Thursday, January 29, 2015

Olympians: Ares: Bringer of War by George O'Connor

Ares: Bringer of War by George O'Connor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by First Second

Olympians (7)

Another outstanding volume in George O'Connor's "Olympians" series. Book 7 brings us the story of Ares, the god of war, and the Trojan War. If you've read this far in the series you know what to expect with the artwork and O'Connor brings the same magnificent illustration to the table once again. This story is quite a complex one and brings together all the gods we've met in the other books, plus minor ones who've popped up here and there. They are all assembled watching as the Greeks and Trojans fight their ten-year war after Paris kidnaps Helen. The book doesn't just focus on Ares but rather contrasts Ares with Athena, the goddess of war, giving both of them about equal page time. Achilles' story and important role in the Trojan War are also part of the main plot. Other topics explored are all the various gods/esses relationships with their mortal sons and how the gods/esses intervened during the war, taking sides and arguing amongst themselves, playing with the participants during the first years. A wonderful addition to this ongoing series.

Mermin Volume 2 & 3: The Big Catch & Deep Dive by Joey Weiser

Mermin Volume 2: The Big Catch by Joey Weiser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 136 pages
Published December 17th, 2013 by Oni Press

Mermin (2)

Whoa! This is so much better than the first one; I'm really glad I continued on with this series. I love the art, Mermin is so cute but whereas the plot in the first one was lame here we have a very action-filled plot from beginning to end. The book begins with two guys trying to capture Mermin and doesn't end until, well I won't tell you how it ends. However, they are on the go from page one. One new character is added to the gang, a girl, a tough girl, which was needed as she seems to round out the main cast of characters nicely. We also learn Mermin's secret but there is a part he isn't telling us about and I'm looking forward to finding out with his next adventure in Book Three.





Mermin Volume 3: Deep Dive by Joey Weiser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 152 pages
Published September 23rd, 2014 by Oni Press

Mermin (3)

And the adventure continues! Book Three was delightful.. Of course, I had expected an underwater adventure and wondered if Atlantis would appear, and this is where it all happens. But Mermin is from the Kingdom of Mer and they and the Atlantians have had their bad feelings towards each other escalating for some time now. We finally find out the problems in Mer that sent Mermin up to the surface to escape it all. I love DC's Aquaman and this is a humorous kid's pastiche along those same lines. I liked how the book opened to a page of the characters with their names. Mermin is learning he has more powers than he thought he did, but how will he learn to tap into them and control them? Quite the adventure here, again with an action-packed plot and this time the book ends with a big crisis leaving us hanging in the wings until Book Four comes our way. This is a fun series, even though I really wasn't impressed with the first book I'm glad I continued on. I will certainly be keeping up to date with this cute series.

The Other Side of the Wall by Simon Schwartz

The Other Side of the Wall by Simon Schwartz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 112 pages
March 1st, 2015 by Graphic Universe
(available on amazon now)

Not exactly a riveting story but a decent read nonetheless. A memoir of the author's parents and what life was like for them in East Germany, especially during the early 1980s after they had applied for permanent relocation to the West. This is not a subject written about in kidslit very often but such an important one today. We must not forget the history of Socialism and Communism, how the first is needed to turn into the other, the tragic loss of freedoms, and the persecutions people lived through during this era of the Cold War. I certainly enjoyed the art, which is in b/w, despite the cover illustration; it quite reminded me of Zeina Abirached's work.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 2 by Adachi Toka

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 2 by Adachitoka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 18th, 2014 by Kodansha Comics
(first published in Japanese October 2011)

Noragami: Stray God (Vol. 2)

I am absolutely enjoying this manga. The plot is pretty much the usual fare for this type of Shounen featuring gods and demons, but it has a certain maturity to it. All the characters that were established by the end of vol. 1 have returned. I love each of them but as I mentioned before Hiyori is my favourite. Yato is still trying to gain followers, but his past keeps catching up with him so we're learning more about him. Also, Yato is learning new things he'd never known or appreciated before about shinkis. So lots of information and character development here and one of those "duh-duh-DAH" endings. I'm truly looking forward to the next volume.

