Not only have I been “allowed” to turn half my condo into a well-stocked Comic Book Hardcover and Trade heaven, but I’m can also decorate any area as I geekily see fit. (See these Nerdly Possessions™ posts here and here for a several peeks inside Insideman’s Inner Sanctum.)
My friend (an expert at all things eBay) is getting ready to put up tons of my back catalog of Trades and Hardcovers for auction. Long-time readers know I used to offer my books for sale every year, for two reasons: 1) To make room for the constant influx of new crap and, most importantly 2) Use the proceeds to help my friend stricken with MS with her bills. Everything was working perfectly until I hit several familial speed bumps. Now the place is bursting at the seams with hardcovers and trades and EVERYTHING MUST GO!
I’ll be sure to clue you all in when the event occurs… But this inventory– which I quadruple checked for condition and to make certain we don’t sell something on eBay I don’t actually possess– led me to be dismayed by the fact I had never really gotten my (now massive) Manga Collection together in some kind of reasonable order.
(Hint: This is the part where I realize how truly lucky I am.)
While I was back and forth from different studios the last couple of days, my girlfriend (who puts up with all this comic book bullshit with a big smile on her face) overheard me wishing out loud how I wish I had time to get my Manga Collection in order…
…Then did it all by herself. (With all the books lying around– hopefully to be sent to lucky eBay bidders in the near future– I never even noticed what she was doing.)
To put the enormity of task into perspective: My GF has read ONE comic book in her entire life– the Buffy The Vampire Season 8 Volume 1 Trade. She soldiered through it, even though she couldn’t get the hang of which word balloons or captions to read first or who was talking to who. (Let’s face it, the art on that book has never been perfectly representative of the real life actors… And if you’ve never read a comic, you wouldn’t possibly always know who was who either.)
Come to think of it, she’s no Japanese Language or Manga expert either. But that didn’t stop her from putting all my manga in perfect alphabetical order. Here’s the list she presented me with too:
@ Full Moon, 10 Billion Days and a Hundred Billion Nights (Prose), 20th Century Boys, 5 Centimeters per Second, 7 Billion Needles, A Certain Scientific Railgun, A Devil and Her Love Song, A Drunken Dream, A Single Match, Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Absolute Boyfriend, Afterschool Charisma, Ai Ore!, Aion, Airgear, Akira (Kondansha Edition), Alice in the Country of Hearts, All You Need Is Kill (Prose), Amazing Agent Jennifer, Apollo’s Song, Appleseed, Appleseed Hypernotes, Arata, Arisa, Asch the Bloody, Astral Project, Attack on Titan, Avalon Chronicles, Ax, Ayako, Azumanga Daioh, Bakuman, Banya, Battle Angel Alita, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Battle Club, Battle Royale Ultimate Edition, Battle Vixens, Berserk, Betrayal, Biomega, Black Bird, Black Butler, Black Cat, Black Gate, Black God, Black Jack, Black Lagoon, Blade of the Immortal, Bleach, Bleach Omnibus, Blood + Adagio, Blood + Kowloon Nights, Blood Alone, Blood Blockade Battlefront, Bloody Monday, Blue Exorcist, Bokurano, Book Girl and the Corrupted Angel (Prose), Bride of the Water God, Brides Story, Buddha, Butterfly, Cage of Eden (Prose), Cannon God Exaxxion, Captain Commando, Cardcaptor Sakura, Chi’s Sweet Home, Chibi Vampire, Chibi Vampire Airmail, Children of the Sea, Chobits, Cirque Du Freak, Claymore, Clover, Code Breaker, Color of Earth, Color of Heaven, Color of Water, Countdown 7 Days, Cross Game, Crying Freeman, D. Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Dance in the Vampire Bund Gaiden, Daniel X, Dark Stalkers, Dawn of the Arcana, Deadman Wonderland, Death Note, Deltora Quest, Demon City Shinjuku (Prose), Demon Sacred, Detroit Metal City, Dogs, Dorohedoro, Dororo Omnibus, Dracula Everlasting , Dragon Sword and Wind Child (Prose), Drifters, Drops of God, Durarara!!, Eagle, Earl and the Fairy, Eden: It’s An Endless World, Elemental Gelade, Empowered, Fairy Tail, Fallen Words, Fate/Stay Night, FLCL Omnibus, Flowers of Evil, Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll, Forget Sorrow, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist Omnibus, Future Diary, Gantz, Gate 7, Gear School, Genkaku Picasso, Genshiken Omnibus, Gente, Ghost Hunt, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell (Unedited), Ghost in the Shell 1.5 Human-Error Processor, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Ghost