Sunday, March 31, 2013

Slam Dunk: Shohoku in Trouble

I read Slam Dunk, Vol. 27

I posted a review at the ComicBookBin.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Reads You Review: THE ROCKETEER: Hollywood Horror #1

THE ROCKETEER: HOLLYWOOD HORROR #1
IDW PUBLISHING – @IDWPublishing

WRITER: Roger Langridge
ARTIST: J Bone
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire
LETTERS: Tom B. Long
EDITOR: Scott Dunbier
COVER: Walter Simonson with Jordie Bellaire – regular cover
ALTERNATE COVERS: Walter Simonson – Cover RI; Roger Langridge and J Bone with Jordie Bellaire – subscription cover; Roger Langridge and J Bone – Comics Pro Retailer Exclusive Cover; and James White – Strange Adventures Retailer Exclusive Cover
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

The Rocketeer created by Dave Stevens

The Rocketeer vs. Hollywood Horror, Part 1

The latest Rocketeer comic book is The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror. The four-issue miniseries is written by cartoonist Roger Langridge and drawn by artist J Bone.

Created by the late artist and illustrator, Dave Stevens, The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious rocket backpack that allows him to fly. Donning the backpack and a metal helmet, Secord becomes the adventurer and masked crime-fighter, The Rocketeer. His adventures begin in 1938 and continue into the 1940s (for the time being). Most of his activities occur mainly in and around Los Angeles.

The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #1 opens in the year 1939 with the usual; Cliff is late for a date with his girlfriend, Betty Page (if “Page” is still her last name). Soon, Betty will need Cliff as the Rocketeer. Her roommate, newspaper reporter, Dahlia Danvers, has gotten herself into something deep, and this deep means trouble.

Everyone seems to be talking about a missing scientist, Augie Lowcroft. Cliff’s friend and partner, Peevy, an ace airplane mechanic, just so happens to be acquainted Lowcroft. Also crawling around this case is Reverend Otto Rune, some kind of impresario/mystic, and a mysterious couple with a penchant for detecting.

Coming on the heels of the most excellent The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror is a change-of-pace for the franchise. Whereas Cargo of Doom was like an old Hollywood movie serial from the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood Horror is a snappy comic adventure. Part screwball comedy and a whole lot of tongue-in-cheek, this looks like it will offer some B-movie, science fiction, monster fun.

Honestly, I don’t love The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror the way I did Cargo of Doom. In this first issue, J Bone’s art seems like a near-cubist take on Bruce Timm’s graphic style. I usually like Bone’s work, but this is hit or miss for me. It took me until the end of Chapter One to buy into Roger Langridge’s jesting take on The Rocketeer. If this is the tone of the book, then, Walter Simonson isn’t the appropriate cover artist for Hollywood Horror.

This isn’t really The Rocketeer the way Dave Stevens did it, which other creators have tried to emulate. Hollywood Horror could turn out to be really good, though, so I’ll keep reading.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: VAGABOND Volume 34

VAGABOND, VOL. 34
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia

CARTOONIST: Takehiko Inoue
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Yuji Oniki
LETTERS: Steve Dutro
COVER: Takehiko Inoue and Izumi Evers
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4930-9; paperback (March 2013), Rated “M” for “Mature”
200pp, B&W with some color, $9.95 U.S. $12.99 CAN

When it comes to samurai and chanbara, the historical manga, Vagabond, is the comic book to read. Vagabond is published in North America by VIZ Media under their VIZ Signature imprint.

Vagabond, created by the acclaimed Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk), is based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s 1935 novel, Musashi. Both the novel and the manga present a fictionalized account of the life of Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the most celebrated samurai of all time. He was a swordsman, duelist, and author (The Book of Five Rings), who lived from the late 16th century to the mid 17th century. In Vagabond, Musashi strives for enlightenment by way of the sword and is prepared to cut down anyone who stands in his way.

As Vagabond, Vol. 34 (Chapters 297 to 303) opens, Sasaki Kojirō, the deaf and mute swordsman prodigy, finds himself gaining a new position. He becomes a sword instructor for the powerful Hosokawa Clan in Bozen Kokura, the family’s home. That makes him the fifth instructor, and some in the clan believe one of the five must be relieved of his duties. That pits Kojirō against the eldest instructor, Ujiie Magoshiro and Kaede, the smelly instructor. Meanwhile, Kojirō bonds with Doryū, the devil horse that belongs to clan leader, Hosaokawa Tadatoshi.

Meanwhile, Musashi faces the remnants of the Yoshioka School, which he single-handedly destroyed. As he confronts nature and existence deep in the forest, Musashi meets a rather strange boy named Iori.

One of the truly fantastic manga reads is the Vagabond manga, which is also one of the few comic books being published today that can accurately be described as magnificent. Vagabond is also somewhat miraculous, as it leaves me speechless. During and after reading it, I suddenly forget most of the words I need in order to describe just how good Vagabond is.

So let me say, it’s supa-dupa good. The art is a symphony of lush brushwork, intricate inking, precision line work, and lovely layers of toning. This is museum quality artwork.

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: ON THE ROPES

ON THE ROPES
W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, INC. – @norton_fiction

WRITER: James Vance – @authorjvance
ARTIST: Dan E. Burr
LETTERS/HALFTONES: Debbie Freiberg
COVER: Dan E. Burr
ISBN: 978-0393-06220-5; hardcover (March 2013)
258pp, B&W, $24.95 U.S., $26.50 CAN

James Vance is a comic book writer who has written for comic books such as The Crow and The Spirit. Dan E. Burr is an illustrator who has drawn comics for DC Comics’ Big Book Series. Together, Vance and Burr are pioneers of the American graphic novel because a particular work that was first published in 1988.

On the Ropes: A Novel is a 2013 hardcover, original graphic novel from James Vance and Dan E. Burr. It is the follow-up to their Kings in Disguise, a graphic novel that was originally serialized as a six-issue comic book miniseries and published in 1988 by Kitchen Sink Press. Kings in Disguise was a highly acclaimed comic book. At the time of its first publication, it drew praise from such comic book luminaries as Alan Moore, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman and Art Spiegelman. It won a Harvey Award and two Eisner Awards.

Set during the Great Depression, Kings in Disguise was the story of 13-year-old Manfred “Freddie” Bloch, a Jewish boy from the fictional town of Marian, California. Freddie and his older brother, Al, are abandoned by their father, a widower who can no longer support his family. In 1932, Freddie takes to the rails – traveling the country by train as a hobo – where he meets Sammy. Calling himself “the King of Spain,” Sammy is a sickly, older hobo who takes Freddie under his wing. Together, they travel through a scarred America, searching for Freddie's father.

On the Ropes opens in 1937, some five years after Freddie Bloch left home. Now 17, Freddie works in a traveling WPA circus. He is apprenticed to the circus’ star attraction, the escape artist, Gordon Corey. The act, called “Gordon Corey Escapes,” is a hangman’s illusion that plays it dangerously close to the edge.

After surviving the Detroit labor riots and violent anti-Communist mobs, Freddie has found home and has even befriended Eileen Finnerty, a gracious young woman who works at the circus. Could she become Freddie’s girlfriend? Before he started working for the circus, Freddie discovered that he has a talent for writing. Thus, he finds a kindred spirit, of sorts, in Barbara Woodruff, a WPA guide book writer who is interested in Gordon’s life story. In her own acerbic way, Woodruff nurtures Freddie’s talent.

Freddie also has a double life. He has joined the Workers Brigade, and he moonlights as a delivery boy for the different groups of workers trying to secretly coordinate their countrywide strikes. As “Jim Nolan,” Freddie receives and sends out secret letters as he travels with the circus. Freddie does not know that Virgil and Chase, two murderous union busters, are trying to find out who the “mailman” is.

