Friday, August 30, 2013

Ex Machina: Vol 3 by Brian K. Vaughan

There's a new costume asshole on the scene and he claims to be the invention of "The Great Machine" who is of course, Mayor of New York. Interestingly enough this jet pack wearing masked man wears a costume of bright green. The same color as the mysterious graffiti symbols driving people in the city mad. All that seems more interesting than it is. It turns out that the masked man is actually an experienced cosplay enthusiast and former comic book store owner who is good friends with Hundred's devoted right-hand man.

I can't say there were too many interesting developments in this volume and I wish maybe they had bothered to include just one extra issue to level it out. But there was an exciting trial and a crazy person who claimed that he could hear machines yet not understand them. We get another little piece of the mystery behind Mayor Hundreds' powers.

While I was reading this, I considered what I would do if I was either Mayor or gifted with the power of talking to machines... my mind wanders-shut up. I think as Mayor, Hundred is doing fine. He seems to be just as obnoxiously left-wing as I am and he curses just as much with little to no concern over professionalism. But as a machine controlling super hero.. I think I might try a little bit stronger tactics. How about for instances, shutting down the launch of missiles all over the world. What about gun control ?? (he can actually speak to guns and render them useless). Or how about using his power to create the ultimate machine!! He could tell computers to build a better computer and further technological advancement. Yet that's only possible if we consider that his "talking" to machines implies they are somehow sentient. I don't get all that and it's not really explained much. But hey, this is book 3. Surely some answers will come my way.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Distant Neighborhood: Volume 1 by Jiro Taniguchi

I saw this manga mentioned on a list of  "25 Graphic Novels You Must Read" although I tried to locate that list and can no longer find it online. 

A Distant Neighborhood came out in 2009 and received an Eisner Award. There is currently only two volumes and that appears to be where the story ends. The book was so popular that it was adapted into a live action movie and a radio play (I didn't know people still made radio plays, I assume they mean podcast?). The North American printing has been flipped to read from left to right which I don't so much like. I enjoy reading my manga exactly as it was drawn, oh well.

A forty-eight year old man reflects on his past at his mothers grave and is somehow transported back into his 14 year old body in his own past. He gets to relive everything all over again. The question is will he do everything the same? Make new mistakes or decisions and will he ever see his wife and daughters again? Will his own future change?

The entire book is full of clean lines which gives the illusion of minimalism however the over all panels are pretty complex. There's a lot going on to be sure and nothing about the scenery is left to the imagination except for what is outside of the border lol. It feels very professional and very serious. As a result, I didn't find much humor in the story at all. It read like a drama. I would have thought that going back in time would be hilarious. Apparently it's all serious business 'cause Nakahara decides that he must reverse the past- the portion where his dad splits leaving him and his siblings alone with their mother.

The story is somewhat suspenseful, mostly because you want to see what stupid thing Nakahara will do next in his 14 year old body. I have to admit, I'm anxious to see how he will return home. Will Nakahara actually succeed and if you does, will he have to live his entire life over again? Will be be transported somehow back to the future to learn how different it all has become?

I feel like Nakahara could take advantage of his time in the past in a much more productive manner. If I went back in time, I'd have a lot more interesting things to do over again. First of all, considering I already lived to 48, I would go back to my 14 year old self and be the over-bearing, loud mouth I am now. I was pretty reserved and a bit shy as a teenager. Not to mention incredibly awkward and self conscious, but that is probably all teenagers really. I wouldn't know though. Although I was pretty social, I kept any real thoughts to myself so I can't say I learned much from the other kids I hung out with. For the most part, I never felt very connected to the world around me. I rarely understood anything that my friends were talking about and my mind was off in lala land daydreaming. What else would I do? I certainly wouldn't put any more effort than I had into my studies or school. Fuck that. I probably would have left home earlier than 17 and I probably would have told off my dad. Also, I would have skipped the whole Graphic Design course after high school and saved money to go to Europe. I would have dumped my high school boyfriend after the first year we dated and I would have cut off ties with negative people well before my mid twenties. Other than that, there's not much to go back on. I think pretty quick on my feet and that's pretty much why I made the decisions I made the first time around. A lot of uncontrollable and unforeseeable events. But looking back, I think I handled it a lot better than most people would put in my position.  (If I do say so myself)

So what would you do if you could go back in time and change the past?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Forget to Vote for Me!

Don't forget to vote for Amy Brander aka The Frog Queen for Best Blogger in The Coast's Best of Halifax Annual Poll! Thank you for your support!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Unwritten: Volume 1 by Mike Carey & Peter Gross

Okay I've got to admit it, the only reason I picked up this series was because I kept seeing all these awesome covers on the shelf. I don't have much to say with regard to the inside art. It's fine, it's just not all that memorable for me. Kinda the same as I feel about the Buffy artwork, "meh". But man, the covers for The Unwritten were just so beautiful. I had to!

