Saturday, April 29, 2017

Gapo the Clown Vol. 1

From the random stack of unread comics. Forty comics left in the stack after this one. And with April coming to an end, that means I have 47 days until we leave Vietnam, so 47 days to meet my goal of finishing this stack.

Title: Gapo the Clown
Issue: Vol. 1
Publisher: Bone Yard Studio
Date: 2004
Writer: Tony Miello
Artist: Tony Miello

This half-sized minicomic consists of five pages of Gapo the Clown comics strips, plus some bonus art. The basic idea is a parody of kids entertainment, with the crude and obnoxious Gapo put into various situations where he gets to be, well, crude and obnoxious. Lots of fart and vomit jokes. There was an amusing bit with Gapo on Jeopardy, and a quick parody of those old "Can you hear me now?" commercials, but most of the other humor wasn't really to my taste.

Rating: 4.5/10

Friday, April 28, 2017

Shonen Jump Special: Free Comic Book Day 2008

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Shonen Jump Special: Spring 2008 Edition
Issue: Vol. 1 Issue 1
Publisher: Viz Media
Date: May, 2008
Writer: Masashi Kishimoto, Tite Kubo, Takahiko Inoue
Artist: Masashi Kishimoto, Tite Kubo, Takahiko Inoue
Letterer: Mark McMurray, James Gaubatz
Editor: Marc Weidenbaum, Yuki Takagaki, Grant Lowery, Joy Ma, Urian Brown, Michelle Pangilinan, Pancha Diaz, Joel Enos, Kit Fox
Cover: Masashi Kishimoto, Tite Kubo, Takahiko Inoue

Formatted as a standard comic book (bur right-to-left), this freebie samples three popular ongoing manga series that are being reprinted in Shonen Jump magazine.

Naruto, the very popular ninja series, is up first. The scene that's presented is a glimpse of fighting training. We get a sense of the type of action involved in the series, but not much in terms of character or plot.

Bleach is the second feature, and this was the most intriguing of the three to me. A conversation (and possible big revelation) between Ichigo and his sister is interrupted by the arrival of some rather nasty villains. This segment did the best job of selling the series.

The last series was Slam Dunk, a high school drama/comedy centering on the school's basketball team. This had a lot of typical high school story elements: bullying, nerves about asking a girl for a date, trying to fit in, the cred that comes from being a "jock". It looked like it had some potential, but I didn't find the characters all that appealing (possibly just my dislike of some of these exaggerated high school stereotypes).

So, one for three in terms of getting my interest in reading the actual series.

All of the artwork is quite good, and the book also provides short blurbs on other Shonen Jump titles, including those that are serialized in the magazine, and those published as stand-alone volumes.

Rating: 5.5/10

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Adventures of Marky #2

Today I read the 2008 Free Comic Book Day offering from, Virgin Comics, Dan Dare / The Stranded / Ramayan 3392AD Reloaded, only to realize I had previously read and reviewed it. One less comic to review in the stack! You can read that review which I wrote in 2011 here.  So back to the random stack of unread comics for this minicomic. I picked this up at SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) 2008 in Columbus OH.

Title: The Adventures of Marky
Issue: 2
Publisher: Dimestore Productions
Date: March 2008
Writer: Madison Shires, Ian Shires
Artist: Madison Shires, Ian Shires
Back Cover Art: Dan Taylor

Cute minicomic by a young artist (Madison Shires did this book at age 7).

It's Valentines Day, so Marky is dressed to impress (with a slight resemblance to Mr. Potato Head). He's determined to explain Valentines Day to his friends, Fred and Mary, and he's also got a special plan involving a secret message in a bottle.

Cute stuff.

Rating: 7/10


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sam: Fate Revolution: Souvenir Edition

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Sam: Fate Revolution: Souvenir Edition
Publisher: Foongatz Studios
Date: 2007
Creator: Bill Gallagher, Alex Drinan, Ron Smith

In a universe under threat of destruction by a cosmic-powered conqueror, a hero named Sam somehow acquires mysterious powers that might be the key to saving everything.

This is an ashcan-format preview book setting up the world and story for this space-based SF superheroic epic. Color cover, b/w interior. The book definitely has a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe to it, and the character designs presented here are loads of fun visually, especially Bronto, a humanoid sauropod engineer.

The descriptions of the characters felt a bit generic, as did the plot, and hopefully it will move into more original territory with the first full issue.

In the meantime, the visuals were enough to keep up my interest.

Rating: 6/10

Minimalist Comics Collective Edition 0.5

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Minimalist Comics Collective Edition
Issue: 0.5
Date: 2008
Publisher: DIY Jet
Writer: C. Che Salazar, Joe Botsch
Artist: C. Che Salazar, Joe Botsch

This twelve-page half-sized minicomic uses mostly text and typeface. Artwork, as the title promises, is minimal. The result is a sort of visual poetry on the page. It's very surreal and leaves quite a lot open to interpretation, but I found it to be a fresh and original concept that left me intrigued.

It also has sentient sundials, and a conversation on the nature of life and death between the living and the dead.

This is about as far as you can get from "mainstream comics". Which is part of the reason I enjoyed it.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sky Pirates of Valendor Issue #2 Preview

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Sky Pirates of Valendor
Issue: #2 Preview
Date: 2008
Publisher: Free Lunch Comics
Writer: Everett Soares
Penciler: Brian Brinlee
Inker: Michael W. Kellar
Tones: Jet Amago
Letterer: Steve Kuster
Cover: Brian Brinlee, Michael W. Kellar

Minicomic preview for the full-format second issue.

Captain Tobias Manheim and his crew arrives in town with a plan. But before they can make it happen, they are going to need to negotiate with the Pirate Guild.

This is well-edited. It introduces the steampunk fantasy world of Valendor very nicely, giving the reader enough setup to keep things interesting while not bogging down the story.

It also gives quick glimpses of the characters, with enough interaction that several conflicts become apparent.

Aside from the opening teaser page, there isn't really any action. This preview is all set-up. But it is all very effective setup, and an excellent tease for the full story.

Rating: 7.5/10

Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

From the school library. Done with this series. Now to see what other graphic novels or manga they have in stock.

Title: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
Issue: Volume 6
Publisher: Oni Press
Date: July, 2010
Writer: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Artist: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Editor: James Lucas Jones
Cover: Bryan Lee O'Malley, Ben Berntsen

Scott drifts through life lost, feeling the dread of the impending confrontation with the final evil ex-boyfriend, and wonder if there is even any point to it all, since Ramona has left him.

The final villain is great, and the last fight scene is epic. There are also some really funny moments, and a lot of touching and fulfilling ones as well.

This is a nice goodbye to these characters with an ending that is romantic, but still "real" (in spite of how ridiculous all of this is).

Worthy conclusion to a fun series.

Rating: 8.5/10