Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Reads You Review: ARCHIE #632

ARCHIE #632
ARCHIE COMICS

SCRIPT/PENCILS: Dan Parent
INKS: Rich Koslowski
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
COLORS: Digikore Studios
COVER: Dan Parent
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S.

Archie Marries Valerie: Part 2 of 4 – “With this Ring!”

It had been several years since I’d read an Archie comic book, but my interest was aroused when I saw the cover of Archie #631. The cover featured Archie Andrews cradling Valerie Smith of Josie and the Pussycats in his arms, as the two kissed. I am a huge fan of Josie and the Pussycats going back to the two, early 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series starring the characters.

The current storyline running in the long-running Archie comic book series is “Archie Marries Valerie.” Apparently, the two have been eyeing each other for some time, and now that Valerie and her family have moved to Archie’s hometown of Riverdale, the two have gotten closer.

As Archie #632 opens, Valerie takes a stroll down Memory Lane, the magical street that allows characters to see possible futures. Valerie sees a future in which she and Archie are going to get married, but not everyone is happy, especially long-time, off-again, on-again girlfriend, Veronica Lodge. However, Valerie’s band, Josie and the Pussycats, and Archie’s band, The Archies, have an active touring schedule. So can they unite their separate professional lives in order to make a personal life together work?

What a delightful comic book this is. I wondered if Archie the series still had its special brand of charm and magic, and it does. I could read this every day. The simplest thing that I can say is that if you ever read and liked Archie, you can still read and like Archie. Current writer/artist, Dan Parent, keeps things retro cool, while modernizing the characters, settings, and plots, and that makes Archie’s very own comic book series eternally young and fun.

A-

http://www.archiecomics.com/

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 20 2012

DC COMICS

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Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 30 2012

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IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for May 30 2012

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Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 30 2012

DARK HORSE COMICS

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Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 30 2012

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FEB120403 AMERICAS GOT POWERS #2 (OF 6) $2.99
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MAR120508 WALKING DEAD #98 (MR) $2.99

Comics and Magazines from Diamond Distributors for May 30 2012

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COMICS
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT Jim Aparo Volume 1

LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT JIM APARO VOLUME 1
DC COMICS

WRITER: Bob Haney
ARTIST: Jim Aparo
COVER: Jim Aparo with Alan Passalaqua
Artists on cover reprints: Jim Aparo, Murphy Anderson, Bob Brown, Nick Cardy, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, Irv Novick, George Papp, Howard Purcell, George Roussos
ISBN: 978-1-4012-3375-4; hardcover
360pp, Color, $49.99 U.S., $57.00 CAN

Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 1 offers readers three times the fun. How does this hardcover collection do that? This 360-page book reprints 23 issues of The Brave and the Bold, published over a five-year period, covering late 1970 to late 1975. Because it was a Batman team-up book for most of its run, this collection finds The Batman joining forces with such classic DC Comics heroes as Aquaman, Deadman, the Metal Men, the Phantom Stranger, Sgt. Rock, Swamp Thing, and the Teen Titans; plus the trio of Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and the Black Canary, and even a bizarre team-up of The Batman and his arch-nemesis, The Joker.

The second cool thing about the book is that every story reprinted within its fine covers is written by Bob Haney. Over a three-decade career at DC Comics, Haney was a key contributor to what would become the DC Universe, including being a co-creator of the original Teen Titans.

However, the purpose of this book and the third great thing about it is its focus on the late Jim Aparo. Aparo’s 30-plus year career at DC Comics as a comic book artist was a high-water mark for the American comic book industry. For the past few years, DC Comics has been publishing book collections showcasing the work of some of the most influential Batman artists of the last four decades. Hardback trade collections have gathered comic book stories drawn by such artists as Neal Adams, Don Newton, and Marshall Rogers. Now, the focus is on Jim Aparo, beginning with the subject of this comic book review, Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 1.

Debuting in 1955, The Brave and the Bold featured the debut of the Justice League of America (#28, February-March 1960) and of what would become the Teen Titans (#54, July 1964). Beginning with its 74th issue, The Brave and the Bold became a Batman team-up title. Jim Aparo, who at the time had only been at DC Comics a few years, was the fill-in artist for The Brave and the Bold #98. Beginning with #100, he became the regular artist and from 1971 to end of The Brave and the Bold in 1983, Aparo was the series’ regular artist.

Over a 30-year period, Aparo was probably the most prolific artist on the Batman line of comic books, but during that time, other Batman artists, like Neal Adams, Marshall Rogers, and Frank Miller, received more attention and critical acclaim. Aparo was clearly influenced by Neal Adams, who was his contemporary. Still, Aparo had his own style and was able to stand apart and also influence later Batman comic book artists, including, by my estimation, Norm Breyfogle, Alan Davis, and Bruce Timm.

Unlike the muscular, pumped-up Batman that is familiar to today’s readers or the classic line, cleanly-designed Batman of the Golden and Silver Ages, Aparo’s Batman is a lean, muscular figure. Aparo gives Batman the rangy and nimble physique of a natural athlete. He poses Batman in a way that makes him seem like a normal person, but also presents him in a classical fashion, as if Batman were posing before a figure drawing class. Aparo also gives Deadman the natural/classical ideal treatment during the character’s appearance and team-up with Batman. (The Brave and the Bold #104, “Second Chance for a Deadman”).

Aparo’s Batman is unmistakably human. Of course, Bob Haney gets credit as the writer of the stories reprinted here, but comics is a graphics medium in which a storyteller draws the story. Aparo’s Batman comes across as a tangible person. He is vulnerable and fragile, contemplative and thoughtful, stalwart and steady, brave and bold, and is as surprisingly emotional as he is consistently rational (as a detective).

Whoever made Aparo the regular artist on The Brave and the Bold made the perfect choice. Aparo had the ability to adapt Batman’s emotions, moods, and appearance for wildly differing scenarios. That also made him the perfect artist to draw Batman stories which paired him with other characters that were like him, only somewhat like him, and not like him at all.

In the story “The Commune of Defiance,” (The Brave and the Bold #102), Batman and the Teen Titans unite to help a group of young people save their blighted neighborhood. In this story, Batman is a father figure who not only discourages the young radicals’ propensity towards violence, but also encourages them to work towards their goal. Here, Batman the masked avenger becomes Batman the defender and people’s champ. He believes that if someone saves these young people’s neighborhood for them, it will mean much less than if they did the work to save and rebuild their homes. Today, Batman would be called a “thug hugger” for his stance in this story. So it is safe to say that this Batman, who bucks the police and political power in Gotham to help “young criminals” save their neighborhood, will never been seen again.

What we as readers and people who appreciate the medium lost when Jim Aparo retired was a storyteller who recognized what is best about these superheroes. They are not gods and figures of some new mythology. They are like us, but better; they are idealized versions of what we’d like to be. Our good sense and perhaps, some physical revulsion might keep us from jumping into the middle of an inferno to save a life. A superhero like Batman is someone like us – someone we want to be – who will indeed dive into the inferno. This is Aparo’s Batman.

I don’t mean to do a disservice to Bob Haney, a master storyteller who could do in a single issue what someone apparently can’t do in six issues of Justice League – tell a complete story. However, Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 1 is about Jim Aparo. I’ve long thought this, and now, I can unleash this thought. Jim Aparo, at this point in time, is the greatest Batman artist in the history of comic books.

A+


Negromancer Reviews "Men in Black 3"

I saw Men in Black 3 yesterday.  It was pleasant and inoffensive, but not the "best Men in Black" as some critics have apparently said (at least, I don't think so).  Read the review here.  I loved the villain, Boris the Animal, and Josh Brolin certainly brings a touch of poignance to the story, which it needs.

Seeing the movie reminds me that I've never read the original comic book, The Men in Black.  I need to.

George Lucas: Billionaire Philanthropist


Going Where No Billionaire Has Gone Before
By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
15 May 12

Reader Supported News Perspective

The world needs more billionaires like George Lucas.

George Lucas, worth $3.2 billion as of 2011, may have ruined his reputation with his fans by creating Jar Jar Binks and making a travesty of a film like Episode 1, but his latest move may be the finest moment of his career.

At first, Lucas intended to use his property at Old Grady Ranch in Marin County, California, to build a 300,000 square-foot movie studio. The plan, according to Lucas, would generate $300 million in economic activity for the area. His neighbors resisted him every step of the way, insisting that the constant construction and extra traffic would be a blight to the community.

