Monday, December 28, 2015

ALL STAR RECOMMENDS FOR DECEMBER 29TH



Don’t go, oh year of magical comic bookery! Good grief, were some amazing things put out this year.

It’s early Christmas morning as I put the finishing touches on this one, so it will be as short as a Christmas elf, sweet as one of those Santa chocolates that look alarmingly like a penis but still chock full of comics greatness in all its forms.

Onward!


COMIC OF THE WEEK : WEIRDWORLD VOL 0: WARZONES! 
By Jason Aaron & Mike Del Mundo 
Published By Marvel Comics 

The seemingly never-ending Secret Wars event has thrown up some real comics curios in the never-ending battle to remake the universe and turn some virtually discarded pieces of intellectual property into things both viable and valuable.

Chief among them, for my money, is the reincarnation of Weirdworld by Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo, which features the inspired choice of casting Arkon as its lead character. Here’s the thing -- Arkon was the villain in my first ever Avengers comic -- a reprint of #76 (1970) -- around which is wrapped one of my favourite covers ever:


Arkon, born and raised on the world of Polymachus, is his planet’s fiercest warrior – a lofty feat considering Polymachus celebrates war and warriors above all else. Armed with his lightning bolt-shaped weapons (which, depending on the type, can be used either offensively or to move between realms), Arkon came to earth, took off with The Scarlet Witch and single-handedly battled The Avengers. I thought he was pretty cool.

So did writer Jason Aaron and editor Tom Brevoort apparently, as they drop Arkon right into the chaos of another 1970s concept reborn, the ever-shifting terrain of Weirdworld, a no-holds-barred fantastical realm that Aaron and artist Mike Del Mundo stuff full of Marvel offcuts, B-listers and, in the form of the crystal warriors from the long-dead, often mocked Crystar series, Z-listers.

Here’s another thing: I own every issue of Crystar: Crystal Warrior. I loved it. If you ever think these reviews get too snooty, just remember that I’m the dork with the complete Crystar tucked away. Engineered primarily to move as many toys as possible, the Crystal Warriors’ insertion into Secret Wars is inspired. Not only are they the perfect thematic fit for Weirdworld, but the original 1985 Secret Wars was also a comic cooked up to also move a line of action figures.

Anyway, Aaron and Del Mundo’s continuity melting pot Weirdworld is just a tonne of fun. Arkon has no knowledge of where he is or what’s happened to Polymachus and navigates the landscape with a map that, brilliantly, looks like it was drawn by a five year old. Aaron’s script moves at near supersonic speed, lobbing skewed Marvel fantasy concept after concept at his readers. Del Mundo’s art recalls the heyday of ‘80s Epic Comics, a little bit Muth and a lot Sienkiewicz, giving the title the kind of perfectly lush, painterly look that from its dragons, to its landscapes, to its warrior hero, is energetic, fully realised and fittingly strange.

Fun and action packed, Weirdworld should be enjoyed with as little knowledge going in as possible to savour its constantly imaginative surprises and devoured in a single sitting.



WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : CTL+ALT+DEL: THE RETURN 
By Tim Buckley 

“The Return,” from CTL+ALT+DEL features cartoonist Tim Buckley welcoming Star Wars back into his life as though it’s a long lost friend. Personally, I’m not quite ready to embrace Star Wars as tightly as Tim does, but I’ll certainly shake its hand and go for a beer with it. It’s sure good to have it back, that’s for sure.





COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : SHOGUN ASSASSIN (1980) AMERICAN TRAILER 

Having fallen behind in my reading of New Lone Wolf & Cub, I reread the early volumes this week and ploughed right on through to the end of the latest volume, number seven (of nine I believe). I am an enormous fan of the original series and was a touch sceptical about this sequel.

Silly, silly me for not trusting Kazuo-sensei.

Kazuo Koike is possibly the most underrated comics writer ever (before you scoff at that, consider his body of work and then search for “Best Writer” lists with his name on it) and without a doubt, New Lone Wolf & Cub is the most criminally ignored series of the year. I’ll have more about it in my Best of 2015 column in a couple of weeks but it’s almost shocking to me how little anyone seems to be talking about it.

Here then, at the conclusion of my New Lone Wolfbender, is the trailer for Shogun Assassin, a 1980 American film that splices the first two (of six) Japanese Lone Wolf & Cub films together. Yes, I could’ve picked an episode of the television series that seems widely available on YouTube. Yes, I could have picked one of the extended sequences from the films also available. But when you work in a phrase like, “Meet the greatest team in the history of mass slaughter,” and amp up the “sword and sorcery” aspects to the borderline between exaggeration and lie, you win the day.

Plus that music. Oh, that music. Ahh, screw it, have a sonic bonus or two for your New Year’s party mix.

Enjoy.



See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 30th of December


It's was the fifth week before the end of the year and even with a little shipment there was still great comics to be read.

Loeb and Sale's classic Cap tale wraps up in CAPTAIN AMERICA WHITE #5. Get the behind the scenes tour of Morrison's thought process with MULTIVERSITY #1 & #2 DIRECTORS CUT. Another issue of Nicola Scott and Greg Rucka's new supernatural/cop drama series BLACK MAGICK #3. The very best Ollie has been in a number of years now in a lovely hardcover, GREEN ARROW BY JEFF LEMIRE DELUXE ED HC. Then get into some old school Green Arrow and Nightwing with the new collections of GREEN ARROW TP VOL 04 BLOOD OF THE DRAGON and NIGHTWING TP VOL 03 FALSE STARTS. JESSICA JONES TP VOL 04 ALIAS completes the original MAX series in these new printing format. If you missed the single issue of Radioactive Lounge's Larry Boxshall's first appearance as his beloved favourite character in PLANET HULK TP WARZONES. Further adventures of the original far far away dudebros in Marvel latest Star Wars outing OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #1. Couple that with two more space fairing bros messing it up with the new ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT #1. Highly anticipated indie hero treat COPRA TP ROUND THREE is in. Tom Taylor's run on Iron Man finally hits in softcover with SUPERIOR IRON MAN TP VOL 01 INFAMOUS

Plenty to look forward while the year wraps up. If there is anything extra you are after just let us know and we'll get it sorted!

MARVEL
ALL NEW WOLVERINE #3
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6
ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #3
CAPTAIN AMERICA WHITE #5 (OF 5)
CARNAGE #3
CHEWBACCA #5 (OF 5)
DEADPOOL AND CABLE SPLIT SECOND #1 (OF 3)
DRAX #2
FIGMENT 2 #4 (OF 5)
HOWARD THE DUCK #3
HOWLING COMMANDOS OF SHIELD #3
MARVELS CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR PRELUDE #2 (OF 4)
NOVA #3
OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #1 (OF 5)
ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT #1
SPIDER-MAN 2099 #5
SPIDEY #2
SQUADRON SUPREME #2

DC COMICS
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #13
BATMAN EUROPA #3 (OF 4)
BLACK CANARY #6 LOONEY TUNES VAR ED
DOCTOR FATE #7
FLASH #47 VAR ED
HARLEY QUINN & POWER GIRL #6 (OF 6)
INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FOUR ANNUAL #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE #47 VAR ED
MULTIVERSITY #1 & #2 DIRECTORS CUT
OMEGA MEN #7
SUPERMAN ANNUAL #3
SUPERMAN LOIS AND CLARK #3
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN #24
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL #2
WONDER WOMAN #47 VAR ED

BOOM
LAST SONS OF AMERICA #2
POWER UP #6 (OF 6)
WELCOME BACK #4

DARK HORSE
COLDER TOSS THE BONES #4 (OF 5)
CONAN THE AVENGER #21
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES GARDEN WARFARE #3 (OF 3)
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES ONGOING #7 PETAL TO THE METAL
LOBSTER JOHNSON GLASS MANTIS ONE SHOT

