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.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Seen the move? Read the book - Thor: The Dark World

The recent Thor: The Dark World film is about the dark elves' attempt to take over the nine realms.

If you enjoyed this film you might want to pick up the current Thor: God of Thunder series, which sees the return of Malekith (leader of the dark elves and rather prominent in the film) as he tries to take over the nine realms.  This story arc started with issue 13 which, with issue 14 only just out, is still very new - so it should be easy to find hard copies of both issues.  If you can't find hardcopies - or if you prefer digital copies - you can also pick up the series on Comixology.

Thor: God of Thunder has so far been a great series.  The previous arc dealt with a god killer named Gorr and 3 versions of Thor: one from long ago who was still young and belligerent; one from the present day who is a member of the Avengers; and one from near the end of time, who has replaced Odin as the Allfather of the Gods.  As these three Thors battle across space and time, trying again and again to defeat Gorr, we are treated not only to absolutely gorgeous art by Esad Ribic, but we also get to see the Thors quaffing lots of ale and occasionally hitting each other in the face with space sharks.  And sometimes, my dear readers, that is exactly what superhero comics should be about.  The series to date can be bought on Comixology.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Kid Book Group discussion on twitter tonight

Tonight on twitter is the monthly Kid Book Group chat.  This month, it is focusing on kids' comics.  It's set up as a comics clinic and I will be taking part as an expert (!) to give recommendations and advice.  If you want to join in, stroll on over to www.twitter.com and 9pm (UK time) and follow the hashtag #kidbkgrp (note that it is a singular kid and singular book).  The chat will last for 1 hour, until 10pm.

#kidbkgrp is the brainchild of @chaletfan, a children's and young adult literature devotee.  She's great at getting people involved and stimulating discussion.  You can find out more about the book group here:

I don't think you need a twitter account to view the tweets, but if you want to join in you'll have to register.  You can have a look at the preparatory tweets here: http://twitter.com/search?q=%23kidbkgrp&src=typd

I hope you can join us!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Marvel: Civil War

Writer: Mark Millar
Penciller: Steve McNiven
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colourist: Morry Hollowell
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel

What's it about?
A group of young heroes accidentally kill themselves and 600 civilians. This alarms the government who introduce the Superhuman Registration Act - everyone with powers must register with the government and become paid operatives of S.H.I.E.L.D.  If you don't comply, you'll be arrested and charged with treason.

This Act splits the heroes. Iron Man, Spider-Man, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, She-Hulk and others are in support of the Act.  Most of the X-Men, Captain America, Nick Fury and others oppose it.  As the supporters are hired to bring in those that don't comply, the opposing faction go underground.

The book builds on and references other key events in the Marvel universe but you don't need to know about these to read it.  The other events are used to build the case for the Act and explore the moral quandary that the Marvel universe finds itself in.   The supporters believe registration is necessary to ensure new heroes are adequately trained and to ensure a measure of accountability.  The opposers believe that heroes shouldn't be beholden to government (what if government fucks up?) and that registration puts their loved ones at risk. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Zita the Spacegirl

Writer and artist: Ben Hatke
Publisher: First Second

What's it about?
This is a brilliant little book for kids (aged 8 to 12) about a planet hopping girl named Zita.  The book starts with her on Earth playing outside with a friend, Joseph.  Her friend gets sucked through a portal and Zita runs away in fear and shock (she is only little after all).  Given some time to get over the shock, she returns to where Joseph was taken, reactivates the portal, and goes through herself in order to rescue him.  She finds herself on a planet which everyone is evacuating as it is due to blow up in 3 days.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Patrick The Wolf Boy: The Giant Size Collection

Written by: Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani
Drawn by: Art Baltazar
Published by: BlindWolf/Electric Milk Comics

What’s it about?
Patrick The Wolf Boy is the first comic by the creative team of Art Baltazar and Franco, who would go on be the force behind such popular all-ages titles as DC Comics' Tiny Titans,  Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! and Superman Family Adventures and behind the upcoming Ity Bitty Hellboy at Dark Horse Comics.

It originally started as a self-published comic book through their own Electric Milk Comics brand, the collective duo and additional assistants being known under the "BlindWolf" name.