Gordon sees that Freddie is playing a dangerous game, and although he is jaded and tired, Gordon wants to see his young assistant make something of himself. Both Freddie and Gordon, however, are haunted by the tragic past, which causes friction between the two. Each man can save the other or bring about their mutual destruction.

I will certainly be among the many reviewers and critics voicing great praise for On the Ropes. In the last decade or so, I have read few comic books that I felt in my heart as I read them. On the Ropes is one of those books. By the end of the year, On the Ropes will likely still be the best comic book or graphic novel of 2013; it will take a miracle for there to be a comic book that knocks On the Ropes off its perch.

James Vance’s story is unflinchingly human, telling a story that captures humankind both in stark contrasts and in perplexing shades of gray. The characters are basically stock characters, but Vance imbues them with humanity. Combine that with the intricacies of the narrative and with the various plot twists and these characters are largely unknowable, but have intriguing quantities that make them worth the effort to know. Vance delves so deeply into plot, setting, and character that his comic book script is more like a novel than a comic book script.

Dan E. Burr’s art is so earnest and heartfelt that it wrings the humanity out of Vance’s story. His compositions are painterly and reminded me of American art movements like American regionalism, social realism, and the Ashcan School. Thus, Burr’s graphical storytelling has more than twice the narrative heft than many of the best graphic novels of the last 30 years.

On the Ropes has a straightforward plot, and past and present are seamless in the way they move the story towards its conclusion. There is such complexity in this graphic novel that the entire time I read it, I thought of On the Ropes as a novel and not as a comic book (not saying comic books are junk).

Of course, the title, On the Ropes, is both literal and figurative. Vance and Burr take on the social and political turmoil of the Great Depression in ways that are intensely poignant and heartrending, but also ardently involved. Vance and Burr aren’t sitting on the sidelines, being dispassionate in recounting the past.

They have turned American history into great drama. This is a hypnotic account of who we were and where we came from that shows us who we are now and why we are where we are. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, time is neutral. Then, On the Ropes is not only a timeless masterpiece, but it is also quite timely, especially if you’ve been paying attention to where we are now.

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1

B.P.R.D.: VAMPIRE #1 (OF 5)
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

STORY: Mike Mignola, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon
ART: Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Fábio Moon
28pp, Color, $3.50 (March 2013)

Mike Mignola, Gabriel Bá, and Fábio Moon unleash a hellish side story to the main B.P.R.D. comic book series. It is entitled B.P.R.D.: Vampire.

In the world of the Hellboy comic book series, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (the B.P.R.D. or BPRD) protects America and the rest of the world from the occult, the paranormal, and the supernatural. The B.P.R.D. first appeared in the debut Hellboy comic book miniseries, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (1994). The Bureau received its own title with B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth (2002).

B.P.R.D.: Vampire is a direct sequel to the previous series, B.P.R.D.: 1948. The new five issue miniseries follows an apparently doomed agent’s quest for revenge against a clan of vampires and its queen.

It is the year 1948. B.P.R.D.: Vampire #1 opens as a trio of vampires enjoys the last of a feast of (alleged or apparent) virgins. Is this a dream or a memory?

In Fairfield, Connecticut at BPRD headquarters, Agent Simon Anders informs Professor Trevor Bruttenholm that he is leaving the organization. Not sure of what he is becoming, Anders begins his quest for revenge against a particular group of vampires and their Gorgon-eyed queen, Hecate. But first, he will have to find them.

It has been at least two years (if not more) since I last read a B.P.R.D. comic book. B.P.R.D.: Vampire is a helluva comic book in which to return to the series. The basic plot, by Mike Mignola, Gabriel Bá, and Fábio Moon, is straightforward and simple.

The actual comic book story, as told through art and graphics (which I often call graphical storytelling), is as emotional, psychological, and figurative as it is linear or even literal. Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon offer some stunning images and striking sequences of images. This story is going to be a good read, but the graphics side of this is going to be hella good read.

Fans of Hellboy will want to try at least one issue of B.P.R.D.: Vampire, enough to get hooked.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 27 2013

DC COMICS

JAN130275 ALL STAR WESTERN #18 $3.99

NOV120298 AMERICAN VAMPIRE HC VOL 05 (MR) $29.99

JAN130209 AQUAMAN #18 $2.99

JAN130287 ARROW #5 $3.99

JAN130229 BATMAN INCORPORATED #9 $2.99

JAN130232 BATMAN INCORPORATED #9 COMBO PACK $3.99

JAN130240 BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT #18 $2.99

DEC120327 BATWING TP VOL 02 IN THE SHADOW OF ANCIENTS (N52) $14.99

DEC120330 DAY OF JUDGMENT TP $14.99

JAN130211 FLASH #18 $2.99

JAN130217 FURY OF FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #18 $2.99

JAN130271 I VAMPIRE #18 $2.99

JAN130327 INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US #3 $3.99

JAN130291 JOE KUBERT PRESENTS #6 $4.99

JAN130264 JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #18 $2.99

JAN130260 RED LANTERNS #18 (WRATH) $2.99

JAN130215 SAVAGE HAWKMAN #18 $2.99

NOV120267 SHOWCASE PRESENTS SGT ROCK TP VOL 04 $19.99

JAN130225 SUPERMAN #18 $2.99

JAN130324 SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #11 $2.99

DEC120339 SUPERMAN VS ZOD TP $9.99

JAN130238 TALON #6 $2.99

JAN130280 TEEN TITANS #18 $2.99

JAN130333 TIME WARP #1 (MR) $7.99

JAN130339 UNWRITTEN #47 (MR) $2.99

DEC120368 UNWRITTEN TP VOL 07 THE WOUND (MR) $14.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

DEC120379 BATMAN DARK KNIGHT RETURNS CALL TO ARMS STATUE $399.95

JAN130346 SUPERMAN THE MAN OF STEEL STATUE BY LEE BERMEJO $79.95


Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 27 2013

MARVEL COMICS

JAN130709 A PLUS X #6 NOW $3.99

JAN130637 AGE OF ULTRON #3 $3.99

DEC120733 ALL NEW X-MEN PREM HC VOL 01 YESTERDAYS X-MEN NOW $24.99

JAN130745 ASTONISHING X-MEN #60 XT $3.99

JAN130785 ASTONISHING X-MEN TP VOL 11 WEAPONIZED $16.99

JAN130771 AVENGERS VS X-MEN TP $34.99

JAN130741 DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED #3 $2.99

JAN130788 DOOM 2099 COMPLETE COLLECTION BY WARREN ELLIS TP $39.99

JAN130640 FANTASTIC FOUR #5AU NOW $3.99

JAN130691 FF #5 NOW $2.99

JAN130751 FURY MAX #10 (MR) $3.99

JAN130748 GAMBIT #10 $2.99

JAN130642 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #1 NOW $3.99

JAN138150 HAWKEYE #1 5TH PTG AJA VAR $2.99

JAN130701 JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #650 NOW2 $2.99

AUG120686 KICK-ASS 2 TP (MR) $19.99

JAN130739 MARVEL UNIVERSE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #12 $2.99

JAN130782 MARVEL UNIVERSE VS AVENGERS TP $16.99

DEC120745 MIGHTY THOR BY MATT FRACTION TP VOL 03 $19.99

JAN130776 MMW GOLDEN AGE HUMAN TORCH TP VOL 01 $29.99

JAN130685 MORBIUS LIVING VAMPIRE #3 NOW $2.99

JAN130752 POWERS BUREAU #3 (MR) $3.95

JAN130717 SCARLET SPIDER #15 $2.99

DEC120749 SPIDER-MAN LIZARD TP NO TURNING BACK $16.99

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JAN130711 THUNDERBOLTS #7 NOW2 $2.99

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DEC120620 UNCANNY AVENGERS #5 NOW2 $3.99

