I found this new collection of classic Stan Lee & Steve Ditko Spider-Man tales by chance when I was browsing on Amazon. I have always liked this design of the Penguin Classics books, and when I checked what was reprinted I had to order a copy. (Content details below.) I bought the paperback edition for $28. There is a gorgeous looking hardcover edition as well, but it was too pricey for me. I actually prefer paperback volumes to hardbacks. I find them easier to handle as well as read .
Penguin Classics Marvel Collection: The Amazing Spider-Man (2022) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Foreword by Jason Reynolds, Introduction by Ben Saunders. It Collects “Spider-Man!” from Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962); The Amazing Spider-Man#1-4, #9, #10, #13, #14, #17-19 (1963-1964); “Goodbye to Linda Brown” from Strange Tales #97 (1962); “How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man!” from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964).
That means anyone out there with even a slight interest in comic books or Japanhas to read at least one issue of USAGI YOJIMBO by Stan Sakai this year. I’m sorry but no exceptions allowed!
I know I’ve written about this long-running comic series before, but I wish it got more recognition and press. Writer and artist Stan Sakai has been chronicling the adventures of his “Rabbit Bodyguard” since 1984. So it’ll be Usagi’s 40th anniversary next year. That is very impressive, especially for a creator-owned independent comic book. SPAWN has been getting all the press recently but Usagi Yojimbo has been going for longer than Todd McFarlane’s Hellspawn. Spawn does have more issues though, because its run has never been interrupted, unlike Usagi Yojimbo.
After a long run with comics publisher Dark Horse, Usagi moved to IDW in 2019. But Stan Sakai was rumoured to be unhappy with IDW’s approach to the character. In September 2022, it was announced that Usagi would be returning to Dark Horse Comics. There haven’t been any new Usagi issues published since September, but the word is that Sakai will be collaborating with some “new talent” and they will continue publication of the ongoing Chibi Usagi, Space Usagi, and the Color Classics series. I look forward to any future issues of the main Usagi Yojimbo series.
TheDaredevil comic book will always have a special place in my geeky heart. It was one of the first American comics that I bought and read monthly. This is going back to the late 1980s when Ann Nocenti was writing it after Frank Miller’s famous run on the title. I was fascinated by the character of Matt Murdock, blind lawyer by day, devil-horned crime fighter by night. Despite losing his sight as a child, he developed incredibly heightened senses of hearing, touch, smell and taste. The fact that he kind of resembled a red ninja was another reason I got interested in the character.
After a long time away from the comic, I started reading Daredevil again in 2019 when Chip Zdarsky began his run. He was joined by Italian artist Marco Checchetto who brought a gritty yet eye-catching style to the book. His art is spectacular at times with both realistic character renderings as well as dynamic and fluid action scenes. Checchetto’s run as artist on Daredevil has garnered a lot of deserved praise. I highly recommend you check out his work on the title.
Writing: W. Maxwell Prince; Art: Martin Morazzo; Colors: Chris O’Halloran
The best weird original creepy inventive comic book you’re not reading! Ice Cream Man is a kind of Twilight Zone meets The Outer Limits comic book series. Each story works as a one-and-done short story. There are almost no recurring characters outside of the titular Ice Cream Man. The series tackles such subjects as love, family, murder, madness, sex, drugs, music, ghosts, superheroes, sickness, cults, game shows, word puzzles, reality, identity, and on and on.
In an interview with Comic Book Herald, writer W. Maxwell Prince talks about how we tell our children not to accept food or other things from strangers, yet the ice cream man is trusted and accepted. Do children still flock to the ice cream van/truck in summer? Who is the ice cream man? He could be anyone, for example a serial killer, an alien, an escaped prisoner, a spy, an assassin, or even a kindly old man.
I don’t know if you’ve heard but Amazon has just launched its ComiXology Update 4.0 with emphasis on the ZERO! This has made a lot of readers and customers very unhappy, including me. I was so annoyed that I did a livestream on this topic last night. It’s a topic which is very close to my heart, as you will probably know if you’ve been reading my reviews for a while.
To cut a long story short, Amazon have made the digital comic book reading experience much much worse. They’ve also managed to make it very user-unfriendly. What the @*?<> is going on? Now you can only read comics on the Kindle Reader, which was not designed with comic books in mind. It’s for prose books, of course. Imagine taking all the pleasure out of reading a particular format. You’d think Amazon would be looking to attract more users and sales. I don’t see that happening now.