So I enjoyed most of the volume until the last chapter which focused on the past. A fictional account about an author who was actually real. It was pretty boring and I have yet to unravel what purpose the chapter served in the overall story. It came off as trivial filler when I read it. Sorry.

The story itself centers around Tom Taylor who is the son of a famous (and disappeared) author. His father published a series of books that are similar to the Harry Potter books. They happen to be centered around his son who he calls Tommy Taylor in the books. Reality starts to shatter for the real Tom Taylor and pieces of the books start seeping into his life. But is it real? or an elaborate ploy?

The Unwritten is produced by the same people who wrote Fables (a series that I have never been able to get into). It's reported on Wikipedia that Mike Carey found the inspiration behind Tom Taylors identity crisis in Christopher Milne who was the inspirations for his fathers books Winnie the Pooh. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K Vaughan

Alana & Marko with daughter Hazel.
Written by Brian K Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples

I have to say that I'm loving this series. It's combined the right amount of action, humor and drama that makes any story memorable. Vaughan doesn't disappoint, or so I've come to figure out and I'm in love with Fiona Staples illustrations! I really like how she draws faces, that's always been a big thing with me. I need to see perfect facial expressions ! That is what really makes a graphic novel come alive for me!

The story cracks me up. It centers around the escape of two star crossed lovers, Alana and Marko (ya that sort of thing, in space!) and their total forbidden love-child, a hybrid of two warring species known as the horns and the wings. They do have technical names but that is what everyone who isn't of that species refers to them as. The two races have been at war for an unnumbered amount of time and have managed to tear up the galaxy in the process, killing off loads of innocent bystanders in the process.

I like all the characters so far. I'm particularly interested in bounty hunter and freelancer known as The Will. He has enough of a heart to rescue a 12 year old sex slave from a brothel yet kills people for a living. I'm excited to see what he gets up to with his sidekick known as Liar Cat. (cute eh??) The local comic book shop just got in these cute t-shirts with a picture of Liar Cat, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I want one, but you know... I don't buy new clothes.

Oh, my favorite line from volume 1, Alana has to tell Marko a secret so he can make some magic happen. She says "I enjoy the taste of my own breast milk." and that does it. I laughed pretty hard. The best is when she explains how she came to taste it.

Nextworld by Osamu Tezuka

There is an awesome forward by Darkhorse in Nextworld which explains the odd look of  characters other countries, particularly Africa. It addresses the issue of racial discrimination and preservation of historical art/literature. I've made this argument before after reading Tezuka's Black Jack. Apparently Darkhorse agrees with my opinion that despite some of the interpreted disparaging pictorials of African people, the work should be continue to be published in its original form. Reasons for this being that Tezuka was mimicking what he thought was an art style he adopted from the West (at least that is what I gathered). I don't believe he understood the context of the images and that they were in fact furthering racism against non-Caucasian peoples. Darkhorse apparently shares my opinion and has chosen to publish Tezuka's work in it's original form accepting that it is often viewed as offensive.

Anyway, on to talk about Nextworld.  The story is intended to be a parody on the relations between the US and Russia.  It's fairly easy to pick up on this since The Uran Nation wear Ushanka-style headdresses. The premise revolves around the effects of atomic bombing. An island called Horseshoe Island (so named for it's form), has developed wild and new species that are believed to have evolved from atomic radiation. The island was once an experimental ground for atomic blasts. Naturally, Tezuka put a lot of focus on atomic and nuclear war and their effects on the planet. In this case, the two super nations are at war and it appears they must work together to rid themselves of this new species that threatens to destroy humanity. Looks as thought they are calling these creatures the "fumoon".

As usual, you will recognize some of the characters and names. Tezuka was well known for re-using character names as if characters like Rock were reincarnated in a new reality or universe over and over again. Sometimes he merely re-uses their likeness.

This isn't one of the best stories I read by Tezuka, but I understand it's one of his early works, dating back to the 50's. I have volume 2 on order at the Library at any rate. It's a personal goal to read all of Tezuka's work that has been released in English. I will do my best. It may take forever.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Hollows issues 3&4 by Sam Kieth & Chris Ryall

Quantum got my subscriptions all sorted out and I'm back on track with The Hollows. I'm completely excited about this series. We all know how I feel about Sam Kieth and this new more minimal style is pretty exciting for me personally.

A few things I like :

-The color pallet. Kieth makes use of pinks, blues and yellows just like the cover. Every now and then there is smattering of red but it's really all very grey scale for the most part which I think fits well with the whole apocalyptic world.

