Drawn to Manga September 2015

Manga 60 Years of Japanese Comics

Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics
By Gravatt, Paul
2004-08 – Harper Design

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This lavishly illustrated volume presents an accessible and entertaining introduction to the development and diversity of Japanese comics from the 1940s to the present. Featuring striking graphics and extracts, it covers a wide range of manga, from the life and career of the originator of story manga to manga’s role as a major Japanese export and global influence.


Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima

Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
By Nakazawa, Keiji
2004-09 – Last Gasp

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This harrowing story of Hiroshima was one of the original Japanese manga series. New and unabridged, this is an all-new translation of the author’s first-person experiences of Hiroshima and its aftermath, is a reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people. Its emotions and experiences speak to children and adults everywhere. Volume one of this ten-part series details the events leading up to and immediately following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


Vampire Knight

Vampire Knight, Volume 1
By Hino, Matsuri
2007-01 – Viz Media

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Cross Adademy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!

Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy’s secret. Yuki believes that vampires and humans can coexist peacefully, but her partner has different ideas…


Pokemon Adventures

Pokemon Adventures, Volume 1
By Kusaka, Hidenori
Illustrator Mato
2009-06 – Viz Media

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Red doesn’t want to train Pokmon, he wants to be their friend too. Children can read along as Red embarks on adventures with Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and others that follow the storylines from the video games. Illustrations.


Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball, Volume 1
By Toriyama, Akira
2008-06 – Viz Media

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Before there was “Dragon Ball Z,” there was Akira Toriyama’s action epic “Dragon Ball,” starring the younger version of Son Goku and all the other “Dragon Ball Z” heroes. The VIZBIG edition contains volumes 1-3, bonus color content, and updated text. Young adult.


Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me by Ellen Forney


Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me by Ellen Forney offers a candid look at a period of her life over the course of several years treating her bi-polar disorder.

Forney picks up every rock of her life during that period and shows us the grimy underside. She (literally) draws the merry-go-round ride that describes the mood-swings of manic-depressive, or bi-polar disorder. Her diagnosis was crushing.

Throughout her memoir, she discusses her strongly held stereotype of the “crazy-successful artist”, insisting that all the greats were crazy (and presumably untreated) and if she treats her condition she will ultimately become boring and not creative. She struggles with this idea more after her therapist suggests she has a condition which may require drug treatment. Forney wants to get “better” but insists that she and her art will be negatively affected. This is a common image held by people with mental disorders.

It sounds a bit like, “I am who I am and I want to feel good about myself, but there’s something wrong with me. If I acknowledge that and treat this condition which ultimately contributes to who I am, am I making myself less than myself.”

In Forney’s eyes, her mental disorder is simultaneously a stigma and a badge of honor or a membership card into “The Van Gogh Club”, as she calls it. Thankfully, she had a wonderful support system of friends and family who were able to help her cope with her diagnosis and treatment.

Forney cycled through many drug treatments before (acknowledging that recreational drugs may have been affecting how her body reacted to treatment and) finding the correct doses that balanced her mental state while allowing her to flourish creatively.

Forney was fortunate to know about her mother’s struggles with mental illness and had been seeing a therapist before being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Not everyone has the support they need. If you or someone you know needs help please use the resources listed below or call 911.

Palm Beach County Helplines
Crisis Line – 24 Hr/7 Days a Week 211 or 561-383-1111 (PBC)
Abuse Hotline 800-962-2873
Homeless Helpline 800-493-5902
Mobile Crisis Team 561-383-5777
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255, 800-784-2433

Drawn to Manga August 2015


Akira, Volume 1
By Otomo, Katsuhiro
2009-10 – Kodansha Comics

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Welcome to Neo-Tokyo, built on the ashes of a Tokyo annihilated by a blast of unknown origin that triggered World War III. The lives of two streetwise teenage friends, Tetsuo and Kaneda, change forever when paranormal abilities begin to waken in Tetsuo, making him a target for a shadowy agency that will stop at nothing to prevent another catastrophe like the one that leveled Tokyo. At the core of the agency’s motivation is a raw, all-consuming fear of an unthinkable, monstrous power known only as Akira.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s stunning science fiction masterpiece is considered by many to be the finest work of graphic fiction ever produced, and Otomo’s brilliant animated film version is regarded worldwide as a classic.

