Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Comic Book Bin on DC Comics' New 52

Beth Davies-Stofka rounded up some Bin writers, including yours (un)truly, to discuss the core of certain comic book characters.  The impetus of this was DC Comics' relaunch of its universe, which begins today with Justice League #1.  I chose Batman.  Go here to read.

Black Bird: Return of the Father

I read Black Bird, Vol. 10

I posted a review at the Comic Book Bin (which has FREE smart phone apps).




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 31 2011

DC COMICS

DEC100325 BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE STATUE DAVID FINCH $80.00

MAY110240 BATMAN MAD LOVE AND OTHER STORIES TP $17.99

JUN110178 FLASHPOINT #5 (OF 5) $3.99

JUL110187 JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 $3.99

JUL110189 JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 COMBO PACK $4.99

FEB110282 LITTLE ENDLESS PORTFOLIO SET $29.99

APR110205 NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $75.00

MAY110297 SANDMAN TP VOL 06 FABLES AND REFLECTIONS NEW ED (MR) $19.99

APR110208 STEVE DITKO OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 STARRING SHADE $59.99


Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 31 2011

MARVEL COMICS

JUN118171 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #666 2ND PTG RAMOS VAR (PP #983) $3.99

JUN118192 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #667 2ND PTG RAMOS HERO SKETCH VAR SPI $3.99

JUN118193 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #667 2ND PTG RAMOS LIZARD SKETCH VAR SPI $3.99

JUN110624 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #668 SPI $3.99

JUN110629 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN INFESTED #1 SPI $3.99

JUN110746 ANNIHILATORS HC GARNER CVR $24.99

JUN110747 ANNIHILATORS HC YOUNG DM VAR ED $24.99

JUN110706 DEADPOOLMAX #11 (OF 12) (MR) $3.99

JUN110775 ESSENTIAL WEB OF SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 01 $19.99

JUN118142 FEAR ITSELF #1 (OF 7) 4TH PTG IMMONEN VAR (PP #982) $3.99

JUN110589 FEAR ITSELF DEEP #3 (OF 4) FEAR $2.99

JUN110673 GAMBIT FROM THE MARVEL VAULT #1 $2.99

JUN110765 GREEN GOBLIN A LIGHTER SHADE OF GREEN TP $39.99

JUN110674 HERC #6 POINT ONE $2.99

JUN110652 INCREDIBLE HULKS #635 $3.99

JUN110736 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN PREM HC VOL 08 UNFIXABLE $19.99

JUN110650 IRON MAN 2.0 #8 $2.99

JUN110642 JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #626 POINT ONE $2.99

JUN110742 MARVELMAN CLASSIC PREM HC VOL 03 $34.99

JUN118143 MIGHTY THOR #3 2ND PTG COIPEL VAR (PP #982) $3.99

JUN110643 MIGHTY THOR #5 $3.99

JUN110771 NAMOR FIRST MUTANT TP VOL 02 NAMOR GOES TO HELL $16.99

JUN110632 SECRET AVENGERS #16 $3.99

JUN110752 SPIDER-GIRL TP FAMILY VALUES $19.99

JUN110627 SPIDER-ISLAND DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #1 (OF 3) SPI $2.99

JUN110756 THUNDERBOLTS BY ELLIS AND DEODATO ULT COLL TP $29.99

JUN118244 ULTIMATE COMICS FALLOUT #4 (OF 6) 2ND PTG BAGLEY VAR $3.99

JUN118172 ULTIMATE COMICS FALLOUT #4 (OF 6) 2ND PTG PICHELLI VAR $3.99

JUN110617 ULTIMATE COMICS HAWKEYE #1 (OF 4) $3.99

JUN110780 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN BY SARA PICHELLI POSTER $8.99