in the Shell Vol 2 Man-Machine Interface, Ghost Talkers Daydream, Gin Tama, Gon (Kodansha Edition), Good Luck, Yukikaze (Prose), Goodbye, Gossip Girl, Grand Guignol Orchestra, Gravatation, GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, Gunslinger Girl, Gunsmith Cats, Gunsmith Cats Burst, Hagakure, Hanako and the Terror of Allegory , Hell Girl, Hellsing, Hetalia, High School of the Dead, Hot Gimmick, House of Five Leaves, I Am Here, Ichiroh!, Ikigami, Inuyasha, Is This a Zombie?, Itsuwaribito, Jack Frost, Jormungand, Jyu-Oh-Sei , Ka N Nagi, Kamisama Kiss, Kashimashi, Kekkaishi, Kimi Ni Todoke, Kingyo Used Books, Kobato, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Kurozakuro, Lady Snow Blood, Le Chevalier d’Oro, Library Wars, Lives, Love Hina Omnibus, Lychee Light Club, Mad Love Chase , Magic Knight Rayearth, Makeshift Miracle, Maleficarum, Maoh Juvenile Remix, March Story, Mardock Scramble, Mardock Scramble (Prose), Maximum Ride The Manga, Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations, Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince (Prose), MM9, Monkey King, Monster, Monster Hunter Orage, MPD Psycho, Mu Shi Shi, MW, My Boyfriend is a Vampire, Naruto, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Negima!, Negima! Omnibus, Negima!? Neo, Neko Ramen, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion Campus Apocalypse, Neon Genesis Evangelion The Shinji Ikari Raising Project, Ninja Girls, No Longer Human, Nonnonba, Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Odd: House of Odd, Odd: In Odd We Trust, Odd: Odd is on Our Side, Ode to Kirihito Part One & Part Two, Oh My Goddess!, Oh My Goddess! First End (Prose), Oldboy, Olympos, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, Ooku, Pandora Hearts, Parasyte, Path of the Assassin, Peace Maker, Peace Maker: Kurogane, Peepo Choo, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Pluto, Princess Knight, Psycho Busters, Psyren, Raiders, Rasetsu, Replica, Ristorante Paradiso, Rocket Girls (Prose), Rocket Girls The Last Planet (Prose), Rosario Vampire Season I, Rosario Vampire Season II, Ruroni Kenshin, Sailor (Kodansha Edition), Sailor Moon (Kodansha Edition), Sakura Hime, Samurai Executioner, Samurai Harem: Aso No Yoichi, Samurai Legends, Satsuma Gishiden, Saturn Apartments, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Shaman Warrior, Sharknife, Silent Mobius, Silver Diamond, Skyblue Shore, Slum Online, Souleater, Souleater NOT!, Soulless, Spice & Wolf, Starcraft Frontline, Starcraft Ghost Academy, Stargazing Dog, Stepping on Roses, Strawberry 100%, Street Fighter Gaiden, Sundome, Suppli, Suzuka, Swallowing the Earth, Tanpenshu, Tarot Café, Tarot Café The Wild Hunt (Prose), Tegami Bachi, Tekkon Kinkreet, Tenjo Tenge, Tesoro, The Book of Heroes (Prose), The Cage of Zeus (Prose), The Dreaming, The Innocent , The Other Side of the Mirror , The Ouroboros Wave (Prose), The Story of Lee, The Story of Saiunkoku, The Summit of the Gods, The Wavering (Prose), Togainu No Chi , Togari, Tokyo Mewmew Omnibus, Tonoharu, Toradora, Toriko, Tsubasa, Twilight, Twin Spica, Ultimo, Until Death Do Us Part, Until the Full Moon, Uzumaki, Vagabond, Vampire Hunter D, Vampire Knight, Vassalord, Velveteen & Mandala, Wandering Son, Will Supervillains Be on the Final?, Witch & Wizard, X, xxxHolic, Yakuza Moon, Zombie Loan, Zone-00
Should I also mention she’s beautiful, talented (an internationally acclaimed concert pianist and recording artist), a great cook and smarter than me?
Damn. I’m lucky.
This is gonna sound weird (when doesn’t anything I write sound weird?)… But I’m sort of “in love” with certain comic book companies. Not the creators– writers, artists, letterers, colorists… The companies. I’ll be writing a full column about this soon (I’ve been threatening to write this piece since we began IMJ)– but, suffice to say, I’m really hearting publisher Humanoids right now… As they are currently making a concerted effort to reintroduce classic European comics and creators to America and other English-speaking countries.
There’s nothing new to the Humanoids plan. There have been a literal slew of publishers who have attempted to distribute these classics in the US before– from small imprints to the biggest in the business, Marvel (Epic) and DC. But what often happens: The BIG CREATORS– the most popular European artists and their most acclaimed characters/stories– see publication first here. Then, as the most popular tales from the most popular creators dry up, apparently the American audience does too… And these companies all quietly end their publishing “experiments” with a whimper.
