Tagged: reviews

Ready, Player One?

Hey all – Today we bring you a guest post from Honorary Lady, The Goog. He went to see Ready Player One this weekend, and since Tiny Doom opted out on this one, we asked him to share his thoughts. Ready? Go…

This is going to be heavily laden with spoilers about the plot (or lack thereof), and less spoilery about the movies easter eggs.

ReadyPlayerOne_Logo

Hello internet, it’s The Goog, aka Castle Thunder Graphics, aka Dan and I enjoyed Ready Player One.

DonkeyKong_Animation

I’m Mario, Donkey Kong is the Internet, the barrels are opinions.

 …okay, I see some of you are still here, so let’s chat.
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LadiesCon Guest Spotlight: Erica Henderson

The word is out about LadiesCon and the buzz around this little event is deafening.  Happily, we have our amazing guests to thank for a large part of that.  This week, I am not only hoping to keep the momentum going, but to also take the chance to highlight one of guests – The Unbeatable Erica Henderson.

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Nowadays Erica’s name is pretty much synonymous with Squirrel Girl.

At first my intention when creating this Spotlight Post was to provide as much information I could find about the woman herself.  I would write about how she grew up in New York, attended RISD, and was pretty much destined for greatness.  The problem is that I kept getting distracted.  I found myself poring through her Tumblr and Twitter posts just taking in her art as much as possible.  You see, I’m not much of an artist myself.  So when I try to explain how incredible it is to have Erica as a guest at LadiesCon, it is not because I can tell you that her style is influenced by this or that artist or that her line work is a marvel.  Instead, I can tell you that I am sitting at my kitchen table, literally surrounded by my own collection of her books, and damn…it has been quite a year for her –  drawing Squirrel Girl and Jughead, attending San Diego Comicon, receiving an Eisner Nomination, curating an astounding collection of squirrel-related collectibles, and even dead lifting over 175 lbs.  Erica Henderson is a star. Continue reading

Rotten Roots Review & Ladies at Boston Comic Con 2016

Once again the Ladies of Comicazi will be joining the talented crew of Bad Kids Press at their table at Boston Comic Con this year. We’ll be helping to sell books prints, and other fun goodies, so be sure to stop by, say hello, and consider picking up a few excellent independent comics. Not sure what to pick up? Well, they’re all great! We’ve reviewed The Adventures of the GWF  and Rapid City: Below Zero on the site in the past (hint, click the links to refresh your memories), and today I’ll tell you all about Rotten Roots.

I always feel like, somebody's watching me...

I always feel like, somebody’s watching me…

Written by Paul Axel and with art by Renee Majkut, Rotten Roots is the tale of the prominent Wood family of Osprey City, Massachusetts and the tragedy that hangs over them.

Part historical fiction, part police procedural, the story follows Detective Mark Robles, who’s recently transferred to Osprey City from Chicago. He catches a pretty unusual case – Harold Wood, captain of industry and patriarch of one of the founding families of Osprey City, is found dead with rope burns around his neck and the diary of his ancestor, Daniel Wood, open before him. Also found at the scene is a note inscribed “Rotten roots bear rotten fruit.” Robles quickly figures out that someone has it out for the Wood family – and wants to use their shady history to wreak vengeance on the entire extended Wood clan.

The story moves between past and present, weaving the modern mystery deftly into the tales of the Wood family’s historical misdeeds. Along with the main mystery are hints that there are other secrets to uncover in Osprey City: Why did Detective Robles transfer there? What happened to his family? And why does the Lieutenant hate him so much? It’s clear that these other outlying mysteries will come into play as the drama unfolds.

Majkut’s dreamy watercolors suit the story well, particularly in the gorgeous maps of the city found in the backs of each book. The maps progress as the tale does, beginning with the Puritan settlement and presumably moving into the present day. It’s clear that careful thought has been put into the world-building by the creative team. Majkut’s backgrounds and detail work are also top notch, as evidenced by the final shot of book two, a real stunner.

See? Chills.

See? Chills.

My review is of the first 3 books of a planned 6 issue series, and it ended on a major cliffhanger, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it all leads (I have my suspects, of course, as any true mystery fan does.) Overall, this is a strong start to a series, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Recommended for: History buffs, mystery buffs, anyone who wants to see what comics can do outside of superheroes and sci fi

The majestic osprey himself.

The majestic osprey himself.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – a chance to win tickets to Boston Comic Con. The lucky winner will get a pair of day passes – we recommend coming on Sunday, for our panel on Food and Fandom at 1 pm! Whatever day you choose, come find us at the Bad Kids Press tables, E1000-1003 in Artists Alley.

Speaking of Bad Kids Press, take a gander at their shop. Tell us which title you’re most interested in checking out or artist you’d like to meet in the comments below, and we’ll pick our lucky winner. Good luck!