JUN118146 UNCANNY X-FORCE #12 2ND PTG BROOKS VAR (PP #982) $3.99

JUN110701 UNCANNY X-FORCE #14 $3.99

JUN118137 UNCANNY X-FORCE TP VOL 01 APOCALYPSE SOLUTION $15.99

JUN118144 VENOM #1 4TH PTG QUESADA VAR (PP #982) $3.99

JUN110767 X-MEN PHOENIX RISING TP NEW PTG $14.99

JUN110745 X-MEN PRELUDE TO SCHISM PREM HC $19.99

JUN118177 X-MEN SCHISM #2 (OF 5) 2ND PTG CHO VAR (PP #983) $3.99

JUN110679 ZOMBIES CHRISTMAS CAROL #5 (OF 5) $3.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for August 31 2011

IDW PUBLISHING

APR110390 BOOK OF EXTREME FACTS SC $17.99

JUN110447 INFESTATION TP VOL 02 $19.99

JUN110396 LOCKE & KEY CLOCKWORKS #2 (OF 6) $3.99

JUN110412 ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #4 (OF 4) $3.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 31 2011

DARK HORSE COMICS

JUN110009 ANGEL & FAITH #1 STEVE MORRIS CVR $2.99

JAN118123 BPRD TP VOL 11 BLACK GODDESS $17.99

MAY110045 CHIMICHANGA HC $14.99

MAY110039 CREEPY PRESENTS BERNIE WRIGHTSON HC $19.99

APR110040 DRIFTERS VOL 01 (MR) $12.99

APR110039 EDEN TP VOL 13 ITS AN ENDLESS WORLD (MR) $12.99

MAY110040 EERIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 08 $49.99

JUN110019 GOON #35 $3.50

MAY110035 GOON TP VOL 03 HEAPS OF RUINATION 2ND ED $16.99

MAY110043 GREEN RIVER KILLER TRUE DETECTIVE STORY HC $24.99

JUN118153 HELLBOY THE FURY #3 (OF 3) (2ND PTG) $2.99

MAY110050 LAST DRAGON HC $29.99

MAY110038 LET ME IN VOL 01 CROSSROADS TP $14.99

MAY110048 LITTLE LULU PAL TUBBY VOL 04 ATOMIC VIOLIN & OTHER STORIES $15.99

APR118180 OCCULT FILES OF DOCTOR SPEKTOR ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 (PP #973) $49.99

MAY110021 STAR WARS ADV TP CHEWBACCA & SLAVERS O/T SHADOWLAND $7.99

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 31 2011

IMAGE COMICS

JUN110534 BUTCHER BAKER RIGHTEOUS MAKER #6 (MR) $2.99

MAY110507 ELEPHANTMEN #34 (MR) $3.99

JUN110500 EPOCH #1 (OF 5) (MR) $3.99

MAR110584 HAUNT #17 $2.99

FEB110462 INVINCIBLE #82 $2.99

JUN110547 LAST MORTAL #4 (OF 4) (MR) $3.99

APR110519 SAVAGE DRAGON #173 $3.50

JUN110559 SKULLKICKERS #10 $2.99

JUL110548 VAULT #2 (OF 3) $3.50

JUN110502 VESCELL #1 (MR) $2.99

JUN110567 WALKING DEAD WEEKLY #35 (MR) $2.99

JUN118173 WITCH DOCTOR #2 (OF 4) VAR CVR 2ND PTG $2.99

MAR110610 WITCHBLADE #147 $3.99

Comics and Magazines from Diamond Distributors for August 31 2011

PREVIEWS PUBLICATIONS
JUL110001 PREVIEWS #276 SEPTEMBER 2011 PI

COMICS
JUN111226 ABC WARRIORS BLACK HOLE GN (S&S ED) $17.99

JUN111168 AIR GEAR GN VOL 19 (MR) $10.99

MAY110913 AMORY WARS IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH 3 TP VOL 01 $14.99

MAY110914 AMORY WARS IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH 3 TP VOL 02 $14.99

MAY111040 AN EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL LIE GN (MR) $12.95