- The fact that Ryall and Kieth have no issues killing off characters. It always makes for a great story.

The series is now over. This was a mini series (which I think deserves another chapter), that ends with issue four. Sadness. Time to look forward to what's next for Sam Kieth. I read that The Maxx is being re-released with all new covers. I'll keep my ear to the ground on what he's up to next. Worlds of Sam Kieth was released recently in hardcover. I'd like to get my hand on that eventually. Ultimately, I want an interview but that may be too much to hope for. Maybe I'll go back and re-read Zero Girl.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monster: Volume 2 by Naoki Urasawa

By now you should know that my favorite manga artist is Junji Ito but what you may not have picked up on is that my second favorite is Naoki Urasawa. I know, I know, these are two very different writer/artists. I like them for different reasons. You can't argue that Junji Ito isn't the king of body gore and his psychological thrillers are truly disturbing. I love it. No one can argue that Urasawa's Pluto isn't amazingly drawn, set-up and imagined. It's deep, moving and thought provoking while maintaining a steady pave for drama vs action. It just so happens that Ito's artwork is more up my alley because well, it's full of body gore which I love. It's as thought I'm watching a 1980's animatronic filled horror movie! Ah, the days when special effects in movies were organic and awesome.

Monster is proving to be as wonderfully entertaining and moving as Pluto. I find it interesting that  Urasawa immediately gave away the killers identity and still managed to make the story suspenseful and addictive. Thanks to my co-worker Meaghan, I get to read this whole series as she is loaning them to me! You'll see a lot more posts about my love affair with Urasawa's work.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Savage Wolverine Issue 5-7 once by Frank Cho, now by Well, Madureira and Steigerwald

Is anyone else uninspired by this lack luster cover for issue #7? If I was high, I'd assume that I was looking at a cover from the 199's. ewe.

I can't seem to find any information regarding the artist and writer switch in Savage Wolverine. I loved Frank Cho's work. That is why this is the only Marvel title I have subscribed to and what? They got rid of him? Why did he only get to write the first story arc? What am I missing here? Now we get stuck with king of photoshop Wells and Madureira. Sigh. There's nothing unique and classy about this . I don't like this artwork. Cho stops after issue five and I'm supposed to keep reading!? I don't understand the second story arc.. what happened? I thought the point of calling it Savage Wolverine was because it takes place in the Savage Land!? I'm not liking this. This better all be flashbacks! Plus that awesome 1950's pinup style Frank Cho was sporting.. it's gone! NOooooo!!!!!

The only saving grace are the neat bad guys. Above is Mikaru the Blind and he's got creepy hands covering his eyes... that are like... um... part of his skull?? I have no idea. There is of course the token creepy little doll girl with no eyes. That's super original and not at all reminiscent of Edward Gorey. (Pssttt I'm being sarcastic.) Who else are we seeing? Elektra (blahech!) and Bullseye (yeah whatever). Once again Wolverine is surrounded by scantily clad women who's claim to fame is that they like body suits and apparently "kick ass". They haven't done any ass kicking yet.

Oh yeah! Spiderman and the King Pin make appearances too! That's kind cool, but that's the only props I'm throwing in the direction of this series. I'm sad. Sad, sad, sad. I'm gonna try to contact Frank Cho.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Walking Dead issues #110 to #112

In the past, I've gone on and on about how I think Negan is the best antagonist this book has ever had. In these issues he makes that clear. Not only does he have reasoning (which he explains) behind all his actions, he totally gets you kind of understanding it. All in a very fucked up way of course but seriously, you start to think like Negan. If I was the leader of a bunch of idiots that I controlled only with scare tactics and brute force, well I would justify it in my head the exact same way as Negan justifies his actions verbally to Rick. Of course, I'm neither violent or twisted in that way, but you hear what I'm saying. He's a bad guy that has motive besides wanting to cause chaos.

So Rick's kid Carl has been returned to him, by Negan but dude needs to drop by and collect some stuff now and then. One of the things I don't get, is that while Negan is there, he asks a female if she'll fuck him (Negan despite being inhuman is also big on consent apparently). So Negan has a harem back at his base camp. He gets all the ladies because he is basically agreeing to take care of them in exchange for sex. He calls them girlfriends but come on...

