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Posted in album: Cheryl Blossom

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What comics have you been reading? by rusty
[October 21, 2018, 10:46:22 pm]

What have you done today? by BettyReggie
[October 21, 2018, 07:45:49 pm]

Riverdale Reviewed by Tuxedo Mark
[October 20, 2018, 08:12:44 pm]

Whew! by SAGG
[October 19, 2018, 11:55:13 pm]

Sears/Kmart by Tuxedo Mark
[October 19, 2018, 01:22:48 pm]

Miraculous Ladybug.... by DeCarlo Rules
[October 19, 2018, 01:44:10 am]

What are you currently watching? by rusty
[October 16, 2018, 09:34:22 pm]

Days we look foward to as Archie Fans. by BettyReggie
[October 16, 2018, 06:13:52 am]

New York Comic Con 2018 by BettyReggie
[October 08, 2018, 05:37:04 am]

Anachronism Patrol by DeCarlo Rules
[October 06, 2018, 11:59:27 pm]

* Shoutbox

Refresh History
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Archie's Weird Mysteries": "Invisible Archie": [link]
    October 20, 2018, 08:13:13 pm
  • BettyReggie: I bought The Riverdale 2019 Calendar at 5 Below.
    October 18, 2018, 06:58:16 pm
  • PTF: Does anyone regularly go to a gamestop? If you do, could you PM me a code for Zeraora? ...I do not have nice things where I live. I guess Wal-Mart is nice. :)
    October 18, 2018, 01:59:51 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "Twilite" from Archie & Friends #146-147: [link]
    October 13, 2018, 08:39:15 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: OMG the Riverdale premiere: Cheryl is so awesome! :smitten:
    October 10, 2018, 09:18:52 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of "The Case of the Sorrel Roan" from Riverdale #3: [link]
    October 06, 2018, 09:43:33 pm
  • ASS-P: I read some of B&V FRIENDS #264.
    October 05, 2018, 10:16:03 pm
  • ASS-P: I read some of B&V FRJENDZ #26R
    October 05, 2018, 10:14:10 pm
  • ASS-P: I read some of B&V Frie d's #264
    October 05, 2018, 10:13:15 pm
  • BettyReggie: Those 2 Riverdale Pens came today from Hot Topic.
    October 01, 2018, 10:03:02 pm
  • BettyReggie: I read Archie #699.
    September 30, 2018, 08:34:33 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My review of Betty and Veronica: Vixens #10: [link]
    September 30, 2018, 07:59:38 pm
  • BettyReggie: Archie #699 came today.
    September 28, 2018, 03:38:41 pm
  • Tuxedo Mark: My reviews of all four stories from betty and Veronica #270: [link] [link] [link] [link]
    September 23, 2018, 05:36:07 pm
  • DeCarlo Rules: Presumably with an ongoing B&V series, they'd want to keep it nominally in continuity with the ongoing ARCHIE title.
    September 22, 2018, 07:03:48 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: Oh, I hadn't noticed that the story is "Senior Year", so that explains it. It's a one-off story arc, just like "Freshman Year". They're not going to keep them as seniors permanently, or have them graduate and go on to college in an ongoing series.
    September 22, 2018, 06:59:24 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: Probably just a space-filler while they look for a better writer than Jaime Rotante. I hope.
    September 22, 2018, 12:08:34 am
  • Tuxedo Mark: Wait a minute. Betty and Veronica is only a five-issue miniseries?
    September 21, 2018, 08:31:21 pm
  • DeCarlo Rules: Archie Comic solicitations for October 2018: [link]
    September 21, 2018, 05:36:35 am
  • DeCarlo Rules: Check out Stadium Comics' entire line of Archie Comics RE variant covers here: [link] All are homages to famous Marvel or DC cover images.
    September 20, 2018, 09:05:41 am

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Messages - DeCarlo Rules

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General Discussion / Re: Sears/Kmart
« on: October 19, 2018, 03:09:05 am »

Sometimes I wish Marvel Comics would go out of business. I've heard rumors that Disney doesn't think it's worth the trouble to publish new comics, and would rather just license the characters to someone else that's interested. They may well have a point there.
Heh...let Time-Warner have them. High time for a combined DC/Marvel universe!!  :2funny:

Actually, there was a point in the 1980s at which there was a serious possibility of that happening -- I don't think it would happen now. Disney bought Marvel for its intellectual properties... the characters, and that was a smart business decision that is making the Disney Company a TON of money off of movies, television, and merchandising of those characters. The Marvel characters have been very profitable for the Disney company -- the sole exception to that rule seems to be in the comics publishing business, where they're raking in mere peanuts; barely worth the effort to keep going.

Disney could certainly license the Marvel characters out to DC Comics for the purpose of publishing comic book stories, but you won't see a combined DC/Marvel universe unless Time/Warner can be certain that any characters created outside of the DC Comics publishing operation are OWNED lock, stock & barrel by WB. In other words, if Marvel Comics as a publishing operation wholly owned by Disney ceased to exist, Disney would license the Marvel characters to another comic book publisher -- in exactly the same way that Disney even now licenses Fantagraphics, IDW, JoeBooks, Papercutz, TokyoPop, and other publishing entities to utilize its company-owned properties Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Uncle Scrooge McDuck... or any of their more contemporary animated characters from recent CG-animated films. Of course there's someone at Disney who still passes judgment on the finished product and says what you can or can't do with those characters, or what needs to be changed before they'll approve it for publication.

Speaking of which, while Marvel Comics hasn't ceased operations as a publisher yet, the licensing of the Marvel characters to other publishers (in this case, IDW, who have already served the Disney company well as publisher of its classic animated characters) has already begun...

