An Evening with Gene Luen Yang at the Coolidge Corner Theatre

An Evening with Gene Luen Yang at the Coolidge Corner Theatre | EMPTYBAMBOOGIRL by Lillian Lee

When I learned that Gene Luen Yang would be making a stop in my neck of the woods, you best believe I jumped on getting tickets early on. He is my hero and Brookline Booksmith hosted the event at the Coolidge Corner Theatre with a book signing after the talk back at the shop.

The weather sucked. It was super gloomy, dark and torrential downpours filled the entire day, but I didn’t care. Nothing was going to rain on this parade.

So, with the Mister, we listened to the famed graphic novelist and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature talked about how comics influenced him as a kid growing up and discussed Reading Without Walls – a new challenge for young readers designed to test their limits and expand their horizons…which we may take up as well.

An Evening with Gene Luen Yang at the Coolidge Corner Theatre | EMPTYBAMBOOGIRL by Lillian Lee

Let us all embrace our nerd. It was truly an inspirational talk – one that I needed to hear.

An Evening with Gene Luen Yang at the Coolidge Corner Theatre | EMPTYBAMBOOGIRL by Lillian Lee

Me being super creepy as the excitement built as I got closer and closer to my comic creator hero. FYI I tried stalking him at San Diego Comic Con many years ago, but failed.

An Evening with Gene Luen Yang at the Coolidge Corner Theatre | EMPTYBAMBOOGIRL by Lillian Lee

I was so nervous that I just became a super, awkward loser in front of him. Words started tripping out of my mouth about how he’s inspired my work…that I work on my own comic too. Ahhhh! But, no matter. This meeting meant the world to me. So thank you Gene Luen Yang for your work and inspiring words.

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New Comics Reading List for February 2016

EMPTYBAMBOOGIRL by LILLIAN CHAN

I took a year sabbatical from current comic book reading. I was — and still am — reading Harry Potter for the first time. I know, I know. I’m always late to the party.

But, I’ve returned.

The titles I’m reading are:

  • Silk: continuing the series because I really enjoyed it.
  • Batman & Robin Eternal: starting at issue 13 because…CASSANDRA CAIN!!! and, that cover!
  • Velvet: again, continuing the series because it kicks ass
  • Hulk: I liked the character of Amadeus Cho and it’d be interesting to see how he is as Hulk

I’m limiting myself to four this time around just so it doesn’t get out of hand 🙂

It was great popping into my fave comic book shop and getting a, “Welcome back stranger!” greeting.

Also, I’ve got a story line planned for Empty Bamboo Girl. I think it’s gonna be fun to do so stay tuned!

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Mockingbird: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary (2015) Issue 1 PLUS Sneak Peek of “Forever Red!”

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Mockingbird (2015) Issue 1: Variant Cover

 

My initial introduction to Mockingbird was via Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and even then I only knew that the character’s name was Bobbi and that she was tough as steel. Did she have super powers? I didn’t know and didn’t really explore further. Shame on me.

But while noodling around Rubber Chicken Comics, a local comic book shop outin western MA, I saw issue 1 for Mockingbird. I wasn’t crazy about the variant cover which was the only one available, but I picked it up and read through a couple pages. That’s all it took to get me hooked.

She just came across smart, boss, and kickass.

An added bonus to the comic book? Getting a sneak peek into the upcoming YA novel Black Widow: Forever Red, which I am most definitely looking forward to reading.

Mockingbird has always been one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best agents, but what happens when someone close to her is murdered? Forced to take matters into her own hands, someone is bound to pay! New York Times Bestselling Author Chelsea Cain joins the Marvel Universe to tell a story of bloody revenge! Plus! A special bonus story by superstar young adult author, Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures), writer for the upcoming YA novel, Black Widow: Forever Red! READ MORE

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Lois Lane: Fallout. A novel by Gwenda Bond. What?!

Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bona

 

When did DC Comics get into Young Adult Fiction? Am I late to the party again? It doesn’t matter because it’s a fantastic idea!