Anyway, I'm wondering if STDs are a thing in this universe now that the population of humanity has downsized to about 1/100th of it's original capacity. Have STDs and STIs been wiped out of existence? What are the chances that some asshole with syphilis has actually survived the zombie apocalypse and if this though occurred to you, would you really want to tempt fate and fuck a person like Negan. I'm also assuming here that condoms are difficult to come by. No new ones are being made, so am I to assume that any female who sleeps with Negan runs the risk of being impregnated by a sociopath? I mean, the breeding pool of humanity is small, so your choices as a woman are pretty limited.. maybe sociopath isn't a big turnoff right now .... I digress. LOL. Obviously I'm over thinking this point because in the apocalypse does one really care if they get an STI? What about AIDS? I mean, it's an awful disease that has been made livable in our generation, but in the zombie apocalypse if you're really intent on living, you can't afford to risk getting HIV!

None of this has to do with the awesome plot that's happening, I realize this. Am I gonna tell you what's happening? No not really. I'll leave you with this : Rick pissed off Negan AGAIN (surprise) and Lucille is about a foot away from Rick's head.

Akira Volume 2 by Katsuhiro Otomo

My god. I always thought that I was too stupid to understand Akira (the movie). I thought this because the first time I watched the movie I was like "man this is an awesome fucking movie with a great soundtrack... it reminds me of the soundtrack for Ravenous (written by that dude from Blurr! Except that should be the other way around because the movie Ravenous came out way later than Akira).

I knew that the movie was condensing a lot of heavy content. One cannot help but be confused after watching Akira. Reading volume 2, helps to put it all in perspective. The relationship between Kaneda and Tetsuo is completely different than in the movie, so far as I can tell. I always identified with Tetsuo in the movie (despite naming my second kitty Kaneda).  Basically Kaneda is out to destroy Tetsuo purely because the woman he is obsessed with would rather see Tetsuo dead, but mostly because in volume 1, Tetsuo became the leader of a rival gang... the clowns. What is REALLY Kaneda's whole motivation for destroying his childhood friend? In the book, he doesn't appear to understand that his best friend possesses the power to destroy Neo-Tokyo (and perhaps the world). He's after Tetsuo for his own benefit. Kaneda doesn't look like such a great character after all despite his over confidence and danger dodging attitude. If I met Kaneda in real life, I'd probably punch him the face, yet all growing up, I thought he was awesome in the movies and invented little sexy daydreams based on his character. Fuck Kaneda.

All of Volume 2 centers around is the weird little mutant kids using Kei as a weapon/tool to target Tetsuo. He's escaped from the damn government hospital again and running a muck after Akira who has been buried deep under ground. I'm not getting clearer understand of why this whole Akira kid is so important. I already know he caused the explosion that fucked up Tokyo but I didn't realize he was technically still "alive" in his crazy-ass chamber underground. That shits fucked up. So much is coming together yet I have to order the next volume because I need to know where this is all going.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Barefoot Gen Volume 2: The Day After by Keiji Nakazawa

Not that I want to bring you down or ruin your beautiful Nova Scotian summer day (seriously it's actually nice out here today), but you should really read Barefoot Gen. I can't lie and say you won't cry. You MAY cry. It really depends if you are moved by a child's sincere and honest reaction to tragedy happening around him. Tragedy like melted faces, bodies being burned in mass graves, half-living burn victims being burned alive in piles of corpses and lots of body parts strewn about. If you have a heart of adamantium alloy, you'd still find yourself weepy, unless your a monster.... or hitler (can never bring myself to capitalize hitler).

Barefoot Gen is an autobiography that is both shockingly honest and curt, so much in fact that it knocks your sense of reality over (I think it has affected my inner ear). It pulls you into a past you have only read about in history books and forces you to see the true horrors that shook Hiroshima. As Gen struggles to accept bombed Hiroshima as his new reality, you find yourself viewing the horror in as much disbelief as him. I know North Americans are somewhat desensitized to violence and gore, but the actual lack of depicted gore in Barefoot Gen make it all the more haunting and horrific. What is not shown your brain easily fills in and it's terrifying.

In volume 2, Gen is sent out by his mother to first look for rice. As the only male survivor of his family, Gen remembers his fathers words which urge him to look after his mother and new born baby sister. It's during this quest for rice that the reader sees the terrible aftermath of the bomb through Gen's eyes.

Eventually Gen's mother decides they must leave Hiroshima which is drowning in corpses and radiated bodies, to stay with a childhood friend. Unfortunately the family sees Gen's and his mother as a terrible burden and begin to torment their guests.

The story shows just how cruel humanity can be in the face of tragedy more-so than how generous they can be. Yet through it all Gen preservers, never losing hope or faith in his ability to overcome such vile circumstances and loathsome human behavior.