And of course, there's THIS, which already happened a while ago, so the Disney company isn't necessarily going to grant any one publisher exclusive rights to publish comics featuring the Marvel characters, should the formerly-unthinkable happen and Marvel Comics itself cease operations as a publisher. In this case, Marvel is actually producing the digests itself using its library of material, while ACP is functioning in purely a business capacity, responsible for taking care of the printing, distribution, and accounting of the Marvel digests, and sharing the profits with Marvel according to some predefined split.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 12, 2018, 03:52:54 am »

THE COMPLETE COSMO THE MERRY MARTIAN TP by Sy Reit and Bob White - This was a fun six issue series (the trade collection also includes "Good Guys of the Galaxy", a Tom DeFalco/Fernando Ruiz semiparody of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy from ARCHIE 655, which happens to be my personal favorite of their collaborations, and a 5-page ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST story written & drawn by Fernando, both stories featuring guest appearances by Cosmo, plus a couple more only-tangentially-related 5-pagers written by Dan Parent, and a complete reprint of the 1st issue of the new COSMO series). The Sy Reit/Bob White collaboration on COSMO, which originally appeared in 1958-59, was unusual in style, as well as in being essentially one long (if episodic) story, continued from issue to issue. It's hard to think of any other standard comic books that were doing that at the time. Absurdity and gags are the main focus here, plus just a teensy amount of actual factual science educating readers on the basics of what was known about the Moon, Mars, Venus and Saturn at the time. Characterization is fairly minimal, with the standout character being Orbi, a likeable but devout coward, who's always getting into trouble (and thus helping drive the plot, such as it is, forward). The basic plot of the series is a travelogue around the solar system, discovering what life exists on other worlds. It has a certain goofy nostalgic charm that amuses me, however, particularly in the way it's drawn. Martians as drawn by Bob White look a lot like Al Capp's schmoos (from Li'l Abner) or slightly overweight bowling pins. The body proportions vary a little otherwise, as drawn by Fernando Ruiz in the two more modern stories.

COSMO VOL 01: SPACE ACES TP by Ian Flynn and Tracy Yardley - I really liked this reboot, despite its lack of strict adherence to the earlier versions of the characters by Reit & White. Given that there wasn't a lot of characterization in the original to begin with, that was probably a good decision. I'm not sure a straight-up modern version of the earlier Cosmo would have really worked. The character that survives the transition mostly intact is Orbi, who retains his character as a dedicated coward but a nice guy. Cosmo is somewhat younger, more of an adventurous/heroic sort of space explorer, and Astra (Cosmo's girlfriend and sometimes damsel-in-distress in the original series) is given a more active role as the pilot of Cosmo's spaceship, the "Ufo" (pronounced "You-foe"), and there's a friendly rivalry/romantic tension between her and Cosmo. Orbi's doglike Martian pet Jojo in the original series becomes a metamorphic alien pet, giving him in effect a superpower the rest of the crew don't have, and making him very useful to have around. The elderly bearded Martian scientist-inventor Prof. Thimk from the original series is missing from the rebooted version altogether, replaced by the much younger female Martian scientist-inventor Dr. Medulla. It was a good idea to add more (and more proactive) female characters to the updated COSMO. The final new addition to the cast is Max Strongjaw, an American astronaut of the near future who is rescued by Cosmo & Co. when his ship has technical difficulties on the first earth-mission to Mars. Max is more or less a parody of the usual square-jawed, typical American space-hero type. Not too bright, and more than a little xenophobic, but with a heart-of-gold, who gradually comes to a grudging friendship/rivalry of sorts with Cosmo and his crew. This was a good cast, and the series as a whole was a valiant attempt to launch a new series which would have been a ACP-owned IP replacement for the loss of the SONIC and MEGA MAN Archie Action imprint titles. At least they were willing to give this a shot, for which I applaud them. Who knows, maybe the graphic novel could be discovered by someone interested in turning the characters into an animated series. Tracy Yardley is a very talented artist, working in a pleasant, attractive modern style that would not be out of place among cartoons aired somewhere like Nickelodeon (or is it just Nick now?) or Cartoon Network (or is it just CN now?). One could but hope. The collection also includes all of the variant covers of the floppy comic from issues #1-5, along with character profile pages offering more background tidbits of information, and some sketch pages showing Yardley's design development for the series. At least you should buy the trade collection, if you didn't give the 5 individual issues of the floppy comic version a try.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 09, 2018, 02:43:42 am »
I've enjoyed My Hero Academia quite a bit.  I had two friends recommend the series to me within the last couple of months.  I also helped out at a graphic novel booth part time at the Chicago Comic Con in August and the My Hero Academia volumes were very popular.  MHA does have a focus of the training academy plus there is a tournament or two mixed in, but they are done in a pretty interesting way and the tournament doesn't drag on as many tend to do.  There is also a mentoring aspect involved with the main character being mentored by the hero who gave him his powers.  Students at the academy also end up interning at superhero agencies.  All in all, I would give the series 8/10 and I think it is worth checking out.
There are actually two spinoff series.  Vigilantes is the first one and it focuses on several people who hunt down bad guys and do other good deeds while outside the law since they are not licensed heroes.  It crosses over with the main series tangentially, but can be read on its own.  I've enjoyed the first two volumes as much as the main series.  The second spinoff is due in the U.S. next spring.
I haven't read One Punch Man yet, though I do have a copy of the first volume and plan to give it a try.
If you do give Black Butler a try, let me know what you think.

Thanks, rusty!  I was actually thinking I might start with the MHA Vigilantes spinoff because it would be easier to catch up on that one sooner, then proceed back to the main series, if I liked the spinoff well enough. I'll definitely do that now.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 08, 2018, 06:56:24 am »
One other thing I noticed was that ACP had two full-page ads in that issue, but I guess they just love to flush an opportunity to make some money right down the drain. What are the ads for? The New Riverdale trades and the Riverdale TV series. Uh... yeah, thanks for bringing those to our attention, we somehow just spaced out and plain didn't realize they existed.

Apparently they don't bother targeting the ads to the consumer base of the magazine they're advertising in. It's for fans of BRONZE AGE comics, you dummies!!! Instead of trying to target the ads to spotlight the creme-de-la-creme of their existing trade collections of classic Archie material (and oh, as long as they're at it... how about selling some of those Red/Dark Circle trades in a magazine whose usual readership is superhero fans?). What about selling some digest subscriptions and 1000-Page Comics bricks? No, they waste the ad space on something pretty much everyone already knows about. If they care about such things (in itself doubtful), BACK ISSUE's readers have already bought the comics or trades, and watched the show, but what they might NOT be aware of is the digests are still being published (because you don't really SEE them much in comic book stores), and that ACP has an extensive line of material targeted towards readers who already LOVE the old classic stories from the 1970s and 1980s. The Best of Archie Comics Deluxe HCs? "Archie Comics Presents..."? Archie Americana? They could easily have squeezed the covers of 25 different TP collections onto a single magazine-sized ad page. Nah, just toss 'em the same old ads we run in the digests and regular floppy comics we publish. It's not the same audience, you idiots!!

