Yes, actually I am worn out.

*It can't be helped.


Anne Freaks Vol. 1 (of 4) (just not a very good manga at all)

Seven Soldiers - Frankenstein #4 (of 4) (and note that all Seven Soldiers reviews are now indexed behind a link to the right)

Solo #10 (Damion Scott does some good, and some bad)

Iron Man: The Inevitable #5 (of 6)

How to “Read” Manga: Gloom Party Vol. 1 (of 5) (odd Digital Manga Publishing experiment in format and annotation, for a very odd comic)

And an anime review of the new Manga Video release Karas: The Prophecy. I don't even think there was a prophecy in that thing, actually.

*Snacks Dept: Apropos of nothing, here is a television commercial for delicious cup noodles, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira and Steamboy fame.

*And on that note:


Yeast Hoist 12: Not the newest edition of Ron Regé Jr.'s continuing, ever-shifting series of comics - that would be the recent Drawn and Quarterly release, The Awake Field, which is actually Yeast Hoist #13, though it doesn't say that on the front cover. This release is from Buenaventura Press, who debuted it at APE and should also have it available from their site pretty soon, though maybe your local shop is getting it in. Fun fact: Yeast Hoist #12 was first published back in 2003, in hardcover format from Powis/Parker, though its print run was limited to only 50. Yeast Hoist #11 was also published in 2003 from the now-defunct Highwater, and it's still available at the Buenaventura store linked to above. Buenaventura is currently working on an omnibus collection of issues #1-10 of the series, so don't feel like you're being left behind or anything.

Concrete Vol. 7: The Human Dilemma: No, you're not wrong - Volumes 5 (Think Like a Mountain) and 6 (Strange Armor) haven't been released yet, though pretty soon they will be - by July of this year, pretty much all of Concrete will be print, albiet in small-sized, decolorized versions. I guess Dark Horse didn't want to wait to release the newest installment in writer/artist Paul Chadwick's much-loved series, a 2004-05 miniseries that had the benefit of being in b&w to begin with. Some people didn't care all that much for this story, and I'll readily concede that one of the subplots in particular gets awfully soapy. But the primary plot, seeing the stony title character hit the traveling debate circuit as spokesman for a hotly controversial population control scheme, offers lots of fun commentary on contemporary media information filtering, infused with clinging human concerns about new life and the transformations love and adulthood bring. Chadwick also doesn't shy away from making some major changes to the Concrete status quo here - all the more frustrating that no new material is on the horizon for the immediate future. Oh, and the visual storytelling is immaculate, but we all should expect that by now. Probably not a good place to start with Concrete, but hey - now we've got all this stuff in print!

Eden: It's an Endless World! Vol. 3: I can't say I've read any of this Dark Horse-released manga, which is still ongoing in Japan at Vol. 13, but I have caught up on some of writer/artist Hiroki Endo's short stories via scanlation, and I've been fairly impressed. Of particular note is The Crows, the Girl, and the Yakuza, an 86-page epic that somehow manages to make a heaping mass of clichés and predictable symbols seem utterly fresh and exciting again. Eden is Endo's big sci-fi work, loaded with robots and blood and politics and all the good stuff. Many things are hurt in the preview for this volume. I think I need to start reading this.

Death Note Vol. 5: Oh, this book. Even though everyone and their casual manga-perusing cousin has apparently read this, I still find it oddly absent from bookstores near me. But now it’s due out in comics stores, and that magical $7.99 for 200 pages selling point will no doubt have folks itching to catch up on what’s going on with this popular, merrily sociopathic series. Apparently there’s quite a big twist in this volume, one big enough that some have questioned whether or not the book (just-finished in Japan) has shot itself in the foot. We’ll see. Death Note has already expanded way beyond the confines of the page anyway - there’s an anime being planned, plus a video game, and you can see the trailer for the upcoming two-part live-action film adaptation here. Yes, it’s a Kill Bill type serial, with the first half due out in June and the second in October - looks pretty solid, split-second glimpse of a dodgy CGI Ryuk aside. Anime News Service (scroll down a ways) notes that whispers of a possible non-Japanese remake have surfaced. Crazy big times.

Robot Vol. 2: From Digital Manga Publishing comes the next installment of editor Range Murata’s lavish, full-color continuing anthology, dedicated to providing a nice forum for assorted anime designers & illustrators (and a few manga artists) to play around in. Volume 1 tended to emphasize visual style above pretty much anything else, though there were certainly a few good stories. Expect lots of pretty images and designs, and weigh your taste for that with the $24.95 price tag - the possibility of some neat stories should only be considered a bonus here, and if such thinking turns you off - best to avoid this one. Contributor list and fancy interactive preview here.

Buddha Vol. 1 (of 8): And if there’s a yen for something a little more classical in this week’s manga craving, why not dig into this much-delayed softcover version of the Osamu Tezuka saga, now only $14.95. Hopefully the rest of the series will be out in this less expensive format soon.

The Punisher MAX #33: Corporate malfeasance. And shootings.

Fury: Peacemaker #4 (of 6): Hey, look! It's a miniseries I'm following!

BPRD: The Universal Machine #2 (of 5): And another! They're like fireflies!

Joe R. Lansdale’s The Drive-In 2 #1 (of 4): This is a little odd, in that I had absolutely no idea this project was even contemplated until I saw it on this week’s list. But yeah, it’s Avatar’s comics adaptation of another Lansdale book, utilizing the same artist from their prior Joe R. Landsale’s The Drive-In series, Andres Guinaldo. And while I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Guinaldo’s work, his scratchy lines coupled surprisingly well with the tongue-in-cheek tone of Lansdale’s work, making the original series seem like something warped through time from some undisclosed period in the ‘80s b&w boom. Maybe it’s best to wander upon comics like these in bargain bins? Well, here’s another one for the new releases rack.

Rich Johnston’s Holed Up #3 (of 3): But I think we’ve all heard of this. Unless we’ve forgotten. Anyway, this was one of the more egregious exhibits among Avatar’s list of various unfinished, ultra-late series, issue #2 having been released back in June of 2004. Based on a stage performance by writer Rich Johnston (of Lying in the Gutters fame) and illustrated by Gonzalo Martinez, it’s an over-the-top parody of American survivalist freaks, executed via typical family sitcom structure. Some of it I recall being amusing, I think. They invaded the Middle East at the end of issue 2, so I guess this will follow from that. I notice Avatar has also resolicited the last issues of both Alan Moore’s A Hypothetical Lizard and Yuggoth Creatures for sometime this month, plus I think there’s supposed to be movement on Mark Millar’s The Unfunnies pretty soon. Catch-up month for Avatar?

Civil War #1 (of 7): No, really. What is so civil about war anyway? I hope this question is answered at some point in this comic.