Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Superman: The Black Ring Volume 1

Writer: Paul Cornell
Artists: Pete Woods, Cafu, Pere Perez and Sean Chen
Inkers: Pete Woods, bit, Pere Perez and Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics

Today's guest review has been written by Anj, who usually blogs about all things Supergirl related at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary, one of the best resources for Supergirl fans on the web.  Here he introduces himself:

This is Anj from Supergirl Comic Box Commentary and I was thrilled to be asked to review the Lex Luthor-centric trade Superman:The Black Ring Volume 1, which collects Action Comics #890-895. As a lifelong Superman Family fan, I think this is an interesting choice for review. Despite its name, Superman is not seen in this portion of the story at all, having gone on an introspective walk across America in a story called ‘Grounded’ in the Superman title. With Superman away, Luthor steps into to star in the title. And Lex is also free to do what he wants. It is most definitely a Luthor story but with a couple of interesting wrinkles to his characterization.

Whats it about?
This is the first half of a story arc in which Luthor is questing for Black Lantern energy globes and therefore ultimate power. From a continuity point of view, this story takes place after Blackest Night, a huge crossover event in which beings called Black Lanterns, essentially zombies, wielded the power of the dead to try to destroy all life. The details of this event aren't necessary for the new reader as long as they can roll with Luthor’s goal of finding and controlling Black Lantern Energy.

Luthor’s quest for this power takes him on a journey where he encounters numerous other villains of the DC Universe: Mr. Mind, Deathstroke, Gorilla Grodd, and Vandal Savage. He also meets Death from the Sandman universe. Luthor is joined on his quest with some allies, a right hand man named Spalding and a Lois Lane robot (a Lois-bot) who acts as lover, confidant, and counselor.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Meet the team!

Given the new reviewers we have gathered over the last six months or so I thought it was high time we gave you a bit more information about the regulars! Here goes nothin':

Eyz: I'm a graphic designer from Switzerland. I have first studied Mathematics & Physics, then went into art & communication later. What I would really want to do for a living would be drawing comics and illustrations - but this goal is currently "on hold". In the meantime, I keep a blog and make silly comic strip parodies.

You can find Eyz at his blog G33K life. Eyz also did our banner for this blog, and I'm loving it.

James: The wandering mind of James Ashelford generally runs towards mysteries, science-fiction and character comedy in just about any medium but particularly comics. Quite apart from enthusing about graphic novels here he blogs about all and sundry at A Less Than Reputable Source from wargames to comics to classic radio comedy.

Debi: Debi moved from London to New York when she decided that one postgraduate degree wasn't enough and she still wasn't ready to get a real job. Having spent her twenties studying dinosaurs, she's now
studying educational theory so she can make all your children love dinosaurs just as much. If science museum educators could get away with wearing tights and a cape, it would be her ideal job.

You can find Debi at Thagomiser. Debi is our newest reviewer so we look forward to seeing her reviews soon!

Lissbirds: When she's not obsessing over comics, Liss obsesses over classic movies and ballet. Her sole ambition in life is to own a lemur. And to publish a novel. Oh, and to become Supreme Dictator of the World and institute a four-day work week, National Squirrel Appreciation Day, and make it a law that all men must wear hats, preferably Fedoras. In her spare time she enjoys sarcasm, lolcats, and things that are purple.

You can find Liss at Comics Make Me Happy.

Our guest contributers can be found on twitter, and if you want to find out more about them visit this list for everyone involved in the blog.

As for me, I'm Saranga. I live in the UK and have loved comics for most of my life, although for years and years I was far too embarrassed to actually buy them - that only started when I was about 23. From there my fannishness just blossomed and now (aged 31) I buy between 3 and 12 issues a week. When not nerding out over comics I learn British Sign Language and am intending to qualify as an Interpreter, although that may take a few years yet. I also blog at Pai where I talk about comics, feminism, Ddeaf stuff, politics, Smallville, Buffy and more comics. You can find me on twitter @sarangacomics.

This blog was my idea, I decided to set it up as there seemed to be very little resources helping people get into comics - most blogs assume you already read comics, and that's not very helpful to the newbie. I am eternally grateful to my co-bloggers for their enthusiasm and dedication to this site. I hope you all are finding it interesting and useful. As ever, if you have any questions or remarks, leave us a comment! We do our best to respond.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Characters of Colour in superhero comics - the men (part 4)

Aaand we're back to our characters of colour series.  Showcasing the best, most interesting or most prominent characters of colour in superhero comics, and a few other genres besides.  You can read previous entries on women (part one) here, women (part two) here, men (part one) heremen (part two) here, men (part three) here, the X (wo)men here, non superhero comics here, men part five and finally women (part three) and a Spider-man.

