Background used by permission from M'Oak--go buy Thieves and Kings!
You can also check out reviews by
Johanna Draper Carlson. I don't agree with some of her evaluations, but
she is interested in many of the same books I read, so you can get an alternate
is surprising work from Dark Horse by
Miller and Varley. About Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. Real
superheroes for once. Small inaccuracies, and it takes a simplistic view of
the moral and political situation. Powerful artwork and storytelling. Unfortunately,
only a 5 issue mini-series. We die by your command. Go read Herodotus to see
why they fought for the honor of their regiment. See Age of Bronze
for more Greek fix, but from Shanower.
- Action Girl
was a feminist anthology that claims to be boy friendly. All I can say is that
Action Girl is a babe. Edited by Sarah Dyer. She is a Sanrio fanatic. After
introducing myself once, I got the feeling real quickly that I wasn't part
of the target audience. I still liked the book. (12-27-2007)
- The Adventures
of Evil and Malice After many delays this book by Jimmie Robinson
from Image is finally out. We Love Email.
Completed at three issues.
- Age of Bronze
Eric Shanower brings us the Trojan War via Image of all publishers. Currently
at issue 12 plus a special. Paris is a real jerk. The latest issue is just
getting into the story of Achilles, the original cross-dressing draft dodger.
I wonder how he'll deal with the fates of all those tragic Trojan princesses.
This is still coming out as individual issues, but it's easier to find in
the TPB form. (12-27-2007)
should be a book for children, but it has a certain all-ages charm. Little
Japanese girl living in America has adventures on another planet, Smoo. A
look-alike robot replaces her while she's off with Prof. Beeba, Spuckler,
Gax, and Poog. By Mark Criley, who spent some time in Japan. In fact in a
recent story arc the characters did visit Japan. Go out and buy.
The series ended at around 50 issues, but it's being re-issued in various forms.
- Aliens and Predators Dark
Horse has this cottage industry going, but occasionally there are some
good ones such as Predators visiting the Victorian era British Empire and
Mycroft Holmes commissioning an agent to go after them. Also a Civil War one
in which the Predators meet up with a Reb soldier who later becomes a certain
famous outlaw. Don't forget the original Aliens Vs Predators which featured
a Japanese businesswoman as the hero with a female Indian doctor sidekick,
who unfortunately doesn't survive. The AVP movie had a totall different story. Some of the Terminator mini-series are
also interesting, such as the Robo-Cop crossover.
The stories are being re-issued as giant (page count) omnibus volumes.
- Beowulf from Thecomic.com.
Completed three issue retelling of the Nordic saga. Powerful artwork and great
stuff in general. This came out before the recent literary "rediscovery" of
Beowulf. (c. May 2000) Go procure.
Lutes. Ongoing series about intellectuals in prewar Berlin. Incredible
idea for a comic book. Continuing albeit with large intervals between issues. Up to about issue 12 (12-26-2007).
of Magic from Vertigo, originally created by Neil Gaiman, combines
slice of life with titanic struggles between cosmic forces of good
and evil. The best passages deal with the adolescent struggles of the hero
Tim, the World's Greatest Mage and confused nerd. The structure is sort of
like Tenchi Muyo. The luckless hero is surrounded by a bevy of powerful females
who are often working at cross purposes. These include his girlfriend Molly,
the neighbor and succubus Leia, Marya from Russia, a girl from the Victorian
era, his maybe mother Titania of the faeries, Zatanna,
and even the Circe of mythology. There are a few I've left out. Recently Tim
himself has become a girl, or is at least passing himself off as one. Also,
don't miss the various mini-series Books of Faerie. A recent
mini-series was Molly's Story. The story seems to be winding
up with Tim finally beginning his tragic, but heroic transformation into Mr.
Wrong. He's realized that he has never loved and that he can't escape his
fate by cutting himself off from people. Issue 75 is the last. The 5 issue
mini-series Names of Magic has been out. Seems to have some promise.
The series continues as the somewhat less spectacular Hunter, Age of
Magic monthly. Tim dumps his Shinji Ikari image as he becomes a young
womanizing man. Molly reappears and Tim finally confesses, but not to her,
that she was the great love of his life. Death appears for several panels
and is cuter than ever. Tim is one of the few characters in the Vertigo universe
who ever vents his rage at Death, but of course she's not taken aback by that.
All this while Tim clears his head for a major war.(10-20-2002)
- Blue Monday
by Chynna Clugston-Major, from Oni Press. Bleu Finnegan is sort of an updated
Carr who sometimes uses four letter words. She and her friend Clover don't
go out with boys and actually seem to be rather straight-laced in their actions
when you step back from the 90s setting and four letter expletives. Bleu wears
boxers (like the heroine of Sparks and reads books and watches Buster
Keaton. She's also cute as a button. Like all of the pure of heart, she has
an obsession that she's willing to follow to the ends of the earth, but she
won't sell out for it. The second series has started with a tragedy befalling
Bleu. Bleu eventually learns that men are jerks. A Halloween special just
came out. (10-20-2002)
- Clan Apis
The life story of a bee named Nyuki by Jay Hosler. For real! Five issues from
Active Synapse. I cried when Nyuki died. Beautifully done.