Oh, and hey, are you watching the “Secret Worlds of Boston Comic Con” webseries? It features some familiar faces, places, and a great host in Wes Hazard. Don’t miss it!

 

 

Summer Reading 2016 – Three Books for Just About Anyone

As someone who reads a lot, and has a pretty widespread taste in books, folks frequently ask me for book recommendations. Some friends I give the full list, knowing that they are also literary adventurers who are equally happy reading Harry Potter, The Corrections, or a book about oysters. If I know what they like, I might give them a tailored list of mysteries or urban fantasy or great literary fiction. However, I have a special, curated list as well – the books I think any right-minded, well-read person would like. These are the stories that transcend genre and individual tastes. They’re practically a litmus test for my friendship – if you don’t like these stories, we’ve just got such radically different worldviews that I don’t see how we could possibly get along. (Okay, that might be going a little far. And yet…) As a bonus, in addtion to being great reads, all three of these books are written by women, and all three have girls or women as protagonists. So for this year’s Summer Reading post, I present the three lady-centric books I think anyone (and everyone) will enjoy.

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Three Books By and About Ladies + Happy 200th Post!

Two hundred posts, ladies and gentlemen! When we started this project way back in 2012, who knew it would keep going for so long? But here we are, and things are only getting bigger and better! We’ve got some exciting things coming up in 2016, so keep your eyes glued to this space.

And what better way to celebrate 200 than getting back to our roots and reviewing some comics by and about ladies? (or at least girls – most of the protagonists here are between the ages of 12 and 16. Proto-ladies.) I’ve got three books for you that not only fit the bill, they’re also great reminders of the importance of love and friendship, which are what power this blog! Well, love, friendship, and WordPress power this blog, but you get the idea. Two of these books are about bands of friends, much like the Ladies, while the last is about a somewhat more intimate (though totally platonic) duo.

Crystal Cadets, Volume 1

Crystal Cadets, Volume 1

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Three Things – Sci-Fi Edition

By now you know that we like to do our reviews and recommendations in threes around here – besides being a nice, neat number, it gives you a few choices – you might not love one comic, but another might be right up your alley. Today I’m reviewing three totally different media with sci-fi themes, so if you’d rather listen to or watch your stories than read ’em, I’ve got you covered! If you don’t like science fiction, I don’t think I can help you.  Continue reading

The Red Menace Tells You What to Read Next!

Boston Comic Con is this week, so I thought we were overdue for some comic book reviews. If you’re going to be in town for the con, keep an eye out for us! When we’re not walking around talking to cosplayers and getting tongue-tied in front of our favorite artists, you’ll be able to find us at either the Comicazi  (B605-609) or the Bad Kids Press (C405-409) tables. You might even see us in the audience of the special live Hadron Gospel Hour show!

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Hadron Gospel Hour is a fun comedy-scifi podcast, and they’ll be performing live at 2 pm at The Boston Button Factory as part of Boston Comic Con! Sound like it’s up your alley? You can grab tickets online for just $8 via http://hadrongospelhour.brownpapertickets.com/ or  at the door for $10.

Now that all of that excitement is out of the way, on to the reviews!

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Papercutz III: Tiny Doom reviews

Well, Smalerie, and The Red Menace have done their reviews, and now it’s my turn.  I read two Lego based graphic novels and one Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew book.  Are these books something you or your kids might like?  Take a read below and see!

Lego Ninjago #6 Warriors of Stone, and #7 Stone Cold

Lego Ninjago (ninja go, get it?) is Lego property that has expanded from building sets into cartoons, video games and now, comics. The comics follow the Masters of Spinjitzu: Kai, Jay, Cole, Zane and Sensei Wu, on various adventures. I read volumes 6 and 7 of this series. I went into these books pretty cold, but there is enough exposition in the beginning that I think you could hand a kid any volume and they can jump right in.
Ninjago6 Continue reading

Papercutz Revisited -The Red Menace Edition

As Smalerie mentioned in her reviews, a friend of mine works at Papercutz and generously sent us some review copies of books. Papercutz is super cool, in my personal opinion, because they’re focused on printing all ages comics. While I can enjoy grim ‘n gritty adult themes and mature humor, I think that it’s important to also make comics that are great for everyone and anyone to read. Papercutz also provides teacher guides to some of its titles, a resource I’d love to see them grow. Reading comics should always be fun, but if it can also be a way to learn, all the better! So what did I choose to read?