It's funny -- I was just flipping through my copy of COSMO Vol. 1: SPACE ACES trade collection, and there's an ad on the inside back cover for classic Archie trade paperbacks that's nearly exactly what I was picturing in my mind for what ACP should have used for one of those ad pages in BACK ISSUE #107 for. It only pictures 20 collected editions (but this ad is appearing on a page sized 6"x 9", not the larger magazine-size 8.5"x 11" page), but they're almost precisely the ones I'd have chosen to try to sell to readers of a comic book fanzine dedicated to Bronze Age comics.

Pictured were the covers of:
Row 1 - The Best of Archie Comics Deluxe Edition HC Vols. 1 & 2; Archie Americana Vols. 1-3 TP (Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age)
Row 2 - The Best of Archie Comics: BETTY & VERONICA Vols. 1 & 2 TP; Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Complete Collection v1 TP; Betty & Veronica Spectacular TP; Archie at Riverdale High TP
Row 3 - ARCHIE'S BIG BOOK Vols. 1-4 TP; Jughead's Time Police TP
Row 4 - Archie Giant Comics Roll TP; Archie Giant Comics Surprise TP; The Best of JOSIE and the Pussycats TP; Archie's Coloring Book; YOUR PAL ARCHIE TP

I bet they could have sold some of those collections to readers of BACK ISSUE, too.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 06, 2018, 01:16:31 am »
I finished up My Hero Academia 13-15 and My Hero Academia Vigilantes 1-2 earlier this week.  It is a fun series where just about everybody has a superpower (called a quirk), though only some are licensed to use them.

How would you rate those on a scale of 1 to 10? I remember reading one of those FCBD preview books of MHA, back when it had just come out from Viz. My thoughts at the time were that it seemed like a definite reaction to the breakout popularity of One-Punch Man (which began as a webmanga in 2009, and was then remade as a print manga in 2012, a couple of years prior to MHA's debut). I mean that MHA seemed to follow a similar general pattern as far as how its superhero universe was set up (as opposed to most superhero manga, which tend to either follow the Japanese model of the 'henshin hero' genre, or the American superhero model, or some combination of the two). One-Punch Man has nothing to do with the 'hero high'-type training academy trope, but that could easily have been influenced by a lot of earlier things (including the original X-Men, New Mutants, Avengers Academy, or movies like Disney's 2005 film Sky High). The FCBD preview floppy comic was enough to give me the general premise of how the universe worked, but I didn't like the art style (which reminded me a little of Yu-Gi-Oh) anywhere near as much as One-Punch Man, and the FCBD preview comic didn't have nearly enough pages to get a true flavor of it, so I kind of just shrugged MHA off as a One-Punch Man bandwagon jumper, I guess. I never imagined that it would become as successful as it seems to have (and if it gets both an anime adaptation AND a spinoff manga series so soon, it must be pretty popular; then again, I don't always tend to like what's most popular in anime/manga).

Black Butler sounds interesting too, so I'll probably check out the first volume of that, if it's still easy to order a copy through Diamond.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 05, 2018, 06:46:11 am »
THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS Deluxe Edition HC - The short and dirty (and somewhat peeved) review:

Here's the contents listing of the new HC edition:
key   DECADE   
SOURCE, title, writer, pencil artist
reprints NEW to this edition in BLUE

PEP 36   The 3-11 Club   Bob Montana   Bob Montana
ARCHIE 4   Spring Fever   Ed Goggin   Harry Sahle
ARCHIE 16   Monkey Shines   Bob Montana   Bob Montana
ARCHIE 7   Time for Trouble   Harry Sahle   Harry Sahle
PEP 48   Camera Bugs   Ed Goggin   Harry Sahle
LITTLE ARCHIE 2   The Cook-Off   Bob Bolling   Bob Bolling
JUGHEAD'S FOLLY 1   no title   Joe Edwards   Joe Edwards
LIFE WITH ARCHIE 16 Hi-Jinx and Deep Divers   Sy Reit   Bob White
ARCHIE'S PALS N GALS 29   Beetlemania   Frank Doyle   Samm Schwartz
JOSIE 19   The Hold Up   Frank Doyle   Dan DeCarlo
JUGHEAD 119   Pardon My Computer   George Gladir   Samm Schwartz
EVERYTHING'S ARCHIE   Visit to a Small Panic   George Gladir   Harry Lucey
LAUGH 276   The Bye Bye Blues   Frank Doyle   Harry Lucey
RIVERDALE HIGH 18   Kong Phoo   Frank Doyle   Harry Lucey
ARCHIE 264   Minding a Star   Frank Doyle   Dan DeCarlo
REGGIE AND ME 104   Costume Caper   Frank Doyle   Dan DeCarlo
B&V v1 277   Melvin's Angels   Frank Doyle   Dan DeCarlo
ARCHIE 292   Verve to Conserve   George Gladir   Dan DeCarlo Jr.
ARCHIE 331   Saturday's Child   Frank Doyle   Dan DeCarlo Jr.
BETTY'S DIARY 1   The Art Lesson   Kathleen Webb   Dan DeCarlo
GIANT SERIES 590   Back From the Future   Rich Margopoulis   Rex Lindsey
NEW ARCHIES DIGEST 10   Mystery of the Mummy's Curse   Mike Pellowski   Henry Scarpelli
CHERYL BLOSSOM 15   Cheryl's Beach Bash   Dan Parent   Dan Parent
ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES 6   A Familiar Old Haunt   Paul Castiglia   Fernando Ruiz
SABRINA 70   Spell It Out   Tania Del Rio   Tania Del Rio
JUGHEAD 200   Something Ventured, Something Gained   Tom Root   Rex Lindsey
ARCHIE 636   The Great Switcheroo!   Tania Del Rio   Gisele Lagace
COSMO 1   no title   Ian Flynn   Tracy Yardley
   Riot on the Set!   Bill Golliher   Dan Parent
   Movie Mix-Up!   Bill Golliher   Dan Parent
ARCHIE v2 32   no title   Mark Waid & Ian Flynn   Audrey Mok

