Tag Archives: Comics

Book Review: Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield

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Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield is the latest collection of drawings by Simon Tofield outlining the lives of cats, kittens, other animals, and their owners. If you’ve never watched one of his videos, you owe it to yourself to watch one on Youtube. If you have ever watched cats playing around, you’ll recognize quite a few of their antics.

This collection of drawings opens with Simon finding a box outside and bringing it into his home, passing by his cat. The cat is begging for food, as is pretty normal for cats. Simon gets a bowl of food ready, much to his cat’s delight. However, he’s trying to coax an animal out of this box – the kitten. The kitten comes out, eats the food, and we see the ongoing relationship between the cat and the kitten. At times they are friends, at times they’re at odds.

Some of the comics remind me of the old Spy vs Spy comics where they constantly try to one-up the other. Others just show cute drawings of the animals going about their daily business. We see shots of the cats crawling in and out of various small places, climbing, scratching, eating, chasing animals, and generally being cats. All of the drawings make up mini stories told without words. We end the book with Simon showing, in brief, how to draw some of the animals he uses in his works.

My Take: I have enjoyed Simon’s Cat for some time on YouTube and never realized that he had books compiling his artwork. His books are just as entertaining as his videos. Having owned a cat before these drawings hit really close to the truth. I chuckled while looking at the drawings and really enjoyed the book. I plan to seek out more of Simon’s compilations now that I know they’re available. You should definitely check out Simon’s YouTube channel and check out his books. The introduction of the kitten really makes the animal antics even more interesting.

Disclaimer: I was given a preview copy of this book with no expectations on the part of the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: Your New Job Title Is "Accomplice" by Scott Adams

Your New Job Title Is "Accomplice": A Dilbert Book

Your New Job Title Is “Accomplice” by Scott Adams is the 40th book compiling the adventures of Dilbert in cubicle-land. Ever since Scott Adams started drawing Dilbert in the late 80’s, it’s resonated with office workers everywhere. We can see a lot of our lives in the day to day challenges Dilbert faces. We see workers finding every excuse to leave early and escape meetings, relate to the adventures many of us seem to have with outsourcing, and people in charge who just don’t understand what their employees do.

If you haven’t read Dilbert before and work in an office with cubicles, you’re missing out. Go to www.dilbert.com right now and catch up a little bit. If you have read the comic strips before, you know that this book will be more strips poking fun at life in corporate America. That doesn’t mean that the material becomes old or re-used. There’s always something new to laugh at in our corporate lives (and sadly, relate to as well).

My take: If you’re a Dilbert fan, you’ll enjoy this. There’s a chance you’ve already read the strips, even, but that doesn’t make them less funny reading them again. It’s a fun read and helps us realize that we’re not alone in our work life.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on anyone’s part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: The Rocketeer–Cargo of Doom by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Rocketeer: Cargo of DoomThe Rocketeer – Cargo of Doom follows the adventures of Cliff Secord, also known as The Rocketeer. Our story opens with Sally, the young assistant around the airport, trying to pass a plane inspection when the inspector gets a little too personal. Sally fends him off, but triggers a parachute releasing and wrapping itself around the plane as a result. Peabody sees the plane in trouble and calls for Cliff to suit up and rescue them as The Rocketeer. After helping Sally land the plane, Cliff lets them go. The inspector blusters a little but leaves before Sally tells exactly what happened. We then cut to a mysterious cargo ship on the ocean, carrying a dangerous load. All we see when someone inspects the load are two eyes, followed by the foolish person losing both hands with a terrifying scream.

The story flips back and forth between Cliff and Betty (his girl), the problems at the airport with the government inspectors, and the cargo ship with its master. We are introduced to a new inspector for the government, Earl, who seems to take a dislike to Cliff. The Rocketeer is smoked out, only to have his rocket stolen. Cliff’s identity is revealed to Earl. Cliff and Earl leave to get the rocket back and the mysterious cargo is revealed along the way.

We’re introduced to some very pulp-feeling storylines at this point, involving fabulous beasts, death rays, cliff-hangers, narrow escapes, and good against evil in a race to the finish. Of course, it’s a Rocketeer story so the ending may be somewhat predictable, but no worse because of it.

My thoughts: There are definitely some moments where suspending disbelief may be more necessary than others. The cargo that’s revealed is definitely one of them. However, when taken in the spirit of a pulp adventure, the whole story works. The battles are never a foregone conclusion with both sides being surprised by the changes in circumstances along the way. There are moments when it seems all hope is lost, but somehow the heroes are able to come back and resume the fight. The story ends with some foreshadowing of trials to come, but overall on a satisfactory note. I would definitely recommend this for fans of the Rocketeer or people who might want to read a Rocketeer story. I found the story easy to pick up without requiring a lot of background knowledge about the characters. There is only one scene that might be a little disturbing for younger readers when a person loses his hands, though even that isn’t as graphic as it could have been.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy with no expectations from the publisher. The thoughts expressed in this review are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

The Adventures of Superhero Girl

The Adventures of Superhero Girl is a collection of quite a few comic shorts featuring “Superhero Girl” and her adventures in a small town with very little crime, all while dealing with her immensely popular brother, Kevin, paying the bills, keeping her identity secret, and all of the other challenges of being a superhero. We’re introduced to SHG saving a cat from a tree, searching for an arch-nemesis, and being tormented by a young man claiming that she can’t be a real superhero because she’s not following all of the rules.

