Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Free Comic Book Day Round-up

The small, mobile ones and I had a full day on Saturday, but managed to get to Free Comic Book Day at our local coffee shop/comic shop/game shop around 9 am, meaning we beat most everyone and still had a good selection to choose from. I got four and the small, mobile ones each got two (I had to supervise the larger, mobile one, who was attracted to the most violent of the superhero comics and quite frustrated when I would not let him have them).

Here’s what we ended up with:

My Hero Academia/The Promised Neverland

Two mangas out of Shonen Jump (and rated T I see in retrospect, so I probably shouldn’t have let him have this either, sigh). The My Hero Academia one is literally some random battle with very little context (larger, mobile one does not care). The Promised Neverland half seems to be the very first part of the manga, and it is intriguing looking. I’ve stuck it on my library to-read list.


Larger, mobile one is periodically obsessed with Pokemon (he has hundreds of cards, and we’re going to go see Detective Pikachu on Friday), so here we are. Two stories in one again, the first half being Pokemon the movie and seemingly a literal retelling of Ash and Pikachu’s first meeting. The second half is Pokemon Adventures, and is the start of Red starting out to become a Pokemon trainer.

Defend Comics

There’s 5 comics stuck in this one, so you don’t get much of any of them: Pilu of the Woods, Apocalypse Taco, Nobody’s Fool, A Fire Story, and Bags (Or a Story Thereof). Pilu looks cute, about a lost dryad. Apocalypse Taco involves a lot of creepy goo monsters. Nobody’s Fool is maybe about watching a movie? There’s literally 3 pages in here so who knows. A Fire Story seems to be about losing the artist’s home to a wildfire, but, again, 3 pages. Bags could be good or not (the main character is presented almost as a child’s drawing as a person while everything else is realistic) but again, not enough in here to say.

Wolfie Monster and the Big Bad Pizza Battle

The monsters in here are cute. Wolfie and his brothers run Magik Cheez pizza, but there’s a new pizza chain in town that wants to buy them out. Smaller, mobile one was quite enchanted, and is probably about the right age for this overall.

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor

I think I get the Doctor Who ones every year. Unlike previous years, there’s only a single story instead of having bits of ones from multiple doctors stuffed in. On one hand, great, because it’s nice to see a bit of a story arc instead of just set-up or a scene with no context. On the other, how come poor Twelve never got an issue to himself? I am intrigued by the 13th doctor but have not actually gotten a chance to watch the last season yet.

Star Wars Adventures

I got this one last year too, which I only realized when I started reading this one. Han and Chewie are caught up in schemes again. Like last year’s free comic, you get an entire story, which I appreciate.

A Sheets Story

Seems to be a story about a girl dealing with the death of her mother by having an imaginary friend who is essentially a floating sheet. (The sheet is real enough, but Wendell the ghost is…probably not?) Seems like it could be a good story. Has an ad on the back for a comic called Mooncakes which apparently involves cute witches and werewolves and I’m here for that too.


I’ve heard of the Lumberjanes before somewhere, so I actually put back some steampunk horror comic to pick this up. There’s two mini-comics in here with different artists, so what I’ve picked up is that it takes place at summer camp? And they fight monsters. I dig it.

That’s me for this year. You guys pick up anything good?

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

To be unoriginal in our titles.

Let’s talk about graphic novels and associated subjects!

You know what I like about comics/graphic novels/manga, etc.? You can get through a 300-page book in, like, an hour. Sometimes less.

What’s not fun is there tends to be a gazillion volumes, which either gets very expensive or drives whoever has to drive the books between the library branches insane.

But this is a rough time of year (school year ending! new school year prep has to be done! summer vacations must be planned! It is alternately snowing or 80 degrees and my yard/garden doesn’t know what to do!) and I seem to be fully into the visual story telling medium at the moment, so I thought we’d talk about it.

(The other issue is that I’m in the middle of three books, all of which were written before 1980 and all of which are various degrees of sloggy. This is a mistake and I should have thought this out better.)

First of all, let’s talk about Saga.

Saga is a series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. There’s eight volumes out now, with the ninth due in September. (Wikipedia tells me that the comic comes out monthly, but I like to wait til things are consolidated.)