And now, the BURN -
(Stories from the 2013 Best of Archie Comics TP edition which were dropped from the new HC edition in order to make way for those reprinted stories listed above in blue)
ARCHIE 2    Sir Archibald of the Round Table   Bob Montana   Bob Montana
PEP 37   Oscar   Bob Montana   Bob Montana
ARCHIE ANNUAL 8   Poor Little Rich Whirl   George Frese   George Frese
ARCHIE 123   Over-Joyed   Frank Doyle   Harry Lucey
JUGHEAD 120   Voice Control   Frank Doyle   Samm Schwartz
ARCHIE 178   Stick With It   Frank Doyle   Harry Lucey
TV LAUGH-OUT 86   (JOSIE in) Scratch One Clown   unknown   Dan DeCarlo Jr.
ARCHIE AND ME 144      Plight of the Perilous Pike   Bob Bolling   Bob Bolling

Well, they sacrificed quite a few GOOD stories in there in order to utilize the newly-added pages as an advertising tool. And not just those pages, either. There were several other stories that WERE included again, that COULD have been dropped because they appear in other collections like Archie Americana, etc. But no... if ACP still has those TPs in stock, then the stories still might function to sell some dusty old copies of Sabrina manga collections or something. In other words, what's included or not included in this "Deluxe Edition" isn't being determined on a basis of what is best or NOT best, but what best functions to sell you other Archie Comics trade collections. That's how "The BEST of Archie Comics" is determined by ACP. So when it came to cutting stories from the older edition, rather than keep in reprints that were unique to that volume and appear in no other collections, they left in stories like "Kong Phoo" (recently reprinted in the ARCHIE AT RIVERDALE HIGH TP collection), and "Costume Caper" (which also appears in ARCHIE AMERICANA: THE BRONZE AGE - along with "Kong Phoo" again). And you know, even before the cutting began, THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS 3 was not as strong a collection of stories as the previous two books. Now, they've made it even worse. And I DID expect them to include recent reprints at the end (no gripes about COSMO or B&V), but an issue of ARCHIE (#32) from two months ago, plus the same 5-page preview of ARCHIE 1941 #1 that we've already seen in ALL their floppy comics? >:(  >:(  >:(

Keep your old TP edition, if you have it.  I'm not inclined to buy a Deluxe Edition Vol. 4 HC, if there ever is one.

As an aside, there's a quote in the book from Victor Gorelick in reference to ARCHIE 1941 as being "... one of the best things Archie Comics has ever done. In fact, it may be the best thing." That is either complete BS snake-oil salesmanship, or jf he really believes that, VG has completely lost it.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 04, 2018, 01:48:32 am »
ARCHIE #699 - So now I know what happened in ARCHIE #1-32. Of those, I'd only read #1, 2, 20-22 and 32 prior to this, and it seems like more pages of this condensed reprint were devoted to that issue #32 than to any other single issue. It was a little "the story so far"/"previously in ARCHIE...", but I bet you could have shrunk the essential stories of those first 32 issues of ARCHIE down to about 8 issues, and they'd have read perfectly fine as normal comics. I already ordered #700 (more to get the Mike Allred variant cover than anything else).

DISNEY COMICS AND STORIES #1 - They're just dropping "Walt" and the possessive 's from the title and renumbering it. Otherwise the same as the previous WDC&S.

ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2 - Kinda bored with this; it might be my last issue.

    A bunch of this year's Halloween Comic Fest issues (these ship to comic shops weeks in advance of the actual week of Halloween, so I got to read them earlier than most people):

APOSIMZ SAMPLER - HCF 2018 - Not sure if it was enough to convince me totally, but I took a chance and ordered the first volume of the TP collection.

SHIBUYA GOLDFISH #1 - HCF 2018 - I think this is the first horror manga I've read that's drawn in a traditional shonen manga ("boys' comics") style. Most horror manga I've seen has been in the generally less-cartoony/more realistically-drawn seinin manga ("young men's comics") style. It's a weird contrast, with high school sophomores as the main protagonists. The plot is simple enough: on an afternoon daytrip to Shibuya (a trendy shopping district), all of a sudden monstrously huge goldfish appear, swimming in thin air, attacking people and eating them, and talking. A weird premise for sure. Not sure how I feel about this one. The art style is just "okay". May have to think about it a while before ordering the TP collection.

JUNJI ITO'S FRANKENSTEIN - HCF 2018 - I've been a fan of Junji Ito's work for a while now. Already pre-ordered the hardcover collection that this is a preview of. His art style looks a little different here. It might be an earlier work of his, before he quite refined his current style, or maybe it's just that this work is set in the late 1700s, while most of his other horror manga is set in modern-day Japan. And of course, the style of horror (since it's an adaptation of Mary Shelley's book) is different than the type of stories that Ito writes for himself. I must own at least a half-dozen comic adaptations of the original novel, but I never seem to tire of reading the story again, as long as I like the artwork. Each adaptation tends to focus on different things from the original story, to a certain extent, so they're all different to some degree.

BATTLE ANGEL ALITA: HOMECOMING - HCF 2018 - I've already been getting all the ALITA deluxe hardcover collections, so this one is a no-brainer. (I'd already pre-ordered the HC). The full version is also a deluxe HC collection of four stories which haven't previously been translated into English.

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS UNIVERSE: GENESIS #0 - HCF 2018 - This one was just sample pages from earlier-published American Mythology ERB comics, no new material.

