Saturday, August 28, 2010

Read Comics In Public Day and and!

Huge, huge day today at ye olde location of Alternate Reality Comics! Today is International Read Comics In Public Day, a promotional push that was started to increase the awareness of how cool and great comics are. I already know that Ich Liebe Comics! readers and the lovely patrons of Alternate Reality Comics read comics in public regularly, but I'd like to issue an official challenge for you to do this today and have a friend and or loved one take a photo of you doing so (and then you can swap comics with that photographer and snap a pic of them as well). Today is Jack King Kirby's birthday and he would be really sad if you didn't do this. Email me your photos at: as I'd like to assemble them and doing something cool with them!

Today is also the LAST day of Alternate Reality Comics at its present location of 4800 S. Maryland Pkwy. #D, Las Vegas, Nevada after what has been a glorious 16 (!!) years finding great homes for great comics and graphic novels. I knew that I had won the lottery when I became the owner of Alternate Reality Comics in 1995 (which from 1987-1994 previously was called Dungeon Comics and was owned by Steve and then Blake and managed by my friend PJ that entire period) and I've LOVED every day of these past sixteen years interacting with people who love this wonderful medium. I look forward to the next sixteen years of Alternate Reality Comics new location starting Wednesday, September 1st, at 4110 S. Maryland Pkwy. #8 (Maryland & Flamingo intersection next to Buffalo Exchange, behind Long John Silvers) and I can't wait until everyone sees the new space!

I'd like to again thank everyone who has ever shopped at Alternate Reality Comics, everyone who includes comics and graphic novels as an entertainment choice, and for those of you that read Ich Liebe Comics!

Ich Liebe Comics and Ich Liebe All Of The Wonderful People I've Met Through Alternate Reality Comics!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How cool is this!?

Driving to Alternate Reality Comics new store space this afternoon to do some more set up type stuff before the BIG move this Sunday and Monday and this vehicle was in front of me (click on photo to enlarge) - it has to be a sign, right!? Notice the license plate and the gangsta bike with the gun on the frame - that's got WIN written all over it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A swan song toast to Alternate Reality Comics last four days at the 4800 location!

I hope everyone can make it by for what will in four days be the old location of Alternate Reality Comics (4800 S. Maryland Pkwy. #D, for the past 16 years!) as I'll have free sodas, tree top juice, and water to drink a goodbye toast with! Thanks to everyone who has ever been to my store at 4800 S. Maryland Parkway these past sixteen years - I hope to see you all next Wednesday, Sept. 1st, for the exciting, bigger new location of Alternate Reality Comics at 4110 S. Maryland Pkwy. #8 at Maryland / Flamingo, right by Buffalo Exchange, behind the Long John Silvers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Top Cow; Artifacts, Magdalena, & Velocity, and...

Top Cow is an imprint of Image Comics that was started by Marc Silverstri (Cyberforce) and their titles featured many fan favorite artists such as Michael Turner, Brandon Peterson, David Finch, and Joe Benitez. Top Cow comic titles were known for the longest time as being THE place for fans of hyper stylized art, with the characters all looking like super models. But for the last three or so years, Top Cow, in addition to still having a very stylized art style in their books, they now have writers on their titles, such as Phil Hester, David Hine, and Ron Marz, who are bringing more substance and richer characterizations to the Top Cow universe.

Consider one of their newest titles, Artifacts, which will be a thirteen issue series uniting a lot of their characters and titles. Artifacts is written by Ron Marz and drawn by Michael Broussard, with inks by Rick Basaldua and Sal Regla. Witchblade's daughter, Hope, gets kidnapped, and this coupled with a villainous quest to unite the thirteen artifacts of power from different characters within the Top Cow universe, serves as a great introduction of what the Top Cow universe is about. A person could read the first issue of Artifacts, without having ever read a Top Cow title previously and in addition to giving a new reader everything they need to know, also packs a lot of story and intrigue in its twenty-eight pages.
Another Top Cow character, Magdalena, also recently was relaunched as an on-going title, and like Artifacts, a person doesn't have to know anything about Magdalena before reading the first issue, because writer, Ron Marz, brings the reader up to speed and by the last page you'll know if Magdalena is going to be the kind of book you'll want to read regularly. Magdalena is a protector and warrior for the Catholic Church, but one doesn't have to have a religious background to enjoy this series, and like Witchblade, Magdalena is a legacy character, meaning there have been previous women that were their time period's Magdalena. The art by Nelson Blake II and Sal Regla has a stylized quality to it, but it doesn't have the house style that one usually thinks represents a Top Cow book (not that that's a bad thing).
Velocity is a speedster character (think of a female version of The Flash), and is also written by Ron Marz. The first issue of this new Velocity series was a lot of fun (I can't decide if I like Velocity or Magdalena more) and Ron Marz is really good at thinking outside of the box in regards to what it would be like to have speed powers.

