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Sunday, 28 February 2010

LGBT History month closes

As February ends so does our second themed week.  We hope you've enjoyed the series and that you've found some interesting books to follow up.  We think we've pointed out a few special gems over this last week and previously, so as a recap here is a list of comics featuring LGBT characters:

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Fun Home - LGBT History month continues


Writer and Artist:  Alison Bechdel

What's it about?
Subtitled 'A Family Tragicomic' this is the story of Bechdel's family life, her emergent sexuality and her father's sexuality.

Bruce Bechdel is an English teacher and Funeral Director.  He is obsessed with restoring the family's Victorian home, constantly rearranaging, redecorating, fixing, buffing, shining, wallpapering and hanging things within the house.  He is an avid reader and a lot of his and Alison's relationship is conducted through literary discussion.  When Alison is in college her Mother tells her that her Father has had many affairs throughout the years, all with men.

Against the chaotic background of Bechdel's home life she chronicles her experiences about life in the Fun Home (funeral parlour), her mother's amateur acting career, her developing anxiety, her gender expression and her discovery of lesbianism.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Questionable Content (as part of LGBT History Month)

a webcomic by Jeph Jacques

What’s It About?
QC is a slice-of-life relationship comedy. Principally it follows the lives of two roommates, Marten Reed and Faye Whitaker in a world slightly weirder than our own. Marten owns a small, self-aware robot (an AnthroPC) by the name of Pintsize who is probably more trouble than he’s worth and never more so than when he installs a laser in his CD tray. The strip is about their relationships with each other, their friends, their employers, families, even more psychotic robots and a superheroine who delivers pizza.

The reason I’m including this strip as my LGBT History Month review is the varied collection of sexualities in the cast including characters who are bisexual, gay, lesbian and even one character whose orientation is towards polyamory rather than monogamy.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Moon and Sandals (as part of LGBT history month)

It's LGBT history month in the UK.  To celebrate, we thought we'd recommend some books featuring positive portrayals of Lesbian. Gay, Bisexual, Trans people.  To see books we've featured in the past, go here and scroll through the entries.
On with the review...


Writer and Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga

What's it about?
This is a Yaoi title.  Yaoi means boys love and is the name given to manga about male couples.  Yaoi can be explicitly about sex, or can be more about the relationship side of things.  Some of it can be a coming out narrative, some of it can just be two men getting it on.  A lot of it is written by women, for women.  The female equivalent is called Yuri.

As for this particular Yaoi book, this is a classic romance story of first love and first relationships.  Kobayashi is a student with a crush on newly graduated teacher Mr Ida.  Kobayashi finally plucks up the courage to confess his feelings to Ida, and ends this proclamation with a kiss.  Unfortunately, things do not run smoothly as Ida's ex arrives back on the scene.  All is not lost for Kobayashi as he gets to know student Narumi.  Narumi is cute but a loner, he reluctantly agrees to tutor Kobayashi in return for lunch.  Feelings develop but bring back painful memories and the budding relationship could go either way.

This title does contain some sex, but it's not particularly explicit and a lot is left to the imagination.  However, I have labelled the post mature readers because I don't think it's particularly suitable for young teens or children. 

Friday, 19 February 2010

Blog slowdown

I am sorry to announce that this blog will soon experience a slowdown in posts.  The reason for this is that one contributor, Saranga, is currently on the hunt for new employment.  Reviews will still be posted, but in a much less regular fashion than before.

To help us out in this period, if anyone would like to become a reviewer for the site, whether you fancy submitting one review or becoming a regular contributor, please email us on paicomics [@] yahoo dot co dot uk.  Tell us what you'd like to review and include either a link to your website or blog, or include a sample of your writing.

Thank you for your patience and we hope to be back to a regular posting schedule soon.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Green Lantern/Green Arrow volume one

Writer: Dennis O’Neil
Pencils: Neal Adams
Inks: Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Frank Giacoia, Dan Adkins and Berni Wrightson
Colours: Cory Adams and Jack Adler
Publisher: DC Comics

What’s It About?
Hal Jordan is the Green Lantern: a sort of outer space policeman dedicated to enforcing law and order on Earth and in surrounding space with a ring that can create any construct he can imagine. Oliver Queen is Green Arrow: once rich, now poor, he fights on the streets for the underdog armed only with his bow and arrow and a ready wit.

