Reviews November 2011 week one

Nope, it’s not an Arnold Schwarzenegger / Walking Dead mash-up, though at the current rate at which the zombie virus is infecting modern culture, can that really be far away?

 – Jonathan on The Walking Dead Novel vol 1 Rise Of The Governor h/c

The Great Northern Brotherhood Of Canadian Cartoonists h/c (£18-99, D&Q) by Seth…

“I know that time is ticking toward twelve. But perhaps our day will dawn again. Maybe this graphic novel thing has some legs.”

There are some works which demonstrate their grand majesty, their epic qualities from immediately the moment you begin their first page; you just know you’ve struck gold as soon as you begin reading. And then there are those works which go quietly about their business, building their story, drawing you in little by little, encompassing your imagination further and further, until almost without realising it, you’re completely immersed in a marvellous and splendid world, on a journey that you never want to come to an end, and when you finish the final page and close the book, you’re already a little wistful for what you’ve just left behind.

This latest work from Seth is a classic example of the latter, though it actually almost never saw the light of day at all, as in its original incarnation in his sketchbooks, it started off as more of an essay on early Canadian cartoonists, and frustratingly for the author, wasn’t really progressing in the way he’d hoped. So instead he concentrated on the hilarious story of the world’s greatest comic collector, WIMBLEDON GREEN, and was apparently only convinced to return to this work after friends who’d seen the roughs convinced him there was a gem of a story waiting to told, and so he set to work. The first thing he did was completely revise his vision, and in fact ended up redrawing most of it, incorporating many fictional elements, to produce this finished work. So what exactly is the Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists?

Ostensibly it’s a story told on two levels, an actual tour of the headquarters of the said  club of luminaries by Seth himself, wandering round the various lounges, halls, corridors and studios, (several of which provide an art deco statement la Société des Artistes Décorateurs would have been proud of) whilst he narrates the great history of the club and regales us with examples of many of its famous members’ most outstanding and noted works, thus providing an elaborate illustrated history of the 20th Century’s most celebrated Canadian cartoonists. Except, of course, most of these people never existed and these stories were never told! For sure there are some nods to real-life greats like Doug Wright worked in there, clearly someone Seth has a lot of affection for, but on the whole it’s fictional stories about Eskimo astronauts, generational period dramas and flying ghostly canoes that capture the imagination. There are many, many tantalising tidbits of such stories shown to us, which I’d dearly love Seth to go back and expand on at some point, as they contain such wonderful ideas it seems a shame not to explore them further.

Even though Seth shows us a myriad of these creators throughout this book, the art style remains his own throughout, with only the most minor stylistic modifications employed to illustrate the many creators’ works. It’s a conceit that works extremely well actually, because otherwise it undoubtedly would lose the coherency that pins this work together, the sense of seamless progression through the ages as we wander deeper and deeper into the club itself, finally culminating in an appropriately wistful little rumination from Seth himself, quoted above, as he enjoys a quiet cigarette on the roof overlooking the city skyline. And if people can keep producing graphic novels as outstanding as this work, I don’t think we or Seth need worry about our beloved medium for a long, long time to come.


Buy The Great Northern Brotherhood Of Canadian Cartoonists h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Manara Library vol 1 h/c (£45-00, Dark Horse) by Milo Manara, Hugo Pratt & Milo Manara.

“Milo Manara must live in a beautiful world. He certainly shares one with us. His work is not coy nor cute nor pretty. It is a joyous gift, a celebration.”

 – Frank Miller.

It is indeed a very, very beautiful world that Manara draws, and the vast expanse of frontier America where both these stories are set plays to his sense of space. Few are the artists who can make me linger so long on a humble shot of a wooden-beamed kitchen or seagulls that swoop in the sky. But both those tableux emphasise the space left unfilled, drawing your eye in, inviting you to look around at the unlaid table, the scene through the window or the clouds billowing up on the horizon. That isn’t, of course, why most read Manara. In his introduction Miller emphasises Manara’s sensuality, his eroticism, and he’s right. His women often flaunt it, raising their petticoats when they rarely have knickers, just as one does here just to feel the breeze. If that’s not sensuality, I don’t know what is. Nor is it just the women, for his nearly naked (then totally starkers) Native American youths are lithe of limb, their torsos twisting in the sea… before being shot. But then they have just raped a girl.