Now, the filmmaker has abandoned his efforts, and instead will build affordable housing for low-income families and elderly people living on fixed incomes. Here's an excerpt from his official statement:

"We plan to sell the Grady property expecting that the land will revert back to its original use for residential housing. We hope we will be able to find a developer who will be interested in low-income housing since it is scarce in Marin. If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that the people who need it most will benefit."

There are literally five vacant buildings for every homeless person in America. And the latest US Census data shows that half of America is either poor or low-income. After the housing bubble burst and the recession hit, homelessness jumped 32% between April 2008 and April 2009, undoubtedly exacerbated by all the new foreclosures. And, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 40% of those facing eviction from foreclosures are renters. An additional seven million low-income households are at risk of foreclosure. Despite all this, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, whose bank has been accused of fraudulently foreclosing on thousands of veterans, haughtily defended his bank's practice of risky Wall Street speculative trading that sent a whopping $2 billion down the drain.

If anything has changed in the last ten years since the first Star Wars prequel was made and today, it's been a greater redistribution of wealth from the bottom 90% to the top 0.1% like Lucas. And while the billionaires at Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase are fraudulently foreclosing on needy families, one billionaire filmmaker is making housing more accessible for people who need it the most.

While Lucas' gesture is a good one, it shows the complete lack of attention being paid to low-income families by elected officials, whose job is supposedly to uphold the rights of their constituents when they're being victimized by predatory banking, lending, and deceptively fraudulent mortgages. If President Obama was bold enough to stand up to the Jamie Dimons of the world, he would declare housing to be a human right, make more low-income housing a national priority, and give every American adult who owns a mortgage a $100,000 principal reduction to keep mortgages more in line with the actual value of their home.

Poverty has gone up just as dramatically as the wealth amassed by the 1% and the .01% like George Lucas. And the amount of available low-income housing for needy families has gone down just as dramatically as the value of millions of homes owned by those victimized by the reckless greed of Wall Street executives like Jamie Dimon.

Until George Lucas and his fellow multi-billionaires find it in their hearts to build affordable housing for everyone who needs it, we must hold our elected officials accountable if they continue to side with their Wall Street campaign donors over the 99%.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut. You can contact Carl at carl@rsnorg.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

DC Comics Super Heroes Inspire Fine Art and Tour

From left to right: Movie director Zack Snyder, DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee in a May 22 2012 Business Wire photographic image.


Original Fine Art Inspired by the Universe of DC Comics Super Heroes Kicks Off a Multi-City Tour

The “Darkness & Light” Art Exhibit Features an Awe-Inspiring Collection of Pop-Culture and Fine Art Interpretations of the World’s Most Iconic Heroes as You’ve Never Seen Them Before

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment yesterday premiered “Darkness & Light: Art Inspired by Heroes & Villains, Hope & Heroism,” a collection of original artwork inspired by the universe of DC Comics and its iconic characters, including JUSTICE LEAGUE super heroes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and re-imagined by exceptional contemporary artists from around the world. To celebrate the unveiling of this one-of-a-kind collection, DC Entertainment opened the doors to its new Burbank headquarters at The Pointe with an open house and private reception.

“We work with many of these amazing artists day-in and day-out. With this project, we gave them the free rein to interpret the universe of DC Comics super heroes as they see them in their medium of choice. What we got back was a fascinating collection of visually stunning pieces, each offering a completely unique perspective on these universally recognized characters,” said Brian Deputy, Vice President of Creative Worldwide for Warner Bros. Consumer Products and curator of the “Darkness & Light” exhibit.

The collection, which includes more than 100 original works from artists spanning the globe and ranging in various forms, from graphic designers and painters to sculptors, will also raise awareness for DC Entertainment’s WE CAN BE HEROES giving campaign (http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/).

The participating artists hail from around the globe—as well as within the halls of Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment—and bring their diverse backgrounds, unique artistic styles and perceptions of the universe of DC Comics to this collection. Some key artists involved include Kiyoshi Nakazawa, Martin Ontiveros, Mike Palermo, Nathan Sawaya, Bwana Spoons and Amanda Visell.

The collection includes a piece by Martin Ontiveros called “Order/Chaos,” which depicts good and evil together, rendered in ink and paint on board; Kiyoshi Nakazawa combined various media in his dramatic interpretation of Batman in “A Great Sense of Humor”; working in steel, wood, paper, plaster and resin, Mike Palermo created "Man of Steel" that shows that there is a hero in everyone; Amanda Visell’s piece, “Wonder Woman,” uses paint on board to show this female super hero’s stoic but sexy power; and an oversized original work of art by legendary comics artist and DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, which utilizes spray paint and acrylic on canvas to highlight the profile of Batman with a color scheme inspired by the colors of Africa – yellow, green, red and black.

“This distinctive collection unites the comic industry with contemporary artists, highlighting each artist’s individuality and style,” continued Deputy. “The creators each had a deep connection to the characters and worlds of DC Comics and this passion is brought to life and captured for all to see through this incredibly vivid collection.”

Up next, “Darkness & Light” will take to the road with a series of public exhibitions that will continue to benefit and raise awareness for WE CAN BE HEROES, including a showing in San Diego at the premier Michael J. Wolf gallery during Comic-Con International from July 13-15. Additional exhibition dates and locations to be announced this summer.

WE CAN BE HEROES utilizes the iconic JUSTICE LEAGUE to help raise awareness and funds for three nonprofit partners – Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps – who are delivering aid to millions of people in need of critical assistance in the famine-ravaged Horn of Africa. For more information on DC Entertainment’s WE CAN BE HEROES campaign, please visit http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/.

To learn more about DC Entertainment and its iconic characters, please visit http://www.dccomics.com/.


About Warner Bros. Consumer Products:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About DC Entertainment:
DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating its content across Warner Bros. Entertainment and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world. In January 2012, DC Entertainment, in collaboration with Warner Bros. and Time Warner divisions, launched We Can Be Heroes—a giving campaign featuring the iconic Justice League super heroes—to raise awareness and funds to fight the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Reads You Review: STAR WARS: CRIMSON EMPIRE III – Empire Lost #2

STAR WARS: CRIMSON EMPIRE III – EMPIRE LOST #2 (OF 6)
DARK HORSE COMICS

STORY: Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley
SCRIPT: Mike Richardson
ART: Paul Gulacy
COLORS: Michael Bartolo
LETTERS: Michael Heisler
COVER: Dave Dorman
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

In the Star Wars Expanded Universe timeline, there is a period known as “The New Republic Era.” This period takes place between 5 to 25 years after the Battle of Yavin (ABY), the climatic battle in the 1977 film, Star Wars, in which Luke Skywalker destroys the Death Star. This era essentially begins a year after the events depicted in Return of the Jedi (1983).

In this period, the Rebel Alliance tries to become a functioning galactic government, a New Republic. However, there are growing pains; imperial loyalists, as well as various insurrectionists and warlords, prove to be obstacles. Luke Skywalker also begins training apprentices in order to rebuild the Jedi Order. Star Wars: Crimson Empire is set in “The New Republic Era.”

Star Wars: Crimson Empire – Empire Lost takes place 13 years ABY (or 8 years into “The New Republic Era”). The New Republic’s power and influence is growing, with Chief of State Leia Organa Solo overseeing the government at Coruscant, the home planet of the New Republic’s government.

In Star Wars: Crimson Empire – Empire Lost #2, a hooded figure ferments hatred of the New Republic by speaking before large crowds, but a raid of a toxic weapons dump only hints at his larger plans. At the same time, Kir Kanos, the last remaining member of Emperor Palpatine’s Royal Guards, meets former high-ranking Imperial military officials, as they plot the birth of a new empire. Meanwhile, Mirith Sinn continues her job as Security Chief. She ensures the safety of Leia and her children, but Sinn reluctantly accepted this position. Now, her skills are about to be tested.

In his back page column to readers, Star Wars: Crimson Empire – Empire Lost co-writer and series editor, Randy Stradley seems proud as he talks about the purpose of Crimson Empire III – to tell stories from the part of the Imperials. Stradley and Dark Horse can indeed take pride in Crimson Empire III. This second issue has the requisite sci-fi action that is Star Wars, but, as will likely be the case with the entire series, it will be able to delve deeper into the political scheming and galactic intrigue that George Lucas only lightly touched upon in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

This looks to be a character driven series, and virtually every lead or major supporting character will be attractive to readers. The most intriguing are Kir Kanos, the former Imperial guard, and Mirith Sinn, the security agent with a dark connection to the Skywalker family.

