Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wednesday Comics

BATMAN: Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
ADAM STRANGE: Paul Pope, Neil Gaiman andMichael Allred
THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN: Walter Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze
DEADMAN: Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck
KAMANDI: Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook
SUPERMAN: John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo
WONDER WOMAN: Ben Caldwell
GREEN LANTERN: Kurt Busiek and Joe Quiñones
TEEN TITANS: Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway
SUPERGIRL: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
HAWKMAN: Kyle Baker
SGT. ROCK: Adam Kubert and Joe Kubert
THE FLASH: Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher
METAL MEN: Dan DiDio and Ian Churchill
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
14 different short superhero stories, each one told over 14 pages and collected in an oversized, hardback book of 200 pages. All stories are out of continuity, fresh one off narratives that require absolutely no previous knowledge of the character or the DC Universe. It's sort of a love letter to comics through the decades, with the creators kicking back, having fun and developing something that can stand alone in an attempt to show the true essence of each character.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Calvin & Hobbes

Writer and Artist: Bill Watterson
Publisher:  Sphere

What’s it about?
Mostly, it’s about six year old Calvin and his overactive imagination.  His best friend is a stuffed Tiger named Hobbes, with whom he invents numerous characters and stories, ranging from Spaceman Spiff, Captain Stupendous, tyrannosaurs (usually based on his mother), alien invasions (usually based on both parents), and far far more.

The perils of Calvin’s life can be summarised thus:
School, bathtime, Rosalyn the babysitter, school photos, camping trips, his long suffering neighbour neighbour Susie and his very attentive parents.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Animal Man: Animal Man, Origin of the Species, Deus Ex Machina

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Chas Truog (vol 1, 2, 3), Tom Grummett (vol 1, 2), Paris Cullens (vol 3)
Inker: Doug Hazelwood (vol 1, 2, 3), Mark McKenna (vol 2 ), Steve Montano (vol 2, 3), Mark Farmer (vol 3),
Letterer: John Constanza (vol 1, 2, 3), Janice Chiang (vol 2)
Colourist: Tatjana Wood, (vol 1, 2, 3), Helen Vesik (vol 2)
Covers: Brian Bolland
Publisher: DC Comics

What’s it about?
These 3 trades collect 26 monthly issuers of the 1980s Animal Man comic, written by Grant Morrison.  It concerns Buddy Baker, a man who gradually becomes aware of his existence as a fictional character within a comic book.

Morrison tends to write grand, complex meta-narratives and this book, produced early in his career, is no exception.  The interest in these volumes lies in seeing how Buddy comes to realise his fictionality, understanding the effect this has on him looking at our roles as consumers of his story.

(Click each picture to get a bigger version)

Monday, 6 December 2010

We are one year old!

Yes, we have made it to one year!  I'm pretty proud of what we've done here, so why don't we take a look at what we've done in the past year, by looking at some numbers.  We've had 4 amazing reviewers producing 100 reviews covering the following things:

40 superhero books
31 non superhero books
9 manga
11 webcomics
3 themed months - Halloween, LGBT history month and Valentines day

13 posts discussing comics, the point of them and what new readers need to know (including 2 giving specific consumer advice)
Developed a list of 71 recommended comics shops, both online and in the real world, situated all over the world.

7 All Ages books
10 teenage books
14 books for mature readers
6 posts on comic related events around the world

We've showcased a huge variety of art and writing styles and I think we've also demonstrated the diversity that exists in modern comics - we've had 19 books with LGBT characters, 25 with Characters of Colour, 4 with disabled characters (I think we need to improve that figure).  We've covered a lot of genres: comedy, crime, action, romance, animals, war, biography, mafia, fantasy and so on.

If there are particular styles or genres of book you'd like to see please let us know!  Either email us or leave a comment on any of the posts.  We like feedback!

A few thanks are needed here.  Firstly, a huge huge thank you to my fellow reviewers - James Ashelford, Lissbirds and Mothee.  They are all bloody great and inspiring writers who put my words to shame.  I would not have been able to keep this going without their help and contributions.  They are all great and you should go read their personal blogs now.

A quick note about how we operate:
None of us are paid for this.  We don't work for or have any connections with the comics industry. We have been sent solicits of new comcis, but we only review them if we think they are any good and appropriate for this site.  Basically, we do this out of a love for comcis and a desire to write.

Another round of thanks to everyone who has linked to the site, commented on it, gave ideas for books, suggested what was important for new readers, recommended a good comic shop or otherwise given input.

We're not going away, we've got lots more books planned to cover and we hope you stick around and keep on reading. :)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

About Formats. The Telephone Book Collection

Christmas is coming up and you may be looking for presents for the comic fans of your acquaintance or maybe you might want to take this opportunity to try some comics. If so, that’s what this blog is for: comic recommendations for the new reader. Of course, graphic novels are quite an expensive medium, probably more than most of us will want to spend on anything less than the closest of relatives. So today we at New readers…start here turn the spotlight on a format that emphasises quantity and economy: the telephone book collection.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Looking for a Christmas gift?

