Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Why Samurai: Heaven & Earth #1 Was Delayed

Creator Ron Marz, on why his new CO series was pushed back

Okay, bit of an update. Apparently the printing took more time than expected, because this is a slightly new format for Dark Horse. The paper stock is about the same that "Conan" is printed on, but the cover stock is a bit heavier than the usual "Conan" cover stock. (I feel special.)

In any event, editor Dave Land tells me he has a first-run copy in his hands and the book looks "VERY NICE!" So the issue will indeed be on stands Dec. 8.

Monday, November 29, 2004

DVDs Becoming Like Comics

Anyone else notice the extreme rash of multiple editions of DVDs these days? It seems like none of the directors or the like can decide on a final draft. Or more likely, they just want to try to sell the product again I suppose.

It has started me reevaluating how I buy DVDs, or even if I want to buy DVDs these days. I really have to think about how much I truly want something. Whether it is something I'll watch over a lifetime or just is something I'll watch a few times and thenhave it gather dust on the shelf.

Which is remarkably similar to how I approach many comic series now. Questioning whether I should wait for the trade rather than get the single issues. And even after then if it is something I'll truly want to keep, or whether there might be a better edition down the road.

At least with movies I've discovered things like Netflix which allow me to watch anything I want in a convenient way that doesn't cost much or take up a lot of space. There isn't anything similar to that with comics as yet, though I have had success trading manga I read but didn't like enough to keep for more comic related stuff.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Couple Book 2

I have not read the first volume of this series as yet, but the cover of this one was so striking that I couldn't pass it up. The sheer cuteness of its focus, and the fun light feel it promised had me wanting to try it.

The series follows Young Ho Han, a young college in Seoul, Korea. Who meets Yu Mi Yu, a naive young girl from the country who from the "what's gone before" section moved in with Young Ho after she lost all her money.

Young Ho has little experience with women, so having the cute Yu Mi right under his roof is a new experience for him. His attempts at romance fall by the wayside though, as all she sees is an older brother figure.

In volume 2 Yu Mi has started her own tutoring service to earn money to pay Young Ho back for taking her in. Young Ho is worried about her safety though, so he tails her to her fist job. Where a rebellious teenage girl student has run away from Yu Mi, so Young Ho commits himself to helping her find her charge. Which back fires on him when over the course of doing so she not only sees Yu Mi's private parts, but the young girl develops a crush on him.

The humor in this is very sexually innuendo driven, reminding me a lot of what the characters from the English show Coupling (though this isn't quite as clever as Coupling) if it was set with the characters in college rather than in their late 20s.

Yet like in Couplings, despite the characters doing and saying some incredibly stupid and sleazy things. I still find myself liking them and hoping the two find themselves together at the end.
Samurai: Heaven & Earth Prelude

The four page preview originally only seen in b&w in Even More Fund Comics benefit book from last year's Baltimore Con. This one one of those rare occasions where coloring impvoes the final look, as evidenced on the very first look.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sleeping Dragons: Becca's Scarecrow

I have never been that into fantasy series for one reason or another. Mostly because I find they tend to pay more attention to the fantasy world and its wrappings rather than the characters and ramifications of the events going on.

Sleeping Dragons breaks that mold however, by having the fantastical events like a dragon or an army of vampiric creatures be important, but only as to how dealing with them effects the people involved in terms that are universal to the reader.

Such as in the first story where a villager stresses caution about villagers who plan to slay a fearsome dragon. In other stories he would just be the cowardly fool. Yet here we learn the valuable lesson through him, that it is better to tend to ones own problems at home rather than start ones with others on the outside.

The second story is a longer one, and the much more powerful one. Titled "Becca's Scarecrow", it starts with a lone traveler rides in a village that is having a festival commemorating the end of a great war from its past.

The young traveler is Phillip, a Knight of Meggido (the warriors who saved the village and world in that post war), who has come to partake in the festival. As one of the town's leaders shows him around, Phillip and the reader are wonderfully introduced to Jared, a young boy who is in awe of the knight, and Rebecca, an extraordinary archer and beauty.

