Three #1

By Eric Orner, Joey Alison Sayers, and Robert Kirby
32 pages, color
Published by Rob Kirby Comics

Long-time readers will know I’m a fan of a good comics anthology. It doesn’t have to be overly long; Greg Means’s Papercutter, after all, proves on a regular basis that you can have a three-story collection and still end up strong. I was fairly psyched, as a result, to find the debut issue of Robert Kirby’s new anthology Three waiting for me in my mailbox recently. Based on this initial line-up of creators, I think there’s finally another regular anthology comic for me to look forward to.

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RASL #8

By Jeff Smith
24 pages, black and white
Published by Cartoon Books

RASL is one of those titles where I have no choice, mentally, but to "double-dip." I buy each issue as it’s published, and then once the collections show up they end up heading onto my bookshelf and the individual issues of RASL get passed along to other readers. It’s partially because a new Jeff Smith series is too exciting to pass up, but more than that, I stick with the individual issues because I think Smith’s one of those creators who understands simultaneously how to write for both a collected edition as well as the individual issue.

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Rabbi Harvey vs. The Wisdom Kid

By Steve Sheinkin
144 pages, color
Published by Jewish Lights Publishing

I love when I end up with a good book that I otherwise might not have picked up. That’s certainly the case with Rabbi Harvey vs. The Wisdom Kid, a graphic novel set in the wild west frontier starring a rabbi who has to deal with all sorts of calamities. The book reminds me a lot of John D. Fitzgerald’s The Great Brain books, in that Rabbi Harvey is funny and clever and holds a near-universal appeal.

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Bikeman #1

By Jon Chad
44 pages, black and white
Self-Published

I love mini-comics. For those who haven’t encountered them before, they’re usually handmade comics that are assembled by the artist and sold at conventions. Every year at the Small Press Expo, almost all of my money ends up going towards mini-comics, which are often hard to find anywhere else. One of my favorite purchases last year was Leo Geo and His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth by Jon Chad, a comic over two feet tall drawn as a single continuous image showing Leo Geo climbing slowly through the planet. Having just read his new mini-comic Bikeman, I’m all the more excited to buy more of Chad’s comics, because he’s now proven himself to me as not being a one-hit-wonder.

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Kobato Vol. 1-2

By CLAMP
164 pages, black and white
Published by Yen Press

Kobato is the latest comic from Japanese creator collective CLAMP, and based on many of their past works that I’ve enjoyed (Suki, xxxHolic, Wish, Cardcaptor Sakura, Legal Drug) I figured it was worth a shot. Yen Press chose to release the first two volumes of the series simultaneously in English, and now that I’ve read them I have to say this was a smart move on their part. Had I only read the first volume on its own, I’m not entirely sure I’d have gone back to the store for a second helping.

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Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars in Brooklyn

By Meredith Gran
272 pages, green and white
Published by Villard Books

Octopus Pie is one of those online comics that I’d heard the title of (because really, once you hear the phrase Octopus Pie how are you going to forget it?) but never sat down and read. Now that Villard Books has released a collection of the first two years of the strip, though, it seemed like a good a time as any to see just what it’s all about. That said, the biggest mistake you can make as an Octopus Pie newbie has got to be the one I made: don’t read it all at once.

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Two Italian Guys

By Chris Yura
36 pages, color
Published by Mangia Industry

Every now and then, a book shows up in my mailbox that I’ve never heard but instantly grabs my attention. Two Italian Guys by Chris Yura did that, published in a landscape format and with a slick, attractive hardback cover. With this attention to publishing quality, it ended up quickly shifting up to the top of the to-read pile (although having three grandparents being immigrant families from Italy probably didn’t hurt my interest). What I found inside, though, was one of the stranger comics I’ve read in a while.

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Stuff of Legend Vol. 1: The Dark

Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith
Art by Charles Paul Wilson III
128 pages, color
Published by Villard Books

So far as I can tell, during last year’s Free Comic Book Day, I missed out on a doozy of a good title. That’s when Th3rd World Studios published The Stuff of Legend #0, the first chapter in their new series about a group of toys traveling into the land of the Boogeyman to rescue their young owner. Now that I’ve read this first collection of the series, I’m a little sad that it’s taken me this long to hear about it. While the basic idea behind the series might not cause you to bat an eye, it’s the way that the creators tell their story that makes it so entrancing.

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Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Written by Max Brooks
Art by Ibraim Roberson
144 pages, black and white
Published by Three Rivers Press

Max Brooks’s World War Z was one of my favorite books of 2006, a fictional series of journalistic articles detailing the start of a zombie outbreak across the globe and how it transformed the world. (If you haven’t read it, I wholeheartedly recommend it; Brooks takes the idea of a global pandemic to a new scale, and even if you "don’t like zombie stories" you will almost certainly find this entrancing.) The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks sounded like a perfect companion to the book, a graphic novel of short stories showing earlier zombie uprising over the ages. At the end of the day, though, it didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped.

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Adventures of Daniel Boom AKA Loud Boy: Grow Up!

Written by D.J. Steinberg
Art by Brian Smith
96 pages, color
Published by Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin Books

I’d never heard of this series of children’s graphic novels until one randomly appeared in my mailbox, and for about a week I somehow forgot all about it. Then I was at a large family get together where, after dinner, my partner and I were attempting to entertain a 6-year old, a 5-year old, and a 4-year old. Well, it’s been a week and my ears are still ringing a bit from all the shouting at their end, and all of the sudden a graphic novel series about a kid who is incredibly loud made perfect sense to me, and turned into required reading. Once I found out that another superhero in the book’s power was throwing tantrums, well, I was hooked.

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