Two of my favourite parts of the ComiXology desktop app have been removed: the “Guided View” feature and the “Browse Pages” feature. The Guided View was one of the best things about the original app. It took you through the comic panel by panel, zooming in where appropriate and delivering a very satisfying comic book reading experience. The Browse Pages feature let you easily jump ahead (or back) to a specific page. Not anymore.
I go into more detail in the video and show examples of the old reader and the new one. I’d love to know what you think.
Thanks for reading!
-Wakizashi, *realizing I sound like a middle-aged man moaning about comics. What was the name of that character from The Simpsons? Comic book guy?*
Kafka hopes to one day keep his pact with his childhood friend Mina to join the Japan Defense Force and fight by her side. But while she’s out neutralizing kaiju as Third Division captain, Kafka is stuck cleaning up the aftermath of her battles. When a sudden rule change makes Kafka eligible for the Defense Force, he decides to try out for the squad once more. There’s just one problem—he’s made the Defense Force’s neutralization list under the code name Kaiju No. 8.
This was a recommendation from Ola over at Re-enchantment of the World. I’m really glad I ordered a copy because this manga was so much fun to read. Remember fun? Well, this book is filled with it. It also has some great kaiju art and some kinetic action scenes.
Last Wednesday (January 26th), Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples’ popular comic book series Saga released its first new issue for three-and-a-half years. Issue #55 came out after the creative team’s long hiatus. I thought I would give it a try, even though I haven’t read beyond the first two collected volumes (issues #1 to 12). I was curious to see if a relative “newbie” could enjoy the new issue without having read all that came before.
The short answer is “yes”, I really enjoyed it. I made a short video review for my YouTube channel if you are interested. The review is only 2 minutes long. After that, I summarise some of the story and share a few pages of the gorgeous art.
I’m a big fan of comic books and have been reading them since I was a teenager, back when Duran Duran were burning up the charts. Wait a minute, they’re back in the charts now, aren’t they!? Proving, yet again, that history repeats itself. But I digress.
I bought and read comics, off and on, for over 35 years. My main focus was Marvel and especially DC Comics. I started out reading The Amazing Spider-Man and my favourite character, Batman. For any comics history buffs out there, I started buying Batman just before Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s brilliant “Year One” came out, so that’s issues 404 to #407. After checking on the net, I see they were published between February and May 1987. Yikes! 34 years ago!
After a couple of years, I stopped buying Spider-Man but continued reading the two main Dark Knight titles: Batman and Detective Comics. I added Legends of the Dark Knight to my monthly haul when that title was launched in November 1989. Yep, I was a big Bat-Fan.
I continued reading DC Comics titles including such classics as Hellblazer, Sandman, Animal Man and Shade the Changing Man. I saw the birth of Vertigo and watched Neil Gaiman’s star rise and rise. But this is turning into a mix of a comics-history lesson and a walk down memory lane, so I will stop waffling and get to the point of this ranty post.
To celebrate getting 100 subscribers on YouTube, I made a video where I talk about how I got into reading comics. I cover five comic book titles that had a big effect on me and helped develop my love of the medium. It’s at the bottom of this post and is twelve minutes long. If you watch it, please let me know what you think about my choices. Also, I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these titles! 😀
The FIVE comics are:
Groo the Wanderer
Groo the Wanderer #17 was the first American comic book I bought with my own money. I’d read some of my brother’s Batman comics before that. Also, the Marvel UK reprints of the popular Marvel Star Wars comic that became a big seller after the first Star Wars movie. I think it was the cover of Groo #17 that caught my eye and led me into the madcap world of this bumbling yet deadly barbarian. Sergio Aragones’s detailed cartoony style blew my young mind and I quickly fell in love with the bonkers, silly humour.
Konnichiwa minna-san! I wanted to post a link to my latest review on YouTube. This is an update to a blog review I did in July 2019. (Here’s a link to the original review.) The video is just 8 minutes long. I recorded this on my phone and added an audio voiceover later. The microphone on my phone is not great for loudness. If you have any suggestions for improvements or would like to see a video review of something else, please let me know in the comments. Arigatou!
Groo vs. Conan is a funny, entertaining story and a great crossover. Two seemingly indestructible warriors–one without a clue–go head-to-head. Who will emerge victorious? I really liked the Rashomon-style in which this epic battle was reported by various characters in the narrative–who is telling the “true” story? It was also nice to see Sergio Aragones and co-writer Mark Evanier appearing as themselves in the story, acting as a framing narrative as well as a comedy duo. Some of their scenes had me laughing out loud.