Courageous Princess by Ray Espinosa, from Antarctic Press. This
just (May 2000) just came out as a thin TPB, but more stories are promised.
Beautiful artwork and what looks like a good all-ages story. Keep posted.
Art is available at the website and the author was nice enough to reply when
I emailed him. I just bought and read the second volume and it maintains the
quality, except for the paper. Maybe if we buy enough copies, they'll print
it on higher grade paper again. 2/3/2002
- Fables from DC Vertigo features Snow White exploring her dysfunctional relationship
with sister Rose Red in New York. SW is now a bitter divorced career woman
with the Big Bad Wolf chasing after her rear in a rather feeble manner. (1-29-2003)
- The Five Star Stories
by Mamoru Nagano from Toys Press, Inc. Beautiful large format translation
of Japanese story. All eight issues are out, available from Kinokuniya
Bookstore. Wait, they're releasing more issues! Up to 12 now with more
colorful covers. 2/3/2002
winks A little girl has some really bad nightmares. However,
the current story is being told by Panda's new school friend jock Annabelle
Wu, who has a fantasy life as a pirate in the South China Sea. This one is
becoming a highly recommended pick. Created by Vince Sneed and Billy Martinez,
from Odd Jobs Limited. Original issues 1-4, Christmas Special, "TV Party",
and now the 3 issue "The Fabled Pirate of the South China Sea. .
Space opera by Tara Tallan from Helikon Comics. I'm still not sure about this
one, but it seems to be taking its time to build into something. I bought
it because M'Oak recommended it. Starting to get good. However, it seems to
Four issue mini-series about a robot who wants to be an artist, but gets sidetracked
into a world of guns and gangsters. From Andi Watson, who also brought you
Skeleton Key. I liked Geisha, but it could have been more. The best
scenes are when the robot just tries to cope with "living." A special recently
came out that seemed to be more in that vein. Another Watson book recently
published was Breakfast After Noon which was definitely more slice-of-life.
Andi is doing the covers on Hopeless Savages, which unfortunately
he didn't have time to do. However, this is a good looking book.
- Girl Genius
from Studio Foglio has just come out and seems to have a lot of promise. Agatha
Clay is endowed like an early Image Girl, but at least her figure obeys the
laws of gravity and she is covered up from chin to ankle. Well, in the second
issue we see her in her knickers, but even those are pretty modest. Up to
issue 5, now in color. 2/3/2002
- Gremlin Trouble
from Anti-Ballistic Pixellations isn't always all ages, but it's close in
spirit to Reality Check. Gremlins and fairies thrive in a
future dystopia where humanity survives only in domed cities. Idol singer
scientists and black magic mix with large caliber weaponry. Pretty innocent
except for occasional cheesecake and nudity. Dr. Candy Tsai is my favorite
character, although she is in mortal danger at the moment. Ended at issue
- GTO is the other great Tokyopop product at the moment. This famous
story in Japan (manga, anime, live action) is in the tradition of Medieval
European tales of the fool who confounds scholars and kings and it's also
in the vein of stories such as Philemon
or Becket, where an impersonator becomes so caught up in his role he forgets
that he's a fake. Great Teacher Onizuka is a working class punk who manages
to get a job as a teacher in a private school, originally thinking it might
be a good way to score with chicks. In spite of his worst intention, he ends
up being a knight errant instead. Although the plots of some of the early
stories might be silly or petty, after a while the story develops epic proportions
more like Taxi Driver with Onizuka taking three bullets in a fight with Yakuza
as he rescues a girl who was trying to blackmail him from pornographers. Of
course, when Onizuka becomes celebrated as a hereo, he blows it. (1-29-2003)
- The Kents by Ostrander, Truman, and Bair. This came out
from DC in 1997/1998. I normally don't
care for Superman, but this story is about his adopted family during the Kansas-Missouri
border wars, the Civil War, and the aftermath. This is an extremely creative
and educational idea, and the Superman motif ties in, since some of the early
abolitionist Kents are true Supermen. Also, a good romantic tie-in. There
was another Superman book I liked. Superman gagging on an Alien was a good
- Kodocha from Tokyopop stands out from the rest of their recent unreversed
manga translations since the English version is done by Sarah Dyer, the former
editor of Action Girl. The animated version was totally frenetic moving a
mile a minute. The manga version has more focus. Sana is a child star with
a secret who's not a afraid to trade slugs with the male class bully. The
title is a shortened version of the Japanese title, Kodomo no Omocha, or Child's
Toy, referring to adults who are manipulated by children. As the story progresses,
it starts to get more serious. We start to learn that Sana is Estella to Mariko's
Miss Havisham. Sana is a foundling and Mariko adopted her eccentric ways,
always wearing a kimono and effecting strange hair styles, as a reaction to
a bad marriage. At first Mariko seems to be frivolous and ineffectual as a
mother, but we find she has an agenda and she's capable of telling Sana off
and forcing a big, traumatic chunk of reality into her life. (10-20-2002)
- Little White Mouse
is about a rich Chinese girl marooned on an abandoned satellite mining station
with her dead sister, a couple of robots, and a ghost of a former mining employee.