You’ve probably heard of this. I had certainly heard of this before I picked it up. (And, if I recall correctly, I picked it up after it was listed in a round-up of scifi/fantasy books involving cats.)

(Funny how many stories there are with cats.)

I was a little wary at first, because it’s certainly graphic, both sexually and violence-wise, but by the end of the first volume I was completely invested. It’s a space opera story about a family made up of species on the opposite sides of a long-standing and wide-reaching war.

Just…don’t get terribly attached to anyone.


Next there’s Pandora Hearts, which I just started. And, weirdly enough, I picked it up because I saw some character images on Pinterest and thought they looked interesting.

I’m only through the first volume and the series seems to be remotely based on Alice in Wonderland. (“Remote” being the key word.) That may just be a coincidence, but I shall have to read further on to see how true the comparison is.

It’s been a while since I picked up a new manga series, but there’s enough going on here to be interesting–missing memories, secret societies, evil alternate dimensions–and the series is complete, so I don’t have to worry about getting sucked into something that may go on forever (*coughBleachcough*).

And, lastly for today, let’s talk about Comics for a Strange World, which is a collection from the Poorly Drawn Lines comic.

I highly recommend both the collection and the strip itself, especially if one’s humor tends toward dry and existential. I got this for Christmas and it’s probably the best thing I got.

Reading any comics/graphic novels/manga lately, squiders? Thoughts about them or any of the above?

Free Comic Book Day Round-up From a Non-comics Person

I love Free Comic Book Day. It’s the first Saturday of every May here in the States, and has apparently been going for 15 years, judging by the “Celebrating 15 years!” on a lot of the books.

You can go to your local comic book store and pick up one of multiple (seems to vary on different store’s individual policies) sample comic books. I take the family and we always grab a few.

I should clarify that I like the general idea of comics–storytelling with a combination of pictures and words–but I am not wild about comic books themselves. I just don’t understand paying $4 for ~30 pages of content that I can read in five minutes. I prefer collections or graphic novels instead. So FCBD is really the only time that I pick up a comic book.

I ended up with four this year, and I also read one that my husband picked up. The larger, mobile one ended up with several kids-aimed ones (Spongebob, Pokemon, Sonic) that the husband has read to him, so I have no opinions on that lot.

  • Archie (Mark Waid/Fiona Staples)
    I’d heard that they’d rebooted Archie and Riverdale and the lot, making it more modern (and grittier, maybe?) so I picked this one up out of curiosity. I’m not wild about the new art style–everyone looks weird as opposed to more realistic. I was fairly familiar with the original incarnation of this, so I don’t know how I feel about the personality revamps. Jughead seems, hm, kind of like the Riverdale version of Loki, honestly, but not necessarily in a good way. The sample seems like it’s got to be the intro to the new series. Veronica hasn’t shown up yet. Didn’t really like it–or remember it.
  • Avatarex Destroyer of Darkness (Grant Morrison/Jeevan J. Kang)
    This one seems to be based on Indian mythology, which is kind of cool. But it does lead me to another of my complaints about comic books, and that this manages to be all world-building set-up because there’s just not enough space to actually get into the story. It’s made worse because they’ve stuffed two previews into the sample, the other being for 18 Days which seems to be related to Avatarex somehow which is not immediately clear. Interesting concept. I might pick up a collection and see if it was worth reading past the intro if I saw one on the shelves.
  • Doctor Who
    Every year they put out a DW sampler, which includes a few pages from recent adventures with a variety of Doctors. Last year there were three stories; this year there’s four, one each from 9-12. Each doctor gets about 6 pages of story. I will say that this year’s stories were actually interesting (Twelve sounds just like Capaldi, and Nine’s has both Rose and Jack, so I’m already interested) so I might actually pick up a collection or two. I mean, not necessarily of these stories, just DW comics in general. It is interesting, however, that in the end the collections aren’t actually any cheaper than buying the story issue by issue.
  • Mooncop (Tom Gauld)
    I love everything about this one. It’s cute, it takes place on the moon, there’s an animatronic Neil Armstrong that has escaped from the museum, etc. I’m sold. The book doesn’t come out til September, though, alas. I’m smitten enough that I’m also considering picking up his other books. Best of the bunch for me.
  • Spectrum (PJ Haarsma, Alan Tudyk, Sarah Stone)
    Looks like your standard aliens have invaded/resistance fighters story with a bit of a twist. Not enough in the sample for me to determine if it’s something I would like or not. And I guess it’s not actually out? The sample says “#0” on the front and there’s an ad in the back that says to look for “#1” next month. So, I dunno. My comic book store is really a coffee shop/game store so I’m in there quite a bit for other reasons, and if I remember I might look at the issue when it comes out.