I’ve never been much of a Lois Lane fan. She always seemed one-dimensional to me — just all about the story rah-rah-rah and always needed to be saved by Superman. Can we please erase the Henry Cavill Superman movie Man of Steel (2013) from our brains, please? Just bringing that up gives me the shivers.

Anyhow, I gave a couple pages of Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond a try and before you know it I was hooked. I kept turning the pages and didn’t stop until 2AM when I finished it.

Lois Lane is still all about the story but she’s more fleshed out. There’s a reason why she’s so dogged — her upbringing as an army brat and making things right with her friends. She’s plucky and strong. She doesn’t need saving…just help sometimes.

And Superman? Oh, he’s in there but we never get to actually meet him even though he’s a significant part of Lois’ life. I love how he’s weaved into the story.

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight.

 

As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy…READ MORE

I can’t wait to find other DC Comics and Marvel Comics novels. Word on the street is that there will be a Black Widow novel coming out in Oct 2015 called Forever Red! I will be for sure all on that!

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Nimona. “We’re Villains! Villains kill people sometimes!”

Nimona  by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I’d been hearing great things about it and I really liked the artwork. So, while I was noodling at the library the other day, I saw it as a featured read and I quickly grabbed it.

I absolutely loved it. The artwork is wonderful, the dynamics between all the characters are so well developed, and it’s a story/plot that I’ve never read before..truly refreshing.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

My favorite quote?

We’re Villains! Villains kill people sometimes! ~Nimona

It’s such a boss quote and Nimona is so boss!

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Diving Deep Into the Spider-Verse Universe (2015)

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I recently discovered the graphic novel/comic book section of the local library and went to town on it. One of the titles I picked up was Marvel Comics’ Spider-Verse (2015) trade paperback only because Silk was in it. I’ve never read any actual Spider-Man comics so this was going to be the first and…

Oh. My. Gawd.

It was dark, action-packed, and gut-wrenching. Every Spider-being was thrown into this epic story arc. I’m also a fan of time travel and parallel worlds so it was an added bonus. My brain will never be the same again after the crazy shit that happened. I definitely see Spider-Man and its universe in an entirely new light. Wow.

When the unstoppable Morlun returns, it will take every Spider-Man EVER to stop him! Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel spearhead a massive event that unites wall-crawlers across all universes against a single threat, swinging through Amazing Spider-Man and a web of tie-ins! READ MORE

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Black Widow (2014) #20, Say It Ain’t the End!

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And so the team that gave us this latest story arc for Black Widow have closed out this particular story with issue #20. Say it ain’t so! *sniff sniff*

WHO IS THE BLACK WIDOW? What set off her long path of atonement? The creative team that’s brought you the longest run in Black Widow history steps deeper into the psyche of Natasha Romanoff than ever before. MORE

It was a tough issue to read — you learn more about Natasha’s past and also how she tries to atone for it in the present. This Black Widow storyline is what really got me into the superhero genre of comics. Previously, I wasn’t very much impressed with the boob’d out nakedness of the heroines. It just didn’t appeal to me. But then, why would it?

That all changed when I saw the artwork and read the story for issue #1 of Black Widow. Nathan Edmondson (writer) and Phil Noto (artist) just killed it on all fronts. They made me fall in love with Natasha even though she’s not perfect. She’s done some shitty things, but that’s what makes her…human…and a kickass fighter.

So, I want to thank both Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto for their amazing work. I look forward to their future projects…altho sad that this arc of Black Widow has come to an end.

Also, I couldn’t resist…

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 9.54.56 PM

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A Revamped 2015 Archie Makes Its Way, Issue 1

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I’ve never read any of the Archie comics, but I was familiar with the love triangle and that it took place is Riverdale. Other than that, I just didn’t have any interest in reading it because I didn’t think that it was for me…it was dated — in an era that I couldn’t relate to in a tone that was maybe too juvenile jokey.

