Friday, December 31, 2010

Ayako; Osamu Tezuka

A couple of weeks ago, a new Osamu Tezuka epic manga graphic novel was finally released in the U.S., called Ayako, a manga that Tezuka did from 1972-1973. Tezuka, often called the god of manga, because he virtually created the comic book art form in Japan back in the 1930s and was extremely prolific. In the U.S. Tezuka is most known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion (which Disney heavily "borrowed" upon in their Lion King), but he's done comics / manga in all genres, including romance and crime fiction. Tezuka also did a wonderful eight volume manga on Buddha.

Even though Ayako was written and drawn in the early 1970s, it is never a dated work and it amazed me as much as my other two favorite Tezuka mangas, MW and Buddha. Ayako had the misfortune of being born into a very rich family, who all have very dark skeletons in their closets, and her very birth is a part of those skeletons. Taking place in Japan post WWII and going through the early 1970s, Ayako, clocks in at 700 pages and is a very fascinating graphic novel about a highly dysfunctional family who will do anything to protect their family name and the skeletons in their closets from getting out. Ayako is definitely for mature readers and definitely one of 2010's best graphic novel releases!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Special Exists

One of the best graphic novel memoirs of 2010, Special Exits, came out a couple of weeks ago, just making it before the year closes. Special Exits, written and drawn by Joyce Farmer, follows the last four years in the lives of Lars and Rachel. Special Exits excellently shows how old age and the ailments that come in the latter stages of life affect Lars and Rachel and their daughter, Laura, who stops by weekly to help them with the new realities of their lives.

Friday, December 24, 2010

an artist to watch for...

Yesterday, at my shop (Alternate Reality Comics, natch!) this young lad, Nathan (as seen in the photo here), wandered in all the way from Halifax, Canada, and as Vegas wasn't doing much for him, he took it upon himself to do some awesome drawings for me! In this first photo he's holding an illo of me as a Terminator! Thsi drawing will be hanging up at my store and you have to see it up close to really appreciate how cool it is!

Next up is Epstein in full gun totting action!

Another great illo of Epstein getting in touch with his dinosaur ancestry!

I've never been to Halifax, where Natan, the artist of these three drawings hails from, but I do know that there's a top notch comic book store there called Strange Adventures (they have two stores there now), owned by Calum Johnston. Thanks Nathan!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reid Feming World's Toughest Milkman & other great graphic novels

This week, IDW publishing is releasing the first of two gorgeous hardcover collections of David Boswell's beloved oddball comic, Reid Fleming World's Toughest Milkman, from the 1980s. If you've never read Reid Fleming and or want to have a nice collection of this seminal humor comic, for a mere $29.99 for 224 pages (and 20% off at Alternate Reality Comics through Friday, Dec. 24th), you can see what all the fuss is about.

This is the first page of the Reid Fleming hardcover (the book is in black and white, as it was originally published) and should give you an idea of David Boswell's sense of humor and his character, Reid Flemings, "damn the torpedoes" attitude towards his job and life.

I'd also like to give a roll call list shout out to some other great recent graphic novels that have newly arrived the last few weeks (or that I've gotten back in as a restock because they're so good that they keep selling out):

Dynamic Forces is finally releasing the first volume of the Vampirella Archives this week, which collects the fist seven issues of this great comic from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Image is releasing a softcover edition of Viking by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein, a great crime fiction story set in viking times, with GREAT art. The ninth volume of the always funny, delightful manga, Yotsuba, by Kiyohiko Azuma (and you can read any volume onto itself) also arrived a couple of weeks ago. DC released a 500 page black and white Showcase volume of Our Army At War and at $99.99 for the who's who of great artists contained within, you'll not find a better deal. This week also sees the release of Bill Willingham's excellent Fables novel Peter and Max, which is a good introduction to what Fables is about (and even more excellent if you're already a fan of Fables), in a softcover edition. For a great sampling of some of the best comics in the U.S. this past year, the 2010 edition of Best American Comics came out about month ago, edited by Neil Gaiman. Everyone knows that when Chip Kidd designs a book it's going to be great right? Well a few weeks ago he put together a hardcover volume on Shazam and it's of course a beauty! Two Cents Plain is a great new autobiographical graphic novel by Martin Lemelman, about growing up in Brooklyn with parents who survived the Holocaust. Fantagraphics released the second Steve Ditko Archives, which collects many fantastic early stories by Ditko before he co-created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. For anyone wanting to read great Thor stories that don't require any knowledge of what's going on in the Marvel Universe, look no further then Thor The Mighty Avenger by Rodger Langridge and Chris Samnee.

