Shadow Star Vol. 6: What Can I Do For You Now?

By Mohiro Kitoh
224 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

It’s been a while since the last collection of Shadow Star was published in English—almost a year, and it was a year before that we saw the previous volume—and it’s safe to say that any momentum of interest and word-of-mouth may have gotten killed as a result. Now that the series is (hopefully) back on track, what better time to remind people of Mohiro Kitoh’s puzzling and intriguing series?

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Sin City: That Yellow Bastard

By Frank Miller
240 pages, black and white, with some spot color
Published by Dark Horse

With the movie adaptation of several of Frank Miller’s Sin City graphic novels about to hit theatres, and the re-issuing of the books with a new uniform trade dress, now seemed like a good time as any to re-read Miller’s works. While I found most of the books matched my memories of them, one book in particular stood out above the rest: Sin City: That Yellow Bastard.

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Samurai Executioner Vol. 1-2

Written by Kazuo Koike
Art by Goseki Kojima
312 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

One of my earliest exposures to the world of comics in Japan was First Comics’s translations of Lone Wolf & Cub. Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s epic enthralled me from the very first page, and when Dark Horse brought it back into print several years ago I was overjoyed that I could finally read the story that had grabbed my attention all those years earlier. Now Dark Horse is publishing Samurai Executioner, Koike and Kojima’s spin-off of a minor character from Lone Wolf & Cub. When it comes to the sense of wonder that the duo had with their earlier collaboration, the question quickly becomes: can lightning really strike twice?

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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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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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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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Little Lulu: Lulu Goes Shopping

Written by John Stanley
Art by John Stanley and Irving Tripp
128 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

I have a confession to make, and for some comics readers it’s probably pretty unforgivable. Up until this year, I’d never read John Stanley’s critically acclaimed Little Lulu comics. Oh sure, I knew who the character was, and that Stanley’s work on the character was reportedly fantastic. For whatever reason, though, the comics never made their way in front of me. Now that I’ve read the first of Dark Horse’s Little Lulu reprints, though, I’m definitely going to be fixing this rather unfortunate gap in my comic-reading knowledge.

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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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Kwaidan

Written by Jung and Jee-Yun
Art by Jung
144 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Ghost stories are often centered around the emotion of love. It makes sense, if you follow the idea that ghosts are kept in our world through a strong emotion. It’s what Jung and Jee-Yun use in their graphic novel Kwadan, as a pair of spirits in 12th Century Japan are killed prematurely and struggle to be reunited even after death. What we get here, though, is a bit more than it first appears.

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Sock Monkey: Uncle Gabby

By Tony Millionaire
40 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

The first time Dark Horse published a color, hardcover Sock Monkey book, it was Tony Millionaire’s children’s book Sock Monkey: The Glass Doorknob. Under the circumstances, then, I think it’s forgivable that I assumed that the new Sock Monkey: Uncle Gabby was a second book for children. What I found instead, though, was a graphic novel that, like the regular Sock Monkey comic, is most definitely not a cute children’s book.

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