Showing posts from October, 2011

The Book of Human Insects

The Book of Human Insects is the newest hardcover graphic novel manga thriller by Osama Tezuka, recently released by Vertical. This was originally serialized in Japan in 1970 / 1971, but like Tezuka's MW, and Apollo's Song, The Book of Human Insects is in not dated in any respect, instead it is one of the many graphic novels that Tezuka has done that shows why he's so highly regarded both in Japan and here in the U.S.

The central character of The Book of Human Insects is Toshiko Tomura, and this graphic novel traces her journey as she wrecks the lives of the rich and famous through her conniving, grifting persona that is horrific and exciting to watch unravel. The Book of Human Insects is a very rich graphic novel in terms of length (364 pages) and being ahead of its time and I rank it amongst the very best of Tezuka's large body of work.

FreakAngels V.6 & Neonomicon!

A couple of weeks ago, Avatar released two great graphic novels, FreakAngels and Neonomicon, of which I'd like to write a few words upon. No Spoilers following!

FreakAngels Volume 6 is the concluding volume of Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield's online comic they started back in February, 2008. For those of you who haven't read the previous volumes, FreakAngels takes place in England, where twelve young people (the FreakAngels), who were born at exactly the same time 23 years ago, are the frontline defense for their country. Yes, these twelve FreakAngels have powers, but they don't don costumes and they don't all have the best interests of the survival of their country in mind. The final volume of FreakAngels, like the previous volumes, is excellent, and greatly brings the various plot lines together into a totally gratifying conclusion. And anyone who has seen Paul Duffield's amazing artwork, already knows what a visual delight his art is and it'll be exciting…

Seth's new graphic novel...

Seth (cartoonist of the excellent graphic novels, It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken and George Sprott), just released a new graphic novel through Drawn and Quarterly, titled The G.N.B. Double C The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, which actually makes for a fine companion piece to his Wimbledon Green graphic novel. Like Wimbledom Green, The G.N.B. Double C is not one of Seth's more formal narratives, rather it's a cartooning work he took on to give himself a break between finishing Clyde Fans (which still seems as if it will be a long time before we see a new chapter), and it's in the same small hardcover format with a nine panel grid per page.

Even though this isn't one of Seth's weighter comic book narratives, even a "lesser" work by Seth is still a happy day for those who appreciate something different in their sequential art entertainments. The G.N.B. Double C is narrated by one of the members of this Canadian cartoonist e…

Batman Year One animated, GREAT!

Last night I watched the recently released Batman Year One animated DVD feature and it was every bit as good as I'd hoped it would be! This is as good as adapted comics to film / animation get, with a great story, animation, and great voice work and this Batman Year One animated feature ranks at the very top of the many excellent animated features DC animation has done (especially New Frontier and Batman Under the Red Hood). This is a straight / faithful adaptation, so it is a great way to revisit this seminal story and share it with others.

Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli wrote and drew Batman Year One right after Frank Miller's Batman The Dark Knight Returns (Batman Year One being, of course, about when Baman first came onto the scene and Batman Dark Knight Returns taking place when Batman comes out of retirement) back in the mid 1980's, but it is still one of the best Batman stories ever. Actually in a lot of ways, Batman Year One (both the comic and the animated fea…

Death-Ray; Daniel Clowes

The newest graphic novelette hardcover, published by Drawn & Quarterly, by Daniel Clowes (most people will know him from his Ghost World graphic novel which was also made into a good movie) is titled Death-Ray and is an over-sized hardcover representation of Eightball #23, published by Fantagraphic Books in 2004.

Death-Ray features more of Clowes' trademark nihilistic world view, this time filtered through wish fulfillment lenses. A quote from Time Magazine on the back of Death-Ray, sums up this graphic novelette better than I can: "Like Holden Caulfield with his phaser set on kill - phonies beware." If you haven't already read this, Death-Ray is a great addition to one's Daniel Clowes library and if you have, it's great to read and see this in this nice over-sized hardcover edition!

Saturday Boys & Girls Club benefit / artist event!

This Saturday, October, 15th from 11am - 5pm, Alternate Reality Comics will be hosting an artist / cosplay event benefiting The Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas! Visiting artists from Arizona include Andy Bohn (creator, writer, artist of The Elvatron Chronicles) and Michael Stewart (who has penciled Magdalena for Top Cow), who will be joining local artist, Brice Gielgens, in sketching as well as having exclusive prints for sale! For eye candy in fabulous copsplay costumes, local favorite and Zenescope Girl of the Year, Brieanna Brock, will be joined by Agelica Virgie and Anna Von Winter!

There'll be a raffle for original art and other fabulous prizes (including gift certificates) and a HUGE .25 back issue sale, with the money raised from the raffle (raffle tickets only $1.00 each) and the back issue sale being donated to The Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas to raise money for their art program.

We'll also be providing free snacks and beverages, so we hope to see a lot of our f…

Stargazing Dog; Takashi Murakami

Looking for a good sad story? Well you need look no further than a new graphic novel release from NBM, called Stargazing Dog, written and drawn by Takashi Murakami.
Stargazing Dog is a guy and his dog story and what happens to them that causes them to embark on a road trip and the extra sadness of the tale in this graphic novel is that it is mostly narrated by Happie, the dog. While Stargazing Dog is sad, it's not overwhelmingly depressing and has many layers of beauty within its tale (no pun intended).

Habibi by Craig Thompson, a masterpiece!

NO Spoilers following:

Habibi is the new graphic novel opus by Craig Thompson and it is very much worth the long wait in every respect! Published by Pantheon, this is one of the most BEAUTIFULLY designed graphic novels I've seen in some time (and there has been quite a few really nice ones the last couple of years) and at 660 pages, its price of $35.00 (hardcover with no annoying dust jacket) is something you won't flinch at when you see its grandeur!

When you see a physical copy of Habibi, I'm pretty sure that like myself, you'll not want to know much about what it's about, rather letting its magic unfold as you read it, but here's my little sound bite for those of you who don't already know that a new graphic novel by Craig Thompson (Blankets, Good-Bye Chunky Rice, Carnet de Voyage) is to be celebrated from rooftops everywhere!:

Habibi is, at its core, a graphic novel about two slaves / orphans, about love and horror, and about Islam. Habibi is one of thos…

Uber artist JH Williams III Batwoman signing FUN, FUN, FUN!

From left to right: Michelle Irish, Alternate Reality Comics' resident artist and great friend, Wendy and JH Williams III, me (Ralph), and Paul, another of my great friends and a big part of what makes Alternate Reality Comics so great (Paul primarily works on Sundays so stop by and say hi to him)! Behind us is of course amazing original art from Promethea and the ENTIRE first issue of Batwoman #1 by JH Williams III! This exhibit will be in our Artist Spotlight section of Alternate Reality Comics through October, so if you didn't make our JH signing / reception this past Saturday, you still have almost a whole month to see this in person (and as fantastic as it looks in color, the black and whites and gray washes HAVE to be seen in all of their large 11x17 and double page spread glory!)! This will be the last chance for anyone to see all of the original art of Batwoman #1 in one place because JH and Wendy will be selling these pages in November (thanks to my friend, Jim McKenz…