I also read a recent issue of Witchblade (issue #131) and Angelus #1, both also written by Ron Marz (what does he think Top Cow is - CrossGen!? - grin) and while they weren't really my speed, I thought they had great art by Stjepan Sejic and I think that people who liked the fantasy comics Crossgen did, would like these titles. I highly recommend people take another look at Top Cow comics, especially if you haven't picked up one in a while (or ever), I think you'll be surprised at what you see and read (I was, pleasantly!).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim movie is all that and more!!

A friend was asking me on facebook last night what I thought of the Scott Pilgrim movie and although I commented on my store facebook page after seeing it midnight Thursday night that I LOVED EVERYTHING about the movie, I'd forgotten that I hadn't blogged about it (for my loyal Ich Liebe Comics! readers that don't facebook).

No spoilers following:

As I mentioned above, I loved the Scott Pilgrim movie, it has it all; a great cast, is funny, has a lot of heart, great music, and compresses the six Scott Pilgrim graphic novels in a way that isn't hurried and doesn't lose the charm and kinetic energy of the comic (my favorite character is Todd the Vegan, of course!). Like the Kick Ass movie, the Scott Pilgrim movie has some differences from the graphic novel, but that just makes both experiences fun unto themselves. Seriously, go see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World because you may have heard it didn't "perform" that well at the box office this past weekend and if people don't support movies like this that aren't just cut out of the same mold as most Hollywood movies, well then we'll just get more generic movies. I definitely will be seeing this again in the theaters!

And as a reminder for those of you who haven't seen my earlier entry a few weeks ago about the Alternate Reality Comics facebook page, it doesn't cost anything (grin), so just go do a search for Alternate Reality Comics, Las Vegas in the facebook search field and you'll be directed to said page!

Red Moon - a fantastic new indy graphic novel!

Red Moon is a 200 page graphic novel written and drawn (and self published) by David McAdoo, about Mox, a schnauzer and Daeden, a stray blue heeler and the adventure they have trying to unravel visions Mox has and what they mean for the fate of the world. Just about all the characters in Red Moon are animals, who communicate through a kind of animal telepathy. This is a great adventure story, with a lot of suspense, and great characters with a lot of heart.

As anyone reading this Ich Liebe Comics! entry can see, Red Moon also has great art (black and white, with the color red used sparingly to great effect throughout).

I don't think that Diamond Comics Distributors carries Red Moon yet, so you may have to search for it or order it directly from David McAdoo, the cartoonist (if you don't live near Alternate Reality Comics here in Las Vegas). David McAdoo stopped in my store right before the San Diego convention and sold me some copies of Red Moon (which I was sold on just flipping through this graphic novel). Go to for a lot of great photos of David McAdoo with Red Moon at the San Diego convention last month (also has lots of photos of people cosplaying).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Past Lies

A couple of weeks ago, Oni released a great neew mystery / suspense / crime fiction hardcover graphic novel called Past Lies, written by the Christina Weir and Nunzio Defilippis and drawn by Christopher Mitten. Weir and Defilippis also wrote the excellent graphic novels Skinwalker and Three Strikes, for Oni, so I was pretty sure that Past Lies would deliver.

The central character of Past Lies is Amy Devlin, an aspiring unlicensed private eye, who is very good at unearthing aspects of a crime that others have overlooked. Past Lies has a lot of mystery and suspense, takes the reader through some great twists, with great dialogue and pacing and has great characters that aren't unbelievable as some main characters can be in a lot of works of crime fiction. The art by Christopher Mitten, who also draws Wasteland, isn't anything real stylized like Darwyn Cooke or as atmospheric as Sean Phillips, but it perfectly moves Past Lies along and is pleasant to the eyes.

If you were thinking of picking up the first graphic novel by New York Times best-selling author Janet Evanovich, called Troublemaker, published by Dark Horse about a month or so ago, don't - that was one of the lamest graphic novels I've read in some time. It certainly didn't seem in the crime fiction genre that it was purported to be in, the characters were so undefined and not interesting that I was only glad that it didn't take me very long to read Troublemaker (and with that in mind, Troublemaker also is not a good return for its harcover price). I've enjoyed Troublemaker artist Joelle Jones previously (You Have Killed Me and Spell Checkers), but her art here just looks annoyingly cute (I guess it mirrors the vapidness of the story though).

