Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! Follow Friday!

Book Blogger Hop

Adding to last week's Book Blogger Hop, I thought I'd join in Parajunkee's Follow Friday-- hello and welcome to all new people!  Hope you poke around and see something you like (though I'm only a few weeks into this).  Suggestions of all sorts are truly welcome.  Anyway, onto the question Hop question!


Agh, so hard to say-- I've read so many new-to-me writers this year!  I guess I'd have to say Bryan Q. Miller, writer of the new Batgirl series (with the new Batgirl Stephanie Brown!)  He's done such a great job with the character, really developing her as a realistic college freshman who happens to be a superhero, and a Bat at that!  Steph's always been one of my favorite characters, so to have her in the hands of a capable writer who really grasps all of the things I love about her has been immensely satisfying to me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SCORPION: POISON TOMORROW, written by Fred Van Lente, art by Leonard Kirk

When she was 16, Carmilla Black's left arm flared up with deadly toxins, killing her prom date instantly.  Terrified, she fled, leaving behind her adoptive parents, the only family she ever knew.  She comes out of exile three years later when she learns they have been murdered.  Among their personal effects, she finds her real birth certificate-- including her birth mother's name.  She travels to the South Asian nation of Madripoor, where she was born, in hopes of finding some answers about her fatal sting and what her mother's been up to-- after being recruited by the multinational counterterrorism force SHIELD to do so.

A great espionage adventure with a splash of superpowers!  The spy thriller story deftly intertwines with Carmilla's own quest to make sense of her powers and her personal tragedies to build towards the big reveal of the reason for her existence.  Her hesitant romance with fellow tourist Troy is very cute, even though she has trouble trusting him-- due in no small part to her SHIELD handlers' paranoia over who he is and why he is interested in her (but that's not to say he's not hiding something...)  In fact, Van Lente handles all of her trust issues very believably, whether she's questioning Troy's intentions or even SHIELD's true purpose; it is very clear that Carmilla wants someone to trust, but she's been too hurt to do it easily. The art is crisp, clean and easy to follow.  Kirk is especially good at facial expressions-- even when Carmilla's face is half-covered by her mask, her emotions are clearly expressed in her eyes.

One pretty major complaint, though-- an over-arching question of the book is who killed her adoptive parents and why is never answered outright.  Plenty of theories are put  forward and fingers are pointed, but it's never definitively answered.  As far as I can tell, they planned on writing more and making it a series, but it got canceled for one reason or another.  It's frustrating, but it's not really a deal-breaker for an otherwise very enjoyable story.

You can read the first 11 pages here, and read what Van Lente had planned for future volumes!


Monday, July 26, 2010

A "Brief" History of Independent Comics

In my travels around the YA blogosphere, I came across a very admirable campaign, "I Support Indie Authors", promoting awareness of self-published prose authors.  And that got me thinking about the role of indie comics in the medium...and then it got out of hand.  Mea culpa.  If you're not interested in the history of indie comics, then you can stop reading at the cut.

Today, indie comics are a vital part of the comics field.  Conventions set aside "indie islands" for those creators.  Anyone who can run their work through a photocopier is considered published.  Creators come together in collectives to publish anthologies and support each other.  Comic book stores will happily sell self-published comics from local and not-so-local creators. The Internet has made it possible for any creator to instantly share their work with the world and sell books right off their website.  And indie comics have one major and important advantage over indie prose books-- their work is equally respected by the big corporate publishers.  In fact, it is a rare writer or artist today that starts out immediately with an established publisher.  But rather than looking down upon them disdainfully the way big book publishers look at self-published novels, the big comics publishers trawl the self-published comics looking for the next big talent!

Of course, it's been a long, strange trip to this point, but one thing is for sure-- they've earned our respect!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop
After coming across the Book Blogger Hop in my many travels around the book blogosphere, I became encouraged that I could get some readers for this blog, the idea for which had been kicking around my brain for a while.  So, hello and welcome to my new blog!  I hope you stick around and let me get you addicted to my drug of choice!   And now for the question:


A book I bought a while ago and finally got around to reading: Scorpion: Poison Tomorrow.  It's technically in the Marvel Universe, but it's very much on the edges of it.  A girl's adopted parents are murdered not long after she discovers that her right arm can turn into a deadly weapon.  Soon she uncovers some shocking truths about her birth mother and finds herself in the middle of a struggle between various government agencies and terrorist cells-- but who should she really trust?  Marvel tried a ton of books like this 5 or so years ago that failed to find their audience, which is why I want to bring them to you now.  Better late than never!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In My Pull #1

I thought I'd adapt the "In My Mailbox" feature of other blogs to this here comics blog.  I changed it to "In My Pull" because that's what comics geeks call the books they've asked their local comic shop (LCS) to hold for them (both are those comicsy-lingo words that you can find in the Glossary).  Of course, I'll just include whichever books I happen to obtain in any way, whether in my actual pull or not. I hope to do this fairly regularly, but since I already own so many of the books I want to review, it probably won't happen too much for a while.  Anyway, onto the pull (not including Scott Pilgrim 6):

1. Mercury by Hope Larson.  A parallel history story between girls living in the same house 150 years apart.  Really looking forward to this.
2. Masked edited by Lou Anders.  Not actually comics!  A prose anthology of superhero stories by top comics writers (including some prose&comics writers like Marjorie M. Liu and Mike Carey).
3. Rumble Girls: Silky Warrior Tansie by Lea Hernandez.  Girls fighting in robot suits.  I could not resist.
4. The Apocalipstix written by Ray Fawkes, art by Cameron Stewart.  Girls in a band touring after Armageddon.  This promises to be a pretty sweet road trip story!


