Tag Archive: comic book


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“Attack on Titan, Vol. 1”
by Hajime Isayama
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Kodansha Comics
(first published March 7th 2010)

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Manga, I like most of the stories, but the books seem gimmicky to me. I love comic books, and I love a good story, but with Manga comics the books are printed backwards and it takes me about halfway through the book before I start to get the hang of reading right to left. I understand the original printings in Japan are written that way, but they could easily be printed in the same way books are printed on this side of the planet and nothing will be missed. When Western hemisphere books are printed in the other countries that read in the opposite direction they are printed to make it easier for the readers there. So to be geek chic when you find a good Manga they are printed to be read “backwards.” The only reason this happens is to be different, cool, or hip.

I had to overcome this bias because I had heard a lot of good reviews about both the “Attack on Titan” Manga books and TV series. When I started reading this book I hadn’t yet started watching the TV series and all I knew was that it was a survival series much along the lines of “The Walking Dead.” Yes it did take some time to get used to reading backwards, but once I started flowing with the story I was rewarded with a great story told in comic book form and using the tools of flashbacks, and weapon and tactics specifications all interwoven in the story. Again I say, I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have to retrain my brain to read backwards.

As for the story, it is a survival story set 100 years after the Titans have forced humanity to live behind walls. Humankind is down to just a few thousand people who live in a city surrounded by three concentric walls. The walls protect them from their enemies, the Titans. The Titans are humanoid giants that eat the humans alive. Untouched by the Titans for a century, humanity has become complacent. But Eren Jaeger, a trainee in the Army has had enough. While his fellow citizens are content to hide, Jaeger has the passion to take action to not only protect the city, but to learn what the Titans actually are. But on his first mission he comes face to face with horrors beyond his imagination and secrets from his own past that could shift the tides of war.

I have since started watching the animated TV series and am hooked. The story is phenomenal. I am glad I read the Manga first only because it introduced me to the TV series which I could have easily not watched and would have missed out on a great show. If they do reprint these to be read from left to right I will definitely continue to read the series, but until then I’ll just have to settle with the fact that I’m too old to be taught new reading habits.

Battle for LA_art

Audiobook Review:  “Battle for LA; Return of the Originals”

By C. J. Henderson

Multi-cast performance

Produced and Published by  AudioComics & Moonstone Entertainment

Total Length: 41:56

I think I have just found the perfect combination of some of my favorite things; UFO conspiracies, pulp magazines, comic books and audiobooks.    This audio production combines all these into one great production that keeps you hanging on to every sound and leaves you wanting more.

This audiobook is actually more of an audio drama, in that each character is voiced by a different actor.  Each actor is able to portray the characters that are in the super-hero realm and make them sound life-like.  The actors even add in that extra little bit of “oomph” that makes them seem larger than life like a real comic book or pulp fiction character should be.  The sound effects surround the listener with realistic 3d effects that feel as though they are in the middle of the action.  You may even find yourself dodging bullets.

Born out of pulp-fiction magazines from the early part of the 20th century, this story unites pulp heroes that influenced the creation of certain comic book heroes.  Historically speaking the pulp magazines were the forerunners of comic books.  The pulps were published weekly or monthly and featured stories that could be told in one issue or in some cases as serials that span several issues.   This story features the following pulp heroes:

  • The Black Bat came out about the same time as DC comics’ Batman, and each publisher said the other was a copy, eventually they were allowed to co-exist, but in the long run Batman became the more popular.   The Black Bat is former District Attorney Anthony Quinn.  He became the Black Bat after being blinded and having his face disfigured by having acid thrown in it.   That origin story reminds me of Two-face from the Batman comics, but Two-face is a villain and not hero.
  • The Phantom Detective was published from 1933 to 1953 and is in real life the wealthy Richard Curtis Van Loan.  He uses his amazing skills of deduction to solve crimes that have the police puzzled.
  • Domino Lady comes from the racier side of pulp comics.  Educated socialite Ellen Patrick puts on a domino mask and a backless white dress to avenge the death of her father, District Attorney Owen Patrick.   Armed with a .45 pistol and a syringe full of knockout serum she takes on the toughest of foes, but her beauty is her greatest asset.   Using her feminine charms usually put these pulp magazines into the soft-core porn side of the genre.