But, I had heard about an Archie comics re-camp for 2015 and seeing some of the sneak peek previews of the artwork really amped up my interest. So, when issue #1 released, I picked it up and was very pleasantly surprised. It’s fun and full of teenage romance, high school angst. I also very much enjoyed the artwork. I’m definitely looking forward to issue #2.

And definitely check out all the variant covers that were released. I especially liked the one by Sanford Greene, which is the cover I chose.

COMIC SUPERSTARS MARK WAID AND FIONA STAPLES REIMAGINE AN ICON! Change is coming to Riverdale in this can’t-miss kick-off to Archie’s new ongoing series! Familiar faces return in new and unexpected ways in this must-have #1 issue! As the new school year approaches, you’d think Archie Andrews would be looking forward to classes and fun—but nothing is as it seems in the little town of Riverdale. But is this a one-off or a sign of bigger changes awaiting for America’s favorite teens—and the entire town? Find out in this exciting and remarkable first issue!

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Image Comics’ Kaptara: “Wizards Just Got a Whole Lot Sexier”

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This insane intergalactic space odyssey is…insane and I absolutely love it.

From the first issue to issue three, the writing and art have kept me glued. The sense of humor is quirky and weird — it speaks to me. I find myself shaking my head and laughing out loud.

ENTER: MELVON! BUT REMEMBER: ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER: MELVON! To save their own lives, our heroes must slay the famed, sensual wizard of The Unchanted Forest! A great jumping-on point for anyone who reads! READ MORE

Thank you Chip Zdarsky for the unique story and Kagan Mcleod for artwork that’s just as unique and beautifully weird. I’m looking forward to issue 4. If you haven’t hopped on the Kaptara train, it’s still early on so please do get on!

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Black Widow’s First Line of Red. How It Started. (Issue 19)

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Black Widow is one of the few titles that I’ve been sticking with. I love the series — full of action and drama with amazing artwork to boot. It’s the reason why I started reading more and more current superhero comic books. The latest issue did not disappoint. It takes the reader to Natasha’s past and how it started. We’ve gotten a few glimpses before, but this issue really delved into it.

What decision will she make? I guess we’ll find out in issue 20.

TOO LATE FOR REDEMPTION? At the end of all things, Black Widow finds herself unexpectedly connected to one of the darkest moments of her past. See how the first lines of red in her ledger were written. Will Natasha fall into darkness or rage against the dying of the light? READ MORE

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JEM Keeps Getting Better with Issue 4

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The upcoming live-action JEM film may suck — actually, it probably will after having watched the trailer — but, fans should definitely be reading the comics. They’ve got the core of JEM, but updated for 2015, which I very much appreciate.

The driving force of the JEM and the Holgrams vs The Misfits rivalry is the music but also forbidden love between two of the band members. It definitely heightens the drama between the two bands. And, I love the artwork.

Jem and The Holograms do their first live show at The Starlight Foundation’s annual fundraiser—but a rabid Misfits fan is determined to sabotage their performance… at any cost! READ MORE

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What Happens After the Bad Guy Has Been Defeated? New Comic “Zodiac Starforce” to Debut in August 2015!

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Ooh! This comes out in digital and print on August 26th! The art looks amazing and the story sounds like a very interesting premise! Comic created by artist Paulina Ganucheau and writer Kevin Panetta.

It’s been two years since the girls received their power from an goddess named Astra and destroyed the villain Cimmeria; the team has since disbanded, and like a lot of friends do over the course of high school, they’re starting to find themselves drawn to different interests and heading in different directions. READ MORE

[via BoingBoing]
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DC Comics Superman “Truth”, Issue 41, is One Wild Ride. Wow.

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I’ve tried getting into Superman comics in the past — even the Superman Wonderwoman series — but they fell flat for me. There was never enough character build up to make me root for Superman. The only time I ever loved Superman was when I was a kid watching the Christopher Reeve films. To this day, they hold up even against the Henry Cavill re-boot “Man of Steel” in 2013, which SUCKED so bad all around.

