Naruto Vol. 1

By Masashi Kishimoto
192 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

Naruto is a backwards series. I don’t mean that reversing the title reveals the secret word “Oturan”, and I’m not referring to the right-to-left progression of the page. No, Naruto is a backwards series because creator Masashi Kishimoto has cleverly reversed all the normal standards of a “young hero in training” comic into something uniquely different.

Read the rest of this entry »

Clumsy: A Novel

By Jeffrey Brown
232 pages, black and white
self-published; distributed by Top Shelf Productions

It takes guts to have a cover like that of Clumsy. It’s easy to pass it by with its “brown wrapper” look; even the text on it (the title, author’s name, price, and parental advisory) hardly grabs the attention for more than half a second. And yet, somehow, there’s something about it that made me come back. Maybe it was the confidence of the book that is determined to succeed by sheer talent, or maybe it was just the hand-drawn “Parental Advisory” label. What I do know, though, is once I started reading I simply couldn’t stop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Youngblood: Bloodsport #1

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Rob Liefeld
32 pages, color
Published by Arcade Comics

Love them or hate them, both Rob Liefeld and Mark Millar understand controversy. Both creators seem to both attract and thrive on it, and Youngblood: Bloodsport is certainly no exception. After having all orders cancelled at Diamond Comics, the book is finally being released outside of the normal comic distribution channels, available at conventions, the company’s webpage, and eventually through stores. With constant claims that Youngblood: Bloodsport will shock and surprise its readers, the most important question seems to have been left out in talk about the book. One you strip away the promised shock treatment, is it actually any good?

Read the rest of this entry »

Bunny Town #1-2

By Will Allison
32 pages, black and white
Published by Radio Comix

Don’t underestimate the power of a good cover. While at Comic-Con International in San Diego earlier this month, every time I walked by the Radio Comix booth I kept seeing one cover in particular that jumped out at me—Bunny Town #1. Maybe it was the resigned look on the bunny’s face. Maybe it was the lightning bolt hitting the bunny in the face. Maybe it was the cute logo overtop the rather bleak cover providing a perfect contrast. All I knew is, I needed Bunny Town. Immediately. You see what a good cover can do?

Read the rest of this entry »

Project: Telstar

Edited by Chris Pitzer
192 pages, two-color
Published by AdHouse Books

Robots and space have always been two hallmarks of the future. In movies, television, books, both of them evoke a sense of wonder and awe, in the idea of what we might find out in space, as well as what we might be able to create ourselves in robots. When AdHouse Books announced Project: Telstar (a “spacial robotic anthology”) as its third publication, I knew we’d get high production values and a slick-looking final product. Happily, not only was this the case, but editor Chris Pitzer made sure to round up an incredibly strong group of contributors to boot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Honour Among Punks: The Complete Baker Street

Written by Guy Davis and Gary Reed
Art by Guy Davis
368 pages, black and white
Published by iBooks, Inc.

In the early ’90s, I remember a friend of mine in college looking at me like I was some sort of strange alien from another planet. He finally sputtered, “What do you mean, you’ve never read Baker Street?” he said, incredulously. I promised him that I’d fix this as soon as possible, and remember buying the two collections of the series that Caliber Books had published. I sat down with the first one… and the binding promptly exploded, sending pages scattering everywhere. I never did find a replacement, and figured that me reading Baker Street was just not meant to be. Thankfully, publisher iBooks, Inc. has decided to not only keep bringing classic prose books into print, but to also do the same with comic books. It’s nice to get a second chance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sanctum Vol. 1-2

Written by Xavier Dorison
Art by Christophe Bec
64 pages, color
Published by Humanoids Publishing

Oceans are, in many ways, the last great unexplored frontier of this planet. We’re constantly discovering new species existing under the waters, each time with the knowledge that there is still much more to find. Maybe that’s what the initial attraction to Sanctum was; the idea of a massive temple hidden under the water is just too cool. Of course, what you hope for and what you find are two very different things, as the crew of the U.S.S. Nebraska discovered…

Read the rest of this entry »

Maria’s Wedding

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Drawn by Jose Garibaldi
88 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

While the last name may fool you, I grew up as part of a large Italian family. With my mother being the oldest of seven, it’s also fair to say that I’ve seen my share of Italian-American weddings. And, over the course of this year, my older sister has been planning her wedding for this October; the first of the eleven children of our generation to get married. So trust me when I say that Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir know exactly what they’re talking about in Maria’s Wedding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last of the Independents

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Kieron Dwyer
104 pages, sepia and white
Published by AiT/Planet Lar

The problem with hype is that it’s almost impossible to live up to. So unless you’ve been under a rock for the last couple of months, you’d know that AiT/Planet Lar was publishing a graphic novel called Last of the Independents by Matt Fraction and Kieron Dwyer. You’d also know that according to the hype, it’s supposed to be excellent. And it’s more than understandable if as a result of all of this you’re feeling more than a bit wary. Having now read Last of the Independents, I feel that I can say that when it comes to the hype… it was actually dead-on correct.

Read the rest of this entry »

Johnny Jihad

By Ryan Inzana
96 pages, black and white
Published by NBM

When John Walker Lindh was first captured by US forces, I remember hearing a lot of shock and outrage. “How could an American fight with the Taliban!” was the phrase of the day, and the reaction by quite a few people. In the case of Ryan Inzana, though, one gets the impression that he saw the news report and said, “I’ve got an idea for a graphic novel.” And now, just as people have forgotten all about Walker Lindh, we’ve got Johnny Jihad.

Read the rest of this entry »