DYNAMITE
ALIENS VAMPIRELLA #5 (OF 6)
BOBS BURGERS ONGOING #7
JAMES BOND #3
TRAIN CALLED LOVE #4 (OF 10)

IDW
DRIVE #3 (OF 4)
FISTFUL OF BLOOD #3 (OF 4)
JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS #10
JUDGE DREDD (ONGOING) #1
LOCKE & KEY SHADES OF TERROR COLORING BOOK
ORPHAN BLACK HELSINKI #2 (OF 5)
RAGNAROK #7
SKYLANDERS SUPERCHARGERS #3
TRANSFORMERS SINS OF WRECKERS #2 (OF 5)

IMAGE
BLACK MAGICK #3
DESCENDER #8
EAST OF WEST #23
IMAGE GIANT SIZED ARTISTS PROOF ED WYTCHES #1
LAZARUS #21
MORNING GLORIES #49
RAT QUEENS #14
RINGSIDE #2
RUMBLE #10
SPAWN #259
TALES OF HONOR BRED TO KILL #4

ONI
RICK & MORTY #9

MISC
CODE PRU #1
DREAMING EAGLES #1
JUGHEAD #3
MERCURY HEAT #6
WAR STORIES #15

TRADES
ASTRO BOY OMNIBUS TP VOL 02
BATMAN SUPERMAN HC VOL 04 SIEGE
COPRA TP ROUND THREE
CRYSTAL CADETS TP
GHOST RACERS TP
GREEN ARROW BY JEFF LEMIRE DELUXE ED HC
GREEN ARROW TP VOL 04 BLOOD OF THE DRAGON
HAIL HYDRA TP
HARROW COUNTY TP VOL 01 COUNTLESS HAINTS
INFINITE CRISIS FIGHT FOR THE MULTIVERSE TP VOL 02
JEFFREY JONES IDYL IM AGE SC
JESSICA JONES TP VOL 04 ALIAS
LEGO LEGENDS OF CHIMA GN VOL 05 WINGS FOR A LION
MU ULT SPIDER-MAN WEB WARRIORS DIGEST TP VOL 03
MY LITTLE PONY A CANTERLOT WEDDING TP
NIGHTWING TP VOL 03 FALSE STARTS
PLANET HULK TP WARZONES
REVIVAL TP VOL 06 THY LOYAL SONS & DAUGHTERS
SQUARRIORS TP
SUPERIOR IRON MAN TP VOL 01 INFAMOUS
SUPERMAN DOOMED TP
TMNT 2014 ANNUAL DLX ED HC
X-MEN AGE OF APOCALYPSE TP VOL 03 OMEGA

BACK IN STOCK
ALL NEW X-MEN #2
BATMAN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 (OF 6)

SPACE RIDERS TP VOL 01 VENGEFUL UNIVERSE

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ALL STAR COMICS RECOMMENDS FOR DECEMBER 22ND


Hi Dear Reader,

I hope you’re finding the home stretch into StarWarsmas not too taxing. I’d just like to quickly take this opportunity to thank you for reading, thank the staff at All Star for putting up with me and wish you all a Merry Christmas. May Santa fill your stocking with comics you love and if you get some Christmas money you don’t know what to do with, or a voucher for the shop, I encourage you to try something a little different, some manga, some bande dessinee, something photocopied and stapled by an artist in Melbourne. I’m cooking up a best of 2015 column for sometime in January, but if you think my taste blows, just pop in and ask whoever’s behind the counter. They’re all ace.


COMIC OF THE WEEK : INUYASHIKI
By Hiroya Oku
Published By Kodansha Comics

Three straight weeks of manga! That was…unplanned. Anyway, aliens crash land in a park late one night in Tokyo. Two humans are caught and killed in the impact. Panicking somewhat, the aliens hastily decide to rebuild the humans, 58 year old Ichiro Inuyashiki and high school student Hiro Shishigami, with the tech they had on-board, resurrecting them as cyborgs who have no idea what happened and less idea about their now posthuman condition as living, breathing weapons. As Inuyashiki’s abilities begin to reveal themselves in strikingly visual ways reminiscent of a cleaner, less horrific version of Shinya Tsukamoto’s “metal fetishist” in the classic film Tetsuo: The Iron Man, he sees his mysterious change as a chance to do some real societal good. For Shishigami, however, the powers he’s been blessed with give him the chance to tap into the darker parts of his psyche.

Surprisingly, for a comic designed as little more than a piece of pure popcorn shonen manga, there’s an awful lot going on in Hiroya Oku’s Inuyashiki. It’s so clever I’m wondering whether or not Oku’s either loaded his latest work with this much subtext by complete accident or I wrote off his previous manga, Gantz, as weightless, gratuitous fluff far too early.

In many ways, Inuyashiki is a decidedly Japanese take on classic Marvel Comics’whole “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” riff (Spider-Man is even name checked in the book) and/or chance exposure to deadly things/substances that allow many a Marvel character access to his/her full potentiality. Inuyashiki also functions as a commentary on manga itself, with characters calling Gantz “a shitty manga full of murder and crap,” and Inuyashiki representing the old school, heroic Japanese character and Shishigami the new wave of hyper-violent, breast-obsessed pretty boys. The inter-generational shift in not just Japanese manga but in the perception of national character is also represented –Inuyashiki sings the Astro Boy theme song as he struggles to work his rockets and adopts a dog from a shelter, Shishigami reads Shonen Jump, lacks empathy for anything not on the comics page and is, most notably, a serial murderer. 

Let’s not call Inuyashiki high art just yet however. Oku’s frustrating tendency to waste comic real estate in order to chew through his weekly page count remains like a bad hangover from Gantz. The photographed backgrounds are a distracting nuisance and some of his dialogue is weak (to be kind). But when Oku’s at his best, he’s undeniable, saving his artistic hustle for moments that border on the iconic such as this one: 


The bulk of volume one is dedicated to presenting a portrait of Inuyashiki as an enfeebled loser. Prematurely ageing and perpetually trembling, Inuyashiki is the old man Japanese everyman, downtrodden, ignored, treated with distain and loathing by even those closest to him. Oku gives much space (perhaps a little too much) to this portrait of his protagonist as misfortune after misfortune pile up on this kindly old man. There are some genuinely touching moments however – Inuyashiki hugging his dog Hanako and weeping in despair at the state of his existence chief among them – contrasted with volume two’s exploration of Shishigami as a power-mad, cold-blooded killer.

If you’re curious, I recommend grabbing both volumes currently available and reading them back to back as things really pick up in the second book. Doing so may give you the comics equivalent of feeling like you’ve eaten way too much McDonalds, but Inuyashiki’s multiplicity of subtexts and strikingly rendered posthumans may well linger with you far longer than its images of exploding heads. With Shishigami growing ever darker and Inuyashiki growing ever more saintly by the conclusion of volume two, the series seems poised to continue picking at all manner of Japanese psychic scabs while remaining disguised as high octane, carb-loaded comics. The series has as much potential as its very own hero and, hopefully, Oku’s up to the task of realising it.



WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK  : THE GENTLEMAN’S ARMCHAIR: GRAVITY 
By Wes Hotchkiss 

I’m assuming you have even less time to read webcomics than I do this week (thanks a lot, Christmas!). Fortunately, I’ve got something that will take you all of six seconds to read – “Gravity” by Wes Hotchkiss from his ongoing webcomics gag series The Gentleman’s Armchair. 