It's that time of year again when most of the Western world runs about in a bit of a panic trying to find Christmas presents for their family and friends.  We thought we'd use this time to spotlight a few of our older reviews and suggest some books which would make Christmas presents.  Without further ado, let's continue....

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot

You may have heard that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting rebooted, without the involvement of anyone from the original film or TV show.  With this in mind, I'd like to remind any fans of the TV show that you can still get your Joss Whedon influenced Buffy kicks, through the medium of comics!

We here at New readers.. have featured two Buffy spin offs, Tales of the Vampires and Tales of the Slayers.  Both come fully Joss Whedon authorised and approved and are of the quality you would expect from the TV show.  If that's not enough Slayer for you, you could also buy season 8, produced as an ongoing comics series, starting with Long Way Home.  The reading order for season 8 is as follows:
Long Way Home
No Future For You
Wolves at the Gate
Time of Your Life
Predators and Prey

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Batwoman: Elegy

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: J.H.Williams III
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
Batwoman is the latest person to take on Batman's mantle.  Real name Kate Kane, this is her first set of solo stories and is really a two parter - the first story introduces us to Alice, a psychotic woman who speaks only in prose taken from Alice in Wonderland, and the second story is Kate's origin - what events made her the way she is now, how and why she chose to put on the bat mantle.

Kate is a new and rare character, introduced a few years ago she is an out and proud lesbian from a military background.  She has suffered some tragedy but this is not what drives her.  In the costume she's confident and dangerous, out of the costume she's dedicated to the cause and is trying to balance her night pursuits with her personal relationships.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Power Girl: New Beginning

Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Pencils: Amanda Connor
Colours: Paul Mounts
Letters: John J. Hill
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
Power Girl is Superman's cousin from a parallel Earth.  Her real name is Kara Zor-L, her secret identity is Karen Starr.  This book is about her decision to build a new life and secret identity in New York, unfortunately her plans get thwarted by a giant albino gorilla with a human brain, a Lord of the Rings style fantasy reject and trio of party girls from the farthest reaches of space.

Does this sound a bit silly? Yes, it is a bit ridiculous, it takes some typical comic (and sci-fi) plots, mixes it up with slice of life stuff and produces a fun and engaging book to make you smile and let you while away an hour or so.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

About... Grey Spines. A Consumer Warning

By and large we’re a positive bunch at New Readers… Start Here but today, for one post only, I will be dwelling on the negative and tell you about something you should not buy:

Marvel collections with a grey spine.

The reason this warning has not come before is because I was not convinced it was a general problem but rather that I was just unlucky. The books with grey spines represent an inferior British binding of Marvel graphic novels, quite simply the glue connecting the pages to the spine is not strong enough. About a hundred pages of my copy of Planet Hulk fell straight out of the book when I was about halfway through. Once, as they say, is an incident.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Neil Gaiman's Sandman. An Overview

Recently, we reviewed Dream Country, the third collection of Neil Gaiman’s landmark ten-volume series The Sandman. Further volumes will be reviewed in due time but before that we present here a brief overview of which volumes are most suitable for new readers. Note, for the purposes of this post we are dealing only with the Sandman ten-volume series itself, ignoring the additional volumes produced in later years and the spin-offs (though again, the best of these will be reviewed here at a later date).

Each of the ten volumes can, in theory, be read in isolation but in practice a little foreknowledge of what you’re getting into might not be a bad thing.

The chronological sequence of the series is as follows:

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Sandman: Dream Country

written by Neil Gaiman
“Calliope” and “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” pencils by Kelley Jones, inks by Malcolm Jones III, colours by Robbie Rusch
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” pencils and inks by Charles Vess, colours by Steve Oliff with additional material by William Shakespeare
“Facade” pencils by Colleen Doran, inks by Malcolm Jones III, colours by Steve Oliff

What’s It About?

The Sandman, Oneiros, Morpheus, Lord Shaper, Dream of the Endless, he has had many names. He is the concept of human imagination personified, the well from which all stories spring. In his landmark series The Sandman Neil Gaiman created and used this central character to explore the very idea of stories.

This is a collection of shorter stories from the Sandman series. We have the Sandman commission a play from William Shakespeare, a cat who has become a preacher, a modern author who has imprisoned one of the legendary muses Calliope and an immortal who not only longs for Death but gets to have a conversation with her.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

And so we come to Halloween

We hope you've enjoyed this little tour through the scary and weird of the comic world.  It all seems to have become rather zombie orientated - maybe next year we'll try for a broader selection.

To recap, we had our original post linking to previously reviewed books that fitted in with the Halloween spirit, we've had intense drifting classrooms, a whole range of vampires, some quite frankly surreal stories by a guest reviewer, teenage zombie fights, a sci-fi story, zombie superheroes and an introduction to one off specials.

