Southern Fried Fangirl vs. NetGalley

I have this little program called ComiPo and I thought it might be fun to make little web comics for my blog.  Here’s my first attempt.

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Starve, Volume 1 by Brian Wood

Starve, Volume 1Starve, Volume 1 by Brian Wood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Starve is one of the most unique books I’ve read recently. It’s listed as being dystopian horror; but I didn’t find the story to be particularly horrific. It probably does have a certain ick factor for those who are squeamish about animal slaughter. So I guess it’s maybe horrific to vegetarians?

Set sometime in the not too distant future the book is about an uber famous chief named Gavin Cruikshank. Apparently at the cusp of his career and in the middle of taping his TV show STARVE, he decides to come out to his wife of like 20 years that he’s gay and then takes off halfway around the globe. Years pass and he’s living a sort of skeevy life of drug and alcohol addiction when the network finally catches up to him and he’s told he has to finish taping the season of STARVE he ran away from. So, Chief Gavin is forced to go back and face the wife and daughter he abandoned; and he also has to deal with the fact that his foodie television program has morphed into a exabitionist, over the top arena show for the super-rich.

Some of the things that go on on the TV show are just nutty. It really reminds me of the type of plots you sometimes see in Japanese manga. I’m trying to come up with a good way to describe it but it’s like it takes these mundane events to abnormal extremes. There are weird obsessions and high drama… I really actually thought the story was pretty compelling.

I just can’t say that I’m liking the art too much paired with this story. It’s very dark and stylised with extremely limited color pallets throughout. The kind of art that pairs best with crime noir and horror comics. I don’t hate the art, I just didn’t think it suited the story well. Maybe if the book had more horror elements in it? Or if the faces were drawn more expressive?

Near the front of the book, it’s very green…

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The story takes place in New York.

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His daughters supposed to be 18 or so I think.  She seems to be very mature for her age.
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I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley’s Read It Now program in exchange for feedback and a review.

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Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King

Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At DawnGrayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have so much love for this volume of Grayson. I was a bit neutral on the first volume but I’ve really warmed up to the storyline and have gotten totally into it. I think I just needed a little time to adjust my mindset to this new take on the character. The story is exciting and fun. I didn’t even put it down, I just read it straight through. Volume 2 reprints GRAYSON #5-9, and GRAYSON ANNUAL #1.

The title of this volume is We All Die At Dawn, and pays homage to the classic Batman story Robin Dies At Dawn, originally published in Batman #156. This story is actually referenced in the first part of the book as Grayson recounts the events from his point of view. That issue of Batman is reprinted in Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told [ISBN# 978-0446391238] if you would like to track down the source material.

This story picks up where the first volume left off and continues the macabre organ hunt across the desert. Midnighter features prominently in these stories as well and there are some fun interactions between Dick and he. I know that Dick actually appears in the Midnighter series as well but that volume isn’t available yet so I’m not sure how interwoven those stories are, or if they even have anything to do with each other. Good to know though if you like this one.

The second part that takes place in Ireland, and I enjoyed the storytelling style that was implemented. I really thought it was fun. Tom King certainly depicted a version of Grayson that I felt was particularly keeping with his long and varied history. I was actually reminded of the often maligned and underappreciated Devin Grayson run on Gotham Knights and Nightwing. Mostly for the ambiguous sexuality that she sort of played on in her run.

The last part of the graphic novel seems to be setting up a new story arc. We also get to see the girls from the academy again.

And of course this volume also has great art in it. I especially enjoy the spiral motifs used some places, that give it that funky retro vibe. So when is volume three coming out anyway? I’m ready for it now!

Dick’s POV from Batman #156:

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I’m down with Tom King’s take on who Dick is.

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I’m still not crazy about Helena but she was less annoying in this volume, mostly because she wasn’t that important to the plot.

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They call me Rock, Rockin’ Rob… Tweet.  Tweet.  Tweet.

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And Grayson’s fanclub:

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I received an advance reader’s copy of this book through NetGalley’s read and review program; but I’ll be buying a copy of this one to keep ASAP.

