Cairo

I look to comics to show me experiences I haven’t had and get me thinking about new perspectives, with bonus points for unusual, interesting settings. Cairo has all of the above. It’s written by G. Willow Wilson, a journalist who lived and worked in the area, which gives the fantastic events verisimilitude. It starts with a drug smuggler, but it quickly sprawls out through his connections and those he meets through chance (or more likely, destiny). His sister is friendly […]

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Azumanga Daioh Omnibus

Not your typical manga, the Azumanga Daioh Omnibus by Kiyohiko Azuma (collecting four previously published books) follows a group of high school girls through school until graduation. With a few exceptions, the entire book consists of four-panel strips (called 4-koma)… so this is more like a Japanese version of a Dilbert collection than your usual high-school romance. At first, I took them lightly, as slight gag strips that told a joke and moved on. It surprised me later on to […]

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Doctor 13: Architecture & Mortality

Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang reinvent the superhero team book in Doctor 13: Architecture & Mortality. They use a set of forgotten characters to not only launch an imaginative adventure in which anything is possible, but they also comment coyly on the current trend of anti-history, of the tendency to ignore or attack bits that don’t slot perfectly into all-too-serious superhero continuity. Doctor 13, paranormal investigator and professional skeptic, finds himself thrown together with the following goofy characters: Captain Fear, […]

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Bone: Out From Boneville

You’ve probably already seen at least one recommendation, if not many more, for Bone. It’s an all-ages fantasy romp that truly lives up to the description: there’s something here for everyone and all generations. The first book, Out From Boneville, introduces our cast and throws them right into action. The Bone cousins, Fone, Phoney, and Smiley, are hiding out in the desert after the townspeople chased greedy, money-grubbing Phoney away. Locusts attack, and the cousins get separated, so now they […]

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The Spirit Book One

Darwyn Cooke (with the aid of J. Bone’s inks) is responsible for the most exciting re-imagining of a character this decade: Will Eisner’s Spirit. Book One is a handsome hardcover collecting the first six issues of the series plus the Batman/Spirit crossover written by Jeph Loeb. The book itself stands apart from the usual collection. The hardcover binding consists of images instead of plain color boards, and the dust jacket has the Spirit letters cut out to show the art […]

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Comic Retailer References

There’s a lack of good reference information about best practices specific to comic retailing. I’m only aware of two books worth recommending, and one is out of print. So You Want to Be a Comics Retailer So You Want to Be a Comics Retailer was first put out in 1995. That’s prior to the distributor collapse, when DC went exclusive with Diamond, knocking off a string of dominoes that left them the only practical distribution choice. That makes some of […]

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Death Note

The biggest disappointment I’ve read recently is easily Death Note. I’d wound up collecting all 12 books of the series, and over the Thanksgiving holiday, I started reading them. Volume one was as involving as they’d said it would be. Super-student Light Yagami finds a notebook dropped by a death god to cause trouble. Anyone whose name is written in the book will die if the person writing it also pictures their face. The art, by Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no […]

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Death Note & Favorite Manga of 2007

This was the year I realized that just because a manga was translated and launched in the US didn’t mean it was great. It used to be that mostly the best Japanese comics made it over, but ever-growing demand means more and more material is coming just because it’s available. Nothing wrong with that, only one has to pay more attention to descriptions and reviews. I became more selective, and I gave up on several long-running series because their volume […]

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