JAN130697 UNCANNY X-FORCE #3 NOW $3.99

JAN130750 WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #27 $3.99

DEC120741 WOLVERINE AND X-MEN BY JASON AARON TP VOL 03 AVX $16.99

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JAN130670 YOUNG AVENGERS #3 NOW $2.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for March 27 2013

IDW PUBLISHING

JAN138002 BORDERLANDS ORIGINS #1 4TH PTG $3.99

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JAN130422 DOCTOR WHO VOL 3 #7 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130369 JUDGE DREDD #5 [DIG/P+] $3.99

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JAN130451 LOVE AND CAPES TP VOL 04 WHAT TO EXPECT $19.99

JAN130386 MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #5 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130385 POPEYE CLASSICS ONGOING #8 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130442 STAR TREK ONGOING #19 [DIG/P+] $3.99

DEC120442 STAR TREK TNG HIVE TP $17.99

JAN130403 TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE TP VOL 03 $19.99

JAN130404 TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE #15 [DIG/P+] $3.99

DEC120487 TRANSFUSION #3 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130449 VITRIOL THE HUNTER #2 $3.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 27 2013

DARK HORSE COMICS

JAN130086 ANGEL & FAITH #20 STEVE MORRIS CVR $2.99

NOV120066 ANGELIC LAYER TP BOOK 02 $19.99

JAN130098 ANSWER #3 $3.99

OCT120060 ART OF BIOSHOCK INFINITE HC $39.99

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JAN130135 BALTIMORE MENS ADULT T/S XL $19.99

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JAN130076 BPRD VAMPIRE #1 $3.50

JAN130081 CRIMINAL MACABRE FINAL NIGHT 30 DAYS XOVER #4 $3.99

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JAN130094 MASSIVE #10 $3.50

JAN130103 MISTER X HARD CANDY ONE SHOT $2.99

NOV120029 NEXUS OMNIBUS TP VOL 02 $24.99

DEC120050 STAR WARS DAWN O/T JEDI PRISONER OF BOGAN #4 $2.99

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 27 2013

IMAGE COMICS

JAN130489 68 TP VOL 02 SCARS [DIG] $19.99

NOV120478 BOMB QUEEN DLX ED HC VOL 01 (MR) [DIG] $24.99

JAN130577 CLONE #5 [DIG] $2.99

JAN130581 DIA DE LOS MUERTOS #2 (MR) [DIG] $4.99

JAN130468 EAST OF WEST #1 [DIG] $3.50

DEC120562 FATALE #13 (MR) [DIG] $3.50

JAN130585 FIVE WEAPONS #2 [DIG] $3.50

JAN130495 GUARDING THE GLOBE TP VOL 02 $16.99

JAN130588 HACK SLASH #25 CVR A SEELEY & MARCO (MR) [DIG] $3.50

JAN130589 HACK SLASH #25 CVR B FRISON (MR) $3.50

JAN130590 HACK SLASH #25 CVR C GIARUSSO (MR) $3.50

JAN130497 IT GIRL & ATOMICS ROUND ONE DARK STREETS SNAP CITY TP [DIG] $14.99

JAN138238 LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #2 2ND PTG (MR) $3.50

JAN130597 LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #4 (MR) [DIG] $3.50

OCT120469 MORNING GLORIES #25 (MR) [DIG] $3.99

SEP120516 PLANETOID #5 [DIG] $2.99

JAN130477 SAVAGE SKULLKICKERS #1 CVR A HUANG & ZUB [DIG] $3.50

JAN130478 SAVAGE SKULLKICKERS #1 CVR B STEVENS $3.50

JAN130515 SPAWN ORIGINS HC VOL 08 $29.99

DEC120590 THINK TANK #6 (MR) [DIG] $3.99

JAN138185 TODD THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH #2 2ND PTG $2.99

JAN130619 WITCH DOCTOR MALPRACTICE #5 [DIG] $2.99

IMAGE COMICS/MCFARLANE TOYS

JAN130620 WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 3 AF PI

JAN130623 WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 3 AUTOPSY ZOMBIE AF PI

JAN130622 WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 3 MERLE DIXON AF PI

JAN130621 WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 3 MICHONNE AF PI

JAN130624 WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 3 PET ZOMBIE 1 AF PI

JAN130625 WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 3 PET ZOMBIE 2 AF PI

Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for March 27 2013

PREVIEWS PUBLICATIONS
FEB130001 PREVIEWS #295 APRIL 2013 [DIG/P+] $4.50
FEB130004 PREVIEWS #295 APRIL 2013 CUSTOMER ORDER FORM PI

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
JAN130053 FCBD 2013 ORANGE WRIST BAND $1.99

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

NOV121261 BAD MACHINERY GN VOL 01 CASE O/T TEAM SPIRIT $19.99

JAN130937 BART SIMPSON COMICS #81 $2.99

JAN130848 BETTY & VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST #211 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN131074 BIONIC MAN VS BIONIC WOMAN #3 $3.99

DEC121218 BLACK PATHS HC GN (MR) $24.95

JAN131346 BLOOD LAD OMNIBUS GN VOL 02 $18.99

JAN131257 CHANNEL EVIL TP $19.99

DEC120891 CRITTER (ONGOING) #9 $3.50

JAN130886 CROSSED BADLANDS #25 LEATHER CVR (MR) $14.99

JAN130896 CROSSED BADLANDS #26 (MR) $3.99

JAN130898 CROSSED BADLANDS #26 TORTURE CVR (MR) $3.99

JAN130897 CROSSED BADLANDS #26 WRAP CVR (MR) $3.99

JAN131347 DARK HUNTERS INFINITY TP VOL 01 $12.99

JAN130959 DEATHMATCH #4 MAIN COVERS [DIG] $3.99

FEB121012 DF AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #1 LEE SGN ED PI

NOV121159 DF AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #9 DECONNICK SGN ED PI

JAN131126 DF DEJAH THORIS & GREEN MEN #2 RISQUE RED EXC $19.99

DEC121085 DF MY LITTLE PONY #4 EXC CVR PI

NOV121165 DF VAMPIRELLA #27 RISQUE RED CVR (MR) $19.99

NOV121163 DF WARLORD OF MARS DEJAH THORIS #23 RISQUE RED CVR (MR) $19.99

JAN130832 DREW HAYES POISON ELVES #1 CVR C MOORE (MR) $2.99

JAN131348 DURARARA SAIKA TP VOL 01 $11.99

JAN130926 FERALS #13 (MR) $3.99

JAN130928 FERALS #13 GORE CVR (MR) $3.99

JAN130927 FERALS #13 WRAP CVR (MR) $3.99

DEC121228 FINDING GOSSAMYR #4 $3.99

JAN130938 FUTURAMA COMICS #66 $2.99

JAN131092 GARTH ENNIS BATTLEFIELDS #5 FALL & RISE PT 2 (MR) $3.99

JAN131042 GARTH ENNIS RED TEAM #2 (MR) $3.99

DEC120812 GENE SIMMONS COMICS ANTHOLOGY SC VOL 01 (MR) [DIG/P+] $19.95

JAN131199 GENSHIKEN SECOND SEASON GN VOL 02 $10.99

JAN131364 GFT GRIMM FAIRY TALES #83 A CVR SPAY (MR) $2.99

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JAN131371 GFT SLEEPY HOLLOW TP (MR) $12.99