Dance Class

Dance Class

Dance Class: African Folk Fever

AUTHOR: Béka
ARTIST: Crip

I’ll admit that I thought I knew what this book would be about based solely on this cover – the young ballerina, surround by her peers engaged in African Folk dance, the dirty, dreadlocked drummer smiling vaguely in the corner, the look of confusion on the ballerina’s face – I was sure that this would be a long-form comic in which our ballet-star would be put off by her friends’ new obsession, and probably someone would learn a lesson about tolerance and differences by the end of the story.

WRONG, I was wrong! What they say about judging books by their covers must be true, because NONE of my predictions were right. There IS some African Folk dance, and some ballet, but there’s no real conflict between the two – the young ladies who form the central characters of the book – Alia, Julie, and Lucie -seem to love any and all dance equally. Additionally, Dance Class is not a graphic novel in the truest sense – it’s a collection of connected short-form tales about a group of teens at a dance studio. It reminded me of Archie or Caspar – humorous stories that are a bit longer than a 3 panel newspaper strip but never go beyond a few pages.

Thanks to the format, this is a quick read. The jokes are a bit corny, but cute, and the art is clean and easy to follow. I particularly like that the cast is racially and body-type diverse, although the curviest girl IS on a diet. While this is realistic for the dance world and is played for laughs, it still bums me out a tad. The cast also features male dancers, which was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, this book will mostly appeal to readers who have an interest in dance – many of the jokes are focused around the trials and tribulations of dancers – but if your kiddo really loves humor comics, they’d probably dig it, too!

Recommended age: 8-12

You might like it if: You had dreams of being a tap sensation; Archie Andrews was your dream crush

Power Rangers Super Samurai

Power Rangers Super Samurai

Power Rangers: The Terrible Toys
AUTHOR: Stefan Petrucha
ARTIST: Paulo Henrique

Now this book I went into with no particular expectations. By the time Power Rangers came out, in 1993, I was a sophomore in high school, and the show didn’t really capture my attention (which was reserved for Neil Gaiman comics and Monty Python reruns, thank you very much). So I had no particular nostalgia attached to these characters and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book. Imagine my delight, then, to find the story accessible and rather charming. Like most Power Rangers stories, from what I can tell, The Terrible Toys involves a plot by monsters from the netherworld (Nighloks, to the initiated) trying to break into our world, since it is generally nicer than their dank pit. In this case, the tricksy monsters play against type and instead of sending something big and menacing, they sneak in thousands of tiny, carbon copy monsters in the guise of action figures. When the tiny terrors wreak havoc in town (increasing their numbers exponentially for a quick and handy math lesson), the Power Rangers must stop them.

What I liked about the story is that, while there’s plenty of martial arts battles and fighting stances, the kids have to ultimately use their brains to defeat the monsters. Additionally, the teeny Nighloks themselves get some pretty snappy dialogue, and the two girls on the team, while not the focus of this installment, do get to be part of the action and disperse a fair number of monsters. The art is competent, with some extremely strange and original monster designs.

Recommended age: 7-10

You might like it if: You’re a monster lover, a budding mathematician, or a kung-fu fan

 

Ernest & Rebecca

Ernest & Rebecca

Ernest & Rebecca: Grandpa Bug

AUTHOR: Guillaume Bianco
ARTIST: Antonello Dalena

Rebecca is your typical 6 and half year old in many ways – she loves to run around outside, she’s not a big fan of her parents’ divorce, and she can be a pain to her big sister, Coralie. She also happens to have a best friend who is a giant germ named Ernest.

This charming book is the third in a series of Ernest and Rebecca stories, so I’ll admit I don’t totally know HOW Rebecca came to have an oversize germ for a (possibly imaginary, possibly not) friend, but the whole back-story wasn’t really necessary – there’s a small recap to get you up to speed on who everyone is (adorably drawn by “Rebecca” herself) that does a fine job of orienting a new reader. In any case, it turns out that Ernest doesn’t have a big role to play in this story – most of the plot revolves around the fact that he’s gone missing during Rebecca’s vacation to her grandparents’ farm. Rebecca is distraught at first, but learns to make her own fun, befriending (most) of the neighboring children, exploring the woods, and learning some lessons along the way.

It must be noted that Rebecca needs these lessons – one of the things I enjoyed about this story is that she is no sticky sweet angel.  Rebecca is a bit bratty and temperamental at times. However, she’s also no nightmare child who gets away with murder – she acts like a real kid would, and is punished appropriately when it’s warranted. The art is rounded and cute, and the characters have extremely expressive faces. Compared to the Power Rangers, this is a quieter, gentler story, but overall I think that gives it a bit more universality.

Recommended age: 6-10

You might like it if: You’re an adventurous kid, or the imaginary friend of one

 

What all-ages books have you read and enjoyed? We’re always looking for new books – tell us about ’em in the comments!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received free copies of these books from Papercutz.  I was not compensated with money or a sweet samurai sword to write this review.