The Comic Queen

Zip ribbons and word balloons, Wednesday bliss and Previews dreams. If these phrases mean anything to you, then you're in the right place. But if they don't -- hey stick around anyway. You might just like what you see.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Give AND Receive

I’ll be posting some reviews later today, but I wanted to give a more prominent spotlight to a comment on my last post about the Emerald City Comicon.

P'La Jarvinen will be at the comicon with hubbie comics creator Kirk Jarvinen. There they will be collecting used cell phones to benefit the ACTOR comic fund. ACTOR will receive money for the used phones from the CollectiveGood collection facility, and the environment will be a little better off as well.

In addition, if you donate a used cell phone at the con, you’ll get free iTunes from P’La. Nice! Check out more details (inlcuding ways to donate if you won't be at the con) at P’La’s Comic Book Wife blog.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Random Schtuff and Emerald City Comicon

Tomorrow, Fanboy Radio opens its phone lines at 6 p.m. central. The hour-long “Comic Call-Out” show will welcome callers live on the air. Topics of discussion are up to callers, but hosts Scott Hinze and Oliver Tull plan on covering recent comic reads and industry news, the movie “V for Vendetta,” the Ultimate Avengers DVD, news from Wizard World LA, and more.

I just discovered what I think is my favorite concept and voice for a blog: “Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun!” The comics reviewed are ones that Bully the stuffed animal bull says are fun – they don’t have to be funny but that they are just fun to read. What an idea! Comics be fun! This a wonderfully written blog, and I highly encourage you to bookmark it.

Another well-written blog is Snap Judgments. Lots of personality and always worth reading. Bookmark it!

According to “Publisher’s Weekly,” Eric Shanower is thinking about serializing “Age of Bronze” on the web. The trades are selling well, and acclaim is high (I know I love it), but the individual floppy comics are selling below expectations.

Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter, comments on the recent speculation that DC’s Solo series may be canceled soon. I really, really hope this isn’t the case. This has consistently been my favorite DC title, and I’d be sad to see it go.

I am extremely excited about the Emerald City Comicon coming up April 1 and 2. The lineup of guests and creators is great this year. While I still need to create a plan for the con, highlights for me personally are:

Pia Guerra (autograph, woot!)
Bill Willingham (ditto)
Jim Mahfood (got his autograph at the Vancouver comicon a couple years ago before I had read anything by him, picked up some books at the con, and now I’m hooked. I’d like to get a sketch this time around)
Diana Schutz (trying to figure out a way to say hi without looking like the geeky editor I really am – may have to smile from afar …)
Steve Rolston (always a highlight – does the best sketches and is very cool)
Steve Lieber (one of the greatest guys out there – want to say hi and pick up “Whiteout,” which I’ve been too dumb to buy yet)
B. Clay Moore (yea autographs!)
Matt Wagner (got a copy of “Trinity” just waiting for his John Hancock)
Rick Leonardi (autograph … and do I dare hope I can afford a sketch??)
Mike Huddleston (boy would I love a sketch from Huddleston – he’s pretty amazing)
Kurt Busiek (got his autograph before, so maybe I’ll skip, but he’s just such a nice guy)
Tony Harris (very cool – great artist. He’s one I’d like to save my pennies up for an original page from Ex Machina)
Stuart Immonen (now I can get his autograph to complement Busiek’s on “Secret Identity” #1)

There are many other notable guests and creators that I’m looking forward to seeing as well. And, of course, many of the exhibitors and vendors will be highlights. My heart is all aflutter … nerd juices flowing … must … stop … before too late.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ebay Comic Watch: Losers, Adam Strange, Ocean

Here’s the latest installment of Ebay Comic Watch. This time around I’m gratuitously self-promoting (disgusting isn’t it?) and listing some comics I’ve put up myself. These are all good lots, I just need to clear out a little room in my comics closet.

You can find these particular auctions by pasting the item number in ebay’s search box. Note that the ending times are in PST, so calculate accordingly.

Adam Strange 1-8 mini-series Full Run
Bidding starts at $2.99, shipping is $6
Item number: 6613106372
Ends Mar-19-06 12:02:18 PST

Ocean 1-6 mini-series Full Run
Bidding starts at $2.99, shipping is $5
Item number: 6613107990
Ends Mar-19-06 12:07:08 PST

The Losers 1-32 Full Run
Bidding starts at $17.99, shipping is $6
Item number: 6613118902
Ends Mar-19-06 12:39:49 PST

Lot of 63 Spider-Man Comics
Bidding starts at $9.99, shipping is $12
Item number: 6613169978
Ends Mar-19-06 15:44:22 PST

Batman: Death and the Maidens 1-9 mini-series Full Run
Bidding starts at $2.99, shipping is $6
Item number: 6613114287
Ends Mar-19-06 12:25:22 PST

Robin 1-6, 11-14, 16, 17
Bidding starts at $2.99, shipping is $5
Item number: 6613116323
Ends Mar-19-06 12:31:37 PST

The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty 1-8 Full Run
Bidding starts at $2.99, shipping is $6
Item number: 6613117871
Ends Mar-19-06 12:36:28 PST

I also have a few more items up, just follow the "View seller's other items" link if you're interested.

