- Posted by Johanna on March 6, 2006 at 5:19 pm
- Category: Shopping Guide
I should skip straight past the exclusives. With the exception of a couple of Marvel titles (X-Factor and Nextwave), there’s nothing here I’m interested in. And the penalty this month for not skipping was having to see the Pittsburgh Comicon ad just before the Wizard solicitation. It features two comic characters, the busty Spider-Woman and Tarot, with a burst reading “Big Things Happen at the Pittsburgh Comicon”. You don’t say. (Apparently, the boobs on Spider-Woman are to promote the appearance of Brian Bendis. Write your own joke.)
If you can only order one book this month, it needs to be Mom’s Cancer (Abrams, $12.95, MAR06 2860).
Linda Medley’s amazing Castle Waiting is coming out in one big hardcover from Fantagraphics ($29.95, MAR06 3205) with a brand-new concluding chapter. It’s almost 500 pages, and it will be so good to get the whole thing in one place. It’s such a fantastic read, and one of the most frustrating things about its history has been how hard it is to recommend to people because its publication record has been spotty. Almost anyone can find something to love about the story, whether adult, child, female, male, fantasy reader, or slice-of-life comic lover. (The big collection is planned to lead into a new ongoing, which is even better news, but I’ll talk more about that when the new issues are offered.)
I picked up True Loves (New Reliable, $12.99, MAR06 3337), by Jason Turner and Manien Bothma, as a set of minicomics at SPX last year. It’s the story of a twentysomething woman who’s enjoying her urban life in Vancouver, where she owns a used clothing store and she’s dating a guy that she has little in common with. When an interesting customer comes in, she starts wondering if she’s with the right guy.
This city-focused romance was originally published as a webcomic strip. The simple art style would work well in that format, but it also works well here, very readable with a good use of blacks to anchor the page. It’s talkative, and the dialogue establishes character well, sounding realistic and not artificial. (The lettering is good, too, legible and unique, which helps with all the text.) I like the technique of showing thought balloons that contrast with word balloons to establish that characters aren’t always thinking the same things they’re saying. I also like that the leads spend as much or more time with their friends as they do their love interests. There’s a preview available at the book link above.
Out from Tokyopop is the first book of Mail Order Ninja ($5.99, MAR06 3398) by Joshua Elder and Erich Owen. It’s an all-ages adventure that previously was the Grand Prize Winner in the fifth Rising Stars of Manga contest. Based on that segment, it’s a charming boy-and-his-ninja story. Imagine Lassie, only with a mysterious swordsman instead of a dog, and you’re not far off — having a ninja makes the little boy cool and solves interpersonal school problems for him. There’s also a slight flavor (unintentional, I’m sure) of Spy vs. Spy, with black-clad against white-clad clans.
The Rising Stars intro mentions that the only thing that caused editor consternation about the piece was the question of “is it manga?” The selection committee appears to have taken the approach “who cares? it’s good comics” which I heartily agree with.
Some great reads are also reoffered this month. The following are definitely Comics Worth Reading. (The links go to my reviews.)
- Salamander Dream (AdHouse Books, $15, MAR06 2874)
- True Story Swear to God: Chances Are (AIT/Planet Lar, $14.95, MAR06 2880)
- True Story Swear to God: This One Goes to 11 (AIT/Planet Lar, $12.95, MAR06 2881)
- Tales of Supernatural Law (Exhibit A Press, $16.95, MAR06 3200)
- Owly (Top Shelf, $10, MAR06 3450-3452)
And there are new volumes of some of my favorite manga series: