Back in Print: Alison Dare!

In exciting news, Tundra Books is re-releasing two excellent all-ages graphic novels: Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden. If you haven't heard of these books, you have probably heard of their creators: the all-Canadian, all-awesome, all-J. team of J. Torres and J. Bone. Here at Living Between Wednesdays, we love those guys. And we love quality comics for kids. And we especially love it when those comics feature a strong female lead character (bonus that she solves mysteries with her two clever gal pals).

Alison Dare is like a 12-year-old Indiana Jones, and the books are full of fun adventure and mystery-solving. Superhero nerds like myself will appreciate the fact that Allison's father is a Blue Beetle-esque masked hero.  Plus, between Torres' humour and Bone's always-fantastic art, these books are just really cute.

I am just really glad these books are back in print because they are fantastic for young readers, especially for young girls whose imaginations don't start and end in a Disney Princess castle.

To promote the launch of the new editions of these books, Tundra is having a cool contest. Just follow this link to their blog and you can download a printable cut-out of Alison Dare herself. Print it, cut it, and pose Allison wherever your imagination decides.

For example, here she is hanging out at Strange Adventures Comic Shop in Halifax:

And here she is fighting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man:

And here she is standing guard at Halifax Harbour (ready to fight off pirates or smugglers):

I had much bigger plans for my little Alison Dare cut-out, but sadly it was destroyed by a very strong wind coming off the harbour that day. But she was totally going to be fighting a statue of Winston Churchill that stands outside the Halifax Public Library.

Go check out the books, and go enter the contest! Or at least encourage your kids to!

This week's haul: Johnathan beat me to a StarCraft Preview Inside joke.

A bit of a light week for me. Here's some of what I bought this week:

Captain America #50

There is a Marcos Martin back-up in this comic that I would have gladly paid $3.99 for on its own. It's a stunning summarization of Captain America's complete story from origin to present. The design is so incredible that it would make Saul Bass cry beautiful, stylish tears.

And the main story is typically awesome as every issue of this series is awesome. Luke Ross and share the art duties. And there's also a two-page Hembeck comic at the back! That's a lot of comic for four bucks!

Uncanny X-Men #510

Every woman has the exact same frigging face!

Wolverine Weapon X #2

Jason Aaron is killing this thing! This comic is giving me everything I want out of a Wolverine comic: unchecked machismo, wit, and claws being poked through bad guys. And also: a gun that shoots bullets filled with cancer.

I loved Aaron's three issue run on Wolverine last year, so I am really happy to see him back writing everyone's favourite grouchy Canadian mutant.

Tiny Titans #16

At free comic book day this year a mom with two young kids was excitedly telling me how much her kids love Tiny Titans, and how she discovered that she enjoyed reading them as much as they did! She told me how gleeful the kids were when they were introduced to the Teeny Tiny Titans. Listening to her rave about this series reassured me that this comic is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Although I have loved it from issue #1, I was worried that it might be more of an adorable inside joke for adult nerds than something that kids would find funny. It's definitely not the case: kids love Tiny Titans. It's very exciting.

The second trade collection of Tiny Titans also came out this week. It makes a great gift for your favourite kid!

Mysterius #5

Johnathan already mentioned it, but I'll go ahead and say it again: Starcraft Preview Inside?! Come on. As if that is worth putting an ugly logo in the middle of a beautiful cover for. Who on Earth is going to buy a comic because it has a preview of another comic in it?  Much less the fifth issue of a series! Best case scenario: they pick up this comic, read the preview, and put it back on the shelf. Argh! So lame.

This series is awesome, by the way, as I keep saying. Everyone should buy every issue of Mysterius.

Johnny Hiro

I bought all the issues of this comic but I also bought this new trade collection of it because:

a) I love this comic. It is hilarious and awesome;

b) This book is beautiful!

The tag for Johnny Hiro is Half Asian, All Hero. That's right: Johnny Hiro was using the Hiro/Hero pun years before Heroes was ever on the air. It is a very funny and action-packed comic written and drawn by Fred Chao. Hiro is a young  man living in New York City and struggling to get by as a busboy. He lives with his Japanese girlfriend, Mayumi, who is a fantastic character with somewhat limited English.

It's, I guess, similar to Scott Pilgrim in that it combines romance and humour with insane crazy action sequences really well. Except with Johnny Hiro, you might actually want to hang out and be friends with the characters. I highly recommend buying this book. It's cheap!

G-Man: Learning to Fly

I definitely approve of Image's decision to release Chris Giarusso's original creation comic, G-Man, in this digest format for kids. We all love Mini Marvels, and this is just as hilarious and adorable. And you don't have to read Marvel cross-over events to get all the jokes!

This Week's Haul:Tearing myself away from dreaming about Chris Pine long enough to review comics

Time for some reviews! Here are a few of the things I read this week. Now my review feature less cover images and more interior panels! Wooooo!

Super Friends #15

I'll tell you why I love J.Bone. It's because of stuff like this:

Look at how pleased Batman looks with himself!!! That is one satisfied detective.