JAN131358 GFT WONDERLAND #9 A CVR SEJIC (MR) $2.99

JAN131359 GFT WONDERLAND #9 B CVR GARZA (MR) $2.99

FEB131130 GRAPHIC CANON TP VOL 02 $34.95

JAN130839 HAWKEN GENESIS HC $19.95

JAN131349 HIGURASHI WHEN THEY CRY GN VOL 21 MASSACRE ARC PT 3 $18.99

NOV120841 HONEY BADGER VS THE WORLD (MR) [DIG] $3.99

JAN130984 ICE AGE THE HIDDEN TREASURE ONE SHOT [DIG] $3.99

DEC121169 IMMODERATION CHAD WARD GOTH TRILOGY (MR) $49.99

JAN131350 JACK FROST TP VOL 07 $11.99

JAN131275 JOHNNY BOO HC VOL 05 DOES SOMETHING $9.95

DEC121215 JUDGE DREDD DAY OF CHAOS FOURTH FACTION GN (MR) $28.99

JAN131250 JUDGE DREDD ORIGINS TP (MR) $19.99

OCT120742 LAST ZOMBIE BEFORE THE AFTER #5 [DIG] $3.99

DEC120892 LEGEND OF OZ THE WICKED WEST ONGOING #5 $3.50

NOV121031 LEONARD STARRS MARY PERKINS ON STAGE TP VOL 01 NEW ED $21.95

JAN130855 LIFE WITH ARCHIE #28 REG CVR [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN131019 MARK WAID GREEN HORNET #1 $3.99

JAN131158 OLYMPIANS GN VOL 05 POSEIDON EARTH SHAKER $9.99

JAN130989 PEANUTS VOL 2 #7 [DIG] $3.99

FEB130981 PLUME #4 $3.99

JAN130798 RACHEL RISING #15 [DIG/P+] $3.99

NOV120881 SHADOW FALLS #1 $3.99

DEC121048 SHERLOCK HOLMES LIVERPOOL DEMON #3 $3.99

JAN138289 SIXTH GUN SONS O/T GUN #1 2ND PTG $3.99

JAN131228 SIXTH GUN SONS O/T GUN #2 $3.99

JAN131351 SOUL EATER TP VOL 13 $11.99

JAN131000 TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #79 (MR) [DIG] $2.95

JAN131201 TOWER CHRONICLES GN VOL 04 GEISTHAWK $7.99

JAN131352 WITCH & WIZARD MANGA GN VOL 03 $12.99

JAN131083 WITCHBLADE RED SONJA TP $19.99

JAN131270 ZOMBIES VS CHEERLEADERS VOL 2 #1 $3.99

MAGAZINES
DEC121213 2000 AD PACK FEB 2013 $21.00

DEC121376 AMAZING FIGURE MODELER #54 $8.00

DEC121395 AVENGER DOUBLE NOVEL VOL 09 $14.95

JAN131434 CINEFEX #133 $12.50

DEC121349 COMIC HEROES MAGAZINE #17 $17.99

JAN131401 COMIC SHOP NEWS #1345 PI

DEC121214 JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #333 $12.25

FEB131231 JUXTAPOZ #147 APR 2013 $5.99

JAN131443 LOCUS #626 $7.50

JAN131386 NON SPORT UPDATE VOL 24 #2 $5.99

JAN131427 SCREAM MAGAZINE #16 $8.99

JAN131439 SFX SPECIAL #60 A TO Z OF SCI-FI CINEMA $17.99

DEC121398 SPIDER DOUBLE NOVEL #1 $14.95

JAN131448 STAR TREK MAGAZINE #44 PX ED $9.99

BOOKS
DEC121258 ART OF BRUTAL LEGEND HC $49.99

JAN131405 DAVE SIM CONVERSATIONS HC $40.00

FEB131303 DID I DO THAT BEST WORST OF 90S SC $19.95

NOV120942 GLENN FABRY SKETCHBOOK SC LTD REMARKED ED (MR) $75.00

DEC121259 GROWLANSER ART WORKS SC $39.99

JAN131437 HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS CASTLE SNOW GLOBE & STICKER KIT $9.95

JAN131294 MIDORI FOO BOOK OF PICTURES SC $44.99

DEC121401 STAR TREK VISUAL DICTIONARY HC $20.00

JAN131297 TAKEHITO HARADA ART WORKS SC $39.99

JAN131408 TOY STORY WOODY & JESSIE KIT $9.95

JAN131387 TV TOYS SC $12.95

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: THE ANSWER! #3

THE ANSWER! #3
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

STORY: Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton
SCRIPT: Dennis Hopeless
ART/COVER: Mike Norton
COLORS: Mark Englert
LETTERS: Crank!
PIN-UP: Francesco Francavilla with Dominic Marco
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 2013)

Part 3 of 4

We get closer to the Answer in the latest issue of The Answer!

Created by writer Dennis Hopeless (Avengers Arena) and artist Mike Norton (Battlepug), The Answer! is a four-issue comic book miniseries. The series follows Devin McKenzie, a research librarian, and The Answer!, an odd, masked crime fighter with a giant exclamation point on his face mask, both of whom are embroiled in a conspiracy surrounding a mysterious motivational speaker.

As The Answer! #3 opens, Devin McKenzie is living out her dream at the Brain Trust. She’s eating her favorite foods, and all she has to do all day is think big thoughts. High on “brain boost,” she doesn’t have a care in the world, but fellow thinker, Kara, is about to rock Devin’s comfortable world. And what is the Anaximander Codex?

Meanwhile, the Answer is stuck in a nuthouse nightmare. Strapped do a gurney and in a hospital gown, the strange superhero finds himself in a predicament. When he tries to escape, the hero ends up with his ass hanging out and a chemical in his brain that disconnects his central nervous system. Devin and the Answer will have to wake up and work together if they are going to unravel the mysteries of the Brain Trust.

After the novelty of the first issue of The Answer! wore off for me with the second issue, The Answer! #3 makes me say that the thrill is not gone. Mystery, eccentric characters, by-the-skin-of-their-teeth escapes, and fisticuffs – all with a humorous bent – are what this series does well. There are more revelations, and less of the coy act the second issue put on. The killer ending here prepares the way for what will likely be a good end. Read this series.

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: 3-in-1 Edition Volume 2

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION 3-IN-1 EDITION, VOL. 2
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia

CARTOONIST: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
ORGINAL CONCEPT: khara GAINAX
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen, William Flanagan, David Ury
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Fred Burke, Carl Gustav Horn
LETTERING: Wayne Truman, John Clark
EDITORS: Megan Bates, Carl Gustav Horn
ISBN: 978-1-4215-5305-4; paperback (March 2013); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
572pp, B&W, $19.99 U.S., $22.99 CAN, £12.99 UK

The anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, first aired on Japanese television in late 1995. The manga adaptation of the anime, also entitled Neon Genesis Evangelion, actually debuted in 1994. VIZ Media is publishing single-volume Neon Genesis Evangelion graphic novels and is reprinting the series in 3-in-1 editions, which gather three graphic novels in one large-sized, single volume.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is the story of humans at war with hostile beings called Angels. The human side of the conflict is led by NERV, a paramilitary organization. NERV created giant biomechanical units (or mecha) called Evangelions (also known as EVA or Evas) that are piloted by teenagers. The lead character is 14-year-old Shinji Ikari, EVA “Unit-01” pilot, who is also known as the “Third Child.”

Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2 (Chapters 20 to 40) reprints Neon Genesis Evangelion, Volumes 4 to 6. In Volume 4, Asuka Langley Soryu (the “Second Child”), the EVA Unit-02 pilot, comes to the fore. The golden-red-haired teen is dismissive of Shinji. When they meet a powerful Angel with a surprising ability, Shinji and Asuka must learn to work together. That training will bring them closer than they ever wanted to be.

In Volume 5, roommates Shinji and Misato Katsuragi, the 29-year-old NERV operations chief, get a new roommate. Shinji confronts his father, 48-year-old Gendo Ikari, the Supreme Commander of NERV, at this mother’s grave. Misato also discovers secrets about Ryoji Kaji and his loyalties.

