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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Best of 2013: Cinebook's Empire of a Thousand Planets

Last year I had the pleasure of reading two books from Cinebook, publishers of English translations of Europe's finest comics, often called Bande Dessinée.  Bande Dessinée, or BD for short, means 'drawn strips'.  Comics are far more popular on the continent than in the UK, in fact Cinebook's website declares that 'one of every eight books sold in France is a comic book'.  I can only dream of such a situation in the UK!

Cinebook publish a wide range of European comics, from stuff created for kids to hardcore sci-fi, to fantasy, to romantic literature, to period drama and to crime.  You will find something for every taste in their catalogue.  All listings on their website give an age range as well, always helpful!

So over the next few days we will publish two short reviews of Valerian and Laureline: The Empire of a Thousand Planets and Lament of the Lost Moors: Siobhan.

Disclaimer: Cinebook kindly provided a free review copy of The Empire of a Thousand Planets for me when I bought Lament of the Lost Moors (review coming soon) at the November 2013 Thought Bubble comic convention.  However I can assure you that all views are my own, positive reviews cannot be bought!

Writer: P Christin
Artist: J. C. Meziere
Colour work: E. Tranle
Translator: Jerome Saincantin
Lettering and text layout: Imadjinn
Publisher: Cinebook

What's it about?
This is a sci-fi book about two space travellers, Valerian and Laureline, sent to explore a planet called Syrte to discover whether the Syrtians could threaten earth.  Syrte is a bit of a strange planet - it's the capital of an empire (hence the title of the book) and is a key trading point.  You can buy absolutely anything you want there.  The planet is ruled by an ancient dynasty but there seems to be a powerful religious sect with a lot of influence.  Our two heroes have to pass as locals and navigate Syrtian society to fully explore.  Of course they can't quite manage this and that's where the adventure begins.

Friday, 21 February 2014

I Die at Midnight

Written and drawn by: Kyle Baker
Published by: Vertigo/DC Comics

What’s it about?
(from the back of the book:)"The Good News is Muriel has decided to take Larry back."
"The Bad News is Larry's just swallowed a bottle of pills."

Written and drawn by Kyler Baker for Vertigo Comics' pre-millennial "V2K series", I Die at Midnight is an original graphic novel mixing a bit of comedy, a dash of comedy and some romance in the background in a fast-paced well-animated story against the clock.

I Die at Midnight follows a man named Larry. The girl of his dreams just walked out on him. Left without any more purpose, Larry decides to kill himself. He empties an entire bottle of pills...

...But that is precisely when Muriel changes her mind and decides to come back!

And if that wasn't enough... did I mention this was all taking place on New Year's Eve?!

I Die at Midnight is a fun fast paced story set against the whole Year 2000 phobia (it does play a part in the story, at the end!) about fighting for a reason to live.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Best of 2013: Halcyon & Tenderfoot

Writer: Daniel Clifford
Artist: Lee Robinson
Cover colours: FiverArts
Publisher: Art Heroes

What's it about?
Halcyon and Tenderfoot are a father and son superhero team in Brink City.  Issue 1 opens at a press conference where Halcyon is introducing his new sidekick - Tenderfoot.  On the same day an old villain is watching the press coverage from gaol.  When he is released he seeks revenge on Halcyon, and the issue closes with tragedy.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Best of 2013: Spandex

Writer: Martin Eden
Art: Martin Eden
Publisher:  Self published and Titan Books

What's it about?
Spandex tells the story of a group of 8 queer superheroes and their enemies, living in Brighton, UK.  For those of you that don't know, Brighton is an LGBT friendly city on the south coast of England.  The members of Spandex are Butch, Diva, Glitter, Indigo, Liberty, Mr Muscles, Neon and Prowler.  Spandex generally has 7 members at a time, and their costumes are coloured according to the colours of the rainbow.  Butch wears green, Diva wears red, Glitter is orange and so on.

Between them their power set covers unbreakable skin, light based powers, teleportation, a danger sense called gaydar, ultra strength, ability to absorb other gay people's powers and skills.  All members are on the LGBT spectrum.  There are recurring characters such as the pink ninjas and the 50 foot lesbian.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Best of 2013: horror

Last week Bamf Comic Book Radio, a podcast I am a co-host for, http://waabamf.podomatic.com/entry/2014-02-05T09_25_13-08_00 did a horror special.  We invited P M Buchan, aka Bucky, author of Black Out (reviewed last year) to join us.  Four of us chatted for 60 minutes about the latest comic news and all the horror comics we have enjoyed, covering manga, indies and some more mainstream stuff.  There's a fair bit of swearing on the podcast, so it's probably more suitable for mature listeners!

If you like horror, go give it a listen.  I think the sound quality may not be great on this one, but please bear with it.  I had an absolute blast recording it :)