Friday, March 10, 2006

March Previews Picks

Pick of the Month:

De: Tales
Dark Horse – pg. 36; $14.95; 112 pgs. B&W
By Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá
Moon and Bá are Brazilian twins who are simply amazing. This book of short stories marks their first major American release together. Both show their talent as writers and artists as “their charming tales move from the urban reality of their home in São Paulo to the magical realism of their Latin American background.” Moon’s art was incredible in AiT/Planet Lar’s “Smoke and Guns,” so I am eagerly anticipating this new book.

Featured Comics:

Borrowed Time #1
Oni Press – pg. 311; $6.95; 80 pgs. B&W
By Neal Shaffer and Joe Infurnari
This book follows writer Taylor Devlin as he returns from a mysterious accident in the Bermuda Triangle, and his struggle to fit back in to his life. I’m not familiar with these creators, but something about this plot just really appeals to me. You can see a whole slew of test pages from the book on Infurnari’s site.

Conan #28
Dark Horse – pg. 33; $2.99; 32 pgs. FC
Writer: Kurt Busiek; Artist: Eric Powell; Colorist: Dave Stewart; Cover: Tony Harris
This is one of the most talented teams possible to assemble on a comic. In fact, hand me a paper towel, I think I’m drooling. This Conan one-shot comic continues Dark Horse’s celebration of Robert E. Howard’s centennial. Even though I’m collecting this series in its trade format, I’m definitely picking this issue up in floppy form.

Wonderland #1
SLG – pg. 218; $3.50; 32 pgs. FC
By Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew
Wonderland picks up where Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” left off, and frankly looks even more intriguing and trippy than the original. Sonny Liew is the real selling point here – can’t wait for this comic.

Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda GN
:01 First Second – pg. 287; $16.95; 96 pgs. FC
By J. P. Stassen
This graphic novel centers around the Rwanda massacre in 1994. The solicit says “Stassen’s interweaving of the aftermath of the genocide and the events leading up to it gives powerful expression to the unspeakable, indescribable experience of ordinary Hutus caught up in the violence.” Between this description and the fact that the book has won the Goscinny Prize, a partner award of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, this book is a must-read.

Five Fists of Science GN
Image – pg. 138; $12.99; 112 pgs. FC
Writer: Matt Fraction; Artist: Steven Sanders
Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison meet in this adventure comic set in turn-of-the-century New York. Fraction has said, “An all-out war between magic and science is fought on the streets of New York City in 1899, and it is an absolutely true story, up to a point.” I love the high concept, so this should be a real treat.

Mom’s Cancer HC
Abrams – pg. 204; $12.95; 128 pgs. PC
By Brian Fies
Originally a web comic that one the 2005 Eisner Award for “Best Digital Comic,” the story of one family’s struggle with cancer is now collected in graphic novel form. This is definitely on my must-buy list.

We Are on Our Own HC
Drawn & Quarterly – pg. 281; $19.95; 136 pgs. FC
By Miriam Katin
Another somber comic, the book is the author’s true story of escape with her mother on foot from the Nazi invasion of Budapest. The solicit says this is a “stunning memoir of a mother and her daughter’s survival in WWII and their subsequent lifelong struggle with faith.” Incredible to me is the fact that at age 63 this is Katin’s first full-length graphic novel.

Quick Picks:

Dark Horse is releasing another 25-cent comic, this one an introduction to a new Star Wars series beginning in June. The sample pages for “Star Wars: Legacy” #0 didn’t wow me, but for 25 cents, I’ll give it a try (pg. 42; 32 pgs.).

Love the idea or hate it, DC’s “52” starts up in May (pg. 77; $2.50 each; 32 pgs. each). Each week for 52 weeks, a new installment will come out revealing the events of the year between Infinite Crisis and One Year Later. I may pick up the first few issues just to see what the series is like, but like most superhero comics, I just don’t want to commit so much of my comics budget to it.

Speaking of piquing my interest, Vertigo has a GN coming out in June called “Can’t Get No” by Rick Veitch (pg. 110; $19.99; 352 pgs). The book follows everyman Chad Roe around the events of 9-11; this looks different enough to be very fascinating and you can count on Veitch for a good story.