COUNTDOWN TO MOZ METAL: HEAVY METAL NOVEMBER 1978

The November 1978 issue of Heavy Metal opens with the following angry reader missive: “…your politics are as psychotic and culturebound as those of David Bowie.” HM and The Thin White Duke (who, incredibly, played Melbourne’s very own MCG in November ’78) together at last. My work here could very well be done.

But wait! Further music news awaits us as we get a full page ad for The Cars’ self-titled debut featuring the tremendous “Let The Good Times Roll,” “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Great band, says Old Man Cam to the kids. Have a listen on me.

Richard Corben continues to illustrate some of comics’ greatest ever sunsets and landscapes as “…Arabian Nights” soldiers on (sans exposed male genitals) with Sindbad entering the land of the Jinn and engaging with an army of skeleton warriors riding winged steeds. Business has picked up here, with the prospect of a full chapter of bonkers Corben battle sequences looming for next issue.

Dionnet and Bilal’s beautifully drawn “Exterminator 17” continues with the knowledge that our reanimated murder-bot may well be inhabited by the soul of his creator who died in the opening chapter. Largely just talking heads, it’s still perhaps the loveliest actionless, psychedelialess sequence in the mag’s history up to this point. Not be outdone, Druillet’s “Gail” heads towards its mental climax with pages featuring mandala-patterned insets and the most evil looking spaceships in the cosmos, “Airtight Garage” is also beautiful. It always is, of course being Moebius, but the artist outdoes himself with this two page chapter, showcasing the expressions of Major Grubert and company gorgeously.

The Frenchies must’ve sent a memo around because Nicole Claveloux also appears to raise her already considerable game with this issue’s “Off-Season,” with some super-fine crosshatching and striking juxtaposition between her hatched and solid blacks. There’s immense depth to her pages with the subtle gradients of her blacks shifting ever lighter or darker depending on her light source or subject. Truly gorgeous pages – any inking aficionado or student would do well to seek this issue out.

Holy smokes, twenty fully-painted Howard Chaykin pages follow, part of his “Empire” project with SF legend Samuel Delany. Delany, noted for being one of the earliest SF writers of colour to rise to spectacular prominence is the kind of writer whose work is always interesting but burdened with the kind of made up, SF mumbo jumbo jargon that makes my mind go blank. Sure, that may sound like Star Wars, but (prequels excluded) those films are front-loaded with fun. Delany…not so much. Still, Chaykin is Chaykin and that’s always a good thing. Far Out costuming and some fittingly grimy world building highlight “Empire” along with blaster fights and endless sand dunes that probably should make me rethink my earlier comparison to Star Wars. Intriguing stuff, if a little stiff as these prose adaptations tend to be in their valiant attempts to please two differing mediums at once.

Shed a tear, for “Heilman” concludes. Heilman, unable to rouse himself back from the dead, watches on from the grave as a young fan, distraught at his idol’s passing shoots himself in the heart at the foot of his fascistically symbolled grave. Paramedics try to save the fan, but fail. Heilman’s ghost somehow visits the boy’s corpse and the dead fan finds himself not only resurrected but able to play all of Heilman’s hits on the rock star’s very own guitar (bequeathed to him by Heilman’s opportunistic manager). Allowed to convalesce for a few days more, Heilman’s successor, along with robot backing band The Rockbots, play a set before a rapturous crowd of music critics. But there is something sinister about Heilman II – a demonic shadow hovers over him, the very demon Heilman initially summoned, and concerts become “Black Masses” with fans “vampirized” by the music, becoming the Black Demon’s slaves. Whatta comic. Goodbye, Heilman, I won’t hold my breath for a fresh collected edition, but what a world it would be if one surfaced.


COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : PUGS 

For those of you dog people feeling left out by last week’s cat bonanza column, here as a peace offering is a video of French cartoonist Boulet drawing some pretty rad pugs. I trust all is now forgiven. 



See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 23rd of December



With Star Wars out in cinemas, what else is there to look forward to before the end of the year? OH! Almost forgot, tis the shipment before Christmas! Whatever your plans are this week, this is one of your last chances for comic gift buying or perhaps a little holiday reading for yourself! And just so you are in the loop here are our HOLIDAY TRADING HOURS:

THU 24TH XMAS EVE 10AM-5PM
FRI 25TH XMAS DAY CLOSED
SAT 26TH BOXING DAY 11AM-5PM
SUN 27TH 11AM-5PM
MON 28TH 11AM-5PM 
TUE 29TH 12PM-6PM
WED 30TH 10AM-7PM
THU 31ST NYE 10AM-4PM
FRI 1ST CLOSED
SAT 2ND BACK TO REGULAR TRADING

Now for some holiday reading!

A beacon of hope in the recent Jessica Jones Netflix series, PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #1 shows us just how hard it can be trying to make your way in New York City not only as a hero but a woman dealing with a past as a child celebrity. Musician criminals take centre stage in Vertigo's new series, LAST GANG IN TOWN #1. Pulp hero adventuring is back from IDW with a new series of ROCKETEER AT WAR #1. Remember the stories you created when you played with ALL the toys in your toybox? KAPTARA TP VOL 01 FEAR NOT TINY ALIEN from Chip Zdarky steals every single one of them and includes it in this first trade. Can DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #2 manage to continue the good will from issue #1? Get in a festive mode with the continuing jaw dropping destruction of the earth in the Mignola-verse with BPRD HELL ON EARTH TP VOL 12 METAMORPHOSIS. If you didn't get the chance to check it out in singles, TEEN DOG TP from local creator Jake Lawrence will canine kick flip into your heart! BOOM's hit teen/sci-fi/adventure continues in the latest chapter of WOODS TP VOL 03. Followed nicely from BOOM's latest series of interplanetary frontier colonizing in VENUS #1Continue the Star Wars nostalgia with the next part of Vader kicks Rebel butt/ Vader Down in DARTH VADER #14 VDWN.

And the latest Previews catalogue for you to check out for new releases coming out in Feb next year. Anything you need any help with just let us know! :D

MARVEL
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5
ANGELA QUEEN OF HEL #3
CAPTAIN AMERICA SAM WILSON #4
DAREDEVIL #2
DARTH VADER #14 VDWN
DEADPOOL #4
EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #4
GUIDEBOOK TO MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE MARVELS THOR
MARVEL UNIVERSE ULT SPIDER-MAN SPIDER-VERSE #2 (OF 4)
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #2
NEW AVENGERS #4
PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #1
SPIDER-WOMAN #2
STAR-LORD #2
VENOM SPACE KNIGHT #2

DC COMICS
AQUAMAN #47
BATMAN 66 MEETS THE MAN FROM UNCLE #1 (OF 6)
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #12
BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT #12
CYBORG #6
DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #2 (OF 8)
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #6
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #7
DEATHSTROKE #13
GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT #11
GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT #12
GREEN ARROW #47
HE MAN THE ETERNITY WAR #13
JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 #7
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6 VAR ED
ROBIN SON OF BATMAN #7 (ROBIN WAR)
SINESTRO #18
SUPERMAN #47 VAR ED
TEEN TITANS #15 (ROBIN WAR)
TITANS HUNT #3 (OF 12)

VERTIGO
ART OPS #3
ASTRO CITY #30
JACKED #2 (OF 6)
LAST GANG IN TOWN #1 (OF 7)

BOOM
ADVENTURE TIME FIONNA & CAKE CARD WARS #6 (OF 6)
ARCADIA #7
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK #13
MUNCHKIN #12
TYSON HESSE DIESEL #4 (OF 4)
VENUS #1
WILDS END ENEMY WITHIN #4 (OF 4)

DARK HORSE
BTVS SEASON 10 #22
FIGHT CLUB 2 #8
ITTY BITTY HELLBOY SEARCH FOR THE WERE-JAGUAR #2
KING CONAN WOLVES BEYOND THE BORDER #1 (OF 4)
PAYBACKS #4