And this is where we come to the “thing” of it: Manara’s sex is often far from consensual and the mother in Indian Summer has already endured her fair share of it so her children have a very mixed lineage. She’s kept it to herself until now, but the opening sequence, entirely silent, is about to bring things to a head, and when the truth is revealed…

“Dear Lord, what manner of family is this. What are we?”


Manara’s world may be easy on the eye but not always so easy on its protagonists. The Puritans are usually the worst being so far from pure, and so it is here, but there’s a certain nobility and stoicism about Manara’s women. As a generality, I think that holds true, although I should point out that in this instance the writer is Hugo Pratt!

The second story’s written by Manara. The Paper Man is much more of a burlesque but, interestingly, it is the squaw – the only female protagonist – who alone retains her dignity in spite of spending most of it handcuffed by a chain to a deluded old English army (figurative) goat. Everyone else is buffeted about by a bonkers series of events/clinical conditions. She merely bides her time, making sly and spot-on, pithy rejoinders, confidently waiting for the lunacy around her to end.


Buy The Manara Library vol 1 h/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Drops Of God vol 1 (£10-99, Vertical) by Tadashi Agi.

Message In A Bottle.

“Ah, such demonic decadence! So sweet an inebriation!”

Connoisseurs will either love or hate this heady love affair with wine. It’s massive in France, won the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in 2009 and has been described by Decanter Magazine as “Arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years”. Glass after glass is lifted to the light, assessed for colour and weight, and with each scent or sip our young wine tasters find themselves transported to flower-strewn strawberry fields, mixed orchards, or one “eternal parting” in a vineyard.

Shizuku Kanzaki is the son of wine critic Yutaka Kanzaki, famous throughout the world for his knowledge, eloquence and private collection, but he never followed in his father’s footsteps. Instead his childhood training in preparation – of being forced to smell everything from berries to leather belts – was so intensive it put Shizuku off wine for life. He’s never touched a drop. However, as the story opens his father lies dead after sampling one final bottle of red, and Shizuku is shocked to discover he won’t automatically inherit the estate. Instead he will have to compete for it with a cocky yet well informed wine critic his dad secretly adopted by blind-tasting wines, identifying them correctly, and matching their descriptions most accurately to the connoisseur’s own tasting notes.

The book is beautifully drawn with soft, crisp lines, silky hair and bottles that positively glow. When the pages open up to the landscapes evoked, it’s quite startling.

There’s intrigue aplenty as Skizuku embarks on various side-quests with the trainee sommelier whose job he saves with a spot of acrobatic decanting to breath air and life into a bottle of Richebourg… Indeed the discussion of the art, craft and history of wine making is far more extensive and detailed than I was expecting. It’s no wonder the French lapped this up.

Buy The Drops Of God vol 1 and read the Page 45 review here


Bubbles And Gondola h/c (£12-99, NBM) by Renaud Dillies…

“Hello! Let me introduce myself. Mister Solitude at your service!”
“At my… what? But who are you?!”
“I told you: Mister Solitude. From now on, I’ll appear every time you feel lonely.”
“Every time I… What?!”
“Now, at this very moment when I’m talking to you, don’t you feel lonely?”
“Uh, no… well, yes but…”

Subtitled a ‘magical graphic novel’, I certainly found this work about Charlie the mouse, grappling with loneliness and writer’s block in his attic studio, a most charming affair. Fortunately for Charlie help is at hand in the form of a little blue bird with a battered top hat, who taps on his window and introduces himself. What follows is a breathless adventure amidst a madcap carnival, beautifully illustrated by Renaud Dillies. The morning after finds Charlie with a hangover, albeit content at having the mental cobwebs well and truly cleared, and whilst a weary-eyed accident might cost him his favourite coffee cup, that loss, along with the festivities of the night before provides the inspiration to get past his writer’s block in a wonderfully poetic ending to this story.


Buy Bubbles And Gondola h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Marzi: A Memoir (£13-50, Vertigo) by Marzena Sowa & Sylvain Savoia…

I had hoped for big things from this memoir of life growing up under Communist oppression in ‘80s Poland, but alas it’s no PERSEPOLIS. Marzena Sowa certainly captures the grim, boring, endless nature of life in such a strictured society, that is for certain. Possibly a little too well really, as I found this work a bit on the dull side to be honest. There’s only so much queuing up for rationed food you can take reading about, really. Plus there’s also a strong focus on exactly what she got up to as a child, just playing with her friends, and visiting her extended family mainly, and all too little social commentary for me. Plus it’s very, very heavy on narration, and just all feels like rather laborious going. So whereas PERSPEOLIS succeeds in captivating the imagination, I found rather the opposite going on here. Shame.