Still available at Alternate Reality Comics: Logicomix An Epic Search For Truth, Acme Novelty Library volume 20 (Lint), The Outfit, by Darwyn Cooke, and Gilbert Hernandez' Chance In Hell. And remember, all of the above and many more great graphic novels / trade paperbacks are on sale for 20% off through Friday, Dec. 24th!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Motel Art Improvement Service

Motel Art Improvement Service is a new graphic novel by Jason Little (Shutterbug Follies) published by Dark Horse Comics. As Jason Little hasn't done that much comic work to date, I'd forgotten how good he is when he does release a new project. Motel Art Improvement Service was a delight from beginning to end and is never predictable or cliched.

The two central characters of Motel Art Improvement Service are Bee-Jin, an eighteen year old girl who embarks on a cross country bicycle trip and ends up meeting Cyrus (the other central character), a young man frustrated by a lot of the pretense of the way art is made into just a commodity, so he works in motels as a housekeeper, removes the art from the motel rooms, and adds a little something else to enhance the banality of most of the art hanging in motel rooms. Bee starts working as a housekeeper alongside Cyrus and they get mixed up with other shady characters, making Motel Art Improvement Service quite an engaging, exciting read, with Jason Little's outstanding artwork as the topping on this great, very different graphic (full color, 205 pages, for only $19.99 - and as with all graphic novels / trade paperbacks through Dec. 24th, it's on sale for 20% off!).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tell me these aren't cute!...

Alternate Reality Comics will always be first and foremost a comic book store, but with the increased space I have here at my new location (twice the space of the old store!), I have space to try out some things that people might like to get for themselves and or things their gift buying loved ones might get for their comic / fantasy enthusiast instead of trying to guess which comic or graphic novel they have or don't have. This first photo is of the main new display I got about a week ago and just today some of the items upon this display arrived.

These little plushes are super cute and are inexpensive and irresistible.

You can't go wrong with a Spidey or Darth Vader head bobbler and this uber cool Wonder Woman lunch box comes with salt & pepper shakers for a really low price!!

This ends my shameless retail jockeying for the day - as you were!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boneyard signing wrap up!

This past Saturday, Alternate Reality Comics hosted six of the local artists who contributed stories to the Vegas-cdentric, comic book anthology, Tales from the Boneyard. In this photo seated from left to right is: warren Wucinich, Victor Moya, Jarret Keene, Pj Perez, Danny Roberts, and Deryl Skelton.

First in line for the Boneyard lads, was Gary Rabuzi, shown here holding his uber cool jam sketch each of the artists did of classic old school Spider-Man villains!

A semi-birds eye photo taken by my friend and assistant, Jim, showing some of the people who came out to support local artists, buy a great local comic book production (which I'll have in stock regularly), many of whom also got some great sketches!

Another art jam piece some lucky person scored!

Warren Wucinich, displaying the Hellboy sketch he did for Lee, a relatively new patron and friend of Alternate Reality Comics! Mike Mignola (Hellboy creator), needs to call up Warren to draw a Hellboy story because he'd know it out of the park!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the event this past Saturday, thanks to Jim for helping out, and a HUGE thanks to Warren, Victor, Jarret, Pj, Danny, and Deryl, for producing Tales from the Boneyard and for letting me host this signing event at my store and graciously doing many cool sketches! Now get to work on next years comics (grin)!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Memories of John Lennon & The Beatles

I became a Beatles fan in 1975 or 1976 when I was 13 or 14 years old. I'm sure I'd heard The Beatles (and the solo works of the members) on the radio earlier, but I didn't start buying records with my own money until I was fourteen, living in Germany, and going to high school in Munich. At lunch time, I'd go across the street from my school in Munich to the BX or PX (base exchange or post exchange, I don't remember which one they were calling it then) and sometimes after going to the Stars and Stripes to buy my comic books (I've been reading comics since 1975!), I'd go to the main department store and buy some records. The first Beatles albums I bought were Beatles Red and Beatles Blue, which were both double albums, greatest hits type collections. How could I not love The Beatles after listening to those albums (I'd argue that how could anyone not love The Beatles after listening to any of their albums)!?

One of my other favorite Beatles albums I'd bought was called Beatles Love Songs (another double album, that had their logo and the album title on a nice "simple" brown cover) and to this day I remember being excited that it was only $1.35 (or some variation thereof, I do remember it wasn't more than two dollars). Actually I thought someone had put the wrong price tag on that record, but I never questioned it, I just bought it and listened to it over and over and over. The Beatles Love Songs was probably the album that showed me the depth that John Lennon and Paul McCartney (and George and Ringo) had in their lyrics and the power of their arrangements and singing. They had a song seemingly about everything.

