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
Brad HawleyOn FanLit’s staff since April 2012
BRAD HAWLEY received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon in 2000, specializing in ethics and contemporary fiction as well as rhetoric and composition. After teaching for two years at Jacksonville State University and a short break from teaching to be a stay-at-home dad, he now teaches at Oxford College of Emory University. During the past fifteen years, he has taught courses and independent studies in composition, Crime Fiction, Comic Books, Beat Literature, twentieth-century poetry, and Shakespeare. His wife, who also teaches English at Oxford College, thinks he has too many comic books.
Read Brad’s series on HOW TO READ COMICS.
Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos and The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin
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 are pri... 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
The Darkness: Origins, Volume 1 by Garth Ennis (writer) and Marc Silvestri (artist)
The Darkness: Origins, Volume 1 by Garth Ennis is an excellent series that features and is named after a spinoff character from The Witchblade. The Darkness made his first appearance in issue #10 of Witchblade and got his own title soon after. He's essential to the mythic origins of the Witchblade, and in fact, along with the Angelus, predates the Witchblade. The Darkness is the elemental power of chaos; it is the symbolic dark side of the universe and human nature, but it must always have a human bearer, just like the Angelus and the Witchblade. The bearer of the Darkness is always male, and the Darkness, unlike the Angelus and the Witchblade, is always passed down through the blood-line. It is the force that opposes the Angelus, who, fr... Read More
Witchblade Volume 2: Awakenings (Issues 86-92) Writer: Ron Marz. Artists: Mike Choi, Keu Cha, and Chris Bachalo
I had to go ahead and immediately write a follow-up review to my first column on Ron Marz's WITCHBLADE because I think he really hits his stride in this second collection. Basically, just like I think you need to stick with SANDMAN for the first two to three volumes before you give up on it, I think reading the first two volumes of Marz's run is essential to even begin to know whether his take on the series might be of interest to you.*
In my first review of WITCHBLADE, issues #80-85, I argued from a feminist perspective that I believed Marz was attempting to take a comic that looks like a men's pin-up magazine and use his writing subversively to contradict that misog... Read More
Witchblade: Witch Hunt (issues 80-85) by Ron Marz (writer) and Mike Choi (artist)
This admission is really hard for me to make publicly, so I'm gonna just trust that you won't laugh, that you'll be nice to me (at least to my face), and that you'll reserve judgment for a few minutes while you read this review. Okay. Here it is. You ready? I love WITCHBLADE. There. I've said it, and I'm very uncomfortable. I feel like I just shouted, "I watch porn" in a crowded room, or admitted — just when there was a lull in conversation at a party — that I like reading Playboy — and not just for the articles.
In particular, I love WITCHBLADE starting with Ron Marz’s brilliant run that began in this volume: Witchblade: Witch Hunt. As a feminist, I'm concerned with what people with my ethical views about the rela... Read More
The Sandman (Vol 2): The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman (author). Illustrated by Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, & Steve Parkhouse. Todd Klein (letterer).
"If you leaf through the series, you'll find either an image of a heart or the word HEART in virtually every issue. Hearts are a major part of what Sandman is about." -Neil Gaiman (interview with Hy Bender)
Gaiman's words should be kept in mind as one continues to read what is essentially a horror comic. As we peer into the abyss, Gaiman makes sure we know we are not alone. I think Gaiman always offers hope through the possibility of human connection, often established through the power of telling stories. Keep these words of hope in mind as I summarize some stories that sound solely horrific; my overview can be misleading since I'm trying not to give spoilers. Assume the missing spoilers are often the essential moments in the stories wh... Read More