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Jupiter’s Circle, Vol. 1 by Mark Millar

Jupiter's Circle, Vol. 1Jupiter’s Circle, Vol. 1 by Mark Millar

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Even when I know that I’ve hated other works by an author there’s always the hope when I read a new graphic novel that I’ll just love this one. Maybe this story will be something I like. That didn’t happen here, and maybe I should have know better from the get go.

Mark Millar appears to have only one character archetype in his arsenal and that type is douchebag. This has got to be one of the most banal comics I’ve ever stumbled across. No mystery, no action, no heroes, and apparently no overarching plot. If there is any theme to be plucked out of this I guess it’s the exploration of people who weren’t conforming to mid century social values.

I dislike Mark Millar’s use of actual people in this story. He takes every opportunity to present everyone in the worst possible light. It annoys me. Is it so hard to make up your own characters for these roles?

Gee, where have I seen that building before?  Looks a lot like DC’s Hall of Justice to me. :-/

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J. Edgar Hoover plays the part of blackmailer.

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The Flare is a cheating scumbag.

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When Skyfox isn’t drinking himself silly he thinks it’s fun to steal his teammates apartments.

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Jupiter’s Circle is a prequel to another book called Jupiter’s Legacy. I got this book from the Humble Comics Bundle Image Featuring Creators Own Worlds. I’ve given it two stars primarily for the art and character designs that I liked.

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Kaptara, Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien by Chip Zdarsky

Kaptara, Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny AlienKaptara, Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien by Chip Zdarsky

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What did I just read? Uck. I didn’t like this. The description of this book said:

“Keith Kanga crash lands on KAPTARA, a world filled with danger and weird danger and dangerous weirdos! And if he can’t survive, then Earth, the place where YOU live, is doomed! Come check out this sci-fi comedy from Chip Zdarsky (SEX CRIMINALS) and Kagan McLeod (Infinite Kung-Fu). Collects KAPTARA #1-5.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t this 1984-Saturday-Morning-Cartoons-on-Crack-Pink-and-Purple-Furies-Abound-Story. I don’t really know what else to call it, but mostly it reminds me of like a really crappy version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

And I didn’t find it funny. I didn’t even smile once. I’m sure that my overall expression was one of distaste. In the end I guess I’ll just say that this is just not my thing.

A few page samples so you can see the art style:

This is Keith, starting to feel guilty I guess.

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Keith meeting the Queen in her throne room.

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Cover showing I guess what could be  considered the adventuring party.

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I obtained this book through NetGalley’s Read It Now program at first but I also own a digital copy that was included in Humble Comics Bundle Image Featuring Creators Own Worlds.

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Humble Comics Bundle Image Featuring Creators Own Worlds

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If you do digital comics make sure not to miss Humble Comics Bundle Image Featuring Creators Own Worlds.  These are a great way to try comics you might not usually get on the cheap.   There is a huge incentive to go for the top tier on this one because it includes Invincible Issues #1-47 and Stray Bullets #1-41.

The first pay what you want tier includes:

ODY-C Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction, Christian Ward
Virgil by Steve Orlando, JD Faith
Self-Obsessed by Sina Grace
No Mercy by Alex de Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, Jenn Manley Lee
Phonogram Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie
Wolf Vol. 1 by Ales Kot, Matt Taylor, Lee Loughridge
Kaptara Vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky, Kagan Mcleod
Sunstone Vol.1 by Stjepan Sejic
Wytches Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, JOCK
Image Comics Humble Bundle Preview Book 2016
Image Comics New Issues + New Arcs Pack

The second tier priced at $15.65 includes the first tier plus:

Injection Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey
Saga Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Just The Tips by Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky
Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta
Nowhere Men Vol. 1 by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire
Jupiter’s Circle Vol. 1 by Mark Millar, Wilfredo Torres, Davide Gianfelice
Trees Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis, Jason Howard
Rat Queens Special: Braga #1 Tess Fowler, Roc Upchurch
Saga Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Phonogram Vol. 2 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie
Descender Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen

And the top tier is priced at $20 or more and includes the first two tiers plus:

Low Vol. 1 by Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini
Bitch Planet Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson IV
Wayward Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch, Tamra Bonvillain
Invincible Compendium (Issues #1-47) by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker
Stray Bullets #1-41 by David Lapham

 

Ben and Jerry Book Tag

Earlier this week I was tagged by theorangutanlibrarian to do this Ben and Jerry Book Tag.  I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task or not but it seemed like a fun idea, so I thought I’d try it.  🙂  I decided to keep my answers in theme with my blog which is primarily dedicated to comics, manga, and the like.  This is my first time doing something like this but hopefully I understand how to do it right… you’ll have to let me know if I screwed it up.

VANILLA CARAMEL FUDGE: PICK A LIGHT, FLUFFY CONTEMPORARY

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Love★Com, Vol. 1 by Aya Nakahara – The often amusing misadventures and eventual romance of a tall girl and a short boy. Contemporaries aren’t my go to genre but this one is a favorite for it’s humor and sweetness.

MINT CHOCOLATE COOKIE: A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU WISH EVERYBODY WOULD READ

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Grayson, Vol 1: Agents of Spyral by Tom King, Tim Seeley – Spinning out of events in Batman Inc. and Forever Evil this volume marks a turning point in the direction of the life of the original Robin.  Dick Grayson is my favorite character and I’ve followed him through thick and thin.  This newest chapter in Grayson’s story has been growing on me as it progresses.

CHERRY GARCIA: AN ENDING THAT WAS BITTERSWEET

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The Sandman, Vol. 10: The Wake by Neil Gaiman – Oh, so bittersweet and strange.  Do dreams die?  The last collected volume of the original Sandan run.  This masterpiece will need to be read from beginning to end to be fully appreciated.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: A BOOK CONTAINING YOUR OTP OF OTPS

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Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play, Vol. 01: Priestess by Yuu Watase – This was a hard decision but the epic love story of Miaka and Tamahome is among one of my most beloved One True Pairings.  This is also one of the first manga that I can remember ever reading.

MILK AND COOKIES: TWO AUTHORS THAT IF THEY COLLABORATED, THEY WOULD GO PERFECTLY TOGETHER

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Geoff Johns and Ed Brubaker – Both of these guys have done fantastic work breathing new life into old characters.  I don’t know if these guys have ever worked together or not.

BOSTON CREAM PIE: A BOOK THAT HAD YOU TURNING YOUR PAGES LATE INTO THE NIGHT

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Forever Evil by Geoff Johns, David Finch, Richard Friend – This was the story that promised the final fate of Dick Grayson.  I hung on pins and needles for fear that my favorite character would be killed off in this storyline.

CHOCOLATE THERAPY: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER AFTER A LONG DAY OF LIFE

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Legendary Star-Lord, Vol. 1: Face It, I Rule by Sam Humphries, Paco Medina – The height of escapist fiction and it doesn’t hurt that the storylines include my favorite Marvel character Kitty Pryde.

COFFEE, COFFEE, BUZZBUZZBUZZ!: A BOOK NOT YET RELEASED THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON

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Grayson, Vol 2: We All Die At Dawn by Tom King, Tim Seeley, Mikel Janin, Steven Mooney – The second volume of my beloved Grayson will be released soon.  I can’t wait to read it!

Well that’s it! 🙂  I know I’m supposed to tag others at the end of this but my blogs pretty new and I don’t have many followers yet — but if anyone wants to take up the challenge please feel free

The Flash, Vol. 7: Savage World by Robert Venditti, Brett Booth

The Flash, Vol. 7: Savage WorldThe Flash, Vol. 7: Savage World by Robert Venditti

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Flash, Vol. 7 is titled Savage World, and it’s a reference to the savage land of the speed force. A place populated with dinosaurs, robots, and strange jungle like vegetation. It is a place where lost souls throughout time have fallen into and desperately try to survive amongst the dangerous environment. This is the place where a powless Barry Allen finds himself at the beginning of our tale.