Had we the time, we would also have mentioned The Walking Dead, Scarecrow Year 1 (the counterpart to Two Face Year 1), Uzumaki bu Junji Ito, Batman: the Long Halloween and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, amongst others.  I'm sure we'll be covering them later, but if you like what you've read about so far, check the above out anyway!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Museum of Terror: Tomie Vol 1

Writer and artist: Junji Ito
Publisher: Dark Horse

What's it about?
We meet Tomie as a beautiful teenage schoolgirl, she has a boyfriend and many other admirers.   She is brutally murdered, cut up, and her body parts redistribute around the town.

Then Tomie returns.  Like she'd never been away.  Driven to a frenzy, her killer attacks again.  Then more Tomies show up.  You see, every time she is killed, she is cut up and her pieces scattered.  Each piece regenerates into a fresh Tomie.  She provokes bloodlust in others, she teases and aggravates those she meets until all around her are haunted and driven mad.  You cannot get away from her.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Halloween specials from DC

Usually we at New readers don't feature individual issues but on this occasion we will break with tradition and mention a few.  Here we go...

Each year DC put out special Halloween issues.  They contain several short stories featuring various characters having Halloween themed adventures.  If you wanted a quick and not too expensive way into each publisher's universe, you could do worse than picking up these issues.

DC's book is titled DC Universe Halloween Special 2010:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Blackest Night

Blackest Night
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert, Julio Ferreira, Robert Hunter, Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Cover Artists: Rodolfo Migliari, Ivan Reis
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics

What's It About?
Zombies, or, more specifically, "Black Lanterns," risen dead who have come back to fight the entire pantheon of DC's superheroes.  Blackest Night was DC's summer 2009 crossover (a story spanning several comic book titles).  Most exciting for long-time fans was the chance to see dead superheroes and villians brought back to "life," which lead to speculation about which ones would remain in the living.  This crossover was unique among crossoevers in that it centered around the Green Lantern Corps.  This trade collects the "main" story relating to Blackest Night, collecting Blackest Night issues 1-8, plus a special issue, Blackest Night: Director's Cut.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Planetary by Warren Ellis

Written by Warren Ellis
Art by John Cassaday
Colours by Laura Depuy
Publisher: Wildstorm

What’s It About?
Elijah Snow has been approached by the Planetary Foundation to become a member of their field team. Together with the enormously strong Jakita Wagner and the possibly-insane Drummer he travel to uncover the secret history of the world. As he uncovers mystery after mystery he finds himself with more and more questions:

Why does the Planetary Foundation exist? What agenda is it pursing? Can his new associates be trusted? And who is the mysterious Fourth Man who finances it all without question?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Runaways: Rock Zombies (vol 10)

Rock Zombies                                       Mollifest Destiny
Writer: Terry Moore                              Writer: Chris Yost
Penciller: Takeshi Miyazawa                   Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colourist: Christina Strain                     Colourist: Christina Strain
Inker: Takeshi Miyazawa,                      Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Norman Lee and Craig Yeung
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna

Truth or Dare
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Emma Rios
Colourist: Christina Strain
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna

Publisher: Marvel

What's it about?
Rock Zombies is the main story here, and as you may have guessed, zombies are the predominant theme.  However, these poor souls are neither undead for hungry for brains, instead they are ordinary people cursed by a local radio station DJ to become swollen, misshapen, lumbering creatures.  Enter the Runaways who decide it's their job to fix this mess.

Mollifest Destiny is about Molly Hayes, the youngest of the team, meeting the X-Men and being invited to join their ranks.  It turns out they were not quite prepared for the full on Molly experience.  Truth Or Dare has the Runaways playing a simple game that gets a little out of control.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD And Other Curious Objects

Writers: Mike Mignola, Katie Mignola
Art: Mike Mignola
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins and Pat Brosseau
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Today's review is a guest post brought to you by Mothee.  Mothee is a comics fan, about to graduate from film school and would like to be a writer.  You can find Mothee at the following places:
Twitter: @Mothee

On with the review!

What’s it about?
A clever collection of short stories and art by comics auteur Mike Mignola. For those who may be unfamiliar with his work, Mignola is best known as the creator of Hellboy (you may have seen or heard about the film that was released in 2004). He’s a writer/artist with a flair for the fantastic with a twinge of horror and oddities thrown in for good measure.

