Category Archives: Comic Books

COMIC BOOK NEWS: Captain America #600 Images!

Captain America 600

It’s the historic Captain America issue you’ve been waiting for as Eisner-winning writer Ed Brubaker teams up with a group of red hot artists like Butch Guice, Steve Epting, and many more to bring you the extra-sized Captain America #600! It’s the anniversary of the day Captain America died, as the Marvel Universe reflects—and the next jaw dropping chapter in the Captain America mythos begins! Plus, writers Mark Waid and Roger Stern join Brubaker to bring you over 60 pages of all new stories, plus select reprints featuring the work of Stan Lee and a Captain America cover gallery! And just who is the girl without a world? What’s her connection to Captain America? With covers by superstars Alex Ross and Steve Epting, no Captain America fan can miss this issue!

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MANGA: Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit – Congratulations! You Have Been Randomly Selected By The Government… To DIE In 24 Hours!

The population was beginning a slow descent into decadence. No one seemed to care about the important things in life: honor, integrity, even life itself. So, the government began a new program to make life precious once more. When vaccinations were given to every child, a certain percentage was, instead, randomly injected with a capsule that would activate at a random time, resulting in that person’s death. Through a complex set of procedures, these capsules were tracked in such a way that, without anyone knowing the particulars, an Ikigami – a death paper – would be sent to each of those selected twenty-four hours before the capsule activated. The uncertainty this caused would make people value their lives more, and increase social productivity.

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Volume One of Motoro Mase’s Ikigami contains two episodes – each dealing with different aspects of the process. Episode One, The End of Vengeance, is concerned with Fujimoto, a young man who gets work delivering Ikigami, and the story of one of the people to whom he delivers them – a bullied youth who uses his last day for actions both heroic and evil. Episode Two, The Last Song, deals with a young man in a busking duo who tries to achieve pop stardom even though it means deserting his partner.

Continue reading MANGA: Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit – Congratulations! You Have Been Randomly Selected By The Government… To DIE In 24 Hours!

MANGA: VIZ Media Nabs Five Eisner Nominations!

Four manga series distributed by VIZ Media have been nominated for five Eisner awards – the awards named in honor of comics pioneer and legend, Will Eisner. The four titles nominated are: Cat-Eyed Boy, by Kazuo Umezi, BestU.S. Edition of International Material – Japan; COWA! by Akira Toriyama, Best Publication For Kids; Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, by Naoki Urasawa – Best continuing Series and Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan, and Solanin, by Inio Asano – Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan.

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Cat-Eyed Boy [Rated “T” for Older Teens] is a series of dark vignettes revolving around Cat-Eyed Boy, a half-human/half-monster child whose mostly human appearance bans him from the demon world. Being half of each means he is hated by both.

COWA! relates the adventures of Paifu, a half-human/half-vampire child, who gets into mischief with his ghostly best friend, Jose – until the Monster Flu strikes his town and only he, his few cuddies and a retired, curmudgeonly former Sumo champion are left healthy enough to find a cure. [Previously reviewed here, COWA! received a grade of “A”]

Double nominee Naoki Urasawa’s Monster [Rated “T” for Older Teens] spins the layered tale of how a famous surgeon, Dr. Kenzo Tenma, becomes the prime suspect in a series of murders after he saves the live of a critically wounded young boy who is destined for a terrible fate.

Solanin is the story of Meiko Inoue, a recent college grad who works as an office lady – a job she hates; her freelance illustrator boyfriend crashes at her apartment because his job doesn’t well enough to rent a place of his own, and her parents send her packages of fresh vegetables that rot in her refrigerator. Meiko struggle comes from being unable to figure out how she fits in the world.

COMIC BOOKS: Indie IDW Garners Five Eisner Nominations!

IDW Publishing, publishers of such bestselling projects as Angel: After the Fall, Doctor Who: Agent Provacateur, and Welcome to Hoxford, has had five of its titles nominated for Eisner Awards. The Eisner Awards, named for comics legend Will Eisner, are given for creative achievement in American comic books.

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IDW’s nominees are: Best Limited Series and Best Writer for Joe Hill’s Lock & Key; Best Reality-Based Work for Fishtown, and two nominations for Best Archival Collections/Project – Strips for The complete Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, and Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles – both part of The Library of American Comics, and compiled and edited by Dean Mullaney.

Locke & Key tells about Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and is home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all. Joe Hill is the bestselling author of The Heart-Shaped Box.

Fishtown captures the story of four Philadelphia teenagers and their involvement with the murder of a sixteen-year-old boy. Kevin Colden wrote and illustrated Fishtown, which was originally released as a webcomic and won a Xeric Award for weekly series.

The Complete Little Orphan Annie, by Harold Gray, is the second series to be released under IDW’s The 
Library of American Comics imprint, and is edited and designed by Dean Mullaney. Volume One contains more than 1,000 daily comics in nine complete stories, from the very first strip in August, 1924 through October, 1927.

Scorchy Smith and The Art of Noel Sickles is a comprehensive, 352-page volume that collects, for the first time, every Scorchy Smith strip, the groundbreaking 1930s aviation adventure series by Noel Sickles. Edited and designed by Dean Mullaney, Scorchy Smith also features extensive DVD-style extras examining Sickles’s life and the decades-long influence of his work, while showcasing the breadth of his career as one of America’s foremost magazine illustrators.

MANGA: Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka – Astro Boy Tribute Is an Instant Classic!

North Americans might not recognize the name Osamu Tezuka, a significant percentage of them know about Astro Boy – which, along with Tezuka’s Kimba the White Lion, was the first anime´ to really connect with that audience. One of the best Astro Boy adventures – both in a twelve-part manga serial and as an episode of the anime´ series – was The Greatest Robot in the World. Naoki Urasawa, best known for his manga series, Monster, has chosen to take that epic adventure and re-work it for today’s audience.

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Continue reading MANGA: Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka – Astro Boy Tribute Is an Instant Classic!

MANGA: 20th Century Boys: Nostalgia, Destiny, Conspiracies and Friend

Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys is an odd and interesting manga. It’s about a group of men who formed a club when they were kids and now find the symbol they used for their club appearing in their adult lives.

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As Kenji and his friends come together for the funeral of one of their old gang, Kenji receives a letter from the deceased – a letter that includes the symbol [which the others in the gang have long since forgotten]. At the same time, there is a mysterious fellow who calls himself Friend, who performs feats, like levitation, above a stage floor on which is inscribed the circle. There’s also a mysterious girl who is troubled by unusual noises that emanate from something big in the night.

Disappearing families, deaths made to appear to be suicides, seeming supermen – and the evilest twins in history – make for an exciting read. Urasawa balances the mundane and the unusual with deftness. He has a gift for delineating a solid character with a minimum of information, and his layouts are fresh and frequently subtle. The story’s complexities – it frequently moves between time periods and groups of characters – are intriguing, and Urasawa builds layers of mystery which each shift.

I finished the two hundred-pages of Volume One: Friends in almost no time at all. Indeed, 20th Century Boys practically read itself to me – Urasawa’s storytelling skills are that sharp. If this isn’t classic storytelling, I don’t know what is.

Final Grade: A

MANGA: Oishinbo, A la Carte: Japanese Cuisine –Estranged Father and Son Coerced to Devise the Ultimate Menu!

Oishinbo is a long-running manga series that encompasses more than one hundred issues in Japan. Perhaps it’s because VIZ Media is uncertain about the North American reaction to a manga about the world of cooking and food culture, but the North American market they have chosen to publish a kind of “greatest hits” series of select stories taken from the series and present them in “a la carte” editions. Japanese Cuisine in the first in this unique series and the unique challenge presented to an estranged father and son.

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Kaibara Yuzan is the father – an artist and founder and director of The Gourmet Club. Yamaoka Shiro is the son – he’s a journalist for the Tozai News. They are estranged because of both their headstrong personalities and because Yamaoka destroyed all of his father’s paintings and pottery to punish him for always placing his family second to his obsession with food. When Ohara Daizo, publisher of the Tozai News, places Yamaoka in charge of the Ultimate Menu Project and asks Kaibara to work with his son, the reaction is not what he was hoping for.

Japanese Cuisine is not just a tale about the creation of a menu – it’s about the kind of people it takes to do things right, and whether Japan even has a cuisine. In the pages of this manga you will find intriguing and entertaining characters who grow as people even as they learn about Japan’s food and food culture. The manga starts off with two sashimi recipes before the story even begins – and within the pages of the manga, we learn why what appears to be so simple is really not.

Between the ongoing clash between father and son, and the responses of their friends and colleagues, we learn as much about Japanese culture as its food. Oishinbo A la Carte: Japanese Cuisine is an enthralling look at Japanese culture from a perspective we’ve never seen before. Tetsu Kariya [story] and Akira Hanasaki have created something, here, that is not just extremely good, but something that is genuinely unique.

Final Grade: A

Comic Books: DEVIL’S DUE PUBLISHING TAKES IT TO THE LIMIT WITH NEW COMIC SERIES BASED ON THE LIFE OF ROCK BAND HINDER

Devil’s Due Becomes First Comic Publisher to Offer Tour Book in Comic Form

 

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Devil’s Due Publishing, which has long been known for their licensed books, including holding the rights for the Halloween and Chucky franchises, announced today that it has partnered with multi-platinum rock act Hinder to produce a limited-edition comic-themed tour book, and is in talks to produce a monthly comic series based on the band’s upcoming “Take It to the Limit” tour.  The first “Take It to the Limit” book will serve as the band’s tour book, which will accompany their 2009 tour.