The art by Paul Gulacy is good, both in terms of style and storytelling. He brings the mood and atmosphere necessary to make the story by Mike Richardson and Stradley work as something more than just science fiction action and violence. Over three decades of drawing comics, and Gulacy is still at the top of his game.


Consume Star Wars: Crimson Empire III - Empire Lost


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 23 2012

DC COMICS

OCT110244 ABSOLUTE BATMAN DARK VICTORY HC $99.99

MAR120227 ALL STAR WESTERN #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $3.99

MAR120166 AQUAMAN #9 $2.99

MAR128169 BATMAN #3 2ND PTG $2.99

MAR120149 BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 $2.99

MAR120152 BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 COMBO PACK $3.99

FEB120266 BATMAN KNIGHTFALL TP NEW ED VOL 02 KNIGHTQUEST $29.99

MAR120193 BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $2.99

MAR120287 DOMINIQUE LAVEAU VOODOO CHILD #3 (MR) $2.99

MAR120275 FABLES #117 (MR) $2.99

MAR120168 FLASH #9 $2.99

MAR120173 FURY OF FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MEN #9 $2.99

MAR120208 GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #9 $2.99

MAR120218 I VAMPIRE #9 $2.99

MAR120212 JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9 $2.99

SEP110209 MAD ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 $59.99

FEB120312 MAD VINYL SPY VS SPY 2 PACK $49.99

MAR128166 NIGHTWING #8 2ND PTG $2.99

MAR120175 SAVAGE HAWKMAN #9 $2.99

FEB120267 SHOWCASE PRESENTS SEA DEVILS TP VOL 01 $19.99

FEB120251 STORMWATCH TP VOL 01 THE DARK SIDE $14.99

MAR120180 SUPERMAN #9 $2.99

MAR120229 TEEN TITANS #9 (THE CULLING) $2.99

MAR120286 UNWRITTEN #37 (MR) $2.99

MAR120226 VOODOO #9 $2.99

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 23 2012

MARVEL COMICS

MAR120573 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #686 ENDS $3.99

FEB120672 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN YOUNG READERS TP VOL 01 BEHIND MASK $6.99

MAR120623 ASTONISHING X-MEN #50 $3.99

MAR128142 AVENGERS #25 2ND PTG ACUNA VAR AVX (PP #1020) $3.99

MAR120646 AVENGERS MANY FACES OF HENRY PYM TP $19.99

MAR120584 CAPTAIN AMERICA #12 $3.99

MAR120586 CAPTAIN AMERICA AND HAWKEYE #631 $2.99

MAR120660 DAKEN DARK WOLVERINE PREM HC NO MORE HEROES $19.99

MAR120628 DEADPOOL #55 $2.99

MAR120685 DEADPOOL MAX TP INVOLUNTARY ARMAGEDDON $19.99

MAR120580 DOROTHY AND WIZARD IN OZ #7 (OF 8) $3.99

MAR120597 FANTASTIC FOUR #606 $2.99

MAR120593 HULK #52 $2.99

MAR120553 HULK SMASH AVENGERS #4 (OF 5) $2.99

MAR120604 JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #638 EXILED $2.99

MAR120669 MARVEL UNIVERSE SPIDER-MAN AMAZING FANTASY DIGEST TP $9.99

MAR120611 MARVEL UNIVERSE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #2 $2.99

MAR120600 MARVEL ZOMBIES DESTROY #2 (OF 5) $3.99

MAR120588 MIGHTY THOR #14 $3.99

MAR120665 MIGHTY THOR BY MATT FRACTION PREM HC VOL 02 $24.99

MAR120679 MIGHTY THOR BY MATT FRACTION TP VOL 01 $19.99

MAR120641 MMW AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 07 $24.99

MAR120642 MMW AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 07 DM VAR ED 44 $24.99

DEC110710 MMW ATLAS ERA JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY HC VOL 04 $64.99

DEC110711 MMW ATLAS ERA JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY HC VOL 04 DM VAR ED 180 $64.99

MAR120543 SECRET AVENGERS #27 AVX $3.99

MAR120690 STRIKEFORCE MORITURI TP VOL 03 $34.99

MAR120684 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN DOSM FALLOUT TP $19.99

MAR120564 ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #12 $3.99

MAR120666 UNCANNY X-FORCE OTHERWORLD PREM HC $24.99

MAR120680 UNCANNY X-FORCE TP VOL 03 DARK ANGEL SAGA BOOK 01 $19.99

MAR120656 VENOM CIRCLE OF FOUR PREM HC $29.99

MAR128144 WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #9 2ND PTG BACHALO VAR AVX (PP #1020) $3.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors May 23 2012

IDW PUBLISHING

MAR120332 COBRA ONGOING #13 $3.99
MAR120368 COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS GN $21.99
MAR120339 GI JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO TP VOL 04 $19.99
MAR120364 GODZILLA ONGOING #1 $3.99
FEB120370 HERO COMICS 2012 $3.99
MAR120353 JOE HILL THE CAPE HC $24.99
JAN120428 MAGIC THE GATHERING #4 $3.99
MAR120380 SMOKE AND MIRRORS #3 (OF 5) $3.99
MAR120348 TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS EYE ONGOING #5 $3.99
MAR120322 TRUE BLOOD ONGOING #1 $3.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 23 2012

DARK HORSE COMICS

FEB120054 ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $49.99
JAN120086 ADVENTURES OF DOG MENDONCA PIZZABOY TP $12.99
JAN120078 BTVS SEASON 8 LIBRARY HC VOL 01 LONG WAY HOME $29.99
MAR120026 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #12 KIETH CVR $7.99
MAR120027 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #12 MOTTER VAR CVR $7.99
FEB120020 DOCTOR SOLAR MAN OF THE ATOM TP VOL 02 REVELATION $15.99
MAR120023 GUILD FAWKES #1 DUFFIELD CVR $3.50
MAR120030 MIND MGMT #1 KINDT CVR $3.99
MAR120021 ORCHID #7 (MR) $3.50
MAR120049 RAGEMOOR #3 $3.50
MAR120020 RESIDENT ALIEN #1 $3.50
JAN120109 SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON ARCHIVES HC VOL 04 $49.99
MAR120012 STAR WARS DARTH VADER GHOST PRISON #1 (OF 5) WILKINS CVR $3.50

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 23 2012

IMAGE COMICS

FEB120422 27 (TWENTY SEVEN) TP VOL 02 SECOND SET $12.99
DEC110486 ARTIFACTS ORIGINS FIRST BORN TP $19.99
MAR120478 CHEW #26 (MR) $2.99
NOV110450 ELEPHANTMEN #39 (MR) $3.99
MAR128258 EPIC KILL #1 2ND PTG $2.99
MAR120431 FOOT SOLDIERS TP VOL 01 $19.99
MAR120432 HAUNT TP VOL 03 $14.99
MAR120493 NEAR DEATH #8 $2.99
MAR120437 NETHERWORLD TP $19.99
MAR120494 NO PLACE LIKE HOME #4 (MR) $2.99
MAR120497 PROPHET #25 $2.99
MAR120498 REBEL BLOOD #3 (OF 4) (MR) $3.50
MAR128165 SAGA #1 4TH PTG (MR) $2.99
MAR128168 THIEF OF THIEVES #2 3RD PTG $2.99
MAR128239 THIEF OF THIEVES #3 3RD PTG $2.99
MAR128240 THIEF OF THIEVES #4 2ND PTG $2.99
FEB120528 WITCHBLADE #156 CVR A CHRISTOPER $2.99
FEB120529 WITCHBLADE #156 CVR B BENES & BERNARD $2.99
MAR120445 XENOHOLICS TP VOL 01 (MR) $14.99
MAR120405 YOUNGBLOOD #71 CVR A LIEFELD $2.99
MAR120406 YOUNGBLOOD #71 CVR B OTTLEY $2.99
FEB128256 YOUNGBLOOD #71 CVR C GIARRUSSO $2.99

Comics and Magazines from Diamond Distributors for May 23 2012

COMICS

MAR120819 ACOLYTE CHRONICLES #1 $3.99

MAR120756 ARCHIE #633 $2.99

MAR120837 BART SIMPSON COMICS #71 $2.99

JAN120833 BEST OF SONIC THE HEDGEHOG HC $24.99

MAR120917 BEST SHOT IN THE WEST ADVENTURES OF NAT LOVE GN $19.99

FEB121059 BIG NATE WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG TP $9.99

