Saturday, December 20, 2008

December Reading

Reading, reading, reading...

Bleach v19 - Pretty awesome. I normally don't dig the fight scenes but even the fight scenes in this one, especially between Ichigo and Byakuya were especially good. That's a good thing since the fight between those two took up at least half the book. Looks like the Soul Society Arc is just about over with.

Hitman v1 - I'd heard a lot about this book and finally got my hands on it. Its good but not great. I liked the artwork. It has a feel un-DCU feel to it. The writing is ok, just not my thing or not what I'm looking for. As I indicated I was reading this more because I'd heard so many good things about it rather than because it sounded like it was something I would love. I might have appreciated it more if I had discovered it when I was younger and without all the fanfare it has received. Given that I obtained it through paperbackswap it was worth my money. Not so sure if I would be equally satisfied if I had paid say $20 for it.

Powers v8: Legends - Simply awesome. I've only read the first three chapters of this collection but I am loving it. Its great how Bendis and Oeming dig back into the history of this series in this storyline, as in others. In this story Callista returns, with powers. Callista was the orphaned girl from the very first story arc. Years have passed since Retro Girl was killed and Callista was orphaned. Callista is now in her late mid-teens, I'm guessing. The confrontation between her and Walker in chapter 3 is great. Its great because I could just feel the emotions leaping off the page.

Fruits Basket v3 - I'm taking my time with this book. Its not my favorite series but there are things about it that I like. Maybe I'll give up on it eventually, dunno, but for now I'm gonna keep reading.

I went to Barbarian today. I couldn't find everything I was looking for. I did buy Daredevil: Hell to Pay v1, Bleach v20, and The Building by Will Eisner.

Earlier this week I ordered Negation v4: Shock & Awe over the internet. I'm planning on rereading the series over the next couple months, now that I have almost the entire series in trade format.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kare Kano, Blue Mondays, Batman

Has it really been six weeks? Since I last posted? Geeze.

Kare Kano v13 - I dropped this series after the whole Tsubasa/boy band arc. It was just a little too much of the wrong thing for me. I wasn't sure if/when I would ever read it again but last weekend at the comic shop I heard it calling my name so I bought it. I'm I've read the first two (of five acts) and so far I'm enjoying it again.

I've gotten this deep into the series because I really enjoy/love the main story: Yukino and Arima's relationship. I really like both characters. I'm glad to see that they are back in the spotlight, where they belong. I also enjoy reading about Tsubaki and Tonami.

While at Barbarian I also bought Fruits Basket v3, Bleach v19, and Monster v17 but I have yet to start reading any of them.

All-Star Batman and Robin v1 - I'm a little more than half-way through this collection: I've read 5 of 9 chapters. So far I like. Its not for everyone and not my favorite book of the year but its different and I like it for that. It is also slowly developing. At this point I'm not sure if/when I'll buy v2 but then again I have no clue when said volume will be released given the erratic release schedule of the individual issues.

So far the story seems to be be about the development of young Dick Grayson into robin; five chapters in and he has yet to put on the uniform or accompany Batman on a mission.

It probably isn't for everyone but so far this series is entertaining me enough to keep reading and not believe everthing I read about how Frank Miller has lost it.

Blue Mondays v1: The Kids Are Alright - One of the first trades I got through paperbackswap. Its very shoujo and also very manga even though it really isn't either since it isn't Japanese but American. Still I like how Chynna Clugston-Majors, the writer/artist/creator, varies the art style to reflect the mood of the different panels. Sometimes the faces are very detailed and other times they are drawn in a very rudimentary fashion. I like the mix of styles. It definelty works in this book. I also like some of the cute little drawings that occasionally adorn the the edges of the pages.

Friday, October 3, 2008

She-Hulk, Bleach

She-Hulk v4: Laws of Attraction - Just started reading it. So far I've only read the first two chapters, # 6 & 7. These chapters/issues cover the story in which She-Hulk is serving as Eros/Starfox' defense attorney in a sexual assault case. Lots of humor here. I liked the writing. I liked how the writer (Dan Slott) used Starfox power of persuasion first for comedic effect and then later took it more seriously. What I wasn't so wild about was the artwork. It worked but it wasn't anything special. I'd rather see either Juan Bobillo or Paul Pelletier draw this book. Unfortunately, neither of them draws any of the remaining chapters in this collection.

