Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Indies Review for June Part 2 of 3

I know I said Thursday and normally this would be Lee's day for his post, but it was a full moon and Lee could not type with his paws and the blood lust was upon him. So I moved this post up to today and hopefully tomorrow in human form Lee will have his normal post.

Link for Part 1

And now back to our Indies review. Scattered over 3 days and not sequentially, but hopefully giving these selections a little more attention.

Minister Jade GN by Steve Bialik
Darkness has fallen over 13th century China. With the help of a mad druggist and his arsenal of unholy elixirs the Midnight Lotus Society aims to wipe the Middle Kingdom off the medieval map. But China is about to counter with a weapon of her own - Minister Jade!FC, Pages: 188, Size: 6x9, $14.99
Lee: In summary, more historical fiction with cool art. I have to say that I really like the art in this series. It seems to be a little classic Japanese wood block art and a little bit animated.
Jim: Lee’s taste in art is far wider ranging then mine. I can appreciate that the art takes time and a level of skill, but it was nothing that appealed to me. Still each to his own and I would encourage you to follow the link and make up your mind.

Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker Vol. 01 HC by Mort Walker
From the very first Beetle Bailey strips on a college campus through Beetle's enlistment in the U.S. Army, this volume contains the first two years of Mort Walker's famous strips encompassing September 1950 through June 1952. Enjoy two separate casts of quirky characters, the first based on Walker's fraternity brothers at the University of Missouri and the second on his Korean era stint in the Army. These are the strips that won him the Reuben Award in 1953. Beetle Bailey went on to become the third most widely distributed comic strip of all time. Introduction quotes Mort Walker himself!B&W, Pages: 200, Size: 10x8, $22.95
Lee: Another weakness of mine, classic newspaper strips. What people forget is the crappy Beetle Bailey of today isn’t the excellent Beetle Bailey of the 1950’s. I am really enjoying these old reprints and I hope they continue.
Jim: I can get onboard with Beetle Bailey. It reminds me of many of the cartoons, the early stuff is usually better as they worked with less restrictions and/or it was the original creators. Often in newspaper strips the original creators name is left on when ghost writers and artists take over.

Archetype: Art of Tim Bradstreet HC
Desperado is proud to present a retrospective volume devoted to the entire career of one of today's most popular artists, Tim Bradstreet. This book offers readers and fans a chance to witness his immense and phenomenal career from the early days to the present, offering glimpses of previously never-before-seen material from his files and sketchbooks, his enormously popular comic work, art from his career in movie design and posters, his gaming illustrations, as well as beautifully reproduced images of his personal favorites with insights into his life and creative process. Brought to you by the publishing house responsible for the Eisner Award winning The Art of Brian Bolland and The Art of P. Craig Russell. Available in Regular and Signed-and-Numbered hardcover editions.FC, Pages: 256, Size: 11x11, $49.99
Lee: Desperado is certainly going full force into the art book market between this and some of its other offerings. This is really big art book full of glorious Bradstreet art. Not sure if I’ll get it but you really can’t go wrong with it.
Jim: I glad my love of this material does not extend to art books, although I have a couple, because the Kaluta book and Tim Bradstreet would certainly be in my collection.

Growing Up With Comics GN by R.G. Taylor & Various
R.G.Taylor, best known for his work on Sandman Mystery Theatre, Wordsmith, and Negative Burn, illustrates true stories by a television producer, an animator, a comic book store owner, and many others about the comics they loved in their youth and about the way the medium changed their lives. Pages: 144, Size: 6x9, $16.99
Previews at
Lee: This looks great. Reading the preview took me back to so many of my old books and really how I grew up with comic books. This should be really, really interesting.
Jim: Go and read the preview. These look to be stories each and everyone of us can relate to in some form or fashion. This is one I’m ordering from my comic store.

Half Dead SC by Barb Lien-Cooper, Park Cooper & Jimmy Bott
A ballerina, Romany, gets on a train in the London Underground, a strange gas attack turns her into a half-dead vampire. During the containment and cleanup of this attack, she's captured by a government agency formed to battle the vampire threat, PASA (the Bureau of ParaHuman and Supernatural Affairs). Romany's a remarkable subject, and after some training she is paired with her handler, Ian, also one of a very few survivors of a vampire attack. Ian turns her into a force to be reckoned with, but she's just one of a number of people manipulated into fighting a covert war they'd rather run from or die than try to win!FC, Pages: 144, Size: 7x10, $10.99
Lee: The link alone is well worth reading because Bott explains how this how this almost didn’t get released. It’s an interesting insight into how much luck is involved in actually getting published. But beyond that it looks and sounds good.
Jim: I want to get this book also. The premise is great, the art looks very good and the story about how hard it was to get this book out to the reading public was insane.