MAY111196 ANY EMPIRE HC $19.95

JUL110836 ARCHIE HIGH SCHOOL CHRONICLES TP VOL 02 $9.95

JUN111235 ARON WARNERS PARIAH #2 (OF 4) $3.99

OCT100794 ARSENIC LULLABY DEVILS DECADE HC (MR) $49.99

JUN110840 B & V FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #217 $3.99

JUN111135 BODYSNATCHERS #3 (OF 6) $2.99

MAY118378 BOKURANO OURS GN VOL 04 $12.99

MAR111015 BONE ONE VOL COLOR ED SGN HC 20TH ANN BOX SET $350.00

APR111093 CAPTAIN ACTION KING SIZE SPECIAL #1 $6.99

JUN110888 CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD LAST BATTLE #6 (OF 6) (RES) (MR) $4.99

JUN110889 CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD LAST BATTLE #6 (OF 6) WRAP CVR (RES) $4.99

MAR111248 CLINT #9 (MR) $6.99

APR111064 CLOCKWORK GIRL (HARPER DESIGN) HC $19.99

MAY111345 CONAN MMPB $7.99

JUN111144 CONCEPTIONS BY LUIS ROYO HC VOL 03 (O/A) (MR) $14.95

JUL110900 CROSSED PSYCHOPATH #2 (OF 7) PHILADELPHIA CVR (MR) $5.99

MAY111060 DF KIRBY GENESIS #2 ROSS VIRGIN EXC CVR $19.99

MAY111052 DF WARLORD OF MARS DEJAH THORIS #5 ADAMS EXC CVR $14.99

MAY111360 DILBERT ACCOMPLISHMENTS SUSP HARD TO VERIFY TP $16.99

APR110863 DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP HC VOL 05 (OF 6) $24.99

MAR111318 DOROHEDORO VOL 04 $12.99

JUN111132 ELDRITCH KID WHISKY & HATE (MR) $11.95

JUN110871 EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT VIOLET #2 (OF 3) CVR A MHAN $3.50

MAY110893 FAME 50 CENT $3.99

JUL111089 GAHAN WILSON 50 YEARS PLAYBOY CARTOONS HC (NEW PRICE) (MR) $75.00

JUL111088 GHOST WORLD SPECIAL ED HC (NEW PRICE) $25.00

JUN110792 GIRL GENIUS HC VOL 10 AGATHA H & GUARDIAN MUSE $48.95

JUN111136 GORE #4 (OF 12) (MR) $2.99

JUN111121 GRAPHIC CLASSICS GN VOL 21 POE MYSTERY $17.95

APR111213 GRIFF GN $22.99

MAY111290 GRIMM FAIRY TALES #63 $2.99

MAY111291 GRIMM FAIRY TALES #63 $2.99

JUN111315 GRIMM FAIRY TALES ANNUAL 2011 $5.99

APR110870 HELLRAISER #4 (MR) $3.99

APR111212 INSPECTOR GADGET GN VOL 01 GADGET ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS $5.95

JUL111223 INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET GN NEW PTG $24.99

MAY111038 ITAZURA NA KISS GN VOL 06 $16.95

MAY111271 JOHNNY TEST GN VOL 01 ONCE & FUTURE JOHNNY $5.95

MAY111174 JUDGE DREDD RESTRICTED FILES TP VOL 03 $33.00

JUN110845 JUGHEADS DOUBLE DIGEST #173 $3.99

JAN111142 KATO ORIGINS #11 HELLFIRE CLUB $3.99

JUN110989 KILLING VELAZQUEZ GN (MR) $20.00

JUL111136 KODT BUNDLE OF TROUBLE TP VOL 33 $14.99

JUL111137 KODT JAVA JOINT STRIPS TP $11.99

APR110903 LIFE & TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK HC VOL 01 (AUG090745) $24.99

