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Showing posts from July, 2007

Kuper / Katin

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Just wanted to talk about two great autobio books by creators that'll be at next week's San Diego convention. For anyone new to autobiographical comics, Stop Forgetting To Remember by Peter Kuper and We Are On Our Own by Miriam Katin, are great examples of a storytelling genre that I think when done well can speak to the reader with a power that other writing styles can't match. I believe this is because via autobiography the author is examining themselves and their experiences through a very personal process, thus causing the reader to reflect on themselves and the world outside their frame of reference in a different context.

Stop Forgetting To Remember is Peter Kuper's brand spanking new autobiographical graphic novel and it is EXCELLENT (anyone familiar with his previous comic work knows to expect nothing less). This has been one of the books I've been most eager to read from the time I first heard about this project. I'm happy to report that Stop Forgettin…

Nothing Better by Tyler Page

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Last week I was happy to receive an advance copy of Tyler Page's new graphic novel, Nothing Better. Having been a fan of Page's previous work, Stylish Vittles (three volumes), I was eager to dive into his latest exploration of people's lives with their trials and tribulations.

Nothing Better is a great showcase for Tyler Page's evolution as a comic book writer and artist. His first book, Stylish Vittles (a love story), started at an already strong place in terms of art, but with Nothing Better, Page's line is even crisper, his characters range of expressions and body language is even more expressive, and he fills up a page in such a way that is very fluid and visually appealing.

Nothing Better (subtitled No Place Like Home) features two central characters, Jane and Katt who end up being dorm mates in their first year at a Lutherian college. Through these characters. Page explores experiences and attitudes that are common to many of us, such as first sexual attracti…

Ennis' Preacher made my marriage possible!

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Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion's Vertigo series Preacher ran for 66 issues and spans nine collected volumes. Preacher, for the ten of you that haven't read this great book, was at its core about three characters, Jesse (the central character), Tulip (Jesse's true love), and Cassidy (the Irish vampire). The book was a journey quest of sorts as these three characters were on a search for God because they believed he had a lot to answer for with the state of the world being what it is. Actually, a bigger part of Preacher is these character's quest for what friendship and love meant and while Preacher had the over the top trademark elements of Ennis's work, ultimately Garth Ennis is a romantic at heart and Preacher is his greatest testament to that.

Preacher started in 1995 (a few months after I opened Alternate Reality Comics) and Kate (girlfriend at the time) and myself got to visit with Garth when he attended the San Diego conventions of 1995 and 1996. He did a cross…

06/07 Eisner Snubs

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The Eisner nominations for the best of the best in comics of 2006 came out this past April and I'd like to go over what I think are some serious omissions. I think Jackie Estrada who administers the Eisners and selects the judges is great, but this year's judges seem to have gone for nominating uber niche, obscure books I'm thinking so that those works get recognition, not for truly celebrating the best of the medium which is what I think was the foremost reason for the Eisners. The judges change every year and usually they are a very diverse group of people and I'm not saying that this years judges aren't also diverse, but if we look at the category of best original graphic novel and the selected nominees it certainly looks like they had an agenda other than recognizing the best of 2006. I understand that selecting the best of anything is largely subjective, but I think that if we could somehow gather three other groups of five judges all three of those groups wou…

Super V recommends...

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This week Y The Last Man #57 arrived and this series looks to be finishing its run in grand fashion. There's only three more issues to go and while I admire Vaughan for ending his series rather than just milking it for the cash cow it is, at the same time I think there are so many other aspects of this series that haven't been explored (but as they say go out strong and leave them wanting more).

As much as I'm loving the story in Y, I want to talk about the art. Pia Guerra is just amazing all around, especially when people are just standing around talking and her characters have a great range of facial expressions. It'll be interesting to see where Pia Guerra works after Y. The substitute artist they've used on Y in the past, Goran Sudzuka, is also really good (and makes for a nice transition when Guerra didn't do an issue) and I'll also be curious to see where we'll see his art in the future. I also want to give a holla (I'm so street) to inker Jos…

Monitors = Smurfs?

All I know about the Smurfs is that they are little blue guys and that there was only one gal Smurf, whom I believe they called Smurfet (spelling?). This was a really popular cartoon in the 1980's (and the little I know about this show is from seeing them as I channel surfed).

Anyway, yesterday I'm reading Countdown and I'm thinking about the Monitors. Are they all guys like the Smurfs? Is there a female Monitor? I don't remember any female Monitors, but that could just be due to a faulty memory. I also got to thinking about Marvel's counterpoint of sorts to the Monitors, The Watcher. Accessing my memory I seem to remember there being more then one Watcher and they're all guys also.

So why is there only one female Smurf? Why are there no female Monitors or Watchers? Thus ends my deep thought for the day.

The Artist Within

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Last week at your favorite comic book store they should have gotten in this fantastic new book of photographs that local photographer Greg Preston has been working on for over ten years. It's published by Dark Horse and features 101 portraits of comic book artists and cartoonists at their studios. The cross section of artists from all genres and ages is really amazing. I think any fan of any of the artists included within would love to have this and it will make a great book to take to comic book conventions especially the upcoming San Diego convention as many of the artists will be there and it's a great place to have all of their autographs.

Some of the artists within include: Jack Kirby, Art Spiegleman, Neal Adams, Michael Allred, Matt Wagner, Tim Sale, Jill Thompson, John Cassaday, Adrian Tomine, Paul Chadwick, Marie Severin, and Howard Chaykin.

Dead and recovering nicely

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The title of this post is a phrase used often by my wife, Kate, although, I think Peter David may have used it first.

Death in comics - does it even matter anymore? Sure they cause sales spikes when they happen, but no one really believes anymore that when a comic book character dies that they'll stay dead. Bringing back every character who died diminishes the impact that present and future deaths in comics has or will have. The number one question comic shops get when a character dies is: "How long is he or she going to be dead or is said character still dead?" I think comic book deaths / returns are largely short term thinking / planning in action.

Comic book deaths will keep happening as long as these "events" spike sales, but my question is at what cost? The same is true of comic characters returning from the dead - it'll keep happening as long as it brings sales and attention to a title. History always repeats, but while these death events cause initia…