Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tune, Book 1: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim


Tune: Vanishing Point
by Derek Kirk Kim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tune (Book 1)

Oh my God! I love this! Tune really reminds me of Scott Pilgrim but sci-fi instead of fantasy and way better. What an amazing read; it has a bit of something for everyone. Starting off as a college student romantic comedy slice of life tale, an illustration student drops out to the dismay of his traditional Korean parents. He spends time with his art school friends, daydreams about the girl he likes and goes out for job interviews. This part is all a fun realistic story with a main character who is very likable and has a sex comedy vibe to it. But then while Andy finds out the girl of his dreams likes him back, and goes on his last job interview of the day, that's when the aliens turn up and the story becomes very intriguing. A must read!

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Dance Class #6: A Merry Olde Christmas by Béka

Dance Class #6: A Merry Olde Christmas by Béka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dance Class (6)

This was a pleasant surprise for me. I'm not exactly into girly-girl, princess type stories so a ballet themed series did not seem like it would be my cup of tea but I found this highly enjoyable, witty and well-written. I really enjoyed the presentation also. The first entire half of the book contains the titular story which has the girls travelling to England to participate in a musical that is very loosely based on Dickens' "Christmas Carol". The second half of the book is comprised of approx. 3-page random comic strips with an occasional returning sketch of a repeated attempt at a flash mob. These were humorous and amused me greatly. Girls who like dance will love this and boys also as there is always a boy participant in the dance group, which one of the girls will crush on. The cast is also diverse including (along with the boy dancer) African-Americans, a plump dancer, an obviously gay director, a single dad and divorced parents.

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The Royals: Masters of War by Rob Williams


The Royals: Masters of War
by Rob Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An intriguing and page-turning alternate history of WWII that takes on the premise of Royalty having superpowers. The House of Windsor has been secretly convincing the nation that the King, born without powers had sired children who also lack any of their own powers. Here is the deception. All the royalty throughout the world has been in hiding since the events of the French Revolution, and then the mass murder of the Russian royal family. So the royalty is sitting idly by during WWII until Prince Henry of England, young and idealistic, can sit by no longer, gets involved and all hell breaks loose. Then comes a fantastic retelling of WWII, with the presence of the allied leaders: Churchill, Roosevelt and Eisenhower mostly. The royals have superpowers such as strength, flying, laserbeam eyes, mind control and so on. It was a rush for me to read this and the ending was a big surprise, a double shock, and very satisfying. Once finished one can see that the author and illustrator have made some thoughtful commentary on war in general.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Smurfs Christmas by Peyo

The Smurfs Christmas by Peyo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Smurfs

I used to read Smurfs when I was a kid and haven't read one in ages. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed them. This brought back all the memories and I quite enjoyed this Christmas outing with the little blue critters. Altogether there are 5 short stories here with only the first and the last being Christmas themed, two others take place in winter and the other is odd-man out just being a random story. They are all cute funny stories though and starting and ending with Christmas brings the seasonal air to the book without overdosing on Santa stories. Gargamel though often the villain in this series is not the only bad guy which is refreshing. In one story both he and the smurfs are terrorized by an ogre and in another a hunter is the bad guy. The final story has a feel good "peace on earth" theme making for a satisfying end.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2015 Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

2015 8th Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge 

runs from Jan.1 - Dec. 31, 2015

Levels
Modern Age: read and review 12 books during the year (that's only 1 book a month)

Bronze Age: read and review 24 books during the year (Can you handle 2 books a month.)

Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year (Are you up to a book a week!)


I will be doing Silver Age again.

1. 

Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 by Jiro Kuwata

Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 by Jiro Kuwata
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Batman

Oh I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed these stories. This is old 1960s detective Batman chasing after bad guys, no superheroes in sight. We never have any indication whether Batman & Robin are in the US or Japan. Japan is mentioned once and we do know they are in Gotham, but the where is not certain. B&R are loads of fun just like in the campy '60s show. Their appearance in costume is pretty much what we'd be used to in the '60s but their real life persona's are a little different. Both have a tiny Japanese air about them, though the art is not modern manga in any way. Bruce Wayne is very young. Twenty-five would be a reach and he's got a Frankie Avalon swoon-worthy look, while Dick Grayson is this little kid who wears a tuxedo all the time. The book is perfectly All Ages safe except for the intriguing habit of making the villain say "dammit" about once in every chapter. B&R just say "darn". Each story is about 3 chapters long and the Dynamic Duo meet some strange criminals in this alternate Japanese reality. First, we come across Lord Deathman. Can he really make himself dead whenever he wants? Its an easy way to get out of being arrested. Next is Dr. Faceless, a scientist who gets trapped in his own experiment and has his face removed going insane running around town trying to remove faces from everything including people and clocks. The Human Ball is a scientist who invented a substance that repels objects and bounces; he makes a suit of it and wants to sell to the highest bidder, but Batman and Robin are out to stop him from selling it to an International spy. Next a professor trying to gain a gorilla's strength accidentally swaps him his own intelligence, then Karmak, the Gorilla sets off to exact his revenge against mankind for its mistreatment of animals. Another scientific based theme, which has a device that can control the weather, has Go Go the Magician using it to his advantage to steal the treasures of Gotham. The Dynamic Duo have a hard time going up against the weather. Finally the last story is different; it's longer, being four chapters instead of three and so far all the stories have been about normal criminals or scientific devices that while improbable are not actually impossible. This time though we have a mutant gene and Batman and Robin find themselves face to face with a completely non-human villain. This one was heavy on the theme of heroics and probably my favourite of the lot. I really enjoyed this manga. It was a lot like reading classic Batman but set in an alternate reality, very campy, fun and the villains all laughed "Wa ha ha ha ha!" Fun!

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In Real Life by Cory Doctorow



In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a darling book that deals with a plethora of topics all within an appealing "gamer" plot. I found the gamer plot fascinating not knowing much about that myself. Doctorow presents a coming of age story for a young woman. She's a typical teen, a bit of an outsider, plus-sized, and lacking a bit in self-esteem. She is introduced to the world of MMORPGs where the author explores such themes as female gamers, online safety, the real people behind avatar identities, online reality vs "real life", healthcare, our freedoms living in a democratic society vs the struggle for existence in a communist country. I particularly found it refreshing that Doctorow manages to tackle all these topics without resorting to politics. Deep, deep themes all told within a light-hearted, fun story with a main character one can't help but love as we see her subtly change as she matures, takes control of her life and becomes empowered. I love, love, loved this!

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