Friday, June 23, 2017

Flashback Friday: Halcyon

I've read a lot of comics in my life, clearly. There are ones that I found amazing, books I found terrible, as well as comics  that I immediately forgot and others that stuck with me. One comic I found really enjoyable and which also stuck with me would be, "Halcyon." A mini-series that went five issues and was originally announced under the name, "Utopia," before a title-change, It seems to barely be remembered online, although I can find some other reviewers who liked it.

Written by Marc Guggenheim and Tara Butters, the general concept in the comic is one that I find extremely clever in that all the anger and violence in the world among humans has been decreasing over the year to the point where nobody wants to commit a violent crime, fight over religion, or go to war about resources. It is obvious that this isn't normal, but people figure it is okay, because what's so bad about World peace? The Batman-esque hero Sabre feels this is all horribly wrong though, and later in the comic discovers that the big-time super-villain, Oculus, actually created a device that has been beaming out a signal of sorts that makes everyone peaceful/non-violent. Basically, he figured the most evil thing he could arguably do to the heroes was make them unnecessary in a happy and wonderful world--basically doing something that makes him the hero.
Sabre confronts Oculus
However, once the truth is realized Sabre goes and tries to destroy the device, with everyone discovering the closer you get to the beam/transmitted the less it affects you. Hence, plenty of violence occurs and Sabre basically becomes the villain in his wanting to make the world a miserable place again because he claims people deserve free will...but maybe he just hates being made obsolete in a land of joy and peace.

Ryan Bodenheim provides artwork that is very clean, precise, and works wonderfully for this comic at showing these incredible powered beings coming to terms with the fact they are now obsolete. Bodenheim's artwork has a nice formal look but he can break-out some stellar imagery at times, such as in the fifth and final issue when Sabre releases an energy blast that rips a former colleague apart. After some relatively restrained artwork it is a shockingly graphic and grotesquely gorgeous image. Observe:

"Halcyon," was a book that really struck me when I first read it upon its being released back in late 2010 through early 2011 and when I was rooting through all my comics to identify ones to sell I made sure to put it aside and re-read it, having recalled that I found it quite well-written and full of great artwork. I would recommend people seek it out if they like super-heroic stories with a dash of philosophy that explores that question of just what happens when the heroes, "Win," by having violence end, but in order to truly win in this case they have to let themselves lose, in a sense. It's great stuff.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Start-of-the-Summer News and Links for June 2017

Summertime Is Here!
Summer has arrived!
As of yesterday is it officially Summer now. It's also hot as Hell in many parts of the Nation. Let's cool-off via enjoying my various links by a nice big air conditioner, shall we?

News and Opinions
Real or fake, your ads suck.
You know those incredibly annoying ads by Chevy that feature, "Real people," absolutely fawning over the cars? This article by the AV Club discusses how in a shocking twist these ads actually feature...real people? Huh, who would have thunk-it?

I enjoyed the first, "Mass Effect," and what I played of the sequel. Apparently the mess that the latest game, "Andromeda," turned out to be can be blamed on quite a tumultuous development cycle.

My article I wrote about the politics of Frank Miller some time ago garnered a solid share of agreement and ruffled a fair share of feathers as well. Reading this piece where a reviewer discusses a book about reconciling a love of Miller's past work with how he behaves today says a lot of what I tried to say even better than I could.

A whole bunch of previously unreleased pictures of Jimi Hendrix are now available for public consumption. The man was undeniably a genius and as, "Rolling Stone," magazine has said (and I agree with their conclusion), the greatest guitarist ever.

I am thankful that video-game companies don't appear to be pursuing the whole, "Shared-Universe," concept with all their very different franchises (outside of some in-jokes) that many film studios seem to think will somehow succeed and bring them immense wealth through sheer force of will against all logic because, "Hey, it worked for Marvel!". Yeah, I'm not a fan of unneeded shared-universe ideas done poorly.

Reactions to the announcement of more, "Watchmen," adaptations on the horizon are mixed at best, annoyed and peeved at worst.

I've seen it pointed out how for a group that always protests how gun-owners deserve respect the NRA has been silent on the murder of Philando Castile and his killer walking free, giving the impression that the NRA respects gun rights for only Americans who happen to be white. Castile did everything he should have, informing the officer of his legally registered firearm, and he still was shot-down like an animal while his murderer was able to hide behind their badge and get away with it, as all the cops who kill black men seem to do (and I'm not anti-police, I just want the police to be accountable for those on the force who are the bad apples and do this shit). It is depressing.

