Runaways: Pride & Joy (Vol. 1) by Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Adrian Alphona (pencils)
What do you do when you find out your parents aren’t who you thought they were? Brian K. Vaughan deals with ages-old drama of teenagers confronting the fallibility of their parents in an interesting and exciting way. Though most of us have never discovered that our parents are part of a super-villain syndicate that includes a couple of crime lords who put Kingpin to shame — as well as mutants, aliens, time travelers, sorcerers, and mad scientists — most people can remember the day they realized that their parents are human and fallible, and maybe just a bit hypocritical. While most teenagers feel at some point that their parents are evil, Vaughan’s fantastic teenage heroes know their parents are EVIL. We follow them in this first volum... Read More
Runaways: Pride & Joy (Vol. 1) by Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Adrian Alphona (pencils)
Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos and The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
If you are at all interested in the villain haunting the cosmic portion of the Marvel Universe, then you might want to check out these two titles: Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos and The Infinity Gauntlet. Both are trade collections that tell one grand story of the power-hungry Titan known as Thanos. You've seen his big, scheming smile on his enormous purple face at the end of The Avengers, and you are going to see more and more of it in the coming years as Hollywood embraces a new villain in space: Darth Vadar, please stand aside, here comes Thanos!
Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos starts with so... Read More
The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below by Patrick Rothfuss (story) and Nate Taylor (art)
Author Patrick Rothfuss and artist Nate Taylor have teamed up again to bring us another picture book about the princess who lives in a marzipan castle and her stuffed teddy bear named Mr. Whiffle. You don’t need to have read the first book, The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed (reviewed by Justin) to enjoy their latest adventure.
In The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below, the princess, whose background we know nothing about, has somehow acquired a baby brother. The princess isn’t too impressed with the boy for several reasons — he’s noisy, he’s perpet... Read More
Marvel 1602: 10th Anniversary Edition by Neil Gaiman (story), Andy Kubert (illustrations), Richard Isanove (color)
In 2001, Marvel gave Neil Gaiman the chance to write in the Marvel universe. Being Gaiman, he didn’t come up with a traditional superhero story at all. There are no tall buildings to be leaped at a single bound, no airplanes or guns, no fancy particle beam weapons. Instead, Gaiman went sideways, developing a story with Marvel characters — many Marvel characters — in Europe and the New World just at the transition from Queen Elizabeth I’s reign to that of James I of England. The result was Marvel 1602.
The collection of the eight chapters of Marvel 1602 is a beautiful book. Gaiman wrote the story, it was illustrated by Andy Kubert and colored by Richard Isanove. Todd Klein’s lettering enhances the illusion of a 17th century book — and still reminds us, at times, that we’re reading a comic... Read More
Sandman Overture #1 by Neil Gaiman (writer) and J.H. Williams III (artist)
I would imagine that my feelings about the new Sandman Overture were similar to those of other SANDMAN fans: Afraid that it wouldn't live up to the high standard of the original yet hoping at the same time that it would. As far as I'm concerned, it met, and perhaps exceeded, those expectations both in terms of the writing and the art. I haven't read any reviews online, so I don't know how much my evaluation will match up with other reviews out there. But I want to give you a review that reflects a single reader's response and not a review that attempts to summarize the general response to the work. If you want that, I'm sure you could spend days reading reviews online of this one issue.
Most comic book reviews are aimed at an audience of comic book fans; however, as most of you know by now, I always write with the assumption that my readers ... Read More
Apollo's Song (Parts I & II) by Osamu Tezuka
Apollo's Song (Part I and Part II) by Osamu Tezuka is a imaginative tale of out-of-body experience, time travel, fantasy, science fiction, mythology and love, all by the God of Manga himself. If you've never heard of Osamu Tezuka, you are missing out. He's best known in the United States for Astro Boy, his very early comic-turned-anime that was broadcast in the U.S. as a Japanese-import English-dubbed cartoon. Unfortunately, as great as Astro Boy is, it represents Tezuka's early work aim... Read More
The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & the Bogus Identity (Vol 1) by Mike Carey (writer) & Peter Gross (artist)
The Unwritten by Mike Carey is one of the best current series being published right now. It is one of the few titles put out by Vertigo — DC's mature line of comics — that has kept Vertigo from losing its respected place in the world of comics. Vertgo was started by Karen Berger with Neil Gaiman's wonderful Sandman stories, and many of my favorite comics have come out with the Vertigo label on them. However, in recent years, Vertigo has lost its edge for the most part except for a few excellent works like Fab... Read More
Bone by Jeff Smith
This review is my 50th column for Fanlit, so I want to mark this personal milestone by writing about the most important epic fantasy comic in existence. I know a few people might argue with me, but only a few. There's a general consensus that Bone by Jeff Smith is not only the best epic fantasy comic, but possibly the ONLY epic fantasy comic depending on how you define "epic fantasy." All arguments are minor quibbles as far as I'm concerned because none of them would call into question the high quality and staggering brilliance of Bone. Personally, I don't feel like I'm exaggerating at all when I say that Bone is The Lord of the Rings of comic books, and if you like epic fantasy, you should feel that Bone is as much required reading in the genre as is The Lord of the R... Read More
Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Volume 1 by Motoro Mase (Story & Art) or "How to Read Manga, Pt 1"
Though I haven't read too much manga — pronounced "mahn-gha," in case you were wondering — I am starting to acquire a taste for it. I think part of my problem was trying to read it slowly like I do American comics (and like I recommend in my essay here on FanLit, "How To Read Comics"). Watching my daughter devour quickly the entire 20-volume set of Bakuman, an excellent manga about the creation and culture of manga in Japan, I started wondering how she did it (and she wasn't merely skimming; her recall of det... Read More
Foiled by Jane Yolen (writer) and Mike Cavallaro (illustrator)
The past few weeks I've been spending time writing reviews that focus on new Monthly Comics I think would make good entry points for new comic book readers who have never had pull lists, and I have several more new comics I want to promote. The end of 2013 is an excellent time to be a new reader of comics. However, I must break this series on Monthly Comics because I just read a graphic novel too good for me not to immediately write a review of it: Foiled, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mike Cavallaro. Foiled is clearly a five-star book, and I want to say in the first paragraph in case anybody stops reading here: Buy this book and it's sequel — Curses!... Read More
SIDEKICK by J. Michael Straczynski
For a few weeks I've been introducing you to some excellent new comics that are just beginning. Last week I talked about TEN GRAND by JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) and this week I’ll talk about his new comic SIDEKICK. There are four issues of TEN GRAND out so far, but only one issue of SIDEKICK; therefore, though I can say for sure that I'm completely sold on TEN GRAND, I'm less sure about SIDEKICK. However, issue #1 is fairly amusing. Do not buy it for your young kids, though. Like TEN GRAND, it is for older readers. SIDEKICK is making fun of a long history of comics aimed at kids.
JMS is not ambivalent in his feelings about sidekicks in comics. As he says in "Joe's Counter," "I'll b... Read More
New Monthly Comics: TEN GRAND by J. Michael Straczynski
In my previous two columns, I've talked about the advantages of having a "pull list" and buying comics on a monthly basis instead of merely waiting for a collection to come out as a trade edition. I also suggested a few titles that are good ones to start with right now since they are just beginning. In the first column on monthly comics, I recommended VELVET by Ed Brubaker and THE DREAM MERCHANT by Nathan Edmondson. In my second column, I recommended two comics in the new-and-improved Vertigo line of comics from DC: ASTRO CITY by Read More
Fanboy Friday! New Montly Comic Titles: ASTRO CITY by Kurt Busiek and THE WAKE by Scott Snyder
In last week's column, I explained pull lists and the benefits of buying monthly comics instead of waiting for trade collections or only buying older comics that have already been collected. Mainly, I argued that comic book stores and comic book readers offer a community that is more active and immersed in fictional narrative than anywhere else (even here at fanlit!). Why? Because of the nature of the comic book industry: Since comics come out monthly, you can walk into any comic book store in the country and immediately find people who are reading the EXACT same books as you are AND effectively have their bookmarks in the EXACT same place in EVERY book that everybody else is reading. For anyone interested in the magic of storytelling, the... Read More
Why You Should Be Reading Monthly Comics: New Titles for Those New to Comics! (And What is a “Pull List”?) OR New Comics, Part One (Or How to Read Comics, Part Ten)
Fanboy Friday! Why You Should Be Reading Monthly Comics: New Titles for Those New to Comics! (And What is a "Pull List"?) OR New Comics, Part One (Or How to Read Comics, Part Ten)
When I started reading comics, I was in my 30s and was simply overwhelmed with all that was out there. Where should I start? I would have loved knowing that there were some new titles out there that required no background knowledge because they were about new characters — not all comics are about superheroes you've heard about all your life. I would have been even happier to find out some of these series only lasted six issues (similar to a stand-alone novel with only six chapters).
The exciting news I'd like to share today is that there are currently a large number of new comic book titles with brand new characters that have just started in the past few months. Since comic books come out as monthly issues, that means there are only a few issues out so far for many of these new... Read More
Planetary: Spacetime Archaeology, Volume 4 by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday
This is it. The culmination of the PLANETARY series. Does it live up to the hype? Does the climax match the build up? Well, read on and we’ll see.
Issue 19 – “Mystery in Space”: There’s a strange artifact approaching earth from deep space and Elijah plans on seeing what mysteries it contains. Ellis pays homage to the Big Dumb Object in sci-fi and also draws on the ideas of generation starships, orbital habitats, and the remnants of precursor races. Elijah has a plan to draw out the one member of the Four he’s never seen and hopefully deal with him… permanently. We’re getting more and more of a feel for just how extensive the holdings of Planetary are and the resources that Snow can bring to bear when he needs to.
Issue 20 – “Rendezvous”: Jacob Greene, Ellis’ version of the Thing, is in the house. ... Read More