Those are the main characters of this production but two other classic pulp heroes make a small cameo appearance in the final battle:

  • Secret Agent X is a master of disguise, known as “the man of a thousand faces”, who adopts several different identities in each story.  He is a dedicated crime-fighter working undercover for the U.S. government; this is unknown to the police who consider him an outlaw.
  •  Airboy, Davy Nelson II, the son of an expert pilot and, despite his youth, a crack flyer. His friend, inventor and Franciscan monk Brother Francis Martier, had created a highly maneuverable prototype aircraft that flew by flapping its wings, like a bird.

So now we know the heroes let’s get where this story really gets to be interesting.  This audio drama brings to full 3d audio movie life the graphic novel by C. J. Henderson.    Just three months after the U.S. became involved in World War II by the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was on alert for further invasions from Japan.  Especially vigilant was the West Coast.  From late 24 February to early 25 February 1942 over Los Angeles, California an incident occurred that has had UFO conspiracists asking lots of questions.   The Air Force has claimed the incident was caused by a “false alarm” in which a weather balloon became the focus of several hours of shooting and air raid warnings.  Thousands of rounds were fired at an object that was tracked over Los Angeles.  UFOlogists think this was an alien craft and when viewing the photos find further proof it was not weather balloon.

Henderson uses this event to bring together the original heroes and creates a villain with an occult background set to destroy the U.S.   The event in question was just the launching platform for a group of “Orientals” to send cylinders with a strange power over the human mind to Los Angeles.   Armed with knowledge of the mysterious cylinders, the Originals risk all to do what is right, no matter what the cost.

This audio drama takes just over 40 minutes to devour, but if you are on a trip or doing housework or some other chore that consumes time, this will make it seem as though only a couple of seconds pass because of the intense action taking place.

scarifyers 13 hallows

“The Scarifyers: The Thirteen Hallows”
by Simon Barnard & Paul Morris
Multicast performance starring: David Warner, Terry Molloy, Gareth David-Lloyd, David Benson, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Ewan Bailey, David Bickerstaff & Nick Scovell
Produced by Cosmic Hobo Productions
1 Hour 53 Minutes

Before beginning the review of this book, I should explain a bit about how I determine which book will be read or heard next. I get many books sent to me to be reviewed either the physical book (either hardcover or paperback) an electronic version to read on my Kindle or audiobooks (which I get through faster due to the ease of listening and my long commutes). These books are sent by the publishers or the authors themselves. However, there is one website I go to when I want to pick out a good book just for myself. That site is the audiobookjukebox.com website. They have reviews of audiobooks from a variety of people (including myself) which I can browse through and find a book. What is even better for audiobook bloggers they have the “Solid Gold Reviewer” program in which bloggers can sign up and request specific books from a variety of publishers.

This audiobook came from that program. I saw the listing and thought it looked interesting plus it was about two hours in length. I thought this would be a short fun book. All this was determined by the title and the cover picture. I had absolutely no idea what the book was going to be about or the quality, I was simply intrigued. So I get the audiobook, load it up on my iPod and I’m good to go. I had to wait a while before I got to it and one day I’m looking to start a short book and remembered this one. Within the first few minutes, I wondered why I didn’t start listening earlier, then remembered how I came across the book and that I didn’t know much about it. Immediately this book struck me as a cross between a Douglas Adams story and a Doctor Who adventure. The combination of humorous events and characters made for a great way to spend two hours listening to an audiobook.