DYNAMITE
VOLTRON FROM THE ASHES #4 (OF 6)

IDW
ROCKETEER AT WAR #1 (OF 4)
STAR TREK ONGOING #52
STRING DIVERS #5 (OF 5)
TMNT ONGOING #53
TRANSFORMERS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS EYE #48
TRANSFORMERS VS GI JOE #10
WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES #726
X-FILES X-MAS SPECIAL

IMAGE
CHEW #53
DEADLY CLASS #17
INVISIBLE REPUBLIC #8
ISLAND #5
JUPITERS CIRCLE VOL 2 #2
MONSTRESS #2
NAMELESS #6
NO MERCY #5
OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #14
PRETTY DEADLY #7
SAGA #32
WALKING DEAD #149

ONI
BLOOD FEUD #3 (OF 5)
HELLBREAK #9
STRINGERS #5 (OF 5)

VALIANT
BLOODSHOT REBORN #9
DR MIRAGE SECOND LIVES #1 (OF 4)
RAI #12

MISC
DOCTOR WHO 11TH YEAR TWO #4
DOCTOR WHO 12TH #15
HIP HOP FAMILY TREE #5
KING #3 (OF 5)
PRINCELESS MAKE YOURSELF #0
WAKFU #1 (OF 8)
WELCOME TO SHOWSIDE #2

MAGAZINES
MARVEL PREVIEWS #6 JANUARY 2016
PREVIEWS #328 JANUARY 2016

TRADES
ABSOLUTE GREEN LANTERN GREEN ARROW HC
ALPHA HC (KNOCKABOUT)
ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS HC VOL 02 MORE FILM ART
ATTACK ON TITAN GN VOL 17
BPRD HELL ON EARTH TP VOL 12 METAMORPHOSIS
CHEECH WIZARDS BOOK OF ME HC
DEATHSTROKE THE TERMINATOR TP VOL 02 SYMPATHY
DEEP STATE TP VOL 02
DEMON TP VOL 01 HELLS HITMAN
FICTION SQUAD TP
FUTURE IMPERFECT TP WARZONES
GRINDHOUSE MIDNIGHT TP VOL 04 LADY DANGER & NEBULI
KAPTARA TP VOL 01 FEAR NOT TINY ALIEN
MASTER OF KUNG FU TP BATTLEWORLD
MU ULT SPIDER-MAN WEB WARRIORS DIGEST TP VOL 03
PLANETES OMNIBUS TP VOL 01
ROBYN HOOD ONGOING TP VOL 03 ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
ROCHE LIMIT TP VOL 02 CLANDESTINY
SCALPED HC BOOK 03 DELUXE EDITION
SESAME STREET BLAST FROM THE PAST
STAR WARS ARTIFACT ED HC
SUPERMAN ACTION COMICS HC VOL 07 UNDER THE SKIN
SUPERMAN ACTION COMICS TP VOL 06 SUPERDOOM
TABLE TITANS TP VOL 01 FIRST ENCOUNTERS
TEEN DOG TP
TMNT ULT COLL HC VOL 06
WHERE MONSTERS DWELL TP PHANTOM EAGLE FLIES SAVAGE SKIES
WOODS TP VOL 03
X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION TP GIFT

MERCH
DC ICONS THE FLASH CHAIN LIGHTNING AF
GOON PLUSH
INVADER ZIM GIR ON PIG STATUE
POP PEANUTS SNOOPY & WOODSTOCK VINYL FIG
VERTIGO IZOMBIE STATUE

BACK IN STOCK
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4
GWENPOOL SPECIAL #1
HARLEYS LITTLE BLACK BOOK #1
MONSTRESS #1 2ND PTG
ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 01

ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 02

Monday, December 14, 2015

ALL STAR COMICS RECOMMENDS FOR DECEMBER 15TH


There are as many risks in attempting a cat-based comics column as there are cat comics themselves. Surprisingly ubiquitous, these little furry ninjas turn up everywhere, some with great PR fanfare (the recent comics arrival of *sigh* Grumpy Cat), some becoming cult hits (Saga’s Lying Cat), some you realise have been with you your whole life (Garfield), some turn up in gritty noir tales (Blacksad), some live around the corner from you (Cats of Brunswick I Have Touched) and some you discover formed a cornerstone of indie comics publishing that you embarrassingly had no idea the importance of (King Cat Comics). 

If you want some serious feline comics action, however, Japan is where it’s at. Like the anguished mating cries of Osakan street cats wailing up into the night from almost every alley, you don’t have to look too hard to find one. In fact, you may just stumble across one, as I did when I discovered Nekopanchi, or “Cat Punch.” If you’re unsure just how a cat punches (surely it’s more of a swipe, right?), just shut up and enjoy this gratuitously inserted three minute video of cats “punching” things.


Nekopanchi is enough to make a reader bemoan the state of Western comics. This is a monthly, I say again *monthly,* anthology comic regularly weighing in at over 400 pages of cat comics – with full colour glossy inserts, stickers and photo spreads of the monthly feature cat also included – for the measly price of around $5.50 AU. I love it so much I bought two issues.

If anything proves the versatility and range of this medium, it’s Nekopanchi with its roster of cute cats, ugly cats, young cats, old cats, bad cats, good cats, hungry cats, cats in feudal Japan, cats in magical realms, mean cats, kind cats, bipedal cats, cheeky cats, cats drawn as little more than a black shape and cats drawn with near perfect realism. “Okaiharuko” is one of the best things here that I’ve attempted to read. It’s late at night and our feline protagonist, with all the gravity of a heist film, is determined to break into the fridge. Covering himself in bags and children’s pyjama bottoms to cover his tracks, he sneaks into the kitchen – through an air vent no less – breaks into the fridge and pulls forth a massive fish. Suffering a crisis of conscience, he initially decides he just can’t go through with it but the temptation proves too great and he wars with both his conscience and his owner in true cheeky cat style.


If you can’t get to Japan or have no patience and/or time to learn the language, however, no sweat, I've got you covered. One of the more beloved cat manga is Kanata Konami’s Chi’s Sweet Home, about a cute little cat who gets lost, then adopted by a family who are not allowed to have pets. I must confess that I’ve never read it, but as it’s in English from Vertical I’ve really no excuse and will get onto that in the New Year. Yes, I’m being totally serious.

Anyway, here are some cat comics I actually have read. Oh, and if you hate cats? That’s fine…I guess… the October ’78 issue of Heavy Metal is included below as something of a palate cleanser.


COMIC OF THE WEEK : JUNJI ITO’S CAT DIARY: YON & MU 

By Junji Ito 
Published By Kodansha Comics 

“From The Creator of Uzumaki!” reads the cover of Junji Ito’s Cat Diary. That made me laugh a bit.

Uzumaki, for the uninitiated is Manga-ka Junji Ito’s bizarre and grotesque 600 page horror manga about a cursed coastal town haunted by a spiral pattern that affects everything from weather to architecture to flesh. It’s a J-Horror classic and a stunningly odd piece of comics, typical of Ito’s output. Ito was last mentioned in this column in July with the release of Fragments of Horror, his latest collection of short stories, mostly focussing of the Lovecraftian insanity inherent in capturing a glimpse of the supernatural beyond. He’s also responsible of Gyo, a tale of mechanised sea-life attacking Tokyo en masse, and Tomie, about a supernatural girl who’s sort of the embodiment of lust, able to make men fall in love with her and commit all manner of violence and horrible deeds (sometimes against her very own person). Weird, heady, gross stuff all. It is a strange thing then, at first, to see this legend of the macabre, horrific and offbeat trying his hand at diarised cat comics. That is until you actually read the thing and see just how well Ito’s creeping suspense and affinity for the macabre lends itself to comedy. In fact, and I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, behind Uzumaki, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is easily my favourite of his works that I’ve read.