But, when I found out that one of my most favorite comic creators, Gene Luen Yang, would be writing for issue 41, I HAD to pick it up. Let me say that I was not disappointed at all. In fact, the story was riveting from the first page to the last. I love how they re-worked the story so that Superman’s identity is revealed and how that plays out.

I seriously can not wait for issue 42 to hit the stands.

The epic new storyline “TRUTH” continues with the debut of the amazing new creative team of new writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and continuing artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson! What will happen when the big secret is revealed? READ MORE

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I Wanted to Like Black Canary Issue 1…I Really Did, But…

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it just didn’t grab me from the outset. Maybe I was looking forward to it too much? I was already excited about the artwork by Annie Wu — I loved what she did with Batgirl Beyond — and the artwork is amazing. I love it. But, the story fell a bit flat. I actually liked her more during her appearances in Batgirl.

Will I give it another chance? I don’t know only because I have so many other titles I’m following.

Dinah Lance hits the road! After years as a soldier and vigilante, the LAST place Dinah saw herself is on stage…but she’s quickly learning she’d die to protect the gang of misfits she’s fallen into. And she just might have to – for some reason, the newly rechristened band Black Canary seems to be a magnet for trouble…and Dinah’s not gonna believe it when she finds out the reason why! Martial arts, super-spies, and rock ‘n’ roll combine, from Brenden Fletcher (BATGIRL) and Annie Wu (Hawkeye)!

 

READ MORE

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DC Comics Convergence Nightwing/Oracle #1. Dang That Was Good.

DC Comics Convergence Nightwing/Oracle Issue 1

Honestly, this issue has been sitting on my nightstand for the past few weeks. It came highly recommended by the comic book shop guy who couldn’t say enough good things about it. I was actually picking up the Convergence Batgirl title because of the return of Cassandra Cain!

And so, I read the Convergence Batgirl and, for me, it was…meh. I didn’t hold out much hope for the Convergence Nightwing/Oracle title after that.

But today…today, I realized how wrong I was.

Dang, it was good from beginning, middle and to end. Superb writing by Gail Simone captured the state of Gotham and the state of Dick Grayson’s and Barbara Gordon’s relationship.

STARRING HEROES FROM THE PRE-FLASHPOINT DCU! Just as they’ve finally been reunited, the romance between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon is sentenced to execution by Flashpoint Hawkman and Hawkwoman! READ MORE

Now, I must hunt down issue 2.

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Image Comics’ Kaptara: “Space, why you gotta be like that?”

Kaptara-cover

What? Huh?

A space expedition goes horribly wrong because if it didn’t there would be no story! Reluctant explorer Keith Kanga and his crew crash land on KAPTARA, a world filled with danger and weird danger and dangerous weirdos! And if he can’t survive, then Earth, the place where YOU live, is doomed! Join CHIP ZDARSKY (Sex Criminals the Duck) and KAGAN McLEOD (Infinite Kung Fu) as they put the “fi” back into “sci-fi” and pretty much disregard the “sci” part in this epic story of punching and love!

Story By: Chip Zdarsky
Art & Cover By: Kagan Mcleod

MORE INFO

So, initially, I was at the comic book shop looking to get the latest issues of some of the titles I’m reading. I wasn’t there to scope out anything new. I generally limit my books to 5 titles.

But then, I saw — not the cover of issue 1 — but the insanity of issue 2 featuring…cat tanks. CAT TANKS!

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How could I NOT try this out? What completely sold it for me was the tagline for issue 1: “Space, why you gotta be like that?” It’s funny, the artwork is fantastic, and it’s set in a crazy, weird world.

Kaptara!

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Avengers: Age of Ultron…Age of Disappointment. What Happened Here?

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I waited a few weeks for the crowds to die down before heading to the movie theatre with the Mister to watch Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The opening sequence dove right into the action. I was certain that it was going to be a fun ride.