Included in this collection:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tales of the Vampires

Writers: Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Brett Matthews, Sam Loeb, Drew Goddard, Ben Edlund
Artists: Scott Morse, Jeff Parker, Vatchie Mavlian, Cameron Stewart, Tim Sale, Paul Lee, Sean Philips, Ben Stenbeck, Cliff Richards
Pencils: Alex Sanchez, J. Alexander, Ben Edlund
Colours: Michelle Madsen, Chip Zdarsky, David Nestelle
Inks: Derek Fridolfs
Letters: Annie Parkhouse, Richard Starkings, Comicraft
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Note: Credits are shown as listed in the book.  Some people describe themselves as artists, some describe themselves as pencillers, hence the variety of titles.
This book is made up of ten different stories.  Each story has one writer and an art team, i.e., there are not three different writers for one story and three different pencillers, although some artists and writers worked on more than one story.

What's it about?
Vampires, and vampires are scary. They are more powerful than us, more violent than us and more singleminded than us.  They can kill us slowly and painfully or quickly and stealthily.  Vampires are scary.  These ones are no different.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Drifting Classroom

Writer and Artist: Kazuo Umezu
Publisher: Viz Media

What's it about?
This is a superbly spooky horror tale.  Leading the cast is Sho, an 11 or 12 year old boy who attends Yamato primary school.  One day the school disappears and is replaced by a gaping rock and sand filled hole.  From the perspective of those inside the school there is a different scenario - to the students and teachers it seems that the outside world has disappeared.

Cut off from everywhere the children and adults soon panic.  Phone lines are down, radio stations don't work and no one can understand what has happened.  Some scream, some cry, some fight.  All are despairing.

Friday, 15 October 2010

It's Halloween!

Prepare for theme month number 3 - Halloween!

For the remainder of this month we will do our best to bring you reviews of the spooky, the scary, the gory and the weird of the comics world.  I can promise you a minimum of zombies, otherworldly dimensions, vampires and replicating schoolchildren.

To whet your appetite, here's a roundup of the Halloween esque collections we have reviewed previously:

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Green Lantern: No Fear

Green Lantern: No Fear, 2005
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencillers: Simone Bianchi, Darwyn Cooke, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver
Inkers: Simone Bianchi, Darwyn Cooke, Jesus Merino, Prentis Rollins, Ethan Van Sciver
Colorists: W. Moose Baumann, Nathan Eyring, Dave Stewart
Letterers: Jared K. Fletcher, Rob Leigh
Cover Art: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC

What's It About? 
Green Lantern: No Fear marked the start of a new ongoing Green Lantern series, and it collects issues 1-6 of the new title, plus a special issue, Green Lantern: Secret Files and Origins.

Prior to this new Green Lantern series, Hal Jordan, Earth's most prominent Green Lantern, had become a villian, died, and was brought back to life as The Spectre.  But you don't need to worry about any of that to enjoy this book.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

JLA: Riddle of the Beast

Writer: Alan Grant
Artists: Various
Letters: Kenny Lopez
Publisher: DC 

What's it about?
This is one of DC's Elseworld's titles.  The term Elseworlds refers to books where the characters are "taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places, some that have existed, and others that can't, couldn't or shouldn't exist".

As for this specific book, it's a straight up fantasy epic.  Robin is a young lad living in Haven, an idyllic community based at the far corner of the world.  Up until 15 years ago this world had only known peace, but then the Beast arrived, bringing forth death and destruction. Once the Beast was defeated the people of the worlds found their trust had been shattered and so they retreated into isolated communities, never sharing news or conversation with strangers. But then Robin receives warning of the return of the Beast, and he is tasked with telling the world so that they can prepare for the coming battle.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Menage A 3

Co-Written by Dave Zero
Co-Written and Drawn by Gisele Lagace

What’s It About?
Menage A 3 is a webcomic about sex. When Gary’s housemates Matt and Dillon turn out to be a) gay, b) a couple and c) to have discovered that Gary’s art table can’t support two men in the reverse cowgirl position they decide to get their own place together. This leaves Gary in a bit of a bind. To the rescue come his new housemates: bisexual rock chick Zii and busty, bubbly Di Di.

From this starting point begins a comedy that touches on just about every sort of human sexuality and explores the many forms that relationships take. From the casual to the committed, from lifelong sexual definitions set in stone to newly discovered sexualities that require exploration and just about every point in between, Menage A 3 is a thoroughly modern sex comedy.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Daredevil/Echo: Parts of a Hole

Writer: David Mack, Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils: Joe Quesada, David Ross, Rob Haynes
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti and Mark Morales
Colours: Richard Isanove and David Self
Letters: Comicraft's Liz Agraphiotis, Troy Peteri and Oscar Goongora
Publisher: Marvel 

What's it about?
Meet the cast.
Daredevil, aka Matt Murdock

He's a lawyer by day and a vigilante by night.  As a small child he had an accident which left him blind, this same accident heightened his other senses, beyond that of regular humans.

Echo, aka Maya Lopez
A Native American woman who is Deaf.  She has the ability to accurately mimic any physical action she sees and as such is an accomplished performer.  Her (now deceased) father was called Crazy Horse, and he worked for...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Suggested Reading Order: Superman - New Krypton

In the last few years the Superman family of books has had a lot of crossovers, collectively titled New Krypton. The general gist of these stories is that Krypton, Superman's long dead homeworld, is recreated leading to lots of interesting and unexpected conflict situations.  It's a cross between a family drama, a detective story, a crime thriller, a war story and a space epic.