In short, American readers usually get many of the same titles from the same creators reprinted over and over and over. That’s why I am so in love with Humanoids. While they’ve published many of the most familiar/acclaimed European projects, they’ve also branched out and given English readers a good variety of these same creators’ lesser known (at least, to us/me) works.
To whit, Moebius and Jodorowsky’s The Eyes of the Cat. This was the first collaboration from these two European titans… And, until recently, I never even knew it existed. To be fair, my knowledge of European comics could fill 1/4 of an average coffee cup– but still… To be able to experience something from these two great creators for the very first time is awfully exciting.
And yes, it’s pricey: $34.95 USD for a 56 page black and white book. As one idiotic “reviewer” wrote on Amazon, “…the buyer should be aware that this is a book with one large drawing per page and no dialogue…” So the fuck what? Who cares? Sadly, European comics are still a “special interest” item in the States– but I would rather pay thirty-five dollars for a great book than spend the same amount for a collection of crappy Jeph Loeb’s Ultimatum comics.
This is Jean Giraud for christsakes! (Moebius was a later pseudonym.) I’d buy a book filled with art studies of meat grinders from this man. And so you know, there is a story to be had in this volume… Whether any words are used or not.
There’s a point in every comic book fan’s life where he/she ultimately decides whether or not to keep reading/collecting. Many who tire of superhero retread after superhero retread begin to yearn for more adult stories with increased depth and personality. Thankfully there are companies like Humanoids, Top Shelf, Oni Press and Dark Horse (just to name a few) who aim to bridge that great divide.
As a reviewer, I don’t give a rat’s ass what you read. I just want you to enjoy it.
Art of Molly Crabapple Vol 2 Devil in the Details
Artifacts Deluxe S&N Limited Edition HC
Astonishing X-Men Vol 8 Children of Brood – Own the Hardcover
Bomb Queen Vol 7 End of Hope - Recommended
Conan Vol 12 Throne of Aquilonia HC
Daken Dark Wolverine The Pride Comes Before The Fall – Own the Hardcover
DC Universe Online Legends Vol 3 – Ugh
Deathstroke Vol 1 Legacy
Doc Savage All New Wild Adventures Volume 3 The Infernal Buddha SC
Eyes of the Cat HC - Hot Pick of the Week!
Flash Chronicles Vol 3
Garth Ennis Jennifer Blood Vol 2
GI Joe Cobra Command Vol 3 Aftermath
Grendel Omnibus Vol 1 Hunter Rose
Judge Dredd Inferno – Smells like Mark Millar (in other words, like ASS)
Little White Duck Childhood in China
MMW Defenders Vol 3 HC
Nevsky Hero of the People HC
Ninjago Vol 4 Tomb of the Fangpyre
Omac Vol 1 Omactivate
Rasl Vol 4 Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla
Right State HC
Road Rage HC
Scarlet Spider Vol 1 Life After Death HC
Scott Pilgrim Color Vol 1 HC - Runner Up Pick of the Week!
Shadows Treasure Deluxe Edition – Neat but WAY over-priced
Spider-Man The Next Chapter Vol 3
Steve Canyon Vol 2 1949-1950 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol 1
Voltron Force Vol 3
Worlds Finest (New Print)
X-Factor Vol 14 Super Unnatural – Own the Hardcover
XOC Journey of a Great White HC
Ai Ore Vol 6
Bakuman Vol 13 - Recommended
Bleach Vol 44
Bleach Vol 45
Dawn Of The Arcana Vol 5
Deltora Quest Vol 7
Devil And Her Love Song Vol 4
Fairy Tail Vol 20
Flowers Of Evil Vol 2
Fluffy Fluffy Cinnamoroll Vol 4
GTO 14 Days In Shonan Vol 4
GTO The Early Years Vol 13
Haruka Beyond The Stream Of Time Vol 17
Kamisama Kiss Vol 10
Kaze Hikaru Vol 20
La Corda d’Oro Vol 16
Mameshiba How To Be The Best Friend Ever SC
Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations Vol 1
Negima Vol 35
Negima Omnibus Vol 5
Nura Rise Of The Yokai Clan Vol 10
Pokemon Adventures Box Set Vol 1 Red And Blue
Sailor Moon Vol 6 (Kodansha Edition)
Shugo Chara Chan Vol 4
Slam Dunk Vol 23
Tegami Bachi Vol 10
Toriko Vol 10
Toriko Vol 11
Ultimo Vol 7
Yu-Gi-Oh GX Vol 9
I’m not a Comics Snob… Or a TV Snob or a Movie Snob. Never have been. My only criteria for reading or watching something for myself is if I think I’ll like it. If I am reviewing something, I could care less about its pedigree. I don’t care whether it’s cool or uncool to praise or blast a project either… I just wonder if you– the IMJ Nation™– will like (or dislike) it.