In Volume 6, meet 14-year-old Rei Ayanami, the “First Child” and EVA Unit-00 pilot. Wait; you’ve already met her… Shinji’s pal, Toji Suzuhara, has an admirer. Also, NERV recruits the “Fourth Child,” who receives a baptism by fire.

Having never seen Neon Genesis Evangelion the anime, I was curious to read Neon Genesis Evangelion the manga, once I learned that it existed. The more I read the manga, the more I liked it. I would suggest that readers start at the beginning with these 3-in-1 editions. I started reading Neon Genesis Evangelion with Volumes 12 and 13 of the graphic novel series. They were enjoyable, but I was somewhat lost.

The early chapters of Neon Genesis Evangelion the manga are simple and straight forward. They develop slowly, and author Yoshiyuki Sadamoto allows the reader to get to know the characters – some more than others, but always enough to tell the story or to entice the reader to keep reading to learn more.

Shinji Ikari is the vehicle through which we are introduced into the world of NERV and the Evangelions. Shinji starts off a bit soft and unfocused for a lead. By Vol. 4, Sadamoto has fleshed out Shinji, so the moody, sad boy has developed a playful side and even becomes more forceful. Why am I writing about a character and not about the giant robot battles – because I want more of the characters than I want of the giant robots, which are cool, though.

Readers looking for classic mecha must look for Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Albert Avilla Reviews: Young Avengers #1

Young Avengers #1
Marvel Comics

Reviewed by Albert Avilla

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Jamie McKelvie with Mike Norton

(Spoilers)
“Style>Substance”

The story opens up with Kate Bishop waking up the morning after a hook-up with Noh-Varr. Then, the Skrulls attack. Hulkling is running around New York, posing as Spider-Man to fight crime. Another hook-up, this time it’s Hulking and Wiccan. After a heartfelt conversation about being superheroes, Wiccan does a little magic to help Hulkling.

At the local diner, Loki gets a warning from his food. He tries to stop Wiccan, but is interrupted by Miss America. Loki escapes when Hulkling bursts on to the scene. Miss America exits without as much as a word with Hulkling. Wiccan’s surprise for Hulkling is an alternate reality mother. Just what we need, another Skrull. Didn’t we just rid our planet of those filthy aliens? Hulkling’s mother doesn’t agree with Jeff and Rebecca’s parenting; she thinks that she knows better. She calmly disagrees with them, and then, she liquefies their bodies.

This comic book definitely has style, not so much substance. For a first issue, it didn’t get me interested in finding out how the story was going to end. Is this the first time that a member of a superhero team becomes a member through a one-night stand? There are a lot of things going on. Gillen throws us right into the thick of things. I enjoyed the frenetic pace of the action scenes.

Noh-Varr is an interesting character. Hawkeye apparently is a swashbuckler. Let’s hope that there is some semblance of responsibility in her approach to life. We know what we get with Hulkling and Wiccan. Why is Loki on an Avengers team? He is the evil that the original Avengers banded together to defeat. Miss America is the mystery character. Is she just a powerhouse? Does she have a connection with the original Miss America? Why boots with shorts and a jacket? Does she have a connection to the original Miss America?

The art is good comic book art, nothing to complain about, nothing to go on about. I did like how the artists handled the action scenes.

I rated Young Avengers #1 “Read a Friend’s Copy.” #3 (of 5) on the Al-O-Meter

Gilbert Hernandez Tells Us About "Julio's Day"

Julio's Day
by Gilbert Hernandez

104-page black& white 7.5" x 10.75" hardcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-606-5
In-store date: March 2013 (subject to change)

It begins in the year 1900, with the scream of a newborn. It ends, 100 pages later, in the year 2000, with the death rattle of a 100-year-old man. The infant and the old man are both Julio, and Gilbert Hernandez’s Julio’s Day (originally serialized in Love and Rockets Vol. II but never completed until now) is his latest graphic novel, a masterpiece of elliptical, emotional storytelling that traces one life — indeed, one century in a human life — through a series of carefully crafted, consistently surprising and enthralling vignettes.

There is hope and joy, there is bullying and grief, there is war (so much war — this is after all the 20th century), there is love, there is heartbreak. While Julio’s Day has some settings and elements in common with Hernandez’s Palomar cycle (the Central American protagonists and milieu, the vivid characters, the strong familial and social ties), this is a very much a singular, standalone story that will help cement his position as one of the strongest and most original cartoonists of this, or any other, century.

"Julio's Day is a story of one man's life, but it's a great deal more than that as well. It's the story of the life of a century, also told as if a day. Beginning with Julio's birth in 1900 and ending with his death in 2000, the graphic novel touches on most of the major events that shaped the 20th century." – Brian Evenson, from his introduction

"A haunting performance and about as perfect a literary work as I've read in years. Hernandez accomplishes in 100 pages what most novelists only dream of — rendering the closeted phlegmatic Julio in all his confounding complexity and in the process creating an unflinching biography of a community, a country and a century. A masterpiece." – Junot Díaz

ABOUT THE CARTOONIST: Gilbert Hernandez has been enrapturing readers with his Love and Rockets stories for over 30 years. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife and daughter.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Albert Avilla Reviews: The Fearless Defenders #1

The Fearless Defenders #1
Marvel Comics

Reviewed by Albert Avilla

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Will Sliney
Cover: Mark Brooks
Variant Covers: Milo Manara; Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo; Skottie Young

The cover was really awesome. That’s what having a great cover is about; it gets your expectations up. The interior of the book did not meet those expectations.

The Defenders have always had trouble attracting readers, and this issue will not do any better. This kind of story could squeak by once the series had established itself. I’m not familiar with Mr. Bunn’s work, so I don’t know if this is leading into a great climax or if this is par for the course. If it’s par for the course, then, I am keeping my money. I like mystery, but too much mystery leaves the reader in the dark.

A first issue should pull you in and build up your expectations. This story made me nostalgic for Indiana Jones movies. Archeology has been the basis for a lot of good comic book stories. My question is where is the evil god behind the artifact that Misty acquired? Give us an awesome villain to look forward to seeing.

Marvel NOW gets a “Marvel scowl” for this venture. Valkyrie and Misty Knight really look cool on the cover. Let’s hope that Mr. Bunn can convert that coolness into good stories.

The interior art didn’t give any more than the writing. It was average comic book art.

I rate The Fearless Defenders #1 “Read a Friend’s Copy.”  #3 (of 5) on Al-O-Meter


Arata: The Legend - Kannagi vs. Akachi

I read Arata: The Legend, Vol. 13

I posted a review at ComicBookBin.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 20 2013

DC COMICS

JAN130221 ACTION COMICS #18 $4.99

JAN130224 ACTION COMICS #18 COMBO PACK $5.99

JAN130286 BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #14 $3.99

NOV120259 BATMAN HC VOL 02 THE CITY OF OWLS (N52) $24.99

DEC120323 BATMAN TP VOL 01 THE COURT OF OWLS (N52) $16.99

JAN130246 BATWOMAN #18 $2.99

JAN130249 BIRDS OF PREY #18 $2.99

JAN130248 CATWOMAN #18 $2.99

JAN130262 CONSTANTINE #1 $2.99

JAN130216 DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #18 $2.99

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JAN130331 FABLES #127 (MR) $2.99

JAN130258 GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #18 (WRATH) $2.99

JAN130289 JSA LIBERTY FILES THE WHISTLING SKULL #4 $2.99

JAN130205 JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 $3.99

JAN130208 JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 COMBO PACK $4.99

JAN130195 JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #2 $3.99

JAN130198 JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #2 COMBO PACK $4.99

JAN130203 JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICAS VIBE #2 $2.99

JAN130279 LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #18 $2.99

JAN130251 NIGHTWING #18 $2.99

JAN130252 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #18 $2.99

JAN130228 SUPERGIRL #18 $2.99

NOV120276 SUPERMAN DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN OMNIBUS HC $99.99