As someone new to the genre, or new to Superman books generally, looking through the bookshelves you would be forgiven for feeling a little lost and perhaps not knowing quite which one to pick up.  Which is where we come in.  What will follow is a brief explanation (without spoilers) of the major things that have been been happening in the books over the last few years, and a suggested reading order.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Women Read Comics in Public day!

A few weeks ago we blogged about International Read Comics in Public Day.  We promised to follow up on the women reading in public section of the event and are belatedly doing so.

Photos of women from all over the world can be seen here.  You couldn't hope to meet a lovelier looking bunch!  Hopefully this little exercise will help dispel some of the myths about the average comic reader, and maybe it will cause a few people to be a little braver and to come out about their reading habits.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Helpful Links

A few links of note that may be useful to people just getting interested in comics, of any form:

Trade Reading Order - a database of comics that lists the suggested reading orders of the collected editions - the trades.  You can search by character, publisher or most tagged.  An invaluable resource.
10 Second Comics - Short, brief reviews of various comics including notes on accessibility to new readers.
10 Second Comic History
DC Comics
Marvel Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Image Comics
Graphic Medicine - Looking at the links between Graphic Fiction and medicine
Our very own directory of friendly, good comic shops - last updated 19/09/2010.
A list of posts dealing with comic related events that may be of interest.

More links to be added!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Wolverine: Origin

One book, released with 3 different covers.  I believe only the top right image is still in print.

Script: Paul Jenkins
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Digital Painting: Richard Isanove
Lettering: John Roshell, Comicraft, Wes Abbott, Oscar Gongorra, Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Marvel

What's it about?
It's Wolverine's origin story.  Wolverine is a mutant, that is, like many other people in the Marvel universe he has evolved from homo sapien to homo superior.  Individuals who evolve gain abilities or superpowers and can do things the rest of humanity can't.  In Wolverine's case, he has retractable bone claws on each hand, an enhanced sense of smell and a healing factor that makes him very, very difficult to kill, or hurt.  In the Marvel Universe he is part of the X-Men - a group of mutants put together by telepath Charles Xavier, who fight against evil, for humanity and for mutantkind.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Whiteout volume 1

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Steve Leiber
Publisher: Oni Press

What's it about?
Carrie Stetko is a US Marshall based in Antarctica.  One of up to 1200 residents she is responsible for law and order on the ice and has made this inhospitable place her permanent home.  Tough, prone to swearing and generally quite pissed off she is a determined character and demands respect.

Then a body is discovered on the ice.  Next to it are several drill holes.  A murder investigation is launched and Stetko has 2 weeks to discover who is responsible, before 90% of the population leaves for the winter.  Then to make things more complicated, British Lily Sharp arrives, and it isn't clear whether she'll be a help or a hindrance.

This book was made into a film in 2009, starring Kate Beckinsale.  The Lily Sharpe role was cast as a man.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Superman/Batman: Supergirl

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Michael Turner
Colours: Peter Steigerwald
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Publisher: DC

What's it about?
Most of you will have heard of Supergirl - Kara Zor-El, cousin to Superman, only other survivor of the planet Krypton.  You will probably have an image of her in your head, it may be this:

or this:

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Daredevil: Wake Up

Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Painted art: David Mack

What's it about?
There's a little boy named Timmy, he's the son of a third rate supervillain named Leapfrog.  Timmy is barely talking and when he does rouse himself it is to narrates a fictional superhero fight.  All anyone knows is that Leapfrog was last seen fighting Daredevil (our hero) and is now missing.

Ben Urich is a reporter at the Daily Bugle and has taken an interest in Timmy's story.  Unfortunately neither the police nor his editor seem to think it is worthy of his time.  Nonetheless he decides to investigate and discover what has happened to put Timmy in this catatonic state.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

DC: The New Frontier, Volumes One and Two

DC: The New Frontier Volumes 1 and 2
Darwyn Cooke, Writer and Illustrator
Dave Stewart, Colorist
Jared K. Fletchter, Letterist

What's It About?
In a nutshell, DC: The New Frontier is a re-imagining of how the Justice League of America came to be.  Or, it is the 1950's re-imagined with modern-day sensibilities and social mores.  The reader follows the stories of dozens of DC heroes from the Silver Age of comic books during the mid-1950's, when superhero comics were losing popularity as they cope with both a changing world and a world-changing threat.

