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.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Single-Panel Reviews: Point Pleasant, Harry, Tag, Crow Princess

Point Pleasant: Eyes of the Beholder
Twisted Gate Entertainment $4.95
Writer: Chad Lambert; Artist: Edward Pun
Though this is the second Point Pleasant comic, it’s not at all a requirement to have read the first issue. The physical setting is the same—Point Pleasant, West Virgina—and the Mothman legend is integral to the mysterious happenings in the small town. Otherwise, this is a completely different comic. Mike Gillum seems to be solidly off his rocker, having seen the Mothman himself; he’s then haunted by nightmares and visions. At the same time, a series of murders have been occurring around town. Are the two connected – or maybe not in the way that you think? It’s a good mystery, with a twist, and nicely illustrated, as well. For a treat, check it out.
Bottom Line: B+

Apak Studio
By Ayumi Piland
Harry is a little boy who is so hairy he looks like a little sasquatch. The other kids shun him, so he runs away until he finds a friendly bald mountain and they soon become fast friends. The two learn that with good friends and persistence, anything can happen. This is such a sweet little book, kids and adults would both enjoy this story. The illustration is excellent: the confident inks perfectly exemplify the sweet innocence of the characters. This mini-comic is one I picked up at the Emerald City Comicon in April, and though I couldn’t find it on the Apak Studio website, I’m sure an email could score you a copy. It’ll be worth the effort, believe me.
Bottom Line: A+

Tag #1
Boom! Studios $3.99
Writer: Keith Giffen; Artist: Kody Chamberlain
This comic surprised me—I thought I’d be reading another gross-out zombie story, but instead Giffen and Chamberlain deliver a comic with real character and an excellent first issue of a three-part mini-series. The story is about Mitch, who after an almost breakup date is approached by a creepy stranger and “tagged.” Immediately, Mitch feels the effects and after a hospital visit, his diagnosis is clear. Mitch isn’t just “it,” he’s now a zombie. The creepy part is thinking about how gruesome and freaky it would be to experience rigor mortis while you’re still alive. Yowza!
Bottom Line: B+

Crow Princess GN
Manga Punk $5.95
By Rachel Nabors
Crow Princess is a manga-style fairytale about Cora, a girl whose mother never believed was hers and, therefore, will have nothing to do with her daughter. Though Cora is smart, talented, and kind (especially to animals), other kids snub her. Her family and friends aren’t the people in her life, instead, they’re the crows she’s met and cares for. Turns out she has more of a connection to the crows than she first thinks. A fairytale switched-at-birth story, Cora finally finds her place in the world through a little magic. Though not completely down my alley, this is a good fairytale. Because it deals with issues of alienation and isolation, I think this would be an especially good book for readers in their tweens.
Bottom Line: B

Monday, June 05, 2006

Single-Panel Reviews: Talent, Cry Yourself to Sleep, 52, Jeremiah Harm

Talent #1
Boom! Studios $3.99
Writers: Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski; Artist: Paul Azaceta; Colorist: Ron Riley
Mix one part creepy to five parts intriguing and add a little twilight-zoney zest, and you’ve got the recipe for a great new comic. This first issue of Talent is a nice setup issue—you get the gist of the plot—plane goes down and all on board die except for one man who lives in a beyond-a-miracle way. You’re introduced to the main character—Nicholas Dane—who somehow knows things about people, call it premonitions, call it supernatural, whatever the mystery is, it’s a compelling one. I’m on board for this new series, and very curious to see where it will lead.
Bottom Line: A-

Cry Yourself to Sleep
Top Shelf $7
By Jeremy Tinder
This book is sweet, sad, funny … and not a bit pretentious. Some comics that aim to show the self-doubt we all experience can end up feeling forced or overly sentimental, but Tinder just tells the modern human struggle simply, and very effectively. The main characters are Andrew an aspiring human writer, an anthropomorphic bunny named Jim, and anthropomorphic Robot. Each are struggling with their humanity, their place in the world, and loneliness. Though the book is sweetly sad, it also has several humorous moments, and ultimately it’s a story of promise and comfort.
Bottom Line: A-

52 Weeks 1-4
DC $2.50 each
By A Whole Bunch of Folks
You know, I’m actually pleasantly surprised by 52 so far. I thought I’d try out the first couple weeks for look-sees, but I didn’t expect to actually enjoy the books. I certainly didn’t think I’d be looking forward to the next week. There’s no simple way to sum up things so far—really I don’t even know that much, having opted to skip out on Identity Crisis—my God I’m turning 30 this month, I don’t need to subject myself to optional crises! But, gun to my head, I’d explain it this way: the biggest heroes are gone, now the B players are stepping up both in the fictional story and as main characters of these books. The main four so far focused on in 52 are Booster Gold, The Question, Ralph Dibny (Elongated Man), Renee Montoya, and Black Adam. Of all the characters, I’m most familiar with Montoya, which is probably not the case with most readers, but I don’t read lots of superhero books. It’s not that I’m snooty, I just don’t have oodles of money, years and years of history with the comics, or the patience to keep up with things on the interweb. Two things that are the most refreshing or enjoyable about 52 so far: interesting lesser-known characters and the weekly format. It’s fun to see the DC story from the B players, it adds a new dimension and flavor to the perspective. And even though it’s an extra $10 a month, it’s nice to not have to dig up last month’s comic to remember what happened—I actually have a long enough memory to last a week (I know, I’m as surprised as you are). Anyway, I’ve blathered on longer than I intended, but bottom line is that DC’s unexpectedly got me for now.
Bottom Line: So far, so good – B

Jeremiah Harm #3
Boom! Studios $3.99
I’m starting to lose a little bit of interest with this comic. It’s a good sci-fi adventure, but the character that I thought was the most interesting—Jeremiah Harm—is actually more of a side note so far. We’re seeing the villains do their thing, but really we don’t know any more about Harm than we did at issue 1. This comic still has a lot of promise, it’s worth reading for sure, but I’m hoping the focus changes a little in upcoming issues.
Bottom Line: B

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Owly: Flying Lessons Review

Owly: Flying Lessons Review
Top Shelf; $10; 143 pgs.; B&W
By Andy Runton

Adorable, sweet, cute, insecure, worrywart—all these words describe Owly, the main character in the all-ages graphic novels of the same name.

My partner read this one too, and reports that it is “particularly sweet.” I heartily agree.

In this, the third, Owly adventure, Owly and his worm friend discover a new animal in their neck of the woods. With a little help, they identify it as a flying squirrel—who is totally adorable, by the way.

Now Owly would like to make friends, but unfortunately, owls are natural predators of flying squirrels, so the squirrel is understandably afraid to make friends. Little does he know that Owly is unlike most owls, friend of all creatures and not a big flyer either.

Without giving all of the plot away, suffice it to say that both Owly and the flying squirrel learn that trust and friendship can pay dividends.

If you haven’t read an Owly book before, especially if you have kids in your life, check this one out, it’s enjoyable, light, and, yes, particularly sweet.

Bottom Line: A