JAN130266 SWORD OF SORCERY #6 $3.99

JAN130213 WONDER WOMAN #18 $2.99

JUL120228 WONDER WOMAN AMAZON PRINCESS ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $75.00

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

NOV120314 VERTIGO COVER GIRLS DEATH STATUE $99.95

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 20 2013

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JAN130676 ALL NEW X-MEN #9 NOW $3.99

DEC128334 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700 3RD PTG CAMUNCOLI VAR $7.99

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JAN130664 NEW AVENGERS #4 NOW $3.99

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DEC120721 WOLVERINE MAX #5 (MR) $3.99

JAN130747 X-FACTOR #253 $2.99

JAN130744 X-TERMINATION #1 XT $3.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for March 20 2013

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JAN130419 DOCTOR WHO PRISONERS OF TIME #3 [DIG/P+] $3.99

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JAN130354 GI JOE #2 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130366 GI JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO TP VOL 06 $19.99

JAN130356 GI JOE SPECIAL MISSIONS #1 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130367 GI JOE TARGET SNAKE EYES TP $19.99

JAN130392 GODZILLA ONGOING TP VOL 02 $17.99

JAN130435 HOLLOWS #4 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130372 JUDGE DREDD YEAR ONE #1 [DIG/P+] $3.99

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JAN130388 MY LITTLE PONY MICRO SERIES #2 RAINBOW DASH [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130436 MYSTERY SOCIETY SPECIAL 2013 $3.99

JAN130382 POPEYE #11 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN130384 POPEYE TP VOL 02 $17.99

JAN130440 STAR TREK COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS #3 [DIG/P+] $3.99

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Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 20 2013

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JAN130099 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #22 (MR) $7.99

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Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 20 2013

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DEC120547 ARTIFACTS #26 [DIG] $3.99

DEC120521 CHEW #32 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

JAN130578 COMEBACK #5 (MR) [DIG] $3.50

DEC120559 ELEPHANTMEN #47 (MR) [DIG] $3.99

JAN130472 FIVE GHOSTS HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY #1 [DIG] $3.50

JAN130594 INVINCIBLE #101 [DIG] $2.99

JAN130596 IT GIRL & THE ATOMICS #8 [DIG] $2.99

JAN130488 MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE HC $34.99

JAN138123 NOWHERE MEN #1 4TH PTG $2.99

JAN130604 REVIVAL #8 [DIG] $2.99

JAN130605 SAGA #11 (MR) [DIG] $2.99

DEC120588 STORM DOGS #4 (MR) [DIG] $3.50

JAN138174 THIEF OF THIEVES #10 2ND PTG $2.99

Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for March 20 2013

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JAN130975 ADVENTURE TIME #14 MAIN CVRS [DIG] $3.99

JAN130866 ALL CRIME #1 (MR) $3.95

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NOV120862 ARCHIE COMIC SUPER SPECIAL #2 [DIG/P+] $9.99

JAN130847 B & V FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #232 [DIG/P+] $3.99

JAN131273 BARRYS BEST BUDDY HC $12.95

NOV121102 BIONIC MAN #18 $3.99

JAN130804 BLOOD-DRENCHED CREATURE DOUBLE-FEATURE GN $9.99

JAN131194 BOUNTY KILLER GN $8.99

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NOV120828 CALVIN & HOBBES DAYS ARE JUST PACKED NEW PTG $16.99

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DEC121031 DAMSELS #6 $3.99

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MAR121041 DF ASTONISHING X-MEN #50 PERKINS SGN CVR $29.99

MAY121123 DF AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 CHEUNG SGN $29.99

FEB121011 DF AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 LEE SGN ED $399.99

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JAN130940 SIMPSONS COMICS #200 $4.99

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BOOKS
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DEC121339 JUXTAPOZ NEW CONTEMPORARY HC $29.95

DEC121293 SELF REFERENCE ENGINE NOVEL $14.99

DEC121878 WARHAMMER GOTREK & FELIX THIRD OMNIBUS SC $17.50

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Book Review: BLOOD MONEY

BLOOD MONEY
HARPER (HarperCollins Publishers) – @HarperCollins

AUTHOR: James Grippando
ISBN: 978-0-06-210984-2; hardcover (January 2013)
342pp, B&W, $26.99 U.S.

James Grippando is an American author and trial lawyer. He is known for writing suspense novels in the crime fiction genre, including legal thrillers, apparently drawing upon his experiences as an attorney.

Blood Money is Grippando’s latest book. A 2013 crime fiction novel, Blood Money is also the tenth novel featuring Grippando’s Miami-based, criminal defense attorney, Jack Swyteck. I took a review copy of Blood Money from Harper on a lark. Thank you, Mr. Lark. I have no regrets because Blood Money is a hugely-entertaining read.

Blood Money begins with the most sensational murder trial since O.J. Simpson. Sydney Bennett, sexy night club waitress and good-time girl, was charged with the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Emma Bennett. Three years after the drama began, Sydney is found not guilty. Millions of “TV jurors” had already convicted Sydney in the courtroom of public opinion. Now, the shocking “not guilty” verdict has them out for Sydney’s blood.

And some of that rage and vitriol has been reserved for her attorney, Jack Swyteck, who never really wanted to take Sydney’s case and basically had it fall in his lap. Jack is ready to ride out the verdict’s fallout, which includes angry, profanity-laced phone calls and even death threats. However, the cable news network, BNN (Breaking New Network), leads a flurry of media-fed rumors, claiming “blood money” in the form of seven-figure book and movie deals. The craziness explodes in an incident that puts a young college student, Celeste Laramore, in a coma.

The media blames Jack for what happened to Celeste, but her parents reach out to him for help. Others reach out for a piece of Jack. Faith Corso, host of BNN’s The Faith Corso Show, targets him. The mysterious Merselus watches Jack’s every move. Jack’s fiancé, FBI agent Andie Henning, wonders if Jack’s case is endangering her career. Jack’s legal career is in jeopardy, and so is everyone he loves. To discover the truth behind Emma Bennett’s murder and what happened to Celeste, Jack has to take on many powerful forces, some hiding in the shadows and others targeting him.

Being a semi-literary snob, I generally avoid novels that compete for space on the various bestsellers’ list and also novels that could be considered “pop fiction.” Plus, I am a science fiction and fantasy fan, so I spend time reading books in those genres. I am glad that I threw aside pretentiousness and some H.P. Lovecraft that I want to read in order to get down into Blood Money.

The term, “page-turner,” was invented to describe great reads like Blood Money. The surprises and twist-and-turns had me flipping through this book as if my life depended on it. I took this book everywhere in order to read at least a few pages while waiting or running errands. There are so many shockers in here that you will either find it too contrived or a sumptuous feast of titillation.

Readers, of course, will recognize Blood Money’s similarities to the Casey Anthony murder trial. Faith Corso bears more than a passing resemblance to tabloid cable news harpy, Nancy Grace, who made both blood money and blood fame, off the Anthony murder trial. BNN, however, is less CNN and more FOX News. Grippando, however, takes Blood Money’s murder case and criminal conspiracies far beyond anything that happened in the real world.

Anyway, for me, Blood Money is the beginning of a beautiful reading-list friendship with James Grippando.

A-

www.jamesgrippando.com

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: HIS FAVORITE Volume 3

HIS FAVORITE, VOL. 3
SUBLIME – @SuBLimeManga

CARTOONIST: Suzuki Tanaka
TRANSLATION: Ivana Bloom
LETTERING: Annaliese Christman
COVER: Suzuki Tanaka and Fawn Lau
EDITOR: Alexis Kirsch
ISBN: 978-1-4215-4357-4; paperback (March 2013); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
178pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

Suzuki Tanaka, the creator of Love Hurts, also produced the boys’ love manga series, His Favorite. Boy’s love (also known by the acronym, BL) depicts romantic relationships between male characters. His Favorite can be classified as “shounen-ai,” the subset of BL that does not feature explicit depictions of sex between male characters.