The book is a period piece, is heavy on the nostalgia and is set in the 1950's, just before the Silver Age when Golden Age (original) heroes were revamped and updated into the superheroes we know today.  In DC: The New Frontier, you'll see some characters before they became superheroes (such as the Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern) or when they were just starting out (such as The Flash.)  In all, this is Darwyn Cooke's starry-eyed homage to the heyday of the Justice League.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

International Read Comics in Public Day - August 28th

So, some bright folks have designated August 28th as International Read Comics in Public Day.  This can only be a good thing and will hopefully help dispel the myth of comic readers being something like comic book guy from The Simpsons.  Hopefully all of you reading this site already know this myth is a myth, but I think there's a lot of people who don't.

So in conjunction with this, a lovely lady with a tumblr entitled DC Women Kicking Ass is asking women to read comics in public on Saturday August 28th, take a photo of themselves, and then email it to her so she can create a tumblr showing who the female comic readership is.

So, my challenge to you is, if you're female and have picked up a book recommended on this blog, or picked up a comic found elsewhere, and if you have enjoyed it, take it out in public on Saturday.  Read it and send in a photo of yourself.  It doesn't matter if it's a superhero book, a kids book, a romance, manga or something completely different.

The perception of women in comics won't change until we make ourselves heard!  We'll update you on the success of the project next week.

Serenity - Better Days

Script: Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
Art: Will Conrad
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Pencils: Michael Heisler
Publisher: Dark Horse

It's chasing us.
Is something ever not?

What's it about?
From the introductory blurb:

"After the earth was used up we found a new solar system, and hundreds of new earths were terra-formed and colonized.  The central planets formed the alliance and decided all the planets had to join in their rule.  There was some disagreement on that point.  After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edge of the system, far from Alliance control.  Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it.  A Captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying."

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Maggie the Mechanic. A Love and Rockets book

written and drawn by Jaime Hernandez

What’s It About?
The thing about siblings is you love them but at the same time you need space from them. When Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez decided to start a comicbook together they neatly solved this problem by taking half the book each. In his half Gilbert created the village of Palomar (reviewed here) and in his half Jaime created Las Locas.

The Locas are a largely female, largely Mexican-American cast living around the early-80s LA punk scene. Jaime Hernandez tried to inject some reality into communities and peoples he had too often seen portrayed in the media only through stereotype and cliché: the punk scene, homosexual relationships, bisexuality and his own Mexican-American background. Added to this realism was a touch of science-fiction and so Maggie the Mechanic, Mexican-American bisexual punkette, also ends up travelling the world fixing up spaceships and armies of robots, riding a hover-scooter and teaming up with professional wrestler/revolutionary agitator Rena Titanon between adventures at home with a large, varied and endearing cast of friends.

Now Fantagraphics are publishing a series of collections bringing together the complete canon of Las Locas stories in strict chronological order of publication, starting with Maggie The Mechanic.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Heartbreak Soup. A Love and Rockets book

written and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez
Publisher: Titan Books

“Welcome my friends, to Palomar. Where the men are men,
and the women need a sense of humour.”
- Carmen

What’s it About?
Palomar is an isolated hamlet on the coast of Mexico mostly untroubled by the passage of time or the existence of the outside world. There are no phones, no televisions and only six cars running in the entire town, most anything anyone eats is grown or hunted locally. If you want a bath most likely you won’t have one in your house so you’ll have to go see the banadora and she’ll bath you.

Palomar was the creation of Mexican-American author Gilbert Hernandez who populated it with a wealth of interesting, diverse characters. Published over thirteen years the Palomar stories were a soap opera on a grand scale as it followed the town's ever-growing, ever-evolving population through love, death, marriage, childbirth and everything in between. Heartbreak Soup is the first in a series of books from Fantagraphics collecting the entire Palomar canon in strict order of publication.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Death: The Time Of Your Life

Written by Neil Gaiman
Pencils by Chris Bachalo with inks by Mark Buckingham (pgs 1-47)
Pencils by Mark Buckingham with inks by Mark Pennington (pgs 48-88)
Colours by Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Vertigo

What’s It About?
Foxglove and Hazel were once poor and in love. Now Foxglove is a pop star, her career taking her around the world and Hazel is a stay-at-home mother to their child Alvie. Out in the world no one knows that Foxglove’s secretary Hazel is in fact her lover ,or that Fox is a second mother to Hazel’s child. Somehow, she doesn’t know how, Fox ended up in the closet and Hazel ended up alone for months at a time.

One rainy night, Death comes for Hazel and now Foxglove is following a vision back to LA in the hope of rescuing her. But how do you rescue someone from the single inevitability of life?

Saturday, 14 August 2010


written and drawn by Richard Moore
Publisher: NBM

What’s It About?
Michael Paris has inherited a nightmare from his grandfather. Inheriting a graveyard would be bad enough but he’s inherited a graveyard that is home to a small community of monsters. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of those monsters is a cute vampire called Abbey, an old friend of Paris’ grandfather and the unofficial leader of the Boneyard residents. Abbey wants Michael to listen to their side of the story before he signs the papers Mayor Wormwood needs before he can demolish the Boneyard. Their side of the story involves a fish woman, a walking skeleton, an auto-mechanic who is werewolf, an incompetent demon with a Napolean complex and a very short witch but she’s confident she can turn him around.

