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”



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”



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”



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”