JAN120910 BILL GATES CO FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT ONE SHOT $7.99

FEB121145 BOYS ONLY HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING GN $6.99

SEP111126 BUCK ROGERS IN 25TH CENTURY DAILIES HC VOL 06 1936-1938 $49.99

MAR120792 CALIGULA HC VOL 01 (MR) $27.99

MAR120793 CALIGULA HC VOL 01 SIGNED ED (MR) $34.99

MAR120791 CALIGULA TP VOL 01 (MR) $19.99

JAN120793 CAVEWOMAN MUTATION #2 $3.75

FEB120729 CAVEWOMAN MUTATION #2 BUDD ROOT SP ED PI

MAR121192 CLINT 2.0 #1 (MR) $6.99

MAR120802 CROSSED BADLANDS #6 (MR) $3.99

MAR120803 CROSSED BADLANDS #6 TORTURE CVR (MR) $3.99

MAR120804 CROSSED BADLANDS #6 WRAP CVR (MR) $3.99

FEB121077 DELTORA QUEST GN VOL 06 $10.99

DEC111338 DILBERT TEAMWORK MEANS YOU CANT PICK SIDE TP $12.99

MAR120733 DINO DUCK PREHYSTERICAL GN $6.99

JAN121192 DUNGEON ZENITH SET VOL 1-3 $39.99

FEB120826 ELRIC THE BALANCE LOST #10 $3.99

FEB128242 FANBOYS VS ZOMBIES #1 (2ND PTG) (PP #1018) $1.00

MAR128148 FANBOYS VS ZOMBIES #2 (2ND PTG) (PP #1020) $3.99

MAR120773 FATHOM KIANI VOL 2 #2 CVR A NOME $3.50

MAR120774 FATHOM KIANI VOL 2 #2 CVR B RYAN $3.50

JAN120781 FEMFORCE #159 $9.95

DEC110834 FLASH GORDON INVASION O/T RED SWORD TP (RES) $19.99

NOV110743 FLASH GORDON VENGENCE OF MING GN $12.99

NOV111165 GFT PRESENTS NEVERLAND HOOK #5 A CVR SEJIC $2.99

NOV111166 GFT PRESENTS NEVERLAND HOOK #5 B CVR CAPPROTTI $2.99

FEB121146 GIRLS ONLY HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING GN $6.99

DEC111174 GOLDEN AGE WESTERN COMICS HC $24.95

DEC111025 GREEN HORNET #25 $3.99

MAR120848 HELLRAISER #14 (MR) $3.99

FEB121119 HOLLIDAY GN (MR) $19.99

JAN121110 INTERIORAE TP $19.99

MAR120859 IRREDEEMABLE #37 $3.99

DEC111184 JUDGE DREDD CRUSADE TP $16.99

MAR120761 JUGHEADS DOUBLE DIGEST #181 $3.99

FEB120960 KEVIN SMITH BIONIC MAN #9 $3.99

FEB121072 KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #186 $5.99

DEC118186 LADY MECHANIKA #2 CVR G 2ND PTG (PP #1009) $3.99

FEB120733 LIO STILL ANOTHER LIO COLL ZOMBIES NEED LOVE TOO TP $12.99

MAR120967 LORD OF THE JUNGLE ANNUAL #1 (MR) $4.99

FEB121167 MAKESHIFT MIRACLE HC VOL 01 GIRL FROM NOWHERE $19.99

FEB128232 PRINCESS OF MARS ILLUSTRATED CLASSICS GN (PP #1017) $15.95

FEB120984 QUEEN SONJA TP VOL 03 COMING OF AGE $19.99

FEB128203 RICH JOHNSTONS CAPTAIN AMERICAN IDOL #1 (2ND PTG) (PP #1018) $3.99

FEB128204 RICH JOHNSTONS SCIENTHORLOGY #1 (2ND PTG) (PP #1018) $3.99

MAR121002 ROBERT JORDAN WHEEL OF TIME EYE O/T WORLD #25 $3.99

DEC110853 SOULFIRE VOL 3 #8 CVR A FABOK $3.50

DEC110854 SOULFIRE VOL 3 #8 CVR B BENITEZ $3.50

MAR120771 STAN LEES MIGHTY 7 #2 $2.99

NOV110991 STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER $39.99

JAN120904 STORM RIDER #1 $3.99

FEB120736 STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE TP VOL 01 BERRY FUN $14.99

FEB120889 TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #66 DOUBLE DLX ED (MR) $21.99

APR120986 TIME FOR FRANK AND HIS FRIEND GN $14.95

JAN121003 VAMPIRELLA #17 $3.99

DEC110981 WARLORD OF MARS DEJAH THORIS #12 (MR) $3.99

FEB120990 ZORRO RIDES AGAIN TP VOL 01 $19.99

MAGAZINES
MAR121368 DIABOLIQUE #10 $9.98
APR121399 FANGORIA #314 $9.99
JAN121413 HOBBY JAPAN APR 2012 PI
MAR121373 HORRORHOUND #35 $6.99
JAN121348 ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE #37 $15.00
MAR121312 JUXTAPOZ #137 JUN 2012 $5.99
MAR121316 LEES TOY REVIEW #220 SPRING ISSUE $6.95
FEB121280 RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE #122 $9.95
FEB121806 WHITE DWARF #388 PI

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: X 3-IN-1 EDITION, VOL. 2



X 3-IN-1 EDITION, VOL. 2
VIZ MEDIA

CREATORS: CLAMP
Story and Script and Book Design: Nanase Ohkawa
Art/Cover Illustration: Mokona Apapa
Art Direction: Mick Nekoi
Art Assistance: Satsuki Igarashi
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
LETTERS: Annaliese Christman
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4041-2; paperback, Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
584pp, B&W with some color, $19.99 U.S. $22.99 CAN

CLAMP (or Clamp) is an all-female manga artist group and studio. The group began in the mid-1980s as a self-publishing collective of amateur artists. The group’s first professional work, RG Veda, apparently was started when the creators were still amateurs. Some of their best known titles are Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, and xxxHolic.

Originally entitled, X/1999, X is a shojo manga created by CLAMP. The series, which debuted in 1992, follows a young man who must deal with the fact that his destiny will determine the fate of humanity and the Earth. VIZ Media is currently publishing the series in their omnibus 3-in-1 editions, which collect three original Japanese volumes in one large-sized paperback volume or graphic novel.

The series centers on Kamui Shiro, a powerful young esper. Hinoto, a young blind woman, is Japan’s greatest seer, and she has foretold the end of the world. Kamui is at the center of this prophecy. There are two competing forces battling over Earth. The Dragons of Earth (The Seven Angels) believe that the conflict between man and nature cannot be resolved peaceful, so man, as destroyers, must be destroyed. The Dragons of Heaven (The Seven Seals) believe that the conflict between man and nature can be resolved peacefully. Hinoto hopes to win Kamui, who possesses tremendous arcane powers, to the side of the Dragons of Heaven. Kamui just wants to protect the two people most important to him, brother and sister, Fuma and Kotori Monou.

As X: 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2 (which reprints Japanese Vols. 4-6) begins, Sorata Arisugawa and Yuzuriha Nekoi, two of the Seven Seals, accompany Kamui to see Hinoto in her lair beneath the Diet Building in Tokyo. Hinoto has a lot to tell Kamui, but is she telling him the entire truth about his destiny? Seishiro Sakurazuka, one of the Seven Angels who previously attacked Kamui, confronts him again. The Dragons of Earth plot to protect their stolen prize, one of the Sacred Swords. Kamui is reunited with Kotori and her brother Fuma, and Fuma has something important to tell Kamui.

Once again, I am brief in my summary of this second volume of X: 3-in-1 Edition. Of course, there is so much more to the contents of this volume – subplots, flashbacks, big reveals, and new characters galore.

X is clearly an early work by CLAMP. It is not as polished as their later works, but the creators’ passion for this project is glaring and makes for a live-wire reading experience. There are times when the images, graphics, and visual storytelling just pounded my imagination. CLAMP packs pages with explosions of energy, debris, flowers, tones-upon-tones, and various effects. This is emotional and psychological in nature more than it is straight linear storytelling, but it is fun to read.

