Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Indies Preview Review for April Part 1 of 3

Lee: Ohhh baby, is it a big month for indie books! There is a ton of new and exciting stuff that needs to be talked about so let's get to it.
Jim: Translating Lee from above: OMG my wallet is going to emptied and the coffers of my store will be filled to overflowing. Looks like the store owner's kids can go to Harvard after all.

Ablaze Media
Cosplay Fever SC by (W) Rob Dunlop, Peter Lumby
Cosplay Fever is a celebration of an extraordinary art-form, with over 300 beautiful photographs of talented cosplayers in stunning costumes. Cosplay has been a significant subculture in Japan for decades, but it is now growing in popularity all over the world. See amazing costumes from manga, anime, movies, video games and other popular media. An essential book for anyone interested in cosplay. $19.95
Lee: Cosplay is definitely a subculture all to itself. Do I need a whole book about it? I don’t think so but I remember Gwen dressed up once and I’m curious to see if she’s in here.
Jim: I'm guessing she did not make it. I waiver between being jealous that I don't have the nerve or body to every dress up as Batman or something and thinking are nuts to go around dressed in a costume as an adult.

Avatar Press Inc
Crossed Vol. 01 HC by (W) Garth Ennis (A) Jacen Burrows
Garth Ennis has pulled out all the stops to write the most depraved and twisted book of his career, one that also may be his most poignant human drama! Crossed is Ennis horrifically visceral exploration of the pure evil that humans are truly capable of indulging and collected here are all ten heart-stopping chapters. This gut-wrenching vision is brought to vivid (and more than a little disturbing) life by his partner in crime Jacen Burrows. Imagine, for a moment, the worst crimes against humanity. Picture the cruelest affronts to decency. Conjure your darkest nightmares. and then realize it could all be so much worse. When civilization crumbles in one terrifying moment; when people are gleefully breaking into unthinkable acts of violence all around you; when everyone you love has died screaming in agony: What do you do? There is no help. There is no hope. There is no escape. There are only the Crossed. The Crossed collected volume is available in three editions, all with new covers by series artist Jacen Burrows. This Special Edition Hardcover is limited to only 2000 units! $32.99
Lee: First, I’m not getting this. The series is what it is but it doesn’t need a permanent home in my collection. Basically, for me, it raises a question about the person who does buy it. My collection is geeky, I get that. But, I can show my collection to people and not be embarrassed. I have things in my collection that I can point to and say “made into a movie” or “literature with pictures.” Yeah, I have all the Fantastic Four Masterworks which scream I have trouble growing up but none of these things could be, or would be, considered offensive by most people. Crossed is very, very close to something that would be considered offensive to the ordinary person. Do you really want that on your shelf?
Jim: I may, it all comes down to how it ends. I have also read that David Lapham is writing a second mini-series. The ending is critical to the story. If it ends up being depravity just to be depraved, than it becomes another Kick Ass and not worth my time. If Ennis makes a point, it could be worthy of owning. I love these discussions because all of have lines we do not want to see crossed (no pun intended) and they are different for each person.

Bluewater Productions
Claw and Fang #1 by (W) Mike Kutcher (A) Matias Basla
A warrior king will be reborn! Hunted to extinction by a renegade demon, the Firewoman is the last of her kind. She survives driven only by the hope she can bestow her power upon the one person able to restore balance, but the one she seeks has given up on life in the real world, prefering a virtual one. $3.99
Item Notes: Available with four covers (1) each by Dan Brenton, Matias Basla, GMB Chomichuk, and Steven Babb
Lee: The book looks and sounds ok but I really wanted to comment on the last part of this solicit…. *4* covers? Are you kidding me? I like some of the Bluewater books but a small publisher like this doing multiple covers seems like a poor business decision if you ask me.
Jim: The multiple cover thing is actually worse than it was in the ninties and it seems to me it is just a gimmick to try and pry more money from the same hands not trying to increase your market. Sort of how the government does taxes.

Boom! Studios
Codebreakers #1 by (W) Carey Malloy (A) Scott Godlewski
Busting foreign spies on domestic soil. Cracking the code on drug and human trafficking. Shutting down the mob. They are the elite Cryptanalysis Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, examining manually encrypted documents and records of illegal enterprises, providing expert testimony, forensic assistance, and identification of terrorism, foreign intelligence, and criminal activities in support of federal, state, local, and international law enforcement investigations and prosecutions. Meet the best of the best at puzzling out the truth and protecting all of us from those that would steal information in ways that can shatter the global community and kill. But what happens to the Cryptanalysis unit when one of their own goes missing? Covers by Julian Totino Tedesco and Brett Weledele. $3.99 Visit Godlewski here
Lee: Every month, I really like seeing what Boom! is offering. They have a really diversified catalog. While I tend to prefer the Disney stuff, I keep coming back to books like this. It sounds like it will be really good and Godlewski looks like an awesome artist.
Jim: Plus Boom is a publisher that you know will put out a quality project and if it is a mini-series it will be completed (unlike Image).

