Strange Detective Tales #1

I’m no fan of zombie comics, but this one caught my attention favorably due to the odd combination of elements in the premise. In 1958 Los Angeles, Igor Vorlic (as in Frankenstein) and Renfield (as in Dracula) are struggling private detectives, serving a community of monsters and zombies hanging around the movie community. Just as the main characters are best known for supporting bigger stars, they work with those left around the edges of Hollywood. Their client is the ghost […]

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Clan Apis

Clan Apis is the biography of a honeybee. It’s educational, as you might guess, but it teaches more than biology facts. Each chapter of the story also illustrates a life lesson as well as being wonderfully entertaining. I never thought I could care so much about, or learn so much from, a bee. The story opens with a bee’s version of the creation of the universe, which turns out to be a tale an older bee, Dvorah, is telling Nyuki, […]

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Boys Over Flowers Volume 1

Tsukushi is a middle-class student at an ultra-elite high school in Boys Over Flowers. Her schoolmates are dropped off by chauffeurs and carry designer bags costing thousands of dollars, while she works part-time just for spending money. The school is run by a clique of cool, rich, and handsome students who ostracize anyone who displeases them. Tsukushi’s innocently good heart manifests through her huge, round eyes (resembling out-sized marbles) and her braided pigtails. She feels everything intently, allowing the inequities […]

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Armageddon & Son

Doonald Feeney wants to be tough, but he’s a selfish loser. He’s never known his dad, until one day, Father Feeney reappears in Armageddon & Son. It turns out that Dad is a supervillain out to destroy the world, only he’s not as good at it as he portrays himself to be. As a result, some of his cohorts have stolen his plan, so he enlists Doonald to help him save the world (because if he can’t destroy it, no […]

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Genshiken Volume 1

I’d heard good things about this series by Kio Shimoku, but I found it disappointingly predictable. It’s a manga about being a fan of manga and anime, so its first strike is violating my self-referentiality rule. (In general, I find that comics about comics are more likely to disappoint me. They often indicate a lack of creativity and an author having a hard time coming up with fresh ideas, although for all I know, this is a well-respected and -established […]

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Nodame Cantabile Volume 1

Although containing more subtly-drawn characters than many manga series, Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya left no significant impression on me after reading. Shinichi wants to be a conductor, but he’s currently studying piano to improve his overall skills. (He also turns out to be quite the violin virtuoso when the plot demands.) Nodame is the girl next door, an untrained piano genius with a pigsty of an apartment. She’s driven by appetite, stealing other people’s lunches and loyal to whichever […]

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Legal Drug Volume 1

The newest series by fan-favorite art studio CLAMP features pretty boys working at a drugstore. Rikuo saved Kazahaya’s life when he almost died from exposure in the snow. In Legal Drug, the two now share an apartment, work together, and demonstrate the kind of “he’s so frustrating!” relationship that hints at deeper feelings of unrecognized attraction. Their boss, a psychic, sends them off on extra jobs to find mysterious artifacts, aided by Kazahaya’s ability to see visions based on memories. […]

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Hikaru no Go

This competition manga features a student learning to play go and appreciate all the tradition that comes with it. Although firmly within the expectations of its genre, the characters are so likable, the art so well-done, and the competition so compelling that it’s an addictive read. Story is by Yumi Hotta and art by Takeshi Obata. Fujiwara-no-Sai was an instructor of the Emperor a thousand years ago until a rival Go teacher’s cheating drove him to suicide. Sai’s yearnings to […]

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