Trashy comic fun!
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, W. Haden Blackman
I personally love movie characters being loyally and accurately transferred from the big screen to comic books (often) and evil Sith lord Darth and an innocent, everyman lieutenant slug it out with whole battalions and win. You’re never really sure if Darth will destroy his young companion (like he does everyone else) and that tension lies at the heart of many scenes. We wonder what remains of Anarkin, but mostly, we enjoy one lusty, enormously destructive battle scene after another!
Demon Knights 2: The Avalon Trap, Paul Cornell
Reinventing old, neglected super characters seemed to be one of the major drives of DC’s new 52 series, but whilst The Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and Firestorm have long since been cancelled The Demon Knights, still runs (thankfully) and continues to impress. Mystical groupies include the rhyming demon Etrigan, Lucifer and Madame Xanadu and this unstable mix of good, basically evil and good or evil (depending on which side of the moral bed they got out of on) characters makes for an unpredictable, surprising comic, drawn awfully and horribly well by Diogenes Neves.
FF volume 1: Fantastic Faux, Matt Fraction
Fun parody and reimagining of the Fantastic Four story with Ms Thing, Ant Man and Valentine’s Day! For those who like kooky, often ridiculous meta-fiction.
Kia ora folks!
Wintry splendour is raining down on us with things to do this weekend. It’s a pretty special one because we get one more day than usual – sweet! It’s the Queens Birthday (but not really, her real birthday’s in April. We’re just kind minions and let her have two). One way you could spend your extra day off is revelling in the glory of our monarch or you could do some of these things:
Te Papa re-opens the Visa Platinum Gallery with an Andy Warhol exhibit. “Warhol: Immortal” celebrates Mr. Pop Art himself. He did all sorts of really great things and liked Campbells Soup too. Not to be confused with The Dandy Warhols.
Less Dance Dance Revolution more… real dance? Stage Challenge/J-Rock hit Wellington (starting tonight).
Another Film Festival is in town. Out Takes with the pun-tastic byline, “reel queer film festival” is screening a few choice youth flicks.
To end NZ Music Month Shapeshifter release “Delta” just in time for the weekend playlist.
Some manga series you might enjoy, if you haven’t already discovered them!
Sakura Hime, by Arina Tanemura. Sakura is a princess, engaged to Prince Oura since birth. Since she’s not keen on marrying the prince, Sakura runs away, accidentally looking at the full moon in the process (the one thing she must never do).
Kitchen princess, by Natsumi Ando. Najika is a talented cook, who follows the trail of a mystery boy who touched her heart as a child to the exclusive Seika Academy. Everyone at the Seika Academy is special in some way, except Najika according to the girls there. However, two brothers, Sora and Daichi, know her cooking is magical. (Also, who’s the mystery boy?)
Cardcaptor Sakura, by CLAMP. This was awarded the Seiun Award for best manga in 2001, and was also made into a TV series. The series begins with Sakura releasing the magical Clow Cards, a set of cards with their own personalitythat can assume different forms when activated. Oops. Sakura is told she must now find all the missing cards, battle their magical forms and re-seal them.
Kobato, also by CLAMP. Kobato, mysteriously, has a quest to heal broken hearts by trapping feelings in a bottle, in order to make her way to a mystery place. It sounds daunting, but she does have the help of a grumpy dog called Ioyogi-san, so that’s okay then. CLAMP’s website is here (great for practising your Japanese).
Here’s a list of other manga series we’ve got in the library.
Over the last few months DC has been releasing new updated, reimagined, revamped editions of the entire DC universe, called The New 52! (just like that, with the exclamation point, because they’re awesome). You can find out more about what’s coming out when at the DC website here.
The Young Adult Comics collection already has a few, which you can borrow:
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol won the Young Adult category. “Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part… Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.” (goodreads.com)
Battlepug by Mike Norton won the Best Digital Comic category. We’ve just got this one in recently. It’s a pug (the cute little dogs with the punched-in noses), but it’s a battlepug. You can find out more on the website, or the battlepug is also on Twitter.
What is Zuda Comics? That’s a great question. The short answer is that it’s an all-new line of Web Comics. The longer answer is that Zuda Comics are whatever you make of them.
Zuda Comics is the webcomics division of DC. You can design your own comic for entry into their monthly competition, vote for your favourite entry, or simply enjoy the ones already online.
While we’re on the subject, you can find the DC comics website here, and don’t forget to check out our collection of them in your library branch.
Zuda Comics collects user-submitted comics. The comics then compete with one another – they’re rated by users – and the winner is published. There’s some great work there, and the latest, Dracula vs. Santa, is hysterical. My aching sides!
