Same Difference and Other Stories

By Derek Kirk Kim
144 pages, black and white
Published by Small Stories, distributed by Alternative Comics

Don’t trust editors. I should engrave this on the top of my monitor or something, because every time I ignore this adage I end up spending money. I first got suckered by Matt Wayne from Milestone Media, who promised me that if I didn’t love Maison Ikkoku he’d give me my money back. Fourteen volumes later, I was happier if a bit poorer. Ever since then, I keep getting sucked into new books by editors saying the same thing. When they haven’t published the book themselves, I figure it must be sincere, and it usually is… and my wallet ends up a bit lighter. This time the blame goes to James Lucas Jones from Oni Press, who did the whole, “If you don’t like it I’ll give you your money back” thing with Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference and Other Stories. You’d think I would have seen the end result a mile away.

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Fallen Angel #1-2

Written by Peter David
Penciled by David Lopez
Inked by Fernando Blanco
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Over a decade ago, Peter David’s comics were one of the reasons why I went to the comic book store every month. Desperate to read the next installment of Incredible Hulk, it was one of the first comics that made me really pay attention to who was writing a book instead of the characters inside. So when DC Comics announced David’s new series Fallen Angel, seeing David’s name still brought back fond memories, and I made sure to give it a proper chance.

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Shaolin Soccer Vol. 1

By Andy Seto
128 pages, color
Published by ComicsOne

For the past year or two, it’s been hard for me to escape the buzz around the upcoming American release of Hong Kong movie “Shaolin Soccer”. Actor Stephen Chow attended Comic-Con International last year and was reportedly amazed at how many people were not only aware of his movie, but avid fans. As the release date grows closer and closer, I find myself all the more intrigued and excited about this movie… so I was thrilled when I found out that ComicsOne was publishing Andy Seto’s comic adaptation of the movie as well. As far as I was considered, this was the perfect way to get a preview.

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Poppie’s Adventures Vol. 1: Serpents in Paradise

Written by Julie Yeh
Drawn by Jack Hsu
48 pages, color
Published by Way Out Comics

You know those old commercials about two great tastes that go great together? I think that can apply to more than just chocolate and peanut butter, myself. Take the Xeric Grant and Comic-Con International. The first is a fund that helps creators print their comics; the second is the largest comic convention in the United States where you never know just what you’re going to find. So when the two come together… well, let’s just say that my wallet is always a little lighter by the end of the trip, but usually for a good reason.

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Yossel: April 19, 1943

By Joe Kubert
144 pages, black and white
Published by iBooks, Inc.

The “road not taken” is an endless source of interest to the general public? What if you had taken that new job offer? What if you hadn’t gone to the party where you met your future spouse? Sometimes the “what if” can be a lot grimmer, though. Famed comic creator Joe Kubert’s family came to America from Poland in the 1920s, but the family almost was not allowed into the country. With that in mind, his new graphic novel Yossel: April 19, 1943 asks the question, “What if my family had still been in Poland when the Warsaw Ghetto was founded?”

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Jennifer Daydreamer: Oliver

By Jennifer Daydreamer
56 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Years ago at SPX I picked up a bunch of minicomics with the name “Jennifer Daydreamer” on the cover. Soon afterwards, it was almost like she’d vanished off the face of the earth, and I found myself wondering if we’d ever see Daydreamer and her self-titled comics again. I was pleasantly surprised, then, when earlier this year Top Shelf released Jennifer Daydreamer: Oliver. The nicest surprise for me was probably the discovery that she’d spent her years away from comics getting even better.

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Feather #1

By Steve Uy
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

For better or for worse, I’d never encountered Steve Uy’s art before Feather. I know he’d worked on the series Eden’s Trail for Marvel, but I’d never really gotten a good look. With the rise of manga in today’s market, it’s easy to have a lot of the recent arrivals in the field fall to the wayside… but in the case of Feather #1, this is one you won’t want to miss.

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Faction Paradox #1

Written by Lawrence Miles
Pencilled by Jim Calafiore
Inked by Peter Palmiotti
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Have you ever felt like you had an unfair advantage? That’s the impression I got when I picked up Faction Paradox #1 from Image Comics. Unlike most of the readers, I suspect, I’d actually read author Lawrence Miles’s novels that first introduced the time-travelling voodoo cultists of the Faction (Alien Bodies, Interference), so I had a good idea of what to expect. For anyone else, though… I’m not sure this is at all what they’d expect.

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Goon Vol. 1: Nothin’ But Misery

By Eric Powell
136 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse Comics

All right, I can admit when I’m wrong. Every now and then you hear about a book and people keep praising it to the heavens and you’re thinking, “Yeah, sure, whatever.” Because all it took was something small, something you may not even recognize, that has somehow pitted you against it. I cannot explain why I never picked up The Goon when it was self-published by Eric Powell’s Albatross Exploding Funny Books, but it took a collection from Dark Horse to finally push me into action. And now, of course, I’m really regretting it taking this long.

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Arrowsmith #1

Written by Kurt Busiek
Pencilled by Carlos Pacheco
Inked by Jesus Merino
32 pages, color
Published by WildStorm/DC Comics

It’s usually when I write something off that it comes back with a vengeance. Take, for example, the Cliffhanger! subimprint of Wildstorm. It had just gotten to the point where I’d decided the line (essentially a creator-owned branch of Wildstorm) was quietly retired when it decided to come back with a bunch of new project announcements—and the book I was really ready to see was Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco’s Arrowsmith.

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