She and her disembodied sister (her brain patterns have been saved on the
station's computer) are the survivors of a space liner that was a victim of
defective engines supplied by their father's company. Published by Caliber,
written and drawn by Paul Sizer. Issue 2/2 has a great back cover by Mark
Criley. It is back in publication, but from a different publisher for the
last 3 issues of Entropy Dreaming. The series has finally wound up with some
surprising revelations, and some open ends. A special is has been promised.
Currently it's back in publication, following the attempt to get back home.
it to Chance is another comic about a spunky young preteen female
heroine. Another parallel world where both magic and sexism exist. Chance
fights for her right to be her father's heir in spite of her gender, with
the help of a mini-dragon which shouldn't be in her dimension. Seems to be
currently on hiatus. Haven't seen an issue in a while. There have been news
releases that new issues will be coming out. A new issue did come out, but
that has been it. 3/2/2003
- League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill from
America's Best Comics. Complete at 6 issues out. This is an extraordinary
work in which Wilhelmina Murray leads a band of Victorian era literary (or
pulp) characters supposedly in the service of the crown. Highly recommended,
but sometimes gory. In issue 5 we get a scene with the Great Holmes fighting
Moriarty at the Reichenbach falls (I have a picture of the falls in one of
my galleries, the hike through Switzerland.) I hope the teaser at the end
of #6 is for real and we get to see Mina kick some Martian butt. Yes! Issues
1-4 of the new series is out. Disappointed by Ms. Murray hopping in the sack
with Quartermain. Story is that there's a movie coming out with Sean Connery
as Alan Quartermain. (1-29-2003)
- Mad Raccoons by Cathy Hill from Mu Press. The title says
it all. Beautifully illustrated and clever. Stopped at issue 7 as far as I
know. I received this email from Billy Bond@aol.com:
Cathy Hill is a good friend of mine, and was very pleased to see that you
listed her short-lived comic book among your favorites. 4/10/2002
is part of the Crossgen Universe, but it could stand on its own so far. Sephie
is a pretty good teenage heroine. Mystic is also interesting, but not nearly
as good. I finally dumped that one. Meridian is sort of a cross between Laputa
and Nausicaa. Exiled princess of a floating island kingdom fights to free
her country. 4/11/22
- Mixxzine is an
anthology of manga. Recently it has been controversial--you can't make all
the fans happy. My favorite story is Parasyte which is a
little gory. Issue 2/4 brought us Bakaretsu Hunters. Name of Mixxzine has
changed to Tokyopop.
Well, I received my last issue, so another one bites the dust. Tokyopop is
continuing their manga in translated right to left volumes that are reasonably
priced at about $10.
My Goddess! is another wonderful manga from Dark
Horse, who are beating out Viz as the kings of manga. Also in video, which
you need to see since the translated manga left out some important initial
scenes. Japanese interpretation of what would happen if the Norse fates descended
on a Japanese college student. Much like the great bushel basket of similar
Japanese stories about young slacker males who have unexpected and often unwanted
supernatural female visitors who come to stay. The young goddess Skuld seems
to be especially popular and there are a number of internet shrines dedicated
to this angry young goddess. Who would come out on top in a fair fight, Skuld
or Sasami? I guess these days it would be a three-way struggle with Ruri Hoshino
included. Super Manga Blast has been publishing those important missing issues.
The excuse Dark Horse uses for skipping them and the early issues of You're
Under Arrest is that the art work wasn't good enough. The art work is
definitely different, but still better than a lot of stuff that is published
- Parasyte was one of the early translated and reversed manga from
Tokyopop. This is an Invaders/Body Snatchers-like story in which young high
school student shin is attacked by a parasite that lodges by accident in his
arm instead of in his brains. Other hosts become human eating predators, but
Shin instead reaches an accommodation with his parasite, involuntarily waging
a lonely war against his invaders. As his loved ones fall victim one after
another to the Parasytes, Shin becomes more and more dehumanized, while his
parasite learns more about human values and emotions. The series ended with
the twelfth TPB (10-26-2002)
- Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka is a real classic. It's available
from Kodansha Bilingual Comics, which, however, are unfortunately not being
printed anymore. Six expensive volumes, but worth it. There was also an animated
TV series.( 8/26/2002)
by Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III, Mick Gray, and Todd Klein, from America's
Best Comics. Eight issues out. I'm not sure of this one, but any comic that
starts in ancient Alexandria and mentions the murder of Hypatia the mathematician,
I have to buy. Is getting better. Still going. 4/10/2002 Starting getting too weird even for me. (12-27-2007)
Some other links:
