archive for the 'Real Life' category


There’s a danger in creating science fiction for the ideas to overwhelm the story and characters. That doesn’t happen altogether in Contraband, but the book suffers from it.
The story is set in the near future, and attempts to extrapolate the evolution of mobile media technology and the impact of online user-generated video content on [...]

Phonogram: Rue Britannia

The creator bios for Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie concede that neither of them is technically a “young person” anymore. So what does that say about someone actually too old to get most of the neo-nostalgic pop-culture references that permeate the magical and musical story of Phonogram: Rue Britannia?
It’s OK; I can take it. [...]

The Originals

There’s a bit of irony in the title of The Originals. Despite the futuristic trappings, it’s a rather thinly disguised story about teenagers in 1960s England. The Orginals ride hoverscooters and their parkas have evolved a bit, but they’re obviously Mods. Likewise the Dirt ride hovercycles, but the leather jackets are the [...]

Carnet de Voyage

You don’t have to be a wannabe cartoonist to harbor some resentment for Craig Thompson.
It does help, though.
Having his first graphic novel (Goodbye Chunky Rice) heralded as a brilliant debut, having his second (actually-novel-length) graphic novel (Blankets) become the poster child for serious sequential art for the year it came out, and then have his [...]

Superman: Secret Identity

One of the common dismissals of the superhero genre is that it’s too limited. It’s all about juvenile morality plays and adolescent power fantasies, and that’s all it’s good for. Kurt Busiek is one of the writers who thinks it’s useful for more than that, and Superman: Secret Identity is one effort prove [...]

To Afghanistan and Back

No matter how you look at him, Ted Rall is an ass.
If you used to watch Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” you were probably annoyed by his snotty off-topic post-9/11 comments about the illegitimacy of the G.W.Bush presidency. If you’ve seen his cartoons in your local alternative paper, you’ve probably had enough of his crude, blocky [...]

Pedro and Me

Anybody who’s listened to me for any length of time about How I Read Comics (and the corollary topic of How Comics Should Be Published) knows that I don’t like stories to be serialised, because I’d rather sit down for an hour (or a few, if I’m lucky and get something really meaty) and read [...]

You Are Here

Kyle Baker is a minor legend among many comics fans. Some of this is due to Why I Hate Saturn, a comicbook seemingly designed to appeal to people who don’t like comicbooks (but do like books that are comic), the rest is for the legendary greatness of The Cowboy Wally Show, a comedic graphic [...]

Young Hoods in Love

This item sounded interesting when it came out in 1995, but the $9.95 price tag for a fairly slim volume caused me to balk. Recently my retailer had several copies at half off cover price, so I picked it up. It was definitely worth it at that price, and probably would have been [...]

V for Vendetta

Any serious superhero reader eventually gets around to reading Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. It’s required. But unless they mistake the cover painting for the Joker, superhero fans are less likely to pick up V for Vendetta, Moore’s more reality-based work from the same period. They should. So should anyone with [...]


I’m told that there was a seven-year delay between the original release of Strips #9 and the recent #10, meaning that this review of #1 would seem like rather old news. But creator Chuck Austen has just started a re-release of the original series in “special editions”. Curious about what the series was [...]

A Touch of Silver

Nostalgia is big these days. Not just the fashion czars’ dictates of bellbottoms and sideburns, but especially in the realm of comics. It’s only natural in these uncertain times to look back at the good old days. That’s what Jim Valentino has done with A Touch of Silver. But he’s cheating; [...]