Monday, April 30, 2012

Play Ball

Yesterday I read the new graphic novel, Play Ball, written by Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir and illustrated by Jackie Lewis and it is FANTASTIC! Having read other graphic novels written by Defilippis and Weir (Skinwalker and Three Strikes) I knew this was going to be good, but it was even better than I'd hoped and with Jackie Lewis' graphic novel debut on the art side, I think this is the feel good, positive graphic novel of the year! Play Ball is the story (fiction) of Dashiell Brody, who doesn't want to play softball in high school, she wants to play baseball with her school's team, and because they don't have any rules about girls joining, she does. Play Ball is a joy to read and I imagine it will me even more enjoyable if you have kids (especially daughters) and or like baseball!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cleveland; Harvey Pekar & Joseph Remnant

This past week Harvey Pekar's last graphic novel, Cleveland, illustrated by Joseph Remnant, arrived at finer comic stores everywhere. I'd heard Harvey Pekar talk about Cleveland at the Clark County Library here in Las Vegas (just down the street from my store, Alternate Reality Comics, for those of you who are new readers of Ich Liebe Comics!) a couple of years ago a few months before he died, so I thought this wasn't going to see the light of day. Of course I'm happy to have been wrong as this was a book I'd really been looking forward to (which is the case with anything new by Harvey Pekar). Hopefully there's other posthumous works that Harvey Pekar was working on before he died that will be released (such as a print version of his webcomic, The Pekar Project, also illustrated largely by Joseph Remnant), but if Cleveland is truly the last graphic novel we'll see from Harvey Pekar, it is definitely a great swan song. Harvey Pekar and Cleveland are interchangeable as Pekar lived there all of his life and the very essence of Cleveland informs all of Pekar's writing. Harvey Pekar, with his American Splendor (a comic magazine he started in the early 1970s) was amongst the founding fathers of the autobiographical comic / graphic novel. In addition to writing about his daily life and the trials and tribulations of the everyman, Harvey Pekar also wrote many jazz and literary critical pieces for various publications. Cleveland is one third a history of Cleveland the city, and three fourths a condensed history of Pekar's place within that city and along with Joseph Remnant's excellent Robert Crumbesque art, is 100% fantastic! Cleveland is published by Top Shelf and is an 120 page beautiful hardcover presentation (without an annoying dust-jacket) for a mere $21.99.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Courtney Crumin V.1 The Night Things

Courtney Crumin, written and drawn by Ted Naifeh, has its roots as a twelve issue black and white comic that spanned two mini series that were then collected into four black and white trade paperbacks that are out of print. Well fret not, because now the new publisher of Courtney Crumin, Oni Press, is bringing these graphic novels back into print, in color for the first time, as well as launching a new ongoing Courtney Crumin comic!

Here's something that may shock some of you: I've never read Courtney Crumin before! Don't ask me why I haven't because I loved the art and other comics by Ted Naifeh! So when I heard that a good friend and local Vegas artist, Warren Wucinich was going to be coloring both the graphic novels and the ongoing comic, I knew this was my chance to finally read this comic and bring more great art into my life (and store - grin!)!

The colors by Warren Wucinich are simply gorgeous as anyone can see from the cover and interior page seen here (and please stop by Alternate Reality Comics and flip through a copy for yourself if you need further proof)! Courtney Crumin looked perfectly fine in black and white, but Warren's colors really do put this book on a higher platform. Is the story good and what's it about!? The story is great and in a nutshell, Courtney is a schoolgirl whose parents move the whole family to live with their eccentric, rich uncle. Courtney has to go to a different school and she's not the kind of kid who adapts well with other kids. Instead she comes across some magic tomes in her uncle's library, starts reading them, and goes about practicing some of the spells within.

If you'd like an inexpensive introduction to the world of Courtney Crumin, you just need to pick up the first issue of the ongoing series (both this and the first new color graphic novel came out last Wednesday) and you'll get a sense of the tone of this comic book. It does take place after the fourth graphic novel, but you won't be lost not having read those first four graphic novels yet, you'll just get an impression that there's other backstory that has taken place. Courtney Crumin is an all ages title that doesn't speak down to younger readers and will engage older readers as well.

Warren Wucinich, the color artist of Courtney Crumin, is a fine artist in his own right and you can see this for yourself by coming to the 11th Annual Free Comic Book Day at Alternate Reality Comics, Saturday, May 5th, as Warren will be one of the local artists doing sketches (so you can get some FREE comics, a cool sketch, and give Warren some ego strokes about his coloring!) on that day - do not miss this!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Avengers Vs. X-Men Launch Party!

Last Tuesday, April 3rd, from 7-9pm, Alternate Reality Comics was one of the many stores that had launch parties for Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 and the celebration was nothing short of fantastic on all fronts! I'd posted photos over on my store facebook page last Tuesday night, but I wanted to do an Ich Liebe Comics! entry with a few photos for those of you who don't do the facebook thang.

I'd like to give huge thanks to everyone who came out, to my friend, Jim, for his help in getting the specifics lined up and for his stellar job at the front counter making the BIG line move as smoothly as it did, to my wife, Kate, for serving up the Avengers and X-Men cakes (as well as making the Vs. cakes), and to everyone who worked on Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, for making a great first issue that will definitely get everyone who gets the first issue back for the following issues! Big thanks also to Heath Randall who brought out Brieanna Brock Randall, who cosplayed as Phoenix (because Phoenix is a very important part of Avengers Vs. X-Men!) and Pj Perez who ran to the store before the event started to get a letter maker for the Vs. cakes (and he writes a mean V and S!)!

And for those of you who weren't able to stop in last Tuesday night or this past week, Alternate Reality Comics still has first printings of Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 (it is going to second print) and the second issue comes out next Wednesday, April 18th (it's bi-weekly for twelve issues through September)!