Necessary Evil #7
by Joshua Williamson & J.C. Grande
The critically acclaimed adventures at the school for super villains continue! The Matriarch was the greatest Villain of all time, so of course she drew the attention of the original evil, the Devil himself! But is the Lord of Darkness the father of the Matriarch's twin sons, Jacob and Miller? That's what Jacob and Miller want to know! However, before they can find out they need to get their grades up, and the only way to do that is to pass Anti's next test: How To Escape Jail!"
Lee: This is one of the rare comics that strikes my fancy these days. It’s already on issue 7 and seems to have been well received. I like the premise too because we don’t have enough anti-hero books on the stands these days. I might have to check out an issue or two.
Jim: If my list was already way out of control I might like to try this book out also. I will have to scour around and see if my store has any back issues of this book. Unfortunately this is usually a special order type book and stores can’t speculate too often with this material.

Covers of Dungeons & Dragons HC
Artists: Tim Seeley, Tyler Walpole, Todd Lockwood & Various Cover: Tyler Walpole
Following in the footsteps of the Dungeons & Dragons publications that have come before, the covers of Devil's Due's D & D comics feature cover art that is evocatively beautiful and stand as works of art in and of themselves! Collected for the first time - every cover from the FORGOTTEN REALMS, DRAGONLANCE and EBERRON series - in one gorgeous coffee table book! Featuring art by Todd Lockwood, Tyler Walpole, Tim Seeley and more!FC, Pages: 300, $49.99
Lee: Another art book but not for me. I mention it because most of us grew up looking at these covers. D&D was so influential on fantasy art that this is a must for gamers.
Jim: Gamers, hell if isn’t wasn’t for my daughter I would have not known how large that crowd is and now of course they are all playing WOW or is it WoW.

Wonderland HC by Tommy Kovac & Sonny Liew

Among the numerous curiosities that have gone unexplained in the classic tale Alice in Wonderland, perhaps the most perplexing might be who, exactly, is the Maryann for whom the White Rabbit mistakes Alice at the beginning of the story. Lewis Carroll first begged us to ponder this, and years later, Walt Disney again made viewers wonder who Maryann might be in his classic feature-length animated film based on Carroll's book. Now the amazingly talented folks at SLG Publishing, through a licensing deal with Disney, have finally answered this age-old question. In their Eisner-nominated comic book, Wonderland, readers experience Alice's fantastic world as they've never seen it before. Writer Tommy Kovac's Wonderland is populated by all of the characters that make the world such a curiously exciting place. The Queen of Hearts is present, barking orders to lop off people's heads, as is the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the rest of Wonderland's beloved citizens. And there are some new faces, too, including the book's main protagonist, the mysterious Maryann herself. This stunning graphic novel collects the six issues that comprise Wonderland in a beautiful, collectible, jacketed hardcover edition.
FC, Pages: 128, Size: 7x10, $19.99
Fake Lee: Lee forget to give a comment hear and perhaps he will correct this, but I will assume he will say this is a great all age book or that this is a nice oppossing viewpoint to Zenoscope or maybe he was just picking Disney because he loves the Cinderalla movie. Highest grossing movie ever when it came out.
Jim: One of these days I need to sit down and actually read Alice in Wonderland. I think that like many people most of my knowledge of the book comes from other sources and I sure it is distorted as heck.
Really: While I appreciate Fake Lee's insightful commentary, I wanted to say that Sonny Liew made this book. Alice In Wonderland is a classic tale and good art just makes it better. And, yes I recommended the single issue when it showed up but the art really is that good.

Bear Stories Vol. 01 GN – by George Todorovski & Chris Haztopoulos
A Cartoon Bear living in the city deals with big city problems - from getting ripped off at the hotdog stand to being booted out of gentlemen's clubs. This Bear just doesn't get any respect! A gem from the comic underground, The Bear Stories is a cult classic that not only mirrors the naked truth of this era, but also signifies the dawn of a new age, the Age of the Bear!FC, Pages: 56, Size: 7x10, $9.99
Lee: It’s amazing but occasionally it looks like underground comix sneak into previews. I have a strange feeling that this is some twisted humor which is perfect for me.
Jim: Just looking at the cover makes you laugh. Still on occasion I have to be cheap and I will borrow Lee’s copy.

