Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Sketchbook - Tim Sale

The story of this sketch is told in the Emerald City Comicon 2005 report, so you can read about it there. This small scan truly does not do this sketch justice. It's so good, it's hard to call it just a sketch. This is one that you ought to ask to see if you meet me at a con.

by Tim Sale
6 February 2005
(permission to post given 6 February 2005 in person)
Tim Sale Official Website

As a reminder: Almost every sketch in my sketchbook was non-commissioned and done on the floor of a con. These are not the best works of the artists. These are only representative of what the artist can do under pressure in a loud, crowded, and often stressed-out environment. Most of them were done as quickly as possible, to prevent huge lines from forming. Don't judge any of these artists negatively by the artwork you see, instead be as impressed as I am by what they accomplished in far-from-ideal conditions.

To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me. Click for a random Aquaman sketch.

The Saturday Sketch ™ is brought to you by the letters "T", "S" and the number "92", and also courtesy the fine artists who pour their lives into producing wonderful comic books, then come to conventions only to get asked by geeky fangirls for a sketch of Aquaman. Support an artist, buy a comic book.

by Tegan at 10:25 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, April 08, 2005

Rapid Reviews - Recommended Manga

Here's another review based on the recommendations I got from this post.

Maison Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi. Although I wouldn't quite agree with Dave's assessment that this is the best romance comic ever (Tom Beland's work still holds that spot for me) it was really funny and cool. The humor is just plain odd, from the nasty neighbor who breaks through a wall to the good old cliche tennis instructor. The most interesting thing about this book was that, despite their quirks, all of the characters seemed very real. Heck, maybe it was because of the quirks. 3 starfish
Recommended by Dave Carter. Will I read more? Yes.

And here's a pile of second or third volume reviews:

Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind (Perfect Collection 3) by Hayao Miyazaki. Again, the book doesn't seem appealing until I actually pick it up, then I remember why I'm still reading it. The art is just amazing, as usual for Miyazaki. The story is finally beginning to make sense to me, as the epic it is, which makes me more interested in seeing how it will eventually turn out. 3 starfish

Mai The Psychic Girl (Perfect Collection 3) by Kazuya Kudo and Ryoichi Ikegami. This appears to be the last volume of this series that my library has, and it's also a decent stopping point. I can't tell if it's actually the last volume of the series or not. If it is the end, then I have to wonder, as the real threat isn't revealed until this volume. Not a completely satisfying series, but not too bad. The art is nice, and I'm still a sucker for innocents finding out about their own power. 3 starfish

Hikaru No Go (Vol 2) by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata. This is still a fantastic series, although it settles down slightly in this volume. I love how Sai reacts to the world around Hikaru. From what further I've read in Shonen Jump, this series just gets better and better. I've fallen completely in love with it, and it still gets four and half starfish from me, even on my new rating system. 4 1/2 starfish

Planetes (Vol 2) by Makoto Yukimura. After the first volume, I was expecting an anthology focusing on different characters in each story, with a loosely connected plotline. This volume narrows in on Hachi and his quest to be on the first manned trip to Jupiter. I like that Hachi isn't the loser we're led to believe he is, but I could use a little less of his introspection. It's somewhat entertaining, but not as much as when he's in action. 3 1/2 starfish

I've finally figured out the KCLS's method of filing periodicals, so I'm trying to get all the issues of Shonen Jump between the ones David sent me and whenever my subscription starts so I can catch up with Hikaru No Go. I won't be reviewing the library copies, though, to give myself a break. I do know that as long as there's at least 20+ pages of HNG in each issue of SJ, I'll be getting my money's worth.

by Tegan at 12:17 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Unorganized Thoughts on Manga and Shonen Jump

I want to thank everyone who provided me with suggestions for Manga to try out. I had a very good time and have found a few "new" books to enjoy. It helps that I live near a great library, too. Part of the fun of reading Manga was all the different genres that were covered. Not a lot of superheroes in the pages of the books I read, but lots of great stories.

I'd also like to thank David Welsh for sending me a couple of issues of Shonen Jump to try.