MAR111149 MARTIAN CHRONICLES HC $30.00

SEP100800 MINDFIELD #6 COVER A ALEX KONAT $2.99

JUN111174 MONSTER HUNTER ORAGE TP VOL 02 (MR) $10.99

MAY111175 NIKOLAI DANTE HERO O/T REVOLUTION TP $29.00

MAR111197 PHASES O/T MOON #1 DOMINO LADY / SPIDER $2.50

JUN110952 PLANET OF THE APES #5 $1.00

JUN110954 PLANET OF THE APES TP VOL 01 $9.99

MAY111239 RANDOMVEUS HC VOL 01 $29.99

NOV100896 RED SONJA #57 $3.99

APR111062 ROUTE DES MAISONS ROUGES #5 (OF 6) $2.99

MAY111299 SALEMS DAUGHTER HAUNTING #1 A CVR ARTGERM (MR) $2.99

MAY111300 SALEMS DAUGHTER HAUNTING #1 B CVR YANG (MR) $2.99

JUN111176 SAYONARA ZETSUBOU SENSEI GN VOL 10 $10.99

JUN111200 SIXTH GUN #14 $3.99

MAY111039 SKY LINK GN (MR) $12.95

JUN110850 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #228 $2.99

APR110817 SOULFIRE VOL 3 #3 CVR A FABOK $2.99

APR110818 SOULFIRE VOL 3 #3 CVR B RYAN $2.99

JUN110959 STAN LEE TRAVELER #10 $3.99

MAY110812 SUBCULTURE WEBSTRIPS VOL 01 WRATH OF GEEK (MR) $9.95

JUN111131 THE DEEP HERE BE DRAGONS $9.95

JUL110956 THE RINSE #1 $1.00

JUN111133 TORN GN (MR) $12.95

APR111231 VAGABOND VIZBIG ED GN VOL 10 (MR) $19.99

MAY111006 VAMPIRELLA #9 $3.99

MAY110836 VERONICA #208 (VERONICA PRESENTS KEVIN KELLER #2) $2.99

MAY110950 WAR GODDESS #1 (MR) $3.99

MAY110952 WAR GODDESS #1 GORE CVR (MR) $3.99

MAY110951 WAR GODDESS #1 WRAP CVR (MR) $3.99

JUN111014 WARLORD OF MARS FALL OF BARSOOM #2 $3.99

MAY111041 WARNING WHISPERS OF LOVE GN (MR) $12.95

JUN111034 ZORRO RIDES AGAIN #2 $3.99

MAGAZINES
MAY111172 2000 AD PACK JULY 2011 $20.00
APR111128 2000 AD PACK JUNE 2011 $25.00
JUN111396 CINEMA RETRO KELLYS HEROES SPECIAL $11.99
JUN111360 COMICS REVUE PRESENTS AUG 2011 $19.95
MAY111337 DR WHO MAGAZINE #437 $8.99
MAY111378 GIRASOL PULP DOUBLES THE SPIDER VOL 20 $14.95
JUL111419 GIRLS AND CORPSES MAGAZINE SUMMER 2011 (MR) $8.95
JUN111410 LOCUS #607 $6.95
MAY111358 SCI FI & FANTASY MODELLER VOL 22 $27.99
MAY111371 SFX SPECIAL #51 TOP 100 SCI FI ICONS $17.99
MAY111382 STAR WARS INSIDER #127 SPECIAL PX ED $7.99
JUN111388 UNDYING MONSTERS MAGAZINE #2 $9.95

Monday, August 29, 2011

Leroy Douresseaux on RAGE #3

RAGE #3 (OF 3)
DARK HORSE BOOKS

SCRIPT: Arvid Nelson
PENCILS: Andrea Mutti
INKS: Pierluigi Baldassini
COLORS: Michael Atiyeh
LETTERS: Michael Heisler
COVER: Glenn Fabry
32pp, Color, $3.50

“After the Impact” Part 3 of 3

So Rage, Dark Horse’s comic book miniseries based upon RAGE, the upcoming first-person shooter game from id Software, has ended. I enjoyed it, but I was left wanting more post-apocalyptic shoot ‘em up. In some ways, this series is a bit thin.

This comic book series is written by Arvid Nelson (Rex Mundi) and drawn by Andrea Mutti. Entitled “After the Impact,” it is an original tale set in and an introduction to the world of Rage. I hope this duo returns if there is a second Rage comic book.