Bleach v18 - For the first time in a while I'm excited about this series. The story has been building and building, for at least the past 100 chapters to Rukia's execution and Ichigo's attempt to save her. Finally the moment arrived and of course the execution did not go off as planned. Ichigo's entrance was flashy but not too exciting. What got me giddy was the infighting amongst the captain's of the Gotei 13. At least 4 of them have chosen to side with Ichigo at this point. This really seems to be mucking things up in the Soul Society. I like that because up to now the story has been fairly predictable. Now I'm not sure what is going to happen. I've only read half of v18, still have 5 chapters to go but I am psyched to see how this turns out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Starman, Nevermen, Monster, Doom Patrol

OK, so as usual I'm in the midst of reading several things at once:
  • Starman Omnibus HC v1 - link - Progress: # 0-11 - Bit by bit this series is growing on me more and more. I'm still not sure why everyone seems to love it. Maybe its one of those group-think things and most people only love it because other people say they love it. I dunno but I really like the writing on this series.
  • Nevermen TP - link - Progress: ch 1-3 - This underappreciated book is just awesome in that kind of way that I often have a hard time describing. I love it for the artwork at least as much as the story. Guy Davis pencils and Dave Stewart's leave me gaping in wonder. If you asked me to explain the story I would be hard pressed to do so without telling you everything that happens. I can't boil it down, I can't simplify it. It just is. It doesn't all make sense, it just exists. Its not that I've never seen stuff like this before just that I love it so much that I don't care if it makes sense or not, to me.
  • Monster v14 - link - Progress: ch 1-7 - I'm amazed at how things continue to develop in this series, this late in the game. The series is only 18 volumes long and yet it seems that new characters and situations are still being introduced. Can't wait to see how it all wraps up.
  • Doom Patrol Archives v1 - link - Progress: # 80 - Its a silver age comic book so it can't be read and/or digested the same way a modern one is. Still, I love the sillyness of it all. I'm also suitably impressed by the artwork. I've been meaning to read something from the silver age that wasn't published by Marvel. This was the only title from DC that caught my eye.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Y: The Last Man

Y: The Last Man v10 - I usually take a little longer reading trades but I was too eager (this time) to wait. I finished off Y yesterday. The last few chapters (# 58 and 60 in particular) were hard for me to read. Such a downer. If Yorick was on a quest then I'm not sure what he was questing for cause he sure didn't get it. Everything seemed to fall apart for him at the end. In a sense he got his come uppance. What I mean by that is that he felt guilty about being the only man to survive and finally he paid for it, big time. That still doesn't answer my question about what he was questing for. At least I know how it ends now.

I'll probably reread this in a few years. I wonder how it will read, knowing how things turn out in the end. I may not remember all the details but I'm sure that I'll remember certain key facts.

---

I also went comic book shopping today. I went to Barbarian and picked up four books: two manga (Monster v16, Bleach v18), one DC (Camelot 3000), and one Marvel (Punisher: Circle of Blood). I asked them to order Powers v8 and She-Hulk v4 for me. I almost picked up Sleeper v1, but opted for Camelot 3000 instead.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Y: The Last Man

Y: The Last Man v10

* SPOILERS *

I read # 58 last night. Wow, that hurt. It felt like they ripped out my heart. At first I was numb and didn't know how to react. I think I might have half been expecting it to turn into one of those dream sequences. When it finally sank in I started crying. That went on for about 10 minutes. It really hurt.

It just feels wrong. She can't die. Not like that. I figured she wasn't going to make it out of the story alive but I didn't see it happening the way it did. I figured that her end would be more heroic.

The end to # 57 was bad enough but that was like a mosquito bite compared to what I am feeling now. The lack of words on the those last few pages made it that much more poignant. I'm half afraid to read any more. They just killed Superman.

Of course it wasn't just what happened or how it happened but also when it happened: just after the two of them admit to how they feel about one another. Who's to say how things would have worked out if she hadn't been killed, especially given the world they live in. Still, the fact that they finally laid their cards on the table was great even though it happened just before she got whacked. *sigh*

They probably won't reveal her real name (which she whisperd to him just before she was killed) but I'm okay with that. Some mysteries are better when they remain mysteries.

I've still got two chapters to go. I am afraid, very afraid, for how this will all end, especially given the cover to the last issue.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Starman, Daredevil

I didn't realize that it had been four weeks since I last wrote here. I guess I've been busy with other stuff.

Starman Omnibus v1 - I've read the first six (# 0 - 5) of seventeen issues in this collection. I'm torn as to whether I like it or not. I'm not wild about the art. Its good but not great. It might grow on me over time but so far I'm not digging it. The action fight scenes are ok but they lack something. What I do like is the writing, especially the dialogue. The best parts, the parts that I enjoy the most seem to be the wordier scenes where either Jack Knight (the main character) is narrating or is talking to someone else.

For instance in issue # 0 I really like the page where Jack walks into his shop for the first time, just after his brother has been killed but before he finds out. Something about that page, the narration, the way the words are spaced into different word/thought blocks really spoke to me.

Another instance would be in issue # 5 when Jack meets his dead brother in a dream sequence. At first they fight and its just okay but then when David starts talking and Jack shuts up I found what David had to say to be incredibly moving. Possibly this is because he has the same first name as me but I think its more likely that it is because the way he moves from being adversarial to brotherly and protective of Jack added depth to his character tha I don't think was there before. It also kind of stunned me because I was thinking about how mediocre the story was up until then.