Anyway, I just went a long way to say a lot of negative things about Troublemaker, when basically I should have just said avoid the over-hyped Troublemaker and pick up Past Lies (which should have gotten the attention that Troublemaker got before its release - and I've never read any of Evanovich's best-selling novels so this just might be a foul ball on her part, because it's true that you're not going to hit it out of the park every time at bat).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cuba My Revolution & Dark Rain

Cuba My Revolution and Dark Rain are two upcoming Vertigo graphic novels that I read a few weeks ago (preview copies) and am just now getting around to writing about. Dark Rain comes out later this month and Cuba My Revolution arrives in September. Following is my spoiler free impressions of these books:

Cuba My Revolution is written by Inverna Lockpez and illustrated by Dean Haspiel (who illustrated Harvey Pekar's The Quitter and The Alcoholic, written by Jonathan Ames). Cuba My Revolution is set in the late 1950's when Fidel Castro began his rule / reign of Cuba. Essentially, Cuba My Revolution is a thinly veiled semi-autobiography of the writer, Inverna Lockpez, who grew up in Cuba and left in the late 1960's. The characters in Cuba My Revolution have a great intensity that matches the intensity of the political climate of that country and in addition to being a gripping story, is a great primer for what people who lived there during that period had to endure.
Dark Rain A New Orleans Story, written by Mat Johnson and drawn by Simon Gane, is a crime fiction story about a bank heist that takes place amidst Hurricane Katrina. While Dark Rain is a work of fiction, the characters and most of the scenarios seem to capture what I've read and heard about the desperation of New Orleans and the people that lived (and died) during Hurricane Katrina.

Both Cuba My Revolution and Dark Rain are great graphic novel examples of the different kinds of stories that this medium can tell and although the environments these stories take place in are volatile and desperate and maybe not for people that look for their comic book entertainment as escapes from the world's realities, they are also examples of what people are capable of when they are confronted with dire circumstances.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man & some other comics from last week...

I haven't really been reading The Amazing Spider-Man since Peter Parker and Mary Jane's marriage was removed from continuity. I thought it was especially annoying that their marriage was written out in such a way that they have no recollection that they were ever married. Well finally, after a few years of Peter and MJ not being married and not remembering that they even were, Marvel (Joe Quesada specifically), is addressing this whole affair with a new story called One Moment In Time. The first part of this storyline didn't do anything for me a couple of weeks ago, but the second chapter that came out this week, while not perfect and I'm sure isn't going to end in a way that puts Peter and MJ back together, does cover some good ground on the whole "we can't be married because my enemies will go after my loved ones" territory and the art by Paolo Rivera is really good (I've liked Quesada's art before, but his art segments in this story arc do nothing for me - fortunately he only does a few pages). I'd put Paolo Rivera up there with Marcus Martin and Javier Pulido as the best of the Amazing Spider-Man artists from the past few years.

The newest issue of Brightest Day #4, "The Secret of Life" is the issue that really amps up where this comic is going, further spotlighting Boston Brand (Deadman) as a big part of everything that's to come in regards to the White Lantern. While Brightest Night isn't as all out charged as Blackest Night was, it's still very entertaining and has mostly great superhero art.
This past week's i,Zombie #4, "The Magical Memory Tour", is also a big chapter in this new Vertigo series about a young woman who will become a full fledged zombie if she doesn't eat brains once a month. I've enjoyed i,Zombie up through this issue, but agreed with some people that it needed to kind of get in gear, so I'm here to say that if you're on the fence with this book, with this newest issue that lays out some of the bigger picture of this series, you should be able to determine whether this book is going to do it for you for the long haul or not.

Other entertaining comics from this week:

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton is an Elseworlds (meaning it isn't in "regular" Superman / DC continuity) written by 1970's Superman veteran writer, Cary Bates and drawn by Renato Arlem. I thought this would just be a good solid Superman story, but about six pages into the story I got the sense that Cary Bates was doing some thinking outside of the box writing, with a story about Krypton still exploding, but this time Kal-El's parents join him to live on Earth. Jonah Hex #58, which is almost always solid, had an above average story this month, titled "Every Bullet Tells A Story", that kind of was a story from the perspective from a bullet. Gail Simone clocks out a good western story with her trademark odd humor, featuring Deadshot, in the newest Secret Six #24, and Paul Hogan and Chris Sprouse's Tom Strong And The Robots of Doom, at the halfway point of this mini-series, is still shaping up to be counted amongst the best Tom Strong stories. The newest issues of Red Robin and Red Hood The Lost Year are good chapters of those titles (you have to give books / entertainment points for being consistent) and Avengers Prime #2, while not as solid as the first issue, does feature some of Alan Davis' best art in years (and even his okay art is better than almost any ten other superhero artists). Irredeemable, a story about a superhero who has become a supervillain, is on issue sixteen and I'm happy to say this is still a comic book title that will surprise people who only think of writer Mark Waid as someone who just writes adventure comics with a silver age tone. The second issue of Neal Adams' Batman Odyssey arrived this week and although I thought with the first issue that this was a Year One (or Year Two) type of Batman story, I'm a little less clear with this issue, but I was still entertained and think that more people would be as well if they just looked at Batman Odyssey as a good story unto itself and not worry about where it fits into continuity (I realize that Batman is a character in a shared universe, but really, someone of Neal Adams' caliber should just be allowed to tell whatever kind of story he wants to tell).

