We Truly Are in BIZARRO World | The New Tim Drake: ROBIN #1 (2022)

Holy Macaroni, Batman! What have they done to Tim Drake? I’m amazed this got past the editor(s). Nice cover art but it has nothing to do with the story…

I’m old and remember Dick Grayson as Robin the Boy Wonder when I started reading Batman comics. Then Dick broke away and became Nightwing and Jason Todd arrived as a new mouthier Robin. His popularity was pretty mixed to begin with, but I kind of liked him from the start. He wasn’t afraid to question Batman, even smart mouth him at times. This eventually led to the unforgettable Death in the Family story arc where readers were encouraged to phone in to decide if Jason Todd lived or died at the climax of that story.

I missed the debut of Tim Drake as Robin because I’d moved on to reading more “adult” comics that became DC’s excellent VERTIGO line of books. Titles like Hellblazer, Sandman, Shade the Changing Man, Animal Man, Doom Patrol and The Invisibles. I’d heard there was a new Robin and he had his own series being written by Chuck Dixon. That solo series started in 1993 but Dixon had penned three mini-series before it: Robin: Reborn; Robin II: The Joker’s Wild!; and Robin III: Cry of the Huntress. After what DC Comics has just done to Tim Drake Robin, I’m really tempted to pick up each of those mini-series and read them. I am one hundred percent sure they will be far more entertaining than this comic.

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The SANDMAN (1989) issue #1 by Gaiman, Keith & Dringenberg

Sandman #1 introduces us to self-styled “magus” Roderick Burgess and his attempt to summon and imprison DEATH in a magical ritual held in England in 1916.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will probably know I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN comic. It ran for 75 issues plus one Special from 1989 to 1996. I still have the original comics. I brought them over to Japan with me. I have read the comics many times and will no doubt read them again in the future. I’m particularly fond of the first half of the series and count The Doll’s House and A Season in Hell among my favourite story arcs.

With the release of the Netflix Sandman Series, I wanted to go back to the source and reread the first issue. I recorded a kind of audio-comic of Sandman issue #1 “Sleep of the Just.” The first half of the video below is my summary of the first issue showing some of the gorgeous art from the comic. The second half of the video is me reading parts of Neil Gaiman’s essay on how he got the idea for the comic. It was originally published in the back of Sandman issue #4. I wanted to share it with you and anyone else who might stumble upon this page in the future. This was a labour of love.

My REVIEW & Summary of ISSUE #1 of The SANDMAN (1989)

As always, thanks for reading!

-Wakizashi, *listening to an approaching thunderstorm. Man it’s been humid today. I feel like the air is about to explode.*

Daredevil Comic Relaunched AGAIN! | DAREDEVIL #1 (2022)

The Daredevil 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.

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Ice Cream Man (2018~) by W. Maxwell Prince & Martin Morazzo

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.

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Saga Returns After 3.5 Years!

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.

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Batman Issue 118 Review | A New Creative Team Takes Over!

Batman #118 is written by Joshua Williamson with art by Jorge Molina. It was released on December 7th 2021 for the rising DC Comic’s price of $4.99. For that you get 30 pages of story.

Cover Art by Jorge Molina

I’m happy to say that this felt like a breath of fresh air after James Tynion’s road-to-nowhere-fast run on the title. Tynion took over after Tom King had penned 85 issues of a very mixed run on DC’s flagship title. Tynion started well with a return-to-basics style of a Batman book. Unfortunately, I felt like he was stretching three or four-part story arcs into double the length actually needed. How many parts made up “Joker War” or “Fear State”? Too many, that’s for sure. Not to mention his penchant for introducing too many new characters who struggled to catch this reader’s attention or memory. Seriously, I can’t remember half of them.

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How Many Batman Comics Can You Fit in a Month?

Hello again. It’s me with yet another comic book review. You can see my true colours coming out after all these years, right? Yep, I’m a comic book geek, and always have been. 😉 I don’t know why but I always struggle to get through a book in August. Weird, right? Summer just doesn’t work as a reading month for me. Bring on the autumn!

Here is my review of Batman: Reptilian #1 written by Garth Ennis with art by Liam Sharp. It was released on June 23rd 2021. You get 21 pages of story, plus the cover, for the rising DC Comics price of $4.99. This is a Black Label title so it stands alone, free of the regular Batman continuity.

Brief Synopsis & My Thoughts

The Riddler and the Scarecrow have been brutally attacked and Batman is determined to discover who did it. It seems that there is something stalking the streets of Gotham City, something more dangerous than Batman. 

First off, the painted art by Liam Sharp is gorgeous. It’s dark and atmospheric and reminded me of Dave McKean’s work on the 1989 graphic novel “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.” Garth Ennis writes a more intimidating Batman than more recent portrayals. This Batman strikes FEAR into the hearts of the criminals he faces, which is the whole point of his costume after all. I enjoyed this return to a darker Dark Knight and I’m very curious to see where the story goes from here. Issues #2 and #3 are already out and I will be picking up copies soon. 

My short video review of issue #1

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Hellboy, Vol.1: Seed of Destruction (1994) by Mike Mignola & John Byrne

“I’d be the first to admit that I have no shortage of faults. But if I had to pick one, the one that’s gotten me into the most trouble over the years … it would be that I sometimes get angry.”

-Hellboy by Mike Mignola & John Byrne

This is the first Hellboy story and was my first experience of Mike Mignola’s work. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys comic book horror with a good dose of Lovecraft. The artwork is excellent; it’s very atmospheric and the limited colour palette with a focus on red and black adds to this. 

Saga of the Swamp Thing, Vol.1: (1983) by Alan Moore, Stephen R. Bissette & John Totleben

Volume 1 collects issues #20-27 of the series.

I missed this when it was being published monthly back in the early 1980s. At that time I was reading UK comics like The Beano and The Dandy. Or borrowing my brother’s copies of Batman or the Marvel Star Wars comic. I would’ve been too young to appreciate it, anyway. My brother gave me the Volume 1 collected edition for one of my birthdays. I remember getting lost in the storytelling and loving the horror aspect of the book. Also the stunning artwork by Bissette and Totleben.

I’ve since re-read it a few times and always got something out of it. It is a must-read for any fan of great comic book stories. Intelligent, compelling, frightening and addictive.