Later while a play retells the history of the battles of the great war, showing how great the danger was then. It is pointed out how the village has let their end of the bargain, keeping a watch for the enemies of the past whose land they border, down in the years since the war ended. Which gives readers a hint of the upcoming danger soon to come.

Meanwhile we see a budding romance started between Phillip and Rebecca. Who see in each other like abilities and goals. I thought it wonderfully compelling in his encouragement of her to do what she wants in life before it is too late. Usually such stories deal with men who must come to learn that the female can be his equal. He not only sees it from the start, but encourages her to be the best she can be and to achieve what she desires.

Tragically that is ended all too fast, as the anticipated threat finally arrives and everyone must join together in order to face it. With no one small role any less important than the other. Yet even from tragedy change and growth for the better can be had as this is shown. As well as what the importance of heroic sacrifice, for a cause that truly worth it can truly mean.

One of the most impressive things about the book is its confidence in itself to tell a story not just with words but through the art. From the silent heart felt glances of infatuation, to the wordless but high energy battle scenes. Many lesser creators would have added bravado filled dialogue to these pages, but by not doing so they show a confidence that works as the reader can focus fully on the action portrayed.

The back of the book talks about an upcoming book 2, which I am very glad to hear about. It is truly wonderful to see such that such imagination and freshness in a genre I thought was just beyond my grasp of understanding.

I'm Thankful For

- Despite the bad weather of two days ago, everyone I know came through fairly unscathed.

- Though we hadn't been too close over the past few months because of some heated disagreements. That my sister and I are still close enough, that when she and her kids really needed help they still came to me this morning. Which the strength of family will get us through hopefully.

- Johanna Draper Carlson and her husband KC are two of the greatest people I've ever known. Their friendship has helped me through some difficult times, and made happy times even happier.

-Thanks to Johanna especially, who even if we weren't friends, would be a hero to me. Because her reviews and coverage have opened up windows into comics I would never have seen otherwise and inspired me to do my own writing to help improve my own critical thinking. Rather than to just take what I read or see at face value alone.

- For the blogosphere for being such an open and friendly place. That welcomes those who want to participate, and for inspiring me to work even harder at what I do.

- For comics period. Every time I start to think I'd seen it all, and find myself wondering why bother reading them. I always seem to find something that gives me a new spark, which rekindles my love in new ways.

Princess Tutu Volume 1

When I first saw the name to this book in a box of stuff a friend sent me. I wasn't expecting anything at all from it, I doubted I'd even read beyond the first few pages. Yet when I finally tried it I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Ahiru is a young girl who loves the ballet and fantasies about dancing with a prince. Yet she's very clumsy and doesn't have enough skill get to the next level of the class where she could dance with Mytho, a cute, quiet young boy who is the best dancer at her school.

When Ahiru wanders into a new dress shop though, events begin that change her life forever. The store owner gives her a magical pendant, which allows Ahiru to turn into Princess Tutu, a superhero-like ballerina.

With her powers, she starts to uncover a danger to Mytho posed by those who would keep them apart. Leading to confrontations between her and others, as she seeks to rebuild his fractured heart.

I'm not terribly familiar with the "magical girl" genre, that this book fits in. Perhaps if I was I might not find it is charming as I do, because while I know it looks familiar to what little I know of things like Sailor Moon.

The cuteness and fun spirit pulled me through the book to its end. Despite her overwhelming sweetness, that makes me almost want to check for cavities, I couldn't help but like and pull for Ahiru and her friends.

I must wonder at who the target audience for this book is though. It is for ages 13+, because of huge cleavage shots and a brief nude transformation scene, which both seem unnecessary. Yet with those they miss an audience of younger readers that the book's message and themes would be perfect for. While not being of subject matter or complexity that will draw in the older readers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Near Miss

3 big tornadoes hit the small town of Silsbee, Texas today where I live. The debris shown here is from a house just a quarter of a mile to the north of my home. Only one known fatality so far, but a lot of people lost their homes or are at least without power for a while.

Still this close the Thanksgiving, it certainly made me appreciate all I have to be thankful for. Especially how in light of this where those close to me escaped harm.

What Interests Me This Week

>Charles LePage wrote:

> Adam Strange #3 (Of 8), $2.95

I have been truly surprised by this series about a character I'd never really been that interested in before.

