February 2007
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Best Graphic Novels of 2006

Continuing in my series of the best of 2006, just finished my post on the best graphic novels of 2006 over at Splash Panel.

Frank Miller’s 300 review

I’ve reviewed Frank Miller’s 300 over at Splash Panel. It’s most definitely one of the few graphic novels that every red blooded male should have on their shelves.


Fables is one of the best series you can read by VERTIGO Comics. It’s written by Bill Willingham and illustrated (most of the time) by Mark Buckingham (who is without a doubt the nicest guy working in comics). I’ve effectively got to write my own little review; in the meantime there’s this excellent review to […]

The Authority: Revolution

It’s been a while since I read a proper Authority story. Last time it was the one issue found in the Coup D’etat mini-series which effectively sets the scene up for this story. Just finished reading Volume 1 of The Authority: Revolution (the mini-site also provides a little video interview with Dustin the artist of […]

Not just a Comic Book Baton

Jonas sent me a baton on Sunday, but due to work I’ve just not had the time to finish this off. This baton kind of feeds from the baton of earlier last week. Joen feels that the baton is something used by weblogs to disguise for lack of content. Interesting point. I don’t really need […]

San Diego Comic Con 2005

Like last year, I’ll be commenting on all the various bits and pieces coming out of the San Diego Comic Convention (biggest anglophone comic book convention, I think Angoulême in France is biggest, although I could be wrong). This will be mainly things that I’m interested in or excited about.

A lot of crap comes […]

Podcasting Experience

So I finally got round to hearing my first set of Podcasts. These were courtesy of Augie De Blick (it’s funny by Augie’s been on the default WP theme for like over a year now, first time I’ve seen him do anything to that site is add that logo of his, which btw is a […]

His Dark Materials in 2007?

What the fuck? Was I sleeping at the wheel when this happened? So go check this little link out will you. Apart from the very nice Optimus Prime right in the front and centre of the image, check right behind, oh yes is that the cover to Northern Lights? I think it is.

The Fantasy […]

Slam Dunk

No I didn’t but it would be nice to experience that. However I’ve been reading Inoue Takehiko’s SLAM DUNK. This was a manga done in what it would seem the early to mid 90s. The series ran 31 volumes in Japan (each volume having around 180 pages). It was originally published in the US and […]

Tales of the Otori

Ages ago, when I finshed Grass for his Pillow I said that I’d write a better more full review of the great trilogy, Tales of the Otori. This set of books caught my eye in an ad on the tube in Camden. I remember the poster clearly since it’s also the cover of the first […]

Fables: Mean Seasons

Fables Volume 5: The Mean Seasons
My rating: 5 out of 5

Just finished reading this volume, and it’s part of my new scheme, to write a review straight after I’ve finished reading the book. Now for those in the dark, Fables is a fantastic series by Bill Willingham and the excellent Mark Buckingham (who’s such a nice person as well).

What’s it about?
It tells the story of what happens to all the fables of children’s stories after they’ve ended, but there’s a twist. They’ve been run out of their ‘homeland’ and are now living amongst us in downtown New York. They’ve got some magic to help prevent the ‘mundies’ (that’s me and you) from seeing their true form. King Cole is the Mayor of ‘Fabletown’, Snow White actually runs the show, and well the Big Bad Wolf is called Bigby Wolf and he’s the Sheriff of the town within a city. Did you know that Snow White has a sister? Apparently this is true, she’s called Rose Red.

The main mystery here is that the ‘Adversary’ is the person that effectively drove them out of their homelands, but we don’t know who the adversary actually is. His identity is a mystery. There’s an emmense amount of backstory involved here and Willingham is adding layers to the story.

What’s great for me is that I know what his style of writing actually is. Nothing stays the same. Time actually passes, months, years whatever the story calls for. He’s not scared to off characters, or change characters. Constantly introduces new characters that you just completely forgot about, and that adds yet another amazing layer to the already great cast of characters.

This book started 1 year before the release of Shrek, so don’t think this is cashing in on that story. It’s very different with a great deal of maturity involved here. It’s a Vertigo comic book series so there’s bound to be an edge here. The covers are provided by the SPECTACULAR James Jean, who’s my favourite artist of the past 2 years, easily. Never ceases to amaze me what the guy comes up with month in, month out.

