staff picks

Space Dandy, Season 1

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Good times are ahead with Shinichiro Watanabe at the helm. The director of the critically-acclaimed Cowboy Bebop returns with a series that is the antithesis of that musically-infused sci-fi noir action drama. Space Dandy is raucous and nonsensical, nonlinear and absurd, unhesitatingly breaking the…

Sword Art Online: Progressive, vol. 1

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Your assessment of Sword Art Online: Progressive will come down to your tolerance for fanservice: targeted objectification or hypersexualization of anime and manga characters. All fanservice aside, this is a fairly entertaining debut story for Asuna Yuuki, one of the breakout stars of…

Batgirl: The Batgirl of Burnside

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The Batgirl of Burnside is a new take on Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl that retains its core character. This change is symbolized by the series’ numbering: this trade is volume one, but it’s comprised of issues 35–40 of the New 52 series. Confused readers may wonder which rules apply:…

The Harlem Hellfighters

Harlem Hellfighters cover

Educators and researchers: let’s all heave a collective sigh of disappointment that this is not truly a work of nonfiction. Max Brooks testifies that he conducted a lot of research and worked on this story for a long time, both before…

Hawkeye, vols. 1-2

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Archer Clint Barton is better known to the world by his titles than his name: “Hawkeye,” “World’s Greatest Marksman,” and “Avenger”.  Barton is unenhanced, unpowered, and merely human, yet he holds his own in the superhero big leagues, despite being…

The Lunch Witch, volume 1

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Stories of magic and mischief, especially in comic form, are ripe for gimmicks. The Lunch Witch, by Deb Lucke, with its intended youthful audience and central supernatural character, has all the elements to get very gimmicky very quick, but skillfully…

Howard the Duck, iss. 1

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Howard the Duck‘s new tagline: “trapped in a world he’s grown accustomed to” has multiple meanings—the series’ first tagline was “trapped in a world he never made!”. Fans will understand it as an evolution of the character, one that will not mimic Steve Gerber’s…

We Dig Worms!

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Some people think it is easy to write for children, and those people are fools. You have to express a great deal in very few words, keep your imagery simple but rich, and, ideally, entertain while educating. Writing non-fiction for…

The Mutts Diaries

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A selection of Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts comic strips are collected here for the enjoyment of kids and adults alike. The collection is divided into strips featuring various characters. The two main sections are the “diaries” of Mooch the cat and…

Accel World, vols. 1 & 2

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Based on the award-winning light novel by Reki Kawahara of Sword Art Online fame, the manga adaptation of Accel World is a fast-paced and engaging story that combines futuristic “full-dive” virtual reality technology with the everyday struggles of ordinary middle school students.…

Amulet #6: Escape from Lucien

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After pausing to recover from an illness and to draw the Harry Potter paperback covers, Kibushi returns with the anxiously awaited book six in his Amulet series. Plunging in where volume five left off, Amulet #6: Escape From Lucien immediately…

Alive

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Alternative manga is often obtuse, which can be a detriment or a delight. Taguchi Hajime’s Alive is often both at once. The book is a collection of loosely-connected stories: teenagers hiding from their exams on a rooftop; a man who is afraid to love, cohabiting with a…

The Late Child and Other Animals

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The Late Child and Other Animals is an intriguing beast: a personal memoir of Marguerite Van Cook’s post-war British childhood that reads like lush fiction, segmented into seemingly unrelated stories that drift in and out of sharp focus. There’s a…