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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Itsuwaribito: Village Village

I read Itsuwaribito , Vol. 12

I posted a review at the ComicBookBin, which is seeking donations.  Follow me on Twitter.





Friday, August 22, 2014

I Reads You Review: GRAYSON #1

GRAYSON #1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

PLOT: Tim Seeley and Tom King
SCRIPT: Tim Seeley
ART: Mikel Janin
COLORS: Jeremy Cox
LETTERS: Carlos M. Mangual
COVER: Andrew Robinson
VARIANT COVERS: Mikel Janin; Jock
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (September 2014)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

Dick Grayson is a DC Comics character best known as the first person to take on the identity of Robin, Batman's kid sidekick.  Robin/Dick Grayson was originally created by Batman's creators, artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and also artist Jerry Robinson.  Robin debuted in Detective Comics #38 (cover date:  April 1940).

Batman's a junior counterpart, Robin, was known as the “Boy Wonder,” during the first three decades of the character's existence.  The team of Batman and Robin is commonly referred to as the “Dynamic Duo” or the “Caped Crusaders.”  Over time, the men who wrote the Batman comic books depicted Dick Grayson as growing up, even graduating from high school and attending college.  Robin would go on to lead a group of teen characters and sidekicks called the Teen Titans.  Eventually, Dick Grayson relinquished the name Robin and became a new superhero, Nightwing (first appearance in Tales of the Teen Titans #43)

As Nightwing, Dick Grayson has been the star of two eponymous comic book series.  The New 52 version of Nightwing was canceled some months ago.  It was recently replaced by a new comic book series, entitled Grayson, that spins out of DC Comics' 2013-14 crossover event series, Forever Evil (which I did not read).

Grayson #1 finds Dick Grayson in a blond wig.  He is now known as “Agent 37,” and he works for an international spy organization known as Spyral.  Grayson has just hitched a ride aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway, where his target for acquisition is Dubov Ninel.  However, Agent 37 isn't the only one out to get Ninel, and even after he obtains him, there is a new player looking to take what Grayson just obtained.  [SPOILER Alert!]  Enter Midnighter.

I read a preview of Grayson #1 in another comic book (can't remember which one), and that preview intrigued me.  I was excited about the series and visited two comic book stores to find a copy of issue #1.  Having read it I can say that I don't think that I would pay to read Grayson again.

It is not that Grayson is bad.  It is entertaining, and I like the art by Mikel Janin with colors by the always good Jeremy Cox.  It's just that besides an appearance by Midnighter (of Stormwatch and The Authority fame), nothing else about this first issue excited me.  It's good; just not special enough for me to set aside the cash to buy it on a regular basis.  I must say that if I am excited by the guest star in a particular future issue, I might buy that issue.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: THE BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK

THE BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK
VIZ MEDIA/Haikasoru – @VIZMedia; @haikasoru

EDITORS: Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington
COVER: Tomer Hanuka
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6599-6; paperback, (April 2014)
192pp, B&W, $14.99 U.S., $19.99 CAN, £9.99 U.K.

The Battle Royale Slam Book: Essays on the Cult Classic by Koushun Takami is a collection of essays about the world of Battle Royale.  Battle Royale is a Japanese horror novel written by Koushun Takami.  Originally completed in 1996, Battle Royale was not published until 1999 by Ohta Shuppan, but it went on to become a surprise bestseller.  In 2000, the novel became a manga which Koushun Takami co-wrote with artist Masayuki Taguchi, who drew the manga.  A controversial film adaptation directed by Kinji Fukasaku was also released in 2000.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Battle Royale the novel, Haikasoru (the fiction imprint of VIZ Media) published The Battle Royale Slam Book.  This original paperback release is a collection of essays by writers of popular fiction on the impact of the novel, the two film adaptations, and the Battle Royale manga on pop culture.  The essays also discuss the controversy and continuing social debate that has surrounded the novel ever since its first release.  The Battle Royale Slam Book is offered in print and also in digital editions as an eBook for $7.99 (U.S. / CAN), available for the Amazon Kindle and through Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, and the Kobo eBooks Store.