Tank Girl ONE by Hewlett & Martin

Over the years I've read pieces of Tank Girl. I have never actually read the classic Tank Girl where it all started. So I ordered it from the Library. I gotta say, I appreciate the book but it's not my kind of comic. It feels like a zine more-so than a comic book. It suffers from disorganized plots and absurdity which would attract a lot of peoples attention. For me, it's just not sucking me out my own little world enough. I can't escape when I'm constantly being reminded that I'm the reader. Tank Girl regularly points out that she is in fact, inside a comic. None of this is bad, it's just not for me. I appreciate the artwork which is punk-zine awesome.

Tank Girl is a British comic set in a future Australia. It all feels very distopian. Much of the references made refer to 1980's British pop culture. I find it somewhat funny when a book set in the future refers to the creators present era. For this reason, the book is pretty dated which again, isn't a totally bad thing.

Despite my lack of interest in reading the rest of classic Tank Girl, the series continues on with new writers and artists to this day and last February released a collected works titled "Everybody Love Tank Girl". While I could sit down and appreciate the odd occasional issue, sadly I have to say, I'm not in love. I could never sit there and read issue after issue.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Upcoming Content - What I'm currently doing and eating! (that means reading)

Hello comic book slaves and obsessives!  How's the OCD today? Mine is ever present and running a muck all over Halifax, invading stores and my boyfriend's apartment. I have yet to hear complaints about my leaving graphic novels around his place. Finally this week I get to go clean out my subscription box at Quantum Frontier after a few months of being broke on account of the ex bf who ran off with my money. DAMN. (Think of all the comics I could have bought and  you know, the tuition I could have paid.) But I've got some lovelies waiting for me including some Prophet (I believe I accidentally ordered the wrong volume, but we'll find out), The Walking Dead, Savage Wolverine, The Hollows... yeah that'd about right. Super excited. Additionally, I am waiting on my signed copy of Over the Wall in the mail.

Currently, I'm reading Classic Tank Girl, Akira Volume 2, Barefoot Gen Volume 2, The Unwritten Volume 1, some more Sin City and the wonderful Osamu Tezuka's Nextworld! I also have a copy of a book titled A Distant Neighborhood which I keep meaning to read but it keeps making it's way to the bottom of my pile as other books catch my eye over it. So I dunno if I will ever end up reading that. It may just make it's way back to the Library untouched. 

Other than that I am my busy self! Started running and working out again so that cuts into comic time.. additionally my beloved brought a PS3 over to my house and we've been playing Battlefield 3 multiplayer online. That also cuts into comic time. But don't worry, plenty of posts and sorted opinions to come soon!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sin City: That Yellow Bastard by Frank Miller

What a find! Original singles in great condition for the total price of $12.50 (That's CAD of course). I started reading it right away. My quest to read more Miller is going pretty swell I'd say. I had only happened to stumble into the Dartmouth Strange Adventures in hope that their back issue sale was still in swing. It was! I also found issue 3 of The Maxx in perfect condition. I'll take that for .33 even though I know I have a copy of it already. Your favorite comics are always nice to have doubles of... and the trade paper back and in some cases - the Hard Covered edition.

That Yellow Bastard is an amazing story. I loved the film adaptation and I loved the comic book. The story was 6 issues long, that's 6 chapters for all the trade paper toting fans. The series ran from Feb '96 - Jul '96 on Darkhorse Comics. The plot centers around nearly retired cop Hartigan who takes on one last case against the advice of his partner. He has to save an 11 year old girl from a pedophile. It all goes down wrong when he gets framed for the crime and serves 8 years hard time. 

The artwork is in black and white with the only color in the entire book being yellow for that yellow bastard. Junior, senator Roark's son. The Roark's are the ones who control all of Sin City. They run the crime syndicate, law enforcement and the government (including the church).  All the stories involve the Roark family in one form or another. It is pretty brilliant how the characters' lives overlap.

I should mention, and I often forget to, that this story is not suitable for children. This story is strictly for a mature audience. The Sin City series deals with sex, exploitation, drugs and yeah there's nudity. Lots of dirty language to boot.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Trillium by Jeff Lemire

Wow. That's what I'm saying. I love what Lemire did with this issue. The issue is written as two separate stories that merge as one. There are two covers, you flip the book over and start from the other side. Doesn't matter which side you choose to read first although the side labeled the soldier is listed as chapter 1.2. To me, there is not spoiler created by reading one side before the other. I did read it in chapter order.

Each story takes place in a different year. The chapter labeled the soldier takes place in 1921 on Earth while the chapter labelled the scientist takes place in 3797 on a planet that is not called out.

In chapter 1 we meet Nika who is a scientist attempting to help save what is left of humanity from a deadly, sentient virus known as The Caul. The goal is to procure a rare flower, a species of Trillium from the local natives known as Atabithians. They are apparently gentle, wise and cooperative. Of course the last 4000 humans in the universe and their governing saviors known as Earthlab, would rather bulldoze the local alien inhabitants and take the flower for themselves. Funny how genocide has become the justification for genocide here. This is where Nika steps in and takes matters into her own hands, following her mothers beliefs which are basically, that we are all one in the universe and we should not cause harm.

