Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk Vol. 1: Refuge of the Heart

By Ben Costa
192 pages, color
Published by Iron Crotch University Press

I like when surprises appear in my mailbox, and Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk Vol. 1: Refuge of the Heart certainly applies to that category. A collection of Ben Costa’s webcomic, Pang is something I’d never heard of before, but the cover reminded me of artists like Darwyn Cooke and Bruce Timm and coupled with Shaolin monks? Well, add in that this is a beautiful, slick hardcover and I was pushing it towards the top of the to-be-read pile.

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Smurfs Vol. 1: The Purple Smurfs

Written by Peyo and Yvan Delporte
Art by Peyo
56 pages, color
Published by Papercutz

I have a confession to make: I was never a big Smurfs fan. It’s not that I disliked them, but rather that I never got swept up in Smurfmania when they made their big splash in the United States. So I watched the occasional episode of their show, and I remember flipping through some of the earlier printings of the Smurfs comic albums at my local bookstore. But I’d certainly never sat down and read one of the books until now, so with Papercutz’s low-priced reissues it seemed a good a chance as any. And you know what? Forget the insipid "la la la la la la" theme song from the animated show, this was a lot of fun.

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Back Later This Month!

Between travel and helping run the Ignatz Awards for this month’s Small Press Expo (SPX), the site is going on a slight break while I’m away from the computer (although not away from comics).

If you’re in the Washington DC area the weekend of September 11-12, do make sure to swing by! It’s a great show, and I say that not as someone who used to run it, but as someone who enjoyed going to the show so much that I wanted to help work on it. Just make sure to bring your wallet, there’s a tremendous amount of great stuff in store for you to buy.

And, as always, thanks for your patience.

Phoenix Without Ashes #1

Written by Harlan Ellison
Art by Alan Robinson
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

Never let it be said that Harlan Ellison allows an idea to go to waste. For those unfamiliar with the television show The Starlost, it aired in the 1970s for a single season, originally created by Ellison. He withdrew from the series before it aired, though, and took his name off it and the pilot that he’d written. Since then, he’s published the script under the title he’d given it, Phoenix Without Ashes. And now, it’s back for a whole new generation who have probably never heard of it, as a comic-book mini-series. Here’s the thing, though: I’m not entirely convinced it needed to come back.

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