The creatures who have made the Boneyard their home want to live in peace; Paris wants to forget his ex-girlfriend and live a quiet life; the people of the town want to burn them all out; and something dark and ancient wants the Boneyard for itself…

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Serenity: Those Left Behind

Story: Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
Script: Brett Matthews
Art (pencils and inks): Will Conrad
Colours: Laura Martin
Letters: Michael Heisler
Publisher: Dark Horse

What's it about?
In 2002 a Joss Whedon created show named Firefly was first aired in America.  The episodes were shown out of order and after a paltry 11 episodes the Fox network cancelled the series.  Post DVD release, Firefly developed a large and vocal fanbase and in 2005 a film, Serenity, was released.  This comic bridges the gap between TV show and film and shows us what happened to the characters and the story to take us to the opening sequence of the film.

As to the subject, it's a Western in Space.  From the introductory blurb:

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Venus Envy

A webcomic

What's it about?
Venus Envy is about young Zoe Carter, a male to female transsexual living in Salem, Pennsylvania.  It's a high school comedy focused on Zoe's life as she negotiates the perils of high school - dating, keeping secrets, making friends, overprotective parents and irritating younger brothers.  The normal sort of stuff with the normal high school cliches, but set against Zoe's life experience as a trans woman.

The creator, Erin Lindsey, is trans but this is not an autobiographical comic.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Empowered volume 1

Writer and artist:  Adam Warren
Publisher: Dark Horse

Note: This review doesn't contain any sexually explicit pictures, but be aware that the book contains graphic sex and is not suitable for children.

What's it about?
Poor Empowered.  She gets her powers from a more-than-skin-tight supersuit with a nasty tendency to malfunction at the slightest tear.  She hasn't been able to eat anything sugary since she got it, lest the people surrounding her realise she's got chubby.  The Superhomies mock her and her fighting skills leave her anything but empowered.

She's lonely and full of shame, and then she meets a former witless minion (who defeats her and ties her up of course).  This does not prove to be a problem as get together, start having lots of orgasmic sex and develop a comfortable living arrangement. Later on they are joined by a caged demonlord and a ninjette best friend.

It's a mixture of domesticity, superheroing, romance, passionate sex and mean teammates.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Teen Titans: Spotlight: Wonder Girl

Writer: J. Torres
Penciller: Sanford Greene
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterers: Pat Brosseau, Phil Balsman, Steve Wands
Publisher: DC

What's it about?
Cassandra Sandsmark, Amazon protege and warrior, has not had a good year.  To begin with she was involved in an epic stop-the-Apocalypse type of battle.  Then her boyfriend died and in her grief she joined a cult dedicated to bringing him back from the dead.  Then her Gods and her mentor abandoned her.  Her efforts to stop a war between the Amazons and the rest of the world backfired spectacularly.

There's a lot of dangerous Hydras out there she needs to stop and on top of all this her (possibly evil) brother Hercules turns up, requesting her help to stop a God killer.

She would really rather not be dealing with all this... 

Friday, 16 July 2010

Just a quick round up and update

Any of you using Blogger's follow function might have notification of a post that doesn't exist... I accidentally hit publish on a draft post listing all books to review and now it is showing in the reading list pane on the dashboard.

In other news, all blog posts have been tidied up and typos removed.  I will also take this opportunity to remind you of this post, explaining how to use the site.

In case any readers are not familiar with blogs, there are various ways to navigate round the blog.  You can use the labels at the bottom of each post to find other books with similar themes, or other books by the same penciller or writer etc.  You can also navigate by month using the blog archive on the right - simply click on any year or month and it will list all post titles from that month.  Lastly, you can enter something into the search box in the top left hand corner.

If you want an overview of the why the site was set up or want more information about comics please browse the Aims, Objectives and Information box on the right hand side.

Thank you all commenters and readers!  I hope that you are all finding the site interesting and are getting some good recommendations.

Lastly, don't forget that you can join our facebook group  (no longer active) or follow Saranga on Twitter where she tweets about comics, feminism, deaf issues and sometimes UK news.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

X-Men: Magneto - Testament

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colours: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterers: Artmonkeys' Dave Lanphear and Natalie Lanphear
Publisher: Marvel

What's it about?
The life of a Jewish boy and his family, living in Germany from 1934 (or thereabouts) to 1948.  At the start of the story young Max Eisenhardt is at school experiencing discrimination from his teachers, and at the end he has survived Auschwitz.