Forced to question his faith in authority, Hal begins a journey to discover the “real” spirit of America with Ollie as his guide. Accompanied by one of Hal’s superior officers, the immortal Guardian, they set off in a battered pick-up truck to cross the country and reconnect Hal with his own species after so long out in space.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Books of Magic volume 1


Writer: Neil Gaiman
Illustrators: John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess and Paul Johnston
Letterer: Todd Klein
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

What's good about it?
Timothy Hunter is an English 12 year old boy.  He is offered the chance to take magic into his life and become the greatest mage ever known.  He learns about the power of names, journeys into the past to witness the beginning of time, meets the greatest mages of all eras, visits faerie and the delights of the fairy market, travels to the future and sees a tarot deck made real.  Finally, a decision.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentine's season now concluded

We hope that you have enjoyed our last few days of romance themed comics.  We promise that next year we will start the event a bit earlier.

Now back to our regularly scheduled reviews.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Love Roma

Writer and artist: Minoru Toyoda 

What's it about?
Quite simply, it's a Japanese manga about a fledgling high school romance.   The book opens with Hoshino asking Negishi on a date, at lunchtime, in front of all their classmates.  Negishi is a little surprised at this as she has no idea who Hoshino is.  Nevertheless he convinces her to go on a date with him.

The rest of the book covers the standard relationship stuff - the first kiss, meeting the parents, love rivals, fortune telling, and ahem, a battle of the lunches.  Maybe not quite so standard then!  After all, Hoshino is not your usual high school boy.  He is very honest, very earnest and not quite accustomed to social conventions.  Negishi often finds herself embarrassed by him and his actions but as they get to know each other she becomes quite fond of him.  Then you have you the best friends - scheming Yoko and cool Tsukuhara - who are doing all they can to make the relationship flourish.

Add to this mix a few other memorable characters which I shall leave you to discover, and you've got a great cast to flesh out an interesting story.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life

written and drawn by Bryan Lee O’Malley
publisher: Fourth Estate

“My name is Matthew Patel… and I’m Ramona’s first evil ex-boyfriend!”

What’s It About?
Scott Pilgrim is twenty-three years old, between jobs, in a band, sharing a single-room (and single bed) apartment with his friend Wallace and trying to find his way in the world after university. The Scott Pilgrim series tells the story not only of his trials and tribulations in his music but also the story of his relationship with “American ninja delivery girl” Ramona Flowers.

Every relationship has baggage, though, and Scott has to fight and defeat Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to keep dating her.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


As part of our Valentine's season, please read on and discover a tale set in 1950s Paris

Writer: Andi Watson
Art: Simon Gane
Publisher: SLG publishing

What's it about?
Set in 1950s Paris, American art student Juliet is broke, living in a shared flat with bohemian Parisians, and studying at a prestigious art school.  One day she is commissioned to paint a portrait of a young English woman named Deborah.  Deborah is residing in Paris with her overbearing Aunt, who is also acting as Chaperone.  They meet and a soft and gentle romance develops between the art lovers, unfortunately events conspire to keep them apart.

Timely Reminders of Old Love Songs

It being the week of Valentine’s Day, we at New Readers have decided to throw out a few more romantic recommendations in honour of the occasion. However, we fully recognise we’ve left it a bit late (never too early to buy for next year, mind…) so here are a few links back to previous reviews of comics with a touch of romance about them.

Student-house coupling in Andrew James’ webcomic Dubious Tales.

Two superheroes tie the knot in Green Arrow and Black Canary: For Better Or For Worse.

A little light yuri romance in Japanese series Azumanga Daioh that avoids all the stereotypes of the genre.

A Canadian English teachers falls in love with both a country and a woman in Love As A Foreign Language

In Superman: Secret Identity we see the real life repercussions of gaining superpowers, particularly in relation to how they impact on family and love life.