> Teen Titans Go #13, $2.95

Love this really wacky series! I almost want to only get it in the digests though, where they looked so terrific.


> Marvel Holiday Special 2004, $3.99

I'll be curious to see coverage of this, to see if it is the same material as the one I got at Target a few weeks back.

> Kindaichi Case Files Vol 10 Kindaichi Killer Part 1 GN, $9.99

> Hot Gimmick Vol 7 TPB, $9.99

Cool, I'll have to look at my local book chain stores for these two wonderful series.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Quick Comic Takes

I got a chance to read a few comics this evening that I'd bought a little while back at a book chain store. So wanted to share some quick thoughts.

JLA #107 -It is the first issue of the Busiek and Garney run, so I was curious to see how they'd do with the book. It is a fairly talky issue, which is a bit of a change from the usual "summer blockbuster" approach the book usually has.

Yet it works, as it has the best portrayal of The Flash, that I've seen in quite some times. Showing in a bright, fun approach how annoying he could be because of his power's ability to make waiting for anything a pain.

I'm not entirely sure what is up with the first part, about a cosmic egg the team was obsessing over. I suppose that comes from not reading JLA/Avengers, so I hope if it is given more attention down the road then it will explained a bit more.

Still a decent start, that has me curious to see what will happen down the road for the book.

JLA Classified #1- I've always found Grant Morrison's work to be a mixed bag. One of his greatest strengths is his pure enthusiasm for the work, and ability to throw out ideas to see what sticks and doesn't. Yet that strength can also be one of his greatest weaknesses too, because it can seem quite unfocused and hard to grasp.

This book plays into that, with 90% of the issue focusing on a team called The International Ultramarines, who I vaguely recall from his original JLA run some years ago. Yet the only thing I get from this book is that they are sort of a suped up version of the old Global Guardians.

The brief glimpses into the ideas behind some of the characters seem intriguing, but
there's no depth to the idea. Without more attention paid to introducing these characters to me, I found it hard to care about any of the bad things that happen to them through out the issue.

Luckily Batman shows up near the end though, which helps save the book a little for me. I'm not sure what Grant does to make Batman act so annoyingly smug, but still likeable and just cool. Yet I wish some other writers would figure it out.

Astonishing X-Men #6 - This was the first misstep I'd really seen by Whedon in the series. As the issue doesn't use the medium to its fullest extent, with the characters standing around talking for way too much time.

Then the one action scene, Colossus tossing Wolverine fast enough to catch an alien space ship that had already launched, was just too ludicrous to be believed even in comics. All leaving just a fizzle feeling to the entire issue.

Sabrina #62 - This book just continues to get better with each issue, as the creator build upon the foundations of her previous issues. Which is quite a change for Archie Comics, which are usually quick, disposable stories that you read and forget.

Yet the themes being played with here, of selfishness and caring and/or thinking of others feelings and needs. Is just such a step up from what a lot of today's comics try for, and should be especially powerful for younger readers who might get the message in their entertainment of the story. Not as being talked down to, as these kind of things are usually done.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sunday Sundry

What a lazy day off, where after 55 hours at work since my last day off on Monday I just sat around all day resting.

I did watch Citizen Kane for the first time ever today. I've always been hesitant to try classics, be it in movies, comics, or whatever. As so much has been said about them that the reality rarely ever lives up to the hype. Or they are something that are very much a product of the time they were made, and/or reliant upon the age of the audience when they first encounter them.

Citizen Kane I must say is one of the rare exceptions to that rule, as its relevance and message are still as strong today as they must have been even way back in 1941. It was one of the few times where while I can see the influences it had on other movies since, the original still has a certain magic and allure all of its own.

Let's see, I've been online a lot today still catching up on my various bookmarks and the like. One piece of interest especially stood out to me today, was Johanna Draper Carlson's naming of the comic PS238 a Comic Worth Reading.

Now getting past the odd choice of name, that might prove a hindrance to anyone wanting to get the book from their retailer since it isn't an easy name to remember. I thought this quote in her review was especially interesting:

The cartoony, open linework by Aaron Williams helps them look like children, though. They're a little doughy, not quite fully-formed, with their time in the oven still ahead of them.

