Alphabetical Index of IDW / Top Shelf

Time and Vine

When Them Zahler announced his newest project, Time and Vine, I called it “drunk time travel” to be silly, but the series turned out to be much different than I expected. Zahler is best known for his creative takes on romance (superheroes in Love and Capes, travelers in Long Distance, cursed geeks in Warning Label), but this story tackles different kinds of caring. It’s a more adult piece, one that explores memory and how it affects mature love, the kind […]

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Her Bark and Her Bite

The premise of James Albon’s Her Bark and Her Bite intrigued me. Painter Rebecca struggles to be discovered and have her work recognized, only to become Victor’s girlfriend and one of his hangers-on, seduced by going out and being popular. Then Victor transfers his affections to a new dog. Unfortunately, the execution was as superficial as the milieu it describes. Rebecca’s a dishrag and Victor a self-centered bore. All he does is drink and talk about ideas for creative projects […]

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Bloom County: Episode XI: A New Hope

Today’s leading exhibit of “You can’t go home again” is Bloom County: Episode XI: A New Hope. The most interesting part of the book, to me, was Berkeley Breathed’s introduction, explaining why he started the strip again, but everything went down from there. I was excited when the comic returned two years ago, but reading them all together in this collection reveals too much reliance on nostalgia (a feeling of remember, you loved these characters) and redundancy (way too many […]

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Jem: The Misfits #2

I’m late talking about this — issue #3 of the Jem: The Misfits is already out — but I keep coming back to this issue and being struck by the honesty of the struggle it portrays. The Misfits, after various schemes and shenanigans, have been dropped by their record label, so the next best option open to them (and it isn’t good) is to film a reality show. The band is staying in Pizzazz’s beach house, surrounded by cameras. The […]

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Tonoharu Part Three

While I can intellectually appreciate the amount of work that goes into such a heavily detailed book, particularly given the artist’s comments on the subject — the style feels woodcut-influenced, with tons of crosshatching — I’m afraid that the third and final volume of Tonoharu didn’t fix the problems I saw in the first book. In short, I don’t care to spend time with the protagonist, Daniel, who’s teaching English in Japan but bored and lonely most of the time. […]

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Jem and the Holograms #23

Jem and the Holograms #23 concludes the “Enter the Stingers” storyline, which began in issue #19. I’m impressed by how well writer Kelly Thompson pulled it all together, because this was the first Jem arc that made me feel left out. I’ve never seen the show; my only exposure to the characters has been this comic series. So the Stingers made me uncomfortable. They’re a new band in town, and the lead singer seems to have a crush on Jem, […]

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Jem and the Holograms: Dark Jem

I haven’t checked in with the Jem and the Holograms comic in a while, although it’s an engaging retake on the rock-and-roll Cinderella story, with plenty of soap opera to keep fans reading the continuing series. The first storyline was collected as Showtime, introducing the characters that make up the Holograms band and their rivals. I love the way that writer Kelly Thompson makes this varied group of young ladies such distinct characters with understandable motivations and deep feelings. That’s […]

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Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines

I’m always leery of comic adaptations of long-gone properties. Some are terrific, faithful and yet newly entertaining, like The Muppet Show or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some, on the other hand, are horrible reads, seeming as though they exist just to make a quick buck off nostalgic fans, who often don’t know enough about the medium to recognize good comic storytelling. Thankfully, the Back to the Future comics put out by IDW fall in the former category, in large part […]

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