Teenagers From Mars

Mars is your typical Southern town. One group of kids are digging up a coffin. When they find a sword, they wind up reenacting fight scenes from Star Wars. Another guy’s ripping off the copy shop with the aid of an underutilized employee. They get away with it because the boss is convinced the kid’s on drugs; aren’t all teens? At the local Mallmart, an employee’s getting chewed out for selling a kid a comic with too much violence; who […]

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Sgt. Rock’s Combat Tales

Sgt. Rock’s Combat Tales provides a compact look at a once-popular, now-mostly-forgotten genre: the war comic. These classics from the late 50s were written by Robert Kanigher with art by Joe Kubert, Jerry Grandenetti, Irv Novick, and Russ Heath. The digest-sized book opens with Rock’s “origin story”, a tale of who he was (a boxer) and his determination, the quality that defined him as a person and a soldier. Other stories deal with what it’s like to be a grunt […]

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Maria’s Wedding

A year ago, Joseph and Matthew’s wedding split Joseph’s large Italian family. At the ceremony, Joseph’s brother Frankie spoke his mind about the situation, condemning those family members who refused to attend. Now, it’s the next big family gathering, as their cousin Maria is getting married. Frankie’s afraid of the reception he’ll get, but he has to attend to support Maria. Everyone’s warning him not to make another scene. It’s typical of families never to forget incidents like that one, […]

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Top 10: The Forty-Niners

The city of Neopolis, the setting of Alan Moore’s Top 10, is populated only by superheroes. This prequel to the series explores how that city was established and why. The Forty-Niners is written by Alan Moore with art by Gene Ha. In 1949, the war is over, and the “science-heroes” and other powered people have been sent to the new city. Jetlad, an air pilot hero even though he’s only 16, provides the viewpoint of the innocent, fresh in the […]

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Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise

There are so many hooks to Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise by B. Clay Moore I hardly know where to start talking about it. It’s been variously described as tropical noir, a hardboiled supernatural thriller with a tiki-influenced setting, and a retro island take on Sam Spade. (Younger folks might see it as Thomas Magnum as written by Raymond Chandler.) It’s 1953 in Hawaii. Byrd was a mainland police officer until a mysterious shooting drove him to semi-retirement. He works […]

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Astro City: Local Heroes

The Astro City stories seem to have lost the magic they once had — or perhaps, like most fans, I’ve gotten spoiled and am expecting more and better now that it’s no longer new, and pure consistency isn’t good enough — but the production design on Local Heroes is absolutely astounding. The cover is a faux newspaper, an image that perfectly captures the premise of the series, a “real world”-style look at superheroes. The back cover continues the approach, with […]

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