“The Art of Brian Bolland” HC will come out in May from Image (pg. 135; $49.99; 176 pgs.). This art book collects 25 years of Bolland’s impressive and varied art.

The sample art for “Stagger Lee” GN caught my eye for what I otherwise would have probably passed by quickly without notice (Image; pg. 145; $17.99; 205 pgs.). Billed as “the true story of a century-old murder that spawned a 1,000 songs” the book by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix tells of Stagger Lee, the man who shot Billy.

I don’t know why “1,000 Deaths of Baron Von Donut” tickles me as much as it does, but I know I love it, and that’s enough for me. Issue 3 is solicited in this Previews. Pick it up if you know what’s good for you (Arsenic Lullaby Publishing; pg. 225; $2.99; 24 pgs.).

“Dragonslippers” by Rosalind B. Penfold looks chilling – a graphic diary of one woman’s struggle with domestic abuse. This one’s going on my buy list for sure (Black Cat; pg. 240; $15; 272 pgs.).

“Blurred Vision Vol. 1” GN is a collection of “narrative art” a mix of “fine art” and comics. Could be good (Blurred Books; pg. 242; $14.95; 102 pgs.).

Joe Sacco has a new mixed-media GN. “But I Like It” contains an expanded version of a short graphic novel from the early 1990s, original sketches, notes, and a bound-in CD, along with other never-before-collected short comics and a section of rock show posters from Sacco’s time in Berlin (Fantagraphics; pg. 284; $24.95; 120 pgs.).

Seattle’s lovable loser Buddy is back in Peter Bagge’s “Hate Annual” #6 (Fatagraphics; pg. 286; $4.95; 40 pgs.). Looks to be another hilarious Buddy adventure.

“Wings” by Shinsuke Tanaka (IBooks; pg. 293; $14.95; 80 pgs.) might win the award for most original plot in this issue of Previews. In this text-free book, a farmer finds an abandoned puppy that happens to fly.

Gotta put in a word for a book set in Vancouver, BC, just a stone’s throw away from me. “True Loves Vol. 1” GN by Jason Turner and Manien Bothma follows the love life of a young vintage clothing store owner (New Reliable Press; pg. 311; $12.99; 128 pgs.).

Top Shelf has always got something good going on, and this time’s no exception. Among a few promising books, one stood out for me. “Cry Yourself to Sleep” GN by Jeremy Tinder “mixes sadness, sweetness, and humor to tell a quirky little story of pride swallowing” (pg. 344; $7; 88 pgs).

Trade Treatment

Wonder Woman: Destiny Calling TP
Collects issues 20-24 and Annual #1 of Wonder Woman written by George Perez.
DC – page 91; $19.99; 176 pgs. FC

Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days) TP
Collects issues 42-47 of Bill Willingham’s Fables.
Vertigo – page 114; $14.99; 144 pgs. FC

DMZ Vol. 1: On the Ground TP
Collects the first five issues (at a great price) of DMZ from Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli
Vertigo – page 113; $9.99; 128 pgs. FC

Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four TPB
Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four, Ultimate Fantastic Four/X-Men, and the Official Handbook of the Ultimate Marvel Universe 2005#1-2.
Marvel – page 97 (of the Marvel insert); $12.99; 136 pgs. FC

Stupid Comics Collection TP
Collects all four issues of Jim Mahfood’s kick-ass comic.
Image – page 149; $12.99; 152 pgs. B&W

Tezuka’s Buddha Vol. 1 TP
First volume of the story of Buddha’s life as told by Osamu Tezuka.
Del Rey – page 262; $14.95; 400 pgs. B&W

Love as a Foreign Language Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
Collects the first three volumes of the series in one big-ol’ volume.
Oni Press – page 314; $11.95; 200 pgs. B&W

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Single-Panel Reviews: War of the Worlds, Malinky Robot, Usagi Yojimbo, Planetary Brigade, Tails

War of the Worlds Second Wave #1
Boom! Studios $2.99
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson; Artist: Chee; Colorist: Matt Webb
This might be my favorite comic so far from Boom Studios – this new take on the War of the Worlds story looks very promising. The first issue really could be called a prelude, as the action recaps the “first wave,” which is a compressed view of the traditional War of the Worlds plot. The story is told in a first person narrative by Miles, just one of the many victims of the alien invaders. Rattled by the traumatic events, and by guilt, he swears vengeance on the new wave of aliens. The writing tone is teeth-clenching, angry resolve. The art isn’t as gritty, but that’s good, instead it’s rough realism. Chee does a good job at portraying the sweeping devastation even though the story focuses really just on one person. My favorite effect is probably the juxtaposition of the first and last pages, both views of the same park, one before and one after the invasion. This comic is definitely worth picking up.
Bottom Line: B+