Rage takes place on an Earth that was struck by Asteroid 99942 – codename: Apophis – on April 13, 2037. Five billion people died within 24 hours, but a tiny fraction of the population survived the devastation by living in “burrowing cryo arks.” They emerged to find Earth a wasteland controlled by a global military dictatorship called the Authority. It is 2095 when scientist Dr. Elizabeth Cadence is revived. The Authority brings her to a research facility in a vast necropolis where she hopes to discover the full extent of the Authority’s deceptions.

As Rage #3 opens, Elizabeth has learned the Authority’s dirty secrets: that they murdered her husband and son and that they are responsible for the creation of the rampaging mutants. With her old colleague, Dr. Antonin Kvasir at her side, Elizabeth prepares for her final showdown with brutal Authority officer, Colonel James Casey.

If Rage the game is as fun to read as Rage the comic book, gamers will be quite satisfied. Writer Arvid Nelson’s tight script and Andrea Mutti perfect-match art should get them a second chance at returning us to the world of Rage. Overall, this is good military and monsters science fiction, although I wish there were more to this in terms of the length of the narrative.

I’m not into video games, but I enjoyed reading this video game adaptation in a way I never do when it comes to video game comic books. Are there any other good ones out there?

B+

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Leroy Douresseaux on AMERICAN GODS: THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

AMERICAN GODS: THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
WILLIAM MORROW

AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
ISBN: 978-0-06-205988-8; hardcover
560pp, B&W, $26.99 U.S.

American Gods is a 2001 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman (author of The Sandman comic book series). In 2002, the book won several “Best Novel” awards from organizations that honor fantasy fiction, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker Awards. The novel centers on a taciturn and mysterious protagonist caught in a struggle between the gods of the old world and the new gods of America.

In celebration of the novel’s tenth anniversary, William Morrow, publisher of the first edition, recently published American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Author’s Preferred Text). This edition contains an additional 12,000 words and is the first time that this version of the text has been made widely available. Gaiman also provides an introduction to this edition in which he explains the origins and development of the novel.

The premise of American Gods is that gods, mythological beings, spirits, and figures of legend, folklore, and fairy tales exist because people believe in them. Through their beliefs, immigrants brought these gods and beings from the Old World to the new world of America. Over time, the immigrants’ descendants either forgot the gods or their belief in their ancestors’ gods waned. Now, out of America’s obsession with media, celebrity, technology, and even drugs (among other things) sprang new gods.

The story centers on an enigmatic figure named Shadow, who has just been released from prison after serving three years. He can’t wait to get back to his wife, Laura Moon, but tragedy strikes. With nothing left to which he can return, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A charming rogue who can get ladies in bed with ease and a trickster extraordinaire, Wednesday seems to know a lot about Shadow, the man who becomes his bodyguard, driver, and general errand boy. Wednesday takes Shadow on a long, strange trip across America, as Wednesday attempts to recruit some of the old gods to his cause. But only Shadow can uncover the whole story about “the Storm,” the war between the gods.

As much as I enjoyed American Gods (and I sooooo enjoyed it), I don’t believe that I have fully grasped its meaning, but I have some idea on that. It is an epic fantasy and a road novel. It is steeped in Americana, but also in folklore and folktales. It is part suspense thriller that dabbles in conspiracy. A side of it is a small town murder mystery complete with eccentric characters; that includes a good-natured and lonely chief of police who is horny enough to plot having sex with a female cousin.

It is a bit of everything and is all over the place, but that makes me wonder if this novel was Neil Gaiman’s attempt at the great American novel. People think of the United States as a melting pot, in which people from different nationalities, backgrounds, and cultures blend into a new ethnic group, the American. In reality, however, some people just don’t “melt” very well, and it is obvious that they can never physically look like what many consider to be an American – a white person. America may be a melting pot, but it is equally a mosaic, a nation made of different pieces that have broken off from old world cultures and other nationalities. [Some would argue that the United States Constitution is the only thing that unites us.]