The Art.
With volume 5, Mark’s not as on form as he was in volume 4 where it showed how much fun he was having illustrating every page. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing bad with the art but if you compare the two you’ll know what I mean. I got the feeling in volume 4 that he finally found his groove on the book. Knew every single character, and was experimenting with the page layouts every single page, and it was great. Added such a personal touch and essentially for me made it his completely. In this volume, not sure if it was something intentional (ie handed down by the editor) or due to lack of time, but that experimentation just wasn’t there to be found. Still certain ‘little’ aspects of the story were just too cute to mention (and I’m not going to because that would be a MAJOR spoiler and I hate spoilers).

I keep giving this series to friends of mine that are girls. They seem to love it more than I do. There’s something in this series that strikes a cord with female readers more than it does with male readers, but it’s a brilliant read for any gender. If you’re looking for something that will remind you of your childhood and then turn it on it’s head, I highly recommend you check out Fables. Chances are very high that you’ll come back for more.

Secret Identity

Superman: Secret Identity
My rating: 4 out of 5

I’ve not read a Superman comic since 1993. This was after the end of the Reign of the Supermen storyline, the one that followed Death of Superman storyline, and effectively got me into superhero comics and by extension into comics again. I say again because I was subscribed to MAD magazine, and had a massive Archie Comics collection before that.

The point is my buying anything Superman related means something fishy is going on. Oh sure I’m a smallville fan, but then again most people I talk to can find something appealing with that show. The GN (Graphic Novel) in question is called Superman: Secret Identity, and it’s crafted by the great team of Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. The last time I can remember these two gents got together and actually did a story together was for the great but ill-fated Shockrockets.

I’ve read the odd story by Kurt, a bit of Astro City, the great Marvels, Shockrockets, but I don’t hunt everything he does, only stuff that I think could probably interest me.

I absolutely love Stuart’s work, and he’s elevated his game a complete level with this series. He’s on another plateau, and I already thought the guy was an exceptionally talented artist.

This book has been released a while now, but I bought it on the basis of great reviews it’s gotten both from Augie over at CBR and Randy and Don. I’ve got to say it really doesn’t disappoint in any way.

The story follows a real life Clark Kent. He lives in our world, where Clark Kent is the character from the comics. He lives in Picketsville, and his parents thought it might be a good idea if they called him Clark. The irony of course is that he does have Superman’s powers. What really shines in this book is the singular and completely distinct voice that Kurt has given Clark. He’s meant to be real, and the skill involved in making him sound real is honestly amazing. There are loads of little details that I really appreciated in this book as well, I’d rather not say them because it’s better when you read them in the book.

I absolutely love the Lois in this version as well. I’ve generally got a thing for Lois’s (except the movie version, not such a fan), and she doesn’t disappoint in this version either.

The colours are muted and yet vibrant when they have to be. Stuart’s done everything, drawn, inked and coloured this book and it’s an amazing body of work, worth the entry cost alone. Add the fantastic story and character development that’s been weaved into the story and it’s a book that is seriously deserving of your attention.

Self-Publishing for the Masses

My rating: 4 out of 5

A few weeks ago I picked up Larry Young�s True Facts collection of internet articles, around the topic of how to publish your own comic book. The articles were originally published on the now defunct Savant Mag website.

The book is a pocket guide, so you can guess the size of this thing, and it collects twenty-one articles and an introduction from Matt Fraction.

Since there was a bit of time between when the articles were written and when Larry finally got round to compiling the book itself, he�s gone back in and offered commentary on various topics he raised at the time, giving the news after the fact.

As an aspiring comic book creator, that will probably have to self publish my wares to the world, books like this are basically essential reading. If I come out with even a nugget of information that I deem useful it will have been worth the cover price.

There were a couple of articles in there that were exceptionally useful to me. Some articles where very amusing to read, while others went no absolutely nowhere.

I guess this isn�t exactly a detailed guide of what you have to do to write, draw, letter, colour, distribute, promote, sell your comic book work. What this book essentially is a checklist of sorts. It�s meant to bring certain topics to the fore for you to remember that your job as an independant creator of work does not end with the writing and the drawing.

It�s a light read and I guess that was the point, but if you�re interested in publishing on your own I guess True Facts is a nice primer on what you�re getting yourself into.

Smax the Barbarian

I’ve not read an Alan Moore book in a very very long time. Too long by my standards. I went through a massive Alan Moore phase 6 months back. Would buy something that had just come back into print every week, but I kinda wanted a bit of a breather. Not because Alan Moore got […]

The Technopriests

It was one of the things I on my new year’s resolution list, so this is the first in hopefully a long line of comic book reviews, or as I like to refer to them Graphic Novel reviews. The first to receive the proper treatment is The Technopriests.

Alexandro Jodorowsky is a creative genius. Now I […]