Each of the shorts stands on its own, but does fit well in the context of the book. We get to join SHG as she grows, meets new people, takes on villains, fights ninjas, and handles various crises around her outfit. Even better, we get to meet Kevin, SHG’s cool brother who is adored by everyone. Of course, he is resented by SHG because he gets all of the attention when she has to fight villains like the Marshmallow Menace.

My Thoughts: I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the content. I loved following the adventures of Superhero Girl as she dealt with crime-fighting, but also with all of the details that you don’t tend to associate with superheroes. The art was very appropriate to the genre, and the colors worked very well. I was tickled by several of the strips following the normal life of our heroine. If you like superhero comics and have a sense of humor, definitely give this one a read. It’s well worth the time. Even better, this content is appropriate for kids, which means you can share it with your little ones without worrying about excessive violence or other inappropriate content. (Of course, read through it first to make that decision.)

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on the part of the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: The Shadow Volume One – The Fire of Creation by Garth Ennis

The Shadow, Vol. 1: The Fire of Creation

The Fire of Creation by Garth Ennis is a novel based on The Shadow pulp novels from the 1930’s. The Shadow is a vigilante, dealing justice to criminals who escape traditional justice. The Shadow here borrows heavily from the radio series. He has the power to “cloud men’s minds” and has an alter ego of Lamont Cranston. He travels with Margo Lane, a prominent character in the radio series, though not as prominent in the pulps. This Shadow is also very willing to deal death to evildoers, probably a little more graphically than I prefer.

The story opens with the Japanese-Chinese conflict during World War II. The Shadow is tracking the greater criminals to prevent a much larger crime from occurring. Throughout the story we see the wealthy Lamont Cranston interacting with military figures to initiate an expedition to China. The military has hopes to find a rare radioactive element that will make a “death ray” possible. They’re trying to race the Germans and Japanese to this element as well. Along the way we see many appearances of The Shadow to protect, guide, mislead, and deal justice. Those are counterbalanced with Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane traveling to their destination in China. The story definitely feels like a Shadow story, though more after the radio tradition than the novels. As such, The Shadow is more of an all-knowing character with super powers as opposed to the great detective operating behind the scenes we see in the pulps.

My thoughts: The story works well and I won’t go into a lot of details to avoid spoiling the reader’s enjoyment of the story. I wasn’t a big fan of the violence displayed quite so fully. I think it can be expressed without being seen. Outside of that, I enjoyed the story and the adventure. I was always interested to see how The Shadow would appear and interact with the story only to fade back to Lamont Cranston as the story progressed. I wouldn’t recommend this for younger children – there’s just too much graphic violence for them. I would recommend for long-time Shadow fans who don’t mind seeing bullets flying pretty regularly throughout the story.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way by the publisher or anyone else.

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Book Review: Green Lantern Vol. 2: Revenge of the Black Hand

Green Lantern, Vol. 2: Revenge of the Black Hand

Green Lantern Volume 2: Revenge of the Black Hand by Geoff Johns is part of the “New 52” series of comics by DC. This actually picks up issues 7-12 of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Annual #1 from the “New 52” series. This series was DC’s reboot of their universe, starting some characters over, introducing new ones, changing existing characters, and trying to introduce new readers to the series without having to follow all of the back-stories and changes from the prior storylines. With that said, there are still some things that carry over from the old series – in this case the idea of the Black Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, and other color Lantern corps.

This volume picks up with Sinestro (a long-time villain, sometimes hero, in the G.L. universe) visiting Hal Jordan (probably the most famous Green Lantern) at his home to enlist Jordan on a quest to prevent the Guardians from eliminating the Green Lanterns. Sinestro uses his usual methods (fear) to get Jordan’s attention, but eventually Jordan agrees to travel with him.

We are introduced to the “Indigo Lanterns”, whose main attribute seems to be “compassion”. They were apparently formed partly to stop a great evil from conquering the universe, the Guardians who are behind the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro is taken over by the Indigo tribe and only released when Hal Jordan promises that there’s a way for him to find redemption without the Indigo tribe. The tribe also releases and calls a man who will be a Black Lantern, bringing death and destruction.

There are quite a few scenes that follow, leading to the Guardians releasing the first Lantern and starting their “final descent into madness”. Of course, that’s leading to the next issues of Green Lantern and the related titles by DC. If you want to see where the story is leading and how it ends, I’d recommend following the series through DC Comics.

My thoughts: If you’re a fan of the Green Lantern series and have followed the storyline in the “New 52” universe, you’ve probably already read the comics that make this book. If not, I’d have to recommend at least reading issues 1-6 before tackling this. As a long-time Green Lantern fan, I’ll admit to being a little lost just picking this up and starting from here. I know enough of the backstory to not be completely lost, but not enough to avoid that completely. I don’t think this will be a problem for the main target audience, but definitely know the story before reading this volume. I’m also not a huge fan of the “Black Lantern” storyline overall so this wouldn’t be counted as among my favorite GL stories.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations on their part. I was not compensated in any way for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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