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Entries in Front Page (31)

It's Been a While

Hello All, It's been a while since I last spoke with you. I hope that your holidays were delightful and that this last bout of terrible weather didn't crush your spirits too completely. I had the joy of doing my civic duty last week as I was summoned for jury selection and had to do a whole lot of sitting around and waiting while the gears of justice turned. While I was doing all of my waiting and whatnot I did some reading (if you're ever summoned for jury duty then you really, really need to bring reading material, I cannot emphasize this enough). Knowing that I would be doing a whole lot of waiting and whatnot I brought plenty to read but what I wound up spending most of my time with was a book that I've started reading a few times but never managed to finish thanks to surrounding circumstances, Carla Speed McNeil's Finder. I don't know that I've ever read a series in which the world was so fully formed on the very first page. The book takes place in a far flung future where the world is quite different. The first book (the Anniversary Hardcover is featured at the right) follows a terribly unique character named Jaeger. Jaeger is what is known in this future as a Finder, something of an aboriginal detective, not attached to any police service nor really a private detective in the sense that most people think of in this day in age. Think of him more as the kind of guy that you'd want to know when your life goes to hell, or you desperately need to find something you've lost. The world in which he lives seems an awful lot like what our world might become should we continue on the path we're headed down. By which I mean cities that are covered in domes in order to keep them livable ... so ... yeah.

McNeil has been lauded for her work on this series and from every vantagepoint I really must agree with those who have spoken so highly of her work, and nominated her for several awards. Her art is simple and gorgeous, and at times reminds me of the simple line work of another of my favorite creators, Strangers In Paradise creator Terry Moore. The story is also brilliantly crafted and at the same time an anthropological wonder. The seamlessness of the world she has created is truly something to behold. 

Having only ever self-published the series it's something that you could probably be forgiven for having missed out on. However anyone and everyone should be adding it to their list of books to look out for in the next few months as a new collection of material that appeared primarily on Carla's website (LightSpeedPress.com) and then a new publication of a "Library Edition" of the first 21 issues both brought to print by Dark Horse Comics. It's an exciting time to be a fan of intricately produced science fiction. And if you're one of the people who haven't hear of Finder before and think that the world sounds interesting then you should keep your eyes open and possibly let your retailer know that you want to make sure to get copies of what might be one of the more exciting releases by one of the more oft overlooked creators in the industry this year.

The first release will be this upcoming week's Voice and it's only $19.99 for what is likely to be an incredibly entertaining and thought provoking 208 page book:

What you find isn't nearly as important as what finds you . . . 

Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Carla Speed McNeil's Eisner Award-winning series comes to Dark Horse with the original graphic novel Voice. 

In a society defined by its intricate network of clans, Rachel Grosvenor has grown up an outcast, straddling worlds. Now, her quest for admission to a highly exclusive clan sends Rachel spiraling into the dark underbelly of Anvard and a paradox that holds the key to her future: How do you find a Finder?

And then scheduled for March release is Finder Library Volume 1 which only hits the wallet for $24.99 and weighs in at 616 pages. Definitely something worth checking out:

Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Dark Horse is proud to present the first four story arcs of Carla Speed McNeil's groundbreaking series in a single, affordably priced volume!

Follow enigmatic hero Jaeger through a "glorious, catholic pileup of high-tech SF, fannish fantasy, and street-level culture clash" (Village Voice), and discover the lush world and compelling characters that have carved Finder a permanent place in the pantheon of independent comics.

This first of two Finder Library volumes collects the multiple Eisner Award-nominated story arcs Sin Eater, King of Cats, and fan-favorite Talisman.

Sometimes Comics Are Still for Kids (Part 1)

These days people are always trying to make it clear that comics aren't just kids-stuff anymore. And I certainly understand that desire and think that it's incredibly important that more and more people realize that comics are just a medium, and that like television or movies that there are the kind of stories out there that everyone can find and love. There are comics out there for everyone, for people of all tastes and preferences. 

But lately (and by lately I mean intermittently over the last 20 years) there has been a great deal of comics that have hit the shelves that have been great for younger audiences. More and more, creators are starting to realize that in order for comics to be around for our kids kids that we have to get kids to read comics! And even though I am almost 30 that doesn't mean that I don't still love the heck out of some simple adventure books that appeal to all audiences. I mean honestly, aren't we all still kids at heart? Well, sure some of our inner children are a little more jaded and world weary than others but some of us are still just happy, curious, interested little kids at heart.

A goodly majority of the books for all audiences are best described as "Adventure Books". The kind of adventures that we all remember so fondly from the movies and cartoons of our childhood. The kinds of stories where there is a treasure at the end of the road or where a quest must be undertaken to save a parent or friend. Think "Neverending Story".

The mother of all adventure comics for all audiences is probably Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin and with a movie coming from Steven Spielberg & Peter Jackson later this year it's probably a good time to familiarize yourself with the great works that are available from Hachette Book Group USA.

A great successor to Tintin is Bone by Jeff Smith. Bone is a wonderful story of fantasy and adventure that matures with the reader and is the kind of book that kids will want to read again and again.

In the spirit of Bone is Amulet by Kazu Kibiushi (who also edits the anthology series Flight that is a great recommendation for all ages). Kibiushi crafts a brilliant world that at once hearkens Smith's work as well as the animation work of Hayao Miyazaki (the brilliant mind behind Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and more).

In a more American vein (if not a little British) is James Robinson's Leave it to Chance. The series is far more brief than most fans would prefer (only 3 brief volumes collect the entire series) but it is certainly worth seeking out.  

There are so many good comics coming out these days that are aimed at getting all audiences involved that I can't even contain them all in one post. So come back next week for more.