Marzi: A Memoir

Spaceman #1 (80 pence, Vertigo) by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso.

From the creative team that brought you the belting crime series 100 BULLETS and JONNY DOUBLE, an 80-pence introduction to something completely different.

Life on Mars is bleak. It’s ravaged by dust storms which threaten to breach the greenhouse. Our spaceman volunteers to brave the rocks which hurtle across the barren land… or is that just a dream? Orson is an ox of a man with a simian skull structure. He was genetically engineered to travel in space but instead forages in the debris-strewn waters which have engulfed our polluted planet. The air waves are flooded too – with celebutard gossip, so some things never change. A couple of film stars have boosted their career by collecting orphans from all around the globe who compete against each other on TV to join the happy family. One of the kids has been kidnapped. The police attempt to investigate but get no further than the stars’ publicist and lawyer: if the police want to speak to the stars, they’ll need to sign a contract! Orson, however, gets a great deal closer as, late that night, an expensive yacht explodes not far from his idling boat, and Orson finds himself with two new passengers and a whole world of trouble.

If at all possible, Risso’s shadows and silhouettes are more staggeringly beautiful than ever, and it doesn’t hurt that the colours are gorgeous, rich in reds and greens. Azzarello has invented some new slang and speech patterns you will need to adjust to, but you’ll get there. I haven’t a clue where this is going. I’m almost tempted to look at the next issues’ solicitation copy.


The Green Woman s/c (£13-50, Vertigo) by Peter Straub, Michael Easton & John Bolton

“Writers. Isn’t a writer born who doesn’t turn into a lying piece of shit the second he picks up a pen. Being good with words doesn’t exactly make you a fucking visionary, either.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Fielding Bandolier. Of course, over the years I had to use some different names. Actually a lot of different names.”

For me this is the work of John Bolton’s fully painted, photorealistic career, although SHAME has just as much potential. I don’t always get on with his colour palette, but this is intense without being so dense and there are some fantastic pieces of foreshortening framed like Neal Adams used to. With one foot in the mantrap of crime, the other in the quicksand of horror, it’s also diseased and delirious, like a bad acid trip complete with subsequent flashbacks as first Fielding then Detective Bob Steele fall under the influence of the cursed Black Galleon and its Green Woman figurehead.

As Straub’s infamous serial killer, Bandolier is no stranger to death. It’s followed him from birth, and I don’t know how much of this has been detailed in the Blue Rose Trilogy prose, but his performance between Saigon and Long Binh in 1968 marked him out for a medal and flagged him for investigation by the C.I.A.. They saw right through him yet promoted the soldier anyway, giving him his very own army in Cambodia. It was there that he was married. That didn’t last long, but it’s stayed with him forever…

As the story kicks off Bob Steele and his partner are investigating a string of murders in which women as young as fifteen are being found in white dresses, marked out as virgins married to God. This and a necklace leads Steele to St. Mark’s Catholic Church where she’s identified by the priest:

“Sweet angel Rosanna Tucci, plucked from our congregation. These are trying times for men of the faith, detective. What with the, well, you know –”
“– Buggery and all.”
“– Decline in attendance. So perhaps you can empathise with my appeal for discretion in this matter.”

Is there a connection between Bandolier and the church, or is it more complicated than that?

It’s more complicated than that.

Indeed it will drive Steele abroad, then drive him mad, thence into the arms of the Green Woman herself. Rarely does a book tie up all its dangling threads so satisfyingly yet so surprisingly. Not for the squeamish, by the way.


Buy The Green Woman s/c and read the Page 45 review here

The Walking Dead Novel vol 1 Rise Of The Governor h/c (£18-99, Thomas Dunne) by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bosinga…

Nope, it’s not an Arnold Schwarzenegger / Walking Dead mash-up, though at the current rate at which the zombie virus is infecting modern culture, can that really be far away? Instead we have the origin story of the most villainous character to appear in Robert Kirkman’s apocalyptic nightmare so far. Those of you up to date on reading the WALKING DEAD graphic novels will certainly be aware of the self-styled prison governor, but from chatting with customers in the shop it appears virtually none of you spotted the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clue in a recent volume about precisely where he came from, because before he became the governor he was a happy member of the Washington survivors’ community. Then something happened, and he was ejected. This is that story. I have to say, I did wonder whether a prose work might be a step too far for this franchise, but actually, it is adds to the whole milieu and is excellently written. As ever with back stories for me personally, knowing the outcome of certain characters in advance tends to detract slightly, but that’s a small gripe.