GAMMA #1 (of 4)

Other stuff I got which haven't read yet:
THE BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS DELUXE EDITION HC VOL 03 - I've only had time to skim it quickly. They added more recent reprints of the complete stories from COSMO #1, BETTY & VERONICA FRIENDS FOREVER - AT THE MOVIES #1, and ARCHIE #32 (one of the half-dozen issues I'd actually read before) at the end of the book. Other than that, I can't say exactly what might have been added, or more importantly, omitted,  from the prior Best of Archie Comics Book 3 TP collection just yet, until I do a page-by-page comparison. Full review to follow sometime within a week or so. At any rate, there are few (if any) hardcover collections of comics you can buy with comparable page count, for a cover price of only $20. Similar items from most other publishers can run anywhere in the $40 to $75 cover price range (usually depending on the anticipated number of copies they will sell, and how "deluxe" the book is). Even some of the larger trade paperback collections of older comics now retail for $35-40.

THE COMPLETE COSMO THE MERRY MARTIAN TP and COSMO VOL 01: SPACE ACES TP - I actually got the first of these a while ago when it first came out, but I thought (since I'd already read the whole thing in digital format a few years back) I'd wait until the rebooted COSMO came out in trade collection and review them together. Not sure how long it'll take me to get to these, but I guess it'll depend on which of this stuff I decide to read first. Also, at this writing, I'm about 1/4 of the way through the complete 26XX-page DEATH NOTE, and I'm sure I'll be wanting to read more of that this week as well.

MENAGE A 3 GN VOL 02 (by Dave Lumsden and Gisele Lagace) - Reprinting volumes 3 and 4 of the earlier, smaller-sized paperbacks at about twice the former page size. I like seeing Gisele's art at the larger size.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 03, 2018, 05:22:41 pm »
Betty and Veronica is the last digest I'm subscribed to and I'm not sure why.  My subscription has another 10 issues or so and I'll probably renew it, assuming they're still publishing it, just to have a digest coming in.  I can't quite cut the cord all the way for some reason even though I've seen most of what's in all of them.

Same for me, I let all the other digest subs expire. I figure it's still worthwhile even if I've read half the stories before. The reason I let my sub for B&V Friends expire was, for some reason I don't quite understand, it seems to be mailed from some place different than the regular B&V digest. I've noticed even the plastic bags and the labels are slightly different. That alone wouldn't cause me to let the sub expire, but for some reason it always seems to arrive a week or more late (probably because it's mailed from somewhere else), and more frequently suffers damage from P.O. handling as a result. The regular B&V digest always seems to arrive on time (or at most a day or two later than comic shops), and if anything, is likely to arrive even earlier than in comic shops. So I just let the B&V Friends sub expire, and now order it through my LCS.

I let all three Archie digest subs expire even earlier (well, Funhouse was just cancelled on me, and I never subbed to Archie and Me), but I'm thinking of maybe starting to get the 1000 Page Comics bricks again. One thing I noticed about those is that they don't reprint any of the non-Archie/B&V/Jughead/Archie & Friends stories, so I feel like I still want to get both B&V digest because of the Sabrina and Josie stories (and possibly Cheryl; I don't know if those make it into the 1000-pagers). But it seems like anything non-Archie (like Wilbur or That Wilkin Boy) had stopped being printed in the three Archie digest titles some while back, so it wouldn't be a concern, and at least that way I'd get to (eventually) read the new lead stories from the Archie digests.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: October 02, 2018, 11:14:57 am »
BETTY & VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #267 - Got this one in the mail yesterday, a week early. Usually I'm anticipating getting the newest B&V digest in the mail, so I'm hoping to see it every day when I look in the mailbox, but this time it was so early that I wasn't even thinking about it - a nice surprise. Nice Halloween cover by Jeff Shultz. Too bad there were only three reprints in here that were Halloween stories. One is "Monsterbash", a 12-page B&V story from one of those Halloween Comic Fest giveaways from some years back. The second one's a Sabrina story from the 90s, and the last one's a Cheryl Blossom story from the 00s (both 6-pagers). I'd read all of those before. The new lead story by Dan Parent didn't have a Halloween theme (drat!). In it, Betty gets a part-time job working for Lodge Industries. Mr. Lodge is impressed with Betty's work and gives her a raise the first week. Mr. Lodge really seems to like Betty (but why wouldn't he). Is it my imagination, or does she look like she's drawn a little bustier than usual in this story? Maybe it's that white shirt and tie. There are few stories that stood out from the rest, but I don't have it right in front of me at the moment. I always look forward to stories written by Kathleen Webb, and there were a few of those. In one of the best ones, she explains to the readers the differences between girls and boys (get your mind out of the gutter) and it's pretty funny. Apart from the handful of stories that were standouts, it's a fairly average issue. It came at a good time, because I really needed a fix of classic B&V.

