Monday, December 26, 2022

Reviewing the Mail: Week of December 24, 2022

Happy Boxing Day, for those who celebrate!

And, speaking of boxes, earlier this month I got a box of books. One of them - the big expensive one - I held aside for the family to give me as a present, so I guess I'll write that up in a Xmas-specific list (which it's not impossible I wrote and posted on Xmas, which would be the day before this post goes live, and that leads me into Douglas Adams-y time-travel verb tenses which I will not try to untangle).

But the rest of these books went right into general pop, so here's what I bought because there was a good Cyber Monday sale at an online comics retailer:

Steeple, Vol. 3 by John Allison (with some coloring by Sammy Borras and a cover by Max Sarin) - This collects five "issues" of Steeple, but I don't think they were published as floppies. I'm not sure if they were online PDFs, or just pages on Allison's site, or some third-party platform thingy. Since I tend to wait for actual books these days, it's mostly academic to me - this is the next batch of stories about the two warring churches of Tredregyn, with the subtitle "That's the Spirit!"

Signal to Noise is a 1992 graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. I read it, way back then, and maybe more recently (in the sense of "still fifteen or more years ago"), but lost my copy in my 2011 flood. This is the "millennial" story, about a film director who wanted to make a movie about the apocalypse that didn't happen in 999 AD and is now dying.

The Fatal Bullet is one of Rick Geary's "Treasury of Victorian Murder" books, and the murder in this case is that of President James A. Garfield by Charles Guiteau. This one is interesting because it's a murder but not a mystery, and Geary has structured the book almost as much about the two men's parallel lives as about the murder and trial.

Mudman, Vol. 1 is a graphic novel by Paul Grist, creator of Jack Staff and Kane, that I think is a standalone. At least, there doesn't seem to have been a Vol. 2 after this 2012 book. This is a quirky superhero book, bout a teen hero who suddenly has,,,the power to turn into mud? I haven't seen much new from Grist in recent years, which is disappointing - it looks like he last wrote (maybe is still doing?) a team comic for Marvel, not somewhere I would follow any creator.

Night Air is a "Double+" book from Ben Sears. I'd read his House of the Black Spot, later in this series, not too long ago, and liked it, so I wanted to find some more.

Dreadstar Omnibus, Vol. 1 is by Jim Starlin, and I am so not sure how I'm going to feel about it. I read the Dreadstar stories way back in the day, but that was a long time ago, and I don't trust my memories of them. This book collects the first twelve issues of the ongoing series, though I think what I really want is the material that came before this - the Dreadstar GN, The Price, those weird "Metamorphosis Odyssey" stories from Epic Illustrated. (I don't think that stuff was ever collected, and it all went OP really quickly, so it's trapped in back-issue hell.) Anyway, this is adventure comics of the kind that pretends its totally not superheroes, even though it's a team of people in skintight costumes with amazing powers battling evil and emoting to the skies. (Spoiler: they are superheroes. 100%) Finally, the pose on the front cover of this edition is causing me physical pain to look at. I don't think bought this to hate-read it and shame the tastes of Teenage Me, but we will have to see.

Trese, Vol. 5: Midnight Tribunal is, unsurprisingly, fifth in this series by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo. This is a great urban-fantasy series from the Philippines; see my posts on volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4.

And last is Ralph Azham: The Land of the Blue Demons, second of the four books of that secondary-world fantasy series by Lewis Trondheim. I saw the first one recently, and it has a lot of the energy and viewpoint of the Donjon books. Plus, this one leans into the epic-fantasy genre by actually having a map of the world on the endpapers!

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