Giant Days #48-49

Giant Days remains one of my favorite ongoing comics, and these days, that’s bittersweet. I want Susan, Esther, and Daisy to keep having college adventures for a long, long time, but time won’t stand still for them. Creator John Allison has them growing up and preparing to venture into the “real world” — or he has the world infringing on their university bubble. Giant Days #48 is illustrated by Allison, who normally writes. To my eye, that makes everyone look […]

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The Art of the Graphic Memoir: Tell Your Story, Change Your Life

The Art of the Graphic Memoir: Tell Your Story, Change Your Life sets out to be instructional, but the part I found most fascinating was when author Tom Hart talked about the choices he made for his own book, Rosalie Lightning. (Hart has previously written The Sequential Artists Workshop Guide to Creating Professional Comic Strips; Rosalie Lightning is his story of the death of his not-yet-two-year-old daughter.) While there are exercises and lessons on creating graphic memoir in this book […]

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TCAF a Month Away, With Tons of Guests

It’s spring, so it’s time for TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, one of the high points of the comic convention season. One of the many things that makes this such a terrific show is that they incorporate mainstream comics, art works, independent releases, international input, and manga, covering the entire gamut of the medium. Their headlining guest this year is Junji Ito, making his first North American appearance. Ito is an acclaimed creator of horror manga, including Uzumaki and […]

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Science Comics: The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine

The Science Comics line is a wonderful marker for quality educational comics, and who better to teach about The Brain than a mad scientist? Science Comics: The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine is written by Tory Woollcott and illustrated by Alex Graudins. Fahama is helping her crazily determined younger sister sell cookies door-to-door when she stumbles into the lair of Dr. Cerebrum, an ambulatory brain in a jar. To keep him from removing her head, she asks him questions, learning […]

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Hicotea: A Nightlights Story

Lorena Alvarez has followed up her beautiful Nightlights with this sequel. Hicotea: A Nightlights Story goes with Sandy, the young artist in the first book, on a school field trip. To what’s almost a literal field — they’re in nature, down by the river in the wetlands. There, Sandy has a fantastic journey into a glorious museum found inside a turtle’s shell. It’s a symbolic way of indicating just how much knowledge there is out there, how even shells or […]

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Ao Haru Ride Volume 4

Now that the series has some longevity to it, we get the dramatic flashback. The premise of the series is that Futaba and Kou were interested, then separated, then reunited. When they meet again, Kou behaves differently, and in Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride volume 4, we finally find out why. Family flashbacks show why Kou gave up being a top student, why he seems estranged from his brother (a teacher at their school), and why he changed his name. […]

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Kahlo’s Koalas

Kahlo’s Koalas by Grace Helmer is a fun introduction to some artists with popular styles able to be easily evoked. As this small board book counts from one to ten, we see the same number of creatures in two-page spreads, from “1 Picasso Panda” to “10 Monet Mice”. Other artists include Matisse, Pollock, and Van Gogh. (The only woman is the titular Kahlo.) The book concludes with a couple of sentences about each artist, summing up the most obvious elements […]

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Kodansha Announces Much-Anticipated Manga Coming Digitally This Month

Kodansha has a robust digital-first manga program. (They emphasize calling them “digital-first”, instead of “digital-only”, since a few of the more popular titles have later been released in print.) Their newest announcement, of a title coming to their various digital outlets on April 23, stunned me, since it’s a manga series that many said would be too challenging to release in the US. Hikaru Nakamura, author of Arakawa Under the Bridge, has also created a more infamous story, about two […]

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