I'm not sure if that description of the art paints a clear picture of what she describes for everyone. Yet it certainly made me hungry for some baked cookies.

I did read a few comics today as well:

The Legion #35-38 - I've liked a great deal of Gail Simone's work on other titles, and was looking forward to her run on LEGION with artist Dan Jurgens. Especially after not really caring for the run of the creators on the series for the past few years.

Yet this seemed to be almost the equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie, with bad guys terrorizing the good guys for no reason that is ever explained. Which just left me uncaring after I read it, because it seemed to lack any importance or relevance. Making this a story that will likely be forgotten with the upcoming reboot.

My Faith In Frankie - This charmingly funny tale of a young girl who has her own personal god, who loves her more than she can stand sometimes given his interference in her love life. Still works in this smaller digest form, without coloring. Though I missed the red shade of embarrassment that told more in some sequences than an entire paragraph of text.

The initial sketches and character designs at the back make the book worth the cost for those who have all of the issues. Plus the preview of upcoming "The Dead Boy Detectives" book by Jill Thompson has me really looking forward to it.

Crazy Love Story Volume 1 - The book describes itself as crazy, but it instead just seems fairly dumb and mean. Jin Sung Moo has fallen for a girl named Shin Hae Jung, who is a real "ice princess," who cares about nothing or no one except what makes her happy.

She and her boyfriend Jimmy, a Hong Kong action movie obsessesed wacko who likes to live out life as if it was a movie, use and abuse Jin in some eerie play to amuse themselves.

Jin takes the physical and mental abuse, and still professes his love for Shin though I have a hard time telling what is there to even like about her. The entire thing makes little sense, and the pure meanness and stupidity of the characters just left me annoyed more than anything else.

Be it Jin's almost stalkerish obsession with Shin, or Shin and Jimmy's near homicidal abuse of each other and Jin. I just found myself wishing the entire bunch would drive themselves off a steep cliff.

SGT FROG Volume 5 - Continues the tales of the frogs from outerspace, who are trying to conquer Earth. I thought volume 4 was a bit of a let down, with more time given to its "fan service" elements than the wacky humor the series usually provides. This one gets back to its strength of wacky ideas, and cockeyed humor that I'd come to love in previous volumes.

As the frogs crash a school sports festival, play a game of Parcheesi that has the fate of the Earth riding on it, and deal with an intergalactic Reality Show. Among other fun, exciting adventures.

Sigh back to work tomorrow, I'll try to update as often as I can, but I work for the postal service and this is our busiest time. One thing I love about this time of year though, is seeing the letters from kids going to Santa Claus. (which go to a company in North Pole, Alaska who answers them) Just thinking about the imagination and belief that the kid behind that letter is filled with, makes me smile in its pureness.

Which is something magical that I guess we all lose at some point, but it is nice to be reminded of its existence at times.


What a week, as the hard drive on my IBook went out last Monday and I had to take it in to be replaced. I tried to stay online on a 10 year old IBM, but the ancient browser and painful e-mail program were just too much to put up with.

I got my computer back on Friday, and have been spending the time since getting the browser and newgroup reader back in the time inbetween work. Now I'm slowly rebuilding all of my bookmarks as well, though it is taking time.

Comics related, everyone talks about the good old days of comics in the past. Yet I'm really starting to appreciate the modern technology that goes into comics today. Just as my IBook is just so logistically easier to use than the IBM, todays comics have a more direct approach that looks and feels better than many comics of the past.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Legion of Super-Heroes V4. #31

Ever go back and reread something you read at a much younger age? I've been doing that recently with my Legion of Super-Heroes run of titles, with special regard to Volume 4 of the series which started in 1989. I didn't start reading the series until V.4 with issue #38 where they blew up the Earth.

The audacity of that storytelling really impressed me, because it was something daring (to me) at the time. For the heroes not to always win and diversity of all the characters intrigued me. So I went back and got all of the issues I could find of that run a few days later and read them in just about one sitting. (I was a freshman at college and had hours between classes)

Reading them then, without a lot of history with comics and absolutely no knowledge of the LSH at all, I filled in a lot of gaps myself. Building in my mind the great history around all of the little tidbits, which made for a deeper resonance for the series because I felt sort of connected to it.