Flash forward to 1980 - I was a senior at John F. Kennedy Jr. High in San Antonio and I was still a huge Beatles fan, especially John Lennon, who I came to appreciate as being the most complex of The Beatles and wrote many of my favorite Beatles songs. My very favorite song of all time is John Lennon's Imagine, my favorite Beatles song is Across The Universe, and my favorite holiday song is Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

December 8th, 1980, I was watching the Johnny Carson Tonight Show and all of a sudden a news flash announced that John Lennon had been shot (most of the country was watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell made the same announcement). I was shocked, sad, and numb. No one else in my family was really a Beatles fan so they didn't feel the same way. The next day when I went to school, I don't remember a cloud of depression over the death of John Lennon being felt by my fellow students (maybe because I didn't really have many friends as I only went to that school for my senior year so didn't get to know a lot of the other kids). So not only was I horrified and saddened by John Lennon's senseless death, I had no one to share my grief with. Fortunately at least one of the local radio stations was playing The Beatles and John Lennon music around the clock so I just immersed myself in my radio for what seemed like days.

John Lennon's death, thirty years ago today, was the single most shocking moment I can recall in my life at that point and illustrated to me how senseless and random the universe can be. One of my friends, (Mark Otto), on facebook a few days ago, commented to me that we should be happy that John Lennon left us such a huge wonderful legacy with his body of music. I agreed with him, but I still lament that I and the world were robbed of many, many years of songs John Lennon would have wrote (he was only 40 years old when he was killed). I loved Double Fantasy, the album that John Lennon and Yoko Ono had just finished when he was shot, but whenever I hear a song from that album, I have to reign in my emotions so as not to seem like a total nut case to those around me.

I know that most of my Ich Liebe Comics! blog readers aren't as ancient as me (grin), so you don't have personal recollections of what you were doing or how you felt when you heard that John Lennon had been killed, but for those of you who do have such memories, please share them here or with me when you see me at the shop. What is your favorite John Lennon / Beatles song (songs)?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Sixsmiths

The Sixsmiths are a family of Satanists and The Sixsmiths is the new graphic novel (fiction, I think - grin!) written by J. Marc Schmidt and drawn by Jason Franks about how they are just trying to go about their lives like the rest of "us". The Sixsmiths is funny because as weird as most religions are, being a Satanist is really amongst the very top of weird religions and it's going to be very hard to interact with the rest of society. Come by Alternate Reality Comics ask me about The Sixsmiths, and I'll give you a free copy of a Sixsmiths comic sampler (while supplies last) and you can see for yourself if Schmidt and Franks, humor is up your alley!


Flywires is a new graphic novel from Humanoids, drawn by Matt Cossin and written by Chuck Austen, 144 pages in glorious color, for a mere $19.95. Matt Cossin previously drew the great adventure mini series / graphic novel, Hunter's Fortune for Boom, so if you've read that you know his art is great (and if you haven't seen Matt Cossin's art, well the cover of Flywires and the two interior pages shown here should show you that Matt takes his art very seriously and the end result makes for some really good eye candy). Actually, Flywires came out in Europe in 2005 or 2006, so this predates Matt Cossin's Hunter's Fortune, but you wouldn't know that from the quality of his art here is he didn't have "2005" written in on one of the pages.

Humanoids regularly publishes graphic novels from European cartoonists, but Austen and Cossin, while they aren't European, deliver a cyberpunk graphic novel that is just as involved and beautiful as any produced by the European cartoonists I've seen.

What is a Flywire? I'm going to quote from the back cover as it offers a better "sound bite" than I can come up right at this second, so here goes: "A "Flywire is an electronic device surgically implanted behind every citizen's ear that gives them wireless access to infinite libraries of digital information." While that can definitely improve many facets of your life, the big negative is that it is also a Big Brother type monitoring device that throws out all of your privacy. Everyone is of course not happy with having a Flywire implanted within them and that's what this graphic novel explores with some great characters, smart writing, and as I've already mentioned, lovely art! And remember, Flywires, like all graphic novels and trade paperbacks at Alternate Reality Comics are 20% off through December 24th!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tales from the Boneyard signing this Saturday!!

This Saturday, Dec. 11th, from 12-3pm, Alternate Reality Comics is happy to host six of the artists who contributed to the Vegas-centric comic, Tales from the Boneyard! Pj Perez, main organizer and contributor of Tales from the Boneyard best describes this local production as a comic featuring robots, zombies, and vagrants, and at a mere $5.00 cover price, you won't find a more unique, great stocking stuffer for your friends and loved ones (and yourself if you don't already have a copy)!