Teen Titans: Year One has a light subplot around the pitfalls of teenage dating.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Creatures of the Night

As Valentine's Day draws near we at New readers... think you should be offered a variety of romance themed books to mark this particular day.  Being the kind of people we are, these won't be your typical boy meets girl stories, rather they will represent oddities and interests from among our comic collection.  Read on for the first suggestion....

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Illustrations: Michael Zulli
Letters: Todd Klein
Publisher: Vertigo

What's it about?
It's comprised of two tales, The Black Cat and The Daughter of Owls, based on Neil Gaiman's short stories of the same name.  They have a touch of the Gothic romance feel to them, despite not being about love or relationships.  Instead, these stories concern Good and Evil and the fight between the two.

The Black Cat concerns a family of cat lovers who discover a new stray amidst their lives one day, a mysterious black cat.  Soon they discover this feline coming home with unexplained injuries and as they seek to learn the cause of these they find that the fate of their family appears to be tied into the fate of the cat.

The Daughter of Owls is written in the style of John Aubrey and starts with a baby girl being found abandoned on the town steps.  She has no name, no family and is only clutching an owl pellet.  The townsfolk deem her unholy and lock her in an old convent to grow up alone.  As she grows older news of her beauty spreads and tragedy strikes.  Is she human or does she belong to the owls?  What befalls those who would harm her?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Rude Britannia: British Comic Art at the Tate

The Tate Britain in London has an exhibition running from 9th June to 5th September 2010, about British Comic Art.  From the website:
This groundbreaking exhibition uses visual art to explore the role of humour in British culture over the centuries. Tackling key themes such as morality, politics and the absurd, the show will feature works by classic caricaturists from William Hogarth, James Gillray and George Cruikshank, to David Low, Gerald Scarfe and Steve Bell.
It will also feature cartoons, comic books and works by contemporary artists such as Simone Lia, Paul Noble and Angus Fairhurst. A host of present-day cartoonists and comic writers will collaborate with Tate curators in the presentation of these diverse works, ensuring a fresh and emphatically contemporary overview of Britain's comic traditions from the 1500s to the present day.

Tickets are £10 (£8.50 for concessions), or free for members.

Information on how to visit the Tate can be found here (including BSL translations).

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Tales of the Slayers

Writer: Various but includes Joss Whedon, Amber Benson, David Fury and Jane Espenson
Pencils: Various but includes Tim Sale and Karl Moline
Colours: Various but includes Dave Stewart
Inks: Various but includes Andy Owens
Letters: Various but includes Michelle Madsen
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

What's it about?
Based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series. This book features eight short stories of other Slayers who have lived throughout the ages, all written by people involved in the Buffy TV show.

We meet the first Slayer and learn how other humans view her, there's a Slayer from the middle ages with narration told in rhyme, a slayer living in Nazi Germany, Nikki - the Slayer Spike stole his infamous black leather coat from, and four others.  Each story centres on a pivotal moment in the Slayer's life and gives us a glimpse into the history of a well loved and well respected lineage.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Escapist Webcomic Competition

The Escapist is a website hosting a weekly online-exclusive video gaming magazine, vlog game reviews and forum community. Usually this would not be a website that merit mention on New Readers… Start Here but they have recently announced a webcomic competition. This may be of interest to visitors for several reasons:

1) The competition’s prize is a paid publishing contract to contribute a gaming webcomic to The Escapist on a regular basis. Budding comic artists and writers may be interested in an open competition, especially if gaming is one of their hobbies.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

New feature on the blog!

We've added a Reactions box under each blog post.  You can choose between Useful and Not Useful, all you need to do is tick the relevant box.

Please do tick away, we love feedback and would like to know how you're finding the reviews!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Dubious Tales

a webcomic written and drawn by Andrew James

What’s It About?
22 Barton Terrace, Ruskton-Over-Routhe: a typically run down student house with some pretty damn odd students living in it. Meghan wants to forget her old life; Owen is looking for a purpose; Caitlin may or may not have spent her youth fighting demons made of tin foil; Sarine may be more than a little dangerous; and Darren has a tragedy mask permanently superglued to his face.

Dubious Tales combines relatable stories of a group of students making do and getting by with more surreal and supernatural elements creeping in over time.