Once I started the book I didn’t want to stop, but as you know real life steps in and other things demand attention. During one of the as-few-as-possible breaks I decided to look more into this book and became more and more excited about what I had launched myself into. The Scarifyers series is an audio series on BBC radio and this title is the 8th in a continuing series. The voices were all great but what stood out for me in this audio were the voices of David Warner and Gareth David-Lloyd. While all the performers in this production were awesome and fun to hear, these two stuck out because I’ve been a fan of their work for a while, especially David Warner since his appearance in the movie “Tron.” Gareth David-Lloyd sticks out because I’m also a fan of the “Torchwood” television series and enjoyed his character in that series, Ianto Jones.

Another thing I found fascinating is that “The Scarifyers,” is also a comic book series, along with the audio adventures. The stories are set in 1936 and 1937, they originally followed the exploits of DI Lionheart and ghost-story writer Professor Dunning, as played by Nicholas Courtney and Terry Molloy. David Warner replaced Nicholas Courtney after Courtney’s death in 2011.

This production of “Thirteen Hallows” begins when a haunted chess set causes consternation at the British Chess Championships, and a horse magically materializes in Kettering Agricultural Museum, MI:13 are called to investigate.

Harry Crow (David Warner) and Professor Dunning (Terry Molloy) follow the trail of inexplicable happenings to an unremarkable terraced house in South Wales, home to the mysterious Mr Merriman (David Benson). He’s very old, and very mad; that is soon learned to be an act and that Mr. Merriman is better known as, oh wait, no, I won’t spoil it, you’ll have to listen for yourself.

Meanwhile, in the South West of England, famed archaeologist Ralegh Radford (Ewan Bailey) is on the verge of the greatest discovery of the age. Britain’s Tutankhamen, the press are calling it. But what he certainly isn’t expecting to unearth is boisterous 1400-year-old knight Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr (Gareth David-Lloyd) who is alive and confused at how much time has passed.

As Crow and Dunning unravel an unlikely plot to resurrect Britain’s greatest-ever hero, King Arthur, the race is on to stop sinister forces, the Nazis from finding “The Thirteen Hallows of Britain.”

Great acting, sound effects and humorous adventures make this audio performance one to add to your list of fun listening.

“Titanium Rain Volume 1”
by Josh Finney
Multi-cast Audio Drama
produced by AudioComics
Running time 1:27:44

If you’ve been a constant reader of my posts you probably already know that I’m a big fan of comic books and graphic novels. So, every chance I get to listen to an audio version of a comic I take it. So far I have not been let down, this is the second comic book based story for audio I have heard from Audio Comics Company and this group knows how to do it right.

When you think about comics you think of the intense graphics helping to tell the story, which always intrigues me about how that gets translated into audio form. There are a couple of audiobook companies that do it right and based on the awesome work I’ve heard, the Audio Comics company will be one on my list for any future releases.

Audio Comics paints the background, which would normally be done with graphics, with a complete 360 degrees of sound. The explosions the weapons fire and the special effects fill the air just as the graphics would fill the background. These aren’t cheesy effects either. I was listening in my car at one point in the story when the jets were flying and I had to ease off my gas pedal because I felt like I was in the jet as the battle progressed. During the explosions, through my Bose Wave Radio (via aux input), would cause the walls in the room to rumble. This one was a fantastic aural experience.

Being a voiceover artist myself, I get real critical when it comes to voicing for audiobooks, but the Audio Comics company doesn’t have to worry about be picking on their actors, they were all excellent and every voice artist was able to bring out the complete characters through their work on this project.

So, all in all, this story is a definite must experience audio book. What about the story itself? Well it is very intriguing and a nice little near-future sci-fi war story.

I had first heard about this graphic novel back in 2010 when the Chinese government would not allow the book to be sold due to its “politically sensitive content.” When a comic book, or rather a graphic novel, is banned for any reason, I have to at least check it out.

The year is 2031 and a civil war in China has become a global conflict. China’s supreme military leader is assassinated and the general that takes over decides it is time for China to return to its roots and announces himself as Emperor. The U.S. becomes involved when the Chinese attack Japan. That is the political situation and creates enough of a reason for a good war story, but in this book, that is merely the tip of the iceberg.