But then…but then…the fun started disappearing and in its place was annoyance.

I’m a fan of the Black Widow character. I read the current comics and love how she just gets shit done. So, the need to explore a relationship between Black Widow and Bruce Banner in the movie had me completely perplexed. Like, where did that come from? At what point in the other two films was that even developed? And she feels for him so strongly that she would run away with him?

Black Widow does not run away.

The Mister was also troubled by the “romance.” He didn’t understand why a character as strong as Black Widow would go for someone as weak as Bruce Banner.

Also, I didn’t appreciate how Hawkeye’s wife and children were just slapped into the movie. There wasn’t a point to the wife. Her role was to basically just wait and look longingly into his eyes.

Come on. It’s 2015. Let’s stop being so lazy with story-telling and character development.

I can watch the first Avengers movie and even the second one on repeat. But this third one? No.

I should’ve just gone to watch Jurassic World instead.

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Jem and the Holograms, Issue 3

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Hot off their video win, Jem and the Holograms perform at the Starlight Foundation’s annual fundraiser—but the Misfits, anxious the Holograms’ overnight success, plan to bring them down.

Truth be told, I didn’t think that I’d end up enjoying these Jem and the Hologram comics as much as I have. I thought they’d be cheesy and more geared towards kids, but I was wrong. There’s great character development and some mature issues being dealt with. Plus, the story keeps getting better and better — staying true to its roots but updated and tweaked to make it new and fresh.

What I also appreciate is the artwork. It’s fun and the girls are illustrated in different shapes, colors, and sizes. It’s rare to see in the media, much less in comic books. Kudos to the creative team for drawing real women.

If you’re like me and wanted to scream out of sheer horror after watching the hot mess of a teaser for the live-action Jem movie, then read the comics instead. Hasbro and the folk working on the movie should’ve just based the whole story off the comics. Why didn’t they?

Anyhow, I’m looking forward to issue 4 — and NOT watching the movie.

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Who Is the New Thor? What?! Issue 8 (2014)

THOR (2014) #8
THOR (2014) #8

When I got to the last page I was, like, what?!?!?!

I picked up the latest issue a few days ago at one of my fave comic shops — New England Comics in Quincy, MA. There’s been a lot of press/spoilers floating around and I avoided all news related to it.

Please note that this series is the first time reading anything Thor. Up until this point, I thought he was a weird character, but then I watched the films and he started making sense. So, in terms of all the back story and such I have no point of reference. But, I will start researching around because I need to make sense of this and how it works.

The reveal was a surprise but not a surprise. I just need to know how it all works.

To be continued.

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Stripped: The Comics Documentary

So, I have been at a crossroads with my comic — where is it going? what am I doing? And then, I take a break. Fire up Netflix on the Mister’s PS3 and what do I see in the ‘Recently Added’ queue? Stripped.

Oh man, can I say how inspired I am? To learn about the history, the process, and to hear from some of my cartoon heroes! I now have a more clear idea of what I want to do.

I do have the compilation book I’m putting together, but I’m also going to start fleshing out ah-Lin’s character and her world some more. This is quite momentous given that tomorrow is my birthday and a lot of stuff has been going on behind the scenes that have been a bit challenging.

But, in the very wise words of the great P. Diddy, “Can’t nobody hold me down, oh no I got to keep on movin’.”

STRIPPED is the ultimate love-letter to comic strips. It brings together the world’s best cartoonists to talk about the art form they love, and what happens to it as newspapers die.

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Comic Book Homework

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A lot has been happening and not been happening with my ah-Lin! comic 🙂

The other day, I decided to break Empty Bamboo Girl off and make it into an overarching umbrella for the different comic strip projects I have coming up. I’ve also taken a look at the state of ah-Lin! and it needs to be better because I know that I can do better. And so, I’m hitting the books and learning from some of my all-time favorites:

 

I was also lucky enough to pick up a copy of Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art during my comic book adventure the other week. I got it for $5 from Rubber Chicken Comics. What?! Crazy.

