TONY’S TIPS #146

Nimona

I am still working through some problems on my end of this weekly review column, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope it isn’t actually a cartoon train heading for your beloved tipster, though that could be hilarious.

My top pick for the week is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson [HarperTeen; hardcover, $17.99; softcover, $12.99]. Starting out as a webcomic, this National Book Award finalist is a fantasy adventure that is, by turns, action-packed, frightening, funny and poignant. I’d buy the hardcover for your own home library and the softcover to share with family and friends who, afterward, will be forever grateful to you for turning them on to this graphic novel. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #146”

TONY’S TIPS #145

Graphic-Ink

There have been some glitches with the Tales of Wonder blog and, in a perfect storm, some computer problems on my end. All of us regret the delays and assure you that you’ll still get your full monthly complement of “Tony’s Tips” once we get resolve these frustrating problems.

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My top pick this time around is Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke [$39.99], a gorgeous and hefty hardcover volume that showcases the work of one of the most amazing comics creator of our times. Cooke is an Eisner Award-winning cartoonist also known for his work in animation. Whether I’m enjoying one of Cooke’s instant classic covers or reading one of his comics stories, I never fail to be impressed by his economy of line and word and the incredible detail of his work. Yes, I know that sounds like a contradiction. It’s one more reason I find Cooke’s work so amazing. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #145”

TONY’S TIPS #144

Avengers0001

I’m in a Marvel state of mind this week. As much as I disliked the Secret Wars event and the years-in-the-making diminishing of many classic Marvel characters that preceded it, I find myself honestly intrigued by the post-event Marvel Universe. I’m also bemused that the last issues of the universe-shaking series shipped months after the launch of almost all of the post-Secret Wars titles. How does something like that even happen?

Moving on… Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #144”

TONY’S TIPS #143

Groot

I am Groot!

What started out as the never-failing-to-make-me-smile only thing Groot says becomes literally fraught with meaning in Groot #1-6 by Jeff Loveness (writer) and Brian Kesinger (artist). That most terse of phases is echoed by the basic and familiar overall plot for the series.

A bounty hunter named Eris is after Groot. When she can’t get him, she captures Rocket Racoon. She figures Groot will come after his friend and she’s right. Except Groot doesn’t come alone. Along his leisurely path, he collects a sort of Less-Than-Magnificent Five to join his rescue mission. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #143”

TONY’S TIPS #142

Jughead0001

My unexpected pick of the week is Jughead #1 and #2 [Archie Comics; $3.99 each] by Chip Zdarsky with artist Erica Henderson. The reason it caught me by such pleasant surprise is that I didn’t enjoy this publisher’s recent relaunch of Archie. I’ll get back to that other relaunch in a moment.

Jughead has long been my favorite of the Riverdale High characters. I especially enjoyed the first volume of his comic book when it was written by Craig Boldman, my third favorite Archie Comics writer of all time. The first two are Frank Doyle and George Gladir, so Craig is in the best of company. I’ll also get back to him in a moment. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #142”

TONY’S TIPS #141

Peanuts-a-Tribute

Welcome to 2016. I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions per se, but I do hope to continue to recommend great comic books, graphic novels and collections to you. I’d also like to do fewer negative reviews this year, but sometimes I just gotta let you know when an item isn’t worth your hard-earner cash.

My first pick of the week for 2016 is Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz [BOOM! Studios; $34.99]. In celebration of the launch of the Peanuts newspaper strip 65 years ago, editor Shannon Watters gathered over 40 of today’s best cartoonists to honor, arguably, the greatest cartoonist of them all. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #141”

TONY’S TIPS #140

Soldiers-Heart0001

My post-Christmas pick of the week is Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father by Carol Tyler [Fantagraphics Books; $39.99]. In a year filled with wonderful graphic fiction and non-fiction, I fully expect this book to be among the finalists in each and every comics industry awards.

In over 350 pages, Tyler examines her rocky relationship with her dad, a World War II vet who saw combat in the Battle of the Bugle. His war experiences changed and, in many ways, damaged him forever, just as post-war events would change both him and Tyler’s mother. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #140”

TONY’S TIPS #139

Amazing-Spider-Man0001

Since the final issues of Secret Wars have not yet shipped, putting aside the question of how does a publisher allow that to happen, I can only speculate on the state of the Marvel Universe in the wake of that event. The new first issues from Marvel seem to take place several months after Secret Wars. The multiverse seems to have been restored to some extent, but some parallel universes didn’t survive the event. Some characters seem to be back on their own versions of Earth and others now live on whatever Marvel is calling their main universe. This deep thinking makes my brain hurt. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #139”

TONY’S TIPS #138

Usagi-Yojimbo0001

This is the last week I’ll be playing up the “great holiday gift” aspect of my reviews. If you haven’t done all your shopping by next week’s column, then you’re probably going to be stuck with whatever the red light specials are at Kmart.

I bought myself an early birthday/Christmas gift last month. Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition [Fantagraphics; $74.99] is a glorious, two volumes in a slipcase collection of the entire Fantagraphics run of Stan Sakai’s wonderful stories of a rabbit ronin in feudal Japan. These two volumes have well over a thousand pages of comics plus lots of cool extras. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #138”

TONY’S TIPS #137

Trashed0001

My pick of the week is Trashed by Derf Backderf [Abrams; $18.85]. Backderf is the bestselling author of My Friend Dahmer. His  latest graphic novel is “an ode to the crap job of all crap jobs” and is based on Derf’s personal experiences as a garbage collector. It’s an entertaining, informative combo of real-life situations filtered through fiction and downright scary facts about the amount of trash humans have been creating for decades and continue to create every day of our lives.

Virtually every character in Trashed is off in some way. Some are quirky, such as the garbage collector who collects old pianos that are discarded by their former owners. Others are just trying to get through soul-crushing jobs. A few are jerks whose purpose in life seems to be to take bad situations and make them worse. What they have in common is that, at least as Derf presents them, they will fascinate you. Continue reading “TONY’S TIPS #137”