Dracula & Frankenstein: Two Dover Graphic Novel Classics

Dracula (Dover Graphic Novel Classics) by John Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 48 pages
Published November 19th 2014 by Dover Publications

Recommended for ages 8 and up this is a small graphic adaptation of the great vampire novel illustrated with black and white drawings which the introduction suggests be coloured. Of course reducing Dracula to a 50 page graphic novel leaves out many details of the story but the author does a very good job of putting the basic framework together while keeping the story exciting and not missing any major plot points. There are better versions out there but for $3.99 it's certainly worthwhile.







Frankenstein (Dover Graphic Novel Classics) by John Green
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 48 pages
Published November 19th 2014 by Dover Publications

Recommended for ages 8 and up this is a small graphic adaptation of the famous novel illustrated with black and white drawings which the introduction suggests be coloured. This fell flat for me and I wouldn't recommend it as a first introduction to the story. The author fails to capture the obsession of Victor Frankenstien; in the novel he truly becomes the quintessential "mad scientist". He makes the monster not necessarily bad from the beginning but certainly frightening who then turns bad. This is how the story goes in the original but again the author fails to capture the essence of how wicked and *in*-human the monster actually is, except in man's most vile characteristics. Also the monster's object is to kill everyone that is close to Frankenstein to make him suffer through their losses, the deaths do occur here, but monster's intentions are never made clear. The basic plot outline of the original is here, but this graphic novel fails to capture any of the emotions, themes or frightening conclusions it makes about mankind

Comic Bento Box Subscription

I am behind in posting a review about this.  I received this in December but was immersed in the staggering pile of Cybil Award graphic novels that had to be read beore our Judges meeting.  Then of course Christmas came along!  Anyway ...

I was offered a complimentary box for review purposes.  I was sent Comic Bento's October box which I received in December a couple of days after they said it was shipped.  As you can see from the picture you receive a nice colourful big sturdy box.


There have been a few changes since I received my box so I'll tell you about them now: each month has a specific theme (February's upcoming theme is Feminine Mystique) and you also have the option of a "Kid Bento" which, instead of the monthly theme, is a box full of kid-friendly comics suitable for the whole family.

So my box had no theme and contained books for various age groups. I opened up the box to find the books wrapped in bubble wrap and sealed in plastic with a stiff piece of cardboard which protected them very nicely.  Except one book was oversized and placed on top getting a bit of curlage since it was wider than the box.  It straightened out after being put under a pile of other books.  There is also a one-page letter (which I don't read at this point), a bookmark, sticker and 50% off my first box subscription coupon.

ETA (after posting this, I did read the newsletter and the themes are not new!  This box's theme was Funny Pages)

I'm not going to review the books here, I'll do that individually as I read them as the purpose of this review is my impression of this subscription box.  I received five graphic novels.  Comic Bento promises they will send you at least $60 worth of books so I imagine the number will vary depending on the prices of what you get.  Following is what I received and my impressions as I opened my surprise package. I'm also including the $ values so I can give a final value of the box versus the cost of the box.  I'm Canadian and the cost of the box is different for me than US Customers which will be cheaper and I'll discuss the value at the end.

 
The Most Dangerous Game: A Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Collection by Zach Weiner:  This is the oversized book and is thin.  The cover is interesting and it is from an indie publisher, Bread Pig.  I like that.  I wouldn't want to be getting books I could have easily already have myself.  Looking through I see it's a collection of comics, there's no summary on the back so I don't know what it's about but the contents look interesting. Looking it up on amazon, it has an average rating of 4.6.  I'm pleased. ($18.00) (only available from the publisher in Canada)

Archer & Armstrong: The Michaelangelo Code, Volume One by Fred Van Lente - This I'm excited about.  I've always wanted to read Archer & Armstrong! This is published by Valiant and there's no need for me to look at it anymore because I'm thrilled. ($9.99)