His Favorite Volume 3 (Chapters 8 to 12) focuses on Yoshida, an awkward high school student, and Sato, the hottest guy in school. Sato is in love with Yoshida, but the latter things the former wants to play around too much and is not really serious about anything, especially love. Meanwhile, all the girls in school are crazy about Sato, and they think that Sato and Yoshida are just really close friends. That’s why they insist that Yoshida help them get closer to Sato.

Yoshida and Sato’s classmates, Yamanaka and Torachin, are in a similar predicament. Torachin’s frequent fights have left him with a bruised, unattractive face, which scares the girls – sometimes to tears. Yamanaka thinks Torachin is just right, but Torachin doesn’t think that Yamanaka is ever serious – about anything.

As boys’ love manga goes, His Favorite is tame. It doesn’t even have the heat of the more complicated shojo teen romances (such as a Honey Hunt). Instead, it is deliberately, almost stubbornly playful. Creator Suzuki Tanaka offers comedy and slapstick; there are misunderstandings and kissing.

Sex is far way and talked about as something that will, should, or even might happen, but does not happen in the text or seemingly even “off camera.” The characters are funny in how clueless they are, or perhaps, they are not clueless. It is a peculiar kind of tunnel vision from which they suffer… maybe.

B

www.SuBLimeManga.com

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Harvey Award Nomination Ballots Available

2013 HARVEY NOMINATION BALLOTS AVAILABLE!

ONLINE VOTING NOW AVAILABLE!

NOMINATION BALLOTS DUE MAY 6!

BALTIMORE, MD (March 13, 2013) -- The Executive Committees of the Harvey Awards and the Baltimore Comic-Con are proud to present the official Nomination Ballot for this year's Harvey Awards, honoring work published in the 2012 calendar year. Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, one of the industry's most innovative talents, the Harvey Awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art. The 26th Annual Harvey Awards will be presented Saturday, September 7th, 2013 as part of the Baltimore Comic-Con.

For the first time, Harvey Awards nomination ballots may be submitted using an online form. If you are a comics professional, you can vote online at harveyawards.org/2013-nomination-ballot/. This will enable an easier and faster method for the professional community to submit their nominees! Ballots are due for submission by Monday, May 6th, 2013.

Additionally, if voters would prefer, ballots may be downloaded from the same page, completed, and sent via postal mail or e-mail. All methods of submission are permitted.

Nominations for the Harvey Awards are selected exclusively by creators - those who write, draw, ink, letter, color, design, edit, or are otherwise involved in a creative capacity in the comics field. The Harvey Awards are the only industry awards both nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals.

In addition to being available on the website, ballots will be sent to all major publishers and distributed at comic conventions. We look forward to your participation and input in this process, and we look forward to seeing you at the Baltimore Comic-Con and the Harvey Awards.

The Harveys would not be possible without the generous sponsors of the Awards. Sponsors for the last year's 2012 Harvey Awards included The Baltimore Comic-Con, Boom! Studios, Captain Bluehen Comics, Cards, Comics and Collectibles, ComicMix, ComicWOW!, ComiXology, DC Entertainment, Geppis's Entertainment Museum, Insight Studios Group, Painted Visions Comics, Cards, & Games, Richmond Comix and Games, Steve Conley's Bloop, and Write Brothers Inc.

Companies and individuals interested in sponsoring the 2013 Harvey Awards may do so by contacting us at harveys@baltimorecomiccon.com.

This year's Baltimore Comic-Con will be held September 7-8, 2013. The ceremony and banquet for the Harvey Awards will be held Saturday night, September 8th. Additional details about the Harvey Awards and the awards ceremony will be released over the next few months.


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 26 years, the last 8 in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in 22 categories. They are the only industry awards nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. For more information, please visit www.harveyawards.org

About The Baltimore Comic-Con
The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 14th 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 7-8, 2013. For more information, please visit www.baltimorecomiccon.com.

2012 Harvey Awards Name "Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand" Best Graphic Novel

by Leroy Douresseaux

The Harvey Awards are awards given for achievement in comic books. The Harvey Award is named for the late comics writer-artist, editor, and publisher, Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993). Gary Groth, president of the publisher Fantagraphics, founded the Harvey Awards as part of a successor to the Kirby Awards, which were discontinued after 1987, the other being successor being the Eisner Awards.

The Harvey Awards are nominated by an open vote among comic-book professionals. The winners are selected from the top five nominees in each category by a final round of voting.

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand was named “Best Original Graphic Album” and “Best Single Issue or Story” at the 25th Annual Harvey Awards.

The 25th Annual Harvey Awards were held Saturday, September 8, 2012 at the 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con. Actor and comedian, Phil LaMarr was the host.

2012 Harvey Award winners:

BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC ALBUM - “JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND”, published by Archaia Entertainment

BEST CONTINUING OR LIMITED SERIES - “DAREDEVIL” published by Marvel Comics

BEST SINGLE ISSUE OR STORY - “JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND” published by Archaia Entertainment

BEST NEW SERIES - “DAREDEVIL” published by Marvel Comics

BEST WRITER - Mark Waid for “DAREDEVIL” published by Marvel Comics

BEST ARTIST - J. H. Williams for “BATWOMAN” published by DC Comics

BEST CARTOONIST - Kate Beaton for “HARK! A VAGRANT”, harkavagrant.com; printed edition published by Drawn and Quarterly

BEST LETTERER - Chris Eliopoulos for “FEAR ITSELF” published by Marvel Comics

BEST COLORIST - Dave Stewart for “HELLBOY: THE FURY” published by Dark Horse Comics

BEST SYNDICATED STRIP - “CUL DE SAC”, by Richard Thompson, syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate

BEST ONLINE COMICS WORK - “HARK! A VAGRANT”, by Kate Beaton, harkavagrant.com; print edition published by Drawn and Quarterly

BEST AMERICAN EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL - “THE MANARA LIBRARY, VOLUME 1: INDIAN SUMMER AND OTHER STORIES” published by Dark Horse Comics

BEST INKER - Joe Rivera for “DAREDEVIL” published by Marvel Comics

MOST PROMISING NEW TALENT - Sara Pichelli, for “ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN”, published by Marvel Comics

SPECIAL AWARD FOR HUMOR IN COMICS - Kate Beaton for “HARK! A VAGRANT” harkavagrant.com; printed edition published by Drawn and Quarterly

BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC PUBLICATION FOR YOUNGER READERS - “ANYA’S GHOST” published by First Second

BEST ANTHOLOGY - “DARK HORSE PRESENTS” published by Dark Horse Comics

BEST DOMESTIC REPRINT PROJECT - “WALT SIMONSON’S THE MIGHTY THOR, ARTIST’S EDITION” published by IDW

BEST COVER ARTIST - J. H. WILLIAMS for “BATWOMAN” published by DC Comics

SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION - “WALT SIMONSON’S THE MIGHTY THOR, ARTIST’S EDITION” published by IDW

BEST BIOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL OR JOURNALISTIC PRESENTATION – “GENIUS ISOLATED: THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH” published by IDW

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED – “THE DEATH RAY” published by Drawn and Quarterly


Review: SLEDGEHAMMER 44 #1

SLEDGEHAMMER 44 #1 (of 2)
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

CREATOR: Mike Mignola
STORY: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
ART: Jason Latour
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S. (March 2013)

Part 1 of 2

Mike Mignola adds to the vast world of Hellboy with Sledgehammer, a new superhero character he created. Think of Sledgehammer as Mignola’s version, spin, or take on Iron Man. Now, the character appears in a new two-issue, comic book micro-series, entitled Sledgehammer 44. The series is written by Mignola and John Arcudi, drawn by Jason Latour, colored by Dave Stewart, and lettered by Clem Robins, with covers by Mignola.