Joining Pj Perez this Saturday (from 12-3pm), will be Tales from the Boneyard cover artist, Danny Roberts, Jarret Keene, Warren Wucinich, Deryl Skelton, and Vic Moya, who will be more then happy to sign copies for you and will probably not require much arm twisting (grin) to get a sketch at your request! I'll also have soft drinks and some kind of munchies, so I hope to see a lot of people show up and support some of the great cartoonists we have right here in fabulous Las Vegas and all sales of Tales from the Boneyard go directly to the artists!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday sale on graphic novels!

Starting today, Friday, November 26th until December 24th, Alternate Reality Comics will have a 20% off sale on all graphic novels, trade paperbacks, and hardcover collections! So if you're looking for a great graphic novel or trade paperback for someone on your gift list, come on down and say hi and we'll point you in the right direction to a graphic novel in any genre! Or if you want to treat yourself before or after going out to the Black Friday madness, Alternate Reality Comics will be a much more relaxed shopping environment than the big box stores.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Batwoman #0!!

I'm not going to be able to say anything about this book that will convince people to pick up Batwoman #0 as well as award-winning J.H. Wllliams III art does, so...

Well I was going to just let the art do the "talking" here, but I just got done reading the issue and it's fantastic! J.H. Williams III writes this with W. Haden Blackman and Madame Xanadu artist Amy Reeder, illustrates the Kate Kane sequences of this issue. As good as Greg Rucka's writing was on the Batwoman arc in Detective Comics, I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised at what a post Rucka Batwoman is like!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Walking Dead v.13: special Tuesday release!!

I'm sure by now most everyone has heard of the Robert Kirkman / Charles Adlard zombie series called The Walking Dead, but if you haven't read it yet or watched the new, great AMC television series yet, all you need to know is that The Walking Dead is a great character book, with characters that just happen to live in a world that's become zombie infested. The Walking Dead is not just constant zombie chowing on people action, but it's never boring or predictable and when the zombies show up, it's way more dramatic and intense because you never know when the characters are going to come face to face with the zombies.

The television version of The Walking Dead has some similarities and some of the same characters, but there are several different characters and scenarios, but that's okay also, because it makes it not a rerun of the comic book experience. The fourth episode, which aired last night was written by The Walking Dead comic and graphic novel creator, Robert Kirkman, and it was the best episode yet. Sadly there are only two more episodes in this six episode season one, but it'll be back next year as it is the highest rated show ever on AMC (it beats the ratings of Breaking Bad and Mad Men).

This week the thirteenth volume of the trade paperback collection of The Walking Dead comes out and Image sent them to retailers last week so that comic book stores could have a special Tuesday release (the official release / street date). So if any Ich Liebe Comics! readers who also follow The Walking Dead series via the trades are in the neighborhood of my store, Tuesday, November 23rd, and don't want to wait until new comics Wednesday, I'll have said graphic novel raring to be given good homes! It's zombierific!

Grandville Mon Amour

Regular readers of Ich Liebe Comics! already know what a big Bryan Talbot fan I am and anyone who's read and marveled at his artwork in his previous graphic novels such as The Tale of One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, and Alice In Sunderland, also eagerly await new comic productions from Bryan Talbot. Well last week saw the release of Grandville Mon Amour, the second Grandville graphic novel and it's every bit as marvelous as the first one (and one doesn't have to have read the first one first).

Grandville Mon Amour is basically really really well drawn and written anthropomorphic crime fiction that has a very Sherlock Holmes vibe. A beautiful 100 page hardcover graphic novel for only $19.99, Grandville Mon Amour is a must read for people who love to see a cartoonist at the top of his game.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Saturday's party / benefit - a HUGE success!!

I couldn't be happier with my Alternate Reality Comics grand opening party / Three Square Food Bank benefit last Saturday - the whole day exceeded my expectations and was a LOT of fun!

Thanks especially to Brightest Day artists, Dave Beaty & Scott Clark and Dark Tower / Hellshock artist, Jae Lee for being my first superstar guests at my store's new location! Scott Clark is on the left here in this first photo and Dave Beaty is on the right, with lucky old me in the center holding the original Firestorm artwork that Dave Beaty did and donated as one of the grand prizes of my raffle! HUGE thanks also to my helpers / friends: Jim and Lora, Jason, and my lovely wife, Kate, for all they did to make the day run as smoothly and fun as it did!!

Scott Clark and Dave Beaty graciously did many fabulous sketches for people and here in this second photo are two great examples of their art magic!

