Sunday 27 December 2015

Comic Corral #2

Comic Corral #2: Black Butler’s Big Day(s)
by Geordi Demorest
Black Butler Chapters 1-111: I’ve never been one for long running series comic or otherwise so Black Butler took years to catch-up on inevitably ending in a marathon that was both fascinating and depressing. Once I truly sunk my teeth into the manga there was no stopping. I think the biggest hurdle for those who have seen the anime in part or entirely will be separating it from the source material which has an entirely different take on the world and characters after the booking arc. The manga tries its hand at everything from mysteries to sports manga.

Sweetness and Lightning chapters 1-29: I haven’t talked about Sweetness and Lightning much, if at all, but it truly is an adorable manga. There isn’t a whole lot to it beyond its premise. The characters have layers and goals though which I think is what establishes it apart from many other slice-of-life manga well that and its incredible artwork.

Today’s Cerberus chapters 1-28: This is not a comic with an ounce a class yet I adore it all the same. It takes Nisekoi’s tropes and characters and does them many, many times better. It isn’t afraid to continue its story and doesn’t go off on tangents. It’s still shameless fan service (which is perfectly fine) it just has more too it.

Dark Horse Presents volume 3 issues 1-16: Currently I’m working my way through the seventeenth issue of this comic anthology magazine. Not all the series are winners but the ones that are really hit it out of the park. It’s a breath of fresh air for one such as I who spends much of my time with Japanese comics.

Relife volume 1: This manga caught me particularly by surprise from the outset I thought it would be fan service pandering to the lowest common denominator. However it’s a surprisingly thoughtful and addictive series.  I cannot wait for more of it to be up on Crunchyroll!

Saturday 19 December 2015

Comic Corral #1

Comic Corral #1
by Geordi Demorest
So I’m trying something a little different again. This is column is more of a roundup of some of the books and shows I’ve been watching and a more blog style reaction to them instead of reviews with structure to them. So basically what I’ve been doing.

Island issues 1-4: This one caught me off guard. I hadn’t expected to enjoy this as much as I do. Not all of the stories were winners one of the stories in particular in which people have devices that do everything for them seemed to clash with the more surrealist at times almost dada.
Lettera volume 1: This one can be found on the sparkler monthly site where it is currently being serialized. It does this weird thing where it goes into super deformed mode at odd times, as in, most of the time. I really like series with strong female protagonists and this is a prime example of that. The heroine, who doesn’t have much depth so far honestly, can hold her own in a fight and has a compelling personality.
Orange Junk Chapters 1-14: This comic is kind of a guilty pleasure with not too much substance to it. It’s a fun read and also can be found on the sparkler monthly website. The modeling arc is by far my favorite as it actually has some stakes and greatly expands the cast.
Natsume’s Book of Friends volume 10: I have always been a fan of Natsume, though admittedly I still have the fourth/final season sitting unfinished on my CR queue. It’s a quiet series though my favorite moments are the more suspenseful ones. This volume pretty much continued to stick to the series’ status quo for better and for not so well.
Big Punch Magazine issue 1: I’d been vaguely aware of this magazine for some time but never had gotten around to reading it mostly because I wasn’t sure it would stay afloat for long. The end of the year though and it’s still around. The stories are compelling and too my liking in art style Though don’t really care for the first story in the issue.

There was a lot more that I read recently, and continue to read, and I might get around to writing up about those series at some point too. Anywho, have a good day!

Saturday 12 December 2015

Top 5 Best and Worst Comics of 2015

Top 5 Best and Worst Comics of 2015
by Geordi Demorest
2015 was a huge year for comics. Highly requested series have been licensed in droves, French comics made a splash onto the North American market, new services sprung up like Spottoon, Yen Press simulpubs, Silent Manga Audition, webtoons (a new format for comics designed for the digital age) seem to be taking off globally, and so on and so forth. With the year drawing to a close I thought I’d make a best and worst list for comics that came out in 2015. To clarify the worst list was really subjective while the best list is made up, what I feel to be, the best comics of 2015.

Let’s get the worst out of the way:
5) Idol Dreams: I couldn’t get past the first chapter of this one. Tanemura really isn’t that great at writing adults who feel and act like adults. There was also a suicide joke thrown in and well let’s say it isn’t one of her better works.
4) Takahashi-san is Listening: This series relies completely around a really awkward joke: the protagonist is a stalker. There really isn’t much to say about it beyond that. It never really goes beyond the joke nor does the heroine face any consequences for her actions.
3) Samon the Summoner: This one was particularly insufferable. The biggest problem lies in the fact that the heroine is actually a great person, and yet Samon tries to convince the audience that secretly she is evil at heart and that she should, thus, be miserable. It never gave a reason in the pilot chapter and it was another one I couldn’t read much of beyond it admittedly. Like most of the Jump Starts this year this one was cancelled quickly.  
2) Yuuki and Nao: This one goes higher because, when I started reading it, I was cautiously optimistic, that it might be decent, but it turned out to be yet another of Renta’s many hard-core smut series.
1) Marie of the Dragons: It now occurs to me that this list is comprised mostly of smut and tasteless humor series. Marie of the Dragons falls into the former category. It took me many months to finish the one issue I have bought. While I enjoy some bande desinee this is not one of them. The art is hideous and it prefers to concentrate on the smut far too much for my tastes.

Now for the “best of” list:
5) Bloody Mary: Admittedly this one is more of a personal favorite but the way it goes about its subject matter is well written and refreshing. It’s far more intelligent than I thought it would have been from the outset and it was a genuinely pleasant surprise for me.
4) Scarlet Empire: Another personal favorite. The artwork is distinct and eye-catching, the story flows fluidly, and the characters have layers to their personalities. It’s probably the lowest profile series on this best list but I think it deserves a spot.
3) So Cute It Hurts: This series was even more of a pleasant surprise. Despite how plain it looks it has a lot of personality. Gender benders are difficult to do well and I think So Cute it Hurts is certainly up to the task.
2) Princess Jellyfish: I really struggled with the top two.  Princess Jellyfish is only in second because I was well aware from the outset how great it would be. It’s charming and has many, many likeable, colorful characters. The common is perfectly tuned and it just does very well at what it sets out to be: a romantic comedy.

1) Tokyo Ghoul: I really could not NOT put this one at number 1. Tokyo Ghoul is by far the most compelling comic of 2015. It spends lots of time and effort establishing the decay of its protagonist’s morality and sanity and its multi-layered world. The artwork is no slouch either the series comic consistently looks good too. Tokyo Ghoul is nigh impossible to put down and it truly deserves its place.