The American Library Association, together with its rather unattractive website*, has produced a list of 10 great graphic novels/ series that were published in 2008. We even have some, which I’ll list below.
Life Sucks, by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria and Warren Pleece
Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan, by Aimee Major Steinberger
Skim, by Mariko Tamaki; drawings by Jillian Tamaki
The Umbrella Academy. Volume 1, Apocalypse suite, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
(I feel almost exactly like one of those Academy Award presenters typing that, but without the frock and the fame and the botox.)
* sorry sorry, but it’s true!
This Digital Inspiration blog post entitled, informatively, Create your own Garfield Comic Strip, will introduce you to the wonderful world of, well, creating your own Garfield comic strip. In summary, you can download this application and drag and drop (so you can do it if you can’t draw) and hey presto! I guess it’s similar to creating your own giant squid (mine has now swum 180 kilometres and most recently beat up a diver).
More new books from last week and this week. Christmas week!
Last Kiss of the Butterfly, by Jill Hucklesby (287 pages) – Jaz is a London girl and proud of it, but her mother – who has cancer – wants the two of them to spend a final summer in a cottage on the marshes. Not quite what Jaz wants, until she meets Ethan, who’s quiet but a bit of a stunner.
First sentence: ‘Here with me.’
Hunting Elephants, by James Roy (339 pages) – Harry’s Uncle Frank’s Vietnam War experiences threaten to exacerbate family tensions. And! There may be a crazed gunman in the bushes.
First sentence: ‘Harry was dying.’
The Celebutantes : In The Club, The Celebutantes : To The Penthouse, and The Celebutantes : On The Avenue, all by Antonion Pagliarulo (327, 356, and 340 pages respectively) – The Hamiton triplets are named Madison, Park, and Lexington, and are rich heiresses living in New York. Sort of like the Gossip Girl books, but with richer, more famous girls.
First sentences (in order): ‘She reached for her sunglasses.’ ‘The Ambassadors for the Arts Luncheon, held annually in the legendary Conrad Suite of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, had officially begun.’ ‘Night fell cool and crazy over Manhattan, the streets buzzing with the first hint of spring.’
Antsy Does Time, by Neal Shüsterman (247 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Ansty (short for Anthony) learns about life when his terminally-ill friend (with the awesome name, Gunnar Ümlaut) feels hopeful for the future.
First sentences: ‘It was all my idea. The stupid ones usually are.’
Into the Dark : An Echo Falls Mystery, by Peter Abrahams (262 pages) – Super-sleuth Ingrid Levin-Hill finds a body while out snowshoeing (which is when you walk on snow while wearing shoes that resemble tennis racquets). Unfortunately, the body is on her grandfather’s land and he’s sent to jail. Ingrid needs to uncover the past to find out the truth.
First sentence: ‘“Brucie?” said Jill Monteiro, director of the Prescott Players.’
Gay America : Struggle for Equality, by Linas Alsenas (160 pages)[Non-fiction] - This is an extensive and very interesting history of gay rights in America, written for teen readers.
Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle (352 pages) – There are three stories in this book about high school romance. Although written by different authors the stories are connected. As the title suggests the stories rely rather on a white Christmas – but we’re used to that.
First sentence from each story: ‘It was the night before Christmas.’ ‘JP and the Duke and I were four movies in to our James Bond marathon when my mother called home for the sixth time in five hours.’ ‘Being me sucked.’
A World Away, by Pauline Francis (316 pages) – Nadie is an American Indian girl who is taken by the early settlers of America back to England, to display to Queen Elizabeth I. There she falls in love with Tom, a blacksmith; can he survive with her, back in her own country? I could tell you … but I won’t.
First sentence: ‘Flames light the length of my mother’s body and lick around her slender neck.‘
The Mendini Canticle, by Brian Keaney (201 pages) – This is book three in the science fiction series, Promises of Dr Sigmundus.
First sentence: ‘The storm that had raged over the south of Gehenna had finally blown itself out.’
Crowboy, by David Calcutt (233 pages) – A war-torn city with gangs of warring children. Sort of a cross between Mad Max and Lord of the Flies, according to Amazon (where it reviews well).
First sentence: ‘So I’m outside the city one evening on me usual rounds, sorting through the leftovers and picking me way through the day’s dead.‘
Drawing Words and Writing Pictures : Making Comics: Manga, Graphic Novels, and Beyond, by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (282 pages) [non fiction] - This is a ‘definitive course from concept to comic in 15 lessons’. It’s a very, very nice book, laden with illustrations and guides. I’d go so far as to say that it’s the definitive book for people wanting to write and draw their own comics.
Merry Christmas, yall!