Help me decide!

*Hey everyone, which of these events is more wicked rad? Finding out that a bunch of money I was supposed to be paid today isn't going to arrive until Friday due to events beyond my control, or realizing that a prior engagement is probably going to keep me from going to SPX this year? I simply cannot choose because both of them, while hardly grievous, are pretty fucking annoying! Ha ha!


Seven Soldiers - Klarion #3 (of 4)

Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1 (of 5)

And at Comic Book Galaxy, a piece on the neat little 'zine Mineshaft, with work by many an underground legend.

Not a very heavy review week.

*God. I think there’s only one thing that can successfully cheer me up and out of such a state, a little something I found on the redoubtable AnimeOnDVD forums:


Actually there appears to be some argument as to whether these things are Taiwanese or Korean, but regardless; let’s say you’re a producer in Taiwan (Korea), with little-to-no cash on hand. Everyone loves that giant robot and space battle anime. But those licensing fees - argh! How can you possibly climb onboard the anime bandwagon? Well don’t fret, dear producer - the answer is as easy as procuring random cells and action sequences from a dozen odd ‘70s shows, redrawing a few of them, producing a couple original backgrounds, and fastening it all together with scotch tape into feature films, hoping the dubbing will cover the worst of the scars (don't laugh too hard; this is pretty close to what Ralph Bakshi was doing with the third season of the old Spider-Man cartoon).

And now, noted retail giant Wal-Mart, hell-bent as always on proving true the old axiom that a merchant’s product declines in quality parallel to the viability of his competition, is carrying three of these things on region-free dvd: Space Thunder Kids, Protectors of Universe, and Defenders of Space.

For one dollar each. They even stock them in the toy department, as opposed to with the real dvds in the electronics section.

Lord help us all, Defenders of Space was actually sold out (!!!) when I got there today, but I snapped up the other two along with what appears to be a genuine original animation production, something called Beauty and Warrior, and a copy of the public-domain first-ever color anime feature, 1958’s Panda and the Magic Serpent. Also one dollar each.

What, I ask you, is better in life?

*Perhaps looking forward to


The Comics Journal #270: Full specs here. Feature interview is with Jessica Abel, who in terms of visibility seems to have gone nearly missing since devoting herself to the recently-completed serialized graphic novel La Perdida (her older series, Artbabe, strikes me as having once occupied an Optic Nerve-like position as lightning rod for criticism as per the perceived narcissism of young, popular alternative cartoonists writing about youth affairs - but I might simply be bamboozled by the glare of history). Deleted stuff from the chat here. There’s additional talk with Lalo Alcaraz and Mark Bodé, plus the return of regular columns by Tom Spurgeon (superheroes) and Tim O’Neil (webcomics). And - Ng Suat Tong on Chinese manhua! Good times straight ahead, cap’n!

God the Dyslexic doG #3 (of 4): I liked the first two issues of this series, written by animators Brian and Phillip Phillipson, with art by Alex Nino of DC’s Thriller and many other titles. Very odd story about multiple gods and a messianic pooch and all kinds of weird things. Here’s an earlier review of mine; you’ll want to look into this.

Smoke #3 (of 3): Closing out the Alex di Campi/Igor Kordey miniseries. A quick look toward the charts reveals that this hasn’t sold very well at all, even granting the additional income of the $7.49 price point. Really not a bad book; familiar set-up, yes, but amusing, novel execution.

Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace 1951-1952: The latest classic newspaper strip reprinting project from Fantagraphics! This initial volume is a 624-page giant, packed with jazzy single-panel gags and precocious antics. Katcham has a gorgeous style, though I can’t say the strip is among my favorites. I’m sure it’ll be a plush production. On the other hand…

Krazy & Ignatz Dailies 1923: In case you haven’t yet bought this third square volume of the Pacific Comics Club compilation of Krazy dailies (a lovely, if compact companion set for those huge Fantagraphics Sunday collections) directly from the publisher, now Diamond is sending out copies to the Direct Market. As always, it’s a 1000-piece limited edition; copies of the first two compilations are also still available, which probably gives you a depressing picture of the size of today’s Krazy Kat fan base more than anything else.

Vampire Hunter D Vol. 2: Raiser of Gales: The mere fact that Dark Horse is actually releasing a second volume of this vintage Japanese non-comics fantasy/horror/sci-fi series is utterly fascinating to me. Can the sheer popularity of the anime (and the general popularity of manga as a collective force) seriously sustain a series of translated prose novels in today’s US environment? Has anyone actually read these things? Are they any good?

Jack Cross #1: Yet more heretofore unseen work from Warren Ellis, prolific fellow that he appears to be now that his logjam of prior-completed scripts has been unknotted. This one hails from 2003, with Gary Erskine on art. It’s about a left-wing activist superagent or something, though the most interesting bit is that it’s being released as part of the plain ol’ DCU. Have a preview, and enjoy an almost surreally bloodless automatic weapon massacre.

City of Tomorrow #5 (of 6): Waiting to read this all in one big batch now…

A History of Violence (new edition): Because, you know, DC might as well try some promotion for this. It’s been fun seeing once-warehoused copies of the prior edition dribbling into stores over the last month, and I might yet buy it someday.