Nick Mamatas, co-editor of The Battle Royale Slam Book, and 16 other authors offer an array of opinions on Battle Royale and about the enduring power of the acknowledged cult classic.  New York Times best-selling author John Skipp (The Light at the End) connects the novel to his childhood.  Cassie Cuinn talks about girl power.  Sam Hamm, who wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film, Batman (directed by Tim Burton), speculates on the survival chances of Hollywood cinema’s leading teen icons in a battle royale.  Jason S. Riddler (Blood and Sawdust) discusses the novel in the context of the popularity of professional wrestling.  Douglas F. Warrick closes out the book with an essay on Zen.

In order to enjoy and understand The Battle Royale Slam Book, the reader needs to be familiar with Battle Royale the novel or its adaptations.  I saw the film six years ago via a DVD available through Netflix.  The manga adaptation was collected in 15 graphic novel volumes, which were published by TOKYOPOP during the middle of the previous decade.  I read TOKYOPOP’s Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Vol. 1, which collected the first three manga volumes in one hardcover edition.  So I understand much of the context or what is being discussed in The Battle Royale Slam Book, although I have not as yet read the novel.

I think the best essay is the introduction to the book, “Blood in the Classroom, Blood on the Page: Will ‘Battle Royale’ Ever Be on the Test,” written by Nick Mamatas.  Basically, this piece is “what becomes a cult novel most.”  Mamatas discusses other controversial novels (such as Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies) that eventually end up on high school and collegiate reading lists, which, in a way, serves to take away the edginess these works originally had.  I agree with a terrific instructor I had in college:  controversial novels with something meaningful to say about the human condition end up becoming children’s literature.  It is almost as if adults believe that turning such books into juvenile fiction can rob these works of their power to affect change.  I liked how much Mamatas’ essay engaged me and made me think, rather than just be passive, reading for amusement; I read the essay twice and picked through it a third time.

Two other essays also grappled with my imagination.  John Skipp’s “Death for Kids” uses his experience as the child of a U.S. government employee in late 1960s Argentina as the launching point for his essay.  The harrowing personal tale he tells should already be a memoir.

Before it was published, Battle Royale was entered into the 1997 Japan Grand Prix Horror Novel competition.  It did not win any prizes, as it was eventually rejected in the final round due to its content.  Japanese literary critic and editor, Masao Higashi, was there in the competition as a judge.  Higashi’s essay “‘Battle Royale:’ The Fight the Night Before” talks about his thoughts on the novel and why he voted the way he did.

Anyone who has experienced Battle Royale and/or its adaptations will find that The Battle Royale Slam Book is a collection of insightful essays.  Even those who normally don’t read essays will find the essays here worth reading.

A-

www.haikasoru.com

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 20, 2014

DC COMICS

JUN140219     BATMAN AND ROBIN #34 (ROBIN RISES)     $2.99
APR140275     BATMAN ARKHAM UNHINGED HC VOL 04     $24.99
MAY140377     BATMAN ARKHAM UNHINGED TP VOL 03     $16.99
JUN140209     BATMAN ETERNAL #20     $2.99
MAY140369     BATMAN INCORPORATED TP VOL 02 GOTHAMS MOST WANTED (N52)     $16.99
JUN140227     BATWOMAN #34     $2.99
APR140272     BRIGHTEST DAY OMNIBUS HC     $75.00
JUN140303     FABLES #143 (MR)     $2.99
JUN140243     GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #34     $2.99
JUN148151     HARLEY QUINN #0 DIRECTORS CUT 2ND PTG     $4.99
JUN140255     INFINITE CRISIS FIGHT FOR THE MULTIVERSE #2     $3.99
JUN140181     INFINITY MAN AND THE FOREVER PEOPLE #3     $2.99
MAY140365     JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK TP VOL 04 THE REBIRTH OF EVIL (N52)     $16.99
MAY140368     KATANA TP VOL 01 SOULTAKER (N52)     $19.99
MAY140408     LUCIFER TP VOL 04 (MR)     $29.99
JUN140145     MULTIVERSITY #1     $4.99
JUN140162     NEW 52 FUTURES END #16 (WEEKLY)     $2.99
JUN148150     NEW SUICIDE SQUAD #1 2ND PTG     $2.99
JUN140236     RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #34     $2.99
JUN140260     SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED CRISIS OF IMAGINATION #8     $2.99
JUN140247     SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #1     $3.99
JUN140206     SUPERGIRL #34 (DOOMED)     $2.99
JUN140178     TEEN TITANS #2     $2.99
JUN140291     TEEN TITANS GO #5     $2.99
JUN140184     TRINITY OF SIN PANDORA #14     $2.99
JUN140311     UNWRITTEN VOL 2 APOCALYPSE #8 (MR)     $3.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