DEATH NOTE [ALL-IN-ONE EDITION] - Started reading it yesterday, and read the first 22 chapters or 518 pages. This is a huge brick of paper with over 2600 pages. I don't think I have any other comic book with this many pages. It's kind of heavy, and because of the smaller paperback book page size, I have to hold it up closer to read it, because the artwork isn't as simple and the text is smaller than an Archie 1000 Page Comics digest. I'm going to see how much more of it I can get read today. A lot happens just the first 100 pages. It starts when a super-smart high school student named Light Yagami finds a notebook, which turns out to belong to Ryuk, one of the Japanese death gods. Anyone's name whose face he can think of when when he writes it in the notebook will die of a heart attack within 40 seconds - unless he specifically writes some other method of death. It gets more interesting from there, as he decides to make the world a better place by killing off known and/or convicted criminals. All of these criminals suddenly dying of heart attacks does not go unnoticed by law enforcement agencies, and soon he's the object of an intense manhunt, and becomes drawn into a cat-and-mouse game of moves and countermoves by "L", another teen genius detective who's assisting law enforcement by running the task force hunting "Kira" (sounds the same as "killer" in Japanese). It's a real page-turner, I have to admit.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 24, 2018, 06:07:05 am »
MEGA MAN by Ian Flynn (w), Ben Bates & various artists:
MEGA MAN #01-04 - Let the Games Begin
MEGA MAN #05-08 - Time Keeps Slipping
MEGA MAN #09-12 - The Return of Dr. Wily
MEGA MAN #13-16 - Spiritus Ex Machina
MEGA MAN #17-18 - Proto-Type
MEGA MAN #19-20 - Roll With It + Rock of Ages
MEGA MAN #21-23 - Countdown
  - At this point, I quit buying Mega Man from issues #24-27 until the crossover with the Sonic titles ended. I wasn't going to buy all those extra comics with characters that didn't interest me (which would have amounted to 4 issues of Sonic the Hedgehog plus 4 issues of Sonic Universe) just to follow the story in those four issues of Mega Man.
MEGA MAN #28-33 - Blackout: The Curse of Ra Moon
MEGA MAN #34-36 - Shadow of Ra Moon + The Trial of Dr. Wily
MEGA MAN X FCDB 2014 - The X Factor
MEGA MAN #37-40 - Dawn of X
MEGA MAN #41-44 - Legends of the Blue Bomber
MEGA MAN #45-48 - The Ultimate Betrayal
MEGA MAN    #49 - Prisoners of War
MEGA MAN FCBD 2015 Worlds Unite Prelude
  - Once again, I skipped buying Mega Man #50-52 because the story was a crossover with the Sonic titles.)
MEGA MAN    #54 - Red Shift (story takes place before issue #53)
MEGA MAN    #53 - Blue Shift
MEGA MAN    #55 - Everlasting Peace
 - Unfortunately, the final story arc of MEGA MAN never concluded due to the interruption of the plot by the "Worlds Unite" crossover with Sonic in issues #50-52. The final MEGA MAN story's plot had Proto Man tricked by Dr. Wily into kidnapping Dr. Cossack's daughter Kalinka, and Wily holding her hostage as leverage to coerce Dr. Cossack into attacking Mega Man with a new group of Robot Masters. After unburdening himself to Dr. Noele LaLinde and discovering Wily's deception, Proto Man vowed to correct his mistake and rescue Kalinka from Wily's clutches, but we never got to see that, or Mega Man's battle against Dr. Cossack's Robot Masters. The crossovers with Sonic really were an annoying interruption, because in both cases all the characters involved are returned to their respective universes moments after they left, with no memory of the events which had transpired, picking up the plot exactly where they'd left it prior to the crossover. As it was, it looks like the decision to end the title was made at the last moment, and knowing there was no way of squeezing a hurried confrontation and climax into the single issue #55, instead that issue's story was sort of a hallucinatory homage where Dr. Light has visions of the future -- which were all full-page panels showing the characters from the many Mega Man sequels in the franchise, along with minimal caption text boxes -- as a tribute/send-off of the title. Had those four issues (50, 51, 52, and 55) also been devoted to advancing the plot begun in issue #49, Ian Flynn could easily have wrapped up the series and ended on a satisfying conclusion, and Dr. Light's final vision of the future could have been condensed down to a half-dozen pages or so with smaller panels.

MEGA MAN was the comic book title that made me a regular customer of ACP for the first time since THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS in the 1980s. In retrospect, I wish that ACP had gotten the license to the character 15 or 20 years earlier. It might have made me more aware of what was going on in other ACP titles being published at that time ("Love Showdown", CHERYL BLOSSOM, SABRINA, JOSIE (in ARCHIE & FRIENDS), BETTY & VERONICA/SPECTACULAR, Craig Boldman & Rex Lindsey's JUGHEAD, etc.), and resulted in me becoming an Archie Comics fan much earlier. That, and the fact that I wish I could have read 250+ issues of this title like SONIC THE HEDGEHOG racked up.

I am not a gamer; never have been. What attracted me to MEGA MAN (known as ROCKMAN in Japan) were the appealing character designs and the ongoing theme of robots. I knew virtually nothing about the characters of this franchise prior to having read Ian Flynn's comic stories. As far as the robot theme goes, MEGA MAN carries on where one of my favorite mangas, Osamu Tezuka's ASTRO BOY, left off. Not only are the themes identical, but the character of Mega Man (a boy robot hero who fights bad robots, and feels bad about fighting them because he's pacifistic by nature) has many similarities to Astro Boy himself. Rock (Mega Man's real name) was made to be a helper robot, and it's part of his basic programming to be helpful. He was never meant to be a fighting robot, and in many ways he embodies the innocence, virtue and naivete of a real boy whose age he appears to be. This could have been a very simple comic book with a good robot hero fighting bad robots with varied appearances and special abilities, but Ian Flynn put a lot into making the large cast of robot characters all individuals who act & react differently. Even the evil archenemy Dr. Wily, while still your basic megalomanical villain, is given nuances not necessarily required by the story. He really did a fantastic job writing this, and put much more into it than "just a job" -- you could feel he had real enthusiasm to be working with these characters. Additionally, Ian Flynn added some original characters to the mix that did not appear in the Japanese videogames: Federal agents Rosalyn Krantz and Gil D. Stern, roboticist Dr. Noele LaLinde and her robotic creations Tempo/Quake Woman and Vesper Woman. The addition of new female characters was especially appreciated, since the original Japanese game has very few female characters (being a videogame marketed mainly to younger boys, that's to be expected). As much as I like Mega Man himself, I think my favorite storyline turned out to be "Dawn of X" (and I fervently wished that there had been a MEGAMAN X spinoff series other than the one-shot FCBD 2014 giveaway), and my favorite ongoing character, Proto Man (a.k.a. Blues or Break Man).

MEGA MAN by Hitoshi Ariga:
MEGA MAN MASTERMIX #1-3 (Udon/Capcom, 80 pages)


Just like with Ian Flynn's American comics, you could feel the love that Hitoshi Ariga possesses for the MEGA MAN characters. Hitoshi Ariga's manga version spans the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, but it's hard to tell if Ian Flynn read or was influenced by any of those stories (all had appeared in these translated collections from Udon Studios prior to the beginning of Ian Flynn's ACP comic series). Some of the stories have similar elements to ACP's comic book, but the characters often appear in far different situations, and the specifics of the stories vary greatly. Both authors tell completely different stories based on the game MEGA MAN 4, with the major threat being Ra Moon (in Ian Flynn's version) and Dark Moon (in Hitoshi Ariga's version) -- they have identical appearances -- but the two stories themselves having almost nothing else in common, except that they are both excellent stories. Hitoshi Ariga's manga had greater range (or a less consistent tone, depending on how you wanted to look at it, as a positive or a negative) in that while some of the longer stories (like the aforementioned Dark Moon/To A Shining Tomorrow, which takes up the latter half of Gigamix Vol. 2 and the entirety of Vol. 3) tended towards the ultra-dramatic, some shorter stories in Megamix Vol. 1 & 2, and Gigamix Vol. 1 & 2, were definitely more on the lighthearted, comedic side of things. At the extreme end of the comedy range, some of them were merely a series of short 4-panel gag strips. I didn't perceive this to be a bad thing at all, and enjoyed both types of stories. MASTERMIX (in the traditional floppy comics format, but reading from right-to-left, manga-style) presents the more dramatic stories from both the Gigamix and Megamix volumes at a larger size, and in color for the first time.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 19, 2018, 02:34:21 pm »
(of 4)
(of 3)

