The Little Blue Kite

November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

The Little Blue Kite
Written by Mark Z. Danielewski, art by Regina M. Gonzales
Pantheon Books, 96 pp.
Rating: Not Rated

From Mark Z. Danielewski and Regina M. Gonzales, comes the illustrated children’s (??) book, The Little Blue Kite! Perhaps best known for works like The House of Leaves and Only Revolutions which push and pull at the novel form through visual layouts, and structure of a text, Danielewski now turns his skills towards the illustrated children’s book format. Through a combination of surprisingly expressionistic artwork, and a story that can be read in three different ways, Danielewski and Gonzales lead readers through an emotional story of loss, letting go, and finding’s one place in the world which can be read and enjoyed by readers of all ages.
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Kaijumax: Season 4, #1-6

August 9, 2019 2 comments

The cover to "Kaiju Max: Season 4, #1"Kaijumax: Season 4, #1-6
by Zander Cannon.
Oni Press
Rating: Teen +

For the past four years, Zander Cannon has quietly been creating one of the best comics on the shelves today. Kaijumax envisions a world which is part giant monster movie, part prison drama, and follows the lives of its ensemble cast of giant monsters and those who guard them, as they struggle to cope with prison life. Drawing inspiration from documentaries, prison dramas, kaiju (giant monster) movies, and live action Japanese superhero TV shows, Cannon has created a series which deals with questions revolving around the prison system, punishment vs. redemption, racism, drug addiction, and the fallibility of humanity. While the previous three “seasons” of the series have been focused on the male branch of the titular prison, Season Four shifts its lens to the women’s prison, while continuing story arcs for several of the guards from previous seasons.
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To Your Eternity, Vols. 3 + 4

August 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Cover to "To Your Eternity, Vol. 4"To Your Eternity, Vols. 3 + 4
by Yoshitoki Oima, translated by Steven LeCroy.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

As Fushi—a bizarre shape shifting being of unknown origin—makes their way through a fantasy laden world, absorbing information and likeness from those it encounters, it slowly begins to grow and develop a sense of self-awareness and individual identity. Yet, what will this sense of self bring to Fushi? How will the time it spends with the abandoned, mutilated, masked, servant boy known as Gugu shape its world view? Yoshitoki Oima’s moving exploration of humanity and existence continues with To Your Eternity, Vol. 3 + 4!
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Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2

July 9, 2019 Leave a comment

Cover to Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2
by Akiko Higashimura, translated by Steven LeCroy.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

From Akiko Higashimura, creator of the absolutely amazing Princess Jellyfish, comes a series about the pressures faced by Japanese women in their 30s as they attempt the navigate the tangled web of their own personal desires and those society places upon them. Rinko, Koyuki, and Kaori all seek happiness, but are living in a world where youth is at a premium, and as they move deeper into their 30s, they find themselves wondering if the romantic life has passed them by as they chose to focus on their careers. Is it truly to late to find love and passion? Are they destined to live with the lingering questions of “what if…?” as the titular tarareba suggests? What if they had lowered their standards? What if they said yes? What if they accepted domesticity over careers? Or, can they prove the world wrong and find both the internal happiness to silence their doubts, and the external happiness they seem to seek? These are just a few of the questions explored in Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2, with the wit and emotional honesty that made Princess Jellyfish so beloved.
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Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3

June 16, 2019 Leave a comment

The cover to "Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 2"Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3
by Yukito Kishiro, translated by Stephen Paul.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Picking up immediately were the first volume left off, Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3 continue to follow Alita on her attempts to create a better life for her ad-hoc family. Unfortunately, after tragedy strikes, familial bonds are tested as Alita seeks to unlock the mysteries of her past, and determine the truth behind her existence by throwing herself onto the path of violence. A path that leads her beyond the Scrapyard, and to the brutal sport known as Motorball. Yukito Kishiro’s cyberpunk classic continues, mixing high speed violence with questions of identity, and what it means to be human.
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Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection

May 12, 2019 Leave a comment

The cover to "Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection."Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection
by Junji Ito, Translation by Jocelyne Allen, “Frankenstein” originally written by Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein” English Adaption by Nick Mamatas.
Viz, 408pp
Rating: Older Teen

Junji Ito has had a presence in the American manga scene for nearly two decades, starting with Viz’s Uzumaki in 2001, which tells the disturbing tale of a town haunted by a shape; and Gyo in 2003, a bizarre tale about an invasion of walking fish. While both series were well received, companies struggled to really market his work in the U.S. Publishers such as Dark Horse and the defunct ComicsOne attempt to bring more of Ito’s work to stateside, with various anthology collections of his works, but each attempt petered out by the third volume leaving fans hungry for more. That all changed in 2013 when Viz re-released Uzumaki and Gyo in affordable hardcover editions. The combination of cheap hardcovers and Junji Ito’s horrific tales turned out to be a hit, and since then Viz has rolled out a new collection of Ito’s work on a near annual basis. Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection, released in 2018 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s original novel, combines Ito’s adaption of “Frankenstein” with several original short stories, including the “Oshikiri” cycle, to create a must have volume for horror fans.
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Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vols. 1-3

August 31, 2018 1 comment

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vol. 1Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vols. 1-3
by Clamp, translated by Kevin Gifford
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Originally published in Japan in 1996, Cardcaptor Sakura used the premise of young Sakura and her friends— Tomoyo, Syaoran, Cerberus, and more—as they sought to capture the magical Clow Cards which were wreaking havoc in their town. While the premise may sound a bit tired and worn, fans and readers of the original series know it was so much more that. In the skillful hands of Clamp, an all woman Japanese art group, Cardcaptor Sakura used a fairly straight forward magical girl premise to launch into an exploration of love and friendship in all their different flavors. Now, two decades later, Clamp returns to continue the adventures of Sakura and company with Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card! Set shortly after the climax of the original series, Clear Card follows Sakura as she enters into a new phase of her life, middle school. With the Clow Cards under wraps, her life was slowly returning to normal, but Sakura’s hard earned peace doesn’t last for long and she soon finds herself faced with new two threats: the mysterious Clear Cards, and the hooded figure seemingly tied to their appearance.
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