Haruna is a former soft ball star who’s decided she’s had enough of sports. It’s her first year of high school and she’s focusing all her efforts on snagging herself a boyfriend. The first page of the manga has her dressed up and waiting at the school’s notorious “pick up spot”, and not a single guy hits on her. In the tradition of nutty romance plot lines, Haruna decides to hire herself a dating coach to teach her how to get her milkshake to bring all the boys to her yard.

Her love coach is Yoh, a slightly emo upperclassmen who’s too cool to care how popular he is and too traumatized by love to realize that he’s into Haruna. He spends most of the first couple issues of the story telling Haruna how annoying she is while he takes her shopping and follows her around on her dates to text advice. I hate to admit it, but I’m into the brooding jerk hero type, so I really like Yoh’s character. It feels rewarding when Haruna manages to squeeze a few drops of emotion out of him, and in terms of cartoon drawings of men, damn he fine.

High School Debut is a flawlessly drawn, fun to read shojo manga. If you’re into manga, then little things like characters flaking out on each other, over or under reacting to things, and a lot of passive female characters aren’t going to bug you. Speaking of the later, I’m all about Strong Female Characters, don’t get me wrong, but it’s fun to put myself in the head of a character who’s so completely opposite of me. Another great thing about High School Debut are the author’s notes in each issue. If you read manga, then you know what I’m talking about: in each issue, there’s a small margin on the left page where the author writes completely random stuff, and the author of High School Debuts’ notes were particularly hilarious to me as she used them to sort of passively insult her sister’s parenting. Classic!

Anyway, yes, High School Debut. It’s a charming read and it will lighten your day. Definitely the kind of book you want chilling in your purse for lunch breaks and long lines. Check it out it if you love a good, fluffy romance.

FF #14

Fantastic Four #602










Hickman continues his epic run with the Fantastic Four family. Threats, not just from this universe, converge on the Earth.  Let’s hope the World’s Greatest Heroes can save the day.

Aquaman #5

Best cold open in a comic in recent memory.  This is a  great follow up to first story arc and there seems to be no signs that Johns and Reis are slowing down.

The Bulettproof Coffin Disinterred #1

 This is a sequel to last year’s Bulletproof Coffin. The new series continues to take the reader on a bizarre  ride that will leave you wondering what really makes up reality.

I’m writing this week from Honolulu, Hawaii, where it is a beautiful 80 degrees.  I’m here for business, attending a telecoms conference where market analysts present slide after slide of statistical data while the sun sinks slowly into the Pacific.  As I was sitting in one of these sessions this morning, learning about the net growth of Skype in 2011, I got a call from Morwen, my oldest daughter.  She was calling to tell me that her artwork was featured in the latest issue of Tiny Titans (#47).

Page from Tiny Titans #47

I’ve been getting Tiny Titans for Morwen since the book was first released, and she’s been submitting her drawings of Robin, Kid Flash and the others nearly as long.  Somehow, I didn’t end up flipping through Issue #47 when it came out a few weeks back, but Morwen did today.  As you can imagine, she was thrilled to find one of her drawings in a real comic.

Well, that’s all for this week.  Now back to the conference and the discussion of price erosion in the international submarine cable bandwidth market.

I took my daughters (3 and 7) to see the Tin Tin movie during the holidays and was pleasantly surprised by the movie.  I’d never read any of the Tin Tin books, so I came to the theater with no pre-conceived notions.  What I found as the story unfolded was an exciting adventure story where the action never let up, the characters were likable and the story was just fun.  At one point, I realized that I’d been smiling for 5-minutes straight.  And the best part was that this was a movie that I could take my kids to see.

As soon as we got back in the car, my oldest daughter started asking me about the Tin Tin comics.  The interest was clearly there, so I told her that I would buy her one if she was interested.  Of course, she was.

I think that the key to a love of reading is finding the right story at the right time.  We’ve come close a couple of times–the Narnia books, the Hardy Boys, and the Little House series have all made their way to bed time at the Summers’ farm–but I’ve been hoping for that one book that gets my daughter reading on her own, because she wants to.

Snowy by Morwen Summers

I think Tin Tin might be that book.  I purchased one last week, and she dove in just as soon as I handed it to her.  She’s also done about 500 drawings of the various characters, especially Tin Tin’s dog, Snowy.  I enjoyed the book (it wasn’t Tin Tin in the Congo) and it was pleasantly devoid of angst, retcons, reboots and women in refrigerators.

A little bird told me that a new shipment of Tin Tin books is coming this week to the comic store.  I think you’ll find me in the kid’s section on Wednesday.

Shy of two months ago I had never read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series. I had only heard good things about the series, but was unable to read it because vol 1 seemed to elude me for so long. Two months ago by some miracle I was able to sit down and over the course of three days I read all ten volumes. Needless to say I fell in love with the series.

Sandman follows Morpheus the king of Dreams and his siblings, the Endless which consist of Despair, Destiny, Desire, Death,  Delirium, and the missing Destruction, and their interactions throughout time with humans and other gods. While I loved the ongoing storyline I always seemed to look forward to the side stories; finding out more about the Endless siblings and their interactions with each other. Sandman is filled with moments that make you think, laugh, and shake your head in horror. If you’re looking for a book filled with mythology, magic, and a great story look no further than Sandman.

If you wish to catch up on Sandman these collected volumes are available to start:

The Annotated Sandman Vol 1 HC

Sandman Vol 1 TP

Absolute Sandman Vol 1

And for the kiddies:

the Little Endless Storybook Vol 1 & 2