J-kun (Ito) buys a new house in a quiet town and moves in with his fiancée, A-ko. He appears to be living the suburban dream until A-ko announces that she’s bringing Yon, the family cat, to live with them. Yon is an odd creature even by the typically high standards of bizarre cat behaviour. He suckles at A-ko’s little finger as though it’s a teat, has a “cursed face” and black spots on his white back that look like the face from Munch’s “The Scream” (this is actually no invention on Ito’s part, backed up by photographic evidence supplied within the book). J-kun very quickly transforms into one of his own manga protagonists, sweaty, pale, manic, unable to handle to terror coming his way, and quickly begins to cat-proof his home like Ash Williams expecting Deadites to come a-knocking.

“Awful, shiny” sheets of plastic are tacked up on his new walls to prevent scratching and a massive cat tower – which he must assemble of course- is purchased. Ready for war with Yon, J-Kun goes positively boggle-eyed at the mere mention of the cat, and A-ko’s insistence that Yon will need a feline friend to help with the transition to his new home is greeted with terrified acquiescence.

A-ko is rendered as the ultimate cat-lady gone crazed – smiling insanely, she is constantly drawn without pupils, her wide, white-eyes under the spell of some supernatural cat fever. Surprisingly, however, she’s not the only one to catch it. Despite his initial resistance, J-kun finds himself falling very quickly for the feline charms of Mu, the kitten chosen to be Yon’s live-in cat pal. “I’m going to gobble you up!” he screams, snatching Mu from A-ko’s grasp, his face disjointed and elongated at the jaw, like Bissette and Totleben drawing a possessed, vomit-spewing Matthew Cable in Swamp Thing, as he starts rolling around, cat clutched to his chest, giggling like child. And when Yon arrives and just as quickly charms J-kun, the artist transforms from quivering paranoiac to gibbering buffoon, desperate to win the affections of the animals that he’s still wary of, animals that now rule his home and rearrange his life.

Ito’s horror techniques and gift for presenting the weird in the everyday fill the book, creating all the humour. From the facial expressions of the humans to the by turns adorable and demonic appearances of the two cats, Ito quite expertly turns horror into comedy – Yon clawing a door open and squeezing his way through like some monster, a formerly stray cat named Goro that’s represented as a ghostly streak, never to be fully seen, the blank emotionless face of Yon upon arrival, body horror in a squishy cat poop, the crazed gaze of A-ko, J-kun’s own wide-mouthed terror at the impending arrival of the “cursed cat” Yon – it all taps into the visual hallmarks of Ito’s career as the weird and the “other” arrives, literally, at his own doorstep. It’s almost a relief that someone with such ghastly things living in his head is able to turn it all around and poke fun at not only his body of work but at himself.

Supplemented with reader questions inserted into the chapter breaks (“Questions For J-Sensei!”) and photographs of the book’s two cat stars, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is the perfect entry point to Ito’s weird, weird worlds. No wonder the whole project was his editor’s idea…


WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : EAT, SLEEP, SNIFF
By Rus Hudda

A plethora of feline-based webcomics to pick from, but in the end only one real choice: Rus Hudda’s wonderful Eat, Sleep, Sniff, which features his real-life dealings with his cat, Tali in much sweeter fashion that Ito’s with Yon and Mu. From checking cancerous lumps, to sleeping and eating habits to the constant surprises one faces in sharing your life with furry playful predators, Eat, Sleep, Sniff is by turns funny, sad and heart-warming. Featuring all the goofy feline antics any cat-lover could ask for in an ongoing four-panel diary comic, Hudda’s genuine love and care for his cat shines through. Tali is treated as one of the family, an equal in many ways, making the chapters dealing with vet visits particularly all the sweeter.




COUNTDOWN TO MOZ METAL: HEAVY METAL OCTOBER 1978

Your cat intermission for the week comes in the form of the excellent October 1978 issue of Heavy Metal, which showcase the debut of Metal Hurlant editor(and Conquering Armies scripter) Jean Claude Dionnet and Enki (The Niktopol Trilogy) Bilal’s “Exterminator 17.” A supposedly deactivated android – the now obsolete seventeenth version of the Exterminator android – return home, purpose unknown, just in time for his ageing maker’s death. Bilal’s gorgeous black and white pages feature Steve Dillon-esque faces (something I’ve never noticed before in his work, he must have been a clear influence on young Dillon) with Moebius hatching and both open backgrounds of pure white and intricate tech-filled backdrops. I’m also reminded of Frank Miller’s Ronin in both costuming, machinery and fine almost organic circuitry, which should be unsurprising as Ronin was as influenced by pioneering Euro SF bandes dessinee as it was by Lone Wolf & Cub. Anyway, this is lovely stuff, immediately re-invigorating the magazine in only a dozen or so pages.

Gray Morrow’s “Orion”, as much as I love it, looks positively archaic in comparison to Bilal’s evergreen SF artistry, but Nicole Claveloux’s “Off-Season” with its similarly black and white pages, finely-inked panels is an appropriate follow-on, even with her characters leaning far more into the realm of cartoonishness. 

The insane detail of Druillet’s Kirby-on-some-nightmare-stimulant pages ramps up in the latest chapter of “Gail” and it makes me wish that John Workman’s organic, proto Simonson-Thor lettering could have been retained for the current Titan reprints of the Lone Sloane adventures. The Titan editions are beautiful books and I’m happy to have them but, man, that lettering font is pretty generic. As he did with his later work with Simonson, Workman manages to boost the cosmic angst of captions like “I will tear asunder that which woke me and wants to prey on our hearts” as the demons who sought to manipulate Lone Sloane begin to have some second thoughts about their plan. Druillet of course brings panoramic epicness to his colour pages – only four of which comprise this chapter – a superbly-placed jolt after the multi-panelled pages of Claveloux.

There’s even more Druillet this issue too (yay!) with the two page “Blob.” Something of a cosmic Icarus story, “Blob” features a traveller seeking “eternity” who urges his poor space steed “higher and faster” until it explodes and tumbles, a burning mess, back to the surface.

A concession to Halloween, an extract from the novelisation of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead follows, a curiosity to be sure, but not much outside of that. More “Heilman” is a good thing, as is more “Airtight Garage” and “…Arabian Nights.” Angus McKie’s “So Beautiful and So Dangerous” debuts, rather pretentiously and erroneously purporting to be “the first existential Science-Fiction comic story” (Sorry, Angus, not even close). Showcasing humanity’s hubris in believing itself to be the universe’s only technologically advanced species, McKie loads his colourful pages with all manner of aliens and spacecraft as Earth is visited by extra-terrestrials who are very quickly commercialised and evangelised . An intriguing, if highfalutin start, the gravitas of which is immediately and hilariously followed by an advertisement for a book on how to pick up girls that guarantees you’ll “pick up more girls in a month than most men do in a lifetime” and another, featuring a topless girl, titled “How To Make Love To A Single Girl.” 

That right there is the clearest example of the dichotomy of the HM aesthetic I can recall: from cerebral cosmic SF artistry to tits with the flip of a page.

Right. Back to the cats.

                           


COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK  : マイケル#1 

I’m calling it now, Makoto Kobayashi’s What’s Michael is the greatest cat comic of all time. Focussed on a ginger cat named Michael and his misadventures, the series spawned a very successful anime and Michael managed to cross over into the popular consciousness. He was such a force that he even appeared in an advertisement for an NEC CD player that cost almost 60,000 yen to own (that’s well over $600). Kobayashi’s rubbery-faced humans, frequently gaping at Michael, are perfectly cartooned and Michael’s misadventures, from arriving on porn sets, to playing sports, to battling colds, split into either bizarre fantasy or poke fun at the comparatively humdrum existence of us humans. 