FEB140310     BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM HARLEY QUINN STATUE     $124.95
FEB140312     BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE BY JAE LEE     $79.95

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 20, 2014

MARVEL COMICS

JUN140651     ALL NEW GHOST RIDER #6     $3.99
JUN140639     ALL NEW ULTIMATES #6     $3.99
JUN140704     ALL NEW X-FACTOR #12     $3.99
MAY140944     CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION SOCIETY SERPENTS TP     $34.99
JUN140619     DAREDEVIL #7 SIN     $3.99
MAY140946     DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID TP VOL 06     $15.99
JUN140660     DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #4     $3.99
JUN140697     DEADPOOL DRACULAS GAUNTLET #7     $3.99
JUN140694     DEADPOOL VS X-FORCE #3     $3.99
JUN140669     ELEKTRA #5     $3.99
MAY140940     JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY BY GILLEN TP VOL 02 COMPLETE COLL     $34.99
MAY140936     LOKI AGENT OF ASGARD TP VOL 01 TRUST ME     $19.99
JUN140698     MAGNETO #8     $3.99
JUN140636     MIGHTY AVENGERS #13     $3.99
JUN148106     MS MARVEL #1 6TH PTG PICHELLI VAR ANMN     $2.99
JUN148088     MS MARVEL #4 2ND PTG MCKELVIE VAR     $2.99
JUN148089     MS MARVEL #5 2ND PTG ALPHONA VAR     $2.99
JUN140673     MS MARVEL #7     $2.99
JUN140630     NEW AVENGERS #23     $3.99
JUN140615     NOVA #20 SIN     $3.99
JUN140614     ORIGINAL SINS #5     $3.99
MAY140933     PUNISHER TP VOL 01 BLACK AND WHITE     $17.99
JUN140708     SAVAGE WOLVERINE #22     $3.99
JUN140633     SECRET AVENGERS #7     $3.99
JUN148086     SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1 2ND PTG BIANCHI VAR ANMN     $3.99
JUN140705     STORM #2     $3.99
MAY140934     WINTER SOLDIER TP BITTER MARCH     $16.99
JUN140685     WOLVERINE ANNUAL #1     $4.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for August 20, 2014

IDW PUBLISHING

JUN140340     (USE JUN148390) LITTLE NEMO RETURN TO SLUMBERLAND #1 SUBSCRIPTION     $3.99
JUN140457     AIRBOY ARCHIVE TP VOL 02     $29.99
JUN140364     JUDGE DREDD #22     $3.99
JUN140339     LITTLE NEMO RETURN TO SLUMBERLAND #1     $3.99
JUN140377     MONSTER & MADMAN TP     $17.99
JUN140390     MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDS FOREVER #8     $3.99
JUN140395     SAMURAI JACK #11     $3.99
JUN140368     SINISTER DEXTER TP     $24.99
JUN140446     STAR SLAMMERS REMASTERED #6     $3.99
JUN140383     SUPER SECRET CRISIS WAR GRIM ADV OF BILLY & MANDY #1     $3.99
JUN140384     SUPER SECRET CRISIS WAR GRIM ADV OF BILLY & MANDY #1 SUBSCRIPTION     $3.99
JUN140405     TMNT ADVENTURES TP VOL 08     $19.99
FEB140386     TMNT ANNUAL 2014     $7.99
JUN140412     TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE #32 DAWN O/T AUTOBOTS     $3.99
JUN140430     X-FILES YEAR ZERO #2     $3.99