Patrick The Wolf Boy is the comic where they started working together. As the title says, it follows the self-titled adventures of a little Wolf Boy. It's very reminiscent of classic newspaper comic strips in the lines of Calvin & Hobbes or Peanuts. Art Baltazar and Franco were really able to get what make those classic characters memorable and timeless. Make the same concept their own and run along with it.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Seen the movie? Read the book – The Wolverine

The book has been released with a few different covers: these are two examples.

The latest Wolverine film is based on a trade, written by Chris Claremont, drawn by Frank Miller, and simply titled Wolverine.  I recently read and thought it would make a good update.  Here goes.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Art & Story: Scott McCloud

Publisher: HarperCollins

What’s it about?
Originally published through Eclipse Comics, Zot! was the comic debut of cartoonist Scott McCloud which started in 1984 and then ran for 36 issues.

After getting a job at DC Comics, and following the advice of comic book master Will Eisner to follow his own path rather than imitating the DC/Marvel school of superheroes, Scott McCloud was able to launch a fun, original, and lighthearted tale in a gritty comic book scene in the middle of the 1980s.

Somewhat inspired by some of his old childhood favorite, such as classics like the Golden Age Superman and the manga Astro Boy, Zot! follows the adventures of Zachary T. Paleozogt aka the self-proclaimed Zot! But in an usual twist for the superhero genre, the stories are told from the perspective of Jenny Weaver, a young "normal" girl from our world who ends up in the retro-futuristic science-fiction paradise that is the world of Zot!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A little update

Hi all.

There has been a distinct lack of posting from me recently, for this I must apologise.  My life has got really busy recently.  I've started training for a 10k race and despite how fit I thought I was before, it's pretty tiring.  It's good fun, but man oh man do I get wiped out by some of the sessions.  If you're interested in the detail, I write reports on each training session on my other blog, and you can read them here. Anyway this has left me with less time and more importantly, energy, to blog.

The other thing which is taking up some of my time, is I have joined the Radio Bamf team.  Radio Bamf is a weekly comics podcast where 5 of us record each Sunday and talk about comics news, reviews and odd points of view.  I'm having an absolute blast doing it but it does take time to prepare for it and record.  Because of me and my particular passions I do tend to say if books are kid friendly, or new reader friendly.  We cover all sorts of stuff but mainly superheroes and indies.

You can listen in various places, but I'd say start with the host website, We Are Arcade.  There are links to youtube, itunes and the podomatic host sites too.  While you're on there you might want to check out the anime and gaming podcasts too.

Bringing the conversation back to this site, I don't want the posts to dry up and this blog to die a death, so to accommodate my changing energy levels I think I'll be writing shorter less in-depth reviews.  Posts may be just a few sentences long, or a few paragraphs, and they'll probably have less art, but I just can't manage full reviews right now.

Of course, I am still accepting guest reviews and am always happy to get new regular bloggers.  If you are interested in this please leave a comment, email me on paicomics at yahoo dot co uk, or tweet me @saranagacomics.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Seen the movie? Read the comic: Captain America

I was recently re-watching the film Captain America: The First Avenger.  This led to me thinking about what comics would make a good read following the film.  So without further ado, here are some suggestions.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Batgirl and Robin: Year One

Writers: Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon
Pencillers: Marcos Martin and Javier Pulido
Inkers: Robert Campanella and Alvaro Lopez
Colorists: Lee Loughridge and Javier Rodriguez
Letterers: Sean Konot and Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC Comics

What’s it about? 
This book collects the first year of adventures of the first Batgirl and Robin.

Robin is Dick Grayson, 13 year old (ish) ward of Bruce Wayne.  As Robin he is the Batman’s partner, bringing fear and justice to criminals across Gotham.  Robin views Batman as a father and is determined to win his love and approval.  When an encounter with Two-Face goes wrong, Batman reconsiders whether Robin has a place in his mission.
Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, aged about 18, the daughter of Gotham’s Police Commissioner Jim Gordon.  This story is set a few years after Robin’s.  Barbara works as a librarian, excels at her studies, and wants to be a copper - but everyone tells her she can’t.  Not one to accept other people’s opinions, she attends a costume party in a homemade batsuit, mostly to irritate her Dad, and finds herself stopping a heist.  Thus begins her crimefighting career.
Each story was originally published separately, but the Batgirl one was unavailable for a number of years.