The company, "Juicero," sure sounds like a horrendous mess of a control-freak CEO and unrealistic optimism mixed with ludicrous amounts of investment money.

Earlier today I realized that we are now less than a month away from San Diego Comic-Con/Comic-Con International. It is sure to be a big mess of announcements for film, movie, video-games, and maybe comics if they can get some attention in between all the other stuff. I'll of course be paying close attention to all the news to come out of the show and most likely have plenty of snarky opinions to share.

I remember this video-game you had to play in the sun! Called, "Boktai," it was for the Game Boy Advance and was pretty fun. Before, "Pokemon Go," became a big thing this was arguably the only video-game you needed to put on sunscreen (upon your body, not the device) to enjoy safely.

Our Nation's Moron-in-Chief, Donald Trump, today tweeted that he never made any tapes of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey despite previously claiming he did. This means Trump is either a liar, an idiot, or both. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, "Both."

Lastly, I just want to point-out that the superb comic, "Buzzkill," is getting a re-release in trade via Image comics. This is one of the first works by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw to ever come-out and illustrated how great they already were. It is a prime example of why I'm not surprised they are having so much respective success now with a hit like, "God Country."

Enjoy the Season!

Get on out there (when it isn't too hot) and enjoy a dip in the pool, walk in the park, or something else fun. Oh, and for my readers South of the Equator, perhaps enjoy a ski-trip or something?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Is DC's Latest Event-Teasing Comic Any Good? A Review of, "Dark Days: The Forge #1"

I love doing my rant-reviews/capsule reviews but sometimes you just wanna do a deeper-dive into a single comic because there is a variety to discuss. This book was interesting because it was strange, and while I wasn't amazed, I did overall at least like this comic. First off, the artwork is solid throughout as various talents pop-up to provide their talents (Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, and John Romita Jr.), but Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV really have maybe a bit too much going on within the span of this single comic for much to make any sense.

"The Forge," leads into the upcoming DC event, "Metal," which seems to be about how a mystical metal provides many famous artifacts in the DC Universe with power. This isn't just about that though, it involves other worlds, past Universes such as the New 52 one, and the denizens of that universe such as Plastic Man, plus we have one of the, "Three Jokers," a version of, "The Outsiders," so-called, "Immortal Men," the possibility of a dystopia ruled by Batman, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl play a role too. Also, Green Lantern is involved too because something is up with his ring that relates to all this. Yes, there is a lot going on here and it can be a bit much.
Oh, I didn't even mention the dimensional tuning-fork
To the credit of all these competing stories, enough stuff is interesting that I'm considering giving, "Metal," some attention. While I could take-or-leave the idea of various powerful items in the DC Universe all sharing some mystical metal, I'm a fan of stories that involve alternate universes as well as tales where those dimensions meet-up. This book isn't exactly friendly to casual readers of the DC Universe however (like myself) who just dip our toes into various books. No, this is the kind of thing that rewards folk with extensive knowledge of DC and I had to look-up a lot of reviews and break-downs to make sense of some things.

"Dark Days: The Forge," is a comic so loaded with teasers for a variety of story-elements that it hampers the overall flow of the plot a bit with an unclear focus. Is this a tale of magical metals, alternate universes, dark futures ruled over by Batman, or a multitude of other things? Thankfully a variety of these ideas are compelling and--as I said--the book looks quite good, so I overall liked this comic and am curious what comes next--which was arguably its whole intent, to get us intrigued in future stories.
3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Saint Louis Comic-Con 2017 In Review--Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed this years Saint Louis Comic-Con immensely. I didn't go Sunday as I enjoyed my first Father's Day with a son at home, but I was there extensively Saturday. It was great to come to a comic convention where there is big focus on comics and comic-related merchandise. I am perfectly okay with other interesting vendors at comic-shows, but it is nice when there is more than just a handful of comic-sellers (I even overheard many people stating how they were pleased to see actual comics at a comic-convention). This year's Saint Louis Comic-Con had all kinds of folk selling a variety of cool comics, people with Funkos, minifigure-merchants, folk selling clothing or decorative weaponry, and all other kinds of neat stuff. There were some snazzy guests too such as Chris Claremont who was very nice and gave a great talk Saturday as well.