American Gods is a mosaic novel made from pieces broken off other stories, or maybe it is a melting pot of different kinds of fiction – the American novel for a melting pot/mosaic nation. Gaiman reconciles the melting pot and mosaic of America by bringing them together and recognizing that American culture is about the tension between old and new. It may be a jumble, but they can live side by side. All that we need recognize is the forces that would tear us apart and use our strife to benefit themselves. We can be different and even not united, but all be American.

Frankly, I did find a few sections of this novel to be dry and even dull, but the further you go into the novel, the tighter its hold on you. Gaiman fills American Gods with inventive scenarios, imaginative characters, and ingenious concepts, although the new American gods are mostly flat and vague characters. Still, it feels like this novel reinvigorated the fantasy genre, making fantastic literature that is not about escapism. American Gods speaks of the soul of this country by delving into the dreams and the beliefs of the people and the supernatural that call this great land home.

A-

 

Leroy Douresseaux on THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN

AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
ILLUSTRATIONS: Dave McKean
ISBN: 978-0-06-053092-1; hardcover
312pp, B&W, $17.99 U.S., $19.50 CAN

The Graveyard Book is a 2008 children’s fantasy novel from author Neil Gaiman. It won the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novel and the 2009 Newberry Medal.

The Graveyard Book chronicles the adventures of a boy, Nobody Owens (“Bod” for short) who would be completely normal, except for the fact that he lives in an old cemetery and is being reared by the ghosts of a couple that died centuries ago. There are dangers and adventures aplenty. The Indigo Man and the Sleer stir deep beneath a hill in the cemetery, and one grave is a gateway to a world of hungry ghouls. There are things for Bod to learn – how to fade and be invisible to humans. But if Bod leaves the safety of the graveyard, Jack, who brutally murdered Bod’s family when the boy was a toddler, will kill him, too.

Chronicling Nobody Owens’ youth, from the time he was a toddler to his 15th birthday, The Graveyard Book is a riff on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, but here a boy is raised by ghosts, instead of by animals as in Kipling’s classic. Gaiman tells Nobody Owens’ story through eight short stories that act as chapters; a few years of Bod’s life elapse between stories.

As with all of his work, Gaiman displays much imagination in his storytelling, and he’s always an engaging storyteller, although here, he seems a bit stiff at times. The Graveyard Book is a fun read, and the last two chapters skirt the razor’s edge of suspense and supernatural thrills. Early sections of The Graveyard Book, however, are a bit limp. The book’s opening comes across as pretentious, elegant writing, and the early chapters sometimes seem too mannered, with Gaiman writing as if he were an athlete “playing tight” in big game.

It’s the other half of the stories that are riveting, fun, and exhibit Gaiman’s gift for taking his readers’ imaginations on flights of fancy, deep into the macabre. When he crashes the real world of his characters into those dark, magical places that seem to hang on the edges of reality, (such as the chapter “Nobody Owens’ School Days”) The Graveyard Book hits its stride, and Gaiman seems closer to famed horror writer Clive Barker than he is to some generic writer of drippy, faux-Victorian fairy tales.

B+


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Leroy Douresseaux on WANDERING SON Volume 1

WANDERING SON, VOL. 1
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS

CARTOONIST: Shimura Takako
TRANSLATION: Matt Thorn
LETTERS: Paul Baresh, Ian Burns, and Priscilla Miller
ISBN:978-1-60699-416-0; hardcover
208pp, B&W with some color, $19.99 U.S.

Fantagraphics Books is back in the manga-publishing game, but their new series does not feature boy heroes, aliens, monsters, robots, magic, super powers, or even love-starved teen girls.

Wandering Son is a manga from creator Shimura Takako that began serialization in 2002 in the manga magazine, Comic Beam. Fantagraphics Books recently began publishing English-language graphic novel editions of the series. Wandering Son follows fifth grader Shuichi Nitori, a boy who wants to be a girl, and his friend Yoshino Takatsuki, a girl who wants to be a boy.