This edition includes a new foreword from the author and a postscript from Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson!


Master Keaton

Master Keaton, Volume 1
by Nagasaki, Takashi; Katsushika, Hokusei
Art by Urasawa, Naoki
2014-12 – Viz Media

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Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of a Japanese zoologist and a noble English woman, is an insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. Educated in archaeology and a former member of the SAS, Master Keaton uses his knowledge and combat training to uncover buried secrets, thwart would-be villains, and pursue the truth…

When a life insurance policy worth one million pounds takes Master Keaton to the Dodecanese islands of Greece, what will he discover amidst his scuffles with bloodthirsty thieves and assassins?



Monster, Vol. 1: The Perfect Edition
By Urasawa, Naoki
2014-07 – Viz Media

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Johan is a cold and calculating killer with a mysterious past, and brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him Conspiracy and serial murder open the door to a compelling, intricately woven plot in this masterwork of suspense.

Everyone faces uncertainty at some point in their lives. Even a brilliant surgeon like Kenzo Tenma is no exception. But there’s no way he could have known that his decision to stop chasing professional success and instead concentrate on his oath to save peoples’ lives would result in the birth of an abomination. The questions of good and evil now take on a terrifyingly real dimension. Years later, in Germany during the tumultuous post-reunification period, middle-aged childless couples are being killed one after another. The serial killer’s identity is known. The reasons why he kills are not. Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”


Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2
By Takahashi, Rumiko
2014-03 – Viz Media

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One day, teenaged martial artist Ranma Saotome went on a training mission with his father and ended up taking a dive into some cursed springs at a legendary training ground in China. Now, every time he’s splashed with cold water, he changes into a girl. His father, Genma, changes into a panda What’s a half-guy, half-girl to do? Years ago, Genma promised his old friend Soun Tendo that Ranma would marry one of Soun’s three daughters and carry on the family’s martial arts school. Except that the girl picked to be Ranma’s bride doesn’t seem to like him, Ranma keeps getting into fights, and did we mention that whole changing into a girl thing?


Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket, Volume 1
By Takaya, Natsuki
2007-10 – TokyoPop

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This premium hardcover includes Volumes 1 and 2 of the popular “Fruits Basket “series, featuring interior color art, a new cover, a new Foreword, and an autograph from the creator.


Superman: Red Son

Superman Red Son Superman: Red Son is an Elseworld* story depicting what the Cold War would have been like if our “good old American farm boy” landed in Soviet Russia rather than Kansas, USA. The Soviets waste no time in capitalizing on Superman’s powers. Stalin has even taken him on as a protege, hoping to have Superman take control of Russia after him.

It’s interesting to note that in Red Son Superman doesn’t have an alter-ego. He never has to hide his powers – he is always Superman. This is sometimes jarring to those of us familiar with the humanized side of Clark Kent. Many of Superman’s actions in Red Son would have benefited from Kent’s moral decision-making.

This is the first Elseworld story I’ve read and I really enjoyed seeing familiar characters in unfamiliar situations. For example, Lois Lane still works at the Daily Planet, but since she never meets Superman she ends up with Lex Luthor. Without Superman to foil his plans in the U.S., Lex eventually becomes president. Hippolyta and the Amazons originally rub elbows with Stalin. My best guess for this change is because the only other “super” is in Russia and not the U.S.

Red Son was published in 2004 and I have to say that I’ve heard of it but I’m honestly surprised that I had never heard about the ending. No spoilers here except that apparently Grant Morrison gave Mark Millar the idea for the mind-bending Elseworld ending. If that gives you any clue as to what’s in store… I almost dropped the book when I read it. I just can’t believe no one had ever spoiled it for me. Thank you, geekdom!

Red Son is definitely a must-read for Superman fans and for superhero fans who want to see something different from our heroes.

*Elseworld stories take our heroes from their usual settings and puts them into strange times and places – some that have existed and others that can’t, couldn’t, or shouldn’t exist.

Top Ten Graphic Novels of July 2015

The top ten best-selling graphic novels of July 2015 were:


*published by Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. Diamond Announces Top Products for July 2015

Data for Diamond’s sales charts — which includes the monthly market shares and all top product charts — are compiled by Diamond Comic Distributors from sales made to thousands of comic book specialty shops located in North America and around the world.  Additional sales made to online merchants and other specialty retailers may be included as well.