It's about the lies that the Nazis put forward, the degradation of the Jews and the Roma and the ways in which the persecuted groups within Nazi Germany survived, or didn't.  It is very much focused on the experiences of the victims, not the authorities.  It's about the methods and ways in which the Jews were sidelined and pushed out of society, resulting in their murder by millions in the camps.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Worlds Finest

Writer: Sterling Gates
Pencils: Julian Lopez, Ramon F. Bachs, Jamal Igle and Phil Noto
Inks: Bit, Rodney Ramos, Jon Sibal, Jack Purcell and Phil Noto
Colours: Hi-Fi and Phil Noto
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: DC 

What's it about?
This trade collects the 4 issue miniseries titled World's Finest, as well as two singular issues of other DC titles, namely DC Comics Presents #31 and Action Comic's # 885.  These two extra issues provide backup stories giving a more in depth look to the characters featured in the main story (the miniseries).  This review will focus on the miniseries.

Traditionally, the World's Finest title is a Superman/Batman team up book.  This version is a little different as it features 4 different team ups between the Superman and Batman families, and so explores the relationships between the heroes.  There is Red Robin and Nightwing (Chris Kent, last seen in Superman: Last Son), The Guardian and the current Robin, Supergirl and Batgirl, and lastly Superman and Batman with everyone else.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Green Arrow: Year One

Writer: Andy Diggle
Art and Cover: Jock
Color: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: DC

What's it about?
Oliver Queen, multi millionaire playboy, has no aim in life.  He has a passion for Robin Hood, but not much else.  He hires someone to take him on danger trips, then gets a helicopter home and gets extremely drunk at charity fundraisers.

Suddenly he is shipwrecked on a desert island and has to fend for himself.  This being a superhero comic, he does so by becoming an ace archer.  Handily enough, he discovers an opiate farm on the island and sets about trying to put things right.

Despite what it may sound, this isn't a daft or silly book.  The art lends a lot of gravitas to the story and it is really about one man coming to terms with his potential, turning his life around and committing himself to the fight for social justice.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Batman: Two-Face and Scarecrow: Year One

Writer: Mark Sable
Penciller: Jesus Saiz
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colourist: Chris Chuckry
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Flashback sequence art: Jeremy Haun
Publisher: DC 

Quick note:
This book contains two Year One stories, that of Scarecrow and that of Two-Face.  Both will be recognisable to anyone who's seen The Dark Knight Batman film.  Each story is completely separate and as such, this review will be focusing only on the Two-Face segment.  This is primarily because I bought the Two-Face issues when they were originally released, but not the Scarecrow issues.  However, if you can get the trade cheap, it is worth buying just for the Two-Face story.  
When the Scarecrow issues are obtained, a follow up review will be posted.

What's it about?
DC's Year One books take a look at famous heroes and provide us with stories about their first year of crimefighting.  They usually give us the background of the character, deal with their first fights and provide us with the information and events that shape them into the established characters most DC readers are familiar with.

The character of Two-Face was, for me, one of the highlights of The Dark Knight.  Aaron Eckhart portrayed Harvey Dent's fall from grace with panache and clarity.  The special effects used to create Dent's damaged face were effective and horrifying.  This book provides the in canon story of how Harvey Dent became Two-Face.  It is similar to, but not the same, as the version presented in The Dark Knight.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Writer and artist: Fred Gallagher
Co-creator and original co-author: Rodney Caston
Featuring additional material
by Dominic Nguyen and Sarah Gallagher

What’s It About?
Piro and Largo are two American gamers who make a scene at the E3 Gaming Expo and feel the need to leave the country for a while. Boarding the first available plane they find themselves broke and trapped in Tokyo until they can earn the fare home. The Tokyo city of Megatokyo is a loving pastiche of manga story conventions.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E vol 1: This Is What They Want

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciller: Stuart Immonen
Colourist: Dave McCaig
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos and Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel 

What's it about?
nextwave is a collection of five superpowered (and odd) people working for H.A.T.E - the Highest Anti Terrorism Effort.  From the blurb:
Monica is gonna microwave your shit!
Tabby is gonna steal your stuff!
Aaron is gonna organise your sock drawer!
Elsa is gonna speak with an accent!
The Captain! His name is the Captain!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Transmetropolitan volume 1: Back on the street

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciller: Darick Robertson
Inks: Keith Aiken, Jerome K.Moore, Ray Kryssing, Dick Giordano
Colour and separations: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Clem Robins
Publisher: Vertigo

What's it about?
Welcome to the future.  Here we have makers and base blocks to create anything you require, designer drugs that have no adverse side effects, newsfeeds a thousand times more pervasive than twitter, facebook or linkedin, and genome treatments to give you lizard skin or eagle feathers for a month.

This is no utopia of peace, sun and dreams.  There's also machines high on hallucinogens and Ebola cola to rot your face and quench your thirst.  You can measure the wealth of a neighbourhood by the absence of litter - rich folks have makers, poor folks have garbage scavengers, really poor folks have litter.

In short, it's just like today, minus the pretence of respectability and with a lot more tech.