Here's what I thought of Shonen Jump: The average issue is over 300 pages. There are usually six or seven regular features in each issue, and sometimes a preview or sample of another manga title.

The two issues David sent me just happened to contain the next two installments of Hikaru No Go after the second trade, which I just finished. The first issue, Sep 2004, had 41 story pages of Hikaru No Go. 41 pages. The second issue, Oct 2004, had 44 story pages. When I buy a good B&W indie book, I'm often willing to pay $2.95 for 22 story pages. Shonen Jump's cover price is $5, and Hikaru No Go's 40+ pages are only 1/6th of the book. By math alone, if there is one feature in Shonen Jump that I like enough to want to buy monthly, I should pick up the book.

I decided to read the other features to find out what they are like. The September issue had a preview of Whistle!, a soccer Manga, that looks decent. The October issue had a preview of Beet The Vandel Buster which was actually surprisingly good. Another feature that I liked a little was Shaman King. One Piece would appeal to fans of Scurvy Dogs, I think, although the humor is considerably more gentle and goofy. Yuyu Hakusho took me some time to warm up to, it wasn't until I read the October book that I could figure out what was happening. Naruto, about Ninjas taking an exam, was very strange. Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh! were both features I'd heard of but didn't know anything at all about, so it was kind of nice to learn. In short, I thought the book was a pretty nice deal all around. And you just cannot beat the price.

The price, by the way, gets even better if you subscribe via their website. $2.50 an issue. Less than most DC and Marvel comics. And well over ten times the content, even if it is in B&W. This is how Manga can defeat American comics.

And one more thing... Shonen Jump is Manga for boys. Viz is about to release a Manga for girls magazine called Shojo Beat. The cover price is slightly higher, but at the moment you can apparently subscribe through the website for the same price as SJ.

I've been told, by a DC editor, that anthologies just don't sell. Well, Shonen Jump sells. They just got a new subscriber in me, in fact. So I don't believe it anymore.

by Tegan at 12:35 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Rapid Reviews - 30 March 2005 - Part II

Incredible Hulk #80: "Tempest Fugit Part 4 of 5": I don't get this whole flashback to young Bruce talking with Hulk thing, but it makes for interesting reading. It also makes the end of this one into a double or triple cliffhanger. 2 1/2 starfish

Usagi Yojimbo #82: "Vendetta's End": I'm sure if I go back and reread many issues, I'll find where Koyama Matabei first appeared. As it is, I wasn't really surprised when Usagi recognized him, since he knows everyone. An excellent story, well worth reading, even if you aren't familiar with Usagi Yojimbo. 4 starfish

Oddly Normal #1: The first two chapters of this story are presented in this book, where we meet Oddly Normal, the unfortunately named daughter of a witch and a perfectly ordinary man. Nice artwork, a fun concept, and a character you can feel for make this a good book to pick up. There's also at least one Wizard of Oz reference, which I did not know about when I ordered the book, so this one might possibly even make hubby-Eric's collection. In any case, check it out. Good stuff. 3 1/2 starfish

Tenjho Tenge Free Preview: There's not really enough in here to get a feel for the storytelling, but there is enough to get a taste of the style of characters. And my first response was fairly negative. A school of thugs, with a counter-thug group. Um. Ok. The whole sample seems pretty standard and even derivative, so I think I'll pass. When you add in the accusations that CMX is altering some of their books to make them more acceptable to a young American audience, I'm even less impressed. The only thing that really impresses me about this book is that the author is listed as "Oh! great". What a name. 1 starfish

by Tegan at 11:52 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Rapid Reviews - 30 March 2005 - Part I

Wow, I'm on last week's books! I'm almost caught up! Maybe I can get caught up on my blog reading, too, soon. I keep getting e-mails about contests and such, and I keep meaning to do a link post, but I've been so busy with training and fundraising that I haven't had time to do a good blog recently. Some millionaire comic book fan needs to donate a couple of thousand dollars to the cause so I can stop worrying about fundraising and get back to normal blogging...