B+


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Leroy Douresseaux Reviews: MARKSMEN Volume 1

MARKSMEN VOLUME 1
IMAGE COMICS/BENAROYA PUBLISHING

CREATORS: Michael Benaroya, David Baxter, and Dave Elliot
STORY: David Baxter and Dave Elliot
SCRIPT: David Baxter
PENCILS: Javier Aranda
FINISHES: Gary Leach
COLORS: Jessica Kholinne and Benny Maulana
LETTERS: Bebe Giraffe
ADDITIONAL ART: Tomm Coker (series cover); Nam Kim and Matthew Dalton (end papers)
COVER: Javier Aranda and Gary Leach with Jessica Kholinne
ISBN: 978-1-60706-486-2; paperback
192pp, Color, $15.99 U.S.

Produced by Benaroya Publishing, Marksmen is a six-issue miniseries set in a post-apocalyptic America. It presents a world where everything seems to have gone wrong: a financial meltdown with a global domino effect, civil war, mass riots, looting on a large scale, opportunistic vigilantism, exodus from the cities, starvation, and even cannibalism.

Image Comics just released Marksmen Volume 1, a trade paperback collecting all six issues of the series with additional material. That includes “The Future in Our Sights,” an essay about the world of Marksmen and also two-pages of character designs. Hugo Award-winning science fiction author, Vernor Vinge (A Fire Upon the Deep, 1992) provides an afterword.

Created by Michael Benaroya, David Baxter, and Dave Elliot, Marksmen is dystopian science fiction. It is set 60 years after a global financial meltdown led to a civil war that splintered the United States into warring fiefdoms. Most of the action takes place in and around New San Diego (NSD), a technocratic utopia that offers the last bastion of peace and prosperity for those that live within its walls. Sgt. Drake McCoy, NSD’s best protector, is one of a select group known as the Marksmen, a defensive force descended from the Navy SEALs. The Marksmen defend the city from the numerous human threats that exist in the wasteland outside New San Diego’s walls.

Now, there is a new threat. The oil rich Lone Star State is sending a powerful army to steal New San Diego’s technological secrets. Arriving ahead of them is a renegade group of former Lone Star State denizens. One of them is Joe Percival, a former NSD with ties to Drake’s father, Admiral Leo McCoy, and his mother, Dr. Sharon Heston, the NSD’s head scientist. Will Percival and his son, Sean, have anything that can help Drake and the NSD stop the Lone Star Rangers? Or are the Rangers’ charismatic leader, The Duke, and resident religious fanatic, Deacon Glenn, really unstoppable?

There is not much to say about Marksmen other than to say that it is a damn good read. On Monday, May 14, I received a review copy from Benaroya Publishing. I read the first two chapters on Tuesday, May 15. On Wednesday, May 16, I practically devoured Chapters 3 to 6 and I wanted more. Marksmen is like Black Hawk Down meets Mad Max, but Marksmen’s villains are scarier than the bad guys in either of those movies.

This is a well-thought out future scenario. Writer David Baxter offers some sharp commentary on the real world social, political, and financial situations happening right now that could lead to a situation similar to the one presented in Marksmen. Then, Baxter turns it into a breathtaking science fiction and military action thriller. It is more popcorn fun than most Hollywood heavy hitter action flicks, and it is scarier because this story’s basis is grounded in the current disquieting reality.

On the storytelling end, the art by Javier Aranda (pencils) and Gary Leach (finishes) is good, but Aranda’s pencils don’t display the polished quality of a veteran artist. Composition and the layout of some of the panel interiors is a little off. However, Aranda has the ability to create drama and tension that grabs the reader, and he has a knack for visualizing both physical and non-physical conflict. This is why Marksmen keeps hitting the mark.

Readers looking for credible comic book action thrillers will want Marksmen Volume 1 for repeated readings.

A-


Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: MEGACONTEMPLATIONS: a fragmenta fable

MEGACONTEMPLATIONS: A FRAGMENTA FABLE
CANDLE LIGHT PRESS

WRITER/ARTIST: John Ira Thomas
32pp, (8.4” x 10.9”) Color, $9.00

Writer, editor, and publisher John Ira Thomas has published several graphic novels through Candle Light Press, the small publishing house he owns with a few friends. For the last few years, he has published, Fragmenta, a series of magazines/books (mooks) offering readers a look at his creative process. The fourth Fragmenta, Megacontemplations: a fragmenta fable, is a bit different.

Over three decades ago, young Mr. Thomas was in Sunday school, when he was asked to making a drawing that reflected what he and his classmates had learned that day. What Li’l John Ira drew would be considered blasphemous or rude if drawn by an adult, but from the point of view of a child, the drawing is both cute and startling. [Clink on the link below to get a large-sized view of the original drawing – Page 1].

Years later, he drew a second image, somewhat related to the first, for his frequent collaborator and friend, the superb comic book artist and illustrator, Jeremy Smith. [Clink on the second link below to see a large-sized view of that second drawing.] The new page took the inspiration of the childhood drawing (apparently the Holy Bible – 2 Kings 17:26) and moves the idea in another direction.

At the 2012 MegaCon, Thomas decided to see what else could happen in this story he started over 30 years earlier. So, this is my interpretation. The god of a particular king goes into a lion’s body, but later the lion is redeemed while the god falls (or falls injured). The light emanating from the lion sets in motion the selfish acts of the Grey Kings and thus, begins another journey – to redemption and the healing of a god or to self-induced destruction.

Megacontemplations leaves the readers to their own mental devices. It is like a picture book for adults, but drawn in a faux-crude, childlike style, and it reminds me of a handmade book or comic. It is a fable that reads like micro-sized high fantasy wearing the short pants of children’s literature: Tolkien arm wrestles Lewis on Aesop’s turf.

You might say that Megacontemplations is one of those evil books that “puts ideas in your head.” Reading it sparked my imagination and sent it on flights of fancy. You can’t ask more of that from a book, and if you can, it’s because you don’t like to read.

A-

Visit the CLP store: http://candlelightpress.com/frag4.html
http://www.candlelightpress.com/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 16 2012

DC COMICS

FEB120259 BATMAN BRUCE WAYNE THE ROAD HOME TP $17.99

MAR120197 BATWOMAN #9 $2.99

MAR120199 BIRDS OF PREY #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $2.99

MAR120231 BLUE BEETLE #9 $2.99

MAR120171 CAPTAIN ATOM #9 $2.99

MAR120202 CATWOMAN #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $2.99

FEB120248 CATWOMAN TP VOL 01 THE GAME $14.99

FEB120307 COVER GIRLS OF THE DCU RAVEN STATUE (RES) $100.00

MAR120172 DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #9 $2.99

FEB120290 DEADENDERS TP (MR) $29.99

FEB120285 FABLES TP VOL 01 LEGENDS IN EXILE NEW ED (MR) $12.99

FEB120311 GREEN LANTERN ANIMATED SERIES HAL JORDAN MAQUETTE (RES) $125.00

FEB120254 GREEN LANTERN BRIGHTEST DAY TP $19.99

MAR120210 GREEN LANTERN CORPS #9 $2.99

JAN120301 GREEN LANTERN HC VOL 01 SINESTRO $22.99

MAR120266 GREEN LANTERN THE ANIMATED SERIES #2 $2.99

MAR120278 HELLBLAZER #291 (MR) $2.99

MAR128090 JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 3RD PTG $3.99

MAR120159 JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 $3.99

MAR120162 JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 COMBO PACK $4.99

MAR120232 LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #9 $2.99

MAR120203 NIGHTWING #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $2.99

MAR120201 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $2.99

MAR120283 SAUCER COUNTRY #3 (MR) $2.99

FEB120296 SCALPED #58 (MR) $2.99

JAN120312 SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER VILLAINS HC VOL 02 $39.99

MAR120239 SHADE #8 (OF 12) $2.99

MAR120183 SUPERGIRL #9 $2.99

MAR120164 WONDER WOMAN #9 $2.99

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 16 2012

MARVEL COMICS

MAR128094 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #682 2ND PTG VAR DELLOTTO ENDS (PP #1019) $3.99

MAR128095 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #683 2ND PTG DELLOTTO VAR (PP #1019) $3.99

MAR120568 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ENDS OF EARTH #1 $3.99

MAR120538 AVENGERS #26 AVX $3.99

MAR120545 AVENGERS ACADEMY #30 AVX $2.99

MAR120582 AVENGERS BLACK WIDOW STRIKES #2 (OF 3) $2.99

MAR120647 AVENGERS CONTEST TP $16.99

MAR128092 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (OF 12) 3RD PTG CHO VAR (PP #1019) $3.99

MAR120534 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #4 (OF 12) AVX $3.99