Yield to Me To Me (Least I Could Do: The Complete 5th Year Collection) by Ryan Sohmer & Lar Desouza - I haven't heard of this.  The cover is appealing, perhaps funy, makes me wonder the context but also makes me wonder if it might be too risque for my tastes.  This is from another indie publisher "Blind Ferret Entertainment". I'm interested, let's read the back summary ... I'm not sure if this will be for me, but I'm excited.  These guys are Canadian! It's kind of a "Friends" thing, but the main character is a sex-obsessed narcissistic 25yo corporate executive.  Browsing through it, it's not too risque for me. There are lot's of pics of him in bed alone or with a girl but the covers are always under the armpits and the f-word is spelt "fuq", which is funny itself because these guys are from Quebec and the French word for seal (the animal) is le phoque, pronounced "fuq".  Looking forward to this one! (19.99)

Rad Tats: Gunshow Vol. 4 by KC Green - Again something that I've never heard of by an indie publisher, TopatoCo.  Looks like the author might be Canadian too!  The cover has me as it is dark and gloomy.  Looking inside I see b/w art, skulls, people pouring coffee in their heads and what looks like dark humour.  This is my type of thing.  Again I'm happy to give this a go. ($15.00, only available from the publisher)

Rabbids #1. Bwaaaaah by Thitaume - This is the only disappointment and that's because I've read it and didn't like it.  *But* I did want to read it because it looked so cute and the only reason I got to read it is that I get review copies from this publisher, Papercutz, whose stuff I usually really like.  ($7.99)

So the total value of this bundle is a value of $70.97 which is over the promise of $60.00.

Now let's see how the subscription works out money-wise.  First of all I love getting mail, especially books in the mail so we have to keep in mind that there is a fun factor in here of opening this "present" each month.  If I were to subscribe I would start with the 3-month offer to give it a fair go which is $18.34 a month + s/h.

US - $18.34 + $5 = $23.34 received $70.97 in books (great value!)

CAD - $18.34 + $12.35 + $3.99 HST (for Ontarians) = $34.68 (sucks that it's so much more but still a good value!)

For Canadians, Comic Bento is situated in Quebec, so you will have to pay GST on the S/H and depending on your province, PST or HST and then again on whether you are taxed on books.

So, yeah, if I had the money I'd definitely give them a try and see if I was enjoying what they were sending.  If it's a wide selection of publishers with some indies and new-to-you stuff  that is not available on amazon and you are not likely to have already gone out and bought; it could be quite broadening for an avid GN reader.












Friday, January 23, 2015

UQ Holder 3 by Ken Akamatsu

UQ Holder 3 by Ken Akamatsu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 11th, 2014 by Kodansha Comics

UQ Holder (3)

This volume was all over the place for me. I wasn't liking it, then I thought I was, then I wasn't, then the ending had me hooked and the finish was fantastic. My main problem I guess is I don't like either of the two main characters, Tota or Kura. I do however like the other lesser characters and Karin was given a good amount of page time this volume. This volume is battle intensive and the art always gets really messy in these parts, which make it hard to really see what's going on. The ending was exciting though with the re-appearance of a past character and three new characters, who look totally amazing! We'll see where things go next volume.

Stones of Power by Azumi Isora

Stones of Power by Azumi Isora
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Paperback, 168 pages
Published December 30th, 2014 by Gen Manga Entertainment, Inc.

The plot of this was good, but it was executed poorly. It jumped around a lot and felt like scenes were missing. People would speak to each other and reply as if they were having different conversations and the translation was very basic English. I almost didn't bother finishing it, but the plot did capture me enough half way through to make me continue to the end. Not something I'd recommend.