The Strain is back on FX!

The Strain


This Sunday FX will air the fifth episode (season 2) of The Strain, based on Guillermo del Toro’s novel trilogy and comic book series.

If you missed season one, I’ll give you a quick recap. The Strain follows CDC scientist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his companions as they uncover the truth behind a mysterious “viral outbreak” that has claimed the lives of a Boeing 767 full of passengers. As the virus continues to spread across New York City, Eph and his team discover the threat is far more supernatural and considerably more dangerous to the human race. (Psst, it’s vampires.)

Season 2 continues the epic battle between the Master and the human race. Our heroes have injured the Master, but he has a plan to hit Eph close to home and destroy his long-time rival, the vampire hunter expert Abraham Setrakian.

Del Toro’s horror chops shine with this series. The grotesque aspect of the human transformations and the bizarre visage of the Master obliterates the favorable romantic image of the vampire (no sparkles, no gorgeous brooding, etc.) and leaves me with chills.

PBCLS has volumes one and two of the graphic novel interpretation of the Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain.
You can check out more of del Toro’s The Strain trilogy at your local library.

Drawn to Comics August 2015 – Spotlight on Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four Volume One Fall of the Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four Volume 1: The Fall of the Fantastic Four
Robinson, James
Illustrator Kirk, Leonard
2014-09 – Marvel Comics

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The world’s greatest comics magazine begins anew But as the Fantastic Four embark on a strange mission, they aren’t met with new beginnings, but an untimely end Marvel’s first family heads towards their darkest hour, but who is behind their downfall? Manhattan is under attack by a killer swarm from a corrupted pocket universe, and in order to defeat it, the Human Torch must make a terrible sacrifice And with one member down, a new menace emerges: the Wrecking Crew, their powers mysteriously elevated As Ben and Alicia’s romance rekindles, the threats of Fin Fang Foom, the Wizard and the Puppet Master loom, the Baxter Building is quarantined, and the Fantastic Four are held accountable for the destruction in Manhattan It’s the trial of the century, and a major turning point for the family.

More from Robinson’s run of FF.

Fantastic Four New departure, new arrivals

Fantastic Four, Volume 1: New Departure, New Arrivals
By Fraction, Matt
Illustrator Bagley, Mark
Illustrator Allred, Mike
2013-04 – Marvel Comics Group

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We have seen the future and it will be fantastic When Reed and Sue decide that the family needs to relax, they take Ben, Johnny and the kids on a little vacation … through all of infinite time and space And in the real absence of Marvel’s First Family, a substitute FF, hand-picked by the real deal – Ant-Man, Medusa, She-Hulk and the all-new Miss Thing – stand ready to guard the Earth and the nascent Future Foundation … for the four minutes that the Fantastic Four will be gone. What could possibly go wrong?


FF Island of death

Island of Death
By Beland, Tom
Illustrator Doe, Juan
2013-02 – Marvel Comics Group

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All three of the Fantastic Four’s Puerto Rican adventures Marvel’s First Family investigates a long-kept secret, bringing them to the island of Puerto Rico – face-to-face with an old nemesis and a creature known as el Chupacabras. Then, it’s a return trip to the tropics, and the Human Torch is bringing his good buddy Spider-Man. They must find out what has turned the island of Vieques’ tranquil bay into a giant radioactive monster.


Fantastic Four. Season one

Fantastic Four Season One
By Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Illustrator Marquez, David
2012-02 – Marvel Comics Group

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There is an order to everything. A balance to the world and the nether-realms beneath the world. And now that balance is being tipped, as dark forces gather like a storm. The occult mutants known as Salem’s Seven are once more banding together. But this time, it’s to bring their father, the nefarious Nicholas Scratch, back to life. If they should somehow succeed… pray for the Fantastic Four’s souls!


Fantastic 4. The master of doom

The Master of Doom
By Millar, Mark
Illustrator Hitch, Bryan
2009-10 – Marvel Comics

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Who are the Masters of Doom? Millar and Hitch take a journey into a previously unexplored chapter in the life of Doctor Doom. Also, the story we had to call “A Fantastic Four Wedding And A Funeral.” Plus, Mister and Mrs. Thing!