Buy The Walking Dead Novel vol 1 Rise Of The Governor h/c and read the Page 45 review here

Stitched #1 (£2-99, Avatar) by Garth Ennis & Mike Wolfer.

Infinitely scarier than the film trailer I’ve seen which looks like late-period, first-generation Doctor Who. Some monsters are better drawn than filmed unless you have a far bigger budget.

An army helicopter crashes in high country, Eastern Afghanistan. Three soldiers survive it: two women and one man, walking wounded. Unfortunately they were the extraction team. Can they survive without food, water or medicine long enough to be rescued themselves? Unlikely: it’s not just the Taliban they have to worry about – the Taliban themselves are running scared… but from what? A little too short for my liking but one tiny detail in the final panel made all the difference and we shall certainly see.


Charley’s War vol 8: Hitler’s Youth (£14-99, Titan) by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun…

“Hitler’s on his own again. He gives me the spooks sometimes.”
“Ja… He’s a weird one. He’s had a dozen escapes from certain death.”

Yes, it’s life on the front with Charley Bourne and his chums, this time around featuring an extended guest appearance from a certain young Austrian Corporal. The factual details given about Hitler in this volume, such as his much vaunted luck, including two incidents where he was the sole survivor of his entire regiment, are pretty fascinating in and of themselves. It’s pretty easy to see, actually, how his WW1 escapades probably engendered or at least enforced a sense of destiny in him. Or just drove him round the bend completely, depending on how you look at it! Still extremely high quality stuff from Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun at this point.


Buy Charley’s War vol 8: Hitler’s Youth and read the Page 45 review here

Flashpoint h/c (£16-99, DC by Geoff Johns & Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope…

Everything has changed and only one man, Barry Allen, is aware of it. Well, two actually if you include Booster Gold, but presumably that will be tidied up in one of the many sidebar volumes collecting all the other stuff due for release shortly. So… in this world many of our beloved heroes are now villains, the villains themselves are even more villainous, and the world is at war as different factions like the Atlanteans and the Amazons vie for control of a partially submerged Europe. America isn’t under siege but the roster of heroes fighting the good fight there isn’t exactly like the real DC world either.

Confused as to whether he’s on a parallel Earth, or trapped in a different dimension, or just finally left his brain behind somewhere after one mad dash too many, Barry decides to turn to the one person he’s sure will have the answers, Batman. Except in this world it was poor little Bruce which died that traumatic night in Crime Alley, so who precisely is behind the cowl?

And that is where FLASHPOINT succeeds really well, in throwing up all sorts of weird and interesting differences and conundrums between the real DC world and this one. And much like BLACKEST NIGHT, many of the accompanying mini-series featuring these altered characters were actually rather good and did, by and large, add to the sense of scale of this particular ‘event’. Plus certainly as a read, this is far more fun that the ultimately anti-climatic let’s just all have a big fight that was the disappointing culmination of BLACKEST NIGHT.

Anyway, Barry has a theory why this has all happened, that the Reverse Flash is somehow responsible for rewriting history, because who else would it be, right? But is the dastardly Eobard Thawne really the one to blame this time? One thing for sure is Barry had better get a move on, as he’s only got five issues to sort it all out and restore things back to their proper state before the DC editorial team cancel every title in existence and then reboot* the lot from scratch! Begs the question why he’s even bothering then really, doesn’t it?

* Just to point out that every comic shop in the world was sent a rambling twelve-page email by the DC top nobs explaining why the DC New 52 malarkey was emphatically NOT a reboot. Eh?


Flashpoint hardcover

Ultimate Comics X: Origins h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Jeph Loeb & Arthur Adams…

Hmm, better Mr. Loeb, much, much better. Despite the truly protracted length of time it took to get the five single issues out, this is actually not bad at all, as post-ULTIMATUM, the remnants of mutantkind, hero and villain alike, are scattered and isolated, with a power vacuum at the top of the villainous pile after the death of Magneto. Clearly someone is going to try and fill that void and, in the absence of an obvious leader of the heroic mutants following the wholesale carnage and prodigious bodycount that Magneto caused with his impromptu surf safari, someone else is going to have to step up to that mark.