Over the course of the past decade since that time though, I've filled in my knowledge of superhero tropes and the LSH history is one I've become fairly well versed in. So when I went back to reread these issues recently the magic was sort of gone, as I knew the characters and the odd side trips just seemed forced rather than an imaginative misdirection as it seemed in the past.

Also the "steals" of past origin stories, like Laurel Gand's origin is for Supergirl's, just seems more unimaginative rather than the fun playfulness it seemed to be when I read them with no prior knowledge.

Yet there are other things that work even better, because I'm a more mature person who has gone through a lot more that that young "innocent" of that time long ago. #31 is a prime example of this, as at its time it just seemed an odd story about a guy who wanted to be with a man he loved. So made himself into a woman in order to attract that person's attention. That odd sci-fi slant was interesting, but nothing that truly hit any emotional buttons for me.

When I read it again last night though, it was an entirely new experience. The idea of wanting something or someone so badly, that you would do anything to try to get what you want was something that I could relate to now. I've wanted things and more importantly attention or affection from people which led me to doing things I didn't really want to.

The theme explored here just really hit home, about how no matter how much something or someone meant to me. That it would never really be worth it if I had to be so untrue to who I am in order to achieve even a glimmer of it. Making me realize that I had to be true to myself, and have whatever happens after happen.

Which when I think on it is a pretty darn impressive feat for a comic to have such a big impact for me. Which comes at a good time when I started to wonder why bother with comics, given how so little I like ever seems to last for any period of time. This helped remind me of the sheer joy and thought a good comic can bring to me, and makes me glad for rereading all those old back issues now.

Quick Sunday Link Blog

Kerry's Ex Does Graphic Novel- Lee Roystone, an ex-girlfriend of Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry, is doing a graphic novel of her time with him and two other rich bachelors. I thought this bit especially was interesting:

She finished the book several months ago, but delayed publication until after the election. Miss Roystone feared jeopardizing the ambitions of a man whom she admits that she is still besotted with, although he broke her heart.

As in my opinion, descriptions like
describes her politician lover as a "caveman" in the bedroom who would whisper sweet nothings to her in French
might have given him a bit more personality.

The Oregonian Reports Teen Comic Groups Talking About Manga - I thought it really neat to see that the group of teens have their own reviews website, because it is great to see teens putting so much thought into what they read. Which is one of the plusses of reviewing.

Comics 101

Joe Corroney has a very interesting article on his site showing how he laid out the artwork for his Star Wars Empire #25 issue. It is a very detailed path leading from his initial rough sketches to the finished colored pages.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday Link Blog

Sorry for the infrequent week of posting, I work for the US Postal Service and this is our busy time of year. I have Sunday and Monday off though, and hope to do some reviews and such then.

Until then here are some quick links of interest:

Samurai: Heaven & Earth #1 Preview - Dark Horse's website has a four page preview Ron Marz and Luke Ross's series. The art really brings the world to life, as it is so detailed.

Brian K. Vaughn's Pride(Via Johanna) - Looks like a very interesting book. I wonder if I'm the only one who thought upon seeing his drawings of lions "That artist would be great on comics of the Narnia books."

Bill Rosemann joins DC - I found it interesting that he'll be reporting to Ron Perazza, whom I had brief contact with when I worked for DC. (helping their online department by being the chat host on AOL and a message board moderator assistant) Hopefully Rosemann will bring a bit more oomph to the DC site and community.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My Comics Order

I just finished my order from Discount Comic Book Service


I have a lot of faith in Scott (UNDERSTANDING COMICS) McCloud to tell an engaging story,. Hopefully that faith will pay off, as I want another great Superman story after Busiek's Secret Identity one of last year. I wonder at the huge cover price of $5.97, though luckily DCBS has it at $2.97 for me to try.


I've really enjoyed writer Dan Slott's work on She-Hulk, and I think he should be perfect for the humor these two long time rivals will have on display. Add in art by Ty Templeton and this should be a great miniseries from Marvel.


I've heard such praise for this series by Ostrander, that I'm willing to give this collection a try in this very meek month of comic offerings.


The preview pages and hype I've seen for this series about a samurai who quests for his kidnapped love across Asia to France have been fantastic.