So, yes prior to reading #5 I was thinking that I probably wouldn't buy v2 but now I'm not so sure. Is it a great read? So far I would have to say no. It shows promise but I'm gonna need more than that. I think I'll have to wait a while longer (possibly until I've finished v1) before deciding if I am going to get v2.


Daredevil: The Devil Inside & Out v2 - This was good. There were parts that were a little slow but on the whole I liked it; not as much as v1 but I liked it. It read a bit like filler, what I mean is that it felt like Brubaker is setting something up that will happen in the next trade or two.

Funny thing about this series is the art of Michael Lark. I like it but I'm not sure why. It is kind of sketchy and not as finished or polished as much of the artwork that I like. It doesn't resemble the work of Joe Kubert but I think it has that in common with it. They both rough feel rough around the edges.

Daredevil in Europe was weird, very weird. He belongs in Hell's Kitchen, NYC. Maybe if he ventured beyond the borders of the big apple more often I wouldn't feel this way. Batman seems out of place when he leaves Gotham to fight Ras al Ghul in exotic locations around the world but I've at least gotten used to seeing him do so. I can't say the same for Daredevil.

The Foggy Nelson subplot seemed more in character for this book. Given that Daredevil gets most of the screen time in this series (and seems to work alone more often than not) it was good to see Brubaker devote an entire issue to a member of the supporting cast.

I really liked the last chapter. In some ways it seemed a bit too simple how Matt Murdock was able to return to his old life. But then seeing him go to Ryker's Island to confront the Kingpin and promise to help get him out of prison was really moving. The tension in that scene was palpable. Murdock didn't want to be there but he felt he owed a debt to the Vanessa Fisk to help her husband even though he knows that Fisk will come after him eventually.

Friday, July 4, 2008

She-Hulk, Punisher, X-Men

*** SPOILERS ***

She-Hulk
v3: Time Trials - Good but not great. I've written about it before. I enjoyed chapters 1, 2, and 5 . Chapters 3 and 4 I could have done without.

Chapter 3 - It was the 100th issue and was drawn by 50 different artists. It wasn't a regular issue, even though it was written that way. It was a collage, an homage, but not a single story. I wanted to like it but I just couldn't.

Chapter 4 - A follow up to House of M or some such other gigantic Marvel crossover event from years past. It was not drawn by Juan Bobillo, the regular artist.

Chapter 5 - Jen/She-Hulk brings the Two-Gun Kid with her when she returns to the present. This chapter is all about the TGK trying to fit in. What's cool about it is how it is isn't Jen (but Mallory Book) who sees the solution to TGK's dilemma. It's an interesting character moment, letting one of the supporting characters (instead of the She-Hulk) step forward (metaphorically speaking) and help TGK find his place in the 21st century.

I do plan to pick up the next volume of She-Hulk, which I think is the last one written by Dan Slott.

Punisher War Journal v1: Civil War - I had high hopes for this book and so far they have yet to be met. The first four issues collected in this volume all tie into a Marvel crossover.

Chapter 1 - Not a bad start although it was a little disjointed. I'm guessing that part of the story was told in another book. I like the artwork. The black and white version of chapter 1 (that is also included in this collection) makes it abundantly clear (to me at least) how talented Ariel Olivetti is.

Chapter 2 - This is where I really started to have problems with the book. I really don't like the idea of Frank Castle fighting alongside super-heroes. Frank should not be buddies with Captain America. They may see eye-to-eye on an issue or two but I don't like seeing the Punisher following Cap's lead. Thankfully it doesn't last. Castle returns to his tried and true methods before the issue is over, much to Cap's dismay.

Hopefully things will pick up in chapters 3 and 4.

Uncanny X-Men Omnibus v1 - I'm almost there. I've read 95% of this collection: 38 of 40 issues. Its only taken me 6.5 months to get this far. I didn't care much for the Proteus storyline: X-Men # 125 - 128. I didn't think much of him as a villain. His powers were a little too vague.

X-Men # 129 introduces Kitty Pride. I'm not sure if I ever read it before. I did love the expressions on Peter/Colossus' face as he looks over Logan/Wolverine's shoulder as he is reading first Hustler and then Penthouse; priceless. I think this was also the first appearance of Emma Frost. I still can't get over the fact that she is now a member of the X-Men and Scott/Cyclops' lover. Just two more issues to go and then I'll probably have to wait a couple years or more for v2. Unfortunately the break is right at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix storyline.

Overall this has been a great purchase. I had read parts of this run of issues: # 94 - 131, but never read the whole run. It has given me a greater appreciation for what followed it and where the X-Men were coming from leading up to # 150, which is about where I began collecting the series back in the early 1980s.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

She-Hulk, Namor

She-Hulk v3: Time Trials - The third chapter in this collection (issue # 100) didn't quite live up to what I hoped it would be. The multitude of artists that worked on the book made it a mess. The best parts were those drawn by the (at the time) current artist Juan Bobillo. For the most part the others caused the mood to change just a little too quickly and frequently. It was more montage (of She-Hulk's history, sorry but I can't get my self to call her Shulkie) than an actual story. There was a story buried in this issue but all the guest artists took away from it, IMHO. I found myself rushing to finish it just so that I could be over and done with it, unlike the second chapter which I reread because I liked it so much. Hopefully it will be back to business-as-usual with chapter 4.

