Holy Crap! This winter has gotten away from me!!!! My humblest apologies. We have a host of interviews and reviews ready for the new year. Stick with us. We have plenty of surprises up our sleeves!
Here is what piqued my interest (for better of for worse) as I read through the December issue of Previews (for books hitting shops in February).
Eerie Presents: Hunter (Dark Horse pg. 38)
Son of a mutant general and a human mother, Hunter is a half-breed warrior who fights for survival on a weird, irradiated alternate Earth. Cursed to remain apart from humanity, Hunter still protects the defenseless with the hope that mankind will someday rise from barbarism and rule again! A perfect synthesis of fantasy and science-fiction storytelling, Eerie Presents: Hunter features the artwork of Paul Neary and collects the stories of all three incarnations of the Hunter character. With a new introduction by Dark Horse Comics publisher Mike Richardson, this deluxe hardcover also includes all Hunter spot art pieces and guest appearances that ran in the original Eerie magazine run!
Every Hunter story finally collected!
I really don’t know anything about this character or his story. However, it sounds like a lot of crazy fun in the vein of 70′s sci-fi. Plus, at 232 pages for $19.99 (8.6 cents per page), it is a solid value and worth taking a chance on.
Megatokyo Omnibus Vol. 1 (Dark Horse pg. 57)
Join irrepressible otaku, Piro, and his game-obsessed freakazoid friend, Largo, on their unexpected adventures while stranded in Japan. They may not find love, but they’ll definitely find mayhem!
I have heard a lot about this web-comic from friends, but have never gotten around to reading it. This seems like a great way to get started. This omnibus collects the firs three trades and weighs in at over 540 pages for just $19.99 (3.6 cents per page!). I think that should give me an idea if it is my cup of green tea or not!
Katsuya Terada’s The Monkey King vol. 2 (Dark Horse pg. 60)
The Monkey King is Asia”s greatest fantasy epic, the inspiration for everything from Dragon Ball to Saiyuki. But the legend has never been more brutal, more barbaric, more beautiful, than in Katsuya Terada”s The Monkey King Volume 2! After a seven-year hiatus, Katsuya Terada, one of Japan”s most sought-after commercial illustrators, returns to his adaptation of the saga with The Monkey King Volume 2. A rare example of a manga painted entirely in full color, The Monkey King is the epic of Goku, a savage ape once imprisoned by Lord Buddha himself, but now freed by the monk Sanzo to serve as his bodyguard on a journey to the West . . . across a wasteland filled with weird, violent, and sexy demons!
This book looks gorgeous. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. But, you know what I would REALLY like? I’d like to be able to read volume 1 before I read volume 2. However, I can’t find it anywhere. It is out of print, and Amazon has it on sale for $70!!!!!! So, Dark Horse, how about reprinting volume 1 while you are at it??? I bet you will sell more copies of volume 2 if people can get their hands on volume 1!
Astro City: Shining Stars TP (DC pg. 128 208 pages. $16.99)
A new hardcover starring Astro City’s most popular heroes, collecting ASTRO CITY: ASTRA #1-2, ASTRO CITY: SILVER AGENT #1-2 and ASTRO CITY: BEAUTIE #1.
Astra Furst, a third-generation super hero of Astro City, is graduating from college. It’s a time of friends and family, new opportunities, changing relationships – and danger! Featuring the First Family, the creatures of Monstro City, a new hero team and more on a graduation night nobody’s ever going to forget!
Also in this volume: at last, the full story of the Silver Agent’s fateful journey through time is revealed – including his origin, his greatest battles and his ultimate fate. Plus, Beautie, the life-size super-powered fashion-doll member of Honor Guard, doesn’t know who she is. Now, she’s determined to get answers.
I love Astro City. Have been a fan since the first issue came out oh-so-long-ago. This is the first mini that I waited for the trade. I just got tired of the constant waiting for the issues to come out. They are wonderful when they are in you hands, but the wait is frustrating. I didn’t want anything to tarnish my enjoyment of the experience. This is on my must-have list!
Between Gears (Image pg. 188 $19.99)
This honest, autobiographical account of a college senior’s life will transport you to the land of Jell-O shots, term papers, job interviews, road trips, and sanguine optimism in the face of uncertainty and change. Trade paperback collects the comic in its entirety, with 30 pages of new material.
I love auto-biographical comics. DAR and Fart Party were my go-to comics, but both of them have ceased regular publication. It has left a void in my life that I am looking forward to filling with this 300+ page comic!
Invincible Ultimate Collection vol. 7 (Image pg. 193. $39.99)
This is the only way I read Invincible. I got hooked on Invincible in this oversized format, and I just can’t go back to the smaller trades. So, I get my Invincible once a year. It is tough, but the wait is well worth it. I hear some crazy shit goes down in this volume, so no-one spoil it for me!!!!
