Usagi Yojimbo #90

By Stan Sakai
24 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse Comics

It may have been a while since I’ve checked in with Usagi Yojimbo; the book was one of the very first reviews I posted on back in 1999. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the comic, though. Stan Sakai’s creation is one of the smartest ongoing series being produced right now, and when I read a new issue like this one it just reminds me all over again why it’s so good.

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Fell #1-3

Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Ben Templesmith
20 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

In many ways, Fell is an experiment. It’s a series of 16-page stories in comics, each intended to be self-contained, and priced at just $1.99. Can a cheaper-and-shorter series work, not only financially, but to the reader’s satisfaction?

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Monster Vol. 1

By Naoki Urasawa
224 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

Everyone knows the old theoretical philosophical question by now. “If you could travel back and time and kill Adolf Hitler as a child, would you?” I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what inspired Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. The one big difference? I think Monster‘s twist on that old chestnut is the far more interesting scenario.

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Queen Bee Vol. 1

By Chynna Clugston
112 pages, black and white
Published by Graphix/Scholastic Books

Chynna Clugston’s Blue Monday is often characterized as “what would happen if Archie comics were written for older readers.” It’s certainly true that Clugston’s comics like Blue Monday and Scooter Girl aren’t intended for younger readers—so in many ways, that was one of the immediate attractions in looking at Queen Bee. What would happen when Clugston’s humor and sensibilities went to work on a book intended for all ages?

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Bomb Queen #1

By Jimmie Robinson
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

There are two kinds of “over-the-top” and it’s important to understand the difference. The first kind is when something is utterly crazy and implausible, but meant to be taken seriously. The creator has no idea that it’s gone off the rails, even as drinking games form around its existence. Then there’s the second kind, where it’s deliberately silly and nuts and the creator is laughing right along with you. That’s the kind I like, and it seems that Jimmie Robinson does too.

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Ganges #1

By Kevin Huizenga
32 pages, two-color
Published by Fantagraphics Books and Coconino Press

Out of all the books in the “Ignatz” line, I have to admit that the one I’ve been really looking forward to is Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges. While I’m still planning on sampling the rest of the line before too long, I’ve got to say that the rest of the Ignatz line has a lot to live up to now in my mind that Ganges is here.

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Mouse Guard #1

By David Petersen
24 pages, color
Published by Archaia Studios Press

There’s something that’s just sort of cool about the idea of mice wearing cloaks and holding swords. It’s funny, because I’ve never read the best-selling Redwall novels but for some reason, the idea is just golden. Needless to say, when I saw the cover of David Petersen’s Mouse Guard I absolutely couldn’t resist.

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Northwest Passage Vol. 1

By Scott Chantler
72 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

I’m always a little embarrassed about some of my gaps of knowledge when it comes to history. Every time I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp of all the important events that I should know about, someone will mention one that I realize I really know nothing about. When Scott Chantler’s Northwest Passage was announced, I found myself more than a bit relieved. Other than the fact that the passage exists, I really knew nothing about its discovery. Fortunately, Chantler’s managed to both educate and entertain me at the same time; what more can I ask for?

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Baby-Sitters Club Vol. 1: Kristy’s Great Idea

By Raina Telgemeier
Adapted from the book by Ann M. Martin
192 pages, black and white
Published by Graphix/Scholastic Books

I have a confession to make, and it’s a doozy. When Scholastic first published Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club books, I used to sneak into my little sister’s room and read them when she wasn’t looking. I was distinctly not the demographic they were looking for, but I didn’t care. Martin’s books were fun, telling the story of four best friends who formed their own baby-sitting business and learned how to deal with clients, school, and each other. Flash forward twenty years, and Scholastic is now publishing the first in what will hopefully be a series of Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels. Trust me when I say that I couldn’t be more excited, especially now that I’ve seen just what a fantastic job Raina Telgemeier did with the adaptation.

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Nextwave #1

Written by Warren Ellis
Pencilled by Stuart Immonen
Inked by Wade von Grawbadger
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Every now and then, I buy something on little more than a whim. Something about it just catches my eye, and the next thing I know I’m pulling out my wallet and wondering if I’ll be excited or disappointed when I get home. In the case of Nextwave #1, soon after I got home I was calling the comic book store back up to make sure they knew exactly what they had on their hands.

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