MAR120528 AVX VS #2 (OF 6) $3.99

MAR120609 DAREDEVIL #13 $2.99

MAR120663 DEADPOOL MAX PREM HC SECOND CUT $24.99

MAR120596 FANTASTIC FOUR #605.1 $2.99

MAR120630 FURY MAX #2 (MR) $3.99

MAR120676 GENERATION HOPE END OF A GENERATION TP $15.99

MAR120552 HULK SMASH AVENGERS #3 (OF 5) $2.99

MAR120591 INCREDIBLE HULK #7.1 $2.99

MAR120590 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #517 $3.99

MAR120578 JOHN CARTER GODS OF MARS #3 (OF 5) $2.99

MAR120682 MARVEL UNIVERSE VS WOLVERINE TP $14.99

MAR120664 MOON KNIGHT BY BENDIS AND MALEEV PREM HC VOL 02 $24.99

MAR128096 NEW AVENGERS #24 2ND PTG DEODATO AVX (PP #1019) $3.99

MAR120643 NEW AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS PREM HC VOL 03 $29.99

MAR120603 NEW MUTANTS #42 EXILED $2.99

MAR120692 NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC TP VOL 07 $29.99

MAR120633 SECRET SERVICE #2 (OF 7) (MR) $2.99

MAR120613 THUNDERBOLTS #174 $2.99

MAR120539 UNCANNY X-MEN #12 AVX $3.99

MAR120567 VENOM #18 $2.99

MAR120587 WINTER SOLDIER #5 $2.99

MAR120681 WOLVERINE AND BLACK CAT CLAWS 2 TP $14.99

MAR120622 X-FACTOR #236 $2.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors from May 16 2012

IDW PUBLISHING

MAR120386 30 DAYS OF NIGHT 10 BLOODY YEARS TREASURY ED $9.99
MAR120398 COMPLETE CHESTER GOULDS DICK TRACY HC VOL 13 $39.99
FEB120401 JURASSIC PARK DANGEROUS GAMES HC $24.99
DEC110426 LAST UNICORN HC DLX ED $50.00
JAN120434 LOCKE & KEY CLOCKWORKS #6 (OF 6) $3.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 16 2012

DARK HORSE COMICS

MAR120040 BPRD HELL ON EARTH DEVILS ENGINE #1 (OF 3) $3.50
JAN120106 BRIDE OF THE WATER GOD TP VOL 11 $9.99
FEB120079 CLASSIC MARVEL CHARACTERS FF #5 DR DOOM $49.95
MAR120037 CONAN THE BARBARIAN #4 $3.50
JAN120122 DOMO QEE SERIES 4 PI
JAN120120 EERIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 10 $49.99
JAN128084 HELLBOY TP VOL 02 WAKE THE DEVIL (6TH PTG) $17.99
JAN120077 PARADOX ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS KULT TP $12.99
MAR120033 RESET #2 (OF 4) $3.50
MAR120015 STAR WARS DAWN O/T JEDI FORCE STORM #4 $3.50

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 16 2012

IMAGE COMICS

MAR120470 ACTIVITY #6 $3.50
JAN120577 ARTIFACTS FOIL VAR SILVESTRI SGN COMPLETE SET $500.00
MAR120410 DANCER #1 $3.50
MAR120479 DANGER CLUB #2 $2.99
MAR120480 DARKNESS #103 (MR) $2.99
MAR128079 FATALE #1 5TH PTG (MR) $3.50
MAR120483 GLORY #26 $2.99
FEB100414 HARDCORE #1 $2.99
MAR100466 HARDCORE #1 TOP COW STORE ED $10.00
MAR120487 HELL YEAH #3 $2.99
MAR120490 MANHATTAN PROJECTS #3 $3.50
DEC110561 MONDO #2 (OF 3) (MR) $4.99
MAR120499 SAGA #3 (MR) $2.99
MAR128105 THIEF OF THIEVES #1 3RD PTG $2.99
MAR120506 THIEF OF THIEVES #4 $2.99

Comics and Magazines from Diamond Distributors for May 16 2012

COMICS

FEB120896 100 MONTHS HC GN $29.95

MAR120884 ADVENTURE TIME #4 $3.99

MAR120758 ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #229 $3.99

FEB121067 ARE YOU MY MOTHER A COMIC DRAMA HC $22.00

MAR120998 ARMY OF DARKNESS ONGOING #4 $3.99

FEB121141 ATOMIC ROBO REAL SCIENCE ADV #2 $2.75

MAR121180 BEST OF ENEMIES HIST OF US & MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS HC VOL 01 $24.95

MAR121212 BOONDOCK SAINTS HC LTD ED $34.99

FEB121149 BUT I REALLY WANTED TO BE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST GN $24.95

FEB120997 CASTLE MANGO GN VOL 01 $12.95

JAN120795 CAVEWOMAN MUTATION #2 DEVON MASSEY SP ED PI

JAN121214 COLDEST CITY HC $19.99

FEB121116 CROGANS LOYALTY HC $14.99

DEC111186 DEAD OR ALIVE #4 (OF 4) $3.50

FEB121009 DF THE SHADOW #1 FRANCAVILLA EXC CVR $14.99

FEB121100 FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE HC VOL 01 NEW PTG $17.99

FEB121098 FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE HC VOL 05 HAPPY PRINCE $16.99

FEB121099 FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE SC VOL 01 NEW PTG $9.99

JAN120911 FEMALE FORCE CARRIE FISHER ONE SHOT $3.99

MAR121230 FLOWERS OF EVIL GN VOL 01 $10.95

JAN120797 GOLD DIGGER #138 $3.99

MAR121294 GRIMM FAIRY TALES #73 A CVR SEJIC (MR) $2.99

MAR121295 GRIMM FAIRY TALES #73 B CVR QUALANO (MR) $2.99

JAN120912 JOHN SAULS GOD PROJECT #2 (MR) $3.99

MAR120762 JUGHEAD #213 $2.99

MAR121083 KAMEN GN $9.95

MAR120911 LADY DEATH ORIGINS CURSED #2 (OF 3) (MR) $3.99

MAR120912 LADY DEATH ORIGINS CURSED #2 (OF 3) SULTRY CVR (MR) $3.99

MAR120913 LADY DEATH ORIGINS CURSED #2 (OF 3) WRAP CVR (MR) $3.99

FEB121139 LEVIATHAN GN (S&S ED) $16.99

DEC110887 MISADVENTURES OF ADAM WEST ONGOING #3 $3.99

MAR121116 MISS ANNIE BOOK 02 ROOFTOP CAT $6.95

JAN120905 NINJAS VS ZOMBIES BUNDLE #1-6 $14.99

MAR120939 NINJETTES #4 (MR) $3.99

DEC111028 NOWHERE MAN #3 (OF 4) $3.99

JAN121251 PHAZER WAR O/T INDEPENDENTS CROSSOVER #2 $3.99

MAR120869 PLANET OF THE APES #14 $3.99

FEB120706 PRINCELESS TP VOL 01 $14.95

FEB120999 PRIVATE TEACHER GN VOL 03 (MR) $12.95

JAN120917 QUATERMAIN #4 $3.99

AUG110789 RICHIE RICH DIGEST GN VOL 02 PURSUIT OF PESOS $6.99

FEB121079 SAILOR MOON TP KODANSHA ED VOL 05 $10.99

FEB120996 SAMEJIMA KUN & SASAHARA KUN GN (MR) $12.95

FEB121201 SATURN APARTMENTS TP VOL 04 $12.99

FEB121200 SATURN APARTMENTS TP VOL 05 $12.99

JAN120813 SCOUTS DRAFTED GN $6.99

MAR121140 SECRET HISTORY OF DB COOPER #3 $3.99

MAR120924 SHADOW #2 $3.99

MAR120839 SIMPSONS COMICS #190 $2.99

MAR121144 SIXTH GUN #22 $3.99

MAR120769 SONIC UNIVERSE #40 $2.99

FEB120995 STARRY SKY GN VOL 01 $12.95

MAR120876 STEED AND MRS PEEL #5 (OF 6) $3.99

MAR128149 SUPURBIA #1 (OF 4) (3RD PTG) (PP #1020) $3.99

FEB121000 TYRANT FALLS IN LOVE GN VOL 06 (MR) $12.95

MAR120822 URSA MINOR #1 (MR) $3.50

MAR120879 VALEN OUTCAST #6 MAIN CVRS $3.99

FEB120934 VAMPIRELLA VS DRACULA #4 $3.99

FEB120953 VOLTRON #5 $3.99

MAR120893 WORDGIRL GN VOL 04 FASHION DISASTER $7.99

MAGAZINES
FEB121239 ALTER EGO #108 $8.95
MAR121326 ALTER EGO #109 $8.95
FEB121241 BACK ISSUE #56 $8.95
OCT111320 DC SUPERHERO CHESS FIG COLL MAG #3 ROBIN WHITE BISHOP $16.00
FEB121297 FILMFAX #130 $9.95
MAR121398 LOCUS #616 $6.95
DEC111341 MEGAMI MAR 2012 $16.60
MAR121375 MONSTER BASH #15 $8.99
DEC111342 NEWTYPE MAR 2012 $16.00
DEC111353 SHADOW 80TH ANNIV 4PK COMMEMORATIVE COLLECTION $39.95

