Blacksad Vol. 1: Somewhere Within the Shadows

Written by Juan Díaz Canales
Art by Guarnido
56 pages, color
Published by iBooks

A couple of years ago, a friend returned from a trip to Spain with several graphic albums he’d picked up, and there was one in particular that stood out: Blacksad. With its amazing art and noir sensibilities, I knew that I absolutely had to own this graphic album. The only stumbling block for me to really enjoy it? I don’t speak Spanish. Thankfully, with an English language edition of Blacksad now available, I don’t have to invest in that new foreign language class after all.

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Written by Steven T. Seagle
Penciled by Mike Allred
Inked by Philip Bond
64 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

At a casual glance, it’s a gimmick comic. Take the normal dimensions of a comic and slice them in half so it’s only half as wide as normal. Then, let the comic open up from top to bottom so it’s twice as tall. What’s surprising, then, is that once you get past the casual glance that Vertical works quite well in these strange dimensions. In fact, I can’t imagine it any other way.

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Superman: Secret Identity #1

Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Stuart Immonen
48 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

If you had to pick an iconic superhero that more people knew about than any other, Superman would probably be the winner. That’s probably why Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen chose him for their Superman: Secret Identity mini-series. In many ways, it seems like it’s a book that doesn’t depend so much on the character… but on the rest of the world knowing who that character is.

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Adapted by Charles Dixon and Sean Deming
Based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
Art by David Wenzel
144 pages, color
Published by Del Rey

I think it’s safe to say that Lord of the Rings mania is currently in full force. With three amazingly successful movies courtesy Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famed work has found itself to a whole new audience now hungry for all-things Tolkien. With that in mind, could there possibly be a better time for them to pick up a copy of the graphic novel adaptation of The Hobbit courtesy Chuck Dixon, Sean Deming, and David Wenzel? Nope, this is definitely the right time.

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Edited by Diana Schutz
104 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

I’ve never understood why so many comics focus on autobiographies. Maybe it’s the old adage to write what you know, and what better thing to know than your own life? The problem with that, of course, is that most people’s lives really aren’t that interesting. Editor Diana Schutz probably had that in mind when she put together the anthology AutobioGraphix, then, by publishing short stories by a number of comics creators. Because while everyone’s lives may not be that interesting, almost everyone must have at least an amusing short story from their life.

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Vagabond Vol. 8

By Takehiko Inoue
Based on the novel Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
216 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

When Viz first debuted Takehiko Inoue’s new series Vagabond two years ago, it’s safe to say that I loved it. Since then I’ve encountered Inoue’s earlier series Slam Dunk to much enjoyment, and I thought I’d learned what to expect from Inoue. With the new volume of Vagabond, though, Inoue has shown me that I still have much to learn.

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By Joe Sacco
112 pages, black and white
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

Savvy comic readers know all about Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde, his look at the United Nations designated “safe area” enclave for Muslim Bosnians in the heart of Serbian-controlled Bosnia. What they might not know about is before Safe Area Gorazde, Sacco released Soba, the first in a series of planned stories about Bosnia to be published by Drawn & Quarterly. It’s been a while, but the second Bosnia comic at Drawn & Quartelry has finally arrived in the form of The Fixer, Sacco’s new graphic novel.

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Ring Vol. 1

Written by Hiroshi Takahashi
Based on the novel by Koji Suzuki
Art by Misao Inagaki
312 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

I’m not entirely sure why I never saw the movie The Ring. Somehow I managed to miss out on both the original Japanese movie as well as the American remake, probably because I kept telling myself that I’d see one of them “soon”. Thanks to Dark Horse, though, people in the same situation as me now have a third option—the manga written by the screenwriter of the original movie.

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