DDP has been making name for themselves in recent years by developing original comic crossovers and series built around existing stars. Most notably DDP recently developed, produced and published Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia’s “Rest,” which fans first got a look at in San Diego at the 2008Comic-Con. 

Hinder front man Austin Winkler is excited about the group’s collaboration with DDP. “Growing up every kid dreams about being in a comic book, or being a super hero, we have a new and exciting opportunity to be portrayed in a comic book series of our own. We are going to have a blast with this, it will be a lot of fun, this is for our fans, and they will be heavily involved in this, we think they will love it. All in the name of ‘rocknroll’!”

Channeling the spirit of 80s arena rock, Hinder which consists of Austin Winkler (vocals), Mark King (guitar), Blower (guitar), Mark Rodden (Bass), Cody Hanson (drums)  released their Universal Records debut, Extreme Behavior, in September of 2005 going triple platinum and spent 2 ½ years on the road in support remaining on Billboard’s Top 200 for more than 70 weeks. Hinder were recently honored with three BMI Awards including Pop Song of the Year and Internet Song of the Year for “Lips Of An Angel.”  Hinder’s sophomore release, Take It To The Limit, will be in stores November 4 on Universal/Republic.

For more about the rock group Hinder, check out their official Site. For more information and the latest updates on the Hinder comic series, please visit Devils Due Publishing’s website.

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MANGA: COWA! Something Completely Different From The Creator of Dragon Ball Z

Akira Toriyama is best known for the manga/anime series Dragon Ball Z, but he has done a good deal more. One of his most entertaining is COWA!, the tale of a half-vampire/half-werekoala named Paifu and his friends as they seek a cure for Monster Flu – a disease that affects ghosts, were-beings, vampires and all other monsters, but not humans.

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The world of COWA! is one where humans and monsters generally co-exist in peace – human children go to school during the day, while their monster counterparts go to the same schools at night. Paifu and his best friend, a ghost named Jose Rodriguez, are typical kids who like to play pranks, skip school and enjoy their lives/unlives. When a strange illness strikes their friends and relatives, the two set out to find the cure. They enlist the aid of a curmudgeonly former sumo named Mr. Maruyama – but known as The Volcano – and another kid, Arpon, who considers himself Paifu’s arch-enemy, tags along [to swipe the credit if they’re successful].

Toriyama’s storytelling is clever enough, and his art guileless enough, that COWA!, although aimed at younger readers, is terrific fun for everyone. The characters are beautifully developed; the plotting is more than sufficient to hold one’s attention; the twists aren’t telegraphed, and the ending is satisfying enough that I, for one, would love to see more of the characters.

The first chapter [sixteen pages] of the book are in color – and beautifully done – which allows the reader to imagine the “real” look of the black & white remainder of the story. It’s kind of amazing to see the range of color to be found in Toriyama’s nights.

COWA! is thoroughly delightful.

Final Grade: A

COMIC BOOK NEWS: Because I haven’t had my fill of Creepy Kids here comes the origin of Magneto!

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Before he was the Master of Magnetism and the most radical mutant rights activist mankind has ever seen – Magneto was just a boy growing up in Nazi Germany.  In the Marvel Knights tradition of Spider-Man: Reign and Silver Surfer: Requiem comes X-Men: Magneto Testament #1 (of 5)!  Witness the evolution of one of the most popular and controversial X-Men villains of all time!  Superstar writer Greg Pak (World War Hulk, Incredible Hercules) is taking fans back to the year 1935 to show the difficulties and horrors Erik Lensherr faced growing up Jewish in Nazi occupied Germany.  From award-winning artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (Daredevil: Batllin’ Jack Murdock), comes the definitive origin story of the Master of Magnetism!  It all begins with a silver chain, a first crush, and a dictator’s rise to power…

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COMICBOOK NEWS: Check out the Four Pages of War Machine kicking Skrull Ass!

Iron Man: Director S.H.I.E.L.D #33 Iron Man: Director S.H.I.E.L.D #33 

With Iron Man occupied in the Savage Land, the Skrulls may think they’ve eliminated their armored opposition, but War Machine is out to prove them wrong in this must-read Secret Invasion tie-in! Iron Man: Director S.H.I.E.L.D #33, from acclaimed Thunderbolts writer Christos Gage and fan favorite artist Sean Chen (Nova), kicks off “War Machine: Weapon on S.H.I.E.L.D,” which redefines War Machine’s place in the Marvel Universe as a result of Secret Invasion…and setting the stage of his upcoming ongoing series! A major new chapter in Tony and Rhodey’s history begins right here!  With Secret Invasion and related tie-ins selling out quickly at Diamond, and a lead in to the hotly anticipated War Machine series, Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on Iron Man: Director S.H.I.E.L.D #33. It’s time for the Skrulls to say hello to Tony’s not-so-little friend!

 IronManDOS_33_Preview4 Iron Man: Director S.H.I.E.L.D #33