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Leroy Douresseaux Reviews: SAMURAI’S BLOOD VOLUME 1

SAMURAI’S BLOOD VOLUME 1
IMAGE COMICS/BENAROYA PUBLISHING

CREATORS: Michael Benaroya and Owen Wiseman
SCRIPT: Owen Wiseman
PENCILS: Nan Kim
INKS: Matthew Dalton
COLORS: Sakti Yuwono of Imaginary Friends Studios
LETTERS: John Aitken
COVER: Jo Chen
ISBN: 978-1-60706-488-6; paperback
172pp, Color, $14.99 U.S.

Samurai’s Blood is a six-issue miniseries produced by Benaroya Publishing and published by Image Comics in 2011. Created by Michael Benaroya and Owen Wiseman, the series is set in Japan. The story takes place during the early Edo period in the middle of the 17th Century and follows three teenagers’ quest for revenge. The entire series is collected in a trade paperback, Samurai’s Blood Volume 1, and includes a short story set in the world of Samurai’s Blood written by Wiseman, who wrote the script for the series.

Samurai’s Blood begins when an embittered noble, Lord Gakushi, first betrays his daimyo, Sanjo Dewa, and then, goes on a rampage to destroy the Sanjo Clan. He also kills Sanjo Goro, but three clan members escape. Two of them are Goro’s son Junichi (or “Jun”) and his sister, Mayuko (or “Yuko”). The third is a young man named Kajiro Katashi, who is the son of one of Goro’s retainers. Kajiro plans to marry Yuko, and he is also training to become a samurai.

Leaving their mountain village of Eiwa, the three eventually reach the city of Yamagata, where they plot revenge against Gakushi and his second-in-command, the evil Araku. They take on new identities. Jun becomes Kaio Fukuyama and Kajiro becomes Haniya Toshimitsu. Their path to vengeance, however, fits all the stereotypes about paths to vengeance. It is fraught with peril; it is long and winding. It is filled with so many sidetracks and tributaries that these teenagers may lose themselves before they gain any of what they want.

The first issue of Samurai’s Blood that read was issue #2. Back then, one of the things that immediately stood out to me was how dense and layered the storytelling was. Not only was there a lot of dialogue, but there were also many captions and some of those contained philosophical expositions about the way of the samurai.

The script for this entire series, written by Owen Wiseman, is convoluted and confused, but I don’t mean that as a criticism. This is a well-written graphic novel in which strong characters are the spine that joins bloody fight scenes with intense and dramatic confrontations of the non-killing sort to create a unified whole.

I call this convoluted and confused because those words describe what becomes of the characters’ lives and their journey. I think Wiseman gets that revenge is an end, and that everything between the beginning (the declaration that one is seeking revenge) and the end is either shadowy or certainly more complex than it might appear. Beginning the quest is easy, but it is far easier to lose oneself in the disorder and uncertainty. One must solve the mysteries and see through obstructions to get to the end (revenge). The surprise of Samurai’s Tale is that there are so many surprises and changes that by the end, you will likely not see the characters the way you did in the first issue.

Wiseman’s tale is told in beautiful art by Nam Kim (pencils) and Matthew Dalton (inks) that superbly captures the drama and the violence in an energetic graphic style. Their art resembles Joe Madureira’s art during his tenure on Uncanny X-Men back in the mid-1990s. Kim and Dalton take Wiseman’s potent storytelling and turn it into melodramatic splendor – the Joe Mad thing is a bonus for me.

A


Negromancer at the Movies with "Dark Shadows"

On Friday, I saw the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Dark Shadows.  I reviewed it at my movie blog, Negromancer, which you can read here.

The gist of it is that I really like Depp as Barnabas Collins, but otherwise, the movie is something of a clunker.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Brian Bolland Headed to 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con Spearheads New "British Invasion" with Addition of Brian Bolland

The Baltimore Comic-Con is proud to announce the addition of British comic legend Brian Bolland to the growing line-up of guests for this year's show, taking place September 8-9, 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Bolland, best known for his meticulously detailed line work, is one of the artists who helped define Judge Dredd for the British anthology series 2000 AD. In 1982, Bolland spearheaded what has become known as the "British Invasion" of the American comic industry, blowing open the doors for some the most prolific creators from across the pond to showcase their work throughout the States.

Bolland's cover work for such DC Comics titles as Animal Man, The Invisibles, and Wonder Woman defined the look and feel of these books through the late-'80s and early-'90s. His most recent work includes Cover Story: The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland, which hit stores last September, and covers for DC Comics' Dial H, one of the titles in the second wave of books from the New 52, which hit stores this past week.

"We are delighted to have Brian Bolland attending this year's show," said Marc Nathan, show promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "His influence on both the world of British and American comics continues to be felt through his eye-catching composition gracing the covers of DC Comics."

In addition to Bolland, other confirmed guests for the show including: Laura & Michael Allred (Madman, iZombie); Greg Capullo (Batman, Spawn); Tommy Castillo (Grimm Fairy Tales); Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman); Frank Cho (Avengers vs. X-Men, Liberty Meadows); Steve Conley (Bloop webcomic www.bloopstree.com); Amanda Conner (Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre); Lar deSouza (Looking For Group, Least I Could Do); Dan Didio (O.M.A.C.); Garth Ennis (The Shadow, Hellblazer, Preacher, The Boys); Rich Faber (Roboy Red); David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight); John Gallagher (Buzzboy); Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman); Keith Giffen (Superman, OMAC, Green Arrow); Gene Ha (Justice League); Larry Hama (G.I. Joe, Wolverine, The 'Nam); Cully Hamner (Action Comics); Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, ACT-I-VATE, Trip City); Jamal Igle (KISS, Supergirl, The Ray); J.G. Jones (Wanted, Doc Savage); Barry Kitson (Captain America, Iron Man, Fantastic Four); Scott Kurtz (PvPonline.com); David Mack (Kabuki); Ron Marz (Artifacts, Voodoo); Bob McLeod (DC Comics Presents: Wonder Woman); Mark Morales (Avengers vs. X-Men); Jimmy Palmiotti (All-Star Western); David Petersen (Mouse Guard); Brian Pulido (Lady Death); Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, Batman & Robin); John Romita, Jr. (Avengers Vs. X-Men); Don Rosa (Uncle Scrooge); Stuart Sayger (Infestation 2: 30 Days of Night One-Shot); Walter Simonson (Thor, Legion of Super-Heroes, Avengers); Ryan Sohmer (Looking For Group, Least I Could Do); Scott Snyder (Batman, Severed, Swamp Thing); Brian Stelfreeze (ICE); Karl Story (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9); Peter Tomasi (Batman and Robin); Billy Tucci (A Child Is Born, Shi); Matt Wagner (Tower Chronicles, Mage, Grendel); Mark Waid (Daredevil, Incorruptible, Irredeemable); and Bernie Wrightson (Frankenstein).

In the coming weeks, look for more announcements from the Baltimore Comic-Con. We are looking forward to highlighting our guests, the Harvey Awards, industry exclusives, and programming. The latest developments can always be found on our website, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

This year's Baltimore Comic-Con will be held September 8-9, 2012. Convention hours are Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. The ceremony and banquet for the Harvey Awards will be held Saturday night, September 8th.

Please take a moment to help us spread this message using the social media links embedded, reposting, or retweeting!