Monday, 22 July 2013


Writer: Greg Rucka
Illustrations: Matthew Southworth
Colours: Lee Loughridge, Rico Renzi and Matthew Southworth
Design: Keith Wood
Publisher: Oni Press

What's it about?

There's a female Private Investigator called Dex Parios.  She's broke because she gambles, so she's forced to take on a case to wipe out her debt.

What's the case?  The boss of the Wind Coast casino, Sue-Lynne, has a granddaughter who's gone missing.  Sue-Lynne fears her granddaughter is mixing with unsavoury characters and wants her home.   Feeling dubious, Dex takes on the case.  What follows is mystery; intrigue; a fair few punches; some guns; family revelations; and a very annoyed Dex.

There's a lot of swearing and violence so I'd say it's intended for mature readers. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Dexter Soy (issues 1 and 2), Dexter Soy, Rich Elson, Wil Quintana, Karl Kesel, Javier Rodriguez (issue 3), Dexter Soy, Al Barrioneuvo (issue 4)
Colours: Will Quintana (issue 4)
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel

What’s it about?
Captain Marvel is a relaunch of a 45 year old character (in reality, not in continuity) known as Ms Marvel, or Carol Danvers.  Carol is an air force pilot who was caught in an alien explosion, granting her superhuman powers – flight, super strength, invulnerability, and energy beams that she can shoot from her hands.  She’s a powerhouse, probably on a par with Superman.  This relaunch updated her costume from a swimsuit-and-sash style to a full body uniform that has in more in common with the early 2000’s X-Men films, and it changed her name to Captain Marvel, more in fitting with her military background.
In this story she meets with an old friend and is catapulted back through time to the 1940s, to meet a group of Women Airforce Service Pilots fighting on a Japanese occupied island.  On her journey back to the present day she is bumped through various different years, meets her childhood heroes, and gets to fly planes with some of the most talented women of the 20th century.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Superman sale on Comixology

In honour of the new Superman movie - Man of Steel - Comixology are once again doing one of their legendary sales, so once again we'll give you a guide to what's available.  The sale is on until 11pm, Thursday 20th June and most titles are just 99 cents each - that's about 60p in UK money.  It's an incredibly comprehensive sale, covering the important, and best, Superman stories of the last 80 years.

More information after the cut.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Update to an earlier post

Our post on DC's continuity has now been updated to include Flashpoint and the launch of the new 52 series of books.  Go check it out here.

We aim to produce a post explaining Marvel's major events soon as well, although explaining their continuity may be harder as they have never reset their universe like DC has.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix saga

Writer: Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Bob Sharen and Glynis Wein
Publisher: Marvel Comics

What's it about?
The X-Men are a team of mutants.  That is, their genetics give them superpowers - anything from a healing factor, to telekinesis, to angel wings, to the ability to phase through solid objects.  Professor Charles Xavier, a phenomenal telepath, is the head of the X-Men.  As a team they fight terrible threats from this earth and beyond, and struggle to gain acceptance from regular humans who sadly are taught to hate and fear them.

Jean Grey is also a telepath. She's incredibly powerful but too young to fully handle this power, so has blocks placed on her abilities (by Xavier) to ensure she doesn't harm herself or others.  The Dark Phoenix saga is the story of how these blocks are lifted, how she gains power beyond measure and threatens the entire universe, and how the X-Men (and others) save the world.

Monday, 27 May 2013


I thought I'd do a post about podcasts as I have recently been involved with one, and it struck me that they can be a pretty good way to hear about the latest comics news.  What follows is a list of podcasts recommended to me.  Unfortunately I can't listen to them all myself because my internet connection is rubbish and keeps cutting out. 

Radio Bamf
OK this wasn't recommended to me, this is included because I guested on episode 13.  It gets swung to the top of the list because it is available at a variety of places, including youtube which has (automatic) captions so it is accessible to hard of hearing and Deaf people too.  We like accessibility here.
Radio Bamf covers comics news, reviews and odd points of view, for all sorts of comics - Marvel, DC and the indies.  Find Bamf here:
We are arcade

Fire and Water
This is run by a couple of people, one of whom I know, and focuses on the characters Aquaman and Firestorm (giving the Fire and Water name) but also provides a Who's Who of the DCU.
New posts are listed on the blog and all are available through itunes. 