Namor - I've started re-reading my collection of John Byrne's Namor. I am missing the last four issues of his initial run on the book (#1 -25) but I'm on the look out for them. I'm undecided as to how great or lame this series was. The ideas often trump the execution. Even the artwork isn't Byrne's best, but I've only read the first two issues so maybe I should give it a few more before I begin to render judgment.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

She-Hulk, Phoenix

She-Hulk v3: Time Trials - I've only read the first two chapters. The artwork is growing on me; I'm learning to appreciate it. In particular I love how disheveled and geeky Jen looks while sitting at the breakfast table with John and Pug. Many of the other facial expressions are great too, especially on Jen or She-Hulk's face.

Dan Slott's writing is impressive. I love the humorous touches he puts in the story. If I had to pick one reason why I read this book I think it would be for the humor.

Phoenix v9: Strange Beings/Life - I'm not enjoying this one as much as I have some of the previous volumes. In particular, I'm not entirely comfortable with the way Tezuka uses different cultures in his stories; in this case the Incas of South America. I suppose he didn't expect that it would ever see publication outside of Japan or consider his depictions to be negative. I'm not sure that his depictions of other cultures are negative but they do rub me the wrong way; like he is taking the name (Inca, in this case) and then adding the characteristics he wants that culture to have. He seems to be creating a cultural identity for a non-Japanese culture that seems to me is more a creation of his imagination than it is based in fact. That bothers me.

Also maybe I've read a little too much Tezuka in the recent past and need to take a break, at least from Phoenix.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nextwave v1, She-Hulk v3

Nextwave v1: This Is What They Want - and it is awesome. Finished reading it last night on the metro. I loved it and I want more, despite the fact that I thought the story lagged in chapters 2 and 3. I'm not sure why it lagged but I don't feel like going back to figure out why.

So I want more Nextwave. Hopefully v2 won't disappoint me like v2 of Young Avengers did. I thought the first six chapters of YA were really good and then it turned into an after school special in v2. Still can't figure that one out.

What worked in Nextwave v1 is the humor, the character interactions, the outrageous weapons, and the artwork (pencils, inks, and colors); or at least those are the things that come to mind most readily.

She-Hulk v3: Time Trials - Only just started reading this today. The first chapter is fun. I'm not wild about the artwork but I like the writing and the artwork isn't dog-awful. I like the comic book jokes, especially the way they used the "waiting for the trade" line. So far not much else to report on. Its fun, its light, the artwork if so-so, I want to keep reading it. Hopefully the rest of the book will be just as fun, light, etc.

Friday, June 6, 2008

recent reading

Fruits Basket v1 - Finished it for the second time. This time I want more. Gonna have to buy v2.

Nextwave v1 - Read chapters 1 - 4. I bought the first issue when it came out a couple years ago. I liked it and resolved to buy the trade. Rereading chapter 1 for the second time I was similarly impressed. It showed a lot of potential (once again) and I was primed to enjoy the next five chapters. Unfortunately I was not similarly impressed by chapters 2 and 3. They did not leave a favorable impression on me. Chapter 4 was great and restored my faith in this series. After chapter 3 I was seriously thinking that I would not buy v2: the series is just two volumes, 12 issues. I can see now that chapter 3 was a set up for chapter 4. Two more chapters to go and once again I have high hopes which hopefully won't get smashed.

So what did I like about ch 4?

*** SPOILERS ***
  • Elsa Bloodstone screaming at the Captain (p. 3)
  • the Captain's origin (pp. 5-7)
  • Aaron's telescopic eye, Tabitha's comment on it, and what she does to it (pp. 13-14)
  • how first Tabitha and then Aaron react to the discovery that Mangel is a cop (p. 19-20)
  • Monica misunderstanding the intentions of the citizens who offer to "look after" of Officer Mangel (p. 21)
  • lots of humor throughout, which I felt was sorely missing in chapters 2 & 3

New Trinity

We need a new trinity or an alterna-trinity. The trinity is of course Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. They're great and fantastic but what I envision is taking those three personality types and taking away their superpowers. They would not longer fight world-threatening villains but deal with more day-to-day mundane sort of adventures, or at least things that seem more humdrum that what appears usually in the pages of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman's respective titles.

I'd like to keep their relationships platonic. Nothing screws things up like romance. Its okay for them to have romantic partners or friends-with-benefits, but no menage-a-deux ou trois involving two or more the trinity.

Yes, Batman does have superpowers even if he can't fly, isn't super strong, and does not have a golden lasso.

Maybe they could all be in mid management in the same industry but working for competing firms. I don't want the plot to involve some corporate conspiracy. I want there to be character development, dammit! Character not plot should drive the stories. Inner turmoil, I want to see inner turmoil and confusion. They shouldn't all experience exactly the same things in the same way but they should all have their ups and downs.

