Posts Tagged ‘A Must Read’

Since I am a 99.9% “Wait for the Hardcover or the Trade Paperback” kind of guy, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and let you know what I’m buying every week. Since people keep asking why I buy so many books every week, I expect all you floppy readers to tell me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong… And I may even chime in on occasion and defend my choices. Not that a personal preference should need defending, mind you…

I might also point out why I am not buying some stuff as well… And the list may also generate a rant or expose a pet peeve… So watch out for that!

THIS WEEK’S HARDCOVERS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA

The titles in blue are either new items or items I decided against:

Adventures of Superboy Vol 1 HCI just stopped myself. Maybe next week ;-)
Big Book O’ Ditko This is going to sound horrible… I don’t like Ditko’s art
Bone Tall Tales – I got the softcover… CHEAPER!
Chew Vol 1 Omnivore HC – Own both already. Still couldn’t resist
Classic Transformers Vol 6
Daredevil The Devils Hand – What’s up, Andy Diggle?
Felix the Cats Greatest Comic Book Tails HC Torn again but my heart says, “COMIC BOOK REPRINTS… Uh, no.”
Final Crisis Revelations I own the hardcover already

Hey Dark Horse! Next time you charge $49.99 for a book-- reprint something that critics aren't calling "Boring"!

Flash Gordon Comic Book Archives Vol 1 HC Saw several reviews that called these “COMIC BOOK REPRINTS” boring!
Garth Ennis Battlefields Vol 5 The Firefly & His Majesty – I luv this series.
GI Joe Best of Scarlett
Invaders Eve of Destruction
Locke & Key Vol 3 Crown Of Shadows HC – I luv this series too!
Marvelman Classic Vol 1 HCAgain, maybe next week.
Myspace Dark Horse Presents Vol 5
Penny Arcade Vol 6 Halls Below
Siege Avengers Initiative HC
Star Trek Original Series Omnibus
Street Fighter Vol 6 Final Round
Team-Ups of the Brave and the Bold HC – What a weird title!
Ultimates II Ultimate Collection Oh Hell No!

Love the shout out! Thanks, Mike!

Unwritten Vol 2 Inside Man- Really? How could I resist? (I bought the first volume already. Loved it!)
Wolverine Dark Wolverine Vol 2 My Hero I own the hardcover already
X-Men Forever Vol 4 Devil in a White Dress- I guess

MANGA

Gossip Girl Manga Vol 1 – You damn well better believe I’m buying this! I’m MAD for MANGA!
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys Vol 10 – Oh my!
Ooku Inner Chambers Vol 4

Some Additions:
Amy Devlin Mystery HC Vol 1 Past Lies (2nd Print)
Dorohedoro Vol 2
My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer (2nd Print)

I'm amazed that no one has figured out I'm Jodie Foster yet

Since I am a 99.9% “Wait for the Hardcover or the Trade Paperback” kind of guy, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and let you know what I’m buying every week. Since people keep asking why I buy so many books every week, I expect all you floppy readers to tell me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong… And I may even chime in on occasion and defend my choices. Not that a personal preference should need defending, mind you…

I might also point out why I am not buying some stuff as well… And the list may also generate a rant or expose a pet peeve… Just like this week’s list did (again)… So watch out for that!

I truly have to question what a publisher is thinking when they willfully release 5 “Campfire” Editions in one week… And what distributor allows it to happen. Seems awfully excessive and counter productive. I bet they could have sold twice as many of these books if someone had the damned foresight to understand they were overloading the distribution pipeline with this particular product type. Of course, the distributor and the publisher don’t care. They sold their books as non-returnable to comic book stores– so they’ll do just fine. It’s the comic store owner that’ll take it in the “shorts” with this book line this week– as customers quickly realize they cannot afford to buy 5 classic adaptations at one time. This bullshit dumping is the exact subject of my recent post, COMIC BOOK RELEASE BS*.

I’m also finally holding strong with my promise to stop buying books that no longer entertain or impress me.

I have noticed that with the rise of the personal computer– even “5th rate” shitty artists and writers now have access to tools that disguise the amateur nature of their art and story. Some of these books that I– and many other comic fans– have paid good money for do not come remotely close to surpassing the quality that I’ve seen in some of the crudest homegrown “fanzines” produced in the 70′s and ’80′s. If some person wouldn’t pay 25 cents for a quality fanzine in 1974… Then it’s time for me to stop rewarding crappy artists and writers by paying $19.99 for their shit collections today.

I’m all for supporting the indie scene. In fact, most of my book purchases fall outside of the Big Two publishers. But now it seems like every ass with an Intel processor and $3k burning a whole in his or her pocket fancies themselves a top-notch comic book entrepreneur.

So I’m here to put such deluded “creators” on notice: If you make it near impossible for me to find “art previews” for your collections, I will not buy them anymore. I tire of being shocked by pathetic art and a juvenile story sense. If you burn me with a shit trade or hardcover once– do not expect me to continue to pay for your graphic arts or creative writing educations.

That’s what Student Loans are for… And this “easy mark” has finally started closing his wallet.