Wandering Son Volume 1 introduces the two protagonists and their friends and family whose lives intersect with their own. Nitori is the new student in school and makes his first friend, Takatsuki. They bond over a dress that Takatsuki doesn’t want and gives to Nitori’s sister, Maho. Nitori wonders what he would look like in a dress, and soon his female classmates are encouraging him to wear them. Meanwhile, Takatsuki is exploring life as a boy by passing for a boy. When the fifth-graders put on a production of The Rose of Versailles for the farewell ceremony for the sixth graders, the play’s gender-bending brings gender issues out in the open.

Ostensibly a seinen manga (comic book for adult males), Wandering Son begins with characters that are preteens or preadolescents and is appropriate for readers of that demographic (although I say this as someone who isn’t a parent). I assume parents and guardians freaked out about any discussion or visual fiction depiction of issues relating to gender identity, puberty, and transsexuality would consider Wandering Son inappropriate for their preteens.

However, Shimura Takako tells this story in such a gentle, unobtrusive way, one might believe that this story flows naturally – as if it simply spun itself from nature and is the way it is supposed to be. I think Matt Thorn’s tidy translation, which goes down the mental gullet with such smoothness, is a big reason for how readable this is. Wandering Son is not flashy or aggressive, nor does it pander or try to be hip and stylish. Takako draws the reader in so quietly that some may be surprised to find themselves on a journey of discovery and exploration with these characters. It’s like seeing preadolescence for the first time or seeing it again through fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Takako’s simple approach to compositions and graphical storytelling entails sparse backgrounds and a cartoony method of figure drawing. The figures are striking in their simplicity, and their emotions and actions in the story are crystal clear. If only more comic books were so evocative and so clear in their storytelling like Wandering Son, an ideal comic book. Ages 8 to 80 will like Wandering Son.

A

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



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leroy Douresseaux on HELLBOY: THE FURY #3

HELLBOY: THE FURY #3 OF 3 (SERIES #57)
DARK HORSE COMICS

STORY: Mike Mignola
ART: Duncan Fegredo
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart
32pp, Color, $2.99

It’s a killer ending in a killer series that sees Hellboy’s killing! Say what?!

Hellboy: The Fury #3 is about endings. This issue sees an end to the collaboration of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and artist Duncan Fegredo, which yielded the Hellboy story arcs Darkness Calls (2008), The Wild Hunt (2008-2009), and The Storm (2010). This issue brings an end to Hellboy’s battle with Nimue the Queen of Witches, which pitted the hoary hosts of monsters against the ghostly knights of England, led by a World War I vet who lived long enough to be King of England for a day.

The big ending in this third and final issue of Hellboy: The Fury is [SPOILER that many readers already know] that Hellboy is killed.

Imagine the battle between Hellboy and Ogdru Jahad in the last act of the 2004 Hellboy movie turned into page after page of beautiful comic book art and still capturing the fluid CGI movement and action of the film. That’s Hellboy: The Fury – Ragna Rok ‘n’ roll, y’all!

In The Fury, Fegredo draws giant battles that are as good as anything drawn for Marvel and DC Comics big event series, from Crisis on Infinite Earths to now. So much of this story’s power is told through the art. Mignola relies on Fegredo’s art (which recalls both Mignola and Jack Kirby) and graphics to convey the drama and setting, while using relatively little dialogue or even captions. In that way, this story is both quite and thunderous – the perfect balance for a visual epic fantasy. The masterful coloring of Dave Stewart makes it all even more beautiful.

A


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 24 2011

DC COMICS

JUN110204 ACTION COMICS #904 (DOOMSDAY) $2.99

JAN110456 AME COMI BIG BARDA PVC FIGURE $70.00

JAN110455 AME COMI WONDER WOMAN V.3 PVC FIGURE $70.00

JUN110342 AMERICAN VAMPIRE #18 (MR) $2.99

JUN110231 BATMAN ARKHAM CITY #5 (OF 5) $2.99

JUN110229 BATMAN GATES OF GOTHAM #5 (OF 5) $2.99

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