Is their room for other supporting cast (Lois Lane, Steve Trevor, Alfred Pennyworth, etc.)? Yes, but I don't want them to be identical or too similar to the characters they are supposed to be mirroring.

Now what would really be great is if these alterna-trinity characters could exist in the DCU and occasionally run into or spot one of the their super-powered counterparts. The super-powered trinity would know nothing of the other alterna-trinity.

I just like the idea of ordinary people being the main characters. I think that's what fueled this post.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why Fantastic Monsters?

Y: The Last Man v9 - by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra; collects # 49 - 54. Another great read. Loved some of the reveals. The last couple chapters didn't really have anything to do with Yorick, 355, or Dr. Mann. They were good chapters but it was a little frustrating not getting more about the main characters, especially when the series is almost over and done with.

Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four v6 - by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; collects # 51 - 60. The last four chapters (# 57 - 60 where Dr. Doom steals the powers of the Silver Surfer) were awesome. The rest was also pretty good. The introduction of the Black Panther and Klaw wasn't quite as awesome as I hoped it would be. I did get a little tired of the way the saga of the Inhumans kept dragging on, and still wasn't complete at the end of this collection. Presumably they will come back into contact with the FF at some point.

Monster v12 - by Naoki Urasawa; collects chapters # 96 - 104. The best reveal was saved for the last chapter. More is learned about the twins past and their mother. Inspector Lunge goes to the Czech Republic on vacation but ends up working instead of relaxing as he traces down more information on the origins of the twins (Johan and Anna). Good read but of course this is one big story. There are some arcs within but it is hard to judge this series one book at a time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

DC/Marvel Solicitations

DC

Really nothing new here that I want to buy.

Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition Hardcover v1 - I figured this was coming but I've not about to buy all new editions. I've already got the trades v1 - 9 and will be getting v10 once it is released. This ain't no DC: The New Frontier.

New Teen Titans Archives v4 - I've been eying this series for quite sometime now. It is about time I bought the first collection. I've been reading a lot more old Marvel (Frank Miller's Daredevil, Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four, Claremont and Byrne's X-Men) than I have old DC. Its about time I at least attempt to even that score. Also the ad indicates that this is the final Archive Edition for New Teen Titans. That is a shame. There should be more. The series isn't complete although (as I understand it) much of the remaining work by Wolfman and PĂ©rez is collected in trade paperbacks.

Marvel

Logan Black & White Premiere Hardcover - 104 pages for $19.99? Yikes! Still, I've heard the artwork on this series is better in B&W than in color. In other words coloring took something away from Eduardo Risso's pencil work. Normally I wouldn't think of buying such a slim hardcover, but I'm not sure that this will also be offered in trade paperback format in B&W.

...and that's it. Nothing really worth writing about or putting on a wish list. That's ok. I've got plenty to read and plenty of other things on my wish list that I have yet to buy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

See Doom Surf

*** SPOILERS***

Fantastic Four
# 56 - This is all kinds of awesome. Doctor Doom meets the Silver Surfer and then steals his powers and his board! There's a great splash page with Doom looming over the fallen Surfer that is beautiful beyond words. The scenes set in Doom's castle in Latveria are the best parts of the issue. Doom pretending to be a good guy? Very tongue-in-cheek.

It isn't all Doom and Surfer. Reed, Sue, and Ben also appear in this issue; appearances which include a couple skirmishes with the Sandman. Loved the second fight, especially how it is drawn.cc

Johnny Storm and Wyatt Wingfoot continue their travels with Lockjaw. A dog with a Fu Manchu mustache? How awesome is that? Certainly more awesome that their voyages. I miss Prester John from # 54.

The Inhumans? Still trapped. Their saga drags on. Enough is enough. They need to free themselves.

Definitely my favorite issue collected in Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four v6, probably better than the first appearance of Galactus or any of the other issues collected in v5, which I have also read.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Curling Tohru's Hair

Fruits Basket v1 / chapter 3 - I don't remember too much from the first time I read this, back in 2004. I'm talking about the whole volume not just this chapter. There are bits and pieces that have stuck with me.

Things I do remember:
  • Thinking it (v1) was good but just not what I wanted at the time.
  • Tohru's devotion to the cat even though she was born in the year of the dog.
  • Other miscellaneous scenes when I run across them.
Things I don't remember:
  • Tohru getting her hair done by one of the girls in her class, during chapter 3. It was a weird and random kind of moment. The scene had nothing to do with getting her hair done but there was Tohru's classmate in panel after panel using a curling iron on Tohru's hair. What makes really makes it weird is the fact that no one (including Tohru) says a word to the girl with the curling iron or even acknowledges her existence or what she is doing.
  • Other moments, conversations, characters, etc.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Free Comic Book Day II

I went to Barbarian as promised. They didn't seem to have any copies of Punisher: Circle of Blood so I bought manga instead.
  • Bleach v16
  • Monster v14
  • Yotsuba v4
The volumes of Monster are starting to pile up. I now have 12, 13 and 14 sitting in my living room unread. I hope to start on v12 this week.