Shutter, Vol. 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge

Shutter, Vol. 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 136 pages
Published November 25th, 2014 by Image Comics

Shutter (Vol. 1)

I totally loved this! An Indiana Jones-type woman who has moved on to other things finds herself back in action when the secrets of her past catch up with her. In an alternate fantasy Earth peopled with all sorts of fantastic and strange creatures, Kate is running away from those trying to kidnap her. While running to the safety of her childhood home she finds even more danger lurking there and is on the run again. A totally exciting plot that gives us more questions than answers leaving me ready to continue on reading. The main characters are wonderful. I like Kate; a foul-mouthed cross between Laura Croft and Sydney Bristow, and her adorable but cheeky watch-cat that looks like Felix the Cat only creepier. Plus I must add there is a weirdly odd assassination that looks like it takes place in Richard Scarry's Busy Town! OMG! The art is also gorgeous with every stunning page. Loved it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Seven Deadly Sins 5 by Nakaba Suzuki

The Seven Deadly Sins 5 by Nakaba Suzuki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 11th, 2014 by Kodansha Comics

The Seven Deadly Sins (5)

This is a fun series with lovable characters. I like them all! And I love this cover as it has my favourite, the giantess Diane front and centre. This volume is framed with the new badguys plotting; who we don't know that much about yet except they're some new kind of Holy Knight group. Meanwhile, our gang and the Holy Knights who are after them meet up at a fighting tournament and we are in for a good old battle volume reminiscent of a Dragonball tournament. Numbers are picked and partners chosen, then winners fight in the finals. A good rush of a volume, keeping things light and there is a hilarious element to this story as Diane and Elizabeth are shrunk, but I won't explain that any further. LOL

Sunday, January 18, 2015

ARIOL #5: Bizzbilla Hits the Bullseye by Emmanuel Guibert

ARIOL #5: Bizzbilla Hits the Bullseye by Emmanuel Guibert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 124 pages
Published August 12th, 2014 by Papercutz

ARIOL (5)

Bizzbilla is a fly who has a giant crush on Ariol. He doesn't know though as he has a crush on a cow named Petula. Bizzbilla only appears twice in this collection, and stars in both stories, but that was a little disappointing as I thought with the title and all she'd be featured throughout. Otherwise, what can I say. A thoroughly delightful collection of stories about everybody's favourite blue donkey and all his anthropomorphic friends and family. I just love Ariol!


Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6 by James Kuhoric

Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6 by James Kuhoric
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Dynamite Entertainment

Six Million Dollar Man & Bionic Woman

I grew up with the TV Show and am a big fan who thoroughly enjoyed this. This continues on from the original series only the gap in time appears to be ignored; it is now the present even though the series ended in the '70s. The story is quite involved with several plots going on all at the same time while being connected to each other. Ethical questions and decisions bring more to the story than just the action, which is great with all the TV show bionic sound effects included. The art is pretty good; I think I would have preferred the characters to appear more realistic to the TV show actors, but the artist has instead stayed close to the look while making them his own. The characters were realistic to how I would have expected them to be making this very enjoyable and I will definitely continue on with the series.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by Random House Canada

Third time's the charm for O'Malley and me! I absolutely adored this book! Scott Pilgrim never really won me over and Lost at Sea is terrible, but Seconds is hands down brilliant. I guess I've always kept going back to O'Malley because I love his art; it has that manga look without really going all the way. As per usual Bryan brings to the reader a tale of magical realism this time with time/space shifting and house spirits. The title sounds mysterious and right away we find out that "Seconds" is the name of the main character's restaurant but as the story progresses there are a few other ways the title can be interpreted. All the characters are quirky and lovable in their own ways. I especially found myself drawn to Hazel, a tall, model-like beautiful 21yo who is painfully shy and nervous and hasn't dated as she's not sure if she's into boys yet. While the story is mostly humorous and bizarre, there are thought-provoking moments that made me pause. Altogether a brilliant mix of plot, characters and the odd make for one of my favourite graphic reads in a while. I must add though that I am a bit miffed that Bryan's author blurb on the jacket flap fails to mention his Canadian identity, especially when the copy I own says, "Random House Canada" right underneath!

Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope by Emmanuel Guibert

Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope by Emmanuel Guibert My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by First Second

Alan's War

This is the story of one man's war. It is not the story of WWII, but the story of one man (Alan Cope) and his personal day to day life as he lived through those years in France. Alan didn't fight in any famous battles or according to himself, show any acts of bravery. His war could be called mundane, but no one can go through fighting and surviving a world war without having tales to tell and these are Alan's tales in his own words illustrated by Emmanuel Guibert. The book was good and I enjoyed my time with it. There are a few things that made it not a five-star read for me. It drags a bit, being overly long. Guibert doesn't do as much of his photograph/illustration mixture artwork for a good portion of the book, which I can understand because of the lack of photos taken during the actual combat years, but still I felt their absence. Finally, I simply didn't like Alan. I had a small inking after reading the story of his childhood that as an adult he might rub me the wrong way, and this book certainly confirmed that. I didn't like his worldview, outlook, or opinions. So that does take away from the enjoyment of reading the minutia of his life. But all told I did like this quiet, personal look at one man's war.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Canine/Feline Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 25 edited by Tom Pomplun & John Lehman

Canine/Feline Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 25 edited by Tom Pomplun & John Lehman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 17th, 2014 by Eureka Productions

Graphic Classics (25)

Fantastic! I'm not a pet person so wasn't sure what to expect from these stories but let's just say they are not the kind to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. This is a flip book with the one side stories featuring cats, flip it over and the other side has the stories about dogs. They are a wonderful collection of stories, well selected, that flow nicely into each other. The dog section is mostly dark stories interspersed with humour while the cat side is decidedly more creepy with only a couple of short poems to lighten the mood. As usual for these collections, the art is excellent showcasing a variety of styles each suitable to the story. The only one I didn't particularly like was the Picasso effect given the "The Owl and the Pussycat" otherwise I was impressed all around. One of the best books in this series (and I've read them all!)

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Classics Illustrated Deluxe #12: The Monkey God by Wu Cheng'en by Jean-David Morvan. Illustrated by Jian Yi

Classics Illustrated Deluxe #12: The Monkey God by Wu Cheng'en by Jean-David Morvan. Illustrated by Jian Yi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 152 pages
Published December 16th, 2014 by Papercutz

Classics Illustrated Deluxe (12)

Undoubtedly the best entry in this series from Papercutz. I do admit, though, to having a special fondness for Asian legends, especially Chinese. This book is a departure from the usual titles presented in this series; as rather than bringing us an adaptation of a familiar classic we are introduced to a classic that forms a part of Chinese culture and yet is hardly known in the West. There is a wonderful introduction and editor's note explaining all this with delightful insight. One curious aspect, for me, is that this story was used as a light base for the Dragonball manga series and being a huge fan of that, I delighted in seeing some of the similarities. The art here is fantastic, captivatingly beautiful and the frames have been used in particularly imaginative ways. The story barely scratches the surface of the original which is 100 chapters long, written in the 1500s and bases itself on a true story from the 700s, minus all the dragons and demons. It doesn't take long for the reader to realise this is where modern times found its inspiration for the "fantasy quest" and role-playing games. Starting with a hero who sets out on a quest, along the way he fights various monsters but also meets people/creatures who he needs items from but they send him on side quests where if the hero finds item B they will give him item A he had sought from them in the first place, and along the way he meets companions who join his party and quest. This will appeal to a large group of readers and I highly recommend it, even if you are not a regular graphic novel reader, as it is an historical classic we should all be familiar with.