Anyhow, be on the lookout for more — and better — comics from yours truly. And thank you for the continued support on the EBG Facebook page!

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The Digital Age of Comics

With superheroes dominating the box office, It’s easy to forget comics weren’t always as well regarded or accessible. The Verge talks to comic theoriest Scott McCloud, Comixology founders John Roberts and David Steinberger, and Symbolia creative director Joyce Rice to find out more about the future of this expanding, diversifying medium.

[via Digg]
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Ms. Marvel Issue No. 2 (2014)

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The latest comic that I’m super into is Ms. Marvel.

Published: March 19, 2014
Rating: Rated T+
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Cover Artist: Jamie Mckelvie

As seen in the New York Times, CNN and other media outlets the world-over, the all-new Ms. Marvel has made her thunderous debut! Kamala Khan’s very ordinary life has suddenly become extraordinary. Is she ready to wield these strange and immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to handle? Critically acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and fan-beloved artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force) bring you the groundbreaking Marvel series that has set the world abuzz. Don’t miss history in the making. SEE MORE

As an immigrant kid I can totally relate to what Kamala is going through — overprotective parents and the desire to just be like everyone else.

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Superman/Wonder Woman, Issue #6 (DC Comics, 2014) Review

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Initially, I was pretty excited for this comic. The idea of two strong, iconic characters joining together seemed like a great idea, but the execution of it is falling super flat.

Ok, so Wonder Woman does a Han Solo on Superman in this issue, but…that’s it. Well, there was also a lot of blood. But, there’s just not enough chemistry between Superman and Wonder Woman nor in the storyline itself. Truth be told, I don’t even quite understand why they’re together.

After reading Black Widow, I can’t bring myself to continue with this series. I have now been exposed to amazingness and everything from here on out has to be on par with that.

I really wanted to like it. Oh well…

When the Phantom Zone is breached by Zod, Superman and Wonder Woman are forced to do the unthinkable to stop the tyrant from global destruction. But can they do what must be done – and will the world forgive them?

READ MORE

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Black Widow, Issue #4 (MarvelNow, 2014) Review

Black Widow, Issue 4 (MarveloNow, 2014)

Oh lady, issue #4 did not disappoint. It has all the pieces that I enjoy — spying, action, adventure, and a strong kickass female lead. I couldn’t stop turning the pages on this one. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a comic book title like this in a long while.

I may just stop reading the other two books that I’ve been reading from before.

From the cold streets of old Russia, the Hand of God reaches out to crush Black Widow–and it is merciless. Outmatched by the brute force of a powerful new villain, Natasha finds a deadly plot unfolding that spans the entire globe.

SEE MORE

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Black Widow 2014 (MarvelNow) Review

Black Widow MarvelNOW

I hadn’t even planned on starting a new comic book title. I have so many new books that I have yet to read and then others that I feel committed to continuing. But then, I saw the beautiful cover art for Black Widow and HAD to pick it up.

I read the first couple of pages and was hooked. So I grabbed the other available issues, #2 and #3.

Let me just say that I have a huge girl crush on Natasha now — moreso than from The Avengers movie. The story, character development, and art are perfection.

Published: January 08, 2014
Rating: Rated T+
Writer: Nathan Henry Edmondson
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
You’ve seen Black Widow as an Avenger and even an Agent of Shield. But on her own time she searches for atonement for her past as a KGB assassin—in ways of which those teams just wouldn’t approve. From the darkest corners of the Marvel Universe, Nathan Edmonson (Who is Jake Ellis?) and Phil Noto (Thunderbolts, X-23) bring you a new ongoing series as gorgeous and mysterious as Nastasha Romanov herself!

SEE MORE

What I also most appreciate is that unlike the typical comic book covers of featuring ginormous boobs and bootie, it’s Natasha being cool and doing amazingly cool things featured. THANK YOU!

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