Here's another chance for some of the best self publishers, and true greats of the small press to do stories on the DC Comics world of characters. Which hopefully will offer unique new takes on old concepts, and expose their work to a new audience which will hopefully seek out more work from them.

Most of my favorite comic creators take on universal themes in this intriguing new anthology from Image Comics.


The preview pages I've seen from #1, show this to be a very action oriented series with a real kick butt James Bondish lead female character.

SHE HULK#11 $1.94

I got into this series late, but have loved every bit of it to this point. The news of its brief departure has me down. Yet I'm going to do my part to show it every bit of support as I can muster. Given its quality and nonstandard approach that is sorely lacking from most of the big 2.

Wow, even at a discount and a low month comics still cost a lot.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Comics I'll Be Getting From This Week

Superman Secret Identity TPB, $19.95

Woo hoo! One of the best books DC's had in years, so I'm glad to see it collected.

Blade Of Kumori Cvr A #1, $2.95
Blade Of Kumori Cvr B #1, $2.95

I'm looking forward to trying this after seeing these preview pages.


Iron Man #1, $3.50

Wow that's a high price, glad I got it for 75% off at DCBS to try. I was never really interested in IM, but maybe Ellis can make it work.

Marvel Age Hulk #3, $1.75

Strange, Marvel has already collected this and #4 in the Target Exclusive trade.

She-Hulk Vol 1 Single Green Female TPB, $14.99

Looking forward to trying these early issues!

Warlock #3, $2.99

I really like this sci-fi heavy series, and I hope it continues to be as good.

Love As A Foreign Language GN Vol 1, $5.95

This book by Torres had an interesting premise when I ordered it. Plus I love supporting a format, one shot GN, that is one I want to see more of.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Thoughts On This Month's Box

I received my first box from Discount Comic Book Service yesterday, and have some quick thoughts/initial impressions on them so far that I wanted to share.

Green Lantern: Rebirth #1 - I've never been that big a Hal Jordan fan, I like the Kyle Rayner character and era that this book is setting up to replace, and had ordered this book for curiosity sake since it was only 74 cents.

The art by Ethan Van Sciver is incredibly detailed, and does a great job of setting and making the huge multitude of characters used individualized looking. His Carol Ferris is incredible looking, and made me want to know more about her from only the few pages she was on screen.

Unfortunately the story leaves a lot to be desired, as it seems to be about trying to convince readers of the greatness of Hal through dialogue. We are constantly told how wonderful he was and how much is missing without him there.

Yet it seems forced, and goes against what we are shown with Hal's history as a murderer and insanity given a huge focus. I wonder how Batman fans feel about his character being shown as a conspiracy nut, rather than just a pessimistic voice of reason too.

I'm sort of curious to see what happens next, but I must wonder who this book is for at times. Since it seems to be going in a direction that fans of the current character, with focusing on Hal and not Kyle Rayner. Yet also focuses on all of the negative elements that fans of Hal didn't like in the first place.

Teen Titans Go! Digests 1 & 2 - These wacky stories work even better in digest form than they did in larger format. If you've thought about giving the series a chance than here is the best way to do so.

My Faith in Frankie Digest - I'm still disappointed that this isn't in color, but I'm still pleased to see the book in a collected form. From a thumb through the gray shading is fairly decent, so should be fun to read.

Styx Taxi: A Little Twilight Music - It would have been nice to have had a little blurb on the inner front cover explaining what the series was about. Since it wasn't until I got to the end of the first story that I realized what it was.

This book about a taxi who takes dead souls anywhere they want for two hours, before they have to move on is an interesting theme. The first story by Steve and Dan Goldman is an interesting contrast at what various people want to spend their two hours.

The second story by Elizabeth Genco and Leland Purvis is my favorite. As one of the taxi drivers finds himself infatuated with a young female street musician, despite it being against the rules.

The art by Purvis shows how accomplished and confident he is in his talent. Since his use of white space, where the other two artists left none, shows that he has an understanding that sometimes less is more. Making his story more open and easy to read than the hyper realistic art of the first or sketchy unrealness of the third stories.

