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Alicia Korenman

Avenge Me! (Plus Free Comics!)

Guys, it’s May, and that means two AWESOME things are happening this weekend! First, this Saturday, the 5th, is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY.  Yes, this is a day where you can go to a comic book store and GET FREE COMICS. Good ones, too! And there’s lots of stuff for all ages (I’ve already been tasked with picking up stuff for my favorite four-year-old, who sadly will be out of town and can’t enjoy the festivities). This is a great chance to sample new titles, see what publishers are up to, and visit and support local businesses. Publishers really put a lot of effort into these free books to entice new readers, and most stores will let you take a LOT of different titles, so it’s really worth checking out. I guarantee everyone will find at least one thing they’ll like (though I’m particularly excited about the Mouse Guard one and the Moomin Color Special). The official FCBD site has information on what will be available and a list of participating stores. I’ll be helping out at Chapel Hill Comics early in the day, so come by and say hi! And in other exciting comic book news for this weekend, THE AVENGERS movie finally opens up! One of my friends hosted a Marvel Movie Marathon last weekend and we watched all five movies (Iron Man, Hulk, Iron Man 2,...

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I Heart Love and Rockets

Love and Rockets has probably been my favorite comic book series for over a decade now. Though it’s been running since the early ’80s, I didn’t discover it until Penny Century #1 came out in the late 90s — I was immediately drawn to the cover art (as seen here), and the story within wasn’t at all what I expected. Of course, I immediately started reading all the collections starting from the beginning, so I could figure out who these characters were and discover their rich backstories. Love and Rockets is primarily the work of two brothers: Gilbert (“Beto”) and Jaime Hernandez (with a third brother, Mario, sometimes contributing), and each has his own universe of characters that’s well worth exploring. College-age Alicia, reading the early years of the series, would have vociferously argued that Jaime was the better artist and Gilbert the better storyteller—and maybe this was true of the early years. Beto’s stories were more immediately solid, whereas Jaime took a little longer to find his footing (lots of people would disagree with me, but I was never very interested in Jaime’s earlier stuff, which involved lots of rockets and dinosaurs and adventuring—though I did love his characters when they were doing normal stuff, which they eventually started to do full-time, and which was GREAT). And modern-age Alicia would just as vociferously argue that Jaime’s most recent...

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Two Guys, A Girl and a Pop Tate's Place

This week I’m going to do a little news round-up, because a few interesting headlines hit recently. First off, let’s catch up with the wonderfully wacky world of Archie! (I’m perpetually fascinated with the Archie universe.) Anyway, the big news right now is that issue #636 will feature a gender-swapped version of the cast after Sabrina the Teen Witch comes to town. I think this looks hilarious, but seriously, is “Archina” the best girl-name they could come up with for Archie? That is TERRIBLE. And speaking of Sabrina, it looks like a live action movie is in development. I’m a little leery of the “Twilight meets Buffy” claims and of pet cat Salem apparently becoming a love interest (he’s now a transformed prince, because of course he is). I am only somewhat ashamed to admit that I loved the tv show that ran in the ’90s, and am kind of excited about this movie, even though it sounds terrible. Archie’s also been in the news for less comic-y reasons too—if you’re interested in behind-the-scenes brou-ha-has, check out this New York Times article about the battle for control of the company between relatives of its two founders. That story is crazier than anything the Archie writers could ever come up with. In non-Archie, but extremely awesome news, I guess the Adventure Time comic book is doing well, because there’s going...

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Come Into My (Alternate) World

So the big comic book news story this week (to me, anyway) is THE MEETING OF THE SPIDER-MEN. “Spider-MEN?” you may be asking right now. Yes, that’s right, there is more than one, due to the many, many Spidey-related books that Marvel is putting out at any given moment (although this is true of all superheroes, really). Our traditional Spider-Man, Peter Parker, of course still exists, but we also have a new(ish) Spider-Man, Miles Morales, who appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books.  (Marvel’s Ultimate line is kind of an alternate universe of Marvel, with different characters and backstories—like when Peter Parker was Spider-Man in Ultimate Comics, he went to high school with a bunch of other Marvel characters, and even dated the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde. Obviously none of that is true of the regular Spider-Man comics.) Anyway, Miles Morales started as Spider-Man last year after Peter Parker died (probably not permanently). There was some controversy about this, since Miles is half-black and half-Latino, and some people weren’t into the idea of a brown Spidey, but remember that Peter Parker is still Spider-Man in the “real” Marvel Universe, and this is an alternate universe where the flaming guy from the Fantastic Four and the icy guy from the X-Men both live with Peter and Aunt May. Plus, it’s high time we had a brown Spidey [or other very mainstream...