THIS WEEK’S HARDCOVERS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA

Alice in Wonderland Campfire (#1)
Amory Wars Ultimate Edition HC (Was not impressed with Volume 1, passing on the Ultimate Edition)
Angel Hole In The World (I’ve given up on IDW’s Angel. Certainly don’t need an episode retread)
Avengers Invaders (Already own the hardcover)
Batman Arkham Reborn
Brain Camp
Captain America Theater of War (Already own the hardcover)
Cinderella From Fabletown With Love (Shawn McManus is one of my favorite artists. I wish he drew more comics!)

Shawn McManus' art is the shit, baby!

Complete Dracula (Already own the hardcover)
Corrective Measures Vol 2 (The first volume stank… No second chances here)
Creature Tech (Image Edition)
Cyberforce Hunter Killer
Dark Tower Battle Of Jericho Hill HC
El Arsenal Vol 1 (This looks really cool)

Escape From Terra Vol 1 (This looks possibly cool too)
Fogtown HC (I have been enjoying ALL of the Vertigo Crime books)
Frankenstein Campfire
GI Joe Origins Vol 3 (Started reading these. Don’t know why. They are really fun sometimes.)
Harry Houdini Campfire (#2)
Hellspawn Complete Collection HC (Should I buy this? Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.)
Hulk Fall Of The Hulks Savage She-Hulks
John Stanley Library Nancy Vol 2 HC
Losers Book 2 (Great books. Forget the movie. Read the books!)
Luke Cage Noir (Already own the hardcover)
Magog Lethal Force
Milo Ventimiglia Presents Berserker Vol 1 (We’ll see…)

Sign me up... Even though I have NO IDEA what I am getting into!

Moby Dick Campfire (#3)
Punisher Max Naked Kills (I love Punisher Max)
Robinson Crusoe Campfire (#4)
Robocop Vol 1 Revolution (We’ll see…)

Shadoweyes Vol 1 (From the creator of Wet Moon. Looking forward to it!)
Sherlock Holmes Study in Scarlet (Already own it and The Hound of the Baskervilles)
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Vol 13
Spider-Man Gauntlet Vol 4 Juggernaut HC
Starmaker Leviathan (This is one of those leap of faiths that I am less and less inclined to take lately)
Tarzan the Jesse March Years Vol 6 HC (Great series. Art is not for me)
Thief Of Always (Read a previous edition. Was not taken with the pencils-only art)
Treasure Island Campfire (#5!)
Walord of IO Vol 1 (Just didn’t like the art-deco style art)

MANGA

Bakuman Vol 1 (I hear good things…)
Ikigami Ultimate Limit Vol 6
InuYasha Vol 51
Negima Vol 27
Starcraft Ghost Academy Vol 2 (Amazed this is coming out! Volume 2 took so long to come out, I thought it was canceled!)

I put "Shadoweyes" into a Google Search and THIS PHOTO came up... So I'm rolling with it!

Tezuka’s Black Jack Vol 12 (I should read this, huh? Almost everybody seems to praise it!)

MORE INSIDEMAN-LOVE FOR JEFF PARKER!

Any JUSTICE in the world and this would be a MONTHLY. Unfortunately, there is NO justice in the world.

Recommended by my personal comic GURUS– (Who else but the dynamic duo of Jose Melendez and Elliott Serrano at CCW*TV?)– I couldn’t wait to crack open this comic. I had high hopes– especially when considering its’ pedigree.

Let me just write up front, “I was never disappointed.”

Jeff Parker is definitely one of the “go to guys” for people looking to read quality comics. His name is currently a brand you can “trust” to deliver. If you spend money with Parker, you can expect excellent treatment within his pages. Namora #1 is no different. Another solid effort by a quickly rising star.

Namora’s often shitty– holier than thou attitude– is actually one of the book’s many highlights. She is Princess of Atlantis after all… So she makes no apologies for acting the royal pain in the ass. Namora doesn’t need your love, fanboy. What love she does need can come only from her daughter, Namorita… A tough request considering she is long dead– murdered in the devastating Stamford explosion that ignited Marvel’s Civil War.

Princess Namora Saving Submariners

Motherly urges consume Namora in a very unique way as the story unfolds. Amazingly, Parker displays the soft side of his hero– not by a revealing any weakness– but by showing how strong Namora’s love is for her child. It’s a brilliant conceit and a welcome change from the normal female comics archetype… Where a female super-hero can only be seen as vulnerable if she reacts hysterically at some devastating revelation. Not Namora, thank you very much. Not a weak bone in this woman’s body.

The art by Sara Pichelli is stunning. I would kill to see the original black and white boards. You probably think that’s a really strange thing to wish for– especially in this glorious age of gorgeous digital coloring… And with the emergence of so many fantastic color artists. But if you look at the Pichelli’s art examples reproduced here… I’m afraid you just might agree with me.

Sadly, I believe Rachelle Rosenberg’s coloring often DETRACTS and OBSCURES Pichelli’s fine line work. To be blunt– there was way too much blue/green ocean.