The third story about a mom who wanted to be a singer or something, was just not to my interest. The sketchy art just made me spend more time trying to figure out what I was looking at than I wanted to spend. So I gave up on it two pages in.

I've only read the first chapters of the next three books.

CMX Land of the Blindfolded #1 - This is a charming little series about two young teens, one who can see peoples futures the other their past is cute if not overly deep.

It does raise an interesting question of if you knew someone's future, could you change it and if so should you? How does one justify placing one's own beliefs of what is right for someone else?

CMX From Eroica With Love #1 - Three young people who have superpowers, pursue an fanciful male art thief who has taken a great romantic interest in the shy male brains of the three. Leading to some awkward humor in places, but a fun "chase movie" spoof none the less.

I was worried from reports that this book would seem too dated. Yet the art reminds me a lot of Maison Ikkoku with its open, cartoonish look. The dialogue is clever and the story reminds me a little of Jonny Quest with its mixture of humor and action. If taken to a slightly higher level of sophistication in its humor.

Sandman Mystery Theater: The Tarantula - A very nice first chapter that surprises me with a very interesting mystery that the hero will have to investigate. Yet what is most surprising is the sense of time and place the book has with its setting of NYC in the 1930s.

Despite the name, the book has had little of Sandman in it so far, Instead following a young woman of the 1930s whose life is most affected by the events the murder mystery is centered on. The look at the social issues of the time, women wanting to go out and be their own person having a good time. Isn't too different than some of the things young women go through today. Though some of the reasons might be a little different.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Anyone looking for a comics mail order system, I highly recommend Discount Comic Book Service. They offer huge discounts, and I just received my first order from them and I can't be any happier with them.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Two Manga Hits

Quick comments on two great manga titles I found this week.

Othello Volume 1
Created by Satomi Ikezawa
Del Rey 208 pages $10.95 (October 12, 2004)

Every manga publisher need that one true hit to make their mark, and I think Othello could be Del Rey's real breakout hit.

16-year-old Yaya Higuchi at first seems like many others in the "shy young girl meets cool guy who will help her find happiness" genre does. She's shy, overly nice and helpful to those who don't deserve her kindness, and lacks a feeling of self worth.

Her only "friends" are Seri and Moe, who she goes shopping with and is someone they confide in about their infatuation with cute boys and pop stars. Yet their favorite "sport" is making fun of Yaya, because it makes them feel better about themselves and their inability to attract boys.

When Moriyama, a cute boy who is a Led Zeppelin fan and lead singer of his own band, takes an interest in her. Things start to change for Yaya in a very big way.

With Seri and Moe's jealousy of such a cute guy taking an interest in Yaya, and Yaya's inability to deal with her feelings. An alter ego known as Nana takes over, exhibiting a confidence, sexuality and martial arts knowledge that is almost the reverse of how Yaya usually acts with those that know her.

Nana doesn't back down from Seri and Moe's bullying, and she is aggressive in pursuing Moriyama's affections. Yet Yaya doesn't remember her actions as Nana, even though the persona is really just an extension of Yaya's "cosplay" activity with a group of fans who dress in goth-rock costumes every weekend. Causing her to get in even more hot water with Seri and Moe, but leading to peculiar interactions with Moriyama as well.

I think the big draw of this series for me is the positive energy it provides. The situations Yaya finds herself in are things many young people probably go through at some point in their life. Her Nana persona is a very wish fulfillment fantasy, who can say and do things that we always wish we could or would do when faced with the same situations.

It is just an amazing book, and joins my list of "must follow" manga titles after just the first volume alone.

Boys Be Volume 1
by Itabashi Masahiro & Tamakoshi Hiroyuki

I'm not sure if the book lives up to its claim on the back cover of "Whether you're a guy looking for tips on how to impress the girl of your dreams, or you're a girl trying to understand what makes guys tick, you'll find all the answers inside."

Yet the book is a fun ride through some wacky young love relationship storylines.

From the jock who is introduced to a whole new world of possibilities by a "party girl" after she runs him over and thus knocking him out of sports for a bit. To a sweet story about a shy young guy and an overly tall girl who stumble through the first steps of love together.

There is a sweetness and just sense of fun that I hadn't seen in quite a while. There are a couple of real loony stories too, like a girl who gets a little too into Cos Playing or a couple of stories which seemed to show that women have and are more fun when they are drunk.