- Reality Check
is mindless nonsense, and I hope it stays that way. Manga inspired tale of
the near future in which the Internet supports virtual reality. Slacker boy
and his pet cat Catreece experience picaresque adventures on-line, only the
virtual version of the cat is anthropomorphic. This is where the comic diverges
from the Japanese mold in which there would be some romantic or erotic current,
as in Video Girl Ai. Although the virtual Catreece is as cute as cute can
be, she's still a cat and the hero has a real human gal-pal (Hmm, sounds like
Merle in Escaflowne, now that I think of it.) Series seems to have come to
a halt. Tavicat is working on Sushi Girl. Actually, learned that they are
stopping after just one TPB. Ranklechick and His Three Legged Cat is their
latest work, but seems to have stopped quickly. 4/10/2002
- Roland by Shane
L. Amaya, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Steve Oliff and Kirk Mobert from Terra Major.
This adaptation is from a translation of The Song of Roland
by Frederick Goldin. This book reminds me of 300 although
the style is very different. Another chance to bone up on your mythical history.
This is one of the original Superhero stories, with a Charlemagne 10 feet
tall and a grief to match. Series of 4 issues has completed.
- Ruse from Crossgen is a beautiful looking book, at least until the
current issue. This story features a Holmes style detective in a parallel
world that has many of the attributes of late Victorian England. The under
appreciated Watson in this case is the beautiful Emma Bishop, who is apparently
some sort of goddess who is slumming among the humans and forbidden to use
her magical powers. The last couple of issues have been relatively straight
detective stories, which is perfectly fine. Emma is the hottest heroine in
the Crossgen universe although normally she is covered from neck to toe. One
disgraceful issue did show her naked ankles. 4/10/2002
Like the rest of the Çrossgen universe, this title did come to an abrupt halt, but it died a little more gracefully than some of the other titles. (12-27-200)
- School Girls,
Shelly's Story from Adept Books and by Leland Myrick and Mark
dos Santos. I really liked this three issue story, but it got some nasty reviews,
such as Son of Salmon's
or the one at Comics
Worth Reading. (The reviews have since expired.) I guess I'm not that
picky, but I thought it was a good slice of life story. If you've seen a female
volley ball team, you know what Shelly is up against. Those girls are not
from any normal human gene pool. Complete at 3 issues. Can be appreciated
by anyone who has been abused by bullies.
- I was excited by Sheba
This book was about Cleopatra's dead cat and its adventures in the afterlife.
There was an independently published 4 issue run. Volume II was published
under Sirius. We learn what really happened at Actium. Series died due to
lack of sales. A real shame. At the 2000 Comicon I met Crane, the author,
and he said that he may continue the series, and it may be available on-line.
A TPB did come out that closed out the series with Sheba deciding to stay
in limbo and Buraq becoming a naked human, much to her dismay. A must buy.
A new comic book issue has also come out! Sheba wakes up during Napoleon's
invasion of Egypt. Issue 2 of the new volume also came out. At the 2002 Comicon
the author doesn't know if he can afford to keep publishing it.. (8/26/2002)
Key by Andi Watson from
Slave Labor Graphics. Geisha got
me interested in this one. See the Sugar Kat-Skeleton Key crossover. A girl
travels across dimensions, accompanied by a Japanese kitsune spirit. Art style
and themes changed significantly over the course of the series. Bring back
Kitsune's Heian eyebrows! Besides Geisha, Andi has also written Breakfast
Afternoon and Slow News Day.
by Lawrence Marvit from Slave Labor Graphics. Three issues out
so far. Stylized art work, but very heavy story about an girl mechanic with
a lot of problems. The plot seems to be heading for tragedy, but you're compelled
to keep reading. Issue 4 is even more intense. Issues 5 just came out and
is mostly slice of life and excellent. Seems to have ended there..but Marv
has published a TPB that completes the story. I picked up a copy directly
from the author at Comicon. It's a real phone book. Yes, the story does end
in a tragedy and goes a little over the top with car chases and helicopter
- My favorite comic book of all time is Tailgunner
Jo from DC . A tale of
cyborgs, evil corporations, and the fantasy world of a cruelly disembodied
little girl. Available in 25 cent bins. Lasted for 6 issues. It's a strange
combination of a beautiful childhood fantasy world and an ultra-violent and
ruthless corporate dystopia. Sort of like many manga. I've created my own
- I always wait for Thieves
and Kings. The book combines standard comic book illustration
techniques with lengthy text passages. The tale starts with a disinherited
princess who quickly disappears from the narrative. [She's back now.] The
most interesting characters are the nearly immortal sorceress sisters, Soracia
and Heath/Katara, who are waging some sort of epic battle across time and
the dimensions. Oh yes, there is a thief. In the latest issues Heath is becoming
a Dickensian waif. Just keeps becoming better.