This Galactus HUGE action figure that talks and lights up, was one of the other grand prizes of the raffles I had last week and the winner was lucky that he didn't get jumped by all of the people who hoped to be the winner (grin)!

Jae Lee was also doing sketches and in this fourth photo, Damien, is getting a Black Bolt one done up!

Combining Alternate Reality Comics new location party with a food bank benefit was the idea of artist, Dave Beaty, and I want to especially thank him for that suggestion and to EVERYONE who brought nonperishable food items for the Three Square Food Bank benefit! All of the boxes of food donations filled my Scion xb (Mother Box) to the brim and when I got to the Three Square Food Bank, they weighed the boxes on a pallet, which came in at a whopping 686 pounds (!!) of food that will definitely be put to good use here in our community going into the holiday season! I wonder who donated the can of squid pictured here in this last photo (grin)!?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

25% off graphic novel sale, party, benefit, raffle, FUN!

A reminder: the colored pencil image here of Firestorm (11 x 16) is by artist Dave Beaty, who along with his artist friend, Scott Clark, both are artists on DC's Brightest Day, and they will be at Alternate Reality Comics new location grand opening party / Three Square Food Bank benefit, today, Saturday, Novemeber 13th, from 11am-9pm! Scott Clark & Dave Beaty will be signing / sketching from 12pm-3pm and artist Jae Lee (Dark Tower) will be here from 12pm-1pm. Dave Beaty has generously donated his Firestorm art as one of the BIG hourly raffle prizes that people can win! Everyone who shows up gets a free raffle ticket and if you bring nonperishable food items to benefit the Three Square Food Bank, you'll get an additional raffle ticket!

Additionally, to thank returning customers of Alternate Reality Comics, and to thank new customers, I'll be having a 25% off sale on all trade paperbacks / graphic novels! And for every ten dollars spent today at Alternate Reality Comics, you'll get an additional raffle ticket (and you don't have to be present to win the raffles)! There will be at least three raffles every hour, with prizes such as gift certificates, hardcover graphic novels, CGC graded variants, art prints, mini statue busts, and a huge Galactus action figure!

I hope everyone remembers to bring nonperishable food items to benefit the Three Square Food Bank (as we head into the holiday season, helping those in our community experiencing hard times is even greater). Thanks to everyone who has ever been to Alternate Reality Comics these past sixteen years and I look forward to seeing you today for what's going to be a FUN time!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Two Generals; Scott Chantler

I just finished reading what I think may be my favorite original graphic novel of this year (it's certainly in my top five of 2010) - Two Generals, by Scott Chantler. The first thing one notices about Two Generals is that it is a very handsome production as the two images of the book I have here show (these images are from Scott Chatler's excellent research blog: I was really hoping that Two Generals wouldn't just be a pretty shell, with not much in the way of substance. We are fortuante that cartoonist Scott Chantler wrote and drew such a powerful graphic novel account of his grandfather, Law Chantler, and Law Chantler's friend, Jack Chrysler and their World War II experiences.

Law Chantler and Jack Chrysler were officers in the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, an infantry unit that played a BIG part in the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. I'm just writing this Ich Liebe Comics! entry to make more people aware of this great graphic novel, and I'm not going to go into why this is great, because as I've mentioned before when writing about great works in this medium, a reader should just go into a great work (of whatever medium) with as little knowledge of the contents as possible and discover them for themselves. I will say though, that before reading Two Generals, I didn't previously know that bicycles were used during WWII missions!

Veterans Day sale!

In honor of Veterans Day, today at Alternate Reality Comics, all war comics and graphic novels will be on sale for 20% off cover price! If you know someone who is or has been in the armed forces, I'm thinking they would love great graphic novels such as You'll Never Know, Alan's War, The Nam, Dong Xoai, Dear Billy, Two Generals, and Resistance. These are powerful stories that will resonate with everyone.

Please thank people in your life today for being a part of the U.S. armed forces because if you know anything about military life (both in combat and non-combat) you know that this is often not an easy life.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alternate Reality Comics Saturday party & 3 Square benefit

As many of you already know, this Saturday, November 13th, from 11am-9pm, I'm going to have the Alternate Reality Comics new location / thank you to returning customers / welcome to new customers / Three Square Food Bank benefit. This morning I picked up the Three Square Food Bank barrel, so it's here at the store ready for people to bring in nonperishable food items to benefit people in need in our community, especially as we get into the holiday season. I'm having hourly raffles from 11am-9m, anyone who comes for the celebration will get a raffle ticket and by bringing nonperishable food items you'll receive an additional raffle ticket. The barrel is ready to be filled, so you don't have to wait until Saturday to bring donations and if you come by every day with food items, you'll receive an additional raffle ticket for that day and you don't have to be present to win.
The fantastic Firestorm colored pencil original art (11 x 17) here in this photo, was created by Brightest Day artist, Dave Beaty, who along with his artist friend, Scott Clark (another one of the fantastic Brightest Day artists), will be at the celebration from 12pm-3pm. Dave Beaty is generously donating this piece of art as one of the big raffle prizes that could be won on Saturday! Uber artist and uber nice guy, Jae Lee (Dark Tower, Hellshock, Inhumans, and Sentry) will also be at the Saturday store party from 12pm-1pm, so I hope everyone plans their Saturday carefully (grin)!