Both types of Michael adventures can be found in this episode of his anime, which starts off with animals playing baseball then moves into the “real” with Michael descending a building, floor by floor, balcony by balcony. It’s the latter I really recommend, starting around 3:44 in, as no Japanese knowledge is required and the episode shows off Kobayashi’s comedic gifts. Sadly out of print these days, the Dark Horse editions of What’s Michael? are commanding a pretty hefty price. Hopefully, the publisher brings the series back in omnibus format as it’s seriously good stuff, skillfully cartooned, brilliantly paced. 




See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 16th of December


The pressure of waiting for Star Wars getting to you? Why not relax on you journey to a galaxy far, far away with some sweet, sweet comic reading! Here is what's on offer this week.

Well, this week could only really start with Star Wars comic right? How's the first DARTH VADER ANNUAL #1 sound? See JLA archetypes going to town in a Marvel setting is always fun and there is sure to be plenty of that in SQUADRON SUPREME #1. Another two new #1's of Marvel this week the teen adventures of guardians of the cosmos, STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK #1 and unsettling oddness of WEIRDWORLD #1. Character defining moments continue to unfold in the legend of the greatest hero with SUPERMAN AMERICAN ALIEN #2. LUCIFER #1 just in time for the new TV series based on the title character, we get a noirish, buddy detective tale in which Lucifer has been framed for the murder of God. Greg Rucka enters the realm of fantasy for Dark Horse's latest series of DRAGON AGE MAGEKILLER #1. How will you judge the one that judges in IDW's most recent series of JUDGE DREDD (ONGOING) #1. Ancient evil, Elder Gods, Mignola, Batman. Yes, it's the long out of print Bat tale you didn't know you absolutely needed to own, BATMAN THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM TP. Perfect for this time of year, continue with the early years tales/origin of Santa from Grant Morrison in KLAUS #2. A Deadpool one shot with a difference, it's written in Spanish. Find out exactly how loco he is in DEADPOOL #3.1 TRES PUNTO UNO. Lose yourself in the meandering tales of GRAMPA SIMPSONS CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE #1. The perfect xmas gift for the gamer you know or maybe just for yourself with the book celebrating one of the biggest game releases this year, ART OF FALLOUT 4 HC. Miss out on all the teen drama when Waid and Staples Archie #1 was released? Get up to speed with the goss with ARCHIE COLLECTORS ED.

All this and more to get excited about while you wait for Star Wars this week. Anything else we can help you with, just let us know!


MARVEL
ALL NEW INHUMANS #2
ALL NEW X-MEN #2
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.1
DARK TOWER DRAWING OF THREE LADY OF SHADOWS #4 (OF 5)
DARTH VADER ANNUAL #1
DEADPOOL #3.1 TRES PUNTO UNO
ILLUMINATI #2
KANAN #9
MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE SEASON TWO #14
MARVELS CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR PRELUDE #1 (OF 4)
MIGHTY THOR #2
MS MARVEL #2
SILK #2
SQUADRON SUPREME #1
STARBRAND AND NIGHTMASK #1
ULTIMATE END #5 (OF 5) SWA
UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #3
UNCANNY INHUMANS #3
WEB WARRIORS #2
WEIRDWORLD #1

DC COMICS
BATGIRL #46
BATMAN 66 #30
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #11
BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT GENESIS #5 (OF 6)
BATMAN EUROPA #2 (OF 4)
HARLEY QUINN #23 POLYBAG VAR ED
JUSTICE LEAGUE #46 LOONEY TUNES VAR ED
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #16
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #7
SECRET SIX #9
SUPERMAN AMERICAN ALIEN #2 (OF 7)
TEEN TITANS GO #13
WE ARE ROBIN #7 (ROBIN WAR)

VERTIGO
CLEAN ROOM #3
LUCIFER #1
RED THORN #2

BOOM
ADVENTURE TIME #47
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #19
BOOM BOX 2015 MIX TAPE #1
COGNETIC #3
HACKTIVIST VOL 2 #6 (OF 6)
KLAUS #2
LUMBERJANES #21
POWER UP #6 (OF 6)
REGULAR SHOW #30
SPIRE #5 (OF 8)

DARK HORSE
BPRD HELL ON EARTH #138
DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2014 #17
DEATH HEAD #5 (OF 6)
DRAGON AGE MAGEKILLER #1 (OF 5)
EVE VALKYRIE #3 (OF 4)
ROOK #3
STEAM MAN #3 (OF 5)


IDW
JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
JUDGE DREDD (ONGOING) #1
MAXX MAXXIMIZED #26
MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #37
STAR TREK STARFLEET ACADEMY #1 (OF 5)
UNCLE SCROOGE #9

IMAGE
ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE #7
AUTUMNLANDS TOOTH & CLAW #8
AXCEND #3
BEAUTY #5
DESCENDER #8
FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS #3
GODDAMNED #2
HUCK #2
I HATE FAIRYLAND #3
INVINCIBLE #126
PHONOGRAM THE IMMATERIAL GIRL #5 (OF 6)
SEX #26
SOUTHERN CROSS #6
TECH JACKET #12
TITHE #7
TOKYO GHOST #4
WAYWARD #12
WICKED & DIVINE #17

ONI
EXODUS LIFE AFTER #2

VALIANT
IMPERIUM #11
IVAR TIMEWALKER #12
WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR #2

MISC
CROSSED PLUS 100 #12
DOCTOR WHO 10TH YEAR TWO #3
GRAMPA SIMPSONS CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE #1
KUNG FU PANDA #3 (OF 4)
REPLICA #1
SUPERZERO #1

TRADES
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RENEW YOUR VOWS TP
ARCHIE COLLECTORS ED
ART OF FALLOUT 4 HC
AVATAR LAST AIRBENDER TP VOL 11 SMOKE & SHADOW PART 2
BATMAN SUPERMAN HC VOL 04 SIEGE
BATMAN SUPERMAN TP VOL 03 SECOND CHANCE
BATMAN THE DOOM THAT CAME TO GOTHAM TP
CATWOMAN TP VOL 04 THE ONE YOU LOVE
DOCTOR WHO 10TH HC VOL 03 FOUNTAINS OF FOREVER
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS LEGEND OF DRIZZT TP VOL 03 SOJOURN
EMPTY ZONE TP VOL 01 CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DEAD
HENCHMEN I HENCHBOT TP
HERO HC VOL 02
HEROS DEATH TP
INFERNO WARZONES TP
INUYASHIKI GN VOL 01
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED HC VOL 02 THE INFINITUS SAGA
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED TP VOL 01 JUSTICE LEAGUE CANADA
KNIGHT RIDER TP VOL 02 KNIGHT STRIKES
LADY DEMON HELL TO PAY TP
LADY ZORRO BLOOD & LACE TP
LEGENDERRY VAMPIRELLA TP
LONG DISTANCE TP
MODOK ASSASSIN TP
MUSHOKU TENSEI JOBLESS REINCARNATION GN VOL 01
NEW LONE WOLF AND CUB TP VOL 07
NEXUS INTO THE PAST TP
PINOCCHIO VAMPIRE SLAYER & THE VAMPIRE ZOO
POSTAL TP VOL 02
QUEST FOR TIME BIRD GN
RED SONJA BLACK TOWER TP
SIMPSONS COMICS CHAOS TP
STAR WARS LEGENDS EPIC COLLECTION TP INFINITIES
STRANGE SPORTS STORIES TP
STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONIST GN BOOK 01
TOKYO GHOUL GN VOL 04
WEIRDWORLD TP VOL 00 WARZONES
WITCHER TP VOL 02 FOX CHILDREN