I viewed some cosplay contests while at the show and they were all fun, but the cutest was by far the children's-cosplay event where little kids walked-up on the stage (or had parents carry them up) and looked adorable. You already know I'm hatching plans for what Clarkson can dress-up as if he comes to a con with me sometime in the future.

The Saint Louis Comic-Con was much larger in terms of floor-space and the expanded event-space was for sure a good thing to have as this show was busy! When the doors first opened in the morning there wasn't too long a line to get in, but when I stepped-out of the main show-floor at 11:30AM to use the restroom the trickle of folk arriving had turned into a metaphorical downpour. The line winded around and everyone was eager to get into the show, with lots of excitement and good spirits being evident among all the attendees. I think a mixture of positive word-of-mouth about last year's show, the fair pricing, and free parking all helped to make this show appealing to the fans!

This year was a great one for Saint Louis Comic-Con. It had a fantastic debut last year and this second show continued the stellar momentum of fun and fans. I want to thank Geek Inc. Comics/Mighty Con for putting on such a great show and remembering that when it comes to comic conventions, people want fair prices and good fun!

Saint-Louis Comic-Con 2017 In Review--Items I Got

Items = Fun!
I met cool people at the show of course, but when we go to comic conventions don't just make precious memories, but it's also fun to get stuff too. With that in mind, I want to present the things I got at this year's Saint Louis Comic-Con!


Stuff I Got (in Alphabetical-ish Order)
Alien VS Predator Playset
I of course love many of the, "Alien," movies and adore a number of the, "Predator," flicks. While I may not be the biggest fan of the movies where characters from the franchises actually met, this playset a vendor had out caught my eye and after I found myself repeatedly walking past it and staring at the darn thing during the show I knew I just needed to buy it.

Avatar Press Trade Paperbacks
I'm a big fan of comics new and old from Avatar Press, so when I saw these two trade paperbacks on sale for just five dollars each I grabbed them. I already have a hardcover copy of, "Black Summer," but don't have it in paperback and this collection of some Alan Moore-works looked fun, so it was a good purchase.

Colored-in Wonder Woman Comic
I previously picked-up this black-and-white variant Wonder Woman comic which I got signed by its writer, Merdith Finch at another comic convention. I wasn't a huge fan of the story-arc this became but love the art by David Finch on the cover. Jeff Balke was kind enough to let me commission him to give it some color and really make it pop! It now looks even better displayed on my bookshelf thanks to the awesome color.

Doc Brown Funko Pop
As my wife and I were married on what is known as, "Back to the Future Day," we enjoy collecting various items related to the series. Therefore, when I was able to grab this Funko Pop of Doc Brown you know I jumped on the opportunity to have it!

Moon Knight Figurines
I got two awesome Moon-Knight minifigures, one in a snazzy case for display and another one by itself for enjoying with my Lego playsets!

Negan Minifigure
My Mother-in-Law is a huge fan of, "The Walking Dead," and her favorite actor by far is Jeffery Dean Morgan. Therefore, when he became Negan for the television show she was basically in heaven. I knew she would appreciate a cute little miniature version of someone who on the show is not at all sweet and adorable.

"Predator 2," Comic--With Dark Horse Trading Cards!
As discussed earlier in this post, I love the Predator movies. There have been a variety of Predator-related comics but this one looked cool as it was the first issue of the official comic-book adaptation of the 2nd movie. Also, the Dark Horse trading cards that were advertised as coming with it still were in the comic, which I took as a sign I ought to snatch it up.

"Tyrants," Comics
I mentioned meeting the guys from Hollow Harbor press in my post earlier today, and this was the comic-series they were at the con promoting. It is about a family dealing with power, magic, and sounded exciting. I look forward to reading and reviewing it!

Hooray for Things!
I tried to be responsible with my budget this year and only get stuff I really wanted--and not buy too many comics as I've been selling many of my books already, after all. I think I did a good job with that goal, as I didn't purchase too much, but what I did buy (or was given for the purposes of review) I am really pleased about.

Saint Louis Comic-Con 2017 In Review--Some Cool People I Met

Chit-and-Chat!
There were a bunch of cool folk I met and talked with at the Saint Louis Comic-Con this year! How about we discuss them in alphabetical-ish order?