Malinky Robot Issue 02: Bicycle
SLG $2.95
By Sonny Liew
This is a great comic! Though the art varies from sometimes just pen to both pen and pencils with color, the main characters are always beautifully designed and fascinating. The story starts out as friends Oliver Oliphant and Atari bike out to visit their friend Misha. The story gets confusing as the main characters are sitting around a diner table, and the reader joins them mid-conversation, having no idea what they’re talking about. Then the comic is broken out into small sections, each of which illuminate what they were talking about at the table. It’s an inventive and fun way to keep the reader interested by slowly unfolding the plot with short vignettes each with different art styles. The tone is playful but not frenetic, and it’s a very likable comic. The funniest part for me was the section supposedly written by Oliver in which a whole line of the plot is told bit by bit in a series of comic strips meant to parody or impersonate well-known comic strips in a sort of Sunday Comics section layout. Again, very inventive and creative. This is a refreshing comic that doesn’t stick with common conventions of storytelling and very successfully.
Bottom Line: A-

Usagi Yojimbo #90
Dark Horse $2.99
By Stan Sakai
This issue marks a new storyline in Usagi’s adventures. This time while staying at Geishu Castle, mysterious deaths begin occurring. Is a ghost the perpetrator? Or is it something more real and brutal? Stay tuned for the next issue to find out. Though I haven’t read a lot of issues of Usagi Yojimbo, I always enjoy the ones I do pick up. I’ve decided to drop a series I pick up because I have the first X issues, or have misplaced loyalty to, or am too lazy to have already dropped, and instead replace it with something I consistently enjoy. If you haven’t tried out Usagi Yojimbo before, I highly encourage you to do so. Sakai is a master storyteller and a wonderful illustrator.
Bottom Line: A

Planetary Brigade #1
Boom! Studios $2.99
Writers: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis; Artists: Joe Abraham, Cynthia Martin, Eduardo Barretto, Mark Badger, Chase Conley; Colorist: Pilvi of Imaginary Friends Studio
Planetary Brigade is the “sister book” to Hero Squared (which I enjoyed and which will soon be an ongoing series). Obviously it follows the Planetary Brigade, a Justice-League-type organization. What was interesting was the use of different artists for different sections of the comic. I have mixed feelings about this effect, though. While seeing different artists’ take on the characters and action was fun, it seemed a little contrived. The segues into the next section seemed forced, simply there to introduce a new artist. The characters themselves kept me engaged in the comic. Although the Prissuvian character was the most interesting, he was also the wordiest – sometimes a little too wordy. In fact, overall I think the dialogue could have been cut down a little. The issue is overall good, however, and sets up the characters and world of the brigade very well.
Bottom Line: B

Tails #2
By Ethan Young
The second issue in this limited-issue series shows Ethan working at the animal shelter taking (and scooping) shit as usual, but also shows his efforts at getting published as a comic creator. It also follows his relationship with girlfriend Cynthia, and shows a little strain therein. I personally enjoyed the first issue more, but this is still a solid comic, the art is certainly great. I can’t wait to see read the next issue, and in fact anything from Young. His art and tone are right down my alley.
Bottom Line: B+

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Comics Links Galore

Jeffrey Brown's work is featured in a new video by Death Cab for Cutie. The video is available free here through March 5. Brown wrote the semi-autobiographical story for the song "Your Heart Is An Empty Room," and produced the images that were then animated by Eliza
Chincarini. Great music and a great video. Excellent combination.

Cindy Center posts a Podcast interview with King Cat Comics creator John Porcellino. In the podcast, Porcellino talks about the history of the comics, his influences, his love of self-publishing, and upcoming projects.

And lo, the heavens did weep. Aaron McGruder will be on a six-month sabbatical from Boondocks starting in late March.

Anthony, a comics creator in Vancouver, BC, recently posted here and mentioned his blog, I Miss Paper. This is some great work. Do. Not. Miss. Somebody publish this quick. I'm serious.

Speakeasy's gone belly up. And even before I had a chance to review the Flying Friar. Too bad.

Renae Geerlings is named the new editor in chief of comics publisher Top Cow.

U.S. graphic novel sales reach $245 million.

New blog in the comic domain called Random Generation. Melvin P. Mouse is the caretaker, and he's located not far from my old stomping grounds, so I'll vouch for him.

Aquaman’s been sighted. Beware, this is not for the faint of heart.