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Summer reading recommendations

This year’s CBC’s Canada Reads program includes a few graphic novel and comic picks.

In this video, The Beguiling’s owner Peter Birkemoe showcases Seth’s new book, George Sprott. Just have a look at how those pages are put together. Amazing.

Browse Birkemoe’s full list of recommendations here. I’ve not read a single one on the list, which is very exciting for me – so many undiscovered books to check out.

Toronto comic writer Sean Jordan, aka Wordburglar, who pens Snakor’s Pizza chimes in with one of his favourites: Planetary

I love Planetary. It’s definitely in my top picks, but I’ve never been able to decide if it should go on the superhero list or the mixed genre list. The mixed list includes sci-fi stories, but this series features so many superhero characterstics I have difficulty classifying it. The series started in 1998 and went on hiatus in 2002 or 2003. Now it’s back with the final issue, due in October. The Wildstorm blog posts a coloured page from the upcoming issue. Very exciting after such a long wait.

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Comic flash reviews: Batman, X-Factor, Punisher, Incognito, Fantastic Four

Some recent reviews and recommendations culled from Silver Snail Kin’s “Off The Rack”:

Batman #687 – I would suggest reading this “Batman Reborn” book before reading last week’s “Batman & Robin”. W-Judd Winick and A-Ed Benes put the cowl on Bruce Wayne’s successor to start a new chapter in the life of the Dark Knight.

Issue #1 of B&R was great: a fun adventure story that recalls an earlier (more innocent?) Batman era. It’s at the total opposite end of the spectrum from Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s violent and dark Joker, which I read recently. I like what’s being planned for the series based on that one-page “preview” at the end of the book (the return of the Red Hood?! – awesome). Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely rank among my top comic creators team-up.

X-Factor #44 – I want to find out who the big brain Madrox is looking for and who Cortex is. They are not one and the same seeing as how they are separated by 80 years. Plus what Monet’s going to do to Cortex once she’s free of him/her. W-Peter David knows how to keep me reading.

X-Factor is one of those books that’s hot and cold for me. I don’t follow any of the X books (I’m trying the latest New Mutants series having been a big fan growing up, but am already bored by issue #2). I haven’t read this title since issue #24 mostly because, while I really enjoy the build-up in David’s stories, the big reveal/climax often falls flat.

Incognito #4 – W-Ed Brubaker and A-Sean Phillips’s gritty super powers book makes a great replacement for the absent “Powers”.

Good, solid book. I enjoyed Criminal more, but that one is very difficult to top in my books. Incognito is definitely worth a look. Villains are often the more interesting characters in stories, mostly because they’re flawed. I have a longer review of this series in the works.

Punisher #6 – I’m glad this less explicit book is on the racks for those times when my delicate constitution doesn’t want to read a Punisher book with all the frakking dregs from the gutter. W-Rick Remender and A-Tan Eng Huat have given Frank a whole new slew of super villains to tackle.

The most recent Punisher book I’ve read was Naked Kill.  What a gruesome book. I needed a shower after reading that one.  I really dig Rick Remender’s stuff; his run on All-New Atom was refreshing and the sort of thing I like to see in Fantastic Four, so I might check out this book.

Mysterius the Unfathomable #6 – All the nutty stuff that W-Jeff Parker and A-Tom Fowler put in the previous issues mix together in this thrilling finale.

I know very little about this title except that the book calls to me every month from the shelves, but for whatever reason, I haven’t yet picked it up. I’m also intrigued by Madame Xanadu. Looking for recommendations on either book. Am considering picking up the trade once collected.

Fantastic Four #562 to #567 – W-Mark Millar and A-Bryan Hitch are doing some kooky things with Marvel’s first family and it sure is fun. Valeria taking after her father is cute and I like her blog. The current Dr. Doom storyline has put this book back on the must read list.

I picked up a few issues at the start of the Millar-Hitch run. My favourite FF stories are the big spaced-out, sci-fi romps, and I liked the ideas the duo were throwing around (an alternate Earth built in a different dimension to house humanity once our planet’s been destroyed), but I wasn’t compelled to keep reading after the fourth issue.

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Comic review: The Unwritten

Silver Snail manager Kin really likes Vertigo‘s The Unwritten (Mike Carey, Peter Gross).

The Unwritten #1 – Quick, run out and buy this book. It’ll only cost you a buck Canuck (unless your store charges more than US cover). W-Mike Carey and A-Peter Gross have created a replacement for the lamented Y the Last Man.
This is a story about stories and what might happen if they become real. Tom Taylor is the son of a famous author whose hugely successful series of books are based on a magic wielding boy named Tommy Taylor ala Harry Potter. When a girl shows up to question his lineage, Tom’s life changes dramatically. If you liked Mike Carey’s last Vertigo book “Crossing Midnight”, you’ll love this.”

I haven’t had a chance to crack open my copy yet. I’ve just finished volume four of Fables TPB (Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham). I think “March of the Wooden Soldiers” might be my favourite arc on the title so far.

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