Yet even in the stories where the pandering made me roll my eyes, there was a level of humor and almost innocence that shined through. Which made me take even some of the obvious "fan service" elements with a grain of salt. Since at heart each story was people finding happiness with others, in various forms.

After a crappy week of comics from the "main stays" of the comic industry. Finding these two new books made my lousy and incredibly busy week a little bit brighter. Because it was nice to see series that realized making the reader laugh and seeing good things happen can make for a fun reading experience.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

This Week's Comics

Already picked up:

Planetes Vol. 4
The very introspective sci-fi series continues with a new series, finally! I look forward to seeing more about one of the lead's journey to Mars, and hopefully more of the other characters on the space garbage collector ship.

Sgt. Frog V. 5 The hijinks of a small group of frog like aliens, as they adapt to life on Earth and scheme to take over the world continues.

Case Closed Volume 2 - This series about a teen detective who finds himself trapped in the body of a small kid has some very compelling mysteries at times.

Boys Be Volume 1
I just fell in love with the cover, and couldn't pass it up.

Waldenbooks is having a sale, where if you buy 3 paperbacks you get one free. So I really stocked up today.

On the Charles LePage Comic List for this week:

Witchblade Cvr A Land #80, $2.99
Witchblade Cvr B Choi #80, $2.99
Witchblade Cvr C Cho #80, $2.99 - I've heard that Top Cow has shipped somewhere near 30,000 extra copies of this to retailers. To be given away free to box customers in an attempt to gain new readers.

Astonishing X-Men #6, $2.99 - Joss Whedon isn't reinventing the wheel here, but is telling a solid superhero tale that anyone who likes the genre staples should enjoy.

Wow, guess I can skip the shop trip this week.

Hikaru no Go Volume 2

In volume 1 we learned about Fujiwara-no-Sai, the ghost of a Go instructor from 1000 years ago. Through an old Go board Sai possesses a young boy named Hikaru, and the two form a friendship/partnership that will allow Sai to play Go, which he has such a passion for.

In this volume we start learning more about Hikaru, as he starts to grow an appreciation for the game as well.

I liked his is sense of wonder at the intrigues and community the game can foster. Not everyone is nice, but the sheer enthusiasm and knowledge others have for the game and the joy they have sharing it. Which was a cool reminder of when I first got online and discovered online comic fandom, and had similar experiences.

Hikaru has a rival in the son of a world champion Go player, who with the help of Sai he defeated in Volume 1. Now he wants a rematch with Hikaru, but Hikaru puts him off because he wants to learn more about the game and beat him by himself without the help of Sai.

The story has more than just the game though. Hikaru has a "girlfriend" who continually distracts him, but in typical young boy fashion he is annoyed by her. Yet she is also the first thing he asks about, and someone he cares more for than he'll admit to even himself.

The heart of the book is the Go competition though, as is the joy the characters have playing the game. The thrill of competition really comes through, making me anxious to see if the characters achieve the goals they set for themselves in future volumes.

Target's Marvel Age: Hulk Collection

This book is just bad for numerous reasons.

It takes after the TV show, with Bruce Banner on the run from a secret government organization who is after him for the secrets he holds. He moves from town to town helping those who need him, which means turning into the Hulk and smashing the bad guys, before moving on.

The writing is overdramatized, with text box descriptions that made me roll my eyes at its "Chicken Little" type phrasing. The characters are flat and uninteresting, with even the Hulk being a huge bore who strikes nothing with the reader.

Lost is the sense of danger or even sorrow that the Hulk should bring for the problems it brings to Bruce's life. Or even the sense of fun a dumb Hulk could bring, as he is played like the typical superhero character. Who smashes the bad guy, then goes away once the danger is past.

The art, by four different artists, all have the same problems. It is flat, sketchy and shows a lack of movement. In the first issue especially, where Bruce meets another scientist, the sketchy art left me unable to tell the characters apart.

Of course wrapping my brain around that Bruce Banner looks like a 19 year old kid, is pretty darn unbelievable as well.

Just a bad comic, that talks down to the reader and makes the Hulk boring which should be almost impossible.