Sandman Mystery Theatre Vol. 1-2

Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Guy Davis, John Watkiss, and R.G. Taylor
112 pages & 208 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

I have a confession to make: when it was first published, I stopped buying Sandman Mystery Theatre after six issues. In 1993 I didn’t have much money to spend on comics, and comics quickly got dropped off of my list of things to buy if they lost my attention. Now that DC Comics has released the first 12 issues of the series in two collected volumes, though, I figured it was time to see if, a decade later, my tastes had matured a bit more and it would be more to my liking… or if perhaps I was right the first time I decided that the book was not for me.

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One Step After Another

By Fermin Solis
40 pages, black and white
Published by AdHouse Books

The world of comics is getting smaller, and that’s a good thing. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that having Spanish comics translated into English would not only be happening on a regular basis, but getting to the point of it being little more than a footnote in the release of a book. One Step After Another‘s hook isn’t that it was originally published in Spain, but that it’s just a genuinely good comic.

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Louis: Dreams Never Die

By Metaphrog
48 pages, color
Published by Metaphrog

There are books which are easy to sum up in a few words, and those that straddle the lines between one classification and the next. The comic-creating duo of Metaphrog’s series of Louis graphic novels not only does that, but it seems to take great glee in doing so. And really, that’s part of the joy of this unique series.

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JLA: Classified #1

Written by Grant Morrison
Penciled by Ed McGuinness
Inked by Dexter Vines
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I loved Grant Morrison’s issues of JLA. They had a great mix of action and crazy, larger-than-life ideas rampaging through the pages every month, and it’s something that was able to hold my attention on a regular basis. It’s been some time since those issues, though, and I couldn’t help but wonder if his opening storyline for JLA: Classified would be able to hit those same levels. Silly, silly me.

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Karas #1

Written by Phil Amara
Penciled by Nuria Peris
Inked by Sergio Sandoval
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

It’s a strange feeling, reading a comic that you don’t realize is supposed to tie into an existing product. Most people who are reading it are already fans of the tie-in property and have an idea of what’s going on, but those who just scoop it up blindly are in for a strange surprise. That was what I thought was going on when I first read Karas from Dark Horse; by the time it was over I was convinced that it was actually connected to a PlayStation2 game. Turns out it’s not. Oops.

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Love as a Foreign Language Vol. 1

Written by J. Torres
Art by Eric Kim
72 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of my favorite release formats we’ve seen in recent days was Viz’s treatment of Eagle, with small, 100-page volumes showing up on a regular basis. The books were long enough that they were squarebound and looked nice sitting on your bookshelf, but short enough that the consumer wasn’t overwhelmed by the amount of material or the amount of money being spent. That’s what Oni Press’s new series Love as a Foreign Language reminds me of; a perfect-sized quarterly series that I want to see slowly take over my bookshelf.

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Whistle! Vol. 1

200 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

Many of my friends may find it hard to believe that I played soccer for six years. It’s probably because unless the World Cup is on television, I don’t have too much interest in the sport these days. It’s fun to see a game from time to time, but on the whole, it just passes me by. Well, in what is certainly high praise, Whistle! not only made me think back fondly to those days playing soccer, but it briefly made me want to watch some soccer games.

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Once in a Blue Moon Vol. 1

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
Art by Jennifer Quick
160 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

As comic books increase their presence in bookstores, it’s interesting to see which companies already seem poised to make great strides into this new market. Take, by way of example, Oni Press’s new book Once in a Blue Moon. Appealing to teenager readers both male and female, it’s a perfect example of a book which should get noticed by a lot of this new audience reading comics. Mind you, Oni’s been publishing this sort of book for years now; it’s just the latest example of the marketplace finally catching up with them.

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Legal Drug Vol. 1

192 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

It’s strange to be reading a CLAMP series that’s actually “new”, but in the case of Tsubasa, xxxHOLiC, and Legal Drug, we’re getting translations of current-running series in Japan. Now that I’ve sampled all three of them, I think that the best was being saved for last, because Legal Drug is easily the one “must buy” series CLAMP’s producing.

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