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The Garfield Show #4: Little Trouble in Big China based on Jim Davis

The Garfield Show #4: Little Trouble in Big China by Julien Magnet, et al.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 64 pages
Published December 30th, 2014 by Papercutz

Garfield

Great fun! I've always been a fan of Garfield and these comics continue in the spirit of the original. A collection of four funny stories. The first entire half of the book contains the titular tale in which the gang all end up in China. Three much shorter stories follow taking up the second half of the book. Will delight Garfield fans all around.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Finalists for the Cybils Award Graphic Novel Category

It was with great joy and honour I found myself with a fantastic group of fellow panelists as we narrowed down the over 100 nominated books into two finalist lists, one for elementary, the other for young adult.   Please take a look at the finalists at these links:

2014 FINALISTS: GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR ELEMENTARY & MIDDLE GRADES

2014 FINALISTS: GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR YOUNG ADULTS



You can take a look at all THE 2014 FINALISTS by category by visiting this page.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Boulder Brothers: Meet Mo and Jo by Sarah Lynn

The Boulder Brothers: Meet Mo and Jo by Sarah Lynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 89 pages
Published January 6th, 2015 by Blue Apple Books

This is probably going to be one you either hate or love as it's rather like Ook & Gluk by Dav Pilkey in that there is toilet humour and bad grammar ala caveman-speak. I thought it was adorable and know my sons would have loved it when they were around six or so. While the sentences read like "Dick and Jane", the three little chapters are silly and the artwork is cute. Each two-page spread is full-colour with one or two short narrative sentences and comic speech bubbles. This would be most appropriate for a first reader in the tradition of BOB books.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2: Going Green by Stefan Petrucha

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2: Going Green by Stefan Petrucha
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 64 pages
Published November 25th, 2014 by Papercutz

Power Rangers


Fantastic backstory for MMPR fans! The first half of the book has Rita telling the story of how she stole the sixth Power Coin in the first place and how she was waiting for someone like Tommy to come along. The second half has the Power Rangers battling a monster while at the same time Tommy moves into town, gets settled and helps the Rangers with their battle from the sidelines. We see how Rita tries to convince Tommy to join her and all the time fabulous battling and fun humour is keeping us entertained. Tommy and the Power Rangers never actually meet up in this volume so the title is a bit misleading (teasing us about the Green Ranger) but I'm actually glad they are taking time with the story. This is a great series and I can't help but sing the theme song every time they morph! Big fan here, loving it!

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Legends of Chima #3: Chi Quest! by Yannick Grotholt

Chi Quest! by Yannick Grotholt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 56 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Papercutz

LEGO: Legends of Chima (3)

These stories are a lot of fun, and well-written. In the first story Laval and friends save the Gorillas from the Ice Hunter Tribes. Next Flinx is kidnapped by the ice guys and Laval and Cragger lead the rescue effort. More adventure this time as Cragger is caught by the ice hunters and Laval and his new lioness friend use the power of the fire chi to bring him home. Finally, a speedorz tournament is the start of a battle between Laval and Skylor. Each story is separate but the overall arc is the quest to achieve fire chi.

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How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert

How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by First Second

Alan's War (Prequel)

Entirely Engrossing! This is the prequel to "Alan's War", which I haven't read yet. Written in a first person perspective, it is the story of Alan Cole's life growing up, and his family's, during the Great Depression. A touching story from a man with deep insight into the human condition. Rivetting. Guibert's art is fantastic! Though I haven't read "Alan's War", I have read "The Photographer" and the style is similar to it. Guibert uses his own pencil sketches plus actual photographs along with a unique process whereby he combines photographs into sketches, sometimes leaving some of the photo behind, other times, completely turning it into a sketch. Loved every single thing about this historical memoir.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 5, 2013 edited by VIZ Media

Weekly Shonen Jump Aug 5, 2013 edited by VIZ Media
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ebook, 198 pages
Published August 5th 2013 by Viz Media

Shonen Jump Magazine

This week Bleach is on hiatus and Blue Exorcist returns for the first time for the current year (2013) and is also my first introduction to the title. This was a good issue!

