Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back...

I know, it's a bit late to do a "year in review" type post but oh well, it's my blog right. ;)

Comics of the Year (in no particular order):
Elephantmen -- Despite some delays in the main series Elephantmen continues to hit the mark for me. And the War Toys series (which technically started December 2007) was superb to say the least.

Fables -- Every time I try and explain this series to people they look at me like I'm crazy but I don't care, I love it. From the unique take on the various fairy tale characters to the constant emotional ups and downs, this series is simply amazing.

Invincible -- I started picking up the TPBs of this series pretty late in the game but it very quickly became a must read for me. I've been sticking with the TPB route but it's tough to wait, avoiding spoilers, until the next TPB comes out.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- To be honest, I was tempted just to give this series an "honourable mention" but c'mon, it's Buffy. For the most part, I think it's made itself a worthy continuation of the series (perhaps even surpassing the last season of the show in my mind).

Honourable mention goes out to She-Hulk. I've really enjoyed this series. I know Dan Slott fans were turned off by Peter David's take on the character but I think he said it best, if he tried to mimic Dan Slott's take on the series then people would complain about that. He had to write to his strengths and I think he succeeded. Though I think the art hasn't been as good as it could be. I'll be sorry to see it go.

Regarding Webcomics:
To be honest, I was hoping to list my webcomics of the year but it would be way too limitted to Zuda comics. There'd be Bayou, High Moon, Celadore, all of which are on Zuda and Araknid Kid which got its start there. The main problem is that I tend to stick to places I know which seem to be mostly DrunkDuck and Zuda. And on DrunkDuck, the comics I like tend to disappear, either because the creators stop or because they move around and I can't be bothered to track them down so I can keep checking for updates. So I've listed what webcomics I read, how about I leave the rest to you. Comment and let me know what webcomics you'd put as the webcomics of the year (and no, they shouldn't be your own).

Through my life I've pretty much always been a Marvel fan (I don't think I'd go so far as to say "zombie" butyou might). Lately, and this year in particular, I've seen my Marvel count dwindle. I avoided the events of both Marvel and DC, and even dropped the Hulk (which was a big deal for me personally). Instead, I've branched off more into the non-mainstream books (though I'll admit, I haven't strayed too far). So what do I see for 2009? Well, with the cancellation of She-Hulk, Dark Reign taking over most of Marvel, and promises to bring the X-Men more into the Marvel Universe events/storylines I don't see myself going back. I'll be keeping up with a few like Runaways and Skaar for now but there doesn't seem to be much to draw me back to other books, I'm just not part of Marvel's target audience any more.

I also continue to see my monthly book purchases going down while my TPB/graphic novel purchases go up. The reasons are plenty and perhaps the analysis can wait for another post but to be honest, I don't see this changing. Books like Ex Machina, Fables, Invincible, and others I find more enjoyable when read in TPB form.

And I'll probably find at least one Manga series to try out in 2009, whether it be an old series or something new (new to North America at least). This year was Monster and Akira.

In the end:
Despite some disappointments, 2008 has been a great comic year for me. I've found enough enjoyable books to keep me busy, some new, some old. And I think the outlook is pretty positive, whether it's in the field of printed comic or web/digital comics. To be honest, I don't know what the future holds exactly so I won't bother trying to come up with a prediction but with some great talent putting out some wonderful books I think it's looking pretty good at the moment.

And in conclusion:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Comic Reviews -- For many weeks

How is this for great customer service, due to the transit strike I haven't been able to get downtown to pick up my comics (or anywhere else for that matter). So Dave, a friend who works at the shop I go to, offered to pick up my books and drive them out to me. I was a little reluctant as I'm pretty far out of the city but eventually I took him up on his offer. So I'm now caught up (almost). And since there is a whackload of reviews I'm going to be lazy and make these extra short. Sorry.

Hulk Family: Green Genes -- Yeah, I'm still looking for my Hulk fix since dropping the Hulk series. I wasn't expecting much from this book but it was actually decent. The art wasn't top notch or anything but it was pretty strong in comparison to similar one shots I've seen. And the stories were pretty good as well. I was a little surprised that She-Hulk didn't recognize the Hulk in his gray form and a little disappointed that we didn't get more of a conclusion on the Scorpion story but overall, it was a good book.