The current title Ultimate Comics X-Men penned by Nick Spencer (MORNING GLORIES, SHUDDERTOWN, EXISTENCE 2.0 / 3.0, Forgetless) follows directly on from this volume by the way. Excellent art, as per usual, from Arthur Adams, who I believe was the reason for the extreme delays with the single issues, bless him.


Ultimate Comics X: Origins hardcover

Wolverine & The X-Men #1 (£2-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo.

In which a visit from the Department of Education school inspectors passes without incident. <snort> Everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong on the first and possibly last day of term at the new Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, and teachers will surely empathise. There is, however, a great deal more that can go wrong in a school full of mutant misfits which boasts the most dangerous boys’ bathroom in history. That Kitty Pryde is headmistress is not unexpected; that Wolverine’s a headmaster is insane. The Toad is their janitor, by the way, and will be spending some considerable time cleaning up that bathroom later on.

Following directly on from the mini-series X-MEN: SCHISM (also by Aaron along with Vertigo’s SCALPED) wherein Cyclops and Wolverine stopped seeing eye to eye, there has been a mass evacuation from their island haven just off San Francisco, Wolverine opting to educate the children rather than have them fight. Joining their faculty is the Beast who stopped enjoying Scott Summers’ increasingly militant company quite some time ago plus Iceman, Gambit, Rogue, Rachel Grey, Cannonball, Chamber, Husk, Karma, Frenzy and Doop. Yes, Doop. He of the translatable alien language.

The schism was engineered by Kade Kilgore, school-aged son of a wealthy arms manufacturer who’s just inherited a fortune and multiplied it considerably by selling Sentinel technology on the back of the some pretty successful scare-mongering. It also secured him his seat as Black King of the Hellfire Club. His next move, then, is something of a surprise.

The whole of the first issue is played purely for laughs, and long may that continue. There’s even a school prospectus in the back complete with courses (Algebra Sucks: I Know, But You Still Have To Learn It is, of course, delivered by ‘Professor’ Bobby Drake who couldn’t even spell quadratic equation let alone solve one), extracurricular activities, special events and the proud school motto, “The best there is at what we do”. Chris Bachalo (DEATH, SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, GENERATION X) plays the perfect co-conspirator with cartoon comedy postures and expressions against backgrounds with an enormous attention to detail.

The Incredible Hulk #1 (£2-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron & Marc Silvestri.

Slight shift in style for Silvestri, possibly on account of the art assist from Michael Broussard and a trio of inkers. The forms are still gigantic, which is what you want for the Hulk – there’s plenty of smashing going down – but the lines are lighter and his monkeys are positively Leinil Francis Yu, he of ULTIMATE WOLVERINE VS. ULTIMATE HULK which incidentally remains one of the best books on our superhero shelves. Sunny Gho’s colours whoosh all over the place as if they’re been applied by Magic Markers, too busy in places but very effective when dappling the island jungle with sunlight.

Brand-new start, then, and things have changed, though why remains a mystery. A fully cognisant, bearded Hulk with unkempt, shoulder-length hair, has taken up residence deep underground in the monstrously populated caverns of the… Moloids? Tyrannoids? Whatever. As ever, he just wants to be left in peace. He isn’t. Dr. Banner, meanwhile, has read one too many H.G. Wells novels and gone all Dr. Moreau. Also, he appears to be angry.


Venom s/c (UK Ed’n) (£10.99, Marvel) by Rick Remender & Tony Moore.

Early release of the current VENOM series in which the man lurking inside the alien symbiote has changed yet again and been sent him out to work for the US government as a covert agent. It’s Flash – Flash Thompson, former bully now friend of Peter Parker – and keeping control of the ‘costume’ is far from easy. It may be enough to drive him insane. Remender you may know from one of the very many PUNISHER series, Tony from early WALKING DEAD.