A selective chronology (firsts & lasts), which I'll present without further comment:

2009 Sep  BETTY AND VERONICA SPECTACULAR #90 (final issue)
2009 Sep  SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH #104 (final issue; Note: last 4 issues were a Young Salem miniseries)
2009 Oct  ARCHIE #600 (Archie Marries: #600-605)
2010 Sep  LIFE WITH ARCHIE #1 (The Married Life)
2011 Jan  B&V FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #209 (1st issue)
2011 Jul  MEGA MAN #1
2011 Jul  VERONICA #206 (final issue as VERONICA)
2011 Aug  KEVIN KELLER V.1 #1 [of 4] (miniseries = VERONICA #207-210)
2012 Jan  BETTY #195 (final issue)
2012 Feb  ARCHIE & FRIENDS #159 (final issue)
2012 Sep  JUGHEAD V.2 #214 (final issue)
2012 Oct  NEW CRUSADERS #1 [of 6]
2013 Dec  THE FOX V.1 #1 [of 5]
2014 Jan  ARCHIE & FRIENDS DOUBLE DIGEST #33 (final issue)
2014 Apr  JUGHEAD DOUBLE DIGEST #200 (final issue)
2014 Sep  LIFE WITH ARCHIE #37 (final issue)
2014 Nov  KEVIN KELLER V.2 #15 (final issue)
2015 Jul   ARCHIE #666 (final issue)
2015 Oct  THE FOX V.2 #5 [of 5] (final issue)
2015 Dec  BETTY AND VERONICA V.2 #278 [=V.1 #625] (final issue)
2016 Jan  MEGA MAN #55 (final issue)
2016 Oct  ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES #1 (one-shot)
2017 Sep  YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1 [of 5]
2017 Oct  JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #27 (final issue)
2017 Nov  ARCHIE'S FUNHOUSE DOUBLE DIGEST #28 (final issue)
2018 Feb  YOUR PAL ARCHIE #5 (final issue)

not listed:
  Trade paperback & hardcover collections
  Digital exclusives (DILTON #1-4, REGGIE & ME #1-4, JINX #1-4, LIFE WITH KEVIN #1-4)
  Archie Horror titles
  New Riverdale titles
  Dark Circle titles
  Sonic titles

edit: Added a couple more titles.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 13, 2018, 02:44:09 am »
BETTY AND VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #266 - BOO!!!  Although otherwise another good issue, I have to blow a big raspberry at ACP for their editorial alteration of the reprint of the story "Art Gal Awry!" (original dialogue by Rod Ollerenshaw, art by Dan DeCarlo). It's only a 3-pager. Normally, the editorial alterations don't bug me that much, but in this case, the motive behind it was venal and self-serving for ACP. This is the story where Veronica drags Betty along to a fine arts gallery show, then rambles on about her knowledge of fine art. Betty has no appreciation of the world of fine art (which after all, amounts to some collective judgment by supposed experts). In the original story, this is all leading up to a punch line where one of Veronica's friends asks Betty who her favorite artist is. Her answer is "My favorite artist is Dan DeCarlo! After all, where would this story be without him?" Here, the dialogue has been altered to the friend asking Betty "Who are your favorite artistS?" and Betty's reply is "My favorite artists are the Archie Comics staff!" Shame on ACP for being so low and self-serving as to alter the original story. Yes, the point is not that there was any outstanding artist. According to ACP philosophy, the names and individual talents of the artists are unimportant -- the only thing important is that they were deemed worthy of employment by ACP. Apart from that, they are each and every one of them equally talented, with none standing out. The point here is that Dan DeCarlo and Thomas Pitilli are the same and equal, because Archie deemed both worthy of employment at one time. Pay no attention to those credits, because the important thing is that they all drew stories featuring characters that the company owns. That is LOW and rotten.

BETTY AND ME #101 (Apr-79)

ARCHIE'S PALS 'n' GALS #136 (Oct-79) - Although this is from the pre-credits era, all stories here appear to be by Bob Bolling (although writing credits are harder to guess). There's one story in here "Games People Play", which is labeled as a Big Moose story, but really seems to be as much about Midge. The unlikely premise here is that while at the beach, Midge is engaged in a game of chess with Archie, which frustrates Moose because he doesn't understand the game, and there's nobody he can punch out to satisfy his frustration. So here's Midge lying on a blanket wearing a black bikini playing chess at the beach (seems pretty unlikely). Now the most interesting thing is that in the next panel, Dilton says he'll play the winner of this game, so if Midge wins, she has another game coming up. Moose wanders off, forlornly. When he comes back, Midge is playing another game, this time a word game where the players all yell out letters (I wasn't familiar with the game, and they don't go into further detail, other than it's just another frustration for Moose). He's informed by Archie that they finished playing chess, and that "Midge is the champ". Now, Dilton doesn't appear in the next few panels here or have any comment on what Archie just said, but the implication here is that Midge beat Archie (not too difficult to believe), and then played Dilton and beat him at chess also. Of course this is the Bolling-Archiverse, where oddball things happen which never seem to happen in the 'regular' Archiverse, but the ramifications of the revelation of Midge Klump being smart enough to beat Dilton Doiley at chess are mind-boggling, and call into question what exactly is Midge's deal, and why does she date Moose? I guess maybe you could infer something like trying to concentrate on playing chess while staring at Midge sitting so close wearing that black bikini was beyond even Dilton's ability to stay focused, but it seems more reasonable to suppose that the likelier implication is Midge really does have an unexpectedly keen intelligence. Something to think about.

