Tokyopop vs. Viz

David Taylor puts into words something I’ve been wondering myself: does American manga have a “Big Two”? (link no longer available) When it comes to the superhero-oriented direct market (often erroneously referred to as the “mainstream”), the big two publishers are DC and Marvel. It used to be, when it came to manga, the big two were Viz and Tokyopop. Now jump forward to the beginning of 2006, and for me I think it is a bit of a stretch […]

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CSI: Bad Rap

A rising punk rap superstar knocks a heckler out, killing him, on his way to a rock oldies concert at a Vegas casino. There’s some rivalry between local groups just breaking big, and the obnoxious rapper gets knocked off quickly, as many readers may have been rooting for. CSI: Bad Rap is written by Max Allan Collins with art by Gabriel Rodriguez and Ashley Wood. While investigating, the team finds more related murders, as well as encountering a company producing […]

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CSI: Serial

CSI: Serial is a faithful adaptation of the hit TV show. Writer Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) knows his crime stories. He’s also written CSI novels, which gives him a good familiarity with the characters. Artist Gabriel Rodriguez does an excellent job with likenesses. With many adaptations, the artist spends so much time trying to get the look just right that the art winds up stiff, as though it was copied from photos. That’s not the case here, which […]

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Salmon Doubts

In this low-key graphic novel, Adam Sacks follows a fish from birth to death. The fluid lines of Salmon Doubts are printed in a very dark blue, and the grey and light blue colors create an underwater feel. Most of the fish are happy just being part of the group, following their instincts and letting others make decisions. Henry doesn’t fit in; he’s something of a loner. Henry finds it hard to talk to the other fish, which disappoints him, […]

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Paul Has a Summer Job

After impulsively dropping out of school and working at a dead-end print shop apprenticeship, Paul is asked at the last minute to become a counsellor for a summer camp for underprivileged kids. He doesn’t like solitude, the woods, or kids, but he accepts anyway. Since Paul Has a Summer Job is a standard coming-of-age story, by the end of the summer he’s challenged himself to overcome his fears, become a mentor for the kids, been touched beyond words by a […]

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Sleeper: Out in the Cold

Sleeper: Out in the Cold reprints the first six issues of the critically acclaimed superhero noir series written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips. Holden has been sent deep undercover to infiltrate the organization of Tao, a genius who’s always five steps ahead. The problem is that John Lynch, the man who sent him under, is in a coma, and no one else knows about the secret. The book begins with Holden being sent to work with a […]

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Flight

This beautiful color anthology sums up its theme in its title, Flight. Most of these young cartoonists began doing comics online. As a result, readers may not be familiar with their names, but they will be impressed by their talents. A flip through the book reveals a wide variety of approaches, topics, and styles. Especially notable is the use of color, with subtle effects and impressive skill on display. The first story, by Enrico Casarosa, takes the title literally, ending […]

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Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty

This collection reprints the first five issues of the cop comic by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark. It’s a blend of Law & Order and CSI, complicated by being set in Batman’s city. Rucka and Brubaker have populated the cast with a variety of detectives, and Lark’s art is terrific at keeping the dialogue-heavy investigative scenes visually involving. He does a wonderful job with character expression as well. While investigating a kidnapping, two detectives encounter Mr. Freeze, who […]

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