King City (Image pg. 194 $19.99)
AT LAST! The long-awaited collection of the complete KING CITY series is here, full of full on comic book games, puzzles and wordplay! Joe is a catmaster, trained to use his cat as any tool or weapon. His best friend Pete falls in love with an alien he’s forced to sell into green slavery, while his ex Anna watches her Xombie War veteran boyfriend turn into the drug he’s addicted to. King City, an underbelly of a town Run by spy gangs and dark dark magic with mystery down every alleyway. Collects KING CITY #1-12
This is another book that people keep telling me about, but I can never get my hands on. Thanks to Image for making it available!!!!
The War at Ellsmere (AmazeInk/Slave Labor pg. 228 $12.95).
Jun is the newest scholarship student at the prestigious Ellsmere girls’ boarding school – but to a lot of the privileged rich girls, scholarship student is just a code for charity case. Fortunately, Jun has an ally in the quirky Cassie, who tells her legends of a beautiful creature that lives in the forest outside of the school. Between queen bees and mythical beasts, Jun has quite the school year ahead of her.
An early work by Faith Erin Hicks, one of my favorite cartoonists!!! I am jazzed about her upcoming release, Friends With Boys and I can’t wait to read this book (the one I am missing from my FEH collection). Now if someone will publish a collection of her Superhero Girl comics, my life would be complete!
I am now going to teach you how NOT to sell a comic.
Step 1: Create a so-so piece of copy that makes the product sound boring and depressing.
Once upon a time in the East, James Harvey, better known professionally as illustrator HARVEYJAMES, found himself taking a position as an English Teacher in South Korea. A Long Day of Mr. James-Teacher is the story one particularly gloomy day, a brief yet encapsulating snapshot of his time in the country. Can James complete enough thankless tasks for his nightmarish boss? The poster-child for the new wave of manga-inspired artists adapting those styles for their own ends, Harvey exhibits astounding craft in this day-long autobiographical comic.
Step 2: Price it unreasonably (28 pages for $7.99)
Step 3: Further diminish the likelihood of someone paying almost 4 times the per-page cost of other comics by selling it for half the price on line.
Step 4: Watch people not buy it.
This is not to say that the book itself is bad. The book could be brilliant! Unfortunately, this is not the way you go about getting people to purchase your product.
Uglies: Shay’s Story (Del Rey pg. 287 $10.99)
Uglies told Tally Youngblood’s version of life in Uglyville and the budding rebellion against the Specials. Now comes an exciting graphic novel revealing new adventures in the Uglies world—as seen through the eyes of Shay, Tally’s rebellious best friend who’s not afraid to break the rules, no matter the cost.A few months shy of her sixteenth birthday, Shay eagerly awaits her turn to become a Pretty—a rite-of-passage operation called “the Surge” that transforms ordinary Uglies into paragons of beauty. Yet after befriending the Crims, a group of fellow teens who refuse to take anything in society at face value, Shay starts to question the whole concept. And as the Crims explore beyond the monitored borders of Uglyville into the forbidden, ungoverned wild, Shay must choose between the perks of being Pretty and the rewards of being real.
I am a fan of the Uglies series, so I am looking forward to reading something that expands on that, not just rehashes it. His Leviathan series is also a huge hit with my students. Stay tuned for an interview with Scott Westerfield coming in just a few days!
A Distant Neighborhood vol. 1 (Fanfare/Ponent Mon pg. 291 $23.00)
Hiroshi Nakahara is a forty-something salaryman returning to Tokyo from an intense business trip. He is tired and somewhat hungover as he boards his train at Kyoto’s enormous station. He awakens to discover he is traveling back to the town of his upbringing, not Tokyo. Memories of his mother surface and he realizes he has the same age as her when she died. Arriving in Kurayoshi he is drawn through his distant neighborhood to the cemetery and his mother’s grave. Here, under a late afternoon moon, he is transported back into his 14 year-old body and life whilst retaining all the character and experience of the adult. Will he change his past or be forever condemned to relive each painful moment? That fateful day his father disappeared without explanation, the death of his mother … would he ever see his wife and daughters again? Master manga-ka Taniguchi at his most powerful.
It is RARE that I choose a book entirely on the basis of the publisher. There is only one publisher that I have complete faith in: Fanfare/Ponent Mon. I have yet to read a book from Fanfare/Ponent Mon that has disappointed. While their list of titles is relatively short, their list of awards and accolades is startlingly long (A Distant Neighborhood was nominated for an Eisner). It is a testament to their effort and dedication to only bring the highest quality books to its readers. Do yourself a favor and ask for Fanfare/Ponent Mon books.
Friends With boys (:01 First Second pg. 291 $15.99)
A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist! Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means making a new friend, one who isn’t one of her brothers. Funny, surprising, and tender, Friends with Boys is a pitch perfect teen graphic novel full of spooky supernatural fun.
Just re-read everything I said before. I love Faith Erin Hicks!
Most girls, when they get to a new school, just want to fit in. But Dashiell Brody isn’t like most girls. A natural at softball, Dashiell discovers her new school has a championship level baseball team, and Dashiell want to play ball. one girl’s quest to play the national pastime with the boys will turn her family, her school, and her state upside down.
I love DeFelippis and Weir. I love coming of age stories. I love Oni Press. Yep, this book is coming home with me!
That’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with January’s Previews.