MERCH
BATMAN ANIMATED SERIES KILLER CROC W BABY DOLL AF
BATMAN ANIMATED SERIES MASK OF THE PHANTASM AF 2 P
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS JOKER & HARLEY QUINN STATUE
DC ICONS GREEN LANTERN HAL JORDAN DARK DAYS DLX AF

BACK IN STOCK
ALL NEW WOLVERINE #1
BACK TO THE FUTURE #2 (OF 5) 2ND PTG
DOCTOR STRANGE #1
DOCTOR STRANGE #2
PAPER GIRLS #1
PAPER GIRLS #2
PLUTONA #1
PLUTONA #2
PLUTONA #3
SUPERMAN AMERICAN ALIEN #1 (OF 7)

UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #1

Monday, December 7, 2015

ALL STAR COMICS RECOMMENDS FOR DECEMBER 8TH




SHIGERU MIZUKI 1922-2015



The comics and anime world lost another of its pioneers and grand old gentlemen last week when manga-kaShigeru Mizuki passed away aged 93. A titan of his field in his native Japan, where he pioneered yokai (folklore monsters and ghosts) manga and played a huge role in the development ofgekiga (dramatic pictures) manga, he will no doubt be largely remembered for the hugely popular GeGeGe no Kitaro series about a 300 year old monster boy and his eyeball father who face all manner of Japanese yokai­. Sadly, it’s only in the last few years that Mizuki managed to get some serious attention from English readers thanks to Drawn & Quarterly translating and releasing his work Stateside in huge, handsomely designed editions.



D & Q’s 2011 release of Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths (1973) was my first Mizuki work. Initially I found the incongruity between the super realistic backgrounds and the highly caricatured people who populated them slightly jarring, but it wasn’t long before Mizuki’s “fictionionalized memoir” of his time in WWII (during which, in real life, he lost an arm) won me over with its sympathetic portrayal of soldiers stuck fighting in the pacific amidst disease, despair and fatality. The chirpiness of his goofy, big-mouthed everyman characters somehow drive home the horrors of war even harder with their cartoonish appearance. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is an incredible work, a classic of the war comics genre and a fine example of comics as capital-L Literature, worthy of its 2012 Eisner win for Best US Edition of International Material – Asia.


NonNonBa (1978) followed, this time mixing semi-autobiography with yokaiin a Japan on the verge of massive change. Young Shige, standing in for the author, is captivated by a local elderly lady’s tales of the monsters of folklore and finds his considerable troubles eased by her company and his ever-expanding knowledge of an ancient spirit world. In this video, Mizuki talks of yokai with a twinkle in his eye, describing how under the lights of modern Japan, a land transformed from the Edo period in which they thrived, the yokai simply “can’t survive.” 


D&Q released a hefty Kitaro book in 2013 (from works created between 1967-69), with more to come starting next year, compiling some of the monster boy’s finest adventures and showcasing Mizuki’s gifts at creating an endless amount of startling, humorously designed yokai for Kitaro to both team with and face off against.The volume’s highlights include “The Great Yokai War” in which Kitaro recruits a gang of yokai to take on Western monsters including Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula and the werewolf, “Creature From The Deep” in which Kitaro is transformed into a massive, hairy kaiju “bent on destroying Tokyo” and forced to fight a giant robot (one of the first such stories apparently) and a terrific yokai glossary.


Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler came out only several weeks ago. It’s an absorbing read, told with Mizuki’s signature juxtaposition between the cartoonishness of his figures and the realism of his backgrounds as well as displaying some serious intent in creating a biographical portrait of the dictator with substance and depth. Following Adolf Hitler from failed artist sleeping on benches, to draft dodger to WWI Iron Cross winning war hero to fuehrer to suicide, this is an expansive and thorough exploration of Hitler’s life, populated with so many people that a two page cast of characters kicks the whole thing off. Ambitious in scale, Hitler is also impressive in its visual transformation of Adolf from scruffy vagrant to deluded, crazy-eyed politician with Mizuki’s excellent narration both illuminating the changes in the man and carrying the fact-filled, history driven narrative rapidly onwards with succinct little gems like: “Hitler transforms beyond the dreams of the artist. The writer’s pen is his true power, not the painter’s brush.”


Covering Japanese history from 1926-1989, Mizuki’s four-volume (1988-89) sits on my shelf, all 2000-odd pages of it, long earmarked for a Christmas 2015 reading. It took D&Q a few years to bring the whole series to print but even on a cursory flip through it’s clearly worth the wait to absorb in one long stretch with Mizuki again mixing history and biography in this epic project.

Hopefully, I’m not the only one who will take some time these upcoming holidays to reflect upon the amount of work Mizuki created, the range and surface of which I’ve barely scraped here, work that won major Japanese, French and American awards. His characters are cultural institutions and, as evidenced by The Mizuki Shigeru Road in Mizuki’s hometown of Sakaiminato (in Tottori Prefecture), tourist hotspots. He leaves behind a legacy as large as his output.

WEBCOMIC OF THE WEEK : MANGA CREATOR SHIGERU MIZUKI OWES LONG LIFE TO BURGERS PIZZA AND SWEETS

No webcomic this week, in its place is this adorable little article on how much Shigeru Mizuki loved junk food. Hopefully, we’ll see at least some of If You Go Ahead and Eat, You’ll Be Happy – The Daily Healthy Life of The Mizuki Brothers (discussed within) sooner rather than later. “In the end, when it’s your time to go, you die,” Mizuki says. “When it’s your time to live, you live. It all comes from the genes you got from your parents.”


COMICS VIDEO OF THE WEEK : GEGEGE NO KITARO 60s (OP)

Lots of GeGeGeno Kitaro videos to choose from, including a fully subtitled but awful looking live action movie from 2008, but in the end I went with this one, the opening to the ‘60s anime, in lovely black and white and subtitled for your convenience. A fitting testimony to the longevity and deep cultural penetration of Mizuki’s work, this video also showcases the cutesiness of Mizuki’s character design and the atmospherics of his settings.


Rest in peace, Shigeru-sensei.




See you next week. Love your comics.


Cameron Ashley spends a lot of time writing comics and other things you’ll likely never read. He’s the chief editor and co-publisher of Crime Factory (www.thecrimefactory.com). You can reach him @cjamesashley on Twitter.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

New Comics For Wednesday 9th of December


After a lovely weekend of looking over Brian K Vaughan's stunning Private Eye Deluxe Hardcover, we are just in time to recharge our comic batteries with this week's incoming list!Oh but before we get to that, we'd like to announce a in-store event we'll be hosting next Sunday the 13th of December...

Presto’s The Big Bang Theory Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tournament


Thank's to Presto and The Big Bang Theory, on Sunday 13th December 11am-4pm we'll be playing host to Australia's first Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tournament. It's an open invite and there will be prizes on offer. Bonus All Star points for anyone keen enough to show up in cosplay too, whether be as your favourite hero or character from Big Bang! Should be a great, so hopefully catch you ringside on the day!

Now COMICS!