He covers his face but not his chest… I wonder what he’s hiding his identity for out there in the jungle…

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A stampede of cyborg beasties!  Just what kind of place has Barry woken up to?

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Meanwhile Barry’s life has been usurped by a bitter and more angry future version of himself wearing a blue costume. Armed with future knowledge; what will he be willing to do to stop events from happening as they did in his past? Will the Barry trapped in the Savage World be able to regain his powers and get home? And what repercussions will future Barry’s actions have on the present?

Future Barry’s blue-black costume is interesting, but reminds me a little too much of Black Bolt from Marvel Comics.

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Patty senses something isn’t quite right…

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Savage World delivers a larger than life adventure story reminiscent of Journey to the Center of the Earth while simultaneously exploring the philosophical question if you could go back in time would you kill a killer before he commits his crime?

Artistically I find next to nothing to complain about except a few slight inconsistencies in facial shape; and one or two page layouts where I think a heavier outline would have given better definition to the layered panels. Other than that this the artwork is synonymous with the high caliber, dynamic art I usually associate with DC comics.

Extended Review with pictures:

in a few minutes

I received an advance reader’s copy of this graphic novel through NetGalley’s read and review program.

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Superheroes and Comic Book Club – January 2016 Update

Our Goodreads group Superheroes and Comic Book Club are into our January reads right now.  Our prose novel selection for January/February is  The Awesome Adventures of Pickle Boy by Jack Bee and our January graphic novel selection is Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli.

Come join the group if you haven’t already. 🙂

 

The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin

The Private Eye: The Cloudburst EditionThe Private Eye: The Cloudburst Edition by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have some mixed thoughts about this book. On one hand if I was judging this based on some of the sentiments expressed within it I would probably just one star it. It’s mainly the barrage on anti-internet propaganda speech that I found annoying and preachy sounding. I’m considering if it’s intended to be satire, but I just can’t tell. It’s ambiguity and thinking too hard about it made me grumpy. On the other hand the pacing is good, the art sort of grew on me, and otherwise the technical aspects are fairly well done. It’s just the subject matter that I couldn’t entirely get down with.

There is a fair amount of profanity and adult content, but I didn’t feel that it derailed the story.  I would consider this one inappropriate for children.

I suppose you could consider this a dystopia; the whole premise of the story is that at some point in the future. The digital “Cloud” bursts and all of society’s dirty little secrets come pouring out. What follows is apparently the rise of the tin foil hat society. Oh, the horror! The humanity! Everyone’s life is ruined! The internet is EVIL, therefore we must ban it all! We must protect our privacy at all costs. Now we will all wear costumes and create alias to hide behind. It’s ridiculous reactionary nonsense, so it’s kind of hard for me to get into.

I sort of had to shove logic into the ether and concentrate on the futuristic crime noir aspects. This is the portion of the story that worked for me. A beautiful woman walks into a P.l.’s office. She has a job for him. He reluctantly takes the job but no sooner than he’s started she ends up dead. What has the dead woman gotten him into? It has a few nice twists and turns as the P.I. is blackmailed by his client’s sister into investigating her death.

A few notes about the artwork. First off they used a wide format for it. It’s nice for digital reading but I have no idea how it translated into printed form because of that. Most of the comic is bright, and some of the color combinations took some getting used to. I noted a fair amount of undetailed backgrounds. I didn’t like the art at first but warmed up to it… it’s hard to describe really. Somewhat cartoony? Slightly cute? I think it works with the story.

P.I. working a job.

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There are some interesting costumes shown in the book.  I like the masks these guys are wearing, sort of reminds me of the Rocketeer.

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Why so many bandaids, I wonder?

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I did really like some of the vehicle shown.  They have a bit of that mid century chrome and frills look to them.

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I selected this book from NetGalley’s Read It Now program in exchange for feedback and a review.

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