Kare First Love Volume 1

Kare First Love, a manga romance series by Kaho Miyasaka, is a Harlequin-like fairy tale for teenagers. The geeky Karin is considered ugly because she wears glasses. On her morning bus ride, the attractive and popular Kiriya notices her and wants to take her picture. Even though his friends tease him and insult her, he pursues her, even though she pushes him away out of fear. Karin’s a confused young girl who always jumps to the wrong conclusion. If a […]

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Cipher Volume 1

This is a CMX book? What happened to the trade dress with the white backgrounds and the bright-colored corners? Where’s the heavy type set on a slant? Cipher is missing any identifying imprint information at all on the cover, leaving only the title, volume number, author’s name (Minako Narita), and a nondescript picture of a couple in winter. Looking at the spine — always a problem for these titles, since the CMX letters were as big as the title, causing […]

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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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Publishers Weekly’s Best of 2005

Publishers Weekly has posted their list of the Best Comics of 2005 (link no longer available). Overall, it’s a pretty accurate portrait of the year’s trends and what was talked about. Here’s my groupings of the items on their list (and I apologize for overusing the word “good”): Read It, Loved It Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press) — Took me a while to get it, then I was smitten. Gemma Bovery by Posey Simmonds […]

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Comics Journal #273 Solicit Dropped by Diamond

Fantagraphics has sent out this update: Diamond Comics goofed big time. They dropped the solicitation for The Comics Journal #273 from the January-shipping Previews [JDC: that’s the November catalog]. Why or how this happened, they could not explain (mmm-hmmm). They’ve tried to make up for it by soliciting issue #273 and #274 together in the February Previews [JDC: that’s the one out now] — but a lot of good that’ll do. We’re still printing and shipping it on time in […]

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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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What Happened to Beanworld?

Mark Andrew at Comics Should Be Good complains about the lack of news on Beanworld. I appreciate his reminder. Beanworld is very hard to explain but wonderful to experience. It is very much like a fable, simple on the surface but with more depth the more you think about it. It’s disheartening to think that we may never see more of this charming story. I’m sure Larry Marder meant his statements about always working on Beanworld at the time, but […]

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Crimson Hero Volume 1

Sampling works. I never would have expected to enjoy this sports manga about a teen tomboy, but I read the first chapter of Crimson Hero in Shojo Beat magazine, and it had immediate appeal, based on the single-minded dedication of the heroine. At the age of 15, Nobara has come to an acceptance that she’s never going to be a proper young woman. As the oldest daughter, she’s supposed to become the old-fashioned hostess of the family restaurant, but her […]

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