Three Chick Review Comics
Another one I haven't listened to myself, but I know one of the presenters from Twitter, and she is excellent.  They cover all sorts of comics, reviews and news.
Listen to the pods here. 

Crazy Sexy Geeks
Also recommended to me.  This covers comics and other geeky stuff - Dr Who, Disney, Star Wars, Buffy actors, films, TV, etc etc.  Run by a couple of really good tweeters.
Listen to the podcasts here.

I hope you enjoy!  If you know of any other good ones, or if you run one yourself, please leave a link in the comments :)

Edited to add - a lot of these recommendations came from @JimmyMcG on Twitter.  Thanks for the help Jimmy :)

Friday, 24 May 2013

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Writer: William Shakespeare
Adapted by Richard Appignanesi
Art: Kate Brown
Publisher: Self Made Hero

What’s it about? 
This is an adaptation of a William Shakespeare play.  To my mind, it’s the most magical and comedic one.
Theseus and Hippolyta are due to be married in Athens, Greece.  Theseus' servant Egeus has a daughter named Hermia.  Hermia and Lysander are in love and wish to marry, however Egeus has decided that Demetrius is an appropriate husband.  Helena loves Demetrius but, as he wants Hermia, he is not interested in Helena.

In honour of Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding a group of inept craftsmen decide to put on a play about star-crossed lovers, Pyramus and Thisbe.  It’s a tragedy where the lovers kill themselves, so not entirely fit for a wedding – I did say they were inept!
In the forests of Athens the fairy court is in session.  Oberon, King of the fairies, and Titania, fairy Queen, are embroiled in an argument.  Oberon wants a human boy that Titania has adopted, but Titania won’t give him up.  Oberon plots revenge, and here is where the plots converge...
Oberon gets his servant Puck to enchant Titania so she falls in love with the first hideous thing she sees.  Hermia and Lysander have run away to get married and are pursued by Demetrius, who is in turn pursued by Helena.  Oberon witnesses this and instructs Puck to enchant Demetrius to fall in love with Helena, except Puck gets it wrong and enchants Lysander instead.  The enchantment of Titania is successful, as Puck gives one of the craftsmen, Bottom, a donkey’s head, and Titania falls for him.
This takes up the first half of the play.  The second half concerns the humans and fairies trying to sort out the mess Puck has caused. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The creation of a comic

I found this nifty diagram recently which summarises the comics creative process.  I thought it would be interesting for readers of this blog:

I suspect that this is relevant more to comics that inhabit a shared universe, for example DC and Marvel comics, than to independent comics where books are created as one off, entirely self contained stories.

Interesting huh? It's a wonder anything gets made!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Starman review updated

A couple of years ago a review of James Robinson's Starman was posted.  I have just read the series and I haven't been so impressed by a comic in a long time.  As such, I've just added my own comments to the review and I would encourage you all to take another look at the series and consider reading it.

It is unlike most other comics.
It is magnificent.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Comixology sale of Action Lab comics!

Comixology has another one of their marvellous 3 day sales on. This time it's for the Action Lab publisher house's books.  Most issues are 99 cents each.

There's a range of books here, from horror to pirate detectives, to unconventional princesses, time travel, fairies and other folklore.  You'll find something for kids and adults and everyone in between.

I recommend picking up the Princeless series, which we reviewed here.  Also worthwhile is the Princeless/Molly Danger sampler, which is free, and The Order of Dagonet which is simply fab.

I don't know the others but I am tempted to get Back in the Day, Jack Hammer: Political Science, Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa Vol 1, Monsters Are Just like Us, Pirate Eye: Mark of the Black Widow, Snowed In and the Order of Dagonet issues 1 to 3.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Superman: Birthright, the origin of the Man of Steel

Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Comicraft
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
This is an origin story for Superman.  I won't say 'the' origin story, because there have been lots.  This one is particularly good and it resonates with a lot of readers.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Free Comic Book Day and cheap Iron Man comics

We have two exciting things to share with you today.