Buy Venom s/c (UK Ed’n) and read the Page 45 review here

Sherlock Holmes: Year One s/c (£14-99, Dynamite) by Scott Beatty & Daniel Indro…

After the excellent SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE TRIAL OF SHERLOCK HOLMES also published by Dynamite, I had high hopes for SHERLOCK HOLMES: YEAR ONE. But alas, whereas the former got not just a publicity pull quote but a two-page glowing afterword by one of the world’s foremost authorities on Holmes, particularly for the writers Leah Moore and John Reppion, your first clue that this work isn’t of the same calibre comes with the absence of any such praise. But then it is a completely different creative team this time around and it really, really shows. Certainly there’s the bristling bravado and requisite posturing from the main character, it’s just there’s very little mystery, and consequently not much sleuthing to delight us with. There’s a series of murders, and yes Holmes does guess the connection, but it hardly requires any effort, just a passing knowledge of history. Consequently this work reads more like an action story than a detective story, although the author does attempt to create a secondary plot strand with some of Holmes’ previously unknown back story, but it all seems rather shoe-horned in. I found the art pretty average too…


Buy Sherlock Holmes: Year One s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews to follow or already up if they’re softcover of hardcovers. Regardless, you can now go straight to these books in the shopping area simply by clicking on their titles! Hurrah!

Sandman: Absolute Edition vol 5 (£75-00, DC) by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, Yoshitaka Amano, P. Craig Russell, Teddy Kristiansen, Milo Manara, Miguelanxo Prado, Barron Storey, Bill Sienkiewicz, Glenn Fabry, Frank Quitely

Nordguard Book 1: Across Thin Ice (£14-99, Sofawolf) by Tess Garman & Teagan Garet

Ganges vol 4 (£5-99, Fantagraphics) by Kevin Huizenga

Gifts From The Gods h/c (£13-99, Houghton) by Lise Lunge-Larsen & Gareth Hinds

30 Days Of Night vol 12: Night, Again (£13-50, IDW) by Joe R. Lansdale & Sam Kieth

A Flight Of Angels h/c (£18-99, Vertigo) by Holly Black, Louise Hawes, Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, Todd Mitchell & Rebecca Guay

Joe The Barbarian h/c (£22-50, Vertigo) by Grant Morrison & Sean Murphy

Hellboy: House Of The Living Dead h/c (£10-99, Dark Horse) by Mike Mignola & Richard Corben

Judge Dredd: Origins again! (£12-99, 2000AD) by Tess Garman & Teagan Garet

Superman: The Return Of Doomsday (£10-99, DC) by James Robinson, Jeff Lemire, Dan DiDio, Steve Lyons & Ed Benes, Philip Tan, Brett Booth, Miguel Sepulveda, Marco Rudy

Batman: Noël h/c (£16-99, DC) by Lee Bermejo

Justice League International vol 1 softcover (£13-50, DC) by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Kevin Maguire

Justice League International vol 2 softcover (£13-50, DC) by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Kevin Maguire

Love Hina Omnibus vol 1 (£14-99, Kodansha) by Ken Akamatsu

Cage Of Eden vol 2 (£8-50, Kodansha) byYoshinobu Yamada

Claymore vol 19 (£6-99, Viz) by Norihiro Yagi

Soul Eater vol 7 (£8-99, Yen) by Atsushi Ohkubo

Higurashi vol 15: Atonement Arc vol 1 (£8-99, Yen) by Ryukishi07 & Karin Suzuragi

Tokyo Mew Mew Omnibus vol 1 (£10-99, Kodansha) by Reiko Yoshida & Mia Ikumi

Yotsuba&! vol 10 (£8-99, Yen) by Kiyohiko Azuma

Spice & Wolf vol 5 (£9-99, Yen) by Isuna Hasekura & Keito Koume

No Longer Human vol 1 (£8-50, Vertical) by Usamaru Furuya

Air Gear vol 20 (£8-50, Kodansha) byOh!Great

Kimi Ni Todoke vol 11 (£6-99, Viz) by Karuho Shiina

Gunslinger Girl Omnibus vols 7-8 (£12-99, Seven Seas) by Yu Aida

Highschool Of The Dead vol 4 (£10-50, Yen) by Daisuke Sato & Shouji Sato

Black Butler vol 7 (£8-99, Yen) by Yana Toboso

Mr. Tiger And Mr. Wolf (£9-99, June) by Hiruno Ahiru

D. Gray-Man vol 21 (£6-99, Viz) by Katsura Hoshino

Tegami Bachi – Letter Bee vol 7 (£6-99, Viz) by Hiroyuki Asada

For those of you who do actually read this last bit but ignore our Previews, it’s just one more opportunity for me to hype one of next year’s biggest sellers (and I will take plenty more opportunities), DOTTER OF HER FATHER’S EYES by Mary & Bryan Talbot due 02/02/2012. There be interior art indeed!

 – Stephen

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