Buttons, Bangles and Bows

Whilst looking through the site with a colleague from my place of work, I went onto BOTW and started going through some of the reviews. Now I didn’t tell my co-worker that I was the one who wrote the reviews but his remark was succinct: “What are they doing, reviewing or writing the books?” My reply was said with just a little tongue in cheek, “Yeah, he does go on a bit. Very long-winded, doesn’t get to the point quickly”. So, just for a change I’m going to do some very quick and to the point reviews (and if you think that this is just an excuse for me wanting to get some game play in and being too lazy to do a proper review. You would be partially right).

So, let’s start off with:-

Ghost in the Shell: Man-Machine Interface

Ghost in the Shell panel 1

Ghost in the Shell © Masamune Shirow

First of all Shirow is a God. His art is gorgeous, his attention to detail meticulous and his women are drop-dead sexy. Man-Machine Interface wasn’t meant to be a sequel to his earlier Ghost in the Shell story, but in this new and extended edition from Dark Horse it has become so. Its science and philosophy are definitely hardcore and needs a few readings to appreciate fully but who cares, his women are drop-dead gorgeous! In fact the only drawback is that in its original serial format it was printed in a standard comic book size, but the graphic has been reduced as per its printing in Japan thereby depriving the reader of a lot of beautiful art (and women).

Recommended, so buy it now (did I mention that Shirow draws gorgeous women)

Ghost in the Shell: Man-Machine Interface is by Shirow Masamune and published by Dark Horse priced £18.95

Dirty Pair: Run from the Future

Dirty Pair panel 1

Dirty Pair © Haruka Takachiho

Taking of gorgeous and nubile girls (well, I was anyway) and continuing in this vein let’s have a little blast from the past with Adam Warrens Dirty Pair: Run from the Future. The Dirty Pair were the creations of Haruka Takachio and reflected Japan’s obsession during the ’60′s and ’70′s with female wrestling. The Dirty Pair (or the Lovely Angels, as they like to call themselves) are trouble consultants for the WWWA in the far future. Very good at their jobs (and scantily dressed) they also have an unfortunate knack for leaving mass destruction and billions dead in their wake, but are absolved of this because it’s not directly their fault. The Pair never appeared in the manga format in Japan but this didn’t stop Warren from writing and drawing one of the funniest and satirical series of Amerimanga ever. Warren takes pokes at a lot of scared cows (the best being artists with their self-inflated worth and views about art), the art is wonderful with beautiful digital colouring, gratuitous nudity abounds with the all important accompanying violence and it’s funny as hell.

Buy, buy, buy.

Dirty Pair panel 2

Dirty Pair © Haruka Takachiho

Dirty Pair: Run from the Future is by Adam Warren and published by Dark Horse priced £10.95

Powers: Legends

Deena swears. Deena swears some more. Deena swears a lot more. Deena swears more than anyone in the history of comics. Yep, Powers is exactly the same as always (oh, and Walker solves a homicide case and has to train a new Retro Girl). Get it now.

Powers: Legends is by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, published by Icon (an imprint of Marvel Comics), priced £13.50

Powers panel 1

Powers © Bendis / Oeming

Starman: Sons of the Father

Starman panel 1

Starman © D.C Comics

Elegiac. Ooo, that’s a good word. Can mean either poetic or funereal and that perfectly sums up the last volume in the Starman series by James Robinson and Peter Snejbjerg. It’s also about fatherhood and how that changes a man (or should) and therefore is something every father should read. From Jack’s own son to his father and brother to Superman and Jor-El, it’s all there and is much better with the male bonding than going into a wood and dancing around a campfire naked whilst covered in excrement. But it also acknowledges the power of the feminist icon in that Jack knows it is time to hang up the Starman mantle and pass it on to next generation. As he has been to the future and has some knowledge he knows “That she’ll be magnificent”. A perfect book for those who love family and their past and future generations.

Starman: Sons of the Father is by James Robinson and Peter Snejbjerg, published by DC Comics and priced £10.95


Hey, this is dead easy. Before you know it I’ll be able to write for AICN. So let’s carry on shall we.

Swallow, Seeing Things, Underbelly

I love art books, especially ones that challenge perception. Underbelly by Dave Cooper and Seeing Things by Jim Woodring do this perfectly. Woodring is the creator of Frank and his art book features many of the same hallucinogenic qualities that the regular Frank title has. Disturbing in an organic way its only drawback is that three-quarters of it is in black and white. Underbelly is disturbing in another way. Cooper has a fascination with the, shall we say, somewhat larger woman and this gallery of grotesques, with their large eyes, bearing of teeth and bullying of thinner women brings forth feelings of repulsion and compulsion to know them better.