I also picked up two free comic books.
  • All Star Superman #1
  • Hellboy: The Mole
I read All Star Superman. I can see now why everyone is raving about it. The artwork by Frank Quitely is gorgeous. The colors are beautiful. The first page is awesome: Superman's origin explained in four panels and eight words. This book has a fresh feel to it that I like. Maybe if I had read more Superman comic books over the years I wouldn't feel like this. I'm not completely sold on the series but I like how it has started out. Love the sci-fi elements. The one thing that keeps nagging me about this book is why isn't 'All Star' hyphenated?

Anways, finally I usually don't do the meme thing but I've seen this one floating around and felt the urge to contribute:

Questions:

1) What was the first comic you remember reading?

2) What was the first comic that made you realize that you might be in this for the long haul?

3) If you had to make a snap decision to take one comic or one comic run to a desert island, what would it be? Don't think too hard!

Answers:

1) Star Wars # 7, I'm talking about the original comic book series that was published by Marvel. Mom bought it for me and my brother at the PX (at the U.S. Embassy) in Paris, where we were living at the time. I think it came in a three pack that also included #8 and #9. We had other comic books, Donald Duck, Asterix, Tintin, Lucky Luke, etc. but Star Wars #7 is the one that sticks in my mind even though it may or may not have been the very first comic book I read.

2) Marvel Graphic Novel # 5: God Loves Man Kills

3) All-Star Squadron - hands down my favorite series when I was growing up. I loved the history lessons in the letters pages. Plus Roy Thomas was nice enough to publish two of my fan letters. Towards the end of the series it lost some of its momentum but it was still a must buy for me and I hated to see it go.

Free Comic Book Day

Its Free Comic Book Day! I'm planning to go to Barbarian. I dunno if they are having a sale or not but maybe they'll have some of them free comic books. Also I think I wanna buy a copy of the new printing of Punisher: Circle of Blood. I've never read it before and it was drawn by Mike Zeck who drew Captain America way back when I had a subscription, 25+ years ago. He draws faces kind of funny or maybe its just the shapes of peoples' heads that look odd to me; either way I like the way he draws.

P: COB was written by Steven Grant. I read something else that the two of them collaborated on. I think it was an image or Dark Horse. It had a very noir feel to it and I think I liked it. It was a bout a guy who gets out of prison and returns to home town. Of course, things have changed and not for the better. I think it was called Damned. That's about all I can remember.

In other news....


April is over and here's what I read during April:

Manga
  • Yotsuba v3 ~ chapters 21 & 22
  • Phoenix v8 ~ pp. 171 - 340
  • Bleach v 15 ~ chapters 124 - 130
  • Fruits Basket v1 ~ chapter 1
Comic Books
  • Strangers in Paradise v2 ~ #s 8 & 9
  • Powers v7: Forever ~ #s 34 - 37
  • Invincible v6 ~ #s 25 - 30
  • Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four v6 ~ #s 55 & 56
  • Uncanny X-Men Omnibus v1 ~ #s 118 - 120
Fantastic Four is still awesome although I think I will take a break from the Lee & Kirby stuff once I am finished with the current volume I am reading.

Uncanny X-Men by Claremont, Byrne, and Austin is still a lot of fun but not quite as perfect as some people would have me believe. There are highs and lows. The artwork by Byrne and Austin is for the most spectacular. The stories and characterizations often leave me wanting more and thinking that they could have done a better job with the material.

So I finished reading all the Powers stories that were originally published by Image. I love this series but I can see how some people might not. It isn't standard superhero fare. I think that's why I like it. Standard superheros are fairly predictable. The average reader knows what their powers are, their motivations, etc. That is not the case with Powers and I love all the little reveals that happen along the way.

I've already written about how Invincible left me feeling. Will I ever pick it up again? Maybe.

Strangers in Paradise is very different from the other comic books I've been reading. I sometimes have a hard time connecting with the story. I don't think its the writing or the art as much as it is my preconceived notions of what a comic book should be. Most mainstream comic books are predictable. SiP isn't mainstream and it isn't predictable. So it is a different sort of read; more like a novel than the the other sequential artwork that I read. I've got the next volume, so I'll read it but I'll have to see if I will read any more beyond that.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Justice League: The New Frontier - Commentary Track 1

I watched Justice League: The New Frontier again, this time with the first commentary track which features the creators of the movie: Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano and company. I enjoyed it more with the commentary track but it is still lacking.

