Groo vs Conan (2013) by Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier & Thomas Yeates

“If you want to live, Groo, drop your sword.”
“Groo lives by his sword!”
“Then but one response is possible…”

Sergio Aragones is a legend! He has been called “the fastest cartoonist in the world” and has won a number of prestigious awards including the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award, and the Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award. He began drawing for MAD magazine in the 1960s and created Groo the Wanderer in the late 1970s. (It was first published in 1982 by Pacific Comics.) Aragones teamed up with writer Mark Evanier and their collaboration on Groo became one of the longest-running “creator-owned” comic books of its time.

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Hellblazer #1 & Sandman #1

HELLBLAZER #1

‘Yesterday I was shivering in London. Now the Sudanese sun scorches the skin from me, like a blowtorch.’

In this premiere issue of Hellblazer, streetwise magician John Constantine meets an old friend and goes in search of a hunger demon.

Hellblazer #1, January 1988, Cover by Dave McKean

The first Hellblazer issue I bought was number 31 back in July 1990. It was written by Jamie Delano with art by Sean Phillips. The story is titled “Mourning of the Magician” and tells the tale of John Constantine’s father’s funeral. I was vaguely aware of the character of Constantine but had no idea who anyone else was. What I do remember is how much the story pulled me in. It was a ghost story set in England with references to occult magic. I instantly wanted to know more about these characters and the world they inhabited.

I continued to buy Hellblazer monthly and made it my mission to get hold of the previous thirty issues that I’d missed. Some were easy to find, others not so much, especially the first ten issues. I remember tracking down issue one at a comics fair in Manchester, England. I don’t recall how much I paid for it but it can’t have been very much because I was in college at the time. I can trace my infection with the “collector-bug” to this comic book as well as Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

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Detective Comics #1000

I’m on holiday in Manchester so this will be a short post.

Owing to lucky timing, I was able to get my hands on a physical copy of Detective Comics #1000, released March 27th 2019. I used to collect this comic many years ago when I was a young teenager living in the UK. I remember buying issue 600 and being impressed with that number. Well, here we are at the thousandth issue.

It’s a wonderful issue with some very fine stories by writers and artists including Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Denny O’Neil, Becky Cloonan, Warren Ellis, Paul Dini, Tony S. Daniel, Joelle Jones, Kelley Jones, and Tom King.

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Graphic Novels Digest #1

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Batman and Son (2007) by Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert & Jesse Delperdang

Batman discovers he has a son called Damian. And Commissioner Gordon has been poisoned by the Joker!  Could this be a bad omen for the Dark Knight?

Wow, is it already 11 years since this first came out? I was still buying the Batman comic book back then and I remember Grant Morrison taking over the writing duties. Love him or not, his writing is rarely ordinary and never dull.

 

I enjoyed this back in 2006~2007 and I’ve really enjoyed re-reading it. It’s exciting, clever and laced with black humour. The ninja man-bats are a brilliant idea! I also respect Morrison for writing Damian the way he did. His initial interactions with Alfred and Tim Drake’s Robin are priceless. Hate him or love him, he’s a compelling character. I’ll leave you to enjoy this story without spoiling any more.

This comes highly recommended. Continue reading

Summer Meltdown, 2018

Summer sky over Yonago

I seem to have lost my way. No reviews posted for 6 weeks. And worse than that, I have lost my enthusiasm for reading books. Omg!!! I’m not sure why..?

Has this ever happened to you?

I could make excuses such as this year’s exceptionally HOT summer in Japan, (and all across the Northern Hemisphere.) But that sounds too easy. Yes, it’s been boiling hot for what seems like forever yet I’ve got an air conditioner. I can enjoy a cool, dry room at home. Perfect conditions for curling up with a good book. So what went wrong?

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The thing is, I have been reading. Just not as much as before and NOT books. I’ve got back into reading comics. “Oh No!” I hear you cry, “Don’t you know that comics rot your brain?!?” Continue reading

Batman: Rules of Engagement (2018) by Tom King, Joelle Jones, Clay Mann & Lee Weeks

“But under that. The cape. The mask. Under there. You’re still the poor little rich boy in the house on the hill. All that pain from being alone…”

Can a man who saw his parents gunned down in front of him when he was a child ever find true happiness?

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After years of fighting some of the craziest, most dangerous criminals in the DC Universe, Batman has finally popped the BIG question to Catwoman. A superhero-supervillain wedding appears to be taking shape in the distance. But before this comic-book union can go ahead, there are places to go and people to see. The first one being Batman’s deadly blast from the past, Talia al Ghul, the mother of his teenage son. Cue the exotic opening panel depicting Batman on horseback under a hot desert sun. Continue reading

The Vision (2016~2017) by Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta

‘For a moment, as she listened to her family argue and laugh, Virginia felt content. She belonged here. They belonged here. Everything in the end would be good.

That moment lasted 1.72 seconds.’

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Originally created as a weapon by Ultron, The Vision just wants to be normal. He has extraordinary powers, is a fully-fledged member of the Avengers, but what he most wants is an ordinary human life. So, he creates a family: wife Virginia and twin children Viv and Vin. They move into a house in the suburbs and are welcomed by the neighbours. The twins start attending the local school. Everything seems to be going well. But can it last? Continue reading