PEP #348 (Apr-79)

ARCHIE 1941 #1 (of 5) - I read it to satisfy my curiosity. Can't say it motivated me to read issue #2.

(Fear on Four Worlds, Part II)
(of 6)

(of 10)

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 07, 2018, 03:36:50 pm »
I'm waiting for the graphic novel of "Vampironica" but I'm glad to see you like the art. I thought Afterlife With Archie was an absolute masterpiece and I say this as someone who is not a horror fan at all. Issue 10 about the origin of Josie and the Pussycats is one of my favorite issues of any comic EVER.

The fact that Archie Comics dropped the ball on Afterlife and CHAOS when they were their best selling titles is ridiculous. I can't imagine any other comic company being so horribly managed.  I admit I know next to nothing about other comic companies, but to not milk your best properties is just mind boggling.

Well, what can they do? Those titles aren't going to sell worth a hill of beans if all of a sudden someone else takes over Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's storylines and starts taking them in their own direction. Unfortunately or not, their sales are pretty much dependent on the fact that he's been the writer. Those are HIS stories, not someone else's.

And where are RAS's talents arguably being put to use that's of the most value to ACP?  Um, RIVERDALE, you think maybe?

That said, it's apparent that Greg Smallwood (who both draws and co-writes VAMPIRONICA) is putting a great deal of care into the title from both ends of the process. He's researched his subject matter, and lets us know it with those short "Riverdale Gazette" text pieces, which show he's not just knocking these issues out, like "What's to know about vampires? Anyone can write a vampire story" --- which may be true enough, but not everyone can write a GOOD one. Another thing I like here is his making some unusual choices, like when push comes to shove, who stands up to become the first of Riverdale's "fearless vampire hunters"? The easy choice would have been Betty Cooper, or (boring old) Archie Andrews... yawn. Nope, the one who "hero's up" first is Dilton Doiley! Good show, Mr. Smallwood! That said, this title seems to come out once every three months (still a lot better than AwA or ChAoS), so you may be waiting a while still until they get 4 or 5 issues out that it takes to make up a TPB.

General Discussion / Re: What comics have you been reading?
« on: September 07, 2018, 06:01:31 am »
MARVEL MANGAVERSE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION TP by Ben Dunn, Udon, C.B. Cebulski & Tommy Ohtsuka & various
MARVEL NEW MANGAVERSE: THE RINGS OF FATE (2006 digest/tankobon) by C.B. Cebulski & Tommy Ohtsuka

ASTRA: LOST IN SPACE VOL 04 tankobon - This is an amazing series. I originally picked it up knowing next to nothing about it, just taking a chance. It's been great so far, a nice balance of drama/sci-fi with more personality interaction and humor. At first it seems to set up huge mysteries based on seemingly improbable coincidences, but in this volume most of the mysteries are explained and all the pieces fall together in a neat way that I didn't exactly predict, and the answers are shocking, but just when you (and the protagonists) are getting used to this major revelation, a new HUGE plot twist is added as a cliffhanger ending to this volume (although in fairness, it's something that had some foreshadowing in previous volumes). It's a neat surprise to see how imaginative this series turned out to be.

VALIANT HIGH TP - I'm not a fan of Valiant Comics. Never really cared for that universe of characters. I followed the first version of the company, back in the 1990s, when they licensed the old Gold Key Comics characters Solar, Magnus, and Turok... but only for the first couple of years, until they fired Jim Shooter, who had been responsible for starting the whole thing (and writing the key titles SOLAR and MAGNUS) in the first place. After that (with the exception of Tim Truman's later work on the TUROK Dinosaur Hunter title) I pretty much lost all interest in Valiant. The first incarnation of the company folded up sometime in the late 1990s. When Valiant resurrected itself in the 2000s, it was run by completely different people, and they didn't license the old GK characters any more. I'd never been interested much in the newer characters created in the 1990s, which are all the IPs that the new version of the company retained. I'm vaguely familar with the ones who headlined their own titles back in the 1990s, but that's all. It's hard to tell whether "Valiant High" is just them having some fun with the characters, or if this is really supposed to be in-continuity as far as their mainline universe is concerned. It didn't matter to me, as the main characters in this four-issue miniseries were all ones I wasn't familiar with anyway. But it works, largely on the charm (you should excuse the pun) of Derek Charm's artwork, which is the thing that attracted me to read this in the first place. I kind of liked it, but am a little disappointed that that's all there is to is, just the four issues. Hopefully if it sold well enough it could become an ongoing title, or at least a once-every-so-often series of miniseries. It was fun, and not afraid to be humorous.

VAMPIRONICA #3 - Greg Smallwood's artwork on this title is pretty amazing. I'm not sure what medium he's using, but all the lines look really textured, like some kind of charcoal pencil shading, or maybe a grease pencil -- or maybe it's even a Photoshop effect created after scanning in the original raw pencils. I'd be curious to know how he does it. Anyway, it's a unique effect I can't really recall ever seeing in another comic artist's work. The story is pretty decent, too... I'm kind of mind-boggled by this short text piece in the "Riverdale Gazette" in this issue that gives a very concise (2/3rds of a page) textual summary of the of the very real historical personage Prince Vlad Tepes III, a.k.a. "Vlad the Impaler", otherwise known as Dracula (and it explains where that name came from). He may not have been an actual vampire in real life, but he was just as scary, if not more so, for all of that. Definitely the best of Archie's Horror titles so far.


GIANT ROBOT WARRIOR MAINTENANCE CREW TP - Collecting a short (3-issue) miniseries from 2014 about the trials and tribulations of maintaining the operating capabilities of a giant robot mecha. Funny.

UNNATURAL #3 (of 12)
BY NIGHT #2 & 3

MANGAMAN OGN TP (2011 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Barry Lyga & Colleen Doran - An interesting concept, where a manga character is sucked through a dimensional portal to become a character in a western-style comic book, and dealing with all the cultural differences between Japanese and western-style comics, to comedic effect. Colleen Doran has always been a talented artist, and it's too bad you don't see her drawing more mainstream projects for the bigger publishers.

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