The first is Free Comic Book Day, a day when you get free comics!  Happening tomorrow, Saturday May 4th!! Sounds great doesn't it?  And there is no catch!  The first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day.  Go to any participating comic shop and get your pick of free comics, from a wide range of genres and publishers.  There are loads and loads available, but not all shops stock everything.

From this year's selection I recommend Top Shelf Kids Club,  Princeless/Molly Danger and Mouse Guard.  The rest I either don't know or do not care for.  Having said that I tend to pick up whatever is going just to try it out.

Now, the thing to remember about Free Comic Book Day is that the shops do not get the comics for free.  They have to pay for them, then they pass them on to the customer for free.  So please consider buying other comics while you are there, or, if you get a free book that you like, going back to pick up other issues.

The second thing to share with you is Comixology's 3 day Iron Man sale, in honour of the latest film.  Each comic is 99 cents (American currency) which is about 60 pence in English money.  The sale ends on Sunday.
As I am not too familiar with Iron Man myself I asked twitter friends to provide some recommendations, so thank you @problem_chimp, @lizbatty, and @ZomDa.  They came up with two suggestions:

Iron Man 1 - 6 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Adi Granov (pencils).  Here's a link to the first issue.  Issues 1 to 6 form an arc called Extremis, which ZomDa says is ideal for new readers - it's a standalone story, updates Tony Stark's origin (this happens regularly with characters which have been around for a few decades) and the plot has been adapted into the Iron Man 3 film.  That sounds pretty ideal to me.

Invincible Iron Man issues 1 - 6 by Matt Fraction (writer) and Salvador Larocca (pencils).  Here's a link to the first issue.
Both lizbatty and ZomDa agree this series is good, but Liz commented that it quickly descends into crossover hell, which could either put off new readers or excite you. It depends on how keen you are on continuity, guest stars and series being forced into big events within the shared universe.  Issues 1 to 6 are a self contained arc, The Five Nightmares, so a good place to start.

Also in the sale are Iron Man/Thor 1-4, Marvel's The Avengers The Black Widow Strikes, a three issue movie tie in that is set between Iron Man 2 and another comic, Marvel's The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative #1, which is a prequel to the Avengers film.  Most comics aren't set in movie continuity, so expect what you read in here to be movie correct not regular Marvel comic correct.

So there you go. I know that Matt Fraction is a very good writer and we've reviewed other Warren Ellis titles before, so I reckon that those recommendations are good ones.  I find movie tie-ins good fun too. 

Enjoy your comics!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Strangers in Paradise: Volumes 1 and 2


Without love, we're never more than strangers in Paradise
Writer: Terry Moore
Art: Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio

What's it about?
Volume One: Freddie and Francine are a couple.  Francine lives with her best friend Katchoo.  Francine has trust issues and won't have sex with Freddie, though they've been together for a year.  So Freddie and Francine split up.  Katchoo comes onto Francine, who declines.  David notices Katchoo in an art gallery, comes on to her, and is rudely (very rudely) rebuffed.  Francine has a breakdown and Katchoo vows revenge on Freddie.  The relationships get messier and more ridiculous as each character tries to negotiate their way through the romantic minefield.
Volume Two - I Dream of You: A similar situation as before, but now Katchoo's mysterious past is catching up with her.  She disappears for two months, worrying Francine sick.  A shadowy, violent figure hires a corrupt copper to track and report on Katchoo's movements.  People are found severely beaten; Katchoo confides in David; Freddie is lurking in the background; Francine has still not moved on from him.  The finale of the volume solidifies it as a crime, rather than romance, story.

I am reviewing these two volumes together as they are best read in tandem.  Strangers in Paradise is described as a romance comic, and while Volume One is all about boy/girl, girl/girl, girl/boy relationships it is certainly not a traditional romance story.  Volume Two fleshes the characters out and gives a better feeling as to where the series is going.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Princess comics

Recently I have met a lot of young girls, baby through to toddler age, and have been reminded of the prevalence of the Princess story for young female children.  There's loads of traditional Princess stories out there - you know, about the passive beautiful sort who wait for a Prince to rescue or marry them and don't actually do much.