Iron Man/The Incredible Hulk/Nick Fury -- This was a movie tie in and I thought it was pretty good. The Iron Man portion didn't have as much Iron Man as I was expecting but it fit the mood of the movie well and was a good tale. The Hulk part at least had the Hulk in it briefly but I liked the Nick Fury connection. And the last story was sort of your typical Nick Fury story. Overall, it was a pretty decent book to read. Not sure it's worth picking up but if you're looking for something to read it's worth a look.

Elephantmen #14 -- The "Spore Wars" continue with the conclusion coming up in the next issue. And I'm on the edge of my seat, I didn't see the ending coming to be honest. We learn more about the virus at the heart of this story and a bit more about the Elephantmen's back story. Solid writing and great artwork keep this book on my recommended reading list.

Echo #8 -- The action picks up with this issue, that's for sure. Yet somehow, this book still feels rather... short. After finishing each issue I seem to ask "that's it?" I don't know why that is. It's still a great story and the art is wonderful. I just have to decide soon whether to keep up with it or perhaps go the TPB route for a while.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #20 -- Hey, Angel makes an appearance! This little interlude is actually a nice departure I think. The show often had episodes that didn't necessarily focus on the main storyline of the season (though perhaps it had little tidbits connecting it to the storyline) but had great character moments. I felt this was like that. It was a nice little Buffy story. And the use of the two art styles (one being extra cartoony) was a nice touch.

Skaar Son of Hulk #6 -- First up, I think they made strong improvements on the art front with this issue. It doesn't seem to be as extremely sketchy as the previous issues. It looks like more work was put into cleaning it up. There's some promise with this issue that things are going to pick up big time really soon with a few surprise appearances and the Skaar's quest for the old power seemingly reaching its climax. I kinda hope things do pick up, we're six issues in already. So I'm seeing improvements here but it's still not quite enough to put me over with this series.

Runaways #5 -- The art continues to not really work for me here. I still find some stuff just too over the top in terms of cartoony-ness or just not quite clear enough in the story telling aspect. I seem to be spending too much time trying to figure out what's being shown in some panels and it's making the book a bit too much of a chore to read. I also find the story to be dragging on a bit at this point. It's not like I'll be dropping the series but it's a bit of a disappointment at the moment for me.

She-Hulk #36 -- Peter David has never really been one to pull any punches when it comes to pushing heroes to the brink. Quite a few questions are left lingering, never to be fully answered. And in the end, we're reminded that these real world situations don't have the simple answer sometimes presented by superheroes in costumes. So yeah, it's a deep story. On a lighter note, the art was a bit of hit or miss with me. Still, I'll be sorry to see this series go.

Angel After the Fall #15 -- Yeah, still not liking the art that much. Just had to get that out of the way. I felt a little let down with the events of this book, or at least one event that I don't want to spoil. I don't know what it was but it just didn't seem to fit with the book. With so much emotion being spent on other characters in this book, this character's situation just seemed to get washed over by everything else. Still, it sets the stage for the final two issues.

Angel: Smile Time #1 -- This one was a bit of a booboo as I wasn't really interested in picking it up but oh well. It's a nice adaptation of the episode with pretty solid artwork. But in the end, I think I'd just rather go re-watch the episode than read this series.

Naoki Urasawa's Monster -- I was happy to finally be able to finish this 18 volume epic. Things wrapped up very well in this final volume. There were a few twists and turns, some of which I expected, some I didn't. It's a pretty amazing series all things considered.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

Hopefully one of these days the transit strike will end or I'll find some way to get downtown for my comics so I can get back to reviewing. But until then...




Friday, December 12, 2008

Yep, no reviews again this week

Due to the current transit strike and me not owning a car my focus has been more on getting in to work (thank you Carl, Michelle, and Nicole) than on getting downtown to pick up my comics. So I'm not sure when I'll be getting back to comic reviews.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I've Been Better

It hasn't been a great couple of days. On Saturday I ended up slipping on some icy steps outside my condo. Fortunately, nothing was broken or anything but I have a few sore areas (mostly in the arms from the wrists up to the shoulders, my lower back, and my ankle). Of course, ball hockey yesterday didn't help. But if anyone was watching I'm sure they got a chuckle out of seeing me fly down the stairs. My power went out early this morning (most likely due to the crappy weather) so I had to get ready by candlelight. And then my bus was 30 minutes late, he said he broke down and had to wait for a new bus. Hopefully I put all the negative energy behind me when I head off to a conference tomorrow.

Which reminds me, there will be no reviews this week as I will be out of town until the weekend.