Ghost in the Shell

By Masamune Shirow
368 pages, black and white, with additional color
Published by Dark Horse

It’s always a little strange to finally read something that for so long has been considered a modern classic. After a while, people almost assume that you’ve read it, while you yourself can pick up some preconceptions on just what he work is like. That was very much the case for myself with Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell. With a new printing of the collection released late last year, the time to finally experience it seemed as good as any.

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30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales #1-3

Written by Steve Niles and Matt Fraction
Art by Kody Chamberlain and Ben Templesmith
32 pages, color
Published by IDW Publishing

Arguably the highest-profile book published by IDW has been 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, which along with its sequels (Dark Days and 30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow) has been determined to bring good old-fashioned terror back into comics. The latest title from Niles and Templesmith is the new anthology title 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales but unlike the other books there’s a slight twist; Niles and Templesmith are each working with a different creator to put together the two serials in Bloodsucker Tales.

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Beyond Avalon #1

Written by Joe Pruett
Art by Goran Sudzuka
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

One of the most popular myths and legends still being used in popular entertainment has got to be that of King Arthur. It’s hard to not know anything of Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. When Beyond Avalon was announced, I was both intrigued and worried because the creators sounded promising, but did we really need another sequel to the stories of King Arthur?

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Vimanarama #1

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Bond
40 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

There are many different types and styles of storytelling; some can shift from one form of media to another with the greatest of ease, while others seem bound to a specific form. It’s important, though, to not get caught up in your assumptions of what can and cannot work. If so you’ll blind yourself that the impossible can be done… like, for instance, combining science-fiction comics with elements of Bollywood musicals.

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Concrete: The Human Dilemma #1-2

By Paul Chadwick
32 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

In the early ’90s, anyone who really knew anything about comics knew about Concrete. Paul Chadwick’s signature comic about a speech writer whose mind was transplanted into a stone behemoth, Concrete tackled social issues that didn’t have easy answers, using a mixture of drama and humor to get Chadwick’s points across. Six and a half years ago, Concrete quietly slipped off the radar. And now, finally, he’s back.

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Paradise Kiss Vol. 1

By Ai Yazawa
192 pages, black and white
Published by TokyoPop

All right, I’ll admit it. The first time around, I completely missed out on Paradise Kiss. A book about fashion designers just didn’t sound interesting enough to grab my attention in the sea of new series being unleased on the market, and then several of the books in the series briefly went out of print. Now that TokyoPop is bringing new printings of the series to out, I decided to give it another try and it turns out everyone else was right: I should have been reading this ages ago.

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Runaways Vol. 1-3

Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Penciled by Adrian Alphona, with Takeshi Miyazawa
Inked by Craig Yeung and David Newbold
144 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

In 2003, a group of new titles debuted from Marvel under the promotional heading of “Tsunami”. It was an apt name, with the titles being unleashed on retailers and consumers alike as a massive wave, making it hard for many of the books to grab people’s attention in the sudden flood of new creations. Probably the most critically-successful book was Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways. With the entire 18-issue run now collected in three low-priced digest books, and a new Runaways series beginning next week, there’s no better time to take a look at these three collections.

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Legend of GrimJack Vol. 1

Written by John Ostrander
Art by Timothy Truman
128 pages, color
Published by IDW Publishing

Everyone has them: those long-forgotten books that you’ve never read, even though all of your friends love it and swear by it. “How can you have not read (insert name of title)?” they’ll cry. “It’s the best thing since sliced bread! Wait, even better than that!” And so you smile and politely nod and promise that you’ll read it, even though you never do. For years, that was me and GrimJack. I had a great excuse, mind you: the series has been out of print for quite a long time. Then IDW Publishing had to go and bring it back into print, and suddenly all my excuses have vanished.

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Kingdom of the Wicked

Written by Ian Edginton
Art by D’Israeli
120 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

About a year and a half ago, Dark Horse published Ian Edginton and D’Israeli’s Scarlet Traces, a visually stunning collaboration about the invasion of England by aliens. Now one of their earlier collaborations is back in print, Kingdom of the Wicked. Here, the invasion is more sinister, as not England being invaded… but a writer’s childhood dream world.

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Asterix and the Banquet

Written by Rene Goscinny
Art by Albert Uderzo
48 pages, color
Published by Orion Books

Way back in 1980, a friend from school invited me over to his house, one who promised to show me what he called the funniest books ever. His relatives from England sent them to him for his birthday ever year, a series of graphic albums starring the Gaulish warriors Asterix and Obelix. Over the next couple of weeks I read all of the Asterix books he had, and I’ve been a fan ever since then.

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