Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person

43-year-old Miriam Engelberg decided to cope with a diagnosis of breast cancer by creating a comic journal. The back cover calls Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person “devastatingly humorous”, but much as I appreciate black humor and laughing in the face of trouble, I didn’t find the book funny at all. Her style is best described as naive or primitive; it’s flat, with no backgrounds and a heavy reliance on text, both dialogue and captions. Most of the art is […]

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Pizzeria Kamikaze

Pizzeria Kamikaze postulates an unusual afterlife. Those who’ve killed themselves wind up in a world that looks and behaves just like this one, only with even less purpose and even more boring. The only difference is that some of the inhabitants bear scars, based on their method of death. Our narrator, Mordy, works at a pizza joint in this generic afterworld city. He goes to a bar to relax in the evenings, where he meets new friend Uzi. The two […]

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Orion: The Gates of Apokolips

I’ve never been that interested in the New Gods. Their original appearances were before my time, so my exposure to them is limited to reprint volumes and occasional appearances in The Legion of Super-Heroes. There wasn’t a lot about the characters I could relate to, but that changed with this collection, Orion: The Gates of Apokolips. Between the clarity of the god’s motivations, the epic plans and schemes, and the interaction with regular people, there’s more than enough to keep […]

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Baby & Me Volume 2

This second volume opens with a story that unfortunately doesn’t really demonstrate the appeal of the series. Takuya’s being harassed by a classmate due to a misunderstanding over a girl. Little brother Minoru is irrelevant to much of the story, although his presence does demonstrate that Takuya, who won’t be teased or otherwise badgered into fighting, will do whatever’s necessary to defend his charge. I enjoy watching the two interact; Takuya’s learning to take care of another, dependent human, and […]

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Tokyo Boys & Girls Volume 5

The series concludes in this volume with a distinct lack of resolution or satisfaction. The family drama from volume 4 is solved with a little conversation, not a bad message, but the way Mom’s attitudes turn on a dime make her seem a bit… unhinged, at best. Creepy brief bit of dialogue between Mimori’s parents: Dad: Leave them alone. They’re only going to talk. Mom: No! I won’t allow her to see that delinquent! Dad: Stop it, Mama! We’re adults! […]

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Age of Bronze: Sacrifice

As Sacrifice begins (following first volume A Thousand Ships), Paris and Helen return to Troy. King Priam at first refuses to admit her, knowing her presence will bring his city under attack, but she is pregnant with his grandchild. Kassandra prophesies doom but isn’t believed, in an affecting portrayal of a tortured soul. The Achaeans begin the war, only in the wrong place. They’re so eager for something to happen that they mistakenly think they’ve reached Troy as soon as […]

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Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships

Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze retells the story of the Trojan War in a beautiful, realistic fashion. Although they speak of being a god’s son or daughter the way we’d speak of our parents’ hometown, the participants are treated as real people with identifiable motivations: lust, anger, greed, arrogance … all the classics. Eric Shanower well deserved the 2001 and 2003 Eisner Awards for Best Writer/Artist. A Thousand Ships opens with Paris as a cowherd, which grounds the series before […]

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Madrox: Multiple Choice

In Madrox: Multiple Choice, writer Peter David refreshes the superhero story by combining it with elements of detective noir. Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, has the ability to create duplicates of himself. He’s opened a investigation agency, staffed by other mutants, but the case here is a little more personal. He’s got to figure out who killed one of his bodies. Jamie’s been expanding his skills by sending out duplicates to learn new things and try different experiences. One of […]

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