With this entry we're going back to DC comics.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Batgirl: Silent Running

Today's guest review is brought to you by Jamie Rimmer, who has this to say about himself:
Hmmm lets see I'm Jamie Rimmer, by day I'm a mild mannered office worker, by night a shadow lurking, comic loving geek. Paintbrush in hand I aim to right the wrongs of the World one injustice at a time. Loves superheroines, pretty art and coffee, hates bullies and small mindedness. Still waiting for my letter for Hogwarts.  You can follow Jamie on twitter under @theyallfalldown.

Writers: Scott Peterson, Kelly Puckett
Penciller: Damion Scott
Inker: Robert Campanella
Colourist: Jason Wright
Letterer: John Costanza
Publisher: DC

What's it about?
This book features the origins of Cassandra “Cass” Cain, an Asian-American teen, raised to be a trained killer by her assassin David Cain. Cassandra has an uncanny knack for reading body language, at the expense or learning to read, write or speak. She can understand your thoughts, emotions and intentions by watching your body and to all intents and purposes, body movement is her language, like English, French, Russian, or Japanese is yours. Her dear old Dad chose to re-wire her brain in this way by not allowing her to hear spoken language for several years. This approach also left no room for socialisation, so Cass has no idea about normal human interaction.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Vixen: Return of the Lion

Writer: G Willow Wilson
Artist: Cafu
Inker: Bit (finale)
Colorist: Santiago Arcas
Letterer: Rob Clark Jr
Publisher: DC

What's it about?
Vixen, or Mari MccCabe, is a member of the Justice League of America (or JLA, Earth's protectors).  She has a totem which allows her to access the mophorgenic field and channel the abilities of any animal on earth - speed of a cheetah, strength of an elephant, flight of an eagle etc.

Born in Zambesi, a fictional African country, she has lived in America for many years.   Now, she has discovered more details about her mother's murder.  This information takes her back to Zambesi and the village of her birth to investigate and seek revenge on the killer.  Mari finds herself answering other, unexpected questions - where does she fit into her old village life?  How did she become the person she is now?  What can she do about the rot circling her childhood home village?
 Vixen: Return of the Lion is a story about Africa, about preserving community, about roots, about the strength in allies and the need to protect your own.  It's about finding and grounding yourself. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Tony Harris
Inks: Tom Feister

Colors: JD Mettler
Publisher: Wildstorm Comics

What’s it about?
Have you ever wondered how the life of a superhero would look in real life?
What would he try to accomplish? Would fighting crime with super powers be actually enough?
What kind of repercussions would such a man have?
If we can consider the sort of popularity they'd gain, like a movie star, what if they were to use this fame to try to enter politics where such men could actually end up making a difference on a larger scale?

That is probably what Brian K. Vaughan had in mind when he decided to work on Ex Machina.  Ex Machina is the tale of Mitchell Hundred, the superhero known as The Great Machine in a world where only this man became a superhero...during the turn of the century in the early 2000s. It features a very political background over which Mitchell's story is told via flashbacks and even some flashforwards, alongside the present day events following his establishment as Mayor of New York City.

A dramatic story with a political aspect, mixed with some of what you would expect from superheroics, some shenanigans with villains and a mysterious origin story.  It may take place in a sort of alternate reality, but it feels that more real because of it.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Daredevil/Echo: Vision Quest

Writer and Artist: David Mack
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

What’s it about?
Vision Quest is Maya Lopez’s story. 
Maya is a Dancer, a performance Artist, and Actress and a Boxer.  She has the extraordinary ability of being able to mimic any action or movement she sees, perfectly and without error.  This talent was first discovered at primary school when despite being Deaf, she played a complicated piece of music after seeing a musician perform it once.

Maya was first introduced in Parts of a Hole, with what felt like a solid introduction to her story.  However this book provides more detail as to her background, her relationship with her father, her Native American community, her experience of Deafness and Sign Language and her experiences growing up.

Maya Lopez describes herself as an echo – because she’s Deaf, because she has her father’s imprints upon her, because she doesn’t feel quite real in her own body.  Vision Quest sees Echo return to her Native American community to search out the Chief and seek advice on her life.  He advises her to go on a vision quest and the meat of the story is born.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Seen the movie? Read the book - Thor and Green Lantern

You may have noticed a few high profile superhero films coming out this year.  A month or so ago we had Thor, Marvel comics' favourite Norse god.  A few weeks ago we had Green Lantern, DC's favourite space cop.  Hopefully you enjoyed the films and now want to read some of the comics.  Well, we've got some suggestions for you.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Characters of Colour in non superhero Comics

Just to take a break from the superhero aspect of all these posts, today we will focus on the non superpowered denizens of the comics medium.

You can read our other posts in the series as follows:
women (part one), women (part two), men (part one)men (part two), men (part three), the X (wo)men, men (part four), men part five and finally women (part three) and a Spider-man.