Five Things I like :
1. Sci-fi stories where people talk to their computers which have their own names and personalities.
2. Pyramids(not the scams, the ones built out of rocks).
3. Pictorial Languages (hieroglyphs).
4. Squidie/Cthulhu looking aliens.
5. Time travel/parallel universe/inter-dimensional travel all Star Gate stylish. (Seriously it could be any one of those, I can't tell at this point)

It's here I'll explain that in this issue, the two chapters and their main characters meet in the middle. I just can't wait to read more... god why do I have to wait a whole month!?!? It's so unfair!!

Brandon Graham's Newest Book "Walrus"

Right HERE !!! Brandon Graham recently released a new book collecting his artwork and I'm begging for a signed copy! BEGGING! I still haven't heard back from the email and comments I left. Being in Nova Scotia makes it impossible to go to comic book signings. No one ever comes here to our little nerdville. Yet it seems unfair because now we've got Hal-con and all the store make a big deal of out Free Comic Book Day. There's also a lot of other local events that are celebrated.

At any rate, I'm publicly begging now! Please Brandon Graham! I really want a signed copy of Walrus for my collection. I'm such a big fan!! I even have one of your coloring books that I received from a generous friend. Purdy please!! With lots of singing cigarettes on top??!

Scalped : Volume 1 by Jason Aaron & J.M. Guera

I have been told to read this series so many damn times. I just got it out at the library. I know, I know! My hopping around comic book titles is ridiculous. The way I see it is, you can’t possible read everything as it’s released. I simply can’t afford it so you have to pick and choose what new stuff you have time/money for and then run backwards after the rest once the library gets it. But yes time is just as much of a factor as money. After all, I gotta give the boyfriend some attention. Everything can’t be about comics… or can it? Hmm. 

I really enjoyed the first issue of Scalped. It was a refreshing change of pace from my usual sci-fi/fantasy kicks. Everyone knows I like gangsters and I like westerns so why wouldn't I love this book? It's a great mix of the two genres. I'm starting to really like some of the main characters already. We get a few flashbacks that are really interesting which center around Chief Red Crow and cop Dashiell's mother. It looks to me that Dashiell may be Red Crow's illegitimate son despite the fact that Dashiell's mother claims he is the son of another man. I am really interested in Red Crow's daughter Gina who eludes to some illicit love affair involving Dashiell. She seems like she had an interesting past and I hope they dive into that. No doubt really.

As for the story line, all I can tell you is that there is a lot going on at the reserve. A new casino being opened and a lot of organized crime which directly involves the band's Chief. On the other hand we have Dashiell Bad Horse, back on the reserve after a long time away. Apparently he was sent away by his mother as a teenager. Now he's back on the reserve as a cop with one huge chip on his shoulder. He's described as a sociopath but I get the feeling that's not really the case.

As far as beginnings go, I'd say this is a great introduction to a series. You get a little taste of what's to come and a little bit of background on the characters- just enough to keep you guessing. I'll be ordering the second book from the Library.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Over the Wall by Peter Wartman

Over the Wall by Peter Wartman

Guess who just ordered a SIGNED copy of this!? ME ME ME!! I'm so excited. I have really been anticipating this novel ever since I read a blog post about it by Brandon Graham. I can't wait. Debut graphic novel from an up and coming artist/writer!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jeff Lemire's Blog: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Calls TRILLIUM 1 of 5 Comics ...

Jeff Lemire's Blog: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Calls TRILLIUM 1 of 5 Comics ...: "We’re mere days away from the official launch date of annual pop culture festival Comic-Con. And while we’re all busy buzzing over t...

Psyren : Volume 6 by Toshiaki Iwashiro

The kids are in trouble again. SURPRISE! We knew that though. There are yet more new characters introduced at this point in the story and the whole plot veers in a different direction for the entire volume. At this point everyone has been transported back to Present Day Earth and has begun to work on their psionic powers. Ageha struggles to try and warn granny and the children about their impending doom. He foresaw in the footage of the future captured on a disc they found in a bunker. However, in his attempt to talk about Psyren to granny who's never actually been there, Nemesis Q shows up and abducts Ageha's consciousness.  It is only at this point that we realize that Nemesis Q is not a being but a program sent by someone from the future to help prevent the collapse of Present Day Earth.

It is here I would like to express some of my distaste for the enthusiastic writer Iwashiro (I say enthusiastic simply because of all his footnotes that are littered with positive vibes and exclamation marks. Quite the diversion from reading notes from the author of Eden).