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Eisner on the Prize-ner

The Eisner Award nominations were announced this week, which is huge news in the comic book world—these awards are basically the Oscars of comic books. So if you’re looking to get into comics, checking out the nominees isn’t a bad place to start—they run the gamut from single issues of superhero comics to books aimed at younger readers to books about comics to collections of classic material (like the Prince Valiant collections or MAD Magazine Fold-In collection that are nominated this year. I haven’t seen that MAD one yet, but gosh, that sounds cool).  And there are a few nominations I’m really excited about—Zita the Spacegirl, which I talked about recently, is up for best kids’ publication for ages 8-12, and Anya’s Ghost, one of my favorite books of 2011, is up for best Young Adult work. 20th Century Boys, which I recommended just last week, is up for best continuing series, a couple of my other favorite ongoing series, Unwritten and Locke and Key, both had issues singled out for the best single issue/one-shot category, and Life with Archie (which I have talked about a few times) is up for best Young Adult publication (apparently those more-serious stories are really hitting the mark). If my recommendations haven’t been enough to convince you, maybe the Oscars of comics will be! And if you’re looking for reading material for little...

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Adventure Comics (not that one)

Inspired by last week’s Hunger-Games-frenzy (I loooooooved the movie and basically cried for the whole thing. What did you guys think? Obviously the books have a lot more details, but I really liked the movie version, especially the behind-the-scenes stuff), I’m going to tell you guys about some GREAT adventure series for a variety of ages/audiences. First up, BONE. Bone is one of the best-selling series of all time (probably– that is based on anecdotal evidence and not hard statistics), which is actually a little bit crazy if you know that it started as a self-published comic back in the 90s and was self-published for most of its run. Originally it wasn’t even aimed at kids—author Jeff Smith was just trying to tell a classic story inspired by things like Pogo (art- and story-wise) and everyone I knew reading it back then was technically an adult (I was a college student, if that counts as adult). Eventually huge publisher Scholastic realized Bone was a perfect story for kids and started publishing color versions of the books—which were so successful that new Bone stories started coming out again in 2010, for the first time in over ten years. Bone is about a weird-looking (but adorable!) little guy named Fone Bone, who, along with his two cousins, finds himself lost in an unfamiliar land, where he meets local girl Thorn and...

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Appropriate For Hunger Audiences

OK, I know I’m supposed to be talking about comics, but I am WAY too excited for the Hunger Games movie to talk about comics! But just so I’m not completely off-topic, here are two Hunger Games-related comics by Faith Erin Hicks (whose Friends with Boys I recommended a couple weeks ago. The first  is a retelling of the first couple of pages of the first Hunger Games book (and if you haven’t read it yet, why not? Be a part of the zeitgeist!). She definitely nails the atmosphere of District 12. I’m actually amazed that there hasn’t been a Hunger Games tie-in graphic novel announced yet, but I’m not the only person who thinks Hicks should work on one. And the second is a fairly personal comic from Hicks, about why the series strikes such a chord with her (note: this one has spoilers for the end of the series). Basically, YAY Hunger Games! In honor of Hunger Games and Katniss, I’m going to look at some more AWESOME women characters in comics (speaking of which, have you guys seen these adorable shorts Lauren Faust is doing for DC called Super Best Friends Forever? They feature Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Girl . . . but not like you’ve ever seen them before. Faust has previously worked on the Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Creatures, and created the...

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Tie-In Time Again

The recent news about the apparent failure of the John Carter movie (which even I, a die-hard Michael Chabon fangirl [he wrote the script], have no interest in seeing) has me thinking about comic book movie adaptations—and adaptations of movies into comic books. The latter is actually more interesting to me–comic book movies, of course, are reliably good and/or silly, depending on the characters and the directors involved, and are a tried-and-true movie institution–but the reverse move is a little more unusual. I’ve seen quite a few tie-in comics through the years–there’s a whole cottage industry of Star Wars comic books, for instance, but there are also tie-ins for things like Charmed (a tv show that went off the air years before a comic book version came out), True Blood, and Alien vs. Predator. One of the most successful tie-in comic books is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, which picks up where the television show leaves off. The first eight volumes of stories were actually marketed as Season Eight of the show, and now the story is on season nine. Comic books are a lot cheaper to produce than tv shows, especially when things like vampires are involved that require special effects, so Joss Whedon and his team have a lot more room to get crazy with the storylines–which they definitely have done. Comic book companies have also...

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Female Heroes in Mainstream Comics

These days, I hear a lot about sexism in comics, and I agree that it’s a huuuuuuge problem (especially in mainstream superhero comics)—read Kelly Thompson’s essay if you don’t believe me. So today I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite women characters in mainstream comics who are done well (I’ll probably talk about less mainstream characters another day)—strong, kick-ass heroines who are dressed appropriately (Emma Frost, I’m looking at you). First up is Batwoman. Batwoman is relatively new to the DC Universe—she premiered briefly in 2006 and got her own major storyline in Detective Comics in...

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Shock And Archie

Another week, another comic book controversy. You may be surprised to hear that, of all things, Archie Comics has stirred up a fuss, but that isn’t actually surprising at all (which I’ll get to in a moment). This week, the issue is that the American Family Association noticed an issue of an Archie comic that featured a gay marriage.  I do want to point out that the comic in question, Life with Archie, features the characters as adults and is aimed at a slightly older audience than the usual Archie fare. In one storyline, Archie is married to Veronica,...

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