I know! What a fucking weird thing to upset me in a book that takes place PREDOMINANTLY UNDERWATER, right? But there was just TOO MUCH of the murky depths for me. In fact, there is so much of this blue/green madness– the mixing colors turned some of the art into a bland hodgepodge. (Strangely, Rosenberg’s style also successfully made other color combos leap off the pages… Go figure.)

Release the Kraken!

I make this observation with sadness– as I have never been the least bit displeased with Rachelle’s color work before. Quite the opposite– I have always enjoyed it!

So don’t let my critique of the coloring throw you off this book. Many of you may actually like it and believe it is a very accurate portrayal of what undersea life would look like if such a world actually existed. (And who’s to say it doesn’t?) In fact, look at the Kraken (to the left). Isn’t he/she/it gorgeous?

I only have one other– relatively minor– nitpick. What idiot at Marvel thought it would be a great idea to place a full page Honda Insight auto advertisement on the book’s third page– before the splash? What a monumental eyesore!

For those who may not know, “BIG TIME” advertisers often demand front-of-the-book, third page placement in magazines… But the ad maven who demanded this spot had to be a certified asshole and an obvious comic hater.

Actually, I just made up that last part about the ad agency being “comic haters”… Agency employees probably won’t even see the whole book– so they won’t know the massive wrong they did to Namora’s creative team… As advertising agencies normally only require a “tear sheet” from a magazine as proof their ad ran in the publication. That means they’ll see only the one ad page (with the splash page on the back) and be completely satisfied– blissfully unaware that their product placement was more of a jolt than an enticement to buy a Honda Hybrid.

So no– the real assholes here are not the folks from Honda’s ad agency. The real assholes here are the people in Marvel’s editorial and art departments that didn’t raise hell when the ad placements fucked up the artistic flow of the different books. Believe me when I tell you that Honda would have been perfectly satisfied with their ads appearing on the 4th or 5th pages of some of the Marvel books. They would have understood the need for artistic integrity. Too bad nobody at Marvel apparently felt the same way– or had the balls to stand up for Parker, Pichelli and the rest of the book’s crew.

Yet, this is a quibble that only appears 3 pages in. There’s a lot of book to love afterward… And you’ll be doing a great disservice to yourself if you don’t search this one out. There are times when everything meshes beautifully within and Parker’s words seem to sing off the page. Don’t believe me? Then read Namora’s last thoughts on Namora #1′s final page… But remember, to experience the full impact of that final page, you’ll have to read the  whole book– which means you’ll have to buy the book.

No fair peeking at the comic store!

DEFINITELY Eisner Award Worthy!

I wanted to bring this review of Neil Young’s Greendale Hardcover over from my original post on CCW*TV.

I’m not planning on doing this very often– but I really liked this book.

Previous readers: Please note I have added a lot of extra opinion and content in this revised review.

For about three years, I was the main Film Critic for a major film magazine– so I’m fairly certain I know how to write an interesting review with ruining your experience WITHOUT SPOILERS.

So that will be the way I will attempt to write my reviews.

If there are MAJOR SPOILERS I will always try to warn you!

Just finished Neil Young’s Greendale Hardcover… and I loved it.

Never been a huge fan of Neil Young (have to side with Ronnie Van Zant and his “Sweet Home Alabama” description of Neil). So I was very skeptical– wondering what I was about to get into– when I read Neil’s one paragraph blurb in the front of the book… Where he basically professes to not know exactly what his story is about.

The internal alarm bells began ringing immediately.

Neil needs to lay off the peyote– or any other hallucinogen he might be partaking in… Because Joshua Dysart writes an unbelievably compelling, intelligent, multi-layered narrative. I understood it perfectly (at least how I believe I was meant to understand and relate to the story). There were several spots where the narrative could have easy derailed and devolved into pedantic preachy bullshit– but Dysart ALWAYS resists the urge to slide into easy clichés or quirky, unintelligible storytelling.

Cliff Chiang’s art is wonderful. Each line is meticulously considered– without ever seeming mechanical. Chiang somehow makes his art flow seamlessly with the quietude the story demands. Dave Stewart’s coloring is perfection as usual.

MY ONLY BEEF

I did not like that one of the characters looked exactly like a younger version of Neil Young. I understood the conceit behind it– but the appearance of Neil’s famous mug dragged me out of the story almost every time his character appeared. That’s a very minor slag though. Once you accept the vanity (whether someone insisted on this or it was just a loving homage from the comic’s creators) it is relatively easy to just forget about this misstep and move on.

The book design is impeccable. It is one of the few times in recent memory that I felt like I was holding a piece of printed art that had not just NEEDLESSLY DESTROYED hundreds of trees to exist… This feeling is VERY IMPORTANT given the storyline.

I really admire seeing this kind of awareness from Book Designer. Book Design is an art. And it is apparent this designer was quite aware of the story inside–- even when deciding on what paper stock to use for the book’s interior and exterior pages.

Overall, I loved Neil Young’s Greendale. Maybe even more so because I wasn’t expecting to. Would definitely recommend this work to anyone who is in the mood to read a GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL.

Sure, you could read a Deadpool Hardcover (or something like it) instead. Free world. But you would really be making a decision between reading a wonderful modern-day fairytale or reading a piece of mainstream mutant corporate crap. Your choice.