1. Blue Exorcist Ch. 28 - This is the first time this title has appeared since I started the magazine; I guess it was on hiatus like Bleach is for this issue. So lets see if I understand what's going on! OH, this looks good. Got the gist of it; exorcists, demons, souls, etc. There is a spy in the ranks, the bad guys are trying to kidnap a girl on the good side and some cool battles take place. 41 pages was a good length to get this started for a newbie like me. (4/5)

2. One Piece Ch. 716 - So I haven't managed to get my bearings in this yet. It was on hiatus last issue. No plot to follow here yet. Still in the battle from last issue. But I know this from where I am in reading the manga and love the characters. Great fun! (4/5)

3. Naruto No. 641 - This is my 4th issue of the magazine and up to this point there has been no plot for me to get my bearings just battles. And so it continues. I've also noticed that compared to the other stories I don't like the art as much in this one. (2/5)

4. Toriko Gourmet 244 - Very short but I'm loving this one! The girl is not who they think she is and man! the dudes are awesome in this manga! (5/5)

5. World Trigger Ch. 25 - A lot of talk as the head of our trio has a face-to-face with the traitor who wants to keep the Black Trigger safe. He heads up a team and the chapter ends with swords drawn. Good for getting some insight into the story. (4/5)

6. One-Punch Man, Punch 23 - Short again but also one of my favourites. One-Punch is close to moving up in rank. Giant sea creatures are attacking a city and the hero fighting them is tiring so One-Punch is on his way to help. I've been thinking OP looked like someone and it hit me today, Avatar! (5/5)

7. Nisekoi Ch. 85 - Even though I don't like this boring romance, this chapter was cute. About confessing your true feelings to someone and feeling better whether they reciprocate or not. And Raku gets up the nerve to ask Onodera to walk home together. (3/5)

8. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman Ch. 4 - This is fun and the art is cute! Jaco and Omori go to the city for supplies and Jaco has trouble not killing anyone and not bringing attention to himself. (5/5)

9. Dragon Ball Saiyan Saga DBZ 26: Gohan, Piccolo, etc. are about to be defeated when Goku, recently returned from Hell, speeds his way to them. In glorious full-colour! I love Dragon Ball! (5/5)

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Long Tail Kitty: Come Out and Play (2015) by Lark Pien

Long Tail Kitty: Come Out and Play by Lark Pien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars



A collection of five short stories about Long Tail Kitty and his animal friends. These are day to day stories about life and friendship. The art is stylistic and cute in a way that doesn't appeal to me. I didn't really find the stories funny nor were they particularly exciting. Ho hum, maybe cat lovers will like more than me.

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Mermin, Book One: Out of Water (2013) by Joey Weiser

Mermin, Book One: Out of Water by Joey Weiser
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 152 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Oni Press

Mermin (1)

I wish I had liked this more than I did. The cartooning is so cute and humorous I was looking forward to it and really liked Mermin's look. His character is very compelling as well and I enjoyed him. However, the plot was full of holes and ended with nothing solved. In fact, it only left us with more questions and the obvious knowledge this is just the beginning of a story to be continued in book two. I am going to read the next book though as I'm hoping the story will get better; the art has certainly got my attention.

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Beauty (2014) by Hubert

Beauty by Hubert. illustrated by Kerasco√ęt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by NBM Publishing

Magnificent! An original adult fairy tale which explores western culture's ideology of female beauty by both men and women themselves. The story is unique unto itself but has many nods to traditional fairy tales: kissing a frog, fairy spells and curses, having a wish granted, being cursed, etc. When an ugly peasant girl is granted her wish for beauty she finds the benefits are not what she had expected. The story goes to great lengths with the extremes it portrays. Coddie is both treated differently and acts differently now that her appearance has changed. This is an intricate story with many plot points and adult in nature with several beheadings, implied rape scenes and female nudity. I was taken with the story immediately and found it engrossing. A wonderful fairy tale told in the traditional style but also a thought-provoking theme. Though the book has been written for adults I think it would make for excellent discussion with teens mature enough for the content.

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