This story is really about the 704th Phoenix Tactical Fighter Squadron. This squadron is sent to the frontlines because of their special abilities. Actually the abilities are what makes the story a great sci-fi.

The 704th are all a bunch of washouts. They couldn’t make it into a real Air Force squadron, but thanks to a scientific experiment they get a last chance. Each member is “voluntarily” turned into a type of cyborg in what is dubbed as the “Prometheus Project”. Using nano-technology the members are able to control their planes as thought they are merely an appendage of the humans involved.

The audio drama is told as a series of flashbacks jumping from the ongoing battle to the past where the pilots all become one with their aircraft. Audio Comics did an excellent job of separating the flashbacks with simple audio cues. They didn’t have to give the dates or times of each segment rather the audio moved the story along with great audio segues between sections.

Jump on board now, this is to be released as a trilogy and this is only the first. Great story, awesome sound and perfect acting will get you wanting more.

“Honey West: Murder on Mars”
Adapted for audio by Elaine Lee from the Moonstone Comics mini-series by Elaine Lee and Ronn Sutton
Featuring the vocal talents of: Carrington Macduffie, William Dufris, Tom Pakuski, Gary Guzzo, Kristina Balbo, Dennis St. Pierre, Brent Askari, Harlan Baker, Lance Roger Axt, April Singley, Michael Howard, Elizabeth Knowelden, Phil Wells and Christopher Price
Published by The AudioComics Company
Total Length: 1:18:56

Everyday I’m amazed at how synchronicity is at work choosing the audiobooks I’ll be listening to. This time around it was another odd series of events that led me to hearing this really fun audiobook. I was checking out the extra channels my cable provider had added that I never bother with, I rarely watch television and when I do it’s very limited, basically if it’s not sci-fi or horror I’m not interested, I’ll stick to my books. This time though, I found a station called MeTV, they broadcast old programs from the 60s and 70s and I was watching “The Twilight Zone” and the next show up was “Honey West.” I was curious and it turned out to be a fun mystery program featuring one of the first female private detectives in books and television. I was mildly entertained for the half hour.

Jump ahead a couple of weeks and I’m visiting my local comic books store and see that Moonstone comics are publishing Honey West comics. I’m a huge fan of comics and after being entertained by the TV show I had to check out a couple of issues. These all add up to some really nice comics. Not long after reading the comics, I get the chance to hear and review this audiobook which is based on a storyline in the comics, and with the title “Murder on Mars,” I’m totally intrigued and jumped into it. Besides, synchronicity is pointing me this way.

The AudioComics Company have released this full-cast audio drama based on the comics and based on this short story, I hope they do more. The case was excellent, giving the story that complete Honey West of the 60s feel. The characters are all perfectly performed and it almost sounds as if you are listening to an old radio show. Great acting, realistic sound effects and the music! The music segues really added an extra oomph! to this performance. They were old jazzy lounge music bits that fit in with the portrayed time and setting of this performance. All of this together makes for a very entertaining production that you should really get for your collection now.

The story is perfect for the time period as well, as it takes place on the set of a science-fiction “B” movie set where everyone is a suspect, and the only way Honey can solve this crime is by putting herself undercover and in the middle of the performance.

Honey West is called in by a mysterious source to solve the murder of a famous actress on the set of a sci-fi film called “Amazons on Mars.” The actress died of what appears to be an allergic reaction to insect bites, but the mystery person hiring Honey thinks otherwise and once she arrives on set, so does Honey. An aging teen idol, an understudy who wants to be the star a jealous agent and a down on his luck director all fit perfectly into the suspects list, it’s up to Honey to found out the true killer.

In what would be the perfect “B” movie itself, with robots, aliens and murder on a Hollywood set, “Honey West; Murder on Mars” is a fun audio drama.

 

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