The People I Met
Amy Hale
I met author Amy Hale who had a variety of cool books for sale and has an intense thriller titled, "The Things we Cannot See," coming out this Fall which I am for sure interested in as a fan of thriller-stories. I subscribed to her e-mail newsletter so I can be in-the-loop about when its released!

Archon
I chatted with a representative from the Sci-Fi Convention, Archon. Considered by many to be the Midwest's Premier Sci-Fi Con, it sounded like a really cool time and I should for sure try and get to it assuming my schedule cooperates!

Excuse my medicore photo-taking skills
Chris Claremont
The line was usually long to get to meet him, but it was worth the wait as Chris Claremont was very engaging and fun to speak with. Known for a variety of comic-works and arguably the writer who helped take Wolverine from a dull character to a fan-favorite, Mr. Claremont was a delight to see.

DMen Designs
One of the coolest things I saw at the show were tables, end-tables, and other decorations made out of actual comic-book art. It was super-impressive and gorgeous stuff at reasonable prices and I would encourage you to check-out their page.


Hollow Harbor
I chatted with some really cool gentlemen from the publisher Hollow Harbor who have a comic titled, "Tyrants," which I picked-up and look forward to reading and reviewing!

Jane Bush and Arleana Holtzmann
Sharing a booth which showed-off their stellar artwork were Jane Bush and Arleana Holtzmann. Both had some fantastic-looking pieces I encourage you to check out Ms. Bush's work here and Ms. Holtzmann's artwork on her website.

Jeff Balke
Jeff Balke is a fantastic colorist and I always enjoy running into him at various conventions. This time he actually colored something for me which I'll discuss in my post later about the stuff I got at the show.

Meraki House Comics
I made the acquaintance of J.W. Cury who is the CEO and Art Director of Meraki House Comics. He told me they were a local publisher dedicated to helping new creators get their work published. You can find them online here!

STL Brick Fanatics
I purchased some cool minifigures from STL Brick Fanatics. They had an assortment of cool stuff and said they would reach-out to me when they got some Luke Cage figures in stock, as they didn't have any on-hand at the show but wanted to be sure and get one to me when I inquired. That's some great customer service!

Cool People Everywhere!
There were a variety of cool people at the Saint Louis Comic-Con this year, and as usual I'm sure I forget to mention many due to forgetting to grab a business card/being my flighty self.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saint Louis Comic-Con 2017 Posts Tomorrow!

This Year's Saint Louis Comic-Con has wrapped as of today. I had a fantastic time and will be putting-up some posts tomorrow discussing the people I met, stuff I got, and my overall thoughts on the show. Expect posts as soon as very early in the morning!

Happy Father's Day!

I am so honored that as of this Father's Day I am not only a daddy to fur-babies, but also my son Clarkson. From his early arrival, to when he came home, to today he has been a wonderful joy to have in the life of Samii and myself. I want to wish all the other fathers out there a wonderful day too and thank everyone who has reached-out to me to share their warm thoughts as well.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

My Thoughts on the, "Black Panther," Trailer



When it comes to movie trailers it seems normally you've got to post your thoughts as soon as possible or people will move on to the next thing in a short span of time. I was so busy formulating my thoughts about the, "Black Panther," trailer however it has now been a number of days since its debut and I still haven't shared an opinion. I shall rectify this...

To summarize the trailer in one sentence:
Oh Hell yes!

Seriously though, we see how this ties into the main Marvel Cinematic Universe with a villain from, "Age of Ultron," and Martin Freeman from, "Captain America: Civil War," popping-up at the start, but even if this takes place among the Marvel movies it clearly is its own unique and gorgeous thing. The outfits, action set-pieces, and just how awesome Chadwick Boseman looks and acts as the Black Panther all grab a viewer's attention and demand your awe. Plus, this is a mostly-black cast in a field of movies (super-hero flicks) that besides some exceptions like, "Blade," or Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, tends to be pretty white.

I wasn't really worried about if this was going to seem promising however, as director Ryan Coogler has created great stuff before ("Fruitvale Station," "Creed," to name his previous work), and seems to be bringing his film-making talent into, "Black Panther," with full-force (and of course his oft-collaborator Michael B. Jordan is here too, making him the second person to play the Human Torch in a, "Fantastic Four," movie and then get to make-up for it as a different character).

