Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

New Comics Day: Rant & Rave! 

This is apropos of nothing, but it occurs to me that in the forth-coming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film that Johnny Depp's Wily Wonka is based, in terms of appearance, voice and mannerisms, on Michael Jackson.
Just putting that thought out there.

Also, is it wrong of me that I'm looking forward to the CAPalert analysis of the film more than the film itself?

There was surprisingly very little of note amongst this week's books, unless of course you're thoroughly invested into the Bendis-verse version of the Marvel U. I flipped through the second issue of House of M and was startled to discover that...nope, nothing actually happens in this issue either. Where the first issue was people standing around trying to decide what to do with the Scarlet Witch, this issue was brief snippets of the lives of the X-Men and Avengers in a world where (almost) none of them are actually super-heroes anymore. It's slightly more interesting than the first issue, but it still strikes me as a rather dull way to lead off your big summer cross-over. And those pastel-colored covers still don't impress me.

I've also noted that shipping two books with variant covers in the same week was probably a bad idea. Already the more casual buyer has shied away from the Marvel variants, leaving them to the speculators to purchase. And even they have limited budgets. As Marvel continues to roll out more and more variants, I expect to wind up with more expensive shelf-warmers.

And just to kick Marvel a little bit more, it's not a good sign that my first thought, upon looking at the $100 Fantastic Four Omnibus (with variant cover, naturally) was: "I wonder what kind of printing error this will have which will render it unsellable?"

The only comic I did make time to give a thorough reading to was Shojo Beat. This is one of those magazines that almost goes out of its way to drive home the point that I am not in the target audience. Ads and articles on cosmetics and fashion, interviews with athletes, instructions on how to bake a cake: none of this interests me in the slightest. The first installment of Ai Yazawa's Nana was somewhat frustrating, featuring yet another door-mat of a manga heroine. She's neurotic and boy-crazy and defines herself by her ability to find a man. Luckily, she's not the sole focus of the strip, or I'd write it off now. Absolute Boyfriend I have a strong pre-disposition towards anything Yuu Watase puts out. It's another fairly standard set-up with the neurotic heroine, but it also has a very strong mix of Watase's goofier sense of humor. The set-up also owes a lot to CLAMP's Chobits with the heroine coming into possession of a robotic boyfriend. Given Watase's track record I expect this series to be worthwhile.

I was also looking forward to Kaori Yuki's Godchild, being a fan of her Angel Sanctuary series. And while it's very pretty, the premiere story was a rather trite murder mystery without any actual mystery. And I would have sworn that there was supposed to be a prequel series released in book-form, mentioned in some of the original ad material for the Shojo Beat line, but there's nothing mentioned here. It's the sort of thing that might help to add a little context to the events here, as details about the main character are implied so as to suggest there the reader should already be familiar with the character. Taeko Watanbe's Kaze Hikaru did nothing for me at all. In fact, it was a chore to read, and quickly became very difficult to distinguish between the many nearly identical looking characters.

Marimo Ragawa's Baby and Me was mildly enjoyable, though it would probably benefit from a more consistent tone. It's a series that has potential, and the baby is certainly cute, but even I can experience angst over-load, and if it goes in that direction I'll rapidly lose interest. Surprisingly Mitsuba Takanashi's Crimson Hero was excellent. It has lovely art and an assertive, self-determined heroine. Rather than being a standard, and thus dull to me, sports manga, it sets itself up as a sort of "reverse-harem" manga, with the heroine forced to live in a house full of boys in order to reach her goal of playing volleyball for a prestigious school. I'm very impressed with this initial story and eager to see more of it.


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