Along those lines, I don’t discriminate between black and white or color comics either. Truth be told, I would rather see a comic in black and white then see one more book colored by some twit obsessively in love with his or her computer’s gradient tone tool. Still, I do love comic books that are colored by true color artists… And I have been known to purchase books that I am not the least bit interested in just because Dave Stewart is coloring them. (I don’t know how much Dark Horse pays this man to ply his talents mostly there– but whatever it is… It is not enough.)
All that said, I was a bit iffy about Scott Pilgrim’s color editions… Mainly because I own the original black and white volumes and had already read and loved them. The film was in color. That seemed to be enough for me. The price was also a concern: $24.99 USD seemed an awful lot for a colored version in hardcover form– even with the “bonus materials” and the remastered art/lettering.
Noting the larger size of this edition finally got me to pull the “buy” trigger. To compare, the Color Editions are 9 inches by 6.3 inches. The Black and White volumes are 7.8 inches by 4.7 inches. Doesn’t sound like a lot? It is. No matter what anybody tells you, Size Matters. For me, a bigger book (as long as it doesn’t have the heft of a boulder-weight omnibus) is always preferable– as I try to navigate my way around a book with my clown-sized hands. The hardcover is also a bonus. It’s a much sturdier format I have always appreciated too.
Still, I wasn’t completely convinced the comic was worth the price until Jose got his copy. (I sent him one as a “Thank You” for doing me a solid a few weeks ago.) He wasn’t expecting the book– but when he received it, he immediately wrote me to rave about it. For newer members of the IMJ Nation™ who may not know– Jose Melendez is a Scott Pilgrim expert. If he likes the color book and thinks it adds enough to the presentation of the story to justify the price– then you will too. It’s that simple. Don’t take it from me… Take it from the expert.
It doesn’t hurt that several on-line retailers are currently selling the first volume for as much as 50% Off either.
I am not writing the following to be a contrarian. I promise. Even though many agreed with me when I wrote last week that Jason Aaron is a great comic book writer– when he chooses to be (a back-handed compliment if there ever was one)– I am now going to praise… Geoff Johns.
Credit is due where credit is deserved. This is a subject we discussed for a long time before starting Inveterate Media Junkies. We believe that our opinions, commentary and criticisms should always ring true– never to be dictated by any one creator, character or company’s mass popularity. If we think something is a Piece of Shit– despite the vast majority of fawning comic sites giving the same project a “5 out of 5″– then we should say it’s crap. As long as we have good reasons, no hidden agendas or personal vendettas– our opinions should count just as much as anyone else’s.
But that door swings both ways. And while it’s currently very fashionable to bash most of Johns’ work (for a myriad of honest and good reasons), he produced something a few years ago with artist Francis Manapul that I just got around to reading and really liked.
Superboy: The Boy of Steel, despite having one of the corniest, most obvious titles ever– is a damn good graphic novel. Collecting 2009′s Adventure Comics 0-3, 5, 6 and parts of Superman Secret Files 2009 #1– this trade accomplished something I never, ever believed would be possible: It got me to like Conner Kent… Even admire his character.
Like so many of the half-baked ideas that are shoved down our throats by the Big Two, I initially found Connor to be lacking in creativity and integrity from the start… And the revelation he was cloned from both Superman and Lex Luthor DNA, one of the most absurd events ever posited in comics… You know, like having a perpetual loner like Peter Parker take on a side-kick.
But this story changes all that came before for Conner Kent. Instead of showcasing Conner’s usual childish hysteria, Geoff Johns weaves a credible, entertaining story about a lost young man attempting to navigate a life filled with emotional landmines that would break most heroic figures. Johns also expertly intertwines events playing a big part in the New Krypton Superman comics and finally puts Conner in the same room with one of his “fathers” for an extended period of time: Lex Luthor. And what Lex does in this story is more horrifying than many of his “world domination” schemes. Luthor is so devious, so obsessed with his hatred of Superman– he literally proves for all time that he will stop at nothing to harm Metropolis’ Man of Steel.
And this is all accomplished in a very low-tech storyline filled with a grit (without being overly gritty) and selfishness that is shockingly real. Johns later work is often criticized as cloying and manipulative– lacking substance. That’s not the case here… Which is why I am taking the time (and several column inches) to tout a little known, three-year-old graphic novel.
Francis Manpul’s art is simple perfection. He takes Johns’ more outlandish scenes and grounds them… Further aiding the writer in getting his story and character points across. Have no doubts about it: The story contained within Superboy: The Boy of Steel is a small story. This is no intricate, overblown Flashpoint or Blackest Night… And the characters are better for it.
Like Aaron’s Scalped, this DC Comics Collection proves a great Geoff Johns story can still occur… As long as he concentrates on the small and persona. stuff. Do all DC fans a favor and do more of this, Geoff.