Oh, and because Marvel the Publisher can't quit messing-up even when Marvel the Movie Studio is doing well, a newer comic that ties-in with Black Panther which was just about to have the first trade come out has been cancelled. That first trade is now the only trade, so there won't be a bunch of newer comics to tell people interested in the character about when his movie releases, just the main, "Black Panther," series in trade and one edition of this, which I'm sure most non-readers of comics who might want to try trades will love. I'm so sarcastic sometimes it hurts.

Anyways, I'm excited for this movie, and from the looks of things, many other folk are too. Of course, some haters have to come out of the woodwork as always and complain about random and stupid stuff, but I think most of us are pumped for this film.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I've Been Continuing To Read Manga And Have Reviews

Yet Even More!
I previously discussed how I was dipping my toe into the, "Manga," pool more, and then I talked about when I continued to read some more books. I've been reading yet even more Manga-books lately thanks to my local libraries and good deals at book-stores, so I thought  I would discuss what I've picked-up!

My Latest Manga Reads
Goodnight Punpun Volume 3
Punpun grows older with every volume, and seems to be less and less a precocious little kid than a bit of a self-obsessed jerk. I don't know if Inio Asano has intended for Punpun to seem that way, but he kind of does. As seemingly sweet characters reveal their metaphorical fangs, folk get hurt, relationships get cheated on, and throughout it all there is still some bits of great humor that help keep things from feeling too dark--plus as always Punpun and his family are weirdly illustrated as minimalist blobs while everything else on the page is hyper-detailed in its drawing or incorporation of photography. The first volume of this series has a melancholic vibe but also was fun and absurdist. There still is some of that in these later books, but even the quirkiest characters have been revealed to have a decent amount of depth, with mean characters shown to maybe not be all bad, and seemingly perfect folk making it apparent they have a number of flaws all their own. This is one of the stranger and best comics I've read, and as with my reviews of the previous books I encourage you to check this out.
5 out of 5 stars.
Citrus Volumes 2-5
I quite liked the first volume of Citrus, a weird little slice-of-life Yuri-themed tale about two step-sisters with an extremely complicated and somewhat taboo relationship. Written and illustrated by Saburouta, my library had the other five volumes that have come in out English so I requested they be put on hold. I gave them all a read and now here we are! As for volumes #2-#5, I enjoyed them a great deal too but started to notice the plot will at times advance certain aspects at quite the glacial pace.

The whole point of this manga is centered on the relationship between two step-sisters and their will-they-or-won't-they relationship (as presented to younger-adult readers), but it finally takes to the end of the 4th volume/start of the 5th volume for the characters to agree they are actually dating and for the plot to show some glimmers of life outside of pages and pages of repressed longing and, "I don't know how to handle these feelings,"-type chapters. It results in books #3 and #4 feeling like they drag a bit, with the attempt to spice things up by introducing new characters in each who complicate things coming off more as filler than exciting plot developments. As I mentioned though, the fifth volume finally seems to have some momentum as an interesting development occurs with a student-government election and actual stakes (the risk of being expelled) as opposed to just the earlier books never-ending, "I like you--no I don't--yes I do--no I don't." I'm thinking when the sixth book comes out it will keep the invigorated pace of the latest volume, at least I hope it does.
Volume 2: 4 out of 5 stars.
Volumes 3 and 4: 3 out of 5 stars.
Volume 5: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

High School of the Dead Vol. 1 & 2
I read this, but honestly have trouble recalling much about it. I recently read the writer passed away, which is sad, but that's about all I remember off the top of my head. I mean, I didn't hate it, but clearly not much stuck with me. Essentially a zombie outbreak occurs and the first volume follows some high school students in Japan as they struggle to deal with it. Volume 2 gets a bit more interesting as we see how other folk are handling the outbreak, because frankly the high schoolers themselves are a little dull and some bathing-related nudity in the 2nd volume makes it clear the book realizes readers need something to keep their attention. The art is passable and at times shows a nice flourish during scenes of zombie-fighting action, but little stood-out to me--as I said, I'm having trouble recalling much of note in this manga. I don't regret reading it, but if I had paid for the books (as I did with some of the manga I've reviewed) as opposed to getting them from my local library I might be a little perturbed. I'd rate these a boring-yet-not-terrible...
2 out of 5 stars (for both volumes).