Scott Pilgrim's life is so awesome. He's 23 years old, in a rock band, "between jobs," and dating a cute high school girl. Everything's fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ms Flowers isn't covered in rose petals. Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends stand in the way between Scott and true happiness. Can Scott beat the bad guys and get the girl without turning his precious little life upside-down?

 If that description doesn't sell it to you, I'm not sure what will.  This book (and series) offers a refreshing take on the slacker genre, where instead of spending his spare time playing video games, Scott Pilgrim inhabits a world that is a video game, and his life is filled with all the paradoxes of a real world gamer.  Sure, he can fight Ramona's evil exes, but is he emotionally mature enough to keep the relationship going? And will he ever get up the courage to actually break up with his high school girlfriend?

The supporting characters turn this book into pure gold-- there's Wallace Wells, his suave gay roommate who he shares a bed with (because he can't afford his own!); the female drummer of his band Sex Bob-omb Kim Pine (don't tell her she's not the only one!); his more mature younger sister Stacy Pilgrim; Sex Bob-omb's only fan Young Neil; and Knives Chau, the Chinese Catholic schoolgirl whose relationship with Scott is so ridiculously chaste you worry more about what it says about his emotional maturity than his intentions with her.

This book also surmounts the challenge of writing a (obviously silent) book with a musical backdrop, as the music scenes are drawn with such raw energy that you'll at least feel the urge to bob your head.  And it has something for everyone-- it's a romance for people who hate romance, a video game story for non-gamers, and the art is manga-style for people who hate manga.  It's just funny, funny, funny.  Now that the series is complete and the movie's about to come out, it's the best time to pick up this book (be cool and read it before you see the movie!)  You can read a 34-page preview here.

⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗ (out of five!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour release party!

You may have seen the trailer for a new movie called Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a slacker romantic comedy crossed with video games. It's directed by Edgar Wright, who made Shaun of the Dead, which crossed romantic comedy with zombies, so he's good at that sort of thing. Here's the awesome international trailer, in case you have no idea what I'm talking about.
Anyway, Scott Pilgrim happens to be a very popular comic book series. So popular in fact, that they made the film before the last book was even finished, let alone released to the public. The sixth and final volume Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour was released today-- and for some comic book stores, that meant at midnight.

Lucky for me, my local comic shop, the wonderful Comicopia in Boston, was one of them. Since I'm good friends with the owner, I got there early, picked the music, took pictures, and ran to the back when he was running out of copies behind the counter. Good times were had by all-- about 30 people came, more people than I've ever seen in there at once. There were even some other bloggers there, but I forgot to get the name. (Ironically, this means the only picture of me at this party will be on someone else's blog!) But for my pics, read on!
Advertising the shindig.

Our Manifesto

Comics. Graphic novels. Whatever you call them. You can't go anywhere these days without hearing about them. It seems like every other movie is based on one, and your librarian always tries to suggest them. You're curious, but you're also confused. Part of you can't help but think that they're not really books. And you have no idea where to start. That's where I come in.

I remember being 16, dancing on the edge of the pool of comicsdom, wondering how or if I should jump in. And when I eventually did, it was loud and messy and it took me a long time to learn to navigate those waters. So I've decided to take my hard-earned lessons and love and pass them on to the world.

Some of you may still not be convinced that comics are even worth your time. Now, you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't up for having your mind changed, but you're skeptical and need to be convinced. That's cool. I can work with that.

Take a moment to think about your favorite movies. Now, take a moment to think about your favorite books. Next, take a moment to think of your favorite TV shows. Think about how all of them make you feel, why you love them so much, your favorite characters, your favorite lines, your favorite stories. Now, take out your favorite movies. You never watched them. In fact, you've never watched any movies. Those stories that so enthralled you and the characters you loved were never a part of your life.

Hurts to think about, don't it?

Ok, you can have your favorite movies back now. Just in time, since one of your favorite books is going to be adapted into a movie. Hooray? Nah. Not really. After all, the book is always better than the movie. Sure, the filmmakers might do a great job translating the story to the screen, but some of your favorite moments will have to be cut, the actors won't be exactly as you imagined their characters, and the author's unique narrative voice will be gone. But you don't love your favorite movies and TV shows less than your favorite books-- you just love them differently. Each medium has its own unique tools to work with that contributes to why you love them.

It's the same with comics. Comics bring something different to the table than prose or film or television, but they have the same capacity to captivate you as any other medium. And if you're a person who loves stories, can you really live with yourself knowing that there's a whole medium out there that you're unfamiliar with?

Welcome to Oh YA! Comics.
Web Analytics