Showing posts from December, 2008

my top 10 graphic novels of 2008

This past year was a fantastic year for original graphic novels so I'd like to present the first in what I hope will be an annual tradition, my Epsteins (my version of the Eisner Awards) for top ten of the year. The title will be followed by the creator (or creators) and then the date for which I originally blogged about the entry if you'd like to read about why I think these books are the best of the best.

1. Alan's War by Emmanuel Guibert, blog entry November 12th
2. What It Is by Lynda Barry, blog entry May 31st
3. Acme Novelty Library v. 19 by Chris Ware, blog entry November 10th
4. American Widow by Alissa Torres and Sungyoon Choi, blog entry August 7th
5. Solain by Asano Inio, blog entry November 10th
6. Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle, blog entry October 11th
7. Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson, blog entry July 17th
8. Me And The Devil Blues by Akira Hiramoto, blog entry August 13th
9. Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria, and Warren Pleece, blog entry April 29…

The Quest For The Missing Girl

The Quest For The Missing Girl is another great self contained manga graphic novel (334 pages) by Jiro Taniguchi. Two previous works by Taniguchi have been released by publisher Fanfare / Ponent Mon, The Walking Man, in 2007 and The Ice Wanderer, in 2008, both of which received Eisner Award nominations.

The Quest For The Missing Girl, like The Walking Man and The Ice Wanderer, are mostly quiet reflections on everyday living and the world around us. This doesn't mean that Jiro Taniguchi's narratives are boring or slow, instead they show us as the best slice-of-life fiction or non-fiction does, that real life is full of wonder and mystery. Many people who don't usually read manga think that all manga art is the same with the characters being mostly children with big eyes, so I show them Taniguchi's magnificent art prowess (also on display in The Quest For The Missing Girl of course) and that usually gets others to see the diversity of styles that Japanese cartoonists emp…

O SpinnerRack, O SpinnerRack...

...Wie treu sind diene Blatter! That opening is for our German friends, who first started the tradition of having a tree in the house to celebrate Christmas (Tannenbaume, which is German for Christmas tree). But everybody knows that, right!? Anyway we can't have a tree at our house because we have three cats. One year I did put up a tree and our black cat, Alucard, had a fun time climbing through it. Well I can't stand when my cats have fun, so no more trees in the house!

So a couple of weeks ago, Kate half-jokingly said we should decorate our spinner rack in the house and the next morning I did just that, to her surprise. Exactly the kind of white trash thing a comic store owner should have in the house, so this will be the start of a new tradition for us. The opening of this blog entry was also stolen from Kate's livejournal entry from a couple of weeks ago.

I'd like to shout out "Happy Holidays!" to all of my friends, all the people who insist on giving me …

goodbye Barb

I didn't want to write this entry, but the more I've thought about this the last two days, I couldn't NOT write about this. I hope anyone who's known Barb won't think it's inappropriate for me to write about this here. I'm still trying to process this sad news that a mutual friend shared with me on Wednesday, actually I don't think I'll ever really be able to process Barb not being around. I've been alternating between being really sad / shocked and being really angry with not being able to change this from having happened.

Barb didn't have to die, she was certainly waaaaaaaay too young (31). I'm not going to go into details as to what happened (not that I know a lot of them myself), but I've got to think that anyone who's known Barb, was saddened and shocked to hear about her death. Barb had a lot of friends and a really strong bond with her sister and her mother and any one of us would have been with her to help her with whatev…

Snow on new comics day!

Yesterday (Wednesday, December 17th), it snowed more than I ever remember it snowing since I've lived in Vegas (I moved here in 1980). The snow started before twelve in the afternoon and continued until just about 8pm.
This is my car at about two in the afternoon. Watching snow fall is a pretty unusual sight in Vegas, let alone it actually sticking.

My car at 7pm when I left the shop. I had to actually scrap a lot of snow off my windows before leaving - doing that on a regular basis would get really old in a hurry.

It wasn't snowing when I first drove away last night, but after I got on the 215 via the airport tunnel, big flakes started falling, in a sideways pattern, making visibility not so great and it was even hard to separate one lane from another. Fortunately the traffic was pretty sparse by then so I just drove 40 MPH, keeping a good distance from the car in front of me. It's been quite a few years since I drove in snow like that (the last time was years ago when I w…

"Batgirl's ear broke"

Yesterday, one of my customers, a woman accompanied by her two young sons, reminded me that her daughter purchased a Batgirl action figure from me last year. Well I didn't remember that right away, but then she told me that one of Batgirl's "ears" had broken off and that I was nice and exchanged it for her (I was glad that I had a replacement figure because I don't stock figures too deep generally). Her mother went on to tell me that her daughter was really sad when that happened as she was really looking forward to having a Batgirl action figure.