Safe-for-work smileys!
Aqua Bless and Peachy Triangle
I read and quite enjoyed the sexually charged, "Vanilla Essence," which was basically illustrated pornography/"boderline h/hentai", but really sex-positive and peppy pornography. I reached out to the publisher behind the book, Project H (please note that website is not safe for work at all), who were happy to provide some other titles for review I thought looked interesting--specifically, "Aqua Bless," and, "Peachy Triangle." "Aqua Bless," is from the creator of, "Vanilla Essence," Yamatogawa, and has some fun and sexy tales, with the first one being especially striking in how it tells the story of a young woman who has psychic abilities she can't control that involve her feeling the sexual pleasure of everyone around her--despite physically being a virgin herself. If I may spoil the twist at the end of the story, it seems her gift may actually be shared with others through the act of having sex, almost like some kind of sexually-transmitted-psychic-power--it is good and silly fun. Another humorous yarn is where a twin poses as her sister to get a young man to admit his feelings for her--but as always seem to happen in situations where twins pose as one another things go pretty awry. It's a really funny (and sexy) book for sure.

"Peachy Triangle," is--as the title hints--about a love triangle. Written and illustrated by Renya Sabashi, it centers on a young man named Kazuki who is interested in a classmate named Ako, but she's more into another girl named Chikage. They enter in a poly-relationship of sorts but a variety of factors come-up that result in some dramatic (and raunchy) situations. There are some other shorter stories besides the main one but they were a little less remarkable. "Peachy Triangle," was overall a fine book and interesting, but it lacked as much of the humor that, "Aqua Bless," had that made it so enjoyable. Both books were great though and if you like your manga highly sexually-charged, Project H doesn't disappoint.
Aqua Bless: 5 out of 5 stars.
Peachy Triangle: 4 out of 5 stars.

Inuyashiki Volumes 2-5
The first book wasn't too bad, but also lacked much, "Wow," factor. I was able to get my hands on books 2-5 thanks to the City Library however, and read through all the volumes I got in an epic multiple-hour reading session one weekend. Having read more of the story I would say it definitely gets more interesting, and whereas I found, "Gantz," starting to lose me with its 3rd book after five of these I'm still quite intrigued by this title. Writer and artist Hiroya Oku has been giving us an interesting take on super-hero styled stories, but without the usual capes and such. This instead is more grounded, focusing on a world where our hero (Inuyashiki Ichiro) has his body destroyed and rebuilt by aliens, and in an effort to still feel human goes around helping others. What is interesting, is that in the second book we focus on a young schoolboy named Shishigami  Hiro who also was affected by that alien crash, but he goes in the opposite direction. Hiro starts murdering people with his powers for little reason other than it makes him feel alive, and then when asked by a friend agrees to try helping people instead, but at this point it is too late and everyone wants to hunt him down--including Ichiro.

It is fascinating and terrifying how Hiro is essentially a sociopath who can as easily murder people as heal them with nary a second thought. After all, if these two people were given powers and did such drastically different things, just imagine what could happen if more people were given this, "Gift." The books follow Ichiro as he helps people and Hiro as he does the opposite, with a big final-battle not yet occurring in any of these books, but clearly on its way to taking place in the near future. Some solidly entertaining reading for sure.
4 out of 5 stars.

Akira Volume 1
Ah, we might as well close this review segment on an OG of manga (and anime). Until recently (as these reviews have discussed) I wasn't especially into manga, and the only anime-properties I enjoyed were, "Gundam Wing," and without a doubt, "Akira." A fascinating piece of entertainment that some consider the most important animation property of all time, before the movie sent shock-waves through the world there was of course the manga. As for rating the manga? I mean, its got great artwork, an exciting story, and is otherwise a really great time. I don't think at this point when something is this ingrained in the cultural zeitgeist that it would matter what I'd rate it in terms of stars, but I can easily say it is...
5 out of 5 stars.

A Variety of Interesting Books
Some of what I read was really good, other books were admittedly a bit lacking. I continue to greatly enjoy manga and its variety of genres, however. Should any of my readers have a manga they would recommend please feel free to comment on this post or email me. I am so lacking in knowledge when it comes to manga as compared to Western-comics so I always appreciate tips on what to check-out next.