Paul Has a Summer Job

After impulsively dropping out of school and working at a dead-end print shop apprenticeship, Paul is asked at the last minute to become a counsellor for a summer camp for underprivileged kids. He doesn’t like solitude, the woods, or kids, but he accepts anyway. Since Paul Has a Summer Job is a standard coming-of-age story, by the end of the summer he’s challenged himself to overcome his fears, become a mentor for the kids, been touched beyond words by a […]

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Sleeper: Out in the Cold

Sleeper: Out in the Cold reprints the first six issues of the critically acclaimed superhero noir series written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips. Holden has been sent deep undercover to infiltrate the organization of Tao, a genius who’s always five steps ahead. The problem is that John Lynch, the man who sent him under, is in a coma, and no one else knows about the secret. The book begins with Holden being sent to work with a […]

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Flight

This beautiful color anthology sums up its theme in its title, Flight. Most of these young cartoonists began doing comics online. As a result, readers may not be familiar with their names, but they will be impressed by their talents. A flip through the book reveals a wide variety of approaches, topics, and styles. Especially notable is the use of color, with subtle effects and impressive skill on display. The first story, by Enrico Casarosa, takes the title literally, ending […]

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Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty

This collection reprints the first five issues of the cop comic by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark. It’s a blend of Law & Order and CSI, complicated by being set in Batman’s city. Rucka and Brubaker have populated the cast with a variety of detectives, and Lark’s art is terrific at keeping the dialogue-heavy investigative scenes visually involving. He does a wonderful job with character expression as well. While investigating a kidnapping, two detectives encounter Mr. Freeze, who […]

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Romance Without Tears

Romance Without Tears sets out to collect love stories from the 1950s that feature “lively, independent… outrageous” girls who don’t spend all their time crying or pining away. The opening essay by compiler John Benson provides an overview of romance comics from their early days through their later over-reliance on the cover image of “the tear-stained face”. The comics reprinted here, originally published by Archer St. John, contrast with those types of stories. These attempt to portray realistic dating scenarios […]

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Three Days in Europe

I love romantic comedies. There are too few of them in comics (which is one reason I’ve been reading more manga, where the genre is more firmly established). When I saw the publicity for this screwball story, I was eager to try it, but I was disappointed. It’s not that Three Days in Europe is a bad story, although it’s got some problems (of which more later). The problem is all the false advertising, from the cover quotes to the […]

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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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