I appreciate Iwashiro's  ideas; I appreciate most of his artwork but it writing solutions like this where I find myself a little dissatisfied.  The author consistently introduces new enemies while a slew of others haven't even been dealt with and new attributes of psionic energy. That in itself is fine however, the way he simply throws the information at the reader! Where is the build-up? where is the back story for the development of these bizarre powers? It is as if the power was created in order to solve some plot hole the author wrote himself into. In this instance, Iwashiro has made it so that psionic energy and those that wield it, can create psionic programs.... Here is where I'm pissed--The ridiculous concept of a program that is described as an autonomous being that has a physical body, that apparently just appears out of thin air. No one built it, I guess they just thought it?? There's no explanation and apparently it's not a machine...although it looks like a machine. I am so annoyed by this concept that I am not 100% convinced that the actual translation is "program" but some other noun that would more accurately describe WHAT THE FUCK these autonomous characters are. I can get behind all kinds of sci-fi ridiculousness but the fact that the author has mentioned NOTHING about psionic energy being used this way and just let several bad-ass characters throw this fucking shit Additionally the author has introduced countless foes at this point already (who our heroes haven't been able to defeat) why the hell do we need another class of random enemy? SIGH.

There is one other part of the volume that bothered me. Now that our heroes are back on Present Day Earth, there are enemies they must face here too! These enemies apparently have nothing to do with the main focus of the plot - figuring out how to stop the destruction of the world as we know it in 2009. These new enemies are a gang of dudes with psionic powers running a crime syndicate. Again, why do we need this? We've got this whole apocalypse to deal with, why do we need a gangster story in here too? GAH. What the hell are you doing Iswashiro?? If you want to write a gangster manga just do it. Stop using this one manga to satisfy your fickle issues with genre. At this point it's just too late in the game for me to accept that there are this many genres meshed into one comic. Perhaps this is why the series ended after 16 volumes. Seems awfully short for all that our heroes are supposed to accomplish.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sin City : The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller

Reading Sin City : The Hard Goodbye for the first time has got my head spinning. In a good way of course. The way that tells me that I've got a lot of stories I have to start putting on paper asap. I've got a lot of comics that I HAVE to get out of me and in front of me instead. Okay but lets talk about this book, we can talk about all the books I haven't drawn & written some other time.

The Hard Goodbye was originally published in 1991. It's always been one of those books I pass over even though I've always wanted to read it. I do this a lot with books. I know I'll always get around to reading it. Frank Miller was nominated for a lot of awards in the early 90's because of this serial. The book itself has won a few awards over the years including the Eisner Award for best reprint. I borrowed this lovely trade paper back from the Library of course. I'm just about to order some of the other stories from the series.

I have only read random issues by Frank Miller in the past and most of them Batman. I know everyone raves about Frank Miller's Batman, but for me, no one does it better than Sam Kieth. But that's not a debate for this article, and I know I'll lose that debate anyway. Frank Miller in my head is a better writer than he is an artist. Okay, before you shoot me, read on. I love the way this particular book is written. I'm not totally crazy about the artwork.Why? Well, because I think I could I am just as good of an artist as Frank Miller. I know, I'm an asshole but seriously, you've never seen my work. No one has really and it'll stay that way till I finish one whole graphic novel. But can I tell a story like Frank Miller? No. I really doubt myself there despite the fact that all I want to do is be a writer. I'm not certain I can pull off a story like this one. It's all too bitter sweet and even if you can't realistically identify with Marv, you find yourself trying to anyway. It's all due to his awesome monologue.

Well, I want to continue to talk about this but I'm distracted by the fact that they are playing the Star Wars Empirical Theme in the Natal Day parade happening up the street. Jesus.. I don't get it. Why are we celebrating WWII with Star Wars? Don't get me wrong, I'm the biggest Star Wars fan. I've got the memorabilia but god damn. What is wrong with Halifax?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Y The Last Man : Volume 8-10 by Brian K. Vaughan

I'm starting to laugh a lot every time Yourick comes up with another disguise idea! They are getting more ridiculous with every volume but it's great all the same.