Did you guys do Free Comic Book Day? Find anything you liked? Have opinions about the above or comics in general?

My shop also sells back issues for 50 cents, so I picked up an arc of the current IDW nu!Star Trek series. It’s issues #21-#23, an arc called After Darkness. (I picked it up because it was the only complete arc in the box, and I’ve been meaning to look into the Trek comics to see if they’re any good.) It’s an interesting concept–dealing with Pon Farr after the destruction of Vulcan–but I feel like the story was so shallow because they didn’t have time to really do anything with it. I think it could have been done a lot better in a different medium, or with a couple more issues.

Adaptations, Expansions, and Twists

Just FYI, I’m delaying the discussion on the first Foundation Trilogy book a week, so we’ll discuss on Feb 25 instead of the 18th.

So, over at Turtleduck Press this week, I posted about a conversation with my mother and how it’s interesting who can read stories based off of other stories, and what sort of changes authors can make before it annoys someone, and how everyone’s annoyances are different. (I, apparently, don’t like people to touch my 19th-century women-written literature, for example.) And I also talked about the ways people can change or expand on those stories, and how different people have different preferences in regards to that too.

And I got a comment asking about so of my favorite book-to-book adaptations, and instead of writing a giant comment over there, I thought I’d share with everyone over here. My brain is admittedly a little fried, so I’m also going to list some non-book adaptations that I’ve enjoyed.


Redshirts by John Scalzi – This is technically a TV-to-book adaptation, I guess. It’s not Star Trek, but it’s also not not Star Trek. Redshirts is a very interesting look at the structure of fiction and what the background characters go through. It gets a little overtly meta in places, but it’s definitely worth a read.

Ironskin by Tina Connolly – Ironskin is a retelling of Jane Eyre set in a universe with a very interesting magical system and background. It is, at times, a bit obvious about its source material, but it’s worth it for the worldbuilding.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I haven’t gotten a chance to finish this yet, but it is essentially Cinderella. With cyborgs.

Other Media

Namesake – Namesake is a beautiful comic with an awesome and very intriguing storyline. While it kind of co-opts a number of stories (including the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, etc.), thus far it’s really only delved into the Wizard of Oz in any great detail, and, unlike a lot of Wizard of Oz adaptations, it utilizes the events and characters in the entire series. There’s also been a bit of expansion into the Alice in Wonderland universe, and I gotta say, the Cheshire cats (yes, plural) are my very favorite.

Hook – Yes, the mid-90s movie with Robin Williams and Dennis Hoffman. For those who are unfamiliar, the movie takes place after Peter Pan has left Neverland and grown up. It may be because I was the right age at the right time, but I love this movie a lot.

Lost in Austen – This is a BBC miniseries about a modern girl who switches places with Elizabeth Bennet and manages to almost single-handedly ruin the entire narrative. This admittedly gets dangerously close to my don’t-mess-with-my-19th-century-women-written-literature issue, but it’s so brilliant in places that I have gotten around that.

Tin Man – SyFy’s version of a modern day Wizard of Oz has a nice added sibling storyline and a lot of fun almost steampunk aspects to it. Plus the cast is ace. I would listen to Alan Cummings read the phone book.

Epic Mickey – A Wii game that came out a while ago, Epic Mickey is based on the concept that everything Disney has gone horrifically wrong. There’s a shadowy Magic Kingdom and dark versions of classic songs. And it’s nice to see Disney twist its own standard fare. It’s got an interesting gameplay method as well, if such things are your cup of tea.

And then there are, of course, things like Sherlock and Sleepy Hollow and many more television shows that I am not going to list.

I can’t seem to think of any true extensions–prequels, sequels, or the same story from an alternate point of view–that I liked off the top of my head. Can you think of any, Squiders? I certainly have some on my list to read–a couple of P&P related novels about other characters, and a Sherlock Holmes story called The Seven Percent Solution.