Contact Information
Please use the following e-mail addresses to contact the Baltimore Comic-Con:

press@baltimorecomiccon.com - for any general press inquiries or to be added to our PR distribution

promoter@baltimorecomiccon.com - for requesting exhibitor, publisher, and Artist Alley applications

registrar@baltimorecomiccon.com - for inquiries about submitted registrations

harveys@baltimorecomiccon.com - for the Harvey Awards ceremony and banquet

general@baltimorecomiccon.com - for general Baltimore Comic-Con inquiries


About The Baltimore Comic-Con
The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 13th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. With a guest list unequaled in the industry, the Baltimore Comic-Con will be held September 8-9, 2012. For more information, please visit http://www.baltimorecomiccon.com/.

About The Harvey Awards
The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry's oldest and most respected awards. With a history of over 20 years, the last 7 in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories. They are the only industry awards nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. For more information, please visit http://www.harveyawards.org/.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 #6

"Nikki the Vampire Slayer"
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 #6
DARK HORSE COMICS

WRITER: Andrew Chambliss
PENCILS: Georges Jeanty
INKS: Karl Story
COLORS: Michelle Madsen
LETTERS: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
ALTERNATE COVER: Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen (Cover A by Phil Noto)
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 is a comic book series that debuted in 2007 and ended in 2011. Produced by the creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, Joss Whedon, the comic book expanded on the events of the TV show’s last televised season, which was Season 7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 is a sequel to Season 8, and both series are canonical, meaning that the events in these comic book series are part of the television series’ universe and continuity.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6 (“On Your Own” Part One) opens in New York City in 1973, where it finds the Pam Grier-like slayer, Nikki, and her Watcher, Crowley, dealing with vampires. Nikki, however, has an even bigger problem that may actually be more complicated than dealing with slaying vampires.

Back in the present, Spike stands in for Buffy. The bleached-blond vampire assists San Francisco Police Department Detective Dowling in dealing with zompires, and also gives the cop some information on vampires, in general. Meanwhile, Buffy’s own personal problems lead her to Nikki’s son, Robin Wood, and a momentous decision.

I think that it’s been about five years since I’ve read a Buffy comic book, although I did read an issue of Angel & Faith last year (which I liked). I doubt that this ninth issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 will create many new Buffy fans (if any), but I think Buffy fans will likely enjoy it.

This story isn’t necessarily about slaying, although there is some slaying. On Your Own is a story of mother and child, and it is a bit surprising, even poignant. It shows the dramatic side of Buffy, and the character drama is what makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer like no other vampire thing.

B+

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Study Group" Holds Study Session in Fantagraphics Bookstore Exhibition

Study Group Comix Exhibition at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on May 12th

A movement is emerging of resourceful young artists and cartoonists forming regional associations to publish and distribute small press comix and zines. Portland, Oregon is home to some of the most promising participants in this developing approach to contemporary comix production. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is pleased to present a group show of these cartoonists with “Study Group,” curated by Portland cartoonist and small press publisher Zack Soto.

The “Study Group” exhibition features original art, prints and book works by a diverse group of cartoonists including Aidan Koch, Jennifer Parks, Farel Dalrymple, Kazimir Strzepek, Levon Jihanian, David King, Malachi Ward, Tom Neely, Ian MacEwan, Fran├žois Vigneault, and more. The exhibition takes its name from Portland artist Zack Soto’s new periodical and publishing imprint. Many of these artists self-publish or are involved in small press cooperative publishing approaches. Their work reflects an independent aesthetic presented in unorthodox formats. These often handcrafted publications reveal a great deal of the artists’ creative process.

The exhibition opens Saturday, May 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Many exhibiting artists will be present. The show continues through June 6, 2012. Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale St., minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring art, music, and more throughout the historic neighborhood.

Listing information:
“Study Group” An Exhibition of Emerging Cartoonists curated by Zack Soto
May 12 – June 6.
Opening reception Saturday, May 12, 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale Street Seattle, WA
206.658.0110


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 9 2012

DC COMICS

MAR120200 BATGIRL #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $2.99

MAR120184 BATMAN #9 (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $3.99

MAR120187 BATMAN #9 COMBO PACK (NIGHT OF THE OWLS) $4.99

MAR120196 BATMAN AND ROBIN #9 (NITE OF THE OWLS) $2.99

JAN120384 BATMAN ARKHAM CITY SER 2 BATMAN (TEC MODE) AF PI

JAN120383 BATMAN ARKHAM CITY SER 2 CATWOMAN AF PI

JAN120385 BATMAN ARKHAM CITY SER 2 HUSH AF PI

JAN120382 BATMAN ARKHAM CITY SER 2 RIDDLER AF PI

MAR120237 BATMAN ARKHAM UNHINGED #2 $2.99

JAN120300 BATMAN HC VOL 01 THE COURT OF OWLS $24.99

JUL110248 BIBLE HC $29.99

FEB120255 BRIGHTEST DAY TP VOL 02 $19.99

FEB120262 DC UNIVERSE LEGACIES TP $24.99

MAR120224 DEATHSTROKE #9 $2.99

MAR120220 DEMON KNIGHTS #9 $2.99

MAR120274 FAIREST #3 (MR) $2.99

MAR120217 FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF SHADE #9 $2.99

MAR120204 GREEN LANTERN #9 $2.99

MAR120207 GREEN LANTERN #9 COMBO PACK $3.99

MAR120223 GRIFTER #9 $2.99

MAR120277 IZOMBIE #25 (MR) $2.99

FEB120250 JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL TP VOL 01 SIGNAL MASTERS $14.99

MAR120233 LEGION LOST #9 (THE CULLING) $2.99

AUG110255 LEGION OF SUPER HEROES ARCHIVES HC VOL 13 $59.99

MAR120281 MYSTERY IN SPACE #1 (MR) $7.99

MAR120238 NIGHT FORCE #3 (OF 6) $2.99

MAR120219 RESURRECTION MAN #9 $2.99

MAR120267 SCOOBY DOO WHERE ARE YOU #21 $2.99

MAR120225 SUICIDE SQUAD #9 $2.99

MAR120182 SUPERBOY #9 (THE CULLING) $2.99

FEB120265 SUPERMAN GROUNDED TP VOL 01 $17.99

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for May 9 2012

MARVEL COMICS

MAR120577 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PARALLEL LIVES #1 $4.99

MAR120696 ASTONISHING X-MEN BY WEAVER POSTER $8.99

MAR120677 ASTONISHING X-MEN TP VOL 07 MONSTROUS $16.99

MAR120645 AVENGERS ACADEMY PREM HC SECOND SEMESTER $24.99

MAR120548 AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #3 $3.99

MAR120644 AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS PREM HC VOL 03 $29.99

DEC110697 AVENGERS CROSSING OMNIBUS HC DEODATO DM VAR ED $99.99

DEC110696 AVENGERS CROSSING OMNIBUS HC SCHERBERGER CVR $99.99

DEC110703 AVENGERS PRIVATE WAR OF DR DOOM PREM HC $29.99

DEC110704 AVENGERS PRIVATE WAR OF DR DOOM PREM HC DM VAR ED 89 $29.99

MAR120698 AVENGERS VS X-MEN BY OPENA POSTER $8.99

MAR120570 AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #7 $3.99

MAR120583 CAPTAIN AMERICA #11 $3.99

MAR120585 CAPTAIN AMERICA AND HAWKEYE #630 $2.99

MAR120658 CAPTAIN AMERICA BY ED BRUBAKER PREM HC VOL 02 $19.99

FEB128243 DEADPOOL #51 2ND PTG JOHNSON VAR (PP #1018) $2.99

FEB128244 DEADPOOL #52 2ND PTG JOHNSON VAR (PP #1018) $2.99

MAR120627 DEADPOOL #54 $2.99

MAR120695 ESSENTIAL BLACK PANTHER TP VOL 01 $19.99

MAR120687 HALO FALL OF REACH COVENANT TP $16.99

MAR120592 HULK #51 $2.99

MAR120551 HULK SMASH AVENGERS #2 (OF 5) $2.99

MAR120697 INCREDIBLE HULK BY KORMARCK POSTER $8.99

MAR120602 JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #637 EXILED $2.99

MAR120675 MAGNETO NOT A HERO TP $14.99

MAR120610 MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS EARTHS HEROES #2 $2.99

MAR120599 MARVEL ZOMBIES DESTROY #1 (OF 5) $3.99

DEC110708 MMW AVENGERS HC VOL 12 $59.99

DEC110709 MMW AVENGERS HC VOL 12 DM VAR ED 179 $59.99

MAR120542 NEW AVENGERS #26 AVX $3.99

MAR120670 OZ OZMA OF OZ GN TP $19.99

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