Alphabetical Index of IDW / Top Shelf

Jem: The Misfits #2

I’m late talking about this — issue #3 of the Jem: The Misfits is already out — but I keep coming back to this issue and being struck by the honesty of the struggle it portrays. The Misfits, after various schemes and shenanigans, have been dropped by their record label, so the next best option open to them (and it isn’t good) is to film a reality show. The band is staying in Pizzazz’s beach house, surrounded by cameras. The […]

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Jem and the Holograms #23

Jem and the Holograms #23 concludes the “Enter the Stingers” storyline, which began in issue #19. I’m impressed by how well writer Kelly Thompson pulled it all together, because this was the first Jem arc that made me feel left out. I’ve never seen the show; my only exposure to the characters has been this comic series. So the Stingers made me uncomfortable. They’re a new band in town, and the lead singer seems to have a crush on Jem, […]

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Jem and the Holograms: Dark Jem

I haven’t checked in with the Jem and the Holograms comic in a while, although it’s an engaging retake on the rock-and-roll Cinderella story, with plenty of soap opera to keep fans reading the continuing series. The first storyline was collected as Showtime, introducing the characters that make up the Holograms band and their rivals. I love the way that writer Kelly Thompson makes this varied group of young ladies such distinct characters with understandable motivations and deep feelings. That’s […]

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Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines

I’m always leery of comic adaptations of long-gone properties. Some are terrific, faithful and yet newly entertaining, like The Muppet Show or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some, on the other hand, are horrible reads, seeming as though they exist just to make a quick buck off nostalgic fans, who often don’t know enough about the medium to recognize good comic storytelling. Thankfully, the Back to the Future comics put out by IDW fall in the former category, in large part […]

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Junction True

I have just read the creepiest graphic novel I’ve seen in a long time. I normally stay far away from this kind of material, but I couldn’t put Junction True down. Ray Fawkes (Possessions, One Soul) writes and Vince Locke (The Sandman, A History of Violence) illustrates this creepy tale of body modification, relationship dependency, sadism, and revenge. Warren Ellis fans should love it. Parasite implantation is the latest rage, allowing worms into your body to create visual effects under […]

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Our Expanding Universe

The king of sprawling, feels-like-autobiography, multi-cast graphic novel soap operas, Alex Robinson, has returned with Our Expanding Universe. It’s dubbed a “spiritual sequel” to his best-known Box Office Poison, and that’s an accurate comparison. (Other Robinson books include Tricked and the regretful time-travel Too Cool to Be Forgotten.) The characters aren’t the same, but they’re recognizable in the same ways the BOP cast were. The significant difference is that Our Expanding Universe features older adults. Instead of wondering when their […]

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Long Distance #4

Well, that was unexpected. I wasn’t sure how this romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship was going to play out, since I wouldn’t put it past author Thom Zahler to break my heart. Thankfully, we get a satisfactory ending, but one I couldn’t have predicted. A lot is lumped into this issue. After Carter and Lee met and fell in love, they had to figure out how to make their separation work for them — what with Carter co-running an […]

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Long Distance #3

Long Distance #3 continues the comic romance by Thom Zahler in just the right ways. At first, Carter and Lee are floating on air. They’ve hit a major new point in their relationship, and their exhilaration at sharing their joy with friends floats off the pages. (It’s a modern romance, in that whether or not to say “I love you” is more significant than swapping bodily fluids.) I like the way there’s a whole cast here, with co-workers and family […]

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