Some of the other raffle prizes that people can win are: the huge Galactus talking action figure with the San Diego comic convention packaging, the new huge Superman / Ali hardcover by Neal Adams, gift certificates, graded CGC variant comics, statues, Scott Pilgrim DVDs, assorted hardcover graphic novels, and yes, there will be more (click on photo here to better see some of the items)! There'll also be free food and a HUGE sale, so I hope to see a lot of my Alternate Reality Comics friends this Saturday. And I hope everyone brings nonperishable food items for the Three Square Food Bank benefit, because that way everyone wins!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking for a gift for me!?

I don't usually ask for gifts or even really like getting gifts as I have so much in my life already and at this point in my life love and friendship trump anyone getting me material gifts, but...

..the original art to the first page of Watchmen #1 is going up for auction soon and if Alan Moore or Dave Gibbons isn't going to own it, I can't think of a better person then myself to give it a home (grin)! So if any of my beloved Ich Liebe Comics! readers has a spare $15,000.00 or upwards under their mattress, well maybe you could turn that fire hazard into a piece of original art! Seriously though, how important is this page on an historical level (in addition to some incredible Alan Moore prose)!? I'm thinking it's going to go for at least $15,000.00, what do you think it'll go for?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Party & 3 Square Food Bank benefit, Saturday, November 13th!

To celebrate Alternate Reality Comics new location and to thank returning customers and welcome new customers, we're having a grand opening (new location) party, Saturday, November 13th, from 11am-9pm! In addition, we'd like to ask those attending to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the 3 Square Food Bank to help those in need in our community as we head into the holiday season.

For the party, we'll have free food, hourly raffles (some of the prizes are: hardcover graphic novels, gift certificates, original art, and Scott Pilgrim DVDs!), art guests Jae Lee (Dark Tower, Inhumans) from 12pm-1pm and Scott Clark & David Beaty (DC's Brightest Day) from 12pm-3pm), and a huge sale!

Anyone bringing in nonperishable food items for the 3 Square Food Bank Drive benefit tomorrow through Saturday at Alternate Reality Comics will receive an additional raffle ticket for Saturday's hourly raffles. Bring your friends and neighbors for what's sure to be a FUN time and the more people that bring nonperishable food items to benefit the 3 Square Food Bank, means that everyone wins.

If blog readers of Ich Liebe Comics! (thank you) are part of the facebook community and haven't already joined my store facebook page, I hope you consider doing so (it doesn't cost anything - grin!) and I created an event page on facebook for this party / benefit as well to hopefully really get the word out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vegas Valley Comicfest tomorrow (Saturday)!!

Where is the fun going to be this weekend in Vegas? Well tomorrow, Saturday, November 6th, from 11am-4pm, the Clark County Library (on Flamingo, just behind my new store location at Maryland & Flamingo) is hosting their annual comic book festival, so if that doesn't spell fun, I don't know what does! I'll have a booth so I hope to see everyone there. For more info check out this link:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Acme Novelty Library - Lint

Today, via Fed Ex, I received my Alternate Reality Comics copies of Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library v. 20 that I ordered directly from Drawn & Quarterly (and it is available for sale now, well during the hours I'm open!). Chris Ware has been creating, writing, and drawing these wonderfully depressing graphic novels for years and he hasn't run out of steam yet (Praise Promethea!).

Acme Novelty Library is the blanket title for Chris Ware's graphic novel and he rarely even titles the individual volumes, but this newest one is titled Lint, which is the last name of the central character, of which this volume is a chronicle of his life. All of Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Libraries are separate stories that don't require one to have read previous volumes.

Ware is the master of the depressing narrative graphic novel and he does this with minute detail in his character's lives. Someone who hasn't read a Chris Ware graphic novel may ask why would they want to read a depressing book? I'd answer that when a cartoonist mines depression to such an expert pedigree as Chris Ware, that the reader will go away from reading one of his works with a greater understanding of the human condition and maybe get some insights into themselves or people they know.