- Usagi Yojimbo
from Stan Sakai, is a Japanese American furry book about a rabbit ronin. Sounds
dumb, but comes off very well. Usagi could be played by the late Toshiro Mifune,
if you could imagine him with white fur. There's also a Space Usagi
about a descendant of the rabbit in outer space. Dark Horse just published
a TPB collection of these hard to find stories. Check out the Usagi
Yojimbo Dojo. Continuing. Stan has started showing up at anime conventions
and he supports the Asian Community with his many appearances at festivals.
Star More classic space opera from Teri Sue Woods. A straightforward
story well told. This series ended, and we're waiting for her next one, Darklight.
Darklight Prelude came out and concluded already.
- Yokohama Kaidashi
Kikou is a Japanese comic book or manga by Ashinano Hitoshi.
Currently there are English translations available on the next for free or
purchasable on the net.. The Hyperlink does give some background. You can
purchase the book through a place such as Asahiya bookstores which are usually
associated with Mitsuwa (formerly Yaohan) shopping centers. There are now
at least 7 compilations available (the review mentions only 4.) The artwork
is beautiful. The story is post-apocalypse science fiction, but with a very
gentle twist. Some questions. Why does Alpha always carry a camera? Why does
Kokone always carry a gun. For that matter, Alpha has a gun, too. They never
use them in their gentle world, but it is a mystery. Maybe after a couple
of years in the UCLA Japanese extension class I'll be able to understand this
one. Online translations at:
Other comics I've read or am reading and are worth a mention. I'll write up better descriptions when I have some time:
- 2001 Nights, Japanese
science fiction, Hoshino,1990. Takes the Kubrick 2001 idea a little further.
These were beautiful volumes.
- A Distant Soil. I buy any artwork
I can find by Colleen Doran, but this is a very strange story. It just keeps
- The Adele Blanc Sec stories
from France about a very modern woman in 1911. La belle Ade'le by Tardi. They
are scattered in early issues of Cheval Noir from Black Horse (Yes, I go t
the title!) One stand-alone comic in English was published.
from Eclipse,1986. Chuck Dixon. Modernized version of the original Airboy.Strange
ending. The Airwolf spin-off about Dien Bien Phu is a must-read. It's amazing
how well ridiculous costumed characters are made to fit into the all too real
tragedy of the doomed fortress and the death march that followed the French
surrender. Ex-Japanese fighter pilot is now one of the good guys.
- Akira in big expensive volumes from Dark Horse. All 6 are out now and I've
made it through 4 of them. I also have a complete set of the colorized ones
that were published by Epic. 4/10/2002
- Allison Dare,J. Bone, the Return of is a really cute book. Is Allison related
to Daniel Dare?
- Amelia Rules from Jimmy Gownley.
His initial return tasted a little on the saccharine side, but his edge is
coming back. Finally met Jimmy at Comicon. The latest issues are developing
a Shades of Gray sensibility again. (8/26/2002)
- Area 88, Strangely,
I'm hooked on these stories although they are kind of naive. Was continued
in Animerica for a while. Also an anime version that has Shin finally making
a choice. Unique in that the American character, Micky, is portrayed sympathetically.
I keep asking Viz to start translating it again.
- Archer and
Armstrong, I really loved this one at one time, along with other Valiant
titles. Too bad the company decided to commit suicide. I paid $10 for issue
Zero and then found you could buy as many as you wanted in 25 cent bins. I'm
still holding on to my collection.
Ace, Eclipse Comics, 1985 The real story of Cleopatra. Time hopping on
- Baoh, Viz, 1984.
I also like the anime. Shumire means Violet. First mention I've seen of unit
731 in Japanese popular media. Doomed teenage victim of illegal government
biological experiments befriends and saves a young esper before he meets his
fate. Although gory, there is a good story and the innocent relationship between
the doomed teenage boy and the preadolescent girl is well handled, similar
to the relationship between Mai and the college student who rescues her. Most
reviewers didn't care for either the anime nor the manga.
- Battle Group
Peiper, Tome (Caliber),1991. Great Battle of the Bulge one-shot about
the misadventures of Kampfgruppe
Peiper which was implicated in the Malmedy Massacre. After the war French
vigilantes tracked down former commander Joachim
Peiper and burned him to death.
- Black Orchid,
DC, 1994. I was disappointed with the ending of this series, but it did suck
me into Books of Magic, and there is a Little Orchid out there somewhere.
- Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki
Samuara, I wait for the TPBs. Non-reversed manga from the Masters at Dark
- Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, also known as Xenozoic Tales, by
Mark Schultz, has some of the best artwork ever. Seems to have stopped
- Captain Sternn, Kitchen Sink,1994. A kinder, gentler version of the Heavy
Kidd, Dark Horse,1993. This is the only Johji Manabe title I really liked,
and I liked it a lot. Mian Toris is one of the classic mechanical babes.
- Catwoman Her Sister's Keeper , Warner Books (DC), 1992. I normally don't
care for Batman stories, but this was a good book. Catwoman has a nun for
- Cavewoman series created by Bud Root was published by Caliber. This has
gone beyond just good girl art but seems to be returning to its roots. Now
by Basement Comics. Recent interpretations are getting kind of slimey. Decided
to dump this one from my collection.
