of a particular comic pro. This kind of stuff always makes me wonder when exactly I realized that comic creators were human too.

Sounds silly to many I'm sure, but for the longest time I held the people that made the comics in the highest regard. I didn't really understand what went into making comics. So the seeming "magic" that these individuals were able to do, made me think there had to be something more to them than other people.

Yet once I got online and began interacting with many of the pros, and luckily enough even becoming friends with a handful. My opinion began to slowly but surely change, from sheer awe of what they were, to an understanding that just as with anyone else what was important was who they were.

I saw that they, as with everyone else, could be petty, harsh, funny, smart, stupid, ignorant, informed, arrogant or shy. That while they could often offer an insight that many outside couldn't, they were not the absolute authority on everything comic related.

Realizing that comic pros really did live and breathe as you and me, was a double edged sword of awareness. On the bad side realizing how awful some of them were, made me aware of the type of people behind some of the books I liked were. Which changed my opinion I'm sad to say on whether I should or shouldn't support their work.

If you know a pro is a sexist jerk, who is insulting to any and everyone around him. Then it can be hard to separate that from his work and want to do anything to offer him support.

Yet on the good side, was I became more aware and forgiving of mistakes that people made. Not thinking they were these almost perfect beings, I came to realize that they were people trying to do a job as best they could. Which being human meant that things at times could slip by, and to be understanding of them in part.

Not to be accepting of sloppy work of course, but just to realize that those are real people behind the names on the creator boxes not robots.

Which has led me to a different feeling about the way I look at comics. Where I focus more on the quality of a story, rather than who the characters are instead. Because I'm aware now that the people behind the characters are more real than the characters themselves.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Today's manga purchases

I bought the second volume of the Remote series which I liked volume 1 of. I may be back to preordering a little bit anyway, but nothing matches the fun of going to the store each week to see what is out.

The Suncoast Video store I bought it at was having a special deal, to get two manga books for $15. Selection was scarce though, so I wound up deciding to give the Del Rey series Negima which I didn't care much for in its first volume. Yet I didn't want to lose the deal the price break offered.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Changing of the Guard at CBLDF
New Board Officers Elected

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund elected new officers at its Board of Directors meeting at July's Comic-Con International. Founder Denis Kitchen retired from the Board, and will be replaced as President by Chris Staros, publisher of Top Shelf Productions. Milton Griepp was elected as the organization's new Treasurer, succeeding Frank Mangiaracina. Peter David, John Davis, Neil Gaiman, Frank Mangiaracina, Greg Ketter, and Louise Nemschoff were also re-elected to serve another term on the Board of Directors.

Kitchen's retirement from the Board marks the end of an era for the Fund, which he founded 18 years ago. "The challenges facing comics are different from when I founded the Fund," Kitchen said. "In the eighties, comics were still fighting for respectability and it was perhaps easier for them to be stigmatized as kid stuff. Two decades later, comics have attained a certain respectability, but are facing
new sets of challenges. I think it's fitting that the generation directly facing these challenges, led by Chris Staros, a publisher after my own heart, should be the ones standing up to them."

Chris Staros recalls, "Back in '97 I wrote Denis Kitchen to tell him that one day, when I've earned my place in comics, I'd love to serve on the CBLDF Board of Directors,' as I've always believed in the absolute importance of its mission. For two years I've had the pleasure of serving on the Board under Denis, and have witnessed first hand what an amazing asset he's been in defending the First Amendment
rights of our industry. It'll be tough to fill the shoes of the founder of the Fund, but I'm honored to take over as President, and look forward to working with the entire community in this role."

Milton Griepp's election as Treasurer was received as good news by Kitchen who said, "I'm delighted that Milton is the organization's new Treasurer. He brings a particular corporate expertise and extensive experience in non-profit fiscal management that I'm certain will help the Fund grow even stronger in the future."

Kitchen adds, "I look forward to continuing my support of the Fund from the other side of the table. I feel that I'm leaving the organization in good hands, with an active Board under the leadership of Chris and Milton, and a strong office under the management of Charles Brownstein. I'm confident that the Fund can only become stronger as it confronts the challenges on the horizon."

I've only been a member of the CBLDF for a short while, but have been quite impressed with its organizational skills. This changeover seems pretty smooth, and will hopefully help the group improve its standing in the years to come.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Back to Preordering or "Damn you John Jakala!"

I didn't think I'd ever preorder comics again. The local comic shops really suck in terms of customer service, and I don't normally order enough to make the online sites like Westfield worth my time.

Plus I'll admit that the idea of having to preorder my comics sight unseen bothered me. Why should I have to be the one to take the risk? Especially when with any other medium I can find anything I want when I want it.

For the past year I've been perfectly happy just making a weekly trip to my local book chain stores, picking up the trades and manga books that interest me. Occasionally picking up a single issue comic off the racks that looked interesting.

Then I read this post by John Jakala at his blog talking about the great bargains he's seen at a site call Discount Comic Book Service.

I check it out as a curiosity and was amazed to see the following:

MY FAITH IN FRANKIE TP - I loved this wonderful series DC did last year so much, that I actually had friends buy me the issues to send me at their comic shop clear across the country. When I see this manga size trade of it at a price of $4.52 I was amazed.

Still I wasn't wowed by just one book, but then I see that DC's new CPM manga books were being offered as well, at a price of $3.48 each! Now this price just amazed me so much, that I thought "Hmm well maybe if I can find enough to fill out one order..."

I was then startled to see that DC is collecting their Sandman Mystery Theater series in trade form. I got into this at the tail end, but it seemed like a very intriguing series. When I see the first trade is discounted for $6.47 it just seems like something too good to pass up.

I then see that the Teen Titans Go! manga digests are also being offered for the $3.48 price and before I know it I have all of the above in a shopping cart. Still I know with shipping that I'll want a decent number of books to try to make it worth it.

One drawback is that they don't have any series descriptions, and their non-big name comic companiess are lumped together in very tedious pages. Yet then I remember that Johanna Draper Carlson had just done her Previews Rundown not too long back.

So I pop that open in another window, and check out the prices on some of the smaller but interesting series she recommends there. From it I pull STYX TAXI A LITTLE TWILIGHT MUSIC for only $2.10, MARGES LITTLE LULU VOL 1 for $4.97, SUPERNATURALISTS GN for $6.96 and J. Torres LOVE AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE for $3.87.

I then place my order very happily, as these are things I want to try at a great price, that I won't feel like I'm missing out on by not reading right when they come out.

So thank you John Jakala, though curse you as well!:)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Okay had to post this

I don't see anyone else having covered this, so thought I'd point it out:

Tampa Bay Business Journal covers CrossGen Bankruptcy

Interesting tidbits:

CrossGen Entertainment Inc., an Oldsmar comic book publisher that once was a leader in its industry, had $50 in cash when it filed for bankruptcy June 18.

Debts are estimated between $10 million and $50 million, but the company said it has only $1 million to $10 million in assets.

The company has asked the court to let it pay Alessi $10,000 a month and Hernandez $5,833 a month in salaries, saying they are integral and their employment offers the best chance to sell assets and pay creditors. United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Alexander Paskay has not yet ruled on the motion

Gotta "love" company back door dealings!

No updates today

Today is the second anniversary of my dad's death from kidney disease. My dad and I were really close, so I've spent most of the day remembering the good times with family and friends. While also remembering fondly those who helped me through that troubled time just 2 short years ago. (you know who you are)

It sounds corny I know, but if there is someone you love make sure you show them. Life is short and you won't get the chance again when its over.

I'll try to be back with more updates tomorrow, work willing, or Wed. (a day off) at the latest.