Thankfully, there are a few comics out there who challenge this narrative and create an entirely different sort of Princess.  These are:

The Princess - a webcomic about a transgender girl, her crushes, her wish to join the Girl Cadettes, her friends and her family.  It's full of sparkles and rainbows and cheerful art, and full of messages of support for trans kids.  It's called The Princess because the lead, Sarah, always wears a home made crown.  We reviewed it here.

JL8 - also a webcomic, this is a fan comic about the Justice League of America (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern etc) as little kids, all in their costumes and with all their powers.  It's really cute and funny.  Wonder Woman is of course an Amazon Princess and recent strips have been about her birthday party, with her Mum telling everyone she is a Princess.  Wonder Woman is not happy about this.  We reviewed it here.

Princeless - This is an actual print comic about a Black Princess who refuses to hang around in her tower to be rescued by a Prince, and instead befriends her dragon guard, steals some armour and sets out to rescue all her sisters.  It's relatively new and is in its second volume, or story arc if you prefer.  I recommend this to everyone and it's always been well received.  We reviewed volume 1 here.  You can get it in print from your local comic shop and possibly Amazon or Ebay, or buy it digitally from Comixology.

Please try these comics out!  They are fun for kids and adults.

Al images reproduced with kind permission of the creators.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Berlin: The Seven Dwarves

Writer and artists: Marvano (also known as Mark van Oppen)
Colour work: Claude Legris
Translator: Jerome Saincantin
Letters and Layouts: Imadjinn

What's it about?
The story is set across two years: 1993 and 1943.  In 1943 seven men form the crew of the Lancaster S-Snowwhite.  It is called Snowwhite because it is black, like Snow White's hair, and has a crew of seven.  Their job is to bomb Germany.  In 1993 two women exchange a 50 year old letter.  The book focuses on the lives of the seven men aboard the plane - the realities of bombing raids, the threats from enemy fighters and the relationships formed on the ground.
It's suitable for history buffs and comic fans alike.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

LGBT History month - Deathwish


Writer: Adam Blaustein, later known as Maddie Blaustein
Plot Assist: Yves Fezzani
Penciller: J H William III
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Painted colour: J. Brown
Letterer: Joseph Daniello
Publisher: Milestone (an imprint of DC comics)

What's it about?
Marisa Rahm is a transgender cop in Dakota, America.  There's a serial killer, the Deathwish of the title, out there murdering trans women and Rahm is determined to bring him in. Rahm has been chasing Deathwish for years.  Her singlemindedness is all encompassing - she lives, breathes and eats the case.  Predictably, this is affecting her relationship with her girlfriend, Dini.
As Rahm gets closer to Deathwish he starts manipulating her, messing with her mind, and then it becomes unclear who is the hero and who isn't.

This is a four issue miniseries published under DC's Milestone imprint in the 1990s.  It has never been collected into a trade but it can be found in places such as Ebay.  Unfortunately I only have issues two, three and four of this series, but it's importance for trans comics characters means I am determined to review and promote it.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Chimpanzee Complex

Script: Richard Marazano
Art: Jean-Michel Ponzio
Translator: Jerome Saincantin
Lettering and text layout: Imadjinn
Publisher: Cinebook

What's it about?
The Chimpanzee Complex runs over 3 books: Paradox, The Sons of Ares, and Civilisation.  It starts in 2035.  Helen Freeman is an astronaut and was going to be the first woman to set foot on Mars.  This was her life's ambition, so when the government cuts money to the space programme she is devastated.  Then a space module from the 20th century drops into the ocean.  As a trusted NASA employee Helen is sent to talk to the passengers.  What she is told seems impossible, a paradox.
Meanwhile back home, her pre-teen daughter is wracked with anger and jealousy over her mother's commitment to her work, which she interprets as a lack of love for herself.

In The Sons of Ares Helen leads a mission to Mars to discover the truth about the space module.  They find the Soviet Base and more besides.  Back home, her daughter Sofia grows ever more angry and scared.