At this point, Yurick's monkey has been stolen and Agent 355, the doctor and of course Yurick are tracking him by means of a device implanted in the little shit-flinger. I feel like this has all gone the way of Giligans Island heh, the tag-along eye-patch girl gets to be Mary-Anne and Ginger just drowned somewhere in hot-water spring. Agent 355 get's to be the Captain and Yurick get's to be Giligan. Wow, Giligan's Island is crawling with women! Moving on-

Y The Last Man really does have everything, it even has submarines and ninjas! Swords, secret agents, horrible plays.. This book actually opens with another awful production. All the lack of tv has revived theater apparently but I can't help but think Vaughan is saying something about women being the inherently dramatic sex. I mean that is only right if you're THIS girl and on day 6 of quitting smoking. Did I mention I've been a little dramatic lately? MOVING ON-

I decided to blog the three remaining volumes into one post because I read them one right after the other. A lot of theories, ideas fallacies are presented in this whole series. It feels like Vaughan is having an argument with himself through all these random characters. I suppose that's what most authors are doing but with Vaughan it doesn't seem that he's made up his mind. Is he a feminist? Does he even understand what a real feminist is or is he like so much of the population, believing feminism is about female superiority rather than equality? Sometimes I just can't tell with Vaughan but I think he's well meaning. At the end of Book 9, the argument is made once again, that women are jealous airheads that just want to read trashy novels. This character claims it's obvious because since the plague hit and all the men disappeared, women have been running the world into the ground. Things like this always make me laugh since well... it's a fictional world.

As I said, Vaughan is just playing with ideas and opinions that get tossed around feminist forums by trolls and feminists alike. There's always something to be gained by healthy discussion even if the discussion is between a bunch of characters in a comic book. lol.

I think the last book was my favorite despite that fact that I cried through the better part of it. Of course that could have been due to the nicotine withdrawal, or PMS. But I loved it all the way! I want to spoil all of it for you because it was sooo fantastic!! But I can't. You just have to find out for yourself. What happens to Yurick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann? Hero and Beth? It's all perfect. Now it's all over.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

XxxHolic by Clamp

I have liked a lot of Clamp manga over the years. Most manga fans are familiar with Chobits and X. Both titles received some renown in the manga world. XxxHolic debuted in 2003 as a Seinen manga (target audience 18-30yr males) and in 2009 was ranked as the 6th best selling manga in the United States.

Sometimes I'm confused by the target audience assigned to manga. I read things that are not targeted at my demographic and I find that's pretty typical of North American readers. Perhaps it's exactly the same in Japan. I've never been there and I couldn't find any relevant articles online that might explain why certain manga's receive a specific label. I will simply assume that Japan treats the labels as more of a guide for prospective readers.

XxxHolic is a series about a high school boy named Kimihiro. Dude is afflicted with the ability to see the supernatural, which is more than just seeing dead people walking about. Kimihiro seeks help from a creepy lady in a tea shop who claims she can remove the curse. Coincidentally, Kimihiro ends up working in her shop where lots of supernatural happenings are thrown at him.  (Yes I know I'm making even less sense than usual. Day 5 of no cigarettes so cut me some slack bitches. Leave me to my cumbersome sentence structuring.)

The art of Clamp has always baffled me. Pages go from elaborately detailed with intricate design, to downright minimalist and sparse. I remember this observation when reading Clover some years ago. Despite this bizarre approach to panels, the characters are drawn beautifully. Clamp has always had this wonderful hyper feminine styles for faces and bodies. It could be difficult to tell the male and female characters apart if it weren't for their clothing. Like a lot of manga characters however, Clamp is addicted to the excellently tall and slender bodies. That part I don't like so much. Itty-bitty waistlines don't help anyone with body dysmorphia, which I think all of us have at least a little of.

So far I am enjoying XxxHolic and will most likely read the next couple volumes (which I got at Strange Adventures for 1 dollar on Free Comic Book Day). Great deal!

Sakuran : Blossoms Wild by Moyoco Anno

Sakuran originally ran from 2001-2003 in Japan. I picked this up out of nicotine withdraw realizing I needed some trash to keep my mind occupied but not something that would actually take brain power to understand. Brain power is seriously depleted at the moment. I am forgetting how to spell words I have always known how to spell. I am losing my focus mid sentence which makes it hard to say exactly what I want using the right words. Well, it'll soon be gone, it's only day five after all.

Enough of my current state of mind, or lack of concentration rather, let us discuss this beast of a manga. I am calling it a beast because simply, it is a fairly thick volume riddled with trashy scenes and ignorant people.  I find a lot of the panels rather sloppily drawn and rushed. It's not a real polished work if you ask me. Author Moyoco Anno has made a career of manga mostly targeted at elementary school girls and juniors. This is sort of stepping out of that area, the manga is recommended for 18+.

All in all the story is told in a childish manner, yet with adult content. It's memoirs of a geisha without all the symbolism. So it's pretty weak and exploitative. Girl on girl hate. Would I recommend this to anyone?? Um.. no. I wouldn't even recommend it to myself and I picked it up. It did server it's purpose as being devoid of thought. I was able to forget about how depressed I am since I quit smoking. That being said, I will not bother looking for volume 2.