What a way to creating a hugely popular new comic character? Mash two already popular characters together and see what happens in GWENPOOL SPECIAL #1. Delve deeper into the mystery of the Avengers resident hex caster with SCARLET WITCH #1. BATMAN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 is something you may have never thought you'd live to see but thankfully DC and IDW have come together to make one of the oddest team up's of all time happen. Get swept away in the DKIII hype all over again with the chance to pick up the first issue special edition in DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 (OF 8) COLLECTORS ED. Trouble in love? Why not create the perfect romantic partner with a collection of personalities of history's greatest lovers because that exactly what Peter Milligan has done in NEW ROMANCER #1. A perfect society with no war, poverty or hunger comes with a mysterious high price, so we find out in Image's SYMMETRY #1. Fan's of Criminal and Stray Bullets definitely need to pick up Ed Brisson's latest "hard luck" tales in another Image first, VIOLENT #1. Some late 90's Vertigo horror tales from some of the best talent in the game back then and today in the new printing of FLINCH TP BOOK 01. Fargo meets Witness in BOOM's latest SNOW BLIND #1. And two local's art appearing on covers this week. For something a little different try INSEXTS #1, a racy new series about a pair of friends set in the Victorian era that get mixed in with the occult and develop "sexy" insect abilities? SIXTH GUN DUST TO DEATH TP gives us our half yearly fill of spooky supernatural western adventures. One of the year's biggest indie hits, about the point of no return with a powers flair gets collected in WE CAN NEVER GO HOME TPAnd also a big shout out to Erin Hunting on the GRUMPY CAT #3 cover and Jeffrey "Chumba" Cruz on the new series STREET FIGHTER UNLIMITED #1!

Anything else you notice that you might be after, just let us know and we'll get it sorted.


MARVEL
ALL NEW HAWKEYE #2
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4
BLACK KNIGHT #2
CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #3
DEADPOOL #3
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #3
GWENPOOL SPECIAL #1
HERCULES #2
MARVEL UNIVERSE GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #3
MAX RIDE #2 (OF 5) ULTIMATE FLIGHT
SCARLET WITCH #1
SECRET WARS #8 (OF 9) SWA
SPIDER-GWEN #3
SPIDER-MAN 2099 #4
STAR WARS ANNUAL #1
ULTIMATES #2
UNCANNY AVENGERS #3

DC COMICS
BATMAN #47 HARLEY QUINN POLYBAG ED
BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #10
BATMAN SUPERMAN #27
BATMAN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 (OF 6)
CATWOMAN #47
CONSTANTINE THE HELLBLAZER #7
DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 (OF 8) COLLECTORS ED
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #6
DETECTIVE COMICS #47 (ROBIN WAR)
EARTH 2 SOCIETY #7
GOTHAM ACADEMY #13 (ROBIN WAR)
GRAYSON #15 (ROBIN WAR)
GREEN ARROW #47 HARLEY QUINN POLYBAG ED
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARKSEID WAR LEX LUTHOR #1
NEW SUICIDE SQUAD #15
RED HOOD ARSENAL #7 (ROBIN WAR)
STARFIRE #7
TELOS #3

VERTIGO
FABLES THE WOLF AMONG US #12
NEW ROMANCER #1 (OF 12)
SLASH & BURN #2
TWILIGHT CHILDREN #3 (OF 4)

BOOM
GIANT DAYS #9 (OF 12)
LANTERN CITY #8 (OF 12)
MUNCHKIN DECK THE DUNGEONS #1
OVER THE GARDEN WALL #4
SNOW BLIND #1

DARK HORSE
ABE SAPIEN #29
ALABASTER THE GOOD THE BAD & THE BIRD #1
HARROW COUNTY #8
MASSIVE NINTH WAVE #1
MIRRORS EDGE EXORDIUM #4
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES GARDEN WARFARE #2 (OF 3)
REBELS #9

DYNAMITE
GRUMPY CAT #3 (OF 3) CVR ERIN HUNTING
PATHFINDER HOLLOW MOUNTAIN #2 (OF 6)
PRECINCT #1 (OF 5)

IDW
BACK TO THE FUTURE #3 (OF 4)
EIGHTH SEAL #1 (OF 5)
MICKEY & DONALD CHRISTMAS PARADE
MICKEY MOUSE #7
MY LITTLE PONY HOLIDAY SPECIAL
STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN #6 (OF 6)
STAR TREK ONGOING #52
TMNT AMAZING ADVENTURES #5

IMAGE
BIRTHRIGHT #12
CODENAME BABOUSHKA CONCLAVE OF DEATH #3
FASTER THAN LIGHT #4
HEAD LOPPER #2
LIMBO #2
MONSTRESS #2
NO MERCY #5
SAINTS #3
STRAY BULLETS SUNSHINE & ROSES #10
SYMMETRY #1
TREES #13
VIOLENT #1
WALKING DEAD #149
WE STAND ON GUARD #6 (OF 6)

ONI
INVADER ZIM #5
RICK & MORTY #8

VALIANT
IVAR TIMEWALKER #11
NINJAK #10
UNITY #25

MISC
BLACKLIST #5
BROKEN MOON #3 (OF 4)
DOCTOR WHO 11TH YEAR TWO #3
DOCTOR WHO 12TH #16
DOCTOR WHO 8TH #2 (OF 5)
HEROES VENGEANCE #3 (OF 5)
HIP HOP FAMILY TREE #4
INSEXTS #1
RACHEL RISING #38
SECONDS HELPING DRAWING ASST MEMOIR ONE SHOT
SPONGEBOB COMICS #51
STREET FIGHTER UNLIMITED #1 CRUZ ULTRA JAM COVER
THE TROLL (ONE SHOT)
WES CRAVEN COMING OF RAGE #3 (OF 5)

TRADES
AMAZING WORLD GUMBALL ORIGINAL GN VOL 01 FAIRY TAL
BLACK PANTHER BY PRIEST TP COMPLETE COLLECTION
BUNKER TP VOL 03
COLLECTED ESSEX COUNTY LTD ED HC
CROGAN ADVENTURES COLOR GN VOL 02 LAST OF THE LEGI
DIFFERENT UGLINESS DIFFERENT MADNESS HC
DRIFTER TP VOL 02
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK TP VOL 01
FEATHERS HC
FLINCH TP BOOK 01
GI JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO TP VOL 13
GRINDHOUSE MIDNIGHT TP VOL 04 LADY DANGER & NEBULINA
HARLEY QUINN HC VOL 03 KISS KISS BANG STAB
HARLEY QUINN TP VOL 02 POWER OUTAGE
HAWKEYE HC VOL 02
INFINITY GAUNTLET TP WARZONES
IRENE GN VOL 05
IZUNA DLX HC
JACK THE RIPPER HC
KID ETERNITY DELUXE ED HC
NEVERBOY TP
NEW VAMPIRELLA TP VOL 02 GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
POET ANDERSON DREAM WALKER HC
RUNAWAYS BATTLEWORLD TP
SHOWMAN KILLER HC VOL 01 (OF 3)
SIXTH GUN DUST TO DEATH TP
SNOW GN
SQUADRON SINISTER TP
SUICIDE SQUAD TP VOL 02 THE NIGHTSHADE ODYSSEY
TEEN TITANS GO TRUTH JUSTICE AND PIZZA TP
UNCLE GRANDPA TP VOL 01
VIOLENZIA & OTHER DEADLY AMUSEMENTS GN
WALKING WOUNDED UNCUT STORIES FROM IRAQ HC
WE CAN NEVER GO HOME TP

MERCH
DC COMICS ICONS JOKER STATUE
DC UNIVERSE FLASH CLASSIC COSTUME ARTFX+ STATUE

BACK IN STOCK
BACK TO THE FUTURE #1 (OF 5) 2ND P
KLAUS #1 (2ND PTG)
BATMAN ANIMATED SERIES MAN BAT AF
DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 (OF 8)
DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 (OF 8) BLANK VAR ED
DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 (OF 8) THOMPSON VAR
DARTH VADER #13 MANN CONNECTING VAR VDWN
DC COMICS BATMAN WOOD FIGURE
DC COMICS SUPERMAN WOOD FIGURE
JIM HENSONS STORYTELLER DRAGONS #1