Drawing Words & Writing Pictures SC by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden
Drawing Words and Writing Pictures is a course on comics creation - for college classes or for independent study - that centers on storytelling, and takes readers through the process of making a complete comic. With chapters on lettering, story structure, and panel layout, the fifteen lessons offered - each complete with homework, extra credit activities, and supplementary reading suggestions - provide a solid introduction to how to make a comic. Says Scott McCloud, "[Drawing Words and Writing Pictures is] a gold mine of essential information for every aspiring comics artist. Highly recommended."PC, Pages: 304, Size: 12x9, $29.95
Lee: AND, how many of us dream of actually making in comics some day? Most? All? Well, we could all use help and this is a great place to start.
Jim: It looks like it would be good material, but I have no ability and hence no desire to be an artist. A writer, maybe, an artist, nope.

Baobab #1 – 3 Creators: by Igort
Description: Baobab is mostly set in Japan at the turn of the last century, when a small, sickly, orphaned boy on the outskirts of Tokyo grows up hearing the stories his grandmother tells of her youth as the daughter of a Navy officer. This ambitious story by Ignatz series editor Igort will span 40 years and three continents!Partial Color, Pages: 32, Size: 8x11, $7.95 each. Previews not in English.
Lee: This comes from Fantgraphics oversized comics line. These are really great books and Igort looks to be a great artist. After looking at all the previews I think I’m going to have to give this a try.
Jim: Wow just looking at the cover tells me to go away. Again Lee and I can often have very different taste.

Man of Rock: Biography of Joe Kubert SC by Bill Schelly
Joe Kubert's extraordinary career spans the history of the comic book in America: he began drawing comics in 1938, just as Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1. He continues to be one of the most vital cartoonists working today, writing and drawing both mainstream comic book characters as well as, more recently, graphic novels of his own conception. This book provides a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the career of one of the most distinctive, dynamic artists in the history of comics. Bill Schelly's insightful book covers all facets of Kubert's creative life: artist, writer, innovator, entrepreneur, and educator. It abounds in heretofore unknown details about Kubert's life and work, and is rich in colorful anecdotes drawn from numerous interviews the author conducted with Kubert's colleagues, family and friends.Pages: 220, Size: 6x9, $19.99
Lee: There seems to be an awful lot of biographies coming out these days. Kirby and Ditko and now Kubert. This is long overdue and a must for any comic historians out there.
Jim: I agree 100%, Joe Kubert is one of the names in comics and he is still one heck of a creator to this day. I have always loved his art and his Sgt. Rock story from a year or so ago was great.

Troublemakers HC by Gilbert Hernandez
Greedy low-lifes chasing the hard luck charm and $200,000! Meet drug dealer Dewey Booth, he can't be punished enough! And what about Rock 'n' Roll loser Wes, he needs money to start his own club. And then there's Über-stacked Nala, she enjoys humiliating men dumb enough to fall for her. And let's not forget Vincenze, he gets his kicks from being a jerk! In the end: deadly fires ignite! Heads literally roll! And eyes are shot out! The Troublemakers is Gilbert Hernandez's second, original graphic novel for Fantagraphics, following 2007's Chance In Hell. This hard boiled, pulp graphic novel will delight longtime Hernandez fans as well as provide a perfect introduction to newcomers to Hernandez's work.B&W, Pages: 120, Size: 5.5x7.5, $19.88
Lee: Believe it or not I don’t have any Love and Rockets in my collection. In fact, I’ve never read L&R so I don’t know anything about Hernandez. BUT, I know that he supposed to be great so this is probably a good place to start.
Jim: I also do not have any of their material in my collection and still have no desire to add any to my bookcase. The art has never appealed to me and just looking at this cover confirms it.

Uptight #3 by Jordan Crane
With Uptight #3 Jordan Crane continues to map uncharted territory of graphic melancholia with his masterpiece-work-in-progress Keeping Two. Jordan also continues to build upon his ghost story obsession with a moody tale following an undead man as he revisits his former life.B&W, $2.50
Lee: Ghost stories and good art. Need I say more? I’m sold!
Jim: Okay, but I’m not.

This ends Part 2 – See you Saturday for Part 3

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