- Chiaroscuro by
Pat McGreal & David Rawson, Chas Truog, Rafael Kayanan, DC, 1995, 10 issues.
A very serious telling of the life of Leonardo de Vinci.
- Chobits by Clamp from TokyoPop. Hideki is the first male character I've
seen from Clamp who actually looks like a guy. Same theme as in the B scifi
flick that introduced Melanie Griffith,
Cherry 2000. In the future personal computers can look like anything you
want, including cute girls. Who needs a real human girl in such a world? The
minor characters are the most interesting, such as Yumi who is a confused
human girl, and Yuzuki who is the failed attempt to bring a real girl back
to life. (3-2-2003)
- Cloak and Dagger,
Marvel,1985. This was actually not bad, except towards the end. One of Marvel's
attempts at gritty social realism, but they couldn't keep it up.
- Cyber 7, Eclipse,
1989. Very early manga, series translation never finished.
- Dalgoda stories. A big
space-going dog as a hero? Harley would like that if he could read.
- Days of Darkness, Days of Wrath from Apple. Second series never finished.
Intelligent World War II in the Pacific stories.
- The Dead
Boy Detectives have been resurrected from Sandman. Actually, my encounter
with them was in the Children's Crusade. This looks like a pretty good book
from Vertigo. In the second issue there is a story about Gilles de Rais. Interesting
coincidence since he was also a character in the manga Joan that I downloaded
from Comicsone.com. Joan is highly recommended see below. Dead Boys I eventually
decided was not a keeper. (10-20-2002)
- Dreadstar. Great
stuff that started in the wonderful Epic Illustrated. Also published by First
and others. Waited years but they finally finished the series, if not the
by Jenni Gregory, most recently published by Avatar. Slow atmospheric story
about a young woman who can visit other peoples' dreams. Actually, I've given
away my collection of Dreamwalkers, but it was still a worthwhile series.
- Dynamo Joe, First, 1986. Vietnam
told as a Giant Robot story. Too bad they had to cut it short, but at least
they did wind it up. I don't like cats, but this one is okay. Written by a
vet. Catch the C'Mel reference nod to Cordwainer
Smith. Somebody actually put up a webpage on the character Pomru.
The story has some inconsistencies about space travel, but heck, it was only
a comic book. Good characters and some story lines that were never fully developed
because of the premature termination.
- El Hazard from Viz actually isn't that bad a comic book.
Drawn by Tsubura Hidetomo. Besides the cute art work, the backstory on Ifurita
gives some more depth to her. The fan service is really out of place in this
book, although there was plenty in the anime version. Of course, no one dares
subject Ifurita to fan service.
- Electric Girl Teenage
girl has slight electrical gift, but a bigger issue is the gremlin who stalks
her and may or may not be friendly. (10-27-2002)
- Elric of Melnibone stories created by
Michael Moorcock, initially from First. Took a long time to finish this
- Enemy Ace came out as a special two parter featuring this old character
in World War II. Pretty good little war comic. 4/10/20002
- Evangeline, the original Warrior Nun. Published
by First, among others. Evangeline is the pawn of a renegade cardinal who
has decided to use any means to defend the Church. Evangeline is an orphan
traumatized by the massacre of her orphanage. She always wins and never seems
to have any weaknesses. Sometimes aided by the outlaw Johnny Six who has a
crush on her.
- Fables by Willingham, Buckingham, Leialoha from Vertigo is continuing
after its first story arc of 5 issues. The pretext here is that all of the
creatures and characters that populated our fables have fled to the world
of the "Mundanes", our world. The first story pretended to be an
old fashion detective story, but it was really about the romantic tensions
between the Big Bad Wold who has gone straight as the Fables' cop and Snow
White who is now divorced and the top buereaucrat. Bigs doesn't score. In
the second arc Ms. White and her estrandged sister Rose work out their issues
while dealing with a socialist uprising. (10-26-2002)
- Grey, vintage
manga from Viz. Also an anime. Don't trust those computers. In a dystopic
future a master computer manipulates humans into killing each other in meaningless
- Halo and Sprocket has an angel mentoring a robot while both impose
on a cute girl who has a boorish neighbor. The first two issues look promising.
- Hearts of
Africa, Slave Labor Graphics, 1994. Peace Corps tales.
- High Shining Brass, Apple, 1990. A book
I read on SOG
implies that some of this story is true.
Rose by Boyer. Never went for the story, but loved the art work. Finally
gave my issues away. 4/10/2002
- Hyper Dolls.