One piece of information that I picked up (from a Word Balloon interview with voice director Andrea Romano, which I also listened to this weekend) is that quite a few of the voice actors recorded their parts independently of one another. Not only were they not in studio with one another, while recording, some of them weren't even in studio with the voice director. I don't know that much about the animation industry but I've got to imagine that this goes a long way towards explaining why I wasn't very impressed with the voice acting.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

CSBG Top 100 Runs - Golden, Silver, Bronze Age

Over at Comic Should Be Good they are winding down their countdown of the top 100 comic book runs of all time. Just 6 more to go. Its kind of disappointing how heavily-weighted the results are to more recent and current material. By my count only 14 (of the runs named so far) started before 1980. Grouped by era they are:

Golden Age

100. Jack Cole's Plasticman - I have to give this series a try some day.

46. Will Eisner's The Spirit - Technically I don't think this was originally a comic book, but a comic strip. It has been since collected in comic book form. Still it is something that I must read (at least in part) one of these days.

Silver Age

88. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Dr. Strange - I'm interested in reading this but I think I would rather read their collaboration on the original run of Spider-Man first.

87. Roy Thomas' Avengers - I've read bits and pieces of this run. Do I wanna read more? Yes but not now.

84. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Thor/Tales of Asgard - Another run that I've read bits and pieces of but this one I am much more interested in going back to read. This and Lee and Ditko's Spider-Man are probably the two silver age Marvel runs I am most interested in reading, cover-to-cover.

34. Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr.'s Spider-Man - Maybe after I've read the Lee and Ditko Spider-man. I know there are some classic stories in this run but it just doesn't appeal to me as much as its predecessor.

Bronze Age

99. Doug Moench's Master of Kung-Fu - I have much of this run, but I have only read a few issues of it.

86. Jim Starlin's Warlock - I would love to read this; unfortunately it has never been collected. I'm not about to go out and buy the individual comic books or pay big bucks for a collection of the run. Maybe some day Marvel will come to it's senses and reprint.

61. Bob Layton and David Michelinie's 1st run on Iron Man - Am I interested? Yes, but not overwhelmingly so. Maybe someday I'll get around to reading all/part of run. Only bits and pieces have been collected and reprinted.

59. Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow - Possibly one of the best known runs (from DC Comics at least) from the 1970s. It didn't last all that long. It is collected. I should read it.

50. Jack Kirby's Fourth World - This is another must read for me. It looks like Kirby at his best and craziest.

49. Steve Englehart's Detective Comics - I recently listened to a very good Word Balloon interview with Steve Englehart. This run is short and is collected and sounds good but I don't know if when I'll actually get around to reading it. I get the impression that there is nothing spectacularly innovative about this run. It is just a damn good Batman story.

41. Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck - Meh, this one just doesn't appeal to me. I know it was cutting edge and different and all that but it just doesn't appeal me.

29. Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen's Legion of Superheroes - I've got the one collection from this run (that is still in print) and would happily buy more if they would reprint some more of it.

So, that's it for comic books from the roughly the first 40 years of comic books. I'm expecting that at least one more will make the list: Chris Claremont and John Byrne's Uncanny X-Men. My only other prediction for the top 6 spots is that Neil Gaiman's Sandman (a post Crisis series) will also make the list. I can think of other possible "winners" but those are the only two that seem like shoe-ins to me. I will truly be surprised if either of them is left out.

I've noticed some interesting trends in the selections when you break it down by era. I'll try to write more about that next time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Invincible v6

* * * S P O I L E R S * * *

3


2


1

Invincible v6: A Different World - Not awful, but this arc felt like filler. Ok, not filler but like Kirkman was setting up stuff to be followed up on in future arcs. Mark travels to some far away planet where he is temporarily reunited with his father, fights Viltrumites (other than his father) for the first time, and meets his new half brother.

It is arcs like this that turn me off. I probably won't pick up v7 for a while.

Why do the insectoid females have breasts? Or at least look like they do? They don't look humanoid in any other manner.

How in the world did Mark's father have a child with an insect? The scene with him frenching his insectoid wife was gross enough.

The only parts that I really liked were the little interludes with the Mauler twins.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Powers v7: Forever

Powers v7 Forever - The ending was a bit anti-climactic but the arc (on the whole) was great. I especially love how the ending ties in a scene from the first Powers collection: Who Killed Retro Girl? and fills in much of the back story of Christian Walker. Not only does it tie into the scene from the first story arc it also gives it new meaning.

I went back and flipped through WKRG? after finishing off Forever. What struck me the most was how much the artwork changed in between the two story arcs.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Black Canary - JLI Era Costume

Call me stupid but I actually liked Black Canary's JLI era costume. I've got nothing against fishnet stockings but something just doesn't seem right about her wearing them given how rough and tumble she can get.

I'm only voicing my opinion on this costume because so many people seem to hate it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Marvel Solicitations - Jul 2008

The Marvel solicitations for comic books being released in July are also available online now.

Sky Doll
# 3 - Looks like the art work on the (first) Soleil comic book imported and translated by Marvel has been altered. I went looking for the original at amazon.fr and found the same issue except her nipples are evident on the original cover. Makes me wonder about what alterations have been made to the interior art.

Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank Premiere HC - Collects the first 12 issues of Garth Ennis' run on the Punisher. I'm interested but not so interested as to get it right now. It can go on my wish list. [288 pp; $24.99]

Nova v2: Nowhere TPB - Includes the beginning of Paul Pelletier's penciling work on this title, although it is just the last two (of six) chapters that are drawn by him. Probably not worth getting just for the two issues. I've heard good things about the book but only from a couple people. I've also heard that the Nova Corps reads like an imitation of the Green Lantern Corps. Not sure if I should care about that since I don't read and Green Lantern books. [160 pp; $17.99]

Invaders Classic v2 TPB - Collects # 10 - 21, plus Annual # 1. If anything I should go back and order the first collection. I've got a few of the original comics but my collection is far from complete. Also, who knows when (if ever) the Dedicated Competition will ever reprint Roy Thomas other World War II era comic books. [240 pp; $29.99]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DC Solicits - Jul 2008

A few things catch my eye in the DC Solicitations for July 2008. Not sure if I will order any of them, but here goes:

Superman: Kryptonite HC - Finally they're completing and collecting Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale's run on Superman Confidential. I'm not a huge fan of the Loeb/Sale works but I'll probably pick this up eventually based on the strength of how much I enjoyed Cooke's workd on DC:TNF. Also I'd really rather get this in softcover since it is just 160 pages. [Sept 10; 160 pp; $24.99]

All Star Superman v1 TP - Good to see that they have finally got around to releasing this in softcover. Everyone says it is great. Must give it a try. I wonder why didn't they hyphenate All Star? [Aug 20; 160 pp; $12.99]

The Spirit v2 HC - Which collects the second half of Darwyn Cooke's run on the book. I really want to read this but I think I will hold out for a single volume hardcover that collects all 13 issues. Who knows if/when it will be released but I've got plenty to keep me busy until then. [Sep 10; 176 pp; $24.99]

Gotham Central v1: In the Line of Fire HC - Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, drawn by Micheal Lark. Another book that I have heard a lot of good things about. This is a tempting purchase. [Sep 3; 240 pp; $29.99]

Storming Paradise #1 - Written by Chuck Dixon, drawn by Butch Guice. A six-issue World War II mini-series from Vertigo; my interest is piqued. I pre-ordered the Team Zero TP, another WWII story written by Chuck Dixon. Different artist this time around and its hard to tell what exactly the focus will be. I'll have to keep an eye out for creator interviews and preview art.

The Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives TP - Written by Ed Brubaker, who writes crime fiction comic books about as good as anyone in the business these days. I'm curious. [Aug 13; 104 pp; $12.99]

That's it. More than I thought I would find. Some months there really isn't much of anything that catches my eye.

Looking back at the short list I have assembled the Gotham Central HC is the one I am most likely to pre-order.

Monday, April 14, 2008

borrowing ideas

I've been thinking about cutting back on my purchases of trades, hardbacks, omnibus editions, etc. by borrowing them from the library instead.

I was motivated to consider this option by a number of things:

1. There are must reads (Watchmen, Kingdom Come, etc.) out there that I must read but don't really want to buy.

2. I seem to have a large enough collection already which contains a fair number of books that I don't really want to keep.

3. It seems wasteful to buy so many books most of which are probably only going to be read once and then put on a shelf.

Taking all those reasons into consideration I went to the Montgomery County Library web site to see if I could find Watchmen. It turns out that they have a number of copies of it. Awesome. Not I just need to clear some time on my busy reading schedule and get my but over to the library and check it out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fruit Baskets Forever

Powers v7: Forever - Read chapter 5 (of 7) this morning. I thought Powers v6: collection was awesome. The epic scale of story blows the previous collection out of the water. It (volume 6) was prologue and epilogue to this story. The way that Bendis and Oeming have pulled elements together and gone back to touch on things that were touched on before and give them new meaning really impresses me.

Fruit Baskets v1 - I wasn't sure if I would ever pick this up again but now I have, primarily based on the fact that it was listed as one of the top 5 shoujo series by Danielle Leigh. Its the only series on the list that I have tried reading. Some of the other series sound interesting too.

First time reading Fruits Basket I thought it was good but it didn't feel like the right thing for me at the time. Now that I taking a break from Kare Kano and am thinking about taking a break from Hot Gimmick it seems like a good time to pick it up again. I don't expect to feel like it is the best thing since sliced bread but I am hoping that I will get more out of it than I did the last time.

My recollection is that I liked the main character (Tohru Honda) but wasn't as taken with the rest of the cast.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Top Runs

What a great idea! Comics Should Be Good has compiled a list of favorite comic book runs. Some of them are collected in trade format and some are not. Either way I've decided to copy the list and then see how much of the titles that interest me are available in trade or hardback format.

I'm also curious as how age affected the preferences of the voters. For that matter what was the average and median age of the voters. I doubt that they collected this sort of data. Still it would be interesting to compare a list of the preferences of younger and older comic book readers.