WildGuard: Casting Call #1

Written and penciled by Todd Nauck
Inked by Lary Stucker
32 pages, color
Published by Image ComicsLove them or hate them, it’s hard to escape the ever-growing sphere of reality television these days. One of the most popular forms is the “talent show” variety (American Idol, Pop Idol, Fame Academy, Star Search, Making the Band, etc.) where potentials competing for a final prize are whittled down through auditions and viewer polls. So it really makes perfect sense, then, that in a world of superheroes we’d get the exact same thing… just the contestants would be different in what they’re going to show off.

Read the rest of this entry »

Whiskey Dickel, International Cowgirl

Written by Mark Ricketts
Art by Mike Hawthorne
120 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

Yeehah! You might be hearing people shout that out a lot these days, and it’s probably because they’ve gotten their first glimpse of Whiskey Dickel, International Cowgirl. On the surface, this is a really attractive book, designed to look like a nice leatherbound volume with an attractive picture of Whiskey Dickel herself on the cover, a nice solid paper stock, and a great little notation that its genre is “cowgirl fiction”. Of course, once they actually open the book, expect a lot more “yeehah!”s coming from their direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shutterbox Vol. 1

By Tavisha and Rikki Simons
160 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

I’ve been a fan for quite a while of Studio Tavicat—the umbrella name often used by creators Tavisha and Rikki Simons—so it’s no small surprise that I’ve been hearing about ShutterBox for a while. I’d just about given up hope on ever seeing this particular project, especially when the original venue never happened, when seemingly out of nowhere, ShutterBox Volume 1 appeared. After reading the book, I realized that having things just appear like objects out of a dream or a vision is really more apt than I initially thought…

Read the rest of this entry »

Excel Saga Vol. 1

By Rikdo Koshi
200 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

For a while now I’ve been hearing about a Japanese anime series called Excel Saga. I was told it was wacky, it was bizarre, it was hysterically funny. So of course, I never got around to seeing it. However, when I heard that Viz was publishing the Excel Saga manga, I figured that was a good a way as any to see what all the fuss was about.

Read the rest of this entry »

Boys Over Flowers Vol. 1

By Yoko Kamio
216 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

If there’s one thing that reading Japanese comics has taught me, it’s that their school system is set up very differently than ours. What school you go to carries a great amount of prestige, with parents often spending a great deal of money to get their children into a school that will look good when promotion time comes around. When reading Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, I also got another very important lesson—that if Japanese schools are really like this, they’re very much not the place for me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last Exit Before Toll

Written by Neal Shaffer
Penciled by Christopher Mitten
Inked by Dawn Pietrusko
96 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

When Neal Shaffer and Daniel Krall’s One Plus One debuted last year, readers might remember how excited I was about their first project, with its sense of unease and mystery about it. Now Shaffer’s back with a new graphic novel, Last Exit Before Toll, drawn by Christopher Mitten and Dawn Pietrusko. The immediate question I found myself having was, “Will this just be One Plus Two or something different?” I had no idea just how different that would be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Battle Royale Vol. 1

Written by Koushun Takami
Drawn by Masayuki Taguchi
216 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

A couple of years ago, it seemed every time I turned around I couldn’t escape from talk of Battle Royale. A movie rapidly approaching cult status, everyone kept talking about its brilliant satire of television and violence and how everyone really had to see it. Viz recently published a translation of the original Battle Royale novel (the basis for the manga and then the movie), and now TokyoPop has gotten into the action as well with the first volume of the manga. Having just finished reading this first volume, I can’t decide if I need to rush out and pick up the novel and DVD, or if I should wait so I don’t have the rest of the manga spoiled for me…

Read the rest of this entry »