Even though I hope to read many more Acme Novelty Libraries in the future, I hope that doing these graphic novels is a kind of catharsis for Chris Ware because I fear that he is too self aware or aware of the darkness within humankind and we all know what Fredrich Nietzsche said about staring into the abyss...

Acme Novelty Library - Lint, is highly recommended, like all of Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Libraries, many of which are sadly, oddly, not in print. Remember to have one of those full page magnifying glasses on hand when reading Chris Ware's graphic novels though, because even with reading glasses, I was straining to read some of the pages.

Great last couple of weeks of comics!

These past two weeks have seen quite the plethora of great new comics. I'm not going to give a shout out to all of them because there's not enough room here on my blog (grin) and I do have other behind the scenes type things to do here at Alternate Reality Comics! With this display here, you'd think that I'm getting a payoff from DC!

Two books I want to mention here from this display are the Superman Earth One original graphic novel by JMS and Shane Davis and the new hardcover version of Luthor by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. Superman Earth One is a great new version of the Superman mythos and besides the stellar creative team of JMS and Shane davis, the inking by Sandra Hope and coloring by newcomer (at least I think she's a newcomer) Barbara Clardo make this an incredibly nice production all around. This will make a nice gift for yourself or to turn someone else on to the wonderment of comics once DC gets more of these in the pipeline as it is selling really well (I still have a couple of copies, but I expect those to be gone today). Luthor is exactly what it sounds like, a Lex Luthor centric graphic novel by the creative team of Azzarello and Bermejo, which serves as a great companion book to their Joker graphic novel from a couple of years ago (they did Luthor first though).

Speaking of Lex Luthor, Paul Cornell has been writing Action Comics for the past few months and although my first thought upon hearing this was "oh great, more Lex Luthor" thinking he's been over-used, Paul Cornell's smart writing as made his Lex Luthor Action Comics one of the super hero comics I most look forward to each month. This past week's issue has Death stopping by and if you aren't already reading this, well this is one of those out of the ballpark comics! And the art by Pete Woods is top notch also!
Fantastic Four hasn't been as good as it's been these past few months since Jonathan Hickman stepped in as writer. Hickman, who also writes Shield and Secret Warriors for Marvel is turning out to be a great thinking outside of the box writers and his newest FF story, Three, in which one of the members is supposed to be taking the dirt nap for a while, is surely going to be a seminal Fantastic Four story that people will fondly remember for years.

Incognito Bad Influences is another mini series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips of their creator owned super-villain companion to their hard boiled Criminal creator owned series. Basically Inconito is just like Criminal, except the central characters in Incognito have super powers, but it has the same great crime fiction / noir tone. This first issue is off to a very strong start.
Abattoir is another great horror surprise from Radical Comics. Written by Michael Peterson, Rob Levin, and Troy Petri and drawn by Bing Cansino, this like Radical Comics' Driver For The Dead, has a fairly fresh premise. Abattoir means slaughterhouse and that's what happens here - a seemingly normal family man slices and dices his family and friends at his house party! One of the central characters of Abattoir is a real estate agent and one of the property he has to sell is the house where this horror happened. Along comes Jebediah, who wants to buy this house. Why? Well I'm going to hope we'll find out in the next five issues and I'm going to hope that I'm able to get more copies of the first issue of Abattoir next week here at the shop!

Fables is a comic / graphic novel that I hardly spend that much time talking about even though I really like this comic. I think part of this is due to the fact that Fables doesn't need real shout outs from me as a lot of people are already enjoying this book. But the newest Fables #99 is a great jumping on point if you don't want to wait for the trade collections or if you want to see what all of the fuss is about. The premise of Fables is that all of the fairy tale characters such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty actually live amongst us. With Fables #99, writer / creator Bill Willingham sets up the next big story arc with a spotlight issue on uber villain Mister Dark and I dare anyone to look at guest artist Inaki Miranda's work here and not want to take this home and stare at each panel. Regular Fables artist Mark Buckingham is, of course, great, but I definitely want to see more Miranda!

Madame Xanadu has been another great Vertigo series, which sadly is coming to a close next issue. But two weeks ago we got another great self contained issue of the Extra-Sensory story arc called A Taste Of Things To Come, in which the central character, Carly, develops a super taste ability that causes her to experience where what she's eating came from. Yes, this is kind of like the premise of Chew, but as I've said before, how much of anything is truly original and it's what you d with that concept that will set it apart. Writer, Matt Wagner certainly does this here and another new great artist, Marian Churchland, will definitely be an artist to look out for.