When this woman that was in yesterday described her daughter being upset about her broken Batgirl, I did remember her daughter first telephoning my store to ask what she could do about her broken Batgirl. When I told her to bring it in and I'd exchange it, she came into the store with the broken Batgirl in a little box with a little white cloth upon which Batgirl was lying and I remembered thinking that this girl rea…


About a week ago a friend of mine, Camila, sent me a link to this new documentary, Inheritance, that was going to air on PBS. I didn't read the link in depth because I was doing something else and then forgot about it until I got home last night and Kate had recorded it for me (and she didn't even know that I knew about this movie, but she does know that I watch and read a lot about anything related to the Holocaust).

Inheritance is a documentary by James Moll which is about how two women from very different backgrounds were affected by the Holocaust. This is one of the very most powerful, amazing documentaries I've ever seen about the Holocaust. Click here for a preview: but you can also watch the entire movie on the PBS P.O.V. website until January 4th.

One of the two women that Inheritance is about is Helen Jonas, who was a young girl during World War II and part of her story is told in the Spielberg movie, Schindler's List…

Essex County trilogy

Finally, a comic about hockey! Actually these three graphic novels, Tales From The Farm, Ghost Stories, and Country Nurse, by Jeff Lemire, feature hockey pretty heavily, but this trilogy, Essex County, is more about lonely people in living in small towns.

I feel like my description of these graphic novels doesn't do these books justice, so I'll just add that any one of these three graphic novels is a really good quiet book, by which I mean that they don't have forced drama and you'll feel good after finishing them.

Each of these three graphic novels could be read unto themselves, but they definitely have a progression and there are continuing threads featuring the characters and locals that adds up to a bigger picture.

Epstein stylin' pt.3!

One of the things that keeps a lot of peoplle coming back to their favorite super hero comic book characters is seeing different artists doing their interpertations of those characters. So with these different versions of Epstein that Ron has drawn and made fantastic looking signs of for my store, I feel like I had several artists contributing!

This image of Epstein as Rorsach (from Watchmen of course) was one of the first drawings I'd seen by Ron and I knew I had to have him do me up some more for the store and he knocked every illustration out of the park!

Ron, thanks for these great illos, they really add to the visual dynamic I'm going for with my store. I hope you and Beverly have an uneventful trip back to Ohio, but that your return is everything you want it to be. I'll see you on the interwebs!

Epstein is stylin' pt. 2!

I can't count the many ways that Epstein as Astro Boy rules! As a refresher for those who haven't read earlier posts about the origins of my mascot Epstein, I told my friend, Keir Eastvelt, who first drew Epstein some 13 or so years ago, that I wanted a lizard wearing ska attire, exuding attitude and I named him Epstein after an in joke from a group of friends of mine.

Epstein as Tin Tin is also one of my favorrites and I hope it's one of yours also!

Okay, again, we have Epstein as a character who really has nothing to do with comics, but I HAD to have this image of Epstein as one of the Super Mario Bros in my store!

Click on the photo to the left of the more tradional looking Epstein on top of comic boxes and you'll get some idea of how much work Ron put into this piece. It actually needs to be seen in person to really see how multi-layered this piece is. So come on down!

Epstein is stylin' pt. 1!

This is artist Ron Horsley and his mug shot. Ron recently graduated from The Art Institute here in Vegas and has done these fantastic re-imaginings of my store mascot, Epstein (seen here in this three part entry). Ron and his wife Beverly are sadly (for me) leaving Vegas to go back to Columbus, Ohio this weekend, but I hope to still keep in touch with him in the future for other visual punch-ups here at the store.

The drawing that Ron is holding is Epstein looking to hitch a ride to Ohio (click on photo to enlarge).

Okay the Bob's Big Boy mascot has nothing to do with comics, but Ron (and myself) was hard pressed to think of what character Epstein should mimic that would represent alternative comics. But don't you just think that this is just a fun look for Epstein!?

SGT. Rock The Lost Battalion

The second issue of SGT. Rock The Lost Battalion came out yesterday (cover image here on the left) and one has but to look through either of the first two issues and they'll be impressed upon that this is a labor of love by Billy Tucci, the writer / artist of this mini-series. SGT. Rock The Lost Battalion is inspired / based upon the true story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Unit, made up largely of Japanese Americans, in WWII , who suffered high casualties, but were also the most decorated military unit in U.S. military history.

Anyone who's read my blog entry from September 10th will remember how I recounted hearing Billy Tucci talk about this SGT. Rock project at the Diamond retailer summit and how passionate he was to bring this part of history to more people's attention and his passion and attention to detail definitely shows in the two issues that are out thus far. I'm doing good traffic with the book at my store, but I hope that it does well across the board bec…