staff picks

Manga Classics: Emma

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One of the perks of being a Jane Austen fan (or Austenite) is the abundant para-literature on all of dear old Jane’s books. Current variations include zombies, vampires, and gender bending of characters with other formats in the mix. Manga Classics:…

The Borgias

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Borgia: the name is nearly synonymous with deceit and debauchery, a family whose infamy, deserved or not, has become entrenched in Western cultural memory for over 500 years. A tangled web of power, religion, sex, and violence, the Borgias have…

Saga, vol. 4

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If you haven’t read Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga so far, the fourth volume might be a jarring entry point; the opening pulls no punches. The first image is of a naked woman, legs spread, giving birth. You…

Gyo 2-in-1 Deluxe Edition

First published in Japan in 2002 and translated into English in 2003, Junji Ito’s Gyo has been re-released this April in a deluxe hardback 2-in-1 edition by Viz Media. Designed to complement Ito’s classic Uzumaki, the handsome matte cover opens…

My Love Story!!, vols. 1-3

My Love Story!! Volume 1 Cover

Takeo Goda is the best thing to happen to shojo manga. He is a towering, muscular super-athlete, and characters like him are usually nowhere to be found in sparkly romances. His main love interest, the bubbly dessert cook Rinko Yamato,…

The Fade Out

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Hollywood, California, 1948. Fade in on professional screenwriter and semi-professional drunkard Charlie Parrish as he slowly wakes up after a wild night on the town. Charlie finds himself in a hotel bathtub, unable to remember anything about the night before—Charlie…

Girl In Dior

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Girl In Dior is a dreamy book—a frothy, flighty confection full to the brim with evening dresses and post-war Parisian vignettes. It doesn’t amount to much story-wise, but that is by no means the point. It achieves its goal: to…

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

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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…