This was an exceptionally good issue of Super Friends, and not just because of J.Bone's fabulous artwork. Sholly Fisch really stepped up the humour in this issue, matching it with other DC kids titles on the stands. I always felt that Super Friends was a cute-but-bland comic that was more about learning lessons than witty banter. But this issue was great. Plus the plot was actually a little intriguing. Nice!

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1

One good adorable comic deserves another! This time its one from the Marvel universe featuring a superteam of critters! AND it's written by Chris Eliopolous! AND it features a Throg origin story drawn by Colleen Coover! AND Lockjaw is adorable! AND Throg's human name was Simon Walterson!

Wolverine #73

And now we switch gears completely.

I like to think that the cover of this issue alone will make it fly off the shelves, but just in case it doesn't I'd like to emphasize how awesome it is. Jason Aaron wrote the first story, and it's drawn by Adam Kubert. It's a very entertaining examination of Wolverine's day-to-day life as it is right now, stretching himself very thin between multiple teams and solo missions. It also is full of the attitude and bad assedness that we all love and expect from Jason Aaron. The second story is by Daniel Way and features art  by Tommy Lee Edwards. Pretty awesome. Also awesome is the fact that Marvel didn't charge $3.99 for it, even though they probably could have found a way to do that. So you get a lot of awesome for three dollars here.

Booster Gold #20

Keith Giffen steps in to write this issue, and I feel that it really brought back some of the fun that this title has been missing lately. I wasn't hating it or anything, but it was getting way too serious. This issue was funny.

I don't want all the drama, I just want to see Booster Gold zipping around to different points of time in the DCU and making cute remarks. This issue had that, and it also had Booster in a three-piece suit. So that was nice.

Secret Six #9

This is as close to Battle for the Cowl as I'm going to get. I strongly doubt that any other tie-ins will be as entertaining as this one. Gail Simone rules, and this series rules and I for one would love to see Catman as the new Batman.

Zorro #13

I was recently telling the guys at The Dollar bin how much I love this Zorro series and it was pointed out that there isn't a whole action in this comic. I hadn't really thought about it before, but it's true. This comic is a lot more Bruce Wayne than Batman. But that's what I like about Matt Wagner's writing: he gives you a lot of the man behind the mask, a lot of the villain, and a lot of the supporting characters. And when the action does happen it's creative and cool-looking. Plus, in the case of this comic, Zorro is always having a great time. And I like that in a hero.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love this Zorro series and more people should be reading it. The first trade is coming out soon.

Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos (One-Shot)

Holy smokes! This was amazing! I don't know why I love war comics so much, but I do. And Sgt Fury is definitely one of the best military comic characters ever. He's just so damn manly. I love him.

The John Paul Leon artwork is beautiful, as usual, and TV writer Jesse Alexander (Heroes, Lost) that hits every beat. Every single panel is awesome. My only complaint is that this is a one-shot and not the first issue of a series that will go on forever.

Alright, that about does it. And now back to gazing longingly at Chris Pine.

Toon Books!

Art Spiegelman has been making the media rounds lately, promoting his line of comics for young readers. Toon Books are beautiful hardcover books aimed at readers between the ages of 5-8 or so. The goal of this series is to introduce very young readers to the comic book format. You may have noticed some of their earlier titles in book stores already (Silly Lilly, Otto's Orange Day, Benny and Penny). They are very eye-catching, and can potentially serve as the Beginner Books for a new generation. So, if you're looking for a quality Christmas gift for a young reader, I think any of the books Toon has put out would be good. I was sent three of the books to review, including Jack and the Box, which Spiegelman wrote and illustrated.

Jack and the Box was just released in comic shops this week. It's a very simple and surreal story of a young boy/bunny and his inability to control a fairy creepy-looking clown that keeps popping out of a box. The story is reminiscent of The Cat in the Hat, with the clown causing all sorts of trouble and messes when the boy's parents aren't looking. The art is really animated and fun, but I can't stop thinking about how much that clown would have scared me as a kid. But everything scared me.

Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever by Dean Haspiel and Jay Lynch is a cute story about twins who are lucky enough to be given super powers. Their local super hero, the Mighty Mojo, decides to retire he gives his powers to the twins. The only catch: they have to share them. Mo gets elastic arms and Jo gets magnetic boots, meaning that they have to work together in order to equal the Mighty Mojo. Since these two fight about everything, it's a problem.

This is a fun book about cooperation and learning to love your sibling. Of the three books I was sent, it was the most like a traditional comic book, in terms of format, as well. I think this book would be a great way to get young readers started on super heroes at an early age.

Stinky by Eleanor Davis was my favourite of the three. The story is about a monster named Stinky who lives in a swamp on the outskirts of suburbia. He is afraid of humans, and is very agitated when a young boy builds a treehouse near his swamp. This book is really, really funny and has beautiful art. I was smiling the whole time I was reading it. It's also really adorable, especially as Stinky reluctantly befriends the boy, who is nothing but sweet and friendly to the monster.