In Civilisation the mystery is unravelled.  Crew members wake up from an extended cryosleep and yet again reality seems wrong.  Pieces start falling into place and an understanding is reached.  Their survival seems precarious and Helen dwells on her daughter and what she may have lost.
The Chimpanzee Complex of the title refers to the stress suffered by chimps when placed in space.  The chimpanzees are intelligent enough to have a limited understanding of their predicament, and so they suffer extreme stress through being in an experiment over which they have no control.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Comixology - Black History Month

February is Black History Month in America so Comixology, sellers of digital comics, are doing sales throughout the month of key comics with black characters.  This week's spotlighted titles are all DC issues:
Green Lantern 182-188 - introducing John Stewart, the first Black Green Lantern.
Green Lantern 14 -17 - starting John Stewart's excellent Mosaic story.
The Mosaic maxi series (12 issues) itself.
The new-52 Mr Terrific series.

I would recommend the Green Lantern titles over the Mr Terrific ones.  There are a few key DC titles they haven't yet included but I hope to see on sale over the next month.  These are:
Black Lightning Year One
Vixen - Return of the Lion
Suicide Squad - Trial by Fire

All issues are 99 cents (about 60 pence in English money) and can be read on your device of choice - ipad, tablet, iphone, android phone, laptop, pc, apple mac etc.

We have covered many comics with black characters, and you can see all entries here.  We've also done spotlight blogs on characters of colour in superhero and non superhero comics.  The final entry, which lists all previous entries, is here.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Magic of Myths: Season 1

Writer: Corey Brotherson
Art: Sergio Calvet
Publisher: Self published
What's it about?
This book is about Eve, a schoolteacher who is transported to a mythic fantasy world where she has to undergo certain ordeals and retrieve valuable artifacts before she is allowed back to her own world.   She doesn't know why this is happening, who's in control of it, or even where she really is. As the Magic of Myths website FAQs explains, Eve has magical armour which can create weapons for use in her ordeals.  The sidekick/guide role is filled by a cranky creature called Tinkantankerous.  Eve's ordeals force her to consider her life thus far and her worth as a person.
The story is framed against - and references - many famous mythological stories: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Perseus, the Greek Sirens, Peter Pan.  Expect to find both overt and subtle markers for these throughout the text.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Clockwork Watch: The Arrival

London: Steam billows out from every corner of the city while huge Zeppelin airships float in the sky overhead.  Enter the world of Clockwork Watch where Victorian values are coupled with Anachronistic Technology, not least of which are the Clockwork Servants - the mechanical slaves that keep this society ticking along - this is the world of Steampunk.

Writer: Corey Brotherson
Art: Jennie Gyllblad
Original story: Yomi Ayeni
Publisher: Clockwork Watch Films Ltd

What's it about?
The Ranbir family arrives in London.  Chan Ranbir is the Head of Science at Calcutta University and has brought the family to England to continue his ambition to create a clockwork world.  Young Janav Ranbir resents his father, his dedication to his work, and the way Chan speaks to him.  Tinku supports her husband but wishes for more for her son.  As the first clockwork servant is developed there are questions of how the Unions will react and what impact will this have on everyday people's lives.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Black Out

Writer: P M Buchan
Art: Jack Fallows, Mike Barnes, Joe Whiteford, and Philip Marsden
Demonology by Andrew Waugh
Fat Jackie by Philip Marsden
Self published

What's it about?
Black Out collects 11 stories and they are all, with the exception of The Demonologies, incredibly crude.  If you like Tank Girl, or Viz magazine, you'll probably like this. Wages of Sin is about a dirty fucker living in a hovel who gets haunted by Death and the Devil.  Zingo's Lament is a one pager about a clown who eats kids (or not) and gets sent to hell. There's one story where a fat bloke gets so high on mushrooms he decides to dress as jack o' lantern and carves a face into his belly.  It's horrific but it's also really, really funny.  What's Inside A Girl? is a tale of unrequited teenage love, with misunderstanding, booze, acid and cannibalism.  Then there are sex dolls and love in the afterlife ending in a suicide.

You get the idea.  It's horror/comedy and most definitely for mature readers only.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

I Don't Like My Hair Neat

Continuing the Thought Bubble theme, next up is Julia Scheele's I Don't Like My Hair Neat.

Art: Julia Scheele
Writer: Katie West and Chrissie Williams:
Self published

What's it about?
I Don't Like My Hair Neat is a collection of stories. The first (and main) one is Positive - an 18 page story about a woman fearing she might be pregnant.  How did it happen? Who is the father? What will the kid look like?