Sledgehammer 44 #1 opens in August 1944 in D’ebene Chiot, France. An American military patrol prepares to take a German armory there, but the Americans are really just support troops. The military is about to launch “Project Epimetheus.” This is Sledgehammer, a man in a suit of iron armor, and he’s ready to fight his way through an army of Nazis and take on their massive war machine.

Call it the Hellboy-verse or the Mignola-verse, but by any name, Dark Horse Comics’ line of Mike Mignola-produced comic books is simply wonderful. In the first issue of Sledgehammer 44, Mignola and Arcudi have produced a cleanly written, straightforward story. Its mix of World War II combat, science fiction, fantastic armor, and menacing robots seems natural. Having supernatural machines battle it out in a French village in 1944 does not seem odd, as if that makes sense in the context of a real world WWII.

The stars of Sledgehammer 44’s creative team are artist Jason Latour and colorist Dave Stewart. Latour produces page after page of eye-poppy graphics, and compositionally, Latour opens up the story in big panels that capture the massiveness and power of Sledgehammer in battle. Stewart, whom I consider to be on the shortlist of truly great modern comic book colorists, makes the art crackle with energy and surge with an electric charge.

Honestly, at just two-issues in length, Sledgehammer 44 should be a one-shot instead of two issues. Latour and Stewart’s art is so robust, however, that the ending of the first issue is a break your eyes and mind will need.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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JAN131452 STAR WARS INSIDER #140 PX ED $7.99

AUG121526 SUPERNATURAL MAGAZINE #36 NEWSSTAND ED $6.99

AUG121527 SUPERNATURAL MAGAZINE #36 PX ED $6.99

BOOKS
JAN131418 FLYING HENRY YR HC $12.95

SEP121231 FRAZETTA SKETCHBOOK SC $24.95

FEB131297 GAME OF THRONES POSTER COLLECTION $24.99

NOV121420 ILLUSTRATORS ANNUAL OF AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION TP VOL 54 $45.00

JAN131382 SWISSTED VINTAGE ROCK POSTERS REMIXED & REIMAGINED SC $40.00

Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: STAR WARS #3

STAR WARS #3
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

SCRIPT: Brian Wood
ART: Carlos D’Anda
COLORS: Gabe Eltaeb
LETTERS: Michael Heisler
COVER: Alex Ross
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (March 2013)

“In the Shadow of Yavin” Part Three

All that is old is new again in the new Star Wars comic book series from Dark Horse Comics. Simply entitled Star Wars, it is written by Brian Wood, drawn by Carlos D’Anda, colored by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettered by Michael Heisler, with covers provided by Alex Ross. This Star Wars is set during the time of the original and classic Star Wars films: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

It destroyed the Galactic Empire’s fearsome space station, the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin, but the Rebel Alliance still must fight off attacks from the Empire. The rebels are also trying to find a new permanent home base and to restock supplies and armaments. Princess Leia Organa has formed a secret squadron of stealth X-wings to help find a new rebel base and also to help expose a spy within the Rebellion’s ranks

As Star Wars #3 opens, Darth Vader begins his new assignment in the Endor System, managing the building of a second Death Star. The Sith Lord, however, chafes under this demotion, handed down by Emperor Palpatine for Vader’s failure at Yavin.

Han Solo and his first mate, Chewbacca, continue their secret mission for Mon Mothma, leader of the Alliance. The two pirates land on the imperial center of Coruscant, where they await a meeting with a contact who can sell them the supplies that the Rebel Alliance so badly needs. Meanwhile, Leia confronts a troublesome member of her secret squadron, Flight Officer Luke Skywalker!

Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda are still doing the damn thing. The new Star Wars isn’t a fluke. Issue #3 is as good as the first two issues. The action gets hotter. See Han Solo and Chewbacca in a gun fight! Plus, Wood’s spin on the Luke-Leia relationship is hard to ignore; this may be the most personal drama any Star Wars comic book has ever attempted.

The Force will call readers of Star Wars comics and fans of the original Star Wars trilogy to the new Star Wars.

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Justice League of America #1" Leads DC Comics' Feb. 2013 Charge

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 Tops February Comic Book Sales

DC Entertainment sees strong February numbers

BookScan numbers up 65 percent from 2012

Digital-to-print series INJUSTICE sells out in comic shops

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DC Entertainment (DCE), the largest English-language comic book publisher in the world announced today that JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1, written by the acclaimed Geoff Johns and drawn by superstar artist David Finch, was the best-selling comic book to specialty retailers in February 2013, according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors. This caps off a hugely successful month for DCE – with robust sales coming via comic retail, book trade and digital channels.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 launched in February with a cover featuring the U.S. flag along with 52 variant covers, one for every state plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. DC Comics is currently sold out of 14 state covers, the digital combo pack and the collector’s bundles containing all the covers.

On the bookstore side, February saw DCE publish 15 out of the top 50 titles according to Nielsen Bookscan. Additionally, overall February book trade sales were strong, up 65 percent from last year. Notable sellers include: BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE OWLS, FABLES: CUBS IN TOYLAND Vol. 18 and JUSTICE LEAGUE Vol. 2.

On the digital comics front INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US, the weekly digital-first comic based on the upcoming video game from Warner Bros. Interactive, continues to dominate the charts, selling four out of the top five digital books for the month and seven out of the top 10. BATMAN INC. #8, BATMAN #17 and JUSTICE LEAGUE #17 were also top sellers.

“February was a tremendous month for DC Entertainment, and the numbers show that fans are engaging with our stories across all platforms – from digital to retail,” said Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment. “We had a record-breaking 2012 in terms of sales, critical acclaim and visibility, including a near 50 percent increase in fan reach through our websites. Last year also represented our first full year of support and commitment to We Can Be Heroes, our philanthropic initiative to raise funds and awareness for the famine-stricken Horn of Africa. We are incredibly proud of where the business is and where we are headed in 2013.”

Hitting The New York Times Hardcover Bestseller lists in February, DC Comics titles included JUSTICE LEAGUE Vol. 2 appearing at #1, WONDER WOMAN Vol. 2, BATWOMAN Vol. 2, GREEN LANTERN: REVENGE OF THE BLACK HAND, BATMAN: THE COURT OF OWLS, Vertigo’s THE BOOKS OF MAGIC: DELUXE EDITION, and backlist favorites like BATMAN THE KILLING JOKE and ABSOLUTE BATMAN & ROBIN: BATMAN REBORN.

While over on The New York Times Paperback Bestsellers lists Vertigo’s FABLES vol. 18 arrived on the list at #1 and DC Comics JUSTICE LEAGUE vol. 1, SUICIDE SQUAD Vol. 2 and backlist favorite WATCHMEN all made appearances in February.

Earlier this month, DC Entertainment was acknowledged as the recipient of several Gem Awards including Comic Book Publisher of the Year, Backlist Publisher of the Year and Toy Manufacturer of the Year for 2012 for DC Collectibles. Notably, DC Collectibles spotlighted the We Can Be Heroes initiative with their We Can Be Heroes Justice League 7-Pack, which saw 10 percent of proceeds go to providing relief for the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. The Gem Awards are recognized within the comic book industry as the pinnacle of sales achievement from Diamond Comic Distributors, the world's largest distributor of comics, graphic novels and pop culture merchandise.

The print comic book version of INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US #2 went back to press for a second printing, while over at DC Comics’ mature readers imprint Vertigo, DJANGO UNCHAINED #1, based on the Academy Award-winning Best Original Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, went back to press for a third printing.


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.