DC Countdown #1: "Countdown to Infinite Crisis": Well, who woulda thunk it? Ok, ok... so I saw lots of speculation about who Batman was holding, and many people turned out to be right. But it was still quite a story to get there. The villain was not at all who I was expecting. And there are those leftover bits of Identity Crisis that are now rearing up and biting the DCU. Interesting. You can't beat the price on this one, and it turned out to not be a half-bad story too. I'm actually quite curious to see where this storyline goes from here. Of course it helps a little that I've been told the whole Sub-Diego thing in Aquaman ties into the Infinite Crisis. 3 starfish

The Flash #220: "Rogue War Chapter 1": The Flash has always had a decent crowd of bad guys to fight, and it looks like this is bringing them all together to battle each other. I was afraid that the events in Wonder Woman would be completely forgotten, but there seems to be some links to that, and maybe to DC Countdown as well. Overall not a great issue, but about standard for the Flash. 2 1/2 starfish

Outsiders #22: "Deep Throat": I figured Roy couldn't survive this particular battle, so I was interested to see how Winick could pull off a "save the day" without it looking silly. He managed it, I think. Not the best way, but certainly a logical way for that particular battle to have ended. And the rest of the book isn't bad, either. 3 starfish

by Tegan at 12:29 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 23 March 2005 - Part II

Futurama Simpsons Crossover Crisis II #2: "The Read Menace": I liked all the fictional characters running around, and some of the gags (like the M.C. Escher-sketch) were great. But in the end it's just more of the Simpsons and Futurama. If you like it, get the book. Otherwise, you should pass on it. 2 1/2 starfish

The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty #8: The final issue. I'm not entirely sure what happened there at the end... except that it was finished. When Cole realized that some of the folks helping him fight were ghosts, I only wondered why he hadn't noticed before. What happened to Red and Rose, or if they were ever real in the first place, I can't tell. Still, this was a strangly satisfying book. I'm going to have to pull all the issues together and read it through in one sitting. 3 starfish

Conan #14: "The Ibis and the Serpent": More beautiful artwork, more strong story... if you like fantasy, give this book a try. You might want to wait until issue #15, though, as this was the final chapter of a story. 3 starfish

Phantom #5: "Damnation Game": This one started out very confusing. The art didn't do a very good job of telling me who is who, and the text wasn't at all helpful. But the further I got into it, the better I understood what was happening. Too bad the opening sequence was so poor, though. 1 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 9:12 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, April 04, 2005

Rapid Reviews - 23 March 2005 - Part I

Amazing Spider-Man #77/518: "Skin Deep Part Four": A mostly satisfying ending to the story. I'm not keen on metaphysical discussions with yourself while you are unconcious, but that happens a lot in this book. This time just didn't work for me, maybe because the artwork seemed off in those pages. And the cover was both nice and awful at the same time. It's a nice pin-up, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the book, and therefore is awful. Pretty much a standard superhero issue. 2 1/2 starfish

New Avengers #4: "Breakout!": Fun fun fun as the new crew figures out who broke the super-villains out of jail, then figures out who the breakout was for. I like Spidey in this book, he gets all the best lines. But the rest is just ok. About average for a superhero book, I guess. 2 1/2 starfish

Seven Soldiers: Guardian #1: "Pirates of Manhattan": Ok. It's Morrison. I knew it was going to be weird. But this is almost too weird. Still, it's way better than the Shining Knight in some ways. As a story, it actually almost holds together. And I like Jake, as a flawed character with some serious potential. Eh, I'll give it three starfish and hope the rest of the issues are even better. 3 starfish

JLA: Classified #5: "Yadda Yadda Yadda Yadda": More Giffen League excitement, and as usual, if you aren't interested in that type of humor, don't read this book. As for me, it makes me want to read the old stories even more. Maybe I'll get around to picking up the backissues some year. 2 1/2 starfish