The above is a small example of why I'm moving Alternate Reality Comics to a bigger space - there's just too many good comics and graphic novels coming out!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Alternate Reality Comics is MOVING!!

Patrons / visitors who have come into my shop, Alternate Reality Comics, in the past two weeks already have heard that I've had my eye on a new location for the store. Well yesterday afternoon, I did the deed and signed my new lease, so starting Wednesday, September 1st 2010, Alternate Reality Comics' new location will be at 4110 S. Maryland Pkwy. #8, right next to Buffalo Exchange (they don't exchange buffaloes, it's just a great busy clothing store!), behind Long John Silver's at the Maryland and Flamingo intersection just about one half mile away from where my store is now, so it's still just a stone's throw from UNLV.

The top photo is an interior shot from old school Alternate Reality Comics and the second photo is an almost empty shot (obviously) of the interior of my new space. Through Tuesday, they're finishing up cleaning the place, but having just gone over there this morning, it's looking pretty spanky! This interior shot doesn't really give those who haven't seen the space in person much of a sense of how much bigger it is than my present location (for just 25 more days!!), but I wanted to put up an early photo of where Alternate Reality Comics is going to be.

Why move? There is a saying that "if it's not broke, don't fix it", well there wasn't anything really broke with where my store is now, but I have been at the same location since 1995 and I really feel that now is a great time to do some different things with the store. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" is another saying / adage and the increase in space that Alternate Reality Comics will have (double!) will allow me to do more things with where I want to take the store and reach out to more people who don't already know how wonderful comics and graphic novels are.

Thanks to everyone who's ever shopped at Alternate Reality Comics at location 1.0 these past sixteen years and I hope to see you all (and hopefully Ich Liebe Comics! readers who haven't yet visited the store) September 1st, 2010 and into the future at location 2.0! I have some ideas about what the added space for Alternate Reality Comics will mean, but I welcome any feedback for what patrons of Alternate Reality Comics and or Ich Liebe Comics! readers would like the new location to encompass.

Monday, August 2, 2010

some great alternative comics...

The Utopian is a great self published comic by Las Vegan cartoonist, Pj Perez, about a young man who takes it upon himself to fight injustices around his neighborhood. He doesn't have any super powers and one doesn't have to suspend much in the way of disbelief while reading The Utopian, like with Mark Millar's Kick Ass (not that there's anything wrong with the way Mark Millar handled this same premise, nor is The Utopian any less exciting because it isn't "flashy" like Kick Ass). The third print issue of The Utopian just came out, but you can also read The Utopian weekly at:

Pj Perez, through his Pop Goes The Icon self publishing company, produces Omega Comics Presents, an anthology comic with different short comics by different creators, of which Pj writes and draws the lead story, Omega, about a terrorist situation that takes place at Hoover Dam. Good suspenseful comic storytelling, that has great drama that isn't over the top, but rather really well thought out.
From the other side of the world, Australian writer Jason Franks and artist J. Marc Schmidt bring us The Sixsmiths from SLG Publishing. The Sixsmiths will be released as a graphic novel later this year, but Jason & J. Marc brought some copies of a $1.00 sample issue of The Sixsmiths that has me eagerly awaiting more! The Sixsmiths follows a group of seven characters in one page vignettes that have a dark humor about them that will appeal to anyone who likes to chuckle.

Artist J. Marc Schmidt, who illustrates The Sixsmiths that I talk about above, also illustrates (in color) and adapts Pete Townshend's (yes, the guy from The Who) Psychoderelict, an often very funny story about a character, Ray High, who tries to overcome his hippy background and get his musical act back together. While I was being highly entertained by Psychoderelict (and The Sixsmiths?, I was wondering where I had seen this art style before, and it wasn't until I got to the bio page at the end of this mini graphic novella, that I was reminded that J. Marc Schmidt also did the very funny graphic novels Eating Steve and Egg Story (funny, funny, stuff!) also from SLG Publishing.