Stupid story, but I'm addicted to it. I like Shoko. She's kind of like a demure
version of a Vanity Angel with glasses or like Miyuki from the New Kindaichi
Files. Hyper Dolls is also a short anime with some live action trailers and
idol singers. (The new DVD doesn't include the live action scenes!) Still
being printed, but the original periodical it appeared in in Nihon went out
of business Shimpei Itoh and the American publishers may try to end the story
somehow. The last of the existing installments has been published with no
story wind-up, except the Dolls quitting for fast food. In the most recent
issues we're starting to find out that the villain is an ex-Nazi scientist
who is continuing his work on very enhanced "Werewolves". The author doesn't
seem to realize that un-enhanced Werewolf
units were very real and terrorized the German populace at the end of World
War II. I've even come across references to them in German fiction of the
period. Besides the hyperlink, there is an article about the Werewolf story
in issue number 150 of the British journal Military Illustrated. Studio Ironcat
claims they're going to continue the story (8/26/2002)
- Inu-Yasha. I wait
to buy the compilations. Modern Takahashi Rumiko. I continue to read it, but
this is not the greatest thing I'm currently reading. Ongoing. 2/3/2002
- Invasion 55 by Chuck Dixon, Apple, 1990. Three issue miniseries. The flying
wing makes an appearance.
Jade, Comico, 1988. Another three issuer. I don't need Johnny
Quest, but Jezebel is okay.
- Joan by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko is a beautiful three part book that
has been available as an e-book and is now coming out in hardcopy in English
from Comicsone. I first saw the original
Japanese version at the now defunct Books Nippan. I wondered what it was-I
thought it was a retelling of the Jeanne d'Arc story, but it's much more complex
than that. Emily is the beautiful illegitimate daughter of the same nobleman
who started the now martyred Joan on her career. To escape the wrath of the
wronged wife, Emily was disguised and raised as the boy Emil. Although she
doesn't hear the voice of God, she does have visions of Joan and her actions
are guided by Joan. She follows Joan's orders to protect the King of France
which starts her on a quest that leads to most of Joan's old comrades in arms,
who each in his own way is trapped in his personal memory of Joan. Her opposite
and adversary is the new Dauphin. He is ambitious, angry, cruel and coldly
logical. Emil can't answer his arguments with her faith and simple minded
devotion and is finally cast into self-doubt and confusion as the defeated
Dauphin prepares to execute her. He in turn is confused by her beauty, offering
to make her his mistress, and by his awe of the memory of Joan. The artwork
is impressive and Emil/Emily is a complex if monomaniacal character. 2/3/2002
- War Story, Johan's Tiger from Vertigo, by Garth Ennis, Christ Weston,
and Gary Erskine. This is a fantastic story about the last days of a Tiger
Tank crew as they make a fighting retreat from the advancing Russians. Issues
also about doomed British troops on Sicily, the Screaming Eagles, and the
crew of a British destroyer seeking redemption. 2/3/2002
Demon, Dark Horse Comics, 1994. At least the beer got better. I eventually
gave this one away, too.
Eclipse, 1988. Good stuff and the notes alone are worth the price of admission.
Also see the anime, The Dagger of Kamui. They should translate more
of this story.
- Lost Continent by Yamada Akihiro , Eclipse, 1991. Early manga. Never figured
out the story, but great art. Another lost world story.
- Love Hina is a bilingual comic book published by Kodansha. This otherwise
pleasant story is marred by a lot of nasty fan service. This is another recycling
of the Beguiled motif with an unlucky lad living with a group of
females of various ages who have various plans for him, ranging from adoption
to murder. If you can get past the fan service, it is a fun story, and now
up to 8 volumes translated into English. Mokoto is my favorite character since
she believes in being herself and not trying to live up to anyone else's expectations.
Series has been picked up by Tokyo Pop (8/26/2002)
- Luger, Eclipse ,1986. I liked the crazy sister. Action Adventure. It was
a killer finding the final issue 3. I don't know about those fans.
- Magical Mates (Chicks was the original title in Japanese), Antarctic Press,
1996. Too bad Odagi never
finished this. Ended at issue 6. I bought some issues of the original Dojinshi
at a con and I have some pictures of Odagi in kimono, dressed as a fake traditional
Japanese girl, as fellow manga-ka Itoh calls her.
- Magnus Robot Fighter, Valiant,1993. Loved Thekla. Finally found out that
she's modeled after the repulsed wannabee girlfriend of St. Paul. Another
leftover from my Valiant days.
- Mai the Psychic
Girl, what a classic. Go find the Perfect editions.
- Maison Ikkoku, again,
I wait for the TPBs. Complete. Check out Maison Ikkoku Central
- Marada the She-Wolf, from the pages of Epic Illustrated. Also out there
as a TPB if you can still find it. Magic and a Roman warrior princess.
- The Martha
Washington cycle. From Darkhorse. By Frank Miller and Gibbons. One story
arc was a riff on Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
- The Maxx from Image,
by Keith. This was a very heavy, psychological book, appearances to the contrary.
He's now publishing Zero Girl, which just wound up.
of Honor, Dark Horse, 1994. Great war anthology stuff. Five issue series,
but numbered from 0-4. The covers were often out of synch with the contents.
Links to other issues:
- Meta 4, First, 1991. UFOs. Too bad it was never finished at three issues..