I want to give another shout out to two comics that have a very small audience, The Weird World of Jack Staff by Paul Grist and The Bulletproof Coffin by David Hine. These two comics take superhero comics' conventions and turn them inside out. I think the creators of these comics know these books are going to play to a very small audience, but I don't think they care, rather they just seem compelled to play in their weirdverses and damn the torpedoes! Jack Staff and Bulletproof Coffin really aren't just weird for weird's sake and they aren't as inaccessible as you may think if you haven't given them a shot already.

Another comic / graphic novel, The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, like Fables, certainly doesn't need my little Ich Liebe Comics! blog to find readers, but I want to say that for the two or three of you out there who haven't checked out The Walking Dead, it's not "just" a zombie comic, it's a book with strong characters who happen to live in a world largely populated by zombies. The Walking Dead is never predictable and it's one of those comics that will make you want the next issue right away after reading the last page of every issue. The Walking Dead television show which just started on AMC last night is getting incredible reviews and the early response seems to be overwhelmingly favorable, so hopefully it does well enough that we will get a Sopranos length television series out of it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mother Box gets new tattoos!

For those of you new to Ich Liebe Comics! that don't already know, my car's name is Mother Box (after a Jack Kirby New Gods Fourth World device and because, well look at the shape of my car!). Today she got some new tattoos courtesy of my friend, Evan, from art drawn by another friend, Ron Horsley.
Now I officially have the coolest Scion xb in town (well actually I wish the color of my car was bright yellow or neon green, but those colors weren't available when I bought Mother Box back in November of 2005 - just realized that she's five years old!)!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Adventures of Unemployed Man

A couple of weeks ago, The Adventures of Unemployed Man, a new satirical graphic novel that is great, but I hope it becomes dated in short order. The Adventures of Unemployed Man is written and created by Erich Origen and Gan Golan (they wrote the New York Times bestseller Goodnight Bush) and is drawn by comic giants such as Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch, Michael Netzer, Terry Beatty, Joseph Rubenstein, and Tom Orzechowski, in full color for only $14.99.

The Adventures of Unemployed Man is great for people who have just dabbled in reading comics, but it plays especially well with anyone who has read a lot of superhero comics, with characters such as: Unemployed Man's sidekick, Plan B, Supercharge, Cobra (that health care operation), Plaztik, Kollectus, Free Marketeers, Wonder Mother, and Master of Degrees. Unemployed Man used to be The Ultimatum, but that was before the Firing Squad got to him. The Adventures of Unemployed Man isn't just a collection of cute names, it is a biting satire of the current economic situation and how things have gotten to where they are and even though the subject matter is depressing (especially if you are unemployed or feeling the effects of this bad economy), but it still manages to be entertaining and informative.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture This; Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry is one of my very favorite cartoonists and her 2008 graphic novel, What It Is, was my favorite book of that year. So when I saw that her follow up book, Picture This The Near-Sighted Monkey Book, was coming out this week, to say that I was excited would have been an understatement. Well upon starting to read Picture This last night I was shocked that I didn't immediately love it. I didn't think this was due to my not being in the mood for what Lynda Barry is doing with Picture This, rather part of my initial diminished enjoyment was due to overly inflated expectations of what the follow up to What It Is was going to be and the other part is that Picture This doesn't really have a narrative.

Fortunately I picked up Picture This again this morning and gave it another chance to woo me. Even though I had (and still do to a lesser degree than last night) reservations about Picture This in terms of "story", Lynda Barry's art is as wonderful as it's ever been, especially in glorious color as it is here and in What It Is. Basically Picture This is a sequel / extension of What It Is. What It Is and Picture This can be looked at as being motivational graphic novels for artists and the lapsed artist in all of us.
Picture This is subtitled The Near-Sighted Monkey Book because Picture This features this character, the Near-Sighted Monkey, who is Lynda Barry's new cartoon representation of herself. And even though I wasn't "wowed" by Picture This as I was by What It Is, Picture This is worth the price just for Lynda Barry's charming, kid-like (I say this in a positive way) art, because just to look upon her art can't help but bring a person to a happy place.

Lynda Barry's premise in Picture This (like that of What It Is) is that everyone has an inner artist that wants to be put upon paper, but for most of us, we've abandoned this artistic voice after childhood. Barry postulates that people over think things when approaching a blank piece of paper or canvas, so she suggests just putting pencil (or whichever artist tool you're using) to paper and do some simple stream of consciousness things like drawing circles or making lots of dots. So while Picture This will speak more to people who are looking to re-awaken their artistic self, it's also a great graphic novel that will make you fondly remember artistic things (even "simple" things like coloring or tracing an image) you did as a child that took you to a magical place.