Legion of Super-Heroes #4: I liked the main story, and I liked the back up story. I still haven't gotten a grip on the characters yet, they are mostly mysteries to me, but what I do get I like. This is rapidly becoming one of the most interesting superhero books I read. This is the kind of book that would have made me a superhero fan if someone had given it to me in high school or college. 3 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 9:53 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 16 March 2005 - Part II

Birds of Prey #80: "The Cold Light of Day": The problems with Thorn are sort of wrapped up in this issue, but the resolution isn't exactly satisfying. And various other plot threads are being pulled on in this issue as well, to the point that I almost can't follow it. This is one of the more continuity intensive books out there that I read. 2 1/2 starfish

JLA #112: "Divided": Well, hey, it looks like we get the name of the Syndicate's universe's Aquaman. It's Barracuda. Aquaman gets to lead the distraction League while two other teams wander off to fight other fires. I'm not going to give the ending away, but I was a little disappointed by the results. Still, it's nicely confusing and total obsessive fan enjoyment. JLA fans have to read this one. 3 starfish

Teen Titans #22: "War and Peace": I'm sorry. Despite Identity Crisis, I just cannot think of Dr Light as a real threat. Despite everything in this issue, he just doesn't seem like he's a baddie enough to handle a couple of Titans, much less the whole gang. Nice splash at the end, though. And finally, a Tempest appearance! 2 starfish

Wonder Woman #214: "Truth or Dare": Got this issue to find out what happens to Flash. Not much, apparently. He takes a beating and heals right up. I'm not sure whether to shrug or be disappointed. I guess I'll take the high road and just move on. 1 1/2 starfish

Batman Strikes! #7: "Icestorm": I like this design of Mr Freeze, although I like the last animated Batman version because he was such a sympathetic character. This issue doesn't give us any of his motivation or goals, just a nice fight with Batman. It's a well-drawn fight, but that's all it is. So, except for the redesign of Freeze, not much to impress anyone here. I'm not even sure how Batman won. 1 1/2 starfish

Incredible Hulk #79: "Tempest Fugit Part 3 of 5": So I was impressed with this issue... in one of the flashback scenes, there is a letter upon which you can see the stamp. The stamp is The Spirit. Ok, that's not the only impressive thing about this issue, but that's the bit that really jumped out and grabbed me because it was so cool. I'm enjoying this arc, and I'm really curious as to what is actually going on. Only a couple more issues until we find out. 2 1/2 starfish

by Tegan at 5:21 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Happy Birthday Chloe!

A happy birthday wish goes out to my niece Chloe today. May your day be warm and bright, and may all your wishes come true.

by Tegan at 7:11 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Rapid Reviews - More Manga

Paradise Kiss Vol 2 by Ai Yazawa. Yukari finally realizes that she doesn't want to live the way her family expects her to live... with a bit of goading from George. This continued the odd style of the first volume, and the frenetic pace. Yukari is caught up in forces beyond her control, but she chooses to ride out the storm. I admit, I'm intrigued. This is a bit of a naughty sort of book, but it's fun to read. I particularly enjoy the way the characters tend to break the fourth wall whenever they feel like it. 3 starfish

Mai the Psychic Girl (Perfect Collection 2) by Kazuya Kudo and Ryoichi Ikegami. This is one of the few manga books I've been checking out that has been reversed to read left-to-right. It's strange, but once you get into the knack of reading right-to-left, going back takes an effort. Maybe it'll get easier if I continue reading manga. Anyway, in this volume Mai finally takes the situation into her own hands, and even though it appears that she isn't in control, I think she is gaining it. She also gets introduced to a second psychic who isn't afraid of her abilities. The story is getting a bit more intense, and I'm still interested to see what happens next. 3 starfish

Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind (Perfect Collection 2) by Hayao Miyazaki. I find myself wondering how long this series is. I also discovered that I didn't really feel like reading it until I picked it up and started to read, then I quickly got back into the action. I've put the movie on hold at the library, I hope the remaining volumes get to me first. This one is good, but so very crowded. It's hard to keep everything that's happening straight. 3 starfish

by Tegan at 10:04 PM Seattle time - Permalink