- Metacops, Monster Comics, 1991. Jayne Mansfield had a genius IQ.
- Micra, Comics Interview, 1986. Terminated abruptly on a cliffhanger. Dystopian
tale of crippled nasty rich bitch who finds redemption in tele-operation of
a mechanical body. The bad guys were winning in the last issue.
Epic/DC, 1985. The ultimate hippy comic book.
- Nadesico, CPM, 1999. The jury is still out. I've canceled my subscription,
but I may still buy it as a compilation. Kia Asamiya comics tend to be disappointing,
although Steam Detectives is great just for Ling Ling. Those early Silent
Moebius books looked so great, and so does Steam Detectives. Why not his other
- Nam, Marvel,1987. Some issues are great. The story of the Vietnamese soldier
carrying a child's picture to the father was the best.
from Crossgen has some promise. Genevieve
the good sister is the interesting one.
another classic from Miyazaki. We had to wait, but it was worth it. Who cares
if Nausicaa isn't human?
- No Need for Tenchi. There
was only one really good story line, but I keep on buying. No, I stopped.
Still love the videos. The series started up again as the All New Tenchi Muyo,
and it's interesting enough for me to start reading it again. This time around
concentrates on more of the interactions between characters. Still, not very
deep stuff. (10-27-2002)
- The New Kindaichi Files, another bilingual production from Kodansha.
Kind of expensive at around $15, but I like Miyuki. In the first couple of
TPBs the kid is a pretty disgusting lech, constantly trying to grope Miyuki.
However, around volumes 3 and 4 he seems to mature a little bit and seems
to be able to deal with at least some women with sensitivity. The series kept
on going for many more volumes in Japanese and there was an anime series.
- Shanower Oz books.
Great stuff. Eric finally got his own session at Comicon this year. Can't
believe such a young guy did work like this.(8/26/2002)
- Pixy Junket
by Pure, Viz,1993. Sort of like Nausicaa the manga in that the protagonists
are pseudo people who are only caretakers for the real people who are sleeping
Beach, Fun and Perils in the Trudyverse, Antarctic Press,1995. A good
three issues. Has started up again with the same characters but with a different
- Ragmop by Walton,
Planet Lucy Press,1995. A comic that mentions one of my alma maters, Caltech.
Too bad it died. Great stuff if you love conspiracies.
Harrier Comics, 1986. I spent years looking for issue 16, and it was worth
it. Actually, Whitey, the good clone is my favorite. Good English comic.
- Sandman TPBs. Good
stuff. What made Neil Gaiman famous in the comic world.
- Spirit of Wonder
by Kenji Tsuruta was
published by Dark Horse in 5 issues, translated by Studio Proteus. This is
a beautiful book, but it's only part of a series of stories. There are at
least two other story arcs besides the Miss China one we see a little of here.
Unfortunately, the manga is now out of print. The Tsuruta picture book Hydrogen
is a real gem. You can still order it from Asahiya for $62, and it's worth
it. The complete set of tanks is now available from German Amazon, in German
of course. The editions are available, especially if you remember your German.
- Stardust, DC,
Gaiman in a sentimental strain. Classic maiden in distress story, but very
- Shades of Gray, Lady Luck, Ltd., 1994. Where did it go. One of my favorites.
A classic slice of life story. The story line of the loser and the irony of
Hope was classic. This comic just sort of disappeared. The author is back
with Amelia Rules
- Thessaliad. The Thessalian witch from the Sandman is attacked by
more opponents with whom she deals with in her usual dispassionate, ruthless
way. Don't accept a cup of herbal tea from this college student. (8/26/2002)
- Urusei Yatsura, Takahashi's
classic, translations on hiatus from Viz.
- Vagabond from Viz tells the story of Japan's greatest swordsman,
- Vietnam Journal, from Apple. Gritty and excellent.
- Wish by Clamp from TokyoPop. As usual, Clamp takes a good idea and doesn't
run with it. Guy saves an angel and in gratitude she grants him one wish.
He decides he doesn't really need anything. Only four volumes and it looks
like they really wanted to wind it up quickly. Interesting and cute till then.
- You're Under Arrest
by Fujishima Kosuke, Dark Horse Comics,1995. From the same source as "Oh My
Goddess" and just as cute. Too bad they didn't translate that much. There
are 7 tankouban you can buy at Japanese book stores or on the net if you want
to see how the art work evolved. The stuff that was translated was the later
work. Dark Horse says the Japanese publisher won't give them the rights to
the early stuff. The original style is less realistic and cute, but does have
an angular sincerity that I like. (10-27-2002)
- Zot, from Eclipse in the 1980's by McCloud, 36 issues + 1. I finally
read this and I have to admit it's a classic. The first third is sort of a
standard action-fantasy. The last third becomes more serious and is very much
a slice of life story with tough decisions and frustrations, and the interdimensional
travel becomes just a distraction. 7/8/2002
Last Update: 30 August 2003
Web Author: Doug Ikemi