Mickey Mouse Classics: Mouse Mayhem Vol. 01 HC
The magnificent Mickey Mouse returns yet again with another colorful collection of comic classics! Danger is afoot as our diminutive mouse hero confronts some of his most memorable foes in these treasured stories, featuring the debut of one of Mickey's arch enemies, The Rhyming Man! $24.99
Lee: All I can say about this is… keep’em coming boys! I love this material. I wonder if Boom has any say in the material published? We’re way past due for a fancy hc of Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse dailies.
Jim: Good question? Chip, does Boom have any say in what is published?

Del Rey Manga
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies GN by (W) Tony Lee (A) Cliff Richards
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen's immortal classic of Regency romance, brought to glorious, gory new life with zombie mayhem from Seth Grahame-Smith. The book quickly became a New York Times bestseller, and now the story is a graphic novel - the perfect format to bring this remixed masterpiece to zombie-loving pop-culture fans. Elizabeth Bennet is one of England's most fearsome warriors, whose speed with a sword is only matched by her quick wit. But she faces her most formidable foe yet in the haughty, conceited, and yet strangely attractive person of Mr. Darcy. As the two lovers meet in the ballroom and on the battlefield, they’ll soon learn that nothing - not even bands of ninjas, disapproving aunts, and an army of ravenous zombies - can stop true love. $14.99
Lee: I guess it was only a matter of time before this became a comic book. But, I still don’t understand the appeal. Then again, we read, and liked, Helen Killer so I shouldn’t throw stones.
Jim: I just find it funny and was amused that this horrified (and not in the scary type way) fans of the actual novel. It was ripe for being made into a comic book.

Sayonara Zetsubou Vol. 06 GN by (W/A) Koji Kumeta
This darkly-humorous fan-favorite series continues, as the world's most depressed teacher tries to kill himself in ever more elaborate fashions. $10.99
Lee: In the last year or so, I’ve read more manga than ever before! And, this looks like it will be another fine addition to my collection. This sounds very funny, but I wonder how well Japanese humor will translate for American audiences.
Jim: Wow, this sounds a little dicey. I don't think mainstream America would find someone trying to committ suicide as funny. Of course we may, but wow would this cause a firestorm if the right media outlet read about this.

Stuff of Legend SC by (W) Mike Raicht, Brian Smith (A) Charles Paul Wilson III
A stunningly beautiful graphic novel, The Stuff of Legend is a wonderful and haunting tale of loyalty, friendship, and perseverance in the face of a nightmarish foe. When a child is taken by the fearsome Boogeyman, his loyal toys rally and stage a rescue operation to get him back. Led by the fearless Colonel, Max the Bear, Percy the Pig, Jester, and others must fight hordes of toys in order to save the boy from the absolutely fearsome Boogeyman. Can they unite and defeat their foe, or will internal divisions threaten to lose the boy - and themselves - forever? $13.00
Lee: We reviewed the first issue of this a long, long time ago and all loved it. Now that the series is done you can get the tpb in case you missed it. This is highly recommended!
Jim: It is highly recommended. To be fair this is part one of a multi-part story and not a complete story, but it is well worth getting.

Drawn & Quarterly
Black Blizzard GN by (W/A) Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Created in the late 1950s, Black Blizzard is Yoshihiro Tatsumi's remarkable first full-length graphic novel and one of the first published examples of Gekiga. Susumu Yamaji, a Young pianist, is arrested for murder and ends up handcuffed to a career criminal on the train that will take them to prison. When an avalanche derails the train, the criminal takes the opportunity to escape, dragging a reluctant Susumu with him. They flee into the mountains, taking shelter from the storm. Black Blizzard uncovers an unlikely love story and an even unlikelier friendship. $19.95 Preview pages here
Lee: Ok, let's start with the basics, per wikipedia "Geika is Japanese for "dramatic pictures." The term was coined by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and adopted by other more serious Japanese cartoonists who did not want their trade to be known as manga or "irresponsible pictures." So, basically, this is the indie world of Japanese comics. That's perfect for me! Not to mention, this sounds like a great story. I'm sold.
Jim: It sounds fascinating, let me know what you think and maybe I will pick it up after you read and review it.

Wilson HC by (W/A) Daniel Clowes
In his all-new graphic novel, one of the leading cartoonists of our time, Daniel Clowes, creates a thoroughly engaging, complex and fascinating character study of the modern egotist, outspoken and oblivious to the world around him. Working in a single-page-gag format and drawing in a spectrum of styles, the cartoonist of Ghost World gives us his funniest and most deeply affecting novel to date. Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner, loves his dog and possibly no one else. After his father dies, Wilson sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family - a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire. Wilson is Clowes first all-new graphic novel that has not been serialized and is being presented in book form for the first time. $21.95
Lee: New Clowes! Need I say more. This pick is just to point out the obvious that you should be buying this.
Jim: Lee is a fan.

More tomorrow!

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