Underbelly panel 1

Underbelly © Dave Cooper

Seeing Things panel 1

Seeing Things © Jim Woodring

Swallow panel 1

Swallow © IDW

Swallow is a new compendium from IDW featuring the best of old and newer artists. It’s put together by Ashley Wood, definitely one of my favourites and like all compendiums it’s a bit of hit-and-miss affair. There’s nothing wrong with the art contained within, it’s all brilliantly realised and technically proficient but somebody like Phil Hale or Jeremy Geddes feel too slick whilst Celia Calle and Kelsey Shannon have a good pop art style with the right amount of rawness.

Swallow panel 2

Swallow © IDW

Swallow is by Ashley Wood/Various, published by IDW and priced £10.99
Seeing Things is by Jim Woodring, published by Fantagraphics and priced £16.99
Underbelly is by Dave Cooper, published by Fantagraphics and priced £16.99

Genshiken

Genshikken panel 1

Genshikken © Kio Shimoku

The world of the Japanese Otaku can be quite confusing to most Westerners. The best, or nearest equivalent here would be a nerd or geek, but that seems just a bit too insulting for someone who just very interested in something……….

Anyway, where’s the difference in someone who knows every episode of Dr.Who/ Star Trek/ Macross or someone who knows where, how and at what time Harry Potter lost his virginity (what? What do you mean he hasn’t lost it yet? The kid goes to a public school for Gods sake. They’re a hot-bed of lust and perversion, just look at Tomkinson’s Schooldays).

Genshikken panel 2

Genshikken © Kio Shimoku

Genshiken tells about the strange world of the Otaku and how it looks to the outsider, especially a female outsider. Saki Kasukabe just wants to have a normal relationship with her boyfriend Makoto, but the world of anime, manga, cosplay, gaming etc. all get in the way. It doesn’t help that all of the members of Genshiken try and rope her into their activities and it gets worse when a female member joins and she starts to realise that excessiveness is not gender specific. Funny and telling about both sides of the spectrum, so you’ve no excuse to run out and get a copy now.

Genshiken is by Kio Shimoku, published by Del Rey and priced £7.99

Battle Vixens Volume 7

Back to the hot babes of Battle Vixens. Cute Japanese schoolgirls? Check. Large breasts? Check. Kick-ass fighting? Check. Gratuitous pantie shots? Check. Lesbian leanings? Check. Hot hunks? Check. Ripped and revealing clothing? Check.

Ok, that’s all in order. Moving along

Battle Vixens is by Yuji Shiozaki, published by TokyoPop, and priced £6.50

Battle Vixens panel

Battle Vixens © Yuji Shiozaki

Wanted

Ever wanted to know what would happened if all the super-villains took over the world? All is answered in every sordid detail in Wanted by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones. This is just a brilliant tale with the right amount of “just sailing close enough to established characters to get nearly sued” needed to put one over on DC and Marvel. Unfortunately that what really did nearly happen when Eminem’s people found out who Millar had based his anti-hero upon. How Tommy Lee Jones’ lawyers didn’t do the same God only knows. Violent and sexy at the same time, the most fun you can get out of the book is guessing which hero or villain the characters are based on. If you don’t buy this then you’ve no balls (hey, now I’m starting to sound like Warren Ellis. Cool).

Wanted panel 1

Wanted © Millar / Jones

Wanted panel

Wanted © Millar / Jones

Wanted is by Mark Millar and J.G.Jones, published by Top Cow and priced £19.99

And finally……

Boneyard Volume 4

This is another variation on The Munster’s or The Addams Family in that an ordinary person becomes involved with a myriad assortment of night creatures when he inherits a cemetery. But creator Richard Moore has a more subversive take in that whilst the afore-mentioned families were sympathetic and an example of Republican family values the inhabitants of Boneyard remain somewhat true to themselves. Therefore the hell spawn out to kill the entire human race really is out to do so but can’t completely get it right, mostly due to his obsession with Deanna Troy. Or the walking skeleton is really a surly curmudgeon; the werewolf is a leather-clad rocker and the vampiress Abby falls headlong in love with Michael the human owner but has to maintain her exterior Undead cool. How Moore manages to make a swamp creature sexy should probably not be answered.

Boneyard is fun and funny, a perfect antidote to the insipid teenage horror movie fodder that’s become a mainstay of cinema now (I want to see some REAL blood and guts in my horror for Christ’s sake. Not some Paris Hilton wannabee being terrorised by a blue-screen tentacle and I don’t want to go to screening with a bunch of spotty oiks who giggle at the first sight of a nipple).

Boneyard panel 1

Boneyard © Richard Moore

Boneyard panel

Boneyard © Richard Moore

Boneyard Volume 4 is by Richard Moore, published by NBM and priced £6.50

Wow, that was easy. Probably would get a job as a literary critic now, I’ve managed to review eleven books with over 1,500 words without really saying anything. Come to think of it that makes me a perfect television critic, move over A.A.Gill I’m a-coming.